Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fight or Flight


It's the end of February which means there's likely a bunch of musicians scrambling to to put the final touches on their 35 minute albums. If you have no idea what I'm talking about right now, welcome to The Man's life... But seriously, February is the RPM Challenge (think NaNoWriMo but for musicians. Read about it HERE) month and today it ends. The last I knew, my friend Mike was well on his way to completing said challenge. This includes the song "Fight or Flight", a song for which I wrote the lyrics. I haven't heard this song yet. This time last year I'd listened to multiple takes of Maelstrom but I haven't heard one note's worth this year.

Don't know what's up with that, Mike. (HINT. HINT.)

But what I can do for you is share the lyrics I wrote for this year's album. Whoa there, everyone! Please try to contain your groans excitement!

The song is called "Fight or Flight" and is, like "Maelstrom", based on my novel Effigy. This particular song is based on a specific scene involving my main character, Haleine, at the end of the novel. Like every single character I've ever written, she's not in the very best of mindsets. But you probably knew that already. So, without any further ado (hey, it's customary to applaud after the main event. Not because I've just announced I'll stop introducing the main event!), may I offer for your reading pleasure, today's lyrical interlude...

Flight or Flight

Two hawks there were in the sky today
Golden brown omens above a city bathed in gray
In those birds I saw you and me as we once were
And something within me started to stir

My heart took notice, seeing them there,
Dancing their dance on currents of air
Soaring high, careless and carefree
They were what I wanted us to once again be

(CHORUS) The question I face is fight or flight
Not leaving you is wrong but fleeing isn’t right
If staying for you will my death be
Can I find the strength to give you what’s left of me?

Lost for good is the serenity I crave
Too many doubts now for it all to be saved
For love and hate are two sides of a coin paper thin
And a lover’s betrayal condemns one more than any sin

I gave you my heart but you took my soul
I let it go because I thought I always held yours
But a love once unmovable shifts where I stand
A heart and a soul now slip through my fingers like sand

(CHORUS) The question I face is fight or flight
Not leaving you is wrong but fleeing isn’t right
If staying for you will my death be
Can I find the strength to give you what’s left of me?

I cried out as the hawks from me drew away
I longed to follow but on the ground my feet did stay
I wanted to join them in the cloudless blue
But knew my heart would fight always for you

A reach of your hand and I’ll surely be lost
I’ve never denied you whatever the cost
Rivers of salt for you I have shed
And yet, I know I won’t leave you, even when dead

(CHORUS) The question I face is fight or flight
Not leaving you is wrong but fleeing isn’t right
If staying for you will my death be
Can I find the strength to give you what’s left of me?

That’s the nature of a love gone wrong as our love has
When one heart feels more than the other can grasp
You murder my thinking and leave me to bleed
And still I wait to see where you may me lead

So come for me now and what’s left to you I’ll give
Say how you need me so that you might live
My heart is a harp only you can play
So pluck now my strings and carry me away


Happy Leap Day, everyone. And congratulations to all the musicians involved in the RPM Challenge!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Catch Fire Blog Party


Today on the little blog that really couldn't, we're celebrating the release of ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's second novel, CassaFire, the sequel to his very successful novel, CassaStar. You've probably seen this on about a million other sites already as Alex is very popular in the blogosphere. And since he's done so many nice wonderful things for other writers and bloggers, I'm pleased to make this one million and one...

Here's what the novel's about:

CassaFire

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…





Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats


There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/



Congratulations, Alex, and we wish you all the best...

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Have Been Remiss


Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again but I just wouldn't be me if I wasn't running at least a day late and a dollar short. So maybe I should be taking comfort in the fact that I am, if nothing else, crazy consistent. But I'm not. I don't know what it is about me that makes me so damn incapable of staying on top of life and getting things done in a timely manner but as soon as I figure it out, I am going to stomp on it with some steel toed boots. (Note to self: get some steel toed boots.)

So yeah. I'm running behind. You may be wondering in what exactly I'm running behind but you know what? It doesn't matter. Picking something— anything— and I'm running behind it. And we all know what a terrible runner I am.

Take this blog, for example. I've been neglecting it terribly and this particular post? I started it last week. I meant to post this last Wednesday. Got the first paragraph done and then got distracted by... zombies. Yeah, zombies. It was definitely zombies. It wasn't solitaire or online book shopping, that's for sure. It was zombies and you can't ignore zombies. Not if you want to keep your brains in tact and while mine may not seem like such an awesome set, they're still the only brains I have.

Fear that.

I'm still behind in Effigy edits. I wanted the whole thing to be done by the end of January. And now, here it is, the end of February and I'm not there yet. I like to think I'm getting closer but I don't think even I could drink that much kool-aid.

I'm behind in blogging. Already mentioned this in a previous paragraph but I'm so far behind, it's worth mentioning twice. Not only have I not posted anything, I haven't made the rounds to other people's blogs. I completely missed the first Writers Campaign Challenge. Oops. I'm also behind with email so if you sent me an email that's waiting on a response, I swear I'll get back to you soon. Probably.

I'm behind with the housework. I can't seem to find my kitchen counter anymore. That probably means it's time to do some dishes. That, or move. Or, as my brother suggested, invite my sister-in-law up for the weekend and get her drunk. For those of you who are not sure what this means, giving my sister-in-law a wine cooler or two is a sure fire way to get her to clean and reorganize your life. Just ask my pantry. I bet with a six-pack, I could get her to tackle the basement...

So yeah. I'm falling behind. I'm so far behind I'm pretty sure I'm about to get lapped by my list of goals. But because I am a glutton for punishment dedicated, I'm not giving up. So here are my goals for the week:

1. Effigy needs three new scenes. Write them.

2. Complete three thirty minute work outs.

3. Give Big a belly rub every day. (I need a goal I know I will, without fail, accomplish.)

4. Find the kitchen counter. Whatever.

So what's on your To-Do list this week?

Monday, February 20, 2012

21 Questions

The latest craze sweeping the blogosphere is this question and answer thing where you are tagged and asked to answer ten or eleven questions. Well, this weekend I was tagged twice. Once by Ava Quinn over at Tongue In Cheek (a wonderfully hilarious blog you should check out if you haven't already) and once by Jessica Salyer at Just Following A Dream. These questions combined number 21, hence my very clever title. Here are my answers to their questions:

Ava's Questions:

1. When is your favorite time to write?

My favorite time to write is at night, after all other mammals in my household are asleep. That's when I can barricade myself in my office and break out the weaponry. Both literal and figurative.

2. What would you like to change about the place where you write?

I'd like it to be located in some fabulous oceanfront home on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Other than that, I'd say I need more bookshelf space.

3. Who is your favorite villain?

My favorite villain is Dr. Horrible. Running a close second is Dr. Doofenschmirtz. I also have a soft spot for Skeletor.

4. Which do you prefer? Mel Brooks' movies or Monty Python's?

Ava mentioned she thought this was the toughest question and I think she might be right but I have to go with Monty Python because Monty Python and the Holy Grail is on my top ten list of all time favorite movies.

5. Who is your favorite character from The Princess Bride?

The second toughest question. I have debated on this question for a while (a very long time) and have decided to go with Fezzik.

6. If you could meet anyone living today, who would it be?

Joss Whedon. Next question.

7. What is your favorite dish that your mom used to make for you?

I am the quintessential picky eater and so my favorite meal growing up (and still today) was dubbed the yellow meal. It was homemade macaroni and cheese, corn and cornbread. It bored every other member of my family.

8. What song are you really into right now?

Right now, I am really into the song Come Back Home by Chris Pureka. The lyrics are lovely.



9. If you had a kickass Halloween party to go to and you had unlimited resources to prepare, what would you go as?

I don't know exactly. But assuming I'd also have the unlimited confidence to pull it off, I'd say some kind of medieval-esque celtic warrior woman. But let's face it... it would really be an excuse to procure myself some kick ass weaponry.

10. Who from your past would you Facebook stalk but never want to see in real life?

I guess an ex-boyfriend or two but other than that, I really don't know.


Jessica's Questions

1. What is the nicest thing anyone has done for you?

A few years ago at Christmas, my brother and sister-in-law surprised me with copies of my book (not for sale or anything. Just personal use). Like in actual book form. As I'd only ever seen it in a three ring binder, it was amazingly awesome to see it as a book. I was beyond moved. I was even more moved when I learned that they got me two copies because I am a freak who has actual "reading" and "non reading" copies of the same books. And then, to top it off, I found out other friends were willing to go to extreme lengths to create this present for me. It was all very, very sweet.

2. Who is your favorite author?

Ellen Emerson White. If you're into YA, I highly recommend her President's Daughter series. It includes The President's Daughter, White House Autumn, Long Live The Queen and Long May She Reign. I have been obsessed with these books since I was in the seventh grade and read them once a year.

I'm also in love with John Green. That man's a freaking genius.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Long enough to photograph everything in sight.

4. What's one addiction you have?

I am addicted to buying books. I'm seriously going to need a second house soon, just to have a place to put them all.

5. What's your favorite time of day?

I love the overnight hours. That's when I tend to do my most writing.

6. What's your favorite food?

Well, I've already talked about my love for mac and cheese so this time, I'll go with chocolate cake. But without frosting. It just gets in the way.

7. What inspires your writing the most?

Currently, my biggest inspiration comes from music.

8. What is one of your pet peeves?

I hate it when people forget to turn off their blinkers.

9. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

My niece says she'd go with flying but I want to pick vampire slayer fighting skills so I can be like Buffy Summers.

10. Do you have a pet?

Yes. 2 cats, 2 dogs, one significant other and this blog.

11. If you had to change your name, and pick it, what would you change it to?

River Tam.




That is going to do it for me today. My too cool for school niece is in town and we're headed out to do some wild and crazy things. Every kid needs an aunt who lets them do such things and I'm hers. But don't worry, mom... we're completely safe. Safe-ish.

See y'all next time!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Long and the Short of It

Today's post shouldn't be very long as I really only want to ask a simple question or two. But they're questions that shall require a small amount of ranting on my part because, after all, I am me and if I'm not ranting about something, you'd be wise to check for the presence of pod people.

So, that said, here we go:


I told y'all in January about my local writers' group and how it was a sweet little group until a pair of egomaniacs swooped in and stole it. Well, one of the egomaniacs (who, here on out, shall be refered to as Ego Man) showed up again at February's meeting and managed to cement his position at #1 on my Shit List.

Yes, there is a physical shit list (see image to right...available at novelty stores everywhere!) and I write on it in pen.

But, not what I wanted to say.

Ego Man and I seem to be headed down a road that shall only lead to a Grudge Match. This means that no matter what that man says, there's about a 100% chance that I'll want to argue with him over it. He could say something like, "the sky is blue" and I'll be all, "the hell it is!"

Which is where you come in. I need you to help me determine just how skewed my world view is when Ego Man's in the picture.

Here's how it'll work:

Below I am going to post three of the proclamations made by Ego Man at the last meeting. I'm not going to say another word but if you're so inclined, I'd love to know what your perspective on his views are. Even if you agree with him. I promise none of you will end up on the Shit List.

Everyone ready? Or have y'all just run away by now? Let's find out...

Here are the proclamations:

A. Long books are bad because no one wants to read a long book.

B. Literary agents are useless, ancient relics (almost an exact quote) with whom no one should bother because agents are on their way out because self publishing is the wave of the future (made more interesting, I think, when you know that his first three books were self published but his latest novel was traditionally published.)

C. Self publishing is the same as traditional publishing. People shouldn't bother with traditional publishing (made more interesting when you know Ego Man's latest book was traditionally published). Published is published.


I hereby open the floor for discussion...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins


Today's blogfest is all about the radioactive spiders that bit us and caused our writer selves to be born. Maybe you didn't have spiders. Maybe you had an accidental exposure to some gamma (grammar?) rays instead. Whatever it was that inspired you to be a writer, this blogfest is all about telling that tale and celebrating it. It's brought to us by DL Hammons, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Katie Mills and Matthew MacNish (click on the picture to the left for a complete list of all 190 participants).

So here's the story of how I became a writer:

It's an interesting story. Actually, I don't know that. I have no idea whether this story will interest you or if you've already hit the 'next' button on your blogroll. I don't even know if such buttons exist so, there you go.

As you may have already suspected, I don't know a whole hell of a lot. What I do know is that I'm that person Rainer Maria Rilke was talking to in Letters To A Young Poet when he said, "Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity."

My answer is a resounding "I must."

And this is how I got there:

I always liked to read as a kid and I know I used to scribble down stories and little poems. One weekend, I remember commandeering my mother's electric typewriter (yep. That's how old I am) and a corner of our basement so I could write a murder mystery story à la Ten Little Indians. I think someone died from poisoned breakfast cereal.

But my first real memory of really writing stories comes from my year in seventh grade. The English department was trying out some new experimental program where our reading classes were spent reading any books we wanted and then writing a summary about them in a special notebook. (I read a lot of Sweet Valley High books back then.) Then we had writing classes where we could write anything we wanted: poetry, short stories, anything. I wrote short stories. My best friend, Amanda, and I wrote a lot of corroborating stories. Of course Amanda was very much into Stephen King at the time and so our corroborations were pretty much twins in a bad horror movie. I don't remember a lot about those stories but I do remember one of them contained the following line:

...and then the eyeball popped out-- Ping!!

We were very impressed with ourselves. Our teacher, I think, was sick.

Seventh grade was also the year I wrote my first fantasy story. And it was bad. I mean, really bad. Really, really bad. It involved pterodactyls and talking unicorns. And pop tarts (what can I say? I really liked pop tarts. Kicked toaster strudel's ass.). I don't think I ever let anyone read it. I don't even think I still have a copy of it anywhere. But you know, even as I think about it, I still think that somewhere in that piece of crap of a manuscript, was something good.

Well, maybe not.

I got more serious about writing when I hit high school but still it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life (I think at that time, I wanted to be an actress). English classes were no longer devoted to reading and writing what I wanted so I spent my time sitting in the back of the classroom reading and writing what I wanted anyway. In high school, I wrote the first draft of what is now known as How Many Angels. I also wrote a new fantasy novel, something that's come to be known as the very first draft of what is now known as Second Nature. My friend, Ben, came up with the title. Gone were the pop tarts and pterodactyls. I kept the talking unicorns though (C'mon! Those things are awesome!). My CP was a girl who lived, quite literally, over the river and through the woods from my house. We would trade stories and poems all the time in school. She was a much better writer than me and I'm sure she still is.

But I kept at it. Writing, I mean. By the time, I got to my second year of college, I had had twelve different majors and Second Nature had seven companion novels (which pretty much ended the series) but still I didn't think that maybe I should be a writer. No, then I was pretty convinced I wanted to be a photographer (even though I didn't-- and still don't-- know how to work a camera) or an opera singer international ass kicking superspy or a computer programmer (Yeah all right, so I didn't even make it to the end of that first class before I changed my mind).

It was just anything but a writer.

Meanwhile, I wrote some other things: some poetry, an autobiography (of all things), another mystery novel (never finished. I don't even know who the bad guy was supposed to have been) and a young adult novel among them. I took a creative writing class and had a semester of people falling over themselves to tell me what a talented writer I was. I even broke up with a boyfriend who had had the audacity to clean up my dorm room while I was in class because in the cleaning process he ruined my carefully arranged and perfectly sensible to me scattering of notes on my revisions and future plans for How Many Angels. He thought it was just a bunch of paper.

It wasn't.

But I don't think it ever really occurred to me that I should maybe be a writer until the summer before my junior year of college. I'd transferred schools, met The Man and was working three jobs. But that summer was also the summer I found myself wanting to go back to the fantasy world I'd created. It was like an obsession. No, it wasn't like an obsession. It was an obsession. I couldn't think of anything else so I decided I had to go back there to write new stories in that setting. But since there was no way forward (I mean, that series was done moving forward. Trust me.), that only left going back.

So I wrote a prequel. And thus Effigy— and my so called writing career— was born because once I'd started writing that story— even that terrible, terrible first draft (no pop tarts. I promise), I never looked back.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lyrics: Maelstrom

I said earlier in the week I'd post the lyrics I'd written for a friend's music project. Since it's now Friday and I haven't yet done that, I suppose, today's the day.

Maelstrom is the song that appears on Addlepated's first album "Lost In The Snow." As I said in that earlier post, it's based on my novel, Effigy, more specifically the male lead's mindset at the end of the story. Just to warn you: he's not a happy camper....

And now for your reading pleasure....


Maelstrom

Your eyes snared me
Before I knew it’d been done
A single drop of rain
From a sky soaked in sun

And drenched I now am
As the storm carries on
The water keeps rising
But my will to swim is gone

Did you want to hold me under?
Did you want to watch me drown?
Well, it won’t be long because this storm’s now a maelstrom
And the black is pulling me down

You kissed me so gently
When the deed was done
You smiled so sweetly
It never occurred to me to run

Is that what you wanted
When you planned your attack?
Me looking in your eyes
As you stabbed me in the back?

Did you want to hold me under?
Did you want to watch me drown?
Well, it won’t be long because this storm’s now a maelstrom
And the black is pulling me down

What a clever little whore
With your clever little lies
Lure in your prey with a smile
Then trap them between your thighs

How did you ever get so close?
How did I let it get this far?
I’ve had my share of hurt before
But you were the first to scar

Did you want to hold me under?
Did you want to watch me drown?
Well, it won’t be long because this storm’s now a maelstrom
And the black is pulling me down

You were sobbing when I saw you last
Crocodile tears flooded those perfect eyes
Your siren song was on your lips
But for the first time, I saw past your guise

I’m through bleeding for you
But I won’t try to fight my way free
I’m too far gone and done with the world
So let the world be done with me

Come now and hold me under
Come now and watch me drown
I’m a dead man adrift in a maelstrom
And the black is pulling me down.

That's gonna do it for me today and for the week, actually. Tune in next week when I post my second set of lyrics Fight or Flight. Have a great weekend, all...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creativity and Versatility

Apparently, Shell Flower over at Tangent Shell thinks I have some. Because of that, she was generous enough to bestow upon me the following blog awards:


and



My understanding is that I am now supposed to share with you seven facts about myself. Despite my creativity (I don't wish to seem ungrateful but the spelling of 'creative' in that pic is making me crazy. Crazier.) and versatility, I can't say that I'm overly interesting so I hope I don't bore y'all to death.

1. My first job that didn't involve babysitting was stagehand work at my university's performing arts center. Highlights of my illustrious career included breaking two fingers while setting up the sets for a production of Camelot, working backstage security at a Dave Matthews Concert, working front stage security at a Bob Dylan concert (made even more hilarious when you know that I weigh about 110 pounds and had a really good contact high going on that night) and my Broadway stage debut during a production of Crazy For You when the set I was supposed to be moving didn't actually move before the curtain went up. Fortunately, I have excellent jazz hands...

2. There was a time when I seriously considered going to Julliard to train to be an opera singer. Lack of jazz hands made me decide otherwise...

3. Six years later (this is what happens, kids, when you don't pick a major and stick with it), I graduated with a BA in communications and English with a concentration in mass media and creative writing. What does that mean, you ask? It means I fold jeans for a living. But with jazz hands...

4. During a job interview once, I was asked if I had my retail dream come true, what would I be doing. My answer was "giving my two weeks notice." Needless to say, I did not get that job. Despite my jazz hands...

5. I love macaroni and cheese. I eat it all the time. Most of the time. It's quite honestly the only thing I can make. Everything else has to come in a box. Or from a restaurant. Where the waiters have jazz hands...

6. I believe Mount Desert Island in Maine is the most perfect place to live because it has mountains, lakes and the ocean. And a cute little indie bookstore that I adore. If I could convince The Man to move there, I'd be living there right now. And yeah, I'd be doing jazz hands.

7. I love to vote. I get a little rush whenever I arrive at a polling place. Democracy is my drug. That, and NyQuil. And jazz hands apparently...

So those are my seven fun facts. Thanks again to Shell Flower...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Campaigns and Challenges

Today at My Pet Blog, we're all about the coming attractions. Here's what's on tap:

First off, it's time to hit the campaign trail (no, not that one...) with Rachael Harrie's fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. This campaign is a fantastic way to connect with other writers, bloggers, and maybe even some industry people. I participated in the second campaign (back when it was still a crusade and not a campaign) and found lots of great people through it. I missed the third campaign but I'm back for the fourth. This particular campaign runs from now until March 17th. Sign ups close on February 15th and the first challenge will be posted on February 20th.

It's easy and a lot of fun. If you haven't done a campaign yet, you should definitely consider it. Head over to Rachael's blog (links above...even the picture is a link!) for all the details...


Second, we have Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge. This takes place in April and is an absolutely HUGE blogfest. The idea is to post the letter of the alphabet every day during the month of April (with Sundays off for good behavior), starting with A on April 1st. Last year, around 1200 bloggers participated and so far this year, 500 have signed up and it's only February. Again, follow the links to get more information on this event and/or to sign up for it. Even the picture is a link...

Last year was my first go of it and I had an absolutely great time. It was very entertaining and occasionally exhausting but such a fun way to (again) connect with other bloggers. And as soon as May rolled around, I started thinking about topics for next year's challenge. I'm still working on that list. If you have any suggestions, let me know...

Happy Blogging, all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

RPM Challenge

So yeah. I'm not really interested in talking about last night's game. I would offer my congratulations to Giants fans (except for you, Bonnie Rae. I'm happy for you...) but, let's face it, I'm not that nice a person. As you well know.

I do, however, have to take a moment to acknowledge my co-workers and my group of unwashed "inventory specialists." My co-workers were very generous in keeping game details to themselves so when I left The Store (during half time, even) I had no idea how the game was going. None at all. And then there were my "inventory specialists"... although you all desperately needed a close encounter with a bar of soap and a nicotine patch, you were amongst the most competent group with which I've worked (which isn't really saying a whole lot but, still...). I appreciate your efforts and would offer you all high fives if I was a person who did such things.

Moving on...

Today I'm talking about the RPM Challenge. It takes place during the month of February and is to musicians what NaNoWriMo is to writers. The challenge is to write and record an album (35 minutes, approximately ten songs) in twenty eight (well, twenty nine, this year) days. The Man (who, in another lifetime, was a rock and roll god) reports that this is insanity which really does put it on the same par as NaNoWriMo. What's that? You want me to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days? No problemo!

My very excellent friend, Mike, is participating in this event. It's his second year doing it. He created a solo project called Addlepated (like it on Facebook!) and last spring he released the first album "Lost in the Snow" (available for download on Bandcamp!).

I actually have a writing credit on "Lost In The Snow." I wrote the lyrics to track #5 entitled "Maelstrom" which is based on a character in my (possibly never to see the light of day) novel, Effigy. Mike has always been a fan of my writing (go figure) and asked if he could write an album based on it. The whole album's never come to fruition but there are a couple of songs. "Maelstrom" is the first.

"Fight or Flight" will be the second and will be appearing on Mike's RPM album this year. I'll post the lyrics for both these songs later this week. So, I guess, consider yourselves warned...

But anyway...

I just want tell all the RPM Challenge participants that I'm rooting for them. Good luck to you all!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl Inventory Preparedness


So today's the big day.

It's Inventory Day.

Yeah, I know you thought I'd say Superbowl Sunday what with it being Superbowl Sunday featuring my beloved Patriots but the America hating communists in The Store's corporate office decided to make it Inventory Sunday.

I hemmed and hawed about quitting and obviously came down on on the not quitting side because I just couldn't bring myself to do it because it felt like a jerk thing to do and, for some reason, I just couldn't bring myself to be that kind of a jerk. Pretty surprising, I know, when you consider what kind of a jerk I am normally, but stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Anyway, when the Pats take the field today and the big game begins, I'll be at The Store counting socks and ice scraper mitts and tee shirts and belts and everything else in that godforsaken place. If you've never partaken in a retail inventory, here's a list of what is necessary in order to come out on the other side:

1. An ability to count quickly and accurately. In the event that only one of these qualities is available, the ability to count accurately is preferred. Ironically, these qualities are oftentimes absent from the so called "inventory specialists" The Store hires to execute our inventory. It makes for a truly aggravating special experience.

2. A sense of humor. Because someone will invariably start shouting out random numbers at you while you're counting a massive stack of tee shirts. A sense of humor will be instrumental in NOT killing this person.

3. A sense of patience. Did you read number one? Seriously, some of these people can only accurately count the minutes between their cigarette breaks. I really don't like smokers who think their nicotine addiction entitles them to additional time off. I'm addicted to chocolate and yet I don't get frequent chocolate breaks, do I?

4. A high tolerance for B.O. Because, yeah, counting isn't the only challenge for the so called "inventory specialists." Apparently, personal hygiene is also a stumper. Bring your nose plugs, kids!

5. Snacks. You're going to be stuck in that store for a very long time and though the store manager says she'll order pizza, there's a good chance she'll either forget or forget that you happen to be a vegetarian who would not be interested in a twelve meat pizza. Plus, if you bring snacks, you don't have that embarrassing moment when you get all excited to find a stale granola bar in the back of your locker. Or so I've heard. Because I've never done that.

6. A fifth of whiskey, scotch, vodka or your liquor of choice. Turn the night into a drinking game! Whenever a so called "inventory specialist" calls for a sku check, do a shot. Whenever a so called "inventory specialist" miscounts a shelf, do a shot. Whenever a so called "inventory specialist" needs a cigarette break, do a shot. Whenever the Store Manager and the Assistant Manager start fighting with each other, do a shot (actually...better not do that one. It'll lead to alcohol poisoning. All they do is fight.).

7. A ride home. Drinking games should always be played responsibly, my friends. In the event of a truly disastrous crew of so called "inventory specialists", do not pass go. Do not collect $200...proceed immediately to the nearest emergency room.

All right, that's the list you need to survive a normal store inventory. The next list is comprised of the items you'll need to survive an inventory held on Superbowl Sunday when your beloved Patriots are set to take the field. Not that you're at all pissed off over having to work because you're not that petty a person.

1. A DVR. Recording the game for later viewing is a MUST.

2. The Sensory Deprivator 5000. This is a reference to the legendary sitcom "How I Met Your Mother"'s episode "Monday Night Football" in which the main characters are unable to watch the Superbowl live and make a pact not to find out the score of the game so they can watch it the following day. Hilarity ensues. Ted wears specially designed glasses to prevent him from seeing/hearing anything as he makes a trip to the sports bar to pick up the food for the big game. These glasses (seen on the right, or maybe above...) are the Sensory Deprivator 5000. They are a MUST for a superbowl inventory because your stupid boss thinks that putting the game on a static-y radio so you can listen to it in the comfort of a store that smells like unwashed nicotine addicted so called "inventory specialists" is equivalent to watching it at home in the comfort of your living room surrounded by pizza and beer and your digital flat screen television. Note to management: It isn't.

3. A sign pinned to your chest proclaiming "I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE SCORE. DO NOT TELL ME THE SCORE. I HAVE A BOX CUTTER AND I WILL USE IT ON YOU SHOULD YOU TELL ME THE SCORE OR REACT TO THE GAME IN ANY WAY ANYWHERE IN MY VIEWING OR HEARING RADIUS. AND, JUST SO YOU KNOW, I HAVE REALLY GOOD HEARING. SO BACK OFF."

4. Your lucky Patriots tee shirt. They haven't lost a game when you've been wearing that shirt so if anyone thinks you won't be wearing it on Superbowl Sunday, they're out of their freaking minds. So what if the tee shirt is a blatant violation of The Store's dress code? What are they going to do? Fire you? We should be so lucky.

5. A new job. One that doesn't require you to work high holidays like Superbowl Sunday.

Now one last thing before I go to work...

LET'S GO NEW ENGLAND!!!!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crisis of Confidence

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time, once again, for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group (please click on the link for a complete list of participants).

Hi everyone. My name's MJ and I'm insecure. To say the least.

Last month, I talked about my endeavor to self publish my book, Effigy. Shortly thereafter, I blogged about how great everything was going. Shortly after that, I blogged about how I totally jinxed myself because I'd started to fall behind.

And now today I'm blogging about how everything has completely stalled.

I really should have seen that coming. Don't know why I ever thought it wouldn't.

I had what I am calling a 'crisis of confidence' last week. As I said via Twitter, I had one of those days (weeks) where I couldn't remember why I ever thought I could or should write and/or publish a novel.

Everything I tried to write was crap. Every revision I made was stupid. I was stupid because why didn't I not make this mistake or that mistake the first time through. Why was I bothering with any of it?

Really negative stuff. Not good.

I've had these 'dark periods' before (though usually not quite so negative). They come, they go. They're never much fun but eventually they go away. Eventually I get back on track. But this particular one worries the living hell out of me.

What if it doesn't go away? What if I stay lost in the doldrums forever?

So today's question is what do you do when/if a crisis of confidence sneaks up on you? How do you get your groove back?

Gotta run...the day job's calling my name. I wish it would stop.