Category Archives: Writing

Because I stayed off Facebook today…

…I wrote 1,671 words, made two submissions and got all the chores done.

The Tigers didn’t play today. I did have the Buccaneer-Jaguar game on, but didn’t pay much attention to it. The Lions’ next preseason game is Saturday, against the Jets. The Lions did very well against the Colts in Sunday’s game.

College Football starts in a couple weeks. The Wolverines will kick off their season against the Gators.

The Samoa Incident – Chapter 1

The Samoa Incident is something I’m writing for fun. I’m going to publish it on my blog a chapter at a time.


The plane touched down at Faleolo International Airport. A broadcast from the cockpit came over the speakers as the pilot confirmed the smooth landing.

Sean sat on a couch, two rows from the last. The reek of the toilets was strong, his flight had not been pleasant because of this.

“Enjoy your stay in Samoa,” the pilot said and the broadcast ended.


Sean was not entirely sure why he had chosen to come here. But Samoa was far from home and that suited him just fine.

The plane rounded the runway and at last came to a stop. Sean unbuckled his seatbelt and stood. He gathered his bag from the overhead stowage bin and waited.

It had been a full flight. As far as Sean could tell, not a seat had been empty. Now passengers were in the aisle waiting for the moment they could get off the plane. Sean guessed that more than a few people were travel weary and cranky.

The line started to move. Sean walked carefully, carrying his bag in front of him. He hated planes, because of how tight they were. There was barely enough room to move. No wonder terrorists saw airplanes as worthy targets. Passengers were grounded to their seats and would not be able to do much in a crisis.

He reached the end of the aisle, had a brief look into the cockpit and then exited the plane.

The heat consumed him as he walked down the steps to the pavement. The moment he was on solid ground again was the moment he felt relief.

It was dawn, the sun still a thin yellow line to the east. People back home would be finishing their lunch hours and going back to work. Alicia was probably lodging in the living room of the house she and her sister shared, watching TV and wondering when he was going to call.

He hadn’t told her he was leaving. He hadn’t mentioned it to anyone for that matter, and he wasn’t sure when he would. He wasn’t ready to talk to anyone, especially Alicia, and he didn’t want to think about her.

He turned away from the rising sun as if turning his back on home.

Sean walked across the tarmac toward the huge building. Every window was alight and he could see various people inside, many looking out on the aircraft he had just arrived in. A sign near the entrance glowed white, red and blue.


Talofa & Welcome




Sean pushed through the door and got into one of the lines of people waiting to have their passports stamped by the immigration officer.

Sean recognized some of the people from the plane. There was the big guy who had sat a few rolls in front of Sean. The guy had been talking a lot on the plane, but now he was quiet.

The elderly couple who had been in front of him on the plane just had their passports stamped and were moving off, each towing a suitcase on wheels.

The line shortened.

The three young women in front of Sean were a group that had sat across the aisle from him on the plane. They put their passports and other identification on the counter together and the immigration officer looked over each quickly and stamped them in order. The passports were handed back and the women moved on.

Sean stepped up to the counter and handed over his passport and driver’s license. He was lucky he remembered to bring the passport at all. He had left home in a hurry, just threw some things into a bag and hit the road. He had no idea where he was going, but somehow ended up at Bishop International Airport in Flint and booked a flight out of state.

That flight had taken him to Chicago and he still didn’t know where he was going.

The immigration officer stamped Sean’s passport and handed it back over the counter with his driver’s license.

“Have a nice time,” she said and smiled.

Sean nodded politely and stuffed his passport and license into his bag.

He left the immigration area. Four men in Aloha shirts stood on a platform playing acoustic guitars. Two of the women who had been in front of him in the immigration line were collecting their bags from the baggage claim. Both were in their early to mid twenties. The third member of their group was not there, but she had been at least a few years younger than her two friends.

As Sean walked by, one of the women said something to the other in a language he didn’t recognize. When they started looking around, Sean understood that they had realized the third member of their group was not with them.

Sean made a quick scan of the airport, but the youngest of the trio was nowhere in sight. Perhaps she stepped into the bathroom and hadn’t taken the time to inform her friends because of a sudden kick of leftover air sickness. He remembered the girl had said very little on the plane, while her friends had talked constantly. If they spoke English, though, they had not uttered a word of it while in his presence.

Sean wanted to suggest the two women check the bathroom, but he didn’t want to deal with an awkward moment if it turned out they couldn’t understand him. He moved on. If their friend didn’t show up soon, he was sure they would check around and find her.

He walked into the middle of the airport and stopped. The exit was in front of him, but he didn’t know where he was going from there. There would be taxis and buses, he was sure. But he hadn’t made reservations anywhere and hence had no destined place to be. What would he tell a taxi driver?

Then a sign for Discovery Rentals caught his eye.

Forty-five minutes later, Sean walked out of the airport with a temporary Samoa driver’s license and a rental agreement in his pocket. The  Hyundai Tucson was already parked at the curb and a Discovery Rental employee climbed out.

“Have fun,” the man said.

“Thanks,” Sean said. He slid into the driver’s seat and closed the door. Relieved that the man had let the air conditioner run, Sean dropped the gear lever to Drive.

He had driven cars with the steering wheel on the right side many times before, but he still felt awkward as he drove through the parking lot.

He turned left onto the road. Traffic was almost nonexistent as he drove east toward Apia.

Rage Against the Machine is Going to Make Me Completely Deaf

This was a very productive day. Not only did I write 2,283 new words into the novel, I did some more edits on that finished short story and I submitted one of my previous novels to an agency. I also got all of my must-do chores done.

I blast music while writing because it boosts my ability to create. It also wards off distractions. But sometimes when I finish a writing session and turn the music off, my ears are ringing.

The Tigers are playing the Diamondbacks right now. It’s the top of the 5th. Miggy just got a good hit and tied the game, 3-3. Man on second and third, One out. Castellanos is batting.

The Last of the Venison

Just ate the last of the deer I shot in October. Steak. It was good. Hope I get more meat this coming fall.

Not sure if I’m done for the day, but I might be. In my earlier post, I told you I was using the stopwatch on my phone to time how long it takes me to get each page down and that I was trying to beat the previous times. In that post I told you that the latest time was 00:19:30:02 and that was for one whole page. Since then I got down three more pages. Here’s the times.

1st page – 00:19:30.02
2nd page – 00:17:01.76
3rd page – 00:16:20.42
4th page – 00:13:37.41

I successfully beat the previous time every time. Each of these were full pages. I would say the writing quality is fair, but probably will be cutting out a bit when I go over the finished rough draft and there are many typos. But the story is getting down and that’s the important thing at this point.

I would like to get it down to ten minutes per page, so I’m still striving for more speed. But that 13 minutes and 37 seconds time is a new record for me.

Also, I need to take shorter breaks after completing a page.

In any case, today’s work was fun. Think I’ll be doing it like this for a while. It’s real sporty.

Tigers at 10.


Been up since 6 AM. Though I don’t normally drink coffee, I have coffee supplies in the kitchen so my brother, or anyone else,  can have some when here. But to assure I stay awake this morning, I decided to make myself a cup. Since my dad recently gave me some pointers on how a cup of coffee should be made, my coffee isn’t as terrible as it used to be.

I’m trying to pick up speed on the novel. I can often get a whole page down in under twenty minutes. I’ve been using the stopwatch feature on my phone to confirm that. I know that’s not bad. Any writer would be proud of that score, and I am. But. I. Need. More. Speed.

I know of writers who can nail down around 2,000 words, about ten pages, in an hour. I would love to be able to get my projects done that fast. Sure, they’ll be messy rough drafts  But that’s what the clean up process is for. I have a lot of projects planned and I want to get them done.

So, I’m working on that. Trying to beat my old time every time. The latest time on the stopwatch is 19:30.02. That was for an entire page of exactly 266 words.

Jay Lake once said, “Writing is an endurance sport.” I’m trying to build up my ability to endure high speeds like Jay did.

In other news, my cousin Josh just finished medical school. That’s a huge accomplishment. If I’m understanding correctly, he’ll soon begin his practice as an orthopaedic surgeon. I might have to  see him about the finger Mr. Ed tried to eat thirty years ago.

No Advance

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Haven’t been getting to it and don’t really have anything to say. There has been no movement in the novel since the latest update. I was stuck, couldn’t figure out how to go forward and decided to read the thing from the beginning.

I have a couple more scenes to read, and then I’ll be where I left off at and can resume writing. The read from the beginning was effective. Ideas came to mind and I see how to continue for the next chapter or so.

I’ve also been cleaning up a short story that I finished a couple months ago. I wrote this story really fast and made a big mess. When I write fast and sloppy, the edit process takes more time, but it’s not that difficult to do. I find that pretty much all I have to do is cut out the crap and fix typos. I don’t see much that needs to be rewritten.

So, while the fast and sloppy approach will give me a lot of work when I edit the story, the story is down. I like that. The reason I had to read what I got down on the novel so far is that I was writing too slowly and forgot about things from the earlier chapters that I needed to keep the story going.

I’m going to try speeding up the novel when I get back to the writing.

Writing and Baseball

Got three pages into the novel and one into the story.  So, novel, page 96 and 20,409 words. Story, page 4 and 584 words.

Just finished watching the USA-Venezuela game. It’s hard to root for USA when two of my favorite MLB players are playing for Venezuela. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. But at least we have Jim Leyland and Ian Kinsler on team USA.

USA got in some runs in the bottom of the 8th. The game ended with Venezuela 2 and USA 4.