Sunday, May 3, 2015

Enter at Your Own Risk: Dreamscapes into Darkness Available Now!

Firbolg Publishing has recently released Enter at Your Own Risk: Dreamscapes into Darkness - a wonderful anthology combining stories from classic genre writers and their contemporary counterparts. With tales from Mary Shelley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, Saki, D.H. Lawrence as well as Jonathan Maberry, B.e. Scully, Gregory Norris, K. Trap Jones, Holly Newstein, Roxanne Dent, and many others. Edited by Dr. Alex Scully. Contains my story "The Morgue."

"The morgue, my friend informed me, was the place old newspapers went after their publication date. In essence, the place they went to die..."

Order your copy today! Available in paperback and Kindle editions.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Age of Entitlement

I watched a reality TV program the other day which focused on people who let their parking meter expire. Okay, to be honest it was only the commercial. I couldn't actually bring myself to watch the show. Anyway, cameras were on-hand to film the reactions as violators returned to their vehicle to discover a parking ticket. The violators invariably freaked out. "It was only a minute!" they argued. My response (and the response of the official who issued said citation) was: tough.

Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed the growing sense of entitlement in America? Sure, we’re the world’s only superpower and the defenders of liberty and all, but does that give us the right to act elitist (especially among ourselves)? Now before you denounce this as simple paranoia, let me cite a few instances based on personal observations and see if you can apply them to your experiences.

The Shoppers. I deal with this every time I go for groceries and the experience inspired me to postpone this errand as late in the day as possible to minimize occurrences. Few people pay attention where they are going, you see. They push their carts obstinately forward, staring off at oblique angles as they browse. Without a few dexterous maneuvers on my part, collision would be inevitable. And while shopping cart crashes do not tend to be fatal, they certainly fall squarely into the nuisance category. I realized many modern Americans subconsciously (or perhaps consciously) remove responsibility from themselves and, in doing so, place it on others. Thank goodness these entitled folks pay greater attention behind the wheel, right? Wrong. Read on:

The Non-signalers. Speaking of driving, I estimate roughly one-third of motorists whom I encounter fail to engage their directional signal when making a turn. Big deal, you say. But this is more than a petty inconvenience – it’s dangerous. It’s not their fault, though; they have their hands full. One hand clasps a cell phone against an ear (despite growing distracted driving laws) and the other tips coffee against the lips. Mother Nature made feet for pedal controls and knees for steering wheels, but neglected to add an appendage for signaling. How unfortunate. And can someone please tell me how it’s possible to speak into a phone and drink coffee at the same time? Entitled yet talented, I admit.

The Pedestrians. Non-signalers aren’t the only road hazards. The Pedestrians feel so entitled they imagine themselves immortal. I’ve stood on my brakes so frequently in the past year to avoid hitting jaywalkers, it’s a wonder they haven’t yet required replacement. (The brakes, that is, not the jaywalkers.)  If I had a dollar for every time someone has traipsed into the street without gaining the right-of-way or a even so much as a flippant backward glance, I’d be writing this post from a luxury resort in the Caribbean. It’s a good thing I bought pedestrian insurance – I have a feeling I’ll need it one day.   

It is not my intention for this discourse to be a rant. It should be read merely as a warning for a few things of which to be wary in our ever-expanding world. No one wants to claim responsibility for anything anymore and, really, who can blame them? Entitlement is so much more glamorous…and easier. I move that we make a conscious effort to resist this temptation and accept accountability for our actions. Who’s with me?

Of course, you may disagree with me completely. No problem. You are, after all, entitled to an opinion.