Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Grandma and Grandpa Characters


The only known force capable of causing women to turn against their daughters is the offspring of those daughters. Grandkids!

Women simply do not care if the erstwhile apple of their eye loses her attractive figure if it means babies. Grandmas consider it their right to cuddle and coo the newborns. The microsecond Grandma first gets her hands on a grandkid the bond is established for which there is no kryptonite.

Grandma becomes a walking picture album. No photo is ever thrown away, only buried under piles of new ones to be whipped out on unsuspecting, uncaring, and uninterested audiences. Each picture will be gone over lovingly in novel-length detail.

"This one was taken the day my little darling made a five-star mess in her diaper." Grandma holds the picture out for us to touch like it was a moon rock. Uh - no thanks.

Grandmas go a little crazy and their lives kick into high gear. A whole new way of living is implemented, centered around the nurturing, entertainment, and education of the grandkids.


Men cease to officially exist when grandkids arrive on the scene.
Now it's true that a lot of men are very active with their grandkids, but it must be understood that this time is orchestrated and allowed by Grandma.

If Grandpa gets out on the loose with a grandkid and goes off Grandma's preapproved script he'd better have a life-threatening reason because that's exactly the position he's likely to find himself in with Grandma.

Surely there's a study somewhere confirming the wisdom of men who deal with grandkids by turning off hearing aids, repeating the phrase, "Go ask your Grandmother," and taking a nap.

Your turn to tell how great your grandkids are. Leave a comment.
Blog is posted on Wednesdays
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Night Writing

The Perfect Time To Write The Perfect Novel

We've heard the advice to keep a notebook by the bed.

It's been experienced by others that when the demands of the day wane and chores engaging the brain are released, creativity is still sparking through synapses.

It comes to us unbidden through the ether. AHA! That's the next plot twist or a clever bit of dialogue.

Yep. It's happened to me, I'm happy to say. I even had a pad and pencil by the bed ready to go.

So here's what happened.

First of all, when older men stir around during the night, writing notes is not the first priority. More pedestrian needs take precedence.
Going down the hall I step on a huge spider. Cold chills wash from the nape of my neck down my back but don't delay or moderate my 140-decibel jet engine at full take-off power scream.

My physician would say that I'm well past my high-jumping years but I must have come close to bumping my head on the ceiling.

Why didn't I put in a night-light like my practical wife asked?

I'm scared to put my foot down because it might have spider remains all over it, and I'm scared not to because if it's still alive I should stomp on it.
Hopping and leaping I reach a life-saving light switch and turn to face the menace.

I see it for the terror it is - a sock I left on the floor.

My wife, lovely even while being rudely awakened, reaffirms my standing in the human race, acknowledges my intelligence quotient, and thoughtfully comments on my heritage.

Dumb sock.

I try to explain that I was unprepared for the experience because I was deep in thought with an idea that would cement a best-seller. She'd appreciate it if we got rich.

"What idea?"

"Well, I can't remember now."


And so it goes.

Keep the notebook and pencil ready. You never know.

How about your nocturnal writing? Leave a comment.
Blog is posted on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Porcupine and The Dog


New Fiction Writer

It's my honor and pleasure to be allowed to present first-time blogger Sophie. She wrote the tale of The Porcupine and The Dog.

It's an inclusive story with an interesting choice of characters. She has a protagonist, antagonist, conflict, tension, character arc, and concludes with a moral.

I wish I could write like that.

Her third-grade class has converted The Porcupine and The Dog into a stage play and performed it more than once.

Congratulations, Sophie.

The Porcupine and The Dog

By Sophie

One hot summer evening Porcupine and Dog went to a party. Dog skipped over to the punch bowl to grab some punch, but when he turned around Dog was staring at his absolutely totally horrifying worst enemy, Porcupine. When the two of them were little, Porcupine had totally embarrassed Dog in front of the whole school.  Dog walked up to him and Said, ’’What are you doing here?’’  ‘

“I’m hosting this party.’’  

“oh ya.’’ 

 ‘’Oh you want to play this game?’’ said Porcupine. ’’I call you to a dance war.”   Porcupine had planned to make Dog mad. Dog started to dance. Porcupine joined him.  They danced all night. Since Porcupine planned this war he had taken dance lessons.  Dog started dancing and Porcupine tried to dance and make everything perfect.  Finally they were too tired to dance any more.   In unison they said, ’’Who won?’’ 
All the other animals cheered, “Dog! Dog!” 
Porcupine said, “But, but...’’ He was pouting and ran off sobbing. 
Moral:Cheaters never win.

What do you think of Sophie's story?
Leave a comment.

Blog is posted on Wednesdays
Thank a veteran 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Writing in a Community

Cardinalis cardinalis

I didn't know there is an HOA for writers.

How is that even possible?

I wrote a first draft about the beautiful red bird - Cardinalis cardinalis - the cardinal.

I meant to point out that the symbolism and affection shown from such places as Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia, where it is the official State Bird, is far larger than its medium size. The cardinal is commonly recognized and adored by most folks, not just birdwatchers.

I thought I had a good tribute going.
Concerned Citizen

A "concerned citizen" turned me in to the Writer's HOA for not treating her religion with respect.


Doesn't HOA stand for Home Owner's Association?


It also stands for Hateful Overreacting Agitators. It turns out that this particular HOA has many members and they're vigilant for anything that will upset their delicate sensibilities.

In my case, I was warned to clean up my draft within two weeks or face a stiff penalty.

Honest, I didn't consider a member of the clergy, much less try to slight one in my avian acclamation.

I've pulled the offensive essay but I'm waiting to hear from Arizona, St. Louis, and hundreds of Little League teams across the country. I don't know how they'll find out but neither do I know how "concerned citizen" found out what I was writing.

Did you ever have someone make an effort to look over the fence into your yard and then be offended? Leave a comment.

Blog is posted on Wednesdays
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Business Cards for Marketing

When Does Marketing End?

What's the purpose of business cards?

We keep a stack of them wrapped up with a rubber band in the junk drawer, and from time to time we shuffle through them. The cards all offer a service of some sort. It's helpful if they have a picture depicting their business: window cleaning, shampooing carpet, pest control, gardening, how to dial 9-1-1.

OK. I know how to do that last one without looking at a card.

The point is that I may have used that service a year ago, but the card is still doing its work. It directed me once again to the card owner. That's a pretty nifty cost-effective marketing tool for business, don't you think?

How would that work for a writer? Would you put your picture on the card rather than the cover of your book?
How would you design a card that the recipient would want to keep after they have purchased your book?
Would they hang on to the card if they don't want your book?
Do you list all of your works and speaking fees or just the website where they are posted for sale?

Scattered throughout blogs I read regularly, two in particular: The Blue Ridge Conference and Steve Laube Agency, seem to me to insist that what a writer should market is him or herself.

Times they are a-changing. My agent, Murgalump Kneffle, says there are so many good novels that readers want to connect with the author first before considering his or her work. The service a writer performs can be different things to different people even in the same novel, but it's all grounded in the same source.

That's you.

Wouldn't you like to have an audience (called a platform, folks) for any book you write? A tale about vampires, cowboys, ufos, or all three in the same story isn't likely to sell well if you haven't marketed yourself. The odds are that it won't sell well even if you have, but that's a blog on the craft of writing.

Where are we going with this? The way I see it is, you need a business card. You are the author, you are the business and you need to let people know about you.
Your card doesn't, or shouldn't, scream, "Buy my book! Buy my book!" I think it's fair to mention your work, but above all, it should show how to connect with you.

You're one of a kind.

What's on your card? Leave a comment.
Blog is posted on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.