Saturday, July 4, 2015

How I spent the Fourth of July in 1972.

Happy fourth of July everyone. It brings to mind a July fourth many moons ago. 7/4/1972. A few months earlier I received a letter from my draft board...I think...could have been the army. Anyway, it started out with the word 'Greetings'

I had been drafted. My lottery number was thirty-nine so I knew it was coming, but like many young people then and now I hoped it would just go away.

It didn't.

So, my wife and 11 month old daughter and my parents rode with me to the AFEES station. Now, I don't remember what that was, but I distinctly remember disliking it.

We said our goodbyes, I was put on a bus, then a plane, then another bus. Well, it was all pretty confusing.

At last the journey ended and there I was...in the army now. We got there at some ridiculous time in the morning, went through a rigamarole, which I think involved getting our fatigues...maybe not...but I think we hit the sack around 3 AM, and of course, they came around banging trash cans around six or so. Welcome to the armed services.

I'm pretty sure the first actual day they asked if anybody had lifeguard experience. You know someone will explain to you pretty early on, not to volunteer for anything. They hadn't got to me yet. I raised my stupid hand. I'm calling my hand stupid, because I'm sure it was the only part of me that consider this a good idea.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

First sentence blues? Forget about it.

How about that scene in many films or TV series, where the writer is surrounded by crumpled up pieces of paper and simply not able to start? Of course, in the time of the typewriter, if you didn't like the way you began, pressing back space was not an option. In fact, most writers I've talked with cite finishing or droughts as the major problem, not beginning. For that I have no answer, except comments I heard from a recent lecture saying, among other things, trying to make it perfect, or having the complete plot worked out, as main contributors to a mass of never finished books. The answer agreed on by most. Stop thinking, start writing.

I do, however, have a couple of smidgets for those who just can't get the first sentence written.

First, and this is not my idea. I can't remember who wrote it and have no inclination to research it. I think the initials were S. K. and that very well could be a product of my ever increasing decreasing memory. What was said is this. "Don't fall in love with your first line." If you accept that as a rule, then it doesn't matter if you like it, the reader likes it, or your mama hates it. Odds are it will be changed anyway, so get on with (as Paul Harvey used to say) "...the rest of the story."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Loyalty cards? You think so?

I was in my local grocery store the other day. Ahead of me in line were two young ladies buying a couple of items. The checkout clerk asked in a matter-of-fact voice, "Do you have your 'Thank you' card?"
Both answered no and were informed they would not benefit from the lower price available to those who had such cards.

Now, keep in mind, the price with the card is comparable to prices in other stores who do not provide this service, so the price without the card is inflated, unfairly in my judgement.

Although I possess such a card the practice infuriated me from the beginning. I just went along as most of us do. More about that later. In part it is my raising that makes this so distasteful. Someone I respect once told me. If you are going to sell a thing, sell it for the same price for everyone. It is morally wrong and unethical to assess your prospective customer, determine that they are susceptible to being fleeced and then charge them a higher price. Whether it is because they may not possess the knowledge to know better, or some other variable matters not. Fair is fair, honesty is honesty. There is no middle ground.

Additionally I might add, the specials that are run are compared to the non-card inflated price which makes it harder for the customer to see exactly what the savings are.

So, what's the harm you ask. Get the card or shop somewhere else. Yes, a boycott would seem the appropriate response for someone such as me who is irked by the policy. Only problem is, that ignores another facet of this program. They, and by that I include a multitude of entities are gathering information...about us.

What you buy, when and where, is being recorded and the information sold to whoever wants to buy it. Okay, you say, everybody's doing that, even Facebook and the internet in general. I would say. Yep, and there are some blogs out there that discuss this and after reading them I am considering leaving these social networks. It's just that I'm so addicted. Oh well, another story for another time. Back to your basic loyalty, or thank you cards.

So, what's the harm? Doesn't this aid product ordering and distribution? Well, some of you may have received a query from your health insurance provider asking about your tobacco use. A higher premium is involved of course. So what? Tobacco users should stop. The disease processes resulting from its use causes higher premiums for everyone. I'd agree with you, except, I wonder if you would be so quick to jump if we were talking about your sugar consumption, or fat content of your purchases. The over-the-counter medications you buy. Most stores are selling beer and wine now. What about that? Think about it. Everything you buy is data which is for sale to anyone wanting it and for whatever purpose they see fit.

I read recently there is legislation in some state (I don't have that info for you, but I bet a google will get it) which will fine parents if their children are obese. Wow!

Alrighty then. So we know the insurance companies would never purchase this information and certainly wouldn't use it to raise your premiums or deny benefits. Yeah, right.

However you decide to take my little rant here, I hope it least gives you pause to think about things. Wonder what these so called deals are really getting you and don't be surprised if in a few months, or years you find that now to buy or sale you need a laser burned bar code on your hand.

I can hear John Q Public saying now. "Far out dude, can I chose the color?"





Saturday, February 14, 2015

JUST A DREAM A WAY. A novella by Drew Adams aka Andy Sweet. Free Sat & Sun at amazon.com

http://tinyurl.com/lu3g87h

This little novella has romance, mystery, bad guys, and loads of drama. 

At sixteen, Riley Fowler was lost, wet and cold.
She sought only shelter, but found a loving home.

That was four years ago.Now, she strikes out on her own,
An ornament stirs memories. She dreams of the birth of her daughter and losing her, all in the same day.

A journey begins. She is determined to take back
what was torn away.

Deceit and danger block the path, but the quest reveals a wealth
of love standing by her all the while.
She has only to receive it.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

NO GOOD DEED FREE FOR REST OF NIGHT




My short story will be free on amazon through tonight 2/8/15. Grab a copy and you can say 'you read some Drew today'.













Thomas awakened from a horrible nightmare.
The people in it were covered with a translucent, grotesque images,with beast-like features.
He shakes off the dream and begins his day, but
is horrified when he steps onto the bus and sees
over half of the passengers are encased by
the same frightening monsters.
Beautiful Carla is on the bus as usual.
The apparitions are not new to her and she
fears Thomas's reaction places him in grave danger.
Ignoring her own peril, she ushers him off the bus and together
they flee through the back streets and alleyways of the city.
The creatures are everywhere.
And all of them have the scent.
They circle like a pack,
closing in,
each wanting their portion.

Thomas wants his world back.
Carla knows that world never existed.



Saturday, February 7, 2015

NO STRUGGLE, NO REWARD


copyright 2015 by Andy Sweet


The string loosens, the bow snaps and I shoot my endeavor
into the void where predators perch, crouch, or stalk,
then sacrifice a dive, a pounce, or a charge to capture
and savor the succulent flesh.


I cast down my labor, dying and dead,
where above vultures circle without effort,
using the heated, stinking updrafts only and
descend, put down and gorge on the putrid carrion.

Would not the meat be sweeter had it
life and hope?

Drew Adams
Journal of Lamentations





Sunday, February 1, 2015

NO GOOD DEED (goes unpunished?)

This sixteen page short story evoked a bit of a conundrum for me. One reader considered its author...uh...me, to be a psycho, while another considered the piece "just plain sick". 

So, honesty's in play here. Should an author censor himself, or allow a work to 'become', as it develops, without curving or shading effects to the sensibilities of potential readers.

Part of the problem? I write romance, without morbid creatures, or grotesque descriptors and in truth, I'm not sure I would want any of those readers to fall prey to my dark side. Therefore, I've added the word Horror to the subtitle. Fair warning I hope. In truth, I've seen worse psychosis and sickness on the news, particularly if you read or view politics. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. This story will be out soon and I hope those of you who dare to walk on the wild side will give it a read.


Thomas awakened from a horrible nightmare.
The people in it were covered with a translucent, grotesque images,
with beast-like features.
He shakes off the dream and begins his day, but
is horrified when he steps onto the bus and sees
over half of the passengers are encased by
the same frightening monsters.
Beautiful Carla is on the bus as usual.
The apparitions are not new to her and she
fears Thomas's reaction places him in grave danger.
Ignoring her own peril, she ushers him off the bus and together
they flee through the back streets and alleyways of the city.
The creatures are everywhere.
And all of them have the scent.
They circle like a pack,
closing in,
each wanting their portion.

Thomas wants his world back.

Carla knows that world never existed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Give a little credit, please!

I just watched Transcendence' and I must say it takes artificial intelligence to a new level. I enjoyed very much, but as a writer, I always look for the author. Whether screenplay, or novel, someone had to write it. Well, I never saw it in the credits. Why is it that the author behind the work is usually mentioned at the very end of the work or not at all. I mean, sure, the actors often make or break a film, as can the director, but without the creation of the story, there would be no characters to interpret, no story to tell, hell, no story period.

I know veteran authors will say, welcome to the world of writing. Yep, guess so and it explains much about the publishing world as well as Hollywood. No respect for the writer. Little pay, hey, we've got it now, you just go play around on your computer.

For your information, Transcendence was written by Jack Paglen. I admit I know none of the circumstances involved in the creation of this film. If he truly wrote it, I should think some credit would be due. Perhaps not. Maybe he was just the dialogist. Sorry, I invented that word. So, as I'm talking out of the wrong orifice now, for the correct one knows better, I'll shut the hell up. Wanted to vent. Thanks.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What makes a professional?

I read a post about what makes a writer a professional writer. Although some attribute lofty requirements, the gist of most, was getting paid. I thought about this a bit. I am paid for my novels and short stories, by the reader, via amazon. Not a lot, though the royalty percentages are good, you still have to sell. Also, there is some expense, so to be a 'professional', must you see a profit? And, is any profit, no matter how marginal, the litmus test of being a professional?

I'm an RN. A member of a profession. There are serious requirements. You must know medications, be aware of the side affects and correct dosing(just because a doctor prescribed it does not relieve you of the responsibility, should it be incorrect). Additionally, you must continually assess your patients, note changes and keep the doctors informed. There is a
long list of things you must know and do, like most professions.

Sometimes, you have to clean butts. I'm paid for this so I suppose you could call me a 'professional butt cleaner'.

I thought I was until I helped an aide with this chore. This person has no degree, just a certificate, but is paid, though if you've ever observed what they do, it's not nearly enough.

I watched this person perform the task quickly, thoroughly and in my eyes, like a master artist. This butt was cleaned gently, powdered, bedding changed and all the while, kept the patient comfortable, warm and at ease.

I felt ashamed and from that point on, made it my goal to be the best 'butt cleaner' I could be. I remain clumsy in this endeavor and will probably never achieve the level of the aide. Still, I aspire.

So, what makes a writer, a 'professional writer'? I really haven't a clue, but I think there must be a level of care and aspiration. As in any profession, a level of knowledge and skill must be applied. And, getting paid isn't bad either.

I may never reach the level of  'butt cleaning' as the professional I witnessed. I may never attain the level of writing as the successful authors I've read. I have errors and bad habits, so ingrained, they most certainly will seep into my work. Yet, I aspire to be better, and I care, for the story, the characters, and the readers.

I guess this makes me just 'a writer'.