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Monday, December 23, 2019

My first work in print!

Well, it is finally here.  Or should be by end of tomorrow!  BUY HERE:


Also, we will be at ConNooga selling books and you can meet some of the authors:


When I began this new journey it was at ConNooga - a writer's, illustrator's, movie buff, cosplay, gaming, and everything else conference held in my home city.  While talking to the 501st (storm trooper cosplay that do charity events - my son is interested in joining them when he turns 18) and seeing some acquaintances I knew from local game shops, I came across a table for a series of mystery books.


She had a cool mannequin, several mystery books (that involve science - if your child is interested in STEM these are awesome!), and a gentlemen about my age standing off to the side of her booth.  This "Jim" we shall call him.  That is, after all, what he goes by.  He was selling the first edition of the Crazy Buffet.  He told me there were a group of writers who meet twice a month for fellowship, to discuss the craft, and to eat.

After nearly twenty years since I last wrote "creatively," I was invited to join.  I am so thankful for this group and all they have meant to me this past year.  I am especially honored that they would allow me to submit two stories in the new edition.

My first is a story from Rwanda.  I spent a good bit of time there after the Rwandan genocide.  While the story is fiction, it is drawn from the stories I heard while there.  The second is the story of a mother with her young child  She is in recovery and rebuilding her life.  By chance, she has a brief meeting with her biological mother who is still very much in her addiction.

I hope you will take time to purchase and read.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Will our next president get an Impeachment BOGO?

So, last week absolutely no one asked for my opinion regarding the impeachment proceedings.  With such overwhelming demand, how could I not respond. 


1789 - 1843 - NO IMPEACHMENTS

1843-1900 - 3 impeachments
  Impeachment proceedings included charges of corruption and attempts to remove a racist president who wanted to be soft on Southern reconstruction.  Also an attempt to get an ex-military leader and drunkard out of the white house (and had something to do with "the Whiskey Ring" among other scandals..

1900 - 1950 - 1 impeachment

 During "lame-duck" session of congress an attempt was made to impeach Herbert Hoover.  By the way, of the four impeachments so far, half have been against presidents who held no political office prior to their presidency.  In fact, if you are not a career politician your odds of impeachment proceedings are greatly increased!

1951-2000 - 5 impeachments
  Sure, a president tried to seize privately owned steel mills, a president who "was not a crook" but did try to drop a nuclear bomb on Vietnam one night while drunk.  Of course, there was Reagan (who had a political career before the presidency but just as easily could be placed in the "non-political president" category.   It also included Bush #1 and a president who was having a bit too much fun with interns.

2001 - 2019 - 3 impeachments

The last twenty years we have seen every president face impeachment hearings.  Actually, every president that has served since Reagan in 1981 has faced them.

So in the modern "TV era" we are 6 for 8 on impeachment attempts.  And can you really count Ford?  How could you impeach the nicest man ever to hold the office?  Dude builds houses for the poor!

So what does all this mean?  I think it means that impeachment is not a democratic or republican event.  It has sadly become part of the fabric of our current political landscape. Now, only three impeachment proceedings went anywhere and none resulted in removal from office.  But they are used as political sticks to browbeat what should be the most honorable office in the land. 

It saddens me.  If we teach our kids to hate America, politics, and their presidents how can we expect they will want to defend their nation in the next generation?  I've traveled the world a great deal.  We have much to be joyous about and in my humble opinion should not seek to be so hate filled (on both sides).

OWNBTK:: TerribleMinds.com

"On Writing" Not By The King: 
A weekly blog-post reviewing writer blog-sites from an amateur's perspective.

TerribleMinds is the blog of Chuck Wendig.
Image result for chuck wendig

First off, I was immediately draawn to the opening menu of his website.  One link memorably reads "holy shit, free stories"  I clicked it immediately.  Apparently... free doesn't sell... and the page was 404: Page not found.

Oh well.... off to the blog itself.

Being Christmas time, the first post was on "Gifts for writers."  Perfect. That's me!  Among some posts about best pen choices (appreciated), the need for caffine, and his quest for a place to write there was also a promo for his two books on writing.

Vintage 1999 Applause Lucas Film Star Wars Rubber Yoda Hand Puppet ROUGH COND.I really like his casual, somewhat vulgar style. But there is also a great deal of wisdom here.  Just a few posts down from a "I'd do anything for yoda" post there was a post on grief(Nov 19th).

Swimming Sideways

Wendig discusses being a writer in the wake of losing his mother.  It is a touching piece but also a moving metaphor of grief as water.  It reminded me as a new writer that writing is not isolated from life.  It draws from it and is also impacted by it.  Who we are and what our experiences are shape who we are as writers.

In that, there is also a great post about self-care.  I've read books saying you must write so many words a day.  I even have someone in my writer's group who participates in "story a day."  On the other side is the balance of writing and taking care of yourself.

Sharp Rock, Soft Pillow, The Balance of Self-Care and Tough Love

I as a new writer am not full time.  No one has bought my book, given me an advance for the next, nor hiring me to speak at conferences.  I moved from a career that was 5 days one week, 6 days the next to teaching so I could have summers off and down time to write.

Most writing helps I see assume the writer takes the leap from a regular job to writing.  Perhaps that is necessary? I would love to hear how younger writers balanced life, family, and trying to start a career.  I know one of my favorite authors, Joe Brown, offered his reflections in the book On Fire.

Somehow, I think if Wendig wrote it the title would be something more akin to Oh SHit! I'm on fire!"  That said, it would likely be equally brilliant.

This is a blog I will revisit.  Between the promotion of his work is very helpful advise for someone trying to learn the trade.

And I have also put his new book on my to read list:


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Emotional Support Bees

Prescott Valley, Ariz., resident David Keller thinks the application process to register an emotional support animal is too easy — so he tried registering a swarm of bees as his service pet.<br data-cke-eol="1">

True story.  David Keller of Prescott Valley, Arizona has applied to register his swarm of bees as an emotional support animal.

Emotional Support Bees

Apparently, anyone can go to the registration site:  https://usaservicedogregistration.com/ and register your animal.

The craziest part of his story is that he was approved.

Now, I am not sure what you do with emotional support bees.

Wife: "Did you pick up milk?"
Husband: "No, I forgot.  Want me to go back out?"
Wife: "You are an absolute failure as a husband and I hate you."
Husband: "At least I have my support bees!"

Trying to picture emotional support bees is difficult.  Do they crawl over you in a full body hug?  Or drip honey into your mouth as a service pet?  Or perhaps they simple attack anyone else near you to provide you a safe space?

If the latter, then I think it would be really cool to have an emotional support grizzly bear.  Or lion.  Or maybe just an emotional support Rhino?

Image result for siegfried and royAll of this made me remember the pioneers of emotional support animals.  Siegfried and Roy.  The two loved to pet, cuddle, and stick their heads in the mouth of beautiful white tigers.  I loved these two and always wanted a white tiger.  Alas, in my day we could have guns at school, got paddled for discipline, and said crazy things like, "Yes Sir."  However, our society was not advanced enough to yet offer emotional support tigers.

So I was forced to watch these two men live the dream from a distance.  Theirs was the most visited show in Las Vegas until one of the tigers got hungry.  Lesson... you must feed your support animal.  Or maybe get them a support rodent?

I for one have taken advantage and registered my dog as Emotional Support Dog # 1427601508.  I'm considering registering the cockroach that scurries around my work desk next.  There is something about the little critter that makes me feel at peace.

Monday, December 9, 2019


For those of you who have been kind enough to read my blog, or for those of you who thought this page had something to do with a new Marvel Star Wars crossover and continue to read for spoilers, let me thank you. I began this blog in the naivete of a young writer.  While I am well into my middle age, I just the past few years picked up the proverbial pen to write.  It has always been something I wanted to do... later... when I had more time... or a house with a study... or energy... or ...

In many ways my writing career was like that Amazon.com item ordered from some unknown shop in China.  The website promised two day delivery but the tracking just says "on the ship."  At some point you either have to forgo the item or go find it closer to home.

So I began.

One of the first things I learned from reading again (I had read it over a decade ago) Stephen King's book On Writing was that a writer must write.  You must begin.  You must make space and time for the craft.  You must make a practice of writing.

So I joined a writer's group.  They have been immensely helpful both in learning the craft and in encouragement.  Our twice a month meetings have become some of my favorite events in my ical.

Having finished a first book, 
I have also begun looking at how one goes about being published. 

And don't worry Stephen - if you are reading this - I'm still writing on other projects also.  I have one where I'm asking what happens if a young girl that identifies as a boy becomes a Texas Ranger in a dystopian America.  Another where a few low level drug addicts and a group of Pokemon gamers have to stop a hypnotist serial killer.  And maybe, just maybe, a Hallmark-esque romance.

But as I write, I am also exploring how to get my stories into the marketplace.  One of the things I was told was to have a social media presence.  A blog.

Image result for dave barry

And so here we are.  A good friend suggested that I start it writing what I care about.  "Starting and adding new content is just as important as a theme."  Maybe that is true, maybe not.  But I followed it nonetheless.  I will continue to use my blog here for observations of Americana.  It has become Lewis Grizzard or Dave Barry like in its formula.  Both of those men I deeply admire.  I can still here Dave Barry yelling "Bat Urine!" from the printed page.  If that isn't literature, I don't know what is.

Image result for lewis grizzardBut I have done this enough to come to see a benefit in a theme.

In mid-December I am meeting with a web developer friend of mine and hope to launch a website.  I chose to wait and do it with some coin in hand rather than just put something out there.  When I do, perhaps these two strands of blogs will find two homes.

My new strand will be "ON WRITING NOT BY THE KING"
 in honor of one of the more influential books I've ever read. 
 I even own it in hardback. 

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

But my blog posts will be looking at the craft not from the vantage point of a master craftsman.  Rather, I will be looking from the perspective of the complete bumbling amateur.

Over the last two years I have read a plethora of material about writing.  The web is full of great and not so great material from publishers, editors, teachers, and other writers.  Some offer freely and some offer their wisdom at a price.

One such hybrid is the site https://shaylaraquel.com/

My writer's group discussed the currently $.99 eBook titled the Ten Commandments of Author Branding.

Facebook Banner The 10 Commandments.jpg

AMAZON.COM Link to book

It is a very helpful volume to a new writer and I think well worth the $.99 of previous store credit I used.

In case you must know... The credit came from a Chinese made and shipped faux leather jacket my daughter ordered.  It never arrived and after hours on the phone, I received a refund.  Thus, I feel I really put sweat equity into this purchase.

But I digress.  On Shayla Raquel's website is a post for "50 Blogs for Mastering the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing."

50 Blogs for Mastering the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing

These blogs are well known, well reviewed, and readily accessible.  My goal here is not to increase their traffic nor to give them grand correction or insights.  However, I do offer a perspective that may be helpful for some out there.

I am a new writer trying to learn.  Come with me as I look at these 50 blogs from the lens of a Newbie.  My goal is to cover one per week and finish in a year.  Ready?  Well then there is only one thing to be said.... "Bat Urine!"  .

Removal of Bat Urine Information

Monday, December 2, 2019

Roll Up Your Windows

Image result for driving with windows down

I for one think there is something iconic about driving with the windows down.  Ever since I saw films like Grease and American Graffitti I've thought there was something special about being on the highway with the wind in your cab.

But NO MORE!!  America is a much more dangerous place than those bygone days! 

Just ask Joseph Zak, a Florida man who was riding aimlessly down the road.  To his chagrin, the evil Florida winds blew in a bag of cocaine!  I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Officer: Sir, do you know why we pulled you over?
Image result for american graffitiJoseph: No sir.
Officer: You failed to stop at that stop sign.
Joseph:  I tried to stop sir, but this wind today is vicious.  It just blew my car right through the intersection!
Officer: Is that cocaine in your car?
Joseph: It must've blown in also!
Officer: It is in a sealed bag and with a crack pipe.
Joseph: These wind storms are crazy!

Cocaine blew in my window!

Now, if you aren't already rolling your windows up to protect yourself from flying cocaine, maybe you will take warning from this Taco Bell consumer.

In recent news, one man claims his life was saved because his windows were up.  Ryan Bishop of Arizona said that he ordinarily loves to have his windows down, but rolled them up because "I didn't want pieces of my taco flying around."

Tacos save a life

We've all been there.  Lettuce everywhere.  Tomato chunks in your gear shifter.  Cheese strips all up in your air vents.  Fortunately for this man, rolling his windows up also prevented a local shooter from killing him.  The bullet pierced first where Ryan usually put his arm, and then through the window itself.

Image result for cyber truck

And of course, this all leads me to the importance of windows.  Yes... the cybertruck.  Tesla recently revealed its new cyber truck.  My favorite review was an apt vehicle aficionado who said, "Finally, a I can drive the car that I drew when I was five."

In the reveal, Tesla promoted its armored glass.  A real necessity in the world where bags of cocaine can literally fly through your window at any time.  In an effort to show how the window could take a bullet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tossed a small rock at the window.  It shattered.  Then he threw another one a bit softer.  Shattered. 

Tesla Truck Windows Shatter

For now, the direct to consumer armor plated window is still a pipe dream.  Sorry America.  Keep your tacos inside your car and your standard windows rolled up.  And just in case there are any more flying bags of cocaine, you may want to turn that heat and air to recycle.