Christmas for a Writer!

I have had a new experience in the last few months. I’vebeen writing a non-fiction book. I usually write novels, more specifically, thrillers. I write them because that’s what I like to read, the tenseness, the suspense, all of it. The creative juices that work as the story unfolds has extraordinary bliss connected with it for me. The emotional release is off the charts in a way that only a novelist can understand.

I have friends I have never met that understand what I’m saying. Some I met on the internet, others I met through my publisher, but I met most of them by reading their books. The last group I call friends only because they are friends of mine, not neccesarily their friend, other than being a reader of their stories. Some of them are dead and live only because their works continue to live. Someday, if my books are enticing enough, I will also be a friend to people I can never meet.

That would be heaven for a novelist. Hell, right now, it would be heaven if I talked with any kind of fan. I’m sure they will come. They are just a little scarce.

Now regarding this new experience, let me explain. Instead of writing to enhance the reader’s emotions by composing a story, in this book I write things that tell readers about my thoughts and let them decide if they think I’m lucid enough for them to believe me. It is non-fiction, and it is my explanation, more to myself than anyone else, of how I conceive of the way the universe works; that includes you and me.

It’s a little tricky. First, I had to sort my thoughts. I’ve been working these kinds of things out for years so it took a while. After sorting I had to open up about my thoughts. That’s not so hard. What is difficult is why I have always been interested in this subject. I realize that that particular why does not demand an explanation, but way back when my interest popped up, I had friends warn me that people judge. To put a topping on that, I spent decades living around people with no compassion at all for ideas different than theirs. This resulted in a feeling of being the lone target at a gun range.

I know the typical mental image of dread might be of me standing before everyone while clad only in my drawers.

That wouldn’t convey the correct feeling of dread. I don’t have a taboo of being lightly clad, or even without a stitch. Oh, don’t jump to the conclusion that somewhere in my dark path of jobs there includes being a Chippendale or the like. I never did that, but I don’t have a fear of public nudity.

It paid off when the Army sent me to South Korea. I stepped off the plane and the first thing I did was ease into the men’s room. As I stood using the urinal, a local woman came in and started wiping that piece of porcelain down. She asked me how my day was so far.

Later, as I related the story to a newfound friend, they explained that many of the locals still didn’t see the need for two restrooms. Anyway, the situation put me off stride a bit, but not enough to embarrass me, certainly not enough to mortify me. Such is life.

Okay, back to the non-fiction book. I found that once my inhibitions disappeared, it was quite exhilarating to write. The further I dove into it, the more interesting it became. I am fascinated by how the words rolled out without having the characters telling me what to put down.
After reading it, I’m convinced that what I have written is the absolute truth … for me. What remains is whether it is your truth. The only way you can find out is to read it to the end.

Don’t know how much you might enjoy a book written by me? To help all of you out, I’ll give you a book or two so you can judge for yourself. They’re e-books and free for your taking. If you like them, and if you are partial to thrillers, I’m sure you will. Then perhaps you can recommend them to someone else. After all, it’s almost Christmas. Do you have all of the presents you need? Again, these are free but only from December 18, 2020, through January 1, 2021. Or you can buy the paperbacks for a gift. What do you have to lose? Just follow the links. The top one is for The Sigma Factor, and the bottom is for The Great Zero Sum. Go to the menu and click on Published Works in for the paperbacks. Both links will enable you to see both books, so indulge yourself.

Please give them an honest review too!

Merry Christmas!

By the way, click the subscrition button, it fee too!


Is Everyone Afraid, or Paranoid

There are so many things to talk about, so I tried to keep the subjects limited. Even so, I still racked up quite a list of items with which to yammer. Some of my favorite blogs happen to center on broader areas, like recipes and some of the writing theories, while others talk about my personal life and perhaps even life in general.

Today, I chose to write about life on our homestead. Let me hasten to explain that it is not a homestead as in a traditional homestead. An example of that is the government gives so many acres to a person provided; they improve the land with a building and cultivate it somehow.  

My homestead id a knickname for where our home stands.

We have a small acreage, only twelve acres. It isn’t large by any stretch. But as little as it is, it is an enormous amount of work. Our current push is to be more self-sufficient. Yeah, I know everyone wants to do that. Most people say that, but they don’t want to do it. Let me clear something else up. Some of you may be thinking we’re Preppers, someone who thinks the world will end or some such. No. We want to get a hedge on anything that might prove a little trying. This year has opened our eyes to the need to be resourceful. To that end, we are fashioning self-reliance. Is being paranoid?

We lived through the toilet paper shortage, which was ridiculous. There was also a bread shortage here, so I became rather good at making bread, but yeast became short supply. Then it became hard to find meat. Milk became scarce after that. I’m sure all of these shortages had to do with people panicking. But I don’t care. I have ten children to feed, plus the wife and I. panic or not, those things happened, and they were uncomfortable.

So, now we have some animals — pigs, chickens, goats. We plan to add maybe a few cattle and a large garden along with everything else.

With all the silliness going on out there in the “real” world, I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to hedge their bet. How many months ago were people hoarding food and buying toilet paper like Montezuma revenged himself in every walk of life. Keep in mind; people were only panicking. They weren’t thinking straight.

Now look around and tell me that people are thinking straighter. The election process has its stressful points, even in good years. This year has a massive amount of people believing the worst possible things about Them.

It doesn’t matter who they are either. Both major parties seem to have large populations that have succumbed to nebulous paranoia and, pointing to a nefarious they or them, and they all seem willing to sacrifice the entire nation to get what they want. 

I think this is bullshit.

Do I have friends on both sides of the equation? Why, yes. Yes, I do. Do I think it is in my best interest to distance myself from my friends? Hell, no. Do you honestly believe you will always have a Vulcan Mind-meld with your friends? The year is exceptional, you say. That’s a crock too. Every year has sickness, poverty, and untrustworthy people. I will give you the fact that it is a bit different dealing with a pandemic as it looms over everything. And yes, I realize many people see a conspiracy in the epidemic.

What makes this year what it is would make Lemony Snicket proud — a series of unfortunate events. There may be some dastardly enemy plotting destruction, and we may be in the clutches of an enemy willfully trying to dislodge us from a particular place. Have we forgotten about all of the safeguards we have in place?

In the process of all that has and is happening, there are a lot of people proving themselves untrustworthy.

What do you mean that isn’t fair? Life isn’t fair. If life were fair, I would be six feet tall, devilishly handsome with a full head of hair, and a bestselling novelist. Other things might constitute the concept of fair, but let’s say life isn’t fair. Look. I’m short and bald. And I may never have a bestselling anything while I’m still alive.

Such is the life of an artist.

 Well, it’s happened again. I started talking about how much work it takes to run our acreage, and now I’m dying before getting just sales for my books. Isn’t that strange, or should I say, unfortunately?

I will say this, though. I have no idea how farmers do the things they do. The work is herculean. For those who can’t figure out what that means, it references Hercules’ tasks. Farmers have to work as hard as Hercules to finish their work.

I know that every job I have ever done if it was worth doing, was hard. And that includes writing. I’ll further tell you that if I had any sum of money at all for every time Lana, my dance teacher, said one more time; I wouldn’t have to work now. Let’s settle on this. Every person alive has to be a perfectionist in some areas. If not, they would still be bussing tables.

I’m going to part with a snippet from a speech one instructor at the Field Artillery Officer’s Advance Course had addressing success. I’ll have to paraphrase — If you want to be a success, you need two things. Get yourself a tube of Give-a-Shit and squeeze it up your ass. Next, find a large tube of superglue, spread it liberally on your ass, and sit down. Now keep working until accomplishing more than what needs doing, and the superglue has worn off. Do it every day for years, and success might happen.

Okay, now I really have to go. I have a couple of Houdini pigs to catch and then fix their pen … again.


How Will They Judge You?

I’m getting back into things again, at least as much as is possible. Yesterday I wrote twelve hundred words or thereabouts. I have done a lot of work on the house and grounds. Ha, ha. Grounds makes it sound like the homestead is palatial, which it is not. We have a home and a little over ten acres. Most of the land is pastureland. We have a large yard, front, and back, for use by the kids, pets, and us. That is assuming the pony is not a pet; she has most of the pasture.

We now have a spot almost ready to house the two kids, Nigerian dwarf goats. They will arrive soon after weaning. Our pet Vietnamese pot-belly pig now enjoys our side yard and a small barn for shelter. We have other pigs we raise for feeder hogs that took her old pen.

We have several dogs. The latest to join us was dumped off on the side of the road by some asshole to have a slow starve. Let me say this. If you don’t know what to do with your pets and don’t want more, neuter or spay them. Failing that, grow a pair and put them down. It is so much more humane than dumping a puppy or kitten to starve or be torn apart by a predator. Come on, folks.

I don’t know why I say that. If people haven’t matured past the point of having tantrums and burning their neighbor’s businesses, why would I expect them to grow up enough to take care of their pets?

But I digress. Like the sea, things find their natural level. That doesn’t mean a new normal has broken through the chaos. We are now in the process of learning how to survive with COVID 19 around. We will have to expect the unexpected for a long time.

An example of that is what happened just this morning. One of my children presented with a temperature and a sore throat. That scared the shit out of me. We can’t get her tested for COVID until Monday. I also realize that strep throat is moving through the area. A year ago, I would fear her getting strep because it would march through the house and make us all sick. Today, I am hoping for strep.

Oh yeah, things are still happening, both reputable and vile, just like always. And, just like always, we will keep marching along.

If there is anything exceptional about the year 2020, I will say it is the unexpected. Every time things start to settle down, something unanticipated happens. What is enthralling about that is the unforeseen! Inherent in it is a fact for which we wouldn’t expect to prepare. Now the government is supposed to have answers for each unheralded event that would influence its citizens, in practicality that doesn’t happen. They make a reasonable attempt, but they fall short because no one can be ready for all contingencies. I suppose it is very much like our own preparedness for different scenarios. If we prepared for everything, then we would not have a chance to grow.

What do you think? Don’t we need the unexpected? I think we do. Just like right now. We have a chance for staggering personal growth. It all depends on what we do with ourselves during all of the upheavals.

There are so many things popped up this year; I wouldn’t be shocked if we had the first contact with an alien species this year. Well, that’s not entirely true. Some octopuses and squids look very much like aliens to me, but they’ve been here so long everyone assumes that they are terrestrial. Although I have to say I think our search for extra-terrestrial beings is too closed-minded. How do we know they are alive as we know it? Perhaps we are the odd one out, and most life out there isn’t as we know it.

Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to find out that most life is not as we know it, but much like what we know of as rocks and pebbles? I mean, what if most life expectancy could be thousands of our years long. Indeed, so long that we could not understand a single thought of theirs because they take so long to think a viable idea.

Now wouldn’t that be special? All of us are running around to find another species but can’t find them because they move, talk, and think slowly. We could be ignorant of what they have to say because we move so fast. Now that’s a hell of a note.

Long ago, I concluded that the higher the stress resulted in greater maturity and development. Do you think it a coincidence that the Greatest Generation had to find a way to survive the most significant war in recent memory?

Right now, many people want to wipe out any memory of history that they don’t like. There have been so many people in the past, both recent and far-flung, that tried that. It didn’t work.

What they did back then might be reprehensible by today’s standards, but that means we have developed as a people. Do I need to say that again? Let me take a different spin. If our ancestors did not act the way they did, none of us would be alive today. They survived long enough for their line to continue.

However, if you insist on judging our ancestors by our standards and not theirs, have you thought about how your descendants will pass sentence on you? What will their standards be? The only thing we know for sure is — they won’t have your criteria. They will have their own. What if they use future standards.

Kind of gives you a chill, huh.


How’s Life You?

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season. I have. Getting to spend time with my family has been great, and there have been a few things that developed. The most notable is the release of my newest novel, The Great Zero-Sum.

It is always nerve-racking when I release a new book. A lot of my writing friends, pizzos, pals, buddies, chums talk about how uneasy it makes them when they push the fledgling book out of the nest and into the public to see them fly.

It’s because some don’t fly at all, they crash and die. It takes a long time to build enough of a following to launch the right way. Each book needs to go at least as far as the last, and of course, high sales are always welcome but seem to be scarce as the hair on my head.

This new book is an action-adventure, with the main character Colonel A.J. Colton, a battle-hardened, retired Field Artillery Officer who is haunted by the memory of one of his soldiers, Norman. Norman passed away, and none of the team can forget him. Some of the men view him as a genius, others as a buffoon. The Colonel tells them all not to discuss Norman. They all know he was special.

All this while an elusive enemy attacks time and again, following them wherever they go.

I’m proud of the book, and I think those of us who like that genre will find the book a fast, easy read. They will enjoy the action it has between covers. Within its pages live unforgettable characters, several battles, and more than a few plot twists. If you haven’t picked it up, please do. You won’t regret spending the paltry sum.

I have worked on several other projects these past weeks too. My next novel, the second in the Factor series, is now out for approval with several agents. Also, I’m writing two books – one is the third in the Factor series, and I think it is the best yet, the other is my non-fiction premier. It’s working title is “I’ve Been Thinking.” The premise for the non-fiction work is an explanation to my metaphysical view of, well, everything.

This sort of work is quite different for me. I usually don’t do non-fiction for anything longer than my blog. Also, just because I have the capability of writing some of my thoughts down, doesn’t mean what dances around in my head might be of interest to other people. Let’s face it. Nobody knows what goes on inside of other people’s minds, But, and this is a pretty big but (no not that kind of butt), there is no telling if this book will be anything like what most people think. Because of that, it will be interesting if only for opening up the door to laughter and ridicule.

I’m not advocating such cruel behavior. I’m not even indirectly saying that kind of thing is okay. However, I am saying that I know enough about human behavior to be able to foretell the likelihood that there are crazed assholes in every walk of life.

All because someone doesn’t think the way most everyone else does, and I certainly don’t think in lockstep with others.

Here is what is at the crux. Thank heavens (whichever you believe in, or if not one at all, please substitute the word thankfully), some people believe differently than other people. We all think differently, but that is the most likely reason for the whole gamut of ridicule thing. It ranges from mild chiding all the way to hate. all because someone’s beliefs don’t coincide with another’s. That is how most wars begin.

Okay, I’ll get rid of the soapbox and rejoin the blog.

The weather has been a little crazy. How about where you have been? Here it has been unseasonably hot. I have had warmer Christmases, but they were spent in Hawaii, the tropics. Most, however, have been cool to cold, crisp in the least. Hell, snowball fights are always good on Christmas Days. But not this year.

I’m not complaining. We have already had enough cold weather to kill the insects that need controlling. I will be happy if it does not dip below freezing again this winter.

Then last night, we had a large front roll through with terrific rains, winds, and the occasional tornado. Whatever happened, there was a heap of thunder and rain.

The kids have been reasonable during the last few days. I mean, once we made it past Christmas, things settled into the usual ruckus and occasional failed attempts at sibling homicide. There wasn’t much blood, and all the fat lips have gone down now. It’s always exciting around here and not for the faint of heart.

Life is for living.