Monthly Archives: October 2013

Creepy tales of ghosts and afterlife and only 2.99 on Kindle. Is this a plug?

Not only do I write about writing, specifically the looniness of e-world writing, I also write novels and short stories. More about my brand new-just in time for Halloween-collection of tales in a moment. But first a short digression.

The title of this blog was to have been “The quill, the e-world, the looniness.” I wrote my first few blogs under that assumption, until one day I saw it read, not as “e-world,”  but as” e-word.” Obviously once again my keyboard was not taking my directions. It often does that, sabotaging me that is, because it probably feels I hit the keys to hard. We live in a touchy e-world. At first I was upset about the mistake (sabotage), thought about how to change it, then decided e-word works just as well (almost as well), and who really reads that closely anyway, certainly not writers who are supposed to proofread.

Speaking of proofreading, in the last sentence I typed  the word ‘that’ (honest I did, I was watching my fingers) but it came out as ‘the.’ Like I said-sabotage. I did correct, thank you.

Okay, digression over. I just published on Amazon Kindle “Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms.” In fact as I write it is yet on my authors page. It takes longer for it to migrate there I guess. But here is the link

Description, since you must be curious is:

I hesitate to reveal too much of these eight tales that are spooky, grisly, and offbeat, because due to the weirdness of one or two I fear men in white coats coming after me with butterfly nets and a strait jacket. But if you must know, in this collection of eight ghostly tales you will find two stories where the dead seek revenge, one in gruesome fashion. You will also discover two stories where the dead have trouble adjusting in the next life. And though not ghostly, one tale is morbid, despite the romantic notion behind a man’s actions. Four of the eight take place in the same cemetery; one takes place in England, one in a library, and one in an apartment next to the cemetery. The opening story, “An Evening with Constance Bennett” is more like a “Twilight Zone” episode, a tale quirky and odd, a phantasm of the imagination. There is also a bonus story, a noir mystery set in 1948.

Thank you for reading this blog and Happy Halloween.


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Walk softly and carry a nice review

Teddy Roosevelt said to “walk softly and carry a big stick.” I only carry a stick in the summer to knock away snakes that sneak up on me. Honestly. I was standing with a friend one day, when a snake slithered onto my shoe and stayed there. I did not have a stick then, but I do now.

Summer is over and the stick is resting in the corner. I will use it for spiders this winter.

However, I would like to share a review a woman wrote about my e-book, “Loonies in Hollywood.” I will walk softly and let her carry the stick. It is always nice to get validation for your work.

I just remembered I may still need that stick for a snake or two. I was part of a voluntary crew picking up litter on a road we were assigned to a few years back. No, I was not wearing prison garb or doing forced community service. It was through a program at work to show civic pride and all that jazz. It was a county road and on my side the road sloped down. There was the usual tall grass, sticker bushes, and other greenery. I walked down to get a couple of plastic bottles when I slipped and fell on about a dozen hibernating snakes. It was a Freudian nightmare. They barely moved. Thank you Sigmund. Had it been summer they would have slithered up my pant leg and I don’t want to think any further. It wasn’t summer, but still distressing.

I have not participated in the road crew since then. Not what you think. I no longer work for them. Besides they are under new ownership and those folks to not believe in civic pride. I think they are just afraid of snakes.

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Missing quotation marks and lost socks

If you have done laundry then you know the mystery of lost socks. It is always one, not two, that disappear and where it goes and how it goes remains a mystery.  Either the washer or the dryer is the culprit and neither will rat out the other. However, after careful examination over the years of the two suspects, I suspect the washer is guilty of trafficking in human socks. I can’t give details as it is an ongoing investigation.

It has been brought to my attention, much to my dismay, that like lost socks, there is a mystery surrounding lost quotation marks. Rest assured neither the washer or dryer are suspects in the case.

The facts are these. A certain writer, namely me, in either the process of writing a story in Word doc. or in transferring said story to an unnamed formatter-unnamed until formal charges can be brought-has seen numerous missing quotation marks, most disappearing at the end of a quote, though a few are missing at the beginning, even rarer, both are missing. You can imagine the problems that causes.

I know what you are thinking. That during the course of editing and proofreading there is bound to be a few missing quotation marks, or periods, misspellings, other punctuation miscues and so on. It is true that the writer in question, namely me, during a fervor of creativity, where words are flowing into sentences, the sentences rapidly building paragraphs, the paragraphs quickly filling pages, that more errors are likely to occur. But such a hot streak of creativity for the writer in question, namely me, is as rare as two lost socks.

 More to the point is when missing quotation marks number well over 100 in a novel, it is clear a crime is being committed. In fact I took a lie detector test in which I stated that yes I had done a proofreading, had in fact did numerous checks. It did appear they were there in Word. doc-at least that is my believe, but the evidence is now missing. The fact that I administered my own lie detector test should not be held against me.

Clearly something is going on. And I am about to set a trap. I have a new collection of short stories, “Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms” that I have proofread in Word.doc and all quotation marks are accounted for. Now the manuscript has been uploaded to a formatter and I am soon to check it. I hope to be done soon, as the e-book needs to be published for Halloween. I will report my findings next week. Stay tuned.


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What is a the most important thing for a writer to do.

If I knew who made the quote I would cite the person, but I have no idea who said, “The simple act of sitting down to write is the most important thing you can do.” On the other hand maybe it is best we don’t know. I like the quote, but there is something wrong with it.

There is truth in the first part of the quote. Sitting down to write is a simple act. I want you to watch this amazing slight of hand video taken in Beijing. It lasts 4:33. When finished, come back and I will tell you something about the video.

The man in the video, like any magician, relies on distracting you, making you look one direction so he can do something when you are looking elsewhere.  I sit down to write everyday. It is easy to do, a simple act. But often I get distracted because I find videos like this on Facebook or YouTube. But aren’t you glad I shared it with you.

Then there are times when I have the urge to hear a favorite song, like this one.

Or if I want to get riled up with liberal indignation, I listen to Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting

So you see, sitting down to write is not the most important thing you can do. Anyone can sit down to write, nothing important in that. It is a good intention to sit down, but writers are easily distracted as you have noticed if you watched any of the above videos. I distracted you with my sleight of electronic hand.

The lesson for today class, is if you plan on sitting down to write, then the most important thing you can do is write. Do not go to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on. You should of course come here to this blog for valuable information and insight. By the way, if you missed one of the videos above, you still have time to watch them. I am not really distracting you. I am being social.

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Why writers should listen to Gertrude Stein for true happiness

“Let me listen to me and not to them.” So said Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) in Stanza VII from Stanzas in Meditation (1932).

Having read Stanza 7, I must admit I have no idea what she is talking about. Not do I care to write out the whole stanza for you to meditate on. My purpose here is to extract the quoted line above for another purpose.

Now that it is standing alone, does it not reflect “To thine own self be true.” That quote comes from Polonius, father of Ophelia, in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Polonius also said, “Neither  borrower nor a lender be.” Makes one wonder if Gertrude decided to borrow from Polonius and rewrite the line to say the same thing.

Not a problem as all writers borrow and rewrite. Why am I bringing all this up? As Polonius also said, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.” In other words, ones you have no doubt heard, “There is madness to my methods.” Or is it, “There is methods to my madness.”

Anyway. . .

My method is to quote those with sage advice. If you are a writer then write what pleases you, not what please others. You will write much better when writing what drives you to write in the first place. At this point I could quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Inner peace begins with yourself, which again indicates you should write what you love to write. If you write for yourself, within yourself, you will have peace. I said I could quote Emerson, but he also said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” If Emerson didn’t like quotations, he should have kept quiet.

So Mr. Emerson, I will tell you what I know. That being it is difficult for a writer, or any creative person, to receive criticism, to believe the negativity, to read the bad, or mediocre reviews. But remember there are many opinions and any creative person will get good and bad reviews. The key point of this brief dissertation is that reviews always reflect the reviewer, not the reviewed. The reviewer reflects his bias, his bent, his slant, his view of things, so if his sense of humor is different than the authors, if his world view is different than the authors, than a bad review is forthcoming.

I shall close with my favorite quote, not from a writer, but a bird, “Quoth the Raven, nevermore!”

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To get ahead you must first fall behind

Even if you are not a writer you have goals, or at the least something you must do, want to do, and are trying to achieve that goal. And many of us complain the big obstacle is time. We don’t have enough time to get done what we want to get done as real life intrudes into our time. You know those nagging, piddly things, like family, a real job, social obligations-real ones, not the social media ones.

But some insightful soul whose name is lost to history has pointed out the obvious, who saw what the rest of us could not see, as we were blinded with the inability to see outside the box. If you need more time I suggest you consider what this anonymous observer realized.

He said the sooner you fall behind the more time you’ll have to catch up. Think about it. Rushing to a deadline is exasperating. If you rush to deadline time contracts, you have less and less time speeding towards the appointed time, but if you lag behind, time expands, with more time ahead of you to finish. You can take your time, giving more attention to proofreading, to editing, to drinking tea, watching Miley Cyrus viral videos.

This is part of, by the way, Einstein’s theory of relativity. Feel free to Google and explore it yourself.

I have a new collection of short stories, Cemetery Tales, to proofread and edit, order a cover design, upload to my formatter, then publish as an e-book on Amazon before Halloween. I know I have a deadline in two weeks and have in fact been lagging behind in order to have more time to catch up.

Wait a minute. Two weeks! I start a new job next week, I have to see a movie and review it today, tomorrow I am volunteering all afternoon, Sunday is NFL. Sorry, I have to run, I lagged behind too much and must rush to my deadline. Damn that smart ass anonymous nitwit anyway.

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Diagonally parked in a parallel universe

If scheduling a set time for writing and sticking to it is a parallel universe, then I am diagonally parked, especially in the last week. For example, one day after accepting a new job offer, I was informed that there would be an email with attached forms to read, print, sign, and send overnight. Simple enough for most people, but my printer, like me, is diagonally parked. It does fine (usually) if printing documents I have created in Word, but with PDF  files, or something off the Internet we have a problem.

The problem is that it will start to print, then stop, and the light blinks. The computer and printer came out of the same box, so you would think they could communicate together, but the printer seems to have a snit with the computer. So I have to pull a plug from the printer, put it back in, restart computer, then it usually prints. Operative word is usually. So I knew I would have a problem.

This time, and this is not always the case, my printer was out of ink. So off to Wally World to buy a number 60 cartridge. I came home, opened the box, and realized, though I bought number 60, it was tri-color, and I needed black. I got  back in my diagonally parked car, returned to Wally World, made the exchange, returned home, and of course it would print one document, not the other, so I had to go through the unplug, restart process.

Then I had to go to the DMV for a drivers abstract. No problem, they are minutes away, or would be if they had not moved, something I figured out when they were not where they should be. Back to the computer to see where they are. Returning to my car and heading to the new DMV, which happens to be in the direction of Wally World.

Gathering all the information to fax to the number listed, I went to my apartment manager’s office to send the fax. Office closed. Back in my car, still diagonally parked, and off to Post Net for the fax. Upon returning home, I realized I left the original copy of something that needed copied and sent with other forms. Back in the car-does anyone give frequent drivers miles-and retrieved my precious document.

There is more. I had written down everything that happened to include for this blog, but the note I wrote it on has disappeared. I think the printer is hiding it; he has a snit with me too I guess. The foregoing is what I can remember. Now I must leave to see if I can get my car parallel parked. These are  the days that intrude on my writing and this is why I can not have a writing schedule.

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