Author of Suspense Thrillers talks writing & stuff

Archive for the month “September, 2012”



Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin
Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
Francis Bacon
Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Mark Twain
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
Ernest Hemingway
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Ernest Hemingway
My stories run up and bite me on the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.
Ray Bradbury
I don’t care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you’re also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.
Nora Ephron
A reading man and woman is a ready man and woman, but a writing man and woman is exact.
Marcus Garvey
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
Anais Nin
If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.
Ernest Hemingway
I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.
Robert Frost
You fail only if you stop writing.
Ray Bradbury
One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.
Ernest Hemingway
I am a drinker with writing problems.
Brendan Behan
I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.
Steven Wright
There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
Ernest Hemingway
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Every sentence spoken by Napoleon, and every line of his writing, deserves reading, as it is the sense of France.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are different rules for reading, for thinking, and for talking. Writing blends all three of them.
Mason Cooley
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham
When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.
Samuel Butler
Writing is a dreadful labor, yet not so dreadful as Idleness.
Thomas Carlyle
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.
Alexander Pope
That element of surprise is what I look for when I am writing. It is my way of judging what I am doing – which is never an easy thing to do.
V. S. Naipaul
In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.
Will Rogers
Even when I’m writing plays I enjoy having company and mentally I think of that company as the company I’m writing for.
Wole Soyinka
The importance to the writer of first writing must be out of all proportion of the actual value of what is written.
Elizabeth Bowen
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
Graham Greene
In writing and politicking, it’s best not to think about it, just do it.
Gore Vidal
Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
Robert Frost
It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
W. H. Auden
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Ray Bradbury
Good sense is both the first principal and the parent source of good writing.
Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
Gene Fowler
Nothing induces me to read a novel except when I have to make money by writing about it. I detest them.
Virginia Woolf
The real joy is in constructing a sentence. But I see myself as an actor first because writing is what you do when you are ready and acting is what you do when someone else is ready.
Steve Martin
Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.
Marsha Norman
Good writing is like a windowpane.
George Orwell
Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence.
Alice Walker



Funny how my “need to know” appetite has shifted over the years. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight. It metamorphosed slowly, almost insidiously, as I went about my daily life, oblivious to the change.

Following a long family tradition of reading the local daily newspaper almost religiously, each morning, I ceremoniously reach into the paper box, pull out and untie the plastic bag that holds a chronicle of community, nation and world events. By today’s standards with news being available twenty-four/seven almost instantly, and literally, at our fingertips, it’s old news. Actually, calling it old news is a contradiction in terms. If it’s old it can’t be new, right? Finally, after the royal bullies have been fed, breakfast is on the table and I begin to read from my old friend, the newspaper.

Through the passage of time, many changes were obvious and well-advertised. The paper went from being “evening news” to a morning edition. Color was added to the pictures and features. The paper is no longer printed locally, but comes from presses located in Milwaukee. An electronic edition is now available online and many stories have additional photos and videos readily available to subscribers. Although I do take advantage of some of web-only features, nothing can replace the satisfaction of holding the actual paper and turning the pages while sipping on my morning cup of strong coffee.

The subtler “need to know” shift is not in the newspaper or its format. The really big change is the order in which I read the newspaper. At the age of 16, I began with the headlines followed by The Teen Beat, the movie section and lastly, current events.

At 18, it was headlines, college news, the movie section, current events.

At 21, headlines were followed by engagement and wedding announcements, movie reviews, and local news.

At 30, headlines retained their first place but engagements and weddings gave way to births, horoscopes and, time permitting, current events.

At 40, headlines were still in the lead, but the birth notices were replaced by divorce notices, current events gave way to the crossword puzzles and classifieds while keeping an eye out for rummage sales and “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s forty” personal ads.

At 50, it turned almost full circle: Headlines, Teen Beat, engagements and weddings, but only because Today’s Teen or those darling, young newlyweds were possibly former students or – YIKES – the children of former students!

Today, I barely glance at the headlines because I’ve already heard the news or read it somewhere on the Internet. Sadly, my eyes now go immediately to the obituaries praying I won’t recognize any of the names.

I have become my grandmother!


Each morning after Emmett’s walk through the neighborhood, I hold the newspaper out for Emmett, our English Bulldog puppy, to take it between his teeth and eagerly deliver it to my partner. To be truthful, Emmett is not always eager to actually let go of it, but I’m fairly certain he isn’t as interested in reading it as he is in chewing it!

Although I do get a lot of my news on-line these days, I do realize it would be foolhardy to expect our younger Bully, Emmett, to carry my iPad proudly to my partner after our morning walks! (Besides, I would not trust my partner with my iPad who would have no clue as to how to use it.)


Since we are the dutiful staff to royalty, two English Bulldogs, we thought it appropriate to share this guest blog with our readers who are dog lovers.

“Everything You Wanted To Know About Puppies
But Just Forgot To Ask”
Dan Karas and Shirley Greene

OK, maybe not everything, but here are 30 of our best random tips for new puppy owners. They’re all the things learned from experience. And, experience comes from making mistakes! Feel free to add other tips you’ve collected over the years. If you are a trainer, attach a business card and use this laundry list as a handout at your next puppy socialization or kindergarten class. If you are a breeder, add one to your puppy packet. And, of course, don’t forget to ask your clients to share their best suggestions, too.
1. Make a puppy tote bag and take it with you whenever the pup goes along:
Soft wet rag(s) in a ziplock baggie
Soft dry rag(s) in a ziplock baggie
Empty ziplock baggie to contain a “mess”
Leash/collar or harness
Copy of shot record
2. Support system: Start a list of the names and numbers of experienced dog people you can call for advice, referrals or just to brag. Start this list using your breeder, veterinarian, trainer, feed store and then collect cards from “dog people” you meet during outings with your pup.
3. Is this the vet for me? For each visit, prepare one or two questions for your veterinarian. After two or three appointments, ask for a copy of your dog’s records. Then, read them. If they seem complex, or if your pup has been ill, ask a knowledgeable dog-person to review them with you. If you’ve had the pup in for check ups and shots and the written history only lists inoculations, search for another vet. Good records should include the pup’s weight, appearance, and vital signs, etc. plus any questions or concerns you’ve raised. A good medical history is worth its weight in gold as a future diagnostic tool.
4. Chew treats: Puppies are chewing machines. That’s how they explore their world. Much like human infants, everything goes in their mouths. Especially at teething time, provide your pup with a variety of textures for chewing pleasure. Some of my favorites are:
*Ice cubes – made with water or low sodium broth
*Large carrots – especially nice if dipped in water and placed in the freezer
*Kong toy with natural peanut butter rubbed inside – leave a little extra for
the pup’s exploring tongue.
5. Pup meets cat: Separate the new pup from your house cat until the pup is tired. Make the initial, supervised introduction or get-acquainted visit when the pup is energy depleted. If your cat is extremely testy, consult with your veterinarian about mild sedation for the feline.
6. Be mentally present: When you can’t be with the pup mentally and physically, the pup should be crated. Years ago, my 10-week old poodle managed to chew an Indian rug that was sitting under my chair – while I rubbed her back with my foot! I was physically present, but my mind was concentrating on the computer screen and not the pup’s mouth. Her slurps were coming from a frozen carrot – right? Wrong!
7. Internet advice: The Internet is a great place to meet other pet owners, do research on your breed of choice, and pick up health and training tips. However, do not believe everything you read on the Internet, in books or in dog magazines. Use common sense and when in doubt, consult your veterinarian or members of your support group.
8. Puppy poop: As often as possible, especially if your pup is not totally housebroken, clean up puppy poop while it is fresh. This gives you the opportunity to check for parasites or possible foreign materials. If you notice these, blood, mucous or extremely foul odor, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian for the pup and the stool sample.
9. Not in front of the puppy: Be careful what you do around your pup. Spading weeds from your flowers may be a chore for you. However, the dog may find it’s a great way to learn about digging holes.
10. Poke privileges: All family members must be able to handle any part of the pup – including feet, teeth, under the tail and genitals. From the first day your pup becomes part of your household, make certain to practice gentle handling of all body parts.
11. What’s normal? To determine normal ranges for your pup’s temperature and pulse, practice taking these readings. Ask your veterinarian or technician to show you the proper method of taking a rectal temperature and where to find pulse points. That way, if you pup isn’t acting quite right, you have a baseline from which to judge illness.
12. Different strokes for different dogs: It is possible, and often desirable, to have different rules for different dogs living in the same household. My toy poodle is allowed on furniture. My German Shepherd Dogs are not. This isn’t unfair. The rules are consistently trained and always enforced.
13. Kodak moments: Take a photo the day your bring the puppy home and weekly, thereafter, for the first year. What a great way to chart growth and create a scrapbook. An album of these pictures makes a wonderful gift from family or friends.
14. Dear diary: If the pup exhibits periodic behaviors or symptoms, begin a diary. List the day, time, symptom, what happened a few days before, etc. From skipping meals to occasional scratching, your diary can provide important information and clues to your veterinarian, as well as helping you decide when to seek professional help. This is also good for training issues.
15. One set of rules, please: Make certain all household members agree on the rules for the new puppy. From the minute your pup joins the family, everyone should be using the same command, enforcing the same boundaries and rewarding positive behavior.
16. What’s the plan? What do you plan to do, long term, with your new dog? Are you going to do tracking? Agility? Schutzhund? Many of these activities require basic work, now, while the pup is young. Make a game plan and a training schedule. Start a notebook to chart your progress.
17. Just dropping by the vet: Take your pup to the vet’s office just to say “hi.” That way, the pup will have less animosity when its time for shots or a check up. Familiarity with the smells, sounds, etc. makes the visiting the vet more routine and less traumatic.
18. Look: isn’t that sweet? Some things you may find cute in a pup can be problems in a grown dog. A 10-week old Fido playing tug with your socks is cute. But when Fido is two years old and eating your shoes…it’s not cute; it is destructive. Stop a problem before it becomes a bad habit.
19. You ought to be in pictures: Take lots of videos of your pup when he/she is young. You’ll really appreciate this later. And, as an added bonus, reviewing the video will allow you to objectively assess not only the pup, but also your behavior while training, playing, etc.
20. Take it easy: Pups are little balls of energy. Yet, they need lots of rest. Don’t set your expectations too high. Let your pup have plenty of “down time.” If you have children, make sure they understand the pup must have “time and space” to rest and be left alone.
21. Back off, kid: Kids and pups can be the greatest pals in the world, or the dog can learn to hate children. Supervise your children when they play with the pup. Make certain they never tease or torment. When the puppy has had enough play, give it “space” and a quiet place to nap.
22. Rubber ducky: Make bath time lots of fun. Get the puppy used getting wet and having a bath early on. Speak to the dog in a happy tone, rather than a soothing one. This is fun, no reason to be afraid. Heck, you may end up with a dog that tries to jump in the shower or tub with you!
23. No begging: Don’t allow the puppy to get away with begging. If you don’t reward the pup for this behavior now, you will not have to deal with it when company is present. Consistency, consistency, consistency.
24. Go for a walk? Soon these words will be magic. Take your pup for short walks. Exploring the world together is a terrific way to expose your pup to new experiences. But remember: they tucker-out easily, so don’t overdo.
25. Stress is contagious: Puppies are sensitive to your emotions. If you are upset or having a bad day, do not introduce new commands or objects. For example, if you’ve had an argument with your boss and then start introducing the pup to loud noises, the pup may easily interpret the stress emanating from you to mean that loud=scary. Wait until you are in “neutral” and can be patient and encouraging.
26. Don’t push it: Puppies learn better when you don’t try to teach too much at one time. Make the sessions short and always end on a good note. Make sure the training is fun for the puppy and he/she will learn faster and will be more eager to please. If the pup is having difficulty with one exercise, end on a good note and try again another day.
27. Keep them occupied: A bored dog can be a destructive dog. Give your pup something to keep it occupied. Toys are important to stimulate a puppy’s brain activity. Choose items that won’t confuse the pup. Chew toys that look like shoes are not a good idea.
28. The baby’s crying: When you bring your new puppy home, try not to over-pamper it, especially the first night. Don’t run in and offer comfort or tell the pup to be quiet each time it whimpers or whines. If you do, your pup will learn that crying brings attention. Bad message.
29. Gotta go: Don’t forget that pups have to go potty more often than adult dogs. Make frequent trips outside. Also, when going outdoors, go to one area of your yard and wait for the pup to do his/her “business” before playing in other spots. This will aid in housebreaking and make clean up easier.
30. Love lasts: Your pup will be a full-grown dog before you know it. A dog is a long-term commitment. Some breeds live 15 years or longer. That adorable puppy still needs love and care when it is full-grown. If you care for your pets, they will return the love many times over.
And, in closing, a few thoughts:
Bringing your pup home is a wonderful, exciting time. It’s the beginning of a life-long friendship. Plan to bring your pup home at a time when the household is calm and not a lot of activities are scheduled. Holidays and stress-filled periods are a “no-no.”
Never be afraid to ask for help. Should your pup become aggressive towards people or other animals, or exhibit any traits that make you feel uncomfortable, immediately seek help from a professional. This behavior will neither improve nor will it go away without expert evaluation and training. Be responsible. Make certain your pup knows the rules for being in public and is a welcomed member of your community.
Good luck and good training!
This article and more like it can be found at


Do the number of children and the order in which they are born into a family affect their personalities in a significant way?

Many variables influence personality development, but how do we explain two male siblings, born only eleven months apart, made by the same two parents and raised in the same house at the same time being as dissimilar as night and day?

In his book “Born to Rebel,” Frank Sulloway suggests that birth order does, indeed, have strong and consistent effects on the Big Five personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Sulloway argues that firstborns are more conscientious, more socially dominant, less agreeable, and less open to new ideas compared to laterborns.

That being said, allow me to share one of my favorite family stories. I call it “The Garage Sale”

One year, when the boys were around 6 and 7 years old, (or, if it was during that magic month, they were both around 6 years old) we had decided as a family to clean house and get rid of a lot of those “hadda havums” that had become “no longer neededs.” For weeks, the dust flew and tears were shed as we began the separation and grieving process for all of those old toys, gadgets, doohickeys and favorite old articles of clothing that had once been so dear. Price labels, specially prepared with a code delineating the owner of each item so that said owner would receive his just dues, were lovingly placed on the treasures that were about to be the focus of our first annual garage sale.
At last, the big day dawned, bright and beautiful, perfect weather for the event. Our garage had been transformed into a mini marketplace. Two clothing racks displayed out of date or outgrown fashions. Long tables, card tables and shelves (some of them even being sacrificed for the good of the cause) were resplendent with ridiculously underpriced artifacts of our family history. All four of us had on our aprons of camel colored corduroy, handmade with remnants from pants I had sewn for the kids. (Waste not, want not, I always say.) Each apron had separate pockets for paper money, coins and paper and pencil to keep track of whose items were sold and for how much. And at the center of it all was the newly purchased grey, metal cash box that has served well for many garage sales since and probably still holds some of the same coins left over from that spectacular sale so many years ago. (Wal-Mart was not operating back then, but had they been – they would have been terrified by our competition.)

The excitement was electric. Neighbors, friends, and strangers started to descend upon our display looking for bargains and newfound treasures. The artifacts on the clothing racks, tables and shelves slowly disappeared until, as the sun set on our sale; all but two boxes of miscellaneous memories were now entrusted to new owners.

The family, weary but eager to assess our efforts, sat at the round kitchen table and tallied up the profits. The boys had pulled in a whopping $42 and $36 dollars, respectively. That was a lot of cash for a 7 year old when you could still purchase a matchbox car or a gallon of gas for a dollar! So, plans were made. A shopping trip to the local Kmart was planned for the following weekend.

It seemed like an eternity to the boys, but finally it was shopping day. Transformers, Matchbox Cars, Lego Sets and the like flew off the shelves and were sucked into shopping carts as though pulled by some unseen electromagnet. Higher math skills were applied and practiced as we “guestimated” the total cost of each cart’s contents, making sure we stayed below their magic numbers of 42 and 36. The younger of the pair was eager to be first in line, so he pulled his shopping cart into the check-out lane and began stacking his selection of new treasures onto the counter. The cash register began to sing a merry tune and the finale was a respectful amount just below his $36 limit. He could barely contain his excitement as he reached in and pulled the crumpled up wad of earnings out of his pocket. What joy, what rapture!

From behind me, I felt a little tug on my jacket. A pensive little voice said, ” Mom, does this mean I have to pay for my own stuff?” “Why, of course honey,” I replied. “That was the idea.” “Really mom, aren’t you going to pay for it?” “Not this time babe. You earned it and you can spend it on anything you want.”

Behind those sea blue eyes I could see the wheels turning and after a few moments of serious thought, he said, “Okay, I’ll be right back.” Off went he went, cart in tow, and in a few minutes he returned with an empty cart. He had decided that, if the money had to come from his own pocket, he didn’t really need all those toys after all. From Kmart we went directly to the Savings and Loan, where he opened up his first bank account with $42.

It must be birth order. Right?


Astronomer: Moon Starer
The Eyes: They See
Geologist = Go Get Oils
Christmas = Trims cash
Why do you care? = Hey you coward!
Action man = cannot aim
Year two thousand = a year to shut down
Debit card = Bad Credit
shower time = where moist
Santa Monica = satanic moan
goodbye = Obey god
ipod lover = poor devil
Narcissism = Man’s crisis
Funeral = Real Fun
comfort is = microsoft
Hot water = Worth tea
Television programming = Permeating living rooms

Would you like to add some anagrams of your own? Send your submissions to


By popular demand we are reblogging this interview to answer the question: “Who is Pat Lawrence?”


Q: Who or what inspired you to become an author?

A: We were inspired by great storytellers like Charles Dickens, Ayn Rand, Ken Follett, and Agatha Christie.

Q: What was the turning point in your life when you decided to start writing?

A: We have always written. Ever since we had the ability to arrange and rearranged A,B,Cs into words, then sentences, then paragraphs, we have enjoyed creating.

Q: What is or are the genres of your book or books?

A: We write suspense thrillers designed to keep readers guessing and glued to the edge of their chairs until they reach ‘the end.’

Q: What made you decide to write in your particular genre?

A: We write in the suspense genre because it is the genre we most enjoy reading ourselves.

Q: Who is your favorite author, and how did they inspire you to write?

A: Ken Follett is our…

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More observations from our intrepid reporter and guest blogger friend, Merle.

I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping
beside her car. ‘Do you need some help?’ I asked. She replied, ‘I knew I should
have replaced the battery to this remote door unlocker. Now I can’t get into my
car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience store) would have a
battery to fit this?’

‘Hmmm, I don’t know. Do you have an alarm, too?’ I

‘No, just this remote thingy,’ she answered,
handing it and the car keys to me. As I
took the key and manually unlocked the door, I
replied, ‘Why don’t you drive over there and
check about the batteries. It’s a long walk….’

PLEASE just lay down before you hurt yourself !!!


Several years ago, we had an Intern who was none too
swift. One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, ‘I’m almost
out of typing paper. What do I do?’ ‘Just use paper from the photocopier’, the
secretary told her. With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece
of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five ‘blank’ copies.
Brunette, by the way!!


A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher
if she needs to take her kid to the emergency room, the kid had eaten ants. The
dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and he should be fine, the
mother says, ‘I just gave him some ant killer……’

Dipatcher: ‘Rush him in to emergency right now!’

Life is tough. It’s even tougher if you’re stupid!!!!

Someone had to remind me, so I’m reminding you too.

Don’t laugh….it is all true…

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