Posted in Updates, writing

Get’chur Ebooks

If anyone was still in doubt, I am still a vlogger, despite my paltry view on Youtube.  Possibly I may be making the move to a different career soon too, one that doesn’t involve putting ingredients between slices of bread.

For now, getting those fat (read: purely fringe) royalty numbers from Amazon is nice to see. Getting my own physical copy of the book that I wrote myself, however,  had a bigger impact than anything else.  From tomorrow, the 30th, to Monday, the third, and eBook copy of Mother of Mars will be free on Amazon.  Additionally, if you buy the physical copy for 6.99, you can get an ebook copy for free as well.

I still need to decide what to do, or otherwise give away this copy I do have, but I don’t know how I plan to do it just yet.  It will give me time to work on my signature, though…

Advertisements
Posted in writing

Getting High on Rising Action

You start off on the straight edge, taking prescription reports assigned by your high school English teacher.  It’s some rhetorical analysis, non habit forming.  But the feeling of injecting lines of text into your word processor begins taking a hold of you.  Visions of fiction start to appear in your dreams.

You start of by just imagining the feeling.  You’ve got characters, scenarios, but you would never roll them up in a plot, blow them up into the smoke of a story.

Your friend shows you some of his poetry.  Crazy stuff, way out there.  You try some yourself, but it’s a trip you’re not ready for.  Seeing syllables line up like in some sort of pattern isn’t your thing, but you’ve already entered the gateway.

Prose isn’t that bad in comparison, right?  You lay down some short stories here and there, but it never feels like enough.  You could have so much more if you just expand on those characters, letting their rising actions taking them to climaxes in the plot-line.

You start feeling the need to shut yourself off, stashing your notebooks, lined paper, hiding the evidence.  The composition book sitting on the shelf at the mini-mart stares back at you, even though you only have enough money for the gas you need to get home.  You feel like taking it, but you know your parents raised you better.  But you need that fix.

Friends start to come to you.  Yo man, give me some of that historical fiction.  You’re passing out novellas so they can get their fix.  They come back for more, but you’re dry with writer’s block.  Just get me like a page, they say, even double-spaced is fine.

There comes a point when you have to come out.  There’s no longer a way you can hide it, bear to hide it.  Mom, Dad.  I’m a writer.

“It’s because you read him all those stories before bed.”  You mom would say, accusing your dad.

“You ordered that collection of encyclopedias too.  I saw him sitting with the second half of the E section, you know.”

It’s too late though.  You’ve got publishers breathing down your neck.  They want their stuff, but your parents took your keyboard away to try and ‘help’ you.  You’re scribbling with pencil nubs on the tags on your clothes, trying just to pull out one more chapter.

Writing.  Not even once.

Posted in writing

The Foggy Toll Booth

“Feck off.”  Cries the barkeeper as Smith stumbles out the bar, slurring incomprehensible curses back at the other patrons who were almost prepared to beat him themselves.

As he finds his car pulled up crooked at the side of the curb, he struggles to find the keyhole to unlock the door.  The keys somehow find their way to the moist asphalt below a couple times despite Smith’s earnest efforts.  Finally climbing in, the seat belt resists the best it could, and he decides to leave it be.  What, his house is only a few kilometers away at best.

Pulling out from under the protective glow of the street lamp, he jams in the accelerator, the streets his own personal raceway at this time of night.  Out from the bay, the fog can be seen rolling in against the backdrop of the bright, full moon hanging above the water.

By the time Smith had reached the coastal road to lead him the final stretch home, the fog had drifted onto the road, swallowing up the car and any light coming from the town on one side, or the moon from the other.  Turning on his brights in hopes to pierce the thick grey veil, something shines back at him, something probably on the bridge ahead.

Releasing the gas just a bit, he squints his eyes down, trying to find the source of the reflection.  The dark painted structure-work of the bridge comes into view, along with something new he had never seen.  A lone guardhouse sits by the road, holding up a bar across the roadway, and on it, a round orange reflector.

Inside the tiny structure sits a man atop a stool, seemingly waiting patiently under the tiny light danging from the ceiling. Smith pulls carefully up to the bar and rolls down his window.  The man appears just outside as he looks up from the window crank.

“Who’re you?”  Smith grumbles at the man.

“How are you tonight, sir?”  The man asks chipperly.  “Toll is just a humble 75 pence.”

Smith pats himself down, searching his empty pockets for the wallet that seemed to have gone missing.  “I don’t got it.”  He peers out at the man once again.  “Since when ya’ been here, feller?”

“Some time.  Now, unless I can collect you toll, I unfortunately can’t let you pass.”

“Wadd’a ya want me to do?”  Smith points out his window at the bridge.  “I live out here.  You sayin’ I godda go the long  way around?”

“Unfortunately, yes, sir.”

Smith lets out a ‘hmph’ and rolls the window back up.  Quickly turning the car around, he rolls off back in the direction of town.  As he takes the exit off the bay road, the heaviness in his eyes threatens to stop his excursion, and he pulls off to the side of the road to shut his eyes.

Sunlight drifts in the windows of the car as a knock at the window startles Smith awake.  A man in a blue uniform stands outside.  Staring into the bight morning sun, Smith rolls the window down.  “Can I help you?”  He mutters, his mouth dry.

“Just making sure you’re okay, sir.”  The officer looks down upon him.

“Course I am.  Just about to head back home, I am.”  Smith points back in the direction of the bridge.

“Oh, I wouldn’t go that way if I were you.”  The officer shakes his head.  “Bad accident on the bridge last night, in the fog.  Luckily both the drivers were wearing their seat belts, so they weren’t too banged up.  You better buckle up yourself, my friend.”  The man points down at Smith’s lap.

“What about that toll booth down there?  Did he see anything?”  Smith twists his back to look behind him.

“Toll booth?  Ain’t never been one there on that bridge.  You sure you’re okay?”

Posted in writing

Noire

Open up to a rain-drenched city, grey, dotted with orange streetlights piercing through the darkness intermittently.  The roads are empty, the low grumbling of my old Caddy’s engine pierces through the tapping of raindrops on the metal roof above me.

As I pull up to the crime scene, red and blue lights flash off the brick walls of the buildings and the shiny, wet ground.  Parking in front of the yellow police tape, I step out of the car with a slam of the heavy door.  Smooth saxophone music starts playing in the background as I pull the trench coat up over my shoulders.  Fat drops of water land on the fabric, slowly sinking and dissipating into the canvas.

Just inside the alleyway, a copper waves at me.  Excuse me, that may be rude.  A man of the law rather, a police officer.  He beckons to me and I step under the tape blocking off the area, holding the wide brimmed hat on my head.

Mixed among the muddy, trash filled puddles is a clear sign of crimson, trailing away from a body laying lifeless on the ground.  The police officer nods to me, starting to explain the circumstances of the death.  It’s a mob hit so it seems, as are many of the other crimes that happen here in this city.  All of the crime in this city is a result of the mob, in fact.  It’s strange.  Someone steal a candy bar from a convenience store?  That’s the mob.  Pushing an old lady down the stairs?  Definitely the mob.  Double parking?  Loitering?  The mobs’ involved.

Some coroner hovers over the body, examining the obvious wounds.  A bullet through the forehead.  Any signs of struggle, or otherwise presence of would be the perpetrators had already been washed away by the rain.  It seems the man’s wallet had been picked too, maybe by the perps.  More likely some bum who was passing by and wanted the money out of it.  Damn you mobsters.

Rather than taking the time to confirm things for myself, I duck under the fire escape to get out of the rain, if only by a bit.  I had an overall feeling of apathy about the whole situation, a nicotine craving, and most of all, a pack of cigarettes calling my name.

The match finally caught flame, dodging the drops of rain coming down overhead, and I lit up.  Bringing the cigarette to my lips, I take in the musty goodness, or whatever.  The person writing this has never smoked, so who knows.

Just as the first hot ember had dropped off the end, I hear one of the cop cars nearby roar to life, siren letting out a blare that begins to echo down through the buildings as it hurdles away from the scene.  I quickly get another officer’s attention who had heard the call.  Just my luck… another scene to go to, since this one seemed to be under control.  I wonder what the mob might have done this time…

Posted in writing

Pi Day

Let me tell you about Pi day.  March 14th, which reads out as 3.14.  First off, it only works in the states because of how we list our dates; month-day-year, which doesn’t really make sense if you think about it.  Whatever, it doesn’t matter.

My math teacher in high school loved Pi day for obvious reasons.  He always had a party that day.  I had the favor of taking a two year math course in high school, which meant getting to have the party twice with this same teacher.  I also found out I don’t like math, but that’s neither here nor there.

For this party, you had to bring things related to Pi.  Usually Pie.  However, pie would get old after the fourth kid or so brought something random from the store.  So, bringing anything round and edible would suffice.  If you could find the circumference of the item, it was good to go.

I was no trouble maker in high school, but I could see how people could abuse this.  First, you have kids bringing in stuff like watermelons.  They’re messy, unwieldy, and probably not easy to share among a lot of people.  Probably not the best option for a classroom party.

You could have students bringing in pepperoni or sausage, because after all, who doesn’t like a smorgasbord/ charcuterie tray, with cheese and stuff?  Pi day doesn’t have to be all about sweets.  But then you could have somebody bring in a whole ham round.  Next, we find that one person who is upset because of religious reasons, and you end up with a quarter-eaten ham at the end of the party.  The kid leaves it in the grocery bag he brought it in and forgets about it at the end of the day.  It stays in the class room over the weekend, and when class resumes on Monday, it smells like something has died.

To this day, I still remember a decent number of digits to pi, although writing them down here doesn’t prove that I didn’t just copy/paste it from somewhere else.

Posted in writing

And on and on…

I’m going to try an exercise; writing a run on sentence.  -Deep Breath-

Sometimes when you write you just get a stream of consciousness where you just say whatever first comes to your mind, like when I was writing back for National Novel Writing Month, something which I have to explain to many people a lot because I usually just shorten it to ‘nanowrimo’ because that’s what the site and the other people who participate in it do, after all saying the whole title is long, but when you hear just ‘nanowrimo,” it doesn’t sound like what you might expect it to be, I think partially because the W in writing is silent, and it doesn’t really translate when you say the abbreviated version, which I just so happen to be writing on my resume right now because I’m applying for a lot of real life jobs, and something like writing 50 thousand words, especially under the constraint of one book, is a good measure of productivity, creativity and goal orientation that an employer might look for, so there it is sitting right at the bottom of my resume, in a strange place because my friend helped me format my resume in word to look more fancy, and now it’s just stuck like that because he used some weird witchcraft to format it in a certain way to maximize space and verbosity, so any time I try to go and change something, or paste it somewhere else, like on a cover letter which every employer seems to require nowadays, the entire formatting of it breaks.

It still looks great nonetheless.

That went places.

Posted in real life, Updates, Vlog, writing

The Full Book Arrives

After going through my third final editorial read-through, I finally decided to stop ‘stalling,’ if you might call it that.  I can’t remember which year of elementary school it was, but my teacher then told me that a work is never done, it’s just due.  And I think Mother of Mars was long due.

I first toyed with the idea of a full novel when I was working a graveyard shift job at a gas station.  I had a lot of time to think about… well, things.  That’s where the premise of the book started.  Finally, just over a year ago, I finally put pen to paper- or rather, fingers to keyboard.  And now the final version is here.

I’m definitely going to buy a copy of the print version for myself, basically to check the quality of the printing they do.  I’ve never gotten my hands on a book published in this manner, so it should be interesting.  After that, though, I plan to sign it and send it off eventually to someone deserving.  Not that my signature has any value yet.  I’ll be looking partially to those who have been liking, commenting, and reading to decide who might receive it.

For now, I’ve already started editing the sequel that I haven’t really touched since I finished it at the end of November last year.  It’s also ten thousand words longer.  Luckily, I just can’t help but be engrossed in the story for myself.

I don’t want to bore you with any more of me droning on about myself and my works, so here’s my vlog from when I went to Sacramento, California for my birthday.  Oh wait, that’s about me too…

Posted in writing

The Public Pool Planet

This comes from another prompt from r/writingprompts.  

david-malan-dmalan-cosmonaut
via

Location, location, location.  That’s what they always say.  Too bad most locations across the system suck.  There are a few gems out there, but I have found more dirt heaps than diamonds in the rough.  Don’t even talk to me about turd polishing.  My employers would rather pay to send me to another planet than consider maybe putting a little bit of resources into terra-forming something with only slightly less than average potential.  They’re all about super luxury.  They won’t settle for less than the best.

Lucky for them, I am the best.  As an interstellar real estate agent, I’ve clocked more extra-terrestrial hours than most.  This was the third planet I was visiting this week.  Like most uninhabited planets, there are no convenient platforms to put my ship down on.  This one was no different.

Narrowly surviving the bumpy landing down the hillside, I stepped out of the ship, surveying tools in the bag at my side. I immediately noticed the nice bright light from both suns glaring down at me, from either side of the horizon, no less.  That would just be excellent for some even sunbathing pretty much any time of the day.  Mark that one down as a definite positive.  Looking good.

Dumping the big duffel bag on the ground, I zipped it open and started pulling out my tools.  Barometer, humidity monitor, my big old dumb camera for taking snapshots that could potentially be used for post cards and brochures in the future.  Just the necessary stuff.  This was a class B planet, meaning it could sustain surface water without evaporating it or freezing it.  Coincidentally, the B in class B stands for beach.  On the descent, I noticed a few good areas they could fill up with water and plop a resort by.  Strike up another point.

The final test is determining how much oxygen content is in the atmosphere to make an estimate how much it would cost to make it breathable.  The sensor ticked away for a bit, before popping up its reading- 12%.  Not bad.  However, I couldn’t help but notice the next reading up… chlorine, at 15%.  I’m not sure people coming to a beach resort planet would be pleased to find their blue paradise smelling like a public pool.

So much for that one.  Looks like we’re headed somewhere else.

Posted in writing

The Light in the Night

When you find yourself stranded on a desert island,

One of the things you notice is the night sky, completely obscured by any unnatural light.

After the first night, you might be content with never seeing another headlight, or streetlight, or house light again.

Until, on the horizon, you see the light from a ship.

Posted in writing

The Duel

“Mr Bradbury.  You’re being charged with the death of a Mr. Marshall.  How do you plea?”

“Guilty as charged.  May I go now?”  He leans back in the chair, tapping his foot expectantly, arms crossed.

“Oh no.”  The judge chuckles.  “You’ve just admitted to the killing of another human being.  We must now discuss sentencing.  You won’t be going anywhere for a while, Mr. Bradbury.”

“I killed that man fair and square.”  He admits confidently.

“Oh?”  The judge cocks his eyebrow at the aloof defendant.  “Please explain.”

“It was a duel.  Mr. Marshall knew what he was getting into.  Heck, I could have been the one shot, and he would be here before you today.  Either way, we agreed it would be the most proper way of going about it.  I believe we resolved any issues between the two of us.  We need not discuss this any further.”  He says, shaking his head emphatically.

“Mr. Bradbury.”  The judge leans forward menacingly.  “We have a witness who has attested to seeing you shoot Mr.  Marshall, clearly though the heart with a .45 Colt Single action revolver.”

“I would hope he would have seen it.  You need a witness to affirm the duel, after all.”  Bradbury turns around, scanning the audience for familiar faces.

“Mr. Bradbury.  We take murder very seriously here.”

“Murder?  No, no.  I’ve already explained.  It was a duel.  There was no cold blood, no malice.  Tell me, who is pressing charges?  If it’s Mr.Marshall’s estate, they should have to back down.  They belong to me now, after all.  That was one of the conditions of the agreement.”

“I don’t think you understand, Mr. Bradbury.”  The judge grinds his teeth.  “The district attorney is the one pressing charges.  No amount of negotiation between you and Mr. Marshall will change the fact that killing somebody with clear intention is illegal here in the United States of America.  In addition, the disbursement of any property as a result of this ‘arrangement’ may be nullified based on our findings, which may include making sure they are properly notarized… among other things.  I’m assuming, in your moment of perfectly rational thinking, you got these terms in writing, am I correct?”

“Of course.  They’re even signed in blood.” The defendant replies, matter-of-factly. “They’re as good as anything.”

The judge purses his lips.  “I see.  I think we may have to suspend this trial for another day while we… make sure of certain things.”

“Listen.”  Bradbury speaks up.  “If we just head out back of the court house right now… I’m sure we can find a way to settle this, like gentlemen.”  He nods his head at the judge, making gun motions with his fingers.

“Bailiff.”