Not my Monkeys, not my Circus

Is it time for a sequel?

What Should I know about you as an Author?

Firstly, your personal likes and dislikes are your business, not mine.

A young author I follow doesn’t hesitate to share her opinions on social media. In her latest rant, she defends the government spending billions on 87k more IRS agents. Her argument is that they need the money to automate the IRS.

They are hiring 87 thousand more IRS agents trained to use guns and be prepared to shoot citizens. They are trained to do the dirty work. If there is an uprising, they will be on the front lines.

That’s not automation; that’s an army paid for by your tax dollars to go after the middle class who cannot afford expensive CPAs and Tax specialists.

Her rant is not formulated around the facts. Her rant is a concoction of half-truths created to sell the plan to the American people. (the check is in the mail…)

Your predilection regarding political affiliations is, again, your business. Again, how you feel about court rulings and specific candidates is your business, not mine.

  • What genre do you write?
  • Have you won any awards?
  • What other books come close to your style?

You often see tweets or rants from authors who have no problem telling you that you should feel the way they do. I am reminded of schoolyard bullies poking each other in the chest while saying stupid shit like, ’it takes one to know one.’

Here is my free advice. Before you post a rant, challenge yourself to take the other side and do your best to defend it.

If you consider that the media’s job is no longer to inform but to drive ratings or clicks, you will quickly see that they use emotional triggers to accomplish that goal. Journalism is dead. Stories must drive ratings even if they are fake news.

Money is the driving force. We will miss the larger picture if we are at each other’s throats over men in girl’s showers. The political class is raping the country, selling it bits and pieces at a time to the highest bidder.

If a story about men in the girl’s locker room is broadcast, men with daughters will go ape shit. You don’t mess with daddy’s girl. The distraction will take several news cycles, and politicians will have buried the proverbial body by the time the dust settles.

Most of the things people will burn a city down for are fake news ginned up by the media for ratings. Ratings equal advertising dollars. I worked in the industry for years; trust me on this one grasshopper.

A perfect example of this is the current war. The Russians have the same DNA as the Ukrainians. They are most likely related in many ways. Now, you have some megalomaniac shell a girl’s dormitory, and you no longer have logical thinking humankind on the battlefield. What you have created is chaos on a massive scale, with each side only ‘feeling’ hate for the other. The rage over war atrocities will drive the very worst in mankind to sideline their humanity over their animalistic tendencies toward violence. Putin and other world leaders know this and use it.

We are so desensitized to man’s inhumanity that they just possibly should torture puppies. I would bet that act would cause kids to pick up arms and fight to the death.

This is how our media controls you. “Democrats are for killing babies! Republicans want to keep all women in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant!”

Neither is true, but if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it. If they buy the lie, they will vote to put the devil in office, even if he promises to kill you. Yes, hate is much stronger than logic. The media has been successful in destroying Trump. If Biden or Trump were to tour the country handing out $100 bills to people for their vote, how many would not take the money? How many would take the money and lie to them and vote for the other guy anyway?

Ruminate on that last paragraph for a while. How many do you think will look in the mirror and question what kind of person they are? How many would care?

Politicians want to keep their power, which makes no difference if they are an R or a D.  

If you, as an author, take a side, you chance losing half your potential audience.

That, my friends, is why I suggest before you get worked up about an issue, dig deep and make an honest effort to argue the other side.

If you are forced to argue for something you oppose, you must learn the other side. Once open to the idea that you could be mistaken or your previous arguments came from a news report and not from facts, you will see how we can be divided as a people.

A substantial glaring example is race. I know well over 600 people, personally, as in I have shaken their hands, had dinner with them, etc. Out of all those folks, I know nobody who judges people by their skin color.

We are simply not a racist country. Yes, there are knuckle-dragging inbred monsters out there, but they are in the minority of mankind.

Those who willingly use the R-word are probably the ones who should look into the mirror.

Riddle me this… What would the world be like if we just shut off the cable news, the TV news, and so on? What if there were only news feeds that were not designed to trigger people?

‘Arizona is going to be wet for a few days. Heavy rainfall expected.’

What if opinion programs designed to stir up your emotions were canceled?

What if calling someone a racist was tantamount to screaming fire in a theatre?

As a writer, it is easy to write dystopian novels. Why? We are living in one right now. It’s all about money and power. Those at that level only care about their portfolio, not you or me.

My latest novel is on hold because today’s events interfere with my natural writing style. Yes, you can isolate yourself, but eventually, you will be exposed to the stupidness in the world. That ignorance will drive you to blog about it rather than write your novel.

The last advice I would offer aspiring writers or even established authors is this, get rid of the distractions. Take the smart speaker off your desk. Leave your phone in another room.

Think back to how some of the authors of years ago might have accomplished their novels. One author had a shack in the woods. I was thinking about creating a giant tree house with a ladder that I could pull up to stop all intruders.

In truth, I am considering building a cabin on some property I have that is relatively remote. Cell phone coverage is spotty, so that would do away with intrusions by smart speakers, spam calls, and of course, those attempting to sell me an extended warranty.

Now, what do you know about me?

  • I am dedicated to the craft of writing.
  • I go out of my way to assist other writers or authors.
  • I stay informed, I vote, and then I let it go.
  • I do not form opinions by what I hear or see from the media.
  • I do my own fact-checking. Most online fact-checkers are an opinion of biased individuals.
  • Where politicians are concerned, I never vote straight ticket.
  • My personal feelings about someone do not predicate how I will vote; their actions do. What are their policies? How do they see Americans vs. the rest of the world?

We all have biases. Once you accept that truth, you can begin to see why the ‘other side feels the way they do. How they think does not make them right or wrong, it is just how they feel.

There is no such thing as your or my truth; there is only ‘the truth.’ Some will go to war over nothing more than a half-truth or how they feel.

If you choose to pontificate on social media, be ready to fight with those that follow you and be prepared to lose potential customers. Arguing with idiots is a waste of time.

There was a meme with some milk advertisement regarding the names of the cows from which the milk came. Some fuck wit posted the following. “I couldn’t help but notice that all those names are girls’ names. Misogyny is alive and well at this company.”

Since I don’t argue with unwise people, why should I spend my time attempting to tell her that milking a bull might get you a BFF? It is almost as if people are looking for a fight.

I often feel like starting a group on social media… “What offended you today?” the world is changing and not for the better.

A man attacked a lady in plain sight of several people. Instead of stopping the attack, the bystanders pulled out their phones and attempted to capture the whole fight on video. Once the video is captured, the first to upload it wins. Is that the game? Is that the brave new world we are living in?

Think before you speak. Read history before you espouse your feelings. If you take the time to attempt to argue their point, that puts you way ahead of the rest. Distinguish the facts from more than the TV or Radio. Knowing the difference between a cow and a bull is also good.

As always, Happy writing!

-TW


Saving your Retirement Dollars

Will your retirement strategy work?

If your email is like mine, you are inundated with scary emails about Biden stealing your 401s.

Again, if you are like me, you skip over them as they are nothing more than clickbait to sell you some service.

There is a reality to the grim state of our country and the economy. Left unchecked, many will lose their retirement dollars and sadly will depend on social security as their only source of income.

With retirement age not too far in the future, we see that with the current prices of everything, even sitting at home will be costly.

You might be tempted to blame Putin for the state of the world, but not so fast. Energy costs were already skyrocketing before February 24th. Just like Under Obama, energy costs were much higher; however, we have reached new highs.

The world economy revolves around energy. That is why China and India still build and maintain coal-fired power plants. Sure, they are dirty and pollute and might even be the cause of climate change, but…They don’t have anyone screaming at them about the environment.

That dirty air does not just hover over the place it was created. No…it travels on the Jetstream just like the dust from the Sahara Desert pollutes our air in Texas and elsewhere.

Removing inexpensive energy availability from a country forces large companies to take their business to countries where dirty air is not a problem. They also search for cheap labor (slave labor), and we look the other way. 

Addicted to our tablets and phones, we ignore that SLAVES made them.

What about your retirement?

You don’t care about where the technology comes from as long as it works and entertains. You might care about the price of gas as it takes three times the amount of money that it did just two years ago to fill up your tank. Many are still Ridin with Biden, even though inflation is clearly his doings. The cost of goods and services are also much higher because energy costs are much higher.

He campaigned on killing fossil fuels, and he is doing it. Damned, the torpedoes.

You might have noticed that your mailbox has new credit card applications in it on a weekly basis, if not daily. Get this phenomenal rate of 17.9% on credit card rollovers vs. the 24% you have currently.

Why do you suppose these great offers are hitting your mailbox now?

As the cost of ‘everything’ skyrockets, people still must live. They need to get to work or keep the lights on or food on the table. While many Americans could not come up with $500 cash on a bet, they still must have the means to survive.

The money predators are there to assist you in your time of need. From Pay Day loans for those without much credit to introductory offers to those with credit, they are there.

The first time you revolve credit from purchasing gas, you are sinking fast into the abyss of debt that you might never get out of.

The cost of that gallon of gas will increase exponentially as you continue to revolve dept.

Along comes the cheaper credit card, and you see relief. No, it’s just a slower death.

What are your options?

The cheapest option is to rob your savings account. The kids don’t need to go to college. Trade school still works, and we need plumbers, electricians, and so on. You don’t really need that dream vacation that you have saved for since your wedding…do you?

At .05 % interest on your savings, it is truly the cheapest money you have access to.

Your burn rate or how quickly you run through your paycheck before the next one comes in will assist you in determining what expenses you can cut.

Do you need Netflix or Cable? Do you really need to run the air? Your ancestors didn’t have such things; do you really need it?

How warm can you stand to have your home before you are just miserable?

Do you really need to take that trip to grandmother’s house, or can she use zoom or face time?

Eventually, if things don’t change, your burn rate will exceed what you make.

Is a second job necessary? What will the long-term costs be to your children who are forced to be raised by the internet, TV, or the other kids whose parents are working two jobs? Will your child grow up to be the next mass shooter? It did look like fun in the video game.

With the rent or mortgage increases thanks to higher taxes, your retirement nest egg, that 401, looks rather attractive.

Sure, you can pay off the credit card bills, but if you don’t change the calculus on your burn rate, again, you are prolonging the result.

Borrowing from your 401 is horribly expensive money but not as bad as credit card interests.

Those of us close to retirement might use our homes as a way out of debt, opting for less expensive places to live, like a mobile home. They are horribly energy inefficient and not what I would call an attractive place to retire. They are, however, an option.

Is Biden coming after your retirement?

No, but the feds know that curbing inflation is going to require dollars that are not printed, flowing back into the ‘system.’ Where are those dollars? Yep, your savings and 401 and every other bit of capital that you have saved, including that in your home.

They are not forcing you to take those measures, unlike other governments might, but they are limiting your options.

The good news is, if they push too hard, they will kill the golden egg-laying goose. The Feds have an idea of just how hard they can push by how much money is still tied up in 401s.

“Good News?”

Yes, they don’t want to totally kill the American way of life, just cripple it enough so you and everyone else will become more dependent on government handouts. The way of life the Boomers grew up with will be gone, just like those who survived the atomic age.

Their end goal is socialism in a much larger format than what we have now. Make no mistake, we are a socialist country. If you can afford it, you pay for those who cannot. Park outside a WIC office on a Friday. Those with new cars parked far away from the front of the building. Those mothers with Boyfriends, yeah, they stay in the car.

It’s not just WIC; it’s the healthcare industry along with every government handout program. Your tax dollars fund each and every person crossing the border illegally. They get a swag bag with a smartphone, tickets to the city of their choice, and god knows what else. I wonder if they get an autographed picture of the president?

Where is my free phone or free stuff? If I sneak into Mexico and then cross back into the US and claim I am from Brazil fleeing oppression, will I get free stuff?

If you want to save your retirement dollars, cut your burn rate now before you must. When Time Warner and Netflix, and others scream at the government, they will back off. Stop spending money that you don’t have to spend.

We are in a war, and money talks.

-Best

Spotify, Cancel Culture, Covid, and the media

Yes, I am still writing, are you?

I used to think that the ACLU was for the people. Today, not so much. Where the hell are they?

Opinions are like assholes; we all, well, most of us have them. Your intelligence to discern fact from fiction is what makes free society work.

Throughout all of mankind, some use emotional triggers to manipulate the herd. Stalin, among others, knew that the written word was much more powerful than many of his weapons. I could name countries today that keep their people captive, stupid, and compliant with pure fabrications.

Dare I say it, the early church used these same tactics to amass fortunes and complete dominance over the masses. We see churches today selling snake oil during people’s misery and sorrow, all for the desire for more money and control.

The church offers death and resurrection. The church offers the hard work of healing and resurrection. The church offers grace. Whatever else some charlatan is preaching is pure snake oil. They want your money, your time, and your obedience. They want your blind faith to believe what they tell you.

If we go back in history just two years, if you think about what has been said about Covid, you can see the progression of lies. Once you take off the media glasses, mega-media giants who control the narrative, you will see the lies.

Just two years ago, the virus started in some wet market and was NOT transmissible from human to human, etc. One must go to that meat market and buy infected meat from some creature that resembles an armadillo with scales. Nothing to see here, nothing to worry about, go about your business.

Never mind that this meat market was just feet from a lab that studied viruses, in particular coronaviruses. Funded in part by your tax dollars through the NIH and Fauci, we were convinced by the media that everything was fine.

The CDC and the WHO praised the Chinese for their handling of the problem and berated Trump for daring to question the WHO and the Chinese.

Biden and Harris both attacked Trump for stopping flights from China, calling him xenophobic.

China stopped all flights from Wuhan to the Chinese mainland but allowed them to go everywhere else in the world.

While we went about celebrating Chinese New Year with our friends over here in the states, Pelosi herself was in China Town with the Chinese calling Trump a bigot. The health commissioner of New York went on TV telling the world to go to China Town and enjoy the festivities. She danced among them for the cameras to prove her point.

In case you forgot, New York was one of the first hot spots.

Distracted from the facts, China secretly purchased all the PPP it could find from around the globe.

The WHO and CDC both continued to spread the narrative that everything was fine and China was the best for taking care of business.

The first case shows up in Washington State. Patient zero.

Trump, not listening to or trusting the WHO at this point, is attacked by the media for stopping flights from infected countries, as Italy falls to the virus. Italy uses lots of Chinese folks in their businesses, and they had just returned from China to resume their work.

Once Pandora’s box was opened, the genie began its magic, and not in a good way.

Realizing by now that the virus was airborne, the CDC was one of many who promoted the lies about masks allowing our front-line workers to find them. Trump used the power of the white house to get PPP made in factories here in the states. Further, he pushed to get ventilators created at factories and plants not designed for this purpose.

From test kits to yes, vaccines, operation warp speed was set into place. All of this was taking place while Pelosi and the entire Democratic cabal set about trying to impeach him on ‘trumped up’ charges regarding Russian interference.

When a vaccine was developed, both Biden and Harris went on the attack telling the world if Trump had anything to do with it, they wouldn’t take it. That vaccine is the same one they are pushing on the world today. I just wonder why there is vaccine hesitancy.

In record time, vaccines were invented. History shows us that this technology has been in the works for years, not for a pandemic but as a cancer treatment to target genetically mutated cells. Moderna and Pfizer both relegated to the annals of clinical trials, peer reviews, and humanized cells from rats as their testbed suddenly had billions of human lab rats.

I would offer that we have no idea how many people are being injured by their vaccines. Hidden from the world to avoid reasons for vaccine hesitancy are the true numbers. What are the numbers of acceptable casualties of such vaccines?

In the cloak of the pandemic, paperwork exempting them from legal issues if anything were to go wrong was created. With the green light to push forward, these two giants in the pharmacy industry jabbed the world at $20 a shot. Your tax dollars funded this.

I suspect that some good will come of this regarding cancer research. Greenlighted to use the world as lab rats, this mRNA technology will undoubtedly make leaps forward in research. I suspect that is also why the J&J vaccine, which is truly a vaccine, is trashed by the media.

With sufficient PPP for our front-line workers available, Fauci and others changed their tune. Now you should wear a mask or face diaper. No, wait, maybe you should wear two or possibly three of them just to be safe.

Once again, the media was put to work spreading the lies, the propaganda, and so on, ginning up fear and, yes, hatred toward groups of people who knew this was bullshit.

If you have your mask on and can smell anything like smoke or perfume, the mask is totally useless. I carry one in case some shit for brains media zombie is on an elevator with me and gives me grief for not having one.

The vitriol on social media reached its height of contempt when those who followed the government guidelines sat in long lines for the first jab to be safe, to go back to normal, to get their lives back. It was all a lie.

One post read, ‘for those of you doing your own research, I hope you get covid and die first so we can reach herd immunity.’  True story. This post was born from fear, anxiety, and simple ignorance.

With herd immunity being the key phrase, it was more like herd stupidity. Social media once again went into the publishing arena, removing any post (like this one) that dared to speak the truth.

I was reminded of the pod people and Donald Southerland, pointing his finger at the one person not taken by the aliens…

News of the truth of the virus leaked and was quickly squashed by the media.   

The bottom line is if you must kill opposing points of view because your facts are so weak, they cannot stand up to scrutiny; nobody should listen to them. We need robust debate so people can decide for themselves which is truth and what is a fabrication.

Truth be told that is the purpose of the media and why we have the 1rst amendment in the first place. Freedom of speech is about objective reporting keeping elite and powerful in check. “What about Hunter’s laptop?”

For giants in the industry to kill OAN, for example, should be a red flag to the rest of the world. Trump is correct; I would boycott ATT, Comcast, and any other entity that silences an opposing viewpoint.  

Some networks are self-disqualifying, and their ratings prove it. You cannot peddle lies into perpetuity with talking heads bought and paid for by special interests groups. People will eventually figure it out.

Those that peddle racism only serve those who are racists and want to have their hate fed. Hate is an insidious emotion that takes zero intelligence to enact. Hate feeds on itself and others who hate for no other reason than it releases chemicals in the brain that are like drugs.

Can you imagine if we created a news network for White supremacists? Just imagine a bunch of talking heads extolling the virtues of the KKK and how there should be fewer black people.

The reverse is already true on MSNBC, and it is allowed. When the census came out a few months ago, it was reported that there were half a million fewer white people. The head racist in charge said, and I quote, ‘Good, we need fewer white people.’

How is it that she is still on the air?

What if Tucker or Hannity or pick a conservative had said that? Even in jest, it is poor taste but, it was not in jest; she meant it. She is feeding hate, and those that watch her are consuming that hate.

There is no room for racism and those who promote it.

When the head bozo in charge of this country stood at his podium and uttered the words that the number one threat to this country was ‘white supremacy,’ I was shocked.

I would think the drug overdoses killing thousands might have been on top of that list, but nope, it is imagined bigotry that just possibly dwells within his addled brain.

Certainly, there are those in the world who feel that their skin color makes them better than others but, it is not who we are as a country, as a people, and certainly not as Americans. She might be that way, and there might be a few who live off the grid who feel that way, but Joe has a history of racism, including eulogizing a former head of the KKK. He is the last person who should be casting stones.

In circling around to where we started, just stop it. If Neil Young feels compelled to remove his music from Spotify, so be it. He is pretty much a horse with no name anyway, so it is not a huge loss.

Even the racist at MSNBC has the right to spew her bilge, and I have the right to offer my opinion.

If this were not America, my criticism of Uncle Joe might land me in prison or under a steam roller. In China, the law is written that you are being quarrelsome or some such shit and arrested.

I think that the US might be the one bastion of ‘true’ free speech left. Do you think it is worth protecting? I am certain it is under attack as we speak. From the mega-media giants to big tech, I feel strongly that your ability to speak your mind is under assault.

You and I might have different points of view but, I will defend your right to express them, will you do the same?

If you have read this far, wow thanks!  I have so many different projects going on that finding time to ‘blog’ is almost a non-starter.

I will be re-releasing Diamond Joe, soon. The entire book has been re-written, edited again, and a new cover is in the works.

If a romance involving two ladies and a story about a racehorse interest you, stay tuned. Keep in mind that there is only about a month left on the free version of Forensic Assassin on Kindle Unlimited.

-Best

Writing Priorities, Maximizing your Potential for Profit.

Why do we write?

  • If you are anything like me, the news of the day can destroy your creative bubble.  Distractions like Alexa or news flashes also can remove you from ‘your world.’
  • Eliminate distractions. Alexa can be told to go into do not disturb mode, as can your smartphone.

The real point of this blog is to recognize why we do what we do.  Somewhere in the back of our minds, we want to be the next New York Times Best Seller.  In a talk recently, many denied it but, after a little soul searching, it turned into ‘maybe one day.’

  • Honesty with yourself at least puts you on the correct road.

That little voice in my head has always been there but, it certainly lives in the back of my head.  Throughout my writing career, I have kept a day job. Keeping it real, keeps you grounded.

My career in writing began as writing technical documentation and then teaching from it.  I published in some international magazines for technical things but, that is not creative writing.

Today I see many blogs on how to publish on Kindle or other services.  There are other blogs on snaring agents and so on.  Should how do I publish be your priority?  How about something like, how do I layer my story so I keep my audience engaged?

  • Much like a story, one of the first things you must do is build a foundation or skeleton.

I can create flash fiction in less than an hour, and it is a good story.  Short stories and flash fictions are excellent ways to practice using words judiciously while conveying a set of ideas, or in this case, a story that entertains.

Not knowing anything about creative writing, several years ago, I launched out writing a large novel.

The bones of the story are perfect.  The story entertained me as I created it, and I fell in love with many of the characters, even the quirky robot.

As for the craft of writing, that is a different story.

In all honesty, I should unpublish much of my earlier works while I take the time to install the layers or the craft of writing. Had I used traditional publishing methods, a good editor would have pushed me through the process of improving my craft, way back then.

While the bones are white and the structure sound, what color are the walls? What does it look like? What does it smell like or sound like to be there?

I could go on and on about story structure.  Perhaps I could lament about the use of symbolism or alliteration. I could expound upon creating that emotional appeal to the reader through the eyes of the characters, that in itself might be an entire chapter.

The bottom line is this.  There are tens of thousands of writers out there that are light years ahead of where many are.  They know to create a New York Times bestseller that the bones are only the beginning.

Last week my Grammarly report informed me that I had checked over 26 million words.  Those are words much like these that I have typed. I have published over 30 novels, most full-length.  Not bragging; none of them are on the New York Times bestseller list.

Currently, I have left them published as I feel like those that want to learn from my path can get an e-book version and see the progression of ‘the craft.’ Then there are those who actually leave feedback that assists me in improving my craft as well.

One way that I know I am improving is this; when I finish a novel, I look at the word count.

Under Roswell, while a great story is huge.  My latest creation is 45K words, or about a third of the word count.

The latest is in what I call an aging folder with other manuscripts that are waiting for me to revisit them. 

“What, you’re not promoting them to agents?”

Not unlike the works I published already, these stories are aging to the point that when I go back to read them, edit them, it will be as if I have never read them before.

I know writers who have been working on one novel for over 30 years.  They are hobbyists and will likely never get that one published as it will never be done.

Writers must be prolific, and they must be ruthless with their time.

Writers must live their lives and must not get their material from TV or others’ writings.

Writers must be open to critique, self-examination, and honesty.  Sure, dream big and go for the brass ring but, have a net.

I give my time and talent to other writers constantly. A rising tide lifts all ships.

When I go to different writing groups, give talks, and so on, I can tell who is looking for that one break and who is there to be part of the tribe.

The bottom line with that elusive ‘prize’ is what the audience will connect with when your book hits the market?

I wrote a number of books inspired by 50 shades.  Those sell but, not really my cup of tea.

Who will your audience be?

I see many new titles about pandemics.  Are you tone death?

My last bit of advice for you writers out there is this: Write to please yourself.

I am an artist, and I paint to please myself.

I love to play musical instruments but only for my own enjoyment and as a way to find my center.

I write to live in that world, love those characters, and escape this world.  In my paintings or my writings, I can live there and be at peace.

Yes, I know what is going on in the world. In many of my blog posts, you can tell when I am overwhelmed by the idiots who try to rule us.  There are many who should be facing Nurnberg-style tribunals and many more who should be swinging at the end of a rope.

We will never know who killed JFK, and we will never know the truth about the current pandemic.

Control the things you can, ignore the things you cannot, and try to live in peace in your own bubble.

Much Love -TW

Time Wasters That Keep You From Writing.

What are your distractions?

Greetings fellow bloggers, writers and those that just follow me.  Today I thought I might spend a little time with you talking about …time…

Have you ever chimed in on a conversation on social media? 

My personal feelings on Facebook are, it is a great way to keep up with family and friends without actually calling them.  Let that sink in.

The simple facts are very few people have 681 real friends.  I would define what a friend is but, I don’t think that is necessary.

My friends are the people on my favorites list on the phone. Everyone else is an acquaintance.

Yes, there are hundreds of people that I know, chat with online, and so on but, I usually don’t require their phone number.  Truth told, I don’t have the time to visit with many friends.

Scanning through social media has turned into a pastime that unfortunately zaps time away from other things.  Way back when, I used to teach a class on time management.  

In the business world today, they attach different names to it but Scrum is the latest tool.

From timeboxing to working in sprints, this is a high-pressure environment for programmers.

Where the program breaks, and the world of missed deadlines occur is a failure to take into account the human equation.

The smart phone and social media are two stumbling blocks. 

Not long ago I hired a landscaping crew to clean out the weeds, remove and replace dead plants and so on. The PM, or in this case the team lead, walked back and forth between the front and the back of the house.  As soon as he disappeared, his workers would stop working.  The cell phones came out of their back pocket.  It was almost laughable. They weren’t talking, they were playing games or checking social media.  The job took much longer than it should have.

The human factor can only do so many sprints before their mind needs to focus on something else for a while.

There were many time-management tools in the day.  As a manager of many programmers, I kept a spreadsheet of where they each were on their part of the project.  Hiring from sourced talent, if I got a dud, it was easy enough to replace them.

That by the way, is why most companies hire from such firms. They get 6 months to see how you will perform.

I would never work in a scrum environment. While the tool is meant for projects that might change with scope creep or unforeseen issues, the pressure on everyone involved comes down to time.

In our writers’ group we have writing sprints, which was taken from Scrum but, the sprint is just a way for you to dedicate time to your craft, or hobby.

Most writers that fail are those who have piss poor time management skills.

On my desk was an Alexa, my phone and some clutter that has shown up over the years.

Alexa had to go.  While a nice tool for some things, the screen displaying news feeds and so on was distracting.

The phone must be face down.  I don’t want to see anything that will cause me to deviate from my task.

Alexa has a ‘do not disturb’ function, use it.

I shut my office door to keep the distractions at bay. The phone is silenced and my list of what I want to accomplish is in front of me.

People ask me how in the devil I manage to crank out so many novels.  Time management is key.

I watch very little TV. Most of what I see is mindless dribble aimed at those with the functional IQ of a houseplant.

It is no wonder why so many shows have piss poor ratings.

If you are trapped into watching TV, examine the writing, the structure of the story and yes, any arcs.  In this way if I am stuck watching shows aimed at fifth graders, at least I can learn something from it.

Where this all started was a friendly post on Facebook.  Someone was reaching out for assistance.  I offered some advice. There were many who chimed in on my advice. Several gave very bad advice and attacked me in the process.  Delete post, and go back to my task at hand.

I live in the world I create most of the time.  Before I nod off, the story I am creating is running through my mind.  I don’t plot a story; I write from a stream of conscious.  If the ideas that pop up in the wee hours of the morning and I think there is a chance I will forget them, I get up and make notes.

Stephen King once said that he doesn’t keep a notebook with him.  If an idea pops into his head and he forgets it, it was most likely not any good anyway.  He also said a notebook like that, is just a book full of bad ideas.

I write very much like him but, I do keep a notebook. A simple three- or four-letter tickler, to have the MC fall into a crack in the ice at the end of a chapter is gold.

Best -TW

Where are you?

No, I don’t mean physically; I mean something else.  Where are you mentally, spiritually?

With the attack on the capital ten days ago, I was in a rather dark place.  Removing the news,  the TV, and all of my social media friends who were ready to lynch half the country, I needed to get away.

Where the hell can you go?

Besides teaching myself new skills and taking care of a lot of things that need taking care of, I am ready for a change.

Today, my background picture, is of a castle, most probably in Scotland.

By the fog behind it, I suppose it is by a lake or lock.

The rolling hills are covered in dew or possibly frost, but man, are they green.  There is an interesting dichotomy between the castle and some tiny frame house in the foreground.  I have no clue what the little round buildings are with pointy roofs; maybe one of you knows.

Anyway, my mind has been on that farm or those green hills a better part of the day.

I wrote one of my novels where the characters were in Scotland.  I loved the research, and I went so far as to find people to speak with.  Truth told, much of my lineage comes from there. 

I did the DNA thing with Ancestry.  Be careful what you sign up for.  You might not want to know.

It is all fodder for stories.  While we wait for the cure or whatever will come to be, the best we can do is keep a stiff upper lip and push on.

Where are you?

Are you ok?

Are you keeping your wits about you?

Are you exercising and eating, right?

There are stories out there.  There is fodder for your stories and your novels if you are writing one.

When my characters are busy, asleep, or hiding, I find other things to occupy my hands and my mind.

Carpe Diem.

-Best

TW

I’m Blind!

Do you think you have all the answers?

Ok, not blind but certainly seeing red.

So, here is a serious question.  Can you affect any change in this country’s political atmosphere by bitching about it on social media?  Then Stop.

If you are a writer like I am, the last thing you want to be is an activist. One of my favorite journalists was Walter Cronkite.  Why?  Other than he loved cats, he told it like it was.  No spin, just the facts.

It makes little difference what Trump or Biden said or did. You are going to change nothing by whining about it and, you will piss off half your readers.

That goes for actors and anyone in the public spotlight.  What you do for a living makes you/us more reserved in our decrying foul. 

Under your pen name as an author, your politics should not enter into the picture.

I have one friend who is a writer.  His public displays of venom are so entrenched in his social media post he will never publish.  Why?

So here is the truth of it.

Let’s say you have a desire to be traditionally published.

Everyone thinks they can write and, after NANOWRIMO, the agent’s inboxes are flooded with shit.  No, it is shit for the most part; why? 

A good writer knows to put their baby in a drawer somewhere and start on something else.  After they finish that draft, they pull their baby out and mature it, and so on.

Many of my published works should have stayed in the drawer.  The truth of it is, I needed feedback from you or people like you.  Self-publishing, making mistakes, and learning is how I chose to mature as an author. Now let’s take that to the next level.

I am currently working on a trilogy with magic and gods and witches and all of the things YA love. While my beta readers are looking it over, I am working on it and other things.

Recent events have screwed with my creative eye, so to speak.

My friend, who is spewing venom on social media, is a good writer.  When he queries an agent guess what they are going to do if they like his writing?

Yep, search social media.

When they find his hatred for millions of Americans, how far do you think they will pursue representing him?

I usually don’t swear to swear.  When I do, it is for a reason.  The reason is I want to drive the point home. Don’t fucking share your political shit on social media!

Did it work?

There are some actors that I enjoyed over the years that I can no longer stomach.  They are ugly ass people inside.  If and when I see them on TV, I think of who they really are and switch them off.

That is why they should never use the soapbox to preach to us peons about how we should feel or vote.  They are by far some of the stupidest people who ever walked the earth by what they say.  They are only worth watching because of writers like you and me.  They can remember a script and emote—big damned deal.

They spend their lives delivering line after line on the silver screen, and we fall in love with them.  When we meet them or listen to their take on life living in their ivory towers, I wouldn’t walk across the street to save them from getting hit by a streetcar.

Who you love is the writer or writers that created that dialogue for them.

If you want the world thinking that of you as a writer, go ahead.  Tell the world how you feel.  Then retire and hope you have enough saved up to survive.

Just because you listen entirely to Fox or CNN does not make your point of view any more important than mine or your neighbors.

We have lost the ability to respect differing opinions. It is best to keep your damned mouth shut.

I mean this is the most loving of ways.  I wish my friend would listen as he is a good writer.  He is merely acting like an asshole.

The sun will rise, and it will set.

Those who control the politicians will reign them in, and life will go on.

Read my novel Presidential Assassins if you want to know how it all works.  I bet I am close to accurate.

TATA, for now, Happy 2021.

As 2021 tells 2020 to hold my beer and watch this, buckle up, the ride has just begun.

Much love- TW

Why do customers put your book down?

How is your hook?

Hello fellow readers, writers, and humans…  If you are none of the above and reading this, um, is your planet more evolved than this one? 

I will assume that only humans are reading this, so on with the reason for the blog.

Firstly let me tell you folks in the states, Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that you had an excellent quiet time with your bird of choice.  Yeah, it was different this year.  Crazy uncle, whoever was not at the table poking his fingers in the air telling us how stupid we were for voting a certain way.  That might be a COVID blessing.

I read a lot.  I write a lot.  I spend more time in front of the keyboard than I care to admit.  One question that comes up often regards marketing their book.  They have the best novel ever written.  After years of trying to get an agent, they stopped wasting time on query letters and just published on Amazon, where Jeff and company make more money than the author if it sells.

The problems are many.

Firstly because of programs like KDP, people don’t value books like we used to.  I could have lived in a bookstore.  When half-price books came into vogue, I came close to living there.  Spending $20 on a book was nothing, especially when you are used to spending a lot more on college textbooks that were hardly ever used.

Along came Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  Before we knew it, people who still read would not dream of spending $20 on a book when they can find something for free that is close.

KDP and others have programmed the reading community to value the written word as nothing.

Do you remember when Napster and similar music streaming services were online?  Musicians much like authors, should be paid for what you enjoy or consume. I won’t confuse you with too much more of the music industry. I will say that price is one reason your novels do not sell.

Statistically speaking, a new independent author earns $10 the first year. If you knew that going into a book project, would you still do it?

The numbers are sobering, but they put things into perspective.  Writing is hard.  Anyone can tell a story, but can you write the story as a real novel? 

Confusion on the reader’s part is one reason many books get placed back on the shelf. They are standing at the bookshelf in a major book store, and they see the spine of your book.  What is on the spine?

Your pen name, and the Title.  There might also be some color in the artwork.

Let’s assume that by magic, you picked the right fonts, colors, and Title intrigued them.  I am not going to lie and tell you the size and feel of the book doesn’t matter; it does.  Not very much but in the physical bookstore, everything matters. Suppose you could incorporate a certain scent in the pages that would be cool.

When the cover is opened, what do they see?

Her breath was haggard from the nightmare.  The tangled sheets must have been why she felt as if the trees in the forest had captured her—falling to the floor, pulling herself from the fabric, Priscilla headed to the bathroom.  Had she looked behind her, she would have seen the muddy footprints on the carpet from the forest floor in her dream.

Meh, never start a story with a dream scene but, I kind of like it.  Would that cause you to read further?

How about this one:

Silence filled the cabin of the craft as the engines ceased to function.  The gauges warning low fuel were still flashing an amber warning.  Steve knew they would be cutting it close, but, he never dreamed he would be tens of thousands of miles from his rendezvous with the space station, and no fuel. 

The asteroid that pulled them off course was not detected by the agency. Laden with supplies for the station, the one thing they did not have was fuel.  They had a week to figure out if they were still on course. Then they had to figure out how the space station stops them from heading out into the void between galaxies.

Hmm, I like that hook too.

Yes, the hook, as in fishing, is essential.  The hook is your bait.  Once you know who your audience is, you write for them. 

In our critique group, we have several different authors who write in other genres.  The second hook would not be well received by many of them as science fiction is not their thing.  In the first hook, we can guess that magic of some kind is involved.

A strong hook and a non-confusing story is only a small part of the process.

From POV to story structure, we are only scratching the surface of writing a novel that will sell.  My advice to writers is this.

Sit and write your story. Don’t worry about any of the ‘stuff’ that must be part of your novel to be any good.  Just tell the damned story.  Too many overthink it and never get the first story published.

Once you get the story on paper, stuff it into a drawer and start something else. Come back at it with fresh eyes months later and edit it. I always have what I call a manifest right after the title page. It includes all the pertinent information about the characters, places and so on.

I am close to 40 novels published, and I keep going.  Why?  Practice.  The story is the easy part.  Think of something that excites you, put yourself as the MC, and write the blooming story. Vomit it out until you wretch, and nothing more comes out.  Store that manuscript in a safe place and then write another. Don’t think about publishing an unvarnished attempt at a story.  Let it age.

When the next novel is finished, put it in that drawer and then read it as if you are seeing it for the first time with a fresh look at it.  Yes, have your red pen handy and make notes, lots of notes.

Wait, her eyes are green in this scene and blue in this one…  The list of issues will be mind-boggling.

Tackle them one at a time.  You will learn that you have to flesh out other characters and scenes that were very clear in your head.  Now a few months later, you have no idea what you wrote.  That is a good thing.

I had no one to assist me when I started this journey.  I made all the mistakes, and yet I am still here, still writing.  I am attempting to lift others on the same road as I travel. Why?

Why not?  I know many who are so competitive that they would not lift a finger to assist another writer.  That is sad. When you draw that last breath, what will others say about you? 

Some will say…’ it matters not.’

With as many novels and works of art that I have out there, I hope to be more than a footnote in history. Would I change anything that I am doing now if I knew nobody would care?  No, I care.

When I write you my lovelies, and I am not just spitting niceties into the wind. If I can lift you up in some small way either by my words, works, or actions, then that is a life well-lived.

One of my characters in one of my novels said. “When I slide into the grave, I want to have left it all out there on the field of life.” 

That was one of my early novels I need to go back and re-write.  I loved it, but I know I can do better.

I hope you got something out of this blog.  Take care, and have a great weekend.

Much love -TW

Day Three of NanoWriMo

If you want to vote on something important, tell me what you think about my pen name question below.

I want to start this blog for my friends in the States. If you voted that is all you can do. Your voice matters. While I pray that your voice came from informed sources and not those of the biased media, your task is completed.

Stop fretting over what the results may be.

If you read my novel Presidential Assassins I feel like there is more truth buried in the story than one might think. You will draw comfort from that novel if you need it or would like it.

Now on to what you can do. If you are like me get to writing. I have reported my 12.6 K words and will spend a little of that writing time to share this with you.

Magic and Mayhem which is my latest novel is coming right along.

Here is a question to authors everywhere. TWScott is my pen name much like many writers use. Everything I write to date has been under this name.

My latest novel is nothing like any of the previous novels, as this is a YA. Coming of age witch story.

Since this novel is not racy like other works, do I publish it under a different pen name or, do I plod ahead and use TWScott?

Advice on the matter is all over the board.

Do I self publish like everything else or do I go through the excruciating efforts of trying to prostitute myself out to agents?

You know what, in keeping with elections stuff, VOTE!

Should I publish YA stuff under a different pen name than my racier, well naughty stuff?

Which one should I do and why?

As for NaNo, my goodness write my lovelies. If you are a writer or author carve out some time away from the telly and write. Trust me they are just selling advertising time anyway. Vote, write and worry about the results when they are posted.

Much love -TWScott

Reviews, Feedback and yes, some Assholes

Have you had someone just trash your book and give it one star?

One of my favorite little bathroom books is a quick read called ‘Dear Asshole.’

The authors are Jillian Madison and Michelle Madison. 

Before I became an author, I was known well for my ‘Dear Shithead’ letters.  When someone gave me this book for my birthday, they knew I would appreciate it.

Dear Shithead, letters never made it to their intended audience as written.  Instead of sitting around fuming over the world’s injustices and stupidity, I would take to the keyboard and write.  They were probably rants in truth, but they never saw the light of day.

Many, too many of them were directed at my boss, who only had the position as he was a good liar. I think he had pictures of his boss with someone’s wife, but that is another story.

If you need to vent, writing such a letter is an excellent way to do it; just don’t hit send.

Now, on to the reason for this post.

I research a lot of stuff for my writing.  Part of that research is to look at what other books are available in that genre.  Lastly, I look at the reviews.

Here is some ‘shithead’ advice from someone.

“Just because you can write, does not mean you should.”

I love how people who write shit like this always post under a pseudonym.   Firstly, Asshole or Shithead, pick your adjective; you suck. 

No, this was not written to me or one of my novels.  One day, as there are shitty people who build themselves up by criticizing others, such a comment might be directed at me. 

Have you published a book?  

It takes guts to write a book, believe in that book, and then put it out there for assholes to write negative shit about.  I am perfectly ok with constructive criticism.  I welcome it.  Any writer should; that is how we improve our craft.

It can cost an easy $1000.00 for an editor to read your book and fix things.  Most self-published authors might make $10 the first year.  Now, the cover art is another bugaboo in that you can spend $500 on.

One of my author friends spent over $5000 to get her book on the market, and it is just sitting there.   In truth, unless you can score an agent or are very rich, it is a tough market.  If you can afford to navigate the shark-infested waters of predators, your novel is not going to be up to the quality of one published by Simon and Shuster.

This particular author has it for free on Kindle Unlimited, which is the kind of abuse he is getting.

If you cannot say anything nice, or at least constructive for your free read, keep your mouth shut!  That is why people write books like Dear Asshole.  You should get that book and read it in front of a mirror.  I would wager more than one of those pages will apply to you.  Just try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you write bullshit poison pen nonsense.

This world needs much more love and a lot fewer assholes!

Ever notice how you might be in line at the store, and everyone is polite.  You get in your car, and those same people will run you over while flipping you off.  That is the world we live in, and we need to change it.

Whew!  For you authors, if you would like constructive criticism as time permits, let me know.  With NaNoWriMo in a day or so, my time is limited but, I believe that a rising tide lifts all ships.

I donate a lot of time to local writers groups.  That is what I think we all should do.  Lift each other up instead of using them as a stepping stone to lift yourself while on their backs.

I know people who will Beta Read for a whopping $20… Can you imagine someone who will do that?

Yes, I have used them.

For you authors, realize that objectivity is not going to be your strength.  Also, understand that other authors will give your novel a one-star review because they have written something that competes with yours.  Yeah, some people suck!

I ignore one-star reviews, especially if they are under a pseudonym. Let’s face the facts; we give a percentage of the book away for free.  If they look inside the cover and buy it for a whopping two dollars after reading some of it, and then give it one star…sorry, that is unbelievable.  

I hope you find this post informational and inspirational. 

Much Love -TW

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