Friday, January 26, 2018

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Nathan R. Morgan and Mike Bergonzi

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Nathan R. Morgan and Mike Bergonzi.

Nathan R. Morgan
Nathan R. Morgan

Author Nathan R. Morgan has had the talent to write ever since he was a young child. His parents were very supportive and recognized this in him, so they signed him up for things such as writing camps. Nathan’s interest in writing since such a young age has led him to have a dream of becoming an author. He decided to take it upon himself and do what he loves, and he wrote his first novel over a summer break and through that same fall. Nathan excels in his academic studies, absolutely loves to go fishing, loves his family and friends dearly, loves to travel, likes to go camping, and has a very strong work ethic that was apparent throughout his entire life. He also knows that God had blessed him very much, and he’s made it his mission to share God’s love with others.

Nathan's Book:

Nothing is as it Seems

Nathan's Links:


Mike Bergonzi

Mike Bergonzi holds a degree in mass communications. He currently resides in Champaign-Urbana, where he’s employed by the city’s local PBS station (WILL-TV) as a camera operator. Such shows he’s worked on include over 100 episodes of Mid-American Gardner and Illinois Pioneers. Michael has also worked on the 2014 and 2016 District 13 Congressional debates in Illinois. While he’s not working in television production, he volunteers at Stevie Jay Broadcasting—a local radio station in the area. His duties include mixing the Brother Johnny and Mike Ditka podcast on Other podcasts he’s worked on include Pendant Production’s Seminar series as the Director of episodes 37-39 and the mixer for Mike Murphy’s Strange Stories “The Touch,” from Misfit’s Audio.

Mike's Books:

Moon and Star: Book One

Moon and Star: Book Two

Moon and Star: The Complete First Saga (First two books combined)

Mike's Links:


From Today's Program: Space Dust Can Transport Life.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Back to the 30-day blogging challenge. I'm going to combine the next two prompts into one post because they are closely related. The prompts are: "What are you passionate about?" and "If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?"

I am passionate about writing. So if I could have any job in the world, it would be a writer. And that is pretty much my job now (even though my freelance career has slowed down a lot). I pretty much can't stop writing. I had very bad writer's block on a novel. Another writer suggested I write something else. So I just started what I thought would be a short story. It is now a novel in the editing/proofreading stages. Because I kept writing and it kept getting longer and longer and longer.

There are some other things I'm passionate about. I used to be passionate about politics but the 2016 election pretty much killed that. I am still (and always, probably) passionate about University of Washington Husky football (Go Dawgs!). If you read this blog regularly, you're probably aware of that.

What are you passionate about? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Agent Stephanie Hansen and Miranda Nichols

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome Agent Stephanie Hansen and her client Miranda Nichols.

Stephanie Hansen
Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie represents debut to New York Times bestselling authors. She's signed authors with small presses to major publishing house distribution. She received her Master’s in 2008 and Creative Writing Specialization in 2017. Predominately she represents YA SF/F but has a secret addiction for romance. While these are her favorite, she handles everything fiction from children's books to adult thrillers. Previously an editor for Mind’s Eye Literary Magazine, she became a part of Metamorphosis July 2016. Originally looking to help Midwest authors garner the attention of major publishing houses, despite residing in "flyover states", she found camaraderie with multiple agents and editors.

She's seeking: YA series, adult SF/F, thrillers & romance. She is intrigued by prose that flows as smoothly as poetry, unforgettable plot twists & well-rounded characters.

Stephanie's Links:

Agency Website
Agency Twitter
Stephanie's Twitter
Stephanie's Pinterest
Stephanie's Instagram
Stephanie's Google+

Miranda NIchols
Miranda Nichols

Miranda Nichols enjoys her too short-lived moments in Boston visiting family. That’s why her stories tend to travel there. She’s had years of professional experience perfecting detail-oriented work and it shows in her writing. A current student working towards her English degree, she’s following her lifetime calling. She's a loyal friend who's not afraid to tell it like it is. Like the smell of fresh popcorn, her fantasy romances tempt you and keep you coming back for more.

Miranda 's Book:

Blood Awakening (releasing 1/29/18)

Miranda's Links:


From Today's Program: Eclipse Left Supersonic Wake in the Atmosphere.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

School Daze

Back to the 30 day blogging challenge. The next prompt is "What do you collect?" Well, I used to collect rejection slips. But I'm not really a collector of anything. I'd prefer to collect memories and pictures.

My old high school
So the next prompt is, "How has your school life been throughout the years?"

When I was in primary education (K-12) I hated school. It was boring. (Full disclosure: I never finished Kindergarten. It wasn't required in those days and was privately done, like preschool is now.)

I was teased and bullied for being a shy, quiet boy with flaming red hair. This lasted through most of high school. I remember one time in high school this bully was taunting me, trying to get me to throw a punch. I told him as confidently as I could something like, "I'm not going to hit you first, but if  you hit me, I'll destroy you." Yes, I was bluffing. But he never threw that punched. Called me a "chickenshit" and he and his gang walked away. I was either a junior or a sophomore in high school when this happened.

Young Santa Claus
College was different. First of all, it wasn't boring. I was finally challenged. And there was no bullying and just friendly teasing. Of course, by then my hair had mellowed from the near orange it was when I was a kid to more auburn. I had a beard and people said I looked like young Santa Claus from the kid's show Santa Claus is Coming to Town. And I had to admit, I rather did.

The biggest problem I had with college was that in high school I never had to study. In college, I had to study but I wasn't in the habit of it. So it took me a while to get into that groove.

When I went back to college after my military career and my major was engineering, I had to study a lot. I studied every day except Saturdays (I gave myself those days off) and then Sunday I usually studied all day. Except when I took a class called Chemical Engineering Unit Operations which was a lab class. Then I had to study on Saturdays, too. It sucked.

The hardest class I took in college was Fluid Dynamics. You did differential equations so much, I was doing them in my sleep. Now I couldn't do a differential equation if you held a gun to my head.

How was your school experience? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Guest Post: Judith White, Mystery Writer

Today we welcome to the blog Judith White, a writer of detective and mystery novels.

Judith White
I once read an article in which was said that the mystery author possesses a high IQ. No, honest, I did! Now, I'm not sure that is true in all cases. I would like it to be fact, though. You see, I am an author of mysteries; four of them to date. Yet, whether that pertains to me personally or not...and there is much room for doubt...I do know that writing a mystery novel is damned hard work, although some have made it look quite easy when the final product is in print. One who comes to mind is my favorite writer of whodunits, Agatha Christie. What a wicked tale she could weave! Dame Agatha wrote approximately 80 detective novels in her lifetime, along with other pieces of fiction. With each one, the woman combined all the elements of a great mystery.

Yes, there are certain elements one has to intertwine in the narrative if one is to be successful in capturing reader audience and admiration.

While I could go through the list of ingredients that are needed for a complete mystery novel...such as the who, how, where, why, etc., I'll tell you what stands out in my mind as one of the most important. For example, X murders Y with an obscure poison at the beach house behind the country estate because...because...well, darn it! Why did X commit such a heinous act? In my humble estimation, X has to have a pretty substantial reason for wanting to get rid of Y! And that reason had better be plausible to the reader. The motive must be totally believable. To me, it's the most important aspect. If a mystery author isn't successful in creating a believable scenario, he or she won't be successful in selling many books.

Have you ever read a mystery novel and, while it being pretty engrossing, you plod through it only to find out a barely mentioned character committed the crime because of a minor infraction the victim committed toward his or her nemesis? I have, and it made me angry; so much so that I didn't desire to read any further work by that author. Number one, the murderer has to be an integral part of the story. How else are arm-chair detectives to put together a rational deduction while reading the story? And number two, the motivation behind the crime had better be solid. Otherwise, the reader will view the work as stupid and lame.

At present, I am developing in my mind a credible motive for my fifth Sam Flanagan mystery novel, and I am hoping and praying that I own even a fraction of the genius of Dame Agatha Christie.

Judith's Amazon Page

Judith's Facebook Page

Free Monthly Author Newsletter sign-up link

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Joshua C. Chadd and Nancy Fulton

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Joshua C. Chadd and Nancy Fulton.

Joshua C. Chadd
Joshua C. Chadd

Joshua is a Jesus Freak and follower of the Way. As an adventurous nerd, he loves the outdoors and when he’s not found high in the mountains of Alaska, he can be observed living on the rolling plains of eastern Montana with his wife, guns and two katanas. He has a passion for all things imaginary and finds inspiration in the wilderness, away from all the distractions of life. Some of his other passions include hunting, shooting, board and video games, hard rock, movies, reading and The Walking Dead.

Joshua's Books:



Wolf Pack (preorder)

Joshua's Links:


Nancy Fulton
Nancy Fulton

Nancy Fulton is a writer/producer living and working in Los Angeles. When she's not drafting screenplays or running events for the group of 25,000+ writers, screenwriters, and producers she supports, she is writing the kind of novels and graphic novels she likes to read.

She has a wonderful husband, three great kids, a barky dog, and two cats who demand food 4 times a day.

Nancy's Books:

Nancy's Links:

From today's program: Too Much Antimatter Hits Earth.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The 1972 Great Daylight Fireball

The 1972 Great Daylight Fireball
Time once again for the 30-day blogging challenge that I'm doing in 30 weeks (approximately).

The next prompt is "draw anything." Drawing is one talent I do not have. So we'll go on to the next, "Describe any significant memories of your childhood."

I talked about a very early memory here.

I talked about a traumatic memory here. (Okay, it wasn't that traumatic.)

Here's an interesting memory. My older brother and sister and I (I am the youngest of three) used to "canal surf." Hey, it was Idaho, you found entertainment were you could. We took a piece of plywood and covered it with carpet. The wood was sawn so that one end was narrower than the other. To the narrow end a hole was drilled and a rope put through it. Two other holes were drilled in the narrow end and a rope looped through them so that a person standing on the board could hold the rope.

Then we'd go to a bridge over an irrigation canal. You tied the far end of the rope connected to the front of the board to the bridge and put the board in the water. Due to the current of the canal, the board would float on the surface, skimming it. You jump off the bridge and grab the board as the current carried you by. Stand up on the board and you're canal surfing. You could go side to side by shifting your weight or dive the board under the water by putting a foot on the front of the board. The challenge was to go deep but not so deep that you got swept of the board by the current. I could almost get to my knees.

Also, I had very bad eyesight and wore thick glasses. This made it difficult for me to see anything at distance (near-sighted).

So, on August 10, 1972 (I was 12 years old) we decided to go canal surfing. I was on the board and not wearing my glasses when I heard what sounded like a low-flying jet. I looked up to see a white contrail in the sky. And I thought it was a low-flying jet. Which I thought was cool and regretted not having my glasses on to see it. It must have been about 2:30 in the afternoon.

When I got out of the water, my brother and sister told me it wasn't a jet, but a fireball. I really regretted not having my glasses on then.

It turned out to be the 1972 Great Daylight Fireball. Here's a Wikipedia article about it. Here's video of it shot from Wyoming.

I didn't realize what it was until they talked about it in my astronomy class at the University of Washington in circa 1980. And I realized that's what I saw.

Do you have any significant childhood memories? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Final AP College Football Poll

The final college football AP poll came out yesterday after Monday's CFP championship game where #4 Alabama beat #3 Georgia to become the national champion of FBS college football.

In the final poll, Alabama was, no surprise, #1, with Georgia #2.

How did the Pac-12 do and specifically the University of Washington Huskies? Well, every team in the Pac-12, except Utah, lost their bowl game. So those that were ranked dropped in the polls. USC is the highest ranked Pac-12 team at #12 (down from #8). Then the Huskies are at #16 (down from #12). At one point they were ranked #5.

Last year the Huskies were #4 at the end of the season.

Stanford from #15 to #20. And Washington State, who was ranked every week and once as high as #8, went from #21 to dropping off the top 25.

So the Pac-12 didn't do well this year in bowl games. Next year will be interesting. And it's always fun.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Raquel Byrnes and James W. McAllister

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers Raquel Byrnes and James W. McAllister.

Raquel Byrnes
Raquel Byrnes

Raquel Byrnes writes across several genres including YA Steampunk, Fantasy, and Gothic Mystery. Critically acclaimed for her edge-of-your-seat stories with complex characters and heart pounding thrills, she is always looking for another adventure in which to partake. When she's not writing she can be seen geeking out over sci-fi movies, reading anything she can get her hands on, and having arguments about the television series Firefly in coffee shops. She lives in Southern California with her husband, six kids, and various reptiles.

Raquel's Books:

The Tremblers 

Mechanica & Mayhem (Free Download) 

Secrets at Crescent Point

Raquel's Links:


James W. McAllister
James W. McAllister

My name is James Warren McAllister.  I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist living near Syracuse in Central New York State. Currently I am employed in Healthcare Accreditation. I have extensive experience in both the hospital and the home care aspects of Respiratory Care, including management in both settings.

I have been interested in science fiction since reading the Lensmen Series of books by E. E. "Doc" Smith in Junior High School. TV shows like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Babylon 5 along with movies such as Robinson Crusoe on Mars and Star Wars further peaked my interest in the genre.

My first novel, The Best Laid Plans, has been selected as a Runner-Up in the 2013 MARSocial Author of the Year Competition.

James's Books:

Staged Fright


The Turret

James's Links:


From Today's Program: A Privately Funded Mission to Find Life.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Favorite Fictional Characters

It's time once again for the "30 day blogging challenge" that I'm doing in approximately 30 weeks (depending on how many I skip).

This week's prompt: "Your favorite fictional characters."

I was having a hard time with this one. Captain Kirk? Maybe. Spock? Definitely. Gandalf from Lord of the Rings? Oh, yes.

Side note: One thing I loved about the Lord of the Rings movies was that to me they got Gandalf exactly right. Ian McKellen played Gandalf perfectly.

Then I realized, I could choose fictional characters I wrote. Such as Michael Vaughan from Agent of Artifice (and other "Adept Series" novels), or Titus Chumba (A/K/A Rick Bailey) from the "Treasures of Space" series (Treasure of the Black Hole, Treasure of the Pirate Planet, and Treasure of the Rogue Moon).

Side note: Michael Vaughn is in or mentioned in four of the five "Adept Series" novels. The only one he's not in is The Terror of Tombstone because he hasn't been born, yet (the novel is set in 1881 and Vaughn was born in 1927).

But probably my favorite of all the characters I've written is Charlene "Charlie" Jones from Rock Killer. She probably wouldn't think that because I put her in some awful situations (no spoilers). But she comes through with strength and tenacity. For a while during and after writing Rock Killer, I was in love with her. Or at least infatuated with her.

What's your favorite fictional character. Let me know below in the comments.