It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing

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#Friday Reads – The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List by Slim Randles

Posted by mcm0704 on October 20, 2017 |

The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List
Slim Randles
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Rio Grande Books (May 22, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1943681708
ISBN-13: 978-1943681709

BLURB – With this book, you see, it’s really a race to see how many of these hundred-plus top places to catch fish in America before you starve to death, because you’re having fun instead of working.

The fly fishing experts in each state steer you to their own hotspots, tell you when to fish and which flies work best. The rest is up to you. And remember, it isn’t nice to drown worms!

Take this trip with a true outdoors person: Randles has packed mules in the High Sierra, competed as a roper and bulldogger in rodeo, guided hunters in Alaska and New Mexico, and drove a team in the first Iditarod Dogsled Race. Join him for some real fun!

REVIEW – This book lives up to the hype in the blurb, and it even has something for those non-fishing type people. There are lovely pictures of the lakes and streams in all of the great fishing places mentioned in the book, and the scenery in many of those pictures is stunning. The pictures of the different kinds of flies one would use for fly fishing, are quite interesting and educational. Just in case you need to know the difference between a Light Cahill dry fly and Luther’s Floozie for your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

By the way, Luther’s Floozie looks like a cross between a caterpillar and a red feather boa, so the name is apt.

Those of you who regularly visit my blog, know that I am a big fan of Slim’s writing. I truly enjoy his easy, relaxed style, and his books are very entertaining, as well as informative. The reader can always count on a little humor, or sometimes more than a little humor, and great stories about everyday people.

In The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List, Slim introduces us to the nun in the 15th century who was the first to write about fly fishing, telling Brits about the best flies to use for catching fish. As Slim relates, “And she knew her stuff, too, because when she wasn’t nunning around in a wimple, she was having a religious experience with a fly rod.”

Slim equates fishing with “going to church in the great outdoors,” and I heartily agree.

The informational sections of the book are broken up by sections titled “foof-ee-doof.” I looked and looked for some explanation of what the section titles mean, but darned if I could find one. Near as I can tell – see, I’m adapting to Slim’s style LOL – it has something to do with telling stories on oneself. Each one relates a funny experience Slim had while fishing or hunting, and they are as much fun to read as the columns Slim shares with us on Wednesdays.

I encourage you to try his books. They are great to have on your bedside table to read a section or two before going to sleep. But then, you might end up reading more than one or two.

Visit Slim’s Amazon Author Page to see all of his books.

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Be A Mentor

Posted by mcm0704 on October 18, 2017 |

It’s Wednesday and time for Slim Randles to entertain us with one of his weekly columns. He likes to tell stories about the guys down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop, a place that has become very real to me over the years that he has been sharing his columns with me. I can easily imagine sitting down at the counter with Doc and Windy and Steve and the rest of the gang and listening to them all talk about the latest in their lives. 

So pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and a slice of that homemade cherry pie.  

Ran into Herb Collins the other day down by the school. He volunteers there, from time to time, helping kids with their math homework, and trying to recruit future members of The Great World of Business.

He loved business, back in the days when he lived in the city and ran the pawn shop. For years now, ever since he hung up his jeweler’s loupe, he’s told us that there was an excitement to making the right deal.

“It has to be right for the customer and for me, or it isn’t right at all,” Herb always says. “You can do that and make several people happy and earn a living. There’s no need to take unfair advantage of someone just to earn a living.”

Our little town is a bit tame after city life, but it’s Herb’s wife’s home town and she wanted to come back here to live after he retired. So Herb turned to helping kids understand how wonderful business can be. He’s advised kids on the most effective way of delivering newspapers on their bicycles. He’s suggested advertising gimmicks for kids with summer lemonade stands. And he’s helped several boys market their skills with a lawn mower.

You can take the man out of the business, I guess, but it’s hard to take the business out of the man.

So after the shaking hands and the how-are-yous, we talked about kids and business, and the new crop of youngsters coming up this year. I couldn’t help thinking ol’ Herb might jump at the chance to dive back in the world of commerce again, but he disabused me of that right away.

“All through with that,” he said, shaking his head. “I was a successful businessman and now I’m successfully retired.”

Successfully retired?

“That’s right,” he grinned. “I have a wife and a television set, and they both work.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Slim’s new book The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List that features 120 “reel” great places to fish in America before you kick it. The book, as well as all Slim’s books can be found at www.lpdpress.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us.

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Inspiration and Fishing

Posted by mcm0704 on October 16, 2017 |

Bear with me, and you will see what inspiration and fishing have in common. Or maybe not. It’s going to be a bit subtle, so you might have to put your thinking caps on.

First the Inspiration

Which I especially like because now you can know that I don’t always listen to the horrible news on podcasts. Sometimes I listen to uplifting ones, such as a recent story on Ted Talks by novelist Elif Shafak. Here’s a brief introduction to what she had to say:

“From populist demagogues, we will learn the indispensability of democracy,” says novelist Elif Shafak. “From isolationists, we will learn the need for global solidarity. And from tribalists, we will learn the beauty of cosmopolitanism.” A native of Turkey, Shafak has experienced firsthand the devastation that a loss of diversity can bring — and she knows the revolutionary power of plurality in response to authoritarianism. In this passionate, personal talk, she reminds us that there are no binaries, in politics, emotions and our identities. “One should never, ever remain silent for fear of complexity.”

One point she stressed over and over is the need for us to be aware of and embrace all peoples in the world, not just folks in our corner of the globe. And we need to pray for people who are suffering all over, not just the ones in our neighborhoods. For too long we have been compartmentalized into tribes – the people in America, Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East all being separate from each other.

Elif strongly urges people not be be separate. Not to have an “us” and “them” mentality, but a “we” mentality. She said:

“Tribalism shrinks our minds and it shrinks our hearts.”

Wow! What a powerful statement.

Tribalism shrinks our minds and it shrinks our hearts.

Just think about how that mentality has driven so much of the discord in the world, as well as in our individual countries. I can see it clearly playing out in the racism and bigotry in the United States.

Elif’s entire message was so hopeful and so inspirational, I do hope you will follow the link to Ted Talks and listen to her entire talk. It is well worth your time.

Okay, About Fishing

The first thing I want to say about fishing is how my experience of fishing with an older black man in Omaha, Nebraska came about.

I first met Mr. Charles when I was out walking my dogs, and we would pass by his yard. He was one of the few neighbors who would be outside no matter what the weather was like, and we would often chat for a few minutes. He was thrilled to find out that my husband was a minister and that I am a chaplain, finding a common bond in shared ministry.

When I would stop to visit, some of our other conversations revolved around fishing and the great walleyes that could be found in lakes north of us, although Mr. Charles preferred the trout at a lake much closer. One day he told me how much he missed fishing, and I was surprised to find out he was no longer going out. He explained that his children, both of whom lived some distance away, were afraid for him to go out alone now that he was sick, and the friend he used to fish with was no longer able to.

He talked about this a couple more times when I stopped on my daily walk, and finally it hit me that maybe he was really grieving for this loss in his life. I asked if he would like to go fishing with me sometime.

“Oh, I thought you would never ask,” he said.

“But why didn’t you just ask me?”

“Because a black man cannot invite a white woman to do anything,” he said. “That is the way I was raised. I could never be that forward. But there is nothing in that code of conduct that says I cannot accept your invitation.”

That was a stark reminder to me that Mr. Charles had been raised to respect the tribal limits. Limits that kept us separate and not equal.

Unfortunately Those Limits Still Exist

A few years ago, I wrote a longer piece about fishing with Mr. Charles and, if you care to, you can read the entire article HERE

And you might want to find a fishing buddy, looking outside of you own tribe. You never know how many barriers to understanding that could break down.

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On the Brink of War?

Posted by mcm0704 on October 13, 2017 |

Before the heart of this blog post, I’ll share a picture of one of my cats. Hermione is so hard to photograph as she always runs from the camera, I had to snap this one of her basking in the sunlight the other morning. It was a chilly morning here in East Texas, and all the cats were seeking the warmth of the sun coming through the front window. Ironically, all the other cats moved, but Hermione stayed. 

 

Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my short story, Escaping Raul You can enter the sweepstakes HERE for a chance to win one of the 25 copies being given away.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The sweepstakes will end on Oct 20, 2017 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. 

Really, I should probably stop listening to podcasts as I do my morning exercises. The report from The Daily on Thursday was pretty scary as it related to North Korea and our tenuous relationship with leadership there.

Or no relationship as it turns out.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, recently had a rare opportunity to visit North Korea, and on the podcast he shared the stark difference between that trip and one he took in 2005. In the earlier visit journalists were allowed to stay in a hotel and had more access to government officials. In this latest visit, he was held in guarded Foreign Ministry Compound. The people who guided Kristof on visits outside the compound were Foreign Ministers, and Kristof got a sense that the ministers were wanting to shield him from the hard-line officials in government and military. In essence, Kristof told The Daily host, Michael Barbara, that there seemed to be a great divide between the foreign ministers who are more in line with diplomacy and dialogue and the North Korean government and military officals who are more inclined to go to war.

In a conversation that Kristof had with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, it was clear that hopes for opening a dialogue for a diplomatic solution are not there.

The Minister stated clearly and without hesitation that the main reason is because of the insulting and threatening comments by Trump.

When I heard that, my heart sank.

Can people not see what Trump is doing to our country and to the world?

How dare he put millions of lives at risk just to satisfy his narcissistic need for control and power.

And if you don’t think Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder, consider the 7 major signs of the disorder as outlined by Dr. Jean King on the website Partners in Prevention

  1. No empathy – unable to care about others unless for selfish gain
  2. No remorse – no concern about the impact of their behavior on others
  3. Belief that they are entitled – believe that they hold rights that are above others
  4. They are deceptive – a lie is not a lie, it’s a mechanism to get what they want
  5. Two Faced – the public persona is 180 degrees from what they really are
  6. Emotionally dependent – needs emotional support and admiration of others
  7. Uses battering for control – whether physical or emotional or professional, actual abuse or threats intimidate others

I think it is high time that we stop electing people with mental and emotional health issues. It’s a sticky discrimination issue, I know, but the safety of the world depends on steady leadership on the highest levels.

The final note that Kristof made in the interview on The Daily was how Trump is eroding the United States position as a world leader. And if it is not the U.S. what country steps into the vacuum? China? Russia?

What lies ahead is not the world in which I want my grandchildren to grow up.

Normally on Fridays I would end with a few jokes to lighten the mood, but what is happening with Trump is so scary, I want people to take it seriously and leave the blog thinking about the ramifications of his behavior in office.

Also worth your time and consideration is this report from NPR News on the unusual press conference held by John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff. It was also covered by other news sources, with most of the journalists wondering why the press secretary turned the entire conference over to Kelly.

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How Clean is Your Kitchen?

Posted by mcm0704 on October 11, 2017 |

Slim Randles is here today as my guest, bragging on one of his friends. But first, a little bragging from me. 

Actually, not bragging. Just an announcement. My short story, Escaping Raul,is now live for Kindle, and I am doing a giveaway. You can enter the sweepstakes HERE for a chance to win one of the 25 copies being given away.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The sweepstakes will end on Oct 20, 2017 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. 

And I do love the cover that a graphic artist designed, so I guess that is a bit of a brag, but only on her talent.

Escaping Raul was written some years ago and was the inspiration for the story-line of Stalking Season, the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series. 

So, enough about that. Here is Slim with his story about his friend, Delbert.

The food’s awfully good down at the Gates of Heaven Chinese Restaurant. The valley’s other Delbert, Delbert Chin, has been putting on a decent feed there since he came to this country many years ago.

We like that lunch buffet. All you can eat, of course, and he makes this pink sauce that’s out of this world. You can put it on everything. And you want to.

He asked me once why I used so much of it, and I told him if I had enough of that sauce, I could live on cardboard boxes and bedding straw.

But there’s something else about Delbert, too. He is so proud of how clean his kitchen is, he will drag strangers in to look at it. We’ve all been in there. At least once a year, Delbert will say, “You been in my kitchen? You come look.”

And we do.

If he doesn’t recognize you as a local, you definitely will get the kitchen tour. He insists we run our fingers along the top of the stove’s grease hood. We run paper towels behind the big stainless fridges. Under the stoves, too. Especially under the stoves. No grease, no dust, nothing. And he grins at the astonishment on our faces. But he keeps two teenage boys fairly busy cleaning – I mean scrubbing – that kitchen every day. You can tell when they’re working, because you can hear Delbert shouting instructions.

Oh, we have the usual health inspectors, as everyone does. But they don’t really need to go in there, and they know it. They’ll never red tag the Gates of Heaven. At any rate, Delbert knows customers have their own ways of red tagging a place that’s less than spotless, too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Slim’s new book The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List that features 120 “reel” great places to fish in America before you kick it. The book, as well as all Slim’s books can be found at www.lpdpress.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us.

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Book Review Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester

Posted by mcm0704 on October 8, 2017 |

Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher
Maxine Sylvester
File Size: 5993 KB
Publication Date: November 17, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01N64ZOFF

BOOK BLURB – Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license and becoming one of Santa’s reindeer, just like his hero, Vixen.

In the first adventure in the Ronaldo series, the second year flying cadets face their toughest ever flying test – The Endurance Challenge. Will Ronaldo be victorious and lift the silver cup? Or will mean brothers Dasher, Comet and Prancer ruin his chance for success?

In this second book of the series, Ronaldo and Rudi discover friends come in all shapes and sizes as they embark on a superhero mission to help a lost wolf cub called Ernie find her pack.

And, yes, there are missing carrots involved.

REVIEW – The story starts with the mystery of what is happening to the carrots that Ronaldo knows he put in his backpack, but now they are gone. When he and his freind, Rudi, as in Rudolph, find the culprit, they also find a new and unusual friend.

Ernie is a wolf, and everyone knows wolves and reindeer are bitter enemies, as the former likes to eat the latter. But Ernie is just a pup, and a playful one at that, willing to don the spotted pajamas and pretend to be a Dalmatian so as not to be discovered by the Wolf Patrol.

This is a fun book with lots of humor and wonderful illustrations, done by the author. In fact, the illustrations are what first attracted me to the book and had me agree to write a review. I’m a sucker for a pretty picture, and the ones in the book are quite pretty and charming.

The story has an important message for children – what is more important friendship or winning. Children can learn this lesson in many other ways, but couched in this delightful story, the lesson goes down ever so smoothly. I recommend this book for children of all ages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Maxine Sylvester was born in London, England. She grew up with a passion for Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. She also loved anything Disney and enjoyed drawing the characters.

Maxine’s love of ‘fun’ art grew and she had the privilege of being mentored by cartoonist and caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. She completed further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist and illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.
Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza, the third in the Ronaldo series, was released 29th Sept 2017. She is now working on a colour version of The Reindeer Flying Academy in time for Christmas.

BUY LINK for Ronaldo The Phantom Carrot Snatcher

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Relieve the Stress

Posted by mcm0704 on October 5, 2017 |

Since things have been so dire in the news, in the world, and even in some of our own lives for a while, I thought we could use a little relief from the stress with some fun from Slim Randles. He is usually my Wednesday’s Guest, but the week got away from me, as did my regular blogging schedule. But any time is a good time for an essay from Slim and a biscuit to go with our coffee. Help yourself…

Before moving on to Slim’s guest post, however, I want to make a couple of quick announcements. First, is the award recently given to Stalking Season, the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series. The Excellent Reads Book Award was created to honor John E Weaver, an avid reader and book promoter, who passed away in 2016. He loved discovering great books and authors then sharing them with his friends. Earthshine Media Group initiated the contest, and Stalking Season won for Police Procedural mystery.

This is the original cover for the hardback version from Five Star/Cengage.

A full list of the winners of the Excellence in Reading awards in all genres can be seen HERE

Next, I am thrilled to announce that the fifth edition of The Killer Wore Cranberry is now available to purchase at the Untreed Reads Store or DriveThru Fiction. It is also available for pre-order at Amazon, if that is your retailer of choice.

My short story, No Starch in the Turkey, Please, is included in this latest anthology, living happily among some other humorous stories centered on Thanksgiving. They are all fun to read, and I hope you will grab a copy for yourself, and maybe one or two to share as gifts.

Now here’s Slim with a nice story about rain and slickers and good friends.

When Florencio Ortiz sent off for that new slicker, everyone in town and out at the ranch knew about it. He described in detail how waterproof it was and how a cowboy just couldn’t possibly get wet with this slicker on.

Then it came, and Florencio tied it behind the cantle of his saddle each day. And Florencio looked to the sky for any sign of a cloud, and then patted that slicker affectionately.

“If it rains today,” he’d say, “I’m ready. Did you know this slicker keeps the saddle dry, too?”

Finally, during the gather, Florencio and the other hands were horseback about 10 miles from the truck, driving cows back to the home pasture. And the clouds came, thick and black and fast, and the rain poured.

With a joyous whoop, Florencio donned the new slicker and climbed back aboard his horse. But his buddies just sat their horses and watched. Their slickers were back in the truck.

They were amazed when Florencio dismounted, took off the slicker, tied it behind the saddle, and mounted again in the rain.

“Why?” they asked him.

“When my friends get wet,” he said, “I get wet!”

—–
Brought to you by Slim’s new book “A Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List,” from www.lpdpress.com

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Do We Need Assault Weapons?

Posted by mcm0704 on October 3, 2017 |

Condolences to all who lost loved ones.

There have been 270 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017, and now we’ve had another. The latest in Las Vegas is one of the worst in U.S. history where 59 people were killed and hundreds injured. Not much is known about the shooter, or why he did this, but what is increasingly clear is that gun control is a must. Not a wish. Not a dream. A must.

And I say that as a person who likes to go to the range and fire weapons. I am also a person who upholds a person’s right to have guns for hunting and other sports. However, it only takes one bullet to hit a bulls-eye on a target or bring down a deer so you can put meat on your table. It does not take a full magazine of a hundred rounds of ammunition to achieve those sporting goals

So what are assault weapons used for? Mass shootings, gang wars, and killing police officers. According to information I found on Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, assault weapons are used in 20% of police shootings.

To answer my question. No, we do not need assault weapons, and it is past time that we did more than just talk abut it. Congress has got to reinstate the ban on those guns.

The other big news item is the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. People are dying for lack of medical attention, food and water, and our leader blames the people. It is clear in his Tweets and statements to the press that 45 is acting out of his deep seated racism. Maybe not consciously, but he views the country and the people as not worth bothering with. His, and the federal governments response bears this out.

For too many people, this is so reminiscent of Katrina and how New Orleans was neglected for too long. Images from that atrocity match images from this latest one, in that people of color are the majority.

So can we continue to pretend that we are not facing a major problem with racism in our country?

Today on POD Save America  a renowned writer for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates was a guest, and he had some interesting things to say about racism. Specifically, how racism is viewed by so many people. One comment that struck me in particular  was “It’s the myths and the stories that we tell each other from generation to generation that matter more than the reality of history.”

He made that comment in reference to how people will alter the past in their minds to justify a current belief. He cited in particular the way people today look back on the early Civil Rights Movement, believing that Martin Luther King JR was highly respected across the nation. In reality, 66% of Americans did not support him or his efforts.    

Coates has a new book about the years of the Obama Presidency We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy This is an important book at this time of racial unrest, and I highly recommend it. It is a series of essays that examine new ideas for justice, as well as looking at the shadow of history that hangs over all of us, black and white.

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Friday’s Odds and Ends

Posted by mcm0704 on September 29, 2017 |

The recent intense rancor on social media surrounding the actions of NFL players last weekend started me thinking about how much more productive discussions might be if we did what Native Americans did in order to establish respect between their tribe and another, as well as the white man. Some of us who grew up watching classic Western movies, have seen the images of the gatherings in tee-pees, where the peace pipe was passed from person to person, each taking a puff to acknowledge a pledge to honor the talks and the agreements.

For those of you who have not watched old western movies and may not know exactly what the ceremony is all about, the use of a Native American peace pipe occurs often in a spiritual ceremony.  During the ceremony, Native Americans will smoke from the peace pipe and say a prayer to the four directions. The Native American peace pipe is not restricted to being used only be Native Americans, but it is a spiritual thing, and what it symbolizes must be respected by everyone attending the ceremony.

More information about the peace pipe ceremony can be found at Indians.org.

And here is my own peace offering. The last of my roses.

This news was announced on Thursday:

The Trump administration will waive federal restrictions on foreign ships’ transportation of cargo to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, after having declined to do so earlier this week.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Thursday that President Donald Trump has “authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico,” in response to a request from the governor.

The Jones Act is a federal law that prohibits foreign-flagged ships from shuttling goods between U.S. ports. Republicans and Democrats have pushed Trump to waive it, in order to get desperately needed supplies delivered to the island more quickly and at less cost.

Too bad it took over a week for that to happen.

On Wednesday, The Daily Podcast covered the story of the mis-information that came out of Twin Falls, Idaho in 2016 when a 5 year old girl was sexually assaulted by refugee youths. When the story first broke, as fake news long before fake news became a household word, the perpetrators were said to be adult males who raped the girl, urinated on her and held a knife to her throat.

Because of the nature of the alleged attack, the news quickly went viral and stirred the basest of responses in people. The rhetoric around this event was fueled by fear and misconceptions, and the anger was fueled by racist remarks by Steve Bannon and Breitbart News, specifically reporting by Lee Stranahan, who works for Breitbart.

Since the perpetrators and the victim were minors, the case was sealed and journalists were limited in what information they could obtain, and families declined to talk to mainstream media. Stranahan, who has a reputation of reporting without all the facts, was able to get an interview with the victim’s family, but he went on to report “fake news.”

Stranahan wrote that what took place was a  “horrific gang rape” and wrote graphic details about the incident, which the Twin Falls Police say are untrue. Police and city officials could not counter the fake news with details of the truth, so they were accused of a cover-up, which fueled even more anger directed at Muslims.

Repeatedly Stranahan, and those who took up the racist chant, used the words Muslims, terrorists, Islam, immigrants, lumping them all together as if they were all dangerous and bad. More about this can be found at Longreads.com that ran a story The Panic In Twin Falls.

Just like all the misconceptions surrounding the controversy over the athletes’ actions, we have to stop perpetuating falsehoods in our news, in our blogs, in our Facebook posts, and in our Tweets.

FRIDAY FUN – Don’t want to leave without something fun to bring a smile after all the heavy news.

Two guys are walking through a game park & they come across a lion that has not eaten for days. The lion starts chasing the two men. They run as fast as they can and the one guy starts getting tired and decides to say a prayer, “Please turn this lion into a Christian, Lord.”

He looks to see if the lion is still chasing and he sees the lion on its knees. Happy to see his prayer answered, he turns around and heads towards the lion. As he comes closer to the lion, he hears it saying a prayer: “Thank you Lord for the food I am about to receive.”

Q: What is the difference between a cat and a comma?
A: One has claws at the end of its paws and the other is a pause at the end of a clause.

Okay, maybe those jokes aren’t laugh-out funny, but they are cute. If you have an opinion about any of the topics covered today, including the jokes, please let me know with a comment. Hope everyone has a great weekend. I will be helping my son celebrate his birthday. I won’t tell you how old he is going to be, as then you will get some idea of how old I am. LOL

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Writing a Serial?

Posted by mcm0704 on September 27, 2017 |

Please help me welcome Renee Scattergood as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. She is the author of the fantasy series Shadow Stalker, which I previewed here last Sunday. I thought it was interesting that she wrote the story in serial format and was pleased when she sent her guest post that explains how she came to write it that way.

Before moving on to her post, lets start off with a Breakfast Martini, recipe thanks to My Grill: Outdoor Cooking by Pete Evans. Image thanks to Rufus’ Food and Spirit Guide, a blog site that popped up when I did a Google search for drinks from Down Under. I am not sure if this might be a favorite drink of Renee’s, but it sure looks good to me. And if we include the orange slices, it is a healthy drink, right? 

Now here is our guest,  Renee Scattergood.

Thanks for having me here today, Maryann. I appreciate the invite and am happy to meet your readers.

You are not the only one who is curious about how I came to write the book the way I did. A lot of people wonder why I decided to write Shadow Stalker as a serial, especially considering longer works (like novels and novellas) sell so much better. At first, it was meant to be a novel series. In fact, I had completed an entire first novel for the series. I showed it to a friend of mine, who is a published author, and she made many suggestions on how I could improve it, which required a complete rewrite.

It seemed like a daunting task, but I absolutely loved her suggestions and knew the story would do so much better with the improvements. So, I scrapped the old manuscript and started (almost) from scratch. As I wrote, though, old fears started bubbling up. I had already spent so much time writing the original manuscript. From conception to final draft, it took almost five years. I knew it wouldn’t take that long the second time around, but I also knew it would take a good amount of time. I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest that much time into something only to learn people didn’t like the story.

I set it aside for about a year while I considered my options (and focused on raising my daughter). I’d heard of authors releasing one chapter at a time as they wrote their novels, but I wanted this to be different. I wanted to write it as though it was a TV series, but instead of being on a screen, it would be written in a novelette kind of format.

I released the first episode in August 2014 and made it free for everyone to download. After that, people could buy each episode for 99 cents. I never expected to get much in the way of sales from this. It was more of a way for me to get feedback from readers about the story.

It did much better than I expected, and in the following year, I decided to release a bundle of the first six episodes and offer that for free. By then, episodes seven through twelve were also available, so I bundled those as well. Since then the story has been gaining a lot of new readers.

I’ve learned so much from the experience, and I’m ready to move on to my first novel series, but I’ve gained a lot of fans who love short reads, so I’ll be continuing with the serials as well. I guess you can say I’ve got the best of both worlds now.

Renee Scattergood, author of the dark fantasy serial, Shadow Stalker, lives in Australia with her husband and daughter. She loves reading, watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her daughter. Visit her site for a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6):

You can find out more about Renee and her work on her Website and read her Blog. Follow her on Facebook – Twitter and LinkedIn

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