Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Three Pet Peeves

And we're back with the 30 day blogging challenge that I'm doing once per week.

Today's topic: three pet peeves.

Only three?

Okay, here goes:

Number one: slow drivers. The driver who is doing five miles an hour (or more) under the speed limit for no apparent reason. Sometimes in the left lane. Sometimes passing a truck so no one can get around them. Just the other day I was in a hurry and I got caught behind a pickup truck doing 25 mph in a 35 mph zone. To top it off, he made the green light but I didn't. If he'd been going at least the speed limit, we both could have made it.

Number two: Blatantly bad grammar in writing. You see this all over Facebook: "to" instead of "too"; "your" (or "ur") instead of "you're"; confusing "their," "there," and "they're." Typos I can understand (I do it all the time) but just not apparently caring is what drives me nuts.

Number three: Confusing "bring" and "take." This one drives me so nuts I did a blog post on it. Basically, if you're going you're taking, if you're coming, you're bringing. As I grew up in Idaho, no one got this wrong. I moved to Washington State and everybody gets it wrong.

So what are your pet peeves?

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Co-writers Jack Keely and Briar Lee Mitchell

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome co-writers Jack Keely and Briar Lee Mitchell.

Jack Keely
Jack Keely

Some claim that Jack Keely is the son of a celebrated spiritualist. Others insist that he grew up in the wagons of a traveling carnival. In any case, he has always been an aficionado of the arcane, the peculiar, and the eccentric. He spent four years exploring the haunts of H.P. Lovecraft in the historic city of Providence while obtaining his degree in illustration from Rhode Island School of Dsign. After an additional two years of study at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Keely began a long and checkered career illustrating dozens of books, including the best-selling "Grossology" series by Sylvia Branzei. He recently completed the cover art and interior illustrations for The Whistlebrass Horror, a tale he co-authored with Briar Lee Mitchell. The duo is currently at work on a sequel, The Whistlebrass Stormwatcher. Jack Keely is said to spend most of his time behind the chained gates of the Keely family manse. Although the moldering old house appears to be abandoned, a light can often be seen at night in the library windows. On such evenings, if their hearing is supernaturally acute, passersby are likely to hear the rhythmic thwack of a typewriter or the scratch of a pen across a sheet of drawing paper.

Briar Lee Mitchell
Briar Lee Mitchell

“Write what you know” is the classic advice given to authors. Briar Lee Mitchell definitely seems to adhere to that maxim. The polar setting for Briar’s "Walking on Mars" serial echoes her experiences in the world’s coldest climate as a guest at McMurdo Base in Antarctica. Warming up on Andros Island in the Bahamas helped her set the scene for Dark Lights. She and her dive partners were offered $100 rewards from the Navy base there should any of them find a live torpedo out on the reefs. The Big Ass Shark author recently donned a wet suit to climb into a shark cage in the northern Pacific. Then Briar and her stalwart search and rescue dog, Thor, patrolled the Georgia woods and succeeded in helping the police locate and recover a missing person. The experience will no doubt fuel her future fiction. When not engaging in her edgier pastimes, Briar creates digital paintings for a diverse list of clients ranging from Warner Bros. to the U.S. Air Force. Her work has been featured in films, video games, and exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She also spends a lot of time floating in her Florida pool watching clouds drift by and imagining mayhem.

Their Books:

Whistlebrass Horror


Whistlebrass Storm Watcher (coming October)

Their Links:

Jack's Website
Briar's Website
Briar's Facebook

From Today's Show: Europa May Have Enough Energy to Support Life.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Red Hot Summer Author Giveaway

It's time for the Red Hot Summer Author Giveaway with $150 cash prize and hundreds of others including lots of books!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Life in Seven Years

Back the the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in about 30 weeks.

Today's topic is "My Life in Seven Years."

This is interesting. Seven years from now I'll be 62 years old (the year will be be 2023) getting close to my 63rd birthday.

I don't see how much will have changed by then unless my writing career really takes off and people start buying my books in droves. I'll still be living in the same town, most likely, I'll still be doing freelance work, probably, and I might even still be living in the same house. I like my life as it is right now, and I don't want it to change, much. I wish I would lose some weight and be more healthy. But that may not happen. Of course, if I don't lose some weight and get healthy, I may no live seven more years.

But will I have a flying car in 2023? Or just one that drives itself (how boring)? Will my children be helping me with my contact lens computer/phone/television ("No, dad, blink once to select, twice to open the options menu!"). It will be interesting to see where technology will be in 2023. If the robots haven't all killed us by then.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Spring into Books Giveaway Almost Over

It's not too late! You can still enter the Spring into Books giveaway with a top prize of $180 cash.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Cris Pasqueralle and Chana Keefer

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina, we are please to welcome Cris Pasqueralle and Chana Keefer.

Cris Pasqueralle
Cris Pasqueralle

Author Cris Pasqueralle is a retired NYC police officer who has always dreamed of publishing a novel. His love of fantasy fiction was inspired by his daughters and led to the fulfillment of his dream with The Destiny Trilogy. Cris lives on Long Island NY with his wife and two daughters.

Cris's Books:

Destiny Revealed 

Paths of Destiny

Cris's Links:


Chana Keefer
Chana Keefer

Chana Keefer is wife of one, mother of four, and best selling author of four. Though raised in Texas, she and her family reside in southern California with several reptiles and a spoiled Siberian Husky who reminds her how to savor every moment. Chana earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism but decided she really wasn’t that fond of the news. Also, many moons ago, she worked as a model, actress & voice talent. Chana brakes for old barns, hot chocolate chip cookies, classic movies and mind-boggling storm clouds. Her dream vacation is to explore New Zealand on horseback with her family… with Peter Jackson as their personal guide.

Chana's Books:

The Fall (The Rapha Chronicles: Book 1)

Servant of the King: Memoir of Modern Apostle Kemper Crabb

One Night with a Rock Star

Chana's Links:


From Today's Show: Lasers for Interstellar Travel Could Have Other Uses.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Commute

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge (that I'm doing once a week). This week's topic is "Your commute to and from work." Or in my case, from and to work. I'll explain.

As a writer, I work out of my home. So in a way, my commute to work is walk down the stairs into my office and start working (after checking out Facebook, of course).

But it's more than that. To prevent cabin fever and to actually interact with humans, I first make a commute from work to Starbucks, then from Starbucks back to work. I do this nearly every morning (yes, I've added up what it costs and it's frightening).

To the Starbucks I go to (which is not the closest one; I go to the one by the Interstate because you see more interesting people) it is just over five miles. I have on the way there two stop signs. One stop sign is at a busy road and sometimes you wait a while to have an opening to cross it. The other stop sign is just getting out of my neighborhood.

Getting back there's two stop signs, also. The first as getting onto the road that is the longest part of the trip, and the other is crossing that busy street again.

But, here's the thing: I'm never in traffic (unless there's a back up behind a slow-moving tractor). Crossing that busy street is the most stressful part of the trip. Sometimes you have to deal with local drivers (I've lived in this town for going on 17 years and I still call them "local drivers") who take miles and miles to accelerate to the speed limit, if they ever bother to do so.

So my commute is pretty easy. I'm a lucky guy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Keshawn Dodds and Barb Jones

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Keshawn Dodds and Barb Jones.

Keshawn Dodds
Keshawn Dodds

Keshawn Dodds was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts on February 24, 1978.  He still resides there with his wife, Tamara Dodds and daughter, Sydney Sharee Dodds. Becoming known as a well-established football player in Springfield, he was awarded a football scholarship to American International College in 1997.  Mr. Dodds played football all four years at A.I.C., and later graduated with a B.S. in Education in 2001 and a Master of Education in 2009.

After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree, Keshawn went on to become a fourth and fifth grade elementary school teacher within the Springfield Public Schools. During his tenure, Mr. Dodds taught at the Homer and Washington Elementary Schools from 2001 - 2005. He later took a job under Springfield's Mayor, Charles V. Ryan, as a Mayoral Aide. After his time in the Mayor’s office, Keshawn went back to AIC and worked there for ten years and most recently held the position as the Director of Diversity & Community Engagement. Moving forward, Keshawn is now the new Executive Director of the Springfield, MA Boys & Girls Club Family Center.

Along Mr. Dodds’ career journey, he has also become a published author of a juvenile fiction series, which is known as the Menzuo - Solar Warrior’s series. Keshawn has written eight books within the series, and has currently republished the first book, “Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince,” in August of 2010, through Cosby Media Productions and in October of 2015, it became an Best Selling book. Mr. Dodds is also awaiting the release of the highly anticipated second book, Menzuo: Legend of the Blue Diamond. The rest of the books within the eight book series are due out in the years to come.

Mr. Keshawn Dodds is an avid writer and strong supporter of education. His long term goal is to become a well-known educational advocate and motivational speaker. Keshawn wants to continue to spread his words of faith towards obtaining a great education and achieving all goals that a person has set in their life. Being raised by his mother, Elizabeth Dodd, Keshawn was always instilled with what a good education can bring to a person. Mr. Dodds firmly believes that, when hard work meets dedication, success is born.

Keshawn's Books:

Menzuo: The Calling of the Sun Prince

Menzuo: Legend of the Blue Diamond

Who's On My Side? The Story of Kalen Brown

Keshawn's Links:


Barb Jones
Barb Jones

Born and raised in Hawaii, Barb is a single mother of two great children, one of whom is now a teenager. She works in Information Technology in addition to being an author. When people have asked her who she is, she’s said that, “it’s hard to write at times. I’m a mother, first and foremost, and then a hard-working author and IT professional”. She loves living in Florida even though she misses Seattle, but the warm weather reminds her of why she moved there.  She currently resides in Sarasota, a nice town with a few quirky attractions that make living in a smaller city fun.

Barb's Books:

The Queen’s Destiny

Marcus: Origins

The Queen’s Enemy

Barb's Links:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It is to Laugh

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge. The next category is "You current relationship." Well, I've been married to the same woman for 34 years. So that's not very interesting.

The next category is "Two words/phrases that make you laugh." I had to think about his because I'm always quoting popular culture for a laugh.

Here's one phrase that makes me laugh: "Put Edwina back in bowl." It's from a movie called All of Me starring Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. It's silly little movie where a guru is going to put the soul of Edwina (played by Tomlin) into a bowl and then transfer it to a younger woman since Edwina was sickly her entire life. Of course, it doesn't go as planned and at one point the Steve Martin character tells the guru to put Edwina back in the bowl. And the guru says in an Indian accent "Put Edwina back in bowl." It's funnier when you hear it in the movie. So, given the slights prompt ("Please hand me that bowl") I'll say "Put Edwina back in bowl" and I laugh and laugh while people think I'm nuts.

Another phrase that makes me laugh comes from a Looney Tunes cartoon. There so many to choose from (Duck season! Rabbit season!) but the one that never fails to make me laugh is from "What's Opera Doc." It goes something like this (sung to Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyrie" by Elmer Fudd): "Kill the Wabbit / Kill the Wabbit / Kill the Wabbit / Oh oh oh!"

But really, almost any Looney Tunes cartoon will have a gold mind of memorable phrases ("Had the silly thing in reverse").

And then there's Ghostbusters . . .

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Daniel Peyton and Ephrat Livni

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome Daniel Peyton and Ephrat Livni.

Daniel Payton
Daniel Peyton

Daniel Peyton was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and now resides near the Smokey Mountains in East Tennessee. He is an honorary member of the Sigma Alpha Iota, professional performer with the Miyagi Ryu Nosho Kai, and a longtime member of the Embroiderers Guild of America. Daniel is an award winning stitcher, graphic artist, stage performer, and cook. The verities of experiences have helped him develop rich worlds and characters for his fiction works. Since the fourth grade he has never stopped penning stories for the entertainment of others.

Daniel's Books:

Legacy of Dragonwand

Wisdom Springs 

The Crystal Needle

Daniel's Links:


Ephrat Livni

TLDR is inspired by tech culture and my work as an attorney on Google's Legal Document Review Team (LDRT). Currently, I blog for FindLaw in Silicon Valley and live large in a tiny cabin in the redwood forest. Among many adventures, I wrote for ABC News in New York and The Jerusalem Report in Israel, was a public defender in Florida, served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, and taught English in Japan. My fiction is published in 365 tomorrows, my paintings are on Brooklyn Street Art, and my stitching was in The New York Times Sunday Styles. I studied journalism at Boston University, religion at Columbia University, and law at City University of New York (licensed in NY and FL).

Ephrat's Books:

Too Long Don't Read (blogged)

Ephrat's Links:


From today's Show: Asteroid Impacts Incubated Mars' Oceans.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"Boosting" a Facebook Post

I experimented with "boosting" a Facebook post on Monday. To boost a post, you pay money to Facebook and it becomes one of those "Sponsored" posts you see in your time line. This has to be done through a Facebook "page" such as my author page. You can set up who you want to see it. I set it up so that it was people in the US, 18 - 65+, and one of their interests is "Science Fiction." I boosted a post about Treasure of the Black Hole. And I set a budget of $10.

The first time I tried to boost a post, it was rejected because there was too much text in the graphic (which was just my book cover). So I had my wife, who does graphic things on her iPad I can't do, make a graphic with less text:

I boosted the post with that graphic and it was accepted.

So what were the results? There were 870 people "reached" (I assume that means they saw the post). Of those, 235 were "organic" (meaning they would have seen the post without boosting it). The rest, 635, were paid. I had 21 posts "likes" (which probably increased the organic reach) and 7 post "clicks" which would have taken them to the Amazon page for the book.

Of the $10 budget, I spent $7.03 (you pay for clicks). But, I didn't sell one book, either paperback or ebook.

With that result, I'm not sure "boosting" is worth it. Yesterday I posted a post about another book and it's organic reach was 182 people "reached." And that was all free.

So now I'm thinking boosting isn't worth it. Or do I need to boost it again to drive the point home to people? You know, sort of like they do on TV with running the same ad over and over again? I don't know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Grapefruit, the Yucky Fruit

Time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing over (approximately) thirty weeks.

Today's prompt is "A fruit you dislike and why." I had to think about this because I generally like fruit, especially oranges and peaches.

Then I remembered grapefruit.

Whenever I taste grapefruit I am reminded of the taste in your mouth right after you've vomited. The sharp tang of stomach acid (which is hydrochloric acid) that coats the inside of your mouth. And to me, that's what grapefruit tastes like. I don't know if it has a lot of citric acid in it or what, but to me, it literally tastes like vomit.

It must contain a significant amount of acid. I used to work with a guy who ate a grapefruit every day at lunch. His dentist told him to cut back because it was eating his teeth.

I don't know how or why people eat grapefruit. To me, it is disgusting.

And that's a fruit I don't like.