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.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

BSF book Trailer!

Book trailer for the new dark anthology Blackbirds Second Flight from Many Rivers Harbor. BSF features dark fantasy stories from Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup.

Monday, March 16, 2015

MRH Newsletter!

You're invited to subscribe to "Currents & Tides," the Many Rivers Harbor Newsletter! The monthly newsletter will feature book excerpts, recipes, news, recommended movies and books, CONTESTS, free stuff about the Net, etc. If you would like to receive it, we need your email address (which will never be shared with anyone and only used for the newsletter). You can subscribe below. Our first issue is scheduled for March 30. Don't miss it!

Subscribe to the Many Rivers Harbor newsletter.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Video Chat!

The first Many Rivers Harbor Video Chat. A few minutes of fun and information about the new anthology "Blackbirds Second Flight" with authors Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, and Jean Schara in which they discuss their short stories, feral cats, murderous muses, fairies, dragons, and a few other oddities they didn't expect.

Friday, February 20, 2015

We be dissing

By Stephen B. Bagley

With my various physical aliments, I find myself spending more time that I’d like in doctors’ waiting rooms. They’re uniformly dreary places, filled with unsavory people who are deliberately coughing their germs my direction because they’re mean. Of course, I wear a mask during flu season, although I’ve learned to remove it when entering banks. They’re touchy about masks at banks.

The only good thing about waiting rooms is that I get to read a lot of magazines that I would never read otherwise and probably shouldn’t. I confess that I gravitate toward the more trashy ones about terrible people. You know, Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Tiger Beat, People, US Weekly, and the U.S. Congressional Record.

You may disapprove—I’ll let you this one time—but I have learned things I would have never known. For instance, are you aware that Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are in a feud? Apparently Katy hired away some dancers from Taylor’s tour. Taylor could have paid the dancers more, but in that way lies madness. If you pay the dancers more, the backup singers are going to line up right behind them, and the next thing you know, you’re having to pay a living wage to your entire stage crew.

No, Taylor handled this in the devastating way that pop princesses do: Taylor is going to “dis” Katy in her next song. When Katy heard about this—probably from Tiger Beat, which follows celebrity feuds with the fervor and attention that network news should show when following world events —she let it be known that she will dis Taylor on her next album. You can tell from all the dissing going on that they’re on the edge of meeting in a dark alley and trying to off each other with their sharpened People’s Choice Awards.

I’m going to bet on Taylor in the brawl, by the way. She’s got those long legs and long arms, giving her the reach on short-armed Katy. Also, Taylor looks all athletic and fit, while Katy has a faintly dissipated look about her. And after the fight is over, Taylor will write a Grammy-winning song about it.

You’re probably wondering what “dis” means. According to such honored authorities as the online urban dictionaries, it carries the meanings of: “dislike, disown, disaffirm, distrust, disembowel, discount, disbar.” Wow. Think of all the spelling that saves. Although the “disembowel” bothers me. Someone could say they’re going to dis you, and you’re expecting them to discount or disown you, and instead, they’re swinging a sword at your midsection. That has to be disconcerting. Even disorienting. Are you disliking all the dis-s yet?

All the magazines are carrying this story, so you know it has to be true. I don’t know how they stay in business reporting the same news, but somehow they do. I’m told they are fiercely competitive about getting the story first, so much so that they actually have to publish the stories before the events depicted in the stories happen. In less enlightened times, this used to be called “lying,” but if Taylor and Katy aren’t dissing each other yet, the magazines know they will eventually. And if not, well, you shouldn’t be reading the trash they print, anyway.

Copyright 2015. Excerpt from A Little Floozy by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Copying prohibited. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

Turn Does The Year
By Stephen B. Bagley

the old year turns
either onto a new path
or onto the same
with only minor changes

we raise a cup or not
as it may be hoping it will
even as we realize
it might not be as hoped

in this heartbeat
between then and now
and what comes after
drink deep the bittersweet

we are promised nothing
but we plan and plan
and if the fates be kind
some plans will bloom

we cannot make promises
we might not keep
even though we will try
and cry and laugh and run

dance with me or
love with me maybe
pray with me perhaps
kiss sweet lips now

think of what we leave
behind walk toward what
is before us hold my hand
as the old year turns new

(Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Contributing to the heat death of the universe

Was watching a show on the Discovery Science Channel -- can't tell you which one because I didn't pay attention -- but the scientist on it talked about how every living thing contributes to entropy, how being alive is a constant journey toward disorder and how using the energy we do is an infinitely small contributor to the eventual heat death of the universe. Yeah, happy stuff. I think I switched over to watch a movie at that point. Probably Guardians of the Galaxy, which I enjoyed greatly.

Later, over a hot cup of chai latte, I began to think about what the scientist said. We do contribute to disorder by being alive. We have our own personal carbon footprint. Energy is used by our gadgets, cars, machines, buildings ... we build a debt up by simply being alive. It's mostly a factor of our current technology; four thousand years ago, we lived short lives. Our impact was less; we simply didn't survive long enough to have much of a footprint.

We can reduce our carbon footprint by doing easy things: Take public transportation when available, don't use plastic when we can avoid it, use recyclable plastic when we can, use more glass and paper containers, change the air filters in our heaters and air conditioners, take our own bags to the store, weatherstrip our houses and buildings, and so on. I'm sure you can think of several things that are fairly easy to do. Naturally, we won't see much of a impact, particularly if no one else does any of these items. But in a huge group, it's amazing how much energy we can save.

But will anyone do them? Some of them are not particularly convenient. Some of them take more time. And in the short run, more money. I do carry my own canvas bags to use; they're cheap and sturdy. We do change the air filters. Our house has nice windows. We don't have access to public transportation here. We probably keep our thermostat too high in the winter and too low in the summer. And so on. It's hard to work up enthusiasm about results when they're dependent on so many people.

Not much point to this. Just where my mind has been wandering. Next week, I'll be talking about my plans for 2015. This week, a couple of visits to the doctor. Actually, doctors. House cleaning. Chores. Planning.

Have a great week and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Books for Christmas & beyond!

Blackbirds First Flight 
Anthology - Enjoy chilling poems and dark tales in this collection from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, & Tamara Siler Jones.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at these hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? Who's next to die and why? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu
Buy on Amazon

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Library hosts signing for "Blackbirds First Flight"

ADA, OKLAHOMA—Ada Public Library will host a book signing for the new anthology “Blackbirds First Flight” 4:30-6:30 p.m., Thursday, October 30. The anthology features stories from Ada author Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, and Tamara Siler Jones.

Bagley, Blanton, Henderson, and Schara will sign copies of the book at the signing. The book will also be on sale at that time for the special price of $10.

“‘Blackbirds First Flight’ is an anthology of stories and poetry with a dark, sensual twist,” said Pru Simmons, Many River Harbor associate editor. “The stories run the gambit from thrilling Gothic adventure to modern urban fantasy to fantastic encounters with the macabre. The poetry is uniformly excellent and tells dark stories of its own, many related to mythology.”

Simmons said the book might become an annual anthology. “We have had many inquiries about the book and its theme,” she said. “We definitely think there is an interest in dark, twisty fantasy that tells a satisfying story and follows traditional narrative arcs. We hope there will be another flight next year.”

“Gail (Henderson) and I are excited to actually meet some of the other authors,” Bagley said. “Wendy (Blanton) is flying in from Chicago, and Jean (Schara) is driving up from Texas. This is the first time we’ll all be in the same town.”

Stephen B. Bagley wrote “Tales from Bethlehem,” “Murder by Dewey Decimal,” “Murder by the Acre,” “Floozy & Other Stories,” and “EndlesS.” His works have appeared in “Creations 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. and Ada Writers.

Kent Bass enjoys writing Gothic action/adventure stories. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and from the University of Oklahoma, with a Master of Science in Accountancy. He and his family live in Dallas, Texas, where he works for the nation’s leading tax software company. “Blackbirds First Flight” is his first publication.

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 “Creations 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. and Ada Writers.

Tamara Siler Jones is a wife, mom, writer, quilter, and cat-wrangler from rural Iowa. She has three novels in print/eBook (“Ghosts in the Snow,” winner of the Compton Crook Award for best first novel of the year in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre; “Threads of Malice”; and “Valley of the Soul”; all published by Bantam Books), one book (“SPORE”) under contract with Samhain Publishing for release next summer; one book (“Morgan’s Run”) being marketed in New York, three novels in progress, and a screenplay in first draft.

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.”

“Blackbirds First Flight” is available from Amazon.com, Lulu.com, and other online retailers and in downtown Ada at Karen’s Art & Framing, Inc., 108 East Main.

For more information, visit Blackbirds Flights.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blackbirds First Flight on sale now!

Blackbirds First Flight is officially on sale now! This brand new anthology features dark, twisty short stories and poems from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, and Tamara Siler Jones. 

To buy the book from Lulu.com, go here: Blackbirds First FlightGet free mail shipping or 50% off ground shipping on your order by using coupon code: GMF14. (Offer ends Oct. 6 at 11:59 PM. Offer cannot be combined with other offers.)