Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Novel - A Repost ...

(Not so hard, but ... Reposted)

Well, it seems this isn't terribly difficult to do, supposing one has a lot of opinions and plenty of time to express them. I have the opinions, but not so much the time. Free time I use reading blogs, writing - or attempting to - my novel, and just generally goofing off. That's me - a goof off.

Now, I do have a completed novel, "Benning's War - A Novel Of The American Revolution", at a publisher, waiting to be readied for the buying public. As I understand it, my book is behind another that is having some production problems. Were this a large publisher I doubt my book would be held up. However this is a very small publisher, with limited resources. So what was supposed to be a December publishing date is now, tentatively, a January publishing date. Make sense? LOL

Image hosting by Photobucket

Now, that deadline of mine has passed, a galley proof was mailed to me, and has been gone-over with a fine-toothed comb, fixed, and the corrections emailed back. The new deadline? I don't have a clue. But I don't think there's anything else I need to do with the actual book. My writing, editing, and so on should be through. We'll see, huh?

Fact is, the manuscript was accepted in Late May 2005. By all rights I would not have expected it to hit the shelves for nearly eighteen months, anyway. Seems they liked it enough to put an editor on it right away. And then we struggled with revision and corrections for a few months. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it was hell.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Trust me, after you've written a novel, gone through it for errors, had it read by people whose judgement you trust, revised the daylights out of it, and sent it to a publisher ... well ... you are damned well tired of it. The last thing you want to do is look at it again. And again, and again, and ... Get the idea?

From my main editor, the manuscript went to two others. Same things from them. My choice was always make the changes or don't. "It's your book, benning. You decide."

After the three of them were finished, guess what? HAH! One more editor. AND I was asked what sort of cover I wanted.

Image hosting by Photobucket

"Can I do my own?"

"Well, we do have someone who's done a few covers for our authors." And I just know they're thinking, "Oh, Lord, he's gonna do a cover in Sharpie and crayons!"

"Well, lemme give it a shot, and you decide if it sucks or not, okay?" Yes, I did say that. Hey! I used to be a fair hand with a pencil, and painted some nice pictures in my youth. Well, I did! Hmmmph!

Here's the main picture I worked up. Not too bad, is it? Be brutal!

This is my work, folks. My sketch, my arrangement, my cover. Any good? well, I hope so. Besides, it's the inside that counts, right?

My novel is "Benning's War". It's a novel about the American Revolution. It covers a small period in 1780, from the Waxhaws Massacre to the Battle of Kings Mountain, and a little bit beyond. I think it's quite good. I hope once it's published that you buy a copy. AND that you agree that it's good.

Image hosting by Photobucket

My publisher is . ePress Online is a small publisher, but they're growing. Why not visit them? See if the books now available aren't interesting enough to buy? I know most of the authors there, and they write some entertaining things. The non-fiction books are well worth the small price, too!

Go! Buy! Come back and see if I'm on sale yet, too! LOL

Monday, March 27, 2006

And Since I'm Already Testing ...

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

I wish they had one for Blue! That's my color! LOL

(H/T Here, there and back )

If I Were A Beer, Which Would I Be . . . ? And more ...

"If you were a beer, which would you be?
A Guinness, Sam Adams, or Old Milwaukee?

Do you have a thick head? Are you dark, are you skunked?
Aged at the hands of obscure Trappist Monks?

Are you stout, are you bitter, oaky like Fall,
Or like most of my coworkers, with no taste at all?

However you are, here's one test you can't flunk,
All beers are okay, so long as you're drunk."

(H/T to The Anchoress, of course!


(66% dark & bitter, 33% working class, 100% genuine)

So the deal with this test is that each taker, based on his or her scores, is assigned a beer that fits their personality (Corona, Bud Select, and so on), and along with the personality description, there's a poster or an ad for that beer. As you can imagine, most of the images feature booty models, sports cars, or, maybe even more depressing, retro kitsch.

It's a testament to Bass Ale, and therefore to YOU, that when I went to look for ads for Bass, all I found was this. An ad from 1937. Bass is legit, and if your scores are true, so are you. I tip my glass to that.

Personality-wise, you have refined tastes (after all, Bass is kind of expensive), but you know how to savor what you get. Your personality isn't exactly bubbly, but you're well-liked by your close circle of friends. Your sense of humor is rather dark, but that's just another way to say sophisticated, right? Cheers.

Link: The If You Were A Beer Test written by gwendolynbooks on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

But, then as I finished this Beer test - a truly important test, I should emphasize! - I saw another one, and thought it would be interesting,too.

"The 'What European Sword's For You' Test"

1/2 Hand Sword
You scored 15% Short Sword, 45% 1 and half Hand, 25% Broad Sword, and 0% Claymore!

Your preferred weapon would be the One-and-a-half Hand-Sword, the common weapon of the Crusader. This sword can be both used on its own, as a two-hand sword, or with a shield, to help defence.

Link: The what Europeans sword's for you Test written by matthias1560 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

I kinda like this. Oh, I have no pretensions that I have the strength or perseverence to be an actual Crusader. No, that is lacking within me. But I would like to think I have the courage that they had. To leave your home, family, land behind. On Faith alone, at the word of a village priest, to gather as a consecrated body, in defense of the Faith.

Remember: The Crusades were a response to attacks by Islamic Hordes on the Jews and Christians in the 'Holy Land'. The Crusades were not a 'pre-emptive strike' against a peaceful, pastoral people. If anybody tells you differently, they are lying to you.

This blog is no political blog. I have my opinions. They tend to be rather conservative in nature. But that's not why I have this blog. At the same time, one would be a fool if he did not see what was going on around him, and speak out, when the time arose. I think that time has come.

The Crusaders, despite the silliness of modern historical analysis, were no blood-thirsty mob, bent on the conquest of New Lands. They were religious men, seeking dispensation from their sins. They fought the 'Infidels' in the 'Holy Land' to free it. And those 'Infidels' had savagely taken the 'Holy Land'. They didn't merely convert the inhabitants. No, Islamic Soldiers put the populace to the sword. Or expelled them. When you read of the "atrocities" practiced by the Crusaders on the poor, helpless Muslim people of Jerusalem, and the rest of the lands, remember that they were simply on the receiving end of their own bloody practices.

The Christians, sad to say, were as savage as the Muslims. Wishing it weren't so is meaningless. That's how it went in those days. Trying to compare it with today is a fool's game. And anybody that tells you that you can compare the different eras...well, they're lying. Again!

Were it not for the Christian 'Reconquest' in Spain, the defense of the Balkans by the Romanians, the defense of Vienna, the Islamic Hordes would have subjugated all of Europe. And the Renaissance would never have occurred. No Declaration of Independence, no modern world at all.

Doubt me? Well, take a look at the history of the Ottoman Empire. You will have a wondeful window into the Islamic World within the Caliphate. And that's what the modern Islamist wants. What he/she will slaughter you and yours to bring about.

If that's fine by you, well, maintain your silence. Don't fight for Liberty. After all, it's your right to be a slave if you so desire. But me, well, I think I will become a Crusader if the need arises.

GOD willing, it never shall.

Take care!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Classic Beauty: Is It Ever Out Of Style?

The Anchoress dropped by today, and expressed admiration for the picture at the top of the page. No! She wasn't complimenting benning's manly mien, but the picture beside my wondrous mug. That is "Daydreaming" by Daniel Ridgway Knight.

Below is the painting in a slightly larger version. Just for The Anchoress!

Image of 'Daydreaming' hosted by Photobucket
"Daydreaming" by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Daniel Ridgway Knight, like so many of the finest of painters, lived the bulk of his life in the Nineteenth Century. He died in 1924. In every respect, this artist was a classical painter. Like others whose work I admire, Knight's art is lifelike without being pedestrian. I know, that sounds like I'm about to wax Academic. Don't worry: I haven't the training or the vocabulary to speak deeply on the subject.

Like so many folks, "I knows what I likes"! And I 'likes' Knight. I think what fascinates me so much is the way the truly classical remains powerful. The same is true of music, just as much as with painting.

What do I mean?

I enjoy Classical music. Really enjoy it! Yes, in the solitude of my apartment, with a favorite piece playing, I will do the 'Orchestra Conductor' bit. I wave my hands about, point to the violin section, and generally act like an odd-ball. I also play 'air guitar' while playing the Beatles, or Moody Blues. So it's not just for the old stuff that I get 'active'! LOL

That being said, I have favorites. Regardless of what the experts have to say on the subject, I like Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. So do, and did, a whole lot of people. The experts, as is so often the case, are elitist boobs with all their taste in their tongues. Tchaikovsky wrote music that he enjoyed, and that we enjoy. And that's what makes a successful artist. It ain't what the experts say.

So for me, the Hungarian Rhapsodies of Franz Liszt are exciting to hear! Try them! You won't be sorry. Not a chance of that! They are not the sonorous funereal trudgings of Mahler and so many of the modern composers. Nope! This is music! Real, honest-to-GOD music!

Which brings me to Georges Enesco. Never heard of him? That's sad. I'd just about bet you've heard at least snippets of his Romanian Rhapsodies. And they are beautiful! This man was born in 1881, in the village of Liveni, Romania. Enesco (or George Enescu!) died in 1955, having spent most of his life in the Twentieth Century. Yet, when you listen to his Romanian Rhapsodies, you would swear you hearing the works of any great classical composer. For he is! A great classical composer. Play any of his "Romanian Rhapsodies", either No. 1 or No.2, and hear what I mean. I can't get enough of them! I can play them over and over again. And for me that's the ultimate compliment on any song's worth. And Enesco is beautiful: his was a classical style and beauty that may be 'out-of-style' for the self-proclaimed musical experts. But to anyone who hears his Rhapsodies, they aren't. No, they are beautiful. Always.

Below is another of Knight's paintings. Enjoy! It's classical and beautiful, and I don't care if it's out-of-style. I bet you don't either.

Image of 'A Moment Of Rest' hosted by Photobucket
"A Moment Of Rest" by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Roses For John Paul II

Now, I'm not a rose person. Not at all. My favorite flower is the carnation, and then the iris. Roses, to me, are too cloying, the fragrance far too medicinal and sweet.

Carnations have been my faves for, well, as long as I can remember. The fragrance of a carnation reminds me of that icing you can only get on a bakery-bought cake: light, fluffy, just sweet enough. Delicate! That's the word.

Irises, now, have a lovely look to them. I don't think they have any fragrance at all. Can't remember any, and I used to get irises for my Mom every Mother's Day. But it wasn't the fragrance, anyway. I loved the look of the iris: dignified, yet lacy. Just a beautiful flower.

But roses? Well, now, I never could enjoy a rose. Just never have cared for them. But I do find the cultivating of new varieties very interesting. Like a black rose. Or a dark blue rose. They can be amazingly pretty.

Image hosting by Photobucket

So, now here comes the "Pope John Paul II Commemorative Rose Collection" at Jackson & Perkins. And I have to tell you, this is a very dignified rose. Well, let me quote the Jackson & Perkins site:
"World premiere of the Pope John Paul II rose – only 2,500 available this year!
This radiant white tribute to a beloved world figure grows in the private Vatican gardens. Now you can enjoy its perfectly formed hybrid tea flowers and citrus fragrance in your own garden, along with a numbered edition Commemorative package. The collection includes a Pope John Paul II bareroot rose and solid, cast aluminum marker to place alongside the planted rose in your garden. You'll also receive an embossed keepsake portfolio, which holds a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity, a full-color photograph of the rose and one of the late Pontiff’s homilies. A special collector's item, this limited edition package also makes a wonderful gift."

My Roman Catholic friends may get a charge out of this. I have to admit that this is one 'tribute' that doesn't go too far. You know what I mean! Frankly, I like it. No, I'm not buying one - I haven't got that kind of money. And I'm still not sure what to get Mom for this Mother's Day. But if you like roses, and you find this clean, white rose attractive, now's the time to go getcha one!

*Hmmmm ... wonder if Mom would like another Iris. 'Course they have to be sliced apart after they stop blooming, Mom might not want to mess with that again. Maybe an Amaryllis? Hmmmm ...*

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Memories ...

From an Exercise at my F2K group on Yahoo:

"Try to identify your earliest childhood memory. Write down everything you can remember about it. Rewrite it as a scene. You may choose to do this from your current perspective or from the perspective you had at that age."

Unfortunately, I have never had a good memory - at least as far as my childhood is concerned. Most of my memories from childhood are snippets of happenings, none of them of any great length, many of them of no obvious importance.

For instance, I can remember clearly my sister and I trudging downstairs in the wee hours of many a winter morning, going around to the hall, where the heater was, and curling up on the tile floor.

She and I would fall asleep there, to the hiss, rattle, and hum of that heater, while being kept nice and warm, too. Inside, there was a light or two - maybe a pilot light, or the oil burners, I don't know - and I remember watching the lights until I fell asleep. My Dad would invariably come out of the bedroom to use the bathroom, find us there, and carry us back up to bed.

Yet my memories of that remain fragmented and a touch hazy.

I remember a Christmas morning, very early, when Dad came to fetch my sister and I. We weren't allowed to go downstairs on Christmas morning until Dad or Mom came for us. That was the rule! After all, Mom and Dad had to wake up a little, and while Dad came for us, Mom was making a pot of coffee. And that's something I appreciate as an adult! But, the rule was to stay upstairs until the Folks come getcha.

By that time, my sister and I had already dug the goodies from our stockings - finding the obligatory undies, of course! - and were more than ready for the main course! I don't remember Dad coming up, but he did. I do remember hearing a tiny "toot" from outside the room. Dad sent my sister down by herself - she was a year older than me, and I guess she was more trustworthy than I - and then nudged me out the door.

The only lights downstairs on a Christmas morning were the ones from the tree. So I headed down the stairs that were bathed in the multi-colored splendor of Christmas lights, hearing an odd "toot" and a "huff! huff!" sound, too!

I remember getting half-way down the steps, and looking to the right, where the tree stood in front of the living room window. A tiny light was traveling around the tree! The light was on the front of a black something that puffed a tiny amount of smoke into the air. And then it "Tooted"! I remember stopping on the steps and watching the train travel around the tracks that Dad had laid around the base of the tree the night before. (Of course Santa had done that!) It was actually mesmerizing.


That was my first, and only, train set. But my memories of it are foggy at best. Christmases were a good time for me, but, again, the memories are in fragments, from many times. I remember my sister, little brother, and I laying on the floor, with our heads under the Christmas tree, looking up through the branches. Watching the lights, smelling the pine. We would squint our eyes to make the sight a blur, thus creating a new look above us.

I remember our Aunts Connie and Geraldine, who lived down in Philly. Dad would drive down and pick them up, bring them to our house for the Holiday. Then he'd drive them home again that night. They lived a good 45 minutes to an hour away. I never appreciated what a chunk of the day that was. And Dad did that on most every Holiday. For family on my Mom's side. We liked having Connie and Geraldine there, us kids, because they were funny old ladies.

Geraldine would bring her ukuleles with her, and play and sing. She'd show us how to play them, and teach us a few simple songs, and we'd all strum the ukes and sing. Sometimes Geraldine would get up and do a little Hula dance, while she strummed and warbled a song.

Now, Geraldine was a short, round woman who wore pillbox hats, and gloves. Our version of the Queen Mother, I suppose. She was a sweet, funny woman. Connie was nice, but had the gravelly voice of a chain-smoker – which she was – and was short and wizened. She was nowhere near as fun as Geraldine.

My sister and I both were given a ukulele by Geraldine. We don't have them anymore, of course – that was more than thirty years ago! – but I finally bought a pair late last year. One for me, and one for my sister. I'm gonna send hers to her when it's close to her birthday. I know she'll remember!

I have a tiny memory of when my brother was born. I can recall standing at the top of the stairs as Dad guides Mom out the door, on the way to the car, to go to the hospital. I remember Nana standing at the bottom of the stairs. I can't remember where my sister was. I just remember the daylight streaming through the door as Dad and Mom head out. I was a few days shy of my fifth birthday. Leave it to my brother to screw things up, even from the very start! Is the memory real? Is it even close to how it happened? I simply don't know.

My sister and I would climb out my bedroom window, some nights, and lay on the garage roof, and watch the stars. If my Folks had known we were doing that, I doubt we'd have been able to sit for most of our childhood!

I remember the nice white wall in the hallway outside my sister's bedroom. The one that I carefully filled with drawings with a nice yellow crayon. What's a white surface for, after all? I remember getting in trouble, but have no memory of how that happened. Or even my age then.

See? Most of my childhood memories are either lost or so shuffled up that I can scarce retrieve them. I wish I could as some, that I can catch a glimpse of, are nice. But most are only sparked, in a foggy way, by photographs. Even hearing my Mom tell about us kids usually brings little memory to mind.

I think I just wasn't paying any attention when I was growing up. That's always been a problem for me, I think. I daydream, or I just get bored! So, now you have what little early childhood memories I feel like dredging up and writing down.

No, it isn't Largo's City Hall. Blogging around.

No, this is not the Largo City Hall. I know, I know, you could swear that's your own City Hall, right?

I stumbled upon this here. I usually get to Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred every day. Sometimes I can't, and miss a few things. Siggy has a great blog, with interesting posts, fine-honed opinions, and a whole lot of reason and logic. As with most of the truly good blogs, Siggy's is chock-full of good writing.

Now, normally I would have tried to do a trackback, or a Backlink. Nut, much like with The Anchoress, and a post of hers, I am not able to do those nifty, and polite things. So, to heck with it! You now have a link to both of these tremendous Blogs. Go! Read! Enjoy! Then put 'em in your Favorites Folder and go to them often!

Got it? Good!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Well! Ain't I The Delicate One?

You are an Iris:

You are logical, analytical, dignified, and wise.

You are studious by nature and may prefer

books to people. You tend to be a serious

person but are capable of making others laugh

with your dry sense of humor. Friends always

benefit from your advice.

Symbolism: Over the centuries the iris has come to

symbolize faith, wisdom, hope, and promise in


Which Flower are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Time for a Cup?

When things in your life seem almost too much to
handle, when 24 Hours in a day are not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar . . . and the coffee.

A professor stood before his Philosophy class and had
some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very
large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill
it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and
poured them into the jar.

He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the
open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured
it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from
under the table and poured the entire contents into
the jar, effectively filling the empty space between
the sand.

Image hosting by Photobucket

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
"I want you to recognize that this jar represents your

"The golf balls are the important things - your God,
family, your children, your health, your friends, and
your favorite passions - things that if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would
still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like
your job, your house, and your car.

"The sand is everything else--the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he
continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the
golf balls.

"The same goes for life.
"If you spend all your time and energy on the small
stuff, you will never have room for the things that
are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your

Play with your children.

"Take time to get medical checkups.

"Take your partner out to dinner.

"Play another 18.

"There will always be time to clean the house and fix
the disposal.

"Take care of the golf balls first, the things that
really matter.

"Set your priorities.

"The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what
the coffee represented.

Image hosting by Photobucket

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.

"It just goes to show you that no matter how full your
life may seem,there's always room for a cup of coffee
with a friend."

Author Unknown