Friday, May 26, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with David Michael Williams and Aram Keledjian

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers David Michael Williams and Aram Keledjian.

David Michael Williams
David Michael Williams

I was exposed to sword-and-sorcery fantasy at the tender age of 12 and dove headlong into fiction writing when I competed in a short story contest in sixth grade. While the tale—a glorified battle scene, really—garnered no accolades, two of its characters survived for many years thereafter and appear in The Renegade Chronicles.

I live in Wisconsin with an amazing wife (who somehow puts up with my storytelling addiction) and two larger-than-life children. I became a member of The Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, in 2005.

David's Books:

Rebels and Fools (The Renegade Chronicles Vol. 1)

Heroes and Liars (The Renegade Chronicles Vol. 2)

Martyrs and Monsters (The Renegade Chronicles Vol. 3)

All three volumes for the Kindle

David's Links:


Aram Keledjian

At age 9, Aram immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union. The travels and language
barrier left his thoughts to transcend into magical stories. However, it was not until a few years ago until he finally began to put them on paper.

Aram's Book


Aram's Links


From Today's Program: Spiders Could Eat All Humans in a Year.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What's Always in My Shopping Cart

Back to the 53-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "What's Always in My Shopping Cart." I don't tend to do the food shopping in the family. So this would more be like "what's always in my wife's shopping cart." I really can't think of anything that's "always" in the shopping cart other than staples such as bread, milk, butter. I think on thing we always try to have on hand is fruit. I love oranges and pineapple. Some times of the year it's hard to get good, fresh oranges. (I pretty much love orange anything.) I know this prompt is designed to ferret out our food fetishes like "I always have potato chips in my cart." But I don't have any food fetishes, except for "orange anything."

I also love peaches but it's early in the season for those. They'll become available in August. My dad usually buys a bunch then gives us some.

You'd think for someone who eats a lot of fruit, I'd be thinner.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Devra Robitaille and Ray Chilensky

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Devra Robitaille and Ray Chilensky.

Devra Robitalille
Devra Robitaille

London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids.  She had a successful career as a professional musician in England, playing keyboards and touring with Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame, before moving to America in the nineties.  All through the nineties she directed musicals and theatrical productions in Los Angeles.  In addition to the five books the Hologram Library published last year, she will be publishing two more books for young adults by the summer of 2017.  Devra now lives in Florida with her family on the Sarasota Bay. She loves to kayak and bike and is a consummate foodie, baking lovely cakes and deserts. She continues to write and compose for the theatre, but loves to write for children.

Devra's Books:

The Efficiency Claus

The Dream Stealers

Muffy and the Medicine Cat

Devra's Links:


Ray Chilensky
Ray Chilensky

Ray Chilensky lives in rural Tuscarwarus County, Ohio. He has worked briefly in law enforcement and for several years in private security. He has studied political science and history at Kent State University. Late in life he decided to pursue his passion for storytelling and combined that passion with lifelong interest in history, politics to seriously peruse a writing career. In his free time Ray’s interests include the martial arts., shooting sports, drawing and, of course reading good books.

Ray's Works:

Seventh: Blessed Warriors Book One

"The End of War" (short story in an anthology)

A Day and a Night 

Ray's Links:


From Today's Program: Mars Colonists May 3-D Print Tools from Mars Dust.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Brag, or Two

Back to the "53-week blogging challenge." Today's prompt is "Let Me Brag a Minute."

So I thought about bragging about my nine books (soon to be ten), then decided not to.

When I was in college I was in an advanced calculus class. And the instructor said he was going to give us a problem to work on. He
A capsule
wanted us to design a structure with a cylindrical middle and hemispherical ends. Sort of like a medicine capsule. He wanted us to minimize the cost of the materials and he gave us the cost of the cylindrical material and the hemispherical material. I don't remember the details. About three seconds after he did all that, I said, "The cheapest structure is a sphere."

He said, "What?"

I said, "The cheapest structure is a sphere."

He said, "No, it's more complicated than that."

I said, "No, it's not."

He didn't respond.

But the next day he changed the assignment, making it more complicated and so that the cheapest structure was not just a sphere.

P.S.: Today is the 37th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. That would make an interesting blog post since I lived about 150 miles away from the volcano.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Movie Review: La La Land

Thursday I watched the movie La La Land. Here is my review: it's a musical; I hate musicals.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Anthony R. Howard and P.I. Barrington

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Anthony R Howard and P.I. Barrington.

Anthony R. Howard
Anthony R. Howard

Bestselling author Anthony R. Howard has been an industry recognized consultant and technology expert for the premier global technology firms for over 12 years. Presently he is a leading Technology Specialist for one of the world’s largest Information Technology firms where he was named #1 IT Super Hero by InfoWorld and ComputerWorld, was the winner of the National Federal Office Systems Award (FOSE - Nation’s Largest Information Technology Exposition Serving the Government Marketplace), and the 2004 winner of Government Computer News Best New Technology Award. Several case studies have been published on Howard’s solutions across the Information Technology industry. Currently he provides enterprise technology solutions and advisement for America’s most distinguished clients including a sizeable amount of work for the U.S. Defense Sector, Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. His projects have been featured in national media outlets including Fox News. After founding his own technology firm, Howard completed his formal education with a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology. His vast career has included controlling hundreds of devices worldwide from secure Network Command Centers to relocating overseas to Amsterdam, The Netherlands for more than a year to solve technology issues for American based companies. He has also worked briefly for a private military logistics corporation that contracts a sizable amount of work from the Department of Defense and other military institutions. He’s also the bestselling author of The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox and  The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta.

Anthony's Books:

Devil’s Diary: The Coming

The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox 

The Invisible Enemy: Vendetta 

Anthony's Links:


P.I. Barrington
P.I. Barrington

After a decade-long detour through the entertainment industry where she worked as a radio air talent and the music industry, P.I. Barrington has returned to writing novels. She lives in Southern California and co-authors with her sister, Loni Emmert who also works in the music industry.
Her books include:
The Brede Chronicles, Book One, First Realm Publishing
Future Imperfect Trilogy (Crucifying Angel, Miraculous Deception, Final Deceit) Desert Breeze Publishing
Inamorata Crossing/Borealis 1: A Space Opera, Desert Breeze Publishing
The Button Hollow Chronicles: The Leaf Peeper Murders, Mainly Murder Press

And Free stories on

P.I.'s Book:

The Brede Chronicles, Book One

P.I.'s Links:


From Today's Program: Astronomers will Peer Inside a Black Hole.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Day in My Life

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. The next prompt is: "What's inside my closet." Well that's easy: clothes.

See you next week.

Okay, I'll look at the next one. It's "Meet My Pets." Well, I don't have any pets. I had a goldfish once. It died.

Still too easy.

And the next prompt is "A day in my life." I kind of covered this very quickly in a previous post.

I guess I could go into more detail.

My typical day starts when I wake up. I normally don't set an alarm unless I need to get up for a specific reason. I wake up anywhere from 3:00 AM to 9:00 AM. I then go to my office and do promotional work for my publisher that I sort of took on because I'm a nice guy and one of the few writers she has who doesn't have a day job. I then set up my automated tweets for the day (this takes off so much of the burden of tweeting).

Then I go back to my bedroom and take a shower in the master bath, then I usually wake up my wife (if she's not already awake). If it's 4:00 AM (and it has been sometimes) I let her sleep and go kill time by watching Netflix or stuff I've DVR'd that I know she wouldn't care if I watch without her (The Simpsons, Family Guy). When I do wake her up, we have breakfast and then she showers and gets dressed. Then we go to Starbucks. Nearly every morning we go to Starbucks.

When we get home from Starbucks, I'll go back to my office and start working on whatever freelance assignments I might have, or write on my WIP, or just goof off on the internet. Or blog sometimes.

Around noon my wife will bring me lunch.

Unless I have a reason to stay later, I usually stop working about 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM. Often because I feel sleepy (especially if I got up before 7:00 AM). So I'll often take a nap in my recliner.

Then I'll watch Netflix or DVR's stuff or goof off until 7:00 PM when it's time for Jeopardy. My friend Sarah got me back hooked on Jeopardy a few years ago.

Then it's time to watch a DVD/Blu-ray from Netflix or watch something we've DVR'd that my wife does want to watch. And I start falling asleep sometime between 8:30 PM and 10:00 PM. I have fallen asleep in my recliner and woken up at 1:00 AM and then gone to bed.

On Monday nights I have Toastmasters at 5:30 - 6:30 PM. On Friday nights I have writers' group from 6:30 to whenever it breaks up.

Weekends days are pretty much the same as weekdays, except on Sunday, my wife will go to church at 9:00 AM, usually leaving from Starbucks. If it's football season on weekends, I'll watch University of Washington Huskies football, and/or Seahawks football. Football is pretty much the only sport I really like.

I know, I'm boring. But that's my life.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Television Review: Iron Fist

Yesterday I watched the last episode of Iron Fist. Iron Fist is the latest Netflix/Marvel series after Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.

I've heard complaints that Iron Fist is boring. And at first it pretty much is. What kept me watching it was I felt I needed to watch it to keep up with the Marvel universe mythos (maybe "canon" is a better word) in anticipation of The Defenders.

This series is very much tied into that mythos/canon as Daredevil and Luke Cage are mentioned and Jessica Jones is referenced as a good private investigator "when she's sober." Also, Karen Page from Daredevil is mentioned as a reporter.

In Iron Fist are Madam Gao (from Daredevil and one of the villains here), Claire Temple (who has been in all the Netflix/Marvel series), and Jeri Hagarth (from Jessica Jones and briefly in Season Two of Daredevil).

So I sat through five episodes of Iron Fist, hoping it would get better. And it did. At the end of the sixth episode it takes off and rarely lets go of the viewer from then on. At first Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist comes off as kind of a wimp. But starting in episode six, he kicks ass.

The plot is pleasantly convoluted with turns and twists. Oh, and the Hand show up along with Madam Gao. Lots of martial arts ensues.

If the series had gotten more interesting earlier, it would have been much better. There was a lot of backstory to tell and get through, however. Finn Jones got better and more likable as the series progressed. And while I get very tired of the "evil corporation" trope, in Iron Fist, Rand Enterprises is evil for a reason (being controlled by the Hand will do that to ya).

And since I've been in business, I kept yelling at Danny Rand "Don't do that, you don't do that in business!" But it didn't do any good.

Speaking of business, there was one really bad mistake. They showed a Forbes magazine cover with a picture of Danny Rand and the headline "An Entrepreneur Who Cares." Except Danny Rand is no entrepreneur. He inherited all his wealth (and stock in Rand Enterprises). And entrepreneur starts a business and builds it from the ground up.

So, if you can sit through the first five and a half episodes, Iron Fist is worth watching.

Now I need to watch the last episode of Better Call Saul season two.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Movie Review: Rogue One

On Thursday (May the fourth be with you) I watched on Blu-Ray Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I didn't go see it in theaters probably because of my disappointment with Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens which I did see in the theater (IMAX 3-D).

But Rogue One was fun. It was fun to be back in the Star Wars universe. And the writers took great pains to A) deliver an action-filled movie and B) not contradict the canon of Star Wars. Small spoiler: this move ends just before Star Wars IV: A New Hope starts.

There is one small thing that is inconsistent with Star Wars IV. But we'll let that slide.

As far as the movie, it is fun, action-packed, and heartfelt. It was a little disappointing in the end, however as (**Large Spoiler**) everybody dies. Well, except Darth Vader.

I don't know why but despite thinking it was fun to revisit the Star Wars universe, the movie is so relentless in its action and its black vs. white plot structure, that I found the movie unfulfilling. There was very little depth to anything. The Empire is bad, the rebels are good, period. I suppose the entire Star War franchise has the same issue but it was more apparent in this movie.

The rebels are portrayed as a bit grittier and more diverse than they were in other Star Wars movies. I remember when the only black person in the whole galaxy was Lando. So that's an improvement.

There were some slight of hand tricks. Some pieces of film were cut directly out of A New Hope. They probably used CGI to make an actor look like Grand Moff Tarkin but the voice wasn't quite right (except when they copy and pasted it out of A New Hope).

And for continuity's sake, to fire the Death Star still involves a 1980's vintage video mixer.

While I enjoyed the movie and found it, for the most part, fun. I didn't LOVE it, like I expected to. If you haven't seen it, go ahead, you'll probably enjoy it. But it's not on the level of A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Special Guest Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we welcome special guest Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.

Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.

Edward M. Wysocki, Jr.
Ed Wysocki is an engineer who is now retired after more than 30 years with a major defense contractor. His introduction to science fiction came in the third grade when he encountered Heinlein’s Space Cadet. Heinlein remains his favorite author. Like many readers of science fiction, he has occasionally tried his hand at writing short stories, but with no success at sales. Yet.

Ed has been a bit more successful at writing about science fiction. His notes and articles have appeared in The Heinlein Journal and Science Fiction Studies. His books, The Great Heinlein Mystery and An ASTOUNDING War, reflect a combination of his interests in science fiction, naval and military history and history of technology.

Edward's Books (nonfiction):

Edward's Links:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Why I Blog

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge and today's prompt is "My Inspiration to Blog."

My first blog I started just to rant about stuff I was interested in. Which mainly turned out to be politics.

This blog (where I try to avoid politics) I do partly to help promote my books. But also as a way to talk about things I'm interested in such as University of Washington football, cars, movies and television, science, and whatever comes to mind.

But really, to be honest, the reason I bother doing this blog is book promotion. So please, buy a book!

(Wow, that's a short blog post!)