Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blackbirds Third Flight On Sale!

Blackbirds Third Flight is now available at 
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, Lulu, 
& other online retailers!
Enjoy these dark fantasies: 
➧ A dead girl asks one final question. 
➧ A young man rides a forbidden dragon. 
➧ With claw and fang, Malone will fight. 
➧ Justina Grave battles a dangerous witch. 
➧ A father faces his family's terrible secret. 
➧ The end of the world begins in a backyard. 
➧ A predator prowls on Halloween night. 
➧ Thunder Mountain will kill the careless. 
➧ Learn the final truth of the Tooth Fairy. 
➧ A wolf reveals the face of the true beast. 
     And much more in this anthology of thrilling tales and poetry from Kathy Akins, Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Michael Canton, D.E. Chandler, Erin Cochran, Gail Henderson, Mariana Llanos, Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Signing Slated

ADA—Ada Public Library will host a book signing for the new Many Rivers Harbor anthology Blackbirds Third Flight on Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:30 p.m. The anthology features stories and poems from area author Kathy Akins, Ada author Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Michael Cantin, D.E. Chandler, Erin Cochran, Gail Henderson, Mariana Llanos, Jean Schara, and area author Heath Stallcup.

The signing will offer signed books, Halloween candy, special gift bags for the first 25 customers, giveaways, special pricing on the authors' other books, and author presentations. The book will also be on sale at that time for $12.  

Blackbirds Third Flight is an anthology of stories and poetry with a dark, adventuresome twist,” said Kyra Childers, Many Rivers Harbor associate editor. “The stories run the gambit from thrilling urban fantasy to fantastic encounters with mythical creatures. The book includes a new story in the Justina Grave Mysteries™ and a new dragon rider adventure in the World of Balphrahn. The poetry is dark, funny, and excellent.”

The authors featured in the anthology include:

Kathy Akins began writing when she retired from a 30-year career with the United States Postal Service. She has won several awards with her poetry, devotionals, and short fiction. A love for history, family, and animals touches her everyday life and inspires her story ideas and characters. She lives in Oklahoma and shares her home with miniature long-haired dachshunds and a rescued Catahoula. Her dachshunds assist her when she presents dog-related educational programs for children in her capacity as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Ambassador. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Stephen B. Bagley co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Gail Henderson in 2015. He wrote Murder by Dewey Decimaland Murder by the Acre. His other books include Tales from Bethlehem, Floozy and Other Stories, and EndlesS. He wrote the full-length plays Murder at the Witch’s Cottage and Two Writers in the Hands of an Angry God and co-wrote Turnabout. His poetry, articles, short stories, and essays have appeared in Writer’s Digest, ByLine Magazine, Nautilus Magazine, Pontotoc County Chronicles, Tulsa World OKMagazine, Free Star, Dark Prairies & Deep Rivers, and other print and online publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Visit his website at StephenBBagley.blogspot.com.

Wendy Blanton started writing when she learned to string words into sentences. She published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard, under the name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. Currently, she writes novels and short stories in several genres. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive, North Carolina, and served on active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and specializes in telling Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. She and her husband are members of the Clan Campbell Society of North America. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three rescue cats. Visit her website at wendyblanton.wordpress.com.

Michael Cantin is a poet and sloth fanatic residing somewhere in the wilds of Orange County, California. He writes fitfully between bouts of madness and periods of lucid concern. You can find him in dark corners where weird fiction and stiff drinks are most readily available. His poetry has appeared both in print and online publications. You can find his work in The East Jasmine Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, 50 Haiku, several anthologies, and other venues.

D.E. Chandler released her debut novel, Bone Sliver, in October 2015. In 2013, her poem, “Oppenheimer” and her short story “One Way Window” both won honorable mention and publication in Outside the Lines. In 2015, her poem “Carroll After Dark” won first place and publication in the Tulsa Review’s 2015 Spring contest issue. She is currently a senior at Rogers State University, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing and TV/Radio Broadcasting. She lives with her husband Tom on a beautiful lake in Oklahoma. Email her at tcmedia@hotmail.com or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Erin Cochran writes dark fiction including everything from classic horror to literary thrillers. Her love for the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and later Stephen King, began early in life with bedtime stories from her dad and listening to Mystery Theater on the radio while nodding off to sleep. She has numerous short stories and offerings of dark poetry, as well as her first novella in the genre, Of Noble Blood. She lives on a homestead farm with her family and all manner of animals from a pet snake to milk goats. She is writing a collection of horror short stories based on mythology and a vampire novel, The Sang Fye of New Orleans. Connect with her on Twitter @ep_ferguson and Facebook.

Gail Henderson co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Stephen B. Bagley in 2015. She collaborated with noted photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography that explores the enigma of womanhood in the world. She wrote Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry published in 2013 under the name Gail Wood. Her work has also appeared in Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, Creations 2014, Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love, Creations 2012, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. Visit her website at RedbirdWoman.blogspot.com.

Mariana Llanos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She has written poetry and short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima. After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. In 2013 she published her first book, Tristan Wolf. Now she has six titles under her name, four of those also in Spanish. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology. She finds it to be a great way to reach children and spark their passion for reading and writing. Visit her website at marianallanos.com.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Central Texas. Since then, she’s been writing and helping her husband with the never-ending To Do list under the guidance and direction of their nine rescue cats. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University, Montgomery, with a Master of Science in Adult Education. In the summer, she is primarily occupied with yard work while her husband paints their Queen Anne Victorian home. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several short articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit her blog at pmtoo.jeanschara.com/journal.

Heath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California, and relocated to Oklahoma in his teen years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Bangor, Washington, shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with the local sheriff’s office. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. His books includeWhispers, Caldera, Forneus Corson, and the continuing Monster Squad series: Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, Wayward Son, Obsessions, and Specters. Visit his website at heathstallcup.com.


Blackbirds Third Flight is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Lulu.com, and other online retailers. For more information about the book, signings, and the authors, visit blackbirdsflights.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Last Day to Save 30%!

TODAY is the last day you can save 30 percent on Blackbirds Third Flight at Lulu! Soon the book will be at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, and other online retailers, and it will be up to them to offer discounts or not. So, if you were waiting, NOW is the time!
Use discount code: OCTSAVE30
ENDS TONIGHT, Monday, Oct. 10, at 12:59 PM

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Author Spotlight on Stephen B. Bagley

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Stephen B. Bagley co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Gail Henderson in 2015. He wrote Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre. His other books include Tales from Bethlehem, Floozy and Other Stories, and EndlesS. He wrote the full-length plays Murder at the Witch’s Cottage and Two Writers in the Hands of an Angry God and co-wrote Turnabout. His poetry, articles, short stories, and essays have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, ByLine Magazine, Nautilus Magazine, Pontotoc County Chronicles, Tulsa World OKMagazine, and other publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Visit his website at http://StephenBBagley.blogspot.com.

Read his stories "The End Begins" and "Grave Fortunes" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click here to buy! Save 30% thru Monday, Oct 10, by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Friday, October 7, 2016

Author Spotlight on Jean Schara

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Central Texas. Since then, she’s been writing and helping her husband with the never-ending To Do list under the guidance and direction of their nine rescue cats. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University, Montgomery, with a Master of Science in Adult Education. In the summer, she is primarily occupied with yard work while her husband paints their Queen Anne Victorian home. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several short articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit her blog at http://pmtoo.jeanschara.com/journal

Read her story "Malone Stakes A Claim" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click Here to Buy! Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Author Spotlight on Gail Henderson

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Gail Henderson co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Stephen B. Bagley in 2015. She collaborated with noted photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography that explores the enigma of womanhood in the world. She wrote Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry published in 2013 under the name Gail Wood. Her work has also appeared in Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, Creations 2012, Creations 2013:40 Ways to Look at Love, Creations 2014, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. She and her husband enjoy life in beautiful Minnesota. Visit her website at RedbirdWoman.blogspot.com.

Read her poems in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click Here to Buy!   Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Author Spotlight on Wendy Blanton

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Wendy Blanton started writing when she learned to string words into sentences. She published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard, under the name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. Currently, she writes novels and short stories in several genres. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive, North Carolina, and served on active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and specializes in telling Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. She and her husband are members of the Clan Campbell Society of North America. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three rescue cats. Visit her website at http://wendyblanton.wordpress.com.

Read her story "Mage Hunt" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time.
Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Author Spotlight on Erin Cochran

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Erin Cochran writes dark fiction including everything from classic horror to literary thrillers. Her love for the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and later Stephen King, began early in life with bedtime stories from her dad and listening to Mystery Theater on the radio while nodding off to sleep. She has numerous short stories and offerings of dark poetry, as well as her first novella in the genre, Of Noble Blood. She lives on a homestead farm with her family and all manner of animals from a pet snake to milk goats. She is writing a collection of horror short stories based on mythology and a vampire novel, The Sang Fye of New Orleans. Connect with her on Twitter @ep_ferguson and Facebook.

Read her story "Music of the Nightingale" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Go Here to purchase!
Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Monday, October 3, 2016

Author Spotlight on D.E. Chandler

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

D.E. Chandler released her debut novel, Bone Sliver, in October 2015. In 2013, her poem, “Oppenheimer” and her short story “One Way Window” both won honorable mention and publication in Outside the Lines. In 2015, her poem “Carroll After Dark” won first place and publication in the Tulsa Review’s 2015 Spring contest issue. She is currently a senior at Rogers State University, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing and TV/Radio Broadcasting. She lives with her husband Tom on a beautiful lake in Oklahoma. Email her at tcmedia @ hotmail.com or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Read her poem "Corvus" and short story "Her Last Question" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time HERE.
Save 20% thru today (Oct 3) by using discount code: SAVETODAY


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Author Spotlight on Mariana Llanos

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors. 

Mariana Llanos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She has written poetry and short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima. After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. In 2013 she published her first book, Tristan Wolf. Now she has six titles under her name, four of those also in Spanish. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology. She finds it to be a great way to reach children and spark their passion for reading and writing. Visit her website at marianallanos.com.

Read her poems "Wolf" and "Bird" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time HERE. Save 20% through Oct 3 by using discount code: SAVETODAY


Friday, September 30, 2016

Author Spotlight on Michael Cantin

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Michael Cantin is a poet and sloth fanatic residing somewhere in the wilds of Orange County, California. He writes fitfully between bouts of madness and periods of lucid concern. You can find him in dark corners where weird fiction and stiff drinks are most readily available. His poetry has appeared both in print and online publications. You can find his work in The East Jasmine Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, 50 Haiku, several anthologies, and other venues.

Read his poems "Tooth Fairy" and "Carcosian Love Poem" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time. Click here to purchase!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Author Spotlight on Heath Stallcup

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting works. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Heath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California, and relocated to Oklahoma in his teen years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Bangor, Washington, shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with the local sheriff’s office. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. His books include Whispers, Caldera, Forneus Corson, and the continuing Monster Squad series: Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, Wayward Son, Obsessions, and Specters. Visit his website at https://heathstallcup.com.

Look for his haunting short story "Rats In The Attic" in Blackbirds Third Flight coming soon!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Author Spotlight on Kathy Akins

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting works. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Kathy Akins began writing “for real” when she retired from a 30-year career with the United States Postal Service. She has won several awards with her poetry, devotionals, and short fiction. A love for history, family, and animals touches her everyday life and inspires her story ideas and characters. She lives in Oklahoma and shares her home with miniature long-haired dachshunds and a rescued Catahoula. Her dachshunds assist her when she presents dog-related educational programs for children in her capacity as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Ambassador. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Read Kathy's story "Peril on Thunder Mountain" in Blackbirds Third Flight coming soon!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Updating Today in Art

For my Today in Art fans on Facebook, it will be back. I'm just scheduled up right now with edits and proofing and working with nine other authors, three other editors, three proofreaders, and of course, the publishing company itself as we prepare Blackbirds Third Flight for publication in October. And waiting impatiently in the wings are the publicity people and mailings. Also, the website designer.... Yikes. Wave to the nice people.

But Today in Art is important to me so it will return. Soon, I hope. Probably October. Or November. Definitely December. Unless it's January. But it will return. Promise. Sort of.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Stephen comparte uno de los peligros de las redes sociales *

I’m always surprised when I write something on Twitter or Facebook or MeWe or Google+ or Ello or Pinterest or on one of my five active blogs, and one of my social media friends immediately assumes I’m talking about him/her and goes batweasel crazy. Let’s go over this. Pay attention.

One, I am not passive aggressive. I will confront a person face-to-face or keep my mouth shut. I have been told that people experiencing a face-to-face with me would rather I talked about them behind their back, but I don’t do that. My flying robot monkey warriors have to have a vigorous workout now and then.

Two, I have a lot of friends, and I can only think of a few times when I’ve ever commented on their personal lives online, and those were to request prayer after a tragedy. I can barely keep track of my  problems, much less someone else’s. I have a low boredom threshold and the attention span of a gnat on espresso.

Three, if what I write bothers a person, then they can always de-friend me on whatever social media they read it, although I cannot promise that I won’t take that personally and hunt them down for some unpleasantness involving a honey badger, two llamas, and a colony of angry fire ants, but at least they will know what’s coming when I knock on their door at three in the morning.

Four, I write humor. I’m usually making a joke. If someone isn’t sure if I’m joking, they should check with my friends. If they’re laughing, it’s funny. If they’re packing and grabbing passports, then I wasn’t joking. Fly, robot monkeys, fly!

Five, I don’t really have a fifth point, but it seems more important to have five points rather than four, but if you have committed yourself to only four points in your life, I support your position however wrong you are. I’m a supportive person. People say that about me. Or at least they should know that they should.

Six, hah! You didn’t think there would be a sixth point, did you? Fooled you! You really need to stay on your toes. Although that’s probably hard on your arches. Ask your podiatrist. We’ll wait.

Seven, here’s a (possible) gardening tip for you. A friend of mine told me that her husband goes out at night, and...well... ah...urinates on their flowerbeds to keep animals from eating the roots and bulbs. I don’t know if that actually works—if you try it, please don’t share your veggies with me—but I do know that now I can’t see him leading choir at church without thinking, You’ve been peeing in the petunias, you weirdo. 

Eight, I really believe in what Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden wrote about helping others. He said, “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

Nine, I hate hot weather. I get grumpy during hot weather. Well, grumpier. Yes, that is possible.

And finally—watch those sighs of relief—Ten, I am learning Spanish now at DuoLingo.com. I had been learning French, then realized I didn’t even know anyone who spoke French in my area. I know a couple of people who speak French—one like a native because she actually is a native—but they don’t live near. But I know a lot of people who speak Spanish, particularly that pretty young waitress at a local Mexican restaurant who told me the other day that I reminded her of her beloved father. I’ve decided to take that as a compliment. So… AdiĆ³s mi amigos!

(*Translated: "Stephen shares one of the dangers of social media")

Excerpted from the forthcoming Floozy Comes Back. Copyright 2016 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Thank you for reading.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tech can only take you so far

In years past, I coveted the newest tech, particularly writing programs and faster computers. The idea I had was that "if only I had that writing program (faster computer, larger hard drive, etc.) I would be a successful author." Or certainly more productive.

And some of that turned out to be true. Word processing programs (WordPerfect and Wordstar--remember them?) allowed me to write two of my books (Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre) faster and with less errors than my Smith-Corona electric typewriter. And as those programs added spelling checkers and formatting, they became even more useful. Eventually, Microsoft Word out-marketed them, and I switched and never looked back.

However, eventually you come to the realization that tech has done all it can do. Oh, there are some writing programs out there that offer options for writing in various forms, but they help you only be more productive if you're writing in the first place. They automate tasks that writers do more often than other people, like creating table of contents, indexes, etc. They don't write the book or screenplay or play. Tech only take you so far; ultimately, your success in writing--or in life--is up to you.

This realization was hard for me. For one, it took away my justification for the latest and greatest computer--I had always enjoyed upgrading for the speed and sheer geekiness of it. The second reason it was hard because it placed the onus for my success--or lack of--only on me. It was...painful.

Lately, I have been reading and re-reading Your Own Worst Enemy by Dr. Kenneth W. Christian. The book has the subtitle on the cover: "Breaking the Habit of Adult Under-Achievement." As I've worked my way through the book, I've seen myself in so many chapters. It's like he wrote the book for me; I wish I had read it in my twenties. Over the years, I've read dozens of self-help and self-improvement books, but none of them spoke to me the way this book has. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any creative person who is frustrated by how they sabotage their creative efforts.

While doing the exercises the book recommends, I've also been working on three writing projects. I will publish at least one book of my own this year and hope to do two. Your Own Worst Enemy has allowed me to push aside fears and self-limiting behavior. I hope it--or something else--can do the same for you when you're stalled in life.

And besides chores and doctors' visits, that's my life right now. I hope life is treating you well. It not...make it do so!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Publishing news

It's been a long frustrating day, but many things were accomplished, some of which probably shouldn't have been, but there you go. In good news, much planning has been going on for the anthology Blackbirds Third Flight. So far, we have authors Heath Stallcup, Wendy Blanton, Jean Schara, Gail Henderson, and myself in place. We are "wooing" three others who will add new perspectives to the annual anthology. I don't know how people produce a monthly magazine, though. Just getting this out yearly takes a lot of effort!

In personal news, I also wanted to tell you Floozy Comes Back is also on track for publication this year. Yes, another collection of my mishaps and adventures for people to enjoy. It's good to know my bruises and pain are a funny thing for people. But in a loving way, I'm sure. Sort of sure.

And just because I'm sharing writing news: The first five chapters of Murder by the Mile are being proofed. I haven't scheduled that book for publication this year, but it looks increasingly likely that this will be the year of three books for me. Can't promise it, but it looks that way.

Otherwise, I spend too much time at the doctor's office. I don't exercise enough, but I'm trying. Don't eat right, but I'm trying. Don't accomplish enough, but by golly and by dingo, I'm trying.

How are you doing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Buying a phone and other terrors

I bought a new phone. Control your excitement. As always, switching from the old to the new caused great anxiety. The change was overdue as my old phone—Josephine—could only charge if you bent the plug in a certain way and often would reboot in the middle of calls. Of course, I had dropped her many times, so I’m not blaming the phone, but I would have been content to use her for years more. Alas, poor Josephine had met her Waterloo.

It would have been easier to select a new phone if there weren’t so many models. While selling insurance, I learned to never present more than three plans; too many choices confused customers and left them unable to make decisions.

I determined to not be overwhelmed. I had a plan. I had willpower. Wasn’t I able to reduce hardened telemarketers to tears? Wasn’t I capable of getting exactly what I wanted from restaurants? I marched confidently into the cell phone store. Thirty minutes later, I was draped across a counter surrounded by dozens of phones and calling plans while the evil salesman kept pulling out other options. Black, white, silver, green, hideously pink, red, blue, and purple phones. Large screens, small screens, big bezels, small bezels, less memory, more memory, 12 meg cameras, apps, apps, apps... Shattered, I left the store without buying a phone.

I decided I would have no cell phone. None! But my roomie said I had to have a phone at least for vehicle emergencies. (My car is getting old; there are fewer and fewer places to buy coal for it.) Although I told him I would start life anew wherever my car broke down, he insisted.

This time I went to the people I should have gone to in the first place: my roomie's children and their helpful spouses who do things with their phones that would get them burned at the stake as witches if cell phones had been around when witch burning was a town celebration. Finally, after much deliberation and even more complaining, I picked one, but the sale was over, so I thought I would have to start over. Everyone groaned, and there may have been some weeping.

Fortunately, phone companies have more sales than Wal-Mart. The phone I picked went on a sale at an even better price! I marched down to the store, and an hour later, I owned my very first smart phone with text, Internet, data plan, and more apps than I will ever use.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I do like the phone, although I have discovered a few things about it that give me pause.

First, since my old phone had the text capacity of a telegraph, I rarely knew what was going. Crisis after crisis was solved with me never knowing about them since I couldn’t read group texts. Now, I’m in the know. To put in my two cents: I don’t think he’s cheating on you; yes, she dyes her hair; the llamas should be set free; he had his neck lifted; and you should see a doctor about that rash immediately.

Second, I’ve had to get used to actually carrying a phone. I rarely had my old phone unless I was in the car. In fact, it was rarely charged, but I had a car charger. Now, I have to keep track of it.

Third, I never worried about anyone stealing Josephine. Who would want the poor thing? And while my phone isn’t an iPhone®—I have not been assimilated by Apple®—it could be a target. More reason to keep track of it.

Finally, sales people are actually calling me on my cell phone. Of course, they rapidly learn that is unwise. And I shouldn’t really complain. There are few things finer than listening to telemarketers weep in the morning.

(Excepted from Floozy Comes Back by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Review: "Empire of the Summer Moon"

I have been meaning to recommend this book for a week or so: Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne.

I don't like history in general, but this book was gripping and exciting as it detailed the battle between the Comanches and the United States. It doesn't shy away from the atrocities committed by both sides and deftly and clearly explains the tensions and politics within both sides, which led to this war.

Woven in this was the fascinating and sad story of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl taken by the Comanches when she was nine and finally -- unhappily -- "rescued" when she was an adult. Her son, Quanah, would become the first and only Principal Chief of the Comanches and would fight the last battles with the U.S. before becoming a powerful force for Native American rights.

A friend loaned the book to me, but I liked it so much that I bought a copy from Amazon. It's no wonder the book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Highly recommended -- even to those that dislike history.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Stable Boy's Tale

The Stable Boy’s Tale
By Stephen B. Bagley

NOW, OF COURSE, after all these years, I’ve heard the tale from other folks. It’s plain there be a few misconceptions about the whole happenin’ that I, Gregor Nikolas, intends to correct hereforth.

Let me start at the beginning with me being born. Perhaps that be too far back, but I won’t bore you with much detail other than to say that I was eighth in my family so it was no surprise when my pater forgot me at Keloe’s Inn when I was seven. Keloe has gotten some bad jawing about him due to the events that I am about to relate, but truthfully he wasn’t a bad or cruel innkeeper. He washed his plates once a week even if they had been wiped clean by travelers, and made us all take baths once a month whether we needed them or not. Still he fed me and his other workers fair enough and let us sleep inside when it rained or snowed, so we could forgive his unnatural obsession with cleanliness.

That particular night we was full up. His mighty hineyness Augustus Caesar had ordered that all folks return to their birthing place so that they could be counted and taxed. Them Romans be generally good at taxing and at building roads and bridges and have the appeal and personality of old dead, rotten fishes – ’specially if those fishes carry swords and spears and be pretty easy about swinging them in the vicinity of other folks’ innocent necks.

Anyways, a lot of folks had returned to Bethlehem. Folks usually left Bethlehem when they was old enough to leave since it was a one-donkey town at that time and didn’t have much to keep someone down on the farm unless they was just partial to drudgery. Galene, my sweetie except when she’s got her temper up and then she don’t belong to the gods or any man, said we were going to leave as soon as we saved enough for passage to Rome. Rome was a big city and sounded exciting except for having all those Romans there.

Since folks left town as soon as able, there wasn’t much need for lots of extra rooms or inns for that matter. In fact, there were just three inns in town, if you counted ours twice and Nero’s Inn of the Seven Seas once. (They served a tasty salad dressing there, I hear told.) So we was jam-packed with folks, so much so that I saw the fleas leaving.

I was out getting more water to water down the wine. The night was cold and clear. Away from the inn, it was as dark as a soldier’s heart. There I got my first suspicion that somethin’ was up. No, really, somethin’ was up. A star as it were, shining pretty bright. In fact, as I stood there, I realized that it was almost bright enough to read by if those folks who claim to be able to, really can and aren’t just foolin’ the rest of us.

I got the water out of the well, nearly freezing my hands off, which would have been fairly inconvenient and I’d have to become one of those beggars at the gates. ‘No Hands Gregor’ they would call me, I’d bet, and then Galene would come and see me and weep at her handsome man and cuddle me and hold me.

The cook yelled at me from the back door so I woke up from my daydreaming and took the water bucket over to him. He half-heartedly cuffed me for taking so long, but I’m quick and young and he be old and slow, so he only hit the side of my head and bruised his hand.

I slipped past him and made my way to the common room, which was filled with smoke and noise. Galene was serving ale to some merchants and  easily avoiding their hands. She smiled at me and then frowned. She did that a lot. She’d see me and think that she loved me and then see something on me that she needed to be changing, like me washing my hands or getting the manure off my feet. She also had an obsession about cleanliness. I just hoped it wasn’t catchin’.

Keloe hollered at me. He was standing at the door, letting in the cold or maybe letting it out. Hard to tell. He was mighty stingy with the fire wood.

“Take these people to the stable,” Keloe said smugly. “We have no room in the inn.”

A man stood there. His clothes were simple but clean. Behind him patiently stood a donkey on which was a woman who was, as they say in the market, with child. Of course by that, they meant she was going to have a baby, not that a child was with her holding her hand or nothin’ like that. I frankly don’t understand folks sometimes.

“Follow me,” I told the man. I waited until Keloe had closed the door before I added, “Actually, you’re lucky. The stable is much warmer and has a better class of rats than in the inn.”

The man darted a look at me and then smiled. He looked back at the woman, and he was serious again. She was young and pretty in a quiet sort of way. I led them around back to where Keloe had dug several rooms into the hill to make a place for the animals. We had one empty stall, though.

I grabbed a pole and raked the fresh straw over the area.

The woman gave a little gasp.

“Mary!” the man said.

I realized then and there that she was ‘bout to give birth there and then.

“Help me,” the man said. We both helped his Mary into the stable. I found – no, borrowed clean blankets from some of the packs of the inn’s guests and spread them out.

“We need light,” the man said. “And water.”

I ran to the inn and snatched up an olive oil lamp. The cook tried to stop me, but I ducked under his arm and was outside and back at the stable before he drew enough breath to bellow.

I gave the lamp to the man and then went to get water from the well. I felt a real urgency about this that, looking back, should have surprised me, but it was like the whole night was expectin’ somethin’. I felt my heart leap and move in my chest in a strange new way.

I brought the man the water bucket and then backed away from the stable. Overhead the star poured out light like it was a river of brightness.

“There you are,” Galene said. “What are you up to? You have cook so mad–”

“Shhh,” I said, reaching out and taking her hand.

“Now, I already told you that you won’t be getting no sweetness from me until we’re wed so–”

“Be quiet,” I said. “Listen. Listen.”

She was silent for a few moments and then quietly asked, “What are we listening for?” Her eyes were wide.

The night was still and quiet. The stars whirled above.

“For the world to change,” I said, not really understanding what I was sayin’ but knowin’ somehow it was true.

From inside the stable came a baby’s first cry.

(From Tales From Bethlehem. Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Bells

"Bells"
By Stephen B. Bagley

Go ring the bright bells.
Sing this joyful morn.
Go speak the good news
of our King newly born.

Release your dark sorrows,
your times so forlorn.
Rejoice all ye people;
no more will we mourn.

Dance wild in your houses.
Dance wild in the streets.
Dance wild in the Son light.
Taste the song sung so sweet.

Bells shout the blessed news;
morn sweeps the bitter past.
New made our hearts and hope,
born our King at long last!

(From Tales From Bethlehem. Copyright 2012 Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Undying at Amazon! More news!

November 2015 issue of the Many Rivers Harbor Newsletter
Currents & Tides

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Big News! Undying by Stephen B. Bagley and Gail Henderson is now available on Amazon and other online retailers. We're both excited to offer this book of intense, funny, dark, sexy poems for you to enjoy.
Buy on Amazon by clicking here!

Tis the season for Tales from Bethlehem. You've heard the story a thousand times: glorious angels, lowly shepherds, brightly shining star, three Wise Men, and wee babe in a manger. But have you ever wondered about everyone else in tiny Bethlehem on that marvel of nights? What did they think? What did they do? In these funny and touching tales, you'll meet a stable boy, a serving girl, an honest spy, an astounding clerk, an empty innkeeper, a mighty ship of the desert, and many others as they share their amazing Tales from Bethlehem. A perfect gift!
Buy on Amazon by clicking here!

Maybe you like a bit of murder to season your holidays. In Murder by the Acre, Bernard and Lisa stumble on the body of a local jeweler and ladies' man in an underground house. As the couple and Chief Donaldson investigate, they find themselves drawn into a confusing mystery of lies and alibis that involves the upper crust of Ryton, Oklahoma. Questions abound: Who killed him and how? Why doesn't the widow care that her husband is dead? Why doesn't his mistress? What does the mysterious Aventura Corporation have to do with the murder? What is the corporation hiding? Soon events spiral out of control as the killer strikes again and again. As the three dig for the truth, they upset powerful, vengeful people. The chief might lose his job, but Bernard and Lisa could lose their lives in this suspenseful, fast-paced sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal.
Buy MBTA on Amazon by clicking here!
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal on Amazon by clicking here!

Big ebook sale! The Blackbirds Second Flight ebook is on sale for .99 cents until December 1 for your Kindle! Enjoy thrilling dark fantasy stories and chilling poems from Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup, including a new Justina Grave mystery and a new sidhe story featuring the return of Maeve.
Buy for Kindle by clicking here!
Buy print version on Amazon by clicking here!

Need a laugh? Got two nuns and a goat? Do you enjoy Sabbath Night Fever? Or own a flying robot monkey army serving our Alien Masters? If you do - and even if you don't - Floozy and Other Stories is the book for you! Enjoy humorist Stephen B. Bagley's views of our world in more than 80 hilarious tales from his decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon by clicking here!

The (un)True Story of the First Thanksgiving
By Stephen B. Bagley
from Floozy and Other Stories
     I hope if you have to travel for Thanksgiving that you drive carefully. Or if you take public transportation, bus or train carefully. Remember only you can prevent forest fires. So stay out of the forest! The chipmunks don't want you there. They plot against you, they do. 
     Most people know the story of the Pilgrims and their long, perilous journey across the ocean. To tell something new about them, one would have to do months of hard research and consult learned scholars. Instead, I'm going to use an easier way that nonetheless is prominent among Congressmen: I'm going to make it up. 
     The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, in 1620, crossed the ocean in the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth, America, two months later. How lucky is that? They left Plymouth and ended up at Plymouth. 
     The Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution from the governments and churches in Europe. The European establishment was a bit looser about sin, considering the Ten Commandments to be the Ten Suggestions and the Sermon on the Mount to be a Chat with Tea. The establishment, however, was steadfast in its beliefs, burning heretics at the stake. What a happy time was had by all, not including the burnee, of course, who sometimes complained loudly. 
     The Pilgrims were led by John Alden or maybe Miles Standish. I'm a little unclear on this. It could have been Flappy Slapdashy. Look it up. On the trip over, several sailors died. This could have been seen as a bad omen, but the Pilgrims didn't believe in omens. They also didn't believe in baths. No, that part is true. They thought baths were sinful and should be taken only once a year -- say for instance when your undergarments were capable of walking to the water by themselves -- and you were never to enjoy the warm water splashing on your naked body. Sigh... 
      Some modern-day scholars have taken this to mean that the Pilgrims were dour, sour people, but this simply isn't true. In 1637, Warwick William "Willie" Wipingnose smiled in public at a Pilgrim gathering. He was immediately flogged and pilloried, but he did smile. 
      Soon after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, they discovered, due to bad planning, all the supermarkets were in the Old World. Food got scarce. Several Pilgrims disappeared, but were found in various cooking pots in the Donner home. 
      The winter was cold, the wolves were gathering, and the pantry was bare. Disease struck the colony. The colony tried to strike back, but Disease was too quick and ran around town, skipping and singing Climb Every Mountain
      But help was just beyond the horizon, or actually just inside the woods. Chief Acornugger of the Whatchamacallit Tribe (names could be wrong) had met the Pilgrims some time ago. He hadn't liked them, finding them "stinky and dour." His medicine man Pokeineye (almost certainly the wrong name) had warned of the white man, saying, "They come in long ships to take our forests and our lands and will drive us before them. Do not let them. Invest in casinos. Grow tobacco  and wacky weed on the side. Don't buy Enron." 
      For a while, Acornugger led his brave braves against the white man in daring raids, taking tools, clothing, and an entire case of moist towelettes. 
      Once he or some other chief captured several white men and were putting them to death by cutting off their heads. The last victim was a man named John Smith (possibly not his real name). They pushed Smith down on a tree stump and started to chop off his head when the chief's daughter Pocahontas threw herself on top of the captive. The chief was overcome by this display of emotion and ordered Smith released, although Pocahontas kept insisting that she had just tripped. 
      Anyway, Chief Acornugger saw that the white people were starving and felt his heart swell with pity, but it turned out to be just gas. A completely different tribe led by some other chief actually brought food, including corn and Twinkies®, to the famished Pilgrims. 
      The Pilgrims and Indians gathered for a goodwill feast, giving thanks for the food and friendship shared by all. The Pilgrims were so grateful that they didn't steal the land of that tribe until 45 years later. 
      And that's almost exactly not the story of the First Thanksgiving.

From Floozy and Other Stories. Copyright 2010 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Thank you for reading.

And now, I will let you go cook your turkey and pumpkin pie, but be sure to get the traditional Twinkies. They make the holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Undying On Sale Now!

Undying by Stephen B. Bagley and Gail Henderson is on sale now at Lulu.com! Save 20 percent off the cover price through Wednesday, Oct. 21, using Coupon Code: OCTFLASH20
Buy Undying at Lulu.com!


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Short stories for the Kindle

Over the past few weeks, I've been putting short stories up on Amazon for the Kindle devices and app. (More are coming.) Here is some info about each story and the link. Enjoy!

Duel in the Sky
In a futuristic sports dome, wind duelists battle for the ultimate prize: their lives. Includes bonus story, "Garage."

Grave Matters
Justina Grave, Knight of the Trivarutham, tangles with new, more powerful revenants and their bloodthirsty master, and discovers an unsettling truth about their origins.
The first Justina Grave Mystery.






Grave Concerns
A blood shaman invades Tulsa, and Justina Grave, Knight of the Trivarutham, is standing in his way.
The second Justina Grave Mystery.







An Unattended Death
Who left Aaron Brody out in the woods to die of a drug overdose? What does his dealer girlfriend know? And why does Daniel Bias, radio advertising salesman, stick his nose in where it doesn't belong? Daniel's investigation leads him to places he has never gone before, including the infamous Stuttering Rooster, the best gentleman's club in western Oklahoma. If Daniel's smart mouth doesn't get him killed, his questions might.
The first Daniel Bias mystery.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Blackbirds Second Flight" launches on Kindle!

Blackbirds Second Flight now available for your Kindle!


Enjoy these dark fantasies:
A writer challenges her murderous muse.
Dragons and riders stage a daring rescue.
Gangsters face off over the world's fate.
Warriors duel to their deaths in the sky.
A dad battles ghosts to save his daughter.
The sidhe never forget nor forgive.
It's Malone's way, or the fur will fly.
A shaman invades Tulsa on a killing hunt.
And much more!

Kindle version!
Print versions!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blackbirds Second Flight On Sale NOW!

March 30, 2015

MANY RIVERS HARBOR PUBLISHES NEW FANTASY ANTHOLOGY

ADA, OKLAHOMA—Many Rivers Harbor announces the publication of Blackbirds Second Flight, an anthology of thrilling fantasy stories and chilling poems by new and established writers. The book is on sale now at Amazon, Barnes and NobleLulu, and other online retailers.

“We're proud to publish Blackbirds Second Flight,” said Kyra Childers, MRH associate editor. “This book follows last year's Blackbirds First Flight and features fantasy stories and poems with a dark twist.”

Childers said the book offers short stories that continue several characters' lives after their appearance in Blackbirds First Flight. "Both Stephen (Bagley) and Wendy (Blanton) return to characters first seen in last year's anthology. Stephen gives us another story about monster hunter Justina Grave, and Wendy tells us about another man's encounter with the powerful fairy Maeve."

The book retails for $12. For more information on Blackbirds Second Flight, readers can visit blackbirdsflights.blogspot.com.

The book features works from Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup.

Stephen B. Bagley wrote Tales from Bethlehem, Murder by Dewey Decimal, Murder by the Acre, Floozy and Other Stories, and EndlesS. His works have appeared in Blackbirds First FlightCreations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, ByLine Magazine, Free Star, Nautilus Magazine, OKMagazine, and other publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.

Wendy Blanton published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard under the pen name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive and served in active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and tells Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues.

Gail Henderson collaborated with noted Oklahoma photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography. Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry, was published in 2013. Her work has appeared in Blackbirds First FlightCreations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.

Ken Lewis's articles, memoirs, short stories, and poems appeared in Creations 2014, Creations 2013, and Creations 2012. He graduated from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. He is also a graduate of the Long Ridge Writers Group, Danbury, Connecticut. He is an amateur astronomer and is currently involved in a global effort to gather visual information of double stars. He enjoys handcycling and has completed numerous marathons.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University with a Master of Science in Adult Education. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers.

Heath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California, and relocated to Tupelo, Oklahoma, in his teen years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Bangor, Washington, shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with his local sheriff’s office. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. His books include Whispers, Caldera, Forneus Corson, and the continuing Monster Squad series: Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, and Wayward Son.