Saturday, March 25, 2017

Passion

Passion
By Stephen B. Bagley

If I could, I would seduce you
into poetry. I would run
feathery words over the bare
shoulders of your muse, touch gently
the moist secret places of your
metaphors, delicately brush
your lips with similes and plunge
rhythm and rhyme into your soul.

I would take you past the threshold
where passion and structure meet, where
one image means the difference
between indifference and glory.
If I could, I would do these things
and do them long and do them well
until when you heard poetry,
you would gasp, don’t stop oh don’t stop.

Excerpt from Undying by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. 
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. 


Friday, March 17, 2017

Pagan

Pagan
By Stephen B. Bagley


And then she said into the stillness:

I will not be guilty anymore.
You can keep your original sin,
your pretty garden, your sly serpent.
They can suffer for Adam if they wish.

But I will weep no longer for Eve.
Keep, too, your tree, the trap baited
with lovely fruit. I have sufficient
guilty knowledge to last my life.

Finally, do not think that you exile
me into the wilderness. I go
willingly. There, I will find honest
trees, wise beasts, and innocent waters.

And I will worship the earth and sky
with gentle dances of green rhythms.


Excerpt from Undying by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. 
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. 


Crawly

Crawly
By Stephen B. Bagley


Our
scientists
say we annually
eat one pound of bugs

Our open snoring mouths attract
them, these many-legged insects

They drop, squirm, fly, scurry,
crawl, skitter, and fall inside

I think about what they
think about our caverns as

they descend, are ingested, 
digested by the moist dark

they sought for safety and
how like them we are

as we crawl toward
things that will
finally end
us
.

Excerpt from Undying by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. 
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Turn the page

Closing The Book
By Stephen B. Bagley

It surprised me when I swept off
all the books on the shelf. I thought
I had long since spent my passion
in purchasing your faithless heart.

You feel uncertain of our life,
you tell me. What you mean is your
better love than me may still be
out there. Why settle for less here?

So go. Leaving is how you show
how little you care, how little
you understand the rarity
of love in this non-fiction world.

If this were a story, you would
come back broken, and I would let
you love me or even better
introduce you to my new love.

Since this is not, I will pick up
the scattered books and set them back
on the shelf, being careful to set
yours to one side to box later.
.

Excerpt from Undying by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. 
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. 


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hitches with Floozy

Ran into a few hitches with Floozy Comes Back. Should have expected them. However, it looks like I will have to push the publication date back to June or July. Maybe the end of May, but I think it unlikely at this point. Just don't think the editing and proofing can be done as well as the necessary new material produced.

Also, graphic selection is going slowly. I used my favorites with the first book, and now I have to find new favorites. In this case, the millions of selections available really slow down the process. Wish I had illustrator skills and talent. Of course, that would something else for me to do! My plate has spilled onto the table and showering on the floor.

But that's the life of indie author. Wouldn't have it any other way. Or would I? Is that possible?

Anyway, by the end of March, I should have a handle on the publication date. Will let you know then. Now...have a good week! God loves you, and I like you. Well, most of you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Excerpt: "Taking Aim at Cupid"

Ordinarily at this time of year, I make a few disparaging remarks about Valentine’s Day, or "Passover" as I call in my house, but never within earshot of any of my Jewish friends as they do get the joke, but they don’t think it’s funny, and I hate it when they get all Samson on me.

But this year, I’ve decided to direct our attention to that clothing-challenged archer who wings around shooting people with arrows to make them fall in love with people guaranteed to ruin their lives. I don’t understand Cupid.

Oh sure, I get the metaphor that love is like a sharp weapon that pierces your spleen and makes you hemorrhage to death while your loved one runs off with your best friend, but beyond the obvious, what’s up with him?

He's strange. Has little tiny wings on his back.He flies around more naked than the birds who at least have feathers. He has nothing to protect him from the elements. (People thought that the mythmakers were saying Cupid carried a quiver, but actually they were saying he shivered.)

Supposedly, Cupid was the son of Venus (Goddess of Love) and Mars (God of Candy Bars). That's the accepted story, but other myths say he was the son of Heaven and Earth, Venus and Vulcan, Night and Ether, Venus and Mercury, Strife and Zephyr, and Venus by herself. The point of this is Venus got around, and the Renaissance mythographer Natale Conti says Cupid's parentage was uncertain. (Conti would go on to have a short-lived career in the Renaissance version of the Maury Povich show.)

It wasn’t until Cupid was in school that he learned his parents were mythical and didn’t exist. The other school children used to mock him by saying, “Your daddy's a myther; your mama's a mythssus." At this point, he took up the bow and arrow, but the school counselor disarmed him and sent him to military school where he was ignored because no one wants to look at a naked person all the time.

Not that his life was all bitter solitude. In fact, while carrying out one of his mother’s bizarre revenge schemes—Venus had depths of crazy that even my ex-girlfriends don’t have—he met and stalked a beautiful woman by the name of Psyche, who was a soul sister. (That’s a clever joke because Psyche is Greek for “soul.” Get it? Ha ha.... Well, fine. You try making jokes about love gods and see how easy it is.) He stalked her because he accidentally nicked himself with one of his arrows; there's some sort of lesson in that, but let's not take the time to figure it out.

If Cupid wrote a tell-all memoir, he would feature his mother. Here's this story as an example. When Cupid was a little boy, he stole honey from a bee hive, and the bees stung him. He cried and ran to his mother Venus. She laughs and points out he is also small like the bees and he delivers the sting of love so his pain is justice.Then she kicks him back outside. Listen, if that's not movie-of-the-week gold, I don't know what is. Move over, Joan Crawford, there's a new hanger-shaker in town.

Cupid and Psyche had their problems, of course, as any couple does when the man likes to soar around naked shooting people, but eventually they did marry and had a daughter whom they named Voluptas for no good reason. (She was also known as Hedone, which doesn’t seem any better. I can see Venus standing on the celestial porch hollering, “Voluptas Hedone, you get yourself back in this house right now!”) She hated her parents, mostly because her father’s lack of modesty meant she could never have sleepovers at her house. She left home at an early age and lived a wanton life, but no more so than any pop star or Congressman.

Mercifully, Psyche faded from history (or mythistory) at that point. Cupid, however, showed up a few more times, but marriage had changed him. He now carried two set of arrows, one gold-tipped set that brought love, and another lead-tipped set that brought hate. Some scholars think this is a pointed commentary on marriage. Other scholars wonder why we’re talking about this and think we should get a real job. The other scholars are often grumpy.

Anyway, I want you to think about all this when you get a card with Cupid on it. If you do and then find your Valentine’s Day is a bit less happy, then my job is done.

(Excerpt from the forthcoming Floozy Comes Back. Copyright 2017 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Please do not copy without explicit permission from the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Progressing Floozy

I meant to mention this a few days ago, but I officially finished one fourth of Floozy Comes Back. In fact, I have more than one fourth of it done; 72 pages are in place. Need around 200 to make a book. Hoping to get another 10 before the week ends. Today was really productive.

And how does this work? I'm moving columns and articles over. Retyping and editing material, adding to old material, increasing length. Cutting jokes that are dated, and adding new ones.

My plan to to have the writing done by the end of February. Then the editing and graphics selection begins. I have scheduled March for that. If I keep to this schedule, I should publish in May.

Looking forward to having a new book!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Excerpt from Undying

Metamorphosis
By Stephen B. Bagley

In the failure of his life,
he stirred the ashes,
recognizing each mistake,
his lover there,
his career here,
his hopes scattered
by the brutal wind.

He stood and spread his arms.
His hands couldn’t hold
—he dropped them.
His tongue couldn’t speak
—he spit it out.
His skin flawed and torn
—he sloughed it away.

That which he didn’t need
he would not keep;
all things have a time,
even humanity.

He raised tentacles
to the night sky,
roared his fury
as the ravens circled above,
craned his sinuous neck
to see the town below.

His lipless mouth
curved into a smile.
She would wake to terror,
she would see her unfaithful heart
beating in his grasp,
and her screams would be his lullaby.

(Excerpt from Undying. Copyright 2016 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.  No copying without prior permission of the publisher.)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Excerpt from Floozy Comes Back

(From "Clothed and Happy" in Floozy Comes Back.)

Have you seen that show “Naked And Afraid” on the Discovery Channel? It’s a (so-called) reality show where they drop two total strangers—a man and woman—into a harsh wilderness environment with only one item apiece. Neither item is clothing.

You might think this is a recipe for hanky panky or whatever the kids are calling it these days, but after a day or two with the couple being bitten and stung by hordes of hungry insects, sunburning in places the sun really shouldn’t get to, feeling ravenously hungry and desperately thirsty, having their bare skin slashed by vines and plants, limping on feet bleeding from thorns and bruised by rocks—hanky panky is the last thing on their minds. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the show is sponsored by the Clothing Manufacturers of America after seeing what clothes and shoes protect us from.

Of course, the Discovery Channel blurs what needs to be blurred; you’ve seen more skin at the beach or the lake. And since these are not supermodels, the skin you do see isn’t skin you’d necessarily want to see—if you can follow that.

“Experts” give them a Survival Rating at the start and end of the show. By choosing to participate in such an insane and life-threatening situation, it’s obvious the participants have the survival skills of deranged lemmings and the intelligence to match. I suspect their family trees are more like telephone poles.

There’s a lot of drama as the two discover that they not only have nothing in common with each other, but that they want the other participant dead. And possibly cooked over a slow fire. Because it’s the 10th day and all they have had to eat was a couple of insects and some grass that tasted like...well, grass.

(Read more in the upcoming Floozy Comes Back, copyright 2017 by Stephen B. Bagley. No copying without prior permission from the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas After Christmas

    What with one thing or another, I didn't talk about Christmas here much. Sort of surprising since Tales from Bethlehem is a Christmas book, and that is the time it receives the most interest. Life, however, had other plans, and I didn't get into the spirit of Christmas until it was almost upon me. Well, that happens sometimes. But Christmas finally worked its usual magic, and soon I was happily singing carols, sending out Christmas cards, and watching concerts and old Christmas movies.
     I hate to see the holiday season end. January always seems so much colder and darker after the life and excitement of Christmas. The winter closes in. The temps drop. The skies stay gray. I miss the sun and warmth.
     Almost all decorations are down in my house now. Just a few more things to be packed away and placed into storage until December rolls around again. It seems like long time until then, but it will go fast. The days can drag, but the year blurs.
     I always plan to somehow keep Christmas in my heart through the year. I bet you do, too. It's easy to say, but hard to do. Maybe this year we will. I will try. Maybe I should reread Tales every month. That might help! Well, it couldn't hurt, now could it?

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? How would you have responded?
     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.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope your 2017 is filled with good health, wealthy sufficient for your needs and a few luxuries, solutions to your worries, peace to quiet any anxious thoughts, love unconditional, sweet laughter, and much, much joy!

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.