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The Writer's LIfe: judging and revising and young authors

I spent some time last week judging 4-H writing projects. As usual, I marveled at how good the entries were ... many of them much better than I was at the same age. It's great to know there are still young writers and readers out there. It's also great to know my own childhood writing has disappeared.Then I dove back into revising Fire On Mist Creek, which I wrote last fall and edited in early winter. Revision isn't all that much fun to me, so I made myself a promise: Once I get this manuscript done ... I can start work on another story. The most fun parts for me are brainstorming the story, writing the first draft, and those little edits later on, when the story's mostly done and I can rela...
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I tackle poetry ... and get slammed

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK My wife is taking a poetry class this year, so I, being a writer, decided to take a crack at writing poetry myself. Why didn’t someone stop me? Thank goodness I’m better at prose. Thank goodness Emily is better at poetry, or she’d be scoring a big fat goose egg, which rhymes with … I don’t know, something. My understanding has always been that poetry is writing that’s short and structured and rhymes, while prose just rambles on, the way I do. However, it turns out that poetry doesn’t always rhyme, and some poems have gone on to book lengths. There are, in fact, many dozens of types of poetry, from Haiku to Jintishi. I thought Jintishi was a condition related to too much...
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You can't get blood from a turnip, but they got a whole bag full from me

My oldest daughter approached me with a simple request: Her twins were being asked to bring someone to their school to donate blood. You want to do something for your grandkids. After all, they're your ... wait for it ...Blood relatives.There was a short period of time, a few nanoseconds, in which my mind wound up to deliver a powerful, definitive, final, "hell no". Scream it. I've always had an issue with needles, which abated some over the years as I got used to allergy shots and annual blood draws. But the needle they use for an allergy shot is like, say, a BB Gun. My brother shot me with a BB gun once; it left a welt on my cheek (no, not that cheek), close enough that it could have put a...
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Tornado Season--Twisted Twisters, or: Breaking Winds

Some say the best advice you can give people when it comes to tornadoes is to keep your insurance paid up and update your will.I prefer to be a little more optimistic. Still, my advice is just as simple and straightforward: At the beginning of March, dig a big hole in your back yard, then get into it while wearing a helmet and one of those "Red man" protective suits that a police dog can't penetrate. Then have the hole lined in concrete and covered with an armored steel plate. Now, the order of this is very important: Get in the hole before you have it sealed off with concrete and steel. You might want to bring in some water, snacks, a portable toilet, maybe a book to read, and, of course, a...
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A writing excerpt, more Scouts, and the best Becky

So, we paid a little money to promote The No-Campfire Girls on the Fussy Librarian newsletter, which resulted in a few sales. Then I doubled down by letting social media have it with both barrels. I sent out a newsletter, then put up two different posts on multiple social media platforms, including some I still have never heard of and others that don't exist yet.(By the way, FaceBackTalk will be huge.)I even tagged some celebrity former Girl Scouts with what amounted to begging. Up to this point, the total effort has produced zero results, in sales or reviews. (To my knowledge; sometimes these things move slowly, like my bathroom sink.)So the next time your father says "you get what you pay ...
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The value of navel lint, or: Girl Scouts cause an e-book breakout

I had a business plan all ready to go when we published The No-Campfire Girls, and it was, if I do say so myself, fool-proof:First, we tell everyone half the proceeds to go a good and worthy cause, and that much of the other half go toward advertising that good and worthy cause.Second, we set the e-book price at only 99 cents and, even better, the print book at just five dollars. Hey, you can find 99 cents in your navel lint collection. (It's up to you to dig it out.) Not only that, but these days 99 cents worth of navel lint is worth five bucks, so there you go.Third, we spread the word among Girl Scouts, since that good cause was to support a Girl Scout camp. There are about two and a half...
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Girl Scouts, or coffee? I vote books.

The No-Campfire Girls was featured Sunday on the Fussy Librarian daily newsletter; the site's all about books of various genres, and can be found here:http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/It costs a few bucks to do the ad, but it did bring sales. The Amazon ranking for The No-Campfire Girls rose from just over three million to 41,341 that day, which is its highest Kindle ranking, so the extra effort clearly did something.That's especially important because half the proceeds for the book go to support my wife's Girl Scout Camp Latonka, in Missouri. (Not "former" because once a Scout, always a Scout.) This is our second such effort, with the proceeds from another book, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nig...
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Singing Up a Spring

Hey, I wrote a song!It's not a great song ... but then, I'm not a great song writer. There are two problems: First, I meant it to be humorous, but it comes off as kind of depressing; chalk that up to the weather and my sinus infection, I suppose. Second, it's a song, and I was hearing the music in my head while writing the words (It has a country vibe). But I can't play it for you because I can't write music ... so it probably won't work as well as a poem. Maybe it's for the best, though, because I'm also not a great music writer. Or ... any music writer.I should hold some contest, like: If I sell thirty books by the end of April, I'll post a video of me singing this. But that might lead to ...
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Big Medical Words, or: Holy Bovine, What's Wrong With Me?

Well, bad news on the medical front, as I went to the doctor Wednesday and was diagnosed with bilateral Eustachian salpingitis, which has effected my balance and hearing a little. He gave me a shot of Kenalog--which was a butt load of fun--and started me on antibiotics, and has high hopes that I'll recover.(Just to be clear, the doctor's name is not Wednesday--that's the day I saw him.)It's related to my biannual sinusitis, which is itself worsened by rhinitis. I haven't gotten the sinusitis nearly as often since my sinus surgery, but when I do get it, I get it good. By which I mean bad. By which I mean last week was kind of awful.If I don't make it, I'd like everyone to help support my wido...
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