Sunday, September 28, 2014


I have decided writing is like one of the memes we often see on Facebook:

What Readers Think We Do:  Sit in a spacious, color-coordinated office plunking away at the keyboard while drinking the latest brew.  Dash off the occasional side note to our Personal Assistant so we need not trouble ourselves with mundane chores.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

What We Really Do: Try to find our way to the computer stuck in a closet through a narrow aisle carved out among stacks of rejection slips, unpaid bills, moth-eaten manuscripts with sticky notes hanging out the sides, cast-off socks, slung-off bras (if you're female) and coffee pots that no longer work.  Occasionally tripping over the dog or cat that has taken up residence in your closet/office because they can't find you anywhere else.  That's your Personal Assistant.

What Readers Think We Do:  Glance up at neatly arranged poster boards to study color-coordinated stickies (more stickies, can't live without 'em) that Spell Out the Plot, Give Us Pacing, Fill in Plot Holes, Map Out Plot Twists and lead straight to the Happily Ever After.

What We Really Do:  Peer, bleary-eyed, at the same damn manuscript we peered at the day before that still has a developing plot (at least we hope so), a sagging middle, plot holes like Swiss cheese,  and an ending that makes you consider...well...ending it all.  Sort of like a fatal disease without painkillers.


Now, where was I?  Oh, yes, the writing process.

This creative process is like entering uncharted, deepest space where No Man/Woman Has Gone Before. There is no road map and the stars are never in alignment.  You can't file a flight plan because a) you have no idea in bloody hell where you're going, and b) this journey can commence as early as 3 a.m. or as late as midnight.  Along the way you may encounter the rare Exploding SuperNova which gives you the Happily Ever After, and this makes the perilous journey worthwhile.  More commonly you will find Deepest Space which is both black and blank, stardust which is pretty but does not fill in plot holes, and the occasional Black Hole that sucks you into a time warp.  If you are unfortunate enough to encounter one of those, you will emerge unable to remember what day it is, where you put the car keys, or the names of your children.

And this brings us to a final point:

What Readers Think We Do: Go to the mailbox only to remove juicy royalty checks mailed by our  publishers.

What We Really Do:  Go to the mailbox hoping there may be a $50 check.  Go to the mailbox to remove bills--lots and lots of bills.  "Don't Give Up the Day Job" was written for writers.  Many of our books have been pirated for free downloads by sites as various as Free Reads R Us or Porno with a Freebie.  If we had the money to pay a Personal Assistant we would undoubtedly assign them the endless, time-robbing chore of mailing takedown notices.  It is endless because as soon as you take down one, your book pops up on thirty more, some of which have simply taken another name and are now Demon Downloader.  We write at 3 a.m. or midnight because that's the only time we have to write. What you are reading are our hours stolen from sleep.  We keep our jobs because a) we like to eat, and, b) we have a huge vet bill because the dog had to have his leg pinned after we fell over him for the 19th time. Our own legs may have been pinned, too, but at least there's insurance for that, if we can keep the premium paid.

Sigh.  It's nearly 8 a.m. and I've been writing since 5 a.m.  I had an exploding SuperNova while walking the dog--the one without a cast.  I hope I've cleared up a few key points about the writing process.  It's not really all that mysterious.  You just have to be crazy. 




Friday, July 11, 2014


It’s arguably safe to say the majority of people reading this are on Facebook.  Recently (recently?), I have noticed a trend towards pessimism, doom and gloom and…well…disagreement there.  More lighthearted individuals have even accused me of fostering this myself, so I gave it some thought and have realized how we can end it. 

Just Be Happy.

It’s so simple.  I am forever indebted to those who pointed out that by maintaining a positive attitude we can cure all ills.  It’s true, you know.  If every person in this world, maybe even this universe, would just Be Happy—we could make it all right.  If everyone was happy, for instance, how could they have wars?  What If We Gave A War And Nobody Came?  How could they come if they were all at the local coffee house, trying out the latest brew?  Or if they were in the garden, watering flowers.  “My flowers are beautiful this year” is ALWAYS appropriate.

And so, taking a line from Jonathan Swift, I would like to make a Modest Proposal.  Everybody Be Happy.  Post nothing but positive, glowing and uplifting ideas on Facebook.  For God’s sake (yes, you can say God, we can’t fight over that any more), be cheerful.  Facebook is a worldwide media and if this catches on, you never know, we might even bring about World Peace and Harmony.

Let me give you some ideas of appropriate material:

Response to birthday posts: "Have a wonderful (and/or blessed, depending upon religious convictions) year!"

Response to death in the family:  "He or she is with the angels now."  Or, if angels are not their thing, wishing peace is usually comforting.  Alternatively, if the post is about a family pet, they are at Rainbow Bridge.  Do not weaken and say they are the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you, because that implies someone will die someday and be with the angels.  Just leave it at, “They’re at the Rainbow Bridge.”

Response to war posts: "It is far away from us and I am going out for coffee."

Response to illness posts: "I am very sorry to hear that, but I know the doctors/shamans/drugs/natural cures/power of prayer will make you better."

Response to There Is A War on Christmas/War on Christians/War on Women:  "It is far away from us and I am going out for coffee."

Response to Political Division:  "If everyone will just smile and shake hands, I’ll go out for coffee."

Whatever you do, do not try to share your experience or knowledge with people because they will take that as negativity.  We are all adults.  They will find their own way.

You get the idea.  Some people may find it too boring to post and do something else, which will impact Facebook.  But think of the time and money they will save not having to censor posts, take down pages and otherwise fight all negativity in the world.  We can help!  Be brave.  Be bright.

I’m going out for coffee now.  And leaving you all a nice flower.  What can it hurt?  :)