Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Count Your Downs: 300


I thought for the next few weeks, I would re-visit some old blog posts of mine and showcase how Cedar's Mountain has evolved over the past 59 months.

I know this sounds a little bit like my new series called "ReDeux!" but this is something so radically different that it will make your head spin, or at the very least, wonder why I wrote some of this stuff in the first place.

One thing that will make this post, which is #992, different from the others, is that I'll be whipping out some tags that have not see any kind of usage since the early days of this blog.

For instance, in celebration of revisiting blog post #300, I dusted off the shelf a very old tag called "Blogs".

Back in the day, I used to write about the dorky things that blog owners would do from time to time that would just annoy the crap out of me. Whether it was the blog being cluttered with so much advertising that it was virtually impossible to read or load to the blog being so super popular that you were very much afraid to comment. You name it, I probably wrote about it in some particular way.

So let's revisit a moldy oldy post from August 28, 2009, entitled (with one of my pet phrases) "What The?"

As always, you can leave a comment there, or you can leave a comment here. If you leave a comment there, you'll see a few profiles of bloggers who are no longer active within the blogging community, which sort of dovetails into the topic of the post.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Count Your Downs: 200


I thought for the next few weeks, I would re-visit some old blog posts of mine and showcase how Cedar's Mountain has evolved over the past 59 months.

I know this sounds a little bit like my new series called "ReDeux!" but this is something so radically different that it will make your head spin, or at the very least, wonder why I wrote some of this stuff in the first place.

One thing that will make this post, which is #992, different from the others, is that I'll be whipping out some tags that have not see any kind of usage since the early days of this blog.

For instance, in celebration of revisiting blog post #200, I dusted off the shelf a very old tag called "Book Reviews".

Now as most of you know, the book reviews that I have written as of late are now on Amazon. But, back in the day before I became a writer, I used to post my reviews here on Cedar's Mountain. At the time, my reading horizons weren't that well expanded, so when my good buddy David Cranmer suggested a book for me to read, I jumped at the chance to read it.

So my friends, please swing by to visit a moldy oldy book review from March 17, 2009 entitled "Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends."

As always, you can leave your comment there, or you can leave it here.

And yes, I am using a template of sorts for these blog posts. Makes things a little easier.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Count Your Downs: 100

Greetings people.

I thought for the next, oh I say, 10 blog posts, I would re-visit some old blog posts of mine and showcase how Cedar's Mountain has evolved over the past 59 months.

I know this sounds a little bit like my new series called "ReDeux!" but this is something so radically different that it will make your head spin, or at the very least, wonder why I wrote some of this stuff in the first place.

One thing that will make this post, which is #991, different from the others, is that I'll be whipping out some tags that have not see any kind of usage since the early days of this blog.

For instance, in celebration of revisiting blog post #100, I dusted off the shelf a very old tag called "Topix".

Prior to starting Cedar's Mountain, I was a hardcore member of the chat rooms, specifically, the one run by The Topix Corporation. I won't bore you with the gruesome details of what I did, when I did it, and where the cyber-bodies are buried while I was an aficionado of the chat room, but if you're interested, feel free to search out said tag on my blog.

In the meantime, please re-visit a moldy oldy post from September 23, 2008 entitled "Whadda Ya Mean I'm Not A People Person".

You can comment on that post if you wish, but I strongly suggest that you save them for this post, as it will be much easier for me to find in the long run.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Number 942, ReDuex!

Yeah, okay, this re-do is gonna be a toughie. Number 941 was actually the 2nd to last post of 2012, and it had to do with a tiny little contest that I had earlier in December, so I have no idea on how I can put a new twist on this.

At the time, the drawing was delayed by a few weeks due to the terrible tragedy that took place here in my home state of Connecticut. I will not dwell on this further, because for the simple fact that I am suffering genuine burnout from listening/reading/hearing/discussing/having it crammed down my throat by politicians who don't know better non-stop for four solid months. The local media has even tied this thing into what had happened on Patriot's Day.

Locally, we had a well known and beloved college radio announcer who had a morning jazz show called "Sunrise Serenade" pass away from a heart attack while on air that same morning.

Anywho, I really don't know how I can put a new twist on this. I suppose I could talk about the amount of places that I've been shot down trying pimp my book (town fair was the latest rejection). I also could talk about the amount of spam hits that this blog has gotten directly due to my book (there is irony in there somewhere, I'll leave it up to you good people to figure it out), which for the week, was 222 page views. I could talk about my sales, but alas, I have no solid figures yet on what I've sold in the various outlets

Or, I could talk about yet another product that I had created with Vistaprint in regards to my book, that I'm going to take a crack at leaving a few with some businesses.

Postcards!

The front:


The back:


Looks pretty sharp don't it?

So now I got quite a few things at my disposal that I can use in order to help me pimp my book:

Business cards:



Bookmark:




Book trailer:



Now all I need to do is find a few places (besides my blogs and Facebook) that I can pimp my book w/o getting complaints from seriously narrowminded people.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Fatigue

I have gotten to a point in my life where I'm actually loathe to crack open a book or turn on my Nook. I didn't think it was possible, but it gradually snuck up to me until one day, I took a look at my book shelf at work after I had added three new books to it and I said to myself, "Ugh."

"Ugh?"

Ugh.

Define 'ugh'.

Sure.

For the longest time I've really enjoyed reading. Mostly non-fiction with the occasional piece of fiction thrown in for a change of pace. No matter what I read, I either enjoyed it or not. But slowly over the past year or so, which strangely enough coincided with signing my first publishing contract, I've turned from reading for fun to reading for critiquing.

Reading for critiquing, instead of reading for enjoyment.

It sounds really wrong to open a book and instead of reading it for the pure enjoyment, you open it and start reading it as a book reviewer.

In other words, are there typos? Is the writing dry or vibrant? Do certain elements (i.e. sexual encounters) help move the story or are they just eye candy? Does the plot make sense? Does it hold your attention? Does it do anything for me?

To be honest with everyone, as much as I like to read, I just can't see myself tackling any of the new reads that I got. And please keep in mind it's not because of the genres that they're in (romance and poetry), but it's because now the obligation of having to write a review of the novel in order to help my fellow writer (the bane of not wanting to do something half-assed).

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy helping my fellow writers when I can because I know that someday that help will be reciprocated. But when it starts to become more like something you have to do, instead of something that you want to do, then you know it's time to take a break from reading.

So for the time being, it is my intention to take a short break from book reading. I'm not sure for how long, but most likely it will last until I can get my mojo back and get into the groove of enjoying what I read without looking at it from a writer's or book reviewer's point of view.

Book fatigue.

It's not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Adventures Of Black Jack Pepper

I have a friend (yes, I have friends) who has decided to take the plunge in self publishing this year with her very first MG book.

Before I get into that, let me give you a little background on my friend and how I came to be writing about my friend today.

I'd first met my friend way back in the spring of my discontent, in 2009, while I was performing one of my many, many sojourns of blog surfing. Back in the day, one way that I used to blog surf was to peruse the comment section of a blog that I was reading, find an interesting profile and click on it.

Naturally, when I came across my friend's profile, it was so outlandishly bizarre that I had to click on her profile. I soon fond her blog and after perusing the front page, which included a unique quote that remained unchanged for a few years, I said to myself, "Yup, gonna follow this 'un."

Eventually she reciprocated, and soon thereafter, a friendship blossomed in the cyberworld. We got to be good buddies and because our sense of humor was very similar (warped to the nth degree), we egged each other on to new heights of silliness.

Soon the cyber friendship moved into the realm of the real world friendship and even though we lived on opposite coasts (mine normal, her's lunatic fringe), we managed to make it work.

And when it came time for me to get serious about my writing, she became the go-to person that answered all my weird questions and because of her journalism background, became a great beta reader for my novel.

I guess the success that I had with my book proved to be the nudge that was needed for her to get back into the swing of things with her writing. I returned the favor of being a beta reader the best I could and offered advice when needed.

So here we are in 2013, where there are a myriad of options to pursue while on your journey to becoming a published somebody. My good friend chose to pursue the option of self publishing, specifically through Amazon.

Which brings us to the topic of today's post.





Antonia Elizabeth Jones "aka Black Jack Pepper" is a precocious 6 year old who has a series of (mis)adventures that can bring an absolute smile to your face, a chuckle to your surroundings and a much improved outlook to your day.

I've had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this book and I can truthfully say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself in reading it, and I can also say that my 12 year old daughter Jenelle also enjoy a few of the stories in the book as well.

Exclusively as an e-book, this is a truly a book for all ages. So please check out "The Adventures of Black Jack Pepper", written by my very good friend Riot Kitty's alter ego, M.L. Madison. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Evil Lurks In The Mist

I was pretty much at a loss for what to write for a blog post today, but after what had transpired on Patriot's Day in Boston, Massachusetts, whatever I could come up with would pretty much pale in comparison.

But...I would like to think that these two particular pictures, although from a time period long ago, would hopefully convey the same message now as it did then.

I would also like to add, that hopefully, this event in Boston doesn't get exploited by our politicians (especially those in and from my home state) like last December's horrific tragedy in Newtown CT, in which 27 innocent people lost their lives.





We will rise, we will stand strong and we will sure as hell persevere.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This Is What Happens When Facebook Becomes Your Book Of The Day

For those of you who are Facebook, you know that a good percentage of the time, your newsfeed is cluttered with strange pictures with funny captions.

Yesterday, I was inspired to get silly on Facebook, so I posted this picture:


And I asked my friends to provide a caption for it. The one who came up with the best caption would get a mention in my blog post. No problem, right?

Small problem.

It seems that since all the captions were so funny, I was unable to choose one. Since I can't choose one, I'll choose them all.

Thus, a funky story to brighten up your Sunday, which comes courtesy of the following people: Joy Redmond, Ellen Burgess, Glenda Stewart, Kelly Abell, Janet Kuziak, Michele Lavender, Patricia Gregory, Josephine Stull and Ron Barrett.

Now that's a set of balls worth licking, but words fail me so I can't elaborate on why they're worth anything. However, you must pardon me because it's snack time! What kind of snacks? Why Scooby Snacks of course! Why Scooby Snacks? Because he can, that's why!

No really, why Scooby Snacks? Because he's working on his contortionist act so that he can travel in a bag and not stay in a kennel, so he needs all the engergy he can get. Plus, once he's done with his training, he gets to eat at the Cruiseship Buffet!

"They're mine, so I can bite them if I want to! And that's how my hammer hangs? And then afterwards, I'm gonna play me some Twister while I eat my Twizzlers!"

But why do you do it?

Because I just can, and do you know why I can? I can because my jewels are bigger than yours!

Well, you certainly disproved the old myth of going blind while..um...umm...good lord, what have you done to yourself? You have broken neck! Oh wait, you have a detactable spinal column. Carry on.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Verbiage? What Verbiage? I Don't See No Verbiage.

Which about sums up my lack of writing this year. But, be that as it may, I shall make a genuine effort at regaling you with tales of daring do, or rather, tales of from the deepest darkest cranny of my brain.

Anywho, it's been a very long while since I've told everyone what in the wide wide world of sports is going on with my writing, so I thought I would take the time by telling everyone what the agony of victory and the positive thrill of defeat is going on.

With that being said, let us get rid of said cliches and get on down to the nitty gritty of what's what with what.

shush, i am on a ron-a-roll here, so sit back and enjoy.

Line 21

Line 21 has been out for about five and a half months now, and I'm very proud with the way things have been unfolding with it. While it has been a series of ups (out as an e-book and as print) and downs (having to shut down a book signing early due to complaints, and striking out at a few fairs because of the content), I am very proud of what I've accomplished for myself. No matter what else may happen in my writing career, I will always look back on this moment with an overwhelming sense of pride.

So if you haven't had the chance to check out a truly unique piece of quirky fiction that is a smidgen of romance, a smidgen of mystery, a large slice of paranormal fantasy, a healthy slathering of reconciling personal values with the real world and a positively overflowing wading pool of exploring the salacious side of life in all of its glorious excesses, here is a five page preview of what Line 21 is all about.

A Shadow Warrior's Redemption

Not much going on with this at the moment. I have three queries out and I'm doing a careful search and destroy for other publishers to query. I haven't forgotten about writing a few posts about it (much like I did with Line 21) but things have been a bit chaotic for the past few months in the real world and I simply haven't found the time to do the topic justice. As soon as I can find the time, I will write some very intriguing posts about it.

Time To Go

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about getting back into the swing of things with my writing. A few days later, I gave serious thought to what a particular commenter had said about always moving forward. I was already have second thoughts about merging my very decent chapbook into the slush novel of the same name, but this particular comment basically pushed me into the direction that I really needed to go in, but not with the item that I've been experiencing a major conundrum with ever since I started writing the damn thing.

My personal slush novel.

You know, the one that was inspired by a particular disgusting scene from an Australian crime movie in a genre that I have a love/hate relationship. Where I had taken pen to paper and wrote a particularly scathing blog post about back in 2011. The one that if it ever got published, people would look at me in a not-very-good-way.

Yes, that novel.

Last weekend (4/5-6), I took out that novel and spend the better part of the weekend getting in touch with my inner demons and the plot line. I did a little editing, took a few more notes, clarified a few others and thought, "WTF am I getting myself into?"

I eventually answered the question on Sunday while having lunch with the wife: I started writing down new character names in a memo pad. In front of my wife. You should know that in the almost 7 years that I've been writing, I have never, ever, ever written down anything related to a story in front of my wife. Ever.

I'm sure you're curious as to what I wrote, so I'll tell you, and afterwards, you can let your imagination run completely wild as to what kind of novel I'm actually writing.

Two of my lead characters were called Toi and Davy, which if you think about, aren't really fitting for a novel of this kind. So I changed them to Tomas and Dean.

Have fun. Nice shot man.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Is Readys For The Birdies!

Last year, I had to stop feeding our fine feathered friends 'cause my mother's psychotic chihuahuas successfully chased them from the backyard to the front yard, thus causing them to mooch down the bird seed and creating much human, feathered friend and tree distress.

The wizened old tree became so distressed from the lack of visitors of the feathered persuasion that it turned into this:


Not looking so good does it.

Fortunately, the wizened yet severely gnarly looking tree managed to survive yet another harsh winter that turned the less hardy woodened folks into this:


This year, I decided to start feeding the birdies, because I got the idea a few months ago to buy squirrel proof bird feeders. Now as you know, when you're on a tight budget, buying non-necessary items because an exercise in financial creativity. So while I was trying to figure out how to work these items into my budget, Father Nature dropped a nice little bomb on my dysfunctional world.

My mother, who was cleaning out her old campsite and moving things to her new campsite in the southeastern part of the state, had a bunch of old squirrel proof bird feeders. So when I got home, I found about eight of them hanging about the various places in the front yard.

Pleasantly surprised at this turn of events, about a week later, I carved out some "me" time to do some basic birdy landscaping. I moved one of the giant birdfeeders to the side yard, and redesigned the front yard with the rest.

So now I have six squirrel proof birdfeeders at the ready, so when the weather warms up in a couple of weeks, our fine feathered friends will be able to dine sans squirrels and chat up the wizened yet gnarly tree, and hopefully the tree will be returned to it natural glory:


Birds.

They can brighten any human or non-human's day simply by being there.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Don't Be Giving Me Dirty Looks If I Comment On Your Personal Business

Props to David Cranmer's blog post of  2/5/13 for providing the inspiration for this post.

My office building has what we call "open floors". In other words, the cubicle walls are short, the ceilings are high, and on a good day, you can hear clear across to the other side of the room. The one advantage to this concept is that you can hear all kinds of conversations, which is great if your job has a tendency from time to time to give out information with an eye dropper. The one disadvantage to this is that you can hear all kinds of conversations, which sucks if you're trying to get your work done and completed without any kind of monumental F' ups.

Throughout my state career (17 years and counting) I've had the misfortune of occupying cubicles/work stations in seriously high traffic/high visibility areas. I say "misfortune" because having a cubicle or work station in a high traffic/high visibility area means you can't do the following items with any degree of consistency:

1} Goof off.
2} Get your work done in a timely manner.

I'm not going to talk about being able to goof off, 'cause well, we all goof off from time to time, and we all have ways of goofing off w/o getting caught, no matter how many people come wandering by. However, I am going to talk about getting your work done in a timely manner.

I have been tortured by people in more ways than you can possibly imagine, simply because of where my cube or work station has been.

For instance, at one of my pit stops back in the mid-2000's I had two cubes in serious high traffic areas.

Cube #1: Just outside my entrance was the break table, in which all kinds of unhealthy food items and informal staff meetings took place; directly in front of my cube was the entrance to the hallway, the refrigeration and the microwave for our unit.

And no, this is not a good thing. If you enjoy having people talk while they're nuking their smelly disgusting food less than a half hour after you had your lunch and you're trying to get your job done, then you need professional help. Or if you really enjoy having people carry on inane conversations and one of the participants is wearing enough musk oil to gag even a hoarder of garbage, then you really need to be living here.

In regards to the musk oil, the person who was wearing it actually drove me out of my cube twice within a couple of minutes. After the second trip to the great outdoors to clear my head, I came back inside and mentioned to the person that her nasty musk oil was making me ill and could you kindly move your big fat hienie elsewhere (and no, I didn't say it like that, I used tact, thank you very much).

That person, believe or not, got highly offended over the fact that I asked her to move her conversation elsewhere. Never mind the fact that her aroma was making me seriously ill and that it was preventing me from doing my job. No, we threw a hissy fit because we had to MOVE OUR HIENIE ELSEWHERE.

Feh.

Fast forward a few years later to my current place of debauchery...umm...employment.

The cubicle that I had first called home was directly across from the conference room, which everyone and their Uncle Dan used for meetings. Quite often, when these meetings break up, a lot of noise was much to be had. Which usually meant that I often had to take an extended break from doing whatever it was I was doing and traipse off to elsewhere until the commotion stopped. When it did, I would traipse back to my cube from yonder and get doing what Uncle Dan is paying me to do.

However, there were times when I had to no choice but to speak up 'cause I couldn't vacate the premises. I would politely (seriously) ask the participants if they could keep it down or step to the rear of the bus. Most of the time they would acquiesce and all would be right with my world.

Except this one time, which becomes fodder for this blog. A bi-weekly staff meeting from another unit broke up and as one of the participants was leaving the room, an old friend of the participant who happened to be on the floor, specifically my end of the floor, bumped into the participant.

So right then and there, they decided to have an old home week and proceeded to spend the next several minutes catching up on life. I did my usually thing and vacated the premises for a while, then came back and restarted whatever it was I was working on. Another minute or so passed by, and still they kept on yapping, completely oblivious to their surroundings.

Annoyed, I tried to concentrate while they were still yapping, but because of them had the kind of voice that grates on you after a while, I finally decided to nip this conversation in the bud. So I got up and said something to the effect (and yes I did actually say this) of "As fascinating as this conversation is, would it be possible for you to move away from my cubicle? I'm trying to work and your conversation is preventing me from doing so."

Sarcasm was unpleasantly exchanged between us, and for better or worse, neither one of us spoke more than ten words to each other for the rest of the time that she was employed by us, which was about 5 1/2 years ('07 thru late '12).

I don't get this as much in my new cubicle home, which is mostly due to co-worker cubicle shuffling and thus not too many visitors stop by for conversations. But when they do, I'll usually vacate the premises and take an extremely long break elsewhere until the yapping is completed.

So my friends, here's something to keep in the back of your head the next time you decide to have a personal conversation within earshot of other people.

Some will get annoyed with you because you're disturbing their personal space. Others will simply lean back in their seat, become quieter than a feather floating thru the air, and eavesdrop.

Because as you know, an informed frenemy is a happy frenemy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Number 125, ReDeux!

 Number 125 was written back November 2008 and it was about a less than pleasant encounter with Microcsoft, so today's ReDeux! post will be about customer service, which might be a problem for me to come up. Because as you know, I have talked about my adventures in crappy customer service over the past 4 1/2 years and probably the last thing that you want to hear me bloviate about (yet again) is crappy customer service.

So I thought, for this time around, I would try a different approach, in that I wouldn't talk about great customer service or crappy customer service. Instead, I would like to try talking about what I like to call "eh" customer service.

"Eh" customer service is basically customer service that isn't very good or isn't very bad, just somewhere in the middle. I think we've all experienced "eh" from time to time. In other words, customer service that goes through the motions to ensure that whatever opinion you had of the business remains the same.

Example: I have a very low opinion of my local Wendy's restaurant, and I have made it known on this blog on how low it truly is and why it got to be so low. I still go to Wendy's about once a month or so (because one can take only so much of BK), and while I had for the most part average customer service, my opinion about Wendy's has not improved or worsen afterwards.

I've had a lot of "eh" customer service moments like the aforementioned Wendy's during the year, more than the average person would experience, which I think is mostly due to the fact that I have such a seriously low expectation of quality customer service that when a business or a guv'ment entity (like my employer) actually reaches that seriously low bar, my response is like, "Yay."

So how about you? Have you ever experienced any "eh" customer service in your day-to-day wanderings? What about experiencing customer service from your job or business? Ever gotten a taste of what it's like for a member of the general public to deal with your business and found it less than satisfying.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dabbling There

Click here for Dabbling Here.

Now on the other hand, I have a hate/tolerate relationship with crime fiction. While I do enjoy reading certain types of crime fiction, I have a tendency to actively avoid stuff that creeps me out (which I had rather infamously voiced my displeasure with here), which as of late, seems to the way of most crime fiction.

Interestingly (or strangely) enough, the elements of crime fiction that seriously creep me out have found a home in a personal slush novel of mine called Time to Go. I originally got the idea for this novella from watching a particularly disgusting murder scene from an Australian crime drama.

Anywho, I tweaked the basic idea into a more thoroughly disgusting way of dispatching someone; added two serial killers; a potential victim/reluctant participant and presto! a novella that creeps me out every time I pick up pen and paper to work on it.

I mentioned that this is my personal slush novel, for the simple reason that if this novella ever saw the light of day, I think it would be somewhat detrimental to my nascent writing career. Because it's not intended for publication, I have the freedom to experiment with all kinds of things, most notably, writing in present tense/1st p.o.v.

Writing this slush novella in present tense/1st p.o.v. allows me the luxury of experimenting with a style that is more suited to the short story genre as opposed to the novella/novel genre. Additionally, that experimentation has allowed me to work out the kinks and eventually gave me the confidence to apply that knowledge to something that was already completed and that I wanted to get published.

Writing the slush novella has put me into a peculiar conundrum: on one hand, it's written in a sub-genre that creeps me out; and it creeps me out whenever I decide to work on the novella. On the other hand the words come disturbingly easy for me; and I still remember the original ending that I came up with all those months ago.

As for the other genres to dabble in, I probably won't. While I don't mind reading those other genres (i.e. westerns, mystery and YA), I really have no desire to dabble in any of them, short term or long term. To me, writing in those genre requires the kind of research that I'm not into at this juncture. Right now, I'm quite content to write my quirky paranormal R to NC17 fiction that requires the kind of research I do enjoy.

Dabbling.

Brylcream it ain't, but it still does a body good.

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