book covers

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Take Me Away

Okay, remember the commercials for Calgon? Well, I guess Calgon took all the people away. You never see this ad on TV anymore. I thought I might try some, but we don't have a bathtub. So, I'm thinking of getting a box and sprinkling it on me then stepping into the shower. I just hope it takes me away ... someplace far, far away.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brain Food

(reading time 1:44)

A few years back, I attended a lecture by a psychologist from the University of Arizona. The topic centered on keeping one’s brain vital and healthy.  It didn’t involve eating certain foods or anything like that. The bottom line from the lecture concerned engaging the brain by learning something new. It didn’t need to be rocket science or the study of ancient Mesopotamia. She stressed the importance of learning. The act of learning fires up the brain. That got me to thinking about the whole process of learning. I remember once someone saying to me that one of the important aspects of going to school is …to learn how to learn. Good teachers can instill that concept.

When we first start a new undertaking like knitting or woodcarving, there’s a certain amount of excitement and trepidation, but the brain seems to be energized either way. It’s ready to rock. Dig in and eat it up. As we progress in that new hobby or venture, we gain experience and enjoy the time. I bet those neurons are just firing away … happy as clams.

Every time we pick up a book or magazine and read, I believe the brain is heading down the learning road. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, we discover new places, new characters, and new situations. There go those neurons again, dashing to and fro building up strength, staying full of life.

As we get older, it is imperative to keep all the parts healthy and well oiled – like our arms and legs, etc.  And the brain is no exception. We can’t just retire it to the couch day in and day out. That old saying, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” sure seems applicable.

As I said above you don’t have to study rocket science, but I am fascinated by astrophysics. Time to get back to reading Neil Degrasse Tyson’s new book, Welcome to the Universe.  My brain is eager to gobble it up. The neurons are ready.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


2017 and it’s the start of a new year. As I was out walking yesterday, I thought about time. It is one constant that is cold and unfeeling. It marches on a steady trek. It is a bitch and a bastard at times with no regard to our desires, our dreams. It can be a friend or a hated enemy.

From an early age, we learned the fickleness of time. It could go fast … it could go slow. Remember how we just couldn’t wait for Christmas morning? The month of December dragged like it had three times the number of days. Growing up, we had so many events to look forward to like birthdays, the last day of school, and summer vacation. Once we hit high school, we so looked forward to turning 16 to get that driver’s license, and it seemed like we couldn’t wait until the next milestone like the drinking age. After the big 21, birthdays were still celebrated, but the importance dwindled. Of course, the beginning of a new decade still became a landmark. After about 50, birthdays became more dreaded and wished to be ignored. Then, there was a long stretch until the next big milestones … retirement, Social Security and Medicare. After that, one realizes the only thing left was waiting for time to stop … permanently.

Even though time is rock steady without fluctuations, there are times when it gives the impression of going faster. Anytime one is engaged in a fun activity or on the return leg of a relaxing vacation, time sprints like gold medalist Usain Bolt. We exclaim, “Where did the time go?” One minute you’re shooting the rapids in the mountains, having the time of your life, then you blink and you’re back at work. And the opposite of time flying is true as well. This dark side of time, we despise. It is when time appears to drag on and barely move. We stare at the clock and the hands seem coated in sludge. We all have examples of that i.e. sitting in front of your boss for your yearly review, waiting in the dentist’s office, doing one’s taxes and so forth. Basically, things we just hate doing.

Another facet about time that is cruel and heartless concerns our body. A crisp twenty something with tight skin and silky locks doesn’t think too much of that one gray hair or a sore muscle.  Later on as the years pass, time does a number on us. We look at a picture of our self forty years in the past and gasp, “My hair was so much darker.” It’s always the hair that we comment on first! Then we look closer at the picture, “Wow, no wrinkles.” In retirement, we hear the expression – the golden years. That is so not true. There is nothing golden about those years. They are more like rust.

So, as we begin to unroll a new year, time pushes forward as we produce more gray hairs (if we still have hair), cultivate a new crop of wrinkles, and find new aching muscles. Oh sure, there’s always the new anti-aging cream to try, but that’s just temporary. At best it’s making us feel good inside. The wrinkles will still prevail.

Not much we can do about time and it’s relentless progression. We just have to go with the flow and take the journey. That reminds me, I need to get more liniment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New release!

My collection of short tales of terror, BEWITCHED BY FEAR, is now available and just in time for Halloween!!! You can pick up either an ebook copy or hard copy from  Here's the link to get you there:  
 There's a little something for every horror, thriller lover–werewolves, vampires, demons, venus fly trap, creepy alien, and even a possessed clothes dryer. Guaranteed to raise a few goosebumps. Of course, reviews are always appreciated. Let me know what you think. Happy Halloween.

A Vexatious Word

Vexatious? Why did I choose such a big word? I just love the definition. It means annoying or frustrating. Perfect word to fit my most unfavorite word: should! Why do I find it annoying. I feel it’s such a negative, preachy, judgmental, critical word. Whether someone says it to you or you say it to yourself, it comes across so negative. It may seem harmless enough for the person using it, but for the one receiving it, the result is judgmental. For example, let’s say you have a car accident and you’re relating the incident to a friend. The friend responds by saying “You should have bought a Subaru. They are safer.” See what I mean … judgmental and critical.  Sheesh, you already feel bad enough. You don’t want to hear the words … “you should have.” They provide no support.  Instead the person receiving the “should” feels like a heavy, steaming pile of regret was dumped on them!

The word should is a niggling kind of word. It’s like a little kid taunting “nah, nah, na, nah, nah.”  It makes the person using it feel superior. “You know, you should use sun screen. You should do this or you should do that.”  Sure, I suppose the “should” individual might be thinking they are providing valuable advice. However, I believe the person comes across as being a know-it-all and uppity. (If that happens to me, in my head I’m thinking … mind your own frickin’ business.)

When you say it to yourself, it’s also being critical as well. I think the word is in cahoots with the whole negative baggage known as regret.

So, what’s a good alternative for should?  If one feels compelled to offer advice or butt in, how about expressions like … “may I suggest…?” That sounds much more caring with a dash of helpfulness. Or better yet if it’s a sad situation like the car accident, try saying something like “I’m so sorry.” Being empathetic is exceedingly more positive and feels much better. I also like when some might say, “Ya know, I use such and such and it works great for me.” I like that because it doesn’t put me on the defensive. It makes me have more of an open mind.

Words can be so powerful. And for me, the word should packs a wallop!  Just food for thought.

For more on should and it’s cousins would and could, check out this blog:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Check out FRACKED

My new novel, FRACKED: Earth’s Warning!, was released last week. I’ve stepped out of my horror writing comfort zone into straight fiction. The genre is action, adventure with a bit of romance and heroism thrown in to round things out. The story emerged from my summer work at Yellowstone at the Old Faithful Lower General store. Little by little the characters came to life as I hiked the various areas of the Old Faithful basin.

As I was writing, I had a memory of Irwin Allen. Remember him? He became known as the “Master of Disaster.” I loved watching his films like The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. Today his legacy can be seen in films like 2015’s summer blockbuster, San Andreas.

Though Fracked: Earth’s Warning! is a work of fiction, I’ve woven into the storyline facts and discoveries about fracking, and its possible harmful effects. Here are links to some of the articles I researched for the novel:

 “Fracking Firm Admits It Caused Earthquakes” by RP Siegel

“Man-made Earthquakes | StateImpact Texas” This article was reported and researched by StateImpact Texas reporters, Kelly Connelly of KUT News, and David Barer and Yana Skorobogatov of StateImpact Texas and Reporting Texas.  

“States With Fracking See Surge In Earthquake Activity” by Emily Schmall and Justin Juozapavicius

“The Seismic Link Between Fracking and Earthquakes | TIME” by Bryan Walsh

“After statement linking earthquakes and fracking, oil tycoon tried to have scientists fired.” By Jenny Hayden

* * * *

Is it too late to fix our broken planet? Some would say yes that we are past the tipping point. News reports almost daily depict unprecedented storms and weather related disasters. Global warming is no longer a theory. It is upon us and now the majority of the American public agrees with the scientists. As for some politicians in denial, it’s a slow arduous effort to convince them. We can only hope that the efforts to put the brakes on the warming of our planet will work or future generations will have to pay a hefty price. Could we possibly break our planet in our hunger for fossil fuels and the greed associated with it?

On a more positive note, Fracked really is about people coming together to help others without fear for their own life. Whatever the disaster is and no matter where it occurs, people rise to the occasion to be the good Samaritan, to be the selfless hero. I have always felt that the greatness of country is not reflected in its leadership or its wealth, but rather the caring, compassionate fabric of its people.

FRACKED: Earth’s warning!  is available from Amazon. Here are links to the ebook and print formats:

Hope you’ll give FRACKED a read. Let me know how you like it with a review on Amazon or send me an email (

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Being Stalked

I’ve been noticing something creepy and a bit George Orwell’s 1984 lately when I surf the net. It’s almost like being stalked.

So the other day, I googled a particular shoe I liked and found it at JC Penney. The price was good, but I decided to see if I could first find it at the store. A short time later when I opened my facebook page … bam! There was an advertisement for it from Penney. Now for the last couple of days almost any page I visit, I get bombarded by a picture of the shoe and the price from Penney. HELP! THEY’RE STALKING ME!

JC Penney isn’t the first instance of utilizing stalking techniques. I’ve noticed it from other business sites that I visit. Some are relentless at invading my computer. I suppose it’s a whole new marketing scheme, but I do find it creepy because they are capable of “watching” me. It’s kind of like a mosquito buzzing around your ear. As George Orwell put it … Big Brother is watching!!!

All the surveillance around us nowadays on one hand is probably for our own good. But I wonder where it will all lead. Guess I should revisit Mr. Orwell’s book 1984 and see the possibilities.