Category Archives: creativity


Well, not to get too complacent about things, I have decided to merge the first two books into one. The reason is simply that otherwise, the first would probably only qualify as a novella. I want my readers to get as much of the story as possible as soon as possible, and this clears the decks for the two sequels that I know will follow reasonably quickly. And then the two after that are still planned and half written. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before. But it is back in my hands and I will now be making my decisions as I originally planned to do.

I am very near to the point where I can have a friend proofread it, at the same time that another friend does the beta read. Between two (or possibly three) sets of additional eyes, I hope we find all the typos. My typing has gotten a little sloppy as my fingers can’t keep up with the words flowing from my noggin. I am happy the words are flowing again, however, and will not object to a downside that is only sloppy typing. Poor grammar might bother me but sloppy, arthritic fingers are one of the costs of getting on in years.  And Word has the nasty habit of auto-correcting ( I know that I can turn it off) which does not teach my fingers the right places to go. On the other hand, it avoids a number of embarrassing mistakes, such as forgetting the space between “pen” and “is.” Of course then, it’s usually  a grammar mistake.

So please bear with me, as I muddle my way to the finish line. I still think you’ll like it. I hope you give it a try.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Spock

For people of my age, we were introduced to science fiction by the Starship Enterprise that ungrammatically headed out to do strange things and meet stranger things in our wide universe. The arrogant James T. Kirk, played straight by William Shatner who didn’t show his comedy licks for years, befriended the half human-half Vulcan Mr. Spock, played by the man I mourn today, Leonard Nimoy, with panache and elegance. It was one of the unifying elements of my first year in college that we all knew these men, and wished they had stayed a little longer.

We were rewarded in later years by full-length movies that were alternately awful but campy, or funny, or inspiring. To see our Mr. Spock reborn on the Genesis planet after we saw him sacrifice himself for the good of the many in nuclear hell was to be reborn ourselves in the wonder of the universe. Leonard Nimoy wanted to leave behind this character who was forever part of our lexicon of youth, and we didn’t let him go. He showed up on Star Trek the Next Generation as well as the movies when we resisted his departure. The fact that he was supporting a rebellion on TNG was only in keeping with the growing image of him as a man for all seasons. Few actors could have kept the difficult job of being Mr. Spock going for more than a few seasons, let alone a lifetime.

And yes, we conflated Leonard Nimoy and the character he created onscreen. It was unfair to him, for which I apologize. But his continuing advocacy for a more scientifically literate society did not fall on deaf ears. Many young fans flocked to the hard sciences because of his work, and for that we should be thankful. We should also be thankful for the many hours of enjoyment he gave and continues to give as the inimitable Mr. Spock.

Live long and prosper.

Good News! I’m an Editor

Life is funny sometimes. I got interested in helping indie authors present better books by offering inexpensive proofreading services about a year ago. In one of the ironies of life, I gave up that work except for helping a few old clients in need of emergency work to focus on my own writing. Now I am the official proofreader for the online literary journal, Mud Season Review, a project of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Doing this interrupts my writing time, but I feel it is a service I can render with relative ease.

I have told you that some of my satiric poems are going to be in the 2015 Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Tonight I have been asked to proofread some of this volume, and told that I will become an Assistant Editor. Woot-woot! Life definitely has a way of coming and biting you in the butt.

And now for a sneak peak at my novel: the first two paragraphs, unedited.

The last thing Winifred Palmer, known to her friends as Freddy, remembered was taking acid in her best friend’s summer cabin. Now she found herself sliding down a rainbow chute at a casual speed, the colors quivering and morphing. Her hands skimmed the soft sides of the chute as a sense of euphoria filled her. She couldn’t see the sky or any area outside the chute, but she felt no worry.

She left the chute feet first and wafted to the ground, landing gently in a field of wild flowers, with vibrant blues, reds, oranges, and purples. She breathed the fresh air that had a hint of vanilla and lilac. The many flowers she had crushed in her landing smelled familiar but there were a few that she did not know. She reveled in the feel of the warm earth under her fingers, sensing the richness of the loam.

Fantastical Trips, coming soon to a bookstore or e-retailer near you!

Daily Prompt: Play Lexicographer.

Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

This is a daily prompt right in my wheelhouse. I have created a number of words, primarily for other species in my writing, where there is no word in existence to name them. Some of the names have obvious derivations, such as the felixities and the fliperlies. The cat people’s name comes from their genus, Felix, while the dolphin like fliperlies’ name comes from a 1960s era comedy, Flipper. Others have no obvious connection to existing things.

The avanees and the kerps are named after two typos I made that rang true for me. The avanees, raven like creatures with bigger brains and the ability to talk, were a typo for the name Vanessa, and kerps, two foot tall humans, arose when I mistyped the word keep four times as kerp in one short story. I figured that it was a sign.

My most recent species name arose when I was typing a flash fiction for my writers group. All I knew about the species was that it had tentacles at the time I came to name it. So I threw a syllable into the air metaphorically and came up with Trapolisis. This species later practices a mind-to-mind hypnosis, and I don’t think I realized that yet when I named the species, but it seemed to fit even better.

The bottom line is that I think some about names I give species, but mainly I just wing it!

More poetry news

We workshopped some more of my poems today, and it appears I have garnered a fan or two. The same gentleman who liked my poems last week has graced me with the title of poet. I am girding my loins to present the three best to the poetry workshop in the very near future. It will be interesting to hear what others think of my use of an archaic form.

One of the poems I wrote for this week was another pantoum, this time addressing the issue of reading poetry that one thinks is inferior. I am told it is a near universal complaint, this doubting of oneself. I was once again stunned by a comment both of the men at today’s workshop made. They think I speak in a cadence that has its roots in poetry. Coulda hit me with a sledgehammer. I believe I talk the way I always have, and certainly no one before has made such a comment. I have been told by my fiction compatriots that I have a distinctive voice. My response is that and a buck might get me a cup of coffee. And not very good coffee at that.

So I am once again in an awkward place. I have always thought my metier was fantasy, and those who have read my first story (still at the editor) believe it is a very good story. But what if I’m really a poet? I know those who claim to be both. But I don’t seem to be able to do both at the same time. When the poems arise spontaneously, it seems to shut off my narrative stream, and vice versa. Maybe I should give over my mornings to poetry and my evenings to fantasy. The afternoons can be whatever is pressing harder. I may have to quit all my volunteering if I am to make my way in both genres.

Where was all this creativity when I was younger and more able to adjust? Bah, humbug.