Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tip O'Day #462 - No More Lazy Research

Guest blogger Cynthia Echterling on “The Facts, Nothing but the Facts.”

My pet peeves in novels or films include unbelievable incidents, bad technology, and cultural inaccuracies from not doing adequate research. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters have become famous by debunking this sort of thing for our education and amusement.

When writing my science fiction novel, Torqed: The Search for Earth, a group of characters were planning to defraud an insurance company. They discussed how to switch on Torq's ability to hibernate and trick an adjuster into believing he was dead. All they needed to do was chill him, but in an environmentally controlled spaceport, that wasn't possible. Their first thought was to slip him outside temporarily. Would it work? Would he instantly freeze or would he explode? In many of the SciFi movies I'd seen, that's what happens. Is it accurate? I did the research and the answer is, no. You can survive about 90 seconds. Your lungs would collapse, or rupture if you try to hold your breath. Nitrogen bubbles would form in your blood stream. Your bodily excretions would freeze. You might puff up some, but you don't explode and you don't freeze rock hard instantaneously. Fortunately, you'd be unconscious from lack of oxygen before any of that happened. My characters decide it is not an option.

Crime or espionage stories have people surreptitiously offing someone with a gun using a silencer, and nobody hears anything except a gentle thoop. Not happening. A silencer can only reduce the sound of a gunshot by 20 or 30 decibels. You want to kill someone quietly? Try poisoned blow darts. Keep in mind that, in many countries, blow darts are illegal. If you're planning to kill someone, that probably isn't an issue for you. Just don't plan on buying one over-the-counter from Wal-Mart. As for the poison? Curare is used in South America, but that just paralyzes monkeys. It is rarely lethal and you'd need a large dose to paralyze a human.

Historical fiction is another breeding ground for inaccuracies. Don't rely on what you thought you learned in school, because it may be incomplete, out of date, or completely wrong. For my novel in progress, I needed to research Native American cultures. There are vast differences in social roles, customs and technologies. Did you know that Native Americans drank beer? It was made from corn, potatoes, birch and other substances and often reserved for ceremonial purposes, but not always. Though drunkenness was frowned upon by the Aztecs and could earn you severe punishment, Aztec elites indulged, not by drinking, but by taking their beer through another body orifice (hint: not their noses or ears). While they enjoyed their beer, they were also smoking cigars, eating popcorn and watching ball games. They just didn't have big screen TVs.

My point is, we all make mistakes, but unless you want some factoid-obsessed geek ripping your work to shreds, do your research!

Cynthia (or CD) Echterling is a SciFi and Fantasy author. The link to her SciFi novel Torqed: The Search for Earth can be found here. She is also the author of post-Apocalyptic Scavengers and fantasy Beer Wars.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tip O'Day #461 - Collaborate or Not?

Guest blogger Marsheila Rockwell on “Trust in the Dark Places.”

Writing is an intensely personal act, and it is perhaps the most private and isolated of all professions. (Except for lighthouse keepers, and the cosmonaut in Armageddon who got stuck up on the Russian space station by himself for months and months.) We writers spend a lot of time in our heads, creating new people and places that no one else knows and loves quite the way we do. That creation is an intimate process, one that we sometimes have trouble even explaining to other people, let alone trying to share it.

Sometimes we do share it, however. Sometimes authors collaborate with one another to create characters and worlds together, be it for a poem, a short story, a novel, a series, or an entire career’s worth of work. So how do we do it?

Honestly, a lot of times we don’t. It’s not always enough to admire another writer’s work or even to be good friends with them. When you try working together, you may find that even though you write the same sorts of things in a similar fashion, you just can’t get a project to gel. You may blame it on different writing processes or expectations, but to me it always comes down to a matter of trust. In order for me to successfully collaborate with another author, that person has to be someone I’m willing to let into the dark places in my head, someone I trust enough to share that intimate process of creation with, who I can hand the reins over to with full confidence that they not only share the vision I have for the story, but can help me make it even better.

When it doesn’t work, you have a broken, unfinished piece that usually you’re both too disillusioned with to ever touch again, and those ideas are lost, sometimes forever (and sometimes the relationship is, too). But when it does work, you find that together you have brought to life a character, a world, a story that’s better than either of you could have created on your own, and it is a truly exhilarating feeling.

Collaborating isn’t for everyone, but you’ll never know until you try, and if you can find someone you can trust in the dark places, you’ll create some amazing things together. Good luck!

Marsheila “Marcy” Rockwell is the author of The Shard Axe series, the only official novels that tie into the popular MMORPG, Dungeons & Dragons Online. In addition to working on the second book in a trilogy based on a comic book property created by one of the biggest names in fantasy, she is currently busy sharing the dark places in her head with her writing partner Jeffrey J. Mariotte. Their latest joint project involves serial killers, meteor strikes and maybe the end of the world. You can find out more here: http://www.marsheilarockwell.com/ (and here: http://www.jeffmariotte.com/).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tip O'Day #460 - Break Out of Your Funk

Guest blogger John Grover on "Finding Inspiration and Keeping the Spark."

For about twenty-five years, I’ve been having a love affair with writing horror. I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pen but I really took it seriously around the age of eighteen and wrote my first serious horror story. After that I wrote a novel. The short story was picked up by a magazine that went out of business soon after and the novel still sits in my closet, unpublished. Did that stop me from writing? Not in the least!

I love writing. It’s part of who I am; it makes me infinitely happy and I’ve written horror since I was able to read the likes of Mary Shelly, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft. I never have a lack of ideas or the ever-growing list of projects but sometimes I discover that what I truly lack is time and energy.

There never seems to be enough time to write everything I want and there are days when I’m just too tired to care, too tired to put in the time and think to myself where did that young guy go that wrote every single day no matter what?

He is still there. He just needs a little inspiration, something to keep the spark alive. There was a day not too long ago where I was about to embark on a new project, a new book series about the supernatural and I sat stared at a blank computer screen. Nothing would come. There was no desire, no energy, no spark. I knew right there that I was in a funk. I wanted to write. I loved the idea of the story and its characters but I just couldn’t.

So I turned to what I loved most about writing my favorite genres and getting lost in their worlds. I took a break and read horror books and horror stories, read my peers online, put in my favorite horror DVDs, browsed horror art online, and immersed myself again in the passion and emotion of my genre.

I was carried away by words, by sight, by sound, riveted by the emotions these things stirred, no longer reading or watching but becoming a part of it. This was what I wanted to give my readers, but not just that. This was what I wanted to give myself. I broke out of my funk and wrote that book and fell in love with my characters. I think it’s one of my better books. This is the kind of inspiration I try to surround myself with every day.

When I write and get involved in the world of my story, I get into the feeling that I am trying to inspire. I collect horror and fantasy art, scouring all around the net for the frightening, the macabre, the gothic, the wondrous and I keep it in a folder on my desk, like an artist does with swipes from magazines and books. I use them as screensavers and wallpaper and I take them out to get into the mood and to add a visual to the story I might be writing. It really helps me flesh out plots, characters and entire worlds.

Not only do I collect inspirational art but I listen to music in my genre, ambient sound, creepy movie themes, gothic bands and so on. I collect movies and TV shows and have them running in the background as I write. I put my favorite authors in stacks of books beside me on the table. All of these things inspire me every day and sometimes I feel like I never left my childhood and the little boy who told stories in books made of construction paper that were bound together by some staples.

So whenever you may feel like you just don’t want to write or that you’re burnt out or in a funk, take a break, recharge and do what you did when you were young, do what it was that drew you to writing in the first place. Reread that classic book you read in school, put on that music that gave you the best feeling when you finished writing that masterpiece. These things keep that spark alive and keep those creative juices flowing.

You never know when those things may inspire your current project or inspire you to give something different or unique to your readers. Ever thought of including a recommended play list in one of your books — a list of songs that would go perfect with your book that your reader could download? Or how about interior art to go with your fantasy book, concept art that you can keep on your desktop or share on your social media? Cover art that could be made into t-shirts, bookmarks, coffee mugs or some multimedia in your eBook — book trailers, video clues to a murder mystery or sound bites.

Whatever it is you write try to find a little inspiration every day and you’ll keep that creative spark alive and your writing fun.

John Glover is a horror, fantasy and sci-fi author from Massachusetts. He’s been published in various magazine and anthologies and has a few horror novels out on Amazon. His most recent horror novel, The Fetch, was released last month. For more information, check out www.shadowtales.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tip O'Day #459 - Just Say "No"

Guest blogger Karin Kaufman on “Jumping the Publishing Curve.”

In early 2011, I sent a query letter to a literary agent. One of those “if you don’t receive a reply, it’s a no” agents who haven’t the time, energy, or inclination to send even a one-line rejection via email.

I thought, OK, fine. I can deal with no reply. I’ve spent hours on the synopsis and query — properly formatting the latter to avoid being disqualified from the get-go by an assistant whose job it is to scour queries for obedience to format — and I’ve jumped through numerous hoops, some justified, some silly, but big deal. If I don’t hear from the agent, I’ll move on. I’d been told it could take years to land an agent, and after all, this was only my first query letter. I had many dues to pay.

Two months later, realizing that, indeed, I’d scored a big red no on my query, I turned to the next agent on my list. This one wanted the following: (1) a query letter of three (no more, no less) paragraphs, (2) a short synopsis, (3) a long synopsis, (4) a jacket blurb, (5) a tag line for my novel, and (6) a marketing plan.

In other words, he wanted me to do his job for him. With very little chance that my work would pay off. I calculated how many hours it would take for me to jump his gates like a good little pony and laid down my own big red no.

No, I will not start down this path. No, I will not make sure my email subject line is just right so that your automated system doesn’t kick it out. No, I will not spend the next three years sending queries by the score in hopes one agent will deign to respond. No, I will not sign with an agent only to find he can’t market my book and has decided to retire to North Carolina. No, I will not take a $3,000 advance (if I’m lucky) and be consigned to the back shelves (if I’m lucky) of a dying bookstore chain. No, I will not accept a 7.5 percent royalty rate when I’m the one supplying the content. No, I will not confine myself to one genre. No.

I’m lucky. It took me one query letter and a brief, wavering moment as I considered writing the next to decide to go Indie. That moment happened to coincide with the explosion in Indie publishing. Other writers have spent years searching for an agent—and years more waiting for a publisher to come along.

In July 2011, I published my first novel, The Witch Tree, on Amazon. So began the Anna Denning mystery series. In 2012, I uploaded the second book in the series, and last year I published All Souls, a speculative thriller that, had I been beholden to an agent and publisher, never would have been written.

God bless agents, with their hoops and gates, for pointing me toward Indie publishing. If you’re considering going Indie, I encourage you to give it a try. These days you have nothing to lose. After all, agents are beginning to call Amazon the “new slush pile.”

You have to laugh.

Karin Kaufman is author of the Anna Denning cozy mystery series and the Gatehouse Thriller series (under the name K.T. Kaufman). Her first novel, The Witch Tree, was a 2011 Grace Award finalist. When she’s not causing mayhem in the lives of her characters, she enjoys reading, drinking far too much coffee and tea, and taking walks in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies with her two rescue dogs, Sophie and Cooper. The Amazon Kindle link to All Souls is http://goo.gl/pbuKqx.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tip O'Day #458 - There's Still Room

Guest blogger Donna Levin on “The Last Endangered Species.”

The novel 1984 is one of my favorite books, and I’ll leave you to wonder what that says about moi. In 1984, George Orwell predicted many horrors that have come to pass: government spying, “enhanced interrogation,” and strangling political correctness. The prediction that hasn’t come true – yet – is factory-produced fiction (Winston Smith’s lover, Julia, repairs “the novel-writing machines”). But when I saw how the auto-correct capability on my iPhone changed cyxt to Hi there, I realized that this final abomination cannot be far away.

My anxiety seemed even more justified last week when I read about the HemingwayApp: a program that will scan your prose for adverbs and the use of passive voice. Not that we shouldn’t be able to do this for ourselves, but we used to make our own clothes, too.

Throughout the ages, many jobs have disappeared. There are no more elevator operators. There are still blacksmiths, but according to WikiAnswers, “they are few and far between.” And your average town crier has been out of work a long time.

I don’t know anything about computer programming, but I know what they can already do, and any kid in junior college familiar with javascript could install a MadLibs-type program for a Regency romance outline:

HEROINE has __ eyes __ hair __ is ___ tall and is: spoiled and willful/beautiful but unappreciated by her family/was rich but just lost her fortune and now must become a governess….
HERO has __eyes__hair and will obviously be six feet or taller with broad shoulders. He: is mysterious and aloof/is ardent and affectionate/has a bad reputation …
He also has a secret: he’s already married/has murdered someone, but justifiably/is closely related to a famous criminal/has insanity in his family…
HEROINE and HERO meet: on the moors/at a ball/in a creepy castle/at her father’s house when he appears looking for a place to stay in the middle of a violent storm…
They fall in love. Total, pure, eternal loooove. But:
They face an obstacle: parents objects/financial difficulties/hero goes away (to war, to care for elderly relative, charged with a crime (he didn’t commit)…
Then: Good fortune intervenes to bring them together: the parents see the light/the person in the way dies from illness or in a fire (or is murdered, but by villain)/a previously unheard-of relative dies and leaves a large inheritance…

Sentence structure in English has only so many possibilities, and with all due respect I’ll bet computers can compete with Georgette Heyer or Barbara Courtland in that arena.

It’s a long, long leap from writing formula fiction to the genre we think of as literary. (A genre that can be just as awful as it can be inspiring. Ever try to read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead?) But last week on The Daily Show a scientist was predicting that our entire brains could be uploaded onto CDs. That particular idea doesn’t hold much appeal, but as Walt Whitman wrote, “every inch of common air throbs a tremendous prophecy, of greater marvels yet to be.” And Whitman didn’t even have a laptop.

Novelists have always lived on the edge of unemployment. The computer-produced novel will be to writers what automotive repair has been to the blacksmith. As with blacksmiths, there will always be room for a craftsperson or two.

Donna Levin is the author of the novels Extraordinary Means and California Street, as well as two books on the craft of fiction, Get That Novel Started and Get That Novel Written. Learn more at her website.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quote for Writers #167 - William Carlos Williams

167. A Quote which Might (or Might Not) Inspire You to Write:

“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.” — William Carlos Williams

Dixon says: Most authors I know don't write for fame, or fortune, or to attract groupies. They write because they must. Period.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tip O'Day #457 - For Sale: Pure Unadulterated Crap

Guest blogger Robert N. Stephenson on “The Difficulty with Editing.”

In this fast-paced age of publishing and self-publishing, the first and most important aspect of writing seems to have vanished from the whole publishing process - editing, and I mean real editing, not the formatting you do yourself before you post the files to Createspace and Amazon.

The down side of almost all self-published books is that they are poorly edited. They often validate the impression that all self-published books are cheap and a waste of money.

Sometimes authors pays substantial fees to editors for their suggestions, but them ignore or argue against those comments. Yes, you are the author. You have all the rights in the world regarding how your book is presented, rightly or wrongly. It is true that you can reject all advice, based on what you determine to be art, or your artistic voice.

But, and this is a major but, if an expert suggests a change to make the story better, or to fix a flaw in the plot, maybe it’s best to follow some, if not all of that advice. After all, you are trying to sell your work to readers who expect value for their money. If you disappoint readers with shoddy editing and a poor story, they will not read more of your work and will often tell others not to bother. What's more, they will spread the view that ALL self-published books are rubbish. I will be quick to add that traditional publishing sometimes delivers stinkers because writers ignore editorial advice and stick to their artistic guns. However, the hit-and-miss rate of legacy publishers is quite a bit lower than among self-publishers - which is currently about 80% rubbish.

Why so high? As indicated, there has been next to no editing involved in the creation of these books (both fiction and nonfiction). For some strange reason, new writers often think they are the next JK Rowling and know everything there is to know about being famous. Yet they know absolutely nothing about being a professional writer and working damn hard to tell not only a good story, but a story that will move someone to say, “Yes, I was glad I purchased that.” It has been said in many forums that places like Amazon are overflowing with poorly edited crap.

Yep, pure unadulterated crap.

What is the cure? Dig into your pockets and pay an editor to get your book to a state of professional quality. The reason traditional publishers actually sell books is because they invest in the books they publish. If you believe in your work, surely you too can invest in yourself. After all, you are asking readers to invest in buying your book.

Robert N. Stephenson’s latest book is Uttuku, available at Kindle here. His work has appeared in many languages and he has received honors such as the Black Dog Award for nonfiction and the Aurealis Award for short science fiction. He teaches writing at several Australia colleges.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tip O'Day #456 - The Voice Behind the Book

Guest blogger Kellie Kamryn on the challenges of narrating an audio book.

When I first began my writing career, I was fortunate to be asked to guest on this Wredheaded Writer blog, and I’m very pleased to be back. Thank you, Dixon!

Since that time, I’ve written and published twelve romances ranging from very erotic to sensuous and sweet, plus a story featured in a holiday anthology. I’m also a narrator of audio books for Romance Divine and The Killion Group, as well as for freelance clients.

Narrating is a lot of work. I absolutely adore my jobs, but as all authors know, writing a book isn’t simply typing words into the computer. Figuring out your process, plotting, grammar, following sentence structure rules, and polishing a manuscript all take focus and determination, not to mention being your own sales staff, which is a whole other process.

The same can be said of narrating. A publisher invited me to narrate a book I had written, and since I enjoy a challenge, I accepted. The learning curve was HUGE! Narrating is not just about reading a book. Proper pronunciation, enunciation, inflection, drama, along with use of software and equipment set-up are all part of the job. Over the past two years, I’ve learned the production end of things, and how time consuming that is as well.

I never discourage anyone from learning something new, so if you are serious about voice acting, ask questions of other professionals. Take acting classes, as I did, to learn more about the art of voice acting, vocal hygiene, and warm-ups to keep your voice in shape. Auditioning for other voice acting jobs taught me that I had more to learn about the industry. While I plan to keep on learning, for now I’ve got a full roster of audio books, along with my own writing to keep me busy.

Just as in writing, where not every publisher or agent will like your work, don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t feel your voice is right for their piece. Ask all the questions you want, but at the end of the day, remember that you are responsible for your career.

Following is a blurb for the re-release of erotic romance Pleasure Island, available in audio and eBook:<

Chelsea Hunter didn’t come to the resort looking for sex. Jake Davis intends to change her mind. Will they be able to turn up the heat, or will their visit to Pleasure Island leave them cold?

After finalizing her divorce, Chelsea Hunter came to the resort island of Paradise for some peace and quiet so she could figure out what her next step would be. She hadn’t expected to find herself at an exotic hotel dedicated to pleasures of the flesh. Too bad she doesn’t want sex.

Jake Davis is back in Paradise after visiting a year ago when his own marriage fell apart. This time his fantasy is to guide a woman through her sexual journey. He hadn’t counted on being paired with the only woman in Paradise who prefers privacy over pleasure! Will Jake be able to discover what Chelsea truly needs, or will their journey to Paradise remain unfulfilled?

Comment on this blog post for a chance to win one of Kellie’s backlist in audio or eBook (depending on available format). You can check out her website at www.kelliekamryn.com or her novel Pleasure Island on Kindle here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tip O'Day #455 - The Scary Part about Horror Films

Guest blogger Michael Laimo on how to land a movie deal.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been involved in getting two of my novels filmed as NBC/Chiller original films. The number one question I am being asked right now is, “How did you do it?”

In a nutshell, I pretty much tell everyone, “I got lucky.” There’s a lot of truth to that. To be honest, I also like to think that I told the right story, and hooked up with the right producer at the right time. Yes, there was a bit of luck, but there were many other factors involved in this success.

It all started with an email from Synthetic Cinema’s executive producer, Andrew Gernhard. It was a basic ‘hello’ letter asking me if my novel Deep in the Darkness was available for option. At the time, it had been optioned three times, and was in the middle of a one-year agreement with independent filmmaker Jeven Dovey. Some of you know that Mr. Dovey had filmed my short story 1-800-Suicide, and was looking to film a feature. He loved Deep in the Darkness, and gave it a stab. Since I could not give Mr. Gernhard the rights to that, I asked if he’d be interested in either The Demonologist, or Dead Souls. I’d also asked him how he came across my work, and he told me someone in his crew recommended me. (Thank you Jason!). Andrew optioned three of my books, and pitched them to Chiller, who at the time was just getting into original films.

Then I waited. And waited. Almost a year passed before I heard back. Chiller decided to go with Steve Niles’ Remains. I had been the runner up with Dead Souls. It was a great honor to have been in the running, but I was equally disappointed.

But…Chiller still liked the story in Dead Souls and the option was renewed. A year later, I discovered (months after Chiller gave Dead Souls the green light), that it would become a Chiller original film. As a matter of fact, mere weeks after being told the good news, I was on set filming my cameo. In the meantime, the option lapsed on Deep in the Darkness, and I went to Synthetic Cinema to see if there was still interest. Apparently there was, because while on the Dead Souls set, I was told that DITD was in the running. That was a GREAT week!

Fast forward to the night of the Dead Souls premiere — I had about 30 close friends and family at my home, all geared up to watch the movie. A text came in from Andrew Gernhard telling me that DITD had been green lit. Another spectacular night! So now, it’s a year after the filming of DITD, and I await all the post-production goodies, like the film’s poster, the trailer, etc. It will be a fun ride leading up to DITD’s premiere in May 2014, this time in theaters.

Many of you have asked…will there be more? The answer to that is MAYBE. There are some irons in the fire, but nothing set in stone yet. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Dead Souls on DVD, or read Deep in the Darkness while you wait for the film’s release.

As a reviewer of one of Michael Laimo's books put it, his writing is not the place to find rainbows and unicorns. Learn more about this horror author at www.laimo.com.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tip O'Day #454 - It Sounds Easy Because It Is.

Guest blogger Hayden Chance on "Five Habits That Will Murder Your Chances of Ever Finishing a Novel."

Writing is like catching fireflies in a jar. If you don’t grab the spark when the opportunity arises, the sunrise will come and the magic will all be gone. No shit. It’s really true. Every idea has a shelf life and if you don’t use it before its expiration date, your writing will do the same thing milk does when it’s been sitting on the counter for several days. It will sour and stink and no one will want anything to do with it. That means if you want to write a novel, you’ve got to get it done when the creative impulse strikes, and then get it out there for people to read. This sounds simple, and really it is, but writers like to develop all sorts of convoluted habits that complicate simplicity.

When people find out I’ve written seven books, six of them novels, invariably I get asked the same question: “How the hell do you write one novel, much less six?” I say the same thing every time: Process. A process is something that has steps, creates success and can be repeated over and over again. I have a definite process I employ every time I write a book, but since there’s not enough space in this brief blog entry to outline that process, I’ll give you these five poisons that are sure derail any novel writing process you choose to use:

One: Journaling constantly. If you continuously journal every thought, hope and feeling you ever have, you’re a diarist. That’s fine if you’re writing just for yourself or as a coping mechanism; however, if you want to write novels, then write novels. Not about how your favorite Adele song enhances your orgasms. Not about how that turkey sandwich you ate last week made you too tired to pick up the kids from school, so they had to hitch a ride with the creepy dude three houses down who smells like fish, and who’s wife disappeared mysteriously three months ago, even though someone still comes out of their house late at night wearing her dresses… (OK, maybe you do wanna write that last thing down. It might be good to give to the cops later.)

Without fail, when people ask me why they can’t finish creating a novel, and I ask them, “Are you writing?” They respond: “Um…well, I’m journaling a lot.” It’s great to have a diary. It’s just that if you’re not some sort of nympho like Ana├»s Nin, no one but you is likely to ever want to read it.

Two: Talking about writing, rather than writing. For God’s sake, if you’re gonna tell everyone about what you someday hope to write, at least record the freaking conversations. The more you’re talking about writing, the less you are actually writing. Writing’s like making love. It’s your job to bring that reader to the heights of ecstasy. Put your energy into making that happen ON PAPER FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. Don’t be some cheap literary whore in random conversations with everyone you know. (For one thing, you will bore them all and they will hate you like taxes.) You don’t want to shoot your wad in conversational foreplay before you’ve even unbuttoned your jeans. Save some energy for the actual fictional act. Otherwise you’ll be snoring in self satisfaction while your audience is lying next to you, worked up, unsatisfied, and thinking of how they might poison your omelet in the morning without leaving any evidence.

Three: Constantly “work-shopping” everything. Lack of confidence kills your authority. Trust your own voice, your experience and your ability to tell a story. If you don’t believe in your work, no one else will. Getting someone to read your work for clarity is fine. Hitting workshops like a junky riding a twelve-step circuit damages your ability to determine your self-worth as a writer.

Four: Taking too long to finish. The longer you take to finish a novel, the further you go from the original creative impulse. You will change. Your views will change. The continuity, clarity and integrity of your story will suffer. Your audience will know it.

Five: Endless rewrites. Write it. Rewrite it. Get it the hell out there. Endless rewrites are just fear of success.

Hayden Chance is the bestselling author of the Urban Fantasies Taboo, Forbidden, Year of the Bull and the Amazon bestseller, Anatomy of a Wish. His latest sci-fi novel, Dream Oblivion, recently hit #1 on the Amazon’s Hot New Releases. You can check out his latest work here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tip O'Day #453 - The Bird is the Word

Guest blogger, author, life coach, and Toastmasters friend Sherri Gerek on humming right along.

A favorite quote of mine comes courtesy of Albert Einstein: “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.“ I took this to heart these past couple of years as I meandered along an unseen path while writing my first book, The Hummingbird Way, Putting Hover, Zip, and Zoom to Work in your Life. I used my experiences with nature to draw correlations to human nature, often asking myself, what can I learn here? What might this mean to someone else?

After nearly thirty years in the corporate environment leading and developing employees in the travel and hospitality industry, I felt confident that what I had learned about communications and relationships could benefit others. I just had to find a way to share that knowledge, especially what makes us successful, and what it takes to foster good relations. As I transitioned away from the corporate environment to open my own coaching practice, I started the book. What I didn’t know then was that I needed a process for writing.

I smile thinking back to my initial approach. Let’s see, it’s Wednesday…I’ll write a couple of chapters today, and at this rate I will finish the book in a month. Now, you are likely reading this while wearing a knowing smile and thinking…this is not going to work that way. Right you are. When the end of the first week rolled around, there I was…staring at my computer still searching for the right words. In reality, I had the words but my internal editor was having a field day with my internal writer, which stymied the creative process. Why do editors do this to us writers? The difficulty getting started came down to my internal editor picking things apart, which resulted in my internal writer shutting down.

That’s it – writer on strike!

Once I realized what was happening, it was an easy fix. I had to find a new job for my internal editor, and I quickly assigned her to my monthly magazine column. Letting go of editing opened up this writer’s imagination. I began carrying a notebook with me because often the best inspirations bubbled up when I was far from the computer. Later, I would transfer ideas to sticky notes which I posted on giant story boards. Before beginning to write each day I would review the boards. Whatever happened to inspire me that day, I wrote about.

Not a month, but nearly a year later, I had finished the manuscript, cultivated a love for writing, and decided to create a series of books with themes drawn from lessons in nature. My internal editor and internal writer buried the hatchet and formed a great partnership. In fact, they are currently in discussions about the outline for the next book. It should be a real hoot! (Spoiler alert - there I go giving away the theme.)

Sherri Gerek is an author, speaker, certified professional life coach, and veteran sales and marketing director. Sherri wrote The Hummingbird Way to help guide other busy people, whether top executives or newbies starting to climb the ladder. You can learn more at Sherri’s website or on Amazon. Also, The Hummingbird Way was recently awarded 5 stars by Readers’ Favorite website.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tip O'Day #452 - Lessons to Unlearn

Guest blogger Margaret Callow tells the lessons you must learn, and then unlearn.

What I know of the craft we call writing has been sourced to me by learning along the way. I’ve gathered up suggestions, advice and knowledge. Add to these copious reading. It seems there is not a writer around who is not willing to guide another, often based on their own ideas and assumptions. It is a support system I think most writers cherish. I know I do.

On the road to getting published, prospective friends are met, some only to be discarded. Others are kept and nurtured, like all good friendships. While always grateful for input and help from others, for me this is also a cautionary tale. Learning can be confusing. I offer you some simple examples. Beware of too many adjectives and adverbs; distance yourself from had and the; be warned of purple prose; never info dump; be wary of prefaces. No matter the genre, it all applies. If like me, you are a willing learner, all of this will be assimilated eagerly like food for a hungry chick in a nest, but here’s my dilemma: be ready to throw it out the window at a moment’s notice.

There will probably be many experienced writers who on reading this will nod knowingly, but I am sure there are some less confident who like me have had quite a rude awakening. Or is it only me? Surely not. When my first novel was picked up with an offer to publish, I spent many a weary hour with the editor writing back in all the missing hads, extending description, adding adjectives and adverbs which I had so carefully avoided, and numerous other small adjustments which I had considered no-no's.

Please don't take this as any form of criticism of the editor, far from it. So grateful was I that she liked my work, I would have gladly written these things in my own blood, had she asked.

So for any would-be writers out there, just remember nothing is written in stone. Personal preferences often play a part in editing. Hopefully, just as you know the story you wish to tell, so your editor knows all about editing.

Learning never stops, that I do know. Last autumn, I signed a contract with Holland House Books. They are interested in my three early Medieval rebellions and a novel which is based on a true Norfolk story, about the last man to hang as a public spectacle at Norwich Castle in 1849. Working with H.H. editing is almost done and once again, I have absorbed a lot of new information. I hope this work will be published sometime this year. It is only a working title at the moment, but when there is a link, you can be sure you will see it somewhere!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tip O'Day #451 - From Lullaby to Novel

Guest blogger Christine Columbus on writing the perfect C&W story.

Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison. And I went to pick her up in the rain. But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck, she got runned over by a damned old train.

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is a song written and recorded by Steve Goodman and John Prine, and later became a hit for country star David Allan Coe. The song is considered the perfect country song because it has mama, trains, trucks, prison and getting drunk. So when I set out to write The Perfect Country and Western Story, I knew I needed to include those same elements, which of course I did...

Cinderella with a twist - instead of a prince with a glass slipper, we have the heroine Alexandra with Stetson hat, and all she needs is a cowboy. But with three days and over 50,000 faces to search at the Midwest's largest country music concert, will she be able to find the man who stole her heart?

Ben still can’t believe he was foolish enough to let the beautiful thief walk away with his autographed cowboy hat. If the heartbreaker dares to show up at Country Time again this year, he’ll not only be looking to get his hat back, but aiming for a little payback as well. Of course, included in the story will be mama, trains, trucks, prison and getting drunk along with romance.

I grew up in a home where Mom rocked the babies to sleep singing, "...had me a drink about an hour ago and it went straight to my head..." For the longest time I thought she was singing a lullaby. Turns out she was singing an all-time perfect country song, and plotting my future novel.

Dixon says: People often ask writers, "Where do you get your ideas?" This is a good example of how a creative person can turn a song, or a poem, or a newspaper headline into a book. Check out www.ChristineColumbus.net to learn more about Romance writer Christine Columbus (yes, that’s her real name) and her perfect book.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tip O'Day #450 - Embrace Failure

Guest blogger M.L. Hamilton wonders whether the Olympics should give a medal for last place.

Recently, I applied for an academy to study Shakespeare in London. I made it through the first round and was asked to come in for an interview. I didn’t feel nervous as I walked into the interview and met the four people who were conducting it. They explained what the requirements were and told me they would be asking me four interview questions.

That’s where everything went south.

The first question threw me. I blanked and once I blanked, the rest of the interview went rapidly downhill like a luge run. Mostly what I remember is babbling. I’m one of those people who babbles when I get rattled as if I think that the more I talk the more I might work myself into something that makes sense. At that moment, I had an out-of-body experience, where I could see myself sitting at the head of the table, talking like a madwoman, wondering why I just didn’t shut up. Oh, for the love of humanity, just shut up.

I remember I said Hamlet a lot.

Now don’t get me wrong. Hamlet is my favorite Shakespearean play, but the way I went on about him, you’d think I wanted to marry the guy.

So, what was the question that rattled me so?

The first interviewer asked me how teaching Shakespeare related to my students’ acquisition of the Common Core. For those of you not in academia, the Common Core is the national standards for each subject area in American public school classrooms. Why did this throw me? After all, I’ve been told that I need to embrace the Common Core, that I need to know it, inside and out, and I think I have a pretty good handle on it. It isn’t that different from what we’ve had as standards for years. What I couldn’t articulate at the time was the idea that I had to justify teaching Shakespeare. That a number and a purpose statement were required to expose my students to one of the most enduring poets of any age.

It wasn’t until I was home, watching television, that I had a moment of clarity. The new iPad Air commercial came on with Robin Williams reading lines from the Dead Poet Society. These lines in particular struck me: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

If I had been quicker, if I had been more centered, I would have articulated this. I would have articulated that we study Shakespeare not because he trips some arbitrary construct politicians and academics created in an office space somewhere. We study Shakespeare because he shows us a mirror to ourselves, he shows us universal truths about humanity that transcend time and culture. We study Shakespeare because he is art.

But I said none of this. I stumbled ungracefully through the interview and left feeling defeated.

So, what’s the take away? As humans, we laud our successes and we should. Success should be commended, it should be celebrated. But perhaps it is our failures that are more important. Our failures give us a chance to reflect, to have clarity, to truly learn who we are as people.

Like art and music and poetry, failure is what makes us human.

M.L. Hamilton has taught high school English and Journalism for over 20 years, and saw her first novel, Emerald, published in 2010. She’s been a busy lady since then, with three more books in the World of Samar series, and about a half-dozen Peyton Brooks’ mysteries. The latest is Murder on Treasure Island, and the Amazon Kindle link is here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tip O'Day #449 - We Don't Want No Stinkin' Colons

Guest blogger and Montana author Karen Wills says “We Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Colons.”

Well, sometimes we want them…maybe. The easy part of writing is the creative, free-flowing draft work. After that comes editing. I’m in the throes of that for my second novel. Thanks to Dixon’s request for a guest blog, I can take a break. But then I find myself perseverating about the infernal editing.

Let’s start with the tricksters of punctuation, hyphens. You think you’ve cornered them. A two-word adjective before the noun it modifies will be hyphenated, right? But then, the rule wriggles out and throws an exception at you. Think of storytelling bards.

My husband found me a book by Mary Louise Gilman, One Word, Two Words, Hyphenate? Gilman’s book is mostly wordlists, but helpful ones. The Chicago Manual of Style is also essential, as are dictionaries. When all else fails, see whether Internet writers hyphenate a word.

Almost as tough as hyphens are members of the colon family. Believe it or not, punctuation has trends. The semicolon, so necessary and popular with long-winded eighteenth and nineteenth century authors, seems to have fallen out of favor, especially in dialogue. I see those lowly drones of punctuation, commas, now separating long phrases that semicolons would have divided in the past. The ground explanation of what semicolons are for, one I still like, is that a semicolon is halfway between the full stop of a period and the California stop of a comma. Colons were once used to introduce lists of cumbersome phrases or clauses. Colons are now in disfavor with many groups: critique groups, editors, teenagers. You see what I mean.

Some punctuation is unpopular, but necessary. Modern philistines don’t care about apostrophes. Don’t the people who put up billboards ever look at what they’re doing? My favorite is the sign with big eyes that says, “If your looking at this, its selling.” The rule is that the apostrophe goes in place of the missing letter in a contraction, and outside plural possessives, but just before the s in singular possessive, except for (here’s the inevitable exception) its.

Besides punctuation, there’s the matter of spelling. It’s been said before, but I’ll repeat it. Use the spell checker with caution. It might not understand which word you meant of two or more spelled correctly, as in rest and wrest.

As for capitalization, we all know about proper nouns, but then there are those pesky points of the compass. I have a block about this, so routinely visit section 8.45-46 of the Chicago Manual of Style to read again, “Compass points and terms derived from them are lowercased if they simply indicate direction or location.” Then come the exceptions, including the North and the South.

There’s plenty more to watch out for when you want perfectly clean copy. I’ve been advised to read from the bottom, read out loud, or give it to somebody else, but a few mistakes might still creep in. I speak from personal experience after editing my thriller, Remarkable Silence, for the second time.

Bibliographies are a whole different headache.

Clean copy sells better, and it makes an author proud. Exhausted, but proud.

Dixon says: Karen Wills is a former critique partner of mine, and just an all-around nice person. You can find her archeological thriller, Remarkable Silence, on Amazon Kindle here.
I will also echo her advice that Spell Check doesn't always help. Especially if you write about cereal killers.

Friday, January 31, 2014

At Long Last - Best of the Worst #1

All January, I've been counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Hope you've enjoyed the ride, and now it's time for the Big Reveal.

#1 – You’re the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly

#2 – Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth, Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye
#3 – Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You, by the Austin Lounge Lizards
#4 – I’m So Miserable Without You, It's Almost Like Having You Here
#5 – How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, back in March 2011.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Best of the Worst #2

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Today, last year's winner must settle for a silver medal. Tomorrow: the Big Reveal of numero uno.

#2 – Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth, Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye

#3 – Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You, by the Austin Lounge Lizards
#4 – I’m So Miserable Without You, It's Almost Like Having You Here
#5 – How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A photo of sun, snow and some cottonwoods - by my Kalispell friend Sue Haugan.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best of the Worst #3

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, now down to the Final Three. And some Montana winter scenery.

#3 – Jesus Loves Me But He Can't Stand You, by the Austin Lounge Lizards

#4 – I’m So Miserable Without You, It's Almost Like Having You Here
#5 – How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Sue Haugan photo of a Short Eared Owl on a snowy Montana day.

Best of the Worst #4

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, now in its final week. And some Montana winter scenery.

#4 – I’m So Miserable Without You, It's Almost Like Having You Here

#5 – How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Photo of a Montana woodpecker. It's call is "Penny....Penny...Penny..." Sorry, if you don't watch Big Bang Theory, you won't get the joke. My bad.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Best of the Worst #5

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, now in its final week. And some Montana winter scenery.

#5 – How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?

#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Mount Eneas in Glacier National Park, northwest Montana.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best of the Worst #6

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, now in its final week. And some Montana winter scenery.

#6 – I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing

#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal
#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

The Swan Range, just west of the Montana Rockies, with a dusting of snow early in the winter.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Best of the Worst #7

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, now in its final week. And some Montana winter scenery.

#7 – Just Bought a Car From the Guy that Stole My Girl, But the Car Don't Run, So I Figure We Got an Even Deal

#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)
#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A photo of a Montana fox, wondering what's for lunch - by my Kalispell friend Sue Haugan.

Best of the Worst #8

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. And some Montana winter scenery.

#8 – Got In At Two With a Ten, And Woke Up At Ten With a Two (by Willie Nelson)

#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling
#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A peaceful scene in Northwest Montana, near Glacier National Park.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Best of the Worst #9

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. We've passed into what overseas troops used to call "single digit midget" territory. Wonder if they still use that expression...

#9 – I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling

#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You.
#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A photo from my Kalispell friend Sue Haugan of the moon looking down on a snowy Montana landscape. Makes me wonder - how come we sometimes see the moon in daylight, but never see the sun at night? Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Best of the Worst #10

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles.

#10 – If Fingerprints Showed Up On Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find On You.

#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)
#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

The beauty of Glacier National Park in Northwest Montana.

Best of the Worst #11

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles.

#11 – My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend (And I Sure Do Miss Him)

#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)
#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Our son, Jared, looking sly on a snowy day. I think this is on Big Mountain at Whitefish Winter Resort.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Best of the Worst #12

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles.

#12 – If the Jukebox Took Teardrops (I’d Cry All Night Long)

#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others
#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Sue Haugan photo of early morning in the Montana Rockies. For those of you from Seattle, that big patch of blue is called "sky."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Best of the Worst #13

Counting down to #1 on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#13 – You Done Stomped On my Heart (and You Mashed That Sucker Flat) - written by Mason Williams of "Classical Gas" fame, recorded by John Denver & others

#14 – If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now
#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)
#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Montana creek, or as it's known in rural areas, a "crick."

Friday, January 17, 2014

Best of the Worst #15

Day 17 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#15 – My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy (by Cletus T. Judd – a parody of Kenny Chesney's “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy”)

#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Mountain lion tracks in the snow, somewhere in northwest Montana.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best of the Worst #16

Day 16 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#16 – You Put My Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump

#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

Kalispell friend Blake Passmore, author & photographer of a series of hiking guides for Glacier National Park. It looks like a winter shot, but that's late summer/early fall at about 10,000 feet elevation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best of the Worst #17

Day 15 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#17 – If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You

#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over
#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Sue Haugan photo of winter scenery with Flathead Lake in the distance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Best of the Worst #18

Day 14 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#18 – We Used to Just Kiss on the Lips but Now It's All Over

#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Sue Haugan photo of a snowy Montana day in November of 2012.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Best of the Worst #19

Day 13 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#19 – Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off

#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)
#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Blake Passmore photo of Jewel Basin, taken in the fall or early winter. This lovely wilderness area on the eastern edge of the Flathead Valley in Montana is a popular hiking and camping spot. For those who read my thriller, THE ASSASSINS CLUB, this is where a key bonding scene takes place around a campfire.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Best of the Worst #20

Day 12 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#20 – It Ain't Easy Being Easy (by Roseanne Cash)

#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me
#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Sue Haugan photo of a scene near Whitefish, Montana, on a slushy winter day.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Best of the Worst #21

Day 11 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles. Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#21 – I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me

#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year
#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A Sue Haugan photo of Montana's "winter beauty and serenity."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Best of the Worst #22

One-third done! Day 10 of my New Years gift to the world with 31 personal favorites from the 400+ items on my "Best of the Worst" list of country song titles, one for every day in January! Plus some Montana winter scenery.

#22 – Looks Like I’ll Be Drinking Christmas Dinner Alone Again This Year

#23 – I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home
#24 – She's Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without
#25 – Your Wife’s Cheating On Us Again
#26 – If You Want to Keep the Beer Real Cold, Put it Next to My Ex-Wife's Heart
#27 - You Stuck my Heart in an Old Tin Can and Shot it off a Stump
#28 – Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer (by Johnny Russell)
#29 – Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes?
#30 – The Day My Wife Met My Girlfriend (by Rodney Carrington)
#31 – You Ain't Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin'

A brisk Montana morning - photo by Kalispell friend Sue Haugan.