Tag Archives: Book Blogs

Random Thoughts at a Stoplight

28 Feb

Is it redundant to use my left turn signal if I’m already in the left turn-only lane? That’s like a double negative.20130301_081010

“I ain’t never seen nothing like that never in my life.” Quadruple negative. Nicely done, Ron.

I will not use my turn signal. I am a rebel. Rebel, Rebel. That reminds me of that David Bowie song. How old is he now? Seventy? I should Google him.

Now I can’t get the Bowie song out of my head. I’ll hum “Tequila.” It’s like methadone for earworms.

The time has come to buy new boxer shorts. Has underwear technology changed much in the past ten years? I should Google that.  Boxers? Why are they called that? I’ll look that up, too. No wonder I never get any work done.

What is the woman in the car next to me listening to? It must be a great song the way she’s moving. I’ll try to find it… Nope. Nope. Oh, she’s listening to that? I never would have guessed. She’s looks smarter than that. Maybe I’m mistaken. Ugh, she’s mouthing the words. Look away, Ron, look away.

Geez, this light is long. I should have turned off my car to save gas. I wonder how much gas I would save if I had. If I turn off my car, maybe it won’t start again. Then everyone will honk at me, and I’ll be embarrassed. Even the woman singing that song will scowl at me. I’ll leave it on.

Justin. Is there anyone over the age of fifty named Justin?  Is anyone under the age of seventy named Adolf? I bet there are some really old men who go by Addie or Dolf.

It would be terrible to have the same name as the infamous person in the world. If there was ever a super villain named Ron, I would change my name. I would go with Chi Chi. Nobody bad could be named Chi Chi.

My goodness, it’s that guy on the radio again. How much do I have to pledge next time to keep him off the air? Maybe I’ll have my own pledge drive just for that.

Do jeans shrink if you don’t wear them for a few months? They must. And boxer shorts shrink even if you do wear them. I’ll Google it.  fatjeans-6

My jaw is hurting again. What has it been? Three days in a row now? I hope it’s nothing serious. What if I have jaw cancer?  Oh, please, no, not jaw cancer. I’ll end up like Roger Ebert without the fame and fortune. What if I die from it? I should review my will just in case. I hope Michele has me cremated like she promised. She’ll probably dump the ashes in the trash bin. I’ll need to have a frank discussion with her about that. What if a super villain named Ron comes along after I die? My survivors will have to re-chisel the tombstone so  it says Chi Chi. I need to put that in the will, too. No tombstone for my ashes.

Why don’t they have recycling cans for ashes? Hmm. Maybe I could get the patent on that. I’ll trademark ReinCANation while I’m at it. Note to self. Google ReinCANation to see if it’s already trademarked.

A Viking funeral would be nice, but who would be my thrall? A short list there.

I wouldn’t want to be set afloat in the Ohio River. Beargrass Creek?  I’d get stuck in a jam of limbs and trash. Then all the overhead trees would catch on fire. There might be health code issues, too.  I need to Google that.

ChiChi

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I’m slightly less stupid than a year ago

10 Jan

Reason #1: I know I should not be my own editor

I published my first novel, The Savior of Turk (Only $2.99. Hurry while digital copies last!) a little more than a year ago. I don’t know if I’m any smarter, but I was dumber then than I am now.Turk_Print_Cover

An adage, which I just made up, goes that even John Steinbeck needed an editor. Everyone, no matter how good they are at writing, requires a good editor to keep them on the right path. However, I was so sure of myself when I wrote The Savior of Turk  (Only $2.99. Hurry while digital copies last!that I thought I could get by without a professional putting the thing under a microscope.

No matter how good a writer I may think I am, I need someone who can look at my work objectively. This person is not my dear wife, Michele.  I find it a good idea to have Michele read my work because she takes the better or worse thing seriously and has willed herself to be my biggest fan. If she doesn’t like something I’ve written—and, believe me, there have been such occasions—it confirms I have written junk. If, however, Michele praises my work, it doesn’t prove anything, except that Michele is a supportive spouse.  Michele said she really liked the manuscript for The Savior of Turk  (Only $2.99. Hurry while digital copies last!). This proved that our marriage was on reasonably solid footing, but it did not confirm anything about the book’s quality, other than it was at least slightly better than something a baboon could produce.

Professional editors do more than look at a manuscript objectively. They also see the big picture. After Michele read the manuscript, I asked two friends with extensive writing experience to take a look.  Glenn Kleier, whose novel The Knowledge of Good and Evil is available for $7.99 while digital copies last! also read the manuscript. All three gave me favorable feedback and good suggestions. However, none of them could be expected to go through the manuscript as an editor, who would evaluate the story arc, character development, dialogue and all that. That’s what a professional editor does. And they don’t care if they hurt my feelings like my wife or friends theoretically might. An editor is paid to help the writer craft the best possible story.

Since The Savior of Turk  (Only $2.99. Hurry while digital copies last!) was published, I have revised it twice, primarily re-proofing, shortening and eliminating some sections that I decided added little to the story. I know the book was always good, but now it’s even better. It could have been that way all along if I had gotten an editor to look at it. Next time, I will, you know, because I’m not the idiot I was twelve months ago.

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Next Post: Reason #2 I’m slightly less stupid than a year ago

I have nothing to say, but that won’t stop me from saying it.

2 Nov

The great Greek-Persian philosopher Demothechakakhan (known as Chaka to his buds) once said that a person could write on a cartload of papyrus and still not say shite. (Bear with me, I’ve been watching Scottish TV lately.) He didn’t say those exact words, but the sentiment is accurate. Chaka’s idea is valid, and he would have made a decent blogger.

This is not Demothechakakhan, but it could be.

The prevailing wisdom regarding novelists today, particularly indie/self-published writers, is that they must  have a blog. And they must blog at least once a week. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is to allow readers and potential readers to get to  know the writer in a way that was not feasible pre-social media. (Even if there were such an avenue back in the day, it’s hard to imagine someone like Norman Mailer blogging weekly. But whatever.)

Writers always have something to say.That’s why we write. The problem, in my case anyway, is most of my energy goes to saying it in my books. Therefore, when it comes that time of the week when I feel I need to post something, I don’t always have anything in mind.

Subsequently, to meet this self-assigned obligation, I’m in danger of writing about some of the more mundane aspects of my life. For example,  my decision to wear blue pants today instead of gray.  I was a little lazy in choosing coordinating colors, so I wondered if I could get away with mixing blue with brown. That reminded me of Mikhail Gorbachev, former head honcho of the Soviet Union, when he paid a visit to America in the early nineties. He wore a navy suit with shoes the color of a chestnut horse. I wondered if that was an acceptable shoe color with a navy suit in Russia. I would have gone with oxblood shoes, but what did I know? The more I thought about it, however, the more I decided the navy/chestnut combo worked. Still, I would never write about that in a blog. I have standards.

I could also write about how it may be time to replace my can of shaving cream, and how it’s hard to know when the can  is about empty. Even when it feels light, there could be a good two weeks worth of shaving left. On the other hand, you can tell when your stick of deodorant is nearly used up. Maybe someone could create a way to have shaving cream work like a stick of deodorant so you would know exactly when you’re running out. I keep worrying I’ll be surprised one morning soon, running out of shaving gel before I can complete the task. Then I remember that I go without shaving once or twice a week anyway,  much to the chagrin of my wife, so why worry about it?

The point is, it would be silly to write about that stuff to meet a fake obligation to fill this space with five hundred words each week.  I promise I will never do that.

P.S. If you’re interested in books that don’t simply fill space, I can help you here, here and here.

In defense of ignorance

26 Oct

I’m taking my younger daughter to my alma mater for homecoming this weekend.

I have an aerial view of the motel where we’ll stay. I know if I drive the speed limit, we’ll arrive there six hours and five minutes from the time we leave home. I know the structure is less than five years old. I’ve read guest reviews that say it’s a decent play to stay.

I also know that it’s wiser to buy our football tickets at the stadium, from a scalper, than on StubHub. I know this because the opponent is week, and that their fans don’t travel well.

I’ve packed warm clothes because I know the game time temperature will be a sunny forty degrees.

I Google, therefore I am.

I sometimes miss those days when I didn’t know much. When I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I remember the second time I came to campus, for freshman orientation. In particular, I recall a boy who was book-ended by two cute girls as they ambled from one campus building to the next. The trio had the confidence of upperclassmen. They kept slightly separated from the rest of us during our campus tour, barely paying attention to our orientation leader. I overheard them say they had gone to the same large high school in St. Louis, and they seemed so comfortable in their new home for the next four years.

I was Mr. Recent North Podunk High School graduate. I wasn’t sure I could find my way back to my car, let alone the appropriate classroom buildings again. The St. Louis Three must have read the pamphlet  How to Act Like You Own the Place Your First Day on Campus. My copy got lost in the mail. I was an ignorant kid from the sticks.  Eighteen years old with an IQ to match. That was a blessing. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I occasionally miss that state of mind. If we don’t know something, we can find the answer quickly.

My older daughter is applying to colleges. The process has been relatively sane so far, but I know there are some kids, with parents coptering over them, who have three-inch thick dossiers on all the best colleges in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as appendices on the deodorant and toothpaste preferences of each university president. There can be no surprises, nothing left to chance.

For my freshman orientation, I packed a few clothes in the little vinyl suitcase I’d gotten as a graduation gift and made the 3 ½ hour drive to campus, alone. It became immediately clear that everyone else at orientation had come with their BFFs. Many parents were hovering around, too. It hadn’t occurred to me that I should bring a posse. I didn’t know what I didn’t  know.

Those three kids from St. Louis particularly were bugging me. Because they were pre-journalism students like me, I saw them often as we acclimated to campus those two days. They were relaxed and seemed sure of themselves, as though coming to college was as easy as going out for a Big Mac. I still had clover seed stuck in my hair.

One of my first college friends attended a huge high school in one of the most affluent areas of the state. His senior class was bigger than my home town. He knew how to appropriately use big words that I didn’t yet know existed. He was trying to get into Journalism School, too. A semester and a half later, he flunked out. I, unencumbered by informed self-doubt, moved ahead.

I still think occasionally about those three confident kids from orientation. It was a big campus, making it easy to go four years without bumping into them. However, I saw the boy a few months into our freshman year. He looked like a deer caught in headlights. I never saw him again. I occasionally saw one of the girls he had been with. She asked me out on a date our senior year.

Getting Cozy with Budda

2 Oct

A review from Susan at the My Cozie Corner Book Blog…  
“The Night Budda Got In It” is a well written story with tons of excitement involving drug dealers and runaways. Ron pens his characters believable and with humor. I was totally engrossed in the story from the beginning right to the end. A must read for all YA fans.
I give “The Night Budda Got Deep In It” a 5 star rating.

See more here.

Spotlight and Interview at the Avid Reader

26 Sep

An excerpt of an interview on The Avid Reader blog...

The Avid Reader: If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?

Ron D  Smith: I would like to go back and hang out with Abe Lincoln in the White House, but there’s a catch. I can go all day without electricity, but I like indoor plumbing. Did they have that in the White House when Lincoln was there? If not, that would be a deal breaker.

And it gets even better. Please check it out.

The Night Budda Got Deep in It

Budda is staying busy

12 Sep

The Night Budda Got Deep in It is featured by these fine book bloggers and reviewers. Let’s hope it doesn’t go to Budda’s head.

Jenn’s Review Blog

All Things Writing

Crystal’s Book Corner