Monthly Bullet Points

 

S’up Playa,

Welcome to what I hope will become a new—end of the month—feature to this site. A feature in which I’ll get to rant, rave and opine about stuff  I been up to over the course of the month (hmm, when I put it that way it doesn’t sound too appetizing) Anyway, if you’re still interested, in this post I will be covering: The Punisher, hood living, favorite reads and the most popular post on this site. Enjoy.

 

  • Dare Devil season 2 has introduced The Punisher with an interesting variation on his somewhat familiar story. A story line which makes DD come across as a boring superhero. For those who don’t know; The Punisher is equal parts Charles Bronson (circa Death Wish) Rambo First Blood and Jason Bateman minus the sense of humor. I always liked the story of the deeply flawed Straw Dog known as The Punisher. Currently streaming on Netflix.

 

  • Rent tends to be on the ‘cheap’ side in the hood. But so is life. The other night, after work, I ran into my first CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS yellow ribbon tape; two blocks away from where I live. Great, and it’s not even summertime.

 

  • One of the most popular post/articles on this site (In the True Crime section) was also one of the most difficult to write. The story of the Bath Avenue Crew. I say it was difficult because the research for it was labyrinthine at best. It took a while to put it together in a somewhat coherent fashion, because there were a lot of contradictory accounts on the web about what went down. The story is so juicy though, that I even mentioned it in a short story I wrote recently (Killing Crows—which you can read right now by clicking on the book cover by the side bar of this site) I’m still puzzled as to why it’s so popular? Good SEO? don’t know but, It is indeed a pleasant surprise. Small victories.

 

  • It goes without saying that I have a long-ass commute these days, but it gets me reading. So I had the pleasure of polishing off a couple of hardboiled and visceral pulpy crime fiction novels: Money Shot by Christa Faust and Dog eat Dog by Mr. Blue himself: Edward Bunker (RIP) Keep an eye out for my take on these two books.

 

That’s it for now. ‘Till next time playa.

Hello From Crooklyn.

welcome2broolynMe on the phone with a potential mover;

Me, “Hey there, my name’s Verge and I’m looking to move on Monday. Can you give me an estimate?”

Potential mover, “sure thing pal, when are you moving?”

Me, “Monday”

Potential mover, “I’m sorry, can I call you right back?”

“Sure.”

CLICK.

I hate moving with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. But that’s the way life goes, always getting in the way of creativity.

After fifteen minutes of waiting for potential mover to call back I started calling other moving companies, actually scratch that, I called one other moving company and the guy on the other side of the line sounded really pleased to hear from a potential costumer.

Later, potential mover calls back, he says;

“So you wanna to move huh, where are you moving to? Buddy”

Me; “I’m sorry, I already hired somebody else to do the job. Thanks anyway.”

Potential ex-mover;

“Yeah sure no problem…”

CLICK

And just like that I said goodbye to Manhattan and said Hello! to Crooklyn (Crooklyn a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee—thanks Wikipedia—plus is the affectionate nickname I use when referring to one of New York’s toughest neighborhoods.)

Brooklyn is a different world (It seems that way to Me.) dig this: No Starbucks, Duane Reade, or even a Dunking Donuts for miles where I live now. No yuppies, no hipsters, no dreaded gentrifiers—and I fucking love it. (Okay I kinda miss Dunking Donuts.)

Remember I said I hate moving? Well here’s the thing; the moola I’ve been saving for the purpose of hiring an editor is gone, which means it’ll take a while for me to publish the short novel I’ve been working on for some time now. But do not despair my friends because it will get done. In the meantime I’ll be working on other material I’ve been wrestling with prior to my move to Crooklyn.  vergelenoir.com

That’s it, that’s what I’ve been up to these days, New Year, new home, new challenges.

Happy and Prosperous New Year my friends!

Fuhgeddaboudit.

CLICK…

Goodbye October

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Photo Credit: Unsplash/pixabay.com

There’s absolutely nothing better than October in the city that never sweeps. The leaves on the trees are turning, the weather is as cool as that suave detective by the name of Shaft, and Hallows Eve comes at us by the tail end of the best month of the year.

I love October in New York.

Halloween always reminds me of the writer Washington Irving, the man who first bestowed the nick name Gotham—an Anglo-Saxon word which means ‘Goat Town’—to the city of New York. October and Halloween also brings to mind his short story ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.’ Upon first reading this short at a young age, the image of a headless horseman roaming a little town collecting heads made a great impression on the overactive imagination of yours truly.

I love Halloween in New York.

A night when every good girl—for some reason ‘wink wink’—insists on becoming a slutty nurse, cop, doctor, zombie, stripper and every other slutty superlative slapped onto a ‘sexy costume’ and, every other dude becomes some kind of sociopath, serial killer, ‘wink wink’ a tranny or a pimp. In NYC we won’t have it any other way.

Goodbye October, we hardly knew ye.

However, we’re not gonna be sad for too long because The Day of The Dead is upon us, so y’all best get your Sugar Skulls, Calacas and Pan Dulce ready to celebrate with your dearly departed. Even though for some of us, the bones of our ancestors might be far away we still honor them, because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here staring at a screen, reading dribble and picking our collective noses.

Happy Halloween you crazy kids.

*Poof*

Literary Openings

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Image Credit: geralt/pixabay.com

Yep, I’m still chasing windmills (as supposed to chasing skirts which is what I should be doing while I’m still young-ish and fairly good looking). Ha! Who the fuck am I kidding? I have a book to finish plus I need to crank out the next one, oh and there’s that ‘slightly misanthropic’ thing so…

But this here post is not about a therapy session is about literary openings.

See much like a movie, TV show or a song. In the writing world, you’ve got to have a great opening—that something that hooks the reader.

Here are some of my favorite (recent) literary openings:

“When mother found out she was pregnant with me she took an overdose. Father gave her the pills. She needed a drama from time to time to remind her that she was still alive. The overdose didn’t work.” Dandy in the Underworld by Sebastian Horsley.

And just like that I (the reader) wants to be taken into a sure-to-be dark, perverted and twisted ride. And it is.

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‘Nobody comes to Minnesota to take their clothes off, at least as far as I know. This ain’t no nightclub. Here in the woebegone upper country, Jack Frost is a liberal, rangy sadist with ice crystals in his soul patch.’ Candy Girl by Diablo Cody.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I love Diablo Cody’s writing; she’s an erudite, sharp, funny and fearless writer. Too bad she hasn’t written another book lately. Then again, I suppose writing Hollywood screenplays pays a hell of a lot better. Sigh.

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‘I was sitting in my office, my lease had expired and McKelvey was starting eviction proceedings. It was a hellish hot day and the air conditioner was broken. A fly crawled across the top of my desk. I reached out with the open palm of my hand and send him out of the game. I wipe my hand on my right pant leg as the phone rang. I picked it up.

 “Ah yes,” I said.

“Do you read Celine?” a female voice asked. Her voice sounded quite sexy. I had been lonely for some time. Decades. Pulp by Charles Bukowski.

Tell me if his description of the demise of an unfortunate fly, the woman asking about the narrator’s reading proclivities, and the last word, doesn’t make you curious about where this narrative is going.

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‘October 16, 1859

“Men, get on your arms,” the Captain said. “We will proceed to the Ferry.” It was eight at night, an autumn Sunday, silent and dark in the Maryland Hills. A horse drawn wagon pulled up to the log house loaded it with pikes, tools, torches and gunpowder.’ Midnight Rising by Tony Horowitz.

You know that shit’s gonna go down real hard after reading that (Albeit, the phrasing near the end there is a bit awkward—an edit oversight perhaps?) regardless the writer’s got you hooked. I’m still in the process of reading this one; it’s about a little known historical figure by the name of John Brown and the raid that sparked the American Civil War.

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‘When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The first time I saw her, it was the back of her head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head.’ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

The Victorians had a way of telling a person’s personality traits by reading that person’s skull, it was called phrenology. A pseudo-science developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796. It was a popular practice in the 19th century.

Unwillingly, or willingly. This opening gives us (the reader) a hint as to what lies ahead.

I can go on and on about great and interesting literary openings, but these will have to do because I’ve got to summon Sancho Panza. We’ve have some giants to skewer.

Sancho! Bring my pen and paper—err, I mean lance!

The Art Of Sabotage

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Photo Credit: WerbeFabrik/pixabay.com

Brought to you by our friends at Amazon.com

*Warning: some form of vitriol ahead*

Backstory:

A year ago I published a collection of short stories titled Shell Casings. Being a DIY, self-published, indie guy this is a lot of work but I love doing it. Getting people to read the stuff though is akin to wrestling a T-bone steak from a hammerhead shark. Folks are busy these days, they have a lot of entertainment, yada, yada. Fair enough. However, after a year of peddling the book on social media and taking advantage of Amazon free days; three kind readers, beautiful souls that they are, wrote five star reviews on Amazon (Okay one was a four star review) The two readers that left five star reviews really- really liked the stories, their reviews were glowing and eloquent, beautiful even. They got the gist of the book.

Then without rhyme or reason—or an explanation, Amazon took down the reviews (for some bizarre reason they only left the four stars review on their site. Fine by me, a review is a review.)

But, I wanted those reviews back, because as we all know; reviews are the life blood of a book these days, so I contacted them about it, telling them how counterproductive this is, and that they are basically sabotaging my efforts. This is their robo-answer to me.

Message From Customer Service

Hello Verge Le Noir,

Thanks for contacting Amazon.com. This is Deleon from Communities.

I understand your concern about the missing reviews. We’re unable to give you specific information about why reviews are no longer visible.

We remove Customer Reviews that violate our guidelines, or a customer can decide to remove their own review. To protect the privacy of our customers, we don’t share information about specific reviews with anyone other than the customer who posted it.

We know reviews are important to both customers and authors. If a customer contacts you about their missing review, please ask them to write to community-help@amazon.com. We can help the customer understand exactly why their review was removed, and provide suggestions on how to share feedback for your book while staying within our guidelines.

I hope this helps.

I hope I was able to assist you today. Best regards, Deleon A

They even suggest that the costumers themselves deleted the reviews. Now why would someone go out of their way to leave a review and then take it down?  And as far as I know they were no ‘costumer review guidelines violations’ so…? It’s not my intention to come across as a whiny little bitch, it’s not in my nature, I can take the bruising, the cuts. I can take it all, but I’m just so fucking angry and depressed about it.

So yeah thanks Amazon, with friends like you who needs enemas. Oh and Amazon?

Eat a dick, can I get an amen?

Happy Endings

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Image Credit: ZIPNON/pixabay.com

Nope, nope, get your mind out of the gutter this ain’t about that.

It’s about fear. My fear at not ending on a high note when writing—specifically now that I’ve approached the closing chapter of my new piece. An author (sorry can’t remember who said this, and I’m paraphrasing here once again folks, I’m known to do that every now and then) He said: ‘The last words of your book should be able to sell folks onto the next one’—or something like that. Here lays the pressure of having an ending that blows peoples minds.

Having written two different, yet somewhat similar endings I think I should grab pen to paper and try again. This time I’ll make sure to come up with a satisfying ending worthy of the story. Yet something thrilling, and dangerous. Something that leaves a great impression on the reader.

And then comes re-writes number 2, 3, or whenever I feel the story is finito.

So yeah that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend, and probably the next, and so on till it’s done. On another note, I’m kinda sad about saying goodbye to these characters, characters I lived with for a well over a few years now. Characters which have kept me awake at night with their turmoil’s, fears and what have you. Hey—all good things must end, but when they do; make sure to have a happy ending, yep I’m talking about that kind of ending now, I think. I don’t know what I’m talking about—too much coffee and cigarettes.

Later masturbators.

In Odd We Trust

I’m intrigued by oddities, the strange, and the unexplained. Went looking for some stories to post on here for ya, found a bunch of ‘em. Here are some my favorites. Enjoy.

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Photo Credit: sixpenceee.com/tumblr

In the year of our Lord 1883, Henry Ziegland—heart breaker that he was—broke up with his girlfriend. Then the distressed heartbroken girlfriend committed suicide. With a thirst for revenge the girlfriend’s brother, found Henry and shot him. Satisfied with his deed, the girlfriend’s brother committed suicide too. However Henry Ziegland lived. Turns out the bullet just graced him and lodged itself into a nearby tree. All was good for Henry (probably had a brood all over the state) then one day he decided to dynamite the tree with the bullet in it. After 20 years, the bullet finally found its intended target, impacting Henry in the head and killing him instantly. Final Destination anyone? (Source)

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Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

A lot has been said about Edgar Allan Poe. The man was a brilliant writer but, he will always be associated with the bizarre and the macabre . The following anecdote cements that notion. In the novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket” written in 1838 Edgar Allan Poe wrote about four ship wreck survivors adrift in a small raft, whom after several days at sea, decide to eat the cabin boy (Poor bastard).  In the book the cabin boy’s name is Richard Parker.

In the year of our Lord 1884

A ship by the name of Mignonette sank, leaving only four survivors adrift at sea. The survivors decided to eat the cabin boy. His name? Richard Parker, poor bastard indeed. This case was the first of its kind where the remaining crewmen were tried for murder and cannibalism. Ever since the trial of this case, every university law student has to learn about the case as part of their educational curriculum. (Source)

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Image Credit: Square Enix Online Store.

Deus Ex is a cyberpunk-themed action-role playing video game—combining first-person shooter, stealth and role-playing elements—developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive. (Thanks Wikipedia) During the production of this game, one of the artists forgot to add the Twin Towers to the rendering of the city of New York; this mistake was later explained as a terrorist attack.

This all happened in the year 2000. (Source)

 

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Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Violet Constance Jessop (2 October 1887 – 5 May 1971) was an ocean liner stewardess and nurse. This lady was one lucky dame as she survived the following: The collision between the RMS Olympic and the HMS Hawke. She was on board of the Titanic when it kissed that iceberg. She was also on board of the HMHS Britannic when it hit a mine. This lady was a survivor in the true sense of the word; in doing research (Thanks again Wikipedia) I read that she was the first of nine children—of the nine, only six survived, and that at an early age she contracted tuberculosis  but, despite doctor’s predictions, she survived.

Way to give death the middle finger there Violet, or in her case it would be the ‘two fingers’ salute. (Source)

Her memoir is on Amazon

Reading this type of stuff is addictive right? Click on the links below for more weirdness.

In other weird news: The Ashley Madison maelstrom is being call ‘Black Friday’ by divorce attorneys. Go figure.