Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Daily “Huh?” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Image: Guilty as Charged


As I’ve said about this segment, you’ll never know what will pop up. 

Today I want to share a quote that I always find uplifting 

as it speaks to me of creativity, of goals, and of courage: 


Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


A Musical Note: Yngwie Malmsteen – Like an Angel

One of the amazing things about searching for good, inspiring music for “A Musical Note” each day is now and then I discover something I haven’t heard in a long time, or even better, something that I haven’t ever heard before.

Perhaps at this time I should also give a tip of the hat to Jodi Milner over at “My Literary Quest” who inspired me to start adding music to my blog.  Her musical choices opened up new vistas to me, and it was because of Jodi that I do this.  Music is just too good not to share.

Fumbling around this morning I ran across a performer whose name I am not sure I can pronounce correctly.  Yngwie (pronounce it Ing-vay, I believe) Malmsteen (not sure, this may be pronounced “Smith”) was born in Stockholm, Sweden in June of 1963.  He is a master of many instruments, a composer, and a singer.  Beyond that I know little, other than I like the sounds this guy makes.

For your enjoyment, Yngwie Malmsteen, and “Like an Angel”.

How to Create an eBook From Your Blog – Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Image: I made this one.

Still in the preparation phase of creating an eBook from your Blog, let’s consider the following:

  •  Are all of your posts up to the quality you want for your book?
  • Are the posts already in the order you want them displayed?
  • What will you use for cover art?  (Yes, even eBooks should have good cover art.)
  • Do the graphics you want to use belong to you?  If not, do you have a plan to  acquire the rights?

Getting permission when needed is essential, and is especially important if you intend to charge for your eBook.  For example, I want to quote a portion of a source on Fair Use from Nolo, here is a part of what constitutes “Fair Use”: 


  • Criticism and comment — for example, quoting or excerpting a work in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment.
  • News reporting — for example, summarizing an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report.
  • Research and scholarship — for example, quoting a short passage in a scholarly, scientific, or technical work for illustration or clarification of the author‘s observations.
  • Nonprofit educational uses — for example, photocopying of limited portions of written works by teachers for classroom use.
  • Parody — that is, a work that ridicules another, usually well-known, work by imitating it in a comic way.
  • Are you getting the idea that this can be a little tricky?

    Now, if all the work is your own, and you are self-illustrating—photographing, drawing, or painting—thes permission problems are a non-starter for you.

    Once all of these ducks are in a row, we’ll have to round up a few more, but we’re getting closer to starting the work.

    Now, all together, one deeeeep breath…

    Baroque: Word of the Day

    Baroque, adj.
    Anything extravagantly ornamented, esp. something so ornate as to be in bad taste.

    The baroque style is a bit to complex for me.

    Alternate usage:

    Rooney decided his pet ground squirl needed some bling.  He was determined to gopher baroque.

    How will you use baroque in a sentence today?

    How to Write a Utopian Story Without Flashbacks

    If you’ve read any of the traditional Utopian novels (a genre named after the first, the novel, Utopia, written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More), or any of the traditional Dystopian novels, you will recall that a major issue, especially for the Utopias, is the person who finds him- or herself in one, often has a guide who explains everything… and the explanations just don’t work dramatically.

    Why not?  Because people don’t really stand around explaining things to each other.  Would some future person stand beside another future person and say, “Isn’t life wonderful now that all meals are prepared in underground kitchens and transported via the quantum net directly to our tables?”  And the other person would hardly say, “Yes!  And soon the machines at Q-World will begin to transmit food directly into our bodies.  We’ll never have to interrupt our daily pleasure to eat!”

    If you grew up in a world that always had microwave ovens you certainly wouldn’t think them in any way unique.  And if you were around when they became the norm in almost every kitchen, even you have long ago gotten over the amazement of fast-cooked, or reheated foods.  “Oh, yes, Mother!  Isn’t it wonderful that with our Radar Range we never eat ‘leftovers’ now?  All food is fresh and hot whenever we want it!”


    You may be getting an inkling that what I’m getting at works for any kind of theme where you have back story to ladle out little by little.

    Light go on yet?  A partner.  A side-kick, or as I like to do, an inner voice with some serious insights.  You can always have your character self-narrate, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Without a listener, someone to interact with, things get a little forced.

    So, this is the point.  Flashing back to explain what is going on moves your story in the wrong direction.   You want it to go forward, each and every time.  You want back story to be portioned out as part of the forward movement, or a brief reminiscence.  And one way to do that is to have a partner who isn’t “in the know”… someone who can ask for clarification when you think the reader might need it.

    Is this the only way to handle it?

    Heavens, no.  But it is an easy way, a good way.

    Today’s challenge is two-fold:  Find a different way to handle back story without falling into prologue world, or flashbacks.  Find a way, and express it in a few paragraphs.

    The second part is to try using a partner, a side-kick, or an inner voice to get the job done.  Try these out, see if they work for you… or better yet, invent something else entirely.

    Your thoughts?

    The Daily “Huh?” – Inspirational Landscape

    Image: Guilty as Charged

    Life is like a box of chocolates.  So is the Daily “Huh?”

    Today we look at a garden in Japan.  Why?  Well, for one thing, it’s beautiful.

    For another, I think the proper image can do much to spark your mind…

    To inspire…

    A Musical Note: Gene Pitney – I’m Gonna Be Strong

    I’m Gonna Be Strong, by Gene Pitney has been on my list for the daily Musical Note for some time, but certain technical issues have prevented me from presenting this song to you until today.

    You are about to hear a remarkable voice.  If you already know about Gene and his work you are most likely a fan.  If this is new to you, I am hoping this will bring you over to the light side of the Force.  The late Gene Pitney was one of those singers had to work at it to have a song that was not a hit.  Even when his star began to dim in the U.S., he became a sensation in Spain, Italy and other parts of Europe.

    In today’s song, “I’m Gonna Be Strong”, you’ll get an idea of why he was so popular.  Listen, especially, to the closing of the song when, like Elvis Presley at the end of “It’s Now or Never“, Gene goes “operatic”.  I promise a good ride.

    Gene Pitney sings, “I’m Gonna Be Strong”.

    Turn it up.