Sunday, February 26, 2006


A section in the entry below has been deleted. I read an article about an author and I was irritated by her comments. Decided to write an entry and voice my harsh opinion on it.

In hindsight, what did I prove? Nothing. Nothing at all. What did she do to me? Not a thing. Has she altered my world or view of it? Nope. The entry said more about me and how petty and nasty I can be at times than it ever did about her. I’m ashamed of myself. Shouldn’t have done it. Most people have good and bad sides. Most people say things that they wish they could take back later. Some people can delete them from their blog when they realize this. Yes, there are a few people I know and dislike and a couple I actually hate. I don't like giving people that power over me however.

I won’t go into politics or criminals or fanatics. That is something different than I’m discussing here. And, oh yeah, I have my opinions on those topics. A couple are cast in stone.

I’m talking about here is trying to be the best person I can and I failed a little yesterday. Okay, I’m coming out of the corner; my time-out is done.

I will try in the future to do better. I will try in the future to do better. I will try …

Friday, February 24, 2006

Jury Service

I completed my civic duty. Kinda, sorta. Called Monday night as instructed. Told that my service had been postponed and to call back Tuesday night. I did. Told to call back Wednesday night. I did. Told to report Thursday at 8:30 am. I did. Took twice as long to find a Jury parking lot as it did to drive there in morning traffic. Went threw Security check and reported to Jury Room. Found a seat. Listened to the Jury rules and instructions. Two young males were sent home (jury duty to be rescheduled) because they wore shorts. 9 AM. Eighty names called out to be considered as jurors for a criminal trial. My name was among them. We were instructed to wait. 9:30 AM. Second group of names called. Told to wait. 9:45 AM. My group called and told to take a forty-five-minute break. 10:30 AM. Back in Jury room. Second group sent to their courtroom. 11:00 AM. My group called and told to go to lunch and report back at 1:30 PM. Back in jury room. 2:00 PM. Sent to courtroom. Checked in by Judge’s clerk. Enter courtroom. See marshal, court reporter, two men in suits standing beside different tables and bearded man in white dress shirt who is smiling at us and trying to hide the charm bracelets on his wrists. Yeah, bad guy. Excuse me, the defendant. Judge enters. Explains his rules. Tells us the trial will last at least one full week. (I start to sweat.) Asks if anyone has a felony records. No one does. Asks if anyone has trouble understanding English. Three hands go up. He asks each if they took the citizenship test and are now citizens. All say yes. He states the test was in English and they can stay. He excuses all full-time college students. Tells the one person who has a business conference next week to report back to the jury room and have their service rescheduled. Two people have medical conditions. Woman with colostomy bag is excused. Man has bad back. Can’t sit for long periods. Judge asks what he does when it bothers him. He replies that he has to stand to relieve pain. Judge says if chosen he can stand up when it bothers him. One man says he’s part of a specialized team that cleans up ocean spills and he is currently on stand-by because of a possible spill in Long Beach. Judge informs him that if chosen his team will have to work without him. (Sweating more now.) Judge asks if anyone has a job that does not pay for time away while on jury duty. My hand and 17 others go up. Our names are taken. I’m waiting for him to ask us individual question and berate the companies we work for. Judge excuses us all. 2:30 PM. Standing at shuttle pick-up point. 2:45 PM. Back at car. Jury service completed.

There has to be a better way than this to select jurors.

Distraction -- First Draft

On my two days off, from work and jury service, I finished the first draft of our thriller screenplay currently entitled “Distraction.” It turned out pretty well I think. Emailed it to my collaborator. He’ll read it over this weekend and get back to me with suggestions and necessary rewrites. Not bad for a first draft though. I’m also drained. No idea on what to work on next. Need to let my creative system rejuvenate. Okay, my little brain hasn't completely shut down. In my fantasyland, I'm picturing Charlize Theron or Carla Guigino or Jennifer Garner playing the main character -- pickpocket and street thief Hannah Logan.


Received an email from Armand Rosamilia at Carnifex Press. He is mailing a proof of the science fiction-horror western novella to me to review. Plans on releasing it at the end of March. March? Next March? No, next month. I’m tickled.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The police have arrested two suspects in the Bank of England cash center robbery. They believe the robbers are members of organized crime not terrorists. They added that the robbery plan bore a striking resemblance to the plot of the new Harrison Ford film Firewall.
Good idea. Okay, Knuckles, the Firewall plan didn't work out so well. This is what we're gonna do. We're going down to Blockbuster and rent Dog Day Afternoon, Entrapment, and The Thomas Crown Affair (both versions). Then we'll plan our next heist. Hey, think Catherine Zeta-Jones or Renee Russo might show up? No, we can't pick up Dirty Harry while we're there. This is work.
For more on the robbery news go to:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Whoa. That about sums it up. The Bank of England is reporting that their cash center was robbed last night by two teams of armed men. The robbers held the branch manager and his family hostage and tied up 15 employees. The take is estimated to be between 43 and 70 million dollars in cash. No one was injured in the robbery. To read more go to:
At $43 million, this would only be the fifth largest bank robbery in history.
From MSNBC News:
1. 900 million in U.S. currency and 100 million in euros dollars from the Iraq Central Bank, Iraq in March 2003. This happened at the beginning of the U.S. invasion and was blamed on Saddam Hussein’s family.
2. $70 million from the Central Bank in Fortaleza, Brazil during weekend of Aug. 6-8, 2005.
3. $65 million from the Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Center, London on July 12, 1987.
4. $50 million from the Northern Bank, Belfast, Ireland on Dec. 20, 2004. The Irish Republican Army is credited with this robbery.
5. The one yesterday.
Okay, once more. Whoa.


Whether you're a reader or a writer or both and you're looking for a terrific magazine then check out Jason Sizemore's Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest. (

This print magazine is filled from cover-to-cover with solid and intriguing tales of dark science fiction and horror. The magazine has featured such writers as M.M. Buckner, William R. Eakin, Eugie Foster, Doug Hewitt, Tom Piccirilli, K.A. Patterson, Jennifer Pelland, Ken Rand, Christopher Rowe, Lawrence Schoen, Bryan Smith, Bryn Sparks, Lavie Tidhar, Athena Workman, and others.

My story, "New World, Old World," appeared in the debut issue and "Human Resources" in issue three.

Issue Five with Fish Baby on the cover (center above) is being released soon. Check out just one issue and I'm sure you'll get a subscription. It's worth your time and money.

Isn't Fish Baby creepy? I want a tee-shirt.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Busy Days
I love it when a story starts coming together. Yes, rewriting and editing and polishing will be needed and required but it is so cool when the first draft hums. Stephen King once called it falling through the hole in the paper and I agree. I am in the groove, the zone. That's why there haven't been any updates lately. I've been working on the first draft of the screenplay Distraction. It's thriller. The main character is Hannah Logan, a pickpocket and street thief. Not the usual type of hero I write about. Hannah is unique. I hear her voice when I write her dialogue. I know her cadence and turns of speech. I'm reaching the climax. Now I just have to figure out a believable and exciting way for her to beat the bad guy. Yeah, piece of cake.
Meanwhile, I received the revised cover art for To the Mountain of the Beast from Carnifex Press:
Love those eyes and that skull.
Then I received the cover art for the Pure Fantasy anthology that my story, "Blood Alley," will appear in the Netherlands. It will be published along with stories by Lou Anders, Doug Smith, and Bruce Holland Rogers. Some day I'll figure out how to put an attachment in the My Pictures file. Until then you'll just have to take my word for it that is cool looking.
Back to writing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This was fun. Go to the following QuizFarm web-site ( and take the quiz. You'll find out what space series you'd be the best crew member for. I should be a Battlestar: Galactica team member. They didn't say whether I'd get a job as cook, janitor, or in waste removal however.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Just received the cover art for Clash of Steel 3 -- Demons from Armand Rosamilia at Carnifex Press. Thought I'd share. Looks pretty cool. My short story, my fourth Crusader tale, "The Beast of Lyoness," will appear in the anthology. More details to follow.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Benchley, 65, passed away today. I heard the news on the radio as I was coming home. He was a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, Presidential speechwriter, diver and wildlife conservationist. He was the grandson of humorist Robert Benchley and son of author Nathaniel Benchley. But he is best known as the author of Jaws.

I think I still have an old beat-up paperback copy of the 1974 novel somewhere in the garage. I bought it new.

The book is not great literature but it is a definite page-turner. It was a best seller then a young newbie director named Steven Spielberg got a hold of it and the first summer blockbuster happened. Between the novel and the movie, the word “jaws” morphed into becoming lunch while swimming in the ocean.

All that happened because a writer had an idea. He read an article about a fisherman catching a 1400-lb shark off Long Island and thought 'What would happen if one of those came around and wouldn't go away?'

None of Benchley’s other novels created the sensation that Jaws did but then how many writers can catch lightning in a bottle twice.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Benchley. And thank you for the story.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Household duties done. Well, most of them anyway.

Sit down at desk. Got my Mountain Dew. McGraw, Hill, Garth, and others playing on the FM. My cat, Sabrina, prowling and meowing because I’m not spending all my time scratching her neck and tummy. All set to write … something.

New sf anthology listed on Ralan’s site. Called Seed Fiction Supplement. Producing their second annual anthology. Pro pay. I have a story that looks like what they’re looking forward. Problem. The story is 1700 words beyond their max limit. Okay, create new doc file and see if I can edit a few syllables out. A few hours later, a very lean and tight short story. Is it better than the original version? Don’t know. That’s b.s. It’s better. There’s something liberating about cutting stuff out. Killing your darlings as one instructor phased it once. Off it goes, via email, to SFS. Response time is three months.

Wrote a horror screenplay. Solo this time. My usual collaborator didn’t like the basic concept. The story kept twisting and turning in my mind however. So I wrote it. Today I registered Chill with the Writers Guild and got a copy ready to mail tomorrow to the Scriptapalooza contest. Winners will be announced mid-August.

Decided to send off a screenplay query letter to a couple production companies about our latest screenplays. Couldn’t hurt. Letters went to Promark Entertainment, Revolution Studios, and Cyan Pictures. Most studio web-sites don’t have email addresses or state bluntly that they do not look at unsolicited material. I decided to roll the dice with these three. Response time, if any, is unknown.

A few days ago I saw that the quarterly web-zine Dred was looking for columnists. Dred used to be a print mag called Dread. The editor is Bill Hughes. He bought one of my early stories called “EscapeVision.” One of the columns he wanted for Dred was movie reviewer. Horror films and thrillers to be precise. That could be fun. I’d like doing that. So I wrote a column. Reviewed Flightplan, Red Eye, and Sin City. Sent it off to Mr. Hughes. Decision to be made by end of February.

Have you, dear reader, noticed a pattern yet? Write something. Send it out. Then forget about it. Most places are way behind in their submission readings so don’t start looking for a reply in the next day's mail. I keep track of where I sent stuff and when I sent it but I know it’s going to be a while. I had eight stories in the mail this morning. I wrote two off because it’d been over 300 days. They were foreign markets and reprints. Would’ve like to have sold to them but that’s the way it goes. One is coming up on two years. Normally I would’ve yanked the story a long time ago but the editor had asked for a rewrite of the ending and I’d really like to be part of this anthology. I’ll wait a while longer. Another story is over 200 days. It’s something different from what I normally write and I don’t have another market to send it to so I’ll wait a little longer. The rest are between 40 and 90 days. See, the only thing a a writer can do is write another tale during that time. And another.

Okay. Finished this entry then get back to the new screenplay. Most of day off is now gone. Time. The enemy.
(Picture up top. Van Gogh is cool. His work mesmerizes me.)

Rebel Nation, is now available:

As a political assassination tears
the Confederate States of America apart,
a U.S. reporter and her Southern-born ex-husband
race through the madness
to uncover secrets, betrayals, and murders
that stretch back decades.
Because if you're powerful enough,
even history can be rewritten.

The Alternate-History Thriller by Christopher Stires

“A chilling alternate history suspense novel …
Stires builds a memorable cast of characters that rivals the best of Turtledove.” – Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest
"... a novel heavy in alternate reality and rich in character...
you forget at parts that this is not a history book or based on real events." -- EpicSFF
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"This is an intriguing novel ... fast paced .. a lot going on .... I like the twists both in the plot and in the world." -- The Eternal Night (UK)

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Thursday, February 09, 2006


Up at 4am. On the freeway at 4:45am. Traffic jam after going a half mile. Arrive at work at 5:15am. Clock in at 5:30am. Do the job. Clock out at 2pm. Just another regular day.

Cross the parking lot to the H & R Block office for my appointment.

Yep, tax time. Federal and state. W-2s and other stuff. Tax advisor person. Me. There I was with all my paperwork in neat little piles. I hand it to the advisor as she asks for it. Not fun. Forgot two docs in the car. Out to the parking lot and back. Thinking about all the things I’d rather to doing. Like just about anything.


She looks at one sheet of paper. Punches a couple of buttons. Writes SCREENWRITER in a box.

Slowly a smile creeps onto my face. And stays firmly planted there.

Damn, it’s a good day.

I arrive at the house. Change out of work clothes. Check snail mail and turn on computer to check email. Look at a couple of blogs and writing sites before starting to cook dinner.

A giant cherry is added to my sundae. I may not lose the smile until I fall asleep.

Jason Sizemore is a horror writer. He is the publisher and managing editor of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest. He is also an all-around nice guy. His blog is called
A Writer’s Vanity This is what I read on his blog today:
“Anyone familiar with this blog will know that I have a writer’s Hall of Fame.
Let’s see, the weird Kiwi Bryn Sparks. There’s sister Jennifer Pelland. Funny-man who writes depressing stories, Daliso Chaponda. Romance writer who churns out dark science fiction, Christine Murphy. I’d list Lavie Tidhar and Chris Stires on here, but they’re actively crossing the threshold from ‘unrecognized superstar’ to ‘booming bigshot.’”
Thank you, sir.
Yeah, it's a damn good day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I received the summons in the mail. It was in the same stack as my voter registration confirmation. Coincidence, right? My own fault for wanting to vote. Okay, don't yell at me. I understand it is my civic responsibility to serve as a juror. I understand that. Truly. But the company I work for does not pay for time off for jury duty. I support myself. I can't afford it. I wrote a letter asking to be excused. It was denied.
Now, in about two weeks, I have to go. I guess I have to use the day (or more) I'm there as my days off that week. Surely I'm not expected to use my vacation time for jury duty. Maybe I am.
I've been before. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride though.
Anyway, it'll be a challenge on how to figure out how to schedule that week at work. All scheduled workdays are tentative until I return. Wonderful.
Take my notebooks. Maybe an intriguing story will come out of it. Nah, every possible scenario has already been used by Law and Order.
What was the quote about juries? I think Dave Berry said it. "Would I want to be judged by twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty?"
I'm done whining now. For the moment.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Be back Monday ... probably Tuesday

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Nothing more needs to be said, me matey.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I just read on the Internet Movie Database blog that Deadwood -- Season Two begins reruns on HBO this week and that the DVD will be released at the end of the month Cheers!
I also read that the Season Three debut has been pushed back from March to June. Sob and Whine!
But the writer added that David Milch, while in the midst of filming Season Three, just signed with HBO for a fourth season of the western drama. Cheers again!
I can wait ... I can wait ... I can wait ... no, I can't!
"Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fuckin' beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back." -- Al Swearengen

A virus that destroys computer files such as docs is set to activate this Friday. The countries that are the most vulnerable are India, Peru, Turkey, and Italy. But who knows? Be sure your anti-virus systems are working. Hello, Norton, scan me again. For more information go to the MSNBC news-site:
That means a buncha people are getting the latest edition of the Newsletter from Christopher Stires. If you'd like to receive updates on my writing career, just put your email address in the comments section. Besides my latest short story and novel sales -- you'll find links to purchase my novels, what I'm currently trying to sell, what I'm reading and watching and my opinion of the book or movie, links to some terrific magazine and genre web-sites, and dialogue quotes from movies I've seen during the month. Fun stuff. I hope.
How long will you receive the newsletter if you subscribe? Until you write me and scream, "I can't take it anymore! Stop! In the name of Heaven, please stop!" Obtaining a restraining order has worked well in the past also. But I will ask that you not send over your out-of-work cousin who's into Ultimate Fighting to see me. I can't get the bum off the sofa and he keeps eating all the good stuff in the refrigerator.
I've also come to the realization that I have a masochist side. Why else would I make this offer and be prepared to watch the Comment Counter remain at "0"?
(The warning sign is for both entries.)