Hold On to Hope when Things are Darkest

There are good times and there are bad times to launch a book. The Psychic on the Jury is officially out now, has been for three days, and it’s really hard to think about that or put energy into it. I’m mostly stuck, focused on the assassination attempt, and all of the ways people are reacting to it.

I’m seeing a lot of doom and gloom. Too many people in my spheres are saying, “That’s it. This clinches it for Trump.”

Tons of people are saying that. So many that, if they were to all show up at the ballot box in November, Biden would win in a landslide.

When people are in despair, when they’ve given up, they tend to stay home. So let’s talk about some reasons why it’s okay to remain hopeful, and why the end of this story isn’t certain.

Let’s start with Project 2025. It’s still the Republican’s handbook, and it is full of scary, un-American bullshit. It is deeply unpopular, so Trump tried to distance himself from it. We’re not buying it, though, because his attempt was weak — he wished them luck in all that they do — and the people that wrote Project 2025 are all people that worked for him. They want to work for him again.

“But the assassination attempt!”

The person that attempted to kill Trump was a 20 year old registered Republican, using an AR-15. One of Trump’s own tried to kill him using a gun that Republicans famously fight to keep on the streets. How does this help Trump get re-elected?

Compare that with Biden’s response. Biden has been genuine, human, empathetic, and warm. Which again, forces us to look at history and how Trump reacted when Pelosi’s husband was bludgeoned with a hammer. Again, how does this help Trump get re-elected?

“But Biden sucks!”

Does he, though? He’s old and he doesn’t speak very well, but his administration has been putting up good numbers. Do you care about student loan debt? Or legalization of marijuana? Or low unemployment rates? Or a booming economy? Or…

Pick a stat. Look at the actual numbers. Biden’s administration has been great for the country.

He did terrible at a debate that didn’t matter, because everyone’s mind was already set on who they were going to vote for. We have history to look at for the performance of both presidential candidates. On that history alone, Trump should lose. Bigly.

And, going back to Project 2025, we know how much worse a second Trump presidency will be.

If that’s not enough to convince you, let’s look at the Supreme Court. The next president is going to select some number of new justices on the court. And what has this current court brought us?

The end of established law. Roe v Wade: overturned. The Chevron Deference: overturned. Checks and balances on the executive branch: destroyed. We have a supreme court that has produced wildly unpopular, terrible decisions. Elect Trump, and he’ll put Aileen Cannon on the bench. If you don’t know who she is, consider yourself lucky.

We have to remain hopeful and vote in such numbers that the gerrymandering and double dealing is insufficient to stop us.

If you don’t like Biden, that’s fine. Vote for him anyway. Vote for his administration. Vote to keep Trump out of office. There really isn’t a “both sides” to this.

I will remind you that I am not a Democrat. I’m registered Independent, and I have plenty of criticisms to level at the Democrats. Now isn’t the time for that. We have to hold each other up, defeat the demagogue, and then roll up our sleeves and do the work that will actually make America great.


Tired of Living in Interesting Times

Thursday and Friday, I called in sick. I had body aches, a mild sore throat, some coughing, and just didn’t feel like I could focus on work. I feel better today, but in the process of dodging work and recovering, I completely skipped July 12th, 2024, the day The Psychic on the Jury officially released.

Today is July 13th, 2024, and it seems like… other news… takes precedent.

I’m not going to write something stupid or foolish here. If you know me, you probably know that I greatly dislike Donald Trump. There are many, many, many reasons why.

However, I don’t want him dead. I want to defeat him in the polls and the ballot box. I want his followers and worshippers and sycophants and enablers to all see him for the monster that he is, and then I want to never hear from him (or the rest of his family) again. If he wants to spend the rest of his miserable life on one of his golf courses, that would be fine.

I would like to see him face the consequences of his actions, but I would settle for almost any series of events in which I don’t have to hear him speak again.

By “almost any series of events” I mean, I’m not in favor of him being martyred, assassinated, killed… we don’t need more violence.

Has he espoused and promoted violence at his rallies? Yes. That doesn’t mean I think he should receive it himself.

We need de-escalation. We need to hold onto our morals, put down the pitchforks (and guns), and be the kind of people that deserve the country our forefathers fought and bled for. We need to be better than our forefathers, for that matter.

We need to be united.

I would rather be talking about my book and my writing journey. Instead I’m looking at things like Project 25 and today’s shooting, and all I can think is, “My God. This really is the end of my country, isn’t it?”

It doesn’t have to be. But we have to start getting ready for the worst.

I think Trump and his followers are going to fan the flames and try to escalate things. I think we’re going to see more violence before we get to the election. We need to de-escalate. We need to hold onto our morals, refrain from getting dragged down into fights that are beneath us, and make our voices heard in November.

I’m tired of living in interesting times. When times are boring, someone like me can spend days like today trying to drum up interest in their little book, rather than plead to the void not to do anything hasty or stupid. Instead, we have assassination attempts and plans for tyranny and fascism.

Please stay safe out there and remember who we are.


Post Baycon 2024

Good evening! It’s Monday night, still sweltering in Sacramento, and I really need to talk about the event Melissa and I attended this weekend. The ups, the downs, and the things I hope for the future.

To begin with, we had a great time! I had the privilege of participating on 4 panels this year, two on July 4th, and two on July 5th.

The very first panel, The Business and Writing and Publishing, was moderated by Dr. Wanda Kurtcu and was reasonably well attended. I thought we’d talk more about publishing and the professional author life, but we wound up going over some very good fundamentals of writing and finishing stories. If you can’t finish a story or see an idea through to its conclusion, none of the publishing advice in the world will help, so I thought it was a good use of our time, and the people in the audience seemed to enjoy it.

My next panel, from 8:30PM to 10:00PM on the 4th of July, was How Do I Get Published. Baycon takes place at the Marriott directly across the street from Great America, so naturally I assumed people would be more interested in fireworks at that time. Therefore, I brought Scotch to share with the panelists, a very tasty 12 year old Grangestone. To my surprise, we had 12 to 15 people to speak to. I shared with them, too, and we had a good time.

I should note that I wound up the moderator for that panel. I’m told I did an excellent job, and I felt pretty good about it.

The panels the next day were also great, though the Can We Survive AI Assisted Disinformation panel went off the rails a little bit. There’s a lot of fear and confusion around AI, and politics crept into the topic as well. While addressing the political component, I remained as neutral as possible.

When not on panels, I was in the dealer’s room, with the Water Dragon and Small Publishing in a Big Universe tables. I pitched my book and others, and had quite a number of sales. I had badge ribbons to hand out, and my gimmick was that, before I’d give out the ribbon, they had to let me tell them about my books. A fair exchange, I think.

I didn’t pressure anyone. I mostly just talked, sometimes going so far as to geek out about favorite stories and authors. And, I did my best to promote other books on the tables, even directing people to the Liminal Fiction table when the person clearly wanted something they could find there.

Also, I recorded some Live from Baycon 2024 episodes. I really enjoy hosting the podcast from time to time. The people I interviewed said they had a lot of fun and thanked me for the experience. The Live from Baycon 2024 episodes should go up next month or so, and I’ll provide links when they’re available.

There’s so much I can talk about. I met some new people. I got to hang out with some old friends and acquaintances. We went to dinner with friends and fellow writers a few times and really enjoyed their company. Because there weren’t any readings at the convention, we had some of our own. About 10 people showed up for the reading the first night. I wasn’t able to make it to the next night, but I think there were about 10 people then, too.

Finally, I have to talk about something truly unexpected. Many of the books I’ve sold have gone out to friends, families, acquaintances… people that know me and may be otherwise incentivized to say nice things. One of the days, someone I didn’t know, that bought my book at a previous con, sought me out. She LOVED The Repossessed Ghost and wanted to know if there was more. My story struck a chord with her. The joy she expressed brought joy to my heart. It was such a powerful experience for me.

That’s most of the positive experiences. I don’t really have much in the way of complaints, thought I have some suggestions. In no particular order, I’ll list them out:

  • The primary purpose of the name badges is so that people can see the names of the other attendees. The real estate of the badges this year was mostly taken up with the convention logo, so they wound up using a very small font for the names themselves. My suggestion is to minimize the logo and prioritize the names.
  • Registration was a bit of a mixed bag. I was able to get my badge early and easily, but there were some oddities. If you were a participant on panels, you could get your badge from ProgOps. If you were a pre-order, such as a board member for the SPSF, there was a different table to go to for your badge. If you were working in the dealers’ room marketplace, you could get a badge there. Some of these locations had lanyards. Some did not. If you were like me and did all three things, you needed to go to multiple places to get all the things. When registration opened for real, the line went long and didn’t appear to move very fast. I went by the line multiple times on July 4th and saw my friend Marvin several times, not moving. I appreciate the effort that goes into managing registration and badges and whatnot. From my perspective, it seems like there was a lot of room for improvements.
  • The Guest of Honor said she was well taken care of, but her book was nowhere to be found in the marketplace. That seems like a huge misstep, and can easily be fixed in future conventions.
  • Programming was very different this year, and I’m not sure it worked out. There were definitely gaps, and the final schedule didn’t get out in a very timely fashion. Because of this, many of the rooms were mislabeled. For example, the Can We Survive AI panel was labeled as Redshirts outside the door.

There’s more I can say, but I’d rather end on a more positive note. Running conventions is hard. While there was room for improvement, I think Baycon 2024 was an overall success, and I’m very glad I attended.

I’m looking forward to Baycon 2025!

But before that, there will be Loscon…


Preorders Up for The Psychic on the Jury!

Here is the Amazon link!

It looks like the new cover is showing up for The Repossessed Ghost as well, though I’m only seeing it on the Trade Paperback and Kindle editions, while hard cover is the original. I’ll check with Steven on this. I suspect that the change just hasn’t gone through yet. From some stuff Steven told me, Amazon can be a little slow with changes like this.

Also note… if you’re clicking through and looking at the series in Amazon, it sort of looks like The Psychic on the Jury is the first book. This is not true. Because it is shorter (and cheaper), I think some people unfamiliar with my work might read it first. It doesn’t contain significant spoilers for The Repossessed Ghost, although it does depict Mel in control of his powers. A big part of The Repossessed Ghost is Mel learning to open his Mind’s Eye and use his abilities intentionally, but I don’t see this is a major spoiler.

I think the only real problem with reading them out of order is that The Repossessed Ghost takes place over a decade ago, and an unobservant reader might wind up confused since The Psychic on the Jury takes place a few years later, but before the pandemic.

Oh! This just in…

Steven is sorting the books tonight. He paused to post this image. It might be hard to see, but right in the middle on the right is a stack of The Psychic on the Jury.

There had been a chance that the book wouldn’t be there for Baycon. Books in shipping get delayed all the time. But there it is! This is the first time I’m getting to see that book in real life.

So exciting!

Again, the pre-order link is above. If you happen to be in Santa Clara this weekend, you can stop by Baycon and visit me in the dealer’s room. From what I can tell, the dealer’s room is open to the public. And just like The Repossessed Ghost was pre-released at Baycon last year, The Psychic on the Jury will be available at Baycon this year.

I really need to work on the sequel novel for next year.


The Psychic on the Jury Cover!

One week from today, as long nothing goes wrong with shipping, I should have a book in my hands with this cover:

I think it’s great! I only had a few notes for the cover artist (Niki Lenhart), which went through Steven Radecki. He didn’t have that much to pass on, actually. Niki nailed it very quickly.

I love the “A Mel Walker Story” banner on the top, and all the implications that go with it. Obviously, The Repossessed Ghost was the first, and if all goes as I hope and as I plan, there will be more.

If you’re curious about the San Francisco ballcap on the table in the foreground, you’ll just have to read the story. There’s a reason that The Repossessed Ghost features a ’74 Chevy Nova. Similarly, the cover for this story needed to feature the ballcap.

It’s a short read. A bit longer than One for the Road, and 1/5th the length of The Repossessed Ghost. As I’ve said in a previous post, this story serves two purposes. The first is to offer a cheaper introduction for readers new to my work and the world of Mel Walker. The second is to act as a transition between The Repossessed Ghost and the next novel.

Speaking of which, I’m at a new Shut Up and Write. As soon as I hit Publish on post, I’m going to get out my notes and try to make some progress on the new novel. I still have some gaps to fill in the outline. Soon, perhaps after Baycon, I dive into drafting.

Wish me luck! And let me know what you think of the cover!


New Cover for The Repossessed Ghost!

Check it out!

For those of you that purchased the book already, thank you so much! And congratulations! You now have a limited edition.

I still really like the old cover.

The new cover should look better in person, though. It’s higher contrast. The Moon is amazing on it. Plus, the new cover now says across the top “A Mel Walker Novel,” which it needs to do because as of the middle of next month, it’ll be the first in a series.

Steven Radecki suggested it during Sacramento Comic-Con, and to be honest, I was reluctant. I like featuring the car on the cover. It represents Kate, the actual repossessed ghost. It’s a picture right out of the scene which is the inciting incident.

Very soon, I’ll post the cover for The Psychic on the Jury, which again, will be available at Baycon as a pre-release, with its official release being July 12th. If one were to search The Amazon, they would find the kindle pre-order link here.

What do you think of the new cover? Which do you like better? New or old? Let me know!


My Baycon 2024 Schedule!

They’re letting me on panels again! Here is the schedule:

July 4th, 14:45 – 16:00 — The Business of Writing

The business of writing is daunting, with many paths leading to that first published work. Professional writers discuss their experiences beyond the craft of writing. The panelists will entertain questions from the audience on navigating the path towards success.

July 4th, 20:30 – 21:45 — How Do I Get Published?

These authors have done it all, from successful query letters, book proposals, and finding an agent to formatting advanced review copies, books, and ebooks. We’ve written everything: book proposals, query letters, short stories, articles, essays, novels, nonfiction books. We advertise and sell too! Bring your questions and discover how to do it all yourself.

July 5th, 12:00 – 13:15 — Love that Book? Do Tell!

The simplest, easiest thing that a reader can do for writers, especially less-represented authors, indie authors, and niche storytellers) is to post reviews. We’re not talking about a deep literary analysis on your blog … just a short-and-sweet “what I liked (or didn’t) about this” note on your favorite digital bookselling sites. Let’s get together for a brief chat about what does and does not belong in a review, how to anonymize your reviews if you want to, and a little Q&A. Sure, we can talk about the difference between a negative review and a bad one. But then let’s unlock our phones and actually create a few reviews in a fun, social writer-boosting game, then return to the rest of the con having crossed a few items off our to-be-reviewed lists. Yes, of course there will be prizes.

July 5th, 8:30 – 21:45 — Can We Survive AI Assisted Disinformation?

We are already dealing with a cyberpunk level of disinformation swamping our channels. We now have AI available to to make the flood both larger and more convincing. How to we respond?

That’s the schedule, including the descriptions from the program. Also on July 5th, from 2:45PM to 5:30PM, I’ll be participating as one of the pros in a Writer’s Workshop. It’s very similar to the workshops I attended back when Convolution was still happening.

It’s all very exciting!

On top of that, I’ll be bringing my microphone and recording some Live From Baycon 2024 content for the Small Publishing in a Big Universe podcast. Here’s a link to the first Live From Baycon 2023 episodes.

When I’m not in the events listed above, you’ll be able to find me in the dealer’s room. The Psychic on the Jury will be available there as a pre-release. After that, it can be ordered online. When I have a link, I will provide it there.

Have a great weekend!


The Next Mel Walker Story Available Soon!

Have I mentioned that I have another book coming out next month?

The Repossessed Ghost served as the first introduction to Mel Walker, a young scoundrel with a heart of gold and a psychic gift. Next month, in the middle of July, The Psychic on the Jury will be out, continuing the story a few years after the events of The Repossessed Ghost.

It’s a novelette, around 13,000 words in length.

“But Brian, how many pages is that?”

Assuming around 225 words per page, that’s about 58 pages. It’s a short story. By way of comparison, The Repossessed Ghost is just under 80,000 words.

Why a short story? Why not a novel?

There are two main reasons. First, a story should be as long as it needs to be, based on the number of characters, settings, and plot elements. I had the idea quite some time ago, wondering what it would be like for someone like Mel to serve as a juror. It’s a perfectly fine idea for a story, but it doesn’t inspire a particularly long tale unless I pad it a bit. The Psychic on the Jury is relatively streamlined, and I think just the right size for what I wanted to say.

The second reason for putting out a shorter story is to give people a cheaper alternative to starting the Mel Walker series. I don’t think $15 is that much for a trade paperback, but that’s still more than some people are willing to invest in checking out a little known writer like myself. I don’t know what the price will be for The Psychic on the Jury, but I assume it’ll be around $5 like so many of the other Dragon Gems.

One can read The Psychic on the Jury first, as it contains no significant spoilers for The Repossessed Ghost. However, they’re probably more fun reading them in chronological order.

If you’re attending Baycon, you’ll be able to buy the book early, just like last year with The Repossessed Ghost. If you’re not attending Baycon, you’ll still be able to pre-order it around then.

This is exciting! A sequel!

And, I’ve made a little more progress on the outline for the next sequel novel.

As I get more concrete information, I’ll share it here. Soon, I’ll post covers, anecdotes about writing The Psychic on the Jury, and other stuff.


Unpresidented News

I know how it’s spelled. I just like the pun.

It seems, in this moment, like the guy that never has to account for his actions might just face some consequences. Finally.

34 counts. All guilty. The first time he’s ever actually won a popular vote.

Sentencing set for July 11th. Will he face jail time? No. Will he feel the financial sting of the fine? Also no. He got caught for fraud while trying to hide unflattering information, and as much as it made me smile to see the justice system turn out the correct answer, it is not the justice system that will punish him.

If he is to face actual consequences from this, it will be in the form of political capitol. He’s a convicted felon. He’s an embarrassment to the so-called law and order party. He’s been an embarrassment to the family values party.

My smile faded when I thought it all the way through. His followers don’t care that he’s a cheat and a crook. His opponents still see him for what he is. Nothing is actually changed by this.

He’s still allowed to run for president, and he still has a decent shot of winning. He has other felony charges against him in other trials, but his sycophants have seen to it that those trials won’t happen before the election.

For those of us that have been paying attention, watching, waiting for justice to prevail, it’s fine to enjoy the moment and celebrate. After the party, we have to remember that the real fight is in November.

He was found guilty of the thing everyone knew he did. Great. Now what?

That’s the last political post from me for a while. Before this weekend arrives, I’m going to share some good news and talk about Bay Area Book Festival.


Mother’s Day 2024 Check-In

Happy Mother’s Day, to those that observe. Statistically, crimes are at their all time low on Mother’s Day, so for all those mothers out their taking a day off from breaking the law, thank you!

Melissa is out having fun with Chris. I think Bryanna is working today, so maybe Melissa and Bryanna will have some fun later. I’m not sure.

I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks. Michael Gallowglas may be joining me at some point today. I have a Mel Walker story to work on, and some updates I want to post here. So let’s get into it.

The things I will talk about today:

  • The Next Mel Walker Novel
  • The Cover for The Repossessed Ghost
  • My Mom, Work, and my Emotional Life
  • A Brief Moment in Politics
  • Everything Else

The Next Mel Walker Novel

To my humble surprise, a few people have asked about when the next Mel Walker story is coming out. Here is some news on that front.

I wrote a novelette and ran it through my critique group called The Psychic on the Jury. In that short story, Mel Walker, a psychic with the ability to talk to ghosts and look into the past, is summoned to serve on a jury. What could go wrong?

The Psychic on the Jury did reasonably well with my critique group. It needed a little bit of work, so I made some minor tweaks and polished it up. A few weeks ago, I sent it to Water Dragon in the hopes that it may serve as a short, stand-alone story as part of The Mel Walker series. I haven’t heard back on it yet, but I’m optimistic. It’s a good story, and it’s one that someone can read without having read The Repossessed Ghost, so if someone is curious about my writing and leery about spending full price on a novel, they can try this shorter piece.

The short story also serves as a transition between The Repossessed Ghost and the next full length novel, The Psychic out of Time. That’s the working title, for now. As I get deeper into the story, a better title may occur to me.

It’s The Psychic out of Time that I worked on some last weekend, and it’s the story I’ll be working on today. At this point, I’m still in the planning stage. I’ve got an outline, but it’s missing a lot of pieces. I’m excited about the beginning, the mid-point, and the end.

This story is going to have a lot more going on than The Repossessed Ghost. That’s not necessarily better, but it’s what I’m doing. I’m hoping I can write something that rewards the reader when they pay close attention to the details. At the same time, I want it to be as easy and as approachable as the first book.

I’ll talk more about this novel as I get into it.

The Cover for The Repossessed Ghost

At Sacramento Comic-Con, Steven Radecki and I talked about changing the cover for The Repossessed Ghost to help it stand out. Something with more “oomph.” I like the original cover very much, but if we can come up with something even better, I’m all for it.

Steven sent me a candidate this week, and it’s pretty neat! I’m not going to share it here yet, but I’ll describe it. It features the Nova, but instead of turned at an angle, it’s facing the reader. The headlights are on, and The Moon is big and directly behind it, with clouds and whisps of ground fog all around. The overall effect is that the car is a little bit darker, more detailed, while the top of the image is brighter.

It’s a very similar cover, but the contrast is higher. Also, and I don’t think this is intentional, but the picture is much more in-line with Mel’s perspective during an early scene, where Mel felt the touch of a ghost on his shoulder for the first time, freaked out, and fled the car. He looks back at the car and faces the headlights. That’s what this new cover looks like.

Melissa likes the new cover, and sees it as a marginal improvement. I shared it with my gaming buddies and they thought it was okay. I shared it with my critique group and Jennifer Moore said, “It’s definitely spookier. I like the new one, but it’s a close race.”

I sent it to Michael Gallowglas last night and he just said, “Not a fan.” He clarified later that it’s just the fonts that are wrong, and Steven and I both agree. If we get a better font, then Michael thinks it’s okay, too.

Overall, semi-mixed results, leading towards a small improvement over the original. I think I like it a little bit more than the first, but the first is special, to me.. The original, as of this writing, is still at the top of my blog. I never did get my image updated to include One for the Road. I should probably do something about that.

My Mom, Work, and My Emotional Life

It’s Mother’s Day, so I should talk about my Mom. I’ve been thinking about her quite a bit this month, so let’s talk about Evajean Buhl.

My Mom was infuriating. She was often right and she wasn’t graceful about it. When I was very young, I used to listen to her tell stories about our life, and I would hear all of the ways in which she exaggerated the details, and my young, analytical brain told me, “Oh. My Mom lies, all the time.”

Here is an unsettling truth. If you listen to the pattern and cadence of Trump when he’s giving an anecdote, it is the same way my Mom would tell a story. Stew on that for a moment.

My Dad was much more measured. He was also drunk most of the time until I was about 12, but even after he went to AA, he was still a more calming influence than my Mom. He was also right all the time, but he could be satisfied with knowing he was right, without having to shove it down the other person’s throat.

All my life, I have tried to be more like my Dad. And, all of my life, when I look at the way I behave, I see my Mom reflected back at me.

I had a hard time living with my Mom. I have a very hard time living with myself.

I don’t lie or exaggerate the way my Mom did. On that front, I think I’m an improvement on the original model. Maybe I use that energy to write stories. I don’t know. I think my writing is the one thing in my life that is uniquely me.

What about my programming? What about my day job?

That is another place where I think my Mom and I are similar. My Mom wasn’t a programmer, but she was the person her team would go to in order to solve problems. She was profoundly competent. Her coworkers appreciated her, just as mine appreciate me.

She could also be emotional and difficult to handle. She didn’t stop being logical when she got emotional. Sometimes, she took the emotion, good or bad, and just channeled it into her work. Just like me.

Growing up, my Mom changed jobs several times and we moved quite a bit. She worked at Kaiser in San Jose until I was 7. Then she worked at the hospital in Susanville until I was 9. We went to Oregon and she worked at Rogue Valley Medical Center until I was 15. That’s when my Dad died, and her emotional life got in the way. It was impossible for her to continue working just down the hall from where her husband passed away. They fired her, and she became a consultant.

I went with her the next summer and we lived in Washington D.C. Before the beginning of the next school year, I returned to Medford and lived in our old house alone. During my Junior year, she took a job in Albuquerque and made me move there. I thought she was being selfish and I hated it. We had no money, I had no friends, and I wound up working at a bowling alley and helped support us while still trying to attend High School. It did not go well.

My Mom died in January 2002. Sixty-eight years old. The 5 or 6 years before she died were spent in and out of hospitals. She didn’t really have much of a retirement.

I’m now 51. I’m 4 years younger than my Mom when she was forced to leave Rogue Valley Medical Center and seek jobs on the road. She had blood pressure issues all my life. My blood pressure last week was 140/95.

I’m so much like my Mom, and I don’t want to be. I want to break the cycle and just be Brian C. E. Buhl, the writer. But I don’t see a way to get there from here.

A Brief Moment in Politics

I just mentioned Trump, and he’s all over the news, so let’s get into it. I actually don’t want to talk about this anymore than you want me to write about it so I’ll try to be brief.

If you look at the polls, Trump is broadly ahead of Biden. FiveThirtyEight says that while Trump is ahead in some polls, Biden will likely still be win.

It makes me ask, “Why is it this close?” I can ask the question, but I have the answer.

Trump’s fans are loyal to him, even if he’s a felon. Even if he does not stand for what they said they used to stand for. They don’t see him as a monster. They see him as one of them, which is weird, all things considered, but they’re not considering all things. To them, Trump is great. Biden sucks, no matter what he says or does.

What about Biden? He’s faced with a complicated situation. He has to somehow stand up to long-time ally Israel without feeding the antisemites. What a shit show.

Principled, well-meaning, intelligent people know that what Israel is doing with Gaza is wrong. Protesting the slaughter of innocents is the correct thing to do. Biden’s slow-rolling, cautious approach with Israel is galling, and worthy of criticism.

I’ll vote for Biden, but not with enthusiasm. I’ve listened to some of his speeches. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes his age is catching up to him. Biden’s supporters point at the former, while his critiques focus on the latter. I think it’s stupid to ignore his age, just like I think it’s stupid to ignore Trump’s crimes.

At the end of the day, Trump is a wanna-be fascist and Biden is an old guy doing his best. These are the oldest candidates for President ever, beating out the last oldest set of candidates we’ve ever had, which were the same men four years ago.

This timeline sucks and I hate it.

Everything Else

Scammers are upping their game. Someone claiming to be from an independent bookstore called Melissa and said they wanted 10 copies of One for the Road. They didn’t ask for anything from us, per se, but the next day, someone else called saying they wanted to interview us. That’s when the “airtime fee” was mentioned, to which we said, “Thanks, bye!” The first call was to verify our information and soften us up. The second call was to plant the hook, but we weren’t biting.

How do I know it was a scam? The exact same calls went to another writer with Water Dragon Publishing. Same fake bookstore. Same fake interview offer. So, writer friends, don’t let your hopes and dreams blind you to the fakers.

What else? Maybe you’re wondering about the story I was going to write publicly?

I’m still planning on doing it. This is part of the process, to be honest. I come up with an idea, I write some notes, and then I let it cook in the back of my brain for a while until I’m ready. I’ve been thinking about the sequel novel to The Repossessed Ghost for most of a decade. I’m not going to wait that long to write the elemental firefighter story, but it’s not at the front of the line right now. I still have to write a follow-up to One for the Road, too. In my head, the title for that one is All Roads Lead to Home. The third story, therefore, will have to be The Road Twice Traveled. I have some plans for Tina.

That’s probably enough. I didn’t mean to write this much in a single blog post, but apparently I had a lot on my mind.

Again, Happy Mother’s day, to those that celebrate! If you don’t, well, have a great Sunday regardless.