A Children’s Tale

MaiMoMa says that whenever a story begins with the words, once upon a time, it puts children into a dream state where they can escape to someplace exciting. She also says that the secret to life is to always be able to escape. Not just from bears or bad people, but from wherever you are that makes you sad or scared or bored. This is why we read stories. We need them.

This story is about a creature who is half bear and half bad person. It is a scary creature but you don’t have to be afraid because, of course, you’re right here safe and I’m just telling you about it.

No one knows if this creature is male or female. It is big and orange and angry. MaiMoMa says it just showed up one day and started bossing people around. It yelled at them and called them bad names. It told them it would do terrible things to them if it didn’t get its way.

It told lies to get money from people and then used the money to hire others to keep people from getting rid of it. It did bad things to get more money and take over people’s things. Then it made messes everywhere, like a bad beast will do.

But the creature had a problem. It didn’t read so it couldn’t escape itself and all the messes it made. Soon it became more sad than angry. Then it became scared and its orange color turned pale. Finally, it became bored with being half bear and half bad person and it went away to hide. No one knows for sure where, because it had many caves all over the world.

MaiMoMa says this is the power of stories and reading. If the creature knew how to get away from being sad and scared and bored, it might still be around making more messes. Now we have people cleaning up the messes because they read and know many stories. Some stories tell them how to clean up messes, other stories tell them how to make the world a nice place for people, and even more stories help all of us learn how to escape from feeling sad or scared or bored. So we can live happily ever after.

The Fourth Dosha

Traditionally, there are three body types (doshas): pitta, kapha, and vata. Now, thanks to chemical companies churning out poisons for weed killers, etc, there’s a fourth body type to define us – kafka.  (ref. Metamorphosis, and see what happens to said body type in photo above.)

Don’t care for going belly up? Back away from soy (for more reasons than just the glyphosate) GMO products (if you can discover them with the new FDA regulations hiding them), non-organic grain-fed animal proteins, grains seeds and pulses (because they get hefty doses of weed killer right before harvest), gelatins, shellfish, and other products contaminated with glyphosate.

Think you’re safe eating organics? Maybe not. Glyphosate has been found in crops not directly sprayed. It has been found in our ground water and even in breast milk. Your morning ceral might be a bowl of bad health waiting to happen. Grow what you can yourself, have your water supply checked and steam distill if you have to, though I’m not sure this would reduce its toxicity enough.

The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANHInternational) is one of many sources from which I pulled this information. Research for yourself and when you get afraid enough, try finding non-poisonous food and water. Grow what you can as safely as you can, because the poison is already prolific. Like the proverbial “turd in the punch bowl”, glyphosate has already ruined the party and not much can be done about it, even if anyone in government cared at all.

What Does It Take?

To win a publishing contract, it’s not enough to write a commercially viable book in a popular genre, rewrite and revise the piece five times, get beta readers, read out loud for flow, and copyedit everything to flawlessness; a process which may take years.

On Kindle Scout, even achieving selection for “consideration” of such a contract is a lot of work. You must create and submit your book cover, tag line, synopsis, author photo, bio, sample questions, links to platform, and upload the entire manuscript for content review which can take a few nail biting days of waiting for approval.

After all this work, you pop up the announcement on your website and all social media, and ask everyone you know for their vote. At first your book may trend, even get “hot” for several hours. But then traffic to the page slows and other books sizzle constantly “hot”.

I checked the blog of one of the winners and discovered she’d paid a professional public relations firm an undisclosed amount of money to direct traffic constantly to her page.
And she won a contract.

So is this what it takes to win?

I believed Scout was an opportunity extended by Amazon Kindle to help starving artists get a leg up in the industry by virtue of their craft and the natural draw of an honest following. I wanted to believe that Scout worked mostly on merit so that that big money doesn’t always win.

While I received many nominations, and I thank you for your kindness if you were one of the voters for my novel, alas, it was beaten out by the person with the paid marketing scheme. I am grateful for the accelerated learning curve I experienced by competing in this program, and for the hefty dose of realism. There’s a different perspective when you’re down for the count, TKO. One more set of dues: paid.

Book Launch on Kindle Scout – Fuzzy Findler and the Extinction Event


Fuzzy Findler and the Extinction Event

For Douglas Adams: a tale of chaotic miracles.

Year 3797 Earth Solar History. Prof. Findler must halt an extinction event, aided by the Minister of Time and his snarky teenage daughter, and armed with flint that turns pink, moldavite tektites, a ceremony at Stonehenge, advice from T. S, Eliot’s, “The Hollow Men”, and guided by the poem of one of his obscure contemporaries. All while preserving his expensive Italian loafers and teaching first year university students. Warning: time travel is involved, and laws of physics mentioned.

Science Fiction & Fantasy › Science Fiction › Time Travel
(Competition for this entry has closed)

Writer Fashionistas!

1. Fashionistas are generally applauded in today’s society. We can see at a glance the advances they make in style, and billions are made by the fashion industry.
Writers – not so much, and the publishing industry is struggling.

2. Fashionistas may think about styles and view items online, but not all of them shop each day. Time must be spent on jobs, hygiene and other important activities. When they put something together and step out into public, they’re generally noticed and often appreciated, but even negative reactions can gain them profit.
Writers may think about their writing almost all the time and read a great deal, but they also must get on with daily life. Often frowned upon if they don’t write each day, when they put something together it’s often ignored and unpurchased or criticized for the slightest flaw instead of critiqued for overall worth.

3. It’s against the law to go unclothed in public, so even those who eschew fashion must occasionally try on and purchase clothing to wear around in public.
It’s not against the law to go around unread and barely educated. Many eschew decent education as unnecessary, if not outright fodder for insurgency – or they would if they knew what that meant. Laws set in place to support education and literacy for decency’s sake have been diluted to an obscene degree so writers find a smaller market for their fashionings.

The point of this comparison is to change negative images heaped upon writers. To allow them to feel less guilty when they can’t write each and every day; to assert that creating scenes in one’s mind and reading are at least as important to a writer’s process as fashionistas viewing and comparing styles to come up with new looks.
Writers measure character arcs, cut and paste paragraphs, make seamless transitions. Their goal is publishing literary works of art for purchase which will flow over the reader and clothe them in new styles of thought, creating a change in the way we view our world.
Perhaps people will see and react more approvingly towards literary crafts people if referred to as Writer Fashionistas!

Statue of Liberty – Change the Inscription!

to this ancient concept (adapted into an abbreviated and modern form):

To whom much is given, much good is expected.

Tired, poor, wretched refuse? These are terms which do not serve those keenly aware of their struggle to get here, nor any citizen or legal resident of the United States of America. The gracious lady statue lifts her light in dignity and upholds hope for all. She deserves a better inscription than the present one. Please use your good to call for a more enlightened idea to those who have the authority to bring this honor to our lady Liberty and to all the peoples of the world. Thank you.

(While many may recognize the quote from the Bible’s gospel of Luke 12:48, certainly this concept has come down to us through all antiquity and from all good faiths.)

Shameless Pandering

Counting On You, book 1 in my OCD Murder/Mystery series is launching today on Amazon!


Especially for you fellow writers, we all know how important launch day is to a new ebook — swimming for its life in an ocean of other new books. Would you please give a fellow author a quick bit of help and go look at the page? It’s not the worst story you’ll ever read. Some people quite like it. Could make a good summer read. If you like it, please review it there. If you don’t, I’d rather you share your comments here.
Thanks for your help,

Corporate Discrimination Against Religion?

Ambercrombie & Fitch is under duress for refusing to hire a muslim woman because her head covering, a requirement of her religion, does not work with the image they wish their sales people to portray to their buying public. I know that if I apply there for a sales job I won’t get it. It would scare off much of their demographic. I’m of “a certain age” and have white hair. This doesn’t fit in with their look, either. Like the muslim woman, I can’t give up my look, only mine is because I’m “old”. I could holler all I want and bring suit against the company for age discrimination, but why? I’d like a good paying job, too, but it doesn’t make sense to press an issue which harms the very company I would work for, plus I doubt I’d get many sales there. I don’t expect Ambercrombie to lose money by hiring me. I do feel they have a right to choose the sales personnel who they feel represent them. It’s a private business, not a public enterprise. The religion they’re in favor of is money worship. Their prophet is profit.

Land Mines in Baltimore

Once again a casualty of one of Baltimore’s many IEDs, Intentionally Embedded Devices, I’m regarding my swollen left knee as I lay with it elevated and iced, and recall the raised water main cover that got me this time.

Craftily planted near the end of a street with a stop sign, and in the crossing path of pedestrians, it lurks mostly hidden by cars which line up over it as they await their turn to pull out onto W. Mount Royal Ave.

Thus, if you’re unfortunate enough to arrive at the curb when a car is in position, you have no reason to suspect there’s anything there but flat pavement, which you’re going to hustle across because there are lots of impatient drivers who seem willing to run you down.

Toting a couple of grocery bags, I saw my break and strode quickly out, timing it as the car at the stop sign was moving away. Bam! Down on my left knee hard, benighted by Baltimore once again for doing battle with it’s terrain. Abrasions on my palms, groceries in the street.

The last time, the IED was a loose brick on the Bolton Hill side of the street. It was a hot sunny morning and I decided to go for the shade. Boy, was it ever shady. On the quaint old sidewalk a perfect brick lay positioned, level with all the rest. The one just past it had a chunk taken out of it, so you can be sure I wasn’t going to step on that one.

The ball of my left foot planted on the perfect brick, which rocked forward into the open space created by the missing chunk and launched me like a baseball player sliding headfirst into first base.
Torn pants, abraded and bleeding palms, but a survivor.

Thinking back to a Sunday matinée at the BSO, and watching many older people limping in on canes, stumping in on walkers, and rolling in on wheelchairs, I wonder how many of them are just succumbing to old age and how many are victims of Baltimore’s land mines.

Facts and opinions about healthcare, writing, and life.