A Conversation with my mother the day I told her I finished my novel.
ME: “Well Mom, it’s done. I finally finished it.”
MOM: “Finished what?”
ME: “Uh…my novel. The one I’ve been working on for the past year. Yeah, it’s done.”
MOM: “I had no idea you were writing a book! What is it about?”
ME: (sighs) “It’s a young adult novel about a teenager named Sawyer Hayden who–“
MOM: “Sawyer? Oh I don’t like that name.”
ME: ”Well it’s too late to change it now. ANYWAY…he wants a basketball scholarship so he–“
MOM: “Basketball? But you don’t play basketball! And why are you writing about boys anyway? You’re a woman who lives in New Hampshire! I know what you should do. Join a writing group and try to make friends with that woman writer there…
ME: Please don’t say Jodi Picoult.
MOM: …the one who writes all those nice cancer books. You know who I mean.”
ME: (sigh 2x) “Her name’s Jodi Picoult, mom.”
MOM: “No, that’s not it. Well, whoever she is I hear her books are very popular.”
ME: “FINE! WHATEVER! JUST LISTEN!” (deep breath) “In my book Sawyer asks his brother River to help–“
MOM: “RIVER? Oh I don’t like that name either. Why did you pick such ugly American names? With so many nice names in our family to choose from you–“
ME: “HOW ABOUT RAPHAEL? THAT’S WHAT I NAMED THE DAD SO HOW ABOUT THAT?”
MOM: “Finally a name I like! It’s about time you remembered you’re Italian.”
ME: “Ok…but just so you know, I made the dad Spanish.”
MOM: (appalled) “NOW WHY DID YOU DO THAT?! WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST MAKE HIM ITALIAN? HOW AM I GOING TO TELL THE FAMILY IN ITALY THAT MY DAUGHTER WROTE A BOOK ABOUT SPANIARDS AND NOT ITALIANS?!”
ME: “I’M IRISH TOO, MOM! WHY DON’T I JUST MAKE HIM IRISH LIKE MY DAD, HUH? HOW’S THAT SOUND?”
MOM: “Spanish is fine.”
ME: “CAN WE FOCUS NOW? PLEASE?!”
MOM: “Yes, yes. Continue.”
ME: (sighs, molto frustrato) “So SAWYER leaves his father and moves to Nebraska–“
MOM: Bites lip.
ME: “NOW what’s wrong?”
MOM: “Well…why does he have to live in Nebraska? It’s a land locked state.”
ME: (rubbing temples) “What does Nebraska being a land locked state have to do with anything?”
MOM: “I don’t trust the seafood in land locked states. It’s too expensive. What you’re really paying for is the truck to have it delivered. They don’t fool me.”
ME: “Fine. You know what? I’ll change it to a coastal state–“
MOM: “OOH! You should make it Hawaii! I’ve always wanted to go there. You know they filmed that show LOST in Hawaii. But then you couldn’t use the name Sawyer. Hey! Now you can change that too! I always liked that doctor Jack–“
ME: “MOM! It can’t be Hawaii because Raphael is a long haul truck driver and that’s how Sawyer gets to Nebraska to live with his grandfather so he can get a basketball scholarship.”
MOM: “Well why does he even need a scholarship? With the price of seafood nowadays the father should have no problem paying for–“
ME: “You know what? Forget it. I didn’t write a book. I made a quilt.”
MOM: “Oh don’t be so sensitive. Tell me what the grandfather’s name is. Something good I hope.”
MOM: (flinches, thinks and then says) “So SAYWER leaves a man named RAPHAEL to live with a man named GUS?”
ME: “Yes but mom, Gus is awesome. He’s a biker and a southern rock roadie with…bad…ass…tattoos…”
MOM: (near tears) “What happened to my dainty daughter who used to love to read books and write stories and listen to music?!”
ME: “She changed her name to Sawyer.”
FOR MORE MIND-NUMBING MATERNAL MASOCHISM VISIT:
Every so often there comes a moment when we see ourselves through another person’s eyes. Determining whether that’s good or bad depends entirely on what we see. Most of my epiphanies are delivered in the form of my sister telling me my ass looks fat in my jeans, whether I ask for her opinion or not.
Commentary on my fat ass or bad breath I can handle, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of personal feedback in the form of reviews for my novella, Reapers With Issues.
Before I begin I’d like to state that every reader who reviewed my work negatively did not condemn me personally for what I’d written, despite not particularly enjoying the book. I’ve read reviews of other books where the reviewer took the author to task, and I am happy to say I’ve been blessed with a classy group of readers who didn’t feel the need to blast me.
I guess what confounds me most is that I expected there to be more blow back for subject matter. Portraying Jesus as a closet homosexual and writing a scene where Genghis Khan violates a shi-tzu wasn’t going to win me an audience with the Pope, and I knew that going in. I also prepared myself for a critique of the quality of the writing itself, which as it turns out I didn’t receive much of. What I did get was essentially the same question, asked in so many words, of what kind of person could conceive of the Reapers idea at all. Again, good or bad depends entirely on what we see.
[enter the dreaded introspection process]
The first thing I did was try to answer the question of what kind of person I am. Despite an obscene amount of navel-gazing I am no closer to that answer now than I was when I began. My motivation to write Reapers With Issues was just as strong and the subject matter just as easy to conceptualize as Gods of Asphalt’s was, so identifying a specific default in thinking didn’t pan out. The truth is that I’ve got a hundred different stories buzzing around in my head; everything from harmless children’s stories to British comedies to even more Reapers sequels (oddly there’s nothing milling around in there that remotely smacks of Erotica, but that’s a post for another day after an hour on a couch).
So after an even more shameless bought of self-contemplation I began to ask myself a different question, “Why do any of us write what we write?”
Do we choose our genre or subject matter because of who we are, or because of what we make of the world around us? I imagine it’s no coincidence that Reapers With Issues was written during the darkest hours of a friend’s battle with cancer, or that Gods of Asphalt was written while stuck in bed, listening to my two teenaged sons bicker amongst themselves and argue with their father.
It is also not lost on me that I wrote Reapers With Issues from a third-person point-of-view, allowing me to observe at a distance the story of a Reaper whose best efforts to gather souls are thwarted by a Savior, or that the overall theme of Gods of Asphalt is how brothers cope when their mother isn’t around.
I suppose in the end what we choose to write comes from the harmony of both who we are and what we see. I’ve learned that whether my writing is received as harmony or dischord depends entirely on who’s doing the reading, and no amount of alteration of my “music” will accommodate everyone.
For the record, I’m fine with that. I am a Jazz fan, after all.
Now that I’ve got your attention I’d like to make you aware of an ongoing project I’ve been spearheading that I am hoping you’ll want to be a part of. It’s a project to benefit a cause that’s close to my heart called LIBSTRONG, a community of friends who have gathered together in support of Libby, a dear young friend who is battling cancer.
We’ve put together a surprise project called WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD not only to raise money but to raise her spirits as she battles her illness. Keep reading to find out what it’s all about and to learn how you too can be involved:
From the WATW site:
Our latest endeavor is called WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD- a fun global project designed for people everywhere to show their support for Libby and her battle against cancer. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike are invited to purchase her LIBSTRONG wristbands and then snap pictures of their wrists against an iconic landmark of their city, state or hometown. Once the photo is taken it is emailed to us and then posted to our GALLERY.
The message behind our project is to show the world how Libby’s strength and determination touch more than just those around her. Her positivity reaches around the world!
When sending a picture please include information noting where the picture was taken. We would be happy to post your name or a link to your blog, although that is not necessary and we will respect all wishes for anonymity. We are requesting snapshots be of wrists wearing wristbands only, so even the most camera shy supporter feels comfortable enough to be involved.
LIBSTRONG wristbands are available for sale individually or in package deals combined with items donated from various blog supporters. Visit our MAKE A DIFFERENCE page for information on how to purchase the package that’s right for you!
To be a part of WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD send your snapshot to:
I am asking my fellow bloggers everywhere to purchase at least one wristband not only to raise some much needed money for Libby’s cause, but to show her your support from your very own hometown. Package prices include shipping within the United States only. Since I would like the wristbands to actually go around the world, I would be willing to donate both of my ebooks for free to anyone outside of the United States who purchases even just one LIBSTRONG wristband to offset the cost of shipping which would be the responsibility of the purchaser.
As of the writing of this post, Libby doesn’t know about this project. We’d like to get as many pics around the world as possible and then reveal her site as a gift.
As for my part in the WRISTS AROUND THE WORLD project I’ve decided to donate both my REAPERS WITH ISSUES and THE GODS OF ASPHALT ebooks and paperbacks to be included in wristband package deals. I am also including the blog compilation project F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES for donation once it is completed. Each contributing author’s name of that work will receive an honorary mention on the FRIENDS OF LIBSTRONG page with links to their blogs.
Additionally, if you are an author you can contribute by donating your own books for package deals to be included on their site. For ebooks simply donate a free coupon for your book that others may purchase to raise money for our cause. For information on paperback donations, please contact email@example.com for more details.
Thank you everyone for taking the time to stop by Wrists Around The World!
TODAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF MY BLOG! TO COMMEMORATE THIS AUSPICIOUS OCCASION I HAVE DECIDED TO RERUN MY VERY FIRST BLOG POST.
PLEASE TO ENJOY…
So yeah, I wrote a book.
I must have been high when I wrote it because there’s no other explanation I can give for my 120,000 word upper YA novel where the only noun I used more than “boner” was “blood.” It goes without saying that I’m self-published. I didn’t even try to submit it traditionally. Can you just imagine the poor agent who gets my query letter?
“My novel, THE GODS OF ASPHALT is complete at 120,000 words and is the first in a series of five books that for some reason I’ve decided to write out-of-order. Each one is told from the point of view of a teenage male protagonist who has exactly zero supernatural powers (unless you consider perpetual erections a superpower). Oh, and it also has Spanish subtitles.”
On the good side, if you’re like me and are just a little too into music, motorcycles and all around badassery this is the book for you. If you’re not, I’m sure Jodi Picoult’s got a blog somewhere. You can find the opening to chapter one at the top of the page under the tab GOA REVIEWS and you can find my book on line at:
When I set out to write The Gods of Asphalt it occurred to me that I would need to choose a town for the character of Sawyer to live in. Since I had already decided that Sawyer would be extremely tall, I thought the place he’d choose to call home should not be a metropolis, but a wide open town that possessed a classic, mid-western charm.
Call it luck or serendipity that on February 14, 2011 I discovered quite by accident the town of Valentine, Nebraska. Best known as “The Heart City,” Valentine participates in an annual re-mailing program where thousands of pieces of mail flow into the local United States Post Office so that they can be re-mailed with a special Valentine’s Day postmark and verse. The perfect town for a young man who renounces love to then find it, I thought.
Unfortunately Valentine did not escape the wildfires that have plagued the mid-west for the past few weeks. The devastation is wide-spread geographically as well as financially, with their losses reaching into the millions. Since Valentine and its surrounding areas are predominately agricultural, the devastation will be felt well into the future due to the loss of livestock and farming.
Below I have included information on how to make a donation if you choose to. As for my part, I have decided to donate all my proceeds from any Gods of Asphalt book sales for the next thirty days.
I’ve been taking a break from blogging to work on a super secret writing project that is set to release September 1st (no, it’s not GOA2. That’s due out January 1st. Sorry, Megan).
Lately I’ve been struggling not to spill the beans because I can’t keep a secret to save my life. So instead of ruining the surprise I am going to periodically give out hints over the next few weeks, sort of like letting out steam so I don’t blow the whole thing at once. I will officially let the cat out of the bag August 25th in the form of an opening excerpt and companion blog.
Until then, your first clue is….
*** YUP, I’M STILL WRITING. HERE’S A REPLAY OF MY IDIOT FRIEND AND UBER SIDEKICK JEB’S SPAM POST. HE’S BEEN AWAY FROM BLOGGING DUE TO SOME PRETTY AWESOME HAPPENINGS IN HIS LIFE WHICH I WILL BE FILLING YOU IN ON SOON ***
It’s time for another helping of SPaM (Shameless Promotion Mondays)
For today’s SPaM post I’m featuring someone I know personally. Someone larger than life both in appearance and personality. Someone who’s been like an obnoxious little brother, following me around making my life a living HELL. But I got him back by basing a character in my book on him. Then I threatened him with bodily harm if he didn’t make a companion blog to mine. And on that note I give you…
ME: So when did you first realize you were a loser?
JEB: When did we meet?
ME: Are you telling me you can’t remember?
JEB: I’m saying repressed memories fucking suck.
ME: Alright, moving on. You’re in your senior year of college. What are your plans for the future?
JEB: Plans for the future? I don’t plan for the future. 2012 is right around the corner. I plan on getting 3 stars on this level of Angry Birds but that’s about as far ahead as I’m planning.
ME: 2012? Oh that’s right. You’re one of those SciFi loving, Firefly watching, half-virgins aren’t you?
JEB: I’m not a geek. You just wrote me that way. And Firefly is awesome.
ME: Denial is not an attractive quality, Jeb.
JEB: I deny being not attractive. Just ask Megan. Hi!
ME: Calm your hormones and focus.
JEB: You ask the impossible.
ME: I begged you for almost a year to get a blog. What finally changed your mind?
JEB: I discovered there was stuff out there other than porn. And you scare the shit out of me.
ME: Being scared of females explains a lot about your love life.
JEB: I’m not scared of females, I’m scared of YOU. So much rage inside such a small person. As far as females go I have no problem with them, as long as they can cook. If you’ve got time to paint your toenails, you’ve got time to make me a fucking pot pie.
ME: So tell me again, who’s your girlfriend now?
JEB: I’m in between social relations right now. I don’t like to be tied down. Well, wait…
ME: You were a really good sport about letting me base a character in my book on you–
JEB: That’s only because you promised it would get me laid.
ME: So how’s that working out?
JEB: Great for River. Me, not so great. Again, in between social relations.
ME: How does it feel to be cockblocked by a fictional character?
JEB: Kind of like losing an election to a dead guy.
ME: Now that you have a blog, where do you intend to take it?
JEB: Everywhere, I guess.
ME: What is the one thing you’d like the blogging world to know about Jeb?
JEB: That you got “Broomstick” from me (it’s in the book). Everybody needs something to laugh at, so it might as well be me. Also if they’ve got a sister, email me at—
ME: And that’s enough for today. You can follow my buddy at JustJeb.
If you or someone you know has something to promote, like a blog or book or music; just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. DO NOT PUT “SPAM” IN THE SUBJECT BAR.
Today I was lucky enough to score a book interview with the one and only Red from Momma’s Money Matters; a blog about, “Money, parenting, blogging, psychology…good advice delivered with a bit of snark and humor.”
In addition to Red being a blogging powerhouse and gracious post host; she managed to do what almost no one in the world has been able to do. Yes, Red convinced me to tell a dirty little secret about myself.
That’s right people, I have been deflowered. Les the Great over at Bestbathroombooks gave me my first interview ever for Book One of my THE GODS OF ASPHALT series. Just as you might expect, it was long and hard and filled with tires.
See for yourself by taking a hop over to Bestbathroombooks for his review and my interview. Don’t forget to stop by his own book page where you can pick up a copy of TOILETRY FROM A-Z where a portion of the proceeds go to colon cancer research.
And don’t worry, he’ll be gentle.
H.E. “Isn’t that chick a dude?” Ellis and Edward “Mind Fuck Hero” Hotspur! In this endeavor, there are some rules. They are as follows:
1) Read questions from this post and its corresponding post on Edward Hotspur’s blog.
2) Go nuts like a drunk monkey looking for the answers to the questions. There are 10 questions about Hellis, 10 about Hotspur, and 30 about 30 other people. Each one is about a little fact that might be easy to find, and might be difficult. They could be from a recent post, an ancient post, or you might just know it because your brain is like a walking Wikipedia.
3) You can make any comments you like on either blog, but you should probably e-mail us the answers. Unless you don’t care if you tip everyone off, in which case let’s play poker!
4) The first 5 people who get all the questions right will win:
**Blog posts about them, like an award or a SPaM or something very public, on one of our blogs!
**A Million Dollars! (Note – winner won’t actually receive a million dollars.)
Now, on with the questions! Search the blogs well! Dig deep and don’t leave any stone unturned! The answers are NOT “within” in this case, people.
First, here are the ones about the Other People:
Dragonfae - What two foods doesn’t Dragonfae like to eat?
Bestbathroombooks - Les’s book is published under what publishing company?
Verynormal - What’s Megan’s boyfriend’s name?
Calhoun - What is the #253 reason why Calhoun is still single?
Sightsnbytes’s Blog – What Canadian island is the base of operations for Sightsnbytes’s Blog?
The Fog of Ward - When Dayton isn’t writing, what does he do for a living?
Grafiklit - What is the name of Kat’s photography blog?
The Libra Chronicles - What is one definition of a sidecar?
HR Nightmare - What does HR like to drink for Christmas?
Is it Possible To See It All - Where is the first European City you should visit on Joe’s bucket list?
Rantonit – What is desitip #28?
Talker96 – How many times has Talker won the Sexiest Man Alive award?
Whorrible – What D.H. Lawrence novel inspired Jonathan’s works?
OhmygawdjustdowhatIsay – What piece of Star Wars memorabilia is hanging from Ginger’s Christmas tree?
The Wandering Atavist – The Atavist moved from Northern Maine to where?
NOW HERE ARE THE ONES ABOUT THE INFAMOUS EH:
What is the title of his first book?
What is Granite Countertop’s favorite candy bar?
What kind of salad does he like?
In what city is the Garden Station?
What is a HCG?
On the Starship Innerthighs, what creature is Spork?
What is Starship Innerthighs continuing mission?
What is his first crack song?
In the choose your own blog adventure, what kind of orchard can you pick to visit?
What writer penned his ASSBOOK blog post?
Check EDWARD HOTSPUR’S blog for the other 25 questions. And most of all, Have Fun! Get to know one another.
This game will end on 31 January 2012, and the winners will be posted 05 February 2012. This is subject to change, of course, because I don’t have a script. Normal rules apply, and [insert legalese].
Well people, it was inevitable. The time has come to do a SPaM post on the infamous HR NIGHTMARE. What makes him infamous, you ask? Namely, that he is the former Mr. H.E. Ellis. *Hey!! My last name isn’t Ellis! And if we’re talking names here, wouldn’t you be the former Nightmare? No pun intended.*
I’ll spare you all the eye pain of attempting to read the near vowel-less spelling of his Transylvanian last name and just refer to him as HR for the remainder of this post.
HE: So tell me, HR. What does the HR stand for?
HR stands for Human Resources. Every company has a human resources department, and every company has a guy who argues with them about….EVERYTHING. Yeah, I’m that guy. Example? In sports, smacking someone’s ass and saying, “Good game” is acceptable. However…
HE: Yeah, yeah. Moving on. You, unlike me, are a native New Hampshire-ite. What does being a New Englander mean to you?
It means I have an excuse to drive poorly, own many weapons, pay little taxes and swear without aid of the letter “R.” Oh, and hate the Yankees. I’m a Pissa.
HE: Can you elaborate on what a “Pissa” is?
The definition of a Pissa is something that is way cool, maybe too cool. Also recognized in Boston and Rhode Island for “amazing.” But here in New Hampsha, it means to take the “Piss” out of something, like when someone is telling a story and you shit all over it before he’s even done. Basically, a ballbuster.
HE: Your blog entitled, WORDS YOU CAN’T UNSAY reads like a guide to practical joking in the workplace. How did you come up with that idea?
I figured that as long as I was being written up, I might as well be written about. What I call a morale booster, my boss calls workplace shenanigans. Maybe I ought to send him a link to my blog. On second thought, NO.
HE: Your shenanigans do not stop at the workplace, quite often you bring them home. What’s it like being only eighteen years older than your oldest son, and how does that impact your ability to lay the “smack down” as you like to say?
I’ve found that a high perch and a sniper style airsoft rifle is a great equalizer. Besides, most people think he’s the dad, so in public this makes for lots of fun.
HE: In addition to your love for and massive collection of weaponry, what do you have a passion for? (I’m talking about all the motorcycles in the backyard, HR).
I’d like to see HR and HE on a HD. And having seven motorcycles and four mopeds is not a lot, Little Miss antique car collec–
HE: Ok, ok. Let’s move on to your name. How hard was it growing up in the United States with what is traditionally a girl’s name?
I don’t want to talk about that because I got my ass KICKED as a kid. It’s why I use my middle name, Mikhail. I did learn, however, that it is useful to hold onto that grudge anger until years later when you run into them again. Talk about never saw it coming.
HE: Alright, how about your last name, and the fact that you are the twenty-fourth in a long line of (gives permission to use name) Vlakfelds.
Now that worked out much better, especially on the little goth girls with daddy issues who all LOVED that I was a descendent of Vlad Tspes. All through high school I had a black lipstick ring around my–
HE: I know, I know. You know I adapted parts of your life for a character in my novel. How does it feel to be immortalized in print?
You mean besides my very permanent public record? Well that all depends, who am I again?
HE: I’m not going to tell you. You’ll just have to buy the book and read it.
Well I guess I’ll never know. Wait…I’m not JEB, am I?
HE: Well I guess you’ll never know.
For more blogging shenanigans follow HR NIGHTMARE
Return next week for a feature SPaM post with Bubbamix Comics
For your own SPaM email me at email@example.com