Three cheap ways to become a bookaholic

After counting and doing a recount I have 234 unread books; 133 of the old fashioned kind, hardback and paperback and 81 21st century e-books. And I accumulated these books quite cheaply. And I have my eye on “The Autobiography of Mark Twain, volume 1” for $2 and an American Heritage book of the Civil War; pictures, illustrations, with words from Bruce Catton and James McPherson for $3. If you love books, here are my legitimate secrets. And I am not talking about Goodwill, yard sales, and the like.

  1. In Western Washington, the Timberland Library has a section where customers can buy books. Paperbacks $1 and hardbacks generally $2. It raises money for the library and therefore you are doing a good thing. I don’t know what happens in other libraries, in other states or regions, but check with your local library. I have found classics like “Madame De Lafayette” by The Princess De Cleves, as well as books from Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, J.A. Jance, and some terrific non-fiction books like “The Oxford History of the Classical World.” The Friends of the Library raises money for the library and once a year they have a sale. I bought ten hardbacks for $2.25 and came back after 3 o’clock when everything was half priced and bought more books. And the day before the sale there was a box and two small bins that had free books. I took ten and they were from well known writers. One was a 1951 Dell paperback edition of Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural” and the cover was priceless, the condition quite good. Over those two days, including the free books I came away with 28 books, spending less than $4 and two bags of VHS tapes that they gave away for nothing, it being after 3 o’clock and they wanted to get rid of them. All were popular and classic films.
  2. In Olympia, Washington, and there may be one near you, is Half Price Books. They also have record albums, DVD’s, and classic comic books. The condition of their books  are better than what you might find at the library and once a year they have a sale where all books are $1.00. It is here I bought two Don DeLillo books, two early Michael Crichton books written under the name of John Lange, now published in the Hard Crime series, a great collection if you like crime noir and pulp fiction. I also purchased an Elmore Leonard, a P.D. James, among other books. They have other specials during the week, but this is one sale you never miss.
  3. Turning to e-Books there are many subscription services that send you daily emails where you can get e-Books from free to $2.99 and these e-Books, in the case of BookBub, are from well know writers. With BookBub you select the type of books you want, such as mystery, historic non-fiction, science fiction, horror, romance, whatever you desire.

The problem I face, and perhaps some of you as well, is that purchasing outgrows your reading. This is how I now have 234 unread books. Remember I never said you have to read any of them. I have read one since I reached 234, that being “The Ghost Writer” and am close to finishing James Patterson’s “Swimsuit.” So you can imagine with two books gone I will be getting itchy eyes for some more choices to read. I guess the Twain biography and the Civil War book may be added by days end.

If you have some cheap ways to get books please mention in the comment section. Not just for me, but for other bookaholics.

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10 research sites for fiction writers-or anyone

Whether you write current fiction, science fiction, romance, westerns, horror, or like me, write mysteries set in the 1920’s or short stories with a paranormal theme, you want to get things right. You don’t want Abraham Lincoln turning on a radio to get news about the war in the Western theatre. Then again you might if you are writing alternate history or science fiction, but I will stand by my statement.

One obvious place to start is the Library of Congress. Something more European, try the European library, or if you need something specific about England, try their National Archives.  Don’t want to slight Australia , so there you are.

Another site with many topics is is a clearing house to take you to more specific sites and is fun to browse anyway.

This is a fun site I found on Pinterest called Fiction Writing research site.

Of course I will mention Wikipedia and though I am aware one must be careful what you find here, I have primarily used when researching 1927. What happened in each month of the year, anything newsworthy I could use in my story. I also double checked the information I found to make sure.

Want to get geographical names correct try U.S. Board on geographic names. A word here on street names. When dealing with the past, some cities have changed street names. In my e-novel set in 1911, “Loonies in the Dugout,” I used a map of New York from 1911. I also used a 1927 map of Los Angeles for two e-novels. I don’t know if any of the names I used had changed, but it is wise never to assume; always use source material.

And if you want to see how wrong politicians are in their statements try Good for a laugh, or tears, or anger.

Or you can go retro like I do. I go to book sales where I find books like “The Oxford World Mythology,” “The Oxford History of the Classical World,” or “Gray’s Anatomy,” (helpful if you want a coroner to explain cause of death or any medical issues if you write murder mysteries). You can also explore your local library if you feel the need to get away from clicking, tapping, and out of your chair because your butt is getting flat, and be able to touch real books with lots of info, take notes with tools like pen and paper. Then cross check with Internet sources. Research is important and fun. You never know where your search will lead you.

If you have a site you want to share leave a comment.

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My Personal encounter with mysterious synchronicity

If you are unfamiliar with synchronicity it was explained by Carl Jung as “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.[1] Synchronicity is not the same as coincidence, as the phrase ‘meaningful coincidence’ gives synchronicity a near mysterious, magical, type of phenomenon.

To give a personal example, I was listening to a radio talk show about synchronicity in relation in quantum physics or something else I didn’t understand and less than a week later I had a synchronistic experience. This would be a coincidence.

What happened was I published a post on my Mariner blog about the DH. As happens when I write about sports, sometimes I can get carried away. I don’t like the DH and I went over the top a bit. A woman castigated me in the comments section. It was vicious, near troll like. Though part of her argument was incorrect her anger made me revisit what I wrote. Looking at some sentences and phrases through new eyes, I realized the writing should have been better. So I revised it, making it more palatable, less histrionic.

I felt bad, not for the personal attack by the woman, but the fact that my point, though I was trying for humor, came off Trumpesque, that being mean spirited without much thought behind what I was saying. I might be too hard on myself, then as now, and I could have left it as written, but I thought the writing was not what it should have been. So I felt awful for being sloppy in making a point.

The next day, still feeling like poodle doodle, there was an email in my inbox from a blog a subscribe to. It was a guest post about “How to Recover from  criticism (and how to eliminate it!). It explained what causes the urges that may have driven the woman to say what she said. And it is also something we can learn from.

The point is that the column came when I needed it, it was meangful, something beyond coincidence, and there was no casual relationship. A Christian would say it was the hand of God, but I will stick with synchronicity.

Free paranormal short story to chill your bones this weekend


This short story, “A Walk through the Cemetery” appears in one of my e-Books, “More Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms” and is copyrighted, but I offer it for you this weekend.

A piercing shriek roared through the evergreens; loud, hard, and violent, then died as soon as it began. A small branch, high in an evergreen, snapped off from a longer limb and fell to the ground. Leaves fluttered down from nearby maples. Upon hearing the howl a man walking in the cemetery stopped and looked up at the swaying tree tops. A storm coming he thought as he looked at the dark gray clouds swiftly arriving from the east, beginning to blot out the sun.

He walked through the cemetery nearly every day since his retirement. Good for the heart. Build up the legs as well. Mountain View Cemetery took up a few city blocks in length, so it was a good walk from end to end, then a few blocks to the park with a small lake where he once saw a river otter swimming.  There was a dog park farther down from the lake. Also there were sheltered picnic areas, ball fields, and a wading pool. Years ago he attended a memorial service in one of the shelters for a deceased relative. 

He thought about that service when he was walking through the cemetery last week. There appeared to be a celebration going on. A grave had dozens of balloons, the kind you find in grocery stores with writing on them, tied down with rocks. Cars were parked along the back of the cemetery where people were greeting each other like it was a reunion; everybody drinking something from cups, kids eating hot dogs, grownups with chicken in their hands. The man did not know whether to chuckle at a picnic in a cemetery or be impressed that so many came to honor what must be a deceased relative.

Today the cemetery was quiet, nobody in sight. Except for the man sitting on a small John Deere tractor with a large claw that was digging up dirt. As he neared the man he saw that there were two by fours on each side of the rectangular pit. It was a grave, one being made new and fresh for an occupant.

He watched for a minute. Then the man got off the tractor, got a long pole and placed it in the pit at various spots. “Are you measuring to make sure it is all even,” he asked.

The man with the pole said nothing.

“I didn’t mean to bother you. I have never seen a grave dug before that’s all. It’s kind of interesting. Not to you of course. To you it’s work. Do you mind if I watch?”

The man with the pole set it down and climbed back onto the tractor. The claw scooped out more dirt, and then the arm of the claw swiveled around and dropped the dirt into a wagon. After this was done twice the man climbed down once again and did his measuring. He began to stomp down a section of the pit close to where the tractor was.

“I’m guessing it must be close to being done huh?”

The man in the pit said nothing.

“Did you hear that wind screeching a few minutes ago? That was something wasn’t it?”

The man in the pit climbed out, walked to the tractor, opened a knapsack, took out a sandwich, took a bite, then placed the sandwich in a plastic bag, and placed it in the knapsack.  

“Is there some kind of rule about not talking to gravediggers, or whatever you call yourselves? I’m just trying to be civil and thought it interesting what you were doing. Forgive me if I am being out of line, but are you a mute? I’m not trying to be funny here, just wondering why you won’t talk with me.”

The gravedigger, if that was what he was, walked about ten yards to a grave and set upright a small vase that had fallen over. He walked away leaving the man to himself. The man walked over to the grave where the grave digger had set the vase and reading the headstone realized the man resting below was a new arrival, having died a few days ago.

He looked for the gravedigger, but did not see him. The man continued his walk until he was at the entrance. He stopped, though he did not know why. But he did not want to walk to the park. For some reason he wanted to continue to walk here. So he walked, not down his normal path, but on the path that took him along the outer edges, a much longer walk. After about twenty minutes he encountered another man who was raking up some fall leaves.

“Excuse me, but do you work here?”

“Yes, can I help you with something?”

“It’s about a co-worker of yours, the other one here today.”

“I am the only one working today. What man are you talking about?”

“He was over there; you see where the tractor is. He was digging a grave, then got out and looked to be measuring the depth of the grave, I guess anyway, with a pole.”

“And when did this happen?”

“Oh, I don’t know. About half an hour ago, give or take.”

Uh huh. Well I didn’t see him.”

“I did. The tractor is about what, fifty yards or more from here. Maybe you didn’t see him because you’re here working.”

“I wasn’t here half an hour ago. Just came over here a few minutes ago.”

“Well this guy had a knapsack in the tractor and I saw him reach in and get a bite of a sandwich.”

“What kind was it? Ham and cheese?”

“I don’t know what kind?”

“Well what about this guy you’re talking about anyway. What’s the problem?”

“I was watching him and asked some questions about what he was doing. But he would not answer me. I was trying to be friendly and all and he ignored me like I wasn’t even there. Don’t see the reason for him to be rude.”

The man with the rake lost a little color in his face. “What did this man look like?”

“Well he was maybe about fifty or so, not to good with figuring a man’s age you know. But was tanned like he worked outdoors, and his skin was real smooth, kind of aristocratic you might say. Tall and lean.”

The man with the rake shook his head. “Don’t know him, never seen him, don’t want to see him.”

“What is going on here? If you don’t know him, aren’t you worried about him fooling around with your equipment? Was that your sandwich he took a bite from?”

“Look, the next time you see him, just leave him alone. And be grateful he doesn’t talk with you. He is not somebody you want to know and you, for sure, do not want to engage in any conversation with him, about anything.”

“So you do know him then? What’s his story?”

“The truth I told you. I don’t know him, but I know of him. Just let it be, forget about it.”

The man with the rake then dropped it and walked hurriedly away towards an area where the tractor was stored.


Just forget about it he says, thought the old man later as he sat in his home watching a show on TV called “Diggers,” about two men with metal detectors who go to historic sights looking for artifacts. How do you forget something like this? Why was this gravedigger, if that was what he was, being so rude and why did the man with the rake tell me to stay away from the man he has never seen in the first place. None of it made sense.

The old man did not have a restful night. Sleep came in awkward fits, awakened by the sensation of something, maybe a spider crawling up his leg; then later on his other leg. He brushed the sensation or spiders away. The sound of what seemed like somebody standing outside his window scratching softly on the glass. He felt probed and poked. He woke up, but nobody was there. Sounds real or imagined-and if imagined-just as real, for delusions have their own reality, kept him awake. He would not give into sleep. He would remain watchful, vigilant. Finally the sounds, the sensations went away. All was still. His eyes weary, feeling nothing, sleep came whether wanted or not.

He awoke the next morning without any memory of a sleepless night. In fact he felt at peace, rested and refreshed. He was not hungry, but eager for a walk, so he headed out to the cemetery.

The morning was sunny and warm, birds chirping; a late autumn gift to soothe woes, lift spirits, the last chance to enjoy the warmth of the sun before winter brings gray skies, cold weather to chill the bones.

The man enjoyed the walk through the pioneer section of the cemetery, a section thick with evergreens, dirt roads, and tombstones so old that one was tipped askew; facing a tree as if looking into a mirror, the name and dates of the deceased could not be read without bending down and around and then the weathered name was near impossible to make out.

When he came to the columbarium the evergreens gave way to a few maples, but mostly clear spaces with long rows of graves. When he walked from the dirt trail to the paved path he saw the tractor exactly where it was yesterday and standing next to it was the aristocratic man who would not speak with him. He was standing next to an open grave below a canopy, chairs aligned facing the grave.

The man walked up to the tall and lean man and asked, “Do you remember me from yesterday?”

“It wasn’t yesterday, it was a couple of days ago, but of course, I do remember you.”

“You may be younger than me, but I know it was yesterday. I am not senile. Why wouldn’t you talk with me? What’s wrong with you anyway?”

“Don’t let appearances deceive you. I am much older than you. I did not talk with you because there was nothing I had to say to you. I was aware of your questions, but really, it was obvious what I was doing. I really don’t like small talk. I knew you would return and I knew your questions would be answered. I am patient. All things in their time.”

“You’re an odd duck. I talked to your buddy yesterday. He says you don’t work here, that I shouldn’t talk with you. So what are you doing here?”

“Well, ‘my buddy’ as you call him is not my buddy. He is the caretaker here at Mountain View. I am merely the gravedigger. We have separate responsibilities and never see each other. I don’t think he likes me much, not many do I’m afraid.”

“Well if you don’t talk with people you won’t have any friends. Kind of obvious don’t you think?”

“I talk with people when the time is right.”

“I guess the time is right for me because here we are chatting.”

“Yes the time is right.”

“So who died?”

“Look for yourself.” He pointed towards the head of the grave. The man walked over and stood in front of it. He did not know whether to laugh or be mad. He looked to the tall and lean man who was smiling.

“Some joke. What’s the gag? This headstone has my name on it and yet I am here talking with you. Standing right here, standing and talking, and you are listening and talking. We are talking here.”

“Yes we are talking aren’t we?”

“Well then, I’m not dead, I’m alive.”

“Are you?”

“Of course I am you nut. I can’t be dead if I’m talking with you. That caretaker guy said there was something wrong with you, that I should stay away from you and now I know why. You’re going to get into trouble for this. What happens when the mourners arrive and see the name on the headstone?  What then huh?”

“Do you hear anything?”

“What? What do you mean ‘do I hear anything?’ Of course I do. I hear you don’t I?”

“Did you hear the cars arrive? Did you hear the car doors being opened? Do you presently hear any voices besides mine?”

The old man turned and looked. He saw his cousin Pamela first, then Denny, Brad, John, Mindy, all cousins. He saw his children, his grandchildren. He saw friends, acquaintances, business associates. Everyone he saw, he knew. He called to them. They did not answer. He walked up to them and said hello. They did not answer. Frustrated, he walked back to the tall and lean man. “I am not dead. I am standing here. I am wearing cargo pants, a Hawaiian shirt. I am not in a coffin. This is quite a prank, but it’s not funny anymore.”

“You did request, did you not, to be buried in comfortable clothing, saying cargo pants and a Hawaiian shirt?”

The old man thought for a second. “Of course you would know that. It is part of the prank. I told a few people about what I wanted. It is in my lawyer’s file. Of course you would know and be part of all this.”

“But alive you would be wearing shoes. Are you wearing shoes?”

The old man looked down. “I forgot them. I was eager to go for a walk, to see you, to find out what was going on with you yesterday, to question your rudeness.”

“And did you have breakfast. I think not.”

“I wasn’t hungry, that’s all.”

“But you always have breakfast. Don’t you?”

“This is absurd.”

Everyone was seated. Some man he did not know was speaking about the old man. The old man looked at the tall and lean man, and then turned and walked away. He was going to resume his walk. He was going to walk to the park today, to see the lake, maybe the river otter, stop at store for a candy bar. He would not take part in this stupid joke.

As he approached the building housing the tractors he saw the caretaker. He walked up to him, raking leaves as he was yesterday, and said, “That stupid gravedigger talked to me today. You were right. He is somebody you don’t want to talk with, what a nut case.”

The caretaker said nothing.

“Oh for God’s sake. Are you in on this joke too; they get to you. Who is responsible for this anyway? You must know?”

The caretaker said nothing.

“The joke’s over. I’m on to you guys. Very elaborate. Everybody I know is involved, but it’s over. You can tell me, you can talk with me.”

The caretaker said nothing.

“He can’t hear you.” It was the tall and lean man.

“You know I’m going to walk out of here you know. I just am. You can’t stop me. This is not funny.”

“You are free to walk wherever you want to go. It changes nothing. The last time you saw me I would not talk with you because it was not the right time, but the caretaker talked with you didn’t he. You were alive then. But today is your funeral. The caretaker, your family, your friends, all who came, could not see you, nor hear you. Because you are dead you see. I can talk with you now because I am the gravedigger.”

The old man stared at the tall and lean man, and then turned to stare at the caretaker; the old man’s face grimacing, he turned and walked in circles around the two men, pacing quicker and quicker, anger rising within him. He had enough. He stopped and all the frustration, all the anger, all the fed up emotion came out in one loud, bellowing scream.

A piercing shriek roared through the evergreens; loud, hard, and violent, then died as soon as it began. A small branch, high in an evergreen, snapped off from a longer limb and fell to the ground. Leaves fluttered down from nearby maples. Upon hearing the howl a woman walking slowly in the cemetery stopped and looked up at the swaying tree tops. A storm coming she thought as she looked at the dark gray clouds swiftly arriving from the east, beginning to blot out the sun.


Thanks for reading my story. I hope you enjoyed it.










Did Shakespeare invent football

         ‘Am I so round with you as you with me, That like a football you do spurn me thus?’ The line comes from Shakespeare’s play Comedy of Errors, Act 1, Scene 2.  And again in King Lear, act 1, scene 4, this insult ‘Nor tripped neither, you base football player.’ 

        The above lines came from my Kindle edition of the complete works of Shakespeare that cost 99 cents. Shakespeare did not of course invent football, as it existed in his time, not the soccer 21st century fans are enamored with though. This ‘football’ according to this website killed more people than swordfights. It was ‘mob’ football and I am assuming played without referees and had no concussion protocol.
        But that is beside the point. According to a children’s book “William Shakespeare & the Globe”, written and illustrated by Aliki , Shakespeare invented the word ‘football’ though I am sure NFL fans believe it was Roger Goodell. It is also claimed in this wonderful book that old Will invented about or around 2,000 words such as bandit, employer, schoolboy, moonbeam, alligator!!!, luggage, eyeball, birth-place, gloomy, blushing, puppy-dog, shudder, fairy land and phrases like ‘every inch a king’, ‘pomp and circumstance’, wild-goose chase’, ‘for goodness sakes’,  ‘sweets to the sweet’,  and with due respect to Charles, ‘what the dickens’. Also puke, hush, and tut, tut.
        I have no intention of researching all the above words and phrases, nor the others listed in the book. I will take Aliki and Scholastic at their word (pun not intended-well maybe), but it does bring up an interesting question. If Will did invent those words, and the audience in the Globe heard those words for the first time, how did they know what they meant. I can see a member of the audience saying in response to alligator ‘what was that he said’ to his companion, much like when I watch a British TV show and they use a word I am unfamiliar with, which is frequent. 
        I don’t really know if Will invented words or was the first to write them down on parchment and use them in public at the Globe, but language evolves like a Darwinian paradigm. There are words and phrases popular in their day that are gone, never used in centuries. I mentioned some of them in a post I previously wrote.
        And we can invent phrases as well. In regards to words and evolving language how about ‘Alas poor Webster, I knew him well  Roget.’ Okay, I am no Shakespeare and you are thinking that my phrase has ‘no rhyme nor reason,’ another Will invention and you are wishing me ‘good riddance,’ yes that phrase too, so I bid adieu.
“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.’ Hamlet, act 3, scene 2. lief means willingly, readily. Who says lief anymore?

Seven insults not to say to a woman

  1. Whipperginnie. An abusive name for a woman used in the 1600’s, it was the equivalent of a derogatory name for a man-snippersnapper, and taking the whipper part of the first word and adding it to the male name you get whippersnapper, an insulting term for a male that has lasted for centuries. My uncle called me a whippersnapper often when I was a child. I thought it meant I was smart as a whip. Now I know better. 
  2. Wallydraigle is a worthless slovenly woman. No offense to men named Wally, but wally is a term insulting somebody’s intelligence or common sense.
  3. Taw-Bess is a slut, a slattern. I have no idea who Bess was, but she was either very bad, or very good. 
  4. Tirliry-Puffkin is light-headed woman, a flighty woman, a flirt.
  5. Daggle-Tail came about from a woman’s garments that were dirtied from being trailed over wet ground, therefore she was a untidy woman, another slut or slattern. Daggle is a term that means to drag through the mud. The Tail I will let you figure out.
  6. Drassock is a drab, untidy woman. Bonus word-Drosell is another word for slut or hussy.
  7. Bronstrops is  prostitute. I think it may be fair to say a bronstrop is a professional drosell and I mean no offense to either.

These words come from the British Isles and were used centuries ago. It shows how language changes and thinking that, you wonder how many words we currently use will be lost centuries from now. There a couple of good words to call a woman of course. And they come from the book that I got these words and definitions from. The book is Poplollies and Bellibones.

Poplolly is a little darling, a female favorite, special loved one, or mistress (but not a bronstrop or drosell)

Bellibone is a lovely maiden, a pretty lass. It is anglicized from the French belle et bonne.

When you look at the seven uncomplimentary names, humorous as they sound, they are harsher than poplolly and Bellibone, both of which have a lovely sound to them. Perhaps if a word sounds bad, it is and if it sounds good, it is.

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Two personality tests to see if you are a writer

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One can argue that the true test of a writer is to have readers and followers as well as book sales with good reviews. But what if you want to write, but are unsure if you have the right personality or temperament. Years ago  I read the book “Please Understand Me” by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, both of whom are therapists and diagnosticians. Don’t roll your eyes, this is not a self-help book.

This is a book, test included, that tells you what your personality is and how it affects different areas of your life. For instance I am an INFJ, a rare  species representing only 1% of the population. The NF is important because this type is attracted to words, and INFJ’s tend to become either creative writers or preachers.

Now if you find out you are an NF which is ‘intuitive’ and ‘feeling’ this means that you value and perceive possibilities over facts and that you are prone to making decisions based on value judgements over logic. It is an overstatement to say ‘if it feels good, do it,’ but that is close to the truth. I would bet that if you are an NF you are a good reader, love to read.

And if you are an INFJ, that means the I is an introvert who draws energy from within, someone more solitary, whereas an extrovert finds energy from being around people. The J is a ‘organized lifestyle’ as opposed to a flexible one.

I have two links to websites. This one will tell you about the four temperament types. And this one will tell you about four types of personalities, Guardians, Idealists, Artisans, and Rationalists.

Even if you do not feel you want to be a writer, but want to learn more about yourself, both sites and the aforementioned book are fun to explore. Then again you may not have the personality or temperament for it. But INFJ’s love it.

And of course, if you want to be a writer, no matter what your temperament or personality, no one is going to stop you.


How I dropped the bloody knife for Amazon after three days

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The cover on the left was done for my murder mystery about a serial killer murdering sound men in 1927 Hollywood; a killer with the crazed idea that he could prevent sound movies by killing technicians working to bring talking pictures to reality.

The victims were all killed by a knife, all from behind, and without any struggle, as if the killer silently came up behind them. Since the story takes place during the silent era of motion pictures and the killer was silent in his methods, it created, I thought, a clever play on words, not a killer pun, but a good one nonetheless. That is the reason the woman who did the cover put in the knife. I liked the image because it reflected the era and method of the serial killer.

But my opinion does not matter. Amazon’s opinion does, whether I agree of disagree. They did allow the cover, it was there on my Amazon page for a few months and no doubt would still be there except for what I tried to do. When I tried to set up an ad campaign through Amazon Marketing, the campaign was rejected because of the cover. It is their policy not to show images considered threatening, among other things. They can set their rules, it’s their right, but I doubt that censoring the image of the bloody knife is going to lessen the violence in the world.

The content of the book is anything but violent, the murders off-screen as it were, and the descriptions of the crime scenes are not overly descriptive, gory, gruesome, or yucky.

There will be times in our lives, many times, where we are faced with compromises. A smart person knows what battles to fight, and when, and how and why. This is a compromise I can live with. The funny thing is, in reference to the three days, I changed the cover following the rejection and resubmitted. It was rejected again. The change was on my Kindle Direct page where I uploaded the revised cover. But I discovered, thanks to an e-mail from Amazon, that it can take up to 72 hours for the new image to migrate to my public Amazon page. Just when we think we live in a world where things can change in one or two clicks I find we are in the dark ages. Three days!

But the migration is complete, the ad campaign is live, and the world is wonderful.

How I lost my identity through writing fiction.

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It started innocently enough. I was working on character names for my first e-novel, “Loonies in the Dugout” and thought I would use the first names of my father and two uncles for three fictional characters. But I also wanted to use my mother’s name, but this was a baseball novel and there was not going to be that many female characters. So I used my dad’s first name Chet, for the lead character, and my mother’s last name Koski for Chet’s last name. Though I got to honor my mom and dad in one character, I did not anticipate what would happen.

I enjoyed Chet and his girlfriend Eveleen so much I wanted to use them in another story, so I went from 1911 in my first book to 1922 in Hollywood for my second book in which Chet and Eveleen, now married, solve the murder of William Desmond Taylor. I had no problems in this story, but I got confused in book three.

In “Silent Murder,” set in 1927, there is a murder and it turns out the victim was a cousin of Chet. But he had no idea this was his cousin. So the police, naturally, when they find this out and inform Chet, got me into a family tree to sort out some police questions. And I nearly messed it up. Chet’s fictional last name is Finnish, but I was thinking Danish because that is my real father’s heritage. Yes, I realized later that I could have used the Finnish family tree, but the problem is it was too hard to trace for too many reasons to go into here. So I was stuck staying with a Danish tree for a Finnish character. I had to tinker a bit.

This tree was part of the plot-at the beginning of the story anyway. It is always a possibility that this plotline was a red herring. Had I known while writing the first novel that Mr. Koski would continue in two more stories and another now in progress I would have done things differently. As it is, by using my mother’s maiden name, in the third book I dug a pit that addled my brain about two families. After all I am talking about people from the 1800’s whom I never met.

If I had to do it all over again I would have used my real fathers last name and changed his first name, using perhaps Paul (my mother’s name was Pauline). Or even better, use my fathers middle name as his first, so I would have had Alvin Nelson.  Actually I don’t like that name, Paul would be better, except that is also the middle name of another relative, and that only adds more confusion.

I dug myself into a pit and I am stuck with it. Did I learn a lesson? No. I am using the names of two real life cousins who are cousins in my work in progress, but the two cousins in real life from opposite sides of the family and have never met. I don’t care. The territory is familiar to me. Besides I am too confused about my family tree I no longer know who I am. Writing as many pitfalls.

Two mandates of writing to use in your life

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There are two things a writer, any writer, must do or he will fail. It is unescapable and few writers, if any, like doing it, for that is where the hard work is, but the two mandates can also be applied to your life and it is a good idea to use them .

The first is proofreading. It is sitting down and reviewing what has been written to see what needs changing. And there are mistakes in writing and there are mistakes in one’s life. So in proofreading you examine how do make the story better. Your life is your story, so why not periodically sit down and review you life, check to see what needs improving; what needs fixing and how to fix it.

I remember while proofreading my first e-novel, “Loonies in the Dugout” that two sections, the writing of which I liked, still had to be cut entirely out of the story. Not cleaned up, not revised, but deleted with prejudice. Neither section advanced the story or had any character development. If there is something in your life that is not advancing your story or helping your development, then cut it out.

Cutting things out of your life, as in fiction, is called editing. Yes, you can edit your life for you are the writer, the proofreader, and the publisher. Your audience are friends and family. If you like, you can ask them what they would hope to see you edit out of your life. (not saying they’re right, but it doesn’t hurt to listen).

In the same e-novel I was trying for a theme in the first part of the book. It had to do with heat. The story was true and it began in the summer of 1911 when there was a heat wave, many people died during this time. So I had a lot of metaphors, similes, and descriptions where heat factored in the story. The problem I saw was that it did not work and had to be rewritten. As much as I liked it, it didn’t work, so it had to be changed.

That is the hard part about proofreading and editing your life. There are things you like, say eating three maple bars for breakfast. Who doesn’t love maple bars? But I don’t think three is good for you. Maybe cutting to one, then down to one half, then cutting them out would be a good idea. Blueberries in oatmeal, now that is better for your story.

So that is what I have learned from writing, to sit down, look at my life, see what needs changing, editing, fixing, and to make necessary changes. You can do the same and you don’t have to be a writer.