I much prefer to call the virus COVID-19 than the Coronavirus and definitely better than that idiotic Chinese Virus. I think it’s because of the added distance the code implies. In my mind, there could be a Mr. Corona Virus out there bopping around and getting picked on, hating his life.

Whereas COVID-19 could easily be an evil AI out to destroy us all or an alien monster-robot or … a killer virus released to infect everyone in order to blackmail the world for all of the money. Any time now, the Evil Genius responsible will reveal himself and make his demands known while dangling the antidote just… out of reach.

But overall the name change makes it much easier to hate the thing. COVID-19 you bastard!! You will never break us COVID-19!!



Hand editing

I am nearing the end of a rewrite and editing a particularly sticky scene. I’ve been struggling to reconcile with a previous scene and using my new laptop and my massive new monitor. However, I’ve found that the technology is getting in the way. I’m not a big fan of ebooks anyway and prefer the physical product in my hands. So, when it comes to editing I am still of the old school. I can write and do basic editing through a keyboard, but for deeper editing or reconciliation I really need a hardcopy to mark up and rifle through.

So, I currently have a print of the offending scenes on the desk in front of me and the electronic copy on the monitor.

I feel that I’m at the crossroads between technologies. Like when cars were first on the roads, but the roads weren’t up to snuff so horses were still used to get them out of the mud. Or when electronic calculators came out but the student still had to use a slide rule for trig functions.

Maybe someday I will get comfortable enough with technology to put down the pen and edit by electronic means only. But for now, I’ll stick to what works for me. And after last weekend’s laptop apocalypse, I know my pen and paper won’t die on me.

PS: I still own a slide rule!!

I am not all worked up about the virus at this point. I am just making other plans for my weekends because concerts are now frowned upon. So, I guess I’ll just sit in my office and work on my book in the hope that people will still be around to read it.

Which is a legitimate concern when one is dealing with a pandemic. It’s not just a normal epidemic but pan-demic. Like comparing normal thin crust pizza to a pan-pizza!! One is most assuredly better than the other.

I just imagine a herd of closeted writers curled up in their rooms safe and sound and clicking away on their plague-punk novel that will be the hit of the post-demic world. I would read that. I am not going to write it though. There are others much more prepared to jump on that wagon.


Sometimes I like to play photographer. I have no training and don’t have the delusion that I’m an ‘artist’. However, I do like to think that I have an eye. An eye for what I find interesting anyway. I am an engineer by profession and tend to think visually, so I will find myself seeing a picture in my head and then try to recreate it. It’s never as good as I imagined, but sometimes I do surprise myself.

One of my favorite themes in my writing and photography is Time. The passing of it, the waste of it, the grasping for it. Abandoned places are a great place to find images of this. The decay of human endeavor and possessions fascinates me because nature doesn’t care what we think is beautiful or valuable. It will chew it up and turn it into life regardless.

This image was taken in an abandoned farmhouse in Nebraska. I found it odd that the television was still in mostly one piece, possibly even sitting where it was last used how many decades ago.

If you listen closely you can hear a raccoon hissing in the background.

So, we have entered the apocalypse and the stock market jumped off a cliff!

Well, shoot…

The ‘crisis’ has had little impact on our lives at this point. For the most part, we haven’t changed our daily life at all. Our social life was limited, to begin with, so there was little to change. I think I am washing my hands a bit more thoroughly than before, but not really more often. We have not ‘stocked up’ on anything. I can’t see us going through toilet paper or kleenex any faster than we usually do. And we’ve got stuff in the freezer, so that is not an issue.

Therefore, unless the world crashes and deliveries stop for months at a time, we should be fine.

I am watching the progression of the virus, though. We have a vacation to Egypt planned for December and I am concerned about our travel arrangements. I’m not really concerned about the health aspects of our travel; those are a secondary concern at this point. We are both healthy and not in a high-risk group. As long as we are conscious of our safety and use some safety measures, I think we should be fine. I’m certainly not going to worry. 

Overall, we have no plans to alter our lifestyle or travel plans to account for the virus. Things may change in the future, but at this time we are only slightly concerned.

Be safe everyone and Don’t Panic!!

I have a short story I’m trying to submit for publication. I have submitted poetry and flashfiction before but never really anything longer and never without having a target publisher to focus on. For the first time I’m searching for a publisher of something already written. The piece is intended for older children, maybe middle grade. I don’t usually write for younger people, but this is a story I’ve had banging around for years and finally feel that it is complete.

My issue/complaint is the sesarch itself. I’ve been poking around on Submittable for a while, but now that I look closer, they really focus on contests, magazines, and anthologies. I’m not sure that is what I am seeking.

black and white bird on top of books

Photo by cottonbro on

I found a list from Authors Publish Magazine but most of them want hard copy submissions, which really surprised me. Isn’t this the 21st century? Whatever happened to working by email? They also frown on simultaneous submission. If you’re not familiar with that: it is when an author submits a manuscript to more than one publisher at the same time. It’s kind of a first-come first-served situation, but publishers don’t like it.

However, it can take 3 to 6 months to get a response from a publisher, if they send a response at all. Many only respond if they want the story. So, a writer would have to wait the six months before they can submit to another publisher. There are a LOT of outlets for stories out there. If a writer stuck to a single submission at a time, it could take years to find a publisher!

I refuse to work that way and will consider every submission to be simultaneous. I’m fishing for an outlet and want to contact as many as possible.

I have yet to actually submit, but am collecting some potential contacts.

Wish me Luck!!

Or send advice!

My junk email has basically exploded in the last several months. I’m getting 300 junk emails a day! It’s all CBD supplements, erectile fixit pills, horny women, and Tinnitus – whatever that is. I also seem to have an issue with my US Bank/Chase/Target card that I didn’t know I had.

I am beginning to see this as a concerted marketing strategy. The advertising industry has made a career out of selling us things we didn’t realize we even needed. Now, they have taken it one step further and created an entire supply chain of interconnected products/services that support/lead to each other. Regardless of where you begin in the chain, you will be dragged kicking and screaming to them all. And the kicker is that you didn’t realize needed any of them.

Example: I’m feeling rather stressed and finally look at an email for CBD gummy bears and am convinced to give them a try. I purchase them with my Chase card, get mellow and kind of bunky at which time I contact a ‘horny local college student’ only to find out that I am too mellow to get it up for said ‘college student’, so I click on another email and purchase a years’ supply of Erect-ylanol on my USBank card. By this point, my Tinnitus is flaring up due to the screeching of my credit card bills and I am so stressed out that I need to upgrade to CBD-infused bubble bath to relax with my horny college girl and her mom. Now you might think that I have myself fixed up tight, but noooo….. It turns out that mom is still married. Luckily I just received a very timely email for Extreme Tactical Black Ops flashlights, which I, of course, purchase with my Chase card…

Now… you see what I mean.

I haven’t foggiest idea what an Extreme Tactical Black Ops flashlight can do, but I am very very sure they don’t allow you to put ‘Tactical’ on just any old flashlight. This ‘horny college student’s’ mom’s husband doesn’t know what he has coming.


This may be the CBD bubble bath talking, but I’m feeling like a psychic reading, right about now, and maybe a payday loan… hell, why not?

junk email

In the last few years, I have noticed small single-use bottles popping up everywhere. From alcohol sales to shampoo. My neighborhood is littered with them. It seems that the drunks can afford a handful of $.99 shots but not a full bottle. And they leave the detritus in my front yard.

Well, there is a growing pushback on the industry to limit the use of these bottles. And there seems to be some movement in the right direction.

Those Tiny Hotel Shampoo Bottles May Soon Be A Thing Of The Past


I went to my very first writers’ conference this weekend. It was nerve-wracking at first because I am not a ‘writer’ in my mind. I am a wannabe or a writer-in-training but definitely not a ‘Writer”. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people there were at or near the same level as I. There were a number of published authors, even full-time writers, but there were no raging professionals to intimidate us. To be honest it was a rather modest conference but that made it perfect for a first-timer like myself.
My wife Sheri got me the tickets for Christmas as an incentive to finish the book I’m writing. The registration included pitch sessions with several agents. Of course, I was nervous. Okay, terrified. The book isn’t complete and I only finished the first draft a few weeks ago. So no, I didn’t think I was at all ready for this. But I went anyway. I figured it would be good practice and would give some good contacts for later. Imagine my surprise when I get two requests for the full manuscript when complete!!
Oh, Crap! If I thought the pressure was on me before, it’s ten-fold more intense now. I haven’t even finished the book and they want it!! My wife is all proud and poofy. I’m sweating in buckets.
But like they say, one word at a time. I met some wonderful writers-in-training over the weekend and will be joining a writers group to get some critique help on my book. I also, have some more experienced writers interested in my input on their projects. So, I now have some contacts in the industry that I can tap into when the time comes.
Overall, it was a very exciting weekend. I did two pitches and got two requests. I’m batting a thousand at this point. I spoke with several writers that had done a hundred pitches and hundreds of queries without a request for manuscript. They really curbed my enthusiasm beforehand but it was an easy painless process and I had nothing to worry about. I need to be worried about my completion date now. I think four months is as much as I can afford. I better get writing.