Friday, December 30, 2011

Writing Space

I'm so pleased to announce that, for Christmas this year, my wife made me a writing office. I'm so excited that I just have to tell everyone about it here on my blog.

This first picture shows the office from the entrance. Of course, the office was made from a bedroom in our house, left vacant by one of our, now grown-up kids. We repainted the walls, put up new curtains. My wife bought me a new desk, chair, and book shelf.

I know the office seems a little sparse right now, but just give me six months and it will be cluttered full of notes like all writer's offices should be. I'm really liking the office so far. Just yesterday, I woke up early and pounded out a couple hundred words before the coffee finished brewing.

The second picture shows the office as seen from the far wall (with the window) looking back toward the door. Barely visible on the right side, is one of my guitars. Now I can pluck away in peace while conjuring up inspiration for a current story.

The only thing is: Now, I'm really feeling the pressure to make some real progress. Speaking of progress, these are some of my goals for 2012.
  1. I would like to get more organized both at home and at work. I think this office will help me do this because I am motivated to keep my writing space looking neat and functional.
  2. I would like to finish a novel I'm working on now, and make substantial progress on at least two other story ideas. One of the things I would like to make progress on (or maybe even finish) is my, forever in progress mystery crime story that I believe will develop into a series. I'm sure at least local folks will like it because it takes place in a town nearby, involves a philandering and powerful man, a vengeful woman, poison, and a friend caught in the middle.
  3. I would like to publish something under my real name again, although I still have to maintain my pen name audience.
There it is. My goals for the new year. I don't like to call them resolutions, as they may change, grow, or even disappear.

What about you? What are your goals for the next year? I know that, oftentimes, writing goals are hard to achieve but, for me anyway, I know that having a dedicated writing space will surely help. I'm so grateful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis The Season

No doubt, the Christmas season is upon us. We may not have snow, or even cold weather, down here in the Deep South, but what we do have more than makes up for those old yule icons of yor.

Those Northerners must be thinking, "how does anyone know its Christmas time in the South if there's no snow, and it's 78 degrees?"

One word: Cars.

Yes, cars! Now we can all be assured Christmas is near when the highways and byways of our bustling little burbs become flooded with cars sporting fake fluffy antlers, and even big red balls, affixed by any means available to door frames and front grills.

Gone are the days where respectable Southerners declare their allegiance to their college of choice (either Alabama or Auburn, doesn't matter which one) through colorful flags, hanging on for dear life with tiny plastic stands wedged into car windows; tiger tails hanging out of trunks.

Maybe, just for this special season, these icons of allegiance are replaced with sway-back antlers. The really smart drivers provide the addition of the big red nose to the front grill for safety. I mean, it IS still deer season you know!

You'd be surprised to know how many times that nose saved the unsuspecting driver from lead poisoning as Hunters sat in tree stands, just a short distance from a major highway, and saw antlers speeding by. Can you blame them for shooting? After all, if they didn't take a shot, at the speed those antlers were traveling, the ... ahem, deer would surely get away. It's that nose that makes 'em stop. That big red nose that surely helps those hunters understand that the deer they are getting ready to barrage with lead, is none other than that most famous reindeer of all - Rudolph! Yep, that big red nose, blocking cooling air from the radiator, is truly the device that must've saved countless lives, although we can't prove it.

But hey, if it makes you feel any better, I hear some Northerners go way beyond any normal, sane decoration, and light their cars up like Christmas trees!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What The Bleep

Hey, don't laugh, maybe they ran out of 'G's. Besides they would not have had enough space to put the letter in there anyway. Just live with it. Shut up and eat your anus wrap.

You know, it couldn't be any worse then when KFC tried to cash in during the 2008 elections by offering the "Hillary" special.

It came in a special blue box and contained two small breasts, two big fat thighs, and a left wing. It sold for $7.25, but if you gave them a ten spot, they'd give you back hope and change! What a bargain.

Okay, I'm not making any kind of political statement here. Just trying to be funny, so put away your knives.

Happy December everyone. I don't know, can we still legally say Christmas?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkey and Pumpkin...Chunkin

I'm posting this early as I don't expect to be anywhere near a computer or keyboard on Thanksgiving day. That would require washing the grease off my fingers, and you know a won't have time for that. After all, I don't wanna be lickin' my fingers, and get the taste of soap in my mouth to spoil all the gastronomic goodness having a party in my belly.

Yeah, that's right. I plan on eating at least some of my Thanksgiving meal with my fingers. I'm not doing it because I'm a slob, or anything. I'm merely trying to give myself, and others, the most authentic Thanksgiving experience possible.

Yes, it's true. Did you know that, for the the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621, the Pilgrims did not have forks? They used knives, spoons, and their hands to gobble up that turkey. And, by the way, turkey was one of the few items they had back then that we still eat today. Back then they had no pumpkin pie, gelatinous cranberry substance from a can, not even butter for the corn. They didn't have these things mainly because they had previously run out of sugar and flour. They also had to learn how to eat strange new foods indigenous to North America. But, fortunately for them, turkey was one of those foods.

Ever wonder how a turkey came to be called turkey? Actually, back in the day, the Natives called the turkey a Peru. Not that South American country but the name of this big wild bird. Most pilgrims were still calling the bird a Guinea Fowl because that's what they had in Europe. In fact, most folks continued to mistake the turkey for the guinea fowl until the bird was finally given a Latin name of Meleagras Gallopa in the 18th century. Most folks in Europe were already calling the bird a turkey since it was originally imported there by the spaniards via Turkey (the country). When faced with calling the bird by its Latin name or simply calling it a turkey, the latter is what stuck for Americans.

I absolutely love eating a big ole' turkey on Thanksgiving, along with sweet potato casserole, my wife's wonderful stuffing, and pumpkin pie.

While I'm on the subject of pumpkins, another new past time I've recently adopted (Okay, so I adopted it last year. But I plan on making it a tradition) is watching the annual punkin chunkin competition. I'd rather watch this than football because it helps me to realize that there are some really smart (or really stupid, depending on how you look at it) rednecks and hillbillies out there.

I think that punkin chunkin is something everyone should see, if only once in their lives. It's like, one of the wonders of the world, like a fine puree of science and stupidity. It truly is the thing to look forward to after a good hearty Thanksgiving meal. Watching it motivates me to get out there and do some math just so I can see how far a pumpkin can possibly be 'chunked.'

Now, if I could just convince the Science Channel or the Discovery Channel to televise our annual Noodlin' and Rattlesnake Rodeo outing, I'd be set. Well, if things don't work out, there's always a chance you'll eventually get to see my antics on the television show "A Thousand Ways to Die."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wandering Aimlessly

When I was young, no more than thirteen or fourteen, I was lost in the Olympic Mountains. My father and I were hunting (probably for Elk) and he'd sent me up and over a ridge line in hopes of driving the animals down the other side of the mountain, where he was driving his truck along the old dirt roads.

Problem was, at that age (I think I've mentioned this before) I actually thought I was Grizzly Adams, and the mountains were my home. Well, I found out quickly that, like Grizzly Adams when he first sought the safety of the wilderness after being accused of a crime he did not commit, I was quite the greenhorn.

I walked up the ridge line thinking I would eventually reach the summit, and then simply walk down the other side until I met up with the road my father was driving on. Like I said, I was a young teenager, and unaware that a ridge line, does not a mountain make. The ridge went on, it seemed, forever, and I just continued to wander aimlessly along its crest. Before long, darkness ended my trek and I was forced to do the only thing I could think of given the situation-stay put.

It wasn't until suffering through the frigidly cold night, too cold and fearful to sleep, that I realized I could just walk back down the ridge line in the opposite direction as the day before. So, at first light, I was on my way. Within a few hours, I made it back to nearly the exact spot my father had dropped me off at, the day before. I started walking down the small dirt roadway, my rifle proudly, if not tiredly, cradled in my arms. It wasn't long before I heard my dad's truck speeding along the dirt road, kicking rocks in all directions.

As I unloaded my rifle and climbed into the truck, I looked at my father, thinking I was in alot of trouble. I saw a look of horror and relief etched across his face like I'd never seen before, or since. I'm sure he was thankful to have me back. We never spoke of the incident again, mainly because, as I matured, I realized he had been drinking when he'd come up with the original idea of me walking alone over a ridge to scare up game.

Yeah, I know that was a long story just to get to a point. I really think that one can run a blog in the same sense that I tried to gain success in hunting-by wandering aimlessly, ranting and throwing whatever one feels like out there.

I've recently read much material and articles about blogging. They all say that a successful blog is one with a specific purpose. Most of you that know me, know that I am a writer. Those that really know me, know that I've recently made some detours in writing within other genres, specifically fantasy, paranormal, and erotica, and run a website under a pen name.

Just what should a blog contain?

Everything I've read says that a blog should be specific, and that the author should concentrate o writing 'articles' on subjects pertaining specifically to their field.  My opinion though, is that a blog can be anything you want it to be. When I get closer to publication of my first mystery novel (which means that I'll have written at least two) I will start posting articles specifically to that end.

Until then, I'll just keep plugging away, writing whatever I feel. I spend enough time writing serious stuff on my other blog. I suppose, for those of you who really wonder what kind of stuff should go into a blog, my answer would be: whatever you want.

For this blog, anyway, one can expect to continue to see a variety of posts about writing in general, funny stories from my childhood, and, of course, some ranting by Daleville Dan, or maybe even me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

I know that I normally post about writing, or try to keep my posts light and whimsical, funny, and satirical on this blog, but today is special.

I want to take this opportunity to thank those who served our country in a way that nobody else can. The majority of those who serve do not come from wealth, they are not paid like senators or congress persons. They do not have the opportunity to give themselves pay raises or extended benefits but must struggle to live on the pay and benefits bestowed on them by those who, in most cases, have not served.

I want, more than anything, for America to understand that our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, have the same beliefs and desires as other Americans. Only, they must remain silent and vigilant, in order to preserve the right of others to voice their opinions. A young man or woman deciding to serve should not be seen as some lack of humanity in their souls. On the contrary, they who serve have a deeper soul then most; and it must be deep because they must forever harbor and suppress those things they see and do that others were unwilling to commit to.

So during this Veteran's day, I am thankful each time a stranger shakes a veteran's hand on the street and thanks them for their service. I know this one small kind gesture can make all the difference in the heart on one serving, always prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for that stranger on the street. And some continue to sacrifice even after their death  when so-called 'religious' groups protest while their families merely attempt to bury their loved ones with honor.

A heartfelt thank you is wonderful, but I would ask that Americans take it one step further. Thank a veteran after Veteran's day. Listen to them, Let go your preconceived notions of what a soldier is and reach out to them, give them opportunity, give them jobs upon their return so that they may preserve their dignity. I say this because the unemployment rate of veterans is twice that of the nation. This simply should not be, and it expresses beyond words, how the majority of Americans (in the position to give jobs) really feel about those willing to give so much to others.

Please Americans, try to understand that those who served, and especially those returning from recent action, should not be looked upon as some kind of emotionless monster. Our soldiers today are not merely machines, they are sentient soldiers with feelings, thoughts, desires, like everyone else. The only difference is that soldier must put aside their personal beliefs and feelings in order to preserve the right of others to freely express that which they themselves cannot.

I know this because I am also a veteran. I served for twenty-two years in military service. I might add that my family also served. They were right along side me every step of the way. They remain with me, even today, as I continue to make adjustments to civilian life, with its freedoms and responsibilities.

My own son currently serves, and I could not be more proud of him, for I know that through his daily duties, he continues to provide me and other civilians with a measure of freedom and stability not found anywhere else on this Earth. I know because I've been to many other countries, and found, despite outside appearances, that they simply do not have what we have here. My son's girlfriend also serves, and my thoughts are with her as she is overseas. My thoughts are with her family as I know what they must feel having a soldier serving for their good. I know the strange mix of pride, gratitude, and fear they feel.

We all must remember, today and everyday, that a person who served, or is serving their country, is not some mindless machine. they are people like you and I. It may seem to some that they have no thoughts, feelings, or desires, but one must remember that they are trained, and willingly accept that training, in order to do things many others are simply unwilling do do.

So, as you walk about today, viewing parades and shaking the hand of those that serve, try to remember that they are the true saviours of your freedoms; not some politician. For, unlike those in the service of making laws they themselves are not accountable to, a soldier is one willing to serve, and yes, even die, in support of those laws without the benefit of many of the freedoms provided to the American citizen.

In other words, make sure that handshake means something beyond pressing flesh. Take the time to think about the freedoms you have and then go back and truly thank a veteran for those freedoms, for they are more like you than those that legally provide you those freedoms.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Becoming a Writer

How does one become a writer? There are a multitude of books on the subject out there, and I've read many of them. I've read books on manuscript formatting, character development, plot, dialogue, marketing, and just about everything else related to writing and selling one's literary work.

But, many will tell you that the best advice is often the simplest.

And the best advice I've heard in some time is, once again, found in a one dollar book from the good ole' dollar tree store.

This book simply says, "If you want to be a writer, you must write."

I've heard that advice more times than I care to remember, but this book, Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon goes a step further in giving options for getting the butt onto the chair and hashing out the words. The advice given in this book goes into the psychological aspects of making yourself get it done.

It figures though, since the author is a licensed psycho-therapist. So, if you have the chance, check out your local dollar tree store and find this book for a buck. Oh, and bonus! It also comes with a DVD in the back so if you don't feel like actually reading the book, you can watch Bill talk about the principles and tools in this book as if you were sitting in the front row of one of his seminars.

Another great find. Now, I gotta get back to writing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Never Trust a Writer

I just attended a local writer’s group meeting last night, so I’m filled up with ideas and motivation. Of course, I’ll run out of that by tomorrow evening.

For those of you who write, you know how hard it really is. After all, it takes a certain amount of talent to create a lie, then convince others it is the truth, at least until the end of the story.

Writers often draw upon what they see, feel, smell, or experience in the real world in order to make the world in their mind more believable.

I write about Werewolves, Demons, Elves, and Faeries under a pen name, but I want all of my stories to be as believable I possible. My beloved character, Kat McKendry (my mystery crime series yet to be written) just lost her job as a model. In the real world, she wouldn't be caught dead out in the wilderness, picking a lock and breaking into a cabin in the middle of the night. It is my job as a writer to give her the tools to accomplish the task, no matter how far-fetched it seems at first. My shape shifting Werewolves can be made believable if I give them real jobs, real personalities, and real desires.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen someone in a mall, or known someone that spawned an entirely new character. I mean, even now, as I sit here plugging this article out during my lunch hour, a co-worker sits within earshot, slurping soda out of a can and sucking food particles off his teeth. Will I eventually become annoyed and say something? Of course not. Instead, I will sit quietly, listening to every disgusting noise he creates, with various parts of his body. I will watch his gestures and facial expressions. I will patiently wait in wonder, and catalog every disgusting thing he does.

See there? He just repositioned himself ever so slightly in his seat and let out a fart. It wasn’t the kind of expulsion one might hear as ships pass, dangerously close to the shore on some foggy night. No this was meant to be concealed. It was a squeaker, and I’m sure he thought no one else heard it.

Will this end up in one of my stories sometime? Probably, but not in its whole. My mind will mix these things up, along with everything else I've experienced over the last few weeks, like a blender on frappe, and the actions will suddenly pop into some new character’s profile as one of their quirks.

So, you see. You simply cannot trust a writer, for everything that you do—good, bad, endearing, or disgusting—will probably end up in a story somewhere. And, the writer will not attempt to explain why a character does such things, for it is not the writer’s position to explain why. No, the writer leaves only enough clues for the reader to come to their own conclusions.

This is best explained in a wonderful quote I found:

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it”—Hannah Arendt.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallo's Saint's Day Eve

Happy Halloween everyone.

That being said, ever wonder why we wish others a 'happy' Halloween? Halloween, although nothing like we see today originated along with ancient religions and belief systems. Pagans celebrated Halloween as a day where the dead walked among the living.

The concept of wearing scary costumes came from a need to scare away evil spirits, not other trick or treaters.

I find it amazing that Halloween did not become the fun-filled night of debaucherous deities until Americans got hold of it, and twisted age-old traditions into a party.

Well ... that's not entirely true. The act of giving candy actually came out of attempts to end the Halloween event by the Catholic Church. Yes folks, All Saints day was an invention by the church to pull those nasty pagans away from their October 31st ritual. It is no surprise that All Saints day is on November first.

The original act of giving was for those living to give gifts to their dead ancestors.

I could go on forever on this, and other holidays but instead I'll leave those wanting more to this site:

Halloween on the History Channel

For those that don't wrapped around the axle on all the secret history surrounding everything like I do, have a great Halloween, and remember to honor all those saints tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Teary-Eyed Goodbye

Yes folks, it is with much regret that I inform you that I've left the last bastion of my childish ways behind. What does this mean, you ask?

No, I'm not quitting my blog. That's one bastion of childishness I'll never leave behind. I mean, come on, a man has to have some form of childish release, right?

Sadly, I've given up my gas-guzzling, overpowered, statement of male over-compensation truck, for a more sensible vehicle.

Some of you might remember way back when I posted about my truck (okay, I just looked, and never posted about it here). It was a beautiful beast, with over five hundred horsepower viper motor, twenty-two inch aluminum alloy rims wrapped in big fat pirelli scorpion rubber, and a wing in the back to hold the back end down at high speeds.

I've now moved on to the more sensible, if not as fast, Chevrolet Impala. I bought the 2005 base model. I must say, the ride is luxurious and I've gone from less that fourteen miles per gallon using premium to over twenty mile per gallon using regular. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to fill the entire gas tank without the pump shutting off. Yeah, it used to take me two tries to fill my truck because the pump would cut off at seventy-five dollars.

So, I don't feel like I've gone backwards in my choice of transportation. I've just moved on to something different. I've had some very different vehicles in my lifetime.

Here's a list of some of them (in no particular order.)

1964 Volkswagen Beetle, I also own another I made into a Baja Bug.

1960 Chevy Corvair. A great car despite Ralph Nader's opinion.

1973 Subaru GL. I couldn't kill this car ... and believe me, I tried.

1970 Chevy El Camino. Mine did NOT look as good as the picture above, but I loved that car.

1965 Buick Skylark. The first car I ever owned. Paid $400 for it. Have many special memories of that car.

I've got a thing for Volkwagens and the flat four engine in particular. And, no, I did not paint a peace sign on it.

Traded my 1970 El Camino for this Ford E200 Econoline van. One of the stupidest things I ever did.

Of course, I've also owned a 1985 Ford F100 truck with no air conditioning. At least it had an automatic transmission. I've also owned a little GMC Sonoma pickup truck. It was great except that it would get stuck on nearly level ground if you threw in the slightest amount of sand.

Can't think of what else I might have owned at one time or another. Oh yeah. I do remember driving an old chevy sprint (later to become the Geo Metro) that had three cylinders and no air conditioning. That car will make an appearance in my first mystery crime novel (whenever it gets finished.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ants and Birds

I know most of you must be thinking to yourself, "what the heck was that title all about?" But, I assure you, I"m going somewhere with this.

My son recently returned from overseas and spent some time at home before going to his new duty assignment. Of course, no trip home would be complete without buying some new clothes. My son picked out a new shirt in about five minutes, and was done. I looked, halfheartedly, then declared I didn't see anything I liked. My wife loaded up on numerous 'potential' outfits, and went to the dressing room to try them on.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I've had to return clothes before because I did not try them on, but somehow, I still never learn.

Anyway, while waiting, my son breaks out his new Apple phone and hands it to me. On his phone was a simple little video game called "Angry Birds." It looked rather stupid but I thought I would give it a try as I had some time to kill. Withing five minutes, I was addicted, and did not want to give him his phone back. Who would have thought that such a simple game could be so fun.

I later realized that this game is such a phenomenon that one can find little stuffed angry birds in the store. Much to my surprise, their will soon be a movie out featuring all the characters in the angry birds game. I wonder if those little pigs wearing the combat helmets will be in the movie too.

Well, next thing you know, my son gave my his old ipod touch when he left. I asked him what the thing was all about and he told me the ipod touch was like the iPhone without the phone. The explanation did little for me since I don't even own a smart phone. I was led to believe that my phone was 'smart' when I bought it, but that was before this new generation of smart phone was invented. Now, the company I use was quick to tell me that my phone is a multimedia phone, NOT a smart phone.

It took me about three weeks to figure out the ipod touch thing. I now realize what an 'app' is, and have joined the millions of other Americans searching for the perfect app (usually a game.) I have not yet summoned the courage to actually pay for an app but I did download a cute little game called "Ant Smasher" for my ipod touch. The concept of the game is simple: squish ants, and other bugs, before they can reach the picnic goodies pictured at the bottom of the screen. Of course one must be careful not to squish the bee, lest they get stung. The game is highly addictive.

I'm sure that, today alone, I lost at least two good hours of writing time playing silly games on my Son's old ipod touch. I surely spent enough time that I had to charge the thing twice. But it was fun.

So, I say that these smart devices and their apps can be a great way to pass the time when one is, say, waiting at the dentist's office, but human nature simply precludes actually using the things to actually increase productivity. I think that, in order to do that, one might need to find an app that limits the amount of time one can spend using apps on smart phones.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy This

It is not often I feel so strongly about something that I am willing to stick my neck out there. Especially, when I live in an area so highly populated with others having an ax to grind.

For nearly the last month, we've all watched the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests on the news, on twitter, and all the social networking sites. Many people have taken sides on the issue, and it appears, battle lines are being drawn.

New Occupy (insert location here) protests have since sprung up in many major cities throughout our great United States.

But, what is this movement (or revolution, as some see it) all about?

The motto that those within this movement chose to adopt is: We are the 99%. What, exactly do these protesters mean by this? Basically, the top 1% of our nation's population accounts for 22.8% of earned income wages for the entire nation. The other 99% account for the other 78% of wages earned.

This is where I begin to rant.

First off, this top 1% are those citizens with more than $410,000.00 of annual income shown on their taxes. Here's the kicker. This 1% accounts for more than 40% of all income taxes paid. Nearly 50% of our country's citizens pay no taxes.

That's right, this top 1%, or those folks we like to call rich people, provide nearly half the revenues to our government in annual income taxes.

The next issue I have with this movement is that they do not seem to have any solid reasoning for demonstrating outside of wanting further wealth redistribution. In other words, the bulk of their demands include having their student loans paid, and extending social programs without expectation of employment.

I've seen countless websites comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement with the Tea Party movement. This implies that this movement has some political basis. While I do wish the Tea Party movement would apply more to all political parties, it remains a generally conservative movement, which limits its affect to Republicans.

Those participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement seem to want increased social programs and government intervention that might take from those dirty rich folks and provide better for the poor. Now, let me ask you one question. If our government increases taxes on the rich to the point they are no longer rich, who will provide the government with 40% of their revenues? Will it be the middle class, who currently make up the bulk of the remaining 60% of revenue? Soon they will have nothing left to give, and our government will no longer have the means to provide for the nearly 50% of our population currently not paying taxes.

It seems so simple, but there are so many that have succumbed to this society of entitlement we've created for ourselves.

One of the things those in the Occupy Wall Street movement have right, is their anger at Wall Street, or rather, some of the corrupt CEO's and other business leaders that used taxpayer money for their retirement pensions and lavish vacations, while their businesses crumbled around them.

Many of those within the movement argue that none of those business leaders find themselves in jail, while protesters are being hauled off to the hoos cow by the hundreds. To that I must unfortunately say, those CEO's did not break the law. What they've done may be immoral, but it was not illegal.

These business people simply took the money given to them by the United States Government, and used it as they saw fit. The Government gave no mandate with the billions they gave away. That, my friends, is exactly why Government should not venture into the business of saving businesses. Government is Government: Business is Business. The two have always been, and will always be, like oil and water.

These businesses did exactly the same thing that most Americans did. Remember that stimulus given to Joe taxpayer recently? I might ask, how many of you that received this money used this money to boost our economy? How many of you, instead, used it to pay bills, or saved it because of future uncertainty?

How many of you gave that money back to the Government? I didn't think so. Yet these are the same people that now occupy the streets of our cities with the strong mandate that our Government should give them more.

America was founded on principles of religious and economic freedom. Our forefathers gave their blood - their lives to free our colonists from Government oppression. Now, those marching in the streets are asking for it, oppression, I mean. Of course, you must understand that I see many of our social programs such as welfare, as a form of oppression.

The reasoning? Shortly after a person finds themself in need of one of these programs, they often realize that it has become economically unwise to actually find work for fear of suddenly losing all the benefits they are currently receiving. One of the many flaws of these programs is that it is a kind of all or nothing system. If a person finds work, their benefits are suddenly cut, and they are forced to either remain under-employed, or simply quit and go back on subsistence.

This is not a problem brought on by the current administration, or something caused by the last administration. All political parties share equally in this blunder. Just like all parties share equally in our immigration problem. But that's another story.

Yes, we live in a capitalistic society. Businesses do everything they can to increase profits, while government regulates just how far they can go in pursuit of those profits. That's the way it works. That rich guy in your town is not some evildoer. That rich person is someone who is likely paying more than their fair share of taxes (read your taxes) providing you with a job, and supporting our government.

Let me leave with this. Many say that the Occupy Wall Street movement is grass roots, with no leader. In fact, this movement was propagated by a Canadian organization that is anti-capitalism and publishes a magazine called Adbusters. Think about that. This entire movement was spawned from a foreign country with a desire to reduce capitalism and increase socialism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Change of Venue

My posts have been rather sketchy lately. Some of you may even be wondering, "What the heck is going on with this guy?"

Truth is, I've had a slew of changes this year. Changes in health, relationships, work, and my own writing desires. Most of you know that I've written under a pen name for nearly the last year. Some of you may have been missing some of my other quirky writings in the areas of speculative fiction, crime and mystery, and even silly satire.

Although I will continue to write under my pen name, and one will still be able to find stories of paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, and even some romantic suspense under that name, I will begin to limit the amount of pure erotica written. It is not some sudden moral enlightenment or religious realization that prompts this action; rather, it is simply a matter of time.

Time is the most precious of all commodities. I know I speak of time as a commodity, but that is simply a metaphor. Time cannot be bought, sold, or otherwise, controlled. Time is a free thing given to everyone. Of course, we must realize that time is not distributed equally to everyone.

I struggle constantly with the concept of time ... or lack thereof. I think this stems back to my youth, when time held no consequence for me. There was a time when time had no power over me. I honestly never thought I would ever be in the position to accumulate the benefit of having lived over a great period of time. I now realize that I must utilize the time I have to the best of my abilities.

Much has happened this year. I've learned how to write short sexy stories and sold some books, but I've neglected my longer works as I succumbed to the addiction of instant gratification through online book sales. I've trudged through increasing health and relationship issues that come with time, and even found myself the victim of an online stalker. Now, it is time to write what I enjoy--a good story.

Some of the old timers here may remember when I would occasionally post stories ideas or excerpts. This will return as I rekindle my mystery/crime story involving my beloved main character, Kat McKendry. Yes folks, Kat needs to get her story told, and solve some crimes in and around her small town in the Southeast.

Stay tuned ... more to come.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Law

Ladies and gentleman, I can now officially say I live in a state known for something other than religious fanaticism, racism, an unnatural love for college football (even though they lack a professional football team) and, of course, being the birthplace of the civil rights movement. Yes folks, I live in Alabama, the state now known as having the toughest immigration law in the nation.

Now, I'm not one to take up sides or stir up controversy ... Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to take up sides and stir up controversy, that's what I do best! Although I will try to dilligently cover both sides of the story in my pontification.

Notice the key word "Illegal" denoting not racial profiling but law abiding.

First off, let me just come right out and say that I am in complete agreement with these new requirements the state put on illegal immigrants. Let me repeat that last part where I wrote illegal immigrants. That being said, if you're still here reading this, I would like to add that I'm not so sure I agree with the sudden implementation of the law.

There are many folks in the political arena nowadays trying desperately to demonize the effort of individual states to protect their assets and economy by restricting benefits to those legal citizens living within their borders. We, as a nation, should have been thinking about this a long time ago. Fear mongers will have us all believe that these immigration laws are just gateways to harsher actions like pulling families apart, taking children from their parents, racial profiling, and discrimination. But we must remember one very important thing, the law confines these restrictions only upon illegal immigrants. Those are immigrants to the United States that are not citizens, and do not pay taxes.

Sure, until now, these illegal immigrants were still entitled to benefits paid for through the taxes of our countries legal citizens. I for one, am having a tough enough time just getting by without having to pay for services I cannot qualify for. I understand completely, the economic and political reasons people try so hard to get into the United States-legal or not-but I also believe we have many people here now that should be helped before someone who's already demonstrated a lack of respect for our laws.

Educators and school administrators are concerned that public school attendance will drop drastically by this new law. They are concerned that they will be made to become immigration law enforcers. To that I say, not really. The children of legal citizens within most states have always been required to provide records of birth and immunization in order to register their children for public school. Sounds good to me. Isn't it natural for parents to want to be assured that their children will not be unduly exposed to diseases from others while attending school? Well guess what, this new law finally, and for the first time, requires that same information from children of illegal immigrants as well. Yes Virginia, this is a first. In the past, these children were allowed to be enrolled in, and attend public school without providing this information. By the way, children of US citizens stood the chance of not being allowed to stay in school if they could not provide this information. So, educators are not going to become the next group of INS enforcers, they simply don't have the time for that. They are simply being asked to verify the same information for all children, not just some.

Although I agree with the context of the law, I am saddened at the way it has been implemented. I feel that forcing immediate compliance in this law will put an economic burden on much of Alabama. Many farmers currently rely on seasonal workers in order to harvest crops. A small percentage of Alabama's economy relies on its many poultry processing plants (a dirty little secret) and these industries will likely suffer as prospective employees move on to other states with less stringent immigration policies.

But let's think about how we got here, and how we can move on. Truth is, we brought this upon ourselves. I was a business major, have an MBA and know just a little (very little) about business and economics. I do know about supply and demand, and profit margins. You see, as our economy slowed (many years ago) the government found ways to provide for those in need. We expounded upon the original unemployment and welfare programs (originally formed during the great depression) making them "better" to the point that the programs could sustain those in need and, in some cases, even surpass what they could expect to earn doing seasonal, unskilled, or otherwise, non permanent work.

Many agricultural businesses operating under a very thin margin could simply not afford to pay these new wages. In other words, they could not compete with our welfare system. Well, one truth in business is that, where there is a demand, there will eventually be a supply to fulfill that demand. This is where illegal immigrants come into the picture. As people holding no citizenship and working under the table, the business could benefit form their work and not have to pay for all the things that citizens are entitled to. Now that illegal immigrants are fleeing the state en masse, where can businesses, historically working within very small margins, find employees willing to work for such small wages? Unfortunately, we've created a nation of entitlement, and those currently reaping the benefits of our social programs are unwilling to fill this void.

Here's a novel idea. Why not offer those that have been on unemployment, or welfare, to fill these positions? Why not provide work for the unemployed, even if it is only seasonal. They could have the option to go right back on unemployment when the season is over. And even better than this, why not threaten to cut unemployment and/or welfare benefits for those refusing to take such a job?

See there? Problem solved

Now, we must also find ways to streamline our immigration process.

Okay, I must apologize for such a long rant but I'm a simple man, and sometimes I find it difficult to understand why we, as Americans, cannot embrace simple solutions.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daleville Dan’s Dental Dalliance

Daleville Dan sat in his favorite chair, eating popped corn

When he heard something crack and became quite forlorn.
A week or two later, in complete despair,
he found himself sitting in a dental chair.
And this is what happened …

Daleville Dan sat and made himself as comfortable as he could, under the circumstances, in the dental chair. Soon the dentist stepped into the small office and proceeded to check his cracked tooth.
“Yep, you cracked it good,” the dentist said. “Let me give you a shot of Novocain so I can pull those pieces out and make you a fake tooth.”
“Hell no,” Daleville Dan cried. “I hate needles.”
“Okay, the dentist replied. “How about we give you some gas then?”
“Oh no,” Dan pleaded. “I can’t have gas either. It makes me sick and out of sorts for days.”
At that last statement, the dentist stood back, rubbing his chin, and looking perplexed. Suddenly, his eyes widened, and he smiled before leaving the room. A few moments later, the dentist returned with a glass of water in one hand and a blue pill in the other.
“Here. Take this pill,” the dentist said, shoving the glass of water and pill into Dan’s hands.
“What is this?” Dan asked.
“It’s Viagra,” the dentist said, his voice flat and hushed.
“Does Viagra work for pain?” Dan asked.
“No,” the dentist replied. “But it’ll give you something to hold on to while I file away your tooth.”
Just thought I would post this little story in celebration of my recent visit to the dentist’s office. You see, a month or so ago, I cracked my tooth while eating popcorn, and had to have a crown put in its place. This is the second tooth I’ve broken in so many years, while eating popcorn. What’s up with that?
I just know if I keep this up, I’m going to someday have my entire mouth full of fake porcelain caps. Maybe when I die, I can will them to my Grandchildren. I don’t think they’ll be worth much, but aren’t teeth a great way to remember someone?

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm Baaackk!

Yes, I'm back. I know I was at large for some time, but I was certain the zombie apocalypse was going to take place at the end of July. It's taken me this long to swallow my pride, return my shopping cart, and squeeze my trembling hand around a pen again. (Okay, so maybe it was more like, placing my fingers gingerly on the keyboard)

The summer went well, but too quickly, and now I fear Fall is firmly upon us. My son completed his tour overseas, and is likely arriving at his new duty assignment today. He's going to be stationed at El Paso, Texas. Good thing we've been watching lots of Dora the Explorer to brush up on our Spanish. I use to know a few more words, but I'm sure I would be of no help to my son, if the only Spanish I was able to teach him involved buying beer or starting a fight.

My daughter is back in college, and continuing on her path to become a psychologist/counselor. I can't imagine what prompted her to go into that particular line of work - our family being so perfectly adjusted and all. Our Grandson is getting bigger every day. I swear he's going to be a football player. Granddaughter is now entering into what I call, the monkey stage of development. Yeah, it falls between the anal stage and the latency stage. It's the time when she learns to move at lightning speed, and climb vertical surfaces to reach items that are either dangerous or breakable. Believe me, that little girl can climb!

I've taken a short hiatus from the real world, as I sank into my alter ego, writing erotic stories, and preparing some work for an anthology. Look for the story to appear soon. So, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not completely dead yet. It was only a flesh-wound, and I'm back again to write about my little world, and all the hilarious things that happen in the big world around us all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Shopping Carts and The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

I know what your thinking. "What do shopping carts (or buggies, if your from the South) have to do with the coming Zombie apocalypse?" Others might be thinking, "What Zombie apocalypse?" My answer to this is: "What? have you been living under a rock? Come on, we all know it's on the way."

Okay. Enough of that. I don't want you to think I'm crazy. But, when the Zombie apocalypse does arrive, you'll realize I'm crazy like a fox because I'll be prepared with this valuable shopping cart survival knowledge.

First, a little history ...

The shopping cart had a very humble beginning way back in 1937. when Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, was thinking of ways to get his customers to buy more groceries. He had an epiphany while looking at a folding wooden chair and, shazam, the first shopping cart was invented.

The shopping cart did not catch on right away. Women did not like it because it reminded them of a baby carriage. Men simply would not use it because it made them feel, "effeminate." It wasn't until the mid-1940's that the shopping cart caught on. And, by the mid-1950's people were already stealing them and finding ways to strap their children inside of them while they shopped.

It did not take long for the shopping cart to become part of Americana with pictures of mothers pushing their child around in a grocery store, seemingly going about their wifely duties with zealous joy. Remember, this was before the women's rights movement. Nowadays, the man pushes the cart while his wife simply walks alongside, removing his testicles from her purse and waving them in front of him once in awhile to keep him moving. Many European countries thwarted shopping cart theft by making people pay for temporary use. I remember paying for the use of a shopping cart at the local Herties store while living in Germany. The cart rental was one deutchmark, the cart was smaller than its American counterpart, and all four wheels swiveled, making it difficult to maneuver around the store, or play shopping cart demolition derby in the parking lot. (Not that I ever did anything like that. Sorry about your bicycle, John.)


I feel sorry for Europeans because, when the Zombie apocalypse comes, they'll all be at a disadvantage with their puny free-wheeling carts. Especially if those desiring the use of a cart must leave a deposit. I mean, who's gonna have loose change rattling around in their pocket during the Zombie apocalypse?

That's where we Americans are going to have the advantage. Our shopping carts are huge and, even though most have an engineered weight limit of one hundred-fifty pounds, I've seen carts withstand much more then that at my local Wal-Mart store. And then there's the motorized shopping carts. You just know those things can withstand some serious weight. I've seen people riding around on those, I swear were exceeding the structural limitations of the two-foot thick cement floor.

Survival Usage

Again, I know what your thinking. I'm tellin' ya'. I'm like a freakin' fortune teller! but seriously, You're probably wondering how, exactly, the common shopping cart is going to ensure your survival during the Zombie apocalypse.

I believe the shopping cart will be indispensable during the coming invasion. First and foremost, when Zombies have invaded your home, and you are forced to flee into urbania to live on the streets, the shopping cart can  carry most of your worldly belongings.

Tired of pushing that cart all over town, while doing your best to stay just a step ahead of the Zombie horde? (Yeah, it's a good thing Zombies don't move real fast, at least the one's in the movies.)

With just a few simple modifications, your cart can become a fast means of transportation. How fast you say? As fast as you can peddle. Be cautioned, this invention still has a few bugs, namely turning or steering of any kind.

With a simple search on the Internet and a few items taken from, the now abandoned, hardware store, your shopping cart can also become a means of shelter and warmth. The picture on the right shows just how easy it is to turn your shopping cart into a luxury abode, able to house all your belongings; and maybe a family of four, as long as you huddle inside real tight. Just remember, Zombies are stupid, and if you hide inside your enclosed shopping cart for the night, they probably will not know you are there. Don't hold me to that last statement as it has not been thoroughly tested using real Zombies at this time.

And that's not all. Can't find a cooking grid to cook your survival food? Just tip your shopping cart over and, viola, you have a grill. Caution: Picture shows shopping cart cooking use, pre-Zombie apocalypse. Do not cook meat in the open after the Zombie apocalypse because everyone knows that raw meat, and especially the smell of cooking brains, attracts Zombies.

What's the point?

What's the point of this post, you might ask? Well, first and foremost, I hope you decide, through this post, to get your shopping cart now. They are readily available and easy to throw into the back of your truck. Don't have a truck? That's okay. The sturdy metal or plastic shopping cart is easily tied to a car, or even a bicycle, for transport back to your Zombie-proof lair.

Oh, and one more thing. All the aforementioned advice is for those fortunate enough to live in an urban area during the coming Zombie apocalypse. Mostly, because shopping carts don't roll too good on the dirt. Those of us unfortunate enough to live in suburbia, or even the country, will have to rely on our stockpile of guns, four-wheel trucks, and our seemingly endless supply of canned boiled peanuts.

Good luck urbanites. I hope you're prepared. I know I am.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Author Interview: L.K. Watts

Today I would like to highlight a new author on the scene. Laura Watts is the author of the wonderful book: Confessions of a Backpacker: My Adventure Down Under. Laura wrote a kind of travelling memoir of her time living and working in Australia. It's a good read, funny, poignant, and even heart wrenching at times. Here's a few questions Laura answered so we can all get to know her a little better:

1. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
When my travelling days were over and I decided I wanted to write a book about my experiences. It was only as I began to write that I realised how much I actually enjoyed the process, and decided to write other books.
2. Is this the only job you’ve had?
I wish it was! I’ve done quite a few things from working in a psychiatric ward to working in pubs. My favourite job other than this has been working in a library.
3. Have other work experiences made you more determined to follow a writing career?
Definitely. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as working for yourself. You’re the one in control; you don’t have to answer to anyone else. That’s the best bit.
4. What genre do you write?

At the moment I am currently writing a memoir about my days travelling Canada. My first book is also a memoir about travelling Australia and New Zealand.
5. Have you written under more than one genre?

No, not yet but I plan to do so. After my current book I want to take a break from writing so I can spend more time reading different kinds of books to decide what genre I want to write in next.
6. Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
Everywhere! I have a very active imagination which is the best thing to have while writing, but it can be frustrating when I want to switch off my brain to go to sleep. As for getting inspiration for my first books, I kept a detailed diary of both travelling accounts.
7. Do you ever dream of your next book?

I don’t think I ever sleep enough to dream! Sometimes I’ll have dreams, which will inspire stories to go into my next book, but I don’t ever dream about the actual book.
8. Describe the highlight of your writing career.

Definitely selling books on Amazon. That has been fantastic.
9. Have there ever been moments where you’ve wanted to give up?

Absolutely not. This has been one of best things to ever happen to me. I am not giving up on it at all.
10. What’s been the worst thing to happen to you regarding your writing?

I think the stress of having to constantly market, it’s never ending. I didn’t realise at the time when I was writing how much work I would have to do after releasing the book.
11. Have you always believed in yourself, or have you let negative comments get you down?

I take no notice of nasty comments if they are just meant to be spiteful. Constructive criticism is another matter entirely, I can listen to that no problem because I can learn from past mistakes.
12. Who is the author you’d most like to be and why?

I like being me, even if I don’t sell millions of books. I’m very proud of my achievement. I didn’t know at first whether I would come this far.
13. Can you name the drawbacks to being a writer?

Definitely! The lack of time for doing anything else with your life.
That’s why if you want to become a writer you must enjoy it because you don’t have a lot of time for anything else. That’s a major downside if you have a family.
14. What’s your typical writing day?

Well, I usually work a 6-7 day week. I’m always doing something. Most of the time I write in the mornings and then spend the rest of the afternoon marketing. I sometime work at night too, depending on what I am doing. Sometimes I’ll market for the whole of the day, other days I’ll spend mostly writing. It’s pretty full on.
15. What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?

You’ll have to read my first book to find that one out!
16. What do you do when you finish writing a book?

Have a glass of wine to celebrate, and try to have a day to myself to relax a bit. Then it’s straight on to my next book.
17. Do you hire an editor or do you do that job yourself?

I hire a professional editor, I wouldn’t want to publish anything if it wasn’t edited to a high standard. It can be a costly process but I believe every penny is worth it in the long run.
18. What do you do when you receive criticism of your work?

Take it on board if it’s constructive. Otherwise, if it’s nasty I just ignore it.

19. What’s your best tip for other writers?

Listen to constructive criticism. You’re never going to learn otherwise.
20. What’s been the most helpful advice you’ve ever received?

To do plenty of research on the topics you want to know. If you plan and research, you’ll do well.

Please support this author and take a look at her book: Confessions of a Backpacker: My Adventure Down Under

It's so easy to give the book a chance at just $0.99 USD by following any of the links below.

Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)

Visit Laura's Blog:
LK Watts Confessions

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Neglect and Retribution

I guess it has been some time since I last posted here, and for that I am sorry. As some of you know, I like to write (duh, it's listed on the blog title) and have been taking on some projects under my pen name. I gotta tell ya, it's hard to run two separate lives. In addition to my real life (this one) I maintain a twitter account, a facebook page, a profile on goodreads, and an email address under my pen name. Since I've been doing so much writing in the genre of my pen name lately, I've neglected my real life.

But hey, don't feel like you're the only person or thing I've neglected lately. My lawn has gotten so long that we are actually having lawnmowing business stop by the house to ask if we might need their services. I think my neighbors are beginning to wonder whether I'm growing grass or corn in my front yard. At least I know the same rule of growth would apply. You know, "Knee high by the fourth of July."

Anyway, Happy Fathers day to all you fathers out there. I'll be back again next week with a story of victory and remorse about my ongoing cat infestation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Smart

I find it amazing how some of the smartest people can exhibit almost no sense when it come to general knowledge. Maybe someone that becomes really book smart loses something in their education. I can certainly support that theory because I was feeling really smart when I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a bachelor degree in science. But after later graduating with an MBA, I somehow felt ... less smart.

My job entails training prospective helicopter pilots for the US Army. Specifically, I teach academic subjects about all the systems that make a helicopter fly. Recently, I had a student in one of our classes that had an engineering degree. Each new concept I would explain to the class (made up mostly of students that have very little scientific or physics background) but could not move on because my engineer student would ask numerous questions. While I do understand that some of the subjects covered are complex, I do explain them in a way I feel every student can easily understand. Of course, there is some information I withhold for the sake of brevity, and also because it is information simply not needed to fly the dang helicopter. I mean, come on, I'm trying to teach these students to make simple decisions while wiggling a stick, not reassemble the craft from a million little pieces. But I digress.

If I talked about bearings mounted along a shaft, this student would follow with a question as to how the bearings were supported within the structure. At one point I almost went to the dry-erase board and drew an outline of a turbine engine, and inside wrote "magic" to denote how the thing operates.

I guess my question then: is it possible to become so intelligent that one loses themselves in the details? Of course you know I must relate everything to writing so I say that I sometimes delve into vast amounts of research for a project. One of my current projects involve a murder that transpires through poisoning. A man is given a small amount of liquid from a spotted water hemlock plant in his drink. I've learn more than I ever really wanted to know about spotted water hemlock. I know what it looks like. I know where it grows. I know its mortality rate on all species from dogs to cows to humans. I know what parts to extract oil from to make the most potent poison.

With all that being said, I still will only provide a small sample of the information I found in my story. I figure the average reader only wants to know how the character got the information and how they use it, nothing more.

I sometimes wish that people who do much study could find a way to turn it off sometimes and go back to thinking on a lower level.

I don't know exactly where I was going with this. I guess I can classify this post as a rant.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You Still Here?

Me too. Well, it looks like we all made it through the rapture. Wait, isn't the idea of the rapture that you WANT to get swept up? The good thing is, Harold Camping is still here too, so we've got someone to blame.

I don't know though, he looks to me like he could go any day now.

Wait. Does this mean that we are all sinners? Have we all been left behind? I guess we'll never know. That is ... until 2012.

The terrible thing about this whole situation is that I believed in it just enough to put off mowing the yard yesterday, and I have to do it on a Sunday.  I'll probably do the same thing on December 21st, 2012 when our planet is believed to be crossing the galactic center of our universe and become subject to the forces of the black hole ejecta.

Okay, so maybe I'll go ahead and put on some sunscreen that day too - just in case.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sicker 'n a Dog

Sorry. Haven't posted in awhile. Been very busy, and then sicker than a dog the last few days.

Don't worry, I'll be back in gear soon.

Speaking of being sicker than a dog, ever wonder where that term came from? I've done a little research, and as far as I can tell, the term dates back at least as far as the seventeenth century when dogs were not fed Purina puppy chow as today, but table scraps (if any) that were left on a plate.

Therefore, dogs were a little like the modern day "Tom" or "Barn" cat, given a few morsels now and again but, more or less, left to fend for themselves.

As most of you know, dogs will eat just about anything. If they eat something that does not agree with them, say a sun dried and partially decomposed armadillo, they will first attempt to soothe their wretching intestines with some grass, and then proceed to come in your house (usually at dinner time) take a seat next to the person most likely to sneak them scraps at the table, and vomit the old stanky armadillo up.

In English circles, if someone is sick the way we think of it in America, they are said to feel "ill." But, if they are sick, in English terms, then it means they are, or have, vomited.

So, if one said they were "Sick as a dog" or "Sicker than a dog" it meant that they were so sick that they vomited.

Well, I haven't been THAT sick, but I have had a head cold or allergies, or something.

Anyway, stick around. I'm just chuck-full of useless information about things you might not have ever thought about, or even been concerned about in your entire life.

That's just how I roll!