Friday, December 01, 2006

All I can say is, Better you all, then me!! Got up this morning to scenes like the above on the

morninng news! Brrrr! While I, on the other hand, languish in the glory that is Florida. You all can have that stuff. Keep it north of the Mason-Dixon Line and I'll be tickled to death.
Snow is wet, it's cold, it stickes to your clothes, and while it may be pretty for a minute or two, when it starts to turn to slush with coal dust turning it black or car exhaust turning it gray, or muddy footprints tracking it up it, then becomes yucky!!
I used to live where it snowed deep enough to cover our car. Lower Michigan! On Lake Erie! Talk about cold? Oh my God!! But, you know as a child, you are virtually unaffected by the cold. You play out in it until your Mom forces you to come inside. Your nose is running off your face, your fingers and toes have turned an incredible shade of blue and what you thought were vibrations from the sled, are actually chills you can't shake.
When I was younger, we lived in an old farmhouse in Lambertville, Michigan. Our front yard was very big and deep, and across the front of the property was a ditch that was probably six feet deep at least. In the winter, the snow would fill the ditch and cover it up.
My sister and I had this favorite game we always played with our baby brother, who is seven years younger than us.
We would play tag, in the snow, and we'd always get Butch to chase us across the front yard. My sister and I were big enough to jump the ditch, but not Butch! Without fail every winter, he got buried in that ditch trying to chase us!
Our mother, who was probably the best mother in the world, loved to have fun. Momma was from Georgia, and snow and freezing temperatures were not her cuppa. But, she always encouraged us to go out and play and have fun. When we got to be pre-teens, we whined about the cold, of course, but our brother always wanted to have snowball fights.
Mom's solution to that? We were allowed to go out, gather our ammunition for the snowball fight and bring it indoors. Our battles raged in the living room, the dining room and the kitchen! Momma laughing and pelting us with snowballs she'd pilfered from our stash!
Thanks God we had linoleum in the kitchen and hardwood in the rest of the house, because carpet would have been ruined.
Christmas time was always very special for us. Momma and Daddy always had a huge, live tree for us to decorate, but one year Momma decided on an artificial one. A six foot tall silver (aluminum) tree with a colorwheel! We thought that was the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen. Looking back, it was actually the ugliest tree we ever had, but you know kids, no taste.
Anyway, this time of the year is fertile for nostalgia. We all have our precious Christmas memories, and as the season draws nearer, let's share some, okay?
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Blessed Kwanza (or however it's spelled) Merry Yule, or just plain Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crime in America

But, more specifically in Orange County, Florida where I live , or used to live,has reached critical proportions.
Last night on the local news station, it was stated that Orange County has had 344 murders to date this year alone. 344! That is over one a day for the entire year.
Still digging for stats, but just from the news stories I have watched, the vast majority of these murders have been committed by immigrants and a lot of them because of drugs or alcohol.
In a related story, it was said that the rounding up and deportation of illegal immigrants is not a high priority for law enforcement officials. Huh? Not a high priority? Why not?
Seems to me that particular issue needs to be not only high in priority, but at the very top of the list.
In recent years, the crime rate in Central Florida has risen to alarming numbers,and while there are those who will try to tell you that the crimes are committed by all races, all you have to do it look at the arrests records for Orange County to see the lie in that.
Most of the violent crimes in this area have been perpetrated by Hispanics, more accurately, the illegal immigrants that continue to pour across the border and inundate our cities.
A great many of those illegals are the dregs of Mexico, criminals and drug dealers who are running from justice in their own country to come here and continue on with their crime sprees, and it appears that the powers that be in Mexico are saying good riddance.
Mexico can't control them, so they let them squirm across our borders so we are forced to hire more policemen to combat the crimes these people are committing.
Now, I don't know how it is where you live, but I have been in the Central Florida area for over forty years and in that time I have seen Orange County grow from a quiet, agricultural area to a booming, crime ridden metropolis, making it all too obvious, to me at least, that progress isn't always a good thing and out of control growth creates far more problems than it solves.
And in the midst of all this growth are the illegal immigrants who continue to pour across the borders, forcing American taxpayers to not only feed and clothe them at our expense, but to house them and provide them with medical treatment , things that far too many citizens of Orange County can't even get and they are legal residents.
There is an old trailer park in Orange County that was recently condemned, and the poor people who live there, blacks and whites, and even a few Hispanics now must try to find another place to live. No easy feat in this place unless you are a college educated professional with a five figure income, as most of the people here appear to be.
Housing costs have skyrocketed to obscene levels, creating housing shortages for a huge number of Orange County residents. I mean come on, if you make minimum wage, and your spouse does the same, and you have two kids, or even none, how do you pay $1200.00 a month for a decent place to live. We're not talking Taj Mahal huge and gorgeous, we're talking your basic three bedroom, two bath block house . A place that five years ago costs anywhere from 500.00 to 700.00 a month to rent has not only aged and worn by five years, but has jumped in price by as much as 500%, but, on average the wages have stayed pretty much the same.
So, you tell me, how does a man support his family and liven in this place?
He finds a trashy, run down little dump of a dive in a neighborhood he would ordinarily not even drive through at night and reluctantly moves his family in.
And next door to him is a meth lab, and on the other side about twenty illegal immigrants all crowded into that small house. He and his family are forced to endure loud raucous music till all hours, and he has to get up a dozen times a night to make sure his doors are secure and his windows locked, because God knows he could wake up to everything he owns (which working a minimum wage job can't be much) stolen.
As Americans, I think we have been more than hospitable, and I think we have been as patient and accommodating as anyone can be, but dammit, enough is enough! Don't you agree?
Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

We've gotten into a discussion on one of my groups about formulaic writing for the market. So, my question is; as an author, is this something that you would consider doing, simply to get your books in print and your name out there?
Personally, for me, the answer is no. I can't see the wisdom of writing for the market. Why? Look at it this way, say I finish my Vampire novel and get a contract for it. Okay, great, vampire novels are big right now. But, my contract specifically states that the release date for my book will be late summer of 2009. Okay, great, I have an almost three year wait for my book to be released.
Comes late summer of 2009 and the market has changed at least three times, and guess what, vampires are out, werewolves are in. So, I waited three years for a book to be released that most likely won't sell a sozen copies. So, why write for the market?
It's a good idea IF you can get your book out there in a timely fashion while your subject matter is still hot, but given the time frame of the NY publishing houses, timeliness is not going to be factor.
So, what do you? Self publish? Oh no, I mean why attach that stigma to your work? Why indeed. Because at least you get your book on the shelf while your subject matter is still hot, and hot generally equals sales, right? Right! Even if you go the vanity press route, you have a book out there that fits very nicely with the market and you're going to get sales, regardless of who published it.
I mean really, for the most part, readers could care less who the publisher of a book is as long as the book is a good read. So, that so called stigma that has firmly attached itself to self-publishing is really imaginary.
The only real problem with self-publishing is that ridiculous no return policy, and some of the better vanity presses have deleted their no return policy in order to generate more sales.
If you insist on being a market writer, then in order to keep up with the current trends, why wouldn't vanity presses be the chosen route? I don't get it.
For a long time I was firmly against self-publishing, because in my mind, an author who self published just wasn't good enough hot be picked up by a major house. That was my feeling, but I have since learned that is not always the case.
A couple of cases in point, Natalie R Collins and James Conroyd Martin, both vanity press published and both picked up by a major house, with the same vanity press published books! And why? Because they were that damn good.
And there are other authors of note, nameable Janet Elaine Smith, who have chosen to reject that NY contract in favor of maintaining control over their work and not signing it away to a major house.
Janet has upwards of twenty books she has self published, and been offered contracts for a few of them, but she's turned them down because she wants to hold the rights to her work, and lets face it, who among us does not?
So, having totally veered off course here, I just wonder if writing strictly for the market is the best way to go? What are your thoughts?
Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yipppeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another free e-book is about to be released from the Writersville Gang!
As with our Halloween e-book, this one will also be free and is filled with humorous stories, inspirational stories and yummy recipes from the members of The Writersville Gang.
The book will be available for you on December 1, 2006 and here is the link to the order site.
I know most of you are busy shopping for that special someone on your Christmas list, so as a special treat, the members of the Writersville Gang have included the titles of their books so that you can order copies from your favorite authors.
Remember, giving the gift of reading to someone, is a way to show you care, and it is a way to support your favorite authors from Writersville.

On a more personal note, sales for "Dark Ridge" have slowed down. The holiday season I guess, but, I'm not too worried. I am looking forward to the New Year, new adventures and new books to be released. For those of you interested, you can go to: to purchase a copy of "Dark Ridge" or any of the other wonderful books being offered by the Writersville Gang.

Okay, no other news right now, so I'll say good-bye for now. Have a great day!