1. Another one in the can, sort of. Around last week, I completed Bee, a short YA book about Bogart Richardson, a dyslexic boy who defies his peers, and his own expectations, to compete in a spelling bee. Sound impossible? Bo has discovered that he has a special power – he can’t do anything right. Instead, he does things backward. If they say he can’t, it must mean he can. When teachers tell him to have “realistic expectations”, instead he has “unrealistic expectations.”

    I started having unrealistic expectations when I first wrote Rapture Express. Every human instinct tells you that getting a novel published is possible, just not probable. If you do write, you should  write what’s in vogue. Last year it was swoony supernatural girls. Now it’s strong heroines fighting a dystopian future. You write what the market wants. Do as you’re told. Do nothing.

    I entered Rapture Express into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, my unrealistic expectations big enough to fill the vacuum of space. It moved to the next round – twice. The free excerpt has received great reviews and it seems some have taken a shine to Jack McGregor.

    Inspirational piffle makes me puke inside my mouth, but there are some quotes that should be recalled because of their undeniable truth. My personal favorite is by Jacob Riis, American journalist and social documentarian.

    When nothing seems to help, I look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps 100 times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the 101st blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

    If you want a life that is better than average, life will hammer you first. Critics and the do-nothings will pelt you with their criticisms coated with bitter shell of “practical advice.” Some people will say that you suck. Either they will do it to your face or behind your back.  If you never let them break you, your chances of success improve.

    So here’s to the upcoming ABNA 100 and their unrealistic expectations. I pray I may stand among you.

    Stay unreal. Also, if you’d like to read a sample of Rapture Express, it’s available for download to you eReader here. Don’t have an eReader? You can get a free KDP desktop reader here.

     
  2. For the ABNA quarter-finals, Amazon cusotmers have the opportunity to read and rate a 5000 word excerpt from the contestant’s book entries. If you’d like to read mine, follow this link.

    Read, rate (positively) and enjoy.

  3. This guy!!

    To everyone who helped out, thanks. If you didn’t place, keep writing. I’ve been picked last for kickball for most of my life, but if you work hard, listen to people smarter than you (and have the wisdom to recongnize them), and refuse to lose, you will prevail. On to the next round!!!

    DANCE, CARLTON, DANCE!!!

     


  4. PayPal has finally seen the light. They have revised their content policies and will instead focus on truly illegal content. This is a great victory for independent publishing and Free Speech in the private sector. Nice work to all who signed petitions, made phone calls and promised to take their business elsewhere. I am quick to forgive when acknoleges their errors or at least has the stones to revise and claify their position.

    Still, the war for the Free Internet is far from over. I doubt that SOPA is dead and I expect it to raise its knobby head after the 2012 election. Congress and Hollywood, Inc. may hav

    PayPal has finally seen the light. They have revised their content policies and will instead focus on truly illegal content. This is a great victory for independent publishing and Free Speech in the private sector. Nice work to all who signed petitions, made phone calls and promised to take their business elsewhere. I am quick to forgive when acknowledges their errors or at least has the stones to revise and claify their position.

    Still, the war for the Free Internet is far from over. I doubt that SOPA is dead and I expect it to raise its knobby head after the 2012 election. Congress and Hollywood, Inc. may have made a feigned retreat, but we are ready. We’ve made it clear - we will not do business with censors or those who pursue collective punishment for a few offenders.

    On Tuesday, March 20, the Quarter-Finalists for the 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest will be announced, and I will be a nervous wreck. I’ll take my victory or loss like a man, which man I don’t know. There may be tears involved.

     

    e made a feigned retreat, but we are ready. We’ve made it clear - we will not do business with censors or those who pursue collective punishment for a few offenders.

    On Tuesday, March 20, the Quarter-Finalists for the 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest will be announced, and I will be a nervous wreck. I’ll take my victory or loss like a man, which man I don’t know. There may be tears involved.

     

  5. I’ve suspended sale of Farting in Church at Smashwords in response to PayPal’s muscling of the online bookseller to remove books they perceive as glorifying rape, bestiality, incest and pedophilia. This isn’t against Smashwords, who are a fine bookseller, but I can’t do business with these bluenoses. Paypal and credit card companies have earned metric buttloads of my ire. Smashwords and Paypal are still haggling over the details, so the list of erotica to be dropped may be less. In case this is news to you, here’s a decent write-up by Publisher’s Weekly.

    In the end, Smashwords will have to concede since losing Paypal would turn them into a mail order business.  It’s a sickening situation where the cash register refuses to ring up purchases it finds objectionable. PayPal is claiming that it is they who are being muscled by the credit card companies. I think this claim is false and downright cowardly.

    Paypal used to be independent company, co-founded by Peter Thiel, a libertarian who would’ve have cared if incestuous were-squirrel porn was being sold in his store. Paypal had a lucrative partnership with eBay. One day, eBay decided to buy PayPal. Ebay became America’s go to place to sell used video games, appliances and the place to stock your man-cave on the cheap.

    Let’s go shopping on Ebay.

    Obama Urinal Target

    Reichmarks

    A nice moleskin diary

    And while you’re taking a leak the president’s face…

    There’s some things money can’t buy…

    We have an item that encourages whizzing on the POTUS, coin of the genocidal realm, a book that depicts insurrection against the government and genocide, and means to get around illegal drug tests. I’m sure some shoppers raised objections on those items eBay told them to hike up their Huggies Pull-Ups and deal. None of these items could be construed as glorifying bad behavior?

    Could the title of my ebook make some think I’m encouraging flatulence in places of worship? Are my other follow-up titles in danger? S.B.D’s in Synagogues. Air Biscuits in Ashrams.

    For now, I will try to avoid using PayPal. Also, sign the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)’s petition and tell PayPal that censorship is bad for business.

     

  6. On February 23, I think I hit “F5” on my laptop at least 1000 times between 8am and 11am.  I would shut my eyes, hit the refresh button, peel them open slowly like a coffin lid and sigh. Not yet. The moment I was both dreading and anticipating was coming – The announcement of who will move the 2nd round of the 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

    “Stop checking that site,” my wife, Anna scolded.

    I’d go back to my daily work, stopping every 2-5 minutes to check the ABNA site. No results. I’d convince myself it’s just a dumb pageant like Lil’ Miss Bulimia 2012. Yeah, that was it. Even if I didn’t place it just meant that my work was just too ‘real’ for the judges.

    It was worse than trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve as a child. I knew Santa Claus wasn’t real, but I almost ruptured with hope that something awesome was waiting under the polyester Christmas tree. Or maybe it would be slacks and socks.

    I continued to work and I received and was distracted by a few urgent client emails that needed attention. 11:00 rolled around and I made a hasty lunch and dressed for the dreaded paying job. Before heading out around 11:15, I checked the ABNA site again. I’d rather not receive bad news at work. I’m an intolerable pisspot already. I didn’t want to play the bitter writer incarcerated and undiscovered in his gray cubicle.

    I hit F5. On the ABNA site new text appeared: “Announcing 2,000 Second Round Entrants.” With trembling fingers, I clicked the link for the young adult entrants. It’s just a silly contest. I scrolled down the endless list, passing hundreds of promising titles.

    Then I saw this:


    I think I danced like this:



    I made it to the 2nd Round, but this is no video game. I’m against writers who have worked, sacrificed, revised, fretted, expired as hard as me and some even harder. I’m ecstatic that I made the first cut, but next I’m up against the toughest judges ever: readers. Amazon customers will be able to download, and vote on a 5,000 word excerpt of Rapture Express. I never play readers for fools and it’s going to be a hundredfold harder to keep from reading the public comments. Those who will move the 2nd round will be announced on March 23rd.  I’ll be sure to stock up on Xanax by then.

    And I’m issuing a full-automatic round of thanks to Alex Hughes who helped me fine tune my pitch and edit Rapture Express. Alex was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, which earned her notice and a 2 book deal. Her dystopian thriller Clean will be out September 2012.

    To my fellow ABNA competitors, good luck and keep writing.

     
  7. 2012 is prophesized to be ePublishing’s breakout year. What’s been different about this movement is that writers have become more communitarian that competitive. We no longer have to compete for Team Traditional Publishing’s attention like the new kid at school. We can be a one-person team, but we still need each other’s help.

    Launching Farting in Church took some courage. I had to believe that my book deserved readership. To those who bought it, thank you. Yet, I haven’t promoted myself or my work as I should have. So far, I have sold 25 copies and that’s without any marketing on my part.

    That will change.

    Here’s what I propose.  Let’s have a blogger sleepover. Do you have an ebook or print book and a blog? Want to cross promote each other? I guest blog at your place and you blog at mine? We can braid each other’s hair and tell ghost stories if you want. Let’s talk.

    This is not about “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine.” I have a back scratcher for that. What we are doing is helping each other expand our readership family.

    If you’re like me, your daily blog hits are probably small, but by introducing our readers to each other, our readership can and will grow. A few dozen blog hits can easily turn to hundreds. That can translate to book sales.

    If you want to trade guest posts, contact me at barelyok at gmail.com. Make sure to mention your ebook/book and where to buy it.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. If man plans and God laughs then if you’ve a lot of thunder during the last two weeks, then that’s just God slapping his knee. During 2011, I horded ten days of paid time off which would expire by January’s end. I scheduled this time well. I had one week of vacation, and another week of tying up loose ends: get a headstart on editing my new book, prepare two older computers for sale or donations, a few household DIY chores. Most of all I intended to relax.

    Was that thunder I heard?

    My wife, Anna, broke her birdie finger while walking down a friend’s stairs. We were attending a friend’s pre game party. I’m no sports fan and barely knew who the teams were. One was from Pittsburgh and the other team had that guy who prayed on the sidelines. As we were leaving, Anna slipped on the steps, but caught herself on the railing. She thought she sprained her finger. Later, at the emergency room, the X-rays showed a fracture under the first knuckle. The ER doc referred her to a bone doctor. Thank God for Percodan. It was for her, of course. She had an inpatient operation that Friday and her broken little birdie finger was wrapped in bandages like Tutankhamen’s pee-pee.

    Nowadays, doctors are free and easy with meds like breadsticks at Olive Garden. We have the Pfizer Narco sampler in our medicine cabinet.

    Since you can be just as miserable and sedated anywhere, we went ahead and traveled to our Savannah summit where we’d relax, tour old homes and tip craft beer pints The Distillery (The only domestic drink they serve is tap water) and let gorgeous parks and walkways calmed our nerves. When the city was rebuilt after the Civil War, the planners insisted on having small parks sprinkled amongst the grid. Centuries before suburban sprawl, people actually planned cities rather than carpet bombed the landscape with big box stores and strip malls. I’m sure the antebellum folk would’ve appreciated at Venti Latte, but they wouldn’t mind walking a few blocks to get it.

    [caption id=”attachment_1081” align=”aligncenter” width=”512” caption=”The Distillery - want domestic? Drink tap water.”][/caption]

    We toured the supposedly haunted Sorrel Weed house. Anna believes in ghosts but hours of Scooby Doo has made me skeptic. Our tour guide was a pretty girl in a white period dress.  As I toured the house and heard how the antebellum folk partied like it was 1899, I did feel a presence. Somehow, generations of life, birth and sorrow had ingrained themselves in the house, a barely perceptible thrum of past activity. It’s why people are drawn to old houses. We can stare out the same windows the departed occupants once gazed and wonder it this is all there is.

    Our tour guide encouraged us to snap pictures in hope we would capture orbs. Orbs are considered a supernatural phenomenon that can only be captured on camera. She led us to the basement where the slaves practiced voodoo and the bones of three Revolutionary War soldiers were excavated. A set of 4 monitors showed light enhanced views of the two rooms. Several orbs diagonally floated in its view. We watched as the guide walked through the rooms, singing an Italian opera and the orbs seemed to follow her.

    Below are a few photos my wife took. I’m searched the web for a scientific explanation, but I haven’t found much. Even the hardcore skeptics are uncharacteristically mute. Until I get slimed I’m still on the skeptical side.





    I visited my family and in-laws in Florida and I don’t have much to report except everyone seemed content. The dust of recent trials had settled and plans were being made and had a good chance of being fulfilled.

    Only two days left. Like the last Sunday before school starts, I will miss my vacation, but I welcome getting back into the old rut. I have a book to edit and another to sell.

    The rut beckons.

  9. James R. Tuck, author of the upcoming Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty-Hunter series, has invited me to post a guest blog at this site - In the Dark Night.

    I’ve only recently known James from the writers critique group I attend and as a guest at Casa de Tuck’s Christmas fete. He’s large man with a lovely family and 5 lovable dogs, especially one Jack Russel who needs constant scrtiches. He’s as able with a pen as he is with a tattoo needle.  He’s an amazing tattoo artist who runs Family Tradition Tattoos.

    The first book of his Deacon Chalk series, Blood and Bullets, will be available on February 7. Pre-order now. So little time, so little vampires to kill.



    [caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”Deacon Chalk: Blood and Bullets available February 7.”][/caption]

  10. I don’t do resolutions, but I don’t enter a new year aimlessly. Flush that hippie drum circle philosophy of just letting life flow. The only people that go with the flow are bad swimmers. The folks who go places make plans and raise their expectations beyond their latent ability. Any progress forward is still progress, even when you’re racking your junk on the first hurdle.

    What I have been doing is creating an Action Plan, which lists goals mixed with self-improvement projects. Below is this year’s action plan.

    Be less of an impatient jerkoff. Really, I’ve gotten a lot better. This year I’ve logged about five grand mal shitfits followed by crow stew of apologies. I’m really doing a lot better. Enlightenment happens when you stop chasing after wisdom, and realize its running to catch up with you. There are a lot more important things to get angry about. The Dunkin Doughnuts cashier who screwed up your coffee order, being stuck in traffic or walking into work to find half the staff called out is the least of troubles. This belief that hitting a pillow or breaking something vents anger is pure pop psychology from the leech and lavender crystal tonics from the 1970’s. Walking away, sitting down and letting your anger simmer helps yourself and saves relationships. In 2011, I did  a lot of sitting in quiet rooms and expect to do so in 2012

    Write two more books. I have a series of supernatural-religious satire-thrillers planned. I am cautious about discussing new ideas outside my writer’s circle, but this actually began as a joke. When I’m in a creative cell and need a jailbreak, I find a writers challenge somewhere online. I found one that challenged, “Write a story starting with the first line of a joke.” Jokes are flash fiction in perfect, crystalline form. So I began with, “A Rabbi, A Priest, and a Baptist minister walk into a bar…” Around 5,000 words later, I had the start of supernatural adventure. I have nil experience with supernatural fiction except for occasional friends’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic. This will be my first whack at this.

    Stop downplaying that I’m Self-Published. You choose to be traditionally published. That is matter of superhuman persistence and knowing and working the market. Someone lends you a stage, you sing and hope people will listen.

    You choose to be self-published. That’s a matter of having a superhuman faith in yourself and knowing you’ve got something readers want. You sing anywhere there is free space, even if it’s during the lunch rush at the mall foodcourt.

    Whatever vectors of publication I’ve taken, I’m writing and getting my work outside my brain sphere. I should be proud of this fact.

    Give church a 3rd try. The first try lasted 18 years. The second try lasted fifteen minutes. I know there is a church community somewhere that lives by the book of Matthew rather than the book of Leviticus. They will not speak of loving one another, then slipping a Christian Voter’s Guide in the programme. I stopped going to church not because I didn’t believe in God, but the undeniable fact that institutional religion is by nature cruel and exclusionary.  I could not belong to an organization that believed, as an article of faith, that some people have fewer rights than those who live, love or worship differently.



    Religion and Diets – no matter how great you look and feel, there’s always someone who will tell you you’re doing it wrong. I may not believe everything that comes from the pulpit, but what I take home nourishes the soul. I’m open to suggestions on this matter.

    Work that body. In order to exercise, I have to trick myself that I’m not really exercising. That weight needed to be lifted twenty times to make sure rust doesn’t settle. I’m not doing pushups, I just can’t decide if I want to lie on my stomach or get up. I do the office jockey guilt eraser by taking the stairs or parking my car the furthest from the escalator. So, if I have to trick myself into exercising, then I’ll do it.

    Use the cursed CPAP machine. My loathing for the machine that could lower my blood pressure, help me breathe better and feed oxygen into my blood cells knows no bounds. Strapping that facemask on, looking like a wimpy version of Bane, and getting nearly strangled harshens my slumber. It reminds me of the first time I French kissed with a girl from Pensacola who kept blowing into my mouth and making me gag. I thought I was doing it wrong and blew into her mouth and a crusty booger flew out her nose and hit my cheek. Then I turned 23.

    I will learn to use it accept the benefits despite having to sleep on my back. I can just pretend I’m doing that act Chris Angel when he immersed himself in that tank of water.

    Pimp my stuff. More guest blogs. Publish some articles. Rent a sandwich board. Establish the fearsome name, Anthony R. Elmore.

     

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Anthony Ray Elmore is a Atlanta based writer sometimes spotted at Scene Missing Magazine (http://www.scenemissingmagazine.com) and has participated in Atlanta Write Club bouts (http://writeclubatlanta.com)

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