Learning Curve

Image Credit: JF Pixabay

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!

A Sweet & Short Update

The Mullet, neon colors, pastel colors, cheesy pop tunes, and cocaine; as the drug-du jour, plus the Golden Age of heavy metal. What better place in which to set a story right? Well, guess what? Yours truly is taking the plunge by writing a story which takes place in that era. This new story is much more than simple nostalgia though. Is a fictional story set mostly in the town of St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Florida. The opening scene came to me in a flash of imaginary flight of fancy, as most good ideas tend to.

Now, I know I mentioned that my next story was going to be a serial-killer type number. No worries; chill homie, chill. I’m not ditching it (is still in the works, I’ve got 7,156 words going on it) but this new story has a hook on me. It wants to come out and play, so I’m writing it. The working title of the story is Gray Salt, the tag line is: Drugs, Heavy Metal & Murder; a coming-of-age-story. The research is a lot of fun and I’m having a blast writing it. The 1980’s were colorful years indeed, as colorful as a comic book. Stay stoned, eh, I mean, stay tune…

And that, as they say, is my report from the writerly trenches. Y’all have a good one.

Too—doo—loo.

Literary Quote by Raymond Chandler

(AP PHOTO)

I hate to admit it, and quite frankly, I’m a little ashamed, but I’ve yet to read anything by Raymond Chandler, (so many great books and so little time to read them all). I keep hearing great things about his work. I was over on Reddit the other day and found an outstanding quote of his, I can’t say that I subscribe closely to the style he describes because I don’t like too much description on the stuff I’m reading or writing, when reading I tend to skip that stuff, I’m a firm believer in the Elmore Leonard adage of “I try to leave out the parts people skip”, anyway here’s the Raymond Chandler copy-pasted quote:

“A long time ago when I was writing for pulps, I put into a story a line like ‘he got out of the car and walked across the sun drenched sidewalk until the shadow of the awning over the entrance fell across his face like the touch of cool water.’ They took it out when they published the story. Their readers didn’t appreciate this sort of thing: it just held up the action. And I set out to prove them wrong. My theory was they just thought they cared nothing about anything but the action; that really, although they didn’t know it, they cared very little about the action. The things they really cared about, and that I cared about, were the creation of emotion through dialogue and description; the things they remembered, that haunted them, were not for example that a man got killed, but that in the moment of his death he was trying to pick a paper clip up off the polished surface of a desk, and it kept slipping away from him, so that there was a look of strain on his face and his mouth was half open in a kind of tormented grin, and the last thing in the world he thought about was death. He didn’t even hear death knock on the door. That damn little paper clip kept slipping away from his fingers and he just couldn’t push it to the edge of the desk and catch it as it fell.” – Raymond Chandler

Now, this other quote was said about Raymond Chandler’s writing by George V. Higgins.

“He did not write about crime or detection… He wrote about the corruption of the human spirit” –George V. Higgins (1988)

I think I can hang my hat on that quote

Cheers!

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!

Obsessions of the Month

The 80’s were, and still are, some of the best years of many a Gen xer, I’m currently writing a story which takes place in that era. Wow, what an era. The clothing styles, the hairdos, the video games, the movies, and the music—Jesus, what a bunch of cringe-inducing stuff. I’m setting my story in the world of heavy metal music, cocaine trafficking and the “satanic panic” of the era. Writing this story is taking me back to when I was trying to learn to play the guitar parts to those power ballads just so that I could impress the ladies—it didn’t work. The research is a lot of fun though (better than the grim research for my other story about a serial killer in Arizona).

Stay tune.

I’m currently watching the TV series/ crime drama The Wire (I know, fifteen years later, that’s how I do) all fifty episodes spread over five seasons. Great show, albeit a bit dated, what with all the new technology at the government’s disposal these days. One thing that remains the same is life in the hood, fucking shit is still pretty much the same with the little hoppers slinging drugs and killing each other while the politicos and their labyrinthine laws and insidious bureaucratic policies steal, and make life a living hell for those living in the margins of society.

Politicians =gaping assholes.

Very few superhero movies excite me these days—too many to keep up with, and most are just CGI inducing headaches, and this is coming from someone who grew up consuming comic books in unhealthy doses. When Sam Raimi came out with Spiderman in 2001 (Good lord of the flies, I’m fucking old) No one was more excited than me; finally, one of my favorite superheroes on the big screen! I loved it, it was awesome, but then it when to shit and now they’re re-booting it *ugh.* Enters Wonder Woman to save the day, I loved Linda Carter on the old TV show, but this new one looks fucking a-m-a-z-i-n-g, and once again; I’m happy to see a superhero movie. Not like she needs it but: here’s me rooting for Diana, founding member of Justice League, Princess of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta aka Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman.

What you waiting on playa? Go see the movie!

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.