Monthly Archives: November 2012

Quote from Television Character House


One of the TV shows I enjoy watching is “House,” the drama about a drug addicted, dysfunctional physician with a brilliant diagnostic talent. House is a bad boy. He’s a genius that has a hard time making or being a friend. He has a biting sarcasm and a frustrated libido. Sound like someone you might like?

Frankly, I haven’t analyzed House’s appeal to me, but I get a kick out of watching what he will say or do next. (I admit I prefer the older episodes where his character is out of control and has the star-crossed hots for his female boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy.) The following quote is an exchange between House and his friend, Dr. James Wilson:

“Are you happy?

“No, but I’m right.”

The Anthology Is Going to Press


Within the week, the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology will be in the hands of Acorn Book Services for formatting. Within the month, the e-book will be available for sale on Amazon.com.

The anthology integrates the varied writing interests of the authors into a fast and easy read.  There’s something for everyone: young adult to inspirational to fantasy to adult fiction to poetry to ultra-short story (such as 33- or 55-word stories). Whatever your tastes in reading, the anthology offers enough variety to satisfy.

Sound like an advertisement? It is.

Naturally, I hope you will read the anthology and share feedback with me. Your feedback helps the writers of Desert Rose Cafe to improve and grow. Criticism is welcomed when it is meant to help.

The project itself drove several of the authors out of a comfort zone. Writing within a group setting is very different from writing alone. For a couple of the writers, the process of publication is a first experience. Others have years of creative expertise. One of our own developed the book cover with group input. Members assumed varying responsibilities such as editing, content organization, setting timelines and the like. The satisfaction of bringing the projection to completion is almost at hand.

As an aside, one of our authors has Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disability that affects one’s ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Can you imagine the huge satisfaction that writer is feeling right now?

Now the marketing begins, along with the next learning curve for some of us. When the e-book is available to purchase, I’ll share where to buy it.

As I learn what works and what doesn’t on the marketing side of the venture, I’ll share those lessons, too.

Later, ‘gator.

This One Goes on the Refrigerator


I love the sentiment of this quote. It’s nice to believe that karma rewards doing good things. The quote comes from the 34-year-old president of Cinnabon, Kat Cole:

When you do the right things for the right reasons, it always pays you back.

The Psychology of the Sociopath as Minion


I’m obsessed with bad guys because I love writing about them. In order to write about them, I learn about them. I study where and how they live.

In science fiction or historical stories, there is ALWAYS the character that stands out for his willingness to oppress others on behalf of the boss. In exchange for doing the dirty work, the story’s minion receives a benefit, usually a modicum of power or an elevation of status or income.

The current TV character who comes to mind is Captain Tom Neville, played by actor Giancarlo Esposito. Neville is a former insurance adjuster turned militia leader under bloody General Monroe in TV’s saga Revolution. Neville will turn on his peers, getting them tortured and demoted, to advance himself. Yet he is fearful without the structure and protection offered him by Monroe.

As an author, it is important to be accurate when writing about the personality. Although the variety of personalities is numerous, the personality type is fairly fixed.

So what does psychology say about these overzealous minions? What are common traits among sociopath sycophants?

In the normal work-a-day world, he will likely screw-up regularly or use chaos to camouflage his childish character. He is seen as sleazy in the community or office. He will set aside morality or abandon principle if it is to his advantage to do so. He is drawn to a culture of corruption where questionable acts done on behalf of superiors advance his status.

Once he is given authority, he will demand respect from those under him, even if he doesn’t deserve it. He savors weakness in others. He will use title or force to exact submission from the weak under his jurisdiction. Show defiance to his authority and reap the consequences of his ire. He will abuse those weaker than himself.

There is no room for discussion or disagreement. It is his way or off with your head. In the face of reason, this minion will attack. Yet to preserve himself, he will avoid conflict with someone who may best him.

This character loves rules, regulations, and rigid structure. He seeks total control of his environment. He will twist the legal system to fit his own logic. He loves to force compliance on others.

Behind the facade of power, the sociopath minion is a follower, unable to operate without an elaborate system or leader to guide him. He is cowardly at his core: a follower, not a leader. The more bureaucracy clutters the landscape, offering him regulations to twist or hide behind, the better. He likes the smokescreen of obfuscation.

The minion draws his power from the ruling entity. Therefore, he supports the powers that be wholeheartedly. He disregards the rights or unique value of the individual. Control is easier to maintain in the absence of individualism. Therefore, he prefers the group mentality and will promote that sort of thinking. He cannot imagine functioning without an establishment to direct him. His self-identity comes from being part of it, not independent of it.

The sociopath as minion may wear a state uniform and wield power by turning in citizens for minor infractions of the rules. A tyrant or an oligarchy relies on him to grab and maintain control. He relishes being useful to and part of the machine. He is obsessed with continuing the power that gives him meaning. No bad act by those ruling will shake his devotion. He is a willing tool in the hand of his master.

Portions of trait description adapted from Brandon Smith of Alt-Market 

When To Stop Writing


A few days ago, I finished rewriting on my contributions to The Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Anthology. I sent my revisions to the members who collate the contributions into the final manuscript. The volume will be turned over to Acorn Book Services for formatting and uploading to the marketplace for e-books. (Hopefully in December.)

I received a couple of specific criticisms from the publisher on two of my pieces. However, I revised almost every story, including my biographical paragraph.

After re-reading the pieces multiple times, I wanted to yank out several of my entries because now I hate them. I don’t want them published under my name. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t mature. They bore me. Some are pablum.  Pablum suggests simplistic writing.

I tell myself. “This is a first effort, so the stench of the amateur shouldn’t surprise anyone.” That’s my scared self speaking.

I’m delighted that the editor suggested changes to improve stories. Consequently, there are two or three pieces I think deliver entertainment for the reader. Satisfactorily. Worth the price of admission. Maybe leaving the reader curious about what comes next from this author.

And I grew. As an author. As a wordsmith. As a human being. As an experimenter.

Striving to make something excellent is good, to a point.  Sometimes a writer rewrites and rewrites, seeking perfection in a piece. But there  does come a time to stop: stop reworking, stop criticizing, stop touching up. At that point, it’s time to publish and let the chips fall where they may. It’s time to face the music.

Am I ready for the commercial press? Book buyers will vote. Readers will tell me.

If my collection of work is a screw up,  I hope a reader is brave enough to spell out specifics for me, not just the critique “I don’t like it.”  It’s the “I don’t like it because. . .” that helps me improve the next time.

The Fear of Being Forgotten


One wonderful facet of blogging is reading about someone else’s life and thoughts, then allowing what I read to affect me, change me, prod me.

I had a brief e-conversation with the creator of the blog Rendezvous with Renee recently about a quote I borrowed from one of her pieces. In our exchange, she referred me to another of her posts. I have provided the link to it below.

The Fear of Being Forgotten.

The title of it got me thinking about my own similar fear. I figure I have about 20 productive years, at most, ahead of me. Twenty years are nothing. The time goes in a flash. Don’t believe me? Look at that child of yours nearing college age or finishing college. The span of their lifetime is a blur. It’s gone by so fast.

Anyway, I started thinking about my writing ambition. I have had it my whole life. Over the course of years, I kept saying about writing professionally, “Not yet, not yet. I haven’t lived enough. I don’t have anything to say.”

Then that thought changed. Now I fret that I won’t have time to get the words out of me. I fret that life will get in the way, and my stories won’t get told.

Yes, I fear I’ll be forgotten.

Oh, I know that I’ll be remembered by friends, family and children who outlive me. But when they are gone, then what? Poof. I’m gone for good. Especially in an age of digital data. There will be no paintings of me that pass from generation to generation, hung in the family library or den. Photographs of me saved on-line or in home computers will disappear. My e-books-to-be will corrupt in an outdated e-reader.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, twinkle in my father’s eye to twinkle in the starry sky. But who will be looking for the miniscule twinkle? Who will care?

At some level, it is the fear of being forgotten that motivates me to write.

Interview with Author A. J. Myers


If you enjoy author interviews, this is a good one because:

  • this is the story of an author who discovered the writer within herself by surprise
  • A. J. Myers is an every day, “real-world” woman who succeeded in publishing
  • she gives helpful advice
  • she models good author behavior — planning, discipline, fun
  • she offers resources for writers

Thank you, Paige Nolley, WordPress blogger, for this insightful interview.

Interview with Author, AJ Myers.