Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Post-Thanksgiving Musings

 Maybe it's just me, but until this week-end I've been focused on Thanksgiving. But now it's over, and I awakened to the realization that this is the first Sunday in Advent (I'm writing this on Sunday night). I've tolerated my wife spending so much time deciding on just the right Christmas presents, and (in today's climate) being certain we can get them in time. Now I'm grateful that she's spent that time and effort, and can see why she was busy with it. Thanksgiving's late date this year means that in just a few short weeks, Christmas will be upon us.

Other than recovering from the tryptophan-induced sleepiness that too much turkey, too much football, and too much else that follows our Thanksgiving, am I alone in realizing that Christmas is right around the corner? I'll bet that some of you have already finished your preparations for the holiday. And if you haven't, please know that you can join my club. Meanwhile, I guess I'd better get busy. I understand that Christmas will be here soon. 

Note: for those who haven't already read it, my Christmas novella, Silent Night, Deadly Night, is on special for 99 cents for the Kindle version at Amazon right now. Spread the word.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving, 2021

Are you ready? Well, ready or not, Thanksgiving is two days away. It's different, this year. We may not be able to gather as we usually do, the "feast" may cost more, lots of things are different. But despite the changed situation, we can still find things for which we are thankful. When I looked out this morning, I saw the American flag flying, as it always has, from the stanchion attached to the front of our house. There may come a time when we can no longer fly our flag, but until that day, Old Glory will be displayed daily, symbol of the freedom we enjoy.

Our Thanksgiving Day meal may be a bit different, but we'll still eat it in gratitude--gratitude for our family (near and far), gratitude for enough and more when there's so much want around us, gratitude for the freedoms we take for granted. The political climate, the changes necessary because of the "plague" that still exists, the situation in general--all these things affect us, but we can still find things for which to be grateful. I hope the same applies to you all.

Enjoy your holiday. See you next week.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Writing: Indie vs Traditional Publishing

You'd think that the process of waiting for a writer is over once they either hook up with a publisher or decide to "go indie." In the former process, you'd imagine that every step would be planned out, and all you have to do is wait for the money to roll in. In the latter, the author merely relaxes and lets the process take over. In both cases--wrong!

We're all aware of the time frame for the average novel published by a traditional publisher--from the time of signing the first contract, it may be anywhere from 12 months or more--lots more--until an author can hold the finished product in his hand. And, when you become aware of everything involved in the publishing process, it's understandable. But, you think, it has to be different when you're at the wheel of the indie process. Well, yes and no. It goes faster, but every decision is up to you--and when (as you should) you choose to get a professional involved for cover design, editing, and other functions--you are the one who does the choosing. 

Meanwhile, of course, you should be working on the next novel. And the one after that. And so forth.

Note: I thought I was through writing, but my wife thought otherwise, and--as usual--she might be right. I'm in the last phase of preparing a novella for publication. My time table is for it to be released after the first of the year (to take advantage of all the Amazon gift cards to be given). Details will be released soon--first on my newsletter, and later on this blog. Meanwhile, enjoy your preparations for the holidays.  

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day, 2021

 Today is Veterans' Day. It had its beginning as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, commemorating the armistice that was signed to end the first world war--at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year.

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, and should not be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in military service. I'm proud to have served, and always feel a special thrill when someone recognizes that I'm a veteran and thanks me for my service--even though it was quite a while ago.

We'll fly our flag today, as we do every day--even after the election results a year ago. Because brave men and women fought for our right to do so. When you see a veteran today, thank him or her for their service. It will bring a smile to your face and theirs.

I'll skip tomorrow, and see you next week.


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Cell Phones: Blessing Or Curse?

One of our favorite shows (yes, we record and watch them) features our beloved obsessive-compulsive detective who loves to say, about his gift, "It's a blessing...and a curse." More than once I've said that same thing about our electronics--especially the cell phones. 

I hate seeing someone in a conversation with others who has one eye on his/her cell phone. And seeing a couple in a restaurant--together supposedly but each checking their cell phone phone and never paying attention to the other--now, that practically brings me to tears.

Admittedly, I'm sort of a Luddite in this regard anyway. I use my cell phone to make and receive calls, and occasionally get a text (besides the political ones, which I usually delete, and the ones from my spouse, which I do NOT ignore). My wife, on the other hand, is often on her cell phone while listening to TV or crocheting or otherwise occupied, doing at least two things at once and sometimes more than that. I can't do it, so it's sort of difficult to see others divide their attention. 

And if you want to see how dependent we are on our cell phones, just try doing without them for a few hours, much less a day or more. Nothing brings us to our knees like finding that the Internet is down. Maybe it's just me. Don't know. Am I alone in this, or do you sympathize with me? Let me know.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Writing: Setting The Stage

As I began thinking about what to write on Friday, I thought about character descriptions. Does your heroine have brown eyes, or blue, or green, or hazel? And does it matter? The old trick of looking in the mirror and telling the reader about hair color and style, and all the rest of it, may work once--but not much after that.

I just received an advance copy of Patricia Bradley's latest, and she does a good job of describing her main characters to the reader in the first couple of chapters--as well as telling us who they are and what they do at the onset. Which brings up another point. The reader may not have read the books that precede this one in the series, so it's incumbent of the author to "catch them up," without revealing the entire plot of what's gone before. (By the way, I'm looking forward to reading more by Patricia--so far, so good.)

Of course, if you've chosen to write free-standing books (as I have), you'll need to set the stage for your reader in every one--occupation, quirks, the whole works. So you have that to look forward to with each of  your books

So, my advice is to set the stage carefully, and in the first couple of chapters if possible. Is this important to you? What do you want to know? What don't you care about? Let me know.

PS--don't forget to set your clocks BACK one hour at bedtime Saturday, and enjoy the extra hour we get back.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

November (already)

 It seemed that, here in Texas at least, we went from summer to fall almost overnight. Suddenly (it seems), we're into the last two months of the year. Say good-bye (and good riddance) to Daylight Saving Time. The State Fair of Texas has come and gone already. The World Series will wind down soon, the football schedule is half-way over,  and they're already talking about the Winter Olympics. (Whether the US should participate in that is a topic for another time, although I have my opinion there).

For those who've been curious, my corner of North Texas celebrated Halloween in its own way on Sunday evening, and we had a few--actually, a very few--small children going trick-or-treating around our neighborhood in the twilight hours. Then, whether the grown-ups gathered around TV sets to watch the Cowboys or World Series or just to rest before the upcoming Monday, it was all over.

Oh, and if it hasn't hit you yet, Christmas is just around the corner--again. What happened to the rest of the calendar? Are you ready? That's what I thought.