Stronger Writing Skills = Higher Pay

Today I bring you a post and infographic courtesy of Grammarly. Interesting research that shows the importance of attention to detail in writing. [Read more…]

Military Writers Society of America Conference – Phoenix

Welcome to Guest Blogger and Author, Michael Wood

I recently met Michael Wood at the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) conference in Phoenix. After seeing how well he captured the essence of the conference in words and photos, I asked if he’d be willing to share with this blog’s readers. So please welcome fellow Navy veteran Mike over from his Travel Photo Escapades blog, and enjoy this virtual visit to the 2014 MWSA conference.

 This is my first year attending one of these MWSA conferences. [Read more…]

Farewell Shanghai

Shanghai 3 Please join me for the final installment of Vic Socotra’s thoughts on one of our Congressional trips to Asia, and a farewell to China.

We wandered down the street and over a couple of blocks. We found the entrance to the subway and went down. It was gleaming and shiny and not at all what I expected. We went down and got to the platform.

The little guy on the subway could have been sixty or he could have been eighty. He could have walked with Mao on the big swing around Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalists, and on to eventual victory in 1948.

He wore a little Mao hat and his gaze was implacable. He was staring at Val’s chest, or he was staring past her chest at me in my trench coat because he was exactly that tall. It was hard to tell. But it was a penetrating gaze, neither friendly nor particularly hostile. It was an intense and unwavering look, like that of a hawk on his prey. I leaned over to Val. [Read more…]

Long Marchers…Part Two

Please join me for Part Two of my friend and author  Vic Socotra‘s series of stories about one of our Congressional trips. We have now journeyed to Shanghai.

01 February 2001Shanghai skyline

Long Marchers

by Vic Socotra

I believe in traveling light, but there was no way for it on this trip- we would be in temperate, arctic and tropical climates. The bags went out full, and got fuller with each stop. The bags even began to multiply. It could have been worse. The last time I was in Hanoi, the famous Central Jail (“Hanoi Hilton”) was being torn down, and visitors were presented with bricks as unique souvenirs. Being the junior member on that trip, I wound up carrying a bag containing a major portion of an interior wall. But that is another story.

Downstairs at the Regal International East Asia there was a lavish breakfast buffet of both Chinese and Western delicacies. Rich coffee, eggs, fried cabbage, sausage, bacon, cucumbers, steamed dumplings, hare stew. Some items sampled, most not. After their travail, the infantry is only minutes late coming down, but they miss the breakfast. We have our bags in the van and waiting for them out front. [Read more…]

Boondoggle

What were you doing thirteen years ago today? Thanks to Vic Socotra, I can answer that in detail. Vic penned a series of stories about a Congressional trip to Asia when I was the Congressional liaison officer in charge of the trip, and he, a “strap-hanger.” Vic’s words bring back great memories for me and hopefully will be of interest to you. So please, join me for a three-part series and enjoy this prolific writer’s wit and storytelling skills.

07 January 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Congressional Delegation Dorn, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 9, 2001

Boondoggle

by Vic Socotra

The term “Boondoggle” is derived from the Middle English “boon,” or pleasant flavor, and “doggle,” or pack of slavering wolves.

I am leaving on a boondoggle tomorrow. This is a boondoggle of the Congressional variety, arguably one of the spectacular of the breed. The term is normally used disparagingly by co-workers.

“Oh,” they will say. “You are off on a boondoggle.” The clear connotation is that you are shirking work, frittering away the taxpayers’ money, and generally tip-toeing the line of propriety. I’ll grant you there is some basis to that thesis.

I will not deny that you get free headsets on the jet. [Read more…]

Quick Video – On Feedback

Today I’d like to share with you advice for writers from Jon Bard, co-founder of Children’s Book Insider.   Although the four-minute video speaks to children’s writers, I believe the advice applies to any writer.

In Jon’s words –

“[This] deals with one of the toughest things for writers to come to terms with:

The need for honest, objective feedback — and the right attitude for
handling constructive criticism. [Read more…]