Featured Blogger: Ned Hickson

I’m happy to say that my first featured blogger for the month of September 2016 is author, humorist, blogger, and volunteer firefighter, Ned Hickson:

Art by Rob Goldstein
Ned Hickson

Before we get started, I just want to say how much I appreciate the invitation to be here, and for not having any questions about what kind of salad dressing I’d be. Although, if I’m being honest, it would be bacon-flavored Ranch because I love bacon. Plus, you wouldn’t have to shake me every time you put me on your salad. I get dizzy easily.

A little about my personal history: I need to preface this by saying my beginnings don’t appear to lend themselves to life as a humorist. At least, not on the surface. I spent my early childhood in one of the many small communities that skirt Los Angeles. Most of my friends were Hispanic, several of who got into gangs — and a few who never made it out. My father’s alcoholism and mental abuse eventually lead to my parents divorcing when I was 11. I lived with my father for two more years until, one night, the abuse turned physical. I fought back. And even though I “won” the fight, I knew I needed to leave before I lost myself and became something I didn’t want to be. I eventually moved in with my mom and her new husband, a man whose love for us continues to be my example as a husband and father. A year later, we moved to a 44-acre plot of land on the Oregon coast. I immediately went from an inner city youth spending the day at the beach or movie theater, to becoming a mud boot-wearing farm boy chopping firewood and swinging a hammer as we built our own home. Though I wondered at first if I’d made a mistake, I began realize the important lessons I was learning through my stepfather’s example. Each day was a new challenge, from building a pole barn to herding cows away from flooding pastures by canoe. He taught me that there are no true obstacles in life, only reasons to explore new routes. His lesson is what I credit for having been able to make my dream of becoming a full-time writer come true despite the lack a of college education. Plus, if you ever have cows stuck in a flood, I’m your man.

My blog’s purpose: I’m a firm believer in the value and importance of humor, especially now. So, deciding on the focus of my blog was pretty easy. I just want it to be a place where people know they can always get a laugh. That was my initial goal and it remains the most important to me.

What other blogs I write for: I’ve had the good fortune of being a guest at several different blog’s over the last few years, including Hasty Dawn’s amazing #BeReal, The kick-ass Sisterwives, Gliterary Girl media, and Marcia Meara’s blog Write On for writers. Recently, I became a weekly featured columnist at The Good Men Project, which focuses on issues and insights into being the best man (husband, father) you can be in today’s society.

And yeah, I was surprised, too.

Thankfully, each of these blogs and publications came to me because, to be honest, I’m really bad at getting out there and promoting myself. In fact, I’m really lucky I’m actually married, which was probably my biggest self-promotion effort ever.

How long have I been blogging: I’ve been blogging since counts on fingers four years. I started it because I wanted it to be an extension of my column, but with a chance to explore some topics I know my editor would never go for — such as writing about my vasectomy. Or my “review” of a Twilight book that doesn’t actually exist. Over time it has evolved to include a few regular features each week, along with spontaneous posts as things happen. There’s a real sense of immediacy in blogging that you can’t get with newspaper writing. I love getting an idea, writing it up, posting it and seeing the “comment” icon light up. I have some hilarious followers on my blog who make me laugh every day.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

How often do I post: I rarely post more than three times a week. I don’t want to become that guy has everyone say to themselves, “Oh jeez, not HIM again…”

Unless I’ve already become “that” guy.
Great. Now I’m worried…

Art by Rob Goldstein
Humor at the Speed of Life

About my books: I had my first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, published in 2013 by Port Hole Publishing. It is essentially a collection of my most popular humor columns over the last 16 years — as opposed to most of my other columns. It’s divided into chapters — Marriage, Fatherhood, Journalism, Parenting, etc. — so that you can immediately turn to a chapter that applies to your current situation and immediately feel better about yourself. It was a lot fun to put together and, perhaps more importantly, serves as an embarrassment to my teenagers at this point. My second book is coming out Sept. 24, and was written as a writer’s survival guide of sorts. My objective with “Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist” (Port Hole Publishing) is to offer insights, tips and encouragement shucked from my 16 years as a newspaper columnist and writer. Many are things I wish someone had told me sooner; some are the result of trial and error; and a few are simple truths that helped me keep perspective through all these shucking years as a writer.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist, due out Sept. 24 from Port Hole Publishing

As I mention in the book’s introduction, I think of it as the conversation we’d have about writing if we were sharing a cold beer. We’d talk about technique, style, personal experience and hopes. We’d encourage each other and share a few laughs. We might even get a little rowdy and start using air quotation marks. In the end, we’d feel inspired about our love of writing.

Except at the end of this conversation, neither of us needs to call a cab.

Art by Rob Goldtein
“Sienfeld” director Tom Cherones on ‘Pearls of Writing Wisdom’

Top 3 Blogging tips:

  • Write with regularity. Whether its once a week or once a day, be consistent. Not just for the sake of your readers, but to establish a writing routine physically as well as mentally. To me, writing is like a form of meditationnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Oops, sorry! My point is, the more you practice it the more focused and instinctive it becomes. Eventually, your creativity will begin to anticipate that routine and be waiting for you when you sit down at the keyboard.
  • Respond to as many comments on your blog as possible. People are inundated with social network posts. If someone has chosen to read what you have to say and take the time to comment — thank them.
  • Live outside your blog or social media pages. It’s important to remember that your blog revolves around your world and not the other way around. If something happens tomorrow and the Internet disappears, possibly because Kim Kardashian and Ellen DeGeneres Tweet something simultaneously, you will continue to write in some form or another. Your blog is just another venue, not the only one.

Thanks so much for having me, Robert, and thanks to everyone for reading.

And thank you Ned!

More Ned is now available at the following locations:

Blog: http://www.nedhickson.com

Email: nedhickson@icloud.com

Twitter: @nedhickson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ned.hickson

Port Hole Publishing link for “Humor at the Speed of Life” http://www.portholebooks.com/products/humor-at-the-speed-of-life

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Humor-Speed-Life-Ned-Hickson/dp/0989260836

Barnes and Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/humor-at-the-speed-of-life-ned-hickson/1117688925






Poke Salad ?

A review of Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad


My plans for a busy day were ruined the moment I downloaded Linda’s new book.

It was much anticipated, maybe from the moment I met her in person last summer.Poke

She and her mother have a gift for telling a story.

And it shows.

They took me back to a time and place that made me understand a lot more about my own family, and how they survived the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

They did it with love, devotion to family, tremendous sacrifice, hard work and most of all, a sense of humor.

Thank you for proving that it is possible to put that storytelling tradition in words on a page.

And thank you for ruining my plans of yesterday.

It was a delight.

**The book is now available in Kindle. I didn’t want to wait for the paperback.


Her blog : https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/

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Dear Writer … it’s not all about you, ya know! – Reminder #5

This blogger makes a good point even if you aren’t marketing a book.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

In marketing, it’s said that a message must be repeated 7 times before people take action. Writers, here’s your #5 reminder …

I was going to write a blog post about social media and how I’ve been paring down my use of it, because I’m finding it to be not all that social or the best media for me at the moment. After discussing with a fellow author how disappointing Twitter is (and she cleverly described T. as “like a 4-lane highway at rush hour with cars bumper-to-bumper. It makes me nervous”), I realized what bothers me isn’t not being able to navigate and use Twitter properly, but more the barrage of Tweeps who constantly tweet: Look at me! Aren’t I clever! Buy my book!

Now I’m not saying that I don’t do some self-promotion on there, but I do try to balance that with tweets of value to others…

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