Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloweenie!

Yes, it's time for one of the few holidays in which adults can act like the kiddies, and the kiddies can act like themselves. It's also one of my favorite holidays too. Not because of all the candy that is available for consumption, which I used to enjoy when I was my two little juvenile delinquent's ages but if I tried to eat and enjoy today, I would probably do this:

No, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays not only because of the fact that its the one time of the year that people can dress up in any kind of costume that their warped imagination can think of and not get into too much trouble with, but because of the fact that those same costumes can and do, invite people like to drop their imagination into overdrive.

In my case, since I write and blog, my imagination looks at all the potential "what ifs" for story ideas. And two years ago, Halloween week brought a plethora of "what ifs" for story ideas, and one of those story ideas stayed in my head long enough for me to flesh it out and write a nifty story.

The basis of the idea was pretty simple. I went grocery shopping at a now defunct (for Connecticut that is) grocery store and saw a female cashier dressed up as a cat, complete with whiskers, ears and a tail. The image stuck when I got home, so I decided to sit down and write a story based on that image. Four days later, I finished up the story while I was manning the door at our house for Halloween.

I proceeded to spend the next year and a half (2009 thru early 2011), tweaking and entering the story in the various writing contests I happened to come across. Eventually I changed tactics and started submitting it to a few magazines, partially for the idea of trying to build up some publishing credits while I was submitting Line 21, and partially to see if I could find someone else besides the fantastic e-zine Beat To A Pulp to publish a story of mine.

Success came for the story in June of this year when The Cynic Magazine agreed to publish my story entitled "Red Stripe", of which the link can be found near the top of the front page of this blog.

So this is why Halloween is my favorite holiday: from the simple observation of a young lady dressed up like a cat, came a story about a day in the life of a punk rock singer, which in turn became my second commercially published short story.

However, for those of you who might want a better visual for Halloween, give this video a shot.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Retooling Has Begun?

Unlike last Sunday's post, in which it really was much ado about nothing much (Facebook and an upcoming preview for Monday and Wednesday's posts), this one is actually relevant to the part of my life that all of you have come to appreciate and enjoy.


To whit, I decided to drop a fifty cent piece in that rare creature called a payphone and persuade my one my vacationing blogs to grace us with their presence again.

So the unfortunate blog that happened to answer that unwanted phone call was Shooting Suburbia. After much gentle persuasion (which consisted of me threatening to tweak its template into something horribly disgusting), it decided to come back from its vacation spot of downtown Frostbite Falls and grace us with a guest appearance.

So if you could, please take a walk with me over to Shooting Suburbia to experience and critique my attempt at shooting a video.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Improbables Equals One Confused Electorate

Hey gang!

Not sure what's going on in your neck of the woods for political whoopee, but here in Connecticut during the odd number years, we have our stale municipal elections.

I really shouldn't say stale, 'cause in my town politics are anything but stale an this current election season is a good example of that.

The current mayor of our town is running for re-election, or rather, he's running to be elected in his own right. Ya see, prior to becoming mayor, he was the deputy mayor (or town council leader, not sure which) of our fair town. But when the previous mayor found a job opportunity out of state, that left a vacancy to be filled, which was filled by the second in line, which was him.

Before I continue, I should let everyone know up front that I was a high school classmate of the current mayor and during those four years, I developed a rather low opinion of him. The preceding 28 years has done nothing to change that current opinion. I should also let everyone know that I am a registered Republican and the current mayor is also a Republican.

Having said that, let's take a good look at the current campaign mantra, so that we can understand why this member of the electorate is currently confused about it.

1} No Tax Increase! Got no problem with that here. If the town is being run in a fiscally prudent manner and you're able to stick to your budget, then no tax increase is a very good thing.

2} No Cuts! Okay, here's where I get a little confused. What are you not going to cut? Are you not going to cut the budget? Town services? Employees? Are you implying that perhaps the budget is a little out of whack yet streamlining isn't the answer? Do you plan on not cutting spending?

I should not that to put those two points in proper perspective, one of the ways that he wants to balance the budget is to use the town's rainy day fund. Now I don't know about your state, but my state has done that for the past couple of budgets and the end result has been a budget out of whack by $2 billion dollars.

3} Hold The Line! Now if I'm already confused after reading the first two points, I'm downright befuddled with this particular campaign promise.

What is it exactly that you want to hold the line on? Excessive spending? Excessive waste? New laws? Maintaining the status quo? If you're maintaining the status quo, which status quo are you trying to hold? No taxes? No cuts?

Now fortunately (or unfortunately), I haven't been able to figure out what the opposition's campaign promises are, simply because all of his rhetoric is buried inside the American flag that is plastered on his signage. About the only thing I do know is that he doesn't plan on using the rainy day fund to balance the budget.

Could it be that in some kind of perverse Night Gallery scenario, that on the local level a Democrat is more grounded in reality than a Republican?

Stranger things have happened.

Like me getting published.


Or this classic cult Billboard chart favorite from the 60's.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Muse Became...

click here for part 1, click here for part 2

Deeply affected by what had transpired only a few minutes ago. The second that she and the mare stepped out of the small grove of trees, a dozen golden finches power dive from the mountain, armed to the teeth with colorful bandannas.

As each finch comes within striking distance, it accelerates and does a head spinning wraparound over a small section of her forearm with the bandanna. When it completes the wraparound, it briefly zooms skyward, then gracefully floats down and comes to a rest on top of her head.

By the time the dozen golden finches finish their job, not only are her arms a fantastic array of sensory overload, but her head had taken on a strange golden hue.

Genuinely concerned about his muse's state of mind, the writer gently pokes around with his pen. After about a minute of gently probing the hidden compartments and dusty rooms, he is surprised to find that while her body is back in the present, her mind is still stuck in the story.

Furrowing his brow, he ponders for a moment on what he should do next. Suddenly a light goes off in his head and he casually strolls over to where the muse currently is. He pats the horse a couple of times on the nose and neck before stepping to the rear. Flashing a goofy smile, he winds up and lets fly a hard slap on the horse's rump.

The horse takes off like a shot and gallops through the field, the valley, jumps over the river, banks left in a wide half-circle, and gallops back the river, the valley and the field, before coming to a screeching halt in front of the writer.

The writer flinches for a moment, then suddenly finds himself on the ground with the muse straddling his chest. She leans in, grabs his shirt and pulls him up until she is nose-to-nose with him. The writer is extremely petrified at the thought of what the muse might do to him again, so he scrunches his face and prepares for the worse. But what he expected wasn't what he got.

The muse stares very hard at the writer, who starts to twitch in anticipation of whole lot of pain. Then she slowly softens her stare and then just as quick, a large genuine smile breaks out across her face.

"Oh. My. God. That was, incredibly fantastic! I simply could not believe that you had that kind of talent in you! That made me feel so real and so alive, that I'm gonna take that mare out on another ride, just so I can experience that feeling again! You made me feel like a brand new person again, like I'm reborn with a purpose!"

She gives him a sloppy kiss before dropping him. She jumps off and then quickly jumps on the mare. Digging her heels in, the mare takes off like a shot and disappears out of sight, leaving the writer to wonder how he was going to keep his muse satisfied.

However, the wondering didn't last for long, as another story idea quickly took shape and he began to furiously write. Some several minutes later, he had yet another adventure for his muse. After giving it the once over, he smiles in satisfaction and puts it away, before saying, "You'll get to see it soon, I promise."

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Muse Says...

What the hell do you think you're doing?

How many times do I have to tell you that writing is 10% mental, 10% physical and 85% spiritual?

I swear it seems that the more I speak the less you hear, or is it the less I speak the more you hear? Or is it, due to the fact that I have such a fantastic bod, the more you see the less you think?

Whatever it is, you better straighten up and pay attention to what the world is telling you, 'cause I am getting sick and tired of talking in cliches to you. I have better things to do than to offer up the same old same old to you. After all, I am a muse, and the talents I possess transcend far beyond what your stagnating imagination can conjur up.

So what's it going to be? More of the same old same old of been there and done that, in which case I have no problem in leaving you to your own devices, or will you be wanting something fresh and original?

C'mon, speak up lad, I ain't got all day you know. If you can't pull the trigger, then I'll just simply goe elsewhere and let someone else pull the velvet trigger on this lluscious body.


What? Are you serious? Oh my god, you are serious!

But...but...but...yeah I know what I'd just said. But...but...but...well yeah, of course I offered to give you something fresh and original, but that was more of a verbal and mental sensual stimulation that anything physcial.

I know I said I would walk away and let someone else pull the velvet trigger on this luscious body if you didn't, but I didn't think that you would pull lit in that particular way.

No, I'm not trying to back out. I'm just saying that maybe you should reconsider the physica aspect and go back to what I'm currently suggesting., I don't think that is feasible. Yes I can do that. What do you take me for, some kind of ingenue'?

What? Here? Now? Where? Outside? Where outside? In a barn? Since when do you have a barn? No barn. Oh I get it, a small grove of trees. Do I have to? Okay, okay, OKAY! No need to get tweaked! I'll see you at the grove in five minutes and you better be there.

Okay I'm here, now what? Alright, don't have a hissy fit. Where? What do you mean right behin me? Wait a second, I just felt something wet pressed against my back.

Holy cow! It's a horse! It's a big horse! And you expet tiny little me to simply climb aboard that...that...that creature and do what? Ride? Are you kidding me? There's no saddle! What if I goes too fast? I'll get thrown off! I know I trust this creature not to do that, it's you I don't trust.

Get away from me with that pen! You know how sensitive I am to any kin of change to my appearance! Please! What? Of course I didn't mean that I don't trust you, I was just a little upset about your plan of attack. What? Yes I agree that this mare is a beautiful horse and I didn't mean to insult her by her an 'it'.

Alright, I'll climb on board, but you better not be doing anything stupid with me or to me. I may be your muse, but I have genuine feelings and emotions like any other normal woman. Okay I'm ready for what you're about to lay on me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Alternating Swiss Cheese With Colby Jack

Yeah, it's another not-quite-so rare Sunday post. I guess when you decide to change your blogging habits, empty space sometimes is easier to fill.

Like today for example.

Previously on Sunday, the post would be relatively short as it mostly served as an intro to a post at Shooting Suburbia. Now, it's a place where I can post up something that I really want to get off my chest but don't really want to wait until later in the week to do it. Or if I want to post something that is a little out my comfort zone. Or if I want to post something like a tickler for the week. Or if I want to post some random thoughts.

Like now.

Random thought numero uno: I finally switched to the new dashboard, and it wasn't really by choice, but by necessity. It seems that Blogger will be updating everyone's accounts with the new dashboard, so whether you want it or not, you're gonna get it.

So I switched.

However, there were a few glitches along the way. I still got the pointless error message saying that my browser (IE 8) was incompatible and that I needed to upgrade my browser. But when I took both my blog and my dashboard and yes, even my Gmail, off the "compatibility view" button, no more error messages for my blog, for the new dashboard, and even my Gmail.

I'm not too crazy about it, but after doing a little exploring, I can still create posts with a minimal amount of aggravation, which is all I that I really wanted in the end.

Random thought numero dos: I got super duper creative last week (slow periods at work will do that to me sometimes) and wrote a unique short story for the blog. How unique? Well for those of you who are long time readers of this blog, you might remember the few posts that did in which I carried on nonsensical and incredibly strange conversations with myself. Of those strange posts, quite a few were centered around my muse (my muse is female) and a few of my female characters from my various writing projects.

This one started out like that. I had my muse going off on a one sided tirade on yours truly, then I got inspired to write a piece of flash fiction, then I wrote an answer to the piece of flash fiction. End result is a three part post spread over two days and two blogs.

Part one with start here on Monday, with part two (the piece of flash) carrying over to Partially Yours. Part three will be posted here on Wednesday. Please note that the piece of flash is very clean, in that there is no sex and no dialogue. I just posted it over there because if I did it here, the overall post would be so incredibly long that your eyes might glaze over while reading it.

I think that you'll really gonna like this three part post, as I'm of the opinion that it compliments my Valentine Day's post from 2010, in terms of creativity and writing.

Well, that's enough random Swiss Cheese and Colby Jack Cheese goodness for today. Go forth and root for the football team of your choice, and remember, the name of the game is party until you're broke and they drag you away, it's okay, dare to be stupid.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Don't Do As I Do, Do As I Say

For those of you who are fortunate enough not to live in Connecticut, I would like to give you a prime example as to why Democrats are the biggest political hypocrites in the world.

This past week all of the non-union managers got their longevity payments, which totaled a whopping $7 million dollars. No big thing you say? well, here it is a mighty big thing.

Over the course of the past four months, the rank and file (of which I is a member) had been subjected to threats, bullying, coercion, lying, censorship and changing of the rules, in order for the unions and the Democratic guv'nor to get the desired outcome of a bad concession package. So in addition to having our health insurance gutted, our prescription coverage changed to mail order (given to CVS, which is based in Rhode Island and lays waste to the guv'nor's promise of creating jobs in CT), freezing wages for three years and giving back a raise that we were entitled to from the last concession package, we also had to give back our longevity payments as well.

Now this was done (the giving back of longevity) with the understanding that the non-union managers's longevity would be scaled back as well. You know, shared sacrifice and all of the bullshit that goes along with it. But somewhere along the way, the bill that the General Assembly was going to vote on that contained that specific language got magically changed.

That specific clause got removed and all of their (the state, that is) managers got their precious longevity payments in full. As you can well imagine, the outcry was both predictable (Republicans and the general public) and hypocritical (Democrats). When the obvious question of, "Why would you pay that kind of money out during a recession?" was asked, the response by the guv'nor's office was both predictable and disheartening.

"Because we believe that since they're legally entitled to it and therefore didn't want to get sued, we paid it."


You just had a bruising battle over a $1.6 billion dollar concession package that will allegedly balance the budget on the backs of 45K state workers, and of which is already starting to fall apart faster than the President's job approval. So now you're conveniently rolling over to pay your managers (and to a lesser degree, your appointees) money that you really don't have, and your basically calling it quid pro quo.

So all of this bullshit about shared sacrifice and tightening of the belt is just a lie? Especially when you fact in that certain other bargaining units voted no and they got their raises and bonuses.

And what about that other piece of chicanery that the unions threw in at the last minute that none of the disgruntled rank and file new about? You know, the one that says that if any new union comes in, they have to be part of the SEBAC coalition for the next five years?

And what about that lie saying that the concessions package extends the existing contract and thus no new unions can come in? You know very well that the reality of the situation is that negotiations haven't even begun on the new contracts, and in fact will not start until the late spring. And any concessions that were approved will be written into the new contract just like before.

And what about when the first of those three yearly payments (2012-2014) comes due next year? What then? Are going to again claim poverty and try to cheat and delay in paying out the monies that were promised to workers when they retired under another incentive program back in 2009? What then?

My friends, the amount of stunningly bad moves and Democratic politics as usual will make the possibility of having a one termer as a guv'nor very real. When you have one party in control of all three parts of the legislative branch, you kind of know what the end result is gonna be.

Obamacare, anyone?

Machine politics suck, no matter if it's on the local, the state or the federal level. If you don't like what the current party in power is doing, then don't vote for the same people again. Remember, contrary to popular opinion, there is a thing called "checks and balances". Try it sometime. Who knows, maybe that one time will be the time that things will get done the right way.

At least on the state level.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is It A New Version Of The Old Scene, Or The Old Version Of The New Scene?

As I'd alluded to last Friday (10/14), withdrawing from Facebook has done wonders for my writing, 'cause instead of participating for hours on end in stimulating conversations with friends and strangers, I'm using that same amount of time wastage in the fruitful pursuit of writing, which in this case is a novella, and various run-on sentences masquerading as paragraphs.

Anyways, I'm making some very good progress as I've been forcing myself to hit a minimum daily goal of 500 usable words (about one page) of text. The good thing about this particular story is that it's keeping my interest in the same way that the novel I'm currently shopping around did back in 2010. In other words, while I'm pursuing my day-to-day activities, I'm also using a little bit of that time to think about what I need to write next.

Now thinking about what I need to write next has allowed me to luxury of exploring the original version of this novella to see what I could pilfer and apply to this current version. After spending about a good half hour or so (the original was only 21 1/2 pages long), I found about four scenes and a couple of character descriptions that I could transplant over to the new version. I'd also found something else that was very interesting. Or peculiar. Or troubling.

I'd found that both versions contain quite a bit of the same elements of plotting, scenery and structure. I'm not sure whether I'd consciously decided to write the new version with the same elements as the old version, but if I did, I sure did a one helluva job of tapping my memory of a two year old story.

To whit:

1} Both versions contain/will contain a comparable level of violence that I have consciously stayed away from for the past six years, but seems to fit for the type of plotting that each story contained.

2} Both versions have an MC who pick up an unwanted sidekick for their adventure: original version has a female hybrid/human protagonist with a male imp, the new version has a male hybrid/human protagonist with a female hybrid partner. Both of which, I might add, melded their character/personality/whole beings with their respective MC's.

3} Both versions have the basic plot idea of vengeance, but each one has their own unique twist: original version the MC has 72 hours to find the culprit and change back to a human; the new version had the male MC trying to make a delivery, but quickly switches to preventing a contract being carried out on himself.

4} Both versions take place in an universe where fantasy blends with reality: original version has elements of Hell and the occult mixed in with the real world, the new version probably won't have a heavy emphasis on the occult but does have an emphasis on magic and the paranormal.

5} And finally, both versions will have some graphic sex, as I decided to transplant one of the graphic sex scenes from the first and use it in the second.

So my question to those of you who write: do you experience a similar situation, in that when you're writing a particular story, a few trace elements from a dead partial make it into your new story without really being conscious of it?

And for those of you who don't write, my question to you is this: do you find any of this stuff interesting, or do your eyes have a tendency to glaze over and you zip on through to the next item in your reader?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blogging Is Hard!

Blogging Is Hard!

I mean....OUCHIES!...I think I pulled muscles in my brain from trying to think about something to blog about.

Day in and day out, I pinch, I poke, I twist, I insert long sharp objects into my ears, but nothing seems to work. No ideas, no wittiness, no nuthin'. Just small chunks of grey matter and the occasional trail of brain juices making a gunky trail down the side of my face.

I don't know, maybe my brain is on...ummmm.....ummmm.....ummmm.....????

I feel so......lost. Like my brain took a trip somewhere, which would explain the sticky gooey trail next to my bed this morning.

I'm not feeling so good. I think I better lie down, 'cause I'm feeling just a little unwell.*

*I heard this song on the radio at Staples last week and I wanted to find a way to work it into a post

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Depravity, Thy Name Is Crime Fiction

Yeah, it's a rare Sunday post, but yesterday, I came across a story in my blog reader that accomplished something that never happened to me and it affected me so bad that I need to write this blog post to get it out of my system.

1} The title turned my stomach.
2} I wrote a rather scathing comment to the editor.
3} I deleted the RSS feed.
4} I deleted my following.
5} And it left such an incredibly bad impression on me that not only will it take days for me to get rid of, but I'll be hard pressed not to let it bleed into my current writing project.

This past Friday, I wrote a short opinion piece about the crime fiction genre, in which among other things, I lamented about the game of one-upmanship that seems to be going on as of late within that genre. In other words, it seems that each writer is trying to show that they can be more depraved than their fellow writer.

To whit:

"My story features violence against women!" says the first writer.
"But wait, my story features violence against teenagers!" retorts the second.
"Oh yeah, well my story features depravity with bodily fluids!"
"That's nothing, my latest story features the same topic as the movie 8MM!" (hint: this is what drove me to write this post)
The first writer's jaw drops and he quickly moves away from the second writer, all the while spitting out chunks of vomit and mumbling the phrase, 'Holy Shit!' over and over again.

Is it me, or has crime fiction finally reached the point of no return, in that no topic, no matter how disgusting, loathsome or disturbing to the senses, is taboo?

Now granted, I don't write crime fiction and to be honest with everyone, the amount of crime fiction that I read is basically confined to David Cranmer's masterful e-zine, the e-zine that the incomparable Dave Barber edits and the few anthology reviews that I've posted here and on Amazon.

So I'm what you call a casual reader of that genre, and as a casual reader of that genre, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to stay a casual reader of that genre because the story topics are becoming increasingly depraved and disgusting.

Yah, I know exactly what some of you are saying at the screen. You're saying, "If you don't like it, don't read it."

Well, my answer to you is this: "At my age, I'm trying to open my mind and expand my horizons when it comes to reading. I've tried my very best not to be judgmental when it comes to other genres because I truly want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But if I come across something that actually makes me physically ill and leaves me with a disgusting memory seared into my brain, I'm sure as hell gonna speak up and say something about it. It may not be pleasant, but you can be damned sure that I'll stand behind it 100%"

So my question to you is this:  Has my entire reaction to this particular issue simply been a case of shooting from the lip? Have I overreacted? Or has my reaction been within the norm of acceptability?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Closer You Is, The Further I See

No one really solid idea to write about today, just a bunch of knick-knack-polly-whack-give-a-dog-a-bone-this-B-F-G*-came-waddling-home micro-managing-guv'mental-style-not-my-job-man postal-increase snippets to offer up to my ye olde denizens of this mountainous weblog.

1} I went tripping down memory lane last Friday when I needed to get a few things for my bi-weekly visit to the facility I do payroll for. Usually I get the items that I need, which is a half tank of gas for the car and lunch, near where I live. However, this time around, I was seriously short on funds, which meant that wherever I was going to fill out my tank, I also needed to buy lunch as well.

So I decide to go to a particular gas station (Valero) in a section of town that I haven't visited in a while. Now believe it or not, even though I live in a smallish size town (population 30K+) there are still some parts that I haven't visited in quite some time. "Quite some time" is something in the range of 2 to 15 years. In this particular case, we're talking about 4 years in between visits.

Anyways, I bought my gas and went inside not only to pick up a few things for lunch the next day, but to pick up a dozen eggs for home (sadly there were no eggs to be had). While the clerk was ringing up my purchase, I enlightened the clerk with my memories on what this particular location and area used to be like when I worked there some 20 odd years ago (mid-80's). Kind of blew him away in the process. So I grabbed my stuff and headed for the first available c-store on my way home.

Now this particular store (called "Your Store"), while it was one that I remember from my days while working at that particular gas station, was one that I've never set in. Kind of strange to travel by something first on a daily basis, then on a monthly/yearly basis and never set foot in it. Anyways, I bought my eggs and got into my car. Just when I was about to pull out of the driveway, I got another memory about the package store that is adjacent to the c-store. Back in the day when I was grunt worker, we had someone who stopped in and from time to time would ask the various employees to commit, shall we say, misappropriation of funds from his employer. As an added incentive to ease our conscience, he would take us to this package store and buy us whatever kind of booze that we wanted. I only did this once, and I walked out of the store with a couple of gallon jugs of wine for my parents.

Thus with my errands completed, I returned back to whence I came and vowed that next time I would shorten the time gap for my next visit.

2} I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a writer friend of mine about a particular book review. I had basically e-mailed him to give him a heads up about the book review and I also wanted to compliment him on his story that appeared in it. Anyways, he happened to mention that he was able to take that type of genre in question in small doses, since that type of genre (crime fiction) can lend itself to leaving a sour taste in the readers mouth (I'm not quite sure what the exact reason was that he stated, so this is just a basic summation of his point). At the time, I didn't feel the same way, but now, after thinking about the type of e-zines that I've been reading for the past several months, I would have to agree with that sentiment.

A few of the e-zines that I've been reading, The Flash Fiction Offensive and Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, have been so downright dank and depressing, that I can see why some people would only be able to take that type of writing in seriously small doses. Granted, there are some good writers out there who churn out some pretty decent stuff, but after spending most of 2011 reading them, it seems to me that the same half dozen themes are being slowly pounded into oblivion. And because of that pounding, it seems like everyone is now trying up the ante by making their stories more disturbing than whatever their fellow writer can come up with.

What's this mean to me? Well first off, this probably means that I won't actively go exploring any full length novels in this particular genre, since I've come to the realization that I can only deal with this stuff in small doses as well. Secondly, because I can only deal with this stuff in small doses, it means that I need an antidote to counter the dank darkness and the occasional sour taste that I get afterwards. I did find that antidote, which is another e-zine (The Cynic Magazine) that is somewhat lighter and thus acts as a great counter balance to those other e-zines.

3} It's been three weeks since I deactivated myself from Facebook, and the lack thereof has been a lot less painful than I thought it would be. One of the unintended consequences of not being on Facebook is that I've been able to jump start my writing again. I've belatedly realized that Facebook was becoming a major detriment to my writing, in that I was spending way more time on it than I should've been. So no Facebook means that I'm able to budget my down time more efficiently, which in this case means I can squeeze a little normal writing (as opposed to blog writing, which so long as I have access to a pen and paper, I can do anywhere) in between things like family and job hunting.

4} No four to speak of, but I do need to explain the asterisk. B-F-G stands for Bald Fat Guy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Unwanted Vanity Press Solicitation

Don't have much in the way of a personal writing update as everything is still status quo from last week, but since this is Writing Wednesday, I do have something that is writing related.

Last Saturday (10/8), I was at the post office finishing up the last of my morning errands, which in this case was buying money orders for bills. One of the other things that I do at the post office is check my mailbox. I check it about a couple of times a week to see if anything in the way of book orders (no), mail (junk), or business correspondence (yes) was delivered to me.

So before going to the window to buy my money orders, I checked my mailbox. This time around, instead of finding dust bunnies, I found a large envelope and my local newspaper. I ditched the newspaper (my local paper is a freebie and is about twenty pages in length) and opened the envelope. After skimming the letter and getting just a little bit peeved while reading it, I saved the person's business card and shredded the letter.

The reason as to why I saved the card was not so I could contact these people but so's that I could remember the name of the company that I want to rant about.

I will give the person who works for Vantage Press (on Writer's Beware Preditor & Editor's list) a small modicum of credit in that she did do a little bit of basic research on me before sending me this letter. In the letter she did mention the name of my latest book (Line 21), which she more than likely got while reading my blog. And this is all the credit I'll give, because the rest of the letter I found to be highly insulting and unfortunately geared towards those people who would be desperate enough to pay to see their name in print (I was unfortunately one of those the first time around back in '08, but by '09 I learned a lot more about the self-pubbing game and again tried my hand, only this time I had a long range plan worked out, but that's been covered elsewhere).

The opening paragraph irritated me, because it said that one of the agents that I'd queried passed my manuscript on to them and thus the reason for the solicitation.

First of all, no good self-respecting literary agent would even remotely consider recommending a vanity publisher for a rejected manuscript. If they didn't like it, they might recommend it to a co-worker to look at. Secondly, good literary agents don't even ask for a full manuscript unless they found the requested query letter AND synopsis AND partial manuscript compelling enough to make that last stage request. If they didn't like the full manuscript, they would tell you why they didn't like it and perhaps ask you to fix those things that they didn't like and to resubmit afterwards.

Thirdly, this shows an incredible amount of arrogance in assuming that the recipient of this letter, which would be me for the sake of argument, was querying agents to begin with. While it is true that I first started off by querying agents this past Spring, because of the sexually graphic content, I decided to concentrate on publishers instead.

Finally, after reading the remaining page and a half of blather and usual assortment of boiler plate language, I got down to the nitty gritty of this letter, which was the price of self-pubbing with this "respected" publisher. The price range that they quoted my friends, represented about one quarter to one third of my yearly salary, which in this case was $8K to $15K, depending on what kind of services I wanted to purchase.

Yeah, like I really want to drop that much money to get my book out there to the buying public. My friends, the only way I would drop that much money, is if I controlled every aspect of my book and decided to job it out to people who do this type of thing for a living. More bang for the buck, so to speak.

But since I don't want to drop that much money to get my book published, especially since there are myriad of other options of self pubbing (of which two good examples are Lulu and Smashwords, which cost very little to use and basically are the best P.O.D that you can get out there, 'cause you can decide whether you want print or e-book), I'll stick to trying to get myself published the old fashioned way: querying publishers and checking out the occasional writing contest that doesn't concentrate on niche markets like literary fiction.

Some day I may again try my hand at self-pubbing and if I do, it will definitely be with one of those two aforementioned publishing companies, and not with a vanity press. Until then, I'll keep on doing it the old fashioned way with the latest twist, which my friends is doing it via the e-mail.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Far Would You Go?

About three weeks ago or so, I put out a call for ideas that I could use on my blog. Last week, a very good friend of mine was dealing with a particularly thorny issue and wanted to ask my opinion on certain generalities surrounding it (not the issue itself because my friend is very private about her life and above all else, I do not try to pry into things that she clearly does not want to elaborate on because I respect her that much as a person), so she posed a series of questions about it.

After we had a brief but highly animated conversation about those questions, it was decided by mutual agreement that I should pose these questions to my regular and casual blog readers. So my friends, here are the questions that my good friend asked me and wanted my opinion on. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get that much in depth about them beyond expressing my very personal opinion about why she asked the questions in the first place. But I will try to answer a few of them in the comment section of this post.

The questions are:

1} How far would you go to save a good friend's life?
2} Would it be based on what you think they may do if the roles were reversed?
3} Would it be based on selfishness?
4} Would it be based on pure unconditionality?
5} How much of yourself would you give?
6} Would you expect something in return?

Feel free to answer as many as you feel comfortable with. And if you want to have some kind of lengthy conversation about it, by all means check back here frequently. Today is Columbus Day, so I will be on and off the computer all day long, and thus updating the comment section as much as possible.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Q: What Turns A Guy Into A Drooling Idiot?

Yeah, you just know where I'm going with this one.


To finish out our week long trip to the kinkier side of Cedar's Mountain, we now focus our attention on the two items that I have probably talked about the most over the course of the two years on this blog. I have featured these twin items in such various posts as bikinis, breastfeeding, and bad writing.

Most of, if not the majority of my early stories have had these items featured prominently in some particular way, shape or form. Hell, even the book that you see featured in the upper left hand corner of the front page features these twin titans of joy.

Now never let be said that I have a sense of humor about these drooler's delights because that's exactly what your gonna get over at Partially Yours today. As most of you know, I do have a tendency to talk about these items in a semi-serious nature, and I hope that you take today's post in that exact same way.

Remember, G the writer is way different that G the person, although not by much.

Anyways, here is the obligatory disclaimer:

Warning: What you're about to read features sexual themes, strong language and a semi-graphic visual. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

A: The Powerfully Bodacious Ta-Ta's

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Got Absolutely No Shame

Continuing with our road trip to the world of exploring the sensitive macho male psyche means that "Writing Wednesday" has the day off today. Not that there wouldn't be that much of an update to begin with.

To whit, nothing much to brag about on the writing front. I've been making slow and steady progress on the latest incarnation of Blackness In The White Sand, in that I've been handwriting about 400 to 700 words at a pop whenever I can get the opportunity. The fortunate thing about this latest project is that because I didn't make the plot line so damn convoluted, I can actually use my memory and write from where I'd left off last.

As for the publishing/submission front, still batting zero. Haven't sent anything out since last week and I'll probably wait until next week to send out a follow up e-mail to find out the status of one of my queries.

Now, on to bigger and sleazier things.

Over at Partially Yours today, we have our latest installment of the R/X-rated version of "The More You Know..." (many thanks to Mama Z for that suggestion) series of PSA's. Just like with the previous one about doing the pogo, this one is also uses an euphemism for a particular type activity, in this case, "scratching an itch".

In this one, even though we managed to keep that language about the same as Monday's post, we did tweak the visual just a tad, so that instead of beating around the bush (pun intended) we are pleasurably beating around the bush, as well as the rest of the front and the back.

And thus, the disclaimer:

Warning: The post that you're potentially thinking about reading contains strong language, sexual themes, a graphic imagination, and no pictures. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

So if you can, please take three steps to your right and knock on the door for entrance to I Got An Itch To Scratch.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Don't Change Just To Keep Up With The Joneses

I got to thinking over the weekend, well not really over the weekend but more like on Friday which is sort of weekendish, about what to write for this here blog and the initial results weren't too promising.


Well, to tell you the honest truth, I've been running out of things to write about. Friday's post was actually conceived last week and since then, it was silently imploring to use it on the blog. However, after posting that, it left me with the predicament of what to write for the upcoming week on this blog. Well, not so much a predicament on what to write because fortunately for me (which kind makes the opening sentence of this paragraph moot), I was able to use my eavesdropping skills at work and picked up on a sentence to use for a blog post: "I got an itch to scratch".

Yes, you are correct about that assumption. For those of you who are new readers to this blog, I have from time to time, written some mighty strange posts that have originated from snippets of conversations. Occasionally, those snippets have produced the kind of posts that have forced me to use my adult oriented blog, Partially Yours as a pinch hitter, most notably, this particular post.

Now in addition to that wonderful little tidbit, I came up with another little tidbit, courtesy of my good friend Riot Kitty. And while I was thinking about how to write using that tidbit, I thought of another.

Presto! Ideas for three posts!

Change-o! Can't put them here!

Viola! I'll put them over at Partially Yours!

So my friends, for this particular week, Cedar's Mountain will be taking a road trip to the provocative side of blogging to flex his rather overactive imagination. I know that for some of you, due to the various programs install on your computer, you won't be able to visit that blog during the daytime. But I sincerely hope that you do visit at night.

Having said that, here is the obligatory disclaimer:

Warning: the post that you're about to read has sexual themes and colorful language. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Today's post is called Doing The Pogo Isn't All That It's Cracked Up To Be

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