1,000 Words A Day...

…To Create A Writing Empire

My Guardian Angel Drives A Green 1968 Dodge Charger

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I woke this morning to a memory of an incident that took place when I was a kid in the 1970’s. I was a 14-years-old and living in Lindenhurst, New York, a blue collar town on the south shore of Long Island.

Having just completed my newspaper deliveries, I was straddling my bike in my driveway talking to my then best friend Joe. His cute brown and white mixed-breed dog, Kilroy stood nearby. As we were talking I noticed this kid, who looked to be seventeen, walking down our block and angling right toward us. He wore a parka, had dark disheveled hair, a scruffy beard, and a serious look on his face.

I didn’t know who he was, but my danger radar was sure pinging. I slid my bike lock chain off my handlebars and lowered it to my side.

I turned to Joe, “You know this guy?”

“No idea who he is but he looks pissed.” Joe said.

The guy walked right up to us, and faced me. He was taller than me, had a wiry build, and was all business. He said, “You beat up my little brother.”

Fear gripped me. I thought I was in for a real ass-kicking.

The day before, my younger sister told me this kid Eddie constantly picked on her and harassed her on her way to and from school. I knew the little punk, and knew he was a trouble maker. When I saw my sister visibly upset by the antics of this asshole, I decided to do something about it.

Earlier on this day, I ambushed Eddie on his way home from school and confronted him about my sister. He was 12 years-old to my 14, and I was a lot bigger than him, but he didn’t care. He took on a wise-ass attitude so I hit him once, then threw him down on someone’s lawn. He started crying, got up and took off running.

Now his older brother was here to exact revenge.

“Your brother was bullying my little sister. He made her cry. What was I supposed to do, let him keep picking on her?” I said.

“I don’t give a fuck what he does to your sister, and I don’t give a fuck about you. Look at the size of you. My brother is only twelve. Get off that bike ‘cause I’m gonna fuck you up,” my attacker said.

At first I froze. I kept the right side of my body from his view and gripped the heavy chain tighter.

“I said get off the fucking bike,” the attacker said taking a step forward.

I swung the chain in a vicious arc trying to connect with his head or face. He flinched just enough so that the lock on the end of the looped chain just grazed his chin. He took a step back, and I jumped off my bike and backed into my front yard. I kept the chain at the ready.

His right hand went into the pocket of his parka, and it came out holding a knife.

Amazingly I kept my cool sizing up my opponent; I figured I’ll keep swinging the chain to keep him from getting close. Just then I saw Joe, stark fear across his face, grab his dog’s collar saying, “Come on Kilroy, let’s go home.”

“That’s right Joe, go home and call the cops and tell ‘em there’s a guy with a knife trying to attack me.” I said.

Me and the attacker circled one another in this deadly stand-off. The unnerving thing is he wasn’t saying anything, I could just see him trying to figure out how he was going to stab me without getting hit with the chain.

Suddenly a green 1968 Dodge Charger roared up the street and screeched to a stop in front of my house. I was thinking, ‘Oh shit, is this another of Eddie’s brother’s?’

A guy of about 20, with curly blond hair poked his head out of the window, “What the fuck are you doing with that knife?” he said to my attacker.

The attacker looked over at the blond guy and said, “He beat up my little brother…”

“Yeah, because his little brother keeps bullying my sister, and makes her cry.” I shouted out.

My attacker looked at me then back to the blond guy, who said to my attacker, “You better put that knife away and get the hell out of here.”

“But…”

“If I get out of this car, I’m gonna take that knife away from you and shove it right up your ass,” the blond guy said.

My attacker looked at the blond guy and could see he wasn’t kidding. My attacker didn’t say another word. He backed away from me while pocketing the knife. Once he reached the street, he turned and ran and was soon out of sight.

“You alright kid?” The blond guy said.

“Yeah, thanks for helping me out.” I said.

“If he bothers you again, let me know, I live just down on the next block.” The blond guy said, putting his car in gear and roared down the street.

I never saw the blond guy in the green Dodge Charger, nor the guy with the knife, again.

I had another run-in with Eddie a few years later, but that’s another story. By the time he was in his 20’s he became a muscle bound thug. When he was 24, he went to jail for rape.

The frightened kid Joe, who abandoned me, grew up and joined the NYPD. That pasty-white Irish-Catholic kid was stationed in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the toughest neighborhoods at that time. The last time I saw Joe was just before 9-11. He was still with the NYPD, but had since transferred to the Harbor Patrol. I just know he was there that day showing great care and courage helping people to escape the stricken city.

Although I didn’t give it much thought at that time, as an adult I often wonder what would have happened if the guy in the Charger hadn’t shown up. In every scenario I play out in my head, none of them end well.

Somewhere out there was a young man with curly blond hair in a green 1968 Dodge Charger, who most likely saved me from great harm. Thanks again.

Ninja Reflexes (or Just Lucky?)

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So it was Mother’s Day, and we had a busy but good day. We decided to have a healthy dinner and went to Whole Foods to get some produce and seafood.

In the parking lot a car was parked in the main thoroughfare right in front of the entrance, impeding traffic flow. We went around the car parked in a real parking space. As we walked past the car we noticed there was no one in the driver’s seat but there was a woman in the passenger seat. We’re like, “What the hell?”

I’m walking forward, but looking back at the car while stooping a little to look at the woman to see if she’s okay. I trip on the curb in front of the store entrance. As the concrete rushed towards me, in my head I’m like, “Oh shit this is gonna hurt, “ but then instinct kicks in, and I go with the fall instead of trying to stop it. I tuck my right shoulder down as I fall, I roll across my back, my legs come up and over onto the pavement, and the momentum stands me up straight. Loly is there in a flash, “Werner, Werner are you okay?” I looked over at her, nodded and said, “I’m good.”

George Carlin once did a bit about cats and how they give the impression they’re always cool and in control. He describes how they can run smack into a glass door and be like, “Hey, I’m okay, I meant to do that.” They then go behind the couch where no one can see them and are like, “Fucking me-ow, that fucking hurt!”

That was me going into Whole Foods. I’m feeling pain, but not showing it. Loly’s saying, “I can’t believe you fell like that. It looked like you meant do it, like a Ninja or a stuntman.”

The long and short of it is, I’m okay. The extent of my injuries is a very small graze on my left elbow, and right hand, and a little soreness in my right shoulder. I was up the next morning on my 3 mile hike in the woods. The day after I was painting a facing board on our second story deck, and today I was pulling up old deck boards and installing new ones.

I gotta admit I’m impressed my old roughhousing ways kicked in automatically, and  moreover I’m thrilled and thankful I didn’t get seriously hurt.

Pseudonym’s of Famous Authors

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I Want To Be A Writer

“I want to be a writer. I want to write a book.”

This is what I often hear from people when I tell them I’m working on a book and becoming an Authorpreneur. When they say it they have this dreamy far away look in their eyes. Imagining fame and fortune, going on TV shows and signing their name on copies of their books. I give them the same advice I’m gonna give you, in the same way my mentor gave it to me.

>>>SMACK<<<

Slap

“No, you really don’t want to be a writer. It’s frustrating, lonely, and hard.”

Despite what some people think, the reality is writing as a profession is not an easy path to success or wealth. If you think it’ll enable you to pay a mortgage on a big house, and you’ll be driving your kids to a private school in your Mercedes SUV, then I’ma smack you upside your head…again.

For most writers, you’d be lucky to afford rent on a double-wide mobile home, and feeding your kids store brand mac ‘n’ cheese…every day. Writing is a lot of work with little financial reward.

People who have a need to write don’t have a choice. It makes us feel good when we’re writing in a “flow” state (see runner’ high), and when we’re not writing we feel guilty, and lousy about it.

If you’re good with this and saying, “I don’t care, I want to write, I need to write,” Alrighty then this is what you need to do.

Several years ago, I attended a presentation Stephen King was giving at the Harvard Memorial Church.  He was promoting a book of short stories. After the talk he held a Q&A session, and inevitably one young college aged lady asked, “What’s the best way to become a real writer.”

Stephen King, having heard this same question thousands of times before, mustered the ability to not look bored with the question and responded, “To become a real writer you need to take these two very important steps:

1. Read a helluva lot…

2. Write a helluva lot

That’s it.”

Ask any successful writer and they’ll tell you the same thing. While every writer’s journey to a successful writing career is different, these rules are carved in stone.

Read a lot. Write a lot.

I amazes me when I meet someone who talks about wanting to become a writer, but the only thing they read and write on a regular basis are text messages, Tweets and Facebook entries! Really? Seriously?

If you want to be a writer, you actually need to write something other than text messages. Instead of just talking about writing (which we all love doing), you need to write something good, something involving thought and creativity – almost every day. Produce a paragraph with substance or an entire page at minimum.

Like most folks, you set a block of time in your day to go to a job on a regular basis, because you have to. If you want to be a writer then you have to set a block of time every weekday day to write, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO. It’s your part-time job.

If you want to do this as a profession, you need to act like a professional. If you make writing a secondary or tertiary avocation – then forget it. Stop wasting your time. You aren’t a writer and don’t want to be. It’s just a hobby at that point.

To me, being a writer means this is your avocation, your passion and you intend it to be your main means of making a living. You know there’s a component of art to it, but you also know it’s a business and you need to give it that level of consideration. If you approach wanting to be a writer with anything less, then you’re just dabbling. Do you dabble at your job?

When you write something, you have to finish it. Period. End of story… literally.

After you’ve been writing for a while and people, other than your family and friends, tell you they liked what you wrote, it’s time to consider publishing your stories.

If you really feel the need to see your name on a book cover in a book store – knock yourself out. Go for it. Just know it’s a long road, fraught with frustration, rejection and disappointment. The traditional publishing route is nothing I’m going to cover in this blog. Currently traditional publishing is an obsolete business model sorely in need of a total overhaul.

I’m a big Authorpreneur advocate. Best-selling author Hugh Howey’s research at Author Earnings is proving your chances of making your dreams of becoming a full time writer, are far greater traveling down the Indie Publishing road.

Get Out of Your Own Way

Deal with the irrational fears holding you back from becoming the writer you envision. Writing is hard, but it isn’t life and death – you can do this. Most writer’s have a catalog of disempowering fears and negative emotions about writing. We must face them, and realize they have no basis in reality and exile them.You don’t have time or place for them in your life.

You have dreams to fulfill. Get into a state of passion for writing, and it will push doubt and low self-esteem aside, and allow you to put words on the page.

 

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Chair Sold At Auction

UPDATE: The Harry Potter Writing Chair Sold for $394,000!!!

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The chair where J.K. Rowling sat and wrote the first two Harry Potter novels is up for auction. This is the chair on which the author wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone outside of the U.S.) as well as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

If you are a big Harry Potter fan, or a novelist interested in channeling the famous author’s muse, you will need to take out a second mortgage on your home for this 1930’s era piece of furniture. The chair presented by Heritage Auctions, custom painted by J.K. Rowling herself, will start the bidding at $45,000.

These were the early novels which introduced us to the the now-iconic characters of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Professor Snape, and, of course, He Who Must Not Be Named. Now, you may have an opportunity to sit upon Rowling’s literary throne and dream up your own Wizarding World.

It’s always nice to dream!

 

Dead Giveaway (WIP-5)

Previously: Dead Giveaway (WIP-4)

…After a brief pause, Henry said, “Miles, can I ask you a personal question.”

“Most certainly Henry, ask away.” Miles said without hesitation.

“Do you remember when you died?”

 

Miles stared at Henry for a long minute. With a slight nod he began.

“Father was an educated man, but he wanted to set up his own homestead. After John Eliot built an Indian missionary church right near here by the river,” Miles said pointing west towards the Merrimack River, “father decided it was safe enough to bring us out to the frontier and build a farm.”

Miles sat in the chair near the window.

“We had a hundred acres that spanned from up here right down to the river. It was a fair bit up from the Namoskeag falls, but there was still plenty of fish. We moved here when I was 12, and we worked the land. We had good relations with the Penacook, and traded with them. Some of them would sup with us from time to time. Everything was good for a spell.”

Miles stared out the window. He had a far away look, like he was somewhere else.

“We started hearing stories from fur traders and some of the Penacook about attacks down in southern parts of Massachusetts. An Indian named Metacom started an insurrection. At first we were not worried as the attacks were far away. One day a trader told us the entire town of Deerfield had been burnt to the ground. Many were dead and others were taken prisoner. As the attacks increased and spread out, we received news less frequently. We did not know much of what was happening outside our settlement, but the feeling was that it was getting worse.”

Miles hands were clenched into fists, and he folded his arms across his body. His right leg bobbed up and down rapidly. When he looked up, Henry could see real fear in Miles’s eyes.

“It was early one morning during the harvest. The light was just coming up, and father, Joseph, Edward and I were getting ready to go to work in the fields. Father and Edward were already outside, when I heard a commotion and yelling. Then came shots. Father ran into the house shouting, ‘Indians, grab the guns.’ Mother was shouting. ‘Where’s Edward!’ but father didn’t answer. He grasped his musket and handed me another. We could hear whooping and hollering getting closer. It was all happening so fast.

I rushed outside ahead of father and Joseph. A figure was moving at speed in my direction. I just pointed and fired. I couldn’t see if I hit him through the smoke. There was yelling and gunfire all over. I began reloading in earnest when something pounded into my chest and caused me to fall flat on my back. I couldn’t catch my breath. I could hear my brother yell, then scream. Then I heard my sister Elizabeth screaming nearby. I tried getting up but could barely raise my head. Suddenly an Indian, an Abenaki I think, stood over me sneering. He carried a stone club. Looking into his cold, black eyes, I could see no mercy there, no compassion. He swung his arm and all went black.”

Henry stared as Miles looked back out the window, hugging himself and rocking back and forth.

“When I awoke, I at first did not recognize where I was. It was very overcast, the clouds were heavy with rain. I stood before a smoldering ruin. It was some minutes before I realized it was all that remained of our home. In front of the house lay my mother in the grass face down. She was bloodied and still. My father had been stripped of his clothes and his chest and belly had been split open. I could see the bodies of my brothers near the now empty animal pens and smoldering barn. My sisters Elizabeth and Grace were nowhere to be seen. I looked back at the woods from whence the Indians came. The forest was now silent and dark.”

Miles looked back at Henry again, his eyes large and dark. There would be tears if he could cry. His leg stopped moving, and he unfolded his arms and they lay limp at his sides.

“Another body lay at my feet. It was a stranger. He lay on his back, his arms and legs splayed out. I could not recognize who he had been as his face and head had been knockt bloody. His feet were bare. His shoes and stockings had been taken. His once white shirt was soaked in blood, and he wore brown trousers just like mine. He also had a scar on his lower right leg just like mine, which I received after a mishap with an axe when I was younger.” Miles whispered resting his chin on his chest, and lifting his hands to his face examining them.

“My thought was the stranger had come to help us, but had died in the process. I wandered about the area calling for help. None came. Another day passed, or two I think, when a group of Christian Penacook Indians arrived. I knew some of them. One was named Daniel. I tried speaking to him, but he ignored me as if I were not there. The Indians gathered up my parents, my brothers, and the stranger and buried them together not far from where the house had been. They laid rocks upon the grave to keep animals from digging them up. A crude wooden cross was fashioned, and a prayer was said. Then they left.”

“That stranger was you wasn’t it Miles?” Henry said.

Miles just nodded, still looking down. “My family now lies in the back corner of your yard, beneath the fence and your shed.” Miles finished, and lifted his head to look directly at Henry.

His mouth agape, Henry said, “You and your family are buried in our back yard?…”

It ain’t: Wreck havoc

Most Americans consider our official national language to be English, and have the strong opinion that people immigrating to the United States should learn to speak our language. However, many of these same American’s don’t know how to speak their own language correctly!

Point in case: Wreck havoc, or wrecking havoc  WRONG!!!

People saying this should be slapped across the face with a cold wet fish.

To wreck something it to cause destruction, and havoc is also destruction and devastation. So you mean you want to destroy devastation? It isn’t wreck havoc – it’s wreak (pronounced reek) havoc – means to inflict destruction or punishment

The right way to say it: Wreak havoc  CORRECT!!!

If you want to be a true American, don’t go around sounding like a foreigner. Speak your official national language correctly!

 

Harry Potter author JK Rowling shares rejection letters from publishers

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JK Rowling has published rejection letters where publishing bosses suggest she go on a writing course and pop into a ‘helpful book shop‘ for a novelist’s guide.

The best-selling author was pitching her first novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under her Robert Galbraith pseudonym when she got the replies from Constable and Robinson and Creme de la Creme publishers.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, a post-war detective novel, went on to be a number one bestseller, and in order to inspire other writers the Harry Potter author has posted the letters on Twitter.

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Read the rest at the Daily Mail

This is priceless. Once again this shows that when it comes to the arts there are a lot of so-called “experts” who have more ego than talent.

I once saw a program where a couple of Kindergarten-aged girls were given paints and canvas and told to paint whatever they wanted. They had fun, and made messy, splotchy works of art. They were displayed in a nice gallery, but there was no note of who the artist(s) were. A lot of art “experts” commented on how good, and exquisite the works were, and talked about the technique and what the artist was so obviously conveying. When they were told it was painted by a couple of 5 year-olds in a classroom as an art experiment, some of the art critics melted away, others were clearly upset on being fooled, but one of them was pretty clever. He said, “If they’re not notable, they ought to be. They have a latent talent for the medium.”

The age old adage of “Art is in the eye of the beholder,” is clearly one of the truest statements there are.

It ain’t: Verbage 

Most Americans consider our official national language to be English, and have the strong opinion that people immigrating to the United States should learn to speak our language. However, many of these same American’s don’t know how to speak their own language correctly!

Point in case: Verbage  WRONG!!!

Verbage rhymes with garbage – because that is not how you say the word. I hear this word mispronounced in corporate offices all over, during meetings, and on conference calls with regular frequency. It makes me cringe, and my eyes roll involuntarily every single time.

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The word is Verbiage – there is an “I” in the word. Use it. Pronounce it as Verbi-age or Verby-age if you like. It’s similar sounding (not spelled) to the word Lineage – and you don’t say Linage…do you?

If you are going to use this word, meaning a manner or style of expressing something in words – then say it the right way.

The right way to say it: Verbiage  CORRECT!!!

If you want to be a true American, don’t go around sounding like a foreigner. Speak your official national language correctly.

 

Abridged Classics for Lazy Readers

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