General Blog

General Blog

February 15, 2011


Interesting thing – I crossed into the 300-page range on Early Retyrement the other night. Oh, there was still typos and boner phrases (“…a handful of feet away…”). But at this point of the novel, with the story elements coming together for the conclusion, I finally settled down. Not many that’s. Very few seems. And the likes were rather clever. I’m wondering what happened way back in 1999 while I was writing those pages, what outlook shift took place. Before the 300 mark I was still a wannabe, just out of The Writer’s Room, still learning. Yet suddenly, over a […]
February 13, 2011

That seems like

That seems like. This is an old word-trick of mine I use while editing (and I’m certainly finding it useful while reworking Early ReTyrement). I came up with it a few years back and it’s helping me to pull all sorts of chestnuts out of my old, old novel. Keep these three words in mind while you punch up your work… THAT – I use “that” too often as a filler word and end up tripping over it. “He knew that the only thing that he had to fear was that fear, itself.” SEEMS – It’s a weak word, once […]
February 5, 2011

Goodbye to a good friend.

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate. -Thomas Jones (1892 – 1969) One of JB’s and my good friends, Kanchan Banga, is leaving the states to return to Canberra. We met her through her brother, a professional work irritant and time-keeping scofflaw, through her efforts to arrange a surprise party for him (he was). Since then, we’ve gone out to French romantic comedies at the Enzian a couple of times – laughs around the table and all that. She even bought us all a bottle of wine once, a very kind gesture. This being Orlando, we couldn’t go out […]
January 31, 2011

Small steps. Baby steps.

Last night the cat cuddled with me while I started reworking Early Retyrement. It’s going very slowly. I originally finished this book around 2000 (that’s the oldest filedates I’ve discovered regarding this). Since then, I wrote a published novel, a published help book, three unpublished manuscripts, 200-plus radio scripts, a half-dozen short stories, even some freelanced erotica. In a way, it’s like going back to visit with a younger, cruder me, someone rough around the edges, lacking refinement (and I was 41 then, ferchristsakes!). Amazing to see these windy, twisty, wasteful sentences. Daunting to see my main character (and even, […]
January 30, 2011

Next step towards Global Domination

The entire idea for this website came from reading how “Waiter Rant” and “Bike Snob” were placed by agents and publishers through their blogs. This thought burned in me. Shortly afterwards, I bolted upright in a San Diego hotel room at 2am with the realization that my five year old “Fire and Bronze” promo site wasn’t doing squat. First step, I vowed into the popcorn-ceilinged darkness, was to get an interesting, interactive website up where I could keep information flowing and interest building. Well, I’ve got the interactive and flowing parts down. Next step, I’d put one of my older […]
January 16, 2011

Tunisia – another messy birth

I have to admit that I am a Tunisiaophile. I love Tunisia. We toured the country years ago (partially in research for Fire and Bronze (as this was where Carthage was)). It was here I tried goat-milk cheese on marketplace bread for the first time. And dates, at a small stand in the middle of a causeway amid a great salt marsh. First camel ride. It is a beautiful country. The haunting echo of the call to prayer. The spitting of rain out of a near-cloudless sky in the Sahara. The majestic Roman ruins. The rolling hills along the Atlas […]
January 13, 2011

Too tight for cool

So my wife and I are a couple of progressives. We live in a somewhat-gay downtown neighborhood in a little 1949 bungalow. We drive small cars and I often cycle to work. We also tend to vote lefty. Our TV screen is only 21″ wide. But I’m a little wired, as Monday night at the local farmer’s market showed. Stardust Cafe sets up all sorts of pavilions, bands, crafts and whatnot in their parking lot. Since we are proud neo-urbanites, we walked over. It had just finished raining and a low fog hung on the ground. We passed the little […]
January 3, 2011

Managerial Train Wrecks

Time Table and Train Order – this is the technique railroads used to keep trains from crashing into in the dark ages before remote signaling, electronics, computers, and radios. How does this apply to the morass that is American Business Management? Think about it for a minute. It’s 1910 and you work on a railroad that covers 3000 miles over which hundreds of trains are running. Climbing into the cab (perhaps in the middle of the night in a driving snow storm in some podunk town), how do you know what trains are late, what bridges are out, and what special trains […]
January 1, 2011

Baker’s dozin’…

Sat by the pond at lunch and slogged through the ongoing ReTyrement rewrite. Got to the point where we see the hero at work in a wineshop (that serves food) in 330BC. He’s humping over the fire, turning the spitted goat, checking the bread on the metal plate… Something in my mind went clunk! I checked this online. Don’t know why I didn’t realize this (nor did any of my editing readers realize this) but you absolutely have to bake bread in an oven. Now, there were little ovens, even portable ovens, back then and you could shove bread in […]
December 29, 2010

So beautiful, so dangerous

Stopped at a light, the rising sun glimmering the frost-blasted foliage around me. I mirror-glanced the driver behind me through wisps of steamy exhaust. Oriental, female, high cheekbones, a slender noble face. Her hair was parted back and collected behind her narrow neck, glimmering earrings clasped to shell-like ears, as beautiful as a geisha. And she was doing something that, as both a motorist and cyclist, really torques me. She was applying mascara. But how beautiful. One tiny hand clasped the steering wheel with a gentle dove-like touch, her fingers poised in a tidy little line. Her other hand, raised, her […]