Friday, December 28, 2012

OK ... What Now Post Apocalypse Authors?


The world didn't end, not many of us were surprised, but I am left to wonder if the obsession with the apocalypse has reached its climax and fast makes its way down the hill of lost fads.

Now, I suppose there will still be the diehards out there. Me being one of them. But I also feel the success of the apocalypse media was due mainly to the failed Mayan prediction. The hype of years worth of build up.

I didn't start writing Post Apocalypse and ‘End of the World’ fiction out of some Mayan frenzy. Hell, my first short story was Disaster in the Liberty Tubes (At the age of ten), and full length novel was called, ‘They will Destroy Us’, and I wrote it at the age of 15. It was about aliens. Those of you who know how old I am, know that was long before Y2k and even the 2012 thing.

As the year 2012 crept up, thousands of writers jumped the bandwagon and penned PA fiction (Post Apocalypse). They never wrote one before and probably won’t again.  There are those of us who have a passion for writing it and those who write it for the hype. The positive thing is a lot of those novelist lost their incentive and probably will never pen another PA book, while those of us who live in that world will continue to write it. The market, this time next year, won’t be as flooded with new material.

Problem is, will people still buy it?

Years ago, no one would publish PA fiction. Unless of course it had a happy ending or miraculously, a deadly outbreak with a 99.9 percent fatality and communicability rate is suddenly stopped by a hero in a chopper (Outbreak). Hollywood, New York, they wanted those dismal world ending stories kept to a minimum.

They said, ‘The reader/viewership was minimum and the market too small’, but that changed as the Mayan prediction closed in. Suddenly the market grew, movies, zombies, you name it. I have a ton of rejections to prove that.

Again, I am left to wonder if the market will still be there? Sure, there are people like me that are glad there are plenty of PA book to choose from now. Years ago, I couldn’t get my hands on one.

As a writer who writes primarily PA fiction, I see a positive and a negative to the flopped 2012 doomsday.

On a positive, within six months, the new PA material won’t be as plentiful, competition won’t be as fierce. Those one hit wonders driven to capitalize on the fear of the masses won’t be putting out PA books for free or 99 cents burying the good ones and/or forcing many of us to mark down our own books so we make only 30 cents a copy.

We, the professional PA/Zombie book writers will still be here.

On the down side, I don’t think the market will be there like it was.  People won’t be flocking to download kindle editions that tell of the world’s demise.

I hope I’m wrong. Someone tell me I am wrong.

There are many, many writers out there that only write PA/Zombie style fiction and always have before it was cool to write it. I hope for their sake, the market stays.

I’m fortunate, because I write other things besides PA/Zombie. I'm not stuck in a writing rut. I have romance, horror, comedy, religious fiction, mystery, YA … I have them all out there for sale. Maybe now, they’ll get noticed. People/readers don't realize, I have 20 titles out  there that are not Apocalypse. 20. I know people don't know this because no one really buys them. However, I think I may be in a better position than a lot of PA writers who rely heavily on a world's end obsession. 

Actually, from my own sales stats, my non PA books have picked up some. In fact, my non PA books dribbled in sales before this and this month alone, the month of the failed apocalypse, I seen a near 400% increase in non PA book sales. While my PA books took a sharp turn down. Now don’t get excited. 400% increase against near nothing is still  low, but still the low number was the norm. This was my best Non PA book month to date.

Again, I hope I am wrong. I will continue to write PA fiction. I'm finishing up a dozy now.  But I think it may be time to concentrate on my non PA works just as much.

What say you?
            

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Next Big Thing - Pam?


So, David Dunwoody approached me with this new ‘Tag you’re it’ thing for authors. A viral way for us to all get our stuff out there. For us to try to get those who follow us or subscribe to see the work of other writers. We’re all in this together so let’s help each other out.

The way it works is you answer the ten questions, then tag other authors, challenging them to do the same. They answer the questions and tag others. They also tag and credit the person that roped them into it. Okay, so allow me to say, if you do not do this, it’s ok, it’s not a chain letter. But if you do it, think of the dozens of new people that can see your work.

So here are my answers to the questions. I chose my book, Pam. Not that it’s anywhere near the next big thing, but I can dream.

What is your working title of your book?
Pam

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Out of nowhere to be honest and with the help of a fellow authors, Kirk and Sonia, it formed.

What genre does your book fall under?
Murder/Mystery or psychological thriller.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Charlize Theron as Pam.  Cameron Diaz as Sharon and Tim Daly (Wings) as Desmond Andrews

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A psychiatrist battles his sex addiction while helping his patient solve the murder of her children.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self published

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
12 days.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Fifty Shades of Gray meets Helter Skelter

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
All the bad reviews that said I write gay porn and erotica over one implied scene in a pandemic novel.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s like nothing else I have ever written. It has sex in it, real sex, well fiction sex. But no implied sex. No beating around the bush in the book (No pun intended) That way if someone wants to review it and say I write erotica, they won’t be far off this mark.

And that’s it.

I hereby tag

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Walking Dead - 12 Reasons why I may stop watching


As a writer, it is sometimes hard to not to get taken out of the story because of writing. The same can be said in any profession. Lawyers cringe at law shows, cops cringe at crime shows, doctors with medical shows. I stopped watching ‘Revolution’ because of bad writing. A great idea, but what should have been a miniseries now has me caring less about the characters and if the power ever comes back on..

Don’t get me wrong, I love The Walking Dead. No matter how much I gripe, I’ll rush home on Sunday after Dj’ng to watch it. But I am left to wonder for how long. There are so many good writers that I know who could knock Walking Dead out of the park. The current ones, in my opinion, are falling short. You may disagree, but here’s is my list of reasons why I should stop watching the show. Why, I should, chances are I won’t:

CONTAINS SPOILERS

Too many hands in the soup: There are too many writers. The reason the graphic novels were so damn good was because Robert Kirkland penned the story. Now you have multiple writers each taking a turn on a episode, along with directors for each episode and it shows. The feel is not consistent.

Rehashed Storylines- Forbidden Love: Season One, Shane/Lori, Season Two Glenn/Maggie, Season Three Governor/Andrea.

Rehashed Storyline AGAIN – Missing persons: Season one, Merle went missing, they searched and didn’t find him. Season Two, Sophia went missing. They searched and searched and didn’t find her. Season Three, Carol is missing, they barely searched, didn’t find her and according to previews and Spoil The Dead, they will search and search for her.

People Surviving Raw Medical Procedures: Merle hacks his arm in season one, and despite the blood loss survives and runs. Season 2, Randal gets impaled but a fence and is ripped from that fence. Two days later he’s walking. Season Three Herschel gets his leg chopped off with an ax (After several hacks) and is up walking and is able to kick zombie ass. Okay, I admit. I love Hershel.

They Fail in the Sympathy Area: It’s terrible for say, I but I don’t feel sympathetic toward these characters. What the hell. Carl’s mother dies, he has to put her down, and no one gives the boy a hug? Plus, Carl isn’t even touched upon, his feelings or anything, at all in the next episode.

Lack of timeline consistencies: So for like eight months no one really moves forward? They circle around? Does no one wonder what happens outside the state of Georgia? My ass would be headed straight toward the hills of West Virginia. I’m willing to bet pockets town there have the ZA under control.

Backwards with Women: I hated last season when it was always, “That’s for the men to do. The women do this.” The only one who wasn’t out of a Donna Reed handbook was Andrea. Maybe that’s why they never went back for her and she was alive.

Michonne: Admittedly I was excited about this character. Yeah, she can wield a sword like no other and is badass about it, but her character is one sided and angry with no reason given. Her only facial expression is wide eyed disgust.  She already annoys me and I don’t really care what her reasons are now for hating. They waited too long to explain her character.

If Shane were Alive it wouldn’t have taken eight months to find that Prison: Enough said.

Minorities are insignificant: To watch TWD one would think people of ethnicity don’t stand a chance in the zombie apocalypse. They missed the boat on T-Dog, tossed him a bone with a heroes death, and had another African American man standing by. I find it insulting. Yes, we have Glenn, but he hasn’t done much this season either. Let’s not forget they sent the Latino family out in the zombie world in season one.

They want me to Hate the Governor: I can’t. Unless they show him pulling the new baby apart and frying her for dinner. I can’t hate him. He is the only one with a vision. Seriously. His town eats, sleeps at night and bathes! Yep, he crossed the line, but it is all for his town. They are safe. He makes sure of it. He’s got it together in a twisted way. But I’m cheering for him.  Hell with Rick and his band of merry, dirty scavengers, I’ll go join Woodbury, thank you. Bet they don’t have the lice problem Rick’s people do.

My biggest Problem - The Virus: In Season One, Jim gets a scratch, instantaneously he rages with fever and starts to turn. I don’t get it. If everyone has it in them, then why does a simple noninvasive injury kill the individual and turn them. If it’s a matter of infection, wouldn’t antibiotics work?

Ok, so those of my Walking Dead gripes. Maybe I’m just being picky, probably am. But thought I’d be the devil’s advocate while everyone else is signing Hallelujah about the show.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dangerous Places with Author Craig Dilouie


I WANT YOU FOR YOUR MIND NOT YOUR BODY … Attractive, mature, fit horror novels seek nubile brains for short-term relationship based on mutual belief in the apocalypse.

There’s something about Craig DiLouie. I’m not just talking about him as a writer, but as a person. Craig will always be special to me because when word got out that I was joining Permuted, Craig was the first author from that house to reach out to me. Reach out, welcome me, talk to me and answer questions. He is so supportive of other authors it amazes me. And if anyone epitomizes the fact that we are all in this together so let’s help each other out, it’s Craig. I love his work, his writing style and I envy his visualization and characterization. I truly wish I could write action, blood and gut like he does. I am so happy he is doing this interview. And isn't he just intensely cute?  Let’s meet Craig.

Welcome, Craig! Glad to have you!
Thanks, Jackie! As a fan of your fiction, I’m happy to be here!

What one thing do you feel makes you unique as a writer?
I would hope readers would find my fiction believable even though my stories feature monsters we likely will never meet in real life. I’m fascinated with stories about ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations, and feel a strong need to answer: What would really happen here?

I spend months researching my novels to try to get every detail right in the setting, background, weapons and so on. I also plot my stories and build characters in ways that make them seem real, with nothing contrived just to move the story, create conflict or simply because “it’d be cool if that happened.” The real magic of writing and reading is willing suspension of disbelief. The reader agrees to believe whatever you say, as long as the writer respects that belief. Realism is key to that relationship. The more realistic the background, the more fantastic the monsters that populate it. The more realistic the characters and their responses to what is happening to them, the more closely we will connect with them as people and see them as real.

What are three things people would be surprised to know about you?
Probably the biggest surprise would be that my fiction is fueled by love and anxiety of losing the people I love. In my stories, ordinary people are faced with horrifying changes and terrifying choices. These extreme changes and choices stand in for the mundane fears I have for those I love most.

Another thing that might surprise people is I’m not half as twisted as they might think after reading my work. I’m a happily married father of two beautiful children with a nice home and a secure middle class income from a satisfying technical writing business. I’m the guy you see at the food court in the mall with his wife and kids having a great time with them but occasionally staring off into space. What you don’t see is that what I’m actually doing during those moments is picturing horrifying scenes in my next novel.

Almost every writer has a writing vice (Music, coffee. Booze, etc) that they like or need to have in order to create. Do you have a vice and what is it?
My main vice is smoking. I quite five years ago, but have frequent relapses. I don’t need it to create, but the habit is comforting and nicotine, as a stimulant, definitely gets the juices flowing. In the past, when I would take smoke breaks, I would get a lot of great ideas during those moments of stillness. These creative benefits don’t count for much, obviously, compared to the bad things it does to your health. It’s something I’ll struggle with the rest of my life.

Do you write you story/outline longhand and then on the computer or do you go straight from brain to keyboard?
I usually go from notes to keyboard, although occasionally I’ll write something out longhand first. I always carry a pen in my front pocket and a small notebook in my back pocket, and I spend months literally thinking about my next novel during all of the quiet moments of the day. At some point, I realize I’m ready, and take the plunge with the first page. By then, I don’t have every single thing mapped out, because I want the story to flow naturally and “write itself” to an extent, but I know exactly where I’m going, which is key.

If there is one thing in any of your published works, storyline or character wise, that you could change in a currently published work, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything major, though if I could I’d tinker with it endlessly to rephrase passages, correct the inevitable typos and so on. There’s some sort of cosmic rule that within fifteen minutes of getting your book from the printer, you’ll find a typo.

If I were a movie producer, pitch your best work in two lines or less. (Give the book’s title)
TOOTH AND NAIL tells the story of a company of infantry deployed to New York City during the zombie apocalypse. Think BLACKHAWK DOWN meets 28 DAYS LATER.

THE INFECTION is an apocalyptic story of five ordinary people who must fight to survive minute to minute against zombies and even worse monsters. Think the emotional impact of THE WALKING DEAD and THE ROAD coupled with zombies, monsters and claustrophobic tension from THE MIST.

THE KILLING FLOOR is the sequel to THE INFECTION, continuing the story, which now focuses on an infected man who may be the key to salvation, or a biological superweapon that could end the world.

If you could be any character in your book, who would you be and why?
The one who survives! Seriously, while I love my characters and relate to them almost as they were real people, I don’t want to be them. I will tell you my favorite is Anne from THE INFECTION and THE KILLING FLOOR.

Anne is a great character because she is so determined. She already experienced the ultimate horror of the apocalypse on its first day with the loss of everything she loves. Every subsequent deprivation, moment of pain, trauma—nothing can really hurt her anymore. She has accepted that while the infected are in a sense the living dead, she is one of the dead living. Like some soldiers in combat, she conquered her fear by accepting she is already dead. Survival is all that matters. As a result, she can make quick decisions under stress and fights without fear, and her continuing existence is fueled by her hatred of Infection. She is the story’s Captain Ahab, if Moby Dick were a viruslike organism.

If you could straighten out one misconception some people have about you, what would it be?
[laughs] That if they didn’t like my book, it was my goal to personally offend them and make them feel like a loser because other people actually did like my book.

Let’s way you become super J.K. Rowling/Stephen King Famous, and you could help one Indy author achieve the recognition they deserve who would it be and why?
Many names come to mind, but probably the top of the list would be Peter Clines, author of -14- and EX-HEROES, although he’s doing just fine without the help. He’s a Permuted Press author I’ve gotten to know attending horror conventions. He’s a great writer and an incredibly interesting, nice guy. His books are selling very well, and he recently announced a major deal with Random House to republish his EX-HEROES series.

Claim to Fame: Who is the ‘most’ famous person you have met?
One of the great things about going to the horror conventions to sign books is meeting some of the great celebrities who attend. I spent time discussing the original SURVIVORS BBC series with actor Ian McCulloch, the character of Barbara with actress Judith O'Dea, and life in general with the beautiful actress Cerina Vincent. For me, though, the biggest celebrities are other authors. I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Jonathan Maberry and John Skipp, among others.

Thank you!
Thanks, Jackie!

Please make sure you visit Craig's WEBSITE for more info about his work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rush of NANOWRIMO - Tips to Finish


In less than 48 hours, the rush of adrenaline will pump and as the clock chimes midnight, hundreds of thousands will plow across the starting line of the annual and popular NANOWRIMO. National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write a 50k word novel in thirty days or less.
While each year, the number of participants increases, oddly enough the percentage of winners (Those who actually write 50k in thirty days) remains the same. Roughly only 15% will achieve the goal.
First, let’s establish you’re a winner for attempting it. It takes guts and not just talent. Many won’t even try. This will be my 12th year, but only tenth officially. It took two years to get the balls to actually join the site. I have finished every year. My shortest time was 12 days, longest was 26. But I usually finish on day 19. I know this because it’s my twins’ birthday.
50,000 words is really not a lot. But to do so in month with kids screaming, school activities, holidays, family and a full time job, it’s a feat. I am not the norm. Because 50k words is my typical month, so I try to step it up and challenge myself. Hence completing it faster.
Again, it is not easy. So I devised a list of pointer for someone who is new and may need some guidance on how to complete NANOWRIMO successfully and survive.
You are successful for registering and attempting the competition whether you finish or not. Remember that.
While you can’t write anything before November first, you can outline.
Think of what you want to write, where it will take place, who will be in it and CHARACTER NAMES. Design your setting, your main characters. Get that in your head.
Have three things ready to start your first writing day.
Environment/setting, Story Foreshadowing, Main character introduction. I know it sounds lame, but if you think about these three things, and what you want to say, you can start your book with a sprint. Three simple items.
Your first page can have the environment (It was a dark and stormy night) And you go on to describe it.
You can start with Main Charter Description and character development (Mary was sweet and charming, she had three animals that she loved)
Or start out with a foreshadowing event. (The blade sliced through the throat of the animal and blood poured onto Mary’s feet)
Pick one to start with and then go with the other two right after. You have your start. THEN….
I can’t stress enough. Outline. Outline, Outline.
Even if it’s a shitty outline, do it. This is a major key to finishing NANOWRIMO. I’m very serious about this. Every day, before you write or after you are done. OUTLINE 5 points you want to achieve.
Example:         Mary goes to the store
                        Mary sees a stranger.
                        The store gets held up.
                        The man takes Mary
                        Mary is in the kidnappers car scared.

Each of those points are basic, but you can expand upon them greatly. Outline. End your day with what you want to write the next time you write.
Write for the story and not the word count.
NANOWRIMO is all about word count, 1700 word a day. But if you outline, and set a point of finish. Meaning, you’ll write until you get to this point in your outline, you will see that word count increase rapidly.
Avoid massive amounts of caffeine.
I know it’s tempting to stay awake, but Caffeine, (as much as I love it) makes your hands weaker and more prone to an awkward typing. The hyper causes loss of focus. Not to mention it makes you have to pee more. So how do you get energy? Sour foods. I kid you not. Eat a pickle, Cut one up and have it handy. Sour food will spike your writing energy.
Don’t go on a writing binge before bedtime.
You’re gonna lose sleep as it is, why increase your chances. If you are on a writing binge, stop a half an hour before bedtime, wind down with outlining and reading.
Stop in the middle of a chapter.
If you stop in the middle of a chapter it gets you motivated to finish when you fire up to write the next day.
Have fun!
Write the story, worry about the technical aspects later. You can always add, take out and tweak later. Finish the story, put it away for a month then pull it back out.

Again, you rock for even attempting it. Finish line or not. You win. Join me through the month for progress updates. Good luck!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dangerous Places - Inside the Creative Mind of Sue Edge


Over-protective writer/mother of three looking for thrill-seeking readers who are in need of heavy-duty escapism and heart-muscle exercises.

 Today I kick off the first of many in a feature I call ‘Dangerous Place’, it’s getting inside the creative mind. The kick off author is Sue Edge.

Sue is a fellow Permuted Press Author and joins me in a genre heavily dominated by male writers. Zombies. I met and have gotten to know Sue through social media. She is super sweet, not to mention a beautiful talented woman. She is very sincere and supportive of all of us in the craft, that’s why I wanted her to be first.  Her writing is top notch, and if you don’t believe me, take a look at her book Dead Tropics. I promise, after you read the sample, you’ll be hooked.


Welcome, Sue! Glad to have you.  First, up who you are as a person/writer and your work/book
I write under the name Sue Edge, that being a nickname I acquired in college.  I am the author of a horror/action novel called Dead Tropics.  It is the story of an ordinary woman who races the clock – and a growing zombie threat – to save her family.  They say ‘write what you know’ and for the last 18 years I’ve been trying to raise decent kids and keep them safe so that’s the focus of my book!  But I have always had a fascination for apocalyptic/disaster books, particularly zombies, so what better scenario to tell my story?

What one thing do you feel makes you unique as a writer?
While there are a lot of writers doing horror stories and action stories, I combine the two genres.  I want people to be left in turn, breathless, horrified, relieved and happy.  I try to write stories that tap into peoples’ fundamental fears and force the reader to ask themselves ‘how would I react?’

What are three things people would be surprised to know about you?
  1. People often perceive horror writers to be dark and twisted.  I can see the surprise on people’s faces when I tell them that I write horror novels because I don’t meet that perception.  Let’s just say I resemble Pollyanna more than I do Morticia Addams.  But I think it’s that appreciation for life and all its gifts that enables me to write dark books, because I can imagine what it would be like to lose everything I hold dear. 
  2. My first book was a parenting book.  It made quite a splash at the time, which surprised me because my intention was to create a resource for parents who found that modern parenting techniques to be unsuccessful, not stir up a hornet’s nest 
  3. I would like to try my hand at writing romantic comedy one day.  


Almost every writer has a writing vice (Music, coffee. Booze, etc) that they like or need to have in order to create. Do you have a vice and what is it?

Nothing exciting, I’m afraid.  In order to hash out storylines, I go for a nice walk and enjoy the sun and scenery.  It seems to spark the creative juices.  At home, I switch lanes (from office or parenting mode to writer mode) by making myself a cup of tea and catching up with everyone on face book for half an hour or so.  Then I am ready to start writing.

Do you write you story/outline longhand and then on the computer or do you go straight from brain to keyboard?
I am a straight-from-brain-to-keyboard type.  Before I start writing a book, I know where I want to start and where I want to finish and then I let the creative process unfold.  The characters tend to write their own story, I think.

If there is one thing in any of your published works, storyline or charter wise, that you could change in a currently published work, what would it be?
 *SPOILER* I probably wouldn’t kill off one of the main characters in Dead Tropics.  I’ve received some emails on that subject, let me tell you!

If I were a movie producer, pitch your best work  
In Dead Tropics, Lori Nelson is an ordinary mother who thinks she has survived the worst that life has to throw at her after her husband dies, leaving her to raise a teenager and twin babies but she is wrong.  Trapped in an increasingly deadly tropical paradise, Lori is forced to dig deep and discover a strength she didn’t know she possessed - a strength that enables her to make once unthinkable decisions in order to save her precious family.

If you could cast any three celebrities, living or dead to play your characters in a movie, who would they be and who would they play?
Well, James Denton would be a shoo-in for the part of Mike, the laconic security guard who becomes the heroine’s partner , friend and foil.  A runner up might be Jason Statham.

Lori, the protagonist, is a much trickier part to cast.  The names that have been tossed about by my readers and friends include Jennifer Garner, Dana Delaney and Lena Headley.  I’m actually inclined to cast someone a little quirkier, like Courtney Cox.  Whoever plays Lori has to be able to convince people that she is just an ordinary woman caught up in extraordinary events.  Not only that, she needs to be able to handle drama as well as comedic scenes.

My daughter has put her hand up to play the part of the teenage daughter.  She argues that since I’ve used our family as the basis for the characters, she’s the best person to play the part.  I guess she has a point!


If you could be any character in your book, who would you be and why?
*sheepish grin*  Well, I based Lori, the protagonist, on myself so it would have to be her, of course!  And if I get to make out with James Denton or Jason Statham in the movie version, well shucks…

Let’s say you become super J.K. Rowling/Stephen King Famous, and you could help one Indy author achieve the recognition they deserve who would it be and why?
Well, there are a lot but if I had to choose two, it would be Stephen North and Kathy Dunnehoff.  Zombies and romantic comedy…I swing both ways. 

Stephen encouraged me a lot when I started writing my book.  As for Kathy, I think she taps into the angst of women in their forties.  I could certainly relate!

What are three things that can always be found in your fridge?
Durian (it’s an acquired taste), Jarlsberg cheese and homemade yoghurt.  What can I say, I like strong flavors.


Thank you!

Please, check out Sue’s book and sneak peak on AMAZON

Friday, October 5, 2012

Picking a Candidate by their ASS-ets.




 I thought it was a brilliant idea. You know …people are always saying negative things about the candidates. So I came up with a different way to pick your candidates. Not by view. Not by record or issues, but rather by …. Derrieres.

Which team has the better set of buns?

A fun activity - which candidate would be your choice if you solely went by how much you liked their buttocks.

Funny. Ha ha. But then the task remained. I had to get comparison pictures. Easy? Well one would think, until I actually began a Google search for pictures of Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan bums.

Never have I worked so darn hard researching and prepping for a blog.

The search was impossible. I put it their name followed by various keywords, such butt, behind, backside, walking away, sweet cheeks … nothing.

I mean, hundreds of times a picture of a half naked Joe Biden washing his car, popped up from the Washington Post. But not pictures of him from behind? Is there some sort of courtesy photo law that prohibits journalist from taking pictures of candidates from behind? Gees, I hope it isn't a law, because when I went to the George Bush Rally and I sat behind him on stage, I snapped a few backside photos.

 Oh … stop you would too.

It became like a puzzle to me. Surely I wasn’t the only person in the world ever to look up a candidate’s butt. Wait, that was worded wrong. Let’s try that again. Surely, I am not the only person in the world to search pictures of a candidate’s backside.

Maybe so. Still …

At one point I was going to give up the search, but damn it, I was bound and determined to find pictures of their backsides.  And hence, I did. So, please. Judge for yourself. If you only got to look at their behinds and pick your next presidential team who would it be.

Obama

Biden

Romney

And my personal favorite… Ryan.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Night of the Living Stink Bugs


Look at the picture, at the look of sheer horror on my granddaughter’s face. This same little girl who watches episode after episode of Walking Dead, who thinks Day of the Dead is boring and bitched when Jaws died was simply traumatized over ... a stink bug.

In her defense, the initial attack was mild but it transformed into nothing less than a B horror flick.

Monday Madness, that’s what I call Monday’s because my toddler grand kids have a sleep over not only in my room, but my bed. They were doing their exercise via jumping on my bed when Violet screamed. This child didn't just cry a shrill shriek, it was deep, long and gurgling.

I could see them from my writing room and I called out, “What’s wrong?” my heart thumping thinking she really got hurt.

“Bug!” Violet cried.

I thought, ‘Really?’ she’s acting like this over a bug?’ We just watched the webepisodes of Walking Dead and she laughed at the zombies. So grabbing my phone to take a picture of her terror, I walked to them.

“Bug!” she pointed. After snapping a picture, I took a look. It wasn't just a bug, it was a stink bug.

“Oh that’s a stink bug,” I explained as if the toddlers would know.
“Oh, God, Nennie! Save me.” Yeah, seriously, that’s what she said.

Being ‘Great One’, I couldn't ignore my calling to be the hero. But Baby Frank, who doesn't really talk well, goes to speech, found his niche as well (I’m still accrediting the Avengers) he bravely held back his arm to Violet and said, clear as day, “Stay back. I’ll get Bug.”

He grabbed a shoe!

No! Wait. Don’t kill it.

He looked at me as if I were nuts and I explained. “It’s a stink bug. If you kill it, then everything will stink and we won’t be able to sleep.”

Pause. They stared at me. Did they understand? No. After a moment, Baby Frank’s hurled down the shoe and I stopped him in the nick of time. “Wait.” I tried again. “If we kill it, it will come back as a zombie and eat Nennie.”

Both kids glanced at me and backed off. What to do? I had been sipping on my bourbon so I went and got my plastic glass, downed the rest of the booze, grabbed an envelope, walked to the bug and scooped it in the glass. I carried it to my writing room window, opened it and let it out.

Violet applauded. “Oh thank you gweat one. Thank you.”

None too impressed, Baby Frank pointed to the same spot with a look that all but said, ‘yeah, your works not done’.

Damn it! Another one. Violet screamed. “Get it Nennie. Get it in you whiskey glass!”

“On it.” I swept up that bug, took it to the writing room window and set it free as well.

Not long after, they relaxed, but no sooner did they fall asleep, Violet awoke with a scream. “Bug! Big Stink bug!”

Are you kidding me, she’s having nightmares about Stink bugs? Not zombies but bugs. She was shaking, wouldn't go to sleep. She graveled out to me, “They’re … they’re .. coming.”

“Ok, baby, ok,” so as not to wake baby Frank, I took her into my writing room, made a little bed on the floor. She whimpered about them coming. I’m on the computer. Focused on work, I told her, “They’re not coming. Nennie got rid of them.”

Pat. Pat. Pat-pat-pat.

Violet shrieked! The ‘patting’ continued, loud and steady. Eyes wide, I shifted to my right, looked at my window and there was at least twenty stink bugs slamming against my window, trying to get in.

It indeed was like a zombie invasion of bugs. I figured they were pissed that I tossed out their buddies or, since I used a whiskey glass, they were trying to get to the party. In either case, they eventually gave up and moved on. But Violet was scarred for life.

Go figure, Walking Dead eating intestines doesn’t make her flinch but a stink bug …. Oh boy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When the HS Reunion Bell Rings ... 30 years later


Recently I attended my (gulp) 30th reunion. And I have to say, thanks to Facebook, the reunion was probably a lot different for me than my parents. After all, I had connected with others, they knew of my life, I knew of theirs. Social media added an interesting twist.

Still… I wanted to give a glimpse of my view of getting back in touch with classmates … 30 years later. Including what I will call my awards ceremony.

There were many who attended that I hoped to see. There was only one person I didn’t want to see and thankfully, she didn't come. The last time I saw this woman, she nuzzled at the bar with a man half her age (Not her husband) looking worse for wear and being very supportive of him as they both hustled frozen meat out of the back of his car to the patrons of the bar.

Even holding her bargain frozen patties, she still managed to snub me, stare and snicker at me in some sort of intimidating manner. Really? Seriously? I guess she failed to see that she lost all bully credibility the second she start being the meat huckster.

Everyone really looked great. It was funny to see the difference between attire of the twenty reunion and thirty. Many women tossed out the choice for sequence and opted for comfort. Hand raised. I hate anything tight against my body, that comes with age, I guess.

It was evident the room was divided between those who embraced the year of the Sears Senior discount and those who were fighting it tooth and nail.

Despite the fighting it …. Fact remains it was thirty years later. We did get old. We all aged well. I like to think.

Bottom line remains, we all had a blast.  I was super impressed by the longevity of marriages in our class. Man, if I add all my marriages together it still doesn't add up to some of the marriages there.

Although, it was evident some should have left their spouses at home. Really? Totally reiterating why I don’t get married … again. It was a reunion. Your spouse is going to socialize. You can’t expect them to sit with you and you certainly can’t get visually and publicly pissed when they be bop around. Which happened.

Now for my Jackie 30 year reunion awards. (I’m leaving out last names but am providing a visual)

Least changed all the way around: Kelly
Personality wise, hair, face, this woman is still as endearing today as she was 30 years ago. I’m almost convinced she found Dick Clark’s Dorian Gray Mirror.
.
Most changed/aged for the better: Ted
Seriously, take a look.

Most likely to still look the same at our fortieth reunion: Karen
Take a look at her grad pic and now. I may even say she’ll still look the same at the fiftieth.

Best quote of the night: Maryann, when she said, (In reference to a body part) “No man paid for these, I bought these myself in Florida.”

Most likely to be married more times than me: Steve
While we are both tied at 3 times down, I foresee him having at least two more spouses. He also was the most photographed the night of the reunion, appearing somewhere in almost every picture. It could start a new game. “Where’s Steve.”

Most like to be (Or should be) the mayor of a community: Bob
You should hear this man talk. Boy he’d give Governor Christy a run for his money.

And finally, my big award the, “I’m not convinced this wasn't a case of borrowed identity award”. It goes to Craig.
I was thinking at first it was a case of Wedding crashers, but instead reunion crashers. Because there is no way, he is the same guy we graduated with. Or it was a possible brilliant political infiltration to subconsciously sway votes. Cause he looks suspiciously like a presidential candidate. Am I the only one who thinks it?

I was showing my mom pictures of the reunion. Her first question wasn’t, ‘did I have a good time,’ it was, “Were there any prospects.” I laughed and told her I was one of the few not married. She pointed to a picture and said, “What about this nice looking young man?” (Craig)

Snicker. Snort. Young. We’re pushing fifty. Of course she’s decades beyond us.

I shrugged and said I wasn’t sure then I pointed to Steve and informed her he was the only one I knew that wasn’t married.. To which she said. “Oh. Hmm. Check on the Mitt Romney looking guy.”

And yes, it’s only fair …

God willing, I’ll be writing a blog about the fortieth.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

UFO or Meteor? Object(s) fall from sky

I honestly have the oddest luck. Some would call me insane, others just a magnet to paranormal activity. This time, I have photo proof and an eye witness.

I am behind in approving and listening to all the 'soon to be released' audio books I have coming out, so Veronica and I took a ride to listen to the tracks. On the way home we saw the oddest light in the sky. Ironically  we were listening to CRY (alien book) The light was stationary, triangular, with several lights. After coming from the farm hills, we saw what appeared to be a stream of smoke, streak across and down from the sky.

Honestly, we thought it was a plane crash because of the tail of smoke. It came down and straight to the ground. Well, we followed it. After chasing the streak that remained in the sky we gave up figuring it was farther away that we thought.

No sooner did we get back home and another one came. It began its decent and we were on it. I flew to the third floor, opened the window, leaned far out and snapped a picture and then another as he sailed downward.

I have attached the pictures.

See what you think. The smoke, don't know if you can tell, spiraled like a ribbon downward. The second picture, I caught an object.






Friday, September 21, 2012

ZombieCon Day One: Infection

Really, I should have known. Just because I can work an iPhone does not mean I am technologically savvy . It was me versus the GPS from moment one

I don’t get the GPS, it says ‘turn’ I turn, apparently I’m turning too late or too early. Despite the fact that we got lost in Altoona, we arrived, I should have seen that as a ‘learn the GPS’ sign.

Then we arrive. My spend thrift habits of not wanting to put out 120 a night brought us to the spookiest hotel. OMG, it was nothing like the pictures or the reviews. It was cheap. Ok, it’s two nights. We pull into the lot and we’re the ONLY car.

I go in, tell the lady we have a reservation. And she says, “Are you sure?”
“Um, am I sure I have a reservation?”
“No,” she said. “Are you sure you want to stay here."
“You’re joking right?”
She didn’t respond only handed me the card key and said, “It’s a handicap room.”
“I don’t need a handicap room, you can save it for someone who does.”
“Think of it as a quick escape. It’s by the door.”

I was torn between wondering if she were serious or joking. The room isn’t bad and yes, we checked thoroughly for bedbugs,

So we hurriedly get ready and find the restaurant, despite the fact that the GPS told us we still had a mile to go.

Wonderful dinner and company. Sat with Scott Baker an author from Permuted and Gary and Russ Striener the brothers who were responsible for Night of the Living Dead. Russ played the brother, “Johnny” in the classic film. You know, “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”

I had to explain that to the actor who plays TDog on Walking Dead. He said, “Whose getting
Barbara? Whose Johnny?”
“Um Night of the Living Dead, the reason you have a job right now.”

 Finally he got it. Of course when meeting him, he introduced himself by his ‘actor name’

 “I’m Iron-E,” he said.
“Iron …E?” I questioned.
“Yeah, Iron-E.”
“Wow, cool. I’m Cliché.”

He didn’t get it.

Scott engaged in more sophisticated and engaging conversation, I’m sure. My conversation with Iron ... E, was more how Jack Daniels would help him digest that Italian food he ate and, yes, how my book The Flu would make him blubber like a baby.

I did say (And he laughed) That I bet it was hard to remember all his lines for episode. Those who watch  the show know he gets three lines, a serious look and nod every episode.

The highlight of my night was talking to the Striener Brothers, they are enchanting and awesome and in my mind Icons to the Zombie industry.

 Although the Rapper, Zombie, comes close. He walked in with the white contact lenses and, no kidding, he brought his own paparazzi.  They took pictures, probably because his pants dropped below his underwear. I didn’t get it. I also didn’t get to talk to him. His security team wouldn’t let anyone but IronE talk to him and I guess he was too famous for us all. Even though I never heard of him.

And let’s  not forget poor Scott, who put his faith in me and my GPS by following me to the Bar. Yes … we got lost.

Really, Amazon? Really?


AGAIN, for the third time, Amazon is making me prove that I own rights to my own book, DUST. Because you know, apparently, Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti owns the rights to the book.

Um … hello?

This is the third time this has happened with DUST.

While updating the cover for DUST (Which has been on sale on Kindle for a year), Amazon blocked the updates ... again, as they did before on DUST. Only before they weren’t blocked only warning letters.

When they first did this, I thought, “okay, this has to do with the fact that iUniverse does the print edition’. I promptly forwarded them the email from iUniverse, stating that they didn’t have exclusive e-book rights.

Amazon, “Cool, no biggie”. Maybe they didn’t use that phrasing.

BTW, the iUniverse thing got out of control. They decided to put up their own Kindle edition of my books. Hence starting a war. One that lasted months. I won.

Back to Amazon. Problem solved, book updated. Months go by, Amazon removed the iUniverse Kindle copy. I update the book file again and bam …. Another warning from Amazon that I didn’t have the rights to the book, Dust. WHAT?

Again, being nice, I wrote back explaining I was the author, I had rights and this was the second time it happened. No reply from Amazon, the book updated.

This time, the letter was nasty. It stated I ignored repeated warning, they stated, that I do not have the right to publish DUST, the rights belong to Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti and I need to show proof that she is allowing me to put the book on Kindle. Until I prove she gave me rights, the book is BLOCKED.

Are you freaking kidding me?

What Einstein at Amazon looked at the DUST author name of Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti and the Kindle Direct Account name of Jacqueline Druga and said, “Hey, whoa, these are two different people.”

Has no one heard of divorce?

My response to Amazon this time wasn’t pleasant. I told them to fix it ASAP and stop this nonsense. They nee to take one moment and review the history, see how many times this has happened and  to look at the name  on the Kindle Account and the Author name. I know it’s tricky, I know there’s that hyphenated thingy, but come on …

Maybe I should produce a letter. I’ll write a letter to myself telling myself that I assign myself the rights to publish my own book. Maybe that’s what I need to do?

Or better yet … How’s this:

To whom it may concern:
Please allow this letter to serve as proof, that I, Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti,Author of the book DUST. Who by the way, is no longer is Jacqueline Druga-Marchetti, but now is just Jacqueline Druga because of a divorce in 2004, hereby assigned all publishing rights to the novel Dust, to Jacqueline Druga.
Sincerely,
Jacqueline Druga.

Maybe they’ll get it now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

EVP - I accidenitly Captured this. What do you hear?

If you are one of those people who want to discredit, disbelief, or Blow the Smoke of Doubting Thomas up everyone's ass, you can ... ignore this blog.

This blog post is aimed for those who like freaky stuff. I don't want ridiculed, I want some help. Like what is this thing saying?

Huh? You ask. Okay.

I set up my large walk in closet on the third floor attic to be my sound room for recording audio for audio books. About the only problem I had in the beginning was the occasional loud motorcycle, truck or plane. Other than that, it's pretty quiet. And hot, the room is hot because it's on the top floor and there is no air conditioning and I certainly can't run the AC while I record.

Then last week, I got this weird sound. A heartbeat was loud and clear, slow and steady.. Noah said it was my own, even though I'm not using a headset microphone and my heartbeat generally tends to be fast from all the espresso. I took his word and was assured by his expertise and forgot about it.

Then this happened ....

I opened the closet to grab the audio box. I run it from my lap top. I keep all electronics away from the closet, and heck the laptop is even far way.

It was a warm day and I was oddly surprised how cold the closet was. Thinking, sweet, I won't sweat bullets, I cued up my kindle, let the closet, walked to my laptop, hit record, walked back to my closet shut the door, sat down and recorded. As usual.

When I came out, I stopped the recording. Because it takes a few seconds for me to get into the closet form my laptop it's not usual for their to be a visually long strand of nothing before the waves of speaking. But as I looked at the audio, the whole file looked off.

There were no flat lines of silence, it was thick.

What the heck. That never happened. I listened. Over my voice was an entire clicking track. At first I thought ... shit, then I noticed the click was a pattern. It was, no kidding, Morse Code.

Visually it was easy to see the dot dashes and dots. I took a section, put the dots and dashes as I saw them in a Morse Code trans coder and it kicked back 'This is a ...'

I didn't go any further. I will. other than SOS, I have no idea about Morse Code or that I was putting in actual letters. Apparently, I was.

But that wasn't the weird part. When I amplified, starting at the beginning, Clearly there was a voice that spoke BEFORE I even entered the room.

Spooked a bit, I amplified it again. It was there. Buried beneath the clicks so I removed the Morse Code and amplified again. It is a ghostly male voice and below is a link to the clip. I can make out what I think is 'Lucy' but I can't make out anything else. Can you? I may be wrong. What do you hear?

EVP LINK - TURN UP SPEAKERS

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good Lord, I'm a sex Goddess for Geriatric men.


I’m getting old. I can tell. I skipped over the men in their fifties hitting on me and went straight for the centurions. I’m still shaken.
There is a elderly man named Ron who comes to my show on Tuesdays. Not always, but lately it’s been regularly. Ron is 93 years old. Consumes 5 whiskey sours and drives home. Something scary about that … anyhow.
He’s kind of frightening because he looks exactly like the preacher from Poltergeist 2. No kidding, down to the hat and clothes. So keep that picture in mind as I tell this story.
Each week Ron comes in and gives me a hug. Today he asks, can I hug him a little longer because he’s had a bad day. Ah, I think, poor soul. Absolutely.. I embrace him.
He said, “You smell good.”
“It’s my laundry detergent,” I told him. “I make it myself. Everyone comments on it.”
“You know … I come here to see you.”
“Thanks, Ron, that’s sweet.”
“You’re a good looking gal,” He nudged me with his shoulder.
“Thank you.” Really, I was trying to do my job. I stared at the computer.
“I get around you know.” He winked.
“Of course you do.” I mean, really that was obvious, he drove to my show.
“Could use some company, can I call you some time and we can go around?”
So, I’m sipping my drink, thinking he needs me to help him grocery shop. He’s 93 years old. Probably doesn’t have any family. So, being the nice person I am. I told him. “Sure, I would love to go around with you and help you out.”
“Nice, very nice. That makes me day and give me something to look forward to.”
So, I’m thinking. I’m shining in the eyes of the powers that be. Brightening the day of a man nearing a centurion age.
Until of course he taps a my butt with his boney fragile hand. “Wanna let you know, I’m told I’m quite good.”
Clear throat. Reach for drink. “Um, uh, wow. Good to know.”
“When can I get that number of yours?” he asked.
“Um, I don’t have it. It’s a cell phone and I don’t know the number.” Yeah, that was it. He’d buy that story. Heck, I’d buy that story. I rattled. “Next week. Ask my son for it.” I brought my drink to my lips.
“And just so you know,” he said. “In case you’re wondering. It still works.”
I didn’t want to say anything. I wasn’t wondering … okay, maybe I was. Until he said.
“Yep, I work it out twice a day.”
SPLAT. Everything in my mouth voluntarily sprayed outward.
He chuckled, nudged me again and walked off. I stood dumbfounded. This was a true story. And I swear to God I’ll kick my son’s ass if he give him my number. I can see Drew doing that to be funny.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you?


The anniversary comes around. Some people pause to remember, some don’t think about it. But like Pearl Harbor, the events of September 11, 2001, shook this nation and in a rare occasion, brought us together. For a short span of time, we all hung flags, we played patriotic music and we weren’t Democrats, Republicans or Independents. We were Americans.

Thousands of people lost their lives to the senseless violence and millions of people still miss those they lost. Their hearts broken from the sudden unexpected loss. A loss that could never be replaced. Unresolved because it didn’t make sense. They miss them today as much as they did yesterday.

The tragedy had the Senate, standing side by side singing God Bless America on the steps of the capital. Does anyone remember that?

We were saddened and outraged, we cried over the loss and held our breath over the heroic struggles. A plethora of emotions ran so rampant in this country that four days post after 9/11 started a stress ‘cold’ epidemic that swept through the nation inflicting more people than the Spanish Flu. Even our president coughed, sneezed and lost his voice. This was all the first week.

We were for a moment in time, one nation Under God, indivisible. But that didn’t last long …

We hugged our families, stayed home, and prayed. We felt enraged over what had happened and we vowed to not bow our heads.

I remember that day, those who were alive do and always will.

I had just gotten home from taking the twins to school when the phone rang. I was on the phone with my then husband as the second plane hit. I was on the phone with my friend, Don when the towers fell and the Pentagon was struck.

I’ll always remember exactly what I was doing and what I was told. “A plane just hit the twin tower, hurry, turn on the news.”

I’ll pause today to think of that day, to pray for the families that lost and for this country, that one day; we may be united again, only perhaps without the tragedy being the cause.

Where were you and what were you doing when you heard?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Let them be little ... just a bit more



My grandson is cuddled in my bed, sleeping finally after being fussy. But I don’t dread a restless night. Not with him, not with any of my grandchildren. It’s odd, because as you become a grandparent, suddenly you get a different view of things. You don’t mind getting woke up after only a few hours sleep, that trip to McDonald’s isn’t a problem, and you will gladly walk the floor with them, even if it means they throw up on you. Who cares? It’s different.

Which is probably why I have the outlook that has spawned this blog.

Before I continue …. let’s establish, this isn’t aimed toward full time, working moms and dads who need daycare of have no choice. This is my opinion for those who have options and make the choice.

Preschool at 3. I have a problem with it.

My daughter Ali, brought up that she was going to send Violet to preschool at 3. Why?

She retorted, “Mom, that’s what they do now. So the kids can adjust and be smart.”
           
Really, because I’m pretty sure, her pediatrician is smart and I’m willing to bet he didn’t start school at 3. Hell, Einstein didn’t even go to Kindergarten.
           
“Mom, if I don’t send her at 3, she’ll be behind.”
           
“No, she won’t.”
           
My grandson won’t go until he’s four. What will he not know?  That the other kids do. He knows colors, he knows numbers and alphabet on sight. He can work a kindle, ipad, iphone, xbox, and Atari, probably better than his peers.
           
I make him work the bluray for me.
           
Yep, I’m teaching him words to read … on his own time. Not mine.
           
School at 3. It is far too young, in my opinion for a child, who will go to school for at least 16 more years. When does it stop?  When I was young there really wasn’t preschool and kindergarten was an option. Yeah, it was. When my oldest son was 4, preschool was an option and really not a lot of kids went. All day kindergarten was a rarity.
           
Why? Society deemed them too young to be away from home.
           
What changed? Are 3 year old suddenly more mature. No.  We just want them to be. Well, guess what, they aren’t. They are babies. Toddlers.


They will have plenty of structured education. Allow them to be children. To sleep when they want, play when they want and enjoy not being in school. Learn when they feel like learning.
           
3 is too young. My, God, let them be babies.

I look at my grandson.

He’s 3. And you know what? He’s really still a baby, a toddler. He hasn’t even surpassed being called a toddler, yet there are his peers, donning backpacks and going to school.

Think about that for a second, Sending a toddler to school.
           
I realize that every parent wants their child to be educated, but those teachers who teach them … didn’t go to school at 3. The doctors who care for them, were still drinking sippy cups.

Granted my grandson goes to therapy for speech, so he has structure and he complains. He actually doesn’t want to go at times.

In my opinion, if your child is able to be home and be a child, then let him. Teach him at home. We as a society are forcing children to be older and more mature. This makes me wonder, how much creativity will be lost? How much imagination will they not acquire because they are being structured too early? Told what to draw, what to read, how to behave.

At 3 a child should be free to draw where his imagination takes him, play with the toys he chooses and pretend all he wants. Not be conformed. If we to teach them ABC’s and they walk away. Ok, that’s cool. They’re 3!

Then there’s the health issue. How many more germs are they exposed to? Ask any mom who has to put her child in daycare, how often her child gets sick.

And the biggie …

They send out lice letters in preschool, yeah, lice letters, I said it. Itching yet? 3 year olds don’t comprehend not to touch heads or hair. Who the hell wants to deal with a 3 year old with lice?

Just thought I’d rant a bit about the subject. I realize many will disagree with me. But those who do? Did you go to school at 3?