Monday, March 30, 2015

A CHAT WITH AUTHOR JOEL JENKINS

Today, THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE is chatting with author Joel Jenkins about his new novel Barclay Salvage: Off Season. Why don't we start off with a little bit about the book Joel?

JOEL JENKINS: Aaron Barclay runs a small salvage operation from his ship The Scavenger, but his attempts to make a living salvaging abandoned spaceships and other space debris is complicated by run-ins with interstellar pirates, distress calls from prison asteroids, and an inexplicable bounty which gets placed on the heads of every member of his crew.

Accompanying him on his escapades are his blue-skinned flirtatious and scatter gun toting co-pilot Ursula, a Pagouline security officer with scaled epidermis and four eye stalks, and one very grumpy engineer. A decent paycheck always seems just one more salvage away, but when salvage goes horribly awry the survivors walk away with more money and trouble than they ever wanted or expected.

While previous sections of this novel were published within Startling Adventures Magazine and Pro Se Press’s Six-Guns and Space Ships, those stories and the missing sections are published in sequential order in one volume for the first time. Barclay Salvage: Off Season is the first novel in a three book series. The second: One for the Dark & Shadowed Sky, is already written and currently undergoing editing.

TFCE: Going over your Amazon Author's page reveals some interesting selections. Why do you write what you do?
JOEL: For some strange reason, not long after I learned to read, I became compelled to write stories. I come by this peculiar tendency honestly; my father, grandmother, and aunt are all published authors. As for writing the particular sort of action-based stories (in genres like weird west, fantasy, science fiction, and thriller) that I do, all I can say is that I write the type of stories that I might like to read.

TFCE: And from what, if anything, do you draw creative inspiration from?
JOEL: Just about anything. Off Season is my 20th published book and I have twenty others completely written, partially written, or in the planning stages.

TFCE: Have there been any influences upon your style or technique?
JOEL: Though I wasn’t around for the heyday of pulp magazines during World War 2, at a young age I discovered a number of books reprinting Doc Savage, Conan, Kull, Tarzan and John Carter Warlord of Mars novels. These action-based, highly imaginative stories with vivid word usage have been the underpinnings to my style.

TFCE: What would be your dream project?
JOEL: I’ve been fortunate that all the books I’ve written have been dream projects of some sort. An idea captures my imagination and I’m able to run with it and see where it takes me. I’ve been blessed with a day job that pays the bills and though this gives me less time to put words on paper than a full time writer, I haven’t been required to write anything that doesn’t interest or engage me in order to put food on the table.

TFCE: Every author seems to have an unusual story (or more) about their day job. What's yours?
JOEL: It didn't happen at work, but once I impersonated a ghost. I wrote about the experience as part of the first Weird Worlds of Joel Jenkins anthology of short stories I did for Pulp Work Press.

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
JOEL: Hopefully, I’m still above ground and putting my wild imaginations to paper.

TFCE: Are there any other projects you would like to promote?
JOEL: Yes. Anyone who would like to pick up one of my books FREE in e-book or Kindle format should head over to my website at http://www.joeljenkins.net and sign up for my infrequent newsletter which will keep you apprised of my latest stories and novels.
For a complete listing of books I wrote—from the nonfiction One Foot in My Grave, to the children's book Pirates of Mirror Land to the sword and science fiction Dire Planet series—please check out my Amazon author page at http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AJoel+Jenkins&keywords=Joel+Jenkins&ie=UTF8&qid=1299593707&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B003CM3KIW
And of course, everything's available from Amazon in print or e-book format.

TFCE: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.
JOEL: Anytime.

Images provided by the author.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

SUNDAY FUNNIES: WHEEL... OF... COMEDY! (random jokes)

Hi folks. Waxy Dragon here to introduce a brand new feature to The Sunday Funnies!
Its the Wheel of Comedy!

How does it work?
All I do is give everything a spin and when it stops, at least a theme, if not other suggestions for a possible joke will light up.
Then it's up to me or whoever's hosting to create something funny based on that. Ready?
The Wheel of Comedy!

Wheel of Comedy
Spin, Span, Spun
Light up and let's have some fun!

Hmm... the first suggestions from the wheel are SCHOOL and REPTILES.
I've got it!
What kind of snake is good at math?
An adder.

Okay, let's try again.
We've landed on TRANSPORTATION, PSYCHIATRISTS, and MECHANICAL PROBLEMS.
Hmm... how's this?
I've had so many problems with my car, I think the next time it has issues I'll take it to a psychiatrist instead of a mechanic.

Next. FRUIT, DESERTS, and... DANCING?
Let me think about that for a moment.
Why did the jelly roll?
Because she saw the apple turnover at the jam.

The more you spin, the tougher it gets, but let's try again.
Okay. Only two this time. FISH and LIBRARIES.
I could make plenty of jokes if fish and schools came up, but let's try this.
What did the librarian use for bait when she went fishing?
Bookworms.

Okay. Here's a more difficult one. CLOTHING, OCEAN, and COLORS.
What happens when you drop a green felt hat into the Red Sea?
It gets wet.

Okay. We have time for one more, so let's see what the Wheel of Comedy comes up with now.
STUPID... BABY... DRAGONS...
WHAT?

Hello folks. Autumn the Puppy here, stepping in to finish this post because for some reason, Waxy Dragon has started attacking this giant wheel thing I've never seen before.
I hate coming into a post late.
Anyway, next weekend is our annual Easter holiday special, so have a great week and we'll see you next time for more Sunday Funnies!


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Free firewood is now available.
All you have to do is come down to The Free Choice E-zine offices
and haul away as much as you want.
Just don't mention the phrase "Wheel of Comedy" around Waxy.
We're still trying to calm her down.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: MARCH 22-28, 2015

EARTH HOUR IS TONIGHT FROM 8:30-9:30 IN YOUR LOCAL TIME ZONE.
HAPPY RAMA NAVAMI TO THOSE OF THE HINDU FAITH.
TODAY IS SERFS' EMANCIPATION DAY IN TIBET.
FOR THOSE CELEBRATING, WEDNESDAY IS APRIL FOOLS' DAY.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*Japan plans to establish a seawall system along their coastline in defense against future tsunamis.
*The United States of America has removed all its remaining diplomatic personnel from Yemen as the United Nations grows more concerned about the situation in that country.
*An investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 reveals that the co-pilot deliberately locked the pilot out of the cockpit when the plane went down, killing over 150 people in the French Alps. It has since been discovered that the co-pilot was supposed to be on medical leave instead of flying.
*The International Space Station has received its new crew, including Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko and American astronaut Scott Kelly, the test subjects for a year long study on prolonged habitation in outer space.
*England has given the remains of King Richard III a proper burial.
*John F. Nash, Junior and Louis Nirenberg have won the Abel Prize for their work on partial differential equations.

TERRIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES...
*As voters go to the polls in Nigeria today, gunmen opened fire on a voting place, resulting in 15 known deaths.
*Multiple bombings in Baghdad have killed at least 20 people and injured many more.
*Three passing buses were fired upon without provocation in Afghanistan. No group has yet to claim responsibility for the deed.

PASSING PARADE...
*Lee Kuan Yew, the very first Prime Minister of Singapore, is no longer with us.
*Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has passed away at the age of 83.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*Some Congressional Republicans are saying that if the government experiences another shutdown, it will be President Barack Obama's fault for not accepting their current budget proposal. Said budget includes ending the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obama Care"), gutting Medicare and other social programs, and more tax "incentives" to the upper income brackets.
*Senator Mitch McConnell is allegedly warning all state governors that the Environmental Protection Agency is in the middle of a "power play" as each state has to send documentation showing how they are complying with the Clean Air Act.
*Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. While many question whether or not he is even eligible since he was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother, the candidate is complaining that he was "forced" to accept Obama Care so his family would have health insurance since his wife has taken a leave of absence from her job at Goldman-Sachs to join Cruz on the campaign trail. HOWEVER there is proof that Cruz applied for the insurance coverage willingly.
*Meanwhile, the Presidential hopeful has discovered that the domain name "Ted Cruz (dot) com" is owned by a supporter of the Obama administration, and is currently displaying pro-immigration reform messages.

ELSEWHERE...
*The United States of America has removed all its remaining diplomatic personnel from Yemen as the United Nations grows more concerned about the situation in that country.
*The Kraft and Heinz food companies have announced their plans to merge.
*American astronaut Scott Kelly has boarded the International Space Station as part of a year long study on prolonged habitation in outer space.
*Utah has reinstated the use of firing squads in legal executions where lethal injection is not viable.


For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen or visit any other reputable news source.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: MARCH 28, 2015

FUN FACT
Technically, bananas are considered a berry.

COMMON BONDS
The items within each subset have something in common.
Do you know what it is?

01. {notebook paper, kingdom}
02. {moose, sheep} and we know they are both animals.

TRIVIA TIME
What is the one thing you own that everybody else uses more?

We'll reveal all next weekend.
But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from the March 21, 2015 Puzzle Corner.

NEXT?
Can you say what the missing numbers are in the following sequence?

64, 32, 16, 8, ??, ??, ??

The answer is 4, 2, 1; which fans of college basketball know is the elimination sequence in the Mens and Womens finals called March Madness.

REBUS
A familiar phrase is represented by the image below.
Do you know what it is?





Although given the weather in some parts of the world right now, Spring is seriously late too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SUNDAY FUNNIES: LET YOUR PAWS DO THE WALKING (Interesting World Facts)

Hello Everybody. Autumn the Puppy here.

As you can see in the photo on the left, despite the fact that we are now a couple of days into Spring 2015, it is still quite snowy in my neck of the woods, so I decided to get away from it all for a while the best I could by hopping on the Internet and seeing what I could dig up.

Want to hear some fun facts about this world of ours?

*Including overseas territories, FRANCE covers 12 times zones!
Must be extremely difficult to set a clock over there.

*Because GUAM doesn't have any natural sand available, the island nation makes asphalt by mixing grounded coral with oil.
Coral? I wonder how ruff that is on the paws.

*The FALKLAND ISLANDS has the highest sheep to person ratio in the world! 3000 people to half a million sheep as of 2013.
I bet you insomnia isn't a problem over there.

*CANADA has over 3 MILLION lakes! That equals 60% of the world's lakes.
*SAUDI ARABIA has absolutely no rivers! They are dependent upon underground reservoirs and using desalinization facilities on sea water for their liquid needs.
I wonder if those two countries could work out a trade agreement. Oil for water. Then again, those two elements don't really mix to begin with.

*91% of SURINAME is covered by jungle, with most of its population living along the coastline.
*HAITI has almost no trees in the entire country.
Maybe we can work out a trade between them. Then again, the Dominican Republic is closer, so why didn't anyone think of that sooner.

When you stop and think about it, our planet is really an amazing place and we need to take better care of it.
But this is The Sunday Funnies, not a soap box, so everyone have a great week and please be back here next weekend for more fun.—AtP.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

THE WEEK IN REVIEW: MARCH 15-21, 2015

TODAY IS NAW-RUZ FOR THOSE OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH.
NAMIBIA CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY.
IT'S MOTHER'S DAY IN THE ARABIAN WORLD.
MARCH 18th WAS THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST SPACE WALK EVER, BY COSMONAUT ALEKSEI LEONOV.

AMONGST EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEK...
*CYCLONE PAM IS STILL A CONCERN IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC! Meanwhile, people in areas already affected by the severe storm try to recover and assess the damage done.
*The United Nations warns that Earth's clean water resources may soon only meet 60% of the world's demand.
*The Philippines is seeking legal recourse to get China's claims to South China Sea resources renounced.
*A solar eclipse was visible over much of Europe March 20th.
*The Lancet medical journal's new study claims that babies who are breastfed are likely to have higher IQs, do better in school, and acquire higher earning jobs.

BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UKRAINE...
*Russian President Vladimir Putin, suddenly returning to the public eye after an unexplained absence, has ordered the Russian military on full alert and prepared for "snap drills", citing increased NATO exercises in the region for the reason.
*Meanwhile, given the continued unrest in the Ukraine, the independent country of Poland worries that they might soon have separatist troubles, with "dissidents" wanting their country to rejoin the Soviet Union.

TERRIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITIES...
*Suicide bombings at mosques in Sana'a, Yemen killed more than 130 people. ISIS/ISIL forces have since claimed responsibility for the attacks.
*Armed gunmen killed 21 people in an attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis.
*Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed was convicted on charges of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

PASSING PARADE
*Sculptor Robert Clatworthy is no longer with us.
*Illustrator/Cartoonist Roy Doty (Judy Blume books, the comic strip adaption of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In) has left us.
*Michael Brown of The Left Banke ("Walk Away Renée") has passed away.
*Mike Porcaro of Toto is gone.

WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA...
POLITICALLY...
*The Republican majority Congress has sent their 2015-2016 budget proposal to President Barack Obama. Amongst the "highlights" are doing away completely with The Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obama Care"; defunding Medicare along with other social programs, and offering additional tax incentives to those with high incomes.
*After being nominated 4 months ago, the Senate is still refusing to confirm Loretta Lynch as the new Attorney General. While no previous reason(s) were given, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been quoted by CNN as saying that unless a bill which includes denying victims of human trafficking funding for an abortion if necessary is passed, the Senate will not conduct any confirmation vote.
*Illinois Representative Aaron Schock (R) has resigned his Congressional post instead of facing possible charges of misusing tax payer funds.
ELSEWHERE...
*It has been reported that Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson (R) allegedly has such a huge hatred of organized labor unions, that he would rather see his state's unemployment rate rise instead of "risking" new job providers that might allow unions into Tennessee.
*The Premera Blue Cross health insurance company is just now making public the news that it was a cyber attack victim in May 2014, with over 11 million accounts hacked.
*The annual NCAA College Basketball Championships, also known as March Madness, are well underway.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen or visit any other reputable news source.

THE PUZZLE CORNER: MARCH 21, 2015

FUN FACT
A strawberry is not actually a berry, but is considered a hybrid fruit!

Some seasonal fun this weekend, depending upon the weather in your area.

NEXT?
It's been quite a while since we've played this.
All you have to do is guess the missing members of the sequence.
Ready?

64, 32, 16, 8, ?, ?, ?

REBUS
A familiar phrase is represented by the image below.
Do you know what it is?


We'll reveal all next weekend.
But for now, let's open up THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results of the March 14, 2015 Puzzle Corner.

TRIVIA TIME
What exactly is Pi π ?
As the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, Pi π is technically an irrational number.

THE LETTER SHUFFLE
How many new words can you make out of the letters in the word SHAMROCK?

A, ah, am, arc(s), ark(s), arm(s), as, ash
Cam(s), car(s), cash, char(s), charm(s), chaos, chasm, cram(s), crash, croak(s)
Hack(s), ham(s), harm(s), has
Mach, mack, march, mar(s), marsh, mash, mock(s)
Oak(s), oar(s), oh, or
Rack(s), rah (which is an old cheer word), ram(s), rash, roach, roam(s), rock(s)
Sack, scam, scar, scram, sham, shack, shark, shock, soak, soar

More words than the 70 listed above might be possible.