5 Things I Hate About Writing

  1. b6857-11jan132b003First of all, our school systems do a poor job of teaching English. It basically makes people hate studying the language and how to write it better. Grammar? Bleh. How do you get past this? People still write, but it seems like most of those people do so because they can’t stop themselves. I wonder how many more people would be writing if they weren’t made to hate it in High School. When I decided to take it seriously, I had a lot of education to undertake. It spurred me to get a Master’s degree, simply to fill in the gaping potholes in my skillset. I still ended up taking an undergraduate class in grammar. I enjoyed it actually. No really.

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Throwback Thursday: A Life of Consequence

This gem dates back to Dec 30, 2011. Please to enjoy.

milky way road.jpgIt’s the end of the year and it usually brings an overabundance of introspection and reflection and for me it’s not just “what did I accomplish this year” but I find I’m looking at the big picture. Is my life shaping up the way I want it to? Am I having an impact on things that matter to me? Am I positioning myself to be able to influence things that are important to me? I’m approaching the big 5 0 and that may have something to do with it.

I can remember being a fresh-faced lieutenant and looking at what seemed an endless dark tunnel of training and hoop jumping to get where I wanted to be. It was great to finally get through that tunnel and into the daylight again. It took years of hard work and dedication to see the light at the end, but I made it through. The thing is, once I got over the fact that I had achieved my initial goals, I found that I was sitting on a knoll looking down at several more tunnel entrances. It had opened up possibilities and I had choices but I was going to have to go through more training and learning if I chose to come down off the knoll.  It was nice sitting there for a while, basking in the sunlight, but eventually you want more challenges. You find that you are not fulfilled for whatever reason. Maybe you aren’t doing what will really make you happy or have the impact that you want. You have to choose a new tunnel and start the process all over. Continue reading

In Your Write Mind

In Your Write Mind

Tomorrow I will be on my way to Pennsylvania for a writing convention. It’s more than that to me, though. It’s a bit like a homecoming. Except it’s not, because I


Seton Hill University

never lived there. I did, however, go to school there for my Master’s degree. I haven’t been back since I graduated, for various reasons, although I had intended to go several times. Life events overcame my plans.

I finished my Master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University four years ago this month. Alumni from this awesome program loved the place so much that they started doing a summer con that happens at the same time as the summer residency for the program, so that they could see their classmates and former mentors. These wonderful people became an extension of our families. Continue reading

Watching Television, errr, Small Screen/Streaming


We recently watched Gentleman Jack on HBO. The writing and acting were brilliant. Before that it was Games of Thrones and Star Trek Discovery, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Stranger Things. All of these were wonderful. We love Counterpart on Stars and it looks like there is going to be another good show on Stars, besides Outlander, The Rook. It looks very interesting.

I tried Orange is the New Black and Handmaid’s Tale, but they don’t really do much for me. My wife didn’t even bother with them.

We tried Man in the High Castle, but accidently started on season two and it made no sense, so much so that we didn’t want to watch season one. It deviates widely from the book, but almost every adaption of Phillip Dick has taken a broad approach to his work.

This might be an unpopular opinion but Good Omens was meh. I read the book and it was much better. Something isn’t translating well for us.

We started Ozark, but only made it a little over halfway through season one.

Better Call Saul was okay, but we didn’t get very far with that either.

For the most part, other than Counterpart we seem to drift away from the darker shows. Counterpart is intriguing because of the deep character development. I just found out they cancelled season three. Of course they did. Most of the shows I like get cancelled.

We loved Discovery of Witches, but we also loved the books. They have done a good job translating it to small screen.

Big Little Lies looks interesting but we haven’t watched a single episode. I’ve heard that Peaky Blinders is good, but haven’t watched that either. Black Mirror remains on my list, but we haven’t started it yet and I think there are five seasons now.

One of the great developments in the last decade has been the growth of book to series instead of movie. Good books translate so much better to small screen because we don’t have to lose huge parts of it. It’s a dream to have one of my series picked up for an adaptation. Of course, I have to write it first.

So, what do you watch? What are you looking forward to? What were your favorites?

5 Things Friday: My 5 Favorite Books So Far

I am starting something new. 5 Things Friday. I hope to post every Friday with a new 5 things. I’m starting with a short list of my five favorite books of all time. Up until now at least. It’s difficult to stop at five but I like the alliteration. I’m not doing Fifty things. That would take weeks to write each one. Here we go!

5. Into the Wilderness – Sara Donati – This carries on the story after the James Fenimore Cooper novels, the Leatherstocking Tales, Last of the Mohicans ring a bell? I really adored these as a young man. Set in the New York wilderness in 1792, Into the Wilderness is the story of a headstrong English teacher and the son of a legendary frontiersman. I loved this entire series. A little romance, a lot of action, and a great mix of fact and fiction. I learned some history reading this series. My book review is here.

4. Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – I have loved this book for a very long time. The highly imaginative world, the crazy characters, and the sing-songy nature of the dialogue is marvelous, and practically perfect in every way. The original artwork by John Tenniel is amazing as well and fits perfectly with the off-kilter view of the world. Continue reading

Throwback Thursday – 5 Things That Will Make Me Drop Your Book Like a Hot Potato – Revisited

Part of my ongoing thing on Thursdays to revisit some of the older posts that are still valid. This one dates back to Nov 22, 2011.*

I read Chuck Wendig’s 25 things that will make me keep reading your story and it made me think, I have WAAAAAYYY more things that will make me STOP reading your story (Okay, I might have overstated that, it’s only 5 things).  And of course he posts about that very thing this morning.  ARRRRGGH!   Anyway, not to copy, but I had this idea in my head, so I’m going with it.

If I see a blurb that I like or a nice cover or get a recommendation from one of my friends, I will pick up your book and give it a fair shake.  Unlike Chuck, I’m not standing in the doorway with a gun in your face waiting to not like it.  If I’ve gotten as far as cracking the cover and reading the first page I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt.   I want to like it.  But there are a few things that will make me drop your book like a hot rock, or hot potato or anything hot. You get the idea. Here we go: Continue reading

Am I ready to Run a Half Marathon?

Short answer is no.

I’m planning to do something I have never done before. I set my sights on a mini-marathon in the fall.

I ran ten miles once.

More than 35 years ago.

My feet really hurt afterwards and I vowed I would never run that far again. At the time, I was running cross country and regularly running 6 or more miles almost daily.

I haven’t really been much of a runner for several years. Back in 2010 I started running regularly and worked my way up to 8 miles. I maintained that fitness level for about a year and since then I have gained almost 40 lbs. I have managed to lose 15 of that recently, but being almost 10 years older has really made a difference. I have been trying to run 3 days a week for the last six weeks or so, but my distance hasn’t improved all that much. I have two more weeks before I start the training plan in earnest. Continue reading

Happy Anniversary to Me

180523-F-OA533-1002Today makes one year at my new job. I work as a simulator instructor for KC-135 pilots from all over the country. I really dig it.

The picture to the left was taken a few months before I retired, with a picture of me from my USAF Academy days. Not much changed. Heh.

I have always enjoyed teaching. I was an instructor at the KC-135 schoolhouse for several years back in the late 90s, teaching people how to fly the KC-135 that were new to flying, meaning they had just finished going through undergraduate pilot training, which is almost a year long, or maybe they were crossing over from flying a different airframe. I did a lot of that. I trained guys changing from the F-4 and the F-15 into the tanker, as well as other weapon systems.

The major difference is we almost exclusively train during the day. The other major difference is I don’t actually get in an aircraft anymore. Just the sim. Continue reading

TBR new books added to the list

These are the latest in my books added to the To Be Read pile. The cool thing is two of these authors are friends of mine from my MFA program. Can’t wait to read all of these. What’s new on your list?