I was in early grade school when the NBC Nightly News splashed videos and images of the Vietnam War across the television screen. My parents were typically busy upstairs while I watched in our basement’s family room.
What intrigued me was how journalists could cover fights in the jungle and even American POWs being marched through the streets of Hanoi. A desire to help struck me along with marveling over this unusual role of relaying information.
My mother showed me another way of being in the action as a reporter. She wrote for our town’s newspaper and we were eating in a local diner when the fire alarm went off at the volunteer fire station. …
I’ve traveled from Los Angeles up the 14 Freeway and onto Highway 395 on my way to Lake Tahoe. There’s a place past Red Rock State Park where the 14 merges into 395 with a sign points east to the town of Ridgecrest and the naval air weapons base.
We were watching four children for a friend, plus our two grandchildren, and decided to travel four hours to Keough Hot Springs in Bishop to give the kids a memorable time on a Saturday.
The gang included two girls and one boy aged 12 to 14 and two boys and one girl aged 5 to 2. …
Los Angeles is a collection of completely different enclaves with unique environments. Los Angeles’ Westside is a case in point with its own collection of neighborhoods that differ greatly from Santa Monica and Venice Beach to Playa Vista and Westchester. Ocean breezes that cool the area are an attraction but so are the many walkable and bikeable streets.
Do commutes in Los Angeles make you shudder with dread?
Another draw to the Westside is the ability to live close to where you work.
Writing takes nerve, determination and a resolve to press through to the end and endure the rewrite in order to refine the novel, article, or even email.
Every day, I persevere to start the next story, complete the next article and balance the next client bio, blog post or book. And every day, I often start from the same place. A litany of questions:
Questions make me uneasy. And yet there’s only one way to answer them and that is to write. Write and then refine through editing. …
Dogs. Why do we need them and why do they need us? Dogs are a fact of life, even if you don’t have one in your house. They’ve been around for centuries.
At the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, I get a kick out of the paintings from the Middle Ages that show both common people and the elite with a dog or two in the illustration.
In your writing, you can give your main or supporting characters more human traits by bringing dogs into the story, even if they’re not a main part of the storyline.
Think of it this way, we all have little quirks or personal traits. Fictional characters with those traits are highly relatable. …
Before I get too profound, I know that we all love a great story. We like a good story, but we all love a great story!
Stories that are memorable with likeable characters who have strength, courage and humor draw us to the page.
Can stories shape our thinking, even subconsciously? Perhaps so. When I started writing this, I immediately thought of the musical Oliver with all the pickpocketing and treachery. The story was so well done that I don’t need to draw a moral conclusion from any of it.
And author Lee Child has done a great job of memorializing Jack Reacher in the minds of loyal readers. He’s been that unsavory Savior — the imperfect hero. …
Comedy was always my favorite genre. Situation comedies on TV, variety shows like Carol Burnett or Flip Wilson, and well-written movies that made you laugh were always my favorite. But crime and thriller fiction took on new and deeper meaning during the past two decades as I’ve struggled through court issues with family, business ups and downs and continually seeing evil rear its ugly head in so many ways.
Now that I’ve co-authored my fifth novel, Tom Stone: Subterfuge, I’ve realized something about crime and thriller fiction. It’s a wonderful way to present the timeless battle of good versus evil.
Contemporary authors John Grisham of The Firm and Lee Child in his many Jack Reacher stories have shown this time and again. …
Spiraling down and out of control is no fun. But circumstances get thrown at us like gusting winds tossing debris in our faces. I’ve been there and I’ve opened my home to others who have watched success slip away, and they can’t grasp it again no matter how hard they try.
You can get back on top with consistent small steps that lead to do-able goals.
My family’s journey from foster care to adoption to guardianship led to having up to 10 combative teens and young adults in our home. …
After I woke and took the dogs on our little jaunt down the street, I logged on to my laptop and scanned for news of the election. Then I heard my wife exclaim that the woman who’s helping us watch a four year old and two year old brother and sister had to cancel because her mother passed.
Election news, be damned. It wasn’t yet 7 a.m. and my morning was going to change. …
Sharpen your pencils, sharpen your mind.
This is my advice to myself, but you’re welcome to eavesdrop and adapt it if you have multiple projects you’re juggling.
I’ve got some paying clients I blog for and I’m launching my fifth novel, Tom Stone: Subterfuge, next week on November 10 and I need to update my own marketing materials. In addition, I’ve got a little school work to go over with our middle schooler — and we continue watching a 4 year old and 2 year old for the next few weeks.
So, yes, I risk getting scattered.
And then we’re having a major election tomorrow and the temptation is to click frenetically all over the Internet for updates and the aftermath. There’s always enough to try and toss you off your game. Don’t let outward circumstances derail you. …