Podcast: Banning Books

The one where we chat about banning books in school districts: the reasons, the possible motivations, and the downstream dangers. We start with Art Spiegelman’s Maus and other classics in American literature including To Kill A Mockingbird, Lolita, and 1984. We have passionate opinions and that energy comes through.

Here you go! Let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

Podcast: Play Ball!

The one where we discuss baseball writing, and how the enclosed universe of the game lends itself to writing. We start with the golden age of baseball and end in the modern era. We use these writers and their works:

Jim Bouton
W. P. Kinsella
Ron Luciano
Ernest Thayer

Spoilers: Field of Dreams

Here you go! Have a listen and let us know what you think. LYL! TIA!

Edit: the right fielder is behind first base, not third base. #brainfart

Podcast: Elmore Leonard’s Rules

The one where CC and I chat about Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules for Good Writing:”

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

-Food ingredients
-Continuous Glucose Monitor
-“The Old Man and the Sea”
-George R.R. Martin and Stephen King
-Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Here you go! Let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

Podcast: Creativity

CC’s Writing HQ (1/8/2022)

The one where we talk about the ebbs and flow of creative energy with ideas on working through writer’s block.
-Wheel of Time dresses
-Texas Turtle!

Here you go! Let us know what you think. LYL! TIA!

TBT: Password

Television game shows have been popular since TV first began broadcasting. The types of games may range from physical feats to mental challenges and include the ever-popular Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, just to name a few. One of my favorite shows of this genre would have to be Password. The game consisted of two teams, each made up of one celebrity and one average person, who would try to guess the “Password” by giving each other a series of clues without accidentally giving the answer instead. The two celebrity players were often not only actors, but also comedians, so the games could be very funny. The humor of the show is one of the things that really drew me in. Plus, I love words and word games.

An extensive list of celebrities appeared on the show. Since the show first aired in the 1960s, the earliest guests included people like Jim Backus, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney, and Carol Burnett. Celebrities on more recent iterations, like Million Dollar Password, included people like Adam Corolla and Chelsea Handler. One guest appeared on all the versions of the show: Betty White. Betty was married to Allen Ludden, who hosted the first couple versions of the show, but left when he became too ill to work in 1980. He passed away in 1981.

Watching Betty and Allen work together on Password was always a joy. The connection between the two of them was obvious, even to a kid like I was at the time, and I found those episodes to be some of the most fun to watch.

Password also came in various home versions that provided families many evenings of entertainment, mine included. Trying to give clues without giving away the answer can be both a lot of fun and a lot of frustration. Playing Password can be a great way to teach kids about synonyms (and antonyms in some cases!), too.

Anyone who enjoys game shows, word games, and celebrity hijinks was probably a fan of Password at some time. I suspect most people who haven’t watched have at least heard of the show. If you haven’t seen it, try to find an episode somewhere and let me know what you think. You get bonus points if the episode includes Allen Ludden and Betty White.

In honor of Betty White and what would have been her 100th birthday this month, each of my January Throwback Thursday posts will feature one of her shows or beloved characters. Be sure to tune in next week for a post about Rose Nylund and The Golden Girls.

Podcast: Writers and Routines

The one where we talk about the positives and negatives of having routines and habits. We focus on writers and writing, and we start small by explaining our Sunday patterns, and we go big with the national economy and labor workforce.

No spoilers.

Have a listen and let us know what you think. TIA! LYL!

Podcast: Happy New Year 2021

The one where we wrap up our year in Podcasting by discussing our most listened to podcasts, plus:
-Betty White, of course
-Pandemic & Diabetes (fun stuff!)
-WIPs and writing
-Nevada history and sports
-Tool Time!
-40 years ago today
-A great burrito

Podcasts discussed:
Our first podcast
Writers and Reality
The Flawed Protagonist
In Media Res

Have a listen and let us know what you think! TIA! LYL!

TBT: New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

One of the more exciting things about childhood and the New Year was being allowed to stay up past my normal bedtime. On New Year’s Eve, most of my family would gather at my grandparents’ house to celebrate. The night would be full of food, fun, games and, sometimes, even a little square dancing. Around the normal bedtime for the kids, the adults would shoo us off into the billiard room where the younger family members would lie down and pretend to go to sleep. We kids usually listened to the chatter and laughter from the other room while giggling about how funny everything sounded. The adults didn’t care that we were still awake and would often turn on the TV in the kids area so we could all watch the countdown to the New Year.

The special I watched most often during those years was New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Starting in 1972, Dick Clark and celebrity guests and musicians would gather together amidst massive crowds in New York’s Times Square to party until the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight. As a fan of American Bandstand, I already enjoyed watching Dick Clark every Saturday, so being able to watch the New Year’s Eve broadcast felt like a pleasant bonus. The kids room and TV special fit in well with the party atmosphere being enjoyed by the adults in the other room.

Dick Clark hosted New Year’s Rockin’ Eve from 1972 to 2004, when he was unable to continue with the job after suffering a stroke. Regis Philbin took over the 2004 hosting duties and Ryan Seacrest co-hosted with Dick Clark in 2005. Seacrest took over hosting duties from 2006-2011, with Dick Clark returning for one final appearance on the show’s 40th anniversary special on New Year’s Eve 2011. The show has been a consistent pop culture phenomenon for what seems like my entire life, though I was almost a teen when it first debuted.

Watching the ball drop in Times Square each year has continued to be a tradition in our home for the past four decades. These days, the celebration is much quieter…just JT and I hanging out together while trying to stay awake until midnight. I don’t watch as much of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as I once did now that Dick Clark is gone and many of the musical acts are less familiar to me. We normally tune in just in time for the countdown. Once that’s done, we toast the New Year, watch a few minutes of the local fireworks on TV, and pop our heads out the front door just long enough to wish the neighborhood a Happy New Year. We’re usually asleep by 12:30.

Do your New Year’s traditions include watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve each year? Have you ever been to Times Square to watch the ball drop in person? Or are you the type who’d rather just go to bed instead of staying awake until midnight?

Whatever your plans or traditions, I hope that you’re having a wonderful holiday season.

Happy New Year!

Podcast: The Christmas Episode

The one where we discuss the most important parts of Christmas while adding three movies to our holiday list.

We absolutely eviscerate “Love Actually.” (spoilers, duh)

Here you go! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Edit: Christmas Trees, as promised!

Cookie Monster and Grover!



(Before diving in, here’s one last reminder that free books are available today, December 24, for your downloading pleasure. Grab them and save yourself 99¢, okay?)

I’ve been delinquent in keeping non-listeners of our podcast up to date on my two works in progress (WIP) from this year. (Note: please listen to our podcast.)

WIP #1 is a sequel to one of my books that’s been online for years. This book came from CC’s and my 6:30 Project. We sat down for thirty minutes and wrote our respective WIPs for one hundred days straight. I think I cracked 50K on this WIP. Full-throated editing will start in the near future with publication soon after. I want to test out Amazon Vella on one of these WIPs, and I’m leaning towards WIP #1.

WIP #2 was my 2021 Nanowrimo winner, and it’s a brand new book that’s taken on a life of its own. As of this writing, the sucker is 77+k words and growing like a weed. I’m hoping to finish by the New Year, but won’t lock myself into an artificial deadline. The challenge with this book, as explained in the podcasts, is this is the most scientific and technical book I’ve written. I have to make major changes, but am holding off until the draft is done. No estimated publication date yet.

After a year of not writing, having two active manuscripts is exciting! I hope they will available to you soon. TIA! LYL!

(Why the Fonz picture? Because he’s cool! Google him, kids.)

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