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Harry Potter author JK Rowling shares rejection letters from publishers


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.


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.


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


It ain’t: It’s a mute point 

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 Americans don’t know how to speak their own language correctly!

Point in case: It’s a mute point  WRONG!!!

Aghhh! When people say this, it makes me want to throw a Three Stooges, Curly Howard-style fit.


The point of discussion isn’t mute – it isn’t quiet, muffled or incapable of speech. It’s a moot point – meaning the point of discussion no longer matters, or has no practical meaning or value.

The right way to say it: It’s a moot point  CORRECT!!!

If you want to be a true American – learn to speak your official national language correctly!


Amazon’s Book Store – A Winner?


With Barnes & Noble showing decreasing book sales and closing more book stores, Amazon’s pilot book store is showing promise that print is not dead.

Amazon has almost perfected a shopping experience for browsers — and I mean human, not web.

Four months after the first Amazon Books physical store opened in Seattle’s University Village, Amazon appears to be satisfied enough with the results to move forward with a second location in San Diego. But is the original just a novelty, attracting only nerdy tourists? Or does it work as a retail store for people who truly want to browse and buy?

What are they doing that’s working?

  • Encourages browsing and serendipity
  • Removes “better deal” fears
  • Provides physical comparisons of Amazon-brand products
  • Leverages the e-commerce experience

Read the whole story at GeekWire

Dead Giveaway (WIP-4)

Previously: Dead Giveaway (WIP-3)

Henry headed up the stairs to his room to think about doing homework, but intending to read or play a video game. On the landing he turned down the hall to his bedroom, but his way was blocked by a shadowy figure.

“Hey you little booger, were you in my room touching my stuff again?” His fourteen-year-old sister Tessa said. Better known as ‘Tessa the Terrible’.

“No, I haven’t.” Henry said.

“That’s bull, things in my room’s been moved, which means you were in there going through my stuff. You tried taking my game controller didn’t you? It wasn’t where I left it yesterday.” Tessa said.

“How could I? I just got home. Maybe Dad was looking for something, or maybe it was Mom, she was just home for a bit.” Henry said.

“Dad, never goes in my room, and Mom…”She trailed off, then her face went white. She stood over Henry. “If I find out you were in my room,” she said jabbing a finger in Henry’s chest with each word, “I’m gonna kick your ass.” and shoved him against the wall as she went back to her room at a run.

“Seems to be the theme today,” Henry mumbled to himself as he entered his room. He dropped his backpack on his bed and went to the desk facing the window. He turned on his Kindle Fire, and tapped the screen to open up the latest ebook in The Apocalypse Weird series.

In no time the story pulled his attention and imagination into to the latest adventure. The ‘Theater of the Mind’ began playing its mind movie…

“Why do you let your sister treat you in such a manner?” Came a voice from behind him in the quiet of his room.

Henry jumped, bobbling his Kindle before dropping it onto the desk. “Dammit Miles, do you always have to do that?” He said spinning around in his chair. “You scared the heck out of me.”

“You will have to excuse me, it’s not like I can knock on the door now can I?” Miles said with a smile.

“No I guess you can’t.” Henry said.

“But I can muster the energy to move some of Tessa’s things about.” Miles said, a wide grin across his pale face.

“It was you?” Henry said,  with a tone of astonishment. “How?…why?…you just need to stop doing that. I’m the one who get’s in trouble for it. She’s just going to blame me.”

“Very well, very well, I’ll not do it again.” Miles said giggling. “But it is amusing to see her bewilderment.”

“I’ll bet,” Henry said, himself now laughing, and then he stopped. “Wait, what other times are you in my sister’s room looking at her?”

Miles was still giggling, then it became a smile, and then the smile disappeared. His jaw dropped open and eyes widened when it dawned on him what Henry meant by the question. “Henry, I take exception, I would never look in on your sister when she is indecent. I am no scoundrel. What sort of man do you think I am?”

“Oh don’t sound so annoyed I was just asking; besides you’re not a man you’re a boy like me, a little older maybe but still a boy.” Henry said.

“I’m quite a bit older than you when you think about it.” Miles said. “That reminds me, have you spoken with your father yet, about the history of this house?”

“No, not yet. He’s busy doing research for his book. He doesn’t like to be distracted from what he’s working on. If I ask him it’ll just interrupt the work on his book. First he’ll look into the history of this house, then he’ll to look into the history of the neighborhood, and then the entire city.” Henry said.

“Good, then he will learn the truth about the earliest settlers up here, and find out what really happened to them.” Miles said.

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?”



A State of Passion


Last fall I lost all interest in writing creatively. I had no passion left for it. I kept wondering when or how the passion would return. I wondered and thought about that for months.

Finally, I found an answer.

I’ve been going back –rea-reading and listening to CD’s that sparked new ideas, inspired me and provided motivation.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Passion isn’t something that just happens. It’s not something that you wait to come to you. Passion is a state of mind. You can manifest and control passion by the way you think about things; by your physiology in how you gesture and hold your body; the speed and tonality at which you speak, and the energy you exude.

When you are passionate about something you sit or stand up straight, your head is up, and shoulders square. Your voice is strong, and you speak in a fast and excited manner. You have a smile on your face, you are confident when you speak. You gesture with your hands and your body language is energetic. You talk about the subject of your passion in a positive manner, and you are all about potentiality.

Passion doesn’t just happen to you, you happen to it. You create passion for whatever you want to be passionate about just by changing your state.

Dead Giveaway (WIP-3)

Previously: Dead Giveaway WIP-2

Henry stood rooted to the ground in abject fear, not sure what to do, not sure he could move if he wanted to. Then the dark specter began to shimmer and shrink into itself. It didn’t sink into the ground, but imploded into the very fabric of space.

Henry stared at the spot where it had been. After a moment he could once again feel the heat of the sun, fear melted away, and the incident began to feel like a hallucination or a dream, but deep down he knew it wasn’t.

Even though the specter was gone, Henry crossed to the other side of the street giving the wooded lot a wide berth. He ran the rest of the way home.


Henry’s mom was in the kitchen making something to eat when he came through the front door.

“You’re late,” his mom said, “what was the hold up.”

“Geez mom, it was only a few minutes. It was nothing; I was just talking to an old lady.” Henry said.

“You remember what I said about talking to strangers.” His mother said her brow furrowed.

“It’s okay mom, she didn’t pose any danger. It was an old lady.” Henry said.

“Old, young, man, woman – it doesn’t matter. Anyone and I mean anyone can be dangerous. Who was this woman and where was she?” his mother, Olivia said.

“It was just a couple of blocks from here. Her name is Mrs. Parker, and I’m telling you she’s nice. She stayed at least ten feet away from me the whole time.” Henry said.

Mrs. Parker? Olivia thought. A common enough name, but still it raised a mental flag. Why she couldn’t say.

“What were you making there?” Henry said, changing the subject.

This interrupted her thoughts, “Oh, I was just making you a snack. I have to go back to work. Your father’s in his office working. He’ll be making dinner tonight, but you know when his door’s closed it’s anyone’s guess when it’ll be open again. So, I made you a tuna wrap to get you by.” Olivia said, as she placed the small plate on the dining table.

“You came home just for that?” Henry said.

“Not just that. It got so warm today; I came home to put on something lighter to finish out the rest of my shift. Okay kiddo, I gotta go. Make sure you do your homework and leave it for me to check when I get home. Are you planning on going anywhere?” Olivia said.

“No, but Zeke might come over. We’ll either shoot some hoops here, or play video games. Is that okay?” Henry said.

“Yes, but remember, don’t disturb your father. I’ll see you tonight honey. Love you.” Olivia said as she bent over to kiss her son’s head.

“Love you too Mom,” Henry said, as his mother headed for the front door. “Oh Mom?”


“You forgot your badge…I mean your shield on the counter.”

Olivia turned, and saw it. With lips tight, she stepped purposefully to the counter where she laid her gold shield when she came home to change. She checked her back holster to be sure she didn’t forget her gun too.

“You’re pretty observant little man,” Olivia said. “Perhaps you’ll make detective one day too.”

“I’d rather be a scientist I think.” Henry said.

“You’d make a good one too,” Olivia said opening the front door, “love you kiddo.”

“Love you too mom, be careful.”

Unfulfilled Potential

[I wrote this a few months ago, and after re-reading it I decided to put it out there. It somehow seems suitable today.]

In Mid-October, I went to the funeral service of an 85-year-old-woman I had known for 33 years. Alyce was a wonderful woman and I loved her for the beautiful spirit she was. She was loved and adored by everyone in her extensive family. She made a difference in her life with all of the children she helped in her career. Alyce’s positive outlook, humor and caring generosity will always be remembered.

I first met Alyce at her home in Moraga, California, when my friends and I were on a cross-country road trip. She was the aunt of one of my friends, and she opened her house up to us guys, and let us stay with her for a few days. Alyce and I hit it off immediately. She was a very hip and cool adult, who understood us twenty-somethings very well. Alyce was so easy to get along with. She was the best.

During the service, I found myself less sad at her passing, and I smiled through most of the service at the memory of the conversations and laughter we shared, and of the person she was.

I had been in a funk since the middle of September, but wasn’t sure exactly why. I love to write, but had recently lost all ambition to do so. The night after the funeral, I decided to go through some newsletters I’ve been skipping over for the past several weeks. I began leafing through message titles and decided to open one from Live Your Legend from mid-September. What I read in the first sentence stopped me cold.

I thought it was a lead in to a parable or hypothetical story. I did not, could not believe what I was reading. It stated that Scott Dinsmore, the founder of Live Your Legend, was killed in a freak accident on Mount Kilimanjaro. He was hit by falling rocks while hiking with his wife Chelsea.

I stopped reading right away and Googled Scott’s name. To my utter sadness there was story after story about the accident that claimed the life of this incredible young man…a month ago. Scott was only 33, but he had literally touched and changed thousands of lives in a positive way. He lived more, and did more in his short life than most do twice his age.

I’m glad his wife was unhurt, but I was absolutely floored by this news. It saddened me deeply. He had done so much for so many. He was so young and had so much more to offer – but now he’s gone.

Still pondering this, it amazed me that I’m so deeply saddened by the passing of a young man I have never met, but who connected with me in his articles and newsletters. Yet, with Alyce’s passing I was far less saddened by her passing.

Taking a walk later the next day, I realized I felt this way because I know Alyce lived a full life. She reached her potential and fulfilled her life’s purpose. For Scott, I feel his vast potential was left untapped, and his life’s full purpose ended far before its ultimate fulfillment.

There are fewer things in life sadder than incredible possibility and potential to change the world for the better – cut short.

Dead Giveaway (WIP-2)

Previously: Dead Giveaway (WIP-1)

“I’m sorry you were hurt. What’s your name?” the boy asked.

The woman stopped crying, and looked at the boy. “My name is Ellen Parker.”

“Good to meet you Ms. Parker, my name is Henry…Henry McBride. I live just up the street from here.”

“It’s Mrs. Parker; my husband’s name is Thomas. He is so sad now. We live…lived in the next town over.”

“I have to go now Mrs. Parker, my mom’s expecting me, but is it okay if I come see you to talk with you again?”

“I’d like that Henry. You go now; you don’t want your mother worrying about you. I know I did when my kids were your age.”

“Okay, Mrs. Parker, I’ll see you around.” With that Henry turned and ran to the corner, made sure no cars where coming then ran across the street and started up the next block.


He was a block away from his street when he saw a skinny, young man with short blond hair, and piercing blue eyes sitting on a stoop, smoking a cigarette. Henry tried not to look at the young, man but something urged him to look at the man. He wore a sleeveless red t-shirt, and faded blue jeans with tears in the knees and dirty yellow work boots.

“Hey kid, what the fuck you looking at?” the young man challenged.

Henry looked into the young man’s darkening eyes and sensed danger. The spit dried in his mouth and tried to mouth words, but nothing came out.

As he stared into the young man’s eyes, he saw the eyes lighten and his eyebrows go up as if in surprise. The young man stood suddenly, flicking the unfinished cigarette onto the lawn. “Get the fuck outta here you fucking retard, before I kick your ass,” the young man said before turning and going through the front door. The young man glanced over his shoulder at Henry before slamming the door shut.

Henry turned and ran up the sidewalk, but he didn’t go far.  At the edge of another wooded lot, stood a shadow. A shadow darker than the shade of the trees, darker than the night, darker than a windowless basement in the countryside at midnight. No light penetrated it. It was solid and black. Henry stopped and stared at the specter, roughly the shape of a man. Even in the heat of the sun, Henry felt icy cold terror in the presence of this shadow. It felt worse than danger, it felt evil, it felt like death.

Henry had seen it before.

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