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Showing posts from 2010

The Last Post (of the year)

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Wow, it's been quite a year. I wanted to post something to commemorate the end of the year, and make it, you know, special.
To hell with that. Let's just get on with it and plunge into a shiny brand new year.

First, some reflection.

This time last year, I had just recently arrived back from Iraq, was getting settled back into life in the world.

This time two years ago, I had just buried my father, whom I hadn't seen in years, which only made performing these final duties all the more daunting.

But this next year, I'm sure, will prove to be a wonderful and fascinating time. And, according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, could be our final full year. To that I say, if some big meteor is going to plow into Earth and wipe out most of our civilization, I plan to be outside and as close to the point of impact as possible. Why suffer through the aftermath? I been to nearly all corners of the Earth in my time, and I've seen (and sometimes participated in) dev…

That Old Favorite Christmas Tune

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I know, I kind of disappeared there for awhile. But now I'm back with my newest adventure. Let's just say this may, or may not, be true.
So, to keep you guessing, I've decided to tell the story in the form of that old favorite Christmas song, "Grandma got run over by a reindeer." Just imagine the tune as you read the chorus and verse.

Grandma got pulled over by the Po-Po

Driving home from our house Christmas day.
She tried to talk the officer to a warning
But he just shook his head and said "No way."

She was visiting her family
Eating food and drinking wine
But when she got into her auto
She dropped her quaint fa├žade and lost her mind
Grandma got pulled over by the Po-Po
Driving home from our house Christmas day.
She tried to talk the officer to a warning
But he just shook his head and said "No way."


Seems she'd taken out a stop sign And drove her car over a bump How she drove another mile We're still shocked, amazed, and truly stumped




It wasn…

Adventures on "The Tube."

Here it is! The long awaited (well, maybe not) video book trailer for "Lovestruck Succubus" a parnormal erotic fantasy (romance, suspence, crime) just posted on youtube yesterday.

Take a look, Tell me what you think.

Stumbling onto Genius

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History states that Tea was invented by accident in 2737 b.c. by the great emperor, Shen Nung. He was boiling water outside and some leaves dropped into his kettle. Before he could retrieve them from the boiling water, he saw the water changing color and smelled a sweet aroma. He drank it, and thus began the rise of the popularity of tea.
I'm sure, in real life, tea was likely invented by some poor peasant farmer and presented to the emperor in lieu of some tax or something. Otherwise, it sure seems there were many things invented by rulers and emperors back in the day.
And, by the way, Shen Nung is also credited with teaching the people of china to cultivate hemp (marijuana) to make hempen cloth.
The same holds true in writing. I've written a lot of crap in my day, but occasionally I stumble upon some phrase or thought, purely by accident, that sends my mind into overdrive. These little sparks of inspiration sometimes completely change the direction of a story, or even provide t…

The Problem with Polygamy

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I was flipping through the channels one night last week, and happened upon the latest in reality television programming -- Sister Wives.
This show is all about the life inherent drama associated with three (or is it four) women, all living with one man. According to the man, it was not his idea to enter into this lifestyle but his wives's.
On the surface, this might seem like a great gig for the man. But, upon further investigation, I've found some issues with this lifestyle.
First off, I noticed that this family was not swimming in money. They live a rather impoverished life, make their own clothes. I don't think any of the women worked but said they were happy taking care of their multiple children. I can tell you right now, that would never fly in my household!
And then there is the thought of the man's, and women's, marital relations. From the man's point of view I can tell you this. Fantasizing about multiple partners, even if not at the same time, is one thin…

Knowing

Matthew knew the day he would die. He knew the love that would be by his side when he died. He'd known since his twelfth birthday when he woke on that spring day, with an epiphany. There was no other way to explain it--he just woke up knowing.

...

What if you knew the day you were going to die. What if you knew your time was limited and you knew how much time you had, exactly, to accomplish whatever it was you wanted with your life?

Would you become depressed and give up, waiting for that fateful day to arrive? Would you jam your life into high gear and try to do as much as possible in the time you have?

Tell me what you think about this.

I thought about this very thing this weekend, and wondered what I would do. I think, in the end, I would try to make the most of the life I have.

What if you were given some divine knowledge as to exactly when, and under what circumstances, the world, as we know it, would end? Would you try to convince others of your knowledge?

Just something to…

Cold Weather Writing

I awoke this morning to a layer of frost covering my front lawn. "This is writing weather," I thought, and promptly sat down at the computer to write.

Unfortunately, I chose the wrong computer--the one with the Internet connection. Before long I was surfing like crazy, checking out all the haps on facebook, twitter, email, my publishing site. Didn't get much writing done.

I sometimes get inspired to write during changes in the weather. If it is a dark and stormy night (no pun intended) I am likely inspired to write something dark and sinister. Or, if I am already engaged in a long-term project, my writing tends to darken from the atmospheric influence.

What about the rest of you writers out there. Does weather have an influence on how or what you write? Do come up with strange new ideas in times of unique or abnormal weather?

Climbing The Charts

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My new Novel "Lovestruck Succubus" has climbed all the way to number five on Smashwords.com bestseller (Novel) list and holding at number two in the genre novel listing.
Please help my work climb to number one at smashwords before it is release at all major ebook outlets including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ipad ibooks by downloading your FREE copy now in any format your computer or reader may support.
Just use the "buy" option and use this code for your FREE copy: QD37X

Please consider leaving a review after reading if you would like. It would help me out and help my new novel climb a little higher on the charts before its debut on the major outlets.

Also, you can earn 50% of my royalties by becoming an affiliate marketer of my book. Several folks have already made more than $2.20 for each one of my books sold through their link. Yes, I am willing to share half of my royalties to those helping to sell my book on Smashwords and drive it up the charts. This will…

Daleville Dan Does Thanksgiving

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Daleville Dan awoke in the morn
on that warm thanksgiving day
His sheets were soaked, his brow was wet
his 'lectric bill, he forgot to pay

He went to the fridge in search of some viddles
But the milk had turned to whey
That's ok, said with a smile
The turkey's defrosted, and I like my beer warm anyway


After spending the day drinking warm beer and now holdin' the turkey over the fryer He said, "Y'all watch this" as he quickly dropped the bird and started a big 'ole grease fire
"Now that's a faar, he said nervously
as the flames lapped at his home
and before the fire trucks could come
his single-wide had turned all ash and loam

When the police arrived the firemen explained, "It's just like Dan's luck And through it all Daleville Dan was thankful The flames never reached his truck.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm sure we all have many things to be thankful of.

Authors, Friends, and Social Media

Since I've recently become an "indie" author-a decision I may later rejoice in, or regret-I've undergone a crash-course in social promotion and self-marketing.

There are many opportunities for the indie author. Although, I believe that, first and foremost, one should concentrate on writing a quality story that is free of grammatical errors and plot holes. I must say this now, before I discuss marketing opportunities, that I had the help of an outstanding editor and new friend-Tammy Parks. I must give her mention here because, even after reading through my own work eight times, yes EIGHT times, she still found typos and spelling errors or missing words.

All I can say is: "She must have some kind of enhanced vision and spidey-sense the way she found all these."

Anyway, here's some of the things I've done in the first week after publication to foster and awareness of my book and increase sales.

The first thing I did was post the news on my blog and on …

Hair (R)evolution

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I've got this thing about hair and alcohol. Okay, not so much with the alcohol, although I have had just a few binge moments throughout my life.

I was looking back through some old photos recently and found that I could track my development through the evolution of my hair length. It seems I've been alternating between somewhat long, and extremely short hair all my life. This first picture is of me sitting in the front yard reaching for the beer. What a great start to life. I don't know who was offering me the beer.


It started out fairly normal. I sported the average hairstyle of the day back in 1966. You know, parted on the side, with a little whoop-di-do in the front.
Then, by 1969, my hair was all gone. The only thing I can figure is that it was summertime when the photo was taken. That's me sitting next to my cousin, Paula. I'm the one with the multi-directional stripe-thing going on.

By the very next year, my hair was right back to that side-parted style with the…

Promotion

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Ok, time for the announcement. The project I've been working on most of this year is now available for your reading pleasure.
You can find it here.

Use code:  QD37X

Yes, this is the story of the Demon Succubus ousted from her clan for attempting to keep men alive long enough to develop a relationship with them. Unfortunately, her needs always trump her desires and she soon finds herself in the sights of a local police detective. The detective may be the only man able to survive her, but he has a secret of his own.
Remember, this story is for adults and contains erotic elements, so adults only.
If you follow the link, you can read 50% of the book for free. If you would like to get the whole thing for free (download in all available formats) than go through the "buy" process and use this coupon code: QD37X (not case sensitive.)
All I ask is that you might consider leaving a starred review with comments after reading.
If you prefer to download from a mainstream site, this book wil…

Karma in Critique

I know that many of you out there stay very busy with work and writing, or anything else that takes up most of the day. But, I implore you to consider taking on the additional task of occasionally critiquing or reviewing the work of others.
I used to absolutely hate (read HATE) taking on the task of reading someone's work critically. But, after basically being forced to take on such work in order to have my own work evaluated, I found that there is much to be learned from this activity.
I've learned more about my own writing by reading the work of others than I could have learn in three lifetimes on my own. I've learned what I, or many other readers, like and dislike--even when I cannot say, with any real authority, why. I've learned how to express my thoughts in a realistic and positive manner. I've developed a thick skin and a realistic view of my own talent. Most of all, I feel like I have learned how to write better by helping others write better.
What I'm …

The Final Choice

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OK, the few votes are in, and I'm guessin' that most of you preferred cover concept number three. Below, I've posted an updated version of the cover.



So, tell me what you think. Does this capture your attention? If you saw this cover, would you be prompted to give the blurb a read - look inside?

On the right, I've posted the same picture in a smaller version so you might see what it would look like on your electronic reader, or online with Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
What are your thoughts? Intrigued? For the few folks participating in the beta-reading of this project, you'll know that the main character's eyes are a luminescent green with a thin band of gold ringing the outside. I hope this depicts that, although I wanted to make the eyes just a little more luminescent for the cover.

Oh, and by the way, The evening skyline in the foreground is of Midtown Atlanta. The building behind the building on the left is the Atlanta Four Season's Hotel. My main chara…

Cover Concepts

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Presented for your opinion.

Three slightly different cover concepts for my WIP nearing completion. Which of these would most grab your attention, number one, two, or three?

1.

2.

3.

As you can see, the basic elements are the same. I want to have a woman's face superimposed into the Atlanta skyline. Specifically, the Four Season's Hotel depicted in all three concepts. Also, keep in mind that these are covers in concept only. They were all done by me to get an idea for what kind of feel the cover might have.

The one other thing that I would like to have that is not currently shown is the woman on each cover will have luminescent green eyes ringed in gold.

So, Tell me. Which one of these covers, if any, would most entice you to look a little closer and read the blurb for the story?

I personally like the third one best ... but don't let that sway your decision. Oh, and that author name shown? That's the pen name I use for my more adult projects and experimental projects.

The facebook Phenomenon

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You might notice a new little gadget down there on the lower right part of this blog. Yes folks, I've now connected this blog to network blogs on facebook.

Problem is, I managed to get the widget stuck on my blog page, but now I'm thinking the only thing I've done is follow myself.

Please hit the follow button on this if you want to follow me with facebook. I hope it works. Hopefully, I'll figure out how to work this thing sooner or later.

Use Your Voting Privilege

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This is just a friendly reminder for all of you American citizens out there that voting is, in fact, a privilege.

Tomorrow marks another election cycle in our nation. One of the great things about living in America is our ability to control our own destiny by voting for those that can represent us as best as possible, and serve as a means to that end.

So, I urge all of you to get out there tomorrow and VOTE! It does not matter where your political convictions lye or what others say. That, my friends, is the great thing about this country. I can mix with associates with differing political and ideological beliefs, and still keep them as friends. One does not suffer the threat of death for expressing their political beliefs, or even voting for that matter, in this country.

Sure, we have accusations of voter fraud, and one may have to shuffle past Black Panther members or the Tea Party Express to get to the polls, but they are not trying to shoot you on your way to the polls.

Iraq, for ex…

Celebrating Survival: Breast Cancer Awareness

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As some of you may know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Why, one might ask, did I wait until nearly the end of the month to post on this subject? I chose the third week of the month to celebrate breast cancer survival. A kind of "I made it to the end" theme.

Please take the time to learn a little about breast cancer and how we can all work together in hopes of someday alleviating this nuisance from our world. One can get started at this breast cancer awareness website.

We must all remember that breast cancer can affect anyone. Even if you do not get breast cancer yourself, you could be effected by a friend or family member with breast cancer. I'm sure that many of you, at least, know someone that has or has had breast cancer.

My Grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer, among other things, a few years ago. My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor.

Many folks you might have heard of have had breast cancer, including those listed below:

Kylie Minogue
M…

Shameless Self Promotion

I just received word that the audio addition of a story I had published with Eclectic Flash literary Journal was posted today!
The audio story posted is speculative flash fiction titled "The Sentient Soldier." It was narrated and produced by me. Click here for the audio story in mp3 format.

The story may take a few seconds or so to buffer as the mp3 is five minutes long.

Murdering Hiccup Girl

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I just read this morning that the girl in Florida once famous for her uncontrollable hiccuping has been charged with first degree murder.

This poor soul originally appeared on the RADAR a few years back about the girl who could not stop hiccuping (click for link to original story.)

How does incessant hiccuping lead to murder? Well, after reading the related stories, one can understand that her issue is systemic to our entire society.

Thinking about it from a psychological aspect, the story becomes clear. Her hiccups were so bad that could not attend school regularly, this led to a poor education and limited employment prospects. Her desire for a means of financial security led to an association with unsavory characters, who misguided her into a life of crime. In desperation, she became involved in a robbery gone wrong.

Of course what is really typical of our society today that, instead of just being honest and saying "she messed up and must now pay the price" we look for som…

Introductory Poem

As many of you know from my previous posts, I've completed a project (well, the draft anyway) and am now editing and shopping for beta readers. The reasoning behind all the insecurity? This is a project far-removed from what I normally write.

I will, as editing progresses, post excerpts of this work here before moving them to a permanent page in the tabs above.

Meantime, a friend and fellow member of a local writer's group wrote a poem that I just love. I would like to convince her to allow me to use this poem at the beginning of my story if published because it rapidly drills into the very consciousness of my main character.

The poem was written by Jennie Fiumefreddo and is posted here (as written) with her permission. Remember that name folks, as you'll likely be seeing it on store bookshelves someday.

Succubus

Jennie Fiumefreddo
You don't even scream as I begin,

Bondage lies in the shackles of sin.

The smell of my skin makes your nostrils flare,

The pounding of lust block…

Take Me to the River

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... Dip me in the water.

A great song that many enjoyed through the stylings of The Talking Heads as recorded by them in 1979. But did you know that this song was recorded in 1976 by the band Foghat? Better still, did you know that it was originally written and recorded by Al Green in 1974? Al Green. Now there was a great Artist.

I have a tendency to just dive into certain things, full force. Call it adult ADD or whatever, but I still suffer from stagnation and overplanning/overplotting when it comes to new stories. I suppose I should plow ahead in writing as I do in other areas-that's the way I've always been.

Case in point.

I remember when I was young, my family enjoyed camping trips. OK, my father enjoyed camping trips and, since I wanted to be the next grizzly Adams, I enjoyed them too. I'm not sure anyone else in the family liked anything about camping except maybe sitting around a campfire listening for Uncle Bob's laugh (although I think he was a second Uncle.) H…

A Flawless Rescue

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I was going to post a personal story today of a time in my childhood when I did not listen to my parents and nearly drown in a river. Instead, I was moved by the news to post a short piece on the rescue of the thirty-three miners in Chile.

A rescue that was originally supposed to happen by Christmas at the latest, and with little hope that all would survive, ended in great triumph and emotion.

I must take time to applaud the Chilean President and his wife for sticking it out to the end and supporting each and every one of the miners as they emerged from the rescue shuttle. The President's wife shed honest tears of joy for every arrival right up to the last. This serves as a testament to the true good will in a position normally fraught with political maneuvering and positioning. All that seemed to be put aside while the entire Chilean country and government stood behind and pushed forward the rescue effort.

I know that I normally post about writing and satire, but I thought this ev…

He Sailed the Ocean Blue

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On this day we celebrate the great discovery of Christopher Columbus - America. So, of course, I feel I must post some obscure facts about the man, his family, and his discovery.
First off, I know that by all the school books you've ever read, you were led to believe that Columbus' journey was a well planned venture of discovery by the British empire to find a new world. In reality, that didn't happen until later.
You see, Christopher Columbus was actually charged with finding a sea route to India. He thought it would be quicker to use the an ocean route, therefore, hastening Spain's entry into the lucrative business of spice trading. Only thing is, when he finally gained approval (and funding) from his country's leadership, he launched quickly in fear they would change their minds.

He landed in the New World months later and immediately set sail back home to tell his country he had found passage to India. I'm sure that most of you know this fact.

I write this …

Moving in Shadows

I've seen much talk on the blogs lately of how one goes about writing a story. Some folks call themselves "Pantsters" because they start with a character or premise and just start writing. The concept here is that the character and situation will take on a life of their own and tell the story.

On the other side are the "Plotters" or "Liners." These folks create their characters and then outline the story they want to tell in as much detail as possible. Almost in polar opposite to a pantster, the plotter knows, right from the beginning, what will happen in the story and what the outcome will be.

I suppose that I fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I like to bounce an idea around in my head for quite some time before putting anything down on paper or screen. I then make a list, by character, expressing what major events will take place, what growth my characters will experience and whether their actions are part of the main plot or a subplot.

Editing Hell

Wow, I haven't done much with the blog lately.

Truth is, I just finished the draft for a project and have moved into the editing phase. I used to love this part of writing, but the love is quickly fading.

For some reason, I am still finding little grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors on the third go-round. And another thing. Isn't the word count supposed to go down as one edits? I've somehow gained two thousand words through my edits.

The one good thing that has come of this process so far though, is that I've already begun to develop the sequel to my "still unpublished" project, and I think it's going to be a doozy! Heck, for that matter, I've already come up with a title. I am thinking I will call the next (sequel) story: A DEMON AMONG WOLVES.

The Magic of Publication

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If this post seems like outright self-promotion, that's because it is.

The September issue of Eclectic Flash is out and containing two of my flash fiction stories. The stories to look for are:

My Mind's Eye by J.L. Stratton, page 36
The Sentient Soldier by J.L. Stratton, page 70

Both stories are speculative fiction. My Mind's Eye is an epistolary piece. The Sentient Soldier is a science fiction piece with social undertones.

Please take the opportunity to visit Eclectic Flash (click the word) and check out their literary journal. You can read the magazine for free through the online reader or buy copies of the magazine through a link on their site.

Read my stories, then feel free to post your comments.

Treasure Found

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I've heard many times that one person's trash is another's treasure. I do not know where the phrase originated but I now understand the meaning a little more.

This weekend, I was with my wife running errands, which meant we had to spend time at the Dollar Tree. For those of you who do not live in the South, the Dollar Tree is a variety store that sells everything for one dollar. My wife loves the Dollar Tree and I would say that a good percentage of everything we have littering our house is from said store.
Believe it or not, the Dollar Tree actually has a literature section. Yes folks, you can buy books there - Novels for one dollar.

Anyway, I found a book that turned out to be quite entertaining. The book is written by Bill Keaggy and is published by HOW Books.
Honestly folks, the book is 232 pages of pure insanity. I loved it. Let me set the stage for this.

Imagine, if you will, you just emptied out your shopping cart, suffering through the heat and inconsiderate drivers …

Percolate Easy

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Percolate:
Transitive and intransitive verb to make a liquid or gas pass through a filter or porous substance, or filter through in this way:
Intransitive verb to pass slowly through something or spread throughout a place.
• I let the idea percolate through my mind.

I took the title of this post from the history of Headquarters company, Third Battalion, One-seventeenth Infantry. To summarize what the quote below says, Percolate was a code word used in WWII by many units to designate the order for attack on the enemy. Easy was a word derived from the Time of day the attack was scheduled to take place. In this case 8am because eight starts with the letter "E." If the attack was to take place at 5am, the command would be "Percolate Foxtrot." Percolate Easy is the Master Thesis written by Capt. William P. Buttler. It was written in June 1947. Percolate Easy takes its name from a simple but effective strategem used by regiment to indicate that an attack was due. When a batta…

The Ever-Continuous Story

As I near the end of the draft of my latest project, I find it increasingly difficult to actually finish. With only two scenes remaining, my writing has slowed to a snail's pace. Also, I find myself getting distracted because I am already developing plans for a sequel.

I guess the characters of this project have finally gotten under my skin. Meantime, all other projects and responsibilities in my life are not getting much attention.

I have sections in my back yard where the grass has grown so tall that I'm afraid to mow it in fear of what might lie underneath the jungle-growth. Had to take some time last weekend to replace a radiator and perform some other needed maintenance on my daughter's car. I hear the subtle voice of a previous writing project calling me, begging for attention, and yet, I still keep thinking of the continuation to a work not even finished yet.

On the upside, I will attend a meeting for my local writer's group tonight for some much needed inspirat…

Confession and Redemption

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OK, So I am moving at a snail's pace on the last three scenes of my current project and need a break. I find a good joke to be the perfect pick-me-up. Here's one I heard recently.
A young woman goes to confession. She kneals and says, "Forgive me father, for I have sinned." "Confess, and be forgiven," the priest says. "Last night I picked up a strange man in a bar and took him home with me. I invited in my home and he made mad passionate love to me seven times throughout the night."

The priest looks at the woman through the screen and thinks very hard for nearly a minute before saying, "Squeeze the juice of seven lemons into a glass and attempt to drink the juice all at once."



"If I do this, will I be forgiven of my sins?" The woman asks.
"No," the priest responds. "But it will help to wipe that damn smile off your face."
The moral?

Sometimes being bad can make you feel oh so good.
Now you have an idea where the der…