Friday, September 22, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Sherry Peters and James M. Corkill


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Sherry Peters and James M. Corkill.

Sherry Peters
Sherry Peters

Sherry Peters is a certified Success Coach for Writers. She graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2005 and earned her M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2009. She credits the year she spent in Northern Ireland as one of the best years of her life and a daily inspiration and motivation in her writing. Her debut YA Fantasy novel Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf placed First in the 2014 Writer's Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards in the Middle Grade / YA category. She is also the author of the non-fiction book Silencing Your Inner Saboteur is available. Both books are available in e-book and paperback formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, all major online e-book retailers. For more information on Sherry Peters, please visit her website at www.sherrypeters.com


Sherry's Books:

Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 1)

Mabel the Mafioso Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 2)


Mabel the Notorious Dwarf (Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe Book 3)

Sherry's Link:

Website


James M. Corkill
James M. Corkill

Bestselling and award-winning author James M. Corkill, is a Veteran, and retired Federal Firefighter from Washington State, USA. He was an electronic technician and studied mechanical engineering in his spare time before eventually becoming a firefighter for 32-years and retiring. He began writing in 1997, and was fortunate to meet the famous horror writer Hugh B. Cave, who became his mentor. He now lives in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina.

James's Books:


Gravity: The Alex Cave Series Book 4

Pandora’s Eyes: The Alex Cave Series Book 5


DNA: The Alex Cave Series Book 6

James's' Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

From Today's Program: Saturn's moon Titan has molecules to make cell membranes.






Thursday, September 21, 2017

Research

When it comes to doing research for your writing, I say you can never do too much. What you shouldn't do is show off how much research you have done by putting in things you learned but don't advance the plot of your story.

And often, having done good research will enhance the story.

For example: in my novel Agent of Artifice, there was a scene at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. This is a real hotel on Nob Hill.

When I first wrote the scene, my character, Michael Vaughn, escapes a battle between magical people that I call "adepts." He goes down an internal staircase to escape.

Then I had an opportunity to take a trip to San Francisco and my hotel was a block away from the Huntington. So I went and looked at the hotel and I found there is no internal staircase, but fire escapes on the outside of the building. I then knew I had to rewrite that scene.

However, it turned into one of the better scenes in the book and set up the climax. In the first draft, he simply escaped. Rather boring. But in the rewrite it became this scene:

Down the hall, on the left of the elevator, I found a window overlooking a very steep street more than two floors below.  The Huntington is on the edge of Nob Hill.  But here was the fire escape.

I hesitated.  On the fire escape, I'd be easy prey for that flying nightmare.  But it was busy eleven floors above me.  

I opened the window and it screeched as I did—a sound that seemed loud enough to summon a demon, or a pterodactyl.

Once it was open enough, I put a leg out, stepped on the painted metal of the fire escape, and then pulled the rest of my body through the window.  I was shocked at how cold it was and how far down it was to the steeply sloping street.  And I could see the lowest fire escape was far above the cement—farther than I wanted to jump.

Not knowing what else to do, I scurried down the steep stairs which vibrated under my feet until I reached the bottom platform.  Here I could see there was a ladder that reached lower than the platform so the jump wouldn't be so bad. I approached it and noticed it was in two pieces and it looked as if one piece would descend if I put my weight on it.  I was studying this, trying to determine how to work it when a rush of wind interrupted my thoughts.  I turned but too late: pterodactyl claws grabbed my torso, wrapped around my body like a fleshy vise, and pulled me skyward, the beating of the wings blowing down on me as the claws held me so tight I couldn't breathe.  I didn't know why it just didn't eat me.  I was sure it would hurt less than what its claws were doing to me and the way my head was hanging down with the blood rushing to it.  I tried beating its claws with my hands but it felt as if I might as well beat on hardened steel.

The beast swooped upward and I noticed people on the street looking up in horror.  It was amazing how well I could see their faces despite our gaining altitude.

The pterodactyl swung in a tight arch in the narrow space between buildings, and headed for the Huntington's roof.  It skimmed over the edge so close I thought it was going to smash me into the tiles of the sloped part of the roof that was around the flat top of the building.

Without warning the animal stopped in midair with a horrible sound of twisting metal and its painful screams.  It dropped me, luckily only a few feet to the roof, but I landed on my hip and the pain shot through me.  I looked up to see the pterodactyl entangled in the Huntington's neon sign and the metal supports holding it.  As I watched, the sign—broken glass tubes raining down—started tilting back on the beast.

I ran, ignoring pain in my chest and legs.  The animal and the metal crashed into the roof mere inches behind me it seemed and the pterodactyl screamed, answered by shattering glass in buildings near the hotel. Bells rang in the towers of the cathedral across the street in resonance with the unearthly sound.

And that was a much better scene.

So do your research!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Huskies are 3-0, Start Conference Play Next Week

Last night the University of Washington Huskies defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs by a score of 48-16 at Husky Stadium. This is the Huskies' last non-conference game.

Fresno State is an FBS team (in the Mountain West Conference) unlike last week's opponent, Montana.

Didn't seem to matter. For the first half, the Huskies dominated. Fresno was able to make a touchdown and the Dawg's place kicker missed a point after touchdown, but by the end of the half the score was 41-7. One of those touchdowns was a Dante Pettis punt return tying him for the NCAA record for punts returned for a touchdown and games in a row (three) with a punt return for a touchdown. If he can get a punt return to a touchdown next week, he'll break both records.

Early in the third quarter the Huskies scored again. It was the last time they would score as starting quarterback Jake Browning was taken out and second stringers went in. The Huskies never scored again. Fresno got three field goals for the rest of the game.

At one point it was 4th and goal for the Huskies and Coach Chris Petersen decided to go for it and the first stringer Bulldogs were able to stop the second stringer Huskies. If they'd simply done a field goal, instead, the Huskies would have had 51 points to end the game. Which, to me, would have been more impressive for the AP poll voters.

The game was pretty boring and not very exciting once the second-stringers were put in.

Next week the Huskies travel to Boulder to take on the University of Colorado Buffaloes. This is being billed as a replay of last year's Pac-12 championship game. But the Buffs aren't nearly as good as they were last year judging from the AP rankings. I think their star quarterback graduated and he carried the team a lot last year.

The Buff are 3-0, also, so one of these teams are going to come out of the game with their first loss. Let's hope it's Colorado.

And, ironically, right now the Washington State Cougars are on top of the Pac-12 North because they are the only team in the North Division with a conference win (they beat Oregon State last night). One sad thing about that game was the OSU quarterback, Jake Luton, took a big hit and was knocked unconscious. He was carted off the field and taken to a hospital. The latest news is that he was discharged from the hospital last night. No word on what injury he suffered. But it looked bad.

The Polls

The AP Top 25 Football poll comes out on Sunday morning at 2:00 PM Eastern Time (except for the first week of college football, it comes out on Tuesday after Labor Day).

Washington dropped one from #6 to #7 (should have gotten that field goal, I tell ya).

USC dropped one to #5 after their triple-overtime win over Texas.

Washington State climbed to #18.  Utah (#23) and Oregon (#24 and boo hiss) both made it onto the two 25 this week. That means five Pac-12 teams are ranked, or almost half the conference.

UCLA lost to Memphis yesterday and that dropped them out of the poll (they were #25 last week).

Stanford also dropped off the poll from #19 last week after losing to San Diego State (who are now at 22 after not being ranked).



Friday, September 15, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Brad Abraham and Susan Kite


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Brad Abraham and Susan Kite.

Brad Abraham

Brad Abraham is writer whose work includes the feature film Fresh Meat, the SyFy Channel thriller Stonehenge Apocalypse, and the miniseries Robocop Prime Directives. He is creator of the acclaimed comic book series Mixtape, and has written for such publications as Dreamwatch, Starburst, and Rue Morgue. A native of Ottawa Canada, he makes his home in NYC.

Brad's Works:


Magicians Impossible

Mixtape (comic book series)

Fresh Meat (film)

Brad's Links:

Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

Susan Kite
Susan Kite

Susan Kite was born in Indiana, but moved extensively during her growing up years. The library was the first place she found after a move, avidly reading the works of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, and many others. In her teens, she dabbled in writing, but with college and marriage, writing was mostly put on hold.

That changed about fifteen years ago when the writing bug bit again. A visit to the Mission San Luis Rey in California in 2001 and subsequent research became the catalyst to write her first novel, My House of Dreams.  Subsequently she began writing sci-fi stories and fantasy and The Mendel Experiment was published in 2014.

The author earned her degrees in English and Instructional Media at Utah State University. She worked in public school libraries for thirty-five years, and retired in May. Ms. Kite has been married to the love of her life, Dan, for almost 40 years. She has two children and 7 grandchildren and is still owned by the opinionated bossy cat and Chiweenie terrier.

Susan's Books:


The Mendel Experiment

Blue Fire

Power Stone of Alogol

Susan's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From Today's Program: Cancer-fighting Research Happening in Space.







Thursday, September 14, 2017

Time Hopping

A while back I tried to watch the Discovery Channel's docudrama on the Unabomber. I watched two episodes and gave up. Why? Because the thing time-hopped all over the place. It went from before the Unabomber was caught, to after he was caught, to trying to catch him, to trying to get him to plead guilty, etc. It was a confusing mess. Whoever green-lit it to be presented that way needs to have their head examined.

For me, in a narrative, you need to be careful about non-linear time hopping. I have done this once in a novel. In Forces, the novel is divided into three "books." Two of them, the first and the third, are in time order and close together. The middle book takes place 150 years prior. And, because of relativistic time dilation (travel close to the speed of light, time slows
down for you), there are many of the same characters in all three sections.

One beta reader said she found this confusing. But that was only one so I kept that structure. Haven't had any other complaints. 

In an early draft of Hammer of Thor, alternate chapters took place in 1932 and 1950. But I decided to change the structure and make it linear. The first section of the book is 1932, the second section is 1943, and the last section is 1950.

In my novel Agent of Artifice, the first chapter is set in 1963, then it goes back to 1959. There's one chapter in the middle in 1963 (just to update the reader on what's happening then), and the rest of the novel is linear, catching up to the events in 1963. Again, I've heard no complaints about this structure.

So if you're thinking of time hopping non-lineally, I suggest you really think about it and if it'll confuse the reader. As Nathaniel Hawthorn said, "Easy reading is damn hard writing." Make sure your reader can easily follow what you're doing.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Huskies are 2-0

Photo Credit: Lynn D. Townsend
Instead of my usual practice of watching my beloved University of Washington Huskies play football on television, I actually went to the game at Alaska Airline Field at Husky Stadium (yes, that is the full name). I hadn't been to Husky Stadium since its remodel in 2013 and wanted to see it. Plus I wanted to go to a game. I picked an early game (their first game at home) hoping the weather would be better than a  game later in the year.

We had very good seats on about the 35 yard line, 8 rows up from the field. I felt like I was within spiting distance of the visiting team's bench.

The distance between the 10-yard markers seems a lot shorter from that position than on television. Also, it was as if everything happened faster. I'd watch a play, take a moment to relax, and the next play would happen.

Getting to the game was a bit of a hassle. Construction on Snoqualmie Pass led to slow traffic. And then getting 68,491 people to the game caused stop and go traffic in Seattle. I was having Madras, Oregon flashbacks (although it was really not nearly that bad). We had to park about half a mile away from the stadium and walk there. They charged $40 for parking so the University probably made a killing on parking fees (there's really no near-by parking except on University property).

The Game

The Huskies were playing the University of Montana Grizzlies. The "Griz" are an FCS team (too small a school to be bowl eligible) so this
68,490 of my closest friends
was supposed to be a warm up game for the Huskies, apparently. (I have issues with FBS teams playing FCS teams but most of them do it.)

It turned out to be a complete mismatch. The Huskies dominated the Grizzlies and ended up winning 63-7. The two highlights for the Griz were an interception early in the first quarter that was run back in for a touchdown, and a blocked field goal attempt. The Griz often went for it on fourth down and only failed to convert twice out of five attempts. This surprised me. The Huskies went for it once on a fourth down late in the game and converted.

The Huskies looked much better than they did last week. Quarterback Jake Browning connected with his receivers and scrambled a couple of times to pick up yards, once getting a first down. Dante Pettis broke the Pac-12 record for punts returned for a touchdown by doing his seventh.

In the fourth quarter the Huskies put in backup players and even then scored two touchdowns. By then a lot of the people in attendance had left.

While rain was predicted, it only sprinkled a little and wasn't even very cold. I took my Husky pullover and never wore it.

After the Game

Traffic leaving the game wasn't nearly as bad. About like around the university at rush hour. A lot of people left early and by the time we got back to the car, the really bad traffic had mostly cleared out. As we we got to Highway 520 and the bridge over Lake Washington, there was almost no extra traffic.

For some reason that half-mile hike back to the car seemed longer than the same distance to the stadium. And we were gong downhill on the return.

The Polls

The AP top 25 poll came out yesterday. The Huskies moved up one to #6. Southern California (USC) moved from #6 to #4 after beating Stanford (who dropped to #19 from #14). Washington State, even after beating Boise State in triple overtime, dropped one spot to #21. And UCLA entered the poll at #25 after beating Hawaii.

Next week the Huskies take on the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs lost this week to #1 ranked Alabama. Fresno is an FBS team so should be more of a challenge for the Huskies. That game is at 6:30 on Pac-12 Network. I'll be home in my recliner.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Lisa Diane Kastner and Rick Karlsruher


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Lisa Diane Kastner and Rick Karlsruher.

Lisa Diane Kaster
Lisa Diane Kastner

Lisa is a former journalist and instructor.  Her short stories have appeared in multiple magazines and journals. She is the founder of Running Wild Press.

Lisa presented at a TEDx in Seattle on The Power of Connecting. And presented at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on the “You Sent Us What?” panel.

Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously encourage and engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Lisa's Books:


Lisa's Links:


Rick Karlsruher
Rick Karlsruher

I have led an usual life. Over the years I have managed and produced some music, created promotions, done international marketing and more.

Shortly after graduating from college I decided to be a writer. After several years of trying I thought I was on my way only to find it would lead to a Homeric odyssey.

The impact of those two years took me away from writing for more than twenty years. After much cajoling, I succumbed to literally hundreds of requests to write my story that became A Story Almost Told. 

Doing so has led me back to this passion.

Now comes Standoff, How the Cold War Really Ended. If you thought you knew, you were wrong. A simple detective story morphs into a spectacular satire on power and arrogance. 

Paying homage to Jonathan Swift, Dr, Strangelove, Rowan & Martin and Jon Stewart, Standoff will inform you and create laughter. 

I am a graduate of Wake Forest University.

Rick's Works:

Standoff, How the Cold War Really Ended (political satire)


Finding Home (film script- dramedy)

Rick's Links:


From today's program: Satellite Repair Service Coming.








Thursday, September 7, 2017

STEM Major

In college (at the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!)) I was a "STEM" major. STEM is, of course, "Science, technology, engineering, and math." I was an engineering major (pulp and paper engineer to be exact, which meant I took a lot of chemical engineering classes; never worked so hard for "C"s in my life). But when you take engineering, you take a lot of math (up through differential equations in my case), science (three years of chemistry), and, of course, engineering. You don't have a lot of time to learn about literature, art, history, etc. So I am the first to admit when subjects such as literature come up, I'm not the most educated person in that subject (doesn't help that I mostly read science fiction, too).

Now I have managed to learn some things along the way. When I was younger my brain was a sponge and picked up all sorts of things. Now days it's more like an old, dried out sponge that doesn't absorb very well. But, for instance, when I watch Jeopardy, art and poetry are usually my weakest subjects.

Now I do have this skill. For music from 1960 - 1990 I can "name that tune" quite often and usually identify the artist, too. I didn't try to learn them, my brain absorbed them. And slowly I learn more. I finally found out that his is what Nude Descending a Staircase looks like:
Meh, modern art.

The people who impress me are people who understand their STEM area of expertise, but also have knowledge of literature, art, humanities, etc. I'm not, at the moment, one of them.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Television Review: The Defenders

I have finished watching season one of Marvel's The Defenders on Netflix. And to get right to the point: it's very good. After Iron Fist season one's laconic pace, it was like a strong belt of whiskey.

The Defenders starts off reintroducing the characters, Daredevil/Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Coulter), and Iron Fist/Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Each one is dealing with that happened at the end of their individual series. Luke Cage is getting out of prison, Matt Murdock is doing pro bono lawyer work, And Jessica Jones is drinking a lot (big surprise). Only Danny Rand and his girlfriend/sidekick Colleen Wing are fighting the Hand, the big bad organization that Daredevil and Iron Fist both fought in their individual series.

But in their own way, each of the four are drawn into the web of deceit and lies of the Hand. I don't want to give anything away, but it was great to watch Luke Cage kick Danny Rand's ass.

The show is exciting, original, and fun to watch. Each of the four main characters stay true to their vision of the world as they reluctantly join to fight the Hand.

Lots of supporting players show up: I've already mentioned Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick). But there's also Clair Temple (Rosario Dawson), Foggy Nelson (Eldon Henson), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor), Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and even Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss). This gives the show a feeling of continuity from the previous shows. There's a few more but I don't want to give anything away.

The acting is very good (I'm really starting to like Mike Coulter as a actor) and the action sequences are, for the most part, exciting and well done. And there's enough of them to keep you interested. The stakes are high and the interplay between the four main characters is done very well.

It helps to have seen all the previous shows (yes, even Iron Fist) for continuity's sake. But you probably don't have to. Watch The Defenders and enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Huskies Move Up in AP Poll

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll came out at about 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM PT. And it's (mostly) good news for the University of Washington Huskies.

The Huskies moved up to #7 from #8 even after their lackluster win against Rutgers. This surprises me a bit.

USC, the Huskies' main Pac-12 rival, dropped from #4 to #6.

Stanford, the Huskies' main Pac-12 North rival, stayed the same at #14.

And WSU, the Huskies' cross-state rival, made the biggest move in the Pac-12, going from 24 to 20.

Not a bad week.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Better than the Beach Giveaway Almost Over

The "Better than the Beach" summer giveaway is almost over. Get your entries in to win prizes and maybe $130 PayPal cash.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Huskies Win Their First Game of the Season

As I tweeted last night:



Last night the University of Washington Huskies took on the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. The Huskies won, but for a while it looked like they might not.

Last year when the Huskies played Rutgers, it was a blow out. The Huskies put in second stringers in the second half of the game. Rutgers scored 3 points in the entire first half. The final score (with second and third stringers playing most of the second half) was 13-48. That game was at Husky Stadium so a friendly crowd and home-field advantage probably helped.

Last night's game at Rutgers was nothing like that. The Huskies' first series they went three and out. Then the Scarlet Knights scored a touchdown on their first possession. For most of the first half the Huskies struggled with missed throws and penalties. At the end of the first quarter, Rutgers led 7-3. The one highlight of the first half was a punt return by Dante Pettis that he ran in for a touchdown in the second quarter. That was his sixth career touchdown from a punt return, tying the Pac-12 record.

The Rutgers stadium was a hostile environment. The home crowd was mean. They would boo and hiss the Huskies and cheer when bad things happened to the Dawgs. They didn't applaud when an injured Husky walked off the field as would be the norm in college football and the NFL.

The second half was much better. Quarterback Jake Browning settled down and got into a rhythm. He made two touchdown throws. The final score was 30-14. It might have been less but the officials basically gave Rutgers a touchdown in the fourth quarter that they didn't earn (the player was down before the ball entered the end zone). Yes, they would have been on about the half-yard line and might have made a touchdown anyway. But they might not have.

The AP Poll doesn't come out until Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. So we won't know until then how this will affect the Huskies' ranking. This was a prime-time Friday night game so probably more people were watching it than your typical Husky game.

Next week the Huskies play the Montana Grizzlies at Husky Stadium. The Grizzlies are an FCS team (too small to be bowl eligible). I'll be at that game on about the 40-yard line and 8 seats up from the field. I'm assuming the Huskies are going to do better than they did this week.

But at least they won last night and are 1-0 on the season.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with M.L Ruscsak and J. T. Bishop


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers M.L Ruscsak and J. T. Bishop.

M.L. Ruscsak
M.L Ruscsak

Born In 1982, a native to Lorain Ohio, M.L. "Melisa" Ruscsak grew up living with her grandparents Frances and James Lasure. She attended Clearview High School as well as Lorain County J.V.S. While in J.V.S she attended the Culinary Arts program graduating in 2001.

In 2011 near tragedy struck as Melisa's health began to decline. By summer of 2011 she would need to use a cane to get around. Suffering a stroke she required a craniotomy where she suffered her second stroke. Leaving her with a partial impairment of her speech, and weakness on her right side.  After surgery she would need to learn not only to walk again, but speak as well as recognize the alphabet.

In 2003 she welcomed the addition of her daughter Chyenne. Who inspired her to start to put her dreams to paper. A story she wrote after her daughter's birth, although not published, became the stepping stone to everything else she would eventually write.

Two years later in the fall of 2013 after a divorce, she would meet the man who would push her not only to fight to regain her physical strength  but to put her creative mind to work. No longer allowing her to dwell on what she could no longer do but what she could.

In December of 2014 they would marry. With determination Melisa would walk down the aisle without the need of a cane.

A year later she would begin to write the "Of Lite and Darke" series, dreaming to see this work through to publishing, even if she would need to publish it herself.

In 2016 she would see her dream come true. With her daughter as her editor "Of Lite and Darke" was born.

M.L.'s Book

The New Reign (Book One in the "Of Lite and Dark" series)

M.L.'s Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

J.T. Biship
J. T. Bishop

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, J. T. Bishop began writing in 2012. Inspired by a video that theorized the meaning of the end of the Mayan calendar, J. T. began the "Red-Line" trilogy. The video surmised that the earth was the central hub of activity for extraterrestrials thousands of years ago. J.T. didn’t know whether that was true or not, but it did spawn an idea. What if those extraterrestrials were still here? Two years and a lot of work later, the first three "Red-Line" books were complete, but she’s not done. The "Red-Line" saga develops as she continues to write new books.

J.T.'s Books:


Curse Breaker

High Child

The "Red-Line" Trilogy Boxed Set

J.T.'s Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

From today's program:  Solar Eclipses are Not Forever.





Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Hobby

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and this is the last one! The prompt for today is "One hobby I'd like to start."

This is a tough one because my hobby used to be writing and I've turned that into my job. My other hobby is watching movies and I still do that.

I used to drive cars fast on a racetrack. But that got too expensive so I gave it up. It wasn't the entry fees but the wear and tear on the car (tires and brakes, mostly). Although it was the most fun I've had with my clothes on.

I'm not a crafty person. I can't work with wood or anything such as that. So building things as a hobby is out for me.

Probably the hobby I most need to start is jogging. Or at least walking. Help my health, help me lose weight. The problem I've always had with exercise is 1) it's boring and 2) it often hurts. But if you get into the habit of it, it becomes a habit. Makes sense.

What hobby would you like to start? Comment below! Really, I don't bite.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

An Interview with Brandon Lawson about His EDEN'S END Web Series

Brandon Lawson
Today we're interviewing Brandon Lawson about his horror/science fiction web series Eden's End.

What is Eden’s End about?

Eden’s End follows the journey of Gabriel who’s an angel, and his human friend who hunts down supernaturals who harm humans. They’re daily jobs come to a halt, when several supernaturals and humans come into pursuit of a powerful entity known as Eden which has the power of creation and destruction. Now Gabriel and Roy must race against these people to find Eden before it falls into the wrong hands.

When will the show be out, and where?

We are expecting to release it sometime this Fall, and the episodes will be on YouTube. At first, the entire pilot will be released, and afterwards the episodes will be broken up into segments.

Being independent, how is Eden’s End being made? 

In terms of funding, we have set up an Indiegogo page that will help gather funds for the production of the entire season 1 for the show.

What are the recent successes for leading up to the show? 

So far we have released a concept trailer and a short film that kind of serves as a sneak peek to the show. They both have been received well especially on Facebook where the concept trailer has over 11k views, and the short film has gained over 20k views and has been shared by a popular movie trailer page. Will are also submitting the short film to film festivals.

What is your role in the web series? 

I am one of the screenwriters for the episodes. I have help to write the pilot, along with our concept trailer and short film of the web series.

Why did you want to write for the series? 

My brother’s friend approach me because my brother told him how I wrote stories. I like to write, and this was a way for me to expand on my writing since I was already writing short stories for my website, I wanted to add to it.

What is your experience in writing? 

I have been writing creatively for 2 years. I have written 22 fictional short stories which I posted on my website. Their genres range from crime, horror, science fiction, and more. I have also written a few movie articles. 1 of my short stories have been published in my college’s magazine. On top of that I am currently working on a science fiction book of short stories which I plan on putting out on Amazon sometime next year.




Links:

Youtube channel for the show:

Facebook page for the show:

Instagram page for the show:

Indiegogo page:

Brandon's website:
https://www.bwlawson.com



Friday, August 25, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Douglas Robinson and Joshua Gayou


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Douglas Robinson and Joshua Gayou.

Douglas Robinson

Writer of Silently book Series.  He also has a book publishing company Silently Publishing www.silently-publishing.com

Robinson is a Christian; he received Baptism in Bible College.  Robinson became obsessed with vampires; the thought of someone being a vampire or becoming one troubled him greatly.  He set out to learn everything there is about vampires and then began to pray for their souls.  He began writing these storylines because he cares what happens to them and what happens to you when you find out people like this really exist.

Robinson changed the spelling of Vampire to Vampyre in order to change the perception between a real life vampire and a fictional one.  Vampyric people are physically changed blood-drinking human predators.

Douglas's Books:

Silently Comes the Night 

Rites of Passage

Douglas's Link:

Website


Joshua Gayou
Joshua Gayou

The short version is that I’m a 38 year old engineer in the aerospace business, specializing in broadband satellite communication systems.  I’ve worked in the aerospace industry for sixteen years, having started as an embedded software engineer developing instrumentation systems for rotary wing aircraft glass cockpits.  I’ve always had a talent for writing and the ability to communicate in written form has been an asset in my career (good engineers aren’t always gifted communicators; the activities utilize different portions of the brain and not everyone has all their areas equally developed, if you take my meaning).

Though I’m an engineer, that was not my focus in college; I have bachelors and master’s degrees in Computer Information Systems.  I fell into aerospace engineering rather by accident, which is a bit of a funny story.  Apparently, it impressed the guy who was interviewing me that I was a carpenter before I went to college.  It’s funny what seems to resonate with people.

Outside of all that, I managed to marry my high school sweetheart (Jennifer) and we have one son (Anthony, named after my father).  They are my two favorite people on this planet, when the wife isn’t assigning work for me to accomplish and when my kid is able to keep from doing hair-brained, ten-year-old stuff.

The long-winded version can be found here: http://joshuagayou.wordpress.com/home/



Joshua's Book:

Commune Book One

Joshua's Links:

Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From today's program: The Great American Eclipse, My Story









Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Eclipse

Photo Credit: Lynn D. Townsend
On August 21st I traveled to Madras, Oregon to see what has been called "The Great American Eclipse." I choose Madras because it's relatively close to where I live (about 280 miles by car), it was near the center of totality, and being in Eastern Oregon, the weather should be good (I made my plans in April, way too soon for weather forecasts).

The Eclipse

There are two ways of thinking about being in an area of totality of an eclipse: the Moon is covering the sun or the Moon's shadow is passing over you. Most people think of the former. But the latter is a useful model, too.

The Moon first touched the Sun's disk at about 9:06 AM. The Moon took so long to cover the Sun that it was nearly impossible to watch constantly unless you have very strong neck muscles. So I'd check every few minutes. We were in the penumbra of the Moon's shadow.

The ambient light appeared to stay the same for most of the eclipse but this is more because our eyes adjust. You can see plenty well outside on a sunny day and inside with light bulbs. But outside is much much brighter (this is why cameras need a flash for interior pictures). But with the Sun about half-covered and looking like a fat crescent moon, the temperature started to drop. A breeze picked up making it almost cool.

As more and more of the Sun disappeared behind the Moon, it did grow dimmer, almost looking like a cloudy day. The temperature kept dropping but not uncomfortably so. We were deeper in the penumbra.

Then the sun disappeared behind the Moon. We were in the umbra of the shadow. For us, that was just after 10:19 AM. The sky and ambient light was like just after the sun set but in all directions as on the horizon you could see outside the umbra of the shadow of the Moon. But the best part was the Moon/Sun combination itself as the Sun's corona became visible. It was lovely and awesome as the dark circle of the moon was surrounded by shifting white light (see picture above). It was magical and other-worldly. It didn't feel like something real. Yet it was, amazingly real.

If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the star Regulus.

Totality lasted just over two minutes. The first sign that it was over was a bright spot on the edge of the Moon. This is the sun coming through the mountains of the Moon and lets you know it's time to look away.

Nearly everyone present started applauding. I was wondering who they were applauding.

Then the Moon just as slowly as it covered the sun, uncovered our star. It grew light out and warmer almost immediately. Within a few minutes, unless you looked at the sun (through eclipse glasses), you'd never know there was an eclipse still happening.

The Good

Seeing the eclipse, probably the last one in my lifetime near where I live, was wonderful and I'm so glad I got to see it.

And Sunday night I had a really good steak at a restaurant in Bend, Oregon (about 40 miles south of Madras).

Where we were was near the airport. Starting about ten minutes after totality ended, airplanes started departing the airport. Mostly private jets. They would be about 10 minutes apart. This went on for at least two hours.

The Bad

The Oregon Solar Fest put us (and about 1,000 other cars) in a farmer's alfalfa field. It was dusty. In the morning it was like a car-alarm symphony as people kept setting off their car alarms. There were so many people there cell service just died. They organizers didn't have enough bathrooms (portapottys) set up. I waited an hour and 10 minutes once (after that I went in the trees) and my wife waited over two hours. My car is filthy inside and out from being in the dusty field.

I slept only three hours the night before the eclipse in an over-priced motel room.

The Ugly

Organizers said that there were about 100,000 people expected to show up in Madras, which is a small town of about 6,000 residents. There are three main roads out of the city, all two-lanes. It took us five hours to get to the backup on the road going north. According to Google Maps, the drive home should have taken about four hours. It took 15. After not sleeping for for over 24 hours (after three hours sleep), I pulled over and took a nap by the side of the road before I fell asleep driving. I saw taillights whenever I closed my eyes. We got home about three in the morning. The next day I was still exhausted.

Conclusion

Even with everything, it was amazing and so worth it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Huskies are Number 8!

The AP college football poll came out Monday. I was sort of busy with the eclipse, so I didn't see the poll until yesterday.

The University of Washington Huskies are #8 in the pre-season poll. Last year they didn't even start out as ranked (i.e., in the top 25 of the poll).

However, they ended last year at #4 so they dropped a bit since then.

The only other Pac-12 teams that are ranked are USC (#4), Stanford (#14), and Washington State University(!) at #24.

The Huskies don't play USC in the regular season but do play Stanford and (of course) WSU. Most predict we'll meet USC in the Pac-12 championship game.

The football season starts September 1st when the Huskies take on Rutgers. Go Dawgs!

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Anna M. Aquino and Leisa Ebere


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Anna M. Aquino and Leisa Ebere.

Anna M. Aquino
Anna M. Aquino

Anna M. Aquino is a super fabulous woman of God, wife, and ninja mom of two daughters.  As a writer and guest minister, her passion is to encourage others to fulfill their own destinies.  Often referred to as a preacher and a comedian rolled into one, she believes laughter is one of the best ways to get people to think. She is the author of many works including Cursing the Church or Helping It, Confessions of a Ninja Mom, An Ember In Time and A Marriage In Time.  She has been interviewed on places such as TBN, The Gospel Channel, and many radio shows. She has also written articles for well-known sources like Charisma, Ministry Today and the UK’s Keep The Faith Magazine. While she and her family do travel for ministry, Anna is based out of Central Ohio.  If you would like to connect with her then please contact her online at anna@annamaquino.com, Twitter: annamaquino, Instagram: AnnaMAquino33, and Facebook: annamaquino2.

Anna's Books:






Anna's Links:


Leisa Ebere
Leisa Ebere

Leisa Ebere, was originally born in San Francisco, California and now resides in Gravesend in the UK. She is married with three children and one grandchild.

Leisa has been writing poems and stories since the age of twelve and was inspired to write Crows and Angels, her new novel, by the stories her grandmother told her, of her ancestors settling in the Dakota Territory.

Leisa grew up on a horse ranch in the Northwestern United States and is 1/16 Sioux Indian by birth; and has a special place in her heart for Native Americans. Her aim is to tell their side of the story through her writing.

Leisa's Book:

Crows and Angels 

Leisa's Links:

Blog
Facebook





Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Makes Me Laugh

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. And today's prompt is "What Makes Me Laugh."

Lots of things make me laugh, like a funny television show. Probably my favorite sitcom of all time is Frasier. It was intelligent and funny.

Funny movies make me laugh, but good funny movies are hard to find. Lately "funny" moves tend to be aimed at teenagers with puerile humor to match.

People make me laugh. Not derisively, but with joy at how funny people can be, often without realizing it.

And bad jokes make me laugh, the cornier the better. Here's one of my favorites:

"How warm is the inside of a tauntaun?

Luke warm."

What makes you laugh? Comment below.


Friday, August 11, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Mark J. Engels and R.L. Akers


Today one the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Mark J. Engels and R.L. Akers.

Mark J.Engels
Mark J. Engels

Boyhood interests in trains and electronics fostered Mark’s career as an electrical engineer, designing and commissioning signal and communications systems for railroads and rail transit agencies across the United States. Along the way he indulged his writing desire by authoring articles for rail and transit industry trade magazines. Coupled with his long-time membership in anime, manga and anthropomorphic fandoms he took up writing genre fiction. Growing up in Michigan, never far from his beloved Great Lakes, Mark and his wife make their home today in Wisconsin with their son and a dog who naps beside him as he writes.

Mark is a member of Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state's oldest writing collectives. https://allied-authors.org/our-members/mark-engels/

Mark's Book:


Mark's Links:


R.L. Akers
R.L. Akers

R.L. Akers loves stories. He loves hearing them, loves telling them, loves embellishing them, and loves forging them from raw materials. He is convinced that every person who ever lived has an interesting story, and he's only met one person in his life who came close to proving otherwise.

Holder of an undergraduate degree in computer science and a master's degree in business administration, Akers has worked in software development as well as non-profit fundraising and publicity. His love for children has led him in the past to be a foster parent and a coordinator of the K-5 ministry at his church, and he currently invests time each week in the lives of local high schoolers. His interests include graphic design, orchestral movie soundtracks, and anything remotely creative.

Akers lives in West Virginia with his wife and the four children he loves most in this world. Visit Akers online at his blog, RLAkers.com, where you can find short stories and information about upcoming novels. Make sure you also check out Isle-of-Atlantis.com, Gryphens.com, and OrbitalDefense.com

R.L,'s Books: