Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HaugEnmail ...

a Joshua's Ladder review:

"I just finished it on my trip to Florida last weekend. It was well written and I really enjoyed reading it - I laughed, cried, smiled, felt deep emotion for the characters and couldn't wait for the next chapter. The flow of the book, kept me wondering what was next - it was a fast read because I enjoyed it so much. It was simply marvelous. Thank you!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Story of Hitchhikers

Back in my newspapering days, my writing was pretty much limited to the facts - who, what, when, where and why - as it should be. My columns usually touched on my personal experiences, friends and family.

So, now, as a writer of fiction it has struck me somewhat by surprise that people still try to look at everything I write as some sort of autobiographical non-fiction, with my stories rooted in true-life experiences. Frankly, there's a touch of that, but mostly it's just a guy with an imagination.

Like in Joshua's Ladder, I'm not Joshua. I'm not married to an astronaut. I'm not even married to a blonde. But, I am Catholic, and I was known to frequent a bar or two "back in the day."

So, yes, I draw on some personal experiences in my writing. They say to write what you know about. But mostly it's an imagination extrapolating upon many of the characters I've met along this 47-year journey of mine.

Among my small circle of best friends, it's a well-known fact that if I am in a bar or restraunt or sitting at the Blackjack table in Deadwood, the most unique, odd and ornery people in that place will sooner or later end up sitting next to me. I seem to attract the characters, and I love it.

So it is with these Hitchhiker short stories I've written, these characters aren't me, but they are likely based on somebody I've run across in my travels. And, yes, I have been known to pick up a hitchhiker along the way.

These stories are what I call "thinkers." There's not so much a start, middle and end, as there is just a picture of time, leaving the reader to wonder how they would react in these situations, with these characters, and if perhaps they've known one or two of them in their time.

Here's an excerpt from "Hitchhiker 3 - Wendy," which you can find in its entirety in the top left corner of the site in the "short story" section. Hope you enjoy:

Yet what red-blooded male driver wouldn't want to be accompanied by a Barbie doll hitchhiker? As she leaned her head in the car, it looked like a puppy had chewed on the head of my Barbie doll. Her face was pock-marked and drawn ghost-like over obscenely jutting cheek bones that could cut glass. Her chalky look had meth-head written all over and “trouble” should have been etched on her forehead.

But I'd committed and was getting pretty good at keeping those kinds of things, so I half-heartedly muttered: “Hop in.”

“Where you going?” she chirped, setting the backpack on her lap and closing the door.

“Kansas City. You?”

“St. Louis. Going to see Mount Rushmore.”

It took a second or two for that to register in my brain and when we were on the interstate, I mentioned the obvious or what would be obvious to you and me. “Mount Rushmore isn't in St. Louis.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today's pet peeve: Literally.

This one has been building in me for a while and once you start listening for it, it will start bugging you too.

Take this recent quote from a news story: "We literally flew through the air."

As opposed to: "We flew through the air."

Listen. It happens all the time. It'll drive you crazy. Eventually, you will literally go through the roof.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

** If you aren’t familiar with Don Meyer’s story, you should be.
And he offered his “five vitamin Cs” that help people - and communities and institutions - build character.

Concentration, he said, is “the ability to make the main thing the main thing. Genius is 90 percent concentration.”

Courtesy: “When you're courteous, it pays; when you're discourteous, you pay.”

Communication: “Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing whether to say it.”

Compete: “Don't complain, don't whine, don't make excuses. Competitors don't complain.”

Consistency: “Lack of discipline will determine who wins in the end. You've got to expect greatness and you've got to accept only greatness.”
** Some people confuse North Dakota and South Dakota. They shouldn’t.
After Jeff Luptak flew from North Dakota to St. Paul with a 3-1/4-inch nail sticking out of his head, doctors told him the obvious: It needs to come out.

"If that's what you want to do, Doc. It's not bothering me," replied Luptak, 45, of Bismarck.

He seemed more concerned about the Scheels Sporting Goods baseball cap the nail had pinned to the top of his head beneath the hood of his sweatshirt. "I had to spend $300 at Scheels to get this free hat; I don't want it cut up," he told neurosurgeons at St. Joseph's Hospital before the operation that followed a construction accident last week.
** And speaking of hot nurses, check out this 90-year-old.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

As a parent, you know you did somthing right when your kids start stealing your books. My latest order from Amazon arrived, including How Do You Kill 11 Million People, and sat on the kitchen counter for less than 24 hours before HDUK11M was missing, apparently disappearing into the hands of my poli sci major.

It'll turn up. And I'm actually happy to have raised a kid who wants to read it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Like you care what I'm reading, but ...

I'm currently reading my fifth or sixth Tim Dorsey book. It's pretty mindless, goofball humor, not likely to make Oprah's reading list. Maya Angelou doesnt lose sleep over Dorsey eating into her sales numbers. Which is why I like him.

For instance, in Hammerhead Ranch Motel Dorsey has a character named "If."

He has another character who perspires "like a yak."

Dorsey also throws in an occassional societal comment:
"Sidney Spittle was the Twenty-First-Century American. He completed the nation's transition from a culture molded by sacrifice and hard work to a bunch of cranky, unobliged brats."
His main character is Serge Storms, a serial killer, crazier than most:
"Serge suddenly jumped back and made a startled yip. There it was again, his face on the front page, third day in a row. 'Manhunt Widens for Keys Killer.' Can't they give it a rest? You go and do a little spree killing and they never let you forget about it."
And he knows family:
"Lenny figured the trick to gator wrestling was keeping them fat and happy, and he fed them so much they lay around the pond drowsy all the time like a living room full of uncles after Thanksgiving dinner."
And I'm just halfway through this one. Stay tuned.