Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Wild Child Publishing has issued the second volume of short stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue. The tales take up where Vol. I left off — bringing back Klein the Biker, Straight Charlie and Sammy the Madman while introducing new characters stumbling over life’s difficulties in the late 60s. Vol. II is an e-book published by Wild Child Publishing that you can download, save as a pdf (Adobe) file and print. Read both volumes and see that life isn't all that serious. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online book sellers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kicking Out the Words

A good week and it’s not over yet. Bewildering Stories accepted “Angel in My Coffee Cup” after a rewrite—and I didn’t even follow my advice about narrative hooks. (Hamlet wasn’t talking about angels when he said, “There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” The phrase kept going through my head as my granddaughter, Morgan, sat across from me at breakfast.) Maybe my magic realism got to their flash fiction editor.

I sent my “Henry Morton Stanley at Shiloh” article off to Military History Online, but no word back. Yeah, I guess I could polish it some more, but let’s see what happens.

The Asbury Park Press invites reader book reviews. Last Sunday, they picked up mine for Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played with Fire. (“…Unmasks the sanctimonious Swedish society and the murderous tendencies buried in mystery. And what a superb heroine the tattooed, dyslexic hacker Lisabeth Sander is!”)

There’s still a wealth of material for my Holling Clancy Holling blog (at and I finished off the Web site for our writing group at the Manchester public library (

I think I could be at Antarctica or Armpit, Ohio. as long as the party continues in my head.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grab the Reader in 30 Words

News writing is excellent training. I took journalism classes when I was 19 or 20, then really learned to write on the Hinsdale (Illinois) Doings. I had to get the who, what, where, when and why down in the 30-word “lede” (spelled that way so’s not to confuse it with Linotype “lead.”). Tough job. Try it.

Then news writing leaped back a hundred years. The soft and fuzzy lede would begin something like, “It was an idyllic day in June when nine-year-old Tabitha and her perky terrier, Mikey, romped down the sidewalk. Unbeknownst to them, Charles Meriwether left the bar inebriated and got into his buggy. The Gods must have cried in anguish as Meriwether’s buggy approached the corner where little Tabitha….” Well, you get the drift.

Now we’re back to requiring a narrative hook—the first handful of words that will capture the reader at his screen, make him click through to another Web site, and continue reading. Tough job. I began looking at leads from the RSS feeds that pour into my mailbox each morning. What I found is a picture of how short our attention span is—and how readers can be manipulated to click on links. Read more of how to “Hook Your Readers” at

Oh, Tabitha? Along about the 10th paragraph you learn she'll be okay. But the dog is dead.