Showing posts from May, 2010

Putting the "Poe" in Poem

I've been reading some works from Edgar Allen Poe lately. In fact, I've got his complete works on order and on the way right now. Some folks also know that I occasionally write some poetry. Not necessarily good poetry ... but it works for me. So, here's a poem that starts in the vein of Poe, but instead of it being a dark, scary, morbid thing, I thought I would try to skew it as an erotic or love poem of sorts. Dark against the moon's pale light Charcoal ravens taking flight Through the veil of resting sight I dreamt of her again last night Never knowing from whence she came So very softly whispering my name A lover's bed from which we lain Without regret and without shame I wake to find my dream a lie Weary in heart I heavily sigh Remembering flecks of gold within her eye Hoping that my dream won't die In the second stanza, I wanted to add the line "In her excitement she sometimes says dang" but didn't think it would fit with th

Wrapping Up a Good Week

A few things happened this week that I feel rate as accomplishments. At the beginning of the week, I submitting a story to a paying publication for the very first time in my life. Of course, after I clicked on "send" in my email, I quickly realized that I did not address my cover letter to an actual person. I also did not include a short bio of myself, instead saying only that it was my first submission. Oh well, I'm sure the editors will get a good laugh out of my inept attempt. I feel that now is as good a time as any to start my rejection collection. I also made a commitment to be more Earth friendly. I live less than three miles from where I work so I thought I would buy a bicycle and start riding it to work instead of putting undue wear and tear on my truck. Did I mention that my truck was a Dodge SRT-10 with a 500 horsepower V-10 racing engine? Well, it is, so I'm sure you can understand I will also be saving a bunch of gas. I'll keep the truck though,

Further Adventures of Daleville Dan

D aleville Dan spends the entire morning working in the yard. He cuts overgrown bushes, trims the grass, and picks up the general debris spread throughout his back lawn. Of course, he cannot possibly make it through the day without placing himself in some precarious position or another – that’s just not his style. There’s a spot in the back yard Daleville Dan likes to use when he’s got something to burn. It’s not an area specifically designated for burning or anything, it’s just a charred spot in the grass where he tends to pile stuff up until he feels he’s gotten enough for a respectable bonfire. After all, nothing flavors a hotdog better than a couple of burning rubber tires. Now, Dan’s been working all morning and managed to pile sticks and debris so high that he must use an old wooden chair to pour the gas out of the five-gallon can in order to properly light off a fire. Hey, don’t worry folks, Dan is an ecologically respectable man. He uses old gas from last year for fire star

Need the Info

O k, so I'm working on a project that I would like to consider submitting somewhere.  Problem is the project I am taking this from came from a short story I wrote (and never submitted to anywhere) of about seven thousand words. I am trying to shorten this work to seven hundred-fifty words or less. I've accomplished this task, but at what cost, I wonder. Is it possible to reduce something down to the point that all the information is lost? Here is the opening paragraph of this project for your consideration. Read carefully, there will be a test at the end. Something isn’t right. Alpha Two-Four feels it in his bones; his reactions are off. He gives himself three squirts of adrenaline as he heads into the caves, but feels nothing. Maybe it’s this dismal planet. Just another rock deemed worthy of colonization. No, that’s not it; he’s been on a hundred planets like this one. It’s something else. He felt it in the landing craft, a feeling, or premonition,  something beyond his

Writer's Groups - The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Attending a writer's group or critique group can be a good thing. Attendance gives one valuable insight into  their own work, and a chance to see others' work. A writer's group can also give one companionship and a sense of community in this solitary venture. One thing that attendance at a writer's group does for me is to keep me consistent and encourage me to keep writing. It is embarrassing to show up to a meeting with nothing to read and no new projects to report on. One bad thing about a writer's group is that they can sometimes serve to remove focus on a long term project in lieu of more short term efforts to impress others. It can also be a bad thing, or at least a waste of time, if one cannot receive objective, fair, and impartial critiques on one's work. Sometimes a critique group can turn into a mutual admiration society where a member will read their work and everyone claps and tells them how wonderful it is. Sometimes things can get ugly in a cr

Review of "Mind Walker" by Roy McConnell

R oy McConnell sent me a copy of his first novel, Mind Walker, and I feel I owe him an honest review of the story. First off, I must say that I read the book in two days. I am a slow reader and tend to analyze, critique, and rate books as I read them. It's a curse that I must live with. While reading this story, I stumbled very few times. I simply did not want to put the book down until I was finished! Roy McConnell did an outstanding job of weaving twist after heartbreaking twist into this thriller; all revolving around a fresh and unique story line. The story is 228 pages. The book is perfect bound, six by nine inches. I would have preferred standard trade paperback size binding. Nevertheless, the book was easy to carry and read. The book is printed by IUniverse and sold through all major online booksellers. I believe it is also available through Barnes & Noble stores, although I have not checked our local store. The printing is very professional with short cha

The Dora Phenomenon

M y two-year old Grandson that loves to watch Dora the Explorer. It's a part of the bedtime ritual each night to sit on my lap with a small drink and a Dora show on. While this is a pleasant experience for a two-year old, it's pure torture for me. Yes, I've grown to despise Dora and all her gallivanting around and silly antics - along with all the other characters. True, the show is a great tool for teaching children basic problem-solving skills, and the Spanish language, but does Dora have to yell those commands all the time? "Get up, get up!" " Vomonos !" Since I have the mind of a writer, I cannot help but sit there holding my Grandchild, plotting my own episode of Dora where she meets her demise. Or, maybe she could be the catalyst for the demise of the other characters. I mean, come on, I see a very different Dora if the writers of the show were to take reality into consideration, and write the show for a more "adult" audience. I imagi

Overcoming Fear

What is it you fear most? Is it darkness, or something that may lurk in the dark? Is it becoming socially ostracized? Some folks actually fear success. But, in reality, I think they might fear failing while trying to succeed more than success itself. I've found that writers fear more than most, but have a strong sense of self-motivation and achievement. Sometimes one must face their fears head-on and plunge through in spite of that fear, in order to overcome it. I fear not completing writing projects. It sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as I avoid writing on a particular project, afraid I might finish it and it will turn out to be crap. This is what a writing group does for me. Other members keep my in check and I must try to have something to show every once in awhile, even if it is crap. In this sense, I'm forced to overcome my fear of non completion by simply writing through to completion. I remember a time when I was young and was forced to face my fears

A Special Post

I will keep my post short today as my main focus of care and support goes out all the Mothers, past, present, and future. I know that, even on this special day, a Mother does not stop caring, supporting, nurturing. So, while folks like me, Husbands, Sons, Fathers, and Lovers, all try to show their love and respect in physical and finite ways, the jesture is but a nod to the great sacrifice that Mother's make each day. It is a simple thank you that falls short of expressing the capacity that a Mother has, shows, and gives every day. Thank you Mothers. Without the special caring and nurturing you provide; without your strength, the world would be a much colder place. My special and heartfelt thoughts go to Laura, Erika, Ann, Amy, Ronnie, Anna, Aileen, Lizabeth, and Jacki. Happy Mother's day.

How Did That Happen?

It's funny to think about the foods we eat. I remember some of the foods I learned to love while in South Korea. Of course a rare treat while hanging out down by the Han River were these little boiled snails. They were boiled in some kind of herbed brine and were served in a small cup. They were rather difficult to eat as they were tiny and, therefore, were eaten one at a time. I remember sucking the meat out of the shell. As strange as it might sound to some, they were quite tasty. I must say though, that in Korea, Squid and Cuttlefish are major dietary items, and I did not particularly enjoy them. I tried to swallow a whole live octopus one time and it fought all the way down. I remember (vaguely) having to drink about three bottles of Soju (Korean Rice Wine) to get the thing down. One of the things one might find sold in the local village to Americans on a Friday night is something we called "Chicken on a Stick." It was really chicken strips bar-b-cued and skewered

The Circle of Editing

Editing is a good thing, right? I think so too, but, like everything else, good things can become bad things if taken to excess. I cannot imagine how many great stories there might be out there that never made it to print, or even submission, because of overzealous editing. I say this because I am guilty of it. I have countless projects sitting idle in my files right now that never made it to the finish line. Why? Because I edited them to death. I am not saying that making your work is the best it can be is wrong. What I'm talking about here is editing compulsively while you are putting words to paper (so to speak) and getting your story down. For instance, I am currently twelve chapters into a project and am struggling to finish the story. This is because I have gone back into chapter one as I was writing another chapter to "read for ideas and inspiration" but ended up correcting misspellings and re-structuring sentences that didn't seem to flow right. The next