Strong Women   2/25/13



Strong women play a large part in my historical fiction. I am lucky to have supreme role models in my ancestors and in the women that share my world. They are giants of will and perseverance. They guide me as I create my fiction’s characters.


My great-great-great-great grandmother, Rhoda, became a widow in 1815. Her war veteran husband’s will, coin and goods, added up to $7. Four young children lived in her cabin. The 1820 US census listed her as a head-of-household. Few women found themselves on that list. When the Choctaw left their ‘treaty’ land in 1820, Rhoda packed up those children and left for what became Copia County, Mississippi. Again, the Copia County tax rolls listed her as head-of-household, just as rare there. Together they carved out a home in that forested wilderness.


Her son, Ike, married Pretia in Mississippi but by around 1845 they immigrated to the Republic of Texas. By the time of the Civil War, she lived on the edge of settled areas of America. On this frontier, Pretia birthed and raised 11 children. She endured all the travails of frontier life that women lived and survived. She helped found towns, turns a republic into a state, holds on through Reconstruction, resists the depredations of Indians and outlaws, and keeps house under the harshest of conditions.


My wife is also a pioneer. Becoming an adult in the early ‘70’s, she broke a number of glass ceilings, did what was then (and now for that matter) a man’s job in a man’s world, all while managing her two boy children – me and my son – and being an all-around great human being.


The list is not yet complete. There are all the mom’s, dentists, business owners, teachers, writers, nurses, doctors, and others to many to list. They enrich my world and my art.


All of these influence my character creating. In spirit or in truth, they lean over my shoulder as I write correcting me, guiding me, giving me ‘real’ female characters.




Caution   2 20 13




Caution – Salesman at work.


I tease my wife, the consummate salesperson, with ‘Honey, there has been a salesman at work’ sometimes. We are watching the tube with some story about some new technology twist on a cell phone app, a new wrinkle remover bean promises us eternal youth, or some ridiculous law tries to placate us because no one enforces one already on the books. Some suit somewhere pitched something to somebody needing cash or power. Now canned copy broadcasts itself into my living room just waiting for me to buy into it. More to need, more to want, more to purchase.


It’s marketing. I try not to hate it or listen to it even as I now type on my laptop with its wireless mouse, the flash drive plugged in, the TV on, the cell phone ringing.


However, I am a marketer. I thought I was a writer. I’m not. I’m a marketer. Marketing is using up precious hours of my life that I cannot ever get back.


One thing about marketing, if you are a writer and marketing your own stuff, is that it is all I, I, I, me, me, me (much like this blog post). So, I joined my sixth online writers group today. Six. I go there to pimp my book. Oh, I show interest in the books of others (an easy thing to do – for the most part they are good reads), I discuss interesting topics, I try to drop some good advice to other newbies. I review. But, it’s all about pimping in the end. Pimping. Pimping. Pimping.


We are not alone, us writers. There are bunches of us out there. We far outnumber the readers, our potential customers, it seems. The zombies have eaten what readers have not been bombed away by the terrorists. If there are any readers left, they now line up for food at the free kitchen without a dime between them.


However, I must soldier on. Books, no matter how good, do not sell themselves. Caution – there be salesmen here!




New Addictions   2 10 13


‘Just been surfing. Now days, it’s not at the beach in the sun. I surf in a chair in front of a glowing screen. Fascinating stuff. Google, Goodreads, Face Book, Kindle Boards, Bing, the list can be endless. I research and I communicate. I get attention.


The world is so full of great ideas and great work. The ‘internets’ is a wonderful gift. Name a subject, an interest. Someone is studies it plumbing the depths, unearthing the secrets. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that kind of work. For me, that research has been in education and mental health. Well, some local history studies in college. I never got the opportunity for archeology. I never had the math skills for physics or cosmology. No real regrets, it gave me lots of good reading to do.


I never really knew what a conversationalist and a gossip I am. (My wife and friends will tell you different.) I perceive myself as shy and sitting quickly in the corner as the world passes by. That is no longer true. I go places on line. I say things on line. And, gosh darn it, people go there too and they say things back. Ideas get bandied about. Opinions get shared. All of that can keep me up late.


Getting attention, that’s the worst. That’s what is addictive. I speak (write) and people respond. They speak back. It’s amazing. It’s a treat. What amazing minds all of you have? I am still awed that folks read my posts and the posts spark thought and prompts people to share. Y’all do that for me, also. I am grateful.


It really is terrible. I have to stop myself from feeling neglected on the days when my analytics show a drop in hits. There is too much to do in this world these days. And, the center of that world is not me.

Uh ooh, I feel the draw of the glowing screen. Gotta go check. Who’s come to visit? Who wrote?


Blood Work   2 1 13


Growing old can be hell. This will not be one of the more happy blog entries.

I spent the day, again today, with a needle up my arm, watching tubes of empty vacuum filling with dark liquid life’s blood. My life’s blood, thank you. Seven tubes, today. Seven. This is the third time in 10 days. I am lightheaded from it all.

With my parents illness, my mom’s passing, my dad’s waning, and this preposterous universal gift of growing old, I have wasted much of allotted life for these last 2 years waiting in waiting rooms. Way too much. Could I never see another waiting room?

You know waiting rooms. They run the gamut yet are all the same. One of mine pretends to comfort with chairs actually padded and a sagging fake leather cover couch, another a pristine sterility of black and silver and echoing quiet, another better suited for arrested criminals awaiting the gestapo and filled with downtrodden half-insured sick people. You are ignored at your seat with a clipboard in your lap others, ill, have handled and with questions whose answers are only known by doctors or lawyers. And, damn, the pen does not work.

The nurses also run the gamut and yet are all the same. Some are friendly. Some are stony. Some nurse you. Some nurse computers, files, and folders. You can never guess which is which for they all wear the same color scrubs.

I am lucky with my doctors. My parents – well not all of the time. The doctors range, tall/short, long/round, white/brown/yellow/black. Their one commonality is that you can guarantee each will have a list of tests and don’t care that the same test was given just last week by the previous doctor. Different week, different results. My mom had tests and tests. My dad had tests and tests. My wife had tests and tests. My son had tests and tests. I had tests and tests. The tests come in waves like the deaths of famous people. I cannot wait until we can spend a few months more or less healthy.

It doesn’t really matter. I can hate it all I want. I doesn’t matter. In the end, none of us get out alive.