Posted in Fiction, Writing

A novel use for your precious “little darlings”

Some backstory actually is that interesting...
Some character-history (backstory) actually is that interesting…

Does any fiction writer, but especially a newbie (like me), enjoy editing out (throwing away) interesting anecdotes, unusual family incidents, or downright dirty secrets their main characters are hiding? Of course not.

But what to do with them, that is the question.

How about saying, Fuh-gedd-about-it…to writing (and filing away) those boring diary entries, or straight forward personal History sheets you typically work up during prep for your current crop of actors? How about bringing them a bit more to life in your head than they already are and teasing your fans at the same time? (I’m so-o-o jealous if you have fans already. Stalkers, not so much.)

Give them some FREE! short stories (on Smashwords, say) full of that goodness (or badness!). Especially the “dirty secret” kind of badness. As in, how it was that the garden spade of your protagonist was found to have human blood on it…Yeah, sure they’ll have to wait for the entirety of your novel (or novella), to get the “rest of the story,” but you’ll sure build an excited fan base (or happily expand what you have).

And aren’t opportunities to practice Delayed Gratification in dreadfully short supply these days? Besides, if all that fan-clamoring becomes deafening, nothing says that you can’t throw them another Short-backStory over the months you’re writing/editing/and beta-testing your book. You might find a few days “break” is just what you need in the home stretch.

Posted in Gunz, Politics

Separated…by reality

Am I the only one seeing this?
Am I the only one seeing this?

I hope this was a Halloween costume. Otherwise it’s just too creepy, especially when you consider the gist of the StarTrek episode the character (on the left) appeared in.

Washington Times article from this past Monday, Nov. 25th, 2013, here.

Posted in Humor, Movies

Spin a sci-fi yarn

Inspired by the movie, "Sharknado" (honest)
Inspired by the movie, “Sharknado” (honest)

I really don’t like sharks (who does?). If we have the TV on and some sort of underwater promo comes on (with even a remote chance of showing one of them) I have my arms pre-crossed in front of my face, peaking through them at the screen. It’s that bad.

But last night I watched a SyFy original movie, Sharknado. Yup. Sharks in a tornado and I’m late to the parade (it’s been out since July). Several twisters star in the production, to be precise. My daughter was remarking about how silly it was, with sharks blowing (or raining?) into a swimming pool, with (SPOILER) the main Hero adding gasoline and lighting it on fire to kill them. I had to see that, so started at the beginning. Like a train wreck, once I started “looking” at the movie, it was so bad I couldn’t turn away.

Who knew average folks in California felt so comfortable with firearms? Not just having handguns and shotguns nearby, but shooting them. All over the place: into the air, the water, wherever. To protect themselves! All without interference from the local Security Service. Amazing. If only…

Do you need a mindless bit of film? Sharknado’s 86 minutes surely can’t be near the waste of time that the nightly network “news” would be. And you’ll be a lot more likely to laugh during the movie. Oh, and Part 2 is coming in 2014. Better stock up on shotgun shells, too.

Posted in Painting

Wednesday afternoons

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying this about painting:

We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box. And, for this, Audacity is the only ticket.

For me, once I pick up a brush it’s hard to accept failure. And I know how egotistical that is. Especially considering I’m a “Sunday painter” at best, a vacation painter at worst. All skills require keeping one’s hands busy at that skill, so to that end I’ve become a facilitator at the Senior Center in my town. The first three Wednesdays, for two hours “recalcitrant” watercolorists are coming together and getting back in the painting game. Absolute beginners are also welcome to sign up for instruction in the very friendliest medium, opaque watercolor.

I have been searching for an alternative to oil paints for a while, not because I don’t lo-o-ove the smell and feel of the paint and turpentine and all. It’s the wet work in transit and drying-time storage that are the problems. Two years ago I believed I had the answer: super thin glazes with lots and lots of drier…then I tried the H2O kind. Both still took months to dry sufficiently. I even “invested” in a couple of egg tempera colors before giving up the Dream and going back to my watercolors (18 colors of transparent Winsor/Newton and Pelikan 12-color opaque tablets.

Since the latter allows for such great layering I began to wonder about the fully liquid tempera. So…I recently bought the three mixing-Primaries, along with a true-blue (vs. Cyan), brown, and white. Didn’t bother with Black; I virtually never use it in any other watercolor work, and besides, a neutral brown + blue =  close-enough-to-black.

Check out the experiments in audaciousness below, using Dick Blick Premium liquid tempera.

What New York state is still good for (McIntosh apples).
What New York state is still good for (McIntosh apples). 8″x10″
Need inspiration? Go to PaintMyPhoto
Need inspiration? Go to PaintMyPhoto. 4″x6″
Posted in Economics

Real Stores: can they survive?

I just love recycling.
I just love recycling.

Here’s the link to the spoken version of this.

Greetings rebels to King George and curious others…

I happened to go out to dinner with my husband several days ago and afterwards we popped into a nearby “Target.” It was a week night around 7 pm and it was nearly deserted. I’m not sure what kind of a crowd I expected to find, but I did not expect to see only a dozen or so other shoppers. Where was everyone? I gave up recreational shopping years and years ago. There’s just too much “shiney” out there, especially in a mall. Even in the big stand-alone stores like Target, WalMart, and Kohl’s. But I figured I was in the minority.

Sure, it’s not yet Thanksgiving, so the Christmas shoppers wouldn’t be expected until the first big sales, and Halloween is long past in the retail scheme of time, but still the practically-echo-y quiet struck me as odd. The store recently completed a major re-model and I couldn’t help but think that evening they’d wasted how many ever 10’s or 100’s of 1,000’s of dollars they spent.

Sadly, the other thing I didn’t expect to see, at this chain of stores that I used to think of as the cooler, classier version of WalMart, was such disarray. In several clothing areas merchandise was on the floor under racks, shelves of sweaters and shirts were scrambled, and not an employee in sight.

My first guess is that the typical clientele is simply trashier, not refolding or replacing something they’ve had a glance at and a feel of. But to be kinder, perhaps the store’s condition is due to staff cuts combined with mismanagement. Either way, that Target is not a destination I’ll soon choose again, especially for the simple long-sleeve t-shirts I went in to look for.

By accident today, as I gathered up the trash I found an answer to the mystery of the quote-unquote missing shoppers. It’s not the economy, it’s on-line shopping. No traffic, no hauling the kids, instant “best-pricing,” no navigating through, say, clothing racks so close to one another your cart swipes into them, no checkout-line hassles…but best of all, in so many cases NO TAX.

It doesn’t take long to find a few trusted online vendors, and once you do, it’s really hard to go back to shopping for those specific things by driving and walking through actual doorways into actual stores.

You really have to wonder: how many years before such “big box stores” begin to go dark; sit empty and abandoned, turning into “ruin porn,” like so many American manufacturing facilities?

Until next time, keep rebelling, and keep paying less taxes to the king by shopping online.

Posted in Liberty, Political Correctness, Politics

Red, White, and Blue blindness

(photo: 19 Dec 1975) Once I was young, and beautiful (in a geeky sort of way), and way too trusting…

The next “greatest generation” could be home schooled Americans…if enough of them take a particular flavor of “red pill,” rather than the Red, White, and Blue one that too many seem to continue to swallow wholeheartedly.

While it’s terrific that home-schoolers in Texas anyway, say, “adios” to the public/government school system, it’s also sad they get locked into another one just as harmful: “my country, right or wrong.” For all the historical materials available, we still manage to raise teens eager to run off in service of the behemoth former President (and retired 5-star WWII Army general) Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about: “The Military-Industrial Complex.” But why?

Part of the answer may be due to the large numbers of Christian home-schoolers. Fine people, for the most part, who likely believe that the military is a good and necessary thing on the whole. Who wouldn’t come to this view by studying (and then certainly teaching) the founding of the United States? They see George Washington at the lead of a military put to noble use: that of securing (and then maintaining) the freedom of the original thirteen colonies’ inhabitants. They’ve heard him give credit to the “Almighty Being who rules over the Universe” and look forward to the “propitious smiles of Heaven” (1st inaugural address; April 30,1789) which await the nation that obeys heaven’s “eternal rules of order and right.”

But home-school parents: go further; use alternative texts and see how things changed After George. Here’s a book series that’s an easy cure for Red, White, and Blue blindness. The author is Richard Maybury and he writes easy-to-digest books, with short, concise chapters in the form of letters from an uncle to his nephew. Maybury is masterful at taking big concepts and cutting them down to size.

Have no fear. After reading this set of (mostly slim-) volumes his easy to picture (and recall) examples will make teaching fiat-currency and inflation; “natural/common law” versus “manmade (government) law;” and political corruption (including America’s foreign military entanglements from WWI, II, and the still ongoing “Thousand Year War in the Middle East”) second nature.

The truth about the bombing of Pearl Harbor set me free in the spring of 2010, while teaching Maybury’s, “World War II: The Rest of the Story and How it Affects You.” From that point onwards I knew if a president (Saint Franklin) and his people could lie to the country and proceed to feed millions of American men into his own personal War Machine, what wouldn’t an American president and his/her people be capable of lying about or covering up?

Answer: Nothing.

On this Veteran’s Day you need to know only one thing about your government and its lackeys. If their lips are moving they are probably lying. There is no glory or promotion or advantage of any kind for even a low-level bureaucrat in TELLING the TRUTH. Would the Military-man (or woman) recruiter, seeking warm bodies to fill their red, white, and blue pawn-quota, be any different?

The post (and linked articles) that got me thinking on this today is here.