Saturday, July 9, 2016
Many people in any sort of business that requires promoting will tell you “there are no such things as a bad publicity.” Well, really, that isn’t the case, especially with this age of social media. The world is full of eggshells on the ground and you have to be careful not to step in the wrong place and make the loudest noise.
Recently I came across a review for a comedy show that was produced by a twitter bud of mine, Victoria Banner called Goddamn Millennials. I’ve seen YouTube videos on all the comedians featured in the show and they were all pretty funny. Victoria is also damned funny otherwise she wouldn’t be mentioned here. Anyway, this apparent reviewer claims to be from California and can write you a “newspaper article for press release” for a mere five dollars. Now one, this person is definitely a scam artist and not a very good one, and, two, you usually get what you pay for; just five dollars will not get you much.
You can read the review in question here: https://victoriabanner.com/2016/06/19/high-praise-for-my-shows-according-to-a-freelance-writer-from-singapore/. Just don’t read it with your literary eyes; it’s painful. This is just for a laugh. Remember this person is supposed to be writing a review for a comedy show that featured four comedians from the Vancouver BC area. The reviewer could have written better if he just saw the promo videos Victoria created and posted on her YouTube channel then just creating a document out of the air attempting to baffle the readership with b*^#$@!t. Victoria even made a video trying to read the review out loud. Here’s a link to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCUx_BF22E4. This is so bad it’s comedy gold.
So after delving into this I got to thinking; this must be happening in the literary world too. Specifically those of us involved in self publishing who would seem to do anything to get our literature noticed. Now I’m guessing there are people not unlike our gentleman in the previous paragraphs posing as a nineteen-year-old student from California who would write you a pro review for mere pennies but I found out something a little worse; especially for the amazon.com world.
The term is sockpuppetry and the initial reference I found it in was an article in Forbes by contributor Suw Chairman-Anderson. Here’s the link to the article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/08/28/fake-reviews-amazons-rotten-core/#5941d94a66d6. It’s direct target is author Stephen Leather who’s genre is thrillers. Now I admit I’ve never read any one of Mr. Leather’s books it is apparent he is a professional author, (I looked him and his stuff up. Interwebz, right?) however he publicly admitted to creating bogus accounts to create fake reviews for his books on Amazon and creating a buzz to sell them. Apparently this is a thing and one that’s not frowned upon much.
Now, I have gone through times where I thought in creating reviews with other accounts and I could harbor a guess others have thought about the same or have gone as far as Stephen Leather has whether or not they had the balls to admit it in public later in life after gaining an agent worth their weight in salt and a major publisher. Instead I decided to stick with my character and create this blog site instead. And taking the high road has resulted with one sold copy whereas that guy lives in Thailand and has sold millions. It’s a bitter pill.
The reverse is also true, it seems. There are fake accounts created to give good reviews to themselves or even their friends but they’d use this evil power against others to troll them down with a garbage review. It’s like dealing with a literary super pac I think. Or at least I think such things can spiral out of control. It gets that crazy on Twitter at times.
So have you literary fiends out there thought about it yourself? Have you contacted an outside source to create a media review to promote your book or your gig to generate buzz? Did you get trolled by competition who felt threatened enough to drag your book through the mud. Feel free to leave comments down below.
Now, a few other things:
First, Pokemon Go: A new kind of zombie walkers with cell phones that could have devastating effects. I won’t judge you if you stick to a few guidelines as you should have done with your cell phone before this app came into being. One, when you drive a motorized vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME! Please stick to driving said vehicle and keep the phone away. Two, when you are walking outside, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME! Leave the phone in your pocket. The problem with this second part you must wander outside to catch Pokemon and therefore have the phones out as you search. If you wish to do this while you walk don’t be looking at your phone. Look up and about while walking in the real world and when you need to see where you’re at in the game, stop first, then look at the screen. That will be acceptable behavior when playing Pokemon Go. Constantly looking at the screen and walking, NOT GOOD!
(Takes a deep breath)
And second, I’m trying to create audio videos for my YouTube channel and having a hell of a f*&%!*g time doing it. The audio file is done, the picture is chosen, but apparently my movie maker is not cooperating with me. So I have no idea when I’ll get this albatross done.
So that’s my weekly blog…yeah it’s becoming a weekly occurance, who knew?
Saturday, July 2, 2016
So this week I’m going to be doing two major things writing wise with my week off. First, I am attempting to create a comprehensive outline for the novel I am going to endeavor to create for the 3 Day Novel Contest on Labor Day weekend. Go ahead and Google it. It’s like NaNoWriMo on steroids. The second thing I’ll be doing is trying to create new query letters for my novel Daemon on the anticipation for it’s final edits stage. The latter of the two got me thinking about all the trials and tribulations I dealt with both that novel and my earlier work, Shifter, when it came to dealing with writing out their queries and hopefully gain the acceptance of some agent or possibly traditional publishing house who still accepted unagented authors. Also the many times I tried getting certain short stories put into magazines or compilations only to receive rejection notices from their editors. These are my “fond” recollections. Bear in mind I’m going to get a bit snarky with some sort of light in the tunnel at the end, so try to always stay positive in your voyage into traditional publishing.
I finished writing Shifter back in 2008. Many of us remember the downturn in the economy and the literary world was no different in its effects, apparently. Now I’ll never remember how many agents I sent queries to, for this book, for Daemon, or anything else for that matter. I just know I was very unforgiving to a poor tree for so many letters being sent out at the time. (Many agents and editors still accepted snail mail product.) But I do recall Shifter received all answers back from its queries with all but one rejecting me. The one who didn’t requested the first three chapters from me. Anxious, I sent them what they requested where I received an immediate “Not interested.” Many of the rejections cited the economic downturn that made it seem like an easy excuse for them. Still, there were many, “Not interested,” some that tried to sound encouraging to “Keep writing” after it was more of a feeling of why it’s terrible; some sort of passive aggressive torture at that point. There were even your various one word “No” responses. Just the word “no.” No constructive criticism, just one word with their signature stamped on the missive. Thanks for bothering, I guess.
Now we come to Daemon, a novel it took a year for me to writing, mostly in the sleeper berth of a tractor trailer in between pick ups and drop offs so, for me, I really cranked this one out and believed I worked hard on it. Finished it in 2010 and couldn’t wait to start sending out queries for this one. The economy was picking back up so agents couldn’t use that excuse again and I’m three novels deep in writing, plus several short stories in between, and I felt this could yield a better response.
Unfortunately it was quite the opposite. Again I cannot recall how many queries I sent out, however I’m sure it was double the about that I sent out for the previous novel, and every single response I received was, for the most part, “Not interested.” That is when I received rejection letters. I only received responses from half of the agents to whom I sent queries out. The other half didn’t even bother to respond.
Now, here is to my understanding. Yes you get tons of queries from people of all walks of life but since Daemon there are a few published works I attempted to read because of their popularity. Usually I can finish a book unless it suuuuuuuuuucks. And the two in question are Twilight & Grey. Please excuse me whilst I go regurgitae.
(Intermission while the song “Happy Happy Joy Joy” is played)
Okay. I get infuriated at times. The rejection letters really bite my craw and I wish they were a little better than the feeling of “That’s nice, you wrote a book. How adorable. Now run along now and let the grown ups write the real fiction.” But between all the passive aggressive vetoing that I can wade myself through I have received on rejection letter that I proudly keep around. Granted this was way back in 2002, to me this is how a rejection letter should read. I first asked it’s author if I could put it in my blogpost so that I didn’t get in trouble with any possible misquoting. Nope, this is verbatim from an editor of a compilation I attempted to be featured.
January 12, 2002
6--- H---- Drive
Thanks for sending “Stormjammers” to Beyond the Last Star.
I really enjoyed reading the story – which incidentally really felt like the middle-to-end part of a much longer novel. (I kept getting distracted by wishing I could have seen Brice before he got nailed, and his relationship with his princess, and Kregor’s world, and just exactly what Jettison paths were, and how they got formulated.) Lots of action, and I liked the voice.
But. This really is an end times story, it doesn’t fit the guidelines for this anthology, so much as for the last one Bone of the Earth. The way I see the guidelines is that the story would pick up after Kregor begins his new life…and what happens then.
Take note agents, THAT is how you write a rejection letter!
Sherwood’s website is here: http://www.sherwoodsmith.net/ . She’s a writer of fantasy, science fiction & historical romance and was once nominated for a Nebula award. I think she has a little bit of weight of what’s she’s writing about.
Well, that’s three straight weeks of blogging. I think that’s a record for me. Maybe we’ll try for four after I figure out how to make a audio video for youtube.
Friday, June 24, 2016
There’s a lot of nagging words that plague you during your journey as a writer. A lot of them nag you while your writing text in your story, whether it is background or a heated argument those type of nagging words tends to elude your memory, even now, the time of search engines and auto correct or reading a scathing review of your work. Those words from the latter of the two are a hurting type of nag that won’t leave. Then there’s one that just sits there, creating a malaise of feelings ranging from disappointment to fear to almost absolute hatred. My ultimate nagging word is unfinished!
Oh, it’s going to happen…A LOT! It could be this cool idea you had for this short story or trying to map out an outline for a novel or your wonderful poem you just can’t wait to show your family and friends to see what they think. Then you stop. You stop the piece of possibly several reasons. Many you’re too tired to keep your head off your laptop or your many laid out papers on your desk. Maybe a family member all of the sudden wishes your attention and has derailed your train of thought. Quite possibly, what I mentioned above, you can’t find the right words and you decide to walk away from your project hoping it may spark something in your brain. Whatever it may be, eventually that work is going to be stored away or even lost for days, weeks, or even years. And then sometimes it’ll nag at you like certain fictional characters that shall remain nameless.
I have two examples of this final hypothesis of nagging:
First: I thought I wrote a short story entitled “Maximillion, Matthias, and Marty.” At the current place of work the entire story unfolded into my head while running a press. I couldn’t stop and just write stuff down so I had to fight to keep the entire story inside my brain so that I didn’t forget every little bit of the story. When I got home I was giggling and laughing as I made a b line to my computer. Three hours later this story was rough draft finished. I am sure we writers love when creativity just jumps out of us like that and finishes itself. We would sit back as if we just ran a marathon looking at the screen at the “gem” we had just created.
I started showing it to people like a proud papa knowing they would love the story until I tried getting it into magazines or compilations. A keen editor pointed out that there really wasn’t a real plot here. It wasn’t really explained why the three brothers showed up in the greasy diner, other than one of the men picked it and the story ended with too many questions. It wasn’t a defiant ending. The more the editor went into it I suddenly realized the story was opening up into a novel and the background was forming, including information on the titular characters. That’s when I knew it was more a novel than a short story.
Three Brothers still sits to this day unfinished. I think it’s fifteen years old now.
Second: I wrote this short story from scratch for this upcoming compilation. I worked really hard on the word count (they were really specific on how much) as I already know the science fiction/fantasy subject matter at the time. After the third rewrite I thought “Last of the Storms” was ready for perusal for the head people of the project. However, like usual, I received a rejection letter for it. However this one was different. The editor actually liked my story and they thought it was good enough to be in the compilation if it wasn’t for one thing. It seemed like it was part of a bigger story. The editor when into detail about certain minor characters that were discarded very early in the story and that I never elaborated on their background. Nor the race the protagonist was from or the obvious history from other characters.
I sat back and stared at the story for many moments after reading the letter and felt the light bulb turn on. “Damnit! I wrote a middle chapter of a novel.”
Stormjammers is also sitting around with fifteen-year-old dust on it, unfinished.
I know there’s a ton of poetry and song lyrics just lying around never to see the light of day along with discarded notes and the beginnings of novels just laying to waste. As you go year to year as a writer it’s going to happen. You can either let it consume you and you go so mad that you have psychotic episodes every six months or you can do what I do and just accept the fact that it happens. Maybe, someday, it’ll turn back up in your head and it’ll go to another story; find another home. Or it was merely background for something else. It’s the circle of life, Simba.
Just remember one thing as a writer when it comes to the unfinished. It doesn’t matter how redundant it may become early on when they are first created or how much clutter they create when they sit around collecting imaginary dust. Don’t forget to SAVE YOUR WORK! You’re welcome.
By the way, just for added fun and understanding about my self torment in writing, I just thought of another story idea just by writing this blog.
(SHAKING FIST IN THE AIR!)
Now a shout out to Briana Mae Morgan. This is her website: http://www.brianamaemorgan.com/ if you click on the link today you'll see my guest blog on the very tip top of her website. She writes books and edits too. Give her some love.
Friday, June 17, 2016
I’m going to talk about something a little insane. To some writers this isn’t insanity. Instead it’s quite normal and at times expected. So there will be those of you who will be taken a back to this. My characters talk to me in my head. (Singing: “These are the voices…the voices in my head.”)
This kind of problem goes into the lines of “The Devil finds Work for Idle Hands.” So when my mind wanders they tend to pop in unannounced and proceed to spark a conversation with me. Sometimes I would find myself imagining conversations between characters. This would get weird because sometimes a dead character is there or they aren’t part of the same universe.
I’ve also had characters from role playing games join in and had friends who would do the same thing with theirs.
Daemon is the most dominant of the characters, obviously, as he is basically my alter ego. These conversations have been turning pretty unfriendly as of late. It usually ends up like this:
(Sighs) Reading another book?
Uh…yeah. That’s what this is in my hand; a book.
Is it still about that schmuck of a vampire from your twitter friend?
(Looking back into the book) Yes. It’s the second in the series.
Why aren’t you writing anything?
(Still looking in the book) Because I’d rather be reading right now
(Lets out a big sigh then speaks under his breath) Yeah, sure, okay.
What’s your problem?
Well it seems you’ve been reading a lot lately but haven’t been devoting any time to your own stuff.
That’s because I have no time and I’m actually hooked to my friend’s stuff, so I’m going to read it. Why? And why are you so concerned about my writing anything? None of your stories are even up to get done yet.
Why not? I’m clearly the best character you’ve written. I’m the most interesting of all of them so I don’t see why you can’t just continue writing about me.
Maybe I don’t want to get stuck writing the same ol’ crap over and over again. When something intriguing comes up when it has you in it I’ll write about you again. Until then, you can shut your cake hole.
So is that how you treat your intellectual property?
(Goes back to his book and says nothing)
You know I might just disappear and then where will you be?
Probably writing about Millicent.
Why the hell would you do that? She’s not interesting at all.
No, she’s interesting enough to get her own novel. A novel that you’ll appear in, I might add.
So when the hell will you write a story where I’m the primary character again?
I dunno. Does it matter if you die?
(Stands in silence)
Yes, I have that power and have been mulling over when I exactly kill you off.
(Still gives more silence)
I knew that would shut you up. Can I go back to reading my friend’s book now? I’m really digging the werewolf culture she’s created here.
(Sounding defeated) Yeah, sure. Have fun.
But now Millicent has recently chimed in with her two cents. I think it’s because I finally found a model who really closely resembles her physical appearance and she probably doesn’t like it. But she convinced me that I should write a sequel of sorts to the last Daemon novel. I say sequel of sorts because it takes place in between to chapters. If you wanna know which ones then buy the book and read it.
So it seems Daemon wins for now, but only because I believe to set up Milly’s own novel right I have to write a second book to Daemon, thus sort of making it a series. So right now the working title is Daemon 2: Electric Boogaloo until I think of a much better title. I really hate it when my kids win.
So let me know. Do any of you suffer from the same afflictions? Far as I’m concerned my brain is far too crowded in the first place. Do you ever get a character that yells at you “Talk about me! Talk about me or I’ll f*****g go away!” Or does a dream leave a lasting enough impression than you have to write it down as soon as you wake up?
Now I have one shout out for this blog because I really think this person deserves the attention. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRCe6LdbF9X5660wsqpBZvA is the YouTube channel for Sarah Ortega. Please subscribe to it, she's really really good.
Monday, February 29, 2016
A while ago, a twitter bud of mine, Resa, had a mini rant. This is my two cents.
Apparently there’s a rash of people out there that have it completely wrong when creating a novel. I blame reality television myself where anyone can stretch that thirteen minutes of fame and somehow make it a decade of seasons where people become famous for being themselves. This seems to have trickled down to the literary ranks the past few years where people think they can write one book, put it on a self-publishing site and all of the sudden become famous because they wrote a book.
Don’t quit your day jobs kids that will not happen. And if you don’t have a job and think this will pay the bills I suggest you go to Manpower and get something on the quick because that line of thinking will not do at all.
Now, I’ve written three or four books, depending on my mood the day I’m asked how many I’ve finished, so I have an idea about writing something and trying to get it published “properly.” Then finding out nobody in traditional publishing wants your work so you’ll turn to self-publishing because your book will still be out there to be noticed. This is one way to go and self-publishing is still fairly new.
Back in the day (2005) I decided to self-publish my collection of stories that contained my first full novel with a print on demand company who these days will remain nameless. Back then it was call vanity publishing, giving by the traditional publishing companies as an attempt to lessen their value on the public. But then I wrote another novel, went through the process of trying to get an agent, received plenty of rejection letters and one that wanted my first three chapters. After I sent my first three chapters then I was rejected.
Then there was a third novel I put through the same process receiving only half the rejection letters back and the other half of agents just did not bother sending anything at all. Ever since thing I’ve never finished another novel. This however was my experience with traditional publishing.
My experience with self-publishing is much more bleak. I’ve only sold one copy combined off the three or four books that are out there. That means the others have sold nothing. So, no, it is not preordained that you’ll be selling books right away and all of the sudden you become famous. 99.997% of the time it won’t happen.
And besides, why the hell do you want to be famous. I know I certainly don’t. That means I have to deal with scores of fans that know exactly what I look like when I’m in public. I have a hard time dealing with people as a complete nobody right now, I sure as frack won’t be able to stand it when I’m recognized. I like the idea of being a recluse instead. What I truly wish is what I create became famous, that’s the difference. To look back to at least one book that you know will stand the test of time, smile, and know I created that. To hell with being famous now, create something from your mind and imagination that will stand the test of time well after you’re gone like countless other authors have in the past. Three centuries later classrooms are reading your books as required as part of the period like you had to read Shakespeare, Dickens, Mellville, Hawthorne or more contemporary like Huxley or Fitzgerald. That’s the best kind of fame there; that’s immortality.
But there’s a lot of hard work that lay from that destination and where you start. I’m not trying to scare you into not writing, just trying to be a realist in some of what is ahead of you.
There are some other people who also talk about this and are going through the same pains as I am, only they’re a lot more successful at it: K.M. Weiland has her website, helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com and she recently released the steampunk fantasy Stormin’. Briana Mae Morgan is a freelance editor and author. Her website is brianamaemorgan.com and recently released the novel Blood & Water. And last but not least is Laura Del who’s website is thefictionwriters.net. She also wrote the novels Graveyard Shifts & Dueling Moons and the novella “Ghosts Among Men.” These three ladies also have their blogs within their websites, Laura and Briana also have YouTube channels. They are also better for the advice than I, since I’m a hell of a lot more jaded from my experiences. I know well the three float wonderful encouragement back to you and they are very personable, despite being super busy. Really, I have no idea where they find the energy
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Starting this month I delve into the last of my books to rewrite for the final time and after I do this I have to decide if I want to put it back onto the selling block or just hide it away forever so wandering eyes don’t have to stare at the mistake that it has become.
There are a plethora of guides and books on how to be a better writer or how to write a better story/novel. You can find many in bookstores, libraries, and online for free. It’s like finding books on personal growth only not in such huge volumes. What you do not normally find are guides on what not to do. Then you have writers who discuss their process usually slightly different from the rest. This isn’t one of those guides.
Today, this is not one of those guides. This is the short, painful story of my first novel I wrote from beginning to end. The novel is called Machete Mauler and it was a story I thought it was cool at the time. However there are several things I did wrong that made this a huge train wreck and probably the major reason why I’ve only sold one book in my one decade of actively writing. As I am writing this blog post the original version is still out there to be purchased. As soon as I get around to tell the publishing house in question to finally take it off their virtual shelves I’ll make sure that dreck will never be found again. I mean this book actually caused physical pain and I’m not very proud of that. Here are some things I did wrong with the first novel I began and finished.
Number one: I didn’t stick to a tense.
Yep, I jumped around the tense of the story like a monkey first discovering a trampoline. What surprised me so much was my blatant disregard for not sticking to one tense. I will point several times to my mentioning that this novel produced “physical” harm as any editor would be induced with at least a headache trying to fix the tense mix up alone. Try reading one sentence, not paragraph but sentence that changes the tense four times. Yeah, I did that five times in the novel.
And number two: I wrote with absolutely no outline whatsoever whether beginning the story or as I went.
So this created several problems like key supporting characters with name changes or characteristic changes in the middle of the story. The reader is not supposed to get an aneurysm but I tried to write this book from beginning to end just by sheer memory. What a bad idea.
Now I’m going to attempt to a final pass edit on this story. After I am done I have to make the decision to let this book go back out there to be read or just shove it under the bed in hopes that nobody will ever see it until I pass…maybe. I’m expecting a lot of watery eyes from this book.
But it isn’t the worst way I tried writing a story. The very first novel I attempted to write, and this was back in eleventh grade, I decided to write the first seventy-four pages of the book as the story’s background. Apparently I thought this was a great idea at the time until I decided to read it one day. ::SNORE:: Now it just sits in story limbo with a lot of other projects I’ve either started or just mulled over until I finally get around to doing it.
After these two learning experiences I thought I’ve written two other books at least worthy of other people reading them without me just giving them away. Daemon & Shifter have been put through the final pass and are now available in paperback form, however the previous of the two will possibly be put through the copy edit process by a professional then I can finally rest easy on the book I thought I wrote the best. We’ll see.
Now a review
Saturday, November 21, 2015
It’s been over a year and a lot of things have happened. Not all good and not all bad but a lot of things have happened. There are some stuff I’m not sure exactly how much I would be allowed to talk about and other things I am not sure I want peeps to actually know. Actually, knowing me I tend to spin things to the negative so don’t be surprised that most of this blog is that. I also have some twitter peeps to shout out to, so if you want to see some reviews of people I feel you need to give a better look, scroll through the B.S. So first, lets travel.
In 2015 I planned to go to the San Diego ComicCon this past July but as I started with that plan I noticed some very discouraging facts with this particular convention. Now I knew that there’d be zounds of people there roaming around causing a lot of foot traffic problems and getting in the dealers hall on day one would be next to impossible. I understood that. I was forewarned so I was forearmed. Nope, the initial letdown to getting into this convention was the preregistration. There were only so many to be bought and when they ran out I was stuck buying registration at the doors. No thanks. I’m sorry but I feel I don’t have to hurry up and spend just to obtain that glimmer of hope to be just ahead of everyone else and an even smaller glimmer of hope in getting a hotel room downtown so I didn’t have to walk great distances or deal with strange California traffic with a rental car and strain to find parking close enough to the convention hall. The fact that I may not even get a prereg on day one when they are available was bad enough to make the decision to not go…EVER! (Now I could be wrong about that and misread the information provided on their website, but that’s how it read to me. Still I’m soured by this con and I never even started to make preparations to go.)
So instead I decided to take my big trip to England during that time. I was working on my ancestry of my family, mainly through ancestry.com, but later on there became questions about certain ancestors in the tree and certain far removed cousins so I made some correspondence with the right departments in the U.K. to make confirmations on these findings. (Still waiting on Clan Ferguson but I think that’s no longer a possibility) Ultimately I was given more questions after some answers were made. But I also decided to make a real trip out of because the last time I was in England I was only visiting certain places. Mainly in London and north of Liverpool is where I frequented with a day taking a touristy jaunt around Salisbury, Bath and Stonehenge with other Americans who wanted to see these places. I remember talking mostly with a family from Cleveland and after a good fifteen minutes the accent I acquired while being in England for a week completely vanished.
Back then I attended the Concert for Life in Wembly, attended the Queen fan convention in Southport (North of Liverpool) and got to watch an Arsenal match. This time the only things of London I saw was Heathrow Airport and the Underground to the train station I was going to that was transporting me to England’s midlands area. I wanted to see other things besides London, including going to Wales and Scotland.
3 July 2015
After a long travel from the Airport all the way to my first destination &much anticipated long journey I arrived in Leicester where I had enough time to just drop my luggage and head to my first appointment to look at parts of my family tree. Fortunately for me the people in charge were very helpful and already had a sheet printed out for me about what I had questions. Still it gave me more questions and already had me thinking I probably will never know all the answers with my family tree. Not surprised because the further you went back the less likely records were kept on births and deaths.
After I was done there I headed back to my room where I had a good three hours nap before I had to get up and head to my first show of the trip. Got to see Derren Brown’s Miracle and at the same time finally had some jelly babies. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the medium he emulated that night, and I use the word “medium” very lightly, he did a spot on job. So finally, one off my list of who to see live.
Now, back to Leicester and pretty much most of England that is not London. I didn’t have one bite to eat besides some candy since I landed at Heathrow and one thing I learned very quickly was unless it’s a 24 hour fast food joint you’re going to have a hard time getting food past nine to eleven o’clock. I was finally able to score a calzone kitty corner from my motel room but even then it was obvious they were getting ready to close. I was made to wait a good half hour then they wanted a tip. Fortunately I already had the food I ordered in my hands and since I was in Europe… no tip for jou! I’m sorry, I know it’s obvious I’m an American that doesn’t me I’m ignorant on what goes on socially. I know y’all don’t expect tips. First restaurant I walk in and they expect a tip. ::Shakes head::
4 July 2015
Got up early and headed down to Coventry, which was my next stop. The hotel I was staying at was nice enough to allow me to keep my luggage there before getting a room because I was heading down to the Godiva festival, where I was all day enjoying music and atmosphere, though a lot of people, which I still have a hard time dealing with, but I let the music drown that out. I treated the place like being at an outside bar; sitting back and being unassuming while observing others and their habits. I’m a writer, I tend to do that.
Around fiveish I had to head back to the hotel, claim my room, get cleaned and changed to head over to Birmingham so I can see Jimmy Carr live. Another live act I get to knock off the list and it was definitely ROTFLMAO! And it’s a thing for him to allow the audience to meet and greet him after the show. The one thing about him that caught me off guard is Jimmy guessed my accent in one. Figured out exactly which state of the union I was from. He was pretty cool. Kinda surreal because there he was even though all I’ve had is YouTube videos and then there he was.
Something else about Birmingham that day when I was there; there was a small blues festival going on with a lot of pubs with booths around it. So I sampled someone’s “hot dog” ::Giggle:: and got to critique it. They weren’t sure that it was a good idea for an American to be doing that but if you want to call it a Chicago dawg you better right well f’ing make it proper. I asked them if they had anything in England called horseradish or relish because the dog was lacking in both. All I got were shrugs where I added that the hot dog tasted really good but it was not a true Chicago dawg since these ingredients were missing. Good try though.
Also, while drinking pints of cider I noticed that only the ladies drank cider and the men drank beer, which bugged me. Yes, I would love to drink the beer, but since I had gout, which was kind of flaring up at the moment, I had no choice but to ignore beer. Besides, that cider was God-awful.
Back to Coventry, didn’t want to mess with the children trying to hail cabs or waiting on the bus so I tried to head to the hotel via shanks mare, snuck into a pub before they were done serving drinks and had a pint and given some off hand information I wish forever I never acted upon it cuz –
5 July 2015
One of the worst days of my life. Top ten, sure, top five, yeah that two, top three, quite a possibility. This passage is tricky, but I’m going to say something about it because it’ll always be eating me away.
At the time I thought I was okay, I though I wasn’t in the wrong. Afterwards I have decided even second chances cannot happen, even with people who have preconceived notions of you, which are most definitely not you. I decided not to argue but you cannot argue with those who have already made their mind up. I could also try to take a more visceral approach, like I normally would but that would make more harm than good in the long run. Was the way I did things the best way? Looking back now, no. I wish I wasn’t given any information the night before so I could just go on with my trip in blissful ignorance. Besides, not everyone in this world are nice people. And it also bears that their response truly displayed the content of their character. Nobody was right this day.
Still, because of said events, everyday I wake up, look in the mirror and now notice a monster I cannot shake. Regardless of how wrong the impression was or how incorrect the preconceived notions were, I know I’m not that kind of person, but that’s not how I’m viewed and I doubt that’ll ever go away. (Yeah, tmi, but that’s about as PC as I can put it. No, I’m not naming names)
After this I felt I couldn’t leave the hotel at all. The name “Custer” means enough to me. I knew no one in town and there were plenty of friends on the opposition. I even had one more night to stay at this hotel, whom’s service has already waned to incompetence.
So, because of this transgression –
6 July 2015
I loose fifty quid because I was not sticking around. I doubt a taxi could never show up fast enough to save my ass from a lynch mob, so I decided to get a room in Leicester for that night because I had a show to see in that town. But first… I had my tour at Jaguar and got to see my very favorite vehicle being built in its varying stages, the F-type. Even had one in the lobby where you can get your photograph taken while behind the wheel. First time ever I got to sit in a car with the wheel on the right side. I don’t know if I will ever get used to that feeling, clutch on the right, stick on the left. I have a bit of ambidexterity, but I would still have to learn to get used to it.
The tour guide also informed us they do make the F-type custom and if you were rich enough could come down to the factory for a more all inclusive tour that ended with you introduced to your new car where you can test drive it then and there and let them know what needed changing, if anything, before it was sent off to the nearest dealer to you. If only I could win the lottery. That and the Edinburgh Fringe would be epic IMO.
After Jaguar I went further into the city to get my family tree stuff from Birmingham. Unfortunately it had to be a lot faster than Leicester but they did have a printout for me too… for a tener. ::Shakes head:: I grabbed my stuff so I could look at it later because I needed to be at the airport.
I was meeting up with a friend. A friend who agreed to meet me there from Northern Ireland, well, at least it seemed to me it was agreed. I noticed the flight that they were supposed to be on and that I beat it to it’s landing by just 5 minutes so I waited in the main entry area at Birmingham International. And I waited…and waited…and waited. People who showed up at the baggage claim came and went and they didn’t show up. So I decided to look at my fb to see what was up only to view that I was unfriended. I should have done that earlier so I didn’t waste my time. Again people being shitty with me second day in a row. Took the train back to Coventry, grabbed my already packed luggage, handed the front desk my key and took the taxi outta there to the station and to Leicester. I didn’t want anything to do with that town anymore. GTFO. They only way I would ever be back there are because the train/bus/car I was in gone through the town. I even cancelled my appointment in Coventry for my family tree stuff there because I was so distraught.
Now, Leicester, I had hoped things would get better. Drop everything and chill. I had three extra hours after spending more cash than I had planned. Then I got to go to the Globe pub and see Aisling Bea (@WeeMissBea) do some work in progress comedy. They gave me a front seat so I already knew I was in for it because like many comedians she likes to play off the audience. Poor girl had to ask me how my time in England was thus far. My answer was for yesterday, “I had a right shit day.” The look of horror on her face was classic. I knew she was going to make my day better because she’s that damn good of a comedian but I was sad panda and not enough cider was going to make me feel any better but I didn’t mean to make a statement that felt like I was telling her “Go ahead funny girl, make me laugh!” I’ll have to admit, she was funnier than Jimmy until she decided to sing. ::Sigh:: I needed another pint. You can’t fault the kid for trying but… no. I have a good ear for sound, for better or worse, and even the choice of song, which was funny, just…no. If anyone who’s seen Aisling Bea at the Edinburgh Fringe this year please tell me if she sang as her “big finish” or not.
Another performer on the list I can scratch off.
7 July 2015
It would be nice to find a T.A.R.D.I.S. right? Well, I didn’t want to look that weird to walk into any ol’ police box, if they still existed, and act like it was one so I waiting to get my Doctor Who stuff satisfied when I got to Cardiff at the Doctor Who experience.
Now up to this point it’s been pretty hot in England, mid 80’s for us yanks, but Cardiff was a wake up call weather speaking. Couldn’t muster past 59 even though it was sunny, the wind off the harbor was unbearable. When I was walking back from the Doctor Who experience to the hotel the wind was whipping water up from the harbor onto my face. This wasn’t mist. The droplets were huge and annoying. One peculiar thing was seeing an ice cream truck parked against the fence that divided the sidewalk to the steady drop into the water and the Welsh overjoyed, running to said truck to get their ice cream. No, just no way. I was better when I was more back into the city where there were buildings so there were windbreakers.
The Doctor Who Experience itself was nice but it was pretty much what I expected, geared to the kids. Pretty much be there, remember when you were that age, just have fun with it that way and move on. I spent a lot of money in the gift shop. A LOT of money.
Then finding a place to eat, which wasn’t hard, I just decided not to go into the main city. The hotel steered my into another direction which I found was the best thing for me because I met an opera singer, Lorna Jean Hehir (@lornajean_h). Didn’t know she was until she sang a few bars in the restaurant. It was low enough so no one else notced but pitch perfect enough that one would go “daaaaamn!” Really nice conversation with her that I think lasted an hour, hour and a half.
I think it was the U.K.’s way of trying to make things a little better.
8 July 2015
A train ride about 9 hours long, from Cardiff to Glasgow with changing trains in Birmingham. Yeah, changing trains, more like running for my life to the train to Glasgow and if I missed it I would have to wait until 8pm. Not….happening. I think I had 3 minutes to spare when I got onto the train.
Then I finally got into Glasgow grabbed me a cab and got to my motel. Outside greeted me a double rainbow, which made me nervous because when I looked outside from my room on 5 July there was a rainbow set over the downtown and you saw how that day went.
I got a hold of my friend Ashley at met her at the train station found out I’ll get a better look at Glasgow the next day with her and a friend. I ended up wandering the streets a little, found a place that served haggis…not sure if it was traditional, and found a very peculiar intersection. A McDonalds, a Burger King, and Wendy’s, and a KFC took the corners and all were open. ::Facepalm:: With that I headed back to the room to sleep but before I did ran across some obvious football supporters, figured out from all of their drunkenness that I was American and asked if I supported any team. I had to play dumb and did it successfully because they were Celtic fans and I didn’t want to get into a fight.
9 July 2015
I had lots to do. First thing was go straight to IBROX. I was only ten blocks away so this was the only time I took a bus on my trip. Got to the stadium, ironically it was on the day game day tickets were being sold and got my stuff from the team store, a kit and a scarf to be honest. Got into talking with the clerk with my story about the Celtic fans the night before when I was interrupted by a codger.
“Did ya punch them in tha throat?” He’d ask me with a very heavy Glaswegian accent.
I thought about it as to why I would do that then just told him “No. No I didn’t.”
“That’s what ya do with those types. Ya punch them in tha throat!”
I look back at the clerk where he could only shrug, “Welcome to Glasgow?”
Next, I ate at Nando’s…and that happened.
Finally I got back down to the center of Glasgow where my friend Ashley commented that I was late. Here’s what she made sure I experienced. Drinking an Iron Bru, which was so-so, eating some tablet, which was phenomenal, and going to a Scotch bar where I found my favorite Scotch, Whyte and MacKay 13 year old. Oh yeah, and it’s not sold in the states. Randy again a sad panda. I forgot what restaurant we ate at but it wasn’t traditional Scottish so it didn’t strike a cord. Then after saying good-bye to both Ashley and her friend I decided to go to the city’s local comedy club. Most of the comedy was okay but I had plenty of cider to drink so I really didn’t care. Then I just crashed in my room.
10 July 2015
IBROX tour! The security guard in the main entrance said that bringing my luggage was okay so I could head straight to the train station after the tour was over so hell yes I bought a tour ticket. It was the closest I would ever be to a match. Got to see everything but the boardroom. Got some pics taken of me looking like the new boss, which of course I’m not but it’s nice to dream. Took all of two hours, plenty of time to get on a train and zip down to my final destination, Milton Keynes, where Tiffany and Matt were waiting for me. Tiffany is an expatriate so her lack of an accent was needed to get rid of the rotten broken Glaswegian accent I acquired when being in Scotland. I think it took all of two to three hours to accomplish that.
11-12 July 2015
My trip was winding down with a couple of good friends who I hope wasn’t too much of a trouble guest for them. Their birds are something else and Matt made great tea. (I make it too watery for some reason. It needs practice.) Got to see the church they got married. Tried to imagine the place with Cthulu hymns being belted out. I even had someone comment on how remarkable my accent was to where I replied “What accent?” Got to see Minions 2 but not in 4D. Oh well. Also went to the Pubs the Cock and the Bull, decided to eat at the Cock pub. (J) and on the 12th with little problem Matthew was able to get me back to Heathrow with plenty of time to mess around and get lost if we had to.
Some things I learned while I was there: Taxis are fairly cheap and cabbies don’t take anything higher than one quid in tips. Believe me I tried and they turned it down. The most I spent on a taxi ride one way was 7 pounds.
I’m pretty good at Cricket. Good enough that the opposing team was so insulted by my skills that I was told to leave the pitch. No I didn’t do anything wrong socially, I just hit one over the fence the first time up as a batsman and bowled out too many batsmen myself. I told them I never played the game and I never did, but I’ve observed parts of test matches and reviewed the rules of the game. After that playing it made more sense.
Consignment shops are a way of life over there and there isn’t shame in buying at those stores, unlike over here and you’d find a lot more interesting things in those consignment shops. (I got me an Office UK dvd collection for only 5 quid!)
Twinkies are 7 pounds 50. You don’t eat the American stuff over there unless it’s fast food, if you really want to eat fast food.
During the summertime all you have to work with are fans. There’s no such thing as air conditioning. In the hotels they leave you a not explaining that you have to close the drapes of the windows so the sun doesn’t shine in, keeping your room naturally cooler and at night opening the windows so you don’t trap the heat. Yes, we know this, but most people obviously needs to be coach through it. To me I read it as, “Please deal with the fact you will not have AC.” After making it to Cardiff, not only did I not need AC, but I needed to wear a jacket a lot. It wasn’t that warm at all.
So that was England.
Now my writing.
I’ve turned all my books into these paperbacks because I believe they are cheaper that the larger books yet are still nice enough a hard copy to carry around. Plus I have also found having a hard copy I’m easier to edit my work now then fixing them on the computer so for right now my books will be available only on paperback until I get off my lazy butt and work on the trade sizes and the eBooks.
Daemon’s final pass is over, now I’m working on Shifter as this blog is written. I also fancy doing vendor stuff next year but looking at the price of said books bought in bulk it looks daunting. Not to mention how much to be a vendor at these conventions. I will get these books done, seemingly very quickly, but after these I doubt I’ll be able to get anything else done going forward unless, somehow I can make a living at this, which I really cannot. I’m not good at marketing, I never will be nor am I or ever will be a good salesman. Plus the damaging my ego knowing I’ve only sold one book in the past ten years.
The other problem, apparently, is my narrative. My voice in third person I’ve always thought has had problems and it’s true. Many have confirmed it sounds too much like a newspaper or magazine article and therefore I believe doesn’t allow the reader to enjoy the story. The problem with all of this is I have no more time to fix any of this.
My real life job is that of a truck driver. This job gives me absolutely no time for anything else anymore. What little time to myself I get is spent to either watching shows or sleeping. This is all I get anymore so there’s no time to get any stories stuck in my head onto paper in any way, shape or form. This doesn’t bug me as much as it should as I point out; again, I’ve only sold one book. If I knew what to do I’d do it. I don’t and I have no energy left to work that hard to get there.
Third, my name. Apparently H.R. Green is an engineering firm that started at the turn of the 20th Century. They don’t own the trademark on the name but if I started to make some real money on it I’m sure they’d want their cut, trademark or no trademark. So I’ve been mulling over using my real name again which I find out isn’t being used anywhere but this means actually getting my lazy self to do the legal groundwork to find the stuff out and file the papers to get my name trademarked.
So now that I’m done with me whining for now and I know nobody wants to read that…
Things to read.
Recently I read three books by author Laura Del. Graveyard Shifts and Dueling Moons are her Pat Wyatt novels. Now, they are under the romance genre but they are also supernatural novels. For those of us who don’t really like mushy romance it is fairly easy to skip all that text and get back to the vampire and werewolf goodness inside these books. I personally believe she does a splendid job in combining both types of books and are both really good reads. She’s closing in on finishing her third Pat Wyatt novel, Danville Horror, so I suggest you all out there play catch up and get the first two.
She also has a novella out, “Ghosts Among Men,” that I think reads like those television mystery shows from the seventies and eighties, only with an obvious R rated feel. Think Ghost Whisperer with attitude and you have her protagonist, Samantha Davidson.
Links to the author’s books from Amazon is down below, along with the link to her weekly vlogging site on YouTube.
Things to listen.
A while back I had the fortuitous luck in have a country artist, Julie Gibb, follow me on Twitter. Now I don’t normally listen to country music, so I had to click on her website to find out what this girl is about and all I had to hear was just over a minute of her song, “Woe is Me” to decide to follow back and start getting more of her songs so I can get a good listen.
Eventually I’ve purchased two of her albums, All My Yesterdays and Rewriting History. Now I bought the actually CDs instead of downloading the MP3 versions of the songs because with RW, the digital downloads sounded different than the tracks on the CD. Now they still sound great, just on the CD I can hear the base play a much more prominent role in the songs, especially on “Thank God for You.”
Tracks I recommend from both albums. First, All My Yesterdays: “Cleveland,” “All My Yesterdays,” “Well I Do,” “Call Me Baby ( J ),” & “Too Soon to Tell.” Second, Rewriting History: “Get the Show on the Road,” “Consolation Prize,” “A Single Yesterday,” “Thank God for You,” “I Might Be Wrong,” and “Hold on Tight.”
She too has a YouTube channel with a lot of lyric videos. She also has a Christmas song and being this close to the holidays I invite you to check that out. There are also listener requests that she does every once in a while if someone would like to ask her to do a cover song, she just might. Check out “Move With You Slowly” on her YouTube channel as an example. No real reason, just thought it was a good choice to start.Julie also has her first album, which I’ll admit I do not own yet entitled Persistence in Folly, where “Woe is Me” is at, and another song, “The Wrong Address.” Go get eet!
Laura Del's website: http://www.thefictionwriters.net/, her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Del/e/B00GR6QGEA, her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJtlt0JsRewUBlo2gb1Gqbg
Julie Gibb's website: http://www.juliegibb.com/ where you'll also find her store where you can purchase CD's and music books as well as, a cookbook I believe. Her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX3dXrvWt55IkgmDqE9zfFA