Two Things I Learned About Writing – Lesson 2017 – 001

Sharing what I learned about writing is one of the main reasons I blog. Each week I listen to several podcasts, read blog posts, watch videos, and of course read.

This week I learned:

Universal Links

Have you ever received a newsletter from a favorite author or maybe read a blog post that had a separate link or button to order a book from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, Google Play, etc. If you are wanting to order the book it can be confusing which to use. If you’re sending out a newsletter or writing a blog including links can be challenging. You can use the Books2Read universal links to tidy up your newsletters and make it so you only need to share one link. With Books2Read Universal Links, your favorite authors can share one easy link for a new book, and you’ll be able to find it at your preferred store.

Source: Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast.

69% of all U.S. Book Purchases are Made Online

Last week at the Digital Book World Conference the Data Guy made an interesting presentation. He shared that 69% of all U.S. book purchases are made online. Not just ebook purchases. All purchases, including print.

  1. According to Data Guy, three-quarters of all U.S. adult fiction is bought online. Again, that’s print, audio, and ebook.
  2. So that desire you writers have to get into a brick-and-mortar bookstore through traditional publishers? It doesn’t happen much anymore.

Source: Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Writer, Editor, Reader, Fan Girl

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Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 by Lindsay Buroker

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast was my introduction to author Lindsay Buroker. An episode of the podcast I was listening to mentioned she also wrote Science Fiction as well as Fantasy. I headed to Amazon to explore her science fiction books.

I did a quick reading of the first four paragraphs of chapter one of Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 in the Emperor’s Edge series. I then purchased the book using the beautiful “buy with 1-click” Amazon command button.

I am now a fanboy of Lindsay Burocker’s science fiction writing.

The author has a great story. The memorable characters greeted me immediately. There is the Star Nomad’s captain, Alisa Marchenko. She has her engineering friend Mica who is also a heck of a mechanic. They find Alisa’s mother’s old ship to get off the desert planet they were stranded on after the war ended.

We learn that Alisa and Mica fought on the side of the Alliance. They soon meet an Imperial cyborg living in and guarding the Star Nomad. They negotiate with him to reach their common goal of getting off the planet and back to Alisa’s home world of  Perun and civilization.

We learn the consequences of what happens when an evil empire is overthrown without having a strong new government plan in order.

Additional players in the book are the previous Emperor, the Starseers, the Alliance, and the Mafia. The book cover the characters’ quest to Perun. It lays down a solid foundation for the remaining journey and possible future conflict between characters.

I have read book 2 and will review it soon. I am currently reading book 3 in the series. It looks like there are 8-books to date in the series.

Star Nomad is fun reading. It will make even give you the desire to do some grilling of bear meat. And yes, there are female science-fiction authors. Lindsay Buroker is of the top ten female science fiction authors of modern times according to World’s Edge Tavern.

Finding Time vs Making Time to Write

read write repeatMaybe you’ve said if only I could find enough time I would write my novel. I’ve heard many people make that or similar statements through the years.

It’s a question of finding enough time I would write. Balancing your day job with your passion for writing and reading is hard. The day job is important. You need a regular paycheck and insurance. So unless you’re a Dean Koontz with a spouse who is willing to give you five years to make it with her working full-time to support you, you will need a day job.

Having a life is important. You need to divide enough time to keep yourself spiritually and physically fit. You need a sound body and a sound mind as you write. You need time for a spouse or whoever you are with in a relationship. Your spouse isn’t going to cook, clean and be happy while you hibernate in your room or study reading and writing. You have to invest time in your relationship.

Let’s face it, there are days when you are too tired or exhausted to write. There are other days where all you feel like is reading. The reading recharges your energy and is fodder for future writing.

You need to write regularly. Notice I used the word regularly, not daily. Why not daily? Because you will have some days you cannot write. If you are trying daily and miss a day you will feel guilty and may give up. If you just write one page a day for 25 out of 30 days in a month that is a 300-page book in just one year!

You can do it. You can find the time to write if it’s your passion. If writing is your passion, you will make the time.

You can find the balance to do it. Go for it!

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

Cowboys Hats or Fedoras

In long ago, by-gone times,
Dallas was still cooled
By Toastmaster and Limit electric fans

Before Bob Wills’ Ranch House was
Renamed the Longhorn Ballroom
Back when “Sam” Zamudio became
The Sham and formed the Pharaohs

Gordon McLendon’s KLIF
Was the mighty 1190 and top 40 was all it played
With Irving Harrigan in the morning
Before he moved to Highland Park
Becoming Ron, not Ralph Chapman

When theater row stretched
For several blocks along Elm Street with
The Melba, Tower, Palace, Rialto, Capitol,
Telenews with its newsreels and short subjects,
Fox with the live burlesque, Strand, and
The Majestic was still the grandest of them all.

Back when Lou (aka Lou Lazer) and Ann Bovis owned
The landmark Dallas nightclub Louann’s
At southeast corner of Greenville and Lovers Lane
It was that special place
Where all the teenagers had to go

Unless they stopped at the filling station
To buy with a quarter what they hoped to use in the big back seat
At the Astro or Gemini Drive-in where they steamed up the windows
Never doing what they claimed they did

Dandy Don quarterbacked Coach Landry’s Cowboys, no longer SMU
While Dr. W.A. Criswell was our conscious
At the historic First Baptist Church

We wished Friday, November 22nd never happened back in 1963
It was a time when nearly all men wore cowboys hats or fedoras.

© 2012 Jimmie A. Kepler

Portsmouth Junior High School


In August 2016 I found myself standing in front of Portsmouth Junior High School (now Portsmouth Middle School) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I attended the school from February 1966 through the end of April 1967 when my father Technical Sergeant Jimmie Kepler retired from the United States Air Force.

While the school added a couple of additions since I had left, if I stood in front of the school it looked exactly the same. Standing there it was as if time had stood still.

Earlier that same day, I had taken a nostalgic tour of the former Pease Air Force Base (now the Pease Air National Guard Base, Pease International Trade Port and Portsmouth International Airport at Pease). As I drove the streets of my adventures as a seventh and eighth grader, I was once again a thirteen years old boy building snow forts, playing baseball, and having his first interest in girls.

You will have as much fun reading as I had remembering and writing about growing up as a military brat. All the events are true. I have changed the names of the boys and girls in my remembrances.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, The Dead Mule School for Southern Literature, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and vox poetica. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his literary habit working as an IT application support engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs.

A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972 by James R. Ebert

Wisconsin high school teacher James R. Ebert does a masterful job as he combines interviews and printed primary sources in this remarkable telling of the infantryman’s experience during the Vietnam War. Ebert tells the story of the US Army and a few US Marine infantrymen during the Vietnam War. He takes their story from induction into the service through basic and advanced individual training, arrival in Vietnam, their first combat experiences, the first killed in action they experience, in some cases the soldier’s death, and the freedom birds that take them back to the world. Ebert points out while infantryman accounted for less than 10% of the American troops in Vietnam, the infantry suffered more than 80% of the losses.

Ebert uses an interesting technique starting every chapter with a letter by Leonard Dutcher to his parents. Dutcher just wanted to do his part for God and country and go home at the end of his 12-month tour (13 for Marines). In the last chapter, we find out that Dutcher was killed. It caught me off guard and really added to the impact of the book. Ebert takes many of the soldiers and Marines experiences word for word from the individual himself through interviews or letters. It is a collective look at similarities of the many infantry soldiers and Marines in the war. It is a very personal account from many points of view.

This is an important book in Vietnam War literature. This is what the grunts really went through. I was left with somewhat of feeling of guilt from reading the book. Why? I graduated high school in 1971. Some of my high classmates went to Vietnam and fought. Everett Maxwell was killed in action. I went to college and was ultimately commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, went through airborne school and served three years active duty. My becoming an officer deferred my entry on active duty from 1971 to 1975. This is the reason for my reflective thoughts. Read by Jimmie A. Kepler in August 2004.

The Dry Creek Bed


The Dry Creek Bed 

There was once a dry creek bed
Where the water seldom flowed
Where a prickly-pear cactus
With its barbed spines struggled to grow

I bent over and picked up some rocks
Slowly polished smooth by nature’s wind and rain
And looked in awe at God’s majesty
Spread across the desert plain

A man needs a guiding compass
With unchanging principles telling just how it should be
Someone to show him the way
To the path straight and free

I rested alongside an outcropping
The fragrance of the cactus blossoms filled the warm, dry air
In the southwest buzzards circled in a cloudless sky
Seeing a dead carcass, waiting for their share

A limb, broken, alone
Lie on the ground beside a bare, Desert Willow tree
I cut off its nail like thorns
Making a walking staff for me

A cactus wren sang its pretty song
Above a rattlesnake down on the warm, dry sod
I was the only man who heard the tune
And I thought of Moses and the staff of God

Then my memory turned to a preacher’s sermon
Heard long ago in my teenage days
Jesus is the way to life
So the words of the Bible say

So as the day ended
I reflected on where my life is at
On the outside, all seems right
While inside I’m living flat

Now a man needs a guiding compass
With unchanging principles telling just how it should be
Someone to show him the way
To the path straight and free

My soul was once a dry creek bed
Where the Living Water I rarely allowed to flow
Where without His Living Water
I frequently struggled to grow

He bent over and touched His child
My response He wanted to see
Wanting to share God’s loving majesty
Where His love’s waiting for me

Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, The Baptist Standard (ghostwriter), Thinking About, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE, and more. His novels The Rebuilder and Miss Sarah’s Secret as well as Charlie’s Bells: A Short Story Anthology and the award-winning short story The Cup, and the short stories Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, The Paintings and poetry collection Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on

Available on Amazon

Fourth Grade New Year’s Day Memories from January 1, 1963

USC Mascot Traveler with a Trojan Warrior rider.

The first New Year’s Day that I clearly remember was New Year’s 1963. I was nine years old and a fourth grade at Luke Air Force Base Elementary School on Luke Air Force Base, Glendale, Arizona. I remember the big deal that year about the Rose Bowl Football game. The University of Wisconsin was the Big 10 Conference Champion and ranked #2 in the country. The University of Southern California (USC) was the Athletic Association of Western Universities champion (see note) and ranked #1. This was the first time that the number one and number two teams had ever played each other in a bowl game.

My fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Jensen. I had also had her in the third grade which seemed weird at the time to have her get promoted to the next grade along with me. Mrs. Jensen was a USC graduate. She had been a cheerleader way back in the 1930’s. She showed us pictures of her as a cheerleader, but we all thought that had to be her daughter as she could have never been that young. She had been born the same year as President Kennedy. That was 1917.

She asked how many of us had watched the Rose Bowl game. Almost every hand in the classroom was raised. She asked questions about the game. Who won? USC. What was the score? 42-37.

In spite of the score, in the fourth quarter, USC leading, 42-14. That is when many who had started with the game on the telecast turned off their television or changed channels. Even at the Rose Bowl some began filing out.

Then the comeback began. It is what some have called the greatest Rose Bowl in history. USC desperately fought to hang on for a 42-37 victory.

I like what LA Time sports writer Earl Gustkey wrote. He said, “The (Wisconsin) Badgers simply ran out of time against the Trojans, who had run out of gas. They scored 23 unanswered fourth quarter points, but still lost.”

Mrs. Jensen had been at the game that Tuesday. She hurried back the 375 miles to Glendale, Arizona for school on Wednesday. She asked if we knew what Wisconsin’s mascot was. We all yelled Badger. She asked if we knew USC’s mascot. We all said in unison, Trojans. She asked if we knew what the name of the white horse was that carried the Trojan warrior on its back.

There was silence.

We then learned that The horse’s name is Traveler. We found out that when USC scores a touchdown, Traveler gallops around the field as the USC band plays “Conquest.”

I learned many trivial things as a military brat. The story of Traveler has stayed with me. I was the first person Mrs. Jensen asked when she wanted the name of the horse. I didn’t know and the class laughed at me. The stopped laughing after she asked each boy and girl and no one knew the answer.

Note: What is now the Pacific-12 Conference or Pac-12 has had several names in its history – Pacific Coast Conference or PCC, 1915–1959, Athletic Association of Western Universities or AAWU, 1959–68, Pacific-8 or Pac-8 1968–78, Pacific-10 or Pac-10, 1978–2011.

Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Bestweekevr at en.wikipedia