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.


Youtube channel for the show:

Facebook page for the show:

Instagram page for the show:

Indiegogo page:

Brandon's website:

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

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:


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:

Joshua's Book:

Commune Book One

Joshua's Links:


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.


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, 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:


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.

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,, where you can find short stories and information about upcoming novels. Make sure you also check out,, and

R.L,'s Books:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Greatest Weakness

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge (we're getting close to the end). This week's prompt is "My Greatest Weakness."

We all have weaknesses. I have little self-control around foods I like. I like to drive fast. I don't multi-task well.

But what's my greatest weakness?

Last week I talked about how extremely shy I am. And I'm going to stick with that as my greatest weakness. But the good news is, I've mostly overcome it except in group settings where I don't know everyone.

But it used to be miserable. I wouldn't talk to people at all for fear of rejection (which is what I think shyness is: fear of rejection). I could barely function as a human when I was in my teens.

And I'm still shy. I just worked hard to overcome it like I said last week. But when I have to call a stranger on the phone and ask for an interview, I have to screw up my courage. Every time. It's very difficult for me. I don't make friends easily and usually have very few.

What do you consider your greatest weakness? Comment below! Let's talk.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Speculative Fiction Cantina Replay with Wesley Thomas and John Pyka

Today on a Speculative Fiction Cantina replay, 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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Biggest Strength

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

I had to think about this for a while. And I finally decided what my biggest strength is.

I'm a very, very shy person. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INTJ. The "I" stands for "introvert." I would rather be alone with my thoughts than at a party where I have to interact with people. All you introverts know what I mean.

But despite that, I am a pretty good public speaker. I can speak in front of a group of people without a problem, if I'm sure about my subject. Part of that is because of my work in Toastmasters. But even before Toastmasters I was fairly good at public speaking. When I worked in the corporate world, I would gladly give presentations all the time.

So I think my greatest strength is overcoming my inherent shyness to be a good public speaker.

Or it might be that I'm capable of doing freelance writing work because that means calling people I don't know and asking them for interviews. It's very hard for me to do that. But I do it because I enjoy the freelance work so much.

What is your greatest strength. Comment below!