No Title

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No title, you question. Well, one might think it was an auto fill or something like that from the software. It’s not. I did and I’m glad! 1 As said in at least one Perry Mason episode.

The title of a _____ is supposed to give a clue about content or at least spike a browser’s curiosity. Or it could be something that makes a reader think/say, “Why that title? I read it as…” I’m guilty of putting a title into the same vein as you can’t tell a book by its cover. I have a copy of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman with only her name on the cover. The dust jacket, however, has a picture of a tree and approaching train on tracks converging to a horizon. I know from where ‘go set a watchman’ comes, but who might that title interest without having heard of Harper Lee or her To Kill a Mockingbird?

Titling is tricky, or so I’ve been told. However, I say without malice aforethought that titles for work by well-known writers are nearly irrelevant. One would expect a good story, no matter what the title, from _____.

Designing covers for and Nescient Decoy, Echoes of Nam, and Iniquities of The Fathers was a challenge to match titles and backgrounds.

In retrospect, I believe my covers would help sales if the books were on a bookstore shelf instead of online. But promotion of one’s work is an issue much broader than a good title and cover.

As one thought leads to another, and my mind tends to do that, I wanted to make some comments about promotion. I’ve read several blogs about promoting work, and most end with a sales pitch for a paid program to help. Several years ago, when I was looking for an agent for the first version of Echoes of Nam, I included my age thinking it would bring some credibility to the topic of the book. I wasn’t too surprised at the agent’s saying something like, “At your age, you might not have the energy to travel to promote your work, so I can’t commit to representing it.” Wish I had saved the e-mail for an exact quote.

My non-family validation came from several Nam Vets, but mostly from this one from Ray LePoidevin 2Not the man from Australia as shown on “Find a Grave” site.

“Even though a work of fiction, in ECHOES OF NAM, John Benson does a superb job in articulating the mental and physical pain, confusion and suffering that many survivors of war deal with daily. Even as a combat vet, this story has affected the way I look at homelessness among veterans. While the V.A. has come a long way in dealing with PTSD and other disorders facing our soldiers, sadly there are many who still “slip through the cracks.” For that reason alone, this could be a true story.”

Ray authored his own Vietnam experience in Alternate Route: One Man’s Journey Through the Fog of PTSD.

Did you notice my change of title for this site?
I feel that it better represents me and how I tend to think.3Self-analysis, not opinion from a professional. And my SEO went up 3 points.


Another Gotcha

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I am happy to have finished the “Of Slugs” part of my classroom stories.
This series started with “Blog Purpose Decision” on 09/05/20 in which I related one of the first classroom ‘gotchas’ foisted upon me. Remember 3×5 spiral notebook paper story?

Ten years into my career in public school, I moved from the junior high to the high school to teach electronics and drafting. Because those two didn’t fill my schedule, I was assigned a sophomore English class1Not my first English class experience.

The English department had requirements not related to curriculum. One was that students write all papers with an assigned word count. I didn’t then and do not now understand setting word count as a criterion – content should be the rule. I openly admit, however, that quite often I am too wordy in what I could say with fewer – words that is, so as Mark twain said, “I would have written a shorter letter but, I did not have the time.”

Whoops, I drifted away from the gotcha story.

Because of my poor cursive handwriting, I understood when some of my students had the same problem. One boy’s cursive was worse than mine and he didn’t type. I told him it was OK print his assignments. I assumed he like the others would use standard notebook paper for the first long assignment I gave.

His 600-word essay was turned in on a 3×5 unlined index card. He’d used a number-six drafting pencil which has the hardest lead and was used for nearly invisible guidelines for lettering or preliminary lines on paper. Because the pencil point can be made very sharp, his extremely small letters were easy enough to read with a magnifying glass.

He had my prior permission to print and his content was good, but I could have rejected it because he violated two of the department rules. Work was to be in pen and only on one side of the paper. However, no way could I reject such a good gotcha?

I modified my basic instructions again.

Nothing to see here – move along please – thanks!

From my novel, Echoes of Nam: Absence from war is not the same as peace of the soul.

It wasn’t until Goor did the research for this book that he learned what happened to the others at the Dak Bla Bridge. Well, Wosk excepted.


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Another thought I’ve had for repurposing this blog.
How about Snarky.
If I were going to do snarky in this blog, I might do something like what you see below. My comments will be in italic.

Snoopy, a Charles Schultz character, typing. Get real! Does anyone really believe a Beagle can type? But I’ve heard them Yipe!



Gentlemen, I have just completed my new novel.

An accomplished author like Snoopy should know that all publishers are not gentlemen – even in the definition of the word. And in today’s world even the greeting could be… Well make your own assumptions.




It’s so good, I am not even going to send it to you.


Snoopy looking down as if reading what he has typed.




Why don’t you just come and get it?

How many of us would like to send that note to a publisher?

This will probably be my last post in screenplay format. It takes far longer to do the format than to tell what the cartoon was all about.

However, I could scan a strip like this one from The Columbian and make my snarky remarks below the image.

Continuation of quotes from what I’ve written might also be an ending section to future blogs.

For example, “Jeez Goor! If I’d known you were going to really write a book, I wouldn’t have made up so much stuff. Anyways, send me a copy. CP: ((Calvin Parker in Echoes of Nam: Absence from war is not the same a s peace of the soul.))

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