Author of Suspense Thrillers talks writing & stuff

Archive for the month “August, 2012”


Fall is in the air. Oh, it still is hot and the trees, except for those who gave up the ghost in this summer’s drought, haven’t really begun to display their autumn reds, yellows, or oranges. But, on closer examination, we can see that nature is definitely dropping hints that summer is gradually relaxing its glorious grip. The birds know. Emmett and I know because we watch them and talk about them (yes, my Bully and I talk…well, mostly I talk and he dutifully listens, occasionally grunting an affirmative) as we take our daily strolls through the neighborhood. Grackles and starlings are beginning to congregate and troll the lawns as though they were sweeping a mine field. The energetic little yellow finches no longer serenade us. It appears they have begun their journey to wherever it is they spend their winters. The robins are definitely not as numerous as a month ago. In general, the symphony of songbirds so sweet and jubilant just weeks ago is becoming more of an occasional melancholy étude. Then there are the geese. These are my favorite of all, not because of their song, which resembles more of a New York City traffic jam than the New York Philharmonic. And certainly not for their traditional “calling cards,” which are less than appealing to the senses. No, they are my favorite because these extraordinary creatures are just that. Extraordinary. We can learn a lot from them if we just take the time to observe and heed the lessons. A very special person taught me about them many years ago and I have had special place in my heart for these amazing creatures ever since.

Fact: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds 72% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of another.

Fact: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact:  When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, and resources.

Fact: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we had as much sense as geese, we would stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Fact: Geese fly South for the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Lesson: It is a reminder to take a break from the cold of winter and take a vacation to some place warm & sunny to rejuvenate ourselves.

Fact: The larger flocks of geese usually inhabit areas where geese eating for humans is more popular or in demand, and where there are smaller flocks of geese flying, there is usually smaller demand for geese to be used for human food. * This fact according to the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents study on geese.

Lesson #1: Larger flocks of humans together may not always be as effective as smaller flocks that are able to maneuver much more quickly in life and business without being eaten up by the competition…so to speak. 😉 (yes, this was a stretch, but relevant, no? 🙂

Lesson #2: The smart geese know to not fly with the big herds, and instead create their own niche flying circle or game.

Facts 1-5 can be found floating around the Internet, some saying author unknown and states Milton Olson as the original author. Facts 6 and 7 are from Entrepreneur, Author, Business Builder and Email/Web/Internet Strategist, Christopher M. Knight.

“Wild Geese,”

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body, love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.



Enjoy this guest blog from our good friend Merle.



I recently went to  a McDonald’s and I saw on the menu
that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken Nuggets.
I asked for a half dozen nuggets.
‘We don’t have half dozen nuggets,’ said the teenager
at the counter.
‘You don’t?’ I replied.
‘We only have six, nine, or twelve,’ was the reply.
‘So I can’t order half dozen nuggets, but I can order
‘That’s right.’
So I shook my head and ordered six Nuggets

(Unbelievable but sadly true…)

(Must have been the same one I asked for sweetener,

and she said they didn’t have any, only Splenda and


I was checking out at the local Wal-Mart with just a
few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up
one of those ‘dividers’ that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our
things so they wouldn’t get mixed.

After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the ‘divider’, looking it all over for the bar code so she
could scan it. Not finding the bar code, she said to me, ‘Do you know how much this is?’

I said to her ‘I’ve changed my mind; I don’t think I’ll buy that today.’

She said ‘OK,’ and I paid her for the things and left.

She had no clue to what had just happened. ( But the lady behind me had a big smirk on her face as
I left)


A woman at work was seen putting a credit card into her
floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly.

When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she
was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a credit card number, so
she was using the ATM ‘thingy.’

(Keep shuddering!!)


Just recently my partner stumbled across this delightful gem and perhaps you have seen it show up in an email or on a Facebook posting. I believe it is worth reading and re-reading. As owners, or perhaps more correctly, the staff, of two beautiful bulldogs, we are frequently reminded of the wisdom these creatures inherently possess.


If A Dog Were Your Teacher

Author Unknown


If a dog were your teacher

These are some of the lessons you might learn…

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face

to be pure ecstasy.

When it’s in your best interest

practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run romp and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.

On warm days stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you’re happy dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded

don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout,

run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

Stop when you have had enough*

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried

dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day

be silent …..

…sit close by.

…and nuzzle them gently.


* Note: “stopping when you’ve had enough” does not apply to bulldogs. at least, it does not apply to our dynamic duo!


I really don’t like to sit still, I eat constantly, and I love to sing but can’t seem to remember all the lyrics anymore…guess in my next life I will probably come back as a hummingbird!

* * *

After a trip we took to Alabama a few months ago and being forced to deal with all those ridiculous Illinois toll booths it is easy to see why the IDOT is only an “I” away from being an IDIOT.

* * *

Recently, I had a little disagreement with a closing car door and, as you probably suspected, the door won – hands down! (pun intended) The end result was two stitches, supposedly a hairline fracture, a finger splint and one very embarrassed piano teacher. (I say “supposedly” fractured because further examinations of the X-ray determined that it was not a fracture but old bone spurs – great!) But, as I always say, things always happen for a reason. Maybe it was to remind me of importance of even one little finger to the functioning of the whole body.

* * *

Author and humorist Dorothy Parker said, “I hate to write but I love to have written.” Actually, I hate to clean but love to have cleaned. I hate to organize but love to have organized. I love to write. Now if only I didn’t have to get organized and clean!


* * *

RIP Gore Vidal

“You can improve your talent, but your talent is a given, a mysterious constant. You must make it the best of its kind.”

“I’ve always said, ‘I have nothing to say, only to add.’ And it’s with each addition that the writing gets done. The first draft of anything is really just a track.”

“The reason my early books are so bad is because I never had the time or the money to afford constant revisions.”

“That famous writer’s block is a myth as far as I’m concerned. I think bad writers must have a great difficulty writing. They don’t want to do it. They have become writers out of reasons of ambition. It must be a great strain to them to make marks on a page when they really have nothing much to say, and don’t enjoy doing it. I’m not so sure what I have to say but I certainly enjoy making sentences.”

“Constant work, constant writing and constant revision. The real writer learns nothing from life. He is more like an oyster or a sponge. What he takes in he takes in normally the way any person takes in experience. But it is what is done with it in his mind, if he is a real writer, that makes his art.”

“I’ll tell you exactly what I would do if I were 20 and wanted to be a good writer. I would study maintenance, preferably plumbing. … So that I could command my own hours and make a good living on my own time.”

“If a writer has any sense of what journalism is all about he does not get into the minds of the characters he is writing about. That is something, shall we say, Capote-esque—who thought he had discovered a new art form but, as I pointed out, all he had discovered was lying.”

“A book exists on many different levels. Half the work of a book is done by the reader—the more he can bring to it the better the book will be for him, the better it will be in its own terms.”

[When asked which genre he enjoys the most, and which genre comes easiest:]

“Are you happier eating a potato than a bowl of rice? I don’t know. It’s all the same. … Writing is writing. Writing is order in sentences and order in sentences is always the same in that it is always different, which is why it is so interesting to do it. I never get bored with writing sentences, and you never master it and it is always a surprise—you never know what’s going to come next.”

[When asked how he would like to be remembered:]

“I suppose as the person who wrote the best sentences in his time.”

—All quotes from “The Complete Works on Gore Vidal” by Russell Halley, Joseph Pilcher and Michael S. Lasky, Writer’s Digest, March 1975



After what seemed like an endless Midwestern drought, over the past week or so, we have been blessed with some showers and thunderstorms. Even though the welcome water has been less than optimum, I am amazed by the difference in the landscape. Two weeks ago when taking the Young Prince Emmett for his daily stroll, I noticed that with every step we took through the common area lawn behind our townhouse the ground beneath us seemed to explode into a cloud of dust. I don’t ever remember seeing the ground that dry! Then, presto! Today as we walked over that same “mine field,” it dawned on me that no longer was the earth choking and coughing up her precious dirt as we trotted along. Already the grass was green again, plants were perking up, and nature was reversing its course. What a miracle life is!



If you like to read fiction or write fiction (or both) as we do, check out this wonderful special anniversary issues of on-line magazine. “Shelf Unbound.”


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