Friday, April 24, 2015

Deal or No Deal with special guest star Mom!

Couple weeks ago I took my mom shopping. Her eyesight's failing. Better I help her than to unleash her on the roads. I don't mind doing it, keeping the world safe for you and her.

But, I swear, every small transaction is like buying a car.

At Walmart, we searched for the elusive hair spray aisle.

Now have you guys seen me? I don't have a follicle of hair on my pate. It's a world never explored. So I'm cruising the aisles looking for a product I don't understand, wouldn't know it if a display of it toppled on me. She's asking for "Dan Sassy" or something. Rows and rows of product, I can't find it. Finally, through sheer luck, we stumble upon it. She has me flag down a clerk, then ask her how much my armful of products cost. A very lengthy time of consideration ensued. But hair-products had to wait. We left empty-handed.

Next up is toilet paper. I've never given toilet paper much consideration in my life. Actually don't want to. I mean, we all use it, but I believe it's better not discussed.  But at great lengths we considered the ply, the cost, the softness factor, the color. Mom opened my eyes to a whole new world, enlightenment on a budget.

At the meat-counter, I rattled off various ground beef packages prices like an auctioneer. "$8.79, I have $8.79, how 'bout a smaller package? $6.99, we have $6.99, $6.99 going once, twice, sold to the man and his mother!"

Of course I love my mom, a wonderful person. And I'm still learning new things about her. Had no idea haggling with store clerks was a hobby of hers.

And I'll be there again in a week for our next adventure in shopping!

Friday, April 17, 2015

YeeHaw! The wild west is comin' back, y'all!

Right here in Kansas! Pow! Zing! 

Sigh. The newly passed Kansas gun law is psycho and scary. "Norman Bates" psycho, scarier than the new Lucille Ball statue.

In Kansas, it's no longer required to get a permit, to register a firearm, to get training to carry and own a gun. In what world (and Oz doesn't count for you folks ready to jump on the Kansas joke bandwagon) does this make sense?

Clearly, it's gonna' raise the crime rate. The murder rate. I fully expect more children will die by gun-shot, intentionally or not ("Hey, new toy."). And domestic disputes will be decided with the gavel of a bullet.

Okay, let me step off my soap-box for a minute (but not before kicking it over like a rock star), and let's look at this law with a cold, clinical, non-judgmental eye. Guns kill. So do the people pulling the trigger. I'm not about to call the distinction between the two. But it takes both.

The people passing this law? Politicians. Why? Truly, I doubt they're personally itching to get their hands on guns so they can shoot it out--last-stand Peckinpah style--with opposing politicians to determine who gets to rule. (Then again...we're talking Kansas. And it might be a movie I'd like to see. Just don't want to see the real deal.). SO the real reason has to be to garner votes in one of the "reddest" states around.

And who benefits from this law? Law-breakers! Angry, cuckolded spouses! Bank-robbers and muggers! Batman villains! "Hills Have Eyes" mutants! Scary, scary people. I mean, how easy it'll be be to go out, acting upon a knee-jerk reaction, and pick up a gun. I imagine we'll also have an influx of ne'er-do-well sorts from out-of-state. On the bright side, it'll be good for Kansas commerce and the tourist industry!

Yesterday while taking my mother shopping (oughta' be a law against that!), I dropped her off at the front door of a store, parked the car. A horn blared out. I looked. Wasn't my car. This time the horn ground out louder, harsher. I went around to the other side. Some guy sat in the car parked next to me. He yelled, "How the hell'm I supposed to get outta' my car?" I was well within the parking lines. He's the one who'd crowded it. Yet, clearly, he thought the impetus was on me to move my car. Actually, I started arguing, kinda' pissed. Then I remembered the new Kansas law. No thanks. I moved my vehicle. Bad enough the guy was using his horn as a weapon.

I'm seriously considering abandoning Kansas. Then again, why should I let knucklehead politicians muscle me out. I don't give into terrorism (um, only to my mother's emotional blackmail).

Meanwhile, there's a new sheriff in town, pardner. Or, um, maybe not one at all.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Here comes the zombies!

Well, looks like it's that time again to introduce y'all to my newest book.

Zombie Rapture. Crazy title, huh? Go look at it now, then meet me back here. Zombie Rapture Linky-Poo!

Now if you're the type of person who'd rather not read about gut-munching zombies, hang on a minute! The zombies in this book are really "zombies" in title only. First of all, they're sentient. Second, they don't eat flesh. Or brains (a rather nasty culinary habit, I think). Rather, they somewhat fancy fried chicken, down-home cooking. 

Sure, they're dead (or "undead" if you want to get fancy-pants about it). And they're out to kill the (apparently) few surviving living humans. Why? It's complicated. But in a nutshell, people have died, come back, and now believe they're experiencing the Rapture come to earth. Heaven on earth. Those not like them? They want to "save" them, bring them into their paradise. You know, by killing them. Told you it's complicated.

But at the heart of the tale? A love story, a heroic quest for Hunter to find his missing girlfriend, Jordan.

Okay. Even though a couple of the protagonists are teens, it's not a YA book. Too much for their tender lil' minds. I certainly don't want to have the corruption of teens on my rap-sheet. And's the zombie book for people who don't like zombies. (But fear not, zombie lovers! I've got you covered as well!).

The book shape-shifts. While writing, it took on a mind of its own. Starts out all romancey and stuff. Segues way into dark humor (I don't know about you, but a dead lil' old lady coming at our hero with hedgeclippers, chanting "praise Him, praise Him!" strikes me as morbidly amusing). Turns into suspense, horror, sci-fi, mystery, thriller. Finally satire. 

An end-of-the-world black comedy! Fun for the whole family!

Official launch date is April 14th. You can preorder it until then at this nifty link: Clicky for Zombie Rapture! All this excitement for a mere $2.99! Go!

Friday, April 3, 2015

I Left My Wallet in San Diego...

Everyone sing!

We just got back from a week long trip to San Diego. Great city. I suggested to my wife that we should retire there. But, um, the cost of living in San Diego would make for a very short, yet sweet, retirement. You can't get a meal for under $30 unless you hightail it over to Taco Bell. And Kansas City already has tons of those, no new cuisine under the sun there.

The San Diego Zoo is spectacular. I came back with a
sunburned, blistered scalp and the notion that Polar and Grizzly Bears are the friendliest mammals in the world. No wonder they call it a "bear hug." Because that's what these lovable guys want. A hug. The only reason bears maul people? Because instead of offering hugs, people scream. Why can't we all just get along? Oprah would be proud of me. (My wife doesn't share this same outlook, it must be said. She just rolled her eyes in several spectacular orbits).

Speaking of "friendly," San Diego is host to the swellest bunch of homeless people I've ever met. Sure, there was the leather-faced woman who cursed and snapped her teeth at me demonic possession style, but, hey there's always a bad apple in every orchard. Most of them took rejection just fine, offering well wishes afterward. One kindly lady (note: don't go to public parks) handed me a hastily scribbled message--something about demons--offered me a cigarette and told me to vote for Obama. Well...ignoring the fact that Obama can't run again, this homeless woman actually offered me a cancer stick and political and demonic advice! Offering instead of begging! Wow! It is odd...the homeless are not only tolerated in downtown San Diego, but they're practically accepted, a colorful component of the city.

While we're talking "colorful"...San Diego's a real melting pot; many languages, many cultures, many races. The most prevalent? Burgundy red people. I wanted to lather them with sun screen, share the friendliness. Honestly, you'd think the natives would catch on by now that skin cancer's a real thing. Like Global Warming (contrary to what our cab-driver told us). Colorful!

But, alas, every city has a downside. For some reason, couples love to perform very public, ugly and loud break-ups in San Diego. Not only did I witness several throw-downs, I was caught in the middle of a particularly volatile scenario, the angry woman (something about her boyfriend cheating on her) shoving me aside to better attack her boyfriend. On a downtown sidewalk. Excitement!

And I was nearly run down by crazy, death-defying bicyclists. These guys were true magicians, vanishing and reappearing, weaving in and out of crowds at spectacular speeds, mere inches from wasting sidewalk walkers. Danger!

The worst part was our hotel. It overlooked a trolley station. All night long and every fifteen minutes, the train would shwoosh in, blowing the horn. Except the horn sounded more like the bellowing noise made when the "tributes" in The Hunger Games movie died.  (I'm in dire need of a vacation from my vacation). No sleep!

The scariest part? On three occasions, a clerk/waitress/pedicab driver told us, "Welcome back." Huh. Never been to San Diego before. You know, San Diego's already sorta' removed from reality as I understand it: the sky's a preternaturally ocean-deep blue; everything's either cement or water (no greenery); the homeless are there to make us feel at home; there're more bars than a's Disneyland for adults! So I guess it comes as no shock that our doppelgangers are running around, always two steps ahead of us. Twilight Zone time!

Can't wait to go back, armed with sunscreen and ear-plugs.