The Soldier

Poesy plus Polemics

"Wounded Warrior" Drawing by Michael Fay, USMC From “Wounded Warrior”
Drawing by Michael Fay, USMC

nobly forged
sworn to serve
defends liberty
flesh and blood
aimed along
battle lines
into the legend
the red maw
where war
swallows hell
burning bullets
and bodies
to ashes that
fertilize peace

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My Writing Tools

Take a look at this blog by Ty Roper. Some interesting tools listed for writers.

Time to Write


I find these kinds of posts helpful, so I thought I would share the tools I use for my writing.

  1. Number one. Most important is Scrivener. I would be lost without this tool. I can write scene by scene into separate notes/documents, keep multiple versions, organize them into chapters when I’m ready, and collate a selection of them into a draft manuscript ready for printing or my Kindle. I do my world building and back story creation and cataloging in a section separate from the manuscript. I can describe my characters, one per note/document, and places. I also keep much of my extracted research in a separate Research folder. You can delete things and keep them in a trash folder as well. I use the Windows version, but wish I were a Mac user. Theoretically they will have an iPad version in the future. — $40 US
  2. iA writer

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Book Review: Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

Greetings, dear readers:

Here’s another review for you!

Book Review:

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, by Scott D. Southard.


Max cover


* Please note: I purchased this book. The author did not solicit this review.*


My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this mystery/thriller.

As always, I will not rehash the plot of this book and summarize the story. I’ll leave that up to the book’s cover and other venues.
First off, this is an absolutely fantastic cover design. However, I was deceived by this cover. The story isn’t the tale the cover caused me to assign to it. But it’s nice, nonetheless, and deserves applause.

The characters are well-rounded and none are alike. Maximilian is a character to be reckoned with and I found myself wanting to punch him in the face a few times. Bob, the narrator of the story, is actually my favorite character. I mean, who can’t love someone named Bob?

The copy could use another look from an editing perspective, but there’s nothing too awful or that impeded my reading the story. I was into this book from page one. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. The amusement is solid and the scenes and different storylines merge nearly flawlessly from one to the other. Even though this book is narrated in the First Person, we can still seem to see the other character’s points of view, personalities, even facial expressions and feelings. The First Person narration takes away nothing from this story at all. It’s still well rounded and entertaining. The story is paced well until the end. I felt the ending came way too quickly.

When I started reading this book, I thought I was reading one tale, and then by the last few chapters of the book – the last 3 or so – a plot twist was revealed that left me shaking my head. I wanted Maximilian and Bob and the crew solving a great mystery…do or die. I was very confused at the end and had to sit and think about it for a while. In truth, the end plot twist caused this story to come crashing down for me personally. In fact, I am still not sure what in the world happened. On another note, I believe this would’ve been a good plot twist…in another story.

By the end, I wanted to give this book fewer stars, because I was disappointed. However, at the center of the book, I had already assigned it 4 stars. So, I am still giving this book 4 stars because I was hugely engaged until those last few chapters…where that end twist made me livid. If a book can do that to me, it’s worth the stars! Therefore, I cannot base my rating on the fact that I did not care for the ending. I was fully entertained up to that point. I did not like the changes in reality, back and forth – are we real or not, that started happening in the last quarter of the book. It was confusing. I really wanted a haunted castle, or someone smart enough to create a haunting for the likes of Maximilian Standforth. I, personally, was let down at the end. The story left me going, huh?… I just feel the plot twist shorted the story of something that I could rave about.

I think if you love mystery or thrillers…or anything even Sherlock Holmes like, this is a good book for you. It was for me, but in my opinion, the ending ruined my high. It’s a good ending if you’re a reader who likes a surprise ending that knocks your car off the rails.

I wish the author would write more stories with these two characters. I mean, the ending of this book is such that there would be no questions raised regarding more stories of this group.

Here’s the Amazon link to Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. Take a look!
Happy reading!


Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, social media authors, Kristen Lamb, WANA, Rise of the Machines

When I began writing I was SO SURE agents would be fighting over my manuscript. Yeah. But after almost thirteen years in the industry, a lot of bloody noses, and even more lessons in humility, I hope that these tips will help you. Self-publishing is AWESOME, and it’s a better fit for certain personalities and even content (um, social media?), but we must be educated before we publish.

Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready

The problem with the ease of self-publishing is that it is, well, too easy. When we are new, frankly, most of us are too dumb to know what we don’t know. Just because we made As in English, does not automatically qualify us to write a work spanning 60,000-100,000 words. I cannot count how many writers I’ve met who refuse to read fiction, refuse to read craft books, and who only go to pitch agents…

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Enter Our New Contest, ‘Horror: Told in 100 Words’ to Earn Some Cold Hard Cash and Publication!

Send in your submissions. You never know! And besides, it sounds like icky fun!

Horror Novel Reviews

A quick editor’s note: Tim Meyer, longtime HNR contributor and kick ass author of multiple critically acclaimed novels will be spearheading this contest, and I cannot possibly thank the man enough! We owe Tim a very serious debt of gratitude, as running a contest of this nature isn’t the comfy walk in the park some may believe. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into an event of this nature, and the fact that Tim was eager to step up to the plate says an awful lot about the man!



Okay, folks! Here’s the skinny. Flash fiction is pretty hip nowadays and we want to see who can come up with the most creative horror story using 100 words or fewer. Sounds fun, right! Right?!?!

So first thing’s first—the theme. This contest/anthology will have a dual theme. The first is Creation. The second…

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Blessed Independence Day, U.S.A! What Is That Anyway?

each other

…Oh! It’s the Fourth of July. Let us know and share with our children, and those new to this land, the truth and the history of this day and how it started and why it stands. (I’ve included some interesting links at the end of this blog post.)


Another 4th of July celebration is upon us. Just remember, this is Independence Day…not just July 4th or 4th of July, or Fourth of July, etc. Remember in your hearts and prayers the men and women who gave their lives or livelihoods for us…and most importantly remember their families on this day.

Only after honoring them should we then celebrate our freedom. Not just over the years, but freedom from the initial hand that held us tightly… The caption under the below photo read something like: Shot in the head. Died on a lonely plain. I wonder what became of his family and if they ever got his body home.


old 4th

And we should bow our heads to, and thank them all so that we are free to display our pride. May the Eagle soar, and the most beautiful flag of any country on this Earth continue to fly, waving to all those that have given a life-gone-by.


I am grateful that my country, at this time, gives me the freedoms to do and say the things I want to, and often the things I should not. Despite the sometimes bigotry of my fellow Americans, I am free to practice my spiritual practices and the religion of my choosing. I can write books and stories about ghosts, tyrants, heroes, and even bash the government if it has done something I don’t like. I can work any job of my choosing that will hire me. I know I’ve said these things before. But I know or have encountered people who live(d) in other countries and I know what I have here. I am a proud and grateful U.S citizen. I am getting old and fat, but I would take up arms to defend this country today, just as I would have 20 years ago. I am not afraid to die for what I believe in. Whether that be my country or my religion, or my family.

My father, Walter, came here from Poland after WWII. The atrocities he saw at 16 as a soldier are something I can’t even imagine. Thanks to him, I am a first-generation Polish-American…a title I carry with pride. He taught me to appreciate simpler things like the fact that I can read, and the quiet and plenty in my life. He stoned me with his belief that one should only claim rewards and accolades if they worked for them. My mother, Edna, is from West Virginia. She grew up high in the mountains, poor and with nothing. During WWII, her mother fed them on “ration stamps”. She has given me the appreciation of saving money…and to be thankful for where that money comes from. My step-father, Louis, was a good man. He, like my father, was a WWII vet. He grew up in rural Texas and went into the military just in time. He taught me appreciation for the land and the animals from where our food comes. Thanks to him, I came to understand that there is something to love about where you are whether you like that place or not.

When I was in my early 20s, I met a Korean War veteran. He told me about some of the things that happened to him there as a POW. Really, I never thought another human being would stick bamboo shoots under the fingernails of another human just for fun. That alone is enough to make me want to punch walls…or vomit.

I respect a government that respects the human rights of non-Christians, non-heterosexuals, and non-Caucasians. Despite what our individual opinions are, our federal government says we all have rights. Now, if we all as individuals would respect that…we’d be better off. Here’s to freedom of speech, right to bear arms, the right to a religion of our choosing, the right to be homosexual…gay, lesbian, and any other title under the rainbow. I believe in the right of marriage equality and I am grateful to see state after state becoming tolerant of that, if not outright accepting. Here’s to the right to read a book, here’s to the right to drink beer, and the right to laugh out loud or talk to ourselves in public. Here’s to the rights of those who join employment unions and to those who hate unions…it’s our choice. And here’s to my right to express how much I do not like that Communist dick-tator,Vladimir Putin, and how badly I want his tyrant ass to leave Ukraine be. And, as U.S.-born citizen, I have the right to type here that I wish that if President Obama must be militarily involved any further world affairs, whether that be in an advisory or a military operational capacity, I wish he would stay out of Iraq…and go to Ukraine instead. *I pray for them.*

Now, for one day, let us quiet our dogmas and ring that damned Liberty Bell!

liberty bell

I will be forever sad for those who must go on without their loved ones who lost lives supporting the American way. And I thank them…I thank you. Whether those people fought in the American Revolution, or if they just came home, silent, from Iraq or Afghanistan. All these people, over several generations, have earned and maintained for me the resources to be happy. And on any given day, if I’ve had a bad day, or am having several bad years in a row; if I am ecstatic over a new job or if I’ve just bought a new pair of shoes…I am experiencing all of this because I worked for it with the help of those who bought American resources for me with their lives or health. Now, I long to see one more freedom…the rights of our military personnel and their families to be paid a wage becoming of what they do and what they give. For the health care of our military personnel to be above that of everyone else…excepting children…even before that of the any American president or congressperson. I want them to have adequate living quarters when they leave the military; they should have good pensions and not have to work at minimum wage jobs after fighting in a desert full of people who hate them and only looked to them as target practice. Really? These simple, simple things are a human right of any person that serves in a war for their country.

american soldiers

I have never been to any war. Yet, I cannot say that I will never see a war on my American soil. But I have trust in those who serve and protect and not just our military, but to police officers and firefighters and anyone else whose life at stake due to a job they do. It saddens me every day when I hear of a fire fighter losing his life trying to save someone who would not throw a penny at him for the job. I am heartbroken at the news of another police officer losing life to a thug who thought it was his right to rob, steal, batter or kill another because he felt like it or wanted the person’s cell phone. No, murder is one right we do not have, lest it is…in my opinion, to defend our own. We have no rights to murder another for the hell of it and to attempt to take what he worked for. This is not our right. This is no one’s right. And I appreciate the fact that there are people out there who are willing to defend my rights against that of some low-life thug who wants to poison our children with dope, or steal my car, or force women and children…even animals…to do things against their wills. Yes, they all get paid. Our taxes pay their salaries, but their taxes also pay their salaries. We do not own the police force, so shut your traps. So for those who believe we solely pay them to do a job: We do not pay them to die. Unfortunately, that is a misunderstanding regarding police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel world wide. So no matter where you live, respect these men and women, or never dare to call their name the day you need them. That would be a cowardly thing. If we are so brave…then let us shut our mealy mouths and go do their jobs. What?

Below photos regarding slain Chicago police officer, Clifton Lewis who was killed by a sorry human being.

chicago police car

chicago officer

This year, I have much to be grateful for on Independence Day. I have a new job. A job that I feel too inferior to have. But thanks to some military person in history, Illinois exists today, and I work for it and it’s citizens. Despite I have huge bills to pay, I am blessed. I am glad to be alive to have bills.

Also, go shake the hand of your American brothers and sisters in brotherhood. Welcome those legally new this land who work hard and pay taxes and wave our flag in front of their homes. If they worked for it, they own it.

If you see a member of our military today, shake their hand. Bring an apple pie over to the children of a military person who is far away. Say a friendly hello to a police officer instead of treating them with disrespect. And mostly, remember to say a prayer for our government tonight before you close your eyes to sleep.

Some people in other countries may think that U.S. Americans are the craziest asshats on the planet. But who cares? (Actually, they need to stop watching Girls Gone Wild in their spare time!) I mean, really, after all, the British are the ones who sent all the lunatics and criminals here early on. What did they expect?… Anyway… *cough* They’re just jealous that we have national parks, the state of Texas, a large Amish population, Jesse Jackson, Toby Keith, Harley Davidson, and the secret recipe to the Tootsie Roll. And guess what, World!, we’re keeping ALL that stuff. Yes, even Jesse.

Now that the serious reflection is over…let us go eat cakes decorated like the U.S. flag (as that’s the only proper way to eat a U.S. flag…otherwise one should not eat the flag.); let’s eat our American fare: cheeseburgers off the grill, barbecue ribs, macaroni and cheese, and of course, S’mores which are made using the “great American Chocolate bar” by Hershey. Let us chug down Cokes or Pepsis, lemonade and beer, and plenty of water – it’s only Lake Michigan for me.

Happy 4th of July, you fun-loving, Harley riding, flag waving…happy-just-for-the-day, mean-ass Americans (and all of you in-the-process-of-becoming-an-American mean-ass Americans)!… 😉 I salute you, you gluttonous, littering, foul-mouth hooligan feigning-no-respect peoples of the USA.

May your God bless your hard-candied, soft-at-the-center hearts. I know you’re soft…I know you like to stick together in reality. I saw it happen when the Twin Towers fell, when New Orleans and later the East Coast were destroyed by water and wind; when the Boston Marathon was hijacked by two bags full of trash, and 20+ five-year-old children were gunned down by a coward. We do like each other. At least a little bit. And if we don’t, there’s always several versions of an old adage similar to: Fuck with mine and I’ll fuck with you. We might burn each others houses downs, but let some ass wipe try to come to our land and burn us down… Do not get us started, right America? We don’t want to have to put a “boot in your ass; it’s the American way.”

Happy birthday, U.S.A! You bunch of lazy asshats! 😉 *hugs*


Here are some links:

The American Revolution (The History Place)

The American Revolution – Lighting Freedom’s Flame (National Park Service)

Throwback Thursday

Vintage postcard – The First Fourth of July (U.S. Independence Day)