Ruminating On: Used

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There’s been heated debate in the author community over whether or not used books should be allowed. It comes down to two sides: authors who feel they are being robbed of profits, and authors who believe that, as long as people are reading, they don’t mind how people come across their work. I’m in the last group. I prefer to be read over not not being read. Also, I fully believe that, if I’ve done my job, readers will purchase my books new after sampling my offerings through a secondhand market. I come to this theory through experience, knowing that if I find a book at a USB by an author whom I’ve never heard of, and I like their work, I’ll buy their stuff new simply to support them. I’m like this with movies and music as well.

Then we have a handful of authors who balk at having their work available at libraries. This seems beyond silly to me, and I’ll explain why. Any author worth their salt is a reader at heart. Most of us learned a great deal of our craft among those shelves. I know that, when I was but a wee lad, I might as well have lived in my school library because I spent more time there than I did at home. Librarians have always been heroes to me, and I believe Neil Gaiman’s quote, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” to be an irrefutable truth. I’ve also purchased a great many books brand new from brick-and-mortar shops after having read them first through library lending. Some books demand a place on my bookshelf, and I’m sure many of you will agree wholeheartedly with that statement. Used booksellers are as much of a threat to author profits as ebooks are to paperbacks and hardcovers. There will always be those who will prefer new over used, and vice versa. Attempting to deny the frugal your work is a greedy venture, and you’re not harming anyone other than yourself.

Last but not least, we have authors who support DRM. I’ve heard it said that Digital Rights Management first surfaced because booksellers didn’t want readers to be able to enjoy ebooks on their competition’s devices (e.g. Amazon didn’t want fans of B&N reading Kindle books on Nook). This soon escalated to authors installing DRMs simply to keep people from pirating their hard work. While I agree that the theft of intellectual property is wrong, the fact remains that the majority of people who are out there stealing books wouldn’t have purchased them anyway. Once again, this comes down to whether or not an author is in this business for the money or as a way of providing individual escapes. Like you, I dig money, but I can work a nine to five to make ends meet. Writing isn’t my only skill, but it is my passion. I believe that a great many authors have lost sight of their true purpose. They’ve lost the magic, as it were. Me? I have faith that if I’ve provided a distraction from this maddening world in which we live to a single reader that their enjoyment is payment enough. The funny thing is, the more books I give away, the more I sell. I know that’s counter-intuitive, but it’s also the truth.

Ruminating On: Senses

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Desperation tastes like relighting a cigarette butt you found in an ashtray because you can’t afford a fresh pack of smokes. Stress smells like the sweat that pours from your armpits down your flank while you’re waiting to talk to your boss about your recent attitude toward him doubling your workload. Frustration feels like spending the last of your cigarette money on deodorant only to find out you’re now allergic to the brand you’ve been using since you hit puberty. Rage looks like your boss’ red cheeks after you tell him where he can shove the extra duties he’s piled on top of you. Contentment sounds like you slamming his office door, like your tires barking as you peel away from the employee’s parking lot, like freedom.

Desperation tastes like alcohol purchased with panhandled change. Stress smells like gun bluing. Frustration feels like cold steel on your tongue. Rage looks your eyes reflected in the mirror over the sink. Contentment sounds like gunfire.

Coming this Holiday Season!

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Tybalt Shrew purchased the Mercury Coupe in the winter of 1951. He signed the bill of sale two days before his boy was possessed by… something.

 Juliet wasn’t the first, and she won’t be the last.

Ruminating On: Often

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I often wonder what it would be like if we all got along. What would our world be like if our differences didn’t affect our perceptions of one another? I often wonder what it would be like if we all looked the same, acted the same, were the same. What if we saw ourselves in our neighbors, our friends, our family? I often consider the possibilities if our worst traits were erased from our genetic codes. What if there was no envy, no pride, no wrath… nothing to drive us to harm one another? No one knows, but I often imagine a world without violence, a time of peace that would see us all better off.

This post should have been longer, but I’m wrapping up a new novel this evening. PORT IN A STORM, my first foray into science fiction with new author, Linton Bowers, tackles the same questions I’ve asked above. The novel is drawing to a close, and I remain bereft of answers. Hopefully, we’ve managed to write something both entertaining and meaningful, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Until tomorrow,

E.

Ruminating On: Nope

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Below you will find a list of questions I have either skirted in interviews, in person, in emails, or in comments. There comes a time when answers should be given.

Are you gay?
Nope, but I have fabulous hair.

Are you straight?
Nope, I’m round.

Are you an introvert?
Nope, I’m a closeted extrovert.

Are you a pessimist?
Nope, I’m a cynical optimist.

Are you really as fat as you look in your pictures?
Nope, I’m allergic to bees and am being perpetually stung off camera.

Is DASTARDLY BASTARD a play on words?
Nope, it’s a book with words.

Is LIFE AFTER DANE an autobiography?
Nope, I am not currently a fifty-five year old woman, but anything can change with time and surgery.

Is your wife really black?
Nope, she’s more of a caramel hue.

Do you support gun ownership?
Nope, but I support your right to defend yourself.

Do you support abortion?
Nope, but what a woman does with her own body is none of my business.

Do you do drugs?
Nope, but I have in the past.

Do you drink?
Nope, but you can revert to my answer of the previous question.

Do you smoke?
Nope, but this one time, in high school, some douchepickle lit my ponytail on fire.

Are you a violent man?
Nope, but I understand there’s a time and place for everything.

Do you think you’re a good writer?
Nope, I’m a storyteller because writing is hard.

Are you scared of the dark?
Nope, I’m scared of what hides in plain site.

Do you have any regrets?
Nope, because what’s done is done.

Are you stupid?
Nope, if ignorance is bliss I’m clinically depressed.

Are you fucking retarded?
Nope, I have no want or need to copulate with such an ugly word.

 

My Public Apology to STGRB

I’ve been an idiot. I thought I was fighting the good fight, attempting to make a difference, but I was wrong. Readers and reviewers have nothing to be concerned with. Neither do the authors you target. You see, I posted a warning to my author friends on my Facebook page telling them that they might want to distance themselves from me, lest your wrath runeth over onto them. I was set upon by a flurry of owls. “Who? Who? Who?” One such acquaintance even said, “I had to look them up.” Then, a friend of greater intelligence than myself responded to that acquaintance: “The fact that you had to look them up says enough.”

This got me thinking. Who exactly do you reach? The answer comes in two parts. Firstly, you’re known to the reviewers whom you’re so adamant about outing as bullies. These people already revile you, so I’m not proving anything to them by fighting with you. Secondly, you’re supported by the like-minded individuals who want reviewers silenced, unless of course they give your books glowing reviews. What does this all amount to? You’re nothing but a glorified circle jerk. You’re disgusting to the average passerby, and adored by each other. Yes, I’ve been a fool.

So I extend my sincerest, heartfelt apology, but you have to understand, I thought you mattered.

Ruminating On: Madness

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The colloquialism “Mad as a hatter” stems from antiquated haberdashery materials. Mercury was once used in the production of felt, which was then used to make hats. The mercury would seep into the skin of those who worked with it on a regular bases, namely hat makers, and the haberdashers would slowly go mad. I’ve always loved Alice in Wonderland, with it’s adoration of madness. Edgar Allan Poe, Albert Einstein, and Vincent Van Gogh were all considered crazy in their times. Some suspect Poe’s madness was a result of opium and alcohol addiction, and that Van Gogh was driven insane by the lead in his paints, but what about Einstein? Well, that gentle soul with the Neil Gaiman hair was labeled mad because his theories were ahead of their time. But, does a diagnosis of madness detract from their accomplishments? Most definitely not. More modern descents into madness have been taken by Bill Nye, Michael Jackson, and Miley Cyrus. How did Miley end up in there, well, “Wrecking Ball” is a touching ballad about laying yourself bare to your partner. Unfortunately, some say the song is sullied by a music video wherein Cyrus tongues a sledge hammer and rides construction equipment while she’s in the buff. Yet, I can’t help but notice genius in action. After the music video for “Wrecking Ball” and the MTV Music Awards segment where Cyrus ground her ass into Robin Thicke, Cyrus’s sales skyrocketed, and her face was plastered everywhere you looked. Major news outlets covered her, religious persons spoke out against her, talk show hosts screamed “INTERVENTION NEEDED!” from their comfy couches, and, all the while, Miley Cyrus laughed as she skipped off to her nearest ATM. Marketing genius is no different from scientific proficiency or literary greatness. Yes, Michael Jackson dangled his baby from a balcony, but the guy also needed Propofol to sleep. I surmise that’s because he couldn’t shut off his brain. Because that is the one thing genius and madness has in common. A person inflicted with either is constantly rummaging through the storage banks of their mind, questioning and unearthing formerly unseen possibilities. The difference between madness and genius is proof. Proof of creation, proof of theorem, proof of existence. Many think Bill Nye is crazy for speaking out against religion, for publicly stating that religious beliefs affect education. After all, what’s there to learn if you’re dead set on the idea that some omnipotent being created everything with simple will. Isn’t more exciting to believe that all this was created by a perfect storm of variables? That Earth being just far enough from the sun to keep from destroying life yet close enough to promote it is amazing? That we somehow managed to evolve from one form to another, moving from eating bananas in the jungle to connecting with others through computers? Isn’t that far more wonderful a concept than some invisible man saying, “Let there be blah, blah, blah… “? Maybe I’m crazy, but that’s the way I see it. And, while I’m no genius by any stretch of the imagination, I do strive for madness. Care to join me?

 

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