Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 1)

Prologue

"So look, I'm fine. There is nothing wrong with me. I'm not depressed, nor worried, stressed, hurt, thinking about killing myself, or angry at the world. I have been extremely busy, so stop calling my house every five minutes because you're driving me crazy. If you don't give it a rest, I'll stop talking to you period and you'll wind up on my permanent shit list. Understand?!?"

He understood, this time. He also understood that she meant every single word of her verbal threat. "I do believe that I've finally crossed that point of now return with her." he said out loud as he winced from the sound of her phone being slammed in his ear.

Deciding that he needed to stop the madness and get off the merry-go-round, he also decided to stop talking to himself with cliches. He also decided that being somewhat obtuse and completely oblivious to other people's verbal and physical threats, was definitely not a good way to get through life if he wanted to continue having friends to socialize with. Finally he decided that making all of these decision was making him rather indecisive.

"AARRRGGGHHH!!!!!!" screamed Walter as he ripped the page the he had just printed out into tiny little pieces. "This is garbage! How the heck am I suppose to come up with something good enough to be published, when all I write is crap??" As we pull back to a wider shot of where Walter is, we see that we're n a rather large study, complete with strewn books, papers, magazines, empty food containers, and of course, Walter.

As we observe Walter going completely off the deep end, let's take a closer look at his current habitat. Upon entering, one is struck on what an incredible pigsty it had become. To the immediate left, we see a rather long bookcase stuffed with reading material. So overstuffed were the shelves that you wouldn't be able to wedge a ruler between the items to get something out. On top of this overstuffed bookcase, we find half filled containers of milk, each one in various states of smelly chunkiness. Next to each of these, we find moldy half eaten sandwiches, also in various states of decay.

"Golden Texas Tea" (Background)

Howdy do!

I figure since September is only two days away, now would be a good time to share with you good readers another one of my short stories.

First, some background info. This was one of the first stories I wrote after I had completed my novel. Originally designed to be a follow up (with a few others) story of the two main characters, Wally and Azalea, it really didn't come off the way I hoped for. This is because the way I chose to initially write my short stories was radical departure from how most short stories were/are written: I wrote a false ending to start, then wrote a story that led up to that ending and then went beyond to the real ending.

Nevertheless, this was my first attempt at writing a short story, since most of the books I read about writing up to that time, suggested that one should try to get a few short stories published before plunging headlong into trying to get a novel published. Considering I've done things ass-backwards so far, you can see how much I've actually followed that advice.

The story background is this: we meet Wally and Azalea about two years later after the novel. Things are going a bit schizoid for Wally as he's currently suffering from a severe case of writer's block.

As always, your comments will be greatly appreciated, both good and bad. One more thing, and I would like to thank the Cute Writing blog for the idea, this story is (c) 2008 by GBMJR.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When The Cyber World Meets The Real World, You Get The Blog World

Not only have I made some long lasting friendships in the Cyber World, but I have made a new batch of acquaintances in what I like to call, "The Blog World".

I am still a relative newbie when it comes to blogging, as I've only been doing since Memorial Day weekend 2008, but I've discovered a brand new world semi-normal people like myself out there. Let me tell you about a few of them.

To start with, the main guy on any Cyber World list that I make, would always be Gumby The Cat. Gumby first made the suggestion to me of creating my own blog. Something that I could call my very own and a place where I could comfortably shoot my mouth off without getting censored for it. For that I'm always in his debt. Right now, he's doing what I did last week, taking a much needed vacation.

Next on my list would be Kyle, who has a very neat and quite interesting blog (The Beat Goes On) that leans towards the everyday verbal rants that we would love to say out loud ourselves, but can never quite get around to doing so.

Third would be Chandler, who runs the first writing oriented blog (Fumbling with Fiction) that I caught my eye back in late May/early June of this year. Very knowledgeable and witty, she is someone that people can relate to and aspire to: a writer of young adult fiction, a lawyer in the making, a blogger, a book reviewer and a interviewer.

Fourth would be Sy, who has the second best blog title out there that I found (The Wheel is Turning but the Hamster Is Dead). If you like your humor British and extremely warped, this blog is for you. I found it in early August while surfing a few catalogs, and the title alone made me want to check it out. The man also has talent.

Fifth would be Chat Blanc, who has the best and possibly the only NC-17 rated blog (Wit's Bitch) I've ever seen. Hers I found through the courtesy of Gumby The Cat, which basically explains what my sense of humor is all about. A delightfully charming individual, she is someone you really don't want to get on the bad side of.

All of these people I have found to quite engaging and unique in their own particular way, and I'm glad that I was able make their acquaintance. Please check out their blogs, they really are quite good. And to make it easier, you will find a link to each of their blogs about midway down on the left.

"Guerilla Warfare" (Chapter 4) Summer '08

To clarify my last post on this particular subject, hell didn't quite break loose when this person passed away, but it certainly came pretty damn close. It all started on thread called R.I.P. WiP (still there by the way, it hasn't quite vanished yet. if it does, I'll remove the link) that a fellow poster called "Water_Nymph" created as a loving tribute to her memory.

Everyone who had contact with her, both good and not-so-good, came on the thread to pay their respects. For the most part, everyone put aside their differences and played nice. However, there were a few who were determined to create havoc, and ruin the thread, which they came pretty close to doing.

In any event, it got to be impossible to ignore the trolls, and soon the shit was hitting the fan. People who insisted on pushing their views and insulting/degrading the memory of a dead person found that the other people who were reading it, weren't going to simply lay down and take it. They fought back with such a vengeance that the thread had basically disappeared from the Topix landscape.

So a second and more benign thread was created: The New and Improved R.I.P. WiP, and once again people put aside their differences to casually chat and share their memories of W.i.P. However, one little change was done in that none of the trolls that came on the thread to spread their filth were ever acknowledged. Ignoring someone is the absolute worst thing you could ever do online, and we did it well.

And peace came to the last group of people that W.i.P. hung with until she passed away, and all was good in the Topix forums. Well, at least our little corner of it.
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The current status of my Topix journey is what can be called, "a holding pattern". I don't surf the forums anymore, I simply stay in Top Stories, plus my local sponsored by the Hartford Courant and one sponsored by The Morning Call. I don't really pick fights anymore, because there is no challenge or comfort in doing so. I won't back down from a fight/debate if one is thrusted upon me, but I don't go looking for one either.

I have made a brand new set of friends, while still maintaining some of the current crop that I gathered from last year. I'm a bit more cynical and lot more jaded now than I was a newbie back in Feb '07. From my experiences with Topix, I've learned not to take things too seriously anymore, and if anything, I've expanded my horizons and my viewpoints.

Topix can indeed be an adventure and it can be a great learning tool. Just ask me about it, and I'll be more than happy to share my knowledge with everyone who's interested in learning more about chat rooms and relationships.

As the "Schoolhouse Rock!" series firmly stated, "Knowledge is Power."

Peace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Random Thoughts

My posting is gonna be a bit freakish this week as I try to get back into the swing of things. I'll be touching on a few points tonight, some good, some not so good, so please bear with me as I ramble on. WARNING: THE LANGUAGE CONTENT MIGHT BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME PEOPLE.

Point #1: Work fuckin' sucked today. I spent the better part of the day getting pretty pissed off at multiple employees, multiple supervisors and multiple agencies. As most of you good readers know, I work for the state. I like my job but there are some aspects that really and truly suck dog excrement. Like doing tuition reimbursement. I won't bore you with the finer details, but I will tell you that the other agencies I deal with in regards to this issue, spend the day sitting around with nothing better to do than kiss each other's ass and give everyone else a verbal enema less they intrude on the self inflicted ass kissing. End result today was that I got reamed out by my supervisor for my behavior and that the double standard is still alive and kicking.

Point #2: Because of the previous statement, the conversation that I wanted to have with a friend of mine, who was out of touch for the past few weeks due to some personal issues, I had to stop before I got it started. I wound up sending her a terse e-mail which I will have to somehow explain and apologize for without getting her too upset about it.

Point #3: On the bright side, I had received preview copies of my bookmarks and business cards created for my upcoming novel. I'll probably give it a once over one more time and give my final approval on that. Which leads to the next point....

Point #4: ....My second galley came in the mail today. I will be spending the weekend, in peace and quiet contemplation, going over the second version with a fine tooth comb. Hopefully, all the corrections I had made, were in fact made. If everything goes according to plan, it should be out sometime in September.

And finally,

Point #5: SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW FOR MY TWO JUVENILE DELINQUENTS!

Life is soooo good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Online Friends In The Real World Are A Blast To Be With

The main purpose of my vacation last week was refresh and recharge my batteries. I was becoming increasingly burned out from work/writing/chatting/blogging/the real world, and I needed both some serious alone time with the wife and some serious down time for myself.

The alone time with the wife worked out quite well for me. The down time worked out quite well too, as I decided to meet up with one of my online friends from Indiana, PaisleyPosey.

Now I know what you must be thinking, and you're right, the recommended rule of thumb is not to meet up with someone from the CyberWorld in your real world. Too many complex issues can arise from it, and the results can be disappointing, or worse.

In this case, Paisley and I had been Cyber buddies for the better part of 19 months (that's February '07) and had gotten to know each other extremely well during that time frame. Originally we had first met on a thread in Topix that was about stalkers/abusive ex's. From that initial thread, we began to move on to other threads of common interest and soon became fast friends.

After a few rough patches in the fall, we began corresponding via the e-mail, which soon moved on to communicating by land-line. By the time our one year anniversary of being on Topix rolled around, we had a very solid friendship.

Fast forward to the late spring/early summer. I had decided that this year would be the year that I would take a real vacation. I had also decided that I would take a driving vacation as well. And since I needed a destination, what better place to visit than Indiana.

So with that in mind, and knowing what Paisley did for a living and when her slow months were, I had broached the subject of visiting with her. Suffice to say, she was all for it. So plans were made on my end to schedule time off from work, and plans were made on hers. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans can always go astray, and there was no exception here. She had a wedding to attend to in FL during the early part of the week (which went off without a hitch and she made it back to Indiana well ahead of the inclement weather that hit the area).

So being the resourceful person that I am, I turned what would have been about three days of driving, into six days of an actual vacation. I hit two museums, a zoo and explored the Ohio countryside, before finally hooking up with Paisley and her husband on the 21st.

The next two days, were without a doubt, the best two days I've ever spent visiting someone. I am by nature, a private person, but Paisley and her husband made me and my wife feel like one of the family. She and her husband were the gracious hosts during our stay. Both are very glib, articulate and multi-faceted individuals, and were a blast to get to know more thoroughly.

In person, she is every bit the warm, compassionate, witty and charming individual that you see in the chat rooms on Topix. An excellent conversationalist, we even had a pleasant debate on whether or not you really needed to be saved in order to get to Heaven (she believes, I don't).

In any event, my wife felt extremely comfortable and very much at ease with Paisely. Now normally, my wife can be a bit stand offish when it comes to meeting new people that are connected with me in some particular way. But Paisely was very much able to make my wife feel what I previously mentioned, and to me, that is an excellent sign of being a very good friend.

Additionally, being the knowledgeable host that she was, she was able to give us a couple of suggestions of things to do and places to go, one of which was the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Excellent hands on place to go if you have children, or even if you don't have children.

To sum it up, meeting one of my Cyber World friends, was truly one of the best things I've done to brighten up my year. I wound up developing a better appreciation for my friend, and I would like to think that she did as well with me. And she managed to gain a brand new friend with my wife.

Paisley is one very special individual. If you ever get a chance to meet her in the chat rooms, give her a big fat hello and spend a few minutes chatting with her. Chances are, you'll learn something new and interesting about the world around you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm Back From Vacation!

Wow.

I'm gone for a week and my blog takes a big fat nosedive in the catalog ratings and the Sitemeter stats.

I apologize to one and all for not posting fresh content for the past 9 days, but I really needed this vacation.

I will try to give everyone a little something tomorrow, and I should be back on my every other day posting schedule by the end of the week.

Next time, before I go on vacation, I will do some exploring with the good ol' Blogger here and learn the fine art of future dating/posting of blog entries.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Thoughts About My Adventures In Writing

Howdy!

I'm leaving for vaca tomorrow (like you weren't able to figure that out from my post of 8/14), so I want to leave you an update on the writing portion of my life.

#1: Got a few more rejections from agents this past month, and unlike the dozen or so that are gathering dust in my desk drawer, these two actually offered some critique and encouragement. One stated that my writing wasn't strong enough for today's market, while the other thought I was a good writer, but didn't have the resources to represent all of the manuscripts that crossed his desk.

Even though I'm going the self-publishing route with my first novel (Shades of Love, out in the Fall), it still was very nice to get some very useful feedback on my manuscript from the earlier rejection. Doesn't mean I totally agree with it, but nevertheless it will help me in the long run to become a better writer.

As for the second rejection (this was originally sent to him back in January), it is refreshing to know that someone thought highly of my manuscript, even though they declined representation of it. Another motivational tool for me to use in my writing.

#2: Speaking of the novel, I'm still waiting for the second galley to come back from the publisher. Nice to know that things still grind slowly, no matter what it is that you do in life. Hopefully I'll be able to approve the corrections and will be able to forward and implement my business plan.

#3: Still haven't tried to write anything really original. Been revising the short story I posted here earlier into something more manageable and likable. Would like to get it published first as a chapbook before I swing into a full length novel for it. Might get motivated to write something while on vacation, maybe something like the short story I posted here back in June.

Basically, this sums up the writing portion of my life as of August 2008. I've been able to get a lot of good tips from the various writing blogs that frequent with regularity (and whose links are featured on the left hand side of this blog), so that has helped me tremendously with my writing.

Without further ado, I bid you adieu.

Have a safe and sane upcoming week, and God willing, I'll be back here again the week of the 24th.

Peace.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted! Vacation, Got To Get Away!

I rarely make frivilous posts. Shoot, I rarely even make a straight rant post. Almost every post I've made has tied in with the main themes (work, chat rooms, writing, relationships) of this blog.

This post will be the exception to the rule, as this is both a frivolous and a mid-major rant at the same time.

For those who have only recently stumbled onto this blog (and I thank you for stopping by), I am going on vacation next week. The reason I'm making such a big deal out of it, is that this is my first real, non-working-just-for-me-and-the-wife-with-no-kids-around-or-other-responsibilities, vacation in exactly 6 long years. I won't bore you with the details as to why, since I've covered them elsewhere.

Did you ever notice that when you're trying to plan a vacation and implement said vacation plan, while at the same time trying to tidy things up at work before you go, it's an exercise in futility?

I've been getting slowly frazzled and frying my brain cells while trying to gather up the necessary dollars (cash is not a good thing to have excess amounts of), get the car in working order (always a good thing), plan things to do (say what?), plan a route (really?), get coverage at work (coverage? what's that?), getting all my work done (yeah, right), listening to toddlers nitpick and nag me to death over the most inconsequential things (like what else is new? Rodney Dangerfield said it best), and trying to maintain a positive attitude.

All at the same time.

I've spent this past week, burning the candle at all three ends. Nothing but stress, stress, stress, and more stress is what I consider the norm in planning a vacation/taking a vacation.

"But Georgie, what possible stress can you be under in planning and going on a vacation?"

Try this on for size: last time I went on vacation in 2002, my main worry was trying to find gas cheaper than $1.50 a gallon. Now my main worry is that I'll max out my gas cards, knowing that gas is now hovering between $3.60 and $4 a gallon.

If that doesn't fit, try this: this will cost me about $1700 in funny money (meals, gas, lodgings, snacks). I've never spent that much cash in 8 months, let alone one solid week. Shoot, this trip has already cost me about $75, and I haven't even walked out the door to my car.

Here's a nifty addition to the previous points: now I'm taking four different meds, one of which is insulin. Will have to spend gobs of money on ice in order to keep it from spoiling.

I keep asking myself, is all of this aggravation really worth it? The health problems I currently have do weigh heavily on my mind these days. As a matter of record, this road trip will be in all likelihood, my very last hurrah. This body of mine is breaking down a little more with each passing day. My dear friends who know me best, have direct knowledge of what ails me, and I would like to say to all of them this one thing: it's getting worse, and it ain't from what I told you previously.

To answer the question, yes it is worth it. I'm going on a real vacation, I'm going relax and recharge my batteries, I'm going to visit a good Cyber friend of mine, and most of all, I'm going to have fun.

After all, isn't that what you're suppose to do on a vacation?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Guerrilla Warfare" (Chapter 3) Summer '08

As I mentioned in Chapter 2, I was trying to decide where to go to next on my Topix journeys, when a fellow poster by the name of "Fish" told me about a particular religious based thread called "Are you winning Souls for Jesus?" that he participated on. At the time he told me of this, we were discussing the various types of unbalanced Christian fundamentalists that seemed to inhabit every nook and cranny of the Topix universe, especially prevalent in any the following thread topics: creationism, homosexuality, gay marriage, being saved, going to hell and how Christianity was above any other kind of belief (to name just a few).

I checked out the link, and low and behold, it was populated by two distinct groups of posters: Christian fundamentalists (born agains or fundies) and everyone else who either had a passing interest in God or had some other type of belief system (deist, agnostic, atheist, spiritual, to name a few).

Considering how these two groups of people were really slugging it out to the point that collateral damage was being inflicted everywhere, I felt right at home. Immediately jumping into the fray feet first, I began slamming people, especially the creator of the thread Sister Phyllis, all over the place. I mean, I was nasty. The type of posts I was creating was just barely on this side of allowable by Topix.

About two or three weeks after I had joined, the group that I had joined decided to change tactics. Since everyone was starting to get incredibly tired of the back and forth bashing of each other, they (and me) tried to convince Sister Phyllis to lighten up a little on the Bible quoting. We tried to convince her that while quoting the Bible was good at the beginning, that to put it into context as to why she was quoting whole chapters and verses would be even better.

No such luck. She kept on pressing the Bible quoting and attacked anyone who had the audacity to question her point of view. We kept on trying to make our various points about her softening her point of view and to elaborate better on why finding God was a good thing for her.

What I believe finally turned the tables and got Sister Phyllis off her high horse and down to the masses, was that she yelled at a fellow Born again poster by the name of "Kay". That got everyone pissed, including people who were siding with her begin with. She got so publicly buried by everyone that she went away for a few days.

Lo and behold, she came back with a better attitude. She started to warm up to everyone and began to put the bible quotes in the proper context on how they applied to her life. We began to warm up to her as well and decided as a group to make a concentrated effort to get along.

Around the beginning of July, as things were humming along like a well oiled machine, a lug wrench was thrown into the works. A well know poster, Writing in Paradise, passed away on the 4th.

Within days of her passing, all hell broke loose....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Arte y Pico Award



Yesterday, my good friend GumbyTheCat was gracious enough to bestow onto me and my blog, The Arte y Pico Award.

From what I understand, this award is given to blogs that tickle the mind artistically, creatively, imaginatively, or just plain make the person who views it go, "WOW!!! This is a good blog!"
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I would like to thank him for this honor. Believe it or not, it does mean something to me. The fact that someone thinks highly enough of me and my blog to do something like this, really blows me away.
Thanks again. Please check out his blog and the blog that originated The Arte y Pico award.

A Good Friend Is Forever And A Day

Today a celebration is in order as this post is a very special one: My 100th blog post. The equivalent of this is making my 2,500th post in the Topix forum chat rooms. I have done this on three separate occasions, so in essence I've made over 10,000 posts in the chat rooms (itself an admirable or useless feat, depending on your point of view).

So to mark this event, I would like to share something close and personal about me: my inner circle in the Real World. This is very similar to the inner circle I created and maintain in the Cyber World.
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To start off, I would like to briefly explain the title of this post. The title is partially lifted from a lyric in a song entitled "I'll Never Find Another You" by The Seekers. The Seekers were an enormously popular folk group from the mid '60's. If you listen closely to the lyrics, it really can be applied as a theme song to the relationships in your life.
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Back in May, I had received a few birthday cards from my family and friends. One of them contained a personal note, for which she was gracious enough to grant permission for me to use here.

Hope you have a wonderful day. You are a true friend although I am quiet towards you at times. A true friend is one that I can call and talk to about anything without being judged and that is who you are. You make yourself available when I need "to vent" and even when I don't. Just want to say thank you and enjoy this day and the rest of the year.

While by all outward appearances I am a social butterfly, floating between cliques and making casual friends no matter where I am, in all practicality I am a intensely private person. It may not look it, judging by what I've posted about myself in the past year and a half, but I truly am.

It's very hard for me to have what I call "close friends". I was pretty much a loner during my childhood and my adulthood (still am to a certain degree), so on the rare occasions I've been able to become close friends with others, I cherish them like that there was no tomorrow.

Because I cherish my friendships so deeply, I have also to a certain degree, have gone overboard in trying to maintain them. The wonderful individual who penned the that note can personally attest to my blatant acts of stupid that I have unfortunately inflicted on her in the past four years. The end result was that while we are still very good and close friends, the way we talk and maintain contact with each other has changed. Someday it may return to that previous level, but for now, her comfort level with me is the most important thing in my friendship with her. So long as she's happy with the way things are, then I'm happy.

I would also like to add that she has been my most important buffer/confidant/advisor/inner conscience, when it comes to dealing with the other member of my inner circle (gots only two). Without her to verbally slap a few brain cells loose (and my face) in regards to dealing with our mutual friend from time to time, I don't know where I would be right now.

My other friend is definitely a unique individual. I can truthfully say that she is one of two people that who I deeply respect and admire, and whose friendship I honestly cherish. I have done some incredibly stupid things in the past few years while being friends with her, and I have been fortunate enough that she has forgiven me for my acts of rampant stupidity.

Maintain her friendship, through good times and bad, has always been a challenge for me. I hope to continue to be her friend for many more years to come, and if anything, I will work twice as hard to respect her privacy whenever she needs it.

Sometimes, like the note says, being a good friend is simply making the offer to be there when things get bad and then stepping back to give the person all the time and privacy that they need.

To be there without being there, is the most that you can ask of yourself. Do that, and the rewards can and will be unlimited.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Work A Little, I Write A Little/Why Romance?

This will be something of a two part post, as I wanted to briefly touch base on the third member of this blog triad, namely work.

As most of you know, I work in state government (please leave insult in the comment section. I'm dying to hear a new one, so I challenge people to tell me one I haven't heard yet). I'm a payroll clerk, and as much as I love me job, I get bored to tears doing it.

Main reason for that is quite simple: no work. At my previous place of employment, I was perpetually busy. So much so, that I was forced to learn time management skills in order to get my work done. And as you all know, once you learn a necessary skill for a busy environment, it's simply impossible to get rid of. Especially if you move to a slower paced employer.

Anyways, I find myself with scads of down time on my hands. One of the few ways I can occupy my time and not get into trouble, is to write. And I'm not talking about with the computer (so incredibly wrong on so many levels that I will not expound on it), but by using an old fashioned pen and paper.

I've read in other blogs and books, that one should always have a private space so as to have quiet time in order to maximize your output. Well, my private space is my cubicle, and my quiet time is my multiple days of down time at work. Doesn't matter what I write (most of the time), so long as I look busy while doing it. And that's the important thing, looking busy.

So in essence, this particular half post is how to look busy without actually doing what you're supposed to do.

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The second part of this post will attempt to answer the second question, "Why Romance?"

Why not? It seems that there are a lot of writers out there who either write in multiple genres (Nora Roberts, Laurie King) or write in genres that seem at first glance, completely at odds with who there are (example, people who write certain kinds of erotica; or Stephen King whenever he doesn't do horror).

As for me, if you ever had the pleasure of meeting me in person, or talking to me via the e-mail or phone, your first thought/comment would be in the vein of "Seriously?" And my answer would be, "Seriously." Then I would be stuck for an explanation, and the conversation would drift to something else.

For what it's worth, here is my explanation as to why.

Romance would seem to be an odd choice for me to write about, since up until during my vacation in June of this year, I never read one single novel in any romance genre or sub genre. Period. I'm sure there were/are good ones out there, but I could never get past the covers. Also, during my teenage years (young adult)/adult years, guys reading Romances were really looked down upon as being wimps.

{plug: Whiskey Road was the romance I read while on vacation. Read it two days as I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended}

In any event, I found that when I started writing my novel, it was easier to write it as a romance. It didn't start out to be one, just about a chance encounter between two people (which soon blossomed into four). From that chance encounter, it soon blossomed into a twin story about the darker side of relationships.

By the time I got done writing it, this particular story could not be classified in any sub genre of the Romance category. It was too non-traditional of a story. Whereas it some elements of a traditional contemporary Romance (strong yet vulnerable woman, handsome take charge kind of man), it had more of the makings of a normal real world romance (co-workers in an office setting, the taboo of an office romance between married and unmarried people).

In essence, this made it particularly hard to shop around to agents. It's a tough market out there and not too many people want to take a chance on an untested type of romance/love story.

In any event, I've found it much easier to write my stories in the same kind of vein: a bit dark, real world, slightly sexual, and somewhat pulpish. The short story you see here is a case in point.

I probably could write other things, stuff that would be more palatable and inoffensive, and I actually did as a challenge to myself last year (see the label called "Short Story"), but the reality is that I choose not to do so, because I don't think that's really me. One should always believe what they write and write in, and my genuine belief of the darker side of relationships is what fuels my writing.

I enjoy it and I believe I'm good at what I do. And in the end, isn't that all that really matters?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm A Ramblin' Guy!

Tonight's non-story post is about the Cyber World/Real World, or rather I should say, my random observations thereof.

Let's start right off the bat with the title of this post. I love Steve Martin. Never saw him perform live, but I have three of his comedy albums: A Wild and Crazy Guy; Comedy is Not Pretty; and Let's Get Small. If you want vintage comedy from the '70's, you have got to check out these three fine albums. Two of the better routines are the Let's Get Small and The Cruel Shoes (also an excellent book). 'Nuff said.

Random observation #1: I neglected to state in my post from Monday, on what else I did to fill in the time gaps. In addition to using this blog to help me sell my book (really wasn't my motive for starting this blog, but I'll use any tool that I can to help sell my book), I came up with a basic business plan for my book as well. The planning of that has been killing quite a few days for me, which is a good thing.

Random observation #2: For those of you who have been experiencing me for the first time strictly through this blog, and have been wondering what it is that makes me tick, a sample can be found off to the left and halfway down the side of this blog. There you'll find a good list of about several blogs that have struck my fancy in the past few months. Each of those blogs are not only informative and a pleasure to read (plug, plug, plug, plug), but will give you a very good idea on what I'm all about. Each one of those blogs had struck me in a particular way, whether it was learning about writers/writing, or a skewered look at the world around us, with the end result being not only do I have these blogs bookmarked (plug, plug, plug, plug) but I have them listed here as well (plug, plug, plug, plug).

Random observation #3: For those of you who already know what I'm about, either through the chat rooms or in real life, and have been wondering about the other side of me that I keep carefully separated from me (depending on how you've first met me), look no further. This blog is the only way you'll get an honest critique about me and the two worlds that I straddle. I won't pull any punches, nor will I keep my mouth shut so as not to offend any moderators (read: Topix). I am what you see, warts and all.

Random observation #4: For the past few months, the rhetoric that has spewed from my mouth while posting in the chat rooms has dropped tremendously. For all intents and purposes, the slash and burn style of posting that I've been doing on and off for the past 18 months has basically disappeared. I can can basically trace it back to the July 4th holiday weekend, when a particular poster from Topix passed away. While this may sound odd to the folks out there who spend minimal amount of time on the Internet and none in the chat rooms, I assure you that it is not odd. Even though I wasn't particularly close to this poster, her passing really affected me. Within a day of her passing, I had taken a step back from Topix to reflect on what I've done there up to that point. The end result of that closer examination was that for the time being, the two online personas I created have gone to what I like to call "120 day PSA's" (its a state thing). They basically show up on the weekends to create havoc and have fun. In their place, I have posted as me from here. People there get to see the real me, not a snapshot of me but the whole me. And I'm loving every blessed minute of it.

Random observation #5: Going on vacation isn't what it's crack up to be. I'm taking my very first non-working real vacation in 8 days. What I mean by non-working, is that since 2002 (which was my last real vacation), every vacation I've taken was not for me. To whit: 2003, no vaca due to being laid off from work; 2004, working vaca due to father passing away in the summer; 2005 all working as family took two cruises and a trip to FL; 2006, more cruises and trips elsewhere; 2007 took one whole vacation day for myself. It rained; 2008, took a working one in June. Now, I'll be taking a real one to visit a friend out in Indiana. Since time is not of the essence for a change (because my wife threatened me with bodily harm if I do what I usually do on a vaca, which is lots of driving and no stopping), I'll actually be spending a couple of days in PA and OH. The amount of planning simply blows my mind, especially when I hadn't plan for one since 2002, when gas was about $1.50 a gallon. In any event, I will finally get a chance to relax and enjoy myself, without worrying about work or my book, or anything else for that matter.

Fun is.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Paperback Writer with Too Much Time On My Hands

I really couldn't decide on what to call this post today, because both titles seem to be quite appropriate for me.

Each one aptly describes a particular state of being when one is a writer, whether doing it full time (Paperback Writer) or doing it part time (Too Much Time On My Hands).

In my case, being a paperback writer is what I want to be. To be able to churn out dozens of books like Nora Roberts or Stephen King and become a cottage industry unto themselves is really a remarkable achievement, and it's a very worthwhile goal to shoot for. I can't say I'm a fan or critic of Nora Roberts, simply because I've never read her stuff, so it would be unfair of me to make that kind of judgment about someone. As for Stephen King, there are only a couple of books I like by him, The Dead Zone being my favorite (The movie with Christopher Walken while good, doesn't strictly stick to the book, and the t.v. version is something to be ignored), and I do look forward to reading his monthly columns in Entertainment Weekly.

But since this blog is about me and my writing, the reality is that I'm doing this part time, thus I have way too much time on my hands for my own good.
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To update everyone on the status of my book. I had sent the galley back with a list of about 17 of the more egregious errors that I had made in the manuscript. Overall I found about 30 or so, but these 17 I deemed to be the most essential for correcting. So I'm waiting to get the 2nd galley back in order to proof it. Also with the cover, I approved that, but after giving my OK on it, I discovered about a week later, that an essential word was missing from the back cover. While it can be inferred what the sentence really means, in essence I screwed up. I did fix for a few other items I got coming, but suffice to say, being the perfectionist I am (and you have to be in self-publishing), I really am upset with myself. A valuable lesson was learned, which I will apply next time.
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So, because the wheels of publishing turns incredibly slow (by my choice), I find myself with a lot of down time these days.

And what have I done to occupy my time, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. I'm doing three different versions of one story to keep myself occupied. I'm a relatively unconventional person, in that I love a challenge in no matter what it is I happen to do.

The first version is what you good people have been reading here for the past month or so. This was the original version that I wrote back 2006, when my output was something to be admired. I spent part of last year cleaning it up, entered it into a few contests, then decided to put it on the shelf for most of this year. I dusted it off last month when I needed some material to back up what I was writing about on this blog.

The second version of this short story is the basis of my second novel. While I was shopping my first novel around for most of 2007, I needed something to do while waiting. Since most of the writing related books I read at the time suggest that one should keep writing, I did. I took my short story and began to flesh it out. In keeping with my particular writing style, which is to write at least two distinct and separate plot lines, I have managed to write about 8 complete chapters, and I'm now up to where this story actually starts at: the swimming pool.

Finally, the third version of this story, which is what I'm doing now, is more cleaning and tightening up. With some expansion as well, because I want to eventually publish this as a chapbook.

So in essence, I'm rewriting the same story three different ways: as a long term post, as a novel and as a chapbook.

This my friends, is what truly happens when you have way too much time on your hands.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Almighty Newspaper and Me

I love to read.

While growing up, I read whatever I could get my hands on: books, magazines, tabloids, newspapers.

Newspapers. I loves newspapers. Didn't matter if it was serious news (think NY Times when it was good) or trashy tabloids (think National Enquirer et al), if it was newsprint, I read it.

History. I loves history. With history, I was a little more discriminating. I didn't care much for world history as my speed was more American history than anything else.

Now you may be wondering as to how all of this actually pertains to this blog, considering for the most part this blog has covered my adventures in writing, the Internet and to a lesser degree, work. In all honesty, this is actually about work. I have noted elsewhere that I do payroll for the state of CT, and I have been for the past 4 1/2 years. I have also noted elsewhere that I was laid off from the state back in 2003. What I haven't noted (or elaborated on), was what I actually did prior to being laid off in 2003.

I worked with newspapers.

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From 1996-2002, I worked in the Preservation Department. Within that particular department was a program called the CT Newspaper Project which dealt with the cataloging, preservation and microfilming of old CT newspapers. For more details as to what other states participated in this program and what the program is all about, please go to either the Library of Congress or the United States Newspaper Project, which was/is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I won't go into the details about either the microfilming side of it or what I did for job duties, because quite frankly, I like all of the regular and casual readers of this blog and the last thing I want to do is to turn everybody's brain into mush.

Instead, I want to touch on some of the newspapers I dealt with in those 6 plus years of working at the library. I dealt with all kinds of newspapers: M-F dailies, weeklies, bi-weeklies, tri-weeklies, bi-monthlies, monthlies, dailies that published three days a week. English, Spanish, Italian, German. 18th, 19th and 20th century.

Most importantly, I dealt with newspapers that unlike today, actually were an important and essential part of the community they served.

So without further ado, I will give some titles and a brief background to each.

Deep River New Era: This was one of the first newspapers that was microfilmed. A wonderful weekly that started in 1873 and ended in the 1980's. It gave an excellent snapshot of a typical small town in CT.
The Connecticut Shore: A fascinating summer weekly that published in the 1940's for the seasonal residents of the northern shoreline community (Stonington, Groton, Lyme, Old Lyme) of CT .
The Connecticut Western: Another fascinating weekly that held the same time frame as first one mentioned. Gave an excellent snapshot of the Northwestern corner of our state.
The Meriden Recorder: A newspaper put out by one of the more flakier people of CT. The man had a well deserved persecution complex that was unparalleled in the 19th century. His newspaper was always being shut down due to first amendment issues with the local government.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention one of the more well know and completely skewered individuals of the 19th/early 20th century newspaper community, John Rodemeyer. His writings and unique outlook on life were legendary. Journalist/Editor/Publisher, his stuff was anything but ordinary. At one point, he published a short lived weekly called, "The Yellow Spasm", which interestingly enough was published on bright yellow paper. I compare his output with the output of George Carlin.

All of these newspapers I mentioned covered local, state and national news with a consistency that has yet to be developed again.

I want to share with you one last item, that myself and my co-workers always found incredibly funny. Most dailies that were published up until the mid 20th century were M-F papers. Very few published Monday-Saturday, and even rarer were the Sunday editions. In any event, we were doing up a M-F daily circa 1920's, and we found a story about Rudolph Valentino being serious ill with an appendicitis. The Friday edition we did gave an update saying that "his condition was vastly improving and the doctors were saying that he was on his way to a full recovery. The very next Monday edition was full of stories about the planning of his funeral and were the funeral procession was going to take place.
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I loves newspapers....

"I'm Back!"

Greetings!

To those readers who weren't able to access my blog yesterday through about 7:30 this morning, I deeply apologize for the inconvenience.

While some of the very good blogs out there were affected by inadvertent spam issue brought on by the Blogger's Spambot (which they are in the processing of fixing), mine was not.

Mine was brought down by my sitemeter tracker. I was able to find a suggestion about removing it through the help groups that Google happily provides for their blogger users.

I did. So here I is.

Have a good Saturday morning wherever you might be and I'll be back this afternoon.

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com