Category Archives: Other Stuff I Like

Fixin’ to Get Writing Again

Leaving out the discussion concerning "fixin' to" being a renowned Southern colloquialism which often draws curious looks from people around the world (and up north and out west, North being anywhere above Shreveport, Louisiana to me) I recently noticed the majority of my writing gets done during the fall and winter months for some reason.

I finish books in the Spring and Summer but write the majority of the pages during the cooler months (again, cooler being a relative term since we're often in short sleeves in the middle of winter). Maybe it has something to do with that being the time of the year I used to hunt and my body is just inclined to be doing something when the leaves fall.

In anticipation of that I obtained the Southern Writer's Kit, pictured below. I actually got one in this flavor and one in Apple Pie flavor but apparently my better half believed the latter was actually liquid apple pie of some kind because I've only had a few sips but the bottle is about 3/4 gone. And she's not a drinker. 

moonshine-1The Apple Pie version is 20% alcohol (40 proof if I have my math right) while the original version pictured here is 50% alcohol (100 proof) which is more my style. I am under the firm belief that a cocktail means you put ice in the glass with the Bourbon and anything more than that is approaching a sin. This particular beverage is best sipped straight from the jar.

As a side note, one of my great grandfather's brothers was a moonshiner in Louisiana back in the day so my taste for the mash drippings may be hereditary. In addition, My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, the founder of my home town Natchitoches, La., cited the number of wild grapes growing in that area and their potential for winemaking as one of the reason he chose to place the fort and settlement at that location.

So with all that being said, I'm about to put my nose to the grindstone and start spinning the tales again.

A Reading Suggestion in Light of Russia Acting a Fool – Alas Babylon

alas babylon

There are a few books that I read over and over again. One of these is Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

I first read it while in Junior High School, which you have to remember was during the 70s so war with Russia was a very real possibility, at least in our minds.

The Amazon description of  Alas, Babylon is:

"Those fateful words (Alas, Babylon) heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away. But for one small Florida town, spared against all the odds, the struggle was just beginning, as men and women of all ages and races found the courage to join together and push against the darkness."

The book is short. Amazon lists it at 352 pages but I can only assume that is some version with some type of fluff added in since the book is easily read in a day or two by a casual reader and less than a day by an avid one.

Although dated in many ways, the original year of publishing was 1959, the characters in the book still ring true and it does a good job of pointing out ways people find to cope and survive in a disaster.

I would rank  Alas, Babylon in my top ten books and it should still be required reading in all high schools. To show how much I think of it I actually have several copies around the house, purchasing a new one every time I couldn't find a copy here, and recently bought it again on Kindle so it would be available whenever I got the urge to leap back into it.

While I realize a book about a nuclear war in 1959 isn't as sexily terrifying as some of the Apoc-lit or Zombie Apocalypse (Zompoc) books that are out now, to those of us who wtill remember the duck and cover drills the potential for a man-made nuclear disaster is still real and just as terrifying as the walking dead.

 

Video of Kisatchie Falls, Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana

 

Most of you know that my book, The Bottle Tree, is set in a turpentine camp which really existed just south of Bellwood, Louisiana in what is know the Kisatchie National Forest.

Many people believe that all of Lousiana looks like the area where Swamp People is filmed, but actually the northern part of the state is filled with hills and pine forests with just an occasional swamp thrown in.

This is a video I shot on my Droid smartphone of one part of Kistachie National Forest. This section of the creek is called Kisatchie Falls and consists of a sand and rock bottom with trees arching over the creek.

Unfortunately, many people who go there have still not learned that you should leave the place better than when you found it and so on this trip I picked pieces of broken beer bottles from the creek bottom and next time I'm going to take a trash bag to pick up some of the beer cans and cigarette butts that the asses leave there.

However, the place is still beautiful and here is a short video to enjoy.

Great Character Development…Plus It Makes Me Smile

The television show Supernatural is one of my favorites for a lot of reasons. Good dialogue, great concept, lots of inside jokes, and great character development. There is a new character, Charlie, who first appeared last season and has been in two more episodes since then. The writers are doing a great job with her character and the clip I'm putting below is a great example of showing what a character is like without any words being spoken. I love this clip and love the actress who plays Charlie, Felicia Day.