Friday, January 27, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Beth Barany and Alan J. Field

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Beth Barany and Alan J. Field.

Beth Barany
Beth Barany

Award winning author, Beth Barany writes in several genres including young adult adventure fantasy and fantasy romance. Inspired by living abroad in France and Quebec, she loves creating magical tales of romance and adventure to empower women and girls to jump into life with both feet and be the heroes in their own lives.

In her off hours, Beth enjoys walking her neighborhood, gardening on her patio, and watching movies and traveling with her husband, author Ezra Barany. They live in Oakland, California with their cat named Leo, a piano, and over 1,000 books.

When not writing or playing, Beth runs her own company helping novelists as a book midwife, coach, and teacher to help them write, market, and publish their books.

Beth's Books:

Henrietta and the Battle of the Horse Mesa 

Christmas Magic, A Christmas Romance Collection: Two Touchstone Series Books

A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance)

Beth's Links:


Alan J. Field
Alan J. Field

Having practiced as a lawyer in New York for more than 20 years in the entertainment and high technology space, I knew it was time to step back and write what I like to read about: gripping international thrillers that laser beam on relevant geopolitical issues of the day.

I live in northern New Jersey with my wife and four children, myself being a South Jersey transplant. They keep me busy enough which made completing my first novel all that more incredible. I know this is just the beginning as I begin the next journey of writing a sequel.

All my prior published legal articles aside, this is my first crack at fiction. Sharing my story with others has been a thrilling and satisfying experience.

Alan's Books:

The Chemist

The Bridge to Armageddon (coming early 2018)

Alan's Links:


From Today's Show: Neutron Star May Confirm 80-year-old Quantum Prediction

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What is a Fashion Accessory?

I get the feeling when I pick up blogging prompts/challenges, that they are aimed at women. So in the 52-week one I'm doing now, the next prompt is "Your biggest fashion accessory." Yeah.

Listen, I'm an old, grumpy, and overweight guy. I don't do fashion. I do comfortable.

About the only fashion accessory I have are my shoes. I wear running shoes no matter what. After four years in the military and 20 years in the corporate world, I'm done wearing shoes that aren't comfortable. So even when I wear a sport coat, I wear running shoes. Because they are comfortable.

What I do is I go to Big 5 Sporting Goods (I don't know if they are a national chain) and buy an ASICS gel running shoe. They usually cost about $50. It was so nice when a Big 5 opened in the town I live in. Before I'd have to travel to Spokane or Tri-Cities to buy shoes.

It takes a few days for them to break in. I have weird feet. My arch is very high. So I have to get the shoes to conform to my feet. But when they do, they are oh-so-comfortable.

So if you see me, no matter where I am, I will be wearing running shoes. And believe me, I don't run. I barely walk.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Andy Peloquin and Mysti Parker

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Andy Peloquin and Mysti Parker.

Andy Peloquin
Andy Peloquin

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion,race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!

Andy's books:

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen

In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent

Andy's Links:


Mysti Parker

Mysti Parker is a wife, mother, author, and shameless chocoholic. While her first love is romance, including award-winning historical and fantasy romances, she enjoys writing flash fiction (the weirder the better) and children's stories. When not writing fiction, Mysti works as a freelance editor and copywriter. She also reviews books for SQ Mag, an international speculative fiction eZine. She resides in Kentucky with her husband, three children and too many pets.

Mysti's Books

Serenya's Song

Hearts in Exile

No Place Like Home

Mysti's Links:


From today's show: Huge Ice Reservoir or Mars.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Time Management

I'm not sure I have time for this but it's time for another 53-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Time Management." That's it. No clue what they mean.

Time management has never been my strong suit. I tend to run on deadlines. As in "oh, the deadline is approaching, guess I better work on that."

I've gotten better since I've started doing freelance. I rarely procrastinate freelance assignments unless I have one that takes greater priority. But I still just do what needs to be done and play it by ear. I use the calendar in Outlook to keep track of appointments and such, but not for any kind of time management.

When I worked in the corporate world, I still wasn't good at time management. I still just did things based on deadlines. The problem with the corporate world is plans tend to be interrupted by fires. So I just stopped making plans.

How are you at time management? Comment below.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Anthony Caplan and Matt Posner

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Anthony Caplan and Matt Posner.

Anthony Caplan
Anthony Caplan

Anthony Caplan is an independent writer, teacher and homesteader in northern New England. He has worked at various times as a shrimp fisherman, environmental activist, journalist, taxi-driver, builder, window-washer, and telemarketer, (the last for only a month, but one week he did win a four tape set of the greatest hits of George Jones for selling the most copies of Time-Life’s The Loggers.)

Currently, Caplan is working on restoring a 150-year-old farmstead where he and his family tend sheep and chickens, grow most of their own vegetables, and have a small apple orchard.

His road novels, Birdman and French Pond Road, trace the meanderings of Billy Kagan, a footloose soul striving after sanity and love in the last years of the last century. Latitudes – A Story of Coming Home, released in the summer of 2012, is a young boy’s transformative journey overcoming dysfunction, dislocation and distance. Savior, a dystopian thriller, published by Harvard Square Editions in April 2014, reached the top spot on the Amazon list of psychological suspense books. And his latest, The Victor's Heritage, features a teenaged heroine in a dystopian thriller one reviewer called “a definite must-read, no matter your age!”

Anthony's Books:

The Victor’s Heritage


Latitudes - A Story of Coming Home

Anthony's Links:

Matt Posner
Matt Posner

Matt Posner is an independent author and teacher from Queens, New York. He writes in multiple fiction and nonfiction genres.

Matt's Books:

Matt's Links:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Favorite Book

Once again it's time for the "52-week blogging challenge" and today's prompt is "My favorite book." I assume that means my favorite book that I haven't written. Naming your favorite book you have written (Treasure of the Black Hole) is like naming your favorite child (he knows who he is).

So what is my favorite book I haven't written? I was thinking The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. But to be honest, I haven't read it in years. And while I like Starship Troopers (also by Heinlein) it's a pedantic juvenile (what we call YA today) and not really "favorite book" material. (Forget the horrible movie. And I guess they're making another movie based on Starship Troopers. It will probably also be horrible.)

The book I have probably read the most is The Princes Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman. Why, because it's a fun read and I like its message ("life isn't fair"). And you have to read the non-story parts to get the full effect.

Yes, there's a movie version, and while I enjoy the movie, it's not nearly as good as the book.

So, I guess my favorite book is The Princes Bride.

What's yours?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Huskies are #4 in Final Poll

The AP Top 25 College Football Poll released its final poll for the 2016 season this morning. I was worried that the University of Washington Huskies might drop out of the #4 position because of their loss to Alabama. Especially after Clemson beat Alabama last night in the CFP Championship game.

But the Huskies stayed at #4. So they are considered the fourth best team out of 128 FBS teams (teams that are bowl eligible if they win 6 games in a season).

Interestingly, USC who won the Rose Bowl against Pitt, rose to #3 from #9 making them the highest ranked Pac-12 team. Utah showed up in the top 25 again at #23 after winning their bowl game. Colorado and Stanford were also in the top 25, meaning nearly half the Pac-12 was ranked. And no other conference has two teams in the top 5.

Looking forward to next year. One issue is that four top UW players have decided to skip their senior years and go to the NFL draft. One was John Ross who is an amazing player. Husky head coach Chris Petersen has a job ahead of him keeping the Huskies nationally predominant losing four of his best players. But that's why he makes $3.75 million a year.

Can't wait for September when college football starts again. It is, after all, my favorite month.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Marina Fontaine and Daniella Bova

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Marina Fontaine and Daniella Bova.

Marina Fontaine
Marina Fontaine

Marina Fontaine is a Russian by birth, an American by choice, and an unrepentant book addict.

Because of her background, Marina always appreciates an opportunity to discover, share and support pro-freedom literature. She runs Small Government Book Fan Club on Goodreads, Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance group on Facebook, and a cultural commentary/review blog, Marina’s Musings. She is a part of the Creators’ Team at Liberty Island website, where she contributes book reviews and some creative work.

Marina is the author of Chasing Freedom (a 2016 Dragon Award finalist for Best Apocalyptic Novel) and The Product, a dystopian novella published by the Superversive Press.

Marina lives in New Jersey with her very supportive husband, three children and four guinea pigs, working as an accountant by day and a writer by night. Her other interests include hard rock music, action movies and travel.

Marina's Books:

The Product

Chasing Freedom

Marina's Links:


Daniella Bova
Daniella Bova

Daniella Bova and her husband live in beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania. In addition to writing, Daniella loves reading, running in the beauty of the nature preserve near her home, the Catholic Faith, Classic Rock, Delaware Bay and the Delaware Beaches, and any and all forms of textile and fiber artistry.

Daniella is the author of "The Storms Of Transformation" Series, a near future dystopia. Book One, Tears Of Paradox, and Book Two, The Notice, were CLFA Book of the Year Nominees. Book Three, Cadáin's Watch, will be published in February of 2017.

Daniella's Books:

Tears of Paradox

The Notice

Cadáin's Watch (Storms Of Transformation Book 3) for preorder

Daniella's Links:


From Today's Show: Satellite Galaxy May be Clue to Dark Matter.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Favorite Month

Time once again for the "52-week blogging challenge" and today's prompt is "My favorite month."

This is January. This isn't it. January is probably one of my least favorite months. Cold and snow and the long hangover of the post-holiday period. January sucks.

My favorite month is probably September. It starts to cool off, the leaves start to change, but (at least where I live) it doesn't rain too much and never snows. And Pumpkin Spice Everything doesn't come out until October.

September accords us a chance before winter hits to spend time driving our cars on dry roads, enjoy blue skies and sunshine, and turn off the air conditioner and, until it gets too cool, leave the heat off.

And the holiday madness hasn't hit yet, either.

When I was a kid, September meant back to school. So that wasn't fun. But as an adult, that's no longer an issue.

So, why not May or June? Allergies, mostly. Although after seven years of allergy shots, that's much better.

What's your favorite month?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gratuitous Swearing

Over the weekend I watched the movie Sully. Good movie; I highly recommend it.

It was rated PG-13 for "for some peril and brief strong language."

The "strong language" has to be very brief. I have read that in PG-13 films you are allowed to say the F-word once and only as an interjection. It can't refer to sex.

Now bad language doesn't bother me, in real life or in the movies. Hell, I've seen The Big Lebowski which has the F-word spoken 292 times according to the Internet Movie Database.

But in Sully, there was one and only one use of the F-word. And it was totally unnecessary. One character says "It's F-ing cold." They could have said "Damn, it's cold" or "It's damn cold."

I think the only other swear word was a "bullshit" at some point. But I'm not attuned to counting swear words as some people seem to be. Probably, again, because I'm not offended by them.

I have a theory. Without that gratuitous F-word, Sully would have been rated PG, probably. Since children's movies are usually rated PG (you pretty much have to watch a nature documentary to see a "G" rating these days), the producers didn't want people to think Sully was too mild. So they threw in a gratuitous F-word to get a PG-13 rating for marketing reason.

Which is rather silly. But goes to show how the movie rating system affects movies.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What a Great Season the Huskies Had!

Yesterday in the College Football Semifinal game in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the University of Washington Huskies lost to Alabama. Alabama is still undefeated and still the #1 team in the nation.

It started out with the Huskies scoring first. But the Dawgs never scored again as the Alabama defense held them. The final score was 7-24. But it could have been a lot worse. The Husky defense never gave up, never stopped trying, and forced Alabama to punt often. Unfortunately the Huskies offense could never take advantage of that as the Alabama defense shut down both their passing game and running attack.

But, I still love my Huskies.

Think about this: last year they went into the Apple Cup needing to win to have a 6-6 season and be bowl eligible. They did win and went on to play in a bowl called the "Heart of Dallas Bowl." They won that, too, for a 7-6 season record.

This year they lost one regular season game (to the hated USC), won the Pac-12 Championship Game, and then lost to Alabama for a 12-2 season record. That's quite an improvement. And, at least for now, they are the #4 team in the nation out of 128 FBS teams.

So I still love my Huskies. And I can't wait until next year because I think they will do even better. Right now they are scheduled to play their opening game at Rutgers on Friday September 1st. That's only 243 days away.