Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Word From Our Sponsor

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And now for a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister...

Miscellany at Year's End

I have never used 'lol' online. Well, until just now. I'd much rather do the laugh face -- :D

Outside of the occasional 'btw' I scarcely use those internet abbreviations at all (nor the pre-internet i.e and e.g. for that matter). I like and respect words too much to do that to them.

So if you ever see me rotflmao, give me a smack upside the head and tell me to cut it out.

* * *

I was set to make bread a couple days ago and when I went for my jar of yeast from the fridge, it was missing.

I had a pretty good idea that my mom had taken it out and put it somewhere. She does that quite a bit anymore and I have to keep an eye out for misplaced items. CDs and books in the wastebasket, towels in the oven, etc.

Fortunately, I had a large pouch of yeast in the freezer so the bread did get baked. When I emptied the kitchen trash later, I found the yeast and the jar. Alas, not together as she had poured it all out into the basket.

I'm thinking maybe a lock on the refrigerator might be a good idea.

* * *

Well, I've been back on the St John's Wort for a month or so now and not a single migraine. I guess it was okay to go off a while and be reminded just how bad it was when I had them regularly. It's worth the cost but I wonder if I could cultivate the herb here myself.

Or if I could find an herb that cures mold spore allergy!

* * *

At this time, I'm not sure what I have planted here is still alive but dormant and what succumbed to the continued heat and drought of autumn. So I'm a bit loathe to buy replacements! I do hope the pomegranates made it but I fear otherwise.

I know that all the weeping willows were dead. I don't think the ones I last put in ever took root -- actually, not much from the last nursery order survived. Considering the weather since, it looks like I could have held off a month or more before doing my fall plantings.

At any rate, I'm going to attempt the willows again. I know they will grow here as I've seen them around the area. Last try. I do have wild ditch willows (Harbisons, I would guess) growing and will probably plant some more of them -- they start readily from cuttings and can grow into something of a tall hedge in the low area by the drive.

* * *

My  internet connection has been getting pretty awful again as winter moves in. I've been putting up with this for too long. Maybe this will be the year we finally get high speed here.

If so, I can blog even more! I set myself a goal sometime back to post here regularly, daily if possible. New material does bring more readers but the real point was to make myself write. And the more I write, the more I think of stuff to write, so it's working!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Pond

The frogs sing, come warm evenings, March or April, as rains replenish the cypress pond. It lies beyond the green curve of the neighbors' field, south-east and south-east again.

They grow cotton one year, peanuts the next, though once they threw us a curve, planting cotton two years in a row.

Ah, well, cotton is always planted in a row.

But the field -- it slopes down to the pond, to the cypress, the willows and gum, and we're glad to have the music, when frogs sing, come the warm evenings. In the spring, when we can sit on the porch and leave windows open to the night, we listen.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Vignette, prose poem, whatever you wish to call it.


The pastor at the church I attended as a teen once made a point I've always remembered: religion is theater.

It was in the course of a discussion on the layout of our new more-or-less circular church structure when he said it, but I could see its further validity. Going to church is entertainment. It's a play that attempts to slip in its lessons along with the music and the rest of the experience.

Recognizing this fact, as much as anything else, has kept me from dismissing organized religion. What another might call hypocrisy, I see as art.

And art, of course, can be a 'religious experience.' So why separate them?

Some have tried to strip church-going of all this. It's the quintessential Protestant approach, reaching its ultimate expression in a Quaker meeting. Quiet spiritualism certainly has its place but that's not why I attend church.

I want the candles and the stained glass and the high-vaulted ceiling. I want the choir and the pipe organ, the bigger the better for both of them.

Or something else in the same spirit. I loved it when my current church (which is, alas, a windowless dungeon) had a mariachi band in for the Lady of Guadalupe feast day. Their flashy costumes come from the same school of thought as the priest's vestments. I approve of both.

This does not mean I want a performance of 'Cats' next to the altar. But I wouldn't mind one bit if Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Requiem' were played at my funeral. I'd like to think that my final appearance might be theater too. Even if I'm buried in a simple shroud and return quietly to the earth.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Just the Weather (caution: somewhat naughty)


When we're bundled up to our necks
be content with my little pecks,
for it's not my intention to vex
but it's much too cold for sex.

Forgive me if I play hooky
or act like a love-making rookie;
I think you're very good looky --
it's just too cold for nooky.

If I seem cool
don't call me a fool --
It's just the weather, Dear!
Though a man dons
his warm long-johns,
he can still hold you near!

If I'm cold as ice
when I should be nice,
It's just the weather, Love!
My fingers and toes
get as cold as the snows --
don't ask me to take off my gloves!

Though I want you, I really do,
keep your assets out of view;
no reason we both should be blue --
it's far too chilly to screw!

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Another music hall-style ditty. I seem to be having a minor fit of creativity.

Panderer, a song lyric


I'm just a pimp, parading
my songs before the Johns,
pandering to their dreams
of no more lonely dawns.
They take one up to her room,
listen to her come-ons,
leave part of themselves on the dresser --
in the morning she'll be gone.

Professional liar,
that's who I am --
running a scam.
I'll make you think
I give a damn --
each emotion
is a sham.

I tart up all my offerings,
make each hard to ignore;
that will pull them back,
they'll crave them as before.
Their sexy lingerie
is a rag and nothing more;
no one looks too closely
when they're with a whore.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Each of us has a bit of self-loathing built in. I decided to dig into mine a bit to create this character. That's who sings my songs -- not me, but the characters I create.

Recognizing the fact that we are essentially actors when we write (or perform) gives us the freedom to distance ourselves from our material, even when it sometimes seems agonizingly personal! It lets us say what we need to say.

Fast Away...

So, another year on this trip from here to there. I've had worse, I've had better. Ha, that's the advantage of having some really bad years -- the mediocre ones look good in comparison!

And I did accomplish stuff. Getting the publishing thing going was more a matter of being forced to let the rest of my life go on hiatus than any actual plan I had. Heck, I had to do something with my time. Besides worry, that is.

I don't know if I ever would have tackled the book projects if I weren't able to do my own illustrating and design. No claims here of being great at it; just competent enough to do the job. I rather like designing the books, really, but I don't necessarily look forward to doing the illustrations. I'm never completely satisfied with them and suspect I could better utilize my time elsewhere.

That's especially true with the children's books. I am not the sort of 'dynamic' artist needed for those pictures. My work tends to be quite the opposite, in fact, and far too stylized. Being pretty much limited to black and white illustrations is probably to my advantage, however.

Color is expensive in the POD model because the whole book is printed in color, even if there is only one color picture in it! (Not counting the covers here.) I chose to keep 'A Mouse is in the House' all B&W and the price still isn't that competitive with similar books from the big publishers.

Anyway, I do hope to keep releasing titles this coming year. One every quarter would probably be enough work for me, as long as I do it all myself. And depending, of course, on what other duties might need my attention. My mom's care will always be the priority.

I'll admit, I did not expect her to still be with me, not to mention in such apparent good health. Eventually, change must and will come but I am by no means in an hurry.

The turning of the year also means it is time to think about planting in the spring. Time to peruse the nursery catalogs. And, of course, to get all the beds weeded out. February is not too early to be transplanting trees here. Some might be coming out in bloom or leaf by the end of that month. Maybe it will not be so dry this year and I can actually get some stuff to grow well.

This year I will turn 62. Less than four months, now, to the birthday. This means I can and almost certainly will collect my early Social Security. It won't be much but it will be a cushion. If I never make any profit off all these little endeavors of mine, so be it. I won't starve and I own my house.

So, the future doesn't look too bad. But being who I am, I'll grumble anyway!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So Should I, a poem (maybe)


Jesus never killed anyone;
Brother, why would I?
He bore no sword, I'll bear no gun;
Sister, why should I?

John nor James ever cast a stone,
Nor, Brother, should you and I
Paul did and was called to atone;
So, Sister, are you and I.

We've fought our wars to make war cease;
Brother, you and I.
But Jesus blessed the peacemakers,
And, Sister, so do I.

They will be called children of God,
And, Brother, so would I,
Ere one more man's laid 'neath the sod;
Oh, Sister, so should I.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

It might be a poem, it might be a lyric, it might be added to, it might not. But I wrote it down anyway.

Promotion: Personality and Product

Personality and product -- the two sides of selling an artistic work, be it a painting, a book, a musical recording. Both should be promoted.

Of course, the product is paramount. It must be something that people actually want, that will promise some lasting value. Remind them of that. Tell them how it will useful, desirable, how it will change their lives!

But the buyer also wants to connect with the creator. Personality does sell. Or, at least, it attracts the buyers to the product. Would Lady Gaga sell as much without her persona? Although she seems reasonably talented (more than the average pop star, anyway) there are plenty of competent unknowns out there who can't attract an audience.

Let's face it, we -- whether singers, writers, actors, jugglers, whatever -- are in the entertainment business. So be entertaining. Promote yourself!

Remember, self-promotion doesn't necessarily have to be your real 'self.' No one cares who that is, except your mom. And you can probably fool her too.

Never forget, though, that it is ultimately the product that has to have substance. Never forget that it has to promoted equally. Product and personality; that's what sells.

Monday, December 26, 2011

You Sound Just Like...

Everyone who sings in public has eventually had someone walk up after a performance and say 'You sound just like (insert singer's name here)!' Many times, they are projecting one of their own favorite vocalists onto you.

But then, you may actually sound like someone else. Everyone does, after all. Sometimes we consciously copy a style; sometimes it's just our natural voice or accent. I admit to being a fairly good mimic of other singers and may fall into an imitation of them without actually meaning to do so.

I think the first time I got the 'you sound like,' the singer of comparison was Lee Hazlewood. And I can see (or hear) it. Hey, I'd be out there performing 'Summer Wine' if I could get Nancy Sinatra to accompany me.

Ha, back then I would have accompanied Nancy just about anywhere.

Who else has been mentioned? Glenn Yarbrough. Robert Goulet. Or, closer to home, the late Florida folksinger, Don Grooms. I suspect that was more the songs than the singer, as I don't hear that much resemblance.

Someone once even told me I sounded like a male Eli Perras. I guess I do have a tendency to declaim like Eli.

But I'll never have the gestures...nor the flowered hat.

We are who we are and that's who we sound like, ultimately. Yet we have our ideals and those we emulate. Not only in singing but in playing instruments, writing, the way we walk!

I remember reading a piece way back by Sartre (I think. It's been thirty years or so.) that spoke of how the invention of photography changed how people acted in public. Ever since, we have been 'posing' around others. Movies and recordings furthered this, I'm sure.

But we already had books and paintings and, well, other people so I'm sure it's been something we've done all along. As did the apes before us. Imitation is a large part of how we learn and also of how we fit into our social existence. When we imitate, we become that other person in a sense. We are making an attempt to share in his or her status.

Of course, there is also the actual appeal of their style, that something that finds an accord within us, that makes us think 'that's the way to do it!' With any luck, we have more than one such 'aha' moment and develop more than one facet of our own style.

And if we're truly fortunate, we develop a unique way of our own. One that will make someone else out there think 'that's the way to do it.'


Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Song of Christmas (a song lyric)


vs 1:
Sing me a song of Christmas
Sing me a carol of cheer
I'll get into the spirit
I'll have no time for a tear
Sing me a song of Christmas
Let me be happy a while
I'll put aside these worries
And I'll put on a smile

Sing me a song of Christmas
Remind me I belong
Sing of all that's right
In a world that seems wrong
Sing it everywhere
I'll try to sing along
Sing me a song of Christmas
I'll join in that song

vs 2:
Sing me a song of Christmas
and come what morrow may be
I'll try to remember the tune
And carry it with me
Sing of Christmas morning
The end of every fear
Oh, sing me a song of Christmas
Sing me a carol of cheer

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Just under the wire! This rather rough idea for a song lyric came out of me this morning. I guess I have a whole year to polish it up now.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rain Day, a Poem


Morning speaks of storms.
Not the red sky of warning,
or is that gray?

Ask a sailor.

I hear the distant thunder,
see the dark leading edge
of a front.

That's warning enough.

The dogs, cowed by the rumble,
take refuge in the closet,
the master walk-in.

It's their safe room.

Muffled rooftop drums --
a crescendo comes on
lightning cymbals.

They fade from me

to a tuneless murmur.
Once, I would hear words
on the wind.

Should I have answered?

Misted windows open
on misted skies, awash
in memories

of other rains.

Such days cross the horizon,
days of gray ennui
and misplaced time.

We'll find it tomorrow.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

A theme I may revisit too frequently but then rainy days come frequently too, don't they?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Food and Festivals

Tortillas: I've decided they must be the perfect food. Easy on the tummy, nutritious, simple to fix and tasty. A great choice for vegetarians. I don't know how I missed out on them for so long!

Tasty...tasty to me but I tend to like bland food. Most of the stuff out there is too salty, too sweet, too spicy, too much. Give me a toasted tortilla and I'm fine.

I get -- and, admittedly, eat -- too much of the wrong food at this time of year. People don't know what to send me as a Christmas present so I get food. Candy, cookies -- great for upset tummy, hives, the runs. More than a little of it ends up in the compost. Now that I have dogs around, though, I have to be careful disposing of chocolate.

And meat. Either no one remembers I'm vegetarian or they don't take it seriously. I can at least feed some of this stuff to Mom.

Speaking of Christmas presents, I did intend to send out some autographed copies of my books to family and close friends but 1) decided, for tax/business reasons, not to order any more copies this year and 2) just didn't have the time to package up anything and take it to the post office.

I will stock up some early in the new year for gifts, as well as for possible distribution and direct sales. Who knows, eventually I may be able to get out there and hawk them in person.

And on the subject of 'getting out there,' (one subject just leads to another, doesn't it?) I see that some of the performers at the upcoming 60th Florida Folk Festival (coming in May) have been chosen. I haven't heard from (Mean) Mary yet. Who knows whether I'll have the opportunity to attend this year?

I do know that I will not attend if it means leaving my mother in someone else's care for a day or two. Not because I mistrust any other caregiver but because I will not go off and mingle with large crowds and chance bringing home a cold or worse. It's not worth the risk.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wife, a poem


Life's a love affair,
a girl's sunny smile,
the dalliance of a day,

and Death's the wife who waits
while we have our fling.

Waits behind her shuttered
windows for we who have
philandered with the light,

when Life must surely turn
away to her next lover.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hey, I can't be Scrooge all the time. And I like designing stuff. So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Yippy for the Yule!

And, of course, Happy Robonukah to all my mechanical friends!

Seeing Stars

Not surprisingly, when I 'reviewed' my own books at Good Reads I gave them five stars. That was just to get the ball rolling and, of course, to let folks know I value my work.

Honestly, though, if they were by some other author they would probably receive three or four stars. I don't think any of my titles are duds but I don't deceive myself that they are masterpieces, either.

My very best work is yet to come. I have improved as a writer of fiction, as a poet. I have greatly improved as a non-fiction author since last I had a print magazine article published. That was so long ago I was still using a typewriter!

There will be more books with my name on them this coming year, at least as illustrator. With any luck, some I've written as well. A sequel to 'The Middle of Nowhere?' Maybe, maybe, but not right away. Another volume of poetry? Quite possible.

There will almost certainly be a book or two for the children. That's where my concentration is at the moment, as artist -- the texts are there already.

And they all will, of course, receive five gold stars from me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Words and Weather

Finally, I put together the revised versions of 'Pieces of the Moon' and created two PDFs -- one for sale as an ebook, the other a press-ready version for the print edition. I'll be uploading and finalizing them soon, as my connection allows. There's no substantial difference between these and the older versions, just some updating. Btw, the revised version has been available as EPUB for a while now but I didn't want to step on the heels of 'Dreamwinds' by putting these out too soon.

* * *

I've been devoting some time to working on the next 'book' of 'The Song of the Sword.' The novel, when finished, should contain three books, each a separate episode -- novellas, essentially -- in the story. I finished Book 1, probably to be titled 'Sons,' some time back and am working on Book 2, 'Daughters,' now.

I do not outline, exactly, but I do like to have a general idea of where I am going, so I write out a sort of synopsis (or 'argument,' I prefer to call it) noting the things I want to include. It lets me work out the relationships and subplots. There are a fair number of both.

The framework is taking shape. Probably the biggest decision I have yet to make is as to what sort of attempt(s) will be made on the protagonist's life -- so far we've tried to throw him over the castle wall and attacked him with wild dogs.

Fortunately, he survived or I wouldn't be writing the second book.

I've been told that my fiction reads like plays. Probably so, with lots of dialog and a definite division into 'scenes.' Ha, there are even musical numbers. 'The Song of the Sword' really is a song.

* * *

Looks like a warm Christmas weekend coming up. Pretty mild early Winter so far (as I've grumbled before, I do not consider the Solstice the beginning of the season but, rather, the middle). Unfortunately, the high pressure systems that have been keeping the cold air away -- only two freezing mornings so far -- also keep the precipitation levels down.

Will this be a more-or-less permanent result of the warmer climate? Will we always be drier? Do I need to plant yucca and cactus?

addendum, the following morning: So it poured rain all night! Welcome rain!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bah! a Poem for the Season


I've spent most of my life
trying to seem cheerful,
and kept my inner Scrooge
where no one could see.

Now I'm the crusty codger
and the cranky curmudgeon,
the crotchety old crackpot
I'd always longed to be.

I can greet the Christmas season
with a 'bah!' and a 'humbug!'
and nobody expects
any different from me.

I buy no presents these days
nor stamps to put on cards;
I've become a grumbling grouch,
a grinch who steals your tree.

When Santa came to visit
he found no cookies here --
I locked him in the basement
and threw away the key.

No tinsel hanging anywhere,
no holly, no mistletoe;
I finally have created
a zone that's Yultide-free.

Releasing old Ebenezer
was truly a relief,
So now that miserable miser
is out for all to see!

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Doggerel for the season...hey, there's just a little too much jolliness out there at times!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fair Fight, a poem


Some days, I believe life isn't fair.
Others, I suspect that I deserve
all the crap it hands me. Either way,

I'll never be that guy who says 'life isn't
fair, deal with it.' The guy who takes that crap
instead of taking a swing in hopes of landing

a fist to life's smug face. Not that life
will ever notice but I always feel
a hell of a lot better. Even if

the knockout punch is waiting in the next round.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

That Comic Font

Comic Sans -- the font everyone (well, almost everyone) hates and everyone has. Being installed almost universally and being a quite legible font for online applications, it does get used.  But let's face it, Comic is somewhat ugly and may imply a certain tastelessness in its users.

Especially when combined with garish colors!

The one place I might use Comic? As really small text online. It's surprisingly readable as small as 8 point and looks better when reduced in size, as well -- less cartoony and more script-like. Still, I'd probably choose Verdana for pretty much any type that small.

Not that I ever go smaller than 10 pt on my own sites. There is no reason to strain folks' eyes and it doesn't cost anything to have a larger page!

If I needed a Comic-like typeface I would probably opt for Dom Casual. It may not as suitable for on-screen readability but is decidedly better looking as a display font.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


I don’t exactly dislike snakes. I’ve no problem at all with most of them.

But I have never warmed to the poisonous varieties. There are lots of them in Florida; most of the Northerners who move here probably aren’t aware of how thick the scrub country is with rattlers, how many moccasins are lurking in those canals and ponds. Of course, everyone knows that the occasional poodle becomes an alligator meal. Fewer realize that the coyotes filtering into the north part of the state are responsible for cat disappearances. The retirees in their manicured subdivisions are largely oblivious to the fact that they are living with poisonous reptiles.

I remember my dog, Shortie, carrying on and going out to find a huge rattler curled up inside his house. Dog and snake were not going to coexist so removal via shotgun was necessary. Not too much damage to the dog house! I remember walking into my front yard in South Florida and finding not one but THREE large moccasins. I smelled them before I saw them; their rotten-cucumber reek is quite unmistakable. Unmistakable to me, anyway, I know the odor and have me a pretty good sniffer.

Maybe it’s not the good environmentalist thing to do, but I killed all of them. In their place, in the woods, I have no problem with coexistence. When they come into my yard, it’s another matter.

Incidentally, there is no way I would walk around in the wilds of Florida with exposed legs. Heavy jeans and boots for me; I’ll leave the khaki shorts to wannabee Crocodile Hunters.

I am more than aware that poisonous snakes are every bit as numerous where I live now as they were further south. When living close to the Steinhatchee River (yeah, I know using both 'hatchee' and 'river' is redundant), I did see moccasins from time to time. The picture is my nephew Jeff with a medium-sized cottonmouth he speared there. The pine scrub lands around there were and are prime rattler real estate.

As it no doubt is here in the Panhandle. Though the only one I have seen was a little rattler that decided to glide through my flower bed one morning. Ha, maybe I should wear those boots while gardening too!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breathe, a poem


The line dividing life and death
is measured by a single breath.

Exhale what is and all that might,
a wisp to fade into the night.

When next we breathe, what unknown air
fills souls now past all mortal care?

That dark divide breaks ev'ry bond;
breathe deeply ere you cross beyond.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

mostly short poems lately, when at all

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Just when did the radical capitalists and libertarians hijack the name 'conservative' anyway? I thought conservatives conserved. I value tradition. I value the earth. Maybe that makes me a true conservative.

I believe we are stewards of what we have, not owners. I believe it is given us so we might use it for the greater good. That is a surer path to happiness than the endless pursuit of personal gratification.

Who can truly own anything, after all? We hold these possessions for a few years before they fall from our hands. Care for them while they are in your brief custody.


No Won's Perfect

Dag-nab it! After all the proof reading I did on 'Dreamwinds,' I just noticed a typo. In most books, that would be expected and no big deal, but it kind of stands out in a small volume of poetry. (Btw, the boo-boo was using "it's" where it should have been "its.") But don't expect a revised edition anytime soon.

I've been looking for places to promote and/or sell the books (and anything else, for that matter) and am considering opening a seller account at Alibris. Not right away, however -- there's no hurry on any of that while I still have so much to do with what I already have. As my connection allows, of course.

I have been able to get in and use GoodReads some. Oddly, the site functions better for me in Internet Explorer than in my usual FireFox, when my connection isn't very good. Which is most of the time. So apparently it's not something that's actually missing in the FireFox browser, as it works fine at times, but some component that isn't making proper contact when the connection is slow.

Speaking of slow connections and display, I've been visiting some sites that use the @fontface protocol to display 'non-standard' typefaces and it is extremely slow to load the correct fonts for me. Sometimes, they never load at all. Not the way to go, I think, if one wants to make sure things display properly.

The only really dependable way to do that is to convert the fonts to graphics. Yeah, that will be slow too but it will at least look right. Like the 'Kelmscott' font I used on that graphic-plus-story 'Cliffs' I posted a few days ago.

* * *

I'm going to pretty much skip Christmas, I suppose. I won't put up a tree as I wouldn't trust Mom near it. And she doesn't really have the ability to keep track of the date or season anymore. It's to the point where she doesn't know me most of the time either.

Life has become pretty much endless frustration. I'd be sure to get depressed if I weren't already. On that subject, after ten years of using the St John's Wort my DO recommended (rather than going to prescription stuff), I thought it was time to cycle off and see how I did. So...four months without and, to be honest, I don't know if it makes any difference to my 'mood' BUT my migraines came back. Yep, after having ten years of freedom from the headaches I'd had as far back as I can remember. Needless to say, I'm back on the Wort and will probably remain so.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

After School

I’ve always liked girls. When the other little boys were out playing their games, I wanted to hang close to the young ladies. There is always a boy or two in every class that wants to play with the girls, but they mostly grow up gay. I didn’t particularly want to play... just to be close to them!

In second grade I had a severe crush on my teacher, Miss Francisco. All I remember of her now was that she had red hair. I would purposely dawdle on my class work so I could be kept after school, and have her all to myself. My regular afternoon date with an older woman! I’m afraid I didn’t get much of my work done then either; mostly I just mooned over that sexy red head.

Then my folks put me in a Catholic school. Nuns! What a let-down.

Monday, December 05, 2011


I'm fooling about some with graphics and thought I'd post this mockup of a page w/illustrations.

All done in Corel Draw. The silhouette is supposed to be a black vulture, btw. I'm just auditioning ideas for the future here. The text, incidentally, is a little story, a prose-poem really, I wrote some time back.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


For three days straight, GoodReads has proven unusable for me. I feel like quitting the site when it's like this -- can't edit anything, can't rate anything.

This is, no doubt, in part the fault of my bad connection, although more and more sites are becoming unfriendly to users like me. We're a pretty small minority anymore so who cares if we can't use them?

So it's also poor functionality and design at their end. MySpace, of course, has been that way for quite some time. I haven't been able to really use it since last year. This is why I try to keep my own site as user-friendly and as quick-loading as I can manage, with a minimum of Flash and graphics.

Oh well, I'll probably stick with them and even add the rest of my titles. When I can. If I can.

Maybe the ebook versions too, or even upload copies to the site. Theoretically, I can sell them from there but since they are already at Lulu and B&N and the iBookstore, there's not much sense in it. I've looked at other spots to sell but they don't seem particularly attractive. And I checked out CDBaby's ebook site, BookBaby, which seems very much a rip-off.

I'm somewhat inclined to look on epub and mobi ebooks as sort of the equivalent of music mp3s. An inferior version of the product, the sort of thing one might give away to attract attention to the other work.

I guess the PDF, done with high-quality images, fonts, etc. could be seen as an analog of a wav. file, then. And the print book, of course, is the CD. Ha, and both seem to be becoming obsolete!

By the way, I should mention that my books would make exceptional Christmas gifts. Still time to order!

Or, if you would prefer something to wear, drop by

Hey, I'm trying to make a living here, y'know? ;)

addendum: I finally was able to get into GR and take care of business and updates this afternoon. Who knows whether it will work the next time I visit?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Scrooge for President

In this season, I can not help but see the similarity of many Republicans to Ebenezer Scrooge. To be a good man of business seems to be their only criterion of worth. The poor...are there no workhouses and prisons?

We do not need smug and mean-spirited self-righteous men of money running this nation (or this world). A country is not a business. It is a community. It exists to serve the needs of its citizens.

I suppose I have become more 'liberal' with age. I've seen that life isn't fair. Some say, 'So be it, I have mine.' But what they have is really of little worth. Share it while you have the time or you'll miss Christmas once again.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Keeping Them Short

With the wintery weather has once again come an abysmally bad internet connection. It's hardly worth getting on line and fighting to get pages to load. Especially first thing in the morning, the time when I've gotten in the habit of checking my mail and so on before I have to get Mom out of bed and fed.

But once upon a time, early morning was when I did most of my writing, creative or otherwise. I may just fall back into that habit -- there's nothing like having a routine to get your work done.

I've been messing about with my short stories lately. I had a fair number in various states of completion, plus some I felt needed rewrites. I'm pretty satisfied with most of the latter now and am making progress on the first group. Not to mention that the act of working on them has brought new story ideas to investigate.

I never thought of myself as a short story writer, really. If I had a small-scale concept, it was liable to end up as a poem or a song. But it's good to explore a different direction. Unless, of course, you get lost.

But then, I guess writing is sort of about finding your way back home again after a voyage of discovery.