Friday, December 23, 2011
Yes, I see it now! I can almost touch it... Christmas is all but here! This is a good thing. Why do I so say? Because I'm Christian? Sure, okay, that's part of it. Because I'm a family man? Okay, that too, sort of. Because I'm trapped by the vortex of commercialism and consumption? Yes, alas, there is that too.
But the reason I point to the arrival of Christmas (note, not Xmas) jumping up and down is because of the promise and the potential of Christmas. I want to give Christmas a big-old hug because it challenges us all to be a better and a loving person. Not everyone is equal to that challenge. Some have no interest in that call-to-arms. But is is there, a gravitational force drawing us to acknowledge if not to try to be happy and better. And that, my friend, is a good thing. Bill Murray, at the end of Scrooged has a speech along those lines, and it gets me - right here - each time I hear it. Check it out yourself, with Kleenex, of course.
So here comes Christmas. You - yes Y-O-U - try to be happier, better, and more loving, at least for the next two days. Come-on, you know you want to - you know you can! Okay, at least you will try!!! My work here is done..... Merry Christmas, for what it really means, to you, good soul.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
So here I sit with a stupid smile on my face. Why? Well, life is good. Since it is, stupidly I smile. I wish the same for you - really I do. Mind you, I did not say life was perfect or easy or orgasmic or anything along those lines. No, we all know there are bedeviling twists and vexing turns, and unrequested side-trips to Poopooville - you know. But I am really - call me old - coming to see that life is good. I do think it can be good, if that's what we choose. Why would some bozzo choose to make life not-good? Well, not for a good reason, but I do see it all the time.
I have a set of patients and 'friends' who unrelentingly, exclusively, and doggedly choose the path-more-miserable. Guess what they receive? Yeah, a lousy ride on the train of life. Why would they, why do they, you ask, aghast? Maybe self-fulfilling-easy-to-achieve failure, maybe they feel they deserve it, or (my vote) they can control the world unfortunate enough to surround them. Who among you would not help a soul suffering egregiously? Yup, that's what they count-on.
These misery-aficionados easily get what they desire. It is, in the end, pretty easy to fail. My point is that my life is good, because I choose to have it be so. And you know what? For the most part it is. In counter-distinction to my ill-choosing brethren, my choice is not automatically successful. But you know what? I like my choice - it makes me smile... stupidly I will grant you, but I smile nonetheless.
My advise to you? Choose to have a pretty good life, realize it ain't perfect. You will not be good-looking, rich, famous, smart, sexy, alluring all rolled-into one - so make that your goal. Smile about what you get and roll your shoulder at what you did not receive. No, in fact, stick your tongue-out at that which you fancy you need and did not acquire. Yeah, give it a big-old raspberry! Why not - life is, after all, good. Let me know if I can help.......
Friday, December 9, 2011
Slowly but surely (and you may call me Surely if you like) I am polishing-up Time Diving. There was a transition where the character was changing in a fundamental way which was rough. I went over it and now I am happy with it. Transitions are funny like that. 98% of the book can write itself, but the suspension-of-disbelief sections and the transitions can be tricky. It's like if I was re-writing Hamlet. I could bring the language up to date, make it edgier, and have Hamlet burst into the throne room with an assault rifle blazing. Where did the fair prince get said rifle to make the scene jazzier? He dug them up from under the castle where future alien had transported them back in time to serve as a warning to generations yet to come...
Yeah, kind of detracts from an otherwise cool story. So it is, those two elements are tricky. But, I'm getting there. I'll keep you posted......
Thursday, November 24, 2011
So it's Thanksgiving Day (TGD). It is a fun day, but honestly always a pressure-packed day. For those outside of the USA who may not be familiar with the holiday, let me explain the nuance. It is a day ostensibly set aside to commemorate the success of the European settlement of the North American continent. Supposedly, when the religious Pilgrims of New England, when contented that they would survive, pitched a feast for themselves and the LIPS ( local indigenous population, don't you know). In retrospect, the LIPS probably had little to be thankful for, but so goes the legend. Today it has become a treasured holiday. The reason is simple - it's only about friends and too much food. Who doesn't love that? Christmas and Easter demand religious devotion, New Years is a pagan celebration of revelry, other holidays have their own baggage to co-commemorate. But Thanksgiving is easy. Get together with friends and eat too much. So it is beloved. Of course the down-side is that when the family gathers, it assumes proximity. In all cases, actually in many cases, this is desirable in theory, but not in reality. If a family is dysfunctional, all hell breaks loose. If auntie drinks too much and embarrasses everyone, then so it will be again. My family is very scattered and non-communicative. While this is both a fact and fine with me, it could drive me mad that we cannot get together on TGD as we are supposed to. It's all that $#**%@! Norman Rockwell's fault, may he have acid reflux this day. He portrays this idyllic family at the showcase supper, all happy, prosperous, and not killing each other. Such is rarely the case. So, while we look forward to TGD, we often also dread it. Now for the one of you out there who enjoy the Rockwellesk celebration, please forgive me. Also, you are unlikely to conceive of the majority of our mixed-feeling regards TGD. And so it goes...
Big news. I finished the final first draft of TD and printed it up to re-proof. It currently stands at 106,000 words, by far a new high for me. We will see how much my editor suggests I snip-out, but, wow, that's a big book. I am adding the poetry in, then I'll work on an appendix which defines big words and obscure references. I realize that I do, and actually strive to, mix in the odd-ball turn-of-the-phrase and want to keep everyone up-to-speed and not lose them. Plus, it's fun and different, so I'm in!
I hope and pray that you (yes you!) have a blessed TGD and that joy finds you and plants a big wet kiss on your lips (note married men out there, that's "j" joy, not "J" Joy the neighbor's wife). I am very thankful for you.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Yes, yes , yes. I finished the first good draft of Time Diving! I could actually go to print with it, that what I mean by 'good draft'. I have to write-in a scene, then edit in the poetry for chapter lead-ins, but then it is off to my editor, and then... publishing! I will keep you posted! Yes!!!
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I am an indie author (IA). I know y'all know that, bear with me - I'm setting the tone. An IA can be a lonely thing. I have no great depth of experience editing, marketing, distributing, hell, even writing my books. So I, naturally, 21st Century Boy that I am, turn to the internet for help. I have a few good author-friends and can honestly bounce matters off of them, but I do not want to re-invent any wheels. So, amongst other sources of info, I join online IA blogs/forums/etc. There have been many, but here are a few I have participated in, as examples:
Indie Writer's Unite! on FB http://www.facebook.com/groups/indiewriters/
Writer's Cafe http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html
Author's Den http://www.authorsden.com/
The Laid Back Cafe http://www.amazon.co.uk/forum/kindle/Tx200NZ0Z5RXBSQ
So, what is the up-shot? Mostly people plug/spam their IA books shamelessly. The forum will announce not to, that this is a 'discussion' forum, and bam! here come d'spam. There are sites where you are supposed to plug your work, encouraged to in fact. I don't know what lost soul would spend time reading these forums, but the outlets are there. Bottom-line, I am getting disgusted with so called IA sites. Recently, someone joined IWU on FB and immediately posted 21 or 22 'comments', all with huge links to his new whatever. He was called-out as a spammer, but denied being so base, and was contritely allowed to stay. Come on! I want publicity, of course, but really,, people, do you think an IA site is either a proper or even a good place to spam your way to fame and fortune? Really? Really- really? Wow, if y'do, then I guess, after you are all spammed-out, you should hang around the site and learn a thing or two.
I guess it all comes down to a central theme of my private musings: where has common decency gone? What a wonderful world it could be, if every living son-of-a-gun bothered to treat everyone with respect and courteous consideration. Yeah, pipe-dream, I know, but there you have it. While I'm at it, as a corollary, what if everyone applied the following formula: get-up every morning, go to work and be productive, abuse nothing, and make an effort to make everyone around you's life just a little better. Yeah, that would be sweet.
Anyhow, I am in the final home-stretch for finishing the major draft of Time Diving, so I am pleased. I was able to write a beautiful scene between a sad couple with an over-formal, passionless marriage. It was fun and the output is excellent. I am so jealous of you that you get to read it fresh (now now, don't be calling me full-of-myself here, this is my blog, correct?).
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Yeah, there's a difference, y'know? I have been blogging less, because, well I'm not chatty and I don't want to write about today's weather and bowel movements - you know, bloggy stuff. And then, MOM, I get sick. 4 days ago I was pathologically tired, which is always a bad sign. Then the shaking chills, the shoot-me-now-euthanasia appeal, and then, yup, the - how shall I say it delicately - them the gastrointestinal end of things chimed in. Four days into this, and I feel like hammered dog-shit. You know, I feel like excrement left in the warm sun then pounded with a heavy metal implement would feel.
So, I am Farmvilling-it and watching old movies. Viruses take quite the toll on us living beings, you know. Someone should do something! I will make a note of that, for when I feel up to doing something. Bleeck!
I have pushed further into Time Diving, and I find I can create while I'm feeling punk, just not when I was at my lowest, shaking-chill phase. I still cannot estimate how much longer I will be.
Speaking of philosophical, I have been lately about writing. I compare what I write, and why I write it, to popular stories, like say podcasts I enjoy and movies I watch. They are different things, what I create and what I watch. I think the fundamental difference is that I love stories, but I love to explore, ie. write about, characters. I love to get inside a character's head, see what they would do, how they would react, as a reflection of how any of us might. I write about human nature. This is why I watch/read/listen-to stories but find I must pen character insights. This of course leads me to speculate, "Hey, Craig, why don't you write a story, an adventure, a romantic ditty? Come on, don't be stuff - cut loose!" But, alas, I cannot. Scooping out brain tissue and examining it under a microscope - that's what I wonder-after. Realistically, even mega-hits like Kill Bill and The Warrior's Way [ http://bit.ly/rDILe3 ] are in-depth character analyses, but they also tell a fun story - well, maybe compelling is a better word. I do not think I am being vain when I proclaim inwardly that any of my books would make terrific movies (maybe Write Now would never be a blockbuster, but it would be cute) because they have those elements. If you are looking for me, I'm over there by the mailbox waiting for the contract from a big Hollywood studio to arrive....
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Interesting and tough week at work. I am getting my Internal Medicine sea-legs back, and I had many many satisfying interactions, but the pace is quick and unyielding, so I can get flustered. Only one new druggy this week, so there's a plus. Also, I got two druggies to stop the narcotics completely and start, however tenuously, on building a new, healthier, and ultimately more meaningful life. That is a real plus. Add in the alcoholic who felt comfortable enough to open-up to me so we could 'dialogue' and it was a brilliant week. I'm not complaining here - just remarking.
I have inched ahead on TD, polishing one of the critical and imaginative scenes. Good stuff. I had a few more reviews on Writ Now! They were very fair, and along the lines of, "Wow, that's a different book. Funny, out of the box, and fast-paced." [paraphrasing for sure - but that was the spirit]. The best thing so far with WRTPN reviews? None have been, "WTF? What idiot wrote this?" So I'm good.
I am still enjoying The Emperor's Edge on PB.com, so do check it out. Time Stryder is new on PB.com, and, though not up to The EE, is still nice. Finally, for all you Renee Chambliss fans out there (from the head-cheerleader - me) she has a nice interview on Full Cast Podcast, so definitely listen-in.
Well, hope your Friday is short and sweet......... catch you on the rebound craig
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Life is funny. Please remember that at all times - funny I tell you. Why do I bring this up? Don't know, exactly, it just struck me that it was that it was. Maybe because when I was changing the title page for my first book, Anon Time, I eyeballed-it, as it were. Funny, I love the story, but only a few years and a few books separate it from where I am now, but the book is, well, unpolished. Lots of typos, misspells, and manners of expression I would not currently use. I made a few simple changes, may make a few more, but then I'll let it go. Rather than spend time re-re-re-writing that one, I'll start a new book and shine cover-to-cover, and leave it at that.
Funny it is also, my new job, which is really my old job. I am a rank-and-file primary care MD, and internist (e-ternal medicine as we call it). I did work comp medicine for a few years. Now I'm back to being a real doctor, which is nice. It's funny, I show-up, confront a new patient or issue, and the old skills come back - like riding a bike. Funny how that works.
A sub-set of funny is that for years I worked with all to often negative coworkers, patients, insurance companies, and employers, and I guess I stopped noticing how dysfunctional it was. Now I'm able to effect very positive changes in with, for the most part, positive coworkers, staff, and administration. Turns out, dysfunctional is less desirable than copacetic. Who'd a thought?
I got some cute comments on my 'guest blog article' which is always reinforcing. I am, it turns out, a compliment whore. Who'd a thunk that?
I am listening to a very good podcast, for those looking as I always am for quality spec fiction podcasts. The Emperor's Edge on Podiobooks.com. Very nice, so check it out if your a fan like me.
So, anywho... 'bout all I got to say, except thanks for listening ; )
Saturday, September 17, 2011
So, did yo think I was gone, like lost at sea, adrift in harsh waters and unable to blog? Well, I was not lost at sea. I was lost is busy! My new job is intense, so that soaks-up most of my time. I have moved forward with Time Diving, and really, I think a good draft is only a few weeks away from going to my editor. I really like this one - I know, I've said that before, but I really do!
I have spent some free time trying to advertise Write Now! TPN. Not too productive, but hey, a guy can hope, right? I wrote a guest blog for a fellow blogger, so that may help. When it's live, I'll post the link. A review-copy of Write Now! was published on SF Site, which is huge, so I am stoked. She liked the book! It's at http://www.sfsite.com/08b/pn350.htm
It means a lot when a perfect stranger who could thump you for grins and giggles likes what you have done. I have a few more feelers out, so, as we say in Spanish, poco a poco.
So, I trust your life is going well, but I would love to hear that from you, so drop me a line - don't be a stranger!
Friday, September 9, 2011
I figured it out. It was so easy. I am stressing about literary success, trying to stand-out from the crowd and be noticed. I blog, I podcast, I advertise - and have little to show for it. Discouraged? I was, but then I remembered the excellent advice of my two great friends, Bill S Preston, esq and Ted Theodore Logan. To have a successful band they needed Eddie Van Halen to be in Wyld Stallions, but to get EVH, they needed to play guitar and have a successful band. It is all so logical. So, to be successful and popular, I need only be successful and popular. Once I am, I will be. And to think I was worried! Silly me. Man, it's ggod to be successful... excuse me while I gloat a little by myself....
Saturday, September 3, 2011
My wife, Karen, and I just spent a few days in Yosemite National Park, here in California. It is a miraculous space. I have gone there every few years since my early childhood, and still, each time I go, I am impressed with the splendor and majesty of the place. The photo of us against the backdrop of the valley is cliche. Every tourist goes to the same location and takes the same shot - but, man, it's so spectacular! We heard Hebrew, Spanish, French, Italian, German, along with several Asian languages as we wondered. Yes, the objection to the park is it is a Disneyland of the outdoors. It is C-R-O-W-D-E-D for sure, but in spite of the down-sides, it's worth the trip. So, if you can see it clear to go, no matter where in the world you reside, it is worth the effort. But, two points. One, bring good shoes. I saw people on mid-level difficulty hikes with flip-flops. Big mistake. Also, I saw many an out-of-shape person schlepping-up paths they probably should not have - be realistic.
I continue to inch closer to completing the first draft edit of TD. I know I've said it a bunch, but it is good stuff! Hopefully I can send the draft to my editor this month, while I work on the icing I am planning to slather it with. I am placing brief quotes from classic English-language poets at the top of each chapter. The snippet will be in the mood of the chapter. I think it will add depth and completity to the finished-product. I really love great poetry - Byron, Blake, Kipling, those guys and gals - and I lament that they are not more widely appreciated.
Well, enjoy your weekend, even if the late-summer storms are pestering you. Peace out.....
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I'm editing the more and more intense parts of Time Diving ( TD) about now - very intense. I finished a nightmare sequence the lead character experiences. I'm sure glad I'm not him. I pack in a lot of emotional upheavals coming out of the mundane. Complex syntax and word ambiguity - good stuff. Yes, I am praising my own work, but with book sales like I have... well, someone has to so it will likely be me ; )
My new job as a simple country doctor is going well. It's a blast and a half to be a doctor again (last job was to insurance oriented and bureaucratic). One bad part - the druggies. They are the bane of primary care. The sad soul who manipulates/cries/praises/threatens the doc to give them their precious pill (yes, precious as in Golum precious) make being a physician laborious grading into unfun. They are not seeking help, they are not seeking top-notch care, they are not seeking your opinion - only they seek precious. I have to spend wasted effort to pretend to address their concerns, when the sub-optimal outcome was ordained before I walked into the room. Wasting time, emotional capital, and resources on druggies... it's not a good thing. Oh well, every silver lining must have a dark cloud at its center, right?
As I'm on the subject, I must say how disquieting "concentrators" are. They are the patients with multiple ajends (lists, we call them) who insist every question/concern/exam componant be addressed at one visit. It truly disrepects the provider. This is insane, as the patient is, after all is said and done, asking that provider to save their life and limit their suffering. So you actively disrespect the person you claim to want to help you is your most critical, intimaite moment. I would think a patient would honor and cater to someone performing such a key function. But they often do not. They place their convenience over the piece-of-mind of the provider. They justify it by asking for services under one co-pay. What, aren't you yourself worth spending the proper amount of money on? Come on people, do it right and don't push your luck with your doc!
True story from this week. I had a druggie, a new patient to me, ask for an enormous amount of narcotics there is no way in the world patient needs to be taking (trust me on this - I'm a doctor). Patient is no spring chicken, and has multiple serious medical problems patient asks me to address. Patient has no clear idea what medication patient is taking and for what conditions. But, instead of allowing me to straighten-out patient's critical medication profile, patient just keep badgering me about why I won't give patient drugs - the other doctors did and the drugs are expense that way and soooo much cheaper if I write for them. So I turn (literally) to patient 2-3 times and say (literally), "Please stop asking about the drugs and allow me to get your other medicine entered correctly. I do not want to kill you by mistakenly adding or omitting something." Then, as I'm turning to continue on the computer, patient badgers, "So if someone had a nail in their foot, you wouldn't give them any medicine for that?" I turn back, point out patient does not have a nail in patient's foot, and ask to be allowed not to accidentally kill them, turn back to the computer, and patient, whines, "I am not a drug addict." I turn to patient and ask when exactly did I say to patient, "You stand on street-corners injecting powerful illegal drugs and selling them to other to afford your habit?" I turn to continue, like 11 medications into the scrambled list, and guess what? Patient asks what patient is to do without needed "medication." That, by the way, is what in poker is called a 'tell'. It reveals the nature of the relationship of a druggie to the drug. Normal people take 'cold medicine', a 'blood pressure pill', 'some red pill for headaches', or 'diabetes meds'. Druggies address their precious as 'med-i-ca-tion'. It's no mere pill or sloppy drug, it's a med-i-ca-tion. They carress the word, hold it in their arms like a dear dear infant so reliant on them (other way around of course, but, come on, they are druggies so don't press them too hard).
Ah well, job-security, right?
I just need to be a famous author and then I won't have to see the druggies. That's the part where you tell all your friends about my fabulous books and buy a couple dozen for yourself - so... come on people, get out there and make me proud!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Okay, two weeks into my new job and I'm winded! I am a physicisn, for those who may not have known. I used to work in a stressful industrial injury clinic, now I am a simple country doctor. I am quite happy with the change, because I feel actually productive, and, I have learned, I was so bored in my last role. I had done-it, seen-it, and most of all heard-it way too many times. Now I am, to put it mildly, stimulated.
An upshot of the manic pace of late, as I've said, is I haven't gotten much done on TD. I am thinking about focusing on another short story, so I can get some immediate gratification. I think that would be nice. If I do, I think I would write it for Dunesteff, you know, try and match what they do. It would force me to do scifi, which I do love. We'll see.
I have to tell you one thing. You have to promise to keep it a secret - just between us two, okay? I mean, I don't wish to appear boastful, as it is proper to be self-effacing, so, really, keep this on the q/t. I am [he said in barely a whisper] a really good doctor. I mention this because, I have to tell you, it really feels good to be excellent at something. There, I said it. Do you hate me? I mean, I cannot draw a convincing stick-figure, athletically I have never threatened anyone, and, well, looking in the mirror has never been a fruitful past time for me. But, it is truly a rush to be really good at something. I think I am a good writer, and if I am, y'all are in for a treat in the next few years. Sorry, okay, back to meek and demure.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
I have not posted lately, but it's not blog fatigue - it's plain-old fatigue. My new job is tensely hectic and completely draining. The medicine part is easy, it's getting to know a complex infrastructure which is mind-numbing
And this too shall pass.
And so it goes.
I managed to inch forward with Time Diving, but only inches.
I am reading other's blogs, ones about authorship, and continue to regret doing so. All these authors claim, possibly correctly and truthfully so, that they are selling the bejesus out of their books. As one struggling to get noticed, this is stressful, to put it mildly. I have touched on this issue before, but the wound continues to ooze. I seriously produce a quality product. It can and should be appreciated by most fiction readers. What I read, that canonized by the public at large to be good-stuff, is lukewarm, at best. Grrrr...
Oh well, I can only continue to write well, try and market myself, and hope - right?
I hope and pray you are hanging-in there and excelling....... craig
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Song in my head as I woke-up may cause throw-up! I guess to prove I have no control over the content, or quality, of the songs my brain has on the internal radio, today I woke with......
Cause she's so high, high above me, she's so lovely. She's so high, like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc or Aphrodite Do, do, do, do do She's so high, high above me.
Insipid treacle! As a jazz lover, this type of vacant song (sorry to all you girls who just 'love-it') which stabs a dull rusty ice-pick in the heart of music. Don't get me wrong. Everybody needs to make a living, so the fellows at Fastball - more power to ya. But in my head! I need a shot of tequila and a lawyer. Yuck, yuck, gross........
Oh well, the day can only get better ; )
Friday, July 29, 2011
Okay, now this is getting out-of-hand. I keep hearing people say "TGIF", or "the weekend is here - woohoo." These are not the sentiments I want to be hearing, people! Remember and do not forget, we are two long days from Monday, the blessed day we can return to service. Work is good. Work is important. Work should be revered. Why do you think the end of the stupid summer, with it's vacations and no-school, is Labor Day? Yeah, it's not Boohoo Day or Man-life-sucks-cause-I-gotta-go-to-work Day. All that lolly-gagging and laziness makes me sick! Work is good - wait, I already said that. Work makes our lives orderly, gives us purpose, and direction. So, like-it or love-it, work! Hey, who's that snickering back there? Come on, appreciate work and endure the weekend. Yes, that's better. Now, I'd like to go on, quote from President Bush (no the good one - W) and Jim Baker, in praise of hard work, but, I need to pack the car. I'm heading for the beach to power-down fine wine and gawk at girls who are way out of my league. And fried foods, yeah, I'm going to eat fried food till I'm sweating canola oil - with lots of trans-fats... and cholesterol. In fact I'm going to eat cholesterol balls deep-fried in lard at the beach and make inappropriate remarks to anyone in a two-piece swim suit! Crap, why am I blogging you? I need to hit the sand and rest - I only have two days... yeah, baby, it's Friday!!! Daddy needs a hang-over and a second degree sunburn..... out of my way ; )
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Okay, so today, FYI, no song in particular in my head. I know my readers thirst for knowledge and I did not want to let them down. Hence the factoid in the above poster. Mention it at least seven times today, and people will think you are smart - honestly. Trust me, I'm a doctor ; )
I know, I know! I keep saying it, but... I'm plowing-through the major edit/rewrite (almost as we speak). I am at the part where all h-e-double-toothpicks is breaking loose. Matt and Shannon (husband and wife) are having the type of confrontation you really don't ever want to be involved in.
Matt and his best friend are just back from a mysterious trip to NY which Matt will tell Shannon nothing about. He spent all their savings there.
"Or maybe someone's girlfriend went to New York for an abortion - I hear it's legal there. Oh, wait, Nick doesn't have a girlfriend - he's too drunk to fuck. Let me see, who does that leave? Well, bless my soul, Matt" she pointed at him with unbounded fury, "that would only leave you owning the pregnant slut, wouldn't it?"
Yeah, when your wife screams that to you over breakfast, you're in for a bad day! It is not easy to write florid anger, but it sure is fun ; ) Stay tuned - your going to love it!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
So, today is my last day working in the department I've labored in for 18 years! Wow, me, ADD poster-child, anywhere for 18 years. It is weird. I need to move on, I am happy to move on, but, I feel guilty to those I love and care for whom I'm leaving behind. It's complicated, this thing called life. Yes, I am rejecting some elements of my past life, but not all - baby and the bathwater and all that. But, you cannot keep part and dispense with the rest. It's all or nothing, it turns out. So, walk away, stiff upper lip, and greet the new dawn. Wow, change is hard! I know we'll all get over it, which is too bad.....
Monday, July 25, 2011
Okay then, today's selection of odd-songs-I-woke-up-with-playing-in-my-head is.....
Tim Buckley Get on Top. Yes, odd, obscure, otherwise meaningless - and there it was. Poor Tim. He lead a troubled life, died of a heroin OD in at age 28, and then - most unkindest of all - ends up singing in my head a quarter century later. RIP, dude....
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Wanna see something so cool, that if you touch it, your finger will freeze? This is my new (actual) cover for Anon Time (AT)! When I wrote AT, it was my first book. I had no idea how one proceeded, how to get a pro cover, and I did not know if I was going to even be noticed. Finally, I got Laura Givens to do me one good! Check her out at http://www.lauragivens-artist.com/ - she is great! AT is straight-forward scifi, with a very spiritual twist. As my first effort, it is rougher than what I'm doing now, but it is a dear book, so I am proud to give it a proper cover. So cool!
As a gift to you, I am releasing a coupon for Smashwords.com. You can purchase the eBook versions of The Innerglow Effect for only $0.99!!! The coupon is: PJ82Q
So go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/8387 today an start reading this intense medical/spiritual novel.
I think I will start a new blog. I know, perfectly what the world needs now - another stupid blog! But wait. My stupid blog is needed - nay - necessary! I am going to blog about the often ludicrous song which is playing in my head everyday when I wake up. It is usually old, often an advertising jingle, and it is positively always annoying. The song rarely repeats days, which is kinda weird. Well, today it did. It was the ads jingle for the above pictured cereal. Not, mind you, the 1980's "Honeycomb's big, yeah yeah yeah" but the 1970's version based on the song Honeycomb. Yeah, the real jingle, not the Madison Ave work-over-sell-your-soul version. "Honeycombs for your home" Ah, when words used to mean something. So, any-who, check one of the absurdly simple and templated commercial for yourself: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adviews_honeycomb/ Thanks, Duke University, you are doing God's work archiving all those old ads.
I have not done any research into the topic of dumb music in your head when you wake-up. I do not, in spite of being a medical scientist, know if it is common or rare. It is grating - this I can tell you. I never wake-up with Tocata and fuge in D minor raging, or a Beatles song. No, it's the Blue Seal Bread one ("Bring home the good Blue Seal Bread, Fred"). Argh! Oh well, I could wake-up dead, right, so what have I to complain about?
Well, off to fill an order of Saturday-awesomeness!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Okay, someone out there explain it to me nice and simple - why does life have to be sooooooooo complicated? Hum? I'm waiting - please stop tapping your foot and staring at the ceiling. Oh! You don't understand either. Okay then, now I feel better. Just about every single person (my sainted wife excluded - TG) who is not me seems to want to complicate something which can be rather simple. Life can be simple - peace, love, and understanding. Those are not hard, are they? Apparently so. It's always peace - after I win, love - after you prove you love me, and understanding - as long as you understand I'm right and if you're not you need to change end-of-story-period-do-it-now-or-bam-right-between-the-eyes-goes-my-fist. So here's the deal: I double-promise to try very hard not to complicate anyone else's life. There, now that I've established that, you can be motivated to not complicate mine. Win-win!
Without naming names (I've found that really doesn't help), I just had to bail on listening to a friend's podcast novel. This person (male-female, I'm not sayin'), let's call them "X", seemed intent on disturbing, challenging, provoking the listeners. I, I must state up-top, am very liberal (really, more so than most can accept) and inclusive (remember, I will not complicate other's lives?), so don't get me wrong. I am very concerned with moral issues - feeding the hungry, social justice - that sort of thing. I am less concerned with morality, and am unconcerned utterly with popular morality. I am also passionate about writing - authorship skills and prowess - that stuff. I get all gooey inside when I hear Dickens turn a phrase or Steinbeck nail an metaphor. Good stuff! Likewise, I don't do mediocre writing. Well, for technical material, okay, but for creative writing, make it good or make it go away! So, when X tosses in an element, any element, I ask myself why. If all elements mesh seamlessly and the story is well crafted - well folks, we have a winner. When X makes an abrupt turn, departs from the seamless thingy and lobs-in a challenge, I have to ask why. Is it for the integrity of the story or is there an agenda which is non-literary? I recently stopped listening to Spirit Blade when it dawned on me that the author was using the vehicle of the podcast to espouse an exclusionary religious position. Unacceptable! If you want to spread vile mental-poison, do it by yourself, alone and unheard. Now X did not act so inappropriately. But, if I am forced to stop the program, suspend my-suspension of-disbelief (needed for speculative fiction), and go "Hum?" , what does that serve? Is it simply an error in craftsmanship? Is it perfectly appropriate, and I am out-on-a-limb nutz here? Or, and this is the worst-case scenario, is there a message/position/soap-box/my-way-or-the-highway/if-you-were-thinking-like-me-you'd-be-a-better-person-and-you-are-clearly-not/(or worst of all)you-will-eat-what-I-serve-you-because-I-can-and-you-will-like-it-or-you're-bigoted. Whew - that was a lot said! I do not claim to know what motivated X. What X does is X's business. X does not answer to me or have to justify X to me. My point? Do I possibly have one? Yes! What X does always need to do is entertain and wow me with their craft, if they want two rewards. The first reward X must want is to have made me a better person, uplifted by their skill. The second reward X must want is to have - and this is critically important so read well - is to have written a worthy book. A vulgar analogy. If a Nazi wishes to advance the cause, they could craft a wonderful oil painting - spellbinding landscapes, riveting human forms, like Renoir - but place a swastika in the corner. The painter would hope to draw you in with their skill but sway you to their unacceptable affiliation in the process. The painting, I state, would not be a good painting, not a work of art and should be ignored. Now, please, no one think I'm saying any X is as bad as a Nazi! I'm just explaining my reasoning. This post is long enough without me dancing around the point to not offend. I do not write to offend. If I do, I do badly. I hope to write, both here and in my books, to CHALLENGE, but never to denigrate.
Did you ever write a blog entry, and when you were done, you wondered why? Well I have........
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Life changes, the rules change, and so, inevitably, we must also change. If we are not flexible and cannot or will not bend with the winds of change, we are the ones who suffer. So it is that I am changing. Nothing too big, but nothing too small either. I am transferring from one department with the large medical group I work for, Kaiser for the locals who know it, to a different department. Sounds like a minor enough change, but, as in any good chemical reaction, change requires energy, effort. I have worked in the challenging department which deals with work related injuries for 18 years. I fancied I retire out of it, but, yes, that old devil change could not be denied - so on I move. I am heading back to Internal medicine, where I started. Bitter-sweet is what it is. Leaving old friends and comfortable patterns for what will be a better place. A two-edged sword. I will discuss more specifics in the future, probably the far future, so feelings are less hurt and my ass is less exposed to those who might like to swing a kick at it. The experience has sharpened my interest in my next, or next-next novel however, so that is good. I am parsing-out the concept of how corporate mind-set is consuming the good which was.
Least I seem over drama-mama, I am up for the challenge, and I am going to have a wonderful time doing an outstanding job. Seriously, dude, I get paid to help people. Yeah, sweet!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I am maybe 2/3rd through the hard edit of TD. Now I'm in the good part, where things really happen, wild and wacky things - well you just cannot imagine (that's the point, eh what?). So it's easier to move forward. As I've said before, the set-up parts are, which I think very important, are boring to go over and over. They set the character's motivations, etc, but are inherently less wow-dude. So, onward and upward - still months away, but at least I'm months away, now I the starting blocks.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I'm thinking, what would a simple, fulfilling, reassuring joy be? What would be wonderful while at the same time be completing? Is it possible to be happy - is it possible to be sad? What is it that we crave which spurs us on to such questions? I do not know. I hope and pray to come closer to the answers as I explore this amazing life and build on my creative writing. Isn't it marvelous to contemplate such matters and to hope, against all reasonable odds, to come-up with some semblance of an answer? To think, perchance to dream, ay, there is the possibility... stay imaginative, my friend.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I'm still mid-book re-editing TD. I mentioned in my 11/17/10 post how some parts flow easily while others are struggles. I just flipped from a harder segment to a flowing one, so hopefully I'll pick up speed, at least for a while. The hardest part is deciding what to do with those hard segments. They are hard for some reason, maybe because they don't fit of don't work and should be cut-out. I worked for two hours on one paragraph last week - diminishing returns I am certain, but there it was.
My task of creating another 'everyman' character and showing what can logically become of his is coming together satisfactorily. In Anon Time (AT), a very different time travel novel, the everyman finds he is anything but average. In TD, the lead crumbles right before he decays - poor guy!
In other writer-crap news, I have tried internet ads for AT and The Innerglow Effect. My first salvo was "modestly" successful. Maybe I recouped my cost. But one has to learn somehow and the night, as it were, is still young.
In terms of podcasting, I did a voice for the great Renee Chambliss which she says will be out soon, but otherwise the only podcasting I'm doing is the casting of TD in my head. I have most major roles cast, and even lined-up Myke Bartlett for the John Lennon role. The casting is a fun aspect, trying to match voices with characters. I feel like a 14-year old girl deciding on a prom date. I need to clarify that is the ONLY way, manner, or form in which I feel like a 14 yo girl - so don't start searching the internet for really embarrassing photos of yours truly. Some times, you guys can be a real challenge up with to put - did you know that?
So, to infinity and just slightly beyond.......... me
Thursday, June 16, 2011
On the Daily Show yesterday John Stewart reported on two phonie blogs. Both were blogs allegedly by lesbian women, one in Syria or something, the other blind with twins. Both blogs are posted by men living in America. Way messed-up. I suspect, however, the internet is writhe with such misrepresentations, lies, and idiots.
FOR THE RECORD - I AM CRAIG, A BORING, AGING, MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD GUY WITH NO SUPER POWERS OR SECRETS ANYONE WOULD EVER WANT TO HEAR. What you see ( or in this case read) is what you get. I'm really kind of sorry about that, I mean for you. I'm dull, hard to put-up-with at times, and for all I know I have bad breath. Man, I think I need a drink...
I read blogs and forums whee authors like me rant about all their sales, thousands upon thousands, and I think I don't believe them. The lesbian thing confirms my predilection to doubt what is stated.
Anyhow, TD is re-vamping well, I really like how it's turning-out. I will keep you posted.....
Saturday, June 11, 2011
I have never been a big short story (ss) fan. The inherent brevity of the format leads to pressured expectations, and there is a need to 'hit'em hard' with the ending. I like the leisurely pace of the novel-form. It's like comparing knitting a scarf to weaving a tapestry. That said, ss is popular. I listen to a lot of podcast/audiobooks. There is, unfortunately, a dearth of good one's available on the web or my library. So I recently started following Clark's World http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/
They post text and podcast forms of ss from noted authors. After listening to several, I am left with my initial impression. The ss format is too limited. Between these podcasts and other I've recently heard, there exists an ineloquence which I have trouble with. Logical errors are left in, plot elements are dumped-in, or characters are not developed. The point of the ss is not the process, but the end. The poker game is not the object of the author's energies, just the moment when you throw your winning hand down in front of your opponent and say, "How you like them apples?" To put it more, hahum, crudely, the ss is not about the chatting with your date, the meal, the dancing, or the foreplay, it only focuses on the orgasm. Not the the latter is not worth a modicum of focus, mine you, it's just that the former is really wonderful, too. ; )
The more I read ss's, the more I get the impression the author had a great idea - maybe 2 - and either could not, or did not care to invest the time and energy to write a proper novel. I cannot rinse the taste of artistic laziness out of my mouth. I realize saying that will be offensive to some, but, hey, this is my blog - right?
So, authors out there, do us all a favor and write great stuff - and take the time to flesh the story out properly. Remember always... Craig is watching........
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I think a lot. Seems a natural thing to do. I have a head, brain material crammed in there, neurons pulsing, etc. So what else would I do but think? Don't say 'relax'. That's not me. My motto is 'There Will Be Plenty of Time to Relax When We're Dead'. So, anyway, I write fiction - you knew that. I write fiction which is not mainstream. I think what I write is excellent, but many might not get-it. I tell a tale, writing a story which begins at a point, develops credibly, and ends where it needs to. Some might ding-me for not jumping in and whipping up action, hooking the reader. This I may do in the future, but not now. Anyway (yes, there is a point in here), if I write something which takes a lot of time and not too many people ever read it, am I wasting my time? This is an important question, and most creators ask it, be they authors, musicians, painter, what ever. I don't even mean "how do you measure success?". I just mean waste my time. I mean, I pound away for hours, and maybe it's not so good and maybe I could better spend time doing something else.
Ask a thorny question, and I'll give you a thornless answer! Some people go fishing. They buy a boat and a bunch of 'stuff', haul-ass to Whoknowswhere, sit in rain being eaten by bugs, and what? They catch a fish. Around here, it might be a trout. I can drive 10 minutes to Safeway and buy a [reasonably] fresh trout, whole or filleted. So, is the fisherman wasting his time? I love my SF Giants baseball team - have since 1960. If I were to sit for 3 hours watching the full game on TV, and I am thrilled or distraught, what do I tangibly have the next morning when I wake? Am I a better, richer, more complex person?
Nope. Watching a sporting event is like drinking water - after it's consumed it is over and there is no real benefit. Going fishing is a waste of time, for most people. But, hopefully, it is not a waste for the angler. What does he take from the investment of his efforts? Smelly fingers and a fish just like the one I bought? We all grant him that he 'enjoyed' himself, relaxed, and was not a lunatic.
The best way I say it is by taking the example of knitting. Millions of women knit. At least here in the US, no one needs knitted products. Most knitting is not that skilled. Most women gift their knitting because A) they must get rid of it, and B) no one will purchase it. But, they are creative and happy and so am I writing fiction - my way.
Thank you - I feel much better.
Go Craig! [to work, that is]
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I sent my short story off to Glimmer Train for the open competition [http://www.glimmertrain.com/index.html]. Though I said they had the 'exclusive', I have posted the story as a link to my blog. Look to the right and click on the man jumping in cold water. This links to my website. Just above the Uncle Sam poster is the link to the story. Click The Bike Crash Life and enjoy. I really like it. Straight literary, no speculative fiction - simple boy meets girl.
In case you didn't know, and why you should is not apparent, I am a big Dr Who fan. No, I'm not big - my fandom is. I mean, yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but that's really another subject altogether. Back to topic. Each time the actor portraying the Doctor changes, it is jarring. I acclimatize slowly, and always end up liking the new one just fine. So, likewise, I have come to like the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith. He's a bit too manic, but I like him. What I have come not to like so much is the series itself. This upsets me, fundamentally.
Over the decades of the series, there have been great runs, and embarrassing runs, phenomenal episodes, and episodes best forgotten. The New series, beginning with Eccleston and transitioning to Tennant has been no exception, but the series has been, as a whole, wonderful. But I am finding I either cannot finish, or simply forget to watch, the latest, post-Davies episodes. At first I chalked-it-up to not liking Matt, but I have come to see it is the writing and especially the directing which is killing the franchise. The Steven Moffat Era is unsatisfactory. His story selection is questionable. The biggest damage he wrecks however is in the pace/content aspect. Each episode is more frenetic and disjointed than the last. More and more content is crammed-in such that continuity is as impossible as viewer buy-in and continued up-putting with.
I watch an old episode, say on dvd, and I see a story unfold, characters interact, crises come and pass, and I see The Doctor. In the Moffat Era, these elements are lost, and so is the essense of Who itself. The plot is not crafted into a tale worth telling, but it is digitized down to tiny segments which can be pumped-into the viewer's head at max-over load speed. It's like dinner. I like the European style. You and close friends sit for hours, chatting, sipping, and slowly consuming delectable foods. The meal is both a task and a reward. Moffat's episodes are cram-down a feeding tube and inject the Ensure in ASAHP, rip that damn tube out because we need it for the next dupe right now - and off the New Dr Who Team goes, to inflict needless damage to yet another loyal fan's gastrointestinal tract.
I hope and pray that Doctor Who survives the new assault. I hope the series is resilient enough to endure. It has proven itself to be a warrior, but even John Wayne on film could only take so much. I hope the series is wise enough to see the folly of its ways before it is too late. My darkest fear is that the series will die another, and this time a fatal, corporate death, and be lost forever - which is a long long time.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Okay, three day weekend over, here in the US. Back to work, the salt mines, the grind, the the sentence... also the place that pays me cash money to show-up. And so I go...
I am almost finished with my side-tracking short story I wrote last week. I need to edit it once more. Than I will have my editor bless it, and the submit it to a new writer's competion at Glimmer Train Press (thanks Renee). But first, I will either post it here on the blog or link it to my website - whichever's easier. That way my loyal fans can read it first and foremost. A gift for you! Look for it in a week or so.
Did I mention the work thingy? Yeah, gotta go.....
Friday, May 27, 2011
You know how you can wake-up with a song stuck in your head? Yesterday I woke-up with a short story in my head. Ain't that the darnedest thing? So, 26 hours later, I have 2900 words down, and can wrap-it up today. I write a novel over 6-12 months, but this, 3 days - tops. WTF! So I woke-up with a poem in my head one day, an haiku another, now a short story. What's next, a Ferrari with a supermodel in the passenger seat? Who knows! This is turning into a real distraction. I have chores, work, errands - I don't have time for all these free creative gifts. I need mundane, I need boring, I need... I need to get a grip - right? Maybe tomorrow... an opera... in Italian no less ; )
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sorry, haven't blogged lately. I inch forward with Time Diving, re-writing. I'm at the stage where I'm not liking parts, mostly because I've read them soooo many times! It's not a good stage, though, because I'm this far into it, and beginning to doubt myself. Oh well, it always seem to happen. I have been occupied trying to advertise and promote TPN and Innerglow (a little). Very stressful and time consuming. I posted some rudimentary ads, got some clip-throughs, but only one ebook sale. Granted, I only threw $20 into the effort, but still, 50-60 hits and no paperbacks. And so it goes...
Writing is fun, writing is fun, keep repeating, writing is fun... ; )
I have decided that internet advertising is a major way to go, it's a matter of identifying where to put the ads. Any suggestions are clearly welcome! I think I need to set-up a blog/webpage for each book, so the ads can link to the blog, sort of an interest-catching destination, not just an Amazon link. Arg, more time. I notice a lot of followers lately coming in from Iran and in the UK, so hello to you all and thanks for the interest.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
'kay then, sitting here in Vegas at 7am I have completed the major overhaul-edit of TD! The final sheet of paper are more red with corrections than black and white with printed text, but that which is very similar to the final product is done! All parents, at least for the first few years, think their children are beautiful and clever. I think TD is troublingly good. I hope, in a few months, you will rest the book down after finishing it and agree with me.
After I type the changes in I need to add a few scenes, which will not take long - a week or so. Then I must decide upon and paste-in the poetry headers for each chapter. That will take time - several weeks. I have listed potential experts, but I do not think I have enough and certainly do not know where they go. Baby-steps. Did I mention how pleased I am with the final TD? Well, I am.
I hear voices - well. It is a gift. I can recall a voice and identify it years later. That ad is narrated by Tim Allen, for example, pops into my head all the time. I cast my podcasts continually in my head, so I listen to people and ask myself where they might fit into a story. Okay, so last night we went to the Venetians production of Phantom of the Opera, which is superb by-the-by. The opening scene is the auction of the burned out theatre. The auctioneer has maybe 10 lines, but he has a rich baritone so I turn to Karen and comment on the wonders of his instrument. Fast forward 2 hours, we are sitting in Zeffirino's Restaurant (a must people - a must) for drinks and appetizers. The couple at the next table are friendly, chatting it up with the piano player and then us. The wife starts playing a set when Joe, the regular, is on break. She, Betsy, is great. Her husband, Mike, sings a few numbers too, and I say to my self, the man has a professional voice, probably did drama in school and still tries to keep a hand-in, all that. So we tell them we're here for a long weekend and Mike says, well have you seen 'my production' the Phantom? I reply, why yes, we just came from it. Mike says, me too - I was the auctioneer! Small world. I complement his voice and he is thrilled. He was also the "phantom who tossed a stagehand to his death with a hang men's noose and is the understudy for the phantom! Dude, small world! We ask if they'll be there tomorrow, at Zeffirino's. Betsy will, but Mike, Micheal Lackey-photo in the handbill and all - probably not - he's doing both Saturday shows. Dude! And Joe, the piano player, was special ops in Viet Nam as a piano player, after serving in WWII. What a long strange trip it is. Me, I'm an indie novelist and a podcaster - whose the dull member of that academy?
Well, have a great weekend - looks like we will be...... craig
PS: I got my first Amazon.com review of TPN. It's from someone I don't know who did not "have to" like the book! http://amzn.to/dHuLbQ Life is good : 0
Thursday, April 28, 2011
So, long time, no post, but I have been productive. I am finishing the last few pages of the re-edit of TD, so - almost there! When done, I must type the edits in - a few weeks - then re-edit. Yes, that's what it takes to produce a quality product - wash, rinse, repeat. After that I have to add a few scenes I have in mind and the poetry chapter quotes - very slick, don't you know. After that a professional edit, then... blah blah blab - we'll see. But progress, non the less.
I also joined The Writer's Cafe on Kindle Boards http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html
Interesting site, suggested by Nathan Lowell. Some drivel, of course, but some interesting ideas from indie authors. It may prove valuable, tapping into other's experiences and insights. Check it out!
I post from Las Vegas, where I am for a medical conference. Only here one day, but walking 'the strip' last night, well, let's just say I got funny looks from my wife when I kidded that we should move here. Not a sophisticated place - at least in my one day experience. Lots of adult FLK's. What's that, you ask? In pediatrics, FLK is a standard term. It stands for 'funny looking kid'. It is code between pediatricians that there is no specific genetic diagnosis, but sumpin' ain't quite right with this one. Where do FLK's go, when they grow up? Apparently the LV Strip. Sorry to any readers who live here. On the shuttle to the hotel, when we stopped at a red light just off the strip, 3 very homeless looking type sat on the curb. Before the light changed, the center guy lurched up and vomited up his entire stomach content, while the 2 flanking him ate blithely along. Ah, Vegas, thanks for the greeting. On the Strip, lots of really really drunk 20-somethings, mixed in with real (only one really) drunk more-than-twenty-somethings and at least 100 Mexicans trying to force-hand you ads for the delivery, to you, of the topless girls pictured who must have been less than clear to their plastic surgeons how big they wanted their beast implants, because they are, truth be told - and I speak as a physician and a male- too large. The most awful part was the number of visitors with infant children in stroller parading past, and families with many children in tow. People, do not bring children to LV - okay - seriously: NO!
Did I mention the woman walking in front of us? My wife noticed she had very shear white pants on and she panties had writing blocked on them in black. Over her buttock - a rather substantial buttock I might note for photographic clarity- read, on the left check "HAVE" and on the right check "FUN". Fun, and panties, and buttocks may never be the same for me. I wonder if there's a support group for this form of PTSD?
So, back to literature. Okay... well, sorry for the tirade, but, wow, Vegas baby (at least it stays here)..............craig