Monthly Archives: October 2008


      Connie Spittler’s story “Universal Language” appears in the July released CUP OF COMFORT FOR CAT LOVERS, Adams Media’s national best selling series.  The book celebrating feline friends is available in bookstores or from Connie.  She read from the the CUP OF COMFORT, as well as from her book THE DESERT ETERNAL at the Humane Society’s Adopt-A-Thon Fair on August 2nd.  When Connie read to a group of children there, she noticed one girl about ten years old, hanging on every word.  The child’s eyes widened with the story’s events, and she frowned when appropriate.  The girl also whispered little comments, like “Oh, no,” and “Aw” to add to the reading and flashed a bit smile afterward.  About half an hour later, the little girl came back and whispered, “would you read me the story again?  Of course that is exactly what happened.  It was Connie’s turn to smile, because it’s truly one of the reasons that writers write, isn’t?

      At this same event, Connie sold a copY of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE GRANDPARENT’S SOUL, which contains her story, “Through a Windowpane,” the true tale of a granddaughter and a baby quail.  The purchaaser had her son with her and a neighbor child.  The woman told Connie the book would be a gift for the little girl’s grandparents, who were adopting the child after her parents disappeared.  That book received a very special inscription, indeed CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE GRANDPARENT’S SOUL is available through Amazon. 

      Recently Connie rewrote the story, “Through the Windowpane” and called it, “The Nest.  Recently she received word that it was selected as a finalist in the Enviornmental Protection Agency competition called the Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest.  Only stories that were intergenerational were considered.  Results expected sometime in the fall.

      Taken from the October-November 2008 THE WRITE WORD the newsletter of THE SOCIETY OF SOUTHWESTERN AUTHORS

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Randy-writing about the past Yep, “Barrow Butt” and “Frog Tit”

      To pick up girls from the country, specifically from deep in the heart of Texas, was to experience something we could hardly believe.   It was our good fortune to run into three of the wildest girls we had ever met, and they said they needed a ride to school.   That suited us three boys just fine.

       They were “Barrow Butt,” “Frog Tit,” and… How in the world have I forgotten the name the third girl gave herself?   (But it would be too late to go back to that small town to look her up and find out, even assuming now she’s still alive and has grandchildren.)   The town was rural; the three of us were from the city (even then only bridges separated Irving from Dallas, so technically speaking we were city boys).   The two girls who piled into the back seat of my blue convertible (1953 Chevy) with my two best buddies were wilder than the girl I got stuck with in the front seat; she wouldn’t French-kiss me. Cursin’…derived from who knew where, smokin’…a cigar without coughin’…fed our unrealistic expectations.   (I don’t know who produced the cigar; I just know us boys didn’t.)   These girls were having a great time at their own expense.   Our imaginations weren’t needed with them; to be perfectly honest they were the ones who suggested we go skinn’-dippin’.   Sure male hormones in great quantities (stimulated by more than a suggestion or two.   If you call yourself “Frog Tit,” you can imagine) played a part in our jumping on the idea of getting naked with these tomatoes (remember this was way before the days of social correctness.)   And to go on our great adventure (if only a hundred miles or so) to see what we could see and find three nasty girls was a dream too good to be true.   And it was too good to be true.   The rest of the story involved a run-in with the local sheriff.

      It is from incidents like this one (from my youth and settings I can recall) that I can draw on for future plays and stories, bits and pieces, here and there.   I have tried to use Barrow Butt and Frog Tit several times, but so far, I haven’t been able to fit them in anywhere.   And maybe that’s a good thing. Or maybe they deserve their own story.   We’ll see.   Randy Ford

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Alex Carnevale ( this week’s review of John Updike’s latest book

 Alex Carnevale is a writer on

Editor’s note is a political/gossip blog that is quite irreverent.  They are a little obsessed with writers and publishing also as they are based in Manhattan.  I have to read them everyday.  They certainly have made the political season more interesting.  The reviewer seems not to mind that Updike has achieved anything as a writer beyond money and fame.  Calls into question (in a humorous way) his contribution to the art of writing.  Toni Duprey

                                      HARVARD GUY GIVE ORGASMIC REVIEW TO OTHER HARVARD GUY 

         It was a piece about John Updike related to aging that I couldn’t use.  See and go from there.  Happy hunting.  Randy Ford



      Alex Carnevale 


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Randy-more on aging as a writer

      Mathias Freese writes about the writer and aging in his blogs WORKING TIME and I LOOK AROUND.  (See his blogs: he’s good.)  A day or two later and we’ve both aged a bit.   Matt writes about what we all face much more intellectually than I could; and he seems to have moved into a better place than I have.   I ask you what’s fair about contracting Parkinson’s, except in my case the disease is progressing slowly and my doctor has prescribed writing to keep the loss of memory at bay.   What could be better for me?

      My time for stopping hasn’t come because stopping would bring me one step closer to the inevitable.   Luckily people around me argue against this inevitability and hopefully they’re right and a cure will be found in time for me.   Honestly, I don’t think too much about the inevitable.   It’s healthier not to.   I do what I can to “power over Parkinson’s” by riding my bicycle (even when it hurts) and writing (even when I don’t have much to say).   Sure, getting old sucks, but you have to decide what you’re going to do about it.   I’m against meeting expectations; I’m for exceeding them.

      People around me have said I’m losing my memory.   My doctor, after listening to my wife, has given me medicine to slow this process down.   I don’t believe them, while I’ve known the symptom of denial before.   The blanks I have drawn so far have been fleeting; when I first start thinking, before I’ve turned the switch on.   Yes, it seems as simple as turning a switch on.   Nothing much seems different than when I was younger.   I’ve never considered myself very bright.   I, however, now know that I’ve often sold myself short.   It was my perception of where I started from that threw me off; and if I were as limited as I thought I never would’ve caught up.   And far exceeded my expectations. Actually, my father had to have been extremely intelligent, as evident by his ability to fix anything, to his building parts for airplanes, from the earliest WWII fighters to the latest jetliners.

      We all know our childhood well.   It has, profoundly, been a part of all of us.   Our family’s history comes with our pedigree, and genes certainly have played their part; and since we can’t get away from any of this, we might as well use it.   But I haven’t yet written about our reunions and my aunts and uncles, all dead now but a strange, funny lot.   The historical Ford-Carder-Wright-Swink-Craft family…as I see it in my imagination…is material for me.   And when I went back to Gage Oklahoma when my great uncle still lived (Uncle Lem Wright), he showed me a cement fence with a perfect arch built by my grandfather (Daddy Ford) that was still standing after a hundred years.   He had built the fence as wedding present to his bride (Mamma Ford.).   Before that, at age sixteen or around that age, Daddy Ford ran away from his home in Tennessee and never returned (and we never knew why, which in itself…the why…is a germ for a story).   What story material!   And, when there is so much more, such a wealth still, Uncle Eddie and his snipe hunt: what are snipes anyway: why do I worry about tomorrow?   Why worry about tomorrow when I don’t know what’s going to happen?   Why not just get busy and go for it?   Who else is going to write about the Ford-Carder-Wright-Swink-Craft family? Who else will record what went on in Gage, Oklahoma?   Who cares as much as I do?   Well, other family members do.

Better get busy, Randy Ford

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Randy-on THE WRITER IN WINTER by John Updike

       I read John Updike’s piece in this month’s AARPThe Magazine on his creative future.   I saw it as a realistic picture of what happens to most writers as they age.   As a writer in his mid-sixties, I don’t like to think of myself as a “writer in winter” (the title of the piece).   There are novels I would still like to finish; there are plays I would still like to see produced, more writing I want to do and get better at it.   On the other hand, there are Updike’s observations, which are substantial and true enough; there are realities we all face as we age.

      Updike takes us back to when he started writing.   He reflects on those years as being when writers are “full” of their “material…”your family, your friends, your region of the country, your generation…when it is fresh and seems urgently worth communicating to readers.”   To Updike, from that point on, most writers tend to slide away from the “prodigious potential” of their youth.   Too frequently fear sets in.   And what they too often lose is “carefree bounce,” “snap,” and the “exuberant air of slight excess.”   And “prose should have a flow, the forward momentum of a certain energized weight; it should feel like a voice tumbling into your ear.”

     When ability fades with age, when all the fears and struggles Updike describes are real, what are we to do?   We’re not dead yet.   And what if we haven’t achieved as much as Updike and have all along been underachievers?   Have we lost out?

I recommend reading Updike’s piece THE WRITER IN WINTER in AARPTheMagazine.

Randy Ford

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Jerry D. Simmons- content from Oct. 23, 2008 TIPS FOR WRITERS FROM THE PUBLISHING INSIDER

Jerry D. Simmons TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDEROctober 23, 2008 –

Reader Feedback –
Also, I think we need to laugh more

Something To Make You Smile –
Question to Consider – Q

Marketing Wisdom –

From New York Times bestselling author and marketing expert Seth Godin, from his blog.

If We Organize,
To learn more just send me an email,, or better yet, sign-up for



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The Headlines –

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  4. Harper Collins, a subsidiary of the News Corporation Limited (Australia)
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in Old Scottsdale: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Contact Patricia L. Brooks, president and founder at 480-250-5556

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eNewsletter TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDER Global stage for writers, authors, and readers

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Mabel Leo-author working on new book, “real-life events behind a facade of fiction”

      Mabel Leo is working on MOB MOLE, a new book delving more into Jack Durant’s criminal activities.  She reveals Jack’s life as a mole for the mob-his adventures while traveling around the Midwest, waiting for orders.  It is novel describing real-life events behind the facade of fiction (some names have been changed to protect the innocent).

      Out of the eight books Leo has written, it is the first one, THE SAGA OF JACK DURANT, that after 12 years is still her best seller.  The bio of Jack Durant, a well-known restaurateur in Phoenix, Az., tells the story of how a young boy hopped the train, left his home in Tennessee with the dream of being a professional baseball player.  Instead he became the most trusted friend of the infamous gangster, Bugsy Siegel.  The book became the basis of an award-winning play, follwed by Leo’s next book on Durant, JACK’S WORLD. 

      Watch her website for updates: 

      Taken from the Write Word, the newsletter of THE SOCIETY OF SOUTHWESTERN AUTHORS

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