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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Blackbirds II Takes Flight

The dark anthology that I was invited to take part in has gone live.

Blackbirds Front

Blackbirds Second Flight takes you on a pretty remarkable journey. You’ll find short stories and poetry from a pretty varied group of artists. Why they let me take part, I’ll never understand, but I’m glad they did.
With this anthology, you can enjoy the remarkable work of Stephen Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Ken Lewis, Jean Schara and of course, me!

Here’s a short trailer for BBII:

And now that your appetite is whetted, here’s the link for BBII at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Blackbirds-Second-Flight-Stephen-Bagley/dp/1312919817/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427128595&sr=8-1&keywords=Blackbirds+Second+Fligh

Please, if you don’t mind, leave a review when you’re done reading it. As I’ve said numerous times, authors live and die by reviews. Just remember to keep ’em honest. 😉

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Get Real FORD! I’m Ready to Quit!

If you follow my blog or just happen by from time to time, you know that I try to keep things as book related as possible. But over the past few weeks I’ve got my boxers in a twist and since I have no other place to vent (and this IS my blog), I thought I’d come here and blast my beloved Blue Oval group with both barrels.

Let me start with a little background.  Why am I a fan of Ford? Well, I grew up on a working cattle ranch. We had Dodges and Chevys and quite a few Fords. The Chevys were pretty and rode really smooth, just don’t try to work it. They aren’t made for it (Chevy lovers, feel free to rant, but that was our experience, your mileage may vary). Dodges…at least the older ones, always dragged high center and it seemed that if you could put up with the whine of their starter, they were decent trucks. Ford couldn’t build a power steering pump that didn’t leak, but they simply COULD NOT BE STOPPED. I tried to kill mine so I could get a ‘new’ pickup. Changed the oil once in three years…it refused to die.

Now…on to my rant and the things that really GRIND MY GEARS!

Ford has this tendency to tease us, and then release the teaser due to customer reactions. I’m talking about the concept vehicles that come to market.  For example, remember the Probe? It started life as a concept vehicle…a predicted replacement for the beloved Mustang.
Mustang fans went ballistic! How dare they propose a front wheel drive, low slung, 4 cylinder POS as a replacement for their solid axle, V-8 muscle car?? Ford listened. They still released the Probe, but as a stand alone unit. The Mustang remained unmolested.

Ford_Probe
Seriously. Can you imagine THIS as a replacement for the Mustang? I hope whoever thought that up and suggested it got fired or at least demoted. Floor sweeper sounds like an excellent job for that idiot.

Then we had the T-Bird. Ford released a concept of a modern remake of the two seat luxury sport and the people responded.
01Detroit frdconcept
Where they shot themselves in the foot wasn’t with the retro styling. It’s popularity actually helped with the decision to retro the Mustang, boosting sales into the stratosphere.  No, where they messed up with the T-Bird was in not giving it Corvette stomping ability. A V-8 two seater that barely kept up with V-6 pony cars? No…just…NO. If you’re going to release a two seater, aim it directly at the competition!

Remember when the GT was released as a concept? A modern remake of the classic 60’s GT40?
GT
It came to market in the supercar category. Got a quarter million sitting on your dresser doing nothing? Put your name on the list and if you are lucky (and pad the right palms) you, too, can enjoy this BEAST! But the point is…it went from CONCEPT to STREET in no time.

So, where am I going with this?  I’m so glad you asked. Because this is what has my boxers so twisted, I want to drive to Ford’s world headquarters and swiftly plant a size 14 boot in somebody’s ass.

Ya see, Ford, in their infinite wisdom, has been teasing us with the possibility of a Bronco return. Anybody remember this little beast?
2015-Ford-Bronco-Concept-Exterior-Design-Photos
Promised with a diesel powered hybrid drive train, off road capability that would make a Jeep Wrangler jealous and body on frame TRUE 4X4 construction…all of us Bronco enthusiasts were STOKED at the possibility. I mean, a DIESEL powered retro styled Bronco? Take my money! Please!!
But, we waited.  And we waited. And we waited. Until the dream died completely.

Then we see THIS!! A full size Bronco based off the best selling F-series!
2016-Ford-SVT-Bronco

ZOMG!! Rumors abounded that it would be released as a 15 model. When that didn’t happen, the same photos were regurgitated with a 2016 model release. Then somebody said, “April Fools!” and there was a collective groan from the Bronco enthusiast community that could be heard in China.

Now, we are hearing rumors of a late 2015, early 2016 release of the ‘new’ Ranger. How AWESOME would that be? I’ve had three of the wee beasties and they were sweet running little rides. I found myself getting so excited with the idea. I have twin girls that will soon be driving age and I could just imagine putting them behind the wheel of something like this:
2015-Ford-Ranger
And to top it off, they show these other cool pictures of the off-road versions:
2015-ford-ranger
And OMG!! There’s a RAPTOR version! PLEASE-TAKE MY MONEY!!
2015 Raptor Ranger
OMG! OMG! OMG!
Wait…rather than take anything at face value…let’s do a little research. Google is our friend (actually, I use Bing, but that doesn’t sound as kewl).
Come to find out, the Ranger was never truly killed off. It’s still available in places like AUSTRALIA. With a DIESEL engine?!?! What the…

Take a close look at the pictures. They’re all RIGHT hand drive vehicles. Just like the ever sought after Jeep Wrangler diesel, which is available in any other country except the states…the Ranger still lives and is one of the best selling trucks where offered.
So…what is with the madness? WHY would Ford not make available such an awesome mid size truck here in the US where men measure their collective manliness by how cool their truck looks? Where people demand that they own a truck even if they never USE it as a truck??

Well. It all has to do with TITLES. The Ford Motor Company truly feared that brand loyalists may opt for the better gas mileage and utility of the Ranger and NOT BUY AN F-150. Which could bite into their sales (which is also where Ford makes the most profit) and they might actually lose their claim to the best selling truck line EVER.

REALLY!?!?

Okay.  Let’s FIX this little problem so that the bean counters can still make their claims, just like in the past.  BRING THE RANGER BACK.
Just change it’s name to the F-100 Ranger.

What was that??  Change the…name? Make it an F-series truck??  Yeah.  Problem solved. F-100 Ranger, available with a DIESEL engine. OMG, what a concept.  Not necessarily a NEW concept.  I had an F-100 Ranger that was built in the 60’s!! They looked a lot like this:
69 F100
But these trucks weren’t the FIRST F-100. They’ve been around since the dawn of the F-series.  I believe they started life as an F-1.
F100
Here’s another F-100.

You see, back in the day, the F-100 was a half ton truck. The F-150 was known as a ‘heavy half’…a fill in between the half ton and the 3/4 ton F-250.  And I’m talking about the REAL F-250, not these diesel powered mini-semi tractors that are on the road today.
2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty
You read that right.  I don’t know if FoMoCo plans to release a Raptor version of the HD line or not, but…crimeny.  Why is it always bigger, BIGGER, BIGGEST with these ass clowns?

Ford…hear me now. Listen well because I’m not repeating myself. Stop listening to the urban, beard sporting, flannel wearing wanna-be’s. Listen to your damned consumers! The people who use their trucks the way they were intended to be used. Bigger isn’t always the answer. There are a LOT of us that would love to see the retro style Bronco, or even the full sized Bronco return to the streets. We’d love to see a Ranger like they have in Australia, complete with the DIESEL engine. We WANT these trucks! If you are truly afraid of losing out on F-series sales…MAKE THEM PART OF THE LINEUP!

You can revive the T-Bird (even if it was short lived). You brought back the supercar GT40 in the form of the GT. You revived your relationship with Shelby to bring us KR 500s. You even brought back the Escort for a short time. So now, give the people what they want. Bring back the Bronco and import a LHD Ranger. And for the love of Pete, offer the diesel engine as an option. Please don’t make us look to your competitors to get what we want. I just can’t picture myself behind the wheel of a bowtie. Not on purpose anyway.

End rant.

You may now go back to whatever you were doing. Thank you for letting me vent. And if any of you feel the same way, please feel free to reblog this. Maybe eventually it will work it’s way to somebody with a little common sense at FoMoCo and they’ll actually take seriously what we, the consumers, WANT.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Blackbirds to Take Flight March 30

I was recently approached by another local author and asked if I’d like to take part in their annual anthology. Those of you who have read my works know that I am NOT a short story writer.  (Look at the prologue of Whispers if you want verification of that statement.) But I had a couple of short stories sitting on my hard drive that weren’t currently doing anything. In all honesty, one was the intro for another story that…well, the story fell apart shortly after the intro.  I decided to go back, add an ‘alternate universe’ ending and let it sit in case I ever decided to publish my own book of short stories.  I always wanted one just so I could call it, ‘My Dirty Shorts’. Even thought they aren’t dirty or erotica in nature and no, my underwear are indeed, clean.
The other story was one that I had submitted for a charity anthology. Stephen Bagley looked it over, tweaked it a bit to improve upon it and viola! Another short story to add to the collection.

Blackbirds Front

This is actually the second Blackbirds anthology, as you can tell by the title…and no, I wasn’t part of the first one.  I’m pretty proud to have been asked to join this select group of authors. Although I don’t know them all personally, I can attest to there being some pretty darn good stories in this collection.
Previous versions of BBA were all dead tree versions, but after discussing it, I think Stephen has realized that having a Kindle version (and iBook, and Nook and…you get the picture) is the easiest way to get the anthology in front of more people.  Many people would much rather drop a few bucks for a downloadable e-version than to pay the higher price for a physical copy. And for avid readers, there’s much less clutter by utilizing an e-reader. Plus, by making it available to more readers, the more new fans we can potentially reach. So, the e-version should be coming in short order.

I guess you could consider this another ***SAPS*** Alert. Another Shameless Attempt at Promoting Something. But it very well should be promoted.  This is a nifty collection of stories that I think you’ll all enjoy.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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