Way Out West won the 2017 Darrell Award for best novel at MidSouthCon 35! Which was quite an honor, considering the stiff competition this year. If you haven't read the other nominees, you ought to give them a try.
The Brotherhood of the Wheel, by R.S. Belcher, is the book with everything -- truckers, magic, the Knights Templar, and murder. Too, Mr. Belcher is a cool guy, and I really enjoyed meeting him at the awards.
Also up was Eagle in Exile by Alan Smale. If you enjoy alternate history sagas, you're in luck here. Alan's series explores the Roman expansion into North America, in a world in which the Empire is still going strong in 1218. Fans of Harry Turtledove will love this! Alan and I were a panel or two together, and he's a heck of a guy.
This MidSouthCon was, as always a blast. I didn't get as many pictures as I planned to, due to a busy schedule, but it was great seeing old friends and making new ones.
To everyone who signed up for some free books -- you will get them! I got sick as soon as we got home, and was in bed until last Thursday. So I'm a little behind, but you are not for gotten.
GHOST IN THE BOX
Switching gears for a moment, I'd like to introduce you to my latest DIY ghost gadget. Behold, the the hardware store miracle that is <drumroll please> the Fogbox.
Simply put, the Fogbox is a transparent, lighted enclosure into which an inert gaseous particulate is introduced. The Fogbox is then sealed, to prevent airflow disturbances from outside the container. The small trigger objects inside the container are then monitored.
The 'fog' shown in these images is merely a fraction of what would be used in a real investigation. Firing up the whole fogmaking apparatus also means cleaning it and all that afterward, and my internal Sloth Circuit is still stuck in lazy in the aftermath of my recent cold. But you get the idea.
After I witnessed first-hand the movement of a child's ball and the shaking of a nearby door at the Thomas House, I wondered just how force was applied to the ball and the door. That's how the Fogbox was born. Surround the toys with a thick but visible mist. If an object is moved, maybe the mist surrounding it will also be disturbed somehow. Would a ghostly hand be made visible? Could an area of influence be photographed and identified?
Heck if I know. But it's worth a try.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking -- that's just a WalMart 10 gallon aquarium with LED lightstrips affixed to a plywood lid. Well, you're right, that's just what is is. But the lid was carefully cut, and the seals are airtight, after the addition of rubber gaskets. The gas is introduced through the valve on the right. The valve on the left allows un-gassed air to escape as the tank is filled. Both valves are closed once the fog fills the box. The big box and switch on the top houses the batteries. There's also a DC power connector, though I prefer to run on battery power to eliminate possible electrical interference by the wall plug.
The bottom of the aquarium is mirrored to enhance the 'glow' from the fog.
Total cost? I didn't count everything up, but I figure around 50 bucks for the box, and another 40 for the stage fog machine.
Expect a report and pics from a real site investigation soon!
I spent a couple of hours on the air Friday night, as the guest on TMV Cafe's radio show Pairanormal. Hosts Annie and EW and I had a blast talking about a number of topics, from hauntings to modern conspiracy theory. The show will be up on the Pairanormal Archives soon; you can check for it here.
Finally, a pic of my Tesla radio, because a listener in the Pairanormal chat room asked for it. Here ya go! It's a creey little rig, which works best late at night. There's some scary Children of the Corn radio going on out there, haunting the emptiness with that old time religion...