Friday, February 26, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with M.H. Goyet and Anthony B Cummins

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome M.H. Goyet and Anthony B Cummins.

M.H. Goyet
M.H. Goyet

I am originally from Westbrook, Maine, but have lived in Saco Maine for the past 20 years. I am 59 years old, married to my wife Karen for over 33 years. We have three adult boys 30, 27 & 23. (Youngest in the US Navy).

I am self-employed and have own the Design Center Llc a Commercial and Hospitality design firm in Saco for nine years.

Besides writing which is a new hobby, I enjoy painting, golf, cooking and traveling. I am a big fan of Sci Fi movies and of the Dune series of novels.

M.H.'s Book:

M.H.'s Link:

Anthony B Cummins A/K/A Capt Tonz

Ran away to sea at the age of 14, became a pirate at 17 and retired last year at 70. 

Done all the things pirates are supposed to do, public domain stories published on my website. 
However there are very many other stories and knowledge that I'm prepared to give out.

I've worked and known a vast array of people, Elton John, Saudi princes and sheiks, Politicians and even the Philippine president.

Pirates and piracy have little or nothing to do with Johnny Depp and how Hollywood projects us to be. Completely the opposite.

Since I have retired I do many radio shows and interviews and give lectures in the UK on piracy true history and future predictions, in short my book the 13th Day is just that, what is happening and what is about to happen.

So i'm being patient waiting an agent or co-writer 

Anthony's Book:

Anthony's Links:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Crisis of Confidence

It was bound to happen. After seven published novels (and two on the way) I have suddenly decided I'm a hack writer. My current WIP is awful and my NaNoWriMo novel, which needs revising/editing is probably even worse.

Not sure how to get out this slump. It started in September and I pushed my way through NaNoWriMo but that might have been a mistake.

I've gotten some good reviews for Treasure of the Black Hole (my last novel) but I don't feel anything I've written since is that good.

And I've written two books since then that are ready to be published. One is at my publisher waiting for editing and one I'm self-published (the sequel to Treasure of the Black Hole called Treasure of the Pirate Planet).

It's probably fine, I'm probably writing as well as I always have. I just don't feel it.  I have no idea why.

So how's your writing going?

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Trip Elix and D. Allen Rutherford

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Trip Elix and D. Allen Rutherford.

Trip Elix
Trip Elix

Trip Elix is a former hacker and published author. Like most advanced computer programmers he started coding computers when he was 12 years old.   His articles have appeared in daily and weekly publications in the United States. He writes both novels and books. He also writes a blog that focuses on security and privacy issues at

In the past he has been a forensic computer technician who has used or owned almost every version of every operating system used since the 1980’s. He regularly attends security conferences held by the computer underground.

Trip's Book:

Trip's Links:

D. Allen Rutherford
D. Allen Rutherford

I’m 56 years old and semi-retired. I served 12 years as an Officer in the US Army (Infantry & Military Intelligence) before I got out of the service after serving 13+ months in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, & Iraq during the 1990/91 Gulf War. Subsequently, I returned to the Middle East to pursue a career as an international consultant facilitating technology transfer and industrial development projects (lived and worked out of the Middle East for 6+ years). After returning to the states I obtained my Masters Degree and taught college as an adjunct professor.  Eventually, I decided to teach secondary education where I taught 8th grade science for several years before deciding to semi-retire from the bump & grind to pursue a life as a speculative fiction writer. 
Allen's Books:

Allen's Links:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I was Hacked!

I was hacked.

My website, was hacked sometime last week. I found out because Google AdWords emailed me and said my website "violates our advertising policies." I once got a coupon for $100 worth of free advertising on Google AdWords and so I set up an AdWords account and advertised until the $100 was gone. So I'm, luckily, still in the AdWords system, apparently.

So the first thing I did was go to my website and look at it. It looked fine. So now I was skeptical.

So the email contained a link for more information. According to the link, Google believed there was malware on my website and they wanted me to go to the Search Console and sign in and look at my site there. So I did. It didn't find anything.  This was Sunday morning.

But I went to Google and did a search on myself, which always brings up my website, and I saw this:

(I have a Norton plugin that supposed to check websites. As you can see, it gave my site the a-okay.)

Well, that wasn't good that it said "This site may be hacked." But I was a con, and didn't have the time nor the energy to look into it. I figured I'd have to call Google and find out what was going on.

Then Monday morning, at home from con, I checked the Search Console again out of curiosity. And it said I had malware on my site. Following the instructions in the Console, I "rendered" my site and it showed me what the Google bot saw and what people who go to my site would see. The later looked fine. But the Google bot saw nasty, awful stuff I won't relate here. Let's just say it was sexual.

My site had been hacked.

First thing I did was change the password to access my site.

Then I wondered what to do. I went to the interface where you can manipulate the files in my site (sort of a browser-based FTP). And I noticed three files that had been uploaded the last week. I didn't upload anything last week.

I spent a few minutes looking at the files on my computer and making sure those files weren't modified versions of those. They weren't. So I deleted them. (If they were modified, I would have uploaded the "clean" version from my computer backup of my website). I then "rendered" the website again and the Google bot saw what I saw. In other words, it appeared those three files I deleted were the problem and my site was now "clean."

Then I had to go back to the security issues page of the Search Console and request a review. They said it could take "several weeks" to take that hacked warning off my search results.

The same day I cleaned it up, I got an email from AdWords saying my site "complies with our Advertising Policies" as it is now clean. Then, despite the "several weeks" warning, the "hacked" label came off my website sometime later that evening and is gone now.

Lesson learned; my password probably wasn't strong enough.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Podcast Interview

Listen to me ramble on about writing, speculative fiction, book promotion, and other stuff at the Wordslinger Podcast. You might learn something. Maybe.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Speculative Fiction Replay from January 1st, with Gordon Bonnet and Patrick Elliott

Today of the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are playing a "best of show" with authors Gordon Bonnet and Patrick Elliott.

Gordon Bonnet
Gordon Bonnet

Gordon Bonnet has been writing fiction for decades. Encouraged when his story "Crazy Bird Bends His Beak" won critical acclaim in Mrs. Moore’s 1st grade class at Central Elementary School in St. Albans, West Virginia, he embarked on a long love affair with the written word. His interest in the paranormal goes back almost that far. Introduced to speculative, fantasy, and science fiction by such giants in the tradition as Madeleine L’Engle, Lloyd Alexander, Isaac Asimov, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien, he was captivated by those writers’ abilities to take the reader to a fictional world and make it seem tangible, to breathe life and passion and personality into characters who were (sometimes) not even human. He made journeys into darker realms upon meeting the works of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft during his teenage years, and those authors still influence his imagination and his writing to this day.

Gordon's Books:

Kill Switch

Past Imperfect

Lock & Key

Gordon's Links:

Fiction Blog
Science Blog

Patrick Elliot
Patrick Elliott

Patrick has been writing for years while surviving in the corporate world. After hearing multiple versions of "Why aren't you published yet?" along with threats of bodily, possibly permanent harm, from friends and family, if forced to read one more novel before he was published he relented. He lives in the Seattle area.

Patrick's Works:

A Brief and Literal History of the World

Greycoat Blueback

"The Lamb's Gift" in an anthology.

Patrick's Links:

Website/Amazon Page

From Today's Show: Robots Spying on Black Holes.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

RadCon Schedule.

The Fedora
RadCon is this weekend in Pasco, WA (one of the southeast Washington "Tri-Cities"). I'll be there in my brown fedora (at left). Hope to see you there, too.

Here's the schedule of my panel appearances:

February 12th (Friday):

12:30 PM to 1:30 PM, Room 2203: Research and Writing

February 13th (Saturday)

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Room 2201: Mythology in Fantasy

1:45 AM to 2:45 AM, Room 2203: You Need a Hook

February 14th (Sunday)

1:45 AM to 2:45 AM, Room 2203: To Outline or Not to Outline

Con is always a lot of fun (and exhausting). If you're in Eastern Washington, hope you'll come by.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Halo Cars

During last Sunday's Super Bowl, one advertisement stood out to me. It was Audi's ad about an aging astronaut that both touched my heart and ignited my passion for cars. Here's the ad (this is the extended version of the one-minute commercial):

Now, you might be wondering why Audi would spend so much promoting the R8. The cost of an ad during the Super Bowl can run $5 million for 30 seconds (and this was a one-minute long ad). Plus there's the cost of producing the ad which, with it's movie-like production values, was probably in the millions. All this for a car that very few people can afford (the base price for the R8 is $162,900).

It's because the R8 is a "halo car."

What's a halo car? It is a vehicle that car manufactures hope adds prestige to their brand. And, with luck, they'll sell some, too. After all they make great rolling advertisements. I saw an older-model Audi R8 in Bellevue, Washington on the interstate once. When it accelerated to jump into a hole in traffic, the sound of its exhaust was nearly erotic for a car guy such as me.

Halo cars is the reason Dodge ran this ad in 1999 for its Viper (another very expensive car):

Not many people were going to by a Viper. But when Joe decides he needs a minivan, in the back of his head he'll think "I want the one made by the company that makes that cool Viper."

Halo cars aren't always high-performance and expensive. For instance, Toyota's halo car is the Prius.

But if you see a car ad for a car you can't afford by a company that makes cars you can afford, it's probably a halo car.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Max Salnikov and Allaina Daniels

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina, we are proud to welcome Max Salnikov and Allaina Daniels.

Max Salnikov

My name is Maxim Salnikov and I’m a Russian-born, Hungary-based, English-language writer of games, novels, stories, and ad copy. I write under the pen name Tyro Vogel.

Max's Books:

Double Five: Ten Stories of Speculative Fiction

Tyro Vogel’s Extatica

Max's Links:


Allaina Daniels
Allaina Daniels

Allaina Daniels is an adoring wife and stay at home mom to two wonderful sons in South Georgia. She began writing because the people in her head gave her no other choice... they are quite bossy. When she is not chasing children, cleaning house, being a chef, nurse, or a crazed redhead... She enjoys reading, writing and paintball. She became an avid reader at an early age and never looked back. Her favorite genre is a mix of fantasy and paranormal although she has been known to occasionally read a straight romance.

Allaina's Book:

Infinity (book one of the Xandrian Circle)

Allaina's Links:


From Today's Show: NASA Opens Planetary Defense Office

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Monday's X-Files was Fun

(Okay, so it's Thursday. I DVR the X-Files and watch it when it's convenient.)

Monday's X-Files was hilarious. It was the type of episode I loved about the old X-Files. No conspiracies, no evil corporations (when is Hollywood going to get over that oldest of tropes?), just a fun mystery. It was alternately scary (at the beginning) and funny. I don't want to give anything away in case you haven't seen it.

I hope for more episodes like that one in the show's 6-episode run. But we'll probably have more conspiracies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a Commentary

I have waited a long time to write about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Mostly because I wanted to get my thoughts together.

***There may be spoilers.***

The Force Awakens hearkens back to the original three Star Wars movies. In fact, some have complained that in many ways it's a remake of Star Wars IV which I don't think is quite correct. There are parallels. There's a cantina scene, for example. But it goes a different direction than the one in Star Wars IV. There is a scene where a character looks over a desert town from a height, which echos Mos Eisley ("A wretched hive of scum and villainy"). I, frankly, think this was done on purpose as an homage to Star Wars IV. This is rather like in the Star Trek reboot where they have echos of original Star Trek episodes and movies.

Perhaps it was overdone.

And there was only one shot in the movie I thought that screamed "J.J. Abrams." Which was good. There are exciting sequences and it was fun to see familiar ships (such as the Millennium Falcon) in unfamiliar settings (flying around in a planet's atmosphere, for instance).

There's a few problems such as the new Death Star-like weapon (the size of a planet) sucked in all of the sun to power its main weapon (never mind the mass and energy problems with that), but there was still enough light to see a light saber battle.

I like that they humanized a storm trooper and I liked Finn.

But my biggest problem was (and this is going to piss some people off) Rey. If Rey had been a man, no one would have believe the character. Rey is amazing (unbelievably so). She does the Jedi mind trick with no training. She battles a trained Sith with a light saber, and doesn't immediately lose. Sure, she's probably Luke Skywalker's daughter, but even Luke needed Yoda.

And before that she expertly flew the Millennium Falcon, repaired it, and knew as much about it as Han Solo. And she'd apparently never been in it before she stole it, calling it a piece of garbage.

Now I like strong women characters (see pretty much any of my books). But Rey was too competent, too amazing, too good too fast. As I said, if she'd been a man, there's be howls of how unbelievable the character was.

I had other issues. The villain is weak, in my opinion, for one.

But, over all, I enjoyed the film. The action sequences were fun and I didn't find myself thinking, "Oh, that's CGI" instead of "oh, look at that cool thing." I loved the scene where X-wing fighters (slightly modified from the original films) skimmed along the water.

So if Rey had been more believable, and the villain stronger, the movie would have been better. But it was still a fun movie.