This & That


Around Bookends Cottage 2017 has started out with naught but a yawn. Not a yawn of boredom, mind you, but a yawn of exhaustion. I keep looking over at the Christmas tree, the lights off and the gifts all gone, and I know I have to take it down, but I just can’t seem to find the energy to do it. It’s always such a joy to put up every year, the entire family gets into the act, friends come over, food is nibbled and drinks are drunk, but where is everybody when it’s time to take it all down and put it away? I always end up doing it alone, which is why I didn’t want to go all out this year, with decorations in every room of the house. It’s too much for me to take apart when I’m worn out from the holiday season. We have about a gazillion tree ornaments and all those new strands of lights we had to add and that need to be pulled off. And then there’s all of the outdoor lights, wreaths, ladder-climbing and et cetera. Oof. I’m tired just thinking about it…


I’ve been trying to get back into my project of finishing Book Two (With A Bullet) and sending it off to print. In reality, this should take me only about two weeks, but all of my creative motivation has disappeared. Music, too is on my list, but that’s really pushing it. At my age, singing is an athletic event and I have to be in peak condition to do it well enough for a recording. And then there’s the setting up and tearing down…


I’m well aware of the fact that it’s going to take the entire month of January to get back to where I was, engery-wise, last October. Damn you, Hashimoto’s, you soul-sucking bastard. One of the things I can do now that I’m on Medicare is make an appointment with an endocrinologist, but going to a new doctor is always difficult for me. Because we live in a cherry red state, and because the only endo in this town who takes Medicare is a born-again who touts her religious beliefs on her website, and because I’m married to a woman, I’m more than a little hesitant to go see her. I’m absolutely worn out from dodging the bigotry bullets in the Bible Belt. Oklahoma is just southern enough that these doctors are sugary sweet to your face, calling you darlin’ and hon, and saying “Well, blay-ess yer hart” with a big smile on their face while unsuccessfully hiding the aversion they feel toward you. Sure, I get the same medical attention as anyone else, but navigating all that crap is psychologically and psychically harder than I can describe. I’ve lived in this state for nearly 20 years. You’d think I’d be used to the way their eyes glaze over when I have to explain that my spouse isn’t a man. And it happens in all situations here, from introductions at social events to buying an anniversary present from a helpful shop clerk. And since the election the socio-political ice has gotten a bit thinner around here anyway. I’m not sure if I want to get out and try to walk on it just yet. Not with the 20th looming on the near horizon…


On a completely different subject, I came into 2017 wanting to give this blog a new look, but after spending an entire night looking for a new theme, I gave that up. WordPress has a gazillion themes to choose from, but only a handful of those are designed for actual blogging. Most of them are for businesses, services and products, and photography. And even those they say are for blogging are dominated by featured slides, huge pictures of emo girls sitting or standing forlornly with pigeon toed feet, extreme closeups of glamour dolls or of twenty-something hipster dudes looking for all the world like they love their commute to their cubicle every morning. And there’s no place to write any actual content anymore. I suppose the blogging craze is over and I should really just give it up, but after 17 years that’s not easy to do. Hell, I don’t even know if anyone even reads these entries. Maybe I’m just wasting the two or three hours it takes me to put one together and post it. But that’s another whole issue…


Nettl returned from her New Year’s New York City excursion bearing some amazing gifts. One was a large tin of authentic Hungarian paprika that she bought at a shop in Grand Central Terminal. To celebrate this delectable spice I made a pot of Viennese Goulasch last night, and I’ve made a pledge never to buy the domestic crap ever again. There’s just no comparison. It’s kind of like refusing to use margarine after tasting sweet cream, unsalted butter. I don’t care if it costs more. If I can’t afford it, I simply won’t make anything that requires it…


Back to Book Two. One of the reasons I never seem to finish this book is that things keep coming up that need to be added to the story. Sitting on it for so long as brought up a lot of things that need to be addressed where my characters are concerned. Katy is only now beginning to flesh herself out so that I can understand what truly motivates her. I don’t know how I have avoided her inner workings for so long, but she’s coming along and I enjoy writing about her now. This is really important, too, because it leads me into Book Three more seamlessly and effortlessly. Being these people’s creator, shrink, and biographer isn’t easy, but it eventually is fun…

And with that (pun intended) I shall leave you until the next time. This Christmas tree has been giving me the stink eye for three days and I really need to quite literally put it in its place.

Have a wonderful week!

Continue Reading

Red Pencil Time


I’m not always good at listening to myself. I always hear my inner voice, but I can’t always seem to make sense of what it’s saying to me. Case-in-point, Book Two, With A Bullet. It’s been sitting here waiting to be published for over three weeks. Why have I been putting it off? More importantly, why am I ignoring the fact that I’ve been putting it off? The answer is simple, but it took me a while to figure it out. There’s something about it I’m just not happy with. I like it fine until about the tenth chapter (although something almost imperceptible starts gnawing at me two chapters earlier than that), but then I just want to skim over it. I learned years ago, if a writer is compelled to skim their own work the readers definitely will. The book never really recovers, either. It burns and itches until the story ends three chapters later.

Needing something other than politics to focus on (actually, I need to retreat from them again) I’ve decided to rewrite chapters 8 through 13. Publishing this book right now would be a big mistake. Instead, I’m going to rework everything until I like it. I’m in no rush and I’m not going anywhere so why not?

I may be absent from the internet for a while, outside of my morning rounds. Also, the holidays are breathing down my neck just now, which makes doing anything with any sort of regularity increasingly difficult.

Drinking wine may be the only exception to that.

So have a great day, week, month, whatever. I’ll be back as the spirit moves.

P.S. I’m so happy not to be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year! I wish they’d move it to a more convenient time of year, like February. I’ll probably never participate again simply because it takes place at the busiest time of the year. Anyway, bon chance to all of you who are participating!

Continue Reading

With A Dream

withadreamadMany of you will remember that With A Dream, Book 1 of my rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge, was initially published in 2011. In a perfect world that edition would have been flawless. The problem was, it was my first attempt at wearing all the hats as a self-published author, and mistakes were made. Later, I combined Books 1 and 2 to create a Special Edition, which was fine except that it just didn’t sell. Over the past few months I’ve analyzed why, and I came to the conclusion that the cover needed to be redesigned. While I was at it, I decided to just go and rewrite and whole damn thing. I made other changes, too. The size is more portable and the typeface is easier to read.

So here we are with a new edition, which is the final edition. I’ve already moved on to reworking With A Bullet (Book 2). Next, I’ll tackle With A Promise (Book 3) and Enharmonic Intervals (Book 4). The good news is that With A Dream is in the can, so to speak, and is available at Amazon.

If you bought either or both of these books in paperback form, you are eligible to receive signed replacement copies AT COST ($4.50 each). Just use the email form on the Contact page to find out how to verify your eligibility.  This is a huge savings, guys. Take me up on it!

Continue Reading

Out Of The Gate


Bet you thought I wouldn’t write any new blog posts this month, huh? Not a chance. Writing 2,000 words a day isn’t that hard. I mean, I write well over that every day when I’m working on a new book, anyway. On a good day I can write upwards of 8,000 words. But for me, NaNoWriMo isn’t so much about daily word count as it is about sticking to my personal commitment. All the Nanos (or, Nanites, as I like to call us) on Twitter left the starting gate with a mighty, thunderous rush. This is a marathon and in the beginning everyone has their custom running shoes on, but we’ll see what happens when the shite starts to get real. We’ll see how many people drop by the wayside as the weeks go by.

It’s already abundantly clear my characters have some surprises in store for me. I’m not even one chapter in and Gordon has already broken my heart. There are a lot of issues to resolve for these people in this final book of the trilogy and I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to transpire. Only they can show me that. The journey will be emotional, to say the least.

We’re on our way to the holidays here at Bookends Cottage. This year we’ve decided to draw names for our family gift-giving. Really, I don’t know why we didn’t adopt this years ago. We each drew two names and each gift is to cost no more than $25, except just one gift for boys, that consists of a couple smaller. Suddenly, all of my stress is gone. No exhausting shopping, no hours of backbreaking wrapping, no juggling of finances… The weight has been fairly and evenly equalized. It’s amazing what this decision has done for me. I love and hate the holidays every year, but now I can look forward to the family being together without worry over what we’re going to eat after it’s all over and everyone’s gone home. The good thing is that we decided several years ago to never use credit cards for Christmas. It’s nice facing the new year without debt. It has made things leaner to be sure, but we’ve never been able to focus on the gifts anyway. Instead, we put out a great party spread and enjoy each other’s company. We’re all adults now. We can handle fewer and less expensive gifts. Sure, I’d go all-out if we could afford it. Why not? If you have it, enjoy it! But for now, drawing names is a great decision.

Not a long entry today; I have a lot to do: Halloween to take down, half the house to clean, 2000 or more words to write… Feel free to keep up with me this month on either Facebook or Twitter, or both.

Have a great week!

Continue Reading