Dog Ear
Ten Questions (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00

This is the follow-up edition to Thomas Lucas' blog hop. He proposed ten questions to help curious readers get to know me. Also, he asked to provide links to five authors' blogs that I know. Since I am a recluse in the finest Hemingway tradition, I could come up with two. They will follow the important things (which are about me).

So here are my answers to these questions ten: 

1: What is the working title of your book?  Indigo

2: Where did the idea come from for the book? The story is an adventure tale of crows. One day I was sitting in my office, looking out the window on the 14th floor, and saw a line of crows sitting on the ledge. One crow made a heart-stopping leap into space, like a forlorn lover committing suicide. Suddenly he came floating up, riding the upblast of wind blowing up the side of the building. He went up about thirty feet, tipped out of it, dropped back to the ledge where he'd started. Then he cawed as if in approval, a mocking laugh of a thing, and leapt again. And that's when I realized he was doing it just for fun. It struck me then that crows could have human characteristics yet dwell in a much more interesting environment (mainly that they can fly and eat dead things).

3: What genre does your book come under? It's a combination of coming-of-age and an animal story. My hero starts out young and makes all the mistakes of youth.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I think, when it comes that dark, edgy air I gave Tuft (the hero), I'd have to go with John Cusack. Of course, unless the makeup is brilliant, it would have to be animated, I suppose.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Jonathan Livingston Seagull meets Top Gun.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? I think this book stands well enough on its hoary claws that it should be represented by an agency. I've self-published and was not really happy with the rewards/effort ratio. My birds deserve more than this.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It took about six months to finish. I write pretty much every day for an hour at lunch. When people try to sit with me and tell me about their lives, I glare at them until they go away.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Watership Down was the epic that inspired this book (and sadly one largely forgotten today). If you don't think you can write a 'blood and thunder' epic about rabbits, you haven't read this. The battle in the end, down in the warren tunnels, gave me chills.

 9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? In a self-serving way, inspired this book. I've had romantic relationships that failed just like Tuft's. I've had my love rejected (as have most of us). And I've shot my mouth off when silence would have been the wise choice. I've done many of the things in this book, outside of fighting for my life inside a hurricane at night.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? If nothing I've said here has piqued your interest, I'm trying to rouse the dead :) . Still, I might add that one of my more youthful tomfooleries was building a ultralight aircraft in the 80's and flying it around the Central Florida skies that my crows later inhabited. Nothing gets you closer to flying than feeling every bump and thump of air beneath your wings. And once you get over being scared to death, once the sky opens up around you, only then do you start  to see life as crows see it.

...And that's my ten questions. Hope you enjoyed it. If you'd like to read the first chapter, it's HERE. If you are an agent, please contact me (Please! Please! Please!). And if you'd like to read some of my other works, you can find them HERE, both my published effort and my self-published sci-fi yarn.

And now, my writing friends. The first is Alan Kierstead, who doesn't have a blog himself but I provided him space (at a very reasonable rate). Alan is a great guy, a bear of a man so out of place in our corporate environment. Check out his words HERE.

The second is my sister, Doctor Pat Raymond, with who I co-wrote Don't Jettison Medicine (available at the bottom of HERE). If you are a doctor and need coping exercises to get you through your hectic day, turn around - you just missed the link. It's one of the funniest self help books you can read. Otherwise, you can check out her site HERE.

And that's it. Thanks for stopping in and letting me pour you an eyeful!


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 19:38
Blog Hopper (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 16 February 2013 20:44

Welcome to all those who fell down Thomas Lucas' rabbit hole.

I'm Robert Raymond, an Orlando writer, and I've had two books of historic fiction published. Fire and Bronze is the romantic story of Princess Elisha's struggle to found Carthage, a tale full of sailing and sex and swords. And Early Retyrement is a time-travel novel with a twist (mainly that my chrononaut doesn't know the history of when he's fallen or any technological tricks to assent to heroic greatness). Both are available in my link at the bottom of this page.

I'm also shopping Indigo, a mid-air collision of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Top Gun. I mean, what could be cooler than an adventure novel based on the lives of crows, those scrabbling, fussy, greedy birds, black as night and self-centered as teenagers? Currently I'm hoping to place this soon with an agency - the search continues.

While I'm not as active as I'd like to be on the local writing scene, I do push out twice-a-week blogs. On Thursdays, I post Dog Ear, a writer's advice column / bitch session. On Sundays, I post up my book review column (what could illustrate my wide-ranging tastes than a full list HERE?) Both sets can also be accessed on the left margin menu.

There are also games, photos, model train information and all sorts of other things listed down the left column menu. Look around - it's not a paysite, everything's free.

And I'm glad you poked in. Hope you come back!

(Next week, links to two writers I know)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 18:45
Writing Time (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 February 2013 00:00

Sunday was an op session, and then Downton Abbey in the evening.

Monday, work and then the train club bi-laws committee way, way over on the other side of town. And then over to the club to work building flats in Jacksonville and fuss with an alarm test way too late. Also, a fan wanted to see a sample of an unpublished book, so I had to prep that up and post it.

Tuesday, ordinarily my night off, the parents are in town for diner so it’s work, then way, way over to the other side of town again.  If there is any time after I get home, my best friend and I usually talk about our computer game effort.

Wednesday, work again, then way, way over to the train club. Gotta stage for ops and do some scenery work. That will go on til midnight.

Thursday, another free evening but no, wait, it’s Valentine’s Day. Thanks, Hallmark, for that one.

And Friday, it’s pizza night and relax with the sweety.

Saturday, I’m going to run on the Allentown RR way down Plant City way…

You getting this?

Time. Never enough, and certainly not for writers. Writers are imagined to sit in front of their typewriters with buckets of unallocated time sloshing around. After a leisurely writing session, the afternoon walk, the deliberate packing of a pipe, the petting of the dog, all the time in the world.

But for real world writers, those trying to get a novel done amid the errands and appointments and interruptive “Can I bother you with a quick question…?”s, it’s hard. Finding enough time to sit down, remember where we were, the mood and pacing of where we left off, then pick that up and run with it, then bring it to a stop, that’s not writing. It’s drag racing.

The trick, as a writer, is to make that time. In the morning when all the interruptions are asleep. In the late evening, with a lock set on the den door. Or, like me, out on the patio at work for a quick lunch hour of keyboard clatter. One need to discipline oneself to writing, a quick burst of activity and a sudden stop (with no cooling walk and packing of pipe) to end it with. It’s our world, and we have to make it work.

It’s the only way we’ll ever get anything done.

Incidentally: This blog? Written during a slow meeting at work and emailed home. See?


Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:02
By its cover (DOG EAR) PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:00

My wife and I share a strange little habit, one carried over from my bachelor days. We like to go to dinner and read. We usually go this at fast food joints, quiet places during off times when we can sit in our corner and read our respective books. Then, over desert frostees or brownies or whatever, we'll chat about what we've read.

Last time over at Wendy's, an old lady got up and said how nice it was to see people reading. She even mentioned how nice it was that I was reading The Three Musketeers. We chatted with each other a bit and then she tottered off. Sweet.

And that's one of those side benefits of books that eReaders don't share, the ability to see a cover and know what the person is reading, and perhaps strike up a conversation with them about it. Had be both been hunched over tablets, she'd probably not said anything (we could be watching videos or scanning email or anything else). But books invite conversation.

I remember when we visited the bookstore Slightly Foxed in London, and were chatting with the owner. He confirmed this very thing, pointing to the recent phenomena of David Nicholls' One Day. This was just a tiny run of a book initially, but it had a simple yet distinctive cover, two white facial profiles against a red background. The thing was, London commuters on the tube would see their fellow passengers reading it, their eye caught by the cover. They'd chat with the reader and go get their own copy. Soon enough, everyone was reading One Day, to Mr. Nicholls' profit.

The point is, no one ever inquires about what you are eReading. If someone asks you a question about your reader, it is about the device and not your contents. eReader users generally center on their devices, not their current passion in print. And that's sad, really, because it's just another aspect of reading that is slipping away in the ongoing digital revolution.


Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 12:14

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