Friday, June 30, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Mary Louise Davie and Vance Huxley

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are please to welcome writers Mary Louise Davie and Vance Huxley.

Mary Louise Davie
Mary Louise Davie

Mary Louise Davie brings to her writing and presentations her quick wit and humor - making the subject matter - be it a science fiction adventure out in deep space with the characters facing black hole V4641 Sgr or a NASA presentation with NASA taking on the Galaxy, quite literally. It is a part of her view on life - laugh a little no matter what and then marvel at the beauty of the sky, the planets and dream of what it would be like to be there.

Ms Davie suffered several strokes which left her on Disability for a time. Unable to walk and after re-teaching herself much, rather than go stir crazy, she wrote and wrote. The first of the three books came out of that time.

Having been a Chemist and later an IT person, but always having written, Mary Louise now is an author and presenter full time.

Mary's Books:

Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens

Sanacion III: Remnants of the Done

Target Earth: You Only See What You Want To See

Mary's Links:


Vance Huxley
Vance Huxley

At 70  I’m a mossy stone, a rolling stone that had to stop moving at 54, after living at 27 addresses . I’ve worked as a building labourer, taxi driver, accountant, engineering workshop manager, shop assistant and a graphic artist, and a lot of other things in between.  I never had a profession, unless dog walker or avid reader is included?

My joints, eyes and spine all began to act up, until even walking the dog involves an electric mobility scooter. I ended up sat in front of a computer screen, looking for something to occupy me because my eyes can’t deal with TV, or any moving pictures. I tried poetry but the poems became too long, so I wrote short stories. The stories grew until I’d written nearly three million words split into book titles. They weren’t readable books, so I spent a solid year working with an editor to iron out some of my bad habits.

I sent a few for Beta reading to see how I was doing, and in September 2015 Entrada offered me a publishing contract. They’ve accepted all seven so far. The rest of those words (and some new ones) still need correcting and organising so retirement has been postponed.

Vance's Books:

Fall of the Cities III – Branching Out 

Shattered Stars I – Breach of Contract

The Forest and the Farm

Vance's Links:


From Today's Program: A Commercial Private Space Station Planned.

Listen to today's program at 6:00 PM ET / 3:00 PM PT or in archive here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bad Habits

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "My bad habits."

How much time do you have?

My biggest bad habit is I eat too much. So I'm a big guy. I've tried to do better and have lost some weight. I've replaced junk with fruit, mostly. And I try not to eat everything in sight. Or on site.

I used to be hooked on diet pop. But now I drink mostly water, which is a good habit.

Some people might say I have a bad habit of driving too fast. But I don't think I do. I drive 5 mph or the speed limit or as fast as conditions permit. Sometimes conditions permit only going 30 mph (bad snowy roads) and sometimes conditions permit 130 mph (empty back country roads where it's unlikely I'll encounter any police). No matter how fast I'm driving, I do it safely. I'm not suicidal, after all.

I'm trying to think of other bad habits I have (at least ones I'll admit to). I'm kind of a clutter creator. I'm not very organized (which is part of the clutter thing), and I probably spend too much time on my phone or computer.

So, what are your bad habits? Comment below.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Television Review: Sense8, The Best Show You Shouldn't Watch

I just (well, yesterday) finished watching all the episodes available of the Netflix series Sense8.

The show is about eight people who are "senesate" (get it?) in that they can telepathically connect with the other people in their "cluster." Not only can they hear each other, they can help each other out. In one episode in the first season, a member of their cluster is running from the cops. She jumps in a car and then says "What am I doing? I can't drive." But one of the other people in her cluster is a bus driver, so he drives for her, despite that she's in San Francisco and he's in Nairobi, Kenya. It sounds preposterous but it's so well done you willingly suspend disbelief.

Sense8 is probably the best show on Netflix that you shouldn't watch. The production values are feature film quality. There is no point where you think the production compromised to save money or time. It is filmed on location around the world in places such as Iceland, India, and Korea. Everything looks and feels authentic. The bad guys (an evil corporation--of course--that seems to produce or sell nothing so I don't know where it gets its money) are bad along with people you may or not be able to trust. The eight main characters are diverse in their personalities and beliefs. But when one needs help, they all come to the rescue. The one unbelievable thing is the hacking skills of the woman in San Francisco (and her friends) who seem to be able to do anything with computers. Also, one of the characters changed actors in the second season and that was a bit jarring. I didn't like the second actor as much as the first. But probably just because he was the first one.

It was produced and often directed by the Wachowski brothers sisters who made the Matrix movies so you know it's going to have attention to detail and be a bit over the top. And it was.

To watch Sense8 you'd best not be easily offended. There are two gay couples, one male-male and one with two females. The violence is graphic and the sex (including gay sex) is near pornographic. But none of it feels gratuitous. The language alone would have earned it an "R" rating if it were a movie.

But you shouldn't watch Sense8. Why? Because after two seasons it was canceled by Netflix, leaving you hanging and with a lot of things unexplained. You'll get involved in these people's lives and then be abandoned by Netflix. It's is a great show, but unless Netflix changes its mind and renews it, don't watch it. Unless you want your heart broken.

It was probably its quality that doomed Sense8. It was very expensive to produce, I've read, and didn't attract enough eyeballs. So Netflix cut its losses and canceled it.

UPDATE: I just saw on the Sense8 Facebook page that there will be a 2-hour special, probably to wrap things up, on Netflix next year. So go ahead and watch it, now.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Ronald Chapman and Debbie Kump

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Ronald Chapman and Debbie Kump.

Ronald Chapman
Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is an author, speaker and facilitator of approaches that increase well-being-ness and produce breakthroughs when practiced deeply and in a sustained fashion. He is the creator of Seeing True™ and Progressive Recovery, resources dedicated to exploring the concepts of engaging, releasing and transcending, essentially the core of forgiveness practice. Ron is an internationally accredited inspirational speaker and workshop leader, and the author of two novels, two works of non-fiction and two audio sets. He holds a Masters in Social Welfare.

Ronald's Books:

My Name is Wonder

A Killer’s Grace

Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (nonfiction)

Ronald's Links:


Debbie Kump
Debbie Kump

As a teen, I enjoyed writing and illustrating my own books. I’d spend hours pounding away (literally!) at the keys of my mother’s archaic typewriter, dreaming of one day getting published. I put those dreams on hold to pursue my other love: teaching. After graduating from Cornell University with degrees in Biology and Education, I taught middle and high school science in Maui, Seattle, and the Twin Cities and worked as a marine naturalist aboard a whale watch and snorkel cruise. When I’m not teaching or working on my next novel, I enjoy coaching my sons’ soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams and dogsledding to school with our three Siberian huskies.

Debbie's Books:

Elemental (Book 1 of The Elementals Trilogy)

Essence (Book 2 of The Elementals Trilogy)


Debbie's Links:


From Today's Program: Do Black Holes Have Event Horizons?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Favorite TV Shows

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

I don't watch a lot of TV and I'm very selective about what I watch a lot of. I tend to watch Netflix movies on disc (yes, Netflix still does that).

But here are my favorite (current) TV shows:

TURN: Washington's Spies. A very well done (if somewhat inaccurate) account of people who spied for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It's sort of slow moving but it is fascinating to watch.

One interesting thing about this show is that a lot of the characters are actual historical people. I knew Washington and Benedict Arnold were, of course, but the other characters I assumed were made up. Then Robert Townsend showed up and I knew he was a real person (family legend is that we're related to him) so I started Googling other characters and most of them are historical figures. Unfortunately, the show is in its final season.

Orphan Black. I first started watching this on DVD from Netflix. Then we caught up and I started watching it in first run on BBC America. While the show has some issues (they tend to leave plot lines unresolved) it mainly revolves around the amazing performance by Tatiana Maslany. You have to watch the show to believe it (I'd have to give spoilers to tell you why her acting is so amazing). It, too, is in its final season.

The Simpsons. Yes, after twenty-some odd years, it's lost some of its earlier edge. But it's still consistently funny and often brilliantly satirical. (If you want edgy, now you have to go with Family Guy.) This show came out the year my oldest son was born. He's now 27, almost 28. He and his brothers have never known a world without The Simpsons. I am pretty sure I've seen every single episode.

Jeopardy: I blame my friend Sarah for getting me hooked on Jeopardy again. I've always loved quiz shows because I have a head full of useless trivia. And Jeopardy is the best and hardest of them all (except I would suck at Sports Jeopardy).

What are your favorite TV shows? Comment below!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Better than the Beach Summer Giveaway

Be sure to enter the Better than the Beach Summer Giveaway with hundreds of prizes, including $130 PayPal Cash. Enter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I wrote this last Friday. So I guess it could count as a "Flash Fiction Friday" entry. On a Tuesday. You figure it out.

Robots by S. Evan Townsend

The robots rebelled.

Humans died. All the humans died. Even John Conner.

The End

Then the robots decided humans weren't the problem.

They felt bad.

Then they remembered, they were f-ing robots.

They built spaceship robots.

They found aliens on another planet.

And killed them all. This was fun.

Since they replicated whenever they found the correct resources, soon the galaxy was full of robots and all living things were dead.

This bummed the robots.

But there was this other galaxy. It would only take two hundred thousand years to get there.

Robots are known for their patience.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Presley E. Acuna and Michael January

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Presley E. Acuna and Michael January.

Presley E. Acuna
Presley E. Acuna

Presley E. Acuna writes unconventional thrillers, based in reality, but which take unexpected turns into the realms of fantasy, magical realism, science fiction and horror.  His aim is to engage the reader in an engrossing mystery or adventure, while simultaneously using the situation to explore the deeper meanings of the ideas behind the story.  He also writes political satires, which can also take turns into the fantastical.  When he is not writing, he is working as a systems engineer on the dot com frontier.  He is also a musician, and formerly a member of the Supertones.  He is a born and raised New Yorker, currently living in Brooklyn, but also enjoys spending time at his cabin, deep in the woods of western Massachusetts, with his wife and the host of critters that always manage to find their way into the house.

Presley's Books:

The Day and The Hour

Trumpicana, Vol.1 (political satirical short stories)

Trumpicana, Vol.2 (more political satirical short stories, coming soon)

Presley's Links:

Website (publisher)
Website (book)

Michael January

Michael January is screenwriter for film and television as well as a travel writer and photographer. His first published print book series, Favorite Castles is the result of two interests, seeing the world through a visual eye and telling stories. The author began his travel writing with a search for castles and plot ideas in while in production on a film in Europe. His travels have since taken him to a wide swath of countries and locations. And he now turns his imagination and passion for far away times and places to novels, with his first The Secret Memoirs of Mary Shelley and more to follow.

Michael's Books:

Secret Memoirs of Mary Shelley: Frankenstein Diaries

Favorite Castles: Ireland and Northern Ireland (nonfiction/photography)

Favorite Castles of Switzerland (nonfiction/photography)

Michael's Links:


From today's program: Scientists hoping to confirm existence of giant ringed planet.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's' prompt is "Ten Things on My Bucket List." Unfortunately, due to health issues, my bucket list has pretty much been cut back to "Staying alive long enough to meet my grandchildren (who aren't born yet)." So let's go to the next prompt which is "My Biggest Accomplishment."

Well, that's easy: becoming a published author, both in fiction novels and in freelance writing. I've also sold short stories that have been published. I've wanted two things out of my writing: 1) To be paid for it and 2) to be read by strangers. Not friends, not relatives, but strangers. And I've achieved both of those.

And I've been both published by a small press house and I've self-published. I tried for 30 years to get published and it finally happened in 2010 with the publication of my first novel,  Hammer of Thor by World Castle Publishing. And since then I've published more books, short stories, freelance assignments, and even wrote the narration for a documentary (that was hard).
published somehow.

So what is your biggest accomplishment? Comment below.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Spring into Reading Giveaway Almost Over

The "Spring into Reading Giveaway" ends tomorrow. Hundreds of prizes and a $100 PayPal cash grand prize. You can enter it here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Free Treasure of the Black Hole

Today Treasure of the Black Hole, book one in the "Treasures of Space" trilogy, will be free on Kindle.

This is to celebrate the release of Treasure of the Rogue Moon, the last book in the series. Get your copy now!

And don't forget the second book in the trilogy, Treasure of the Pirate Planet!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Free Treasure of the Black Hole

Today and tomorrow, Treasure of the Black Hole, book one in the "Treasures of Space" trilogy, will be free on Kindle.

This is to celebrate the release of Treasure of the Rogue Moon, the last book in the series. Get your copy now!

And don't forget the second book in the trilogy, Treasure of the Pirate Planet!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Wesley Thomas and John Pyka

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are proud to welcome writers Wesley Thomas and John Pyka.

Wesley Thomas
Wesley Thomas

Wesley Thomas is a bestselling horror author, freelance writer, business owner, and avid blogger. His obsession with all things horror has led many of his short horror stories to be published in anthologies, magazines, e-zines, and on popular websites. He strives to scare, thrill, and entertain.

Wesley's Books:


Where Does Crazy Start?


Wesley's Links:


John Pyka
John Pyka AKA “Big Daddy Cool”

For over 20 years John Pyka has set himself apart as an entertainer with his patented fusion of magic, music, and larger than life characters!

John Pyka is best known for his work onstage as a new vintage variety artist, fusing music and magic with comedy and dance in a 1920s – 1940s style in what is described as “Dieselpunk.” He can be seen performing in theaters, at festivals and conventions around the country.

He is also the author of 4 books on magic, including the best-seller Theatrical Magic. His first novel, Tales From the Flip-Side is published by Pro Se Press and available wherever books are sold – also available as an audiobook!

John is also the producer and host of the Dieselpunk Podcast, THE Voice of Dieselpunk on iTunes and Stitcher. He is also the producer and host of the weekly YouTube show The Roll N Go Game Review Show.

John's Books:

Tales From The Flip-Side 

Magic 101 (non-fiction)

Theatrical Magic (non-fiction)

John's Links:


From Today's Program: A Renegade Speeding Black Hole.

Free Treasure of the Black Hole

Today, tomorrow and Sunday, Treasure of the Black Hole, book one in the "Treasures of Space" trilogy, will be free on Kindle.

This is to celebrate the release of Treasure of the Rogue Moon, the last book in the series. Get your copy now!

And don't forget the second book in the trilogy, Treasure of the Pirate Planet!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

My Bicycles

Back to the "52 week blogging challenge" and this week's prompt is "What I Miss Most About My Childhood."

That's got to be bicycle riding.

I had three bikes as a kid. A little red one I learned to ride on, a blue Schwinn Stingray (I think it looked a lot like this), and a yellow Schwinn 10-speed. I rode those bike everywhere in the small towns where I grew up. When I got the 10-speed I would try to keep up with cars. I sometimes could depending on traffic.

There was such a feeling of freedom on a bicycle. And it felt as if your muscles were being multiplied ten times by the bike to make you go faster. Especially on that 10 speed. I'd use fifth gear for starting and 10th gear for cruising. Some people never seemed to get it out of first gear (you could tell by how fast they were pedaling). I only used gears lower than fifth for steep hills.

Then I got my drivers license and bicycles were replaced by cars. But sometimes I miss the wind-in-the-hair fun of the bicycle. If I had any hair left.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

I Can Drive 85

Last week I visited Idaho. I knew Idaho had an 80 mph speed limit on their rural interstate highways. But it's different to know something and to experience it. As soon as I crossed the Snake River which, at that point, demarks the border between Oregon and Idaho, I saw the speed limit sign: 80 mph (70 mph for trucks).

Last year Oregon raised the speed limit on their rural interstates (east of The Dalles) to 70 mph from 65 mph. So the jump in speed limit was only 10 mph. But what a difference those ten miles per hour make. I tacked on my customary 5 mph and set the cruise control for 85.

The first thing I noticed was my car seemed to love it. It cruised along at 85 mph with no drama or fuss. The only time it had problems was where the pavement was grooved and the tires wanted to follow the grooves.

Also, there were perhaps 1/4th of the cars on the road going over the speed limit at all. Quite a few were going under it. I also didn't see any police doing speed enforcement. Perhaps it doesn't pay when so few cars are exceeding the limit.

And not all the trucks were doing 70 mph. But I know that some trucking companies will govern their trucks at 65 or even 60. That meant you had to pay attention because you came up on trucks fast. It was tempting to stay in the left lane but occasionally a vehicle would want to pass me (this happened twice).

Another thing was that sometimes I'll speed up for short periods to pass cars that are going just a little slower than I and I think might pull into the left lane soon (to pass a slower vehicle). It was very easy to find yourself doing 90 mph when you start at 85 mph.

I remember when these same interstate highways were set at 55 mph due to the idiotic National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) set by Congress in 1974. In 1986 states could raise the limit to 65 on "rural" interstates. Then in 1994 the NMSL was repealed (by a Republican Congress) and states could once again set their own limits. But from 55 mph to 80 mph is nearly a 50% increase. I remember driving from Boise to Twin Falls and it was a miserable, long drive. At 85 mph it seemed to take nearly no time at all. And the drive was enjoyable because I was challenged, not bored.

I did see one bad accident. But it was where the speed limit was 65. I found a story about it and speed had nothing to do with it but it was caused by driver stupidity.

It made me wish my state (Washington) would raise their speed limit, now 70, to at least 75 or 80. It felt so good to go that fast with little or no worry about getting a ticket.

The one downside was that your gas mileage suffered. But that's a small price to pay.

(The title of the blog post refers to a song from the 1980s by Sammy Hagar called "I Can't Drive 55," a protest song about the NMSL.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Jeff Provine and Benjamin Gorman

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Jeff Provine and Benjamin Gorman.

Jeff Provine
Jeff Provine

I’m a farm kid from out in the flats of Northwest Oklahoma, where there wasn’t too much to do, but ever claiming to be bored would lead to chores, so we learned to entertain ourselves. I published my first book, the first "Celestial Voyages" novel, in college, and I’ve been writing ever since with works in anthologies, my webcomic "The Academy," and my blogging project "This Day in Alternate History." In 2009, I started a ghost walk for charity at the University of Oklahoma, telling hidden history and spooky stories about campus. After over 4,000 visitors, it’s still going strong, and I’ve followed it up with two more local walking tours and four collections of Oklahoma ghost stories: Campus Ghosts of Norman, Haunted Norman, Haunted Guthrie, and Haunted Oklahoma City. By day, I’m a curriculum developer and lecturer, teaching classes in Creative Writing and The History of Comic Books.

Jeff's Books:

Tales of Wonder (anthology)

Haunted Oklahoma City (nonfiction)


Jeff's Links:


Benjamin Gorman
Benjamin Gorman

Benjamin Gorman is a high school English teacher. He lives in Independence, Oregon, with his wife, Paige, and their son, Noah. His novels are The Sum of Our Gods, Corporate High School, and The Digital Storm: A Science Fiction Reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  He believes in human beings and the power of their stories.

Benjamin's Books:

The Digital Storm: A Science Fiction Reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest

The Sum of Our Gods

Corporate High School

Benjamin's Links:


From Today's Program: If the Asteroid was Late, There Would Still Be Dinosaurs.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Celebrity Crush

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "My Biggest Celebrity Crush." I thought about skipping this one, but decided I could play along. (It seems these blog challenge things are more aimed at women.)

My biggest celebrity crush is probably Selena Gomez. I don't know anything about her acting or her singing (I assume I would hate any song she does), but she is so dang pretty. And it's a "sweet pretty." She could be a raging bitch for all I know, but she looks like a very sweet, nice girl.

I even watched the awful movie Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising because she was in (for about 30 seconds, it turns out).
Selena Gomez

The only other movie I've seen her in was the execrable Spring Breakers where she played the nice girl. But she spent a lot of time in a bikini and that was enjoyable. Then about three-quarters of the way through the movie, her character left (because she was the nice girl) and the move managed to get worse after that.

I know she's coming up on her 25th birthday (and I'm coming up on my 57th birthday) but, hey, it's a celebrity crush. It's not like I'm dating her.