What’s two Inches Long, has More Legs Than a Porcupine has Quills, Bringing Such Fear in to the Heart of a Brave Man That he Utters the Word “Ick”

House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata

House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata

I feel as though I should acknowledge summer since it is soon to be a thing of the past. This post tends to leave writing on the back burner, which is something you probably shouldn’t do in a blog about writing. I’ll just have to invoke poetic license, but just this once.

I realize that most people don’t care for insects; however, my wife has developed an unnatural aversion to a unique bug that likes to frequently prowl across our ceilings. These little rapscallions range in size from a 1/4 inch to 2 or more inches when full grown. They are somewhat flat, tan colored and boast multiple legs circumnavigating their entire body, although there may be a few antennae protruding from the front which happens to look identical to the back. These little boogers can scoot across a sheet-rock wall before you can say, “Seattle Slew.”

When I say my wife has a developed an aversion to these scampering wall clingers, I don’t mean she runs out of the room or hides under the bed covers. This sweet female I’m spending my life with and enjoying the experience immensely will clear our king size bed in a single bound, armed with a flyswatter, shoe or a hand covered in skin just to get at one of these beasts.

Normally, she hits this creature with such force, it disintegrates. Occasionally, she‘ll catch enough of this multi-legged bug and knock it to the floor. Then watch out, cause its Katy-bar-the-door. She’ll chase it  along the wall, stomping if it dare raise its head around the edge of the carpet. Eventually, I’ll hear a satisfied, “Gotcha!”

She’ll appear from behind some piece of furniture, donning her weapon of choice and the dead carcass of what we now know to be a house centipede,  who met his fate meddling with my wife. Bugs in general, including arachnids and our slithery scaly friends, don’t much bother me and in my family I am the exception to the creepy crawling rule.

My son, stepson and son-in-law all cringe at the thought of anything with more than four legs or no legs at all. At least, they keep it in the family; their wives work bug detail.

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Book Giveaway

“Terminal Core” my latest science fiction adventure novel is now available as a giveaway on Goodreads. Follow this link   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/198358-terminal-core    and enter to win a copy.

Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy, caladium, is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th century earth. Once the oil is refined, the byproduct, gasoline, will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitants to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their home world. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beasts one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggles to finish its journey, hoping to insure their races’ survivalTERMINALCORE FC

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Just Cause It Says to do What It Says, Don’t Mean to do What it Said. Notice the Play on Words? Well, There Ain’t None!!!

JFSPunctuateOnce you finish your manuscript and begin rewrites and edits, are you adept with the grammatical aspects of what you’ve written? Or are you unsure of the difference between a period and parentheses?

I’ve learned a lot over the years of struggling through hundred thousand word manuscripts. That being said there’s a lot I should have learned struggling through hundred thousand word manuscripts but somehow failed to do so.

For instance: A comma is used to denote a pause. You think this would be an objective comment until people commence to slinging commas throughout a paragraph; then, it becomes very subjective.

I haven’t been able to find two people that would agree on the placement of commas; of course, some of them would argue the color of clear.

My next nemesis is the semi-colon. If I’m ignorant enough to ask, I’ll receive different answers that I don’t understand anyway so I might as well keep my mouth shut.

And finally, anything that dangles sends me running and screaming like a banshee bearing down on its next meal.

Maybe I’m not as bad as I’ve portrayed myself to be, but if the truth be known, I would just as soon drink from a mud puddle and eat rocks than edit a manuscript.

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If You’re Gonna Write Then Write…If You’re Gonna Read What You’ve Written, Then Maybe you Ought not Write

bad-writerWriting is an interesting activity…actually it’s moreover a way to circumnavigate reality. It’s the only place I know where you can exist in the past, present, and future simultaneously.

That being said there are different ways this can be accomplished. Now, I want you to imagine the first short story you wrote. I will use my first key board to virtual paper to relate my first writing experience.

I snuggled down in front of my computer to write my first short story. Fearing I would never have the patience to pen a novel, I felt right at home with a less lengthy narrative. As soon as I had a story line (more or less), I happily began to write in earnest, knowing the story flowed well and was full of action to keep any reader’s attention.

It took several days, but I finished my masterpiece and prepared myself mentally to knock out another. Of course, I decided I should take a quick look at the tale I had just woven in case there might be an errant mistake.

I finished the first sentence, pleased as punch that this scrumptious piece of literary work was mine and mine alone. I then moved onto the second sentence. By the time I finished the first paragraph, I wondered if I was reading the same manuscript.

Not to be deterred, I continued to read. Once I completed this 6000 word atrocity, I knew there were one of two ways I could proceed–rewrite the story or push my computer out of the window and never speak of this again.

This story was so badly written that I had to thicken my skin just to be able to absorb insults I hurled at myself. I decided to continue writing and despite the trashy comments I heaped upon my work, I managed to publish 3 novels. Do us both a favor and don’t read any reviews from a guy named Lynn Steigleder; he’ll say nasty things and give away the ending.

If you take anything away from this blog…make it this…don’t read your own work, it’ll just clutter up your writing and give you things to do that you’d rather not do.

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How Many Times Must I Tell You? When You’re Reading, Keep Your Head Down, Keep Your Head Down, Keep Your Head Down and Eyes on the Ball

foreplayI’ve read bad books, fair books, good books, excellent books and exceptionally great books. The literary world is certainly all over the place. Bad books get published and exceptionally great books don’t. In fact, books of every genre no matter their position on the good to bad scale are published every day. The last time I ran across the numbers, there were several thousand books published each day, which meant over a million each year.

I was taught to believe half of what I see and none of what I hear. The numbers I had gathered just a few years ago said 800 books a day and a quarter of a million a year. I don’t know whose putting together these figures, but I’m going out on a limb and confirming there are a lot books published each year.

I have to equate it to playing golf. In the nineties it seemed as though everyone decided they’d pick up a set of clubs and hit the links. Now I realize everyone must start somewhere, but the game went from a four hour pleasurable jaunt around a beautifully groomed course, to a six hour wait-a-thon.

I heard a multitude of balls hit trees with that famous four letter word to follow. I spent more time ducking than most mallards. I played one course in a city that shall remain nameless where they allowed men to play with their shirts off. Fortunately, there was only one, but certainly not following golf etiquette.

I guess what I’m trying to say is to get your ducks in a row…or your books in the hands of those who wish to read them. It’s a monumental task, but one that I think is worth the work.

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I Thunked it Would be Easy, but is Anything Really Easy? If You Were to Ask Me, I’d Say No, but is Anything Really Easy? Probably Not, but is Anything Really…

ss-apr10-38Recently, I’ve been stuck on the subject of rejections during the course of writing. I would be remiss if I were to leave out my entire life story while traveling down that wonderful road of rejection.

During my early days immersed in the glamorous spectacle that is writing, I determined my course from reading other glamorous publications that assisted early glamorous writers.

This publication instructed new writers to attempt having their work placed in magazines and other such articles. This would in essence emulate crawling before walking; showing agents or publishing houses that you were, in fact, a published author lending more credence when they perused your best-selling manuscript.

I began in earnest writing short stories in the science fiction and horror genres. I sent these stories to the larger science fiction magazines, confident I would find a home between the covers.

Alas, no one took the bait. I was forced to drop a notch and send my stories to a magazine a few rungs down the ladder. This continued for some time. I eventually ended up trying to publish my babies in on-line magazines that would boast circulations of dang near a hundred readers.

Well, to say the least, I was scraping the bottom of the literary world. I couldn’t really blame it on the barrel, so the only one I could lay it on would be me. Even though I had developed a rather thick hide, I dare not delve into the world of flash fiction or even one word fiction lest I never find my way out again.

I did the only thing a person who wishes to become a writer can do. I took to honing my writing skills and now have three published books to my credit.

If you get nothing more out of this blog post, let it be this: Author friends don’t let other author friends write stupid.

This has been brought to you by a grant from the Lynn Steigleder Foundation, preventing people from writing sub-standard manuscripts since this blog post began…I hope.

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I Told You When You Wrote It You Would Have to Change It, but Do You Ever Listen to Me? Noooo. It’s a Good Thing You Have This new Fangled Writing Machine

1909_McCool_typewriter_no._2_25_ad_detailDo you appreciate the things you have that make life easier? We all get upset if we happen to suffer a flat tire, even though it’s really a small thing. Instead we should be thankful that we have a car to put it on.

How about that pesky paper cut on your thumb that’s beginning to become infected and keeping you from doing many simple tasks

Do you appreciate the things you have that make life easier? We all get upset if we happen to suffer a flat tire, even though it’s really a small thing. Instead we should be thankful that we have a car to put it on.

How about that pesky paper cut on your thumb, that’s beginning to become infected and keeping you from doing many simple tasks? We complain even though all we need to do is squeeze an antibacterial ointment from a tube and wrap it with a band aid. Not so many years ago this tiny wound could have been fatal.

The same goes for writing. We become infuriated as mistakes pile up during rewrites and edits, when all we have to do is delete and add in the correct text or punctuation.

A hundred years ago imagine working on an archaic typewriter and having to change just one word on a single page. Kinda makes ya want to throw a sideways head nod and thanks toward that computer we complain so much about.

Imagine having to write your manuscript by hand using an implement known as the pencil. It was a slightly different process when you begin to rewrite these oldies but goodies. The first erasers used were bread.

That kinda brings it home, don’t ya think? So the next time you (and I’m including myself) grumble about having to change a gummed up manuscript, think about having to erase those mistakes with your lunch.

 

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