Masked Conversations

OK, this folks, is a true story. Last Monday I took my car into Meinake for service.  In the same parking lot is a bagel shop where I usually wait. The coffee is much better than at Meinake.

I was working on a short story on my tablet but could not help but overhear the interaction between customers and the restaurant order takers behind the counter. Note this takes place during the Pandemic of 2020, so everyone was wearing face masks.

Customer:      I miffle, mumble,mumble baffled squirrels.
Order Taker:   Whaaaat? Say muffle deer. snot.
Customer:      No. I aunt muffle garbled creamed checkers.
Order Taker:   Mumbled buffy leotard.

I fall off my chair laughing!

True story!!!.

F-15 Strike Eagles & A-10 Thunderbolts

To honor health care workers in the Treasure Valley two F-15E Strike Eagles from the 366th Fighter Wing and two 124th Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolts flew in a tight formation across the valley today, soaring over all of the hospitals one at a time. I found a parking garage that had a top floor open to the air and it was full of medical workers and local residents waving and cheering as the four aircraft flew over. It was heart warming.

I caught a couple of images, one of them here. Click on photo to see larger image.


The Writing Mood

I am a morning person. At least, after my two mugs of strong coffee. I am exhilarated, just literally filled with creative juices. Unfortunately, mornings are a difficult time to write curently. Too many things to do other than writing, and I have responsibilities.

When the evening comes, my wife goes to bed early to read, and eventually sleep. I don’t hit the sack until at least 1AM. Often 2 or 3. So I have the entire evening, four to six hours, alone and unoccupied. Yet…my creative juices are bone dry. An empty tank.

I sit down at my computer and try to write, and it is as if I have regressed back to Cro-Magnon status. I can barely type out, “The sun was hot. My dog barked. I….whatever”.

I can barely form simple words. Certainly nothing creative at all.

But if I want to be a successful writer, I have to take advantage of the time I have available to write. So, I searched the Internet can have found some suggestions to get me in the writing mood.

  • Write 100 words of anything. Supposedly, according to this theory, the sheer act of writing out 100 words will jump start your creative juices.
  • Find something you recently wrote that needs reviewing and editing, and work on it.
  • Read some published works within your genre.
  • Toss back two shots of Bourbon.
  • Put on some weird ass music, something mystical or maybe even big band, whatever type of music that will wake up your creative monster.
  • Drink a glass of good Russian Vodka with olives and ice.
  • Dress in your writer clothes. No clue what this means, but I think hats are involved.
  • Change your location to change your mood. Move to the kitchen table from your office Sit in your back yard. Maybe the bathroom?
  • Drink more Bourbon and Vodka
  • Meditate about writing
  • Close your eyes and picture your work published, all your family and friends so proud of you, the Pulitzer committee texting you.
  • Try to give your cat a bath. Wait…no, don’t do that.
  • Mix your bourbon and vodka in the same glass!
  • What?
  • What am I writing?
  • My head is spinning, keyboard approaching damn fast.
  • ()MNJRU”ewttwe 77 swasrwewerwq
  • Ouch

Editing Help

Every writer has their own style. A few people can sit down and write beautiful grammatically correct words from the get go. These people pound out pages and pages of ready to read words daily.

Then there are people like me. A story bursts into my brain in full 3-D color. Then I have to somehow convert it from my brainwaves into words on paper. Then I have to reread it at least twenty times, editing as I go. I then submit it to a closed Facebook Writers Group where my colleagues will rip it to shreds. I then rewrite it. And then edit it. Trust me, this is not a pretty process. But for me, it is effective.

To aid my editing, I use a piece of software called prowritingaid.This is an awesome program that scans your writing and offers corrections as well as improvements. You can find repeated words, sentences that are too long and dozens of more complex grammar scans.

This is just a brief view of some of the options:




I have reviewed several editing programs and have found this to be the best for my writing needs.

If you write as I do, you may want to check this out. Or find a similar program.


PS:  I do not receive any benefit, certainly not any monetary benefit from any product that I recommend.




A breath of fresh air

People react to a crisis in many ways. Thank God some people react by displaying hope and encouragement. Took a drive yesterday along Harrison Blvd in Boise, near downtown. This is a tree lined street featuring some of the oldest and most beautiful homes in the city. It is also home to the Boise wealthy hippies.(I dislike the term Liberal). This is a peace loving creative loving street.

The city installed yellow ribbons and American flags along the median strip. Tossed in a few Idaho flags too.


But the residents joined in with decorations, signs and some American flags.


On this warm and beautiful Spring day, the creatives were out too.






As we approach the peak of the Covid-19 driving or walking along Harrison Blvd is a breath of spiritual Spring air.


Covid-19 Flash Fiction

When not working on my novels I write Flash Fiction. Very short stories, usually less than 1,000 words. Some are micro-fiction, about 100 words. It must be a complete story.

Writing flash teaches one to measure every single word to determine it’s worth to the story.  It is an excellent learning process.

With the pandemic going on, many writers are turning out stories about dealing with this virus, the economic collapse and just plain stress of staying indoors.

Some online magazines are encouraging this.

Since we are all locked down, stuck in our homes, we have time to write.

I’ve written one and submitted it to Microfiction Monday Magazine.

If you like reading very short stories, check out the magazines I have listed in the links along the right side of my webpage.


A Crisis Brings Out Five Types of People

I’ve been around a few major crises. I guess my first was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Plenty since then including today’s pandemic. My observations show me that when the S*** hits the fan, people divide into five basic types.

1. The Givers:        Show compassion, and work to aid others in any way possible.
2. The Takers:       Are greedy, trying to make a profit from human suffering.
3. The Frighten:   Fear based, hoarding supplies.
4. The Deniers:    These people deny the crisis is even happening.
5. The Conspiracy Nuts:  ‘Nuff said.

Please, let’s all try at least to be number one.


Freaking Earthquake!

I am in Idaho missing my beautiful and quirky Florida. Spring has been delayed and the last week it has been solid gray and cold. Ugh. Oh yeah, there is a freaking pandemic circling the planet. Idaho and all of the planet is on lock down. The President today say be prepared, the worse is coming.

Then late this afternoon Idaho has a stinking earthquake!!! The second strongest in it’s history! A 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit southern Idaho around 5:52 p.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. The quake, which lasted for 23.5 seconds, hit 19 miles northwest of Stanley — or about 78 miles northeast of Boise, according to USGS.

I was in my office on the computer and my wife was in the bathroom. I hear rumbling, sort of like when clothes in the dryer get out of balance only 17,333 times louder. I see the cats whiz by to hide under the bed. I go running down the hallway trying to figure out what is happening. I have absolutely no experience with earthquakes. Hurricanes yes. Lightning strikes, yes. Twisters, sort of. But earthquakes? Nope.

I see the floor and walls rolling slightly. I see books on shelves dancing and I hear what can only be described as a aching howl from the house itself.

What. The. Fuck?

In about 20 seconds it is over. My wife and I hug and laugh. Me more out of nerves than anything else.

Strangest feeling. The earth itself is not stable. Very emotionally unsettling.

So, what’s next? Locust? Zombies?

Give me a good old fashion hurricane. I know how to handle them.

Hoping for no aftershocks.


Chinese Bat Flu?

Would make a great name for a band, right? But probably hurtful to someone, somewhere. Maybe bats. So, let’s call it COVID-19. Or Corona-virus. Whatever.

It is March 30, 2020 and Idaho is mostly locked down.  Liquor stores, gun shops, grocery stores, Home Depot/Lowes, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, gas stations and more are open. There are probably about a hundred drive-through coffee shops in the valley, and they are open. Restaurants doing take out only.

But many people in Idaho are slow to adopt the social distancing thing the federal government is seeking.

People from other states don’t understand Idaho.

Personal responsibility and personal freedom trumps most other things here. Especially if it is the federal government issuing orders.  This feeling of personal independence runs deep in people here, except for the newcomers like myself.

Ruby Ridge was in north Idaho. That was a long time ago. But as recently as 2014 Ammon Bundy led an armed standoff against federal officials at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Ultimately arrested, a local jury set him free. People in Idaho and western Oregon cheered.

He lives in Emmett, Idaho about 30 minutes from my house.

So, distaste and distrust of the federal government, or government of any kind, runs strong in these parts. When the federal government says stay indoors, many people in Idaho ignore them.

Just saying.

I am hoping we get through this mess sooner rather than later.