Category Archives: General

Retiring the Blog

Hello all! I’m in the process of launching a new web site. With the birth of that site comes the retirement of this one. If you’d like to follow me online you can find me in three places: (1) The Jot Writers’ Conference web site; (2) Twitter as @ALRStories; and (3)

Thanks for following this blog. It was a good run. The new site will likely have a URL based on my name (for Google search purposes) and cover much the same ground as this blog: writing, publishing, and all the stories along the way.

Write strong!



How to Speak Australian

Do you remember the Foster’s Beer ad campaign? I recently had my own lesson in how to speak Australian. During my recent trip to Singapore I roomed for four nights with a colleague from our Australian office. We became fast friends and enjoyed staying up late, swapping stories and laughing at cultural differences we encountered between Australians and Singaporeans, Americans and Singaporeans, and Australians and Americans. He didn’t know it at the time, but I was secretly recording into my phone the uniquely Australian phrases he used. I had to fight the urge to laugh when he said these things, not because I think they’re stupid in any way, but just because language is a funny thing. Every cultural has its own colloquialisms and euphemisms. Every cultural creates its own word pictures based on its history and context. This is one of the many things I love about English and why I’ll probably never tire of studying it.

So here you go. A mini lesson in how to speak Australian.

“That’s a bit claggy.” Translation: That’s backwoods. Or that’s hick or hillbilly.

“We gave it the flick.” Meaning, we got rid of it. As in, “Our office tried out that software too, but it kept crashing so we gave the flick.”

“Everyone’ll put their two bobs in, ya know?” Reminiscent of the American euphemism, “that’s just my two cents.”

“They go out for lunch and then kick on for drinks.” I just love this usage of “kick on.” I think I’ll start using this phrase here in Michigan and just see what people say.

“Andy, you’re dragging the chain!” Meaning, “stop walking so slow!”

“Are you as bright as a button this morning?”

“A big daggy.” I can’t remember what this one meant or how it’s different from claggy, but it made me chuckle.

The songs of summer

I go through different seasons with the music I listen to. Sometimes the seasons are thematic, or emotional, or genre-specific, or even driven by a certain song writer. Are you the same way?

This summer was a season in which my family listened to a lot of upbeat, happy music while we were at home together. Certain circumstances necessitated many nights with loud songs and ridiculous dancing. Among all the songs we danced to this summer, four were in constant rotation. I just couldn’t get them out of my head. Here are those songs.

A cover.

A classic.

A new favorite.

And of course . . .

This was a memorable summer for my family. I will probably always connect these songs, at least in part, with the summer of 2015.

What about you? What have you been listening to?

Don’t be the LEGO Movie Dad

I am a guest blogger today on a blog for gamers called 3-Sided Die. My post is entitled “4 Ways to Avoid Becoming the LEGO Movie Dad.” If you’re a gamer of any kind (video games, RPG’s, MMO’s, tabletop games, etc. etc.), and if you’re a parent (moms included), then this post is for you! I’ve posted an excerpt below. Read the whole post here.

Will Ferrell Lego Movie


I don’t want to be like the Lego Movie guy. You know the guy I’m talking about, the dad.Will Ferrell’s character.

Fictional characters are memorable when they’re built on a grain of truth. I think one of the reasons the end of the Lego Movie is compelling is because we all know someone just like that guy. [spoiler alert] We all know a dad who won’t let his kids play with his toys. A dad who has taken his hobby to a place where it’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s an obsession.

Is obsession too strong a word? Maybe, but hear me out.

Read the rest at 3-Sided

What is a Portmanteau Word?

A few editors at work recently led a training session on editing. They included this video by Anne Curzan from the University of Michigan and then led a discussion on portmanteau words. (If you enjoy learning about the English language and you’ve not watched any Anne Curzan videos then I heartily recommend them to you. Her TED Talk is excellent.)

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Are You A Writer Or Interested In Writing? Come to Jot

My good friend Bob Evenhouse posted an invitation to JOT #5. Hope to see you there! – Andy


Three years ago my writers group had a crazy idea. Hey let’s throw a writers conference. At first, it was cute. What did we know about launching a conference? Four conferences later, around two hundred and fifty people have attended Jot.

Regular attendees are budding poets and professional novelists. We’ve kept the conference free thanks to Baker Books House and the donations of time from the Weaklings writers group and gracious local authors.

This installment of Jot is tremendously exciting. We have an award winning illustrator and children’s book writer, an owner of a literary agency, a newly published novelist, and an established writer that volunteered their time to share with you what they know.

After the presentations there will be an opportunity to write in the cozy store or coffee shop or attend one of three workshops.

It’s a time to learn, meet, and write.

It’s on March, 13

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