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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

War is Cruelty

As I embark on the next stage of my writing career, the sequels for my first two books, today's History Tidbit so perfectly ties in that I may need to add General Sherman's quote to the sequel of "No Rules Of Engagement."
"War is cruelty.  There is no use in trying to reform it.  The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."  General William T. Sherman, shortly before beginning his brutal March to the Sea.
On this date in History Atlanta falls when General Sherman launches the Battle of Jonesboro.
I did manage to publish "No Rules Of Engagement" on Smashwords, may need to go back in and make a slight adjustment to cover art.
It is in the review mode at Amazon and Createspace.  Amazon's platform wouldn't let me download cover art for some reason so will have to go back and do that.
When it is up and running at Amazon and in proper fashion I can add it to my works on Goodreads dot com.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beginning and Endings

Tonight, August 30, 2011, God willing, because Lord I need your help, and blessings, I am going to download my second Novel on Amazon, Smashwords, and CreateSpace.
CreateSpace may have to wait for another night, depending if I have to cut and paste the entire document into their preformatted templates.
I was planning all along to wait until September 11, 2011; because that is the target date my Editor and I agreed upon to get everything finished by.  We did it, except for piecing together the pieces that you have to put together when you download it.  It is done, finished.  In three different formats for three different platforms.  This will be my second book, but my first time adding a book to my existing accounts, so it is still new and unfamiliar territory.
I still remember when not so long ago I was still saying, "One of these days I 'm going to write a book."  I still don't really believe I finished two.  There were times when I didn't think I would ever finish writing the first rough draft.  Times through the process when I didn't think my Editor and I would finish the editing, the rewriting, the re-editing.  I am going to publish them early, nobody but the very few who follow my blog will know they are out there early.  So those of you who are interested can get a jump on everybody else as a bonus for following along with my Blog Posts.  I figure why wait or mess with them if they happen to make it through the review process at the different sites.  I am still very unknown, and a very early in my limited writing career.  So a big release date doesn't really matter at this point.
I do want to thank J.L. Murphey, Jo to me, My literary angel and editor, for her extreme patience with my impatience and my horrific English skills.  Some of the rules of English took me a while to get a grasp of and I realize I still have a long road to go.  Without Jo's continued help, support, guidance, counseling, and friendship I would never have gotten this far.  She has put in countless hours for FREE, out of the goodness of her heart to help a fellow human being become something else, and accomplish their dream.  I can never say enough or do enough to repay you.  All Jo has asked is that I pass it on.  Angelic!!
I have begun writing the sequels to both books and am biting at the bit to continue.  So tonight it is farewell to "No Rules Of Engagement" and it will be sent out into that giant virtual library slash book store of the world.  The nice thing about sequels is the characters continue on, growing as characters as the writer grows also.  I will strive to make each sequel better than the first book of the series.  Continue on learning my craft.
I have purchased a Digital Drawing pad to hook to my computer.  I happen to be quite the accomplished artist, not that one can tell by my book covers.  I will split my time learning to transfer my real artistic ability into a digital format by learning how to manipulate the programs and use a digital brush instead of a real brush and paint.  Hopefully later on I can have better illustrations in my books, and much better book covers.  At some point I will endeavor to take photographs of some of my paintings and post them in a post here.
I have a nugget of writing advice to pass on that I have learned recently.  As I began writing the sequels I was going slow and trying my best to not make the mistakes I made in my previous two books in regards to my English skills.  When I read somewhere that a very talented and successful author said to write like a whirl wind and get the ideas down.  He said he has lost probably ten novels and other ones didn't come out as good as they could have because he was going slow and trying to write better.  He said get it down before you lose it.  Later you can be artistic, poetic and an eloquent writer as you're rewriting it.  You are going to re-write it.  Some parts numerous times!  Then you're going to edit until you want to gouge your eyes out with a pencil, and it's so much fun!  It's worth it in the end, when you have a book you are extremely proud to call yours.  This nugget is free and your reward for reading this through to the end.
I thank my follows of this blog for staying with me through this scary, exciting, growing, challenging time in my life and career.
A factual tidbit, concerning "No Rules Of Engagement", the actual birth date for the main character, Alexander Hawk, a troubled orphan, would be September 11, 2011.  That's why we planned that day as a target to finish.  The book is set in the not too distant future, and in a part of the book Alexander turns nine.  I backed up nine years to figure out when his actual birthday would be and it would be 09/11/11.  When I realized this I got a hold of Jo and asked her if she thought we could finish by then.  It's just an interesting tidbit about the book.

Monday, August 29, 2011

History Tidbit

On this day in 1786, Shay's Rebellion started in this country!
1,000 farmers organized by a Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shay, march in protest at high taxation, high court costs and the governor's high salary.  They closed down the commonwealth's Supreme Court, freed imprisoned debtors and burnt down the barns of government officials.  The rebellion lasts until January of 1787.
Revolutionary War Veteran.  What would today's media call Daniel Shay in our times?  What would happen if American Citizens banded together to take our country back?
And that history and mother nature repeat themselves…On this date in 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast, wreaking havoc through Mississippi and Louisiana.
Yesterday "Whisper" became available in paperback through CreateSpace.  The site where you're supposed to go to view and purchase it is wallpapered with my picture.  It's hideous!!
Until I can figure out where you go to fix the settings of the page I am not sharing the link!  With my picture plastered repeatedly across the background you can't see any of the writing or read anything on the site.  This is one of those learn as you go things!!  I haven't figured this part out yet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Self Publishing

Nicole Pyles has a blog where she is discussing the in's and out of Self Publishing.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/2011/08/to-self-publish-or-to-not-self-publish.html?m=0

She mentions a response of mine from Writer's Digest dot com when I responded to a question of hers.

It's worth checking out. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fear Of Success

I am in the final stages of finishing my Second Novel, "No Rules Of Engagement."  I am also on vacation so I am not pushing terribly hard to wrap things up, trying to stay relaxed and get recharged, as next week it will be back to the day job pushing rubber (Tire Wholesaler), and writer by night.  Plus I don't plan on publishing this until September 11.

It dawned on me as I was re reading Amazon's publishing requirements, and Smashwords Style Guide again, I read them both in early January before publishing Whisper, that I was having this mix of emotions again.

On the one hand I am so excited about releasing my second book and having two books out there in the Virtual Book Store of the World.  On the other hand I have this fear!

It isn't a fear of not being good enough, Whisper was crap in my humble opinion and No Rules Of Engagement is miles ahead of my first book but still a long ways from where I want to be as a writer.  My Fear is of success!!  Which I have read about, but honestly I don't understand it.

I keep searching my soul for the root of this fear.
Is it that I don't feel I deserve to be successful?
I don't think I am good enough? 
Am I afraid I will catch the attention of an Agent or Traditional Publisher and have to make decisions I don't feel I am ready to make?
If I was successful am I afraid of quitting my day job and staying home to have to rely on writing to provide for my families future income?

I haven't figured out what the source of the fear is exactly.  It is a fear of succeeding for some reason.  It doesn't bother me enough to enlist the help of a shrink.  It won't stop me from publishing my second book.  I am not afraid of writing, I love that part of this more than anything.  The creative part where I take an outline and flesh it out and turn it into chapters of problems, tension, characters having to reveal themselves through their choices in the made up settings I throw them into.   I live for those hours of creative endeavor.  Knock on wood I have never experienced writers block yet, and pray I never do.

I do routinely write myself into corners but those are the best and creative plot twists I have been able to come up with.  I'll walk away and go do chores and let my mind crank on possible solutions to problem and find a way out of it that generally works all the way around.  I have never once had to back up out of the corner and go a new direction.  I relish it when I realize I've boxed my self in again.  It seems more closely related to real life when you have a multitude of problems and seemingly no way out.  I think people deal with those situations on a daily basis.  So for my characters to find themselves in potentially worse situations may make readers enjoy, empathize with them and be glad it is the character and not them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Playing with my family - Vacation

Since 2008 with the crash of the economy, I have seen people lose their jobs, I personally know over five people who have lost their homes and two more in the process of having to down size dramatically because they can't afford to keep the home they have.  With the volatility of the stock market since the United States' close call on defaulting on it's own bill paying abilities, and the tragic short term fix our elected Representatives choose to temporarily keep things a float on a very leaking ship.

I don't see this economy getting any better.  I am on vacation with my family.  We are not going anywhere because we frankly don't have the financial means to take a real vacation.  We don't even have the extra income to pay for a hotel or motel out of town, or the gas to get there and back.  So were are playing together in the Greater Kansas City area. 

We have a mall in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, that the last time I was there it was a fantastic and vibrant place to visit.  A giant square of shops and restaurants, a movie theater, a huge mall.  I have never before been in a mall where there were more empty or closed shops than open ones.  It was depressing.  The Death Of A Mall.

I was happy to see a huge store called the Book Warehouse, and I remember it was there before the last I was there.  Their inventory is way down, almost everything in the store was drastically reduced.  They were selling four full sized novels, hard backs, for $15.00.  That's 3.75 per book.  Now for a book lover that is great!  For an author, a new author, seeing your idols books, their hard covers, discounted and not selling, it was heart breaking!!  The small book stores went away by the 100's with the birth and rise of the large mega stores like Barnes & Noble, Walden Books, Borders, and such.  But Borders is in it's death throws, and the large book stores are hurting also.

I wish I really knew how the Big Six Publishing Houses are really doing?  Then again maybe I don't.  What if the combination of e-books, on-line reading, and a full out economic depression in our country actually ruins the Publishing and Book Industry as we have known it.  What if you have to go to antique stores or library's to actually get a book.  What if the day came and there were no more new books, at least not real books you could hold and turn the pages and read.  It is scary to even contemplate. 

I had fun playing with my boys and shopping with my wife.  All said and done what I saw in public depressed me terribly about the state of local businesses, the economy, and where things may be headed in the near future.  I know things run in cycles because I am a student of history, and this cycle is still in the downward direction.  It hasn't bottomed out, leveled off, or begun to turn around to the better yet. 

My mind reels as I wonder if there is a stellar, decent candidate, out there somewhere who has charisma, charm, smarts and the ability to stop the crooks in charge, rally the people, and turn this country around?  Of course such a talented and smart individual would have to have their head examined if they decided to enter politics and run for office, now wouldn't they?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vacation and Writing

First day of Vacation. . .
My wonderful wife packed up the boys and took off to shop so I could spend the entire morning finishing proofing my second novel. 
Got an e-mail from a friend of mine, Michael Hays, and I think the art work for the cover is almost finished.  The letters of the title were hard to distinguish from the background art work.  So I asked if he could adjust the colors to something that popped and could easily be read.
Book Club, tonight.  My daughter is coming over for dinner, and My wife will return late this afternoon just in time for me to lay down and take a nap with two cranky tired little boys. 
Writing, napping, dinner, book club, what a perfect day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Great Books

When you have read enough books that you have really come across some Great Books it effects you on many levels.
One after reading Great books, it puts other books you thought were good almost to a lower level when compared against the great ones.
Great Books broaden your intelligence, understanding, wisdom, ultimately making you a better person.  You can tell when conversing with someone if they are educated, or educated and well read, or something else.  ( I am making an attempt at being polite to those that are neither.)
There are great stories, great adventures, and then great books.  I love coming across books, those rare gems that talk around ideas, concepts, look at things from different or skewed perspective.  I am not talking about relaying facts, or trying to educate or pass off opinions about something.  No.
I am talking about something that after you read it, you have to re read it.  After reading a chapter or section you have to think about it, chew on it, it forces you to think.  It gently nudges your preconceived notions and ideas, it makes you challenge your beliefs.
My Pastor always says you should know why you believe what you believe.  But how much of our beliefs are based on miss information, conditioning, established beliefs we were taught.  How do you know what you believe is right or wrong.  From time to time something comes along and makes you evaluate, consider, look at things from a different perspective.
You come away being more convinced of your beliefs, questioning them, maybe changing your views.  It also goes back to the adage that the more you know the more you realize what you don’t know!  Many will never understand this.  Some get uncomfortable with anything that challenges their established beliefs even if they don’t know why they believe what they believe.  Just because this is what they were taught or told by someone and it is just wrong to even consider it may not be right, or may not be able to be proved, or they don’t know why they believe it.
I love what I write, because it is what I want to read and there are others who enjoy the same type of stories.  I enjoy James Rollins books.  They are exciting, mixed with some facts and history, fast paced, adrenalin packed novels.  I am enjoying Steve Berry’s novel “The Jefferson Key”, the first of his books I have read.  I enjoy James Patterson, Ken Follet, Jack Higgins, and many other great authors.
Once in a while you read something that is so intelligent, symbolic, profound, deep, with many layers.  Something that each time you read it at different times in your life you get something else out of it, it gets deeper than it was the last time you read it.  It doesn’t change just your intelligence, wisdom, and understanding have increased to the point you get more of the message from the given piece of work.  Parts of the Holy Bible are that way, not all of it, but parts are really layered platitudes of excellence.  When I read a book of this calibre and it pushes, pulls, tickles, and sometimes shoves my beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and understanding of things it is refreshing breathe of fresh air for my mind and soul.
I read it and dwell on aspects of it, ponder the meanings of my thoughts and analysis.  I think as a writer I want to write something deep and profound as this at some point in my life.  Something that will speak to people and affect them.  Maybe change the world in some small way, cause enlightenment, provide hope, inspire people, cause a revolution of spirit or thought.
I remarked in a post some time ago about how I wish I had started writing years ago, but then realized I was not mentally ready or capable of writing what I am writing now years ago.  How wise, smart, and at what depth of thought and planning do I need to get to in order to reach the level of the great kind of book I am speaking about.  Daniel Quinn wrote a book called Ishmael.
I have only just started it.  Yet it has the soundings and hints of being one of these Great Books.
Daniel Quinn was born in 1935 and wrote this book in 1992 at the age of 57.  He is definitely more formally educated than I am, but I wonder if it is possible to reach such heights by the time I reach 60 years of age.  I wonder how old Solomon was when he wrote the things he wrote, or David, or the Apostle Paul.  At what age did Sun Tzu pen the ‘Art of War.’
I haven’t finished the book yet, and unfortunately I have to finish my book club book by Monday night, finish the last four chapters of proofing my second novel so I can start formatting it.  I have such a back log of books I need to read and want to read.  I will totally focus on this book as soon I finish my book club book and finish proofing my novel.  I will let you know the outcome and review the book in a post here and on the wonderful book site of Goodreads dot com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Posts and Dream Car

Sorry to all of my blog follows for not posting anything.  I am in the final proofing of my second novel, playing art critique between a friend of mine and my editor, who are both helping me create a cover for my book.  My editor is also in the preliminary stages of building a movie trailer for my second book.

I (with the help of my editor), am in the process of putting my first book on CreateSpace so it will be available in the near future as a paper back.  Will also be doing the same for my second novel, when everything else is completed.  Very Very busy lately.  Still on target for publishing "No Rules Of Engagement" on September 11, 2011.

I did run across my dream car a few weeks ago.  I don't know who it belongs to but this car fully restored with a nice paint job would be my dream car!!

Have I mentioned how Great my editor is and all the wonderful things she does for me!!!  Thank You Jo!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cursive Hand Writing

For a man I have very nice hand writing when I am not at work and doing ninety to nothing trying to do three things at once.  As an adult there are certain books I try to read over and over again, because each time I do deeper meanings are revealed to me as I am another year older and that much wiser.  I practice my hand writing on a big chief tablet like I used to use in second grade when I was first being taught how to make the letters of the alphabet in written form.  As a result my hand writing actually gets better from year to year.
I started this off as 'For a Man' because traditionally men's hand writing is much worse than most women's for some reason.  I know some very intelligent men who can barely write and if they have to write in cursive you cannot read their writing.  If their only way to communicate was reduced to writing notes to people, they would realize people treating them like they were retarded because they write that way.  As beings we are actually extremely limited in the means and methods we have to communicate with other members of our species.  Writing is one of our primary means to communicate with others.
As an author it is paramount to be able to not only write to express your ideas and thoughts but to read so as to read what you have written and read the works and words of others.
It has come to my attention that the same brain dead idiots who decided we should teach Darwin's Theory of Evolution in school as if it was some proved science of how things have gotten to where they are on this planet, instead a half baked theory, which is all it is, have decided to stop teaching cursive writing in schools.
Let me repeat that!
Your children or grandchildren will be learning printing, and how to use a keyboard.  They will not be instructed in the art of writing cursive writing.
Besides the aesthetic aspect of cursive writing when done well, compared to printing or stuff in some digital format.  If you can't write cursive you will not be able to read cursive.
Imagine in one or two generations when the people of what was a great and mighty nation will not be able to read their own Declaration of Independence, or Original Constitution!!
They will not be able to read the letters of the founding fathers!  Or of Lincoln!  They won't be able to read anything unless it is printed, translated to print, on retyped into print.
How great will they be then!  Some will argue that it isn't important!
When I hear they are teaching in SPANISH instead of English I will help lead the revolt!
My children will all learn how to write in cursive, along with how to read, how to look things up and discover the truths of things by themselves.  I will teach them to question everything, starting with me!  They will learn to use their heads and then how to fight and use weapons like my father taught me.  They will read the Bible and the Art of War.  They will be taught like I was that a little revolution is a good thing every now again.  And like the Scottish long ago, they will be taught to hide their weapons so they have them in a time of war or they need to go revolt against the government that thinks it is in charge of the masses.  That is why we have a right to bear arms in this country.  It's too easy for a government to run amuck when the populace is disarmed and against an army.  Armed people fighting for their freedom will beat a standing army every time; history has shown this over and over again.
I think this policy of not teaching hand writing should be stopped.  I have been appalled at the horrible handwriting I seen scrawled onto employment applications for the past twelve years I have had to try and decipher.  Don't get me started on Spelling!  If you can't spell WORK you should not be able to get a job ever!!!  Let me stop now before I beat my monitor to death with the keyboard of the computer!  Computers were supposed to free up our time, help us solve problems, make life easier, not make us dumb as hell and expect less from our children!
I am sorry I want my children to go farther than I did in life and have a better standard of living than they did growing up.  That's what my parents wanted for me and my brothers and sisters.
At what point do the children have too much to learn, things are too hard that they can't be taught how to write?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bambi and Editing Tips

Disney's Bambi Lost Money?
On this date in history, August 13, 1942, Disney's Bambi premiered.  The movie lost money at the box office for the first run, but began to recoup its considerable cost (over $2 Million) during the 1947 re-release.
Moral of the story is to hang in there it may make money later!
EDITING TIPS
I also have two editing tips,
The first one is by my friend and favorite author Nicholas Sparks.  I am so sarcastic!!
He reads his stories backwards, sentence by sentence, when editing to trick his mind into not scanning and actually look at each word of each sentence.  Good idea!  I know that reading you get bored and start scanning instead of actually reading, especially the author reading his own work which he has already been through countless times between editing and formatting.
Make a list of words that are spelled differently and have different meanings but that sound the same.  Each time you come across one of these words make sure you are using the correct one.  The problem is if they are spelled correctly your spell checker will not catch those.
Theirs, There's..Witch, Which..etc.  There is a bunch of those!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flash Fiction Writing Contest

Our amazing guest judges are Crymsyn Hart, Ashley Blade, and Erica Ridley.

In the Your Story flash fiction writing contest writers of all genres may vie to place by submitting their original flash fiction manuscripts (300-500 words) for a $10 entry fee, writing their stories using one of these inspirational phrases:

"love poems for a girl"
"best chocolate in the world"
"romance village"

1st Place Winner: $200 & publication of submission on Your Story

2nd Place Winner: $150 & publication of submission on Your Story

3rd Place Winner: $50 & publication of submission on Your Story

4th Place Winner: $25 & publication of submission on Your Story

5th Place Winner: $25 & publication of submission on Your Story

Honorable Mentions: The option of having their submission published on Your Story. All non-winning entries will receive feedback from the judges to help them hone their craft.

Check it out at: http://yourstorywritingcontests.blogspot.com

Creativity and Smart Machines

I think one of the reasons I have gotten more creative in my private enterprises over the last two years is because my job has reached a point where it has become very critical as far as accuracy and very boring because of the nature of the stuff I have to do.  Basically my days are filled with checking packing lists against bills of lading for any errors.  Inputting said packing list into the companies' computer system.  Printing Inventory cycle count sheets for warehouseman to go and count, so later I can enter the count sheets into the computer to adjust the inventory up or down as needed.  Lastly taking packing lists e-mailed or faxed from manufacturers and pulling up each part number in the computer to see if the number is good, does it have an inventory bin and if the bin is a rack bin location to note it on the packing list.  When the load arrives the warehouse will use the packing I have written bin locations down for most of the part numbers to tell them where the tires belong in the warehouse.  This makes Editing a book almost FUN!
My phone likes to think it is intelligent.  Many of the things we purchase today like to help us save time by guessing what we irrational, stupid humans are attempting to do.  This infuriates the hell out of me especially with so called smart cars!  Maybe I want to ram that other car while I am not wearing my seat belt!
I love technology, but I don't trust it!  I never will!  I have a nice collection of oil lamps for use when the lights go out.  I pray they will always come back on, but realize someday they might go out for good.  My home will still have lights, just not electric.  Scary thought, but how could you get along if electricity just stopped and no more TV, Cell Phones, computers, nothing!  How would you live?  Would your business continue?  Would you roll up and die?
I would like some higher functioning software to be designed for all kinds of purposes.  Computers I could talk to and ask things of.  I would love to talk to my computer and it type what I am saying on the screen as I say it.  I have Dragon Speak software but it doesn't work with my Sony Digital Recorder.  I have purchased three full versions of their software with the promise each time that this version will work with this recorder.  The last version said I needed the next version and another Sony recorder that cost a hundred dollars more than the hundred dollar recorder I originally purchased.  Their customer support might as well be non-existent.  I will not purchase another piece of Nuance or Dragon Speak software ever again.
If it can really work, one of the three versions I have should work, they don't, and they don't even have the option.  The recorder works fine.  I am not buying another more expensive one!
I would love a computer program that could take an inputted packing list and assign bin locations to the list taking into account the different variables that I can, in less time than it takes me to type in the part numbers and write down where to put them.  I sure it exists somewhere but like the Dragon Software, at what price, what additional equipment, how many man hours to make it function when I can do the job already just slow and boring to do.
How great would it be if facial recognition software were adapted to graphic artist software and you could morph faces until you found just the right face, perfect hair color, eye color, and then rotate the face in any direction.  Drop it into a an outfit scanned from a clothing catalog fill it out to a desired body style and add your back ground and you wouldn't need models anymore.  Or software you could describe a character while the computer draws the composite picture of the person.  Instead I get a phone that likes to guess what I am typing into a text when I have a larger vocabulary than my smart phone.  Oh, Bother.

DIVORCE AGREEMENT

THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT'S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! WHATEVER HE RUNS FOR, I'LL VOTE FOR HIM.

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course.

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a model separation agreement:

--Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

--We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
--You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
--Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
--We'll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and you can go with wind, solar and bio diesel.
--You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.

--We'll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
--You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, home boys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
--We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks.
--We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood ..

--You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.
--You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

--We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
--You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McLane. You can also have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

--We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks and over sized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.
--You can give everyone health care if you can find any practicing doctors.
--We'll continue to believe health care is a luxury and not a right.
--We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "The National Anthem."
--I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine", "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", "Kum Ba Ya" or "We Are the World".

--We'll practice trickle down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.

--Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you answer which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely,
John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

P.S. Also, please take Ted Turner, Sean Penn, Martin Sheen, Barbara Streisand, & Jane Fonda with you.

P.S.S. And you won't have to press 1 for English when you call our country.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Personal Rant SECRETS

If you ever study history to any in depth degree, certain things become glaringly obvious!
1.  History repeats itself.  For those who study history maybe they can forgo repeating the mistakes of the past.
2.  History is written by the victors.  Sometimes the victors relate the story of the losers for posterity, but not normally.
3.  First hand, Second hand, Third hand accounts.  Who wrote the history?  Who investigated the facts?  What's fiction, what's true?  I.E.  In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.. They should have shot that poet!
4.  Nothing stays a secret forever!  People talk, they write, they record things.  In the future our blogs and saved records of e-mails will be sifted through and the truth of our times will be told.
As in my last blog post of who was Jacques Macie?  At the time did anybody know?  They still don't know his birthday.  But he was an illegitimate son!
At this point in history with pictures snapped on cell phones and locations recorded via GPS.  Traffic cameras everywhere you turn.  Security cameras private and commercial are everywhere.  People are talking, texting, blogging, writing.  Do you honestly think you can cheat on spouse and get away with it!  I don't do drugs, don't know people who do drugs, have never bought drugs.  If I was a person who liked to do that sort of thing, I would be so incredibly paranoid to go buy drugs and pick them up!!
You have no idea who is watching!  From time to time there are even satellites snapping pictures of every square inch of the earth and the pictures are being analyzed for changes.  Sooner or later the traffic cameras and computers are going to be able to track where you frequent, work, shop, live and your friends and will be able to provide agencies lists of those who are outside of their normal patterns of travel and behavior.  The computers can recognize the license plates already.  They only need to track them through the different cameras and tie them to work locations and where the cars live by registration.  It would be easy!
I don't write this to freak out the drug users or make those who sleep around more paranoid.  I do this to make you think and act as if you're on camera on the time.  We are being watched and who knows who the next Smithson might be, somebody may be digging your history up in the future.
Final note:  Imagine living in 1830's and being the illegitimate child of the nephew!!  Somebody coming by and giving you a fortune out of the blue for no other reason than you were related to somebody you didn't know!!

Who was Jacques Louis Macie?

Jacques Louis Macie was born sometime in early 1764, in Paris, France.  He was the illegitimate and unacknowledged son of an English landowner, Sir Hugh Smithson.  His mother was his father's mistress, Elizabeth Hungerford Keate.  She was the widow of John Macie, so that is why Jacques was named Macie.  His mother was an heiress of the Hungerfords of Studley.  Studley, Hee, Hee, Seriously.

On April 19, 1787, at the age of twenty-two, under the name James Lewis Macie, he was elected the youngest fellow of the Royal Society.

When his mother died, in 1800, he and his brother inherited a sizable estate.  He began the process to change his surname from Macie to his father's surname, Smithson.

James Smithson was a British mineralogist and chemist.  Besides being a prominent scientist of his time he was a shrewd investor and amassed a fortune in his lifetime.  On his death, Smithson's will left his fortune to his nephew, Henry James Dickson, son of his brother who had died in 1820.  If his nephew died without legitimate or illegitimate children, the money should go to the United States of America, to found at Washington, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.

James Smithson died on June 27, 1829, in Genoa, his body was buried in the English cemetery of San Benigno there.  The nephew, Henry Hungerford (he changed his name also), died without heirs in 1835, and Smithson's bequest was accepted in 1836 by the United States Congress.  A lawsuit (in Britain) contesting the will was decided in favor of the U.S. in 1838 and 11 boxes containing 104,960 gold sovereigns were shipped to Philadelphia and minted into dollar coinage worth 508,318 dollars.  There was a good deal of controversy about how the bequest was to be fulfilled and it wasn't until August 10, 1846 that the Smithsonian Institution was founded by an Act of Congress.  That was back when Congress still worked for the people and the betterment of our Great Country.

Smithson had never been to the United States, and the motive for the specific bequest is unknown.  There is unsourced tradition within the Percy family that it was to found an institution that would outlast his father's dynasty.

In 1904, Alexander Graham Bell, then Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, brought Smithson's remains from Genoa to Washington, D.C., where they were entombed at the Smithsonian Institution Building (The Castle).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Walden and Fuzzy Lines

On this date in History, August 9, 1854, Henry David Thoreau's, Walden, recounting his experiment in a 2-year solitary life on the shores of Massachusetts's Walden Pond was published.  His woodland cabin was built on land owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson.
As Walden Pond, was actually Walled in Pond, from some ancient time in the past, the name was just miss construed after all the years.  It has become apparent to me that part of the problem that developed over many years between publishers and authors is that like the name Walden Pond, things got fuzzy.  It has become apparent that many publishers and literary agents either are themselves authors or employ authors.  This seems like it would be a conflict of interest.
Just as in my previous post about Beta Readers, why would an author want to submit work to somebody who is in competition with them?
Not that somebody would turn a story down and then rewrite it in their own words, or publish the story in their own name, or even share the idea with another author who writes that kind of story.  I am positive with the high moral character of business in the world today that kind of stuff has never happened!
Now with self publishing, any author can call themselves a publisher!  Fuzzy lines just went completely out of focus.
Then, if you look at all the books about how to get your book published and how to write a query letter, they are almost entirely written by literary agents, or publishers!  It reminds me a lot of the college professor who makes his $110.00 book required for his class.  Don't colleges pay professors?  Wouldn't a college that a professor works for get some sort of break for their students?  There I go throwing stones about the morality of business again.
So it's a crap shoot.
Facts.
There are still traditional publishers!  How to get traditionally published is still like guessing where lightning might strike.
Writers are tone deaf to their own work.  Every writer believes their work is the end all of literature and the reason the pen was created.  When a publisher sees their work the world will be their oyster!
Editing and learning how to write, coupled with a great story can act as a lightening rod to help attract that elusive bolt of lightning!
Anybody can Self Publish just about anything they want to!
Anybody can create their own website and call it almost anything they want to!
The water has covered the wall so all we can see is one big pond.
The fish in the pond are varied in talent, means, resources, and who knows what fish are out there.  Thank God they are not eating one another yet!
The fish are changing as the pond gets bigger.  The names are fuzzy, and waiting for the reading public, the last bastion of intelligence in a world gone mad to clear it up by what they purchase, read, and review!
Amen.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beta Readers Wanted

A beta reader is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as "a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."
The author or writer, who can be referred to as the alpha reader, may use several "betas" prior to publication.  The term "beta" is an appropriation from the software industry which uses the terms "alpha" and "beta" for software that are internal works in progress and publicly released tests, respectively (though a "beta" version may still be tested internally).  While the use of the concept and the term is commonest among fan fiction writers, it is growing in popularity with novelists, to the point where some have thanked their beta readers (sometimes even referring to them as such) in their acknowledgments.  A beta reader, who may or may not be known to the author, can serve as proofreader of spelling and grammar errors or as a traditional editor, working on the "flow" of prose. In fiction, the beta might highlight plot holes or problems with continuity, characterization or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking.
Other types of writing groups have been known to use the French term, critiquer or the abbreviated, informal version, critter in the same context as beta reader.

Every writer has to find what will work and not work for them.  Some use outlines, some don't.  Some use timelines, or visual aids to keep track of the order of events throughout a story.
Some write things out long hand, some type on a real type writer, some use word processors, or even writing software designed to help you stay organized, on task and keep it all together.
At some point according to writing expert Ken Follett, you need someone to feel the story out.  I noticed something with the ladies of my book club that when I provided them with chapters from a book I will do someday in the future, that some of them were good at correcting English mistakes, while others caught the sequence errors, others caught the logic errors.  We all read differently.  Different things will jump out to different readers.  People's tastes differ.
One thing I have found is that people who like to read usually know good writing when they read it.  They generally know crap when they read it.  This is pretty universal among readers.  Writers are all tone deaf to their own deficiencies!  If they weren't editing wouldn't be so painful.
Ken Follett ends up with a typed first draft that has been gone over in different stages before getting to this point.  He has five to six copies of the first draft that his Beta Readers have returned to him and with this he does one rewrite.  A total rewrite of every sentence in the book!
The feedback, WE (as authors), are looking for is:
Questions the reader came up with while reading the story that were not answered?
Which characters they liked and want to see more of?
Which characters they didn't like?
Things not resolved to the delight of the reader.
What was not believable?
What detracted or took away from the story?
What were your favorite parts?  Why did you like this or that?
Insights about history, technology, facts, feelings, etc. which the author may be unaware of.
For the Beta Reader we are not too concerned with Spelling, grammar, or punctuation, as hopefully as the collaboration between writer and editor they will fix all of that stuff out of the book before the final draft.
Requirements for a Beta Reader:
To be well read.  Meaning the reader has read many books, good and bad, and enough to know the difference between horrible, good, great and future literature.
To be reading for an author who writes in a genre that you are familiar with and enjoy reading.
To be able to read the book in a timely manner and get back with the author quickly so they can move on to the next stage in the writing process, which may be a total rewrite or editing of rough draft.  But that you don't read it so fast you cannot properly respond with viable intelligence feedback the author can use to make the book better in a variety of ways.
That you can provide feedback in a usable format in which the author can assimilate the feedback into the rewrite or edit process.  Whether it is corrections in a word document or by pen on a printed version of the manuscript.  Whatever works best for the reader and the writer together.
To be able to keep secrets.  If you're reading the next book in a highly successful series and then go online and tell all in your blog before the writer even gets the final draft edited, they are liable to be mighty angry.  Then again maybe they will want you to spill the beans to build the hype!  I would suggest discussing any mentioning of the book with the author first.
To not be an author!  Authors don't want their Beta Readers publishing their books and fighting in court that the author stole the first published book in the series from them after the fact.  Plus authors don't want to be giving ideas away to aspiring writers; this could cause a whole mess of problems.
Benefits for the Beta Reader
You get to read stuff long before it ever becomes a real book or novel.  Imagine if you got to read the rough draft of the last Harry Potter book a year before the book came out!
You get a behind the scenes peek at the process some writers use to hone their craft to become better authors.
Your suggestions and comments may affect the outcome of the finished product.  If your author lets you beta read several versions throughout the process you can see firsthand where you impacted the author enough to change this or that within the story.
You may be mentioned in the acknowledgements of the book for your contribution to the work by the author.  This is being seen more and more with the explosion of new writers entering the market that were barred by the bureaucracy of agents and publishers before the advent of self publishing.
To Apply:
For those individuals who might be interested in FREE reading material that is in the works stages of being produced to lend a hand with your ideas, comments, observations and feedback to the author.  If you're not at this time an author or aspiring author.  If you like to read science fiction, mild romance (No Sex, in the books), like books that deal with time travel, combat at sea or in space on a massive scale.  If you have read many books of different types.  Have a computer with which to make corrections to Microsoft Word Documents.  Have an E-mail account with which to converse back and forth with the author through.
Then leave a comment here on my blog post or send an e-mail to StorytellerTDW@Yahoo.com explaining why you might be the perfect Beta reader for my books.  If you can't write that much you won't be able to give me the kind of feedback I am looking for.
Please bear in mind that I do not have even one book at this time that is ready to be reviewed and commented on.  I am looking to find five to six potential Beta Readers for my next novel which I will be beginning to work on in the next few weeks.  So we are talking months before I would be able to send even a rough draft out to be reviewed.  Initially, I may choose up to ten and through the next couple of books narrow that it down to those who provide the most beneficial feedback in a timely and workable manner.  The final five or six I will endeavor to establish a relationship with so we can help each other through the coming years.  In the mean time I will e-mail back and forth with those who respond in order to get to know them as much as I can before I am ready to submit my work for their critique.  In the mean time I have one e-book published that sells for .99 cents on any of the Major E-book sites. 
"Whisper" By Thomas Wilson
I will be publishing my second novel September 11, 2011, "No Rules Of Engagement" the same author.
This is a service that I am sure many authors should be receptive to and would be receptive to in time.  For Aspiring Authors please start enlisting your own Beta Readers or leave a comment and those who I do not wish to try out I may be able to pass their contact info along to my fellow authors.  Also I have provided the link to Ken Follett's Master Class on writing!  It is worth the read.  I can't imagine an author who wouldn't love to be a successful as Mr. Follett!
http://www.ken-follett.com/bibliography/index.html/

Why do you read what you read?

What Genre do you most commonly read?  Why?  Have you ever thought about it? 
What makes you read something new?  Do you read a variety of different genres or subjects?
I am forty-five years young.  I find things I like and that work and I stick with them.  I will buy something expensive if it is of good quality and will last.  Durability and function ability are primary concerns with purchases.

With Food and Women I do not enjoy variety.  I know what foods I like and that’s what I eat, period.  Very rarely will I entertain the idea of trying something new in the area of food.  I am one of those people who could eat the same thing every night for dinner and not get tired of it.  As a matter of fact I have eaten the same thing almost every day for lunch for the last couple of years.
As far as Women, I married way above myself the second time around.  I still can’t believe she is my wife after all these years of being married to her.  I lucked out that we were great friends first who fell madly in love with each other.  I knew I wanted to marry her when we were doing dishes together by hand and having a great time talking and working together.  I remember thinking, “This is what a great relationship should be like, being able to get along together and work together.”  Man did I hit the nail on the head with that one.
I honestly open my eyes every morning and thank the Lord for letting me have another wonderful day in his world and I thank him for the wonderful wife I have.  I have been blessed beyond measure and in a way few will ever know how good it can truly be.
But with books, I read about anything and everything.  Sometimes silly fun stuff to let my brain stretch and have fun.  Sometimes it’s text books of some sort.  History books are like water to my parched soul!  Action Adventure are exciting and I escape the mundane and boring parts of my life through the adventures and travels of others characters.  Romance if my book club makes me.
Horror very rarely, or if my editor asks me to help beta read her newest awesome book.  Which by the way it scared the hell out me in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day.  I don’t appreciate horror, but this book was great, but scary.
Be on the lookout for, "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption" By J.L. Murphey set to be published August 31, 2011.
If she continues in this genre I might have to add Horror to my already over flowing reading lists!
Today, I was curious as to what others read and why.  I love the Goodreads dot com web site, because I can see what others are reading, have read, plan to read, read book reviews, see who have read the same books I have, it is close to a book lovers heaven.
Actual book lovers heaven is to live in the New York City library in a private room with catered meals and housekeeping service, being independently wealthy so all you have to do is eat, sleep and read.
Recently, I have started writing.  No, seriously, I have.  I now will be walking, sitting, and look like I am thinking about something deep and far off.  Lost in thought.  For a four month period I was fighting battle scenarios in my head with orphans as soldiers.  I would contemplate battle scenes in outer space against aliens with the same children.  I contemplated a society that never had to fight but always negotiated and compromised and sought peaceful, placid, win/win scenarios for all of their problems and conflicts.  I dreamed up a scary alien force and how they would fight.
How would the children gather intelligence on their enemy?  Problems you might encounter if you where in situations like trying to gather prisoners that are seven to eight feet tall and six or seven hundred pounds apiece.  I day dream all the time and these plus interesting ships, weapons and characters then become the books I want to read, that I get the pleasure of writing.
The best of all worlds combined.  My only complaint is by the time it is rewritten and edited, I have gone through the story so many times I am sick of it.  Ready to start the wondrous process of writing all over again.  I think I am happiest when I am day dreaming and writing one to two chapters a day for weeks on end.  The time flies by, I am busy, occupied, in my own little world.  Nobody, but my editor, has a clue of the crazy wild strange stuff streaming through my warped mind.  Then after day dreaming, thinking, problem solving with a touch of research to ground it ever so lightly, I go unload it all into a word document.  Only to start over again the next day.  God I love it so much, and it is getting worse the more I do it.
I have thirty plus stories in mind and in file folders waiting to be tackled.  My only regret is that I didn't start writing twenty years ago.  My faith in God and his perfect timing relaxes my regret in that I wasn't prepared to write twenty years ago.  I am barely prepared as it is.  He has brought great help my way and opened many wonderful blessings to make it possible at this time.

What hath God Wrought

The Title of this post was also the first message ever sent across a telegraph line!

That was in 1844.  Sixteen years before the the American Civil War.

On this date in history, Cyrus West Field, along with Peter Cooper, Abram Stevens, Moses Taylor and Samuel F.B. Morse ( the creator of Morse Code c. 1830's), finished stretching the first Telegraph line under the Atlantic ocean between Ireland and New Foundland.  That was August 5, 1858, two years before the American Civil War.  The gentleman listed above were all part of the original American Telegraph Company and at the time their telegraph system was second only to Western Union.  You thought competition among communication providers was something new?

The Atlantic telegraph line was officially opened on August 16, 1858, when Queen Victoria sent a message to President James Buchanan in Morse code.  Though fanfare of the accomplishment was spread far and wide the line itself broke down three weeks later and was not reconnected until sometime in 1866.

"Can You Hear Me Now?"
Things really haven't changed that much in a hundred and fifteen years, except now you can text!

I heard a comedian the other day comment about texting and how nice it would be if they could invent something like the cell phone where instead of all that typing you could just call and talk to a person.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Just a word or two about Dragons

It's not that I think people from days gone by were not creative enough to dream up the idea of the Dragon, and say that it breathed fire, and flew.  I have trouble with the fact that Dragons are depicted from ancient times in the Far East, throughout Europe, and across the Americas.
How is it that peoples that didn't even know of each other's existence, manage to come up with the same mythological creature with the same attributes.
I could understand it if Chinese dragons were tiny and flew.  Whereas European dragons were giant like the dinosaurs and ran around smashing things with their gigantic tales and stepping on things, and the Mayan, Inca or American Indian dragons were water beasts and swam and ate people in the water.  The fact that they exist in mythology in just about every culture, and all have the same attributes, such as flying and breathing fire.  It's too much of a coincidence!
The logical argument is if they existed where did they go?  Where are the bones or remains of these mythical beasts?
In India archeologists uncovered tablets with cuneiform writing that for all intents and purposes were flight and service manuals for some sort of ship that supposedly flew back in their early history.  This was either the work of the very first science fiction writer uncovered or the actual manuals of lost ships by an ancient people.  Whatever you believe, I find it funny that there was a race between the United States and Russia to get their hands on as many of these tablets as each country could get.  To say that people existed here at one time who were as advanced as we are if not more so and then society collapsed and everything was forgotten, is not entirely out of the question.
Dragons may well have existed and went the way of the dinosaurs.  Maybe some of the dinosaurs we know of today are just incomplete or we don't have enough remains to get a complete picture of the nature of the beasts and really they were dragons.  Maybe dragons existed but left us, traveling to a different dimension or time because of our extreme ignorance.
There is an author by the name Naomi Novik, who writes the Temeraire Series about dragons being used as an air force of sorts during the Napoleonic times.  It is like reading a fantasy version of a Patrick O'Brian book.  It's the time setting, the warfare in the age of chivalry, where the primary weapons were cannons and swords that make it appeal to me so much.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Results Yet, so more History!

Smashwords still has NOT updated its quarterly sales figures, but then again my Name is Wilson and if they are attacking it alphabetically, I may be towards the end of the list.
So more History!
On this day in 2004, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty re-opens after being closed since the September 11 attacks.
What I didn't know was the crown of the Statue of Liberty didn't re-open until July 4, 2009.
The crown had been closed since the Black Tom explosion.  What in the world is the Black Tom explosion and when did that happen?  That was my reaction!
June 30, 1916, or June 29th depending on where you look an explosion took place at 2:08AM on a mile long island that sat beside Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty hangs out.  It appears this island which was referred to as 'Black Tom' was a shipping depot, with docks, and warehouses.  The warehouses were primarily used at this time for munitions.  As World War I was under way and the United States was in preparations to send munitions to Britain and France in support of the War effort, there were approximately TWO MILLION POUNDS of Ammunition and ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS of TNT.  The ammunition was loaded on train cars either sitting on the rails or in warehouses waiting to loaded onto ships.  The Hundred Thousand Pounds of TNT was on the Johnson Barge No. 17, which had tied up to the docks in order to avoid paying a tow charge of twenty five dollars which would be the equivalent to five hundred and some dollars in today's market.
It was later discovered the explosion was the result of German sabotage on American soil.  The first and largest explosion happened at 2:08AM on July 30th.  To the people still up and around they still considered it the night of the 29th.  Explosions continued for hours after the initial blast.
The initial blast was a bad one.  It measured 5.0-5.5 on the Richter scale, roughly the equivalent of a man made earthquake!  People in Maryland were awakened by the initial blast.  Windows were blown out of their panes up to twenty-five miles away.  Fragments were lodged into the Statue of Liberty and the Jersey Journey building in Jersey Square which was over a mile away from the initial blast.  The clock on the Jersey Journal building stopped working at 2:12AM on July 30th, 1916.  Damage was done to the skirt and the torch of the Statue of Liberty.  The damage caused was wide spread and very costly.  Remarkably only seven fatalities were a result of the explosion.
I guess the torch has been closed since July 30th, 1916, until it reopened on July 4, 2009.
I wonder if they ever fixed the clock?  It is questions and curiosity like this that I will instill into my boys.  My daughter is already a very critical thinker, good student, and going to college.  The boys are only one and three.  They have yet to experience encyclopedias and writing reports during summer vacations.
But now we know what the Black Tom explosion was.

Columbus leaves to discover?

On this day in history, Christopher Columbus, departed from Palos de la Frontera, with three ships the Santa Maria, the Nina, and the Pinta.
As with all great adventures what was the plan and what actually happened were two different things.  The plan was to find a shorter more direct route to the Far East to more effectively trade but cutting down the time of the trip.  It was only seven years earlier that sailors were taking ships around the bottom of Africa and traversing the globe by sea for trade purposes and establishing colonies.
What happened?  What they teach children in school is that Columbus discovered America!
WRONG!
Do you realized what an eye opening experience it was for me when I started reading history books in my thirties and realizing that what little education I did manage to get over the years was mostly wrong!  Besides having horrendous English skills, manageable math skills, most of what I thought happened in the world and why things are the way they are, was all wrong!
I seriously can't wait for my sons to come home from school and start spouting the propaganda that they teach in schools!  I will show them what books are!  I will show them how to read and discover stuff on their own.  I will show them that not everything you learn in school is absolutely the truth and how in most cases you need to dig a little deeper to find the truth.  I will teach them to think and ask questions.  God Forbid!  Free Thinkers at a young age!
I was almost forty before I abandoned most of the bull from school and had a fairly decent idea of history.  I was forty-four before I began writing, and my English skills still suck at best.
Columbus and his ships made land in the Bahamas archipelago!  The people of the day knew he didn't discover America and go figure it isn't called Columbus!
Class is dismissed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Penny for your thoughts

On this day in 1909 the first Lincoln penny was issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth.  The new design was sculpted by Victor David Brenner, his initials can be seen on the rim of the coin just under Lincoln's shoulder.
I was shown something as a child and it has stayed with me all these years.
"Find a penny,
pick it up,
all day long,
You'll have Good Luck!"
Since being a young boy I have been picking up pennies.  I am not superstitious and I know that all my blessings come from my heavenly father.  So as I pick the penny up and put it in my pocket I say a silent little prayer in thanking God Almighty for blessing me.  I ask that he bring good fortune my way, that he continues to watch over me and my family, and I thank him for the penny.  I believe it is the prayer that brings me good fortune, and God lets me find the pennies to remind me to pray and keep my trust in him.  Every time I find a penny they are the luckiest days I ever have.  Along with New Shoe Days, and Friday the thirteenths!
Never heard of a new shoe day?  The first day you get to wear your new shoes is always the best day in those shoes.  Always a blessed and lucky day!
I am aware of the history and superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th, but growing up I noticed I always seemed to have great days on these days of bad luck and ill will.  Through the years my daughter has relayed they have been good days for her also.  I figure for all the people who stay indoors and bury their heads in the covers rather than chance fate, well, somebody has to get all that unused good luck!  Might as well be me!  But then I know where my blessings are truly coming from.  Amen!

 
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