Monday, November 4, 2013

Father Nature's Corner

Father Nature's Corner

Good day to everyone! As I'd mentioned in last Friday's (11/1) post, I would write one more post so that some of my readers who have stepped away from the cyber world due to real world obligations would have a semi-permanent post in which to start their journey to my new blog, as well as anyone else who happened to stop by either due to this addy being on a business card or they hit the "next blog" button on their dashboard.

The picture you see is the header for my new blog, Father Nature's Corner. Clicking either the link or the caption will bring you to the front page of my new blog, which will be update with roughly the same frequency of Cedar's Mountain.

Once again, I like to sincerely thank all of my wonderful readers who have made the last 5 1/2 years of my life as pleasant and as fruitful as humanly possible.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I'm Moving Out!

Almost 5 1/2 years ago, May 24th 2008 to be precise, I started this nifty little blog called Cedar's Mountain that you're reading today..

Throughout the 1,065+ blog posts, I have covered almost every conceivable topic that had interested me. While I was waxing poetically, philosophically, argumentatively, and plaintively, with as much drama as I could hyperventilate with, I managed to meet dozens of people, made friends with almost as many, and basically had a block party to end all block parties.

I also managed to pick the brains of some well known writers in genres that prior to 2008 weren't event on my radar, received genuine, heartfelt (and sometimes harsh) critique of my writing. Along the way, I managed to get two short stories and one novel published the traditional way, which gave me the confidence to dip my toes into the self-publishing waters again and publish a short story trilogy.

Blogging has always been and will always be near and dear to my heart. However, sometimes we have to face the reality that every once in a while, to be truly happy and satisfied with what you're doing, you have to make a change, radical or otherwise.

For the past few months I've been giving serious thought about doing something completely different with my blogging. Not something as radical as gutting and rebuilding (hell, I do enough of that with my writing), but more in the line of tweaking and cleaning.

However, during those same few months I've been getting completely aggravated with Feedburner and the perpetual fluctuation of my subscriber count due to the permanently corrupted content contained with my feed and template. I've also become somewhat disenchanted with my current blog, and somewhat envious of other bloggers and their blogs (not the content, just the appearance).

So this past Sunday (10/27) I made the decision to eliminate all of my blogging stress with extreme prejudice, and created a brand new blog called Father Nature's Corner with a brand new addy (clicking on the link will bring you to the new blog).

Father Nature's Corner will become my new blogging home starting November 4th. Cedar's Mountain will go on a semi-permanent hiatus as chairman emeritus, but will remain open, not only for people to peruse at their leisure, but for me to use as a vast library of blogging minutia.

Cedar's Mountain will be updated whenever I get a book published either the traditional way or the non-traditional way, as well as other possible odds and ends.

It is my sincere hope that not only for you continue following me but continue to read my various ramblings about my writing and the world around me at my brand new blog:

I will forever be your blogging/writing bud from Connecticut: G. B. Miller

P.S.: I realize that some people may still stop by either out of curiosity (I still have business cards with the Cedar Mountain addy) or because they've stepped away from the cyber world due to real world issues taking precedence, so I'll be making one more post on November 4th, with will basically be the picture that I use for the header of my new blog, along with the link and a short sentence stating where fresh content can be found. That will be, until further notice, the very last post for Cedar's Mountain.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I. Hate. Spam.

As many of you know, I have an extremely low tolerance of spam. How low? For starters, I stopped allowing anonymous comments because I got tired of having coup counted on my blog as well as the namby-pamby comments left while those smarties were counting coup on my blog (yeah, I realize that this probably isn't the right way to use the word "coup", but garbage learned from Hollywood westerns dies very hard).

For seconds, I have nuked spammy comments that have gotten by Blogger's spam filters. For thirds, I have a low tolerance of people with profiles spamming my blogs (yes, someone with a Google+ profile spammed my post about turntables a couple of weeks ago, with an ad about turntables).

Today's rant has to do with spam on Facebook.

While you may think it's impossible to get spam on your Facebook wall (for those of you who have Facebook), think again. All those suggested pages that you get in your newsfeed and/or page feed and/or wall (what you see as you're cycling through your newsfeed) is to a small degree spam. This is the only spam I tolerate on Facebook.

What I do not tolerate is a fellow writer sending me an unsolicited private message that contains a link to their e-book. To me, that is the 2nd most severest form of privacy invasion that someone can do (number one is pasting the link to the same unsolicited book on either of my pages). While I can understand the need to advertise/pimp one's book, sending a spammy e-mail/private message is the fastest way to 1} alienate a potential reader and 2} have that potential reader bad mouth you to everyone else.

Fortunately, while I am alienated (because I'm damn sure I won't read anything from that author if I should remember their name), I will not badmouth their book nor am I badmouthing them to others. And before you get on my case about it, the previous sentence clearly implies that I don't remember their name, so this is a general rant about spamming potential readers about your book.

For those of you who write and decide to self-publish, one key thing to remember is that you don't send out unsolicited e-mails, Twitter postings, Facebook messages or Facebook postings. If anyone is telling you to do that, then they're DEAD WRONG! Alienating readers is the fastest way to make sure that no one ever pays attention to what you got. Period.

So please, before you decide to something that not only might get you blocked from that person's wall, but get you reported as well, ask the people in question that you want to contact. You have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer you want to hear. If not, at least you'll leave the impression that common courtesy is something that you possess.

And believe it or not, applying little common courtesy will reap you benefits in the long run.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I Don't Like Could Fill This Screen To Capacity

whips out his trusty bullhorn and whistle. blows the dust bunnies out of the whistle and turns on the bullhorn. and blows whistle into bullhorn.

Okay, it's been a very, very, very long time since I went off on a multi-tangent tirade on this blog. In fact, it's been so long that I probably don't know where I should start looking in the seventy-five plus tags that I got floating on the main page. But, in the past few weeks, I've experienced a litany of annoyances that have aggravated me so much that I decided to unload what's been bugging me on this blog toot sweet.

"But G.B., why not unload on Facebook about it?"

Because what has been annoying the crap out of me covers all spectrums of cyberspace, including Facebook, so the safest place to do it is here on the blog. I figure no one reads this much anyways anymore, so I think I'm pretty much safe from any blow back.

In no particular order of importance beyond a proper numerical countdown, here's what's been bugging me lately.

1} Google: three weeks ago, when I caved in and changed my name on my YouTube account, I got automatically dumped into Google+, which I neither want, like or give a rat's ass about. Sadly, with one of two options not viable right now because pursuing it would run the risk of not having a blog anymore, I was left with the option of making sure that I am not bugged with Google+. That option was unchecking every notification/tag option under the sun. Forewarned, if you try to add to me to Google+, I will bad mouth you on Facebook and this blog.

2} Spam: Six months ago, I got rid of the ability of people to comment anonymously because I got sick of dealing with spam. Less than one week after being shoved into Google+, I got spammed by someone from Google+. On an unrelated note, I got a junk e-mail from a SEO company about my adult blog getting lots of page views. Seems that a post on my adult blog, specifically an excerpt from one of my WIP's is being touched by the gods of spam. F them.

3} Facebook. While I love my publisher's private group for the fact that I can keep up to date about what they're doing, the fact that it's quickly turning into a ginormous lovefest is bugging the crap out of me. Example: whenever I log onto FB, I have anywhere from 10 to 20+ notifies for the group (that translates to roughly 50-60+ per day). I click on the link, and almost immediately, people are posting things like 5 star reviews that they've gotten for their books. Not jealous, but at this point, I'm taking any and all 5 star reviews that I see, with a huge boulder of salt.

4} Back to Google. Depending on the browser and said age of browser, you get a different log in screen. I have IE 8 on my old computer and I use it mostly to print stats from this blog (Chrome doesn't print in color) and other assorted odds and ends. The log in screen for Google on IE 8 is different than the log-in screen for Chrome on my old computer and different for IE 10 on my new computer. Seriously irritating.

Oh and they updated the Google website so that the toolbar is gone and thus is now non-user friendly.

5}Writer's blogs. Nothing irritates me more than hooking up with a writer's blog that is more style than substance. To me, there are two kinds of writer's blogs: writers who already have such a heavy/long term presence in the blog world that their blogging is simply an extension to their regular writing, and writer's who establish a blog way after they've started publishing their stories. The later blogs become mostly cannon fodder for blog hops, boring author interviews and the latest pimping of their books.

Piece of advice to those writers who fall into the second category: DON'T DO IT! BUILDING A BLOG AUDIENCE TAKES AS MUCH IF NOT MORE TIME AS BUILDING AN AUDIENCE FOR YOUR WRITING!

6} Commercial radio. Redundancy and lack of originality is taking a toll on my ability to listen to commercial radio longer than fifteen seconds.

7} College radio. While I love college radio, I detest and despise fundraising drives. Right now, I equate college radio fundraising drives with PBS fundraising drives. One of my favorite stations is doing one, so now I'm forced to listen to other stations that play hip-hop. 'Nuff said.

8} My health. As most of you know, I suffer from this. Because of that, I have a tendency to not put up with a lot of crap from my body whenever it decides to rear its ugly head. Right now, it's rearing its ugly head in the form of pulled muscles in both of my thumbs. That's right, both thumbs. And no, it's not carpal tunnel, because I made a point many decades ago to switch off when using a mouse for my computer. At work, my left hand works the mouse, at home, the right hand works the mouse and both hands will work the little mousepad on the computer. Back to the thumbs. It's creating a little bit of havoc with my driving because obviously, you need a minimum of seven digits to turn a steering wheel, and when you're down a few, it because very difficult. And creating a bit of havoc with my writing at work, 'cause you know, you need at least a finger and a thumb to hold and write with a pen.

9} Blogs. If you're gonna decide to throw in the towel, please kind enough to let your readership know that you're saying "Adios!" as you ride off into the sunset. Nothing worse than going to a blog and seeing all the content erased from the blog.

10} Phone spam. About once a month, I get a phone call from ASI (Author's House) asking if I want to purchase any more books to sell. Usually I don't answer it and the reason why I can say with confidence about they're asking me is that they leave the question in a voice mail. With the latest voice message, I'm sorely tempted to call him back and make him question the reasoning behind him working there.

In the meantime, here's food for thought. ASI is owned by Penguin Books. Yes, that Penguin Books. So if you're thinking about submitting a manuscript to Penguin, remember, they own vanity press Author's House.

11} Facebook. I still have the usual complaints going with Facebook (what's popping up in my newsfeed and not with the actual website), so there really is nothing new to talk about there.

Okay, I think I'm all set for the next few months with my ranting. Unless a few more irritating things raise their collective head which forces me to unload on my blog yet again.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Crawling Into The Playground Of My Mind

Today's post will be one part update and one part exploration as it applies to my writing and the various projects I have on hand.

1} Update

I'm making steady, albeit very slow, progress in rewriting my crime novella/novel "It's Just Business". Free time, as always, is a precious commodity that I don't have great quantities of. So I plod along the best I can.

I've now reached the decision on what I want to do with my completed novellas "Shadow's Vengeance" and "Blackness In The White Sand" and where I want to go, and that is to go the self-publishing route. I want to do Smashwords for the e-book version and Createspace for the print version of my novellas.

The main reason as to why I decided to self-publish is that the novella, for what its worth, is unusually hard to land with a publisher (see the rejects I got for Shadow's Vengeance). Most publishers prefer the novel (i.e. 60K+) format as opposed to the novella format, and except for my commercial debut, most of my stories are in that particular format.

With that being said, I am having a devil of a time trying to find an acceptable cover for my novella Shadow's Vengeance. The problem that I'm finding is a bit of a sticky issue, in that my female MC's are black, and for the subject matter in question (Hell, demons and angels) all of the type of covers that I've found to fit, use white models as their anchor.

I really don't want to use landscapes and things like that for my novella, as having a person would make a better connection/tie-in for the novella. So, we shall keep looking and hopefully I'll find something before the end of the year.

2} The playground of my mind

I think I've mentioned previously that when I tap into my subconscious, the writing that springs forth has a tendency to be uber violent. This particular point was driven home earlier this year when I decided to put away a rather revolting (IMO) crime novella/novel. The content contained within that story runs directly counter to what I can tolerate in my reading, and as such, always gave me a severe case of the creeps whenever I decided to work on it. After I'd put it away, I swore I would never take a stroll down that particular pathway again.

Sad to say, I am travelling down that particular pathway again, as I'm now mining not only the dark recesses of my memory banks, but examining some of the ethical quandaries as well.

What I mean about ethical quandaries, which I'm sure we all have faced at one time or another in our lives, is that some of the content that I'm creating runs directly counter to how I actually stand to a given part of the content.

But, as some are want to say, sometimes the genre that you choose to write in will often dictate how the content should be created. In the crime genre, it is my belief (and I'm sure people will disagree with this belief) that you really have to lose whatever inhibitions you may have about a particular subject/concept in order to write a satisfying story.

This is something that I'm actively doing with this novella/novel.

The basic premise is that a drug dealer has pawned his wife off to one of his lower level seller/runner. The other basic plot is that the end of the novella/novel takes place at a funeral. So my main issue is to get from the start of plot A to the end of plot B by any means necessary. And because it's in the crime genre as well as the paranormal genre, it gives me carte blanche to get from A to B.

For the moment, I'm not really thrilled about some of the scenes I've written, but I keep reminding myself that in the crime genre, the end justifies the means.

Or does it?

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Took A Walk, I Observed, I Now Share

I took a mild mental break yesterday (no comments from the macadamia gallery) by taking a short drive to WestFarms Mall, thus creating an opportunity to stretch my legs and floss my brain with observations of the human race.

Warning: There is a chance of you being mildly offended by what you're about to read. If so, please direct your complaint to the Amalgamated Association of Morons, Local 6 7/8, located in lovely downtown Pennsylvania Avenue, which is next to that funny little organization that is being run into the ground by the Blue People.

Observation #1: Urban Outfitters is now carrying, in addition to selected book titles, selected new and reissue music releases on vinyl. Yes, I said, vinyl. Contrary to popular opinion, vinyl is not the latest trend in music, but simply the reappearance of a format that anyone over the age of 35 grew up with. However, the prices are definitely not what you remember them to be. Back them, single LP's were about $8 and doubles were about $15. Now they range in price from $19 (single) to $35 (doubles) and more for certain boxed sets. Plus, a lot of these albums contain things like: codes for MP3 downloads and copies of the actual c.d.

Observation #2: Stretch pants/ski pants/yoga pants, greatly emphasize all that is good, bad and ugly in women. If you need me to elaborate, then it's plainly obvious that you are not a long time reader of this blog, my adult blog or of my writings. I feel your pain....not.

Observation #3: Knee high boots not only are still sexy, no matter what the style, but can make a grown man freeze his face until said owner of boots leaves his field of vision. Afterwards, the grown man usually has to have his face slapped as a reality check.

Observation #4: Long hair is still sensual and sexy, no matter what nationality it may be. I've always been a fan of long hair and roughly 75% of my stories feature women with long hair.*

Observation #5: Two of the original 16 teams that were created in 1901 and 1892 are playing in the World Series later this month: Detroit Tigers (1901) and St. Louis Cardinals (1892). For those who might doubt the validity of my facts, here is the Wikipedia links for the National League and the American League.

*I couldn't find a decent link for long hair, except for Cosmopolitan, and I find that magazine to be somewhat insulting to women. I mean, really, does anyone need 50 ways to make a guy climax or make you orgasm?

Friday, October 18, 2013

ReDeauxing Post #11 And Why I Still Have A Sense Of Humor

I was getting ready to start digging deep within the dark recesses of my brain today, when it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, you needed a short break from reading yet another post about why I write what I write. So I spent, oh I say, 3 1/2 seconds thinking about what to write before saying to myself, "Hey doofus! How 'bout doing a little bloviating an old post? You certainly haven't done that in a while!"

So I went to my old computer and found my leftover list of blog post numbers. If I remember correctly, I had people choose a number between 1 and 941, and I would write a new post on that number. The weird ending number has more to do with the fact that I reached 941 posts by the end of 2012.

Therefore, we will bloviate about post #11 and hopefully we'll come up with something halfway decent.

I believe that post #11 was created from a short e-mail that I got from a co-worker back in the 1990's. Compared to today's sick puppy dog humor, it's pretty inoffensive. Back then, as now, California was known for marching to the beat of Keith Moon than to Buddy Rich. So people always made jokes about the various lifestyles that were embraced: M&F, M&M, F&F, MM&F, FF& M, etc. etc. etc.

So while my sense of humor was deliberately set to flying under the radar back then, it is now set mostly to high jump/low ceiling. Although it may be of the high jump/low ceiling level of crudeness, the crudeness that we profess has been sorely lacking for the past few years.

Let's face it gang, you know as well as I do that my sense of humor is more suited towards your comment section of your blog/timeline than it is to my blog/timeline. Some 5 1/2 years later, I still have a tendency to censor myself and my humor. Having been burned by ex-friends from the real world and cyber space over the years has a tendency to make me gun shy.

But...I still have my moments of brilliance, as they say. My personal humor does pop up on this blog from time to time, as well as my adult blog, while what I find funny pops up all the time (check out my e-mail tag, newspaper tag, humor tag, and anything else that looks out of the ordinary).

So my friends, while my sense of humor has evolved from #11 to what you've read in the past year, I am still the same person with the same skewered outlook on life.

And in the end, isn't that all you can really hope four?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Classic Rock; The Fugly And The Good

As most of you know, I have a hate/loathe relationship with classic rock music. This stems directly from the fact that due to my age (48 1/2), I grew up on classic rock music, and thus have no real desire to listen to it again.

Actually, I should clarify that last statement.

While I grew up on classic music (back when it was NEW), my only desire when it comes to listening to those bands from the 70's thru the 80's, is listening to the entire body of work, and not just the one or two hits that are murdered in as many ways as to dispatch a member of the human race.

Think I'm kidding?

If you name a band or an artist, chances are I can tell you what song is overkilled on commercial radio.

In fact, here is a short sample of artists who have a solid catalogue (more than 4 albums) of work, yet most major commercial rock/alternative/adult stations will play one song and only one song from that artist.

1} Pure Prairie League: "Amie"
2} KISS: "Rock & Roll All Nite"
3} Jimmy Buffet: "Margaritaville"
4} Jeff Healy: "Angel Eyes"
5} Squeeze: "Tempted "
6} Tower of Power: "What Is Hip?"

Now, I can wax poetically in this vein until I make you want to rip out your eyeballs, but I'm too nice of a guy to inflict that kind of pain on you.

Instead, I'll continue with my next point of the good about classic rock, and to a lesser degree, pop music.

Long before the invention  and prominence of entities such as RealAudio, Sirius XM and Pandora, which brought a better tolerance and acceptance to classic rock (as well as other genres), there was college radio. College radio in its heyday, brought the classic rock sound of the 60's and 70's to the generation of listeners who not control the commercial airways.

In present times, college radio remains one of the few, if not only, places where you can hear almost any genre old or new, on the dial. And yes, you can hear both classic rock and classic pop as well.

In other words, you can listen to the various jocks delve a bit deeper into a given artist's catalogue and pull out gems that either you haven't heard before or haven't heard in a while on commercial radio, simply because the powers that be deemed that particular song wasn't a huge enough hit for the artist.

So in addition to exploring new and old genres of music, college radio remains the only place where I can tolerate and appreciate both classic rock and classic pop.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

A somewhat short post today, which is a rarity on this blog since I've always gone for both the jugular and the ceratoid one nibble at a time when it comes to lengthy posts. Drain 'em slow I always say and leave them with echo-y shells where their cerebellum used to be.*

*yes, Halloween is upon us, and I'm trying to keep an even keel as it applies to grossness this year. However, if you need a dose of grossness to get your Monday off to a rip roaring start, click here.

Today, I am over at my picture blog where I will be showing part 2 of 3 of my picture series "Hiking on Cedar Mountain", so if you step to your right, you can waste about one minute of your day admiring the beauty that is Cedar Mountain.

In other news, I am taking a short break from re-write my novella "It's Just Business", as I am taking a proverbial detour to a folder called "Shadow's Vengeance", where I will start the laborious process of formatting that novella for both print and e-book. I figure each one should take me a total of at least a month to format, although the e-book should go quicker as I've already had my baptism by fire in formatting my latest:

Available here

However, formatting for print will be the one that will have me tearing my hair follicles with a pair of tweezers, in spite of the fact that I downloaded the formatting guide from Createspace. I figure by the time I get down formatting both editions, I should have a resolution the thorny problem of finding a cover for the novella. This is something I'll expound upon in the coming weeks, but suffice to say, it's another item that is slowly making me pull my hair follicles out with a pair of tweezers.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Oasis That Is College Radio

Long before Sirius XM, Pandora and the Intenet, the only way to listen to non-mainstream music was college radio. Any kind of genre you wanted to listen to, chances are that you could find it on the college dial (that's usually below 92 or above 107 on your FM dial).

There you could listen to anything you wanted to, pretty much commercial free (but not PSA free). Back then, not only were you able to explore all kinds of genres, but quite often you could discover new bands and artists before they were corrupted (not them, their music) by mainstream radio. Even now, you can pretty do the same thing.

The reason why I bring this up, is that right now college radio is the perfect refuge for those who are sick and tired of listening to the same two or three songs from a given artist on the FM dial.

Think about it for a minute.

If you like a certain artist or even a certain band or type of music, and you don't have complete 24/7 access to the Internet, then college radio is for you. Where else will a jockey play anything but the actual hit from a given artist except on college radio?

I kind of had this epiphany the other day while I was listening to 107.7 WFCS (CCSU) and they were playing a known song (Overkill) by a good band that is always mutilated on commercial radio. While Men At Work wasn't the flash in the pan that commercial radio makes them out to be, they did have a solid body of work and about a half dozen Billboard Top 100 hits to their credit.

College radio is notorious for exploring a particular artist's whole catalogue of work and not just the one or two hits that commercial radio will overplay to death (I have made this point on numerous occasions over the years, so I won't belabor the issue here).

College radio is also notorious for not censoring certain songs just because they have words that Conglomo's deem to be offensive to certain listener's ears (note, I am not talking about George Carlin's world famous list of words you can't say on television). I've also voiced my opinion on that as well.

College radio is also notorious for not creating the modern version of K-Tel Records like commercial radio often does. If someone decides they want to play, for example, all 22+ minutes of The Allman Brothers "Whipping Post", you bet your last dollar they're gonna let that song play all the way through.

Bottom line is if you want to listen to a particular genre of music and you don't have 24/7 access to the Internet, college radio is the next best thing. Where else can you listen to a particular artist and their entire catalogue of work, not just the hits, except on college radio?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Show Me Da Money!

I thought I would touch upon the topic, although near and somewhat dear to my heart, hasn't seen the light of day on this blog for quite some time. The main reason as to why it hasn't been touched has more to do with not really having anything to talk or harp about.

Today's flashback topic du jour is work.

Now before you go and start shouting from the roof top over the fact that I'll serenade you with tales of brave G.B. whose naked ears were tortured from dealing with stupid, this will not be about that. Instead, jhis will actually be not only about something positive about work but something positive about my labor union too.

Back in the year when the messiah was masquerading as a man who cares, all the state agencies finally got the attention of the state by presenting a united front (via the clerical union) about the obscenely high turnover rate in their payroll departments. For years most state agencies were bleeding bodies with extreme prejudice in payroll because over the perceived pay inequities (true) and lack of upward mobility (also true), which often fell on deaf ears with the powers that be (surprised? you shouldn't be).

Finally, in the year of the messiah masquerading as a US Senator (aka 2007), the state asked all the agencies to write an excruciating detailed oriented report so that the state could perform a SCOPE project as it applied to the payroll clerk position. A SCOPE project (for the uninformed masses like you and I) is where the state performs an exhaustive study based on the excruciating detailed report that were prepared to see whether or not a justification exists to reclassify the payroll clerk position.

Some 6 1/2 years later, after dealing with multiple labor concession packages that featured salary freezes, unbalanced givebacks like furloughs, ObamaCare and enough red ink to write Battlefield Earth in every conceivable language known to mankind, the state cried uncle and said, "Yes! Yes! Yes! We agree with your claims! Just make the incessant drumming go away!"

With those magic words of "We agree" being offered, an entire class of worker bees dropped to their collective knees in shock and awe, because never before had they experienced something positive and touched the hand of God in the process. Can I get an AMEN! from everyone?

I say brothers and sisters, can I get a HALLELUJAH! and a AMEN! at the altar of the Church of OMFG I Don't Believe It! Sing his praises to the person who matters the most in your life , the one that gives you the tools to affect change....your union rep!


Reality check: What this does is to revamp an entire overworked, underappreciated, much maligned and seriously stagnant job class and not only gives them a decent monetary incentive but also gives them a chance to earn a promotion. By promotion I mean that this agreement creates two distinct group of payroll clerks: those who handle regular non 24/7 (aka M-F) payrolls, which covers about 85% of the state agencies; and those who handle 24/7/365 payrolls, which is the remaining 15%.

What does this mean for me? For starters, because I handle a 24/7/365 payroll at my current stop, I'll go up two pay grades, instead of the one pay grade like the majority of my co-works, which of course means more money. The downside is that I'll only have three other agencies that I can go to should I choose to do a lateral transfer.

However, the upside of more money couple with potential new duties and responsibilities more than outweighs the downside of limited growth and opportunities.

It's tough working for the guv'ment, no matter what level you're at, because you are often the only contact that the public has when dealing with the fallout of kicking the can down the road. I can sympathize with the public because I've seen and experienced first hand the ineptitude and hypocrisy of those higher ups.

But sometimes, a tiny little sunbeam that punctures the black sky of disillusionment can often make a world of difference.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Clean Threesome For You To Partake In

Good Monday morning to everyone!

Boy do I have the perfect threesome for you today!

For starters, I am over at Penny Estelle's blog Penny's Tales participating in her ginormous schwag promo Christmas In October. Come over and check out me and my fellow authors and make sure to leave a comment, as one lucky commenter will win the grand prize of all the books that are featured on the blog in the month of October. So make sure to comment often throughout the month, as the more your comment, the greater chance you have in winning.

Once you finish the first part of your threesome there, and had a glance at what I have to offer at my book blog, the second part of your threesome takes place at my picture blog Shooting Suburbia. Over this past weekend I went for a short one hour hike up Cedar Mountain and in the process took roughly a dozen and a half of pictures plus one video. Part one is being featured today, with parts two and three being featured later in the month.

And finally, we save the best part of the threesome for last. Over at my adult blog It's Always Saturday In Suburbia, I have an excerpt from my latest writing project to share with everyone. As you know, I've been re-writing the novella that launched me on the journey to where you're presently reading this blog post, and right now, I have roughly 23 pages of slightly over the top prose. For your enjoyment, I give you the re-written prologue. This should give you a good idea on the direction I'm going with this novella/novel, as well as the basic reason as to why I'm listening to heavy metal music while writing this.

Friday, October 4, 2013

So You Feel Old, Eh?

From time to time, I hear people complain about feeling old. This I find highly amusing, since the comment is often uttered by people who are least fifteen years younger than I am (I'm forty-eight).

Whereas some of the younger generation can and should be scoffed at for uttering such a phrase, older folks like myself, who happened to utter that phrase, should not be scoffed at. Why? Well, to quote Fire Marshal Bill, "Let me show you something!"

I often utter that phrase because more often than not, I'm coming across staff members who were born starting with my freshman year of high school (1979) through my five year reunion (1988). So when I say, "I'm feeling really old", I mean it.

Having said that, here are a few interesting tidbits about me that the average reader of my blog probably has never experienced.

1} I grew up in the pre-public Internet age.
2} The most popular pre- IBM or pre-Apple computer for public consumption was the Tandy computer. Retail price: around $3K.
3} Computer language was either BASIC or COBOL.
4} I loaded programs via cassette or 5.25" floppies.
5} Yes, I said 5.25" floppies.
6} I am an original first-generation MTV viewer. MTV came out during my senior year of high school.
7} I am pre-cable TV. You know, rabbit ears for analog?
8} Vinyl was king, cassettes were queen, and eight tracks were going bye-bye.
9} All those shows you watch on either TV Land or ME-TV I watched first run.
10} I've watched about one half of M*A*S*H as first run.
11} I remember when Fox Television was created.
12} Pay phones were in vogue.
13} Cell phones did not exist.
14} Regular leaded gasoline, the environmental community's stupidest and most successful banning to date, was around when I was growing up.
15} You could smoke and buildings.
16} Jai Lai was a major thing here in Connecticut.
17} No social media, unless you count the tabloids that were prevalent, as well as TV Guide and the entertainment section of the newspaper.
18} Speaking of newspapers, I read them voraciously.
19} I had hair.
20} PBS was the only station that had quality children's programming.
21} All those cartoons that you see in reruns from the seventies and eighties? I watched them when they were FRESH AND NEW.

So my friends, these are the kind of things that I have experienced while growing up, and if I should happen to mention them to others, I get blank faces as a response.

So how 'bout you? Have you grown up with a few things that the younger generation has a problem in comprehending, understanding or relating to?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Turntables And I Ain't Scared To Use 'Em

One of the main reasons why I wanted to purge and clean out my den last June (and in the process get completely wasted and sick), was that I wanted to be able to listen to my monster record collection. Prior to this past June, my music and stereo were spread out on two floors/three locations in my house: the 45's (about 1200+) located in the dining room, the majority of my LP's (about 1700+) located in the cellar buried in back of a pallet of old booze and the remaining LP's (about 500+) and two turntables located in my soon-to-be man cave.

So after doing a ginormous non-medical three day purge of the contents of my soon-to-be man cave and some killer vacuuming, coupled with the three hour titanic non-food binge, I had my music set up to where I could properly access it. Not only was I finally able to figure out just exactly what the hell I had (for the first time in five years), but I inadvertently created a nice place where I could play bad air guitar, bad air bass and bad air drums.

Anywho, I also found a great place to put my two turntables. Originally they were just to left of me and my computer, but after the remodel, they wound up on top of the 45 record cabinet.

About the turntables. Ever since my one piece stereo (turntable/cassette/AM-FM tuner) vanished while I was moving back to Newington in 2004, I've been on a major search and destroy for either a new turntable plus components or a one piece stereo to play my vinyl on. I succeeded in the late 2000's by buying a combined turntable/radio tuner/cassette/CD player & burner stereo. So I spent some time not only to listening to my music but burning CD's as well. Eventually I gave up using the turntable as the cheap stylus (plastic) wore out, and just concentrated on the CD player portion.

This went on for a few more years, until I was able to buy one of those turntables that I could hook into my computer and burn CD's/listen to music via my computer. However, we did a slight swerve as we took a few of the funky colored wires that came with it and hooked up the turntable through the seldom used one piece stereo.

Presto! Instant semi-killer stereo system!

Or so I thought. In my haste to get a decent stereo system up and running, I neglected to think about one very key concern: speakers.

That's right boys and girls. I was so wrapped up in getting my turntable up and running that I completely forgot about getting separate speakers (and thus having twin stereo sound) in my man cave. So the end result is now a crappy stereo sound in my man cave and a unhappy camper.

But... there was a little light at the end of the long dark tunnel. Even though I had a crappy stereo sound that mostly drove me batty, I did have that one key accessory that all people need if they want to play air guitar or air drums without bothering the outside world.


So now all is right with my world, because now not only do I have a semi-killer stereo system but I have a pair of killer headphones that will help me properly fry out my brain cells, whether I listen to 45s, LPs, or CDs.

I tell you, not only is music a beautiful thing but it can push you to do things that you long thought were too aggravating or tedious to do.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Writing To Music?

Music and writing, while they go hand in hand for most people, it rarely did for me. Usually, the only time I would listen to music while writing would be while I was applying a boat load of editing notes to a second draft of a given manuscript. Beyond that, music was a bona fide major league distraction of epic proportions.

But sometimes, certain things do change, and listening to music while writing was one of them.

I've mentioned previously that I was reworking and rewriting a very old (about six years) crime novella/novel, so that it would be more in line with what I was already writing (paranormal). However, I knew I had my work cut out for me, because while I had originally written this thing while I was still able to channel some anger into my writing, I had no such reservoir to help me now.

But... I did have an idea on how to get some of that anger, or rather, that particular mindset back. Some time ago, I remember reading a comment put forth by Charles Gramlich, either on his blog or on mine, on how he would often listen to hard rock/heavy metal in order to write battles scenes for his stories.

I thought if that can work for him maybe it can work for me.

Enter my record collection.

After going on a brief search and destroy, I found some heavy metal/hard rock to listen to. First up were two Metallica LP's: Masters of Puppets and Garage Days Re-Revisited.

That music was just what the doctor ordered as the opening notes of "Battery" instantly got me into the necessary frame of mind to rewrite the story.

Dark violent music equals sometimes dark and seriously violent writing.

It took me almost a half dozen attempts before I was able to listen to each album in its entirety. The end result from those two albums with roughly a quality pages of prose (I had originally started rewriting the lighter music, but switched up when I realized that the rest of the novella/novel required darker and heavier stuff).

As I've mentioned earlier, I started with some Metallica, but soon realized that if I wanted to continue down this vein of darkness I was going to need a larger dose of heavy metal.

A quick search of my memory bank brought up an early eighties compilation entitled The Best Of Metal Blade, Volume 1. So I spent a few weeks frying my brain cells out to early eighties heavy metal (i.e. Fates Warning, Airax, Bitch and Celtic Frost). Did a world of good for pumping up the anger quotient for my writing.

Once I mentioned to finish off that very nice double LP, I quickly search my memory banks and came up with Motorhead.

Gracing my turntable right now is the first of about four Motorhead albums, entitled 1916.

I do have some other heavy metal/hard rock floating around, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden for example, that should keep me occupied for the rest of the novella/novel.

Sometimes, you just have to open your mind to new sources of creativity, inspiration, and a new way of getting things done.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Irritate My Human Big Time


Allow me to introduce myself: I am Holly, and today we're taking over my human's blog, 'cause you know, nothing irritates our humans more than getting into their business by doing our business, and since my human hates it when I do my business in his business, he's giving me carte blanche in doing my business on his blog in the vain hope that somehow I won't be doing my business in his business for the foreseeable future.

Anywho, let me tell you how I really irritate my human in the morning.

When I wake up, I need to stuff my face with food. I don't really care about what my human wants, 'cause you know, it's all about me. So what I usually do when my stomach is growling is to jump on my human and start purring in his face, 'cause you know, I needs food.

This usually happens around 4:30 in the morning, with repeat performances every fifteen minutes until he finally drags his butt out of bed at 5:30. The second his feet touch the floor, I'm weaving between his legs, 'cause you know, I need to be fed, like now.

So when he stands up, that's my cue to run out of the room and run down the stairs, 'cause you know, I need food. But dang it, he don't follow me, 'cause he has to do his morning toiletries. So I have to run back upstairs to get his attention, 'cause you know, I need my food, like yesterday. And I get his attention by purring loudly and weaving between his legs, which in turn irritates the crap out of him.

Finally, he staggers down the stairs and I race down the stairs and wait for him at the bottom, 'cause you know, I need food and he's the slowest thing on the planet. But when he gets downstairs, I start running all over the place, 'cause you know, I need to be fed, like now. And to make sure he feeds me like now, I'll jump on the windowsill, meow madly and wake everyone up by kicking at the window chimes.

Wouldn't you know it, while I'm starving for my breakfast, he's busy getting all of his precious coffee ready in the microwave. So I jump down from the windowsill and start getting under his feet, so that when he steps away, he'll realize that I'm the most important thing there.

Finally, he walks back to the windowsill and I race ahead and jump on, 'cause you know I need my food, like yesterday. But he only grabs the empty dish and walks back to the kitchen. Infuriated, I run back to the kitchen and start meowing very loudly for my food, 'cause dammit, I'M HUNGRY!!!!

The lazy schmuck finally pours my food into the dish, so I race back to the windowsill, jump up and ring the wind chimes. He puts the dish down, and finally, I GOT FOOD!!!

For the next seven seconds, I stuff my face with glorious crunchies. Afterwards, just because he was being a dope for being so slow, I jump down and regurgitate just for him, which of course makes him yell and wake up the entire house.

So next time you decide to take your sweet time in feeding the animal that happens to reside in your home, be prepared for an unwanted present in an unwanted place, 'cause you know, they come first, and don't you dare forget that fact.

Now if you'll excuse, I have to mosey upstairs and irritate my human's spouse, 'cause you know, I'm the queen of all I survey and no one can sleep on my side of the bed with out my permission.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Christmas In October

We interrupt this blog with a late breaking but completely pertinent book promo of ginormous proportions!

The holidays will be here before we know it!  If you’re like me, you have at least one person who already has EVERYTHING!  Not to mention your sons, daughters, or nieces and nephews – who have so many computer games and toys, you trip over them when you walk into their bedrooms?

Instead of one more toy that will be forgotten by January, or spending money on a gift someone MIGHT like, why not go for something different. A gift that sparks a child’s imagination or allows your friends to relax and lose themselves in a world of humor, romance, mystery or fantasy – a book!

We just might have the solution and the good news is you just might get them for free!

During the month of October we have over 45 authors (including myself, who will be appearing on October 7th) to showcase their book covers, a tagline, AND a giveaway.  Every Monday and Thursday, for the entire month, different authors will show you what they have to offer! 

How does this help you?  Simple.  All you need to do is stop by Penny’s Tales, on Mondays and Thursdays and add a comment.  The more you comment, the more chances to win.  On November 1, you might get an email stating you are the lucky winner of the big jackpot! 

Keep watching – more info will be coming!

We now return you to the rest of this blog's unscheduled post. Blogging on the fly, here goes nothin'.

Folks, are you looking for a good read of three short stories from Newington's semi-premier writer/blogger who is independently owned and operated by his wife, two children and pet cat Holly, then feast (or cast, whichever is easier for you to do) on this fantastic short story trilogy called:

Available at Smashwords
Three tantalizing short stories from the creative mind that has brought you mirth, fun, jocularity and this blog for the past five and a half years. Check it out today, you'll be glad that you did.

Or, if you're looking for a little sizzle, a little sensual, and whole lot of personal revelation without being preachy, check out my paranormal erotic fantasy:

Available at Amazon and Books by G.B. Miller
Simply a steal as an e-book or in print, Line 21 will make you think twice about an individual's moral compass and their sense of purpose. Check out the book that has forced this author to cut short a book signing, be turned down for two town fairs and be banned from a Facebook video trailer event. And check out what others have to say about the book by clicking on this review link.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music? What's Dat?

When I was growing up in the 70's (born in '65 thus childhood was in the 70's), I had a major problem about listening to music. While I knew it was out there, I rarely listened to any of it. In fact, as a matter of record, the only time that I listened to any music for any length of time, was if I was traveling with my mother. As far as I could tell, my dad didn't listen to music while us kids were in the car, as he listen to mostly AM (I think until he passed away).

At home, I quickly grew to hate listening to music. As a kid, a good chunk of your down time (for me at leat) revolved around two distinct entities: reading and television. So whenever my dad had papers/quizzes/tests to grade, more often than not he would slap on an album of folk music or (real) country music, which in turn would require me to become bored out of my mind because I couldn't watch television in the living room.

If I wanted to watch television during those times, I had to watch it on a crappy B&W in the kitchen. But, I digress.

Having said that, I did learn to appreciate the music I did listen to, like the classical incidental music for WB Cartoons. And teeny bopper music (i.e. The Brady Bunch & Jimmy Osmond). And, as I got older, the pop music that is currently being murdered on radio, I listened o when it was FRESH AND NEW.

However, because I didn't know up from down when it came to music, I would do stupid things like request an Eddie Rabbit song on a rock station.

As I got older my exposure to other genres came along in fits and starts. For example, I didn't really get into Motorhead like normal people my age, which was exploring a particular sub-genre of music. Instead, I got interested in Motorhead by watching television.

Back in the early days of MTV ('83-'88), they would show the occasional comedy show from the U.K. Like a really warped show called "The Young Ones". Anyways, on one particular episode, they had the band Motorhead playing at a protest rally in their apartment. The song in question was The Ace of Spades, which completely blew me away.

Unfortunately, those exploratory moments were few and very far between, as I basically stumbled through my 20's and early 30's totally clueless about music beyond my parents era (notable exceptions were discovering the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys via non-music sources).

It wasn't until 1996 that I started discovering other types of music. The reason for that watershed moment had a lot to do with starting a brand new job with the state of CT prepping newspapers (see this tag) and in order to keep myself awake, I began listening to the radio.

However, it wasn't until a particular co-worker was added to my department a couple of years later that my musical education began in earnest. How so? He introduced me to college radio, and from that moment on, I started a musical exploration that some seventeen years later is still surprising me with all of the various exits, highways, byways and rural roads that I've grown to love.

Without college radio, I probably wouldn't gotten exposed to and learn to appreciate the following genres:

1} Folk
2} True country aka Americana
3} True alternative rock
4} True R&B
5} Soul
6} Heavy Metal in all of its glorious sub-genres
7} Hard Rock
8} Funk
9} Punk and its various sub-genres
10) Techno
11} Reggae
12} Bluegrass

And without exposure to those and many others, life would be pretty much a dull journey of ginormous proportions.

Don't you think?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What Happens On Hiatus Doesn't Stay On Hiatus

Day one featured random thoughts of abandonment zipping through my brain at breakneck speed as I couldn't stop thinking about how my loyal readers would vacate the premises once my blog settled into hiatus mode.

Day two featured a calmer mood and greater appreciation for all things that surround me. Day two also featured an internal slap across the face for thinking such a pedestrian thought.

Day three through nine featured all kinds of interesting things, including rediscovering my warped sense of humor (FB), pushing various people's buttons (FB), non-hysterical discussions on certain hot topic issues (FB), writing with music and music.

Re: Music.

I spent an ungodly amount of my hiatus listening to music and/or getting lost within myself. I rediscovered a few parts of myself that were long thought buried, and after doing some writing to music, rediscovered my passion for blogging.

I actually came up with a few music related posts while I was getting lost within myself and during the past weekend (14th & 15th), felt relaxed enough to sit outdoors within the shade of Cedar Mountain and start fleshing them out. I have one post already written and a partial one in my folder of fun, and as I go about my day-to-day activities, will probably jot down a few ideas that I have percolating on the back burner

As for this blog, while I have rediscovered my passion for blogging, I am still very leery of going back to a schedule. So to avoid putting undue stress on myself, especially since I've decide to slightly refocus my efforts with my writing (more on that much later in the program), I decided to borrow a page from everyone else out there who blogs and (sort of) blog on the fly.

If I got something that is ready to post, I'll post. If I don't, I won't stress about it.

I'm not quite sure what other changes I might make to this blog, content-wise, but you can be sure that I'll clue everyone in before I do it.

To liven up your Prince Spaghetti day, I leave you with a song that has been humming in the background of my mind while I was writing this post.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Is This The End?

A fourth of a score and some change ago, I started this little blog that you happen to be perusing today. Called Cedar's Mountain, it basically contained my witty and sometime acerbic observations about life, the real world and the cyber world.

For 1,047 posts, I managed to keep not only my readers, but myself entertained as well. Through the various peaks and valleys, and yes, even through the cyclical nature of people's tastes, attitudes and their lives, I tried to be that anchor of calm in an ocean of chaos.

This past week, after posting two throwaways (1048 & 1049) on my bog, I've come to the bitter realization that maybe it's time to ride off into the sunset.

I came to this realization not gradually, but rather suddenly, in that while I was supposedly procrastinating about writing a post about turntables & music, I was really procrastinating about having to write something for the blog.

Sometimes, after we do something that we love for an extended period of time, we wake up one day with a case of "WTF am I doing this for?"

In other words, we are nauseated by what we love to do.

My friends, after five and a quarter years of blogging, I am suddenly overwhelmed with a bad case of nausea. I look at my blog and say to myself, "What am I doing here?"

Previously, the answer would be, "You're here to write a blog post, so get to it."

Now, the answer is, "Damned if I know."

Granted, it's a bad answer to give yourself. It's also a bad answer to give everyone else who depends on you to fulfill their weekly dose of you.

But, as I'm want to say from time to time, there is more to this than meets the eye.

Burnout coupled with disillusionment can often cause people to make snap decisions that they later regret (guilty as charged). So my friends, I need to think long and hard about what I want to do versus what I need to do with this blog.

And because I need to think long and hard about my blogging future, I'm going on hiatus for short spell. You'll still be able to peruse my blogs, as not only do I detest closing a blog for any kind of reason (FSG notwithstanding), but I still intend to be a presence in the cyber world.

I'll still read and comment on your blogs, because quite frankly it's the perfect mental break for the day and/or evening.

Piltdown Man, Lovecraft and Tequila Sunrises for all.

I remain yours in perpetuity,


Friday, September 6, 2013

Ouchies 2!

Okay, so I'm a blithering idiot, which isn't too hard to understand or deal with on a regular basis. I still don't have anything written for my topic of choice (turntables/music) as I'm in my den with the door shut, with a lazy family member blasting the t.v. that is ultimately preventing me from stringing enough words together to form an interesting post.

I would say that you can still drive on by, 'cause you know, I don't have anything of substance (or subsistence for that matter) to give to you.

But....being that I got you here, how 'bout another video? This time, a Rube Goldberg style video.

 I promise that tomorrow, come hell or high water, you will have a post of substance to read that will feature a seldom talked about slice of myself: my taste in music.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Feel free to drive on by this post today, 'cause I have nothing written to share with you. Yesterday was a bit crazy so by the time I was able to sit down at my computer to write what my intended topic (turntable/LP's) of choice was, I couldn't come up with a single thought.

So that your visit isn't a total loss for today, how 'bout some good old fashioned funk to brighten your day?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Processing Random Thoughts


Got a few random thoughts that I would like to process today and what better way to waste several non-precious minutes of my life and yours by inflicting said random thoughts on the millions of brain cells that make up the gray matter that's situated in that bony case called a cranium that most of us, save the 700 odd people that make up the three branches of the federal guv't, possess.

Up last, we have the Facebook thought.

As most of you know, I can be found either privately or publicly on Facebook. In regards to the private, you can either friend me or follow me. As of late, I much prefer that people follow me. I don't really mind friend requests, but unless I personally know you (like current co-worker or former co-worker), chances are that you're better off following me. Why? For starters, I dig controlling my info and to a certain extent, you really can't do six degrees of G.B. Miller when you're a follower, as opposed to a friend. And for finishers, you can comment on what I post for status updates 'cause everything I post is for public consumption, and since everything is for public consumption, why gum everything up by becoming a friend?

Up second to last, we have the personal health thought.

As most of you know, I suffer from CMT (no, not Country Music Television, although I think a good chunk of "country" music fans do indeed suffer from that) and from time to time, it rears its ugly head and proceeds to make my life miserable. The past few weeks, it has indeed made my life miserable, mostly in a bum shoulder (again, although this is a preexisting condition) and the increasingly inability of me to either grab things on the fly, grab things in general and simply hold onto the things I grab.

By all means I am not looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on, but simply venting my frustration over my increasing inability to make my body do what my brain says it should do on the first try. I will say that most people do not offer their assistance when they see me having problems, which believe it or not, is refreshing. Strange I know, but as I've gotten older, I've grown to really hate the fact that certain people in my immediate circle want to treat me as an invalid.

Basically, to those people who probably don't read this blog, I would like to say this: If I need help, I will ask for it. Otherwise, don't treat me as a cripple.

Up third to last, we have the author thought.

Over the weekend, I decided to take advantage of a new thing that Smashwords had added to one's author profile: the author interview. The interview itself is a mixture of pre-asked questions and questions that I created myself, so let me know what you think of it and if you have any suggestions on what I can add to it, by all means let me know.

Up fourth to last, we have the book thought.

In regards to my free e-book promo for "Line 21" that was done the weekend of the August 25th & 26th, I gave away 170 copies. While that is considered to be in some circles a rousing success (a writer friend gave away 850 of her four books), I'm hoping in the coming weeks to capitalize on that by making my other writings known and/or available. Speaking of other writings, apparently my short story trilogy "Broken Promises" has 19 likes on Facebook, so that means I must be doing something right, eh?

Up fifth to last, we have the work thought.

Work is about the same. I put my eight hours in, I occasionally apply for other jobs, occasionally get an interview before continuing on my merry way. There are the occasional change, like co-workers leaving, but overall it's been pretty much the same old same old. However, I am getting a raise for the first time in three years, but that is already partially disappearing due to the concessions package that people were bullied into voting for in 2011. My raise is 3% but .5% is disappearing this fiscal year so that I can have health insurance when I retire (goes up to 2% in FY '14/'15 and 3% for FY '15/16 thru FY '22/'23) and .72% is permanently vanishing until I retire so that I can retire under the normal rules. And on a sadder note, a valued co-worker is leaving (I wrote about it here) Thursday, and she will be greatly missed.

Up six to last, we have the writing update thought.

I've been making very slow and incremental progress on my latest project, with the main reason being is that finding both the time and the peace & quiet that I need in order to write is becoming increasingly difficult. While I've been able to find the time, I can't find the peace & quiet, which is due to certain pain in the ass family member who shall remain nameless. So I've been forced to actually change a bit of my writing routine, which is listen to music while writing.

However, because of the genre in question I'm working on (crime), I can only listen to certain types of music. Through quick trial and error, ragtime, classic country and 60's folk are not allowed. Neither is soul, true r&b, flamenco, funk, classic pop and regular rock allowed as well.

Which narrows my choice down to the following: heavy metal/hard rock, true alternative rock and punk.

At the moment, on my turntable, which believe it or not is putting me into the proper frame of mind for writing, is the album which features this kick ass song.

I thank you.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Rhododendron Trip To The Building Across From The River

Sometimes a road trip, no matter how short or how long, can do wonders for a beaten down spirit.

The month of June* was not too terribly kind to me this year. Between getting sick from a combination of serious sleep deprivation, sleep interruptus, financial woes, stress from work and the wife having a very bad accident while camping (fractured ankle which required surgery, I can pretty much say with a clear conscience that my spirit got smacked around quite a bit.

When late June rolled around and it was time for me to go to my facility to do payroll, I was pretty much running on autopilot. I went to my office and vegged out a bit before taking off to the facility. I left a little earlier than normal, due to the simple fact that my work week was being cut short because of the July 4th holiday.

I jumped in my care with the main idea of taking my sweet ass time in getting where I needed to be. And taking my sweet ass time requires me not to take the highway all the way there. While the highway is normally a good thing for me to drive, because my brain was doing its best impersonation of this,

I decided to take the back roads.

So after spending about several minutes on the highway, I took the exit I needed to take and a couple of minutes later, I was at the street I needed to be. After waiting for what little traffic there was to clear out, I took my left turn and turned on Gavin Degraw's debut "Chariots", which features this song.

Within a couple of minutes, I was feeling nothing but the breeze blowing through my car, the sun in my face and the music gradually bathing my spirit with a peace of mind not felt in quite a while.

It was the best leisurely twenty-five minute drive from the capitol to the where I needed to be. No traffic, no stress, no nothing. Just me, the car, the c.d. and my increasingly empty head. By the time I got to where I needed to be, not only was I at peace with myself, but I was in the frame of mind where I wasn't going to bite anyone's head off while I was there.

To me, a road trip coupled with music (of any kind, trust me, I do these trips with genres that make you look at me extremely weird) is the perfect antidote to what ails me. Let's face, on the road by yourself with just the radio or a c.d. is the best way to get through that part of your stressed out day in one piece.

How 'bout you? Are you able to find that peace of mind when you do your commute, or any kind of road trip for that matter? And if so, what helps you find it?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hardest Thing To Write

What is the hardest thing to write?

Novel? Well, no, not really. If you got a good idea that is slapping you upside the head, then you got it made.

Novella? No. Been there, and still doing that as it's my weapon of choice.

Short story? No. Been there, did that.

Flash fiction? See previous answer.

Intelligent Facebook update?

Jacket blurb, query letter, synopsis? Well....sometimes. But this ain't about that.

A comment to a story/blog post/status update that thoughtfully engages people? Sometimes, but this isn't about that either.

I'm quickly finding that the hardest thing to write isn't any of the above nor any kind of business correspondence, but a reference letter.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. A reference letter.

I very rarely lend myself out to be a reference of any kind, simply because one of the few things that I treasure the most is my word. I've developed my current reputation in part because when I say I'm going to do something, it gets done. Reliability as one would say. So when I offer someone the option of using me as a reference, that usually means that they impressed the hell out of me over a long period of time.

Such is the case now.

As most of you know, I do payroll for a social services agency. Because our agency is so large, we often have people who are our eyes, ears, and hands out in the field offices. They are our go-to people for when we need payroll issues resolved out there and when we need to have timesheets entered (yes, about 25% of my job is auditing). I do both a facility (aka prison) and a field office, and whereas I do an outstanding job with my facility, there is a need to have a competent person to be my eyes/ears/hands out in the field office.

I have such a person in my field office, and when I found out earlier in the month that she is leaving our agency after Labor day, I was very surprised and shocked to say the least. I've gotten to know, appreciate and become a close co-worker to this person over the past 1 1/2 years, and to lose such a person would indeed make things a little less interesting at work.

Because of the exceptional quality of her work and what she has done for me in those 1 1/2 years, I made the offer to her of using me as a reference, then up the ante that I would be more than happy to write a letter of reference for her.

She graciously accepted my offer, so now I have to actually produce a reference letter. And let me tell you, I am doing a boatload of procrastination on this. I really want to do this letter as perfect as I can possibly get it. I do have a few templates to work from as I've had a few co-workers write some for me, but still, the pressure is all on me not to screw this up.

How 'bout you? Do you agree with my assessment that a reference letter is the hardest thing to write? Or do have something else that is harder?

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Day In The Life Of A Not-So-Modern Dad

I rarely get to spend any quality time with my 12 year old daughter

these days, simply because we're pretty much like two commuter express trains that run on separate rails and separate times. So yesterday (8/25), when the necessity of back to school supply shopping presented itself in the form of coupons for Ocean State Job Lot, I jumped at the chance to take my highly knowledgeable and attitudely challenged 12 1/2 year old shopping for supplies.

So after we had managed to find the supply list from her middle school (note to school, not everyone has access to a version of Word that opens .docx files), we set off on the journey to emptying my wallet. While we found all of her supplies at both Ocean State and at Staples, it was the journey to accomplishing that emptying of the wallet that I would like to talk about.

While we were sitting at a red light behind a a brown SUV, my daughter saw a bumper sticker. The conversation that ensued, while not completely verbatim, should give you an idea on what new territory I might be exploring this year.

Her: Hey dad, that car has a bumper sticker that says, "Save the Ta-Ta's". What are ta-ta's?
Me: Dead silence while I tried to think of an appropriate answer and practice self-censorship at the same time. Finally, I was able to drop my brain down to the sub-G rated level that I've not visited since the early 90's, and said that ta-ta's were something that your mother and grandmother has.
Her: .....(in actuality, she started talking about something else which I didn't get).
Me: (at this point, we were at another red light behind the same SUV, and somehow she got back on the original topic) Ta-ta's is a cleaner word for what people might call a woman's breast.

At this point, I finally managed to change the subject to this particular song on the radio, and the rest of the journey was relatively uneventful...except for battling over MY RADIO 'cause she wanted to listen to Kelly Clarkson and I didn't.

For the record, the phrase "Save The Ta-Ta's" is connected to breast cancer awareness, which I did not know until I was at the second red light and was able to closely examine the bumper sticker.

Anywho, I'm not quite looking forward to this year, 'cause quite frankly, this will probably be the first of many, many questions that will leave me completely and utterly speechless.

Friday, August 23, 2013

It's Just Business

I thought I would lighten the mood a little bit by writing about my latest writing project, because frankly, I'm finding myself getting wound tighter than the NAACP over a Texas Rodeo Clown.

This particular novella , which I've mentioned numerous times in the past either in passing or as a full blown post almost from day one of this blog, is what I considered to be the platform that I've launched numerous writing endeavors: five blogs, two short stories, one novel, one chapbook and one short story trilogy.

I'm not entirely sure where I came up with the basic premise of this novella (yes, really). All I remember about this novella are the following items:

1} Crime genre. The plot, as I've been able to deduce, is about a low level drug dealer who gets stuck with his boss's skanky girlfriend. One subplot features her getting him into a lot of trouble. Another has a rival drug dealer wanting to use the both of them as bait for a hostile takeover.

2} I wrote myself into a serious corner back in 2007 and it took me several month to get out of it, which means I went nuclear on it, aka, purging a huge chunk of text to get myself back to where I started getting lost.

3} I had the final scene of the book play out to the end at the end of each chapter. In other words, while you were reading each chapter, you were also reading a huge part of the final chapter at the same time.

4} It was my first interracial story (you can thank my small circle of female friends for that inspiration).

5} It wasn't a paranormal fantasy (didn't really get into that until a few years later).

6} It underwent at least four name changes. Early on I called it "Cedar Mountain Ecstasy", then "Ecstasy", then "E", then "It's Just Business". The main reason for the title changes is that I grew disenchanted with each title, until I came up with one that I semi-like.

So basically, even though I'm not doing a total rewrite from scratch, I'm still tweaking the hell out of it.

In addition to the painfully obvious sentence/paragraph/grammar repair that needs to be done, I plan on performing the following modifications as well.

1} Turning the female MC into a hybrid human. However, I do need to come up with a different feline to use. I've already used a lynx and a jaguar in my stories for hybrids and a cougar is out of the question (obviously), so I'm thinking of using a cheetah as a hybrid.

2} I still want to keep it as a crime novella, although in this one its bad guy versus bad guy versus semi-bad guy, so that means I may have to tweak the violence a little. Plus a add new kind of drug since crystal meth/crack/ecstasy is so 90's. Maybe K2, which is becoming popular amongst the younger generation.

3} Sex. Would you believe that I have exactly one implied and one semi-explicit scene of sex? I know, it's hard to believe, but I think I need to tweak those, plus a few others as well. I must be slipping in my old age.

4} Interracial. Interracial couples are still my relationship of writing choice, so it behooves me to keep it like that.

5} Locale. I simply love using Connecticut as my locale of choice, since it's the one that I'm most comfortable with. If you can use local as a basis for all things connected to your story, then half the battle is already one.

I think this basically sums up what I want to do with this novella/novel, which is to bring it more in line with what I already got sitting on the sidelines: paranormal/fantasy.
Since I originally wrote this post about a month ago (yeah, I'm just that lazy), some things went bump in the night. Specifically, I started re-writing the novella and so far, I managed to reduce the page count by two. I've tidied up the grammar and started filling in the logic holes that I enthusiastically wrote in the first time around. I've tweaked the female MC and turned her into a hybrid but so far have resisted making her uber violent and uber assertive like I've done in my other completed novellas. Finally, I started working on the sex thing, but so far, haven't needed to make it that totally graphic. Yet.

In other news, if you haven't had the chance to check out this:

You should give it a chance this coming weekend, as on August 24th and 25th, I'll be giving it away for free on Amazon. That's right, absolutely free. So check it out, and while you're at it, you can wander over to Smashwords and check out my short story trilogy, which is partially free as well.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yay Me.

I thought I would lighten the mood of this blog today by doing what I do best, which is bitch about myself thus pumping up everyone else's ego just a little bit.

There comes a time during the week where a person has to live life like a cliche. And then there are times where you simply have to do a show and tell about certain aspects of one's life. Today's post is one of those times.

The weather has been gorgeous this sumer and eccept for the heatwave in mid July temps have been hovering around the high 80's. While normally this is a good thing for people like yourselves, for me, it has been an adventure in dexterity.

For example, as you can plainly see by reading this post that I have a lot of typos. That is directly due to the fact that the brain cells are moving warp factor ten whie the fingers are moving at half impulse power. The reason why the fingers are moving at half impusle power has a lot to do with the current gentic malady that is cause me a world of aggravation with writing, mostly via the keyboad, but sometimes via the pen (which we hold like a 2nd grader0.

Anywho, the good weather that we're experience as of late has played a little bit of havoc with my writing. See, because the heat has beenj so good for me that it has lulled me into a false sense of security, which in turn wants me to type as fast as I used to, like this:

Once upna time nto to long ago there lived a little girl named atlatlanta who coudl rund as fast a the thewind.

Translation: Once upon a time not too long ago there lived a little girl named Atalanta who could run as fast as the wind.

Because I can't type as fast as I used to (about 30 wpm), I have to type slower than a black republican waiting for praise from the NAACP. Which when I'm not wriiting means i type in lower case and use rednkck eglish. Ya know, I spells purty gud cause i wents to skool.

However, when i'm writing, I have to type incredibly sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow becuae every other word tha i type has a typo.

Like this post for example.

And handwriting? fuhget about it. hand fatigue is the operative word of the day. Honest and for true doc.

I let you in on a ittle itty bitty secret. Do you know I have such a good memory? It's because I can't write to save my life anymore. Honest, whenver we have a staff meeting and I hav to take notes, my note taking consists of a grand total of less than ten words. Man, I doctor's handwriting is more legible than mines.

Now I know what some of yous are saying to the screen: Use that damn voice software that dropped a c note on three year ago. But you know, it ain't really that easy to use/. In fact, we usually have the following issue:

Can you imagine, a writer expireinceing an epic failure like that?

Anyways, I think i've rambed on enough for Prince Spaghetti day. If you think I had point with this post, by all means let me know what it is, 'cause chances are that you're probably writte.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming that is your life. Live it to the fullest 'cause anything less would surely be a disappointment.

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