How do we respond when reality happens?

Most of our lives we go about chasing what we call our dreams. Professional athlete wannabes. Rock star wannabes. NYTBS wannabes.

We work to make money to afford the luxuries we call necessities. That pair of Jimmy Choo’s. That new computer or tablet. That 4,000 square foot house.

We try new things to keep our lives interesting. Take up gourmet cooking. Skydive. Run a marathon. We live vicariously though our children, hoping they will make it big where we failed, so they can support us in our old age.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.” He hit the nail on the head, I think. But there are times when Life decides to autocorrect. When we think our lives are stressful and actually we are on cruise-control. Suddenly, the phone rings or the police car pulls up in front of your house…

“I’m sorry sir, but there’s been an accident…” You can fill in the blank with your own worst nightmare.

Life is no longer a passive thing that we just experience. It has just slapped us across the face with a cold wet fish and said “WAKE-UP! It’s time for a dose of reality.” The switch has been thrown, our train is heading down a new track, and our lives will never be the same!

What we say and do in response, helps to define what we have learned in life up to that point and our character is carved out a little more. It might be only one test that we face. Or, it might come at you in waves that seem to never end. Almost before the last news has fully sunk in, the phone rings again… And, three days later, the phone rings again…

It has been said that “God will not give you more to bear than you can handle.” That leaves a lot of room for interpretation. In whose opinion is it too much to handle? I have seen first hand what can happen when someone breaks. It is a frightening thing to witness.

One factor that can make a huge difference in our response, is the size and form of support system that surrounds us. Don’t kid yourself, you still need to deal with reality individually. However, having others to talk to, ask advice from, and sometimes just sit quietly with, can be the difference between making it through your ordeal and not. Support can come from the strangest places so don’t be surprised when a near-stranger stops by and offers a hand up.

The truth is, we will each handle the news differently. There is no right or wrong. You will do the best you can and only you know when you’ve reached your limit. Expect to be stretched beyond where you thought possible. It will happen.

Best advice for this situation: “Take it one day at a time. Do what you have to do to get through today. Worry about tomorrow when it becomes today.”

“This to shall pass.”



Tags: , , ,

Tear it out!

If you own a home and you are reading this post, you have some form of plant material in your yard that needs to be torn out and replaced. In unison, you all responded with, “yes, weeds”. And that is most likely true, but I’m talking about trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers that you planted. Yes, you!

I’m not talking about the hostas or daylillies that need to be split. Though they probably do. I’m talking about the tree or shrub that turned from the pretty little thing that looked so nice up against the corner of the house, to the monster that now appears to have eaten that same corner and half of the garage as well!

Too much Willow!

Too much Willow!









A few years back I planted two Arctic Blue Willows on either side of the waterfall in my back yard. “What waterfall?” you may ask. That is precisely my point! The willows, which I was informed would only reach three feet in height turned into real monsters, six feet high and six feet across. Sure I trimmed them twice a year so I could see my water feature. But, then the willows didn’t look so good.

I try to create a “maintenance-free” garden, at least as much as possible. So, I decided to tear out the willows. initially the plan was to transplant them to the cabin. However, because the roots took such a pounding during removal from under the rocks, and the travel time to the cabin would make it difficult to keep the remaining roots moist, we decided to scrap them altogether. I was not happy about this but it had to be done.The result was nothing short of amazing

Clean palette

Clean palette









Now I can see the waterfall and have a chance to rebuild the planting beds the way they should be, You see, tearing it out isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Note to self: Have the Domestic CEO weed the walkway.


Posted by on August 25, 2015 in Garden Walks


Tags: , , ,

Mistakes Happen.

Speak no evil





Well. it finally happened. It took a few years but I finally put something on the web that wish I hadn’t. I will not say what, when, or where as it doesn’t really matter at this point. Just that I said something without all of the facts and without considering the context in which it would be taken by other readers. unfortunately I cannot take it back or remove it. Looking back on it, I should have just kept my mouth shut and let others, who also did not have all the facts, spew forth their opinions. This was not my finest hour. However, it did reinforce my decision to not use this blog to stand on a soapbox. Don’t get me wrong, I have opinions on most topics. And a few of those opinions are based on experience and first hand knowledge. It’s simply not what I want for this blog. I hope those who read my comment, won’t hold it against me.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if the everyone followed one simple rule: If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all? The silence would be deafening.

Uh, oh. Caught myself trying to step up on that soapbox.


Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Other Strangeness


Tags: , ,

Plot Twists in Short Fiction











A panel topic at this year’s 4th Street Fantasy convention dealt with using Fake outs, False Fumbles,and Misdirection to spice up standard plot tropes. It was a lively discussion as you might expect. The part of the discussion that interested me the most was the Set-up. Those sentences, paragraphs, and even whole scenes that are used to purposefully send the reader down a dead-end or straight into the surprise plot fake out. The Set-up is the clue(s) the author provides the reader that the plot trope they know and love may get thrown for a loop later in the story. Usually, the clues go unnoticed at first as just lightly related information used as world-building or characterization. The number of Set-ups can vary from story to story but as a rule there should be at least three: one towards the beginning, another somewhere in the middle, and then a last one just before the big surprise ending.

During the panel discussion, a comment was made that this is a little harder to handle in short fiction. The clues would be included in at most a “throw away” sentence or two. Frankly, what shocked me more was that the accomplished short fiction writers in the audience did not jump up and scream at the top of their lungs at this comment. Since when is there “throw away” sentences in a 3,000 word short story?

As I stated previously, the initial clue(s) may go unnoticed. But, can they really in a short work? Can you afford to insert a “throw away” line. just to set up a plot twist later? It seems to me that those “throw away” lines are nearly as important and require at least as much consideration as your opening line. These sentences need to fulfill at least two and maybe three or four purposes. One of which is to give the clue that the reader needs to remember, on some level, so that the surprise ending doesn’t seem contrived. Also, keep in mind that the clue should not be too obvious that it jolts the reader out of the story.

So, I would like to hear from you short fiction writers. How do you handle Set-ups in your short works? Or, do you stick with the tried and true plot tropes?



Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Thoughts on Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

777 Writer’s Challenge

It is hard to ignore a challenge. Especially one laid down by the lovely and talented owner of Sara Kjeldsen Writes. The challenge is pretty simple. Just open your current work in progress, go to the seventh line of the seventh page, and post the next seven sentences. Easy, peasy. Then tag seven other writers and challenge them to do the same. Not so easy.

After I read these seven sentences, i laughed. I was surprised that it took seven pages to get my protagonist into this much hot water. Anyway, He has a habit of biting off more than he can chew. So, here goes.

I stopped in mid-stride and slowly turned to face the most powerful wizard west of the Mississippi. She still stood behind the bar. Her eyes were wide with surprise but, she quickly recovered her composure.  Red sparks flashed from her casting rod. She flicked her hand and I heard the front door locks slam into place. Some of the patrons began to object, preferring to leave before two wizards began dueling. But, it was way too late for that.

Now a few author’s who should have something to offer up:

Kate Johnson

Scott Weber

Matthew Wright – He says he has some new fiction in the works, which I’m dying to read.

Corey MP

AnnMarie Wyncoll


Tags: , ,

Old Ones






Near strangers.

Characters from dusty memories telling tales of great wars and a great depression.

Bent and gnarled they spew forth wit and wisdom, hard-earned, during hard times.

Horse-drawn plows and wood-fired stoves, hand-written letters, and bath water carried in from the pump house.

An ax turning a log into a pile of kindling as if by magic.

Epic poems, memorized in youth, recited back verbatim, proving the mind is sharp.

Gone too soon, before we realize the treasure they are.


Memories cherished.


Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Other Strangeness


Tags: , , , ,

The Doctor is in!

On the wall of my cubicle at work, just above my computer monitor, hangs my one and only quote from Shakespeare. I can recite several, but this one is my favorite. It is from “Henry V”. I first heard about it, not from reading the story, but from watching the movie, “Dr. Detroit”. Yes, really! It’s a very funny movie.

Doctor Detroit movie poster - Universal Pictures, 1983

Doctor Detroit movie poster – Universal Pictures, 1983












At one point in the movie, Dan Aykroyd’s character, with help from his faithful “squire”, Diavolo, changes from a mild-mannered college professor into his Dr. Detroit persona. He recites this quote as the Doctor is preparing to go battle the evil Mom! It was quite fitting as Dr. Detroit wore a mailed gauntlet on one hand and he needs Diavolo’s assistance to change his clothing (long story). The scene is quite dramatic and Aykroyd plays it brilliantly. You just have to see it. So, here goes…

“The hum of either army stilly sounds, 

That the fixed sentinels almost receive

The secret whispers of each other’s watch;

Fire answers fire, and through their pally flames

Each battle sees the other’s umbered face;

Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs

Piercing the night’s dull ear, and from the tents

The armourers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closing rivets up,

Give dreadful note of preparation.”

Henry V – Shakespeare


I get the chills every time.

So what is your favorite Quote from Shakespeare?


Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Other Strangeness


Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: