Saturday, July 28, 2012


On Tuesday, August 1st, 2012, "Phantom Squad," prequel to The Trilogy of The Chosen will be released as a free e-book from Suspense Publishing. I would like to thank Suspense for their generosity.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Until next week,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Words and Meaning

It is said that meanings do not reside in words, but in the people who use them. This made me think about a movie I have seen no less than fifty times, Eddie and The Cruisers. It's one of those cult classics that I can't turn off if I happen to be channel surfing and run into it. It's about a band from the Jersey Shore in the fifties or early sixties who have a bit of success with their first album. Their second, is trashed by their record company. The lead singer and song writer, the heart of the band, dies in a car accident and the band dissolves. Twenty years later, the band's music has found a new popularity and there is a search for the lost tapes of the second album.

Why the synopsis? So I can get to one line from the movie that has always stuck with me. A reporter asks the piano player and lyricist of the band why he stopped writing music. In response the man crosses his fingers and says, "words and music." He then uncrosses his fingers, spreads them wide, and hesitates for a dramatic pause and says," without the music there are no words."

Words and music . . . You can take the same words, put them to different styles of music and get a totally different emotional response from the listener. It's the same with words and meanings.

Take the word, Freedom. To those of us who have been privileged to have been born in the U.S. or any other free country, we probably don't give it much thought. It is inherent to who we are, what we do, and how we act. Ask someone who has immigrated to this country from one where freedom was just a dream and you will probably get a detailed, tear filled response.
If you have never been incarcerated, freedom is something you take for granted. Ask someone who was just released from prison and they will tell you a different story. They might tell you that freedom is being able to take a hot shower when ever you want, or that freedom is the smell of freshly cut grass, or the ability to touch and see your family whenever you want. Whatever the answer, it will be much different from one who has always been free.

Words have no meaning, only the people who use them do. Just something to think about.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Finding the Right Fit

How many of the writers out there have tried participating in a critique group, but have found that it wasn't for them. You didn't feel comfortable so you decided not to go back. Well, finding the right critique group is a lot like finding a great pair of shoes. You know you have found the right pair when you slip your feet in them and they feel great. If you have to shoehorn your foot in and you start thinking, hopefully they will stretch, then it is probably time to try on another pair.

I have had the privilege in participating in many critique  groups over the past eight or so years. I belonged to one that I loved a couple of years ago, but my schedule changed and I wasn't able to continue to go. In the past year or two, I have 'tried on' many others, but I always felt as if I was shoehorning my way in. Don't get me wrong, the writers in these groups were excellent, but the fit just wasn't right.

Last night my schedule was such that I had the opportunity to go to the group that I had once been a part of. As I was gathering my materials to go, apprehension started to grow. What if the group had changed? What if it was not as I remembered? I had to shake off a lot of nerves in order to put myself in the car and drive to the meeting. When I walked into the Wellington Writers Critique Group I was happy to see familiar faces as well as many new ones. The group has flourished under Caryn's leadership.

I sat and listened to a variety of writers. I was surrounded by humorists, memoirists, novelists, and poets. I had the privilege to hear the work of two young writers, between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, who left me slack jawed and amazed. These young ladies have a huge future ahead of them. I will find out their names and post them next week. They were that good.

What I loved about the group was their honesty and humility as well as their purpose. They are writers helping writers. I learned more about my writing in those two hours than I had in the past year. The honest and constructive critiques were eye opening.

If you have never read your writing out loud to a group . . . do it! You will pick up mistakes as you read and the unbiased ear of those around you will pick up even more.

So, what is the moral of this little story? There are a couple. One: all writers regardless of skill or success can benefit from joining a critique group, and two: if the group doesn't fit, if you feel as if you are shoehorning yourself in, try on another and another until you find the perfect fit. You will be happy you didn't give up and your writing will improve dramatically.

Until next week, go try on some shoes.