LI Con

August 8th, 2015

I’m going to be at LI Con this weekend. It should be fun. There’s a growing group of fans out there.

Here’s the post.

http://li-con.org/tag/programming/

 

Vocabulary in a young adult novel

July 31st, 2015

I received some comments about my YA book, Invasion From Fred, saying that the vocabulary in it was too advanced for younger readers. I put a lot of serious though to this issue when I wrote the book. Two things made me decide to challenge my young readers. The first is a social issue. I feel we are doing too much “dumbing down” of material that’s presented to the American public. (And it’s not happenstance that I’m saying this during an election year.) I didn’t want to give my young readers something that was easy to read. I wanted to challenge them. The second factor that motivated me to use a larger vocabulary, was the fact that I knew most of my sales would be in the e-book format. If you see a word you don’t understand in an e-book, you can just highlight it, and the device will give you the dictionary definition of the word. I decided to give my young readers the opportunity to improve their vocabulary.

Last Holiday Tradition

January 7th, 2015

We have reached the third stage of the Christmas holiday traditions. First there was Bringing in the Sheaves. Second there was Rolling in the Yule Log. Now we are Picking up the Pine Needles.

Congratulations

November 18th, 2014

My congratulations to Eric Nelson as he assumes his new duties as Executive Editor at Penguin Books.
Eric did a bang-up job editing Dog & Pony and Tales from the StarBoard Cafe for me. I will miss his great talents and will have to do my best to find someone to replace him.

Funny writers

November 5th, 2014

My favorite thing to read and write is humor. If I find an author who writes in this genre, I tend to devour everything (s)he wrote. So far my list is: Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Jasper Fforde, Tom Holt, Dave Barry, Janet Evanovich, Carl Hiaasen. Emeritus: Mark Twain, P.G. Wodehouse.

Where do you go for laughs?

October 27th, 2014

I’ve discovered that I read and write the foster child of literature: humorous fiction. If you go to a bookstore in search of that genre, you’ll discover it doesn’t have a home to call its own.
Yes, bookstores have a section marked “Humor,” but look on those shelves, and all you’ll see are books like Dave Barry Turns 50. Non fiction humor. However, if you want to find a novel that’s going to make you chuckle, you damn well better know what author or book you’re looking for and what section of the store it can be found in. And if you want to find another author who writes similar material, (s)he won’t be found on the same shelves.
This situation poses a problem for marketing a humorous novel. How does the author reach their audience?

Science Fiction

January 14th, 2014

When someone says the words science fiction, it immediately conjures up images of Starship Enterprise, Darth Vader, death rays and all sorts of glorious accounts of alien creatures flashing around outer space.
However the term has a rather muzzy definition due to common usage. If you go to a science fiction convention, attendees will be discussing fantasy subjects, like Gandalf, and Harry Potter, and the Mad Hatter. They will also be discussing horror subjects, like Dracula, and Freddy Kruger, and all of those nameless zombies. However this does not exclude the discussions they’re having about Predator, and Avatar, and Alien.
Usage has it that science fiction is a general category that includes–science fiction.
We’ve been doing it for years, using the name of a product to describe the whole category. We call all facial tissues Kleenex, and all adhesive strips Band-Aids.
So I’m just going to take a bottle of water out of my (Frigidaire) refrigerator, hop into my (Jeep) SUV, put a Band-Aid on that cut on my hand, blow my nose on a Kleenex, and head to the Science Fiction convention.

On Writing Humor

August 19th, 2013

A man slips on a banana peel. He–
A. –does a prat fall. There’s humor here, but no plot.
B. –hits his head on a curb and goes into a coma. There’s plot here, but no humor.
Do readers want humor or cracked heads?

An Apple a Day

March 19th, 2013

So I’m taking this stuff to reduce cholesterol that’s called red yeast rice. It’s a capsule that’s neither red, yeasty, nor rice-y. It’s very good stuff –  and it has an identity crisis.

A New Holiday Tradition

January 7th, 2013

I have come up with a great new commercial idea for the holidays.

Businesses have been trying to lengthen the holiday season by making it start earlier and earlier. They’ve missed the boat. There are a lot of days after Christmas that are waiting for an entrepreneur to turn them into full economic opportunities. After all, those are pretty dull days with cold weather and long nights. They need a holiday celebration to brighten things up.

I’ve got the perfect day because it will take advantage of a Christmas ritual we are already practicing.

I’m speaking of that wonderful holiday ceremony of Sweeping up the Pine Needles. This festival will take us several weeks–nay months, for those last few pesky needles–past the holiday season.

It can be celebrated by the giving of gifts: brooms, dustpans, vacuums. The possibilities are endless.

Think of the boon to our economy! It will extend the holiday shopping season by at least a couple of weeks.

Now I’m sure there’s going to be some party poopers–or holiday hobblers–who are going to point out that a great number of people use artificial trees that leave no deposits of happy holiday needles (my phrase) laying on the floor. I think in the spirit of the new holiday, they will be happy to sweep up imaginary pine needles. I think this concept might really resonate with mimes.

So, in the spirit of this brand new holiday, I would like to wish all of you a very happy and prosperous Dustpan Day.