Forgetting the Wheel

Sometimes you forget how the car moves.  That’s when it helps to look at the wheel and remember that it spins.  Naturally, you then wonder how the wheel spins, and that’s when you look under the car and freak out.  I mean, there’s something keeping the wheels attached together, and then there’s all these little spinny things, and all of that goes somewhere up front, and that’s all attached to the mountainous nonsense under the hood, and, well, sometimes I get religion.  It must be a whole let better to just say, “Oh, hey the wheel spins,” and then let the rest fall into the hands of a suddenly all-knowing (and mechanically divine) God.

So, the present spins the future into the past, is something of what I’m getting at here, albeit in a disassociated car-to-God-analogy kind of way.

You are distracted from the bad analogy...

So, I was feeling nostalgic today, as I wrote a new bio for my publisher’s website, and I dug up an interview that the irreplaceable Russ Marshalek conducted, on behalf of the fantasmic book blog, Baby Got Books, when Anointed first came out. Here it is, in its grammatically correct entirety:

A completely non-biased and properly-punctuated interview with Zachary Steele, author-type person of Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO

Baby Got Books: Describe in 5 words the plot of Anointed. In another 5 words, tell me why i should read it again. Then, in 5 more words, tell someone who hasn’t read it why I should read it again.

Zach Steele:Reluctant man becomes corporate Christ.
Because it’s freakin’ funny, man.
You won’t get it anyway.

BGB: Who all would you say you ripped off in writing Anointed? And by ripped off I mean in terms of both intellectual content and money.

ZS:I ripped off a lot from God, you know. He’s pretty much the author of the Bible, right? So, I have to include him. Aside from the that, it was pretty easy pickings with Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, Kyle Watson (though you wouldn’t have heard of him) and some finely-detailed intellectual hotness from Marisha Pessl. As far as money, that’s pretty easy. I ripped off my publisher, but she won’t figure that out for a while, and likely all of my readers (once they’ve read it and realize what dreadful crap it is).

BGB: On a scale of 9 through 10, how awesome is Anointed?

ZS:All of my scales go to 11, so that’s pretty much where I’d put it. It completely redefines “awesome”. In fact, the use of “awesome” is now outdated and has been replaced by “Anointed”. As in, “Man, that sure was an Anointed movie, wasn’t it?” I would wager that, when I am old and fading away–or perhaps even dead already–people will still be discussing how Anointed completely altered the methodology of writing and saved the publishing industry. But I’m pretty modest about it all, actually. I’d rather not discuss it any further.

BGB: If you end up on Bill O’Reilly, and he’s all screaming in your face and cutting your microphone’s signal and stuff without listening to you at all, what will you have for dinner after?

ZS:After? How about during? I’ll be sidestepping his questions while waving a fork in the air and taking my time dining while he rants about stuff I surely won’t be listening to anyway. Steak au Poivre with Dijon Cream Sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, a nice Chardonnay, and a bowl of cheese to throw at him when he stops talking. No wait. I wouldn’t do that to cheese. Maybe I could get a soufflé or something instead. After, I might go for an Icee.

BGB: In terms of your writing style, what books would you say influenced your second novel? oh wait you haven’t written it yet.

ZS: Ha! Good one coming from the man who hasn’t even written his first book yet! Look out David Sedaris! This guy’s a riot!

BGB: You solicited quotes about the book, aka “blurbs”, from your Facebook friends. Are you just too lazy to actually hunt down famous people?

ZS:”Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ~Winnie the Pooh~ There’s a famous quote for you. Happy?

BGB:Your press materials all begin with “Satan and the Antichrist walk into a bar”. Tell me a good joke about a pope and a rabbi. Or a pope and a rabbit.

ZS:The Pope (not ‘a’, you idiot) walks into a bookstore to look for a book about Catholicism, because he doesn’t understand any of his followers, but before he can make it to the section oddly marked “religion”, he is distracted by a sharp sound from the back of the store. When he goes to investigate, he finds a large cage with a fluffy, bouncy rabbit inside, and a sign atop the cage that reads, “Cadbury Rabbit, Bookstore Bunny”. The Pope smiles and leans to the cage and says to the rabbit, “Hello there, little rabbit. I am the Pope. How are you today?” To which, the rabbit bounds in a quick circle, stomps a foot in a loud thump, stares at the Pope, and says, “Nom, nom.” The end, joke over. A POPE AND A RABBIT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Do you get paid to come up with these questions or did you pawn it off on an 8-year old?

BGB: How freakin’ awesome is your publicist?

ZS:Question #7 may answer that better than I can. It’s very difficult to answer this question though, now that Anointed has completely redefined what is understood to be “awesome” and taken over its use entirely. I suppose I can say that my publicist is less than Anointed, more Anointed than “awesome” (in its former form), but not as Anointed as my book minus me. Hope that helps.

Passing the Time

I don’t have anything to say.

Thus I will blog.

Actually, I was prepared to continue my onslaught on Jonathan Franzen, but due to the fact that he will be the Keynote speaker tomorrow night at the Decatur Book Festival, and because this blog is better than anything I could write today, I’ve decided it best to leave the pompous fart alone.

For today.

Instead, I will ramble unnecessarily.  Or necessarily, depending on whether or not you are me.  Which you are not.  I am.  Which means it’s necessary to me.  But this is–still for the moment–a democracy we live in, so here you go…your chance to have a say.

I mean, I’m still going to ramble.  That won’t change, but I really like polls.

I also like the Count

My forthcoming book, Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, takes place, partly, in Heaven, where a few of my characters get trapped in the realm of dreams, known as Level Five.  It’s a bit of a disturbing thought, being trapped in a rolling scroll of dreams you wish you’d never had.  It’s even worse when they aren’t your dreams, or if they’re dreams you’d rather certain someone else type people not see (especially the one about the Bunny Farm, that doesn’t have rabbits).  But dreams aren’t all bad.  They’re inane, true, but you’re hopefully not going to find fantasy baseball playing zombies in your basement any time soon, so in that respect, they can be quite enjoyable.  For example, I found this guy (my dear counting friend above), in one of the rooms, and decided he needed a home in Level Five.  So, in my rambling kind of way, here’s where Flutter takes us, for a scene.

“Seven, blah!”

Randall looked into the purplish complexion of the vampire, the weighty pull of its black pupils behind thin framed glasses, felt inevitability draw in around him, close upon him like a vise, and came to a decision about the moment.

He was not going to die in his underwear.

They weren’t even a good quality pair of underwear, like the boxers he so preferred, or even at worst, boxer-briefs.  No, these were the tidy whitey, please dear God don’t let there be urine stains in the front, shame shorts he had worn in his much younger years.  Back when his mother still dressed him.  Just before college, as he recalled.

So, why should he be in them now?

As if on command, the briefs were replaced by satin boxers, covered in repetition with the Superman insignia.  “Sweet,” he said.  He struck a heroic pose.

“Why are you in your underpants?” asked Samuel, from somewhere.

The vampire flinched at the sound of Samuel’s voice, and bore its fangs as if prepared to do battle with a beforehand unseen mist.  It sheltered its face in a black cape, uttered an over-dramatized count of blah’s, after which he cackled a less than fearsome laugh, and scampered off.

“I don’t know,” answered Randall absently, watching as the vampire reeled off in the opposite direction, bouncing along in a notably guided way.  “Am I on Sesame Street?  What the hell?  Was that the Count?”

“You’re more concerned with the legitimacy of a vampire puppet, and its relation to your location, than why you’re essentially nude?  And, I might add, broadcasting the level of your childish mind in the process.”

Randall shook his head from the sight of the bounding vampire, and shrugged.  “What?  Oh, the boxers.  Yeah, I was just in eighth grade again.  Same as always.”

It really just amounts to a cameo.  I think he’s underutilized, to be honest.  There wasn’t enough in the budget to offer him a real paycheck.  Just enough to buy him an abacus, and time in a room to count himself silly.

I have now gone from having nothing to say, to saying nothing, and even for a blog, that’s not acceptable.  So, um…The End.

Imaging Googe

Here’s the Googe image I referenced in a previous blog. Thanks to the ever vigilant Katie Moss for taking five seconds of her time to locate it for me.

It’s the simple joys in life…

Speaking of simple joys, I have somehow, over my time, managed to completely miss out on Chick Publications, which is not at all what it presents itself as.  There are certainly no chicks to be found on this site at all, which is always a bit of a sad, if you ask me.  But the chick-less nature of Chick aside, it’s an utter win to find a piece of religion that so insists that you pay it heed.  Apparently, as I am told, this Jack T. Chick person created these books–slightly more than a comic, I guess, but far less than Superman can offer me in such a short blast–that are handed out at various religious functions, on street corners, or at the Gap, if it’s a particularly slow day.

There are quite a few to browse through, or buy, if you’re in a festive mood.  I’m collecting the whole set.  They’ve presented me with a Michael Corleone moment.  I thought I’d finish up with Flutter, and leave Timothy, and gang, be after that, but they’re pulling me back in.

Here’s a little peek into the glory of Chick Tracts:

He has a Little Black Book, has he? Hmmm...must be quite the dater.

Ahh! Zombies! Oh, wait, never mind...they're flying away.

Fire, fire, fire! Hey...who's getting married? Jeebus?

Is it just me, or does the Beast look like Rob Zombie? I didn't know he had an army.

A thousand years? Awww...I can't wait that long! Mom, why doesn't God have a face?

The End?

Anyway, I have a new love.  Chick(less) Tracts are basically going to be responsible for a few more devil fiction books that I had no idea I absolutely had to write.  A lesson to all writers: Inspiration is everywhere.

Label ME This

I read the news today, oh boy.  About a child actor who overdosed.

Ok, the Beatles version is better.  I’m sort of torn over whether or not I should be sad about the death of Corey Haim.  I mean on one hand, he was Corey Haim, and aside from a couple of years in the mid, to late, eighties, that doesn’t amount to much.  I mean, the Corey duo were entertaining, in that sort of Odd Couple kind of way, but I can’t really thank either of them for any of the movies they brought us.  I was, and am to this day, a huge fan of The Lost Boys, but I can’t necessarily thank either Corey for that, any more than I can thank Kiefer Sutherland.  Still, he was in it, I liked it, he’s dead, and I guess that makes ME sad.  So, here, today, you can bear witness to the entirety of MY process of grieving.

There.  All done.

So, anyhoo…after MY post yesterday, which I think I wrote in about twenty minutes, sprinting through the blog like a naked twelve-year old on fire, MY publisher asked the most important–and most often asked–question anyone could have asked of ME:

“Who the hell are you?”

Which was oddly timed, as I had been thinking of that question just moments before.  Not the question of who the hell I am, as I’ve long since given up on answering that (for fear of actually finding the answer, if I must be honest), but rather in an entirely separate context.  It seems that this question, or variance of it to any degree, is the default introduction into a probe of an individual’s personal convictions.  “What are you?” tends to precede greater questions of faith, politics, sexual orientation, and wizarding capabilities, in an attempt to frame a reference–a label–that the inquisitor can relate to.  You can’t simply respond with, “Why, I’m nobody,” or, “I’m six-feet of seaweed in an ocean of autistic minnows,” as the reply lacks either functional definition, or a basis in sane reasoning.  In most cases, should we feel that any reply might offset the delicate balance of conversation moving forward, we digress into a non-answer, a deflection, a rambling that so twists itself around its neck, that the entire conversation is choked off, and dies.  I wa reminded of this the other day, when the owner of a business was telling me about a local news crew that had showed up earlier that day, in order to interview some of his patrons, who were well-known for their political rantings.  Needless to say, once the cameras were turned on, their opinions–their defining beliefs–switched off.  Instead of espousing their heartened beliefs, they deflected, and digressed, and dismissed.  Why?  Because they forgot them?  No, because they knew that they were about to exposed on the local news for the people they intrinsically were.  Their friends, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, preachers, therapists, and dogs would see them for what they truly were, and they would never be able to hide from it thereafter.  They would be labeled, and unable to bend from their position.

Of course, they could have just been terrified.

I despise labels.  I am constantly asked, “what are you?” at book events.  It seems a preposterous question.  “I’m an alien!  Do Not Run, I Am Your Friend!” (of course, at least one of my sibling would certainly agree with that)  It seems that, in order to continue conversing on religion, there needs to be a frame of reference.  If I say that I am a Baptist, then all further answers I offer are based in comparison to that line of faith.  Deviate from the scripted path of the Baptist, in any fashion, and I stand as a potential hypocrite.  Much the same for politics.  If I say that I am a Republican, or if I say that I am a Democrat, then I must believe in a certain philosophy, or support specific policies.  Deviate, and I’m a Mugwump.  Adhere strictly to the law on that side of the fence, and I’m an unwavering, uncompromising doo-doo head (ah, to be four again).  There is no flexibility of thought, and no possibility of acknowledging fault, or flaw, in that line of reasoning.  To do so would be an abandonment of my, “core beliefs”, because of who I profess to be–who I am labeled as.

Label me a fool.  Label me odd.  Label me strange, and somewhat off-kilter.  These are natural tendencies that I do not have to revisit in order to maintain.  They are behaviors, they are patterns, they are ME.  But, historically speaking, find a president who governed to the populace by way of leaning too far to one side, or the other.  Not an easy task.  Find a religious leader who spoke to, and inspired, a global audience by condemning every other faith, save for their own.  Not gonna happen.  There is a reason why Presidents who govern from the Center are so popular, and successful.  There is a reason why the Dalai Lama is so popular, and considered so kindly.  There is a reason why Devil Fiction is not a real category, and why people in the publishing industry cringe when they hear the word, “satire.”  Once you are defined by a label, or once a label is set in place to define all those who follow it, flexibility of thought, and of choice, is limited.

Corey Haim was a victim of this.  He couldn’t do a movie without Corey Feldman that anyone would want to watch, and he was forever a child actor, with limited ability.  Once the label of, “child”, was removed–when adulthood came knocking, he was no longer Corey Haim.  At least not the Corey Haim we knew.  He was just, “that guy who used to be a child actor, that was in those movies with that other Corey guy.”  I think that saddens me more than his death.

So, who am I?

I’m ME.  That should be enough.

Fluttering Your Way This October

I killed a man.

Well, actually I killed several people, but to keep to the point, I killed a man by the name of Timothy Webb.  I thought this would be enough to keep him forever out of MY life, but, alas, I was mistaken.  Apparently, God took quite a fancy to him, and his actions as Christ, and CEO, at The Christ Corporation, and decided to make him an angel.  He gave Timothy his metaphorical wings, granted him the gift of a Key that supposedly held the power of Jesus, patted him on the back, and sent him on his way.

His first act was to show up on the doorstep of MY imagination, and demand that I do something about it.  I just kind of stared at him, in terrible disbelief, and shrugged.  This did nothing to satisfy him, so he invited himself in, began rambling about being ill-equipped to be an angel, and something about Natasha–the maligned angel known as Satan in our world–recovering well from her temporary bout of humanity.  So, for the next few hours we sat, until it became apparent to ME that the only way I would get rid of Timothy would be to write another story for him.  I proposed the idea, made up a completely fabricated storyline, waived him on, and then proceeded to forge onward with a plot that, in no way resembled the idea I had discussed with Timothy.  From this was born, Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction.

It now has a release date: October 1, 2010.

What is Flutter?  Well, it’s more devil fiction than Anointed, has significantly more explosions, plenty of characters who don’t survive to see the end, and an angelic system of social networking that is eerily familiar to Twitter.  But that’s not much of a description.  Kind of leaves you wanting, I admit.  So, instead, I offer you a brief look at some of what I wrote for my publisher, when I turned over the reigns of my baby:

In my eyes, it carries the same voice, and some of the feel, but none of the story structure of Anointed.  I wanted to write something, on the heels of a book that was philosophical, and, at times, rambling, with something a little more adventurous, a little more off the wall, and a lot more explodey (I really like that word all of a sudden)…I have included references, or creatures, as follows: Quantum Leap, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Back to the Future, The Matrix, a dragon, a vampire (tee hee…I like him!), a bobsledding monkey, a wizard/piano duel , zombies, and a chocolate hot tub.  Ok, the last may not be fantasy in terms of the genre, but you find me anybody who doesn’t like everything listed before it, that isn’t as fond of the hot tub, and I’ll quit writing.  Oh, also, there’s a reference to swine flu, and to Google Buzz (which is mistakenly called Fuzz).  That, along with Natasha in a bikini, a porch made of cheese (it’s Gouda than you think!  Ugh…), a God who thinks he’s a child, a video game of explosive proportions, ugly angels, an escalator in the sky, a prison in Heaven, the rebirth of Jesus, and a very unfortunate moment for the masters of The Christ Corporation…there’s so much activity, and no break to sit in a restaurant to discuss the history of Satan, or in an office to discuss the history of Christ.  What I hope I have created is a book that you really just can’t put down, and one that makes you both want to read its predecessor, and anxiously await what is to come.

I like that I can be a complete tard when I write to her.  Granted, she published the first book, so it’s not like I’m going to fool her at this point.  It’s not quite back copy material (that bit you might read on the back of a book that summarizes the story), but it covers most of what I consider to be cool about Flutter.  I’ve been asked what this book is meant to lampoon, given the generalized lampoon of Christianity in Anointed, to which I say it’s predominantly a lampoon of social media, and how easily distracted the world has become by it, and to technology in general.  I’d like to think that I can wield this tale like a weapon, and waggle it in the face of all those who have fallen prey to its mighty grip, but, well, I’m one of them.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, email, blogging, texting, computer games, anything and everything that occurs on the cell phone, and so forth–I’m there.  Or, at least, mostly there.  So are you, most likely.  Be warned: The angels know, and they’re about to do something rash.  Ish.  Rash-ish.  More in the vein of rash, but less rash than rash might be.  Kind of, severe, in that, “Don’t make me come down there,” kind of way.

So, I’ll keep it at that for now.  I hope to offer a few snippets in the coming weeks.  The first will likely be a scene that takes place in God’s Office, as He prepares for a trip to Earth, with the ever-present moan of the Holy Ghost guiding the way.

Until then, I need to go lock the door.  I’m sure Timothy wants to know what to do now.

Dangling From the Vine

So, I’m still amidst MY archeological dig through the desert of MY past.  I don’t know why I insist on it, or what purpose it ultimately serves, but as it amuses ME to no end, well…this is MY blog, right?  So, why not?  I’ve found, in going through these journal entries that date back to high school (which was, what? like only a few years ago, right?  20?  Oh.  Eek!), that I can’t help but feel alien to the little kid who so scribbled his heart onto paper with nothing but the venom of his own emotional fang.  And yet, I find oddities that I might very well have written last week.  Such as this line from January 18th, 1990 (at approximately 5:27 p.m, should you be checking your date book): “Well, somebody wants me to learn patience.  Seeing as how I have none, I don’t find that particularly funny.”  Or I could cite some modern thought in a line from January 25th, of the same year: “I’ve never thought of writing about death before , but riding in that piece o’ shit DC-9 yesterday made me want to.” Or this nugget a couple of months later: “Emotions are like nuclear weapons.  If you mishandle them, they fuck you up.”

I will also quote, once again, MY favorite thus far, which is also from 1990, on March 25th: “Confusion is a state of mind.  I’d like to expand on that, but I can’t.”

Seems I had a lot of interesting things to say that year.  Granted, a lot of it was about celebrity crushes, the end of high school, girls, girls, and more girls (and the never-ending hope that, someday, one would actually like ME), writing and the satisfied confidence that I would someday be rich from it, and various other innanities that I deemed worthy of discussion, but that were as fascinating as the result of a goopy sneeze.

And yet, through 4 years of entries that I have thus far read, I have yet to find any inkling of the man who would write Anointed.  No sense, or sign, or struggle with religion, or God, or Christianity, or the entire mythos surrounding them all.  Humor, sure.  A desire to impale MYSELF upon the blade of loneliness, yup.  A sort of burgeoning awareness of the universe, and the concepts of the law of attraction, true.  But God was just sort of this bearded fella sitting in the, um, the…whatchacallit chair that a tennis umpire (umpire? is that right? Google anyone?) sits in.  He just sort of watched the game I was playing, and occasionally shouted, “Fault!” or, “Out!” or, “Game, Mr. Steele, Life serving!”  It wasn’t an absence from MY writing.  Rather, He was the parent I was trying to impress, the brother I didn’t want to beat ME up, or the best friend I wanted to chat movies with.  To that end, I may have still missed the point of God, after all.  At least the Biblical point, anyhow.  I rather think I nailed the reality of it.  But, as to the future voice of devil fiction that I would become, it was veiled, and notably absent.

The most remarkable thing is that I somehow thought that cogent, coherent, and other-worldly wise, thought was unleashed somewhere beyond the stroke of midnight, a point to which I know, unmistakably now and despite MY efforts to refrain, to be wholly untrue.  When I begin an entry at 4:25 a.m, with the words, “I’m a nutcase,” it seems to imply that I have crossed some immovable line of sanity that I cannot return from, when in fact, I probably had indigestion from too much pizza at midnight to allow ME to sleep, and the remnant of thought that had survived so late into the coming morning, was soundly, and decisively, coated in marinara and pepperoni bits.  Or perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts.  Either would not have been a stretch, both at once quite probable.  The sheer volume of deep, intricate, seemingly unwavering, philosophical thought I vomited after MY brain had officially checked out for the night, actually gives ME more insight into what living in a commune of hippies would be like, than does it MY awakening awareness to a world gone awry that I handled so heavily.

And yet, I’m there, somewhere.  Hiding behind Motley Crue posters, Debbie Gibson mania, and a pen.  Somewhere amidst the pages of, “Strings of the Heart” (gak!  bleh!), the first book I wrote while in high school, and the recap of MY five months dating a stripper, there lies something of who I am.  Somewhere between MY daily whine of loneliness, and MY prattling on about hitting the road and drifting MY way through America.  Somewhere at a beach in Florida, in the back of MY truck, at a campsite in the southern deserts of Arizona, in MY car at the Texas-Mexican border, or in every home I lived in over that time (and there were a few).  Somewhere, in all of that, is ME.  The ME I am.  The ME I still hope to be.  The ME that still insists on pontificating after his carriage has already diffused into a pumpkin, and the mice are nipping at his heels.  I guess I’m glad I wrote all this inane drivel, to be honest.  At least I know that I’m not crazy.  I’ve just always been this way.

A Blog About Not ME

In most cases…ok in all cases, I come to you in order to talk about the wonder and magnificence of being ME.  I talk to you about Anointed, I talk to you about The Storyteller, I talk to you about MY views on writing, or on stupid politicians, or perhaps even the glory of cheese.  Today, I will depart from that, because I have been possessed with the need for you all to be aware of another writer.  Yes, believe it or not, there are other writers, aside from ME.

I will allow you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor…


There we go.  Now…keep focused, try not lose consciousness once again, and check this out:

I did an event on July 23rd, sponsored, and hosted, by The Georgia Center for the Book.  In that event, I was paired with another local author, whose book I did a horrible job of acquiring and reading before the day arrived.  By horrible, I mean to say that I didn’t do it.  Shoot ME.  I felt horrible enough when I arrived, and this author…this Joshua Corin fella, looked ME in the eyes, and said, “I loved your book.”  Deer in headlights.  No, more like a deer in headlights, frozen not by the oncoming car, but by the overwhelming guilt that it did not properly introduce itself to the car before allowing it to splinter it into a billion juicy bits.


Anyway, Joshua was a super nice guy, the drama-school type that reads with the proper influence in his characters.  I still hear the eerie, wheezy, tone of his bad guy in my head.  I can’t sleep. Haven’t slept for 2 months because of it.  And by that, I mean to say that I have.  I’ve slept fairly well, actually.  Anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is, the idea of this character, spent in my mind with this creepy voice, intrigued ME.  Not to mention, after purchasing my copy from the owner of the great Eagle Eye Bookshop, the copy of this book–Nuclear Winter Wonderland–haunted me from the cozy confines of my nightstand.  It mocked me, and my growing pile of books stacked atop it, and seemed to indicate that I was unworthy of its pages.

So, finally, I relented, and read it.

The first thing I read, in one of the first few pages of jibber-jabber that accompanies almost every tome, was from Booklist.  A portion of it read thusly:

…if that isn’t enough to make you dive right into the novel, consider this: it is remarkably polished and stylishly written (remarkably, because the author hasn’t been doing this for years: this is his first novel). It is richly comic, surreal without being silly—except where it intends to be silly—and playful in its use of language. Christopher Moore writes this way, and so does Robert Rankin, although it would be a serious mistake to assume that Corin is imitating them or anyone else in any way. If you can judge a writer’s future output based on his first novel, Corin is one of those writers who, years from now, other newcomers will be imitating.

Well, that’s a pretty good sell, wouldn’t you say?  Alright, I was skeptical.  But I forged on…

…and could not stop.

Joshua does indeed capture much of what is valued in Moore’s writing, albeit with an alternated vantage point of northeastern insanity (he’s from Quahog…I mean, Rhode Island).  His characters are rich–just deep enough to make you want to know more, but not so deep that you are without mystery–and ascend nicely to the conclusion of the book.  It’s as much reminiscent to ME of the writing of Toni McGee Causey (look her up, if you haven’t already, for Timmy Christ’s sake, she’s awesome!), and the non-stop action-hilarity, than it is of Moore.  From the standpoint of an author deemed to write “devil fiction”, it’s easily one of the most ludicrously enjoyable storylines I’ve read in a while.  Seriously, it takes about twenty minutes at night for me to read enough to want to fall asleep.  If you can keep me up for nearly four hours, you’ve accomplished something I reserve for Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, and the great J.K Rowling.  I don’t devote that much continuous time to anything that doesn’t produce a pizza, in the end, otherwise.  Go, and read the plot of this story, be entertained by the possibilities, and buy this book.  Now!  Support Joshua (and, hey, remember to support ME as well!), and encourage him to keep this up.  I would love to dream of the day that he and I can reunite on the stage, this time as the next great author duo of fictional madness, beloved by millions.

There.  That’s my image of the day.  I rather like it.  Especially because it includes ME.

Well, sort of because it includes ME.

Also, because this book rocks.

Kicking Around in the Dust Bin

I was doing MY writerly duties this morning (and, as always, seeking a way to use the word, “duties,” in a sentence), when I found an dust bin of old writings pertaining to God and the creation of the Universe.  Well, MY universe, that is to say.  The Anointed universe, to be more precise.  At that point in MY life, everything I wrote about linked back to God and MY never-ending ambitions to twist His universe into something more likely to appease MY need to understand it.  So, I decided, since it amused ME to no end, to share it with you.  Enoy and feel free to drop in your thoughts.  I have more of these, and I’m not entirely sure how many of them will find their way into books.  So, they’ll end up out here, until I decide that they need to all be collected and put in a book that I will call, “Stuff That Makes No Sense.”


In the beginning, the Creator created God.  And God looked upon his Creator, saw that he was good, and denied him anyway.  God then created heaven and earth, an occupational playground for his thorn-bristle curiosity, filled them with beings of light and flesh, commanded their love and adoration, and reigned as the universe’s first atheist.

There is a mode of thought that goes something like this:

The illusory nature of life is, in and of itself, infinite by design.  Spatial law disallows the limitation of thought, and or, to that end, the universe.  One cannot, in this sense, prescribe by way of mental apathy, a fixation on finality, an apocalyptic end of all, or a frontier that is anything but endless.  The resulting impact of such a contradiction of reasoning—the absence of infinity implied—would be paramount to a cosmic implosion. 

Life—or the universe more accurately—in this roving pontification of philosophical thought knotting, is akin to the proclamation that a single balloon may encapsulate a planetary mass of water, thereby solidifying the postulation that infinite structure can be limited by intellectual bounds.  It is akin to this only by way of structural integrity, in that, any attempt to bind infinity precipitates cataclysmic rupture.  And to the dimwit saturated by the deluge of celestial innards no longer flowing free on the planetary body but a glacial iceberg drifting now unchecked through the cosmos, there is only resignation of hope, desecration of a formerly proud and sage intellect, and the deferred sentiment, “Oh, wow, guess I was wrong then, huh?  Terribly sorry there.  Infinite it is.”

Such is the banality of the grand illusion of life.

It is the dogmatic individuals of this same school of thought that first challenged the heavenly hierarchy.  First challenged the existentialism and divine right to supremacy of God.  It is true, they would say, that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, but in the beginning of what?  And in the beginning of that unspecified and mystical time, who created God?  And in the beginning of God, who created the universe?  Could it not be stated, they would continue, that the very nature of existence, infinite in bounds, infinite in proportions, immeasurable in perception, could be nothing more than the wandering thoughts of a twelve-year-old boy named Elijah Emmanuel?  Could we be but the imaginative concoctions of a child genius?

Of course, it should also be stated that another of the more famous of their idle bits of pondering was, “Say, there sure are a lot of you with torches.  Are we having a bonfire?”  Which is something to take into account as you read on.

Still, it is said that no other collection of thought has since breached the innate wisdom of this collection of nomadic thinkers.  It could be said this because almost all concerned were promptly lynched and burned at the stake as heretics, the rest scattered and rendered philosophically mute.  Which is a shame, human compassion aside, because it could be said that this group of cindered prophets and future spiritual mimes of the world were the only group to have ever gotten it right.  It could be said that they had transcended truth and defined existence to the letter.

So it could be said.  Though one would be hard pressed to contrive the means by which to prove it.

Just one of those faith things.

God created man in his image.  And to a degree this is true.  As God is, in effect, a being of infinite light, so too is man, albeit with a pliable sheath of protection.  Beings of infinite light have a rather poor sense of restriction and tend to encompass, well, everything.  So, it is man who stands as the beneficiary of this practical yet fleshy veneer as it eliminates the continuation of only one singular being of infinite light and instead creates billions of beings of light with Dura-last coating and a singular purpose: existence in the world of a singular God.

Which is all well and good because it brought a sense of purpose to God as well.

Leaving NYC

I couldn’t help but notice, as I was looking over the dashboard to the blog to approve some comments (& blast some junk into oblivion, with some Schwartzenegger like “You’ll be trashed” line in my head), that the corner of the page that details the most often used search results to locate my blog had the following 3 as the top choices:

  1. “Zachary Steele”, “Author Tour”
  2. “zachary steele”, “NYC”
  3. “zachary steele”, “giraffe sex”

Now, please, whichever one of you did the third one, please, please, please, oh for the love of everything holy, please, let me know.  BRILLIANT!  I don’t know if I’m more amused that it exists, or that it worked.  Either way, I’m totally honored to be found under the search heading of “giraffe sex” despite the fact that I have neither written about it, or to my knowledge, had it.

Giraffe sex.  Tee hee.

So, my NYC escapades are at an end.  No pictures today, nor any from last night.  The camera is packed, and the room looks less of a disaster now that everything is placed quasi-neatly in the suitcase.  The coffee has finally woken me from my morning stupor, bringing ME to from a late night, and short sleep.  Last night at The Tank, I had the 2nd of 2 events, and rounded out a birthday celebration without song or fanfare for the first time since I drove alone to Montana.  Harry Terjanian was a hoot and seemed well at ease railing on religion.  We were a small group, but one prepared to laugh, and he didn’t disappoint.  Though I could cite a number of well delivered punchlines, his run on the disappointment of Easter candy was my favorite.  The idea that the large Chocolate Easter Bunnies, are “chocolate covered air” is still cracking ME up.

I plopped MYSELF up on the edge of the stage for what amounted to a cozy little story time with a handful of rapt listeners.  I gave the first chapter of Angelic Malcontentsanother go, and am now convinced that it’s going in the right direction.  The unicorn-head maid lady (did I hear Andora? or was that Andromeda?) was there again, at MY side as I read.  I’m less creeped out by her now, and find MYSELF chatting her up, just in case.  You never know.  She could be real somewhere, and though I’m not soliciting MYSELF to her, it’s always good to keep an open friendship with any potential unicorn-head maid ladies in the universe.  Seems like having one for an enemy could be rather unpleasant.  Just sayin’.

So, all in all it was a great trip.  Saw plenty.  Heard plenty.  Talked plenty.  Read a lot.  And stowed away, for future use, much more story content than even I could have planned for.  Thanks to everyone who has kept up, and I look forward to getting home, where MY wife is likely to squeeze ME into an alternate universe, and my dog is likely to have a coronary, after spending nearly 4 days convinced I was never coming home.  Time to give up this awesome view of Manhattan, take MY weary butt downstairs, and begin the trek to Laguardia by way of train and bus.  Cost savings aside, I’m good for one cab  ride per trip here.  Already did that, and I think I lost a few years in the process.  No need to lose more.  I might lose more hair.  Not ready for that yet.

Giraffe sex.