The Publishing Industry: Here We Go Again

There is something rotten in the world of publishing.  And no, I’m not talking about Amazon. I’m talking about the stunningly illogical business models within the industry. Let it be said that authors like me have been complaining about publishers for, I don’t know, possibly centuries. It’s nothing new. Mark Twain was so dissatisfied with his publisher that he started his own publishing company. He was an early “indie publisher,” I suppose. Initially, the company did well. Then it collapsed. This is nothing new, either, and I am well-acquainted with collapsing publishers.

An Appreciation for Amazon Customer Reviews

I confess I love the book reviews Amazon posts from its customers, but perhaps not for the reason you might think…

The Art of Christmas Elfing

This Christmas, I’ve been “elfing.” As everyone knows, this is the gerund form of “to elf” which, in turn, is the infinitive verb form of the noun, “elf.”  (Don’t you wish now that you hadn’t nodded off in high school grammar?)


I am mostly of German extraction, with a dollop of Irish thrown in just for fun. As a consequence, perhaps, I have always owned German cars. I admire their quality, their precision engineering, and their performance. The Germans make cars for people who consider driving not a way to get from one place to another but a high art. And a sport.

Sing, Sing, Sing

This is a bit of a stroll down memory lane.  My mother loved music, especially jazz and big band swing. She had a substantial collection of 78 rmp records (remember them?). Her favorites were Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, but especially Benny Goodman…and even more especially, the brilliant drummer, Gene Krupa.

Loving a Lady With Alzheimer’s

The biggest problem today was trying to keep her from drinking the hot salsa that came with her taco salad lunch at the rehabilitation facility. She thought it was a drink. I envisioned flames erupting from her mouth.  If you have a certain kind of mind, caring for an inherently mischievous elderly woman with Alzheimer’s can be pretty funny. For a comparison, think about trying to get a boisterous puppy to behave: warn all you want, train it as hard as you can, but to the puppy it’s just, “Blah, blah, blah, Puppy. Blah, blah, blah!”  The puppy looks at you like you’re a complete idiot, which is exactly how you feel. And are.

Island Life: No Postal Stamps

The other day, I walked into our estimable, if modest, island post office, rang the quaint little bell on the counter in order to summon a post-person, and waited. The usual post-mistress, if that is the right term, was on vacation, and my first thought was: “Wait!  They get vacations?  What about ‘Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night’…etc?”

The Mysteries of Spring: Potholes and Potting Soil


It is pothole season where I live in America’s Pacific Northwest (everywhere else in America, as near as I can tell, is buried under snow). But here it’s a different story altogether: it’s warm, wet, and potholes are everywhere. It’s as if our roads have a bad case of adolescent acne.

An Island Wedding

A man in love is incomplete until he is married.  Then he’s finished. 

~Zsa Zsa Gabor



Adjusting to Rural Island Living…

Having spent most of my life living in cities, moving to a small, largely rural island in the Pacific Northwest has required certain adjustments. Consider, for example, the simple matter of mail delivery.