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Showing posts from 2014

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

No doubt, I've been neglecting this blog for over a month. Maybe some kind of schedule is needed to ensure regular inputs to the system. Truth is, I've been keeping very busy, struggling to put words on paper.

With everything going on these days, I feel like I am so unprepared according to my own internal timeline. To be honest, I've been doing a lot of research on a story thread that's been bouncing around in my head for some time now. That's how it works for me. I get just a thread of an idea - an inkling, or bug, that just won't go away. I  might spend a few hours or days, or even months running the idea down. Sometimes it pans out into something I must pursue further. Often times, the doubt monster sneaks up from behind to snatch the idea from me.

I've been thinking about a story I published on Smashwords not long ago and am considering re-writing it into something longer. This, of course, is The Sentient Soldier, written as flash fiction and published …

Aquaponic Gardening 18 Months In

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It was the middle of April in 2013 when I first filled a 200 gallon tank full of water and added fish to the mix. The entire concept of gardening using no soil and a re-circulation pump to water plants was completely foreign to me. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the idea.
You see, I’ve always been a terrible gardener. Sure, I can pull weeds and clears plots of dirt but when it came to actually growing an edible plant from seed to harvest, it couldn't be done. At least, not by me. In 2012, my wife and I were meandering through a local warehouse club store and found some raised garden bed kits on sale. We thought of our grandchildren and how much enjoyment they could get from them so we purchased them. I set them up in our back yard and built a small greenhouse around them using PVC pipe and plastic (see my post from March 17th, 2013.) The grandson loved them, while the granddaughter was probably too young to really get any enjoyment out of them. The grandson grew lots of zucchini…

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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I've recently been challenged to pour a bucket of ice water over my head to help raise awareness for ALS. I accepted the challenge and the following video serves as proof. Of course, I couldn't just make a simple video. I had to make it epic.
My Epic ALS ice bucket challenge video

or you can just view it right here:

Three Simple Rules for Book Covers

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As most of you know, I have quite the independent streak. Unfortunately, I'm also a cheapskate by nature. Sometimes my need to do things myself with whatever resources I have on hand gets me into trouble. So, this post is for all you independent cheapskates out there, especially those writers like myself who insist on doing everything the hard way.

You want a great-looking cover for you book, right? You want your cover to express what your book is all about, right? Well, I got news for you. Sometimes these two things together are not what you might think. I've worked with a few authors (including myself) that have a tendency to show their main character on the cover, or put all characters on the cover, or show every element and aspect of the story on the cover but one must resist this urge and adhere to rule one.

1. Less is More

While there are countless examples of bestsellers with covers so simple one might think it was an afterthought, I can think of very few examples of bes…

Should I Stay or Should I Go

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I recently let loose another rant on FB about a current news item (sometimes I do this for fun and either take an unfavorable side or remain so ambiguous that no one really knows what I'm trying to say) that somehow turned into a discussion about the Zombie apocalypse.

Funny how everything seems to fall back to the Zombie apocalypse for me.

Anyway, someone mentioned how prepared I must be and that if the Zombie apocalypse ever happened, they were coming to my house. This leads to a critical question, should one travel during a Zombie apocalypse (or any other disaster?)

The answer-yes and no.

You should strive to be as prepared as you can to bug out. Spend some time putting together a bugout bag-something that can hold all the bare necessities without sinking you like a ten-ton anchor. And right there's the rub, isn't it? If the Zombie apocalypse were to begin right now, this very instant, the major of our population would be dead within a week. Our population wouldn't …

A Little Dity

Here's a little something I wrote a few years back. I suppose most would classify this in the "weird" category, although I don't see what is so weird about it.

Okay, maybe it's a little weird. This is another piece of flash fiction I wrote for Eclectic Flash Magazine. At the time they limited their flash fiction to 750 words, and this comes in at 749 words, so it was a good fit.

For those of you that might find this little story too hard to stomach, keep in mind that it is written in an epistolary format. That means that the story progresses through a series of letters, or in this case, emails.

So, here it is, for your enjoyment:


MY MIND’S EYE
29 January
All-seeing Sophia,
I send you this email from a hospital bed. After using your email psychic service for many years, I should be afforded proper readings and predictions of my future. If you truly are psychic, you should tell me to be more careful.
Yesterday afternoon, just after receiving your cryptic email, I w…

Taking the Plunge

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I've finally done it, taken the plunge, ventured into the unknown. Well, sort of. As most of you know, I've been publishing independently for a few years now under a pen name. Now, I've published my first work on Smashwords.

Go ahead. Check it out, it's free!

Why would I offer my work for free, you ask? I know this flies in the face of what many would consider traditional wisdom, but believe me, there are larger, unseen forces at work here. About a month ago, I posted an article here about how one might find success as a new author. Now is the time to put some of this advice in action.

I will continue to offer stories, some previously published elsewhere, some new, for free as I gain some readership. This is extremely critical for me as an independent and because I tend to write across genres. Also, because I tend to occasionally venture into weird, high-brow, succinct, and downright cerebral stuff. Sorry. My bad.

Back to the current subject. I have already learned s…

New Youtube Video

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Okay, so I really do not have much interesting to say. Just wanted to post a link to a new video I posted on youtube.

Actually, this video is not new, but from way back in 2008 while I was training the Iraqi Air Force in Kirkuk, Iraq.

For those of you that may be unaware, Kirkuk is the city in Iraq where Saddam Hussein dropped chemicals on the population (Kurdish) and attempted to make the survivors march East into Iran.

Funny thing, we trained pilots for the Iraqi Air Force that were Kurdish, Sunni, and Shiite. I know that may not mean much to normal civilians and the uninformed public in general but let me explain.

For centuries, a genocidal war has been waged between these three groups (and more) as each one truly believes the others have no right to life, and should be in charge. Sure, the infighting wavered just a little when all the groups were busy hating on America. Of course, with America (and the west) out of the country, they're back to fighting each other. Just not as …

A Sad Farewell

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Today, we mourn the passing of Maya Angelou--a poet, writer, actor, dancer, gardener, and civil rights activist.


She was so many things to so many people. I believe she was probably best known as author of the best-seller, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969. This first novel put her into the recordbooks as the first Aftrican-American woman to produce a best-selling novel.

She will be missed. For more information, her biography can be found here: http://www.biography.com/#!/people/maya-angelou-9185388

It is worth looking at as she provided a wonderfully positive example for so many.

Confusing World of Undergarments

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Women - Try as I might, I don't think I'll ever fully understand them. Why? because I'm a man and I've discovered that, while men are simple, women are complicated.

I'm not talking what wine to drink with chicken or beef complicated. No, not how to match sock color with the rest of your outfit complicated. I'm not even talking Rubik's Cube complicated.

I'm talking about calculating the vastness of the universe complicated; pondering the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and God complicated.

In comparison, men must appear like simpletons to women. We basically see and name about twelve colors, while color selections are endless to them. Our underwear come in two basic styles: boxers and briefs. Yes, I know that there are other styles but men will still classify them into one of the two aforementioned categories.

In keeping with this complication of all things woman, I made a grand discovery this last week while shopping with my wife. We were at that real…

How to Succeed as a New Author

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First off, I'd like to start with a disclaimer that I'm about to espouse all kinds of advice I probably have no business espousing. Well, that's not completely true. I do have my own experience, and the experiences of friends,  for my benefit--and yours.

Many new authors, whether going it alone or using an agent and/or publisher, are completely unprepared to succeed when they publish their first story.

Let me emphasize this:  It does not matter whether you decide to publish independently or rely on a publisher, you must prepare if you want to succeed. This means that you have much work to do besides just sitting back to watch your book sell like hotcakes... because it usually won't.

Please, learn from my experience. I published my first novel in December of 2010. I did it independently and breathed a big sigh of relief when I was finished. What I didn't realize is that I was not finished. In fact, publishing the book and getting it out to all those places that sell…

Dig to the Devil

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Funny how memories work. I sometimes find myself reminiscing about some event that happened in my early childhood, and yet, I cannot remember what I had for dinner last night.

So, for today, I will post about the former, having absolutely no recollection of the latter.

I'm pretty sure that, when I was very young, both my parents worked. This is because many of my memories of these times involve a babysitter. This particular memory starts with the antics of my brother and I while watched by a babysitter. Funny though, I only remember certain things like the fact that this babysitter lived in a trailer park. Maybe she was a neighbor as I remember, we also lived in a trailer park at this time.

Anyway, my brother and I were prone to activities that usually were brought to an end with a belt or switch. I would not say that we were mean-spirited or little demon boys, rather, we were considered "all boy." I think that today the term has been renamed. It's now called ADHD. …

Sleepless Night

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Well, this doesn't happen often. It's 3:30 AM and I'm sitting here wide awake with my head and throat on fire. Sleep completely alludes me.

It's these damn allergies, I suppose. I mowed the lawn today and the pollen count must have been at record highs. This kind of thing usually does not bother me. But I guess that this is just one of the many 'perks' of getting older. Every year, I discover new allergies and ailments I never knew I had.

Maybe it's because I'm getting old, and my body is saying, "Keep moving, you don't have time for sleep." I don't know. I feel an ever-increasing fear as each year passes that I'm running out of time. I fear I will die before I can complete all my story ideas. Some of these stories pull on my heart and mind as if to cry out, in that strength one finds when their life depends on it, and dominate my mind. Others visit me in my dreams, bringing me through a long slow seduction as I see the characters …

Remette, The Family Typewriter

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Ohh, I'm so excited. My newly purchased typewriter just arrived. I'm proud to announce the newest marvelous machine to my collection--The Remington Remette.


Here it is. The diminutive and sporty Remette.

Just like those tiny little sports cars of yesteryear, this machine is stripped to the bones. If you want a platen knob on the left side, or even a warning bell for when your typing reaches the end of the pages, you'll have to purchase the 'deluxe' model.

As you can see in the picture above, the little typewriter worked great. This little bit was typed before cleaning. The only thing I'd done at this point was replace the ribbon.
Here's a typecast sample of the machine's handiwork:



This was the only advertisement I could find for the little Remette typewriter. Funny how typewriter companies put so much into advertising around Christmas. Most folks buying a typewriter during the depression would purchase them on some kind of payment plan, often paying a s…