Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Overdue Update

So, I noticed my last post here is dated December of 2014, and now it's January 2017. I guess I should make a new post, just to let anyone know I'm still alive.
So, what new update will I share?

I have finished a novel that I am under contract to have published!

That's right: I have signed a contract with Azoth Khem Publishing to have one of my stories published. 

I have just put the final words down in the file

Now, I just have to go through and make sure I left no holes and match the happenings from one chapter to the next. Originally, I submitted the story with 18,500 words, plus or minus, and left it with a cliffhanger ending. I had thoughts of writing a series.

As per their guidelines, a novella needed to be at least 30,000 words, so when I found the Editor, Kasey Dawn Hill needed a little time to get to it. I decided to try to get some more words down to get closer to what they wanted.

Now, I have just under 60,000 words, and have made what I consider a satisfying (to me, anyway) ending for it.

So, when I get done scanning through it, I'll send the updated file in and we'll see how it goes. If nothing else, I have given them up to 20,000 word leeway to slice and dice the heck out of it.

I'll try to post a followup here when I get a decision, or a final Publish date and links when I have them available.

Until then,

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recipe For Apricot Delight Cake

Well, here is a token post just to say I did publish an update on this blog this year. I almost had a complete calendar year without adding to it, but I have been working on my website and my blog as well as starting a new blog, covering my  Velah character from "Challenge Of The Velah" (c), but it is bare, as I'm still building the content.

For today, though, I wish to share a recipe I might have to make for my Brother this X-Mas  (day after tomorrow). He got a small can of Solo brand apricot cake and pastry filling, a double pack of cream cheese and a graham cracker crust, then told me I could make him a pie.

Joy.

I did a search online for a recipe that takes those ingredients. There are none that I found.
 The closest match is the  Apricot Delight Cake from the manufacturer's website, which I might be able to pour into a pie crust.

So, here's their recipe, if you don't want to go there right now:

 Apricot Delight Cake








Ingredients

Cake

1⁄2 cup               Butter or margarine, softened
1⁄4 teaspoon     Salt
1 package          8 OZ cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup               Milk
1 1⁄4 cup            Sugar
1 can                  Solo Apricot Cake and Pastry Filling or 1 jar Baker Apricot Filling
1 teaspoon       Vanilla
2                        Eggs
2 cups               Sifted all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon     Baking soda
1 teaspoon        Baking powder

Topping

2 cups                Flaked coconut
2⁄3 cup               Brown sugar, firmly packed
1⁄3 cup               Butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon        Cinnamon




Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and lightly  flour 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Cream together softened butter (or margarine), Cream Cheese and Sugar, mix until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla and eggs and beat thoroughly.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Spread half of batter into prepared pan; spoon dollops of apricot filling on top

Cover with remaining batter.

Bake for 40 minutes.

To make topping, combine coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.

Sprinkle over cake.

Place cake under broiler until topping is golden brown.


Enjoy!


-- John
#WriteOn

Monday, January 28, 2013

Trying to Offer Help

I had originally started this blog as a way to try to enhance my online persona. I have to admit, I failed miserably. At least here. I have just recently begun a new one, aimed at trying to post help for anyone who, like me, is having trouble finding ways to get assistance with discovering if their writing actually has merit.

My new blog is on Wordpress and can be accessed here. Now, I do not consider myself a guru or an expert on teaching others how or what to write. My aim is to be available to help someone else if possible, and maybe in so doing, I could stumble upon someone or something to help me. I am still getting it started, so time will tell if it was a good idea or not.

This concludes my update for today. I really hope I am able to keep that post updated more often than I did or do on this one. I also hope I get better response there than I do here. Seems a few people have looked at these posts, but, like my website, I just do not get responses often enough.

Till next time, Gentle Reader...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recent Ramblings

   While sitting in my head today, I had, shall we say, an epiphany; here’s why some things concerning me are the way they are. Bear with me for a moment.
   I had to tell a cousin I have known less than a year that I could not let someone as close to my feet as she currently was to my Ma’s. She was in the midst of giving Ma a pedicure, and I told my brother, “Now, she’ll want one every week!”
   After nodding her agreement, Tom, my older brother, started avidly shaking his head while laughing, telling her “Absolutely not!”
   I stated, quite liberally, that I do not let anyone that close to my feet.     My cousin looked absolutely beside herself, and blurted out, “Why?”
   I then began regaling her with my long standing aversion to people who would forcibly hold me down- sometimes more than two others, usually related (hinting towards Tom)- and being Mercilessly tickled. I emphasized this by stressing “mercilessly” .
   She tried, of course, to change my mind, as did Ma. I hold fast to not letting others (anybody, again stress) that close to my feet.
   I think everyone has this kind of situation. Something they believe vehemently. No one can change their mind, because it is just the way it is.
   I, personally, have many such. I shan’t bore anyone with all the details.
   Speaking of that, there’s another : I choose… yes, choose to not delve too deeply into anything involving me. I choose not to let any one individual know me that well.
   Where does this come from? One may ask, for I shan’t reveal to hardly anyone that I don’t want to be that close.
   “But then, why tell people so much about yourself so soon after meeting them?”
   I would say to that, “But I don’t reveal anything that reveals too much.”
   In that, lies even more.
   {At times, like the ramblings herein, it seems I keep subconsciously trying to find someone with whom I would want to make myself known, there is an undesirable need to do just that.}
   That is only one of the reasons I only reveal so much, and at times say too much or in the wrong “voice”.
   I will just admit: “I do not trust most, and frequently misjudge and be too open to the wrong people.”
   {Let’s see now, do I keep on the one track or the other. Or a different tack entirely. Just so many directions a discussion (admission?) like this could go.}
   That is, a lot of the time, how the committee in my head converses.                                                                                                                               
    I literally hear the words being spoken, and have every intention of verbalizing my thoughts. I most always look around to see if anyone witnessed me almost speaking to myself. That would make me look suspicious.
   (I try to be always looking for ways people look suspicious, to various definitions of the word.)
   Point kind of made. I think, or hear or see, things being done. I mentally observe, and have seemed to be able to know, or deduce, or reason out, just why some people do some of the things that they do based solely on reasons I do certain things.
   Most people are able to plain ignore some of the reasons they act in certain ways. Some, maybe, but most of the time they are just going through the motions of things that had succeeded in situations similar to the one they find themselves in at any given time. Habit, one may say.
   This would usually be an action that had been performed  since early in their childhood.
   A lot of people could not, or at least will not, ever admit, to themselves or anyone, that. One could make such a connection, but if enough investigation be put to it, I can practically guarantee that it would be concerning something one experienced as a child.
   {And so, is how one could faze into another subject. How I could, anyway. How I did…}
   “Where do these thoughts come from?”
   That’s what I’m saying: it is like an, almost, constant conversation going on in my head. Whichever member of my committee I find interesting, I follow that thought pattern.
   I hear some of the others up there calling out from the strand I had abandoned that I could still choose a certain other way and still follow that to the inevitable outcome, which could be “blah, blah, blah.”
   It almost scares me how close I had thought, if I did happen to think about doing the said subconscious investigation, results of some of my actions could be deciphered.
   I would say that I seem to be really… proficient… at having such discussions within my cranium. Quite frequently, in fact. And I try to keep it between my ears.
   There are times that I accidentally, verbally let out an opinion. Something that just pops out of the darkness or, as they say, “out of the blue”. I sometimes get lucky and the utterance matches the discussion going on around me.
   Occasionally, the topic is only barely linkable to the other’s. As frequently, not even close to said topic. It is just a committee suggestion taken overboard and voiced.
   At that point, I feel that others begin looking around for an easy distraction, and sure enough, they drift away from me, physically, but yet also mentally. I become, I feel, bearable. Barely, even. I see others begin looking around to find somewhere else they can be. As long as I stay put. Which I am only too willing to do. I hate feeling like I am forcing myself onto others.
   On this topic, I could drift off on a tangent to describe things that have happened before, and were sure to happen again, in a certain fashion as a result to a particular action. Or decision, or even thought.
   Now, one may be thinking, “These thoughts are sure hard to follow!” Consider how I feel; they are ever present in my head, one after the other, in near constant flux. And it is my responsibility to attempt to keep them in check. I don’t always succeed.
   A lot of folks would question my sanity upon discovering that I hear voices in my head, and then entertain the discussions therein. I will not try to sway their opinions; I have long since admitted that I am crazy. I’m alright with it, whether they are or not. But insane? Who could say for sure?
   At this point, allow me to remind you that I am a writer, and writing, as they say, is a form of art. Many artists in the past have been declared, in public opinion, insane in one form or another.  Actors, writers, sculptors, painters. Such is why so many have committed suicide. I believe that we all (artist or not) have committee meetings going on mentally, and the ones who can put “voice” to some of the suggestions and be widely admired for it become famous. Some of these artists eventually take the wrong committee suggestion to heart, and do something fatally stupid.
   I know I do stupid things, and some of those actions could, in the long run, be fatal.  At this point in time, however, I can differentiate between the good and bad decisions, or at least the less fatal ones.
   Well, I began these ramblings to be a future blog post. I’m sure it could be considered a bit long for that, but will go ahead and post it, on the off chance that someone will find it worthy of suffering through to see a bit of how my mind works.
   I shall leave you with one more thought to consider : All of the stories I have written began as nothing more than a “committee suggestion”, but one which rang out above the others, and reverberated to the point where I had to pen it to make it go away. Then, that member took control, and allowed the story to unfold.

Am I weird? Yes, I believe so…

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grammar

I know I am not always grammatically correct, indeed I have been told I need help before, but there are certain instances where I have to cringe and hold my tongue where I see others write, or even hear them speak, and mutilate the rules I have been taught.

For instance; when to use “I” and “Me”. The common speech I hear is, for example, “The store stocks the bagels requested by Amber and I.” (Jeez, it hurts even writing it thusly)

The correct way to use these same pronouns would be, “The store stocks the bagels Amber and I requested.” If one wanted to not change the order of it, one would have to say, “The store stocks the bagels requested by Amber and me.”

A simple rule speaks clearly in my mind: “When using multiple pronouns, use each in it’s own sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, the correct pronouns are being used.” Or something to that effect.

Now, as I’ve said, I am not always correct in my usage, in fact, there are probably errors in this very post, but, doggone it, at least make an effort to use the American language correctly. (I know most of us Americans do not use the English language properly.)

I won’t get into other issues I have with how words are spoken and/or written. That would take near an entire book, and within would be even more mistakes on my own part to make the Grammar Girl lash me with a cat-o-nine tails. So, I’ll just leave this post as is, and hope at least one person takes a hint and alters their selection of pronouns. Maybe they can, in their own way, change someone else’s damage, and one by one, some grammar healing can come about. Is that too much to hope for?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Sci-Fi Poem

How lonely it is out here in deep space
     So far away from the human race.
They sent me out so long ago
     In search of a planet where we could go.
Our Earth had become too crowded to please,
     All the land was covered and we spread to the seas.
Before long, those, too, were crowded with life,
     So we looked to the stars for a place to ease strife.
A ship was prepared, shot into the skies
     With hope for mankind, and seen by all eyes.
Farther I traveled into the unknown,
     Faster than any before had been thrown.
Communications were lost, at some point in time,
     But I must find somewhere with agreeable clime.
Another Galaxy gone by with no end in sight,
     I must find an answer to my planet's plight.
I've been gone now, my instruments say,
     For some ten years, two months and a day.
On my sensors the klaxon begins to announce
     A surface compatible, down to the ounce.
I complete the readings, veer away to return,
     Hoping against hope the findings won't spurn
The glimmer of hope for those who have none,
     Or at least pose an option for some to condone.
The entire trip back, twice as long it will take;
     I must make it back, for all mankind's sake.
30 years will have gone, much longer for them,
     I'll send the happy news to hinder mayhem.
As soon as a signal on the airwaves comes through,
     I'll tell them there's a way for us to renew.
I'm past the point I lost contact before,
     But still no answer, even though I implore.
Into our system I finally arrive,
     And familiar planets I can see float by.
Approaching coordinates where home should be,
     And soon the truth becomes clear to me:
While I was away, fighting broke out,
     Being won by whomever held the most clout.
I hang my head in sorrow and shame,
     Knowing I am now alone in this game.

By John T. M. Herres  (c) 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Growing Pains

We all started out as children. From the moment we were born, outside influences began shaping who we were to be, how we were to act and react.
     Though people come in so many sizes and shapes, beliefs and convictions, even prejudices, everyone starts out the same: defenseless, vulnerable and ignorant. The parents then start teaching, through words and actions, how they learned to live in the world.
     So diverse are the teachings most of us have endured that we have gone through several belief systems trying to figure out which one holds the key to understanding, the “meaning of life”, as it were. There are as many interpretations as there are people. No matter what religion, if any, a group of people belong to, though they may have a base agreement on their beliefs, there are always minor differences.
     As children, we cry when we experience pain, fear, indecision, or loneliness. How the adults react to those displays of emotion determines not only how the child will eventually display them, but also how that child will react to others who have been taught differently. The child who is told, “Stop acting like a baby!” will develop a much different attitude than the one who is told, “It’s OK to cry. Just let it all out.” As such, the child who is taught that only “babies” cry will persecute the ones who are told it is ok. In response to being derided by their peers, the child who does cry openly will eventually learn that society does not think it’s acceptable.
     The child who sees their mother being chastised or beaten will assume that is the way of the world. If the child is beaten and berated, the lesson will be to do the same to any who are weaker. The despondent child may be further damaged by being ignored or pushed aside, often leading to addictions or even attempts of suicide. The sexually abused will in turn abuse either another or themselves.
     So many people have made the comment that they would not raise their children the way they were brought up, yet too many of them seem to make either the same or worse mistakes. Along this same line, some even choose to disregard things they either felt or thought as children themselves and deny their children the right to experience certain things which would help them to be better adults.
     For example, look at corporal punishment regulations held in the school systems. Many years ago, it was standard practice for the wayward child to be sent to the principal’s office to receive a paddle to the derri√®re. In today’s society, such acts are considered child abuse. The problem with this, in my opinion, is that many of the children know this, and will intentionally flaunt the knowledge before those who should be in control. One can barely use spankings in the privacy of their own homes for discipline, and even then have to worry about authorities taking the children away. Without the concern of punishment for wrong doings, many youngsters will repetitively cause trouble, knowing the worst that will happen is a “time out”.
     There are solutions for many of the woes that plague society concerning the rearing of our children, but I feel none of the lawmakers in charge of those decisions will be open to researching them. I could offer my own thoughts on the subject, however, since I have no degrees or long term experience involving children, my opinions would be dismissed faster than I could make them. Therefore, until society realizes that the decline of things such as common courtesy, sympathy for fellows, even fear of consequences are directly related to the fact that people are no longer allowed to discipline their children, the future will continue to look as bleak as it does now.