Pre-order Rhythm In Blue in paperback


Just in time for Christmas!

Now available for pre-order, exclusively on my site, Rhythm In Blue in paperback! Not only that, but they will be signed. If you order now, you’ll have it in plenty of time for Christmas. These will not be available on Amazon until after December 25th, and of course, Amazon won’t offer autographed copies.

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BookCoverPreview

Rick Rowland isn’t your typical rock star. Certain he’s undeserving of the love and adoration of his fans, the attention makes him uncomfortable. As the bassist for a popular rock band, the perks are great, but stardom will never make him as happy as the one that got away. Well, more like ran away screaming after Rick’s misstep with her young heart. Forgiving himself may be hard as he spirals out of control, but her forgiveness will be impossible if she won’t stop running. How much sorrow can a man endure before he finally takes control and finds the way back to his heart?

– 313 pages

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$13.99 (plus $5 shipping and handling) using PayPal

US orders only (comment with your contact info for orders outside the US)

 

You can also purchase Rhythm In Blue for your e-reader at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees…And Other Reasons We Are Our Own Worst Editors


 

As a writer, there are some things I’m especially good at— things that make me love my work. I love the fact that I can reread some of my stories and still belly laugh at my dialog, observations, and situations. That I can evoke emotion about made-up characters, from myself, a year or two after I wrote it, thrills me. Luckily, some readers tell me my writing has the same effect on them, so I know it’s not just myself that I entertain.

Here’s where self-editing gets tricky. When I’m reading my own work, I tend to breeze over the parts that don’t entertain me as well, in a hurry to get to the good stuff. This creates a couple of problems. 1. I don’t catch mistakes and red flags because I’m reading those parts too quickly. 2. If they are boring to me, they are likely boring to my readers as well, and I miss that fact because I’m busy blowing by it. Obviously, we all have our favorite parts, but it’s important to pay as much attention to our not-so-favorite parts as well and take advantage of opportunities to make the prose stronger, make it a favorite as well so nobody rushes through it to get to a better part.

Any writer will tell you that it’s so easy to overlook your own mistakes, usually because we read the writing as we mean it to sound, not as it actually reads. It’s amazing how many times you can read over your own work and skip over that extra word, that ed ending that is supposed to be es. What about those changes in tense we don’t notice, because the scene is so intense, our focus is on creating that powerful feeling for our readers? It’s easy to overlook those little things. Another common thing I see when editing for others, but I often miss in my own writing, is reusing the same word or phrasing in close proximity, or starting four sentences in a row with the same word. What about when we turn a phrase that makes perfect sense to our own, hyper-focused mind, but not so much to the objective reader? I see this quite a bit when editing for others. You have to ask the writer, ‘Exactly what the hell are you trying to say here?’ Sometimes, my best guesstimates are way off.

Finally, that all-too-easy passive voice conundrum. Yeah, I see it in my own writing. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. When I see it in someone else’s writing, I usually know exactly how to fix it and make the writing stronger. Why is it, that in my own writing, I can’t figure out how to rework some of my passive constructs? It’s mind numbingly aggravating, and makes me doubt my skills as a writer. Thankfully, being able to do it for someone else keeps me sane and reminds me it can be done, I just need to figure out how to distance myself from my own work.

Whenever you can, take advantage of a second, or even third, pair of eyes to help with your editing. Always make sure you’ve edited the piece to death before you ask someone else to read it. If they see you haven’t taken the time to carefully examine it for basic mistakes, they are not likely to volunteer their time again. Critique groups are great for pointing out some of your weaknesses, and you should use them to hone your skills, but when it comes to editing, they won’t do you much good. Instead, ask a friend whose work you admire and respect, and make sure you offer to return the favor. It’s easy to take, take, take, and forget to give something in return.

*Tip for self-editing- change the font of your work when you edit. It will make it easier to spot mistakes.

 

 

A Father’s Day Musing


Today is Father’s Day, and my dad already called me so I could wish him a happy day. Actually, he called to discuss other things, but when I answered, I asked him if he was calling to wish me a happy Father’s Day. He laughed and said yes. I am one of the lucky people of the world who can say they have a great dad. So many people do not have that luxury, including my own children.

Mothers have Mother’s Day and fathers have Father’s Day, but what about single mothers? Should they celebrate both, as they often fill both roles? Should those mothers get a little extra recognition? It’s a heavy load, raising children on your own, without a tag-team partner, that daily support and backup. I was lucky, when my kids were younger, to have great male role models around for my kids, but over the years, I lost that outside support. I don’t know if it was better having it back then when they were so impressionable, or if it would be better now, when they are so hormonal and headstrong.

How and when did the breakdown of the traditional family occur? Does it have to do with the deterioration of the sense of male or paternal responsibility? I was visiting with a couple of teenage boys last night (friends of my daughter), and the topic of childbearing and rearing came up. The two boys agreed that it was great being guys because they didn’t carry the load that women do, the one of bearing and raising children. To them, raising children is a choice, not a responsibility. I couldn’t believe my ears, yet the statement is very reflective of our current society. Have you ever watched Sixteen and Pregnant on MTV? I don’t watch it, but I hear it when my daughter watches it. Most of the young men (boys) blow my mind. After their child is born, and sometimes before, they lose all interest and sense of responsibility for their own children. They make a conscious decision not to be involved with their offspring. When did this become, if not acceptable, a tolerated choice for men? Men who abandon their children should be shunned, at the very least, yet they are allowed to go on with their lives, to procreate with more women, and create more children to abandon.

One of my favorite lines from a movie is, ‘You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.‘ (Tod, from the movie Parenthood)

Some guys (like my own baby daddy) will say that it is better for their kids if they are not involved. What a load of horseshit. All that means is they are too lazy to get their shit together and try. Some men make a conscious decision to procreate, yet still decide to run out on their kids. Other guys make the choice to stick it out, but let their anger about their circumstances rule their lives, and then take it out on their partners and children in the form of abuse or neglect.

You can sing the nature vs. nurture song to me until you’re blue, but I’ll never buy it. People evolve and adapt, just like thousands of other species. That whole, it’s ingrained in men to reproduce as much as possible to populate the earth is bullshit. We see enough men choose to raise their children and be good fathers to know that is false, yet, it seems many men cling to that excuse for dear life, using it as a mantra rather than a theory of evolution, ignoring the fact that the human brain evolves to fit society, and instead, using the male physiology as their excuse.

So, on this 2011 Father’s Day, my hat’s off to all the great fathers of the world, to whom fatherhood is less of a responsibility and more of a calling. To my sisterhood of single mother’s in the world who fill the role of both mother and father, I bow to you, send you much love, and wish for your success.

*Please note that I am aware that there are also many single fathers out there who share in the difficulty of single parenthood, and I bow to them as well.

My First Semi-Political Blog Post


I haven’t put anything up here for a while, I suppose because I’ve been speechless, speechless over the absurdity of the world around me. Our American news is now made up of ‘fluff’ stories, leaving the real news for other countries and non-traditional media outlets to cover, and we no longer know whom to trust. The national media has no time for real news, not with politicos sending pictures of their genitalia over the electronic waves, Playboy magnate Hefner’s wife-to-be running off at the last minute, Hollywood actresses out crashing into multiple vehicles and eluding police after a night of heavy drinking, and young role models caught on video getting as high as a kite. Oh, and we mustn’t forget Charlie Sheen! I would love an estimate of how many hours of news have been devoted to Charlie Sheen and his… whatever it is/was.

Meanwhile, our economy collapses in ruin around us. People are losing their jobs in ever-increasing numbers while the corporations, the wealthy, and apparently China, manage to slice off an ever larger, undeserved piece of our economic pie. Well, maybe China deserves it, but their payment may come in non-monetary form, like ownership of your house.

But beyond our economic and media collapse, we can see the downfall of the American spirit. This has to do with more than just our outlook- it has much to do with our mores and values. People lie more, respect less, maybe take a little something that doesn’t belong to them, but they figure it is owed to them. Kids don’t respect authority anymore, mostly because they receive no respect, and see very little respect in their daily lives. Adults care less about the things they used to hold dear, the causes and the little things they could do to make life better for others. Now, they complain and criticize for catharsis. Upstanding citizens find themselves at the point of breaking, perhaps filled with a sense of hopelessness, tired of being lied to and treated like criminals, even when they are not.

“What’s the problem officer?”

“I need to search your car.”

“Why?”

“You probably have something illegal in there.”

“But why did you pull me over?”

“Your rear license plate is not properly illuminated.”

“But you were coming toward me, and it’s daytime.”

The officer reaches for his taser gun…

I know of three people arrested in the last month, and none of them was read their rights. Apparently, this is no longer required since we no longer have rights. Women especially are losing their rights, rights to healthcare and rights that give them equality, and the nation watches as one state after another passes absurd legislation to limit those rights that our mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to obtain.

Police are cracking down like never before on criminals involved in underage drinking, unpaid traffic tickets, some poor schmuck who got busted with a doobie, and those unfortunate souls who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (occasionally losing their life because of it), meanwhile, the corporate and federal thieves walk amongst us, free to do as they please to stuff their pockets, even if that means foreclosing on property in which they have no financial interest. Hey, it was worth a shot, right?

People hope for change, they vote for change, only to discover that the kind of change they want is impossible with our current society and government. We’ve painted ourselves into a corner, and the only way out is going to create an even bigger mess, a change greater than we, horrible creatures of habit, can handle. We long for change yet are unwilling to live with the consequences that change will bring, so, we aim for little changes that do nothing but disappear into the vast and polluted ocean that is our country and our way of life. We aim for little changes because the big changes necessary are too scary, too many, too unattainable, and to bring about these changes, we would have to get off our lazy asses and actually DO something, and then, there’s always the risk that we will look silly if we step out of line and rock the boat. What will the neighbors think? What will the neighbors think when the police come to arrest you for your unpaid bills? What will you think when your neighbor is hauled off to jail? Does it even bother you that your rights were signed away by some oil-grubbing, bureaucratic thief who could care less what happens to you?

Rant over. For now.

Teenage Drinking- What Are We Teaching Our Kids?

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A friend posted this video on his Facebook wall this morning, and I felt compelled to share it on my own wall.

Teen Arrested for Asking Cop about Unwarranted Raids

Some might wonder what seventeen year-old Robert Wanek means when he refers to ‘unwarranted raids.’ I know exactly what he’s talking about because it’s something I see in my neck of the woods, a state neighboring his, all the time. I’m fairly certain he is referring to teenage drinking parties getting busted.

You might be saying to yourself, “Well, that makes sense. Teenagers shouldn’t be drinking. It leads to all kinds of problems.” It does lead to all kinds of problems, but I believe this is true only because of the way we, as a society and nation, handle the issue. Most of the small towns I’m familiar with employ at least twice as many police officers as they need. There isn’t much crime in these towns, so what’s a cop to do? Spend long days waiting to catch speeders, and harass teenagers whenever possible, whether they are just hanging out in a group at the park (this most certainly spells trouble), or gathering at night to drink beer (Trouble with a capital T).

Being the parent of three teenagers, I hear about parties getting busted all the time. Three years ago, at the age of sixteen, my oldest son was the victim of an attack by an officer who out-weighed him 3-to-1. The officer clotheslined my son at the neck, manhandled him to his stomach, and cuffed him. His offence? He was leaving a party. Was he drunk and disorderly? No. He stopped when the officer told him to, and after waiting in cuffs to be breathalyzed for an hour, they found that he hadn’t been drinking and sent him on his way. Bruises and scratches covered my traumatized son’s back.

*Note that several kids were injured fleeing this party, one losing their two front teeth in their drunken escape.

After many phone calls and lengthy discussions, an ACLU attorney finally told me that, while I could go to court and sue the city, the likely outcome was not good, even though my evidence included witnesses and photos. It would be better, he advised, to write the city a letter, and ask for an apology from the officer.

The cops around here cruise the streets at night, watching for any movement by teenagers, and if they see two or more going into a house, you can bet they will sit and watch the house for signs of a party. Several local cops have warned the kids that every party they have this coming summer will get busted.

Here’s the main problem with this obsession the police have. The kids are going to party, no matter what. They will find a way. If every party they have gets busted, they will just find ways to not get busted. This usually means moving the parties outside of town, to remote locations, often open fields on somebody’s farm or ranch. These locations have poor cell reception, dangerous access roads, and barbed-wire fences frequently surround them. The kids are drinking miles away from adult supervision or help, should the need arise (and it happens). Does this sound like a dangerous situation? It scares the shit out of me!

I’ll use a party some kids had last fall as an example. The party was on the property of a young, local boy. His family had a ranch across the state line (the land actually straddled three state lines). There were no houses nearby. It was truly a wide-open space. The kids had a bonfire and sat around drinking beer for a while, until four Sherriff’s vehicles, incredibly (given the location), showed up to bust the party.

Kids ran in all directions, across fields, into barbed-wire fences, into mud-filled bogs, into fields of cattle, and one, into a creek. It was November, so the night was cold. Since they had a large fire going, a lot of the kids didn’t have coats. Many of them wandered around lost, all night. Quite a few lost their shoes in the mud and wound up with feet full of thistles. Some roamed for miles until they found a highway and/or cell service to call for help. Do you want your kid hitchhiking on a desolate road in the middle of the night?

Out of approximately 50-75 kids, the cops busted the 15 or so sober kids (designated drivers) who had no reason to run. My kids (yes, they were there), made it home around 3:30 A.M. (the party was busted around 10:30), covered in mud, bruised and battered, after wandering around the fields for hours. Two of them were missing some clothing -they loaned them to others to help them stay warm- and one was missing shoes and had feet full of thistles despite the shirts given by friends to cover the bare feet.

The next morning, kids were still trying to account for everyone. It amazes me that they all made it out alive, without any life-threatening injuries or hypothermia. It is this kind of dangerous situation our children find themselves in when forced to find alternative places to blow off steam and have some fun. Getting busted, and even getting into serious trouble, isn’t going to stop most of them, so why put them into these kinds of circumstances?

I partied when I was a teenager too, but the parties were rarely busted and kids didn’t find themselves with criminal records before the age of eighteen. Drinking and driving was more of a problem back then, but I think kids are more conscientious about having a sober ride these days.

Now, before I finish my tirade, consider this: my early teenage years I spent living in Europe. Even though the official drinking age was seventeen, I could usually go into a bar with friends at the age of fifteen and order a beer, and that was all I had. Often, it was just a Coke. It wasn’t cool to drink yourself silly and I never saw any of my friends drunk. Drinking wasn’t the reason for going to the bar. We went to dance and socialize. I didn’t learn to binge drink until I came back to America. In other cultures, kids are actually taught to drink responsibly, and under-age drinking doesn’t carry the stigma it does in this country. And guess what? They don’t have the problems with under-age drinking, binge drinking, and teenage alcoholism that we do.

I’m trying to teach my kids that same way, but it’s hard to do when their peers don’t understand, have not been taught to drink responsibility, and may never learn.

Putting Off the Inevitable


Maybe inevitable isn’t the right word. ‘Dreaded’ might be more appropriate. I have to perform open-heart surgery on Rhythm in Blue– soon. I’m looking forward to the rewards, but not the actual operation. The undertaking seems so daunting, almost overwhelming. I sit here and tell myself, ‘I’m not up to the task,’ and ‘I’m not good enough to do what needs to be done.’ Coming up with a concrete plan is my procrastination tool, and so far, it’s working. But as I think about it, concrete plans are not my forte. No, I do my best work when I dive in and just start writing, but I can’t bring myself to do it as my inner voice (the one we should all ignore) repeatedly chants, you will fail, you don’t have the skill, you suck!

Why is it that one day we can feel brilliant (that perhaps we missed our calling to be rocket scientists), that every word we write will be a great legacy, cherished by our descendants (and everyone else, for that matter), and other days, we feel we are wasting valuable time that would be better spent shoveling shit (odd comparison, as some days it seems to be the same thing)?

As I prepare for the operation, I review all my books on writing, praying that the information and wisdom they impart will etch itself into my brain (it never does), and wishing they covered the subjects I struggle with in more detail. It’s probably there, but my blinders slam shut as though I’m back in my high school algebra class.

Another procrastination tool I employ is focusing on all the other things I should be doing, yet, I procrastinate for them, as well. So, here I sit, in limbo, coming up with one excuse after another and accomplishing nothing. Luckily, I didn’t sleep well last night, and that always makes for a handy excuse and buys me one more day of putting it off. Who can concentrate and create a work of genius on very little sleep? Why try? Maybe I’ll mow. That doesn’t take much concentration.

Attack of the Mind


Just coming off the strangest and scariest week I’ve had since I can remember. I feel hung over, but eager to build back up. I don’t know what set me off, and perhaps that’s the worst part. I know what egged it on, but the real question is, what suddenly had me so consumed with depression? What turned every remark, gesture, comment, or non-comment into a personal attack?

Middle of the week, I met with my nurse practitioner at the local ‘free’ health clinic, and she happily renewed my prescription for Clonazepam (use at bedtime for much needed sleep), and asked if I needed antidepressants (she worries that I quit them over a year ago). Told her I was good, things were good. Even told her I was thinking of trying Chantix again to quit smoking once and for all. Got down to one cigarette a day on my last try. I had the best dreams at night when I took Chantix, so vivid, so entertaining. During the day, I had severe stomach cramps and contemplated suicide.

I’ve wrestled with depression off and on my entire life, but never bad enough to consider suicide! It took me a while to connect the drug with the mind numbing depression, and when I did, I continued to take the stuff, desperate to quit smoking. Yeah, I was down to one cigarette a day, and then came the flood, literally. The river behind my house, usually more like a creek, swelled with rain and snowmelt, invaded the yard and threatened our home. We had to evacuate- to my mother’s house. Though my house didn’t flood from the river, my basement filled with three feet of shit from sewer back up. The kids and I were stuck at my mother’s for a week, facing a swimming pool of crap back home. It was time to choose between smoking and suicide. I chose a nicotine filled life.

That was several years ago, and once I cleaned all the shit and mold from the basement, things were fine, have been fine, until this past week. Yeah, I have bouts of mild depression from time to time, but nothing like this. I felt paralyzed. Powerless. Doomed. Sleep and cry— that’s all I could do.

I’ve stated on several occasions that I write better when I’m slightly depressed, emphasis on slightly. I like to bring that emotion into my work, and it’s hard to do when things are hunky-dory. Naturally, I tried to use those horrible feelings and turn them into something creative, but everything froze in a block of ice. I could find my voice, couldn’t find an ice pick, and couldn’t find a way out. Then, it was just gone. Business as usual, like nothing ever happened.

Scary? Hell yeah! How do I prevent it from happening again? I don’t know. I don’t like antidepressants and don’t want to take them. When I stopped them before, I switched to high doses of amino acids and powerful vitamin B supplements, etc. I tried that during my recent bout, but it didn’t help. It would be nice if I could identify the trigger, but so far, I’ve come up empty. Maybe it’s the looming ‘change of life’ and there’s no way around it. I hope not. Not sure I can survive it. I do think, however, that I will get back on a regular regimen of the vitamins and supplements, and be a little more diligent with the exercise. Hopefully, these combined efforts will stave off any future attacks- and yes, attack is the perfect word. As for the smoking…I’ll look for another way to deal with it.

Stumbling Along the Rocky Road


04/08/2011

Self-pubbed Rhythm and Blue
a little over a month ago, and so far, I’ve sold enough copies to take my family out to McDonalds— twice if we order from the kid’s menu. I’ve had some great reviews from friends (thank you so much), and some from people I don’t know, yet that seems to have no effect.

I’m on my fourth cover, and while the latest cover has improved sample downloads, it has not improved sales. Additionally, I’ve played around with the sample percentage I offer to perspective readers. Nothing. I have now lowered the price to see if that has any effect. I’ll give it a few weeks at the new price and see if that makes a difference.

Meanwhile, I’ve been dragging my feet on the print release because I’m hoping to get some input from a carefully chosen professional editor to tighten the story. I think it’s a great story (of course I do), but I also think it could be much better, and I need some input as to how to go about that. Unfortunately, few good editors are willing to work pro bono- go figure! Although I haven’t tried offering a cut of any future sales, my gut tells me that wouldn’t fly either.

Anyone who has read it knows that the overall feel of the story changes dramatically from start to finish, and maybe that is my fatal flaw. I tried to give a glimpse of later parts of the book at the start, but maybe it’s not enough. Perhaps it’s just bad writing; at this point, I don’t know what to think, and I’m so tired of screwing around with it. Many of my writer friends tell me to just move on, but I can’t do that. Rhythm in Blue will always be my baby, no matter what I do from here on out.

I’m courting a couple of Indie rock bands in hopes of obtaining some musical rights for a book trailer. Can’t really see having a book trailer about a rock star using classical music; it just doesn’t fit. If anyone knows someone who wants to get some music out there in a new way, let me know!

On a brighter note, I will be having author Jenn Nixon do a guest blog on May 6th! I’m very excited about that, as I’ve never had a guest blogger before, and I’m curious to see how that goes. Might be something I’ll have to think about doing more often.

And so the odyssey continues…all a process of trial and error, but I knew that going in.

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Stream of Despair

01/11/2011

I’m tired of dying. I’ve spent many years, searching for relief, yet death eludes me. Swimming hopelessly in the swift currents of my life and tears, a distant part of my mind wonders if I’m swimming against the current, going with the seductive flow, or simply treading in place to keep from going under. I yearn for the shore, eager to feel the solid earth beneath my feet, but I can’t reach it from here and I grow weary.

The grave I’ve prepared in anticipation of my death is deep; its sides are slick and its sharp corners unyielding; my hands can find no purchase to facilitate escape. I cry for help, but none can hear. Perhaps if my cries had voice, someone would lower a rope into my tomb, but I silenced my voice long ago, afraid of my own sound.

I’m tired of dying. I crave life, but I don’t know how to seize it. How do you clear your lungs of the murky waters of despair, and teach them to seek oxygen for sustenance? How do you climb out of your deep, dark, tomb, the tomb that terrifies you, yet has become home? How do you reach the shore and take your life from the land?

These questions invade my slumber and attack moments of perceived peace. As I surrender to the current and slide down the smooth wall of my tomb, the questions bite at my tender flesh, and I cry out; they will not be ignored. Life reaches for me, but I am untrusting and afraid of this stranger, unfamiliar after so many years wasted, racing toward my demise.

 


Pain of Youth and Teen Suicide- what you’ve left behind

T.J.A. 7/28/94 – 3/25/11

What you showed the world a day ago:

Holy shit. Just went running…. about to die!!! Guess my lungs got a lil worse then I thought! :-/

What you promised us later, but didn’t explain:

Feelin great. Tomarrow will be legendary!!!! 8:48 PM  03/24/2011 T.A.

This afternoon…03/25/2011

T—. Your my boy. You better be in — this summer!

Love you bro. We will never forget you…

rest in peace and paradise man. we all love you…i’m sorry it had to be this way.

I Love You T— J—…forever and always you are in my heart..

T— u will be missed in every hunting and fishing trip b- and I take. You mean a lot to me you took up a lot of space in my hart there will always be a arrow in my quiver for you and a shell in my pocket

LOVE YOU BUD

T—, you are my cousin but I love you like i brother. You will be missed dearly. Just take Aunt L— hand and she will guide you. Trust in the Lord. I Love you T——– 7/28/94 – 3/25/11

though you didnt think so..you will truly be missed.. its gonna kill me to look at your empty desk in school..we all love you t—. we always have.. rest in peace..

T—, we shared alot of good times, and dear friend I will forever miss your silly jokes, your somewhat of a girl voice, I know in my heart that you were something very special and in my heart i will always remember you that way..

i love you man:(  ill see you some day

You will be missed by lots!

Man I love u and will miss u dearly, will never forget huntin and hangin out with u, will never forget it.
“There I was back in the wild again
I felt right at home, where I be-long
I had the feeling coming over me again
Just like it happened so many times before
…The spirit of the woods is like an old good friend
Makes me feel warm and good inside
I knew his name and it was good to see him again
Cause in the wind he’s still a-live”

R.I.P best friend forever fer sure. it was just yesterday we were making epic plans for this summer for our crew. ill miss you and all the memories we had. love you buddy ♥

</3 R.I.P. T—. Ill miss you and you will always be in my heart.

We will all miss you T—. You were an awesome guy. I’m glad I met you. I will always remember you. R.I.P. T—..:(

T— I can’t believe this is happening. I love you and will never forget those great memories we had together. I will miss you forever and always and I’ll see you again someday. Your the funniest, nicest, coolest guy in the world. You don’t deserve to be gone.. RIP T——– ♥ ♥

I miss you T—! Ill miss our fun opens and having snowball fights and gettin in trouble by mr. s— haha Just ill have those great memories of us and having fun and you makin j—- be the human broom! I love you T—!! We will all Miss you Alot!

T— i can’t believe this happened. I truly do love you. And I will always remember the nights we spent together. I miss you so much. Rest in peace! ♥

R.I.P T—, youre very much missed and loved. sorry it ended this way i wish there was a way someone could have stopped it.
R.I.P my man.

T— we are going to miss you so so much : ( You were just like a son to me. I am going to miss your smile.. I Love you Mama Bear

Rest in paradise, t—. I’ll miss you bud.

I love you bro, rest in peace…

all the good times we shared together, in school, out of school they were all a memory i would never forget bud, i wish you could have stayed and had more fun then you already did. i wish you would have just stayed in i—– so we could still pick on j— and fucked shit up and had fun in shop and listen to f— talk about what his favorite porn was lol. i love you bud look over all of us and laugh at all of our stupid crap that we are doing, see you at your funeral man:( love you and see you when i get there!

T—- you have been one of my best friends sense elementary school. I will miss you and always love you bro. Sorry it had to end like this. R.I.P

‎:( T— you were always so much fun to talk to and im really gunna miss our late night crazy talks. R.I.P T—! ♥

everything happens for a reason, just wish it didn’t happen this way. just yesterday you made biology so much fun! 😥 see ya soon then. r.i.p.♥

T—, I miss you already bud. Seeing you in the hallways at school, you always had a perky smile on your face, and you always knew how to make people smile and make them laugh, we will all miss you. But, you’ll forever be loved, & you will always be in our hearts. ♥

T—. .. I love you and miss you sooooooo much.. its so sad that this has happened… but we had memories that will live on forever bud. 😥

You always made school interesting & fun. No one has the humor & personality that you did & even though we weren’t close, we were classmates. We miss ya!

t— u were one of my good friends it just sucks that this isnt a dream and u wont be here tomorrow sorry it had to end this way bro u will be loved and missed by all. just make sure u watch over all of us when ur up there and i will see u someday again. R.I.P T—. sorry it ended this way wish i could of helped out and been there with u so u wouldnt of done this. u know we were here for u. it didnt have to end this way. i love u bro and miss u :”(

T—)’: You were such a good friend. I’m sorry things went this way. You will always be close to our hearts and will most DEFINITELY be missed by every one of us. We love you T———): ♥ R.I.P

It seems just like yesterday we were screwing around in wrestling… We would always be partners even though there was a weight difference (:. When It’s my turn to go up there were going to have to wrestle just like the good ol’ days my man. Your always in my heart..

i feel like i can’t even function. its going to be a sleepless night. rip t—. ily dude.

i don’t even know what to think…

Yes baby boy, what you left behind scars us all and leaves us without your beautiful presence. Your friends will sleep little, and will never forget…

Indie Update…

03/19/2011

So now, it’s been a little over three weeks since I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords. I also ‘officially’ have it available on Amazon. Why do I say officially? Well, for starters, it’s because it is much more complete than the mistake version was. It has the proper formatting (thank you so much Guido!), and almost all typos have been eliminated. Almost? Yes, almost. My heart dropped a foot or two as I checked to see that my edits had the proper formatting, and found (gasp!) a spot with a space between a word and a comma, and another spot where I combine single and double quotes around a word. It just never fucking ends…

On the bright side, I have nine great reviews on Smashwords and two on Amazon, some solicited and some not. Unfortunately, this has not helped sales as I had hoped, thus far. RIB is so far down the list on Smashwords, it’s nearly undiscoverable. I had one sale on Amazon (other than my own purchase to review), and that one sale briefly bumped me up to the top 60,000, but within 24 hours, I was back to the bottom gazillion.

I feel so fortunate to have the great reviews– my friends are amazing! Now, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know it’s coming; it’s inevitable. Not everyone likes the book, I know that already, and when it comes to reviews, the old adage, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,’ does not apply.

My progress on Smashwords was slightly derailed by ‘Read an Ebook Week.’ Suddenly, all the other books on the site were discounted tremendously, and many of them were free. I had to offer Rhythm and Blue at no cost, just to keep it on the radar. Now that the week is over, the book has sunk to oblivion. I really wish I’d had the new cover at the time, as I think it’s more of an eye-grabber.

New Cover

My next task, I suppose, it to finalize it for printing and get the cover, front and back, together for Createspace. This means reading the damn thing over again a few times, to catch more mistakes. Yes, yes, I know…I’ve heard it everywhere— get your book professionally edited, but I just don’t have that kind of money! And while I do great editing for others, I’m blind to my own mistakes. As many times as I’ve had to read through it, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I should write novellas from now on. Rhythm in Blue is just TOO DAMN LONG!

What I really want to do is work on another book, either a sequel, or one of several WIPs I have to chose from. Yes, I am a multi-tasker, but obsession is a stronger trait, so I’m stuck for now, until I see this through to completion. At least when I’m writing, I give myself breaks. When I’m editing, I’m likely to sit at the computer for sixteen hours straight (not including brief sustenance and potty breaks). Writing this blog post is a bit of a treat. Yesterday, I took the day off and read a book someone else wrote. It was a decadent indulgence, and now I feel guilty.

Anywhoo, I’d better get back at it and stop screwing around. (I could go on writing this all day, I’m so dreading going back to work!)

From a Humble and Racy Beginning

03/07/2001

My writing experience… Hmm, well, I only took up writing seriously in the last few years. Seriously.

But in reality, I started writing at a very young age, before I could even read. My father is a writer, and his pile of crunched up paper that covered the floor of his various ‘writing rooms’ always fascinated me. I wished I could do what he did, so I’d fill page after page of scribbled lines to emulate his beautiful cursive writing, then crumble them up and throw them to the ground in frustration.

My first documented story (see below), I wrote when I was seven or eight- complete with illustrations! I was very proud of my story, as were my parents. That’s why a copy still lives to this day, and found its way back to me a few years ago. Now, as a critic, I can see a few plot and flow problems.

The Tree and the Boy

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I don’t think I wrote much after that. At least, not until I was in the sixth grade. I decided to write a short story –I don’t remember now if it was just for me, or if I intended to show it to friends. The entire experience ended badly.

My first mistake was the genre: erotica- not your typical or acceptable sort of writing  for an eleven year old. I barely remember the story. Okay, I do a little bit. It was about a teenage girl getting a ride from some boys she didn’t know (of course, they were all smokin’ hot, or foxy, as we said back in the day), and I won’t go into great detail, but there was much fondling of the girl by all the guys.

My second mistake was to write it at school. I didn’t get much further along in the story than that, because my archnemesis in the class at the time, ripped the story out from under my pencil (she sat behind me, and I guess she was reading over my shoulder), and called out to the teacher, “Mrs. Love, Tammy is writing naughty things!” and proceeded to hand over my story.

After reading my lovely account of the almost gang bang, the teacher was understandably horrified. She knew it was beyond her experience to deal with me, so she took me out, into the hallway, and called all the other sixth grade teachers out to read it and determine the best punishment. The lame explanation I gave was that it was an account of something that happened to my aunt, but my guess would be that they didn’t buy it. I don’t think they came up with any suitable punishment, despite their shock. I don’t remember getting paddled, and I know they didn’t call my folks. I didn’t go to the principal’s office. But, you can bet after that, I was the evil child. I knew it every time one of those teachers looked at me; it was in their leery glances, their thin-eyed glares.

After that, I took up journaling for a period. No more short stories for me! But journaling about a very boring life was, well, boring. At the time (age 12-13), I was reading books like Go Ask Alice, which were way exciting, so I started peppering my journals with little falsehoods, things that made me sound more adventurous than I actually was.

That was all fine and dandy, until I had to spend a week with a male relative (whose wife was gone for the week), and during that time, he attempted a little Tammy molestation- nothing terribly vile, and he stopped when I made it clear that I was not comfortable with the touching.

It made for some great journal entries, however. Finally, I had something compelling to write about! When it was time to leave and go home, guess what? No journal; it disappeared from the face of earth, and trust me, knowing all the information contained within (true and untrue), I searched like a girl possessed. I know exactly what happened to it. Someone (who shall forever be nameless) found it and destroyed it.

I took up journaling again after a year or so, but I never kept them. I’d fill up a notebook and quickly destroy it. It’s too bad, really. By that time, I had pretty cool things to write about, and I often wish I could look back at them, but the thought of my writing, once again becoming published (read- snooped and read by those it was not meant for) was more than I could handle.

It was a good thirty years before I wrote again, outside of school anyway. Any creative writing classes I took, I inevitably failed or dropped. Guess I didn’t like having to write what I was told, when the name of the class implied freedom.  I could make quite a list of reasons why I stayed away from writing for so long, but I won’t. I will just say that when I did start again, and ventured to call myself a writer, the feeling was more euphoric than any I can remember. The circle continues, and hopefully, one day soon, the ends will meet. At least I’ve made it back to the point where I beg for others to read my writing!

The Odyssey Continues — A Journey Into Self-Publishing

03/05/2011

Well, it’s been a week since I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords, and I’ve been busy ever since trying to get it ready for Amazon and printing through Createspace. I did release it on Amazon, although unintentionally, and it is now stuck in ‘publishing’ mode, again, unintentionally. I hit the wrong button trying to find a way to look at it in Kindle, which leads me to believe that I am either really stupid, or Kindle Direct Publishing needs a better model! I ended up having to buy the damn thing to download it to my Kindle; there must be a way around this, but I haven’t found it yet. You do have the option to preview it before you upload, but it shows on a tiny screen that only holds a little over a paragraph- STUPID!

The hassles that led up to the Kindle publishing were mind numbing. I’ve never had to work in HTML before, and figuring out the formatting was insanely difficult for me. Some parts were easy, but others still have me scratching my head. I found a good guide in Guido Henkel, but following all of his instructions was difficult, as he uses a Mac and had different software than I did. Toward the end of his tutorial, he had a great section on adding images, but I’ll be damned if I can make it work for me. Once Amazon unlocks my content, I’ll give it another shot. I do know that it takes much patience, and you really have to play around with it to get what you want. I also know that even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee that it will come out looking right.  I found places within the Kindle version that looked like they were improperly formatted, but when I checked my HTML source, the formatting was there. Not sure where I went wrong, or if I even did.

I’ve also spent time preparing the work for printing, which has been kind of fun. It’s cool to see the exact layout the book will ultimately have, and to play around with the formatting and visual feel. The cover, however, is proving to be a pain in the ass! What I thought was good turned out to be not so great when I had to include text on the back. I had to change the color, and therefore, the look of the cover to accommodate my needs. The next challenge is getting the front, back, and spine into one image with the correct measurements (also proving to be very difficult).

Of course, all the way through all these steps, I’m finding more things in the actual text that need to be edited. For every edit I make, I have to remind myself that I will have to edit every version I have, including my Smashwords version, the HTML version, as well as the final print version. This wouldn’t be difficult, except for the HTML document. In Word, at least you can compare versions and implement all the changes pretty easily. Doing the same for the HTML will be a painstaking process, and I’m not looking forward to it, but it must be done.

So far, the downloads on Smashwords haven’t been great, even with the offer of free coupons, but they have been enough that I’m not twenty pages back on the best sellers list. It’s so hard to know where to focus first, and I feel myself being pulled in so many directions at once. I guess it’s almost a blessing that the Amazon version is frozen, because that gives me the time to do what I need to do without feeling rushed.

Okay, I guess I’d better get back to it. Just wanted to post an update on my progress. I’m still willing to give a free coupon to anyone who wants to download the book on Smashwords. Just let me know. And thanks to all who already have!

(What do ya know, as soon as I finished this, Amazon unlocked the book and it is now live again. I’m free to screw it up at will!)

P.S. Now that I’ve done it, I will say that Guido’s instructions didn’t cover some details, but he is working to improve the tutorial to make it more comprehensive.


The Odyssey Begins — A Journey Into Self-Publishing

02/26/2011

Well, it actually began a long time ago, but now it’s headed in a new direction.

I finished my book, Rhythm in Blue, almost a year ago. I had an agent ready and waiting for me to finish. She immediately began sending out the finished manuscript, but after nine months, I discovered that most of the publishers she was submitting to were not suitable for the book.  In the meantime, I have been watching the publishing industry’s doors squeeze shut, like a homophobe’s asshole when he learns he actually knows someone who is gay.

Because of this, I made the decision to self publish my book through the various electronic mediums that offer free ebook publishing. Yesterday, I released Rhythm in Blue on Smashwords. I hope to release it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and however many other outlets I can find, within the next few weeks. Through Createspace, I plan to make the book available in print, and that should take another month or so. I put a call in to Facebook friends to download a free copy in exchange for a review; so far, I’ve had several takers. Then, I contacted friends who have read and enjoyed the book, and asked them to download it and leave me a review. Hopefully, between downloads and reviews, I can gain some momentum and generate some sales. I am also considering hiring a publicity company to help me push the book, because honestly, beyond what I’ve done, I’m not much for marketing and the like.

I’ve spent the last month or so reading blogs and ‘how to’s’ for self publishing, electronic publishing specifically, and I know there are many out there who are successful, but many more who fail. Some of the success has to do with marketing and networking on the part of the author, some of it has to do with luck, and some of it (no, not all) has to do with the quality of their work.

Anyway, today is day 1, and my fingers are tightly crossed! I will continue to work on releasing to various outlets when I’ve had more sleep; last night was especially hard after a very long day of formatting (not the first, and not the last by any means). I’ll try to keep this updated to document my progress, because every little blog helps, right?



The November Blahs

11/14/2010

A Ramble… of Pride? Not So Fast

09/13/2010

Parenting 101-9


09/03/2010

My Island

08/18/2010

Worry and Dreams

08/07/2010

The Fragility Of Trust

07/31/2010

The Giver Of Rope

07/31/2010

Obsession, Or Any Ol’ Distraction Will Do

07/31/2010

Who to See During the 2010, Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

07/31/2010

A Dying Language

07/31/2010