Consumer/Creator

It goes without saying that being a consumer is easier than being a creator. I buy my ticket, grab me a tub of popcorn, a giant soda, and I’m ready to be assaulted by the surround sound of the bombastic score from the new and shiny blockbuster that resembles the last great shiny blockbuster I saw a week ago. See? Easy as pie. You want to write a fun, great and engaging story…you will, undoubtedly, end up staring at a blank screen with the accusatory cursor blinking at you, mocking you. To hell with it, there’s a great TV show I must watch, (and there’s always a great TV show you must watch) because what else are you going to talk about with your co-workers? Easy as one, two, three and the cursor on the page keeps daring you to play.

You cruise over to the giant behemoth known as Amazon and hey! What’s this? A Dead Sea Mud Mask I didn’t know I needed, and over here they’ve got the latest electronic gadget which promises to do pretty much everything for you (short of giving you a mind blowing B. J.) Argan Oil what the fuck is that? But hey I might need it because the celebrity du jour promises that it’ll change my life. And the cursor on the page keeps blinking, laughing at you.

Say you’re a musician and an idea for a song comes to you—out of the ether, as most ideas tend to. You’re pump, you get yer guitar and go at it, but hey wait, this tune sounds like that other tune…fuck it, let’s go play the new Grand Theft Auto, the new Hitman, Candy Crush or the new Monument Valley (great game btw) What does that accusatory little cursor know about having fun anyway? Easy as taking a pill from a baby

The same thing, I’m pretty sure, happens to painters, cartoonist, dancers, etc. Nobody tells you to be a ‘creative type’ (sometimes I get the sense that the world doesn’t need another ‘creative type’ don’t you?) But you do it because is in your nature, because you want to do it, because it makes you feel good, it makes life worth living, it gives you tremendous satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment. More than likely though, what it doesn’t do, is give you enough bread which you need to live and to keep doing what you love which is being a ‘creative type’ and so, you forged ahead with a fist full of hope, dreams and courage, because, believe it or not, it takes giant pelotas to be a creator, to put yourself outhere to be judged, loved or admired by the masses, or to be hated, judged and dragged through the mud—but you hope for the best.

Hello blank page, did ya miss me? Hmm, you know what? Fuck it, let’s go get a beer, these 516 words are worth it, for today I’m a consumer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Cheers!

Short Updates

—I ran a two- book giveaway on Goodreads of my short novel Desperados and, as always, it was a smashing success. 458 people entered the contest. I know I’m not pulling a million people or even a thousand like the big guys pull but hey, not too shabby for a guy no one’s ever heard of right? The books are on the way to the winners. And yes I’m well aware that people love free shit, everybody does, including me. But like I always say: a giant leap begins with baby steps. Painful baby steps but baby steps nonetheless.

—I decided to re-edit BLACK PILLS & RED BULLETS, one of the first books I ever wrote and published. Why? Because, since then, and in a lot of ways; I’ve grown a lot as a writer, plus I’ve had a few complains about it, meanly that some of the stories didn’t make much sense. The thing that was very eye-opening to me is that it was edited for publication by a professional editor. And they didn’t catch any of these nonsensicalities. When I re-edited it myself a bunch of weeks back, I did see where some folks would feel lost and confused by what was on the page, so I went to work and got it right and tight. I still can’t believe I paid so much moolah to an editor who obviously didn’t care about the piece. What can I say? Those are some of the perils of being a self-published writer. At the end of the day though, that’s all on me, I was the one who went and hit that “publish” button. So, if per-chance, you bought that book I want to thank you from the bottom of my lovely black heart, and offer my sincerest apologies. Since it has been updated I’m sure you will not be disappointed with this new edition, if it’s still in your Kindle give it a second read and let me know what you think. If you haven’t purchase a copy, you can still do so as it is available for ALL e-readers, and it’s still at the same price that it was before of only $0.99.

—If you enjoy short fiction I got a blogitty in which I’ll upload the occasional short story and, or flash fiction (it was getting a little too crowded here). Head on over to: BULLET BITES BACK and give it a whirl…

Hey, thanks for the visit. Go get your read on playa.

Too-doo-loo

Work for Us. Work for Free!

Nobody likes working for free, nobody should. It amazes me how many asshats want writers to work for free in this day and age. When I go to the supermarket I’m expected to pay cold hard cash or with a valid credit card; not with ‘exposure’ same goes for when the landlord comes knocking on my door expecting cold hard cash. I suspect he will not respond kindly if I was to tell him that my being a dweller in his building will bring him great ‘exposure’.

When you’re starting out in this writerly business you’ll do anything to get your work out there, you’ll bend over backwards and forward. I’m here to tell you that you need to reel that shit in real quick, because there’s a bunch of unscrupulous douchebags just waiting for a hungry author like you so they can pounce on and take advantage of—do not fall for this giant bucket of bullshit.

If anyone tells you that when you’re starting out, you need to ‘pay to play’ just tell them that they can eat a giant turd sandwich, with a side- order of fuck you. Writing is a lot of fun but it’s also a lot of work, it takes time and effort, but mainly; it’s a lot of fucking work okay? My time, your time is important and it should be respected. This tirade comes to you courtesy of websites that claim to be hip and ‘in the know’ when it comes to cool writers, cool topics and connections while expecting writers to work for free for ‘exposure.’

To those sites. To those people I say: see this? Its call a middle finger.

My 2 Cents.

Q & A

Late last month, gentleman scholar, and all-around good guy Colman Keane was kind enough to shoot a few questions my way for his site Col’s Criminal Library. I’ve taken the liberty of copy/pasting  said interview onto this site because, sometimes, I’m lazy like that. If you’d rather read the original, just click HERE.

A hearty thank you to Mr. Colman Keane for the lovely Q & A. Enjoy!

I’ll assume the writing isn’t full time, so what’s the day job?

You assume correctly. I moonlight as a condom tester. Kidding, I work for a company that does horseracing data. Not as exciting as a rubber tester, but it pays the bills.

Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing the uber-cool Verge Le Noir moniker isn’t something your parents came up with – is your real identity a well-guarded secret? Why not publish your books under your real name?

No my parents are not that cool—at all. I’m just a cat who’s scared of his own writing so he hides under a too-cool-for-school nom de guerre in order to appease the God’s of writerly things. My name is not a well-guarded secret, I’m not in the witness protection program or anything as exciting as that, matter of fact, my writer bio has just been updated on Amazon where I use my real name, (and new mug shot) I will however, still use my pen name because is way cooler than my real name which is Virgilio Feldman. Try fitting that on a small book cover.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?

Honest to the Gods of Beer? Doing this Q & A. And having people read the stuff I write.

What’s your typical writing schedule?

I don’t have one; I slip the writing whenever I can. I’m lucky I get to write at all. I typically try to cram as much writing as possible on my days off. Sorry ladies…

Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?

I’ve only done it in my short novel Desperados sparingly—and it’s mostly overly exaggerated anecdotes from an acquaintance here and there, or family members, but for the most part I don’t do it.

Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

I like to let the characters take me wherever they want to go, so I make it up as I go along. Most smart writers swear by plotting, I see it as painting yourself into a corner and that doesn’t jive with moi. Maybe I will try it someday.

Are there any subjects off limits?

Nothing’s off limits I hate censorship.

Desperados features the journey of a young immigrant coming to America from the south, any parallels with your own life or are you a home-grown American citizen?

Good question. I was lucky enough to migrate legally to the U. S. from Honduras about thirty years ago. I did mined a few things about my life for Desperados, lets’ see: I’m from the same Islands that the character Lester talks about, I was once duped by a cousin into becoming a bracero in the State of Georgia for about two months in hell, we lived in trailers in the middle of nowhere making shit money, on the weekends we would shop at a Piggy Wiggly. A manager of a restaurant I used to work at did the orange juice bit to a waitress once. The character of Leonide or Leo is based on a good friend of mine who hails from the Ivory Coast by way of France but that’s where the similarities end. These are the few things I can think of from the top of my head; the rest is pure imagination and research.

I believe you’ve self-published all your work to date, is that a conscious move? Have you tried the “traditional” route via an existing publisher?

A conscious move indeed, I don’t know anyone in the publishing business, and I won’t know how to approach anyone on that side of things, besides they only seem to be interested in bestselling authors and celebrities. They want an established brand. So yeah I’m self- published all the way. For every one of my books though, I hire a professional editor, a book formatter and make my own book covers. I just don’t see what a traditional publisher can do for a guy like me. I honestly don’t see it. For prestige? Piss-off. The world doesn’t need another ‘tastemaker’ or ‘bouncer’ at the exclusive writers club. My humble opinion and it can change, but for now I’m happy as a clam in salt water doing things this way.

How difficult is it to attract a readership?

In a scale of one to ten, I would have to say One Hundred. A Hunter Thompson quote comes to mind, he said: “It’s like trying to wrestle a T-bone steak from a hammerhead shark.” Similar to that or thereabout.  Although a lot of it is my fault, I’m a lousy salesman, I don’t know much about promotion, pushing product etcetera, etcetera. I’m still learning, for the most part I just concentrate on writing an entertaining story.

Your works so far are Desperados – a novel, Killing Crows – a long short story, Shell Casings and Black Pills and Red Bullets – two short story collections. Is there one of your books you’re more proud of than any of the others? Which and why?

Tricky question, like: who is your favorite child? The red-headed bastard is my favorite! In this case they’re all my favorite red-headed bastards. In all honesty; the last one I wrote—Desperados—is my favorite because is the closest I’ve come to cannibalizing parts of my life in order to write a good story. It’s a bit personal I suppose. I must say though; Shell Casings seems to be people’s favorite, even my editor liked it a lot.

What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?

I’m juggling a couple of projects, but the one that seems to be ahead its call Two Iguanas Lounge and it features a couple of the characters from the short story: Lizards Lounge (a short story you can find in the book: Black Pills & Red Bullets) In Two Iguanas Lounge, I’ll introduce a private detective by the name of Troy Declan Molloy and a Lieutenant by the name of Samira Andrade, these two team up in order to take down a serial killer who’s terrorizing a small Arizona town. It’s going a bit slow. We’ll see how it turns up, in the meantime; I’ll be uploading to my website, some short- stories, and my ramblings as usual.

What’s the best thing about writing?

Bedding all the women who find the broke-ass writer irresistible. Kidding, the best thing about writing is coming up with bat-shit crazy scenarios in which your characters can play and then having people read it. It’s magical. Writing is a lot of fun, you can’t beat that.

The worst?

Meeting women who don’t fall for the broke-ass writer. Kidding, (somewhat). The worse is trying to get the story to the right audience. That’s brutal.

What are the last five books you have read?

  1. Lee Child’s Night School
  2. Hollywood by Charles Bukowski
  3. Re-read Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch—brilliant book.
  4. You by Caroline Kepnes—well plotted, well written.
  5. The Sellout by Paul Beatty—quite possibly one of my favorite books from 2016

Who do you read and enjoy?

Love Elmore Leonard, Christa Faust is phenomenal, Charles Bukowski always kills it, Junot Diaz inspires, Stephen Hunter knows his shit, Dennis Lehane thrills and so does Michael Connelly. I really wish Diablo Cody would write another book, because whenever I need a chuckle I grab my copy of her book Candy Girl, and I swear; whatever pages you land on in that book, you’ll sure to find a giggle or two.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias— mind-blowingly good.

Favourite activity when not working or writing?

Falling in love from a plane without a parachute. A. k. a.  Reading, hanging out in dive bars or watching Netflix.

In a couple of years’ time…

Hopefully I’ll have a few more books; therefore I’ll—hopefully—have a few more readers.

 

Monthly Bullet Points.

MonthlyBanner

I can’t believe it’s been one year and three months since I started this blog. Back then, the idea of doing this scared me, I didn’t know anything about blogging (still kinda don’t) writing for strangers is quite terrifying, but here we are. When starting this adventure, I didn’t know what I was going to blog about. I thought it was something that bored house wives did to kill time, but as a writer I’ve came to the realization that this bloggity thing is pushing me to write more (even though sometimes I don’t know what to blog about), and so it seems that somehow, I’m still finding my footing.

* I recently published a short novel call Desperados (get your Kindle copy here: AMAZON) I’ve been harping about it because it took me roughly three to four years (on and off) to finish it. It started as a short story, the first two chapters are—more or less—just as I wrote them back then, way before Donaldo Trumpado decided to go on a tirade against my Mexican primos, because of this, I thought the book was doomed, see I don’t want to be perceived as agreeing with the Orange One. A lot of research and hard work went into it, I felt I had a lot to say, and there was no way that the twisted rhetoric of a pompous billionaire was going to stump my efforts. So if you read the book, keep in mind that in no way, shape or form, do I agree with that loony toon.

* The second amendment is a wise article of the constitution; I get it, humans are easily corrupted and it’s meant to keep in check, whom ever is in power. However, the second amendment becomes a horrendous nightmare when it’s abused by sickies, and cowards who go on shooting sprees such as what happened in Orlando, Fla. twice, this month. I don’t possess the wisdom, knowledge or acumen to offer an easy solution, but something has to be done to quell this insanity. It’s not about being political; it’s about having common sense.

*This is possibly a misleading headline, but I read somewhere that the world’s 400 richest people lost $127 billion on account of Brexit. Fear not, dear reader, because this just means that the world’s 400 richest people are still the world’s 400 richest people.

* The subway train is stuck between stations. After fifteen minutes of this, folks tend to get a bit angsty, fidgety. They’ve had it; however most keep their cool. All except for the guy who hurls himself, several times, toward the closed doors screaming that he needs to get the fuck out. He wants to be let out. Eventually the train moves along, it gets to the next station. Cops are waiting on the platform, the hurler steps out, says hello to the officers and goes on his merry way. Fellow passengers draw a collective sigh, it could have been worse, I’m thinking; “Hey at least it wasn’t a stabber, or worse; George Zimmerman.” Such is life in the city that never sweeps sleeps.

* Hey did I mentioned that I just published a short novel call Desperados? I did, didn’t I, so what you waiting on playa? Help this humble scribe become one of the lucky 400 rich people (yeah like that’ll ever happen) still, head on over to AMAZON and buy a copy, I could use a cold one. Tell your friends!

Thank you for reading my rant—Peace Out Yo.

A GR Give-Away Adventure

grlogo

Image Credit: userlogos.org

Here’s a great concept that any self- respecting, indie, self-publisher can’t overlook: The Good Reads giveaway. For those of you who don’t know; it’s a way for an author to set up a giveaway of any books he or she has published, and it’s on the Good Reads website. The process is free and painless (only hardcovers and paperbacks though-no e-books- which means that the author has to buy the books and pay for the postage) the understanding is that by doing so the author may gain exposure, new readers, perhaps folks may sign up to the author’s mailing list, and best of all; the author may bag a few reviews. There are no guarantees but hey, why the hell not? It’s about having faith right?

And so, with a bag full ‘o faith I went through the process three times with my two collections of contemporary pulpy crime fiction. I had a busload of entries, once the winners were selected (the winners are pick randomly by Good Reads) I jumped for joy, bought my books and mailed them out.

Almost a year later and its cricket’s central on my end. Zero, zip, nada. Self-doubt crept in; I must be a really sucky writer- I thought, and the few readers that got the books probably didn’t want to hurt my feelings (As stated on the Good Reads give-away rules; you the author may not contact the winners or any of the give-away entrants, failure to comply with this rule will get you, the author, banned—not that I would do such a thing, but there it is, just so you know.) Whatever, I moved on, went about my life as usual; writing a few things here and there, but mainly working on another book. Then one day I went to visit my favorite sub-reddit which is r/selfpublishers on Reddit. While reading a tread about effective ways to get the word out about your books; someone mentioned that a fair amount (if not all) of the entries and winners on the Good Reads giveaways are SPAM—talk about a sinking heart.

Okay whatever this commenter is probably bullshitting-I thought.

Three weeks later, I read an article saying that Good Reads is planning on expanding their author give-away program to include e-books—woo-hoo! Upon further reading though, the article mentions that it’s going to cost the writers/publishers one hundred plus smackaroos to do this new thing. On the comments section of this article a few authors weigh in by saying:

Katie M Klosterman:

“My print give-away with Goodreads resulted in every book showing up for sale on Amazon less than 48 hours after they were received. I will never do another. I am not convinced about this being worth over $100.”

Jeanne Felfe:

“So people got your free books, then turned around and sold them used? Sux.”

Katie M Klosterman:

Exactly…told them (Goodreads?) and they didn’t have an answer…

I would like to provide a link to this article but I was reading it on my cellphone at work, however, I did manage to get a screenshot of the above exchange.

Screenshot

So it seems that the only winners here are Good Reads which is own by Amazon, moral of the story? I should have done my research.

I’m currently in the process of editing a short novel which I’ll publish soon. (I know, I know; regular readers of my rants are sick and tired of reading about it. Editing is a biach. Bear with me please.) The question is: will I do a Good Reads give-away? Zero, zip, nada—nope…then again; as an indie, self-publisher; I can never say never. It’s about faith after all. Right…Right?

My 2 cents.

Drops the mic Obama style, and walks away in shame for saying that.

Monthly Bullet Points

MonthlyBanner

S’up y’all,

Last month, almost immediately after posting the first monthly bullet points—and promising to do so on a monthly basis—I regretted it; because it dawned on me that my life ain’t that interesting. I’m no double O fucking seven; the hell am I gonna write about? But a writer’s gotta write. Fear not dear reader; I will not be quoting Chipotle paper bags –maybe next month 🙂

I’m plunging into a new story. This one’s about a kick ass cop (she has MMA aspirations) and a serial killer. With special appearances by Ronnie ‘Caradura’ Bermudez and his friend Desmond Laffite, both characters from the short story ‘Lizards Lounge’ (to those of you who have read my collection of short stories Black Pills & Red Bullets. These cats will be familiar to you) the piece might be a short novel or novella; I don’t know yet because I don’t do outlines, I like to enjoy the ride, I like to be surprise. So the story will end when it ends. Plus, I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to finish it, since life tends to get in the way of these things. Stay tune though.

A pain in the neck known as tax time in America has come and gone. I don’t understand why the IRS doesn’t make this process a little easier for us mere mortals. The other day I learned that in some parts of the world the government sends their tax payers a text message with a summary of what the person made, what the person paid, what’s owed etc. The tax payer reviews it; all the taxpayer has to do is punch a yes or no key, then press send—and that’s it. Come on IRS get on that bus!

Does it bother you when folks throw around the word genius all wheely neely? It bothers me plenty, because the word loses its impact, its meaning. On Thursday April 21st I woke up late (as per usual) turned on the news while having a hookers breakfast (coffee and cigarette) then, the well coiffed newsman threw a cold bucket of water at me by announcing that tried and true musical genius Prince passed away. It was in chock, I refused to believe it, but it’s true. I’m reminded of an anecdote I read somewhere about the song ‘Kiss” It was written by him in one night; overdubs, vocals—no bass—everything. He was going to give it to a band call Mazarati, but he didn’t. The song ‘Kiss’ became a smash hit. Imagine that; a huge hit from a song that some in the industry would considered a demo. That solo in ‘Purple Rain’ still gives me goosebumps and hits me in the feels. I can’t believe he’s gone. Nothing compares to you Purple One, nothing.

By the time this post tenderly caresses your lovely cherubic eyes; the news about the Panama Papers will be just another blip in the forgotten news cycle. That is; until it happens again—and it will. For a brief overview of the Panama Papers: SuedDeutsche.de/English

On Wednesday April 6, 2016 on his 79th Birthday; one of the last and true country outlaws. The poet of the common man, passed away. The one and only Merle Haggard. I cued up ‘Workin’ Man Blues’ ‘Momma Tried’ ‘Pancho and Lefty’ ‘If We Make It Through December’ ‘Okie from Muskogee’ and ‘Sing me Back Home’ I lifted a glass of Jack Daniels and cheered a man who stuck to his guns, and lived by his own rules.… Cheers old man, cheers.

Boy, do I miss pizza rat. That little rodent going down them stairs like: “This here slice is all mine, get yer own ya bums!” Sure brought some cheer to the city that never sleeps  sweeps  .

What a year huh? Lemmy Kilmister, Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, and Prince. Plus; Soul singer Billy Paul, best known for his hit ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’. Y’know what? Fuck you 2016, so far, you’ve been nothing but a bitch and the half.

Okay, let me chill down a bit yeah? Even though the Philly Phanatic is my favorite mascot…Go Mets! (ya bums).

Thank you for reading my ramble.

Later skater.    Beatrix Kiddo Avatar