This is very unusual. I am genuinely afraid for the first time in my life.  I know it’s the first time because I have never experienced this kind of fear.    Oh, I distinctly remember being rolled into the OR when I was eight years old.  I panicked. There were all these people in the room and they had masks on and one picked up this black cone and held it tight against my faced.  I was forced to breathe in this horrible odor.  Back then, doctors and nurses didn’t explain to children what was about to happen them.  Nope, they just did it.  But still, the fear I felt wasn’t like this.

I also remember my car being hit by a truck and then spinning out of control, doing a full three-sixty across three lanes while my life and other cars whizzed by me at 70 miles per hour.  But that, too, didn’t have me feeling this way.  No, I am completely absorbed and unnerved by how I feel today…a day, just like others lately, that will feature the daily announcement of how many people are battling the Covid 19 virus…and  how many have lost that battle.

At first, I treated the coronavirus like other events. Basically, it was a news story that involved other people in other places.  I wasunlikely to become personally involved, I thought, because I do not have a particularly active social life.  I am retired so the entire work environment and the people who populate it are no longer part of my routine.   My calendar usually contains lunches or dinners with various friends.  These are easily postponed or canceled altogether. I have to admit, this is the first time I have bagged such events because of the threat of a virus.  But, as we have all learned, this is no usual virus. Popping Tylenol and consuming lots of OJ and chicken soup doesn’t chase this bug away.  And, oh yeah, this invisible little creature doesn’t just mess with your plumbing, stuff up your airways and increase your running temperature…no, it does more: it can kill you.

Especially vulnerable are people over 65.  Hmmm, I have that beat by ten years.  You are even more vulnerable if you are 65 and have various inhibiting medical issues. Hmmm again, where do I start? And the kicker especially hits home:  this virus sets up shop very easily when the host’s autoimmune system is pretty much nonexistent. Cue another hmmm. Among the   of pills I dump into my body week after week is one that tanks my immunity level.

So here I pace, a perfect target, big and bold, with a lethal virus just waiting for me to be still for a moment and step out from amongst the trees and expose myself. And this is the fear I have never felt before.  It is so surreal…and so real.


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It is just about three months since we moved into our new home.  I think Rosemarie andhomesweet I are finally feeling settled in, despite a lengthy list of tasks still waiting to be done.  But the word, “home” has become the accepted term to describe where we live now and not where we lived before.  That concept, after 23 years in the same house, has been a difficult one to maneuver in my mind.

There were a few things we were willing give up when we were shopping for a new house.  The stairs were the highest on the list, while losing the canal passing along the outer edge of our backyard …well, that would be sorely missed given all the wildlife it regularly presented  for our viewing pleasure.  Perhaps we could find a new home with a similar waterway.  That, unfortunately, didn’t happen.  But as for having a magical menagerie on our doorstep, we lucked out.

lanaiWe live in the end unit of a series of coach homes which is a modern-day way of saying row house.  I should know; I grew up in a post WWII community in the middle of a row of 40 joined homes and that was one side of a block and the blocks ran as far as far as the eye could see.  Being on the end, we are blessed with extra windows. There are seven large windows in the living room alone.  And what is the view outside?  Tropical woods!  On the left is the setting looking out from the patio–ah, in this house it’s called a lanai.

The entire back of the house abuts a state preserve. This is an area that represents the State’s natural environment, including its geographical and botanical samplings.  You can count on the area to be around and undisturbed forever, hence preserve.  What’s more, don’t mess with it!

So, while we missed out on having a canal, the preserve, so far, has introduced us to a whole new collection of birdlife, several rabbits, a new species of ducks and one raccoon.  And  no, not a snake in sight.



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I came across another reason this week why you should avoid getting any older.  If I ranked them this latest reason would be top ten, definitely. The topic is life insurance, the consumer product everyone hates to buy, but is so glad they did, although those who buy it and get to use it never really experience the payoff.

Like most things we do, Rosemarie and I have always had life insurance based on its practicality.  We figure if one of us has to go it’d be very helpful if there were a sudden rush of funds for the remaining partner to do things like pay off the mortgage, or pay all the medical services that failed to save our dear one.  Then too, maybe the surviving spouse just buys a few fun things to help the healing process.

The problem with insurance is that you are at the mercy of the insurer.  I’ve even had a policy cancelled on me that was supposed to take me to my grave, so to speak, or so spoke the guy who sold it to me. When that happened I discovered the only kind of insurance I could get is known as term.  These are policies that usually run annually or even month-to-month and if the company still likes you, you can renew them.  Eventually, however, the age factor kicks in.  Obviously, the older you get, the more risk you become to insure.  Makes sense, but here is where it gets ugly.

Insurance companies can be ruthless.  Don’t believe everything they advertise.  Indeed, you may not be in the best hands and when the critical time comes, that company may not be there.  Bless them, however, these fine companies, because they really do not like to terminate the policy.  Terminating must have some possible backlash of sorts.  This is why they find other ways to end the policy.  If you have reached the little quadrant in their life-expectancy chart, you are in the danger zone.  Do not expect the happy relationship you’ve had with your insurance company to continue much longer.  You are about to be dumped.  But more than likely, it is you who will terminate the policy.  How come? Check out this letter I got last week…

“Dear Policy Owner: (Ah gee, they must have forgotten my name)                                        Thank you for being a valued Transamerica customer.  We appreciate your business (actually, it’s the $878 check I send them twice a year that they find to their liking) and the opportunity to assist in securing your financial future.” (Note: it’s their financial future they’re really interested in).

The letter goes on to explain that my premium will be going up.  Hey, nothing new there.  Premiums always go up, don’t they?  But this particular increase is taking the express escalator.  And, to clarify, they type the payment period in caps: “SEMI ANNUAL.”

Now remember, they are not terminating the policy, merely increasing the premium now that I have gotten a little older…or in other words, nearer to the age when people begin dying.  And just so I know, they alert me to the fact that each year as policy renewal time rolls around, I will be getting other kind letters of appreciation…along with an annual rate hike.  Aren’t they caring to make things so clearly understood?

Of course, I realize that you’ve been waiting  for me to tell you how much this first rate hike is.  Trust me, it’s worth waiting for.  And while you’re waiting, I will admit I called that 800 number the Colonial Penn Insurance Company was advertising on TV.  But now I’m tainted…I was turned down.  No, not because of any health reasons, but because I am terminating my current insurance. Remember, my insurance company is not terminating my policy, they are merely raising the rate. It is I who has decided not to renew.  That makes me the terminator and there’s a Florida law that says if a policy-holder terminates the insurance, he cannot go out and get another policy with a new company. Why? I’m not sure.  Colonial Penn knew enough about the law to turn me down, but had sketchy reasons as to the why. I shall have to investigate further.

Of course, the real loser in all this is Rosemarie.  If I go first and it’s not in some kind of accident, then she’ll get nothing.  And here she had her heart set on a silver Mercedes SL.  Too bad because she deserves one.

Okay it’s 11 o’clock; here’s the film….the rate hike takes my SEMI ANNUAL premium from
$878.12 to….




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twain2As the infamous Mark Twain line goes…reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. In fact, considering my last posting on this blog was February 8th, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed that no one took a moment to inquire whether or not I was still around.  Well, I am. It is just that my time allotted for writing has been intruded upon by the move Rosemarie and I made in January from the Atlantic coast of Florida to the Gulf coast.  Moves like this were a lot easier when we were young.  There were less boxes to unpack and more energy to do it.  And too, a few age-related health issues are inhibiting my ability to do things the way I used to.  Whoever labeled these The Golden Years must have been a purebred with perfect body organs and good bones.  Us of the lesser breeds see nothing golden in the ailments and the accompanying aches and pains brought on by old age.  The closest we come to gold is the amber color of the pile of pill bottles we’ve accumulated.

We marked two months in our new home this week.  Rosemarie has become so enthused about her new digs she told me she finally feels like a retired person, an atmosphere missing previously.  I, on the other hand, feel like I’m back at a full-time job. My to-do list has kept me busy unpacking boxes and solving the mystery of where to put the contents. There was a totally disrupted week of having new flooring installed.  The major issue with this endeavor was the gigantic dust storm swirling around inside the house while sections of tile were broken up and removed.  Even the dust needed dusting.  But the new floors look great.  I installed some under-cabinet lights in the kitchen, replaced some plumbing, and touched up paint here and there.   Every day featured a new cut or bruise just to let me know I was not born to be a Mr. Fixit.

So, with all that going on, there was little time and even less energy left for blogging.  Plus, after some  654 postings I’m about written out.   In fact, this posting pretty much mimics Jerry Seinfeld.  It’s about nothing!  I will, however, disclose one relatively new commotion in my life and maybe yours too.  It’s YouTube.

As far as I am concerned, YouTube beats Twitter, Facebook and just about any social media site…hands down!  The only reason I have managed to fix things around the house is because there is a tutorial on how to fix everything imaginable right there on YouTube…and usually it includes your specific product brand and model number. Then, if you are a sentimentalist, there are tons of young lads sharing their surprise wedding proposals and a slew of soldier/sailor homecomings that will tear you up in seconds.  And if you like all those shows featuring talent competition, you can watch rerun auditions into the wee hours of the morning. There are clips of Carol Burnett, Ellen, and tons of leftover TV hits, documentaries on most things historical and full concerts from Brahms’ 4th to the latest videos by Swift (I recommend Taylor’s “You Need to Calm Down”).  You name it, you can search it on YouTube and no doubt be offered a selection of videos to look through. And, and, and it’s all FREE–and addictive.  So pick a topic you are interested in and put it in the search box at the top of YouTube…and be off!


Posted in death, entertainment, home, internet, media, moving, WHATEVER! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments



fiveBut wait, there is something else that’s been going on all week and it’s been pretty exciting and a lot messy.  We are having the entire floor space, closets and all, replaced.  Gone is the stained and worn carpet and tile.  Replacing it is “engineered vinyl planks,” the latest in wood-like flooring.  It looks like real wood, is as hard as a rock and is known for being 100% waterproof. Bill the  Dog has already tested this latter feature.

Now, I won’t advise you on what kind of flooring to choose.  You’ll have to go through theiwo purchasing routine like Rosemarie and I did. But I  will advise you of this:  If you can have this kind of flooring installed–especially if you are first tearing out carpeting and chiseling away ceramic tile–try to have it done before you move in.  Having this kind of installation done while you are living in your home…well then, you can expect to be cleaning around the clock. We had enough tile taken up that the process produced a quantity of dust capable of forming a second Sierra Desert.  We even had to wipe the dust off of the dust created the day before.  Every item in every cabinet in the kitchen was coated with a fine layer of dust. Rosemarie, bless her, emptied all the cabinets, washing them down and stuffing the dishwasher with their content.


Then there’s the maneuvering of furniture.  Here’s where my recent back surgery comes onto play–the surgery during which the surgeon dumped an entire Home Depot hardware department into my lower lumbar.  And don’t forget toilets have to be removed…and then put back on afterwards. Guess who does a lot of this work, unless you want to dump about $4-500 bucks into hiring folks to help.  You are already thousands into this project.  But hey, when it’s done I have to admit, despite all the chaos, it really looks nice. Insert commercial here: Thank you Lumber Liquidators.  You were very service-oriented and communication was good. Plus the installation company you linked us to was excellent…they never stopped working, no breaks and not even lunch!  (S.D. Flooring).


It reminds me of the house I grew up in.  It was built in the late 40s and all the floors were three-inch-wide planks of hardwood–pine or oak, I can’t remember.  Those were the floors that folks later spent tons of money COVERING UP with wall-to-wall carpeting or something called linoleum.  I wonder if the future owners of this home will do likewise twenty or so years from now!


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Well finally!  Mission accomplished. It’s all over except the unpacking. That, I’m afraid, will be going on for some time.  But everything that was there…is now here. The new home (that’s it pictured above, #3) is warm,  welcoming and instantly a hit since it’s all on one level and there are no stairs.

It has been a bit of a daunting challenge at our age.  We just don’t have the stamina or strength that we used to have, no matter how much we try to psych it out.  Tired and aching muscles don’t lie…and the  arthritis seems to be enjoying the ride.  But each day a little more gets done and another box or two or three are emptied and places are found for their content. That alone is a worthy accomplishment because the new house is smaller and has less storage space.  I should have purged more even though I would have had to absorb more abuse from Rosemarie the hoarder.

We are four miles from the Gulf of Mexico and just about every retail store regularly on my shopping list is within a five-to-ten minute drive.  So everything is spot on…except for one major spot-off.  We have a garage.  That was one of the must-haves on our house-hunting list.  It is almost unbelievable, but the entrance to the garage is so narrow for our Sienna Van that we would have to fold the mirrors in before attempting to pass through. Whodda thunk in 2007 they’d design  such a narrow entrance to the garage.  I started to drive in the first day we arrived but I got only about a foot before I chickened out.  The good news is, now I have a place for storage.

Overall, we are pleased with our decision to move and the new unfamiliar location has rekindled our sense of exploration. The other evening we set the boxes aside and went to the fishing pier to watch the NaplelsPiersunset. It wasn’t the best sunset because of a few misplaced clouds, but the water was beautiful and inviting.  It will take some time for me to refer to this body of water as a”the Gulf” and not “the Ocean.”

Last night we discovered Marcato, pictured below. It’s a 3-4 block stretch of a gazillion restaurants and specialty shops with a Whole Foods end-capping the whole array.  The restaurant at which we had dinner easily lived up to its name:  Bravo!


But the purpose for our moving had little to do with our desire for a change in scenery.  There was a lot of practicality that went into our planning.  We wanted to move into a home that would be more efficient and less of a strain on our retirement funds. The goal was survival–meaning if one of our Social Security  checks were to permanently go away, the remaining spouse could still afford to live in the house.  I had prepared elaborate spreadsheets of all of expenses and compared them to those of any house we considered buying.  How accurate were these projections? Time will tell. Already within the two weeks we’ve been here, we have received pro-rated refunds from our auto and home-owners  insurance companies.  The annul premium on our car insurance alone dropped over $600! If anything, our new environment should provide new fodder to feed this blog.  So buckle up Sparky, we’re going in and at my age it shouldn’t take much to cause a little excitement around these paragraphs!


Posted in aging, economy, environment, home, lifestyle, moving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments


No, you don’t have to answer the title question…It is obvious that while I have been very busy and simply didn’t have the time or energy (more the latter) to pound out a substantive posting since December 21st (egads!), you were likewise.  I have one last posting to complete “The Big Move”series I began last year, but it will take a little more time because I am still spending most of my day unpacking the gazillion boxes sitting in just about every room of our new house. At the end of each day I am in no mood to tackle a session at the computer.  So please hold onto your hat if you still wear one, and I will be back on course shortly.

Meanwhile, I have been getting unusual feedback to a posting on the TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  Why unusual? Because the posting was last February, almost a year ago.  But the search engines must be active and leading folks to the posting.  So, just for grins while I get back up to speed, here’s the piece on marvelous Mrs. M…


Well, here I go again with another dissertation on the F*Bomb.  It’s like I can’t get it out of my system….or maybe it should be that I can’t get it in.

I thought I’d inch my way back into the popular arts this evening.  This is a place that I have pretty much abandoned once I retired, at least when the venue is television.  My temporary re-entry was made up of watching three episodes of an amazon prime series titled, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This program has piled up an overflowing mantle of awards, including three Golden Globes, a SAG Award, and six Primetime Emmies.  The writer-director  of the series is Amy Sherman-Palladino who also gave us The Gilmore Girls.  I thought I had done a good job selecting what promised to be an outstanding series.  I thought.

Now comes the troublesome part.  I’ve confessed this before so some will find this posting to be a here-he-goes-again moment.  I have, let’s call it “a sensitivity,” to the F*Bomb. I think this is a result of the culture in which I was raised.  I realize it is merely a word, a collection of letters placed in a specific order to form the word that represents the sound, F*ck.  Stay with me here.

During the 1950s, the word simply was NOT commonly used, at least in public and especially by women. I’ve thought long and hard about this and, NO, the F*Bomb was definitely NOT expressed back then as freely as it is today.  This brings me to the point at which I take issue with all the contemporary entertainment writers who insist on sprinkling the F*bomb throughout their scripts as if it were seasoning liberally applied from a saltshaker.  It is especially annoying when the script represents a time period like the 1950s, as does The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  I am not stupid.  Today’s crop of writers thinks it is cool and hip (there’s a word from the ‘50’s) to say F*ck in just about every paragraph, so much so that to someone like me it is beyond sounding provocative and simply sounds stupid and irritating.

FBombAmy Sherman-Palladino is such a writer.  She was born in 1966.  She was not around in the 1950s and her perception of how people spoke back then is entirely WRONG. When her peers, and anyone younger, watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel they think nothing of the proliferation of F*bombs.  When someone my age is exposed to her writing, it loses all credibility and is actually insulting.  She may just as well place a cell phone in every actor’s hand as they role-play what they think is representative of the time period in which Mrs. Maisel takes place.

Now certainly, it is ballsy (how do you like that word?) of me to criticize Ms. Sherman-Palladino when she is a super successful writer and I remain a starving one.  But I am upset.  I wanted to get involved with a good series—an award-winning series—and have something to look forward to watching over the next several weeks. But, after viewing three full episodes, I left in the midst of an entirely unbelievable stretch of a scene in which a sober Mrs. Maisel auto-programs herself to suddenly do stand-up at a wedding. Her performance rivals any routine by shock comedian Andrew Dice Clay, to the extent that she asks the wedding’s attending priest to declare to everyone that she did not “stoke” him.  It is a scene that is simply unreal, one that is the product of a writer not familiar with the time period, period! And, no one, except a wonky critic like me, would make a fuss about it because it abruptly breaks the rhythm of what was otherwise a compelling performance.

Maybe I am a prude and do not wish to admit it.  But hey, my one book has a naked lady on the cover.  How much of a snoot can I be?  It is just that the F*bomb has become so much a part of our contemporary language that it can be heard anywhere at anytime by anyone.  My children and grandchildren use it freely all the time, whether I’m present or not.  The Atom Bomb Explosionproblem comes to life when a writer decides to overwhelm you with it.  Good writers pull and tug at every word in their scripts, always questioning whether or not a word is the correct one, does it serve a purpose, does it belong? Too often the F-bomb gets an unearned “yes” for each of these questions.

Imagine for a moment if The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel went through its entire season without once dropping the f*bomb.  I bet it would have still won three Golden Globes, a SAG Award and six Primetime Emmies.  Kah-boom!


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upsideTreeStrange. Everything this year seems upside-down.  Yep, that’s what it is, strange.  We’re having a strange Christmas.  Never ever had one like this.  There are no decorations, no tree (that’s last year’s in the picture), no lights on the bushes outside. Nope, nothing, nada, zilch.  Strange…uh-huh.

The house has been sold.  We closed on it yesterday, although the new owners have allowed us to still live here until the 30th. That is very unusual and very kind of  them to let us stay.  Even so, we will still be in a few days’ limbo since we don’t move into our new home until January 3rd.  Do you realize how strange (oh, there’s  that word again) it feels to suddenly be living in the house you have owned for 23 years and you no longer own it?  We’re renters!  Well, at least for the next ten days.

The grandkids–all but two–will be here Christmas Eve.  Traditionally, we always get each one of them a pair of pajamas.  It is the one present they are allowed to open on Christmas Eve. The two elder girls are living in Jacksonville…all grown up and learning what it’s like going to work every day so you can take care of the rent and groceries and maybe have a little left over to buy Christmas decorations.  They’ll get their gifts via USPS. And that’s about it…

Rosemarie and I are going to a good friend’s house on Christmas Day.  On Christmas every year our friend takes in a collection of non-Christmasers for a night of good food and drink.  Some are Jewish, of course, but I suspect there may be a few St. Nick vagabonds whose wayward lifestyle has them mumbling “bah-humbug” this time of year.  However, knowing my friend as I do, I am willing to bet that the Christmas Spirit–regardless of how you may link to it–will prevail by night’s end.

Yessiree, they’ll be swiggin’ bottles of ho-ho-ho by early evening.  Christmas Spirit can do that to you.  It’s non-denominational, non-discriminatory, non-sectarian.  It sort of helps ease the non-normal feel of  this year’s holiday.  Rosemarie and I will be in our house that we do not own anymore.  Most everything has been packed away in boxes that are stacked everywhere.  Nowhere are there any decorations, nor Christmas tree.  And there are no twinkling lights on the bushes outside…strange!






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moveupdateWell, gather around everyone, I have an update on The Big Move.  I just know there are at least a gazillion people wanting to hear wazzup with our Florida coast-to-coast transition.  Lots happening since I last discussed this incredible journey of changing home sites after 23 years.   Talk about a rollercoaster ride, this trip has been wild.  Last we met, we had sold our house on the  east coast of Florida and signed a contract for one on the west coast.

Now, if you have ever purchased a home you know that it is recommended that you hire an inspector to go through the entire property, top to bottom, including a check on all systems like plumbing and  electricity.

That will cost you on the average somewhere  between $300-$500, depending on the size of the house and how much  work is  involved.  In a brief moment of insanity, I actually considered forgoing the inspection but  my realtor brought me to my senses…and a good thing he did.  If the inspection turns up anything significant the buyer can negotiate a “fix” with the seller or choose to walk away from the deal.  Our inspector discovered truck2three things, each of which had nightmare potential.  We aborted the mission and began looking for another house.  Two  weeks later we found a newer, better house than the first one.  We signed another  contract, had a successful inspection and we are due to move in right after New Year’s.  Sometimes things are, as they say, just meant to be.  Okay, it’s back to packing…     



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Writer’s Digest is one of the more influential magazines in the book writing industry.  If you take writing seriously you already have, or should have, a subscription. What I like about Writer’s Digest is that it is one of the few in the industry that recognizes the value and legitimacy of independent (self-published) authors.

DeadLetter7Writer’s Digest sponsors a Self-Published Book Awards competition each year.  I have entered several times, as do hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other independent authors. For some incredibly strange circumstance, I have never won(!)  I came a little close, I think, with my book, DEAD LETTER, which scored perfect 5’s in every category except one: the cover.  I think the judge who reviewed my book took exception to the naked lady on the cover and gave it a 4, probably taking the book out of consideration.

One thing special about Writer’s Digest is that the judges in the various competitions it sponsors are required to provide the  entrants with a review of their submitted work.  It is always good for a writer to get professional feedback, good or bad.  Sometimes I prefer the bad stuff because it gives me something upon which to improve.

AgainAward copy 2My book titled, AGAIN, was my most recent entry in the Writer’s Digest competition.  Earlier, AGAIN took first place honors in the 2019 Independent Book Awards.  Meanwhile, it scored the least amount of points of any of my past entries in the Writer’s Digest contest–all 3’s and 4’s. That was a little discouraging, since this book was my 11th effort and one would think I might be improving by now. But what was most troubling was that I did not understand what the judge was trying to say about the book.  There are one or two sentences in her review that totally baffle me.  I have read them repeatedly and I still cannot figure out what the judge is saying.  I admit, I am a rather plain spoken individual and when the words get too big and the thoughts too complex, my pragmatic brain has a meltdown.  I call upon any of  you to read a portion of the judge’s comments and if you can interpret them for me, I would be most appreciative.  Just leave a comment below.  Here is some of what she said (the challenging parts are highlighted in bold text):

“Before I even started reading AGAIN, the concept of the story had me hooked. There is so much potential in the idea of not time travel or strict reincarnation, but some cross between the two. Kuhn uses emotion to carry both main storylines through without tangling them together to the point that the reader is no longer following. It’s clear that he did his research on the decades he was working with, but he never got so technical that he would lose the casual reader along the way.

What I think could have been improved would be the ways in which Kuhn’s actual syntax and tone played off of one another. At times the dialogue was overly formal, while his exposition borderline simple and opaque. It made for a jarring combination in explanations of day-to-day activities, such as Richard and Patricia moving forward with their lives after Richard comes home from war, and in emotional plot points – Richard coming off the plane and being reunited with his girlfriend, for example.”

Well, so much for clarity.  I sure hope one of you can ‘splain it to me.  I appreciate the judge taking the time to react to my book and puttng forth what I take as constructive criticism.  I will go back and check to see if there is a way of contacting her and politely ask for further explanation.  In the meantime I am stilll working on my acceptance speech for when I win a Pulitzer.  I just hope I am around to deliver it.



Posted in blogging, communication, creativity, Indie Publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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