Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tough Crowd

As an author I give talks at a number of retirement communities. Last week I was invited to an assisted living facility that specializes in memory care. As people arrived I went through the audience and introduced myself. One man shook my hand and said, "I'm Hal." Five minutes later while waiting for others to arrive, he came up to me and shook my hand again and said, "I'm Hal." When everyone had settled, "I said, good evening. I'm Mike Befeler." One man in the audience shouted, "Are we done yet?" Five minutes into my talk a woman jumped up and yelled, "I'm outa here." She took off. Five minutes later she returned and announced, "I'm back." Then a few minutes later she jumped up again and shouted, "I'm outa here." Still, the audience laughed at my jokes, nodded their heads at my description of the upsides and downsides to aging and gave me a good round of applause. A tough crowd but appreciative.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Geezer Cussing

The protagonist in my Geezer-lit Mystery series, Paul Jacobson, cusses. I've had some readers object to his language. I've told people that Paul picked up this bad habit when he was in the military during WWII and that I've tried to remind him to tone it down, but because he has short-term memory loss, he forgets. When asked to read from Living With Your Kids Is Murder, I warn listeners that if they have delicate ears to be prepared for Paul's language. Even with this warning, I had an audience member object to my reading a month ago in another state. Last week at an event in my home state of Colorado, I asked the audience ahead of time if there was anyone who who would prefer that I skip over the cuss words because I had someone object in another state. This time someone piped up and said, "This is Colorado, we don't mind."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Writers Conference

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference in Denver. In addition to moderating six panels, I renewed friendships with other authors, had a reunion with my online critique group and attened a number of excellent presentations. Eldon Thompson, science fiction writer and screenwriter, kicked off the Friday night dinner by telling us the six Ps of writing: passion, preparation, practice, patience, prioritization and perserverance. Saturday night's keynote speaker, thriller writer Joseph Finder, summed it all up with this statement: "How cool is it to be paid to make things up." In a session he conducted, he also stated that the most successful writers aren't necessarily the best writers but are the most stubborn ones who learn from rejection--stubborn in not giving up, but learning and adapting from the feedback they receive from agent and editor rejection notices and not taking criticism personally. He suggested including at least one of--reverse, reveal or surprise--in every scene written and writing what you love to read not what you think will sell. Crime writer James Born, concluded on Sunday by saying, "Nothing has been improved by whining." He describes how he writes thirty minutes every day and puts someone wanting something on every page. All and all a great conference with inspiration and good fellowship.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


After a tough week dealing with the death of a relative, the next week was a refreshing change as my wife and I took care of our two grandsons in Iowa. There’s nothing like the smiles on grandkids’ faces to raise your spirits. Spending the day chasing after a 2 ½ year old and crawling on the carpet with a six month old, left me tired but contented. Sure, there were the outburst and crying jags, but they recovered quickly. I enjoyed walking through the nearby woods with my grandson while he collected sticks. When we came to a fallen log, he inspected it, nodded knowingly and informed me, “Too big, Grandpa.”