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Choppy Waters Ahead

For those registered U.S. voters, today is the day for mid-term elections. That means our media (mainstream, social, alternative, etc) is filled with all things politics. If you wade through it all, sifting through the piles of excrement, you might find a glimmer of truth somewhere. “Might” being the operative word. For those who dislike politics or who grew tired of political ads long ago, today can’t get over soon enough. But for those who love observing human nature–or who write about politics, the media, twisted characters–today is a day to sit back, observe and take notes.

No, I’m not going to get into a political discussion here. That’s for other blogs I write for. This is all about writing and about how, as writers, we need to not only do research but we need to observe what is going on around us. It doesn’t matter whether  you write political thrillers, courtroom dramas or military fiction. You need to know how people will react, what motivates them and why in the situations you put them in. And then there’s the research. Read more

Demons and the dreaded reaper-man

Image Pixabay

“ ’ad a problem with that supernatural stuff once, ” muttered Big Jim in the middle of my story. “Yer want to stay right clear of demons and them Exhaustists, young feller.” He shook a warning finger the size of my wrist at me.

I blinked. Big Jim, with tattoos weighing 200 pound… and him weighing another 250 more (It was heavy ink) six foot ten… wide, hands that weren’t like hams around his beer, more like entire pigs … him with a bald shaved head, and a Doberman called Killer, well, he wasn’t the sort of bloke you’d think would be inclined to take Halloween stories seriously. I thought the only spirits he believed in came in a 160 Stroh Rum bottle and he thought they were pretty weak, at that.  “My shout,” I said, getting us a couple more beers. “What happened, Big Jim?” Read more

Writing through the fog

In early August, I experienced a medical issue that necessitated a quick trip to the emergency room.  I wasn’t impressed with the doctor on duty, who took a very alarmist view of my symptoms and (rather dramatically) announced that she was going to admit me for treatment of a particularly nasty and life-threatening condition.  I didn’t believe her diagnosis, and didn’t think she was right, so I refused further treatment that day.  I had to sign the obligatory form, of course, acknowledging that I was leaving against her advice and accepted the risks involved.  It contained the rather dramatic warning that I risked death by doing so.  Having previously risked death in a rather large number of ways over many years, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the official histrionics…

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Nibbled by Ducks

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, not really. Instead, I’m trying to refocus on writing and remake daily habits around writing. It’s a good thing I’m not doing NaNo, because yesterday I was nibbled to death by ducks.

I actually like ducks. Both in real life, and the end result of my fate yesterday, which did not actually involve feathered friends, or terminal anything. Ducks aren’t as savage as geese, nor as disconcertingly dinosaurian as chickens are. They are, however, very messy. And baby ducks poop, a lot. Like – how the heck did that squishy downy adorable body fit all that inside of it? Baby ducks poop, and eat, and poop more. Also, they play in their water, which is their nature, but you can imagine the mess it makes of their brooder. Anyway… I really am going somewhere with this, and it’s not just a nostalgic look back at the barn yard. Read more

The secret mind

I think of myself as a squeamish person. I don’t read horror novels or thrillers that delve lovingly into deranged minds. Heck, I can’t even read the icky bits in Diana Gabaldon’s books.

So I was rather disturbed, the other day, to discover that some part of my mind has been lovingly detailing scenarios that I don’t ever want to read, much less write.  I’m not going to write the details, because I found them really upsetting and I want to bleach my brain now, but here’s what happened: We were watching a cop show and came to the obligatory scene where somebody is tied to a chair and somebody else is trying to get information out of him by hitting him in the face, and I turned to the First Reader and said, “You know, I can think of a lot more effective ways to torture somebody for information. Why don’t they…. Or they could try…. Or they wouldn’t even need a blowtorch, a little butane torch would….

At this point the First Reader, he who can read accounts of historical atrocities with no trouble, began turning green, and I shut up.

And spent the rest of the evening wondering just what part of my mind had been collecting ideas for truly stomach-turning tortures, and how I could divert it to another track.  Because I don’t like torture. I don’t like to read about it, I don’t write it, and I really, really hate that a part of the fiction writer’s mind inside me has been collecting this stuff.

But… it’s there. Even if I’m not going to inflict it on you, I know now that it’s there.

What surprising pathways does your writer’s mind wander down without conscious direction?

Scattered Blastiness From A Past

The Bugger-cat has started on kitty-chemo, which is helping to reduce the… erm… liquidity of his indiscretions. The frequency remains kind of variable (but still “too high”) but at least he’s not in imminent danger of immediate dehydration.

That said, I’m reaching levels of nasal paranoia and possibly hallucination which have me thinking I smell feline indiscretion regardless of whether there actually are any fresh deposits or not. I also get paranoid about scratchy noises because it could mean he’s got the urge and is getting ready to drop another stink bomb.

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A Writer’s Guide to Horses Part VIII

Feeding and Housing

There can be enormous difference between what a horse is supposed to eat, and what a horse will eat, given half a chance. One of my childhood horses ate a banana peel when it was offered. She was only supposed to sniff it, but apparently thought it smelled good enough to eat. I’ve also heard stories of horses eating cheeseburgers and drinking Diet Cokes, but most of a horse’s caloric intake comes from other, more normal sources. Read more