Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Lucid Dream

I had a somewhat unusual lucid dream last night. For those of you who don't know, a lucid dream is one in which you realize you're dreaming. In some lucid dreams you can completely control the dream, and in such cases I immediately start to fly. However, last night's dream was more one where I  came slowly to understand I was dreaming, and was trying to convince Lana of it, but I couldn't make radical changes in the dream flow.

It started when we had just gotten up in the morning and a small portable radio on our counter started playing on its own. I turned it off, then remarked to Lana that it was weird. I began looking around with a frown, and then told Lana that everything felt weird. She indicated that everything seemed normal to her. I told her that I thought we were in a dream, and she laughed. She watched me then as I did my "dream test," which is to see if I can jump up and touch the ceiling. I told her that if it were a dream I would be able to "hang" in the air for a moment. I tried it, and did not quite touch the ceiling, but there was a definite feeling of floating so I became absolutely convinced that it was a dream. Lana still argued against it.

Lana was getting dressed and then I realized that we were supposed to go to court this morning. I don't know why but I was going to be the defendant. We arrived at the courthouse (magically apparently) still arguing over whether this was a dream. As I went in the courthouse I was looking around for some mischief to get into. Lana directed us to a couple of plush seats and we sat down and then I smiled at her triumphantly and said:

OK, if this isn't a dream, can you explain to me why Batman is our judge?

Adam West was our judge, and his Batsuit was folded up on a chair beside him. I told Lana to watch this and got up from my chair with the intent of stealing the batsuit. West saw me, though, as I approached, and I turned to try and hide my intentions and he said in his classic Batman voice:

"Have spin moves become pat of the defendant's repertoire these days?"

At which point I laughed and woke up.



Friday, March 15, 2019

Capsule Reviews: Reasoner, Prosch, Whalen

Capsule Reviews:

1: Faraday: The Iron Horse, by James Reasoner.

James Reasoner creates some iconic characters and sets up a western series with a dynamite opening book. I understand there was a series of these books published in the past in which the sequels were written by other authors, but I haven't read any of those. I did much enjoy this one though.

Matthew Faraday runs a detective agency, a competitor to the Pinkertons. He brings young Daniel Britten onto his team and sends him to investigate an apparent attempt to sabotage the western expansion of the railroad. Someone is informing the Sioux of the movements and vulnerabilities of the "Iron Horse" and Britten soon begins to accumulate suspects.

We have a pretty good mystery built up here, and then a wild free-for-all ending in which the mystery is revealed and the action rolls. A really strong ending. Two particularly well developed secondary characters were Sam Callaghan, a rough frontiersmen drawn along the lines of Wild Bill Hickock, and Mordecai Vint, a peddler with a love of strong drink who also has a beautiful daughter--Laura. I have a feeling that Callaghan plays a role in the later books in the series. I liked him quite a lot.

All in all, an excellent and entertaining read.


2. Stage Fright, by Richard Prosch.

Stage Fright is the fourth book in the Dan Spalding series. Spalding is a music buff and record store owner in Ozark City who frequently gets involved in solving local crimes and helping local citizens. He's a bit of a Knight Errant, as in John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, and the Spalding books evoke a similar feeling in me.

I've enjoyed all the previous entries in this series and this was no exception. A quick, taut thriller with lots of action and suspense.



3. Tragon of Ramura, by John M. Whalen.

This is the first book I’ve read by John M. Whalen, but it won’t be the last. It’s a standalone novel. The writing is very good, with a lot of action and well-drawn characters and settings. I’d classify it as Sword & Sorcery. Tragon is our main hero. He’s strong and courageous, but no Conan. He struggles with fears and doubts; he isn’t always top dog in a fight. One of the things I liked about the story is that it’s not just Tragon’s tale. It’s really an ensemble cast and several times we see other characters pull Tragon’s butt out of the fire. I particularly enjoyed Yusef and Darius.

The story begins when Tragon and his crew, who have been labeled pirates but hold that title in name only, arrive at a coastal town of “Afkira,” a fictionalized Africa. They are hired by a man named Hestus Variano to help him rescue his daughter from a city of sorcery called Caiphar. Mayhem ensues, of course, and Tragon finds that he has a strange connection to the daughter of Caiphar’s king. I won’t give more of the plot away so you’ll need to read it to find out what that connection is.

Whalen is certainly familiar with the tropes of Sword and Sorcery and adventure fiction. There are  elements in the tale which will likely remind many readers of Burroughs’ stories of Opar. There’s also a few twists on the general Sword and Sorcery concept. All in all, I enjoyed it quite a lot.








Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Missing Time!

So, the Causeway bridge is marked every 1/10 of a mile with a sign and is 24 miles across. For me coming across in the morning, the distance counts down from 24 to 0. At around 16 miles the bridge rises dramatically and there is a drawbridge that allows big boats to pass through from one side of the lake to the other. Normally, the drawbridge is down of course, as it was this morning.

The drawbridge itself is a metal grid that can be raised. It’s very different from the concrete that makes up the rest of the bridge and is very noticeable in both appearance and in the sound and sensation you get crossing it. Somehow, this morning, I missed it. In fact, I experienced about a 7 minute time-gap. I remember noticing that I was at 19.4 miles on the bridge countdown. Then suddenly I was at 12.3 miles. I’d passed 7 miles and roughly 7 minutes in the blink of the eye.

One possible answer to the missing time is that I was abducted by aliens. They obviously released me very quickly and I can understand why given all the spicy food I ate yesterday. They must also have released me before any actual probing because I don’t seem to have any residual effects from such an experience.

Another possible answer, far more prosaic, is that I was so focused on my thoughts that I simply blanked out the outside world. I was going over my lecture notes for classes this morning so I would have something of an excuse for such deep cogitation. The thing that is a bit scary about this, though, is that I seem to have been essentially “unconscious” for 7 minutes while operating a very large and potentially dangerous piece of vehicular equipment. What’s more scary to me, is that there were probably other folks on the road with me who were doing the same thing.

I’d say be careful out there but from my experience this morning it looks like being mindless didn’t hurt anything. There were no wrecked cars or blue lights in my wake when I “woke” up at 12.3 miles. Perhaps the mind is not such a terrible thing to waste after all.



Monday, January 21, 2019

Black Gate Interview, with Seth Lindberg


As far as publications and other literary endeavors go, January 2019 has been the most successful month that I’ve had in a long time. Quite a lot of things have appeared. I figured it was worth a blog post. Helps me keep everything straight myself, so here they are—in no particular order.

1. Interview. I did an article a couple of years ago for Weird Fiction Review #7 on the “beautiful and repellent” in the work of such Weird Tales authors as Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, and Clark Ashton Smith. Seth Lindberg, a fine writer himself, did an interview with me about that subject and it went up early today over on Black Gate. We get into some interesting topics so you might enjoy checking it out.



2. Deep Fried Horror appeared from Deadman’s Tome. My story here is called “Sing In Me, Muse.” Where does inspiration come from? You may not want to know.

3. I had five poems go up at Altered Reality Magazine. This includes an SF Story-poem I wrote called “Far Beyond Home,” which I’ve always had a fondness for but which has never gotten much love from magazines. Until now!



4. My alter ego, Tyler Boone, has also been busy. He’s got a short story up at Rope and Wire called “Hard-Luck Hannah.”

 5. Mr. Boone also appears in Bourbon & a Good Cigar with a story called “The Law In Liberty.”

There's a couple more things coming up soon from me, so I may update this post if they happen in January. As always, thanks for visiting!


Friday, January 04, 2019

Klaw: Fieldhouse

Klaw, by W. L. Fieldhouse: Tower Books, 1980, 208 pages. 

I've known about this series for a while but had not read any. This is the first book in the series and seems pretty much an origin story. It's no secret, if you see the covers, that it features a gunfighter who has lost his hand and has a "claw" attachment for that arm. What might not be clear is that other things can be attached to the prosthesis as well, which allows him to shoot a gun and do other things. 

After starting this book, I had to check to make sure that W. L. Fieldhouse was not a pseudonym for Terry Harknett, who wrote the infamous "Edge" series under the name George G. Gilman. He's not, but it seems clear to me that the Klaw series was modeled after the Edge series. There's the same gory brutality to the shooting scenes, the frequent use of the phrase "feller," and even the same kind of wisecracking chapter endings that identify the Edge series. 

There are some differences, however. Klaw, originally identified as John Klawson, is a more sensitive fellow than Edge, at least throughout this first book. There's also some actual sex. Edge often has the opportunity to engage in sex but generally does not. In this book, Klaw actually develops a strong attraction to a woman and there is a fairly lengthy sex scene. Klaw is also driven by a higher moral code than Edge, who is primarily driven simply by the urge to survive. Klaw seeks justice. 

According to sources I could find, there are three books in the Klaw series. #2 is called "Town of Blood" and #3 is "The Rattler Gang." Fieldhouse has also written a number of other books, some under his own name, as well as for the Executioner and other men's adventure series. I couldn't find much more information on Fieldhouse, although he appears to still be living. I don't know how early this book was in his career.

As for the book itself, I was actually not enamored of the opening section. There seemed to be a lot of exposition and summarizing, and the constraints of setting up the "origin" piece for the character. However, the story quickly took off and became an enjoyable, action oriented romp. The character is more engaging than Edge and much easier to root for. Overall, I thought it was quite a lot of fun. And I know that all three Klaw books are available from Rough Edges Press: The books are also available on Amazon 

Monday, December 31, 2018

End of 2018 Blog


2018 was a helluva year. It was the year my blog nearly died. I made only 20 posts this year. I used to posts 100s, but, partly out of laziness and partly out of how the platforms change, I did almost all my social media activities on facebook this year. It’s easy to waste time on facebook, but there are also numerous groups of likeminded readers and writers that can provide both entertainment and information. Plus, promotional activities there are generally seen by many more folks than on a blog.

2018 was also the year that I almost died. I had a heart attack in August, caused by a primary artery that was 100 percent blocked. Apparently, this blockage is commonly called “the widowmaker” because most people who have heart attacks from this source die. I’d like to think surviving it means I’m tough, but it probably just means I’m lucky. I went through several months of cardiac rehab and my recovery efforts are certainly not completed, but I’m feeling pretty good and in better shape than I was before the attack. I will continue my rehabbing in 2019. I don’t want to have that feeling again.

I played more Skyrim (Video Game) in 2018 than in most previous years, but I also read a lot, particularly at the end of the year after my heart attack. Those who follow this blog know I count my “reading year” through my birthday. Between October 14, 2017 and October 14, 2018, I read 106 books. According to Goodreads, I read 131 books in 2018, which is my highest total ever on Goodreads. Quite a few of those were by Harlan Coben, who moved up to #39 on my all time book total list after just 2 years of reading his stuff. However, there’s always a little bit of everything on my list.

As for writing, despite certain interruptions it was a fairly productive year for me. I wrote about 40,000 words of new fiction (includes poetry) intended for publication, and most of it has already been published with a few other pieces schedule for 2019. The biggest news was the publication of “The Scarred One,” my first western novel (under the Tyler Boone name). I was very happy to have this happen and my thanks to the fine folks at Sundown Press—Cheryl Pierson and Livia J. Washburn.

Half a dozen short stories also came out under the Tyler Boone name in 2018, and I had stories published in some really fine anthologies, including Unsheathed, Twilight Echoes, and Doorbells at Dusk. And I had stories appear in such fine magazines as Sirens Call, Night to Dawn, Pen of the Damned, and Beneath the Rainbow.

Although I didn’t do much writing in the first couple of months after my heart attack, I’ve been back at it for the past couple of weeks and am happy with the stuff coming out on the screen. Best of all, my mind is churning with ideas again. That’s probably the most enjoyable part. And so, I leave you with a hearty farewell to 2018 and a welcome to 2019. I hope the new year treats us all well!