Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Karma?

Posted: November 9, 2017 in Blog
Tags:

I am not much of a believer in karma; however, I did witness an interesting experience once that does give the idea some credence.

Many years ago, and I met a guy at work who had moved from Arkansas. He had family back there, waiting for him to discern if this was a good move, so he was living in an efficiency apartment until he made up his mind. We hit it off and became friends, and in conversation about what he did for entertainment, it came out that he did not do much. Obvious, really, considering he had upended himself and gone alone to a new place just to check out a job prospect. I offered to have him come along with me and some others on an outing to a nightclub we frequented. He agreed.

Just to add some flavor, I will mention that this guy was relatively normal-seeming. This is just my commentary and not judgement. He did become friends with me, after all, so he could not have been that normal. We were headed to Numbers, which is not only Houston’s longest-lived nightclub but also has a reputation for being a bit “different”. I have been going for years, and I feel right at home there.

The guy from my work (let’s call him “Mike”) really took to the place. He loved the music and was really enjoying himself. Let’s just say that there was much dancing and drinking. At one point, he said he had to go to the bathroom. The restrooms at Numbers are notorious, even more so back then than now, so I decided to accompany him. He was clearly tipsy, at least, so I felt compelled to be something of a guide.

The men’s is small, two urinals and three stalls. And the condition is usually horrid. Sometimes, there might be a nice, shallow sheen of liquid waiting in the stall area. You might find other substances in there, too, some ready to go in, others having come out. There might be more than one person stuffed into those stalls. When we showed up, there was a small line of guys waiting, thought a urinal was open. You can imagine why there was a queue for the stalls and available urinals. Mike looked around, a bit confused, and I waved him to the open space.

I killed time, since I didn’t need to use the facilities. Another guy came in, and he balked at the crowd, doing a little jig and declaring he really had to go. He glanced around, then went right for Mike, probably because he was the least threatening or most normal looking in there. I wondered what was going on, so I paid close attention. They exchanged a few words, then Mike finished up and let the guy have the urinal. Apparently, the guy had been so pressed he had cut in line and convinced Mike to pass the torch, as it were, giving him quick access to relief.

We left, and my friend was laughing. He showed me that the guy had slipped him a few bills to ‘buy’ the cut in line. Considering the others were waiting on stalls, this was even more amusing. We got back to the bar, and Mike unfolded the crumbled currency – two one’s and a fifty.

I was shocked. Clearly the guy had not intended to give him $52. I encouraged Mike to go find him. The club was very crowded, so that did not happen. What did happen was Mike managed to somehow lose a lens from his glasses while dancing. We looked around, but that thing had escaped. It cost him fifty dollars.

I am not sure if some bizarre universal sense of fairness invoked its power that evening, but it sure was an odd, interesting, and fun experience.

EndlessKnot01

Well, we’re almost done with October. Let’s see what we have as we draw toward a close.

22: Publishing Tales – aside from some very rudimentary self-publishing and the occasional feature on a webpage, I did not get published until recently. I submitted queries to a handful of publishers, and before I could even figure out who would be in round two, I was lucky enough to find someone to publish my first novel. Thank you, Optimus Maximus.

23: TBW – To Be Written – I have several irons in the fire, as it were, which is usually the case. Once I complete the third (& likely final) book in my Butterfly series, I have two other novels to work on, probably three, maybe more. The two are vampire related, though they are not connected. Both deal with different ideas of how vampires began. I am looking forward to working on both. The third deals with wizards and dragons, but it is not a typical fantasy tale.

24: RP:Rejection stories – I made a lengthy post on this. You can read it here.

25: Horror Story – I grew up with asthma, horrible asthma. It nearly killed me once. I was in a hospital emergency room, and they were losing me, so they life-flighted me from that hospital to another one more suited to handle such trauma.

26: Scary-Awesome Bloggers – Nicolajayne Taylor, Meghan at  The Gal in the Blue Mask, and Patricia Statham at Books to Curl Up With.

27: Best Writing Candy – if I am going to eat candy while I write, it needs to be some kind of dark chocolate, maybe with ginger or chili in it, but definitely dark chocolate.

28: Book Babies – I don’t know what is meant by this prompt, soooo, I am going to skip it.

And there we are! I’ll wrap up Oct next week and bring us into November. Thank you all for being here, and if you are interested in my writing, please visit my Amazon Author Page for my books.

dotb-twitter

I have been doing the #IGWritersOct, which, ironically, is primarily an Instagram thing, but hey, let’s think outside the box. It has been an interesting effort, and today’s prompt is “RIP:Rejection stories”. I have a lot of those.

The first time I ever formally submitted was back in the early 90’s. I was in the throes of basically churning out pages and pages that were deeply derivative of Lovecraft’s work. I will call them weird fiction, but they were really more my finding my own voice within the appreciation of another author.

This was back in the days before the internet, and I was mailing off my submissions to various magazines. I never got published this way, though I came close once. One of them asked me to cut a story down a great deal, and I labored over it, finally getting to the length they wanted only for them to reject it a second time.

I did not submit again until some years later, throwing together a query letter for a novel. I had a copy of the Writer’s Market, if I recall correctly, and this thick, hardbound book set me back a decent amount. I put together many letters, SASE’s (how many people today even know what those are?), and the envelopes upon envelopes I licked. I went to the local post office with stacks of sealed-up hopes. I received letters from most of these, and none of them were successful.

I then tried again some time later with another novel. This one epic, beastly in size (nearly a thousand pages), and I tried sending my queries this time to agents and publishers. As before, I received many replies, mostly all form letters, all rejections.

I let my interest subside. I still wrote, though not as much. It took more than a decade for me to realize I had nearly abandoned a great creative love of my life. I remember driving up to Barnes & Nobles once, and I turned off my car and sat there. I looked at the store, and I thought of all the books in there. None of them were written by me. I felt a wave of depression hit me. My fairly routine desire to go in and find something new to read had fled, and all I could think about was my own lack of publication. I left.

Fortunately, I found new inspiration and wrote my current series (still working on the third). I was lucky enough to find a publisher, and now you can find my books out there if you are so inclined. And I hope you are.

 

October is just zooming by. A lot is going on, and it can be difficult to stay focused, but let’s roll with the third week of IG Writers month and see what we get.

15: Fav. Scary Read – Okay, this is timely. It by Stephen King. I enjoy horror stories, but they rarely actually scare more. I usually find them to be darkly entertaining, but to experience real fear whilst reading one is uncommon. I have read a few stories recently by some independent authors that gave me some trepidation and fright. Thank you Carmilla Voiez and Jeffrey Kosh. The Exorcist also scared me, but It is my favorite. I love the novel, and I have read it several times.

16: Writer Foods/Fuel – Coffee. There is no specific food I associate with writing. In fact, I rarely eat while writing. There is always a drink on hand, though, and it is usually coffee.

17: Author Crush – I don’t really have one.  There are several authors I’d like to me, but no crushing is happening.

18: Page 13 of your WIP – I made a post about this on my Twitter. Feel free to check it out.

19: Book Dedication – Dance of the Butterfly is a tale that very nearly did not happen.  It took time to take  hold and even more time to truly blossom.  Were it not for the ceaseless help of a very dear, close friend, it would not have been done.  In a very real way, it parallels that relationship, taking from that story to add to its own.  For this, I deeply thank you, Jane.

20: Killed Darlings – I am not sure I like this one being here. A killed darling generally comes with a shock. If I say who has died in my books, then the shock is gone. If you have not yet read them, you would not be emotionally invested, anyway. Suffice it to say, there are some. Read to find out.

21: Plot-Twist – I love these. Both of my books have a few and the third will as well. I enjoy setting things up and having a few different twists and turns happen throughout. I also like to use red herrings, and one in my first book is layered with some subtle referencing. I have even followed patterns in my series, so that, in itself, becomes a clue.

There we are. I hope you have enjoyed this third week of IGWriters month. Please do visit my Amazon Author Page for my published works. I’d love to have you as a reader.

dotb-twitter

And it continues …

So, I feel stupid. The IG in IGWritersOct is for Instagram. I don’t use Instagram, just set up a meager little account. I’ll have to get more into it, but I digress.

8: BRAINstorming – another one I am not sure what they mean, but basically, my brainstorms generally come from dreams. I pull from my dreams for a great deal of my inspiration. My urban fantasy series began from three different such experiences. My other form of brainstorming is more deliberate, and it happens when I really focus on the story and maybe talk it out or plot it and see what I may be missing or what can be added. Completely unexpected ideas have come from this, and I value the technique.

9: Writing Adventures – Yes, I can do that. Ah, but maybe they mean adventures that happened to me because of writing. I had my first convention as a published author at this year’s Scares that Cares. That was very exciting. I got to meet my publisher face to face along with other authors and friends. It was a great weekend.

10: Mental Health & Writing – I would say that writing can be very therapeutic. The way I write, though, it can also be difficult. I really get into my writing, and sometimes it spawns unpleasant feelings. There are some scenes that once I wrote them, I had difficulty editing them. Once edited, I don’t read them again.

11: Handwriting Sample – I am going to pass on this one. I rarely use handwriting for anything at all in my life.

12: Pantser or Plotter – I do both. I generally plot out the major points, then I fill in the blanks and details with stream-of-consciousness writing. That seems pretty much by the seat of the pants.

13: Writing Rituals – I don’t really have one of these, though my writing usually does not get done without some coffee on hand. I sometimes choose very specific music to help, and then it is on low volume.

14: Dead Manuscripts – Oh, boy, do I have these. I have thousands of pages of unpublished poetry, short stories, even novels. Most of those are incomplete, but there are two that are complete and one that was about 95%. Looking back on them, very few seem worthy of resurrection.

And that’s another week! I hope you enjoyed, found something thoughtful, or in some way found value here. Thank you for reading. Comments and questions are always welcome, and if you are interested in my published works, please visit my Amazon Author Page.

Thanks!

dotb-twitter

So, this month is IGWriters month. I wish I could tell you what the IG stands for or what brought this on, but here it is. Take a breath, and let’s dive in.

1: INTL Coffee Day – great! I love coffee. I generally drink a Vietnamese instant coffee during the week, so that is international, assuming INTL stands for international. If you want to learn about a quite exotic coffee, I suggest kopi luwak. It’s expensive and partially digested! Give it a try, and let me know how it is.

2: Your WIP – I am currently working on the third book in my dark urban fantasy series. It will be different from the first two, and it will probably be the end of the main story.  Here is an excerpt:

It is a large man, his suit jacket open, clothing showing disheveled, torn, bloodstained, and if the darkly-coated butcher knife in his fist were not sign enough, his eyes bleed out with a strange, red hue.  Those orbs see Lilja and the other three, and he roars out, eating a few precious seconds before he launches himself at his prey.

3: Writing Tools – I use a computer. I began with a typewriter. I have hand written a few things, but for the vast majority of my writing, I have used a keyboard of one type or another.

4: Writing w/ animals – I am not sure what to say on this one. I don’t use animals to write, and I don’t have a pet. No cute pics of a cat trying to get my attention as I tap away at the keys.

5: Author Bucket List – This was another one I was not entirely sure about. I suppose my author bucket list is to someday make a living as an author. I’d also like to visit the regions in Europe that I used as inspiration for the setting of my first two books.

6: What makes you smile – a lot does, actually. Spending time with my family usually leads to a great deal of laughter. I also love talking to my readers. That will often get a smile on my face.

7: Your favorite character – Another tough one. I suppose this is meant to mean a character of my own design. I am going to ignore the obvious and look to a minor character who still played a big role and choose Interpol Inspector Gaspare Duilio. He is a corrupt officer who ends up playing a part in all three books. Not only do I find him an interesting and many-layered person, but the experiences he has and how they shape him allow him to show further depth and have a larger impact on the overall tale.

And that is it for the first week. I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to leave any comments are ask any questions you may have. Please also visit my author page and read my books! Thank you.

dotb-twitter

Since I got into this independent author/publication thing, I have met a lot of others also involved, whether other writers or publishers, editors, promoters, etc., etc. A lot. It’s easier to get published now and to reach a potential audience with all the amazing tools we have available to us. I used social media to find my publisher, and I am grateful for it. It’s a small group of us, and we’re still learning and getting started, but it’s an amazing journey, and I like to think we’re all helping each other.

But it doesn’t stop there.

With the social media explosion, it is easier to find others, whether colleagues, agents, audience, or whatever the case may be. It also means a lot more out there. It can become white noise. I hate to say it is like separating the wheat from the chaff, because that sounds elitist. There may well be a suffering of quality, though, as these very vehicles are used to increase the quantity. This means a huge supply. There is certainly demand, but it becomes an issue of getting the potentially fleeting notice of that audience. Look here! This is me! Buy my book!

This could lead to a situation within the independent world of a lot of cut-throat competition. I will not take this approach. I feel like we are all in this together, and those of us making sincere efforts to share our creations and enrich the world with this art ought to cooperate, not compete. I share the works of other authors and try to help promote blogs, events, groups and other methods of just opening the lines of communication and awareness.

I feel very strongly that this is the way to go about it. There is so much wonderful work out there, we might as well bring as much as we can of the whole world to the buffet and let them pick what they want.

Help yourself. Help us. Help each other. Tell your friends about it. And read, read, read.


Please feel free to follow me on My Facebook Page or check out My Amazon Author Page for my published works.

Thank you.

Follow the Butterfly

I think sometimes people get an incorrect impression of my book merely from the name, Dance of the Butterfly.  Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  It has ‘dance’ and ‘butterfly’ in it.  It must be a romance.  Well, it does have romantic elements.  There is a relationship that buds and blooms as a core plot point, but it is not just about that, and it is not all nice and flowery.  There is some splatter. Quite a bit of it, actually.  I am not one to often pull punches.  I got myself in a bit of hot water during a poetry contest many years upon years ago, because I don’t feel the need to overly censor.  I have since learned more of a balance between raw and refined.

In that vein, I have been posting snippets of the final climax of my book, and things do get bloody.  Allow me to share another …


One of the guests lies on the ground, in a growing pool of the red liquid, another guest atop him. The larger man above is savagely stabbing into the prone body of the other, holding a torn piece of metal, having been drafted as an improvised weapon. Each stab into the left side of the victim’s torso produces more spurts of fresh fluid, the attacker painted with it, giving him even more of a horrific, demented look than his own expressions and actions already convey.

“He’s killing my husband!” a nearby woman screams, her own shrieks part of those making up the cacophony, though if the lack of resistance on the part of her spouse indicates anything, he may already be dead.

The guards point their weapons, nearing the terrible happening.

“Get out of the way!” Duilio commands, and the other party-goers and workers do just that, clearing more area around the attack.

“Do something! Do something!” the woman, rushes over to Duilio, her heels clicking on the pavement.

The guards look to the inspector, and Duilio spares a short moment of assessment, then, “Stop him.”

Gunshots blast out, causing more screams and dispersal of the crowd. The attacker is quickly removed from atop his victim, crumbling away and to the ground, flopping to his back as the firing ceases, his breath coming out ragged and wet.


So, there you go.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it whet your appetite for more.  If so, please visit my Amazon Author Page to buy any of my publications.  Thank you.dotb-twitter

I had the pleasure of attending the Scares that Cares charity horror convention this past weekend.  It was my first time promoting myself as a writer or even attending such a gathering.  I can only imagine what all went into arranging, promoting, and conducting an event of this scale.  Kudos to those responsible.

I flew into Virginia (my first time there.  This entire very short and fun stint was peppered with ‘firsts’), and I took the brief drive from Newport News to Williamsburg.  It did not take long to settle in, freshen up, then get over to the con.  The parking lot of the hotel gave very unsubtle hints as to what to expect inside.  I was lucky to find a space quite a distance from the entrance, and I saw pockets of obvious con-goers before I even made it inside.  Most looked to be dressed in a sort of dark, spooky flair.  Right up my alley.

The con began with a large, open room full of various horror movie memorabilia slated to be auctioned off (or so I gathered; the entire thing was quite a whirlwind, so please forgive my errors.)  I needed to find the second floor, room thirteen.  Rather apropos, don’t you think?  As I walked down the end of the hall, I noticed a sign a bit further on than I needed to go – “The Trials of Dagon: Innsmouths’ Revenge”.  I felt a pull.  I wanted to go past room 13 and into that one.  I smelled a hinting scent of salt water, and was that a minuscule spasm at the sides of my neck, as of gills trying to form?  Surely not!  I somehow managed to avoid the pull.

I had found the Optimus Maximus table and in short order met Ricky Fleet, Maura, Marc, and of course, Christina.  The amount of work put into all of this by Christina is simply amazing.  Thank you.  I met many other wonderful people, too, and the sheer volume of sugar and alcohol consumed was no less than … but let’s not digress too much.

Over the course of the weekend, I saw a great many interesting offerings, costumes, and people.  It really was a buffet of dark produce, and I loved it.  I saw (but did not meet) Julian Sands and Jeffrey Combs.  I am not one to geek out over celebrities, but I did feel a bit of a thrill at the site of Jeffrey Combs.  I’d love to have coffee with the guy and just talk about his various experiences and that weird tentacle thing growing out of his pineal gland.

The days went by in a blur, though it did begin to feel a bit isolated in our remote corner of the second floor.  Most of the traffic seemed to stay below.  I did catch the end of a kaiju fight at one point.  Thankfully the collateral damage was contained.  I also saw Pyramid Head and the Creeper.  They must not have seen me.  You know, since I am still alive.  Whew!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad I attended and met so many people.  I look forward to the next time, and I hope to see and meet more of you there!

 

I have been slowly making a series of posts that follow along the plot of my first novel, Dance of the Butterfly.  These are all to hopefully entice new readers through the vehicle of some contextual hints.  I hope it has been working, and I hope those of you who do decide to read my book enjoy it.  In that vein, let’s have another taste, shall we?


“Maybe we ought to just kill the girl,” speaks a voice, the tone one of calmly discussing the possible mowing of a lawn.

“No, no, that should not be done.”

Gnegon looks up from swirling his glass, the clear contents not interrupted by any ice or other flavorings, the expensive vodka not so delicate as to change its subtleties of taste from this mere motion. He also wears a very fine tuxedo, looking all the world like he is ready to head to an evening of celebration and entertainment, which he is.

He fixes his narrow eyes on the inspector, the Interpol man also dressed very nicely, more so than his usual daily flair, also holding a preparatory drink in advance of this evening’s festivities.

“Why not?” he asks, then after a short moment, “Do you like this girl, Gaspare?”

Duilio smirks, a subtle curl to one side of his lips, “Oh, no, she is exciting, to be sure, but she is not exactly … my taste. Perhaps if I were twenty years younger.”

The two share a short laugh at this.

“No,” Duilio repeats on the tail end of the shared chuckling, “The vigilante will come again.”

“How do you know?” the crime boss presses, any trace of levity gone from his features.

“A hunch,” Duilio finally answers.



Will this trap work?  Find out what happens in Dance of the Butterfly, the first book in my urban fantasy series. For 18+ readers.

“Overall, I think this book is an excellent read, and I couldn’t praise it enough.” – Uncaged Book Reviews

Please visit my Amazon Author page for all of my published works.

dotb-twitter