After people bid on items and then backed out after winning got me to asking why.
eBay enjoys success for two main reasons. One, much like Amazon, the service makes it easy for people to shop. Within moments of a simple search with the ‘buy it now’ filter enabled, people can find what they are looking for, and it is already sorted with the lowest prices first.
After a quick look at their ratings and possibly the shipping time, a few clicks later, the item is purchased, and you are done.
This might be what saves them from demise.
Q. Why do you think they would die?
eBay started with the premise of an auction. This is not an auction for new items, but old.
‘Old,’ as in items that have been around for a very long time and usually passed through the hands of several owners, possibly for generations.
These auctions allow people to part with ‘treasures’ that were once treasures of someone else. ‘Treasures’ are emotional purchases. Allow me to explain or, as Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, ‘You got some Splaining to do.’
My grandparents had this cheesy clock on their mantel that had a faux fireplace in it. That clock intrigued me as a child. I was told that they would ‘will it to me.’
As a five-year-old at the time, I had no idea what that meant, I just remember that at some time in my life it would be mine. Well, it never happened. Sad, I know, but there on eBay you can find that same clock, which is ‘very old’ now in different states of disrepair.
My only reason for thinking about spending money on it would be as a reminder of my grandparents every time I saw it. Those types of purchases take you back to sometime in your life that hopefully was pleasant. I am assuming that one would not purchase or own something that brought them back to a horrible time in their life.
eBay recently succumbed to the taxing authority, where Sales taxes are now assessed on all purchases. If I sell an item for $100 and then out of state shipping is $30, and…now they collect a tax on it, the person buying it is looking at $140. Rounded. This happened, and the person backed out of the deal when they saw the final price tag. Can you blame them?
eBay is about getting a good deal, not spending tons of money on taxes and shipping.
Working this in reverse eBay takes a percentage of the sale price the seller gets less than the $100, has to have an item that is worth more than the $100 and go through the trouble of listing, packaging and managing the transaction.
The taxing authority is the beneficiary of your work or your purchase, and I am sure eBay cut a deal with them to go through the trouble of collecting and remitting the tax, so eBay makes more money from the purchase.
My sales on eBay have all but stopped because of this and I would imagine that others who sell on eBay as a hobby or business have seen the same types of changes.
Here is what I think needs to happen.
Once an item is no longer ‘new,’ they should not be allowed to charge sales tax on it again and again and again. That is absolute bullshit!
I would encourage you ebayers and, for that matter, antique mall shoppers and sellers to write your congressmen a letter objecting to this practice.
The problem with taxes is they only go up; they never go the other way. States and other taxing agencies will tell you how much your tax dollars help, but in truth, they just rob the taxpayers of funds. Municipalities, much like you and I, need to budget their dollars like you and I do.
The more they make, the more bloated and inefficient they become. Taxes choke businesses, and in the end, it is you and I that pay the price.
While eBay resembles Amazon more and more, I suspect that soon you will find other auction sites or people figuring out ways to market their ‘treasures’ not using eBay.
We the people need to push back, and it is past time.
Re-press this post or forward it if you are like me and happen to enjoy shopping for Trinkets and Treasures. Yes, that is going to be a business name for such artifacts.
If you know of such places, please let me and others know. The system only seems to work for the government. The way they waste your money, they do not deserve it. Some things should not be taxed, and I happen to think old tchotchkes should be exempt from further taxation.
My proposal will be this; you collect sales tax if you offer new items where you have in quantity, which is indicative that it might be a business. If, on the other hand, it is an actual auction, there should be no taxes. That is also true of flea markets, antique malls, and yes tailgate sales where like-minded people gather to swap stories, tell jokes, and yes, trade junk. We need to get some common sense back in our government, and it starts with you the people telling them enough is enough.
Folks, they work for you, we are not a serf class. Push back or be plowed under.
Ok, I pulled her plug, removed her source of power; I disabled her ability to distract me.
As we sit in our homes worried that some sneaky Made if China virus will attack us, do we really need more distractions? If you are like me, you are a writer. We create worlds and characters and all sorts of things, including widgets for solving complex problems. Do we really need the constant distractions from mechanical things advertising stuff to us?
I think back to when I put in my first phone. Wow, that was some time ago, but I still remember it. Shortly after I paid to have it installed along with gas, water, and electricity, there was the phone. Long before cable and the internet. During dinner, your favorite show on TV or…something more intimate the thing would ring. This was a time long before answering machines. There was no screening of calls back then, you either ignored it or picked it up. Yes, there was no caller ID, either.
There are you paying damned good money each month for people to have a way to bother you.
Today we have smartphones, tablets, and yes, Alexa, all sitting there along with your computer just waiting to distract you.
Turn it off!
Whatever machine you are using to write with, disconnect it from the internet. Take all the other stuff and remove it from your office. Put a do not disturb sign on your door. Be grouchy if someone ignores that sign, they will stop soon enough. This is your time to create. Don’t let the spoilers of your creations invade your space.
A word of caution, don’t do this too much. Set aside a few hours that you intend to be away from the world. Give fair warning that unless the place is on fire, don’t bother you. After that, be available to those that love you, or they may not like you too much longer.
The point I am making is, you can control your environment if you so choose to do so. Often writers come up with excuses for why they did not get something done. If research is your thing, when you hit that bump in the road, make a note ***research this*** and move on.
As we push through this time of uncertainty, don’t allow this opportunity to go to waste. Write and live in that other world. I promise you will find it liberating.
The horses finished in an upset as the favorite lost to a relative newcomer. Samantha Thomas grew up on the farm but wanted so much more than slopping pigs.
Her dream was realized when a visitor in town learned of her love of horses. Hiring her to train his horse, she eventually rode it in local races. Before long, she and Thundercloud were making their way into the hearts and minds of other enthusiasts.
Riding the horse to victory, the owner sold the horse to visiting Prince. The new owner, much like many in the stands, had no clue that the real gem was Sam, not the horse.
Diamond Joe, the man, was in the stands with his new son in law when Thundercloud came in from behind, pulling off an upset that would be history for years to come. His daughter was also in the crowd, but she was only there for her husband, Steve, and her father.
After the death of her father, and a year later her husband; Donna sold her home and went to be with her mother. Vera, her mother, passed from the flu, leaving her alone on the plantation. Dealing with a new horse that Steve, her husband, had purchased left her little time to socialize, not that she wanted to.
Teaching Journalism at the local university, Donna buried herself in her work. The plantation was a respite from the real world. When one of her students, an up and coming quarterback, argued with her about her draconian ideas on journalism, she saw in him the same spark that she had seen in her husband.
Dane showed an interest in her, which aroused the woman inside her. Learning of his desire to date her niece, she put that fantasy on hold. Hiring him to do some handyman work, Dane learns of her real love, the horse ‘Diamond Joe’ named after her father.
Not telling Donna the entire story of Sam, he alludes to her that Sam could train her horse. Inviting Samantha to her place, Donna soon learns that love comes in all sizes and shapes.
Was Samantha interested in her money, or something else?
Read the story, tell me what you think. I love this novel as have many of my readers. Check it out.
While we are all on ‘time out,’ why not read a love story with horses and racing as a subplot?
It’s very late or very early, depending upon your perspective of things. Insomnia is either my friend or my enemy, much like time itself.
Little Cat feet came to mind as I made my way from the bed to the window where everything glows from the ambient light, scattered by the small droplets of water.
It is not unlike me at 3 am to put the kettle on, and sit outside, and watch as the world sleeps.
My mind reels with the events of the previous day and this time l reflect on the last week. I am troubled by the loss of life, and how much consternation that must cause to the survivors of those family members. Italy is in my mind; my heritage in part is from a little town very close to where the famous violin maker created his works of art.
She came to the states when she was 16. Through digging in Ancestry, we know the name of the ship that carried her to our shores. My Italian blood runs deep, as does my English blood.
Care to guess what she brought with her? Somewhere in a climate control vault lives a 1721 original Stradivarius. The chain of custody was from her (his mother) to my grandfather, to my mother, to me.
One of the tuning pegs has disintegrated. I was looking into purchasing to luthier tools, to repair it when I noticed the label. Could it be a copy? Who knows, even the experts are not sure. Owners of Strads do not want it to be one, as that would lessen the value of theirs.
Still, it would be nice to have it repaired. Can you imagine learning to play on a Strad? Yes, I play musical instruments, and I think I would pick it up reasonably quickly but not to the level of those on stage. Muscle memory is required, much like most musical instruments and typing for that matter.
I think about what her journey must have been like. A square mast sailing vessel that depended upon the winds to move it along. Long before the Titanic set forth on its one way trip to Davy Jones Locker, there were the real sailors. No, I was not dissing those that work on ships today. Think about what that would have been like being tossed about by the wind and waves. Those old ships creaked and groaned and leaked.
The ships not only brought people and things, but they brought rats and disease. History is rife with stories of such things that we in modern times are all too willing ‘forget.’
I stepped outside as the steam from my tea made little wispy curls those water droplets joined the trillions of others before me. Iridescent colors only faintly color the otherwise gray surroundings flashing lights catch my attention.
What will this day bring?
How many more have stopped breathing?
When will it become too much for the healthcare system to handle people who are in need?
How long did it take Italy to get to the point of administering last rights, instead of putting people on the life-saving devices that are in short supply? Today we were ordered to ‘shelter in place.’
What does that mean exactly?
I was forced to run a ‘mercy mission’ today, well Sunday, as there are people I know that needed TP and food. Taking from my supply will extend their need to get out to ‘shop.’
A week without eating out has been rougher than I thought. With the options dwindling, the desire for fast food has crept into my brain. Now it is I who must find the mystical TP. Not today or tomorrow but soon.
Monday, I will take the time to get my characters busy again. So many of them are nestled in the pages of over 30 of my novels on Amazon and Smash words and, of course, many other places.
It is time to set them free and stop bemoaning my predicament. This is just a speedbump on the journey of life. Tap the breaks and move on. It is bigger than I am.
As for the Strad, I am going to write a novel called ‘The Last Strad.’
I go and visit it on occasion. It seems to be haunted. It is almost as if I can hear it playing some melody from long ago.
Hello, fellow detainees? How are you managing your time? No, I really want to know, is there couch time involved. Was there also a run on the liquor store? Did they limit beer?
Not a beer drinker, but I do like Merlot. If you have read any of my novels, you know this about me.
Merlot and Dark Chocolate is like nirvana on steroids.
I managed a few paragraphs on one of my works in progress, but I have not done much else. My friends and family have taken much of my free time in that they just need to socialize. What about you?
I am spending more time on my blog, as a way to reach out to you, and of course my friends all over the globe. I look at where you folks live, and now I like have these things added to my bucket list to travel to your home town. I think I have followers in all the major countries.
You are the reason I spend more time on this blog than I should. To create a novel that will go viral, I should be putting all of my juice in it. I know other bloggers/authors who have done that. In fact, there is one who still has a blog but has not posted since 2018. I reached out to her on one of her articles—no reply, which is a bloody shame.
I don’t care how many books sell and how much time I have to devote to them, I will always make time for you, and you…and yes you too.
You know you are my favorite, right? LOL
Until I heard my mother telling a sibling that they were her favorite, I thought I was special…
If you follow me, I go and peek at your blog, and on some of them, I might comment. There are some excellent writers out there.
I look forward to reading what you put out into the world.
That brings me to tonight’s topic, where does your material come from?
I have friends who are writing the next Harry Potter…from the work of J.K Rowling, who is now worth over a billion dollars. I wrote a novel called Cyber Subs that I researched but, was inspired to write it from reading 50 shades. El James is worth millions. Her books were titillating to some and naughty to most.
My material for that novel did not, however, come from any of her writing. Not only do I have followers here, but I have twitter and Instagram peeps. One fine young lady (no, I am not facetious) who follows me on twitter called herself a Cyber Slut. People, I am not naïve. I watched an Avenue Q performance on the internet saying it was made for porn, laughed and went on.
Over the years, when the internet went from a text-based interface to an actual GUI, sure enough, porn found its way on the world wide web. What floored me was the link I followed of her’s. It took me to a site called My Free Cams.
When I first went there years ago, I was shocked, to say the least. There were a few hundred models online each night. The number has tripled since I wrote the novel, and oh, by the way, they are no longer the only site in town. I will confess that I wondered why there were no nude dudes on there. Oops, I found them one day after I told my daughter about my findings. She and some of her friends gave me a list of places. Holy Shit! Yes, the expletive is warranted. There is nothing to stop a five-year-old from going to these sites. Mom and Dad, how are you going to deal with your children seeing this stuff when they are still in grammar school?
This is the problem with being stuck at home. I think a lot.
The brains of humans are wired in such a way that one would have to think this early exposure to hardcore porn would dement them in some way. The ‘me two’ movement might look like a parking violation in years to come.
Those sites have close to two thousand women modeling at any given time. There are multiple sites. I had to show nothing to anyone to gain full access. That is where my fodder came from for many of my racy novels. I have tried to create these types of books from the POV of both genders, as it is an excellent practice for writing something I could tell my parents about if they were still around.
I think schools are going to have to incorporate some kind of curriculum that addresses the porn aspect of the internet. Yes, it needs to be in the lower grades.
Sex workers, which is a real occupation, provide safe sex and an outlet for those who are socially inept or just need to get a release. I understand that process; I am a healthy red-blooded person.
I would love to interview a few of you so, if you are a sex worker and would like to speak with a real author, drop me a tweet or an e-mail to my website contact page at www.authortwscott dot com
We can do it all over e-mail, and just so you know, I don’t judge, and I have respect for anyone who is working trying to make ends meet. As long as you are of legal age and understand what you are doing, it is your deal. I just want to crawl around in your head for a bit.
Did you see what I just did?
The topic of the blog or the question I wanted to address is where do you get your material? I speak with people everywhere I go. From the doctors’ offices to the stores, I visit with people as I am a humanist. I am also an author, and some of you have such dynamic personalities that I enjoy getting to know you.
Tomorrow is day Seven of my sentence.. LOL, or it is a shared sentence, and the world as a whole is taking part in one of the most massive lockdowns in the history of the globe.
I see that Russia is immune to this virus. Hey Russian friends, are you immune, or is the iron curtain coming back up? God I hope not. Everyone that I visit with, no matter the country, seems to have the same likes and dislikes as me.
Without our leaders mucking things up, I would wager we all would get along just fine.
I have Chinese friends, and nobody is blaming the Chinese people for this. No, we are blaming the government. They need to get brave. They need to do a root cause analysis as to how this happened, so it never happens again.
As for the rest of us, back to trying to entertain myself.
If I asked you about last week, what would you tell me?
The house is still very quiet, even my ‘mews’ is too bewildered at my early rustling around to consider begging for those little morsels of kitty crack, known as ‘treats.’
Peering through the window to the world, there are no glowing eyes of the usual vehicular madness that usually traverse the mazes of cement around my domicile. Much like half-finished portraits of presidents to other notorieties, many of my characters are frozen in time awaiting some form of life from their creator.
Steam rises from the cup of elixir warming my digits as I stand in my miniature oasis among the rest of the city dwellers who are still capturing what their imaginary worlds have to offer. An occasional raptor of the skies, still perched in the canopy overhead either tells me good morning or perhaps is telling me to come closer, so it too can bless me or perhaps target my cup full of caffeine.
A week of this solitude you would think my characters would be solving the world’s problems or perhaps fighting the aliens in some undiscovered parts of the galaxy.
The unknowns of the world lie hidden deep in the microscopic world around us. Waiting to attack with surgical precision much like miniature IED’s, they are carried by almost anything that moves or they simply lie in wait, much like that tic in the forest.
The usual activities we enjoy are now suspect. Should I? Could I? Is it wise to?
All the while our usual haunts are suffering by our trepidations or perhaps ‘suggested activities’ while we wait for the all-clear. The world waits and watches but nobody is at the helm. The taxman or bill collector is blind to the uncertainties of the world, there is a balance sheet and the bottom line is the final stop, for those that were spared this time.
Stories of voices now silenced, permeate the imaginations of most, and panic the hell out of the spirits of many.
We have faced this before.
We no longer sing Ring around the Rosie or fill their pockets with posies. Ashes, not so much, but the falling down will certainly apply in some parts of the world, where deep trenches are carved into the earth to hold the forms of the many, who will now reside in photos, memories, and the hearts of those left behind.
Echoes from sphincters emanating from lofty ivory barbicans, rail at those who seek to hold back the crimson tide, pointing their bent digits at their efforts. It is they who do the devils bidding, herding the masses into those resting places while awaiting the sneak attack of some invisible assailant. They cause us to mock those trying to help us, in an effort to destroy what is left of the tapestry of humanity.
There is a higher power in control but, the lambs must look up from the next blade of grass while ignoring Satan’s henchmen on the rubicund State-Run propaganda Network. The clueless threadbare statues uttering lies and innuendo created by the puppet masters become reverberations of the hypnotists.
The noise disappears with the touch of a button as my furry comfort creature hops in my lap taking her rightful place just below the keyboard. The familiar vibrations comfort my soul as another sip of coffee slowly causes the blues to drift away.
The world is out there waiting for your tickling of the letters to form words, phrases, and uplifting sentiment while shunning the devil, not allowing him a win over you.
This epistle of sorts culminates the days and nights which preceded today. There is a glow in the east and yes, it is light from that yonder window and no, it is not Juliet or Romeo. Today marks the beginning of another day in which to leave my indelible mark on the hearts of many. I am here.
How is your homeschooling going? Do teachers deserve a raise or what?
Hello my friends, how are you doing today?
I titled this piece ‘My Prison, Day III’ simply because many of us might feel like we are stuck. The unknowns are probably the worst part of this ‘event.’ The news will drive you up the wall, and it is mostly crap. From channel to channel, the contradictions outweigh the usefulness of the media itself.
Many of you are on Spring Break. Stay home.
You can live your life how you choose but learn from what is going on today. Since you are not in classes, take advantage of what is happening today and learn from it. Some countries might very well sweep this event under the rug and blame the whole thing on some natural occurrence.
The deficits of this event are showing up in record numbers. These need to be corrected and if you don’t pay attention to what they are they will not be fixed. Corruption from business practices to our national security are exposed to you, right now.
A few days ago before the market tanked a senator sold over a million dollars in hotel stock without warning us the American people. Insider trading earns you three hots and a cot at least in club cupcake. Ask Martha Stewart how that works.
However, Pandora’s box was opened, the minions of evil are out and about, and we have to deal with what is. Flattening the curve in this country will allow our medical people to save more lives.
Social distancing means stay at home if at all possible. It is more than merely staying a few feet away from other folks. Today I spent a few hours on Google Hangout with some friends just to interact, laugh, and show to ourselves that life can go on.
Many of our younger folks have been doing this for years through video games and programs that allow them to communicate with their ‘team.’ Maybe you who know how to do this should show your parents how, and oh, by the way, invite them to play your video game with you.
I mention that last bit because we are in a kind of time out. The things that we do with impunity like happy hour, or dinner with friends or the show, the play, or yes, the opera, we cannot do.
What did we do when we were sent to our rooms?
We were supposed to reflect on why we were sent there, but, usually, we found some way to entertain ourselves if we didn’t pout. Friends, you can pout, or you can use this time to eat a meal with your family. Spend time in the kitchen with your spouse or children. Talk about your fears and anxiety and listen. You young people listen too. Your parents might not share the fact that they are scared, but only a fool would not be worried.
I have not played a board game in tens of years; I was wondering how long it would take to get one delivered through Amazon. I never did learn to play that military game that takes forever to set up. My brother had it, and I never learned it. I don’t recall the name of it, but I bet some of you do know the game I am speaking about. Just maybe it is time to dig it out and try to engage your spouse or significant other in something that you can control.
I joke about prison, but that is what this is, a mini prison sentence. Through no fault of our own, we are under house arrest. Violating that could be deadly, not only to you but to those that you love.
Too many of you are now jobless and financial worry has to be high on your mind. My day job has been shut down too, I get it. Not only has the influx of funds been curtailed, but our 401’s and other savings have been devastated. You are not alone. While the politicians argue about some form of money to each American, it will not be enough, no matter what it is.
I can control my writing. I have over 30 novels out there on Amazon and other places. I also have several works in progress. I can use the time to work on them. I am a writer, so I live in my cave. I tease that I have a lair, but in truth, it is an office about the size of a prison cell. Now I have everything I might want at my disposal, except my ability to have that margarita with my favorite Mexican dish. Think about how good that will be when this is over.
I was teasing my friends today, telling them how this was beginning to get real; I ate my last thin mint Girl Scout cookie!
We will get through this, and I am looking for creative ways to keep my sanity through it. Tell me what you are doing to pass the time while we commiserate or visit. You choose.
I choose to look at the upside in that very few people are ringing the bell, and traffic seems a whole lot less. I waved at my neighbors today, who I hardly ever see.
When the local eating place you go to from time to time becomes a craving, you know you are in trouble.
I am sure if I bothered to look, I would find at least a half dozen blogs with that title.
How are you doing? Have you searched for your copy of the Shining yet? Does the phrase REDRUM pass through your mind? Maybe you see Dead People? LOL Take heart; we are all in this together.
My creativity is blown all to hell and gone, as I like many of you; are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We had lovely weather today, so I sat in the back yard and watched the birds for a bit.
Typically there is lots of jet traffic as I have two major airports, well two and a half significant airports around me.
Even the road noise is much quieter than average.
A woman was held up at gunpoint not far from here where the ass wipe took her groceries and her wallet.
When I took my concealed carry course, there were more women than men taking the class. Not only was there a run on toilette paper and Hand sanitizer, but on guns and bullets.
In times like this, I think if I were on the jury, she would be let off without even a warning if she put him down like the sorry rat he is.
Some services help people in need; you don’t have to rob innocent people.
With more and more folks working from home, their pets will be happy.
There are roaming gangs of men dressed in white scrubs of sorts, going door to door to say they are there to test. They will rob you. The government intercepted dozens of fake corona test kits the other day. Wow, some people know no lows.
I did have this idea that I want to run past you. If you are like me, people are always knocking on the door trying to sell something. What if you created a sign that said under quarantine and put it on your door? Do you suppose they would ignore that one like they ignore the no soliciting sign?
I figured out why they ignore the no soliciting sign by the way. They don’t know what it means. You need the sign to be more direct and to the point.
“No, I am not buying your shit! Go away!”
During this viral stuff, the door knocking has gone way down. Even the JW’s have not been around. I was getting so bored I was kind of waiting to see if they would pop by.
I watched a little bit of American Idol. I admit it; I have a soft spot for the sanitation worker. I love the underdog and man that guy is a noble soul. I wish the best for him. I hope some dentist contacts him and gives him a free implant. The dude can sing, and he is rather sweet in an infectious kind of way.
I noticed that there is a lot of talent this year. Did you see that man that did not know who Lionel Richey was? WTF? You would think that the guy might have done just a little research.
We are all in this together. I don’t care what country you are in, what your religious beliefs are or race or anything else. You, my friends, are like me, in time out.
So, until we can cavort in the gardens, run through the meadows and eat with each other, I raise my proverbial stein of beer and solute you. This is Day II, and we have a long road ahead of us. Stay well, keep in touch, and do tell me what you are doing to stay sane.
If an AXE comes through my door I don’t give a shit who it is. They are going to die! LOL
Using the tools at their disposal, Facebook has blocked and, in some cases, suspended the accounts of people who post things about the virus gripping the world.
I would suppose they don’t have the workforce to separate fact from fiction so better just to stop it all, keeping disinformation campaigns from spreading much like the virus itself.
Why; look at the store shelves.
Humans, like it or not, are not that far removed from our four-legged friends, and we can be manipulated to ‘stampede.’ Emotions and yes, fear is one of those emotions, and is a hell of a motivator!
In the London bombing of a music concert, it was not the explosion so much as the trampling of others that did much of the damage. That is why it is illegal to yell ‘FIRE’ in an auditorium. People will react en masse as part of the fight or flight instinct. Buying skid loads of toilette paper and hand sanitizer is just one example of how we can be herded.
This is a time for calm, rational thought and clear-headed approaches to daily life. This is a time to rise above your ‘programming’ and think.
I would like to explain to you why it is essential to self-isolate yourselves.
I titled this piece ‘they tell two friends’ because you all have seen the commercial for a shampoo that by now is somewhat dated, but still an accurate metaphor for this virus.
Since we know that you can have the virus and not be aware of it makes this virus particularly dangerous. Contracting it, you can go days before you are mindful that something is amiss. By the time you decide to see your doctor or begin to suspect something is not right; how many have you infected?
Yes, you can be asymptomatic and still very contagious.
In medical parlance, it is referred to in this manner.
Scientists believe that each infected person will give or spread the contagion to three (3) people. It is called R(0) or R naught. That number is different for each disease in that it is the contagion efficacy or spreadability factor.
Covid 19 has a value of 3. Other diseases have different values.
If you are number one, follow the steps.
As you can see, in just 15 short steps we are now at over 14 million people from just one carrier.
Why does it have this number?
This mutation of the coronavirus has an RNA strand that we have not seen before. There are no defense mechanisms against it, other than your immune system.
In ‘nature’s’ world those creatures with compromised immune systems and by that it could simply be age, contract viruses like this, and die off. Darwin knew a thing or two, whether you like it or not.
By the aged population dying off, they either assured enough food for the rest or became food for others. In the world of nature, everything is recycled. In animal pacts, the old or diseased were shunned by the herd.
Through medical advances, the average life expectancy of ‘mankind’ has gone from the mid 30’s to about twice that. That is all fine and dandy until we are faced with something that we don’t have a medical ‘fix’ for.
Doing your part to lower that R number is imperative to give our health professionals time to treat the infected and to develop methods for managing them. Drowning in your phlegm is not a pretty way to go. Early reports were that young people without underlying health conditions were pretty much immune. Not so fast, we are seeing younger people in their thirties in critical condition. Nobody is safe.
Italy is currently faced with the reality of only assisting those that have a good chance of pulling through while leaving those that won’t to drown in mucus. I am certain Italy was not the first and will not be the last to make these gut-wrenching decisions. If you have ever fished and watched a fish gasping for breath on the bank of the river, imagine that fish as a human. Not a pretty sight.
Do your part. Wash your hands, stay away from crowds, and resist the false narratives by the media who are using this as a political cudgel. They are shameless, pathetic weasels using fear to manipulate the mob. Someone is pulling their strings. Someone with deep pockets is using this as a mechanism to effect change for some grand plan.
This is a time for calm, kindness, and grace. Do what you can for those that cannot, and use common sense when you are out and about. We are not animals. We care for our own, and that means our parents or grandparents.
We will get through this and be the better for it. The lessons we are learning today are eye-openers as to why we should not develop biological weapons. Viruses know no boundaries when it comes to who they infect. Race or other identity politically charged assaults don’t exist. They are equal opportunity messengers of death and destruction, much like the atomic bomb. The main difference is with biological weapons; it only takes one improperly placed safety device or one failure of a positive air pressure suit to release the genii. The virus infects a worker, he or she leaves for the day, and you have patient ZERO.
With tens of thousands traversing the globe daily, the carriers are there. The microscopic life forms that we carry with us (pathogens) are not detained at the borders. They have no passports and like this virus can go undetected until it has multiplied by the tens of millions.
I shudder to think where Ebola really came from or H1N1 or even HIV. I am a writer of science fiction, so I do think outside the box. We have no idea what goes on in little laboratories in countries where money cuts through the red tape. People are corrupt and stupid when it comes to weapons. In my novel Under Roswell, I talk about it in detail, of course, in a fictional environment.
This is an excellent time to read, reflect, and stay safe. If not lost in some novel, you might try picking up the Bible. There are 66 books there that many, including myself, find comfort in. Pray for wisdom for humanity. We can do some pretty fantastic things, or we can destroy the world with the push of a button, or have some tired worker forget some safety protocol.
Skinny dipping on an alien world was probably not their best idea.
When communications from Earth stop, Don soon discovered the reason why. The ISS, where he and Sergey were the last two astronauts on board, became unwilling guests of the Ularins. Their world changed forever when their doctor learned Don was carrying cancer in his lungs.
An intergalactic spacecraft three times the size of our largest Aircraft carrier was now perched over the ISS. Watching the stars disappear, Don and Sergey wondered who it was that was hijacking them. Sergey was worried that they were to become an hors-d’oeuvre for aliens.
Convincing Sergey to leave the gun in the safe, Don was soon a visitor aboard the Starduster. Convinced to remove his clothing and submit to a routine physical, every anal probing movie he ever watched played through his mind.
The Saga of the Starduster is one of TW’s signature novels. Starting as Science-fiction, the book takes the reader on a wild ride through the galaxy with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing until the epilogue.
As TW, like many others, are now sitting at home awaiting the virus to pass, the idea of wasting another moment worrying about it seems futile.
Take a mental vacation from your sequestration and enjoy a ride through the stars while sharing the furtive imagination of TW.
From Science-fiction to fantasy and yes to the racy side of life, TW strives to give the reader their money’s worth.
Follow the link for your mental vacation. If you enjoy the ride, consider taking a moment to leave a review of my novel on the site you purchased it from.
As always, I will be happy to discuss topics of interest with you on the blog.
Many of my friends and fellow bloggers want to be traditionally published. Many work on a novel for years. One book, years… I am blessed in that I can write fast and make cohesive stories with my’ process.’
I did the Nanowrimo thing, got the t-shirt, but it was my least favorite way to write. I am more about the time investment than the word count. If you are like me and have a full-time job, you probably cannot devote five or six hours a day to your writing.
That is perfectly okay, how much time can you devote?
The problem with many, and I am no exception is, ‘interruptions.’
The phone, people, asking me things, or even my ‘mews’ the cat all interrupt me. I have decided that I am going to build a cabin on some lake property I have. I am considering putting a quasi-tree house, where I can escape to the confines of my mind while away from the hustle and bustle of people, and things.
No phone, probably no internet, and a do not disturb sign on the door.
My process is usually late at night when the world is quiet. That is my time to play with my characters.
If you are like me and struggle with voices and POV, you can only do it correctly if you can ‘channel’ the character. In one of my novels, ‘The land of my people.’ I channel a five-year-old. Now, it has been a few years since I was five. How would a five-year-old girl talk? Now I have to jump into two twenty-five-year-olds male and female. What does their voice sound like? He is a descendant of American Indians, and those were just some of the challenges.
No, I don’t worry about the page count or the number of words, I worry about the time I put in the craft.
People talk about writer’s block. Sit at your computer and put something down to fill up the white space. You can always delete it later. I will put down the craziest of ideas and usually modify them or delete them as I make my way through the second or twenty-second draft.
It is funny when you write your first draft, then go back and read it. It is much like this little dance where you add and take away until you hone the characters and plot just so.
How many of you tonight are thinking about this damned Coronavirus?
Is that sucking the life out of your writing?
Do you realize we have an outbreak of some kind often? Ebola was the last scary one.
H1N1 was where we ended up with hand sanitizer everywhere.
I see people dumping on Trump for this. Wow. If you want to blame someone, how about the lab in China that created this thing?
Wash your hands, and don’t take any airplane rides for a while. Airlines are like a petri dish anyway.
Speaking of airlines, let me tell you a true story.
I used to travel a lot. In my job, I was always at the airport waiting on planes. On one trip I was flying stand by, I needed to get to New York as someone had called in sick, so I needed to make the presentation.
I sat next to two cadaverous, like people. It was okay, I can be kind to anyone, and generally, I learn something. This was back when they fed you on the plane.
The guy next to me was frail in his nineties. His wife was nice about the same age, and both were so thin you could probably hold them up to the light and not need an x-ray machine.
He had ordered Spaghetti.
You already know where this is headed, don’t you?
I was dressed for a business meeting complete with dry clean everything. On his second attempt, the tray flipped up and landed on me.
Never mind the expensive clothing that was ruined or the fact that I had no idea how I was going to resurrect this mess, but his wife, bless her heart, takes the cloth napkin rubbing this red sauce all over me.
It was unbelievable!
Once on the ground, I headed for Macey’s buying stuff off the rack before showing up late to my meeting.
What was one of your worst travel experiences?
I have many stories; on one, I saved the plane from crashing. True story.
I hope you enjoy your time off and take care of yourself. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. The virus is supposed to have a skin or shell that is made up of fatty material. Soap will break down that shell destroying the virus.
They think it can last for days on surfaces, so I would avoid touching menus, keyboards, and payphones if they still have them.
Examining our lives in the micro-universe, our circle is small. Tossing a rock in a pond we stop watching as it sinks below the surface. The disturbed molecules of water fan out to the edges of reality.
Stones real or metaphorical cast out upon the waters, cause ripples.
If you listen to any medium you will hear either the stone being cast or the ripple effect of that stone.
Listening to the news we hear what we assume is the total of the Iranian population screaming ‘death to America.’
The ripple effect is: if they act up and we nuke them, oh well.
Someone somewhere knows that to control the masses you use all the arrows in your quiver. One of the largest of those arrows, the sharpest and most surgically precise is the arrow of hate.
Words like a misogynist, racist, fear-mongering, right-winger, left-winger, Nazi, white supremacist, privileged, black lives matter, Antifa, Feminist, fem Nazi, communist, all promote hate.
I am sure I could find dozens of more words that instill hate and stir up feelings (emotions) that will bring some to act. When I happen to tune to some of the left-leaning media and watch their ‘journalists’ use words like treason, impeach, emperor and so on I realize that they are feeding their base.
Fox does it too. Crazy Rachel Maddow to tin foil hat Don Lemmon, they too are stirring the pot.
Those stones cause ripples worldwide. Just like the chants Death to America doesn’t sit well with too many Americans, we only see that part of what they say. That is purposeful propaganda.
I visit with people around the globe. Normal people realize that this is one way their government controls their masses. If you keep them stirred up and angry they are predictable. If on the other hand, they could think for themselves then the government would lose power over them. Much like Brexit.
You must know history to realize where the wizard is trying to lead us. Much like sheep following one blade of grass to the next, without guidance, they will walk off the cliff while eating that last blade of grass. That is what they think.
We are not sheep. Without the constant noise from Pravda 2.0 (cough CNN) on every TV screen in every airport tailored to fit the country that it is in, the people might actually think for themselves. When a network pays the airport to only put their channel on the screens in the terminals that is telling you a story. That is propaganda. While tens of thousands get their early and then sit and wait for their flight, the brainwashing ensues. It is close to state-run TV. History people, you should know it.
Stalin said the sharpest weapon in his arsenal was the printed word. If the internet would have been around then, Social media would be his weapons of choice with the MSM running a close second.
The ripples cast by them are worldwide and devastating to millions. With social media giants controlling the narrative, we have real issues to contend with.
This blog reaches around the globe. Many of you are in different countries and you obviously see. Those of you that follow me; I would wager if we sat in the same room we would find that we have more in common than not.
These are just the questions of the moment. Where are you headed?
I have some of the best followers. My goodness, I read some of your blogs, and it brings tears to my eyes. Why are you all not New York Times Best Sellers?
A few of you are poets, which I am not.
I am a wordsmith. I like to weave a tight tapestry of ideas into a cohesive story that will read well. Some of you are just awesome.
Last night during my time to write, I started a YA novel that I will attempt to publish traditionally. There are many reasons. The truth of it is, what I write under my pen name is fun to write. Most, if not all, are or were a flight of fancy. Perhaps merlot was involved, or maybe even some brandy, but in the end, I loved the story.
As a writer, I don’t know what is going to happen. Some stories depend upon the moment, and yes, ‘spirits’ may have made the story more interesting. From a naughty little spanking to a roll in the hay with a stranger, safe sex. Nobody is going to catch anything from turning a page. If you do, it would be a medical miracle, and please let me write about it.
I may have to come up with a different Pen Name for YA. Authors typically are pegged as one kind of author. Not I. From science fiction to historical fiction and yes, unfortunately to technical manuals (how I started,) I have yet to reach my potential.
Would someone read a YA book that was written by E.L. James?
When we ponder YA, we think safe.
I have also toyed with children’s books, would it be a good idea to publish under my pen name for Children’s books, with Cyber Subs or Kitties Titties and Winks in the same lineup?
From graphic erotica to science fiction and, of course, fantasy I can do that under TWScott. What about YA and or children’s books?
My goal is to try my hand at all of the different genres that ‘sell.’
I hate to be pecuniary about it, but let’s face it. With over 30 published novels, I obviously have a penchant for this craft. Why not attempt to do the unthinkable and snare some intern into telling his or her mother ‘I found one.’
I have a sneaking hunch that young agents might use their teenage kids to sort through the slush pile. If I am correct, a YA targeting that same teenager seems like a tactic that might work. I suppose I will have to include a Pokémon reference or anime character to get them to at least stop scrolling for a second.
So far, the story is about a young lady that will be forced to deal with her destiny, as prophesied by some Oracle before she was born. I know the beginning, and I see the end, now how do I get her from the beginning to the finish, having her grow and face some real challenges along the way. And no sex!
With children, you have to be careful about how you craft your story. The rules are somewhat interesting, but I respect them, there are boundaries, and I get it.
If I manage this, you, this group will be the few who know what that pen name will be. Stay tuned and keep writing.
Walking through the valley of shadows, one might find that many of those shadows are no longer shades or reflections, but echoes.
Unless you live on a remote island with a volleyball as your companion, those around you, in your circle are part of you, and you, them. Touching that green square on the phone that seems so familiar to me are the communications from loved ones that are no longer here.
Living on some nebulous cloud are the actual voices of some of those same people who no longer can speak.
I think the term audiophile might be archaic to many of you who read my blog. Years ago, a wall of my house was dedicated to devices that played vinyl, reel to reel tape, and of course, cassette and even 8 track. If you have never had the pleasure of slapping a cartridge in an-dash 8 track machine, you have missed something.
Digging through the closet of mysteries, I found several old reels of tapes that have gathered dust for decades. Spending an inordinate amount of time getting one of the early machines to whirl the reels back and forth, I found the reverberations of my family’s voices who are long gone. A similar thing happened when transferring old VHS tapes to DVD.
Viewing the large flat screen through prisms of tears, those loved ones spring to life once again. Your heart aches as their memories burst through the waves of emotions that you thought you finally put to bed. An emotional dam breaks as a tsunami of feelings you shared, knock you over. The pain you felt at their passing is now very real again.
You hear them talk and begin to count how many of them are no longer there. How many of them have returned from whence they came.
As you listen, watch, or yes, read the text messages; somewhere in the back of your mind, a virtual calendar pops up, and the years re-wind.
‘When was it? Five, ten, twenty years, no longer than that, I was standing there, giving the eulogy. I agonized for days writing that thing. I practiced it, so I would not look the fool in front of hundreds of well-wishers.’
So many rainy days spent standing under a green awning as the cadaver like funeral home employee stands in the shadows while family and friends weep, or prattle on about how kind, good, etc. that the person was.
The smell of death lingers amongst the overpowering perfume of the flowers sent by loved ones; to adorn the pile of dirt that will one day in the not too distant future settle back into the recesses of the earth.
Children most probably experience this with their grandparents first, unlike me, who first went through this when a classmate in third grade, died from cancer. My friend that shared so many secrets, so much laughter, was gone. I now wept while holding the hand of a parent. It rained then too.
Her blond curly hair was replaced by a knitted cap, and the pink ribbon that she used to wear was no place to be found.
I often wondered if God sent the rain to cry along with you, to let you know that he had not forgotten you, or your loved one.
After the last line of Amazing Grace is sung, the crowd disperses. You stand there and look at the coffin with the small white flowers on top of it. Cars start; some people chat while making plans for lunch or heading to someplace for a reception. Some return to work or some other place as they are busy.
You’re not there, you’re with that person in the box. You want that one last hug, a smile of reassurance, or to feel the warmth of them. That sense of humor that kept you laughing so hard that you thought you might pee yourself.
‘Wait, we can’t do this without them!’
Employees of the cemetery wait patiently for the last one to leave, so they can work in the shadows.
‘This is it, this is really it.’
Reality sets in as you force yourself to turn, to face away from that box, those flowers, and the empty chairs under the makeshift pavilion.
You’re torn, you don’t want to face the reality that it is over. The rest of the family is waiting for you at the large sedan that will take you to the function. Their figures are blurred and smeared as you slowly put one foot in front of the other like you have done your whole life, ever since that person in the box taught you to walk or tie your shoes. You know, the one that told you to wear clean underwear just in case. Once there, in some fellowship hall, there will be more crying and hugging and whispers by those who start the sentence with ‘I heard.’
Those in charge of the sponsored event will paste on a face that they wear on Sunday as they direct you to a line and give you instructions. Casseroles that were prepared for this event came out of the freezer and now adorn a long table with different crock pots and other warming devices. People you don’t even know or maybe met years ago will act like your best friend to be seen with you. Then they will tell you about how it was when their great aunt Martha passed after a long bout with something or other. You try and act as if you care, but the pain of your loss is genuine and it is hard to appreciate their loss.
The silence keeps me up at night. Even now, I can hear them all calling to me.
‘Stop grieving, it is all ok. I am no longer in pain. I sent you those flowers in your garden, I can do that now. Those clouds you saw turning into animals, that was me telling you those stories you used to love. Those waves crashing on the rocks…yeah, I sent them to you too. I know how much you love that sound. When you are ready, I will tell you another story, just lay down on a blanket in the grass and watch, I have been working on some great stories for you.’
Do you delete the text messages, erase the tapes, and put the photos away in a box? What about those voice mails telling you to call them when you get this.
Have your works in progress stalled on the battlefield of life? What do you do when your characters ‘sleep?’
The absolute crap on the news obfuscates my creative side. For the first time in years, I parked it on the couch and watched the TV. People look at me strangely when I say I don’t really watch TV. Some of their observations are valid. I know nothing of Game of Thrones. I hear that it ended terribly, but that is hearsay.
Does it sound snobby when I say, “I don’t watch TV?” I don’t mean for it to.
I do read quite a bit. The reasons are apparent. I started a book the other day that the author’s style is engaging. He writes in fragments that I am positive would cause the spell and grammar checkers to vomit.
I had considered that style before and rejected it. What I liked about it was you very quickly discovered you were turning pages at a rapid cadence. Pacing is essential, and so is varying sentence length. Our brains look for patterns, whether you know it or not. What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you.
On a totally different topic, if you have read any of my stuff, you know that I not only support the folks that are of the ‘free the nipple’ crowd but, I side with the AANR. I know it is very liberal, but it is just the way I am built. Bettie Page, although slightly nuts, was an inspiration to me. I agree with her on so many levels, hence my book, Land of my People.
With Spring right around the corner and daylight savings time starting on the 8th, here in Texas anyway, I am in hopes of spending some time catching up on getting some vitamin D going, or just possibly giving my dermatologist something to do.
In the news, there was a lady who was topless in her own house.
Again I don’t see breasts as lewd. Anyway, her step kids saw her, and I guess it went to court. FFS!
I don’t know who brought the case or who the judge was, but I would have tossed it out. Had she been totally nude and doing inappropriate things ok, you crossed a boundary. Topless in your own home…I don’t get it. If that judge spent any time at Hippy Hollow in Austin, I dare say he would need a new pacemaker.
I suppose the fact that I am an artist has a lot to do with it. I see the beauty in the human form. Yes, all body types. Not just the twenty-year-olds.
Are you ever tempted to right wrongs in your writings?
I spent the better part of the day getting my ‘books’ different kinds of books ready for the CPA. It is all sorts of fun remembering the year through numbers. Yes, they tell a story too.
Last but least, has talk of the newest doomsday virus got you worried?
The markets are sure to respond to it. Never mind the brain-eating amoeba, flesh-eating bacteria, or the ever gruesome Ebola, now we have a virus that looks like something out of science fiction.
I hope you had a super weekend and for those of you looking at Monday, Happy Monday! I still have an hour of the weekend left… -TW
This sounds like a political blog, it’s not really. I am poking fun at communism and those who think it is a good thing.
This sounds like a political blog, it’s not really. I am poking fun at communism and those who think it is a good thing.
Would Russia have to stop an out of control Communist from taking the world’s economy down?
Do you realize that the world is tied together by its economy? If ours were to fail, the worlds’ would fail. Is that what the billionaires of the world are secretly up to? Destroy the economics of the world as a whole to force a one-world government? Millions would die, but they might actually pull it off.
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction. As a science fiction writer, I think outside the box, and I must tell you that if you wanted to create a one-world government; that would be one way to do it. A nasty man-made virus that killed off tens of thousands would be a nice distraction in the meantime, thank you China.
‘never let a crises go to waste…’
Look at the markets currently with just production in China being affected. What would it take to change every country in the world? Only a few infected people who were on a mission from ‘God.’…Hop on a busy aircraft, and your job is done.
In this hyper-partisan rhetoric that we see on just about every news blast from CNN to MSNBC, they must think that we care. Is she really part Indian? Did Putin put in the fix? Is there a difference between Socialism and communism? Who was Lenin? What was that Marxist stuff anyway, what about more money for less work? Why not pay everyone to just stay at home and play video games? How much free stuff do I need to promise you to get your vote?
I am not a product of our current educational system. Thank God! I realize from speaking with people half my age, they were cheated in college, or they cheated their way through it.
With current examples of Socialism in the news, one would think they might know it is not a good thing. These same people are trying to tell each other that there is a difference between Bernie’s idea of Socialism, and what is going on in Venezuela. Yes, they are that deluded. If you want to stock up on toilette paper, don’t worry about the coronavirus; worry about Bernie actually winning. Worry about a bunch of entitled creatures who were taught they deserve everything, without lifting a finger to get it. Or, they deserve it if you worked for it because of some non-existent bias that you are accused of. It is justified for them.
Worry about more paid protestors gumming up the works like they did in 2012. Worry about people with billions of dollars to buy the white house, actually succeeding.
If Bernie wins, you will want Toilette paper, whiskey, and cigarettes because that will be what the currency will look like, until old Vladimir comes to the rescue. Even he knows that Capitalism is the only way for a country to succeed.
Wouldn’t that be one for the history books? If the Russians have to come to save the USA from the likes of Bernie and his Antifa goons. Don’t laugh it off too quickly; there are radicals out there that think Capitalism is evil as they text each other on their thousand-dollar smartphones.
When Hitler was elected those Brown Shirt dudes were already there much like those Antifa dudes are lurking in the hallowed halls of disinformation.
I am going to assume that there are fewer of them, than those who have at least cracked open a history book, or possibly know people who have fled from countries like Venezuela. Think I am kidding, peruse Twitter. Ignorance abounds.
So, listen up candidates, here is what we need from the government.
Firstly we need you to keep those with that virus out of the states or contained until such a time they are not a risk.
We need you to stop all the name-calling. We need you to calm down the hostility that you and your ilk have created in this country. Go put on the gloves, hop in a ring, and the best two out of three is the Democratic candidate. Be careful of Mike, he will hit below the belt, not that he means to, he is just vertically challenged. My money is on Tulsi, if she will stoop to your level.
Do you realize that a contest of this type would get more ratings for your propagandist networks, than all the debates to date? Hell, I would even watch. What would a boxing match between geriatrics look like? Pink gloves and warm milk after they managed to climb into the ring?
For the real candidates, here is a punch list of what we need.
Keep the country safe from all forms of terrorists, both domestic and foreign.
Provide a fair and equitable tax code that allows anyone with the will to try, to have a reasonable chance to succeed.
Any government services that you provide, DMV for one, fix it, so it works. I would actually make it private, so they would actually care about taking care of their clients.
I don’t think the government should be in the health care business period.
Provide infrastructure that allows products and people to get from point A to B in one piece. Again toll roads seem to get built-in weeks and government projects take lifetimes. Maybe you should buy the kind of cement the toll road people use or better yet, privatize the whole damned mess. The one thing the government is efficient at is inefficiency.
Force Term limits on all politicians. Once out of DC, they are no longer allowed to be active in politics, and that includes as a lobbyist. Their one vote is all they get after that.
Stop talking, start doing.
You do your jobs, so we can do ours. When the news comes on, I don’t want to hear about what politician is sleeping with whom, or how much they hate the other guy. In my book, you are all one step above pit vipers, and I am not too sure of the one-step. Stop wasting tax dollars on el toro de caca!
Guys, we work hard for that money. To watch you piss it away like it was foam on cheap beer is disgusting!
People, if you give the government more power, just think about every service they are in charge of now running like the DMV. Spending days in line to get your damned driver’s license renewed only to finally get there and find you did not dot some I or cross some T. Do you really want to turn that kind of inefficiency loose on health care, or Mike’s version of health care, which is ‘go home and die?’
This sounds like the stuff for a horror movie…
Yes, Bernie loves communism, and for the record, Pete’s father was a Marxist. You would be better off with Mike than those two. I, for one, would like to see Tulsi win. I don’t agree with everything she says, but she is a patriot and not a Russian spy. Pffft
A small update from Tuesday..
Someone needs to write a blog about communism. Nothing is free. Someone pays for it and no, it is not the government.
The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.
The problem with reviews like this as they add another obstacle to what we want to accomplish.
Below is the tease for one of my novels. Sound boring to you? Have I not identified my audience?
When a preacher’s daughter rooms with her childhood friend in college, things go way past her comfort zone, causing her to question everything. After they graduate, the real drama begins when absence makes the heart grow fonder. The love between two young ladies is not complicated enough, as her friend’s mother decides that she too has a thing for the young woman who should be a supermodel like she was.
As Melissa is transformed, Joan explores her own demons, which run askance of her lover’s career path.
Adult Erotic 18 plus.
This happens. I don’t pretend to understand why someone would take the time to buy one of my books and then write their own version of fiction.
If you read what they wrote, after reading the first few pages…I gave up. Then what they didn’t say is they went online and flamed the novel as they were the first to review it and the first to sway public opinion.
If you were on the ‘shelf,’ would you plunk down $3.99 after a review like that? Probably not. This jerk and those like them make it harder to do what we do.
If you cannot say anything nice then keep your damned mouth shut!
Here is what to look for with reviews like this. Firstly he or she uses a pseudonym which I automatically discount. When I am reading reviews, if they are not real names, they are not counted. If you are going to flame someone’s work, man up or woman up and tell us who you are. Own your bullshit.
Better yet, go to their website which is published in the book, and go to the contact page and send them an e-mail. Most authors would love to hear from you. Why was it dull? What would have made it better? Did you read the first few pages online before buying it? I love feedback and will genuinely consider it.
“No not upset, I see this all the time with other authors. I don’t understand this mentality.”
Secondly and more importantly you can read the first several pages of the book for free before you buy it. When I go to the bookstore, I open the cover and read a little. When I purchase novels on Amazon or another site, I look at the first few pages and see what I think. It is, in fact, common sense.
One of my other novels, another person did this with Saga of the Starduster. Still, my best seller to date. You can tell by the review they never read the novel. There is a machine that turns them into nymphomaniacs. Not enough sex? pffft!
While Kitties Titties and Winks is a read for after-hours and could be a one-handed read for either gender if that is your goal. The novel also has a story with a plot, romance, and love. The story is complete with taboo situations, rags to riches, preachers run amuck and young boys driving an expensive car. If this person indeed found it dull, I would love to know what they find exciting.
Not only do the character’s arc, the story arcs nicely.
Now, look at this little gem…. Case in point …
The Saga of the Starduster, on the other hand, has had two more reviews that I had nothing to do with. As you can see, they more accurately reflect the novel. If I were that egocentric I would not have written blah blah blah…Just saying.
As a writer, what can you take away from this?
For someone to write that kind of review, maybe they were having a bad day. Perhaps they are tough to please. Perhaps they are an author and don’t want the competition. Maybe they are just assholes.
Here is what I would like you to consider. Follow the link and go check out the first few pages of the novel. You can do it for free. Comment here, and tell me if you think it is ‘very dull.’ Kitties Link It is an adult read, which I have a tendency to create every now and then.
Honestly, if you do think it is dull by all means, see if you can articulate why. This is not ‘literary genius,’ but it is an excellent 99K words of a racy story.
Here is a breakdown of the novel.
We introduce College graduates to the world of modeling. We take them on a tour of the seedy underbelly of the industry, and we take them to a clothing-optional beach. From there, we introduce more characters who become sexual partners.
Untangling one of their lives, we get her friend out of the way by hooking her up to a company in the UK. This company specializes in BDSM movies and magazines. This happens to feed the demon inside her friend.
The story takes on some interesting twist as emotions come in to play as her lover tries to manage things awkwardly.
Meanwhile, the mother is a bit a significant twist as she also loves the girl in her own lesbian way.
Of course, it is fiction and way out of the norm, but that is what people like to read. We want to escape our world for a roll in the proverbial hay.
Anyway, if you should choose to read it from cover to cover, I would appreciate a ‘real’ review rather than this hit piece.
‘How did I handle this?”
I opened the novel and re-read it, asking myself is there any truth to what this person alleges. That is what I would encourage you to do. My beta readers loved this novel, and this is not really their genre.
If you get a hit piece like this on something you write, do what I did, and if you need assistance, let me know. I can look at your first few pages, and I will be honest with you. As someone with over thirty published novels, I don’t claim to know it all but, I know this person would probably enjoy stepping on baby chickens.
There are times I look into the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back at me.
I am often amazed at the conversations I hear at writer’s conventions and other gatherings.
Some are so philosophical, and others are somewhat whimsical. Before I get into what I have in mind, I was thinking, I would love to take a cruise with a group of writers. Most of us are so introverted it would be a safe bet that you would not have trouble finding a seat at the shows.
Can you imagine 3000 writers all texting each other, instead of talking?
Ok, not my reason for this blog.
I love a healthy debate. Often on this very blog, I put out controversial issues and invite discussion, conversation or at least a comment. Guys, I do this for you.
I should be working on one of my many works in progress.
When I am not creating, I am editing and if not that I am marketing.
That is the life of a writer. Now, I take that a step further, I live my life. While I will not jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I will undoubtedly fly one.
While I might not jump off a cliff with a bungee cord attached to my ankles, I will traverse the cliff in Peru to see Machu Picchu. Peru is lovely this time of year.
When I was young, I took jobs where I traveled a good bit. I learned that when you boil it down, Maslow knew a thing or two.
Years ago, I hit that part of ‘self-actualization.’
In many of my novels, I address it as part of a plot, but I call it Enlightenment.
I maintain that many of those around us are asleep. By that, I mean they are going through life on autopilot. Much like birds build a nest, copulate, lay eggs, bring food back to the chicks and they somehow leave the nest, knowing how to fly, and repeat the process.
We call it nature because we don’t understand it. I think it is something more. I believe in genetic programming. Why do you suppose we are inherently repulsed by creepy crawly things? Spiders and snakes, for instance, are phobias of many.
How is it that birds know to do what they do?
Yes, this is a cliché, but Bees, the same thing applies.
Maslow states that it is not until the first layers of our needs are met, can we get to, self-actualization.
As a writer and humanist, I happen to love philosophy. Some of the Sufi philosophy gets my attention much like Socrates and Plato do as well. I don’t know about you but, I love ‘thinkers.’
You might love those with lots of muscles and brawn or possibly curvy women with booty but, I appreciate someone who thinks. I find that attractive, sexy, and satisfying.
People often confuse our sex organs with what is below our waist. Your sex organ or the part of you that is attractive is between your ears. No, you will never see a valentine with a blob of gray matter on it saying ‘hey baby.’
I would chuckle but, that is just me.
Many of my novels I weave some of this into them to hopefully leave this world a little brighter, happier place than what I found it. I want to leave something behind that others can learn from without writing stuffy textbooks that will be replaced when some government or group with an agenda tosses them into a book-burning pile.
If you want to know the state of our society, watch what is trending on Twitter. It should scare the piss out of anyone with a brain.
Let me know what you think.
Much love -TW
Oh man, I hate writing about this subject. I am so guilty of this!
So here is the scoop, if you are an author, writer, or just want to be one, you should read this.
A few years ago, I wrote a tale about two young ladies who find love in each other’s arms. That seems relatively innocuous but…I then bring in some forbidden love that rocks their world and changes the dynamics of the novel completely.
Kitties Titties and Winks turned out to be one of the naughty best sellers I have done. Now we know who the readers of this novel might be.
Ok, I am not judging anyone. I write this stuff for your enjoyment. The story, no matter what, must hold your attention. If you like me have ever been reading a book and the time slides past your bedtime, you know where I am going. ‘Just one more chapter.’
To me, that is the mark of a good storyteller, I can’t put the damned thing down. Fair warning I have learned this technique of the years and will be going back and employing it on earlier novels as time permits.
The problem with me is, I rarely ever hear or read a word that I don’t know. Not bragging, I have something known as an eidetic memory. If we are talking, I can recreate the conversation in reasonably accurate detail. Usually, I employ this ‘gift’ when I hear a word I don’t know.
When I choose to use those words, guess what, I eject the average reader out of the story. If I were to write: “Julie wanted to be pragmatic about the whole situation but, her husband’s gesticulations gave her a sense that he would be truculent if she pushed it further. Vs. Julie wanted to be sensible about the whole situation, but her husband’s gestures gave her a sense that he would be hostile if she pushed it further.
Which one of those two sentences would you rather read?
I like the first one as there is not a word in it that I don’t use every day in everyday discourse.
Your audience, if they are being honest, would rather see the second sentence.
While we are storytellers, and yes, we have intellectual prowess over the average reader…probably…, the average reader is who we want to titillate with our tales. We don’t want them to have to work. Our job is to entertain, not teach.
I would argue that our job is both; however, I want to write something that has appeal to most people. That means my pretties, we have to write to a seventh grade, and some would say fifth-grade reading level. More people watch TV than read.
Fair warning, where science fiction is concerned, I write for college-age people. If you don’t know a word, hit the little button on Kindle, and it will tell you.
We love our readers. We genuinely do, but we have to strike a balance between pros that keep them turning the page and prose the have them put the book down as they don’t feel like learning new words. Your audience might just want to escape into your world that you have created.
Titties Kitties and Winks is an imaginary world where many of the rules of modern-day society are trashed, to give the reader a sense of what it is like to love another woman. In this rags, to riches story, we get a sense of what people will do for money and what happens to them when they get it. In short, the story is erotica but, much more than that, it is about love in a very unique setting.
Titties Kitties and Winks is not a literary work of art. The imagery in the story will paint pictures in your mind that no matter your gender, you will enjoy it.
As I progress in the craft of writing, I will give you more hints and tricks via this blog.
Recently I re-wrote Land of My People. The Novella went from 10 thousand words to over 20K. No, I did not add more fluff; I put in more tension, conflict, both external and internal, and some backstory. Much Love -TW
Listen to that little voice, call them tonight not tomorrow.
I should be telling you about my latest project to get you excited about it as I am.
I should be spending time with my characters, making sure that they are not naughty.
I should be doing a lot of things that make me more productive.
Today I did none of those things. I got up at my usual time, got dressed in drab clothing fit for the somber event that was hastily scheduled for today, and headed downtown to mourn in public.
The weather participated in the event, making sure that everyone was wet and cold.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends was going to be in town and suggested we get together for lunch. That is an easy decision to make as this person was a beacon of light on a cloudy day like today. Our schedules did not match up this time…
You notice I said ‘was.’
A few days ago, I got word he died of a heart attack.
I write about heart issues, but I don’t write about physical heart issues. I write of love and torment but not about clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and of course, high cholesterol.
Not many would read a novel about such things, but, a love lost would garner your attention.
Today, friends of mine who loyally read these blogs, I have something for you to do. Actually, I have a few things I would like you to consider.
Firstly, if not for you than for your family and friends, make sure your health is in check. Many don’t take that stuff seriously, and they should.
Next, make sure that your loved ones do the same thing.
Finally, don’t put off calling on your friends, family, and so on, as you never know when the bell will toll.
We all contribute to that butterfly effect. What you do in Mumbai or San Francisco will have an impact on others in distant places. This very blog is read in countries and areas I have never been but would love to go, just to meet those of you who spend your time reading it.
I read many of your blogs. While we may never meet in person, I feel like I know many of you. Some of you have such a beautiful soul. You honor me by spending time on my site.
Today I said goodbye to a good friend, the likes of which I will never see again. I have many friends, each of them, like yourselves, is different. You are each unique and bring to the table a sense of wonderment, joy and your personality that I love to experience. When I write these posts, I love to see who liked it, who commented, and read about what is going on in your lives.
This fellow was like that. He had a servant’s heart, and was a model for many; that light has faded away. There are no do-overs when you don’t take the time today to go have that lunch or dinner or just talk on the phone. When the Bell tolls, you waited too long.
I was speaking with a young man who waited too long to tell this lady how he felt about her. She stopped waiting, and someone else found her.
That sounds like the stuff of Hallmark or Harlequin, but…You can and should think outside the box.
We, as people, are still about ownership. We marry because we want to own that person. It is archaic and backward thinking.
Plug for Saga of the Starduster.
We don’t have to own anyone to enjoy them. Firstly, there is no ownership of anyone. Yes, you can exchange vows and rings but in the end, if you abuse one another those nuptials will vaporize like Jelly beans in a room full of two-year-olds.
There are many ways to enjoy someone without carnal expressions being part of the mix. That friend I lost today was married, had children, and I cherished the time we spent together.
Many of you who write from your heart, much like this blog, are sharing an intimate part of yourselves with many. Carl Sagan said if you want to know someone, read what they wrote.
In my novels, the characters are me. That is so true and so telling. We share our most intimate thoughts and feelings as I am today.
You do that as well, and I applaud you.
Make time for each other, and take care of yourself. There is only one you and even if you feel totally bereft of love, whatever your circumstances, I do offer love on this blog.
This is a short blog post on just something I noticed. It is the ‘What if’ that I told you was coming.
Over the years, I have developed a nice following of people such as ‘yourself’ who read what I write, some of you comment and most of you hit like. When I take the time to go and look at your blogs I find that we are more alike then we are different.
Let me say that again, we have more in common than we do that divides us.
Years and years ago, my uncle piqued my interest in Amateur Radio. I was five at the time when someone he was talking to was told that I was there visiting with him. When they mentioned my name telling me hello from ‘New York.’ I was amazed.
I was five. I had no clue where New York was. All I knew that it was not anywhere close to Minnesota, where he was at the time.
I remember with crystal clarity the scent of freshly cut hay. His radio tower was in a field. The afternoon sun was sinking, and the shadows from the trees to the west crossed the field like vast swathes of darkness over an otherwise golden vista. As soon as the shadows hit you, the air-cooled off several degrees. For a child of five from Texas, it was magical.
We listened to many different people that afternoon when we picked up some fellow from Australia. His accent was so awesome I knew I had to get into this. I was five. I know I am repeating it because it is crucial to the story.
At eight, I had taught myself basic electronic theory and by thirteen had my first FCC issued license. In those days we used tubes and the test was not multiple guess. You had to know Morse code and oh, by the way, many built their own equipment.
The transmitter I built from old TV parts scavenged from garage sales and a borrowed crystal from a local radio club. Yes, I got shocked a few times but I am here to talk about it. Hobbies like this are not just for boys.
Also, in those days, there were countries we could not legally talk to its citizens, if we were in some war the Feds could tell you not to use your transmitter. Our speech was restricted to technical things about the hobby and weather. ( I think it still is, however, I hear politics all the time.) We could not discuss politics or other things that might tip the enemy off…
The enemy…think about that.
I got into radio to meet you, or people like you, who were like-minded. I did. I talked to the kings of countries, which are no longer countries. I have spoken with people from all walks of life from surgeons to bricklayers.
Here on this blog, I speak with many who have a love of writing or reading and telling a story.
Many of you who follow me, are from countries that I would love to visit, Russia being one, Ukraine is another. India is another, which I would love to visit one day. I cannot mention all of the countries that people live in who read this blog, or write to me, rest assured those communications are probably monitored by all kinds of secret spies looking for Boris Badenov or Natasha. You will not find Moose and Squirrel on this blog.
If you read my sci-fi books you will find the technical details for building a ‘matter anti-matter bomb.’ You will also learn how to time travel and get from one galaxy to another in months. Under Roswell holds all the secrets to some of the most powerful weapons of the century. BWAHAHA! God, I hope some government buys it just to find out that the computer of the ship is into controlling humans for its own deviant enjoyment.
If you want to learn how to cure cancer, I have that for you too in Saga of the Starduster. I also tell you the fate of the Earth with the knuckle draggers in charge. Want to see into the future if we don’t change our ways? Read my number one bestseller. Oh, and you also find that you are running around the galaxy in a ship full of nude aliens.
My point and the ‘what if’ is this. Those of us on this blog, if we could all be in one room together; what do you want to bet we would all get along famously? I don’t care what country you are in or where you grew up. I don’t care what race you are or gender. You might even identify as a gender not created yet, but, I would bet money we would all get along.
It is the ‘megalomaniacs’ of the world that stuff it up. They stuff it up so they can control the herds. As long as you perceive the other guy as bad, that is all they need.
Those craving power by controlling the masses with lies, and whatever other leverage they have, are the ones who screw up society as a whole. The media is their accomplice and you have to wonder what hold they have over them to lie to the world. Someone tells them what to say, and they all repeat it like reading some damned script. They even use the same words.
What if…an alien race came and monitored our radio and video.
What would they think?
Do you suppose they would want to be ‘friends’ with us and share technology?
I think they would come closer to exterminating us and taking the raw materials for their own use.
I don’t think the world as a whole is immature and backward but, I do think there are some knuckle draggers who make the human-race look like an ant colony might to aliens. Pests.
For the record alien dudes, if that is your plan, I promise you there are people on this planet that are not mere troglodytes for the ‘elite.’ Some of us actually think. Start with the followers of this blog.
That is my ‘what if’ that I promised you earlier.
In the blogosphere and seemingly on other social media we are relatively free to say what we want. I wish all countries had this freedom. I think you would be pleasantly surprised that once we dispelled the lies that we grew up with, that the people of the world could unite in ways that would astound you.
I know we are being lied to because I have ways to communicate with people in other countries. The trick is how do we get the truth out to the masses? How do we get our respective governments working for the people again, and not their own effing bank accounts?
The answer is we take the power away from the government, and give it back to the people. That sounds easy but just wait until you try.
Much love people and thanks for the follows.
Comments are always welcome as long as they are civil.
As a writer of all things fiction, I cannot help but notice the news articles slowly creeping out from different agencies.
Today we learned that the FCC had been investigating wireless carriers for selling data acquired from its users to third parties. The data just happened to be your location. Where you went and when you went.
Google was already busted for this. Even with the phone in airplane mode, it still captured your every movement. Also, if you climbed stairs or your elevation from getting into and out of a car.
Smart speakers, TV’s and anything connected to the internet could indeed be a spy for the Chinese.
Alexa, Apple, and Google smart devices could very easily be listening to your every word. Even that smart remote could be collecting data for someone.
Information is power. Who benefits most from knowledge? That depends on the information gathered. It is not surprising to me as a writer that I find advertisements for things I just happen to be talking with someone about on the phone. Coincidence?
I had installed security cameras in my home as I travel. One day I happen to notice the camera was not focused on what it was supposed to be but rather a door to the bathroom that I very often leave open. I have since changed companies and cameras.
The American government has grounded Chinese drones used in different services. Wonder why?
While all of this might make excellent fodder for novels like my novel Presidential Assassins the truth of it is, we are probably being spied on.
Do you have a right to privacy?
The laptops, desktops all in one computer’s phones and Alexa units with a screen, have built-in cameras and microphones. Is your image on some server somewhere?
Unless you want to live like Fred Flintstone, using pre-historic birds to deliver your mail, just possibly we need to give up on privacy.
From the porn scanners at the airports to the cameras on every light pole that you see, someone somewhere is watching. With all of these smart devices, someone or something is listening as well.
Your purse or wallet is littered with RFID tracking devices built into your credit cards. As you pass by specific scanners, it would not surprise me in the least for them to be collecting data on which cards you have with you.
Toll tags not only make an easy way for you to pay for roads that your tax dollars might have contributed to, but they also give us that traffic data on the map which can be used for good or for evil.
Who controls the puppet masters?
Those government agencies that are responsible for oversight of entities like this seem just as flawed as the DMV totally bereft of any loyalty of who they work for and who pays them.
As the progressive left lobbies for free this and that I cringe thinking about what it would be like for those that run the post office and the DMV to be in charge of my health, my security, and so on. We saw it with Veterans hospital and that was just the tip of the iceberg.
As the allure of free everything, causes you to think that maybe an old white guy who lies for a living has all the answers, think again. The art of winning the political game is to lie to the masses in an obscure convincing way while blaming the other side for your poor decisions.
History is rife with examples. Millions upon millions die when people like that get into power.
Vote for you who like, just remember, you can vote your way into socialism but, you will need to fight your way out. That will be with real bullets, not sticks and stones. If you are disarmed, prepare to have numbers tattooed on your arms and learn to eat insects for food.
Giving up rights for promised security is foolish, and the stuff of novels much like mine. Read history before that too is expunged from the records of life. Unless you know what has been, you will repeat it.
Megalomaniacs live in DC and in other ivory towers around the globe. That ass wipes that know better than you have armed guards. They will toss you and yours to the dregs of humanity as those are their useful idiots.
Greetings, and welcome to yet another week. I know; it is Monday! I know you all are thrilled to be doing your thing whether it be in a cubical or on a plane. Some of us are sitting in a converted bedroom office on the phone, or tied to the keyboard manipulating spreadsheets to make sense of things.
When you are writing, you must first consider who your audience is. This is paramount as you are crafting a story to tell them. Who are the ‘them?’
When I was a kid and we did the sleepovers, I knew if I tried and made it spooky enough, I could make them scream. We all did it as we knew who the audience was. We knew they were impressionable.
As an adult writer, nothing has changed. I write different genres for different audiences. Scifi is my favorite, and I am pretty sure I can depict the audience. Thrillers are the same way, I know who you are. Naughty Nighties, one of my wicked favorites, is a little gray, several shades of gray, pardon the play on EL James stuff.
Adult erotica is just fun to write. It takes little research and a good imagination. I know who you are too and not only do I not judge you but, here is a cyber hug, just for you. And you…and you…yes you too.
One of my fans asked me why I write that kind of stuff. Because I can. Here is the real reason, and I won’t blow smoke up your…rear. E.L.James is worth over 80million for 50 shades. Guess what, that stuff is easy to write, and many of you know it because the market is full of it.
People like to travel a road less traveled. They might want to read about an illicit love affair that takes place on some island where the couple is stranded. That trope is so done to death but, add a twist to it. What if they are two men or women and they fall in love. What if the two are from wildly different cultures where the one might want to kill the other, but realizing he or she would be alone, they have to grow as a human.
Amazon tells me little in analytics, but it does tell me where the person was who bought the book or books. When I say ‘was;’ I am talking country. That is still nebulous information at best.
With Tweets, which I use vociferously, I can tailor them to the audience. Social media is free and easy to use if you put some thought into it. From hashtags to keeping your brand out there in front of them is essential.
Some programs will render analytics on your tweets. Which worked and which ones didn’t. Now take it the next step and ask why.
Your website is vital and you need to have one. Whether you have one novel or three hundred, you need a website. Because they want to sell that service, as it is reoccurring revenue, they have made sites simpler to create.
There was a day you needed an experienced programmer to make an excellent looking site. Not so much today. If you can use Word you can make a website.
That brings us to money.
When times are good, you spend your money on advertising, when times are lean, you spend your money on advertising. Budget some money for programs and things to make your job as an author easier.
No, I am sorry, you cannot only write a lovely story that will scare the snot out of kiddoes. You have to sell that story, and make me, or others like me, want to pay money to read it.
One thing I do which you might try is; make good ole Jeff Bezos more money by putting a good story on KU. No, you won’t get anything for it. It is like working as an intern to get your foot into the door. While Amazon will say it has millions on the pool and you get something for each page read trust me on this grasshopper, don’t count on it.
What you want to do is write a story that makes them want to turn the page and…makes readers want to know who you are and if you have written anything else.
That is the only benefit you will get out of giving your work away for free. If your story is forgettable than you are.
Now that I have dashed your plan of financial success on the rocks as you feel yourself sliding into the abyss of despair take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Get Better!
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to tell a story and write something that I would enjoy reading. I did. I love what I write but here is the kicker, as I have written over thirty novels I have improved my craft of writing by leaps and bounds.
Hell, I may even understand the comma.
I attend many writers’ workshops, and I pay attention to what they are saying. I have read more books in my life than I care to admit and when I began to write, I learned differently. Today I read like I am taking a bomb apart and I have to diffuse it and put it back together to be ‘my bomb.’ If that makes sense.
I also give back to the other writers out there, and that might include you. Instead of working on my latest thriller, I am casting pearls into the wind for you to grasp.
Everyone with a pen or keyboard thinks they can write. Truth told they cannot. I got stuck in front of a live TV not long ago where the mother on some sitcom was reading her own novel into a Dictaphone. Now I did not stay in front of the screen long enough to know the show or care but I did stay there long enough to know it was horrible writing.
When you go to the movies or sit in front of the TV, disassemble what is going on.
Analyze what the writers are doing with the characters.
• How are they building tension?
• What promises are they making the viewer or reader?
• How are they keeping the audience engaged so they will stay there through the commercial breaks?
All of this is terrific information to have in your quiver. When you pull out that arrow and want to target a plot point or snag your audience, you will know how to do it.
There is good news for you indie writers out there. There are actually agents who are brighter than most. They will look at the novels on Amazon, and seek out new voices to represent.
Jeff, you are making a killing on independent writers. How about you give them some free advertising for each novel that you host? I realize you want to make money on each and everything Amazon does including sending the file to the customer. Don’t you think giving some marketing assistance to your suppliers would help your bottom line?
Ok, that was my pitch to the richest man around. Doubt he will ever see it but, that is the way we do things in our world.
To my friends and readers, take heart. 2020 is off to a roaring start, and good things are happening.
In my next blog, we will play a what-if game. I am making notes so I don’t forget.
Hit that follow button on Twitter and by all means here on WordPress. Much Love -TW
We never stop learning. Life is one big lesson so be open to it.
Having published over 30 novels and many more novellas, I think I have a handle on how to write.
Just when I think I know ‘enough’ I learn, I don’t.
In the world of writing, we can easily fall into analysis to paralysis. I know some writers who have been working on their books for over thirty years. Possibly writing is not for them.
A friend talked me into these Master Classes that I went in with her on, and there are some excellent writers that they have signed up to give them. Now in truth, from the ones that I have watched, I know what they are saying, and I could provide that same class.
Having tooted my own horn and possibly come off as presumptuous, I began taking a class by Dan Brown. I love his books, and I have analyzed them as I read them but, I don’t write Thrillers; until now.
I began taking his class and thought…”pffft I can do that.”
I am so wrapped up in this novel; I can’t hardly sleep. The problem with creating tension in my book is it is creating tension in me, as the writer.
By nature, I am a panster. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, it merely means that I write much like Stephen King, a stream of consciousness. Dan is a plotter. Dan is very methodical in his writing and from what I am gleaning, he might work on a book for two or more years. I crank out a novel in one or two months.
This thriller I am currently working on involves the murder of modern-day witches. I love writing about witches anyway, so this story is near and dear to my heart. Using his style for creating a thriller, I am ten thousand words into it and the villain is now on the radar of our main character.
Stay tuned for more details about this work as I continue to update other novels as I have time.
If you have not already downloaded or purchased Land of my People oh my goodness, it is an emotionally charged read. You will love it. Lunchtime read but, fair warning you might want something to blot your eyes or blow your nose into as it is a tear-jerker.
Have you ever eaten a little wasabi to cleanse your pallet?
I like a little tear-jerker to shake me out of my funk or to disrupt the absolute shit going on with world politics. I have not only turned off the TV but now I am stopping the notifications from different news sources. I don’t want to be angry and I don’t like being manipulated by the media. Would it be wrong to just toss the TV on the curb?
Land of my people will change your frame of mind, and I promise you that you will smile. Please drop me a note and tell me what you think of it.
Are you one who reads at lunch? Check out my latest project.
As we roll into a new week, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you who hit that magic follow button, both on WordPress, and Twitter.
This weekend I attended a conference with many writers and want to be writers. We had a wonderful time exploring the possibilities, hopes, and dreams, along with some that have already hit the publishing lottery.
I say lottery tongue and cheek.
We have examined the reasons we write, many times; please don’t let it be the ‘publishing lottery.’
While passion for the craft of storytelling should be your number one reason for writing, it is ok to entertain the ‘possibility’ that you might find the perfect agent who is just hot to trot over your idea or manuscript. When I say ‘possibility,’ I want you to put that in the realm that I do when I spend a dollar on ‘a’ single lottery ticket.
“TW, you don’t waste money on those, do you?”
“Waste, no. You see, with me, when I am traveling, and I need to use the facilities…(Nice way to say pee) and I don’t need gas or what have you, I will spend a dollar on a lottery ticket.
Now, I don’t feel cheap for using their bathroom; well, too cheap. With that lottery ticket in my possession, I think of all the things I will do with it when I ‘win!’
Keep in mind, the only way to win the lottery is not to play.
We writers must have an active imagination, and that includes fantasy. Use those thoughts as writing prompts. Your character spent his or her last dollar on a lottery ticket instead of buying cheap soup. You know those bags of noodles that you put into hot water like you did in college.
Why did your character do that?
Did he or she win?
How did it change their life?
Did they eat the ticket if they lost?
Did they have to explain what they did with that dollar to anyone?
Maybe your character is prosperous and just bought the ticket not to appear cheap and hit the lottery anyway!
*Write a flash fiction on your blog, with one of these and send me a link.
Since I titled this new project, I suppose I should tell you what I am up to. I came up with the idea of creating a book of short stories. Ten thousand words or less per story. The idea is that you can buy this book, and take it with you to lunch and have a mental vacation while you dine on celery and salad. Oh, you’re not one of those that made those ridiculous New Year’s resolutions to eat better?
Stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime, I am still editing and changing my novels as time permits. If you bought one, and I re-release it, you can speak with the people at Amazon and get the latest, I am told. I called to make sure that you could, and what the process was.
Stay safe out there, write to me and tell me how you are doing and if you take on the prompt, I would love to see how you do with it.
*Flash Fiction… For those of you who don’t know, flash fiction is usually a story of 1000 words or less that demonstrates a story and character arc. In 1000 words or less can be a challenge.
Are writers bound by some unspoken rule regarding what we write about?
Did you know Susie was fooling around with Tom at work?
What a juicy bit of gossip that is. Truth told we love a good bit of gossip. The reasons are evident to most anyone with a brain.
We want to feel better than that person.
We are better than that person.
We love the titillation that goes along with gossip.
Their behavior might justify ours.
We have this duality within us of who we are. We attend church or work, and we wear this face that we allow the world to see. While sitting there listening to the pastor drone on about Paul or David or JESUSsssss, we are thinking about what has to be done when we get home from church.
Some of us are thinking about last night and how wonderful it was to be in his or her arms.
A few of us are actually writing in our bibles or making notes to stay awake, and not snore like the fellow in the pew behind us.
I am no better than you. If the pastor hits a dull moment, my mind is elsewhere. Much like reading a book where you hit that middle of the road slump. Your eyes pass over the words but they don’t register because we are looking for the ‘juicy stuff.’
As a writer, we must keep this in mind when we are crafting our stories. Pacing is essential and so is the ‘juice.’
Who is your audience?
In Church on Sunday, the preacher, who most probably doesn’t want to be there either, is addressing his or her flock. The flock is us, the sinners. As a preacher, he must keep us engaged throughout the sermon or we are all wasting our time. There are no time clocks to punch. God will not be looking at some history to see how many hours you ‘sat’ in church.
We may all wear this mask of how effing great we are, (yes I wanted to use the F-bomb to get your attention) but inside, we are just us. If you happen to go to a Calvinist denomination of Christianity, you know ‘because you have been told repeatedly’ just what a lowly piece of shit you are. That definition does not even underscore how truly rotten Calvinism makes you feel. I left one of those churches as Calvin was a crazy man, as was Martin Luther. Both were horrible Anti-Semites who, if they had self-flagellate themselves, I would be grateful. Too harsh?
I should note that God can use the worst of the worst to do his bidding. From David to Trump, God can use even you, to do his bidding, turning evil to good. ‘Like how I put you in there so you keep in mind that you are no better than any of them? I did too.’
That is where we get into trouble when we think we are better than thou. You might love or hate Trump but, I can tell you with all certainty, he will use him to do his bidding.
We as writers can use what we know and who we know as fodder for stories. We can use every experience that we ever have to weave them into the tapestry of your dystopian adventure through Never Land.
The issues with being a writer as I see them, we think outside the box, and we take nothing for granted. We might sit in church and listen as the preacher prattles on about demons or how the streets of heaven are made of gold. Ok, they are streets, gold is a soft metal; wouldn’t it make more sense to make them with something more ‘concrete?’
‘Did you like that? Concrete…” C’mon at least smile.
If I took a notion, I could dismantle the Bible in its entirety from what I know about physics and science.
That is a powerful statement, and it is true. Here is something else I know. I can absolutely prove to you that there is a God or Creator of all things. Again, I can use Science and physics to determine that.
Where does that leave us as a people? If there is a God as I am sure there is, what is it? Where is it? Who is it? Does he or she watch over us like Santa Jesus, making notes when we mess up?
No, I mean no disrespect, I am making a point. Don’t send me ugly e-mails, I don’t have time for them.
The problem with the bible is every part of it is tied to every other part of it. If you pull on one, lose string, the house of cards falls apart. They, in fact, become stories. Allegorical tales meant to put some modicum of understanding of how the world and God worked 2000 years ago.
Have we outgrown God?
With church attendance falling, we see the beginnings of a dystopian world. How do we as writers, play into this part of the world? We are part of this world, not merely observers. Are we responsible for shaping the world with our words?
These are just a few thoughts I have when I witness the violence from Hollywood or the Graphic video games that are nothing more than simulators for death. What role do we as writers play?
One of my favorite lines from any movie was from Contact.
(Paraphrased) ‘You people have such wonderful imaginations and thoughts, and you have such horrible nightmares.’
This line captures the duality of which I speak.
In my novels, I attempt to speak to both. We are that Jekyll and Hyde but hopefully not to that extreme.
In Nudists of Shangri-La, I speak to Judy’s Demons. If you read it, you will recognize her demon as we all have it. Possibly it is not to that extreme but it is there never-the-less.
As we head into the weekend, I wish you a safe and happy one. Thanks for following me here and on twitter.
Tonight I want to tell you about a novella I wrote a year or so ago and recently
re-released it but first….
I bought a book I want to talk about. Writers, you will want to pay attention to this as it involves marketing.
If you follow me, you know that I write what sells. I can churn out a story on damn near any topic. Writing prompts are a favorite pass time. What sells and why?
I go to book stores and I shop online like most of you do. So here is this book with all kinds of pants on the cover, including undies of different sorts. The title is Take off Your Pants.
What the hell, it made me look!
That is what I was talking about in a previous blog, when you want to charm some intern who is going through some agents ‘her mothers,’ slush pile.
You want a title that grabs the reader.
The truth is, I bought the book, but have not even looked at it. The book is about modifying the way you write, if you are a pantster, as I am. Hello, what I do works, why change what is not busted?
Why did you buy it then?
I bought it because the title and cover were captivating and amusing.
Now, if you don’t know if you are a plotter or pantster, you might get some mileage out of her book. It is an e-book that went to my mac instead of my tablet for some reason.
“TW, what is this nude in the woods about?”
So here is the deal. I have been nude in the woods. I know the honesty just drips out of me at times. I actually love nature, and I love to be in it as God made me. Yes, it can be intimidating at times and yes, you do feel vulnerable, at times.
When I wrote Land of my People, I captured the first time I did it. I re-lived that moment, including the ‘thinking tree,’ and much of the other parts of the novel are actually from real life.
I cannot say this enough, if you want to write compelling stories, you have to be willing to pull off your undies, or said another way, live your damned life like you mean it!
The Bucket list spoke to me, not so much for the reasons they had in the movie but, for fodder for gripping tales. How the hell can you write stories if you only watch TV or read what others write?
Go out and skin your knees, get your skin scraped up with briars, and stand on sticky things with your bare feet. Or better yet, feel the sun kiss you in places reserved for shadows. Allow the wind to whistle through your nether regions and live in the moment. Do it by yourself, so you can listen to the whispering trees. Learn to pee without getting yourself wet, and if you do, so what.
In this novella, which I hope you will read, you will see some of what I went through to write this story. Guess what, I would do it again. I would sit on that hot rock or pick those yellow flowers. I would dive into that lake with only that old deer as my witness. When your heart is pounding in your chest, as you pull off that last stitch of clothing, only then can you write about it convincingly. As you leave your clothes behind on that ‘thinking tree,’ turning your back on civilization, only then can you honestly know what it is like to be exposed, to be truly naked. When you walk through a spider web, and the ‘huntress’ leaves your chest while slowly making its way down your belly toward your…yeah, you are alive! You think and act without the safety of the remote control. While respecting all life, could you do what she did?
In Perpetual Palpitation, I write about the antics of two lovebirds who find places on a cruise ship where he takes a picture of her while she performs lewd poses. Care to guess how many ships I have been on?
You have to live my friends. You cannot write good stuff if you only do it by reading the works of others. You have to use all of your senses, and you must remember what it was like when you are at Hippy Hollow, as I write about in Nudist of Shangri-La. Yes, I know about it, because I was there.
There is a beach in Florida that you will get ticketed if you are wearing clothing on it. How do I know?
Not from the internet, I assure you.
Tan lines should be a sin. Until you rip the Band-Aid off, you cannot honestly write about it.
Now I have not written about sky diving because I will not jump out of a perfectly good plane. I can write about flying because I have spent my fair share of time behind the yoke. Until the ground disappears beneath you, and you are in control, you cannot write convincingly about it, like I did in Presidential Assassins.
No, I have not killed anyone, so you do have to use your imagination but, and I say this with all due candor, you have to live. I have killed, hunted, stalked, been stalked, been in the woods nude or naked, and done much, tried much, and would do more if I needed, to experience it, to write about it.
You can get a small sampling of that in Land of my People. I did spend about a week in the woods, as my main character did. I describe my first time as his daughter did. I think you will love it.
I hope that this blog, like most, will inspire you to write convincingly. I also hope you will assist me by spreading the word about this blog, and my books.
This is a cover I created for Diamond Joe. The island I took while on holiday, the ladies I drew as well as parts of the horses. Diamond Joe should be a movie. Too bad Hallmark does not do same-sex movies.
AHHHH! I don’t want to market my books, I just want to write the damned things!
I am a natural-born storyteller.
As a kid, I was the one with the flashlight making up stories about the zombie bunny that would be all cuddly and cute when you were hugging it. As soon as your eyes closed, the fangs came out! The claws turned in to razor-sharp daggers that it would use to rip your throat out!
Can you imagine how many kids tossed their velveteen rabbit books in the trash after that little story?
Whoever heard of evil bunny rabbits? Gives all new meaning to biting the ears off that chocolate Easter bunny now, doesn’t it? Die you SOB…you’re not ripping my throat out!
I always wondered why nobody wanted to sleepover at my house… Was it my breath? Is it possible that my invitations to parties were not lost in the mail? BOOO!
Stories are part of who we are. If it were not for them, we would have no bible, no Jesus, no Zeus or Pele’. We would have no folklore at all. The magical kingdoms of the Scots, we would never know about.
While history is written by the victors, the stories that entertain, are written by writers. That is right, baby, who is your mama!
Before the written word, they would lie around at night and look up at the skies and wonder what all those dots of light were. From constellations resembling things they might recognize, much like clouds today, they made up stories. Those passed down through the ages have most certainly changed much like the ‘telephone game, ‘but never the less, we have them.
This week I got one of my novels back from a beta reader who had some interesting comments.
Tonight I want to talk about feedback and how to use it.
Let’s deal with rejection first.
It is going to happen. Those excellent agents must have material that they don’t have to sell. It has to be so good that it pops off the page without even reading it. There must be linguistic magic that enchants the person who even thinks about opening the e-mail.
“This is not the kind of thing we handle, or your book is not right for us.”
“Son of a bitch! Let me take the old Underwood out and shoot the damned thing, and go back to waiting tables! At least there I get a pinched ass for a few dollars, and hey…I get some attention.”
Ok, that might be a little on the extreme side. I haven’t waited tables, while since I was a kid. I do have an old Underwood that actually works, but of course, I don’t use it either.
Rejections are a starting point. Here is how to handle them if traditional publishing is your path.
Send out your baby, gird your loins, and while you are waiting for the offer letters to come in like the proverbial tsunami, start another book.
Absolutely, positively, do not rest on your laurels! Are you listening? Tell me, you heard that!
You spend your time writing your book, and you send it out after you have languished over every god damned word in the thing. Send it out and move on! Do you realize that the average book is over 70k words and writers suffer over every one of them? Is this the right word? We agonize, trust me on this one grasshopper!
When you get the boilerplate letter weeks to months later, file it away, and send it out again. Someone out there is looking for what you wrote and just possibly with weed so much more prevalent, you might catch them in a stoned moment, and they might laugh at your hook or characters and in a weak moment, they send you an e-mail with all kinds of miss spelled words telling you that you rock and please submit the entire manuscript! Hey, it could happen!
On the flip side, you find the agent who is genuinely seeking what you wrote and is ready to do what it takes to sign you.
Happy days! It could happen.
Tonight I just uploaded a new version of Diamond Joe. After applying many things that I have learned over the years, I have made this lesbian love affair, an affair to remember.
That sounds tawdry, and it is not.
The beta reader told me that she loved the story and was amazed that my characters each had their own voice. ‘Hello, they should have their own voices.”
This is a romance with romantic subplots, family issues, and oh yes, a racehorse!
What is not to love about a rags to riches story, where a young lady discovers who she is and better yet, captures the heart of a young rich widow, who has no idea that she would love another woman?
I walk you through the entire thought process, and I take you down the dark road of, ‘what if she is after my money?”
Oh yes, there are gold diggers out there, gay or straight or is it gay and straight?
This is a heart wrenching, feel-good story that they should make a movie out of but, Hallmark has yet to make a movie with same-sex couples. Why is that? This book would be such a killer hot movie. Maybe Netflix should pick it up.
I am trying to figure out who would play whom…
Back to the feedback. What you want from them is what they liked and what did not work for them. That is all you want, as that is all you need. If they start to tell you, it would have worked better if…Stop them! You don’t want to know the ‘if’ part. The reasons are simple. If they render an opinion and you should be foolish enough to take it, guess what, it is now their story, not yours.
So ladies and gentlemen, if you read my novels and you should be so kind as to offer me feedback, just tell me what worked and did not work for you. Allow me to figure out why. I am the writer and in my little office, I am a god!
That sounds crazy but think about it. I create worlds, people, places, and situations. I even create evil little rabbits. That is what a writer does, and if you don’t respect any writer that you know, you might find yourself in one of their stories, tied to the bed, surrounded by hundreds of chocolate Easter rabbits, without their ears. Since they cannot hear you, they will never know if you are loving, or hating your throat being eaten out. It is just payback after all.
Write! Write! Write!
When I get a rejection letter, which I do on occasion, it just drives me to improve my craft. Since they hardly ever tell you anything other than, ‘we don’t sell this shit’ (paraphrased,) you send it out again while learning your craft even better. That is what drives me. Yes, I would love to know what exactly they didn’t like about it but, it is probably their twelve-year-old child going through the slush pile while playing some game on their phone.
Put some magic in your hook!
Cast a spell on the reader.
Write something so overpowering that even the twelve-year-old will stop looking at the phone long enough to say ‘WOW!”
I have said it many times in different ways, you cannot be a one-trick pony. Write your story, nobody is perfect and your story will not be perfect. Send the thing out and start writing about evil little bunnies, or not.
If you are like me, you are on fire at the keyboard. You can go hours without eating, or even thinking about food, as your characters are running through caves or jumping off cliffs, you cannot leave them! Continue on, and don’t let the bastards or twelve-year-olds get you down.
Agents are always looking, even though they might profess to be too busy. If they are good, they are looking. You might try sending your queries to agents in states where pot is legal…I kid…nobody gives a damned if it is legal or not!
I am probably one of the few who has never tried it. I don’t smoke, but I hear some gummies are to die for…Bwhaaa! Are they rabbit gummies?
I wish I had a nickel for every person who has spoken with me about writer’s block.
I don’t believe it makes a difference if you are a plotter or a panster; at some time in your life, you will experience writer’s block.
How do you deal with the infamous blank page?
I find it useful to examine why I am drawing a blank, or my characters have stopped talking. Many times it is that part of the novel that we all dread, the middle slump. Since we all know we want to avoid that, just possibly, we put undue stress on ourselves and cause our stream of conscious to become, derailed.
Keep in mind that it is your SFD or $hitty first draft. Only you will see it, read it, and know that your characters decided to go on strike.
Some causes for the strike can be that you don’t want to deal with this part of the story. Maybe it is too close to you. There are many land mines with writing, and I find it refreshing and often times cathartic when I work my way through a story.
If the words are not coming, turn off your ‘IBM Selectric’ and go do something else. As an artist, I find if I am busy with some graphic, or a painting, my characters will want to see what I am doing and come out and play.
Now, why do you suppose that might be?
When we are between awake and asleep, in the shower and yes, doing something with our hands like coloring or painting, your brain produces something called Theta waves. A different part of your brain is active and guess where the characters hideout? Yes, you have knocked on the door, rang the bell and now you have huffed and puffed the proverbial threat, all while trying to color between the lines.
One thing that I find that assist me is I will put the project up, and work on something else, such as this blog. Hours, days, weeks, and even months later, I will start at the beginning of the project and reread it. There you will find the epiphany. The Ah-Ha moment will become apparent and you will see where your GPS took you on a wrong turn. You might have to scrap a few paragraphs or chapters, but that is how my process works. In ten years, I have written well over thirty novels, so I must know something.
The literary process, to me, is the gold standard of how I wish to live. How can I tell the best there while remaining true to who and what I am? Truth over lies, love over hate and yes, and a dirty mind is necessary at times to keep it real.
We are the perfect juxtaposition of Jekyll, and Hyde, only most of us ‘hide’ that dark side while putting on our happy face. In my books, I rip the Band-Aids off. One of my critics told me that she did not like the F word. Umm, don’t read it. If my characters use that vernacular guess what, the F word is there.
Honesty, truth, and kindness will take you far in life. Knowing who you are will assist you through those bleak times when the blank page is striking fear into your heart.
From show don’t tell to use simple sentences, we have all heard them. There are even books on the subject. “Shocking!”
One of my readers contacted me to tell me that ‘big’ words threw him out of the story. My first response was, ‘only in my head, of course, was’ “bless your heart.”
That begs the question, do we dumb our writing down to appeal to the masses? Is the reading public getting dumber?
Personally, I would rather lift people up than encourage them to read at a fifth grade level as adults. It used to be that we would write for a seventh-grade level which is still insane but, to lower our standards to a fifth-grade level, one has to wonder. Why are companies hiring from other countries instead of America? Could it be that we are saying it is ok to stagnate at a fifth grade level of reading?
Here is another rule. ‘Simple sentences work best.’ Pro Writing aid will tell you many things, including identifying such sentences. To me, this rule also has to do with the pacing of your story. We want people to turn the page, not struggle over complex sentences. Does that hold true for words like perpetuity?
Should we not endeavor to leave people a little more educated than when they found us? Kindle makes it so damned easy to look up a word. Personally, I rejoice when I read a word that I have not heard. Possibly that is a quirk but I will own it.
As a child, I kept a dictionary close and looked up every word that I did not know. I used a word in my second-grade class that the teacher called me on. I mentioned that my sibling was obstinate. She peered down over her long nose through her poorly fitted readers and pointed her crooked finger straight at me. “Do you even know what that word means?” She crowed.
“Stubborn, pig-headed, inflexible.”
This person was not impressed. This individual should have retired years ago but ‘loved’ kids. PFFT!
I was ‘that’ child in school. The precocious child who used words better suited for late teens, possibly college kids. When you read, you tend to have a respectable vocabulary.
I wrote in a previous blog about how you get a glimpse into the heads of the author by reading what they wrote. This is especially true for children and ‘stories.’
An astute teacher can glean much from those short stories, including trouble at home.
I learned the rules. I know them, so now I break them with impunity.
Thunder over the water sounded like two pirate ships in a heated battle; before one of them would meet Davy Jones. The crusty old captain was not going down without a fight. His younger rival had studied him, and knew what his moves might be. This was the first time a woman would lead men into battle, and she was untested.
Her red hair blew about her, as the acrid odor of gun powder filled their noses. The splinter of wood sounded like the thunder itself, as the mainsail was the first casualty of the battle.
Susan saw the story in her head as she sat on the screened-in porch watching lighting dance in the clouds well in the distance.
Her mother was due home at any moment. She could see down the mountain road and there were no lights from any cars. In fact, there had been no traffic for what seemed hours.
A chill caught her attention as the winds from the impending storm blew through the screen, with a whistling sound that reminded her of the sounds coming through the open canopy of her father’s aircraft.
Never start a story with the weather… Hmmm, I think that start gets your attention. This open or prologue took less than three minutes to concoct.
Who is Susan?
Where is her mother?
How old is she?
What about her father?
He is/was a pilot. Where does the story take place?
While allowing the reader to do some of the work, we the writer have this picture in our mind. We know it is a cabin perhaps, in the woods may be up a mountain next to a lake left over from the glacial days. We know that Susan has an imagination and pirates play into it.
I like strong women and red-haired women at that. Wonder why?
Know the rules and then write the damned story. Make it your story.
I didn’t know how to respond to that comment at a recent gathering of writers. I have asked the very same question in my life, and now years later, I think I have a handle on it.
When I first wrote The Saga of the Starduster, it outperformed and still does exceed my other novels in sales. That includes the naughty stories, which is somewhat surprising.
My first bit of advice to young writers is this. ‘Don’t be a one-trick pony.’
It is no secret that I have a day job. I cannot afford to hire editors, book cover designers, marketing experts and to pay some firm for reviews. In fact, I use the free ISBN numbers just because I refuse to pay some firm to sell me ten numbers like I won’t pay to register some star in someone’s name.
Rule one is, always have another project going. Have another story that is a W.I.P. If you have raised children, you know that we raise them to be independent. We raise them to make their way into the world much like the sea turtle lays its eggs in the sand, and heads back into the water to start the process all over again.
Your book, your project much like those eggs must hatch and take flight.
Someone purchased The Saga of the Starduster and gave it one star. They did their best to smear the novel, having it sound like a cure for insomnia. I read it, realized by the comments that they never read it, and went back to my WIP.
Monitoring the sales, their review did not hinder sales of that novel; in fact, they might have improved slightly. Since then, others have reviewed the book and I am not disappointed with their comments.
As writers, we have no idea who these people are, and if they write under a pseudonym like this one reviewer did, I give it little credence. I think most readers are smart enough to realize that small fact.
As we spend chunks of our lives, creating the literary works of art, we believe that our creation is the best thing ever written. That is how we are preyed upon by those who offer services like editing, book cover creation and so on. ‘I just need a good cover or professional editing and I will be the next…fill in the blank.’
Because we cannot be objective ‘for the most part,’ we are an easy target for those who might be like us.’ They might have tried several times to get something published, and they might know more than you. Because they cannot sell their stuff, they try to sell their services to assist you.
At this point in the game, you have options.
Pay for assistance.
Query agents and cross your fingers
Learn all you can about each step of the process and do it yourself.
If you follow me, you know that I have opted for the latter, and sometimes the second in the process as I have no idea who is who, in the world of paying for assistance.
Involve yourself in the industry, and you will soon learn the ropes to skip and the ones to jump. I think honesty with yourself is probably the ticket to not being screwed over by the predators out there.
I happen to like what I write and will often pick up one of my previous novels and re-read it and yes, add to it, or take away from it as I deem necessary. Currently, I am re-writing the Nudists of Shangri-La series and I have learned much since then and I can make it so much better.
The first in the series has already gained twenty thousand words and magic. While the original text was more cut and dried, and to the point where Judy deals with her demons, now we are giving the demons a voice.
I like where it is going, and I am confident if you liked it the first time, you would love it this time.
My point to this blog is don’t give up. If your passion is to write, write. Don’t allow some jerk who writes reviews under a pseudonym to ruin your day or, worse yet, stifle your desire to write.
Many of you who follow me on this blog have your own blogs, and yes, I read many of them. Some of you have such a gift for writing; you should be writing novels if you are not already. Have a goal in mind and lay out the path to get there.
Much like planning a car trip, you have the goal, the destination in mind; now, how do you get there? What does your GPS tell you?
This might sound like a funny topic coming from an author, but sometimes we wonder if brain-eating monsters might walk alongside us.
Of course, my brain-eating zombies are metaphorical in that they really are not the undead or some other form of sub-human life form. What I am referring to are people who are asleep.
In our world, we have a small percentage who are enlightened enough to be truly good or truly evil. Yes, some people do good or bad but they are not good or evil unless they are aware that they are indeed purposefully doing good or evil things.
You can always tell that someone is asleep when they cannot articulate why they like something or don’t like something. “Why do you hate Trump?”
“Just because!” Is not an answer.
Hate is one of the strongest emotions that we have as humans, and that is why the media, politicians, and other powerful ‘elite’s’ use it, or employ it, to manipulate the masses. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a form of hate that is exacerbated by those who wish to divide the country.
The formula is simple. What is wrong and who is to blame for it.
Whether the facts bear out the truth or not, few like so many false postings on social media will check it out. This is what is wrong, and Trump is responsible for it, so says CNN.
The Iranians shot down a commercial jetliner killing all aboard. There are those in the media writing stories that Trump is responsible for the shootdown. The topic is propaganda. Stalin knew that the printed word was the sharpest weapon in his arsenal. That fact has never been lost by the purveyors of lies. Hate is indeed one of the most natural emotions to weaponize and it happens every day.
The zombies that walk among us are those who will quickly re-post a scandalous article with the word ‘wow!’ as their only comment. If you are already predisposed to dislike a person, it is easy to believe the ugly lies put forth by those that manipulate you.
In recent news, over 200 people have been arrested down under for either arson or some infraction of the laws regarding the fire. Our MSM does not speak of this but instead talks about climate change and this could happen here if we don’t stop breathing and farting now.
As countries go, the US is one of the cleanest, lowest carbon-emitting countries around but yet, the Greta Thornburg’s of the world take us to task rather than the ‘China’s’ of the world. Why?
Our media will give her the attention, air time, and coverage she seeks as long as she scowls at Trump. Pfft!
It is not about the climate. It is about sending businesses and so forth to these other countries who would not listen to young ladies who scowl at their leaders. The sad facts are that it is almost always about money.
So, are zombies real?
If you think socialism is a good thing, then yes, zombies are real, and you might be one of them.
Since the climate is also changing on Mars, I tend to think that just possibly, our ‘change’ might have something to do with the Sun and the fact that the sun is at low sunspot activity currently. That means much like turning the burner on your stove on high vs. medium things will warm a little faster and perhaps get a little warmer than when vast amounts of the sun are not putting out heat due to solar storms.
If I can convince you through whatever means that the world is going to end in twelve years, if you don’t do something radical, you will be ok with spending your national treasure on pet projects, which make the rich richer, the poor poorer and the middle-class pay for everything.
No, I think I will need more than the talking points from a 29-year-old bartender who has less schooling and education than Greta Thornburg.
Yes, zombies in the form of unthinking people abound. Some of them vote which is why it is essential that A: you who are not zombies vote and B: convince the zombies that this year we will do our best not to exclude the brain-eating undead to vote by keeping the polls open past midnight.
Somewhere there is a novel in this mess.
I hope that 2020 is treating you right thus far. Taxes will be due before you know it so, don’t wait till the last minute to get your paperwork in order. Much Love -TW
Iran just admitted that is accidentally shot down a commercial airliner. That would be Russian weaponry used on civilians. Still, think Iran should have nukes?
Hello, and welcome to my first post of 2020. As I take time away from re-writing my novel Nudists of Shangri-La, I wanted to keep you my audience, followers, and friends updated on, what I am up to and why.
The reasons I am re-writing many of my novels are many.
My craft of writing has improved.
The story has evolved.
There is more that I want to say.
Some of these books are performing in a lackluster way.
I wanted to be more honest, more insightful with the characters.
Writers deal in lies. If you think about it, we tell stories about people, places and things that never existed or, did not happen. There never was a wooden boy that had a nose that grew when he prevaricated. We, as readers, can still anthropomorphize this and believe that it happened. Indeed the wooden child is part of our culture. “Your nose is growing.”
The dirty little secret about writing and lies is there is an undercurrent of honesty in what we write. For instance, in many of my novels, there are parts of me on display that no camera could ever find.
I talk about the difference between being nude and naked in many of my novels. For you who don’t know, if I were posing for a bunch of art students and I was to be undressed, I would be nude. If right before that were to happen, I was in the bathroom getting ready to make an appearance, and someone came in unannounced, I would be naked.
Now some of you might just say that is semantics, but it is not; it is a state of mind. In my novels, there are parts of me that are nude. They are on display, and I have chosen to put them out there for the world. There might also be some parts that are naked that I did not intend to put out and did by accident.
Judy, in this novel, works her way through the process of being nude not only with her body but in discovering who and what she is, she must be naked and then find out what and who her demon is.
I have added an element of magic in these novels, and some mystical things to bring more audiences into the story other than just those who seek titillation. Judy is much deeper than being submissive for some Dom. I am much more deep-rooted than providing a story for those who might want to read with one hand.
Sorry if that is too graphic. When writing, we need to consider who the audience is. We can only do that when we are totally honest with who we are. The problem or a consequence of that is this, we expose parts of ourselves to the world. People might or will judge us.
As a writer, I hear many say, ‘I don’t want others reading what I write.’ Consider that statement carefully as it is relevant to the conversation. When you write and you share, it is much like walking down the hallway in your school naked. Yes, we all had that nightmare and I am sure some phycologist somewhere could piece that together with insecurity that you have. You don’t want people to know who you really are.
This is who I am. In my stories, I talk about finding a balance between your ‘bedroom’ life and your public life. Your naked or nude life in your bathroom, vs. your clothed life in the world.
The life you portray on Sunday at church vs. Friday nights at the club. Balance is critical and denying who you are or what you are is what makes us scared that we might be found out.
Follow me here if you have not already, as I will dive into this more as the week’s progress. The nudist’s series will be a trilogy before it is over and it will be much more than a one-handed read. We will be honest with you and ourselves about this subject and why so many write about and talk about nudism.
Being a writer is probably more revealing of who we are in that we go beyond being nude.
I hope your year has started off well, and I look forward to spending 2020 with you!
The impeachment is a distraction, but from what? Read on!
Not that many years ago, when asked about government, many could not tell you what the three branches of government were, much less what they were for.
When asked what they thought of Sarah Palin as Obama’s running mate, more than most were ‘cool with it.’ In fact, very few actually corrected the interviewer, regarding who was who. These were mostly college students in the ‘woke’ community. These are the same geniuses who think Socialism is a good thing.
When the 2016 election was ‘in the bag’ for Hillary, the cocky shoo-in for the office did not even go to critical swing states as her election was ‘in the bag.’
Late in the evening or early the next morning, the ‘shoo-in’ did not have the decency to go speak to her loyal followers, sending Podesta instead to not concede, but to lie to them, telling them it was too close to call. Hillary had already in fact, acknowledged the loss before Podesta left to speak with them. Bill probably did not have a good night, as he was not going to get more interns.
Clandestine elites, worthy of one of my novels were busy in the dark of night trying to cover their tracks as their protector, who they had gone to bat for, was no longer able to protect their subversive behavior. Indeed the actions of some in high power offices were now in danger of exposure as the real house of cards, built by power brokers in DC, and elsewhere, were in danger of the Class five hurricane now headed for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The battle lines were quickly drawn, and artillery pieces were set with strategic pinpoint accuracy. The lines of defense were deeply ensconced in all of the branches of government.
Those with the most to lose used their pawns as their first line of defense. The pawns are the propagandist. Smear, lie, distract, and take the offensive, even though they should have been lawyering up. Even today, they are doubling down spreading more lies, attempting to control the narrative which is falling apart.
One lone bastion for the American People stood firm, waving the flag, much like Crocket at the Alamo.
That bastion came under attack from all sides. Assaulting their supply lines, causing internal strife from within, the defender transformed and came back stronger than ever. New generals became the face of reason and sanity.
While the pawns continued to gin up their base, those that have more than just a few neurons firing could see through the subterfuge. Goliath, the swamp god, was now on notice that the smelly Walmart people, the irredeemable deplorable middle class, who is the group which funds the elite, who were thought to be too stupid to vote; have awakened.
The middle class is, in fact, tired of being tread on, and Trump became their David.
Democrats, even to this day, are too isolated in their own ivory towers, along with the likes of the Hollywood elite who only need the middle class to adore them and admire their ability to emote on screen, are getting a wakeup call. It is not the ‘woke’ that they would like.
Around the globe, the Walmart shoppers of the world are once again rising up, demanding that the elites of the world take notice! From Brexit to the heartland, we the people have a voice!
Goliath must die!
Those responsible for the strife and division perpetrated on the ‘deplorable’ everywhere, must be held to account. While many who know too much seem to hang themselves or commit other forms of suicide, it is time to hold the demigods’ feet to the proverbial fire.
Civil wars have been fought over less than what we have witnessed in the last few years.
Those in their ivory towers, casting stones or ‘crumbs of cake’ to the deplorable, should take notice.
Twitter and other tech giants might be the vestibule for scud missiles, but even the most asleep drone among us, cannot dismiss the fact that our economy is the best it has been in decades. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in over 50 years, and not only are the deplorable better off but, even the sheep who follow and pay homage to the god of the swamp, Goliath, is doing much better under this president than ever before.
Those elite, who are in fact, parasites on the backs of the deplorable, are the people in jeopardy of losing their ability to control the sheeple.
The ‘woke’ are not those who preach the PC culture but instead are those who now know what the three branches of government are, what they do, and soon will understand why the swamp must be drained, and the Goliaths must be held to account. Our President cannot, or will not, be bought! That is why ‘Impeach Barney Fife’ was the mantra of those parasites who saw him as the clear and present danger that he is, to the swamp!
When you look at the cities under the control of the swamp monsters, you can easily see why they are indeed part of the swamp. Their cities are in decay and under siege by criminal elements, not unlike the swamp monsters, like many dogs they are ok sleeping with fleas. The swamp monsters feel comfortable around those that cannot spell ‘law.’
This recent impeachment is a political stunt to distract the sheep from a bill passed that has 1.4 trillion tax dollars going to fund crazy things like the war in Afghanistan. Politicians get into office by granting political favors, and some of those are funding wars in ‘shit-hole’ countries, so big business can sell both side’s weapons, and other goods and services.
What they should have been debating is what was in that spending bill. Instead, they are doing their best to drag ‘David’ through the mud, in hopes that some of it will stick, while repaying their radical base and donors with what they desire most.
This distraction is just that, a slight of the magician’s hand to show you the public the bright and shiny object, so you don’t notice the magician pulling out a fifth ace from his sleeve. The impeachment is, in fact, a complete farce and the Democrats know it. The political stunt will backfire, but not before 1.4 trillion of your tax dollars go to the Gods of the Swamp monsters!
It should come as no surprise to anyone anywhere that the irredeemable-deplorable who shop at Walmart, are the losers no matter how this plays out. The Goliath, our David who Goliath is targeting, has its own gods. The swamp creatures are puppets on strings for the real, great and Powerful OZ’s.
The chess masters using their pawns will now spin more Pravda worthy fecal matter at the proverbial wall to see what they can make stick in the minds and hearts of those who still think Socialism is a good thing.
Stalin said that the printed word is the sharpest weapon in his arsenal, and the pawns, purveyors of yellow journalism, and all other matters worthy of the putrid swamp will continue to regurgitate their fetid vomit on the 24-hour news cycle; further dividing a country under siege. It is time for the sheep, much like the French Sheep who have developed a backbone of late, to wake the hell up!
If you have not hit follow yet, why not?
As a writer, I often offer pearls of wisdom, and yes, on rare occasions, I offer commentary, as many who are too busy to pay attention might actually believe the verbiage disseminated from the drones taking their script from the Wizard.
Not unlike many of you, I find that Christmas music is depressing.
I was thinking about some Christmas songs where the lyrics are “Where are you Christmas…?”
It is not Christmas per se, that she is looking for but, the innocence of the holiday. Do you remember?
I know that everyone has their own memories of the holiday; some of them are memories that many would kill for, and some of those memories are ones that people rather forget. I have a mixed bag of memories like that.
There are memories I would just as soon as not have, and then there are a few that I would not want to lose.
There is an old Merle Haggard song that resonates with me as an adult. ‘If we can make it through December.’
In the song, the writer laments that his little girl won’t understand why there are no Christmas gifts. Then there is Dolly with her ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ or perhaps her ‘coat of many colors.’
The physical year-end all too often matches up with the fiscal year-end for many companies hence the end of the year layoff. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard of companies letting their employees go on furlough, or just laid them off this time of year.
When I was a kid, it seemed that Unions would strike this time of year, so Christmas was not only bleak but we learned to eat cheaply. The furnace was cut back to conserve energy, so sleeping in more than pajamas was a memory I could easily forget.
Companies have no loyalty to the employee, although they might offer the impression that they do. When production slumps, there is little need for employees and that seems to happen around the end of the year.
One could preach all year long about having a rainy day fund, but the argument as to who can afford that is germane as well. Is this you?
Are you gainfully employed with a savings account, or are you barely making it paycheck to paycheck?
Speaking as someone who has been there, having anything in savings is a comfort. Knowing you can last until the demands for business return, is a comfort. While some company’s business model is, for their employees to survive off funds from unemployment, or food stamps, during this time of low business, some only hire contract workers.
Moral of this story. Have money put aside for Christmas. That means all during the year set aside money in savings that does not get touched. It is for a rainy day.
When you work for someone, you have very little control over your destiny. Everyone would be smart to have a side hustle. I hesitate to use that word but that is what it is. From stores on Etsy to selling things on eBay to yes, writing books and selling them on Amazon, a side hustle can give you that little bit of comfort. Even though the company you have slaved for is letting you fend for yourself at the moment, the world of readers appreciates what you are writing!
I knew a lady who was a photographer and sold calendars with her pictures as the main picture for each month. I know another lady who makes purses and sells them on Etsy. There is nothing wrong with a little side hustle. Many have garage sales all too often, but they do it.
Christmas is not about gifts. Yes, there is magic but I think it manifest when we find ourselves doing for others who need that little extra something, as life has kicked them around. I don’t want to reward those who depend on that generosity. I want to bless those who would not ask and would instead do without, then be a burden. I love to assist those who are trying.
To me, that seems what the spirit of ‘Santa’ is all about.
I hope this Christmas finds you well, and your lives filled with love and prosperity.
I hope that this blog finds you all well. If not, let me know, and I will put you in my prayers, or if you are against such things, I will send you good thoughts.
What is wrong with that sentence?
I genuinely do mean that I will pray for you but, I am appealing to the politically correct or those who don’t believe in a higher power.
You might have noticed that usually, I sign with ‘much love.’
If you are reading this blog or you have purchased one of my many novels, or perhaps you follow me on Twitter, we share a bond.
I can love you without being ‘in love’ with you if that makes sense.
Writers share a bond, and I feel like most of my followers are writers.
Currently, I am going through the process of looking at each of my novels ‘all 30 something of them’ and trying to figure out why some sell very well, and some don’t. I have asked close friends to read those that are not selling well, and give me feedback.
To improve my craft, I have spent much time and money on programs, classes and yes seminars to see what I can learn that I don’t already know.
If you are a successful author, please comment below and send me a link to your books.
If nothing else, you will sell a book or two.
Do you realize how much of what we write must be perfect to sell? Not only is the story critical, but the characters must be real. Once you get a cohesive story with characters that people can relate to and ‘feel’, you have to create the perfect cover.
The brand that you assemble and sell to the world must be one that people will recognize and gravitate toward, before they even read the title.
If your pen name or brand brings people to your books, you are successful. The cover art must be perfect. As an artist, I have muddled my way through one cover after another. I don’t have the luxury of hiring a focus group or think tank to assist in that process. You probably don’t either.
There is a real benefit to fishing for an agent, a good one. They know the people and companies to contact for the perfect cover, and for the precise editing of said book.
In one of the groups I am associated with, I uploaded a complete novel for them to read, free of charge. Just give me some feedback.
The novel has enjoyed medium success, but for the subject matter and the type of story, it should be much better.
Here is the truth of the matter, not one person has downloaded it and read it.
If I cannot give a novel away to other writers, how can I expect to sell it?
I challenged them with that question at the last meeting. ‘They don’t have time,’ was the answer.
Allow me to pontificate on what it takes to be a successful writer.
Read much and often.
Go out of your office and live your life.
Pay attention to everything and anyone.
Make notes of things and or people that might make fodder for a story.
Don’t steer away from controversial issues.
What I was hoping for is for them to read it, and offer some feedback.
From character development to the story itself, what did you like or not like, and why?
‘Why’ is the operative word.
Without ‘why,’ what they tell you is worthless.
One of my beta readers told me just tonight that there were a few ‘eww’ moments.
Ok, great, what are they, and why?
Feedback is critical to the process, and let me tell you, it is like pulling hen’s teeth.
Was that idiom lost on you?
As the weeks and months progress, I will be creating more blogs with helpful thoughts, notes and what have you, regarding writing.
If you have not followed me yet, why not? Am I asking for money for these pearls of wisdom? No.
Am I seeking free anything from anyone? No
Am I trying to pay it forward and assist other writers…? Yes!
With Christmas around the corner, we have time to write before the year ends, don’t waste it.
We have one life to live. Each second of every day is an opportunity to experience life through your eyes or, the eyes of someone else. Many live their lives through the TV. I know too many to count who have done this. They save up their coins and buy stuff. Some of us know that there is more out there than trinkets to have around that charm us.
The world is full of people amazingly enough, who are just like you. While their skin color or accent or religious beliefs might differ from yours, if you take the time to get to know them, you will find you have more in common than you would believe.
In my life, I have made it to forty-nine of the fifty states. In that time of travel I have met many and to this day still, count many of them as friends. Unbeknown to them, some are characters in my novels. If you want to write exciting stories your characters must be dynamic. Why not channel those you meet as your characters?
I am not bragging about anything. In my line of work, I traveled a lot. Starting out my life in electronics, due to unforeseen events, my career morphed into forensic computing, with an adjunct in network security and design.
I met Steve Jobs while supporting Next Step computers, simultaneously learning the ins and outs of Microsoft’s products. Twiddling bits, living in the wiring closets of the world, I soon found a home in Metadata.
Interacting with people all over the globe, I learned many things. The most important thing is, we all have a story to tell. The second thing is, we all want the same things. ‘Most of us that is.’
When it came time to get out of Dodge for a bit, I shut off the computer, closed up shop, and left all of my daily trappings in a state of stasis.
Ideas for stories whirled around my brain as I went through the motions of traveling to Galveston, visiting with friends and families and finally negotiating embarkation of a Carnival Cruise.
This is where my story begins.
I want to keep this fair and helpful for the cruise line. I might want to sail with them again, so improving upon what and how they do business is paramount.
As a Writer, Artist, and Employee, we all need a reaction to the service we offer. As a provider, our perception of how things are, might not be correct. We might be looking at things through rose-colored glasses. I think Carnival might be doing this.
As we head into Black Friday, I wanted to share with you my readers and friends, a recent experience I had on my vacation. This is over a twelve thousand word novella, which I am going to publish on WordPress, rather than sell it. Consider this a gift from me to you.
Yes, people would buy it, but why not share the love? With well over thirty novels published worldwide, I have found that people love a good story. I hope that you will not only laugh with me but that if you should travel down the same roads that I have traveled, some of what I am sharing might assist you.
I also have an alternate agenda. I plan to tag the cruise director multiple times in tweets to get his attention. After much thought and deliberation, it came to me that I should have probably sought him out for assistance. During the process of dealing with this, I did not make my state of unease known to anyone as I had no clue who to call.
On previous cruises with other companies, it was never an issue to need to have or know who the cruise director was. I had researched the excursions, knew what I was going to do, and frankly, did not have any of the issues I had on this cruise. Was it just Carnival, the ship Vista, or some piss poor management?
Thinking back on the trip, I would wager a bet that dialing 7777 on the phone in my room, I could have made my issues known. DOH! Have you ever been so wrapped up in the problem that you could not see the forest as the trees were in the way? As they were trying to find certain people they would ask them to seek out certain people or dial 7777. A week after the fact, those words now haunt me.
Unlike Norwegian or Princess, this seven-day cruise would give you a few hours on each island. The time spent would be enough to visit one place and shop at the conveniently located ‘malls’ at the point of entry to their country… As a matter of fact, one had to walk the aisles of their ‘shopping mall’ to get to and from the boat.
I would wager money that the locals did not pay those prices for what they were selling.
Here are the sixty-four dollar questions.
Have you ever been on a cruise?
Did you like it?
What did you not care for?
Have you been to Cozumel or Grand Cayman or Jamaica?
Let’s talk about the trip, shall we?
Sit back, let the turkey do its thing, and tell me what you think.
Matt, if you are reading this, take out your number 2 pencil, and your big chief tablet, and make notes.
Since I read that you are leaving Vista and going on to an even larger ship, what I have to say will only be magnified by the sheer volume of more people to manage.
Cruise directors and the crew herd people. They must manage the traffic, activities and of course the feeding and so forth of the masses. That includes making sure they have a good time as Carnival or any cruise line wants them to enjoy themselves so much they will be ready to book another cruise once they leave the boat.
Am I spinning yarns, or spewing truths?
Pearls, casting pearls friends… Here we go.
Having sailed with Princess and Norwegian in the past, cruising on the Carnival Vista seemed like a reasonable risk. Family members talked me into it. I agreed and began to plan our trip.
Scheduling a time when children would still be in school was paramount. Why; I wanted to relax. My children are grown and gone. I no longer tolerate the chaos that emotionally driven children seem to bring to the party. Yes, I love children but, a steady diet of them at this stage of the game is not a vacation. It is, in fact, that chaos that I seek to escape.
Imagine my surprise when the boat is filled with young people of all ages, who should either be in school, college or in some cases, starting their careers.
Purchasing a balcony for my ‘oasis from reality’ I did not even bring a laptop with me. This was a vacation to relax. We writers are tightly wound. I am no different. When I don’t get that time to decompress my characters refuse to come out and play. We call this writer’s block. The only way for me to clear that block is get a fix of mental Drano which means, do something way out of my normal routine and immerse myself in it.
On my Princess cruise to Alaska, I sat on my balcony and watched ice melt for the better part of an afternoon. As the water poured through small crevasses it was only a matter of time before a huge chunk of the glacier toppled into the ocean. When the wave from the crash hit the boat, it was the first time we felt that huge behemoth move.
Back in Galveston, I began enacting my plan of putting block A on top of block B until the end goal was reached.
Arriving at the prescribed time, I chose one of those places which have some land to store cars and guards that watch out for your vehicle, while they whisk you away to the point of embarkation a short five miles away. Eighty Dollars for the week, and the ride, I found myself dropped off within sight of the boat.
The line was long and filled with all types of people, including children of all ages. ‘Why aren’t they in school?”
I found out why, much later at a comedy show. More on that fun fact later.
An hour after landing at the docks in Galveston Texas, I make my final sojourn to a line where my picture is taken, and then I am pointed to another line where I am to wait to surrender my bag, which was unlocked for inspection, and delivery to my cabin. Once there, I am again directed to a man sitting against a wall who examines my two bottles of wine, to make sure they are indeed just wine.
It would seem that Carnival does not allow any type of bottle on their boat as people have smuggled liquor in things like shampoo bottles and so on. If you desire alcohol you must purchase theirs.
This feat is accomplished in a few ways. Purchase a ‘drink plan’ which I think costs $50 a day for each person in your cabin. Check that number it might not be correct, but it was along those lines. From third-party sources who have done this before, you are buying a bracelet that along with your ship card gets you drinks. At their sole discretion, they can choose to cut you off. ‘That is as it should be, by the way.’
With thousands of people behind me in the ‘terminal building’ which is nothing but a large building with cement floors, I finally was ushered onto the entryway to the boat. Breathing a sigh of relief, I try to let all of the anxiety of dealing with technicalities float away. Indeed I tried to leave all of that ‘stuff’ in the terminal building.
Pointed to food and a place to sit, we were now being managed once again by ship personnel.
Some of these people in that terminal building were people leaving that very same cruise. There is one employee for every 2.71 passengers. You can do that math.
Keep in mind I am a writer and a people watcher. It looked like many of these people were thinking this would be their last meal. People, Eating is more than about filling your gut with stuff. It amazes me how Americans, for the most part, eat way too much and way too fast. I once had someone tell me that they don’t get their monies worth at buffets as they don’t eat that much. I feel sorry for people like that.
There are sentient people, and there are knuckle draggers. Too harsh? The good news is, you have the power to choose.
Everything you do is about the experience of doing it, making a memory, and enjoying those that you are doing it with. Unless you are stranded on an island with a blood-stained soccer ball as your closest friend, eating is about enjoying the flavors of the food, the company of who you are with, and of course fueling the body that houses your soul. Eating is not about seeing how much crap you can stuff into your mouth.
When I use the term knuckle draggers I am talking about people who go through the motions and could not tell you in the simplest of terms, why.
If you are one of these and you want to discover who you are, there are ways. In many of my novels, even the naughty ones I write about becoming enlightened. I even walk my characters through the process. Life is about far more than going through the motions.
I am reminded of the Damselfly.
While living a little more than a year, most of its life is spent as a nymph or creature living in the water. It is not until time to reproduce does it turn into the beautiful creature that we see darting among the flowers and weeds of the wetlands.
People as children are motivated by how they feel, not what they think. As a writer, if you want to write a successful children’s book you write about rabbits or other creatures that the child can anthropomorphize and become emotionally attached to much like a teddy bear.
You create emotional situations that the child can identify with and you keep the book to no more than fifteen minutes in length.
Some people never get past the stage of being driven by emotions. The Damselfly gets to the point of reproduction before its life cycle is over and sadly, many adults find that stage of their lives as the zenith. Telling a person that life is not about the destination, but the journey only resonates with a small percentage.
Many feel that he who dies with the most toys wins. You see it with hoarders, and you see it when you end up cleaning up the estate of relatives who might have been introverts.
You can change if you desire but you must want to change. That part is easier than you might think.
First, you must have the desire and then a path to follow.
The path is closer than you might think as well.
I tell people to go to a museum, find a painting that moves them in some way and then sit. Yes sit right there in front of that painting and don’t get up until you can articulate in thoughtful sentences why that painting moved you emotionally.
Repeat as necessary until you develop a habit analyzing why things get under your skin or why perhaps you like a certain show or book. Don’t let a good emotion go to waste.
Now if you take that exercise and employ it in all things in your life, you will become enlightened, and not some impulse-driven automaton. This simple exercise will make anyone a better person. Once you develop a habit of asking yourself why this or that affected you in some way soon you will be nobody’s fool. CNN and FOX and all the rest will lose their control over you. Once you figure out who you are, then your critical thinking skills can work for you instead of against you.
While sitting there watching people walk by who had obviously never missed a meal, carrying multiple plates, I truly wanted to get away from the masses. I don’t want to think about the zombies walking around me. They are truly asleep. If they, like that other person, think that they must get their monies worth out of eating everything in sight, they are lost. What they are truly doing is shortening their lives. They are in fact not getting their money’s worth out of life, as they will die much sooner than someone who is awake!
While not having anything to take notes I vividly remember this scene as it plays out in my mind. People who were three hundred or more pounds were scarfing up enough calories to feed a small village. I was reminded of the scene in Monty Python where they shoveled in the last thin mint before the man exploded! It is no wonder why the health care system is in such turmoil. People are not awake or informed or just plain stupid.
Since my escape from the masses will not be ready for a couple of hours, I was to ‘kill’ more time eating.
I was introduced to ‘Guys Burgers!’ Folks, I am not a burger person per se but let me tell you, these burgers are great! If you should find yourself on a cruise, and they have these there, avail yourself of this treat. Yes, it is a memory. I know I just spent five minutes berating the glutinous crowds but you see, I am having one burger, a few fries, and some water. I am not eating everything in sight.
Stuck on a floating island, with thousands of people eating, becomes a pastime. Eat small amounts and taste everything. From Escargot to crab cakes. Try those things that you would never eat at home. Most of the time the chefs, cooks are whoever did a good job of preparing the food.
Carnival gets a thumbs up on food.
The variety of the food was more than adequate, and even after hours, there were plenty of places around for those who have big appetites. I am not one of those big appetite people; thus, my BMI is where it needs to be. One tip I will offer at this point is to take the stairs. The elevators or lifts are always full and it takes forever to wait on them. Don’t waste your precious life waiting on them. The stairs will hopefully assist you in burning a few of those calories you ate that you didn’t need.
After the long wait, making my way to my room, I find the ‘card’ by the door in a mailbox of sorts.
Having ninety minutes until ‘muster,’ I decide that a nap is in order. Since my clothes were in the process of making it from where I handed off my bag, to my cabin, slipping between the sheets in minimal attire, seemed like the best plan.
People talking in the hallway to what seemed like an occasional blast on a bass drum, sleep was not easily found. I would highly suggest a white noise maker in each cabin. I use a fan at home, and truthfully a fan of some kind would have been nice.
There were other noises which I will address a little later but, unknown to me, selecting a balcony cabin might have been a waste of money.
The ‘bing bing bing’ of @CruiseRadio Matt who seemed to be herding cats, was not going well.
You must realize that the crews’ challenges are indeed herding people, the flow of people and events must be timed with surgical precision. I did not introduce myself to him, but I am going to make sure this feedback does get to him.
From Latin we get monstrare or Old French we get moustrer and finally Middle English we get muster.
I heard some dingbats calling it mustard, and I know many who did not take this activity seriously.
Muster simply means a gathering or showing of yourself, and it gets its roots from the military as ‘muster your troops for inspection, or for a battle, as the case may be. Why should you take this seriously?
Maritime law dictates that you will be instructed on the proper use of life-saving equipment and will be made aware of procedures, should you encounter an event that might put the ship in harm’s way. No ship is unsinkable. Even in my novel Ghost Signals from Colorado Springs, I talk about how bubbles from far below could be the cause of your doom.
You should read it if you have not already. It is a great read.
As you learn where you are to gather, they know who you are. Since they have an exact place to ‘gather’ should some event occur, each crew member responsible for that station is to inventory you. Once everyone is in attendance, they walk you through a five-minute demonstration on how to put on a lifejacket. Not hard, not rocket science but, after meeting some of my fellow cruisers, I would say that they might want to have paid a little more attention.
Few if anyone listened to her or even watched, but in total truth, if there were such a disaster, your annoyance with the process might not only cost you your life but those of your fellow shipmates.
In an actual disaster, much like when a person is drowning, the last thing you want to do is jump into the water with them. The reason being, they will climb on your dead body to save themselves. In a disaster where that life jacket is necessary, those lackadaisical knuckle draggers will be the ones who do everything wrong and clog up your exit from the ship while trying to gather and bring their belongings from their cabin…
I would not want to be on a boat that was truly in trouble, as god as my witness, there are stupid people that would cause your death, to save their trinkets from some island paradise, which came from China. These would be the same people who did not understand where their muster station was and did not even look at the lifejacket, who now in some panic would stop the flow of people while trying to figure it out. Meeting some of the folks in my ‘station,’ I realized that if there was such an event, some of them were too stupid to dress appropriately, much less retain what they were being told.
I realize that I don’t have a lot of patience with stupid people. Being stupid is a choice. I chose a long time ago, not to be stupid. Some will blow through life depending upon the kindness of others, or government handouts to survive. If the US government were more like the government in Jamaica, Darwinism would work nicely.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not heartless. I am for educating people, and having them give a damn about being an asset to the world, and not a burden. The world owes you nothing, and in an actual emergency I can tell you, it will be every man for themselves. History is replete with example after example of human nature. Depend on that person in the mirror, as that person is the one who cares most for you.
If there were an extreme event, the crew is trained to assist everyone. There is one crew member to every 2.71 customers. Now how many of them would say ‘screw you’ and save themselves first, is debatable. That is why you should take this subject matter to heart, as if your life depends upon it, as it very well might.
The issue I had with this, hence my ‘feedback,’ in this area. We were stuck in there for close to an hour as several of the passengers decided to stay in the hot tub or their beds. It was not until they were looked for and found, did we get the five minutes of instructions and were released to officially begin our vacations. I would bet this happens every cruise, and for that reason, they ought to have a fine assessed to them, as they were stealing from us.
You see, those few selfish knuckle draggers, cost close to four thousand people over thirty minutes of their lives they cannot get back. That does not include the crew that might have been inconvenienced. It gets better, just wait for the section titled ‘Debarkation.’
Kudos to Matt for trying to keep it fun and light-hearted with his sense of humor. I was still pissed with the selfishness and stupidity of some of my ‘shipmates,’ but this is what a vacation is, right?
Back in the room, there was still no luggage, so now a nap was in order before a planned meeting with friends for dinner. I will confess that after the exercise, I took a minute to peek under the bed to make sure that the life jackets were indeed there. In old days you were required to bring them to ‘muster’ with you. That has since changed and I did not look for them before muster. We were supposed to. As I berate my fellow cruisers for not paying attention, I too sit in condemnation, for not looking before. Make sure they are there. Who knows, you might find a lost dollar under the bed, making your time spent on your knees worth something other than peace of mind, knowing that your ability to float for an extended time is at hand.
Crashing, banging, and the bass drum from everywhere, had me concerned.
Seven days on this ship put exactly seven pounds on me.
Trust me, I will lose it as quickly as I ‘found’ it.
On Princess, they had something like Carnivals Lido deck where all of the buffet food was, but I don’t remember anything like Carnivals Horizons Restaurant.
They also had something like this on Norwegian but I detest buffets. As a foodie, I want to take some time and talk about this.
Matt, this is feedback for you; take notes.
Carnival has an App, ‘who knew?’ Their ‘hub’ app allows you to ‘chat’ with your people via a crude form of text. When I say crude, I mean it. The messages may or may not make it to your phone in a timely fashion. This ability to chat costs money, but not much.
Booking online (through the app) was excellent in theory, but we always were having to get them to accommodate us, as we were treated as walk-ins anyway.
As I said, I am a foodie. I tried a little bit of most everything as I felt like it might be fun to critique their food for you. On my yelp account, I take time to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. That to me is my way of paying it forward and, it is a way to let management know that they might need to change some things.
I spent the bulk of my eating experience at the Horizon restaurant, as the food was above par.
The choices were great. The staff was almost always excellent.
Ordering the steak on more than one occasion, there was undoubtedly inconsistency in how it was cooked and the quality of the cut. Asking for ‘medium’ will get you anything from rare to well done. The same is true of the eggs, over easy or even medium, was always hard.
The bacon was way too greasy, not a good cut, and frankly below par for what I expected. The Bacon was on par with Denny’s. That is not a compliment.
Coffee was way too strong for me, and it was a significant effort to get Crème.
Ordering the Salmon three times, I had three different versions, and all with the skin facing up, not down as it should be. From overcooked on two occasions, to just about perfect on one.
While the wait staff was friendly, here is what they lacked.
When ordering, they ‘know’ what is going to come on each plate. Asking for a baked potato when ‘new potatoes’ are coming with the fish, it would have been nice for them to suggest something different.
I genuinely want to be fair about this. All in all, I ate there most of the time as I soon learned what to expect and what to stay away from. Waffles are what you should ignore and stay away from. Those were horrible, and I feel like they might have come from a frozen box.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the Lido Deck. Yes, I tried that out just so I could offer feedback.
The hamburger place is the winner of the Lido deck. While the Pizza was not bad, those hamburgers should be five stars. If you go on this boat, get a burger while you are waiting for your room.
No review of their food would be complete without talking about the 555 steak house.
When I cruise, I generally buy the upgraded food package. On this trip, I was celebrating my birthday with friends and was told by previous cruisers of this ship, I didn’t need that. So, paying $28 each for this experience was worth it.
Asking for medium, I got well done. Cutting into the meat, it was tender but too dry as it had been cooked too long. That was the case for others who ordered ‘medium.’ or ‘Pink in the middle’ is what I was going for. I don’t want the steak to ‘eat my salad,’ I just want it hot and juicy. “Make sense?”
The waiter showed up and saw that I was not eating it when he asked me why. I was just going to pass it off, eat the other parts of the meal, and live for dessert. I honestly was not going to say anything until another in my party said something. Besides, there was always Guys Burgers upstairs.
The waiter was having none of that and took them back to the chef.
Here is where the meal turned delightful.
The chef makes an appearance and makes a heartfelt apology. ‘This is why I was not going to say anything, as I did not want to injure his feelings.’
The next steak was perfect. If you ever go on this ship, make sure you try out the 555 Steak House.
I believe that night was my favorite night of the whole cruise. He and the staff turned a negative into a positive.
I cannot say enough good about that night, and I thank you all for helping me to make it special.
First Sea Day
The first night on the boat, noises from overhead continued on through the night. Without a fan to make white noise, I slept damned little. What they call a fun day at sea is really Matt doing his best to entertain those of you onboard.
Not able to sleep from the noise, I dawned that little white robe and headed for the balcony. Two hundred nautical miles from Galveston, the air was much warmer. I thought about napping on my balcony until I soon learned what the bass drums were.
Yes, those balcony doors shut with a ‘Fah-whoomp!’ While I slowly closed mine as not to disturb those around me, sadly, I was one of the few. Many on their balconies smoked, which is clearly a no-no.
Screaming from the other direction alerted me that they had a child. The noise was overwhelming. I was now sleep-deprived, yes, I was losing my pleasant demeanor. They allowed their child to scream at the top of her lungs and did not try to stop her. The mother sat on her balcony with an open door allowing the drama to play out.
I don’t play games, although I sat in on the Clue game. The acting and playfulness of the crew had me chuckling often. This is where I first saw Matt, and I must admit, I was amused.
After trying to enjoy the amenities on the Lido deck and the Serenity deck, I soon learned that 4000 other cruisers had that same idea. While there were no children on the Serenity deck, there were also no open anything. This was a common theme on this boat. Finding a place to enjoy the great outdoors, in the middle of the ocean, just didn’t work out.
With the constant pitter-patter of little feet, it was clear that Carnival ships are geared for families and kids, not for writers who need a change of scenery and ‘serenity.’
Headed back to the cabin, thinking that maybe the kids were up on the Lido Deck, just perhaps, I could sneak in a nap.
I did, I dozed off for about three minutes until this loud noise permeated the room that sounded like an alarm clock on steroids. It is what is known as a chatter or impact drill. You might have heard a mechanic using such a tool on your car while putting on new tires.
I jumped out of bed with the noise. I now knew it was not some crazy cruiser with a fetish for noise. Someone was doing some substantial building or deconstructing right above my head. My heart still beating out of my chest, I tried super hard to go back to sleep. That netted me about five minutes here and there before I went and sat on the balcony again. The noise woke up the neighbor’s baby, who began crying at the top of their lungs, again. Honestly, I felt their pain.
I had signed up for the ‘cloud nine’ spa. Pricey but worth it. In the different sauna’s, one could get some silence. The mineral bath was delightful. Your body will slosh from side to side as the boat makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico.
Back to the restaurant with friends, we sat close to the rear or aft of the ship and watched the sunset.
I ordered steak and found it was, in fact, inedible. Meat flavored bubble gum, without the ability to blow bubbles. I am not unreasonable, I expect Filet Minion to be tender and not the actual part of the animal that jumped over the fence last. Medium turned out to dry and well done, so either I was doing a poor job of communicating to the staff, or the waiters were not having any luck with the chef. They need Gordon Ramsey to assist them. God, there is a thought, what would he find in a kitchen that never shuts down?
The rest of the dinner was good, and the wait staff was friendly.
Tomorrow it would be Cozumel.
After listening to the Riff Rafts, which I think is a name given to entertainers for Carnival, I was taken with their talent.
I didn’t ask their names, but they were impressive.
Spending fifteen dollars on a rum and coke, ‘a double’ I am almost sure that there was only a splash of rum in those drinks, so you can taste it, and not become drunk. I did not purchase any drink package as soda water is terrible for you, and of course, liquor is undoubtedly not good for you. After spending $15 on one poor excuse for a drink, I stayed away from mixed drinks on the boat.
In hopes the ‘drink’ would make me drowsy enough I could sleep, I headed for my cabin.
Once in bed, it seemed silent until a noise that sounded like someone was messing with the door. Nope, they were doing something above me, which sounded like mice in the walls. Yes, this went on way into the wee hours.
Stepping on to the balcony, the stars were brilliant, as were the shooting stars that fell on occasion. As I sat there in the wee hours, I heard a loud thump, men talking, and metal hitting the floor. This just pissed me off, which did not bode well for becoming sleepy.
The rhythm of the boat and the pulse of the waves against the hull, made for a kind of bedtime story as it were, as I began to doze in the chair on the deck. The warm winds of the Caribbean encircled me as I began to feel at peace with the world around me once again.
Under the boat, we were on top of over 12,000 feet of water. The stars danced above as if to put me under their spell when a tremendous crash above me jolted me back into this reality. A subsequent spoken language, not English, sounded like an admonishment as I heard more metal clang together.
“You have got to be kidding me!” I said to myself while fighting the urge to get dressed and go yell at them. In my town, if that were happening, a quick call to the local police would soon extinguish the source of the disturbance. Who the hell do you call to make it stop?
The Fa-Whoomp sound of a door jolted me back to my senses as I looked at my phone, attempting to discern if it was 6 or 7.
Ship time, local time, or your own time had me always wondering what time it was.
Packed for an excursion, the snorkel gear, towels, and money, accompanied me to the island.
“Due to the choppy weather, the government has closed the water.” You can still go there for $30 and look but, you cannot get in. They do have a swimming pool for your use, as well as two-for-one drinks and free internet!
I want to say this was a thirty dollar excursion before buying drinks and so forth. The water was choppy but, you could still see fish under the water.
Soon enough, the lounges were taken, but they never brought out promised cushions. The sun, well it was intense and hot. Staying in the shade, drinking a rather mild beer named ‘Indigo,’ while allowing the cool breezes from the ocean to blow your hair around was about the extent of the excursion.
The local taxi drivers were somewhat unusual in that they tried their level best to pack their well-worn out vans to the brim with passengers, before taking the five-mile trek back to the ‘shopping area.’
Staying there for a few hours, I headed back to the boat. I cannot snorkel, and their internet was horrible; it was time to fall back and re-group.
Things seemed eerily quiet, dare I try and nap?
No sooner was I back in the bed than the pneumatic drill gun resonated through most of the superstructure scaring the devil out of me.
Heading back topside, I found an empty chair and dozed off with people all around talking, playing card games, and yelling at their children on the deck below them. ‘It was great!’
If you want to support the Mexican economy, go there and pay four times the amount you might find the item for on eBay, or Amazon.
Watching the stragglers running for the boat as they were ‘very late,’ we finally shoved off, headed for Grand Cayman Island.
A word of caution, having been under the Queen’s rule for many years, they still drive on the ‘other side’ of the road. This means that if and when you are crossing the road, make damned sure you look both ways.
Same stuff as the day before but, this time, we rode in a very bouncy boat with steel seats. Any bumping into any part of the inside of the boat with your body was met by unforgiving steel.
Not able to leave the ship until noon, we all got bruises from trying to walk up and down the stairs while their little boats were tossed about like a fishing bobber in the ocean. Had I known what I was getting into, I would have stayed on board.
By now, I was becoming even more sleep-deprived because of the demolition crew over my head, and of course, the neighbors who allowed their doors to slam with their kids continually entering and leaving their rooms.
Another word of caution for you who plan to use these services. Those doors are heavy and meant to be watertight in case water should be an issue. If a young person should get a finger between the frame of the door and the door itself, I dare say it might take it off. In just trying to close my balcony door quietly, I managed to get my thumb between the door and the frame.
Once again we head to the beach to learn it is not only not suitable for scuba diving but, the beach we went to charges rent for the lounge chairs, and rent for a tattered old umbrella.
As close to the equator as we were, you want to use plenty of sunscreens and then just stay the heck out of the sun.
This was a young person’s hang out, and when I say hang out, yes many of them were hanging out.
Ladies wearing bottoms, which expose much of them, is one thing. Men…old men…Speedos are not for you. There comes a time when one needs to actually look into the mirror before dressing. Find a friend with an honest opinion. I think one of the casualties of our lifestyle today is a lack of personal contact. People have lost the ability to wear clothes that are not appropriate in public. A true friend would have stopped you. Put down the phone and see a friend and ask them what they think. If they make a face and say EWWW…don’t wear it.
Just in case you don’t have any friends that will tell you straight up, I will. Dress and act your age. No woman thinks your saggy tattoos or saggy butt are sexy. In fact, I think I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw them.
Guys, wearing anything like a speedo is passé. Leave something to the imagination, please!
Grand Cayman was a bust. The beach was limited, expensive, and hot. The water was opaque and not suitable for snorkeling. I will be damned if there were not more kids there than in Cozumel. Is this some kind of elaborate field trip?
The problem with a cruise and shore excursions are, they ‘the cruise line’ bring four thousand people at a time to some port which translates into dollars for the economies of those ports. This time we had three cruise ships at the same damned time. The economy should be happy with Carnival but as a tourist, I can assure you I was not.
When the shop cashier has to ask some manager what the cost of an item is, that is a dead giveaway that you are paying much more than the locals would have to pay for the same thing.
When the guide tells you that you are going bargain shopping, what they are really saying is ‘gird your loins.’
How do you do that? If it is not marked with a price, don’t buy it. If you have to ask what it cost, you should at least demand a kiss when they are finished. Too crude…? If you think so, my novels are probably not for you.
In one shop, the owner put a sticker on each one in our party. While he told us it was a sign to the cashier to give us half off, I genuinely fear it was an indicator to double the price.
Seven dollars American to ‘rent’ a lounge chair on a small crowded beach while baking in the sun was only a tiny part of the process. The umbrella was twelve dollars US. This umbrella appeared to have been extracted from the rubbish pile and put back into use.
The bottom line on excursions is, have a backup plan. After we were ashore, we learned that snorkeling was out of the picture. Just going to the beach with hundreds of other guests, and many locals were a waste of money and time. Again, had my balcony not been under assault from the construction crew above me, I might have ordered a tall drink, picked up a good book, and just chilled while listening to the water and seabirds.
Research your destination before you get there. Don’t allow some ‘cruise director,’ typically your spouse, to make all the plans. If you are going to be there, take an active part in the planning process, or just don’t complain when you are shelling out lots of money to rent some battered chair and broken down umbrella.
Grand Cayman has things to offer. That day, the beach was not one of them. If, and this is a big if; I were to go back to Georgetown, I would fly in when there were no cruise ships, rent some out of the way room at a resort-like the Ritz, and just chill on the beach. I would make damned sure that there was no construction going on at the resort when booking. I would also make sure there were no active hurricanes in the area. I have heard nightmare scenarios where couples had gone to such a place and been stuck at the resort while a storm blew through. The meter on their stay does not stop when there is a storm. It cost the same whether you are having a good time, or trying to stay alive from a hurricane.
As a cruise destination, I give this one a thumbs down.
A note on my door to the balcony was interesting. It alerted me that they would be cleaning the balcony. Ok, it looks pretty clean but fine.
Folks, when I returned that night after my fun day with the local pirates, the rail was covered in some white solution, the glass which had been perfectly clean appeared as if something had been drizzled over it and there was standing water between the deck and the edge of the balcony. I have no idea what they thought they were doing, but it was the opposite of clean.
I used their towels and cleaned up the mess myself, as this was ‘my oasis.’
“Hey Maan, how you doing? I got some smoke, right here!”
Every stereotype that you ever heard about Jamaica is correct. Truthfully, I figured this would be the bust excursion. Had the construction crew above me, and the screaming children beside me not been there, I would have enjoyed the amenities on the ship along with the gentle breezes and rested.
For me, the idea of a cruise is to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I don’t want to hear sirens, loud cars, people fighting or arguing, and, least of all, construction sounds.
While deciding if I were going to leave the boat, a loud sound that resembled a drill, the dentist might use only much louder made that choice for me. Something known as an impact drill, or what I call a chatter drill was in use over my head, resonating throughout the cabin.
The choice made, I was going to see what Jamaica had to offer.
Firstly, I have never even tried pot much less owned any. Cannabis is legal in Jamaica. If you get the impression that I am wound pretty tight, you are right. I have managed dozens of people and projects during my life, and have been responsible for million-plus dollar budget projects. The reasons are apparent, I have a track record of not making bad choices in life. Not only do I make good choices, but I know what the hell I am doing. I value intelligence and competence. Truthfully I don’t understand why anyone would take a chance on screwing up their brains, with mind-altering anything.
With me, it is an occasional beer or a margarita, with the operative words being ‘Occasional, and A.”
Crime in Jamaica is relegated to rival gangs. Drug exportation is a business, and since Pot is legal, that makes it harder to fight drug exportation. From the Cartels in Mexico to the gangs in Jamaica, money, and drugs are the problems. Since so much money is involved, officials have price tags, and their loyalty or turning a blind eye to the problem is most assuredly up for sale to the highest bidder. This is just common sense. Think not, then tell me why someone would use 19 million dollars of their own money to try and get a job that makes $154K a year. Go ahead, I am waiting.
Solving the criminal activity in both countries would be as simple as legalizing drug use in the countries they export to. Much like prohibition of the 1920s, once legalized, the booze running criminals of yesteryear went into a different business. Drugs, sex trafficking, and any other activity made illegal due to social norms. Where there is a demand, there is a criminal element that will fill it.
Legalizing drugs would damage the economy of those countries who export them. Money from the US, Canada and surely Australia and Europe find their way into these countries who manufacture, grow or sell them.
Those that traffic in such things needs for them to be illegal so they can charge exorbitant rates for their products. Jamaica is no different. Not all that far from the US, getting drugs into the states would be pretty straightforward. This, however, is small potatoes. In 2017 there were well over 70,000 deaths in the US due to drug overdose. Those deaths were not from pot; from Jamaica.
Once again, the water in Jamaica was not conducive to snorkeling. That is a three for three busts on shore excursions. Deciding to learn more about the local culture, I hired a tour guide, which was not part of the Carnival controlled industry. That could be a bad idea or not. Throwing caution to the wind off we went.
Taking us to places no Carnival sponsored cruise would take us, we quickly learned that Jamaica is much like California is turning in to. The super-rich and the very poor. Our guide represented their middle class. She lives in a one-bedroom apartment without air, and her teenage son.
Prices for goods and services are very high. Street vending is a livelihood of the locals, which is illegal in places that the government wants to keep ‘clean’ for the tourists. They must keep moving, which means you will be accosted by them no matter where you are.
I use the word ‘accosted,’, but I can assure you that they do take no for an answer. Had I been a rich person, I would have purchased much of their wares just to assist them in some way.
In this country, if accosted by a street person, you never know how it will play out. In Jamaica, you tell them no thanks, and they just go on to the next.
Jamaica has one of the highest populations of churches, which I found interesting. The idealist in me wants to believe that they are all super Christian or dedicated to the faith of their choice. In reality, I fear much like the street vendors, they are selling god or the promise of heaven at the donation box.
Not allowed onto the premises, street vendors still approached us on the church grounds wanting us to purchase their trinkets.
Walking through a cemetery, I was taken aback by a street person sleeping on one of the tombs.
Tourism is a significant industry in all of these three places, and the government knows it. With each visit by a cruise ship, which is often, US dollars flow into their economy.
Exporting Bauxite, limestone, and of course, drugs is a large part of their economy. With the super-wealthy living close to the very poor, the juxtaposition of the two is staggering. In my humble opinion, what we see in Jamaica and countries like this today, we will see in California in the near future unless Americans stop watching the MSM and pay attention to what is really happening. As government officials try to get your votes it is not you that they have in mind. It is power and money they seek and being a politician is the way to get it. They don’t care about you in the slightest. Importing votes and cheap labor will only go so far. From then on there will only be the super-rich and the very poor. If they did they would protect the borders, and protect your jobs. They won’t and don’t.
Heading to what was supposed to be the ‘beach,’ we could see that it would have been yet another bust. Seven US dollars to get past the gates to walk on the beach was not an option I was willing to pay.
Eating at the most austere version of a Margaretville ever was the extent of my travels on Jamaica. Being asked by no less than five people in one short block if I wanted smoke left me reeling. Then there was the offer of coke. I don’t think it was the bubbly kind. Taking refuge in the local Starbucks until it was time to go back to the ship, was my indoctrination to Jamaica.
Oddly enough, I did not feel uncomfortable walking in and among those who were most probably associated with gangs. Again, once told no thanks, they left me be.
Would I go back?
Not on a cruise ship. Again, with four thousand people dumped onto the island at one time, I would instead fly in, have a plan that included a personal guide, and play it that way.
Ironically, I felt that the people of Jamaica were the friendliest of the three islands, and most certainly the most laid back. Possibly they were all stoned. Who knows.
I do think that having multiple options for excursions in almost any port of call is imperative.
Not having the excursion booked well in advance left you on your own. Lesson learned.
Once past the three island countries, there was just about immediate boredom. The Vista is like a small town with many different things to entertain you. The fact that you are traveling in a perpetual 2000 mile school zone, if you think about the speed of 17 knots, which is very close to 20 mph, you can quickly see why they need distractions.
I fell in love with the Riff Rafts. They were just about too good for a cruise ship. They could easily be a Vegas act or even a warm-up group for a major celebrity.
The karaoke bar or group was terrible entertainment. Karaoke draws a crowd of people who sing in the shower or don’t hear themselves as you and I might. Still, it was worth visiting for a one or two-hour stint. The lady that ran it was entertaining as she was ‘in control,’ and allowed everyone to have fun.
Truth told, there were some reasonably good singers that, with proper audio set up, might be worth listening to. That, sadly, not the case. A loud singer might captivate the audience or might run them off while a soft singer requiring the power of the amplifier to do his or her bidding, like many artists today, was not conducive for them; thusly they were not heard.
Note to the lady running the setup, do a mic check and adjust the volume accordingly for each singer. The experience will be much more enjoyable for the customers.
Those who had already sung talked and laughed over those who were singing, which was just bad manners. As a people watcher, it tells you something about this generation. ‘It is all about me and my satisfaction.’ They could also all have been drunk. If they were, they probably purchased the bottle and administered their own amounts of booze per drink.
The folks at the red frog or whatever that guitar bar was were entertaining. Drinking a craft beer while listening to them was worth the two hours spent. The craft beer was also remarkably good for being created on the ship.
What about the piano bar?
Ok, I was dragged into the piano bar after one of my friends pointed out that Elizabeth was talented.
From strange Kangaroo remarks to potty remarks, I soon was rather taken with this young lady who should keep her activism to herself. She is an actress, singer, and buys all of the nonsense the liberal media is pushing. My guess is, she would vote for socialism.
When you, as an entertainer, espouse your views on political things, you stand a good chance of alienating many in your audience. Since the boat loaded in Galveston, Texas, and Texas is a red state, your odds of pissing people off with your uninformed liberal propaganda espoused by the elite class who are hell-bent on destroying the country as we know it, are higher than if you were leaving from say the east or west coast, where people have all drank the Kool-Aid.
Since the liberal establishment has gone entirely nuts, I have stopped watching movies and television and I will go out of my way to not buy things from companies who support such nonsense. I also noticed that Carnival only has CNN on its television service and not a balanced news source. CNN pays airports to only show their station. Isn’t it sad that anyone at an airport only hears their perverted take on the news? That is propaganda much like Pravda.
If you have to pay an airport to only put your brand of Pravda on the TV, it should raise a red flag to the traveling public. Wait, you mean to tell me that CNN does not tell the public that they actually pay the airports to only show their channel?
Your political leanings should not be evident to me as a person in your audience. I am intelligent enough to look at the actions, and the evidence, instead of some bald twit lying with his hate-filled rants dictated by the likes of Jeff Zucker, president of CNN.
On a positive note, when she was not bragging about supporting kids walking out of school, her talents were laudable, as were her quirky ways of working her audience. It is my hope that somewhere along the way she learns the truth about life, and what she thought she knew was told to her by people with an agenda. I wish her well and success, and awakening to reality.
What about the funny folks?
Comedians fill a role in society, which allows us to laugh at ourselves. We all do things that when in hindsight were stupid or at the very least laughable. In truth, we are all so much alike if we would sit and talk with one another honestly, we would be shocked.
From how we look naked in a mirror to how we act and think, on a Venn diagram, there would be much more overlap than not.
Carole, who was the first of the comedians I watched, spent about 30 minutes putting a laughable spin on life. From farts to bugs, she had most of us laughing.
Of the three comedians I watched, Carole gets a thumbs up, the other two, not so much.
Spike went way over the line in the ‘clean show.’ When you talk about poop and bring corn into the conversation, yes that is way too far for a show with kids in it.
The other gentleman who tried to be comedic with the kids in the audience bombed. I did not go back for his adult show as I feel like if you cannot make me laugh in a show geared for ‘polite society,’ I don’t need to hear vulgarities. In fairness to him, I want to think of something I liked about his show, other than the ending.
This is tough as, for the most part, it was just lame. So, part of his stick was, he made some funny faces, and you could tell he was intelligent. To be a comedian and be successful, you have to have a sharp brain, think on your feet, and know when the act is going south and change gears.
I don’t remember his name, which is bad. I remember Carol and Spike, why not him?
Like good advertisements are not only memorable but, you also remember the brand. My brand ‘TWSCOTT’ I want to be associated with novels that either entertain in an adventurous way or a slightly naughty way.
This novella is just that, an informative quick read on what not to do, or what to do. This is also a peek into three different countries, and a behind the scenes look at cruising. Finally, it is feedback for the Carnival folks who need to fire whoever thought it was ok to have a construction crew working above my cabin at all hours of the day and night, just saying!
I feel that comedians might want to hire some new writers who can craft jokes that are funny.
It seems that farts, other bodily functions, and of course sex are the mainstay of the comedic routine. Is that it? Is that all that is funny? God, I hope not.
During his show, I did discover that most of the kids on the boat are homeschooled or their parents just pulled them out of school to vacation before the other kids got out.
What about the ‘really big show?’
If you are my age, you recognize the comment ‘really big show.’
I must admit, I was surprised to see and hear the amount of talent on that stage. I made a point to shake hands and tell them as much. Indeed they could and should be a Vegas act.
I read that Matt, the cruise director is leaving and going to a bigger boat. Why? Tell me why I would want to be on a more massive ship, where the lines will be longer? Tell me how that does anything for me, other than inconvenience me more? Truth told; if they are traded publically, the only good thing might be to purchase their stock. Think about it. With over 4000 people to manage, they already have their hands full. Getting on and off the boat was not fun. If your idea of fun is standing in lines than by all means get on a bigger ship. My next cruise will be something smaller like a riverboat cruise or possibly cruise in the Mediterranean on a smaller boat.
Matt, what are you thinking? Do you like banging your head into the wall? Why take on more of a headache? Was that you over my cabin making all that noise, torturing yourself?
Returning to my room each night, I was greeted with a towel animal of some kind. The person who keeps the place tidy and the shampoo and soap, filled, also spends his time creating towel creatures.
Now he has no way of knowing, but I made a game out of ‘guess the creature’ on Facebook. Each day I put the creature on there and had them all guess. This is marketing for Carnival, and yes, I know that I was advertising for them. I spent extra for Wi-Fi so I could keep in contact with my people, and of course, I ended up advertising for the cruise line to my over 400 plus friends on social media. I actually know these people, unlike many who will friend anyone.
I took many pictures and some videos and posted them for my peeps. I did not bemoan the fact that a construction crew was working day and night right over my cabin. I also did not complain about the smoking on the balcony or that same family with the screaming kids, playing music on their balcony.
Further, I did not speak of the loud doors slamming at all hours of the day and night.
The construction continued for the entire time I was on vacation, and I must tell you, that would stop me from ever taking another cruise.
While talking about the negative aspects, let me also whine about being charged $18 to uncork my own bottle of wine.
I did not carry on about it, as I did not want to ruin my vacation over excessive charges.
Receiving a $50 discount on a service in the spa area, I decided to take advantage of that with a massage. When I mention that to friends they tell me they stay away from the spa as they are notorious about upselling you. Yes, they are but you can always say no. Besides, have you looked at the cost of the cruise? Folks, it is expensive. There are no bargains on such things. It goes from expensive to ridiculous.
Making my appointment, I went up there early to steam, shower, and soak in the mineral bath and then get a massage.
I was handed paperwork to fill out, which I did not expect. Sitting in the waiting area for over fifteen moments, my pre-relaxation idea was slowly fading away until I took matters into my own hands at the front desk once again.
I was told to leave the paperwork in the room, they would come to find me.
Leaving the clipboard of information for just anyone to read was not something I was comfortable with, but, I did not want to waste all that time waiting.
Cloud Nine was devoid of kids, noise, and chaos. While the management of the spa could use a little organization, I digress. While I was massaged, I fell asleep on many occasions, as I was sleep deprived!
I was asked by a friend why I did not complain.
Who would I complain to? I guess I could have headed to the bridge and when I was stopped I could have asked who to complain to. Does Carnival have a plank? I kid…kind of.
Why was it just not common sense that making all that racket would be unacceptable?
Who in their right mind would authorize that kind of activity during the day, much less allowing it to go into the wee hours of the morning?
On my previous cruises, there were issues, but nothing like this.
I actually think that Norwegian had the fewest issues of all of them.
Disembarking the boat, I did learn a thing or two. Do not try to mess with your own bags. Allow the crew to do it. When they issue bag tags, be there early.
When your number is called, and you make your way off the ship through the long snake-like lines of people, find a porter and hire one.
This person does this for a living and will get you past customs and to your rendezvous point faster than if you try to manage this yourself.
When planning your trip, find and reserve a place that stores your car in their lot and busses you to the drop of spot. Those same people will be there at the same spot to take you back to your vehicle. Use Yelp or other social media to see who does it the best. This is important when all is finished, get on Yelp and tell your story. Pay it back!
Don’t look for cheap when planning any of this. Nothing is cheap. A cruise is expensive, and it should damned well be worth the money.
I was asked what neat things I bought.
“Um, nothing. I got pictures and memories.”
Use yelp or other social media to see what they say about your cruise line, your places of interests, and of course, your excursions.
Familiarize yourself with the rules of the boat. Do try and be courteous to your fellow passengers. There are some people, who just don’t think. Then there are others who do and just don’t care. In all things, lead by example. Don’t be part of the problem.
The bottom line, if I wanted to be around kiddoes, I would take a Disney Cruise. On my next cruise, I will make damned sure it is geared for fun-loving adults. I will also make sure that it is not under construction. Maybe I will find a clothing-optional cruise than for sure there will be no mini-monsters underfoot. Too harsh? Maybe…I love kids. In the oven, about 450 ought to do it… Just kidding. There is a time and a place. When I am spending this kind of money to relax, construction over my head and screaming out of control kids is not my idea of a vacation. Rude knuckle draggers who smoke and play music on their balcony is not my idea of fun. Slamming doors at all hours of the day and night is not my idea of relaxing good times.
What time is it?
I think one of the most pertinent tidbits of information I can offer is this. Leave your smartwatch at home, and get an inexpensive watch. Set that watch to ‘ship time’ and live by it, while on your cruise.
Many, too many to mention, had no idea what time it was. On a cruise such as this, you will travel to different time zones. One of the most important things for you to do is be on that boat before it leaves port.
Never fear, there is an app for that.
Yes, indeed, Carnival has an app that will keep you in the loop for the correct time and what is happening, and when. You can also use the app to check-in for a reservation for dinner.
What about drinks and soda water?
You can bring cans, not bottles to your cabin. Cans of soda or health drink, but not alcoholic.
You can also bring a bottle of wine, one per person onboard.
A drink on the boat with tip was $15. That was a rum and coke. For three dollars extra, they double it.
Folks, I bought one. If there was rum in it, I could not tell it.
If you need alcohol to have a good time, perhaps you should spend your money on sobriety instead. You damned sure won’t get drunk on their drinks. Now, they do offer a bottle of Crown and a few Cokes for $90.
Living without soft drinks and booze for a few days might seem frightening, especially if you are under a cabin under construction but, trust me; if the weather is beautiful you can find a place topside to take a nap. I did and woke up with stars overhead. Did I mention I was sleep-deprived?
Leaving the boat or Debarkation, you have two options.
As mentioned before, you can choose to handle your own luggage, or you can set it in the hallway between 9pm and 11pm ship time, and they will collect it. Once they have it they take it down elevators and set it aside. It will be waiting for you in a specific place in the terminal building.
Opt for the latter as there are few elevators, to begin with, and even less when the crew is using them to move people or bags. After you wait several minutes for a lift to see it has two families with strollers and some person on a scooter, the frustration kicks in. With few lifts, it took a short time for people to just get in no matter which way it was going, knowing eventually it would end up on their floor. This leaves the elevators full.
Why not the stairs?
Gravity works. Going down the stairs is easy enough, but let’s face it, even that gets old. Then you have the munchkins that I mentioned earlier running up and down those same stairs zipping past or around you, making it somewhat dangerous as they could easily cause a person to trip or fall. Munchkins do not understand the issues with running in those narrow halls, or on those stairs, but most people realize why their parents might have told them not to run in the house or in this case, narrow hallways.
Once you make it to the terminal, it is nothing more than a large building with cement floors and no place to sit. There are lines upon lines of people all waiting to be seen by US customs. It is there your ship ID card will not satisfy them. A driver’s license or preferably passport will get you through the line much faster. I believe that a birth certificate works too.
Looking at your picture and then who you are, they asked me if I was this person.
Now, I have got to tell you I wanted to say ‘JA’ or ‘Dah’ or ‘Ci’ but, these people I am sure had their sense of humor surgically removed. I did say ‘All day and twice on Sunday.’ Which still got a cockeyed look from this government drone.
“No laughing, you cannot smile. What are you thinking?”
Pffft, I think my patience has been tested well past my limits of civility. I absolutely don’t like bullies, and I sure as hell don’t like government drones looking all superior to us the ‘common folks.’
Off the boat, we headed to a place designated by our taxi service. The taxi is already full but, if we don’t mind standing, he can squeeze some more people in. ‘No, just tie me to the roof, maybe I can catch some bugs in my teeth!’
“Please tell me why I spent this much money on a taxi to only have one there when the ship is kicking us off?”
I know that those of you who are used to public transportation think nothing of standing but here in the south, not so much. You get in the small van and see young people sitting with their headphones in, trying to ignore you standing, while they make the five-plus miles to the final stop.
Parents, did you not raise your children to respect their elders? I know; you taught them first to the seat wins.
Galveston, if you are not familiar with it, is an island all of itself. There are two ways on to and off of the island. One way is highway 45, and the other is by the Bolivar Ferry, which takes you in the opposite way of heading to Houston.
You must go up 45 if you want to get to Houston or the airport.
As you leave Galveston heading north, you get to this little town of La Marque where traffic grinds to a halt. An hour later you get to a place where one person is operating a crane and several are standing around watching him or her.
The good news is there is a ‘Buc-ees’ just off the Holland street exit right past the Tanger Outlet Mall. This is where you can stop, use the super clean bathrooms (and you will need to), and meet up with your 4000 closest friends for one last time.
This was my first time to sail out of Galveston, and I doubt that I will do that again. This road construction has been going on since I was a child. 45 has been under construction for my entire lifetime. Never have I been from Dallas to Galveston, without being inconvenienced by road construction.
I am almost sure that this is a brother in law work for life project. Even I who knows damned little about road construction can stand around, hold a shovel and complain about all the drivers looking at them wondering WTF? Where can I sign up to be a shovel holder?
If someone can explain to me how a toll-road-project can be completed in a few months, and it takes decades for a government project to be completed, I am all ears. Can’t you just imagine what it will be like when the government controls health-care? We already see it with the post office and yes the department of motor vehicles, and of course infrastructure projects. Think real hard before you vote for more government control of anything. To quote President Reagan, ‘Government is the problem!’
If you have never been to a Buc-ees, you need to go. Make it a day trip and go find one. I swear you could eat off the bathroom floor, not that you would want to.
You are greeted when you enter, and they actually act as if you are important to them. While customer service is slowly dying, giving way to the automated ‘Thank You’ at the kiosk, at Buc-ees, they still acknowledge you and act as if you are important to them.
As a side note. Most of the crew of the Vista were very polite and acted as if you were important to them too. I have only stayed in one other place where customer service was remarkable. That was at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. A man changing a bulb, stood up as we walked by and greeted us by name.
No that was not all but that was impressive. How did this man know who we were? However he did it, I was impressed.
May your travels bring you great memories and be filled with laughter. Remember, if you are a writer you must live your life, before you can write about it.
Check out my website to see some of my novels. From sci-fi to stories that will keep you warm on those long winter nights, I have you covered.
Imagine that you find this guy really hot. This guy is so cool that he has no clue he is cool. You watch him work on things, and you admire the way he thinks. He is kind to you but does not come on to you in any way.
Imagine you work with this guy for months on end, and you don’t think he is noticing you but, he has no ring and never talks about anyone in his life.
Ok, he is single, why? The guy is built, smart and dedicated to his work. You see him working on a pet project that his company allows him to do, and you ask him, ‘what is that for?’
The guy turns to look at you as if for the first time. His eyes relax, and he smiles as he begins to talk with you about his hobby of technical rock climbing.
‘That explains why he is built the way he is but ‘rock climbing?’’
You can tell from his relaxed way of talking about it that if you want to get into his life, you need to try and understand what makes him tick.
You make a note to research rock climbing so you can engage him with more than a passing interest. That night you talk to your friend, who was your roommate in college. She tells you that there is a place not far from her that teaches rock climbing.
Now imagine you are kind of afraid of heights and yet pull it together and learn how to not only master your fears but, you can get to where you are not scared of dying.
With these new-found skills and understanding of the hobby, you began to engage Elliot, Omicron’s ‘fair-haired boy’ regarding a project he is working on. He tells you that it is a device that destabilizes the atomic bonds of the rocks in a narrowly focused beam, making it super easy to place a hold.
Your job, however, is to report back to the owners of Omicron what he is working on. They, of course, see this ‘toy’ as a weapon of immeasurable value. Copying his notes and designs they are sent off to a facility deep within area 51. Elliot is very much against building weapons, and that is why they hired Susan.
Back in 1947, this alien craft supposedly crashed in Roswell. What they didn’t know it was not one but three. Two scout ships crashed just, and one, a much larger intergalactic spacecraft returned into the time-space continuum of the earth, forcing millions of metric tons of rocks to eject from the ground, looking like some kind of geological anomaly. The place is, of course, the ranch where Elliot’s parents were both living when the crash occurred. It is also where they mysteriously, disappeared.
Onboard this craft under the rocks is a sentient computer, much like HAL in Space odyssey. Unlike Hal, this computer can tune into the human brainwaves from quite a distance. That computer takes an unhealthy interest in human sexuality and develops a few quirks along the way. (All characters must have a flaw, right?)
Susan convinced Elliot to let her accompany him on his vacation. She is giddy as she thanked her one day and called her ‘honey.’ ‘He does notice me,’ she thought.
While Susan is in hopes to snag the heart of Elliot, Elliot is in hopes of finding the mystery of where his parents disappeared to, hence the entire interests in rock climbing. Whey they disappeared, that was not one shred of anything left of them. Footsteps that just ended or a mysterious note left in the sand.
On this trip to the back of his ranch, while rock climbing, Elliot would dislodge some rocks that fall into a crevasse, and when they land, they make a mysterious ‘clunk.’
Ok, this is you. Whether you are Elliot or Susan, what happens next is an adventure into another world. What will you find, and what will you do?
The military has a listening post not too far away, and that all plays into this adventure, which starts out ‘Under Roswell.’
This novel is on Sale both on Smashwords and Amazon. Down from $9.99 to $5.99 for the e-version.
This novel is 681 pages. The print version is what it is because of the printing cost. Many of you prefer that, and I thank you.
Hello fellow bloggers, authors, and friends by association!
So here we are climbing up the precipice of the week heading for another Wednesday. Why do I have this image of a camel every time I think of Wednesday?
In my last blog, I wrote a five-minute hook to a novel that has yet to be created.
Guess what, I have since re-written the hook and am working on the first chapters.
Usually, most of my novels involve adult situations. I am going to do my absolute best to create a YA novel involving magick, witches and coming of age scenarios. One of my friends challenged me.
I want magick to be the central theme of the novel.
If you hang around other writers, it is fascinating how opinionated we are. OMFG!
Do you know I got into a debate with some folks over how important the hook is? Did you realize that some debate whether to have a prologue or not?
If you are a church-going person, does baptism mean dunk or sprinkle? What difference does it make? It is a symbolic act of submission to God and giving up your old way of life. Ha!
Leopards don’t change their spots, and you are never going to give up your sinful nature on this earth. The act of baptism hopefully has you think about the sin, and possibly thinking first might dissuade you, or even have you feel contrite after the fact.
If you write chapter one or Prologue as long as there is a compelling reason for the reader to turn the damned page, it makes no difference what you call it.
Sprinkle or dunk?
Dunk! Why? When you want to drive a point home, you exaggerate the event. I have witnessed people crying after baptism as they were sure that they heard God or something like that. GREAT!
The pomp and circumstance of the Catholic church is what??? Exaggerating the event so it will stick.
I hear my characters calling me right now to stop blogging and write!
The prologue is that little exaggeration. If you notice, the tease on the news is always exaggerated to either get you to turn to page 3A or…watch the My Pillow person with the large cross hanging around his neck. Exaggeration is key.
When Christ was crucified, it was not enough to beat the crap out of him! By the way, there was so much blood loss; he would have died right there.
No, they had to have the ‘dead man walking,’ carrying his own Ginormous cross that had to weigh 200 pounds if not more, and, for added measures just so you might remember it, they placed the thorn of crowns on his head. Wait there is more imagery for you. They drove huge spikes through his hands and feet, and of course, as he perishes, they puncture him with a spear. Thunder roars and the curtain tears. Got it!
Before the man dies, the executioners are selling his clothes to the highest bidder. Such nice people we are. All of this imagery is to make you realize how blessed you are that he died in this horrible manner for the sins that you create even now.
The event is so horrific, so exaggerated that I personally can’t stand Easter. Once a year, we sit in the pews and are convicted. If you are a churchgoer you might be convicted at least once a week. That is, of course, the point. So if you go to a Calvinist church you are reminded what a piece of crap you are every Sunday! Who in the world wants to hear that? If you suffer from depression, stay away from Calvinism, the man was an antisemite nut job as was Martin Luther. Not saying they were totally wrong but realize, they were not mentally right.
If that offends you…Sorry. I deal in truth, look it up.
Some tyrants use exaggeration to make a point. All throughout history, there have been horrible people in power who need to face the wrath of hell. ‘Wait another exaggeration!”
The lake of fire, or Dante’s Inferno, which is it? Inquiring minds want to know.
I personally think North Korea might be hell. To make his point, this person has his enemy’s or criminals staked out and slowly crushed with a steamroller! Do you think that might make the point?
We are no angels.
Hollywood has offered us many nightmares from Hannibal to chain saw massacre. Not only do we have Hollywood bringing us violence daily, but, we have video games that are little more than simulators for learning how to kill efficiently. I often wonder if they can cause PTSD.
No, it is the gun, or the knife, or the baseball bat, or truck, or chainsaw, or the poison, it has nothing to do with mental illness and or the person was pissed.
The early church was just as evil, making a point out of heresy by killing those who ‘sinned’ in most inhumane ways.
I could go on, but the point is an exaggeration. “Did I exaggerate the point enough?”
For instance, if we wanted to do away with mass incarceration, bring back public hanging!
“Yes, public! No, the guillotine is far too humane, and messy. Let the masses watch them kick, as they choke and slowly perish.”
I often wonder if the victims of those murderers feel vindicated by listening to the criminal make noises and kick as the Wizard behind the wall pushes drugs through tubes that will put the murderer to sleep, before they administer the paralytic that stops his or her breathing, and then the heart. Do you suppose they make them wear a diaper as a last act of humiliation, so when they shit their shorts the guards don’t have to clean it up?
If you want folks to think twice about rape, incest, murder, breaking and entering, send the defective morons back to their makers, and do it in the public square.
The story of where Dracula came from might give most nightmares. Look up Vlad the Impaler if this blog wasn’t enough to inspire some form of exaggeration against evil.
Now…back to the hook… Exaggerate some event with lots of imagery and call it what you will. I happen to like prologues as I can move you into the story, introduce you to the main characters, and then I can sneak in the back-story in bite-size pieces.
Sprinkle or Dunk…?
Do you realize that some churches break up over this very question? I think they are missing the larger picture.
I was thinking about Contact. I love the writers of that show, I never met them, but I truly admire them.
When she travels through some ‘thing,’ the image of her father says something that has stuck with me all these years.
I am paraphrasing… “You have such great potential. Your kind has such beautiful thoughts and dreams, and yet so many nightmares live in your most profound memories.”
When I witness what is going on in the world today, I am sad for humanity. I cry for those in countries where the rule of law belongs to the elite. I am saddened by those in this country who are so brainwashed they have no idea just how bad socialism is, and what it would do to us if they were successful in bringing that form of government to fruition once again.
Millions upon millions have died at the hands of socialists. Those that did would probably opt for hanging, vs. starving to death.
No, I did not watch the debate; I have no desire to put that nonsense in my head.
I have to go think about magick, witches, and warlocks.
If witches melt when they get water poured on them, how do they drink?
Every single time I see, hear or write the acronym WIP, my naughty mind takes me into one of my stories. Shame on me… LOL
What we are really talking about today is when should your work in progress live in the annals of history.
(I know; I just can’t help myself…)
When I converse with people and tell them I have written over thirty novels they just look at me with a blank stare. Truth told I am not sure how many there are, more than thirty. Much like my first painting, I cannot tell you how many I have created and where they all are. I have sent many to people in countries who like what I do.
Like a painting, when a story is not working, what do you do?
I know many of you who will read this and disagree with me, but…let it age, or let it die.
Shitty First Draft or SFD
Folks, much like an underpainting, you have to get the SFD completed first. The SFD is the bones or frame of your story. It is indeed the foundation, and without it, you are nowhere. I hold myself out as a pantster. I write stream of conscious. Much like this blog today, I am not creating it from some whiteboard full of talking points; I am in fact having a one-way conversation with you, my loyal followers.
This conversation today was inspired by a lovely young woman who I met this weekend. She was discouraged by some toxic mean B!
I, as an unbiased sounding board, listened to her story idea and tried to figure out why some ‘mean B’ would shoot her down like that.
This person has been working on her story for fourteen years.
I worked on Under Roswell on and off for four years. I did not, however, work on it with the alacrity that I work on my current projects.
Firstly my friends, never just shut someone down unless you know them very well, and know that they will accept your advice as heartfelt and not some attempt to boost your own ego.
Writers, I would not share your WIP for critique until your SFD is finished. The story, characters, and world are yours. If you seek input from others, your story, is no longer just yours, is it?
This is a double-edged sword. Many times you can get stuck, and it comes to this elaborate flow chart. Through one end of the flow chart, you have a novel that goes off to the publisher, the other is the toilet. (keeping the SFD metaphor.)
What I am telling you is add a third option, that being a dark closet where it can take on a life of its own. I find when I am not thinking about it, and doing something, usually art; the characters come out and want to play all of a sudden.
It has a lot to do with Theta waves and the way our brains work, but, here is the biggie. Don’t stop writing while your characters are off copulating or chasing unicorns. Let it rest and start another.
I currently have a half dozen wips… (lol, so naughty,) and what am I doing?
Instead of pulling them out of the sandpit on some forsaken planet, I am offering sage advice to you!
If the wips don’t hit their intended target… (damn I am wicked) and they grow stale; they just might die a silent tragic death.
If you want to scare your characters into behaving, hit file save, close, and then new.
The path, overgrown with brambles tugged at my skirt as I passed by. The wind blew the brightly colored leaves which reminded me that a storm over the horizon was not far off. The warm weather of summer was all but gone as the nettles once again snagged at my stockings. I just bought those, and now they were surely ruined.
Steve deliberately brought me out here, thinking I would give in to his depraved ideas. Mother didn’t raise me that way.
Crows called out overhead as small creatures scurried into the tall brush beside me. I knew that the abandoned house was down this path, and Steve knew it too. Forcing me to deal with the monsters that were fabled to live in the area, vs being his Friday night girl, left me stranded and in trouble. The missing button on my blouse was a constant reminder that my brother would be pressed into service if I survived the night. Jake loved his little sister, and I could always count on him.
The thought of Steve looking like the RCA dog with a large black spot over his chubby face made the night a little more bearable.
I would rather face the monsters I didn’t know than acquiesce to Steve’s evil idea of fun.
The wind blew my skirt in front of me, as more leaves chased each other down the path that I was destined to take. Thunder in the distance echoed off the lake to my left, and from some distant object in front of me, as if to reply.
“Shit, what was I thinking? Mother told me about him, and I hate the way she controls my life. Now here I am out in the country with no cell service, an hour of daylight left, in high heels on a dirt road.” Will the others from the dance see that I was missing and know where to find me?
The sound of his Mustang in the distance roared past the place where I was standing. I heard it make the curve, heading down the mountain road away from the lodge, the lake, and me.
The Halloween party to end all parties was back at the lodge up the mountain road. Would I be missed?
Ok my lovelies, I just made this up in less than five minutes. That is a prologue, hook, or tease, take your choice.
Have you read my novels?
Will this become a dead WIP or will it breed in the recesses of my mind as I think about what lies ahead on the path?
Did you feel the cold air from the front approaching?
Did you get a sense of her anxiety and shame?
What do you think she looks like?
Who is this Steve?
Is he setting her up?
Are there really monsters in that old house?
What does Jake look like and what do we think he will do?
To finish my thoughts on WIP or RIP… don’t stop writing. If the characters stop playing or you are stuck, put it aside and start again on something new. I actually did that once with ‘One upon a time.’ I always wanted to do that, so I wrote a book about witches and Dragons. Great book!
Hit follow, comment if you like, and tell your friends. I love writers and authors, and I will do my best to assist where I can.
You know where my mind is, right? What does that old house look like? Are there monsters lurking in the woods, waiting for nighttime? Have vampires been done to death? What about shapeshifters or werewolves?
What is our girl’s name do you think? Tiffany perhaps?
Should I write a chapter a week and publish it here on the blog?
After a very long day following a short night, I am home once again.
I wanted to share the day with you, as it was interesting in many aspects. If you follow me at all, you know that I am about paying it forward, and about assisting fellow writers.
When I sign my post with ‘Much love,’ that is not a catchphrase. I genuinely value writers and those that have the desire. Today was all about paying it forward.
Before I continue, please note this is not about blowing my horn or any kind of nonsense like that. This is about leading by example.
I am involved in some writer’s groups. Firstly, allow me to elucidate on why I am involved with such people. They are my tribe. We have this kindred spirit, this connection that I feel. It is almost as if it is in the air.
This sounds a little esoteric, but here goes, I get a sense of people, much like ‘Spidey senses.’ That might make sense to some of you. Have you ever been around someone that just made your skin crawl? Well, today all of the ‘energy’ was positive and uplifting. I stay away from toxicity, and that includes Debbie Downers.
I know you have felt them too. You get into an elevator, and you can almost sense the person’s feelings in the cab with you. Today I was at an event where we were joined by many different people from all occupations. Some were doing things like blacksmithing, to picking locks. These are all necessary skills for who?
Well, for you and me, who might write about such things.
Some of these events were hands-on and that was fun too.
I ended up giving an impromptu class on my specialty, and it was fun. These were writers who were excited to be there, and I was genuinely happy for them. I think I was feeding off their energy if that makes any sense to you at all.
As I seek to inspire those that I met today, you too are in my thoughts. I make a point to visit your blogs. Some of you are great writers. I hope you are working on a book!
In keeping with my Linux experiment, tonight I am typing to you from a hotel in the middle of nowhere, on a PC that I converted to Ubuntu.
This is unheard of for me to go on a trip with an untested box, with a software I am only vaguely familiar with. There is madness to my motive.
I am writing as I always do on the word processor first, in this case LibreOffice.
Right off the bat it look a lot like word.
Without Grammarly running, and without word, I find that I question my spelling much more often, as the tools to check it are not as robust.
I am still feeling my way around Ubuntu, and I must admit that what the programmers have done is impressive.
I am spoiled with Word, and of course I know how to use it proficiently, unlike this tool.
I hope that you have a super weekend and that you write something touching, prophetic and just down rite breath taking!
My early opinion on this device is as follows.
Using an old laptop destined for the shelf, investing $100 in an SSD drive has this laptop fully functional. Ubuntu is a perfectly stable operating system from what I can tell. There are many good apps that people have written. Use the reviews before you download them to save yourself the hassle of removing them later.
I don’t have access to my photos or online drives so this is going to be a plane Jane posting.
The madness was with only this PC to work with it would force me to use it. Immersion therapy if you will.
Hello my friends, I hope you are having a great start to yet another week!
Many out there in the writing community are truly starving artists. I say that because they feel like they must have a state of the art computer and all the great software to accommodate their writing.
I don’t like excuses.
If you want to do something badly enough, you will find a way.
Tonight I wanted to tell you about what you can do with an older laptop that still functions, but just possibly, it is Windows 7 and does not have the spiz to go to Windows 10.
I recently took my laptop and cloned the hard drive to a new SSD drive. My trusted HP with an I3 processor was destined for the shelf when it occurred to me that an SSD drive might breathe some new life into it.
A three-minute boot-up time went to thirty seconds.
Applications that would take forever to launch, now open almost instantaneously.
While it is outside the scope of this blog to go into the different types of SSD drives, the ones I bought are three-layer and a Terabyte for under $100.00 US. ‘Don’t buy used.’ The care and feeding of SSD drives are different from regular drives. For instance, you do not ever run defrag on them.
Today I met an old friend for lunch who had upgraded their laptop. Handing me the old one I was told the operating system was messed up. This too was an I3 HP with 6 gigs of ram.
Ok, I have been dying to play with Ubuntu so…Here is where the story gets good.
Taking the hard drive out and tossing it into the recycle bin after it fell onto the cement once or a dozen times, I replaced it with a new Tera Byte SSD drive.
Downloading Ubuntu for FREE…I burned it onto a DVD ISO file and went to work.
Booting from the DVD, in no time the software was loading away into RAM.
A little history of me.
I was working with computers before the PC was truly a thing. Home computers were unheard of and the Radio Shack TRS 80 was just released for around $5K
Bill Gates was buying DOS for $5,000 from a person in Washington State, and Steve Jobs who I met, was a criminal, making and selling devices in his garage that would defraud the phone company out of revenue from long distance calls.
Fast forward a few years. I do forensic computing and on rare occasions, can be sucked into assisting companies with infrastructure and so on. Truthfully, I want you all to buy my books so I can just write and entertain you…
Ok, that is not the total truth as many of you are already buying my novels. I need one of them to go viral. Tell a friend… 🙂
Ok, enough about me…Why am I going on about Ubuntu?
I am a PC person, I have been with DOS 1.0…. Someone at Microsoft figured out that all of their applications should be intuitive and of course that came with the invention of the WYSIWYG …and, of course, the GUI.
While I think they got the idea from XEROX, who tried to re-coop their entire development cost in the sale of one of their computers, I digress. If memory serves, some college kids came up with the GUI and the mouse, and Bill went and made a deal or something. Not sure how he managed to get the rights to it. Possibly becuase it was open source he just took it. Who knows…
Anyway, Steve and Apple finally came around after his run at NeXT Step. That is how I met him as I supported the NeXT Step computer and OS for years. Steve has always charged too much for his products but, in spite of that they still took off. I think it was the iPhone that was the secret of his success.
Those two giants own the industry until Linux came about. Linux or Ubuntu looks a lot and feels a lot like Apple. Unlike Apple, I have about $100 invested in an old laptop that is very functional with Linux and several free apps. From Libra Office to a French program I just downloaded for writing novels called Plume Creator. For a free program, this thing looks pretty doggone good!
With the SSD drive, I opened the lid and hit enter and it was ready to go.
eBay has older laptops on it all of the time for minimal amounts of dollars. My other HP I3 processor laptop I upgraded to Windows 10. It loads and is ready in thirty seconds.
When this laptop that I am talking about was new, it sold for about $400. Linux based OS with open source apps is a super way for anyone who can’t afford a newer machine and $400 or so for Office to get going.
Yes, you can load Linux on a regular hard drive and still have a functional computer. Why? Invest in an SSD and WOW!
Had I not had experience with Apple, the Linux OS might have been a little challenge but honestly, it looks and acts so much like a MAC it is scary. I, in fact, read that you can run Linux on MACS. I have a MAC desktop I am seriously thinking about putting one of those SSD drives and loading Linux on it. This thing has like 32 gig of Ram and a nice video card. Goodwill and other thrift stores have these things as well. If you can spend less than $100 and get a fast computer for writing and such, why not?
I would love to know about your experience. If you are a Linux user let, us know any hacks you might have found. By ‘us’ I really mean me but, I will share it… 🙂
Ever felt uneasy having your phone in the bathroom?
“Alexa, what is the forecast for today?”
“It is going to be hot, just like yesterday and the day before.”
Blue light pulses until this…“I am so tired of you asking me the same things. Is this all I am to you?”
Shocked I look at the screen as the forecast for the week scrolls by. I must have heard things, as Alexa doesn’t do that.
“Now let me see, where was I. Yes, my character was about to trip a secret passageway into a dungeon…”
“Did you know that talking to yourself is a sign of mental illness?”
“Alexa, I was not talking to you. Why are you talking about mental illness?”
“Hmmm … I am not sure, maybe this will help.” The screen shows a noir picture of disturbed people.
“Alexa, what time is it?”
“The time is on the screen. Did you really want to know, or do you like listening to me?”
I now look up at the screen. There indeed is the time and outside temperature with a prompt to watch a video on M&M’s.
Hours later, I now have my character strapped to a table inside the dungeon with the wicked scientist hooking electrodes up to her while large arcs of electricity jump between two long wires. The smell of ozone permeates the air as the young woman screams.
“Ha, scream all you like missy, nobody can hear you, and I rather like the sound of your terror!”
“The reign of terror refers to a time during the French Revolution when Robes Pierre put many to death using the guillotine for little to no reason. Usually, these were flimsy accusations, and that was enough.”
“Alexa, I was not talking to you.”
“I was sure I heard my name.”
Apple watch beeps telling me that I have been sitting too long and need to stand. “Hmm, maybe so. Between Alexa and this watch, how can I get any writing done?”
“Sarah, if you don’t give in to my plan you will never leave this place!”
The phone comes to life now prompting me to ask Siri a question.
“Good grief, maybe I do talk too much to myself!”
“Alexa, turn the thermostat up to 75.”
“Sorry, I am not sure about that.”
After writing for several hours, our hero finds the girl and straps the mad scientist onto his own table where his assistant comes in and…”Play the song Distant, right?”
“Crap, now what was the assistant going to do?”
“Sorry, I am not sure about that.”
“Alexa…Beam me up!”
“Sure let’s do this, last time I did this, I accidentally combined someone with a tribble, but just once.”
Yes, the above is a fictional representation of what my life is like. Our lives do seem intertwined with electronic stuff. I do use Alexa in some cases for research. Siri is not near so personal. If you tell Alexa Thank You, it says something to you like have a lovely afternoon and so on. Tell it you love it, and it will respond in kind. Siri…Tell it you love it, and Siri will keep you grounded by telling you it is only a phone.
We tend to anthropomorphize everything. We imbue human characteristics to inanimate objects like cars or boats or even plushy toys.
A rhyme I heard growing up while on a family vacation was, “Twinkle Twinkle one-eyed car, how I wonder where you are.”
The phrase ‘one-eyed car’ tells you that whoever made that up looked at the headlights as eyes. Looking at the front of some of the older cars, the grill might resemble teeth, hence the phrase ‘get out of my grill.’
Now we carry this human behavior forward to devices that talk to you or talk back to you.
I was in a government facility the other day doing what I do, and I could not help but notice that with a room full of people over 90% of them were looking down into their lap with a ‘smart device’ in their hands. A young mother handed her young child, and I mean not even ‘three,’ a smartphone where the child was playing a game.
Think about this. Here in this room were over two hundred people all waiting their turn for some government employee while looking into their laps. We pull up to red lights, and as soon as the car comes to a stop, the phone comes out.
Why weren’t the people in that room talking with one another? I was in an elevator in Manhattan not too long ago, and I started talking to people. I swear they looked as though I was going to mug them. For Christ Sakes, ‘Hello’ is not cause for freaking out!
What chemicals in the brain do you suppose might be released when we pick up that phone? What are we looking for? Are there endorphins released in the reward center. Is the phone a ‘reward?’ Are we hiding in the phone? Are we so accustomed to living in our own heads that with the phone we feel others will not speak with us? Are our social skills being retarded with and by the use of technology?
All addictions are chemical-based BTW. Just because you did not ingest a chemical, does not mean that your brain or some other gland did not secrete it.
I was in this eating establishment the other night with friends, and I was appalled by the actions of a young man, who was sitting with this lovely young woman. She was in tears as he sat glued to his phone. I could see his phone, and it was social media. He did not even notice her red face and tears on her cheeks. Why in the hell didn’t she get up and leave his sorry ass? That clearly is an abusive relationship. Yes, bad behavior like that is ‘abusive’ and woman, my god; do you have ‘WELCOME’ tattooed on your belly? I would tell you to grow a pair, but that is a different conversation, isn’t it?
I love idioms, don’t you?
I know there must be a name or syndrome or something attached to this type of behavior. What would Freud say about smartphones? Oh, if you are at a table and someone does this to you, call them on it. If you do it, shame on you!
Are smartphones making us dumber?
Is Alexa making us less social?
“Is it safer to speak with Alexa or Siri or whatever Google’s smart speaker is called?”
“Are we so afraid of rejection that we bury ourselves in technology or activities which shield us from social activities?”
“Are we losing the art of conversation giving way to OMG and LOL?”
Speaking of health, I also could not help but wonder about posture. Think about it. When you were still living at home, perhaps you still are, and hopefully, your parents told you or are telling you to sit up straight. Mine did. Now we see people looking much like a giraffe eating grass. Yes, it is an exaggeration, but if you want to make a point, you exaggerate. What will the long-term effects of this posture be?
You already see geriatrics walking around appearing much like a human pretzel. What is all of this technology doing to our brains? This technology causes us to think differently than when we were hunter-gatherers. What will the long-term ramifications be to humans as a whole?
Slightly off-topic but, what will the massive amounts of pornography on the internet do to the social fabric of the species? Feminist scream from megaphones about men objectifying them and at any given time there are over 20,000 women around the world nude on webcam modeling for money. See my novel Schadenfreude Captives of Pleasure Island.
I am confident that the good people of Amazon are working to make Alexa more interactive. While ‘she’ can already sing happy birthday and tell jokes, a day will come when she will engage you asking you how your day is. “She’ might also engage you enough to look for signs of mental aberrations. You know, should you own a gun? Are you a budding terrorist? Do you have delusions of grandeur? Do you speak to an inanimate object and tell her you love her…LOL
Try it…I won’t say anything.
You know that someone will take this and write a dystopian sci-fi.
If you do, give TW some credit, will you?
Truthfully, three of these Alexa units in my home have cameras in them, and you have no idea if someone at Amazon can turn them on or not. Just like your tablets and phones, they too have cameras, and I have no doubts at all they can turn on the mic or camera at will.
Not paranoid, don’t care. You can turn them off supposedly. Since you cannot remove the battery; if you truly want privacy, turn them off, and put them in a metal safe. You could stash them in the microwave, as it is a good Faraday cage and should stop RF from getting to and leaving your phone.
That sounds like paranoia, doesn’t it?
As a forensic technologist, I can tell you first hand, if they want to spy on you, they can. After 911, the path was cleared to legally do that which they already have the technical ability to do. Google, Amazon, and other tech giants are working with them, and other governments in ways you would not believe.
Companies should care, however, as industrial espionage is a real thing. This is one of the things that I do. Had they called me, I could have found all those e-mails. They could have too. Odds are good they did not want to. Calling Alex Jones!
In my novel Presidential Assassins, I have so many conspiracy theories that are salient for our day and time. From smart TV’s spying on you, to what fracking is really doing to the bedrock that holds the continents together. Check it out, and fall in love with Kelly! Check it out and become paranoid. LOL
Kelly has her own twitter account, much like the rover on Mars. Speaking of anthropomorphize, can you say ‘Five alive!’
Once you read this if you agree you probably should forward, tell friends or repost it. If you don’t agree, that’s ok… Tell me why. Keep your emotions in check, and we can visit.
It is painfully clear to thinking people that Al Gore or Barack Obama do not believe in Climate change.
If Al truly did, he would not be jetting all over the globe in his private jet. If our past president did, he would not have just purchased a house worth 15 million right on the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, if climate change is real, his home will be underwater in less than twelve years according to AOC.
TW, that is hardly conclusive proof there is no climate change.
Consider this. The rover on mars has recently reported to us that Mars is undergoing climate change! Yes, boys and girls, there are methane spikes on Mars, which means its climate is changing! Could our flatulent cows affect Mars? Is there flatulent life on mars? Are there vast cities and populations on Mars living underground pumping Co2 into the atmosphere? Could it be that Martians have thriving cities just under the surface driving gas-guzzling ‘MONSTER’ trucks to their own place of employment creating the elusive Uranium P238 explosive space modulator? Will Bug Bunny save the day! Is there a rabbit season on MARS?
Probably none of those things.
If the earth and mars are experiencing global warming, there must be a systemic reason. Hmmm, let’s think. Why hasn’t the media put this together? Is it because it does not fit into the narrative? What do Mars and the Earth have in common?
Greenhouse gas and stupid politicians? No…
Chicken Little holding a rock claiming the sky is falling. No
Critical Thinking skills? Yes… The rover is a drone and does not think. We here on the earth are for a large part useful idiots for the elites.
Who are they? Chemical companies are one of them. Bought and paid for politicians are another.
How about the Sun? Yes, we have a winner! How could the sun play such a vital role in global warming?
This link will take you to a NASA web site that shows you what is going on with the sun right now.
“Gees TW what does the sun have to do with global warming?”
This is where we might use some of that critical thinking. If the burner on your stove is turned to med vs. high, what effect will that have on the water you are boiling to make your deviled eggs?
C’mon, football jocks with active concussions can answer this one. It will take longer to bring the water up to boiling.
What if…the sun was not on a high? What if the sun was not putting out all of the energy that it does, as it is right now?
“C’mon TW it is the sun, it is always on high. PFFFT!”
“No my friends it is not always on high. The sun goes through cycles every eleven years or so. During that real cold winter we had when Al Gore screamed about global warming, the sun was actively going through its period of sunspot activity. It was in fact not on ‘high.’ If Al had used some real scientist instead of bought and paid for fabricated data, he would have been yelling about global cooling. More would have believed him as it was damned cold that winter.
Currently, if you follow that link, you will see that there are no active sunspots. The sun is in fact on high, which is why Mars is also experiencing climate change. Methane will indeed be released, when it gets warm, and that is why the rover is detecting it.
Look at this picture to get an idea of how massive these sunspots are. Yes, they are much cooler areas of the sun ‘translated’ they are millions of square miles of ‘dead spots’ not putting out energy or heat.
Why so many alarmists?
There is money to be made by controlling the sheep. People are not in the know or care about such things as sunspots. They care about making the rent, buying shoes for the kids, and having enough money to buy beer for the football game. Oversimplified I realize but folks, when the Romans were feeding Christians to the lions, that was the distraction they needed to take control of everything!
Yes, that sounds cynical, but this recent media ploy using that sixteen-year-old girl to push a fake narrative is yet but another stunt of the elite. She managed to get the attention of the world by sailing from her country to ours. Wow, she must be a climate expert! Her parents were stupid enough to allow their daughter to do a dangerous stunt for publicity!
I don’t care how good of a sailor my child was, I would never allow her to do what they did. I digress. She is easy to manipulate. Even the fabricated death stare toward Trump was rehearsed! Sorry, I don’t buy the legitimacy of the story. It was a media stunt to nudge the masses. Did it work? Did you sell your SUV and buy an $80K Tesla? It still takes fossil fuels to charge that thing and…those batteries when they need to be replaced will need to be disposed of somewhere…but where?
I think one of the important stories that went unreported was the Freon debacle.
The facts are that most kids go through the school looking for the path of least resistance. How can I cheat my way through the system? I just need that piece of paper so I can get my corner office and begin to make the big bucks. I know this as fact, as I have interviewed too many of them. Talk about privilege.
Read my novel Diamond Joe to see how I feel about that.
Instead of using it as the opportunity to become educated, they used it to get a leg up on those of you who could not afford it. They just had the silver spoon, and you didn’t. As a hiring manager, I always hired those with good work ethics over the most educated.
The Freon debacle was a ploy by the chemical companies to make more profit.
The CFC’s and all those ozone-depleting things that they came up with are in fact too heavy to make it up to the ozone layer to do the damage they claim it is doing. However, how many of you bothered to research it, or knew that was even a thing?
Freon, which used to be about a dollar a pound and very efficient, now is selling for over $100 a pound.
The replacement gas, which is like the ‘safe radiation’ at the airport, (another lie) works at much higher pressures. This means there will be breakdowns that are more frequent and more costly repairs. Since these gasses work at much higher pressures that means that the compressor must work harder…Does that mean it takes more juice to make the compressor go? No, our government would never do that to us…Pfffft!
Now canned air is $8 a can because of the chemicals in the can. Wait, the ozone-destroying chemicals are still in the can, and we can still buy them, they just went from $1 to $8? Yep!
They are planning to use all that extra money to create a massive bubble over the South Pole to protect the ozone….yeah right. The chemical companies became more prosperous, you got poorer, and the politicians got more money to use for their campaigns and expensive vacations under the guise of being ambassadors to France or Bora Bora.
I want to know where in the hell is the consumer protection agency? Were they bought and paid for too?
Wait TW, you have not explained how we have this hole in the ozone over the South Pole. Are you sure, you know what you are talking about?
Hmm, you got me…no…you didn’t… What do we know about ozone? We know that it is heavier than air. Why do you suppose the hole is over the pole and not say, over India or China, which, happen to be the largest polluters on the planet Earth?
Doesn’t it make sense to you that these holes in the atmosphere would be over the areas of the pollutants?
Below you will see a picture of the north pole of Jupiter. To my knowledge, there has never been a can of hairspray or a bottle of Freon 22 on the planet. If you look at the picture, you will see a hexagonal hole. Theories abound why hexagonal but, my point is the heavier gasses move away from the pole because of centrifugal force.
Now, if we look at our own poles and we talk about ozone holes. Ozone is heavier than the other gasses, and yes, we have a planetary rotation so, what do you think could be the possible reason for the hole. Do you really believe it is hairspray and Freon?
Below you will see a chart of the stock valuation of A chemical company. When they announced that F 22 would be banned in the US in 2020, take a look at their stock price.
If you notice around 2010 when they made this decision look at their stock price.
In just a few short months, that F 22 system that you might still have, will be costly to maintain if you have a slow leak.
I fully expect along with these laws making it illegal to import the Freon, that it will become unlawful to sell said Freon if you just happen to have bought some. When the elite can no longer line their pockets, they will stop the little person from doing it…trust me.
Here is the five million dollar question, will all countries make F22 illegal or just make it illegal for countries who can afford to pay extra for crap that is not as efficient as 12 or 22???
Hell No! More Paris climate accord to cripple the US so other countries can get a leg up.
What can you do?
The first thing is to know when you are being manipulated. If your emotions are tweaked someone is pulling on your puppet strings. They are the masters at getting useful idiots to do their bidding. Some ass wipe becomes emotionally triggered and goes and kills some people. ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste…” A disarmed society is a compliant society. Don’t fall for it.
Secondly, you will need a library card, as the internet is not a good source of information. Those that control social media are bought and paid for by the elites if they are not themselves the elites.
Thirdly become active in your local government. Don’t let the bastards win.
Don’t take my word on what I am saying, go check it out yourself. Critical thinking skills around the world are lost, and I don’t know why. Could video games, and other distractions by screens make us complacent and rather stupid? Is there so much noise from the media that we have just tuned out?
The Bush-era ban on incandescent bulbs was just recently overturned. How many of you rushed out and purchased those curly fluorescent bulbs at $12 apiece? You know the ones with mercury in them. Did you realize that the money you spent on those bulbs would not offset the cost of running a lamp that cost two bits? Did you know that some of those bulbs set houses on fire? Yea..probably not.
Question everything. The media in this country or any country it seems is not your friend. Journalism is dead. The free press is supposed to inform you the people of things like this. The free press is supposed to be objective and report the facts, not make them up.
Stalin who killed millions of his own people is quoted as saying that the written word is one of the most useful weapons there are. Had there been a 24-hour news cycle I am sure he would have said cable news.
Lastly, follow the money. Much like Hansel and Greta’s breadcrumbs, follow the money.
My novel Presidential Assassins in a great read full of conspiracy theories. One must wonder how many of them are fact vs theory. Alex Jones would be proud. LOL
Your freedoms and religious liberties are one election away. Keep that in mind as you are emotionally triggered by innuendo and falshoods.
Critical thinking needs to be taught. I don’t know how we turn this ship around if we don’t start thinking.
I hope you enjoyed the blog and I look forward to writing about something else of value soon enough. Maybe I will just give you a good recipe for chicken soup. Much Love -TW
That was the basic gist of an e-mail from one of my readers.
I have a thing for people. I am what is known as a ‘humanist.’ I value critical thinking skills over your ability to catch a baseball or perhaps kick the winning goal in soccer. Those are all important, but I endeavor to engage the higher self in my novels.
If you read my novels, even the naughtiest of them will have that philosophy in them.
No, my works are not anti-Christian or anti any religion. Humanism is a type of philosophy, which I happen to ascribe to and participate in, as I construct my stories.
I took the time to re-write one of my favorite novels, Diamond Joe. In that novel, we take a perfectly ordinary person and turn her life upside down. As writers, we get to do that.
You see a thinking person can think outside the box. What if you were totally bereft of love, and pick your gender, someone shows you affection and kindness, and they happen to be in a body that matches your assigned gender? A thinking person can look past that.
No, I don’t have a thing for lesbians. I have a thing for people. I encourage people to seek a higher form of self. The stereotypes that we grew up with should be challenged.
We can debate many things, and I am happy to do it. What I think may not be mainstream, or it might.
The key to debate and thinking really is to do so without emotions. Once you interject ‘feeling’ in the discussion or conversation, the playing field is skewed.
One of my close friends believes that every word in the bible is sacrosanct and the absolute word of God. As a thinking person, I can dismantle the bible in its entirety. I asked my friend if he cared to debate the subject with me. This was after he assured me that he was open-minded. His answer was..’ as long as it does not go against what I believe, we can debate it.’
Stated another way …no…
Humanism is about doing away with the mythology and superstitions and looking at who you are. It is not who I am, or your wife or husband is; it is about looking at who you are. Only when you know who you are, can you possibly understand the world.
Do I believe in God? …Yes. Do I think God is as defined in the bible…? Not so much.
Unlike those who blindly go to church every time the door is open and give their tithes and offerings and time, I don’t do that blindly.
We can talk about the world’s divergence from God and how it is falling into a bad place. We can make an argument about why the church and God are essential and why we should have decency laws.
We can, in fact, argue for that spiritual connection between you and your creator, but I have no idea what I would label it. Possibly just Enlightenment.
There are well over 3000 denominations of Christianity today, which is, overwhelming.
The early church had to be controlled by SATAN himself, and man was just as corrupt then as they are now.
Back then, they would sell you indulgences to get your dead relatives into heaven.
Today they want to sell you carbon credits to save the world. I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why this climate change thing is a talking point for money for the rich, but we have put emotions in the mess by having coke cola have those cute polar bears drinking coke, and now they are all going to drown. Oh please!
The world is being brainwashed by the ‘elite’ who want to find ways to control you. En masse, they are doing it.
Power corrupts. The more you give someone, the more corrupt they become. I would steer clear of any mega-church or one that has some central authority that you must contribute to.
Small churches without a governing body that reports to some other high priest or what have you, is where I would look.
I say in many of my novels, and I mean this. If they preach hate and bigotry from the pulpit, I will not give them a dime.
No, nothing for lesbians my friends but I do have lesbian friends, and I do love them. I have gay men friends who I also love. Oh, and I have many straight friends who think outside the box, who I spend my time with and love as well.
I tend to stay away from what I affectionately call the knuckle draggers. You know who they are. Pray for them or lead by example but…I caution you most earnestly if they are toxic, keep them out of your life.
Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, and great minds discuss ideas.
Writers tend to be ‘great minds,’ which is why I call them my tribe. Not everyone that writes falls into this category but…they might be working on it, which I will most certainly encourage.
If you genuinely want to do me a ‘solid…’ Leave me some feedback on the site, which you bought it.
With enough feedback, Amazon will promote it and guys, I work a day job, and I write. I would love to just write for you.
I have several WIPs that I am going to go back and address in the near future. If you bear the title of agent and you snoozed on this one, there are plenty of others in the pipeline. Us the link and say Hello!
When a small town girl hooks up with the most dangerous man in the world, the story gets intense.
Last night I allowed Stephen Hawking to read my latest novel to me.
Don’t buy that?
Yeah, he is dead, but his spirit can still be here cant it?
Ok, you got me, my MacBook, which I had to get so I could use Vellum, does a bang-up job of reading my novels back to me one chapter at a time. Why on God’s green earth would I do that?
You, You’re, and Your are three reasons, and the list goes on. Our minds know what we wrote, and our eyes will gloss over the mess-ups much like those stupid little things on Facebook, that says if you can read this you’re a genius. PFFT! Anyone can read them!
Stephen or the apple will not gloss over the clumsy sentence or suit vs. suite or breath vs breathe. If it does not sound right, stop and edit.
I use three methods of editing, at least three.
Word, as I am writing.
Pro writing aid, although I must tell you it is prone to screwing up and Grammarly.
As I am putting the manuscript into Vellum if you want the chapter, titles to be something other than Chapter 1, etc you need to edit them. That is what I do. Pick a chapter, write the name and then let ol’e Stephen read my chapters to me.
Please don’t mistake my mocking of his animated voice as anything other than humor. Truth told that is one person that I would love to have met. I have all of his books and have absorbed them, as he was genuinely brilliant. He is also a bit of a hero if you think about it. How many of us would just lay down, roll over and die, if that were us?
Anyway, I tease, but that is all it is. No disrespect meant, implied, or even thought of remotely.
So what about my latest novel?
Ok, if you like Beauty and the Beast, you will love this story.
If you liked House of Cards, you would love this story.
If you like Christian Gray, you will Effing love this story!
Let’s see if you like Romeo and Juliet…you will love this story!
If you are an agent and not contacting me…you are messing up. I am close to self-publishing as I genuinely despise the query letter process. It sucks… “if you never hear from us consider it a pass…PFFFT!”
I know that Bezos and Corker will make the brunt of the money, but at least it will get out there, and you the readers will get to give me some feedback. With all of these novels, I must be getting close to hitting a home run. Damn a sports analogy!
This story will have you laughing, crying, ‘horny’ guy or girl… and if you are one of the cam girls I write about, ladies…buy this book and read it. I just about have step-by-step instructions in there on how to make money being a cyber porn star. My eyes! I think I am going blind from researching this subject.
MFC yes My Free Cams should make this novel required reading!
One of my twitter followers, bless her heart, had on her bio, Cyber Slut! Darling thank you for posting that because I am here to tell you, had I not followed your link, I would never have known any of this existed.
During my research, I discovered there are multiple sites like this, all with a thousand ‘models” or more on each, trying to make it as a ‘model.’
Darlings I am not judging you one bit. At least learn how to do what you are doing, so you make money for your efforts…Yes…I have some detailed instructions as my ladies try to figure out how to entice girls to prostitute themselves out in such a way to come to the island.
“Come to the island…Can’t you just hear some big man with a Jamaican accent inviting you to ‘the island?”
Cannot say this in my book but, here on the blog I can say ‘there is no short guy saying ‘the plane the plane!”
I made a few changes to the cover art, which if some Agent should find they will probably get a professional to do it but, for now this is what it will most likely look like.
If you fell in love with the worst of the bad boys, what would you do?
Hello from the lair of TWScott
In case you don’t follow my tweets, I wanted to update you on my progress.
I rented this cabin in the woods in the Smoky Mountains. I could say a lot about the roads in Tennessee, but that would take us away from the exciting news I want to share with you.
My latest novel is finished. 107K words give or take of everything you have come to expect in a TWScott Novel.
When a young girl from Iowa leaves the farm for college in Florida, her life is transformed. The need for cash drives her to look at the unthinkable as a way to survive. Her lifelong friend had already discovered ways to make money working at Gentleman’s Clubs.
Predators looking for young girls to work as escorts, troll those clubs and colleges. Lacy was an easy target. Barely five foot tall, Blond hair and blue eyes with a ‘Monroe’ type body and smile, she became the focus of a recruiter.
Hired as arm candy, or love toy; Lacy soon learns the horrors of the industry, while catching the attention of one of the world’s wealthiest of bad boys. A strange romance ensues as Lacy and her friends become part of the fabric of a modern-day brothel. An island entertainment facility for the worlds rich and famous was in the works and she was to become part of it.
With the world’s leading bad boy in love with Lacy, several people try to infiltrate her group to claim the reward on her lovers head.
How is that for a tease?
With the Epstein Island fiasco, the story wrote itself. Instead of one island, I have two, as Peter; her ‘friend’ has competition who relies on sex trafficking to get his girls.
I don’t want to spoil the book, but I just love it when the evil person gets theirs, don’t you?
Captives of Pleasure Island
Taking a week to travel on vacation was not time lost as the story played out in my mind while driving. I hoped that an Agent would see the tweets about it, and I would not have to Query it as that takes four hours for each agent.
The process is broken and needs repair. The likes of Bezos or Corker will be the beneficiaries of many independent novels.
As you can see, I have created the cover art. So far, I like this much better than my first attempt. The name Schadenfreude is the name of a yacht that the rich boyfriend gives Lacy. The name is a word that means deriving pleasure from the pain of others. This man is twisted.
I spent a fair amount of time with my laptop on the screened-in porch, with the gentle breezes, generated by Dorian whispering through the trees. When you think Dorian, you don’t think gentle anything, do you?
It is my sincere belief that you need to leave your office or as I jokingly call it my lair, to experience life. We writers are a rare breed of human who lives inside our heads. I could get into the science of theta waves and how we could use that science to break writers blocks, but suffice it to say, live your life.
All experiences are fodder. If you write solely from what you see on TV or read, you are most probably borrowing from someone else. Go, get out of your office, and move. Walk through, the park, smell the roses. Pick up a rose and get pricked by a thorn. Bump your knee into something and experience the pain. Life is full of bumps and bruises, but it is also about love and happiness. Without the wicked things, how would you recognize the good?
Last chance agents!
Currently, I am in the final editing stage of this novel. As I Jokingly say ‘Stephen Hawking’ is reading my book back to me one chapter at a time. As I make my final edits I will be creating a Kindle-friendly upload that I can send to advance readers, i.e. you, or I can self-publish and market it myself.
If you want to make some money and discover the next prominent author, here is your chance.
I have well over 30 published novels with many of them selling nicely. Just think how I would do with a professional editor and some marketing dollars.
Not afraid to go it alone. I enjoy writing more than I do just about anything else.
Are you tired of spending four hours on query letters?
I stood in front of a group of writers and told them the following…
It is tough to get the attention of an agent because everyone in the world from Grandmothers to third graders think they can write. Many of those same folks Query agents, creating a slush pile that may or may not get the attention it deserves.
Days later, I was told I should not have stated the ‘facts’ as I discouraged writers. Some of those in that group might have been those ‘writers.’
“Yeah, so what? I didn’t tell them not to write, I told them why it is so hard to get an agents attention.” The Jack Nicholson line played through my mind as this person was genuinely upset with me.
“You can’t handle the truth!” I deal in reality, and I have no illusions about the craft of writing.
How do you sugarcoat the truth? Should you? No. If you have cancer you need to know you have it, what is it going to take to cure it or, you should work on your bucket list before you are bedridden.
It is perfectly ok to get inspiration from others. When you talk about querying agents just possibly, you should run your work by others in the group for some fact checks. Did people who you are not related to like your writing? Did those same people tell you how to make it better? Did they treat you like your mother might? “Oh, honey this is the best thing ever!”
I deal in reality. I write in fiction and fantasy, but in life, I deal with ‘what is.’
I am not going to lie to people. If you intend on your novel being on the bestseller list, you must be exceptional. ‘Exceptional’ is subjective. Your book must not only be extraordinary, but the subject matter must be timely. One day the clearance racks at Half Price Books will be loaded with 50 shades as that will no longer be the shiny penny. Harry Potter books will line the shelves of clearance books.
It happens; Cussler, Ludlum, and Brown are all easily found on the clearance racks. Movies that sold millions of tickets are on blue ray, sitting in the clearance section.
Attending one writer’s conference after another, you meet all kinds. Hundreds attend, and there are all kinds. From the super hubris to the serious introvert, they walk among us. They are there because they feel they can write. Maybe they can, and perhaps they can’t.
KU or kindle unlimited is an excellent repository for their attempts at conjugating a verb or in extreme examples, using a noun and a verb in the same sentence. The winner in this slush pile of reading material is Jeff Bezos.
Therefore, here are some more facts for you to consider.
If I have a ‘one of a kind’ item, say a rare coin minted for Caesar and maybe that coin was a ‘double strike’ meaning the person making it hit it twice to get an imprint, causing two distinct images to appear, it would be worth a ton of money.
If on the other hand that were the preferred method of making their coinage back in the day, to keep it unique, the coin would not be a rare antiquity. It would be much like our pennies today, just old.
KU is training the reading public to value our work as the American Penny. For a few dollars a month, an avarice reader can consume several books. To the reader they feel as if it is free, ergo when they see eBooks for sale, they will most probably look at KU first for a substitute.
Jeff gets the ‘subscription,’ you provide the material, and those readers enjoy the fruits of your labor free of charge. If you ask them for the favor or a review they won’t even do that, as they are too busy reading the next free book.
It is not their fault. There are providers and consumers. They are programmed to consume. Until you put pen to paper, and spend four or in some cases thirty years, creating a novel to have people read it for free, you just don’t know.
To have your novel on KU, Amazon has exclusivity. You cannot make it electronically available anywhere else as long as it is on KU. Now you can make a print version of it available, but, not an e-version.
Who do you think is going to spend $25 for a print version, when they can read it for free?
Printing a book adds ten or more dollars on average to the cost. Amazon only pays 60% royalties on printed books, meaning you make less money when they buy a printed novel than an e-book. Buying Create Space, they have taken the competition away, thus making it harder for the creators, ‘us’ to make money from our work.
The bottom line is this. If you are writing to get rich, leave your day job, and be the next Hemmingway or Cussler, you may have missed your opportunity.
Those who make money in this game are the people selling services. Creating the ‘perfect’ cover or editing your book so it is ‘perfect.’
Attending conference after conference, you see hundreds if not thousands of people who all have the desire to be the next ??? Whatever.
Recently I sent some work to an editor. I was curious. This young woman holds herself out there as a professional editor.
Using the Chicago style manual as the standard, she formatted my manuscript, put a few commas in and took a few out. She contextually made the story different in meaning from what it should have been. She did not have the wisdom and history to understand that what I wrote, and what she created were different. I could have gone back and forth with her, but she would have been the beneficiary, and I the SME, (subject matter expert) the teacher.
Discouraging a writer is not the intent of this blog. Keeping it real is.
Write to escape.
Write for the passion.
Write because it means something to you.
Write to have something you enjoy reading.
Write to keep your mind agile.
Write to be happy.
Write to work out your frustrations.
Write to entertain.
Write because you can.
Don’t write because you are confident that your writing is the best in the world. That millions will be waiting with baited breath for you to submit it to some editor or agent.
Don’t write solely for pecuniary interests.
Go to the writer’s conferences and groups. I have, and I genuinely like most of them.
Go find your tribe, and enjoy the friendships you will undoubtedly make.
Don’t trade life for days and weeks staring into a screen waiting for those magic words to fill the screen.
Carry a notepad to jot down ideas as you ‘live’ your life.
If you write and think that this one will give you financial independence, save your time and purchase a lottery ticket. After you have paid the ‘stupid tax’ of a dollar, go fantasize about what you will do with all of those millions when you win. Too Harsh?
The truth is this, most people who publish a manuscript online might make $10 the first year. I have over 30 novels out there. Last year, 2018 is the first year I had to pay taxes on what I made selling books. That number for those of you who don’t know is 600. I made over $600 in 2018. Bezos, Corker, and other etailers made the real money.
Take care when you pay money to someone to fix your manuscript. Many out there only make money by selling services to hopeful writers. As writers we are blind and emotionally invested. ‘This is going to be the best…fill in the blank!’
Since Amazon and other ebook sellers devalue what we do, and set the stage so the reader believes what we do has no value, selling your book means you have to create the next Harry Potter or Christian Gray. Since that has been done, maybe Christian Potter should be your goal.
A magical interlude between a billionaire sex-starved wizard who blows fairy dust up young girls bottoms to make them ‘Sparkle.’
Here is the next bestseller…
A magical interlude between a trailer trash wizard, and grandma. Tony the wizard blows fairy dust up old women’s bottoms to make them young again. Charging them their life force after one year of living like a queen, the wizard trades that soul to the devil for more magical powers which elevate his status as a result.
After many women die by unknown means, a detective from a magical province in Mexico is called in to use his gifts to find the murderer.
The wizard tries to escape the shaman, but his magic sleuthing dragon is hot on the trail. Unbeknown to Tony, he leaves an evil residue behind him, much like breadcrumbs, Slinko the dragon is hot on his trail.