Butterflies in 3 … 2 …

P-Con is a new sci-fi/fantasy literary convention being held in the DFW Metromess 15 SEP 23 to 17 SEP 23.

Crystal is running it, and she’s Good People.

Since this is their first ever convention, I guess it is kind of fitting that P-Con will be my first ever convention where I am a Guest.

Deep breathing exercises commence.

Come to P-Con! We’ll have a blast!


Postcards From Foolz

Postcards From Foolz went live today!

This is the fourth book in the Postcard series fro Raconteur Press, our experiment in 50 word short stories based on visual prompts we run for each convention we have attended this year.

This is the one from Foolzcon in North Texas. For those of you who are curious, the cover photo is an AI-adapted picture of Brian Gnad — and his Bubba Truck has centerfold shots inside.

I’m here to tell you, this one was fun to put together.

Direct link to book here.

Next one will be LibertyCon — the visual prompts will be AI-generated based off of author names. This one is going to be WILD. Don’t forget that you DO NOT have to be physically present at LibertyCon to take part — we’ll start the Friday of LibertyCon. Ping Jonna, Kortnee, or Cedar and ask for a prompt. They’ll send you one, you have until Monday after LibertyCon to write 50 words and send them to us.

*dignified publisher squee*


In which your Humble Scribe stirs the pot …

Some time in the past I clicked the ‘Like’ button on a Facebook article from Outdoor Life magazine. This has resulted in posts from them popping up fairly regularly in my feed, and — for the most part I find them to be eminently readable.

I have always enjoyed the dead-tree Outdoor Life magazine that they’ve published for decades, and the on-line version is a decent read — a little click-baity, somewhat shallower, and definitely shorter than the old articles, but for something that has to be published on the Internet, with its 15-second attention span, their articles are better than most.

When it comes to their rifle cartridge lists, though, I’ve got an issue — no matter what the rifle cartridge list is about, you can be sure of two things:

A — The 6.5 Creedmoor is going to be on there. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the 6.5 Creed is a damned decent round, but it isn’t really a ‘do-all’ round, and it is starting to get a little repetitive seeing it on ‘Top Ten’ list for everything from varmints, to deer, to antelope, to elk, to Zeta Reticulans. It’s a good cartridge, but sometimes its performance envelope is being stretched more than a little; and

B — The 7mm-08 isn’t going to be there. And that’s a damned shame. The 7mm-08 is the closest thing Americans can get mass-market to my beloved 7x57mm Mauser, and in the hunting envelope where the 6.5 Creedmoor shines, the 7mm-08 is just as capable — if maybe a little more. Granted, the 7mm has a little more recoil thump, but this is offset by a little more whack downrange.

Now, I realize that the 6.5 Creedmoor is the new hotness, and everyone is trying it on everything under the sun, but can we get a little love for one of the classics?


Pfagh, on the lot of them

These days the Main Stream Media has reverted whole-heartedly to its ‘yellow journalism’ roots, and is slightly less trustworthy than the old National Enquirer.

Pundits even less so. They routinely cherry-pick the facts that will put their audience into a high-hover, and gloss over all others — and that goes double for the pundits you think are on your side.

John Durham’s investigation into the 2016 hijinks is out, and every over-paid, over-gelled, over-hyped, and under-cerebral talking head is running their mush, trying to gin up a reaction favourable to their side.

Pfagh on the lot of them.

Here is John Durham’s report, in its entirety. Read it for yourself, ponder it critically for a while, and come to your own conclusions.

Bloody pundits.


The state of Raconteur Press

Well, so far we’ve published:
3 Malta anthologies;
2 Space Cowboy anthologies;
1 Space Marine anthology;
3 Postcard anthologies; and

The LawDog Files
The Africa Files.

And with Sanderly Studios, I’ve done the following colouring books:
The Ratel Saga
The Squeaks Caper.

Not bad for a brand-new small publishing house.

We’ll double that — at least — by the end of the year. And if you think that’s impressive, 2024 looks to be at least that, if not even more.

With that, a little housekeeping:

Raconteur Press is mine. It isn’t a “shell corporation” for any other publishers — it’s mine.

The officers of Raconteur Press are me, Rita, CV Walter, Cedar Sanderson, Jonna Hayden, and Sarah C; and those ladies have my complete trust.

Please don’t try to end-run a decision by one of my lovely minions by PMing me on the sneak — there are only six of us, and we talk to each other. I don’t mind a question about a decision, but if you pretend that you haven’t already spoken to one of them and got an answer, hoping to override a decision — I’m going to know about it.

Those five ladies are scary-smart, and have a scary amount of varied experience they share amongst themselves — please don’t condescend my minions. Doing so will not only run you up my smoke list with a quickness, you’ll get them annoyed at you.

Frankly, I think them annoyed is the worst of the two, but some folks have to learn for themselves.

With that, Raconteur Press is just now coming up to speed — I hope y’all will ride along with us as we bring exciting and entertaining authors to the reading public; both authors with established fandoms, and brand-new, never-published-before authors.

Write! Have fun! Get paid!

Raconteur Press

Speech is free for me, but not for thee

Recently we have learned of another group of university students who decided they were feeling kittenish and prevented an invited speaker from … well, speaking.

Seems to be a ever-increasing tendency on the part of College-Enrolled Young People that “Speech is free for me, but not for thee” should be the default setting.

And the fact that they are being allowed to get away with this is resulting in more of this foolishness, rather than less.

I have Thoughts About This.

If students on campus are intentionally and knowingly preventing invited speakers from speaking, snatch up those students and take them to the University Police Station, where they should be positively identified as students, and issued trespass warnings.

If they are living in student housing, the next stop should be the dorms, where the contents of their rooms should be hucked to the kerb. Pat them on the shoulder, and wish them the best … somewhere off of campus. Trespass warning, and all that.

“But LawDog,” I hear you say, “Where are they going to go?”

I don’t care. Allegedly they’re adults, they can figure it out.

Next business day, the Registrar can figure out how much of the tuition is remaining, and send a cheque for that amount to their home address.

Expelled. Not to return. Period.

Same with unlawfully occupying University buildings and preventing access: Expelled, trespassed, kicked off of campus, money to be sent to home address.

If they’re not enrolled students, then issue them trespass warnings, and the next time they show up on University property arrest them for Criminal Trespass, have them slung into jail, and prosecute them.

They’re doing this, because there are no consequences for this behaviour — and this needs to stop. 

As for the professors whom we all know are the actual instigators of this: when the expulsions start racking up, they’ll knock this idiocy off.

Plus, I imagine at least one set of outraged parents will get the name of the instigator out of their sprog — and that should be fun.

We have taken the consequences of being stupid out of the equation, and it’s not doing our children any favours. Time to put consequences back on the table.

And I’m about getting fed up with the entitled little snots.


Support starving authors!

Every convention we attend during the 2023 season, we have a contest where we give people who ask a picture and ask them to write a 50-word short story about the picture. We select the top 20 stories, and publish them in a collection.

This release are the short stories we got during the FantaSci convention at Durham, North Carolina in March.

You should probably buy it.

Direct link for book here.


Poolside Summer cocktail

Summer is headed this way, so time to switch out the bourbon drinks for something a little lighter.


1.5 oz of Topo Chico
1.5 oz of cachaça
0.75 oz pineapple juice
0.75 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz pomegranate grenadine syrup

In a chilled Collins glass, add ice and your Topo Chico. If you can’t find Mexican fizzy water, any club soda will do. Put the other ingredients into a shaker, give it a brisk rattle, and pour over the soda.

Voila! A Batida Rosa. Simple, light, sweet, and summery. Ideal for sipping by the pool.


Yucatan-style pickled onions

I got this recipe by way of JimJim, who found out we liked pickled onions and made it for Saturday Supper. 

Take red onions, lime juice, salt, and peppercorns.

Mix one teaspoon of salt per cup of lime juice, then slice your onions into about quarter-inch wide slabs, and bust the slabs into individual rings.

Put a small pinch of peppercorns into a Mason jar, stuff it full of rings of onion, cover with lime juice/salt, and bung it into the fridge for a day or so.

The peppercorns aren’t part of JimJim’s original recipe, but I think it adds a nice extra tang — feel free to leave them out.

After a day or two of marinating, serve with a nice, strong cheddar cheese, or catfish, bangers, BBQ, or hell anything.

Should be good for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but if you like pickled onions I don’t think you have to worry about shelf life.


Meditations on acidity

I suppose that it is my Southern roots showing, but I really do like good fried catfish.

To me, fried catfish is finger food. There’s a certain satisfaction to be had sitting at a table, breaking those golden slabs into bite-size chunks with your fingers, and popping them into your mouth. Something picnic-y and summery about it.

As with most food, a little touch of acidity brightens the flavours of catfish, traditionally this is done with pickles or onions — take a chunk of fish, put a pickle chip or a small bit of onion on it, and snarf the whole thing. The sulfenic acid in the onion, or the acetic acid in the pickle, enhances the mild flavour of the fish, and makes it ‘pop’.

I tend to use pickled onions with fried catfish at home, but pickled onions aren’t something you find at catfish shacks Stateside.

We do something similar with lemon on chicken — the citric acid brightens the taste of chicken rather nicely.

Month or so ago I was at the local catfish place, and wandered up to the salad bar to get a little bowl of pickle slices for my fish, but the glare of the LED lights under the sneeze shield, along with the darkness of the shack, and my damaged retina, meant that when I got back to the table I discovered that I had a bowl of banana pepper rings instead of the dill pickle chips I had intended.

Not wanting to waste the perfectly good peppers, I figured ‘what the hell’ and popped a ring on a chunk of fish and chowed down.

Oh … that was delectable. My new favourite topper for fried catfish. And a reminder that there are still pleasant surprises out there; and to savour the little things. That food is not simply fuel.

I was thinking about that just now, and I’m coming to realize that it’s time to stow the baggage of the last couple of years, and get back to enjoying the small, everyday delights.

I was wronged — deliberately and maliciously — and I have every right to be furious. The people who cost me a career, who dragged me through hell for two years, and who injured me in ways both long-term and subtle (see ‘damaged retina’, above) will never pay any sort of price for their conduct. And no-one can deny me the right to be enraged by it.

But to stew on being done wrong is not hurting them. It is hurting me. It is denying me the enjoyment of the small things.

So. Time to cock a snook at those bastards one last time, then ignore their existence and let the acidity of the last couple of years enhance and brighten the little things again.

Going to be a good year, Gentle Readers. I will make it so.