Writing doldrums and Vacation.

writing doldrums

The writing doldrums are upon me.  When I sit to work on my project, Kiliane’s Rage, I end up checking email and my social media accounts. I haven’t looked at my project in two weeks.

The other day, I learned I am not the only one who experiences this problem. One of my favorite bloggers wrote of experiencing a similar problem. Read it at Elizabeth Drake’s Site and enjoy her other articles.

I can blame the doldrums on one of the several things. Work has been long days. The long days compensate for hours I missed. Medical appointments, procedure, and other time-off had to be made up or use vacation time. I could take leave-without-pay, not a preference. Using vacation time is not preferable either. Vacation time is for vacation.

vacation time

Ah, vacation time. We leave for Texas Thursday. I *saved* enough vacation time to allow us to stay gone until 3 August.

Last Friday, we signed for our Class C recreational vehicle (RV). It is a Le series Sunseeker 2850SLE with the amenities of home and a slide out on one side. The “queen size” bed is smaller than queen size. Over the driver’s compartment is a platform the same size as the bed. Stove, refrigerator-freezer, water, air conditioning, toilet, shower, and beaucoup storage. As my youngest grandson called it after receiving the grand tour, “Grandma’s house on wheels.”

Grandma's home on wheels

When we were taking my F-150, two grandchildren wanted to go–both girls. Now my grandson decided he wants to go. We have other grandchildren who for various reasons can’t go.

Anyone not familiar with setting up an RV, let me say it’s an experience. Aside from the amenities I mentioned, it was empty. That didn’t last long though.

We bought chemicals for the waste tanks, hoses to drain them, and a surge suppressor at an RV parts store. We bought pots, pans and assorted items at Walmart. This was worse than when we set up a house after getting married. Then people contributed, now I pay for it.

The reason for my writing doldrums is not medical procedures or long work days. It is the anticipation and preparations for vacation. Of time on the road. *I enjoy driving and what sightseeing it provides.* Thoughts and preparations for vacation pushed writing to the background.  The doldrums are receding as preparations near completion.  Here I am getting a post together! That qualifies as writing in my humble opinion. And I am packing my computer for moments when the muse rears her head while in Texas.

This is my experience with the doldrums. Don’t forget to check out Elizabeth’s great article and spend time with her.  Have the doldrums affected you? Are you feeling the call of vacation? I enjoy hearing from you on these or other topics. Comment, please.





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Defining a Great Weekend with Writing, Carpentry, and Fireworks

Defining a Great Weekend with Writing, Carpentry, and Fireworks


The great weekend, four days off work, began with watching the wife work a celebration at Fort Meade, Maryland Friday. I spent the evening before the fireworks watching the crowd gathering. It was amazing the number of people who came out to enjoy the bands, the free rides, and evening culminating fireworks. I forgot to mention the long, long lines of those wanting to sample the many types of food available from some of the local vendors. *I heard one vendor sold out. They had not anticipated the huge crowd.* Of course, the fireworks were super.

Saturday started as a down day. Shopping with the wife followed by an afternoon of movies. Logan was a well-made movie but I was disappointed with the story line. I didn’t care for the ending or the events leading up to it. Still I would give it a five star rating if asked.

With hours remaining before “sack time,” I called up my work-in-progress and started revising it. On a whim, I went on the WANATribe website and found Kristen Lamb online. She and I sprinted three-40 minute sprints. I got a chapter revised and part of another. It is always easier writing, sprinting or not, with a partner. A visit to Facebook and Twitter rounded off the day.

Amateur carpenters, meaning men and women, who undertake a home improvement or repair will recognize today’s, Sunday’s, experience. I planned a project to update a set of banisters lining the lower part of the stairs. I bought the shortest newel post Lowes stocked locally. I bought the red oak board for the base and a set of balusters. I removed the old parts and cut the base. That is when it all came to an unsatisfactory end. The new newel post and balusters were too long. There was no way to cut them to fit. I had to reinstall the old post and balusters. Special order appears to be the only way to get the right size materials. Saying I was disappointed would be an understatement.


My grandson is #3

The day was saved in the afternoon and evening. We were invited to a professional lacrosse game. The Bayhawks defeated the Rattlers. *My Son’s boss owns the Bayhawks so figure who we routed for?* Country star Craig Campbell performed a concert and there was a grand finale fireworks display.

Rounding out the day with this blog post. *Smiley face.* Two days of my four day weekend gone. What will the other two bring?

How has your weekend gone? I look forward to hearing your weekend story. Tell me in the comments.

An interesting two and one-half days of a long weekend. Some failed carpentry, writing, and lots of… Click To Tweet





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Father’s Day 2017, national holiday to honor fathers

father's dayFather’s Day, the celebration recognizing father’s originated in Spokane, Washington in 1910. A daughter asked her pastor to honor her father in a sermon in June. It did not catch on until the 1930s when different commercial entities recognized the opportunity to sell products targeted as gifts for fathers of Father’s Day.

It was inadequate to gain the day recognition as a national holiday. Although Mother’s Day was declared a national holiday in 1914, Father’s Day languished as a celebration. After multiple attempts over the years to have it declared a holiday, President Richard Nixon signed the law making it a national holidays in 1972.

Father’s Day with a Dad in the Navy

I don’t remember many years my Father and I celebrated Father’s Day together. He made the U. S. Navy a career and spent most of the year gone. I never learned why the decision to locate us in Illinois while he did his tours of duty at sea and shore far from us. It was always a treat when he took leave, sometimes 30 days in a year, at home. When he deployed, he sent many letters and gifts from exotic places such as Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and others I can’t remember. We sent him letters and cards to let him know how much we missed him. We signed every letter with love.

my father

My Father Francis Leo Knott

Dad at Great Lakes

In the early 1960s, Dad was transferred to Great Lake, Illinois just a three to three and half hour drive away. He came home the standard 30 days a year plus at least a weekend every month. His presence this often gave me contradictory feelings. As the oldest, I was the man of the house except for those 30 days. Dad relieved me of that responsibility year round since he came home often enough to influence events throughout the year. Thinking back, I resented the demotion. His tour at Great Lakes lasted three years before he received orders to the USS Kearsarge (CV33).

1966 – 2002

I joined the Navy in 1966. Either join the Navy or let the Army draft me. I spent boot camp in San Diego, California. I spent a few days with my Father there visiting him on the Kearsarge. He gave me a tour of the ship. I transferred to Treasure Island, California for school and transferred to Great Lakes for his last assignment before retiring. He and I were rarely home together even after he retired in 1970. Things turned around with me have 30 days or less with him at home.  Things changed after I retired in 1992. My wife and I and two children settled in Maryland. I long drive enabled us to spend many holidays. These short visits brought us closer together than any of the longer 30 day leaves ever did. I lost him on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2002.

My Father-in-Law

I met my Father-in-Law in 1973. My wife and I had dated a few times before she introduced us. To say he intimidated me is an understatement. I was 160 pounds on a spindly 6-foot frame. He was an imposing man, big framed, confident, and well versed with firearms. The later I learned when he talked of the shooting events he had won.

my father-in-law

My Father-in-Law, James Alexander Cameron, Jr

He exuded confidence while I shivered in his presence the first few times we spoke. In time, I became comfortable in his presence and enjoyed the conversations we had. But I remember the first time he called me a “Damned Yankee” shook my timbers. He appeared angry but wasn’t. I thought he was angry that I, from Illinois, and a sailor dated his daughter. In time, it became an inside joke we shared until he passed in 2007.

Father’s Day today

My Father and my Father-in-Law were men I spent far less time with than I now wish I had. They left indelible imprints on my life. Men of integrity who honored their commitment to family and country. This holiday was created to honor men such as them.

To the millions of fathers, may you have a wonderful and memorable Father’s Day!

Let us not forget women who are, both, mother and father to those in their lives.

mothers on father's day

Do you have a favorite memory of your father? Tell me using the comments form.
















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Pennsylvania Dutchman Bowling Tournament


Have your ever competed in a bowling tournament where you wished it had been one game less or one game more. The Dutchman was one where I wished for one less game.

The Dutchman is held in two different Pennsylvania locations. The singles-doubles competition is held in Palmyra at the aptly named Palmyra Bowl. The team event is held at Clearview Lanes, Mount Joy. Singles and Doubles are three game events while the team event is four games for a ten game tournament.

I bowled the singles and doubles on Saturday. Singles was first and I had a respectable 649 for three games. We changed lanes and I had a, still acceptable, 604. My entering average for the tournament is 198. I was over average for both events. I was happy with the day.

The team event was early Sunday. I started slowly and by the end of game three had worked up to a 606 total. If the tournament had ended then, I would have had a nice 1859 for 9 games, 209 average.


But the tournament didn’t end and my last game was a disaster. A missed spare, three splits and no doubles resulted in a 149 game for a 755 team event. I had 2008 for the event’s ten games. The 200 average was over my entering average but, just one more game, dropped it by 9 pins.

Many tournaments I have wished for more games to give me an opportunity to improve my score. This tournament I wished for one less game. Have your done either, wanted one less or one more?




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Am I a Writer?

I am a writer

I am not a writer if what many writing blog sites tell me is true. I would agree if I didn’t know better.

The blogs tell me that a “real writer” writes every day or they suffer withdrawal. Writing is an addiction that must be fed constantly; writers never take vacations or very short one and they are unhappy the entire time, and writers are on the verge of divorce as they devote more time to craft than to their significant other. None of these are absolutes, but some bloggers make it sound that way.

Waiting for the next bowler up

I enjoy other things besides writing. I am not addicted to writing my novel, blogs, or social media posts. There are other important things in my life. Bowling ten pins with several friends in a men’s league are one of them. We have bowled together over twenty-five years in the same league. My wife and I have bowled since 1985 in a mixed league. Our partners sometimes change but she and I  remain partners as long as we are in the league. *She has put up with me since 1974.*

This year I added soccer coaching to my weeknight activities. Only one night during fall and winter but two nights in the spring. *My wife has not asked for a divorce yet.* Three seasons of the year I have one night a week free!

I claim to be a writer without reservation. I write a little most days but it is not the obsession that some articles claim it must be to be a writer. I already mentioned my wife is not ready to divorce me yet because of my writing.  We are taking a vacation that will be at least 14 days in July. I won’t be unhappy and will not suffer withdrawal.

With all of my activities which occupy my time, how can I claim to be a writer? It is because I have a three novel concept for with two written and in revision. K.M. Weiland’s software will help me outline the third. *I pantsered the first two and I am paying for it as I revise while editing them.* Sometimes I write (edit) after bowling; sometimes sitting in front of the television in a recliner across from my wife;  sometimes after soccer practice; but mostly on the weekends. Until I retire, my weekdays will be filled by a full-time job.

What brought this post into mind? I was commenting on a writing blog I had not written this day because I spent the day on our pontoon boat. We set out for a quick spin with my son on the South River and ended up out for about four hours. We set out for a quiet area west of the Riva Bridge, back to pick up a jacket because the sun went into hiding and the wind worsened. Collected the jackets and out again to a cove across from the marina. We met several other boats there and tied up together after setting our anchor. Kids in the water on rafts, drinks shared, snacks for those who had them. The sun came out and I enjoyed sunbathing. As the song says “Who said anything about skiin’? Floatin’ is all I wanna do.” It was two hours of floatin’. The only writing the entire day was in the comment I made.

Just floatin’

The large of it, I am enjoying the FALL OF MY LIFE. I write to tell my stories. I work to get ready for retirement the end of this year or mid-year next. I bowl because I enjoy the camaraderie and challenge. Soccer coaching taxes my aging body but the boys try to keep me young.

Am I a writer? Yes, I am but more than just a writer. I am a father, grandfather, spouse, bowler, coach, and writer. *Some people say I am other things but I discount their assessment since I can’t share in mixed company.* Can you define yourself as more than just a writer? Tell me.







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How do you find Beta Readers

beta reader

Courtesy Dogue De Bordeau

I have been revising of my work-in-progress. I am 30% through it and I wonder if it is time to consider finding beta readers. My concern is I haven’t been at this very long and things the pros take for granted, I question or struggle with.

Where do you find beta readers? Rather, where does a strong introvert find beta readers? I am in a critique group and had several submissions critiqued. I found the comments useful for the material submitted. None of the comments gave me their thoughts how it fit in the plot, did the scene move the book forward, or such. Reality, I didn’t expect that because the only practical critique was thoughts on writing technique, sentence structure, word choice, and such. In return, I provided similar reviews of other member’s snippets. I couldn’t address plot, character development, etc. either from the 2000-3000 words I critiqued.

They are what I need from the person or persons willing to dedicate time reading my writing. How do I find this (these) person(s)? Could I trust a volunteer a family member to be objective in their assessment? Advertising on one of the social media sites might bring volunteer(s), I suppose. How do I evaluate them?

How do I know they understand my genre? Or would provide constructive evaluation of plot, character development, scene development, etc. How do I evaluate if their assessment?

Questions and few answers. Blogs I read suggest social media friends. Great idea but it seems those I have for “friends” are “romance” authors or fantasy authors so embarrassingly successful that I wouldn’t think of approaching them to read my drivel. Other blogs warn to take care in selecting beta readers. I forget the reasons but suspect warning that bad feedback can be hard on my …

beta readers

Here I am without a finished work worrying about getting someone to read it. Now, after writing this, I wonder if I am putting the proverbial cart before the horse.  Am I?

What are your thoughts on beta readers? How did you find yours? What genre do you write?



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South River Seahawks Lacrosse

srya seahawks lacrosseMy son, DJ, has coached the South River Seahawks lacrosse team for several years.

He played on the Anne Arundel Junior College team that won the college’s first national championship title. He followed with two years playing for the Loyola Greyhounds. His mother and I watched him in many games locally and followed him to games at Syracuse, Brown University, and Notre Dame to name a few. He played club lacrosse after college before settling on coaching the Seahawks.

The Seahawks have developed into a quality team that enjoys a good measure of success. They played in two county leagues last year and lost only one game. They won both league championship tournaments. Their success followed them to a win in a LAX tournament held in Baltimore.

The team competed this year in two leagues and today vied for the championship of one. They won the semifinal game but lost in a nail-biter, 6-5. Tomorrow is the semifinal and finals for the second league.

Seahawks lacrosse and Leo

Leo #3

Leo taking a pass

Leo taking a pass

One of the Seahawk stars is *of course* my grandson. He plays long-pole defense and is proficient at the position. Over the years, he is all of 12, he has played attack and middie but settled on defense as his preference. He likes the long-pole over the short lacrosse stick. His grandparents think he is very good.

Not to slight his fellow players, they contribute equally to the team’s success. Most of them have played together for several years and work well together. They are a team that is fun to watch, on and off the turf.

I encourage you to take in a Seahawks’ game if you are near Annapolis, Maryland during the lacrosse season. You will not be disappointed.









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