Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Procrastination Proclamation

I love putting stuff off until tomorrow that I know I will wish I had done today. This applies to writing as much as anything else. It's a double-edged sword though. What I write tomorrow will be better than it would have been had I written it today, but it will be worse than what I would be writing tomorrow if I had just bitten the bullet and written what I'm going to write tomorrow today. Does anyone have a headache besides me? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writing a Novel: best get rich quick scheme yet. Just ask someone who's done it.

Great post yesterday by Larry Brooks at StoryFix.

Not very encouraging to those of us who would like to make some money writing books, but a good dose of reality comes in handy every once in a while.

Two kinds of people should definitely read this: 

  1. people I owe money to that think they are going to collect because I have published a book, and 
  2. people who owe money to me who think they no longer need  to pony up because I have published a book. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Synopsis for Speedster

I rewrote the synopsis for Speedster, hoping to better convey the things I think make it stand out from the crowd without giving too much away about the plot. Tell me what you think.

At 48, Jack McCain is beginning to resemble the antique Auburn Speedster his grandfather left him years ago. Sleek, classy, and powerful in its day, the car is now an anachronism that needs to be sheltered from the harsh realities of its environment to prevent its slipping into an ignoble dotage.
Jack would like nothing better than to keep himself garaged and under wraps next to his Speedster, but fate has conspired against him. Driven to distraction by a manipulative ex-wife, an insensitive girlfriend, and an epic mid-life crisis, Jack finds himself the chance owner of a customized import car. Hoping to sell the car, he joins a car club run by a bunch of twenty-something tuner punks who don't seem to know very much about cars. When one of the members, a beautiful tomboy who happens to be an exotic dancer, follows him home his life begins to spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, a screwball collection of villains including a pair of neon-haired underachievers, a serial sexual predator, and the owner of the gentleman's club called Glitters, scheme to separate Jack from the valuable Speedster. They want to sell it to launch a black tar heroin enterprise on Florida's posh Lower East Coast. They will stop at nothing to get it. Fueled by their spectacular and often hilarious ineptitude, they mire themselves and Jack in a predicament that seems more and more hopeless as it unfolds.

When a murderous deviant named Mateo abducts two women to force his hand, Jack must shake his malaise and come to grips with the boredom and indecisiveness at the root of his troubles. He enlists the help of his best friend, Mike, to rescue the women, but even a bagful of guns and the best of intentions are not enough it seems against a resourceful and determined foe. Tensions rise and bodies fall, from the walled mansions of Palm Beach to the mangrove labyrinths of Florida's Gulf Coast, as events race to an exciting and unexpected conclusion.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Court Jester?

I dusted off this old post where I was complaining about some other personal karmic slight, real or imagined, to complain today about an alarming paucity of book sales. It seems I just cannot decide to be happy about being poor. I can, however, be funny about it. Well, kind of.

When I was 21 or 22 I told my mother, who was busy at the time chiding me for what, according to her, were serious lapses in my attention to my future, that I had as yet no regrets—that everything I had done or failed to do to that point only added to the sum total of me, which sum, in my opinion, seemed to be tallying up just fine. It turns out though, 40 some years later, that I had many regrets at the time. I just didn't know it.
Now that I'm shipwrecked and washed up on the shores of an uncertain dotage, ill-provisioned and without prospects, all those early and unseen regrets are coming due like markers to a loan-shark. Now, I understood perfectly at the time all the places where I went wrong. I knew where I didn't apply myself as I ought, when I skated or took the path of least resistance or effort, where I caved in to idle self-indulgence, and where I wasted monumental effort on things that were bound never to pay dividends. I knew what I was doing when I did it...or wasn't when I didn't, and I understood the consequences.
Those things don't bother me so much. I made trade-offs that I valued one way at the time. That I have changed the valuation over time may make my decisions lamentable, but it does not make the consequences unfair. I got what I asked for...up to a point.
My problem is that now I think I'm well past that point. I'm past Karma, past just deserts, past what I bargained for, and well into the uncharted realm of cosmic retribution. Things are way worse than they ought to be, given what I did or failed to do in the past. I can say without irony, 'I don't know what I did to deserve this.'
Maybe it's that I made disparaging comments about the so-called law of attraction. Maybe it's that I sprinkle my prayers with profanity and vulgarisms. Maybe it's that I think Kim Kardashian, who seems to have replaced Paris Hilton on the altar of American celebrity worship, is a waste of otherwise useable oxygen. Maybe it's because I believe that professional wrestling is more entertaining and realistic than any episode in any city of the Real Housewives—ever. Maybe it's all these together. Maybe it's something else entirely. I don't know.
'Keying Up'
a court jester fortifies his wit
William Merritt Chase - 1875
Whatever is going on puts me in mind of the Book of Job. I must confess I don't get the Book of Job, but neither can I deny that it is a fascinating study in the fundamental unfairness of things. Job is a victim. He doesn't start out that way. Initially at least, he has the world by the tail. His God, however, who is also my God by the way, is a capricious bully who hangs his loyal servant up for sport and wagers with Satan that the poor slob won't eventually curse his Maker for his current sorry condition. What kind of bullshit is that? Even when Job passes the test, and God restores his former status and fortune, Job never really finds out what it was all about. It doesn't matter to him. God is God, he says in effect, and God can do whatever God pleases without having to answer to mere mortals.
I have to tell you that this is a completely unsatisfactory ending for me. I'd like it better if Job learned something useful from the exchange, even if he only learned that occasionally God will screw you up for for His own amusement.
Believe it or not, this would make more sense to me than what I have now in terms of either prospects or understanding. I mean if an angel were to appear to me as if in a dream, and say, in effect, the court of heaven needs a jester and that God would like it to be me, I would accept the position and even feel a little honored. Doing pratfalls in the Divine Comedy would be way more gratifying than whatever it is I'm doing now, which seems to count for nothing. Maybe I am the court jester. Maybe I'm providing entertainment for a fickle universe with a mean streak. Problem is, just like with Job, no one asked and, so far at least, no one's bothered to explain. Is it too much to ask that my fate ought to be salted with a little justice?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Work in Process

After nearly three years of this I am beyond expecting anyone to respond, but...

I have two stories percolating that I intend to expand into full-length novels. The first has to do with triumph and failure in business. It contains a cast of bad actors patterned after the fools, thieves, pirates, and charlatans that I have been associated with in my previous life as an accountant and financial executive. The themes are basically that success in business is more about luck and timing than it is about actual managerial skill, and that the more success one has by dint of good fortune, the more likely one is to believe that the success is due to one's native intelligence and acumen. You can get the gist of it by reading my early blog entries that detailed my work experience prior to being thrown out on my ass after 30 plus years of loyal and conscientious service.

The second story is more romantic and altruistic. It deals with a young man who is so moved by a single smile in his youth that he spends a lifetime searching for and hoping to find the young woman who gave it. As you can probably imagine, this is no easy task, a perfect, fleeting smile being as ethereal and elusive as the Holy Grail. Many obstacles will present themselves. Much time will pass. Eventually he will realize that, even if he were to find it, he could never be certain it was the smile that moved him in the first place. This story will be more difficult to tell, I think, but more satisfying to write. I may not be ready for it yet. I don't know.

What do you think? Which one should I attempt next? I'm going to do them both eventually, but I need to know which one to start. Which one tickles your fancy?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Smashwords Author Interview

Link to my author interview on Smashwords. Fun facts for fans. sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great Book Giveaway


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Speedster by Jonah Gibson




          by Jonah Gibson


            Giveaway ends October 20, 2013.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

      Enter to win

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Trouble with Tribbles

Do Tribbles multiply like rabbits, or
do rabbits multiply like Tribbles?
I learned a valuable lesson about editing over the past few days. I published my debut novel, Speedster, on Smashwords, Create Space, and Amazon on September 30. I'd been through the manuscript making corrections and editing text multiple times before I hit the publish button. Not counting rewrites and on-the-fly edits, my wife and I made at least eight complete passes through the book between us. I thought it was in pretty good shape. That is until I looked at it again several days after I'd put it up.

It seems that if you miss even one typo, miss-placed comma, or awkward phrase in the text, they multiply like Tribbles while you are sleeping. Who knew? Anyway, new files are up now in all three venues - just as spiffy as I can make them. If you already bought the book, you can download the updated version where you originally purchased it. If you have any problems, give me a shout. Next book, I promise to be more professional and less anxious about getting listed. Hopefully, I won't be as impoverished.

You can download the Smashwords edition in a variety of ebook formats, including Kindle, for Free! Just use coupon code EF93M at checkout. All I ask is that you give me an honest review. So far everyone is telling me they can't put it down. Hope that's true for you as well.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Character Development

My wife remarked yesterday that the characters in my book, Speedster, are so real to her that it seems like I haven't done any work in creating them; I'm just reporting what they said, the way they said it. She's almost right. They are real enough to me. It's just that, instead of occupying space, they only run around in my head. They seem happy to do and say things on their own, without any input or direction from me. The writing part is easy. The hard part is living with these bastards in my head.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New Ideas

Got this brilliant (to me anyway) idea yesterday for another book. This one would be a series of essays based on my blog entries for the past 4 years. I'd divide it up by topic - I'm thinking religion and spirituality, business and economics, philosophy and wisdom, and politics. Overall theme would be life balance issues and revolve around using losing my job as a springboard to a happier, more creative existence. Problem is there are a bunch of pretty good rants in my blog about working for fools, thieves, pirates and charlatans that would take a deft touch to incorporate without looking like the whole project was just self-serving self-justification. I don't know. What do you think?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Unabashed Self Promotion?

Now that Speedster is published, I've been spending my days learning the ins-and-outs of unabashed self-promotion. I've set up an author page on Good Reads, sent out multiple e-mails, and strummed all my social media accounts like banjos. Total sales so far - one book. Actually it's three, but only one was actually paid for. The other two were bought with a coupon and no actual money was harmed in the transactions. I guess if this were easy, even children would do it. Oh, wait! Children do do it. Maybe I should rethink my aversion to vampire romance?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SPEEDSTER: availability update!

My novel, SPEEDSTER, is now officially published and available in a number of popular formats. You can get it as an ebook or Kindle file from Smashwords or in just Kindle format from Amazon. (Click the links to go right to the book at the store or your choice.) Sometime today (hopefully) it will also be available as a paperbook print book from CreateSpace. (I'll post the CreateSpace link here when it's ready.)

This was a lot of fun for me to write, once I got in the groove, and by all accounts it's an engaging read. It looks and feels like a men's action adventure suspense thriller, but it's more than that. At least I tried to make it more than that. It has lots of humor and a few surprises along the way. I think you'll like it. My wife thinks you'll like it. If you do like it, be sure to go to Amazon or Smashwords or CreateSpace...or all of them, and write me a nice review.

Thanks, everyone, for your support.