Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Brain

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

Today's prompt is: "Something you miss."

As you get older, you end up missing a lot of things. I mostly miss my young brain. My brain used to be able to hold facts and figures like a steel trap. I rarely had to study in school because I remembered everything. Or I'd simply read through my notes again and that would refresh my memory enough to ace the test (this assumes the test wasn't one of those awful engineering tests with lots of calculations).

Even in my early 30s, when I took engineering classes in college, my brain worked pretty well. Not as well as in the my 20s, but a lot better than it does now. I was always amazed at people who had to write down test dates and due dates as I could just carry all that in my head with perfect accuracy. As I got into my 40s, I still tried to do that but I would forget things or forget dates. I started using a calendar, first on paper, then on the computer.

Now in my mid-50s, my brain still works pretty well. But I'm not nearly as able to remember things as I could in my 20s and 30s.

When I lived in Seattle in my 20s, and I would drive the busy freeways, I would have a mental picture in my mind of where ever car around me was. And I'd update it ever few seconds by checking my mirrors, So I'd know if I car had sneaked into my blind spots. I can still do that, but only in low-traffic situations. And it annoys me.

So I miss my young brain.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Kristan Cannon and Andi Katsina

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Kristan Cannon and Andi Katsina.

Kristan Cannon
Kristan Cannon

Kristan Cannon was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario and educated in North Bay and Toronto.  She is a staunch supporter of literacy, reading, and young writer's programs. She also holds a current membership with The Indie Writer's Network and is a member of the NaNoWriMo Ambassador's program.  When not researching or writing, Kristan exists for sailing with friends and family... or for video games and books when snow and ice have the boat locked in its slip and she can't get away.

Kristan's Books:

After Oil (Kingdom of Walden Book One)

The Last Iron Horse (Kingdom of Walden Book Two)

Kristan's Links:


Andi Katsina

Hello my friends. My name is Andi Katsina. I'm English, of rich Irish, African descent. Born in London, as an orphan I grew up in Manchester, England.

I‘m a vegetarian and an environmentalist.

Throughout my school years I was a champion athlete and swimmer, going on to become an athletics coach, swimming teacher and youth leader. After which time I was trained as a Chartered Accountant. Interrupting my training, I branched out, working freelance as a trouble shooter in the field of accountancy. Six years of adding and subtracting, was followed by two years of trading as an international commodities broker. This led me to the sedentary position of ‘trader in antique, oriental carpets’.

It was at this juncture that I became completely inspired to become an Indie Author.

As a ‘school kid’ I very much enjoyed writing plays in English, Latin and French. Fortunately, for me, writing came naturally. I so enjoy writing stories that give people, especially young people and people young at heart, the chance to exercise their own imagination.

I love taking my readers on fantastic journeys. The enjoyment and taste of adventure my stories give to my readers, warms me greatly.

Andi's Books:

Mr. Fire

The Equinox Sequence; Fur

Phat Girl & The Sankara Parasite

Andi's Links:


From Today's Show: Private Company Given Permission for Moon Landing

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Some Cousins Have Issues

Back to the 30-day Blogging Challenge that I'm doing in 30-odd weeks.

Today's prompt is: "A family member you dislike."

I have these cousins, you see, and they are so set in their ways (some have even unfriended me on Facebook), that I have trouble liking them. I don't know how my family turned out these people. Apparently their parents didn't raise them right. But what are you going to do, they're family?

So, that was short.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Huskies are Ranked in AP Poll

The Associated Press (AP) poll of college football teams (I believe they poll sports writers where the USA Today Poll is coaches, I think) came out today. The AP poll is the older are more prestigious of the polls. It's also the one used to determine which teams go to the BCS playoffs.

And in the AP poll, the University of Washington Huskies are ranked #14. They are the second highest Pac-12 team ranked, after Stanford (8). They are ranked higher than UCLA (16), USC (20), and Huskies' rival in the Pac-12 North, the Oregon (Nike) Ducks (24).

The Washington State Cougars aren't ranked in the top 25. They did receive enough votes to be #29 if the poll went that far. Also Utah would be #28.

So obviously Stanford is the team to beat this year.

The season starts September 3rd with a home game against Rutgers. I'm really looking forward to the start of college football.

It's been along slog since the early 2000s when the Huskies were dominate and won a national championship. We've gone through horrible coaches and the Pac-12's only 0-12 season. But now, with Coach Chris Petersen in his third year, it's coming together. We might even beat the hated Ducks, which we haven't since 2004.

Go Dawgs!

UPDATE: Huskies haven't been ranked this high pre-season since 2003 (which is also the last year they beat the Oregon Ducks).

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Isabeau Vollhardt and John Vespasian

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Isabeau Vollhardt and John Vespasian.

Isabeau Vollhardt
Isabeau Vollhardt

Isabeau Vollhardt received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and English Composition from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, in 1980, where she studied Novel Writing with Charles Johnson, and the Philosophy of Science Fiction with Michelle Beer. A longtime reader of Victorian era authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, she was writing The Casebook of Elisha Grey in part as an homage to Doyle and in part as a result of her readings of esoteric works on Atlantis, when she began studies at Samra University of Oriental Medicine in 1991. Graduating with a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine and receiving licensure to practice acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, she then went on to receive training in Reiki, reaching level IV (Seichem) Reiki training. Energy work and intuitive work in a variety of realms have been part of her personal and professional life since 1985 and encompasses study of Kuang Ping style taijiquan, shuilong qi gong, feng shui, clairvoyancy, Western Astrology, Native American journeywork, and Iai-Batto-Ho. She currently lives in Ashland, Oregon, where she has been in private practice since 1997, and continues to write. She has had several articles published in print and on line regarding feng shui and acupuncture, and her short story "Farewell at a Graveside" was published by Innisfree Magazine, a literary journal, in 1990.

Isabeau's Books:

The Casebook of Elisha Grey

The Casebook of Elisha Grey II

The Casebook of Elisha Grey III

Isabeau's Links:


John Vespasian

John Vespasian
JOHN VESPASIAN is the author of seven books about rational living, including "When Everything Fails, Try This" (2009), "Rationality Is the Way to Happiness" (2009), "The Philosophy of Builders: How to Build a Great Future with the Pieces from Your Past" (2010), "The 10 Principles of Rational Living" (2012), "Rational Living, Rational Working: How to Make Winning Moves When Things Are Falling Apart" (2013), "Consistency: The Key to Permanent Stress Relief" (2014), and "On Becoming Unbreakable: How Normal People Become Extraordinarily Self-Confident" (2015).

John's Books:

When Everything Fails, Try This

On Becoming Unbreakable: How Normal People Become Extraordinarily Self-Confident (non-fiction)

Consistency: The Key to Permanent Stress Relief (non-fiction)

John's Links:


From Today's Show: Black Holes Warp Spacetime.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Five Things I Fear

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge (that I'm doing in 30 or so weeks). Today's topic is "Five Things that I Fear."

Well, other than venomous spiders and snakes, there are things I fear. I wrote the following on my old blog in 2009 and it just happens to have five things that I still fear:

1) Government: One only has to look at hell holes like Zimbabwe or North Korea to see how government can make humanity miserable.  And the more power we give to government, the more power it will have to make our lives nasty, brutish, and likely short (socialized medicine).  I believe this is the most likely threat to mankind as too many people see government as benevolent and wish to give it more and more power.  Probability: High

2) World-wide Caliphate: Since the West is showing less and less resolve in standing up to radical Islam, we could find ourselves living under Sharia law (as is happening more and more in Britain).  Even most Muslims don't want what the radical Taliban/Bin Ladin arm of Islam wants.  But fewer and fewer have the courage to stand up to it. Probability: Medium

3) Disease: Some nasty, fatal, easily spreadable version of, oh, Ebola for example, develops from random mutations and spreads quickly across the globe killing most if not all human.  And you need a certain critical mass to maintain our civilization so any survivors will be thrown back into the stone age.  Probability: Low

4) Cosmic event: Asteroid or comet hits the Earth, wiping out most if not all humans. Or a nearby gamma ray burster fries the planet wiping out all life.  Probability: Very Low

5) Geological event: The supervolcano at Yellowstone erupts plunging the planet into volcanic winter and dumping many feet of ash over most of North America.  Or some other geological (probably volcanic) event.   Probability: Very Low

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Harry Heckel and Dina Rae

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Harry Heckel and Dina Rae.

Harry Heckel
Harry Heckel

Harry Heckel started by writing pen and paper roleplaying games before moving into novels. He’s co-authored two Space Wolf novels set in the Warhammer 40K universe as Lee Lightner, and currently is the co-author of The Charming Tales series from Harper Voyager under the name Jack Heckel. He has a few independent novels under his own name and still does freelance work for roleplaying, board game and miniature wargame companies. He lives in central Virginia with his wife, daughter and two crazy cats, Nebula and Quasar.

Harry's Books:

A Fairy-Tale Ending

The Pitchfork of Destiny 

HeroNet Files Vol. 1 – Hidden Strengths

Harry's Links:

Website 2
Blog 2

Dina Rae
Dina Rae

Dina Rae brings an academic element to her novels. Halo of the Nephilim, Halo of the Damned, The Last Degree, and Bad Juju weave research and suspense throughout the plots. Her short story, "Be Paranoid Be Prepared," is a prequel to The Last Degree, focusing on the James Martin character. Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big Conspiracy is Dina's first nonfiction work.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and one dog outside of Dallas. She is a Christian, an avid tennis player, movie buff, teacher, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times in e-zines, websites, blogs, newspapers, and radio programs. When she is not writing she is reading novels from her favorite authors Dan Brown, Stephen King, Brad Thor, George R.R. Martin, and Preston & Childs. She also enjoys reading about religion, UFOs, New World Order, government conspiracies, political intrigue, and other cultures. Her newest novel, The Best Seller, is released by Solstice Publishing.

Dina's Books:

The Best Seller

Big Agri, Big Pharma, Big Conspiracy 

Halo of the Nephilim

Dina's Links:


From Today's Show: How our Brains Learn Physics

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Huskies are Ranked!

The USA Today preseason college football poll came out a while back. While not as prestigious as the AP college ranking (and not used for BCS playoffs), it can give an indication of where teams will be approximately in the AP poll.

And the University of Washington Huskies are ranked! They are even ranked higher than the University of Nike Ducks. The Huskies are #18 and the Ducks are #22. (You may remember that I loath the Ducks.)

The Huskies are the third team in the Pac-12 ranked, with the Stanford Cardinal (it's a color) at #7 and USC Trojans (not condoms) at #17 (right above the Huskies).

The buzz is pretty good surrounding the Huskies going into their third year with Coach Chris Petersen.

Oh, and have I mentioned how happy I was that Steve Sarkisian's drinking problem came to a head at USC, not when he coached the Huskies? All in all, I'd say trading Sarkisian for Petersen was a great move.

When the AP poll comes out, if Washington is ranked (and they probably will be), I'll post again. College football starts September 3rd. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Morning Routine

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

Today's prompt is "Your Morning Routine."

Well, since I don't have a day job, my mornings are rarely routine. I can wake up anywhere from 3:00 AM to 9:00 AM (although it's rare to sleep that late).

First thing I do is fire up the computer to do some promotional work for my publisher. Then I set up tweets for Twitter for the day. I use TweetDeck which allows you to schedule tweets.

Then I go take a shower and wake up my wife if she's still asleep (she usually is). Unless it's before 8:00 AM, otherwise I let her sleep. Unless we need to be someplace, then I'll wake her up earlier.

If I get up early enough, I'll watch something on Netflix streaming.

When my wife gets up, she makes breakfast and then she goes and showers. Then we go to Starbucks. Yes, every day. Yes, I know what that costs. But it's fun to people watch and frankly, I need to get out of the house or I go stir crazy.

After Starbucks, we come home and then I head for my office to write, promote, or whatever needs to be done that day.

And that's it. Not too interesting, I know.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Dan O'Brien and Birgitte Rasine

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Dan O'Brien and Birgitte Rasine.

Dan O'Brien

Dan O’Brien has written over 50 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:

Sixth Prime 

Little Artisan

Mobsters, Monsters & Nazis

Dan's Links:


Birgitte Rasine

Birgitte Rasine
Birgitte Rasine is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and entrepreneur whose work marries sustainability with storytelling, mobile apps with print books, and art with technology. She is the author of numerous literary works and articles, and has spoken on topics ranging from media to sustainability on three continents. Birgitte’s books and mobile apps have been recognized by design and publishing awards and honors from organizations such as the Eric Hoffer Award, International Academy of Visual Arts in Los Angeles, Press 53, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

A former journalist and screenwriter for the Hollywood film industry, Birgitte holds a BA in Film Aesthetics from Stanford University, studied cinematography in Los Angeles, and completed a international relations program in Spanish in Madrid, Spain.  A member of various literary and professional organizations including the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and the California Health Medical Reserve Corps (CH-MRC), among others, she lives in Northern California with her family. Her web site is

Birgitte's Books:

The Jaguar and the Cacao Tree 

Tsunami: Images of Resilience (Photography)

The Visionary

Birgitte's Links:


From today's show: Dark Matter is Still Dark.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Zodiac Sign

Back to the 30-day blogging challenge I'm doing over (about) 30 weeks. Today's prompt is "Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits you."

Well, there's a problem. I don't believe in astrology. But I'll play along.

According to this website, I'm a Cancer. And they list a whole bunch of traits for Cancer, some of which seem to apply.

But here's the thing: I don't believe a bit of it. Watch this:

There is no way, scientifically speaking the stars, which are trillions of miles away in the case of the closest ones, are having any effect upon a human on Earth. And the planets which are millions of miles away, can't have any effect, either. Now it says my "ruling planet" is the moon. Admittedly, the moon is a lot closer than the planets (only 238,900 miles or so). The moon does exert gravitational forces on Earth strong enough to cause tides (so does the sun). But there has never been found scientifically an effect on humans from the moon, let alone the other planets which are much farther away.

So do I think Cancer applies to me? Perhaps a little. But if I randomly chose another astrological sign, it would probably apply to me a little, too.