Friday, August 31, 2012

A commercial break!

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 more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
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

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

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You can prevent my AADS

I’ve been accused of not paying attention more than once in my life. By teachers, parents, siblings, girlfriends, friends who are girls, just plain friends, etc., who say I’m the poster child for Adult Attention Deficit Syndrome. I think it’s time to explain this once and for all: If I’m not paying attention, it’s because you’re not being interesting. If you’d step up your game, I’d be with you more.

Oh, all right, possibly a tiny part of the blame rests with me as it is well-known that I have the boredom threshold of a gnat on triple espresso. This started back in elementary school. We’d get our new textbooks, and while the teacher droned and droned on about something uninteresting like fire safety or the cafeteria meal plans or what to do in the event of nuclear attack, I’d be reading the entire book. I did this with every textbook (except math because it’s evil) and so when the teacher would cover the book during the school year –- taking a whole week per chapter –- I was bored out of my ever loving mind.

One of the worse things to happen in those classes was when she’d make one of my classmates stand and read aloud. Many were excellent readers, but there were always those poor souls who stumbled over every word and would take the whole hour to read a page. At first, you rooted for them, mentally urging them on, and agonizing over their every misstep. But eventually you found yourself groaning when the teacher called on them. Then it became obvious that the teacher – under the guise of helping a slow student – was actually tormenting said student and the fact she was also tormenting the rest of the class was just a happy bonus.

Today I can’t hear someone read aloud without flashing back to Mrs. Butcher’s third grade class where I actually made myself throw up by sticking a pencil down my throat to escape a particularly boring reading session. (By the way, this worked, although I don’t recommend it except in emergencies such as staff meetings and weddings. Sorry, Mrs. Butcher, but now you know the truth. Well, since you don’t read my blog, and it’s unlikely anyone will tell you about it, never mind.)

School was filled with moments like that. I endured boring classes that gave me a real perception of eternity. Of course, school also gave me moments of bone-chilling terror as the school bullies attempted to insert my soft body into a hard locker, a rather painful geometry problem they never solved to my satisfaction. (And people wonder why I don’t attend class reunions without being armed. And legged, too. No, I don’t know what “legged” means, either, but it amuses me, and I think we’re all agreed that keeping me amused is safer for everyone. At least my neighbors believe this.)

At least my need to escape boredom led me to many interesting things: books, girls, chemistry, girls, rockets, girls, explosives you can make in your bathtub, girls, cleaners that will remove black and green rings from your tub, girls, plumbing problems caused by cleaners and explosives mixing in uncontrolled conditions, and, of course, theoretical dark matter physics. Oh, girls, too.

Anyway, I think you will find it’s easy to keep my attention if you’ll discuss something interesting (like, for instance, my greatness) or give me things (like cash or negotiable stocks and/or bonds; I’m not picky). Once you do this, you will have my undivided attention unless I see something shiny or heard an unexpected noise or ... Look, a squirrel!

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. No copying without express written permission from the author and publisher. Excerpted from Return of the Floozy.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Customer Service Tips AKA How to get fired quickly

After my time in the horrible world of customer service, I thought I could share a few points about it that might save your sanity if you ever venture into that zany and terrible place. Thus, a few highlights from my 251 Tips to Save Your Sanity (If You Work with the Crazy Public).

Customer Service Tip #1: Not only is the customer not always right, sometimes they are batweasel, blindgator, ratfrenzied, methmonkey crazy. When this happens, take a deep breath and remember they’re not worth you going to prison.

Customer Service Tip #7: Once in a blue moon, you’re going to be wrong. Admit your mistake up front and customers will like and respect you. If they don’t, whack them with a two-by-four and move on.

Customer Service Tip #13: Do your job correctly. Then when you get mistreated — and you will be — you can righteously complain — and you will.

Customer Service Tip #22: Your boss will not understand your side. He just wants you and the complaining customer to go away. Let us pray that as he drives his Mercedes away, he doesn’t discover someone has cut his brake lines.

Customer Service Tip #33 The best looking customers will always expect more from you. They’ve been that way since kindergarten. They’re not going to change now. If only you hadn't been known as "The Kid Who Eats Paste," your whole life might have been different.

Customer Service Tip #44 If your boss’s boss has to get involved in a problem, pack your things at the first chance you get so you’ll be prepared when you're fired to cover his gutless self. Be sure to take what office supplies you need, particularly that stapler you’ve become so fond of.

Customer Service Tip #56: It’s not your customer’s fault he/she is loathsome. That’s what happens when first cousins marry. Be kind.

Customer Service Tip #78: Sometimes the customer is right. Always check this remote possibility first. It will keep you from having to dine on crow later.

Customer Service Tip #82: When a customer swears at you, close your eyes and call upon your inner strength. Do not let his/her bad behavior steal your self-respect. Then open your eyes, pick up the nearest blunt object, and bounce it off their slanted forehead.

Customer Service Tip #97: For some customers, you are their social life. I suggest bringing a thermos and a few snacks so that you’ll always be prepared for a conversation lasting longer than many people’s marriages.

Customer Service Tip #134: In most social circles, it’s considered impolite to leap the service counter and snatch your customer bald-headed. Remember this, and you’ll be welcome everywhere.

Customer Service Tip #149: If the customer has money and you’ll do anything to get it, you will succeed in the business world. I suggest a career as a lawyer or Congressman.

Customer Service Tip #176: Bad breath and body odor will only drive away the most sensitive customers. It’s not worth the risk of tooth decay and disease. So go ahead and brush your teeth and shower once in a while. Deodorant is, of course, optional.

Customer Service Tip #211: Bitterness is never attractive. Learn to fake sincerity, and your customers will love you until you turn on them like a mad badger and gnaw their legs off.

Customer Service Tip #236: Never tell a customer you’re going to have him/her hunted down and killed in the street like a dog. It will upset them. No, let it be a total surprise when it happens.

I hope these help you retain your precious sanity. If not, you'll probably do great in management, particularly if you can jettison those pesky morals.

Copyright 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying without written permission from the author. Thanks for reading.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coming clean

I think it's important at this point to say that I'm a lazy slob. Although I seem to be busy all the time, when I go to list my activities, apparently I am a lazy slob. Particularly in writing and publishing. Which are supposedly my favorite activities. Instead I spend most of my time on chores, housework, yard work, errands, phone calls, worrying, watching TV, listening to music, reading other people's books, going to the library, watering my flowers outdoors, watering my plants indoors, laundry, testing my blood sugar, etc., etc., etc.

This is not to say that I don't have times when writing is the most important thing to me. Unfortunately, those times are in the minority. And often happen at two in the morning or when I am at some activity that's utterly bores me. But let me sit down at the keyboard and all inspiration vanishes just like a Republican’s heart or a Democrat’s morality. (I've decided to be an equal opportunity political party offender. If I haven't offended you yet, please understand that I will get to you as soon as I can.)

I've always been baffled that my lack the commitment to writing when it's been the only constant thing in my life (besides God and the church) since I was a child. I've often wondered if I'm more in love with the ideal of having written than writing itself. Or it could be that I'm a lazy slob. I'm leaning towards a lazy slob answer myself because it's probably more true than I would like, has lots of evidence to support it, and it's an easy answer, which appeals to the lazy slob side of me.

I'm so lazy I'm not even typing this right now. I'm using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is a voice dictation program. (I purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking because I was worried about my ability to type if the arthritis in my hands worsens… And because I'm a lazy slob.) So when I talk about slaving over the keyboard, I'm really talking about talking over the keyboard.

It's a relief to finally tell you all that I'm a lazy slob. No more pretending about being productive or using my time wisely. I need to get me a bag of pork rinds and turn on some world championship wrestling, and I will finally be content.

Are you content? Are you a lazy slob? Let me know. But speak softly. I may be taking a nap. Talk to you tomorrow.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A woman's story

One of my friends is certain that men hate women. Not individual men, but men as a group. She acknowledges that this may be stretching reality, that it may be a generalization that unfairly maligns many innocent men, that maybe her own harsh experiences with men have prejudiced her. But she still holds to this because this bias, this belief that men generally would rather hurt a woman than succor one, keeps her safe.

She has reasons to fear men. Her alcoholic father abused her, slipping into her room until she was a teenager when she finally told her mother who slapped her and called her a dirty whore. She dated boys who hurt her and men who cheated on her. Finally she married an alcoholic man who loved her when he was sober and hit her when he was not. And she lived that way for years -- years here in my hometown -- until one day he hit her too hard and she ended up the hospital. She was too dazed to lie then. Their life together fell apart, all his carefully constructed excuses and her concealing lies revealed for everyone to see. They divorced, but not before he broke into her apartment and taught her again why men should be feared. He put her in her place, as the expression goes, and might have done worse, but the police finally arrived.

Now she lives alone. It's lonely, she says, but it's better. She doesn't date. She doesn't intend to ever date. She parks her car close to her door. She watches men when she walks in Wintersmith Park. She carries pepper spray and a key knife and is thinking about getting a concealed carry permit. Her friends laugh about it with her. They pity the man who dares attack her. It's a joke, although, of course, some of them think she takes it too far. They tell her that she needs to get out more, get a life, get happy. She laughs along with them. Sometimes what they say hurts her, but she learned a long time ago how to hide the hurts and how to roll with the blows and how you can never let anyone see you cry.

She took one of my poetry classes a long time ago, and we've been friends ever since. She didn't think she would like me, but she found my class "welcoming" and "safe," a harbor of sorts. And I taught her how to make her poetry better and never criticized the content because I never intend to silence any voice, only teach them how to communicate more clearly.

She called when the whole Todd Akin mess happened. She was horrified that he would say such things, that he would ever have such beliefs about rape, that he would claim he "misspoke," and that unknown doctors -- doctors whose names he can't supply -- told him that women's bodies could do things that they can't. She sees it as another sign that men hate women.

I always tell her the same thing: "Some men do hate women, but most of us don't. Most of us like women. Many of us love women." My words are always the same. She knows what I'm going to say. She just likes to hear me say them. And then we talk of poetry and how to make words behave how we want them to. Then she says goodbye and we hang up.

I'm always sad after we talk. I think of her in her apartment. I think of her alone. I think of how terrible her life has been. I hate her father and her ex-husband for a few moments. Then I sigh and pray that joy will find her again. And if not that, then at least, oh God please, maybe someday she'll feel safe again.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Friday, August 24, 2012

The trees in the forest

How are you this Friday? I've been busy the past several days (and nights) helping a friend put the finishing touches on a book he's publishing. The process is not necessarily hard, but it's long and somewhat complicated. Well, not really complicated, but ... lots of steps to do in order. No step is particularly hard, but they have to be done in order and they all have to be done. Maybe it is complicated.

Things often are when you look at a whole project rather than breaking it into steps. Looking at the forest can keep you from seeing the trees. And vice versa, of course.

Many people claim that seeing the forest is more important than seeing the trees, forgetting that the trees as a group are the forest. You can lose one tree, obviously, and still have a forest, but how many can you lose before the forest is no more? One tree is not a forest. Nor is two or three or even 10. How about a 100? 300? 1,000? There's not a true definition of a forest. We simply know one when we see one.

That brings us back to the importance of a single tree. If you lose enough single trees, then you don't have a forest anymore. So every tree has to be important because, without it, the forest is diminished. Always beware someone who is willing to sacrifice a tree or two for the sake of the forest. They're ignoring what a forest truly is.

And no, I'm not really talking about trees. I'm actually talking about government and how politicians sacrifice individuals -- us -- to benefit the greater public, even though each of us actually is a part of that "public."

Politicians talk about making the hard decisions, but have you ever noticed their hard decisions never impact them? They hold themselves apart. They're not part of the public. They're the overseers, the rulers -- the sacrificers, never the sacrifices.

Make no mistake about this: If you're a Republican or Democrat or any other political party, you're supporting people who will claim -- with pride -- that they can make the hard decisions for us, that they know better than the individual, that sacrifice is necessary for the greater good.

They're protecting the forest, you see? The forest is more important than a tree, right? And it's only after a forest is clear cut that people realize something vital has been lost. Fortunately, at that point, our overseers will exhort the values of an empty land. We are lucky.

Aren't we?

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old photo

Today while moving photos onto Boudica (my new computer) from various flash drives, I came across a photo of someone I once loved. And just for a moment, that old pain flared in my chest. For a moment, I sifted through the ashes of that relationship and wondered what would have happened if I can done this or she had done that or we had simply loved each other more.

For a few moments, I dined on regret. I tasted her lips, I remembered a glorious day in Wintersmith Park walking in the snow, and I missed her -- hungered for her smile -- like all the years between didn't exist.

But I also remembered how it ended. How we couldn't simply walk away. Couldn't part as friends. How we weren't satisfied until every good memory was tainted, until our love turned into something remarkably like hate, until we stopping fighting more out of exhaustion than choice.

Now, we exchange Christmas cards. She moved to another state. She has a new life as do I. Sometimes around holidays, we run into each other. Awkward smile, a slow intake of breath, a need to part again before we find ourselves saying hateful things and falling back into hateful habits that we both have chosen to forsake.

For few moments, her photo lingered on my screen.

And then I hit delete.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Monday, August 20, 2012

Secret of the Pack Rat's Nest

This is the cover of the first book produced by Many Rivers Harbor. I thought it turned out well. What do you think?


For more information or to purchase Secret of the Pack Rat's Nest, visit the website of Martha E Rhynes or Many Rivers Harbor.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good quote by Billy Graham

"We must remember that the word 'decease' literally means an 'exodus' or 'going out.' And that's what death is -- a departure, not to oblivion but to a new horizon. The Psalmist wrote not of disappearing into 'the valley of the shadow of death,' but going through it."
-- Billy Graham

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And now a message from our sponsor

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 more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
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

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

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tick ... tock ... tick

This is a timed writing. You may be unfamiliar with that term. Basically a timed writing is when you write as fast as possible for a certain amount of time (in this case, 15 minutes) in an attempt to awaken your creativity and to stifle your innate "editor." (When I worked for a newspaper several years ago, there were many a time when we wanted to stifle or even smother the editor, but this is another thing entirely.) 
      Supposedly this device will allow you to tap your subconscious which is just brimming with ideas and cool stuff. I say "your" subconscious because apparently mine is empty or is out for a quick bite to eat and then stopped to see an afternoon matinee since the tickets are so much cheaper then. Otherwise, I wouldn't be using this as my blog post. With me? 
      Yes, sometimes I run out of things to say. Hard to believe, I know, perhaps you should sit down. 
      I use these timed writings in my poetry class to awaken my students' creativity as well as get them accustomed to the idea of actually writing. I know that sounds strange, but a lot of people would be a writer if it wasn't for the rotten inconvenience of actually having to write. I do understand this: I would be Lucy Lawless's love slave except for her inconvenient husband as well as that protective order she took out against me, but that's another story involving a nun, a pelican and a mule named Lois Jo. 
      Anyway, the point is that we all have this editor that criticizes what we think. It says of every idea, "No, that's dumb. What, you only got gravel for brains? How many times did the stupid stick hit you anyway? Be quiet and don't make a fool -- well, a bigger fool of yourself." Timed writings are about shutting that guy up. 
      Not that I am a big believer in just letting it all hang out. After you get the words down on paper, you need to go back and polish them. I believe most things benefit from editing. I recently watched the movie Titanic on home video. It's a long, long, long movie. By the end of it, I would have torpedoed the ship just to get it over. And as I type right now, I am making many -- a few -- really, just a couple -- okay -- one error which I will go back and fix after the timed writing is over. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to understand it -- which might not be a bad thing entirely. 
      My 15 minutes is up so I have added another 15 so that I can finish this. In other words, I am two-timing my timed writing. (That was a lot of work to get that joke in there, and I'm not sure it was worth the effort. Let me know.) 
      The idea of a time limit could easily be adapted to political speeches. We give each candidate 15 minutes to speak -- I mean total including radio and television ads -- and then we vote. We wouldn't be any less informed than we are now, and the candidates would have less time with which to lie. 
      I have run out of things to write at this time. When this happens to my students, I tell them to write positive thoughts until their brain kicks back in, such as "I am a good writer," "I do a good job," "I am God's gift to women," "Lucy Lawless wants me," "I will be rich and lord it over my snotty neighbors" and so on. Don't write negative thoughts. Timed writings are a way to reach your subconscious, and you don't want to be programming bad thoughts. 
      Most people think they'll have no problem in writing for only 15 minutes, but when they hear that clock ticking, they freeze up faster than a Republican attempting to name one good quality of former President Clinton. The clock creates an amazing sense of pressure that stops some people cold. But I tell them to continue putting words on paper as fast as they can. 
      You put enough pressure on your creativity cork, and eventually it will blow free, surprising you with what it gives you. Like, for instance, a blog entry. 

© 2012 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. Thanks for reading.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Improvement

I think it's important in any plan to improve your life that it moves forward and not back. You learn from past errors, but you don't wallow in them. No purpose is served in beating yourself up over your mistakes. You made them. You learned from them. You've moved on. The object is to build yourself up, not tear yourself down.

This doesn't mean that suddenly you've become perfect or that you shouldn't experience remorse for wrongs that you have committed. I'm a great believer in trying to fix things, in repairing what you have broken. If you've done wrong, then make it right if you can.

However, there is a point where that is counter-productive. It can sap your strength. You start believing that you aren't capable of anything more. Your past becomes your future because you believe you can't do better.

So listen to this: You're okay. You're human. You made mistakes. It's not the end of the world. The sun will rise tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.

I get asked sometimes why a rational, science oriented, intelligent guy like me believes in the "myth" of Christianity. (Of course, I don't believe it's a myth.) Because the central belief and core truth is that God loves us and forgives us. All that other stuff is just man attempting to place finite rules on the infinite. Don't blame God for what people do in His name. But that's not the point, either. The point is that God forgives us for our imperfections. Are you above God? How many universes have you created lately? If you haven't made a galaxy, then you should forgive yourself. It's simple as that.

Do you remember the story of the sinner woman that a crowd of men brought before Jesus? They told Jesus that the woman should be stoned for her crimes. Jesus agreed with them and then said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The crowd melted away. Jesus looked up and then told the woman, "Go and sin no more." No attacks on her past, no condemnation of her life. Just for her to go and do better. She got started on her improvement project that day.

That's all I'm trying to do. An imperfect me trying to become better. Not a bad way to live. Not bad at all.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Worthy


"Don't listen to those who say, 'It's not done that way.' Maybe it's not, but maybe you will. Don't listen to those who say, 'You're taking too big a chance.' Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most importantly, don't listen when the little voice of fear inside of you rears its ugly head and says, 'They're all smarter than you out there. They're more talented, they're taller, blonder, prettier, luckier and have connections ...' I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you'll be a person worthy of your own respect."
-Neil Simon


Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lingering

Got my tea this morning. Got my copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield by my keyboard. Got Coldplay's album Myloto playing. Ready to write. Go!

Ah, not so fast, kemo sabe. The words don't want to come. They're still sleeping. Or they're lingering over a last cup of java at the local Starbucks.

We don't have a local Starbucks. We had one, but when Starbucks downsized, they closed the one here. It hadn't been open long. I never got coffee there -- I don't like coffee, although I've certainly tried to pick up the habit -- but it made my town feel more metropolitan. I always liked seeing it. It was breaking even financially, but wasn't making money, so the corporate honchos closed it down. Now the building has a Mexico restaurant in it. I've never eaten there, either.

We have seven or eight Mexican restaurants in town, which is probably enough. I've eaten at most of them. Sure wish we'd get a Red Lobster or an IHOP or a Denny's, but this town is just a bit too small. Even a cafeteria style restaurant would be nice. We used to have a Golden Corral, but it closed a couple of years ago. Apparently it hadn't been paying its taxes as it was supposed to, or something like that. Its building is now a Chinese restaurant. We have two or three Chinese restaurants.

For its size, my town has a lot of restaurants. Just a quick count shows we have about 50 or so, which is a lot. Let's see how many I can name: Sonic, Taco Bell, Taco Mayo, KFC, Arby's, Chicken Express, Burger King, Braum's (2), McDonald's (2), Subway (2), Rib Crib, Applebee's, Chilis, Mazzios, Polo's, Hamburger King, Blue Moon Cafe, Heavenly Buns, The Field House, Santa Fe Steakhouse, Church's Chicken, Oscar's Chinese Restaurant, China Super Buffet, Eduardos, Prairie Kitchen, Aldridge Cafe, Asian Buffet, Boom-a-Rang, Cyprus, Delicias, Folger's, Frescos, Jack In The Box, Long John Silver's, Whip Dip ... That's all I can think of, but there are more.

People from other areas are always surprised at how many restaurants we have. Don't know why we do. I guess we just love to eat. Also, the town draws from the surrounding area. It's the biggest city in the county, which helps. And we have a 24 hour WalMart ... which is a bigger draw than you might think.

Have you ever been in WalMart at two or three in the morning? Not during the holidays when they have their huge midnight and early morning sales when customers pack the place, but during the ordinary days. It's quite creepy. There's an eerie silence broken by unexpected and loud sounds. Or maybe the sounds seem loud because it's so quiet. And there's always faint music playing. Never loud enough to make out the tune, just a few chords that sound vaguely familiar. Our local store is a bit understaffed, anyway, but at night, the huge place feels deserted. And when you have an overactive imagination like me, it seems the perfect setting for one of those terrible SyFy horror movies. I tell you one thing: I don't go near the butcher's counter late at night.

And on that note, I'll post this and get busy. Hope you have a great day.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Shaped against the dark

Murder by the Mile is beating the crap out of me. I've never NEVER had a piece of writing fight so hard to not be written. I can't understand it. I don't know why MBTM would be different from any of my other works. I've spent hours and hours and hours trying to figure out why the story won't flow.

It may be because this is probably the last story for those characters. I do love them, but the books haven't made as much money as they need to. Of course, I could always write more, but in terms of time invested and income received, the books fall in the red. Blood red.

And maybe it's because I don't know what to write next. No new characters are barging them way into my head and demanding I tell their stories NOW. No new projects are pushing me to finish this one so that it can be written.

Maybe I'm just lazy. Maybe I'm not hungry anymore. Maybe I'm giving up. Maybe the time for my dreams is past. Maybe there's nothing except gathering darkness from now on. Maybe the door has closed and the windows are shut and the drapes drawn and silence is filling the rooms. Maybe decay has won.

I don't know.

I do know that I'm not giving up. Not yet. Not ever. I'm skilled at stubborn. I'm an expert in survival. I don't know any other way to live other than with my chin set and my eyes defiant and my heart shaped against the night.

So I'll continue to work on Murder by the Mile. And one way or another, by hook or crook or probably both, that story will be told.

And then I'll write more.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Apocalypse

Everyone seems ready for an apocalypse these days. I don't meant literally, although some people are gathering weapons and supplies to survive. I'm talking about books, TV, and movies. Zombies, plagues, alien invaders, robots, pollution, nuclear war, global warming -- pick your reason. Or several.

Then be part of a hardy group of survivors scratching out a life after everything falls down. Have adventures, fall in love, everything means more. What a glorious short life you will have.

You know, it's not the big things that will do you in. A scratch that gets infected. A broken leg that can't be properly set. Months of suffering as cancer eats you alive. No proper toilets or sanitation. No showers. No baths. No food. Sure, you can leave off the remains of civilization for a while, but then the canned food goes bad. The stores are empty. Your faithful dog is looking delicious.

Rats are tasty, too, I've heard. Maybe you can shoot a few deer -- although bullets are getting in short supply as is gunpowder. Do you know how to dress a deer? Well, I guess you'll learn.

Or maybe you can be a raider. There will be a few people who will try to rebuild and will plant crops and raise animals. You can live off their labors and help drive the last remnants of civilization off the earth.

Or ... you can help make the world a better place. But don't tackle the world. Clean up your own backyard first. Plant some flowers and trees. Learn how to live lightly on this earth. Choose the best technology. Honor the values of honesty and hard work. Find a hobby where you use your hands and learn a craft. Value what's been learned. Know that new for new's sake is as stupid as holding grimly on to the past. Be an adult. Understand the difference between greed and free enterprise. Have a relationship with God. Be kind to children and animals and protect those who can't protect themselves. Teach people how to care for themselves. Remember that your rights end where another person's nose begins. Keep your nose out of your neighbor's bedroom and life. Learn, teach, work, pray, live, rejoice, dance, sing.

And when the zombies come, blow their heads off.

Buy the Second Edition of Murder by the Acre here!
2012 Oakleaf Harbor Christmas Cards now on sale!
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Amazon.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in paperback at Lulu.com
Buy Floozy and Other Stories in hardcover at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Barnes&Noble.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by Dewey Decimal at Lulu.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Amazon.com
Buy Murder by the Acre at Barnes&Noble.com

Buy Murder by the Acre at BooksAMillion.com
Buy Murder by the Acre in soft cover at Lulu.com

Buy Murder by the Acre in hardcover at Lulu.com

Buy Floozy, MBTA & MBDD items and more at Oakleaf Harbor

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Hey you, got some good books for ya!

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 more than 80 hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
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

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

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