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July 4th, 1976

July 4th, 1976 – July 4th, 2016

It’s hard to believe it has been 40 years.

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In 1976 the United States celebrated its Bicentennial Celebration. It’s 200th anniversary of being an independent country. The Vietnam War ended just a year before. Despite the civil unrest that war caused, it seemed patriotism was at a high in 1976. There were so many celebrations and observation for months leading up to the 4th.

In school we re-examined this key time in our history and studied the Declaration of Independence in-depth. All the fire hydrants in town were painted with patriotic colors and some to look like patriot soldiers. There were ‘76’ flags with 13 stars everywhere. For a young teen, this was a special and memorable time for me.

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On this day 40 years ago on July 4th 1976, I was fortunate to be right in the middle of Operation Sail, which is a special occasion featuring “tall ship” sailing vessels from around the world. The Operation Sail for the Bicentennial was especially large.

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My best friend at the time, and next door neighbor was Joe Danaher. His father John served with the Coast Guard for more than 20 years – including during WWII – and rose to officer status. He remained active in the reserves for many years. As such he had considerable clout and had Joe invite me to go with them to Governors Island to watch The Parade of Ships for the Bicentennial Celebration.

Governors Island went into service in 1776 during the American Revolution and became an Army post from 1783 to 1966, when it became an active Coast Guard station until 1996. It sits right at the divergence of the East and Hudson Rivers – across from the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. It affords a commanding presence and view of every ship heading up the Hudson.

We caught a Coast Guard ferry, from Pier 6 in Brooklyn for the short ride to Governor’s Island. Once there, Joe’s father let us roam on our own with directions to meet him at Castle Williams later that afternoon. We explored the 170 acre island from end to end. It was a hot, sunny day, but the ocean breeze kept the temps manageable. In the mess hall, they had set up a veritable smorgasbord of food of all type and ice cream – all you can eat – for free.  We stuffed ourselves and went out to do more exploring.

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Castle Williams where we stood to watch Operation Sail in 1976

When Operation Sail started we were right there at Castle William where the road juts out into the river, and we watched the tall ships, such as the USCGC Eagle, the Amerigo Vespucci (from Italy) and the Gorch Fock (from Germany) among a dozen more tall ships and hundreds of smaller sailing vessels.

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Then the massive aircraft carrier USS Forrestal sailed up and stopped right across from us. On board was President Gerald Ford (a WWII Navy vet), reviewing dozens of mighty modern warships sailing up the Hudson.

USCGC Eagle and the USS FORRESTAL Operation Sail

USS FORRESTAL and the USCGC Eagle Operation Sail

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President Gerald Ford

That night, the fireworks commenced from barges anchored in the river. It remains one of the most spectacular fireworks displays I have ever seen – and I have seen many large events. I remember the colors and the sounds. Most of all I remember the power of the explosions from the mortar rockets was so great I could feel the concussion in my chest as well as my ears.

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The day I spent on Governors Island, July 4th, 1976 is one of my most cherished childhood memories.


Epilogue:

  • President Gerald Ford passed away on December 26, 2006.
  • Governors Island has been open to the public since 2003, as a public park space.
  • In 1967 there wa a massive fire on the USS Forrestal, after a missile misfired and hit a fully fueled fighter jet, which then set off a chain of explosions and fire which claimed the lives of 134 sailors and injured 161.
  • On that ship was Senator John McCain. The missile hit plane right next to his. He was lightly wounded in the event. The pilot of the plane that was hit, Cdr. Fred White, was one of the 134 killed that day.
  • The USS Forrestal was decommissioned in 1993, and was completely scrapped as junk by December 2015.

This Father’s Day Let Me Tell You About My Dad

He was there for me when I entered this world on December 21st, 1961.

I was there for him when he left this world on December 21st, 2015.

He was 18 days away from his 82nd birthday.

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My Dad was a quiet man, a humble man, but my Dad was tough and he was a fighter.

He grew up as a child in World War II Germany. His older brother, Werner (my namesake), died at the age of 13, during the war. He died at an asylum while recovering from meningitis. There are questions about what really happened to him.

Dad’s father (Friedrich – my father’s namesake) died at the age of 39, during an air raid, on February 22nd, 1944. He was on a bicycle trying to ensure his family was safe in an air shelter, when ordinance from an American plane tore off one of his legs. He succumbed to his injuries soon after. My father was 10 years old at the time he lost his father.

Dad told me stories of walking home from elementary school when the children had to run and jump into ditches when American fighter planes would strafe the road they were on. Sometimes, some of the children were killed.

He also told me about seeing the city of Wesel (pronounced Vay-sel), after Allied planes bombed it and U.S. troops took it over. He described how the city was devastated, and almost every building had been completely destroyed. When he talked about these incidents, he was matter of fact about it. He said, “It was war after all. Everyone suffered.”

[He exhibited that same detached manner when I spoke to him the day after 9-11 happen. On that day he stood on a beach at Robert Moses State Park, and watched the smoke emanating in the city from there.]

Because his father was dead, his mother had her hands full trying to feed and care for several children. My father had to go and live and earn his keep on a neighbor’s farm for some time, so my grandmother could care for his younger siblings.

As a young man, he took a job in a coal mine. In one instance he described how a gas explosion killed everyone who had been standing in one tunnel. My Dad was lucky that day; he was sitting down having lunch when it happened. Then there was the day he was working next to a conveyer belt shuttling coal out of the tunnel, when something in the ground shifted. The the conveyor fell over and pinned Dad to the tunnel wall. When he was rescued it was discovered my Dad’s hip was broken. He had had enough of working in the mines and quit.

Dad was always good with his hands and worked as a mechanic. He decided he wanted to take advantage of better opportunities in America. It took two years, but he got sponsored and moved to the U.S.A., and settled in Long Island, New York, where there was plenty of work.


Dad was in the U.S. for about six months when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. The Korean War was over so he was fortunate to serve during peace time. He said his Army experience was a good one. Because he could barely speak passable English the Army sent him to classes in addition to his duties in the motor pool as a mechanic. It was in the Army where he learned to read, write and speak English.

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Dad was an avid reader, and read everything he could. He especially liked science fiction.


Dad had been going out with my Mom’s roommate, but it didn’t work out. My Mom recently broke up with a guy, and Mom and Dad connected. They married June 30th, 1961. This June would have been their 55th anniversary. They did everything together. They loved each fully all the years they were together. Mom still does – and I know Dad does too.

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Dad loved us, and showed it openly when we were young, more reservedly in our teens, and openly again when we were older.

Dad was a big kid and loved to play when he could. He got to live the childhood he never had when I was a kid. He played with us kids when he had some down time. There were times we’d hold his legs down and tickle his feet. He’d go into paroxysms of laughter and kick his legs, sending kids flying all over the living room. He’d play with us in the pool and toss us around. In later years, if he was around he’d always join in when we were tossing a Frisbee around. He loved it. He was wicked in snowball fights, and he took us sleigh riding in the winter.

He played with a lot of my toys in the pretense of showing me “how to use them.” I carried that principle through when my own kids were young. He showed me how to build cool things like trucks, planes and buildings with Lego’s. I was hooked (still am), and that led me to building scale models. He bought me a control line airplane one Christmas. I never remember asking for one, but he spent hours showing me how to fly it. One time trying to get that thing to fly, he gave himself a nasty cut on his leg when the spinning propeller hit him.

From Dad, I learned to enjoy making things with my hands and using tools. Home Depot is a toy store for me to this day. From Dad, I also grew my love of cars, and motorcycles, and how to take care of them myself.


As I said Dad loved to work with his hands. He was also very creative. He made a real stockade fence out of young pine trees. It was six foot high and enclosed the entire back yard. He made a sled out of aircraft aluminum. The thing was a beast and all the other kids feared getting hit by it every time I rode it down the snow hillside.

He built an exhaust system for my mother’s car out of stainless steel. The car most likely rotted away, but the exhaust systems will still be there. He rehabbed 90%+ of our home – with the rest of us helping when needed. He designed, and with my help, built a massive shed to store yard equipment. He built bike carrier racks for paper deliveries out of stainless steel.

He built a stainless steel and wooden cart to attach to a bike to deliver the bulky Sunday newspapers. That cart was later used to haul firewood for the stove, and leaves and yard debris in the fall. Sarah and Zac now use that cart, Dad built 40 years ago, in their own yard.

When it came to cars, he did everything and taught me how to do it all. Complete brake and rotor jobs, , repacking bearings, oil changes, shocks, entire exhaust systems, rebuilding engines, body repair, and on and on. One time I saw him make an emergency gasket from a piece of cardboard. Dad built his own wood chipper from a collection of parts.

There are so many creative things he did and built I can’t count them all.


There were several times Dad took me to the demolition derby at the Central Islip Speedway, and I loved it. In 1977, I saw Star Wars on the first day it came out. I was blown away. I went home and told Dad about how cool it was. I convinced him to go to the theater with me the very next day. He loved it too. It was the one and only time he and I ever went to the theater, just us two.

In the summer, Mom and Dad would pack the tribe into the back of the 1965 Impala station wagon, with our blankets and pillows and we’d all go to the drive-in with our next door neighbors.  It was so much fun and remains one of my favorite experiences as a child.

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Dad also taught me how to swim, and it wasn’t with the little three-foot pool he put up in the back yard. No he took me to the beach with a neighbor friend, and they took me out into the waves in the deep water and pretty much tossed me in over my head and told me to, “paddle like hell.”

After that shock and watching them laugh as I struggled, they helped me get over my fear, and showed me what to do, and kept having me do it until I had it figured out. I’ve loved the water ever since. I was a very strong swimmer when I was younger.


Dad taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car the same way. When I was 15, Dad was teaching how to drive his 1970 Chevy Nova, a manual shift car. As I rounded a corner, I popped the clutch and gave the car too much gas. The car surged forward. In a panic I lost control of the speeding car. Dad tried to stop the car by reaching a foot over to try and stomp the brake, but he pinned my foot to the accelerator in the process.

Somehow I got control of the steering wheel as we left the road onto a grassy median. Miraculously I shot through a narrow gap between a chain link fence and a telephone pole without hitting either. We bounced down on an adjacent street, my Dad’s foot came off the brake, and both of mine hammered down on it. I stood on those manual brakes with both feet. We skidded across the street, onto someone’s front lawn and came to a stop three inches from hitting a maple tree dead center.

I was shook up. Dad never lost his cool. I was done. I wanted to get out of the car and walk home. Dad wouldn’t let me. He calmly told me, “Get back in the driver’s seat of this car. You’re gonna drive this car.”

I did. He got me to back off the lawn onto the street and he had me driving for another half hour before he let me drive home. I love to drive to this day.


When I entered my latter teens and early twenties, Dad and I weren’t so close. It was nothing bad; we just weren’t close – not communicating.

It wasn’t until I got married, and held down a job with responsibility and opportunity, did we seem to get along better. When I became a father myself, we grew even closer.


Dad was an extremely generous man. Whenever anyone needed help with anything, he’d be there for them. I remember as a kid that whenever Dad saw someone broken down at the side of the road, he’d stop and help perfect strangers. He helped friends and neighbors with house projects, fixing cars, and carrying heavy furniture during moves – even as late as the age of 65.


As mentioned earlier, Dad was a fighter and loved Life. He took his health more seriously in his early 40’s when he started walking 3 miles a day – every day. He also weight-lifted two to three times a week – maintain muscle tone.

He had his first brush with cancer about the time he retired from work at the age of 64. Thankfully it was caught early and was removed.

At this time he already had a heart murmur, but he didn’t let that keep him from his exercises. When he was 62, he went on a hike with me and several of my friends to the summit of Mt. Lafayette, in New Hampshire. We maintained a decent pace. I was really proud that my Dad did so well on that hike, when a couple of guys half his age had a hard time. Mom said he talked about that hike often, saying it was one of the best experiences of his life. It makes me smile to think of that trip and that he got so much out of it.


When Dad was 71, he was diagnosed with CLL – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. We were all worried and scared. Dad loved life and was determined to fight. Not only did he do everything the doctors said when he had chemo, he still kept up his 3 mile daily walks.

When he was 74, Dad had a stroke. This devastated us. Dad didn’t even see it coming. He was paralyzed on his left side and his speech was slurred. After a couple of days I was able to talk with Dad. He was very depressed and dispirited. He thought it was all over for him. He couldn’t walk or use his left hand, and could barely speak. He wanted to give up. On the phone with him I told him, “This doesn’t sound like the Dad I know and grew up with. The Dad I know is a fighter, he always figures out a way to overcome a problem. He doesn’t quit until he’s done.”

He later told me that helped him to re-think his situation. Dad became the poster boy for rehab. The physical therapists loved him. He did every exercise they showed him, and he kept working on improving himself. He learned to walk again. When he graduated from a walker to a cane, I got him a custom wood one, to remind him of his hike. He learned how to regain his speech and the use of his left arm. By the time his therapy was done he regained his speech, the use of his left hand and arm and about 95% of his balance and ability to walk unassisted. He started taking his walks again. They just took longer this time.

Dad had a series of remissions and flare ups of the CLL which required chemo. As the years passed, he faced more challenges with cancerous skin lesions which had to be surgically removed. He grew a little weaker in time, but he kept walking, but now it was down to about 2 miles.

Then he had shingles, which weakened him further. His walks were lessened to a mile then to the neighborhood. He began having balance problems, and falling. He still walked, but now had to use the cane all the time and the walks were limited to their block.

On top of all of this he developed respiratory problems by the time he turned 80. His walks were now limited to making rounds inside the house. Then he developed stress fractures in his spine which caused him relentless agonizing pain. Still he wanted to walk. Then came the pneumonia. He wanted to walk, but could only manage a few steps before he was winded.


In December, the doctors told my father his body was shutting down. They told him he was dying. Despite the constant agony, he didn’t want to die. When they put him in hospice, I was on the phone with him. It was my Mom’s birthday. He told me, “I don’t want to be here. Just stand me up and get me walking and I’ll be alright.”

The next day he became unconscious and we were told he would not wake up again. I packed a bag, and with my son Stephen, we jumped in my car and drove 1,400 miles non-stop from New Hampshire to Florida. It took 25 hours.

When I saw Dad laying there unconscious, gaunt and faded, it shocked me. I could not reconcile that this is the same man I feared and respected growing up. This man I always knew to be so strong and capable – laying there so old and weak and wasted away by pain and illness.

When I spoke to him and told him I was there, he moved an eyebrow to let me know he knew I was there. The staff there told us that hearing is the last thing to go. I bent to talk into his ear and said, “Friedrich Erdmann Meyer, I am damn proud to be your son. You’re a wonderful father and the best man I have ever known. You taught me so much about life and I love you with all my heart.”


Dad passed away quietly in the early morning hours on December 21st, 2015. It was my birthday, and the saddest day of my life.

Dad taught me what it means to be a man. He taught me how tough life could be, but also how sweet and enjoyable it is. Most of all, Dad taught me what it means to be a Father.

Dad was a great Father and Grandfather. He dearly loved, adored and cared about all his kids and grandkids.

I loved my Dad from the moment I took my first breath, to the time he took his last. And I still love him, and miss him.

Friedrich Erdmann Meyer

January 8, 1934 – December 21, 2015

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Happy Father’s Day Dad…wherever you are.

 

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

JKR

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.

reject

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.

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