Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sign of the Apocalypse

The fact that people listen to this crap, and like it, kills me.  Not to insult you if you like it, but this has millions of views on YouTube and I heard it on the Sirius radio top 20 this morning.  It was so bad I sent a text to myself in order to remind myself of the name of the song that was so terrible I had to put it in my blog.  It is that bad.

Seriously. Worst. Song. Ever.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A father by any other name would smell as sweet...

Had dinner with Jen, Paula, and the man formerly known as “the old man”.  He let me know that while reading my blog he was not fond of the title.  So now I will be formally taking submissions as to what we should call my Dad.  Here is a list of known quantities and my feelings towards them.

Father:  Sounds like a sperm donor only.
Pops:  He might explode.
Daddy-o:  Do I owe him money for turning tricks?
Pappy: I kind of like this one, it is a contender.
Progenitor: Ummm. “I’ll be back” – Arnold Schwarzenegger-ish
Sire:  He would like this one no doubt.  No doubt in my mind.
The source:  What is this the Matrix?
Papa:  Called my grandfather something similar, he would like this less than old man probably.  
Daddy: If I was his daughter, maybe.
Forbearer:  Is he dead?  Sounds like he is dead, I don’t like this one. 

That is all I and can come up with.   Anyone have any different ideas?

In other news, the Yankee game rained-out last night, so dinner with Jen, Paula, and the old man went well as a substitute.  There were lots of jokes and laughter for most of the evening; and I am pretty sure I caught the old man and his girlfriend kissing at a red light.  Nice work, Mr. Progenitor.  It’s good to see him back at the basics, the source of his four troubles, err, I mean sons. 

Good work Sire. Glad to see my Papa (insert aristocratic accent here) observing the rules of the road.  The light was red and no one had to beep to get the line moving when it turned green. When I rolled down the window and finally got his attention, my forbearer laughed and I accused him of canoodling across the traffic lanes.  He smiled and I drove off thinking of my Daddy-O and his pimp game.  Maybe my Pappy isn’t so old after all.  Every now and then it serves as a good reminder that the Pops is out there having a good time and life truly begins when your 50.  

So if you hear that rhythmic clapping, old man, it is me cheering you on and saying, “Well done Father, well done.”

I have also entered a cool contest by Shelley Wattters.  Her blog is doing a twitter pitch contest for a manuscript.  Exciting!  For details go here. Good times!

Also, I hit 20,000 words last night. Almost.  I still claim it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weird frigging dreams...

Last night, here in St.Petersburg, FL, there was a thunderstorm.  I vaguely recall waking sometime around 3 A.M. and pulling the covers up a bit more in that, "Yay, it's raining" type of way.  I usually enjoy sleeping while it's raining and my fan is humming; I'm not sure why but I am sure that I am not alone in that feeling.

Unfortunately for me, I think waking up and trying to go back to sleep resulted in some crazy dreams.  Some people like to think dreams have meaning, and by all means I would love to hear what your thoughts are about these dreams. But perhaps these dreams were just my subconscious berating me for failing to make it to 20,000 words in my novel.  I fell just short at 18,500.

Damn you Call of Duty, Black Ops.

So my dreams:

The first one was weird but not nearly as weird as the second.  I was walking down a long black tunnel.  I could hear a constant drip of water coming from somewhere.  Drip, drip, drip.  At the end of the tunnel was a big wooden door.  It had one of those cartoon-large key holes and I thought I saw an eye looking at me through the hole.  So I ran down the tunnel.  For some reason I knew that I had to get to the door and prevent whoever or whatever was on the other side from getting through that door.  Drip, drip, drip.
Only as I ran, I realized that the tunnel was elongating or I was on a treadmill.  In either case, the door wasn't getting any closer. Drip, Drip, Drip.

I could see the door handle slowly turn.  Heart racing, I lunged forward confident the door was moving further away.  Only suddenly, I slammed into it.  I grabbed the door handle and it tugged inward.   I planted my feet on either side of the door frame and pulled back.  The door pulled open an inch and then I shut it again.  Someone was trying like hell to get to me and by God I was not about to let them. Open. Close. Open.Close.

It went on like this until I got up to go pee.

I laid down and tried to get back to sleep.  8 A.M. and work was fast approaching.  As I dozed off, I found myself in some rural flatland in a house and waking up.  I knew the situation wasn't right because the back half of the house was gone, as if someone had taken a saw and opened it up like a can opener.

Out back, through the opened half of the house  there was a crowd of your typical rural folk, in dreams anyway.  They had overalls, cowboy hats, boots.  More like the Swamp People from New Orleans than rural folk now that I think about it.  But at the time I was pretty sure I was in the country some place.  Each group of two or so had a car on huge truck sized wheels.  If you were to put a cigar car on monster truck wheels, that is what we are talking about.

Somehow, they convinced me to go for a ride with them.  I get in the car and two sets of people take off speeding down the road.  I remember clutching the seats as we rumbled along and ran over a stop sign.  I closed my eyes and heard a loud metal crash.  There was a lot of smoke caused from the car in front of us and as we cleared it we saw an old lady on her back, a walker laying on the ground, and a hole through a glass window that over looked a railroad junction. For some reason we all thought it hilarious the old lady had lost her walker.

Immediately we knew that the car had jumped the rail and we squealed to a stop and jumped out.  Looking over the rail we saw the car on its big wheels, drive along the track and go into a tunnel.  Only then a train smacked into it and sent a crumpled heap of metal backing out of the tunnel and flying to the side of the track.  

This is where it gets weird.

Somehow I know the Swamp People in that car are brothers.  One gets pulled from the wreckage clutching his arm and he's in tears. I mean Niagara Falls type tears.  The police pull something out of the car and we are all angling to see what they pull from the mangled mass of metal.

It's a human head.  Oh my god.  Its a frigging human head.  And the cops don't care.  They throw the head up a set of stairs where brother one is crying his eyes out and they toss it to him and he catches it like a basketball. He holds the head by the hair and looks at it and his mouth widens in amazement and horror.  What the fuck am I dreaming? 

Slowly he turns the head around and the mouth starts moving like its talking.  The crowd roars in laughter.  Sick crowd.  Then they pull the second brother from the wreckage and he runs up the stairs and hugs his brother number one.  But what the hell, whose head was that then? 

Then the brothers start laughing.  Maniacal laughter.  Laughing so hard they are crying.  It hits me.  It was all a practical joke.  My own brain played a practical joke on my subconscious.  What the fuck?  What is wrong with you brain?  Don't you know thats sick?

Not. Funny. At. ALL.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Funny video of how to make money

We were a little bored at work, and only had a few minutes before we closed up shop.  So we put together this video.  I am happy the weekend is here.  I have big plans of doing nothing but writing and maybe sitting on the beach for a few hours.

Enjoy our little video!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A kid poops raisins whole, gross.

First of all, happy birthday Alex Denmon.  Getting old.  I called Alex at 1:30am today to wish him happy birthday since he tweeted the following at 9pm EST yesterday: @adizz09: "The real question is do I celebrate my birthday at midnight Eastern Time, or Mountain Time?  Hmmm?"

I hope my tweet quoting etiquette is up to snuff...

So I decided to find somewhere in the middle to wish the little guy a good one.  He sounded really...tired.  He must be having a blast out west on his trip.  According to various sources he is either in Colorado, Denver, Nevada (Las Vegas), or California.  Good times. 

It is funny when you are nine years older than one of your brothers.  I remember him being so small that he fit into the front pocket of my shirts or would sit on my shoulder swinging his legs back and forth as I strutted around town with my boom box kicking it to beats from Fresh Prince and Vanilla Ice. Maybe even a little MC Hammer. 

I also distinctly remember him pooping out whole raisins and feeding them to him to see if he would do it again.  He did.  Digging further into the memory vault, I recall playing with him and getting into such important fads as Beanie Babies, Tommy-Gotchi, and Giga Pets. 

If only he could have understood the power of a slap-bracelet. Or a Glow-Worm. Ah, as the world turns.

But his pooping of the raisins was fun.  And gross.

Oh, and grapes.  He would poop those whole too.  What a freak.

But now, my God, he is almost drinking age. Crazy. I imagine he can now digest fruit fully.

Prior to wishing him happy birthday though I did keep my promise to myself and hammered out another thousand words in my novel.  It went smoothly but according to my resident editor it needs some work in spots.  So for now the word count is just north of 12,000.

Also, for those of you who are clicking to follow my blog, thank you.  Sometimes it only takes the first dozen or fifty to get the ball rolling.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Called out by my old man

So my Dad called me last night to tell me I misquoted him on the joke from my earlier blog post, My crazy mom, a tsunami, and our new bunker.  Then he laughed at the description of him as a perfectionist.  He was either playing the part, or realized that the fact he noticed made my description of him more accurate…or he wanted to fit the description better so as to make it more perfect and played the part.  Okay, now I think my head might explode.


And to answer a few questions I have received, yes my mom does crazy things and the stories I tell about her are true stories.  Having said all of that, she is a wonderful lady and has a monstrously big heart. She makes a nasty lasagna, loves animals, and is probably where I get my penchant for storytelling.  She happens to also have a conspiracy theory tilt to her world view.  That conspiracy is not limited to people, the earth’s growing pains, or God.  Most of the time her best conspiracies involve a dash of backstabbing people, a sprinkle of the world turning wrong on its axis, and a big old helping of God’s knuckle sandwich. Somehow she still has the capacity for a tremendous amount of love and the time to make me chocolate chip cookies.


Enough of that.


Moving right along, I wrote a bit more last night pushing my word count to 11,000.  At this rate I might hit 20,000 by the end of the weekend.  Well, not at this rate but at a slightly accelerated rate.  Also, in regards to my completed novel, For Nothing, my team of artists is working on the cover art as we speak and that is awesome.  (Does two people collaborating make a team?  I think so.  That's the story I'm telling and I'm sticking to it.) That means I am still on track to release it to the Kindle on April 15th.  Oh yeah, and beta readers, that means you have 7 days left to get back at me with your thoughts on the novel. Do it.  Now.  For the love of God, do it. 


The novel that I am at 11,000 words on is starting to get increasingly more (is increasingly more redundant?) complex even though I did a nut to bolts outline from January through March.  So now I am embarking on the task of creating family trees for the more important families in my novel.  That means about 35 family trees of various degrees of detail. Yep, that many.  Creating worlds is not easy.  I wonder if this is how God felt.  He did it in seven days (yeah right) but he made it simple and supposedly only made two people. I am about to make damn near one hundred.  Even then, he (she, it?) would have made only one if he didn’t think that Adam would have just devolved into another animal like the chimp if he didn’t create Eve to keep him in line.  That little bit about the apple was a simple misunderstanding; I don’t know many women that have ever done well with being told they can’t have something.


By the way, I notice that I have a few readers now; my blog is getting about 150 ‘hits’ a day.  Why don’t some of you look over on the lower right hand side of my blog and click the ‘Follow’ button.  That way I can claim people actually read this thing.  It takes like two seconds and if you do, maybe I will write something good about you.


Till tomorrow…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brotherly Love

Just to keep you entertained, let me tell you a fast story about my brother Rob.  I once took Jen over to my mom’s house for dinner.  We had some sort of pasta, I am sure of it.  But afterwards, when we are standing in the driveway and saying our goodbyes, my brother Rob came up to give me a hug.
Usually we do the one-armed-man-pat and chest bump, occasionally he will squeeze my butt just to creep me out and say “Good game”, because if you say that then you are in the clear.  Football players do it all the time.  Right?

Anyway, this time he held his hug on me a bit too long and as I tried to squirm away he said, “I don’t know where you’re going, but can you call in sick?” I pushed away and he gave me a shit eating grin and I called him out for quoting Groundhog’s Day.  This is how my family operates.  Movie quotes, jokes, and trying to push each other’s thresholds.
Thinking the worst was done I stepped back as he hugged Jen. Again there was the uncomfortably long hug.  He looks me dead in the eye as he hugs her and says, “You know, Jen, in olden times when one brother died 
another brother would have to take care of his significant other. Dibs.”

Jen squirmed away, but I think she had a big smile. 

Perhaps too big.

My brother got in his car and drove away.  Then a few moments later my cell phone rang and it was him. “So, 
um , just so you know I was joking bro-ski.”

“Yeah, Rob.  I know. Not that it matters, jack ass.”

It doesn’t matter, does it?

In writing news:

I managed to surpass the 10,000 word mark for my second novel last night.  That was a good feeling.   I hope the rest of the manuscript goes as quickly as the first 40 pages.  I will try and hammer out another 1,000 words or so tonight. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

My crazy mom, a tsunami, and our new bunker

My crazy mom
So the Japanese Tsunami/Earthquake/Nuclear Reactor catastrophe has us all on high alert.  But my mom takes things like this and really grabs a hold and focuses on them.  It is another area where black and white and crazy versus sane blur the lines.  I remember when I was younger and the statues of Mary would cry in Argentina or someplace and she would get super religious.   When she saw a movie about the end of days, she would  be sure that it wasn’t long before we were all approaching our own doomsday scenario ala Water World and Kevin Costner (It still bothers me that in a world with no land, they all smoke cigarettes.  Surely tobacco is growing somewhere).
In the case of the Japanese catastrophe, my mom is convinced that the tectonic plates are not done moving. They aren’t, for the record.  As far as my knowledge of geology goes, they won’t ever be done shifting and moving.  But with my mom it is on a different level.  She left three messages on my house phone and two more on my cell phone to tell me to buy canned goods and water and to be prepared for the plate shifts that were sure to happen under my home.  Then she left three more messages on my answering machine for my brothers.  She called my number thinking that she was calling them, in rapid succession.  At some point don’t you realize you are just dialing the same number back to back to back?  That or merely hitting re-dial?  She surely knows we don’t live together.  She has been to each of our homes…
But my hilarious asshole of an older brother called her up, having received several such messages himself, and convinced her that the only fault line in Florida ran directly through her neighborhood. My retired Chevy factory worker step dad is probably cursing my brother out right now as he digs a shelter in the backyard while trying to plant the seed for corn.


My Dad
I went to a Yankee game recently with the old man.  They have their spring training here in Tampa and we try to catch a game or two every year.  It was a good time, my brother Rob came with me and my Dad brought his new girl friend Paula.  She is a sweet lady from what I can tell, and seemed to compliment my Dad pretty well.  For instance (keep in mind my Dad is corny):

Me:  I need to leave here in about 20 minutes.
Dad:  Actually, 16 minutes, numbers are our friend.
Paula: Yes, because we can count on them.
Me: What?
Them: (Laughter)
Me: (Sigh).
Paula teaches third grade and that joke is about on par with what I can expect from my family and our banter. I think she will fit right in.  It reminded me of that joke, “Why is six scared of seven?  Because seven eight nine”.

March Madness
My brackets seem to be holding up well.  In my work-league, 2 of my 3 brackets are tied for first place.  But in March Madness things can change in a rush and my fortunes are tied to the SEC.  Florida or BYU need to really pull it out for me.  There have been some great games already this tournament and I hope it continues to be fun.  I love talking smack everyday when I come to the office. 

I sat down this weekend and hammered out a few thousand word for my next novel.  It was a little slower in the going than I had hoped but I struggled through it and tonight I hope to hammer out a few thousand more words.  I am thinking it will be about 75,000 words when I am done so after about 4 days of solid writing over the last two weeks I am about twelve percent done with it. I really need to pick up the pace.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness and St. Patty's Day

Mid March is one of my favorite times of the year. There is St. Patty’s day, there are a multitude of birthdays for the next thirty days of people I love, and of course there is March Madness.

I have three brackets filled out and I have the Florida Gators winning the tournament in one of them.  I can’t help but be a homer for them.  The first round went well except for the fact that Louisville did their best to fuck my bracket up straight from the beginning and Princeton really gave me a scare.  Today we get to watch the number one seeds in action so that should be fun.

I spent my St. Patty’s Day at Ferg’s Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, FL and had a great time.  It was Dana’s birthday and it is fun to hang out with her and her boyfriend Josh and really play off them as far as jokes go.  Our banter usually involves the ladies playing the men off one another to see who is better and then the men pretending to be more interested in each other than the ladies.  It is a fun dynamic and making new friends is always great.

Green beer.

Anyone know if the dye they put in green beer can make you sick?  I drank a few of those last night and didn’t feel well.  I didn’t even drink enough to get a buzz, so I am curious as to if it could be the dye.

This weekend will be fun.  I intend to buckle down on writing my second novel and hope to be in the 10-15k word range by the time Sunday rolls around.  Also, there is less than a month now until my novel For Nothing goes up on the Kindle.
Exciting times.

This weekend:

The engaged couple Craig and Stacey come to town.  Dinner with them on Saturday will be a blast, it usually is.

Writing, Writing, Writing.

College Basketball.

Writing some more?

Maybe get some sun.

I will leave with this awesome video of Morehead State’s win over Louisville. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A crazy mom, a killer frog, and justice served

My mom is crazy, in a very lovable schizophrenic way, as discussed in my post “Dinner with My Schitzo Mom”.  Because of this, sometimes I don’t know which actions of hers are due to illness or which are just general acts of oddity.  The line often blurs and most of the time the things she does out of the norm are funny and are very much the type of thing I would do to get ‘the laugh’. 
This is one story that sort of blurs the line.
My mom had a fish tank back when she lived in Buffalo.  It was a small fish tank that was maybe two feet long and one foot wide.  It stood just outside of the bathroom and for several years she kept a handful of various fish in it.  I am pretty sure she got it because she once bought me a fish tank as a birthday present but my step mother would not allow me to put it up.  She was full of strange rules like that that were terribly irksome to a ten year old.  Why can’t I have a fish? It doesn’t even shed.  Not that I am still burned up by it.  I ‘m over it I promise.
Anyway, she had those fish for a few years, and then she bought an African frog, a spindly lanky green thing.  She put Kermit in the tank and he immediately stuck his webbed hands onto the glass and looked at us with bulbous eyes that seemed to know exactly where he was…and he didn’t like it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To drink or not to drink...

When I was in college, long before I was domesticated by Jen, we used to throw amazing parties in my apartment.  It is hard to believe that this was over ten years ago I mean 7 because I was legally drinking.  These parties were much more Animal House instead of the Full House type that my brothers and I partake in these days. When I think party, I think of bottles of cheap liquor, multiple kegs of beer, and a night that ends with new friends sleeping on my floor in various states of disarray.  Well, not friends really but more like strangers who never made it home.
One such evening, we bought a keg of beer and put it in a kiddy-pool in my kitchen.  We mounted ice along the keg inside the kiddy-pool in order to keep the beer cold. Then we turned up the music, opened the doors, and people from the apartment complex and surrounding towns and villages made their trek to pay homage to the beer gods.  Some of my friends came from Tallahassee (only four hours away) and others came from Tampa (two hours hence).  It was one of those nights that are almost magical in the way everyone goes from goofy drunk to hammered out of their minds and I was not an exception.  I don’t remember much about it except a few highlights that you really could not forget even if you tried.
This walk describes most of what you need to know in order to understand the magnitude of the sheer decadence in my apartment on this particular evening (I am not even sure this is the worst but it is the one I feel like writing about for now). 
I awoke.
You still call it ‘waking up’ when you snap out of a drunken blackness I suppose.
So I awoke.  I recall feeling a bit of pain as if I had slept funny, in a position unnatural for sleep.  I assume I had been sleeping twisted like a pretzel and doing a hand stand simultaneously.  My bedroom was all of 4 feet by 6 feet and I had a closet cubby instead of an actual closet. I used it as a nook to place all my soiled laundry etc.  Well as I stood up thinking, “What the hell happened”, something stirred in my pile of laundry.  I fell backwards, startled, and then inched over to the pile of moving cloth and jean.  Underneath, a layer of my clothes was my friend Craig who must have collapsed there.  I was just glad he hadn’t decided to spoon me. 
Shaking my head, I opened my bedroom door and stepped over another friend who had taken a sweater of mine and used it as a pillow and fell asleep between my door and the stairwell that led to the oasis of water I needed somewhere near my kitchen sink.  I stepped over him and a stench of sour beer hit my nostril like a squirt gun blast of water.
I remember, vividly, grabbing a hold of the railing that lined my spiral stairway and trying to open my mouth.  It stuck together like two ice cubes but without the cool winter freshness.  As I turned the first twist downward, another person was asleep on the landing, a precursor to the half dozen strangers passed out in my living room.
I saw a piece of paper on the floor near the front door and slalomed through the bodies to pick it up.  I picked it up and suddenly had a flash to the night before.
“Hello Officer.  Is there a problem?”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food, drinks, and an angry wife

This weekend was great.  I got a lot accomplished.  Over 6000 words of my second novel were completed and I also made time to catch up with some friends.  One set of friends is moving out to California for new job opportunities and are a couple of the political hold over friends I have from the Obama campaign and the Alex Sink for Governor Campaign. I am excited to see them embark on a new opportunity, and am happy that I was able to help in some small way by providing references. 
They made me the world’s largest T-bone steak and got me half drunk on cheap wine as a way of saying thank you.  If I had known there was steak involved I would have embellished more in my praise for them.  We stumbled our way to a local bar after being stood up by my brother who was supposed to collect some free furniture from my departing friends.  He never showed up and we ran into him at the bar. Small world. Originally I was not pleased, but it was nice to have a few drinks with my brother, my friends who are leaving, and an old college pal who was hanging with my little brother.
I ended up getting home at 4:30am, a very rare thing for me, and woke Jen up.  She had work at 7:30am and also was not pleased. She forgave me though, and when she got home I took her out to dinner as way of an apology.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't you dare kiss boys!; "Saga of a Two Year Old: As Told by an Uncle"

So after the enormous success of my post Don't Look at Me!, I have decided to continue the "Saga of a Two Year Old: As Told by an Uncle".  This little gem has been an endless source of amusement each time I visit my brother, his wife, and my niece. 

First of all, my brother has this completely justified fear that his daughter will end up meeting somebody just like him, back when he was in college, when she gets older.  This fear has forced my brother to strike preemptively into the love life of his two year old.  He believes that big disasters are best intercepted well before they become problems.  In this spirit he has been conditioning the little lady into accepting certain bits of life wisdom to be universal truths above question.  A conversation with her is often times scripted and can sound like this:

"What is your favorite football team?"  Anyone can ask this.

"The Gators", she says with a smile that shows her tiny white baby teeth.  She smiles not because she loves the Gators but because she knows she got the answer right.

"Can you count for me?"  Anyone might say.

After a moment of shyness, out comes the toothy answer, "1...2...3".  Again, there is the victory clap and a smile.

These conversations happen a thousand times in an hour sitting.  It happens with things such as "What's your Uncle's name?", or "What's your favorite toy?", or "Do you like cookies?” Each one is greeted with a certain degree of shared celebration as she proves time and again that she is above the average conversation that surrounds her.

And she plays along.  She’s a  good sport.  Except for this one thing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I hated outlining, love the outline

Last night I came home, sat down, and wrote.  I only had an hour and thought, I will probably only be able to write the first paragraph.  So I pulled out my outline, which took me the better part of six weeks to get through. 

In case you were wondering after yesterday's post: Closed the door, no cats, the keyboard worked, the computer worked, and everything went along just swimmingly.  I wrote for an hour.  I looked up and had finished just over 2,000 words.  In one hour.  For me that is fairly impressive.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Top 5 Distractions When Writing

Sometimes I sit down in front of my Mac, turn it on, and the words flow from my finger tips so swiftly and beautifully that I think I am surely related to Ovid, Calliope, or maybe even just someone insignificant like John Milton.  Other days are much more trying and taxing.

For instance, last night I sat down at my Mac and had to restart the damn thing half a dozen times before it 'took'.  This has never happened before.  But it did this time.  The time where I came home from a long day and felt especially motivated.  Then, once I got past that hurdle, the batteries in my wireless keyboard went out.  Hooray.  So I went in search of batteries, found some, fixed the problem, cracked my knuckles and got to work.  Then the phone rang, which I ignored.  Then the cat knocked something over, then the gods had mercy on me and I was finally able to write.

With this back-story, I decided to brainstorm the top five things that make it difficult for me to write consistently in the hopes that once I put it in print; I will no longer be able to use them as excuses.

Top 5 Distractions

Monday, March 7, 2011

Don't do this when buying a car

This weekend we pulled the trigger on a new automobile. It is a big deal because it is generally the second largest purchase a person makes, right behind a home. This is my second go-around on car purchasing so I went into the dealerships with a bit of a swagger and a plan.  I went to two dealerships that I know compete with each other, Hyundai and Kia.  As far as I know, Kia and Hyundai are owned by the same corporation.  They have similar models and generally similar warranties etc, but the cars are slightly different from a purely aesthetic perspective.

I "accidentally" let it slip that we were price shopping between the two of them.  The way I figured, one of the two would start dropping their prices. Whichever one needed the business the most would start the bidding and slide downward from there.  Kia broke first.  They had an SUV that started at 289/month and by the end they were offering it up for 230.

Then the plan went to hell.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Novel Outline Complete

While I wait for my lovely Beta Readers to finish reading my manuscript, I decided to not rest idle.  I have now officially outlined my next novel, which is a fiction fantasy.  I plan on making this the first part in a trilogy, and I have the ideas for the sequels all lined up as well.

I am nervous about getting the feedback on my first manuscript, so the nervous energy had to be put to use.  I suppose it can't be worse then the feedback I got from my editor, but he is a hired gun so it will be great to hear what the feedback sounds like from my betas.  I still have about 7-9 days before those results start coming in (unless someone surprises me and is not a procrastinator).  The way I see it, I can be 7-9 days into my new idea before I have to pause and do my re-write on For Nothing.

Speaking of For Nothing, that is just the working title.  I will probably give it a name with a bit more 'umph',  I found it oddly disconcerting when the first thing on my manuscript, the title, had read ink on it. 

"Needs a different title?" he wrote.  

So back to the drawing board on that. 

I am also excited to see what sort of cover art my cousin is able to come up with for my book.  I have no experience in that part of writing so I have been looking at other top seller crime novels to see what is out there.   I have some good thoughts on what I want but I don't want to taint my cousin's ideas.  Until then, I hold my tongue.  Not literally though because it would sound like this, "Unthil then, I holth my tonguth." 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

...and the winner is

The KIA Forte!

Actually a very nice car. Not as good as the loaded Optima but is still comes with a few cool gadgets. Here is a picture that shows more of the car:

It has keyless entry, a push start engine, Bluetooth for the phone, iPod, etc. You can also talk to the car and tell it who to call and what music to play. What really sold us, unfortunately for my savvy car buying reputation, was the navigation system with the rear view camera.

It also gets 36-40 miles per gallon so that was a nice little perk too. Most importantly, the price is right.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

For Nothing is in beta

My first stab at a novel, For Nothing, is now officially in the hands of readers.  It is a first draft (if you don't count the edits that Jen and I did over the last several years).  My editor has read it and made some really great points and before I commence with a 14 day smash mouth rewrite, I wanted to get the thoughts of the average reader.

Paul, Chris, Aaron, Lee; Thank you.  I really appreciate the effort. Now if you are reading this, stop checking out my blog and finish reading my damn manuscript so I can correct it.  Slackers.

Since I have read a shit ton of stories of how authors took their first novel and put it in a drawer, I am very interested to see the feedback that I get.  I have noticed several flaws in the story and am curious to see who picks up on those little, and sometimes big, errors.  However, once I rewrite the novel with the pertinent corrections, deletions, and additions I am going to head in a different direction.

I will publish the novel on the Kindle and try to drum up some grassroots support for it.

Items in my favor:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I think my cat might be crazy

It has been a minute since I wrote about my kitten; her name is Lucky Luciano by the way.  Ninety-Five percent of the time she is very chilled and relaxed.  But every so often she goes ape-shit.  For some reason it seems to ramping up the last month or so and I can't figure out why. 

For instance:

The Jumps

1) She jumped through the roof paneling in my laundry room (you know the slide away Styrofoam type) and into the waiting arms of the rafters beyond.  She did this at about three in the morning, so when I heard the crash I jumped up like a pirate and ran out of the room in my boxers ready to try out some kung-fu or maybe some wrestling moves from high school.  After I noticed my cat was in the roof (and only by seeing her paws on the clear lighting panel was I able to discern it was her) I had to yank her out from the pink fiber glass insulation in order to rescue her.  I had fiber glass all over me and had to take a shower.  I still dream that I have bits of it in my lungs slowly growing cancer in my chest, but I tell myself that is nonsense and try to go back to sleep.

2) I have a shelf with my sports memorabilia in my library.  On the shelf is a signed autograph Hall of Fame football from Jim Kelly (former Quarterback of the Buffalo Bills), a signed helmet of soon-to-be Hall of Fame wide receiver of the Buffalo Bills Andre Reed. Also, on the shelf are several signed pictures of other current Buffalo Bills football players and an un-opened box of every Nolan Ryan card ever.  Nolan Ryan is a Hall of Fame pitcher that once beat the crap out of Robin Ventura.  See the fight here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Self Publishing via the Kindle?

Lately I have been reading a ton about people who self publish on the Kindle through  It seems to be an interesting way to develop a readership while not waiting forever to get approval from the "powers that be" before moving on to another project. 

The problem as I see it, when it comes to traditional publishing avenues, isn't that you get rejected but that the development time takes so damn long.  It can take a writer anywhere from a week to years to develop an idea and commence with writing the actual novel.  Then you have to wait anywhere from a week to years to be accepted or give up on the project due to an obscene amount of rejections from agents or whomever. 

What you write could be stale or you just might be plain sick of it by the time it is ready to be marketed, sold, etc.  I don't know how other people work, but I am an idea guy and I have to strike while the iron is hot.  The alternative is a relative limbo where you languish between writing the book, fixing it, and wondering if anyone, anywhere, will ever read it.  That is IF an agent actually makes it through a slush pile a mile high, actually reads your whole manuscript, and then is able to successfully pitch it to a publishing house.

I am trying to find reasons why I should not pursue this avenue.  It would mean instant and global possibilities as it pertains to readership.  It makes it even harder to resist because as I research the subject there seems to be an abundance of relatively obscure authors who have had a good bit of success doing this.

Don't get me wrong, I still want to find an agent and go the traditional publishing route as well.  But now I might not have to wait for their approval before putting my product into the hands of the reader.  The only down side that I can see, seems to be that the end product MIGHT not be as polished as it would be after going through the publishing house gauntlet of editors.  I am starting to think that the down side is much smaller than the upside.