Sunday, October 30, 2011

More profanity, again, really?

I understand your dilemma--you want your work to appeal to a broad market no matter who or what market seems the logical target. You don't want to exclude, insult, or offend, but that's almost impossible with some stories. I honestly believe (and this is what we teach our children) that there is usually another way to express strong emotion, surprise, anger, etc. And, I don't believe it takes anything away from the story. I've struggled with this in my two most recent works because a kid is a main character--so I used phrases like, "he spewed obscenities," or "the next words out of his mouth embarrassed him when he recalled the incident." Maybe a little far-fetched for work of a darker nature, but I think it's worth a little extra time to look for a little more imaginative way. That said, the 'f' word is perhaps the most versatile word in the English language; it can be used as a prefix, suffix, and in its various forms can be any part of speech; but, "like" and "you know" work similarly and likewise do nothing for a story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great Family Adventure

The first in my Dan Madison and Mike Madison adventure novels, Mike Madison, Intrepid Explorer, is now available on Amazon and Kindle.  Before critics start--this is clearly not the Great American Novel, I am not John Steinbeck, don't pretend to be.  My grammar is suspect in some spots and in spite of multiple edits, there are still typos in the published work.  Nevertheless, I think they're pretty good stories, suitable for a family--most of the ideas came to me as I struggled to entertain my son when he was 5, 6, 7 years old--and there's no profanity, no sex, and limited violence.

I am editing the next episodes and will likely publish early next year.  Mike, his dad, and an ever expanding cast of characters, take on more challenges--it's tentatively titled "Friends and Foes?"  Follow this link to the Preview site and please give me your feedback. 

OR, click on the title to buy the book directly from the publisher.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Liver and Onions

Somebody asked me recently what my favorite food was--and that's really an impossible question to answer. I love to eat and have many favorites.  On the other hand, my least favorite foods are easy.  I had a terrible nightmare once when I was a boy--I dreamed I heard that tune that the ice-cream truck played as it drove down our street.  It's been a favorite tune of kids across the country for generations and still sends kids, of all ages, into a near frenzy to get out there before the truck passed.  I was a little too old to run to Mom and Dad, so I scrambled around my room scraping up change until I thought I had enough for a Popsicle and dashed out the front door.  I raced out just in time to stop the truck right in front of our house, but then . . . I screamed, my heart fell as I read the sign on the side of the truck, "Brussel Sprouts & Liver on a Stick."

I'm sure I woke shivering, heart pounding, in a cold sweat.  Liver still does that to me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Years ago while I was living and working in California I was in a meeting with a dozen or so managers (reporting to me) and during a break I asked, just out of curiosity, who among the group was following the Stephen Breyer hearings.  Only one person had any idea who Breyer was.  I asked, "who knows what the senate judiciary committee does?"  No one knew.  These people weren't dummies.  They were mid-level managers for an international company, some college educated, all very bright, but not one knew that we were about to get a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  I told them all I knew about Breyer and the confirmation process and the conversation gradually turned to the "government," the upcoming elections, and I was stunned to learn that not a single person planned to vote.  We were in the wrong setting for me to voice my opinion too strongly, but I couldn't help delving into the reasons behind this.  One manager, for whom I had great respect, put it most succinctly, "No matter who gets elected on Tuesday, I will still have to get up at 4:30 AM on Wednesday, get my kids and husband up, dressed, fed, off to work, or daycare, get myself to work, work all day and into the night taking care of all I have to do--and then I'll do the same things all over again on Thursday.  Nothing will change for me, or people like me."  The group applauded. 

It is a sad commentary on our times but I'll bet there are more people like that manager than there are like me.  Actually, we're not that far apart.  That group, a probable majority of Americans, have so little faith in the process that they simply refuse to participate.  They don't trust politicians to "represent" them or their interests, or to act responsibly in managing the public funds, to make wise decisions to protect the welfare of the general public (as opposed to the 1%'ers).  I agree with all that, but I go through the motions anyway.  I try to select the best candidates, I vote, I write (emails) to my congressmen, governors, president, etc., but have very little faith in them--any of them.

The irony of all this is that our "elected" officials are elected by a very small group, not a majority of eligible voters.  If, IF, more people would vote, we'd have better leaders, we'd quickly vote out any that didn't perform--but how do we get people to vote?  The candidates don't comport themselves very well, none really offer details of plans--when I say details, I mean DETAILS, not "I'll create more jobs."  How will you do it?  What will your legislation say?  What tactics will you use to get opponents to vote for your legislation?  What guarantees will there be, what safeguards?  Stop spending all your time and money telling me how worthless your opponent or the incumbent is!  HELLO!?  I'M WAITING!

P.S.  All the managers in that meeting knew all the names of the characters in the OJ Simpson drama unfolding during that time.  Sad, huh?