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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Is Your Novel a STILL LIFE or a LIVING PORTRAIT?




WHAT MAKES A NOVEL 
COME ALIVE?



1.) Memorable characters

More than plot, riveting, absorbing characters draw us in.

I read and re-read the Spenser mysteries for the quick wit and snappy dialogue 

between Spenser, Hawk, and Susan.

Raymond Chandler made Philip Marlowe a person you wanted to listen to no matter how confusing the mystery.

“From 30 feet away 
she looked like a lot of class. 
From 10 feet away 
she looked like something 
made up to be seen 
from 30 feet away.”




2.) Original Plot

Take the movie, Mirage:

 Gregory Peck is caught in a building’s blackout, 

and rather than wait for the power to return and use the elevator, 

he makes his way down the stairs. 

He bumps into Diane Baker who greets him as a friend, but he does not know her. 

Alarmed, she flees into a sub-basement.

On the street, he finds the body of a man who supposedly jumped out of a window.  

He returns to try to find Diane only to discover there is no sub-basement.

Shaken, Gregory hires a private investigator to help him sort things out.  

He brings the detective to his office, only to find a blank wall.

It is an absorbing, riveting film because the plot is totally unique.  

And since it was made in 1966, there are no Matrix explanations ... only well-thought out ones.




3.) Do you like being a victim?

Neither does your reader.  

Most of us feel powerless in life more than we wish.  

We read to lose ourselves, to live vicariously adventures 

where the protagonists take control of their problems 

and after thrilling adventures triumph.



4.) Make them laugh.

Novels with serious themes like The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

use humor for good reason.

 Joss Whedon:

“Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, 
but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” 

A good laugh is a great way to relieve non-stop tension to set up the reader for the next jolt.

Humor in dialogue also is a way to quickly, subtly convey character relationships.


WHAT ARE SOME GOOD WAYS 
YOU BREATHE LIFE 
INTO YOUR NOVEL?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

GRADUAL may prove MORE deadly than ABRUPT



Last post I talked about Preppers attempting to secure themselves from 

sudden massive change whether political, natural, or terrorist.


Venezuela has taught us that when those in political power lose sight of the common man, 

things can become uncommonly terrible for those who face hunger, looting, and illness without treatment.



What happens when science becomes nightmare to you 

but common sense to another, younger generation?


Venezuela may have been only 
the beginning of the unraveling
of the world as we knew it.


WHAT DO YOU THINK?


HOW CAN YOU PREPARE 
FOR A 
"BRAVE NEW WORLD?"


Friday, June 21, 2019

Are PREPPERS Crazy?


Who are Preppers anyway?



Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers

who actively prepare for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, 

on scales from local to international. 

CRAZY, RIGHT?


 Take the CARRINGTON EVENT of 1859

That solar storm has been dubbed the Carrington Event, 

after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the megaflare and 

was the first to realize the link between activity on the sun and geomagnetic disturbances on Earth.

 During the Carrington Event, northern lights were reported as far south as Cuba and Honolulu.

The flares were so powerful that 

people in the northeastern U.S. could read newspaper print just from the light of the aurora.

 Satellite communications—also essential to many daily activities—would be at risk from solar storms.



Every time you purchase a gallon of gas with your credit card, that's a satellite transaction.  

No bank would be able to ascertain your saved money with the EMP from the sun wiping clean their data.

OVERNIGHT YOU WOULD
 BECOME PENNILESS

The big fear is what might happen to the electrical grid, 

since power surges caused by solar particles could blow out giant transformers. 

Such transformers can take a long time to replace, especially if thousands are destroyed at once.


THE RULE OF THREE


You can live THREE DAYS 
without water


You can live THREE WEEKS 
without food


THREE HOURS
without shelter
in
extreme conditions



THREE MINUTES
without Air.


THREE DAYS
is how long 
goods will stay
on store shelves
with no chance
of being
restocked. 


In THREE DAYS
addicts will
be out of their drugs
with NO
means to get more.


How much water do you have on hand?

How much food?

Do you have flashlights?  Batteries?


Mark Twain wrote:

“A person with a new idea is a crank 
until the idea succeeds.” 
  
Remember 
the crime and violence
and
Government ineptness
in New Orleans after Katrina?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Do Blog Tours Still Work & How To Do One



Have you wondered if Blog Tours 
are things that have become passe?

A good blog tour is a fine way to build your brand 

and establish some credentials with your target audience. 

If you can get on blogs and websites that actual READERS follow, 

then it is a great way of overcoming the "unknown author" problem. 

Blog tours generally don't equate to a huge uptick in immediate sales. 

 Rather, they raise awareness of you and your brand with the audience. 

Someone may not be looking to buy your book that very second, 

but the next time they go to buy a book they will be more likely to think of you.


THERE IS NO MAGIC PATH TO SUCCESS 

All we can do is knock on as many doors as possible.  Blog Tours are an excellent way to do that.

But each post must be different, must be entertaining, 
and must be aligned with the theme and motif of the blog you are visiting.

There must be some worthwhile reward for each visitor to each post.

Take my own DON'T BUY MY BOOK! Blog Tour ...

I didn't just start every guest post with the cover image since that would have them all blend and blur into one another ...

I created images selected from https://pixabay.com/

to highlight themes and characters from my book such as


 or

And I created what I hoped was a unique name for my Blog Tour with its own image:



I hope this helps any of you who are thinking of doing a Book Blog Tour!

And keep an eye out for AWEN RISING by O. J. Barre coming out soon.



Sunday, June 16, 2019

How to be A FATHER


 
Hobbes is still trying to come to grips 
with finding out 
about his furry brothers
 and fatherhood


1) LIONS

You may already know that a male lion that recently became head of his pride 

will usually kill all the cubs sired by the previous leader.

My own step-father tried to kill me twice jealous of the love my mother had for me so I can emphasize.

 Once the mama brings home her kill, the male lion is always the first one to eat.

 If it’s a rough hunting season, an alpha lion will let his wives and children starve first.




2) GRIZZLY BEARS 

Hibbs is not much happier finding out about Grizzly fathers!

It’s rare for any animal-kingdom father to eat his own young when he isn’t desperate for food, 

but the male grizzly bear will do just that. 

That means mama bears have to be extra good parents, 

not only making sure to feed their cubs and teach them how to survive on their own, 

but also ensuring their youngsters never happen to stray into their daddy’s bachelor pad.

My own mother tried her best with my biological father, 

but even so he tricked my babysitter into trusting me to him ...

And he abandoned me on the roughest street in Detroit.


STILL ...

It is not like they train boys how to be good fathers in high school.

And with so many absentee and abusing fathers in our culture, 

it is no wonder that young boys have a fragmented idea of what it means to be a father. 



SANDRA IS MY WIREMAN --


 Sandra's mantra to young girls is:

"Once you become a parent, the days of thinking just for yourself are over."


In Stephen King's DUMA KEY, the hero continually wrote:

Wireman always says ...   

Wireman's motto is ...   

Wireman laughs that ...

SPOILER ALERT! 

It is not until the end of King's novel that you find out that Wireman died before the hero recounts the adventure.

But Wireman became such an integral part of the hero's new life that his friend always stays in the present of the hero's thoughts.

So Sandra stays in the present of my thinking of life.



WHY DO I MENTION THAT?

Fathers, both good and bad, are like that, too.

They never fade in the past.  

Their words, their actions are like mental Muzac continually playing in their children's minds.

Fathers may wash their hands of their children either physically or emotionally ...

but those children never stop feeling the touch or lack of touch from those fathers.



THE ME GENERATION

Every generation seems to become more and more focused on the self, doesn't it?

Is it any wonder that the grown children of those parents do not know how to be responsible in their own parenting?



PETER PAN Males

How many men in your world are boy-men --

unwilling to accept discipline or restraint, forever in search of pleasure?

They rationalize finding sexual pleasure while denying the consequences of that sex.



SITUATIONAL ETHICS

Perhaps that is why so many choose not to believe in God, for that would predicate living life according to concrete rules. 

Yet, our God is what we worship in our deeds ...

and seeking consequence-free pleasure seems to be the new God of today.


MINI-ESSAYS

It is said that the Age of the Essay is over.  Not so.

Our blog posts are truly mini-essays.

Michel de Montaigne's essays are both personal and urbane.

He neither wanted nor expected people beyond his circle of friends to be too interested.

In his preface, he echoes our thoughts when we write our own posts:

 Reader, you have here an honest book … 

in writing it, I have proposed to myself no other than a domestic and private end.

 I have had no consideration at all either to your service or to my glory … 

Thus, reader, I myself am the matter of my book: 

there’s no reason that you should employ your leisure upon so frivolous and vain a subject. 

 Therefore farewell.


WHY DO I MENTION MONTAIGNE?

In writing about fathers, I am not judging anyone or proclaiming my thoughts are the gold standard of life.  :-)

I am merely reflecting in prose on my own views, born from my own life experiences much like the father of the essay.

The great and glorious masterpiece of any life is to have lived with purpose and love.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS 
ON FATHERS?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Is America Falling Apart Around Our Ears?

“You can no longer see or identify yourself 
solely as a member of a tribe, 
but as a citizen of a nation of one people
working toward a common purpose.”
idowu koyenikan

Do you stand and stare at 
a cultural/political landscape 
that seems to have gone insane?

‘Why bother with a milkshake when 
you could get some battery acid?’

Jo Brand's comment when speaking about
 the current trend of throwing
milkshakes at those 
whose political views
differ from yours. 

We are at an unprecedented moment in America.


Though our nation has made great strides in fighting discrimination, 

the voices of our fragmented society are becoming more and more strident.


 In America today, every group feels under assault to some extent. 

Whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians, men and women, 

Christians, Jews, and Muslims, straight people and gay people, liberals and conservatives – 

all feel their groups are being attacked, bullied, persecuted, discriminated against.


When everyone is screaming, no one is listening.

Now, Hollywood says the term X-MEN has become outdated since there are women in the group.

No longer should there be Men In Black ... 
but People in Black.

 Somewhere along the line, 
common sense has become 
not so common anymore.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

BLOGGING HAS SERVED US DIVORCE PAPERS


WHY?


The usual reasons:

1.) The Love has gone -- 

2.) The other party has grown into someone(thing) different.


Once we blogged for COMMUNITY

Now, we blog for 
SEARCH ENGINES


Remember how thrilled you were when you got your first comments on your blog?

How you joined bloghops to meet others, posted their blog buttons on your sidebar?

How you emailed special blogging friends?

You got to know those friends from their comments and their newsy posts on their blogs.


Then, they started to DRIFT AWAY from your blog, 
your received comments.

 
 In the blogverse, it's gotten like that cliche in Western Movies:

It's quiet out there ... too quiet.

The community has dissipated to other outlets of SOCIAL MEDIA or other concerns.


Specifically to Facebook ...

where it is hard to get blog notice without paying extra for it ...

and not even then sometimes!




 The demise of Google+ has relegated many of us to the shadows, forgotten in dim memories.


WHAT CAN WE DO? 

Know that good writing is true writing.

Endure:
   Do not be a weather-vane spinning crazily about, buffeted by the winds of the current fads.

Stay True to Ourselves.

Write posts that please us --

   Seasons change, but we grow from surviving their storms. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

IS BLOGGING IN THE I.C.U.?

HAS BLOGGING GROWN AWAY FROM US?

DO WE CHANGE 
OR 
STAY THE COURSE?