Friday, July 03, 2015

July 4, 2015

I'm supposed to be a wordsmith, but I really don't know how to fully express the way I feel. Tomorrow, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of this nation--a nation, as Lincoln put it, "conceived under God." And when I look around me, I'm saddened by the events of our world, and those taking place in our own nation.

We'll fly our flag this weekend, as we do almost every day. We'll join in the singing of our national anthem when it's played. We'll vote and work and pray for our nation.

When I was commissioned an officer in the Air Force, I took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend our nation from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. I still try to live up to those words.

I hope each of us on this Independence Day will pause to reflect on what it has taken for us to be citizens of a free nation. As it's been put so eloquently, America was founded on the principles of being "one nation, under God, indivisible...with liberty and justice for all."

I'll be taking a blogging hiatus for the balance of July (in case anyone notices). Enjoy the month. I'll see you in August.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting It Right

If you're a regular reader, you know I've played baseball, I've coached it, and I still enjoy watching it. Purists groaned when baseball introduced the "instant replay" and "challenges" a couple of seasons ago. The same thing happened in professional football, but it seems to have worked.

I've always respected umpires. They do a tough job, and seem to do it well. Oh, there are times I think they really blew a call, but they're getting better about asking another umpire, who might have had a better view of the play, for help. But I wonder how often a call of theirs is challenged and overturned.

The only figures I was able to find were for the season just concluded in the fall of 2014. At that time, when replays were reviewed because of challenges initiated by managers or questions from the umpires themselves, about half of the questioned calls were overturned. That sounds like a lot--but consider that the home plate umpire calls balls and strikes about 250 times a game (and these aren't subject to challenge). The umpires on the bases make calls over 50 times (and these usually can be questioned). So, on balance, maybe the umpires don't do such a bad job.

I complain from time to time (big surprise). But when I stop to consider the matter, maybe the things about which I'm complaining go as they should most of the time.

How about you? Would you like to have an "instant replay" of some things in your life? Do you think  the faceless entities like the phone and power companies about which we complain don't do such a bad job? What's your opinion?

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Writing: Different Strokes...

I guess I'm dating myself, but I was around when this saying was popular: "Different strokes for different folks." There are a lot of ways to apply that, but today I'd like to apply it to writing...and reading.

Writers hear about "rules" and "suggestions" that, if we follow them, are almost guaranteed to produce a best-seller. But the more I learn as I travel this road to writing, the more convinced I am that it's possible to ignore rules provided the final product is one readers enjoy.

One of the things about which we're warned is being unclear with our phrasing. Consider these two paragraphs:

A) Roger Leonides had been in London on the day of his father's death at Box House, the headquarters of Associated Catering.

B) On the day of his father's death, Roger Leonides had been in London at Box House, the headquarters of Associated Catering.

Which is clearer to you? The problem with A) is that it implies that the father died at Box House, whereas B) seems to more accurately depict what happened. Which is which? A) was taken from Crooked House, a classic by Agatha Christie that the Saturday Review of Literature called "a knockout." B is my own version.

Which one sold multiple thousands of copies? Yeah, that's right. Crooked House went through nine editions in English, not to mention something like thirteen in various foreign languages.

So, what do you think? What rules or suggestions do you think are important? Or does it really matter?

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(PS--For those who didn't notice, the man in the picture above is wearing shoes of two different colors--different strokes).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Sunday was the first official day of summer. Of course, summer's been here for several weeks, but now it's official. Summer means different things to different people. For workers, summer is a time to look forward with anticipation (or possibly dread) to a vacation. For  school children, it means no studying, no tests, no teachers--unless they're in summer school. For some people, it means the weather will be hotter when they engage in their favorite outdoor activity.

What are your plans for this summer? Leave a comment and tell us.

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Note: The Suspense Sisters review site today addresses Fatal Trauma. If you'd like to read what the reviewer has to say and leave a comment, click here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to all of you who've entered the Perfect Prescription Prize Pack Giveaway, helping me celebrate the release of my latest medical thriller, Fatal Trauma. In case you've forgotten, the prize consists of:

  • A $25 cash card
  • A copy of Fatal Trauma
  • A bag of coffee (because caffeine can cure a lot)
  • A medical-inspired coffee mug
  • Syringe pens
  • A box of medical-inspired cookies (because sugar can cure what caffeine doesn’t)
And the winner is Stephanie Halcomb. 

Congratulations to Stephanie. The folks at LitFuse will email you shortly.

I'd like to express my appreciation to LitFuse Group and my publisher, Abingdon Press, for putting all this together. And thanks to all of you for playing. Stay tuned to this site for tomorrow's regular post.

Oh--it won't be long before the release of my next novel, Miracle Drug. Watch for it in September.