(insert pithy rejoinder here)

The Gods of Asphalt

Somebody Shoot Me – An Ode To My Mother

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.”

ME: “GUS.”

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:

CONVERSATIONS WITH MY MOTHER


Jazz, Jesus and the 1 Star Review

jazz

jazzEvery 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.


CALLING ALL WRITERS/AUTHORS/BLOGGERS!!!

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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:

wristsaroundtheworld@gmail.com

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 wristsaroundtheworld@gmail.com for more details.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to stop by Wrists Around The World!

www.wristsaroundtheworld.com


Happy Blogiversary To Me!

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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.”

Yeah.

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:

SMASHWORDS

AMAZON


Have A Heart

HeartCity

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.

DONATIONS

THE GODS OF ASPHALT eBook at Amazon

THE GODS OF ASPHALT Paperback

VALENTINE FACEBOOK PAGE

WILDFIRES IN NEBRASKA

 


Super Secret Project

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….


It’s SPaM…The Sequel!

*** 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…

JEB

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.

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If you or someone you know has something to promote, like a blog or book or music; just email me at heellisgoa@gmail.com. DO NOT PUT “SPAM” IN THE SUBJECT BAR.


M3 Writer’s Spotlight

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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.

Yikes.


Les Broke My Cherry

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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.

What?

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.


You’re Going On A Scavenger Hunt With HE and EH!

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This little ambitious project is brought to you by the people who brought you other things to read and do:

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:

**Free copies of Hotspur’s and Hellis‘ latest books!

**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].

Edward Hotspur and H.E. Ellis



Ex-SPaM

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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.

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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 heellisgoa@gmail.com


My Secret Admirer – Five

CLICK ME

It’s time for this week’s LOVE LETTERS GONE WRONG secret admirer big reveal! This week we did have a winner, and that blogger along with the secret admirer wins a free copy of my ebook. Since the first two correct guesses already have copies of my ebook, I’ve decided to pass along a copy to the third correct guess. Find out who that is by clicking on the trophy to your right.

Here’s a recap of Friday’s post as well as my response at the bottom. If you’d like a free copy of my ebook taken a guess or send a love letter gone wrong to heellisgoa@gmail.com.

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Dear H.E.,

I am your biggest fan. What I mean when I say biggest is that there is no one that adores you more than I do. I print out every blog post that you put up, and I have them put together in a folder with a drawing I’ve done of what I imagine you to look like. I’ve read Gods of Asphalt 17 times, and I can tell by your writing style and the things that you say on your blog that we are meant to be together.

I’m sure that sounds crazy to you, but if you would be willing to let me take you out on a date, I’m sure that you will feel it too. I thought you were a man at first, and that had me questioning my sexuality, because I never thought I was gay before, but your words just SPOKE to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about you. When I found out you were actually a woman, I felt relieved, because now I know that we can be together the way we were meant to be, and I don’t have to worry about taking it up the butt.

I have to tell you something that really bothers me though. It really upsets me when you are flirty with that Glitterbutt girl on your blog. Wait… that’s not right. I meant that Sparklebumps whore. I know that she’s trying to steal you away from me, and what you can’t see is that she’s a manipulative little bitch. When I see how you respond to her in your comments, it makes me soooo upset; I’ve started having panic attacks when I see her comments on your blog. The only way I can feel better is by masturbating with shampoo while imagining you are here with me, caressing me and whispering that everything will be alright. I had to start using salon-grade shampoo though, because Herbal Essences was giving me a weird rash. What I’m saying, H.E., is that I am begging you to stop this relationship you have with that slut, because if you don’t, I’m going to have to take more desperate measures. I don’t like that Savor person either.

I imagine every day what our life will be like together; you will write your books, and I will spend all my time worshiping you the way you deserve. I can help you give your kids cereal in the morning, and I will even be the one to call and order pizzas for them and their friends. When Prince Charming gets married to one of the many girls that adore him, I will hold your head and lick your tears away for you.

I can’t wait until you realize the closeness that we share. I’ve never had anyone make me feel the way that you do. My Aunt says it’s because I live in her basement, and I need to get out and find a nice girl, but I know that you are the only one for me, and so I’m saving myself for you. I know that you will appreciate my dedication, and it will be worth the wait when our love can finally be consummated. Until then, if you would do me a favor and send me a high-definition picture of your boobs for me to hang on the ceiling above my bed, then I can fantasize about what it would be like to have you here with me.

This is the 7th letter that I’ve sent you, and I need to let you know that if you don’t respond promptly to this, my last letter, I will have to ride my scooter to New Hampshire and find you, to show you how much I care. I thought that my letters spoke for themselves, but maybe I am not a great writer like you are, and I will just have to prove myself to you in person. Please, give me a chance, because without you I’m lost.

With all the love in my heart, and all the lust in my drawers,

Kevin

P.S. I’m serious about the Sparklebumps issue. If you can’t be completely committed to me because of her, I will rid you of her manipulations.

********

Dear Kevin,

Thank you once again for volunteering to be the administrator for THE GODS OF ASPHALT fan site.  While I am glad that you are honored to accept the challenge, please understand that delivering a daily podcast dressed as Gus and lining the set with life sized cardboard versions of the characters as you see them wasn’t part of your assigned duties. Nor was the creation of a livejournal fan-fiction site which I would like you to disable at once. I have received many complaints about the RAPHAEL/RIVER/SAWYER fan page. At the very least you should have displayed a disclaimer before readers entered the site and encountered…well, you know.

Please also understand that my blog supports my book promotion and therefore the fan site you’ve agreed to run. Fellow blogger and GOA fan Sparklebumps is a longtime friend and supporter of our efforts. She is not a “Sex-crazed Usurper” as you have referred to her on several occasions. I have also been informed that you have submitted receipts for the purchase of a pallet-sized amount of Herbal Essences shampoo. Accounting has no intention of paying this or any other debt you have incurred based on your deviant sexual proclivities. This includes the recently purchased squeeze horn and silver handlebar tassels for one 1993 Yamaha scooter. Let me state finally that at no point will you and I “get it on like Donkey Kong” in this or in any lifetime. EVER.

All the best in your future basement driven endeavors,

H.E. Ellis

CLICK THE TROPHY ABOVE FOR THE WINNER AND THE HEART BELOW FOR THIS WEEK’S SECRET ADMIRER:

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Love Letter Gone Wrong – Five

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It’s time time for another round of LOVE LETTERS GONE WRONG! Every Friday I feature a LOVE LETTER GONE WRONG written and submitted by an anonymous blogger. Sunday morning I reveal the secret admirer’s identity with a link to the blogger’s home page. If you’d like to submit some truly heinous love letters please send them to heellisgoa@gmail.com.

This week’s love letter was written by one of the featured bloggers who attended THE MEETING OF THE BLOGGER’S ALLIANCE  over at Kayjai’s Blog. Check out this post and then return to the comments here to guess who the secret admirer is. The first correct guess wins a free copy of my ebook.

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Dear H.E.,

I am your biggest fan. What I mean when I say biggest is that there is no one that adores you more than I do. I print out every blog post that you put up, and I have them put together in a folder with a drawing I’ve done of what I imagine you to look like. I’ve read Gods of Asphalt 17 times, and I can tell by your writing style and the things that you say on your blog that we are meant to be together.

I’m sure that sounds crazy to you, but if you would be willing to let me take you out on a date, I’m sure that you will feel it too. I thought you were a man at first, and that had me questioning my sexuality, because I never thought I was gay before, but your words just SPOKE to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about you. When I found out you were actually a woman, I felt relieved, because now I know that we can be together the way we were meant to be, and I don’t have to worry about taking it up the butt.

I have to tell you something that really bothers me though. It really upsets me when you are flirty with that Glitterbutt girl on your blog. Wait… that’s not right. I meant that Sparklebumps whore. I know that she’s trying to steal you away from me, and what you can’t see is that she’s a manipulative little bitch. When I see how you respond to her in your comments, it makes me soooo upset; I’ve started having panic attacks when I see her comments on your blog. The only way I can feel better is by masturbating with shampoo while imagining you are here with me, caressing me and whispering that everything will be alright. I had to start using salon-grade shampoo though, because Herbal Essences was giving me a weird rash. What I’m saying, H.E., is that I am begging you to stop this relationship you have with that slut, because if you don’t, I’m going to have to take more desperate measures. I don’t like that Savor person either.

I imagine every day what our life will be like together; you will write your books, and I will spend all my time worshiping you the way you deserve. I can help you give your kids cereal in the morning, and I will even be the one to call and order pizzas for them and their friends. When Prince Charming gets married to one of the many girls that adore him, I will hold your head and lick your tears away for you.

I can’t wait until you realize the closeness that we share. I’ve never had anyone make me feel the way that you do. My Aunt says it’s because I live in her basement, and I need to get out and find a nice girl, but I know that you are the only one for me, and so I’m saving myself for you. I know that you will appreciate my dedication, and it will be worth the wait when our love can finally be consummated. Until then, if you would do me a favor and send me a high-definition picture of your boobs for me to hang on the ceiling above my bed, then I can fantasize about what it would be like to have you here with me.

This is the 7th letter that I’ve sent you, and I need to let you know that if you don’t respond promptly to this, my last letter, I will have to ride my scooter to New Hampshire and find you, to show you how much I care. I thought that my letters spoke for themselves, but maybe I am not a great writer like you are, and I will just have to prove myself to you in person. Please, give me a chance, because without you I’m lost.

With all the love in my heart, and all the lust in my drawers,

Kevin

P.S. I’m serious about the Sparklebumps issue. If you can’t be completely committed to me because of her, I will rid you of her manipulations.


Blogs With Books

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I’ve added a new page to the top of my blog entitled BLOGS WITH BOOKS for….well, bloggers who have books for sale. If you are a blogger with a book to sell just add your name to the comments or shoot me an email at heellisgoa@gmail.com. Happy Reading!

 


Sandy SPaM

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As much as I blog/write/brag about being a New Englander I find it’s easy to forget that my life’s journey began in Florida, the same base of operations for this week’s featured blogger Sandylikeabeach (great name, right?). But the similarities don’t end with geography. I also suffer from her self-described “Scarlet O Hara syndrome” and could have written the following sentiment myself:

“With this blog, I hope to feed that part of my soul that yearns to create. My blog is not really about anything in particular, just recollections, memories, observations, thoughts and dreams.”

Anyone who’s had the good fortune to visit her blog quickly learns there’s more to this writer/poetess than simple anecdotes or pearls of wisdom. I give you my kindred spirit, Sandylikeabeach.

Before I answer your questions, let me say I’m delighted to be your kindred spirit and honored to be included in your roster of SPaM recipients. Now, on to your questions.

**** 1. What first influenced you to become a writer?

My high school English teacher, Mrs. McKelvy, opened my mind to the possibility of writing. I took her creative writing class and she was very encouraging. I wrote several short stories and poems, and won our school’s creative writing award my senior year. I majored in journalism in college, but never liked the “reporting” side of it. I loved the photography and editing classes.

Of course, I graduated from college during a recession so I never worked in my major field. I was just happy to get any job, much like today’s college graduates. Once I left college, I did very little writing, until I started this blog about six months ago. After decades of not writing, I’m still struggling to find my “voice.” I have been happily surprised by how encouraging and supportive my fellow bloggers have been.  It is unlikely that I will ever be a “post a day” blogger, but I am enjoying the journey.

**** 2. Where do you draw your inspiration for your poetry?

My poetry tends to be a bit dark.  When I am in an emotionally raw place, the words just seem to flow. Often the writing of the poem is enough to lift me out of that dark place.

The one poem you seemed to like the most was Longing, which ended with the line ‘Someone walked over my grave.’ That line was the starting point for the poem.  It was something I remembered from my teenage years. We used that expression when we would get a sudden chill that would give us goosebumps. I knew I wanted to end a poem with that line, so I worked backwards from there.

**** 3. Are you writing anything at the moment?

Just the answers to these questions. I do have an idea for a short story bouncing around in my head, not sure if it will ever make it from my head to the page.

**** 4. In your post ICE CREAM CONES AND RAIN – BOOKS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE you discuss a love of reading. What are you reading at the moment, and what book would you recommend reading?

Currently, I’m reading and enjoying W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage.  There are so many good books, it’s hard to recommend just one. I loved Vonnegut when I was younger, and Douglas Adams.  Dune by Frank Herbert was a stand out, as were The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Just in the last few months, I’ve read and would recommend The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner and The Gods of Asphalt by you!

**** 5. I love your post DISSECTING A CRAZY AUNT about living in Florida. What do you find is the best/worst thing about living in Florida?

The best is hard to choose as we have some of the best beaches in the world (I have traveled the world so I know this to be true), the best Cuban food this side of, well, Cuba, and so many crazy, freaky people (the circus really does spend the winter here). I think what I like most about my home state is it defies generic descriptions. The southern part is different from the northern part, the coasts are different from the center of the state. The state is an ethnic melting pot with more tanning salons and theme parks than any one state should have, including water parks which is just nuts for a state that bills itself as the sunshine state and is bordered by water on three sides.  We’ve had crazy out of control growth, and yet many pristine wild places remain. Florida is a contradiction, wrapped up in a conundrum, tied with a bit of whimsy, and just when you think you have her figured out, she surprises you.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is going to hate me for saying this, but we have the worst bugs – giant, hideous, could star in a horror movie bugs. There are huge palmetto bugs that look like roaches on steroids. These things can be 4 or 5 inches long, at least,  and they fly – straight at you.  We have fire ants, scorpions, huge grasshoppers, spiders (which don’t bother me but some of them are as big as my hand), and some bugs that I don’t even know what they are but they look like they’re from another planet. Seriously, the sheer number and variety of bugs are an entomologist’s wet dream.

**** 6. What’s the best thing about spending winter holidays in Florida?

The weather! I didn’t see snow until I was 16 on a visit to Yellowstone in July so I never understood the appeal of a white Christmas.  I watch the news and see people all bundled up scraping ice off of their cars and I just cannot imagine having to endure all that cold weather day in and day out for several months. It’s not surprising that so many people move south, though don’t move to Florida because we have these huge hideous bugs.

**** 7. Quite a few of your posts feature dancing (my personal favorite is RIGHT BOOB ESCAPES DURING TANGO). How much does dance feature in your day to day life?

I don’t dance nearly enough! When I lost my job, I moved back to the little town where I now live. I can’t indulge my love of salsa, cha cha and tango as much as I would like, though I did dance salsa in my living room with the cable repair man a few months ago. I do take a couple of dance classes each week and often just put on some music and dance around my house. Music and dancing lift my spirit like nothing else.

**** 8. Many of your posts including, CLOUDS, ICE, ALASKA and CALIFORNIA DREAMING are about your love of traveling. What was your favorite travel destination, and where would you like to go that you’ve never been?

My favorite trip was a walking photo safari in Kenya about 11 years ago.  I had never camped before, at least not in a tent without electricity and running water. I went alone and had a fabulous time. Masai warriors, carrying spears, joined us on our treks through the Loita Hills. I witnessed the wildebeest migration on the Masai Mara, hyena feeding frenzies near the campsite and herds of elephants in East Tsavo. I saw Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean. The most amazing thing was just walking along and being just a few yards from impala, zebra and elephants. I also saw incredible poverty, yet these people who were living in tiny huts with next to nothing were warm, friendly and generous, welcoming us into their village and homes. They also recognized a fellow dancer, as I was chosen to join the Masai women as they danced around their campfire.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I would go back to Africa in a heartbeat.

There are only two continents I haven’t set foot upon, but still so much of the world to see. I’ve never been to the Greek Islands, but ever since I watched the movie, Shirley Valentine, a few years ago, I have longed to spend a few weeks on a sailboat gliding through the Aegean Sea and exploring those islands. Maybe someday…….

**** 9. Lastly, your post 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME doesn’t begin to sum up your clearly vibrant personality. What is the one thing about you most people would be surprised to learn?

Most people would be surprised to learn that I am surprising. I was surprised to find this out, too. People are always telling me that I am ‘surprisingly strong’ or ‘surprisingly athletic’ or ‘surprisingly deep.’ They are surprised by the things I’ve done, the places I’ve been and the thoughts I express. Not surprisingly, surprising is a wonderful way to be.

For more salsa fun follow Sandylikeabeach!

Next week’s SPaM features a three part interview with a special mystery guest. You won’t believe who it is!

For your own SPaM contact heellisgoa@gmail.com


Karma Coming My Way

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Those of you who know me well know that I’m not comfortable calling attention to myself. In fact, some of you out there may not know that I’ve written a book; a book for which I created this blog to promote.

I’ve been largely avoiding its promotion out of fear of appearing “braggy,” (how’s THAT for a word, literary world?). But an afternoon of watching my son Prince Charming receive an award for his achievement as both a solid citizen and an uber student made me realize that a bit of recognition isn’t necessarily a bad thing (more on Prince Charming’s recent accomplishment in a later post).

So I’ve decided to take this post in a vastly different direction. For the first time I’m going to aim it squarely at me; but not without mentioning the bloggers who helped make me awesome.

First up is Kayjai, who wrote the infamous post entitled: MEETING OF THE BLOGGERS ALLIANCE  in which myself and many of your favorite bloggers appear.

Next are an array of bloggers who took my NEW ENGLAND DISSECTED post and ran with it. Sandylikeabeach took an interesting angle in regards to FLORIDA and John over at Trask Avenue went a step further with his post A FAMILY DISSECTED – CITY STYLE. And just like any good Army man BrainRants did it twice; once for the LEFT COAST and once for the MIDWEST.

Then there are the bloggers who reviewed my book. British darling Megan from VERYNORMAL took the first chance followed by Jolene from THE SATURATED PAGE. Her own newly released book, THE FAIRY QUEEN OF SPENCER’S BUTTE AND OTHER TALES dropped this week and I cannot wait to return the read and review favor. The last review comes from newbie blogger and resident prankster HR NIGHTMARE who not only reviews my book but takes an interesting look at the art of reading in general.

What Hellis post about blog homage would be complete without the name EDWARD HOTSPUR? Only the incomparable EH would take a stab at impersonating my writing style in a blog post. He’s spot on, by the way. And that leaves us with my good friend Jonathan Borden from WHORRIBLE who not only dedicated an entire blog post to me but immortalized me in prose. I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve all the blog love I’ve mentioned, but I’m grateful to have it just the same.

BLACK  TONGUE

Copyright © 2011 by Jonathan Borden. All rights reserved.FOR H.E. ELLIS

 In affection and admiration.

* * *

She had a tongue the colour

Of thick, slow-poured molasses—

And when the men would cull her

She would utter black masses.

~

She would dress herself in words

And backmask her black intent

As she split men into thirds—

Two for the road and one gent’.

~

She liked her men well— well—read;

She would tie up the premise

With thick, ashen, asphalt thread—

She was called H.E. Ellis


Why No NaNoWriMo

Image courtesy of Ruth Livingstone

Image courtesy of Ruthless Scribblings

For those of you out there who aren’t writers or who otherwise have lives, the month of November has officially been designated “National Novel Writing Month” by some invisible entity who I’m sure has financial interests in coffee beans and manufacturers of bandages worn by carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers.

What NaNoWriMo is supposed to represent is the coming together of writers into a virtual community where they offer each other support in pursuit of their craft. As a part-time writer and full-time poster child for Oppositional Defiance Disorder this endeavor was doomed to epic failuredom before I applied my first electron to virtual paper. So in the interest of self-analysis I’ve decided to break down the factors involved in why my second novel exists entirely in my mind. In no particular order I blame:

The New England Patriots – pound cake – Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen – my daughter’s adorable feet – Junior’s Burt Reynolds style laugh – an endlessly ringing phone thanks to Prince Charming’s charm – my mother’s inability to comprehend American television – Frank Stallone – my Jeep – The New Hampshire Primaries (stand by for a longer post tackling the magnitude of what I face daily due to this gift of the Granite State) and last but not least, this little ditty of a video that I have spent entirely too much time watching over and over. Seriously, it’s a train wreck.

And yes, that is indeed Ron Jeremy.

 


Love Is A Four-Poster Bed

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Some of you have noticed that I’ve been on sort of a hiatus lately. The good news in this is that I’ve had some odd luck on the book front sales wise, and it’s forced me to kick writing the next one into high gear. I’ve had the basic outline for the second book in my mind for a while, but hadn’t really decided in which direction I wanted to take the plot. So far the feedback from book one tells me that the natural progression of this series into book two is going to have to include more romance. All I can say to that is….

Yeah.

People, I just may be the most non-romantic woman ever to have walked the face of the earth. Crafting an entire novel based on romance poses huge obstacles for me, as I have almost no point of reference. There are others who write this sort of thing much better than I do, like fellow blogger Sandylikeabeach or the great Edward Hotspur. Sadly, the “woo words” as EH likes to call them don’t seem to come to me as easily as they do others. But just like learning any new language, the key is to utilize opportunities to flex your language muscles and apply your new words to parts of your world as they relate to you. So instead of purple prose I give you romance as seen through my lens of life, and what I see in front of me is a lathe and a four-poster bed.

Growing up among “moderately legal” immigrants in south Florida offered little in the way of employment opportunities, so the women in my family were relegated to the humble position of cleaning ladies. Every Saturday we’d all take the bus into Palm Beach to clean the mansions of the fabulously rich and famous. Since I was the youngest and smallest it fell to me to make the beds, which was the one chore I hated most. I would rather have scrubbed toilets than be forced to strip and make the beds of other little girls who had their own room, bed, toys, etc.

What I remember most was how massive and ornate the beds were, and how it seemed to me like all the furniture had been dipped in gold, even the picture frames that lined the walls. But only the walls in the foyer, as I never saw a single picture on a flat surface. I remember thinking what a waste it was for rich people to have these huge, gold nightstands with no pictures of loved ones on them to kiss goodnight. At least that’s what I thought until we got a new family to clean for and I had a new bed to make.

Even though this new bed wasn’t as grand or as ornate as the other beds I’d made, to me it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was a simple four-poster wood bed with thin posts and an impossibly high canopy. I remember that first day hopping up onto the bed just so I could look up at the gauzy white fabric that draped over the top of the canopy and hung down the sides. As much as I loved the bed what made the biggest impression on me were all the photos that lined both nightstands of a smiling young couple posing together. In that instant I equated true love with that four-poster bed.

Fast forward to this summer, and me in my barn clearing out years of accumulated junk and treasures in order to set up a workshop for myself. The last thing I found was an old woodworker’s lathe, the kind that’s used to turn table legs or stair balusters. The image of the lathe forced an image of the bed from my memory, which then joined the vision of a now empty barn and in an instant I’d felt lonelier than I’d ever imagined possible; because it occurred to me that what I’d wanted more than anything in the world was someone to share that space with, and someone to share that bed with. Expressing myself romantically isn’t a skill I’ve developed, so it hasn’t been easy to find a man who can relate to someone like me. Someone who understands that I’m the type of woman who feels uneasy saying “I love you” every five seconds and who enjoys simply existing quietly alongside the man she loves. Someone who doesn’t make me feel compelled to fill the air with empty reassurances; who knows in his heart that because I choose to be with him at all is reason enough to trust my love and that the proof of it is found within the silence itself.

I know it’s not poetry, but for what it’s worth this is what romance means to me.


It’s SPaM…The Sequel!

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…

JEB

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. Besides, there are plenty of things going on that just need to be written about. 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. You wouldn’t believe the dumb shit I see in school and working retail. So whenever something stupid happens I’m going to document it. Thus creating an alibi. Of course names will be changed so as to not risk a beating by my idiot friends.

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.

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If you or someone you know has something to promote, like a blog or book or music; just email me at heellisgoa@gmail.com. DO NOT PUT “SPAM” IN THE SUBJECT BAR.


Karma’s Cosmic Cheerleader

Operation Paperback

Real world me is fairly easy-going, but something happened to real world me recently that straight up chapped my ass. Since I’m Karma’s cosmic cheerleader I decided to do what I always do when someone is unkind to me; go out of my way to do something nice for someone else. I’m involved in many volunteer programs, and today I’m going to use this post to bring attention to two of them that are relative to what happened.

The first is called Operation Paperback, a program run by volunteers like myself who collect donated books to ship and distribute to troops overseas. The next is Operation eBook Drop, which is basically the same program only here authors are able to donate their ebooks electronically, free of charge to troops stationed overseas. The United Kingdom has their own Operation eBook Drop UK as well. I encourage authors and readers alike to find out more about these truly worthwhile programs.

Now to be fair, the person who pissed me off didn’t have an issue with these organizations but with me personally in relation to them (I’d explain more if she made any sense to me). And since I wouldn’t be me if I let this go without a passive-aggressive FU to this woman, I thought I’d include the opening to chapter nine of my book in today’s post, free of charge. Something about it seemed fitting to me.

***   CHAPTER NINE   ***

I stood in front of the mirror dressed in my dad’s best button up shirt and pants, wishing my brother were here to save me the trouble of having to kick my own ass.

Gus stepped into the room and dropped the keys to his Lincoln on my dresser. “Don’t even think about bringin’ her back empty.” Then he looked me up and down with his eyebrows raised. “Well now, don’t you look spiffy!”

“Spiffy? Seriously Gus is that even a word?”

“Sure it is. It means…well now, I don’t know what it means. You look good is what I’m tryin’ to say.”

“Thanks.” I picked up the keys and my wallet and slid them into my pocket.

“So who are you bringin’ to this shindig?”

I let the word “shindig” go and answered him. “So far it’s Jeb, his sister Bekka and her friend Morgan.” I still held out hope for Sarah, praying that Spenser would drop dead before the dance due to some humiliating accident involving his tights.

Gus rubbed the back of his neck and looked like he might be sick. “Have a seat son. There’s somethin’ I’ve been meanin’ to talk to you about.”

I sat on the end of the bed as my mind ran down every ailment he’d ever complained about and assigned each one a terminal illness. “Whatever it is, just tell me straight out. I can take it.”

He sat down next to me and put his hand on my knee. “Son…there comes a time in every young man’s life when he finds himself alone with a girl—”

“OH MY GOD!” I threw myself back on the bed. “I’m almost eighteen! What part of ‘the talk’ did you think I didn’t already get?”

“Well how am I supposed to know what your old man did or didn’t tell ya’? What I do know for sure is that you’re not gonna earn your stripes while on my watch.”

I squeezed my eyes shut. “Earn my what?”

“Your father shipped me an enlisted man and I sure as hell ain’t shippin’ him back an officer, if you catch my drift.”

I looked up at him and raised an eyebrow of my own. “What makes you think I’m still enlisted?”

The blood drained from Gus’s face as he grabbed his chest. “Oh Lord, the angina.”


SPaM and Editors

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One of the most frustrating things about self-publishing a novel on Amazon is the rule that you can’t promote your own book in their forums. I suppose I get it; I mean, who wants to log on and listen to someone prattle on and on about their staggering work of genius when all you want to do is get a word in edge wise about how your work is better (ok, maybe this is just me). Well I’ve come up with an idea.

WELCOME TO…SPaM!

Shameless Promotion Monday! I decided to take my fear of  belief in Karma and offer my blog post on Mondays to someone who wants to be heard; be it writer, artist, musician, blogger, what have you. I hope to do this every Monday so if you or anyone you know is interested then shoot me an email at: heellisgoa@gmail.com and we’ll take it from there. Stay tuned for next Monday’s installment with our first secretly awesome guest. Until then enjoy:

ODE TO AN EDITOR

How I wish I had the courage to kill you, my darling. Oh, to have the strength to give you what you ask! Alas, my beloved, I am weak. You cannot imagine how it pained me to remove your feet. Surely you understand the sacrifices we must make for our love!

It all started so beautifully, did it not? That glorious day when at long last you chose me! I hardly believed it myself. Oh how you teased me, renaming my novel and asking your silly questions. How did you know the pleasure I would receive, seeing your words in red intertwined with mine? So why, oh why did it have to end?

Did my novelty wear off after only one revision?! Did you think I wouldn’t notice you had moved on to another? Did you think I wouldn’t recognize your words in red?

I recognized you. I recognized you because you belong to me.

I do not blame you for straying, my darling. You are just an editor, after all, easily swayed by proper grammar and strict adherence to word counts. I forgive you your frailties. But I see now that I have to protect you and our love from the seductive, literary succubi who covet your red ink for themselves.

Please do not cry, my sweet. You shall not miss your hands for long!

Just as you gave yourself to me, I shall become you. I will sacrifice my own identity and assume yours as a testament to our devotion to each other. I will destroy these usurpers of our love with your own beautiful, red pen. Oh how it will pain me to mingle my words with theirs.

But love is pain my darling, as you well know.

 

 


I Named My Car Frank Stallone

Every self-respecting car enthusiast has a dream vehicle. Mine is the 1967 Chevy Impala. But not just any Impala; I’m talking the SS model that came with the limited edition “Turbo Jet” 427 motor and Z24 chrome-plated intakes built right into the hood. My dream Impala makes old ladies in Buicks lock their doors when I roll up at stop lights and prompts less than savory characters to ask how many bodies I can fit in the trunk. I get hot just thinking about it.

But that’s not the car I drive. What I drive is a 1968 Chevy Impala coupe with a stock 307 motor and four speed automatic transmission. A car, that if it weren’t for its more successful and popular older brother, would be considered totally awesome in its own right. A car that reminds me of Frank Stallone.

Frank, like my car, is totally awesome too (if you don’t believe me just check out his seriously catchy-ass tune below). So I wonder…would Frank have been more popular and successful if he wasn’t forced to live in Sylvester’s Rambo sized shadow? Or is the fact that Sylvester brought attention to the Stallone name at all what brought Frank his fifteen minutes of fame? It’s not like the guy doesn’t have talent (if that were the case I’d have named my car Jim Belushi) and even though he’s old enough to be my dad he’s still super cute (anyone who knows me knows I have a soft spot in my heart for Italian street boys. Do you hear that Sully? I’m talking to you). So I’m asking everyone who reads this post a question:

Do you think a person has more to gain by stepping out of the shadows of what is popular or should they conform in order to fit into the light at all?

I ask because recently THE CANARY REVIEW invited me to write a guest post for their “Best and Worst read” series. While my choice for best read was a breeze my choice for worst read nearly gave me a panic attack (let’s just say I voiced some disparaging remarks about a certain beloved protagonist). I absolutely agonized over whether or not to give my true opinion and risk inciting the wrath of literary minds greater than my own, so much so that I went as far as writing two separate guest posts. In the end I stepped out of the shadows, hit send and Frank Stalloned all over the place.

So stop by THE CANARY REVIEW this Wednesday and comment on whether or not you think I made the right decision. In the meantime enjoy the other Italian Stallion.


Because I Can

 

I post because I can.


Keeping Karma Happy

Thanks to a British cherub named Megan sales of my ebook in the United Kingdom have positively exploded overnight. In the interest of keeping karma happy I’ve decided to use today’s blog post to call attention to one of my favorite UK authors ever.

Ray Banks.

I first discovered Banks through a friend of mine named Jeb. There was a time when Jeb didn’t read much because he said everything was, “all romance and crap.” Then someone suggested Ray Banks and he was hooked. He suggested Banks to me and I’ve been a fan ever since.

I’d put Banks in line with authors like James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard. And for those of you who don’t read (yes, I know you’re out there) his books read like Guy Ritchie movies. Not for the squeamish, but each book has many moments of classic UK hilarity. His books are for sale on Amazon and his website The Saturday Boy

Next, onto blogs.

I feel safe in saying that this guy probably forgot more about the English language than I ever learned. His blog is an absolute must for anyone remotely interested in how language works. You can find him in my blogroll to the right and at Sentence First

Lastly, music.

Once again, Jeb got me hooked on something called “Dub step.” I’m not exactly sure what Dub step actually is, but from my understanding you cannot discuss Dub step without also discussing the London underground (if any of my British followers out there wish to elaborate, please do. I cringe just knowing I’m not doing the description justice). Dub step won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I am absolutely addicted to it. Here’s a sample:

 

 

You can also find Megan at Verynormal and my buddy Jeb at Just Jeb.


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