Windber Coffeehouse Nights: 19 July 2018

Yes, it was another Thursday night at my weekly hangout: A haunted onetime hotel turned spooky (but very fun) coffeehouse. But first, there was time for another of my favorite activities: DINNER!

What used to be Windber’s Coal Heritage Museum (and way before my time, the town’s Post Office) is less than a block from the Grand Midway. It’s been turned into the new location of Bella’s, an utterly unique restaurant ran by two of the nicest people I know (Hi, Carmen and Esteban!).


The interior of this great old building is still decorated by numerous historical photos and displays about the area’s fascinating coal mining history. A sample:


Its one-of-a-kind atmosphere appeals to me–and the food is very good!

This time, I had a delicious (and big) antipasto salad, raspberry tea and chicken tenders. Yum!

Then it was over to the Midway, where I proudly showed off my newest writing contract. A small British publishing house used a story of mine in an anthology of sexy steampunk-style science fiction stories back in 2014 (here’s the cover):

Valves & Vixens

It’s still available in both trade paperback and electronic editions from Amazon. But now the company’s getting into doing audiobooks and they sent me a new contract to reuse my work in that format. This will be the first time one of my works appears that way, with professional voice actors reading my words aloud–and I didn’t even have to resubmit it/they came to me!

Nice surprise, huh? The signed contract will be in the mail to them by the time you read this.

At the Midway, the evening’s first movie (the DVD in its last half-hour upon my arrival) was an odd Roman gladiator and mythic creature mash-up:


A thoroughly funky and ahistorical epic (with Eric Roberts as Emperor Tiberias). Wacky nonsense!

I got a fistful of free Good & Plenty candies as an unofficial dessert, courtesy our host, Blair Murphy. He apparently had an open box and wanted it finished off (no complaints from me!).

A Windber native (who graduated Windber High in the mid-1980s and now lives in San Diego) noticed we were open and poked his curious head inside. He used to walk past the building on the way to school, but had never been inside. I gave him a quick tour of the first floor, including the more-than-lifesize Angel of Death statue in the dining room. His wife stood peering in from the open doorway, too weirded out to enter.

Otherwise, it was a night for regulars. Among others, our favorite EMT and his early-teen son dropped by, eating takeout pizza with his coffee and the son’s soda.

There was much comparing of notes/opinions as to preferred creamers. Almond Joy had its adherents, while others backed the White Chocolate.

Later, the 2017 update/remake Kong: Skull Island blazed across the coffeehouse screens:


King Kong takes out most of a Vietnam-era attack helicopter squadron with Samuel L. Jackson as the crazed/revenge obsessed army leader and John Goodman as the nearly-as-deluded science guy.

Unrelated, but interesting was a brief chat about the wisdom (or not) of using Suberian DNA to bring Woolly Mammoths back (with elephants as surrogate moms).

Finally, as the evening wound down and I switched from hot coffee to caffeine-free ginger ale, with a milk chocolate bar for accompaniment, the last of the night’s movies came crashing onto the scene:


Not my favorite ‘slob comedy’–but not the worst I’ve seen, either.

Thus, a typically off-the-wall Coffeehouse Night at the Grand Midway drew to a close.





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