Archive | October 2012

Charlie Doesn’t Live Here Any More- Peanuts and Bullying

I first posted this about a year ago. Recently someone on Facebook began a movement to have It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown banned from TV this year because she feels it promotes bullying. I grew up loving Charlie Brown, but she has a point. A point I caught on to in my own life last year. Here is the post:

How many Charlie Brown fans are out there? Who else grew up anticipating the seasonal specials on television, and carried that eagerness into adulthood, safely concealed within the inner child?

Most of Charlie’s fans literally relate to him. He taps an inner suspicious insecurity that whispers into ears and creates performance anxiety in all walks of life.  Despite clear and irrefutable evidence of a person’s capability in one or more areas, that little Charlie sitting on his shoulder will always misread a situation and tell him he made a total fool of himself.

If you give voice to it, and allow others to realize how much you undervalue yourself, you diminish your estate in the eyes of other people and your self-pronounced assessments become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Have you ever come away from a meeting or gathering convinced that the whole world now knows what a lunk head you are?  Have you pondered extricating yourself from the group or committee, only to be astounded by the feedback suggesting that you did an admirable job and your esteem in the eyes of others has been elevated?

You limit yourself when you maintain an underdog mind set. You squander the talents and gifts bestowed upon you at birth by genetics and celestial power. You sabotage your own potential. You may even subconsciously do it thinking it will speed the process up since it is inevitable anyway. Give your head a shake! Gently.

No more self-flagellation.

True stories, well told, Ian Mathie’s African Memoir Series

Author Ian Mathie

Once in a while you discover a writer who has no idea he does it well. When he is also sharing actual events from his adventurous career the words take on even more meaning. Unassuming and humble he is a totally endearing soul.

British author Ian Mathie is this soul.

Ian grew up in the African bush, his playmates were the children of nearby tribal villages as well as the off spring of his father’s military regiment. They played traditional African games. Ian loved the continent, and does to this day. He speaks many of the languages and is at home in the cultures.

Ian returned to England and attended boarding school and went to become a pilot in the R.A.F. before returning to Africa as a rural development officer. A water resources specialist Ian has chronicled his years of living with village tribes, fully immersed in their cultures, even providing some medical assistance, in his African Memoir Series.

Refreshingly candid and entertaining Ian’s books have even been used as examples of how it’s done in university memoir writing courses.

The years, diseases and some misadventures Taxed his health to the point of needing a triple by-pass, his kidneys failed and he was on dialysis eventually leading to a kidney transplant. He was also shot, but I won’t tell you which book that tale is in.

He is no longer able to travel as much as he would like. Now living in England with his wife and dog, Ian still does speaking engagements and book signings.

Ian’s stories will be released as e-books, hopefully by the end of the year. Published in England the price on this side of the pond is a little steep at present.

The African Memoir Series by Ian Mathie

A Good Author Just Got Better

Most books are purchased by people between the ages of 40 and 60.

The largest target audience is the baby boomer crowd, born between 1946 and 1964. (Guilty!)

Spy thrillers have been popular since the 60s when James Bond was in his hay day. Television series such as Murder She Wrote and Columbo were favorites. Even just ten years ago Sue Thomas F.B.Eye was big news.

With the advent of CSI programs most common folk have an uncommon grasp of investigative techniques, police procedures and evidence collection. Even if your choice in reading material tends towards romance, paranormal or fantasy, a good who-dun-it will grab your interest on the screen.

If you elect to do the research there is evidence that some German scientists, both of the Nazi persuasion and those whose talents were held hostage by the regime, may have been whisked away to the U.S. and other countries to work for those governments.

Neo-Nazi forces still exist.  Chemicals and germ warfare agents developed during WW2 also still exist. The risk of them being used today is higher than you might imagine.

A new series of books by author Ian G. Watson   will be introduced this fall and while I believe it will be of interest to all age groups I also suspect the baby boomers will be amongst his most loyal followers.

Ian was a young boy in England during the Second World War. He has extensively researched all aspects of it and has written a few light, comedic books about Churchill and events of the era. But he has turned his attention to the more serious and factual aspects of the time.

Set in the 1990s the Wren Series is about reality. It follows some experienced war horses, middle aged to elderly, still full of piss and vinegar, expert at old school intelligence gathering, and called into service once again for God and country. Most of the action takes place in Britain and the U.S. but they do hopscotch across Europe often barely escaping with their lives.

The first book in the series, The Just’s Umbrella, is due out by the end of October. Grab it! The second book, Sunless Treasuries, should hit the market in mid-November. If this is your genre, this is your writer!

Stay tuned…

“He says/She says” and the Show-don’t-tell Dilemma

Author Christine Nolfi

If you are a struggling Indie author, investing your time wisely by joining a critique group of two, you have become familiar with and even haunted by the “show don’t tell” boogie man. Some have attempted to address this by changing he said and she said to he murmured or she yelled. That just doesn’t cut the mustard.

The best way to grasp the concept is to read a passage by someone who has perfected the art. I would suggest reading anything by Christine Nolfi. ( ) It is a wonderful place to start.

An example will do more to help you than any critical comments employing the show don’t tell phraseology.  Here is a sensational one:

*Mary surveyed the patriotic decorations festooned throughout the dining room, a treasure trove of Americana harking back to the restaurant’s inception during the Civil War. So many beautiful things, but they’d gone unappreciated. Diners noticed little but the glop on their plates.

Her heart sank. “There won’t be a dinner rush. After the meals Ethel Lynn made for the breakfast and lunch crowds, we won’t see a soul.”

Delia approached the picture window. “I hope the town council doesn’t burn up the phone lines scaring off our customers.” She squinted at the courthouse anchoring the north end of Liberty Square. “Then again, they have a soft spot for Miss Meg. It might stop them from passing legislation condemning this place.”

“Maybe I should ask my aunt to fire off an email.” Would long distance lobbying work?

“You should—Meg can fix anything.” The mirth on Delia’s face died as she added, “We were all sorry to see her go.”

Reprinted with permission of the author.*

I should explain that I resent the journalistic habit of referring to people by their surnames. “Reis says she can’t remember when she wasn’t editing even as far back as public school.” Blech. It is disrespectful and I won’t do it.

Christine has mastered the art of showing, and doing it vividly. No awkward “stage directions” to break up the flow of the action. You can clearly envision this scene with little description of the room or its contents and you know precisely who is speaking.  There isn’t a “she said” to be found.

In fact, I don’t know if I encountered a he said or she said anywhere in the entire manuscript.

If you are writing this well your editor will love you, you will save a bundle on editing services, get great reviews, and higher sales.

It will appear daunting if you are at the stage of being almost ready to send your work to your editor but go back through it one more time. I think when you begin doing this you will be energized and excited. You have a new toy. Writing is fun again.

SECOND CHANCE GRILL Copyright 2012 by Christine Nolfi.

All rights reserved.

Created in digital format in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

ISBN: 1478342226    ISBN 13: 978-1478342229

*(“Wendy–I’m honored you think my work good enough to use in a blog post. Of course, please use it!                                                                                Whenever I work in critique groups or receive private mail from frustrated writers I try to explain that today’s literature is very much a visual medium. Writers must create an image in the reader’s mind, much like a movie unfolding as each page is turned.              “Dialogue tags must never take the place of dialogue, which is the true action in a plot. Show the character yelling through facial expression, physical movement, etc. Use deep POV (Point of View) between sentences of dialogue. Or describe the character’s view of the setting through emotion–a glaring sun if the character feels sad, a bright, crisp day if the character feels happy. And if you’re at risk of succumbing to the urge to use an adverb in a dialogue tag, ask yourself, “Does the dialogue carry enough emotion?” If it doesn’t, revise.                                                                                   Thank you–truly–for thinking of my fiction while writing the post. XO Christine”)