Monday, September 28, 2015

A poem from "Undying"

If I Had Known
By Stephen B. Bagley

If I had known the casual mention
of your name would hurt no more
and I could smile at the good memories...

If I had foreseen enough time
would erase the pain and sorrow
of words meant to lay waste to me...

If I had realized I would be better
without your selfish, demanding love
and your need for all things right now...

If I had known all these things
I wouldn’t have buried you
and your lover under the new garage


(From the forthcoming book Undying by Stephen B. Bagley and Gail Henderson​. All rights reserved.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Playground Rules

I'm offended that you're offended by the offensive thing I said in response to the offensive thing you said when I said something you were offended by.

And you're a stinky head, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Survives

It's amazing how lies become the accepted truth. The spin overpowers the truth, and even intelligent people will parrot it because they won't take the effort to find out.


Napoleon: the short man who was so upset about his shortness that he decided to conquer Europe to prove he was as great as anyone else? Not true. He was 5'7" tall, which was 2 inches taller than the average height. His enemy, England, put out the short story. Cartoons and editorials by English papers continued it. And it stuck.

The Crusades: horrible wars caused by Christianity. Certainly that was the press put out by the kings, princes, knights, and popes, but in their war talks, they discuss spices and land and gold and jewels. No reputable historian discusses Christianity as a primary factor these days, because it's plain from historical records that greed motivated this thrust into the Holy Lands. But Christianity made such a better story than saying, "We want their money."

Manifest destiny: Those horrible Indians will be better on reservations. We want their land, and we deserve it. It's our destiny. Thank you, newspapers, and Horace Greely. "Go west, young man! Don't worry about all those people you will kill on the way."

Slavery: "We have to have slaves so that our crops can be sold at competitive prices. We have a way of life to maintain. They're savages. We're their kindly masters." The newspapers and novels and movies portrayed slaves as being grateful, and masters as being kind and benevolent. For a long time, the American people bought the story. Some still do.

Environmentalism: crazy people who rather let other people starve to protect a snail darter. They also hate jobs, eat bark, live in huts, and smoke pot. You wonder how they ever get anything done.

WMDs: ...

The list goes on and on and on. The oldest human profession is actually that of an liar ... leaders who lie for the sake of money and power. Why must we continue to be so gullible?

A friend of mine recently said something that has stuck with me: "The lie is all that matters. It's all that survives."

I hope not. Dear God, I hope not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Politicians and other shysters like to divide us into camps: Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, etc. It's easier to point a finger and to place blame and to say it's someone else's fault. But we are all Americans. We are interconnected. What we do reverberates throughout our society. There is no "them." There is only "us." Never trust anyone who attempts to tell you otherwise.

Yes, I have a political party affiliation, but first and foremost, I am an American. You are, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Attack of the Badgers

My house was clean yesterday. Completely clean. Today it looks like an army of angry badgers battled the peaceful but strong beavers for control of my living room. How did that happen? I don't remember being messy. And why is there a pair of my socks on the lamp? Who used all these cups? Why are the trashcans overflowing? Where did this laundry come from? Why am I asking you? Unless ... maybe you're responsible. If so, do the right thing and come and clean up your mess.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Any time you maliciously or offhandedly group -- you say, "All whites or blacks or gays or Christians or atheists or whoever" -- the odds are that the rest of your statement will be wrong for a large number of the people in the group you are maligning.

Unless, of course, I'm doing the grouping. And then it's completely correct.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Why My Diets Fail

I just ate a handful of Raisinets. Maybe two. Heading for three, and four will follow soon.

Someone needs to stop me before I eat any more. But no one can get here in time. Woohoo! I mean, dang it.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

If Wishes Were Wisdom

There are some things that don't need to be said.

Sure wish I'd learn how to not say them.

Friday, September 11, 2015



Sometimes I must be still.
Letting worry slowly subside.

Sometimes I have to sit in twilight.
Listening to the swelling silence.

Sometimes I need to not need.
Floating in the quiet darkness.

Sometimes I drift along with the wind.
Watching the clouds move across the dimming sky.

Sometimes I am simply here.
Basking in the joys of life.

Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Let us pray.

Power Who moves the universe
Who makes the mountains speak
and the skies sing hosanna
and the waves give praise

To Thee we offer thanks
for these quicksilver moments
brief and infinitely precious
in which we live our lives

We sparkle but briefly
against the unbound night
motes of lights bright
before fading into shadow

In these fleeting moments,
we weep in sorrow
dance and laugh in joy
passionately love

So we give many thanks
and ask You to bestow
Thy endless blessings
and unbounded mercy

In Thy Myriad Names
We ask, always giving
You our devoted praise
and unending glory

And we all say amen.

Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


There are stories we shouldn't tell.
      Wise men know this.
There are lies we shouldn't hear.
     Wise women learned this.
There are hearts we shouldn't break.
     Angels weep when they see this.
There are souls we shouldn't touch.
     Demons smirk at this.

Walk down there;
-- the hallway grows dark.
Stop over there;
-- the shadows watch.
Rest yourself there;
-- the earth takes you.

Some knowledge burns the bearer.
      You were warned.
Some secrets can only harm.
     You didn't listen.
Some love brings only ruin.
     Everyone warned you.
Some tears can't be avoided.
     Into every life, they fall.

I wanted to save you;
-- the clock ticks like thunder.
I wanted to spare you;
-- why were you willfully deaf?
I watch only to witness;
-- you chose your fate.

We choose our destruction;
-- this is the wisdom I know --
so I leave you to yours.

Copyright 2015 Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


     It's a nice day here. The sun is shining, but a cool wind is sweeping through town. The summer wanes, but still has teeth. Fall approaches. I find myself thinking about time.
      The odds are good that I have lived more of my life than I have left in front of me. I feel pressured by that. I still have so many things I want to accomplish. Books to write, places to see, people to meet.
      We lose people along the way. Loved ones fall to accidents or disease, and while we believe in life beyond, we miss them here. Eventually our past sorrows travel with us, a dark companion to remind us that everything ends.
      People live longer these days. We take vitamins and supplements, exercise and eat healthy. We try to stay active and live longer. In the back of our minds, we think that maybe scientists will offer a better drug next month or next year and we'll be as we once were -- young.
      Everything falls. Even the pyramids lose a bit of their substance each year. Wind and sun and rain will eventually reduce all that we've built. Every mountain peak will become a prairie given enough time. Our greatest fame will be forgotten or the subject of dusty books. Even infamy fades. Time makes footnotes of everything.
      So while the sun is shining, meet me for lunch. Let's laugh and enjoy this fleeting moment. And when the night falls as it will no matter what, hold my hand tightly and gaze out over the horizon to the endless sea.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Where YOU can buy MY books!

Blackbirds First Flight 
Anthology - Enjoy chilling poems and dark tales in this collection from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, & Tamara Siler Jones.
Buy on Amazon
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By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
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Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at these hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
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Buy on Lulu

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? Who's next to die and why? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
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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
Buy on Amazon

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

Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Amazon
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Buy on Lulu

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Kindle Short Stories

I have several short stories up on Amazon for the Kindle devices and app. (More are coming.) Here is info about each story and the link to purchase. Enjoy!

Duel in the Sky
In a futuristic sports dome, wind duelists battle for the ultimate prize: their lives. Includes bonus story, "Garage."

Grave Matters
Justina Grave, Knight of the Trivarutham, tangles with new, more powerful revenants and their bloodthirsty master, and discovers an unsettling truth about their origins.
The first Justina Grave Mystery.

Grave Concerns
A blood shaman invades Tulsa, and Justina Grave, Knight of the Trivarutham, is standing in his way.
The second Justina Grave Mystery.

An Unattended Death
Who left Aaron Brody out in the woods to die of a drug overdose? What does his dealer girlfriend know? And why does Daniel Bias, radio advertising salesman, stick his nose in where it doesn't belong? Daniel's investigation leads him to places he has never gone before, including the infamous Stuttering Rooster, the best gentleman's club in western Oklahoma. If Daniel's smart mouth doesn't get him killed, his questions might.
The first Daniel Bias mystery.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Creativity Unbound

People often ask me how I come up my ideas. At first, I thought that was the question, and my answer would vary depending on the project. But in the poetry classes I taught at the local college, I had several students explain they didn't want to know about the particular idea behind a story or poetry; no, they wanted to know how I generated the number of poems, stories, plays, blog posts, and so on, that I do. While some of that creativity is simply a function of my personality and life, I also use various techniques to unbind my creativity.

These techniques can apply to any endeavor, artistic or otherwise. Creativity is valued in today’s society. Industry leaders claim that creativity is one of the traits they seek in their employees. Of course, I’ve noticed that industry has a tendency to stifle that creativity when it conflicts with established procedures. The tech industry has many stories of a maverick who had to leave an established company to make his own, better way.

Creativity is also valued in our personal lives. We applaud creative parents and teachers. We appreciate new solutions to our daily problems. By inviting creativity into our lives, we can enhance our relationships, jobs, life.

Here are a few techniques that I have used and found effective in enhancing creativity. You can find many more if you search the Net. Remember that the best technique is what works for you.

1. Feed. Not your stomach, although it’s difficult to be creative when you’re starving. I mean feed your mind. Sometimes our problem is that we’ve starved our intellect. We’re empty of creativity because we haven’t been absorbing it. How do we feed?
- Read books or articles about the problem we’re trying to solve or the subject we’re researching.
- Talk to several people about the problem. Preferably enthusiastic people who believe a solution is possible. If it’s a writing problem, talk to writers. If it’s a parenting problem, talk to other good parents. Avoid people who only want to sympathize. You need people who believe you can find a solution.
- Use the Net, although be cautious in this as it contains as much bad information as good.

2. Breathe. Naturally we all do this, but I’m talking about conscious breathing. Yes, a quiet five minutes where you empty your mind and just pay attention to your breathing. I use this often. I find the brief break allows me to return to my work refreshed and ready to go. Yes, it’s meditation of sorts. I don’t use a mantra, but perhaps one would work for you.

3. Brainstorm. Take 10 minutes and write down every thought as fast as you can. No editing. Try to  your thoughts toward solving your problem, be it how to get character A to location B while getting Character C to meet Character D at location E or how to get your children dressed to school in a timely fashion.
- Brainstorm with other people. Make sure they know the rules, which is to NOT EDIT any suggestion however off-the-wall. Set a time limit and go! You’re going for quantity, not quality. You can throw out the unworkable later. You need the forest now so you can find the perfect tree later.

4. Jumble. Throw different things together to see if they fit or can contrast in certain ways. Let’s say you’re writing a poem. You have a photo of a sailing ship. You’d like the poem to talk about relationships. Maybe a marriage. Maybe a floundering marriage. I used this to write my poem "Uncharted."

5. What if? Imagine approaching the problem with unlimited resources. What would be your solution then? A friend of mine who was experiencing a business problem was sharing her troubles with me. I asked her what would she do if she had unlimited resources. How would she solve her problems then? She said, half-joking, “I’d hire a team and they would fix it.” So I suggested she find a way to do just that. She didn’t have the money, but she did have a husband and brother and several friends who were willing to be her team for a pizza dinner. They solved her problem.

I use this in when writing fiction. I write mostly mysteries. I imagine how my characters would solve the crime if they had unlimited resources. Then I would work backwards. For instance, maybe a super lab with DNA equipment would solve the crime. Well, they don’t have that, what can they use instead? Their circumstances dictate what they will use to catch the bad guy.

6. Use a clock. This is my favorite technique. It’s called timed writing. It works like this. You take a clock, you set it for ten minutes, and then you write. You write as fast as you can about anything that comes to mind. The important thing is to write every single second. Don’t edit, don’t back up, don’t correct, don’t explain, you’re just throwing words on paper. They can be on your project, but most times they won’t be. All you’re doing is popping the cork, breaking the dam, starting the avalanche, striking the match, shooting the starter pistol, kicking the ball, and so on. The point is to get your creativity pass your editor.
*** Important note: If you can’t figure out something to write, write something positive. For instance, write “I’m a good writer. I’m a good person. I tell the truth. I care for the poor. I love my family and friends. I’m reliable. I’m creative.” And so on. Repeat these positive affirmations until you veer off. And then follow where you go. NEVER write anything negative. Lots of studies have shown that the more you write or repeat something, the more true it becomes. Because your editor is being shut down, you are open to suggestions. Make those suggestions good. This is a direct way to reach your subconscious. So remember, be positive. And if those positive things aren’t true yet, they will be. It’s the power of positive confession. Have faith in your future.

7.  Play some tunes. This is really a variation on the timed writing, but in this case, the time is marked by music. I have a playlist for every book I write. You might try music that reminds you of the locations in your book or short story. Or fast music to rev your energy level up. Or classical if you’re writing a historical novel or concentrating on a difficult subject. NOTE: Do not use lyrics in your story or poems. Songs are protected in peculiar ways, and using as little as one line has got an author in trouble. Besides, if the song only inspires you to think about the lyrics, you’re not trying hard enough. Lyrics are what the songwriter thought. We want your thoughts.

8. Write naked. I don’t mean nude ... not necessarily. But what I mean is for you to bare your soul. Write that which makes you uncomfortable, angry, or sad. Write the forbidden things. Write the forbidden words. You don’t have to show these to anyone -- in fact, I would suggest you not doing so -- but getting them on paper will get the ideas flowing.

9. Keep a journal. Jot down your thoughts. Don’t worry about publication or that it’s useful. Stick pictures and postcards and recipes and cut-out articles in there. Wise sayings, funny quotes, strange photos, bits of your dreams, anything that interests you is the only theme. When you feel blocked, flip through it. All that material will spark your creativity.

10. Do something new. Doesn’t have to be big. Walk a new path in the park. Try a new dish in a restaurant. Go into a new shop. Read a different genre. Go to a movie you wouldn’t ordinarily go to. Wear a hat -- if you don’t. Newness makes your creativity pay attention.

11. Use your chores to motivate you. I hate dusting. When I get stuck on a problem, I dust. I find my subconscious kicks in gear to keep me from having to dust. People always know I’m having trouble when my house is spotless. Pick a chore that requires not much equipment so that you can easily stop when you have your solution.

12. Turn off your TV. Turn off your TV. Turn off your TV. What’s on TV is rarely new. It’s rarely creative. And many studies have shown watching TV induces a passive state. Your pulse slows. It’s like a trance. This doesn’t mean there aren’t good shows worth watching. There are. But be very selective. Remember that old computer programmer adage: garbage in, garbage out.

13. Take a brief break. Sometimes we need to recharge. We need a bit of distance to see clearly. So take a quick walk. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Let your mind wander. It might just stumble on the solution. But don't break too long. Taking a break is a way to help you solve your problem, not ignore it.

Creativity can enhance your life in many ways. So go out there and unbind your creativity and show the world a better way.

Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. 

Friday, September 04, 2015


Yes, I'm becoming more liberal. Didn't think I would, but this last year has changed me in ways I didn't expect. I haven't changed in my belief that a government shouldn't spend more than it takes in and believe keeping a budget (both citizens and government) is the best way for our economy to improve, but I'm becoming very particular and vocal about what the government should be spending its money on.

First, bring our troops home. I'm tired of them dying. I'm sick of it. Whatever the various reasons are, they're not enough. Yes, that will save us some money, but frankly, I just want them home. A friend of mine's son died in Iraq. He died bravely and proudly, but I don't know when she will be able to go on with her life. Enough. I want our soldiers safe. I want them home. It's a nest of vipers over there, and we can't put our hands in without being bitten. Let's stop putting our hands in.

Second, education. We're falling behind the rest of the world in producing doctors, engineers, nurses, software designers, etc. Put our money into scholarships for students in those fields. Recapture our technological edge.

Third, buy American. Our government needs to buy American. I don't care if costs more. Buying paper, supplies, computers, cars, trucks, guns, ammo, uniforms, food, etc., from foreign firms only keeps our money flowing overseas. Spend our money here.

Fourth, stop giving money to foreign governments. Don't stop food for children or malaria nets or supplies for digging wells, but stop sending money overseas to prop up dictators. No more.

Fifth, make sure our children get good lunches and if necessary good breakfasts in their schools. Ketchup is not a vegetable. Anyone who says it is deserves to drown in a vat of it.

Sixth, fix our roads and bridges. Rebuild America before we rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan and whatever other county busy blowing itself up. Remember when America build the Interstates? We can do it again.

Seventh, strip all our Congressmen -- past and present -- of their benefits. They get what the poorest Americans get. Or they can buy their own. And hey, let's cut those salaries in half.

Eighth, our libraries and museums need money. Let's spend some on them. Make sure people have access to information they need.

Ninth, tax the living crap out of oil and pharmaceutical companies. They sell gas and drugs cheaper overseas than they do to us. Enough. Either treat Americans right or be taxed until we can't tax you anymore.

Tenth, do not allow -- ever again -- someone to bring a stupid "Their religious display offends me when I look" or "I don't want to say the Pledge of Allegiance" case to court again. We spend millions on these types of cases. Enough is enough. If the display offends you, don't look. You don't want to say the Pledge, then sit there and be quiet.

Eleventh, legalize marijuana. Yeah, I didn't think I would ever say that, either, but enough is enough. We're spending millions to enforce laws against it, and all we've done is crowd our courts and prisons. Let the tobacco companies have it -- and tax them.

Twelfth, speaking of tobacco companies, stop giving them farm subsidies. Bad enough that they lied about the hazards of smoking of years, bad enough we made a deal with them that in no way pays back all the government money spent to care for people with various cancers, but let's stop giving them money to grow a plant that kills people.

Enough for now. You can catch your breath. Sorry if I offended anyone, but if I did, perhaps you should consider that you're too easily offended.

Oh wait, one more thing. No more economic sanctions on foreign countries. I want us to flood them with our products, movies, magazines, computers, etc. We live an amazing life in America. We want them to want to be us. We want them to want what we have. And we want them to pay for it.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Only Way

I wish I knew an easier way to do whatever you want to do: write a book, run a marathon, rekindle your relationship with your spouse, achieve your dream ... but the only way I know is by work.

Working unceasing and giving up that which doesn't advance your goals.

Life is about choices, and each choice we make closes the door on another choice.

It's regrettable, it's hard, it makes me want to howl at times, but in the end, you have to believe that the sacrifice is worth it -- even if you fail.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Sword & Arm

From Sword and Arm

"So I'm not what you expected," Serika said. She tossed back her drink. "Am I darker than you thought?"

"No," Nathaniel said. "Darker than I hoped."


"Yes." He nodded. "It's a failing of mine. Even though we continue to live down to the lowest expectations, I keep hoping for something more."

She laughed, a brittle sound as cold as the ice in her drink. "Oh, this is rich! Who would have thought the Sword and the Arm could be so ... childish?"

He gave a slight shrug. "Everyone has their faults. Even you."

"Not nice of you to notice," Serika said, her fangs extending. "I suppose you'll try to kill me now."

"No," he said.

She widened her eyes. "Surely not mercy for me."

"No, no mercy for one such as you who has mercilessly preyed upon mankind," he said. He turned away.

"I don't ..." She stopped and looked at the drink. "You ..." The glass fell from her hand and shattered on the floor. "Poison ... you ..."

He didn't look back as her skin blackened and burned. She died with a curse on her lips.

Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.