Monday, March 31, 2014

What's all this then?

Been making travel plans for an upcoming trip to Arizona.  It's not real complicated, just get in the car and drive down the highway.  But, I lamented what route to take.  Then, I couldn't decide how many days I wanted to go.  Well, I have it all figured out now.  Yay!

One of the items on the agenda will be a stop at Leprecon in Phoenix. It's the only Arizona science fiction con that will have anything to do with me.  I haven't fared well in Arizona.  Most of the cons and events and stuff have snubbed me.  My books have actually sold fairly well in the state and even some of the libraries have them.  But the planners of cons and such have pretty much given me the brush off.

So, I'll go to the con in Phoenix, and I'll get some Indian fry bread and who knows what else and it'll all be good.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Issue

One of the foolhardy things I do is edit a magazine called Science Fiction Trails. Well, we're about to release issue number 11.  Since it's an annual, well it's been around a while.  It's managed to pay its way, but it's never really caught on either.  Over the years it's gotten bigger--the new issue is full sized and over 100 pages. The first few issues were half of that.  

Back when we started we got slammed because "science fiction must take place in the future."  We don't see that nonsense anymore. We've been baffled why reviewers compare us head-to-head with ultra dark horror publications when we don't run any straight up horror.   Through all of this, I've kind of shrugged and just continued to keep putting out issues. The size of the stories has risen. They now average over 6000 words, Most small magazines run stories around the 2 to 3k length.  I don't really know why this is, just that it's a trend that started a few years ago. So there are fewer stories, and each of them is fairly long. 

So, our 11th issue will be releasing in a few weeks.  It'll be available in print and Kindle.  And we'll hope people buy it.  We tried something new this time, we've got a section called the Wild West Writing Challenge where we asked writers to tell a story about a gunfight in less than 300 words. I thought it was kind of fun, and a nice counter to all of the long fiction in the magazine.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

False Hope

Just when it seemed like winter was over, we got another blasted snow storm.  Although the tourists may still be in ski mode, I think most locals are having thoughts of kayaks and mountain bikes at this point.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Strange Goings On

At the hotel I work at we've had some strange goings on. This is not known as a haunted property, Still? Every now and then, in the wee hours of the morning, I hear loud heavy footsteps that sound like they're coming from the floor above. And I always go up there. There is never anyone around. Heck, during the off season last fall, there was not a single guest staying on that floor and I heard the stomping.  I suppose there could be an explanation that doesn't involve the supernatural--I just don't know what that would be.

So, yesterday around two a.m., I felt a very cold draft from out of nowhere--and it was not windy. Then the lights started to flicker--this on my floor. Then, the stomping came from above. Coincidence? Perhaps.  If something's trying to get my attention, they've got it. I know a cold draft and a few unexplained noises is hardly definitive proof of anything. 

As I mentioned before, this isn't my first stint at a haunted hotel. The ghosts at the last place would make mincemeat out of this sissy ghost. Stay tuned. I'll advise if anything else happens. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It Was A

It was a dark and stormy night. The winter wind howled wolfishly as the waters cascaded down the rocks, blinding young Winston while he struggled to reach the top and freedom. Suddenly, he lost his grip and fell to his death on the jagged rocks below.

I once tried to put together an anthology called It Was A Dark and Stormy Night. It never made it to publication because I couldn't get anyone to contribute.  Don't know why. I thought it was a neat concept.

Food Finds

I mentioned last week that one can find a lot of pizza sitting in the trash cans and even in the hallways outside the rooms of hotels.  Last night I found a dozen eggs, seemingly in perfect order, sitting by a door.  I had no idea who they belonged to or why they were sitting there.  I don't eat a lot of eggs, so they were of no value to me.  Still, the range of food items is amazing. But, make no mistake, pizza is king of the discarded food category.  But why do people get so many weird toppings on them?


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Anthologies

It looks like I'm slated to appear in at least three anthologies this year--not bad since I walked away from three other projects.  The latest one I just found out about is These Vampires Don't Sparkle. There's already a similarly titled book on the market, but the one I'll be in is going to be edited by Carol Hightshoe. More info later on release date and such. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Home Alone

Well, the other morning at the hotel I work at, this family loaded up in their limo to go the airport and off they went.  Then, their young daughter came back from the bathroom and went back to her coloring book, seemingly oblivious to the fact that her family was gone. A few minutes later, the airport limo was back and the girl’s father came back in and the girl and her coloring book were whisked away. I don’t know how often these little dramas are played out, but I suspect it’s more frequent than one might think. I was sort of glad they came back for her.  I had no idea what I would’ve done with this child if they had not returned–as she would likely have figured out at some point that she was now on her own. 

Back in my own childhood, I remember my mom and my brother and I had gone some place that escapes my memory and we’d stopped at a service station for a bathroom break.  Well, I was in the car and my mom came back from the ladies room and started up the car and we pulled out of the place, then she realized my brother was still in the bathroom and turned around. We pulled back into the parking lot and my brother came out of the bathroom none the wiser.    My mother mentioned how she almost drove off and left him there from time to time over the years.  What she never seemed to realize was that I was well aware he was still the bathroom and said nothing. I was sitting there thinking Oh please, oh please, as we pulled away. And my brief elation was crushed when mom turned the car around.  I reasoned he’d hook up with a pack of wild dogs and forage for food out of trash cans and he’d be just fine. I was so bummed when he got back in the car. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fuhd Kosts

It seems to me that my grocery bill has gone up considerably of late.  I guess one solution would be to start rummaging through trash cans. People still throw out a lot of food.  Of course, there's often good reasons why they throw it out.  One common garbage item at the hotel I work at is pizza.  One can find a lot of pizza boxes in the hallways and trash cans on the property. And a lot of them actually still contain a few slices of pizza--most of them, in fact.  Presumably, the guests didn't think the remaining slices were worth bothering with.  I find that hard to fathom, as I simply love leftover pizza.  But, pizza in garbage cans that's been sitting around for untold hours? I haven't made that leap yet, although a coworker regularly eats pizza that's been discarded. I've seen him do it.  So, if you want to cut your food bill, go to the nearest resort hotel in the early morning hours and forage for pizza. Tell them David sent you.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fortuitous coincidence

A few days ago I had a small LED penlight flashlight.  I used that thing all the time. Well, it broke. And I thought "Wow, I need to find me another one." Then, lo and behold, the very next day this advertising company sent me this small LED pen light.  They want me to buy some and use them for advertising. Fat chance.  But I really like the cool free light. And the timing was perfect. A simply amazing coincidence that I got something I needed, just like that. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paragraphs

I've been reading for a  horror anthology.  And I've been looking over some of the new stories that will go in Steampunk Trails.  I am astonished at how many people try and italicize short story titles. They're supposed to go in quotes.  And, I am astonished that people have no clue that if you change the speaker in quoted dialogue, you're supposed to start a new paragraph. Don't even get me started about the overuse of dashes.

But all of this pales to when you warn people about these things and they turn around and submit something else with the same exact problem. Oy Veh.  I used to fantasize about killing editors, back when I was a writer.  Now that I'm an editor, I find myself fantasizing about killing writers.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dog Writers

J. A. Campbell, who edits Steampunk Trails magazine, has joined the Dog Writers Association.  I know that it's a bunch of people who write about dogs.  But, if taken literally, the name conjures up an image I can't get out of my head of a bunch of dogs sitting in a newsroom typing out stories.  I know dog paws aren't exactly made for typing. But that's the image I can't quite shake.

"Getting squirrels out of trees."

"Get steak instead of dog food for supper--here's how."

"Top ten signs your family cat is plotting against you."




Saturday, March 8, 2014

More on doughnuts

Well, I ate a few doughnuts and I left the rest in the employee break room at work. The people where I work never turn down free food and will eat practically everything.  I felt the need to get them out of the house. Gobbling down two packs of doughnuts would make Homer Simpson proud, but wouldn't really be the best thing for me. Homer Simpson is the patron saint of doughnuts. 



Friday, March 7, 2014

Day Old Doughnuts

I don't eat doughnuts very often.  They're a little high in bad things like calories and carbs.  I thought I'd indulge myself and have one or two.  Instead of getting the fresh bakery ones at the store, I got the packaged ones which are much cheaper.  And, they had two packages. One was marked down to fifty cents. The other was about a buck and a half. These were cake doughnuts. I bought both of them. I took them home and tasted one of each. The marked down doughnuts were slightly drier tasting.  Weird thing is, I kind of liked them better than the fresher ones. 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Surcharges

I don't know if it's just me, but the growing practice of companies tacking on fees and surcharges to your bill really pisses me off.  The restaurant industry, one of the most exploitative industries in all the world, seems determined to punish everyone for the cost of health care. So, we're seeing surcharges popping up on restaurant bills for employee health care.  I gather it's sweeping California and is now turning up in Denver area restaurants. This is no more legitimate than tacking on a fee for the light bill.  And that's been done too. I walked out of a Wyoming hotel over an energy surcharge a few years ago.  

The costs of business, including wages, taxes, insurance and employee benefits are just that--costs. A business can charge whatever they want for their goods or services.  But I think these tack-ons amount to a crooked slight of hand where you get no particular value for these added charges.  The only thing I can do about it is refuse to pay it and seek out other businesses that don't play this game.  And that's what I do. It may be a losing battle, but if people would simply walk out the door when they encounter this practice, it would stop rather quickly.  I actually think these tack on charges bring in far less revenue than the greedy businesses believe simply because there's no way to count up sales lost in the bottom line. How many people like me simply walked out the door, or never came back because of it.  

So, in moron terms, if you have to charge $4 for a hot dog instead of $3 because of your costs of doing business, then post it on your menu and people can decide if they want that hot dog. Tacking it on as a by the way, we're sneaking this in, is underhanded and deceptive. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lots Going On

My publishing endeavors are steaming along.  Science Fiction Trails is basically awaiting a final proof read and the artwork.  Over at Steampunk Trails, where I'm publisher, they're getting some very good quality submissions.  And, if that wasn't enough, the reading period just opened on a horror anthology I'm editing. Some good stuff all around.   

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Footsteps

At the hotel I work at, every now and then, we hear very heavy footsteps on the floor above us.  And if I race upstairs, there's never anyone there. Heck, during the off season, I heard the steps and there wasn't even anybody staying on that entire floor. Yet we keep hearing this loud stomping going back and fourth down the hall. This isn't like some hotels in that it's not even agreed upon if the place is haunted or not. I find myself drifting into the haunted camp.  But we haven't had any classic manifestations, although one employee claims to hear voices and there's nobody around.

This isn't my first go round with haunted hotels.  I once worked at one in Wyoming.  Lots of creepy things there, which I've recounted around Halloween time more than once.