Some wicked books this way comes

monkey-bookSorry Ray, I couldn’t resist.  Looks like some interesting books are on the way. I have been asked to review Witches and Wizards: The Real-Life Stories Behind the Occult’s Greatest Legends and Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction. Expect to see them listed in my mailbox — soon.

I hope that I have enough earl grey tea for all of these books!

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Barry rant


In my mailbox: The Castle in Cassiopeia


Snacking on a peanut butter and peach jam sandwich while sipping earl grey tea. It’s a quiet night and I am listening to Star Trek on the H&I channel while reading Mike Resnick’s “The Castle in Cassiopeia”.

51jpctosuql-_sx331_bo1204203200_I want to thank the folks at Pyr for the free review copy. The book will be available August 22nd and I’m sure that Resnick fans will eat it up — like a peanut butter and peach jam sandwich.


A crisis has arisen. On their first mission as a team, Pretorius and his Dead Enders kidnapped the real General Michkag and substituted a clone who had been raised and trained in the Democracy. But now they find that the clone likes being the most powerful man in the hundred-world Traanskei Coalititon—and having been raised on Earth, he knows how humans think and react.

This becomes a many-layered problem for Pretorius and what is left of his Dead Enders. As the only humans on a totally militarized alien world, they must first find where the best-guarded member of the enemy’s military – Michkag – is hiding and how many aliens, or regiments, or divisions, are guarding him, and then they must find a way past all his lines of defense to kill or capture him.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Barry rant


Tags: , , ,

Rainy days, Windows 10, cabbages, and kings

SAM_0023It has rained for the last couple of days and I can hear thunder as I write this post. This may not have been the hottest Summer in recent memory but it certainly one of the wettest.

My attempts to immerse myself in a game were destroyed when Windows 10 decided to update. What a pain in the ass. Just as I was about to slay the dragon Jormag’s Claw, I was disconnected. No victory, no treasure, no nothing, thanks Windows.

I waited until Windows had done it’s thing and updated to 16251. Among the new features, you will be able to link your Windows phone. Since I don’t have a Windows phone this update meant nothing to me. Cortana takes on a bigger role with voice control. You can now ask Cortana questions and she will give results without opening Edge. She will also reboot, lock, shutdown, etc. on verbal command. In my case Cortana doesn’t understand me, I think she hates southerners. “Learn to speak English you hillbilly, white trash, swamp rat.”

Aside from the thunderstorms, the house has been unusually quiet since Peppy has passed away. The backyard squirrels have grown bolder and are stealing the cotton from the chair cushions on the back-porch.  One hit me with a pecan yesterday — I swear the little bastard did it one purpose.

I’m counting down the days until Fall.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne
–Sara Coleridge (1802–52)

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Barry rant


Review: Among the Mermaids

6109movm9vl-_sx355_bo1204203200_Among the Mermaids Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea
by Varla Ventura
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Weiser Books
ISBN-10: 1578635454
ISBN-13: 978-1578635450
Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars.

Product description:
From Homer’s Odyssey to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mermaids have fascinated popular culture for centuries.

Among the Mermaids is an enchanting collection of classic stories, facts, and tales of mermaids from around the world that will thrill every lover of this romanticized mythological creature.

Compiled by Book of the Bizarre author and Magical Creature devotee Varla Ventura, Among the Mermaids includes turn of the century tales of merfolk from Bret Harte, T. Crofton Croker, and W.B. Yeats, along with tantalizing trivia, facts, first-hand accounts, and speculations about mermaids in popular culture.

Some facts about the fluid and the fair from the book:

  • Many people believe today that early explorer sightings of mermaids were manatees. (Scurvy + many days away from your lady = a blubbery creature looking supple and bodacious.)
  • Blackbeard, the fierce and terrible pirate, was afraid of his crew being lured into a watery grave by mermaids, so he ordered his ships to avoid certain areas reputed to have a high number of mermaid sightings.
  • Since 2009, the town of Kiryat Yam, Israel has offered a prize of $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the mermaid off their coast is real. The prize remains unclaimed.

My thoughts:
I was lucky enough to win a set of Varla Ventura’s work and I consider myself to be one of the luckiest men in the world. Ventura’s book Among the Mermaids is superb! I loved every minute of it.

As many of you know, I am a guy that looks at the back of the book first. Among the Mermaids has a nice recommended reading, Bibliography section, and other things for the mer-minded. This can come in handy for those who want to do their own mer-research.

The stories are quick and short, the clipart is delightful, and the book is a real pageturner. I went through the entire book pretty quickly only to return to reread some of my favorite parts.

All in all, I give Varla Ventura’s Among the Mermaids 5 stars out of 5 and I believe that it is a must-have for your home library.

Tell me, lady of the lake, do you sit bere in this unconventional fashion with gentlemen callers? The Mermaid of Druid Lake by Charles Weathers Bump


Tags: , ,


Other blogs will give you dog and cat videos, I give you WHALES!

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Barry rant


Spiritual Bandwidth

by Janet Conner

Have you noticed that the next big idea that sends your life into a whole new orbit always drops out of nowhere? You’re not looking for it, not asking for it, not expecting anything, when suddenly, wham, it lands in your heart. And the top of your head pops off like a champagne cork.

I had one of those moments recently.

I had just finished a delightful conversation with Kathleen Deignan on The Soul-Directed Life talking about Thomas Merton, prayer, and finding the natural rhythm of your life. We even sang to one another.

As we were saying goodbye, Kathleen blurte17d, “You are an ecstatic!”

This got my attention because it was the second time ecstasy came calling. The first time, a friend in book group interrupted me as I was describing the intense experience of writing Find Your Soul’s Purpose. She said, “You need more…

View original post 707 more words

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Uncategorized


Warm Summer day

Black bees on the clover-heads drowsily clinging,
Where tall, feathered grasses and buttercups sway,
And all through the fields a white sprinkle of daisies,
Open-eyed at the setting of day
–Abba Gould Woolson (1838–1921)

It isn’t raining so I should mow the lawn, but I really don’t feel like it. I think that I will be lazy today. Maybe a freezer pizza for lunch.


Leave a comment

Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Barry rant


In my mailbox: A Kiss Before Doomsday


Yes, the mailman managed to cram this book into my mailbox. I want to thank the folks at Pyr for this free review copy. A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton will land in your favorite bookstores by the middle of next week. If you don’t have a local bookstore that you support, you can buy it through Amazon —

51u5ol8vpalIt seems as if Dru, proprietor of the Crystal Connection and newly minted sorceress, has only just averted one apocalypse when another comes along. Undead creatures have appeared on the streets of Denver, attacking sorcerers, who are acting even more strangely than usual. Signs point to forbidden necromancy in the hands of someone trying to fulfill the prophecy of the apocalypse scroll.

With the dead rising from the grave, Dru fears someone is picking up where the Harbingers left off half a century ago. Now more than ever, Dru needs half-demon Greyson and his infernal car, Hellbringer. Though Greyson is missing and presumed dead, Dru believes he’s alive—and trapped at the center of this evil.

Dru will need her friends—and her enemies—trusting in Rane’s strength, Opal’s wisdom, and her own crystal magic to infiltrate the mountainous fortress of a powerful sorcerer intent on bringing about doomsday.

Because the moment the prophecy is fulfilled, legions of undead will rise to consume the souls of everyone on earth. . . .

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2017 in book news


Tags: ,

Gifts from Varla Ventura

Hey! They finally got here. I was a little worried because, as you know, my mailman hates me. I want to thank Varla Ventura for the cool prizes and gifts. Check out her blog at . After looking at this thumb-through, you might be interested in buying one or more of her books. I’ll post a few Amazon links…

varla-a040617Varla Ventura, author of Sheroes, The Book of the Bizarre, and Wild Women Talk About Love is a scholar, poet, provocateur and lover of all things odd, unusual, and truly freaky. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, and loves to talk about love. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Barry rant


In my mailbox: Raining Fire


I want to thank the folks at Pyr for the free review copy of “Raining Fire” by Rajan Khanna. The book will be available July 18th.

5198b3rm72l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Ben Gold, former airship pilot has lost everything: his airship, his friends, and Miranda, the woman he loves. All that he has left is a thirst for revenge, a reckless plan to sate it, and some journal entries from Miranda to help ground him in the chaos. As he spirals out of control, he must survive old friends, new enemies, and of course Ferals, the mindless, violent victims of the global pandemic that shattered the world.

Meanwhile, the Cabal, a group of scientists on the floating city of Valhalla, are using the disease as a weapon while the militant Valhallans continue their raiding and destruction across the continent. When raiders from Valhalla massacre a town of innocents, Ben finds a new purpose in doing anything he can to undermine their power.

Ben must reunite with old friends and find new ones if he is to succeed. Can he overcome the forces arrayed against him in time to save himself—and maybe the world?


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: