Bobbing Around

Volume Seven, Number Seven
April, 2008

Bob Rich's rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Response to the last issue
   Ron Peters on bipolar and adoption
  Will Willcox on science fiction and climate change *Politics
  Is capitalism really in a grow-or-die situation? by Barry Brooks
  Along the Templar Trail to peace, from Brandon Wilson
  Oil in polar bear country
  Polar cities? from Andrew Glickson
*Deeper issues
  Giving up on giving up, by Barry Brooks
  When worry takes over
  Over 50 and no more joy!
  “Lyricolalia”: A neologism for “triggering a song” by Elizabeth Tindle
*For writers
  Getting started, by Patrika Vaughn
  How to spot a predator: an interview with Dave Kuzminski
*What my friends want you to know
  A request from Al Gore
  Training the Trainers conference, from Dr. Scott Miller
  Register for Muse Online Writers' conference>
  Virtual book tour
  Bainstorming: Darrell's April Newsletter
  Twilight Times Books
  Frugal Editor Wins Best Publishing Book in Reader Views 2007 Annual Literary Awards
  Over-40 women having babies: an article by Sara Webb Quest
  Join the Up-Wising: a tour by Swami Beyondananda
  Yearning to Breathe Free: Seeking Asylum in Australia
*Free contests, good prizes

   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

Are you a writer?

Then you should sign this petition:

   It seems the federal government is active in protecting the digital rights of the film and music industries, but they can't be bothered to protect the rights of authors and publishers. That's a sad state of affairs, and it says a lot about the dumbing-down of America and the devaluing of books, in general.

   The publishing industry deserves the same protections film and music do. The laws being broken are the same...copyright and, in some cases, Millennium Act. The laws exist, and the FBI and other sources are supposed to investigate when pirates blatantly set up shop. These "sharers" make illegal copies of books, break security/DRM...and even split the binding on paper books, scan them in, and pass those copies, so books that have never released in e-book are passing freely in e-book.

   Putting an FBI warning in the front of e-books is not protection enough. Despite a ton of information being provided to the FBI by the e-book industry (EPIC, in particular), there has been no sign that they will make any move to protect our rights. They have been provided specific information about e-publishing, pirate scanning of paper books, and specific pirate sites, and there has been not a single word or sign of movement from them. That is unacceptable.

   They won't get to work, unless we make it clear we won't stand for it. Whether you're an indie/e author, a NY author, a publisher, an editor, or a concerned reader, you have a stake in this issue. Piracy affects us all.

   If the FBI cracks down on the ISPs allowing it, the servers in particular housing it...and the sharers individually, when possible, we stand a chance. By doing nothing, the FBI makes rights management impossible and debases the laws of copyright and Millennium Act. We have them for a reason. Do not let them fade away.

   By signing this petition, I agree that the FBI should be investigating and shutting down pirate sites that deal in e-book sharing activities. The publishing industry deserves equal protection, under the law.

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Response to the last issue

Ron Peters on bipolar and adoption
Will Willcox on science fiction and climate change

Ron Peters on bipolar and adoption

Good morning, Bob.

   I enjoyed this issue of your newsletter and glad(ly) to see that you could still produce it despite your computer disaster. I noted the comment by Tracy on coming to terms about being adopted, as well as the issues on bipolar discussed by Mr. Zotti.

   Both my children are adopted, and my son, now 31, is bipolar (not to mention several other labels such as ADHD and paranoid schizophrenia that have been afflicted on him over the years). This is the first time I have heard any reference that bipolar does not necessarily mean the afflicted person is anti-social.

   Chad has been in and out of jail and mental hospitals, not to mention the physiological studies he has failed to complete because of behavioral problems. It is wonderful to know that some bipolar folks have led productive lives. Perhaps there is still hope for our son.

   It's so tragic and cruel to see what this terrible disease has done to a young man who is extremely bright and could charm the ring off the Pope's finger. He has become a master manipulator who refuses to take accountability for his actions; it's always some else's fault. At six feet seven inches and nearly 300 pounds, he becomes a physical threat to those around him when he acts out. And now, serious drug use has introduced a likely fatal dimension to his life, especially since he mostly (ly) lives on the streets.

   Chad became a foster-adoptive child at six months, so he never knew his biological parents. He was the first child in the history of Pennsylvania to be removed from the parents and put up for adoption. Both, apparently, had serious issues with mental illness, and we later found out that these issues permeated the families on each side. At 18, we had him removed from our home for threatening to kill us. He has mostly lived on the streets since then, with occasional bouts in group homes that never work.

   Interestingly, he maintains contact with us, we see him from time to time, and he rotates between "I love you guys" to telling us to f-off. He seems to need that 'family' connection, as do we. Sharon and I can only hope that someday a cure will be found that will allow him to lead a normal life.

   In the meanwhile, my wife and I have had to "build a wall around our hearts" to maintain our own sanity throughout all this. Perhaps, someday, I'll write my own "The Stranger Who Loved Us."

   Take care, thanks for your excellent newsletter, and for all your support over the short millenniums we have known each other. :-)


Ron Peters is the award-winning author of the tongue-in-cheek Dun Wheeling PI series: SOS (no, this isn't about anything on a shingle), Night Before August, Castles of Deceit, and just arriving, Sphere of Reason. Dun will capture your heart with bursts of laughter.

Will Willcox on science fiction and climate change

   Excellent, as always. One of the more interesting newsletters I receive. I especially loved your "letter" to BAEN about the contest and couldn't agree more. Anyone who ignores the looming environmental catastrophe is living in a fantasy world.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Author
Will is a very hard worker at EPIC, among other things having coordinated the last 'New Voices' writing contest for kids.


Is capitalism really in a grow-or-die situation? by Barry Brooks
Along the Templar Trail to peace from Brandon Wilson


   Sensibly, Tibetans have used the coming Olympics to draw attention to their plight. For many years, they have suffered what amounts to genocide. Their culture, religion, even language are being systematically destroyed.

  China claims the rights to this mountain country, so far from the centre of China. Why? Because Tibet has mineral resources, and the new liquid gold: water. The invasion of Tibet was commercially motivated, and this is why the Communist Chinese government is so intransigent.

   What will happen if China’s crimes against humanity are ignored? The same thing as happened when Hitler’s crimes against humanity were ignored. Like China now, Nazi Germany won the right to host an Olympics. This became an event marked by racism and discrimination, and has been a long-term blot on the reputation of the Olympics. The event was a public relations exercise for Hitler, and a highly successful one. It was a definite step toward the Second World War.

   Like Nazi Germany was then, at this stage Communist China is very aware of global public opinion, and feels vulnerable to it. The booming Chinese economy is dependent on foreign companies choosing to outsource work to China. It is highly dependent on people like you and me choosing to buy Chinese-made goods. If there were a widespread global boycott of anything coming from Communist China, we could bring down this evil monster that feeds off the suffering of its people, and has global domination as its goal.

   So, please, boycott the Olympics. Pester our politicians, sports people and organisations, requesting that they withdraw from it. And boycott Chinese-made goods and services.

   There are alternatives. Taiwan has been resisting Communist China for over 60 years. While goods made in mainland China are highly likely to be of poor quality, Taiwanese merchandise has a good reputation.

   The best is to buy locally made goods, to support the economy of your country, and to reduce the climatic impact of transport. But if your company must outsource, do so in India, or the Philippines, or anywhere but in Communist China.

Is capitalism really in a grow-or-die situation?
by Barry Brooks

   It appears that the limits to growth will REQUIRE the world to adopt economic systems that can function without growth in consumption. Which systems can adapt to reduced consumption? Capitalism will not be able to do so if it really needs consumption growth, as many people believe.

   Assuming competition among giants will define capitalism in the near future, just what makes growth a necessity for the survival of that kind of capitalism?

   To demonstrate that capitalism 'needs' growth, we must find at least one feature that mandates growth. We must separate need from desire. If we can only find desire there is hope that capitalism can function without growth. A real need for growth will spell doom for capitalism in this limited world.

   Here are a few desires that are held to be needs:

   Investors do not need a rate of profit greater than their competitors. The required rate of profit is merely the going rate of return for other investments of a similar nature. Real price competition would prevent any business having a higher rate of profit than is dictated by the prevailing return on investment plus premiums for risk and liquidity.

   The desire for greater profits will not support the claim that capitalism is a grow-or-die system. Investors desire high profits. From their personal point of view profits are never high enough, but business can operate very well with just adequate profits. There's nothing grow-or-die in their desire for more and more. That's just whining.

   Even if we suppose the rate of profit must go up and up , which is not true, that doesn't mean that capitalism needs output to go up and up as well.

   The list of possible reasons why capitalism may be in a grow-or-die situation has only one outstanding member that I know of:

   Capitalist society needs growth to offset increasing labor productivity. Competition forces increased labor productivity, and that increased productivity will cause unacceptable levels of unemployment without growth in consumption.

   Population growth adds to the need for growth in consumption, but its effect on employment is largely canceled since each additional person is both a worker and a consumer. The population level combines with the prevailing labor productivity to set the amount of labor, and the amount of output the system "needs." To end any system's need for growth, its population must be stabilized and something besides growth will be needed to offset growing labor productivity.

   Capitalism needs to cope with both growth in population and growth in productivity to survive. Assuming for now that population stabilized, then how can capitalism deal with the coming of robots and the unemployment caused by high productivity? The answer is waiting nearby. Capitalism could hope to become sustainable because it has unearned income, that old invisible gorilla.

   Capitalism could end its need for full employment by allowing welfare for the unemployed. Welfare would be just as acceptable as dividends if people knew how wealth gets stolen over and over.

   Capitalism could regulate itself again so that the parasitic idle rich had to share their loot with the redundant lazy poor. That would still be capitalism, right? The welfare state doesn't need growth, and it is still capitalism. If you don't like the lifeboat, jump in the water.

   Capitalism can solve the population problem too. Aside from poverty and war, looking for kinder methods, I propose that investors lend support to planned parenthood just to cover their asses. Odd they haven't tried that yet. Their minions in the media could easily fend off the "every sperm is sacred" crowd with a video of a helpless egg being raped by terrible sperm.

   Everyone can be proud of the machines we built do our work, for a while. Productivity may fall. Perhaps the end of free energy, rising system incompetence, weather, and war will create full employment for workers as soldiers or manual laborers without any growth in output at all being needed.

Barry Brooks a retired electronic engineer with an interest in understanding how the tangible world is threatened by the intangible world, and vice-versa. I am long on peace and frugal security, but short one partner for a duet in a-flat.

Along the Templar Trail to peace
from Brandon Wilson

   I edited Brandon Wilson's book Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace . It is a powerful book, amusing, informative and inspirational.

   Brandon has given me permission to post his last chapter to my web site. To induce you to click on this link, here are the first few paragraphs:

   Cruising home at thirty thousand feet, in between the tiny bags of pretzels and constant interruptions, I had time to reflect on my wanderings. My introspection would continue long after my feet returned to their normal size. Although my journey of self-exploration felt gratifying, I hoped I’d accomplished more than finding personal peace and a communion with spirit. If anything, I hoped I was successful in sowing seeds of peace along a trail long used for war. Like a Johnny Appleseed, perhaps I’d planted a vision, while reminding folks they had non-violent options--one village, one person at a time.

   Along the trail, I often imagined the possibilities if this same route were to become a pathway open to people of all cultures, faiths and nationalities to walk together; an international trail of peace. The simple act of walking together would nourish tolerance while dispelling fear, prejudice and hatred. Once people share a similar experience as intense as this one, they realize how much our hopes and fears are alike. Then again, everyday pilgrims would discover a tranquil sanctuary within, once they disconnect from an ever-more chaotic world. Returning home, more at peace and enlightened, it was only natural they would share this serenity and inspiration with families, friends and co-workers, as other peregrinos I know had done.

   On the other hand, immersing yourself in other countries can be the best way to re-discover your own. I had five months of quiet, sometimes painful, sometimes inspired contemplation. Many days, I reflected on the root causes of our never-ending wars; a global imperative as we stand hip-deep in another quagmire.

   Remembering back to those horrendous events of September 11th, 2001, with everyone seeking answers or revenge, we were promised the illusion of safety and freedom. All it took was war--and a pre-emptive one at that. Congress willingly complied, with few dissenting voices. The government would try not to disrupt our lives too much. As citizens, we were only asked to “keep shopping” and sacrifice a few liberties via the Orwellian-named Patriot Act--for our own security, of course.

   However, war is never freedom; no more than black is ever white. The absence of war, peace, is freedom.

   It’s one thing to protect our homeland against aggressors, and I’d never advocate abandoning self-defense. But our invasion of Iraq was clearly not a case of self-preservation. Saddam Hussein had no links to Al-Qaeda, as we all know by now. Instead, we were sold a polished, pre-planned confrontation for “freedom”(and oil). It was a costly fabrication whose consequences will eat away at the fabric of our nation for generations to come, just as the debacle in Vietnam has done. In today’s world, it’s far too easy to declare war, invade, and fire missiles at faceless targets below. In one sense, we can blame the media that present us with a sanitized view of death and destruction. Once the celebratory fireworks of “shock and awe” have passed, we see nothing of its aftermath and huge civilian casualties. After the devastation is complete, we leave our children and the rest of the world an even more precarious and pernicious legacy.

   America deserves better.

Read on... Brandon says you can buy Along the Templar Trail at your favourite book store, or visit


Oil in polar bear country
  Polar cities? from Andrew Glickson

Oil in polar bear country
Melanie Duchin, Global Warming Campaigner, Greenpeace USA

polar bear trying to stay alive   I've witnessed a few "coincidences" in my time, but even I was shocked when I learned about this one. After three years of dragging its feet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was due to release a final decision on endangered species status for the polar bear on January 9th. But that date came and went with no decision. Less than a month later, on February 6, the Minerals Management Service leased 29 million acres of prime polar bear habitat for oil drilling. And what makes it all the more stunning is that both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Minerals Management Service are part of the Department of Interior.

   We felt it was important to send a message to the Bush Administration this week that drilling for oil while failing to protect the polar bear is unacceptable. We declared the headquarters of the Department of Interior as 'critical habitat for oil lobbyists.' Then we followed up that message with a lawsuit along with The Center for Biological Diversity and National Resources Defense Council to force Secretary of Interior, Dirk Kempthorne to finally release a decision on the polar bear.

   Get the full story

   Check out our video of Greenpeace activists at the Department of Interior

Polar cities?
from Andrew Glickson

   Recently, somebody came up with the bright idea of establishing polar cities: as the far north and south get warmer, and the tropics become unbearable, why don't we move? Dr Andrew Glickson, who has written for Bobbing Around in recent issues, has sent me his opinion on the matter. I fully agree with him.

Re: "Polar cities"

   The concept of "polar cities" betrays a lack of understanding of the basis on which urban centres can develop. Any reading of the history of development of towns and cities in history will find out such could only emerge when agricultural cultivation has produced the excess food, over and above what the farmers themselves had to eat in order to survive, which could then be used for trade, development of technologies, urban construction and armies ... On a 2 or 3 degrees warmer Earth, cultivation of crops (wheat, rye, rice), fruit and vegetables, and domestication of animals would be far more difficult than in the present mild mid-latitudes. Coastal zones and low river valleys will be inundated by rising sea levels. Marine food resources would be depleted by ocean acidification. An ecologically degraded warmer Earth could hardly sustain a population of billions. More likely scenarios painted by James Lovelock, namely smaller populations trying to establish food resources in melted northern tundra zones (Canada, Siberia), would pertain.

   Just as a heavy smoker at the risk of lung cancer needs to stop smoking, the best solution for the current climate crisis is to stop using the atmosphere as an open sewer for carbon gases, resorting instead to the abundant clean energy resources technology now masters -- solar voltaic, solar thermal, solar (space) reflectors, geothermal energy, hot rocks, wind, tides, hydrogen -- the list goes on. Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it... read Jerad Diamond's book "Collapse" re what happened to societies and civilizations which cut their own forests and depleted their environments, ecosystems, soil and water resources.

Andrew 30 March, 2008

   Dr Andrew Glikson is former Principal Research Scientist, AGSO, and Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University. He is also one of the organisers of a conference in Canberra on Life on Greenhouse Earth, 11th and 12th June, 2008.

Deeper Issues

Giving up on giving up by Barry Brooks

Giving up on giving up
by Barry Brooks

   Belief in doom is giving up hope, but faith means not giving up hope.    Doom believers have lost one kind of faith.

   Worse, they stand in the way of good works.

   I suppose you have noticed the many forms in which we get the message, "Give up?" It is an important part of the social dynamic. One can't:

   The worst give-up message of all is the idea that the world is doomed by God.

   Disaster and failure are parts of our future, but I think we can make a slight positive difference if we don't give up. Giving up is a form of surplus powerlessness.

   I want to make a better list of reasons to give-up... especially any good reasons, just one.

   I gave up on it.


Barry Brooks a retired electronic engineer with an interest in understanding how the tangible world is threatened by the intangible world, and vice-versa. I am long on peace and frugal security, but short one partner for a duet in a-flat.


When worry takes over
Over 50 and no more joy!
“Lyricolalia”: A neologism for “triggering a song” by Elizabeth Tindle

When worry takes over

   Years ago, I had a client who had nursed her husband through two years of cancer. When he died, she was understandably devastated, but life had to go on. Months later, she was back at work, and her colleagues expected her to have got over it.

   Of course, she hadn't. Most people take a couple of years to process serious grief. So, she made mistakes in her work, twice she drove through red lights. Her sleep was disturbed, and often she could not stomach food, or forgot to eat.

   I suggested that she should devote two hours a day to John's memory. This could be after she got home from work. She could make a cup of coffee, sit down and then devote herself to her grief. She was to actually write this in her diary, like any other appointment.

   Any other time, naturally, she was allowed to grieve if she wanted to. However, if she was driving a car, or working, or talking to people, or settling for sleep, she had the option of sending the grief away. She'd just think, Darling, go away for now. I'll be with you at 5:30. And he went.

   Since then, I have taught this device, of scheduling worries, to hundreds of people, and practice it myself when I need to. If it works with serious grief, it works with any lesser thought that threatens to consume you. The requirements are:

Over 50 and no more joy!

Eight years ago, I answered a cry for help at Queendom. A week or so ago, I received an email from a lady who had found it, and let me know that my words had helped her. I feel honoured that I can do this: touch people's lives and be of benefit to them, not only across the planet but across the years too. Here is the original question and answer:

   I married at 20. Marriage and motherhood were all I ever wanted from a very early age and while the marriage wasn't the greatest, I did love him very much. I had two sons with him. After 18 years of a roller coaster marriage, I had an affair with my married next door neighbor. We both left our spouses and married each other and had a daughter together. This was 15 years ago. I never could figure out why, but I started to gain weight steadily and now I am 100 pounds heavier than when I was married to my first husband. But my marriage to my second husband was fun, and loving and sexy. We had a grand time for many years.

   Three years ago, within a three month period, my husband was forced to take early retirement. A month later my first husband, who I still loved, was in a plane accident and was burned. He died after 50 days in a morphine coma. And 2 weeks after he died, my current husband had a heart attack and almost died. He has suffered heart problems ever since. I find myself no longer enjoying life. While not severely depressed, I think about dying a lot. I no longer listen to music and dance. I just sit and pretty much have no interest in anything.

   Is this a normal state for people in their 50's no matter what they have been through? A lot of my friends, the ones who are open enough to share their innermost thoughts, speak of death and feeling like life is well on its way out. They feel that the zest for life they once had is not to be found anymore. After all, life sure does beat you down after 50+ years. Can anyone really be expected to feel excited and hopeful when reality has shown you different? I have had many friends and acquaintances die already. We all seem to be walking through life with the knowledge that there isn't much more of a future. Is this common for people over 50? It seems to be.

Pat (54 year-old woman)

Dear Pat,

   The short answer is that your feelings have nothing to do with age. My mother-in-law is 80 and full of life, making plans all the time. Physically she is very frail, but she'll beat you in a game of Scrabble. I am older than you, and still finding new challenges. I am absolutely too busy to worry about the end of my life. Even physically, I am getting stronger. I started an exercise routine last August, and my performance is improving week to week. And my main problem is that I am doing so many things, I don't have enough time for my main love: writing.

   Don't get the wrong idea, I am not boasting, just producing evidence to counter your fear that you are now over the hill, and life holds nothing more for you.

   My dear, I'd be very surprised if you weren't feeling sad and hopeless. Those terrible feelings are a necessary part of grieving.

   Three years ago, you were struck by multiple tragedies. According to popular wisdom, you 'should have got over them by now', but popular wisdom sucks. IF EVERYTHING HAD GONE WELL, you could have expected to get over your grief by now, and progressed into a new phase of your life. But everything did not go well.

   For one thing, your husband has continued on as an invalid. That is an extra worry and an extra heap of practical problems for you.

   Second, behind your words I sense a lot of guilt, 'what if', a carried load of regrets. These kinds of feelings are the heaviest load to carry. I invite you to look at a speech I once gave on helping people who are 'stuck in grief' as I suspect you are. Go to to look at it.

   Third, we humans are ruled by habits, of necessity. I had a client whose baby was very colicky, and cried every hour or so during the night. She got into the habit of waking just before he did... but that was 20 years before she came to me for help with insomnia. She kept waking in the night for 20 years, because of that habit she'd acquired then.

   It is possible that, in a similar way, you acquired the habit of thinking like a grieving person, and this habit has persisted. If this is so, you can fight it. While you are at my site, look up the page on 'How to break a habit (any habit)'.

   Here is a set of recommendations for everyone, but particularly for those who are feeling hopeless and sad:

   Pat, I don't know you at all, but I know you have the resources to break out of this negative cycle. You didn't leave an email address. Please contact me via if you read this, and let me know if my thoughts were of help to you.

Have a good life,

“Lyricolalia”: A neologism for “triggering a song”
by Elizabeth Tindle

Compare Echolalia: “the compulsive repetition of words spoken by someone else”

   As one ages, I believe we develop a greater ability to self reflect and become aware of our own language idiosyncrasies. We also have an ever-growing memory store of experiences, songs and learning from decades of life. Much of this can be available to us in a fraction of a second. The following is just one example of the complexity of our verbal and musical memories.

   For some considerable time, perhaps for years, I have noticed that I respond to words or phrase triggers when listening to or being part of conversation or any spoken communication. On many occasions the words of a song I know spring to mind with the appropriate tune and, depending on the company, I may burst forth into song! With close friends, family or in a light hearted context we all laugh or enjoy the spontaneity of the behaviour. In more formal company the song might go through my head as an automatic thought and I don’t allow myself to sing it out loud. Fortunately, it has not happened in therapy sessions.

   To demonstrate my meaning, I will give a recent example. As I worked late in my office one evening, a colleague popped his head in the door and said “Begone!” meaning that it was time I went home. I immediately continued the word “begone” with the song “Begone dull care, I prithee be gone from me. Begone dull care, you and I shall never agree” which is a 15th Century classical ballad that we sung in school (in England) fifty years ago! Of course, my colleague had not heard of it and thought me a little eccentric but he knows that I often burst forth into unknown songs or poetry in this way. (The reader is probably thinking how annoying this must be!)

   Until recently I had not met another person who did this to the extent that I do. However, this week we have had visitors from England, one of whom has this unusual “habit” as much as or even more than I. He too is of a mature vintage (in his sixties) and has been raised on an omnivorous diet of songs and music from school days. Coincidentally his temperament is outgoing, extraverted and energetic (a way I would describe my own).

    I have named this distinctive type of behaviour “Lyricolalia” as it has some distant resemblance to the echolalia seen in autistic children. Words are repeated from another’s conversation and the memory bank or brain “catalogue” in an instant has sifted out a tune and lyrics, using the same words and one can choose to sing the song or not. The brain’s Dewey system equivalent is amazingly quick!

   Is this a language phenomenon of later life? I do not recall having this fun “ailment” in my youth. Can anyone cast some light on what is happening? Is there anyone else who has made such an observation in themselves or close family members? What’s more would you dare to admit it? Maybe this is a potential research project for someone.

My response to Elizabeth was:

   Elizabeth, I've been doing this all my adult life, even as a young fellow. In may case, the behaviour is made worse by the fact that I can't stay in tune. I'll hear music in my head, and the slightest departure of a singer or orchestra from the correct melody pains me -- but if I sing, whistle or hum, I go way off the tune.

    All the same, someone says "I'll do it," and I've got Frank Sinatra's "I'll do it my way" blasting away within.

    And I am definitely not outgoing, but a loner who prefers people in very small doses and not too frequently.


Dr Elizabeth Tindle is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society. For many years, she has worked at the Student Counselling Service of a major Queensland University.

For writers

Getting started by Patrika Vaughn
How to spot a predator: an interview with Dave Kuzminski

Getting started
by Patrika Vaughn

   Since it helps to know what you're offering before you actually approach markets, here's a quick list of lengths for various types of fiction. If you aren't sure what kind of fiction you've been writing, here are the word count guidelines to help you figure it out.

* Up to 1,000 words--short-short, flash fiction or vignette
* 1,000-6,000 words--short-story
* 6,000-15,000 words--long story or novelette
* 15,000-45,000 words--novella
* 45,000-120,000 words--novel (though most commonly 50,000-80,000 words)

   Anything more than 120,000 will probably need to be broken up into a series of books or condensed.

   Novels tend to be published by book publishers originally, though excerpts can be sold to magazines. Short-short, flash fiction, vignettes, and short stories are usually sold first in magazines--with the possibility of releasing a collection in book form after several have been published.

   Long stories, novelettes, and novellas can be tougher to place, but the norm is for them to originally appear in magazines or collections of short fiction.

   Now, about the writing itself:

   You an entire tale hold in your mind. Millions of facts and details sit there, waiting to be written down. You want to share all this with your readers, who know absolutely nothing about your tale before they begin to read. What do you tell them first? How can you introduce them to all you have to say in a way that will grab their interest?

   Openings create a work’s theme music and provide the first information readers receive. They should be wonderfully interesting and should raise questions in your readers’ minds. Your first few paragraphs should have readers wondering, Who/what is this about? Where is it? How did this situation come about? When? What will happen next? Once you’ve aroused their curiosity, they’ll keep reading.

   To decide what those questions should be, ask yourself what do I want to say? When you can answer that in one sentence, you understand your plot.

   Your next question, how shall I say it? depends on knowing who your readers are and what effect you want your writings to have on them:

   If your intention is to inform--to tell readers how to make great widgets--you’ll want them to feel confident they can learn to do it. If you begin with something that inspires their belief in their ability, they’re likely to read on.

   If you intend to persuade through your writing, decide first whether your approach should be informative or questioning. This will depend on your relationship to your readers (older/younger, more/less knowledgeable, etc.) Begin by addressing these readers in your chosen tone.

   If your object is to entertain, you need a grabber opening. Is there a dramatic moment in your story that would make an irresistible opening? Could you start there and fill in earlier stuff with flashbacks later on? What tone do you want to set?

   Suppose you’re writing something historical. You might open with Daniel Boone standing on a mountaintop in 1800, surveying open prairies stretching as far as the eye could see. You could then write a chronological account from 1800 to today, when the view from that same spot reveals teeming highways and urban sprawl. If your opening scene took place at dusk, with nature’s creatures settling down for the day, it would contrast nicely with an ending that showed today’s electric lights shimmering like fairy dust as afar as the eye could see.

No matter what your objective, you’ll need a riveting beginning for your work. Your fiction, history, or how-to book must compete with the 60-second commercial. If readers aren’t captured by your first few paragraphs, they’re likely to put down your work and reach for the remote control.

   Try out several openings. Ask yourself:

1. which of them will interest my readers?

2. which creates a scene or sets a tone that best launches what I want to say?

3. which speaks best to the readers I want to say it to?

   Think of your story as a kind of strip tease. You hold the entire body of the work in your head, but reveal it only a little at a time. The revelation of your work begins with setting the tone (like the music the audience hears before the stripper comes on stage). Then you introduce your Main Character (the stripper) who begins some kind of action. A stripper doesn’t rush on stage and tear off all his/her clothes within seconds. The pleasure of the event is in its slow unfolding. In writing as well as stripping, anticipation is a large part of your audience’s pleasure. A good opening will launch your readers’ anticipation.

   The above article is an excerpt from the book, Everything You Need to Know to WRITE PUBLISH & MARKET YOUR BOOK by Patrika Vaughn. She is the world's foremost Author's Advocate, helping writers write better and get published. Find this book, audiobooks, online classes and consulting services on her website: She is listed in The International Authors and Writer's Who's Who, Outstanding People of the 21st Century, and has been awarded the Order of Excellence in Who's Who in the 21st Century.

How to spot a predator:
an interview with Dave Kuzminski

   On March 20th, 2008, Irene Watson and Victor R. Volkman spoke with Dave Kuzminski, creator and manager of Preditors and Editors, the infamous website where scammers and companies with a record of complaints are recorded. Dave helped us distinguish the dark side of book promotion, agents, and publishing by covering such thorny topics as: the difference between a bad business deal and a scam, the evolution of a scam and what types of people are running them, how to avoid a scam, and what to do if you think you've been had.

   Dave Kuzminski is both a writer and the owner and editor of Preditors & Editors. As a writer, he manages to inflict words upon readers in order to entertain them. He's been writing for several decades. As an editor, he manages to inflict recommendations upon publishing businesses who sometimes aren't entertained. He's done that for eleven years though it probably feels like several decades to some of those businesses that are recommended against. One of his favorite titles, Knight Spirits, is available from Double Dragon Publishing.

Listen to the interview.

What my friends want you to know

A request from Al Gore
Training the Trainers conference from Dr. Scott Miller
Register for Muse Online Writers' conference
Virtual book tour
Bainstorming: Darrell's April Newsletter
Twilight Times Books
Frugal Editor Wins Best Publishing Book in Reader Views 2007 Annual Literary Awards
Over-40 women having babies: an article by Sara Webb Quest

A request from Al Gore

From: "Al Gore" ""
To: ""
Subject: I need your help
Date: Saturday, 22 March 2008 10:42 AM

Dear Bob,

   Global warming is a problem of unprecedented magnitude and that's why we've launched the largest mobilization campaign ever. Actions by individuals like you will be the driving force behind this campaign and our ultimate victory. We're going to succeed, but I need your help today.

   More than 825,000 people have already joined us, but if leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need you to urge your friends to get involved today:

   We need to grow to 1,000,000 members by April so we can send a loud message that we want action now. That is why I need you to forward the email below to all of your friends right now and ask them to add their voices.

Thank you,
Al Gore

P.S. from the start has been about building a movement to solve the climate crisis. As we launch our major national and international campaign through the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Climate Protection Action Fund, members may hear from these organizations by email with updates and actions. You can opt-out from these emails at any point by clicking the link below.

Dear Friend,

   Climate change is an urgent issue that requires immediate solutions. That's why I've joined with Al Gore and others across the country and around the world who want to halt global warming.

   We're on the verge of being over one million strong and I'm asking you to join us. Please click here today to become part of the solutions to global warming:

   If leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need to send a loud message that we want action now. That's why I'm asking you to get involved today: Together, we can stop global warming.

Training the Trainers conference
from Dr. Scott Miller

August 4th-8th, 2008
Chicago, IL

   The Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change (ISTC) is pleased to announce the third annual Train the Trainers conference to be held in Chicago, Illinois (USA) from August 4th through August 8th, 2008. This intensive, hands-on training represents the first step in becoming a recognized trainer in the Client Directed, Outcome Informed approach. As the title of the event implies, emphasis will be placed on preparing participants to provide training, consultation, and supervision to therapists, agencies, and health care systems in the United States and abroad under the aegis of ISTC.

Be sure and sign up early as the 2008 T.O.T is absolutely limited to 32 people. Register now as the 2007 T.O.T sold out just 8 weeks after being announced.

Register for Muse Online Writers' conference

   Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be hosting their third annual Muse Online Writers Conference on October 13 to 19. The conference offers new and seasoned writers over 120 FREE workshops each year held over the course of one week.

   Last year, there were close to 2000 writers who attended from all over the world: USA , Canada , Mexico , Africa , England , Italy , Greece , India , New Zealand , Turkey , Australia--just to name a few. Some of the Presenters back once again this year are:

   For more information on the Muse Online Writers Conference:
To register as an attendee:
To register as a Presenter:

Virtual book tour


   You know me as the editor for Long Story Short. However, I have an alter ego who builds websites and promotes authors. I am currently sponsoring a virtual book tour for Linda Ballou, a tremendous travel writer who is about to have her first historical novel released through TC McMullen's, Star Publishing. The book, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai'i - Her Epic Journey, is a fascinating and meticulously researched and beautifully written story based upon the true life of King Kamehameha, the first King of Hawai'i, and his favorite wife.

   I am setting up a virtual book tour which will entail working with writers, bloggers and other literary entities who are interested in sponsoring any of the following:


In return, we shall post any information about your website, blog, book, etc. on Linda's website, both of our blogs, both of our myspace pages, both of our facebook pages, LSS, LSS publishing, digg, stumbleupon,, etc. This is an effort in mutual promotion. Please let me know if you are interested in working with us and in what fashion. We are setting up the schedule now with the release of the book about May 1.

Thanks so much.
Denise Cassino

Bainstorming: Darrell's April Newsletter

   My monthly newsletter is now live at

   Subjects this month:
They're Out To Get Betty, United Kingdom, Humor in Science Fiction, Book Reviews, Progress Report, Bain Blunders, Baked Fried Pies, Award, Politics, Stale Coffee, Tonto The Idiot-Savant,Improbabilities, Easy Dinner Recipe, Bain Muses, Excerpt From The Melanin Apocalypse.

Thanks for reading.
Darrell Bain
Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007. Dream Realm Award, 2007. See for all my books.

Twilight Times Books

   Twilight Times Books is an excellent publisher of electronic and paperback books. Two of my titles are listed with them: Anger and Anxiety and Striking Back from Down Under, and I have edited many of their books.

   Two of their books have recently distinguished themselves:

   Quite a few new titles are being released in April. Look them up at

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Frugal Editor Wins Best Publishing Book in Reader Views 2007 Annual Literary Awards

Austin, Texas -- The second book in the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor, was selected as the best publishing book of 2007 by Reader Views Annual Literary Awards.

   Reader Views Managing Editor Irene Watson says, “Reader Views reviews more than 2,000 books per year from budding authors who have worked hard to achieve

   their dream of being published."

   The Reader Views Annual Literary Awards are granted in 20 fiction and 30 nonfiction categories, as well as 15 specialized, sponsored categories. The entries are judged by Reader Views reviewers, all avid readers with a wide range of experiences, considered experts in their respective fields.

   This is the second award for The Frugal Editor, published by Red Engine Press. The first is USA Book News Best Writing/Publishing Book. Howard-Johnson says, "There are gremlins out there determined to keep your work from being published, your book from being promoted. They are resolved to embarrass you before the gatekeepers who can turn the key of success for you. The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success will help authors present whistle-clean copy (whether it's a one-page cover letter or their entire manuscript) to those who have the power to say "Yea" or "Nay." The book may be purchased at

   Howard-Johnson is a popular speaker and an instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers' Program. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry. She is the recipient of the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community's Character and Ethics Committee awarded her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen."

   Reader Views is an Austin, Texas, based company that publishes reviews and offers publicity services to authors. Now they are a one-stop center for budding authors. For more information, visit

   Reader Views is currently accepting submissions for the 2008 Literary Awards. Entry information, registration forms and further information can be found online at

   Learn more about Howard-Johnson at

Over-40 women having babies: an article by Sara Webb Quest

Hi Bob,

   Been awhile since I've put out a writing letter! Since women having babies later in life is a hot topic nowadays, here's a link to my "over-40 women having babies" article (in full!), just published in the CAPE COD TIMES:

   And, somewhat recently, CAPE COD VIEW mag published my short memoir about elementary school. You can read it in full here:

Love always,

Laughing is good for you

Join the Up-Wising: a tour by Swami Beyondananda

   We're living in serious times. And yet... there's something funny going on. Which means there is more reason to laugh, and more need for it. The more unfunny occurrences that occur, the more important it is to fortify ourselves with heart-opening, mind-expanding comedy. Wholehearted laughter is the ultimate weapon of "mass-deconstruction" to blow apart the insanity that masks itself as "sanity" in this shrinking world that could use a good shrink.

   That's why we are calling Swami's upcoming tour -- that will take us to the Big Island of Hawaii, to Charlottesville, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Asheville, North Carolina in April, to Sedona in May, and to Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Salt Lake City, and then back to the Bay Area in June -- the Wake Up Laughing tour. It's time to awaken, and what better way to wake up than to the sound of our own laughter?

   To paraphrase Tom Paine, these are soul-trying times that require love, courage, wisdom and community. The events on our tour are more than comedy performances. They are a way to gather in community, to reinforce the values we share, and use the spark of laughter to stay awake and awaken others. As Swami says, "It's time to wake up and wise up -- the up-wising has begun!"

   Access our April shows, the times, dates and contact numbers on the web site. If you have friends and family in any of these places, encourage them to come laugh with us, and meet other "imaginal cells" who are connecting to birth a new humanity. It's easy to feel disheartened when we see the reported news, but it's the unreported or underreported news that's really newsworthy. Every day more people awaken, and once awakened, it's almost impossible to go back to sleep.

    Introducing Swami's New Buddysattva Program

    Enlighten Your Friends!

   Let's face it, folks. Enlightenment is great, but it's no fun being enlightened all by yourself. We all need enlightened buddies, and that's why Swami is launching his Buddysattva program so that enlightening can strike twice in two different places -- your place, and theirs!

   As you know, there are two kinds of people in this world -- people who love to laugh, and people who need to laugh. If any of your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances (not to mention your public officials, mayor or representatives!) fall into either of these two categories, you can now send them any of Swami's hilarious and enlightening books, CDs or DVDs ... along with a special gift card letting them know you're helping them enlighten up through laughter. Just go to the Product Page, and when you place your order, in the category that says "Promotional Code" just type "buddy."

   Enroll a buddy in Swami's Buddysattva program, and earn your official Absurdification! Yes, if you've been wondering how to become an official Absurdified Foo Ling Master, you can do it by simply enrolling a buddy in the Buddysattva program by buying them a hilarious gift. Remember, an enrolling stone gathers no remorse!

   Not sure what to get whom? Check on the web site.

   May the FARCE be with you.


Yearning to Breathe Free
Seeking Asylum in Australia
Edited by Dean Lusher & Nick Haslam

The Federation Press, Sydney, 2007
ISBN 978 186287 656 9

   I would expect a book with this title, compiled and produced by an organisation called Researchers for Asylum Seekers, to be passionate and biased. The passion is there, but the bias is not. The 26 essays by 37 contributors form a document that is fair, even-handed and informative.

   I am a refugee myself, although from a time when Australia actively sought migrants. I’ve been involved in working for asylum seekers for years. All the same, I learned many interesting facts from reading Yearning to Breathe Free.

   As just one example, today’s response to asylum seekers is the child of the Labor Party, not of the Liberals. John Howard merely used a tool developed for him by Bob Hawke. When the boat people started to arrive from Vietnam, Labor was scared they would all turn out to be staunch right wingers; future Liberal voters. Misleading terms like ‘queue jumpers’ and mandatory detention were the result. In recent years, Howard simply used the same strategies, and the same turns of phrase, to oppress and vilify a different group of people desperate to escape oppression and violence.

   I was impressed by the list of contributors. Some names were new to me, but most Australians will know Malcolm Fraser, Carmen Lawrence, Lindsay Tanner and Lyn Allison; Phillip Adams, Sir Gustav Nossal and Arnold Zable. Anyone involved with human rights issues will have been inspired by Julian Burnside, QC, another contributor.

   Any collection of contributions from a wide range of authors can be expected to vary in both style and quality. All I can say is that someone has performed a wonderful bit of editing, because the writing is uniformly of very high quality, clear and understandable. Style varies from dry academic to poetry in prose, but all of it is informative and inspiring.

   The level of difficulty of this book is such that any senior high school student should be able to understand it. And I have no doubt that all high school students, and their parents, should be set Yearning to Breathe Free as compulsory reading.


   As usual, there is a FREE contest at Check it out. I think the current one has something to do with an ebook bonanza or something. I don't know, because I've been too busy trying to reconstitute my renovated computer.

About Bobbing Around

   If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.

   You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

   If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
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    Submission Guidelines

       It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

       Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

       Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

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