Q & A: What is your idea about the most remarkable soldier – real or fictitious – in history?

There are many incredible stories of heroism in real-life, some in my own family. However, since you included the realm of fiction in your question my choice is Paul Bäumer, the main character of “All Quiet on the Western Front”.


Sharing Paul’s story as a German soldier during World War I enables civilians to understand, at least somewhat, not only how combat veterans think, but why. When the reader finally understands the meaning of the book’s title it should haunt them.

I firmly believe that if those in power actually read this book there’d be fewer wars.


Don’t tell me the moon is shining

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Anton Chekhov

I’m often asked “how do you become a writer?”.  Sure, they teach creative writing classes, but they’re nothing more than elaborate practice sessions.  Writing is an organic thing – it’s a feeling.  That being said, I just ran across this quote.  No one can teach you how to write, but if you understand what he’s saying on an instinctive level then you may have what it takes!

Thank you!

ThanksMy blogs date back to 2011, but in truth I’ve only been using them about 2 weeks.  There’s been quite a learning curve in those two weeks – you all have been very patient while I figured out the blogosphere.

The generosity of the online writing community has sparked a renewed feeling of optimism in me.  Over and over I’ve asked “newbie” questions only to be flooded with detailed (and often hilarious) replies. When I needed examples, fellow authors offered their own sites to learn from and coached me along the way.  At all turns I’ve encountered an unshakable “we’re all in this together” attitude that has, in turn, encouraged me to produce much higher quality journals than I might have otherwise.

To those who follow my blogs, to those who have helped me along the way, please accept my thanks.  In return please do not hesitate to let me know if I can return the favor.  If I can explain something about blogging, coach about writing, offer sympathy about a diagnosis or just offer encouragement about your project, all you need to do is ask.

After all – we really are all in this together.

The deserted island reading list – Kindle version

So here’s the first 12 books I put on my new Kindle.  An excellent indication of my “deserted island” reading list!

  1. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  3. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  4. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  5. The Long Walk – Stephen King
  6. 1984 – George Orwell
  7. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
  8. The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russel
  9. The Stand – Stephen King
  10. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  11. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  12. The Witching Hour – Anne Rice

And where is All Quiet on the Western Front?  Not available on Kindle.  Rats!

15 Authors in 15 Minutes

List 15 Authors that influenced your life.  Wow, only 15?  Don’t think too hard – limit: 15 minutes.

George Orwell

Piers Anthony

Robert Heinlein

Anne Rice

Stephen King

Hunter S. Thompson

Margaret Atwood

Charlotte Bronte

Mary Doria Russell

JRR Tolkein

Thomas Jefferson

Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman

Terry Pratchett

Anne Bradstreet

Honorable mention to Jonathan Edwards & St John de Crevecoeur, not so much for the writing but for the mental images that came with it.  Interesting lesson.   And to John Adams, again not so much for what he wrote, but in the value he placed upon the written word.  That made a profound impact on me.

Ha!  I did the first 14 in about 2 minutes, then I spent the rest of the time figuring out who to end the list with!  Some of them inspired me to write.  Some of them taught me how to be a writer.  One of them did both, then showed me all the things NOT to do, which was a fantastic lesson.  All have changed my life.

15 Book Meme

Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. They don’t have to be the greatest books you’ve ever read, just the ones that stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings (YES it counts as one book). Tolkein
2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
3. The Witching Hour – Anne Rice
4. The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
5. The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell
6. The Tibetan Book of the Dead
7. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
8. Shogun – James Clavell
9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
10. 1984 – George Orwell
11. The Long Walk – Stephen King
12. The Stand – Stephen King
13. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
14. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
15. Sorrell & Son – Warwick Deeping