Sorry no posts lately. I’m adjusting to life as a puppy owner. Man they chew on everything.

Mutilated Dreams & Other Things

So, it’s been a while since I had a real blog post.  This is a combination of laziness and being very busy.

Mutilated Dreams is coming along nicely, which is good.  I’m over halfway done with 6 days left to get 13,000 words for NaNoWriMo.  Those six days will be fairly busy days however what with the holiday and what not.  It will get done, don’t get me wrong, but I will definitely be finishing it closer to the end of the month than I ever have before.  A sprint to the finish, so to speak.

Krissy with Smith Proofreading has finished all the proofreading of The Dysfunctional Chronicles.  I need to incorporate her changes, which I’ve started, but not completed because writing got in the way.

Speaking of The Dysfunctional Chronicles, I have two started: The Dysfunctional Beginning and The Dysfunctional Birth.  My goal is finish both by the end of December.  It’s good to have goals.

The first week of December I’m also hosting giveaways on Facebook & Twitter.  I have some vinyl stickers, bookmarks, magnets, and other stuff that will be passed out (above is one of the vinyl stickers).  You do not have to live in the US to win any of the swag.  I will ship it world wide.  I had ordered temp tattoos with just the cover art for Mutilated Dreams to give out, but they arrived yesterday and they are all sorts of screwed up.  It was supposed to be one sheet with 15 tattoos.  Instead, it’s one sheet with one tattoo and includes the entire cover.  Not sure what I’ll do with it.  The tote bags I ordered made it to Kansas City, Kansas and then were rerouted to Brighton, Colorado.  How you confuse Brighton, Colorado and Columbia, Missouri is beyond me… I’m still hopeful that they will arrive by 1 December when the giveaways start.  The mugs I ordered over a month ago are still being processed.  I don’t look for them to arrive in time.

I’ve scheduled a book tour for Elysium Dreams with Enchanted Book Tours.  Since my last attempt to tour this series did not go well, I’m nervous about it.

The author expo went well and the Daniel Boone Regional Library now has a full set of Hadena James’ books.

I’m not writing as fast as I would like to be during this publishing break, but it’s getting better.  And that’s about it for me.

On Recent Events

We have seen this movie, it did not end well. 

Need proof? Ask a German born before 1975…

If history teaches us nothing else, remember that we know the names of more generals than martyrs.

Mutilated Dreams is Weird

Mutilated Dreams is perhaps the strangest book I have ever written in the Dreams & Reality novels.

First, there aren’t any dead people.  Not yet anyway and I’m on chapter 9 (depending on the numbering system vs. actual chapters).  It’s also missing its customary blood, guts, and gore.  (I’m sure that will change by the end)

Second, they are in New Orleans.  Sometimes, my characters can still surprise me and Aislinn is having a little trouble with voodoo.  She doesn’t seem like the believer type, but turns out, she is.

Third, a character showed up that I wasn’t expecting.  I knew he’d show up eventually, but he’s early by a couple of books.  He’s changed some dynamics of the story.

Finally, it’s always weird when Xavier is the most level headed member of the group.  Which at the moment, is his role.

None of these things are bad, just odd and unintentional.  I always consider it a good thing when my books and characters surprise me.  It shows evolution in their personality that I had not realized was happening.

(PS: WordPress made changes to their website… I’m figuring it out, but it’s still weird)

Standing Together

I had a much different post scheduled for today… much different.  For the past year, I’ve been dealing with the politics of being an indie author.  It’s been a rough struggle.  Indies are more acceptable today than ever, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still those that shun us.  I’ve been accused of writing solely for profit, not being a real writer, and being inferior to other writers and I’ve listened to the hype with mixed reactions.  Sometimes, it pissed me off.  Sometimes, it got under my skin and made me wonder if they were right.  Sometimes, it just made me feel bad.  So, for most of 2015, I have wanted to do anything but write a book.

Yes, I did write 3.  They were all late for my self-imposed deadlines.  They were all akin to being tortured.  And each one of them tore at me just a little more.  I kept asking myself if this was what I really wanted?  Then… Yesterday happened.

Yesterday, I went to a writer’s meeting, the focus of which was supposed to be handholding for NaNoWriMo.  It turned out to be a support group for Hadena James, as I discussed why I was struggling with NaNo, I had to admit all of these things, not just to myself, but out loud to a group.

After I had showed this wounded part of my soul, the group was supportive.  They reminded me why I was an indie.  They reminded me why they wanted to be indies (this was even more important and helpful than why I was an indie).  By the time I left, I felt like my soul had been healed.

I’m not a hack.  There are times when my books skyrocket onto the Big 100 Amazon bestsellers list (I’ve had as many as 12 at one time on that list for as long as 9 days).  My books usually stay in the top 100 rankings for their respective genres and classifications.  I do make money off my writing.  Enough that I do not have to have an office job in a cube farm full of coworkers that spread melancholy and work that sucks my will to live.  I should not be ashamed of that.  I am living the dream.  I am living my dream.  I am not inferior to any other writer.  I may not make as much as some.  I may not have the following of others.  But I am not inferior, just different.

All too often, I’m finding writers tearing each other down.  Shredding each other’s work (without reading it), simply because publishing books is competitive.  We are all striving to grab part of the reader dollar.

It is ridiculous.  We do so much better when we help each other.  I know when I post a book I liked on my Facebook page or Twitter account not written by me, but that I liked, my readers will check it out.  I also know that my readers appreciate the suggestions (they tell me so).  I don’t post books I hate (except a handful that I didn’t like with the disclaimer that it was all me, not the book and Anna Karenina rants).  Imagine how much better the world would be if writers (all of whom are readers) did the same… Readers would know our preferences for books and authors, but they might also find new books and authors they might not have otherwise heard of.  There’s no reason we can’t share readers.  There’s no reason for us to be nasty to each other.  Imagine the boost a new or unknown author could get if Writer A read and liked their book and then posted on social media: Just read this… Loved it!

That would make a world of difference for writers and readers.  (CJ Weiland and J Ahrens have both released great books lately in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres, just FYI)

As for me personally, I have decided to ignore the divide.  The writers who treat me badly and call me fake probably haven’t read my books or taken the time to get to know me (I’m passionate about indies and writing), meaning, their bias is based upon the fact that I call myself “Author.”  For those that applied mystical bandages to my unseeable wounds, thank you so much.

Useless Trivia Day – Magic & Alternative Religions

Mutilated Dreams has taken a turn into magic, as expected, since I choose to set it in New Orleans.  So, I thought I would share some useless facts about magic and religions that use magic.

  • Harry Houdini might be considered one of the greatest magicians of all time, but he is said to have had no stage presence and even failed to live up to some of the hype at times.  While the world remembers him for his grand illusions, during his lifetime, he was more known for his discrediting of hundreds of spiritual mediums, some of them quite famous.  He was able to reproduce most of their tricks and expose how the “communication” took place.  He was so successful at this, that he had a huge influence on the dissolution of the spiritualist movement.
  • Almost 90% of all occult related murders in the US can be tracked to Palo Mayombe.  Palo Mayombe is considered the ultimate form of black magic by practitioners of other religions.  There are even priests and priestess who spend their entire lives training to combat Palo Mayombe with white magic from Santeria and voodoo.
  • Voodoo is a large, varied religion with different types.  In New Orleans, it is called Cajun Voodoo and some of the things they consider evil (such as gris gris) are actually considered beneficial in other forms of voodoo (Haitian Voodoo considers gris gris bags to be good at warding off evil spells, not casting them).
  • The word magician doesn’t actually apply to most modern day magicians.  In ancient times, most magicians were actually illusionists, practicing the art of psychological manipulation and feats of endurance.  Conjuring was only a small part of their magical talents, which is what modern day people associate with magic (like pulling rabbits out of hats).
  • Hoodoo is a real religion and it does vary from it’s cousin voodoo.  As a matter of fact, hoodoo, voodoo, Santeria, Palo Mayombe, and a slew of others are all derived from a mixture of folk religions and Catholicism.  Allowing Catholicism into the religions, allowed them to practice more freely because to outsiders, it appeared they were practicing the largest form of christianity.  These religions can be found in the US, the Caribbean islands, and Africa in different forms.  They do appear in other countries, but with far less frequency.
  • While we know more about voodoo in an academic sense, Santeria is the most practiced alternative religion in the US.  The secrets of Santeria are kept close, not because the rituals are evil or bad, but because practitioners have been sued multiple times in the past for sacrificing animals (specifically chickens and goats).  Oddly, most of the lawsuits go away because after the animal is sacrificed, it is eaten, usually at some sort of ritual festival.  Meaning their ritual sacrifice of animals becomes food and doesn’t seem that much different than killing a chicken or goat on a farm for a family meal (except for the chanting).
  • There have been a few deaths attributed to the power of suggestion related to voodoo.  The most recent involved a man who thought he had been hexed by a voodoo priest while on a trip to Haiti.  He died of dehydration.  However, the autopsy showed no reason for the man not to be drinking fluids.  His family told the doctor that on their trip, a voodoo priest had cursed him with insatiable thirst.  (I’m not sure this is really a voodoo spell, but it could be or it could have been someone’s bad idea of a joke that went too far… who knows)
  • Penn & Teller are the most successful magicians in the modern day.  They not only have a good stage presence, but base their show around both types of magic; conjuring and illusionism.  However, they do share something else in common with Houdini, they have used their knowledge of magic to debunk things.  Nothing on the scale of Houdini, but few magicians have ever done anything on the same scale as Houdini (who personally hated spiritual mediums and his goal was to bring the movement to a halt).
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, hated Houdini.  Conan Doyle was on the opposite side of spiritualism and it put the author at odds with the magician.  They even met a few times, crossing paths at a handful of seances that led to tabloid worthy shouting matches.  In theory, one of Sherlock’s cases is based upon discovering a man is actually a magician practicing his art to defraud his ward, kill her, and take her money.  At the time it was published, many believed the description of the magician bore a rather striking resemblance to Houdini.
  • There are several forms of literary magic that writers use in novels.  Also, there are more novels published that contain literary magic than not.  These elements include things like love at first sight.  However, the biggest twist on literary magic ever, may have come from the Harry Potter series.  Harry is special, but he is special only because Voldemort made him special.  It could have just as easily been Neville Longbottom.  Ironically, neither character was suited to take on the dark lord without the help of others.

Ok, enough about magic.

Local Author Expo – DBRL

Tomorrow, there’s a local author expo at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri.

I and over 40 other local writers will be on hand with books to sell & sign.  (for more info, here’s  the link: http://www.dbrl.org/authors).

I will also have some freebie items that you can pick up if you stop by my table.  Some of the folks I’ve promoted on my Facebook, like Susan Finlay & Eric Praschan, will also be in attendance.

Event is 10 am – 1 pm.  I accept cash, credit, debit, & I will checks with ID.

Come one, come all and support your local authors!

Good Morning… I Suck

But in a good way.  Here is the first victim chapter from Mutilated Dreams.  It is unedited and possibly, unfinished.  Comments welcome.

Brady Wilchek

     Brady Wilchek sat on the edge of the hospital bed. He refused to look into any of the mirrors. His brain was frantically searching for some sort of memory to help his situation. However, it was only drudging up memories regarding how he used to look.
His days of getting the girls was over. The dazzling smile wouldn’t overshadow the terrible scars. Long, lazy days on the beach were a thing of the past. Even if he did adjust to the face, he’d never be able to take his shirt off in public again.
His father’s pasty, potbellied body flashed in his mind, but cruelly stuck his own face on it. Evan Wilchek liked his wine and his women. His money assured him that some buxom beauty was always hanging from his arm, but that wasn’t the life Brady had intended to lead.
In Brady’s future had been a beautiful wife, not exactly a trophy wife as his father preferred, but a beauty all the same. He would have worked in a corporate law office as one of the good looking junior partners. He’d envisioned yachts, vacation homes, and children. His wife would have been smart as well as beautiful. She’d be willing to stay home with the children, possibly even home schooling them, since there was no doubt his children would be intelligent.
All of that was gone. His life would require his wife to be impressed by his money, not his looks or charm. She’d probably have too much plastic surgery and she’d be a bimbo. He wouldn’t get a job in law, he didn’t have the looks. Lawyers were good looking and he now looked like Dr. Frankenstein had patched him together. He didn’t have a fall back career. He guessed he’d end up working behind the scenes at one of his father’s stupid hotels. The days would be spent miserably staring at the sea just yards away, but it might as well be miles, since he’d never set foot upon the sandy beaches of the Florida Keys again.
Kids were also out. While he imagined money would buy him time with his wife, he doubted it bought him breeding rights. They’d have to adopt. Unfortunately, no one was going to let a monster like him adopt a child. His looks would traumatize the poor kid.
Without children, his wife would get a stupid little dog that fit in a stupid little purse and she would carry him around, all the time, taking him everywhere. Brady would feel the burden. Those kinds of women existed when their husbands couldn’t fill some void that needed filling, like producing children.
Some gang of thugs had ruined his life. Their envy of his looks, of his money, of his talents, of his opportunities had been vast enough to cause them to do this. Or maybe they had done it just because they could. Had his friends forgotten him someplace? Or perhaps his friends had done this to him. He was the alpha of the group; a position dictated by his superior looks and deep pockets.
His mind reeled as it tried to comprehend how this had happened to him. He vaguely remembered going to a club, but everything after that was blank. He didn’t know if there had been anything special about the club or if his friends had gone with him. He wasn’t even sure why he had gone to it, they were here for a wedding, not to go clubbing.
The wedding consumed his thoughts. He was the best man. Had it already happened? Had Pete and Andrea already gotten married? He didn’t know what day it was. Or if it had been postponed due to his absence. Surely, Pete hadn’t gone through with a wedding where his best man was missing. That would be a shitty thing to do. Although, if Pete hadn’t, he’d have to find a new best man. There was no way that Brady could be the best man now. He’d look awful in all the wedding photographs.
At twenty-four, Brady wasn’t ready for his life to be over, but he didn’t see any good coming of his situation. His entire life had hinged on law school and he had been accepted. The college would no doubt revoke that now. They wouldn’t want someone who looked like him running around their campus.
He let his head fall onto the gown that covered his chest. The gown covering the wounds hurt. Yet, he couldn’t stand the idea of people looking at them. He sighed and closed his eyes. There were good plastic surgeons in Florida. He doubted they could help. However, he’d contact them and see what could be done. Anything was an improvement. Once he had been fixed as much as possible, he might be able to get a somewhat cute girl. She wouldn’t be the woman he wanted, but cute would do. Someone cute might be willing to have sex with him and not make it all about the money. Yeah, cute might work. If it didn’t, he’d fall back on his wallet to get a woman he could tolerate.

Caught The Crud

Well, I officially have the crud.  Not the same symptoms as my SO of last week, but I have decided colds and sinus issues manifest differently for everyone based on their disposition.

For me, it’s a stabbing headache that goes from my top of my head to my teeth.  If I could pluck out my eyeball or cut a hole in my cheek, I think I could get rid of the headache.  My teeth hurting makes it difficult to eat.  Plus, my nose bleeds randomly and my throat hurt.  The throat is probably the result of sinus drainage, which has made me a little hoarse.

My SO on the other hand had sinus drainage, a cough, and lethargy.

This means my evening will be spent some classic movies or TV shows that I love and my eye mask on… and NyQuil.  I have no idea why Phenylephrine HCl makes my heart race and gives me the shakes, but it does (this rules out almost all cold & sinus medications).


I feel a little overwhelmed by changes at the moment.

The last week of October, I changed writing software.  I really liked my old software, but it was having issues running on Windows 4million.12 or whatever I have on my laptop at this exact moment.  Serious issues, like crashed and couldn’t recover chapters issues.  And when I contacted the handy-dandy support email I was pretty much told they knew and they weren’t going to be making any changes, good luck.

So, I tested out like 20 pieces of software and hated all of them.  Then I thought really hard about why I hated all of them and found the one I hated the least and bought it.  Of course, this did not come without a hassle.  I downloaded free trials when available and one company went ahead and charged me for the software (PayPal snafu on their part)… Of all the software I tested, it was the one I was the least likely to use and I had to put up a serious fight to get my money back.  Eventually, I did and now I have software that I’m learning.  There are some features I love; for example it will randomly generate miscellaneous characters for me.  I tell it I need a female born in the US and it gives me a character name, description, hobbies (what exactly is decoupage?), zodiac sign, birth date, and trivia about the character (favorite color yellow)… Which means the creation of random victims has become much easier.  Some I hate, such as an extensive storyboard system with built in character mesh for plotting.  I’m not really a plotter. I have a beginning and sometimes an end, unless it’s a Cain novel and then I lack a beginning or end but have a killer.

Around the same time, I agreed to change cell service providers.  Now, my mother and I have been with Sprint for 23 years and I really liked Sprint, except… My SO can stream a freakin’ movie to his phone in the bedroom of our camper at the campground and I can’t even download an ebook if I go outside (there’s just enough Sprint service to keep data from roaming, but even ebooks time out when I attempt to download them).  Sometime in the last half dozen years, one of the nephews went to work for Verizon.  Verizon works at the campground (and other places where my SO has service and I don’t, but he uses AT&T)!  Today, I got a new phone, new tablet, new contract, the whole kit and kaboodle.

And while it may not sound traumatic, I changed hairstylists.  For those that do not personally know me, I will say this: I have had the same hairstyle since the Bronze Age because my hair is actually untrainable.  It is straight.  It is flat.  It doesn’t take a style well.  This is why I wear it up 99% of the time.  Now, I’ve had some grey and white hairs mixed into the brown for nearly two decades, but they have decided to multiple faster and reject the store bought boxed brands of colors.  Plus, while I have a lot of hair, the strands themselves are very fine.  This means I occasionally miss spots and that just looks stupid.  Since my hair isn’t trainable and really isn’t styleable, I keep the same haircut because it is manageable and doesn’t look bad.  However, usually when I see a new stylist, they start suggesting bobs and pixies and textured sides with bangs to frame my face better.  I cannot pull off any of these.  Friday I met Joy.  Joy didn’t suggest bobs or pixies or bangs.  She did recommend I go a little darker on the color with a little more red in the lowlights.  I chickened out on that and regret it.  I should have gone darker with more red in the lowlights (I do actually know more about hair than Nadine Daniels; my cousin owned a salon for years… I can even tell you the tint of my hair as well as providing information on my natural highlights and lowlights, which I do have).  The cut is perfect and pretty much exactly the same haircut I got the last time.  The color is great, even if I did chicken out.  I will be returning to Joy.  (I only changed because my stylist doesn’t do color and I refuse to let my hair go grey and white naturally… If I live to be 93, I will have the same haircut and my hair will be brown with highlights and lowlights).

I’m not big on changes.

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