Howdy Fellow Riders on the Turnpike of Life. How’s it going today? Smooth trip so far? Watch out for the toll booth ahead. No such thing as a free ride these days. Now, here’s a question for you? Was it the turnpikes and the Interstate Highway System that killed the Burma Shave signs. Remember those little red signs with the white lettering? They said things like “Life is hard/It’s Toil and Trouble/Keep Your Jawline/Free from Stubble/Burma Shave.” And then there was: “Ben/Met Anna/Made a hit/Neglected beard/Ben-Anna split/Burma-Shave.”

These little verses were posted along the highways and byways of America, advertising shaving cream, in case you hadn’t guessed. There may still be some in some rural parts of the country. Burma Shave is still around, softening men’s beards.

Speaking of advertising, I want to put out a little plug for a new anthology that will come out in May from Pill Hill Press. It’s a collection of Steampunk stories called “Conquest Through Determination.” The editors of the collection are Miles Boothe and Deana Roberts. I wrote one of the stories in the anthology, a little tale called “Undead Empire, Gog!” It’s another amazing story featuring Mordecai Slate, Monster Hunter of the Old West. Slate, for those who haven’t read any of the other anthologies he’s been in, is a mysterious man who roams the Old West hunting vampires, werewoves, zombies, or anything else that creeps around in the night.  He charges $1,000 in gold for his services.

This particular tale is something of a departure from the five others that have been published so far. Befitting the steampunk theme of the anthology, this one has a robot, an intrepid British time traveler, and starts out in 1887 but takes off into a strange world of the future, where demons and zombies rule.  It’s action packed and is the most ambitous Slate story I’ve done, outside the novel, “Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto,” which I hope will be published soon.

This anthology features a number of talented writers, including Katherine Simmons, David Landrum, Gustavo Bandoni, A.D. Spence, Miles Boothe, and T.W. Garland. I just got the galleys today and looking over the storiesi n it, I have to say it looks like a great collection. There are going to be two $100 Editors Choice Awards given for the best stories, and the writers themselves can vote for their favorite story, which will earn a $50 prize.  I don’t envy the judges having to make a decision. I know who I think should win, but I’m prejudiced. At any rate, wish me luck.

I’ll sign off for now. Need a shave. Oh, and make sure you got your change ready. The toll booth is just ahead.

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