Saturday, April 22, 2017

Movie Review: The Founder

Last week I watched the movie The Founder about how Ray Kroc turned McDonald's into the fast food empire it is today.

A lot of people have said this movie is anti-capitalism or anti-free markets. I disagree. Yes, according to the movie, Kroc did some not completely ethical things. But he didn't do things that hurt people. He claimed he started McDonald's (he didn't) and he claimed he came up with the "speedy system" that made McDonald's the first fast food restaurant (he didn't). None of that is illegal, either.

I think what a lot of people worry about is the McDonald brothers. But they actually came out pretty well. They were doing okay, I suppose, before Kroc came along. But they tried to franchise and it didn't work. Kroc managed to franchise McDonald's and after some mistakes and false starts, he figured out how to make it work and how to make it profitable. A lot of people got richer (or rich) and a lot of people got jobs because of what Kroc did.

The McDonald brothers each got $1 million after taxes in the final buy-out. Now days $1 million isn't that impressive. But in 1961, when Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers, that $1 million was worth more than $8 million in today's dollars. And they each got that much. If they wanted, they never had to work another day in their lives. In today's terms, invest $8 million at 5% interest and you'd make $400,000 a year. Live off $300,000 (you can live pretty well on that) and reinvest $100,000 a year to keep your equity growing.

And the McDonald brothers would have never made that kind of money doing what they were doing until Kroc took the restaurant national.

However, the McDonald brothers also asked for 1% of McDonald's profits "in perpetuity." That is, forever. Kroc said that would have to be a "handshake agreement" because his backers wouldn't allow it. And the McDonald brothers went for it. Now I was in business and I know a "handshake agreement" isn't worth the paper it's not written on. If it's not written down, it doesn't exist. The movie makes it sound like Kroc, who became a billionaire, screwed the McDonald brothers out of that 1%. But the McDonald brothers never should have agreed to a "handshake agreement." Business is brutal. It has to be. The McDonald brothers weren't good enough businessmen. Ray Kroc apparently was.

And look what Kroc accomplished. How many people had their first job at McDonald's? How many people got rich as McDonald's franchisees? I look at that and think Kroc did an amazing thing that the McDonald brothers couldn't.

Micheal Keaton does a great job playing Kroc. Laura Dern plays his first wife (who Kroc divorces to marry someone else, and yes, that was a jerk move). It was a well-made and interesting movie. And if you look at it from a business perspective, a very interesting movie.


Friday, April 21, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Jayne Barnard and Felicia Cash


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Jayne Barnard and Felicia Cash.

Jayne Barnard
Jayne Barnard

Jayne is a founding member of Madame Saffron's Parasol Dueling League for Steampunk Ladies and the author of the Aurora-nominated Maddie Hatter Steampunk adventures for adventurous women aged 12 to 92. Drawing on her early psychology studies, she's also a longtime crime writer, with numerous award-winning short stories to her credit. Fueled by love of the wild, she’s at work on a trilogy of wilderness suspense novels for Dundurn Press. She divides her writing year between the Rocky Mountain wilderness near Calgary, Alberta and a rocky Pacific shore on Vancouver Island.

Jayne's Books:

Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond

Enigma Front: Burnt

Maddie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge

Jayne's Links:

Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Felicia Cash
Felicia Cash

I am a full-time mother of five, with three adopted girls and two bio boys. I am currently homeschooling all of them, so that doesn’t leave a ton of time for writing, as I’m sure you can imagine. However, writing is my passion and has been since I was a little girl. It is actually through my writing that I came to be an adoptive mother, and through being an adoptive mother, I believe that my writing has matured.

Felicia's Book:

The Last Sorcerer (book one of the Aurelius Series)

Felicia's Link:

Facebook

From today's program: Ceres has Briny Volcanoes.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Life Lesson I have Learned

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "A Life Lesson I have Learned."

Oh boy, this one is tough.

If someone (a job, a boss, a spouse, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a friend, a relative) tries to make you be something you're not, it's not worth it. You'll be miserable. And when you're miserable, you aren't having much joy in your life.

It took me a long time to learn that.

Okay, that was short.

What life lessons have you learned? Comment below.


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with William Alan Webb and Stephanie Osborn


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers William Alan Webb and Stephanie Osborn.

William Alan Webb
William Alan Webb

I’m the world’s oldest teenager. At a stop light you might hear my car thumping as I crank up the rock and roll, or wonder why I don’t get a haircut and a real job.

I was born and raised in West Tennessee, during the days when kids were allowed to get dirty and play with toy guns. My earliest memories are of a particular TV show (I was 2 at the time) and falling asleep watching it on our den floor, and reading books. I get bored quite easily, but for some reason books were like my soulmates. To this day, give me a beach and a book and I’m good to go.

I’m insatiably curious, too. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t, but I am. Don’t take me into a museum, we’ll never leave.

We have six dogs in our house, four of them rescues and one a gift. I like people well enough, but dogs won’t let you down. I’ve never been a cat person, yet we have one cat out of two kittens I pulled out of the middle of a highway after somebody abandoned them there. He’s an old bag of bones now, but Mr. Baggins has the run of the place.

Maybe I’m a cat person after all.

William's Books:

Standing The Final Watch (The Last Brigade, Book 1)

Standing In The Storm (The Last Brigade, Book 2)

The Last Attack: Sixth SS Panzer Army and the Defense of Hungary and Austria, 1945 (Nonfiction)

William's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Stephanie Osborn
Stephanie Osborn

Stephanie Osborn, award-winning Interstellar Woman of Mystery, is a 20+-year space program veteran, with multiple STEM degrees. Author, co-author, or contributor to 30+ books, including Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281 and the Cresperian Saga, she writes critically-acclaimed Displaced Detective, Silver-Falchion winner Gentleman Aegis, and the new Division One, her take on the urban legend of mysterious people who make things...disappear. She "pays it forward" through numerous media, and SIGMA, the science-fiction think tank.

Stephanie's Books:

Alpha and Omega (Division One book 1)

A Small Medium At Large (Division One book 2; available for pre-order)


Fear in the French Quarter (Displaced Detective book 6)

Stephanie's Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Google+

From Today's Program: Ceres Has Organic Molecules


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Well, Somebody Has to Say It . . .

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Well, somebody has to say it..."

Well, tax day is coming soon. So I'll say our tax system is a horrible bollixed-up mess.

Okay, something else.

I support indie authors. I am a semi-indie author. Some of my books are traditionally published by a small-press publisher and some I've published myself.

But some (perhaps just a small minority) of indie authors suck. Then they get their friends and family to give them 5-star reviews (something I've never done). These authors are bad writers and they don't get adequate editing done. Part of that is NaNoWriMo, I think. Someone writes a manuscript in 30 days ending in November, and they think "I need to get this on the Kindle just in time for Christmas."

NaNoWriMo has taken steps to encourage writers to revise and edit their manuscripts. So I hope that is getting to happen less.

So, if you are a writer, you need to edit and revise your work, then edit and revise your work. And finally, edit and revise your work. Then have someone else proofread and edit it. And I hope that person will be brave enough to tell you it sucks, if it does.

There, I said it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Len Berry and Georgina Young-Ellis


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are please to welcome writers Len Berry and Georgina Young-Ellis.

Len Berry
Len Berry

Len Berry studied biology before turning his imagination toward writing. In his spare time, Len enjoys drawing, watching anime, and playing an occasional video game. He is the author of the dystopian e-book Vitamin F, and several steampunk and fantasy short stories. Len's art can be found in the book Elegance.

Len's Works:


"The Mirror of Tila" (short story in an anthology)

Scars Of Shadow

"There Are Always Three of Them" (short story in an anthology)

Len's Links:

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Patreon
YouTube
Twitch

Georgina Young-Ellis
Georgina Young-Ellis

Georgina lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband who is an artist, writer, and teacher. They have a son who is a professional musician in New York City, where they all lived for eighteen years. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was a stage actress for many years. Born and raised in the Southwest, she went to school in New York City, graduating from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. She is also a screenwriter, journalist, film/theater critic and blogger.

Georgina's Books:


Georgina's Links:


From Today's Program: Hubble Spies on Ancient Galaxies.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Guilty Pleasures

Once again it's time for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Ten guilty pleasures."

I don't know if I have ten guilty pleasures. I'll try.

One: The movie Smokey and the Bandit. Low-brow, country-fried comedy from the late 1970s. But it still makes me giggle.

Two: Driving fast. Usually I set the cruise control five miles per hour over the posted speed limit. But every now and then I'll find a back country road and hit felonious velocities. The roads around here tend to be arrow-straight so high speeds are easy to hit. Curvy roads are also fun to drive fast even if you don't hit high speeds, but there are scarce in this flat part of Washington State.

Three: The movie The Seven Year Itch. Yes, it's from 1955 and yes, it's very politically incorrect in many ways that may grate on our modern sensibilities (especially the opening). But I find it hilarious, probably because my mind works almost exactly like the main character's does.

Four: Pizza. Pepperoni pizza to be exact.

Five: The Simpsons. Yes, the show has been on forever (since 1989) and has lost some of its early bite (political correctness has affected it, too), but it so often is funny and sometimes is relevant.

Six: Five Guys Burgers. Amazing burgers and fries to die for. They've started doing shakes recently. And those are very very delicious. I avoid them.

Seven: Family Guy. Not as funny as it was at the beginning and very irreverent and often cringe-worthy, it still has some funny moments. And sometimes is just hilarious.

Eight: The Princess Bride. The book, not the movie.

Nine (I'm running out of ideas): Netflix Marvel series. I started watching Jessica Jones because I'm a fan of Krysten Ritter (okay, I think she's cute) and that got me hooked. I've now watched the first season of Jessica Jones, two season of Daredevil, and the first season of Luke Cage.

Ten: University of Washington Husky football. If you've read this blog, no need to go into details.

Wow, I came up with ten. I'm somewhat surprised.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Once Upon a 24 Legacy

Sometimes when I'm watching movies or television, I'll recognize and actor and wonder where I've seen them before. This happened when I was watching Sunday night's Once Upon a Time episode. So what I'll often do is open the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) app on my iPhone and look them up. I was trying to figure out why the actor who was playing Jafar (yes, from Aladdin; if your haven't seen Once Upon a Time it loves to mash up Disney characters) seemed so familiar. So I looked him up on the IMDb. And found the actor is Oded Fehr. And Oded Fehr is playing the villain, Asim Naseri, a Middle Eastern terrorist, on the new show 24: Legacy, based on the old 24 with Kiefer Sutherland (who is an executive producer on the new show).

So Mr. Fehr has an opportunity to show off his acting chops, playing the evil Jafar in the fantasy show Once Upon a Time and then playing the evil Naseir in the action show 24: Legacy. Yes, both characters are evil, but Jafar is a different kind of evil than Nasier.

But when you DVR the shows and watch them one after the other, it's a bit jarring to have the same actor in both shows that are completely different types of programs.

And, here's how my brain works: both shows deal with time as in once upon a time and 24 hours in a day.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring into Reading Giveaway 2017

It's time for the "Spring into Reading Giveaway 2017!" There are hundreds of prizes including paperback and ebooks and a Grand Prize of $100 Paypal cash. Enter here and good luck:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Andrew Hiller and Richard Paolinelli


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Andrew Hiller and Richard Paolinelli.

Andrew Hiller
Andrew Hiller

Andrew Hiller attempted to travel the road least taken only to fall off. Caught in wild currents, he surfaced to find his commentaries selected four times as best of the year on Washington’s NPR station WAMU 88.5 FM, a pair of his plays fill the New York City stage, and an opportunity to act and write with the original Muppets gang in his Cobblestone Documentary series.  His first fantasy novel, A Climbing Stock, grew to reach the top 50 on Amazon’s humor best sellers. In between projects, he has taught art in a psychiatric ward, hosted an internationally broadcast science, health, and tech radio program, and reads everything that makes him go “Huh?” or “Ha!” His second novel, A Halo of Mushrooms was released in December 2015.

Andrew is currently working on a new YA fantasy novel as well as a new Cobblestones’ documentary. When not writing, editing, or producing you can often find him in front of a canvas. A sampling of his radio, visual and literary work can be found at www.andrewhiller.net.

Andrew's Books:

A Climbing Stock

A Halo of Mushrooms

Andrew's Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli

Born in Turlock, California in 1964, Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon. In 1991 Richard began his sports writing career at the Gallup Independent before moving on to work for the Modesto Bee, Turlock Journal, Merced Sun-Star, Tracy Press, San Mateo County Times and the San Francisco Examiner. He also served as an editor and photographer with some of the newspapers. He won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story while at the Turlock Journal.

In 2013, Richard retired as a sportswriter and decided to return to his fiction writing roots. He released two short stories - "The Invited" and "Legacy of Death" - as well as a full-length sci-fi novel, Maelstrom. In 2015, Richard completed nearly two years of research and interviews and published, From The Fields: A History of Prep Football in Turlock, California, chronicling 95 years of high school football in his hometown. One month later, the first book of the Jack Del Rio series, Reservations, was published by Oak Tree Press.

In 2016, Richard was one of a dozen authors selected to participate in, Beyond Watson, an anthology of original Sherlock Holmes stories and was one of 20 writers involved in a second Holmes Anthology, Holmes Away From Home, released in December. Perfection's Arbiter, a biography of National League Umpire, Babe Pinelli, was released on October 8th. W & B Books acquired the Jack Del Rio series and released the second book, Betrayals, in November. The remaining two books in the Jack Del Rio series will follow in 2017 & 2018.

In January of 2017, Richard returned to his science fiction roots with the release of the novel, Escaping Infinity, and hopes to release another sci-fi novel, When The Gods Fell, later this year.

Richard's Books:

Escaping Infinity

Betrayals 

Perfection’s Arbiter (non-fiction)

Richard's Links:


From today's program: NASA has plans to land on Europa.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Favorite Quotes

Once again it's back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "My favorite quotes."

This is kind of hard because I try to keep my politics out of this blog but most of my favorite quotes have to do with politics. Here's one that's an equal opportunity offender:

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." -- Winston Churchill.

A lot of my favorite quotes come from the late, great Robert A. Heinlein. Here's one of my favorites of his:

“What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell,; avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history' – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!” 
 Or another favorite quote:

"Just Keep Writing" -- S. Evan Townsend

What are your favorite quotes. Comment below.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'll be on "Let's Talk" with Bennet Pomerantz Today.

Today at 6:30 PM ET / 3:30 PM PT, I will be on "Let's Talk" with Bennet Pomerantz. We'll be talking about who-knows-what but I bet books will come up. You can listen here live or in archive.

I'm actually a little nervous because I don't know what we're going to talk about. You'll have to listen to find out.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with William J. Jackson and Olga Werby

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers William J. Jackson and Olga Werby.


William J. Jackson
William J. Jackson

William J. Jackson lives in yesterday and tomorrow. He has only the vaguest awareness of the present, and when he does, he writes. As fan of history, nature, comics and science fiction, Jackson merges these hobbies into the Legacy Universe, his fictitious saga of the denizens of Railroad City, Missouri. When not writing, he travels through time, stares at birds, and works and lives in historic Salem, New Jersey with his darling wife and family.

William's Books:

Down Jersey Drive-shaft (in progress at Wattpad)

An Unsubstantiated Chamber (free ebook here)

Cerulean Rust (free preview here)

Other free ebooks here and here.

William's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Olga Werby

I came to United States as a refugee. Science fiction stories, in particular, have always been my preferred escapism. I wrote my first story in elementary school. But being dyslexic, I chose art as a passion to follow…until college, when I switched to math and astrophysics. After graduating from Columbia University, I started a company that developed educational software. Along the way, I earned my masters in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from UC Berkeley and then a doctorate in cognitive science and human computer interaction design. I work with my husband of many decades solving complex product design problems. We work International Criminal Court and an Irish music pub in San Francisco—we have a wide range. In 1995, we developed, produced, and run a collaborative creative hyper-fiction writing project, The Company Therapist (TheTherapist.com). In 2009, we wrote the first version of our science fiction novel about the possibility that we live in a virtual reality world—a novel idea at the time. Since then, we published five novels, three of which we co-wrote together. When I was growing up, I wanted to go into space. Writing science fiction is the next best thing.


I'm interested in humanistic science fiction. What makes us human? How do we learn empathy for others who are very different from us? How do we explore ideas of social justice and human rights in an inspiring and emotionally powerful way? How can science and science fiction about the near and far future inform our decisions today? How can we use stories to help us understand cognitive differences -- autism, schizophrenia, genius, sensory impairment, body differences, social and psychological isolation?

Olga's Books:

Twin Time

Coding Peter; Many Words, One Life Book 2

The FATOFF Conspiracy  (Free here for a limited time)

Olga's Links:


From today's program: White Dwarf Pulsar Discovered.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Favorite Parts of Each Season

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Your Favorite Recipe."

My favorite recipe is browned butter, salted caramel, snickerdoodle cookies made by my wife. Because I don't cook much except for nuking things in the microwave.

So what's the next prompt? "The Best Parts of Each Season."

Hmmmmmm

The best part of Winter is watching snow fall. Which is also the worst part because you know that the roads are going to be bad and if you haven't put you snow tires on yet, they're going to be very bad.

After this last winter, my favorite part was when it ended earlier this month (finally). This is the latest the snow has hung around since I moved to Eastern Washington.

The best part of Spring is that here in Eastern Washington, at least for a while, things are green. Even things that aren't irrigated/watered are green. Also, there's no snow on the roads. And it's not as hot as summer. Also, women shed their winter bulky clothes and start wearing dresses and shorts again.

The best part of Summer is air conditioning.

The best part of Fall (probably my favorite season) is it cools off and the leafs start to change, which can be very pretty. Of course, this portends winter coming and snowy roads once again.

So, apparently I like roads that aren't snowy and don't like it hot.

What's your favorite part of each season, comment below.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Internet Move Database Correction

I just did something I haven't done for a long time: I submitted a correction to an item on the Internet Movie Database. It was for the movie Passengers (which had a lot of science errors in it). But one item listed under "goofs" was completely wrong. It was under the category "Incorrectly Regarded as a Goof." And it read:
On Jim's first spacewalk, a tear runs down his cheek. That has nothing to do with the presence or lack of gravitational force, since H2O molecules stick together because of surface tension, and thus stick to Jim's face as they should.
(Here is the scene they are talking about. The tear happens at about 2:25 into the video.)(Bonus points for spotting the other science errors in that clip.)

And the above "not a goof" statement is grossly scientifically wrong. In fact, I found this video on YouTube that explains what exactly happens when you cry in freefall (which is slightly different from the micro gravity Jim was in on that spacewalk, but not enough to make a difference). Here's a video with even more water.

As you can see in the first astronaut video, the water doesn't run down the astronaut's face as it does in the movie Passengers. In the second video, with more water, it doesn't drip down, it just sticks to the washcloth and the astronaut's hands.

I have a feeling, however, the movie producers if they knew this they would have kept the scene the same as most audience members wouldn't understand why a ball of water is forming on Jim's eye.

***Spoiler Ahead***

As for the movie, it was okay. It had something very common in science fiction movies: fix this one big thing and everything will be okay. Which is rarely true in real life. But the more I watch Chris Pratt, the more I like him as an actor. And Jennifer Lawrence is very good in this move, not to mention very cute.

***End Spoiler***

So we'll see if the IMDB accepts my correction of that supposed non-goof.
     

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Kevin S. Chambers and Jason Klamm


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Kevin S. Chambers and Jason Klamm.

Kevin S. Chambers
Kevin S. Chambers

Kevin S. Chambers was born May, 3, 1990. Kevin has always had a wild imagination, often creating and writing stories during, church and school when he should have been paying attention. Not only did Kevin like to tell stories, he loved to read; until he entered high school
.
Rich Martin a shop teacher at Kevin’s high school handed him a book, Eragon. For over a year Kevin held onto the book, until he finally read it. After which he continued to read, eventually finding the Sword of Truth Series.

Since 2010 Kevin has spent his time between reading, and writing not only novels, but screenplays as well.

Kevin's Book:

God's Rogue

Kevin's Links:


Jason Klamm 

Jason Klamm has been a published writer for more than 20 years, training under beat author Fielding Dawson, who compared Klamm's early works to the likes of Kafka. He's the author of two books of satire, and is currently researching a book based on his podcast, Comedy on Vinyl. His comedy work has placed in national screenwriting competitions and his short films have been distributed by NBC Universal, Comedy Central and Frontier Airlines. He has also written films and TV pilots for Jamie Kennedy Entertainment.

Jason's Books:

Looking Forward: A Hopemoir

Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained 

Jason's Links:

Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From today's program: Methane on Mars May Have Warmed the Planet.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Biggest Dreams in Life

Ladies and gentlemen, time once again for the 52-Week Blogging Challenge (add applause).

Today's prompt is "My biggest dream in life."

This is easy.

I want to be a best-selling author. Read and adored by millions. Sort of the J.K. Rowling model of being an author.

And, it's not so much the money (although that would be nice). It's that I want to be read by strangers. I want to touch people's lives. I want to be . . .well, adored. By strangers.

Now I'm not saying I'm as good a writer as Ms. Rowling. But I think I'm pretty decent. I've read New York published books that aren't as good as my writing. So why them and not me? Well, luck for one. And maybe they tried harder than I.

I don't know.

So what's your biggest dream? Comment below.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Last week I bought my wife a new car. Her older car (a 2004 MINI Cooper S) was starting to be unreliable and I hate that in a car (or anything else). So we sold the MINI (amazingly fast) and I bought my wife a 2017 VW Golf GTI.

Now if you know cars and you read this blog, you might wonder why I bought a Golf when it is on the same platform at the Audi A3 I hated so much. Well, two reasons. One: the platform works much better on the Golf, and the Golf GTI doesn't have the same awful engine that the A3 had. I looked this up. The base A3 has a 1.8L engine. The base Golf has the same engine. The optional bigger engine for the A3 (that comes with Quattro all-wheel-drive) is the turbocharged 2.0L engine that is also in the Golf GTI. (And the more powerful S3 will have the same engine as the more powerful Golf R.)

So if you buy an Audi A3, get the bigger engine unless you like your engine to sound like a concrete mixer.

I drove my wife's GTI and was impressed with its power and handling. I put it in "sport" mode and floored the gas. The driven front tires chirped at both start and the shift to second gear (it has an automatic transmission). This is a fun-to-drive car.

I'm hoping to keep this car about ten years. By then every new car will probably be autonomous and all driving fun will be gone.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with R.F. Dunham and L.J. Cohen


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers R.F. Dunham and L.J. Cohen.

R.F. Dunham
R.F. Dunham

R.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you've never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you've never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham's stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

R.F. lives in the foothills of Central Virginia with his wife, two cats, and a Newfoundland puppy. If he's not writing, he's probably brushing that puppy. Any remaining time is spent playing jazz trumpet and hiking in the Virginia countryside.

R.F.'s Works:


Insha’Allah (free)

"Just a Drop" (short story in an anthology)

R.F.'s Links:


L.J. Cohen
L.J. Cohen

L.J. Cohen is a Boston area novelist, poet, blogger, ceramics artist, and relentless optimist. After almost twenty-five years as a physical therapist, L.J. now uses her anatomical knowledge and myriad clinical skills to injure characters in her science fiction and fantasy novels. Her most recent book, Dreadnought and Shuttle, (book 3 of the SF/Space Opera series Halcyone Space) represents her sixth published novel. Derelict, the first novel in the series, was chosen as a Library Journal Self-e Select title and book of the year in 2016.

 L.J, is active in IPNE (The Independent Publishers of New England), SFWA (The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America),  and Broad Universe and blogs about publishing, general geekery, and other ephemera at http://www.ljcbluemuse.blogspot.com. Contact L.J. at lisa@ljcohen.net and http://www.ljcohen.net.

L.J.'s Books:

Dreadnought and Shuttle (Halcyone Space, book 3)

Ithaka Rising (Halcyone Space, book 2)

Time and Tithe (Changeling’s Choice, book 2)

L.J.'s Links:



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cars and Other Stuff

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Working on my fitness."

Har-dee-har-har.

Okay, so the next prompt is "What I spend money on."

I had to think about his because I don't tend to spend a lot of money. But when I do, I go big. I spend money on cars. I like cars, the faster and more powerful the better. I've even driven some on a racetrack. (Which was also something I spent my money on. Not the fee to drive on the track but the new tires and brake pads required.)

Now, some might think my bright yellow Corvette is a mid-life crisis car. It's not. I've had a sporty car constantly since my mid-20s. I like fast cars.

Then there's the maintenance of fast cars. The oil change on the Corvette is almost $100. The tires are $2,500 for four and then you have to pay to mount them. Because they are run-flats I have to have them installed in Spokane (first time I had to go to Seattle). The tires only last about 15,000 miles. The tires that came on it only lasted 5,000 miles (about what I drive the Corvette in a year) so I was replacing tires every year until I found a new brand that lasts 15,000 miles.

Side note: I've always wanted a Ferrari. I read somewhere that Ferrari tires last about 5,000 miles and you have to buy them from the Ferrari dealer and have them mount and balance them for an outrageous price I don't remember the exact amount of. I just remember it was high.

So that's where I spend money. Well, on big screen T.V.'s, too. But that's another post. Maybe.

What do you spend money on? Comment below.


Friday, March 3, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with A.M. Justice and C.C. Aune


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers A.M. Justice and C.C. Aune.

A.M. Justice
A.M. Justice

A.M. Justice has danced tango beneath the wings of angels, played hide and seek with harbor seals, and sought distant galaxies from dusk to dawn. She hasn’t donned tango shoes in a while, but she still scuba dives and star gazes whenever the seas are calm enough and the skies dark enough. Hiking to isolated swimming holes, exploring ancient cathedrals, and dining with friends are among her favorite things, but she really loves sitting with a cat on her lap while a beloved movie plays on TV.

Justice’s young life was defined by restless parents who moved us every two to four years, but she has found stability in a Brooklyn apartment where she’s lived more than a decade with her husband, daughter, and cats. Her short story “The Weight of Bliss” won first place in the science fiction/fantasy category of the 2016 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards.

A.M.'s Works:


A.M.'s Links:


C.C. Aune
C.C. Aune

C.C. Aune's ramblings have led her through 49 states—nine of which she has called home—plus a fair number of countries. She has been a journalist and a contributor for the companion book to PBS's 2000 series In Search of Our Ancestors. Currently, she directs the blog One Year of Letters, which explores the internal landscape of writers. The Ill-Kept Oath is her debut novel.

C.C.'s Works:


"Expiration Date" (short in an anthology)

C.C.'s Links:


From today's program: Cold and Dark Killed the Dinosaurs.