Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Perspective on the Fiscal Cliff

Going rogue today due to circumstances beyond my control.

Fiscal Cliff, dumbed down.

Lesson # 1:
  • U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent Budget cuts: 38,500,000,000
Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budge:
  • Annual family income: $21,700
  • Money the family spent: $38,200
  • New debt on the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Total budget cuts so far: $385
Got it?…. OK now…
Lesson # 2
Here’s another way of looking at the Debt Ceiling:
Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.  What do you think you should do?
Raise the ceiling or remove the shit?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Amazing Michael Offutt

As a writer, committed blogger, published author, and artist, Michael Offutt wears many hats. But the one I treasure most is the label friend.

I met this man – dare I say, Sweetie – last year. Since then, he completed and published Slipstream at Double Dragon Publishing. In November his latest book came out, Oculus, second in the series.

Michael Offutt

Genre: Sci-fi

Book Description:

Autumn has arrived in New York, and Jordan Pendragon attends his first classes as a freshman at Cornell. Born with a brilliant mathematical mind, he balances life as a research assistant with that of a student athlete.

But Jordan also has a quest. He must find the Black Tower, a monolithic edifice housing a thing that defines the very structure of the universe. Jordan believes it is buried somewhere in Antarctica under miles of prehistoric ice.

October finds Jordan earning a starting position with the Cornell hockey team. But a dark cloud gathers over his rookie season. Unexplained deaths, whispers of a cannibal cult, a prophecy, and a stone known only as the Oculus, cast a shadow over his athletic ambitions. It is the start of a terrifying journey down a path of mystery, murder, and to a confrontation with an Evil more ancient than the stars.

Free short story that's a lead-in to this book series:

About the Author:

Michael Offutt writes speculative fiction books that have science fiction, LGBT, and paranormal elements. His first book, "Slipstream" has received some critical acclaim and was published by Double Dragon in the spring. The sequel, "Oculus" came out in November 2012. He has one brother, no pets, and a few roots that keep his tree of life sufficiently watered. By day, he works for the State of Utah as a Technical Specialist. By night, he watches lots of t.v., writes, draws, and sometimes dreams of chocolate.

Michael Offutt graduated from the University of Idaho in 1994 with a Bachelor's degree in English.

He keeps a blog and would appreciate a visit or two even if all you want to do is say hi.

Twitter: @MichaelOffutt

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Survive Rejection

I love Christmas trees

Persistence + Sense of Humor = Published. That is my theme.

Take heart.

Before an author sells a book and becomes famous, most received enough rejection slips to supply a ticker tape parade in Manhattan.

Like Kathryn Stockett. She got 60 rejections before finding an agent to represent her novel, The Help.

And the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. She gave up and submitted her manuscript directly to publisher MacAdam/Cage. They saw it differently than all the agents that had turned it down.

A children's book was destined for obscurity after 12 publishers rejected it. When the eight-year-old daughter of an editor at Bloomsbury wanted to read the rest of the manuscript, the publishing firm reluctantly took it on. And Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone exploded on the world.

There are many more examples here that give us writers heart. The key is persistence and believing in yourself.

You aren't finished when you're rejected.
You're finished when you quit.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peace and Politics

On the day after, I think not of politics but of peace.

Give the innocent ones time to heal. And grieve.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How *not* to Use the Internet and *big* News

The internet is the biggest time suck of them all. Just think if the internet were available when Einstein was around. 

He formulated his theories of gravitational forces and the relationships between mass and energy during his Dude! years, late twenties and early thirties. If he’d had the ‘net, he'd been cruising websites and making Youtube videos of dogs eating peanut butter rather than working on the probabilistic interpretation of quantum theory. 

And Heaven only knows where we’d be today if that'd happened.*tongue firmly in cheek*

Time suck aside – or ignored in my case – I love the Urban Dictionary. It is a wealth of timely phrases, crude and rude words, and teenage-speak that sometimes does a flyby.

Clicker’s Remorse –
“The internet analog of buyer's remorse, wherein one comes to regret having clicked on a link of interest after they look up at the clock minutes or hours later and realize that they have invested an inordinate amount of time reading an article, playing a game, conversing with someone, looking at photos, etc. which they would not have spent had they resisted the impulse to "check it out"...
Upon looking up at the clock and realizing he'd spent the last 2 hours choosing the cuter kitten after clicking on the link his sister had emailed him Danny developed a strong feeling of clicker's remorse for not having resisted the urge to click on the link.”

Sneeze Freeze –
“The frozen and contorted, usually mildly retarded looking, facial expression one makes for a few seconds before they let out a sneeze or when experiencing a "Sneezus Interruptus".
Check out his Sneeze Freeze. Take cover, it's going to be a BIG one! Dude, you have an extreme squishy face you're sneeze freezing! Bob: You were going to sneeze but it got away, huh?  Dave: How did you know?  Bob: I saw your sneeze freeze.”

Sincerely, the examples would fill a whole city. I could go on forever with these monumental…

Time Suck –
Something that's engrossing and addictive, but that keeps you from doing things that are actually important, like earning a living, or eating meals, or caring for your children.
"Ever since I got on Facebook I haven't been able to stay away. I'm spending hours on it each day -- it's a total time suck, but I can't stop! Grocery shopping and laundry will have to wait."

*must resist temptation*

Drum Roll. Time for my *Big* News.

Messy Magic in the Making
It took me over a year to call myself A Writer. Now I can add the label Published Author to my brand.

I signed with Musa Publishing, a small pub in Ohio, for my urban fantasy, The Magic Withheld.

Confetti anyone?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Valor, A Greystone Novel

Book Review

Often readers purchase without reading reviews or back cover. I am not usually in that category. Unless I worship every word the author pens (insert ‘Jim Butcher’ here), I am wary of new authors and investigate thoroughly.

For some odd, fateful reason I fell into reading Valor, A Greystone novel by Taylor Longford without reading the sample chapter, the back cover, or the reviews.

By all that is Holy, I hit the jackpot.

MacKenzie opens a crate sent by her ‘step-person’ (love that btw) and finds a life-size statue of a young man. A gorgeous man. While she eyes the realistic sculpture, MacKenzie is unaware that the stature looking back. He is a gargoyle who turned himself to stone hundreds of years before and awaits only the touch of sunlight to return to flesh again.

Ms. Longford continues with Dare and Reason. Folks, this series is a keeper.

I highly recommend.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cavanaugh Blogfest

Oh, Captain My Ninja Captain. To the writers in this blogosphere, Alex Cavanaugh needs no intro, no hyperlink. He is one of a kind. But who is the man behind the mask? Speculation grows and, more importantly, imagination. And to a writer of fantasy, imagination is a dangerous tool.

What does the Ninja Captain look like? Sandy hair and gold-rimmed glasses. He has eyes that are wide open as if life continually surprises him.

Who could play Alex in a movie or documentary? Easy peasy. Wall-e. Although he might not accept the gig. These big Hollywood actors are a bit stuffy.

Who does Alex remind you of? Hammy, the squirrel starring in Over the Hedge. God forbid he gets too much caffeine.

Write flash fiction using all these prompts:
And the Crowd Goes Wild 
In an unprecedented move, Congress voted unilaterally to carve a fifth image at Mount Rushmore. While playing an air guitar to highlight the day, President Obama proclaimed it a national holiday as Alex Cavanaugh humbly muttered his thanks. His posse known as IWSG threw rose petals in Cavanaugh’s path and cheered as their Ninja scuffed the ground and blushed. Overhead, a formation of Cosbolts, newly manufactured on the America soil, soared in a V formation, honoring their Captain. Hard to see but they were there. Somewhere. Teeny tiny points of light. See 'em?

A comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh.
To the Power Behind the Ninja Captain. Your hubby makes a big difference in this writer universe of ours. Smile and be proud. He is one heckuva guy. But don’t tell him I said so cuz you know it’ll go to his head. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Blogfest, Book Tour, TV show, and Let's Rumble

Variety. It's not just a word.

On Monday, the blogfest that I subtitled “Who is He Really" begins.

The Cavanaugh Blogfest sponsored by Mark Koopman, Morgan Shamy, Stephen Tremp, and David Powers King, let's us use our God-given talents to speculate, postulate, and otherwise poke fun at our leader in the blogosphere, the Ninja Captain of all time Alex Cavanaugh. Author of CassaFire, CassaStar, and the upcoming CassaStorm, the man is an enigma, too humbled by the accolades to even post a picture. This gives us writers the perfect chance to embarrass the hell out of him.

Also on Monday, it is my turn to host Unicorn Bell, a critique site for writers in all stages of their careers. From newbie to published, we are your source for news and advice. Looking for the junction of Traditional Street and Published? That’s us. How about small publishers and self-pub? We got ‘em.

This week, my theme comes from the movie, Michael:

December 17th stars another Michael and the beginning of his book tour for Oculus, his second in the series, A Crisis of Two Worlds. Michael Offutt is one of my most favorite bloggers. I consider him a good friend and, more importantly, a real sweetie. My blog is set for a promo stop on the 20th.

Lastly. January 8th, a whole month from now, Justified starts another season. Easily the best, most underrated show on television.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The World of Dresden

In 2007, the Dresden Files premiered on TV and introduced me to the world according to Jim Butcher. As with all good series, the studio muckety mucks canceled the show but it was too late for me. I was hooked.

Jim Butcher wrote the first of his Dresden series, Storm Front, in 2000. Cold Days, published last month, is book number 14.

Cold Days follows Harry Dresden from the grave back to the living as he begins learning his new role as the Winter Knight to Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness.

I could say it has plot twists that make you nearly rip the paper off as you turn the pages. I could say the surprises and mysteries make you gasp audibly. And the humor. My Sweet Babboo wondered what that the heck was going on when I’d LOL while reading the book.

Any good novel has all of that. The difference is in my reading style. I read fast. And if the storyline or writing turns blah, I mostly skip ahead. Like whole paragraphs. Then pages. Sometimes I snarl and go to the end to see who dunnit. My highest recommendation is for those books that kept me on the page, reading every word.

That is Cold Days. Jim Butcher delivered again.

Books I Can’t Wait For in 2013:

The end of Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. A Memory of Light – Jan 2013

Patricia Briggs’ seventh Mercy Thompson book, Frost Burned – March 2013

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, her last in the Sookie Stackhouse series due in May.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Is there any language as confusing as English?

I’ve heard that English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Most times, I don’t notice the weirdness of my native tongue but every now and then…

Wind. As I wind the dial, the wind threatens to blow me off the dais.

Read/Reed/Red. The reed turned red as I read the reader.

The Moody Blues released Nights in White Satin in 1967, a rather provocative title. Lots of emotional value.

Change Nights to Knights and a completely different image is created. (No *kidding*, I thought it was 'Knights' until just a few years ago)

John Fogerty wrote and performed Bad Moon Rising with his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Maybe my speakers were defective or CCR slurred the words because I thought they were telling me ‘…there’s a bathroom on the right…’ for long time.

Do you have favorite examples of lyrics or words that make it into the Epic Fail category? 

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