Elevator (Not Sliding) Doors

It’s Saturday. Time for a smile. How about a bit of [romantic] fun this morning?

Paris street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]
Paris street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]

Paris; apartment building elevator; uncooperative door; Americans: A few moments in “Valerie’s” thoughts:

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Make Your Own “Friends”

The road we all travel….

Street. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Street. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. [Photo by me, 2016.]

And why do I say that?

My eighteen year old English niece loves a certain American TV program. I detect based on what I see around me that she is hardly alone in that. It seems to have quite a following in her age group and slightly older.

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An Uncommon Setting

If you find yourself a bit stuck creatively, feeling stale, or worse, suffering from “writer’s block,” my advice is shake yourself up with a fresh experience or two. (Uh, but having an affair is going decidedly too far!) I’ve already written about my “inspiration” recently on the road to Geneva. The other day, I’d had another moment: our day in Chesham.

Wandering around there on Monday looking at the historic buildings got my mind going: a great location, outside London and still relatively rural. It was also an important business location during the late 18th century time frame I’ll be using in the new novel.

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“Paris” Will Always Capture U.S. Headlines

There has been criticism in some media and social media quarters over the avalanche of U.S. media reporting on the November 13 Paris massacres. Pointed to especially has been the comparatively far lesser coverage of the November 12 Beirut suicide blasts, in which over 40 were killed. The disparity between the two has prompted accusations that Americans simply don’t care nearly as much about mayhem in Beirut as they do about mayhem in Paris:

Screen capture of the New York Times.
Screen capture of the New York Times.

I’m not going to try to defend a difference in newspaper column inches and cable TV air time between the two horrors. Rather I will attempt briefly to address what is probably the basis for it. A personal experience came to my mind.

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A Soul Of Steel

Late on Thursday, I had driven my father and sister back to his Pennsylvania house (a 2 and 1/2 hour trip). Yesterday I came back here to the Catskills. I have been so stressed out in the last month over the death of my uncle and especially my mother, I wanted to be alone here in my own house for a few days…. and listen to music, watch the occasional deer, and stare at the scenery:

We've awoken to unexpected snow in the Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
We’ve awoken to unexpected snow in the Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]

But that didn’t mean I’d cut myself off completely. Last night, I was chatting with a cousin on the phone. We were discussing my mother and my uncle, and their deaths, and remembering family, such as our grandparents.

Suddenly my wife messaged me – from ENGLAND – asking had I seen what was happening in Paris?

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A Motorcycle Journey Down Memory Lane

I know it’s not like me, but I have no “profound” post in mind for today.

I suppose I still recovering from the house move.

So, how about this? I saw this yesterday on Twitter:

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Not Being An “Artist,” I’ve Taken My Best “Shots”

That post I wrote yesterday about that cover of that, errr, “erotica” novella having created a logo dispute with the Chicago Teachers Union, encouraged me to take time afterward in the day to finish off the Distances cover “officially.”

We’ve all bought books. We know it’s usually the first “contact” we have with one. The cover can be the difference between attracting us to the book…. or not.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a modern art painting.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a modern art painting.

As a writer, you could be the next “big thing,” but if the cover’s lousy quite a few people who are put off by it will never learn that. When you indie publish, the decision falls to you. When I was considering what to do for a cover for Passports back in 2013, new to all this, I had searched through hordes of “stock photo” possibilities, including human models. Frankly, most of what I saw was dreadful stuff that made me groan.

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“Author Terror” Makes Its Appearance

Over the last few days, as planned, I’ve spent hours proofreading and tidying up Distances. Headphones in, listening to it as I read along, it is remarkable how hearing your written words helps you focus while you proof. It does make it easier to spot not only the likes of accidentally omitted words and typos, but I find it better reveals the overall flow and “readability” and if there are any problems with them.

Paris, France street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]
Paris, France street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]

One of my proofreaders, who had before their publications critiqued both Passports and Frontiers, was also on the phone yesterday.

She’s impatient.

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