Monthly Archives: March 2010

Still In Training

Blogging on a train–especially one flying along the northern border of the US (AKA, no-Internet-ville) continues to be a challenge.



We switched trains in Portland, and are now heading East through Montana and on into North Dakota.The scenery has been magnificent.  We went from a snow-storm in the mountains to sun on a prairie in a matter of 30 minutes.Sunset tonight was spectacular.Aside from a few minutes this morning when I was able to push a few lines of “poetry” at you, connection has been sparse in the extreme.Just now we are “parked” at Minot, ND, and I’m getting this out while the getting is good. 

I look forward to getting back to a regular Blogging schedule soon. 


Montana Sky

They say the sky is bigger in Montana.
I’ve been there, and it’s true.
But it isn’t the sky that takes your breath away,
It is the first time you inhale the day on a winter morning.
No, the air doesn’t really freeze in your lungs
but you think it will.

The land stretches as big as the sky
and it is lonely, quiet, and filled with
the echos of lives spent and lives never started.
It is like a church at night, empty, yet strangely comforting.

They say the sky is bigger in Montana.
I’ve been there, and it’s true.
But it isn’t the sky that takes your breath away,
It is the solid quiet of a crisp, clear morning.

Blogger In Training


We got to the train station at historic Jack London Square early and watched the coming and going of several commuter trains.  The woman at the counter informed us that the train was about 30 minutes late, but that it might make up the time. 

The station is not large, and the few people waiting for the train we were going to take gathered in small groups to discuss their latest novel purchases.  Of course my ears perked up at that.

Sooner than we expected we heard someone call out over the loudspeaker, “It you are taking a train tonight, this is it.  This is the last train of the day.”

I am typing this on my netbook.  The machine’s small screen and the jostling of the train make it a challenge.  Frankly, I may have to rethink posting a full schedule while on the train… and the chances of graphics are small.

Still, I’ll do my best.

Blogger, Richard Scott, bouncing along on a track, and wondering where we are.  The land is pretty as the sun comes up.

More later.

Train Wreck

At three hours before departure… I find that two officials of Amtrak lied about accommodations.

Getting ready for an 11-day trip, 6 days of which are on an Amtrak train, I find that the person who sold me my VERY expensive tickets (I could have flown cheaper, but wanted the train experience) and the person who I actually picked up my tickets from BOTH told me outright lies.  Both said I can check baggage.

Getting packed for this long a trip in a much colder climate was a hassle.  Then to find out that I can only take on two carry-on bags, both of small size and weight instead of the promised two additional checked bags… well, guess how that felt.  

When I complained to the powers that be, I was politely told I should call on Monday and complain to Customer Service.  Today is Sunday, and today is the day I board.

I can’t help but wonder what other exciting surprises—after having to rapidly repack—are in store.

I love the train.  I used to, at least.  Hopefully the next few days will change my mind.  But now… I’m angry.

What is The Difference Between Fiction and Non-Fiction?

What is The Difference Between Fiction and Non-Fiction?  WARNING: Do not read this if you are thin-skinned.  You may not like the answer.

Still with me?  OK, I warned you.

There is NO difference between Fiction and Non-Fiction.  None at all.  Everything you read is FICTION.  Everything.

Here’s the deal.  It is well established that everything we look at—everything from our bodies to the cosmos—is processed through the brain, the mind, as we apprehend it.  Every situation we find ourselves in reminds us of some previous situation.  

Each person we meet, the same.  If we look at an item that we’ve never seen before we dredge up something co compare it to so we can understand.  Even a so-called scientific fact we perceive through the eyes of others.  Our understanding of the world is second-hand.

We accept things on a kind of faith.  We have to,  just to get along in the world.  Imagine what it would be like if, when you wanted to go out of a room, you had to discover the concept of a door, locate or build one, and work out out to operate it—every time!

Narrative Magazine – What Does It Take To Get Noticed?

On Saturday, March 27th, the Fremont Area Writers Club, a branch of the California Writers Club, hosted Guest Speaker, Allen Long, an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine, an on-line Literary Magazine.  

Mr. Long spoke in a friendly, open way, about what it takes to be accepted to Narrative Magazine.

Here are some of the points he made which aid in being accepted:

  • There must be an immediate sense of story
  • There must be an impressive use of language
  • There must be a strong sense of character
  • Is the story free of “stock sentences”

He went on to list submission killers:

      • The story is riddled with typos or cliches
      • The story has a plot-twist ending but no character development
      • The story has a prologue
      • The story does not immediately immerse the reader

Using Email Subscription To Capture and Hold Readers – Blogging: 101 Pt. 45

Continued from Part 44

See the whole series starting with the first post

We know from experience—and earlier posts in this series—that visits and page-reads are the currency of Blogging.  This brings up the question of offering a subscription service to your Blog.  It is easy to do, and it does deliver your words to those who choose to be notified, but what does it do to your page-read stats?  

Good question.  Left alone—that is to say using the default subscription setup—the Blogger does indeed rob him- or herself.

What to do… what to do?

The trick is to change the settings for your email notifications.  It will depend upon the Blog Hosting Service you are using, but in most cases you should be able to find a setting that allows you to send only the first few lines of your post to your email subscribers.  Then, if your title and first sentence or two are clever enough to pique the imagination, you will satisfy your promise of notifying your subscriber and pulling them to your site to keep your numbers up.

Don’t you just love technology?