Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Do You Need an Occasional Writing Break?

May 27, 2016

beach at sunsetI think we all need some time to reflect.

I published my sixth book in four years in May, and I'm already 12,000 words deep into book number seven.

As I promised my lovely bride (46 years in June) I’ve taken a break from writing. Not in any dramatic way … I still intend to finish that next book before the end of the year … but I’ve cut back on the number of minutes I spend each day on the task.

Don’t for a minute think it isn’t a task. If you’re serious about writing … at least about writing anything good … you need to treat it like a job and work hard at it.

However, skipping a few minutes a day let’s me concentrate on the house, the yard, my family, my wife (not necessarily in that order) and it’s a good thing to do … even if it is temporary.

I know (and, more importantly, my bride knows) I have so many stories to tell there may never be enough time to get them all down. But every so often I need a break … we all do.

Let’s call it recharging the batteries.

So, as we head into this Memorial Day holiday weekend, I thought I’d just dispense with all the writing blather and pass along something entertaining.

Last December I read an interesting article in Rolling Stone about the 20 greatest singing duos of all time. I didn’t agree entirely with their list, but that’s irrelevant.

I did find three duos from the past whom I thought made some fantastic music. I thought I’d share them with you here (actually, I just wanted to hear them again myself).

The three I like are Simon & Garfunkel, the Righteous Brothers, and a special favorite, the Everly Brothers.

Enjoy the videos, and have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend.


Boy, does this one bring back memories!

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. My latest, BLOOD LAKE, was just published. Look for it. You might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Where Does Emotion Come From?

December 23, 2014

Beautiful sunset over field with green grass. HDR image

About this time every year I start getting nostalgic.

Usually, it’s just a reaction to exhaustion after trying to get all the holiday things done around the house.

It’s tough getting ready for company, while keeping my lovely bride from throwing things in my direction when I’m late doing my share of the housecleaning.

Sometimes it’s just a nod to my own mortality, the specter of which raises its head more frequently the older I get.

Often, being the morbid sentimentalist I am, my nostalgia segues into thinking about folks I’ve lost … or people the world stage is simply less vibrant without.

One of the latter this year is Maya Angelou, an author and poet who was considered one of the most important writers of her generation. She died in May 2014.

I was a great admirer of her writing, having read her first powerful novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings while I was still in college.

I also sat in rapt attention while she read her poem On the Pulse of Morning, at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in January 1993.

I didn’t write about her before, which isn’t that surprising. While I’ve mentioned authors here before, there are a lot of folks I appreciated whom I’ve never mentioned.

You might remember an author I did write about … one of my favorites, Ray Bradbury, who passed away in 2012. I actually wrote several blogs about him.

I’ve lamented with friends about others I didn’t blog about, and who weren’t necessarily famous, including my friend John Kolmetz, who died last November at the age of 85.

Yet, John was an interesting man.

He began running marathons when he was 43. I doubt he could have explained it. It was just something he wanted to do. I met him several years after that so, for me, he was always running.

He ran in every Detroit Free Press Marathon (and quite a few others, including Boston) for 37 years. He finished his last marathon in 2009 at the age of 80. The man had heart.

I regret I didn’t keep in touch as well as I should have. He was definitely worth it. I’ve seldom met such a gentle soul, with the possible exception of my dear father-in-law, who turns 98 in January … or my own late father.

I don’t know why I get this way every year.

I suppose such nostalgia is a normal thing. As humans, we spend time thinking about the things we’ve done … or neglected to do. We reminisce and we lament our own shortcomings.

We’re all guilty of wishing things could be back again to simpler times, or that things we’ve done wrong could be done over.

Sometimes we just wish we could talk again to a favorite person.

Each of you Gentle Readers … each and every one of you … have had such moments yourselves. If you’re also a writer, that’s a good thing … those moments are something you can use.

I can tell you about fabulous authors or interesting people and give you pointers about showing, not telling, when you write. I can do that and more all day long, but I can’t put heart into your stories.

It’s easy to look up references to put facts into the things you talk about, but emotion comes from within.

If you fancy yourself to be a writer, my advice to you … use your memories. Embrace them. Talk about them often. Write about them. Your memories are a significant part of who you are, and what you have to say.

To write what you know, write what you feel.

It works.

Happy Holidays!

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My books have garnered some terrific reviews. You can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below.

buy now amazon

You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

 
Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.
 

Why Give Books for the Holidays?

December 13, 2014

comet

Last weekend I spent Saturday afternoon at the public library. Big deal, you say. It’s not like you just spotted a new comet. Lots of people go to the library, every day of the week.

You’re right, of course, but last Saturday, unlike most days with just a smattering of people, there was a crowd, which was a particularly nice thing to see.

orion township library library photo

Along with a lot of other local authors, I helped fill the lobby of the Orion Township Public Library. We were there with our wares, each of us hoping to sell a few printed copies of our individual creations to holiday shoppers.

I got there about noon to set things up and, although the event didn’t officially begin until 1:00 p.m., we didn’t turn aside anyone who showed up early and interested.

I managed to sell eight books in those three hours.

It doesn’t sound like many, I know … until I relate it to the zero books I sold at a local bookstore earlier this year (there weren’t even eight patrons that day). Of course, that other book-signing was during one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve had in decades.

The weather cooperated nicely this time, and the library (at least out where all the authors were) was crowded.

Digital Reading Growing
Nearly everyone who came by asked if my books were available as eBooks, too. They are, of course (but they’re hard to sign).

For me, all the comments I heard about electronic books that day highlighted something I read recently. Children’s e-reading habits continue to grow, with two-thirds of children 13-and-under now reading digital books; and 92 percent of those kids do so at least once a week.

If you do a little of the math, that’s good for authors.

It translates into a potential eBook consumer base of 36 million kids, and nearly half of them already read digitally every day.

Does this mean children are reading less because of e-books?

Not at all. I regard it more as a change in reading habits. They’re just adding new media to the mix, and someday soon (likely before all us old codgers realize it) those kids are going to be adults, with multiple reading venue choices.

They can choose to read print, or they can chose to read on an electronic device. If my own grandchildren are any example, the move to digital reading is well under way.

My granddaughter (the same one for whom I just purchased a printed book) does all of her homework on an iPad … and no, she’s not looking up answers.

Rather than dozens of books, the kids in her school are all required to have an iPad. She reads her textbooks digitally, answers questions online about her homework assignment, then turns it in electronically when it’s done.

It’s certainly different from when I was a kid.

But I don’t think it’s the death of books.

Far from it. I see it as an expansion of reading. There are still plenty of printed books (and people who enjoy them), but the opportunities for reading have grown exponentially in recent years because of digital readers.

As an avid reader myself, and as an author, I think that’s a very good thing.

A Good Turnout
The turnout at the library last week was encouraging. Lots of kids were there, and scads of adults came, too. People were buying books. The art of reading is obviously alive and well.

For authors, this kind of event is all about getting the word out for our books and, I have to admit, selling some books is nice … but personally, I had the most fun talking to patrons and a few of the other authors.

One of the other fine artists present was indeed an artist. Matt Faulkner, the renowned children’s book illustrator was there, delighting children and parents alike with his quick caricatures of the people who stood around his table.

After talking to her about it, I bought the book “The Colored Car” from author Jean Alicia Elster, who sat two chairs down from me on the left. I’m looking forward to reading it.

I also bought the book Dream Girl from author S.J. Lomis who sat beside me. While it wasn’t something I’d pick up for myself, it looks like a fine young adult title to give to my granddaughter … and I love encouraging her to read.

Being at the book signing Saturday didn’t make me a lot of money, and it didn’t make me famous enough for the eleven o’clock news … but it did make me rich.

I know, you’re looking at that and saying … but you just said you didn’t make a lot of money, so how can you turn around and at the end of the same sentence say it made you rich?

Depends on how you define rich, I suppose.

Defining Rich
If you’re all about the money, I didn’t really make any.

If you’re into friends and meaningful acquaintances, I came away with new ones, on which you cannot put a price. While the former is nice, I’ll take the latter any day.

It was like getting my Christmas presents early. People are still reading and, to me, that’s joyous all by itself. It’s the perfect reason to give a book as a gift. It encourages reading, and I think that’s something we should all be doing.

Happy Holidays, Gentle Readers!

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My books have garnered some terrific reviews. I may be biased (of course I am) but I think they would make terrific holiday gifts.

buy now amazon

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If you could’t make it to the Author’s Fair last week, you can at least look at the books I have available using the Amazon link above. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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