Friday, April 29, 2011

Playing Nice And The Collateral Damage

Yeah, I know that the title sounds a little bit unhappy (heck, any title with the words "collateral damage" has a tendency to spread the burnt marshmallow goodness of unhappiness around), but the events of the past month have gelled together to affect everything in my tidy little cyber world/real world in ways that I wouldn't thought possible.

Well, maybe I did, but that's beside the point.

The point is that because of what has gone on in the past month, all of which I've alluded to in a roundabout way here on the blog (and in-depth to friends behind the scenes), I have been forced to pursue a course of action that I'm not too thrilled about, which in turn has caused a nasty reaction elsewhere, which I'm also not too thrilled about.

Course of action: Playing Nice

In order to get through the upcoming weeks with as little grief as humanly possible and to also partially offset what punishment that I'm being hit with next month, I have been "playing nice". "Playing Nice" is simply the art of being civil and polite when you don't really want to, but have to in order to stay out of further trouble.

In my case, its basically only speaking when I'm spoken to, doing my job and keeping to my own devices to the best of my ability. It's also keeping the body language down to a minimum as well. I do what I need to do, I do what I'm told, and that's about the bottom line.

Course of reaction: Collateral Damage

As you might've guessed, there is quite a bit of collateral damage associated with doing what I have to do at work, and just like in a military offensive or a natural calamity, it has touched all aspects of my life.

1} Health. Because of the stress that is my job, it has started to affect my diabetes. I am getting way above average fasting, early morning and afternoon sugar readings, which in turn can (and has) cause noted personality/physical changes that can often make themselves known in the worse ways possible. It's wickedly tough when you're trying to get a grip on a permanent malady to begin with, but adding unwanted outside influences just makes it doubly hard to live a normal life.

2} Writing. Writing remains the only outlet for getting rid of the stress and aggravation that my job has created. Whereas the last time something like this happened and I poured out my anger in my writing, it had grave consequences (see the post "I Done Do'od It! My 200th Post!", specifically the part written by my good friend Gumby The Cat) that took me about two years to fix.

This time around, I've been able to funnel it towards my latest project, and let me tell you, it has not been pretty. And when I say "not been pretty", I mean that it's gone way far and completely beyond my personal comfort level. I would also say that my current spurt of writing could be called "the initial climax", simply because the level of conflict has been ratcheted up to where it needs to be in order to get to the finish line.

3} Blogging. Not only has this crap affected my writing, but it has also affected my blogging as well, be it writing blog posts or commenting on your blog posts. Let's start with writing blog posts. A good example on how this has affected my blogging would be not only to look at this past Monday's post and the previous Monday's post, but this post as well. Not very pretty is it?

Even less prettier is the fact that I've been sort of missing in action on a good chunk of your blogs as well. I've mentioned before that whenever I get into one of these state of minds, in which I'm wired a little weird, I make a concentrated effort in not inflicting myself on you and your blog until I can get back to a comfortable degree of normalcy.

4} Facebook. Yeah, this has even affected the way I do Facebook now. No longer do I have my privacy levels set in such a way that people can get to know me (like friends of friends reading my status updates). Instead, I have my privacy levels set in such a way that you can't get to know me unless you're my friend, or if you happen to follow/read my blog on Facebook (yup, if you can't get your daily fix the old fashioned way, my blog can be found through Facebook's Networked blogs). As for friends, I've actually binged and purged my list of everyone who is a co-worker of mine at my current job (mostly for the potential of other people spying on me), so all of the people in my list are people who I've either used to work with and remain good friends, people who I've met in the chat rooms, people I've met in the real world and some of the people I've met through the blog world. And as for status updates, they've been reduced to basically my blog feed on Facebook. Not very pretty at all, but it is what it is.

So there you have it, a scientific theory applied to the real world and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Because I don't want to be all doom and gloom on a Friday, I will leave you with a music clip.

The Eagles, Take It Easy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Stubborn Side Of Writing (3)

{1}, {2}

Okay, this time, I think that I'm all set to go. I was able to compartmentalize the aggravation that is my job, which in turn has once again allowed my mind unfettered access to my memory. Whether that is a good thing remains to be seen. In any event, I'm ready to write part three of my series called "The Stubborn Side of Writing", which will be focusing on my second self pubbed book. Hopefully, as this series progresses, your curiosity will be piqued enough to take a chance on ordering a copy through me.

I would ask that you keep one thing in mind about this series: There may be some redundancy strewn along the way. I originally wrote about this book back in the summer of 2009 and in fact, turned it into a nifty series called "G's Adventures? Now!", which you'll find under the tag called "Chapbook". Also, you'll find links to each post in the series when you head over to my book blog to check out my second book (which is the first thing that you see when you click on the link).

Because I last wrote in-depth about my book in 2009, please consider this an advance apology for any potential redundancy that you may encounter along the way. And now, part three of "The Stubborn Side Of Writing."

When I last left myself with the sword of Damocles dangling on a piece of sewing thread over my head, the next topic up for discussion was this: why I chose the various components that went into the creation of this story.

My friends, let me tell you something about that particular topic of choice. As much as I enjoy telling everyone about the how-to's and why-I-chose-that-particular-style of writings, this one topic has really got me twisted into a pretzel. Why? Because talking about this particular topic exposes a personal part of what makes me tick as a writer.

I mean, how do I properly and tastefully talk about why I use certain situations, certain types of characters/character traits, certain types of plot devices in my writing, without turning people off or giving people the wrong impression about me? I'm more than used to tip-toeing in a minefield of my own creation, but walking through that particular minefield is something I'm not really comfortable in doing.

But....nevertheless, I will make an honest attempt at explaining why I chose the various components that make up that chapbook.

1} The easiest part to explain is the sexual aspect of it. I was still trying to find my way around in writing erotica, and if you've read my first self-pubbed book, you know that I got a ginormous "F" in my first attempt at writing erotica. So with this story, I decided to take my time and write the type of sexual situation that for better or worse, does get a certain segment of the population aroused/interested: namely, girl-on-girl sex. And because the original plot idea called for the wife to cheat on her husband, it was a fantastic real life swerve to throw into the mix.

2} The other easiest part to explain is the violence. After the debacle of the first book, in which I went extremely overboard with the amount of violence that was portrayed (I mean really, how many books have you read in which the opening chapter features a shootout and a disembowelment), I decided that for this book, I really needed to tone down the violence. So even though there is still violence in the book (mostly spousal), its been toned down and it's relative to the scene in question.

3} So much for the easy stuff. Now we get into the difficult part. What difficult part? Interracial relationships. When I wrote this story back in 2006, the original intent was to make it part of a sequel to Shades of Love, in which the characters were shown some several years in the future from the original story. In fact, not only did I write this piece, which was a companion piece to the Wally/Azalea pairing, but I wrote one that worked as a companion piece to the Dorothea/Jorge pairing as well.

Anyways, the pairing of Wally & Azalea was my first attempt at writing interracial relationships for a normal plot device. If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you know that an ungodly percentage of my stories feature either interracial relationships and/or non-white female characters. I'm not really sure how that came about, but I guess that since writing descriptive scenes, be it a person, place or thing, has always been my strong suit, then gravitating towards racial diversity has been a natural offshoot of that ability.

I have yet to delve that deep into the minutia that creates a lasting interracial relationship (of any kind, I might add), mostly because I've never experienced that kind thing either while growing up or living as an adult. What I mean by living as an adult, is that up until very recently (2004) most of the circles of people I've traveled in interracial relationships were not part of the equation. About 99% of what I write about is strictly taking a normal man/woman relationship and simply inserting the ethnicity of choice into the mix. I try to be colorblind when I write, and hopefully, it does work out in the long run.

4} Whereas in the first book, I used work and certain parts of Connecticut as a basic setting, with the second, I tried to blur the line so even though I was still using Connecticut as a general setting (and for the record, Connecticut has become the setting of choice for my writing), the specific parts were less identifiable. Also, I thought it would be really cool to go against type and have the main male character be a hair salon owner/stylist. Again, I'm working from personal experience because I'm a minority with the job that I do, and by minority, I mean that I'm a guy in a position that is predominately filled by females from a supervisory capacity on down.

There are a few other reasons as to why I chose to use certain other plot devices and character/traits, but for now, those four particular components should give you a basic understanding as to why certain types of things make a consistent appearance in my stories.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Peaches, Lust And Tranquilizers

As I briefly mentioned in last Wednesday's post, I have come to terms and finally found a small sliver of tranquility in the turbulent vortex that is me as it pertains to my job.

As it now stands, my job has nothing left to offer me in the way of new skills for career advancement. In turn, I have nothing left to give to my job beyond showing up, putting in my eight hours per day and fulfilling the basic requirements of my job.

Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

I know that things happen for a reason and I know that eventually things will fall into place for me.

All I can do right now is control what I can to the best of my ability, even with the firestorm that will be hitting my work world in a couple of months, which in turn will create a whole new set of problems.

Or create an unfortunate solution to the current bleak economic reality that every other state in the union is facing.

In any event, this re-found tranquility has, after a one month hiatus, helped me not only restart my writing, but also allowed me to refocus on my surroundings again, which in turn can only help my writing and my blogging.

To complete this relatively lucid and rant free Monday morning post, I leave you with this nifty video.

Lobo: "Me and You And A Dog Named Boo"

Or, if you rather have a song that better matches how crappy my work life actually is and perhaps how crappy your day is:

Theory of A Deadman: "Hate My Life (explicit version)"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Here Comes The Easter Bunny, Hooray!!


Mother and Father Nature are all around us today. All you have to do is look up to see the wonder and the beauty that will transport you back to a time in which life was a lot more simpler and stress free than it is today.

Happy Easter to all my friends, be they in my home state or spread across this beautiful country or across the ocean. Hope your Easter brings you that moment of clarity and contentment that we all need from time to time.

Shooting Suburbia will return next week at its regularly scheduled time

Friday, April 22, 2011

Books At Work (5)

{1}, {2}, {3}, {4}

And so having finished part four of our five-part series, we'll now commence with part five, which will soon be followed by the bonus part five a (again, not to be confused with seven a).

21} Dad, Me and Muhammad Ali by Felix M. Rodriguez. This book was written by a co-worker of mine and is a great example of somebody who self published a good book and had a marketing plan to go with it. For more details in my honest opinion about this book, please click on the link above.

22} Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Once Upon A More Enlightened Time, Politically Correct Holiday Stories by Jame Finn Garner. I originally found Mr. Garner through an audio tape of selected stories from his first volume listed. I liked it so much that I bought the entire series in book form. The short version of these books is that they are all familiar bedtime stories re-written to become politically correct. Mr. Garner has a website and a blog and a Facebook page, and you can find his books domestically used on Amazon as apparently they are out of print. However, according to his Facebook page and his website, they are available for the Kindle. Please click on the blog link for further details and further clarification.

23} Un-Shelter by Page Hill Starzinger. This was a poetry chapbook that I received for entering a contest back in 2009. For a non-flattering book review, please click on the link.

24} The Last Full Service Crocodile Ranch In Quintano Roo by Richard Hofheimen; The Wisconsin Avenue Waltz by Ray Horney; Benediction by Bient DeLancy; Along The Highway by Barry N. North. These were various chapbooks that I'd acquired in the past five years from White Eagle Coffee Store Press. All of these were contest winners, of which the first two listed were ones that I bought to see what this publisher was like before I decided to enter the contest, and the remaining two were winners from contests that I'd entered. Only the last one listed was one that I'd reviewed here on the blog. Please click on the title for my unflattering opinion about it. As for the other three, I highly recommend those for reading.

If you need a quick synopsis for the first three, they are as follows: the first is about a couple visiting a crocodile ranch in Mexico; the second is about a man who hooks up with a woman suffering from mental illness, and the third is about a man traveling with his family to deliver a eulogy for his father.

25} The Inside----Looking Out: Prose and Poetry by Steven A. Molski. I came about this one in a most unusual fashion. One Saturday afternoon I was sitting in the eye doctor's office waiting for my wife to get her eyes examined, when I struck up a conversation with the writer in question. We got to talking about writing and in the process he told me that he self-pubbed a small chapbook. I told him I would be most interesting in acquiring a copy and I asked him if it would be alright if I did a book review on my blog. He gave me permission to do so, so about a week or so later, I spent some down time at work reading his book.

By the time I got done reading it, I was put into a conundrum on what I should do. As most of you know, I'm not a big fan of poetry. It's not that I don't like it, but it's more like I simply don't get it. Also as most of you know, I make it a point of not trying to put down somebody's honest effort at writing a story or a poem, simply because I don't like it or don't get it.

I spent the next couple of days thinking about my two options. Option 1 was to write an unflattering review of this person's book and possibly put this person in a bad light. Option 2 was to do nothing. In the end, I chose option 2, in which I did nothing and I sent him a polite letter stating that I couldn't do a proper review of his book because I found that poetry wasn't my cup of tea (50% true) and it's something that I don't quite get (95% true). I also thanked him for allowing me the opportunity to buy his book.

So there you have it folks, what I used to keep in my cabinets at work (long story that I may bore everyone with eventually) for reading material. Someday they may reappear in my work area, but for now, they are home, sitting in two boxes less than two feet away from me and my computer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Queasy Query? Woozy Writing!

A few things need to be mentioned before I delve into the main entree.

I am now at peace with myself as it pertains to my job. I'll elaborate on Monday, but for now, this re-found state of being has for better or worse, allowed me to jump start my writing this past Palm Sunday. And also to a small degree, it has allowed me to start observing my surroundings in greater detail, be they animate (especially animate) or inanimate.

And now, the main entree.

I decided early on that I would do a focused split of my latest project, meaning that I would query both agents and publishers.

While the agent side of the query process ha been relatively straight forward, the publisher side of the query process has been at the very least, odd.

To whit:

So far, I've found three potential publishers to query: Freaky Fountain Press, Liquid Silver Books and Solstice Publishing.

Of those three, the only one that I've felt comfortable in querying was Freaky Fountain Press.

Why?

Freaky Fountain Press makes it crystal clear on what exactly it is that they want and will consider, and what they won't consider. As a newbie writer, having clear and concise guidelines on what a publisher wants or doesn't want is about the best way thing that one can hope for.

As for the other two, one has already been dropped from consideration. Liquid Silver Books also has a plethora of guideline of what they'll accept or not accept. However, there was one particular sentence in their guidelines (under the tab Taboo) that to me, sounded very ambiguous.

Now keeping in mind that they publish all sorts of erotica, one of the types of writing that they will not accept is their version of pornography. Considering that my book is about a woman who goes into adult movies to pay off her loan shark, you can readily see why I would want clarification of that last sentence.

So I sent off a polite e-mail to them asking for clarification of their statement "Their version of pornography".

This was on March 28th, and I have yet to hear back from them. Not very good customer service if you ask me. I may look into resending my question sometime in the future, but for now, they have been relegated to the back burner.

As for the other publisher, I really didn't have a problem with what they would accept, since they made it pretty clear. My question was more in line with how they wanted the submission formatted/attached.

They stated that they wanted the entire manuscript attached to the e-mail, either as a Word document or as an RTF document. What wasn't made clear was if they wanted it as one long document or a series of small documents.

So I found their contact form and sent off a query asking that very question. As of this post, I have not received a response. I'm not entirely worried yet because I'm factoring in how busy they must be and the fact that it was sent on weekend.

Still, it doesn't bode well or make that good of an impression if the average response time to a basic submission question that wasn't covered in the author's FAQ is more than a week. I mean, I once sent off a e-mail to another publisher about a contest they were running, and I got a response the very next day.

In any event, this is just a sample of what I'm probably in store for as I slug my way through the various publishing entities that are out there, be they print or be they e-books.

Querying.

Is just the same as hooking, except that you're giving it away for free in the hopes that you'll become a high paid escort.

Or in my case, a gigolo.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It Pains Me To See True Colors

I have trust issues again, only this time, I saw the problem coming but really didn't do anything to stop it.

You would think that after the last time I got severely burned by someone, I would've learned my lesson well and have my radar doing minute-by-minute sweeps of the people who have contact with me on a daily basis.

Right?

crickets chirping in the general vicinity

Fuck.

I think it's safe to say that at one time or another, we've all experienced trust issues, either with our family, with our friends or with our co-workers. And our response is often dictated by what particular group we're dealing with at the given moment.

Let's take a look at what I consider to be the easiest of the three groupings to deal with as it pertains to trust issues: family.

When you have trust issues with your family, the response is fairly predictable and easy to execute. If they're not an immediate member of the family, you drop further contact for a period of time, be it weeks or months, or in one particular case, years/decades. Then you gradually reestablish contact with that person on a purely platonic basis, or in that particular case of years/decades, never.

Why platonic? In my opinion, since the previous trust level has been irrevocably destroyed, there is no real need to go beyond cordial greetings and generalized chit chat. This is something that I do on a frequent basis with the people who have destroyed my trust in them in some particular way.

Anyways, if they're an immediate family member, you quickly learn how to be not-so-candid with your comments and yet maintain a level of civility that if properly executed, does not reveal just how incredibly pissed you are with the person in question.

With friends, close or otherwise, who break your trust, the pain is magnified by a factor of fifty. Why so high? When we have our trust broken with a friend, its usually over something that's rather personal and the consequences can be personally devastating for the receiving party.

When that happens, realistically the only thing that you can do is drop that friend and have no further contact with them. The passage of time can eventually heal the wound and even put you back on cordial speaking terms with the ex-friend. But the level of trust that you previously had can never be restored, no matter how much time has passed (in my case, over four years had to pass before I was able to speak to an ex-friend without getting angry or upset). All you can realistically hope for is to be able to come to a mutual understanding with the other person, sort of a live and let live you might say.

Now we tackle the thorniest group in this ghastly trio: co-workers.

The reason why I say that co-workers are the thorniest group to deal with is due to the simple fact that beyond the serious amount of time you spend with your immediate family (wife, husband, kids), the second serious chunk of time you spend belongs to your co-workers.

Your co-workers often become like your second family, because you often know just as much as what goes on their lives (and they with yours) as you do with your original family. You bond with them, get to know their idiosyncrasies, get to know what they're truly like as a person. And when that trust is broken, for any reason, especially if its work or career related, the pain can be devastating, debilitating and more often than not, permanent.

What makes this kind of pain so unique is that it's usually a combination of the first two groups, and because of that combo, your response has to be the equivalent of a diplomat functioning at the highest levels of sensitivity.

Why? Well for one thing, you certainly can't treat them like family. If you try to simply break off contact, it can often be misinterpreted as creating an angry environment or just being angry. So you eliminate that particular response from your repertoire. Now what? Well, you could continue to be cordial and yet show with your body language how upset you really are. Guess what? Same problem can arise. So you eliminate that response because the last thing you want to do is bring unneeded and unwanted attention to yourself.

Since you've lost your two main choices of response, it really leaves you with only one real alternative to try and come to an understanding: you maintain civility by circling the wagons. In other words, don't speak unless you're spoken to, mind your business, and do your job to the best of your ability, even if no one else has 100% confidence in your abilities to do your job. And if you are spoken to, keep it short, keep it sweet and keep it focused on the question at hand. Don't do idle chit chat and especially don't enlighten people on your day-to-day activities outside of work, no matter what they may be.

This my friends, is the only true way to recover from this particular kind of pain and heartache. Be true to yourself and take comfort in the knowledge that eventually people will come around to your side and to your viewpoint.

Time.

It's all you that you really got to work with and it's all that you really need to survive any kind of challenge that comes up in the day-to-day business of living your life the way that you want to.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Iconic Incompletness And Imprecise Pictorials

I do so love nonsensical post titles. Why? Because quite often they have diddly/squat to do with the content of the post.

Over at Shooting Suburbia we have a brand spanking (oooh, hurt me, hurt me) new pictorials series called...wait for it...wait for it...wait for it....The Spirit Takes Flight And Touches The Canopy Of Life.

Pretty damn long, eh?

Over here, we have a mini-post that will ultimately direct you to my other other blog. You know, the one where you can't get there from here if your here is at a computer that doesn't allow you to get there from here.

Anyways, I'm still in the midst of trying to jump start the writing of Dandelion Tears and failing miserably, mostly because I've been unable to shake the current fiasco that is my job. Not for the lack of trying mind you, because I still got a few dirty tricks up my sleeve, and one way or another, I will start writing again.

In the meantime, I thought I would show you something that I sort of wrote earlier in the year, back when things were still hunky-dory in my life.

I say sort of because I never got farther than a couple of handwritten pages completed. I started writing it and because of where I was writing it, I had to shut it down just when I was starting to find my groove for it. Unfortunately, after I brought it home, I stuck it on my clipboard and immediately forgot about it until I needed something for a post.

The story is called "Preacher" and the idea behind it was that I wanted to write about a religious man who had the all the characteristics of someone who was morally bankrupt. So naturally the first setting that I thought of was Hell. And because you know how I function, I'm sure you can guess what kind of temptation I threw into the mix.

I may eventually go back to it and rework it, if only because of the endless possibilities that I could take this potentially depraved and pleasantly corruptible story.

In the meantime, please enjoy this fine example of me dabbling in a genre that I probably know very little about.

Question: if you can give me a basic idea of what I'm dabbling in, it would be greatly appreciated.

And finally, I updated my Submissions for Line 21 page as I recieved yet another form letter rejection. This time though, the form letter was professionally done, so it left me with a good opinion of the agency in question. If you think about it, isn't that what a literary agent should do when they reject your work? Also, in keeping with the theme of splitting my queries between agencies and publishers, I sent one off to a publisher as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Circular Drainage Of Gray Chunks

I was sitting at my desk the other day trying to think of something light and airy and funny to write about for a post today, and would you believe that I had a tough time trying to think of a good topic not only to write about but a good tropic that I haven't previously worked to death until its bloated rotted corpse burst in the hot New Mexican sun and sprayed its contents all over the desert wildlife.

Then after re-reading the preceding run-on sentence, a thought that was previously unthought of, was thought about and viola violin cello and bass cello, the thought became no more of an unthought, but simply an unperson.

To whit:

Didja evuh have the problem of trying to think of a song, then start playing that song on your desk or steering wheel or leg? Then a few seconds later another song with a similar backbeat muscles its way in and screws everything up?

Well didja? You did? Isn't it annoying as being stuck listening to the Backyardigans while doing daycare?

In case you're wondering, the songs are "Dani California" and "Sweet Home Alabama"

'Course, this problem pales in comparison to having the kind of day where wigging out would make a seriously bad impression on the surrounding area. So what can you do to help stave off the potential wig out?

CATS!!!

Yes, everyone likes cats. Even those who profess to hate cats can't argue with the fact that a cat, much like your friendly neighborhood bowzer, can instantly eliminate the need to wig out.

Don't believe me?

Click here.

Now doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Of course it does.

Know what else can make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Umm...no...today's post is G rated (as in the MPAA rating called G, not the rating by the blogger G, which would basically mean that everything is rated Raunchy), so if you want to play that game, then click here. Otherwise, keep on reading.

Making someone's day with a kind word will give you the warm fuzzies. Just imagine the look of surprise and the heartfelt tone of their words as they read (or hear) the nice thought that you verbalized for the entire world to read (or hear) about.

I tell ya, it gets me right there. 'Course, right there is after we take some antacid to kill the right there that gives us the right there to begin with. However, the right there can be something as pointless as Billy Crystal (you remember Billy Crystal, right? Soap, SNL, Fernando Lamas) doing his impersonation of Howard Cosell. Yanno, RIGHT THERE!

I liked his impersonation of Larry Holmes the best though...its hard to verbalize how funny his impersonations are, so we'll skip right to one of my favorite comedians while I was but a lad of my son's age: Steve Martin.

Yes, believe it or not, Steve Martin was a pretty funny guy. However, I couldn't find a good YouTube video of a classic comedy bit that he both wrote and performed called "The Cruel Shoes", so we'll skip this part of the post and move on to the next part of the post.

Well, it seems that the next part of the post is the end. Therefore, in keeping with the light hearted and incredible dopey way to start off your TGIF, I leave you with semi-obscure Connecticut musician Tom "T-Bone" Stankus and his semi-obscure "Existential Blues" (I say semi because the song was a cult fave on Dr. Demento in the '80's). The person in the video is not him, but this guy has got some serious stones and we should give him props for doing a fantastic job of lip syncing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Excerption

I'm still having problems in trying to formulate another post about my second self-pubbed book, so I thought I would do something that I haven't done in a while.

Share an excerpt from my latest project Dandelion Tears.

To refresh everyone's memory, Dandelion Tears is a story about....ummm....a story about....ummm....hmmm....me thinks I should click on this link to refresh my memory. Me thinks also that I would heartily recommend everyone reading to click on that link as well.

So if everyone's memory is somewhat refreshed on what this story is all about, I will now try to fill in the gaps on what this excerpt is all about.

I've written only five chapters to this book so far (totalling 80 pages) and with this particular chapter, we are at the base camp for Fryja, the hunter sent by the Queen to retrieve Melanie's husband Jon and take him back to the pod.

This particular chapter opens up with Fryja waking up from a bad nightmare and puking her brains out (please don't ask me what the nightmare is about. I really didn't like writing it, but believe it or not, it helped unclog the brain for writing). A few more things happen: the imp helps her get cleaned up; crows help her get dressed; she makes love to her lobotomized boyfriend Jerry; she gets dressed again, (this time in her hunter's outfit) and heads back into the tent to either check on or fetch Jerry (wasn't sure of which when I wrote this), before she got to work on creating reproductions from the humans that she had for dinner. The excerpt starts when she's entering the tent.

A couple of things should be noted:

1} I decided that since Fryja's ethnicity wasn't white (I'm leaning towards mulatto), I needed a new name. After doing some research on war/military/death dieties, I came up with the name of Nyx.

2} I found out that Cerberus actually has a sibling called Orthus.

3} This excerpt is not for the squeamish nor the easily offended. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

4} The hunter's outfit that she is dressed in appears at the end of the excerpt. Again, it ain't for the squeamish.

5} Please remember that while you read this that this is only a work of fiction. No more and no less.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Books At Work (4)

{1}, {2}, {3}

And so, having finished part three of our five part series, we will now commence with part four of our series, which will soon be followed by part five and a bonus part five a (not to be confused with seven a), which will officially end the series.

16} Cold In The Light, Bitter Steel, Write With Fire, and The Talera Cycle by Charles Gramlich. Charles is the second author that I've personally bought books from. What I mean by personal is that he offered them for sale through his blog, for which I then purchased. Most of you know the background on how I came to meet Charles on his blog, so I won't be redundant in that particular aspect of this post.

What I will say is that Charles has become one of my favorite writers in any genre, and in fact has become the most reviewed author on my blog with four books. This says a lot about a person and their writing skills, when not only do I enjoy their books but I enjoy them enough to offer my opinion about them publicly. If you want to read my honest opinions about Charles's books and his writing, please click on the tag "Book Reviews". If you click on his name, you will find links on his fantastic blog to purchase these plus other fine books/e-books that he has written.

17} The Cynic's Dictionary by Rick Bayan. This was one of my more stranger picks because basically it's a humor book and usually the only humor books that I buy have to do with comic strip anthologies. I really can't explain this one too well, so let me give you an example of what he writes for definitions in this dictionary. It's a long one but it's really funny.

Ecosystem: the environment viewed as a delicately balanced Rube Goldberg contraption. Discarded balloon (A) chokes Duck (B), which expire and pollutes Pond (C), which kills Minnow (D), which drives away Pied-billed Grebe (E), which distresses Birdwatcher (F), who contributes to Friends of Wetlands (G), which lobbies in Congress (H), which passes Antipollution Law (I), which cuts profits at Toxico, Inc. (J), which lays off 20% of its Payroll (K) including Stanley Frimko (L), who now has more time to walk with his daughter Danielle (M), who lets go of Balloon (N), which unfortunately pops in the Stratosphere (O) and drops into Pond (P), where it catches the attention of Duck (Q).
18} The Little Book Of Bad Taste by Karl Shaw. I bought this book from one of those outlet stores located in Manchester CT. There is nothing I can really add beyond saying the book lives up to the title and that the grossest and most disgusting things you could possibly imagine, be it related to a person, food, or bodily function, is contained in this book. If you think it's too far fetched, it's in this book.

19} World Mythology edited by Arthur Cotterell. This was another bargain basement job that I bought at Barnes & Noble, and this book, while small and compact, gives a fantastic overview of mythology in every section of the globe. This book not only has given me a few names to use for my stories, but also has spurred me to research a few of those mythologies for other stories as well.

20} Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Please click here for a book review and my thoughts about this pocket edition, which I picked up for my son back in the mid-nineties. No link as when I went searching the Barnes & Noble website, I came up with 855 versions of the book.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Thing That Other And This

How do.

Over at Shooting Suburbia we have the final post of the "My Neighborhood" series, and unlike the previous few posts, there is no really witty creative nonsense attached to the captioning.

Over here, we have a few random musings for a refreshing change of pace.

Musing #1

I got my first rejection this past week. Not that I was surprised because after I'd mailed it out, I did a little surfing of the Query Tracker website and found out that particular agent was in a top ten list of most queried agents. But it was interesting to get a badly copied form letter. I mean, I understand the need to streamline the process when you reject a particular writer's effort (heck, who hasn't developed a process to streamline a particular tedious issue) but a little effort in presenting a professional product can go a long way in leaving a decent impression on the rejected writer.

And as I like to frequently do, I try to keep a certain number of items circulating in whatever process I'm trying to do, which in this case is querying. So yesterday (4/8), I mailed out another query package to another agent, which make 4 queries back in circulation again. Interesting thing about this particular agent is that even though she does both snail mail and e-mail queries, she has a policy of "no response means no" when it comes to snail mail queries.

For further details, please check out my Submissions for Line 21 link. For those of you who are receiving this via the e-mail or reader, you'll have to click on through to access it.

Musing #2

As most of you know, I have a very eclectic blog reading list. Last week while I was perusing one of them, I came across this curious tidbit that I would like to share with everyone.

I'm sure that everyone has heard of that fantastic fun filled controversial website called "Wikileaks". Well, believe it or not, some jerk has created one for the adult entertainment industry called "Porn Wikileaks".

The person with this website apparently has such a low opinion of the adult entertainment industry that he/she is willing to risk serious criminal charges in order to get his/her point across. It's bad enough that this person is releasing the real names of the people who are/were performing in the business (thus potentially hurting the person who made the choice to participate in the business in more ways that you can probably imagine) but they're also releasing confidential medical information about those people as well.

Whatever your opinion of the adult entertainment industry may be, you will have to admit that releasing confidential medical information about a person is a criminal offense. Not only are there state laws banning the inappropriate use of confidential medical information but there are federal laws as well (all courtesy of HIPAA).

People make personal choices about a myriad of things every day, and choosing to work in the adult entertainment industry is about as personal as one can get. Why then should they be singled out for punishment for making a conscious and well informed decision that makes some people queasy?

It is indeed a sad thing where one's life can be destroyed simply because someone else doesn't agree with your choice of employment or lifestyle (although certain lifestyles are not by choice but by genetics).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Get Tagged With Your Tag!

The other day (well, last Sunday to be exact) fellow blogger Bruce Johnson, who has the exact amount of blogs as I do (Bruce's Evil Twin, The Dreamodeling Guy, The Guy Book), plus a Facebook page for himself and his fantastic dog Tucker, tagged me with an award called The Versatile Blogger.

Which I thought was pretty cool, especially since I don't get tagged that often for any kind of an award or meme these days. However, the one requirement that needs to be fulfilled is something that I'm having a major problem in fulfilling.

What's the requirement?

Tell 7 things about yourself that people may not know.

You may now do the classic Cyber World laugh. If you feel embarrassed, I'll do it for you.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Yeah, I thought you would find that incredibly funny. For those of you who might be confused by this post so far, I will let you in on a public secret: For the past (almost) three years, one of the focal points of this blog has been yours truly. I have exposed about 96% of my life, be it from the real world or the cyber world, on this blog, with the remaining 4% never to see the light of day.

Because of that three year concentrated blanket attack on the general public, I had a very hard time trying to think of seven things that people don't know about me. However, lest you think that this is an insurmountable obstacle, you are very much sadly, hopelessly and perversely mistaken. Especially since I used a word that is the past tense of the word "have" in the opening sentence of this paragraph.

After spending some unhealthy air quality down time thinking about it, I came up with solution: Tell everyone seven things about myself as they apply to writing. So here now, in no particular order of importance beyond making a proper numerical list, are seven things about G the writer.

1} I have written 3 partial novels; 3 partial novellas; 1 complete novel; 1 self pubbed novel; 1 self pubbed chapbook; 3 medium-to-long short stories; 5 long short stories; 45 pieces of flash fiction; 5 incomplete short stories and 1 published story.

2} I have a thing about writing stories with either a strong female protagonist or a strong female presence. Of those 68 pieces of the written word, exactly eight do not feature any female characters, peripheral or otherwise.

3} I have experimented with writing in the following genres/themes: horror (not very well), new age (published), romance (not very good on the first attempt but getting better), western, humor, creative non-fiction, mindless fiction, spiritual, slice of life, softcore, hardcore, sci-fi/fantasy, world building and strange fiction.

4} I actually learned how to write by doing micro flash in the chat rooms for two years. You can now do that Cyber World laugh again. Or if you wish, I'll do it for you.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

5} People have a problem reconciling G the blogger with G the writer, because G the writer has found his comfort zone by writing stories that contain lots of sex, lots of nudity, strong female protagonists and weak male protagonists. I should reiterate, LOTS OF SEX AND LOTS OF NUDITY. Which means...

6} As a personal rule, I can't write anything geared towards anyone under the age of 16. The only exception was my one and only published short story.

7} I have written a total of 498,639 words since December 2005. 500,655 if you count the query template and the synopsis I wrote for Line 21.

7a} This story by my daughter got more comments than any story that I've plastered on three of my blogs, or my published short story.

According to the rules of the award, I'm supposed to pass it on to a bunch of other bloggers, like 12 or 15 or something like that.

However, since I read a ton o' blogs and would have an exceptionally hard time in choosing the required amount, I have decided to take a page out of LL Cool Joe's Big Blog Book of Fun and simply say that to whoever would like to play along, please feel free to do so.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Dark Side Of Writing

I am a writer and a blogger.

Therefore, the majority of my down time should be geared towards advancing those twin themes of the written word. When I sit down in front of my computer, I should be doing so with a clear and coherent plan of attack based on those two mediums.

If writing is the topic du jour, then I should be working on the following sub-topics: re-writing a short story; continuing to work on my next novel; continuing the submission process with my last novel.

If blogging is the topic du jour, then I should be creating enough blog posts so that I can work on the first topic without worrying about disappointing my friends and readers over the lack of fresh blog content.

Instead, when I sit down in front of the computer, I am unable to access that twin plan of attack. Why? Because the current mind fuck that the real world decided that I really needed to have in my life, is wrecking havoc on me in more ways that you can possibly imagine.

Case in point: What I really wanted to write about today was part three of my series of posts called "The Stubborn Side Of Writing." It's been well over a month since I last touched upon it and I thought that now would be a good time to revisit it. Especially since that I'd promised everyone that I wouldn't touch upon my novel for a few weeks, and that I didn't have anything else to write about for the moment.

So I re-read my last post, saw the teaser at the end (Why I Chose The Various Components That Went Into The Creation Of The Story), then took out a few sheets of paper and got ready to write.

Try as I might, no insightful thoughts about why I chose that particular course of direction or those particular elements for my chapbook came to me. Instead, the only thoughts that swirled around my head were the events that happened two weeks ago and how the upcoming days and weeks would unfold as a result of those events.

Ditto for when I gave Dandelion Tears a whirl.

I sat down in my den late Saturday evening (April 2nd) with the basic intent of either working on the short story that gave birth to 4 chat room personas, a presence in the chat rooms for 4 years, 5 blogs, a multitude of half written trunk novels, my last novel and my current novel; or my current novel.

I chose to work on my current novel.

So I took out my current novel in order to re-familiarize myself with the current plot lines (got about three or four, I think), opened up the binder and began reading from the beginning. Sure enough, within less than a minute, instead of letting what I wrote enter my brain by gently knocking on my temple, the events of two weeks ago played the roll of the big bully by pushing the novel to the ground and kicking sand in its face before barging in to set up shop.

And yes, the end result was pretty much the same: zero thinking about the novel and 100% about what happened two weeks ago.

So now I sit here contemplating the direction I want to go with my writing, and quite frankly, it bothers me.

On one hand, I can try to weather the storm the best I can and wait for it to clear up before taking another stab at working on my latest project.

Or, I can try to work in the obviously strong emotions that I'm experiencing right now and take my book in a direction that perhaps that I didn't envision when I started writing it to begin with.

And let's not forget about blogging. What happened to me two weeks ago is invariable going to affect what and how I write stuff in my blog. Will my blog still have that same carefree yet pointed outlook on the world around me, or will my blog now have something of an unidentifiable edge to everything that gets posted from this day forward?

What it boils down it is that I'm now at a crossroad with my writing/blogging and I have no idea on which way I should go with it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The E Phenomenon Has Left The Building

Last Friday, Joanne of Whole Latte Life, left a comment asking me if I was experiencing the same kind of ga-ga-ness over the e-book that everyone else had. I started to give a rather thoughtful response to her comment, but I soon as I got started, I stopped. Not because I was getting upset or anything like that, but simply my response was starting to shape up as a long winded comment. Not that I don't mind long comments to any of my posts, nor do I mind giving one, but the comment I was leaving got me to thinking about turning it into blog post.

My personal feelings about the E-book are probably as far away from the norm as you can possibly get. There are quite a few reasons as to why I don't do E-books and they all stem from just these two: computers and the basic design of the reader.

Between work and home, I spend on the average about 14 hours a day on the computer. The most in depth items I will read on a regular basis on my computer in no order of importance are: blogs, e-zines, a few non-news websites and news websites. The last thing that I really want to read on my computer is a book. Why? Because I'm one of those souls who has (and still have to a certain degree to this day) a short attention span.

While I've managed to work on it over the years to the point where I can read something that contains less than 6,000 words without having my eyes glaze over, reading a book on my computer would probably make my eyes glaze over, no matter how well written it is. There is an exception to that rule, and that usually involves a level of trust normally not seen in my personal world.

The other main reason as to why I don't do E-books is the design of the reader itself. Most readers start at about the size of the pop-up comment window that I have on this blog. For me, that is major problem of expensive proportions. Why major? As most of you know, I suffer from a neuro-muscular disease called CMT, which has basically taken root in my hands and is slowly turning them into shrunken pieces of skin and bone. While I can still type (typing speed is now about 20 wpm on a good day), holding things of various shapes and sizes is at best a struggle that sometimes can be compensated with rubber fingertips, but quite often requires me to Mickey Mouse my grip with various body parts that don't start with the letter "H".

Why expensive? Well, what do you get when you have a small piece of electronic equipment that starts at around $75 and you put it into the hands of someone who has no manual dexterity and has developed a moderate case of the drops that they cannot control? Exactly.

So even though I am looking forward to having something published in that new medium in the near future, chances are I will not be using it on a personal basis. And suggesting that I download the app to my computer won't work either because that falls into the first part of this post as to why I don't do E-books.

I dig print. I will always dig print. To me, there is nothing more relaxing or more inviting than to wander a bookstore or a library (public or private) checking out what titles are floating around on the shelf. I've often found interesting books to read that I wouldn't even have thought of previously had I not been wandering around that particular institution or business.

Having to surf Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Smashwords to find a suitable book to read is to me, not relaxing. Smacks of doing mindless research for work or tedious research for a book, which to me jacks up my frustration level to the nth degree.

In summation, I do not loathe or hate E-books, because anything that can get people to actually READ is as far as I'm concerned, a major plus. I just prefer not to pursue my hobby of reading books digitally.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Picturing A Picture

Alliteration is a groovy thing.

Anywho, over at Shooting Suburbia, we have part five of "My Neighborhood" for your enjoyment.

Over here, we posted this post about a posting another post elsewhere, which in this case, is not here, but there. There is not here, nor is here there. But if there could be here and here could be there, then there would be there and here would be here, which is to say what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine.

By the time you read this, I will be more likely than not, sitting at Burger King eating a double stacker with bacon and a large order of fries. And do you know why I'll be eating a double stacker with bacon and a large order of fries? I will be eating a double stacker with bacon and large order of fries because I am an apostle of that brand new religion, Lettuce Is The Devil.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Overpaid Jocks And Under Appreciated Fans

Since I'm still feeling a little (okay, a lot) guilty for nuking a post on everyone, I thought I would give everyone a rare Saturday post.

Unlike everyone else in the blog world who probably roots for a good baseball team, I am a very long suffering Mets fan.

Even though I have not been able to watch them on t.v., thanks to being a member of the ever-popular-ever-growing class of people called The Working Poor, I still try to follow them through print or Facebook (I have their page loaded into my wall feed).

However, even though the 2011 baseball season officially got under way this week with the New York Yankees beating the Detroit Tigers, I thought I would jump to the end of the line and post my opinion about the upcoming New York Mets monumental belly-flop into the septic September swamp.



Do I, as a long suffering Mets fan, really need to elaborate?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Books At Work (3)

Note: I did publish part 2 last Monday, but apparently the Blogger feed ate it up for lunch. I would never not post on a day without telling everyone ahead of time.

{1}, {2}

Before we get into the next five selections, I would like to clarify something that I wrote in the first post of this series. I originally said that the bulk of my purchases were from Borders Books & Music and only a few where from elsewhere. Well, that is turning out to not be the case, as the further I tap into my memory for these books, the more I realize that I picked these up at more places than I originally realized.

One more thing: I wrote the first draft of this series not by hand, but by using my Dragon software. So long as I don't try to write a regular story and simply stick to writing blog posts, I don't encounter the mental blocks that have plagued me for the past year while I was trying to use Dragon for writing.

Two more thing: Since everyone is ga-ga over Ebooks, I decided to make the book links reflect that ga-ga-ness as much as possible.

10} The Chrysalis, The Map Thief by Heather Terrell. I acquired the second novel listed in a most unusual way. Back in 2008 when I first started blogging, one of the first things I did was to search out writing related blogs to read and learn from. One of this blogs that I found and still read to this day, is called Fumbling With Fiction, written by YA writer Chandler Craig. Chandler Craig is one of those extreme type A people who we admire from a distance but are afraid to even try one tenth of the things that they do for fear of imploding.

Anyways, back in 2008, she was running a contest to give away one of those advance copies to a lucky commenter. The copy in question was a hardcover mystery called "The Map Thief", and it just so happens that I became the lucky commenter and scored a free copy. I enjoyed this book so much, as it was written with two distinct plot lines that were approximately 500 years apart and covered quite a bit about the art and antiquities world, that I decided to pick up the first volume in the series a couple of months later. I would only recommend picking up the first volume to use as a reference tool in order to make sense out of the second one. The first one actually lays the groundwork for the second one, and covers three different time periods: the Flemish art world of the sixteenth century, Vichy France and the modern era.

12} The Road to Somewhere by James Dodson. James Dodson was a well respected golf writer when he decided to take his son on a trip around the world during the summer of 2001. This book is about his partial journey around the world, as he decided to call it quits halfway through because some of the political turmoil that was bubbling beneath the surface was starting to make itself known. 'Course we all know what happened later that year, and in fact the book opens up with that particular tidbit as it applies to Mr. Dodson's wedding and reception. This was another book that I picked up at the discount rack at Ocean State.

13} The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn. This was a book that I found in the three dollar bin that Border's had periodically during 2010 when they were trying to raise money to avoid bankruptcy. As the title states, this book covered NYC's cold case homicides, both old and recently new, and Ms. Horn did a very commendable job writing this book. Not only does she cover the history of this particular organization, but she also wrote about five cases that they were working on while she was there. In fact, by the time she'd finished the book, four of the cases were solved and a fifth was partially solved. If you're into true crime and the various offshoots like I am, then this would be a good book for you to pick up.

14} Blue Highway by William Least-Heat Moon. I originally listened to the audio cassette version of this book back in 1992. At the time, I was working the overnight at a gas station convenience store and I needed something on my days off to keep me occupied. One of the things that I used to do to keep myself occupied was to either read very long books or listen to audio cassettes of books, so this was one of the audio books that I'd listen to. Unabridged.

Fast forward about 19 years. If everyone remembers back in January of this year, I ran a post asking for suggestions on what I could buy for a book and a CD with my Borders gift card. This book was what I wound up buying with my gift card. Short review is that the book was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes travel writing.

15} The Tarnished Star by Jack Martin. This was one of the few books that I bought with my credit card and in fact, remains the only book I bought online. I do plan on buying a couple more books online this year but before I can do that I have to get my finances in order. Anyways, you can read my full opinion of this book here as I decided to do a review of this book after I'd read it.

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) 2008-16 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