Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Because You Know When You Feel Deja Vu

It feels like the batteries on the soundtrack of my life have run out. I'm trying to make up for it by pure mental effort, but sadly it seems I don't know enough of the words to any of the songs. Speaking of which I was going to quote a piece of song and I did a check to make sure I got it right and wouldn't you know I had it very wrong. Just more proof. It's something different to be wandering in such a soundtrackless patch. Walking the cloud darkened day-winding-down streets earlier this evening was like walking through a seasonally earlier version of one of my stories I'm working on. On one street there was the buzz of a lawnmower, and the chatter of children. Everywhere else there was nothing but the stillness, not even a breeze to rustle the leaves. There was no traffic, no animals about except for a humming bird I spotted way up in a tree. I only noticed it because I've been looking up the last couple jaunts trying to soak in the skyline in some fashion.

This weather sure is annoying. When I went to bed it was just about freezing with the fan on. By time I woke up it was way too hot with the fan still on. Then downstairs it was a decent temperature for a while neither hot nor cold, tepid or chilly. Now here I am with two fans on in the basement and I could be a little cooler on the left side away from the closest fan. Weather, both the weather in the house, and that outside, is a topic I seem to speak a lot of. Just to make this somewhat more useful than a temperature rant let me tell you all a little something. I see the hint or tip a number of places that the weather, the atmosphere in that sense, should be indicative of the mood of the scene that you are writing. It's supposed to create a resonance that builds in the reader and provides more staying power as well. This is something I am somewhat at war with. It's both a good thing and a bad thing. It was certain pathetically over done in the movie Se7en. I myself prefer to work with contrasts.

More on that another day maybe. Anyone want it to be sooner than later?

Music: Hooks in You by Iron Maiden and Let's Get Rocked by Def Leppard

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Looking Forward while Talking Back

What is this weather doing? What is my house doing with this weather. Yesterday it was cold in the house and a bit damp, but outside it was fairly warm and muggy. Today it's hot and muggy in the house, but outside it's better. I'm trapped in some terrible cycle. This is definitely sickness making weather, bouncing back and forth between hot and cold. I'm just turning on the second fan here behind me because it's that warm down here already. I shudder to think what it will be like later tonight when the temperature usually rises here in the basement.

I'm working on my short story books despite the terrible weather. Once I get my company name squared away I can get some ISBN numbers and then it looks like I'll be making two books of short stories available as proper, copyrighted, and further legally protected e-books. A third is only in the works because it came up a bit short on the page count. If the mountain will not come to me I will make my own mountain. They will be in PDF format and I will make them available through my website and whatever other avenues I can get them in.

As for my first novel I am still undecided on what to do with it. I definitely intend to look for a proper publisher in the Cyberpunk genre next even if I do go forward with a trade paperback book from that print on demand company. I guess I've exhausted the unagented and unsolicited accepting places for horror. I have to find and try another agent as well though I have imagined that perhaps two complete novels and some e-book sales for other works might prove more appealing.

On the gaming front, I still think this print on demand place is the perfect place to produce my semi-secret fantasy RPG I'm working on. I haven't done any work on it lately, but I have been thinking about it and trying to brainstorm some more setting minutiae for it. A bit back I was fiddling with some additional mechanics to add onto my already mostly complete base for character creation and combat rules. These are the sort of add-ons that can be used for more complexity if not actually more reality to the way combat is run. The bulk of the work yet to be done is fleshing things out, expanding others, and yes building in a touch of the dreaded meta-plot.

Mood: Mellow
Music: Replica (Electric Sheep Mix) by Fear Factory and Afraid by Motely Crue.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sign of the Times

I had a nightmare the other morning. It was most horrible as an example of the state of things in the industry it seems. Short is in. I'm dreaming in flash fiction now! Flash fiction, or micro-fiction was the big hot thing for a while. Now, it's not big, or lucrative though it appears to still have some appeal within the writing community itself. One thing it did do and highlighted incredibly well was that the readership has a continually shortening attention span. It was like a death knell to the meaty stay with it a bit short story, the kind I feel the strongest connection to and like to think have a bit of a flair for. The short story is the piece for the short attention needs both as reader and author. Some ideas don't need a novella or a full blown novel. A lot though, to have any modicum of actual story or depth, require more than the ever tightening word lengths publications are looking for. This of course only matters because the entire fiction publishing world is predicated on the highly regarded short story.

For good or ill, despite the number--and hopefully quality--of them that I've written, I have much less regard for the short story, especially as a basis upon which to consider an author of novels. To me it's like asking the person who built a cabinet for you to build your entire house. The cabinet maker might be able to construct a house, but nothing guarantees that. Also, conversely, nothing says the house builder can make you as nice a cabinet as the cabinet maker even if he has the narrower or more specialised skills to try. Another good example is the stand up comic. He or she might be able to wow the audience for five or ten minutes, but nothing says they could stretch that out to an hour or two and still keep the audience engaged. These things are related of course, but not as tightly as seems to be insisted on by the publishing community at large. Worse yet is the marketing. How many book readers read the same material in magazines? I certainly don't. Yet here I am trying to push cabinets so someone will buy the house I built. I'm telling one liners and trying to push a TV series--metaphorically speaking.

Back to the nightmare, despite its shortness, and the immediate untruthfulness of it (I'll get to that in a bit), upon getting up later and remembering it distinctly--a nice gift--I wrote it out on a notepad. Not only did I write it out but I immediately came up with much more of the story it will be apart of when I'm done. The pointless, plotless, flash/micro nightmare immediately fell in together with another idea to form part of a full-fledged story. At this point I do not know what length of story it will be, but it could, and if needs be, has to be something too long for me to sell immediately to some publication then so be it.

Why was it untruthful? Consistently, if not absolutely, all of my nightmares come with what I think of as an emotional track, like a laugh track which is fake laughter played off of a recording, or like a commentary track that is emotions instead of words. The fear of the situation is directed, written into the script, forced in there. Some of the short nightmares are nothing more than startle or jump moments, yet they come with a comparatively enormous fear response entirely out of proportion. It is rather annoying. This particular one I had would have been scary enough on its own, other ones have been nothing yet the feeling supplied, and I can't think of it as anything other than coming from elsewhere, is the same.

In any event it's become a not so strange occurrence for me to have a nightmare and after the fact be between glad to thankful for it. Before I part for another couple days, let me draw one final conclusion, or in this case parallel. The nightmares, with their falsely given fear, match up nicely with the way that I've been dreaming. They are both just like role-playing. Is it any wonder I am firmly entrenched in both worlds?

Mood: Inspired
Music: Love is Like Oxygen by Sweet and Believe Me by Moist

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Will the Real Dr. House Please Stand Up

There are times when it seems that too much is going on and then there are the vast stretches of time when it seems nothing is happening and nothing will ever happen again. Such is the life in the middle of nowhere trying to live something approaching a normal life. Yes, yes, what is normal? Get up, work, stop work, cook and eat, relax and catch some tube, sleep, and then begin again. Pretty normal by most definitions. That's all a baseline, and background noise, to what we consider our lives. The biggest change lies in that block of relax and catch some tube. If you don't have someone to catch the tube with, or otherwise do something with, then you've got you work cut out for you, if you care to that is. Where am I going with this? I haven't a clue. I sat down to blog with a head full of ideas all fighting to get out and this is what sprang out when I put fingers to keyboard.

What was most on my mind, before the above took over the conscious portion of my mind, is truth, and more importantly the misrepresentation of it. Forum posting has proven to be a very frustrating process of watching people totally get things wrong. When facts are available in books people rely on faulty memory then have the audacity to say their memory is truer than the facts. Things you say, no matter how simple and straightforward, or no matter how heavily explained with massive amounts of clarifications they are, perpetually get mis-taken, twisted, or outright reversed even when they're quoted directly above the lies. That's what all of these things are essentially. Anything that is not the truth is a lie, plain and simple. It doesn't matter if it was the person's intent to do so, or if it was a mistake, or if it was done on purpose. A lie is a lie is a lie.

I would like to know when it became okay to just lie constantly about everything and never give a care. Worse yet not only do people not care, but they no longer even have the ability to recognise that they are doing it, or have the self-awareness to look out for it in the future even when its pointed out to them in black and white. Willful ignorance and premeditated evil are one thing, relatively speaking, but this blithe 'idiot' sailing through life without the slightest modicum of self-introspection really frosts my pumpkins. This decline of intellect as a human trait is both maddening and saddening. Maybe intellect isn't the right word, but it's not a lack of intelligence--the ability to put two and two together--nor is it a lack of knowledge--facts, figures, info--neither of the last two of which should be confused, yet perpetually are.

Then finally there is the undeserved, and just as blindly 'idiotically' existing like air, arrogance that rears its ugly head again and again. The attitude that I do such and such for a job, or have so and so training and research experience, so therefore everyone else must be beneath me and I should treat them as such because obviously (and here we go back to this) I know everything and it doesn't matter if I'm do a butchery of a job applying it, because well, I know stuff, so I must be smarter, and all other people are bugs with brains the size of split--not even normal--peas. Add a little touch of intended malice to that and you get people who (going back even further here) think it's fun to lie when someone asks a question and do it to slight the questioner, then write it all off as an ever so witty joke because of their vast superiority and it's funny that “little critters of nature... They don't know that they're ugly!”.

Now to steal a little something from someone who if they read this will know where I got it from, and hopefully will derive some satisfaction out of the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Music: “More than a Feeling” by Boston and “American Idiot” by Green Day

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Drumming Up Support

Things have crawled to a near halt as the vicious heat has returned. Almost as if in response my Internet connection has become stodgy, uneven, and sometimes downright lazy. At least it is obvious that mine is not the only connection suffering such a condition. Today while researching magazine publishers and other places accepting short story submissions I found many sites to be unavailable. They just won't load up. One site, for an agency in this case, informed me that the site was not available today and may be there tomorrow or if not that if I were the owner I should contact the provider to see where my site went.

As for my site, R.M.T.P. Co., it is up and running smoothly. With its new format it's pretty snazzy. I upgraded the web design portion to match so everything in nice and slick. On the Bob's Reviews front I have updated some of the pages, and added a couple new ones. One of the additions is a support page. If you are not already looking at Bob's Reviews for reviews of books, movies, and the occasional CD or RPG I have to ask, "Why not?" and suggest that you start. Just like any other site, it needs people to look at it, and the more the merrier. For other ways to support Bob's Reviews surf on over to this link here... Help Support Bob's Reviews

Since it is the in thing to do I have also added a donation button to my writer's page. Some people may not know about this page because if they are on my mailing list they were getting the info available on the page already. It is available here... R.G. Male and includes updates on the statuses of my novels.

Do you have a website? Looking for some banner ads? Another page I added to Bob's Reviews was a new links page available here... Links Page and it includes four different banners, one white, one black, one animated white, and one animated black. More may become available as I design them. I'm not certain just yet but I may set up a similar page for R.M.T.P. Co.. In fact as soon as I'm done here I'm going to update the old banners I was running in the reviews pages here and there.

Okay, I'm done.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing

This weekend came and went and not a single solitary thing worth mentioning happened outside of the fact I had some bad sour cream that gave me a couple hours torment when it rebelled inside my digestive system. So, word to the wise, even if it still looks good and the consistency seems normal, if it's been around too long, don't eat it.

I don't remember the last day I sat down with the book I was reading and actually read it. I'd have to turn on the old computer to see the last work I did on getting my first novel out. Speaking of that, I am seriously considering getting it printed at this place called Trafford and seeing how many copies I can sell, and maybe make a bit of a profit on it. Normally self-printing is a frowned upon idea in the industry but these are the same people who insist on sending your book to one person at a time because heaven forbid two companies want to print it and have to actually compete with each other like every other single business on the planet. Not to mention I may have shot myself in the foot by doing something as daring as a cross-genre work that can't easily be pigeonholed.

Last week I took a huge step toward doing my own e-books for a couple short story collections. Publishers either take the stand that anything available on the Internet is a first printing and therefore something they do not want (for a second printing), or they ignore anything on the Internet as being separate (and rightly so) rights , so either way its not a problem for me to try to sell those on my site. They were already available once in my Killing Time: Horror E-Rag(TM).

There's another speaking of which moment. It's nearing October, and with it Halloween, and it appears that this year there will be nothing to be read from Killing Time. Last year's audio-short story drew next to no audience, presumably due to the file size. Who knew that for decent quality you actually have to have decent size for your own MP3s. It took me quite a while to put it on my site with dial-up. Then there was the fact it took a lot of the limited space I had. Now of course, I have the highest speed DSL I could get here and the web site while dropping by three quarters in price increased in size by four times. The question though is who else has the bandwidth to try it again. So, I will do nothing online with it. It'll stay filed away until maybe I do an entire audio-book of short stories.

Seems a shame to do nothing for Halloween though. Maybe something will happen. No promises.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Too Much White!

The other day I shaved after ten months of letting what passes for my beard grow. At about the six month mark it looked decent if not a bit two dimensional. So, I cut it down some and revealed the, shall we say, bald patches, particular to the bottom edge, but I guess I could have shaved to the even point. Though that seems to me to defeat the purpose of not shaving. Getting back to the point, I cut it the once to avoid the subtle threats that I looked like an overweight terrorist. Then Wednesday I took it all off. The scissors now have the name, The Fatenator. First thing I saw with the beard gone is the second chin, solid, not loose and flabby as it could be, and often is on others. Next I saw that the mustache without the beard looks silly, not to mention a bit thin for my liking.

I suppose it's about now I should mention that I've let my hair grow for slightly longer than the beard. It is staying for the foreseeable future. The beard was a bit of a bother, always getting in the way, like curling into my ears, and being something of a trouble eating. The mustache I trimmed regularly though I tried in vain to keep the ends long. The problem with that is you end up sucking them into your mouth while eating just about anything. Also the beard would get into fights with the hair curling around from the back and the brawl would ultimately end up in my ear driving me even further crazy.

Now we come to why, other than keeping friends and family informed and given them a bit of insight--i.e. I don't like hair in my ears--it is that anyone else would care. Not that this will necessarily engage the casual reader, but when I got it all off, mustache included, the first thing I thought was why is Meatloaf in my mirror. To this I started belting out "Bat Out of Hell". Then to get a good look at things I got my glasses on and if I didn't suddenly ask, what is a young Russell Oliver doing in my mirror. This of course led to a lot of finger waving and "I'll buy your jewelry for _cash_!", not to mention a strong sense of fear.

Overall, impressions aside, the overriding thought about me without the beard after so long having it was, "TOO MUCH WHITE"

This persisted for the next day or so. I kept imaging every time I left the mirror that ghostly letters would appear on it spelling out... You guessed it: too much white. This is also given that I rarely get any of that evil sun anyway so too much white pretty much sums me up period. So, if looking like Meatloaf or Cashman, and frightening the spirit world with my paleness isn't enough to send chills down your spine, then well you'll just have to go on living your life without fear. :)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labouring on Labour Day

Yesterday I finally sat down and typed out that scene in my second novel that I've been sitting on for a while. It ran a good length and I moved onto the very next scene, a bit of an expository piece to explain the previous scene, and then I quit with it dangling. It's good practice to leave off in the middle of a scene and leave yourself a couple of notes. Then when you come back you know what you have to do and you're not left staring at a blank page wondering what to do.

To the best of my knowledge I don't know if I will ever have what I think is traditional writer's block. You, know, where they open the word processor and stare at the blinking cursor and get no where. I don't think that will ever be me. I may on the other hand get project block where I stare at a particular piece of work and can't get anything for it to come to mind. Otherwise, I always seem to have something I could write. Ultimately, the results may be the same financially, whether you write nothing at all or you write lots but never finish anything.

At the minimum I seem to always be working on something. They may not be the things I should be working on *cough cough games*, they may not be the length or style I maybe should have a particular piece of work, but they are all worth the effort. I don't think there is anything that can't be put to use somewhere even if it takes years, and maybe a re-write. So I plug along, never ceasing it seems. They say there is no rest for the wicked. I therefore must be so awfully wicked.