Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Goes Politically Correct

Why isn't this stereotype being banned?
If you’ve been following me on any of my various social media sites or reading this blog for any length of time, then you are well aware I am not a great believer in being politically correct.  I think it has made sissies out of most people and is used as a get out of jail free card for anything people do not care for.  Bag boys become packaging technicians and trash collectors are now waste management officials.  We are made to be afraid of offending anyone in anyway because, well, people are sensitive and we might hurt their self-esteem.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Citizen’s Arrest!

Don't you hate to see those lights behind you?
In an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Deputy Barney Fife winds up giving Gomer Pyle a ticket for making a u-turn.  Gomer, of course, tries to justify his action, but Barney won’t hear it.  The ticket is given.

However, as soon as Barney hops into his squad car, he then makes a u-turn himself and Gomer runs after him screaming, “Citizen’s Arrest!  Citizen’s Arrest!”  Barney stops and tries to explain that his squad car is a real emergency vehicle.  Then Gomer points out the rub in Barney’s logic.  He wasn’t on an emergency call.  Sheriff Andy Taylor makes Barney write himself a ticket and the chaos ensues from there as well as the laughter.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Mess Welcomes J. H. Bográn

Happy Saturday, my Mess-y friends.  This week we welcome J. H. Bográn, another of my fellow authors I had the privilege of meeting on Twitter..  He was born and raised in Honduras and is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor their official e-zine The Big Thrill.

He is also the author of Firefall. Here is a brief description:
The problem with being reborn from the ashes is, you have to die first.
New York City firefighter, Sebastian Martin, seeks sanctuary in spiraling alcoholic oblivion following the loss of his wife and child in an air crash. Consumed by rage and resentment, directed against his brother and uncle, he takes a last-ditch job in Dallas, Texas, investigating insurance fraud.

Friday, October 25, 2013

If Life Were Like My Twitter Feed

I think he lives up there
Life can be so complicated at times.  People can be even more complicated.  As a matter of fact, I think it is because people are complicated that life becomes that way.  Okay, perhaps complicated is not the right term.  Idiots, morons, douche bags, jack asses, all of these are probably better terms.  However, for the sake of the politically correct, I will refrain from using those and stick with the all-encompassing complicated.  People are just obnoxious and sometimes life would be simpler without them.  The obnoxious ones, that is.  It would be easier and more peaceful if people were like my Twitter feed.

Currently, I have 8595 people following me on Twitter.  I don’t say that to brag because to be honest I doubt most of them even know why they are following me other than someone saw my name and clicked Follow.  I say this merely to point out the diversity of people whose 140 character tweets I see streaming through the scrolling newsfeed. 

And I do mean diverse.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Barhopping with the Kids

 I know, it probably doesn’t sound like a good parenting thing to do, but that’s what they wanted to do, so that’s what they did.  Heather and Chris, with a couple of their friends in tow, met us at our Hotel-from-Hell to escort us to Downtown Gainesville for a night of hitting the bars for cheap drinks and as many laughs as we could squeeze into the night.

“We need to eat first,” Teri told Heather.  “Is there a place Downtown to grab a bite to eat?”

Heather gave her mother a blank stare.  “Um, not really.  I mean, there’s bar food, but not what you would call a real meal.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Bates Motel?

Char, Chris, Heather, & Sarah at the festival
We had planned an overnight trip to Gainesville to visit our two college kids.  At first, it was just a day trip, but I decided that we might as well make the three hour trip the night before and just get a room at a cheap hotel that way we could spend more time on Saturday with the kids.  It was last minute, and yes, there was a game that weekend, but I was sure we could find something without spending an arm or a leg.  Usually I don’t mind too much what we spend on a hotel as I want a good experience and a clean room.  Of course, after our last stay at Best Western in Orlando, I had grown even pickier and more demanding.  This trip, however, was about the kids and we weren’t planning on being in the room longer than a nap, so I told Teri to just find us a cheap one.

She found one; although cheap was still $110 and change.  It was called the Americas Best Value Inn and the condition of the hotel was about the same as our government right now.  The reviews, Teri said, had all been modest.  “It was clean.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Inspiring Teens Blog Hop with Debra Smith

Greetings, my Mess-y friends.  This Saturday, I am happy to be participating in the Inspiring Teens Blog Hop, organized by Greta Burroughs and Vickie Johnstone, and bringing to you another great author, Debra J. Smith, author of Secrets Beyond Scymaria.  Debra will be answering some questions about reading, writing, and her books, which you will be to win a copy of through the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.  Make sure you enter for your chance to win.

So settle back with your morning coffee and enjoy Debra's interview.  Feel free to leave her comments and questions at the end.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Quiet Place

A quiet writing spot
One of the main rules of writing I have often heard is that one must find that quiet nook away from a busy household that will enable you to write without distraction.  Yet, I have always prided myself on being able to write anywhere and at anytime.  I have written in cars and on planes, during rock concerts and lengthy sermons.  The noise level that surrounds me has never been an obstacle to putting thoughts down on paper.  I have always been able to tune out the noises surrounding me as I tune out the children when they ask for money.  However, it is true that nothing really compares to the serene places of solitude where imagination is your only distraction.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Meet the Characters of Daydream's Daughter, Nightmare's Friend

This morning, we bypass the normal Mess to give Nonnie Jules, author of The Good Mommies' Guide to Raising (Almost) Perfect Daughters, a chance to share her characters with us of her new book soon to be out.  I know you'll enjoy the opportunity to meet some new people and getting to know more about another writer.  Be sure to check out both books and Nonnie's website.  You won't be disappointed.

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Hello all and thanks for having me here at THE MESS!  My name is NONNIE JULES and yes, Robbie has had me over before promoting my first published piece, "THE GOOD MOMMIES' GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS", 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can't Help But Love! (now in ebook or paperback format. You may view the trailer on YouTube)  but this time I'm promoting a NEW book, a novel called DAYDREAM'S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE'S FRIEND.  This is the third release date that this book has had, but I can assure you, it's the last.  Mark your calendars for October 31st, (yes, Halloween) as THE final release date.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Peace in the Ritual

Every morning I can be found in the same spot.  It’s usually after my first taxi run where I’m taking the girls to work, but I’ll be there before 7:30 on most days.  With my mug of coffee and a cigar, I can be found perched in my little nook on the back porch working on some current storyline or catching up on yesterday’s news.  It’s my little ritual and without it, my day somehow feels slightly off.

It’s those little idiosyncrasies that make us unique, those little habits or needs that we all have that help us function and remain balanced.  Everyone has them, especially writers.  Those who don’t understand may see these superstitious rituals as meaningless, not finding a logical point to them.  Yet, we know their importance, the depth of peace that they fill us with that allows us to put pen to paper and create from within.

Writers have all kinds of rituals and behaviors to help release the muse.  Most deal with time, place or behavior in order to promote a sense of control that reduces writer’s block while unlocking the freedom of imagination.  Sometimes it’s all about what happens in the beginning as we sit down to write.  We surround ourselves with prompts to help get us out of the gate and into the story.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Theodore Webb

Meet Theodore Webb
This week at the Mess I am happy to have Theodore Webb, a poet, novelist, short story writer and playwright.  Mr. Webb is a co-founding member of Morgantown Poets, a monthly literary arts event serving the literary arts community in north-central West Virginia. He has composed numerous poems, including "America in Dreams," published by Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel and “Star Bus,” selected for Mountain Line’s 2010 “Poetry on the Move” program to feature poetry with Morgantown's public transportation.

Webb is the author of the dystopian fiction novels, "Lifeline,” “Crucible,” “Colossus” and “Inferno,” the first four books in “The STARLING Series," available for Kindle on (Note: All four books are available as one volume, titled, "The STARLING Connection.") His short stories are also available online, including "Desperate Engine" on Amazon and "Family Hour" available in various formats on

To find Webb's books easily, type "Theodore Webb The STARLING Connection" into's search.  You can also join him by giving him a  "Like" Facebook: him on Twitter: Theodore Webb @STARLINGCONNECTor visit his author's blog:

But for now, grab that morning cup of coffee and sit back as Theodore shares with us this morning.

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Thanks Robbie Cox for welcoming me to The Mess. I LOVE Robbie's blog! I fully agree with Robbie on the idea of "authors helping authors." I do the same on

Moreover, I'm glad to see the "Bloggers against Bullies" button/link to the group's Facebook page on The Mess. I'm thankful for the efforts of Robbie and others to fight bullying. If you haven't done this already, be sure you read Robbie's Aug. 12 post on The Mess, titled "Bloggers against Bullies." Great work Robbie and Stephanie Neighbour. Thank you.

Robbie, Stephanie and supporters, I share your mission to fight bullying. Through writing, I strive to build consciousness within myself and, through sharing my creative work, with others.

In this spirit, I'll share an excerpt from the dedication of my dystopian fiction series, "The STARLING Connection."

"This series is dedicated to all those who have been ignored, cast out, ostracized, harassed or beaten; especially, to all those who have been attacked, exploited, abused and/or murdered. The STARLING Connection is for all who have risked everything in the search for their deepest selves, who pay the full price of true friendship, love, understanding and compassion for others."
"The STARLING Series" examines bullying on all levels of society, from top to bottom, to build a deeper understanding of the issue.

"STARLING" shares the story of 15-year-old high school freshman Simon Laramie. Through Simon's voice, we learn what life is like in the near future.

"Silver-metallic aircraft with sleek lines that look like spaceships fly over us several times a day. Every town is assigned at least one, the cities have several. Everyone calls them 'The Drones.'"

Simon explains that in the so-called "U.S.A." of 2045, everyone is completely "connected" via a massive system, SUPERNET. Everyone's constantly watched via electronic devices, radio frequency identification (R.F.I.D.) chips implanted into everyone's bodies, and drones.

Officials claim these draconian measures "provide perfect peace and security." However, as we soon learn, it is in fact the system itself, enabled by powerful new technologies, that represents the utmost violence.

Simon initially has high hopes when he enters high school, but quickly finds himself attacked by a gang of ruthless genetically-engineered bullies.

"We just call them G’s in school. I’ve heard G’s are designed from birth to compete at the top professional national level, sport-wise. Pretty wild, huh? I’ve heard people say that to compete at that level, G’s must be designed to be way more aggressive and violent than regular people."

Simon survives the bullies' attack, thanks to a hard-charging, rebellious and brilliant senior named Jaya Ceyes.

Jaya introduces Simon to Flower Wildwind and Peter Arnold. Together, the teens embark on a mission to break the SUPERNET by starting their own independent website. STARLING allows everyone to share their voices without being censored.

But giving STARLING life is only the beginning of the challenges facing the teens.

I wrote the "STARLING Series" to prove Love is Greater than Fear and Freedom more Real than False Promises of "Perfect Security." My deepest goal is for the "STARLING Series" to share love, friendship and hope with those fighting to survive, to let you know you are not alone.

The "STARLING Series" is available digitally on The e-book can be read on any smartphone, tablet, PC and MAC via free Kindle reading apps:

Here's the Amazon link for the "STARLING Series." Share this on your Facebook page and Twitter!

"The STARLING Connection" by Theodore Webb

Thanks again Robbie for welcoming me to your blog. Keep up the great work!

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Thanks, Theodore, for joining us here at the Mess.  I appreciate your efforts as well in taking a stand against bullies and look forward to checking out your Starling series.  I am sure several of our readers will as well.  Come back and join us anytime.  I also love the hat!

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Did you enjoy what you read?  Leave me a comment and then join me at The Mess that Is Me on Facebook!

Other posts you might enjoy ~ The Mess Welcomes Roxanne Lowery 
                                             The Mess Welcomes Eileen Granfors 
                                             The Mess Welcomes B.J. Sheldon 

Thanks for visiting The Mess! Keep chasing your dreams!

Friday, October 11, 2013

As Iron Sharpens Iron

The best group of friends
It’s my favorite proverb, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  It’s also what I use as a plumb line in forming any relationship that I put myself into.  I always want to improve, to be a better husband, father, friend, writer; to be a better man.  One of the greatest ways to do that is by surrounding myself with people who are going to encourage me to press forward instead of pulling me backwards.  Therefore, I look for certain character traits in people I want close to me.

First is integrity.  I want honest, trustworthy people who will encourage me in the standards I have set for myself and our family.  I don’t want people who are bad mouthing others or sowing discord.   I prefer people who bring a positive aspect to life, always faithful.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It’s in the Supports

As I was driving down the road the other day, I passed a new office building that had just been landscaped.  The sod was still in those visible squares waiting for the time that Nature would quilt them into one lush green blanket of grass and the shrubs were tiny little bushes in freshly upturned earth.  There were also a few trees planted in hope of one day providing shade as well as beauty.

The trees were still quite young, but already they were taller than my six-foot frame.  Yet, in order for them to grow tall and straight, their roots needed time to dig deep and take hold of the earth.  The landscapers knew this, of course, and therefore took three six foot two-by-fours and placed them around the tree as supports holding the tree steady.  Even with one of the east coast’s violent summer storms that tree would be held in place and allowed to stretch toward the skies, reaching its full potential.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Diaper Philosophy

When the boys were little it was decided that Mommy would be the one to change their diapers.  Now, before anyone goes all ultra feminist on me thinking that I’m some male chauvinist leaving the shitty work to the wife, it was a decision Char made after I attempted to change my first diaper.  It was at that moment she decided cleaning one mess was easier than cleaning two.  I have a very weak stomach; sue me.

You may think I am joking, but I assure I am not.  While babysitting one child who had the guts to go in his diaper when no one else was around, it literally took me twenty minutes to change his diaper.  I strapped him to the changing table and then had to take several deep breaths to gain the courage to loosen one of the straps holding the explosion in place.  It took another several deep breaths before I could go and peel the tape back on the other side.  They really should provide gas masks in nurseries for volunteers.  Or hazmat suits.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Kenneth Kerr

Kenneth Kerr
Happy Saturday my Mess-y friends.  This week we welcome Kenneth Kerr, first time author and avid Duplicate Bridge player, from Hilton Head, Island, South Carolina.  Retired now, Kenneth is a fulltime writer with his first book, Life of a Double Agent, available for you enjoyment.  Kenneth and I met via Twitter as seems to be my theme as of late.  Its been an awesome venue to meet great writers and make some interesting friendships.  Kenneth also has a blog, Life of a Double Agent, and a web site under the same name. Make sure you pop over and check them both out.

Before turning it over, I just wanted to say thanks to Kenneth for joining us here at the Mess.  It's always a pleasure to get to know my friends better and I welcome the chance to visit with him.

Now, grab that morning java and settle in for a great visit with Kenneth.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Surfers for Autism

“My cousin, Lisa, is going to be close by and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up,” Sarah said with a look of eagerness.  Like the rest of us, Sarah’s family lived in other parts of the U.S. and visits were rare.  Of course, then I found out she had actually only met Lisa three other times in their lives, so her eagerness for a visit was even more understandable.  

“What do you mean by close?”  This is a logical question because close could mean the neighboring town or across the state.

“They will be on vacation in Orlando for a couple of days, but Saturday they’ll be at Ponce Inlet.  They’re taking her son to a Surfers for Autism event there and we could go and say hello.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

He’s Your Son

“Today, he’s your son,” she said, her arms crossed and eyes wide.

Zac when he got his new truck
“Wait.  Why am I being punished?”  This seemed totally unfair.  I’m also not permitted to ever use it on her.  I had tried it once before, but all I received was denial.  “Nope, he’s not my son.  My son wouldn’t act like that.  He’d know better.”  Apparently, my son is the ignorant one.  So I had to ask, “What did my son do this time?”

“Because he’s acting just like you.  He’s your son.”    I have noticed that when she says he is acting just like me, it’s never meant as a compliment.  Obviously, his bad traits came from my genes, such as drinking directly from the milk carton and poor aim in the bathroom.  Of course, when he does the dishes or decides to dress nicely without being forced to, he’s suddenly Mommy’s Precious Boy.  It’s a total gender bias where the mother gets the good child and the delinquent goes to the father by default, as if nothing good came from the male side of the family.