Tag Archives: farming

What’s in a Word Anyway?

What’s in a Word Anyway
How the English Language Can Kill Writing

English: Spógvin is a Faroese wooden row boat....

Corn field

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a farmer used his farm to produce produce. One day there was a row among the hired help as to which row to hoe. The row about which row to hoe got so bad he had to let them all go. So they all went to the river and got in a row about how to row the boat.

illustration from a book of fairy tales

Back at the farm, to help with planting, the farmer decided to put his pigs to work and so he taught his sow to sow. Things went real well with the sow that knew how to sow the seed until a bore came along and she started to rut with the bore in the rut along side the road. When she started to rut in the rut alongside the road her squealing startled the dove that dove into the bushes.

About that time the wind came up and when the farmer tried to wind up the canvas cover over the haystack the wind put several tears in the cover and that brought tears to his eyes. The wind was just starting to die down when one of the hired hands came back and the farmer thought he could teach him to lead if he could just get the lead out. But the man had been wounded on the row about how to row and so the farmer wound a bandage around the wound. After the bandage was wound around the wound the farmer sent the hired man to take the refuse to the dump, but the dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

 – The End –

Now I ask you, how can anyone write understandable material when you discover that you have a nose that runs and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few mean the same thing.

And here’s a scorcher/chiller; how can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

I just don’t know. I just don’t know, but I will keep trying to write readable material. Why don’t you look inside some of my books and let me know if I succeeded. You have a lot to choose from. There are mysteries, adventure and right now I’m trying my hand at science fiction.

Thank you, and May Only Good Come Your Way.


To learn more about me or look inside some of my books click here.

S&FL FrntI have signed a contract for another novel with Second Wind Publishing. The title is, A Short and Futile Life. Have no idea when it will be released, but you can bet your sweet boots I’ll let you know when I know.

It is a near future novel about life in the United States when most, if not all, the personal rights stated and the Bill of Rights have been revoked for the good of the whole.


churchstepsThe mystery Body On the Church Steps is now available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.


Final MSS Cover front


Murder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Another of Paul’s books, The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

Copyright © 2014 by Paul J. Stam
All rights reserved


Filed under writing

A Tribute to a True Storyteller by Sherrie Hansen

For 100 years, today was my Grandma Hansen’s birthday. She was born in 1900, and died in 2000, so there was never any doubt how old she was. Oh, the changes she saw in the 100 years she lived. As a child, I loved to listen to Grandma Hansen’s stories, both true and make-believe. She was a grand teller of fairy tales – The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk – and she loved to dramatically embellish stories of her younger years – from Indians, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and one room school houses to the tale of how she and Grandpa Hansen eloped to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. (They didn’t tell a soul they were married for months.) We were all mesmerized when Grandma started to spin a tale of days gone by.

So on this day of memories and love of country, my Grandma Hansen stands out in my mind as one of the individuals who truly made America great. She made my life pretty wonderful, too.  And she most certainly taught me how to tell a good story.

A Tribute to Grandma Hansen

 May 26th, 1990

 By Sherrie and Becky, her granddaughters, on her 90th Birthday


 Stepping back to yesterday –

 Daisies strewn along the way.

 Treasures in the chicken coop,

 Racing ‘round the driveway loop.

 Mousey ~ mousey’s in the house,

 Hankies stuck in Grandma’s blouse.

 Hanging clothes out on the line,

 Bleeding hearts and dandelions.

 Finding eggs beneath a hen,

 Memories from way back then.


 Grandma sitting on her stool

 Telling tales of teaching school,

 Peeling apples, scrubbing faces,

 Pansies put in little vases.

 Making dolls from hollyhocks,

 Darning all our worn out socks.

 Pin curls glistening in her hair,

 Corsets, baggy underwear.

 Raking leaves and burning piles –

 Memories of Grandma’s smiles


 Cousins staying overnight

 In Grandpa’s bed, all tucked in tight.

 Oatmeal, sweet dough, chicken pie,

 Hiding while the dishes dried.

 Silly plays between the trees,

 Picking berries, bumblebees.

 Stories told again and again

 “Who will help me?” said the Little Red Hen

 “The sky is falling” – the games we played,

 Memories of Grandma’s ways.


 Pictures on the piano top

 ~A growing family ~ a “bumper crop”.

 Her calloused hands and Godly heart

 Inspired us each, right from the start.

 Time goes on, and now it seems

 So long ago ~ those faded dreams

 But each fond memory has a place

 In every heart ~ in every face

 Our love for her ties us together –

Memories live on forever.

1 Comment

Filed under books, musings, Sherrie Hansen

Working Hard When You Could Be Reading OR Reading When You Should Be Working Hard

A week or two ago, I wrote an article entitled Reading… A Waste of Time, or a Good Investment?

One job I did periodically do on my Dad's farm was to help pick up rocks. The job's only redeeming quality was that we would find fossils, agates, and beautiful rocks in every color of the rainbow, deposited in our fields by glaciers, hundreds of years earlier.
One job I did periodically do on my Dad’s farm was to help pick up rocks. The job’s only redeeming quality was that we would find fossils, agates, and beautiful rocks in every color of the rainbow, deposited in our fields by glaciers, hundreds of years earlier.

In the blog, I spoke to my Dad’s philosophy – working hard to get the work done you did something relaxing or fun like reading a book, and how it often clashed with my desire to read (or play the piano) every second of every day.

On Sunday, May 17, the Austin Daily Herald published a story about the release of my new book, Night and Day, where they quoted me discussing the same subject.

What didn’t get said in that article, follows… the rest of the story, if you will.

I’ll freely admit that I was not a good candidate for a farmer’s daughter. How my hard-working Dad and Mom ended up with a child like me, who was allergic to being outdoors, hated big trucks and farm equipment, and wanted to read all the time, is still a mystery to me. When I was about twelve, I became convinced I was adopted. I was just so different than the rest of my family. (This strikes me as extremely funny now that I am older, look like both my Mom and Dad, and am like them in countless ways.)


One thing I should have seen, even then, was that we shared a certain “stubborn” gene.  Even as a child, it was impossible to get me to do anything I didn’t want to do. When my Dad  tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift so I could drive tractor, the pick-up, or his truck, I would act dumb, grind the gears, and generally be a pain in the butt until he got irritated with me, gave up, and sent me back inside – where I went to my room and opened whatever book I was reading.

I did cook, help with the laundry, clean, and baby-sit my younger brothers and sisters so my mom could drive tractor – usually with a book in one hand. Later on, I learned bookkeeping and did the books for the farm business. But contrary to the article in the Austin Daily Herald, I very rarely did anything farming related. Like Jensen’s parents in my book, my Mom and Dad worked sun up to sun down. I did not. I read at least one book every night of my life through junior high.

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I gave up reading, in part, because I was busy with classes, and being yearbook editor, and yes, in part because at that age, my parents felt like I should be helping on the farm or around the house instead of reading all the time, like I always had. My reading was a bone of contention at times, yes, but what little I did around the farm didn’t prevent me from reading.

I’m sure, if any of my brothers and sisters read the article, they chuckled when it implied that I worked on the farm at all.

But that is beside the point. The important thing that I think needs to be mentioned is that, looking back, I am eternally thankful that I was raised to appreciate the value of hard work, and the importance of getting the work done first, before I played. Why? Because writing a book is very, very hard work.

If it weren’t for my parents instilling their work ethic in me, I’d
still be one of those creative persons who has always said, and probably will say to their dying day, “I should write a book someday.” Because of my parents, I did it. I worked and worked until it was finished, and then I worked some more, making it better and better, until it was ready to publish, and then I worked and worked to get it in front of editors and agents and publishers. When I got a rejection, I worked even harder to make the book even better, until I got an offer. And now, I’m working hard to promote and market it.

Night & Day actual cover

While the article touched on this, my parents weren’t given credit, and I really think they deserve it, for teaching me persistence and determination, and the value of hard work.

I know many an artist, musician, writer, craftsperson, who although talented beyond words, can’t earn a living doing what they love and are gifted at because they don’t have a clue how to finish what they start, or keep at it until the job is done, say nothing about marketing themselves, selling themselves, or running a business.

Looking back on my farm experience, I feel passionate about the fact that my upbringing empowered me to be the person I am today, both innkeeper and author… because like it or not, my Dad taught me the value of hard work… an essential ingredient in the journey to getting published.


Filed under books, fiction, life, marketing, Sherrie Hansen, writing