Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cover me

My brother may well be my harshest critic (either him or one of my work friends; they've never met yet they seem to compete at being my supportive wet blanket). It's kind of comical that I now listen to his suggestions considering he spent his first twenty-three years of life doing the opposite of everything I suggested to him. This week he's been supervising the cover design for my next book. The one I developed did not meet his standards. I have to admit though, his looks better. Damn it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Do you see what I hear?

My current projects have a fair amount of dialog involving characters from a wide variety of geographic regions. I try to type their words in a way that conveys the sound of their accents. I've learned this is called "eye dialect" -- something some feel should be avoided. I'm kinda obstinate so I've embraced it. Yeah, ya, yah, and yay all mean different things as do oh, ooh, ah, aw, ow, and ew. I use them all -- and that's just with the Midwestern characters.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Talk about pop muzik

I grew up in 80s. Consequently I believe there is no situation that I can't correlate to a scene, song, or quote from an 80s movie. And, I often do, much to the chagrin of one of my friends at work; my frequent pop culture references are usually lost on her. It is pointless to quote the wisdom of Farmer Ted when the person with whom you are talking doesn't remember anything from "Sixteen Candles." I had a similar feeling when I read "The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover" by Kinky Friedman. His frequent references to the people, events, and music from the 1960s and 70s were just familiar enough to resonate with me but probably not as strongly as he intended. Kinky and my friend convinced me to limit the pop culture references in my writing to just a few obscure "easter eggs" I throw in for grins.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eat at Bill's

My current project is set in Kansas City. I'm having fun reviving some businesses that went Dodo several years ago.  Places like Buffalo Bill's Bar and Grill in downtown, my favorite lunch place 15 years ago.  It's been several other names over the years and is currently vacant. When I walk past it now I look beyond the cracked window and dust covered bar, I see my protagonist sitting on a stool, making small talk with a bartender who isn't even listening.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Who's the inspiration?

One of my beta readers of the completed manuscript is pretty adamant that I should change it to young adult even though none of the characters is younger than 35.  I'm resistant because I feel some of the dialogue would change to something other than what the characters in my head say.  We devolved into arguing over how much of myself is in the main character.  I maintain that (in fiction) most main characters are an extension of the author, just to varying degrees.  "Write about what you know" is a cliche but still decent advice.  I told her she should be more concerned about where I draw inspiration for the quirks of the supporting characters -- as should everyone I've ever met. [winky face here]

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

As research for my current project I just finished reading Open City: True Story of the KC Crime Family (1900-1950) by William Ouseley. Much of the very early organized crime activity originated basically where I work now.  Coincidence, I'm sure.  The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob by Frank R Hayde is up next.

Friday, January 02, 2015

In the days leading up to my 20th high school class reunion I wrote short stories of memories from growing up in small town Iowa.  I published a collection of those stories in my book Hooligan from the Hills: Growing Up Ornery in Iowa's Loess Hills.  Hardcopies of this book may be purchased from, Barnes & Noble, and E-book versions for the Nook, the iPad/iPhone, and ePub format are also available.