Friday, August 31, 2012

Annoyed!

Due to seriously irritating factors way beyond my control, or maybe within my control, I don't know at this point, today's regularly scheduled multi-blog post is postponed until next week.

Instead, I leave you with this nugget from 2000.

In an attempt to help women better understand the men that they are with:

1} I'm going fishing

Translated: I'm going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and sit in a boat with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in complete safety.

2} It's a guy thing

Translated: There is no rational thought pattern connected with it, and you have no chance at all of making it logical.

3} Can I help with dinner?

Translated: Why isn't it already on the table?

4} Uh-huh, sure honey or alternately yes dear

Translated: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditional response.

5} It would take too long to explain

Translated: I have no idea how it works.

6} I was listening to you. It's just that I have things on my mind

Translated: I was wondering if that red head over there is wearing a bra.

7} Take a break honey, you're working too hard

Translated: I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner.

8} That's interesting dear

Translated: Are you still talking?

9} You know how bad my memory is

Translated: I remember the theme song to F Troop, the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday.

10} I was just thinking about you, and got you these roses

Translated: The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe.

11} Oh, don't fuss. I just cut myself, it's no big deal

Translated: I have actually severed a limb, but will bleed to death before I admit that I'm hurt.

12} Hey, I got my reasons for what I'm doing

Translated: And I sure hope I think of some pretty soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Looking At Reality Through Grimy Glasses


Click here for more info

I can safely say that after spending about 8 years in my current occupation of payroll clerk, I've finally reached the level of not caring about my job in its present state. That level is one that no one really aspires to, which is to put in your 8 hours, not learn anything new and quietly decompose into a competent yet completely anti-social co-worker.

Now mind you, this has being going on for quite a while, but suffice to say it has accelerated over the past few months. The realization that a reputation created in the first six months, no matter how blatantly wrong it is, is impossible to change, gradually sunk its talons in until it took hold of my psyche and slapped it smart in multiple directions.

Nowhere has this point been driven home with clarity as with my writing.


Because I work in a state agency that is both hypersensitive and hypercritical about all things, it's virtually impossible to promote my upcoming book in any way without anyone filing a sexual harassment complaint. I certainly can't show the cover and I definitely can't leave any business cards out that shows the cover. I can't even promote the slick book trailer that effectively sums up the synopsis in less than two minutes.

In short, the only way I can really promote not only the book but my blog as well, is at the facility where I do payroll. There, the people are grounded in reality and are less likely to be offended, which because they work in a prison, is a perfectly reasonable assumption.

Yay.

I'm back to reading again, which for the most part will be confined to non-fiction and historical fiction. At least until I can reconcile B&N's pain in the ass rules with my need to purchase books to review. My non-fiction reading has been scattershot, with topics as diverse as The Civil War, Native Americans and reservation living, memoirs and true crime/forensics read for enjoyment.

My historical fiction ha been confined largely to Edward Rutherford. I loved the first three that he wrote (Sarum, Russka and London), so to continue through the rest of his catalogue has so far been an absolute joy, as well as a welcome break from my current writing project.

Speaking of current writing project, I'm spending just the weekends writing it, which is due to the fact that I really don't have time during the week to work on it. At least in the physical sense that is. Mentally is a whole different issue, as with each part I complete, I find myself thinking about what the best path would be to continue with. At the moment, I wrote a particular scene that is now making the main character question her motives and her original plan of attack. Should be interesting to see what comes out of it, since an underlying issue in the story is The Stockholm Syndrome and how much is the main character suffering from it.

I've been commiserating with a friend about how sucky our respective jobs are and at one point, I told her that it sounded like her job was becoming like a Dilbert comic.

Boss: Mistakenly we transferred your position to another department but kept the funding, which means we'll pay you for not working.
She said it wasn't that bad, but it was more like "how many people does it take to change a light bulb?"

In state guv'ment, the answer is 8:

1 to change the bulb;

1 to micromanage the worker;

1 to requisition the bulb;

1 to deliver, 'cause you know, union rules and what not;

1 to stand by and observe that all the union rules are being followed, including that a fifteen minute break and a half hour lunch is being taken while the delivery is being made;

1 to supervise the union steward;

1 to supervise the union rep;

1 to ask for hourly status reports from the worker's supervisor.


To which she replied, "Touche'"

Touche' indeed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Trailer For My Upcoming Debut



My friends, this trailer will knock your socks off, or at the very least, make you sit up and take notice.

This trailer was created, as well as the book cover, by the talented Kelly Abell and her graphics company Select-O-Grafix. Seriously, if you need any kind of marketing product created, be it cover or a book trailer like what you see, by all means please check them out. In addition to being a talented graphics artist, she is also a multi-published author.

As for my novel, it's still at the proofreading stage, and like I mentioned before, if you want it done right, you have to take your time in doing it.

Aslo, feel free not only to leave a comment here, but one at the video as well, since it is searchable on YouTube.

Again, I give major props to Kelly Abell for all of her fantastic work in designing both my book cover and my book trailer.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm Not Yelling! I'm Merely Talking To You In A Condescending Manner

Throughout my 16 1/2 years of state employment, I've been yelled at for a myriad of transgressions. Some of those transgressions were serious enough to warrant further discipline beyond the verbal, while others were about as serious as giving a child crust on their PB&J when they specifically asked for no crust, yet the discipline was overly disproportionate to the actual transgression.

In other words, I accuse you of favoritism, you whine to your supervisor, and I get sent to anger management (true statement).

Earlier in the year, I had one such transgression, that although it wasn't an issue, someone had turned it into an issue.

When I get inter-office mail, sometimes I have to use a letter opener and a pair of scissors to open it, 'cause the sender chose to use a half a roll of tape to seal the envelope. The end result is that by the time I get done opening said envelope, it's purty much been turned into scrap paper.

So being the good worker bee, I put said envelope in the recycling barrel. Less than a minute later, a person higher up the food chain (who doesn't work in my department) stooped by to ask why I was recycling an interdepartmental envelope.

I answered the query, and within a few seconds, had an argument over whether or not I should've recycled the thoroughly destroyed envelope. If you think that an argument about recycling was dopey, you would be correct in your assumption.

Fast forward to mid-August '12.

One morning, I strolled over to a copier with the intention of making two dozen copies of a fax cover sheet. When I got there, a flashing error message on the control panel said that the paper tray needed to be refilled. So I proceeded to take four reams of paper and filled the paper tray.

However, being that this is one of those super sensitive new copiers that needed to have the paper aligned just right in order to work, it didn't work. Because I didn't properly align the paper.

Note: the rest of my floor isn't what you call "proactive" when it comes to doing certain things.

Anyways, after making a couple of attempts to fix the problem and failing, I left that copier and went to another to make my copies.

About several minutes later, a supervisor comes by my cube and says, "Did you make these copies?"

Sheepishly I say, "Oh, yeah. Thanks." (I had forgotten to cancel my print job before walking away)

After they had given it to me, they spend the next few minutes berating me for improperly filling the paper tray. Because I did it "wrong", I inconvenienced everyone else who had to use it. So in the future, if the copier needs to be filled, ask for help.

Note: This was a condensed version of the conversation, but you can get the basic idea on how dopey this was as well.

When this person left, two other co-workers who had heard this "discussion" commented on how dopey (there is another word that is a tighter fit, but alas, I'm trying to be Mr. Clean today) this was. My supervisor, who knew about the first incident, couldn't believe it when I said I was involved in a discussion that topped the first one for sheer chutzpah.

So in the course of one year, I got involved in arguments that covered the following topics:

1} recycling
2} filling a copier

So my question to you is this:

"What was the stupidest argument that you were forced to partake in, simply because someone objected to you doing something that you were supposed to do?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Word.

No, today is not flashback Wednesday, in which we explore the very strange vernacular of the late 80's/early 90's.

Today is Written Word Wednesday, in which we explore the phantasmagorical world that is my writing and its various offspring.

First up, book reviews.

In spite of my trials and tribulations of dealing with B&N (see my post of 8/20 for excruciating details), I did manage to read a couple of books (YA, thank you very much and no comments from the peanut gallery) in the past few weeks. One was a paperback sci-fi called "Year of The Human", which I wrote a pretty decent review for. The other is called "Linked Through Time" by Jessica Tornese, which I haven't had the opportunity to write a review for. It's funny, but the only way I can write a review is if I'm in a relatively good frame of mind. Any outside stress and aggravation, and I can't do diddly. So that is my goal for this upcoming weekend, to write a decent review for this e-book.

On the current writing front.

If you remember my post from last week about indecisiveness, you'll be happy to know that I'd battled through that issue and wrote what needed to be written for that particular scene. I think from here on in, the rest of the story shouldn't be as graphic as the back story was. Because I'm writing this bad boy by hand, it's allowing my the luxury of really outlining how I want the rest of the story to unfold. At the moment, I'm outlining a potential dream sequence that should give me a good direction to go in once I get it written.

On the upcoming novel front.

Lots to talk about here, so let's start with a new promo/plug (which is something that I rarely do) that is featured in the upper left corner of the front page. Kelly Abell, who is one of my fellow writers at Solstice, owns a graphics company called Select-O-Grafix. She is the one who designed the cover to my upcoming novel, and through her company, is also creating a custom book trailer for my book. I can't even begin to describe how excited I really am about this book trailer, and from what she's told me about it so far, it sounds like its gonna be a winner. Please check out her website as they can do the whole gamut for you when it comes to marketing, and you can find them on Facebook as well.

On the publishing front, the book is still at the proofreaders, so I'm not worried about that aspect. I believe it's better to take your time and do it right the first time, instead of rushing through and having to redo it multiple times. I have complete faith in my publisher, and I have no doubt that this book will become another excellent addition to their stable of titles.

On the miscellaneous writing front.

I added about a dozen more book covers to my Solstice slideshow. Please check out the new releases, all reasonably priced between .99 and $5.99 per e-book copy (available at Amazon and B&N as well). Also, from what I understand, Solstice is producing audio versions of some of their current releases, so that might be something to check out in the near future.

Beyond that, I haven't done much in the way of submissions. The last wave of submissions, such as it was, was done back in mid-July. Haven't been able to find the time to do any real market research for my stories, so submissions are pretty much in a holding pattern for the time being.

I still have copies of my self-pubbed chapbook "Betrayed!" for low sale price of $6.50 (I'll pick up the S&H and the sales tax), and available from ASI as a e-book for $3.99. So if you want not only a good sample on how I write, but what you might see in Line 21, please give some thought about purchasing a copy. Remember, writing is not just a hobby for me, but it's something I really enjoy doing.

On the blogging front.

Not much to report. Still chugging away and moving ever closer to the 900 post mark for this blog, which I should hit before the year is out. Still purging and adding new blog feeds for my ever expanding pile of subscriptions. Still trying to find my groove again so I can get a few more blog posts pre-written for future consumption, although not overly worried about it. Sometimes, you just can't force it. It comes when it comes and not before then.

Finally, since I love things that are downright strange, I leave you with this:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Losing A Customer Is An Acceptable Solution

As most of you may know, I'm a relatively easy going person. If you treat me with respect, I'll treat you the same way. Treat me like an idiot, and I'll return the same tenfold.

One of my personal pet peeves is when I'll ask someone or some entity a question and they'll either 1} answer it by reiterating a point that doesn't answer the question but should be accepted at face value because it comes from a "unimpeachable" source (i.e. MoveOn.org); or 2} quote company policy that doesn't address any plausible/realistic scenarios that deviate from the norm.

Example of the first: I had a three day debate on whether or not making someone show a picture i.d. in order to vote is considered to be a poll tax.

Example of the second is this post.

A few weeks ago, I got B&N gift card, so that I could easily purchase e-books, thereby not running any additional debt on my credit cards. So I went to the B&N Nook store and chose three books: one for personal reading and two for contractual book review reading.

  1. The Killing Trail by Charles Gramlich
  2. The Substitute by James Hatch
  3. Death and the Journalist by J.L. Petty
So I go to the checkout screen to make my first purchase, and the first thing that pops up is a screen asking me for a credit card. Considering that I was paying for the book with a gift card, I decided to bypass the screen by clicking on the "continue" button. Seconds later that same screen pops back up. Miffed, I repeated the process a few more times and each time that same stupid screen pops up.

Annoyed, I decide to contact B&N. First by e-mail:

Auto response says they will get back to me in 12 to 24 hours.

Miffed, I decided to call:

Auto response says all lines are busy, please call back later, then I get disconnected.

Really annoyed, I give talking to a person via chat a try:

Epic fail, as the person doesn't even give me a chance to type out my complaint, so I disconnect.

Ticked, I unload on B&N's Facebook page with my complaint. I proceed to spend the next two days getting quoted chapter and verse about company/publisher policy in regards to purchasing e-books. I also spend two days not getting a question about this plausible scenario answered:

"What if I got the gift card as a present, I don't have a credit card and all I want to do is buy some e-books?"

While all of this was going on on Facebook (I can multi-task pretty well), I finally got a answer to my e-mail, which started me on my journey of being shuffled to a different customer service rep each and every time I respond.

On my second to last response, I basically told them this:

This causes a major inconvenience as I don't want to have anything
charged to my card at all. Now I'm basically stuck with a gift card that
I can't use the way it was intended to be used to begin with.

Looks like my only other option will be to buy a prepaid credit card
and buy my e-books directly from the publisher.


They responded by saying this:

Thank you for contacting us.

Based on the situation you described, we feel that the difficulties you
are experiencing would be resolved best by contacting us by phone.

We ask that you call us at 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665). We are
available Monday through Friday from 8AM to 11PM EST, Saturdays and
Sundays 9AM to 11PM EST. Customers outside of the United States may
contact us at 201-559-3882.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have
caused and we look forward to hearing from you.

We look forward to your next visit.


To which I responded with this:


To be completely honest, I'm not sure how the difficulties I'm experiencing can be resolved over the telephone.

Since my e-mail was forwarded to you, let me give you brief recap:

1} I have a gift card that was given to me so that I could buy e-books that were created by my publisher to review (contractual requirement).

2} In order to buy said e-books, I have to pop in a credit card number as an identifier.

3} I don't want to charge anything on my card, so I don't want to pop in a credit card number so that I can purchase said e-books.

This is where I currently stand on the situation.

Instead of me calling you and getting bent out of shape because you won't/can't deviate from company policy while trying to resolve my situation, why don't you tell me in your very next e-mail (assuming that you'll be answering my e-mail and not passing it on to someone else), how this situation can be resolved to my satisfaction?

Sincerely, G. B. Miller

So my friends, I'm not quite sure what my next step will be. I think it will hinge on if/when B&N's customer service rep, whoever that may be, says to me about my particular predicament. Oh, and the main reason why I told them to contact me via the e-mail about a solution, is that I am completely toxic and incendiary when I'm upset and on the telephone.

The sad thing is that all I want to do is shoot some royalties to some very well deserving writers by purchasing their product and apparently I'm being treated like a yokel by a business that is a very distant number two to Amazon. I would think that they would try to hold onto each and every customer that walks through their door, be it the brick and mortar door of a store, or the virtual door of their website.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Johnny....

Johnny.

Johnny is such a versatile name. You can attach it to almost anything and you can come up with a well known characer, a well known person or a well known cliche.

For your amusement, here is my attempt at using the entire alphabet and the name John (or in some cases, Johnny). Most of those will have informative links for you to browse, and in two particular cases, I managed to double up on a letter. Also for the letters I, N & Y, names were conjured up by the ever talented Lisa, who was kind enough to answer my plea for help on Facebook.

Enjoy!


Johnny Appleseed {well known early American figure}
Johnny Bravo {cartoon character}
John Barleycorn {traditional folk song, however, Traffic is not the definitive version, but a close 2nd}
Johnny Cymbal {singer "Mr. Bassman}
Johnny Dangerously {movie featuring Michael Keaton}
John Doe {co-founder of seminal punk band X}
Johnny Eck {well known half man from the 40's}
Johnny Fontane {singer from The Godfather}
Johnny Got His Guns {anti-war movie, parts of which were used in a Metallica video}
John Holmes {need I say more?}
John Irving {writer}
Johnny Jones {from the musical Yankee Doodle Dandy}
John Kay {Steppenwolf}
Johnny Olsen (announcer on The Price is Right}
John Saxon {longtime character actor of big and little screen}
Johnny Tsunami {Disney movie}
Uncle John's Band {Grateful Dead song}
John Valby {singer/musician nicknamed The Prince of Porn}
Johnny X {drummer for a defunct band called Kenickie}
Johnny Yuma {spaghetti western}
Jonny Zero {bad t.v. show}

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Indecisiveness Can Mortally Wound A Story

There have been times during the course of my writing career, where it's been rather difficult and sticky when it comes to writing certain kinds of scenes.

Early on, I used to have no problem in writing scenes of violence, sometimes the stupider it was, the easier it was to write.

"She hauled him out of the back seat until his head was hanging outside, then picked up a telephone book and whacked him upside the head until blood geyesered all over the garage floor."

Now on flip side of the equation, writing scenes with sex of any kind was to say the very least, difficult. Why difficult? Well, unless you've been writing those kind of scenes for a while, the first half dozen attempts made wind up reading like a bad porn script.

gotcha, no sample here. i really need to keep this blog R-rated and not NC-17

Over the preceding six plus years, I slowly weaned myself from writing heavy scenes of violence and slowly began working on improving the various types of sexual situations that my stories visit. Why? The main reason was that writing scenes of violence was becoming too easy and frighteningly realistic for me, and I didn't want to make my stuff so disturbing that people would have 2nd, 3rd and 4th thoughts about me not only as a writer, but as a person as well.

By 2012, the violence in my writing become tempered enough for me not to cringe while reading it afterwards (imagine that, a writer cringing while reading their own writing), so I'm giving myself a big pat on the back for a job well done.

But.....the long long fickle finger of fate reached out and tapped a cold fingertip on the top of my head and proceeded to shuffle my conscience around to the point of indecisiveness.

To whit:

The story that I'm currently writing, "Time To Go" has such a particular level of violence in it that it actually bothers me to write it. Because the underlying theme is surviving with two serial killers, it necessitates me showing what it is exactly they do. And thus, here lies the rub: in order to make the story as realistic as possible, I have to write scenes that I find personally repulsive.

And because I have to write those particular scenes, I'm thinking very long and very hard as to how and when I should write them. I really don't want to put this story away because it's just begging to be written, but I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable in writing those particular scenes.

So it begs the question, "How do I reconcile these increasingly irreconcilable differences?"

I really do want to write this story because I actually enjoy exploring the dark side of people, and this one really does explore a person's ethical dilemma in ways that no one should ever experience.

Monday, August 13, 2012

An Interview With Solstice Author Andrea Buginsky

Today, I'm proud to once again to present to everyone, YA author Andrea Buginsky, who is currently touring the blog world in support of her new YA novel, "Nature's Unbalanced", which is volume 2 in her YA fantasy series "The Chosen".

So without further ado, my interview with Andrea Buginisky.


Why did you start writing?

I've loved writing since I was a kid. Anytime I had a paper due, I had fun with the assignment. Then, when I was in college, I had to change majors because the career I intended on going into (medical) ended up not being for me. When I was trying to decide what to do, my sister said, "You love writing. Why don't you do that?" I realized she was right and earned my B.A. in journalism. Then I wanted to try to write a book, and the rest is history.
What were some of your earliest influences on your writing?

At first, Danielle Steel. Then, J. K. Rowling and Rick Riordan.
Why did you choose to write YA?

I tried my hand at a romance, but it was quickly going nowhere. Then I started reading "Harry Potter" and watching a lot of fantasy movies. I realized while I was watching "The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising" one day that that's what I wanted to write: YA fantasy. I chose YA because I wanted to write characters that YA readers could relate to. I had some trouble making friends and dealing with things growing up because of my health, and I wanted to have characters that kids who are dealing with difficulties in life could look at and see that dreams can be accomplished.

Amazon

Why fantasy?

I love the make-believe world. I can create any creature I want and just go with it.
  Have you ever thought about branching off into a sub-genre (i.e. western, contemporary) of the YA field?

Once I tried writing books for younger kids about a group of ten-year-olds and their adventures growing up together, but again, they never went anywhere. I'm much better at fantasy.
 
What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?

Finding the right niche for me, and then finding a publisher who thought so too.
  Final question: When you're not writing for work or pleasure, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love to watch TV and movies, visit with family and friends, and relax.


Andrea Buginsky is a freelance writer and author."The Chosen" was her first book, and was followed by "My Open Heart," an autobiography about growing up with heart disease. "Nature's Unbalanced" is the second story in THE CHOSEN series. Andrea plans to write more in the series. She's already done with the first draft of book 3 and has a concept for book 4. You can find Andrea on her website, Andi's Realm. Her books are available at Amazon and B&N.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Socially Inept, But Oh So Comfy Cozy

A couple of months ago, I reactivated my FB account, which was directly due to the fact that my publisher is very keen on using the social media to market and promote their business.

One of the first things that I did shortly after reactivating, was to purge a few people from my circle. It wasn't due to me being upset with them, 'cause I wasn't, but more due to the fact that I really had nothing left in common with them anymore.

The second thing that I did, which was the easiest, was to purge a boatload of pages. Most of them were for business that I no longer patronize, but a few were entertainment oriented.

Line 21
 After I had finished doing those two items, I got busy retooling my profile. And no, I did not activate that nasty Timeline feature, because that is what drove me away in the first place.

I added a new avatar:  yes, that wonderful little cover pic that makes people look thrice and comment either very positive (wow! she's hot!) or slightly negative (holy cow!); and tweaked my privacy settings so that people could read, but not comment unless they were friends, and find me on FB (but not on a public search engine).

The next thing I did, after settling down to a comfy routine of pretty much posting links to my blog and the occasional extreme right of center events that is the world of moi, was to start expanding my circle of friends with people I have something in common with.

This time around, it was easier to do, since a lot of the suggestions that FB were throwing at me were fellow writers that I already knew. I also picked up a couple of non-writers as well.

There were two unintended consequences to me going off on a friendship splurge. One was that I gained a wider audience for my blog, as I happened to get a few more page views and two, I gained a few more followers as well.

Over the years, I made it a point that I wasn't trying to accumulate followers for my blog simply to become Mr. Popularity. I was trying to accumulate followers because I wanted people to know the real me, and build up a base of friends and readers who wanted to stop by because they truly liked what I wrote. And I like to think that I've succeeded.

Now believe it or not, there is a downside to all of this. While I've been relatively fanatical about my privacy, which is to be considered very odd since I have a blog that is filled with all kinds of juicy tidbits about myself over the years, during my first stint on FB it allowed me the freedom to say what I want when I want. This is not the case now.

Now is having to watch what I say. I do this a lot on my blog already, because I don't know who might be reading my blog at a given moment, so the last thing I want someone to do, is to use what I say to get me into trouble (for now).

So now I have to apply the same philosophy on what I post for status updates or what I might contribute to a FB friend's discussion thread. Six degrees, or in this case, 16 degrees of separation.

In spite of that small bout of self-censorship that I have to contend with, I'm really starting to get into the groove of enjoying FB for what it was originally intended to be, and not what it has morphed into.

And that my friends, is the only way to stay comfy cozy while socially networking, because quite frankly, socially networking is just that, nothing more and certainly nothing less.

And if you want a FB friend who doesn't play games but simply posts at the most five or six status updates per week, then by all means, check me out. I don't bite, I don't bother people, and best of all, you can subscribe to my status updates, just like you would do a blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Retro Writing

Brief update: I finished proofing the final draft of my novel this past weekend and sent it back to the editor. Initial result is 98% approved and 2% disapproved. Also, I finally got the chance to read "The Cutman" last week. Please check out my review on Amazon.

I bet you're wondering what exactly is "retro writing". "Retro Writing" is the antique art of writing by hand.

You know, using a pen and paper to write a letter to someone.

You know, what we used to do prior to texting, e-mailing and tweeting.

Anyways, very early on during the current phase of my writing career, I decided to split my time and energy between writing on my computer and writing by hand. I'd already started doing a little of this back in '09 when I was going through my flash fiction phase, so it was pretty easy to crank it up.

I found that while was writing my current novel, it helped me a lot to write small chunks by hand whenever I'd found myself stuck. Somehow, writing by hand forced me to really focus on what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.

For the next couple of years, I kept to that same 75-25 ratio for my regular writing (blogging became reversed). However, by late 2011, I found myself going through long periods of time where I would sit in front of my computer and not write, yet when I went outdoors, writing was easy.

When 2012 rolled around, I was a walking disaster with my original writing. I couldn't do squat if I sat in front of a blank Word document, but had no problem in putting it down on paper. So for a couple of months, I deliberately put my focus on editing one of my novellas. I figured so long as I did that, I wouldn't have to worry about fixing my problem.

However, one can only work for so long on editing a previously written story before the muse starts bopping you on the head.

About a month ago, my muse started bopping me on the head, when the seed of a story idea started growing. Because it was in a genre that I had previously ranted about, I tried my damnedest to squash it. Unfortunately, it fought back and this left me no choice but to write it. It also left me no choice but to face the sticky problem of not being able to write on the computer.

After thinking about it for a bit, and due to the fact that this story was begging to be written, I managed to write a page and a quarter on my computer in under an hour before I had to stop and go grocery shopping. When I finally sat down in front of my computer again a few days later, the story was still begging to be written.

However, I still had that thorny problem of not really being able to write on my computer. Solution: write the damn thing out by hand then transcribe to the computer.

And thus, I began writing my current story exclusively by hand. Writing by hand allowed me the opportunity to really sit and think about what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. And because I frequently wold churn out two to four pages of story, I found the perfect opportunity to use my Dragon software for transcription.

It will be interesting to see how this story eventually turns out because I know if I was writing this exclusively on the computer, I would probably have incomplete scenes and a disjointed plot line.

And speaking of plot, here's the basic plot of my story "Time To Go", which is told in first person point of view.

Two serial killers travel the Wyoming countryside and during one of their successful conquests, turn a potential victim into a reluctant participant.

And if you so desire, follow me over to "It's Always Saturday In Suburbia" to read the first couple of paragraphs of this new tangent that is the writing world of yours truly, and if you feel up to it, leave a comment on what you think of it, or where you think it might go, or even about the inspiration behind it.

Because as with 99% of the stories that are out there, something did inspire this particular story.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Me No Like This Music

I have about 200+ c.d.'s, unequally divided between work and home, and unequally divided between new (90%), used (8%), free (1%) and homemade (1%). Today I would like to talk about used music.

Used music is great as it's the best way of exploring new artists without shelling out an arm and a leg for a c.d. I mean, let's face it, how many times have dropped your hard earned wampum on a new c.d. from someone you'd never heard of before musicwise only to find out afterwards that the music sucked major moose testicles.

C'mon now, 'fess up.

I'll be the first to admit that I've dropped wampum on a artist that I've never heard before only because I've read a little bit about the artist and wanted to hear what they were all about, and the music didn't live up to my expectations (ex. Robert Plant & Allison Krause).

So over the years, I've come to appreciate the used c.d. I found it's a great way to experience a new artist, and if anything, if I don't like, all it costs me was the equivalent of a gallon of gas.

I've also come to appreciate free c.d.s as well. Ain't nothing more satisfying than getting free c.d.s from someone. Only drawback to that, is if the person took crappy care of their c.d.s. I got about a two dozen from a former co-worker and sadly, she did not take too good care of them. Especially the ones that piqued my curiosity, like the ones from local artists. The ones that she did take good care of, were of artists that I don't like.

Be that as it may, I do own a few clunkers, both new and used, that have graced my c.d. player but once, and in some cases, twice before being buried in a far corner of my sock drawer (really) never to be played again.

These clunkers are the end result of making a purchase base on reputation and reputation alone. Let me know what you think, chime in your two cents, the perhaps afterwards, share a few of your clunkers.

1} All Saints: I found this c.d. at a Salvation Army thrift store and for the life of me, I thought it would be a decent girl group vocal thingy. I'm all into stretching my musical horizons, but I give on this c.d. after trying to listen to their version of "Under The Bridge".

2} Best of Bluegrass Gospel: I enjoy bluegrass gospel, so I thought this would be a good box set to try. Boy was I wrong. Basically, it's four musicians playing their version of bluegrass gospel. Lasted until I popped in the 2nd c.d., which began skipping all over the place.

3} James Taylor At Christmas: Unlike the "A Snoopy Christmas" c.d. I picked up just before Circuit City went the way of Eastern Airlines, this c.d. was more of the same tripe that most artists put out every Christmas season. Fortunately, I didn't spend any money on this. Unfortunately, I shouldn't have swapped for it.

4} The Knife Project by Knife Dinero: A serious local c.d. performed by some wannabe faux prog guitarist, I purchased this at Border's, which became one of the few misfires purchases that came out of Borders. A $7 waste, I couldn't even get through the first track without ripping my headphones off.

5} The Chi-Lites: This was one of those greatest hits packages put by some European music company that decided it would be a good thing to digitally remaster the tracks. Feh.

6} Folks by the Nixons: I bought this one used as I was going through my artistic experimental phase. Didn't pique my curiosity for whatever reason and into the sock drawer it went.

7} Mediofano M Capta Est by Mayhem: Death metal at its worst. I read quite a bit about Mayhem, the "premier" death metal band out of Europe (Original bass member ate a gun, his crime scene was used as a record jacket, parents successfully sued to have his music removed from one of their albums) and I was really interested in listening to their music.

Whereas some bands, no matter what the genre, are good recorded live, some are not. This was not. I simply could not get past the first three minutes of the c.d. I tried twice, but the sound was atrocious. Makes my bootleg of the Sex Pistols sound positively professional. Anyways, I spent $17 on this piece of crap new, from FYI, and FY want to give me only $1 when I'd tried to sell it back to them.

8} The Richard Burgin Vanity Project: I devoted an entire blog post to this c.d. Pleae checkout this link to it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

One Early Monday Evening

Ever have one of those days in which you find yourself just a little bit flustered from the events of the day and you find yourself craving for just a few minutes of alone time?

A few weeks ago, I had a Monday just like that. I had some personal business that I really didn't want to take of that day but had to, and coupled with the fact that an unfortunate family crisis landed going into the weekend, left me more than just a little flustered and aggravated. I had spent the rest of the day at home looking for a brief respite/refuge from those particular events, but I wasn't having any luck.

Around lunch tie, I had originally decided to treat the family to lunch at Wings over Newington, but because a few family members were temporarily misplaced, I had to change plans. I instead went to Subway to treat the family to lunch and told Mrs. G. B. that she needed to take something out for dinner later that evening.

The evening's dinner eventually rounded itself out to be a homemade onion-bacon-cheeseburger, a fresh salad and some fries. I said to myself, "HA! I'll have dinner outside and enjoy the warm summer weather!"

So after nuking some Italian style minute rice to replace the non-existent french fries and pouring myself a diet root beer, I brought my food outside and planted my ass in my new outdoor writing area to have a bit of supper and some peace and quiet.

I say "new outdoor writing area", 'cause my entire backyard is one perfect shade zone. The sun approaches from our side of the street, and with the extremely tall shady trees to my left, one tall shady tree to my right, and Cedar Mountain behind me, I was in heaven.

So I sat there, having a rather leisurely mean, enjoying the warm sun and leafy shade (alas, no breeze to speak off) and basically emptying my brain, my spirit and my soul of the annoyances of the day, when I happened to spot an old plastic chair sitting in the middle of the yard.

I didn't think about why or how it got there, since earlier in the afternoon my daughter had decided to sit outside in the sun to play a game on her I-Phone. Yeah, you can now insert comment on how children have a tendency to do the opposite of what normal people do. But the chair got my attention in a way that most things do nowadays, and it got me to thinking.

Mostly, it got me thinking about the way it was situated, in that it wasn't quite balanced as it was resting on three legs instead of four. So as it sat there, an image immediately popped into my head. The unpleasant image of someone sitting in the chair getting ready to be executed by a firing squad.

Now, I'm not sure why that particular image popped into my head, but it seemed like a natural fit. From that particular image, I actually started creating a scene in my head to fit that particular image. Was the person sitting there strapped in? Sure. Was the typical firing squad there? Actually, no. It was one individual who was standing a few feet from the chair, and that idea I pulled from an award winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War.

Anyways, I spent the rest of my dinner quietly building the rest of the scene and trying to figure out why that particular image originally popped into my head. The best I was able to come up with, was this:

Sitting in my quiet backyard, with the sun beating down and looking at a semi-dried pond and the tilted chair, conjured up the image of the quiet aftermath of a battlefield, and I somehow got transported to that very same scene in my mind.

What do you think? Did the stresses of the day somehow pushed me into a particular direction that under normal circumstances I wouldn't have even given a second thought to? Or do I simply have an incredibly vivid imagination?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Got Me A Little Nook-E

No, I didn't get that, although if I did, this post would be over there and not over here. What I got instead, was the Nook Simple Touch.

Yup. A simple e-reader for a simple man. Because as you undoubtedly know, bells and whistles impress me not. Simple, basic and nutritious are the things for me.

Oh wait, I'm sounding like Gordon Ramsey.

Anyways, I bought the Nook-E not for pleasure but for the express intent of properly fulfilling my contractual obligations. And what might those be you ask?

go ahead, ask.

"Hey G.B.! What kind of contractual obligations do you have?"

Glad you asked. That particular contractual obligation involves having to do at least one book review a quarter. As of late, I've been falling behind in my obligations, especially since it seems to be the easiest thing to fulfill. But when your finances are tighter than Scrooge McDuck's wallet, you learn to watch every penny. And in this case, watching every penny means becoming very selective in your book purchasing.

I know that sounds like a walking contradiction, especially when can get a free app to install on your computer, but because I'm loathe to spend any more time on a computer than I already do (time spent currently stands at 13 hours per day M-F), the only logical step to take was to buy an e-reader, which in this case, a Nook.

Because I bought the 1st edition, it unfortunately means that I am limited to two types of files: PDF & E-books. So I can't download MOBI files, which means for me one less thing to worry about.

Now normally when I get a little jazzed about something related to books, like a gift card, I would always ask for suggestions on what to read. This time around, I'm not looking for any suggestions on what to read, beyond what Solstice is coming out with or what my fellow writers might be coming out with.

If you're a fellow writer and have something new coming out, either through a traditional publisher or self-pubbed, give a thought about shooting something my way. I'll be more than happy to work a review and a link in for you. The review would be posted on both Amazon and B&N.

Reading for pleasure will always be related to print, but reading for business will always be relegated to the world of the Nook.

And speaking of the Nook, please check out my latest review for a YA fantasy written by Andrea Buginsky:
The Chosen.

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