Guest Post by Andrew Joyce

I recently got acquainted with Andrew Joyce when he helped me on a project. He is an accomplished writer and fascinating personality. If this weren’t enough, he is incredibly knowledgeable about the writing and publishing field. His generosity in helping a novice was impressive. I am so grateful I got to know Andrew. If you haven’t been introduced to his work, this is your chance. I just finished Resolution, a novel about the adventures of the mature Huckleberry Finn. I enjoyed every word. It is fast-paced, well-developed, and true to the character of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. Though this is the third of a series, the story stood on its own. I will be getting the first two.

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The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Get

There is one bit of advice that I have for aspiring authors. And that is, if you want to write well, you must read. Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. Think of reading books as taking a writing course. I would suggest reading the classics: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and, of course, Steinbeck, to name but a few. These three authors made up their own rules. Hemingway couldn’t get published at first because his writing was so different from the writing that preceded him.
Below are three examples of Steinbeck’s writing. If you read stuff like this, you can’t help but become a better writer. Please note that the first example is one long sentence that makes up an entire paragraph. That, of course, is a big no-no . . . or so “they” say.
• • • • •
“The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog’s coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse’s fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep’s wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed the anlage of movement.”—The Grapes of Wrath
• • • • •
“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”—Tortilla Flat
• • • • •
“June is gay—cool and warm, wet and shouting with growth and reproduction of the sweet and the noxious, the builder and the spoiler. The girls in the body-form slacks wander High Street with locked hands while small transistor radios sit on their shoulders and whine love songs in their ears. The young boys, bleeding with sap, sit on the stools of Tanger’s Drugstore ingesting future pimples through straws. They watch the girls with level goat-eyes and make disparaging remarks to one another while their insides whimper with longing.”—The Winter of our Discontent
My first bit of advice is to read. My second: don’t pay too much attention to the “rules” of writing. And my third is, never, ever, ever respond to a bad review.
Thank you for listening to my morning rant,
Andrew Joyce

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It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.
Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.
It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.
They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

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I might be wacko

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Just got a text from my daughter.

Her: Just got another box of stuff from you. Can the kids open them now?

(I had ordered them some things the week before and asked her to not to open it till this box got there. Stuff for Isaac was in first box and didn’t want to cause upset.)

Me: sure. Let me know what they got n how it wkd out.. I forgot what I sent.

Her: Oh lord.

Me: well, did I send good stuff?

She never got back to me. Now, I am dying to know what I sent. I wish she wouldn’t complain about my texts.

New Series – Dog of the week (or cat, parrot or spouse) By Special Request!

Reblogging gged Danny the dog via Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I have received a complaint to my customer service centre (my comments) from Danny the Dog who feels that my new series Book of the Week was a typo… and should have been Dog of the Week.

The customer is always right!!!! And so for the sake of a quiet life……here is a new series of Dog of the Week… or cat (Zoe) Parrot, any other four-legged pet and of course a husband or wife.

Meet Danny

danny-looking-goodBeneath his bohemian and dare devil good looks, Danny exhibits remarkable sagacity for such a laid back canine. Articulate and with a wry sense of humour, Danny also manages his human, Andrew Joyce with firm discipline. He does however appear to keep him on a short leash.. Andrew is an author and under the careful scrutiny of Danny, he has published the following. (I have to mention these as the sale of said…

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Young Boy Recuperating from Surgery Eaten by Beagle (Kind of) Wouldn’t this make a great headline?

Many years ago, my young son picked his toenails till he got them infected. He also had an adoring beagle who made his every step, especially when John was snacking and likely to drop crumbs. I don’t think John ever had to pick anything up. In most cases, that’s good, but not necessarily since Spotty spent a good bit of her time dancing on his sore toes. Eventually, John required toenail removal. Surgery went fine, and in the way of small boys, John proudly saved the excised tissue to show his dad, once he got in. Spotty never left his side. John convalesced on the sofa with his poor foot on a pillow all afternoon, admiring his sore toe, his toe remnant, and calling out for games and snacks. As you might expect, long before his dad got home, he dropped his trophy. Ever faithful, Spotty snapped it up before it hit the floor. Both recovered, though John was heartbroken. To the best of my knowledge, that’s the last body part Spotty ever snacked on.toe 2<img

Old People Doings

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imageI wonder if I do a lot of “old person” stuff? It’s probably one of those things your kid would have to tell you. Let me explain. After we went to the grocery store, I took Mother to Gateway to pick up her car. She took her small bag of groceries with her and went in to pay and get her keys while I waited in the lot off to the side, To be sure everything worked out okay. I knew I should have gone in with her. A few minutes later, she pulled behind me, blocking me and two other drivers. As the other drivers honked, Mother left her car in the drive and came over to talk to me.

“They just had to fix the front brakes. The back ones were fine! It only cost one hundred twenty-one dollars.” She was beaming.

“That’s great, but you need to move your car. People are honking!”

“Well they’re just gonna have to wait. I have to get my groceries.” She replied, huffily.

“Mother, you already put your bag in the car.”

“Oh, I forgot. Anyway, I had to tell you everything was okay.”

Annoyed at my nerve, she got in her car, pulled out and cut it too short, running over the curb as she pulled out.

About fifteen minutes after I got home, I got a call, “Could you see if I left my phone in your car. I can’t find it, anywhere.”

She had.

Kathleen and the Phantom Killer

Nutsrok

parents wedding pic(How my parents met in June 1945.  My mother had just graduated and was working as a waitress while she waited to start college that fall, when she met my father.  From her memoirs I am currently writing.)

After I graduated, I looked forward to being a lawyer or a teacher for a few years before settling down with a doting husband, maybe a doctor or judge, in a nice little house in town

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If It Weren’t for Bad Luck…….

Mother was laughing when I picked her up at the tire store this morning, after a conversation with a grumpy old man. She’d admired his luxury cherry-red sedan.

“I don’t like this car. I had me a real nice big pick up rigged out just like I wanted it, then in 2014, the doctor said I had cancer and probably wouldn’t make it six months. Well, my ol’lady didn’t want to have to drive that truck after I was gone, so she talked me into tradin’ it in on this car. I figured it didn’t matter none, since I wasn’t gonna be driving it no way.

Well, next time I went back to the doctor, he said I didn’t have cancer after all. Now I’m stuck with this danged car.”

Goody, Goody! Goody, Goody!

The first and last days of school I got called down for running my mouth, and probably every day between. Born without a muffler or filter it paid off handsomely if not happily. My sister, Phyllis, on the other hand was the model of decorum and every teachers’ darling. It was unlikely she ever got scolded, but she often had to be told to “let someone else answer.” Of course, she knew all the answers, since she did all her homework as soon as she got in from school. From her earliest days, it was obvious she’d be a wonderful teacher, which she was. All her games revolved around playing school, especially after my teacher relatives passed discarded textbooks on to us. Many of those books were still in use in our classrooms. Imagine her joy when she poured over them and started school way ahead of her class. I was not so much interested in the textbooks and playing school. That’s where our trouble lay. She expected me to be her perfect student, as we went from reading to math to science to geography.
I was all in to the reading lesson, but ready to go when we moved on. That wasn’t how her school worked. She’d get her fly-back paddle after me, so school was over and the fight was on. I never hung around too long. She’d go to Mother to back up her discipline and get disappointed time after time. Home-schooling just didn’t work for her.
To my great joy, Phyllis did get in trouble one time. In the first grade, she shared a desk with Richard. Travis sat right behind them. When Mrs. Hanks passed back their work, Phyllis and Richard got an A. Travis got an F. Phyllis and Richard turned around and sang to him, “Goody, goody Travis.” Mrs. Hanks called them to the front of the class and made them sing to each other, “Goody, goody, Phyllis. Goody, goody, Richard.” Of course, Phyllis came straight home with the story of how she’d suffer, only to get more trouble. That took care of their classroom “Goody, goodies” but I think I still heard it at home a few times.
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