If you Have to Land on Cheese, Pick a Nice Hard Parmesan or Romano; a Ripe Brie or Crumbled Feta…Not So Good

Your name is Vladimir Bloodsucker. You reside in the Western section of Romania in a quaint little villa known as Transylvania.  vampireAside from your regular occupation as the town mortician and kindergarten teacher, you write humorous romance novels as a sideline. You have this great idea for a novel, but you are suffering from a form of writer’s block. It’s not that you can’t find the words; it’s placing them so you remain true to your genre as well as the book’s subject matter.

Let’s just face facts. If you weren’t so hung up writing in one genre with the ridiculous… No, ludicrous ideas you manufacture for your books, we wouldn’t have all these problems. I’m the only literary agent in this podunk town and I have two clients; you and what’s his name. And ole what’s his name can’t seem to write about anything but vampires. Every month, I get another vampire manuscript. I’ve had it up to here (holding hand above head) with vampires. I send him a dozen rejections at a time and tell him to make sure these last for the upcoming year.

Starting next year the rejections go out wrapped around wooden stakes.

Now, where was I….Oh yeah, Vlad and his next best-selling flop. Vladimir’s idea for his next novel (and don’t forget he writes in the humorous romance genre) is the astronauts perspective of landing on a moon made of cheese.

Here is the actual first chapter I received from Vladimir last week.

“Cheese Wheel to Mission Control. Cheese Wheel to Mission Control. Come in, Mission Control, over,”  Artichoke said. (Beep)

“This is Mission Control, Cheese Wheel. Good morning, Artichoke.” (Beep)

“Good morning, Mission Control,” Artichoke replied, “are we a go for landing?” (Beep)

“That’s an affirmative. We have determined the surface to be similar to that of a mid-range limburger.” (Beep)

“Roger that, Mission Control, initiating thirty second burn to begin decent.” (Beep)

“You’re looking good, Cheese Wheel, ten seconds to touchdown.” (Beep)

“On my mark,” Artichoke said. “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 and down.” (Beep)

“Good job, Cheese Wheel, ready to exit LEM.” (Beep)

“Thanks, Mission Control; it’s a bit wobbly down here and smells like armpit.” (Beep)

“You knew going in, that limburger is aged with the same bacteria that causes human body odor,” Mission Control said. “So suck it up, suit up and get outside.” (Beep)

“Roger, Mission Control, I snuck my wife aboard so as soon as I finish romancing and telling jokes I’ll get right to it, Cheese Wheel out.” (Beep)

I couldn’t read anymore, my lunch was working its way upward and I found myself reaching for my bottle of Xanax.

Now you see what I have to deal with being the only literary agent with two clients, one with a vampire fetish and the other just an idiot. And the real shame of it being no other prospects. Most agents are inundated with manuscripts…Me, well, you know my story.

Actually, I’m suddenly finding that things are looking up as long as I mix my Xanax with a half bottle of wine. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start writing and represent myself. It couldn’t possibly get any worse…or could it?

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Sometimes We Need That Off the Wall, Nonsensical, Silliness To Make It Through the Day and Sometimes…Nah, It’s an Everyday Need

What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite book? Do the two coincide with one another? Did you read a great book that turned into a lousy movie?shark twister Or, did the movie surprise you and turn out to be as good or better than the book?

It just so happens that two of my favorite movies began life as ink on paper. The first, and probably my favorite movie, was Jaws released in 1975. This movie affected an entire generation. People were actually afraid to venture into the water. Being an author it probably seems strange, but I never read the book. From what I’ve heard, the book was good, but unnecessarily cluttered with love affairs and such. To me, in a story like this, if you want to kiss something, kiss a shark. I was but a young buck when I ventured to the theater to view this thriller and returned four more times. Five times on the silver screen and well over fifty in the home venue, might make you think I was obsessed with this celluloid masterpiece. Nah, I just like the movie.

From the ocean to the Great Plains, we move from the “jaws of death” to the swirling winds known as “tornadoes,” “cyclones,” and “funnel clouds.” Twister is my next great book-to-movie, which I also did not read.

Now, as far as storm chasers actually operate, I think the movie was probably not as factual as it could have been. On the other hand, I didn’t go to the theater three times to see a fact-based movie. Twister came out in 1996, just three years after Jurassic Park, which was the first movie to use “go-motion.” This new technology pulled us away from the decades old stop-motion animation we were used to seeing ever since the first movie danced its way into our hearts.

CGI opened a whole new world of special effects and Twister was in on the ground floor. Aside from having a great story, the animation jerked you from your seat, spun you around, and then smacked you several times before depositing you head-first back into your chair.

I took my girlfriend (at the time) to see this wonder of technology. Half-way through the movie, the popcorn machine caught fire and we were escorted out the back of the theater. We received vouchers to see the movie at a later date (or when the smoke cleared), which we did, and that girlfriend, a year later, became my wife…pause for tear removal and nose blowage.

Thinking, as I occasionally do, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Jaws and the F5 in Twister were to meet?

The twister would have to become a water spout which would cause it to severely weaken. Even though the shark is not the brightest creature in the sea, it would hesitate to attack a column of water. And if I’ve brought you to the point that you would consider a confrontation between a swirling mass of water and a big fish, then I humbly apologize, not only to you, but the preceding paragraph and its five wasted lines.

All good things must come to an end which brings about a conundrum. Oblivious to good and bad, as far as this post goes, do I end it or (like that drum beating bunny) keep going, and going, and going, and going…….
I believe we all know the answer; this tale should be put to rest….

In case, you’re wondering where I locate material for my blog, I purchase it from a surly old Wiccan who resides in Haiti and vacations in Jackass Flats, Virginia (no joke, real place). She’s not much to look at, but makes a great conch (pronounced “konk”) chowder and the blog material’s dirt cheap. After a few shots of rum, it’s free because you can’t shut her up.

Until next week, when we once again mix a pinch of fact with a bucket of nonsense, I bid you a fond, “Ado!”

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Judicious Flossing and Brushing at Times Render Unacceptable Results at Best… Maybe

I’ve been thinking about back matter; you know, the teaser on the back of a novel designed to hook the prospective buyer into a purchase.gingivitis

Of all the different ways an author could begin the first sentence, or the hook, I believe my least favorite is, “what if?”.

I realize this is just one author’s opinion, but come on, have I ever steered you wrong? Before you answer, that was a rhetorical question.

One of my complaints with this particular beginning is it leaves too many things open. You don’t know if it pertains to the book (of course, you assume it does) or the club sandwich the author had for lunch three weeks prior.

Please allow me to show you how much trouble you can squeeze into your life with something as innocent as the first two words of a sentence.

What if the CEO of a large US corporation was doubling up twice as a double agent for Luxembourg and a hotdog cart vendor in Piscataway? This collaboration (one of the most feared in the underground world of the atomic hotdog) had reached a pinnacle set by no other. After decades of failure upon failure, they finally had a working prototype. One bite of this deadly sausage and, poof, instant gingivitis.

This leads us to the true purveyors of this purulent pact; the dental cartel of North America and parts unknown.

With so much gingivitis running ramped, they stood to clean up. (Clean up; get it?) Cleanings, x-rays, extractions, implants, dentures…you name it; they would control it.

So much power in so few hands could bring about the demise of corn-on-the-cob as we know it.

Remaining undetected, yet watching intently the events unfolding on the North American continent and parts unknown, a small clinic in the Ack galaxy on the planet of Plurple is developing a plan to thwart the earthly dental cartel. The head dental technician on Plurple, having stationed operatives all along the North American continent and parts unknown, is now ready to place said plan into action. Following a page from Santa’s playbook, they visit every house in the world replacing teeth with exact duplicates constructed from white chocolate and accomplish this task in a single night.

Unfortunately, white chocolate is the strongest material available on Plurple. It’s inhabitants dine on air and their white chocolate teeth last a lifetime which is marginally longer than a Mayfly. Even so, this solution removes the need for dental care on the North American continent and parts unknown which in turn puts an end to the evil conspiracy concocted by the dental cartel.

What all this accomplishes I am not sure; however, it proves without a doubt that only nonsense can come from starting a sentence with, “what if?”.

On an unrelated subject; I’m sure you’ve all seen that irritating little green twit with the ridiculous white mustache advertising, “the General’s Car Insurance.”

Perhaps we could petition the military to send a drone and one little bitty hell fire missile to blow that green aberration into a trillion pieces?

Sorry to end on such a violent note, but some things just have to be said.

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Interplanetary Sports, in General, Lack the Hoopla Afforded the All Important Fifth Down…At Least, That’s the General Consensus

The super bowl will be here tomorrow. It’s gotten to be quite the celebration. It’s the day the most pizzas are eaten and holds the dubious record for domestic disturbances. alien football playreA commercial costs more than I’ll make in my lifetime and speaking of commercials, some people tune in just to see the new advertisements unveiled.

The pregame show begins a week or so before the game and this year we already have an under-inflated controversy. Then, there’s the halftime musical show with dozens of pre-picked screaming meemies jumping up and down to this year’s guest star.

Not only pizza’s, but think of the beer, chicken wings and chili consumption. All in all’ it sounds like a pretty good time and just think, some folks will even pay attention to the game.

What if an author were to outline his next project using the super bowl as a template? (We will, of course, be writing in the science fiction genre.)

Weeks ahead of the book being started, the author would hem and haw about what could be, what should be, what won’t be, and what will most likely have the slightest chance of what will be.

Day number two: scratch day number one and redesign in reverse.

Day number three, develop plot: On the world of Patrot (the only deflatable and inflatable planet in the galaxy), King Bilbel and Prince T-Brad were preparing for the yearly contest against their rival.

Day number four: The world of Seahack was just as busy preparing for the contest but also making travel plans for Patrot. King Petcar and Prince Russwill were running their team through their paces.

Day number five: The Seahack Leons arrive at the Patrot Bartmucks Stadium. Competition is stiff even though the game has yet to start. Just making their way to their accommodations endangers life and limb. Each squad is pummeled with cooked cauliflower and wet newspapers.

Day number six: Cancelled due to lack of interest.

Day number seven: Only three days before the big game. This will be the bowl of soup CXXXLVII (167). King Bilbel and Prince T-Brad are searching for their thirteenth football bat. They want to make sure it is properly inflated. The impact once the bat contacts the ball-o-the foot is of the most importance.

Day number eight: King Petcar and Prince Russwill are disguised as large pieces of cooked cauliflower and wet newspaper in order to follow King Bilbel and Prince T-Brad to make sure they practice proper foot hygiene to protect them from cauliflower and newspaper rot.

Day number nine: Now that we have the perfect outline for our novel we are ready to write the next best seller.

You may want to talk with your agent before you actually begin penning this manuscript. Mental incompetence may play a large role in your advance. Not to mention, the ability to perform simple tasks such as bathing, feeding and dressing yourself.

In conclusion, please try to remove the silliness from your brain and enjoy the super bowl.

In my opinion, their over-inflating the under inflation.

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Why Authors Shouldn’t Write What Author’s Shouldn’t Write

I enjoy writing in the science fiction and fantasy genres. I usually include a good dose of humor and Christian fiction to my work.ugly princess

Think a moment of your writing style and then what you would do if a high-profile publisher asked you to write something totally out of your comfort zone (with a healthy advance, of course.)

I imagine myself being asked to write a picture book children’s story set in a magical land with unicorns, fairies and an exorbitant amount of frogs waiting to be kissed.

I think it would go something like this:

Once upon a time in the land of Floppitt, there lived a wee little lad who adored beautiful scenery. He spent the majority of his time, dreaming of the day he would be able to photograph the beautiful scenery of Floppitt.

The wee little lad had been saddled with the name of Scrunch. Now, these indeed were lofty goals for one such as the wee little one known as Scrunch. You see, Floppitt contained no beautiful scenery or camera with which to shoot beautiful pictures.

One day a frog named Frank jumped upon Scrunch’s shoulder. He promised Scrunch that for a single kiss he would show him the neighboring land of Gerbelgeizer.

Scrunch knew of the fabled land of beauty, but dismissed it as just that.

Frank continued to pressure Scrunch until, just to shut him up, Scrunch snatched Frank off his shoulder and kissed him slap on the mouth. He sat Frank down. The small frog burped several times, but did nothing more. You see, the amphibians of Floppitt are chronic liars.

Scrunch saw red. He moved backward three steps then took two more to the left. He lined Frank up between two vertical tree limbs about thirty yards away. He raised his left hand, screamed, “Hut!” three times, and then took off toward Frank.

Just as Scrunch’s foot connected with Frank’s face, Frank grew into the ugliest three-foot tall princess ever seen in the world of Floppitt.

Scrunch pulled back just in time to prevent breaking any bones against Frank’s horrendous feet. At least he thought that’s what they were.

“What happened to you?” Scrunch asked.

“What do you mean?” Frank replied.

“C’mon man you’re so ugly you’d have to sneak up on an outhouse,” Scrunch said. He started to gag then bent over and emptied the contents of his stomach. He rose, glanced at Frank, and began a solid fifteen minutes of the dry heaves.

“Are you ready to go to Gerbelgeizer?” Frank excitedly asked.

“I don’t know. I think maybe I’d be better off staying here and drawing stick figures in the mud.”

“What about the beautiful pictures I promised to show you?” Frank implored.  He closed his eyes, slightly crouched, and exuded a bout of flatulence that stripped the hair from Scrunch’s head.

When Scrunch awoke, Frank was bent over trying to revive him. Frank’s mouth covered Scrunch’s entire face. He could feel the noxious air moving through his mouth, down his throat, into his lungs and stomach. He didn’t know what to do in this desperate situation.

Frank rose taking a deep breath as he did so. He noticed Scrunch was awake but appeared to be close to death.

Scrunch attempted to protest as Frank moved in for another round of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Unable to resist due to the enormous amount of ugly placed on his body at one time, Scrunch refused to take another breath and expired surrounded by the foulness of Frank.

When Frank saw what she had done, she scooped up Scrunch’s lifeless body and ran to the only lake in the land of Floppitt. She pushed Scrunch’s head under the water hoping to suck the stink from the dying cells in his body.

As Scrunch miraculously began to stir, Frank intentionally looked at her reflection in the surface of the lake. Her reflection was so startling she popped into the air. At the same time Scrunch rose from water pulling in great quantities of air.

Scrunch inched his way onto the bank, bringing himself to a sitting position. A small object fell into his lap.

“Say, Frank,” Scrunch asked, “where ya been?”

“Hey, back,” Frank replied. “Just hanging around.”

“You know what?” Scrunch said. “It sure is beautiful out here.”

“You got it, brother,” Frank said. “Who would ever want to leave a place like this?”

“Ditto all over that,” Scrunch said. “Yes, sir, ditto all over that.”

So this is what happens when an author steps outside of his comfort zone. Just remember authors don’t let fellow authors think outside the box. It’s entirely too scary and it just ain’t right.

For more information on how you can help please contact:


Remember, a mind can be a terrible thing.

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Care, Even If It Doesn’t Exist, Offer It Something to Eat, and Care Some More

We all need food, correct? You know what satisfies your tastes whether you desire a full meal or are just in the mood to nosh.

Now, let me ask you a very important question, “If you’re a writer do you afford your characters the same luxury?”

Think about it. Does your protagonist and comrades get three squares a day? Or, are they forced to live off tree bark and grubs because you forgot to set them down to a meager meal?plain jane and beefcake

Oh, you’re all for the actions scenes, the violence, the mayhem, but give them a little snack to provide an ounce of energy to perform up to your expectations, and it’s Katie-bar-the-door. Far be it from anyone to interfere with keeping your antagonist and his cronies fat and sassy. They dine on the fineness cuts of meat, pulling pints of grog, and just generally acting unacceptably.

Then on a world far, far away a beautiful lady hooks up with Mr. Beefcake while Ms. Plain Jane (you know the homely Cinderella type) cleans sewers and lives off pre-chewed apple cores. She spends her down time swooning over Mr. Beefcake, until one day Miss Beautiful Lady is run over by a trolley just as Ms. Plain Jane is crawling out of the sewer. Beefcake and Plain Jane’s eyes meet. They kiss, marry that afternoon, and live happily ever after. (On this particular world, ever after means two and a half weeks) Miss Beautiful Lady recovers from her injuries and is relegated to clipping toenails for a penny a piece in a town called Schwump.

Does anyone remember the poor, downtrodden survivors of the Calistian Finger Fungus of 2953? I believe it was in the Ajax Nebula on a small planet called Plim. The inhabitants were unable to use their finger guns to hunt imaginary prey due to the fungus attacking their index fingers. (Which everyone knows is the most intricate part of the X7300 finger assault pistol) During this disaster one unfortunate Plimosian lost his fingernail trying to beat his gun barrel back into shape. I don’t recall the author of this particular book, but he should be beaten severely about the helmet and breastplate, for leaving his characters in such a pickle.

Now I know this seems a bit severe, but if we as authors do not take proper care of our creations, then who?The home for imaginary characters, retired, or otherwise cannot handle another thought.

So man up authors, take your responsibilities seriously, or lay down that pen.

There is another way. Send $19 USD each month (care of my website http://www.lynnsteigleder.com) and I will send you a mind’s eye picture of a character you will be helping.

Please don’t let another nonexistent character slip into nonexistence, especially when they didn’t ask to be brought into nonexistence in the first place.

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“Just Because No One Seems to Like It Doesn’t Mean that Anyone Does.” Words of Comfort from My Heart to Yours

When I’m working on a novel, I incorporate short chapters with several different scenarios at the beginning. These situations may consist of groups formed by humans,cartoon characteris groups formed from anything but humans, or groups mingled with humans and anything but humans working together. Occasionally, a single human or otherwise may wing it alone.

These groups usually share a common goal, although they may expand or decrease in number, meld together, or disappear completely, splinter groups may peel away or totally new groups may appear.  That’s where the excitement comes in. You’re not sure what will happen until it happens.

What if you were to take a human from one of the groups (we’ll call him Bob)? Now, remove one of the anything but humans (we’ll call him, Splurch Flap). Let’s say that Bob wanders into a Clargovian minefield in chapter 8 and is blown to smithereens. (Smithereens in this case equaling a couple trillion pieces.)

Three chapters later, Splurch Flap falls into a dry well and is consumed by two famished air breathing guppies. To bring the point I’m trying to make home, in chapter 49, we find Bob and Splurch Flap have returned and are taking the vows.

One thing you want to remember is to maintain continuity in your writing. Publishers tend to frown on the author killing off a character and then bringing said character back as if they were never gone. I don’t believe, “I forgot,” would wash very well as an excuse.

Another thing that confounds me came about when I was searching for an agent. Who am I kidding? I’ve been searching for an agent; I am still searching for an agent; and if you ask me after the earth makes another trip around the sun, I’m fairly certain my answer will be, “Yep, I’m searching for an agent.”

This search, believe it or not has produced its share of ups along with the downs. Several agents have taken the time to write complimentary replies which I very much appreciated. One in particular went so far as to inspire the notion I may have an honest chance at representation.

Then I spied it; near the end of the last paragraph, that phrase that dashes hope to dust. It knocks you down for the sake of something to kick. What is that phrase, you so innocently inquire? With a lump in my throat and my eyes beginning to well, I answer in a low trembling voice, “Unfortunately, it’s not what I’m looking for at this time.” Once again (to quote Bon Jovi) “shot through the heart.” Nuff said

And what about this thing, this endless chasm, the bottomless pit, the slush pile? Each agency has one and even though most consist of virtual paper I feel fairly confident I’ve spent a significant amount of time drowning in more than one.

In fact, if slush pile aerobics were an Olympic sport, I have no doubt my collection of medals would be quite impressive.

I certainly understand a literary agent’s dilemma; thousands of manuscripts, with but a few spots to fill; a daunting task to say the least.

My first novel, “Rising Tide,” did rather well. My mother liked it and if that’s not a barometer of success I don’t know what is. I guess what it boils down to, is this business of writing, publishing, marketing, selling and starving is another feather in the antidepressant industries hat.

And I guess it’s pretty well accepted, that writing and starving are the easiest of the lot. Still we eagerly jump behind our keyboards and follow each letter as it flows across the screen. With anticipation we tap, tap, tap, turning letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages and pages into completed works of literary art.

Now saddle up, hold on tight, and get ready for the ride your life. You’re going to be thrown off, trampled, kicked in the head, spat upon, dragged through the mud and left for dead.

You’ve got two choices. Turn tail and run or climb back on your ride and get a better grip this time.

By the way, you hungry yet?

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