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

 

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!  Read all about it!

 

  • Where is the magic?
  • Do you still feel it?
  • Did you ever feel it?

Not unlike many of you, I find that Christmas music is depressing.

I was thinking about some Christmas songs where the lyrics are “Where are you Christmas…?”

It is not Christmas per se, that she is looking for but, the innocence of the holiday. Do you remember?

I know that everyone has their own memories of the holiday; some of them are memories that many would kill for, and some of those memories are ones that people rather forget.  I have a mixed bag of memories like that.

There are memories I would just as soon as not have, and then there are a few that I would not want to lose.

There is an old Merle Haggard song that resonates with me as an adult.  ‘If we can make it through December.’

In the song, the writer laments that his little girl won’t understand why there are no Christmas gifts.  Then there is Dolly with her ‘Hard Candy Christmas’ or perhaps her ‘coat of many colors.’

The physical year-end all too often matches up with the fiscal year-end for many companies hence the end of the year layoff.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard of companies letting their employees go on furlough, or just laid them off this time of year.

When I was a kid, it seemed that Unions would strike this time of year, so Christmas was not only bleak but we learned to eat cheaply.   The furnace was cut back to conserve energy, so sleeping in more than pajamas was a memory I could easily forget.

Companies have no loyalty to the employee, although they might offer the impression that they do. When production slumps, there is little need for employees and that seems to happen around the end of the year.

One could preach all year long about having a rainy day fund, but the argument as to who can afford that is germane as well. Is this you?

Are you gainfully employed with a savings account, or are you barely making it paycheck to paycheck?

Speaking as someone who has been there, having anything in savings is a comfort. Knowing you can last until the demands for business return, is a comfort.  While some company’s business model is, for their employees to survive off funds from unemployment, or food stamps, during this time of low business, some only hire contract workers.

Moral of this story.  Have money put aside for Christmas.  That means all during the year set aside money in savings that does not get touched.  It is for a rainy day.

When you work for someone, you have very little control over your destiny.  Everyone would be smart to have a side hustle.  I hesitate to use that word but that is what it is.  From stores on Etsy to selling things on eBay to yes, writing books and selling them on Amazon, a side hustle can give you that little bit of comfort.  Even though the company you have slaved for is letting you fend for yourself at the moment, the world of readers appreciates what you are writing!

I knew a lady who was a photographer and sold calendars with her pictures as the main picture for each month.  I know another lady who makes purses and sells them on Etsy.  There is nothing wrong with a little side hustle.  Many have garage sales all too often, but they do it.

Christmas is not about gifts.  Yes, there is magic but I think it manifest when we find ourselves doing for others who need that little extra something, as life has kicked them around.    I don’t want to reward those who depend on that generosity.  I want to bless those who would not ask and would instead do without, then be a burden.  I love to assist those who are trying.

To me, that seems what the spirit of ‘Santa’ is all about.

I hope this Christmas finds you well, and your lives filled with love and prosperity.

Much Love -TW

 

 

Greetings Fellow Earthlings!

Are your books selling well?

 

I hope that this blog finds you all well.  If not, let me know, and I will put you in my prayers, or if you are against such things, I will send you good thoughts.

What is wrong with that sentence?

I genuinely do mean that I will pray for you but, I am appealing to the politically correct or those who don’t believe in a higher power.

You might have noticed that usually, I sign with ‘much love.’

If you are reading this blog or you have purchased one of my many novels, or perhaps you follow me on Twitter, we share a bond.

I can love you without being ‘in love’ with you if that makes sense.

Writers share a bond, and I feel like most of my followers are writers.

Currently, I am going through the process of looking at each of my novels ‘all 30 something of them’ and trying to figure out why some sell very well, and some don’t.   I have asked close friends to read those that are not selling well, and give me feedback.

To improve my craft, I have spent much time and money on programs, classes and yes seminars to see what I can learn that I don’t already know.

If you are a successful author, please comment below and send me a link to your books.

If nothing else, you will sell a book or two.

Do you realize how much of what we write must be perfect to sell?  Not only is the story critical, but the characters must be real.  Once you get a cohesive story with characters that people can relate to and ‘feel’, you have to create the perfect cover.

The brand that you assemble and sell to the world must be one that people will recognize and gravitate toward, before they even read the title.

If your pen name or brand brings people to your books, you are successful.  The cover art must be perfect.  As an artist, I have muddled my way through one cover after another.  I don’t have the luxury of hiring a focus group or think tank to assist in that process.  You probably don’t either.

There is a real benefit to fishing for an agent, a good one. They know the people and companies to contact for the perfect cover, and for the precise editing of said book.

In one of the groups I am associated with, I uploaded a complete novel for them to read, free of charge.  Just give me some feedback.

The novel has enjoyed medium success, but for the subject matter and the type of story, it should be much better.

Here is the truth of the matter, not one person has downloaded it and read it.

If I cannot give a novel away to other writers, how can I expect to sell it?

I challenged them with that question at the last meeting. ‘They don’t have time,’ was the answer.

Allow me to pontificate on what it takes to be a successful writer.

  • Read much and often.
  • Go out of your office and live your life.
  • Pay attention to everything and anyone.
  • Make notes of things and or people that might make fodder for a story.
  • Don’t steer away from controversial issues.

What I was hoping for is for them to read it, and offer some feedback.

From character development to the story itself, what did you like or not like, and why?

‘Why’ is the operative word.

Without ‘why,’ what they tell you is worthless.

One of my beta readers told me just tonight that there were a few ‘eww’ moments.

Ok, great, what are they, and why?

Feedback is critical to the process, and let me tell you, it is like pulling hen’s teeth.

Was that idiom lost on you?

As the weeks and months progress, I will be creating more blogs with helpful thoughts, notes and what have you, regarding writing.

If you have not followed me yet, why not?  Am I asking for money for these pearls of wisdom?  No.

Am I seeking free anything from anyone?  No

Am I trying to pay it forward and assist other writers…?  Yes!

With Christmas around the corner, we have time to write before the year ends, don’t waste it.

Much Love…-TW

 

Newest Release Coming Soon!

If you fell in love with the worst of the bad boys, what would you do?

Hello from the lair of TWScott

In case you don’t follow my tweets, I wanted to update you on my progress.

I rented this cabin in the woods in the Smoky Mountains.  I could say a lot about the roads in Tennessee, but that would take us away from the exciting news I want to share with you.

My latest novel is finished.  107K words give or take of everything you have come to expect in a TWScott Novel.

When a young girl from Iowa leaves the farm for college in Florida, her life is transformed. The need for cash drives her to look at the unthinkable as a way to survive. Her lifelong friend had already discovered ways to make money working at Gentleman’s Clubs.   

Predators looking for young girls to work as escorts, troll those clubs and colleges. Lacy was an easy target.  Barely five foot tall, Blond hair and blue eyes with a ‘Monroe’ type body and smile, she became the focus of a recruiter.

Hired as arm candy, or love toy; Lacy soon learns the horrors of the industry, while catching the attention of one of the world’s wealthiest of bad boys.  A strange romance ensues as Lacy and her friends become part of the fabric of a modern-day brothel. An island entertainment facility for the worlds rich and famous was in the works and she was to become part of it.

With the world’s leading bad boy in love with Lacy, several people try to infiltrate her group to claim the reward on her lovers head.

How is that for a tease?

With the Epstein Island fiasco, the story wrote itself.  Instead of one island, I have two, as Peter; her ‘friend’ has competition who relies on sex trafficking to get his girls.

I don’t want to spoil the book, but I just love it when the evil person gets theirs, don’t you?

Schadenfreude

Captives of Pleasure Island

Taking a week to travel on vacation was not time lost as the story played out in my mind while driving.  I hoped that an Agent would see the tweets about it, and I would not have to Query it as that takes four hours for each agent.

The process is broken and needs repair.  The likes of Bezos or Corker will be the beneficiaries of many independent novels.

As you can see, I have created the cover art.  So far, I like this much better than my first attempt.  The name Schadenfreude is the name of a yacht that the rich boyfriend gives Lacy.  The name is a word that means deriving pleasure from the pain of others.  This man is twisted.

I spent a fair amount of time with my laptop on the screened-in porch, with the gentle breezes, generated by Dorian whispering through the trees.  When you think Dorian, you don’t think gentle anything, do you?

It is my sincere belief that you need to leave your office or as I jokingly call it my lair, to experience life.  We writers are a rare breed of human who lives inside our heads.  I could get into the science of theta waves and how we could use that science to break writers blocks, but suffice it to say, live your life.

All experiences are fodder.  If you write solely from what you see on TV or read, you are most probably borrowing from someone else.  Go, get out of your office, and move.  Walk through, the park, smell the roses.  Pick up a rose and get pricked by a thorn.  Bump your knee into something and experience the pain.  Life is full of bumps and bruises, but it is also about love and happiness.  Without the wicked things, how would you recognize the good?

Last chance agents!

Currently, I am in the final editing stage of this novel.  As I Jokingly say ‘Stephen Hawking’ is reading my book back to me one chapter at a time.  As I make my final edits I will be creating a Kindle-friendly upload that I can send to advance readers, i.e. you, or I can self-publish and market it myself.

If you want to make some money and discover the next prominent author, here is your chance.

I have well over 30 published novels with many of them selling nicely.  Just think how I would do with a professional editor and some marketing dollars.

Not afraid to go it alone.  I enjoy writing more than I do just about anything else.

www.authortwscott.com   contact page

@authortwscott

@twscott823

TTFN

-TW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russians, Democrats, and Fools

Fox or Sheep?
Hunter or hunted?
My thoughts are here.

The elite class must have a divided country to control the masses.  Even in the animal kingdom predators break the herd apart, separating the more vulnerable to face the razor-sharp teeth of their oppressors.

We the herd, are often fooled by the fox, as it sometimes wears the cloak of the sheep. Infiltrating the herd looking for the easy targets, the fox will mark them for the pack.

Who might be the easy targets used to divide us as a country?

How about 300-year-old practices by people who have been dead for centuries?

Who else?

Yes, women.  Easy targets as the elite will use or invent any emotional issue and make it salient to their cause.

Who else, or what else?

Yes, ‘immigration’ as we are now told that people from third world countries who openly violate our laws are better than US citizens.  Somehow we aggrieved them, and now we must pay up… PFFFT!

What else?

Ah yes the polar bears who are actually thriving and doing very well, but according to faux reports are all but extinct.  The poor coke drinking white fuzzy bears are all dying off.  Maybe we should name them all Toto, so when the wicked witch of climate change comes for them, we will all act emotionally.

And you thought that commercial was just about Coke I bet.  No, we must make an emotional connection and then we do something like anthropomorphizing those cute little Coca-Cola drinking creatures so you will care for them.

Are there any thinking voters left out there?

For years I have wondered and openly asked, why someone would spend 16 million dollars of their own money for a job that pays $174K a year.

Have you ever asked yourself that?

I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, there are many reasons.  Few pay attention to the elite class, as they are too wrapped up raising their family, working and let’s face it, “living.”

The elite class is much like the wizard. They do their dirty work under the cloak of darkness, and behind curtains riddled with other predators seeking the best way to control the masses while acquiring power and wealth.

I have no doubt that our president had such affiliations, and now many of them are behind bars in an attempt to ‘save the country.’

The problems are that they are not trying to save the country.  They ‘the swamp creatures’ are protecting their system of corruption and greed at our expense.

Those associates of Trump are but pawns in the grand scheme of things, and Mueller knows it.

Once elected to some position of power, either locally at the state level, or certainly, on the national level, they are a ‘commodity’ for big business.

Our way of life is ruled by the giant corporations through the politicians and lastly through the IRS.

There is no upper, middle, or lower class; there are just slaves.  Now your job as a slave might be more or less desirable than others, but make no mistake, the tax code was written to keep the population as indentured servants, of the ‘elite.’

Donald Trump is more or less a slave to the “Elite.”

Who are they?  Who are the real elites?

Who spends billions of dollars to change the fabric of the world, for their own personal aggrandizement?

I could write an entire book, maybe two books on this subject, but I like fiction, not harsh reality.  How do we fix this?  How do we keep from becoming Venezuela or some other third world country?

For years I thought term limits was the answer, but I was wrong. The answer is to enact laws which would prevent politicians from serving on boards of companies or working as a lobbyist when they leave the office.

Our political class the “Fox” go out of their way to keep us divided and focused on issues which are not issues.  Any sane person would see them as the ‘shiny’ object in some magician’s act, but few of us are watching them, knowing them as the creepy people that they are.

The destroy Trump class are there because Trump is not playing the role of Fox or Lion or what have you.   I get that he is polarizing and I get that he is caustic to some people.  He is also very dangerous to the ‘elite’ who also control the media.

  • Change the laws on how politicians can make money after they retire.
  • Change the laws on lobbyists.
  • Invoke term limits for all politicians.
  • Pay them well enough so when they leave office, they can retire…

When becoming a politician or pawn for the ‘uber elite’ is no longer a pathway or a stepping stone to the ‘elite class,’ you will find that politicians will be more genuine, and less divisive where the American people are concerned.

We must take back our country from the elite. We must stand up for ourselves, or we will follow in the footsteps of Venezuela with our own sons and daughter via the military controlling us through force.

Sitting back and believing the lies perpetuated by the media is no longer an option.

I for one am totally disgusted with the media and the Democrats and yes some Republicans.  It is clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Mika’s of the world accept as ‘fact,’ that they tell us, the slaves what to believe.  That is a sad commentary on journalism today.

Stand up now, or be prepared to ‘caravan’ and illegally invade some other country… but who?

Read my novel Presidential Assassins.  Very entertaining written much like a Dan Brown novel.

-Best  TW

Are you a Victim?

Are we looking for something to claim victim hood status over?

What the hell is going on with our world today? Me2 Me2, someone once said I was pretty! Dammit, if you are ugly and someone calls you pretty, just face him or her face to face and tell him or her not to offend you. FFS! Really, is this what we have come to today?
I find it shocking that we are turning into a world full of pussies, and I don’t mean that in a good way.
“This man forced me into sex. He put his thing in my mouth and made me have oral sex with him.” This is from another me2 person going after a politician in Virginia.

I get that there might be overarching forms of bullying going on, but few men, smart men, would put themselves forcibly into a mouth full of sharp teeth! I guess a stupid man might, But he would only do it once.

Black Face

Until a few days ago, I did not know what that term was. I am not a spring chicken. Yes, I grew up in a time of minstrel shows and such. The last actor I saw portraying a black person was Neil Diamond in Jazz Singer. His friend Franklin Ajay (Bubba) gets him to perform in a black club. Everything is fine until one of the patrons spots his white palms and then all hell breaks loose!

Why, we are left to guess but the fight that ensues lands the band “The Four Brothers” in jail where Laurence Oliver playing Yussel’s father, ask him a question, which is probably the best line in the whole movie… “Isn’t it tough enough being a Jew?”

If you were to ask a black activist (Al Sharpton) about this, they (he) would most certainly spin this as more white hatred of the black people.

I do not deny racism, I am calling into question who the racist is.

In the 1980 movie, when one of the patrons sees his white palms, and calls him out, the writer gives him the line. “That ain’t no brother, that’s a white boy!” Over this observation, the place erupts into violence, even though the performance up to that time was a success.

• Was the writer a racist?
• Were the patrons in that time racist to the point of destroying the club to harm the entertainer?
• Was this scene indicative of the time?
• What period was this supposed to happen in, wait the 80’s…

I have been in Black Clubs in the ’80s as a white person. My company transferred me to Houston to take over as a manager of a department. My black employees invited me for drinks after work one day. They did not tell me it was a black club. I was new to Houston and certainly had no idea that the Palomino was a black club. Folks, I saw none of this. We had a great time, I had many dancing partners that evening, and I cemented many long-term friendships that have lasted through the ages.

Another of my employees at a different company brought me to a gay bar, after work. Same response. At the end of the day, I went home without a date, as I was not looking for one. There was already someone in my life.

Was I a victim?

Some could proffer the argument that they set me up. They knew things that I did not and put me into an uncomfortable situation for their amusement. Much to their chagrin, I was not nervous. I can handle myself, even if things had gotten out of hand. They did not, however; get out of hand as in both clubs people were nice and accepting of me.

They knew I wasn’t black but they did not know if I were straight or gay. Can you not go into a club like this as a “person,” and just enjoy the company of other people, without identifying as straight, white, or black?

In many of my novels, I talk about labels, and how my characters abhor them. I won’t go into details here. We are all the same when it comes to race. We are the “human race.” Our sexual identity is also not that distinct from one another, as we all start our life as a girl. Men have nipples, look it up!
You would be shocked if I told you how offended some men can be when I point out that little fact. Own who you are. Celebrate diversity, and don’t you use it as a way to divide us.
In Tipping Point, I make the argument that we should all strive to look at each other as human beings and not look for that which divides us. This is a common theme in a few of my novels.
Last evening at a writers meeting we got into a conversation about art. I mentioned that one of my instructors was incredibly opinionated. She was very good as an artist. Excellence at what we do tends to breed a certain hubris that I take umbrage with. I don’t care who you are or what you have done, you are no better than I am and I am no better than you are.

This instructor had a certain mindset including which paints you do not use. There are brushes, and so on that, you had best not bring to her class.
Early on, we were asked what got us into painting in the first place.
Without hesitation, I spoke the truth. Bob Ross.
OMG, you would have thought I had just pissed in their Wheaties.
Some of her requirements for the class are that you mix your own colors and, this is right.

Never use paint straight from the tube…blah blah…

This person was rather high strung and had little tolerance for not doing things “her way.”

Why Bob? Why do I still to this day, hold him in high esteem?
In thirty minutes using basic colors and skills, he manages to create beautiful paintings that set the stage for most of us to escape into. We imagine our bare feet on the lush grass, or perhaps swimming in the lake, as we feel the fresh water on our bodies. Just maybe we think of ourselves laying in that field among the happy trees, looking at the “happy clouds” or other things, which could be happy accidents.
Why Bob? Why not Bob. What a gentle soul and kind spirited man. What a great role model for us to all aspire to. The barbs were too much for me, so I searched high and low for “flesh colored” paint. I also found a two-inch brush, to top it off, ordered a shirt with Bob Ross on the front. The bully of the art world had met her match!
When you are painting portraits as she was teaching us to do, there is indeed, only one way to get it right and flesh colored paint is not it. That is why I had to search to find it. I wanted to make a point, graciously.

As I sat there with my two-inch brush and a dab of flesh colored paint on my pallet, we were instantly in a standoff. She knew that I was taking her to task. “Your opinion is just that, an opinion!”

“Don’t mock those that you don’t agree with.”

Had Bob not made it appear so easy, I might never have purchased the stuff to give it a go. My portraits sell all over the world, and I have her to thank for that, but in truth,…Bob is who inspired me.
• Why did I tell this story of my art career?
• Does it fit into being a victim?
• How does it fit?

Last night when I was telling this story, one of my comrades took me to task. It would seem that referencing flesh colored paint was racist. “WTF? Are you kidding me? It says flesh on the tube, is Windsor Newton now a racist?” What is going on for this person to make such a ludicrous assertion?

Are you looking for ways to be a victim?

I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I dislike ignorance and those that act on it. My comrade had no clue what I was talking about. Had I been less sure of myself, I might have taken offense to that assertion, or worse, questioned my own stance on racism.
They assumed that flesh was “white flesh,” but in truth, it is a “base” with which you can add yellow ochre, burnt umber or pick your color, and make it any kind of “flesh” you choose.

Titanium white, yellow ochre, and alizarin crimson are also the beginnings of the base for flesh.

Do you believe everyone should be pure of heart and thought? Just possibly nobody should talk, or speak, write, text or communicate in any way so we don’t offend someone. Wait, if I don’t say hello when seeing you; is that communicating with you nonverbally. Is that not a way of telling you that you are so insignificant to me that I am not going to waste my breath to say hello? No, it says that I am so afraid of offending you, that by my acknowledging you that, you might find something offensive. FFS is that where we are.

I walked past a man leaving the bank the other day who gave me an eye roll, as we passed. What did that mean? Should I be offended? Was I not worth the time to at least say hello to? Did he not like white people? He was black, that must be it, he is racist, and that is why he rolled his eyes and did not say hello to me. I should write a column for the New York Times about how all black men hate white people because this one person rolled his eyes at me, instead of saying hello. I am a victim! His eye roll was offensive to me! How dare he not acknowledge me as his equal!

“Is this where we are?”

He was holding his phone and had an earbud in his ear. Is it possible he was talking with someone on his phone or listening to voicemail, and he eye rolled at what he was hearing?

I leave you with this thought….

Look for things we have in common instead of things that divide us. Start with the fact that we are the entire human race. The color of our skin, or sexual preference, is not something to divide us. Start out with respect for your fellow human traveler on this road of life, and the rest will be much easier.

“I just about hate to say this, and yes I am stealing the line from Pollyanna. Look for the good, and you will find it, look for the bad, and you will surely find that too.”
I could choose to ignore the phone, and the earbud, and think that person was anti-white, and use it to build a precept that all black men hate white people or….I could give him the benefit of the doubt.

Great minds discuss ideas. Those focused on petty things; discuss people and ways to be offended.

Rise above the fray, and lead by example.

BTW, my art instructor and I are the best of friends and have been so since I stood my ground and forced her to examine her own life. Bob, Kincaid, and others serve a purpose and they are no less relevant than Renoir, Picasso, or De Vince. While they would argue the fact that I put their names in the same sentence, neigh the same paper as Renoir; I would argue that Renoir never inspired me to go and purchase paints.
Much Love -TW