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Is it dangerous?

Holy smokes!

This house is confusing today. There are lap dogs running around yapping, and then there are babies leading the older girls around with leashes tied to their waist. I guess they are trying to train the older ones to heel. The little ones can’t talk to give commands, but they can chatter their twin talk. All of their yelling makes it so easy to listen to TV or a playlist on the phone.

I guess I’ll have to use my superpower – focused concentration.

This is easy to do when done in toto. It becomes harder to do when I have to leave a way for my wife to talk to me. I think every woman is convinced that their man has tunnel hearing. Seems like we can hear the television or radio, but somehow we block out the important stuff they have to say. I don’t recall doing that. The wife says I have selective recall too. Hmm. Husbands have a lot of maladies.

Did I get that right? Oh, I forgot the part that they all think their man is a child at heart. Now? Okay, it’s complete. See what I mean?

Now that I’ve taken care of that, let’s talk about the unknown hazards of living in the country. Last evening there was an alert for our county. It seems there was a cougar, puma, or mountain lion in the county. Take your choice of names. They are all three noms de guerre for the same animal. Seems we had one in our county and it killed a horse.

This resulted in a hurried check to see if Shiloh our unicorn (what our youngest daughter calls the perfectly white pony) was still alive. We checked on Pepa our Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and all of the chickens were still present and alive. Next, we checked the dogs. Okay too. So we buttoned everything up and everyone came inside. Just because we could, we did a head count for the kids too.

All of you that live in Africa. I know you have much more dangerous animals nearby, but the most dangerous animal around here are feral razorback hogs. Normally, they stay to themselves, just like the coyotes and foxes. Cougars are unexpected.

What we do have, and expect to have, are tornadoes and possible earthquakes. We get our share of nasty storms, not as many as Oklahomans but we get our share. We happen to sit on one of the most fierce fault lines in the States. The early 1800s was the last time it had a major event. During that quake the ground “rolled like the seas” and the Mississippi ran north.

I guess every place has its hazards.

Nothing that I know can compare with the imperilment of getting in the way of my children and their food, though. Let me explain. The last things my children need to worry about is where they will sleep (we own our home) and if they will get enough to eat. We serve mountains of victuals. All of them eat like they are nineteen-year-old boys that haven’t eaten for the last thirty hours, and may your Gods help you if you try to take food from them. Try it and they will act like the piranha with fresh meat just dropped into the river. I think their teeth sharpen on their own and their eyes roll back automatically.

I still haven’t figured out their strange habits during a full moon. Nobody has yet grown large quantities of hair on their bodies and all over their faces, and there hasn’t been anyone howling at the moon. But I do have one who doesn’t need any sleep while the moon is full. Amazing. Me? I’m one of those sleep-a-holics. There are very few things that will entice me to stay awake when I’m tired, and the wife controls most of those things. After dark, I will admit to enquiring into why someone is creeping around outside of the house, but that’s my job. I’m the dad, the husband, the one that served in the Army for years and an expert with a side-arm. That does not mean my wife couldn’t do it. She simply chooses not to.

The two of us divided up the chores years ago. I cook, she does the finances, she ramrods everything inside of the house, I take care of everything on the outside, including protecting it. Together we drive the herd of children from place to place. God love them all.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yeah. Life is dangerous around here. Hell, life is dangerous everywhere. I suppose it’s why we like to read thrillers from the safety of our own homes, perhaps sneak a read at the office. It reminds us in a subtle way that life is precarious, but more so for our favorite heroes.

Have you read mine, The Sigma Factor?

How about reading the Byte series, by Cat Conner? I recommend them all.

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What the hell is going on?

A comment from a reader found its way to me the other day. They did not understand the point of my blog. They enjoyed the reading, thought my delivery smooth, but they also questioned the focus. To them, it appeared too broad.

It is true that I don’t stay with one theme like most blogs.

So why write this blog? Simple really. I use my blog to talk about anything. The purpose is not in the individual subjects. If I conjure the smell of an apple orchard in the spring or the beauty of a chilled strumpet’s breast, it does not matter, as long as I pique my reader’s interest. If enough interest grows then my purpose is satisfied.

I’m building an audience. I want the people reading my blog to like my writing – how I coax new thoughts or summon long forgotten feelings like how it felt to capture fireflies during twilight on a warm summer’s eve. I want everyone curious about what I write next. Every time someone clicks on my blog I have an opportunity to show a sample of my writing. The goal is for the reader to enjoy it. The next step is for others to seek it out. If that happens, then I succeed.

I am a writer of novels, thrillers. Who it is that doesn’t like to read something fast-paced and exciting? I do.

Your heart beating a hole in your chest, pounding your neck, coursing down your arms, and sometimes even feeling it in your eyes. Thrills guided by the author’s words can be trumped only by the need to answer – who, or why or perhaps simply what the hell is all this shit?

Picking up a book that an author bled over enables you to sink into the mix. You can experience the entire story, fight like a hero, get hurt like a wild woman on a mission, and even conquer those deadly bastards while teaching them respect. A good writer pulls readers into an artificial world of the author’s fabrication. They enable readers to think fast, react quick as an angry mongoose, and survive certain death because they alone are clever enough to turn things around.

Who hasn’t had that deep satisfaction of living in the world an author built? I remember the first time I heard Tarzan’s jungle roar after defeating the lion in Tarzan of the Apes. My God after I read that, I was the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the world. I didn’t care that the cause of the feeling was Edgar Rice Burroughs words. I hadn’t just read an author’s musings; I’d lived every word. They enfolded me, molded me in such a way that I conquered that damn lion. I experienced the jungle, felt it around me, and had become the smartest, meanest, animal in it.

Even if you haven’t read that story, I’m sure you have similar experiences. There are thrills to be found in every book – the final kiss when the girl wins the boy back from the cold-hearted bitch, or maybe the rocket finally engages and they all escape the exploding planet barely evading certain inhalation. The point is, some of our most vivid memories come from books, someone else’s cue to your own imagination. Reading is a partnership.

Why is it that books are always better than the movie based on the said book? The same story inhabits both. It is because the two approaches are fundamentally different. Movies show imaginary worlds, and in truth some special effects are spectacular. But something is still lacking. You enjoy it by halfway living it. Books, on the other hand, take deep imagination to fill out their stories and inflate their worlds. As a result, you live the entire thing. It resides inside of you and achieved by a skilled author using select words and phrases to build a world worthy of your imagination.

There are thousands of books out there, both hard-page and electronic ones. Most of them have enthralled readers, but very few of them are enjoyed by a large number of readers. The reason is, readers are picky. They use reviews to get an idea of books they might like. These reviews can be simple. Something like: The book was great! Or how about, It kept my interest. Here is another one; I found it slow to start, but then it took off. Then the one that no one wants to write – I didn’t like it.

While I don’t relish the negative review, it will help. All authors know in their gut that everyone won’t like their work, but an unfavorable review needs something along with the statement of dislike. It needs to explain why the book wasn’t liked: the language was too rough, or, It was too slow. Maybe, there was too much tension. Whatever. It needs something to express why the reader found it lacking.

Remember, no author can learn without feedback.

And here is something you may never have thought about. You really aren’t harming the author. A negative review can also lend credibility. If everyone gives five-star reviews it could lay out as if the reviews come only from friends and relatives. Adding in a little constructive criticism makes everything work better.

All any author asks is a statement supporting a negative review. After all, everyone looks better with a little support. Think about that for a few minutes.

Perhaps a change of perspective is in order. When you go to a restaurant and the server does a pretty good job, you leave a gratuity. Think of the review as an author’s gratuity. Only, in this case, the cost to you is nothing but a small bit of time. That’s nothing compared to what the author has invested for your enjoyment.

Easy, right?

By the way … what would have happened if no one had recommended your favorite book to you? Would you be the same person you are now?