Monthly Archives: April 2014

Beware karma backlash when blogging.

Balls and Strikes is another blog I write. In my last two blogs about the Seattle Mariners karma has toyed, teased, and tickled me.

Here is what happened. I wrote a blog when Seattle had an eight games losing streak and looked terrible. I made a case for Seattle being the worst team in baseball. I had the numbers, I made a good argument. I was writing the blog during the game in which it looked like Seattle was headed towards their 9th straight loss, but before I finished my blog, Kyle Seager hit a walk-off homerun to win the game for Seattle.

The writing fates were telling me not to get ahead of myself.  Before I published the blog  I was able to do a quick edit and still make my case. The lesson I learned was wait until a game is over before I go on a rant.

The next Mariner blog I wrote was Saturday about Fernando Rodney, the Mariners closer and how he drove people crazy with getting  into trouble, then getting out of trouble and how he reminded me of Dan Stanhouse of the 78-79 Orioles, who was nicknamed “Two Pack” because his manger Earl Weaver half-joked that when he came into a game, Stanhouse made him so nervous, he smoked two packs of cigarette’s waiting for Stanhouse to finish the game. I said the way Rodney wore his cap cockeyed contributed to his problems.

Of course Sunday he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two and shooting my tongue-in-cheek theory out the window. He only threw 12 pitches, 9 for strikes. Not enough time for one cigarette.

I learned nothing, only that the blogger muse likes to laugh in my face. As long as Seattle wins, I don’t mind.

But be aware of your blogs and see what karma brings you. There is something in the air.


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What one thing will e-Book writers never discover

I bought a large paper bag full of old books for $1 at a used book fund raiser. I chose the books, and among those I chose was a Literary Guild edition of “Essays of Montaigne” published in 1947. Fast forward a few years and I checked online to see what it was selling for. Depending on condition it was going for $130 to $200. What made the book valuable were the illustrations. They were done by Salvador Dali.

So I own a rare book.

I can not foresee e-Novelists, of which I am one, ever having a rare e-Novel. Of course society, culture, trends, all change in ways unexpected. But still, will there be auctions for rare e-Book manuscripts? Since an e-Novelist can go in and change his book after publication, is there such a thing as a ‘first edition?’ 

E-Book writers enter the digital world because hardcover book publishing is too to hard to crack. I am convinced good writers can spend their entire lives making queries, writing novels, articles, short stories, toiling long hours, and getting nowhere.

This is not to say all e-novelists are good writers, though many are. But in the digital world we have stories to tell, stories we hope will engage, entertain, and enlighten (the three E’s), and along the way, we hope to make a few dollars; though millions are preferred, hundreds are acceptable.  Dare I say good reviews have more worth than sales?

In the end I see digital books as disposal and not rare.  Even reviews are disposable. I received a four star review for “Loonies in Hollywood” and eight months later the review disappeared from my Kindle page. How does a four star review disappear? 

With one click on my Kindle I can make a book disappear into the e-Book trash bin, the cyber world black hole. If one could enter that nether world, a rare e-Book could possibly be found. But who decides if it is rare? And who would buy it? And why?

You can read the remaining reviews while they still exist on my Amazon page.


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What writers need to know from Elmore Leonard

How should writers end a characters line of dialogue?

Writing ‘he said,’ or ‘she said,’ all the time is boring right? If a character asks a question, one can write’ he asked.’

Or if a character is mad, one can write ‘he angrily said,’ or ‘he exclaimed.’

How about uttered, vocalized, announced, answered, responded, replied, remarked, conveyed, added, stated, declared, mentioned, added, disclosed, imparted, revealed, averred, professed, claimed, expressed, proclaimed, assured, protested, or . . .

I can’t recall if I used words other than ‘said’ in my books “Loonies in the Dugout,” or “Loonies in Hollywood,” I probably did, but I hope sparingly. I don’t want to break Elmore Leonard’s rule of writing. He said to never use anything other than ‘he said.’

When you think about it he is right. The reader needs to do some work and should know the characters state of mind by the scene and description of what is going on. I get annoyed when a writer uses a word like ‘responded’ because obviously the character is responding. If you look at the list of the substitute words above, they all modify what is being said, so why not just use said to begin with and not try to be cute or clever because the reader will only get annoyed, insulted, or both.

If your story is in the first person. like my e-novels above, then it is appropriate to use, ‘I said.’

“But other than he or she said or I said, we need not use anything else, and that’s all I have to say on the matter,” I said.


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Indie writers-everything you know is wrong

“Everything you know is Wrong” is one of my favorite Firesign Theatre comedy albums. If you are unfamiliar with Firesign, their website is

I think the title is apropos for Indie writers, especially us e-book writers. We are told that social medial is important, that we should all have blogs, that a high number of Twitter and blog followers is important. But is all that true? Or is everything we know wrong?

Today I am submitting two other blogs for you to read and think about.

The first is Anne R. Allen’s blog on what most writers are getting wrong.

The second is Writers Village interview with Kathie Shoop who has sold over 100,000.

Indie writers need to digest all information to further their career, so I suggest these blogs to further chart your course.

My website:

My e-novel, Loonies in the Dugout:

My second e-novel, Loonies in Hollywood:

My collection of short stories, Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms:

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How to plagiarize your life for your story

I called a government agency to provide them with my new address because it could not be done online, though other agencies had that capability. As anyone who has encountered automated call systems you can guess where I am going. I called the number I thought was correct. It was at one time, but the agency has moved  that department to its own befuddled bureaucracy. I was given, by a real human no less, not only the new phone number, but an extension to make it easier for me. I tried without the extension first because I wondered how difficult could it be to get a customer service rep to change my address. After all I quickly contacted the live human who gave me the new number. Each answer bounced me somewhere and after about seven or eight bounces I was told there was a new number to call. I used the extension, but it made no difference, I got the same mocking computer-generated voice. Some systems you can just press ‘0’ to connect with a live human, but not with this system. I tried using the second new number, but you don’t want to know about that.

Now I could have shouted obscenities into the phone, but doing so to an automated system is the same as doing it to a live government employee. You get arrested by the automated police for first degree phone assault of a government computer. You are held for a hearing that may not take place for three to four days, so you wait in your cell, unable to leave for exercise because the automated cell doors are not working. I am smart enough to end the call first, then yell at my phone, at the ceiling, kick the cat, slam the door, and eat a quart of ice cream, vanilla with swirls of chocolate fudge. It helps to calm me down.

Or you can take things that happen to you, change them if you must to disguise the true incident and to protect the innocent, mainly you, but use them in your story, not for its sake alone, but to help with character development, giving a personality to him or her. The incident from your life can be humorous, upsetting, negative and sad, or positive and heart warming, anything you want it to be within the character you are developing. You can alter the incident however you want. You are in control, unlike using an automated call system where you are left to Satan and his minions.

My website:


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How to know when to stop writing for the day

Two cups of Chinese tea and some biscotti following a light breakfast and I am ready to write.  By this time I have prepared myself to write by knowing what comes next in the story and how I am going to write it, who is going to be in the scenes, and so forth. Energized by the tea and biscotti I am off and running with the days writing. It generally goes well. I type without making too many mistakes and as explained in a previous blog on how to get into a writers zone, I am indeed there. I am in the story with my characters.

But I also know when to stop. And it is not when the baseball game comes on or I decide I need cookies or I glance out the window and see a beautiful girl wearing shorts and a halter with long blonde hair walking down the street. Okay, sometimes I have to take a walk as spending all day in front of keyboard and computer is not healthy. Walking is good exercise. I do take a small notebook and pen in case I think of something though, so I am still on the job, so I tell myself.

No, I stop when my typing starts to look ile this an I glance at the scrren and see los of red limes uncerneaneth words. I have not been drining, I am just getting tired and when I get tired, I get cranky, and when I get cranky I swear, I yell at my computer, pound my keyboard, and swear some more. The anger intensifies because I think I should have gone for that walk checking to make sure the blonde reached her destination without being molested, kidnapped, or murdered.

When all this tiredness creeps in I find a good place to stop. I finish the chapter, or the scene, and type some notes on how to begin tomorrow. If you are a writer I hope you are not a slave to it and write when you are tired. You don’t get extra credit. Enjoy your writing, write with zeal and passion, and creativity. When your mind, body, and soul tell you to stop, do so. In this cool down period where I finish the scene and make notes for the next day, I find my mind is still coming up with great ideas; the creativity slows down later than body and soul, so this is a good time to prepare for the morrow.

It  is also a good time to look out the window. There might be a cute blonde-or a handsome hunky young man out there. Maybe they have cookies.

My website:

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How a writer can get into a zone

Writing can be fun when words fill sentences that flow into paragraphs faster than the brain is telling you what to write. Before you realize what has happened pages have been written. This is being in the zone, much preferable than wondering what word to write after ‘the.’ I don’t believe in writers block, so don’t go there. Writing  can be tasking, frustrating, irritating, but being in the zone is when time flies.

So how does one get in the zone?

Keep typing without worrying what you have written and that means not looking at the screen or typed page for misspellings, or grammatical correctness. Just write. You can edit later. The point is to keep your mind engaged on creativity. It does not matter if what you are writing makes no sense, make sense of it later.

What often happens when in the zone is that you discover places you are going that you did not see coming. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I created a character named Clancy who was going to be plot point, who comes in and sends the main characters in a certain direction. But every character, no matter how small, should have a personality, should be identifiable as a real person. Clancy is a flapper and during her one scene her personality came out so strong, so interesting, so full and rich, that she forced her way into the story and she became a secondary character who enlivened the entire story. I was in a zone because I had researched flappers, including flapper jargon, so I was ready to write. I prepared for the scene before I began writing and I was off and running.

Think first about the scene, about the characters, where you want go with the scene, what you want to accomplish, and having done your research you are ready to write. You are prepared. When you first begin to write you should cease thinking and start creating. This has worked for me and it has made writing much easier and more fun.

My website:


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