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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Whisper" FREE August 1 st and 2 nd.

WHISPER     FREE WEDNESDAY (8-1) AND THURSDAY (8-2)

The crew of the USS Whisper tries to get back to their rightful place in time after accidently being sent into the past over 200 years while testing a device to make the ship invisible. Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew fight against time, a 200 year old frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a German Wolf Pack of submarines.
This is Thomas Wilsons first novel and the first in a series of Wiley Randolph Novels. Join Wiley on what is supposed to be his last mission. If you enjoy it coming soon is “Leviathan Deterrent”, a submersible Aircraft Carrier, Wiley's first command and the start of his new life.

CLICK THIS LINK TO GET YOUR FREE COPY TODAY

Monday, July 30, 2012

Doldrums


When I first started reading on a regular basis it was reading series of books which kept me going from one book to another.  The series that stands out more than any other was Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin Series.  The first book of the series many are probably aware because of the 2003 movie of the same title which was based in part off pieces of several of the books, “Master and Commander.”  Through the books Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend and ships surgeon, Stephen Maturin, relate his adventures in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic War.  I have subsequently learned many things of a nautical nature from reading these many books which is one of my favorite genres.
One of the terms I have picked up on is the Doldrums.  The Doldrums is a colloquial maritime expression for the parts of Atlantic and Pacific Oceans affected by the inter-tropical convergence zone where a low pressure area around the equator causes the prevailing winds to be calm.  In many areas the Doldrums were to be avoided because it could trap sail powered ships for periods of days or weeks.  With little or no winds the sea is dead calm and the ships are just stuck there.

I use this term to describe those periods of everyday life when the wind gets let out of your sails and you feel like you are stuck and just sitting there.  It generally isn’t anything you have done or haven’t done, but other people and the things they say, the pressing of schedules to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, the daily routine of tasks to be performed.  Your zip has been zapped, your get up and go has gotten up and left without you, and your enthusiasm is waning at best.
The Doldrums, and just like the ships at sea of the old days, if you’re not careful you could get stuck there for days or weeks.
Writing is such a solitary job to begin with as you do all of the writing by yourself.  If you’re just starting out, you’re an Indie Author where you do almost everything by yourself, and even if you have an Editor or Artist who may help with aspects of the books you rarely speak to them and have little or no contact with them what so ever.  In my case my biggest cheerleader would be my editor who I e-mail four or five times a month and we have never actually spoken to each other.  Plus, it isn’t their job to cheer us up anyways.
Writers have to be able to pick themselves up by the boot straps and find our happy places all by ourselves.  We have to be self-motivated to get out of bed and do all the regular things everybody in else in life has to do concerning family, job, and everyday life, and then happily write out novels on the side.  It sometimes feels like a full time job that you have to sneak around to try and accomplish stealing minutes from this or that, jotting down notes into notebooks, on napkins, or on your hand so you don’t lose the thought or idea until you can find the time to write it down or add it to the book you’re currently working on.
I imagine everybody in the world gets the doldrums every now again because its life.  Life is hard.  Work is hard.  We get tired just like everybody else.  We get discouraged when our sales slump or fall off.  We get discouraged when parts of the process take slower than Christmas getting done.  We get discouraged when you try and self-promote a giveaway of your books and nobody wants a Free copy of them.  We get discouraged when it seems like nobody but ourselves believes in us.  That we will someday be able to write for living and be able to stop working towards others dreams and making them money.  It gets discouraging when you just barely make it from pay-check to pay-check.  The doldrums!
I wish I could say I have a fix for it, some magical potion you eat, drink or snort to lift you out of the doldrums but it doesn’t work that way.  I wish I could tell you the steps to take to get over, under or around the doldrums and get happy and back on track with your writing career but there isn’t any 12 step program to get you past it.  Just like the large man-o-wars and sailing ships of days gone by, many of which were powerful ships in their own right under a good head wind, but when you’re stuck your stuck.  To get the wind back in your sails the only suggestion I have is use the peace of nothing going on, no enthusiasm, no sales, and no staff bugging you, to write!
That’s it just write your happy ass off.  Live vicariously through your characters and their misery, triumph’s, success or failures, and write, write and write some more.  Who knows the writing and pouring yourself into your characters may be just the breeze to turn into a tempest and blow you somewhere you never imagined you might end up!  Success is the journey not a destination, and all journeys have dead ends, pit stops, rest breaks, and unexpected disagreeable parts to the trip.  Your doldrums is just that, a speed bump over the course of your life.
Fake a smile, get your work done that you have to do so you can get back to writing.  Who cares if nobody believes in you?  When your ship comes in everybody will be asking how did you do that?  Then remember these days when nobody thought you would amount to anything.  If your writing is your passion then that’s where you’ll find your inner peace and happy place.
So get back to work.  If you’re flying high today save this link to this post under the title Stuck in the Doldrums and when that day arrives and you put a name on that gloomy pissy attitude you woke up with, then read this.
Myself I started this day and post off with the Doldrums, but now I am about to get back to Alexander Hawk and company saving the Earth from shit loads of Gators and Dragons.  I have a book to finish and get to my editor if I want to publish another one this year!
Have a Great Day Everybody!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Last Two Free Days for Whisper on Amazon

Mark your calendars if you haven't gotten your free copy of "Whisper"!
August 1, and 2 nd - Next Wednesday and Thursday are the last two days it will be available for free on Amazon.
Whisper -- Kindle Bestseller

Praise for Whisper:

"The concept of presented within the book– a new technology being created that can in a sense make people and objects invisible for a given set time and also transport an object or person to another time period–is pretty darn awesome! The author did a wonderful job of explaining how such a technology could be created and work effectively. " -- A.C.

"Really interesting concept that kept me intrigued throughout." -- K.K.

Overview:

** WARNING: Not for children or young teens. Contains mature language and situations. **

The crew of the USS Whisper must get back to their rightful place in time after accidentally transporting 200 years into the past while testing a device to make the ship invisible. Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew fight against time, a 200 year old frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a German Wolf Pack of submarines to get home safely.
Tell your friends who read in case they haven't gotten their Free Copy.

The Sequel "Leviathan Deterrent" will be coming out shortly.  It is getting edited and polished now.
http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Wiley-Randolph-Series-ebook/dp/B004NBZ962/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I’M A CRIMINAL


Yes, I know it is hard to believe but apparently I have broken the law and got caught.  My neighbor also got caught for committing the same crime.  Yes, apparently there is a crime wave going on in the suburb community of Independence, Missouri.  Have no fear my fellow readers, Officer Barney Badass is on his toes and ever vigilant and cleaning up crime in my neighborhood.

Never mind that there has been numerous houses broken into over the last few months or that some higher department of law enforcement is running an undercover drug house in the neighborhood.  Or the fact that the local trash company regularly steals their own trash cans so we have to report them stolen in order to get new ones from the trash company; this one reeks of conspiracy and organized crime involving the trash company involved, the police and whomever the insurance carrier is for their trash cans.  Did you know the trash cans are covered by their insurance, in case of theft?
We Americans have been spoiled by unrealistic television to believe the Police are ever vigilant in tracking down the real criminal elements of our society with high tech equipment and the help of uber intellectual teachers and ex-psychics to help them solve the baffling cases committed by criminal masterminds.  The truth is the police are just as stupid as the criminals as evident by the fact of what the police actually do and how full our prisons are.  The real intelligent criminals are out there and everybody knows who they are and where they are at.  I’ll bet my ass they aren’t getting parking tickets in front of their homes at midnight.
Yes, that’s right.  I got a parking ticket!  In front of my own home for parking the wrong direction on the street.  Three blocks away from the nearest main street in such a hidden away land locked spot of town that AT&T just skipped the entire neighborhood!  There are four ways into our little land locked area and all lead to a main street with two lanes of traffic heading each way.  Only one of the four streets comes out at a traffic light.  I’m sure on his spree of writing tickets it never occurred to Officer Dumbass why every bodies cars are facing south towards the only fast and efficient way out of the neighborhood.
(This is NOT my house.)


No we are all expected to be lawful citizens and turn around and face our cars the other way, effecting turning around when you get home and turning around again in the street before you leave in the morning.  I have lived here nine years and parked facing the way out of the neighborhood almost every night.  If I do come in from the south I will generally turn my truck around to face the right way, excuse me, the illegal but more intelligent direction before going in for the night.
I realize if his job is to patrol a particular area of town on a Tuesday night there might not be much to do in this neighborhood, but that is largely because he doesn’t know where the real criminals live in my neighborhood.  When I got home my neighbor asked me how I liked getting a parking ticket for parking in front of my own home as he waved his ticket at me, he got one too.  We talk, we wave at each other, were neighbors!  Most of the people in this neighborhood are the original residents who bought the homes as new right after they were built in the early seventies.  The newer residents such as myself are just hard working Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.  Thankfully this foray into proper parking procedures is only a twenty dollar ticket, which only means I get to pay the ticket instead of going to the movies to see the new Batman Movie.
Is it any wonder about people’s animosity for the police when we can see criminal activity daily and atrocities such as the shooting in Colorado or at our own mall down the street in Independence this last spring and instead of fighting crime.  Instead of making the community a safer place my fines and tax dollars are paying Barney Badass to play meter maid on back streets out of the way.  If it really bothered him he could of used sticky notes and left people some warnings.  “Hey it’s illegal to park your car on this side of the street facing the wrong direction.”
Hell, I would have been pissed but he could have rung my door bell and I would have grumpily gotten up and moved the fucking car along with my neighbor, that way Officer Dumbass could have been a prick and petty all in one fell swoop.  That might have caused a problem and then he might have had to unbutton his shirt pocket to get his bullet out!  At least with that option I still might have been able to go watch the Dark Knight.
There has been this uprising of people screaming about the Second Amendment and how much safer the world would be if Americans were not allowed to have guns.  I am sorry but with the dumb asses that registered voters have elected into office and in the inefficiency to manage our own government better than Blockbuster Video, and with the intelligence of the people roaming our streets to harass and intimidate rather than to serve and protect, I am not giving up my gun EVER!  The right to bear arms, own a gun, and protect ourselves in the face of threats or the tyranny of our own elected government is our last line of defense.  If you don’t agree you don’t have to buy a gun, own a gun or carry one.  It’s a right, it isn’t mandatory!
In closing if you don’t think that the fact that Americans own and have loaded weapons isn’t a major consideration for any country ever considering to invade our country - then think again.  I will guarantee an invading army will be more worried about having to fight for every house on every block of every city more than they are worried about our military.
I don’t RANT that often on my blog, but today you just got lucky!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crisis Management


How an organization, government, company, or Army handles situations tells a lot about the leadership, experience and competence of that group.
Many companies have policies and procedures in place to deal with specific events or crisis that may arise unexpectedly.  Regardless of the policies and procedures in place it is the people of that organization that either handle the situation or get handled by it.  Too many times people hide or escape behind the policies and procedures as means of doing nothing and not being held responsible for what does or does not happen.
I have a hand written note that the previous manager who occupied my position at this company had stuck to his bulletin board before me.  I don’t know where he got it from but after reading it the first time I decided as long as my ass sits in this chair the note stays up on the bulletin board so I can see it every day.
As a Manager . . .
Nothing happens in your location without your approval.  Whether through your actions or your lack of actions.
Thank you my friend and follower of my blog, Mike Crouch!
From time to time challenges and crisis will arise and organizations have to deal with them.  This company I work for has over twenty trucks at this location alone that are out running five to six days of the week.  From the servicing of the vehicles, having qualified drivers and knowing and following the letter of the law it is a tremendous responsibility that we take on gladly every day.
Recently, we had a situation were numerous trucks were hit by other drivers on the same day.  This is definitely not the normal situation and what I would refer to as a crisis.  The fact that my boss who was driving back into town while on vacation was notified of one of the accidents via a text message and had his wife and family drop him by the company so he could help out in our time of severe need is just part of the example of what I am talking about.
We managed to get through the day with two trucks damaged, outside of a burned wrist from an air bag going off, no further injuries to people.  Part of one route didn’t get their delivery until the next day but the customers got called and notified of the situation and were very understanding.  It was a long and stressful day for many of us, handling everything that needed handled in a timely, expedient, and safe manner.  For many members of the company nobody even knew anything out of the ordinary had even happened.
Partly a big part of our handling things is that we know what we need to do in order to do it right and cross every t and dot every i.  Not that we have lots of experience with trucks getting into wrecks but we have been trained over time and under fire.  We don’t hide behind anything but just dig in and handle the situation in the most professional and caring way we can.  We all pull and work together to get the job done to the best of our ability.  At the end of the day when we all can go home, it has been a good day!
In the opening of the post I put Army’s.  Armies have to handle crisis more than any other organization, and at the end of the day everybody may not be going home.  Or they all will but some will be in a body bag or a box.  I was trained in Armor in the United States Army and I feel that the way I deal with crisis management is in a large part due to my fine training from my time spent in the U.S. Military.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bikers - The Modern Cavalry


Some time ago I attended an annual charity benefit put on by bikers.  For some reason this event always has the biggest turn out and raises more money in Kansas City and the surrounding areas than it does anywhere else in the country for this charity.  This particular time it was estimated that over eight thousand bikers showed up to participate in this one day ride.  I have heard of many rides that have had many more than this number participating in them.  This was just the largest ride I had ever been a participant of.

Now I have to put this in the proper perspective.  This was eight thousand riders who paid good money to participate in a ride for charity.  During the ride I was amazed at what eight thousand bikes looked like.  All along the route as people would stop to get a drink, take a piss, or fill-up their bikes we inundated the filling stations of the small towns.  You could stop and use the services take a break while the entire time bikes were flying by continuing on down the road.  I remember one poignant moment when I was in the middle of a valley on a two lane black top and as far as you could see forwards and backwards on the road to each horizon was a line of bikes two by two.
As a student of military history it dawned on me that this was the cavalry of the future if there ever was to be all out war in this country, or God forbid, an all-out revolution against our government.  One of my most popular posts by far has been Guns in America.  You take the numbers from that post regarding gun ownership in America and consider that bike registration in America has increased 75% between 1997 and 2006.  The number of registered bikes went from 3,826,373 in 1997 to 6,678,958 in 2006.  Since 1997 to 2006 the sale of new street legal bikes increased by 243%.
There is no way to cross reference how many bike owners are also owners of firearms but you could only imagine that outside of the red necks in their trucks with hunting rifles there is an Army of bikers who are armed as well.  It made me shudder how a town could be enveloped and literally taken over in moments by bikers.  Imagine if they were lead in an organized fashion and they entered the town from different directions.  Even a modern mechanized Army would have trouble dealing with the speed and maneuverability afforded by motorcycles.
As a science fiction writer and avid reader who is currently plowing my way through “The Hunger Games” series of books you can see how I live in a world of make believe.  Yet in real life I have recently seen more revolution in the world during the last few years than I have ever seen before in my lifetime.  From time to time people get restless and corrupt or oppressive regimes get over thrown.  More often than not the group that takes over isn’t much better than what they had to begin with.  As a student of history this pattern repeats itself over and over again.
The greatest of storms announces itself as a gentle breeze.  Only by looking back in history can you identify the little sparks that ignited enormous rebellions.  As populations increase, the global economy grows closer together and the frame work of society are stretched it becomes harder to gauge the action reaction of specific events.  Atrocities of all shapes and sizes are still being played out in the name of control, greed, and the exercising of power over others.  As an old soldier I know that nobody prays for peace more than the soldiers and their families.
I personally own a bike and a gun.  I will never relinquish either without one hell of a fight.
By the way there is an unspoken brotherhood and relationship amongst bikers that almost equals that of veterans.  I am proud to be a member of both groups.  Bikers and Veterans can be the best people you ever meet or the absolute worst!  Usually the difference is you and what you stand for or against.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dawning of Understanding

So I am reading “Catching Fire,” the second book of “The Hunger Games” series.  I saw the movie, “The Hunger Games,” with my daughter weeks ago and then more recently read the book.  I always like seeing the movie first so that having read the book doesn’t destroy the movie experience for me.  The books are always better.  Every reader knows this.  Too many times I have read the book first before they made a movie about something and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth forever about the movie.  They did a good job on the movie of “The Hunger Games.”
As I am reading “Catching Fire” I am seeing the characters from the movie in my head act out the scenes of the book as I did when I read “The Hunger Games.”  Only now days as a writer myself I read books slower, more cognizant of what the writer is doing and how they are doing it.  I pay attention to the change in emotions and how the words the author uses, the acts the characters portray, and the things they say change the emotions, feel and pace of the piece.
As I read a particular passage where it describes the complicated reasoning and thoughts of one of the characters it dawns on me that you will miss this part in the movie.  How could they portray and communicate all this internal process of the characters analysis and thinking without straying from the actual elements of action in the book.  That’s when it hit me!

It is this moment that thing which I have known all along, that every reader knows and is such a great part of why reading is wonderful and will always outlive and surpass all other forms of media expression for entertainment.  It’s because with reading and a good author you get to read about other people’s thoughts, motivations, and desires behind the scenes of the action.  It is more interactive than any game, movie or television show could ever be.  Because you can experience what the characters feel and think.  Even if later their actions betray themselves or others, or they willingly sacrifice their own wants and desires for the benefit others.
It’s this exchange of emotions, hearing the thoughts and feelings of the characters which can’t be expressed in any other way and then snapping back without losing any time to the action at hand.  It is this special insight into the characters that breaks the rules of true life and is at the heart of setting the tone and emotions for a particular piece of writing.
I thought it was funny that it was right there in front of me.  I fully understood what was going on in the books I read, but I had never actually verbalized it or rolled it together into a cognitive thought about the process before.  Readers know why the books are always better, because we get a more infinitely clearer perception of what is truly going on from the books in a way that can’t be mimicked by other forms of media attempting to transfer stories.  Obviously television and movies are quicker and easier to digest than picking up a book and actually reading it.  Of course you miss out on tidbits of motivation and thoughts but can still get a fairly decent over view of the story.
I will take the work and wait of reading something over having it spoon fed to me anytime.  On that note I can’t wait to see “Dark Knight Rising!”
It’s a joke and yes I really want to see that movie.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honing Your Skills


Over the last year and half I have done many posts illuminating aspects of writing and honing your skills as a storyteller.  I thought today I would re-cap the sum of my mini lessons up till now.
1.  Write your story.  I don’t mean about you, I mean tell the story that is rattling around in your head.  Describe for us the world in your imagination.  Make your characters come alive to us through your words.  Let us feel their passion, their pain, experience their plight, and let us celebrate in their victories, as we live vicariously through them as we read your work.
2.  Edit and proof the many layers that make up your work.  There are about as many facets to good editing and proofing as there is in writing the piece to begin with.
3.  Learn when to start and stop.  School is out and this isn’t a bloody book report.  Maybe end a chapter with a question, or at a high point in the action.  Our goal is to make the reader not want to put the book down.  Our job as the storyteller is to draw the reader into our imagination through the tempo, the words, the personalities, the stress or elation, and entertain them up and through the last page.  You want them dragging their feet as they near the end of the book because they don’t want it to end.
4.  That part of the story that steps over the boundary of real to unreal that is the special magical part of every book.  Boldly jump into that special pool with both feet.  Don’t describe the crap out of it, dance around it, run through it screaming as a child playing Red Rover and bust right through it.  That’s what the reader is here for.  Don’t let this be the only special piece of the work.  I have read books where the authors run through it, dance all over it before running through it again.
5.  Take the reader somewhere they have never been before.  This is your book from your imagination, dreamed up by the unique individual that only you are.  Nobody else has had the same everything you have – you are unique, and so your story should be also.
6.  You’re just spinning your wheels until you write and publish those first million words.  You have a long way to go.  You are not going to get rich being a writer.  Most writers have been working at this for years before they are published or before their books get discovered.  You may never sell more than a couple hundred books!
Still here and reading?  Then you might have what it takes to be a writer.  It is mostly solitary, unthankful work.  That is why if you’re not writing for the right reasons your just spinning your wheels.  If your goal is to write because you love writing, because you want to share this story that is bursting to get out of you, and you don’t care if anyone ever reads or buys a single copy, then you’re well on your way – finish the bloody book and get it out here!  There is a world of readers out there.  Somebody will read it.  Somebody will love it.  Some will hate it and you for writing it.  Welcome to being a published author!
7.  When it is hard and you’re questioning your resolve, your story, thinking about bagging it ask yourself some questions.
            What would you be doing otherwise?
            Are you typing on a typewriter with carbon paper?
            Are you writing it out long hand?
            Will you have to make each copy yourself to distribute the work?

8.  When you finish it and it has been edited and proofed, then self-publish it!  This answers some elementary questions right away.
            Do people like my work?  Not everybody will!  Can you take criticism without slitting your wrists?  The average grade in regards to rating a book is a three.  Honestly that’s the best any of us can hope for.  You will get ones, twos, and threes.  You may get some fours and fives!!  You won’t know until you get it out there.
            You want to be traditionally published!  So does everybody, but there are draw backs.  Are you willing to sell the rights (literally) to your story?  Don’t spend your life trying to get traditionally published.  You could waste years trying to get noticed in a broken down not working system when in the mean time you could be cranking out books and honing your skills so that later when they (publishers and agents) want you, you have real bargaining power, not just your hat in your hand and one untried and untested manuscript.
9.  Have your work Edited!  It’s that important enough that I have listed it twice.  Do it right the first time or you will be going back and doing it over and over again until you get it right.
9 ½.  Watch your tempo.  In the continuing efforts to be better with each successive book the limits are being pushed to the maximum by many authors.  Reading fiction is for enjoyment so be mindful of the reader and watch the tempo.  Give them time to process what you’re doing with the characters before you throw another cop car into a helicopter or blow up the world!
10.  FINISH THE BOOK!  Everybody wants to write a book and millions more have an idea for one or started writing one.  I started twenty different books over ten years before I finally sat down and kept plugging away at the same one until I finished it. 

Three edits later and a new cover and “Whisper” isn’t that bad.  I pray it will always be the worst book I ever write.  I hope each one just gets better than the last one.  I am halfway through the third edit of “No Rules Of Engagement” my second novel – it is still out there for sale but the soon to be released 2012 Edition should have almost everything fixed.
I have come to believe that every time you go through a book there is something that could be tweaked, and depending on the school and background in English what one person finds correct someone else will say is wrong.  English is not an absolute science; it’s subjective, which is another problem writers must deal with.
Thanks for taking time to share with me.  Keep an eye out for the re-release of “No Rules Of Engagement” and the soon to be released “Leviathan Deterrent” the sequel to “Whisper.”
Have a Great Day and writers get back to work, there are readers looking for their next book right now!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Grumman Goose


For those who saw “The Expendables” and are awaiting for the release of the sequel you no doubt also fell in love with their plane, the Grumman Goose.
In 1936, a group of wealthy gentleman from Long Island commissioned the Grumman Corporation to build them a commuter plane to get from Long Island to New York.  Grumman designed the light amphibian model G-21 Goose, which was their first mono-wing aircraft, their first twin engine aircraft, and its first aircraft to enter commercial airline service.  Because of its amphibian characteristics it was a natural for surveillance and military sea rescue service as it could literally go about anywhere.
Crew 1 - 3, Capacity 5 - 7 passengers, Length 38ft 6in, Wingspan 49ft, Height 16ft 2in
Max Speed 201 mph, Cruise Speed 191 mph, Range 640 mi / 557 nmi
Ceiling 21,300ft, Rate of Climb 1,100ft/min.

Through the years there were many modifications and types of these planes built for various countries and service around the world.  They were very popular and handy, even up to recently it being picked up by Antilles Seaplanes of Gibsonville, North Carolina in 2007 to reproduce production of the twin turbine-powered McKinnon G-21 G Turbo Goose variant, now identified as the Antilles G-21G Super Goose.  The new Super Goose will have state of the art aviation electronics, radios, and navigational systems.

I mention this not just because the previews show the crew of “The Expendables 2” crash their Goose but because in my third book, “Leviathan Deterrent” – The sequel to “Whisper” my first novel, which will be coming out soon, features a Grumman Goose.  If and when I ever get around to it, I plan on the third Wiley Randolph Novel going back to where Wiley and Damon Bolch meet each other while Wiley is testing the Dark Horse.  In the "Leviathan Deterrent", Bolch's plane is called the Wild Goose.
For those who are plane enthusiasts and follow the exploits of their favorite planes the Goose fans of the world should enjoy the resurgence of this grand and stylish aircraft which was originally designed as a rich man’s air-water taxi service.
Besides the Expendables this plane has been featured in the 1943 submarine movie “Crash Dive” and the 1967 movie “Tobruk.”  One of these fine planes plays a major role in the 1985 movie “Commando” with the Pan Air’s retractable wing tip modification.  In the PS3 video game “Unchartered Victor Sullivan”, his plane the Wild Hog is a Grumman Goose.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Wonder of Flight


Today I watched as a bird flew down and landed on a railing.  As I have done many times for as far back as I can remember I wondered how terrific it would be to have the ability to just take flight.  I thought about something I read not long ago about how our reality is just our perception of the things we see as our brain can understand it based off the sum of our experiences and knowledge.  The article went on to expound on physics, reality, and our perceptions.

I considered that if this were true and I was really something else as my body is made up of just a bunch of molecules connected together then I could imagine I was lighter than air and just launch myself into the air.  The bird which I was still watching this entire time stretched out its wings and fluttered them at me so they were nothing more than a blur to my vision.  It settled its wings back to its sides and shook itself like it just got a shiver.
It seriously looked as if this bird was actually taunting me to attempt to fly!


As I sat later to write this piece it crossed my mind that I should write that I took off and launched myself from the ground and soared through the air.  Proving mind over matter, shattering the concept of gravity and flying so fast that tears ran from my eyes from the wind.
Alas, I remembered a young and na├»ve boy who once wore a cape made from an old child’s blanket who launched himself from the top of the mobile home which was his childhood home.  The event was reminiscent of watching Wily E. Coyote after launching past the edge of a cliff from the cartoons the same boy grew up enjoying.  The pain remembered from that elementary experiment of physics long before he knew it was a science made me walk away thinking of calling the bird a very socially unacceptable name as I left.
I wonder if all young boys take a plunge of faith as part of their elementary learning experiences.  It reminds me to sit down with my two very young boys and explain about the do’s and don’ts of flying.  I wonder if by telling them that I may inhibit their ability to fly if it exists, or if I’ll rob them of some rite of passage as a boy.  Hopefully I will save them from getting hurt and if done properly instill in them the same love and excitement of flying and planes that I grew up with.
Of course I was born on Castle Air Force Base, the son of an Air Force Drill Instructor.  Later in Idaho, we lived down the gravel road from a small grass field airport which was inhabited by a bunch of guys who flew bombers together during World War II.  I grew up around vintage exotic aircraft that you could only see in the movies or at airshows.  The old pilots would entertain me with stories of their glory days and I frequently got rides in all sorts of magnificent war birds.
That damn bird still has me upset at challenging me in such a fashion.  I hope it finds a hungry cat amongst its travels.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

KEYS

I have a thing for keys and it goes way beyond just real unique, unusual, and old keys.  It could be that keys unlock things just as my love of books and useless tidbits of knowledge could be used to unlock things hidden, lost or that are to remain mysteries to be solved only by those who possess the required key or information.




I relate my love of keys to my wife always having the key to my heart.  Before the clothes and makeup at her very worst I think she is the most beautiful woman in the entire world.  That it would be a toss-up as to which of us has the cruelest or more sarcastic sense of humor.  That no matter what she has my back and is always there for me.  I pray I always possess the key to her heart.


I relate my love to keys to the keys of maps.  I am fascinated by maps and the wealth of information they contain within them.  My looking at a map you can become familiar with an area in spite of the fact you have never actually been there.  The keys hold the date of the map, the scale and useful information for using the map.  I love old maps of places especially when you can compare them to later maps of the same area, it just gets my imagination reeling!



I love old keys of all sorts.  The special mystery of holding a key is that it is only half of the puzzle.  Until you know what lock it goes to you will never know what it was intended to guard.  The set together, lock and key, always holds a fascination with my imagination in that you don’t know what could be inside or behind the lock.  The entire reason keys and locks were created was to secure something, usually something of value to the person who locked it.

So when I see a key I can’t help getting excited as my over active imagination runs through multitudes of stories that have been written or that I may write which all starts with just a single key.  Most people never give them a second glance or passing thought.  I hope if you took the time to read this post that you never look at keys the same way again.
Have a Great Day and Weekend. 
To my writers remember any little thing, some curiosity and imagination could lead to your next great story.




Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th - Lucky Days


I don’t necessarily believe in luck per say.  I believe more in the old saying that the harder you work the better luck you will have which really translates better into you’ll reap what you sow!
As people grow up and learn of the conventions of the societies they inhabit they also learn of the superstitions that many people have.  Among those are such things as its bad luck to let a black cat cross your path, don’t walk under ladders and that Friday the thirteenths are unlucky days.  As we grow and mature we each decide which superstitions we will participate in and which ones we will ignore.
Growing up a strange thing happened.  I realized on Friday’s that fell on the Thirteenth that I had the best, almost inspired and unusually lucky days!  Because of this weird anti superstitious phenomenon I have gotten trained to get very excited on Friday the 13ths.  I don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary the days are just blessed at every turn, special unexpected things happen.  Through the years these wonderful days have eclipsed important and special anniversaries, birthdays and the best planned days off.

I actually get wild with anticipation of what these days will offer up to me.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t understand it.  It just happens with every one of these days in such a variety of unexpected and surprising ways that it reinforces my anticipation and rejoicing for these days.

I have relayed that I do think finding a penny heads up is good luck for a day.  For an entire 24 hours from the time I find one I will have awesome good fortune.  I thank God for his tiny and great blessings and for looking after my well-being every time I slide a found penny in my pocket.  I will keep this special blessing in the form of an old penny in my left pants pocket until the entire twenty-four period is over.
So I am superstitious but in a very grateful and thankful kind of way for the many blessings, gifts, and special ways God and the Universe grant favors towards my undeserving soul.
So Happy Friday the 13 th.  Oh and it has already started today!!  It is unbelievable!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Know your Market and Write to your Audience!


Bullshit!!
This is crap comes from agents, publishers, writing teachers who have never written a book in their life.  It’s trying to apply marketing psycho babble to writing.  Artists, Musicians and Writers cannot qualify, identify, label, profile, or categorize their audience much less attempt to be authentic and creative in a true sense to their audience through trying to target them.
If you write with this approach you are probably doomed for failure in an already difficult and competitive playground.  Especially in today’s Global market economy where you never know where your stuff is going to end up or who might be reading it.  This is probably more true for the new and rising Indie Authors than traditionally published authors.  E-books are literally available to anybody with a computer, cell phone, pad device or e-reader on the globe from the moment it is published.
We all know it will take time for people to discover your work and begin to talk about it and for the word to spread about your books, as my friend explained so eloquently in her post which I provided a link to on Tuesday on my blog post.
If you want to sell more books, write more and better books.  PERIOD.
Write what you know.  Write about what you’re passionate about.  Write the best book you have ever wanted to read that hasn’t been written yet, because it is still rattling around in your head.  Write for yourself!  Your market, PLUGHH.  Readers, whoever they may be will either like it or they won’t, we have no control over that.  Those that like your work will come back for more.
I self-published my first book to see if I had any talent whatsoever at this stuff called writing.  When the reviews came in the only bad things people had to say was about the Grammar and the English.  That we CAN control.  Three edits and corrections later and my first book isn’t half bad.  It hopefully will always be the worst book I’ve ever written.
My second book has the same deficiency of Grammar, English and formatting issues which are all currently being addressed and soon will be re-released in much better form.  You don’t see me pushing the hell out of it yet because the version that is out there for sale has problems.  Beyond the grammatical problems my second novel either resonates with readers the way it does with me or they hate it.  People have expressed issues with the ages of the characters, the language, kids smoking and talking about sex.  First off it wasn’t written for anybody but me, I absolutely love it.  I get excited even going through it again editing and correcting the stuff from my editor.  The numerous five star reviews for a new authors work says that some people get what I was aiming for even in spite of the books inherent mechanical flaws.
I have learned, which is part of my growth as a published author, that if you don’t ruffle anybody’s feathers there probably isn’t any truth or passion in your story.  What really bothers people is things which tug them away from their conceptual ideas of what a perfect world could be or challenges their daily delusions about the world we actually inhabit every day.  If you do your research you would find that many books that are considered great were highly controversial at the time they were written.  If I publish a novel of fiction that gets banned from entire countries I would be over joyed at the prestigious company I have just been lumped in with.
I have some stories which I will be doing later which will not just ruffle some feathers, but will be like an elephant squishing out its cigarette on the entire foul in question.  I am polishing, studying and learning how to be the most eloquently multilayered steeped with undertones of symbolism of a writer I can become before I hit the one million words published mark.  Then I will delve into pissing off most of the delusional world through epic tales which will break the molds of established bullshit taught in schools and handed down by narrow minded adults to their young.  I will challenge people to think while carrying them along a roller coaster ride of intertwined plots and dilemmas.  I like stories that are real, messy, complicated and morally inconclusive like life really is on many fronts.  There won’t be any happily ever after’s as in true life doesn’t let the weary alone to relax on their laurels in that manner.
My hope is that in this sea of people taking the leap to become published that a few others arise out of the sea as Leviathans and scare the shit out of the world as a whole.  That we force people to open their eyes and question things as we entertain them and challenge their beliefs.  That besides just trying to sell books or write for your market or audience that they pour themselves into their work so that together we may change the world in the process.
“Ulysses” by James Joyce was at one time banned in the United States and Great Britain.  Today it is considered by many as a primary piece of epic literature from the 1900’s.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Color Research Is Grey Hot?


As a rather new author who is refining his skills as a storyteller, I pay attention to how other authors write.  What they write about.  Their style of writing.  What people are reading?  Which author is the latest craze and fascination in the literary arena this season and why?
Once in a while books come along that start such a stir that even people who don’t normally read will pick up a book and read it.  I found it amazing that people are lending their E-readers to friends who don’t have one in order to read such books.  When I hear of stories that reach beyond the normal group of committed everyday readers and pulls in the occasional readers and even garners the attention of those who don’t read a book I get interested no matter what the Genre.


So when my wife got excited about a recent book and burned right through it being a very occasional reader who hasn’t read any of my books or work, of course I paid attention.  I'm sure there are many men across the country who are enjoy the benefits of this newest literary sensation without the slightest reason why their love life is getting just as hot as this summer has been across the United States.  As I have stated before all great authors are very definitely avid readers as the only thing more exciting to us than reading a great book is when we are writing our next potential masterpiece.  So yes I am reading the book – shades of Grey.
My wife finished all three of them already.  I am enjoying the fact that we can now discuss elements of a book she has read and I am currently reading.  Upon beginning the book I felt compelled to write about aspects of it as I find elements of it and why it is so popular extremely intriguing.  I read a blog post from a gentleman whose blog I follow yesterday where he referred to the book jokingly as ‘Mommy Porn.’  This is delicate ground to tread because where one person might view it as extremely bad or filthy, it is just a book, and I support total 150% freedom of literary expression.  If you’re offended by it, don’t read it.  I don’t judge any books as bad.  There are many I don’t agree with but feel it is important to read them anyway to be informed and educated (Mein Kampf falls into this category.)  I would never be in favor of banning or burning books or any form of literary censorship, ANY!!
It is our right as we have and are paying the price for Adam and Eve partaking of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” to explore, learn and educate ourselves.  We are creatures of God made in his likeness.  I have been attacked and criticized for posting pictures of half naked woman on Pinterest and even been accused of having a problem with pornography.  I don’t have a problem with pornography or the sight of women clothed, unclothed or all the variations in between.  I consider it healthy to appreciate the beauty of human beings.  For what it’s worth I re-pinned all of those pictures from other woman’s boards, and I certainly don’t judge or condemn any of them for appreciating the beauty of other women!
I am enjoying the interaction and discussions that my wife and I have shared in regards to the book I am discussing.  I doubt I’ll ever write anything like this but pray I write something that causes just as big of stir in the literary world.
I find the subject matter of the book and that it appeals to so many people somewhat baffling, amazing, and enlightening.  It reminds me of a survey I read in woman’s magazine once that 70% of woman have wondered what it would be like to be with another woman.  Just like nobody ever reads or watches porn and yet it is such a huge industry.  Romance novels are okay but how many of them cross that line, who decides where the line is.  As I say I don’t judge because we were designed and destined to look the way we look.  It is natural to be attracted to others.  We are sexual and sensual creatures by nature.
For those who have read the book in question I am mostly surprised at what I hear people saying about it.  That woman desire other men, their men, or fantasize about what Mr. Grey does to Anastasia, and him doing it to them!  Is the number 70% of woman who desires this kind of interaction or is the number higher than that?  My guess from what I hear is that the number is much higher.  I wonder how many men will read this book just to see what the buzz is all about or what caused the spikes of temperature and passion in their relationships.
I further wonder if more men will be wearing ties in the near future and how many of those will be grey?  Not that I follow the fashion industry at all, but my analytical mind can’t help but wonder if the colors of fashions in the near future will involve more grey tones.
The book certainly has caused a stir, sold countless numbers books and turned one mommy writer into a household name this season.  2012 will certainly be remembered for years to come as one of the hottest summers in history and for more than just the hot climate.  Excellent Job, E. L. James, you have done what every writer dreams of doing with your very first books.  As we wonder why Mr. Grey is the way he is we all have to wonder where your stories are coming from.  I am not judging in the slightest, I am enjoying the book immensely and the sharing the adventure which is reading with my wife.  Thank you for being brave enough to write such insightful and enlightening books.
"Quit bitting your lip."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Inspirational Post for Indie Authors


I wish I had written this but I didn’t, Miss Colby R Rice did and I love it.  So as I am not big and discovered as of yet I can still make marketing mistakes, because I read somewhere that you shouldn’t put links into things which steer people from your blog or your books.
I disagree with that philosophy as us Indie Authors need to work together to help, promote and help each other conquer the literary world through our combined efforts.  In the end we all will win and will be discovered as we re-awaken the world to the wonderful gift which is reading.
So without further ado please click the link below and read a wonderfully inspirational piece about the myth of being an overnight success!!

Thank You Colby,



Monday, July 9, 2012

A Breed Apart


There was a collection of actors who served in World War II who were the icons of the old movies I watched through the years of my life that epitomized what it is to be a real man.  Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart, and men like Ernest Borgnine were actors but they were role models also.  The movies and the characters they portrayed helped shaped a generation.  They were men of a different breed, a breed apart.  They were part of World War II and that scary, hard, and glorious part of world’s history and they survived to go on and become actors in some the best films ever.

We lost one of the last of the icons this last weekend.
Ernest Borgnine, (January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012)  Ninety-five years young.
Best known for his infectious smile and the gap between his front teeth, he entertained the world in many various formats from movies, television, voice overs for cartoon characters and much more.  I remembered seeing him in one of the last seasons of the television show ER and it pained me that many of the people who saw the show wouldn’t realize they were seeing on of Hollywood’s Greats, he was nominated for several Emmy’s for those ER performances.
He won an Oscar for his 1955 role in the movie “Marty” for Best Actor.  I will always remember him as the General in “The Dirty Dozen” in 1967 with Lee Marvin.  He also played in the following awesome movies:
Ice Station Zebra
Emperor of the North
From Here to Eternity
The Poseidon Adventure
And one of my favorites the Wild Bunch with William Holden.
I will always remember him along with the Greats of Hollywood’s!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Slower Books

A large part of honing my craft as a storyteller is talking with readers and listening to what they have to say.  Last week a group of readers were discussing their latest reads and giving feedback as to what they liked and didn’t like about the books they were currently reading or have recently finished.  This is a perfect place to mention that none of them where discussing my two books or my writing.  I can’t wait until I get some candid live feedback from readers who have actually read my books.  Anyway.

Somebody mentioned something about the Fiction Action Adventure Genre, of which I am a big fan of and kind of place my books into that category, so it piqued my interest.  They said it seems as if the authors are speeding things up and making the books too intense in efforts to make their books better than the previous ones.  When I heard this I remembered how I had described one of my favorite authors, not long ago, about how you hadn’t fully ingested the current catastrophe before they characters were thrown into the next disaster.

What the readers had discussed amongst themselves was they wished the authors would slow the stories down and let them enjoy the suspense before bombarding them again with something new.  As I considered this I realized the truth in their words.  I don’t mind reading some buildup or reaction and regrouping of the characters for a slower book as long as the story is still good.  Each successive book doesn’t need to be over the top better than the last book only fresh and original.  It goes back to the take me somewhere I haven’t been before.  Throw in a twist or turn through the book – not two or three in every chapter!   The way the readers actually described it was, “Let us catch our breath before the next climatic situation.”
I feel where authors lose their touch is when the books become predictable, or you can blatantly see a pattern between the last three or four books like the author is working off of the same outline for each story just the action is in a different place.  The characters do the same things over and over again, no growth or maturing of the characters.
I started this blog to chronicle my writing adventures, discoveries, and share what I learn along the way for the other aspiring Indie Authors out there to frequently check in and make notes on pertinent information to hopefully help them along their journey.  I hope that slowly over time my posts accomplish that mission.  Again over time I plan to change the focus to more of an exchange between myself and my ever growing following of readers.  That’s hard to do at this point with only two books available.
I also know that the sequel to “Whisper” is finished, as far as a rough draft, and at the editors getting cleared of my horrid English and many bad habits.  Also I know my fourth book, the sequel to “No Rules Of Engagement,” has already been said to have surpassed the first book by chapter 10 (From one of my Beta Readers).  I am at chapter 19 of that book with not much farther to go before it heads to the editors.  So I am very excited as I know there will be twice as much to talk concerning my books before Christmas gets here.

So in summary the advice of the day is to slow it down and let the reader enjoy and relish in your work.  Don’t force them on a non-stop roller coaster of action as it may be exhausting for them to read instead of a relaxing exciting adventure.  If you want to “Wow” your readers do it with finesse, a good plot, and how you tell the story.  More or non-stop action doesn’t always translate to a better story.  I don’t want readers feeling like they just finished a marathon as they finished my books.  I do want them to feel a need to get the next one in the series to find out what happens.  I want them to feel that welcome back feeling as they reconnect with the characters from the previous books.
Class Dismissed, get back to work on your novel.

 
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