“If you’re going to get stuffed, get stuffed by your friends.”

How about we don’t stuff anyone?

 

Years ago, too many to mention, I had a ‘friend’ tell me that once.  In my current work in progress, one of my characters is supposed to play the part of a used car salesman.  He denotes his distaste for them as they are all mostly dishonest.

Why am I writing to you about this rather than working on my novel?

This novel is about a young lady who discovers that she is a witch.  While learning her ways in the world of magic, all hell breaks loose.  There is a dark force attempting to convince all witches to be in their coven.  An undercurrent of government conspiracy is in the heart of the novel.  The conspiracy is yet to find its way to the screen.

As I was writing about a car salesman, I thought back on the day when a friend of mine was a used car salesperson.  If you saw Matilda with Danny DeVito as the unscrupulous dealer, that is what my friend was.  We soon parted ways as I don’t associate with dishonest people.

I was in the market for a car.  Instead of being honest with me as a friend, he tried to sell me an old Chevrolet that they had rolled the mileage back on.  When they invented reverse drills, it was an easy way to change the odometer.

From sawdust in the gearbox to super thick oil to keep it from smoking, they did it.

Taking my chances with a car from the paper; my friend was incensed with me for purchasing a car. In retrospect, the person that sold it to me had put super thin oil in the crankcase as the oil pump was going out.

He told me, and I quote, If you are going to get EFFED, you might as well get EFFED by a friend.

Is there truth in that?  What do you think?

I needed a roof after a terrible storm and elected to allow a person at my church to have their company put a roof on for me.  It cost more than those of the people around me, took over a year to get it right, and they put on cheap shingle instead of what I originally had. What’s worse is there were no drinks and no kiss afterward.  Not that I would want one, just saying, some pillow talk would have been sweet.

Speaking of shady, the same people that worked for the other fly by night companies are the ones that put my roof on too.  I got nothing for the extra thousands of dollars.

I used to travel a lot.  There is one state out of fifty that I have not been too, and that is Main.  In one state, I was talking with a person who was justifying effing his neighbor. He told me, and I quote, “I need to put cheerios on my table too.”

I shook my head and walked away from the deal.  If you cannot do business and treat your fellow person correctly, you should do something else.  There is no justification for effing your neighbor, and you certainly never do it with friends or family.

Arkansas, I swear you folks take the cake at times.  This one-man was talking to his friends at a local diner.  I listen to people as I get ideas for stories or characters.  This guy was bragging to his friends that his wife’s mother’s tractor needed a simple fix but, he convinced her it was not worth it to get a new one.  When pressed, he told them, she gave me the broken one, and when she dies, I will get the new one too and the land that goes with it.

Whenever I need an asshole in one of my novels, that guys face comes to mind.  I almost choked on my coffee when I heard that.

Life goes on.  How are you all doing?

Look for updates on my newest novel; I am going to try and find an agent with this one.  I have over 32 books out there published, so why not see if I can lure an agent into my lair.

This is a young adult, coming of age story of a witch.  What is cool about this story is I make a compelling case that anyone could do it.  We live in an escapist society, and with the current events, you can see why.  We escape through the TV, video games, and yes novels.

Why not write a fun novel that will engage the reader?  After taking hundreds of hours of writing courses instead of watching TV, I have pages of notes.  From Dan Brown to Judy Bloom…Wow, everyone had an opinion.

After I get this one polished and marketed, I will be going back to my published novels and making changes to the ones that are underperforming.  I love it when I get to a point, and you get that ‘ahaa’ moment.  You know the one where you say ‘shit, is that why?’

The original Ailani series I might go back and rewrite the whole trilogy and condense it into one novel.  It is a great story, but I think 350k words might be too much.

While I write and visit the cutting room floor, you all don’t forget to follow me here and, of course, on Twitter.

Much Love and Stay Safe -TW

 

Negative Character Arcs

Hello people, it is I, your humble author reaching out to you once again.  Many of you are writers or authors, and I want to pay it forward.  If you have followed me for any time at all, you know this about me already.

Character arcs are a considerable part of character development, which causes your readers to empathize with them.  Much like the big-eyed boy with the black rim glasses living under a staircase, we all loved him.  Why?  The author did a great job of growing him as well as the other characters around him.

One way we do this is with character arcs.  So, Negative arcs???

I get this question posed to me often.

If you first understand what a character arc is, you know that it is basically the growth or change a character makes during the story.

Your protagonist will probably believe some lie that possibly they learned sometime in their youth.  They have lived a lie, and somewhere in your story, their ‘truth’ is challenged.

A common lie is, they are not worthy of love.  Many go through their whole life because of their upbringing, believing that.  A little secret here, I was one of them.  Shhh, that is our secret, and a lie that I had to overcome.   Those horribly abused children you read about…That was me, and I would have loved the staircase vs. what I went through.

Anyway…

During the plot, they go through twists and turns and discover that their ‘truth’ is indeed false.  This can create a crisis for them, which is fun to write.  This would probably happen during the climax where they ‘shift’ their thinking.  Letting go of the lie and accepting the truth as their new mantra.  Because the lie and reality are probably apparent to your reader, they can empathize with your character, which will engender support for your writing style.

Yeah You!

What about a negative character arc?

There is the same lie, but the truth remains elusive and, the character now embraces their lie even more and spirals downward into less than proper behavior.  Breaking Bad is a perfect example of a negative character arc.

Had I not learned the truth, I dare say that drugs and alcohol might have been my undoing.  That would have been a negative arc.  Death can be part of a character’s negative arc.

In my novel, Presidential Assassins, Kelly’s arc is compelling.  Before going into the military, her stepfather met an untimely demise, after attempting to rape her.  While it appeared as an accident, this action put her on the radar of a group that works outside or above the law.

After her mother re-married…Kelly became a military brat, enlisting as soon as she could to get away from her parents.

She was a pilot in the air force, shot down and tortured by the enemy.  Kelly, unknown to her captures, is a real badass.  She learned as a military brat, at an early age that she had to be tough. When she saved a school friend from being raped by a gang of older boys, she came close to killing them.  Her friend brought her father back to the scene in the nick of time.  He stopped her from breaking their necks.  She had them all down, and now she was going to end their reign of terror, one at a time.

Realizing that he now had a debt to repay, he hatches a plan.  Taking the gangly redhead under his wing, teaching her his ways would benefit her.  As a master of martial arts, he teaches her discipline, among other things.  While some of her talents come from her heritage as a red-headed green-eyed Irish woman, the lethal talents were taught to her by this man.  She became a master.

Fast forward past the war and her time in the exchange program on an aircraft carrier, she finds a job as a reporter.

After an explosion in California, Kelly is sent to research who was responsible.  During her flight, the plane she is on is hijacked.  Guess who kills the hijackers and flies a shot up 737 back into Scottsdale during a storm.

This novel is so full of action you will not be able to put it down.

Kelly has what we call a ‘flat character arc,’ or possibly a slightly positive arc as she does adapt and change to the situations.  I say that because, in reality, she arcs positive, negative, and then just kind of flat because she is who she is.  She is dynamite with a temper to match.

I don’t care what your gender happens to be; you will fall in love with her.

There is a secret organization that controls world leaders, and she is recruited….That is about as much as I can tell you without spoiling it.

A flat character arc is one where the character does not change who they are.  Some examples of that would be Indiana Jones or James Bond. To a large extent, it is Kelly McGuire.

I will put a link to the book here, Presidential Assassins.

If you honor me by reading it, please let me know what you think of it.  This is an adult read. There are sexual situations, some violence, and people Die!

My friends, I hope that you are all safe, and staying inside, away from those who this virus could be fatal.  With 7.4 Billion people affected, and the world’s economy headed for the toilette, we will be talking about this in the history books for some time.

Much Love…Stay Safe…-TW

The Death of eBay

 

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.

Much Love -TW

The Saga of the Starduster

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.

-Best

Bloggers or Boogers?

“What If?”

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.

#bloggersunite

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.

TW

Orwell or Conspiracy?

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.

My novel Presidential Assassins is worth the read.

Check it out and leave me feedback.  As always, I love to hear from you.

Cheers from the wintry south!  Tomorrow night 28, the next day, ‘summer.’  Stay tuned!

Much Love -TW

What Role do we as Writers play?

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.

-Best TW

Nude In The Woods!

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.

Much Love -TW

Feedback.  How should you use it?

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!

Sound familiar?

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?

Much love peeps.  -TW

Know the Rules, and Break Them!

Make it your story.

As writers, we are ever cognizant of the rules.

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.

Comments?  I love to hear from you as always.

Much Love -TW