Thursday, August 31, 2006

Friday Top 10 List

Top 10 Quotes that never were but shoulda been...

10. “Can you hear me now?” – Neil Armstrong

9. “Define ‘for worse’”—Hillary Clinton

8. “I’m going to EuroDisney!”—Charles Lindberg

7. “You’re not really going to wear that, are you?”—Eve

6. “I’m the one who’s President…no one named a beer after me!”—Jimmy Carter

5. “Yeesh! You people will believe anything!”—Peter Jennings

4. “Can someone do something about the &%! cockroaches around here?” —Nikita Krushchev (1,000 points to whoever can tell me what that one’s about!)

3. “I thought no one would ever yell ‘Olley Olley Oxen Free!’”—Jimmy Hoffa

2. “Oh, by the way, make sure you’re not holding onto the kite str…oops, that’s gotta hurt.” —Ben Franklin

And the number one quote that never was but shoulda been…

1. “On the contrary, I did find gold in Alaska.”—Jack London

Take the Top 10 challenge! Give me an idea via e-mail or in the comments and see if I can come up with a Top 10 list. You'll be the envy of at least three people and your kids will be slightly less embarrassed to be seen with you in public!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Trout Tribune--Wednesday, August 30, Final Edition

Paid parking in Trout? You laugh, so do I, but it appears to be a reality. Thomas Grudge, owner of approximately one half acre of parking lot behind downtown Trout has cordoned off his portion of the earth and declared he’s turning it into a paid parking facility. The fact that Trout is a town of roughly 5,000 residents doesn’t seem to deter his thinking.

Rest well, though, fellow Troutonians! The Pastor of Trout United Methodist Church, which sits next to the area in question, has announced that his parking lot will be open to the public. “We only need it on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings,” says the Reverend Jack McMann, “so no one needs to pay for parking.” He did point out, however, that an offering box will be mounted to one of the lampposts at the edge of the parking lot. “Anyone who wished to show their appreciation for the free parking can make a love offering,” says McMann.

Love parking. What next?

In other news, the Trout public school board has published the bus schedule for next week’s kick-off of the new school year. The Sycamore Road route has been detoured around old Bud Lester’s home to avoid anymore stray bullet incidents. Lester’s eyes not being what they used to be, anything moving looks like a deer and the legal season never meant much to him or his family.

Claudia Knight has expanded her fly-tying business to take up the display case at the River Bend Diner. She’s a little late in the season but I hear tell the fly earrings are a big hit with the ladies. I may just get my ears pierced so that I’ve always got my emergency tackle on hand.

That’s all the news I feel like printing.

Buck Rubb, Editor in Chief

Monday, August 28, 2006

A week in the life

Ragweed season. My friend. Despite the onset of something running out of every opening in my face, I am still enjoying what’s left of the summer. Oddly, my wife usually chooses this time of year to dig plants and trees from her mother’s backyard for transfer to ours. My mother-in-law, I’m convinced, plants and grows ragweed for some recipe only beknownst to her. After about an hour of digging, and receiving digging instructions, I escaped to the air-conditioned house, where I could drain my eyes and nose in more comfortable surroundings.

This is another oddity of late August for me. About the time we get perfect open-window sleeping weather, I have to shut up the house tighter than Tupperware with the right lid, which I can never find for actual Tupperware. But the house is air-tight.

Murder on the Side, the first of my River Bend Mystery series, is going well. I’m almost halfway through with the rough draft, which means I’m about one percent done with the entire thing. That’s why I don’t use the little WIP-o-meters that all my buddies put on their blogs. I’m never sure how far along I really am. And now I’ve begun the process of editing my last WIP. I figure it’s rested enough.

This was also the weekend we cleared out a bunch of stuff from my parent’s house as they begin their trek into full-time RVers. The 5th-wheel and diesel truck are on order, the house nearly empty, and the closing date only a couple weeks off. I guess I’d be more sad if I’d grown up in that house, but I was the Navy brat. My brother and sister lived there for most of their childhood. To me, it was just another housing unit, but without everything, including the window sills, painted white.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 Excuses to give your spouse for not getting the “to-do” list “to-done”…

10. The Bible says “from dust we came, to dust we must return.”

9. Without suffering, there can be no art.

8. Our setting is not messy! Our setting has character!

7. I have a bad case of lawn mower’s block.

6. To you it is disorganized junk, to the learned it is literary debris!

5. When my best-seller is published, we’ll get a maid.

4. This house is a WIP. Do not critique!

3. My protag is a slob; this is part of my character development.

2. I’m saving money. Pizza boxes double as transcript mailers.

And the number one excuse to give your spouse for not getting the “to-do” list “to-done”…

1. Maas never said anything about laundry!

Thanks to Linda Fulkerson for this weeks Top 10 topic! If you have an idea for a Top 10 list, drop me an e-mail at and let’s see if I’m up to the challenge!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Trout Tribune--Wednesday, August23, Final Edition

Eegads! There are only five weeks remaining of the official trout season! For those residents of this fine town, that means little, because few of you neanderthals obey the fish & game regulations anyway. But for this wanderer of stream and river, it pulls at my very soul.

Mind you, I look forward to the upcoming deer season as feverishly as any blue blooded Michigander, but there's something about the feel of fly rod in hand as the cold waters of the Grayling River rush between my legs (and, on occasion, over my shoulders). It's not just the end of summer, it marks the passing of another year of mayfly hatches, waxwings swirling on the evening breeze, fawns shedding their spots. Can any man boast of a place or time more lovely than My Michigan in all her greenery? Nay, I say, nay. He who has heard the drumming of the grouse or the trill of the red-winged blackbird can never return to some distant land and remain happy. Ah, Michigan, my Michigan, a more pleasant peninsula doth not exist!

Some say that New Year's or birthdays mark the passing of time. Bull pucky! 'Tis the last day of trout season, dear friends, that adds a wrinkle to the brow and a fresh crick to the knee. When we awaken on that crisp morning of October 1st, we will cast a glance to the time that has passed and wonder how it has slipped away. And even more so how we haven't engaged in the glories of summer with all the strength in us, taking each moment captive in the way of children.

So get out, fellow Troutonians! Bask in the red glow of each sunset and breathe in the wisps of summer that remain, for that's autumn's scent that tickles your nose. Eat, drink, and fish, for tomorrow we rake!

Buck Rubb, Editor in Chief

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A week in the life

August. I used to hate August. It was the time between “real” summer and my favorite season, autumn. August is when the air gets too dry and the grass too brown. Bits of dust and fluffy things float on the breeze, if there is one, and home in on my sinuses like Tomahawk missiles, only slower.

This August, I’m finding, isn’t so bad. It’s been relatively cool after the late July heat spasm (ohmigosh it’s hot in the last week of July…MUST BE global warming!). I couldn’t help but notice that no national news outlet reported the 45 degree temps we were dipping into a week later. I had to break out my Grinch jammies.

The last planned camping trip of the season happened this last weekend as well. We took our 33 footer to nearby Meyer’s Lake, a United Methodist Campground. You don’t have to be United Methodist to camp there, as they found the blood tests inaccurate. We happen to be of that denomination and can prove so by our ability to find a meeting or a pot luck in the most unlikely locations. Unfortunately, even the UM campground people can’t figure out that a 33 foot trailer actually needs somewhat more than 33 feet of space to maneuver. They probably won’t miss that signpost until I’m long forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having an RV. It’s not nearly as traumatic as Hollywood makes it out to be. Not after the first trip anyway. I’ve driven through storms, down steep grades without trailer brakes, taken out a window on a tree branch, broken off a stabilizer jack, bent all four stabilizer jacks, and have had to recall my college trig to get out of a few gas stations, but it’s worth it in the end. Builds character, so they say.

We’re home now. Something like a foot of grass on our one and half acres awaited us. Did I mention that it’s been an unusually rainy summer as well?

Next week is the official kick-off of my allergy season. I’ll have exciting news on that next week!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 ways to get noticed by an editor...

10. Enclose a self addressed stamped rejection letter.

9. Sit outside his or her office building holding a sign that says “will write for Starbucks.”

8. Enclose a photo of yourself lunching with Oprah Winfrey.

7. TP his or her house with your last twelve manuscripts.

6. Be washing his/her car when they step outside to leave for work (do not attempt this in conjuction with #7).

5. Buy a Starbuck’s franchise and name a special blend after him/her.

4. Run for President and demand as many recounts as necessary to get your face on camera every day.

3. Give birth at a writer’s conference (obviously, women have the advantage in this whole publishing game).

2. Pretend to be a fire inspector and deliver your manuscript one citation at a time.

And the number one way to get noticed by an editor….

1. Marry one.*

* The ensuing ugly divorce will give you great fodder for a blockbuster “tell all,” which competing editors will stand in line to contract!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Trout Tribune--Wednesday, August 16th, Final Edition

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as much a supporter of free speech as any God-fearing card-carrying Libertarian. But really, when Candice Justin of our fair town suggested that we have an open mike night at the town square so that anyone with an opinion can express it freely, without interruption, this editor nearly fell out of his La-z-boy.

Now, in any other town, this might work out fine. Other towns are made up of hard-working folks who vote, send their children to summer camp, and drink Folgers. Trout, on the other hand, seems to attract every left-winged dingbat between the Golden Gate Bridge and Greenwich Village.

Evidence? I give you one Horace Brewer. Between 1998 and the present, Horace has written no less than 873 letters to the editor—this editor!—claiming that the Chinese had infiltrated Wal Mart and are slowly filtering the entire GNP toward their own military pursuits.

And then there’s Olivia Cramshackle, daughter of Godfrey Cramshackle, who went completely insane one December night and showed up for his Santa gig at the Elk’s Club wearing nothing but the boots and beard! Now Olivia is somewhat less touched in the gray matter, but only slightly so. If my dear readers will kindly recall, it was Olivia who stood up at a PTO meeting not so long ago and insisted the school mascot be changed to a moose because we might insult all the Trojans living in Northern Michigan. Certainly the fact that she is owner and operator of Moose Paraphernalia has nothing to do with it!

Goodness, I almost forgot about Ralph “Cosmo” Parker. Not only is Cosmo a member in active status of the Old Doe Hunters Association, a position in itself that raises questions of his intelligence, but he is also an avid supporter of the National Organization for Women. Odd association, wouldn’t you say, for a man whose paw print can probably be lifted off the derrière of half the legal aged women in this town, and very likely a good portion of the illegal ones.

I could go on, but space limits me. By all means, take a casual stroll downtown and look at the faces of passers by. You know most of them. Imagine a microphone tucked under their chin, awaiting the drops of wisdom that will escape with each breath.

Are we really ready for that? I’d prefer the Chinese.

Buck Rubb—Editor in Chief

Trivia Tuesday

Welcome to Trivia Tuesday! Here's the question of the week:

How was Agatha Christie's first "little indian" murdered?

First correct response gets the respect of millions and an entire paragraph of my book dedicated to you!

Monday, August 14, 2006


My associates, who apparently have run out of things to write, have “tagged” me with a list of ten things I’m blessed with. Here ‘tis:

1. A friend who has blessed me: My wife is my best friend, and she blesses me daily! She’s also my biggest fan.

2. An unexpected gift: My new job at Hensley.

3. A kind word shared with me recently: A Tyndale Editor told me she really likes my writing. Of course, no offer…

4. Something that makes me stop and praise God: Breathing.

5. Something I'm looking forward to: Heaven.

6. A particular part of me I'm pleased with: My nose. Otherwise, I’d never know what I was eating.

7. Something in my life that I wanted but never expected: A cute wife who thinks laying in bed and reading on New Year’s Eve is a blast.

8. A place that moved/moves me: Gettysburg. The field where thousands of men and boys died during Pickett’s Charge.

9. One thing/person that always makes me smile: My son when he says something totally outrageous, which is almost every day. He’ll be a writer.

10. Most recent "love note" from God: It’s not about you.

The madness ends here. No further tags beyond this point.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Nugget

Prayer is not to get God to come around to your way of thinking. It's to align yourself to His will.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Quote of the Week

If you can use it, steal away!

"I'm all sugared up with nowhere to go!"
- a certain novelist's wife

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 Writer's Digest articles we’d like to see

10. Convince the IRS that chocolate and coffee are business expenses.
9. Earth friendly uses for those rejection letters!
8. How to continue using the same book jacket photo for thirty years.
7. Turn those speeding tickets into research opportunities!
6. LOL and other annoying e-acronyms all writers should avoid.
5. Violent video games to keep your kids away from you and your keyboard.
4. How to convince your spouse that writer's conferences are not “vacations.”
3. Ways to blow off those people who think you’re just dying to ghost-write their book.
2. How to convince your mother that you’re not a closet homicidal maniac.

And the number one Writers’ Digest article we’d like to see…

1. Why best-selling authors never follow the rules we shove down your throat!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Publishing Blog

I've added a couple of new links to my blog--Murderati and Who Dunnit. Murderati is an excellent blog for mystery writers. Check out yesterday's blog "Why Publishing is so Japanese." The author attacks the notion that there's any "magic solution" to the publishing industry. It's a good read.

Who Dunnit has great book reviews and writer resources.

As always, though, return to "Writes in His Sleep." Make it your home page. Pearls of wisdom will rain down upon you, your prose will rival that of Steinbeck, and the pounds will just melt away. Make your children read it and Harvard will come to you!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Trout Tribune -- Wednesday, August 9th, 2006 Final Edition

The River Bend Diner was scheduled to open this morning to the great expectation of the residents of Trout, Michigan. However, the unfortunate discovery of the body of Charlie Houston at table #5 in the wee hours delayed the diner’s first omelet until our outstanding River County Sheriffs finish sweeping the crime scene. Two uneaten hamburgers were found at the scene as well, so a very hungry killer is still on the loose! Be cautious of anyone approaching you for a meal handout!

Despite the fifty-percent casualty rate thus far, the residents and summer-people of Trout eagerly await the second attempt at a Grand Opening tomorrow morning.

Fred Starling, proprietor of the River Bend Diner, withheld comment on the incident. The Reverend Jerry Higgins, part-time preacher and full-time short order cook at the diner, lamented the loss of a much beloved parishioner and donor of the building and property on which the Living Waters Community Church rests. Charlie Houston was also the owner of the River Bend Diner, leasing the property to Mr. Starling.

Our own Susie Dawn, head waitress at the River Bend, was not short on words.

“It’s just awful,” says Ms. Dawn, “I bought a whole new outfit for today. See?” Ms. Dawn turned to show off a lovely denim skirt, at which point your reporter forgot everything else she said. You long-time residents of Trout will remember Susie Dawn as our 1985 Rainbow Queen from the annual Mayfly Festival in June.

In other news, Pop Gordon, President of the Old Doe Hunters Association, announces a new meeting location—the aforementioned River Bend Diner. All four members are instructed to report there Thursday, promptly at 10am. Dress is North Woods formal (flannel shirts and unfaded jeans).

And that’s all the news I feel like printing.

Buck Rubb – Editor in Chief

Monday, August 07, 2006

This Week in My Life

There’s something about Vacation Bible School that screams “What were you thinking?!?” No, I’m not talking about those of you who have the wisdom to do the dump and run method of child delivery to aforementioned VBS, I’m talking about those of us who find themselves filled with the all consuming desire to “lend a hand.” That’s in quotation marks because, inevitably, your other hand, both feet, and all your spouse’s appendages get tossed into the ring as well.

I must admit, though, that I love seeing our church filled with the little monsters. Right now the entire building is decked out in African Serengeti theme. Some of you may remember this particular VBS from several years ago. My church does all its shopping in the bargain basement, looking for last year’s styles, be it VBS, Christmas program, sometimes the cookies after service.

I didn’t grow up a Christian. Jesus was a swear word in my house. So I never attended VBS, though I think my parents missed out on a golden opportunity to be rid of me for a few hours a day. So when I gave my heart and the rest of me to Jesus on a June evening nine years ago, VBS was one of the first ministries I got involved in at my new church. It wasn’t that first year, but I think the very next, when I was more or less just a gopher, that I was helping corral some of the pre-K children outside in our little playground. It had a fence around it and one little girl stood on the outside looking in at the other children. I watched one of the teachers walk over and say something to her. She just shook her little blond head and continued to stare.

We do strange things sometimes without putting much thought into it. I think that’s when we get our best results. I walked over to the little girl from the inside and started talking to her. I asked her about the zoo, what her favorite animals were. It was the monkeys, of course, so I said maybe we were the monkeys on the inside and she was watching us. So I acted like a monkey. She laughed. I asked her if she’d rather be a monkey, it was so much more fun. She nodded. I walked around and opened the gate for her and she joined the other kids, earning me a thumbs up from the teacher.

I didn’t talk to her much the entire week, but on the last night of VBS I was standing by the sanctuary doors as the kids were being walked out by their parents. That little girl walked by, her hand in her mother’s, and suddenly pulled free. She whirled around and launched into me with a hug much bigger than her little body should have been capable of producing.

I don’t know if I ever saw her again. All these little faces get jumbled together, and I’m not much for remembering people anyway. But I wonder if that little girl, by now a teenager, ever knew how much she ministered to that new Christian’s heart. I’ve had similar experiences since then, but I’ll always remember the first.

And that’s why I’m always willing to lend a hand.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Mornin' Nugget

Every new Christian should be issued a plastic shampoo bottle with the word "Grace" printed on the front. On the little instruction label on the back it would say.
His Grace is sufficient.
God loves you and so do I.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Friday Top 10

Top 10 clues that writing may not be your forte:

10. Your mother says it stinks.
9. Your crit partners all change their e-mail addresses.
8. You think Webster’s is a funny little kid on a bad 80's sitcom.
7. Grisham sues for putting a link to his website on your blog.
6. Your laser printer groans.
5. Editors ask what grade you’re in.
4. Your trash company adds a surcharge to your bill for the rejection slips.
3. People kept handing you their dirty dinner dishes at your last writer’s conference.
2. Your postal carrier tells you that your return address labels lack “narrative drive.”

And the #1 clue that writing may not be your forte:

1. All your protagonists commit suicide before the end of the prologue.

Routines and Life Changes

I like routine. My wife can attest to this. Just try talking to me while I'm reading the comics over my breakfast. My entire life, it seems, has been spent trying to find a routine that will cover everything I want to accomplish. If you're not snickering yet, you're probably not even out of high school. Establishing a routine around the dynamic schedules of school age children is next to impossible.

For the writer, it's even worse. I know I have to write every day. 100,000 words don't just happen by themselves. I don't care how many monkeys you have. I've tried pretty much every time slot during the day, from 4am to 10pm. At 4am I end up with two pages of gibberish. At 10pm I can't get to sleep afterwards because my mind is still plotting (note the title of this blogsite).

I think, though, that I've about got it this time. The new job made that possible. Since I don't a have to be at work unitl 9am, I get a nice gap of time in the morning when kids are sleeping in the summer or getting ready for school the rest of the year. So I pop up--okay, I slither out--at 6am, eat, and write for an hour. That left me with plenty of time to get ready for work and even some time for morning devotions.

Then my back starting hurting again. Did I mention I sit all day at this new job. That's as hard on the old spine as heavy lifting. So I whined, naturally, looked into joining a gym and coughing up $50 a month, as if the $50 would buy an extra hour in the day as well.

So-here's the lifestyle change-I started running after my writing time. This works out well. I'm sure my local writing friend Mark Terry is nodding his head right now. Maybe I'll pass him some morning if I ever run that far. The point is, we've gotta focus on the earthly trilogy--Mind, Body, & Spirit...oh, yeah, Spirit.

Does praying during the morning drive count?