To all my readers and followers, please keep in mind that I have now moved over to my new blog, Father Nature's Corner, so Cedar's Mountain is now on a semi-permanent hiatus.

If you're looking for the wit and wisdom that Cedar's Mountain is known for, please click on the link up above or to the right, and I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Now Objectify!

I thought I would finish off this weird week by doing a two part series on nudity and women in fiction, and yes, you can fully immerse your mind in the gutter because I really want to hear your opinion about nudity and women in fiction. So sit back, relax, have a few beers, turn on those Dallas Cowboys on your t.v. Lock your doors and close your minds. It's time, for the two minute warning....whoops, wrong tangent.
~~~~~~~~~~~

The other day I was participating in a conversation about smaller government (a very big thing within a sub-circle of my Facebook friends), when a particular person we'll call Andrea decided, as some liberals are want to do when they find themselves on the losing end of a well thought out multi-pronged argument to change the topic by dumping on my book cover and saying I should be ashamed about objectifying women.

Now In Print


My reply, in its entirety, was this:

Sure, let's talk about how I objectify women. My avatar picture is my commercial debut called "Line 21". It's the story about a woman who's in debt to her uncle the loan shark, and the only way that she can come up with the $2000 in five day is to become an adult movie actress.

Now, if you have an issue with a woman using her body to earn money to pay bills, pay tuition for college, or simply to live a better life, that's your prerogative. But I can point you in the direction of dozens of women who do just that with what they do, be it with making movies, dancing as a stripper (Gold's Club anyone?), be in rap videos, what have you, in order to better themselves.

So please, tell me how writing a story about a woman who has an ethical quandary in using her body that way is objectifying her?

Andrea, do yourself a favor and go to a bookstore or surf Amazon and you'll find quite a few books written by women who have done exactly that, and not only have made a career out of doing it, but built a solid money making company out of it as well.

I finished the comment by doing a brief pimp of my book.

Suffice to say, Andrea didn't really have a response to my comment and instead switched to another topic of discussion.

However, the question itself did get me to think about what I write and how I write it.

While it's true for the most part that my stories are dripping with sex, or rather, have lead characters who simply ooze estrogen, it's also equally true that I make a genuine effort in creating my character as strong as they can be. Again, I know it sounds cliche, but I do enjoy making my characters use sex as a weapon of control.

Line 21 does have an underlying theme of control, in that Jeannie discovers (belatedly) that she can basically control her slice of the world simply by using what she has.

In my short story Red Stripe punk rock singer Krystal also uses her body, as well as her voice, as a weapon to control, inspired and incite the crowd with tragic consequences.

The point I'm trying to make, is that in adult fiction (as well as other mediums) sex sells, and thus requires a writer to use a certain amount of that particular weapon to enhance and/or round out a story. Doesn't necessarily mean that we objectify a woman (or man for that matter), only that we are using the gift that we have to the best of our abilities. No more and no less.

So my question to you is simply this: What is your opinion about turning a woman (or a man) into an object of desire and/or fantasy for the purpose of a story?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ribeyes

step, step, step, step, step, step, step

squeaky, squeaky, squeaky, squeaky

D'oh!

whoosh

doo, doo, doo, DOO!

tap, tap, tap, tappitty, tappitty, tappity x10

slurp

whirl

??!??

grumble, grumble, grumble

tap, tap, tap, poke, poke, poke

whirl

"Ummm...Dad? What are you doing?"

click

"Nothing sweetie. Why do you ask?"

"Mom says that if you're done playing around, she needs those four boneless ribeyes."

nnnnnnnnnnnnnnrrrrrrrrrr

"Dad?"

"What sweetie?"

"Now."

"Okay."

poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, poke

"Dad!"

"Something else?"

"Sugar."

"Will do."

yank, rev, rev, rev, rev, REV!

drip, drip, drip, drip

fling

whistles

woof, woof, woof

crunch, crunch, crunch

sssssssssssssssssssssssss

Phew!

squeaky, squeaky, squeaky, squeak

step, step, step, step

"Here you go, four boneless ribeyes extra sweet."

"Thanks, honey. What took you so long?"

"Your brother was being extra fiesty tonight, so he was battling me every step of the way."

"Well then, that'll teach him to choose option #2 for paying the rent. He'll just have to learn to get along with fewer ribs and a half pancreas."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tweaked

Hey-lo.

Just wanted to let everyone know that I finally broke down and after almost 5 years of allowing people to post either anonymously or connecting a website to a name, changed the way people can leave comments.

The reason being is that I was getting very tired of dealing with spam comments. Even though Blogger is doing a fantastic job of channeling 98% of my spam comments directly into the spam folder, it was the remaining two percent that I was getting tired of dealing with. Plus, do you know how disconcerting it is to check the spam folder every three days and see at least 160+ spam comments in it?

So for the foreseeable future, the only way that you can leave comments is by one of the following methods:

1} Using your Blogger/Google+/Google account (I'm pretty sure about the Google+ account, since it's part of the same Google family).

2} Open ID.

I'll still be moderating because I just can't see myself not doing that, simply because I don't allow anonymous comments.

I sincerely apologize in advance to all my friends who come to visit and want to leave a comment, but can't due to not having either a Google account or any other blogging type account.

When things get back to some degree of normalcy here and I can see with a reasonable degree of accuracy what kind of traffic I'm actually getting, I'll give some serious consideration to allowing anonymous comments again.

G.B.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vanished From The Megahertz 4: Cover Songs

One of the few things that I enjoy on commercial radio are cover songs, and I'm not talking about the ones that geezer rock bands throw out 'cause they need to keep their names in the news (U2 doing Carl Carlton's "Everlasting Love" comes to me), nor am I talking about the bands who because their latest c.d. sucks, will come out with a cover song that will get airplay on other formats (Pearl Jam doing "Last Kiss"), or bands who come out with cover that is so far out from left field that it simply makes you scratch your head (the lounge lizard/easy listening version of "Wonder Wall", power rock version of "Boys of Summer", or a metal version of "Bad Co.").

I am talking about cover songs that go so far above and beyond the original that they put the original to shame. You know those covers. Those are the ones that AREN'T played on the radio anymore (if at all). The ones that make you instantly forget about the original.

So my friends, here is my semi-short list of my favorite cover songs (and one full length c.d.), of which only two are played with any degree of frequency on the radio.  Most will have links to videos if you should desire to watch a few while reading this post, and all will have some kind of factoid attached to them.

1} I Fought The Law by The Dead Kennedys. There have been numerous covers of this Bobby Fuller song but this one by the D.K.'s puts the others to shame. While they managed to keep most of the original lyrics to the song, they added their own unique twist by incorporating the murders of George Moscone & Harvey Milk, Dan White and the so-called Twinkie defense into the song.

2} Hurt by Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash came out with five phenomenal c.d.'s produced by Rick Rubin during the last several years of his life, and this cover of the Nine Inch Nails song was one of about a dozen covers that he did. This one has, for some strange reason, been getting some radio airplay as of late.

3} Boys of Summer by The Hooters. The Don Henley version was so-so, but the Hooters version, from their excellent c.d. "Time Stands Still" is the best version that you'll never hear on the radio. They play it like it was meant to played: slow, haunting, and plaintive.

4} Atlantic City by The Band. I didn't realize that this was a cover until I heard the original by Bruce Springsteen from his album "Nebraska". This version is a helluva lot better than the original. Not as wobbly or dark as Bruce's but more upbeat and resigned. Also, I did not know that opening stanza was based on a real incident with the Philadelphia mob.

5} In A Metal Mood by Pat Boone. Yes, I said Pat Boone. Back in the late 90's, Pat decided to do a c.d. of metal song covers that were rearranged in a big band/swing vocal style. There is a lot more I could add to this, but it would take up the entire post. If you get the opportunity to pick this up on the cheap (Amazon), do it, 'cause you won't be disappointed.

6} White Lines by Duran Duran. I originally heard this kick ass version of the early Melle Mel song (which I found on a 12" EP at a Salvation Army thrift store) on a cover compilation of theirs called "Thank You". They had a few decent covers on there (Perfect Day and Take You Higher), but this one had the most airplay on the radio.

7} John Barleycorn by Traffic. While I won't say that this is the definitive cover (yes boys and girls, this is a cover song of a traditional English folk ballad), this is the one that I've been able to find a video of. If you want to hear a traditional version, please check out American folk duo Atwater-Donnelly.

8} Under The Boardwalk by John Mellencamp. Best cover of a Drifters song ever. Almost impossible to find on a c.d. (I think it was released only as a single), it is one of the few John Mellencamp songs that I truly enjoy.

9} Summertime by Billy Stewart. Best cover of a Broadway musical number.

10} Bridge Over Troubled Water by Johnny Cash with Fiona Apple. This song has a lot of memories for me, of which Simon & Garfunkel being one of my Dad's favorite duos. I've also heard a wonderful version of this song sung at a memorial service for my dad back in 2004. But hands down, this version is the one that still resonates rather deep for me. Even as I write this little blurb it still sends a chill down my spine.

And finally, not wanting to end this on a downer, here is one of my favorite versions of I've Been Everywhere (heard versions by Hank Snow and The Statler Brothers) sung by Johnny Cash.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If A Blog Repeats Itself, Is It Really A Bad Thing?

Last Sunday, I had a few hours to kill while waiting for the Patriots to ultimately lose to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, so I decided what better way to kill those two hours than to go through the previous years on this blog to find posts about my current novel and my current project and add a few new labels to make them more readily accessible.

So, starting with mid 2009, specifically, this post, I proceeded to go through each and every post on my blog to see which posts fitted the criteria I had previously stated. Along the way, I discovered one troubling fact: my posts for 2010 thru mid 2011 were some of the salient, zany, offbeat and downright peculiar pieces of delectable prose that it was my pleasure to have wrote.

Somehow and somewhere during the past couple of years, I have seem to taken the road way less traveled and apparently found myself on a tiny ledge with no easy way to get down. I'm not saying its a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, but when your prose goes from something like this particular post, to what you've been writing for the past few months, it does have a tendency to make self-doubt start creeping into your blog writing.

Nevertheless, I am determined to make something good come out of that troubling fact. The first thing I plan on doing, which I actually started doing years ago, but stopped due to a short attention span, is to print out all of my posts and organize them either alphabetically or chronologically. The second thing I plan on doing, which I've already started with two new tags called "The Info Dump" and "My Blog", is to explore the vast archive of my blog and try to incorporate some of those old but wickedly solid posts of yesteryear into some new and updated versions.

I'm not quite sure what kind of reoccurring title I should come up with. I've already established a decent one for music called "Vanishing from the Megahertz", so I would like to come up with one that I can use as a reoccurring title for explore the archive that is Cedar's Mountain.

However, I would like to give everyone a fair warning about this little adventure. While during the years of 2009-2011 I was writing with a smoothness that I haven't experienced in quite some time, I was also keeping a tight rein on what I really wanted to say about certain things (like the above mentioned post). I think that this time around, I probably will go from a PG-13 point of view to about an sub R-rated point of view when I write new versions of the old scene.

In any event, this new facet won't debut for about a month or so since I need to get all of my ducks facing in the right direction. Which means not only do I need to print and organize my posts (yay), but I need to finish the project that I'd started this past Sunday. Plus, I need to wiggle this in with the upcoming querying process for my novella A Shadow Warrior's Redemption.

In the meantime, a dual question for you the reader:

1} Would this be something that you might find interesting to read and maybe explore?

2} Do you have a suggestion on what I should call this new reoccurring post series?

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Do You Feel?

First up, let us celebrate the fact that today is post number 950. Can you believe it? I've written 950 posts for this nifty little blog. This calls for a very brief video blast from Connecticut's Hockey past.


Now, on with our post.

If you happen to be reading this not in your reader or in your e-mail, but live on the blog itself (that means you've clicked through) and you noticed that my follower count has grown, there is a very good reason for that.

Now it just so happens that the title of today's post is pulled from a new thingy that Facebook had introduced for it's users. Instead of seeing a blank box, users now see cutesy phrases like the one that you see up above.

So to answer the question, "How do I feel?" I feel purty good, and I'll tell you why I feel purty good.

About a week ago, I was invited to a general purpose event from a new writer friend. Now normally, I usually decline these events because I'm never around when they actually go off. But this time, I decided to participate.

Best thing that I ever did, because by the end of the week, I gained almost 20 new writer friends and after posting links to my blogs, gained 7 new followers to this blog. I can safely say that it was without a doubt, the best thing that I've ever done. Beyond gaining new writer friends in genres that I'm starting to explore, the networking experience has been invaluable.

For example, I managed to score an ARC from an indie writer and I'm in the process of reading & reviewing it for her.

But more importantly than that, all of this friending and networking got me motivated to write a query letter for my novella A Shadow Warrior's Redemption. For those of you who are on Facebook, you can check out the query letter in its entirety at my facebook page, which is called simply enough "Query Letter".

The absolutely funniest thing about writing this query letter is that, unlike the one I wrote for Line 21 that took me about two and a half weeks, this one I hammered the first draft out in 10 minutes. I wrote the brief synopsis in a post last week and used that in the letter. This past Saturday (1/19), I sat down to write a hook, a summation and a new synopsis for it. The 2nd draft took me about 15 minutes. I would now like to share the meat of that 2nd draft with you and I would like your opinion on it. I will tell you I got some nifty comments on it so far on Facebook, including a request from a fellow writer to read the story because her curiosity was piqued after reading it.

The meat of the letter (hook, synopsis and summation) goes like this:

The hotter the humiliation, the more sickening the payback.

Ashanti, a demonic spirit that escaped from Purgatory centuries ago, is blackmailed by Kevin to turn Keisha, the girl of his obsession, into the hottest slut of any male or female's desire, so that he can ride to her rescue and make her beholden to him. A distress call sent out by Ashanti's eldest child prompts two archangels, Michael and Raphael, to appear in the flesh and help Ashanti not only obliterate Kevin but to become Keisha's personal savior.

A Shadow Warrior's Redemption tells the story of how a supreme demon bitch from the bowels of Hell, when pressed, can briefly become a genuinely compassionate being.
All that I have left to do before submitting, is to clean/tidy the synopsis and do one last round of editing.

So even though I'm still of the opinion that Facebook is not the be all to end all when it comes to social media, it does help you as writer to get your book, your voice, and more importantly, yourself, for all the world to see and experience.

How about you? Has Facebook been able to help you in the things that you do?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Extreme Waffling!

I have two folders sitting on top of my printer next to my computer. One is labeled "Blog Posts" and the other is labeled "Blog Posts". While this does sound confusing, the reality is anything but. The first folder called "Blog Posts" is the one that contains blog posts which are 99% complete and thus ready for posting.

And before you ask how 99% complete equals ready for posting, the answer is that the remaining 1% involves the simple annoyance of inserting links into the post (which is also 99% of the time).

The 2nd folder labeled "Blog Posts", which the first folder rests on, contains posts that fall into three unique categories of waffling:

1} Sleep inducing.
2} No longer relevant.
3} Misconstrued.

These three particular categories were create by me for the express purpose of hoarding pre-written posts until I feel comfortable enough in unleashing them on you the reader.

Confused? Welcome to my world. But we'll try to make your visit to my world (not necessarily this blog, which are two completely different animals) as painless as possible.

Sleep Inducing.

In most circles, I'm known as a reasonably bright goy, in that a good chunk of the time, I can hold my own while talking about a particular subject. By the same token, there are times when I can't, and I'll admit to that fact and politely disengage.

But then there are times when I can positively put people asleep simply by bloviating on a personally chosen topic. One such post I have stored away is about health insurance.

Now, unlike some people who don't have a clue about health insurance (i.e. politicians, social activists and the media), I can talk with a reasonable degree of knowledge about health insurance, mostly from a financial standpoint.

Sleep inducing? You bet your sweet ass it is. Hot button topic? Absolutely. Which is why you'll won't see it here for the foreseeable future. I like you and I don't want to bore you to death.

No Longer Relevant.

Because I write so many posts ahead of time, there are times when a given post simply isn't relevant any more.

Case in point: I had originally written a three part post about what I should work on next back in mid-October. However, by the time I was ready to post part one, my novel was released. This was no big thing as it forced me to tweak the post before putting it up.

However, by the time part three rolled around, the post became irrelevant. Between part 2 & part 3, I did a little networking and thus developed a small lead for one of my novellas.

Doing that made my mini-series relatively obsolete for the foreseeable, and thus the remaining post went to the folder of no return.

Easily Misconstrued.

This one is the most sensitive category I have, in that I have a couple of posts that I wrote during one my numerous bouts of self doubt. If I were to post any of these, I believe that you the reader would easily, and possibly permanently, take it the wrong way.

Nothing can destroy a friendship/relationhip faster than saying something that people could misconstrue.

To sum it up, not everything that I write for the blog makes it to the blog. Sometimes, self censorship is better than shoving your foot down to the ankle in your mouth 'cause you blew your emergency brake.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Tell Them That!

Contest update: To Debra and David, I have not forgotten about you. My book hasn't dropped to print yet (although my publisher are doing their very best to clear out the backlog, for which I am extremely grateful) and as soon as it does, I will ship it out to you.

I would to share with a few pearls of wisdom that I have learned the hard way while I have been on this curious writing journey.

 Don't tell certain people that they're the source of inspiration for a given story.

This is especially pertinent if you write the kind of fiction that I write (here, here and here). This is the fastest way of a) making someone feel wickedly uncomfortable, and b) killing a friendship.

Think about it for a minute. If you write fiction that is flavored to varying degrees with sex, do you really want to tell a particular individual that they inspired you to write a steamy story?

While they may be flattered at first for all about ten seconds, that feeling will change faster than a politician with no courage of their convictions once they get hold of your story and read it. If it contains anything like I write (women of color are the main characters, either overtly or implied), I can almost guarantee that you will have the equivalent of a .45 pointed at an area between the legs while you try to explain their assumption would be incorrect.

So to cure this potential problem, if those friends (my circle of friends are predominately female) of yours ask about your inspiration, lie like a dog. You'll be thankful that you did, and more importantly, you'll still be in one piece AND your friends will still be your friends.

 Don't tell certain people that you didn't write them into a particular story.

If you have a spouse or friend who knows about your writing and is generally supportive of your writing endeavors, and they happen to inquire on whether or not they're written into a particular story that you're working on, don't come down with a case of the honestys and tell them no. That is the worst possible thing that you can say, because it will create conflict and a argument where there was none before.

Again, think about it for a minute. If they know about the story that you're working on, and you've talked about it in excruciating detail for months on end, don't let them assume anything other than they might be part of the story. If you keep them in the dark, they'll be happy and you'll be happy (and still friends/married).

For the record, I have told one person that they were written into a story of mine, and that was because they won a contest. For details, check out part one and part two of that particular contest.

Don't tell people what you really write.

This may sound overly paranoid, but if people know you as relatively well balanced individual with a strange sense of humor and you have developed/cultivated that particular reputation for years/decades, for God's sake, don't tell people what you write, if what you write is polar opposite of who you are.

Case in point: my friends and co-workers have a tough time reconciling the person they know with what I write for fiction. Think I'm kidding? I've had conversations that start and end like this:

Me: "I do a little writing on the side."
They: "Really? What do you write?"
Me: "Adult fantasy/erotica."
They: "Ummm...that's interesting."

So if a casual acquaintance/co-worker happens to ask you what you write, and you damn well know that if you give a honest answer you'll be hoisted by your own petard, do what I do: create a new genre called "quirky fiction" and tell them exactly that. That way, your reputation remains relatively intact and people won't look at you sideways.

So my friends, those are my pearls of wisdom when it comes to explaining the writing side of my life to friends, family and co-workers. When it comes to strangers that I carry on casual conversations, then I disregard the first two and throw caution to the wind with the third.

How 'bout you? Any lessons learned or gleaned from your years of writing that you simply do not do anymore in the company of people that you know?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dinner!

Breakfast, Lunch

To complete this meal trilogy we shall now bloviate on the topic of dinner.

Unlike breakfast, in which I usually inhale the same thing day in and day out, I can usually vary what I eat at dinner, and just like lunch, I can get a little creative as well.

At dinner, because I take the same amount of meds that I do at breakfast, I have the same kind of leeway with my calories like I do at breakfast. And just like at breakfast, I have to make sure I eat the right kind of calories. If this sound confusing, it's not. To simplify, if I have the right mix of sugar based and non-sugar based calories, then I don't suffer from a low blood sugar attack. Wrong mix, then we suffer from a low blood sugar attack, which in turn freaks out anyone who has the unfortunate experience of witnessing it.

Anyways, back to dinner.

Because I have basically eliminated certain types of cuisine from my dies (most Italian, Chinese and some American BBQ), the variety I have to play with isn't much, so I try to get the most out of it.

My dinner (usually) consists of three items: meat/fish/poultry, side dish and veggie. Because if anything, my dinner may not be 100% healthy, but at least its relatively balanced.

On the entree side, I will usually cook up either bratwurst, kielbasa, Italian sausage (hot, not sweet, 'cause sweet has corn syrup), skinless thighs or homemade hot wings. Sometimes I'll season with hot sauce, garlic or crushed red pepper, before chucking it into the oven. If I'm having chicken, sometimes I'll marinade for the oven, or cut it up for a mini stir fry (with olive oil). If I'm having seafood like scallops or popcorn shrimp, maybe a dash of lemon juice added to it. If I'm having cold seafood (imitation crab for example), then lemon juice or tartar sauce.

For sides, not only does it depend on what I was in the mood for while shopping, but it also depends on how much effort I want to put into making it. For the purpose of this post, we'll go with being overly enthusiastic about cooking. Since I'm being overly enthusiastic about cooking today, we'll be having a side of either chicken flavored, beef flavored or non-flavored rice. More often than not, we'll go with non-flavored rice as it's much more fun to add other flavors to it.

And finally, we move on to the veggies. 99% of the time, the veggie of choice is corn. I love corn, be it canned or fresh on the cob. I like cooked peppers and onions, but only as a compliment to a main entree like sausage. The other 1% of the time I will have a (usually) pre-made side salad that I will sometimes beef up with other assorted odds & ends. Dressing is usually red-wine vinegar and oil, simply because it contains about a gram of sugar per serving (lemon juice).

So my friends, this concludes my mini-series on what I eat for the three basics Monday thru Thursday. What I eat on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, is a whole other post entirely.

And lest we forget to ask the all important always duplicated by better people elsewhere question, what's on your plate for the evening meal (or morning, if you work the overnight and your meal habit is flipped)?

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Seriously Lean Synopsis

Over the course of the past four months, I would periodically allude to a novella that was to be the story I wanted to meet my New Year's resolution with, and I thought not only would I refresh your collective memory about it, but solicit your opinion about the synopsis that I had recently written for it.

The novella came about in a most unusual way, in that it wasn't inspired by an idea or an incident, or even a person (well, maybe), but by a blog post. Specifically, this blog post, which I wrote during a burst of creative whimsy.

Anyways, about a month or so after I had written that blog post, I was still in a creative mood, so while I was looking for something to write, I remembered that particular blog post. After re-reading it and thinking about it for several minutes, inspiration struck and within a few weeks I had a novella written.

Now, imagine if that preceding paragraph was true, it would showcase me to be a super fantastic writer. The truth of the matter was a bit more mundane.

While I did get inspiration from that blog post to write about an obsessive love, it quickly morphed into something completely different, in that it became as story about revenge. And since I was starting to dabble in using religion in my writing, some time was spent both at the library and on Wikipedia, researching the following: demons, spirits, archangels, Hell & Purgatory, and Dante (see this post for a slightly more thorough explanation). About five months later, I had a good 1st draft of a novella.

For the next year or so, I had it proofed by a reader, changed the title five times, edited four times, and completely re-wrote it from past tense to present tense.

The re-write came about due to a conversation I had on Facebook late in 2012 with a fellow writer, who offered to help me with my next submission. Jumping at the offer, I whipped out my novella, did a round of edits, that complete re-write, and another round of edits.

I also finally planted ass in chair to write a synopsis for it. And in keeping with the theme of present tense in the novella, I wrote the synopsis in first person p.o.v. This is where you, my favorite readers come in. I posted the first draft at my other blog and I would like you to take a stroll over, give it a read, and offer your opinion on it.

Because reading a synopsis can be a bit confusing without a modicum of a background story (i.e. query), here is a very brief plot synopsis to work with.

Ashanti, a demonic spirit that escaped from Purgatory centuries ago, is blackmailed by Kevin to become Keisha, the girl of his dreams and thus by proxy completely ruin her reputation so that he could be her knight in shining armour. A distress call is eventually sent out by her eldest child, to which archangels Michael and Raphael answer the call. They in turn help Ashanti get her revenge on Kevin. Ashanti, before taking her leave and going back to what she was prior to meeting Kevin, makes things right with Keisha by giving her the opportunity to relive her life again.
On second thought, if you could, please let me know what your opinion is on that paragraph, because it sounds like a good synopsis to use in a query letter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Change, While For The Best, Sometimes Isn't



This year, while starting out with a bang as it pertains to my writing, is also bringing about a change to my job.

A wonderful co-worker and friend is, after 5 years, moving on to another agency, which promises to give her the experience that she needs in order to stand up and stand out when it comes time to move upwards.

There is a saying in our work world that sometimes you have to transfer out in order to get what you need in order to move up, and my co-worker and friend is doing what she needs to do in order to move up.

Even though we'll still maintain contact via the e-mail and Facebook (we reconnected after a two year hiatus), a part of me will be a little more empty without her cheerful exuberance and and warm personality to brighten my day.

While running my errands this past Sunday (1/6), the above mentioned song popped up my radio, and I think it appropriately sums up my state of mind as it applies to how I feel about my good friend and soon to be ex-coworker moving on to a better future.

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Was 2012 The Blogging?

Blogging for me in 2012 continued the 2011 trend of declining readership, in that less people (not counting spammers) were visiting due to changes in reading habits, changes in how they use the Internet or changes in the real world that ulitmately forced them to vacate the premises.

While all that was going on, I was still being plagued intermittently with self-doubt and burnout. Especially burnout, since I managed to cross both the 800 and 900 post threshold for this blog, and I was rapidly running out of ideas and concepts to tap into.

Out of 3 active blogs that I had running in the beginning of 2012 (book blog doesn't count), two of them, my adult blog and my picture blog, moved into semi-dormant status by year's end. It wasn't originally planned for them to become that, but changing personal taste coupled with lack of fresh adult content proved to be too much for those blogs to handle.

As for this blog, we kept on chugging along, adding new topics to discuss (music for example), new concepts to pimp and explore (book reviews for example) and a few guest bloggers to liven things up as well.

Still, at times we were resistant to the inevitable changing of the guard and the changing of tastes. But in 2012 we grew to accept and even revel in the fact that most bloggers do not last this long as this blog has (4 3/4 years and counting). We toot our own horn to show that no matter what trials and tribulations that were thrown our way, we still managed to stay true to the people who mattered the most: you the reader.

I appreciate the fact that you managed to stick around while I take baby steps in tweaking the focus of this blog. I'm doing very small tweaks to be the content and the appearance as well. Housework one might say.

I'm still having fun with this blog and I hope you'll stick around in 2013 as we celebrate our 5th year (holy freakin' major moose testicles!) of blogging.

I will always be your blogging bud from that wonderful bunion on the foot of New England that we call Connecticut.

George

p.s.: I leave you with one of my favorite songs from the 80's, which is a theme song to a movie that I have yet to watch.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Vanishing From The Megahertz 3: Uncensored Songs

Censorship has always been alive, well and living not only in the suburbs, but in a myriad of other places as well.

Like radio for example.

For the longest time you could not hear songs on the radio that contained George Carlin's List of Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say On Television. It's only been the last 15-20 years that you could listen to those songs on the radio, and even then you were limited to college radio on the overnight .

Recently, listening to that kind of music has moved itself to satellite radio, Internet radio and cable digital music channels, which although is a good thing, you still won't hear those songs on normal commercial radio.

However I have discovered as of late, a disturbing new trend (or an old trend, since I don't pay attention enough anymore) that some conglomos are doing to the radio stations. They're tearing a page out of MTV's playbook and censoring words that 99% of America would probably consider to be mild-to-non-offensive.

To refresh your memory, MTV is notorious for applying a double standard when it comes to words vs. images. More often than not, they have no problem in showing videos by rap artists which feature scantily clad (aka video vixens aka borderline hardcore) woman prancing and dancing around, yet when it comes to certain words, they'll censor it out.

Example: The word joint from You Don't Know How It Feels.

Example: The word .45 from ".45".

Anyways, I came to this epiphany when I was listening to the song "Sweet Home Alabama". Near the end of the song, the word Goddamn was scrubbed out and simply changed to "God".

Now granted, I'm sure back in the day that the word goddamn was considered to be somewhat offensive, especially on the radio. But people, this is 2013 and language like this is considered to be so common place that it doesn't even register on a typical person's offended meter.

Anyways this has got me wondering about how many other classic songs from the early 70's thru today that got scrubbed of mild-to-non-offensive words.

Honestly, I can understand the scrubbing of swear words out because most swears are bad, although there is the rare occasion when scrubbing a swear word kills a song.

Example, Pearl Jam's "Jeremy".

Lyric He was a harmless little fuck, gets changed to He was a harmless little.

Unless you're overly familiar with the song, you won't get the implied meaning.

But I draw the line when you start scrubbing words out of songs (and videos) because of some remote possibility that some advertiser might get offended.

An old song is just that: old. And to scrub it clean is in my opinion, the worst possible thing you can do.

Now please keep in mind, I'm talking about scrubbing out allegedly offensive non-swear words and not when someone rearranges a song to suit their singing style. A good example of this would be Pat Boone's CD "In A Metal Mood". Don't laugh, because not only were the classic rock songs rearranged into a brassy big band swing sound, but some of the original performers of those songs actually joined in.

So my friends, do you have a problem when radio stations scrub a song so that certain words are eliminated (not counting blatant swear words)? Or it doesn't really bother you that a favorite song gets scrubbed?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What Was 2012 The Writing?

The goal of 2012 was to simply repeat the goal of 2011, which was to get at least one story published. Didn't really matter if it was a short story or a novel, so long as I was able to get something published.

Thus, 2012 started with a continuation of that particular goal that was reached in June 2011. I was still doing the querying/submitting game when the calender turned the page to January 2012 and although I had gotten nary a nibble with my queries, I still kept at it.

By early January that perseverance paid off in the form of a very informative semi-rejection letter, details of which can be found here. After soliciting a few opinions from people that I respected, I dove back in and took a scalpel to my story.

In early February, I achieved my goal of getting one story published when I was offered a contract for my adult fantasy novel:

Line 21
A slew of other things were accomplished with this book, which includes:

1} Book cover in April.
2} Fantastic editing job in July.
3} Fantastic book trailer in the late summer.
4} And finally, the release in October of the e-book version.

But lest you think I was resting on my laurels, I wasn't.

While I was busy waiting for the glacier sprocket that is publishing to complete its required rotations, I decided to turn my attention back to one of my recent incompletes that I had started in late 2011 to keep myself occupied. I sat down at my computer, opened it up and basically forced myself to write it out to the end, which I did about one week later. I wrote a very ending and stuck the completed novella into my slush pile of ignorance.

A few months after I had finished that, I decided to act on a story idea that was bouncing around in my head and for the next four months I worked on this personal pet project of mine. I say "personal" because from the moment I wrote the opening sentence "It was time to go", there was no way this novella would see the light of day. It was in a genre that I have some reservations about and I wrote this more as a stress release than anything else.

The only reason why I put that little project to the side was that I was eager to work on something that I would have a realistic chance of getting published. So around the early fall, I went through my slush pile of ignorance and found two partials that I deemed worthy of my attention.

I blew off the dust bunnies and flipped through the pages of each to refamiliarize myself. However, once I did, I was faced with the thorny problem on how to decide on which one I should do. So I wrote a series of posts with the end result of being that you the reader would actually get to decide on which novel I should work on next.

But as you well know, sometimes the best laid plans can go kablooie, which is what happened here. Why kablooie? Because while I was deciding on what partial to work on, I was also doing a little networking on Facebook as well. One medium sized conversation later, and I switched priorities, from deciding which of two partials to work on to polishing up a novella so that I could dive head first into the shallow end of the query pool.

On the short story front, nothing much of note happened beyond having some writer's vanity project go belly up when I submitted one little piece of quirky horror project in January that got accepted, having that same piece of quirky horror rejected outright by another and at yet a 3rd, have the editor thoroughly enjoy the piece but felt it was too macabre (cannibalism) for his zine.

I did have someone take a look at it and they offered some solid advice on it, which when things calm down again, I will act upon.

So the end result of my writing endeavors for 2012 were:

1} 2 acceptances.
2} 4 rejections (1 belly-up, 1 thoroughly like but no, and 2 outright).
3} 1 published.
3} And lest we forget the contractual obligation that I will touch upon a future post, 19 book reviews.

And we have one more item on the agenda: This past Sunday's post/contest.

After writing down all the names of the commenters and assiging them a number, I proceeded to take a scientific survey by asking all the people visiting my house yesterday and asking them to choose a number from 1 to 6.

The winner of a free copy of my commercial debut novel is David Cranmer! David, I'll be shooting you an e-mail later today for the mailing particulars. Congrabulations to all who commented, and please keep in mind that the print version of my book will be dropping sometime this month should you want to purchase it. If you can't wait that long, please check out Solstice or Amazon for the e-book version.

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-16 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com