“I’m an old guy now”

No laughing. If you aren’t already, well, you will be here someday too. And when you get here, you might even vaguely remember having once seen this blog post:

A couple of examples of the comedians in my life.
A couple of examples of the comedians in my life.

Oh, and the other day, we’d checked up on friends’ cats again – while they were away for a couple of nights:

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Crazies And Villains (A Nationality Predictor)

While watching several West Wing episodes again recently, it struck me once more. Remember when President Bartlet’s daughter, Zoe, had the French boyfriend? Jean-Paul?

He resembled Rafael Nadal. He was obnoxious, filthy rich, snobbish, aristocratic, and did drugs. He was, frankly, a stereotypical upper-class French, early 20s, horror.

That led me to recall this:

Excerpt from "Passports," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

I’ve never forgotten that film and that laugh.

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Chasing Our Imperfections

When you are proofing, eventually it reaches a point where you are fiddling with a sentence, a word, even a few letters. You are now zeroing in on minutiae. That is one of the toughest places to be in writing: you are essentially finished, but you keep finding “bits” that you tweak and alter.

Tweaking like that, though, sometimes reveals what you’ve missed, too. And among 100,000 words, you WILL miss things.

For instance, yesterday I found an egregious spelling mistake – that had been repeated half a dozen times throughout the text because I must’ve done it the once and “autocorrected” it again and again. (Ever feel like an idiot?) I also found somehow I’d gotten an entire paragraph into the wrong chapter – it must have been a cut and paste edit that somehow got dropped in again where it wasn’t meant to be at all. I could have bashed my head into the wall when I saw both of those beauts.

Free Stock Photo: Close-up of an enter button.
Free Stock Photo: Close-up of an enter button.

Also, as I re-read one chapter yesterday I came upon one scene I’ve never much liked. And if you don’t like it, why should anyone else? So I did a short revision, and I think it’s an improvement. I went for understatement, which is – for me, anyway – usually a far better approach.

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Ebooks As Increasing Tax Target

Interesting email I received yesterday from Kindle:

Screen capture of email.
Screen capture of email.

Here in the UK print books are generally sold untaxed, while ebook sales are taxed. Similar tax distinctions occur elsewhere in the European Union. The EU itself has recently labeled ebooks an “electronic service.

Many US states tax ebooks too. I haven’t checked New York lately, but there’s almost nothing, for instance, New York State won’t tax to the hilt if it can figure out a way to do so. And Albany can usually figure one out.

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An Adventure, Or Two, Or Three….

I wasn’t going to tell you this. In the end I figured, well, why not? We’re friends here. :-)

I’m fast approaching a milestone birthday that ends in a “zero.”

Free Stock Photo: Cupcakes with birthday candles.
Free Stock Photo: Cupcakes with birthday candles.

You may know that “James,” one of my main characters, is 29 years of age in 1994:

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Hatreds On The Pages

Do you write “angry?” I try not to. However, I will admit there are times when I let loose.

I have all too often sat in front of my PC or Microsoft Surface, found myself feeling infuriated, and slammed keys and took it out on the pages. Briefly, I’d feel better, yes. But after I went back and reread my “tantrum,” I usually toned it down considerably.

For eventually I remember what I’ve also written about here recently. Be careful: your words are forever.

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Never In A Million Years

Laura had been born in upstate New York. She died August 26, 2004 on Long Island – 11 years ago now. Only 52 at the time, she’d died in her sleep of a previously undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm.

For those of us who grew up fans, she was like a local gal who’d “made it.” I saw her perform live once, and won’t ever forget it:

A sneak peek into "Distances." Click to enlarge.
A sneak peek into “Distances.” Click to enlarge.

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My Phone Buzzed….

….and, from far away Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A., messages from my uncle started appearing out of the blue yesterday afternoon. He does that. Unexpectedly, thoughts and advice disjointedly come flying my way.

I usually try to jump to and – if possible – answer him immediately. You may know he’s a HarperCollins published crime novelist. (His first book appeared in the early 1980s. And he, urr, also sorta resembles one of my characters.) We got involved in a back and forth about reading and my writing.

This starts the revealing bit: it opens with the end of my response to a reading suggestion he’d made:

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