Thursday, May 03, 2018

How to say it

A friend asked me how to pronounce "Prosateurs."
It's "Pros uh tours."
It simply means "a writer of prose."


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Motto

You may have noticed that the motto of this blog has changed. It was "No good deed goes unpunished or revenged." It's now Hay que poner un poco de locura a veces en la cordura. Translated: "You sometimes need to interject a little madness into the sanity."

I came across this Cuban saying in a recent Smithsonian article about historian Eusebio Leal who lay down in front of steamrollers to keep them from asphalting over a rare wooden street. That took place in 1967. Leal is now the official historian of the city of Havana and responsible for saving many historical buildings and revitalizing Havana. An amazing man, but I'm not sure I would think of him as insane as much as driven.

Another word for driven is committed. I think anyone in a creative endeavor has to have that commitment. We only have so much time in this world; every choice we make means another choice isn't made. Our choices have to move us toward our goals, whether it's to write a book or paint a landscape or save a building.

Although I do think getting in front of a steamroller in Cuba--not a place that encourages civil disobedience even now--might have a touch of insanity about it. Or maybe an overwhelming commitment.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Coming in May!

This should go on sale in May. Don't have the exact date, but will share, of course, when I do. It has a couple of articles and short stories in it by me. Excited to see my works among the others. The submissions judge did a great job in selecting the best from the submissions. (Although she didn't select several of my submissions. Sigh.) The anthology has articles, memoirs, short stories, poetry, and even recipes! Good writing from good authors. Anyway, here's the cover! #PT&T #Prosateurs


Last Day of April

The year is speeding by. Worries me how quickly time is passing. It seems when I was younger, a year was an impossibly long time. Now, I turn my head, and it blurs by. Either time is speeding up—not entirely impossible by our current understanding of physics as long as we don't equate time with light—or my perception of time is off. After all, a day is a day is a day...to paraphrase Stein a bit. 

Anyway, April is almost gone. What a strange April it has been. Our Oklahoma weather jumped from freezing to sweaty in the space of a day or two. Then repeated. And repeated a few more times. We seem finally to be past the temperature fluctuations, but now we're looking at possible tornadoes this week. Weather in the state has always been unexpected, but this is pushing it even for us.

Possibly this is a manifestation of climate change. Hard to know since climate change mostly talks about global changes, which will affect various areas, but the science is imprecise in what exactly those changes will be. None of the discussed changes, by the way, are ones that will create a paradise. No, they’re ones that will cause our grandchildren to hold us in contempt.

Whether such changes in the weather are possible for us to control or to mitigate...I don’t know. Okay, yes, we can, but we lack the will to make those changes. As long as the will is lacking, we will continue to have discussions about climate change until the time for doing anything is long gone. 

Setting that aside, it should be an interesting week here. Time for us to watch the sky.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Angel over the ape

We might not create Eden, but it doesn't have to be a wasteland. We can take a compassionate, reasoned, pragmatic approach to life. We can do what we can to make the world better and trust that others will pick up where we falter. We each day must choose the angel over the ape.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Way Forward

A Hard Truth: If the sides in a political conflict don't give the other side a way forward, then a political equation is reduced to they're wrong, we're right. And that will never lead to a path forward because the defeated side will not support the way chosen. As long as we see problems as Us vs. Them, it is an equation that leads to societal destruction and misery. Somehow, we have to open our tables to everyone.

As Christians, it is our responsibility to open our table to everyone. To set a place for those we disagree with. To allow them to disagree with us and still break bread with them. The politicians--Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Tea Party, Coffee Party, etc.--want to reduce our interactions into heroes and villains. That simplistic view makes "compromise" into a naughty word and allows them--they think--the ability to control the public.

It's up to us to find a way forward. It doesn't include memes. It doesn't include fake news. It doesn't include personal attacks. It doesn't include lies. It doesn't include fake science.

It does include us. Every broken one of us. It means learning how to draw together instead of drawing apart. It means trying to understand other people and seeing their views. It means we will not get everything we want, but we can get what we really need. We cannot remake Eden on Earth--that is true because there is evil that we must oppose--but we don't have to create Hell on earth, either.

It means being an adult and making adult decisions.

It's up to us to decide if we will be angel or ape.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Reciprocity

Was talking a friend yesterday who suffers from a common aliment in his marriage: He loves her more than she loves him. That mismatch in affection is painful, not that she doesn't love him, but she doesn't show it often.

I hear that a lot from my friends about their significant others. And I always tell them the same thing: Love doesn't carry with it any promise of equal reciprocity. Love just is, and it's a worthy thing to love even if they don't love you as much as you love them. It's a hard thing, but love also doesn't say it will be easy. Love is kind of a jerk at times.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Nectar

I can't be needing a Dr Pepper 10 this early in the morning. "There's something wrong about that," I say as I'm pouring the fizzing nectar over ice.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Day 2

How is your new year going? Broke your resolutions yet? I do like making resolutions and think it's good for me to think about how to be a better human, but I don't get too upset when I slip. Every day is new day and a new chance to do better. Almost a motivational poster, but not quite pithy enough.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
I hope the new year blesses you and yours
with joy, peace, health, and wealth!
Stephen B. Bagley

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Joke 15

An aspiring young lawyer was sitting in her office late Christmas Eve night when Satan appeared before her. The Devil told her, "I have a proposition for you. You can win every case you try for the rest of your life. Your clients will adore you, your colleagues will stand in awe of you, and you will make embarrassing sums of money. All I want in exchange is your soul, your husband's soul, your children's souls, the souls of your parents, grandparents, and the souls of all your friends and law partners."

The lawyer pondered this, then finally asked: "So, what's the catch?"

Boosting the Signal

Boosting the Signal: Back up your computer! Recently I heard that a writing friend's laptop died. I don't know what was lost, but I imagine lots of things. We all have precious photos and documents on our computers and phones now. BACK THEM UP! One of the easiest ways of doing this is by paying for Carbonite, an automatic backup system for computers. I use it and recommend it, but if you do use it, make sure you know what folders it's backing up, particularly if you use different folders than its presets. But there are other apps that will do that, also, for your computer and phone. (If you use a backup system, please share it in the comments.) Don't lose your digital memories.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Joke 14

A clergyman is walking down a country lane, enjoying the freshly fallen December snow, and sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off.

"You look exhausted, my son," said the cleric. "why don't you rest a moment, and I'll give you a hand."

"No thanks," said the young man. "My father wouldn't like it."

"Don't be silly," the minister said. "Everyone is entitled to a break. Come to my house and have a hot chocolate while I change to work clothes."

Again the young man protested that his father would be upset. Losing his patience, the clergyman said, "Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him, and I'll give him a piece of my mind!"

"Well," replied the young farmer, "he's under the load of hay."

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Joke 13

A husband and wife were driving down a country lane on their way to visit some friends at Christmas. They came to a muddy patch in the road, and the car became stuck. After a few minutes of trying to get the car out by themselves, they saw a young farmer coming down the lane in a tractor. The farmer stopped when he saw the couple in trouble and offered to pull the car out of the mud for $50. The husband accepted, and minutes later the car was free.

The farmer said to the husband, "You know, you're the 20th car I've helped out of the mud today."

The husband looked around at the fields incredulously and asked the farmer, "When do you have time to tend your farm? At night?"

"No," the farmer replied. "Night is when I put the water in the hole."

Christmas Factoids 2

“The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet and was used by the Chinese to break the
wills of political prisoners. It is outlawed by the Geneva Convention as is the playing of “Jingle Bells” more than 1,754,322 times during the holiday season.

If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would receive 364 presents, none of which you could return. By the way, why are there so many birds in that song? Doesn’t it seem fowl?

Holly berries are poisonous, which does explain why holly berry cookies aren’t popular even though there was a heavy marketing push for them during the 1950s. It joined the ranks of other failed food products: stone ground hemlock bread, foxglove fajitas, poop pie, and of course, green tea.

In 1843, A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in only six weeks. Many of us feel he should have taken more time with it and added some spaceships and several hot alien females.

Excerpted from Floozy and Other Stories on sale here:

Bonus Christmas Joke 13

The traffic was terrible as Herman was driving down the freeway to the mall. Everyone was out shopping for Christmas presents, and they were driving like crazy people!

His cell phone rang. Answering through the car speakers, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!"

"It's not just one car!" said Herman. "It's hundreds of them!"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Factoids 1

Christmas trees started in Germany in the 16th century. On Christmas Eve, Martin Luther was walking home under a starry sky, which was so beautiful he wanted to recreate its beauty for his children. He decorated a large evergreen with lit candles. He followed his creation of the "First Christmas Tree" with the development of the "First House Fire Caused by a Christmas Tree."

Since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway, have given a Christmas tree every year to the city of Westminster, England. The gift expresses Norway’s gratitude for Britain’s help during World War II, despite the fact that the tree is never on Britain’s Christmas list. Britain would prefer a gift card.

The first president to decorate the white house Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce. This is the only notable thing Pierce did while in office and as such should be remembered, but not by me. I’ve already forgotten it. Franklin who?
Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany or whenever the husband has been nagged beyond human endurance.
Excerpted from Floozy and Other Stories on sale here:

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Recommended book!

River Bend
By Barbara Shepherd
Historical - Belle Strong expected her husband to meet her when she stepped off the ferry in north Texas, but she was in for a surprise—her husband is dying. Pregnant and alone, she faces challenges along the Red River where her world includes fur trappers, Indians, and a rugged sea captain.
Jacob Owens spends most of his life on the high seas and is a self-proclaimed bachelor. But when a green-eyed beauty enters his world, he finds his thoughts drifting in different directions. Why can’t he stop thinking about her, and why is he trading fine beaver pelts for exquisite fabrics to surprise Belle to use in her quilting?
Can she protect her son in such an uncivilized country? Or will she be forced to rely on a complete stranger?

Monday, November 13, 2017

FCB Excerpt

If a woman asks you if you think another woman is pretty, the answer is simply “no.” I don’t care if a multitude of angels are singing the other woman’s name because of her glorious beauty, you say, “No.” If you can convincingly add, “She’s an ugly hag,” things will go even better.

But don’t get cute on this. A friend of mine and his wife went to a cocktail party, and afterwards, as they drove home, his wife casually asked if he thought a woman at the party that they knew from college was pretty.

He immediately said, “No. She has aged so badly.”

“Now, don’t be rude,” his wife said, slightly smiling and resting her hand on his knee.

Warmed by her approval, he stupidly continued, "It’s obvious she’s had her boobs done. They’re so perky and round.”

Poor guy.

-- From the forthcoming book Floozy Comes Back, copyright 2017 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

FCB Excerpt


"Many people are horrified the Pilgrims practiced pillorying, the act of fastening someone in a wooden framework in a public area so the Pilgrims could insult and demean them. You should remember this was long before Facebook and Twitter. The Pilgrims had to make do with what they had. And it was better to be pilloried in the New World than in the Old World. In the latter, they would throw rotten vegetables at the pilloryee. The Pilgrims had no food to spare for such fine sport and had to make do with mud, rocks, and—wait for it—dung. On second thought, it wasn’t better at all."
-- From the forthcoming Floozy Comes Back by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

FCB Excerpt

"Pumpkin spice is a powerful movement these days. You can find that spice in lipstick, candles, lotions, body sprays, perfumes, bath salts, shampoos, potpourri, air fresheners, facial tissue, toilet bowl cleaners, deodorant, sachets, dog biscuits, toothpaste, lip balms, and much more. And that doesn’t count all the pies, cakes, coffees, tarts, fried pies, muffins, and other desserts. There’s really something quite uncanny about it. It’s entirely possible that zombies want pumpkin spice brains, and vampires want pumpkin spice blood."
-- From the forthcoming Floozy Comes Back by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Perfect for Halloween!


Blackbirds Second Flight 
Perfect for Halloween! 
Featuring thrilling stories and poetry from Stephen Bagley, Wendy Blanton,
Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, 
Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A bit about the Blackbirds

The anthology Blackbirds First Flight featured stories from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, and Tamara Siler Jones.

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

Here's a bit about the authors:

Stephen B. Bagley wrote Tales from Bethlehem, Murder by Dewey DecimalMurder by the Acre, Floozy & Other Stories, and EndlesS and co-authored Undying with Gail Henderson. His works have appeared in Writer's Digest, Creations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, ByLine Magazine, Free Star, Nautilus Magazine, OKMagazine, and other publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Visit https://stephenbbagley.blogspot.com for more info.

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

Wendy Blanton published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard under the pen name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive and served in active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and tells Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. Visit https://wendyblanton.wordpress.com for more info.

Gail Henderson co-authored Undying with Stephen B. Bagley. She collaborated with noted Oklahoma photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography. Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry, was published in 2013. Her work has appeared in Creations 2014, Creations 2013, Creations 2012, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University. Visit https://redbirdwoman.blogspot.com for more info.

Tamara Siler Jones is a wife, mom, writer, quilter, and cat-wrangler from rural Iowa. She has numerous novels in print/eBook, including Ghosts in the Snow, winner of the Compton Crook Award for best first novel of the year in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre; Threads of Malice; Valley of the Soul; SPORE; and the newly released Morgan's Run. Visit http://www.tamara-jones.net for more info.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Texas. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University with a Master of Science in Adult Education. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit http://pmtoo.jeanschara.com journal for more info.

Blackbirds First Flight is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and other online retailers. Visit https://blackbirdsflights.blogspot.com for more info.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Perfect for Halloween!

Enjoy stories and poems from authors 
Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, 
Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, and Tamara Siler Jones
in this dark, thrilling anthology!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Interesting idea

Apparently, Walmart is testing a program where it delivers groceries to your fridge even when you're not home. As long as it pays for them, too, I could support this. And what about cooking the food, too? Come on, Walmart, step up!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Autumn come quickly

I am so looking forward to that first hard freeze of autumn...that nip in the air, the changing leaves, the crunching sound made by the tiny frozen bodies of mosquitoes as I walk down the lane...autumn...time for you to come now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Horse to water...

You cannot help people who don't want to be helped. Why is it so hard for me to remember this and to accept it? Maybe it's the sheer illogical thinking that I rebel against. Why would someone choose ugliness instead of something better? My brain refuses to comprehend it.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

We're all in this together

I think it's important in this day and time to remember we're all part of the United States. We're one family going into the future together. And most importantly, you're completely wrong.

Friday, September 01, 2017

I do

I want tacos. The sheer ridiculousness of wanting them at this time of night.... But I do want them. Three of them. Maybe four.

And no, I'm not driving to Taco Bell at midnight. My diabetes nurse would lecture me within an inch of my life. Not that I would care as long as my mouth was stuffed with tacos!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Visiting the Pope

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer met the Pope on Sunday. One assumes it was for an exorcism....

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cafe Stephen

The weather was so pleasant last night. Cool. Calm. The only sound was the slurping noise as the mosquitoes sucked my blood...and the smacking noises as they licked their tiny mosquito lips...hmmmmmm good blood, they buzzed.... I think I might be delirious from blood loss.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Misinformed

Hmm. I thought the eclipse was supposed to make people go crazy and strip off their clothes and run up the streets, shouting, "Bumpdabump my baby woogie woogie." Well, now I just feel awkward....

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jungle creatures

      Tomorrow morning, I will get up, and despite personal failures, diabetes, family tragedies and illness, rotten health, global warming, riots in the streets, the sun burning out in five million or so years, I'll still be right here.
      Praying, hoping, believing against all intelligent thoughts otherwise, striving, writing, dreaming unreasonable unlikely things, losing, winning, loving for all the wrong reasons...
      Living.
      Still here.
      I'll still be here.
     You be here, too.
Eleanor: We're jungle creatures, Henry, and the dark is all around us. See them ... in the corners? You can see their eyes.
Henry: And they can see ours. I'm a match for anything. Aren't you?

(From The Lion In Winter by James Goldman)

Wednesday, August 16, 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.