Sometimes I hate my muse

Many writers and other creators speak of their “muse” – the nameless, faceless being who inspires us with ideas, spurs us on to translate them from thought to action, and encourages us when we’re staring at the metaphorical blank wall.  I’m here to tell you, my muse can be a fickle bitch. My first published book, “Take the Star Road”, involved a protagonist named Steve Maxwell.  It’s grown into a five-book series, which I titled the Maxwell Saga.  A few months ago, I asked my readers for their views on suspending that series, because I’ve gained a lot of experience, and the limitations

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Double “Heh!”

Stephan Pastis puts motivational posters in perspective.  (Click the image to go to a larger version at the comic strip’s Web site). That reminds me of an incident at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, a long time back.  (I promise, I’m not making this up!)  At that time, nursing training in South Africa generally consisted of three years in a hospital setting, followed by a one-year midwifery program, to earn the equivalent of the US Registered Nurse (RN) qualification. It seems that the hospital had experienced a spate of “blue births”, where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck during birth, potentially impeding breathing.  This

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(Special Forces) boys and their (flying) toys

The 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the Night Stalkers) recently held exercises in New York City, to the consternation of some residents who, after 9/11, aren’t comfortable having aircraft fly past their windows at halitosis range. Some of their pilots took advantage of the opportunity to show those near the river what they can do. I doubt very much that was in the operations plan, but I bet they enjoyed it . . . and I’m sure they used the excuse of “But it’s an important exercise!” to get away with it.  Boys in uniform are still boys at heart. 

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Doofus Of The Day #1,026

A joint and several Doofus award goes to all those portrayed in this video clip, received via an e-mail list of which I’m a member.  Not a few deserve Darwin awards, too, even though they survived and therefore don’t qualify for them! As Shakespeare would have put it: “Yea, verily, the mind doth boggle . . . ” Peter

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Tugboats at work

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, the so-called “Tavern of the Seas”.  Its harbor hosted vessels from all over the world as they made their way around the Cape of Good Hope.  It boasted several hard-working tugboats, busily bustling from berth to berth as they assisted with the docking and undocking of all sorts of ships.  Their crews and captains were mostly experts at their trade . . . with a few exceptions.  I’ve watched tugs come boiling up to a ship at what looked like a dangerously high speed, only to put their propellers into reverse and come to a

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Rolling research

Miss D. and I are heading out for a ten-day research trip for my next Western novel, the third in the “Ames Archives” series.  We’ll be covering large areas of West Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, checking historic locations, following the routes that horse herds and cavalry patrols would have used, and generally making sure I have the terrain properly scouted out before I begin writing.  That’s important if one wants to be convincing.  Louis L’Amour was a great example in that regard, and I try to emulate his accuracy.We’re going to Blogorado, our annual gathering of gun-bloggers and friends, as part of

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