Stop Pulling Your Hair Out – Steps to Easy E-formatting

Distressed Woman FreeDigital Photos Dot NetSome authors I have come to know are having some issues formatting their novels for ebooks. I can help with that.

If you are not an author, this post will probably not be interesting to you. You can stop right here. Maybe you missed last week’s post on Fifty Shades? Here it is.

Okay, so the rest of you still reading are interested in ebook formatting.

This discussion will not involve anything too fancy, I have never embedded pictures, for example, so the following instructions will not include that.

For those who want to include charts, graphs, pictures and other neat stuff, you might want to leave too. But what about this cool post on aphorisms? The French particularly liked them, as pointed out by one very dapper Frenchman. Here it is.

More disclaimer. These instructions are for Kindle only. They will show you how to prepare a file that can be uploaded directly to Amazon. If you are interested in some other ebook venue, such as Smashwords, don’t read any further. Although I am going to prepare a post on my findings about how easy (or not) that is, when I actually attempt to do it for Perigee Moon. For you folks, how about a fun post on malapropisms? Here it is.

These instructions are for Microsoft Word only. I don’t use anything else, and I don’t know anything else. So if you don’t use MS Word, stop here. You might want to visit another popular post. Why not take a look at my most popular post ever, about euphemisms? Here it is.

All-righty then. The rest of you must be authors, interested in easy eformatting your MS Word manuscript for the Amazon Kindle.

Clicking right here will bring up a conveniently already formatted short novel in Microsoft Word, which is installed on your computer, or you would not still be here (see above). Note that it contains a version of filler text called “Cupcake“, a much more appealing Lorem Ipsum. Fun-filled with treats to brighten your day, instead of boring Latin.

Here’s what you need to do with the document you’ve just opened.

Change the first page, for your title and author name.

Next is the copyright page Insert your name here and ISBN.

The optional Thank You page is next.

I have also included another page for miscellany, sometimes a quote, a snippet of text, a poem is nice. Or it can be a subtitle. It can be anything you want.

If you need more pages, simply copy/paste this last page. Or delete as needed. There is already a Page Break inserted after each of the four pages, but if you add pages, make sure there is a Page Break immediately following the last word on the page. It must be a page break, which is on the Insert tab. On my system it is the third icon from the left.

The Table of Contents is next but leave this alone for now, until all your chapters have been formatted. Click on the Word Insert tab and then the Bookmark icon and note that there are two bookmarks set up. One for “toc” and one for “start”. These are recommended by the Kindle people. Readers will be able to use the “Go to” features and jump to a chapter or go to the beginning because of these bookmarks. You don’t have to do anything with them.

Bookmarks

I have included three chapters. Duplicate for as many chapters as you have.

Label each chapter heading with your chapter title.

Insert your chapter text.

A bit about Styles. You can create a Style in word and apply it to a paragraph or a block of text. I have created three styles that make up the chapters and they are included in this template.

  • First paragraph (leaves a large space between the chapter title and the first paragraph, .5 in. indent).
  • New Section (leaves one blank line between paragraphs, .5 indent).
  • Normal with Indent (.5 indent with no special spacing).

These three are all you need, but you can add more if desired.

Click on the Change Styles down arrow. It is quite tiny (thanks Microsoft for being so intuitive) but here is where you click, by the red and yellow arrow I have inserted. This will bring up the Styles window in the sidebar.

Styles

Select the first paragraph of your first chapter and apply the First Paragraph style.

Select all remaining paragraphs in the first chapter and apply the Normal with Indent style.

Go back through the chapter and replace any paragraphs that start a new section with the New Section style. This is not required. Note: Instead of a separate style, you can also use symbols (such as ***) between paragraphs to denote a new section but make sure that this is center-justified to ensure that it appears in the center of the Kindle page.

Repeat for all the chapters.

There is a Disclaimer page at the end with the usual blah-blah.

Now return to the Table of Contents, place your cursor anywhere inside it and hit F9. This updates the Table of Contents with your chapters.

That’s pretty much it. You can either upload the Microsoft Word .docx file directly to Kindle or save it as Web Page, Filtered (which creates an .html file) and upload to www.kdp.amazon.com.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Things Not to Like About Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of GreyRated M for Mature Audiences.

What’s wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey? What’s right with it? Read on, to find out!

Yet another blogger is taking it upon herself to critique Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Moi! This is not a review of the novel exactly. Because Ms. James needs no review from me. On Amazon alone, at the time of this writing, over 16,000 reviews were in place for her novel, the first in the Fifty Shades trilogy. The average rating is a little over 3 stars which is mediocre, so apparently a lot of the reviewers feel the same way I do. I’m not reading all 16,000 to find out though.

Like many others, I had to find out what all the excitement was about. I had started this tome before, and got half through, and was thoroughly not captivated, not amused, not titillated, and not interested in what became of Anastasia Steele and her ill-fated tryst with Christian Grey. But I decided to try again and this time, I would note all the things that drove me bug-nuts and then blog about it.

A handy itemized list of complaints for your easy consumption:

1. Repeating actions. Anastasia does the same things over and over, ad nauseum. Eye rolling and lip biting does get tedious. Maybe try some other quirky, I-am-so-lovely-yet-without-a-clue-how-lovely-that-is, twenty-something, amusing facial expressions. It would be appreciated by the reader. The wonderful, virginous, cutsily clumsy Ms. Steele even rolls her eyes at herself! Oh Ms. Steele, you minx, you.

2. Cliches. Pedal to the metal? Are we serious here, Ms. James? Your picture shows a woman so young as to not even have heard this particular phrase used in conversation. Do people still say this? When I think of it, I think of some of the guys I used to know with their primer-painted, fixed up ’57 Chevies. And Monkey’s Uncle? Please tell me this one got by your editor. Or maybe she was rolling her eyes at the time and missed it?

3. Stereotypes. Ms. Steele never knows how off-the-charts gorgeous she is, of course, in a messily, plump-lipped, doe-eyed way and so she falls into Mr. Grey’s office the first time she meets him. That’s right. She trips over her own feet and falls down, and he has to help her up. This sounds like a really bad chick flick to me, and we’re still in Chapter One. And she’s a virgin, at what, twenty-two? And the time frame is, uh, now? This is a rare situation indeed.

4. Overused craps. Enough with the crap, double crap and the occasional triple crap.

5. Wow-did-she-really-write-that phrases. Here’s three that made my eyes roll:

  • …tossing her silken reddish-blond hair over her shoulder.” I don’t know what is most annoying; the tossing, the silken or the reddish-blond.
  • …gasping out my name in desperate wonder.Wha-att? I didn’t really read that, did I?
  • He gives me a wolfish grin.Pa-lease, I’m biting my lip here.

6. Too-often-used physical reactions. Ms. Steele flushes and blushes and goes crimson so often I think she may need to consult someone who specializes in blood pressure issues.

7. Holy Repeating Phrase, Batman! Here’s where it really gets tedious. The holy craps, holy shits, holy fucks, holy cows, holy hells and even an occasional holy Moses became so repetitive and annoying that I decided to count them. The Grand Total is 139 instances of these various Holy phrases. Everyone must have noticed this. I’m not the only one. Why is Anastasia in awe or in shock so often?

  • Holy shit (50)
  • Holy crap (38)
  • Holy fuck (19)
  • Holy cow (18)
  • Holy hell (9)
  • Holy Moses (5)

8. Writing style. It was not beautifully written.

9. The subject matter. Surprising how many people don’t have a problem with it.

10.Miscellaneous. Charlie Tango is a dumb name for a helicopter.

Shocked Woman

Holy crap! That’s right, holy crap!

Lest this be considered yet another sour grapes epistle, let me congratulate Ms. James on being the first at something. She brought erotica mainstream and her trilogy was newly a phenomenon when the copycats were popping up as fast as Viagra ads in the spam folder.

Here’s what I liked about Fifty Shades:

1. Writing style. It was not horribly written.

2. Music. The references to music  (and when I looked up some of the pieces I found a Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack!) There’s going to be a movie! Of course, Hollywood has to get in on the action. How are they going to get that rated R, I wonder?

3. The ending. Probably some of the best writing in the whole book and I had to wait until the last few pages to read it. And it’s a hook to get you to go on to the second in the trilogy.

4. The cover. The tie has a special significance in the story, and what could be more a symbol of power than an understated, expensive tie?

I am going to pass on any more Fifty Shades. I found it to be tedious, and I was uncomfortable reading some of it. The writing was mediocre, but it wasn’t terrible. I’ve read a lot worse. But I guess with what this book is selling, the quality of the writing is not too important.

What do you think about it? Or are you tired of the whole subject?

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop Makes a Stop Here

3D Man Holding Perigee MoonThanks to Carol Fragale Brill of 4 Broad Minds for tagging me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Carol’s new novel, Piece by Peace is coming out very soon and I am excited to read it. I have read all of Carol’s thoughtful reviews of other books, and I have a feeling her novel is going to be a good reading experience.

As part of this exercise, I am to answer 10 questions about my latest work:

  1. What is the working title of your book? Perigee Moon (Just typed “perogee”, isn’t that some sort of Polish potato treat?) But a definite maybe for the title of an oncoming new novel. Perogees at Noon.
  2. Where did the idea for the book come from? One night, in Clearwater FL, I was awakened by the full moon shining in the window. I got up to go outside and look, and take pictures of it. It was so bright that the sky appeared burnished, more brown than black, and the moon glowed a bright gold and little wispy clouds floated past it. Later, I learned the reason it seemed so ethereal (fancy-schmancy word which means “real purty”) was because it was one month before the Perigee Moon, when the moon appears much larger to us earthlings. It was a nature phenomenon when one thinks about how we are all pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of the solar systems. I got the idea of a character feeling that same way. Later it evolved into him having an “oh I get it now” moment when he views the Perigee Moon. Then the idea of the controlling woman, the bad marriage, the change in lifestyle the character wants to make and finally, the reconnection with a woman from his past.
  3. What is the genre of the book? It is women’s fiction, and as a sub-genre it is baby boomer lit, since the character grew up in the fifties/sixties. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Big boom in boomer lit these days!
  4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie rendition? For the main character, Bradley Cooper. Demi Moore for Kate,  since she did such a good job of sexually harassing Michael Douglas in Disclosure. Perhaps Diane Keaton for Abby. Think these actors are up for this challenge?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Perigee Moon is the story of a man who has a life crisis, who comes to realize that he must be true to himself and makes the changes necessary to remove himself from a ruined marriage and the “should do” world in order to have the lifestyle he craves.
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher? Self-published. I have neither the time nor the patience to do otherwise.
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? About one year.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? My other two, Second Stories and Whatever Happened to Lily? No really, I’d like to say works by Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler but that is a privileged society of which I am merely one of the unwashed who elbows her way to the front of the line in order to get a closer look at the limo.
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? I was inspired to try humor. I tried to inject it in certain places, although to say it’s a real thigh-slapper would be frugal with the truth. Whether the attempts at humor worked or not, I am not sure. Like everything else, humor is personal. What’s funny to one is inane or misunderstood by another. There are a lot of my own reflections in it, especially the “workspeak” where Luke has his second epiphany about where he should direct the rest of his career. Things that became intolerable to me, found their way into this novel. Sometimes we need to step back, take a look at what we’re doing, decide if it is providing the satisfaction we crave, or whether we’re like the proverbial hamsters, doing what we do because it’s what we do and what we’ve always done.
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It’s a nice story. It’s a character-driven novel, and those characters are, I think, believable. And everyone can relate to what happens to Luke. We make choices when we’re young and sometimes they aren’t the correct ones. We turn left, but a right turn would have been better. (No pun intended. Ah. The English language, so ripe for punnery.) We can watch a character become true to himself, and instead of doing what others want, he learns to do what he wants.

Now it’s my turn to tag three great authors. I’d like to pass this opportunity on to Jenny Gill, Johanna Van Zanten and June Collins. These women have become good cyber-friends of mine and I have read an reviewed all their books.

 

 

BlogFestivus 2012 – Rudolph (#9)

Next up is Rudolph. Everyone thinks they know this story. But it was all hearsay. This is what really happened. (And I found I had to look up whether it was “hearsay” or “heresay”. Duh.)

And this concludes the nine-day exercise. I’m glad I completed it, but now I’m back to my weekly Monday posts. Whew, say you. My stats for December are skewed because of all this flurry of activity. Very nice! Thanks for reading all this triviality.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Rudolph.

blogfestivus-2012

Everyone knows the story of Rudolph, how the other reindeer used to laugh at him, call him names, not let him play any reindeer games. Don’t need to get into specifics here.

Rudolph went to a lot of pains to hide what he considered to be a serious birth defect, that big red schnozzeroo, glowing bright enough you’d need sleep goggles if you shared a stall with him.

Along comes Santa and here’s where the story gets dicey. The ice caps had started melting, the temperature of the ocean increased, and the fog rolled in. Santa couldn’t see the flask in front of his face with that fog.

Santa needed help. He needed Rudolph, who was hiding at least 75 watts behind a bad disguise.

sad reindeer with glasses

Yo Rudy! Santa cried. Global warming is making my Christmas Eve a nightmare. Such fog as you’ve never seen! What say you help us out a little here? There’s something in it for you, if you do.

The rest is history. Rudolph guided Santa’s sleigh through the fog, with not one pileup, and now the other reindeer loved him. Yeah, sure. Easy to love a winner.

Rudolph’s salary was higher than all the other reindeer combined. He invested heavily in philanthropic ventures, including the YRCA, the RIAC, and the FUR Foundation in order to bring his income down to where he paid the same tax rate as his secretary and lived happily ever after in the top 1%.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Blitzen (#8)

Next up is Blitzen. Moral of this story is: Listen to others. They may be able to tell you bigger lies about yourself than you believed possible.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Blitzen.

blogfestivus-2012

Blitzen, diagnosed with PPD (Paranoid Personality Disorder), hid his affliction long enough to be taken on by Team Clause. But once he was surrounded by eight other reindeer, he was the odd buck out, befriended only by Dancer, who was, with her gender-identification issues, the butt of a few jokes of her own.

Blitzen and Dancer bobbed in the grog trough together, and stood side by side at the oat bucket and mash bins. Blitzen, ruled as he was by the powerful notion the other bucks talked about him, overreacted shamefully, constantly looking over his haunches, to see who was grazing together, gossiping about his shortcomings.

One day he found Dasher and Prancer together, as they whispered.

Dancer, sobbed Blitzen. They say my rack is a blighty joke!

No, Blitzen, no, said Dancer. They say your rack is a mighty oak.

The following day it was Comet and Cupid who did not make eye contact.

Oh, Dancer, mewed Blitzen. They say my chin is too big!

No, Blitzen, no, said Dancer. They say you are thin as a twig.

And that same night, he heard Vixen and Rudolph.

Oh, Dancer, cried Blitzen. They say I fly slow as a turtle!

No, Blitzen, no, said Dancer. They say you don’t fly but you hurtle.

Finally, Blitzen, convinced that he was wrong and Dancer right, smiled, ditched his excessive compulsions, became the lithe, strong buck he was meant to be and lived successfully ever after.

 Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Donner (#7)

Next up is Donner. Moral of this story is: Uh, suck up for the first hundred years so you can be King of the Grog Hole? That’s not much of a moral, but it is what happened.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Donner.

blogfestivus-2012

Another Santa-induced name change occurred with Dunder, which evolved into Donder, and finally, probably due to Jack Frost nipping at Santa’s nose and Jack Daniels nipping at Santa’s gullet, Donner.

Donner’s father was a drifter and his mother, it was said, a fallen doe, having given birth without benefit of matrimony. Donner grew up in severe poverty, however he was lucky enough to be the recipient of a scholarship to the Clause Sleigh Training Academy offered by the Foundation for Underprivileged Reindeer (FUR). Donner, who aspired to pull himself up by the hoofstraps, completed his flight training and was named to Team Clause in the summer of ’96.

After one century, he received tenure at which time it took more than merely being voted off the Team by the other reindeer, it took an Act of Clause. Once he held the position securely, he began to plump up and returned to the old neighborhood, dressed in fancy clothing, smoking from a cigarette holder, throwing bucks around at the Grog Hole.

He liked to wear a black top hat, white gloves, a grey cummerbund and a white cashmere coat. As he stepped out of the hired limo, everyone stopped and stared, at the great Dunder, from the old neighborhood. Born into poverty, ascending into wealth.

All the other reindeer fawned over him, and took his coat and hat, and escorted him to the best seat in the house, whereupon Donner declared grog for everyone.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Cupid (#6)

Two thirds of the way through. Not sure I’m going to make it. Sometimes it’s hard to keep thinking up this stuff.

Next up is Cupid. Moral of this story is: Persistence pays off in the end, especially if you wait a hundred years.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Cupid.

blogfestivus-2012

Cupid, born Cupiddomitryus, had been lovestruck since he was a calf, enamored of the opposite sex from the time he started on oatmash. He wrote poetry about unrequited love, even though the recipients of said poetry thought he might have his hoof up his butt. They shook their antlers at him and rolled their eyes.

Alas, Cupid always came on a little too strong and scared the little doekins away. As he watched how easy it was for the other young bucks and how difficult it was for him, he was devastated and wasted away, starved for love and affection.

His parents, sensing that he was adrift and possibly needed a kickstart into some sort of meaningful existence, managed to enroll him in the Clause Sleigh Training Academy. Surprisingly, he excelled and found a place on Team Clause when an old doe named Hortense retired.

He fell head over hooves in love with Vixen, who avoided him like a case of the mange. But still, he attempted to win Vixen’s favors with his poetry, which sounded like it had been written by an odd buck, who was one branch short of a full rack.

Vixen is my only love
The only one for me
When I watch her fly above
I am as horny as can be

Cupid’s poetry had no affect on Vixen, who ignored him for a hundred years, when suddenly, she relented and they married and lived happily ever after.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Comet (#5)

Wasn’t sure whether to post this today or not. Maybe many readers are just not in the mood for some blathering about reindeer.

At the risk of getting too political, there will be those who say (as they always do in the face of a massacre), “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” No. No, no, no. If the sick people could not have guns, they would not be able to take the lives of those who were innocently going about their daily activities, oblivious to the fact that they are about to come into contact with someone who is dangerously mentally ill and who, for whatever reason, wants to kill others at random.

It is time to take a serious look at gun control. But it may already be too late for that. Think about the vast quantities of guns already out there, how could it ever work? For sure, the majority of gun-owners would not give them up voluntarily. The ammunition would have to be controlled, and little by little it would become precious and cost much more than it was worth, and so maybe deter a fraction of the crazies.

We, as parents, have a responsibility to evaluate our children and determine if they are functioning normally or not. This guy, Adam, must have been exhibiting some characteristics that might raise an eyebrow. He had no interaction with friends. And what was his mother doing with a couple of Glocks anyway?

I feel so bad for those caught up in these situations, those unlucky enough to be in a place targetted by psychotics with guns. It is just by chance they are there, where there is danger.

If you don’t want to read further, I understand that. I wrote it yesterday before I knew, so I’ll post it.

Next up is Comet. Moral of this story is: It’s never to late for a second career.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Comet.

blogfestivus-2012

Santa stepped inside The Deer Hall, just as Comet and the Buckabillies were hitting the signature line of their signature song “…when the stalls come tumbling down …”. The microphone let out a squeal that nearly fried his hearing aid.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Santa exclaimed.

Thankfully, the other patrons didn’t hear him over the din. They hissed, booed, and covered their ears.

After the set, Comet sat at the bar, downing double grogs, and Santa plopped his plump posterior on the next barstool.

Might want to adjust the EQ on your microphone channel, Santa suggested.

Comet downed the grog left in his trough. Everyone’s got the answer, Comet said. It’s our last night here. Fired.

Santa patted Comet’s haunch. Tell you what, he said. Might have an opening coming up. Slicker, been with me over two hundred years, got cataracts, gets dizzy. Needs the Oxy so as not panic now when he flies. All the other reindeer been bitching, saying he ain’t pulling his weight. They claim they’re hauling his deadass around. Gonna have to put him out to pasture, put him on Oatstamps. You look you got a few centuries left in you. Want the job? Consider it a midlife change in career.

Comet sighed. I’ll let you know.

You do that, said Santa.

Took Comet about thirty seconds. I’ll take it.

And Comet has been pulling Santa’s sleigh for well over one hundred years with no sign of slowing down.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Vixen (#4)

Next up is Vixen. Moral of this story is: Girls just wanna have fun.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Vixen.

blogfestivus-2012

Occasionally of a Friday night, Santa attended Happy Hour at The Deer Hall with Team Clause, and it happened he was there on a snowy March eve and spotted a lone doe at the bar’s end, blowing smoke at Moe the bartender from the 120mm Virginia Slim she’d just asked him to light. Vixen was her name, and having no opposable digits rendered her smoking a difficult habit to maintain.

After consuming a few Old Thumpers, it became necessary for Santa to take a trip to The Facilities, whereupon exiting, he approached Vixen as she drank her third Grog and Ginger.

I have seen, written upon the wall in The Facilities, to quote “For a good time call Vixen at 1-800-BadGirl”, whispered Santa.

Vixen lowered her false eyelashes, prepared for a sermon.

Enough of this, Santa said. The hoofpolish, the antler glitter. You’ve a nice rack there, no need to tart it up. You must come live a clean life, and be part of my Team Clause.

And so it came to pass that Vixen went to live in the Barn of Clause, and became well adept at flying and pulling Santa’s Sleigh with the other members of Team Clause who were all studbucks, except for Dancer who maintained a lifestyle which Vixen could hardly embrace.

Occasionally, a heady rustle could be heard in the wee hours in Vixen’s stall as she entertained various members of The Team.

Santa looked the other way.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.

BlogFestivus 2012 – Prancer (#3)

Next up Prancer. Moral of this story is: Be careful who you bully.

Sponsored by Blogdramedy, each story will be about one of Santa’s reindeer and must be exactly 243 words long. Many other bloggers are taking part. The list follows the story, if you would like to check out other stories and compare.

Prancer.

blogfestivus-2012

Prancer, born to Lancer and Pristine Reindeer, was given a combination of both their names. On the night of Prancer’s birth, Lancer had a need to search for a snout full to celebrate it with the other bucks down at the Deer Hall, and left Pristine alone to attend the new hour-old foal.

Alas, Lancer never returned and it was not known what ill had befallen him, though some say he could be seen staggering, dead drunk, near a dangerous precipice.

Thus it was that Prancer was raised by his mother in a single-parent stall. And in his adolescence the other reindeer laughed behind his back and called him “Prissy Prancer” and made odd body movements, depicting a young buck of ambiguous sexuality.

Prancer, mightily pissed off and weary of the tauntings, began to work his muscles at the YRCA, where he developed a brawn quite unrivaled in its girth and strength  and was endowed with uber-testosterone.

The last unfortunate young buck to sashay and whisper “Prissy Prancer” found himself on the ground, neck under Prancer’s right front hoof.

Thunder, said Prancer. That’s what you shall call me.

So Thunder he became, until Santa enlisted his indubitable strength for Team Clause, and who refused to know him as Thunder. Prancer is your given name, so shall you be known, said Santa.

And Prancer he was again called, but knowing of his bestial strengths, the other reindeer deigned not to screw about with him.

Steve Betz – the holiday mixer.

Rewind Revise – newly married and on her very own joy train.

Lenore Diane – thoughts from the Elf Queen herself.

Shouts from the Abyss – Tom’s on a mission to blighten your holiday season.

Fit it or Deal – Amy Severson bringing it robot-style.

Lynn Schneider Books – Lynn, the BlogFestivus newbie.

1 Point Perspective – the Bruce Willis of WordPress.

So I Went Undercover – she’s undercover and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Joe Owen’s Blog – he’s got forty-something eyes. Not Betty Davis eyes.

MC’s Whispers – Maria-Christina works in PR. What kind of “spin” will she put on this writing challenge?

LittleWonder2  – a musical surfing vampire lover. I know.

Blog It or Lose It! – One word. Minecraft.

Voice in Me – Reena’s from India…where reindeer go on vacation.

Apprentice, never master – Gwendolyn, the fearless.

A Year of Daily Posts – Sarah, the paperback writer (three manuscripts but they count.)

Diary of a Sensitive Soul – Immie, blogging from the U.K. (Why am I feeling Bruce Springsteen?)

Dot Knows! – Liz, the life changer.

k8edid – oh, yes. She did.

The Day After — A musing wannabe.

A Spoonful of Suga — Making reality sexy.