Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Life Is A Highway" (pt 6)

Story #3 on our journey through my version of reality, is one that I posted here previously, called at the time Golden Texas Tea. As stated, this was my first attempt at writing a sequel to my book, Shades of Love. I had planned on writing two stories as a sequel, one involving the main characters Wally and Azalea, and the other involving Dorethea and Jorge.

The first story came out to about 24 pages and the second came out to be about 36 pages. Both of these will be featured in this book, and both will be heavily re-written. We'll talk about the first story, since this is the one that I just started editing/rewriting, and had recently made a post about.

The main reason why I'm doing a major renovation/demolition of this story, is because, to be quite honest with everyone, the story sucks. The writing sucks. The pacing sucks. And most importantly, the plot sucks as written. Now I know this sounds kind of harsh and more likely than not, most writers are like this with some of their stories, but most writers probably wouldn't be bashing one of their stories so badly in public. Privately, yes. Publicly, no.

Me, I have no qualms in saying that this story sucks. I wrote this back in 2006, without the foggiest idea on how to write properly. Believe it or not, I actually submitted this thing to few contests as is. Anyways, fast forward to last year. As I got more involved with writing my blog, I also took off on a search and destroy for other writing related blogs that I might be able to use for advice and tips. After spending about three or four months finding, reading and bookmarking about twenty or so writing blogs (along with the purging of about half dozen that served no purpose in the end), I came to the sad realization that my writing wasn't even remotely on the same planet with the others I was reading.

So off I went to practice, practice, practice, and read, read, read. And what did all this practicing and reading do for me? Quite a bit actually. It helped me refine my writing skills, it made me realize the right way and wrong way to write, and most importantly, it taught me how to be my own editor and help improve the old stories that I got sitting around that I wanted to use for this novel.

So here I sit with story #3. The original plot was that Walter went off on a book tour of New England. Azalea went to Connecticut to surprise Walter and possible spend some quality time with him. She discovers that Walter was cheating on her (rightly or wrongly, it was never made clear). She drives off to where the adventure all began. While out on walk to clear her head, she gets killed by a drunk driver. At her funeral, her spirit (?) reappears at the wake. It also reappears at Walter's apartment. The story ends with a gunshot, leaving what happened to Walter (suicide?) hanging at the end.

Without even going through the trouble of re-reading this piece of garbage, I decided right off the bat to write it as a ghost story, using both the first and third p.o.v. throughout the story. I plan on having her narrate the main story, with the angels picking up the slack at certain points, and keeping the interior portion in the third.

In keeping with my preferred writing flavor, the working title of the story is called A Lascivious Limbo. By no means (I hope) will this be the final title, as the cattle call for title suggestions will continue right up until I put this bad boy in it's proper order.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Update on the WiP: I have finished the second story for this novel (which is actually story #5). The end result was about sixty-four pages, totaling 24,608 words. As it stands right now, the total word count for the novel is 41,013 (total page count 108). I started work on the third story on 3/23, after taking a week off from completing the second one. The second one took me about six months to finish, stretched out over two years. I'm hoping that this one will take me about three months to complete.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yes, I Got Your Voice Mail. What Of It?

I have, in the past few years, developed a severe loathing of all things associated with working in an office environment. Today's post will deal with one of the things that I truly hate about it.

Voice mail.

As many of you know, I work in state government, specifically, payroll. There is nothing worse that drives me up to and over the cliff on a perpetual basis, than dealing with people who don't know the basics of using a telephone.

Usually, it goes something like this: I'll get back to my cube after being away for a few minutes to find that the little red light on my phone is lit up, telling me that I have a message waiting for me (or I'll have the light go on while I'm sitting there. Don't laugh, my phone is just that messed up).

So I go into my voice mail (first dialing the four digit extension to it, then putting in my extension, then putting my security password in) and retrieve the message. After I spend about five minutes (seriously) trying to make sense out of it, I hang up. Then I stare at what I wrote, then ignore it for the rest of the day.

Why? Because~~~~~~~~~~~~>1} You left me an incomplete number. Please, please, please remember, the state that you live in has TWO AREA CODES: 203 & 860*. And quite frequently, a prefix will share BOTH AREA CODES. So leave me all TEN DIGITS OF YOUR PHONE NUMBER, NOT SEVEN. Especially if you live OUT OF STATE AND COMMUTE TO THIS STATE TO WORK.

Why? Because~~~~~~~~~~~~>2} You garbled your name. How in the world am I suppose to return your phone call if I haven't a clue on WHO YOU IS. Sorry pal, I don't return phone calls to people that make me say, "Excuse me, someone from this number called me. Would you know who that was?"

Why? Because~~~~~~~~~~~~>3} You said your message so freakin' fast that I have no idea on what you're talking about. Listen, IT AIN'T THAT HARD TO SPEAK LIKE ELMO. TRY IT SOMETIME, YOU MIGHT GET YOUR PHONE CALL RETURNED. I'm sorry, but there are times where I would rather speak to a five year old with a mouthful of food, instead of trying to figure out what some lame brain who makes twice my salary is saying.

Why? Because~~~~~~~~~~~~>4} You didn't leave your number to begin with. Like, how am I SUPPOSED TO CONTACT YOU? AM I SUPPOSE TO GUESS WHAT YOUR NUMBER IS? Seriously, do you even think about how not giving me a number makes you like a complete idiot and causes me have a low opinion of you? Well, do you?

Why? Because~~~~~~~~~~~~>5} You ain't my employee. Seriously, do you even KNOW WHO YOUR PAYROLL CLERK IS? This is something that is perpetually drilled into employees whenever they go to the local H.R. rep out in the field. DON'T CALL ME IF I AIN'T YOUR CLERK. Nothing worse than having to transfer your pathetic little phone call because you couldn't be bothered to find out who handles your payroll. Especially if you tell me that this is the first time you called payroll in two or three years.

From these examples, you can see why I don't like responding to voice mails. Shoot, this is even why I don't like answering my phone (another post for another time) at work.

You want a response? Send me an e-mail. I'll be more than happy to politely tell you where you can stick your problem. Especially if you're one of my problem children.

I thank you for your patience today. I promise, I will reward all of you with a more upbeat post very, very soon.

Peace.
~~~~~
*I read about a week ago, that our state will be picking up two more area codes. So our tiny little state will now have four area codes, which will make ten digit dialing for both local and long distance, a necessary evil. God help us all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Saturday" (pg 3)

When I went to answer it, a pair of hands, scratch that, a pair of branches reached out and jerked me into the surrounding bush. Struggling to break free, I felt my jacket being rifled through and my person being searched.

"Excuse me!" I said, "Do you mind taking your grubby branches out of my jacket and off my person?" As soon as I got that last sentence out, I felt myself being violently shoved back to the street. Once again, I found myself face first on the ground.

This time, instead of picking myself up and writing the episode off as being a case of sour grapes, I charged back in to give the bush what for. "I don't know what your major malfunction is, but I don't appreciate being touched like that. You got a problem with me, ask me directly. Don't yank me..."

My rant got cut short as a rotten log flew out of the tress, just missing my body and splintering on the street next to me.

"Throwing a log at me because I pointed out that you were wrong is pretty childish," I said while kicking some of the splintered log off to the side, "It shows that not only can't you walk the walk but if you don't get your way, you go crying back to your mommy. To show you just how nice of a guy I really am, I'm going to continue my walk by going through your precious property, and there won't be thing one you can do about it."

Zipping up my pockets so that the trees couldn't stick their dirty branches in them, I climbed over the barrier and continued my walk. As a parting shot, I stepped on about a half dozen branches as I went through the bushes.

I heard the birds take off from the trees as the painful screams emitted by the bushes broke through the late morning stillness.

"Shut up! You brought this on yourself, so man up and take the consequences of your actions!"

I spent the next twenty minutes dodging the dirt bombs that flew towards me from both sides. I also tripped once of twice as a stray root would suddenly pop up and catch me unawares. That stopped once I had stuck my little pocket knife deep into the last root that tripped me up, and twisted it for a few seconds.

I finally made it to the other concrete barrier, none the worse for wear, save for a few scratches on the face and couple of bird poop stains on the jacket. As I stood there, trying to decided how I should get by that large barrier, I felt someone tapping my shoulder.

Strange, I'm pretty sure that no one was following me. Turning around to see who wanted me, I was met with the one-two combination of a heavy dirt bomb to the face and a large branch to the stomach.
~~~~~~~~~
(c)2009 GBMJr. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dirty Knees

Peter looked at his watch and smiled. Only forty-five minutes 'til show time! he thought happily. He was a man of simple means and simple pleasures, so being able to meet up with the woman of his dreams was something that brought him unlimited pleasure.

He completed the last of his assigned tasks and hurried to the locker room. Chucking his work clothes in the locker as he walked on by, one of his co-workers asked him where the fire was.
~~~~~~~
Click here for the full story.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Help?

I need help.

For those of you who remember, I posted a short story called "Golden Texas Tea" late last year/early this year.

Well, this particular story is #3 for my next novel. I plan on re-writing it into a ghost story and I got the main character's names changed. The problem I have is coming up with a new title.

The current title simply doesn't cut it (oh boy does it ever not cut it), so I want to give it a new title that would be more in line with what the story is gonna be about.

Writer's block I don't have for this story, because I've been working on the plot line for it for the past couple of weeks. Writer's block for the title I do have.

Sooooooooooooooo.............can anyone out there help me?

Anyone?

For my lurkers, my subscribers and any passersby, here's your chance to offer an opinion on something for this blog. I would love to hear from you.

For my regulars, here is a chance to try something completely different. Absolutely no hard work is involved beyond spending two minutes connecting various parts of speech together.

No reasonable suggestion will be ignored.

All will be considered.

I thank you in advance for your support in this worthy cause to help a flaky writer.

Hi There! I Represent The Acme Insurance Co. Of Walla Walla, Washington! And Have I Got A Deal For You!

Part 8 of The Library Chronicles
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, so it wasn't the best title I could come up with, but the Daffy Duck salesman analogy does work for this post.

As I mentioned in the last post, one of my favorite things to do was to go on road trips. Why was this my favorite thing to do?

It got me out of the office, and most importantly, I got paid to drive around this tiny little state and practice my salesman skills face-to-face (which to this day, still suck) with an unsuspecting general public.

To give you the reader, a basic idea of how I went about acquiring an institution's private property, I will give you an example of what exactly what I did to acquire said private property. Playing the part of the institution will be you the reader, and playing the part of an overly annoyed state worker, will be moi.

After we (meaning the CT Newspaper Project) had determined that certain issues needed to be borrowed so as to make a more complete run of a particular newspaper title, it was left up to me to make the necessary arrangements to acquire said title.

Gathering up my notes, I sat down and dialed up the institution in question:

"Hello, Capitol City Historical Society (not an actual historical society). How may I help you today?"
"Good morning. May I speak to Mrs. _____ please?"
"May I ask who's calling?"
"Connecticut Newspaper Project."
"One moment." (At this point, I would be point on hold for about thirty seconds or so.)
"This is Mrs._____, how may I help you?"
"Hi. My name is George_____and I work for the CNP. We're currently filming a newspaper called the New Haven Evening Leader (a very real newspaper), and according to our records, your historical society owns a few issues that would help fill in the gaps. We would like to borrow those issues for filming."
"I see. If we let you borrow our newspapers, what's in it for us?"
"Well, for starters, for every newspaper that you agree to let us borrow, you'll get a free roll of microfilm. Additionally, we would work with any reasonable request in what we can do to your newspaper."
"Okay."

The rest of the phone call pertained to setting up a time and a date to go down and pick up the newspaper(s). This of course was 95% of the battle. The other 5% was agreeing to whatever restrictions the institution put on the newspaper in question.

After getting out the door with the item(s) in question, I got back to the office and got started on the process of organizing and preparing the acquisition in question, within the guidelines set forth by the lending institution.

Normally, if no restrictions were put on the items in question, we would start off with prepping the newspaper according to our guidelines (flattening, repairing, cutting and collating). However, if restrictions were put into place, then things moved along much more slowly.

What will be following in the next post (which you should read with lots of energy), will be a brief list of the types of restrictions that lending institutions would put on their property, and the ways we would work with them, or in some cases, around them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Up next: Restrictions? What restrictions?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You're Not Supposed To Sell Anything Without A Sales Tax Permit

About a month and a half ago (Feb 6th to be exact) I officially entered the world of confusion known as running a business.

To briefly refresh the memory of my regular readers and to enlighten my new readers, I set up a small sole proprietorship to sell my self-published novel, called "Books by George", last November.

Anyways, I called up the Dept of Revenue Service here in Connecticut to find out what forms I needed to file to pay my business income tax. Within the span of a couple of minutes of talking to the service rep, I found out to my chagrin, that I wasn't supposed to be selling my book without a sales tax permit (hence the title of the post). In Connecticut, you must charge and collect sales tax on anything that you sell, which currently stands at 6%.

Being the business neophyte that I am, I told him honestly (and truthfully) that I didn't know that I needed a sales tax permit in order to sell my books. After a fascinating five minute lecture on his part, during which he politely told me that I was a screw up, I got the information that I needed in order to register my tiny little business with the state of Connecticut and get a sales tax permit.

So when I got home, I went to the addy that he noted, www.ct.gov/register, and started the process of getting a sales tax permit. I didn't get too far as on the first page, it asked me for my Federal Employer Identification Number. Naturally, I didn't have one. So I called up the IRS at the 1-800 number I was given, and I was soon on my way of experiencing what I usually inflict on everyone else.

After spending twenty minutes on the phone with a very helpful customer service rep, I had my FEIN. I then asked her a simple question, which was "do I file my business taxes at the same time I do my personal?"

She said that she was sorry, but that she couldn't answer my question. However, she would be more than happy to transfer to someone who could. I said, "okay."

Five minutes later, I was transferred to someone else. No sooner than I got my question completely out of my mouth, I was told I that I was in the wrong dept. and that he would transfer me elsewhere. I said, "okay."

Five minutes later, I was transferred to a very nice lady in the collections dept. (no I don't know why the collections department), who after answering my question, asked me why I was transferred to her dept. I gave her the one minute version, and she was kind enough to tell me that in addition to filing a schedule C, I had to file another schedule for self-employment taxes.

Once I got done with that, back I went to the previously mentioned website and spent the next ten minutes registering my business (such as it is) and getting my sales tax permit.

Now I'm an officially registered business entity located in the state of Connecticut, ready to collect what meager sales tax I have to charge for my book. Since I already have a stated price for my book, I'll have to tweak the price so as to accurately reflect the sales tax that now must be included. In other word, a price hike.

It's never simple, is it?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Syndexed*

Apologies for the double post. Today's Two Page Short has fallen victim to the old-time cable rule called "Syndex".

*"Syndex" was a rule that came out in the very early 90's when local t.v. channels were competing with cable television. They were failing miserably, so they got the federal government (what else) to pass a law stating that if an out of state t.v. channel was broadcasting in the local area, and they were carrying the exact same programming, that out of state channel was blacked out. The only exceptions to this rule was the so-called "superstations" such as WGN and TBS.

The story that is currently playing over at Flashing Georgie's Shorts, is the one that gave me the idea to create that blog to begin with.

The Two Page Short will return to your programming schedule on March 25th. Please check your local listings for the time in your area.

I thank you in advance for your patience as I strive to seamlessly program both blogs for your viewing pleasure.

"Saturday" (pg 2)

After a minute or so, I got up, brushed the gravel from my jacket, picked a few pebbles from my face, straightened out my glasses and gingerly restarted my walk.
While I was walking up the street, I started on my normal weekend routine of giving my surroundings the third degree.
The trees were barren with their branches mostly devoid of any kind of life. Stretching to the sky, they cried out in pain, as if to say, "This cold weather is really gnawing at my bones and it hurts like hell."
As for the animals, well...what animals? The smarter ones either flew south to the warmer climates or went underground to hibernate. The stupider ones simply became road kill.

A this point, I was now in front of one of the residential group homes for most of the highly functioning mentally disabled people in this state.
Sometimes I see a few of them being escorted for a late morning/early afternoon stroll, or out on the driveway doing set shots on the b-ball court.
Today, they were indoors, staying happily warm and safe from the elements, while dolts like me were outside walking in the cold.
So, after coming to the sad realization that sometimes they are smarter than a fifth grader (or at the very least, smarter then me), I continued on my journey.

Both literally and figuratively, as once again I found myself on the ground, courtesy of one of the legendary ginormous potholes that dotted this particular section of the road.
As I brushed myself off, I was able to see that I would have a small problem in getting out of this pothole. Why? Because the top of the damn thing was eight feet away.
Surveying my surroundings, I was able to see that the walls were covered in roots and rocks, which wound up being just the thing I needed for what I wanted to do.
Spidering up the wall, within a span of a few minutes, I was poking my head out and checking for cars. Finding none, I pulled myself out of the hole, brushed the dirt off and replaced the orange barrel that I had apparently tripped over when I restarted my walk.

Stepping around the potholes, I soon found myself on an open stretch of roadway again. As I got to a large concrete barrier that blocked the road, my cell phone rang.
~~~~~~~~~
(c)2009 GBMJr.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book Review: "Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life And Many Legends" by Allen Barra

Hola.

I thought for a change of pace, I would try to do a book review on a book that was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, David Cranmer. Back in February, he did a short post on John "Doc" Holiday, legendary Old West gambler and occasional gunfighter. I happened to comment on how refreshing it was to learn some actual facts about the Old West, and in his response, he recommended for reading the particular book that this post is about. I said it sounded like a good book to search out and read.

Later on that week, he did one of his weekly posts on old books, titled appropriately enough, "Forgotten Books". In this particular post he was referring to Wyatt Earp and how legends and myths are born, and offered some tidbits taken from the book he recommended.

I commented on how I was able to get the book from my local library and the first few pages looked really interesting, and that I would get read by the weekend or so. Fast forward about three weeks later, and I just finished the book last Friday (13th).

In keeping with what I stated earlier on David's blog, I will now offer my opinions on said book. Since I've never done a book review before, I would like to do it the way Travis Erwin sort of does his: three things that may turn you on to the book and four things that may turn you off to the book.

Wish me luck.

Three things that may turn you on to the book:
~~~~~~
1} Meticulously researched. From beginning to end, this book clocks in at 426 pages. It covers the entire life of Wyatt Earp, from his childhood in Monmouth, IL to his death in San Diego, CA. It also covers quite extensively his brothers, all the well known associates from the time period that you come to know and love/hate, American History from the 1860's through the 1920's, and all the well known events that you've come to know and love/hate. It contains excellent footnoting (each chapter has a separate section explaining all the footnotes) and a decent bibliography that is worth exploring.

2} The Old West/American History. If the Old West and/or American history is your bag, then this book gives you an in-depth look at the old west (specifically the Midwest and Southwest regions) and an in-depth look at the history and politics of the time period (note: Wyatt was a staunch Republican and gun control enthusiast. Also for a majority of his law enforcement career, he rarely fired his weapon in the course of his duties). It also covers Hollywood's version of history as well.

3} O.K. Corral. About one third of the book covers in great detail the events leading up to the shootout, the shootout itself, and the aftermath of the shootout. Basically, what you think you know about the shootout is probably wrong, and this book goes into great detail describing what the actual facts of the shootout are.

And now, four things that may turn you off to the book:
~~~~~~~~
1} Dry as dirt. If you enjoy non-fiction that isn't overly analytical and doesn't read like a master's thesis, then this book isn't for you. I found at times that a meticulously researched book can sometimes make for dry reading. This was one of those times. I did find myself skipping pages because at times it felt like I was reading a thesis. Other times, the book did keep my attention.

2} O.K. Corral. As I said earlier, about one third of the book covers in great detail the events leading up to the shootout, etc. While this can be the one thing that you should pick the book up for and read, this can also be the one thing that will turn you off. It does seem that Mr. Barra spends an abnormal amount of the book concentrating on the shootout (six out of twelve chapters cover the entire shootout, from events leading up to the aftermath for the next seventy-five years).

3} You don't like Wyatt Earp. If you're not a fan of Wyatt Earp to begin with, then this book isn't for you. It effectively destroys any and all other books that were written either by Earp apologists, Earp debunkers, or people who so detested Wyatt Earp that they would say or print anything to make him look bad. If you're a fan of the other people who were contemporaries of Wyatt, then this book dispels a good chunk of what you thought you knew about them.

4} Stuart Lake. If your only impression of Wyatt Earp is what you read in the book Frontier Marshal by Stuart Lake, then you're in for a rude awakening. This book effectively puts to rest the notion that Stuart Lake's book is historically accurate. It is in fact, not. I haven't read Stuart Lake's book, but this book gives the opinion (in my view at least), that Frontier Marshal works as a piece of historical fiction, but not as a good biography of Wyatt Earp.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As the old saying goes, this is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it, no matter what. That being said, for a non-fiction book it was a pretty decent read. If you really enjoy the Old West, this book is an excellent place to start your exploration with. On a scale of one to ten, I give it a eight.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pain

Jerri took out her copy of the "Forbidden One." She gently caressed the album jacket as she thought about the rumors that were being bandied about.

Like how it was cursed. That three of the band members met tragic ends less than five months after completion. That no one was able to listen beyond the first four tracks without going mad. That if you somehow were able to listen to the entire album, your ability to function would be permanently revoked.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Click here for the full story.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Saturday" (pg 1)

(Please imagine the little girl from Poltergeist) It's baaaack.

Yes indeed, it's back. After a two month hiatus, the short story makes a reappearance on the blog circuit. For only a limited ten week run, a short story that I created especially for this blog, will make an appearance for your reading pleasure.

I present to you, my reading public, my first attempt at writing a fantasy. When all is said and done, if you don't think it's a fantasy, then by all means, please tell me what you think it should be. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It looks really windy out there."
"Make sure you bundle up and don't forget your gloves."
"Yes."
"When will you be home?"
I looked at my watch and thought about what errands I needed to do today.
"A couple of hours I think."
"Okay, see you then."

A few minutes later, I stepped outside and was met with a cold hard slap to the face.
"Shoot, that's cold." I said to myself, before taking my glasses off and stuffing them into my jacket.
Zipping it up, I then left to do my morning errands. Instead of taking my usual route, which took me through a troubled section of town. I cut across the yard and took the scenic route.
Normally a pleasant walk through in the spring and summer, it was downright brutal in the autumn and winter. And today was no exception.
The minute I stepped onto the street, I knew that there was gonna be trouble. The wind from last night blew hard and cold through the barren mountain, coating the roadway with a thin sheet of black ice.
In some spots where the sun poked through, the ice had melted and the walking was easy. Around my section of the street though, the stripped down trees were grouped tight enough to let in about five percent of the sun. Good enough to de-fog my glasses, but crappy enough not to melt the ice.
This I found out the hard way.

I had taken off at my usual brisk pace, covering the side yard in less than several seconds. The minute I placed a foot in the road, I wound up (in rapid succession) reaching for the sky, inhaling tar and gravel, squashing my glasses and kissing the earth. Adding insult to injury, a car drove by and showered me with dirty water.
While I was figuring out to do next, my cell phone rang. Rolling over so that I was safely out of harm's way, I then dug out my cell and answered.
"What?"
"Quick trip?"
I paused for a good moment so as to wait for the laughter to die down.
"Done?" I said rather sarcastically.
"No. Tell me," said the wife in between peels of laughter, "did it taste good?"
I shoved the phone in my pocket, and threw such a dirty look at the house that the house shrunk upon reception.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(c) 2009 GBMJr. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Did You Choose Your Particular Writing Niche?

Hola.

I follow quite a few blogs that are written and maintained by writers (around 20 or so), who write in a diverse set of genres: David Cranmer {pulp/noir}, Charles Gramlich {fantasy/horror/NF}, Travis Erwin {women's I believe, but I'm sure he'll correct me on this}, Jewel and Chandler Craig {Young Adult}, Christine Duncan {Mysteries} and Gary Dobbs {Westerns}, just to name a few.

With myself, I'm not quite so sure what I could label my writing as. I do know that most of what I write, while not literally dripping with sex, is flavored enough to make people either like it or loathe it. I do feel very comfortable in having my writing flavored with sex (either a little or a lot). I'm not sure why I decided to write in this particular fashion, but it's something that seems to come quite naturally for me.

The reason I bring this up is that for the past few months (as you've no doubt heard me complain about), I've been getting hammered over the content of my book in general, and my overall writing in particular. Most of what people have been saying really hasn't bothered me (much), but a few weeks ago, I got some very interesting feedback from a couple of friends of mine over a few stories I shared with them.

They asked me why so much of my writing was so heavily flavored with sex. They also said, while they're supportive of my writing endeavors, they were having a small problem reconciling what I wrote to the person that they intimately know as a friend.

I couldn't give them a good answer, because I really didn't know how to answer their very legitimate question. I basically told them that it was my preferred writing style and it was something I felt comfortable writing in, and that I was sorry for making them feel uncomfortable with my writing.

I spent a lot time in the past week, thinking about what they told me, and I think that from this point on, to save me further grief and aggravation (yes, I was very much aggravated. I don't mind honest critique from my friends, but they had hit a particular sensitive spot in me), I won't pass on my stories to them. I respect them a lot, but I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable.

That said, let me ask all of my regular and drive-by readers a few questions:

1) Why did you choose the genre(s) that you're currently writing in?
2) Did you experience any problems with people trying to reconcile what you write, with the person that they know? If so, how do you handle it?

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's A Fine Line Between Sexual And Sensual

Howdy do.

For those of you who have been following my blog for the past month or so, you've heard me bitch about me getting slammed online and in the real world over the content of my book, Shades of Love.

Among the many accusations that have been flung at me (and there have been many), one that has bugged me the most, has been the accusation that I write porn.

Granted, some of the intimate scenes that appear in the book were somewhat on the explicit side. But that doesn't mean I write porn. What I write is what I consider to be adult fiction. However, after spending the last several months reading a few romances, a few blogs and some personal corresponding with friends, I do realize that what I wrote for sex scenes could be misconstrued as hardcore.

I came to this realization that what I wrote was too explicit when a good friend of mine told me that she had problems reconciling what I wrote in the book and stories that she has read of mine, with the person she's friends with, and that my writing made her feel a little uncomfortable. I was starting to come to this conclusion already, which was based on what I read by other authors and the thoughtful opinions of others on the various blogs that I follow, most notably Rule of Three and Razored Zen.

The last thing I wanted to do with my writing is to make people feel uncomfortable while reading, and I think that's what I did with my book. I'm not knocking my book, because overall I think it was a well written piece of prose. But there are things I could have done to it in order to make it more palatable and thus, one less accusation that could be thrown at me.

The one major thing I could have done, was to tidy up the sex scenes (read: tone it down a couple of notches), and not throw so many of them in.

As the title of the post goes, it's a very fine line between sexual (read: hardcore) and sensual (read: softcore). I'm really trying to tone down the explicitness of the moment when I write, so that it comes out more like this (a dream sequence), instead of coming out like this (opening paragraph). Last one isn't a very good example, but you get the basic idea.

Secondly, I'm working very hard of not throwing in a sex scene for the sake of throwing in a sex scene, but instead, throwing one in that helps move the plot/story along. I think that was a major complaint that people were making, in that it had way too much gratuitous sex in the story. I realize now that whenever I did get stuck at certain points, I threw in a gratuitous sex scene. It did get the job done, in as much that it helped me get unstuck but in hindsight, I probably could have done a little better with it.

Finally, I think that the way I've been venting in my writing for the past three years should be changed. Some people vent in different ways, either with anger, violence or biting humor in their writings.

Me, I vent with sex. And as you can see by this post, I crossed that fine line between tasteful and tasteless. So I think it's about time I started listening to other opinions/criticisms and temper my writing so as to bring it back from that misconstrued (but highly understandable) accusation that I write porn.

I don't write porn and I'm gonna damn well start proving to people that I don't.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Life Is A Highway" (pt 5)

The third and final thing that I settled on, which in hindsight was actually the easiest thing for me to do, was the title of these interludes. Since the overall theme of the book was a highway, it was easy enough for me to title the interludes, "Exit #". For the time being, I have five "Exits" written, with one more to go and editing to be done on them as well (boy do they need it, as I wrote these things in the spring of '07).

Funny thing about writing those "Exit" stories, was that they were about the easiest thing for me to churn out. The stories that comprise the bulk of this book, took me on average, two to four weeks to churn out (gotta remember, all of these were written during that supernova of activity in 2006, that I touched on elsewhere in this blog).

So with all that settled, off I went. Because I was still dealing with some of the fall out from '06, the bottomless pit of anger was still doing it's job. Although somewhat tempered in its intensity, I was still able to make a decent amount of headway. The story, for the moment, is about ten pages in length with natural stopping points tucked in for the various stops (stories) along the way. I did try to end each section as an intro for each story. For example, the last two paragraphs for "Exit 1" dovetails right into the first story, Golden Texas Tea, (and yes, I know it needs major editing, but please bear with me, as what I know now, I knew not then):

You say “sure, why not?” The waiter says it’ll be about
ten minutes, so in the meantime, relax and enjoy your drink. As you start to
enjoy your drink, out of nowhere some melancholy music starts to play and
suddenly everything starts to go a little fuzzy. You try to get up but somehow
the music and the drink conspire to melt the ability of your body to function
properly. As you start to drift off into another world, loud voices start to
engulf your entire head until it’s about ready to explode. You try one last time
to clear the cobwebs out and the only thing that comes into view is a very large
circular movie screen.


Just before slipping into unconsciousness, you hear a
female say “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….


As you can see, I decided to start things off by inserting the reader into the story like they were watching a movie. I continued the Twilight Zone storyline by abruptly bringing the reader out of the story the same way:

The realistic sound of a gun exploding in your head jolts you awake from your deep slumber. Taking a minute to adjust to your surroundings, you see that the food that was ordered, is now sitting in front of you growing cold. “Excuse me,” you ask a waiter who happened to be passing by, “how long have I been out?” Only for fifteen minutes, responds the waiter, who continues on to his table. You look around and notice that the restaurant is now filled to capacity and the parking lot is overflowing with cars.

As for the first story (or rest area, you might say), I'll try to give you some background on it again. This story was my first attempt at writing a sequel to the novel "Shades of Love" and I initially kept the characters names the same and I significantly toned down the level of violence and sex was kept to a minimum. Additionally, I still stuck with the Connecticut locale for the bulk of this story.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Update on WiP: I had a splendid burst of activity during the week of 2/22 which culminated with me getting to the very last part of the second story. I figure I have another five to ten pages to write for part eight of the story and then I'm done with the initial rewrite. All I have to do now, is find the original beginning for the story (motorcycle chase in the mountain), which I think will work for an excellent climax to the the main plot line, with the secondary plot line of the funeral bringing up the rear.
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All story contents contained within this post are (c)2009 GBMJr.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Minutia

George sat at his desk, lost in the quiet contemplation of yet another afternoon spent being bored to tears. 'Already took multiple walks around the floor to stretch my legs and even stared out the window at the city below.' he thought sadly.

You see, George had a keen intellect and a work ethic that was second to none, and he absolutely hated sitting in his cube with no work to do. The morning wasn't too bad, since he had a few reports to run and other minutia to clog up the first half of the day.
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Click here for the full story.

I'm Back! And I Brought A Special Present For Everyone!

Greetings and Salutations!

Man is it ever good to be back to blogging. Just to let everyone know, not only did I take a break from blogging, but I suffered through such a severe intelligent reading withdrawal that I thought I was going to start growing hair again (I'm bald as a ping pong ball, for those who have never seen a picture of me).

In any event, to those who have visited me because I have visited yours in the past, I will be making my customary rounds by the weekend. I have seen snippets of what you've written and I like to say that I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to fully read what all of you wrote.

So, back to me. While I was away, I got busy doing other things. First and foremost, I started writing more flash fiction to foist on an unsuspecting public (more on that later). Secondly, I started the painful process of winding down my presence in the chat room forums. I've spent a little over two years and I'm now suffering through a case of severe chat room burnout. I may get back to it in the spring, but right now, I just need some time to think about things there.

Back to the flash fiction (remember later? this is later). The other major thing I got done while on my mini-vaca, was to create a new home for my flash fiction.

So without further ado, I present to you my good readers, a brand new blog for my flash fiction. I would like to thank Jannie Funster for giving me the idea on what to call it. It was cute, different, and most important, it kept in step with my warped sense of humor.

My new blog: Flashing Georgie's Shorts

I will still post my flash fiction here. However, what I will do now is post the first two paragraphs of the story, then provide a link to the new blog, where you can read the story in its entirety. I do hope you visit the other blog every Wednesday, because that's when you'll get a fresh new story to read.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for stopping by my blog and perusing the contents at your leisure. I'm glad you found the time out of your busy day to grace my blog with your presence.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vaca


¡Hola!
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Sometimes, it pays to just stay in your cave so that the big bad world don't come a-knock, knock, knockin' on your cellar door.
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A brief interlude will take place as yours truly feels a little bit like that kid in the picture.
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I shall see everyone back here, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, on March 5th.
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And unlike previously, I will make sure that your comments are processed in a timely manner.
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I leave you with this food for thought, courtesy of the food department that I do payroll for:
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If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?

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