Friday, May 27, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with C. F. Waller and Clay Gilbert

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers C. F. Waller and Clay Gilbert.

C. F. Waller

Award winning author Charles Waller published his first science fiction novel at age forty-seven, after a flight on an ill-fated commercial airliner over the Atlantic Ocean nearly became an episode of Why Planes Crash. This experience illustrated for him first hand that writing about exotic or dangerous locales was safer than traveling to them. Since then, he likes to think his meticulous research and storytelling gives readers a clear sense of their grandeur, without the inherent risk of flying.

After narrowly escaping the academic death-grip of several universities, Charles worked in nightclubs, took a turn as a new car salesman, and also as a hurricane shutter engineer. His favorite authors include, Oscar Wilde, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Michael Crichton. The latter being especially close to his heart as Crichton epitomizes the techno-thriller genre and the failure of humans to interact with technology.

Though he will forever be a Midwestern boy at heart, he now lives on the gulf coast of Florida with his wife, Tina, and one fuzzy feline companion. If he’s not working on a new novel, you can find him volunteering at church, playing overly competitive Yahtzee with his spouse, or indulging in an unhealthy addiction to competitive cooking shows on television.

C. F.'s Books:

C. F.'s Links:

Clay Gilbert
Clay Gilbert

Clay Gilbert has been hearing the voices of aliens, vampires, and people from the future since about the age of four.  It wasn't long before he started to think taking notes on what they said might be a good idea.  This has led him many places—through the halls and classrooms of many schools, where he's been both in front of the teacher's desk and behind it, himself—to presenter's podiums at conventions, and, most often, to the comfortable chair behind his writing desk at home, where he uses his Dell computer as both a beacon and a translator for the voices that still find their way through from countless worlds and planes of existence. Clay is the author of Annah: Children of Evohe, Book One, Dark Road to Paradise, and Eternity, as well as the Chief Editor for PDMI Publishing.  These days, the place he calls home is Knoxville, Tennessee, where his cat, Bella, and his ball python, Andy, keep him company between visits from a teenaged alien named Annah, an undead, blood-drinking English professor named Martin Cabot, and a boy from the future named Eternity.  And it's a good thing, too—life is busy.  And Clay's still taking notes.

Clay's Books:

Clay's Links:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Once again, back to the thirty day blogging challenge. The next prompt is "Your feelings on ageism."

This is a tough one because I haven't spent much time thinking about ageism. Ageism is discrimination of people based on their age. Any discrimination is bad if it's based solely on some factor about the person they can't help. But you have to realize that a 90-year-old man is probably not going to be a very good fire fighter because he can't move as fast or be as strong as a 25-year-old man. Of course, there are exceptions. The 90 year old could be an exercise nut and the 25 year old a couch potato.

My thoughts on ageism or any type of discrimination (including affirmative action) is that people, no matter their sex, race, or age should be judged on their individual abilities, not on attributes they have no control over (such as sex, race, and age).

So this was pretty easy.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Speculative Fiction Cantina Reply with Amy H. Sturgis

Today on a special replay edition of the Speculative Fiction Cantina, we welcome speculative fiction expert, Dr. Amy H. Sturgis.

Amy H. Sturgis
Amy H. Sturgis

Amy H. Sturgis earned her PhD in intellectual history from Vanderbilt University, specializes in Science Fiction/Fantasy and Native American Studies, and teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University. In addition, she contributes the regular “Looking Back on Genre History” segment to StarShipSofa, which in 2010 became the first podcast in history to win a Hugo Award. In 2006, Sturgis was honored with the Imperishable Flame Award for Achievement in J.R.R. Tolkien/Inklings scholarship. In 2015, the Los Angeles Press Club named her Reason Magazine article "Not Your Parents' Dystopias: Millennial Fondness for Worlds Gone Wrong" the "Best Magazine Review/Criticism/Column" of the year. She has authored four books, edited six others, published over fifty essays in scholarly and popular publications, and given over 200 presentations at universities, science fiction conventions, and other venues across North American and Europe. She also has been interviewed as a genre expert in a variety of programs and publications such as NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and The Huffington Post. Sturgis lives with her husband in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Her official website is

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Book I loved and One I Didn't.

Back to the thirty day blogging challenge. The next prompt is "What tattoos you have and if they have any meaning." I have no tattoos because I've never figured out anything I want to permanently etch into my hide.

That was easy.

Okay, we'll do the next one: "A book you love and one you didn't."

A book I love (other than my own books) would be Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Often dismissed as a sort of fascist fantasy, Starship Troopers is probably Heinlein's best juvenile (what we'd call YA today). Heinlein describes a society bereft of hypocrisy and what today we call "political correctness." It is a pro-military novel, talking about how men (it was the 50s) stand between their homes and any threats (in this case, the "bugs"). Even though it's a juvenile, I first read it as an adult (while I was in the military) and have read it multiple times since. Yes, Heinlein stops the narrative dead to lecture the reader. But the lectures are interesting, too. You may not agree with Heinlein's view of the world, but you can't argue with the skill he used describing it. And if you've only see the silly movie, you really don't know this book.

A book I didn't love (or even like much) was Mother of Kings by Poul Anderson. Mother of Kings is my least favorite book by one of my favorite writers. While it has a few fantasy elements in it, it is mostly historical fiction based on a real life person. Anderson took a chance and wrote it in a very archaic style, which was hard to read and slow to comprehend. And the book is long. Now if you want a tour of Viking culture, you might enjoy this. But not much really happens in the book, and the main character, a conniving woman, isn't a very likable person.

What's a book you love?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Forces Release Date

Today is the release day for my eighth novel, Forces.

Captain Olly Johnson has twice used his stolen Bussard ram jet, the Longboat, to blackmail human colonies into giving him large amounts of gold. That makes him humanity's first interstellar pirate, even though his ship travels slower than light. One more profitable raid, and Johnson thinks he, his family, and his First Mate John Larsen can retire, and never have to worry about money again.

Approaching a third star system after an eight-year (ship's time) journey, the pirates have found mysteries they cannot solve: an entire population of a human colony missing and an unknown, alien-looking ship in orbit. When the alien ship comes after them and they can't outrun its superior technology, they have to decide to fight or surrender. And Johnson isn't the type to surrender.

Have they stumbled into a galactic war, or are they about to start one?

This amazing space adventure is available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and other outlets. Check out my website for details. Get your copy today!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Daredevil on Netfix

After watching Jessica Jones on Netflix, I decided to give Daredevil a try. It is set in the Avengers universe with a few references to "the incident" that was when New York City was heavily damaged during the first Avengers movie.

While Jessica Jones only has one season out so far, Daredevil has two (although what, exactly is a "season" on a Netflix show?). I have so far watched the first season of Daredevil and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. It's not quite as dark (and gruesome) as Jessica Jones, but there's lots of action and character development. The first season villain doesn't have superpowers, but is just one evil dude named Wilson Fisk played to perfection by Vincent D'Onofrio. And his love interest is one of the more interesting characters, a woman who knows what he is but loves him anyway. She is played by  whom I've never seen in anything before but she is very good.

Some of the episodes drag a bit concentrating on Fisk's business or the relationship between Matt Murdock (mild mannered and blind lawyer by day, Daredevil by night) and his partner Foggy. But you keep watching wondering what Fisk is going to do next and how Murdock will handle it. And the action scenes can be pretty intense. You have to suspend belief that a blind man can beat up a sighted person. But they explain that with the old "toxic waste" trick of comic books. Charlie Cox does a fine job playing Murdock (although I suspect someone else does his fighting and jumping). But I think Fisk steals the show. He's the guy you love to hate.

I'll probably start watching season two right away as I wait for season two of Jessica Jones.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Braxton A. Cosby and David Temrick

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Braxton A. Cosby and David Temrick.

Braxton A. Cosby

Multi-Award Winning and #1 Amazon Bestselling author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who transitioned his ideas on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga and The Sect: The Windgate are currently two Young Adult/New Adult series he created, along with the Amazon Bestselling My Life In Story Series with Mike Clemons. He recently penned the second book in the My Life In Story Series: Stronger with three time Olympic Gold Medalist Gail Devers and co-authored Matt Mercury: Plot of the Galactic Mastermind with Star Wars creative designer Bill Hughes. He is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions and lives in Georgia.

Braxton's Books:

Braxton's Links:

David Temrick
David Temrick

I’ve been writing for most of my life, though it wasn’t until 2008 that I starting writing novels. After shopping my first novel around for the better part of three years, I decided to try self-publishing and then started writing a new book. Both Draconis’ Bane and Deadly Intentions, which started as one longer book but were later split into two because of their length, rose quickly to become Amazon Top 100 Fantasy books in both print and ebook formats. Encouraged by their success, I just kept writing and releasing books.

David's Books:

David's Links:

From Today's Show: Monarch Butterfly Migration

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Someone I Find Fascinating

Continuing on with the thirty-day blogging challenge that, being the rebel I am, I'm not doing in thirty days. Today's prompt is "Someone who fascinates you and why."

This is hard to do without getting into politics or celebrity crushes. Or non-celebrity crushes.

Someone who fascinates me and is not a politician (or someone having to do with politics such as a reporter) or a crush, is . . . Michael Dell.

Dell was the founder of Dell Computers. Big deal? Well, yes. Dell started a computer business in his dorm room when he was a pre-med student in college. He then moved it to a condominium. Finally he started Dell Computers in Austin Texas with $1,000 of capital.

At age 27 he was the youngest CEO of a company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. This was 1992.

Dell, who is now 50 years old, is very rich, with an estimated net worth of $22.4 billion. And it all started with $1,000 and hard work. Lots of hard work, I suspect.

Dell's success shows that hard work, creativity, and more hard work pay off. Or at least they did in the '80s and '90s.

And, despite his success, he's been married to the same woman since 1989. No trophy wife for him.

I, personally, have had great luck with the Dell computers that I own. And I love being able to configure them almost exactly as I want them on their website. So I'm not only an admirer, I'm a customer.

And that's a person I find fascinating.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Marina Fontaine and Pembroke Sinclair

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Marina Fontaine and Pembroke Sinclair.

Marina Fontaine

Marina is a Russian by birth, American by choice and a hopeless book addict. After years of reading and reviewing books, especially in the fantasy and speculative fiction genres, she entered a flash fiction contest with a story that became an inspiration for Chasing Freedom, her first novel. Marina lives in New Jersey with her very supportive husband, three children and four guinea pigs. She works as an accountant by day and a writer by night. Her other interests include hard rock music, action movies and travel.

Marina's Book:

Chasing Freedom

Marina's Links:

Liberty Island

Pembroke Sinclair
Pembroke Sinclair

Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming--the home of 56 nationalities--it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing. Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.

Pembroke's Books:

Life After the Undead

Death to the Undead

Good Intentions

Pembroke's Links:


From Today's Show: A Nearby Supernova May Have Affected Human Evolution

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Force Awakens . . . Again

Last night (on May the 4th) I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens again. I watched it in the theater when it first came out and I watched it last night on a Netflix rental Blu-ray.

On second viewing I stand by what I said before about Rey.

Now I have some more complaints.


J.J. Abrams is doing to the Star Wars universe the same thing he did to the Star Trek universe. Now in Star Trek interstellar travel is near instantaneous and interstellar communication is instantaneous. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the time it takes to get somewhere at hyper seems to depend on the needs of the story, not on any consistent technology. If the story needs time to have some discussion and show Rey is so wonderful she can fix the Millennium Falcon while it's in hyper, it takes a while to get someplace. But if J.J. Abrams simply wants to move the story along, it takes mere moments to get somewhere, including the far away unexplored outpost where Luke Skywalker is hiding.

The same thing happened in Star Trek into Darkness. It took the Enterprise moments to get to the Klingon home world from Earth. But when they went back and were being chased, it took longer. Why?

Also, in Star Wars, Leia somehow knew instantly that Han had been killed. How? She was a long ways away on another planet. And C3PO knew the shields were down on the planet-killing weapon at the same distance. If that was possible, why didn't General Akbar know that they were being jammed in Return of the Jedi? He didn't until they got there ("It's a trap!").

What Abrams has done to Star Trek (ignoring science and consistent technological abilities for the sake of the story he wants to tell) he's done to Star Wars.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Place I Would Live (But Have Never Visited)

Italian Lake District
The blogging challenge continues and today's subject is "A place I would live but have never been to."

This is tough because it's hard to say you want to live someplace you've never been. I've been to Santiago, Chile and I thought it was very nice. It reminded me of central California except without the Californians.

True story: I got to Chile from Peru. Now you know you're not supposed to drink the water in South America. I checked into a Holiday Inn Express with a Jaguar dealership across the street. The room look so much like an American hotel room, I went to the bathroom and got a glass of water and drank it down without thinking. Then I realized I was drinking the tap water. But I tasted chlorine so I think it might have been okay.  I did get violently ill a few days later (with explosive diarrhea), but I think I picked that up in Peru.

I like Florida but my air conditioning bills would be murder in the summer because of the heat and humidity. Plus, I think I would miss having mountains.

But the one place I could see living that I've never visited is Northern Italy. Not only is the Ferrari factory there, but so are the Dolomites (extension of the Alps) and the Italian Lake District. Plus there's the wine and the food.

Italian is like Spanish as it's supposed to be fairly easy for English-speakers to learn. Plus being immersed in a language is a great way to learn it.

So if I had to live someplace I'd never been, it would probably be northern Italy. Where would you like to live that you've never been?