Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Personal New Year Resolutions

Today I went and walked at the gym for the first time in about nine months. I didn't see anyone I knew besides my insurance agent. The gym was mostly empty, although there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. But I didn't go into the basketball court or the swimming pool area, so maybe they were there.

I did okay. I've lost a lot of stamina, but I did walk a mile. I will be back there tomorrow. It's all part of my personal New Year resolutions. (It's my personal New Year because my birthday was yesterday.) Here are my resolutions for my personal new year.

1. Walk at the gym at least 200 times this year. Which, since I walked today, means I only have to walk 199 times more.
2. Take a photo each day.
3. Write 500 words each day.
4. Eat a salad and green veggie a day.

That's it. There are in addition to my regular chores and routines, but it doesn't sound like much. I mean, it sounds like I can do these things. So I'm going to try.

Here's my first photo. It's of an OSU sock monkey that a friend gave me for my birthday.

And here's the second photo. It's me at the end of this very long day.

Yes, I look tired. That's because I am. And I still have a couple hundred words to write before I can call it a night. That’s okay. I find writing – especially when I have no particular goal – to be relaxing. It’s like wandering around outside or browsing the shelves at the library. Just looking about and seeing what catches my interest. Sometimes a poem, sometimes a scene for book, whatever is interesting.

Too many times, I have forced myself to write. I have a deadline. Or I have a project. I need to make money. So I write because I must rather than because I want to. Writing needs to be fun for me. I don’t mind hard working fun or serious fun, but fun nonetheless. I’ve been thinking of writing as a chore, and it’s supposed to be enjoyable. So that’s what I’m working on with these writing rambles. Rediscovering my joy of the written word. Learning how to soar again instead of trudging on the ground. You can get a lot of places by trudging – and no writing life will ever only be soaring – but the miles can be hard on your spirit. They wear you down. Eat away at your soul and your hope.

You would think that particular epiphany would be counter to my resolution of writing 500 words a day, but since it’s writing for me to enjoy – writing for the sake of writing as opposed to any other reason – it’s actually a commitment to joy. Besides, I’ve trudged too long to completely give it up.

So those are my Personal New Year Resolutions. I’ll share my progress with you as the year goes. I hope I keep them. Your support and encouragement will be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It's my birthday so...






Sunday, July 28, 2013

The ghost of wings

I'm walking away.

Leaving the black dogs behind in the blackened ashes of old schemes and failed ambitions.

Walking toward Jericho.

No, I'm not sure exactly what that means. Maybe nothing in the grand sweep of time. But maybe something more. Yeah, that's the mood I'm in.

It's not a bad mood. Not a dark mood. More of a reflective one.

My New Year starts Tuesday. My birthday. Another year of life. More failures. More adventures. More successes.

More life.

What more could I ask from this world?

What more could I want?

I feel the breath of a changing wind.

I feel the ghost of wings on my shoulders.

I feel my world open up.

And above ... the endless welcoming sky.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Over the past few years, I've designed several book covers for me and other people. Here are my favorites.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another proof for "Murder by the MIle"

A few minor changes, mostly on the back. I think it's getting there.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Proof of cover for "Murder by the Mile"

This is a proof of the new cover for Murder by the Mile. I like it a lot. It's more stark and dramatic. I also like the straight trunk of the tree better than the old tree.

This is the old cover, which we're not going to use. It was too ... pink. I thought the background was too peaceful, if that makes sense. And it was sort of pink in the actual printed cover. Too pastel.


Saturday, July 13, 2013


I made a mistake. I should have called someone on rude behavior. Instead, I'm fuming. Being rude to me IS not a way to remain my friend. It's one thing where a person is teasing -- I do enough of that myself -- but flatout rudeness is another. Because it was in a group, I kept my mouth shut. But that is a mistake. People who do that are bullies; I shouldn't have let the bullying stand unchallenged. But man, sometimes you just get tired. They wear you down.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The End of Diabetes

Right now, my blood sugar is 149. It's still 49 points higher than it should be and where I would like it to be, but here's the importance of this: I used to run around 200-240 after a meal with meds. This 149 is with no meds! By following the diet outlined in Dr. Fuhman's book The End of Diabetes, in two and a half weeks, I have achieved this. I even cheat on the diet: Fuhrman doesn't want you to eat cheese or eggs; I allow myself some cheese and egg whites. I am not hungry. Truly not hungry. I miss eating a few things, but they were bad for me, anyway.

For breakfast, I had yogurt (no sugar added, low fat) sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Surprising tasty and filling. For lunch, I had a mushroom, cheese, bacon omelet, and a spinach and tomato salad. For dinner, ribs from Rib Crib, a salad, a few fried okra, and green beans. I don't have bread, milk, sweets, white potatoes, and excessive amounts of fruits. That's the entire restrictions. Yes, there's still a lot of carb counting. And the diet is high on fiber. But I can have all the non-starchy veggies I want. And I want a lot.

One last thing: Since starting this, I've lost 17 pounds as of today. I find that amazing because I've not put a lot of effort to do this. So ... do I recommend the book? I think I do. It really does work. It might be right for everyone, but so far, so good. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'd like to point out that I'm on oral medication. I think if I were on insulin, I'd be very careful about going off my meds or reducing the dosage. I test frequently and have been watching my readings diligently. In other words, if you buy the book and follow the diet, do so without shutting down your intelligence and caution. And you should make sure your doctor knows what's going on.

Now, whether or not I can follow this diet for my entire life ... well, we'll see. I've certainly tried other diets before that eventually I couldn't follow anymore. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, July 08, 2013


What? Two post in a row? How can anyone blog at this rate of speed? It's unnatural... I hope you hear the sarcasm in that. I know many bloggers who post daily. Sometimes several times a day. I've done it in the past. Maybe in the future when I get this book done.

I made significant progress today on Murder by the Mile. I passed the 80 percent mark on it. We're on the down home stretch. Just have to keep plugging along and sometime this month or early next month, we will have a book. By we, of course, I mean me. I wish I had a collaborator at times. I could just hand some notes to him or her and say, "Here, write something brilliant here." Wouldn't that be nice?

I think I can finish this book. I'm finally beginning to believe it. After all this time, I had doubted my ability. But slowly and surely, the words are coming. The scenes are gelling. I'm not quite certain yet, but...I think I can see the end approaching.

I'm beginning to get excited about it. And I've been waiting for that feeling for a long time. Sometimes it seems I've been waiting forever. It's going to be a grand moment when I finally reach the end. I can't wait.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

A post, a post! Alert the media!

Let's post something, shall we? And by we, I mean me since, after all, this is my blog, and don't usually let other people post on it. But maybe I should.

So how are you? Are you there? I've not been diligent here lately. I've been writing/not writing on Murder by the Mile, the third book in the Measurements of Murder(tm) series. It's been taking all my energy. ALL. It's a vampire book, I tell you, a vampire! Sigh.

Anyway, I'm still here. Still writing. Still plugging along. Hope you are, too.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy July 4th!

Happy Fourth of July! 
Have a safe and happy holiday!

The Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A few thoughts about "Atlas Shrugged"

I don't mind Atlas shrugging all the time, but I hate it when he smirks. That's annoying.

Sure, Atlas shrugged, but can he put his right foot in and take his right foot out and put his right foot in and shake it all about?

I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 13. There's a good chance that I needed a few friends at that time of my life.

Apparently there's a porn parody of Atlas Shrugged. It's called Atlas Shagged. I regret to say that I'm not making that up.

My favorite criticism of "Atlas Shrugged" is this: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ― John Rogers.

And that's enough about that.

Monday, July 01, 2013


Sometimes I get bitter. Angry. At myself. For my past decisions. For all things I did and have yet to do. The blind mistakes that hurt people. The loves I lost for not loving enough or loving too much.

After a while, you begin to doubt yourself. You become afraid of doing anything because you can't see beyond your actions; the unintended consequences branch out of control.

It's an illusion, you know. Control isn't possible. We have such power, but not the wisdom or the foresight to use it safely.

Eventually you end up motionless. Paralysed by the unknown. You can plan. You can scheme. You can hope. But ultimately you cannot know what comes next. Only the fools rush in. Or those blinded by their desires. And you no longer have the comfort of blindness.

That old saying. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It carries more wisdom than we want to acknowledge.

So we sit, powerless. Perhaps complaining. Perhaps in ignorance. Perhaps in sorrow, but we sit. Trying to see our way clear of the morass of bitter knowledge.

Don't you ever wish you didn't know what you do? Do you ever long for those blissful days where you strode through your life as if you owned it? When doom seemed so unlikely that it never ended into your mind? When it seemed like the sun would forever shine on your innocent heart?

I do. God, how I do.