My Work

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Can You Feel It?

Can you feel it? Oh, that wonderful time of the year when sleigh bells ring, icicles gleam, and visions of sugarplums fill the eyes of all us children. There’s fresh snow on the ground and more is promised, most of the harvest has been canned, frozen, or smoked and hanging, and we can hear a Christmas song or two on the radio. Once again, I’m ten-years-old, quivering in anticipation, and knowing that I’ll get my traditional package of underpants from Aunt Barbara.

Hot chocolate is good, laced with schnapps is better, and the fireplace stays lit all day long. Mama sneaks off to the bedroom when no one is looking and wraps things labeled, “Do Not Open Till Christmas”, which gives Papa a chance for another well-laced hot chocolate.

The neighbor adds a garland of bells to the breast collar on his favorite gelding and pranced down the lane singing at the top of his lungs, “Sleigh Bells Ring, are you listenin’?” and we are, and we join in. There’s not a scrooge one in this old neighborhood. One more hot chocolate and I’ll put a garland of bells around my neck and go prancing down the lane myself.

Get the lights out, strung all over the living room floor, and sure, you bet, there’s one bulb out. Where did I put those extras? Mama! She brings me a green one and I wind up the lot and take them onto the porch for stringing. What would I do without that charming lady?

Those Holly Jolly Blues
For Mama

Here he comes,
Dancin’ and shakin’ and laughin’ and givin’,
Awash in the holly jolly mood, covered in
Wools and fur, reds and whites.

‘An here I am,
Cryin’ and poutin’ and cussin’ and sad,
Feelin’ sorry for me, not carin’ ‘bout nothin’.
Ripped denim, dirty socks, not white.

In you walk,
Dancin’ and shakin’ that bootie, givin’ me life
Prancin’ about in heels and net, covered in
Silks and gauze, reds, and sheer.

No blues tonight,
Not with a princess in hand, Santa Claus smile,
Santa Claus laugh, a holly jolly mood, us covered
In reds and whites and satin sheets.

It all starts with Halloe’en, with children playing as ghosts and goblins, gathering baskets full of candy and goodies, while Mom and Pop dress up as childhood heroes, acting as silly as the children. Then, of course comes Thanksgiving, with families coming together to cheer their favorite football team, argue their favorite politician, and eat tons of everything that Grandma can cook. More pie, darlin;?

The stores light up, strobe strength, with sales on top of sales, insisting that you can do no better for your friends and loved ones than by shopping with them. Raise the price thirty percent on Wednesday, and have a twenty percent off sale on Friday. It’s Green Christmas all over again (Thank you Stan Freeburg). But, with just one more little cup of laced hot chocolate, everything will be fine.

These wonderful times finally come to a close on New Year’s Day, and we discover that the world is still there, those same politicians are still making vague promises, and those twenty percent off sales happen with regularity. No more parties until February second, Ground Hog Day.

Mama, can I please have just one more hot chocolate, with just a wee drop of schnapps?

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I'm Thankful

Thanksgiving. Traditionally celebrated at harvest time, and for the first one hundred and fifty years or so of our union, harvest was the proper time, to say thanks. Thanks for a great harvest. But times, as is so often the case, they are a-changing. What’s foremost in my mind is to be thankful for the fact that I was born an American.

We just went through an excruciatingly hideous election cycle and we came out the other end of that cycle as the Untied States of America. We didn’t come out in wild rebellion, we didn’t come out with someone declaring to be a dictator, We didn't come out under martial law. No, we came out the same as when we went into the cycle: Free and living in a democracy which elected a president by way of the law of the land.

And we learned a few things. We know there are several million Americans who are not aware of what our constitution and its amendments actually say. We know there are several million Americans who are not aware of what the word tolerance means or how a lack of tolerance affects many fellow Americans. We know we cannot depend on the Internet, the major media outlets, or truth in advertising rules to offer us the truth.

I’m thankful that I have the right to vote. More than seven billion people inhabit this old blue marble and there are more than three hundred million of us Americans who have that right. We are in the minority world-wide. I’m thankful I have the right to publish this blog. People are jailed or executed in many other places in the world for doing what I’m doing. I’m thankful that I have the right to, or not to, worship within a religion.

I’m also thankful to know that I have the right to fight to the death to defend those rights.

Now, smile, say something brilliant, and eat your turkey.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Member, Western Fictioneers
Member, International Thriller Writers
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

more holiday fun

As I said in the previous entry of this continuing tome, this is an exciting time of the year from so many different angles. Parties of course, banquets, and from my point of view, even my work. This is when publishing companies invite those that are contracted with them to produce work for holiday themed anthologies, and I for one love the idea.

Short stories are difficult to write because they have to be short for them to really pop. The most difficult part of the story is how to bring it to a justified but definite end. An end that is satisfying to me as the writer, and satisfying to you the reader.

Solstice Publishing has just released their annual horror anthologies, that’s right, two of them this year. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Volumes three and four. I have a short story in volume four called Over There. All of the stories in both volumes are scary as hell, which makes it fun reading this time of year.

Solstice then releases the individual stories as stand alone short story e-books, which is really nice. I’ve been lucky to have stories in Now I Lay Me Down volume one and now volume 4. I also have stories in the valentines anthology, Adventures in Love, and coming up on Black Friday, the newest Christmas or Holiday anthology, which I’ll be touting your way soon.

There’s more to it, of course. The publishing company has an opportunity to offer, in one publication, the work of many of their writers, thus possibly introducing those writers to a new audience. It’s a win=win for the publishers and the authors. If you should buy volume four, for example, you will be introduced to several authors you may not have read before, which could lead to more book sales for the publisher and for that author.

When I made the transition from writing as a news reporter to writing fiction, I broke in by way of short stories. I was very lucky and had many short stories published over the years before I attempted to write novels. I still love writing short stories and jump at the opportunity to indulge.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Vol. 4 is available now, in e-book or print,
and the new holiday anthology will go on presale in a week or so and be available on Black Friday, amazon. I’ll put up the information on FaceBook and Twitter.

Patty made a batch of sugar cookies yesterday, and it’s my job to taste test, so I must run. I’m sure you understand.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
Member, Western Fictioneers
Member, International Thriller Writers
Will you join me on facebook from time to time?
Or Tweet with me, darlin’?