Monday, August 27, 2012

The Curse of Selwood (Week 1)

At last, it's here!  After all the months of writing, editing, and pre-publication setup, the Curse of Selwood is ready.  The final cover art is being commissioned as we speak, and the first episode is posted for free online.  Go over to Hall Brothers Entertainment to read "Blood on the Tracks," the first of six free installments that will be shown prior to the book's release.

In week one, readers will reconnect with the characters they came to know and love in West of the Warlock.  See Ron Grimes and Joella Talus in action, and peer into the life of warlock sheriff James Doliber, as he does some soul searching.  On top of that, meet the horrific creature stalking the Nevada desert, and experience its bloody wrath.  It's just the beginning, so return to the wild west the way it wasn't with "The Curse of Selwood."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Upcoming Anthology

After months of anticipation, it is finally time to reveal the theme of the Anthology that I'll be compiling and editing for Hall Brothers Entertainment.  Without further ado, I'm pleased to announce this great endeavor into short story excellence:

The Temporal Element: Time-Travel Adventures, past, present, & future!  Since the dawn of the modern era, mankind has dreamed about the possibility of traversing the bounds of linear time, to explore the dark mysteries of pre-history or seek out the wild possibilities of the far future in person.  This collection of stories does the next best thing; allowing readers to dream of the possibilities of such a theoretical trip.

The anthology will contain stories all about traveling through time, and not in the natural way.  From spell-casting wizards, to mad scientists, and government-sanctioned time agencies, The Temporal Element will feature the best stories of people traveling beyond their native time.  Explore ancient history, the distant future, or anywhere in between.

I'm sure to get a lot of talented writers submitting to this anthology, so I'm giving you all a heads-up.  The Submission Period will open on October 1, 2012.  At that time, I'll post a contact email where you can submit your stories, along with other submission details.  Here are a few pointers, to help you with formatting prior to the submission period:

1:  Stories must be formatted in either Times New Roman or Courier New, single-spaced.  Do not add an extra space between paragraphs.  I know, a lot of writers separate their paragraphs into blocks, like they're writing a blog post.  It's something I'd just have to undo, so please don't submit it that way.

2:  Keep your stories PG-13 or softer in nature.  While I'm putting together a collection for adults, I'm also seeking to assemble something that would be appropriate for high school students.  If you write the best piece of Erotica about a time traveling gigolo, more power to you, but it's not going to fit this market.

3:  Format stories as either a .doc or .rtf file format.  No .docx files!  I still use Windows XP, so if you send me a .docx file, I will not be able to read it.  Please, no argument about how "there's a patch for that."  I don't want .docx files, period, so make sure your file is in one of the aforementioned, acceptable formats.

These are the only major pointers at the moment.  So, get writing your time-travel story, and let's see what happens.  Remember to visit this blog on October 1, 2012 to submit.

UPDATE:  Check out a more comprehensive list of submission guidelines!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boycott Downeast Glass

There's nothing like a bad experience to snap me back into writing mode, and my latest quest for quality service in automotive glass replacement has me fired up.  You can already tell from the title of this post that things did not go well, and "quality" is still something I'm searching for.  Bear with me as I explain my frustrating experience, as I hope to spare you the trouble of finding out the hard way.

Not so long ago, I acquired an old car (something I'm planning to unveil in a future blog post once it's ready for display).  It needed a few things when I bought it, and one of those things was a front driver's side window.  The old safety glass was cracked, and it needed to be replaced before I could get the car inspected and on the road.  Since I'm not a professional installer of automotive glass, I decided to take the problem to a shop that purports to be such an installer; Downeast Glass.  I brought them the pane in its mounting rail and the lady at the service desk courteously took it, saying it would be a few days to have it ready.  That was on August 6th.

The following Friday, I stopped by to ask if they'd finished the window (considering 5 days to be "a few") and they politely explained that it wasn't done yet, that their work men were "on the road" and hadn't gotten around to it yet.  They said they would have it done by Tuesday, and that they would "definitely call" when it was ready.

Tuesday came and went, and no call was made.  I decided to give them a few more days, as driving to their location was out of my way, and they had promised to call when it was finished.  Time ticked by, and still no call.  Yesterday we hit the two week point, and I decided to go find out what was taking so long.

Tuesday, August 21, I made a special detour to their shop, and asked about my window.  I heard the magic words, "It's done," and for a fleeting moment I had my hopes up.  Sadly, they were dashed when they carried out a piece of glass along with my mounting rail wholly unattached.  Their shop goon had finally gotten around to cutting the glass, but no attempt was made at mounting the thing.  They slapped down a tube of automotive calk and made up a cockamamie excuse as to why they didn't do their job, and expected me to do it myself.

Tell me, what would you say if you went to a shop, asked them to install a part, only to have them hand you the part and say, "Here you go, do it yourself," while acting as if this was standard operating procedure?  I'm sure you'd be pissed off, as well.

The "excuse" they used for not installing the window is that it "has to be set just right, or it won't fit in the car."  Obviously, they know nothing about the car or glass in question.  If they had a clue, they'd know how full of crap their excuse is.  First off, their goon should have measured the position of the glass in the rail before ripping it out.  Barring that logical step, the window assembly in the car is adjustable, so even if they didn’t put it back exactly the way it came out, the window rollers are easily adjusted, so long as the glass is the right size.

So, after not doing their job and handing me a piece of glass that I'm supposed to install myself, they charge me $142.85.  $77 of that is "labor."  Almost $30 of it is for the tube of "automotive adhesive" they expect me to use to install my own glass, and  just over $32 was for the piece of glass itself.  Talk about a rip off.  There's a shop in Pennsylvania that sells glass for my car, and I could have an exact pane for $56.  Even with the shipping, it would've been less to have it ordered and delivered, and I would have gotten it faster.  Too bad I thought a local shop could actually do something right.  If I'd known they weren't going to install the damn pane, why would I have bothered to take it to them in the first place?

This isn't the first example of bad service I've encountered from Downeast Glass.  Back in 2006, a friend of mine had them install a windshield in her truck.  This was a straightforward job done on a fairly recent model.  When they installed the windshield, they couldn't get the gasket back into place so they just smeared some "automotive adhesive" (they must really like that stuff) around the top of it and called it good.  The thing leaked like sieve and looked like hell, and they didn't give a damn.  I thought after six years they might have improved and acquired some competent workers, but obviously nothing has changed.  I should have known better.

Downeast Glass is a piss-poor operation, and I would never recommend their services to anyone.  On the contrary, I'm telling everyone I know to avoid them.  There are other glass places, and I can't believe they'd all be this incompetent.  I will certainly find out about their competition the next time I have a window to replace, as Downeast Glass will never get my business again.

Spread the word; the boycott is on!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to the Blog

It has been far too long since I posted to this blog, and even though it is a busy time of year for me I wish to let you all know that I haven't forgotten about you, my loyal readers.  In the coming months, things will hopefully calm down enough for me to resume a more regular posting schedule, or at the very least I'll make more time to keep you updated.

Among my many activities, the Summer Shootout writing contest is taking up a bit of my time.  As the host/moderator of the event, I have the pleasure of reading stories and coordinating everything, and that does take a bit of energy.  We've just entered the 2nd round review period, where the writers review each other's second batch of short stories, which were composed on a most whimsical theme: "Write a story containing a silver plate, an angry woman, and a cannon."  As always, we have some very talented writers competing.  Remember, the grand prize will be publication in a forthcoming anthology that I'll be compiling for Hall Brothers Entertainment.  The theme of that collection will be revealed on August 26, 2012!

There are several other things I'll be sharing in the coming months, concerning several things I've been doing recently.  There are a few big news items that are waiting to be revealed, though at present I'm not at liberty to discuss them.  Keep your eyes open for more blogging excellence!