Monday, April 27, 2015

Slow Kills

Last Monday I talked about driving fast and why I do drive fast.

Today I'm going to talk about why driving slow is dangerous. That is, slower than conditions require.

I am constantly amazed by people (usually in Subarus) going 10 - 15 mph under the speed limit on the interstate. I think that they believe they are being extra safe. Or maybe they are "hypermileing" (tying to get the best possible gas mileage). In either case, they are more dangerous than the person going 10 - 15 mph over the speed limit. Look at this chart:

(Note that "zero" is not the speed limit, but the average speed, which in many cases is over the speed limit.)

According to this data, going 10 mph under the average speed is more dangerous then going 20 mph over the average speed. Thus, despite the propaganda of the Safety Nazis: slow kills.

But the funny thing is, most states do not enforce going too slow, but will gladly write you a ticket for exceeding the speed limit.

As I said last week, I tend to drive 5 mph over the speed limit. In my heavily speed-enforced state that puts me just slightly above the average speed, it seems (I pass more cars than pass me). Which, according to the chart, is the safest place to be.

The safest speed to drive is not slow. It's not the speed limit, it's around the average speed of traffic. That means speed limits could actually be decreasing safety, not increasing it by being set too low.

Another way speed limits that are set too low decrease safety is they switch enforcement from those driving dangerously fast (or slow) to those exceeding some number a politician or bureaucrat came up with.

But, all too often, speed limits are set to maximize revenue, not safety. And all drivers pay the price.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Now Available for Pre-Order: The Terror of Tombstone

My latest novel, the Adept Series western, The Terror of Tombstone, is now available for pre-order on the Kindle.

Abel Lewis is a city slicker and a dandy and completely out of his element in the frontier of 1881 Arizona, nursing saddle sores and wishing for a soft bed. But Lewis hides a skill, and as he seeks to find an evil power in the deserts and small towns of the Southwest, he'll need all his abilities and all his cunning to survive. And a friend with a Winchester is mighty useful, too.

From Tombstone to San Francisco, Lewis is on the trail of a dark force that has its own devastating plans for the Old West. Will Lewis survive his confrontation with the over-powering malevolence of the terror of Tombstone?

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Addie J. King and Tyrean Martinson

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are proud to welcome Addie J. King and Tyrean Martinson 

Addie J. King
Addie J. King

Addie J. King is an attorney by day and author by nights, evenings, weekends, and whenever else she can find a spare moment. Her short story “Poltergeist on Aisle Fourteen” was published in MYSTERY TIMES TEN 2011 by Buddhapuss Ink, and an essay entitled, “Building Believable Legal Systems in Science Fiction and Fantasy” was published in EIGHTH DAY GENESIS; A WORLDBUILDING CODEX FOR WRITERS AND CREATIVES by Alliteration Ink. Her novels, THE GRIMM LEGACY, THE ANDERSEN ANCESTRY and THE WONDERLAND WOES are available now from Musa Publishing. The fourth book, THE BUNYAN BARTER is due for release in 2015. Her website is

Addie's books:

The Grimm Legacy

The Andersen Ancestry

The Wonderland Woes

Addie's Links:


Tyrean Martinson
Tyrean Martinson

Tyrean Martinson: Christian; novelist, writer, poet; homeschool co-operative writing teacher; fan of science fiction and fantasy; and avid reader.

Tyrean's books

Champion in the Darkness

Champion in Flight 

Ashes Burn Season 1: Ashes Away

Tyrean's Links


From today's show: Titan Submarine

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yes, I Drive Fast

George Carlin had a routine where he explained that there are two types of drivers on the road: idiots and maniacs. Idiots are anyone going slower than you, and manics are anyone going faster than you.

Well, on behalf of all maniacs, I'd like to explain myself.

I drive fast. Sometimes very fast but I pick and choose where I do that. I have driven on a racetrack (the essence of fast driving).

I usually drive 5 mph over the speed limit. This is slow enough most cops won't bother you. But, this puts me in the "maniac" range for the majority of other drivers, at least were I live.

I consider speed limits to be a random number chosen by some politician or bureaucrat not to maximize safety and convenience, but to maximize revenue. Most speeds limits are set about 10 - 15 mph too slow to maximize safety. How can that be?

Highways are most safe when cars are travaling similar speeds. It's the "speed variance" that is dangerous. Michigan studied a highway that had a 55 mph speed limit. The average speed on the road was 73 mph but some were driving slower than 55. That was a very high speed variance. They raised the speed limit to 70 mph and not only did the average speed drop to 72 mph, the speed variance dropped. The speed limit went up and the safety increased. But probably speeding ticket revenue from that road decreased.

To me, there's three types of speeding:
1) Exceeding the random number the government puts on the speed limit signs.
2) Blatantly ignoring the speed limit and driving as fast as conditions permit.
3) Driving too fast for conditions (i.e., driving stupidly fast). To me, people doing this are the maniacs.

I do #1 all the time (5 mph over the speed limit). I do #2 occasionally in select places where I consider it safe to do so (and there probably is a small possibility of having a cop around). I don't do #3 (which would be, for example, going 100 mph on the interstate when everyone else is doing 70).

But why do I drive fast?

For #1 type of speeding, it's because driving the speed limit is boring. I need faster input than that allows. For example, I was driving in Wyoming where the speed limit on the interstate was 75 mph. I was doing 80 (of course). But I'd been driving all day, it was late, and was getting tired. My ability to handle the input went down. So I slowed down to 75 (I eventually turned driving duties over to my son).

For #2 type of speeding, my only excuse is: it's fun. It's a blast to push a car's limits and the limits of your own skills. This is why I so loved driving on the racetrack. It's not about speed, but it's about control and skill. But it takes speed to test both.

I've done 155 mph on the racetrack. It was glorious.

Now, when I drive fast, I do it in a way that doesn't endanger me or other people. I'm not suicidal. But at 5 mph over the speed limit is often boring. But I bear with it because tickets are expensive.

But when I let loose (in a safe place to do so), it's the most fun I've had with my clothes on.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with April White and Briar Lee Mitchell

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are proud to welcome April White  and Briar Lee Mitchell

April White
April White

APRIL WHITE has been a film producer, private investigator, bouncer, teacher and screenwriter. She has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a shipwreck, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. She and her husband share their home in Southern California with two extraordinary boys and a lifetime collection of books.

All three books in the Immortal Descendants series are on the Amazon Top 100 lists in Time Travel Romance and Historical Fantasy. More information and her blog can be found at

April's books:

Marking Time

Tempting Fate

Changing Nature

April's Links:


Briar Lee Mitchell
Briar Lee Mitchell

For the past 40 years I have been an illustrator and a writer. Being creative is in my blood. As an artist, I have exhibited in The Smithsonian, worked for Warner Bros. and Disney and been able to travel the world with the Air Force creating works of art for the National Archives. With them, I even went as far as McMurdo Base in the Antarctic along with James Cameron. 

I live in Florida now where I teach college (Game Art Design for the Art Institute) and do K-9 Search & Rescue with my amazing partners Bardy (blonde Lab) and Thor. My dogs show me every day the meaning of love and loyalty. They are the best people!

My goals are to continue to bring you intriguing and exciting stories to read, and, help find the lost with my boys.

You can see examples of my work here:

Briar's Books 

Walking on Mars, Destination Vostok

Big Ass Shark

Briar's Links

From Today's Show: NASA Asteroid Capture Mission

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Laurel A. Rockefeller and K. A. Laity

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are proud to welcome Laurel A. Rockefeller and K. A. Laity

Laurel A. Rockefeller
Laurel A. Rockefeller

Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA, author-historian Laurel A. Rockefeller educates while she entertains, encouraging readers to think about current events and history in a completely new way. Using exhaustive and comprehensive research across dozens of academic disciplines, Laurel's stories come alive so vividly it is easy to forget you are learning something new.

Enjoy Ms. Rockefeller’s books in English and Chinese in your choice of digital, paperback, and audio editions.

Laurel's Books:

Laurel's Links:

K.A. Laity
K. A. Laity 

K. A. Laity is the award-winning author of White Rabbit, A Cut-Throat Business, Lush Situation, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, À la Mort Subite, The Claddagh Icon, Chastity Flame, Pelzmantel and Other Medieval Tales of Magic and Unikirja, as well as editor of Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and the forthcoming Drag Noir. Her bibliography is chock full of short stories, humor pieces, plays and essays, both scholarly and popular. She also writes as Kathryn ‘Kit’ Marlowe, Graham Wynd & C. Margery Kempe.

K.A.'s Books:

K.A.'s Links:

From today's show: New space telescope

Listen to this show live or in archive.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Tim Hemlin and Dan O’Brien

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are proud to welcome Tim Hemlin and Dan O’Brien

Tim Hemlin
Tim Hemlin

I'm a marathoner, teacher, and have my master's degree in counseling, but it's my passion for the environment that sparked me to write The Wastelanders, a dystopian-clifi published in both e-book and paperback by Reputation Books. I'm represented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency. 

Recently the Muse has kindly allowed me to tap into that creative magic and pen a young adult urban fantasy. If all goes well with the edits and revision, the final draft should be completed by early spring. (Hemingway liked running with the bulls. I enjoy running with the dragons.)

Finally, I've also publishes the Neil Marshall series of culinary mysteries set in Houston, Texas. These include If Wishes Were Horses, A Whisper of Rage (nominated for a Shamus Award), People in Glass Houses, A Catered Christmas (the one I most enjoyed writing), and Dead Man's Broth.

Tim's Books:

Tim's Links:

Dan O'Brien
Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien, founder and editor-in-chief of The Northern California Perspective, has written over 20 books––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at:

Dan's Books:

Dan's Links:

From today's show: Water flowed on Vespa