clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, May 14, 2015


The sign translates into "beware, mowing."

Dickelbers provides us with this image from wikicommons. Dickelbers has appeared on these pages before  for just the attribution under the creative commons license. Either we have the same taste or its a strange coincidence.

I'm mowing and tending to the grounds. I'm walking the foxhound.

In the morning, I move from the extremely-rough pre-draft to ... a full text first draft of the work in progress.

Hang on, social services. - (Moonrise Kingdom)

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Spruce tree at left as photographed by Rosendahl and released into the wild copyright-free on wikicommons. Thanks!

In my part of the world, these tress are undergoing rapid spring pollination.  Pollen drifts off in clouds covering everything.

Thus, the sneeze.

I'd write more but - I have to go get another tissue.

Won't last long.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


At left, a picture of a weed by Jakub Kolar who generously allows its use here from its home in the wikicommons.

I worked on weeds tonight. Yes, I spot-spray.

I've been groundskeeper of bear hill this week. I will be for a couple more weeks and the blog will be spotty.

I'm writing in the mornings.

The weed at left is a metaphor for all those embellished descriptions which it takes years to learn to remove from our writing when composing.

There's nothing wrong with the words except they occur out of place. In the sweet prose of an adolescent poem they're wonderful. In crime fiction, they're death itself.

Broadleaf herbicide until cured, my dears.

Crime needs little chrome. It is the human aspect we need - not the authorial intrusion.

Now is the season to grow. How's your WIP doing? Getting enough sun?

The fertilizer can be a tad heavy around here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monitor Bracelet

At left, the device of title. Photograph from wikicommons and Ctruongngoc. Nice snap. Thanks!

My foxhound dashed off tonight. He's back. Went about 200 yards and decided to play with a little neighbor boy (age 4) who promptly named him "Fuzzy" and was disappointed he couldn't keep him.

Worse part, I completely opened the door and let the hound out without a leash. Completely pre-occupied and so, he's free. My fault.

Back now.

Ordered the doggie equivalent of a monitor bracelet. It's called Tagg. Will be here in June. I'll let you know how it works.

Houdini hound.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Right Words

At left, from the Catacombs of Paris - a photograph of words "unearthed" by Jerome Bon and used here from wikicommons in accordance with the terms of use: attribution.

Thanks Jerome.

We're writers. We know the value of the right words. Hemingway famously wrote but 350 words a day in normal production declaring the effort sufficient - for the 350 right words.

No one is quite sure how many it took him to find those 350.

I write today of encouragement.

Nobody has more ability to influence aspiring writers than ...other writers. The right word, at the right time, to the right audience.

It works for our own prose.

It also works for the prose we've not yet read from hands who have yet to conquer their own insecurities and self-doubt.

That is where it lays, you know. The whole writing business lays in self-doubt.

You have to own up to improving your own words for the most critical audience in the world: you.

There's no short-cut. There's no substitute.

Before you can sell you own work, you damn sure should be convinced of its own merit.

When you don't yet know how to recognize merit in your own words, encouragement is critical.

Later, your aptitude and perception and ability and appraisal sense will mesh and you'll know "it's all shit" from "oh my Dog! What was I thinking? What a pile of wrong choices."

Early though, you don't know the difference in your own work.

You have to keep writing for that to come through. You have to read the works of other unpublished writers to recognize your own faults. You have to kill your own ego and understand that "good" is a brutal leveling field criteria that separates "sold and published" from "novelty horseshit."

When you are going through it; when you think you've made the commitment to the effort it takes ( and when you make that "commitment," you really have no idea what you are undertaking. If you did, you'd just go improve your tennis game and blow the whole writing business right off), you fumble a bit and a little time later think it was all some form of delusion.

It is then you need a little encouragement.

If you are a writer, you understand that point I make.

You have an obligation to help someone who is struggling.

You have that obligation until the last breath you take because somewhere in your writing career, somebody did it for you and you had know idea that's what they were doing.

You're older now. You are wiser.

You're obligated.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Working it Out

I'm working out the mechanical details of a story.

In the meantime, I'm going to have another one of these.

At left, a cafe au lait that Tim Boyd from Brooklyn shares with us through wikicommons. The perfect color, too.

I'm writing a cheerful happy fellow whose wife has left him and whose existence in a small county is endangered by the occurrence of a murder with few clues.

That's right. I said a happy fellow.

Who knew? I'm trying something new and a protagonist who is happiest in the throes of mayhem and murder? Well, Fits - doesn't it?

Whistle while you work. The coffee's too hot still, anyway.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Hard week and something had to give. The blog was it.

I spent my time with the ink. I did the day job. I fixed my tractor. Most of the time, my tractor is used to trim the lawn.

At left - not my tractor. This is from wikicommons: a Minneapolis Moline "U" as photographed by Danziel Raines.

I steered my first motorized vehicle sitting on a rug on top of the transmission box of one of these model "U".

My Grandfather sat in the seat and we plowed. There isn't much to plowing once someone shows you. It's about interval and staying in the grove with the wheel. On-land plows? Entirely different beast in modern agriculture. I ran one of those from an 8630 during high school. Milked cows, too.

I hated the farming bit. I'm a stockman.

Where I come from, children grow up fast. I had my own jeep  - a CJ2A - which I drove back and forth from town to the ranch when I was thirteen. Ran into a barbed wire fence with it once. Stretched the wire and stalled the engine. Hard to tighten the wire and splice a broken strand. Nothing broken, nothing hurt.

I'm enjoying my WIP. I'm enjoying the spring.

You never know how many you have left. I've had several.

I'm not sure I need anymore; but, I'll take all they're handing out.

There are stories to tell. Most of mine are filled with dead people.