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...

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.