Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November words of wisdom

State of the Union:
Throw me to the wolves, I will return, leading the pack. --President-Elect Donald J. Trump (and damned if that isn't exactly what he did)

When somebody challenges you, fight back. Be brutal, be tough. --President-Elect Donald J. Trump (again...)

It's a national embarrassment that an illegal immigrant can walk across the border and receive free health care and one of our veterans that has served our country is put on a waiting list and gets no care. --President-Elect Donald J. Trump

The corrupt establishment knows that we are an existential threat to the criminal enterprise. They know that, if we win, their power is gone and returned to you. --President-Elect Donald J. Trump

No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. --President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Anybody not willing to accept the results of an election is a danger to democracy. --Hillary Clinton

We, the American people, are not each other's enemies. It's the people who are driving the wedge who are the enemies. --Dr. Ben Carson

I never gave them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell. --Harry Truman

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. --Marcus Tullius Cicero

3 AM is the hour of writers, painters, poets, musicians, silence seekers, overthinkers, and creative people. We know who you are. We can see your light on. Keep on keeping on. --Unknown

Writing is show business for shy people. That's how I see it. --Lee Child

We write down made-up stories to tell the truths we wish we could say out loud. --Unknown

Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day. --Norman Mailer

As a writer you try to listen to what others aren't saying...and write about the silence. --N.R. Hart

Writing is something you do alone. It's a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don't want to make eye contact while doing it. --John Green

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try. --Sylvia Plath

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges. --Ernest Hemingway

Writing first drafts:
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. --Louis L'Amour

All good writing beings with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. --Anne Lamott

I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles. --Shannon Hale

Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer. --Jessica Brody

Stupidity seemed popular this month. Lots of people acting stupid:
Life is hard. It's even harder if you're stupid. --John Wayne

Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that. --George Carlin

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. --Benjamin Franklin

And everything else:
You don't get to say what happens or does not happen in your life. God does. You have the choice of how you will react when it comes. --Greg Laurie

Sometimes those who don't socialize much aren't actually anti-social. They just have no tolerance for drama, stupidity and fake people.  ---?   (Note: In all honesty, I'm pretty sure I fall into both categories --Melinda)

Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. --Eleanor Brown

Isn't that fantastic? I knew you could do it. --Bob Ross

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion. --Paul Coelho

May your life preach more loudly than your lips. --William Ellery Channing

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. --J.M. Power

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles. --Charles Chaplin

Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it...this will miraculously transform your whole life. --Eckhart Tolle

Three things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. --Buddha

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. --C.S. Lewis

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. --C.S. Lewis

Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes. --Elizabeth Gilbert

Keep looking forward. The past is gone. Let it go. The future is ahead of you, not behind you. --Bette Kelley

Follow your passion. The rest will attend to itself. If I can do it, anyone can do it. It's possible. And it's your turn. So go for it. It's never too late to become what you always wanted to be in the first place. --J. Michael Straczynski

If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing. --Will Rogers

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. --Albert Einstein

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. --Albert Camus

Sometimes the people with the greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double-edged sword - it lives at the heart of their brilliance, but it also makes them more susceptible to life's pains. Good thing we aren't penalized for handing in our purpose late. The soul doesn't know a thing about deadlines. --Jeff Brown

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. --Iris Murdoch

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Moar #TrudeauEulogies!

The gift that keeps on giving 😊

Saturday, November 26, 2016

#TrudeauEulogies - the most fun you'll have all day

Twitter may be willfully imploding but apparently it's still good for something. Case in point: today's Twitter Nation response to Justin Trudeau's statement on the death of Fidel Castro, better known as #TrudeauEulogies.

A little background: Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister Pinhead of Canada. He's basically the white, Canadian version of Barack Obama. In other words, he's a terrorist enabling putz with a face that's just begging to be punched, and no matter how badly or often he fucks up his supporters still act like he's the Second Coming. Or something like that.

So while the freedom loving capitalist pigs of the world were enjoying their Black Friday deals, Cuban despot Fidel Castro finally shuffled off this mortal coil, at the age of 90 and way overdue. Which prompted Canada's Prime Village Idiot to issue this statement about the vile dictator who murdered thousands of his own countrymen, drove about a million more away from their homeland and turned Cuba from a popular destination to a third world shithole:

"Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for 'el Comandante'."

Dude is seriously giving our lame duck Prez a run for his money in the Utterly Clueless and Blithe Stupidity Departments. Guess how Cuban immigrants in Miami are mourning el Comandante? They're celebrating in the streets. They've been waiting decades for this POS to kick the bucket. A lot of Trudeau's fellow hosers aren't too happy about the statement either.

On the bright side, there's always the witty and hilarious denizens of Twitter to mock where mocking is most needed. That brings us back to #TrudeauEulogies:

I swear Twitter hasn't been this much fun since #AttackWatch

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

This was created by Nicholas Aqieh a couple years ago for a "caption this" contest. I love it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Your feel good story for this Thanksgiving.

Amazing kid. God bless her.

Girl spots discarded lottery ticket, spends money on those in need.

Somebody is parenting like a boss.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Downward facing foal

Anyone who knows anything about horses knows this little filly is just trying to emulate mom and nibble on some grass, but her long legs are making it a bit of a stretch. But foals are just cute as heck, and yoga works too!

Damn nice mare and foal, too.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Recent reading

The past few months I've gotten in the bad habit of starting books but not finishing them. It's like my writing - a ton of works in progress, but nothing finished. I've tried recently to wrap up some of my reading works in progress, and here they are.

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo
A meticulously researched and historically detailed trip to the summer of 1916, when a great white shark terrorized swimmers along the New Jersey shore.

So detailed is the tale that while the first victim is introduced on page 1, the actual first attack doesn't finally happen until page 95. Capuzzo takes his sweet time getting to the first strike, giving us a lovingly detailed look at life in that part of America in 1916, when the country was somewhat reluctantly coming out of the Victorian era but hadn't yet reached the roaring twenties. He's done his research on both this era and on sharks themselves.

These attacks inspired Peter Benchley to write his best-selling novel Jaws, which would go on to become an even more successful film. Shark expert Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfus, references these attacks in the movie.

The great jaws rose from the water, a white protective membrane rolled over the eyes, fifty triangular teeth closed with more than six tons of pressure per square inch, and man and fish splashed in a spreading pool of blood. One bite. One massive, incapacitating bite tearing into the left leg below the knee. Charles screamed in mortal agony, a scream that resonated to the beach and tennis courts and veranda. The attack had taken less than a second, but now time began to slow down. His parents and sisters and the crowd of onlookers stood transfixed in horror and disbelief.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Due to a combination of my newfound obsession with New Orleans and one of the movie channels recently airing Streetcar, which has always been a favorite, I ended up buying The Collected Plays of Tennessee Williams, a hefty two-volume set that covers the prolific playwright's work from 1937 through 1980.

The story of the brittle and fallen Blanche DuBois's ill-fated visit to her sister Stella and brutish brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski in New Orleans is well known. It was interesting to see what was left out of the film version (mainly pieces of dialogue), how it was staged, and especially how the ending was changed for the film to placate the Hays Code that was in place in Hollywood at the time. It was even fascinating to see how different lines of dialogue were written in the play versus how they were delivered in the film, specifically Karl Malden's comical film-version insistence that, "Poker should not be played in a house with women!" In the play's text, it's supposed to be said "sadly but firmly". Not sure if Malden said it sadly but firmly onstage as Williams wrote it, but he certainly didn't on film.

What else? STANLEY (with heaven-splitting violence): STELL-LAHHHHH!

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is hands down one of the best writers alive right now. That being said, while You Will Know Me has been receiving accolades and although I liked it enough, it didn't stay with me the way two of her earlier works, The Song is You and Queenpin, did.

Katie and Eric Knox's life pretty much revolves around their teenaged daughter Devon, a budding world-class gymnast. Their lives are thrown into chaos when Ryan Beck, a young man who is dating an assistant coach at Devon's gym, is killed by a hit-and-run driver. With a qualifying meet that will put Devon en route to the Olympics looming, the investigation into Ryan's death gets closer and closer to the Knoxes. Katie's response is to do everything necessary to protect her family and especially her icy, iron-willed daughter.

Abbott does a great job of bringing us into the hyper-competitive world of girl gymnasts and their families. Some of it is fascinating, like the financial sacrifices and wanting everything for their children. Some of it is just sad, like the fear of the onset of puberty ruining the girls chances at greatness.

Was one meant to pay forever for a fleeting mistake? A turn of the wheel, a bobble of a foot, a pause that lasted seconds too long?

Chronicles of Old Las Vegas: Exposing Sin City's High-Stakes History by James Roman

I grabbed this while at Barnes & Noble because it looked interesting and I wasn't disappointed. I also discovered this is part of a "Chronicles" series, so now the Los Angeles version is on my Amazon wish list.

Las Vegas is a city like no other and its history reflects that. Roman goes all the way back to the area's original residents, the Paiute Indian Tribe, who were able to survive in the desert due to the fact that Vegas actually sits on a spring well. After a bumpy start with white settlers, Chief Tecopa, leader of the Paiutes, decided his people would be better off joining rather than fighting and the settlement of Las Vegas began. Brigham Young and the early Mormons would also play a surprising major role in the development of the future Sin City.

The book covers a number of eras in the city's colorful history, including the mob, prostitution, atomic testing in Nevada, Elvis, Liberace, the MIT card counting scandal, desegregation, Siegfried & Roy, the rise and fall of various hotels and casinos, and of course The Rat Pack. Like the town it covers, there's never a dull moment in this book.

The show was more than just famous singers crooning the great American songbook; it had an edge. It was the era when nobody brought kids to Sin City. These guys were swingers: bad boys who earned their moniker as the Rat Pack, laughing and boozing it up onstage while cheating on their wives and mingling with the Mob when they weren't filming a movie.

Night Tremors by Matt Coyle
Disclaimer: Matt Coyle is the editor for my story in LAst Resort. Because Matt lives down in the San Diego area we edited via phone and email. I finally got to meet him in person at Bouchercon in New Orleans.

Night Tremors is Coyle's second Rick Cahill novel and was nominated for Best Novel at Bouchercon in September. It didn't win, but the first Cahill novel, Yesterday's Echo, scored Bouchercon's Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2014. The third Cahill novel, Dark Fissures, will be released in December.

Cahill is a La Jolla (upscale San Diego suburb for you non-Southern Californians) former cop turned private investigator. He's had a rough past that involved his wife being murdered, with the added insult of him being the chief suspect, creating a very rocky relationship with his former fellow cops. Here he's asked to clear a young man who had been convicted years earlier of slaughtering his family as a teen. The young man's grandparents are convinced of his innocence and have the financial means to bankroll a new investigation. While Cahill initially signs on out of sympathy for the grandparents and a need to cover his mortgage, he becomes increasingly convinced that the same cops who think he murdered his wife helped frame the young man.

"Your case is a dog, Cahill." She folded her arms across her chest and her eyes went black. "Randall Eddington killed his family, and you're only adding to his grandparents' grief by giving them false hope. Are you proud of the way you make a living, Rick? By sucking money out of other people's sorrow?"

Flyovers by Jeffrey Sweet
Another play! Jeffrey Sweet is an award-winning playwright and author, and when I came across him I decided to check out one of his plays.

Flyovers was a big hit when it debuted in Chicago in 1998, starring William Petersen, Marc Vann, Amy Morton and Linda Reiter. I'm thinking the performance probably ran about an hour. This was a quick, easy read with a terrific twist ending.

Oliver (Vann) is a successful New York-based film critic who co-stars on a Siskel & Ebert-type show and has returned to his native Ohio small town for his high school reunion. While there, he is invited home for drinks by Ted (Petersen), who bullied him back in the day when they were in school together. Ted has recently lost his job due to a local factory closing after it was bought by a big corporation and his combination of disdain and envy over Oliver's big-city success is palpable. They are joined by Iris (Morton), who Oliver crushed on in high school. Oliver thinks everyone is burying the hatchet, but he's actually being set up for blackmail pictures and the way he handles it is delightfully unexpected. Even crazier, according to the author's notes, this is based on a real life blackmail attempt that happened to a friend of Sweet's.

OLIVER: If I don't write the check-
TED: Old business. I send the pictures to-
OLIVER: -to my wife, yes. But what size were you thinking of sending?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's cover art day!!! Sort of...

Just got an email a few minutes ago with the cover art for LAst Resort, and it is GORGEOUS! Unfortunately, I can't show it to you because they're asking us not to put it online until the pre-release date, which is February 15, 2017. It will be released in early April, although they didn't give us an exact date.

They only sent us the front cover and contributors names will be listed on the back, so I still haven't seen my name in print yet.

It's just so damn beautiful, I can't stop looking at it. SO HAPPY!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Best. Cat Owner. Ever.

I bow down to this cat owner.

Full slideshow is here. H/T to I Love Kittens and Cats on FB.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fun with proofreading marks

This reminds me of when Matt Coyle sent my LAst Resort manuscript all marked up. I've never worked with an editor before and had to jump online and research the marks.

H/T to Gotham Writers' Workshop on FB.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank you to all our veterans

A big thank you to the men and women (and their families) who have served and protected our beautiful country over the years! I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad you do.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

We now return you to Pacific Standard Time

This has been a public service announcement.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

You know who always joins me in the shower? The creativity fairy

Also while getting ready to go somewhere when I don't have time to stop and jot down notes, or in the car where it would be dangerous to jot down notes, or late at night when I just want to sleep but have to turn the light back on, get up and jot down get the point. One of the most frustrating things for writers is how often inspiration seems to strike at the most inopportune of times.

Well, at least one of these situations has been licked - let me introduce you to Aqua Notes. This is not a paid endorsement - I really use these things and they work. The specially coated paper has no problem withstanding water and steam, while being very easy to write on. Each pad comes with what appears to be a regular Number 2 pencil (it writes on regular paper as well) and everything is mounted with suction cups.

Now if I could just master my digital recorder, I could write in the car as well. Unfortunately my technological skills seem to be more in line with suction cups and pencils.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Joy!!! Writers' Police Academy announces 2017 dates!

Via email:

We are pleased to announce the dates for the 9th annual 2017 Writers' Police Academy---August 10-13, 2017.

We are equally pleased to say we'll be returning to the absolutely stunning international training academy situated on the campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wi.

More info here. Seriously, it's like an addiction.

Calendar has been marked!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Words of Wisdom

Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it. Success is shy - it won't come out while you're watching. --Tennessee Williams

Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory. --Tennessee Williams

We have to distrust each other. It's our only defense against betrayal. --Tennessee Williams

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. --Psalms 37:7

Habit is the bed of creativity, so tuck yourself in. --Stephen King

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. --Stephen King

Ideas are easy. It's the execution of the ideas that really separate the sheep from the goats. --Sue Grafton

As a writer, it's all grist for the mill: your friends, enemies, relatives, strangers, your fears, worries, failures and triumphs. All of it. --Mark Rubinstein.

What doesn't kill us gives us something new to write about. --Julie Wright

The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. --Unknown

Don't be impressed by what you see someone post online; be impressed by what you see them doing behind the scenes. Integrity is revealed by what we choose to do when we think no one else is watching. --Dave Willis

The liberties of the people will never be secure when transactions of their rulers are concealed from them. --Patrick Henry

A man who has faith is somebody who can be saved. --Otto Penzler

If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal from many, it's research. --Wilson Mizner

Be like water. Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. --Lao Tzu

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. --W. Somerset Maugham

Never apologize for being too sensitive or emotional. It's a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren't afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength. --Brigette Nicole

When we realize that sensitivity is a gift and not a liability, that's when we start to get our strength. --Doreen Virtue

Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows. --Native American Proverb

Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset. --Joss Whedon

Do not wait; the time will never be "just right". Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. --Napoleon Hill