Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

To everyone.

I got some few goals completed - didn't get a job, though.

Looking for 2012 to be different, as I'm sure it will be.

All my best to everyone, and may you receive as you wish.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pre-Christmas Update

First, SOPA (HR 3261) and PIPA (S.968) are still alive, so while I took down the cover, I'm keeping the "Stop Censorship" bar over the title. Click on the bar to see how to help, if you haven't. If that doesn't appeal, get in touch with your Representative and Senators and tell them what you think they should do about these two bills. I hope you'll ask them to kill both of these bills, but that's my opinion. Make up your own mind, then tell them. Otherwise, you may be out in the cold with no free interwebz and a bumper sticker that says "I voted for Muffy."

Next, the tree, all 12 feet of it, is up and decorated. It looks pretty good, thanks to the wife's good work in decorating - and catching when the darn thing tried to fall over a couple hours after we finished. I think it's 'cause all the ornaments are on one side...

I finished reading the 900 000 words of Game of Life (working title), which is next on my list to rework. The read was to see just how much work it will take. There are five books planned, and the second and third ones are in pretty good shape. The first and fifth need a fair amount of rewriting, and the fourth needs to be finished, along with some heavy rework.

But before I actually start on that, I will do a quick reread of Mercenaries: A Love Story, Book Two, and send it off to my beta readers, to see what they think. Having removed between 10 and 15 000 words, I'm hoping it's a bit more... direct? With fewer non-plot related scenes at least.

I hope each one has the best Happy Christmas and Holiday season you can wish, and an excellent New Year! Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post at Derek Canyon's Blog, Adventures in ePublishing

Go check it out, please.

I really appreciate Derek's willingness to share his space with other writers. Of course, my experience with Twelve Worlds indicated nothing else. It was his idea, and he did a lot of the grunt work, helping the others of us out a lot.

Mercenaries: A Love Story Book One remains available. See the cover to the right. Click here if you need a link for the B & N store.

I'm through the heavy editing for Mercenaries: A Love Story Book Two. It's at 93000 words right now, and will be headed to beta readers next week, I think. I know, great time of year to ask someone to read and comment on a 100 000 word ms!

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


First, NaNoWriMo: By my word count, an unmitigated disaster. Not quite 10% of the 50 000 word goal. However, the words I did get written will not be lost (I think). And they led me, not astray, I don't think, but somewhere I hadn't planned to be. The two primary characters came to me after the last few words flew from my fingertips into Scrivner's memory. The less primary one said, "You know, it's not gonna work for her this way. I have to die." The other one just nodded, not particularly happy. And neither am I. Not big on killing girls. So, I have to either accept her words - she does know what she's talking about, after all - or I have to rethink where the story is going. I haven't made that decision yet. Hopefully I'll have it done before NaNoWriMo rolls around next year. But I gained that from the experience. That's good. I'm happy and I'll do it again.

Second, Sales: None, so far. Oh, well.

Third: Book Two: Almost complete with the latest round of world-changing edits. Dropped something like 18 000 words, and focused the story better, I think. I'll be out to my beta readers soon to see what they think. Then to decide if I should make it all one big book...

That's it for now. I hope all the holidays you celebrate are wonderful for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Price Drop

For anyone who thought I priced Mercenaries: A Love Story Book One too high, I've dropped it back to  $0.99.

It will be interesting to see what difference it makes, if any. At Smashwords, they track the number of sample downloads in addition to the number of sales, and while there have been several samples downloaded there, none have converted to sales. Oh, well. My experience is likely to have a slower start than Derek Canyon, for example.

The image to the right will take you directly to Amazon. If you prefer a non-Kindle version, the Smashwords page is here. Read the blurb and the reviews. If it looks interesting to you, try it out. You can comment here, too.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

Not good. This has turned out to be a poor month - not that any month would be better, I suppose. It's a matter of discipline, and not having other tasks that seem more... time critical.

I have logged just under 2200 words, which makes me feel really sad when Becka tweets that she's just under 25,000.

I'd be higher if I counted the words I put in the blog, or the words I put in critting others' work, or, or, or. No, I'm honest. I've been doing those instead of Freedom. It's a conscious choice. I'll put more words into Freedom, but I'm also editing (if that term can be applied to a total restructuring!) Mercenaries Book Two - see my previous post - hoping to get that completed early next month.

Words of encouragement gratefully accepted. Those of you who felt your word counts were low, take heart: someone is lower!

Keep writing!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Wonders of Beta Readers

I have two correspondents that I consider beta readers. We share and comment on each others' work, and I know that I've gotten a significant benefit from it. I hope they have received at least some benefit in compensation.

Hopefully, a writer eventually gets to the point of thinking "Okay, this draft is it!" We've reached the whole "Ok, I'm gonna send this ms off... to other people! Not me." place in our novel's life. I faced that part early on, and I'm mostly ok with it now. The upside is a comment like:
The scene where Rebecca is trying to explain to her mom and dad why she has to do what she is doing actually, and really, brought a tear to my eye... When you get to editing, treat this passage with respect, please.
 Of course, there are far more of these comments: "This is a little confusing." "This is a statement that confuses me." "Who is this girl?" "I don't see any point to the parts in blue." (The parts in blue comprised 60% of the preceding paragraph!) "Does this impart vital information?  All of this is irrelevant to the story at this point in time." Perhaps you can see a common thread; I surely can.

While the upside comments are welcome beyond belief, the other ones are the ones I live for. Live for, but don't particularly enjoy, since they point out likely mistakes. They tell me where I've gone astray in communicating with the reader, and may also give me a direction to follow. But that last, while helpful, isn't the goal. The goal is to see where I went in one direction without giving the reader sufficient information to follow, at least without backing up and saying to him- or herself, "What? Where'd that come from? 'Who is this girl?'"

I am grateful to have two people I trust for this help. Each of them see different things while having a remarkably coherent view of the story. I think having one more would benefit me, and I'm working on that. I hasten to add: in addition to, not in place of, the two I have now.

Perhaps you already have readers, no matter what you call them, that you trust to  point out the blemishes in your story. If not, I can't recommend finding one or two highly enough. I think they need to be someone you can go back and forth with, not always agreeing (because disagreement is the root of all that's good and wonderful, especially after resolution is reached), but always respectful of one another and as important, respectful of the story and the need you as author have to tell the story you want to tell. On the other side is your responsibility to consider suggestions seriously.

Trust me, if you truly believe you've written the perfect novel, you won't find beta readers helpful.

Trust me also that when you read a comment like "I also wondered, last night actually, if Cari's travelogue story was in fact there only to introduce Jean-Luc," and realize that the implication of that being correct is that 20000 hard written words are going to be recycled because we don't yet need to introduce Jean-Luc, and so that whole arc doesn't bear on the story at all, it gives you a queasy feeling in the tummy. (Now there's a wonderfully run-on sentence!) Maybe I shouldn't be so much of a pantser after all! However, I would never have realized that plot arc didn't belong without someone to say, "Look at this, will ya." Maybe you are different, but I get invested in my words and little plot elements, and without intervention, it's hard to look at one or more of them with an eye toward eliminating or reducing. I hope that will come as I gain experience, but right now, my beta readers ask the hard questions and deserve the good answers.

One thing I have to be careful of, at least in my mind, is a tendency to justify my past (plotting, word choice, whatever) decisions rather than give a hard look at suggestions. I think I'm doing better at this; I managed to avoid it in business after all. However, there there was not quite the emotional connection to the decision that there is in writing. Do your best to be honest with yourself when you read a suggestion, or critique, or review. With few generally easily detected exceptions, the author of the suggestion is stating an opinion that they believe will improve the work. My experience is - and this may reflect my lack of skill as a writer - many of these do improve the package.

Conversely, you are under no obligation to use all, or even any, of the suggestions you receive. With that in mind, I offer a suggestion: Be honest with yourself about the comments you receive. Use them when you think they improve the story; don't reject them out of hand. Don't reject them until you've made a rational decision that another option - including leaving the piece as is - is actually better. But I think that requires an honest evaluation, not one colored by 'how could he/she mean that? It changes everything!' feelings of doubt and betrayal. It may change everything (but likely not).  Sometimes, it may change everything. Perhaps that will be a better solution. Also, treat the reader supplying feedback with respect and, yes, wonder that they are willing to invest their time and energy in your work. Maybe even love them a little.

Alright, then. This has been a long-winded thank-you to my beta readers, with a discourse on the benefits I've seen which I hope you might find beneficial as you pound out those words and then lovingly shape them into a finished product.

Your thoughts and experience are more than welcome.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I waited till day two of NaNoWriMo to sign up, thinking that, in spite of being a procrastinator of the highest water, I could use the effort to get at least most of a draft of Freedom No Matter (working title), the sequel to Mercenaries: A Love Story complete. I had blasted about eight thousand words on flights to and from Hawaii - nothing like writing to keep your mind off the fact that you're five miles over nothing but water, and you're not in a seaplane - and another fifty thousand would move that into striking distance of the 80 - 100 Kwords I'm hoping the story can be told in. I've not sat down for today, and yesterday only offered about ten words, so I'm well behind the benchmark! But I can make up the ground.

Tune in next time when I talk about Beta Readers, and how no writer can be without them. Or how I can't at least. YMMV.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Time for the Not Fun part - Marketing

Mercenaries: A Love Story Book One is now available. So, in addition to keeping up with my other commitments (crit partners, I haven't forgotten you!), and finishing Book Two so it will be ready later this year, I have to try out some techniques for boosting awareness.  Like many others, this is the part I have the most trouble with - I have never been good at Sales!

In any event, Book One is up and ready for you to click through to look at and buy (Amazon link in sidebar, Smashwords here) if you like.

Any ideas you are willing to share would be welcome. Really!

This One Is Complete

I published Book One of Mercenaries: A Love Story this week on Amazon and Smashwords!

It has been an interesting journey, and I have had a lot of help along the way in getting to a product that tells the story I conceived in a way that I hope readers can connect with. I anticipate that readers will follow Beckie's story through the two volume Mercenaries: A Love Story, and the sequel, Freedom No Matter. Book Two of Mercenaries is due before the end of this year, and Freedom, next year.

The description:
A teenager saving hundreds, maybe thousands of kids from slavery? Beckie Sverdupe never thought about it. But it’s the role she took in this two book series. In book one, she and her brother Mike are kidnapped by Ian Jamse, a mercenary (who doesn’t follow quite all the rules), and his team. Successful extrication allows them a year and a half respite, after which Jamse remembers her as he deals with another girl's abduction.
This second abduction brings Jamse to hire Beckie, along with her best friend Melissa (amorously engaged with Mike), for a brief run as exotic dancers. Beckie finds Jamse's confidence in her appealing, as she does his appearance and demeanor. It’s quite a school vacation for two girls from Minnesota, but they don’t get to sight-see much either in London or Rome.
Once the kidnapped girl is successfully returned (along with Beckie and Melissa), Jamse meets Werner, who is responsible, and learns that he is in the business of buying, or stealing, both girls and boys and selling them into slavery in households, brothels, anywhere money can flow from. Beckie and Jamse learn of a third abduction in Southern California, this one: a dozen middle-school girls. While Jamse is motivated by the billions of euros in Werner’s vaults, Beckie finds her drive in freeing trapped girls and stopping Werner from continuing his activities.
Book One is recommended for 14+ with some adult language and situations.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Team: The Red Sox

And now, at least until the Patriots' defense plays again, we are up for the gnashing of teeth and the cries: "Off with his head!" If they only knew whose head should be struck off.

I haven't followed the day after histrionics, but I hope John Young, et al, don't rush about. And for the rest of us, there's always next year.

We believe.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown

Follows the text of a comment I sent to my Republican senator today. Based on past experience, I expect a form reply, so if any readers wish to comment or answer the question, please do. I really don't understand it. I admit, I only have a MSEE and an MBA, so the Republican thinking on ways to improve the economy have me flummoxed. (Never thought I'd have an honest reason to say that!) If you agree - or don't - ask your Senator or Representative to do what you think is important.

Dear Senator Brown.
In the run up to elections, as you go about defining and expounding on your positions, I hope you will feel it important to answer the biggest question I have with the Republican position that reducing regulations and lowering business taxes will improve the economy. I just don't get it. Making it easier (if indeed that is the result) to do business doesn't increase demand in any way I can tell. There isn't a way for the reduced regulations, etc., to reflect in activity across the Sales desk.

When demand increases, it may then be easier (although more hazardous for the rest of us) for companies to make more money, but until the demand increases, I'm hard pressed to understand why business would add jobs.

I've read that some believe that lowering some of these costs will motivate business to repatriate jobs that have been shipped overseas. I have not seen an estimate of whether that's 10 jobs, 10,000 jobs or a million jobs. I'd guess, based on labor rates, it's between 10 and 10,000, but I'm surely no expert. Do you have good data on that?

In summary, I'm asking what economic principle you and your fellow Republicans believe will allow fewer regulations and lower business taxes to lead directly to more jobs and an improved economy.

Thanks for your attention.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A bad couple weeks - for all of us

And if I read the deal to raise the debt ceiling (to pay for bills already authorized, IOW) correctly, it'll be a bad couple of years until rational thinking takes the Congress back. Without some way to stimulate the many millions of us who are not millionaires or oil companies to purchase things again, no hope do I see. The idea of cutting spending to stimulate job growth is just stupid. This economy is built on demand. Without demand, business has no reason to add jobs, or to create its own upstream demand for material. The demand in this country is created not by the relatively few millionaires (buying gold to protect themselves) but by ordinary citizens. If they have money to spend. For these people, money to spend comes from jobs. You will have noticed the circular nature of this: to get money, people need jobs; to get jobs, business needs demand; to get demand, people need money. Government is the only entity that has no axe to grind except improving America. That's where stimulus spending comes into play. Unbudgeted dollars added to the economy through whatever means seem reasonable as long as the means create jobs.

Doing away with government creates Mogadishu. I admit it, I read Bob Cesca since Chez Pazienza pointed me that way, and this cartoon points out the end game of the Republican fantasy.

Unless something completely unexpected happens, we're set for two years of a dead economy - which may take decades to recover - as well as continued erosion of women's rights, regulatorily approved corporate abuse and at the end of the day, higher taxes because the Republicans wanted it all their way. Or Mogadishu.

Of course, there's the chance that in two years, all of us sheep - because of Faux News and the other mainstream media - will forget that the Republicans caused all this and vote them in again. And that will end the economy. Not only sick people will have to die to get help under Paul Ryan’s plan, so will the rest of us.

Write the President, your Senators and Representative. Tell them what you think, and then vote the way you think! I don't care if you agree with me or not - though I think you you should - but you should express your feelings. You can also express your feelings in the comments.

Everyone, be well.

Good as my word: I sent the following message to the White House today:

President Obama, I hope it’s a good day aside from the debt crisis.

I am so grievously disappointed in the 'deal' being bandied about - without having any good knowledge of it, to be sure - that I don't know where to turn.

It seems obvious to me that you may avert the Republican created debt crisis, and that's probably good, although I would have preferred by now a unilateral approach on your side. However, the deal, without the possibility of revenue increases or any hint of stimulus spending, dooms the American economy until such time as the voters wake up and elect members to repeal this mishmash (polite word) and enact a budget that recognizes that the driver of this economy is not millionaires (or even five-hundred thousandaires) putting money in their investment accounts, it's the other people, the little people if you will, driving demand. That's what business wants to see before adding jobs or creating the follow-on demand to produce new product.

If I thought you were less mature and adult than I expect you are, I’d demand that you now refuse any deal without a revenue component, and allow the corporate overlords to beat the Republicans into submission as interest rates go up and the economy tanks. As it is, I’ll only suggest it, because I think the damage will be done either way, and by signing the deal as I understand it, you reward the least worthy without a significant benefit.

Or you can take the tack that on the basis of the 14th amendment, the debt ceiling is specious and should never have been enacted, and just pay the bills. To me, that seems the best course. It would allow the budget process to continue without ruining the country’s reputation.

Thank you for listening no matter your choice.
And also today to my representative - Yup, used the Paul Ryan line again:

Dear Representative Lynch,
Thank you for inviting me to be part of the open town meeting Friday. I was pleased to hear your viewpoints in person.
I was unable to be part of the whole meeting, and I regret that. Also, I was unsure just how I would have gotten a question in the queue, as I didn’t do anything in that regard.

I will ask a question here: Given the likely content of the debt ceiling bill, how in Heaven’s name does the Congress, or the President, expect to get the economy going? Where will the revenue increases come from? How about stimulus spending? With the millionaires investing their tax breaks in investment accounts - or gold, more likely now - who will create the demand that business MUST see before adding jobs or creating their own demand for materials?

Does the economy have to tank for another two years to fix this? If so, what are the odds that the Republicans will be elected in on the basis of a lousy economy that Faux News and the other mainstream media will have forgotten they caused? And that will end the economy. Not only sick people will have to die to get help under Paul Ryan’s plan, so will the rest of us.

Thank you for listening. If you have answers, I’d be interested.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Open Letter Day

Open letters to my Senators and Representative. I hope you will take a minute and do the same for your Senators and Representative, whether you agree with my feelings or not.

To John Kerry, US Senator, Massachusetts
The current charade over the debt ceiling

I hope that you will do all you can to assure that any plan implemented to avoid default, or to reduce the deficit, includes revenue increases along with spending cuts. I will find it *very* difficult to support any candidate who cannot see his or her way clear to making sure that the 'pain' is shared.

thanks for your attention.

To Scott Brown, US Senator, Massachusetts.

Hello, Senator Brown. As an independent voter, I could not support your special election effort. However, your record since being elected has exceeded my expectations.

But to current affairs. I find the posturing in Washington - on both sides, but to me, far more obnoxious on the Republican side - has brought me to a tipping point. I will not be able to support the candidacy of any person who does not agree that revenue increases must accompany the necessary spending reductions in order to put our (the US) financial house in order. I cannot accept that this problem - brought on by years of neglect from both parties and both the Congress and the White House - must be solved in a relative instant and on the backs of only a fraction of the citizens.

I hope that this position makes sense to you, and that you are able to help the Congress and the government make positive progress in the days ahead.

Thanks for your attention.

To Stephen Lynch, Representative for the 9th District, Massachusetts

Rep. Lynch, I hope that you continue to support the notion that revenue increases must accompany the necessary spending cuts as you and your fellow representatives attempt to put the US financial house in order. The Bush era tax cuts for wealthy Americans must go; they should not have been continued the last time this came up.

Please let your fellow Representatives know that some citizens feel as strongly about this as the 'no tax ever' constituency does about raising taxes, and I think there are likely more of us, especially as the effects are understood.

Thanks for your attention.

So far, I have a robo-reply from Senator Kerry.
I also received a robo-reply from Representative Lynch. 

I'm happy to see any opinions expressed in the comments.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't Blink, President Obama!

Don't bail on revenue along with cuts.

The plan you've offered isn't great, but it's far better than anything the Republicans are willing to offer. It will be interesting to see how far Wall Street will let them go before pulling their reins.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In my spare time

I read a bunch of web comics and a couple of web serial fictions. One of the web serials is
Dragon Wars: A Young Adult Fantasy Serial
Here's the story blurb from the site:
Young Adult Fantasy. Three British teenagers are dragged into another world to be warriors in its millennia long conflict with the dragons.  This ongoing Fantasy series will span several sub-genres. *updates Mondays and Fridays*.

I recommend it highly. Becka Sutton updates the main story twice a week and she has a side story going as well.

I'll mention others as I go along, so if you try Dragon Wars and like it, you may find something else you like as well.

Well, it's been busy

That's not a bad thing, but it means that some things don't get all the attention they deserve. Like the blog.

I have been editing the heck out of Mercenaries Book One, and have been receiving valid and useful comments from those who are critiquing it. I've pushed back the release date; I'm hoping for August 1 now. And I'm making the same kind of cuts and restructuring changes in Book Two as well, so maybe I can get through the critiquing phase a little faster on that one, and have it ready by November 1. We'll see.

I also have done some story development for the book to follow Mercenaries, Freedom No Matter. And the six part series, titled Game of Life, has been getting a little attention as well.

There are also the usual things: yard work, finishing the downstairs room (almost done, now. Just needs new ceiling and rug), housework, fix the car, play with the grandson. Nothing exciting there and I'm sure every one of the readers here have their own set of similar distractions from writing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the Road

Leaving now for a weekend in Ohio.

My brother is graduating with his MBA - so proud!

Back Wednesday; see you then.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Cover from a Professional Illustrator

Being a newcomer to this self-publishing thing, I thought I would expose the contacts I had with Les Petersen as we discussed covers from idea to finished art. I hope to let other newcomer authors know that illustrators - or one at least: Les - are not difficult to work with, and are able to interpret and visualize scant comments far better than I. And perhaps other authors, as well. The exchange I have documented below led to the first draft of my cover; read it and believe that you too can work successfully with an illustrator.

I have personal experience with Les, and I recommend him unreservedly. The special deal he describes is available as I write this post, but contact Les to see if it he can still honor it. Even his regular prices don't seem that bad, though. I must admit that the cynic in me says self-publishing has been a boon for illustrators!

Below, the text of my messages to Les are in this background, and his responses are in this text. I've done some editing for clarity and extraneous content.
The story:
My novel Mercenaries; A Love Story, will be epublished. The plan is for it to go live on the Kindle store June 1. I thought my plain cover idea - text on a white background - wasn't nearly spiffy enough and I sought advice. I looked over blogs: Joe Konrath, Ed Cote, Derek Canyon among others.

Armed with their advice, I sent emails to a couple of illustrators. Les Petersen (who did the Twelve Worlds Cover) responded that he was putting together  a promo for the Twelve Worlds authors. The other guy apparently has enough business; he didn't respond.

I sent the first contact was through Les' web site "contact me" form:

Contact Message:

Following the very nice cover you did for Twelve Worlds, I thought I'd ask for ideas for a set of two books, adventure genre, epublished only. Being a complete newcomer to this, what can I tell you that would help you decide if you wanted to help, how much you might charge, what time frame would be needed? And anything else I've forgotten and shouldn't have!

thanks, tony

Les responded (quickly):

I was just about to write to your group with a 'special offer'. Here is the
draft of what I was going to put up. (this might change slightly but it'll
be close)

Special deal for eBook covers.

Professional illustrations for covers for "paper bricks" cost from $2000 up
to 'the sky's the limit'. I offer a greatly reduced fee for first time
self-publishing authors - who usually have a very loose idea of what the
real costs are and need the break - eBooks are similar to self publishing,
the fee is usually $US500.

Because I need to upgrade hardware and software I'm offering a special deal
to the first 10 people who'd like a cover illustrated and do it at $250 an
Genre: I can do any genre.
Ideas for image: which should be as clear as you can make it (eg. a bear
wearing a tutu fighting a green space cadet) or a section of the manuscript
you'd like to see illustrated. I will accept drawings and reference images
as guides, or you can suggest similar cover designs.
I will need a complete description of the appearance and costume of
characters you'd like on the cover - if any.

Covers take about a week of work, and I'll work down the list, so first in
first served.

Rules of engagement:
- I will work to the best of my ability and produce as detailed and
appropriate an image as I can within time constraints.
- I will give you a sketch of my idea for the design as a guide to what I am
doing before beginning the final product. Be aware, the image WILL change
between sketch and final image because that's the nature of illustration -
the sketch is a guide to the final image rather than a rigid map of it.
- Though I will work on the image at a higher resolution (normally twice or
three times the dimensions) I will give you 600pixels wide by 800 pixels
deep illustration at a suitable resolution of less than 127kbs (which is
required by most epublishers). The higher resolution illustration will be
available for an additional $100.
- You will not be unreasonable about the image I provide and not demand too
many changes to get it to what you consider "perfect". I retain the right to
say no to changes if I consider them to be detrimental to the work or my
- An author may ask for any number of covers, but must list the covers in
order of preference. I will do the first on the list as a priority work,
then MAY, if necessary, move to the next author on the list so that I get
all the artists' covers to them within a reasonable time. I will then return
to the works on the list.
- Because this is a special deal, this is not a work for hire agreement. I
retain copyright of the image, but you have sole use rights. In other words,
you can use it for what you want, but I get to use it as self-advertising
and for things like books on my art etc. I do sell cover images as posters
but I limit that to about 50 copies, and I also put some up on my website as
a low res image. If I have need of the image for any other reason, I will
contact you and discuss options.
- I will be open to ideas for cover design but I can say no to any request
that might be detrimental to my reputation. If necessary, I will refund
- The fee for service must be paid ahead of start of work via paypal.

I sent the following:

Les, thanks for the feedback.

I'm still up in the air for what I want, but you've hit my price point
for two covers :)

I am looking for advice; here's what I know.
The complete story is in four main sections, packaged as two books, Part
One and Part Two in Book One, and the last two in Book Two.
I would like a strong identity between the two covers - perhaps the only
thing that changes is Book 1 becomes Book 2, for example.
Given the diversity of settings, I've been thinking of no image at all,
just the name, etc. While that should be easy to do, do you have any
opinion, or any experience to say whether or not that would work from my
POV? I don't have any good idea how the thumbnails would look.

The title is Mercenaries: A Love Story.

I categorize it as Adventure. To give you a brief idea of the story:
Beckie, her brother Mike, and their friend Melissa, are teens who get
involved assisting Ian Jamse and his group of mercenaries in halting a
child abuse ring that operates in Europe, the US and Far East. Book One
is 13+ in my mind; Book Two is probably M for mature.

The setting is contemporary in terms of time. Physically, the locales
are, for Part One: Hawaii, for Part Two: London and Rome. In Book Two,
Part Three is mostly in New Mexico and Arizona, and Part Four is in the
Bahamas and Thailand.

It feels to me like trying to capture the sense of these in a single
image wouldn't work well, though using Beckie and Jamse together might
allow the strong identity I would like while playing up the 'love story'

If you have any thoughts, please shoot them back. And if you are willing
to take on the two covers at US$250 (I assume) each, I'll pay as soon as
you tell me how. I'd accept the terms you listed.
Now you get a chance to tell me what else I've forgotten to tell you!

Les responded (again quickly):

Thanks for the explanations, these all make sense.

I'm quite used to dealing with series of books since most fantasies are trilogies. We usually use a very similar layout and then change one major element. We can do this with the two books.

Can you describe your characters, please. What they look like, what they wear, what they might be armed with (if anything) etc. And what the mercenaries might be dressed like. I'll look at a setting for them that's European in flavour (Paris and Thailand are usually quite identifiable)

I'll draw up a sketch and send it to you and with that sketch might come a few other questions which'll pin down the final images.

And I sent him the following:
The thoughts I had on the cover contents and the questions you asked:
Beckie, the heroine: age: 17+, height: 5'0" (153 cm), weight: 99 pounds (45 Kg), slight build, Caucasian,  hair: chestnut brown, eyes: grey
Ian Jamse, mercenary leader: age: 30,  height: 6'0" (183 cm), weight: 178 pounds (81 Kg), wiry build, Caucasian, hair: dark blond, eyes: blue. No beard or mustache.
Trillian  (Jamse's ocelot) - a relatively smaller  example: 26" (66 cm) length with 12" (31 cm) tail, reddish brown coat with typical black spots, 18 pounds (8 Kg).
How about:

Book One:
Beckie next to Jamse not touching, Trillian between them rubbing against Jamse's leg. Beckie in typical late teen jeans and plain oxford shirt or blouse, bright color. Jamse in slacks and shirt that imply a professional demeanor while on the casual side, subdued colors.

Book Two: same pair except closer together with Trillian outside, still rubbing Jamse's leg. Both in pseudo military gear. Not holding hands or linking arms, just arms touching, I think. Maybe hips, also, depending on how comfortable that stance would look.
Plain solid color backgrounds.
please let me know what you think.

Within a day, I received the first version of the Book One cover.  We've dealt with minor modifications (lightness and darkness of features, Beckie's height, Trillian's size) since then, and the final version took Les less than two weeks from initial contact - well within my schedule!
Final (the sixth version)

Selected earlier ones are in sequence below, from the first on.

With this example, go ahead and talk to an illustrator about your story's cover. It's a doable proposition, and a professional cover will lead readers in to the professionally written world you've created.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I wish the hashtag was #amwriting, but that's not the way of it. Between editing and critiquing several other authors' work (which I don't regret; it helps me, too), and editing my own Mercenaries; A Love Story, little time for writing activities. And less for the blog, unfortunately.

However, things are preceding apace on Mercenaries. I am the beneficiary of several partners, whose advice and suggestions I appreciate, even though I may not abide by their recommendations. I'm looking for a June 1 availability date on Amazon. The cover is complete; I'll post a blog in the next few days documenting the process so those of you, like me, who fear illustrators and artists can see just how easy it is. With Les Petersen, anyway.

And I'm also putting together a post on formatting for Kindles which may be interesting to some. It sort of starts where Derek Canyon's excellent Format Your Ebook for Kindle in One Hour leaves off. But it's taking longer than I thought.

Thanks, and if you haven't, download and read Twelve Worlds!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Twelve Worlds Available April 18

I know, it's Tax Day here in the US, due to some obscure holiday affecting DC, but more importantly, it's Release Day for the Twelve Worlds Anthology!

Go to Amazon to purchase your own copy of Twelve World Anthology for the ridiculously low price of US$2.99. As you do, remember that all author proceeds go to Reading Is Fundamental, our give back to a great organization helping others to learn about and enjoy reading.

If you like the Anthology, please put up a review on Amazon. If you find problems with it, let one of us, the authors, know. Visit the Twelve Worlds web site for more information.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When all you have is a hammer

You know the line about not having the right tool: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

This came to me during a discussion with a writer friend. The discussion started with passive voice and ended with tools. The tools we have as writers. Words, grammar, rules of writing.

This is the place I wanted to arrive. Rules. Rules of writing.

The rules of writing are not "rules" at all, but suggestions. Some of these suggestions are strong, some not so strong, but all are suggestions. We follow them for one reason only: to make it easy for the readers, our readers, to understand what we mean to say to them. A common set of rules is a great leveler.

However, some critics use their idea of rules in an attempt to have us give up some of our tools. Never use passive voice! Adverbs must die! The pluperfect has no place in fiction! You get the idea; if you've written, someone has made similar suggestions to you.

Don't be confused. The only tool we have that cannot be overused is the standard past tense, third person VP, at least in fiction. But overuse of the other tools has, I believe, made some overly sensitive to any examples.

The message is, as it always should be: tell the story you want to tell the way you want to tell it. Don't be put off from using passive voice, or mixed viewpoints, if one of those fills the hole in your story. We have all these tools. Some are common; some are unconventional, perhaps unfamiliar. Use the correct one for the effect you want to achieve. Don't overuse them; with familiarity comes contempt. Don't use them to avoid wrestling with the tool you should be using. But, do use them to make your readers feel your message.

Don't give up any of your tools. Don't allow someone else to take them away from you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Twelve Worlds Announcment

I take a day off, and everyone has the word out.

Oh, well. Here's my announcement, for those who may not have seen it elsewhere.

This collection includes fourteen stories, over 80,000 words. The stories run the gamut of speculative fiction:  romantic fantasy, ghosts, hard SF, vampires. It includes Derek Canyon's Noose in a great story set before Dead Dwarves Don't Dance, and another set in Edward Cote's Violet Skies universe. More information, including story blurbs and author bios, is available at the Twelve Worlds web site. Visit there.

Did I mention it's for charity? The authors selected Reading Is Fundamental; RIF will receive all the authors' royalties from the sale of the book. The price has been set at $2.99 (US$). The release date is early April. Check back here for details on where you can purchase Twelve Worlds. A great bargain and a way to help great work by RIF!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Interview is Up!

At JE Medrick's blog, Mythos of an Indie. Check it out, please.

More later, enjoy your day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Editing. Or as it's also known, Critiquing

I joined last year to improve my writing, help others improve theirs, and learn. I hope so far I've been successful at all of them; I know I've done two out of three.

What I consider editing:
I've learned that what I consider editing (or critiquing) is a combination of copy-editing and reviewing.

I keep in mind first and foremost: It's not my story. Really. I make suggestions about spelling, punctuation, word order, plot tension, all those things I believe will help an author improve their work. But at the same time, it's up to the author to consider those suggestions, and choose which if any of them to act on. Because it's their story, and I could well have read something in a completely different way than the author expected. That's good for the author to understand, so I may have done my job. But specific suggestions may have no validity at all.

There are authors who take exception to my suggestions as a matter of fact. Or whose style I don't care for. Or ignore misspellings or [its/it's] confusions that make my teeth ache. Move on. I'm a volunteer, not paid by anyone, have no special expertise beyond tens of thousands of pages read and years of trying to be sure I was understood as easily as possible.

If you're interested, there are a lot of web resources, at least on copy-editing and proofreading. Start with Wikipedia; these articles don't seem to be fraught with personal agendas. There are similar resources at Critters on the topic of critiquing, which is a different animal than editing.

I start by reading the piece, as much of it as I have, through. During this read, I annotate with bothersome things, almost all in the category of copy-edits (misspellings, punctuation and the like) that take me out of the story by drawing attention to themselves. I don't catch nearly all of them - and never claim to find 100% - just the ones that interfere with that first read. Obviously, the more I like the story, the fewer of these errors I notice. So, I put it down for a day or so, then read it again, again making line-by-line edits and on this pass, comments on wording (choice, order) as seem appropriate. If the story is particularly engaging to me, I may have to do this a third time.

Following this read, I review the story elements using  a short check list excerpted from Victory Crayne's helpful article How to Critique Fiction.

    Point of View
    Show versus tell (many, very, really, great, nice)

In addressing as many of these points as I think useful, I try to focus on my reaction to the piece, which I hope might be typical of other readers, and so useful to the author, giving them an insight to the way the I perceive the writing, how I react to it, do the characters elicit my sympathy, is there a hook in the opening that would draw me to read further even if I wasn't doing a critique, does the ending satisfy me - or in the case of a non-final chapter, does it provide a hook to lead me on?

My goal in making comments and suggestions is to inform the author how this one reader understood and reacted to their work. As a writer, this is information useful to me. I want to know if I've gotten my message through the veil of words to a reader. I want hints about the things I should change to make the reader's job, not easy, necessarily, but easier. I want the reader to invest something of their own imagination and thought processes as they read, but I acknowledge that too much of that will send some readers to a different leisure time choice. Because these things seem important to me, I expect that other authors will similarly find them useful.

Application to my own writing
This is an interesting problem. I find it much easier to copy edit another person's work than mine. (I suppose that's a good reason for copy-editors to charge good money for their efforts.) And it's even more true of the critiquing process.

The wisdom of the web is that this is largely because as the author, I know everything about the story. I am inflicted with the God viewpoint, after all. I know with absolute surety not only what the words and characters are, I know what each of those characters are doing, have done and will do in any conceivable circumstance. I even know why. With all that backstory in my head, it's difficult to read what's actually been written; I read what I already know is there.

Of course, this comes as no surprise to anyone who's been doing this a while. It is far easier to find errors, either of omission or comission, in something you didn't write. The main self-help documents provide tips for improving the success rate; I am trying to put them into practice. Still it is unnerving to read a manuscript that has been read by myself probably fifty times, and by others another handful, and just last week, I found another capitalization error!

One technique I have recently stumbled on: for me, editing is more successful when I change the format of the ms. I write in either Open Office Writer or Word (I tried Pages, but wasn't happy with it in the early version). Most review is done in one of those as well. But when I convert to Kindle (not as easy for me as it seems to be for others, but that's another post), and read in that format, things pop out at me that don't in Word or OO. The same is true of a paper review copy, but to cut page count down, I  print in 6 pt type, making the reading more difficult (for this really old guy), so the Kindle format works better for me, at least so far.

How is your experience? Any tips you'd like to pass along? Comment below, please.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 12Worlds Cover is Here!

Artist Les Petersen created a great cover for us. It evokes the feeling of multiple genres and is just an awesome piece of art. Thanks a lot, Les! If you are an author looking for an artist, I definitely advise you to contact Les at his website. He’s a breeze to work with.
The anthology will have a wide variety of stories in it, including paranormal, epic fantasy, romantic fantasy, urban fantasy, cyberpunk, space travel, mystery, and more.
My contribution to the anthology is a romantic fantasy named Weird and Wonderful, starring Mailira, her sister Marelsa and Jackson, a musician. As the blurb says:
Mailira and Marelsa together bring an old Scottish folk tale to life for a young musician.

Twelve Worlds is the only place you’ll be able to read this short story.
Twelve Worlds will be available in early April for $2.99.
Author profits from the sale of this book will go to a charity that we’ll announce before publishing.
Keep checking back here for more information about the anthology.
Much of this post is shamelessly taken from Derek Canyon's blog. If you have interest in ePublishing, you should definitely visit.

A New Look, Take Two

Well, it's sure good I'm a web designer by avocation! This is a second try at choosing a compatible color scheme and rational fonts. Again, I invite comment.

I've attempted to improve the look of the site. Please comment if the new look is better - or worse! - in your opinion.

Reminder: comments are always welcome.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

12 Worlds

As we approach the publication of the First 12 Worlds Anthology for Charity, one of our authors, J E Medrick, will be doing interviews with each of the authors over the next several weeks, one per Wednesday.

Check them out at

More news coming.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The word count fetish

I just posted a comment on Ed Cote's Violet Skies blog about word counts. His post followed one by Dean Wesley Smith discussing word counts in the current day. Both were enlightening to me, one with damn little experience in anything but reading books.

Ed  suggests one model that may become more popular would follow that of webcomics, where new content - usually related thematically - is posted on a regular, or not so regular, basis. I replied that I have five such webserials that I follow through their RSS feeds. While I have no information concerning the financial support of the sites, they all but one have ads, mostly Project Wonderful, and several have tip jars or donate buttons. For example:
Dragon Wars
I have no way to tell if the ad or donation support is sufficient to fund any portion of the process; since the content is provided for free, I can read and reread it whenever I like. I'm uncertain of the business model being pursued. It may be advertising on its own, attempting to attract readers to the author's other works - if so, for me it fails, because I haven't clicked around to discover the hook. That's not because I don't like the content, and wouldn't read more; it's because I have as many of those as I have time allocated. It's similar to the 60 or so webcomics I follow: I will vote, and when I have money (not often since losing my job), I'll donate or buy merchandise, but for the books, I just read. Can't say how typical or atypical my behavior might be. As far as the model goes, there are few webcomic artists making a living at webcomics, at least if we go by the artists' blogs. Free content has always seemed to me to be a loss leader.

Another point is that, like webcomics, these webserials are provided in chunks that I think of as chapters,  and serve a story line that is long term; we'd like them to last forever! Or a long time, at least, until we fickle consumers find something else to salivate over. I've thought about trying to mold one of my novels into the format, but have been unsuccessful so far; the natural breaks in my story are too far apart, I think.

In my comment, I also gave a half-hearted defense of publishers, which also applies to Dean Wesley Smith's post as well. We cannot forget that publishers are businesses. For profit businesses. The requirement that they turn a profit drives their decisions. I don't envy J.K. Rowling's agent the job s/he had when selling Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to Scholastic. Smith points out that substantial costs are involved in the return process; I assume that's the result of taking unsold books back at essentially cost so the bookstores are not at risk (except the opportunity cost  of their shelf space).
  I agree with the view that Smith describes, that publishers drove larger books by word count - or page count - as a way to soothe buyer's feelings over the higher prices driven by rising production costs (only loosely related to word count). As we rejoice in the possibilities afforded by ePublishing our own works, we should remember that this change is disruptive to the classical industry, and eventually, winners will change to survive, and others will hang on to either fail or to become boutique publishers catering to consumers who demand hard covers and smooth, flexible paper pages.
Publishers drove word count until the production costs for larger books reached the tipping point and the buyers declined to pay more. Being the only game in town, authors had little recourse to the limits unilaterally imposed by publishers; now however, as Smith so succinctly puts it:
There are no restrictions, no right lengths for novels anymore. Just write what the story demands to be written and then decide what to do with it.
 Never having thought of traditional publishing as an outlet for my own work, I was never much concerned about word count. Although I felt comfortable with Piers Anthony's opinion that 125K words was right for his Xanth stories, I was just telling the story, without much regard to how many words it took to get there. As a result, my first series came in with four natural breaks: the first is 40K words, the second, 43K words, the third 74K words and the last, 27K words. For the sake of packaging, I have it in two books, the first comes in at 83K and the second at 101K, in deference to the approximately 100K word limit. The second series, a fantasy/SF work, has six novels, at least two of which come in at novella length:
48K, 83K, 99K, 200K, 250K and 51K. The fifth novel is incomplete, so the 250 is an estimate. In deference to the fetish, I packaged the first two together, yielding 131K words. However, these six were always intended to go as a set, a single thread through all six, and one main character as protagonist in all, so it wasn't a matter, as Smith complains:
That always caused either slight expansion of a story-line or leaving a story-line out that belonged in the book.
 I am happy to have an outlet for work that doesn't easily fit the model the publishers like, and provides the ability to write with topics that are important to me but not necessarily to a great many others. Freedom from another artificial constraint is a joy; write at the length that fits the story you're telling. Then decide the medium for its distribution.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


>>Just back from a two week visit to Tidewater Virginia. Always an interesting place to visit, what with relatives and all.
TV is filled with even more used car ads than home.
Military Highway and Va Beach Blvd are vying with Dallas for the longest traffic light cycles.
But, no snow on the ground! This is huge! Though the grass hasn't started to green up, the daffodils and the forsythia were sticking their heads up and popping yellow flowers, respectively.

>>Work on 12Worlds is proceeding at a nice clip. Click over to Book Blogs: for more information. It will be soon.

>>Would it be too much to ask that Charlie Sheen doesn't get any mention at all for the next six months?

>>Should protesters looking to overthrow governments have an alternative in mind prior to bringing down the incumbent?

>>Does it seem likely to you too that as the government spending reduction party exercises its new found strength (I had written 'tax reduction', but I don't see a great deal of interest in that - just cutting spending), things formerly thought of as public amenities will become more of 'for service' things, available, but with a fee associated. Bill Howard writes in the February Roundel (the excellent magazine of the BMW Car Club of America):

"...The crash tax-or accident tax-is an egregious example (of core services formerly tax supported-my note).
     Say you get in an accident. Emergency vehicles show up, then maybe an ambulance. Police and fire departments are government services funded by us, through taxes, and made universally available; the ambulance may or may not be. Now there's a movement to make people in accidents pay for public-safely responders. Some 55 California cities and towns charge already. New York City is on the verge of sending out bills if the fire department responds to an auto accident: accident with injuries, $490: Car fire with no injuries, $415; accident with no fire or injuries, $365...."

Bill goes on to discuss other similar proposals of interest to his readers, but it seems naive to think that cash strapped governments will stop with police and fire services, those are simply the easiest to aim. School districts nationwide have already upped participation fees for sports and other "non-essential" activities; I guess when reading and math become non-essential, the tax bills will really drop!

>>After ten plus hours driving (and two hours waiting on the CBE)  each way, I am again reminded just how very much we all depend on drivers to do what we expect them to -- and how very often our expectation is actually met!

>>With my only internetz access through Panera (thank you bread gods!), it took me three days to catch up on webcomics, webbooks and most blogs. It's wonderful that my absence was so little noted; I'd hate to have had a negative impact on the tubes. I must recommend the cinnamon crunch and blueberry bagels to go along with the fresh coffee.

till later...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt - Congratulations!

The easy part of the transition to the new order is done.

Watching the coverage of the post-Mubarak rally on Al Jazeera, on CNN and on NBC, it goes against our expectations, forged as they have been by armed insurrections in Vietnam, in Iran, in Afghanistan.

The congratulations all of us should shower on the Egyptian people are for the transition to a new government certainly, but also and perhaps more importantly, for not allowing violence to be a tool of protest.

For this, thanks. All the best as the world changes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nathan Bransford's 4th Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge

Saw this headline this morning, and thought I'd drop in the first paragraph of Mercenaries, A Love Story. About 200,000 words, it is still a work in progress. (Mostly to cut the word count!)
Here is the first paragraph, also posted (about #796) on Nathan's contest thread:

  “Com’on, Ian! Let’s get the hell out of here!” Kevin deVeel stuck his head into the room, to make sure that Jamse was at least beginning to move. “Come on,” he pleaded. “They’re getting too close,” as a shell whistled through the next room, creating a new window without exploding. “If you see what I mean?” 

Visit Nathan's Blog.
Enjoy the day. Comments welcome.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weird and Wonderful

Below are the first few paragraphs of Weird and Wonderful, a short story which will be published in the 2011 Twelve Worlds Anthology for Charity. The anthology is a collection of a dozen speculative fiction short stories by a dozen authors. 

This is a  draft, subject to change. If you like the beginning, you will be able to read the complete story only in the anthology. If you don't like it, please leave  a comment to mention that.

Weird and Wonderful, an except

    A movement snatched Jackson's attention from the grill. He turned just in time to see her head disappear into a large trash can, the one still full of ice water. She straightened quickly, water coursing off her face, out of her hair as she pulled it back.
    Amazed at the sight, he stared. The front of the bright cotton top she wore outlined her form even more impudently wet than it had when dry. He watched with sincere appreciation. No matter the wet shirt, she was completely at home with the water. He had thought she was just wet, but now... Her skin glowed, blushed, as the cold fluid clung.  She and the water were much more than comfortable. Jackson had felt a little guilt at his pleasure seeing her nipples erect and boldly outlined by the wet shirt. Now his guilt had become more that of intruding on an intimate encounter.
    Mesmerized, he did not turn away no matter the guilt. She dipped a hand gently into the bucket, withdrew it rubbing her fingertips together. As she touched her cheek, smoothing the skin, her thrall was apparent and brilliant to him.
    The burnt odor of an ignored hot dog disrupted his abstraction. Rolling the last usable hot dogs about the grill top, he continued to notice the smooth texture of her skin as beads of water slid down, caressing. He averted his gaze, acknowledging that he was aware of his incursion into, he wasn't sure what, but it was completely intimate.

The rest of the story is part of the 2011 Twelve Worlds Anthology for Charity. More details will be posted here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I'm not quick enough of mind to respond to an event like this in any formalized way in the minutes and hours following, as many other commentators are able to do. Most, thankfully, have been rational in both their reporting and their comments.

However, I must extend my heartfelt sympathy to both the families of the victims and equally heartfelt wishes for a speedy and complete recovery to the survivors.

As many others did, I observed the immediate reaction focused on political issues as the root cause of this tragedy, specifically the vitriolic exchanges, predominately but not exclusively from the "right." With more information about the shooter becoming available, it seems increasingly likely that to find the root cause of the shooting, his desire to kill, or perhaps to be noticed,  Mr. Loughner's mental state must be examined.

Those on the "right," having felt the weight of public censure over comments, maps, and opinions both before and in the aftermath, argue that the brouhaha is unwarranted, especially now that Loughner's mental state has been revealed.  There is certainly some small basis for that position.

However, it remains a fact that Loughner did not target a Catholic (as Fred Phelps was willing to do to spread his own message of intolerance and hate) or another denomination's religious service. Nor did Loughner target his family following a dispute Saturday morning.  He did not choose a sporting event. He did not elect to stop at a random gathering of citizens. Even the police were safe as Loughner received a ticket that morning. He chose, deliberately if the reports of discovered evidence are accurate and correctly interpreted, to attend the Congress on Your Corner event where Congresswoman Giffords was to meet her constituents.

I am left with the strong opinion that while Loughner's mental illness may have led him to make this horrible mark, the political environment in the United States and in Arizona in particular determined the direction the young man took in making his mark.

This is not to say that Ms Sarah Palin's famous (and quickly deleted) map was even one of the triggers (pun intended). Any person within the reach of Radio or Television has been inundated with the conceit that the United States is going to the dogs - or the furriners - and "We gotta take back what's ours!" It doesn't really matter that these sentiments may not be inspired by the hope of armed revolution or treasonous plots to depose the sitting President, they sound as if they could be interpreted that way. Given that they sound like that, in a large enough group, people who want them to have those meanings will interpret them to fit their fears, hopes and plans.

Concerning statements (and maps) like those discussed above, it beggars belief to hear denials like “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights.” That statement and the one just following: “We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent,” just seem to me to be the height of arrogance, of insolence. Expecting an intelligent reader to believe those statements either borders on incompetence, or bespeaks a fervent belief that 'If I say it enough, maybe someone will come to believe it.'  Even had Saturday's horror not occurred, to suggest that Palin and her troops (mantra: Don't retreat - Reload!) never thought about the imagery being used on their watch implies an ineptitude that her advisors and mentors have failed to demonstrate on other occasions.

To people of all persuasions and opinions: Words have consequences, sometimes even greater than facts. Opinions are sharable, but civil discourse calls for well-intentioned restraint. Please exercise your right of free speech in a rational, thoughtful way, not to incite those among us who are unwilling to or incapable of understanding hyperbole or rhetoric as what it is and what it is not.

I would hope that all of us recall President Reagan's words: "It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." No one but Jared Loughner is directly responsible for the shootings. Each of us who pretend a failure to understand that our words and actions have consequences (or worse, actually believe that) are complicit in the tragedy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A first entry, nothing of interest here, people, just move along

Created the first blog, and here's its first entry.