Something beautiful.

In Jerusalem stands the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most holy site of the Christian faith.

In the same city, a Muslim man will awaken this morning, as his fathers have done each day since AD1187, he will retrieve an ancient iron key from a safe place, and he will walk from his house to the Church.

At the holiest site in all of Christendom, a second Muslim man will — as his forefathers have done since at least the 12th century, and maybe as early as the 7th century — knock formally and ceremoniously upon the massive, ornately-carved door to this ancient church. 

Monks inside of the church, hearing the same knock they have heard every day for centuries, will open a hatch in the door and pass out a wooden ladder to this son of Islam, who will place it so that he may access an ancient iron lock high above his head, and one of two securing the door.

When the first man arrives, he will hand over the key he is entrusted with to the second man, who will use it to unlock and open the doors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Christian pilgrims who have come from around the world to visit and worship; then returning the key to the first man.

At night, these two Muslim men will reverse the process, safely securing the doors of a Christian holy site as their families have done in an unbroken line from the 12th Century to the 21st Century.

There is beauty and honour and faith unto others left in this world, Gentle Readers. We simply have to keep our eyes open.


Fentanyl, and you

I had thought the whole “fentanyl paranoia” thing had run it’s course by now, but it apparently has got a hell of a set of legs.

As a now-retired elder, I think it’s probably my duty to gently guide the youngling peace officers in their path of Public Service, so let us engage in a little rational thought experiment.

Why does Mookie need to snort fentanyl, if all he has to do is rub a little powder on his arm?

More importantly, if you’ve made it through your third solo patrol, you should have figured out that while Mookie isn’t necessarily smart he is pretty cunning. To say nothing of inventive when it comes to ways of avoiding the attention of Da Law.

Syringes — a/k/a “Paraphernalia” — are a wonderful example of “Probable Cause”, and a reason to search Mookie from his toenails to the last follicle on his head, thus stumbling across any number of his sins.

If Mookie can avoid carrying around paraphernalia, and thus bypass these little indignities, he will do so with an avid quickness. If fentanyl can be efficacious via simple contact … why should Mookie need a needle?

I don’t know if you’ve come across your first drug lab yet, but I’m here to tell you that “lab safety procedures” in your average bathtub lab, or stash house don’t quite make it up to the level that the American Chemical Society would like to see.

So why aren’t the purveyors of recreational pharmaceuticals stacking up like cordwood and solving the problem all on their own if skin contact is all that is required?

 Stop freaking out about possible skin contact with possible fentanyl — if it were that bad, the fentanyl problem would be self-correcting.


Much brave, very courage

Seems like school teachers in the United States have taken it upon themselves to start hiding stuff from the parents of the children the teachers are supposed to be teaching Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic to.

Little stuff, like teachers proselytizing vis a vis abortion, gender identity, gender affirmation surgery, that sort of thing; all of which when it gets discovered, includes being intentionally hidden from the parents — the legal guardians — of the children.

Whole lot of folks who ought to know better are cheering this sort of thing on — especially the part about intentionally hiding it from the parents: teacher’s unions, various NGOs, the entire-bloody-Democrat Party, and the like.

The current Talking Point seeming to be: well, the teachers have to follow their conscience.

I have a question for those who are dumb enough to think this is A Good Idea:

What happens when the proselytizing takes a more … traditional … bent? You still going to be singing paeans when the teachers are holding Bible study and not informing the parents?

No? Why, you hypocritical little bugsnipes.

What happens when “the teacher’s conscience” leads to a quiet little baptism into the Christian faith in the gym? You still going to be manfully holding back tears and speaking in hushed tones about the “moral courage” of the teachers involved?

No? Oh, you sanctimonious little oiks.

Sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander, and all that, if it is “All That Is Good And Just”, if it is “moral courage”, and “an act of good faith and conscience” for a teacher to hide “inconvenient” stuff from parents, then that applies across the board.

Teacher helps student get abortion without parent’s knowledge?
Teacher helps student convert to Catholicism without parent’s knowledge?
Teacher helps student get gender reassignment hormones without parents knowledge?
Teacher helps student get Concealed Carry Licence without parent’s knowledge?
Teacher lectures students on Critical Race Theory without parent’s knowledge?
Teacher lectures students on New Testament without parent’s knowledge?

Y’all don’t get to pick and choose. If some of these without parent’s knowledge are Well and Good, then all of them are.

But you won’t, because you’re hypocritical little weasels, and you seem to be proud of it.



Spite. It gets things done.

Back in 2013 author MCA Hogarth self-published a book called ‘Spots the Space Marine’. Soon thereafter, Amazon took it down.

Understandably surprised, Maggie made enquiries and was somewhat startled to learn that Games Workshop — of the Warhammer 40k universe — had decided that they owned the copyright to the term ‘space marine’, and had filed a takedown notice, which Amazon had acquiesced to. And apparently hers wasn’t the first.

She took the bit in her teeth, and with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, got the takedown reversed.

A decade later, and I’m doing something at the Blanket Fort, when my Editor-in-Chief gets a bee in her bonnet, and tells me the story.

Being me, I get monumentally annoyed, and then Kortnee really dropped the gob-stopper: apparently after MCA Hogarth slapped Games Workshop down, several folks decided to take advantage of this and publish anthologies about space marines — and Maggie didn’t get an invite to any of them.

As an aside, it seems that when all of my mental squirrels stop their rave and focus their concentration on one person, it can be a little unnerving.

“Are you telling me that MCA Hogarth took on Games Workshop on her own, made them blink, thus becoming the founder of the feast — and no-one had the common courtesy to invite her to partake?”

Kortnee blinked at me, and told me I was correct.

“Fine. Bugger them. Contact Maggie Hogarth, find out how many space marine short stories she has, and WE’LL publish them.”

Today the results of that little moment of spite went live. Well, technically it went live yesterday, but today was the official day, so I’m celebrating today.

Go buy the first volume of Spite Marines Space Marines!

Since Maggie had two stories, Space Marines 2 will be out in mid-July.

Go and support starving authors! And also support the little guys with the courage to stand up and kick multi-million-dollar corporate cyber-bullies in the wedding tackle (metaphorically-speaking).

Direct link to book here.


The Africa Files

Ok, the second book of my little tales is live … sort of.

Right now, the dead-tree edition is up, but we’re having problems with the ebook due to piracy and other non-Amazon issues.

Just out of an abundance of caution, please remember that these new editions are the only authorised versions — all others are being sold by pirate sites, and I don’t get a single thin dime for any of those sales.

So, here is the dead-tree version, and we’ll have the ebook up as soon as we get some letters and emails done.


EDIT: Kindle version is live! FINALLY!



What a year….

Elder Mom of the Apocalypse here….

A while back my friend LawDog did a little creative scribble on his FB page about Malta…and it exploded with “MORE!” in the comments. More stories, a novel, an ANTHOLOGY!! He then made the mistake of having lunch with me and saying that no one would want to write stories for a Malta Anthology. I suggested he might be wrong ’bout that.
And one year ago today? Ghosts of Malta went LIVE, with editing by another MOTA, Kortnee Bryant, full of wonderful stories by a great bunch of authors.
After that success, a scrappy little upstart Press was born, and has been giving space to a bunch of talented new authors and a great community of friends.
Thank you, all of you, for supporting this crazy wild ride.

Brain fried

Another Foolzcon has come and gone. Many stories were told, much laughter was had, many pictures taken, and I am gloriously exhausted.

The first three years we did this thing, people were a little tentative. This year people came to see friends, and to have a grand time — which was done in spades.

Going forward we’re going to have to do some thinking. Foolzcon is growing, and while it will remain an invite-only event, it is inevitable that it will grow larger, and the venue we currently use is barely big enough for what we had this year.

Plus the concrete floor and tin roof meant when Herself cut loose in full operatic mode, things rang a bit.

Discussions will be had in the coming months and we will figure out where to go from here. Do not fear! Foolzcon will continue, just not at the current venue.

Speaking of things growing — Raconteur Press is growing quicker than I had ever expected, or hoped, or dreamed. Holy gods are we growing.

One sign of this is that I have fielded six (I think) phone calls regarding potential projects from five different folks since Monday. I am honoured beyond what anyone knows that y’all would trust me with your ideas … but I’m also brain-burnt from way too many people, and I’m starting to confuse projects; to get the details of one mixed in with the details of another.

This is Not Good. This is my bad, and I apologize.

To keep this from happening again, if you have projects you think would interest Raconteur Press, please send the details to:

Yes, I have an Official Business Email address now!

I will be calling the people that I spoke to, asking for forgiveness for mixing things up, and getting the details hammered out and fixed.

Growing pains. I’ll get better, I promise.


Phone polls

You know, you’d think by now that the various political and gun control groups would have my phone number on a blocked list, but I just got hung up on by a pollster for Americans For Gun Safety.

Mildly interested in how “I hung up on the person I was polling” gets entered in the poll results, but I suspect it’s recorded as whatever result buoys their narrative. Ah, well. 

My stance on gun safety has remained firm since 1994, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

I think that the Eddie Eagle program should be taught from Kindergarten up to the fourth grade, and nobody should be allowed to advance out of fourth grade without being able to recite, “Stop. Don’t Touch. Get An Adult.”

I think that Cooper’s Four Rules should be taught after fourth grade, and no-one should be allowed into junior high until they can recite the rules from memory and discuss each one.

I don’t think anyone should be allowed to graduate high school until they can field-strip and reassemble an AR15, and pass a standard US Army marksmanship qualification course with one. If someone is techy about shooting at silhouettes, round bullseye targets can be substituted, but you’ve got to earn at least 23 out of 40 to get your sheepskin.

That’s gun safety — teaching kids how to handle firearms safely and taking the mystery out of them will do more to end tragedies than any useless gun control laws; and I’m not going to ever change my mind on that.


IRS and the new writer …

… Or: How to get my W-9 form from Raconteur Press.

Welcome to the primary reason why Raconteur Press uses PubShare.

It is that time of the year when the Infernal Revenue Service gets altogether too interested in stuff, and I’m quickly learning that one of the big pitfalls for new authors is taxes owed.

If you published with us last year, you probably ought to have a W-9 form to present to your tax person for inclusion in your tax file. Most of our authors won’t need to pay taxes on what they earned from us in 2022, but given the proctological tendencies of said Fed agency, having one close to hand can’t hurt. And getting in the habit of having for your W-9 form for future years will hopefully be necessary.


Log-in to your PubShare account.

On the left side of your screen, you should see an option for “Reports & Statements”, click on that.

This will give you a series of sub-folders, one of which is entitled “Tax Forms”.

Click on that sub-file, and you’ll get a page with various amounts of data on it, but the important part is a small button somewhere on that page labelled “Current Form W-9”.

Click on the radio button in the circled area. This is your W-9. Print it off; have it with you when you talk to your tax dude.

As mentioned previously I don’t think any of our authors made enough from our books this year for the W-9 to mean much, but that is liable to change this time around. Have it on hand anyway.

And this, Gentle Reader (and Gentle Authors) is why PubShare is worth every penny.