Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oh, to be an artichoke plant

I've always thought that as we aged we should not only become more wise, but we should also become more attractive.  Unfortunately for the human race, our good looks and wisdom cross, headed in opposite directions, somewhere in our 40s. I haven't done a lot of research on this, but let me know the next time you find a wise 28-year-old.  And if you get a close-up of the Three Wise Men, you'll see they are all AARP eligible -- and they're not the most attractive trio in Jerusalem.

It seems if I had only been born as an artichoke plant, my wish to age beautifully would have been granted.  If you neglect this plant past its prime and fail to harvest its fruit, it morphs into a beautiful deep purple blossom.  It spends most of its life as an average-looking plant before reaching its peak, when it produces a pineapple-looking fruit that 'foodies' like to toss onto everything -- even pizza.  I'd like to propose we save our pizzas and instead enjoy the beautiful purple flowers.

I've just recently learned about the artichoke's ability to transform as it ages, which implies my wisdom is still in the process of evolving, and my looks have not yet completely eroded.  But alas, the end of the transformation is nearing for me.  There is no purple flower in my future, only grey hair, wrinkles, and the shift of my center of gravity toward my belt.  Oh, to be an artichoke plant.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dear Friend Available



I recently had to put my dear canine companion, Deacon, to rest.  He and I had a great 12 ½ years together, but it’s never easy when it’s time to say goodbye.  That’s why it’s impossible for me to imagine over 4 million potential loving pets being euthanized every year in the U.S.  Of the 6 to 7 million dogs and cats taken to community animal shelters, over 60% are eventually put to death.
The 5,000 community animal shelters across the U.S. do amazing work to save as many animals as they can, but they need help – money, food, volunteers, advocates, and most of all, caring homes.  Your contribution can potentially save the life of a devoted feline or canine friend, making a huge difference in their life and enhancing the life of a future owner.  To ensure your contribution gets directly to these needy pets, it’s best to give to your community shelter.  You can find the animal shelter nearest to you by going to http://theshelterpetproject.org/shelters .        

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

TIME TRAVEL - Can it be done?



In my next book, MELTING SAND, planned for Fall 2013 publication, the main characters, Miles Stevens and Terri King, are sent from the year 2050 back to 2027 to stop a chain of events leading to nuclear war in the Middle East.   Obviously, this is far-fetched fiction.  Or is it?
Ever since H.G. Wells wrote his famous 1895 novel, THE TIME MACHINE, time travel has been the subject of many authors and the fascination of countless readers.   Recently, in his novel 11/22/63, Stephen King sent Jake Epping back in time through a “rabbit hole” that Jake discovered at the rear of a Maine diner.  Jake’s mission was to intervene in the assassination of JFK.
Why all the fascination with time travel?  Maybe it's  because it’s implausible but not impossible. Fiction bordering on the possibility of reality expands the reader’s imagination and more easily draws them into the story.      
Check out this recent article by Paul Davies to learn more about the “real” possibilities of time travel. http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/opinion/opinion-time-travel-paul-davies  And please stay tuned to my blog at http://DRShoultz.blogspot.com for updates on my upcoming book, MELTING SAND.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dare To Be Unique


Of the over 10,000 species of birds, there is only ONE that can hover and fly backwards for extended periods of time.   If that’s not enough to set the HUMMINGBIRD apart, these tiny feathered friends, weighing less than a buffalo nickel, migrate up to 2,000 miles each year, some from as far as Wisconsin to Mexico and back.  
An estimated 200,000 novelists will sit down at their keyboards today.  I wonder how many will find a way to fly backwards . . . to be unique.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1,000 Words?


Is a picture worth 1,000 words?  Likely it’s worth much more.  As in a 400 page novel, a picture has a foreground, or preface, that gains your attention and pulls you into the frame of the picture.  It may contain multiple subjects, each with their own role to play.  There are transitions from the foreground to the background that do not steal from the subjects, but rather provide cohesion.  Finally, the background adds mystery and interest.   This photo of the Florida Intercoastal,  taken last winter with an iPhone in one hand and glass of wine in the other, has all these and more.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Life Shared ...


 
Several hours a day, this is my world.  Now that my wife (and editor) is retired from her day job, I need to adjust where the hours fit into our day, but I still find the time – early morning, late night, when she’s out for her walk or in the garden.  She’s a wonderful woman and willing to share her life with my coffee cup, keyboard and mouse.

Monday, June 10, 2013

RAINY DAYS ...


Expectations wane on rainy days, freeing our thoughts.

The relaxing patter on the roof reminding us there's nowhere to go,  drowning out any disruptions.

Today's one of these days.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tweeting - One Man's View

 
I grew up without social media.  Even if there had been social media when I was a teenager, I doubt if my small, Midwestern hometown would have discovered it until I was middle-aged.  Given my recent introduction to Twitter, I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment on the subject.  But, even as a rookie, I’ve noticed some obvious dos and don’ts that many people choose to ignore.    
Twitter appears the most baffling of the social media offerings, lacking any clear guidelines for use.  If you’re an outside-of-the-lines nonconformist, this is the place for you.   There have been a few Internet articles written on how best to build a base of Twitter followers.  I agree with many of their recommendations, but find they didn’t capture everything.  Here’s what I would add:
- If you don’t want your mom to see it, don’t tweet it.  Tweeting 140 profane characters with an attached picture of your groin is not a good idea.  
- Spelling counts, especially for authors and writers.  Fortunately, the Twitter editor has spell check, but they’re, there, and their are not interchangeable.  
- Please, stop with the quotes!   There is one guy I used to follow who has over 70,000 tweets, and 99.9% of them are quotes.  Unfortunately, he’s not alone.   Acknowledging Mark Twain’s humor and wit is only mildly entertaining and definitely doesn’t prompt me to hit the FAVORITE or RT button.
- Be consistent with your messaging.  If erotica is your genre, that’s fine.  But don’t strap Candy to the bedposts in one tweet and then tell us how cute your son’s puppy is in the next.
- It’s hard to be funny in 140 characters.  Don’t try.  Okay.  I admit it.  I violate this one all the time.  But more often than not, tweets that were hilarious the night before, I can’t delete quick enough the next morning.
- Don’t put anyone or anything down.  Even if followers agree with your putdowns, you come off as a complete bore.  Uplifting messages are much safer, but even these become tiring if overdone, or if they become preachy.
- Sell no more than 25% of the time.   Most everyone is selling on Twitter, but 75% of your tweets should contain thought-provoking messages, interesting observations, or pictures where the tweet is as much for the follower as it is for you.
- Don’t hash tag and abbreviate to the point that the tweet becomes uninteresting and unreadable. Example… #TopRated #Superhero #Series – 170+ 5! On #Kindle. Happy to be part of this cool #FathersDay #treasury for #dad 
If you’re looking for more recommendations on tweeting dos and don’ts, check out these articles: