For my blog, I don’t write long pieces.  I want to make my point and hold my readers’ attention.  (Notice I use the plural, perhaps wishful thinking.)  Not boring those reading my words.

This may gain your attention.  The entry following this discusses a story of haunting romance, a story captivating me most of my life, along with classic science fiction.

I seldom watch movies more than once, but there are exceptions.  Every chance I get I watch War of the Worlds – the original starring Gene Barry.  For those who may have missed it, he also appeared for a moment at the end of the remake starring Tom Cruise.  In some respects the remake has details reflecting H. G. Wells’ classic novel closer to the original movie.  Let me discuss these comments in more detail.

The original, made in the 1950’s, scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.  The way the suspense builds is magnificent.  Unfortunately, after multiple viewings, I have found some incidents which make little sense.  For one, when to original ship lands it is too hot to approach, yet when Gene Barry, and his almost girlfriend use the wooden farm and another ship lands destroying part of the house, the structure does not catch fire.  Also, for the act which finally results in the death of the Martians is that they venture into a new world without any protective gear.  Would a civilization traveling through space take that chance?  Maybe, if you enjoy something, you should not revisit it multiple time, and keeping the love alive.

Now for the remake starring Tom Cruise. The weaknesses are strong, yet also keep true to the book.

If you watch the movie you may remember when Cruise and his daughter are trapped in a cellar with a character played by Tim Robbins.  I could wrong about it being Robbins.  I’ve been wrong before.  I believe the character Robbins represents is a minister who is killed by the protagonist in the book.  This act of murder is hinted strongly in the movie.  But before this event, Robbins tells Cruise the belief is that the Martian machines were buried on the Earth a million years ago.  I should mention that the Martians come to Earth by way of lightning strikes to power up their machines.  Here comes the ‘give me a break’.  It’s like burying a Model T, and in the meantime, your society develops spacecraft able to travel twice the speed of light.  Yet, to save your civilization, you use the Model T.  Don’t you think that the Martians would have used technology which currently existed?

To the remakes credit, they do depict the Martian’s machines closer in the book than what the original movie.  But overall, I feel the original movie is the best.

Now onto the romance.

February 7, 2016 at 10:12 pm 1 comment


I know it’s been done before, but here’s my idea of a story that might be on a slightly grander scale.  With this posting on my blog I have proof that the idea is mine.  Just thought I’d run it by my science fiction fans and writers.

I just read an article posted on Science Daily, a site I check every day for it provides a wealth of science facts capable of giving science fiction a nudge. The article stated (I’ll provide a link) that scientists have discovered a new black hole.  The interesting fact is that it is 30 times bigger than expected, and they don’t know why.

Okay, let’s put on our imagination caps now.

What if the black hole was 100 times as big as predicted, hell, make it 1000 times bigger.  The universe is less than predictable.  Imagine that this black hole was near enough to our galaxy, or perhaps created within our galaxy, and was able to draw our solar system and a good part of the Milky Way into its region of destruction.

How would that approach effect our planet?  Say we had a heads-up of thousands of years.  What would mankind do other than form committees which accomplish nothing?  What would the hero to this dilemma do to save the world?  And if there wasn’t a hero what would happen when our planet was pulled into this massive void?  Are we destroyed or do we arrive at another dimension, converted into dark matter?

Think about it.

September 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm 2 comments


In the past, I have shared with you comments made by Brooke Warner in her blog published by the Huffington Post. Recently, she posted another article about publishing which I feel poses some important points. In this article she contrasts the difference in the timeline between traditional publishing and self-publishing and lends tips on why it is important to slow down in these efforts.

September 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment


It is said that we all have a book within us. I don’t know who said it, and if no one has, I just did. However, it has never been said, to my knowledge, that we all have a GOOD book within us. What follows is my own take on self-publishing with more episodes to follow. As always, feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Writing is an ego driven endeavor. To put your words out there and know that someone will pay money to read them is quite a stretch. But many of us do just that and bruise our egos along the way. Who among us truly thinks their ability to put words together isn’t worth shit, but I’m going to do it and reveal my shit to the world. In the not too distant past the only available avenue a writer could take, other than the traditional route of, agent-editor-publisher was lovingly referred to as the vanity press.

The end result of association with a vanity press was usually hundreds of books moldering away in a basement or attic and the author thousands of dollars poorer. Now we have a much better, cheaper option – the wonderful world of self-publishing. For an excellent in-depth look at self-publishing I refer you to the May/June 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest providing an overview on the topic. In a later piece I will offer some of the information from that issue and update the information contained in this issue for, in this day and age, 2012 is distant history.

Self-publishing, in conjunction with print-on-demand allows the writer to bring his work directly to the reading public without encountering the messy world of agents and publishers. I know many out there have taken the agent and or publisher route and have shed blood, sweat and tears with no results. Been there, done that. That’s why the vast majority of my work remains unpublished. I’ll get to my personal experiences and the reason I still beat my head against a stone wall in a later piece. Many of those who have put the effort and see no other avenue to present their work to the public other than to self-publish. Here, the decision to self-publish has merit. You’ve paid your dues with nothing to show for it; give it a shot.

There is another form of exposure providing a means to present your work, your thoughts, poetry, and stories, to the world. If you’ve gotten this far you’re participating in that medium now – the blog. Of course you won’t make any money unless your ego permits you to go hat-in-hand to those wanting to read the beauty of your words. Enough of that.

I have met one author, in my opinion, who has a healthy approach to self-publishing. She established a reputation through the traditional route of agent and publisher. Only after her reputation was established did she begin to self-publish. For now the public knew the value of her work, work accepted by the industry, and she could approach that public directly.

With the above in mind, I’m sure you see that self-publishing is a complicated and convoluted topic. It is a medium offering a new publishing opportunity, and each year hundreds of thousands of people employ it. It can yield great success, but to those that it has you could probably count using your fingers and toes, and perhaps not even need to take off your shoes.

Yet with all the uncertainty and rejection and no matter how you bear that twisted cross we call the writing addiction, you know you have no choice but to endure and hope for the

June 2, 2014 at 7:36 pm 2 comments


As promised, here is more information on a website for both readers and writers, Goodreads.
For readers, this site offers a chance to post reviews of books you have read and also to check what other readers think about a book you are interested in reading. There are numerous groups and book clubs you can join where you can share your interest a host of genres and topics. Also, authors offer free copies of their work on this site.
For authors, Goodreads provides a means to gain exposure for your work. You can offer free print or eBook copies or make available a portion of your eBook. You can also have your blog entries posted automatically on this site. It is definitely worth a look to see what they offer to authors.
Best of all, IT’S FREE.
Here’s a link.

October 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm 1 comment


While riding the train to work, my neighbor would read science fiction. Long retired now, he asked me if I would like science fiction books. I, of course, was more than enthusiastic and bags of books came my way and found a home in my study much to my wife’s displeasure. If you saw my study you would understand her fear for it is overflowing with books read and to be read.
Recently, I began reading these classic works. The authors include the likes of Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula Le Guin to name a few. Most were published in the fifties and sixties costing as little as fifty cents.
The novel I would like to discuss is one I recently finished reading, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein. This book was interesting in that it dealt with the future, a future which is already our past.
Heinlein published this novel in 1956 so it was probably written in the early fifties. The setting of the book is 1970 and the main character travels, via suspended animation, to the year 2000, both needing the author’s speculation of what life would be like in those years.
His take of the not too distant future of 1970 is most interesting. There is talk of a nuclear war with the United States being the target, but it is handled as no more than a minor inconvenience. The year of the war isn’t given and neither is the adversary. My thinking is that it could only be Russia who developed their bomb in 1947. Also, in 1970, robots are beginning to take over the mundane tasks in both domestic and commercial settings. When he gets to the year 2000 he finds society completely changed. The story deals with more of the social rather than the technological changes, but there is a scientist dabbling with time travel which plays an important part of the story for it allows travel into the past. However, this can only be accomplished with great risk for the scientist can set the length of time but cannot control whether the subject goes forward or backward in time.
What amazes me is how the author envisions both years, to compare reality to what he predicts. The world today is full of robot used by industry but nothing like the talking androids, human-like creatures, created by the minds of Asimov and Dick. Time will tell.
I enjoy reading ‘dated’ science fiction and see the author’s take on the future and compare it to what has come to pass.

September 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm 1 comment


I don’t know about other writers, but when I read work by a successful author, especially one writing in my chosen genre, I have a desire to mimic the voice of that writer. After all, their voice has worked where mine is less than well-known. However, I resist temptation and, for better or for worse, adhere to my own style, my own writing voice.
What determines a writer’s voice?
Perhaps the most important element is the writer’s life, his experiences along that bumpy road to his vocation and hopefully his avocation. Certainly his age is a determining factor. I began my writing career at an advanced age, some would say almost elderly. And as I stumbled down my own road, I was molded by what I experienced. I sometimes wonder what words I would have produced had I begun writing at an earlier age and how my writing would have developed as I aged.
I feel another determinate of a writer’s voice is the genre you choose to work in. I write science fiction and horror. Science fiction is terse, detail oriented with the story and plot more important than character development. Horror leaves more room for character development but also depends heavily on atmosphere and a host of nonhuman characters. Horror tends to be more ‘wordy’ than science fiction.
These are my opinions on what goes into developing a writer’s voice. For you writers out there, am I on target or completely off the mark?
Someday, time permitting; I may try to stretch my voice into other genres.

September 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment


One of my favorite nonfiction authors is Erik Larson and I’d like to share some of his work with you.
I have read three of his books, Isaac’s Storm, Thunderstruck and The Devil In The White City and found them to be thoroughly enjoyable.
Isaac’s Storm deals with the hurricane of 1900 which devastated Galveston, Texas. This occurred before hurricanes were given names and resulted in the worst natural disaster this country has ever experienced with over 6000 lives lost. Isaac was Isaac Cline, the Galveston weatherman when the profession was in its infancy. Larson deftly describes the drama of the approaching storm and the bewilderment it causes until reaction comes too late.
Thunderstruck takes place in the early 1900’s. In this book Larson parallels the experiments and development of wireless communication championed by Guglielmo Marconi with a murderer, Harry Crippen. Marconi’s invention results in Crippen’s discovery and capture while he sails from Europe to America. The history Larson relates and his expert telling of the story results in a fantastic read.
The turn of the century sets the scene for The Devil In The White City. The focus year is 1893. The Devil is Dr. H. H. Holmes, one of the first serial killers. The White City is the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Larson follows the building of the fair and the many trials which must be overcome to accomplish its opening. Intermingled with the construction of the fair are the many crimes of Dr. Holmes and how he uses the fair to lure his victims, mostly young women, to his hotel of horror.
Erik Larson’s work of nonfiction offers the excitement of fiction while covering historical events.

September 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment


I’ve always been an avid reader to the point where it’s almost an obsession. I cannot remember the last time I was not in the process of reading a book. If I go anywhere where there is the slightest chance of waiting, I feel naked if I do not bring a book along.
I’m sure most writers would agree that being a compulsive reader is a prerequisite for being a writer.

What I would like to discuss in this piece is how the appreciation of the book I am reading has changed. I began writing fiction approximately twelve years ago, and since then I have noticed that the qualities I look for in a book are different. Before I became a writer I was just appreciating the story at face value. Now I look for much more.

Now, when I read a book I look for character development. I look for descriptions of the character and how this sometimes leads to overwriting of the book. I will discuss this in an upcoming piece giving examples. Plot is something I examine, wondering if the author outlined the story or if events occur which the author did not see coming. In my writing, I sometimes use a dynamic outline with nothing cast in stone. I also have events occur that are created during the writing process.

Another quality I look for in a story is background information to explain details in the story. In science fiction, horror and fantasy not everything needs to be explained, nor should it be. But there comes a point where some background is necessary.

These are some of the changes I have in mind when reading. I wonder if other writers
approach a story differently since they began writing.

July 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm 2 comments


My consistent readers,

I wanted to tell you that I have a radio interview this Sunday, 1/13/13, with the Writers and Readers Broadcast Network. I am excited about his and hope you get a chance to listen to me talk about my work.  It will be at 1:00 pm MST.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s a link to the site.

January 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment

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