Ask a male author about your male character traits or thoughts.

Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Going about the Lord's work

I sit in church for the early Christmas Eve mass. Two pews ahead a family catches my eye. I know I’m supposed to be praying, but I’m a writer. I tell stories. This blog is about the guy’s point of view, but this time I can only offer my own. I can’t generalize. Do I focus on the people around me, the architecture, a scene I’ve been mulling over, the sermon? As I have written before, I suppose I should be pious, being an ex-altar boy and practically a priest educationally. But that is so not me.

The family from left to right comprises an approximately twelve-year-boy, his sixteen-year-old sister, the mom then the dad. They’re close. The kids take turns holding their mom’s hands or patting her shoulder. The husband puts his arms around her. Later the mom swaps with her son so that he could be next to his dad for a while. Many times, the taller sixteen-year-old daughter rests her head on her petite mom’s shoulder.

I’ve found my prayer. The mom is the sun to her family. Through her nurturing, she brings light into their lives. They are one and growing in love. The mom's heart is felt in the sweet quiet moments in a church in a pew in a prayer.

* * *

It's rare for a 16-year old daughter to be that affectionate with her mom. The stereotype of being lost and then, one day, being found doesn’t always have to be. What magic or grace does this mother possess?
 
So, okay, that’s me, but this blog is about not just about one guy, but what other guys think as well.

After I became thoroughly confused as to what to do in church and tried the same on you, I thought an expert could inspire us to find our path again.


Dana Carvey as The Church Lady will highlight the wrong path to take during Christmas.

 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black globs on white paper

You have probably heard variations of the 7-38-55 rule. Effective communications is 7% verbal, 38% vocal signals and 55% body language.

Well what about our little ole’ black globs of ink on white paper?

Print isn’t as good as verbal because we can’t literally hear print. So, let’s cut print communication down to 5% (at best) and suggest, for writers, that they need to develop the other 95% using words to describe a mix of body language, verbal signals, emotions and action and never, never simply tell the story from the beginning (mix in a lot of show).or you'll never get off the ground. How can you show the other 95% given a 5% medium? You can’t. At least not immediately. You’ll need a stranger’s imagination and cooperation to start with. And.

Picture this: a stranger calls you and says blah, blah, blah. You don’t know where he/she is coming from. You might even hang-up the phone (as in closing the book forever) or suppose you get junk mail (worse). Compare that to your best friend: she calls you and you practically breathe in each other’s intent. You have a history.

Assume you are writing to a stranger and aren’t 99.9% of your readers, strangers in the beginning?
You know they’re about to (hang up the phone), i.e. close the book. I guarentee it. Put your foot in that door, point down at your new shoes, tell them how your sweetheart has just jilted you, show them your pain. Hand them your soul.

Do those things recommended for all fiction, start with a change that any stranger would empathize with.

You’ve done your job, now you write the second book in a series and suddenly there are readers out there that already identify with your characters. They’re pre-sold. They’ll buy because your characters are like their friends, the reader can breathe in their intent but you still need to write for the new strangers.

As an example, at Christmas time, we hear so many songs, classics and the not so good. Once in a while, somebody adds to the classics with a song strait from the heart. It immediately catches with us strangers. We’re friends now, because we want the same thing. We want to know she'll get her wish.

“All I Want for Christmas is You," by Mariah Carey, 1994
 
 
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year and oh by the way, all I want for Christmas is for you to be happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What do real women want?

My guest today is a dear friend, I’ll call her Allison, who’s looking for love in her fifties. She’s not a writer and because of that I think she can offer comments that you all might find useful from the aspect of getting a reality check. You know, the baby boomers are major and more romances should be written about them. She uses an online dating service to meet men, but has also met men the old-fashioned ways. Bumping into them.

Bob: What's different out there between guys and gals looking for romance in their fifties?

Allison: I’m not so sure the guys I’ve been meeting want a life partner. They put friendship, travel partner, casual partner, serious relationship all in one sentence. So whatever you have to give they will take.  [Bob—It sounds like the guys that do this are casting a wide net to catch more fish. But the smart fish should probably swim away, because, as a guy, I see these fellows as very alright with just having a good time, a one night stand, a fling etc. They’re lonely and could use a woman’s touch.]

Bob: What do you think of today’s dating scene?

Allison: I think dating on line is different than 30 years ago. Back then, what you see when you meet someone, is what you get. Now people distort their perception of themselves on line. [This sounds like a case of having time to prepare for an exam. I see her point.]

Bob: How important is physical attraction?

Allison: Physical attraction is extremely important to me, but you might not initially feel it. Often for me, physical attraction comes over time, when you get to know someone, the time spent together, and interests (bike riding, gym, hobbies, and morals and values).

Bob: What's your worse disaster on a date or dates?

Allison: I had a guy say, “You said in your profile you work out six days a week, well you don’t look like it. [I know Allison, she’s built like a Chargers’ Cheerleader. She works out and it shows. That guy needed glasses. Allison: That guy could use a lobotomy, liposuction and a dandruff shampoo. Bob: the shampoo might not be necessary.]

Bob: Any disappointments?

Allison: Disappointments would be people not staying true to who they are. Bart is someone I dated for nearly a year, we were closer than close, me meeting his young children and him meeting my family in L.A. I know it isn’t cool of him to contact as I asked him not too, (because my heart is attached) Not to be mean. [Bob: after they broke it off, he continues to write her even after she asked him to stop. I read this guy as egocentric and showing a lack of respect for Allison as a human being. Bad news.] I don’t know “WHY” he would care to (write)?? My experiences have been positive 9 out of 10 times. Conversation flows, they are usually very smart and courteous and respectful, the only thing that I get discouraged about is how long these men have been married. Ten years or less is not a good track record. For the most part, The ones I choose are who they say they are.

Bob: Words of wisdom?

Allison: I have had many positive experiences with online dating and meeting men out and about, etc. Just looking for a companion who likes the same things I do and then the relationship grows from there.

Bob: Are you staying positive? Do you feel you'll find somebody?

Allison: I do feel I will meet someone. I have twice, they just didn’t last. I want for the rest of my life, not so sure men do… [I don’t have to be a fortuneteller to know Allison will meet the man of her dreams.]

Bob: You're a great gal and any guy would be fortunate to share a life with you. Thanks so much for the interview.

Some in media call this "the man in the street" interview.

Allison, please forgive me, your interview was great but I can't resist a little comic relief with this classic.

Steve Allen interviews Don Knotts (50 seconds).


 
Other Steve Allen "man in the street" interviews also feature Louis Nye &Tom Poston and can be found by choosing video in Bing or Google search. (or YouTube)


I want to thank my chapter mates at RWASD for insisting I add black background to my cover lettering, because it "has to pop." They're right. See below:








 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Switching Genres

I've asked a non-writer friend to check this post out today because she's a fan of a certain super star. So we all have to pretend to be non-geeky and not introverted selves. You see, friend, we writers like to hole up in our work cave.

There's a lot of controversy about switching genres. If you have loads of talent, a dedication to your craft understand good story structure and take promoting (social media - these days) seriously and expertly, go ahead and switch.

So which writer just just switched genres and still went number one?



You've just watched* Taylor Swift in her smash hit, "Shake It Off" 2014. My take, in a brilliant stroke, she presents herself as self-aware and self-effacing, she has fun with her detractors and fans. In this "I am who I am" song, in spite of detractors she will always be true to the genius God gave her to develop. (And I love that.) Whether you have one sale or a million be true to yourself. There's always some sick troll out there who feels better by trying to make other people feel worse and may not be capable of love or in spotting it in others.
*I know some of you may not enjoy pop music, but think twice, not too many of us can claim to be literary writers, although...

EXTRA CREDIT:
Here's some info on the artist and her song from Wikipedia.
Lyrically, the song is dedicated to Swift's detractors. Swift explained that, "I’ve learned a pretty tough lesson that people can say whatever they want about us at any time, and we cannot control that. The only thing we can control is our reaction to that."[14] In an interview for Rolling Stone, Swift further elaborated, "I've had every part of my life dissected—my choices, my actions, my words, my body, my style, my music. When you live your life under that kind of scrutiny, you can either let it break you, or you can get really good at dodging punches. And when one lands, you know how to deal with it. And I guess the way that I deal with it is to shake it off."[15] With NPR she gave a detailed explanation of the lyrics:
With the song 'Shake It Off,' I really wanted to kind of take back the narrative, and have more of a sense of humor about people who kind of get under my skin — and not let them get under my skin. There's a song that I wrote a couple years ago called 'Mean', where I addressed the same issue but I addressed it very differently. I said, 'Why you gotta be so mean?', from kind of a victimized perspective, which is how we all approach bullying or gossip when it happens to us for the first time. But in the last few years I've gotten better at just kind of laughing off things that absolutely have no bearing on my real life. I think it's important to be self-aware about what people are saying about you, but even more so, be very aware of who you actually are, and to have that be the main priority.[16]

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Autumn Breeze

Let me know what you think of my draft cover. The book is now available for pre-order on Kindle/Amazon.
 
 
I'm looking for beta readers for AUTUMN BREEZE. If anybody is interested leave a message or email me for a free copy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hotdogs and Buns Belong Together


So here's my second annual holiday story. I hope you enjoy. This one was inspired by Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Natural Born Charmer. Her novel started, "It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of the road..."

Hotdogs and Buns Belong Together

By RW Richard

 

I knocked on the door, but nobody could hear me. Snow swirled outside, merriment and blaring music vibrated my best friend’s home. Polite yes, but I wasn’t going to freeze my bun off. Yes bun, not buns. I was dressed as a hotdog bun.

The door opened just as I was plunging the handle. “Come on in.” Even though Teresa was dressed as a garlic, her throaty voice gave her away. “And, let me guess.” Teresa held my muffs. The door blew shut.

I took in the living, dining room and beyond. I’ve never seen so many vegetables, fruit, meats, fish. I giant walleye was eyeing me. We weren’t a good match.

“I’m not going to tell you who I am. Got any spiked punch?”

“Holly baby. It’s you.”

“The punch.” We were best friends, so I dispensed with the nice-to-see-you and hugs, partially because she reeked like the giant garlic she was and partially because she had set me up with the worse blind date ever last Saturday. Stinko Teresa had taken this reality thing too far. Besides hugging her as a hotdog bun might give the other foods the wrong idea. Again, a bad match, although I had nothing against garlic and hotdog bun, if that were your thing.

Teresa took me to the punch bowl. Luckily, the drinks had straws. I was parched from the raw wind outside. Whatever the liquid was—if there were any fruit juice in the mix at all—burned on the way down. “Whoa.”

“Jamison’s Irish Whiskey, girl.” She leaned closer to my ear. “Listen, Holly. There’s somebody here who I think is a good fit for you.” A natural born skeptic, especially concerning what Teresa thought about men, I looked around.

“Yeah sure. Your idea of perfect was that podiatrist. You know he went under the table to kiss my feet.”

“He makes good money.”

“In a French restaurant? It’s just so wrong. It spoiled my escargot.”

“Well, never mind that. Your future is in the kitchen.”

“What’s he do?” Okay, I should have known better. Teresa has never had any success at putting anybody together.

“I don’t know. He just grunts. I’m not sure who he is.” But the tone of her voice gave her away. She knew.

“Maybe he crashed the party.” I was messing with her. Teresa evited everybody and cautioned them not to make it easy to tell who they were.

“He’s tall.”

“I’m such a sucker.” We danced to the kitchen, but Teresa was pulled away by a rutabaga.

I sauntered as best as a white bread bun could saunter, into the kitchen and inspected three guests. One was shorter than my five-nine and dressed as a rose bush. Was that allowed? She had to be female. The next was dressed as pumpkin. His legs were as thick as the old oak tree that snarled Teresa’s front lawn. That left the giant hotdog, whose head was rubbing the ceiling. Maybe he wasn’t tall but just dressed that way. Maybe he was a she. I checked out his or her feet. Plump doggie feet told no tale.

“You come here often, tall dark, and tasty?”

He flailed his arms to make a point. “You complete me.”

“Do I know you?” He was disguising his voice by dropping it down into a Lou Rawls bass.

“Frank Furter, at your service.” He bowed and nearly knocked me over with his head.

Then he attempted to rub his hotdog body into my partially opened bun. The nerve. I screamed. He chased me, arms out. “I’m not complete without you,” he bellowed over the Sade song, “No Ordinary Love”. I beat him into the dining room and slid a ham between us.

“Let me catch up.”

“You can’t cut the mustard, Frank.” I rounded the lovely rosewood table for the second time.

“I relish the moment we will be comlpete.” It was then, I recognized his voice. It was Tom, the truly—way to go Teresa—handsome Penn State quarterback of ten years ago. He was way out of my tall skinny freckled league.

He sneered. “I want you.” He lunged, but a carrot and a roast beef tackled him. Nonplussed he wrangled and twisted his way up. The chase was on again.

Maybe I should let him catch me.

“Slow down, Holly.” I hesitated and he was all over me or should I say he enveloped me?

“No. Absolutely no.”

“Maybe with relish?”

“If you were a kielbasa, call me, maybe.” We were both playing the crowd who nearly laughed their edible heads off.

“Oh, you really know how to cut a man down to size.” Now I pitied him. But at least he was a plump ballpark frank. Kind of heady, sexy, ramy. Need I paint a picture?

I used his self-pity to extricate myself and ran into the downstairs bedroom, much to the uproar—should I say anticipatory delight—of the fruits, vegetables, meats, one walleye and oh yes a stupid rose bush.

He waddled into the bedroom. I cowered in the walk-in closet getting my nerve up and senses back. I decided. I was really up for a make-out session if after he saw my face up-close after all these years, he’d still want to smooch.

“Jolly Holly, were forth art thou?”

I sneezed. You see, I might have been allergic to my bun.

The door creaked open and light streamed in. “Here you are my honey-bunny. I’ve always been too shy around you. I don’t know what got into me, tonight. Emboldened, perhaps.” He rubbed his hotdog into my opening bun. Oh gosh. Keep that up, mister.

“You could have your pick. Why not the rose bush?”

“Bushes are okay, but she has thorns.”

“How about Teresa?”

“Your girlfriend and I dated in college. It didn’t work out.” I knew that. Girls gossip, you know. I had gone to the west coast, UCLA, and missed all the fun here in Pennsylvania.

“How about…”

“How about you take that silly top off so I can kiss you before I explode?” Images of hotdog mess all over Teresa’s nice dresses would simply not do. I took off the top half of my bun, he took his top off, still ruggedly handsome. With a huge smile he planted a wet one on me.

We’ve been kissing ever since. We soon married and I had a beautiful baby girl. Teresa, my maid of honor, was right, not only were Tom and I a good fit, hotdogs and buns belong together.

Your extra credit today involves investing 5 minutes.You've already read my story, so perhaps just a peek at this classic will surprise you. I didn't know it existed. Charlie Chaplin - The Costume Ball, date ????

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanks for giving me your love


I was driving my 7 and 10-year-old grandsons home from school and wondered what I could say that would get their attention even while they were playing on tablets. I always ask them what one thing was the most memorable or interesting that they did in school that day. Then, I told them about how people don’t remember much when they’re twenty and trying to recall what happened in school when they were kids. I related the story from my kindergarten about the little girl who was standing in line, had to go, wasn’t allowed out of the line and dribbled down her leg. I mentioned how little I remembered before I was five and I offered a remedy for any memory they’d want to keep. Just like in a dream, if you don’t repeat it back to yourself, the contents of the dream will disappear.

 

Later that day the 10 year old stopped playing on the TV, without warning reeled off the entire day’s activities at school and gave me a hug. You think that didn’t get me? Just as I asked them to treasure life’s experiences, it was my turn to repeat this story. I’ll never forget it. and didn't need repeating.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

ooooo

 

Generally, I put a YouTube video here, but I couldn’t think of anything. Any ideas? I’ll place it here: [Your idea.]

 

Why do I use videos? So that you’ll remember my blog by association (and be entertained), much like repeating a story to yourself from a dream or an experience, you’ll have a multi-faceted remembrance.

 

About the male POV: well this story describes the way I think!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eclectic reading

Dear blog reader,
 
I never quote someone without checking. I talked earlier today with this fellow author to get permission to publish his email to me. I present the letter to you because I find it instructive. I decided not to name the author not because he cared but because I want it to be an everyman letter. Everyman being your readers and mine.

Hi Bob,

I keep missing you and forgetting to tell you. Again this morning.

I had difficulty getting into the first 16 pages of your Novel [A More Perfect Union], something that is not unusual with me. On the third attempt, everything fitted. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. You have introduced imagination and original scenes that kept me engrossed. 

I apologize for my delayed response, but I just have that problem, remembering who, what and where at the start of each book; with The Vacationers, by Straub, it took me three beginnings also.

Congratulations, a super job.

Best regards, Author X

Hi X,

Thanks for the note. It took me a while to assemble some thoughts on the matter of rereading. I struggle the same way you do. Although we are separated by a common language (X is from London), we get each other. I enjoy your stories and I'm glad you enjoy mine as well. I think trying to get used to another author's style is a struggle for me (and you) because we are at an age when we know what we like or prefer, and don't much need to expand or change. I suppose flexing our minds, trying new reads, being eclectic will forestall Alzheimer’s LOL. But it certainly won't be boring.

Yesterday I went to a writers’ conference. The speaker, Brenda Novak, a New York Times bestselling author gave the first fifty who attended a copy of one of her 55 books. I have haltingly made my way through the first chapter, reading during commercials of a Hallmark movie. Even though I know she's crystal clear, I needed to get used to her voice. It is a labor of love to pick up a new friend, make room in my intellectual life for another voice, perhaps different than who I’d normally read. I don't know yet how long it will take to finish her story. I am busy and as you know a slow reader. I want to because she's acclaimed and oh yes, I like her story (The Heart of Christmas). We will do no less for each other, right? Even if we aren't on the NYT list, just yet.

Bob

Brenda has found ways to build her audience, making it personal, I suppose, opening her heart to her readers. I sense and know she writes what she enjoys, not what she thinks will impress.

“Tonight, Tonight” from West Side Story (movie version, 1961) presents a cacophony of POVs about what each person or group wants or fears the most for one night in their little piece of New York City. Opening yourself up to each voice during the movie is due to the masterstroke of great writers and composers. Create your work with the same excitement.
 

 
EXTRA CREDIT

My first writing coach once asked me if I was writing for an audience or myself. I now know that to be a false choice. In the beginning, you only have yourself to please. If you don’t write using brain and heart—well, who else will follow you?

Brenda also said she was an eclectic reader. Let’s all pick up something today we would not normally read. Wade through it if you have to, but definitely, in the end love what you read as much as the author loved writing it.

 

 

 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

AM I WRONG?

Years ago I contracted with NBC for a screenplay and got the bug. Many years later I decided, as a male romance writer, to differentiate myself by writing stories that were hopefully unique and of interest to me. There’s a price. I have sent full manuscripts on request to publishers and agents and they typically say, love your voice, but the story won’t suit our readers.

A More Perfect Union has some politics in it. A NO NO.

Double Happiness has two heroes and two heroines. Nope.

Autumn Breeze (a romance) leads off in the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl with the opening scene in New York City on 9/11. Sorry, maybe the thirteen-year-old POV, but no real disasters please.

In Seven I write about a gal who has one boyfriend for every day of the week. Perhaps I have six too many boyfriends, even if I do kill them off. We’ll see on this one if I land an agent or publisher.

I won’t write any other way. I’m a guy, maybe stubborn. I'll read well written stories with tropes but enjoy the less traveled path more. Perhaps this preference is similar to literary versus genre argument.
 
"Am I Wrong", music and music video by Nico & Vinz, 2013 needs no explanation

 

EXTRA CREDIT: There’s a great article in this month’s RWR (Romance Writers Report) called When She is a He by Janet Tronstad. Janet wrote about the struggles and history (or in the beginning the lack) of writing in the male point of view. I highly recommend it. I know no more about the subject than you do! We’re all human beings and students of the human heart. Hey, throw in a dog here and there. Regarding male POV, sometimes I write about anomalies and sometimes it’s straight.

 

A More Perfect Union

THE WINNER IS
 
I chose to take the best of both covers and created this one.

I need your help. This fine story is not selling much. Any Goodread or Amazon honest plug you can do would be so appreciated.

Funny thing is. My first story (you know - before I learned how to write) Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden is still selling and has crossed the 5000 uunits sold mark.

A More Perfect Union, supposedly my best, has sold 10 units (so far).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Double Happiness

For the first time, I have used Amazon's/KDP pre-order feature. It is forcing me to focus on final edits for Double Happiness rather than do a million other tasks. Ever been there?
 

Which cover is better?

I have recently published A More Perfect Union and my critique group critiqued the bleep out of one of these covers. Please let me know which one you like best and why. Anybody who comments will get a free copy or if you already have one, an initialed (by me) Italian Crystal rose. The Amazon link is: A More Perfect Union




Or

 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Immature love

Previously, I had written about movement of any kind, including using expressions or body language as (much) more attractive than static beauty. The same goes for love. It may be fine for some to carry a torch, love from afar, have a crush, obsess. But it’s much too easy and comforting to the one doing it. Perhaps because it gives the person a cause or something to think about, and don’t we all at times (think and not do)? Dare ask this person to change things. It takes far less energy to sit and stew than stand and brew.

A mature love (and plot) is all about give and take. No energy into a relationship equals no relationship. This is one reason some long time married couples drift apart. They’re far too comfortable, sometimes comfortable in their misery.

Work at it.

Oops, male POV. Yes, yes, the theme of the blog. Okay, what’s the difference between a man and a boy? A man accepts and revels in responsibility. A boy hides behind his fears. I’m not saying a hero who is anywhere from nerd or geek to stalker is not writable. He needs an arc which should include internal and external change, a big arc.

Here's the trailer for the 1988 movie, Big, with Tom Hanks.


I have forgotten how this movie resolved the romantic conflict. Anybody?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

All About That Jazz

A couple weeks ago, I showed the video All About That Bass. Someone wrote to me about how she couldn’t get into pop music (or America’s Top 40). This reminded me of the disparate styles we see in our writing industry. My point is, we may not be writing literary novels but something can be learned from all styles or genres. This in turn could freshen up—you might be worried—a tired manuscript. Clich├ęs come in short and long form. Avoid them if you can. A guy might write more story and less interior monologue, a gal the reverse. This doesn’t mean that we can’t mix it up. Our own Morgan H Macdonald took on serial killers (romantic thrillers) to great success. Jump out of your female or male skin and breathe and then get back into that skin because I like you just the way you are.

Here’s a jazz version of All About That Bass. It’s not only good, it may make my point. Analogy alert: Jazz is to Pop as Literary is to Genre fiction. True or false?

Bassist Kate Davis sings (Sept 2014)

Extra ridiculous credit: Parody is also a writng style. Here's to all those overworked moms out there:
I Just Need Some Space by MyLifeSuckers. There no end to this song. They even played it at the World Series, All About That Base (that is).

Okay, I promise, no more of this Bass stuff. It's All About The Words.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE IS NOT HATE

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”  Elie Wiesel

Lately, I’ve been writing about how activity (by the opposite sex) is much more attractive than static (museum worthy) beauty. Even hate has passion and might be understood but certainly not condoned.
Story: He had narrowed the field of women he was interested in to two maybe three. He liked Christal best. They clicked, had great conversations. They shared similar interests, jobs in science, athletics and intellect. And oh yes, she was beautiful, perhaps not the most beautiful of the three, but what did that matter?
At her car, they embraced. “I kissed your ear.” Dizzy with the closeness, he overshot her cheek. Her ear was tasty, so he didn’t mind at all.
“That’s okay.” Christal said this with breathy enthusiasm, as if to say she wanted more. He was certain of this.
That was the last time she spoke to him. Every time they met she pretended not to know him. She wouldn’t return his increasingly meek hellos. She’d walk away. She'd hide.
Was this hate or indifference? The problem he had with her was not knowing what she felt. He had done nothing wrong. Doesn’t every human being deserve an explanation?
He decided that the problem did not lie within him, because she knew him and he had not changed. But he was willing to grow. He was still that caring human being who believed in the golden rule. Apparently she didn’t. Therefore she was no longer worthy of consideration as his possible mate. Still, he was not heartless. There was still a strong curiosity and a willingness to forgive. Love knows no boundaries.
They may not end up together, but if she could grow (in love)…
She needed to become and stay a mensch.
What was her problem?
ONE LESS PROBLEM WITHOUT YA, Ariana Grande, 2014
 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

DEVOTION

DEVOTION

He takes her in. Age has stolen many of her charms but he only sees beauty. He's overwhelmed with love. His heart is full of memories of their life together. Even if she cannot fully participate with him he fills in the gaps and cares for her with every ounce of his energy.

Last week I wrote about how activity of any kind (I didn’t elaborate, so let’s specify movement, attitude and conversation) fully trump static beauty. Next week I'll cover the one exception.

THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks shows us a great example of this devotion to a life of love and more, much more. Here’s the trailer for the 2004 movie. In this movie ask yourself what intrigued the boy's initial interest in the girl? Was it her pretty face or was it her beauty and the way she acted?

You may be interested in Sparks' upcoming film, THE BEST OF ME. The film graces familiar ground when a young couple meets resistance from parents, but a brilliant romance writer has an irresistable way of showing his/her story. [Besides, hasn't every tale been told in one way or another when you consider the basics? We supply the fresh take/twist(s)/depth etc.].

Shameless plugs (GIVE ME YOURS TOO in comments below): In a couple weeks my rip off (LOL) of Shakespeare's DOUBLE HAPPINESS will be out. I give it a complete make-over. I mean, what did Billy boy know anyway? In my recently released A MORE PERFECT UNION to quote a reviewer, RW Richard "...has done what no other author has before, made a hero and heroine running for the office of United States President fall in love with one another..."

Well the idea of odd bedfellows is an age old tale as well, but that didn't stop me from trying this twist.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The visual man revealed


It is said, "guys are visual." But what does that really mean? Well, I'm a guy and I'll let you in on a guy secret. Guys are attracted to motion.
 
He's standing before a dance floor. He spots three attractive women. He decides which one he prefers. Then a dance starts and only one is animated, not the prettiest, but he asks her to dance.
 
He's in an art gallery. Three beautiful girls are studying the relative merits of three paintings by different artists. One girl begins to show emotion thru facial expressions for artist number one. The guy also likes the art and buys the painting. No silly, he strikes up a conversation with the enthusiastic girl.
 
Nature is not static. Procreation or its drive revolves around the consumation of movement.
 
This guy, me, is severely attracted to Tahitian women doing the fast dance or Hawaiians doing the Hula. I love their (help me with this description - I'm serious) very long fluffed curled to wavy hair as it sways to the beat of the rhythm of life.
 
A guy might appreciate the 'looks' of a woman, but he knows nothing until that woman moves. This includes all her ways of communicating.
 
What you'll see below may be more interesting for a guy than a girl, but who doesn't appreciate this form of artistic expression. Polynesian dance compilations. This presentation has little to do with me being in Hawaii right now, I swear.
 
 

 
Extra credit: Poetry In Motion, 1960, Johnny Tillotson
 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Does your hero have horse sense?

I'm getting ready for a trip, so I'll make this week's blog short.

Is your guy or hero sensitive to the finer points in life? Does he love dogs? Can he appreciate art or music? I Many know this; t's a fine counterpoint to show a softer side to an alpha hero. Give him more complexity.

I know, I never return to a video and I won't today. But last week's IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BASS drew a lot of attention. So today I'm featuring a horse in sync with the tune. What if you hero valiantly stated that horses or other animals appreciated music and he wanted to find some way of proving it. Until science catches up with this issue, you either believe that animals yearn for or cultivate a richer life or you don't. But what of your characters? Does your alpha hero have horse sense? I've got to run out now and hug a macadamia tree.


It's All About The Bass is rising fast on American Top 40 (presented by Ryan Seacrest on iHeartRadio). It's now #2. It was obvious to me, the first time I heard this song that it would be a hit. Make your story a hit, by getting that same feeling while writing it. And give it a chance by doing everything you can to showcase the beauty of your story.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

ALL ABOUT THAT BASS (no treble)

Alpha heroes love their bodies (or nobody else will).

In order to maintain a body often associated with or seen on covers of alpha heroes, one must be dedicated to good health, healthy food and exercise. Toss in a little vanity and the awareness of sexual attraction and you may have a character you weren’t looking to write. Picture someone who weighs themselves every morning, goes to the gym (is regimented) and counterbalance that against the image of an action hero who is always on the ready. On the one hand, you may have someone who is focused on maintaining health and on the other hand someone who is ready to jump in front of a train to protect the heroine.

Herein lies an excellent opportunity to paint your hero as conflicted. Anything less might end up coming off comic book hero-esk. I'm not saying he has to interrupt saving the heroine to go to the gym, or am I? Do you think the subject of food might come up, if the guy has a six pack and it ain't in the refrigerator?

For today's video I picked a cute and for some infectious song that’s rising in the charts, which is a bit of a counterpoint to my argument, but maybe not. The song basically says, be comfortable with yourself. It pleads the case for a curvy woman. I personally prefer the stick figure girl derided in the song, but to each his own.

Body types. I’m a bit ectomorph with an athletic regiment past and present. I’m not saying necessarily that ectomorphs go for ectomorphs. My wife just discovered after all these years that I have “skinny” legs. She inspired me to compare and notice that her legs are that of a farm girt. Did we screw up? Well she hasn’t thrown me out, and neither will I give her the boot with my skinny legs.

 
ALL ABOUT THAT BASS by Meghan Trainer, 2014. (Notice the use of colors throughout this video.)


P.s. Cassi Carver was absolutely beautiful in her photo shoot Saturday. That girl needs no touching up, but it will be fun to see how the artist manipulates the shots.

Kudos to Tameri Etherton as well.

Also, I disagree with the song about touching up photos when it comes to professional book covers, because it’s not about the cover, it’s about making the cover a window to the book.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Working writers

I know I write about craft, but hang in there as I get something off my chest.

I've been corresponding with various authors about a new phenomena, 'the little sales boat.' We all think KDP Select or Amazon Prime is the culprit. Amazon, as I said before, won't pay us for anybody who reads 10% or less of your book when they borrow. They also announce a pool of money for each month that they'll give to the authors and what do you think the chances are that the pool of $ is less than the amount we would have made on sales? When someone buys our books, we never know whether they complete it or not and we don't offer them a free rebate, usually. Right?

I'm seriously considering not putting the next book out (Double Happiness should be out in the next month or sooner) into Prime or Select and then compare results with my A MORE PEREFECT UNION.

I need feedback from other authors on their recent experiences with Kindle, so please comment.

CRAFT: It's not the money, it's producing a work of art that one hopes someone will enjoy, hopefully many someones. Artists starve and I suppose if most of us didn't have day jobs, we would be sleeping under a tarp. What, you say, you're still ranting about money. Maybe I'm partially guilty, but there is always a craft solution that can help improve things. If you have a book that is not catching on, don't wait to change the promotional or jacket materials. That's writing too. I have found when I wrote in a flamboyant style for my cover and description of THE WOLVES OF SHWERWOOD FOREST that my sales went up. I knew I had done my job when I received good reviews and other comments.

Working Girl, a 1988 movie is all about ferver for the job, creative thinking and in 1988 especially smashing stereotypes. Here's the trailer:

 I couldn't find one of my favorite scenes in which Melanie Griffith explains to the CEO how she came up with the idea (That saved the day).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tell lies, show the Truth

To compare "show don't tell," to tell lies, show the truth is invalid. Tell lies, show the truth is just another tool in the professional writer's toolbox.

"No, I don't love you. You must leave now."
But her eyesbrows were drawing together and her foot tapped. She felt something for him. "Don't worry, there are guards about but if I make too much noise they'll think it a Nightingale. If I fall, they'll make a fair cushion."
"Please be careful." She leaned over the balcony squeezing the railing.
He bounced up. "So you do love me." He hopped back in her suite and put his arms around her.
"You know I do."
Later in the scene (which includes a kiss) she tells the truth about why he must leave.
[The dialogue comes from my vague memory of a famous scene from the 1938 version of Robin Hood.]

A subcategory of this technique involves the awful "info dump." If you must use an info dump, because the story can not be told any other way that you know, [IMHO, there's always a way] have one of the two in dialogue lie, have the other a body language expert or just plain tuned in notice subtle descepincies. As an example, the woman is a NCS agent and the guy is from the NSA. They have just been assigned to each other and there's a bit of distrust, a bit of lone wolfing, etc. Oh and a bit of chemistry, right?

This week I want to present one of the songs from my new novel A MORE PERFECT UNION. For this story I felt it worked to set the mood for each chapter. I listened to the song and wrote. I recommended to readers who like to listen to music while reading that they consider my suggestions per chapter.

The song for Chapter Seventeen: Ray Charles, Hit the Road, Jack, 1961
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A MORE PERFECT UNION

This week, I will release the novel pictured below. I would love your feedback on the cover's artwork or words. I won't be changing the title.


Thanks for any feedback,
Bob
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Do I need to say they're running for president against each other?