Friday, October 20, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Rebecca Gomez Farrell and Brian James

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are please to welcome writers Rebecca Gomez Farrell and Brian James.

Rebecca Gomez Farrell
Rebecca Gomez Farrell

Rebecca Gomez Farrell's debut epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen, is available now from Meerkat Press. Her shorter speculative fiction can be read in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the Future Fire, and Bull Spec among other magazines, and look for “Treasure,” in the Dark, Luminous Wings anthology in October. She blogs about food, drink, and travel at the, and yes, she has opinions about the usefulness of truffle oil. Find all her creative works at her author website:

Rebecca's Works:

Wings Unseen

"What Scattered in the Wind" (short story in an anthology)

"Garbage" (short story in an anthology)

Rebecca's Links:


Brian James
Brian James

Brian James grew up just out of bullet range of Detroit. He was raised on the work of Douglas Adams and Snorri Sturluson. Eventually he went on to college where he majored in History. While he never realized his dream to become a heavier version of Indiana Jones, he did wind up writing for a number of magazines, newspapers, websites, and Fortune 500 companies. His new book, Mjolnir, brings the Norse gods into the modern world and follows their exploits as they speed towards Ragnarok.

Brian's Book:


Brian's Links:


From Today's Program: Scientists working on ways to stop bacteria on space missions.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Online Life

I found another 30-day blogging challenge that seems to have different questions than the usual. At least some of them. So once a week I'll do one of the questions (if it's new and if it's not too personal).

Today's question is: "The difference between your personal and internet life."

I discussed that a little bit in this blog post from a few weeks ago.

It sort of depends on what internet life. On my personal Facebook page (sorry not going to link to it) I'm less professional and more cordial. I'll occasionally discuss politics which I don't anywhere else.  (I stopped doing politics on Facebook regularly in March of 2017.) I'll post personal stuff if it's not too personal (I don't post drama). On my Facebook author page, on Twitter, and on this blog, I try to be professional and not too personal and I never blatantly discuss politics as I used to on FB.

In my personal life, most everyone I know knows my politics (I'm not shy about it). I will talk with friends about personal things, depending on how close of friends they are.

What won't you do on the internet? Comment below.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Upset Weekend

It was a weekend of upsets. Unfortunately, the University of Washington Huskies were no exception.

It started Friday when #2 Clemson was beat by Syracuse. And #8 Washington State was demolished by California (the same team the Huskies beat last week). I was getting excited thinking that after the Huskies beat Arizona State, they might move up to #4 in the AP top 25 poll.

(There were other upsets in the AP top 25 but those were the important ones.)

Alas, it was not to be. Maybe it was the second late game in a row (starting at 7:45 PM). Maybe it was curse of Tempe (the Huskies haven't won there since the early 2000s). Maybe it was the 80 degree weather. Maybe it was the kicking game. That didn't help. Had those two FGs been made, the game would have been tied and gone into overtime and we might have still won.

The Huskies went three and out on their first drive, then the Sun Devils scored on their first drive. The Huskies. The Huskies were moving slow and Quarterback Jake Browning was having an off night (his first of this season). Going into the half the score was 13-0 with ASU in the lead.

Three big problems didn't help. A touchdown on a trick play was called back for a holding call. And the Huskies' place kicker missed two (two!) field goals. The defense finally woke up and held ASU scoreless in the second half. But the offense just couldn't connect.

The final score was 13-7. The Huskies go to 6-1 and that probably ends their hopes to return to the CFP playoffs. Maybe if they win every game from now on. But likely not.

Next week the Dawgs have a bye. Then on October 28th they play UCLA at home. That gives them two weeks to fix what went wrong last night. I'm wondering if it's too late to get a new kicker.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12:

USC had a come-from-behind win against Utah last night. That puts USC solidly in control of the Pac-12 South.

In the Pac-12 North, Stanford is technically on top because their in-conference record is 4-1 even though they are 5-2 overall. The Huskies and the Cougars are tied for second at 3-1 in conference and 6-1 overall. No one else is competitive in the North, especially after Stanford demolished Oregon last night. So it's going to come down to who beats Stanford (if anybody) and who wins the Apple Cup. (Stanford plays Notre Dame on the last weekend of the regular season. Go Fighting Irish!)

The Polls:

I suppose it could have been worse. In the AP top 25 poll, Clemson, after their loss, went from #2 to #7. Washington went from #5 to #12. WSU went from #8 to #15. USC went from #13 to #11. And Stanford went from #23 to #22.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Tracy Lawson and Natalie Wright

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Tracy Lawson and Natalie Wright.

Tracy Lawson
Tracy Lawson

Once upon a time, Tracy Lawson was a little girl with a big imagination who loved to tell stories. Her interests in dance, theater, and other forms of make-believe led to a career in the performing arts, where “work” means she gets to tap dance, choreograph musicals, and weave stories. A mid-life career change has so far yielded Counteract, Resist, Ignite, and Revolt, the four volumes in the young adult Resistance Series, plus two nonfiction history books.

Tracy's Books:


Pride of the Valley: Sifting through the History of the Mount Healthy Mill (history, non-fiction)


Tracy's Links:


Natalie Wright
Natalie Wright

Natalie is the author of H.A.L.F., an award-winning science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, teen daughter, and two cat overlords.

A nerd since before it was remotely cool, Natalie spends her non-writing time reading, gaming (ESO, Skyrim, Dragon Age), and hanging out with readers and other fans of geek and nerd culture at comic cons, Sci-Fi/Fantasy literary cons and book festivals throughout the western US. Natalie also geeks out frequently on podcasts, radio shows and guest blogs discussing writing and books. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living near the ocean.

Natalie's Books:

H.A.L.F.: The Deep Beneath

H.A.L.F.: The Makers


Natalie's Links:


From Today's Program: Why the Universe is Accelerating.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Tomorrow is Friday the 13th in October.

Which means....absolutely nothing. Yes, I know people suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) and for some reason a Friday the 13th in October is worse (because of Halloween?).

But in reality, it's just another day.

There is no scientific basis for thinking Friday the 13th is bad luck. In fact, I used to work with a woman who thought Friday the 13th was a good omen (I think she thought of herself as a witch).

When I wrote my Adept Series of books, just for the fun of it, I decided for the adepts, thirteen was a lucky number and Friday the 13th was especially lucky. But those were fantasy books, not based on science. I gave the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco a thirteenth floor (in reality, it only has twelve) and that was where the adepts worked and lived. All of the books, except one, have thirteen chapters (Hammer of Thor has twenty-six),

It's like a full moon. Some people swear a full moon means more people end up in the emergency room or more crimes or more fires. But studies have shown this isn't true. It's a self-confirming bias. If a day with a full moon is extra busy in the ER, the nurses and the doctors remember that. If it's not, they don't remember that because it doesn't confirm their superstitions.

So tomorrow, don't worry. It's just another day with a coincidence on the calendar.

P.S.: the other books in the Adept Series. are Agent of Artifice, Book of Death, Gods of Strife, and The Terror of Tombstone.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Author Interview with Jaleta Clegg.

Today we welcome to the blog writer Jaleta Clegg.

Jaleta has a new story out in an anthology called Tales From The Underground: Twelve tales of hidden legends. 
Under our feet lie countless realms of possibility. Join twelve writers as they explore those realms - discovering lands of fantasy, lands from our far future, lands of mystery. 
There are places full of wonders, full of terrors, full of visions of what could be. 
Join us, down here, in the dark.

Today we talk to Jaleta.

What do you find most challenging about writing (other than finding the time)?

Keeping my stories from growing out of control, especially the short stories. I keep finding all sorts of interesting sub-plots and avenues to explore. If I'm not careful I end up with a tangled mess that needs to become a novel.

What authors inspire you and/or do you regularly read?

Julie Czerneda is always an inspiration. Her aliens are awesome. I also love the classics: Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Terry Pratchett, and so many others. I've got Mary Stewart's classic Merlin trilogy on my nightstand right now.

Why did you start writing?

To make the voices in my head shut up. Sorry, that was the pat answer. I really started writing as an escape from my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom of young kids can be very isolating. I started writing as a way to stay sane, to do something for me that wasn't on a preschool level.

What do you love about writing?

Blowing stuff up. No mess to clean up.
I love to dream up places I want to visit, and some I never want to visit. There are no limits on the imagination. I can go anytime, anyplace, as anyone or anything.

What do you hate about writing?

My brain goes at least ten times faster than my fingers can type. I can't keep up with the flow of ideas and stories. I also hate it when I dream up the perfect dialogue and scene in my head at night, then when I go to write it down, it never comes out as good as it sounded in my head.

Where do you write? A set-aside place or just anywhere?

Anywhere I can get my laptop. I've written on camping trips, at stores, at schools, in the car, every room in the house including the bathroom and coat closet, in the backyard, everywhere. Except the swimming pool or the bathtub. Water and computers just don't mix well. It isn't pretty.

What is your writing process? Plotter, Pantser?

I pants the first few chapters or scenes, then have to back off and write a loose outline. If I don't know where I'm headed, I tend to wander all over the place. Pratchett can get away with that because he's very entertaining. I can't. I know I'm not that entertaining to read when I'm wandering.

What do you have planned in the future/what's in the works?

I'm working on a whole pile of short stories and the sequel to Dark Dancer - The Winterqueen's War. That book's been in the works for several years now off and on. I really need to get it finished up. Then on to a whole lot of new novels and short stories.

Do you have a writing ritual?  Have to wear the same shirt, listen to the same music?

If I had to do that kind of thing, I'd never get anything written. Mostly, I just have to close down all my online games, find some great mood music on YouTube, put on my headphones, then ignore everyone and everything while I get words out. Sometimes I just open up the file and write snatches as I can, but that's usually not very productive for me. I need a good half hour at a time.

How do you overcome writers' block?

I've never had writers' block. I've had burnout - the ideas are there but I just can't make myself sit down and write them out. I've been stuck in a story but that was because I hadn't figured out the character's motivations all the way. As soon as I got that sorted out, the story flowed again. Ideas are everywhere. It's the process of turning them into coherent stories that's hard.

Do you have a favorite place to relax?

On the couch in front of the TV with my crocheting in my lap and the dogs snoring in the corners. Mostly because I can't afford my own private tropical paradise.

Any hobbies, interests (other than writing)?

Reading, cooking weird foods, costuming, piecing quilts, crocheting all sorts of things out of yarn (hedgehogs and tiny cthulhus lately), making pickles, and playing the piano. I'm attempting to learn the organ but that's slow going.

Why should anyone buy your book?

Tales of the Underground should be in your library because it isn't just me in there. It's twelve fabulous authors with very different stories. You get to sample a full dozen authors that you've probably never heard of. But the stories are good. Trust me.

What motivates and inspires you?

Chocolate. And doughnuts. Pretty much food in general.

About Jaleta:

Jaleta Clegg enjoys spinning tales that range from the creepy and serious to the strange and silly. She writes epic space opera with her Fall of the Altairan Empire series (, steampunk fairies with Dark Dancer, silly horror with her Brain Candy collection, and a whole lot of other stories all across the speculative fiction genres. She lives in Washington state with two elderly dogs, a massive stink-beast cat, a diminishing horde of children, and a very patient husband.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Huskies are 6-0 (and so are the Cougars)

We're half-way through the NCAA FBS regular season after playing six games. As of now, there are only two undefeated teams in the Pac-12 Conference: the University of Washington Huskies and the Washington State University Cougars. That's because Stanford beat Utah yesterday.

Last night the Huskies played the California Golden Bears. And it was, like so many of their games this year, a blow out. Ten minutes left in the fourth quarter coach Chris Petersen, as is his habit, put in back-up players. The Bears only scored once, on a fumble scoop-up and ran it in for a touchdown. The Bears had no offensive points. The final score was 38-7.

The one weak area for the Dawgs is the kicking game.  The starting kicker missed a field goal he should have made. The back up kicker did make a field goal. And all the kickoffs tend to be short, meaning there's always a run-back and usually past the 25-yard mark. This needs to be fixed before we face Stanford, USC, or go to a bowl game.

Also yesterday, the WSU Cougars beat the Oregon Ducks, keeping the Cougars at 6-0 for the season (and the Ducks at 4-2, 1-2 in conference). And it would be easy to say that they have had a harder schedule than UW, having played USC (and won) and not having such a wimpy non-conference schedule. UW doesn't play USC in the regular season this year.

The Pac-12 South is in turmoil. USC is on top with a 5-1 record (2-1 in conference) with that loss to WSU last week. Utah is in second with a 4-1 overall record and 1-1 in conference (they had a bye last week).

The Polls

Oklahoma lost yesterday to Iowa State (!). Why do we care? Because Oklahoma was ranked at #3. They are now ranked at #12. That means a lot of teams moved up one, including the Huskies, now at #5 in the AP Top 25 poll, their highest ranking this year. Also, they are for the second week in a row, the highest-ranked Pac-12 team.

Washington State is at #8 having moved up from #11 (Michigan, which was at #7, also lost, so more teams moved up). WSU is at their highest ranking this year (and probably in a long time). USC is at #13, having moved up one slot. And Stanford is back in the top 25 at #23. Utah dropped off from #20 after their loss to Stanford.

Next Week

Next week the Huskies face the Arizona State Sun Devils at Tempe (or Tuscon, I always get those mixed up). ASU is at 2-3 overall so the Huskies shouldn't have any problem with them.

The Cougars play California on Friday. Again, the Cougars shouldn't have any trouble with the Bears.

The Future

Looking at the Huskies' and the Cougars' schedules, I don't see where either team is going to have any huge problems until they meet each other in the Apple Cup. Stanford is the only team that could be a spoiler. The Huskies play them at Stanford on November 10th (a Friday) and the Cougars host Stanford on November 4th.