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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Things That Make You Say, "Why Should I?"

I rarely talk about certain hot button issues on my blog because I never know what kind of backlash I'm gonna get. But last week, I read an update about a bakery in Oregon that has me seriously reconsidering my viewpoint about gay rights and the gay community.

To briefly summarize the story, earlier in the year a bakery in the backward state of Oregon chose not to accept a cake order from a lesbian couple because it went against their religious beliefs. And as some gay couples on the left coast are want to do, they filed a discrimination complaint with the state of Oregon.

The state of Oregon, as most intolerant states are want to do, passed a discrimination law based on orientation that exempts religious organizations and schools, but strangely enough not businesses, which is about par for the course for so-called "tolerant" states.

The state responded by saying they would investigate and issue fines if needed (really?).

Fast forward to last week.

The bakery in question has been harassed, stalked, boycotted, death threats issued against them, and had other vendors they work with threatened.

Even their jackass of a commissioner, Brad Avakian weighed in on this. Avakian, who believes that the 1st amendment doesn't really apply to the state of Oregon, has stated that "Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't meant that folks have the right to discriminate."


The family  has been harassed and boycotted so bad that the owner has had to take a full time job just to make ends meet. Since when is it right for you to dictate another person's life simply because they don't agree with your lifestyle choice?

The owner of the bakery has said that they'll probably close down should the case go against them (and sadly, it probably will), because they can't afford the $50K fine for standing up for their religious beliefs.

'Course, that hasn't stopped Avakian from throwing a Big Brother/1984/Cool Hand Luke-ism into the mix. He said that the goal is to never shut down a business, the goal is to rehabilitate, because we want them to learn from that experience and have a good successful business in Oregon.


Since when does a state law triumph the 1st amendment rights of the individual to practice and follow his religious beliefs? Furthermore, how is it right to threaten the lives of a family business because they don't approve of your lifestyle?

I'm sorry but forcing someone to compromise their beliefs and shut down their business when they don't smacks of gross intolerance. Why should I be tolerant of your lifestyle and your wants and needs when you don't even have the common courtesy to tolerate mine?

For those shallow and holier-than-thou members of the gay community, I say, learn to suck it up and move on. By attempting to destroy another person's livelihood and threatening them, their spouse and children, you practice what you claim to hate: bigotry, intolerance and hatred.

Furthermore, you risk alienating those who might be open to accepting your viewpoint, your lifestyle and your rights.

Like myself.

I'm one of those older and relatively open minded individuals who over the years has changed his viewpoint about certain topics/issues. But this kind of stuff forces me to take a closer and harder look at those change viewpoints, and ask myself, "Why should I change my viewpoint when stuff like this merely reinforces the double standard that is pervasive in today's America?"

The answer may surprise you, and it'll most definitely surprise me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes Are Amazonian!

As an e-book here, and as print here

The publisher of my novel that you see yet again in all of its high class uncensored glory, Solstice Publishing, has made the decision this week to use Amazon as an exclusive distributor of their e-books and print books. Apparently, they took a good hard look at where they had their product for sale and decided that Amazon was the place to be. So for the past few weeks, they've been slowly removing their product from all the major online retailers (including B&N) and now if you click on the link up above (go ahead, click on it), it will take you to their website, but now instead of being able to buy it directly from the publisher, you'll be sent directly to Amazon.

Now my feelings about Amazon are basically "take it or leave it". While yes, it is good for buying certain things, like c.d's of artists who are long gone from the music scene, or e-books, because hey, almost everyone has a Kindle or a tablet, for others, I would rather buy it directly from the manufacturer or have face to face contact with a human being.

But it is interesting for a small-to-mid-sized publisher to simply move all of their product to one gonzo website and not even sell it on their own website anymore.

While I have nothing against what my publisher is doing (more power to them in trying to do what's best for their stable of writers), on the surface it seems like that they're just throwing in the towel and bowing to the inevitable.

Do you think that more publishers might make the same move, which is basically hooking their trailer to that huge freighter known as Amazon? Do you think that this sounds like a good move for a publisher, not just mine, but for any publisher to make?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Redeux! Post Number 941: Chat Rooms

Okay, by now you must know that I'm scrapping the bottom of a McDonald's barrel when I decide to do one of my world infamous redundancy posts, aka let's-put-a-twist-on-a-very-lame-post-from-the-early-years.

Well my friends, post number 941 (I've long ago stopped trying to count my posts in the right order for this 'cause you know, I was getting confused like a way long time ago when someone had to explain to me that when you want to reach a high note on an electric guitar, ya gotta go all the way down the neck and when you want to reach a low note, ya gotta go all the way up to where the string pegs are) is about a day in the life chat rooms.

Entitled Brain Cramp, it basically stated that if you want to cure your blogger's block, all you have to do is go to the chat rooms and within minutes, your brain will be overflowin' with ideas. Like writing Dick & Jane primers....or....writing a very bad skit for a children's show.

If you take the time to read the post, and it is one of my better free form posts, you'll see exactly two comments. One is from a now ex-writer and ex-blogger who vacated the blog world in 2009 to go back to her day job of being a wedding photographer now located on the west coast. The other is from a blogger who also disappeared in 2009 'cause the real world was way more important that the cyber world (trust me, this is a good thing).

For those of you who may be new to this blog, I used to be a somebody in the chat rooms. Chat rooms are great if you want to practice your writing/debating skills when you only have 1500 characters to play with (eventually expanded to 750 words), but horrific to your sanity and your life. I highly recommend not participating in chat rooms at all. I am prime example of what can happen to your sanity and your life when you decide to do the chat rooms or forums. It took me about 2 1/2 years to withdraw and get it completely out of my system.

So my friends, if you even remotely entertain the idea of participating in a chat room or a website's forum, think about this: there are some serious whack jobs out there who will find a way to track you down and make your life a living hell.

Now, on a lighter note, I am taking the wife to her latest follow up appointment with Herr Doctor and if all goes well, she should be starting rehab on her ankle sometime next week.

Also, if you haven't had the opportunity, please check out my latest release "Broken Promises". You'll be glad that you did.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What's Your Book's Soundtrack?

Ever pick up a book and within several minutes or so pick up on particular song or music genre that winds up playing in the background?

Or, if you're a writer (either serious or casual) find yourself working on a particular section or even doing a cover-to-cover edit, do you find yourself thinking about a particular song or even genre as you go along?

Lately, I've been finding myself thinking either about a particular song or a particular genre while I've been working on a few manuscripts. And somehow, that particular song/genres have fit super snugly within the framework of the story.

For example, I spent a few weeks finishing up the 2nd round of edits for my novella "Blackness In The White Sand". The running theme of the novella is paranormal. Not too over the top with the violence but just enough to make it part and parcel of the story.

But as I went along applying new edits, double checking old notes and making new tweaks, I kept having the hard rock genre pop up inside my head while I was writing. I also kept having the heavy metal genre crop up, but it wasn't as consistent or strong as the hard rock genre. Depending on the section I was working on, I would have strong or super strong hard rock bleed through into my reading and writing.

Every so often when I was either working on a particular section or reading a certain type of scene, a specific song would come through.

For example,I've been trying to come up with a new title for that novella because I don't think the current one works. So whenever I think about a new title, the song "Kill Your Heroes" by AWOLNATION kicks in (if you read the novella, especially the ending, then you'll understand how that song meshes perfectly). And specifically because of this song, I find myself trying to come up with a title based on that song.

Another example would be based on the female MC in the story. Whenever I would read the actions scenes either directly or indirectly involving her, the song "Enemy" by Sevendust inevitably crops up.

With my recently completely novella "Shadow's Vengeance", a whole different kind of music has been worming its way through. Because of the content, genre and tone (religious), the c.d. "Fallen" by Evanescence is becoming the music of choice. Not that it's a bad thing (the c.d. rocks, btw) but it does make hard to think of anything else that might be a tighter fit.

So how 'bout it folks, what do you hear when you pick up a book or write a story? I'm not looking for a specific song geared towards a specific scene but more of an overall musical tone for the story.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Random Thoughts Number Infinity To The Tenth Power

Yeah, okay, so I have nothing really on tap today. Had a grumpy week and because I decided to multi-task on a few thingys, that and a flashback to a ye olden blog schedule (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday) has got me slightly skewed.


Sew....buttons on my underwear 'cause what time is it boys and girls? Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's right, it's clobbering wait, its infinity and beyond! wait, it's time for Johnny wait.


I don't think often, but when I do, I call on Igor, 'cause he knows where the bestest brains are buried.


Thanks, I needed where was I? Oh yes. Slightly skewed.

Being slightly skewed has left me a bit losted...ummm...lost. So after using a melon baller to clear out the cobwebs (yum!), here are a few random thoughts of nothingness.

1} I belong to a private chat group on Facebook that has somehow makes my warped imagination and my debut novel be positively PG-13. Even better, they make one of my blogger besties sound like a PG Disney flick. Or, a better description would be Hustler for the modern generation.

2} My latest book, "Broken Promises" has passed the final hurdle and is now part of the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which means that I'll have even wider distribution of my e-book (economically priced at 99 cents). Plus, if you can believe it, I got it uploaded on the first try, which means no errors. Yay me!

3} I managed to score back-to-back weeks of job interviews. I don't think anything will come out of one of them and I'll be stunned if I get a call back on the other. Still looking for two more at my agency, hopefully.

4} This week, I actually was caught between a rock and and a hard place at work as I had four options available to me that sucked major league king-kong sized moose testicles: enter a state/union mandated retro for everyone (eventually did 50 pages worth); finish a boxing project (done); move other boxes to the top of five file cabinets (stacked three boxes high. we're talking using a step stool, my bald head, pencil thin arms and puny hands to lift these boxes people) (done); start a new boxing project by pulling out old payroll files to make more room for payroll files (doing). I tell ya, I came thisclose to turning on the radio to one of this overly caffienated Top 40 radio stations to put myself out of my misery.

5} I'm receiving even stupider e-mails from staff members, if you can believe it, and they're so bad that I got two co-workers and a supervisor politely warning me about playing nice.

6} I did have a bright spot to this grumpy week: I was driving home from the library, sitting at a red light and jamming to a non-overplayed Talking Heads song (which means I was listening to college radio), when a car pulled up next to me to make a left turn. A little girl poked her head out the window and said, "Hi!", which in turn made me smile and say, "Hi!" back at her.

7} Jenelle was finally convinced that she couldn't do the cheerleader thing for a Pop Warner football league (not Newington) because she didn't have the time needed (among other things). So after a ton o'tears, Grandmama decided to buy granddaughter a ferret.

Repeat after me: a ferret.

I got a freakin' ferret now sucking up space in the house, which is good 'cause now we got another animal that will eventually be grown tired of and will be pawned off to the adults, who of course didn't want the damn thing (called Bubbles) in the first place. Mind you, I'm not an animal hater (our house contains cat, three dogs, parrot, fishes, and a hamster) but introducing yet another four legged furball is a bit too much.

I leave you with this random thought: If I was down, would you be traveling in a Wonkalator?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Deep Down, You Know You Got It

Country that is.

C'mon, fess up.

You may listen to the most kick ass hard rook, schlockiest manufactured pop, the vapidness that is modern R&B, the wimpiest hip or even classical music, but deep down, you know you secretly like country.

And I'm not talking about the Nashville manufactured crap that is country pop, but the real classic (pre-Garth Brooks) country and its sub-genres americana & bluegrass.

If you're like me, you probably grew up listening to classic country/classic folk music, and if you're like me, spent the better part of three decades trying to get as far away from it as humanly possible.

Which means you spent your years formative listening to 80's rock (missing 70's rock by country mile); 90's rock, 80's & 90's punk, discovering heavy metal, industrial metal, grindcore metal, death metal (but not on purpose), soul, true R&B, funk, and even BMJ pop.

Eventually, after prolong exposure to college radio, you start drifting back to country music. But you don't go directly to it. Instead, you make a slight detour to say, this:

or perhaps, after becoming intrigued listening to those late 80's/very early 90's ads for Yahoo, you might listen to this: make still yet another detour, this time listening to a little bluegrass:

Finally, you arrive back to whence you came, and now you're listening to classic country music. You soon find yourself transported back in time and glazed look falls across your face. Your best bud happens to wander by, sees that you're a space cadet and sadly shakes his head, 'cause he knows that he just lost you to the dark side of life, where things were quieter, gentler, manners were in vogue and gas was under $2 a gallon.

Before he leaves though, he whips out his handy dandy cell phone, shoots a one minute video of you drooling to the backbeat, which soon goes viral, making you the laughingstock of not only the neighborhood, but pretty much your family, your friends, your job, complete strangers, and the elementary school K thru 5.

So remember kids, if you're gonna go back to your roots and listen to country music, make sure that no one can see ya, 'cause ya know, what happens in your head should stay in your head, and not become public knowledge.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Broken Promises"

Available at Smashwords

As I've mentioned previously, I decided to take another crack at self-publishing, mostly because I wanted to have something else to pimp while I was deciding on my next move. Yesterday (8/3), I succeeded in publishing my short story trilogy entitled, Broken Promises. Clicking on the caption will bring you to the book, of which a free sample is available, and the entire book itself is a whopping 99 cents.

I would like to thank everyone who has stuck with me throughout the years, because without you, I would still be trying to find my voice.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Can Too Sing!

The other night I was jammin' to some music on YouTube: Tom Lehrer, Carl Carlton, Reunion, while I was trying to think of something to write about. I wasn't getting quite the inspiration, so I started singing along to this particular song:

Now usually when I'm listening to YouTube, I use headphones and I'm playing air bass/air guitar/air drums, all lefthanded (go figure). I also sing at the same time, and apparently I torture my family members in the process, 'cause no sooner than I starting singing the lyrics, my wife yelled down to ask if I was swearing to someone on the telephone.


I've often gotten very bad comments, some tongue in cheek and some not, about my singing. While I haven't been blessed with a good singing voice, I have been blessed with impossibly anal retentive rhythm and backbeat, courtesy of roughly spending ten years playing a clarinet.

I've also developed, in addition to that anal retentive rhythm and backbeat, impeccable timing of the music persuasion. But I digress.

About my singing.

I basically can't sing any rock song that came out after grunge rock era of the early 90's to save my life. But...apparently for someone who likes rock music (sort of), I can sing most country and folk, as well as country rock. And for some very bizarre reason, on a good day I can do a halfway decent impersonation of this singer's falsetto:

Don't ask me why, I just can.

Anywho, like I was saying, I can sing country. And I'm not talking about the urbane country pop that's been polluting radio since Garth Brooks was a money grubbing somebody. I'm talking about the urban country of this singer:

I can also sing classic folk, like this song for example (one of my faves):

By the way, I have a original copy of what is pictured in the video.

Now I'm sure you're wonderin' why I'm talking about something as personal as singing to songs (fess up, you do this all the time in the privacy of your own home/car/office/outdoors, etc. etc. etc.). I have two reasons for doing this: 1} I enjoy poking fun at myself and what better topic there is for me to bloviate about on a Friday than my singing (serious and parody). 2} Tripping down memory lane a little bit as I found out that earlier this week was the nine year anniversary of my dad passing away from pulmonary fibrosis.

But let us not dwell on the sadness of the moment and instead, dwell on the love of early country and folk music that he managed to pass on to one of his children. We all need a positive memory of a loved one to use as an anchor in the stormy seas from time to time, and what better anchor to have than realizing that your loved one passed onto you the kind of music you swore you would never listen to as an adult.

I leave you with my absolute favorite Buddy Holly song (got a few originals of him as well) that I enjoy singing to as well.

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