Arghh! I made Chuck walk the gang plank and took over his ship. I am sending you this message. (not real mail, carrier pigeon perhaps?)


Who lives in a pirate ship over the sea?

The old seadog

Who is peg legged and drunk as can be?

The old seadog


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Seven Seas (I think, for we are lost)


Avast Mateys,


Arrgh. I am through with ye landlubbers. Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. I shall show no mercy on those what flouts this day. Even as I scribble these words, me lads are hunting ye down. Fair warning. Our cannons are loaded and ready to volley.

When me lads gather the landlubbers, I have bad news for those what walks the gangplanks. Me sharks have grown fat and lazy from eating too many landlubbers. This year we have crocs and gators that have not been fed for ages. Tonight, they shall feast! The landlubbers shall become chum!

I have quaffed one too many tankard of rum! I think I hear a band playing “Anchors Aweigh.” Impossible! The Navy will rue the day it messed with the likes of me. Spread the sails and hoist of the Jolly Roger! Where is me eyepatch? Me peg leg? Me crutch? Me blunderbuss? I can’t swim! Polly, you worthless bag of feathers, don’t fly off. Don’t you dare desert me!

Lads, be double quick and fire a broadside. Sink that Navy ship! Then we shall deal those who ignore Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Now be done with it!

The Old Seadog



Wild Potato Cherokee Clan

Anigatogewi, ᎠᏂᎦᏙᎨᏫ, Wild Potato Clan (literally Swamp People): AKA Bear, Kituwah, or Racoon Clan. The Blind Savannnah Clan is part of them. They are noted as farmers and gathers of food, hence they are known as Keepers of the Earth.

Wildflowers – Toledo Bend Lake Area – Texas / Louisiana

  1. Clichés are old hat

Perhaps in dialogue, otherwise avoid them. Instead find metaphors, similes, etc.
2. Writing dialogue that sounds like it’s written

Listen to people speaking, write what you hear. Read it aloud & change it until it sounds like speech.

  1. Hurrying that plot (are we there yet?)

Find that sweet spot between writing too much & boring your readers, or ending the plot too soon, frustrating & mystifying readers. Pantsers plot as they write, outliners know in advance where their plot is headed.

  1. Not making the ending (and beginning) authentic & exciting

Waking up from a dream at the end is one example of a way to cheat or trick the reader. IThe ending must be unexpected yet necessary to your plot & story arc. I.e. the ending should be a surprise yet feel as if it was the only ending possible.

  1. Keeping your characters consistent

A character must make choices appropriate to the traits you gave them, or your readers will be confused. Point of view is an important consideration—first-person can help you get deeper into a character’s motivations, but a close third person can also work.

  1. Not varying sentence structure

Don’t make every sentence subject/verb/direct-object. Imperatives. Incomplete sentences. Interrogative sentences. Sentences with inverted word order. Complex. Compound. Complex/compound. Cumulative sentences. This is especially important when revising.

  1. Failing to trust the reader’s intelligence

Learn how much to tell the reader. Too much info can be as bad as not enough. And don’t talk down to the reader no matter what age the reader is. Allow the reader to develop connections to you and your writing.

  1. Changing the time & place without good reason

Only change the setting, time & place, if it furthers your story. Frequent changes can impair story flow & lose the reader.

  1. Being lazy

Do your research, double-check even if writing about what you “know.” Use reliable sources!

  1. Forgetting who your audience is

Know who you’re writing for, both genre & age group. For example, if writing romance, don’t write for the mystery buff. Write a& win-over the romance readers. When writing for children, they don’t like to read about main characters younger or much older than them.


According to the Cherokee Phoenix, the Cherokee Nation’s newspaper, the Cherokee Nation is reviving the ancient game of chunkey. Contestants throw spears at a rolling chunkey stone.  People place bets on how close each player’s spear will come to the chunkey stone when it stops rolling. Men’s and women’s divisions.


These are not originally my notes, but I believe they can help novelists, so I decided to post them. I.e. this is one way to write your novel.

1) OPENING IMAGE: (1 minute) the scene that sets the tone and type of the story. A “before” snapshot and opposite of the Final Image.  (Opening scene) Mike is sitting surrounded by other kids yet alone at his grade school cafeteria. Not sad, just alone. Flash forward to the bar, Mike is still alone although surrounded with others [intro]

2) THEME STATED: (5 pages & minutes) Usually stated to them in character, often without know what is said will be vital to his surviving the tale. It’s what the story is about. [Foreshadowing]

3) THE SET-UP: (1-10) The first 10 pages of a script or first 10 panels of a comic must not only grab our interest but introduce every character in the “A” story. Something needs to change. [stasis equals death]

4) CATALYST: (12) The telegram, the knock on the door, the thing that happens to the hero to shake him. It’s the story’s first “whammy.” [boom]

5) DEBATE: (12-25) The section of the story where the hero doubts the journey he must make. [a mild version of the Dark Moment]

6) BREAK INTO TWO: (25) Where we leave the “thesis” world behind and enter the upside-down “anti-thesis” world of Act Two. The hero makes a choice …and his journey begins. [the plot develops]

7) B STORY: (30) The love story, traditionally, but actually where the discussion of the theme of the movie is found. [can be love or philosophy]

8) FUN AND GAMES: (30-55) Here we forget the plot and enjoy the “set pieces” and “trailer moments” and revel in the promise of the premise. [sex, action sequences or main characters interacting]

9) MIDPOINT: (55) The dividing line between the two halves of the story. It’s back to the story as stakes are raised and “time clocks” appear. We are beginning to put the squeeze on our heroes. [the main characters get stressed]

10) THE BAD GUYS CLOSE IN: (55-75) Both internally (problems inside the heroes team) and externally (as the bad guys tighten their grip) real pressure is applied. [focus on antagonist]

11) ALL IS LOST: (75) The false defeat and the place we find “the whiff of death” – because something must die here. [things sour]

12) DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: (75-85) “Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord?” The part of the story where our hero has lost all hope & gives up. [known as Dark Moment]

13) BREAK INTO THREE: (85) Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration or last-minute action or advice from the love interest in the B story, the hero decides to fight. [this is where Popeye always opened his can of spinach]

14) FINALE: (85-110) The “synthesis” of the two worlds; from what was, and that which was learned, the hero forges a third way. [climax]

15) FINAL IMAGE: (110) The opposite of the Opening Image, proving a change has occurred. And since all great stories are about transformation, that change had better be dramatic! [denouement]

I thought I would present this on Labor Day because it is one of the few sane holidays:

Holidays can be nightmares. Mama always warned me: Choose your friends & holidays carefully. I never listened.

  1. Only the Horses are Sane Day: In Louisville, the Kentucky Derby is THE holiday. Partying over a 2-minute race goes on for days. I treasure the Derby, but by the 1st Saturday in May, I am more tired than the horses. And I usually bet on nags that get lost before the finish line.
  2. I ate too Much Candy Day: Of course, I don’t hate Halloween, but I never get trick-or-treaters. I end up eating all the candy. I could buy candy that I didn’t like, but the little ones wouldn’t like it either. Besides, what candy don’t I like?
  3. Cute Little Critter Day: As a writer, I need something flashier than Ground Hog Day. Skunk Day or Porcupine Day? And in the south, ground hogs are the main course and never see their shadows.
  4. Boss’s Day: Really? Really? How about the other 364 days Boss’s Days? It’s on October 16 or the nearest workday. Maybe Employee’s Day? We deserve one stinking day.
  5. You Gotta be Kidding Day: The third Saturday in October is listed in some states as Sweetest Day. Candy a few days before Halloween? The day was invented by candy manufacturers years ago. Wonder why?
  6. Stay Home and Sleep Day: AKA Black Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the day everyone but me shops. Except for bookstores, shopping is more painful than root canals.
  7. What Happened to Secretary’s Day? On Wednesday of the last week in April is Administrative Professionals Day. This name implies something is wrong with secretaries. Are writers Word Professionals?
  8. The Fourth of July: I love Independence Day. Parades & fireworks. Patriotic songs. But they voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, wrote it up on July 3rd, and signed it on July 4th. My birthday is July 3rd, so as a compromise, it should be The Third of July. Who said writers aren’t egotistical?
  9. Winter Solstice: The Shortest Day of the Year, a few days before Christmas. AKA the Longest Night of the Year. It’s too dark and cold to do anything on this day. I always write late & sleep in, so I see almost no daylight. Maybe it will inspire me to write a Krampus novel.
  10. Tax Day: Need I say it? Every April 15th Uncle Sam demands his share. I don’t mind paying, but questions haunt me: Did I forget anything? (Of course I did) Did I include everything? (Even the IRS doesn’t know) What if they didn’t receive my tax forms? I’ll end up in a prison cell with a guy named Killer Joe.
    Don’t be surprised if you read my novels and some these of holidays show up. I always wanted to do a horror story. How about, Killer Klowns on Black Friday? Or Derby Horses Make the Jockeys Gallop? Or Halloween Martian Attack?



$1700 in prizes!

2017 Green River Writers Writing Contest!

The 2017 Green River Writers Contest is now open for entries. $1700 in cash prizes: 2 Grand Prize categories plus 13 poetry & prose categories. Break out the pen, the pencil, the keyboard. Craft your best poem, pull together that first chapter of the next great novel, document the last family holiday in an entertaining creative narrative, and send them all to this year’s contest.

All entries must be postmarked by September 30, 2017. http://www.greenriverwriters.org/about.html

I am the contest chairman. We are a non-profit group.