“Zzyzx Rd.” by Stone Sour

Back in December 2013, I noted that I wanted to change directions as far as my writing was concerned. I had some things to wrap up and see to completion, and now that everything’s as well taken care of as possible I believe I can step away for a while without anyone having a nervous breakdown. I will be reachable on social media until May 5th. If you need me for anything, catch me before then. After Cinco de Mayo, I will go completely dark, and do not know when I will return. During this time, I will not be posting reviews or updates on what I’m reading, nor will I be doing promos for any of my published material. All that can wait until my return. I’ll post an official “Goodbye For Now” before I vanish on May 6th that will detail what you can expect from me when I return.

I think this song covers well enough the last several months of my life on the internet, and it just so happens to start with Z, so I can close out my A to Z Blogging Challenge with it as well. Don’t you just love it when stuff comes together all wrapped up nice and neat with a bow on top? I know I do.

Until next time…

E.

“Zzyzx Rd.” by Stone Sour

I don’t know how else to put this
It’s taken me so long to do this
I’m falling asleep and I can’t see straight
My muscles feel like a melee
My body’s curled in a U-shape
I put on my best but I’m still afraid

Propped up by lies and promises
Saving my place as life forgets
Maybe its time I saw the world

I’m only here for a while
But patience is not my style
And I’m so tired that I gotta go

What am I supposed to hide now?
What am I suppose to do?
Did you really think I wouldn’t see this through

Tell me I should stick around for you
Tell me I could have it all
I’m still too tired to care and I gotta go

I get to go home in one week
But I leaving home in three weeks
They throw me a bone just to pick me dry

I’m following suit and directions
I crawl up inside for protection
I’m told what to do and I don’t know why

I’m over existing in limbo
I’m over the myths and placebos
I don’t really mind if I just fade away

I’m ready to live with my family
I’m ready to die in obscurity
‘Cause I’m so tired that I gotta go

Where am I supposed to hide now?
What am I suppose to do?
You still don’t think I’m going see this through

Tell me I’m a part of history
Tell me I can have it all
I’m still to tired to care and I gotta go

Oh yeah
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Still too tired to care and I gotta go
Still too tired to care and I gotta go
Still too tired to care and I gotta go

Yeah, yeah

Still to tired to care and I gotta go

Go home

Still to tired to care and I gotta go

Yeah yeah

Still to tired to care and I gotta go

Advertisements

Ruminating On: Q&A Tagging Shenanigans

Jeff Brackett tagged me in this craziness, so I must comply, lest he showers me with his hose… Scratch that, reverse it… or something like that. Anyballs, here’s the dealio: He tagged me, gave me four questions to answer, then tasked me with finding another author/blogger to pass the torch to. Who I chose will be at the end of the interview. Now, without further anal dew…

What are you currently working on?

Yo momma! Was that rude? Probably…

Anyway, what was the question? Oh, you want to know about my current writing projects! Well then, Unnamed Imaginary Interviewer, why didn’t you say so?

Linton Bowers and I just wrapped up PORT IN A STORM, the first book in a series of three or more, and we’re waiting on beta readers to return from their sabbaticals with valuable intel. After we chew the fat over their suggestions, we’ll ship the book off to editing. And we all know that’s when the real fun starts (cue lackadaisical trumpet!). Then, moving from the back burner to the red-hot eye that is my work-in-progress shelf, we have CHUCKLERS, my collaboration with Jeff Brackett (the sadistic bastard who talked me into doing this interview you’re reading now). In the near future I have JXSAVES, which is the novel-length follow up to my novelette, CRAWL. JXSAVES takes place before and after the events of the first book. I’ll more than likely be combining the two into one big volume when I’m done. Speaking of combining stuffs, my ongoing serial, CRUELTY, is still a thing. Working on getting Episode Five out, then I’m taking a much needed break until August so that I might be able to have the last five episodes spat upon and polished like fine urban china. Let’s see, what else? I have three shorter projects in the wings, either being written or awaiting editing dates, but those titles are for another time.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Answering this question would be to assume that I am unique. A fragile snowflake I am not. There are plenty of horror authors who write the kind of stuff I write, which is either horror with heart or themed horror. Above all I think I’m more of a situational author (and yes, I stole that terminology from Stephen King, but it’s apt in this conversation.) I put my characters in a certain situation and see if they survive. I do appreciate a good twist, so I try to throw in a slice of the unexpected somewhere within every piece. This has been well received and hated in equal amounts. Some people don’t like being tricked, and an even greater number do not like open endings. LIFE AFTER DANE and CRAWL are perfect examples of the mercurial tastes of readers. Both books have completely open endings, but one has been better received than the other.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m any better or worse than anyone, and I can’t lay a finger on a single quality of my writing that is unique to me. I can be as gory as Edward Lee, as strange as Bentley Little, as verbose as Barker, as introspective as Koontz or King, as classy as McCammon, or as brutal as Ketchum, but I think that is why my work appeals to so many, because I’m able to jump fences like a crackhead with cops on his heels. You never know what you’re going to get when you open one of my books, and I dig that about me.

Why do you write what you do?

Why do you watch reptile porn while slathered in Elmer’s glue? Well, I write horror for the same reason—I like my voyeuristic endeavors coldblooded and sticky. I keed, I keed. I was raised around horror. My sisters (who are twelve and fourteen years older than me) used to love slasher films and bloody action/adventure/science fiction flicks when they were younger, that was before they grew up and had kids, of course. Now they squirm at the mere mention of cartoon violence. I remember being allowed to watch Witchboard and Friday the 13th while they were tasked with babysitting their baby bro. They sneaked me into Robocop the year it was released, and 1987 will always be one of the best years of my life. Then, in 1989, my mom thought it’d be cool to take her nine-year-old son along with her to watch Pet Semetary  at a drive-in with one of her best friends, a chain-smoking, Nurse-Ratched-type lady named Andrita. I recall hiding in the floor space behind the driver’s seat while Rachael has that flashback where her emaciated sister with the twisted spine rushes from the bed toward the camera. Little known fact: The person that played Rachael’s sister was a man. I can still hear him cackling. Anywho, after that, I couldn’t get my hands on enough Stephen King. Luckily, Mom was a member of his book club, and around the third of every month a new tome of terror would arrive. Delores Claiborne was my first taste of King, and I’ve been devouring his work ever since. I guess my choice of genre was predestined. To this day, whenever I’m surfing Netflix or at a Redbox kiosk, I still pick through the horror selections first. Same with the library or bookstores. I have to see what’s new in the scares department.

How does your writing process work?

I sit down and write. Not much else to say on the matter. I’ve recently begun plotting, but only because I’m working on several collaborations, and it’s difficult writing by the seat of your pants when you have someone else depending on you not screwing up all their hard work. Why don’t you ask my buddy, Linton, all these questions? Oh, and while you’re over there, tell him to shave. My balls are getting carpet burn. Here where you can find him:

Twitter: @LintBow

Booklikes: Drawing with Words

Website: www.lintonbowers.com

Permanent Freebies

The bigger my catalog gets, the more books I can offer for free. Here is the current list of free content from yours truly. These are not on sale or going through some kind of limited promo. These books/short stories are permanently free at their respective sites. Feel free to share any way you see fit: reblog, tweet, Facebook, telegram, snail mail, boat charter, Morse code, messenger pigeon, smoke signals…

Thank you, every one of you, for your past, present, and future support.

***Please note that clicking on the Goodreads link will AUTOMATICALLY start the download of that book’s PDF.***

BAY’S END: AmazonKoboGoodreads.

WORLD’S GREATEST DAD: Goodreads

JUST SHORT OF PARADISE (Flash Fiction Goodreads Exclusive): Goodreads

Ruminating On: Nope

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.

 

Ruminating On: Biloxi

Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, my mother collected her retirement a decade early from Kaiser Medical. She decided to have a little fun. Mom invited me to go with her to Biloxi, Mississippi, where we would live it up for a few days. We drove down, and ended up staying at the Grand Biloxi Hotel and Casino. It wasn’t my first time in a gambling establishment. When I was younger, my sister was married in Laughlin, Nevada, and the family and I stayed at the Colorado Belle. I have fond and scary memories of that time: getting lost in the arcade for hours, shoving tokens inside racing and adventure games, then getting lost again inside their massive buffet, which was nowhere near as fun as the arcade. The trip to Biloxi did mark my first time being able to drink and gamble, so I was excited at the possibilities of drunken gaming abandon. This is what happened.

Mom and I spent the first day together: eating at expensive hotel restaurants, playing slots side by side, and enjoying one another’s company. Day Two began around five o’clock in the afternoon because I’m notorious for sleeping in and Mom felt no need to wake me as she had some crocheting she wanted to get caught up on. Once on the casino floor, we instantly split up. I headed for the card tables (I’m a Texas Hold’em sorta guy), and I bought into the first open five-dollar seat. I sat down with five-hundred samolians, and cashed out six hours later three-grand ahead for my troubles. I’m pretty good. Always have been where cards are concerned. Not bragging, just telling it like it is. During my time at the table, I drank my weight in eight ounce Budweisers. They were these cute little bottles, like souvenir-size, really, and I snickered every time the heavy-chested waitress brought me another one. Being inexperienced in the rules of Casino Floor Etiquette, I didn’t know two important details: I didn’t have to pay for my drinks, and tipping was not only encouraged, but expected. I stumbled ever so elegantly to the bar so that I might pay my tab. The bartender guffawed at me. He didn’t titter, or chuckle, but full on laughed in my face. “You don’t owe me a penny, bro,” he said, in between explosive bursts of joviality. “Just make sure you tip your server.” As you may have already figured out, I did not “tip my server.” I spent the next hour shuffling around the casino floor asking people if they knew the big-breasted waitress. Mostly I got, “Ain’t they all got big tits?” from the men, and simple stares from women who surely thought me some misogynistic tool. Needless to say, I never found her. To this day, I still feel bad about that.

I cashed out at the tellers’ booths, pocketed thirty-three-hundred smackers and changed my remaining two hundred for slot tokens. I sidled up to the poker machines, flopped down, and started playing Five Card to my heart’s content. Before I knew it, I needed to empty my token bucket. I stuffed the over-flowing plastic container in the crook of my elbow and cashed out once again. Up another grand. Nice. Part of what makes me a good poker player is knowing (like Kenny Rodgers before me) when to hold em and when to fold em. Having forty-three hundred to my name seemed a nice stopping point, so I left the casino floor. I deposited four big ones in my hotel room, had my mother paged, waited for her to come to the phone, and told her I’d be drinking myself into oblivion at the bar on the second floor. She slurred a wonderfully stuttered, “Oh-ohhhh-oh-ohshay,” and I hung up. (My mother’s not a drinker, but when the mood overcomes her, she can kill one or two margaritas.)

Down on the second floor, I took a seat at one of their many empty stools. (The reason for all the empty seats wouldn’t be known to me until I paid my tab.) There was one person in attendance, though: A simmering hot Vietnamese woman in a white halter with a sleeveless, mid-drift jean jacket, jean shorts, and black leggings. She had long, wavy black hair that covered her back in a fan. Emerald eyes and a birthmark above the right corner of her full lips. She wasn’t a hooker, so get that out of your head right now. She was nice, though, and I introduced myself while the bar keep fixed me the first of many Crown and cokes. I don’t remember this beautiful young woman’s name, but I do recall asking if she was single, to which she responded, rather too quickly, “I’m a lesbian.” “Cool,” I exclaimed, and continued right on shooting the shit. She taught me several phrases in Vietnamese that I promptly forgot, and we drank the night away. I will never forget that unnamed lady. In a future book of mine I would use her likeness and accent as the building blocks for a character named Sunne, who shared a tragic love story with Donald Adams of Dastardly Bastard. Now, back to why the bar was so empty. My lady friend called it a night, and I refused to sit at the bar by myself, so I asked the bartender for my bill. How one drinks five-hundred-fifty-dollars worth of Crown and coke remains to be seen. Needless to say, he didn’t get a tip. Have you figured out the problem yet? That’s right, I was Two-hundred-and-fifty dollars short. The guy told me I could post it to my room, but the room wasn’t in my name, so, once again, I had the hotel operator page my mother. After twenty minutes, I gave the nice operator a message and disconnected. The bar keep and I talked for some time, about what, I can’t remember, but he finally looked down at his watch and told me he had to close up. I asked what time it was, and he informed me it was three in the morning. About this time, my mother stumbled off the elevator and came staggering toward the bar. She had this Cheshire grin plastered upon her face. Her eyes swam in her head as she said, “I gosh your monies.”

I paid my tab and walked her back to the lift. “How much did you have to drink?” I said in my most sober and perfectly articulated way. A drunk man’s memory is infallible, I tell you. Mom lovingly gazed up at me as only a mother can do and held up a hand full of what seemed to be coffee stirrers. In reality, they were the little red straws she’d stored away after each and every margarita she’d consumed, like some alcoholic squirrel packing away tequila and lime mixer for the winter. As sweetly as possible, she said, “I had dish many.” There had to have been fifty stirrers in that woman’s hand. I’m surprised she was still vertical, much less able to form words into sentences.

Though I’ve only told you about my shenanigans while at the Grand Biloxi Hotel and Casino, my mother and I spent another two days there. We made some great memories, but maybe I’ll talk about that some other time.

There is no point to this story. Whilst ruminating on what I was going to talk about today for the letter B, I came across this goofy memory and decided to share it with you fine folks. A year after our trip to Biloxi, I met and fell in love with my wife, Chelle. Three years after that, my daughter, Autumn, came along. I became an adult and, as life seems to demand, me and Mom drifted apart. We’d come to live together again in 2011, and she enjoyed watching her granddaughter (and in 2012, her grandson) grow up. But after Biloxi, me and her never really spent that same kind of time together. I remember it with a smile, like when we used to have tickle fights when I was a kid. I love my mother with all my heart. She’s always been there for me, no matter what stupid mess I stepped into, and I will never forget that. To this day, she remains the one I call on when I have no one else to talk to, which is rare because my wife is an amazing listener. But, Mom, if you’re reading this: Thank you for Biloxi. I love you.

By the way, the morning after my night of drunken gaming abandon, I woke up in the bathtub.

E.

Ruminating On: Homosexuality in Creative Media

I know I’ve neglected this blog. My apologies. This platform has been many things, but the constant theme has been my honest view of the world. I decided a while ago that I would only post here if I had something important to say. That time has come.

Recently, a member of Booklikes who goes by the handle Amaranth commented, positively, on a relationship between two male characters that pops up in episode three of my ongoing serial, Cruelty. Amaranth went on to say that she wasn’t expecting the scene, but, being a fan of M/M fiction, she enjoyed it. That got me thinking. And what is Ruminating On if not my thought processes spilled out on the internet.

Here’s what I have to say on the matter:

To combat ignorance and stereotypes, creative media, such as film, literature, music and video games, must make homosexual relationships commonplace. The worst thing a creative person can do is treat homosexuality as taboo. By doing that, they are perpetuating the myth that a sexual preference for one’s same sex is something alien and strange, and risk ostracizing gay fans, or worse, cause them to feel alone and different, as if there’s something wrong with them. Creators of entertainment media should not only showcase and highlight these relationships, but sprinkle them in here and there, like they would “traditional” relationships that are based on mutual affection, as if there’s nothing wrong with two men loving one another or two women wanting to share vows, because there isn’t anything wrong with a person needing/wanting/loving another human being, no matter the gender.

LGBT characters should not be treated like carnival attractions. Same with members of the homosexual community in our everyday lives. Whatever hang ups you have with gay people is your problem, not theirs. Although, I would like you to try and imagine how odd your “normal” sexuality is to them. Think about what you would do if someone treated your child, gay or not, as different. Stop and ruminate on what you are doing, what kind of mindset you’re promoting with the entertainment you provide. We need more gay leads and supporting characters, yes we do, but, moreover, we need to make this something that doesn’t stand out. Because humans are creatures of habit that only pay attention to the out-of-place, the unexpected, while things they see day in and day out merge with their view of the world and become mundane. That’s right: The topic of homosexuality needs to be boring. As with race, these invisible lines need to disappear. We’re all screwed up and weird and broken in our own ways. We also all share the capability to love one another.

Less than a century ago, my marriage would have been illegal (I’m white, my wife’s black), and I’ll be damned if I won’t do everything in my power with the tools provided to me to promote equality in every possible way. Will you join me?

Take care of each other.

E.

Ruminating On: Dick Explodes After Lesbian News

1. A lesson in stupidity

Any of you remember Kaitlyn Hunt? You know, the gay teenager that had sex with her underage girlfriend? Well, if you’ve just crawled out from under your rock this morning, I’ll drop the need-to-know info. At the time, Kaitlyn was 18 and the “victim” was 14. I say “victim” because a) the sex was consensual and b) they haven’t released the “victim’s” name. The only reason this is news, though, is because the “victim’s” parents are homophobes. Many believe that if Kaitlyn had been a boy, she might not be in jail right now. Unfortunately, I agree, but that doesn’t change the fact that Kaitlyn broke the law. Sorry, but it’s a cold hard fact. LGBT supporters, I feel ya, truly, I do, but she ignored the rules and now she’s being penalized. If you want true equality you’re going to have to take the good with the bad. So, why are we talking about old news? Because Kaitlyn Hunt is a moron. She was released and given a plea deal which would see that she never hit the sex offender registry. All she had to do was not contact the “victim”. So, what did she do just after release? She texted the “victim” numerous times, sending nude pics along with her love notes. Kaitlyn’s plea deal has now been snatched away, not to mention, her bondsman took her back to jail. Well, you know what they say: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Kaitlyn_Hunt_415532c2. Bang bang chitty chitty bang BOOM!

Dick Van Dyke of Tubby the Tuba fame almost blew up. The 87 year old actor was pulled from a burning car yesterday afternoon. The “Some Kind of a Nut” star was disoriented but otherwise fine after being pulled from his blazing Jaguar by a guy named Jason Pennington (who is of no importance other than being the BAMF that pulled Dick Van Mo’ Frakkin’ Dyke from a raging inferno). Van Dyke is best known for playing Judge Carter Addison on the TV series Matlock, a special guest appearance as Malduke on Airwolf, and a bit role in the tiny indie film adaptation of the novel Mary Poppins. Good ol’ Dick had this to say, “It could have been a twist of the knife for me. Maybe I should’ve taken the supertrain.” When asked what might have caused the fire, Van Dyke responded, “Diagnosis? Murder.” Mary Tyler Moore was unavailable for comment.

dickdykeDaily Tip: Being in love triggers the release of dopamine the same way cocaine does. Feeling enamored? Cocaine is the cheaper, healthier alternative to infatuation.

E.

big-smile

(Note: This blog is not professionally edited. I’d by that for a dollar.)