The Golden Ticket

One day does not a year make.

But, doesn’t it?

I had intended on writing a blog today about the maddening mess of mental malady that was my 2013. It was awful. Nothing seemed to go right. Plans were not merely rerouted, but torn to shreds by this monstrosity of a year. Short of 2009, which saw the close of my beloved Wordsmiths Books (as well as another unmentionable dissolution), there has been no other year spurning more depression and anxiety than 2013.

Then today happened.

Can one day really undo the damage the preceding 364 brought?

This once, I can say undoubtedly so. After all, being lost in a desert might be a continual trek through despair, misery, and pain; a plodding journey toward inevitability. Yet, find your way free and wouldn’t the memory of it all seem somewhat diluted? You survived, right? That has to cast some light upon the shadow of your anguish.

My light arrived by way of the Georgia Center for the Book. I am pleased to say that, as of January 6th, 2014, I will assume the post of GCB  Assistant to the Executive Director. I’m not sure if that’s the official title, but it sounds Schrutian (Schrute-ian?) enough for me, so I’ll go with it. If I can walk around screaming, “Michael!” then they can call me whatever they want. Regardless, I’m beyond excited to be joining this organization. As a writer, as a reader, as an individual who longs to see a greater emphasis on literacy, this is the job I have longed for. This is the place I belong. Additionally, it places the Moss and I back in Decatur, a city we have missed quite dearly in the year we’ve been away.

What is the Georgia Center for the Book, you may wonder? There’s a lengthy description here, but to summarize, here is a list of the Center’s Activities:

Sponsoring over 100 programs each year bringing authors from around the nation and the state for free year-round public appearances.

Sponsoring the 2012 Georgia Literary Festival November 9-10 at Jekyll Island.

Sponsoring state student literary competitions in two national programs,Letters About Literature and River of Words

Developing programs to take nationally known authors to libraries around Georgia with a “We the People” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Georgia Humanities Council. The first “We the People” program was successfully held at Young Harris on January 29, 2007.

Co-sponsoring major state literary awards including the Townsend Prize and the Lillian Smith Award.

Georgia Center for the Book

It doesn’t fully encapsulate the enormity of the organization’s purpose or impact, but it offers a nice glimpse into their reach. I look forward to assisting them in their work, helping to generate further awareness, and joining with the GCB Executive Director, Joe Davich, in expanding and evolving its reach.

This is not Joe Davich. But it really is.

This is not Joe Davich. But it really is.

2014 seems to be opening with a bang, offering an array of possibility, leaving the memory of 2013 as but an exercise in endurance. A period of brutal pain and misery, suffering and depression, yes, but also of survival, of resilience, and of the rewards that come from a refusal to lay down against the weight of it all.

This is no way detracts from my writing, or from my desire to reach as many readers as is possible. Book One of The Storyteller is still moving forward, the reissues of Anointed and Flutter are in the pipeline, and the initial response to my current manuscript, Specimen A, is glowing. 2014 is, indeed, lining up nicely, and I more than look forward to the adventures it will offer.

Catching Up on the Writering

So Kate Gosselin is “freaking out “ over her show being cancelled.

I really don’t care.  I just couldn’t come up with an intro.

Although, seriously?  She’s upset because her career has been derailed?  Watch the video.  It’s amazing how much she sounds like…well, like Kate Gosselin.  Woman’s nuttier than a can of almonds.

It’s been some time since life has allowed me the time and energy to focus on writing, as well as the myriad other projects I want to work on.  Now that I’ve left my post at The Corner Bookstore, I’m going to dive headlong into the wordy pool and see what comes of it.  The primary objective right now is to finish Book 1 in The Storyteller series, which is tentatively called The Heart of Darkness.  I should, all things being equal, complete that manuscript some time in October (preferably before I head to Richmond, Va for The James River Writers Confererence).

As I manage that daunting task, I mean to pick up the pieces of the abandoned Bookstore series of videos (newest one below) and continue building a platform with which to turn my bizzaro experiences as a bookseller into a television pilot.  Think Arrested Development meets The Office and you’ll get a decent idea. Something that allows for a good bit of insanity but is more character driven than built around the location. I hope to have a new video up every Wednesday.

Additionally, I’ll have a few posts to add to The Adventures of Ducky Thomas, including his long overdue story of traveling to New York City.  That post, for what it’s worth will be called The Massive Warship, and has an awful lot to do with his visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The hope with Ducky is to translate his adventures into chapter books. I think the world needs stories about an adventurous duck. Ducky agrees.

Now that Flutter is out and selling, I will be returning again to the world of Timothy Webb and telling what may, or may not, be the final book in that series. I’m rather fond of Timothy and Natasha, so I may violate ever known rule of writing just to hang on to them. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, The Christ Corporation Series has a Facebook page. Like it. I’ll be posting updates there.

Finally, staring me in the face with the depth and deadness of a salivating zombie is a story that takes the traditional Zombie Apocalypse for rocking ride where it’s never been before. Not sure yet if I want to write the novel or the screenplay, but as I have information to offer, I’ll be tossing it up here on the blog.

…of which I will be visiting more often. Obviously, right?

So with nothing in my way but myself, all of these projects will be complete or underway within the next six months.  I’m piling it on and looking forward to what comes of it.

Oh, and in the near future I’ll be looking for you to determine what absolutely ridiculous show I show blog about on a regular basis. That one is wide open.  Anything from Springer to Gossip Girl, from The View to 90210. It’s not my call. It’s yours. I’m not sure who I hope to entertain more with that, but I’m quite positive it will be me.

That said, here’s the latest in The Bookstore series, called Potter is Hotter. Time to decide between Cullen and Potter. And pretty dresses.

Back to The Bookstore

The most recent episode of The Bookstore is a fair bit of a self-indulgence. But this is my universe, so I’ll construct it as I like, thank you. Actually, the true point of these videos is simply to entertain and tell a story, and it is my great hope that do exactly that.  But I would be remiss in not utilizing it to also promote myself, so why not have Eddie profess me to be one of the greatest writers ever?  I was rather touched by his sentiment, even if he’s just doing so in a vain attempt to bait me into doing an event at The Bookstore.

I’ve upgraded to Xtranormal’s new movie-making program, which they call State.  It allows for more than 2 characters–which I’ve utilized here–and the ability to move characters around.  There’s a nifty voice over thingy that I will ultimately have to give a try, but for now…baby steps.

As with every project I ever undertake, I’m open to comments, thoughts, and ideas.  Additionally, I’m very (I think I mean to say VERY) open to you sharing these videos on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere you socially congregate.  As well, you can visit the videos on my You Tube page, and add comments, likes, and so forth.  Don’t underestimate how much it helps.  Same with my books on Amazon.  It’s a public forum in which people who have never heard of me (like Stacy in the video) have the opportunity to read what other people are saying.

Ok, enough promoting. Here’s the fourth video in The Bookstore series, Going Viral.

 

PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

Ahem.

There are a few side projects that I have going on, whilst awaiting the release of Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, which is due out in August, and I would be remiss not to pool them into my Whoreville of Compilation here on this blog. After all, it’s point is to let you know how utterly awesome–if not just active–I am.  So, that said, here’s the scoop:

First of all, I have officially launched the Ducky Thomas blog in order to keep his persistent quacking about new blogs centered in another room, where he can take care of that himself.  He says that he will have one new blog a week, until he can talk me into taking him to new places on a more regular basis.  I let him know that I have a job, and it is my duty to ensure that we can all continue to eat.  He was a good duck and laughed at the word ‘duty’ for two hours.  Check it out.  For a duck, he has pretty good stories.

Secondly, I have attempted to be more consistent with entries on the bookstore blog, There Are No Words.  Mostly, I’m just filling space with the odd things I hear, and the even odder requests that I get.  Becoming involved once more in that blog led to my third in-the-works project.

If you aren’t familiar with the website Xtranormal, then you’ve likely been under a rock.  It’s one of the most useful sites for writers (or directors for that matter) with time, energy, and a small amount of cash to spare.  I’ll spare the details on how it works (largely because I have an episode coming up for that), and instead post the first 3 episodes in the series simply called The Bookstore. There is some truth to it, to a degree.  I have drawn from some of the bits I’ve dropped on the bookstore blog, and added the rest for entertainment.  In the end, this is not meant to be a representation of life at my day job.  It’s meant to be a series of short films that culminate into a larger story.  Life at The Bookstore, if you will.  Characters will be evolved, a story will unfold, and a certain author’s books (ahem) will be shamelessly promoted.  Oh, and there will be no shortage of loathing for Twilight.  So here they are.  You can subscribe to them on my You Tube account and you’ll get email updates when new videos are posted.  Right now I’m doing one a day, but I would image it will be reduced to 2-3 times per week after I’ve got enough of them created.

Please let me know what you think.  This is a work in progress, and I’m always open to input.

Here is #1:

Here is #2:

Here is #3:

The First Flap

Though I don’t yet have a specific date, the next book in the Anointed trilogy (it seems to require a name of some sort to qualify it as a trilogy, if for no other reason than to amuse me and my publisher), Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, will be in stores in spring of 2011.  It still seems a long way off, but that’s the process, and I have no choice but to wait it out, nervously tapping away as the editorial process ensues, as characters and plot lines are dissected, as event dates are put together, and as the reviews and blurbs trickle in.  In the meantime, however, the preliminary jacket art is in, and I can’t help but feel like it’s headed in the right direction.

The subtitle is yet to be added.

No telling where it’ll wind up, but it definitely represents the theme of the book well.  I’ll post the changes as they are made.  Feel free to drop in your thoughts.

——–

“Bishop” Eddie Long.

Who made him a Bishop, anyway?

He made his first public statements regarding the sexual misconduct charges Sunday morning, at 8am, from the pulpit.  The mere fact that his first statements to the charges were delivered from the pulpit is more telling than anything he said.  How better to draw further attention to the “church” and bolster its reach than to have the media in attendance, broadcasting your (lack of) denial, while thousands of followers scream and holler and praise JeebusAlmighty.  It was a circus.  It was exactly right for what he is.  If you read the transcript, it’s quite obvious from the outset that he’s proud of the attention–the opportunity even–that this scandal has brought his church.

“Good morning New Birth. And good morning to all our other guests.

And I would be remiss not to say good morning to the world.

You all may be seated in the presence of the Lord.

I do want to remind folk that we’re here at 8 every Sunday morning. Every Sunday morning.

And I’ll be here next week.”

The other bit that struck me was, fittingly, at the end of his presentation:

“Please hear this. Please hear this: I’ve been accused. I’m under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, I am not a perfect man. But this thing I’m gon’ fight.

And I want you to to know one other thing. I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

He never denies the accusations.  He never defends his actions.  He simply states that it is a hard time for him, that he’s been accused, and that he–the pastor of a mega-church–feels like David, fighting for his life against the giant, Goliath.  I believe he may have that bit backwards, however.  These young men, whether honest or deceitful, are not Goliath.  The man who deemed himself anointed by God, the “Bishop” of 25,000 people willing to put money on his name, the person that is as much a politician of faith as he is an admitted multi-national corporation, stands with far more might, and far more capable defense than young men, who are armed with nothing more than accusations, and a date in court.

—–

From the shelves of the departed Wordsmiths Books vault, I leave you with a video of the Harry Potter cover band, Draco & the Malfoys.  They were one of a few who passed through, and one of my favorites (though the Remus Lupins are right there as well).  Their performance–with the rest of the gang that day for Wizard Rock–ranks as one of my favorite memories.  If you are a Potter-head, and haven’t heard these guys, then by all means, give them a listen.

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.

Because I Need To

I’ve been pretty busy opening The Corner Bookstore (of which it seems necessary to note I do not own, but am managing), and it’s left the well of writing rather dry of time, and quite neglected.  I genuinely consider this to be one of the more difficult things to deal with, and have to acknowledge that there is little in life that makes me as happy as writing, no matter how nonsensical it may be at times.  But, I’m getting things ironed out with the store, and whittling down my schedule to a mere 55 hours a week, and will be back at it again soon.

Which is important, for more than the obvious reason.  The more pressing matter is that, despite what I might have believed in February, Flutter: An Epic of Mass Distraction, is not yet finished.  It lacks, in fact, a third act.  A third act that was, until a few weeks ago, meant to be a third book in the Anointed series (which was never meant to be a series, but what the hell, right?).  Which would seem to be a bummer–and is–but isn’t as bad as it seems.  The truth is, Flutter will be a better book for it.  It will take you for a longer, and wilder, ride, leaving you just as breathless as dear Timothy will be by book’s end.

And, in a nice twist, and flagrant ode to one of my favorite writers–Douglas Adams–I can now refer to Flutter as: The Second, and final book, in the Anointed Trilogy.  Why not?  Makes me laugh, and as long as my publisher’s up for it, then so be it (Or, “and, so it is,” if you happen to be a Pretty Wild junkie like me…I mean, come on!  This isn’t real, right?).

The downside is that my October release is now somewhere in the front end of 2011.  So, yeah.  But it’ll be out there.  That’s what matters.

Anyhoo…I had too much coffee this morning, and…wait…no, there’s no such thing as too much coffee.  Strike that.  Ahem.  I had more coffee this morning than I typically have–by design in order to kickstart a Monday that followed a weekend of moving my stuff into storage by myself (what!?!?!)–and decided in a heightened state of euphoria, that what coffee lacks is an operatic ode to its importance in our daily lives.  Something on the Bugs Bunny scale.  You know what I mean.  This one:

Something epic.  Something tragic, yet redeeming in the end.  Something that seems to jump on a skateboard, and roll along at ludicrous speed (Ah…Spaceballs), before crashing in a coma-like burn as the caffeine wears off.

Something sort of like this:

(man holding a cup of coffee in the air)

Coffee!  You are so excellent!

I love to drink you in the morning,

afternoon, evening, and night!

And most any time in between!

(insert hoppy little musical interlude, as our man dances about with his cup of coffee, drinking it in large gulps)

I drink you with breakfast, I drink you with lunch,

I drink you with most anything that I can munch,

I drink you to think, I drink you to write,

I drink you despite you make me, um, not sleep at night!

You give me the shakes, you give me a buzz,

You are an addiction I can’t quit because,

I don’t remember what life was like living without

you, which isn’t a sad but is something I love!

Coffee you’re excellent!

You make my life livable!

Each time I drink you,

I feel so much better!

With each sip I’m happier!

With cream you’re just like dessert!

Coffee you’re excellent!

FTW, LMAO, LOL!

(our coffee drinker, in his exuberant celebratory state,

drops his coffee in a colossal crash)

Oh, coffee…

What have I done?

Your brilliance shines so bright

upon the floor!

NO!

Oh, noes, coffee!

You were once in my hands,

these deceitful, clumsy, claws.

Now you are lost,

and I don’t know for how long!

How long???

But, oh…hey!

Not to say that you weren’t a joy!

Still I regret your splaying on the floor!

But I just thought…just now in fact,

that perhaps I could, perhaps just now,

make some more instead!

YAY!

Coffee!

I will drink you again!

(the thunderous final note brings the house down)

Sure, it needs some work, but it’ll do for now.  And I need more coffee.