Aug 242016

Children often have trouble when they’re learning to speak, and some of those troubles lead to fun little sayings that stick with your family for many years. Most of you have probably experienced this. A prime example in our family is when my oldest daughter was about nine. At that age, she used to occasionally mix up song lyrics, as we’ve all done from time to time. But some of hers were so memorable that they became ingrained in the family history. For instance, the chorus to the old song “When Smoky Sings” by ABC, begins with the line “when Smoky sings, I hear violins.” To this day, my wife and I can’t think of that song without remembering it as “when smokin’s a sin, I hear firemen…”   ROTFL

When my son was at that stage of his life, he had trouble with “yesterday”. For him, moving back in time consisted of going from today, to this morning, to last night, to “lasterday”, (which does have a kind of logic to it, right?)

For a great-niece, dogs were “goggers”. And for our youngest daughter, the color yellow was “lellow.”  (Ironically, she just got her BFA in painting, and depends quite a bit on the color palette.)

Now we’re on the next generation. When my oldest granddaughter was younger, and still learning to talk, she loved penguins. But for whatever reason, the word “penguin” evaded her grasp. Instead, she called them “poogins”. My dad loved that so much, that he began calling her Poogin, and even though that was a good four or five years ago, she still remains “Poogin” to us.

Well, now she’s nine years old, just starting fourth grade. As a matter of fact, last week was her first week back in school after summer vacation. When we spoke to our “smokin’s a sin” daughter, we asked her how Poogin liked the fourth grade. She told us that she had asked the same question when she’d picked the little one up after her first day. And with all the drama that a nine-year-old can muster, she related the tragedy of her first day…

“It was absolutely horrible!”

“Why? What happened?”

“I lost my tooth!”

“Well, that’s all right. You’ve lost teeth before.”

“No mom, I lost my tooth… and then I lost my tooth!”

“Oh. You mean you lost it, lost it?”

Poogin nodded woefully. “Somewhere on the playground. I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find it.”

“Well that’s okay, baby.”

“No it’s not. How is the tooth fairy going to know I lost it, if I don’t have it to put under my pillow?”


You have to understand, Poogin is a very smart young lady who speaks with a vocabulary beyond her years. That conversation was a reminder that, while she might speak with the conviction and vocabulary of a teenager, she still has the beliefs of a nine-year-old. We got a good chuckle out of her mom relating that the tooth fairy was a lot like Santa Claus, and that she would know about the tooth, whether it was actually under the pillow or not.

WW53aBut the real kicker was when Poogin decided that just to be safe, she should leave a note for the tooth fairy…

Dear tooth<>fairy,

I have lost a tooth today, (literaly) but if you are still generous enouph, mabe you could still give me the money. (‘.

So does the mercenary nature of the note come from the child, or the adult struggling to come out?   Big Smile  Either way, I love the fact that she didn’t simply give up on the lost tooth, and that she turned to writing as a solution.  She’s a Poogin after my own heart.   Cool

And speaking of writing… (how’s that for a segue?) …another round of edits for the first Chucklers book is done.  Better yet, I received an email with a proposed new cover on it, and it’s looking really good, folks. I sent back a request for a few tweaks, but I think we’re quickly approaching a publishable product.  Woohoo!! Want a sneak peek?  Here you go….WW53b

How’s that for a tease?  Grin

My other big project, End Point Pangaea, is still moving well (you can see the progress meter at the top of the column to the far right), and though I did stall for a couple of days, I’m back on that horse and riding for all I’m worth.  I’m still waiting for that magical mental and emotional breakthrough where everything falls into place just right, and I’m suddenly consistently breaking the 2500 word a day mark.  So far, I haven’t seen that breakthrough.

And I can tell you that today isn’t very likely to be it, either.   Wink   But the progress is consistent, and I’m happy with it, as it is.  Of course, just like my Poogin, at the end of the day I just can’t help myself.  When it’s all said and done, I just really want to see that big payoff.   ROTFL

But that’s not going to happen if I don’t get back to writing.  So take care, and stay safe everyone.  I’ll talk to you again next week.  Bye

Aug 172016

Pangaea topo-02Hello everyone,

This will be another quick post… short and sweet.  And I’m going to concentrate only on the writing this time.

First of all, yes, the writing is going well. In fact, it’s going better than it has in quite a while. Maybe it’s because I’m enjoying the latest project so much, or maybe it’s simply that I’m finally finding my rhythm. Whatever the reason though, I’ll take it.   Big Smile

Book 1 of the End Point Pangaea series is currently sitting at a bit over 20k words, and still flowing well. Much of the research has been done, and as you can see here, I’ve even begun creating a map of sorts, as a reference while I write. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still going to be a LOT of research, to be sure, but I think the majority of it is done (knock on wood). I know the critters in the time period, the area of Pangaea where the story takes place, and the main characters have grown to be more real to me. What more could a writer ask for?   Wink

Now, I just need to organize the info, print it out, and put it all together in a binder so I can keep a steady reference. There’s simply too much for me to keep it all straight in my head. As I’ve said repeatedly, this project has been VERY research intensive. And since it’s the first book in a planned series, I have to make sure I can maintain continuity across each story.

And there’s more on the good news front… Severed Press tells me they hope to get the next round of edits and new cover art for book 1 of the Chucklers series to me shortly.  That means that it will hopefully be available pretty soon.

But for now, I need to get back to work. Like I said at the beginning, this one is short and sweet this week so I can concentrate on the book. So stay safe, everyone!  I’ll talk to you again next week.  Bye

 Posted by at 3:34 pm
Aug 102016

WW51I’ve been pounding away at End Point Pangaea, and the story is really taking shape for me. The hard part has been all the research involved in getting the world set “properly”. Worse, it seems that the experts can’t seem to agree on what was going on, themselves. Some say dinosaurs of the time had reptilian, “pebbled” skin, while others say they were feathered. Still others say that some kinds were feathered, while others weren’t.  There are even those who say that some had feathers, some had “proto-feathers”, and others had reptilian skin.

Add to that, the fact that dinosaurs of the period weren’t yet the apex predators that we’ve all come to associate with “Jurassic Park” entertainment, but were likely secondary to the “crocodylomorphs”, which may have looked like dinosaurs, but apparently really weren’t, and you end up with a twisted tangled mess of speculation about what life was like 200 million years ago. And since I’m the crazy research junkie that is bound and determined to try his best to get things “right” when he’s writing, it’s been driving me crazy. I think I’ve been spending at least as much time researching as I have writing.


The newly described dinosaur Zhenyuanlong suni measured 5 feet in length and was a relative of the velociraptor. The fossil’s well-preserved wings bore complex feathers, not simple hairlike structures. Illustration by Zhao Chuang

And it’s been driving me crazy!   Dazed

I was discussing this with my BFAM, James Husum, when he put it into perspective for me. He correctly pointed out that the conflicting information doesn’t restrict my world to what the experts can agree on… it expands it into what no one yet knows!  One group says that the Tethys Sea is nothing but a “small” inlet that extends into the Pangaea continental mass, while another says it is a huge ocean, roughly the size of North America. Which is it?

Whichever one I want it to be!

And while most now seem to agree that theropods were feathered, no one seems to agree about the other dinosaur groups. So how do I describe them? However I want to!

So now, instead of stressing over “getting it right”, I’m enjoying the idea that I really can’t “get it wrong”.  It’s so liberating!  Thanks, James.

And so it’s with a bit more excitement that I jump back into the writing. Sean Barrow has a lot to learn about the world into which he’s been thrust. And the story promises to be more exciting than ever.

Stay safe, everyone.  Bye


Aug 032016

Wow.  My 50th post since I began posting (semi) regularly. You’ve all heard the old adage that when you do something regularly for 21 days, that it forms a habit?  Well, not so much.  There’s some basis for the saying, but the truth of the matter is that it’s basically the same as the stuff that comes out of the south end of a north-bound horse.  It usually takes at least two months of repeating an action before it begins to become a habit.

But with this being the 50th post, well… that’s getting close to two months worth, right?  Right?  I’m going to say yes.  Big Smile

These weekly postings are becoming enough of a habit that I definitely miss it when I don’t get something up here on Wednesdays. Last week, it was nothing more than an experiment on a new way to let people sign up for my publishing announcements (a successful experiment, I might add.)

This week, there’s a bit more to talk about, so let’s get to it. I have another habit I’m working on (writing) and I need to get back to it.   Wink


Writing –

I got a couple of late responses back from three of my Chucklers beta readers.  Comments from two were that they much preferred the new ending, so it looks like that was a good call.  And last night I got another one, where the reader found a couple of flat-out mistakes in the manuscript that got past me, and all the other betas!  I know that no manuscript is ever, EVER perfect, but these mistakes really made me shake my head. There is a missed first-person pronoun, that hearkens back to the earliest “first person” version of the story (before the cast of POV characters got big enough to make first person impractical), a character named incorrectly (again, back when the character had another name in a previous version), and a less critical, but still noteworthy misspelling.  Oy!!  Beat Up

In the meantime, End Point Pangaea is going well.  I’m about 8k words into it, and moving right along.  With any luck, the first draft will be done in a few months.


Gardening – 

Melon01The cantaloupes are starting to ripen like crazy, and it seems like we get a new one (or two, or three) every day. And some of the watermelons are so close to being ripe that it’s driving MBH & I crazy waiting. We’ve been SO tempted to go ahead and pick one just based on the size, color, and the “thump” sound when we tap one.  But everything I’ve been told, read, and learned last year, says that we have to wait until the “spoon” leaf dries up, and the tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown.  So we wait.  (sigh)

We’ve got all kinds of peppers coming in, and we’re getting some eggplants, too.  No more tomatoes, though.   Frown  And despite throwing tons of diatomaceous earth on the squash bugs that killed our zucchini, they migrated to the cucumber plants and killed them too.  I’ve got some neem oil and am planning to spray the crap out of the little buggers with that tomorrow morning.  If I don’t, then I run the risk of them migrating to my melons next, and that simply cannot be tolerated!   Soldier


Personal –

Remember a few weeks back in WW48 when I talked about the problems we were having with the girls fighting? We were to the point of being willing to give Cricket to a new family, despite the fact that it was going to break our hearts.  Well, that new home didn’t happen, and we’re still going through their training regimen every evening.  And (fingers crossed) it looks like it may be working.  Neither MBH nor I want to jinx anything, but the girls haven’t fought in more than two weeks, and they seem to be accepting their new roles in the pack.  Bella is doing better with the training exercises (trying to get Cricket to lay down is frustrating at times… she seems to think you want her to roll onto her back and submit), but we’re seeing progress.

And like I said, I don’t want to jinx anything.  We still have a few months of this regimen before we can really begin to relax.

So that’s it. Time to get back to work. Take care everyone, and as always, stay safe.  Bye

Jul 272016

This is me, testing an alternate method of letting folks sign up for my newsletter.  Don’t worry, I’ll do a regular post later.  But for now, here’s a simpler way to let you kind folks sign up for my newsletter (if you so desire.)

And here’s the disclaimer – I will ONLY email you when I’m getting ready to release, or when I actually release a new publication. Also, I will absolutely never EVER share, sell, or in any other way distribute your contact information.

So if you want to keep up with what’s new with my writing, please consider dropping your email address into the form below.

I’ll talk to you later.  Bye