wodke-hawkinson.com Blog Musings from deviant minds (Or how writers think)


Odd Vintage-Look Photos of Mutants


I found this website and became instantly intrigued. These photos are very clever. I hope you enjoy them:

Weird Portraits Vintage Style



It Was There All Along–Hutchinson Kansas


Upon arrival at the McCarren Airport, in Las Vegas, my husband and I were speaking to another couple as we off-boarded into the terminal. When they learned we were from Hutchinson, Kansas, they said they knew something about Hutchinson but couldn’t remember what. My husband and I exchanged puzzled looks, what could they be talking about? We couldn’t think of a single thing that would attract people to our home town.

Soon after parting ways from the unknown couple, we suddenly remembered Fun Valley Sports Complex and the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Then, we remembered the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, and the Kansas Underground Salt Mine.

Fun Valley is a baseball and softball facility for youth and adult teams. The complex hosts numerous national and state events and is known nationwide as "America's Tournament Headquarters." To learn more about this complex visit: http://www.funvalleysports.com/contact_us.shtml

It’s a Wild Ride Baby. The Kansas State Fair held in Hutchinson, Kansas, each year draws visitors from around the state and further. Offering exhibits, shows, animals, games, and rides galore, the fair has something for everyone. At other times of the year the fairgrounds hosts rodeos, horse and dog shows, and races, among many other events. Visit http://www.kansasstatefair.com/index.php for more information.

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is Out of this World and right in the heart of Hutchinson. The Cosmosphere displays space artifact collections which includes Russian space artifacts. You can visit the museum, the IMAX theatre, or the Justice Planetarium. Be sure to visit http://www.cosmo.org/vi_at_justice.htm for more information on this exciting and educational institution.

Kansas Underground Salt Mines visit begins with a trip down an elevator in total darkness, 650 feet down, where you enter a climate that remains at 68 degrees year round. Here visitors begin a tour of the salt mine and learn its history. The mine uses its hundred of mined out acres to store, and display items in the museum, from Hollywood movies and costumes to the world’s oldest living organism. Visit http://www.undergroundmuseum.org/ to learn more.

Everyone should be aware of what is offered and take advantage of the wonderful attractions that are in our own backyard. For a few more attractions in Hutchinson, visit: http://www.hutchchamber.com/visithutch/page.php?cid=114&id=117



Fishing as Fodder for Fiction

two fishing poles

Okay, I admit it. I tried for an alliterated title without regard to its sensibility or appropriateness. However, as a fan of fishing, I can verify that the time spent relaxing with a fishing pole in hand is not wasted time. I love catching the fish for certain, but I also love that still quiet of the lake and that peaceful feeling of settling in for a few hours of fishing. Between baiting the hooks and casting the lines, there is a lot of time for rumination. Plenty of time to think over book ideas, plots and story lines, character development, or to just let the old imagination ramble where it wants. Just remember to put those ideas on paper at the first opportunity.

I started fishing mainly to try and catch my dinner. I have learned a lot since then. Sometimes I fish just for the thrill of catching something. Other times I fish to eat my catch, but these are the smaller fish. Recently, I fished to bring in a big one, one too big and magnificent to eat. I landed a 17 pound catfish and it was exciting. He was a handsome fish who reluctantly posed for photos before swimming away into the murky depths once again.

While waiting for a bite, I thought about my writing in general and our books in specific. Not only was it enjoyable, but I believe it was helpful. It was a nice break and left me recharged for more hours at the keyboard. For those of you who like to combine writing with fishing, here is an excellent online home for you to tell your fish stories, ask questions, get advice, or just hang out with likeminded souls:


Forum:  http://forum.catfishcorneronline.com/simplemachinesforum/



The Pitfalls of Self-Publishing

old typewriter by Petr Kratochvil
Writers want to write, right? If you are self-published, however, you must become your own editor, agent, publisher, marketing expert and sales manager. From what I've read, things have changed a lot in the publishing field even for authors who are represented by traditional publishers. Now more than ever, the author is expected to actively participate in the promotion of his or her book. But, without a doubt, the self-published author faces a daunting task. All of this activity can leave little time for actual writing.
While self-publishing for me remains an alternative to merely be considered at this point, it is sobering to realize just how much time can be used up in the promotion of a book. Time that I would rather spend writing.
When the time comes to make a choice about self-publishing, it will not be an easy decision. It will require an enormous commitment.


Typewriter Photo by Petr Kratochvil


So you’re going to remodel!

My husband and I recently remodeled our house. We painted walls, hung new blinds and drapes, and applied paneling. We spent hours picking out counter tops, floor tiling, and carpet; which we had a contractor install. Then we bought a new shower/tub combo, and in our ignorance we decided we could install it ourselves. I mean; how hard can it be? Famous last words.

First came the fun (haha) of buying the tub. We wanted deep water and a comfortable backrest. We had a preference on soap and shampoo tray locations. I finally resorted to sneaking ladders over to displays and climbing into the tubs and laying in them (this was after we determined they met the deep water and tray criteria’s). In this way, we chose a tub and I have been satisfied with the choice. Then came the installation.

Day one: First, we had to get the old tub/shower out. It had been installed new when the house was built and was a single piece. The first thing we discovered is that the units have a lip around them and the sheetrock is applied over this lip, thus enclosing the tub/shower in the wall. Hmmm! A friend suggested cutting the sheetrock just enough to get the unit out and enough to get the new one in. Then we could use molding to surround the tub/shower, enabling easier changing if needed in the future. That’s what we did.

But then, we realized the old tub/shower would not fit through the doorway. We finally brought in a saber saw and cut the whole thing down the middle. There, we were ready to stick in the new unit. Not!

The floor had been wet below the tub and although it wasn’t in horrible shape we decided to replace the flooring. That went fine. Then we set the tub in place and found the old plumbing didn’t line up with the hole in the new tub. Next step, my husband accomplished installing new plumbing and getting it in the correct spot.

The day was done. Thank goodness we have a second shower. The job we thought would take a day was not done.

Day two: My husband decided we needed braces under the tub to keep it from sagging in the middle and to keep the side from pushing in. I thought he was crazy but we proceeded to move the tub in and out until we had the boards in the proper spot. As it turned out, he was brilliant. Without the braces the outside bottom of the tub would have pushed in with the slightest pressure; a knee while cleaning, a foot by accident, or when the tile was laid. He gets kudos.

Next came the side panels. Oh my! They didn’t want to line up right and more braces were designed to keep them from bending and to get them in the right place. Then, the faucets didn’t stick out far enough and the next battle began.

Showers were taken in the second bathroom again.

Day three: Finally the tub and hardware were installed. The caulking was finished but we still had a gap around the outside of the complete unit. This didn’t cause any problems; we installed molding and painted it. Job completed!

The moral of this story is: Never install your own tub/shower combo. Use your brain and hire the job out.



Line-spacing on a blog


Being new to blogging I have a lot to learn. The first lesson came last night when I attempted to add a new post to the blog my co-author had designed for us. I tried for several hours to get this done. Actually adding the post was simple; the problem came when I'd go to view it on our blog. Oh, when I previewed the change, everything was fine and dandy; there was my post, pretty as can be. So, I'd go and open the blog from our website (http://wodke-hawkinson.com ) and my post would be gone. POOF! I finally gave up, aggravated, and went to bed; it was 1:30 in the morning.

This morning, Karen found the problem. When we were attempting to first set the blog up we were having difficulties. As it turned out we had created two blogs, 1 & 2. Now we are back to one but I have stumbled on a new problem---line spacing.

I added a new page to our blog site; Flash Fiction and Poetry. Then, I copied and pasted a poem that is supposed to resemble a dress on the left side. Fine? No, not so fine! My original poem has single spacing with no space above or below the lines but when I pasted the poem it has at least double spacing. I have found no way to correct this issue and have a very long red dress for a poem. If anyone knows how to keep this from happening I would love to hear from them.            


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Ferrari Scuderia Spider


For our upcoming novel we needed a special vehicle; one that would appeal to criminal minds. While I admit to having little knowledge about cars, I do know that the 2010 Ferrari Spider is an outstanding car. Heck, if I was a thief, I’d steal it myself (But I’m not, so get off my back!).

One thing that I do know about the Ferrari is a most exceptional factor (at least in my mind); its speed. This sassy little red devil can reach up to 193 miles per hour. I could quote specs here but it would be easier for you to visit http://www.rsportscars.com for details.


You can also see some fantastic pictures (like the one posted here) at: http://best-free-car-pictures.blogspot.com/2009/06/2010-ferrari-scuderia-spider-16m.html

Visit us at: http://wodke-hawkinson.com


Hard or Soft?


Many readers have a strong preference for one type of cover or another. I personally prefer soft cover books since I like to read in bed and they are easier to hold and lighter weight. But I do recognize the advantages of a hardcover book. For one thing, they tend to hold up to wear and tear better. They convey a sense of greater worth. And they can be useful for purposes other than reading such as holding your paper while you write or leveling a sofa that has lost one of its legs. (I would never do this to a book. I just put it out there as a possibility.)

books old     Older hard cover books actually make useful décor accessories. They have a special character that adds a design element. Let’s face it; they look nice on a shelf or in a casual pile atop an aged trunk. Plus, hard cover books are a more permanent investment.

 But paperback books are generally lighter, easier to manage, and more portable. They are also more affordable. Of course, they are beat in each of these categories by e-books, if you don't count the initial outlay for the electronic reader. 

 book e

 Authors and publishers are aware that paperbacks are less costly to produce. Self-published writers in particular must take this into account.

Often a book will be released in both hardcover and soft cover forms, as well as electronically.

 What is your preference? Hardcover, soft cover or e-books?



No genre is safe!

Science fiction, romantic suspense, thrillers, contemporary fiction, horror, speculative literature or even comedy. No genre is exempt from our ambitions!


Should I Self-Publish?


books     Well, that is the question for authors just starting out and even some who are well-established. It’s something my co-author and I are mulling over. There are some who say that self-publishing will kill your career before it even gets started.

 There are many wonderful articles and resources for the author considering self-publishing. Here are a few:

David Carnoy http://reviews.cnet.com/self-publishing/

Dan Poynter http://www.parapublishing.com/sites/para/

Rachelle Gardner http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/03/think-hard-before-self-publishing.html

One thing many writers, myself included, find frustrating is that so many mainstream publishers are associated under one huge umbrella. You may believe you are submitting your manuscript to a different publisher only to find out they are an imprint of a huge conglomerate. It feels sometimes like the big traditional publishers have the market completely sewn up.

Ultimately, the writer will have to decide. With print-on-demand, it’s easier than ever to self-publish. But is it true what some people claim? Does the self-published author harm his or her credibility by avoiding the traditional route? Are you brave enough to find out?