Sunday, January 31, 2010

One More Set of Resolutions to Finish the Month

As promised, I want to share the New Year's Resolutions of one more of my characters before we leave January behind and prepare to address some new topics in February.

Today my focus is on the collective body of elected officials that serves a population just outside of St. Louis, namely in the hometown of WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety (known as Tuey). This group of men and women proves to be a constant nemesis to the title character in my novel Tuey's Course. The people on the city council demonstrate that the power of elected officials is out of control and often works worst when the actual stakes are so small. These government egomaniacs pass ordinances that will have negative consequences for the "little man," for no other reason other than they can.

So, what do these supposed public servants have planned for 2010:

1. Change the timing of the yellow lights within the city to decrease from three seconds to one second in order to catch more people driving through red lights. What an easy way to get more revenue for City Hall!

2. Declare a local government holiday on each of their birthdays so that an additional 10% sales tax can be implemented against purchases made on those days.

3. Approve 30% pay raises for themselves for all of the dedicated time and energy they put into controlling the city.

4. Randomly select a new citizen to harass. Then, enforce every petty ordinance and send regular threats of legal action to his home.

I'm sure that all of you can think of some more resolutions that would be perfect for members of a local government who have an inflated sense of their own power!

If you haven't yet, I hope you will read Tuey's Course and let me know if you think my resolution seems accurate. Also, don't forget to check out my first two books -- Lifetime Loser and Finish Line. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"J Dub" Shares His Resolutions

Before we reach the end of the month and resolutions across the country find themselves lost to thoughts of, "I'm just not going to do it ... better luck next year," I want to share the New Year's Resolutions of a couple more of the characters from my series of books.

Today, I would like to focus on the goals that J.W. Schroeder, known as "J Dub," hopes to achieve in 2010. J Dub is the main character in my first novel, Lifetime Loser. He is a family man who watches his dreams of participating in the PGA Tour end with one bad stroke and instead tries to find happiness as the manager of Prairie Winds Golf Course.

1. Take my wife Marcia on a long-overdue vacation to Hawaii. Marcia has been a loyal and supportive partner through the endless hours spent practicing my swing and then through the business dealings in which I got entangled with some shady characters. She deserves some time to relax and be pampered!

2. Look into the possibility of memory erasing. There has to be some kind of therapy out there that will clear bad memories out of my brain! My life will be much better if I never see those mental images of Lew Zerrmann's secret, demented dungeon again. It didn't take too long to realize the man was evil, but what took place in that room of sick fantasies was more than any person should have to witness.

3. See if Tiger Woods needs a stand-in on the circuit. I've seen awards shows at which they ask some B-list celebrities to act as "place sitters" for the big names stars who are not in attendance. I would be willing to take Tiger's place at Augusta. Hey, it doesn't hurt to ask!

Look for resolutions from one more character before the month comes to an end! If you haven't, I hope you will read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course and let me know what you think the future holds for some of my characters.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tiger, Marriage, and Hypocrisy

The world’s number one golfer, Tiger Woods, set off a firestorm of publicity late in 2009 when it was revealed that he had many affairs during his marriage. Publicly his reputation was questioned, his marriage jeopardized, and his children perhaps psychologically damaged. Corporate sponsors have tried to distance themselves from his name.

The 2010 PGA Tour has had several events and Tiger is nowhere near the golf course. In fact it was recently reported that he was in a sex rehabilitation center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It’s anyone’s guess as to when and where he will return to the golf course and life on the tour.

How it will happen opens up another round of questions. Will he have a press conference to explain his actions? Will he simply show up to play golf and be a media spectacle? Will he apologize publicly to the fellow golfers that he competes against in the tour events? We’ll all find out in due time.

In my opinion the criticism needs to cease. To me the main thing that this incident has shown is that Tiger Woods was not any good at the institution of marriage.

It’s time for the condemnation of his acts to stop. Many, many, many people in American society have proven to be lousy examples of what the institution of marriage stands for. Our divorce rate is around fifty percent if not more. That means that one out of every two adults that has been married has failed. It is not an easy proposition.

Those that cast the stones at Tiger Woods need to take a good look in the mirror and see if they have had some indiscretions in their own personal lives. The hypocritical backstabbing and cutthroat behavior of a lot of people in the media needs to come under a bit of scrutiny as well. Or are they merely a bunch of vultures scrambling for a few minutes of fame and the almighty buck?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get Caught Up on Life at Prairie Winds Golf Course Before My New Book is Released

My fourth novel, Opur's Blade, is nearing completion and I am excited to introduce it to my readers later this year. If you haven't read my first three books, now is the time to do it! While each one of my novels stands alone in its storyline, some of the characters are found throughout the series and you can best follow their individual stories if you have read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course. For those not familiar with my three published novels, here is a brief overview.

Lifetime Loser -- "J Dub" Schroeder stands one shot away from qualifying for the PGA Tour. Will this lifelong dream be shattered? Will a business opportunity take him down a destructive path? How will his dealings with shady characters destroy his faith in the future? Can a troublesome land deal destroy the new life he finally starts to build for his family? This legal real estate thriller provides courtroom drama.

Finish Line -- Two teenage boys find themselves working at the Prairie Winds Golf Course for the summer after choosing to vandalize a neighbor's property. While working under the supervision of Curt Schroeder, whose brother was introduced in Lifetime Loser, Justin and Keith learn important lessons about hard work, perseverance, and character. This is a poignant story that deals with adolescent coming-of-age amidst cancer.

Tuey's Course -- Tuey,a former star athlete, struggles for justice for his minority-owned business. Powers at City Hall go to great extremes to enforce ordinance violations and obscure laws to threaten his economic survival. What results is a controversial storyline that confronts racial stereotypes, poverty, and the influence of government against a small businessman. Prairie Winds Golf Course continues to be the backdrop where much of the plot unfolds. Will the “good ole boy” network prevail?

If you have yet to read these three books, I hope you will choose to do so. And, I hope you will look for Opur's Blade when it is released. I certainly will post updates about its publication on this blog.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Top Ten Signs You've Been Away from the Golf Course Too Long

With the freezing weather that has gripped most of our country for the past several weeks, many people who try to get on the golf course nearly every day have been separated from the fairway for way too long. Temperatures are finally returning to seasonal norms in many places, so perhaps it is finally time to get out the golf clubs and try to play a round. If you get through a hole or two and feel that something is not quite right, here are the top ten indicators that it has been a while since you've played:

10. You forget how to turn on the golf cart.

9. You've forgotten the meaning of “Fore,” and the grave consequences of what a ball zooming by your head means.

8. You start to experience withdrawal from the Lifetime Network movie marathon that your wife sucked you into when the weekends proved too cold to play.

7. You're missing one of the decorative club covers that proudly displays your alma mater.

6. Drinking beer at 8:30am suddenly seems to be an unappealing idea.

5. You decide to use only a couple of clubs in your bag to knock off the rust.

4. You forget the directions to the country club and instead end up on a course that contains a windmill and a giant clown face.

3. Your favorite golf shoes were still covered in mud and had clumps of grass in the cleats from the last round you played.

2. Your partner asks if you want a wedge, and you think he is threatening to do something that you haven't experienced since those awkward days in the middle school locker room.

1. When you finally get your golf ball into the hole, you throw your hands in the air and yell, "Touchdown!"

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, don't panic. Just make sure you are getting back to the golf course as often as possible to fix the problem.

All three of my published novels--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--take place on a golf course. And, even though they visit the club house every day, some of my characters still are guilty of the problems I listed above!

Watch for Opur's Blade later this spring!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Alphabet Series Continues with the "Es" of Golf and Writing

It's time to take a break from focusing on the New Year's resolutions of my characters and return to the earlier series I was sharing about the similarities between playing golf and writing a novel. The more that I think about the two activities, the more I realize they have in common.

Today, I want to take a look at the "Es" of golf and writing. See if what I came up with holds true for you as well.

Editing -- When it comes to writing, this component is obvious. You should not even consider sending your manuscript to an editor unless you have had the entire work carefully reviewed by a professional editor. Even if you know your writing skills are strong, an editor will find errors that you may have overlooked. Likewise in golf, we must be willing to allow a golf pro or a peer whose skill level we trust to edit our stance, club selection, or other aspects of our game. Others can see details of our play that we simply are unable to observe in ourselves.

Excellence -- Demand this of yourself in anything that you pursue! If you are going to share your writing with the rest of the world, you should want it to be the best product possible. Once printed, your book will be associated with your name forever. If you are going to spend hours on the golf course, why would you not want to use that time to make your game great? I think it's more enjoyable to play eighteen holes when I know that I won't be hitting the ball into the rough every other swing!

Enthusiasm -- Publishing a novel and improving your golf game are both pursuits that require your passion. You quickly will grow tired of staring at a computer screen during a day of writer's block if you don't love the idea of eventually completing a meaningful book. Golfers who aren't excited by the idea of getting up at 5:30am to make tee time will find another hobby. Golfers and writers need to be emotionally invested in their efforts.

Do you agree with these examples? Do you have other "Es" to add to this list? Let me know!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Julie's Turn for New Year's Resolutions

I hope that all of you had a fun and safe start to the New Year. I've been checking out some of the blogs hosted by other writers and so many of you have shared some great resolutions for the New Year. Most of my professional goals are focused on the continued marketing of my three published novels as well as the final work needed to get my fourth book, Opur's Blade, ready for the market.

As part of multi-part character review, I am sharing what I think would be appropriate New Year's resolutions for some of my more popular characters. Today I want to reflect on the long-suffering Julie, the young woman who works in the clubhouse and deals with harassment from some of the regulars.

What are Julie's goals for 2010?

1. Find a way to get Captain Jer arrested for drunk driving. A quick phone call to the cops as he is leaving the golf course should do the trick.

2. Complete her education and come back to Prairie Winds as a wealthy and successful business woman to play her own round of golf.

3. Set up a running loop of audio tapes about sexual harassment to play in the men's bathroom.

4. Volunteer to teach basic accounting skills to women who live at the nearby homeless shelter.

5. Get into a stable relationship with an intelligent guy who knows how to treat a woman well.

I think Julie will be in great shape if she reaches these goals this year.

For those of you who have gotten to know Julie through the pages of my three books--Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey's Course--what do you think? Are there other aspirations Julie should have that I'm forgetting? Let me know!