Category Archives: Writing

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.

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!

Shameless Pandering

Counting On You, book 1 in my OCD Murder/Mystery series is launching today on Amazon!*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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,

And on the Eighth Day


I’ve been exploring character development while writing a novel. Modern opinion holds that conflict is key: describe a character, make things go bad for that character, make things go worse, then attain redemption through character growth.

By permission of the creative mind, which allows for “What if?” scenarios,  I’m drawn to a story of biblical proportions – literally. Suppose that after six days of solid creation, God kicks back to relax on the seventh, and perhaps to review what he has done. Up until this point, he saw that it was good. Maybe too good.

What if he gets bored watching bucolic bliss in the Garden of Eden, a repetitive plot where nothing exciting happens? Perhaps he edits things a bit? As the Great Redactor (translation – editor,) author of history itself, he might not come off as benevolent if the story points to him just messing things up for his own diversion.

Those darn plot dilemmas! Great for character development, but tough on the writer in consideration of his fan base. What if he throws the main characters a problem? “Here’s a special tree with delicious fruit. Now, don’t eat of it.” And then they don’t. Boring.  How about creating an antagonist, Satan, to induce them to eat the fruit? It works, but more through good marketing than character flaws in the main characters. Crickets.

How to make this story sizzle, and the ones after it? Androgens! Instead of continuing to come off as heavy handed with external influences via bad guys, natural disasters, impossible commands, etc, why not tuck some chemical activity inside humans to induce desire, fear, envy, rage, and all sorts of internal motivations. Bingo!

Take away the testosterone, eradicate the estrogen, and negate progesterone, and you might as well be…in heaven?

Mind Spam

Autumn Leaves

Writers! Ever feel like your mind is getting spammed during your busy day? Offers, requests, questions, announcements, lots coming at you while you’re trying to get your work done? As a writer, when story ideas are flowing fresh and sharp in my mind they need to be quickly set into notes and tucked into a writing notebook, else risk getting corrupted by this spam. Evernote has a great product online to help you preserve thoughts first, then store other important stuff into designated notebooks. Keeping a small physical notebook or pad and a pen is a smart backup when you’re in an area where you can’t use your smartphone or the internet. You can photograph and upload written notes into Evernote when you establish connection.

Many writers live in remote areas and/or for other reasons don’t have regular access to internet service. They’re not current with technology, relying on hand-writing their stories on paper or typing into a word processing program, with no knowledge of merging files, etc.  I’ve traveled to many remote places, myself, and scribbled on my fair share of napkins, then had to transcribe them and coordinate photos, business cards, and recorded interviews. If you’re into travel writing or other non-fiction and are still doing this, you’re punishing yourself. There are YouTube videos to clearly demonstrate how to make your job so much easier by using this technology.

Fiction writers?  A web clipper browser extension in Evernote lets you capture whole webpages into your notes – photos, links, text, et al.  If you’re imagining a character for your novel, you can find likely candidates’ pages as well as places to consider for the setting, etc, and place them right there in your story outline so you can connect emotionally. I also like Scrivener as a writing tool, but its coordination across platforms is more limited.

Once I’ve got story ideas safely stored, I can relax knowing they’re safe, then I sort out important incoming messages from the outer world and deal with them, sometimes into categorized notebooks. What’s usually left over is mind spam, which is relegated or deleted. The process feels like a nice teeth cleaning while simultaneously receiving a bank deposit. Refreshed and empowered, I’m a better writer and a more efficient person.

If mind spam has been lingering in your mental inbox, realize it can be dangerous to your creativity and productivity. Get help from today’s technology and YouTube videos that can show you how to use it. It’s exciting, fun, and worthwhile to professionalize your process. You can still keep your ratty old notebooks for nostalgia and security’s sake. If you don’t have a device to access the internet, check for a library near you.  Take your light out from under the bushel.