Monday, September 30, 2013

Are You Pinning?

It seems as if every time I turn around I am being asked if I am a part of another social media site.  At first, it was MySpace, which I am not even sure really exists today, even though I get emails from it now and then.  Then there came Facebook and Twitter and they were followed by LinkedIn, the business market social media site where you can post resumes, links, and make business connections.  It is supposed to be more professional, but I haven’t ventured into the deep end, yet.  To be honest Twitter and Facebook still confuse me somewhat, but at least I can spy on my children that way and keep up with what is happening in their lives.

Of course, those weren’t enough.  Next I was asked about Pinterest, which I will admit to calling Pin-Interest for awhile, and then I was told that I really needed to be on Goodreads.  It was the site where readers can connect with writers and review books and be nosey about what everyone else is reading or wants to read.  I know as much about Goodreads as I do about LinkedIn, which means I have an account but that is about it.  However, I hopped onto Pinterest full speed and can get lost in the pages of fantastic pictures that abound.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Joseph Wilcox

This week we are welcoming Joseph Wilcox to the Mess and we are happy to have him.  I'm going to allow Joseph to introduce himself to you but I wanted to thank him first for being with us today.  I know you'll enjoy his post and will definitely want to visit him at his blog, Where Is King's Road.  Furthermore, while your clicking on links, makes sure to visit his wife's page and gallery, Bovey Lee,for some inspiration.

Now, grab that morning cup of java and let's share our morning with Joe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My name is Joseph David Wilcox and I write the blog, Where Is King’s Road? I’ve published two non-fiction books and am currently working on my first novel (which has me pinned against the ropes and behind on all the judges’ scorecards. Looks like I’ll need a knock out to win).

I live in Pittsburgh and moved here in 2000 with my wife and artist, Bovey Lee. The same snow storm blew us into New York in 1996 and we’ve been together ever since.

I grew up in Kentucky and Bovey emigrated to the US from Hong Kong. Many people are curious about our inter-racial relationship, so I  mainly blog about us, how we meld our distinct cultural and geographical backgrounds. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Going Paperless

Piles of paper
Going paperless.  It sounds as if I am being noble and jumping on the Go Green bandwagon, but sadly, that’s not the case.  Not that I have anything against being green or trying to help nature endure and saving resources and all of that other “do it for the environment” hoopla.  I recycle and I try to conserve water and energy, unless, of course, I’m super hot and then that air conditioning is being cranked on high, electric bill be damned.  It’s always based on my comfort level, as well.  To the rest living here I merely encourage them to buck it up, they didn’t have air conditioning a century ago and people survived.

No, what I mean about going paperless is in connection with my writing.  If you’ve been reading The Mess for any length of time, then you know that I write everything out with pen and paper before committing it to the keyboard and virtual memory.  Computers crash and my trusty notebooks never have, which is why they are my trusty notebooks.  The laptop I am using now has frozen up on me twice this week and almost locked me out, which caused me to move my writing back to a flash drive for storage.  Technology and I get along about as well as I do with cars and we all know that isn’t very well. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Four Course Wine Tasting

“If you’re going to do something, never do it half-ass” is our motto.  Do it big and do it with style.  Late into the year last year, we decided to hold a wine tasting once a month, not that we knew anything about wine, mind you.  Nor were we looking for another excuse to drink.  Trust me, I don’t need an excuse and if I did, the fact that I woke up that morning would be excuse enough.

No, we did it in the hopes of learning something new.  We wanted to know how to tell one wine from another, what wines go best with what foods, and, of course, we wanted to collect corks for crafts.  Teri took it on herself to study and she led most of the wine tastings.  We had several of our friends join us and how it usually went was Teri would pick an area or a type of wine and everyone would bring a bottle or two of varying wineries and some finger food.  Even when sampling wine, it’s best not to do it on an empty tummy.  Besides, once the sampling was over, then the guzzling….um, drinking…could begin.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Clothing Isn’t Optional

I think this is plenty of clothing for awhile
I hate buying clothes.  There are so many other things I would rather be tortured with, instead, like cleaning the garbage cans, doing my taxes, and listening to screaming kids.  There are also a million other things I would rather spend my money on, such as more writing supplies and books.  Always books. 

It’s not that I don’t like new clothes, because I do.  I just hate shopping for them.  It’s a hassle that sucks up hours away from my pen.  However, invariably, the girls will grow weary of looking at my Angry Bird boxers where jean material should be and I will be hauled off to replenish my failing wardrobe, kicking and screaming.  It happened just this past weekend; half a Saturday spent wandering around in stores picking out pants that I prayed would fit.

They didn’t. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Vanessa Wright

Vanessa Wright
This Saturday, the Mess welcomes Vanessa Wright, a 46 year-old visual artist and homebody who suddenly decided to pick up her writing again and couldn't stop.  I think you'll be glad she did.  She has been published in two anthologies, My kort vir jou sop as well as Write for Life.  She is currently in the process of self-publishing a short story book, Twisted, and is putting the finishing touches on her crime thriller, Artifacts.  You can see a story board for the upcoming novel on her Pinterst board in order to see how it is going.

Vanessa and I found each other via Twitter.  However, you can also find her on Facebook as well as Pinterest.  And make sure you check out her blog, Humoring the Dark, in order to enjoy a variety of her short stories.  Be sure to click those links and keep up with what Vanessa is doing.

Today, she will be sharing a bit of her writing life with us as well as an excerpt of her short story, A Flabbergasted Skipping, so sit back with your morning coffee and enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

We Should Have Passed on John’s Pass

A relaxing morning
It’s nice, when on a trip, to have time to just enjoy where you are staying.  Saturday morning was that day for us.  Breakfast was prepared as a few of us slept in a little, taking our time to wake and enjoy another day in Redington Beach.  The view over the Gulf was calm and peaceful and I sat on the balcony enjoying the quiet start to the day.  There was no rush to get ready, no darting around to prepare for another adventure.  Our journey that morning was no further than the condo pool.

After we ate and donned our bathing suits, we all grabbed books, music and drinks and made it down the four flights to the pool area.  They had a tiki hut covering with chaise lounge chairs underneath, ready for us to kick back and relax.

And we did.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Evening Dip in the Pool

Whisky belongs in a glass, not plastic
I don’t know what it is, but there is something different between taking a dip in a pool at night than going for a swim during the day.  It may be because you’re supposed to be indoors and getting ready for bed and partaking in a daytime activity after the sun has retired for the day just seems like you are breaking the rules.  It’s not really a loud environment. Furthermore, even though you’re not really whispering, you’re still talking in low voices in order to keep the people who enforce the “No Swimming after Midnight” rule posted at the gate from hauling you off to hotel jail or someplace equally mysterious.

We didn’t care, however.  After our dining experience at the Conch Republic, we had decided a dip in the hot tub was in order.  We quickly swapped our dining attire for bathing suits, grabbed an adult beverage or two and headed down to the dark pool area. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

All Hail the Conch Republic

When we decided to make the trip to Honeymoon Island, the idea was to take some subs with us from Publix.  That, of course, didn’t happen.  Don’t ask me why, because I don’t remember.  I am, after all, merely the driver. 

Therefore, when we finally decided to get out of the heat at about one o’clock, most of us were famished.  Breakfast only lasts so long and in the heat it lasts even less.  So, after packing everything back up and heading toward the condo, we decided to pop into the first restaurant that we passed where we wouldn’t look too out of place in our bathing suits.  Since I was leading, I was the one able to choose and I pulled into a WingHouse.  Now, you may have heard of this Hooters lookalike, but I hadn’t and I figured eating wings didn’t require proper clothing, especially since the waitresses were showing most of their asses as they walked around with our food.  The girls on the beach were covered more than these ladies.  While I don’t mind gazing upon the female anatomy, when it is time to eat, it’s time to eat and I don’t need someone’s ass crack in my line of vision as I’m about to chomp down on a wing.  Along highway 75 there is a total nude eatery called Café Risqué where they bring you your food in the buff.  I just don’t see how that is sanitary and I would be afraid of ordering crabs.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Leaving a Beach to Go to a Beach

The key to Messing is just going with the flow.  You may have a destination in mind, but you really don’t have a plan as to what you will do when you get there.  Or if you do, it’s easily derailed when something more interesting comes along.  When you’re with a large group, however, Messing isn’t always the way to go.  As much as people may not want an itinerary, they need a direction to go so as they don’t stand around wondering what’s next.  It’s also vital to pick something that at least the majority are wanting or can do so as most people don’t feel left out or bored.  The key is to think of the group and not individuals.  That doesn’t mean that people can’t wander off and do their own thing, but when you want to do things as a group, it’s just imperative you have a group mindset.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Settling In

The view from our room
By 10:17, we were on the road and heading west, sodas and coffee in cup holders to carry us along.  Road trips are always a bonding time for us as we are trapped in a car for however long we are driving and can use it as a time to plan more trips, other events or just to catch up on what may have been missed in the day-to-day living of life.  The girls always have bags beside them of books to read, calendars, and notebooks to jot all these ideas down.  It’s almost like having a company meeting on wheels.  Of course, there is lots of laughing, teasing and one-liners that usually wind up posted on Facebook so everyone can share in the embarrassment.

Redington Beach was three hours away and we were in no hurry even though we were eager to get there.  As I said in The Trip Begins, I prefer getting to where we are staying early because I want to make the most of every minute.  As we traveled, I jotted down the names of places I wanted to go back and explore another time, such as Lake Alfred ( because I liked the name ) and Dinosaur World, which we plan on taking the 8-year old to.  It’s also a great time to jot down notes about scenery and surroundings that I can use in stories somewhere down the road.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Trip Begins

Road trip!
The girls and I just returned from a four-day weekend with some great friends.  It was time for us to get away and explore something other than my couch or the back porch.  We had planned this trip a few months back and Teri, our organizer and deal-seeker, quickly set about searching out a condo that would hold all ten of us with no one having to sleep on the couch or in their car.  It’s not an easy task.

At first we were just going for two days, leaving Friday and coming back Sunday.  However, most of the places Teri had found rented for a three night minimum and so we wound up stretching our vacation another day.  Then I decided since we had to leave Thursday instead of Friday, I wanted to leave as early as possible to make the most of every minute.  I mean if we’re paying for a trip I want to squeeze every second out of it.  The girls and I had done this when we went on our cruise a few years ago.  We were there when boarding began and were the last ones off the ship.  I want to explore as much as I can of a new area.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Richard "Tony" Held

This Saturday we are pleased to welcome Richard Held to the Mess. Richard “Tony” Held is a freelance editor/proofreader and ghostwriter.  He also writes fiction and nonfiction.  You can find him at where you can discover all about his editing business and other works.  You can also view his sample edit offer on  He also has a short story, A Memory at Midway, that you will want to check out, as well.

I can understand what Tony is going to share with us having begun my writing career with freelance work, although not in editing.  The world of magazine publishing can be just as treacherous to navigate.

So, sit back and enjoy that morning coffee as Richard shares with us some of the problems he has faced in the world of freelance.

Friday, September 6, 2013

It’s Time to Invest in Your Own Pictures

Keep it handy.
I post on average three blogs a week and I do my best to add at least two to three pictures per post.  For a short period of time in the beginning I would browse the “free” stock photo sites.  Of course, I soon found out that not all of those were actually free and the ones that were allowed you to grab maybe three to five pictures then you had to pay a membership fee in order to gain access to any more of their standard fare.  They had quite a few contributors and a good percentage of the photos were pretty decent.  Some, however, were just cheesy clip art that really didn’t help the image I was trying to convey.

If you are one of those who simply search Google for images and then right clicks and saves the ones you want to use, beware.  That quick and easy side step could land you facing a lawsuit because most of those pictures are copyrighted and not yours for the taking.  And you can’t blame the photographer.  As a writer, artist or musician, we don’t want people copying our creative efforts and using them for whatever they want without at least getting paid for what we did.  Photography falls under those guidelines and we need to be respectful to the creator and their work.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Burning of Bridges

I'm not getting on that bridge
My dad had a philosophy when it came to leaving jobs - never burn your bridges; you never know when you may have to go crawling back one day.  And when it comes to my jobs, I have done exactly that. Or rather haven’t done that, whichever seems proper.  I never left in a huff and always kept a door open in case I wanted to return and in a few cases I did go back and work for several more years. 

The same should go in the pursuit of your dream, especially if it is one in the arts.  We network and mingle, hoping that we’ll gain support or a point the right direction.  To burn a bridge here may mean long hours down bumpy roads that take you several years longer to reach your destination.  And for what?  A few moments of temper tantrum silliness that may have felt good at the moment, but which you could regret later one day.  It’s not worth it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

That’s going to Kill You

An enjoyable evening on the porch
“I had an uncle that drank a quart a day every day of his lifeHeck, I spill more than that. No kidding, he could drink a quart and not even stagger. Heck, he couldn't even move. We told him, we says, ‘You better quit drinking that stuffIt's gonna kill you. Sure enough, it killed him. He died last year at the age of a hundred and two.  Well, don't laughWe dug him up last week. He looks better than y'all do now.” - 10 Little Bottles by Johnny Bond

I thought of those lyrics while reading a column in Whisky Advocate by Stephen Beaumont.  He was relaying a conversation he had with a gastroenterologist when he went in to his doctor’s for a checkup.  It’s Stephen’s job to sample and review varying beers and on average he has about three or four drinks a day.  On top of that, he also drinks on occasion for his own enjoyment.  Well, when he told the lady that she started giving him a lecture on how he was going to get cirrhosis and that what he was doing was not worth the risks to his health.  Notice she didn’t say might get or he ran the risk of getting cirrhosis.  No, she told him he was going to get cirrhosis.