Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dec. 30 Six Sentence Sunday


The Setup

     All of my remaining snippets for SSS will be from my second novel, The Presidents Club, which premieres as a weekly serial on Sunday, January 6, 2013 on my publishers web site. Since we won't have SSS soon, you can get an entire chapter, each week, -- FREE. Eventually, the entire book will be available in both e-book and trade paperback. 

     Today, one of the group of old men who hang out together in a bar, whose first names are those of former U.S. Presidents, is speaking. Dr. George Risk has just received an update on the condition of another patron of the Louisville Tavern...

The Six Sentences


“There’s more to it men. I just heard from a doctor friend of mine. Franklin got attacked at the bus stop the other night after leaving here. Died a few hours later in the emergency room at Kene—.”
An explosion in the street ended the conversation.
All was dark inside the Louisville Tavern.
Image credit: Seth Gaines

Lagniappe

"Lagniappe" is one of my favorite words. It's a Cajun term for "something else for free that you didn't expect." We hope you enjoyed our cliffhanger above and will visit the home site of Six Sentence Sunday to sample the work of other great writers HERE.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Morning Breakfast

It was her own personal tradition.

My mother had a special breakfast that she enjoyed once a year.

Most years, she enjoyed it alone.

Sometimes my father or sister or I would stop by and she would offer us a bite or two.

She was happy to share her tradition.

Now, it’s a great memory.

Mom’s in her nineties and doesn’t cook much anymore, but her culinary skills of days gone by were legendary in our family and community.

On Christmas Day in the morning, while some slept late, some read the paper and others enjoyed the fruits of Santa’s labor, my mother was in the kitchen. 

She was at the stove and the aroma filled the house.

Homemade cornbread produced a unique stimulation to the olfactory nerves.

While the cornbread was still hot, she was melting cheese on a griddle.

Mom’s Christmas breakfast was melted cheese on freshly baked corn bread.

It always got Christmas off to a good start.

Image credit: Wikicommons
Maybe I’ll have some this morning.    

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - 12-23-12



Please TAKE NOTE!
         For the last few weeks, my contributions to SSS have been from my new novel, The Presidents Club.
Today, we show off the cover. Did you see it above?  
Comments appreciated. 
We're pleased that Jeff Bennington did such a great job. 
The Presidents Club will begin as a weekly serial on the publisher's web site, HERE. 
The action begins on Sunday, January 6, 2013. We hope you'll join us there then. [Eventually, The Presidents Club will be available as an e-book and a trade paperback.]  

This week's SET UP:

         John Hixon, the former FBI agent that readers first met in 
The Tourist Killer, lives in a small cabin in the mountains of Western North Carolina. 
         The cabin is in an area known locally as "Little Canada."  It's one place you DON'T want to hear banjos playing.
         In this snippet, we are introduced to one of his three dogs.

The Six Sentences

They were big, fast, and mean, but they loved John Hixon.  
No one would ever sneak up on him as long as these three guys were around.
He enjoyed talking about his “gang” to the rare visitor that he might bring to his mountain redoubt. “‘Uzi’ was my first one, he’s a German pitweiller.
I got him from a shelter in South Carolina about two days before they would have euthanized him.”
Hixon would smile and then add, “He’s always been grateful.”

Now, there's more!
We hope you enjoyed this week's sample. To sample the work of over one hundred more great writers, just click HERE. Want to join the fun with a selection from your own works? Details at the home page for Six Sentence Sunday. It's easy, fun, and gets more exposure for your writing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Childhood memories of Christmas music


Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the traditional music.
Christmas music wouldn't be Christmas music without Johnny Mathis.

My parents made sure that when my older sister got married and moved out, we would still have music in the house.  They purchased a Zenith stereo record player. 

They subscribed to the Columbia Record Club.  
They let me select the monthly purchase -- sometimes.

Johnny Mathis' Christmas album, pictured above, was an annual favorite.  

We had it on vinyl.

When I married and moved out, I made sure my family had a copy of it in our music library.  For years, it was on the shelf between Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and my favorite Steppenwolf album -- the one with "Magic Carpet Ride."

Now, I have a CD version of Merry Christmas and for the past two weeks, it's been in my truck. I often listen to music on my commute to work. (Yes, I sing along. Sometimes, very loudly!)

One of my favorite winter songs is included, "Sleigh Ride."  

Music of any kind often brings back memories.

This music brings back memories of a special place.  Home.

And you can't go back.

The Mangham, LA of today is much different in many ways than it was in the sixties.

Most places are.

We still have great memories.

And the wonderful memories will live on forever.
________________
Here's another favorite memory:





Saturday, December 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Dec. 16



IMPORTANT NOTICE: Next Sunday, Dec. 23, just before Christmas, we will introduce the cover for The Presidents Club.  It was designed by Jeff Bennington and features one of the main characters, John Hixon along with...well, wait on the surprise.  Right here. Next Sunday. 
Now on to SSS...

The Setup
      Many of the conversations, plans, and character development occur in the Louisville Tavern. For the book, I've chosen to locate this "old man's bar" in Marietta, GA.  This venue is modeled after a real bar back in Louisiana.  Watch for a blog about it soon.  This scene sets the tone for much of the action to follow and of course, happens early in the book. 


Image credit:  Donna B. Cooper

The Six Sentences
Louie the bartender had a sawed off shotgun under the bar. His finger was on the trigger as he spoke to the man seated near the door. "We've heard enough of your foul mouth and we're sick of your dirty jokes. It's time for you to pay and go."
The patron with the ugly laugh stood and looked around the bar for a victim. Then, his eyes shot daggers at Louie, he threw a ten-dollar bill on the bar, and said, "Don't go home alone."

Comments appreciated!  Now to sample work from over a hundred other great writers, just click HERE.  And don't forget to return next Sunday to see the cover of The Presidents Club.





Monday, December 10, 2012

More on MLM in the 21st Century

Image credit: Hand-raiser.com

It was the summer of 1976.

Yes, that's it. A pharmacist friend invited us over to his house 
to find out about a business opportunity. He couldn't tell me much about it over the phone, but we went.
It was my first exposure to Amway. We joined.
Between 1976 and 1996 I got involved in multi-level marketing -- three times.  It turned out that I could sell. Recruiting was a problem.  At that time, the company I repeatedly joined was enamored with the“mystery approach.”  Over the years, I think they may have moved away from that method of recruiting. It later became known as "network marketing." Now, it's on the Internet.  No matter, many people around the world have made fortunes not only with this organization, but with the many hybrids it spawned.

Though I never “made” it big in MLM, the concept still intrigues me and so when I wrote my first novel, The Tourist Killer, I chose MLM as a vehicle for one of the characters. It served Julian F. Thibaut as a teenager in two ways.
 
It established a solid financial base for his future.

It helped him build a world-wide network of personal contacts.


In this second article of a series on multi-level marketing, we are joined by guest blogger, Joseph "Marty" Miles.

Here, in his own words, is a bit about him:
Born and raised in the small river town of Parkersburg West Virginia.
After a tragic event at the age of 5, I was left without my mother. This deeply affected my awareness and trust with the world. I served a three year term with the United States Army from February 1998 to February of 2001 and was stationed in Fort Hood Tx with 1-8 Cavalry Mustangs!

Now I focus on being as vulnerable as I can -- to undo my past conditioning. I now reside in the town of Sahuarita Az  spending most of my time with my family and working on building my financial independence, education and leadership development business. I am a personal development advocate and entrepreneur at heart.

I asked Marty, "Does the opportunity still have the same potential today?"

Miles: Multi-level marketing has even more potential than it ever did back in the 70's. As you know, the world is a lot more connected. The new economy will be a global one. Social Capital will be the currency. Network Marketing when utilized with the right business model can be pretty amazing. However choosing the right company in the sea of MLM can be a very frustrating task if you don't know what to look for.

Professional Network Marketers know exactly what criteria it takes to produce the kind of residual income that makes you smile. Beyond MLM, the personal development journey you have when starting your own business is the real gem. In a sense you have to become a better person to succeed in your business. This is the industry that has and will continue to change the world in a positive way. Personal Development is doing what many organizations struggle to accomplish. That is... making better people.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 9 - Six Sentence Sunday



The Setup
Another scene from The Presidents Club, a spin off work-in-progress from my first novel, The Tourist Killer.  
Enigmatic billionaire, Jay Thibaut [tee'-boe] is chatting with his long time secretary and personal assistant. The subject: her years long unrequited crush.

The Six Sentences

Thibaut stood six feet tall and his 185 pounds were distributed in proportion to DaVinci’s Vitruvian man. The architecture of his face personified character with its defined cheek bones and firm jaw. His eyebrows were darker than his medium brown hair. They framed his hazel eyes, that often twinkled with mischief, and almost met over the smooth lines of a nose never altered by his participation in sports.
He had a protective shield of dignity and reserve that discouraged personal questions. 
Thibaut looked right into Miss Woods’ sparkling dark brown eyes and said, “2012 is a leap year -- don’t miss your chance.”

There's more!
Hope you enjoyed those and will leave a comment. To sample the work of over 100 other great writers, just click HERE.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 2 - Six Sentence Sunday


The Setup
     A question for readers regarding this snippet from my second novel, The Presidents Club [a WIP]. There are several scenes, including this one, in which a group of friends are playing dominoes in a neighborhood bar. 

The Question 
     Is dialogue enough to sustain interest in a scene with little action other than a bunch of old men playing dominoes? Feedback, please.

This week's Six Sentences:

“Gimme a minute, asshole -- ‘Useful’ it’s your turn.”
“Why you gotta be such a foul mouth?” interrupted Reverend Pritchett.
“Your ears sensitive today, preacher?” asked Risk.
Ulysses Fishinghawk played his choice of dominoes and remained silent. Now it was the pastor’s turn. 
As he laid his domino on the table, the retired preacher smiled at York and said with a chuckle, “When you get home tonight, I hope your mother runs out from under the porch and bites you on the leg.”

Thanks for your comments! To read the work of over 100 other writers, please click HERE.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nov. 25 Six Sentence Sunday


The Setup:
     This week's snippet comes from a WIP, my second novel, The Presidents Club.
Carl Chaisson is the bartender of the Louisville Tavern. This scene occurs several years before he begins work at the tavern. We join him as an incident unfolds that leads to the end of his pre-bartender career.  
     After an emotional outburst witnessed by several co-workers and customers, Carl's boss, Henry, has just asked Carl if he would like to take a break.

The Six Sentences:

Carl turned his head towards Henry with a slow deliberate pace. It seemed like minutes went by before their gazes met. Carl's eyebrows were low over his eyes, his top lip was tight and the bottom one trembled. The corners of his mouth were turned down and his cheeks as red as a branding iron. Carl’s palms were sweaty and his hands were shaking. 
He took a deep breath and spoke as slow as possible, 
in as soft a voice as he could muster, he said, 
“Yes, thank you.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Your visit is appreciated. Please leave a comment with your reaction. 
You can sample the work of over 130 great writers HERE.




Reciprocity



“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” -- Matthew 7:7-12 KJV [from The Sermon on the Mount]

Culturally literate humans, regardless of their race, religion, sex, or political persuasion, will be familiar with that classic axiom often referred to as “the golden rule.”

Another well known phrase is “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

Many interpret the former as a proactive approach to human relations while the latter is clearly a response to the actions of others.

A blogger friend of mine complained recently about a conspicuous absence of comments on their posts.  I said, “You saw the movie, Chicago, didn’t you?  Remember that great song by Queen Latifah? You want more comments, make more yourself -- and comment on the work of fellow bloggers first.”

So what’s the one conclusion I can bring this blog piece to?
When you’re good to others,
They’ll be good to you!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ASSASSINATION


Image credit: WikiCommons

Word association game.
Life - death.
War - peace.
Love - hate.
Assassination - _____________.

Fill in the blank.  


My unscientific random analysis coupled with a poll of one reader influenced by a predisposition for all things conspiratorial, lead me to be convinced that the overwhelming majority of baby boomers would fill in the above blank with either “JFK” or “Kennedy.”

Forty-nine years ago today marked the first time I can ever remember having heard that word used.  It has, for me, become inextricably connected with the events of that fateful day in Dallas, Texas.

For reasons unexplained, I’ve always been interested in the origin of words and their romantic stories.  According to Wikipedia, “The word assassin is often believed to derive from the word Hashshashin (Persian: حشّاشين, ħashshāshīyīn, also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin, or Assassins), and shares its etymological roots with hashish.”  The legend goes on to include stories of professional killers who were under the influence of hashish when sent upon their murderous missions of mayhem during the crusades.

Further research brought me to the discovery that the first literary use of the word was by William Shakespeare in 1603 when he penned Macbeth.  Here is the line from whence it came.

“If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,”

Perhaps that outtake is also the origin of the “be-all/end-all” expression. [How’s that for a non sequitur?]

On November 22, 1963, I was in the sixth grade.  Our class wasn’t exposed to the study of Shakespeare until high school.  By that time, we had become familiar with enough assassins to last a lifetime: Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray, and [maybe] Lee Harvey Oswald for starters. Later a generational icon would fall at the hands of Mark David Chapman and perpetuate the idea of many conspiracy buffs that assassins known by three names were actually members of the CIA.

Forty-nine years after the Kennedy assassination, my first novel has been published and features a woman who is an elite professional assassin.
She may never become a household name in our culture.
She could possibly experience her fifteen minutes of fame with baby boomers.  
She doesn’t use hash. She likes vodka and cranberry.
She’s not in the CIA.
She goes by only two names.
Claudia Barry.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nov. 18 Six Sentence Sunday



The Setup:

Sixty-two year old professional assassin, Claudia Barry, has a confidant. The mysterious "Mr. Debert." Here, they are nearing the end of a rather lengthy conversation in which she has been defending her career choice.

Six Sentences:

Debert changed the mood with a smile and refilled their glasses, “You’ve invoked a 13th century convict, corporate greed, and a 20th century vigilante to justify your career. You expect me to believe all that bullshit?”

Claudia had to smile.

Debert continued, “You kill for two reasons: you believe you’re meting out justice and you are paid a king's ransom. You’re also rationalizing.”

Claudia hesitated, then broke the silence with a subdued smile as she replied, “And I’m damned good at it."

===========

My future contributions to SSS will come from a work in progress, "The Presidents Club."

Now, if you please, check out the work of over one hundred other great writers HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Multi-level Marketing in the 21st Century

Between 1976 and 1996 I got involved in multi-level marketing -- three times.  It turned out that I could sell. Recruiting was a problem.  At that time, the company I repeatedly joined was enamored with the“mystery approach.”  Over the years, I think they may have moved away from that method of recruiting.  No matter, many people around the world have made fortunes not only with this organization, but with the many hybrids it spawned.

Though I never “made” it big in MLM, the concept still intrigues me and so when I wrote my first novel, The Tourist Killer, I chose MLM as a vehicle for one of the characters. It served Julian F. Thibaut as a teenager in two ways.
 
It established a solid financial base for his future.

It helped him build a world-wide network of personal contacts.

To confirm the relevance of my book in today’s marketplace, I asked several online and MLM veterans, Does the opportunity still have the same potential today?”

I’ve known Mattias Kroon via the internet for several years. He’s done quite well with online variations of MLM.  Mattias is a native of Smaland, Sweden.  He is a musician [trombone, keyboards, synthesizer] and an entrepreneur.  A background in telemarketing developed skills to become useful later in his own business.  
[Profil+026.JPG]

Mattias Kroon is my guest blogger this week and will be the first of several to address this topic.

Julian F. Thibaut is a man who succeeded in the multilevel marketing industry before the internet was available. He wasn´t born into a wealthy family. He took the knowledge from the principles of MLM to other areas of business in his recruiting.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

Can we use the same principles in the internet business? I would say, not as copycats but if you are an internet marketer you can use some of the principles.Many founders today have revised the first old MLM models and completed them with multiple income streams into one program.The big difference is that you can earn without recruiting at all in many of them but on the other side, where you can get benefits in form of referral commissions on every member that upgrades in the program you invited them to.So, the best of them work, with or without recruiting.

You can also purchase advertising shares in those programs where you get, say a 2% growth on every such share or position in that program.Of course, they must have some kind of a real product or service connected to the program in the design of it.I am earning a regular income from my online business.It has its ups and downs but it works.The measure of shares or positions together with referral commissions, will then decide how much you will earn.

Creating opportunities like this makes a psychological benefit in comparison to the older, typical MLM-schemes where you were forced to recruit  and where you were forced to fill a matrix to begin to earn at all.

Shares, that sounds like a little like funds in the stock market?

Besides my affiliate marketing I am investing in fund shares.The stock market was the second area where this Thibaut succeeded to make a very good profit.If you combine your affiliate marketing with investments in stock funds with a high Morningstar Ranking, you definitely have the ideal combination to make a profit online.Nothing happens “overnight” but with one step at the time moving forward, you can succeed.Diversifying your portfolio is the key in the stock market.Buy low and sell high.Read articles, invest in funds where they invest in typical growth areas.Nowadays you see growth in The Central and Eastern Europe and especially in Poland.

Always keep the long term perspective!

I would like to welcome you to my blog where I am recommending the best programs and tips to you.Sometimes I need to update the list of opportunities.

You are invited to: Creative Marketer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

11/11 Six Sentence Sunday


The Setup:
     When at work, are you so focused, so "in the moment," that you kinda zone out? Are you familiar with the term, somnambulistic trance? Or are you having a zen experience? In this scene from The Tourist Killer, we join professional assassin, Claudia Barry, as she's about to squeeze the trigger.


Six for this week:

The contents of all the sealed compartments would have been obliterated from her consciousness hours before. She, the rifle, the bullet and the target became one — in the moment.
The target moved as it always did and required minimal adjustment by the shooter. Not breathing, she was motionless and nothing moved other than the index finger on her right hand. For the shooter, there was nothing romantic about this job. As she had written in her journal a few days before, “You romanticize death if you haven’t been there and seen it happen.”

I hope you enjoyed this snippet and will go over the the SSS site and check out the work of over a hundred other great writers. Just click HERE.

The Tourist Killer is getting great reviews on Amazon and is now available both in Kindle and trade paperback.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nov. 4 Six Sentence Sunday


The Setup:
     The Tourist Killer opens as Claudia Barry, elite professional assassin, completes an assignment. At age sixty-two, she has enjoyed a career that has spanned over thirty years.  She had to start somewhere. In this scene, she reacts to her first kill.  

SIX SENTENCES:

She quickly made her way to Bourbon Street.
Anyone who noticed her now would see a twenty-something female in short shorts and a cut off Ohio State t-shirt.
The aroma on Bourbon Street was a combination of rotting garbage, beer, urine and vomit. Claudia was overcome by weakness. She held onto a light post to keep her balance. Then, her knees buckled and she made a contribution to the nauseating fragrance that tourists associate with the French Quarter.

Pictured above is "Pirates Alley" as seen from behind the St. Louis Cathedral. Beyond the cathedral lies Jackson Square. In The Tourist Killer, someone who appears to be a young man, murders a retired New Orleans policeman in this alley. (Image credit, Wikicommons)

Thanks for stopping by.  
I hope you enjoyed my six sentences.  
Now, to sample the work of over 100 other great writers, 
click HERE.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So...you want a good review?



“Published reviews are cheap advertising; the only cost to the author is that of the book and postage. Being reviewed, though, is not the most important thing – getting a positive review is. The more a reviewer raves about a book, the more interested people will be in reading it.” -- Bob Etier, Jan. 2010 Blogcritics - There’s So Such Thing as a Bad Review

Author Claude Nougat agrees and writes about her experience HERE.

Bob Etier, author of "Bob On Books" and known to many as, “Miss Bob,” wrote the essay quoted above almost two years ago. During that time, she has written over one thousand reviews. Most of those reviews were for books and DVDs.  

She recently began a series of articles for Venture Galleries aimed at helping authors set themselves up for success. At least success in receiving favorable reviews for their work.

In case you missed them, here are the first five:

1. Introduction http://venturegalleries.com/uncategorized/thjere/

2. Research http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-science-of-getting-good-book-reviews/

3. Etier interviewed: http://venturegalleries.com/blog/thoughts-from-a-professional-reviewer/

4. Character http://venturegalleries.com/blog/characters-the-key-to-great-reviews/

5. Grammar vs Style: http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-great-debate-style-versus-grammar/

The weekly articles appear on Mondays in her blog on VentureGalleries.com.

So...read her articles and get more favorable reviews.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10-28 Six Sentence Sunday



My first novel, The Tourist Killer, is now available on Amazon.  The print edition will be out later. 
In this scene, retired FBI agent, John Hixon, and his billionaire client, Julian Thibaut, ponder their relationship.

The two men who seemed to have little in common, yet made companions by a finesse of fate, stood and admired the one acre pond in the valley below Hixon’s redoubt. It was a smooth and clear mirror reflecting the beauty of the mountains in the early morning light.Later, a gentle breeze added ripples to the surface but when the sun found clear skies above the balsam pines, a painful glare obstructed the view.  Unexpected events had forced the cooperation of opposing personalities. As they stood there admiring their surroundings, each man questioned how they would relate to each other. Would they become friends?

Now, sample the work of over 150 other great writers HERE.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Evolution of a Book Cover


“It's getting very near the end.” -- Lennon/McCartney

Writing my first novel, The Tourist Killer, took longer that expected. When the end of the actual writing task became clearly visible on the horizon, the thoughts of a book cover design moved up the priority rankings in my mind.

I went to Amazon.com and began to study book covers in the appropriate genre -- political thrillers.

In short order, it became clear that repetition exists.  Several authors chose the same stock images. My publisher confirmed that situation is common in the business.  It was anathema to me.  I’ve been a photographer for years and the transition to author brings the baggage of a preference for originality, creativity and a desire to be unique.

What to do?

The solution came from an unexpected source.  The principal character in my book is Claudia Barry.  She said, “Use one of my paintings!”

As the book opens, we meet Claudia as she completes an assignment. This professional woman is in her early sixties and contemplating retirement.  Her favorite hobby is oil painting.  However, there is a scene in the book where she decides to experiment with another medium. [The reasons for this change would be a plot spoiler.] The result is a watercolor painting of the Manhattan Skyline as seen from Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, New Jersey.

David Ammons of Sylva, North Carolina has been painting in both oil and watercolor mediums for about ten years. Recently his work has sold quite well at his page on Art-3000. David agreed to produce a painting and sign it as “Claudia Barry.” He worked from one of my photographs. Readers of The Tourist Killer will find a special note of thanks on the “Acknowledgements” page.



My publishers, Venture Galleries, art critics and other publishing contacts of mine, all were enthusiastic about David, er, Claudia’s work.  Not to leave a stone unturned, we consulted professional book cover designer, Jeff Bennington, for his thoughts. Jeff liked the watercolor piece as well and using it as a starting point, created a dynamite cover.  


If readers enjoy the content of The Tourist Killer as much as those of us involved like the cover, we should have a best seller.

Special thanks again to both David Ammons and Jeff Bennington.