More writing wisdom you won’t actually find in my book

imageWith my new book coming out in little more than a month, it seemed like a good time for another sneak peak at a passage of writing wisdom that isn’t actually in it.

That’s right! If you like what you read here, there’s more where that came from!

Just not in my book.

You may be asking, “Why is he even doing this?”

I know my publisher is.

My hope is that you’ll read what I didn’t include in my book and think to yourself, “Man! If this is the kind of stuff he left out, imagine how much he must be kicking himself for the @#%& he left in!”

Or something like that.

Anyway, as I wait for the final edit to arrive, here’s an excerpt I didn’t include for one reason (beer) or another (vodka)  — but which I wanted to share with you because, as writers, we all need a little encouragement sometimes…  Continue reading

Zombie apocalypse or writing world: survival skills are essentially the same

image Before we get to this week’s Nickels Worth on Writing, I have been told by the U.S. Postal Service that sending me your nickels taped to postcards is not acceptable. Apparently, it really messes with the sorting machines, which mistakenly re-direct them to the “Clothes for Miley Cyrus Fund.” So, until we get this figured out, hold on to your nickels; my NWOW is on the house!

Does that mean my advice, gleaned from 15 years as a columnist and referred to by some of today’s most influential writers as “the fertilizer in the garden of writing,” will be any less insightful?

Of course not.

Money or no money, I promise you my weekly advice could not be any less insightful — which is why authors like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, John Grisham and E.L. James receive this post in their spam email every Friday, and why this weekly feature was recognized by Writers Digest magazine as “One of the few blogs that illustrates, with absolute clarity, why writers such as Hemingway became alcoholics.” Continue reading

Did I miss a meeting?

Today, while conducting maintenance and inventory at our fire station, we discovered that the old “sleepers” quarters above the engine bay had been left unlocked. The room is always padlocked, so it has remained something of a mystery to our crew — until now.

Along with emergency supplies, water bottles, a dozen empty 55 gallon drums, dried food and bags of vegetable seeds, we found this:


It’s from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and labeled:

Oregon Emergency Management Services: Zombie Pandemic Preparedness

Um… did I miss a meeting?

A glimpse of the zombie apocalypse on… The Door

The Door, in all its journalistic glory, as long as no one is flushing on the other side.

The Door, in all its journalistic glory, as long as no one is flushing on the other side.

Because we’re a smaller paper, many people don’t realize the Siuslaw News was the first to break the story on an impending zombie apocalypse, as this week’s edition of The Door (of Shame, Blame and Brilliance) will prove.

For those of you who are joining us for the first time, quite possibly because you have been preparing for the zombie hoard after seeing the people who shop at Wal-Mart after 10 p.m., The Door is an actual door in our newsroom where journalists at the Siuslaw News have been taping, tacking and, in some cases, using unidentified adhesives, to glorify the best and worst newspaper items since the 1970s. The Door is a journalist’s Mecca of sorts, to which we face each Tuesday and reverently ask The Great Editor:

How could yet let this happen?!?

Before we look upon The Door, we must follow a sacred ritual passed from generation to generation, beginning with this one, in which we join hands and repeat the following phrase in a monotoned voice similar to actors in a church youth group DVD about the virtues of abstinence:

The Door is a beacon, drawing us into the jagged rocks of journalism.

Continue reading

Next year, we’ll do Christmas without the zombies

Last-minute shopping can be dangerous, especially if there's a sale.

Last-minute shopping can be dangerous, especially if there’s a sale.

As is our tradition, my wife and I made an excellent plan to get our gift wrapping done so that, on Christmas eve, we could bask in our accomplishment while drinking warm, spiked beverages and gazing introspectively at the twinkling Christmas tree lights, until we pass out.

And, as is our tradition, we once again found ourselves locked in the bedroom with rolls of ribbon and wrapping paper strung across the bed, passing the scissors and tape back and forth like a frantic game of “hot potato.”
As expected, our bedroom quickly resembled a CSI Christmas crime scene in which the holiday spirit had exploded… Continue reading