Here is the extended description of my novel "Kingpin and Eli." You may order an autographed copy by clicking on this link: www.buckdopp.com
Thinking about others isn't exactly how you become the senior news anchor at a TV station. It's also not how you keep the job. You get there by thinking about yourself and not caring if you have to step on others to stay at the top.
At least, that's how Thomas Whitherspoon got to the top. But he discovers in this contemporary parable that being at the top isn't always worth it. Success can also come crashing down around you.
Whitherspoon is Briggs News's senior anchor. He's called "Kingpin" by co-workers who despise him. It's a position he likes being in, and one he'll do anything to stay in. That's what he feels he must do when Leon Rump tells him that his co-anchor, family man and new dad Carl Pickler, is out to get his job. "'I'm going to take down the Kingpin.' That's exactly what Carl Pickler said. I heard it with my own two ears," Rump tells Whitherspoon.They hatch a plan to send Pickler packing his desk. Whitherspoon discovers, however, that Rump's got some blind ambition of his own that rivals Whitherspoon's.
He's got other things to worry about, too. A detective starts investigating racially-motivated murders and finds a connection to Briggs News. Only three Briggs News employees were in the building the night of the first murder: Whitherspoon, Pickler, and Rump.
When Whitherspoon also suffers a heart attack, he starts wondering if his reckless lack of morals may get the best of him. But it takes two heart attacks and almost dying for him to seriously think he better change his ways before he meets his maker.
He's got a lot of ground to cover as he attempts to start doing good. It's a heavy job as the sins of his past threaten to overtake him. He feels his career—especially his spot at the top—is on the line. Even worse, setting things right could mean forsaking everything that's helped him make it to the top.
Surprisingly, Whitherspoon doesn't have to go it alone. He discovers he's got friends to help him along. And Eli, a mysterious stranger who offers him advice from time to time, also backs him. But time, no matter how Whitherspoon looks at it, isn't on his side.
Race, discrimination, and reckless ambition are only some of the adult issues tackled in Kingpin and Eli, writer and retired business executive Buck Dopp's first novel. The author has worked in the business world and seen the moral dilemmas first-hand. He addresses these workplace issues in a humorous and suspenseful account of what can happen when someone's willing to put blinders on and not see how he's hurting others as he fights to make it to the top.
"Upper West Side" a poem I wrote for my grandchildren Reese and Teddy.
“Good narrative writing must defend itself. Every sentence, even every word, must be there for a reason beyond its beauty. It must move the story along, pushing it toward what comes next. Good writing can and should be beautiful, but it must never be only beautiful. Bore-geous is always too much, and never enough.”
"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." --Gloria Steinhem
Please click on the link below to see a news release
POP!The patrons of Dillon’s Pool Hall had just witnessed a pool shoot-out won by the now legendary Skinny Post. The bar erupted with a spontaneous gasp and then everyone started clapping.
“He did it!” One man yelled out as the din of excitement rose to a clamor.
Skinny wasn’t known for his billiard expertise but for his thin frame which stood out even more because of the way he dressed.Skinny liked to say that he was an “eclectic dresser,” which really meant, he slapped on that rail-thin body anything that happened to be clean and nearby.Well, it really didn’t have to be clean, it just had to be nearby. The other notable feature of Skinny’s appearance was a black cowboy hat, tilted back slightly so the brim wouldn’t obstruct his view of the pool table.
Skinny had made it to the finals of the Sunday pool tournament and faced Buddy Barbarossa, one of the top players in the tournament, for the championship trophy. Buddy was as fat as Skinny was slim and one could tell there were very few foods that Buddy didn’t like. He had so much fat there were two stories to his stomach, one above the belt and another abundant bulge below it.The two protrusions jiggled in unison when he made shots.Newcomers were instructed not to stare too long at Buddy’s stomach because he was a little sensitive about it. Rumor had it that Buddy had even put some hurt on someone who was a little too fascinated with his physical profile. The experienced “Buddy watchers” would always sneak a good look at his abdomen when Buddy was bending over the pool table aiming his next shot. If you were lucky enough to be seated behind him, you also got a panoramic view of Buddy’s big butt which could have had its own zip code. His butt-crack, always showing, looked like the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Buddy had a ring in one ear and the tattoo of a dragon on his left forearm. His long black hair was cut into a mullet which arched over his back. He had a mustache and goatee which were so sparse they almost didn’t qualify as facial hair. Yet he never seemed to have a clean shave. Buddy always smelled like onions. Some guys assumed that he usually ate a big sandwich prior to making his entrance to Dillon’s, because he never ate while playing pool.
Buddy was an excellent pool player and could make most shots with the best of them. He usually played in the finals of the tournaments and drank beer throughout. His fans said that Buddy seemed to get better with each beer he downed.
As the referee racked the balls for the championship game, Buddy eyed Skinny the way an eagle might look at a rabbit as his next prey in the open field. That look in his eye told the bystanders that Buddy didn’t just want to win; he wanted to crush the little twerp.
Skinny tried not to look directly at Buddy or the crowd which was settling in around their tables, ordering another round so they wouldn’t miss any action. Skinny started scraping his blue block of chalk over the tip of his cue in short, rapid movements. He would need to have the game of his life because Buddy had been unstoppable all day.
Buddy broke the colorful triangle of balls with a crashing sound and they exploded in all directions. THUNK!The four-ball disappeared in the side pocket. Buddy then sank the two, five and six before finally missing the three.
“Okay, Skinny, you’ve got stripes little man!” Buddy’s tone betrayed his intense emotion.
Skinny proceeded to run the table, sinking every striped ball except the 15, which he nearly made as well.
Everyone groaned because Buddy was known as a finisher, and if you didn’t take advantage of an early lead, Buddy would make you pay. Buddy proceeded to sink the three and seven leaving him only the one ball. There was a lot of green but he had a clear shot at the one ball in the far corner. It wobbled indecisively before hanging on the edge of the pocket. Buddy had missed! Skinny would get one more chance.
Skinny called a double bank in the corner pocket and the 15 ball did exactly what Skinny said it would do. He made the shot look so easy in fact, that everyone exhaled at the same time. Then all went silent. You could have heard a napkin hit the floor. All that was left now was to sink the eight-ball. Skinny grabbed the chalk and stroked the tip. He might never get another chance to beat Buddy Barbarossa, so he had to make this shot count. What would make this shot so difficult was how easy it was. Pool players know that the easy shots are the hardest. He had to block everything out, including the sight of Buddy who had moved to his right side as if to put a hex on Skinny’s winning shot.
Skinny took a deep breath then bent over the table. Pulling back the cue he gave the white ball a gentle tap. It rolled toward the eight-ball and hit it, sending the black ball slowly toward the pocket. As the eight ball neared the pocket it began to slow down and appeared to teeter on the edge, reluctant to go in.
At that precise moment, Buddy Barbarossa farted. Everyone burst out laughing.
It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill fart either. This was a fart that had repercussions! Buddy never did anything half-assed. The window shades behind Buddy began fluttering as the sudden gust of wind woke them from their slumber. The lights seemed to flicker on and off. An odor began to permeate the bar, blocking out the smell of beer, replacing it with the smell of onions.
Probably because of Newton’s Third Law of Motion—there had to be an equal and opposite reaction – the eight ball dropped into the pocket. Skinny Post was declared the winner. Buddy shook his head in disgust and all the patrons grabbed their beer-filled mugs and headed outside for a much needed breath of fresh air.
March 23, 2011God’s Messengerby Buck Dopp
“I’ve been searching for God all my life, and now at last, through you, I have found him. I was ready to give up— even thought of killing myself.” Susan Sloan looked up into the glowing eyes of her boyfriend, Tommy Jackson. “I just can’t thank you enough.”
“You already have. I’m just blessed to see you blessed. That’s all I need. I don’t want anything in return.”Tommy squeezed her hand as they walked up a hill.
“Every other person I ever trusted let me down,” she said.
“God will never let you down. He’s always there for you. You can trust him.”
“You’ve taught me that, Tommy. “ She sighed.
“God showed you the way, not me. I’m only God’s messenger.We’re here at the worship service. You’re going to love these people. ”
“If they’re anything like you, I know I will.” She smiled.
A group of people, about their age surrounded them and showered the couple with hugs and kisses. Susan felt their unconditional love. Their embraces seemed to warm and heal her heart from past betrayals. Oh, to be loved! she thought to herself. Tommy picked her up in his arms and kissed her softly. “I love you, Susan.” He walked farther, holding her like a prized possession. She felt like a young bride being carried over the threshold. He suddenly dropped her and she fell helplessly. A few seconds later her body crashed into the rocks, deep in the volcano.
February 23, 2011Jimbo’s Caperby Buck Dopp
Jimbo figured there were three ways he could keep warm: find someone to live with, sleep in the library or be accepted as a shuttle astronaut. The library seemed like the best option since he had no friends and hadn’t heard from NASA recently.
He had just split with his only friend, Spitzy Moran, over Jimbo’s refusal to share a half-full pack of Marlboros Jimbo found in a garbage can.Good riddance! he thought. Spitzy’s one selfish sonuvabitch. Who needs that weasel?
Havasu’s winter pushed temperatures to the low thirties, so spending nights on benches and bus stops made Jimbo as cold as a naked Jamaican at a Polar Bear Plunge. Jimbo hatched a scheme to visit the library just before closing time so he could sleep there during the night. He thought this was the perfect solution. I can stay warm, have water to drink and can even take a crap.
To bamboozle the librarians, he waddled to the checkout line but before his turn came to check out, he shuffled away toward a secluded section of the library near the Young Adult section where there was an empty children’s reading room; he curled up behind a small bookshelf in a rear corner for his beauty sleep.
“Sir, I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave now.” The closing librarian had quickly spotted the ruse. The sight of Jimbo’s butt peeking between the books on the lower shelf had been a dead giveaway. Jimbo decided it was time to make some friends.
Which is Better? By Buck Dopp
“Wait, I need to stick in a few more pieces,” Jenny gasped through her crimson lips as she chomped vigorously on the ever growing wad of bubble gum.
“You better hurry, I ain’t got all day, “Jimmy replied, as he chewed on a mass the size of a golf ball which bulged out of his left cheek.
They had argued over whose bubble gum was better. Jenny argued that Bazooka was the best for blowing bubbles. Jimmy preferred Fleer bubble gum. “It’s just as good and you also get baseball cards with ‘em.” They had agreed the ultimate test would be who could blow the biggest bubble.
Facing each other, they blew and blew until they each had a pink globe protruding out of their mouths. Jimmy’s bubble took an early lead but seemed to peak early and stop. Jenny’s kept going until her face disappeared behind a large pink cloud.
Jimmy couldn’t resist. He reached over and popped it, flattening the moist dough all over Jenny’s face from her eyebrows to her chin.
“I won. You lose.” He darted off toward the baseball field on the other side of the park.
“You’re a big jerk and I hate you!” Jenny screamed after him. She vowed she would get back at him if it took all school year. She could be patient. A few weeks later, when Jimmy tried to get his bike out of the rack at school, the combination lock was jammed with bubble gum. Bazooka bubble gum was good for more than just blowing bubbles.
Billy Bob Jackson was the kind who would always get caught. He was frequently arrested for shenanigans such as breaking into vacant homes, vandalizing parked cars and shoplifting candy from groceries.His mom always defended Billy Bob and said he was really a good boy. “He’s just hanging around with the wrong crowd, that’s all. He’s gullible, gets talked into things by older boys. That doesn’t make him a bad boy. The others just don’t get caught. Deep down, I think he wants to get caught ‘cause he knows he’s done wrong.”She looked earnestly into the eyes of Detective Strollo, her hands fidgeting with the purple, striped purse on her lap. “Mrs. Jackson, there is an escalating pattern of crime and Billy Bob is the common denominator.” Strollo loosened the dark tie on his white, short sleeve shirt, sat on the edge of his desk and exhaled, “This isn’t his first offense, in fact, and some of the boys are even saying your son was the instigator. We’re pressing charges this time. Auto theft is serious and Billy Bob will probably get time in a youth detention center. I hope it’ll be a learning experience and mark a turning point in his life.” Billy Bob Jackson was sentenced to a year in the state reformatory. Mrs. Jackson never found out if it would be a turning point in his life—within a month of incarceration he was found hanging in his cell from a bed sheet. --Buck Dopp
Buck DoppStranger in Black Updated February 10, 2010
The dark figure walking briskly toward Chet Thompson had a cobalt- blue mohawk, chains and piercings shimmering in the sunlight, and rings in his nose, ears and eyebrows. Chet sat in his stalled Toyota Yaris—in the middle of nowhere—and thought the man dressed in black must be a Goth. The stranger was heading straight for his car! Chet started trembling and broke out into a cold sweat. Chet had returned from a walk on a wilderness trail and discovered his car battery was dead. Now what was he going to do about this fast approaching stranger?When the stranger in black, with the glistening jewelry radiating from his face, got close he motioned for Thompson to roll down his window. Chet hesitated--tried not to show his terror-- but finally rolled down the window with a shaking left hand.
“Are you okay?”
“My battery is dead. I must have left my lights on.” As soon as those words came out of his mouth, Chet was mad at himself for revealing so much. Now he worried that he had made himself vulnerable to a mugging.
“Open the hood and let me take a look.”
After a few minutes the man poked his head out from under the hood, “Now try it.”
The car started immediately.
“Your battery terminals were loose, that’s all.”
“Thank you so much,” was all Chet Thompson could get out before the man walked off in silence. ***
Writing Tips and Quotes that Have Inspired Me.
Dear Fellow Writers,
Shakespeare said, “…Brevity is the soul of wit,” and that certainly applies to our flash fiction assignments. When a writer has only one page to tell a story, tough decisions have to be made. We are limited by the number of words we can use so we must balance plot with character development; dialogue with narrative; and we must pick our metaphorical descriptions wisely. With no words to be wasted, we must be clear and concise or our readers will be left wondering why we wrote the story in the first place. The story must stand alone.
The AARP Bulletin has a regular section called Six-Word Memoirs. This month’s contest is a six-word memoir about a trip that changed your life. Here is my entry: “Drove West to California, met Stephanie.” You may want to enter one of their contests.
In 1987, the San Luis Obispo newspaper sponsored a writing contest called “Fifty-Five Fiction.” Short
stories had to be only 55 words or less. The winning entry was by a guy named Jeff Whitmore, whose
story contained suspense, sex, betrayal, revenge and murder in a mere 53 words.
“Careful, honey, it’s loaded,” he said, re-entering the bedroom.
Her back rested against the headboard. “This for your wife?”
“No. Too chancy. I’m hiring a professional.”
“How about me?”
He smirked. “Cute. But who’d be dumb enough to hire a lady hit man?”
She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel.
(This post has 250 words.)
THESE ARE ENTRIES TO A WASHINGTON POST COMPETITION
ASKING FOR A TWO-LINE RHYME WITH THE MOST ROMANTIC FIRST LINE, AND THE LEAST ROMANTIC SECOND LINE: 1. My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife: Marrying you has screwed up my life. 2. My love, you take my breath away. What have you stepped in to smell this way?
3. Kind, intelligent, loving and hot; This describes everything you are not.
4. Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss, But I only slept with you 'cause I was pissed. 5. I thought that I could love no other -- that is until I met your brother.
6. Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you. But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.
7. I want to feel your sweet embrace; But don't take that paper bag off your face.
8. I love your smile, your face, and your eyes Damn, I'm good at telling lies! 9. I see your face when I am dreaming. That's why I always wake up screaming. 10. My feelings for you no words can tell, Except for maybe 'Go to hell.'
11. What inspired this amorous rhyme? Two parts vodka, one part lime.
WHO SAID POETRY IS BORING?
Jackie Collins has written 27 novels and sold 400 million of them. So how does she stay inspired?
According to "Walter Scott's Personality Parade" in the January 17, 2010, Parade Magazine:
"I just love creating characters...I think one of the reasons my books are so successful is because I write about people of all colors, ages, sexual orientations--and I love doing it.
Sex doesn't sell books;interesting characters do."
Stephen King on How to Write.
(Excerpted from the Bottom Line Personal-June 1, 2002)
"He believes writing is a skill like any other. The only way to get better is to write regularly and a lot...
King writes 10 pages per day... What's important is setting a goal and sticking with it....
*Use the first words that come to mind... Simple words are better.
*Use short sentences. Not all sentences must be short--but it is a handy technique for keeping thoughts orderly and the pace marching forward....
*Choose the active voice. Active verbs give sentences clarity and strength....
*Avoid adverbs. Writing is often stronger without adverbs--descriptive words for verbs that usually end in -ly, such as firmly, quickly, totally, etc..
*Experiment with sentence fragments. They streamline narration... create clear images...and build tension.
James M. McPherson Professor of American History at Princeton University in the Preface to the "Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant," makes the point that General Grant used the same principle for writing his memoirs that he used for writing the terms of surrender to Robert E. Lee.
"When I put my pen to the paper I did not know the first word that I should make use of in writing the terms. I only knew what was in my mind, and I wished to express it clearly, so that there could be no mistaking it."
"Here was the secret of Grant's remarkable success as a writer. No better advice could be given to any aspiring author."
--James M. McPherson
"Ernest Hemmingway was once challenged to tell a story in only six words. Papa came back swinging with 'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.'"
--AARP July/August 2009
Taylor Swift's advice to
aspiring song writers:
your songs not for a demographic or for getting on the radio. Write your songs
for the person you’re writing that song about. When I sit down, I say to
myself, ‘Okay, who is this about? What would I say to him right now if he were
My favorite quotes from Ernest Hemingway on writing:
books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really
got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."
learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there
was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at
night from the springs that fed it."
writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he
knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it
being above water."
is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes
it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges."
is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
From an article in the Wall Street Journal by Allen Barra, Wednesday, March 5, 2008:
"In 1946, Damon Runyon was dying of throat cancer and could scarcely speak. A magazine editor asked him who, in his opinion was the best young writer in New York. Runyon scrawled the name W.C. Heinz on a cocktail napkin and passed it to him. He had underlined Heinz's name three times....William Charles Heinz died last Thursday at age 93...."
From Jeff MacGregor in SI in March 2008:
"...he was a stern advocate for simplicity and understatement....His 1949 column from the New York Sun, "Death of a Racehorse," is the Gettysburg Address of sportswriting. A run of words so slender and moving that nothing can be added or taken from it:
'There was a short, sharp sound and the colt toppled onto his left side, his eyes staring, his legs straight out, the free legs quivering.
'Aw-----." someone said.
That was all they said.'
"Non-fiction is too much work. I'm too lazy to do all the research. I actually never thought about (writing non-fiction) but when I saw the story, ("The Innocent Man"), I knew I had to write it."
On putting Christian sentiments in his books:
"I'm a Christian, and those beliefs occasionally come out in the books. One thing you really have to watch as a writer is getting on a soapbox or pulpit about anything. You don't want to alienate readers."
(From Time, February 4, 2008)
On writing memoirs from author Bill Novak:
Tell the truth. Be as honest as you can.
It is better to write as much as possible about a few things than to write a few things about too much.
Decide who you are writing for, your family or for the general public.
Write it so the reader can learn life lessons from your experiences.