Bowling in Las Vegas

Hello from SUNNY Las Vegas, Nevada. Notice I did not say hot. It is warm though which is a contrast with the weather we, my wife and I, left behind us in Maryland. We flew yesterday when the weather forecast freezing rain and snow. You would be accurate if you guessed the weather was not as predicted. Instead of freezing rain, we had rain. No snow settle on the runways to prevent flights from taking off. Ours lifted off on-time.

Here we are suffering under the sun in balmy fifties. Perhaps you wonder what prompted us to make the trek to a gambling mecca when we live less than two miles from Casino Live. And there are three other casinos in Maryland.

las vegas bowling tournament

The reason for the trip? To participate in my eighteenth consecutive Military Bowling Championship Tournament.  Our team consists of bowlers, friends, from various areas of the country. My partner and I are from Maryland and our teammates are from Missouri, Minnesota, and Oregon. One reason for coming every year is to see friends and shipmates we served with in years past. A byproduct is meeting others who served in the military but were not stationed with us. It is a time to renew friendships and create new ones.

Don’t misunderstand, we also come for the competition. There are singles, doubles, team, and all-events categories. We are older and the competition stiffer but several of us remain competitive. This is an accomplishment as several of the team, myself included, as we have or are reaching the super senior milestone. (Curious what super senior is? Ask using the comment form.) None of us have won an event in several years but our names make the payout list often. Maybe, one day on any given day, anyone can win will allow one or more of us to show at the top of a winners list. Even if we never do, we will have enjoyed the effort.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Some come for all of the above and a shot at winning the big jackpot.

Ever visited Las Vegas? Was it what you expected? Let me hear about in comments.

 

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Snow is coming

Snow in the forecast

snow 'n winter

Snow arrived at my house tonight. The forecasted one inch turned out to be a dusting.  This is not snow I thought as I let my dogs out to run this morning. I could only shake my head as visions of what the wife and I saw in Iceland and other days in Maryland.

We spent the winter of 1974 living in a Quonset hut just off the Keflavik custom’s gate. Every time we went on the NATO base, we had to clear customs to get home.  I had introduced her to snow when I took her to meet my parents the winter before. This winter was my wife’s first winter with inches of snow. The amount of snow we had in Iceland was an eye opener and left us some fun memories.

Snow in Iceland

covered by snow

We bought an old VW Beetle to get us around until our car arrived on island. Once we had our car, the old Bug was parked in the driveway. One storm dropped a large amount of snow and the wind caused drifting. The snow literally buried this Beetle, leaving just the smallest portion of the top visible. We did not dig it out, we waited for spring when we sold it.

Our car was a newer model Beetle, a compact car with issues getting through the snow. One day we needed to go to the store. The road had been plowed but the wind had back-filled it with snow. We could see the road because it had less snow. We were doing well until we encountered an SUV. It being the bigger vehicle, I pulled over. Bad move. The car bottomed out and we could go nowhere. Fortunately, the SUV stopped. Several Icelanders walked over and pushed us back on the road. With just a wave, they left.

Snow in Maryland

snowing again

There have been fun memories here also. One year my wife’s niece, about 9 at the time, told us she wanted to see snow. She lived in Texas and had not seen any yet. We invited her to stay for a few days. A few days turned in a few weeks when, after she arrived, we had a record snowfall. We were snowbound for a week. This gave her and my daughter ample opportunities to make snow forts, tunnels (it was that deep), and have snowball fights. I would have been upset with all the snow except I had paid days off!

Do you have any fond or not so fond memories of snow filled days? Share them with a comment. I look forward to hearing them.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Thank you and Happy New Year to those who have spent time with me on this blog, on Facebook, or Twitter. Only active since October, I hope I entertained, provided a laugh or two, or brought a memory long gone to mind with the posts.

I began the year toying with a novel I had been writing since early 2014. I finished the draft of Saving Delisanna in March. It was over 100,000 words written by a pantser (me). I wrote two endings, one suitable for a standalone novel and one suitable to leave an opening for a follow-on work. However, Saving Delisanna needed a lot of work. I enjoined experts for assistance by reading their writing blogs and craft novels. Among these experts were James Scott Bell, Marcy Kennedy, and others noted in my blog  http://dwaneknott.com/2016/12/christmas-gifts-writers/.

How do you create a brand?

writers need a brand

What fun is having a novel if it is not read? Readers have to be cultivated. Kristen Lamb wrote a premier work called Rise of the Machines, Human Authors in a Digital World.  She espoused one needs a brand.  Facebook, Twitter, and blog are three of elements that can contribute to exposing one’s brand to the world. I had the Facebook and Twitter accounts where I began to be more active. In October, I posted my first blog to this site.   (Kristen writes on noteworthy topics. One of her latest includes advice on succeeding in 2017.)

writing

W.A.N.A Tribe for writers

Writing is a solitary business but writing alone is a lonely business (pun intended). Kristen’s book introduced me to W.A.N.A. (We Are Not Alone) Tribe. This is a site she operates for serious writers. I found the serious writers there willing to share their experience with those who ask. It is also a place for writers to socialize and to write. Kristen hosts ‘sprinting’ on weekday mornings and sometimes in the evening. Sprinting is a timed writing window after which participants can brag about how much they have written. It is easier to write if someone is supporting.

I have several favorite blog writers. Among them is K.M. Weiland’s https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/. Her blog series How to Outline for NaNoWriMo inspired me to join the NaNoWriMo challenge. I finished November with a winner icon and Kiliane’s Rage, my second draft novel.

December has been busy. Besides the blog, Facebook, and Twitter, I have joined a critique group to provide reviews of Kiliane’s Rage revised chapters. I am providing reviews for other writers. Writing critiques seems to help my writing. Seeing ways to improve others’ works gives me insight into ways to improve mine. My road is long but I am on it.

The last half of this year was hectic. I hope the coming year to be less so since the ‘getting going’ work is done. The past few months were interesting and fun. I interacted with some amazing writers and personable people and have learned much from them.

May you have a Safe and Happy New Year

new year 2017

A special thank you to everyone who has visited this site. I hope that you will visit again and leave me a comment. Let me know you came.

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Traditions on Christmas Day? Have they changed?

Christmas day presents

Santa in sled Traditions — Christmas Day is upon us. Are you ready? For once we, my wife and I, are ready! We have the presents purchased and wrapped. They sit under the tree waiting for the package distributor to pick one and call out a name. If tradition holds, whoever the present is for will be offered help in opening it. Then comes the cries of “Show us what it is. Hold it up.” Cameras will flash and it will be time for the next one.

Our Christmases around the world

I was sitting here thinking how Christmas Day events have changed for my family over the years. My wife and I spent our first Christmas (1974) as a married couple in Keflavik, Iceland. The second was in Iceland also. Our third was in San Vito, Italy in an apartment above our Italian landlords. We were two and a half. My wife was pregnant.

My son joined us for the fourth and fifth (1977-1978) in San Vito. The sixth and seventh were in Pensacola, Florida. The Eighth (1981) was my daughter’s first as she grew us to a family of four.  The next two were in Coco Solo, Panama. We have been in Maryland for all of them since 1984.

Christmas tree

Christmas traditions at our house

My wife and I bought a big artificial tree in Iceland and used it for forty years. It was always a challenge to find room in the government housing we lived in for the tree.  Some piece of furniture would hide in the bedroom or utility room while the tree decorated the space vacated.  Over several days before each Christmas, wrapped presents found their way under the tree. It was magic to the kids. It was late night wrapping that made the magic.

It became traditional for the kids to open one present on Christmas Eve. The rest waited for Christmas morning. Santa had to make a stop after all. Santa’s presents were the big items that required assembly. Santa’s helper had to pull tools and stay up late doing Santa’s work.  Christmas morning was hectic as the mounds of wrapping paper grew. The kids enjoyed their presents while we made dinner.

Today, the children are grown and have children of their own. They are creating their family traditions regarding Christmas *and other holidays*. Our traditions have changed to permit them to have theirs. We remember, in moments of nostalgia, past Christmases.

One of our traditions remains. Our smaller tree requires relegating a piece of furniture to another room. The tradition most missed is not being present when the sun comes up and watching the grandchildren discover what lies under their tree. We do get to watch them with the presents we bring with our visit.

Empty nesters, we accept the role of supporting cast ready for whatever role Santa needs filled. Has Christmas traditions changed for you? Use the comment to share your traditions.

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What I want for Christmas – Snow!

Snow for Christmas, or ice?

icicles on bushes

Will you have snow for Christmas? Perhaps it will be warm like it was here this morning. Or it may be freezing rain like we had yesterday. Yesterday, we woke to freezing rain and single digit temperatures. Today it got up to low sixties before the rain and wind started. My Mother called the weather we are seeing here “pneumonia weather.” That is what she called warm days interspersed with cold, rainy or snowy days.

Snow is not in the forecast. It wasn’t in the forecast for Corpus Christi, Texas in December, 1973 either. My wife had not remembered seeing snow in her twenty years. Having grown up near Peoria, Illinois, I did not remember a year without snow. Engaged to be married in January, I took my wife to meet my family.

We drove. It was the week before Christmas. It was in the mid 40’s when we left Corpus Christi.  We enjoyed good weather through Dallas and most of the way to Muskogee, Oklahoma. We were on Route 44 southwest of St. Louis when we saw the first snow. My wife was mesmerize by the “white stuff”.

We did not encounter any problems until we were on the outskirts of St. Louis. The sun had set. Snow limited visibility but not enough to force us to stop. It was after rush hour when we entered the city proper. Here, my wife’s appreciation for snow underwent a drastic change. The road surface became rough and we were limited to speeds in the range of 25-30 miles per hour. The reason was the snowplows had created a washboard surface on the road. If we tried to go faster, we bounced and the car slid. The trip through St. Louis was nerve-wracking. We were relieved when we crossed out of Missouri into Illinois.

ruts in snow

Ruts in the road are good

I would like to report that my wife’s appreciate for snow improved with crossing the state line.  The snowplows in Illinois had kept their plows above the surface. They left a few inches of snow in which their truck tires formed ruts. I was familiar with driving under these conditions, snow ruts with the snow banked on both sides of the road. The rest of the trip home was at good speed while my fiancé complained I was going too fast. I don’t think I was but it was so long ago I can’t say I wasn’t. Regardless, I got us home safely.

My wife’s appreciation for snow took another turn the morning after we arrive home. She learned that you can make snowmen and have snowball fights. We spent several days there during which the roads cleared. The trip home was made on clear, dry pavement.

There were two positive results from the trip. My parents and siblings met my fiancé and she met snow. Both were fortunate occurrences. My fiancé became my wife in early January and the Navy sent us to Iceland where we saw many feet of snow.

I enjoy hearing from you. Do you have any stories about weather? Comment and let me know.

 

 

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Christmas Gifts for Writers

resolutions before christmas

Internet for gift ideas – how ‘novel’

Search the internet for Christmas gifts for writers and you will be overwhelmed by the variety of suggestions. I am a writer and love gifts. However, my wife gives me the ‘are you kidding me’ look every time I tell someone that I write novels. Well I have and do. Two in fact. Just not in a condition to be published yet. That will come. But I doubt she will select a craft book as a Christmas present for me.

Not one to wait for a holiday to gift myself something I need, I have been buying my writer’s gifts all year. It would require pages to list titles of the craft books I have bought. It is easier to list the authors that I thank for their insight and willingness to share their knowledge of craft with me and other newbie writers.

Writers of Craft

Christmas gift ideas

James Scott Bell and Marcy Kennedy wrote the first books I downloaded to my reader. In time, I added works by Willian Bernhardt, Jessica Bell, Mary Buckham, Rayne Hall, Marg McAlister, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, and Roz Morris. Each has contributed to my growth in profound ways.

The latest additions are works by Kristen Lamb and K.M. Weiland. If you are interested in being published, Kristen Lamb’s books will guide you through the process of developing your own brand. K.M. Weiland has two great works on outlining your novel and novel structure. They both have insightful and interesting blogs.

I hope that your Christmas writer’s gift meets your needs and expectations. The ones I gave me do.

I would enjoy hearing your favorite writers of craft.

 

 

 

 

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Christmas gifts that can open the world of adventure

christmas gifts

The tree needs more Christmas presents

I lay awake last night considering Christmas gifts for my grandchildren. My wife and I had purchased the big items and they sat wrapped under our little tree. “Little” is a 5 foot artificial one we bought when the living room became too small for the big tree. Big screen televisions and new furniture shrunk the room. *The little tree looks great decked out with decorations collected over 42 years and buried under wrapped Christmas presents.*

The brain was on auto considering and rejecting many possibilities. Out of the deepest, darkest recesses of a writer’s mind came the idea for presents almost every child under 20 dread – books! Didn’t I enjoy reading as a child? Wouldn’t they enjoy the option to read instead of watching television and playing video games? Of course they would!

John Carter's Mars

Living in fantasy worlds

Riding the edge of nocturnal peace, I hopped back to when I was my oldest grandson’s age. That was the year I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series and I was hooked.  I wanted to find a way to Mars but only reached it through John Carter. I shared this desire under the stars with my best friend as we camped out.

I burned through Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and lost sleep after reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Isaac Azimov’s Foundation Series were some of the most expensive books I bought. *Well worth my yard work and babysitting money.*  E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman Series carried me through an interplanetary war and the conflict between super races. These and authors of the same ilk fed my imagination and solidified a love for reading.

Least you consider me lost in fantasy, I enjoyed reading other writers. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, George Orwells’ 1984 and Animal Farm, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (started, never finished.) There were many others. But my first love was fantasy and science fiction.

Today’s adventure creators

Jump forward and I am adventuring with Daniel Arenson’s, Lindsay Buroker, David Dalglish, C. Greenwood, Craig Halloran, M.A. Nilles, R. A. Salvatore, Kelly Walker, Jeff Wheeler and more. Fortunately, not all adventures require swords, armor and magic. There are alternative worlds populated by writers I have read such as K.M. Weiland, Kassandra Lamb, Kait Nolan, and Marie Grace.

Fifty years of reading pleasure started with books available to me and read as a youngster. I bought some and received others as Christmas gifts. Perhaps gifts of books will start my grandchildren on a lifetime journey through worlds built by imagination.

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