Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Australia Mate

Roy's International Education

Back around 1953, a geologist with an Australian mining company came to Kingman, Arizona, to survey the possibility of reopening any of the old gold or silver mines in the area. It could possibly mean jobs and a big boost to the local economy.
However, the best news was that he brought his family and his daughter, Olivia, would be in Roy's class.

Monday morning Roy started primping. I watched him massage another handful of Wildroot Cream Oil through his hair. Grease was running down behind his ears.

"You're going to a lot of trouble today," I said. "Why?"

"That new girl's starting school today."

"So? Don't you already date more girls than anyone else in town?"
Okay, it was a whine. I was a little envious since I couldn't get a date any easier than Smelly Dumps, the eighty-year-old town drunk.

"This girl's bound to be extra special," he said.

"How did you arrive at that conclusion?"

"Well, she's from Down Below-"

"Down Under."

"Yeah, they spin backward and everything's upside down for them."


"Yep. I bet her eyes blink up from the lower lids, and I'll have to help her read our books since she probably reads from the bottom of the page up."

"That's extraordinarily nice of you," I said. "Why are you going to the trouble?"

"Because, if she's wearing a dress, it'll fall up showing her bloomers. I'd like to see that."

I couldn't help but stare in awe at my older brother while he continued his comments of our different cultures.

"They're a frisky people, too," he said. "They're always saying it's a good day to mate."

I left to remind Dad to have the worm medicine ready to dose Roy again since he was still showing signs of unhealthy instability.
But it never came to that. The Australian family took to him and he got to fly all over the southwest with the geologist. He got quite the education in lost mines and treasures, Spanish gold, stagecoach robberies, miners, and gunfighters.
He never told me what Olivia taught him.

I won't ask for comments on what you've been taught.
Blog is posted on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where Are The Publishers?

You want someone, anyone, to like your work enough to publish it. You read books on the craft of writing; you go to conferences; you take classes.
You study the industry and here's what you find.

Publishers are so busy that they don't accept anything not vetted by an agent.

Swell. All you have to do is get an agent.

Agents are so busy that they won't look at anything that has a comma or period fall outside of their guidelines. Your manuscript doesn't even hit their dreaded slush pile. There must be more writers than readers.

Maybe you've written the one, the novel that will put you in the rarified company of household name authors. It's a story to make the reader weep, laugh, love, and hate. It's all there - a story to read again and again. An agent reads the first five, or fifty, pages and loves it. He or she tells you so.

Then he or she dumps your manuscript into the circular file because you don't have a platform.


You need a platform to sell your work. A publisher no longer markets your work when they accept it. It's up to you. They say they love stories that move them, but, alas, they must make a living. They're in it for the money. You understand. 

But then why do you need a publisher ... an agent?

The pros and cons go much deeper than this blog can cover. You need to realize this one fact, though. Whether you pursue an agent or go indie, you need a platform, and that effort can take any of several approaches.

I'll close by reminding you once more of an opportunity to get your good work published. It can be the start of your platform. I have used them myself. Go to and check them out.

You'll be glad you did. 

What's your best platform? Leave a comment. If the comment box isn't visible, click on the header.
Blog is published on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Identity Theft

Yep. It happened.
I got a polite notice on email that my banking contact information had been successfully changed. If I hadn't made the changes I was to call the number listed.
I called and talked with a nice lady who wanted to make sure I hadn't been living in Sterling, Colorado lately. I hadn't, so she changed my address back to Arizona. Everything else looked all right, but she put a hold on my credit card account and wanted me to talk to a banker to clear it.
It was a few minutes before quitting time when we got to see a banker. He said everything was fine and these things happen and he needed to go home because he was taking his wife to Taco Bell for dinner. If I wanted to be positive, though, contact the man assigned as my personal banker.
The next morning I drove to the branch, three banks away, to see him since he wasn't returning my calls. He was out.
I was assigned to a banker who could have been Miss Teen-Age Business Woman of the Month. Have you noticed how corporations are hiring kids right out of High School these days? She checked over all my accounts. Everything was fine.
Well, how about lifting the card restrictions then? She was on the phone for a long time with the credit card division before giving me the fish eye.

"Did you make a purchase at WeightWatcher's?" she asked looking at my belly that threatened to hide my belt buckle.
"Yes, you see with all the holiday food and-"
"Did you make a $400 purchase at Bloomingdale's?"
"What? No!"
"Obviously." She leered at my Levi's and sweatshirt. "In fact, $400 at Wal-Mart would be out of your price range."
"Sure would-Hey."
"I hate people that prey on others," she said. "I'd like to have 'em in my grip for just a few minutes. Then they'd feel what it is to be victimized." She had fire in her eyes and sparks were jumping off her teeth as she ground them.

"Well, if you find the guy that did it, would you do something for me?" I asked.
"Name it." She leaned over her desk as if we were conspirators in a blood feud.
"Would you tell him I'm not really fat, just gained a little beer belly is all?"

It ended up with my credit card being deactivated and a new one will be issued. I use a credit card for everything and reverting back to checks seems archaic. I wrote one for car maintenance and the service manager said he needed to see my driver's license. I'd forgotten that aspect of check-writing.

A service manager is a person who looks over your whole car when all you want is an oil change and informs you that motor mounts are broken, your differential has no oil, and either you're a dipstick, or you need a new dipstick. I didn't make out the last one because he was also looking over my driver's license.
"It's expired."

If you need me, I'll be working with the identity theft department of the bank, and cramming for a driver's license test.
Somehow, the doctor knew it would be a good week to schedule me for a stress test. He won't have to use a treadmill.

I got another notice from the bank. The contact information on the new credit card, which has yet to arrive, has been changed to Sterling, Colorado. How does the hacker do that so fast?

How's your week going? Ever been on the confusing side of life where you feel like everyone knows something but you? Leave a comment. If the box isn't visible, click on the blue heading.
Blog is published on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Get Published - Learn Marketing

Words Per Minute

Is your writing speeding up or, like mine, seem to be trudging along?

To help you get productive, published, and learn something about marketing your story, go to, look over the opportunities they offer and submit a short story. It's a wonderful platform geared to beginning writers. You won't find many resources for newbies like them where you can dip your toe into print, but you do have to pay attention to the craft.

Roy just finished another exciting novel that he's calling Wheat and Blood and he did it while buying one house, selling another two states away, preparing to move, participating in a granddaughter's wedding, and celebrating a busy holiday season.

An accomplished writer is my daughter, Laurie, who has written several family genealogy books and in so doing uncovered a story she wants to pen. She has done this while working full-time in a demanding job that requires her to spend time in three Arizona cities and attend frequent meetings in Nevada and California.

My biggest problem is the inability to charge to "The End." I keep stopping to edit, refine and rewrite - and all this on the first draft. I know, I know. And, while I'm thinking about making the corrections, I discover a short story that I pound out, and then it too needs rewriting. I'm getting a lot of time at the keyboard for so little production, but I'm filling up computer memory in Word.

How about you? What's your snag to production? Leave a comment. Click on the blue heading if the box isn't visible.
Blog is published on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.