Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twysted Tayles

Ever since I was young I have loved The Twilight Zone. It was always exciting watching the storylines unfold, not knowing what the endings would be.

As I have gotten older I have enjoyed reading the works of Stephen King. He is the master of horror fiction, from the postapocalyptic world of The Stand to the psycho clown of It, he is one of the best in the world.

I have been writing short stories off and on for years. My first one, Hell No! We Wont Go! was actually rejected for a short story contest by Twilight Zone magazine. Undaunted, I have continued writing, and Twysted Tayles has been born.

At this point I have finished 8 stories, and will probably have a total of 16 when it goes to my publisher. So far the storylines are 1. A high school janitor has a spooky encounter during a dance, 2. Earth's first encounter with aliens (not counting Roswell), 3. an unusual wedding ceremony, 4. the real reason why Nixon got out of Vietnam, 5. a friday night poker game, 6. a family trip to the zoo, 7. a holocaust denying teen visits Auschwitz, and 8. a published author returns home for a book signing.

I will caution my readers of one thing: Dont get too comfortable with how you think each story will end. I promise that, like The Twilight Zone, you will not see the endings coming.

I will keep everyone posted as the book proceeds.

In the meantime, keep on reading and writing.

Best Wishes, Doug The Executioner Walker

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Went to a book signing, fight broke out

I was invited to do a book signing at a wrestling event in York, SC . There were about 150 fans in attendance. We got there a couple of hours early, got to meet the wrestlers, and watch them prepare for their matches.

The Main Event was a Tag Team Iron Man Match: The team that won the most falls in a one hour time period was the winner. This match didnt even start until 11 PM. About 1/2 way throgh the match Wendy said she needed to go to the restroom, and left me to my own devices.

I was sitting there minding my own business, and watching the match. The action suddenly spilled out of the ring, and the wrestlers were fighting in the back next to me! I was scrambling for my life, grabbing books and money and anything I could get my hands on!

I suddenly realized that I was holding a metal chair in one hand. One of the good guys was standing near me. I looked at him, he looked at me. I handed him the chair. "Do you want me to hit one of them with it?" He asked. "Sure." He hit the bad guy in the back with it. He then handed the chair to me, and announced, "Put that in your next book!"

In the meantime Wendy was watching the goings on from the concession area. She said to the manager, "You wont believe what my husband just did!" "What?" She told him. He replied, "I'm gonna kill em!" And stormed in to keep a better eye on things.

According to Wendy she is surprised we have not been banned for life from that group! But I have actually done a couple of other signings with them since then.

Until next time, Fight the Good Fight!

Doug The Executioner Walker

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Introducing myself

My name is Doug Walker, and my pen name is D L Walker. My wife, Wendy, and I live in Kannapolis, NC, and I have worked for GE Capital for almost 29 years. I realized this weekend that I have been a member of the Carolina Conspiracy for 3 years now, and have loved every minute of it!

My first novel, Scaffold, came out on August 20th, 2007. It is set in Charlotte in the world of Pro Wrestling. A terrible incident occurs during a PPV that is put on by a very corrupt fictional wrestling group, and the book tells of the incident and the investigation that follows.

I am currently working on Twysted Tayles, which is a collection collection of short stories that are a combination of Stephen King meets the Twilight Zone. If you like stories that have unexpected endings I think you will like these.

Well, it is getting late, and I do need to do some writing before bed. Will keep you posted.

Doug "The Executioner" Walker

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today Is Tomorrow

Jim and I met with a small group of beginning writers last week. There are always plenty of questions at events lke this. How did you get published? What was your first book? What do I have to do to get published?

The last question, What do I have to do to get published? is always hard to answer. It's different for every writer. Every writer has a story of how it happened for them.

The one thing we all agree on is that you have to WRITE! And I'm not talking about thinking about writing. It's always easier to think about doing anything than actually doing it. I like to think about cleaning my house a lot. That way I don't have to work too hard at it!

We always tell everyone that you have to write every day, even if it's only for 15 minutes. Most people can find a way around that. "Oh it wouldn't work for me to do that." or "I'm too busy to do that."

Author Janet Dailey (yes, that Janet Dailey) was our inspiration on this problem. We saw her at a conference where she said something that changed our lives and got us published, at least that's how I feel.

Janet said get up early, stay up late, do whatever you have to do to get something written. She said you'll be tired but there is always a price for getting what you want. "If you really want to do this thing, you have to sacrifice something like sleep, security, personal comfort, to get it done. It's not going to come to you any other way."

We took that to heart and went to work, early in the morning AND late at night. Within two years of hearing that statement, we had our first book contract.

Coincidence? I think not.

The question is: What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve your dream of being published? How important is it to you? That is where the answer lies to the question, "What do I have to do to get published?"

You'll know when you get there.

Joyce Lavene
Ghastly Glass
September 1

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Overused Words

At out last Carolina Conspiracy workshop Jim and Joyce asked everyone to be mindful of words they overuse in their writing. I made a list of words I use and my list was longer than I though it would be. I ran them through search and find and was amazed at the number of unnecessary words I found in my work in progress. I decided to do a little editing as I went along so it wouldn’t be as hard when the serious editing started.

That: I knew I overused the word that, but I didn’t know how much. The best test to see if it is necessary is to say the sentence without it and see if it works. ‘She knew that the candy melted in her pocket.’ – ‘She knew the candy melted in her pocket.’ At other times the word which does as well.

Just: This word crept up everywhere in my writing. So ‘I put it near the top of this list just to remind myself not to use just so often.’ It would read better if I wrote, ‘I put it near the top of the list to remind myself not to use just so often.’ Many times the sentences are better without the word just or words like only or merely can be substituted.

Suddenly: In mysteries things happen fast and we tend to say things like, ‘Suddenly the car lurched backward,’ but it is more effective if we write ‘The car lurched backward.’

To The: Example – ‘The door to the office squeaked.’ Better- ‘The office door squeaked.’

Up & Down: These two words are often implied and are not necessary. ‘She stood’ instead of ‘She stood up.’ And ‘He sat’ instead of ‘He sat down.’

Began: ‘She picked up the pen and began to write’ is not as good as ‘She picked up the pen and wrote.’

Of the: ‘Most guys wore jeans to the party’ is better than ‘Most of the guys wore jeans to the party.’

To Be: ‘He needs to be scrubbing behind his ears’ –‘He needs to scrub behind his ears.’

Out: ‘She spread the cloth out on the picnic table’ – ‘She spread the cloth on the picnic table.’

I bet if you check your manuscript as you go, you’ll find many of these and other pet words you tend to use. The best writing tends to show up after rewriting and editing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Social Media Report

I thought I’d give a little lowdown for anyone out there who is looking at social media as a way to connect with friends/family, or as a promotional tool.

Facebook: Facebook is a wonderful way to connect with family and reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with.  Basically, you load a picture of yourself (or not), put up links, tell a little about yourself, and use their tools to find old college buddies.

I did set up a different Facebook page for promoting and am not letting the two spheres meet.  After all, I don’t think my readers really need to see silly sorority pictures of me from over 15 years ago.

Twitter:  I was not excited to sign up for Twitter at first.  All I’d originally heard about it was that celebrities were using it and people were using it to say what they’d eaten for supper.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how useful it’s been.  I’ve gotten book review offers from it, reader connections, and have networked with other writers.  On a local level, I get news and weather updates on my community.

Blogging.  Blogging does take a good deal of time.  You want to put up posts that people want to read, after all. But it’s become a very satisfying way to connect with other people and share ideas on writing. I also use my blog as a vehicle to share my Facebook and Twitter addresses and network there.

My information: On Facebook, I’m Elizabeth Spann Craig, Author
On Twitter—ElizabethSCraig
My blog---

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My First Trip Without a Real Leg - Kathleen Delaney

I just got back from California. My middle daughter got her PhD and we were having a gathering of the clan to celebrate. I was really looking forward to this party, but, I must admit, I was also filled with apprehension. I can hear you now, so-what’s the big deal? Never been on a plane before? Actually, quite a few, but always with two legs. Only having one complicates things.

I left Atlanta with my youngest daughter and two grandchildren. We were meeting the rest of the clan that evening for dinner in California. At least, that was the plan. It didn’t quite work out that way.

Our plane left, or was scheduled to leave, at 11:00 AM. Plenty of time to get the kids up, make sure they had breakfast, get to the airport and leave the car in long-term park, and go through security, which now means I get hauled off to a corner and get patted down. All over patted down. They even take swabs of the wheelchair and off the metal bar that is now my leg, as well as both shoes.

But, we got to our gate in time to board the children, my daughter, me, and my wheelchair. Things take longer with only one leg. Of course, as I counted who had which carryon as we left security, I found I’d left the autograph hound I’d bought for everybody to sign on the back seat of the car, but at least I’d remembered the floppy bonnet that goes with the PhD regalia, so I wasn’t too upset. At least we were at the gate on time, and I’d think of something else for everyone to sign.

My wheelchair was safely stowed in the front closet of the plane and we were all seated, the kids next to the window, me on the aisle with the fond, but futile hope that I could prop my unforgiving prosthesis in the aisle. The plane loaded, all of the overhead bins were closed, and nothing happened. We sat. I kept looking at my watch. We only had 45 minutes in Dallas to change planes, a much too tight time frame at the best of times, and with two small children and a woman with a fake leg and a wheelchair, our chances were marginal at best.

By the time we finally made it off the ground I was sure any chance of making our connection was gone. I was right.

Dallas is a rotten place to try to make up a missed flight, even if it’s not your fault. The only place worse is St Louis. They close the terminal down around ten o’clock and you get to sit up all night, hoping you can get on a morning flight out.

Because there were four of us, we were doing a St Louis repeat. The best we could do, according to one not very helpful attendant, was a flight out the next morning. As it was about 2:00 in the afternoon, this was not a very appealing prospect. He then said he could get three of us on a soon to leave for LA plane. My daughter was getting a bit testy by that time and asked which one of us he suggested we leave behind, the six year old or her handicapped mother.

His only suggestion was to go out to the main ticket window and see what they could do. We finally got confirmed seats on the six o’clock flight, which left at nine that night. In the meantime, we went back through security three more times. Each time, I was patted down, twice by the same woman. Not once did they find traces of whatever it is they look for, but the soles of my shoes were sure clean.

Security is not the only place you get slowed down. Public bathrooms, I find, have only one handicapped stall and its almost always full. I have waited outside for quite some time, to find that the people using it walk out just fine. I never thought much about this before, but if you’re left wiggling in a wheelchair, waiting for someone who actually has a choice of places to visit, it can be more than aggravating. It can be downright potentially embarrassing.

However, the trip was overall a great one. The party was great, family came from all over the country, we invaded Disneyland and I found out I can go on Indiana Jones just fine, but the Log Ride is not a good idea. I also found out how much I can do, things I really didn’t think I would be able to master, I did, and I’m ready to go again. This time with a lot less apprehension.

One note a caution, however, for any of you who are also missing a leg. Try not to let small children wheel you. Especially at Disneyland. They have a tendency not to pay much attention and the trashcans there are pretty solid.

Kathleen Delaney
And Murder for Dessert