Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Spring Read an Ebook Week Coming Soon

I’m excited to announce ALL OF MY BOOKS will be promoted as part of a special sale on @Smashwords to celebrate Read an Ebook Week 2024 from March 3-9. Be sure to follow me for more updates and links to the promotion for my books and many more! #ebookweek24 #Smashwords

To see all the books I have on sale, click on the Ebooks on Smashwords tab at the top of this post or click this link https://mgddasef.blogspot.com/p/ebooks-on-smashwords.html


https://smashwords.com/shelves/promos


Friday, February 23, 2024

Free Short Stories

FREE EBOOK 2/23-27

Mixed Bag 2: Supersized is packed full of short stories which were published somewhere and sometime in the past 14 years. Here's a sample to get you started. Hey! It's free. What have you got to lose?

No Deposit, No Return
Literary Science Fiction/Horror
Originally published in Diddledog Flash Fiction

The woman in the black trench coat darted her eyes down the darkened alley. The smell of the overripe dumpster turned her stomach. Her nausea came not only from the rotted food odor, but from her already nerve-twisted guts.

“Did you get it?” she whispered to the man.

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry. Piece of cake.” He reached inside his jacket, withdrawing a small package no bigger than the palm of his hand.

She reached for it, but the man jerked it back.

“The money first.”

She took an envelope from her purse and held it out. The man pushed the package toward her and grabbed the envelope at the same moment she snatched the brown-paper-wrapped container.

“I don’t know why you want this, lady. It creeps me out,” the man said, as he thumbed through the hundred-dollar bills in the envelope.

Without another word, the two parted, the woman toward the far end of the alley and the man back to the street.

* * *

Nine months later, the woman named Karla lay in a hospital bed, staring at the newborn in the crib beside her. She and her boyfriend, Curt, had planned every detail. The demand for ten million dollars went with a tissue sample, a simple scraping from inside the child’s mouth. It would take some time for the family to check that the baby’s DNA came from the dead man, but when they got the results, the money would surely follow.

The billionaire died without an heir, despite marrying a young trophy wife in a last, desperate attempt for progeny. She put him off until it was too late.

* * * For the Rest of the Story, Get the Free Ebook 2/23-2/27 * * *

This story and a bunch more are all available in "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized." The book is free on Amazon from February 14th - 18th. One whole week of free reading if you haven't got a date.



Saturday, February 10, 2024

Gung Hay Fat Choy - Year of the Dragon

Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) happens this year on Saturday, February 10, 2024. This year ushers in the year of the Dragon! What is the Lunar New Year, and who celebrates this holiday? What does the dragon symbolize, and what is your special animal symbol? Learn more.

When Is the Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year begins on the date (in East Asia) of the second new Moon after the winter solstice, which always occurs in late December. This means that the first day of the Lunar New Year can occur anytime between January 21 and February 20. 

In 2024, the second new Moon will occur in China on Saturday, February 10, marking the start of a new lunar year.

What Qualities Does the Dragon Represent?

Those born in the Year of the Dragon are believed to be ambitious, energetic, and charismatic, often inspiring others with their passion and enthusiasm. They are considered to be natural leaders, confident and unafraid to take risks, making them magnetic personalities in social and professional circles.

How Is the Lunar New Year Celebrated?

As with many winter solstice celebrations, the symbolic darkness of night is banished by the light of fireworks, lanterns, and candles. Man-made paper lanterns are hung by the hundreds in public areas, bringing good luck to the new year.

There are dragon dances, performances, and festival parades with music and acrobatics. The festivities continue for two weeks, finishing with a special lantern festival, which signals the end of the New Year celebration period.

“Good Luck” is also a common theme of the New Year. Many children receive “lucky money” in red envelopes. Sometimes, offerings are made to temples. 

People clean their homes and open their doors to let good luck enter. According to tradition, no one should pick up a broom in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of the door!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Much of this material came from other sources describing the Lunar New Year. Mainly, the Farmer's Almanac's article by Catherine Boeckmann provided most of the words.


Thursday, February 01, 2024

Ultimate Duty - Space Opera, Exploding Ships, Hot Sex

Re-edited and formatted properly, ULTIMATE DUTY is now available on Amazon re-issued by me. I think the $3.99 price point is much more reasonable than the out-of-contract but still being sold edition from Eternal Press. Giving fair warning you'll be seeing some promo stuff on this new edition.

Ultimate Duty
A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Available on Amazon for only $3.99. I actually get a few cents if you use this option.

I'VE GOT EPUB, MOBI, AND PDF. IF I LIKE THE CUT OF YOUR JIB, SELECT THIS BLANK SPOT XR78X TO SHOW A FREEBIE COUPON CODE FOR BOTH FIRST DUTY* AND ULTIMATE DUTY AT SMASHWORDS. OKAY, YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE TO SHOW ME YOUR JIB.
* First Duty is the PG version of the R-rated Ultimate Duty.

Excerpt

One day, Remy spotted a small ship where it had no good reason to be. “Sir, we have a blip heading toward the planet. Its course isn’t on the prescribed jump route within this planetary system.”

Captain Micah glanced at Remy, then spoke to the communications officer. “Hail the ship.” The radioman worked for a few seconds. “I can’t locate their frequency, sir.”

The Captain stared through the view screen at the rapidly receding ship. “Try a broad-range hail. Tell them to stand down.” He glanced toward the communications station. “Any luck?”

“No, sir. I don’t think they have their ears on, at least in the usual frequencies.”

The ship shot away from the Excalibur and Remy tracked its course. “It’s heading for that planet. It’s not classified as habitable.”

Captain Micah opened ship-wide communications. “Captain Micah here. Crew, go to battle stations. This is not a drill.” He looked at the pilot who punched in coordinates for a wide turn toward the fleeing ship.

Remy’s stomach tightened as the klaxon alarms alerted the entire ship to ready for attack. Disappointment replaced tension as she watched the ship reach the small planet and circle behind the lifeless orb. We’ve lost it!

“Coward should stay and fight,” grumbled an ensign near Remy. She glanced his way and hushed him, tilting her head toward the captain. “Pay attention.” The ensign’s cheeks flared in embarrassment.
“Ahead slow,” the captain ordered. “This could be a trap. Put us into high orbit and extend all scanners to maximum range and power.” Excalibur edged its way slowly around the airless planet thousands of kilometers below.

“I’ve got him, sir!” a crewman reported. “A single blip on the short-range scanner.”

Remy added the short-range display to a corner of her own screen and saw the flickering dot representing the fleeing ship. She grinned. “Gotcha!” But nothing else appeared in range. She hoped they might get some action now, even if only the capture of a small ship.

“All right. Take us in slow,” the captain replied. The pilot cut back power and brought the ship around to the planet’s far side. The small ship came into view, hovering in a stationary orbit.

“Hail them.” Again, the ship didn’t respond, and the captain gestured to the pilot to move in. Remy turned her scanners toward the planet surface, searching for any activity. Seeing nothing, she switched to thermal scan. Out of nowhere a red-hot dot appeared on the screen, then another. “Captain, I’m getting heat signatures moving near the surface.”

Captain Micah glanced her way, not expecting to hear from the long-range scanning console. “What do you have, Lieutenant?”

“Ten, no, twelve, maybe more heat signatures. Nothing bigger than a cutter, and they’re all in motion. It looks like they’re coming out of a fissure. I don’t detect any structures.”

Remy feared her warning came too late to do any good. Excalibur was fast, once it got moving but, like most ships its size, not very maneuverable this close to a planet.

The smaller ships exploded from the surface. Too fast for normal takeoff velocity, the tiny vessels clearly had a lot of extra power. It was a dangerous move since it’d be easy to lose control traveling way over the limits for the small ships. But it worked.

Some attackers split to flank the cruiser on both sides. Two of them took station above and two below the ship, while two more moved to the stern, effectively surrounding the cruiser. The engineers had designed Excalibur, like most ships in its class, as a pursuit ship, with most of its weapons aimed forward. They could only fire on the ships facing them until the gunners brought the smaller, less effective peripheral weaponry to bear.

Captain Micah glanced at his display. “Weapons, recalibrate for port and starboard, max angle. Fire at will.”

The bridge crew cheered when a burst of laser fire destroyed one of the ships. Metallic fragments drifted outward from the single brief flash of the exploding drive.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

HAPPY WHATEVER HOLIDAY YOU CELEBRATE!

MERRY SatPanHanKwaXAth


Tis the season, as they say. Say what? Yeah, I made up that combo-holiday greeting. Covers just about everything celebratory throughout the winter doldrums. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

YuleA Norse mid-winter celebration of the turning of the days from shorter to longer. Yay, we made it halfway through winter! Woot! Of course, the word gave us the tradition of the Yule log, a big chunk of wood burned in the fireplace and something large and meaty being roasted over said fire. It originated from the mid-winter celebrations (see Saturnalia) and applied to the Wild Hunt and Odin. We can blame King Haakon I for deliberately co-opting a perfectly good pagan celebration and dedicating it to the fictitious birth of Christ. That was a big miss regarding seasons since everybody knows shepherds watch their flocks at night only in the Spring and Summer, certainly not in the dead of winter. Skoal to Odin orJölföðr. See how this alternative name for the Norse god being applied to the celebration?

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.

Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days (the Hindus really know how to party). The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.

Hanukkah: This year, the beginning of Hanukkah fell on December 18th. What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible Hanukkah bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.



Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California guy to highlight African-american culture. Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.


Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival and Jule. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

The big bruhaha every year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.

The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.


So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much then drive around endangering others. Stay home and get smashed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Hans Trapp - Christmas Boogieman

 Credit to Tony Lagarto for the story of Hans Trapp

This is Hans Trapp, a legendary boogieman from the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. He accompanies Santa Claus to punish naughty children at Christmas. While Santa delivers presents and gifts, Hans Trapp delivers beatings.
The Christmas legend of Hans Trapp is based on a real German knight, and begins with a wealthy man stealing people’s money and partying so hard that the Pope ex-communicates him. The story goes that Trapp then sells his soul to the devil to pursue a life of sin, which naturally forces him into a hobby of eating human flesh, as such a one is wont to do. Banished from society for being a skeevy creep, he lived alone in the woods and dressed as a scarecrow, stuffing straw into his clothes and at times wearing a black cloak. He spends his time trying to lure children into the woods so he can eat them.
One day after roasting a shepherd boy over a fire (or just getting ready to, the legend goes back and forth on this one), God decided enough was enough and struck Trapp down with a lightning bolt that split his head open.
But that didn’t stop this cannibal – he got a new gig helping Saint Nicholas out by keeping naughty kids in line.
Some accounts of Hans Trapp paint him in a rosier light (could there be any that are darker?), saying that he regrets his life of sin. In these versions, he visits misbehaving children dressed as a scarecrow and tries to persuade them to be more virtuous than he was, usually by scaring them into it.
But other stories, in classic creepy Christmas fashion, say he goes around marking the children he wants to eat on Christmas Eve.
The German knight this legend is based on was named Hans Von Trotha and was born in 1450. Apparently, he didn’t really do any of the stuff mentioned in the legend, except get into a war against an abbey, which led to him being ex-communicated by the Pope. But who really cares about those pesky factual details when you can just scare the crap out of your kids on Christmas instead?

Krampus

Of course, we all love Santa Claus (or Santa Claws from "Nightmare Before Christmas"), but leave us not forget the adorable Krampus. After all, without Krampus, bad children wouldn't just get coal in their stocking, but they'd also be kidnapped, thrown into a sack, and eaten by the lovely Krampus. The Grinch ain't got nothin' on Krampus.

Here's some stuff from Wikipedia:

In folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.

Krampus is one of the companions of Saint Nicholas in several countries including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated its pre-Christian origin.

In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most European countries.

As evil as jolly Saint Krampus is, his role of getting naughty children to behave has worked wonders in the Slavic areas of Europe.

And, of course, buy my books. And, of course, you probably won't.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Smashwords Site-Wide Christmas Sale 12/15-31

Bored spitless? Want to give cyber holiday presents? There are a ton of books (very light since they're ebooks) discounted on Smashwords End of Year Extravaganza sale. Find something to read in just about any genre. Many free and 99 cent books available.




Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Holoddities #3

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
 Kallikantzaroi
  • Latvia: A group of "mummers" travel from house to house where they are given a treat in return for their blessing. This sounds more like Halloween to me.
  • Guatemala: Folks sweep out their houses and put all the dirt in a communal pile with an effigy devil on top which is then burned. This must be an "out with the evil" gesture.
  • Cuba: Every December, Cuban city Remedios hosts the Parrandas Festival. The city splits in half, with each side building the biggest, baddest, fanciest light sculpture display ever. My husband does this by himself every year. No competition so far.
  • Bavaria: Bavarian Highlanders dressed in lederhosen fire mortars into the air. Sure, why not? 
  • Greece: The evil goblins, the Kallikantzaroi, lurk in the depths of the earth until Christmas Eve, when they spring up to create havoc. I wonder if anybody has seen this. It seems it'd be a great tourist draw.
  • Slovakia: The most senior man of the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and flings it to the ceiling. The more that sticks, the better. What is it with weird things to do with pudding?
  • Japan: Christmas cards are also a Japanese tradition, but they never ever are red. Red, of course, is the color for funerals. I suppose that means the cards could have lots of black, making them dual purpose for Halloween as well.
  • Canada: The Canadian postal service recognizes the address "SANTA CLAUS, THE NORTH POLE, CANADA HO HO HO." Letters addressed this way are opened and replied to by the well-known Royal Canadian Mounted Elves.
  • Finland: Holiday cards have tributes to the dearly departed. Finnish Cemeteries are lit with Christmas lights, making them a lovely sight on Christmas night.
  • Iceland: The kids leave a shoe on their windowsill for the 12 Days of Christmas. Each night, some Finnish elves fill the shoes with candy and other goodies. I like the Finnish elves. They're a generous lot.
  • England: Stockings are hung by the chimney with care with hopes St. Nicholas doesn't just leave a lump of coal.
  • South Africa: A little rotter named Danny ate all of Santa's cookies, the legend goes. Granny wasn't happy about this and killed Danny for being a greedy little punk. This is far worse than getting a lump of coal.
  • United States: In many cities, the Running of the Santas, draws a large crowd of spectators as the Santas rush from pub to bar to tavern getting as drunk as they can on the free drinks provided by the owners of the establishments. Of course, they sell a lot of drinks to the folks who want to watch the Santas get smashed.
That's all the weird stuff I have for now. If I find more, I'll most certainly add it to the lists. In the meantime, consider books as the perfect gift for any friend or member of the family.

How about some Science Fiction? These two books have the same plot. One is not the sequel of the other. Here's the difference: Ultimate Duty is R-rated and has some additional space battle scenes. First Duty is PG if you're looking for the same fantastic plot but without the sex.

Ultimate Duty $3.99 at Amazon, $8.19 Print, Audiobook at Audible $19.95 or free with subscription.
and First Duty $2.99 at Amazon, $8.99 Print, $13.08 or Audiobook at Audible or free with subscription to Audible.com

FYI: Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. 

Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

ULTIMATE DUTY:  A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment: guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet. When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

FIRST DUTY: Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life.

When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. 

Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. What is her FIRST DUTY?

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Holoddities #2

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
Mary Lwyd of Wales
  • Estonia: The whole family hits the sauna on Christmas Eve.
  • Wales: Someone is chosen to play Mari Lywd who walks through town with the skull of a horse on a stick. I'm baffled by this one.
  • Iceland: I like this one. If an Icelander doesn't get new clothes before Christmas, the killer mountain Yule cat eats them. 
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
  • Sweden: Authorities in the village of Gävle decided to install a straw goat statue in the town square. Every other year, somebody burns it down before Christmas. Both are fine traditions.
  • Sweden (again): Rice pudding is standard fare for dessert. The Christmas special has an almond buried somewhere in it. The lucky person who finds it will supposedly get married within a year. I assume only single folks of marrying age have a go at the pudding.
  • Great Britain: Speaking of puddings, tradition calls for each member of the household to stir the pudding in a clockwise direction while making a wish. I guess that's better than a lump of coal.
  • Italy: A witch named Befana is the deliverer of presents to children (not that stodgy Santa). But the kids have to wait for the blessings of Befana until January 6th.
  • Ethiopia: Christian Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Everybody wears white and the guys play ganna, a fast pace game of ... hockey?
More weird stuff coming here in the next few days.

How about a complete series about the Witches of Galdorheim for a Christmas present? The compendium of the four books and one short story of Kat's adventures learning her witch powers is now available in a single ebook. However, all the separate books are also in print. All are available through:

Amazon, of course

The books and stories are:

BAD SPELLING (Book 1): A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

MIDNIGHT OIL (Book 2): Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

SCOTCH BROOM (Book 3): A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

BLOOD TIES TESTED (Book 4): Written by popular demand of readers who want to know what happens to Rune after the Book 3 conclusion. Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Spellslinger (Prequel Short Story): Written by popular demand of readers who adore Kat's smart-aleck brother. It's a short story prequel to the Witches series is dedicated to Kat's brother, Rune. A super speller, he's plagued with his half-vampire heritage. This story gives a bit more of his trials growing up on the Witches' Island.



Sunday, December 03, 2023

Holoddities #1

Christmas, Noel, Jul. A pagan holiday preempted by Christian monks to make their story more palatable to the heathens. Well, Christmas is even weirder than that. Check out Christmas traditions around the world you might not know. Then, look at the bottom of this post to get the links to my book which is the absolutely most fantastically wonderful present you can buy for cheap. Trust me. Aunt Mabel will love it. So, on to the weird with this from Faux Channel. TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for relative.
    Mattak from Greenland
  • Greenland: Their own version of a Turducken is a Mattak. That's raw whale skin served with blubber) or Kiviak: 500 Auk birds stuffed into a sealskin and fermented for 7 months. I think I'll skip Greenland's Christmas.
  • South Africa: Sauteed caterpillar of the Emperor Moth is a Christmas treat.
  • Austria: Krampus! See my previous post on the esteemed Christmas guy worse than the Grinch.
  • Catalonia: The Nativity scenes include a picture of a pooping man. Um. Along with the pooping guy, they have a pooping log. Now, I don't know about you, but I think Catalonia got too much bug spray sometime in the past.
  • Norway: Brooms are hidden away so witches can't claim possession. What's a witch without a broom? Kelly Conway?
  • Japan: The dine-out place of choice is KFC. Makes sense to me.
  • Venezuela: The religious go to Mass on roller skates.
  • Germany: They hide a pickle in the Christmas tree. The kid who finds it gets an extra gift. Also, kids leave a sneaker outside to be stuffed with candy. Bad kinder get a twig instead.
  • New Zealand: Not so weird, they use a Pohutukawa tree rather than the standard Douglas fir. They're actually kind of pretty with red flowers.
  • Portugal: The Deceased are invited to dinner and have places set at the table for them. What the heck? They don't eat much.
  • Ukraine: Trees are decorated with an artificial spider and a bunch of spider web. Sounds like the Trump Whitehouse decor.
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the doorway. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of weeks.

Now, back to my book, which is much more important.
  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section
Buy the Large Print at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than a necktie? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99 (free if you have Kindle Unlimited)
Other Ebook Formats at Smashwords
Large Print Paperback $7.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Large Print Hard Cover $13.99 at Amazon
Audio Book at Audible - Free if you're a subscriber

Little Eddie tells some almost true Tall Tales set in West Texas of the 1930s. Guess what's true and what Eddie fudged on. Was it about the bear? Cage McNatt's prize sow? The skunk in the corn patch? Guaranteed for a chuckle and maybe a tear here and there.



Thursday, November 23, 2023

A Turkey's Wish

My favorite Thanksgiving Greeting song. Have a nice Thanksgiving day and be kind to turkeys!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

FINAL #FREE DAY (BONUS EXCERPT)

FINAL FREE DAY!

Tales of a Texas Boy

Great Book for Dad or Grandpa - Get them the ebook for Christmas or buy a "real" book for Christmas. Ta Da! Christmas shopping is done.

Large Print Paperback $7.99 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1438235453

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear.

These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

The Corn Patch Incident

Barn raising is a community affair that takes place in almost all rural societies across the country. In Texas, nearly every community event also includes a barbecue, although it’s sometimes by default. It all depends on why the barn needs raising.

A LITTLE TORNADO came through last week and Nate Simmons’ barn got flattened. Specially bad for Mr. Simmons, two cows were in the barn at the time and didn’t make it out alive. All it meant was there was plenty of meat for a barbecue when all the neighbors came around to rebuild the barn.

The cows got butchered right away and Mr. Simmons managed to sell quite a bit, but there was still a good half left over for the barbecue. My Pa and me went to help set up a pit right after and by the next Saturday, it was all ready to put the half cow on the spit. It does take a couple of days to roast a half, so Mr. Simmons got it fired up on Thursday, so by Saturday it was pretty much ready to go.

All the neighbors gathered up their tools and their families. We packed up and headed over to Mr. Simmons along with everybody else. Mr. Simmons brought in a load of lumber so everybody just brought their tools. We got there in the mornin’ and the men made good progress on clearin’ the scrap from the old barn and startin’ to frame up the new one. They salvaged what they could, stackin’ the good lumber to one side. They built some rough tables from a few pieces that wouldn’t be any good for the barn. Of course, people brought along chairs and such as they knew folks would need some place to sit come meal time.

The ladies, bein’ warned, already baked up biscuits and pies. More’n one family brought a kettle full of beans or potatoes ready to serve. They set those around the fire pit to keep warm while the work of barn raisin’ was in progress. I helped by carryin’ tools and boards to the men as they worked. It got pretty noisy what with all the poundin’ and sawin’ goin’ on.

Along about noon, we could smell the beef pretty good and it made my mouth water. Ma called me over and handed me a gunny sack.

“You go fetch corn, Eddie. We’ll need mebbe fifty ears so don’t come back without that many.”

“Yes’m, Ma. Can I take along Sister? She can pick the low ears while I get the high ones.”

“Sure enough. She’s gettin’ big enough to carry her weight,” Ma said then she went back to stirrin’ the kettles sittin’ next to the pit.

I grabbed Sister, who’s really Dorothy, but we called her Sister. Anyways, we took off to the corn field and proceeded to pull the ripe ears off the stalks. It takes the right eye to get the ripe ones. Some folks have to peel back the silk from the ear and take a look. Me and Sister had done this so many times, we could tell just by how fat the ear looked. So, we were movin’ along pretty good and had about half the ears Ma said to get.

I looked down the row to see how far we’d got when I saw a skunk traipsin’ up toward me. First off, I wondered what the little polecat was doin’ out in the middle of the day. Most often, they hunt at night. I stopped quick and looked around to see where Sister was. I couldn’t see her, so I decided just to let her know.

“Hey, Sister. There’s a skunk up here, so don’t go up the row no more,” I yelled.

“What row, Eddie?” she hollered back.

“The row I’m on,” I answered and wondered why she couldn’t have figured that out herself.

“Which row, I say-ed?” she asked again, soundin’ a little disgusted now.

“This darn row!” Why didn’t the fool girl know which row I was on. Then, it occurred to me I didn’t know where she was neither.

“Say somethin’ again and I’ll find you.”

“I’m heeere!” she sang out.

I could tell she was in front of me and a row or two south. I looked back to where the skunk was, but he’d disappeared. It came to me she might be close to where the skunk was by this time.

“Look out for the skunk,” I called out.

“What skunk?” Sometimes I wondered if she thought anything out.

“The skunk I said was up in front of me,” I said a bit on the mad side now.

Then I heard the scream from Sister and I figured she’d found the skunk. I dropped the sack of corn and ducked through the corn row. Sister ran smack into me. I saw the skunk no more’n five feet up the row. He was stampin’ his feet and hissin’ to beat the band. They do that afore they spray. Then, he raised up on its front legs, rear-end pointin’ right at us. He was fixin’ to shoot!

I grabbed Sister by the arm and jumped through the row back the way I’d come. I pulled her through just in time as I could smell the skunk had let loose. I grabbed up the sack and we both hightailed it up the row in the opposite direction as the skunk.

We ain’t gone more than a couple of steps when we see another skunk in front of us. Then another! We was bein’ overrun with skunks. I dropped the bag of corn as it was slowin’ me down. Sister and me jumped through to the next row and looked both ways to see if any more skunks were headed our way. We didn’t see none, so we skedaddled back out of the cornfield. When we got to the end, we stopped to think over our situation some.

“Ma won’t be none too happy we didn’t bring back the corn,” Sister pointed out the obvious.

“Well, I don’t want to go back in there,” I answered, thinkin’ fast as I knew Sister was right. Skunk smell or a lickin’? Not much of a choice, so I decided we’d go back in for the corn.

“C’mon, then. We gotta go back and get the corn.”

“Nooo, I’m not goin’,” Sister got her stubborn voice and I knew it wouldn’t do any good to argue with her.

“All right, but I’m goin’ tell Ma you didn’t help,” I answered knowin’ it was the only thing that might change her mind.

“She didn’t say I had to go, she just said I could go. Eddie, you’re not goin’ to put this off on me.” With that, she swung herself around to march off. I grabbed her shoulder and her braids whipped around and hit me in the face. It didn’t bother me, though. I was gettin’ desperate, after all.

“Ow!” she yelled and kicked me in the shins. I was glad I wore my boots so it didn’t hurt much.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I just need your help,” I whined some so she’d feel sorry for me.

We both stood there for awhile lookin’ at the corn patch, tryin’ to decide how we’d go about gettin’ in and out.

“What if we just pick the corn on the edge here?” Sister asked.

“No good. The stalks out here don’t have much good corn. We’d never get fifty ears.”

We continued to stand there starin’ at the patch, hopin’ something would come to mind.

“We’ll just have to go in,” I finally decided and squared myself up to the task.

Once we’d decided–although Sister still looked like she’d bolt–we headed back into the corn. Our best move was to get the sack as it already had half the corn we needed. So, we started down the row where I’d dropped it.

I didn’t see any sign of the skunk, so I was hopin’ she was gone. I figured the others to be her pups, since skunks are usually loners. It was no wonder she was in a fightin’ mood as I was between her and her children. Any mother would be het up.

We got the sack with no further trouble, filled it up, and headed back to the barbecue pit. Ma saw us comin’ and waved us to put the sack by some big kettles with water heatin’ up. As soon as the water started to boil, then we’d drop the ears in. But, I knew our job wasn’t finished as we also had to husk the corn.

I saw my friend Red watchin’ the men work, so I called him over to help. We got the ears shuck in no time at all. He did notice one small problem.

“This corn stinks, Eddie. Where didja get it?” he asked whilst holdin’ his nose with one hand and tryin’ to shuck with the other.

“We ran into a skunk,” I answered a mite testily as he didn’t have to go in the corn patch and didn’t have no right to complain.

Sister didn’t answer him, but she did punch him in the arm. That’s generally her way of dealin’ with a complainer.

The water was startin’ to boil, so we threw the ears in, dividin’ them between the two big kettles. Ma saw we were puttin’ the corn in, so she came over to check our work. She’s particular about shuckin’ and doesn’t like if we leave too much silk on the cobs.

As she got near us, she started wrinklin’ her nose and I knew she was smellin’ the skunk, too.

“What in tarnation happened to this corn?” she asked, glarin’ at me and Sister.

Ma, it ain’t our fault. There was a skunk in the corn. Matter of fact, there were five skunks in the corn. We jus’ didn’t get away in time. We were lucky it didn’t hit us, too.” I ran out the excuses, so just shut my mouth.

Ma stood there lookin’ down her nose at us with her arms crossed. Her glasses were glintin’ in the sun so I couldn’t see her eyes, but I figured what they looked like. I’d seen that look often enough to know.

“You two, and you Red, go back to the corn field and get up another fifty ears,” she pronounced our sentence.

Glumly, I grabbed the bag, but Ma took it away and tossed it in the pit where it lit up and was gone in a flash. She grabbed up another bag and handed it over.

The skunks seemed to have left the territory, so we had no more problems. We got up another bag of corn, shucked it, and threw it in the fresh pots of water Ma put to boilin’. Our previous bunch o’ corn went in the pit. The ears burned slower than the bag since the corn was fresh, so to speak.

After it was all said and done, though, it was a good barbecue and we finished up the barn by dusk. Everybody headed home weary, but glad they could help out a neighbor in need. That’s just the way it worked around these parts. Sister and me were just glad we escaped the skunks in the corn patch.



Sunday, November 12, 2023

Free Ebook Again This Week

Tales of a Texas Boy

Great Book for Dad or Grandpa - Get them the ebook for Christmas or buy a "real" book for Christmas. Ta Da! Christmas shopping is done.

Large Print Paperback $7.99 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1438235453

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear.

These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Happy Vets Day!

In TALES OF A TEXAS BOY, I included stories up through my father's high school career as the star quarterback and President of the student body. He was trying to decide what to do next, so he and his best buddy, Red, decided, as teenagers will, to go on a road trip instead. I wrote this poem, which is not in the book, to commemorate my father's decision to defend his country as a soldier just as his father had. This poem was published in a magazine written by and for veterans.

Signin' Up

"Free school" the sign said. I never heard of such a thing.
But Red and me, we moved on. We picked tomatoes in the fields.
We drove from place to place, seein' what we could.
Across Highway 66, we seen a lot along the way.

My brand-new Ford ran smooth, but after a while we heard the news.
Germany didn't look too good. Pa said there'd be war.
So, we went off to Denver with those two blonde-haired gals.
I handed them the keys and told them take the car to Amarillo.

Me and Red joined up, but Pa said don't sign 'til they told me what I'd do.
Red signed ahead of me and he went off and peeled potatoes.
Me, I just hung around 'til they said, how about San Antone?
That was good with me, so I signed on the line and got the uniform.

I ended up on a ship, heading out to Manila Bay.
But, it was December 7th and the ship turned round along the way.
Nobody said what was goin' on, but they give me a coupon for the train.
I headed up to Seattle and, along the way, I heard the news.

I might've got to the Philippines and been killed on Corregidor.
As it is, I watched for the Japs along the Pacific shore.
And that girl seemed just right to marry.
I ended up in Oregon workin' the big trees.

If it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor, where would I have gone?
Maybe that free school down in Fresno.
Maybe I'd signed up to ride fence down at a ranch.
Maybe I'd worked the oil fields like my uncle John.

But the world was what it was and I married that Oregon gal.
I saw the big trees and I liked the logging.
I stayed and sent money to the folks. Come on up, I said.
Where would I have gone, if it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor?

* * *

Great Book for Dad or Grandpa - 
Surprise them with a Veterans' Day Gift of Old-Time Humor


Two 5-day #Freebies for the ebook:
Amazon Kindle Ebook Free 11/7-11

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.