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Showing posts from January, 2011

The Drive-thru Dilemma

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It seems, in our society, we've fallen under some kind of socio-ecomic reversal. I remember, as a young man, working in a couple of restaurants. I was seriously contemplating a career at McDonald's until I decided to leave town through military service.

One of the things we were taught in this establishment was, "the customer is always right." I was taught to give service with a smile, and refer all questions to a manager.

I don't know what has happened over the years, but now, it seems, customer service is no longer part of the fast food experience.

The other night, my wife and I decided to pick up some fast food on our way home from shopping. I pulled up to the drive-thru order speaker, and heard someone talking on the other end. I thought, "there must be some problem with the intercom," and said "Hello?"

"I said, JUST A MINUTE," came the response. Okay, maybe I did not hear the operator's first statement. Twenty-two years in …

New Author Blog

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Some of you may (or may not) know that I write some, uh, more adult, stories under a pen name. I just opened another blog dedicated to those stories. If you are interested or would like to follow me and my work under my pen name:  Ellison James, please go here.
On this blog, I will post story excerpts, news of upcoming stories, character profiles and special secret deals not found anywhere else. Take a look I think you will like, yes?

P.S. The picture listed above is a hint for an upcoming story featuring my character, Azra (yes, the succubus) influencing a historical event. Can you possibly guess what it could be? Who are these four beauties?

The Horror of Homonyms

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I was browsing around recently and found the above picture posted on Comedy Central's "Tosh.0" site. It's funny how homonyms get so many people in trouble. My only question is this:  If I find fifty dollars, will I have to use that money to get my car out of impound?

 And yes, I agree that those living within the United States should use English as the language of choice when in public or doing business. English is the international language of business, so it only makes sense. But, I would certainly expect that if a person is motivated to create a sign that might only serve to anger and inflame others, they would also be motivated enough to seek some form of education beyond 4th grade before doing so. Failure to adhere to basic rules of grammar and usage only result in the sign holder looking ... uh, ignorant.

Or what about the sign below. Doesn't a church pastor have to go to college? I guess the mistake could be justified by the fact that the word "family&q…

Looking Dapper

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I know this comes at a strange time, but most of my greatest revelations are like that. I was looking over my blog today and couldn't help noticing my faded old picture of me at least two years ago (I've aged since then, believe me) wearing my brown sport jacket, looking rather dapper, If I do say so myself.
I also began to realize that I must find a new picture to post. Problem is, I can't seem to find a camera that works right. If you notice in my profile picture that the lower part of my chin seems to be rather shortened, or missing even, that's the camera's fault. And, while I'm on the subject, that same camera seems to have made my nose appear rather large, I mean, it's really out there.
I know I don't look like that in real life. When I look at myself in the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning, I see someone more like that guy who played Jason Bourne in the Bourne series. What was his name anyway? I think it was Matt somebody.

Of course, in re…

A Recommendation

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I know I do not normally review or recommend books on my blog. I don't know why, I guess I'm just lazy.

I recently had the opportunity to read a book from a new author. Now, this author is from the UK and her story, although fiction, highlights the inadequacies of the British justice system. Hmm, just like the American justice system-full of holes.

Anyway this is such a gripping story, I just have to recommend it for anyone who normally reads crime, suspense, mystery, or stories that pull at your heartstrings such as those by Nicholas Sparks.

How many of you have children? How many of you want to see your children protected? What would you do if your children were in danger and you found out the man responsible begged the justice system to put him away, but his request was overlooked?

I won't say any more for fear of creating a spoiler. Suffice it to say that you owe it to yourself to read this book. It will absolutely make you a fan of Saffina Desforges. It will make you…

Confusion

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The picture above represents something I'm working on today. I've got to take the information from this electrical schematic (by the way, this is one of fifteen pages for this particular subsystem) and try to break it down into something we can easily explain to our new flight students.

A daunting task indeed. But you know, when you think about it. We, as writers, do the same thing for our readers.

This is one reason I like to outline. Sometimes a story can become so complex that something so simple as hair color, or mannerism can be missed. I just recently acquired an understanding of why people write out character profiles or interviews when working on a work of fiction.

I am one of those readers that takes my time, letting every page settle into my conciousness before going on. Because of this, I often run into small irregularities in the stories of my favorite authors. Of course, this sets me off and taints my ability to suspend disbelief for the rest of the story. I (as I…

Weather and Mood

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I live in the South and, although we have not been hit with the deep freeze and storms like the rest of the country, we've nonetheless, suffered through some dreary days lately.

Oddly enough, these dark gray days bring back a flood of memories from my youth. I grew up in the Northwest, Bremerton, Washington to be exact. Our winters were often gray and dreary, often with a light rain. What made it memorable was that our winters lasted nearly six months. But, when the sun was shining, the Northwest was one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen -- then and now.
It is amazing how much weather affects mood, and a change in weather can often bring with it, a flood of memories and emotion.

Same holds true when reading.

Writers can affect or convey mood by using weather in their stories. How often have you read, or told a scary story beginning with "It was a dark and stormy night." There it is. You've just set the mood and tone of the story, prepared your reader or l…

War Declared on Baggy Pants!

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During the holidays, a strange thing happened one day. We were all hanging out in the house in the middle of the day when a jeep Cherokee pulled into the drive and a young man got out. He was all decked out in hip hop garb with an unformed baseball cap all cocked sideways on his head and a hooded sweat jacket that was so large it barely covered his underpants spilling forth over top of his low slung jeans that hung suspended below the crest of his buttocks, seemingly by some magical force -- because it, surely, was not his hips.
This young man came to our door and rang the doorbell. My rather large son answered the door, and the young man proceeded to weave some story about how he was on his way to a nearby town (not the town we live in) and realized he was nearly out of gas. This was apparently coupled with a simultaneous realization that he had no money. He asked us if we might have some money or spare change we might be willing to part with so he could drive to a gas station and p…

Rethinking Blonde

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We all like to make fun of blondes. It seems, blondes have been getting a bad rap throughout history. I have even fallen prey to those prejudicial thoughts about blondes, although I grew up, at least partially blonde for most of my life. I say partially blonde because my hair color has become darker over time. My driver's license still says blonde but my hair color is really brown now. I still get the blonde highlights in summer when I'm out in the sun. Some of the blonde is even lasting throughout the year-and by blonde, I mean REALLY blonde -- silvery-white, even.
You can see my profile picture over to the right, but for an indication of where my hair color came from, one might I refer to my high school picture from an earlier post. (left -- yes, that's me)
Yes, we all like to make fun of blondes, tell dumb blonde jokes, create funny audio clips about blondes using an Onstar product called "Blondstar" (ok, I'll admit that one is pretty funny.) But that kind o…

New Year, New Announcement

Just wanted to announce that Eclectic Flash literary journal now has their "Best of 2010" anthology available here: The Best of 2010 is available at cost. http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/eclectic-flash-the-best-of-2010/14419666


You can buy it at cost, and also get an extra 25% off of that if you use the coupon code: winter305
Eclectic Flash is a small print literary journal helping authors publish flash fiction on a quarterly basis. They are a non-profit organization. Sales of their magazine and anthologies go toward operational expenses and building up a fund to offer market-rate pay for authors.

Of course, two of my flash fiction stories were featured in their September 2010 issue, and one of my stories is featured in their "Best of 2010" anthology.

Please help support this organization or, if you are a writer, submit some work to them. They are open to submissions right now.