I want you good folks to start 2018 with a bang, so here’s a Goodreads giveaway to get you fired-up for the new year. To do so, I’m giving away 100 KINDLE e-book of my short novel Desperados, plus 100 e-books of my short story collection Shell Casings, all you have to do is enter to win, then, as if by magic, Goodreads picks the winners out of a top hat and poof! the e-book will appear on your Kindle device–how cool is that? If you don’t win, no worries, my books are now FREE to READ with Kindle Unlimited. Good Luck and Happy New Year!
I came back from a well-deserved, albeit, short vacation and I’m having a bit of a hard time adjusting. I’m not big on traveling and after this trip, let’s just say that I’ll have to think long and hard before I decide to go anywhere overseas, I got stopped and questioned for twenty minutes by two cops as I landed to my connecting flight in El Salvador, I guess I do look like a sketchy character after all. Anyway, a few things have happened since I’ve been back.
- iStock and Getty Images sent me an email telling me that they have no record of an active license for the commercial use of an image on this site. I’m guilty as charge, I used the image in question on a post I did back to 2015 when I first started this site and I had no idea about image licenses and what have you. Needless to say I took down the image and I’ll have to think twice before putting another image on this site; my broke-ass doesn’t need a lawsuit. Lesson learned.
- While formatting the manuscript for my new book, I lost three chapters of the piece, I wanted to die, I still do, it sucks ass. Those lost chapters took a long time to write and research. I became aware of this disaster while I was formatting, slash, read-though and re-write. I know what you’re thinking: Back yer shit up you moron! That’s where the problem lies because I back-up constantly, meaning; as soon as I make a change to the manuscript, any change, I back it up. So, that day, I backed it up as soon as I did the formatting (without double checking), I didn’t became aware of the missing chapters until I did a second read-through. It sucks because I was just about to finish the first draft. Lesson learned, I think. I hope.
- Now for some good news. Christmas is almost here! Eggnog, mistletoe and booze, lots of booze. Cheers!
Taboo, bizarre, depraved and shocking are a few of the popular words you’ll find when you delve into the world of prolific Japanese auteur Takashi Miike. His eccentric cinematic stylings are not for everyone, his work is divisive, but there’s no denying, the man is a true original. I don’t shy away from extreme cinema (except for that Human Centipede flick, that’s just fucking disgusting cinema) anyway, the first Takashi Miike movie I saw is based on a popular manga; the extremely violent and bizarre Ichi the Killer. When it comes to his aesthetic; the man is fearless, shameless and I don’t think he gives two shits about the word restrain, couple that with a dark sense of humor and you have one of those rare artists who is not afraid to go there; into the abyss, into the dark alleys, into the absurdities of life and then some. In honor of the release of his 100th movie, the ultraviolent Blade of the Immortal, here’s a short list of some of the flicks I’ve seen so far, (I haven’t seen them all) Warning; these films are not for the squeamish.
Audition: With the help of a friend, a widower mounts an audition for young girls in order to find a new wife. The girl he settles for is not what he bargained for. Creepy as hell but you’ll find a new use for piano wire.
Dead or Alive Trilogy: While on the same assignment, two contract killers find out that they were childhood friends. Strap on for a Yakuza-fest filled with bloodshed, mondo-bizarro antics of a manga-comes-alive fun ride.
Ichi the Killer: Sadomasochistic Yakuza enforcer Kakihara encounters a unique sexually-repress, psychotic killer by the name of Ichi in one of the most unique Yakuza flicks you will ever see. Nipples get sliced-off and so does a tongue.
13 Assassins: In order to kill an evil lord, a group of assassins get together for what can surely be a suicide mission. This is the director’s foray into ‘classic’ Japanese samurai genre cinema, albeit with the director’s distinctive warped aesthetic and blood everywhere!
Visitor Q: I’ve yet to see this one, however, I’ve been told that it makes little narrative sense (some call it Avant Garde) but, it’s chock full of taboo acts, like the one where a man has sex with a dead woman, she becomes wet down there and so he thinks that the woman has come back to life only to find out that the wetness is nothing else but feces. Yeah he goes there.
Gozu: Same as above, I’ve yet to see this one, and again, for what I’ve read it makes very little narrative sense, but it features a woman giving birth to a grown man. Yep, I don’t think anyone’s going to see that in a Disney movie anytime soon.
It goes without saying; Takashi Miike makes the type of cinema that’ll make you want to take a shower afterwards, so enjoy with caution.
Smell me later! wait, that came out wrong. Smell ya later!
Every once in a blood-filled moon, when someone has a shitty day, they—selfishly—decide to open The Necronomicon, when this happens; comedians become serious and politicians become lousy jokers, sweet and lovable Grandma’s bake babies instead of apple pies. In a topsy-turvy land such as this; all sense of decency is lost and humanity goes down the crapper. Pus oozes from long festering wounds which require spiritual attention. Is it too late? Or is it too soon to declare this black hole, this black night of humanity an irreversible tragedy? Time tick-ticks away as it moves unbroken, in a straight line into an uncertain future. Do not despair, I tell myself over and over again. Do you ever fool yourself into thinking that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel? I only pray to the Gods of the MTA that that light is not a long-delayed C train, or a freight train, sans breaks, coming out of Poughkeepsie.
Though a sharp dresser; “The emperor is naked,” screamed the child.
The existential angst of the 21st Century: is my spouse cheating on me with the help of an app? Will the coward-piece-of-shit mass shooter set it off today? Tonight? When? A collective nervous breakdown went through the psyche of the human species; an invisible wave of pure evil, suddenly we seem to be losing our sense of humanity. Greed is becoming God and delusional hubris came along with the help of social media which seems to be plunging us into a stupor of self-importance, ignorance, insensitivity, arrogance and narcissism. These maladies rule our lives without signs of abating. The Grandiose Farts of the Land rule without regard of what’s in front of them, because God- forbid our bellicose ‘leaders’ get in touch with their humanity and lend a hand to the needy, do they think that perhaps doing so will lead them down the road to poverty? Sometimes I lay awake at night and wonder; are they even human? As the crow flies to parts unknown I wonder if he wonders:
Can a Nation lose its soul? Does it have one?
Fast-paced, hard, and dirty as the New York City concrete. Is it the most original premise? No, but it doesn’t have to be simply because; beat for beat the author holds your attention and doesn’t let go. We’ve seen or heard this story before (reminded me a bit of what happened on Precinct 75th in the late 80’s early 90’s in Brooklyn) Crooked cops, mafia types and drug-peddling outfits converge in Manhattan North, that is: Harlem, Spanish Harlem and the Washington Heights area. All parties involve play their money-hungry power trips among the innocent—and not so innocent populace. A tremendous amount of research went into this book, from police culture, to drug culture, and the neighborhoods in which these events take place.
The protagonist Denny Malone recalls his father. He was a cop on these streets, coming home in the morning after a graveyard shift with murder in his eyes, death in his nose and an icicle in his heart that never melted and eventually killed him.
Greed, violence, race inequality, injustice, retribution and redemption are touched in a book that will undoubtedly become a classic in the crime fiction cannon. While reading ‘Da Force,’ flashes of The Wire, Goodfellas, The Shield and the Godfather came at me (in a good way). Author Don Winslow writes furious fast-paced books with an unparalleled handle on dialog, and characterization that engages the reader like no other author around. He has, easily, become one of my top ten favorite writers of all time. The Force is the third book I’ve read from this author, in this year alone. He’s that good.
5 out of 5
Ever since I started this self-publishing journey I’ve learned a few things, some good, some bad (mostly good) but I will not trade this experience for anything, it continues to be fun and challenging, exhilarating, frustrating and fantastic. Along the way; I’ve learned a few things about myself and about people in general. Self-publishing comes with a steep learning curve, a curve I’m still learning to navigate as I go along. Meanwhile I thought I would write a post about a few things I’ve learned so far. Read on…
Lower Your Expectations Writer Boy.
That’s right; high expectations make fools of all of us, especially when you write a book and no one cares or knows who the hell you are. I used to get on a high anytime I would hit publish, thinking that readers would flock to the book like it’s the second coming, well that shit doesn’t happen and it probably never will, See, self-publishing still lacks the respect it rightfully deserves, some might disagree with this but that’s been my experience so far. I’ve since learned to be okay with it. The trick here is to accept it; otherwise you’ll be fucking miserable and life is too short for that shit.
Flakes Are Us
‘Say what you mean and mean what you say.’ Remember that lesson from mom and dad? Well that shit is gone. Nowadays people don’t practice such trivialities as ‘keeping their word’ maybe I’m naïve, but keeping your promises to others, used to be a good thing; nowadays you can’t hang your hat on other people and their promises. I’ve learned to take—most of everything—that people say to me in this business, with a spoon of salt, most folks don’t practice what they preach either. Sadly I think this trend is rubbing off on me. Sigh.
There’s No Money in Writing
Hard to believe but it’s true. I don’t know a single author who’s actually making a living with their writing, sure, some would claim that they’re rolling in it, see above and take it with a shovel of salt because the only one’s making a killing are the big names we all know and love. So, family and friends? Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not rolling in cash, and just so you know? I don’t write to get rich, I write because I love to tell a good story and no, I’m not on my way to fortune and fame, but if I was to choose I would choose the former because being poor sucks ass.
Write My Story
Yep, everyone wants you to write their story. When I first moved in to my new digs the landlord found out I was a writer and he proposed that I should write his biography. I’m sure his life is probably interesting, full of action and adventure but writing is a job and I don’t want to write about another New York slumlord pretending to be poor yet somehow interesting. Nobody needs that shit; now fix the dripping pipe double-o-seven.
Sell Me a Book
This one is kicking me in the shins because I still don’t know much about marketing as I’d rather be writing. I might get the hang of it someday, but for now this is it. I want to take this opportunity to thank the few people who are kind enough to read and buy my books; I hope you enjoyed them, I hope you know they come from a place of love and respect for the art of writing, something that I’ll keep doing every time I sit down and write. That’s a promise, and I keep my promises.
Okay I’m off to update my dating profile. You should do the same. Later!
No, I’m not talking about breaking rulers here; I’m talking about rules of writing. I’m no expert, I just sit down and write what comes naturally to me, I’ve never taken a writing course (yeah I live dangerously) and I didn’t know that there were rules but apparently there’s a bunch of rules out there. The following are a few examples of rules I’ve come across, mostly stuff I’ve found on the internet, some make a lot of sense to me, most of these so-call ‘rules’ are just silly. It’s been said that in order to break the rules one must know the rules, yeah that sounds good and all, but at the end of the day, you as a writer should follow your own instinct and write the best story you can write.
Write What You Know
This one’s easy and blatantly obvious, see the gist here is that if you write what you know your story will fly out into the page much more easily, no argument there because is true, however I’ve always had a bit of a problem with it because it got me thinking: As far as I know; Dante Alighieri never took a stroll in hell yet he wrote about it flawlessly in “The Divine Comedy” that takes imagination and to me; imagination trumps anything when it comes to writing. I like a challenge therefore I like to dive head first into matters which I know nothing about, by doing so, I get to learn something and, hopefully, so will the reader. As a writer you just got to make sure you do your research and come across as someone who knows what you’re talking about, otherwise you’ll come across as a jackass, which I’m sure I’ve done plenty of times.
Don’t Write About Music
Oh boy, I did it now! See, again I see where that rule’s coming from as most folks could care less about music while reading a story, novel, etc. unless is the book “Please Kill Me” which I recommend wholeheartedly to anyone interested in the Punk Rock movement. That being said; yours truly is currently writing a story saturated in music from the 1980’s, I know, I think I just shot myself in the foot on that one. Aside from turning people away when you dwell into music in writing, one has to keep in mind the copyright consequences that this endeavor brings, which means; you can’t go around penning song lyrics for songs you haven’t written, you will get it in the ass for doing so and it’s not cool. But if you still want to pen someone else’s lyrics into your masterpiece know that you’ll need permission from the copyright holder and a shit load of mullah, so beware. On the other hand you can do what I tend to do… I write the name of the song, sometimes crediting the singer or band, and then I tend to describe what the song is about to the reader.
Don’t Tell Jokes
Whoever wrote this ‘rule’ must have a broomstick up in their keister, I mean; who doesn’t like a good laugh? Say two guys who don’t know each other are waiting around having a smoke; you, the writer, wants to break the tension, what do you do? One has to tell a joke. Fuck the guy that came up with that rule. The same goes for the guy who said you should avoid pop- culture references, this one I kind of understand because it will ‘Date’ your novel, story, etc. But the guy that said not to inject food into your piece? Fuck that guy; I do it all the time because when writing I tend to get hungry.
Show Don’t Tell
Oh man, this is a big cardinal rule driven into the skull of many a writing course attendee, again, I can see why. You want the reader to feel what it’s like to be inside of the thunderstorm, so by describing it as lucidly as possible you will get the reader in there. I’m a bit ambivalent about this one because the majority of writers tend to abuse the hell out of this one in order to ante-up their page count which makes the reading tedious and boring. On this one I tend to follow rules 8, 9 and 10 of the Elmore Leonard rules of writing which are:
- Avoid detailed descriptions of characters. (Sometimes I break this one)
- Don’t go into great detail describing places and things. (Sometimes I break this one too)
- Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. (I try like hell to stick with this one)
As a side note: there are no rules in fiction.
Write on and do you.