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Friday, March 22, 2013

Names For Characters

I devised a system a while back that I use for coming up with names for characters in my books.  I use names from people I connect with on-line through social media sites.  Not the peoples names directly as I find them on the different sites but I put the names in cells in a spread sheet so they can be manipulated and re-arranged.  Then I put first and last names together at random until I find a name I like for a particular character.

Even as random as this system appears to be, I am sure that I come up with names which match the names of real people somewhere.  Many years ago and what feels like a different life time ago I was a clown (Hobo) with the Red Cross Clown Corps.  In doing so we needed to make up names for our clown characters.  I drew a lot when I was younger and had several cartoon characters I had come up with and made several cartoon pictures with these characters.  One was a duck and the other ‘Elsworth’ the Dragon.  So I came up with Hobi Duckworth as my clown name and for the next couple of years when I was performing people kept asking me if I was related to this bunch of Duckworth’s or that bunch of Duckworth’s.  I realized back then that no matter what name you dream up for yourself somebody probably already has that name or something very close to it.

So if I have followed you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or some other social media site your name is probably in my homemade data base for names for me to mix and match.  Sooner or later part of your name may end up in one of my books as one of my characters.

I was presented with a sweatshirt from one of the ladies of my book club who was responsible for me actually taking the plunge and trying my hand at becoming a novelist.  The sweatshirt says on the front of it, “Be careful, you may end up in one of my novels.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Vernal Equinox

The word Equinox comes from the Latin and means ‘Equal Night.’  The Vernal Equinox is the Spring Time of the year where the days and nights are roughly equal and from here on out the days will be increasing in the amount of daylight, the temperatures will be warming up, and the earth will begin the rebirth of plants until fall comes.

The grass will turn green, the trees will regrow their leaves, and the flowers will grow.  Soon will be planting time to begin gardens and refill the flower beds for the summer.
Summer time is on the way.  Once again the cycle of rebirth will begin and transform our world in the northern hemisphere one more time.
Please take time to enjoy the season, see the new plants sprout, plant a garden, and smell the flowers as they bloom.
Happy Spring Time Everybody.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Changes and Silver Linings

From time to time life presents us with changes.  Maybe we move to a new house, get a new job, a new relationship, or a new car.  Sometimes these changes are planned for and expected while other times they are a total surprise.  Changes manifest themselves in many wondrous ways.

Maybe your old car died.  Maybe you had to move to a new residence.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe you lost a person who was close to you.  Obviously the many wondrous ways changes can manifest themselves isn't always in the delightful, heart warming, fuzzy way you would have liked it to come about.
“All Changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; WE MUST DIE ONE LIFE BEFORE WE CAN ENTER ANOTHER.”  ~  Anatole France.
The one thing you can truly count on besides getting older is that one way or another things will always change.  Many people fear or hate changes and have trouble coping with changes as they barge into your life and change things.  It’s so much easier, just like getting older, to embrace them both with an open mind and child like wonder as you look for the silver linings in the aspects of changes and getting older.  It doesn't do any good to avoid changes or attempt to keep from getting older.
How you embrace changes and getting older can determine how happy and fulfilled you can be throughout your life.  As I have stated numerous times through blog posts in the past, success is the journey, not a destination.
True Confessions Time – 
On March 7, 2013, I was let go from the company I had worked at for the last twenty and a half years.  It was un-expected, a total surprise, and definitely what one would describe as an unexpected life change.  For the last seventeen years I drove a company vehicle, so not only did I lose my job but I lost my means of transportation also!
I know something like this could devastate some people, maybe most people.  I know a lot of people have lost their jobs since the collapse (or major hi-cup ) of the economy in 2008.  Success is the Journey not the Destination.
What would be some Silver Linings of a situation like this?
I haven’t had my own vehicle in seventeen years.  Each time the company I worked for would switch out the vehicle I was going to be driving they would ask what I wanted.  I would always ask for a CD player in the vehicle.  Every other vehicle the company owns has a CD player and for the last seventeen years all I could get in a vehicle was AM/FM Stereo.
I will be getting my own New Vehicle with not only a CD player but with the MP3 player adapter so you can listen to the music off your MP3 player.  I have never  owned a new vehicle myself in the thirty-four years I have driving.  A Silver Lining!
I was initially upset, felt betrayed and angry.  Really, who wouldn't be after faithfully coming to work and helping grow and run a company for so long.  After some serious soul searching I realized that I was excited about the opportunity to try something new.   I have found that I am extremely happy and in a much better place since being released from my previous employer.   To find another company that I may be able to help grow from a small company and build  into something much bigger and more valuable over time is exciting.  This is a major chance, exciting opportunity and wondrous Silver Lining of a magnitude that many people never get an opportunity to attempt.
Since the seventh of this month  I have used my time to secure a vehicle, because let’s face it without reliable transportation your chances of securing gainful employment are slim.
I have made a resume for the first time in twenty some years, and it is much more impressive than what I had twenty years ago, another Silver Lining!
I have started working out daily, not that I was in bad shape to begin with for a man of my age.  It is amazing how quickly you can tone back up and rebuild muscle mass you had when you were younger.  I am blessed that not so many years I was in awesome shape.  There was a time when I would work out in the morning, have breakfast and then go work in a tire warehouse all day long. 
In retrospect my time with my previous employer changed me in many ways.  I am much older and a hell of lot wiser than I was twenty years ago.  I have seventeen years of hard management experience learned and earned in the trenches of real lives, hard business with brutal competition.  I have learned that I am capable of things that I would never believed possible twenty years ago.
Most people in life have no concept of their true potential and capabilities unless pushed to extremes by extreme circumstances.  I have been blessed over the years to face some large and daunting challenges along my journey.  Having survived and succeeded in these challenges opened my eyes to my capabilities, gave me the confidence in my abilities and convinced me of boundless opportunities I am capable of rising up to overcome.  The chance to face new challenges with a new company excites the hell out of me as it is an opportunity to grow to new and greater heights in my journey of success.
As a writer, starting a new book is as easy as taking a new idea and beginning a new word document.  Given time and an active imagination and weeks of writing and you have a new novel.  Months of editing and polishing and eventually you have a marketable new book.
In real life starting a new book with your life isn't so easy.  In real life you don’t know where the story is going to end up or how the story is going to play out.   In real life we are the characters in our lives dramas and the decisions we make, our daily attitude toward the situations we are dealing with, and the attributes our own characters will largely determine if the outcome is positive or negative.
It is exciting as I enter a new phase, a new book, with new chapters in my life.

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