Mr. Duck and I have two amazing sons.  The youngest attends a local college and is a rising junior with ambitions to teach history at the high school or college level. The eldest is an engineer  who works in upstate New York with a company that runs the Navy's nuclear program.  Every summer the youngest flies to NY to spend a month with the eldest, and they take weekend trips to indulge their joint love of history and touring forts and musty, dusty sites. This is THAT month, meaning that both ducklings are away from Daddy Duck on his special day.

This year, Mr. Duck is stuck with Mrs. Duck as his father's day companion, and he'd be the first to tell you that I'm a mighty poor substitute for his sons.  He'd be right, of course, because Mr. Duck is always right.  And he sired and raised some amazing boys. Nothing says as much about the man he is as the sons he raised.  They are his finest tribute - and he did a great job with parenting, taking the role of steady, stern disciplinarian to offset his overindulgent wife. His success shows in his sons' character, achievements, honor and honesty.

Mr. Duck is afflicted with yours truly.  I'm spoiled, clingy and largely incompetent at most things that aren't related to writing.  I have two skills - writing and worrying.  Other than that, Mr. Duck must captain the ship and I thank God every day that he puts up with me as much as he does.  Yes, he gets aggravated with me, but I am often an aggravating person.

My husband is a zombie-loving, movie fan who works with computers for a living.  He does RPG programming for the AS-400, and has also held jobs doing tech work, so he knows the hardware and the software side of systems.  He left a local tech job a couple of years ago to take a full time RPG programming job working for a county about 2.5 hours away.  He stays there during the week, living in a Class A RV named Walter - in honor of the lead character in "Breaking Bad."

I've spent some time with him there this month, and I'm amazed all over again at his strength and steady determination.  Walter is ancient, and not intended for the road so much, but he was purchased as a workplace residence for Mr. Duck.  He's parked in a field, supplied with well water, sewer service via a septic tank, and gets electricity from a tap Mr. Duck installed on a light pole.  A co-worker lets him use the property free, and we really appreciate Ms. Susan for that.  But like most of us who are getting on in years, Walter has his issues.  He didn't have two knees to go bad, but he had two AC units, and both have gone.  We bought a floor model designed to cool a room for the front living area.  The bedroom area is on its own and stays hotter than hot.

Mr. Duck endures the bedroom heat, though the sofa has a bed that pulls out from underneath up front.  While I've been visiting, I've slept on the couch, up front, because I lack the strength of character to endure the heat in the back.  Like I said, I'm spoiled. He sleeps in the back bed instead of the front because - that's where he sleeps and it won't change for something as irrelevant as comfort.  That strong determination saw him through getting our boys from crawlers to college, and he was the same way with the rules and discipline.  Our sons didn't have to wonder what Daddy would do if they did this, that or the other thing - they knew what the consequences would be and they knew that tears and pleas might move Mom, but Dad would do what he said he would do.  The boys are better men today because of Dad's unwavering and steadfast determination.

I'm writing this tribute to say how much I admire my husband as a man, as a husband and as a father.  He puts up with an insane duck lady who doesn't do good enough at anything, even though he's a perfectionist by nature. He must love me a little bit, because if he didn't, I'm convinced he'd have killed me years ago. But he can't love me the way I love him - Mr. Duck is my universe, my heart and my soul and his presence in my life is a daily miracle.

I love you, Mr. Duck and Happy Father's Day!!

Husband slash webmaster here.

Quacking Alone is having some difficulties with e-mail contact forms as of the moment, so we deeply apologize for any problems this may cause any of you out there who want to contact me or Mary Anne.

I am working on the issues. We will hopefully have everything working correctly soon. I also apologize for stomping on my wife's update.

Angry Old Fat Man


E-mail forms are working as of May 23, 2017 8:50 AM. However, you will have to type in a subject line for the e-mail form instead of having it default to something meaningful. Sorry. Mea maxima culpa.

I've been AWOL here, and apologize for that. I've been given the glorious freedom to work from home for my law practice, and I find that I work a lot more hours. That's good for the office bottom line, but bad for my non-legal scribbling. Did anyone miss me? (Don't answer that.) When I've found time to write, I've been plugging away at Vlad's story, from my Forever Series that starts with "A Faerie Fated Forever." It's meant that the blog has been neglected though -- which isn't good. Can someone add a couple more hours in a day?

Because I do try to keep up with literary happenings, a recent piece in the Guardian caught my eye. It's writing tips from acclaimed novelist/creative writing instructor, Colum McCann, titled, "So You Want To Be A Writer? Essential Tips for Aspiring Novelists. Likely, it caught my attention because one of his first tips is that "there are no rules. Or, if there are any rules, they are only there to be broken. Embrace these contradictions."  I'm a rule-breaker from way back, so I settled in for a read.

McCann says "to hell" with grammar, formality, plot and structure - but only after you've learned them so well that you can walk through your work "with your eyes closed."  He points out that the great ones will make their own rules, only to break them  and unmake them.

He says that a writer's first line should "reach in and twist your heart backward," and it should be active, "plunging your reader into something urgent."  And what should that first line be about?  What kind of book should you write?   ...continue reading "Writing Rules Are Made To Be Broken"

Mad Daddy here.

I do Facebook, mostly for extended family contact. But sometimes I see things that get me riled, because of how truly ignorant they are.

Now in this case, I'm not talking "ignorant" as in a euphemism for some sort of bigotry or other name-calling from a "progressive". I'm talking truly, utterly ignorant, as in the person in question doesn't really know what they're saying or asking for.

...continue reading "Know What You’re Asking For, Before You Get It"

CBS News posted a piece discussing why romance generates derision along with sales. Romance is 30% of the overall literary market and is a Billion - with a "B"- dollar a year industry, largely created by women for women. And the women in this piece do a great job of explaining why. CBS talked with all these folks: Professor by day/ Romance writer by night Mary Bly (Eloisa James), Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches) and Romance best-seller Beverly Jenkins. Their comments are experienced and astute.

My favorite is Mary Bly's note at the end - I've long maintained that the whole portrayal of "ripped bodices" and romance novels as demeaning women is wrong. They're all about female empowerment. In every romance, by the time the HEA arrives, the woman is in charge.

Check out this video as it's well worth your time.

Romance - the "Rodney Dangerfield" of Genres