Thursday, September 17, 2020


 To my Writing Blog....
Where I jot down thoughts, opinions and advice on the art of writing.
If you find any of it interesting, helpful or you are stuck for an idea, let me know.
Like my other blogs, I'll just keep sweeping my creative dust bunnies off the floor, and dumping them here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Moving On 5.21.2108

Since the release of my latest book, BANG, in March, I've been in limbo, waiting for it to make a big splash, at least in America, where guns and violence are an obsession.

Like thousands of other indie writers around the world, I sat, week after week, wasting my time and money, “getting the word out”, and feeling let down as one promo copy after another disappeared into the black hole of self-promotion, never to be heard from again. Day after day spent in a listless world of self-doubt. Uninspired and just plain tired of the whole game.

Until today. Until just a few minutes ago. And No, I did not just get a call from a publisher or the New York times. And Yes, BANG is still dead in the water.
It was Facebook, and I was, as usual, scanning and commenting on the endless posts by desperate writers, hoping to “make it big” with their latest book, or at least pay a few bills.

As I thought about how much time, energy and money we all waste, trying to squeeze a profit out of something we really loved to do, a dusty file drawer, in a back room of my cluttered old brain, creaked open and I remembered a piece of advice I gave another artist over 40 years ago. We were at a county fair and I was teaching her how to airbrush T-shirts, an art form you won't often find hanging in many galleries, but very profitable and fun. Working mans art.

She was really down because her real love was ceramics, and she'd spent many years in training, including an art degree. Now she was thinking of giving it up because it couldn't even pay her bills.

My advice at the time: keep your day job! 
 I told her to keep doing what she loves, making pottery, and use a more profitable art form like T-shirt painting to keep the bill collectors in check. Simple but effective.

So now I'm taking my own advice and going back myself. Going back to writing and illustrating kids books, just because I have fun doing it, and supporting that fun with any number of “profitable” art forms, like T-shirt painting, that I have done over the years.
When and if my books sell, I'll be thankful for the extra cash and notoriety, but I won't waste any more time on promoting them. Life is far to short to waste counting beans you don't have.

Just for the record, at my peak as an airbrush artist in the late eighties, I made more cash painting T-shirts at one show than all my kids books have grossed, total....and I had a great time doing it.

Think of that the next time you are slogging through your next email list, hoping someone out there buys your book or even notices you. Think of how much you are getting for all those hours on the net, yelling “Here I am”. And think how much the effort sucks the joy out of whatever you write or draw.

So, do something else to pay the bills you should be lowering as you go, let the promoters, promote and the bean counters, count and get back to the thrill of writing.....


Place Mark Books

Krashs Place 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Conneaut to LA 2017


A slogan you may see on a small white Mitsubishi Mirage sporting Ohio plates.
It's one man's effort to compete in a world of sound bites and big publishing houses.

The author / illustrator and driver of this book mobile is Leonard Krashoc aka KRASH, a semi-retired artist and Jack of All Trades.

“People like me never really retire,” he laughs. “There's always something to build or fix.”

KRASH is crossing the U.S. on his way to LA to present Kaley Cuoco with a copy of Penny, his latest children's book, inspired by her character on The Big Bang Theory.

“When I first decided to send Kaley a copy of Penny, friends said 'Impossible! With all the fan mail stars get, she'll never even see it.' That's when I decided it was time for a road trip,” he laughs.

Stopping where ever possible to sell and sign books to help cover the cost of the trip, you might spot him in your local diner, sketch book and supplies spread on on a table as he works on his next book.
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska will be his next stop, Aug 21, to hang out and watch the total solar eclipse.

He may even put your name on a grain of rice, something he did years ago at state fairs.

With 14 children's books in print already, he jokes that he's got dozens more stories waiting for illustrations.
“Stories pop into my head nearly every day,” he chuckles, “but drawing the pictures... now that's real work.”

You can follow KRASH's adventures on Facebook and
Or buy his books at:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Don't Know Any Better


Turn off the news, and tear up the daily paper. No news is good news.

If you can't remember what it was like being a kid, then watch one for a while, the younger the better.
What you'll notice is that they will do anything that comes to mind, playing in the mud, running in circles, or just standing there laughing, or screaming.
As the old saying goes, “They just don't know any better.”

Children and even you, start out with zero information and experience. They don't know that anything is good or bad. To them it just is.

Now stop and think for a moment, and try to remember anything you've done without an anticipated outcome, anything at all. Is there anything that does not bring to mind a list of what-ifs, shouldn't does, or other worries.
That's because, unlike a kid, your memory has been stuffed with a staggering amount of memories, detailing what could happen with nearly any action you can imagine, from getting out of bed in the morning, to crawling back in at night, and a world of things you might do in between.

The problem of course is that the vast majority of those “possibility” memories are not yours, and also, unfortunately, are negative.

From the very first word you hear and understand as a child, you are bombarded with negative outcome information. Don't do this, stay away from that. Don't talk to strangers, a personal favorite. Just try and name any one in your life that was never a stranger.
To be fair to parents, it's in an effort to protect you from one danger or another.

You may still remember being told that a match will burn you, but can you remember anyone explaining anything you could do with that match besides burning yourself?
Your whole life people have been telling you the dire consequences of any particular action, you may be anticipating, to the point that many have become humorous catchphrases like “you'll put your eye out.”

In fact, 99.9 percent of the time that doesn't happen, life is good, and you don't shoot your eye out, chop your hand off, or get mangled by the monster lurking under your bed.

Unfortunately the sad fact is most adults, long after they have left their parents protectionist fears, continue to bombard their life with negative outcomes to anything they may ever think about doing, to the point of not doing a lifetime of things, for fear of what could happen.

They go day after day, reading the paper, watching TV, and listing to the radio, for the most part, stacking one bad memory on top of another. Remember, these are not their experiences, but belong to someone else. Someone, someplace, sometime, has something horrible happened to them, while doing something.

Even if you're an optimist, that negative outcome is added to a file in your memory. The file that Will be opened when ever you consider doing what ever action that memory relates to.

Want to go for a walk in the park today ? Remember that guy in wherever who got killed, the lady who got raped, the child that got kidnapped?

It doesn't matter how far away, or how long ago. When you think about taking that walk, your memory will run through the possibilities. Depending on where you are at on the positive/negative thinking scale, and how many of these worthless negative memories you have stuffed in your head, you may just close the door and go back to watching the TV.

Yes, kids don't know any better, but show me one grown up that is happier or has more fun dealing with the unknown!


Place Mark Books
Krashs Place 

The Rule of Normal

July 29, 2013

As an animal still dependent on our own survival, humans still require a degree of normalcy.
For reasons of self-defense, we, like most animals demand a visual and emotional sense of sameness in the world and the people around us. As individuals and groups, we set arbitrary rules of appearance and behavior relative to our own, which we set as a general rule of normal. This normal range, is what we consider safe, and anyone or anything in that range, we can be somewhat relaxed around.

This is the way it is, and has been since the beginning. It is part of our natural instinct for survival and only our intellectual side sees anything wrong in this behavior.
After all, any creature needs a way to judge the environment around it, in order to survive. When you see a person or group that is outside your own rules of normal, you're instinctively “on guard”. They may dress differently or speak differently, or even be a different color. No matter, in the back of that cluttered and domesticated brain of yours, are still a few cells bent on your personal survival, and they start waving red flags.

Your intellectual side may argue the point, but unless you are a very well-balanced human being, you'll be on guard until something proves otherwise.

This rule even carries over to people you know, even friends and relatives. If their behavior is outside your personal sense of normal, those brain cells will start waving those red flags again. Maybe something as simple as a difference in political views, but that feeling will still be there.

An odd side effect to this ancient survival tool is that you are “on guard” with anyone who is not comfortable with you. Survival instincts butting heads.

Every wonder why optimistic, outgoing and caring folks seem to just instantly fit in wherever they go? It's not just because they accept everyone around them, but because there behavior is so comfortable, that even total strangers are instinctively more comfortable with them. In the background of course, are hormones, pheromones and unnoticed body language that communicates this, and radiates around them. There is also probably stuff going on at the particle level, that subatomic world where information passes between everything, all the time.

So the next time you suddenly feel uncomfortable around someone, or something, keep in mind that a few crazy brain cells in that big gray meatloaf in your head are simply doing their job, making sure you are still here tomorrow.


Place Mark Books
Krashs Place 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Creating Inspiration

Inspiration is great and I've gotten quite used to it happening pretty much constantly. However, many people find it a rare occurrence. Creative people like writers depend on it, becoming frustrated and stressed out when it doesn't show up on schedule, for whatever project they happen to be working on.
This is often compounded by reality. All those nagging things around the house or office that constantly need attention. Kids, cleaning, fixing, paying bills, etc, etc. The next thing you know, you're staring at a blank page and thinking about shoving a pencil through the side of your head in a vain effort to get something to come out.
Get Out
This is why I have always done most of my creative work sitting in a diner. Yes! My first rule for generating ideas has always been "get the hell out of the house." This is a habit I started in summer school, 50 odd years ago. But that's another story.

At your local diner, you get, for a nominal fee, a clean work area uncluttered by all the junk covering your desk at home or work. You have no obligations staring you in the face, and you have a cheery server who brings food and keeps your coffee cup filled. I met my first live in girlfriend this way.
College Towns
When possible, I like diners in or near college towns, where you get the added bonus of being surrounded by an energetic and creative atmosphere. Interacting with other people, chatting and exchanging ideas can also help get the inspiration flowing for a project. Ever notice how many coffee shops are around business centers? It's good for your ego too, as people walk by, looking and commenting on your work.

If this doesn't get things going, maybe the pencil in the side of the head is the way to go. But before you pull out the pencil sharpener, I have another plan.

As the title says, I call it Creative Inspiration, and I use this technique daily, not only to crank out new ideas, but to keep other projects moving along.
The first thing you'll need is an easy place to jot down and store ideas. I've always used cheap, six by nine, spiral-bound notebooks. A warning though. Do not use any notebook with perforated pages. It might sound handy, but over time, the pages will start tearing out and you will regret the convenience.
After 50+ years of scribbling, I've filled well over 100 of these cheap notebooks with enough project ideas to last several lifetimes. Contact me if you're really stuck for an idea, I've got lots.

For you folks more comfortable with typing, it's no problem nowadays to carry a thin tablet around, and many places now have a spot to plug-in while you sip coffee and create.
Blank Pages
My next rule for generating creative ideas, whether at home or away, is never and I mean never, start with a blank page. Never!
If you don't already have something lighting up inside your head, staring at a blank page is not going to flip the switch.

Have you ever drawn a blank trying to think of someone's name? Nothing happens until you come up with a trigger, a description of the person, a place, or even just one letter in their name. Then suddenly you explode with all kinds of names, descriptions, etc. Light bulbs going off all over the place. That's why I start with a page that already has something on it. It's a trigger. Even if it's just a doodle.
A Trigger
Always have a notebook, computer, or tablet with lots of stuff you've already got going. That is what you will be working with. That is your trigger.

Begin your day sitting down and rereading several things you already have, even things you thought were finished. As you flip through these, it will trigger your imagination. You'll visualize what's been written and once that happens, you'll see new images and soon you'll be adding to that story you thought was finished. You may not even get to your new project that day, you might spend the whole time finishing up or rewriting something you've already started.

In the background though, your brain is still working on that new project, the one that has nothing but blank pages, and at some point, light bulbs will start coming on. Maybe dim at first, but soon your creative engine will be cranked up to full speed, and you'll suddenly reach for a blank page with so much pouring out of your head, you'll barely be able to keep up.

Start every morning like this, and like me, you will have to self publish to keep up with the output.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Writers Block


Writer's Block?
I've never had it myself, but I can speculate on its cause and cure.
First off, it should more accurately be called brain block, as it happens to anyone trying to think of something.
It's nothing more than what I call pencil point mental focus. In other words, you have forced your brain to focus so sharply on one point, that it only sees what you already have in front of you, usually a blank page. Like staring so closely at a target you only see the red dot in the middle, while the surrounding red rings becoming invisible.
You are telling your brain that it must do something with whatever it is in front of you: blank canvas, paper, or stone. Yet you won't let it look away, to find materials to use.
You're practicing what I call negative meditation. You are consciously emptying your mind, but unlike normal meditation, you're locking it down, instead of freeing it up.
This is why the common advice for brain block has always been to walk away. Put the pen, brush or chisel down and relax. Do something unrelated to your problem. Let your mind wander around, relax!

Let's take a look at writer's block, since that is what most folks like to talk about.
First, you have two forms of it. The first form is the standard blank page where you are attempting to come up with a new story, novel, idea etc.
This is the easy one because you can do anything.
Simply start by looking around, slowly. As you move your eyes away from the paper, start to describe what you are seeing: paper, pen, table, floor, wall, window, etc.
Now follow the same route, but start walking and shrinking, and take a stroll across the page, then step over the pen lying in front of you. No, wait, you're still shrinking, it's the size of a fallen tree now and you have to roll over it like when you were a kid.
"That was fun." you think, running to look over the edge of the table and sliding to a stop.
"That's a long way down, wish I could fly" you say, just as your foot slips and you go over the side. Looking up, the table rapidly drifts into the distance, although you seem to be falling slowly. Suddenly you bump into something soft, a dust bunny, floating in the morning air. For a moment you watch as they drift all around you. Then you grab a big one as it comes close, then another and another. Soon you're dozing off on a mattress made of dust, drifting upward in the morning sun streaming through a window.
Now, I'll take a look at the hard one.
You've got a story or article in the works, but you are drawing a blank.
Tough luck, you're on your own on this one.
Just joking, lighten up! Relax!

Let's just take another stroll, this time through what you've already written.
Same as a blank page, look around, take a walk. Turn left instead of right, look up instead of down.
Ask a question.
What? Where? When? How?

Or start with an answer and follow it backward.
A body is in the woods.
How did he get there?
Was it someone who was out walking and just died? Did they kill themselves, did someone else, are they just sleeping? Is it a manikin left by kids pulling a prank?

Simply put, you toss all the rules out the window, and play with whatever pops into your head. In the process, your unconscious mind will work on the problem, looking at all this nonsense you are jotting down, and in no time you notice your thoughts drifting into the story you drew a blank on, just moments ago.

Instead of banging on a locked door, you simply walk around and climb in through the open window.  And suddenly you see something in that blank page, canvas, stone or lump of clay.


Place Mark Books
Krashs Place