Friday, September 30, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Adam Dreece and Kevin Coolidge

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Adam Dreece and Kevin Coolidge.

Adam Dreece

In 2014, twenty-five years of doing nothing with his writing came to a screeching halt when Adam Dreece released his first book, Along Came a Wolf, as an indie author. Over the next two years he added three more books in that best-selling steampunk meets fairytale series, The Yellow Hoods.

This year, Adam set out to do something different. He put out his first post-apocalyptic fantasy book, The Wizard Killer Season One, which was an unexpected hit for him. Now, the once resident of Silicon Valley and former software developer has put out his first high-tech science fiction book, The Man of Cloud 9.

He lives in Calgary with his wife, three kids, and lots and lots of sticky notes.

Adam's Books:

Adam's Links:

Kevin Coolidge
Kevin Coolidge

Kevin resides in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. When he's not writing, you can find him at From My Shelf Books & Gifts, an independent bookstore he runs with his lovely wife, several helpful employees, and two friendly cats, Huck & Finn.
He's a Viking at heart, and when he's not sharpening his broadsword or mending his hauberk, he's writing more stories about intrepid gamers. Be sure to catch the next adventure, Codename Cthulhu. 

Kevin's Books:

Kevin's Link:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's at Stake Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the biggest game in the Pac-12 this week if not the entire season. On Friday night at 6:00 PM PDT, The University of Washington Huskies take on the Stanford University Cardinal (it's a color). Here's a short list of why this game is important:

  1. Both teams are undefeated this year, the Huskies are 4-0, the Cardinal 3-0. That will change for one of these teams.
  2. Both teams are in the top ten of the AP college poll, the Huskies at #10, the Cardinal at #7
  3. The teams are #1 (Cardinal) and #2 (Huskies) in the Pac-12 North. The winner of this game will be at #1. (Stanford is #1 because their conference record is 2-0 and the Huskies conference record is 1-0.)
  4. The overall series is tied at 41-41-4, so this game will break the tie.
  5. This is the Huskies' Pac-12 home opener. They don't want to lose in front of their home fans.
  6. The game will be aired nationally on ESPN. Since it's on a Friday, it will probably be watched by more college football fans than if it were on a Saturday while other games are being played.
And, of course, I'm rooting for the Huskies. Go Dawgs!

UPDATE: And, the winner of this game will probably move up in the AP poll, the loser will probably drop out of the top ten.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It Seems I Use Some Words A Lot

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "What word/phrase do you use constantly?"

In my writing, I have a bad habit of using "seem" or "seems" a lot. It's to the point that when I finish a first draft, I do a search on "seem" and try to eliminate most if not all of them. It seems I like that word, a lot.

Sometimes I use "but" a lot, too. This seems to be when I'm not sure of myself, writing a synopsis, for example. A friend of mine who proofreads for me says I drive her crazy with my use of "but," often to start a paragraph or a sentence.

But I don't always do that.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Another Good Day

Yesterday was another good day for me in sports. First of all, the Seattle Mariners lost to the team with the worst record in Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Twins. This further diminishes the Mariners' hopes for a wildcard slot and their first visit to the post season since the Paleolithic Era. Okay, 2001.

Also yesterday the Nike Ducks (in uniforms to make them look like their duck mascot) lost to the Colorado Buffaloes. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffs have been the doormat of the conference. So them beating Oregon is especially sweet (although it does take some of the joy out of the Huskies beating Oregon, which I'm sure they will this year).

Washington State Cougars had a bye this week, so no news there.

Finally, the best news of the day, the University of Washington Huskies beat Arizona for the first time in six years. It was a hard fought game. Arizona had two amazing players: their quarterback and a running back. The quarterback could not only scramble, but could run. On one play he ran 79 yards to make a touch down, as if he were a running back himself. The running back that was so good was, unfortunate, injured and had to leave the game. They guy could squirt through holes and make yards.

This was the first away game for the Huskies and the first against a good opponent. While they struggled at times, they never gave up. They faced adversity and kept playing hard.

The game actually went into overtime, but the Huskies made a touchdown and then stopped Arizona from reciprocating, ending overtime (college football overtime rules are weird). Huskies won the game 35-28.

So where do we stand? The Huskies are now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference. That puts them in second place in the Pac-12 North Division after Stanford (who are 3-0 and 2-0 in conference). The Oregon Ducks are tied for last place in the North Division with the California Golden Bears at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in conference.

In the AP poll today, Stanford is still #7 (same place for three weeks) and the Huskies, perhaps due to the closeness of last night's game, dropped to #10 from #9 last week. But I saw a headline that they are 2.5 point favorites going into the Stanford game on Friday evening. That game is a home game for the Huskies so that will help.

The only other Pac-12 team in the top 25 AP poll are the Utah Utes (who lead the Pac-12 South Division) at #18.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Allie Potts

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Allie Potts.

Madaleine Holly-Rosing
Madeleine Holly-Rosing

A TV, feature film and comic book writer, Madeleine is the writer/creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic and has won the Sloan Fellowship  for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film. She also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. In addition, Madeleine teaches a Kickstarter class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City and has published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.

BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY webcomic is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was also nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.

Madeleine's Books

Madeleine's Links:

Allie Potts
Allie Potts

Allie Potts, born in Rochester Minnesota was moved to North Carolina at a very early age by parents eager to escape to a more forgiving climate. She has since continued to call North Carolina home, settling in Raleigh, halfway between the mountains and the sea, in 1998.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day or chasing after children determined to turn her hair gray before its time, Allie enjoys stories of all kinds. Her favorites, whether they are novels, film, or simply shared aloud with friends, are usually accompanied with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand.

Allie's Books:

Allie's Links:

From Today's Show: Phobos Grooves Mystery Solved.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Out of Control

A lot of newer cars are adding an auto-braking system where if the car scenes an imminent collision, it automatically slams on the brakes. As noted in this NPR article, most cars sold in the U.S. are going to have this by 2022. And "experts" say it could prevent 20% of collisions.

But I'm worried about the loss of driver control these systems represent.

I was driving over Snoqualmie Pass last year to go to an in-law holiday celebration that has been dubbed "Thanksmas." Snoqualmie Pass is known for its bad winter weather with heavy snows and sometimes icy conditions. And, it seems, Thanksmas always happens on one of the worst days for weather on the pass. And this year was no exception.

I was driving along at maybe 50 mph on packed snow on the road. I was in the right lane of the two-lane interstate highway. My wife gasped as she saw the problem first (I was concentrating on the road). There were multiple overturned cars along the side of the road. And, I realized, there was a semi truck stopped in my lane directly ahead. I put the brakes on, not hard but hard enough to, I hoped, stop in time. The car kept going as the ice I didn't realize was there and was providing no traction. I knew if I simply kept my foot on the brake I'd slide into the back of the semi truck. I also knew that in a slide, turning the wheel to steer the car is useless because you have no traction.

I couldn't go into the left lane because there was a car there. I looked and saw that the right shoulder was empty except for a man standing near it talking on his cell phone. I calculated there was enough room between him and the truck for my car.

I took my foot of the brake, which restored enough traction I could turn the car toward the shoulder. Once I was aimed at the shoulder and not the truck, I applied the brakes again, hard. The rumble strip helped, and the car stopped before hitting the snowbank. I missed the man standing there by maybe a foot. Maybe less. But no one was hurt and no vehicles were damaged. When the truck started moving again, I pulled in behind it, this time being more careful as I now knew how slick the road actually was.

But, here's my concern. If my car had automatic braking, would the car have, thinking I was about to hit the truck, slammed on the brakes when I stopped braking, leaving me out of control and sliding into the truck? Would the automatic braking caused an accident I was able to avoid? Would the loss of driver control because the car wouldn't know the road was icy, slam me into the back of that truck?

It's this loss of control that automatic braking systems cause that worries me. Maybe for the driver who doesn't pay attention, automatic braking is a good thing. But for a driver who knows what they are doing, it could cause an accident where the driver could have prevented it.

And as cars grow more and more autonomous, will they be able to handle adverse conditions such as snow, ice, or heavy rain?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What I Wore Today

And it's time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in approximately 30 weeks. 

Today's prompt is "What you wore today." I don't change what I wear a lot. It's usually black pants (WalMart), polo shirts (J.C. Pennys), and running shoes (Asic Gels from Big 5 Sports). Since I work out of my home, I don't need to impress anyone. Some days I'll wear a T-shirt. But not every day.

I know, I'm boring. Even if I want to "dress up" I usually just put a sports jacket on over what I described above (yes, with running shoes; after I stopped working 8 - 6, I decided I was never wearing uncomfortable shoes again).

Oh, and sometimes I wear a hat, like in my profile picture. I own two hats (well, more than that if you count baseball caps): a brown felt fedora and a white straw fedora for summer.

What do you wear most of the time?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

UW Huskies Still Playing Great

The University of Washington Huskies are still playing very well. Yesterday they faced FCS team Portland State. Overall, the offense had a little trouble with Portland State, while the defense held the opponents to just three points. I wanted the Huskies to have a score over 40 to keep their high ranking in the AP College Football Poll. They went into the game at #8 in the nation. The poll released this morning has them #9. Probably not because we did worse, but because someone else (Michigan State) did better. But we are still a top-ten team.

One place the Huskies have not shone is the run game. They have some great running backs but they haven't be using them. Part of this is that sophomore quarterback Jake Browning is so good throwing the ball. But yesterday the Huskies did run the ball more and they looked good.

Unlike the Rutgers and Idaho blowouts, the second and third string players weren't on the field for most of the second half. They didn't come out until about halfway through the fourth quarter. But, even then, the Huskies managed a last minute touchdown. The final score was 3-41.

The Huskies are number two in the Pac-12 North after Stanford who is 2-0. But Stanford has a conference win (they beat USC yesterday) so that puts them over the 3-0 Huskies who have yet to play a conference game.

But next week, the Huskies start playing conference teams with a trip to Tuscon to play Arizona. The Huskies are favored to win that game, but it won't be a blow out. Then they play #7 Stanford (been #7 for three weeks now) on September 30th. That should be a good game, and they play at home so that helps, and I think the Huskies have a chance to win it. But just a chance if they don't make any huge mistakes.

And the Nike Ducks lost to Nebraska yesterday, putting them out of the top 25 AP poll. So that's good news. Right now there are three Pac-12 teams that are ranked: Stanford, the UW Huskies, and Utah at #24. I've read that the Utah Utes may be the sleeper team this year. We'll have to see.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spooktacular Authors Giveaway

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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Raymond Burke and Ira Nayman

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Raymond Burke and Ira Nayman.

Raymond Burke
Raymond Burke

My background includes an early life in Canada and the US, employment in the British Army as an aircraft technician, an MSc degree in Archaeology from University College London, and I'm also a member of The Mars Society. I wrote short-articles for (the now defunct) and have future aspirations to be a screen-writer.  I cunningly live without a fridge, satellite TV, iPod, and also can’t drive. I'm a self-confessed 21st century caveman . . . and love it!

Raymond's Book:

The Starguards – Of Humans, Heroes, and Demigods

Raymond's Links:


Ira Nayman
Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman is Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion. You know, the black sheep of the laws that the Newton family doesn’t like to talk about at get-togethers. The one who writes humourous science fiction in a serious science fiction world. The one whose fourth novel, It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should has just been published by Elsewhen Press. The one whose seventh self-published Alternate Reality News Service book (featuring the best in comedic science fiction in handy journalistic form) will be out late in 2016. The one who has a Web site of topical social and political satire, Les Pages aux Folles. The one who…doesn’t always know how to bring a comedy premise home and hopes nobody notices. Yeah, that Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion!

Ira's Book:

Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should

Ira's Links:


From Today's Program: Dark Matter May Feel a Dark Force.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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

Today's prompt is "What would you say to an ex."

This one is hard. I only really have one ex and we broke up in 1980 (36 years ago). There's not really much to say after all this time. About the only thing I can think to say is, "You broke my heart, but I'm glad you did." Why? Because my life would not be what it is today without that breakup.

So a short entry today. What would you say to your ex? Comment below.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Huskies are 2-0

The University of Washington Husky football program is 2-0 so far to start the season. In a game much like last week's rout of Rutgers, the Huskies decimated the University of Idaho Vandals by a lopsided score of 59-14. And Idaho's 14 points were scored in the second half of the game when Husky coach Chris Petersen started rotating second and third string players into the game. Idaho played their starters the entire four quarters.

UW starting quarterback Jake Browning was amazing, escaping possible sacks and still getting the ball downfield to a receiver. The UW ground game tends to have amazing long-play bursts, but sometimes gets ground to a halt at the line of scrimmage. That's something Petersen will have to work on before the Huskies start playing Pac-12 teams in two weeks (starting at Arizona on the 24th).

I'm hoping before facing #7 Stanford, the #8 Huskies will remain undefeated (rankings from this morning's AP poll).

This is, so far, looking like it's going to be a great season. Go Dawgs!

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Dudley Mecum and Robin Leigh Anderson

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are please to welcome writers Dudley Mecum and Robin Leigh Anderson.

Dudley Mecum
Dudley Mecum

 Dudley Mecum, a trained commercial pilot, earned an MBA in Finance, later working at a defense manufacturer. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys fine art, swimming, and virtual flying.

Dudley's Book:

A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom

Dudley's Links:


Robin Leigh Anderson

Robin Leigh Anderson
Robin Leigh Anderson was born in the Montana Rockies and escaped to California in the early 1970s.  She attended school in Montana, Washington State, and California, eventually settling in beautiful Santa Barbara with child and cats where she lived for 38 years before escaping sans grown child and late cats to Northern California.  An advocate of reinventing oneself, Ms. Anderson dabbled in many of the major disciplines of life, providing fodder for the writing she pursued since she was eight.  She has won numerous awards at writing conferences over the years, and was staff of the prestigious Santa Barbara Writer Conference for ten years.  She has published numerous articles and short stories in her lifetime.  She taught “crash-and-burn” intensive writing seminars in Santa Barbara and was the moderator of a writers' critique group.  She still conducts occasional seminars and enjoys editing others’ works, words being her all-consuming passion, as she writes in several genres.

Robin's Book:


Robin's Links


From today's show: Ceres May Have a Warm Heart

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Four Weird Traits I Have

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in (approximately) 30 weeks.

The next prompt is "Four weird traits you have." I've had to think about this a lot.

One: I have red hair and blue eyes. This is supposed to be very rare (less than 2% of the world population). It's actually rather common in my extended family. And, my hair (what's left of it) is getting less red all the time. This also means I have very fair skin and I sunburn without protection on a sunny day in 15 minutes. I can sunburn on cloudy days quickly, too. If I'm going to be outside for any length of time, I have to wear a hat and sunscreen.

Two: I'm fairly good at mathematics but I'll pick up a calculator to discover 2 + 2 = 4. I almost can't do math in my head. And I've study math through differential equations (although doing one now would be a challenge).

Three: I'm a strange combination of ADD and OCD. That's "Attention Deficit Disorder" and "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder." I am easily distracted and my mind can take off on a tangent with the slightest provocation. I'm actually on a prescription drug to help this (and it does, some). But when I'm writing a novel I go to huge effort to make sure I know the exact number of words, excluding chapter headings and scene break marks. And when I'm doing that, little can distract me. The same with the writing itself.

Four: I think I have an exceptional scene of smell. For instance, I was at Starbucks today (big surprise to those who know me) and I could smell someone's coffee. But not just the coffee smell, I was picking out smells of peat and marijuana. I'll complain about a smell that no one else will pick up. I think this is why I can't eat foods some people can, such as liver or squash. They smell awful to me (liver makes my nauseated) so I can't eat them.

And that's it, four weird traits I have.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Huskies are #8!

For the first time in I have no idea how long, the University of Washington Huskies football team is ranked in the top ten of the AP poll! Top ten!

Last week they were #14 but after their blow out of Rutgers, apparently the voters in the poll saw something they liked.

After USC and UCLA lost their opening games, they dropped out of the top 25. There are currently three Pac-12 teams in the top 25: #7 Stanford, #8 Washington, and #24 Nike, err, I mean Oregon (the same spot they were last week).

This is shaping up to be a great year to be a Husky. Go Dawgs!

UPDATE: That is the Huskies highest ranking since 2001.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Yesterday was a Pretty Good Day

Over all, yesterday was a good day in the world of sports. What happened? Well, first of all, the Washington State Cougars lost to the Eastern Washington Eagles. And the Eagles are an FCS team (i.e., not FBS because the school is too small to be FBS, which is the top college football division). The score was 45 - 42 with the Cougars making a touchdown in the final seconds but it was too little, too late.

One of my least favorite teams, USC, lost big time to Alabama. Of course, Alabama is ranked #1 in the AP poll and USC #20. UCLA also lost.

And the Mariners lost to the Anaheim Angels, a team that has a .444 record (after that win). The Mariners have pretty much been eliminated from any chance for a while card slot. Their 4-game losses to Texas show they aren't playoff contenders.

The only downside to the day was that the Nike Ducks won their football game. But they were playing a FCS team and didn't "Coug" it.

But the best part of the day was that the University of Washington Huskies (Go Dawgs!) won their season opener against Rutgers, a FBS team (admittedly, not a very good one). The Husky defense held Rutgers to 3 points in the first half of the game. But the fourth quarter the Huskies were playing second and third string players, which allowed Rutgers to score some points.  The final score was 13-48.

The Huskies looked really good. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning is improved even over the end of last season. And John Ross III is back and showed his strengths by making touchdowns from long passes. The first half was a thing of beauty. When the Huskies started playing second string players in the second half, it sort of turned into a boring preseason-like game in the NFL.

Next week the Huskies take on the Idaho Vandals, another not-very-good FBS team. In fact, the Vandals are going to switch to the FCS in 2018. I'll have to watch that on DVR probably on Sunday or late Saturday because I have a family function all day Saturday. And we'll have to see if the Huskies move up in the AP Poll and how far down USC and UCLA drop.

The difference between FBS and FCS is explained here.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Red Hot Summer Giveaway Almost Over!

It's your last chance to participate in the Red Hot Summer Giveaway with lots of prizes including a grand prize of $150 in PayPal cash. Plus lots of books both paperback and ebooks. So hurry up and enter, or you can't win a thing. Giveaway ends tomorrow!

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Friday, September 2, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Leon Margie and Margy Millet

Today and the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Leon Margie and Margy Millet.

Leon Margie
Leon Margie

Born in Perth Western Australia, Leon comes from a family rich in mining history. With having worked in the resource sector for the last 15 years as a manager in all the major industry sectors, from gold to oil, Leon has developed a very good knowledge of how the industry functions.

Leon's Book:

Profit of Death

Leon's Link:


Margy Millet

I was born Margarita L. Millet in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 1958, the second child of Antonio and Blanca.  My family moved to Worcester Massachusetts in 1973.  In 1980 I married David Perez. Together we have raised three children, Leticia, Sofia and David.  I’m the proud grandmother of five grandsons Ricardo, Evan, Alejandro, Fernando and Emmitt.  My passions include writing, Latin music, dancing, reading and sports.  I’m an avid Boston Red Sox fan.

I studied Business Management at Quinsigamond Community College where I earned an Associates Degree.  I began my career as a Premium Collection Specialist at Paul Revere Companies in 1981 and have held several positions in the company, my last was an Underwriting Specialist in IDI Business Operations that ended in July 2013.  I began writing seriously on a part time basis in 2008 and then as of July 2013 I began writing full time.

Margy's Books:

Daughter’s Revenge 

My Vampire, My King 

Way to a Stranger’s Heart

Margy's Links: