Last time I talked about sex, so this time, let’s talk about its everyday companion: violence.

For whatever reason, people in my country (the United States) have far more issues with depictions of sex than they do with violence. Consequently, our media have overbalanced in that direction. Some genuinely shocking amounts of violence appear in our entertainment. But it’s like profanity: a little of this goes a long way.

To great success, you can — and some do — saturate your work with violence, depravity, and gore. If that works for your readership, then more power to you. On the other hand, I want to be read by the broadest spectrum of people I can attract, which means putting a cap on that stuff.

I say this as a man who’s had serious moments of violence in his work. But that’s the key: moments. My feeling is that violence is like any other intense element. Used as punctuation, it makes the sentence stronger. Used constantly, it’s just repetitive and dull.

Put what you want in your writing. Not only can’t I stop you, but I don’t want to stop you. I wouldn’t say I like being told what to write, either. But you come here for my thoughts, so I’m sharing them with you. And I’ve learned that there are limits, which are far stricter than we tend to realize. So maybe dial it back a notch or two next time you write. You might be surprised how well it turns out.

This day also saw the release of the movie I’m never going to shake, Revenge of the Ninja. It’s one of those objectively bad films that takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. 🍿

poster for the movie REVENGE OF THE NINJA 1983

Look, I’m aware that people hate Deathstalker. You probably hate Deathstalker. But I’ve spent forty years loving it, and I’m not stopping now. 🍿

poster for the movie DEATHSTALKER 1983

Let the drinking commence, Oktoberfest fans! 🍺

german girl in lederhosen holding a beer


You don’t have to worry about whether that title will draw eyeballs, do you? Because nothing gets people worked up like some good, old sex. And that’s why my books almost always have sex in them.

My books also have a lot of scenes of people eating and sleeping in them, too, because those are things everyone does. Sex is a part of the human experience, and unless you’re writing about aliens who procreate through some process unknown to us, human experience counts.

People want a lot of things, and sex is one of them. I don’t care who or where you come from; that’s a common feature. And common features are where we find the humanity in our characters. They can be from anywhere, raised in disparate cultures, and be of different ages, sexes, or creeds. Doesn’t matter.

Sure, some people pretend to be offended by sex. They’re more repressed than the average person, but it’s not that they don’t have the drive.

As a writer, I’m interested in exploring how people interact and how those differences highlight commonalities. Women are different than men, for example, but they’re both people and therefore have a whole set of traits in common. Sex is a way to get at that, and it can also heighten tension or drama. Will they or won’t they is a thing for a reason.

So don’t fear sex. Please put it in your writing. It belongs there.

You could probably make a mountainous list of songs people misunderstand, but “Born in the USA” will be near the top. 🎶

People who blame gerrymandering for why their party doesn’t win are no different from the ones who shouted, “Stop the steal!” 🗳️

I saw someone say of s—posters: “Some would call them the ‘interesting’ posters, who make the community more lively. Compared to them, is quite sedate, perhaps even comatose.”

Yes, some might say that. Those people are idiots. 💭

One way to prevent impulsive and possibly self-destructive posting is to write entries well in advance. It allows you to cool off before something goes out. 💭

I’m thinking about a morning nap. How about you? Morning nap? Let’s do it. 😴

I come not to praise f—, but to bury it.

This will upset some people, but they need to hear it: don’t put the word f— in your books. Try to avoid any swearing altogether unless it’s something you might hear on network television. And, no, AMC doesn’t count. I’m talking about old-school network TV when there were three channels and nothing on.

I’ve used f— a lot in my books, but you’ll notice I don’t anymore. That’s because I realized it adds nothing and subtracts a lot. I can tell the same stories without (much) profanity and not alienate people who can’t tolerate such language.

You can call people prudes if you want, but even I, who use the word f— at home as if it were punctuation, never say it in public. Never. Nor will I.

As much as I enjoy a good f-word, I realize that in some situations, it hurts more than it helps. And because I’m in the business of entertaining people and making them happy, I don’t want to piss my readers off. If they hit an f-bomb and stopped reading, I lost a customer. Moreover, they will tell someone else, and they won’t buy my books, either. It’s a losing scenario.

I suggest a compromise, and I’ve used this to some success. If you must use f—, use it once per book and never about the act. It’s enough to upset some readers but still lets you express yourself. Try it.

My birthday is coming up soon. Yes, another one. 🎂

awesome since 1970

Yes, I really would prefer to be living in 1943. 💭

a painting of a city street after Edward Hopper

I ordered a bag of 100+ plastic cowboys and Indians because I wanted them and could. 🤠

It’s been a while since my in-person roleplaying group died. I haven’t formed a new one, and I’m uninterested in online play, so I guess that’s it for the hobby on my part. Farewell. 🎲

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around 2023 being three-quarters over, but isn’t that always the way? 🗓️

I preordered this for my birthday. It looks like it’ll be interesting. 📚

the cover of A MASTERPIECE IN DISARRAY by Max Evry

Back on the subject of hearing aids: your dog will never find something else so enticing or delicious, so beware. 🦻

Talent is bulls—.

My father, a wonderful man who should never die in a fire, once told me, “You always wanted to be a writer, even though you don’t have any talent.”

Like I said, great guy. Fun at parties.

I think I’ve pretty conclusively proven he’s a poor judge of “talent,” thanks to multiple award nominations, bestselling books, and more. But more than that, Bob Ross, who knew a thing or two about a thing or two, said this: “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

Have you ever worried that you’ll never succeed as a writer because you don’t have enough talent? Or has someone told you about your exceptional talent? Because both those things are wrong. Writing is a skill, not a gift from the gods, and can be learned by anyone. Even someone with minimal education or mental capacity can learn to write. They’ll have to practice longer, but they can still improve and even excel.

There’s something called the growth mindset, which you must cultivate within yourself. You may not be skilled enough now, but you can practice, learn, and get better until you are. Nothing is stopping you. Not even people like my father, who can’t see past their limitations. They don’t want to learn, so they don’t. Don’t make that your problem. It’s theirs.

Bob Ross said something else in almost every episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: “You can do it. I know you can.”

Before I lost my hearing (it’s a sad story), I never could have understood the urgency of moving quickly when your hearing aid is about to run out of charge. 🦻

I’ve spent forty years loving Fire and Ice and won’t stop now. 🍿

poster for fire and ice 1983

I remember reading about how Millennials have contributed to the “nuggetization” of the food business. They love their nugget-shaped food. But what of my generation’s love of chicken tenders? What food crime have we committed without knowing it? 🍗

I can’t be the only one who fears a tick bite. Without thoroughly examining myself afterward, I won’t walk in even ankle-high grass anymore. Too risky otherwise. 💭

Have you done your daily writing yet? If not, pick a time and get it done then. Don’t forget! 📝

I never thought I’d enjoy listening to so many “lo-fi” musical offerings on YouTube while I work. I’m surprised. 🎶