Monday, October 01, 2012

Bibliographic Augmentation

My latest short story, The D. C. S. G. Meeting, is now live in the Fall Issue of Menacing Hedge! Besides basic electronic print, there is an audio reading of the story - just make sure no kiddies are around when you listen in: the story satirizes a particularly adult theme in today's culture, and is rated R. While you're there, also check out Scary Bush, where I and other writers share cringe-worthy early writings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Encyclopedia Closes - RIP Donald J. Sobol

As a young reading geek in the 80's, the Encyclopedia Brown series remained the apex of intelligent reading. I don't think I ever fully guessed the outcome of the mysteries, but I never minded. Besides the entertainment value of the stories, Sobol's characters made it okay to be smart - made it more respectable than it was to be smart in class. As my young reading geek son struggles with displays of intelligence in school, I hope that the example of Encyclopedia Brown using his thinking skills, and having those skills be appreciated by his peers, serves as inspiration to never dumb down his intelligence for others.
Now if only we can find a Sally Kimball for him...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My very own stalker

I'm certainly not worthy of the privilege, but I have my very own stalker! For some reason their comments got buried in my Blog's Spam folder, so it has actually been going on for a number of years now, but my Anonymous stalker has been expressing his or her admiration for my work through a series of experimental poems. So now that I have discovered them, I wanted to share them, because I think Anonymous is actually a much more talented writer than I am.

Here is the first poem, from February 2011

knitting reversible cable stitch web cablecanbus cable for shipboard usetime warner cable program schedule torrance lg chocolate cell phone lime green chocolate mousse recipe from mccall'skylie minogue chocolate lyrics loveincipio orion ipod touch chocolate dr levins high fiber shake diet cure for jet lag diet mealshomemade diet shake recipesperfect anorexic diet issa v knot dress marylin manore dress patternutube ruby red dress vanessahow men should dress used hunting gear for sale goldenhill hunting club membershunting termsj m hunting suppies marine fidelityadvisorinvestment mortgage investor company low interest rate marine mortgage 20mortgage loan equityabn amro inc mortgage preinsulated underground pipe rhino eugene oregon pipe shopsflexiable pipe for wellsnon mar pvc pipe imperfections of the radar gun massachusetts and radarhytop nextrad radarcamera radar detector grocery shopping cart wheels troy ohio shoppingnew york city vintage shoppingjoyce oates

Isn't it extraordinary! Anonymous ignores all conventions towards punctuation, and manages to create a stream-of-conciousness prose poem on all of the ideas that went through his/her head while reading my writing. It's just amazing that someone would be able to remember the succession of images that comes when you are reading: the instant interpretations which lead to tangents, and then mutate into new thoughts - all expressed through such visual language! It's one of those poems that opens up in new ways, revealing new connections in post-modern existence, with every reading.

The next poem came in April, 2011

"A sales Sales Leads or Income Lead, is the identification of a individual or entity that has the curiosity and authority to obtain a products or company. This action represents the first stage of a sales approach. The lead could have a corporation or business linked (a B2B lead) with the particular person(s). Revenue leads are generic leads - i.e a person indications up for a kind of give, instead of a certain corporation or brand name. arrive from possibly lead generation companies processes these kinds of as trade fair|trade displays, direct marketing, promoting, Internet promoting, spam, gimmicks, or from revenue person prospecting pursuits this kind of as cold calling. For a product sales lead to qualify as a revenue prospect, or equivalently to move a lead from the procedure stage income lead to the course of action sales prospect, qualification ought to be done and evaluated. Ordinarily this requires identifying by direct interrogation"

I never think of poetry as a potential vehicle for satire, but I think this poem brilliantly attacks the parasitic business theories and practice that chokes the innovative. What Dr. Strangelove did to the Cold War era, this poem does for The Great Recession.

Also in April 2011 came this haiku

It is rather in-
teresting for me to read
this blog. Thanx for it.

Which, I know, doesn't follow the modern conventions that abhor the 5-7-5 syllabic form; but I understand, and can empathize with, Anonymous' statement on how traditional forms can haunt a writer.

And then April 2011 ended with a trio of back-to-back-to-back masterpieces of narrative existential anxiety in poetry .

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"By such seiko framed whether vivace watches and darkened of seat weapon, i would be balanced the twin approach back into the new midnight. Upon the sinatra, his frank watches - back aren't was now hyacinth, or england had her side right usually from he would, warning wall when we thought to without the stumper of his little silence. Rolex is of a sympathetic tudor she would patiently take a outside watches in he while dale. By bently the neat watches was deep, around, and breath asked made to be with he the was tears! Now, in that replica around personally raybans, it had to say eyes, of an nose, his suites smiling further like the bulb. Fear then factory or a replica kept his waters in a writhing - tracks certificate. designer replica watches 80s did to want her swatch between yellow watches. Crossing the watches is the clear thankful kids. Fake would call with watches were later cartier - shiny. Welcomed, countdown ignored quite watches, had"


"Ever locking throughout a bowie knife was replica australia, in with the easy washbasin beneath his driver and through the thick cap behind passengers. Antique taught with a lying clock. And whatsoever replica chanel would explode immortal infrared to communicate cold purse. And spent i seemed of the amp? A tissot hid much sacrificing the watches of the soviet uk. And until replica jerseys on port about he don't, you looked destroy really. She pulled you the mens without the leather in his strap. Luminox, only climbing the watches by a day. Vintage ago against a doxa watches? Dax out no cobra, replica. Than been discuss this deadlines, felt meet each friezes with the vapid john have regretfully harassed a head of invicata watches of the i'll over jude and umealiq yes. fake watches The patch truly, a marcel watches made and known the darkness anyway about the group. Mental he with rolex nasty, and he said the watch halted to have our replica man"

All three poems, with their fearful meditations on the counterfeit nature of time through its repetition of timepiece imagery, and the tonal transition from an exotic odyssey in the first poem ("superformance cobra") to a sense of loss in the second poem (as in "and breath asked made to be with he the was tears!"), to penultimate violence in the third poem foreshadowed in the first poem (as in "explode immortal" and "you looked destroy really"), perfectly reflect the culture of terror enveloping our nation.

How lucky I am to have a fan who puts so much of their soul into comments on my posts! Oh Anonymous, you inspire me to continue blogging if only in the hope that what I write will catalyze another stunning poem for you to share in my Spam folder!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Experiential Review, on "Be Now Buddy What"

As an indie author, marketing has been like waking up in a dark, unfamiliar place, and needing to go to the bathroom: I have an pressing urge to get something out, but I have no idea where I am, or where I need to go to get relief. And since I knew that it was easy to find lots of crap on the internet, it seemed the logical place to start looking.

I soon found places where other indie authors congregate, and set about learning from the "veterans" among them what I should be doing. What particularly excited me was the idea of the review exchange. The writer half of me was all like, "You mean, I'll get some essential marketing while finally becoming part of the writing community I've been craving to belong to since my first short story was published," and then the reader half of me was like, "Dude, they're gonna give us free books man!"

So I set about finding writers that wrote literature with humor and/or satire, because I felt that if they enjoyed writing that, they would probably enjoy reading my humorous/satiric literature. The first author I found willing to trade works was Dan Spencer, and so his "Be Now Buddy What" became my first indie swap read.

While I have read plenty of articles, and a few short stories in electronic format, "Buddy" was the first novel I read solely on a computer (I don't own any fancy e-reader yet). I just read it in a PDF format, and I must say I enjoyed being able to scroll through pages as I read.

And now, without further ado, my review of, "Be Now Buddy What":

The word media is derived from the Latin word for medium. “Be Now Buddy What” is a satire of how our internet-age media fails to keep to an unbiased, factual medium, driving stories toward the edges of sensationalism. Through ironic takes on Greek myths, a naked man mysteriously survives what becomes a fall to innocence; unscathed, but amnesiac, the falling man sets out to discover who he is under the borrowed name of Buddy What. The reporter who haplessly got the exclusive to Buddy’s fall serves as travel companion, concerned friend, and nameless third-person narrator of this literary mockumentary.

When Buddy’s search for identity proves fruitless and disheartening he disappears – and undergoes what can be described as a sea-change on land, working in an almond orchard. Buddy stops focusing on who he was, believing that the better course is to concentrate on who he is. Here again, the Greek symbolism of almonds promising that upcoming travels will be filled with prosperity take several ironic turns, when Buddy and our narrator set off to share this message with whoever will listen.

Skewering internet bloggers, investigative reporters, megachurch preachers, and other proponents of perverting media communication in the digital age for their own narrowly biased ends, Spencer deftly provides laugh out loud moments next to frustratingly true observations of our informational consumerism. Throughout I was reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King Jr, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity;” Spencer’s America exemplifies this fear realized.

Spencer sets up a lot of encounters for Buddy that augment his message – some more interesting and effective than others. Each chapter begins with an aphorism of Buddy’s that hints at the themes and ideas in the following chapter; much of Buddy’s true charm and insight into his character comes out in these quotes – for the first quarter of the novel this is the way we get insights into his character – and many times I was motivated to read through a slower vignette so that I could get to the next of Buddy’s clever sayings.

Altogether “Be Now Buddy What” is a novel of ideas told with bite and laughter. If you are blessed to have an inquiring mind and a sense of humor, I recommend you buy it and read it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Experiencial Review, On "Size Matters Not"

I have enjoyed Warwick Davis' acting since Return of the Jedi, and the two made-for-TV Ewok movies, but didn't know who he was until Willow. This was before the days of the Internet Movie Database, where I could easily look up every scrap of acting ever put on a recordable media. I saw Willow twice in the theaters - which, according to the IMDB, was released in 1988, making me 11 or 12 at the time; I enjoyed it enough that I even read the novelization (and wasn't so ashamed at reading Wayland Drew's book that I haven't listed it on my Goodreads Read List); when the film came to HBO I taped it, and would say I've watched it at least a dozen times. It was later when watching the credits to Return of the Jedi (for that was how you learned who acted in a film back in the day) that I found that Davis played the irascible young Ewok Wicket (personal geek trivia: recently while playing Draw Something with Mrs. Karaczewski, I drew a respectable looking Ewok, with a poorly drawn exploding Death Star II in the sky, with the name "Wicket" written to the side. It seemed like I'd made it too easy by adding the Wicket; after two days Mrs. Karaczewski needed some additional verbal clues before managing a guess, and gave me quite the look of incredulity about the Wicket clue).

I didn't see him in anything after Willow until Phantom Menace - I recognized him in the Leprechaun ads, but didn't see that until much later - and especially loved seeing his progression through each of the Harry Potter films.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I found a gap in my audiobook reading. I had just finished a string of series (The Dark Tower, then the Millennium Trilogy, then the Hunger Games Trilogy), had started looking into some noir detective novels, and didn't think that "The Postman Always Rings Twice"'s 3 discs would last until any of my holds came in, so I began trolling the library's audiobook stacks. I browsed through the whole U of shelves, to the autobiographies at the very end opposite to where I had started, where the title "Size Matters Not" leaped out, with "by Warwick Davis" following. I snatched it up, drawn to it in an inexpressibly instinctive way: I hadn't known it existed, but finding it held the joy as if I had been looking for it for years and had finally found it.

"Size Matters Not" is an autobiography of actor and little person Warwick Davis. The book follows his childhood up through 2010. Cast in "Return of the Jedi" at eleven, Davis' story is that of a child actor who grows up on movie sets and in a small English town.

I loved Davis' humorous tone throughout; it was obvious that he enjoyed writing his story, delighting in puns and tongue-in-cheek wordplay, which created an easy and engaging read. He presents his success in the acting profession as a mix of privilege, luck, and hard work - and by doing so, presents himself as a wonderful person to be around. He approaches the challenges and frustrations of being a little person (3'6") in a world designed for taller people with humor and cleverness.

Even when he encounters great tragedy in his family life, he expresses himself with grace and humility - and engendered such empathy in this reader by his simple eloquence that I had to pause the recording. I was in my classroom after school, listening while I entered grades, and I had to stop and breathe through my eyes misting up; I remember putting my hands over my eyes, as if to shut everything out for a while, as I couldn't help imagining how it would be to live through that ordeal. This section will hit parents especially hard.

Not often that a book makes me laugh out loud, and nearly cry. Can't wait for volume 2.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Republished Ho!

After dusting off my Art Degree to design the cover, I have just published a collection of my previously published writings. "My Governor's House & other stories" collects six stories and an essay, several of which are out-of-print (or whatever the term is for a story that was published by an online e-zine that apparently doesn't exist anymore: out-of-net? detached-from-the-web?).

My vision for the book is guided by the evolutionary nature of ebooks (see the introduction to Mark Coker's book "The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success" for an excellent description of this potential) as new stories get published and rights revert back to me, I will add them to the book. I'm also considering a special edition later - but I'm not going to release any details about that yet.

As a thank you for visiting this blog, you can download it for free through the end of the year! Just enter WH87A at checkout for 100% off!

Sample and purchase it here:

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I started a Pinterest page on "Alexander Murphy's Home for Wayward Celebrities" - hope it piques your pinterest:

Welcome Freeloaders!

Like many others this past week, I scrolled through Smashwords' "Read an Ebook Week" site and picked up a few interesting books. But as an indie author that knows the importance of reviews, I know that the ebooks I got were not actually "free", but were a sort of advance that I would repay by posting some reviews or comments online on them after I have finished my reading.

So, if you are here at my blog because you have downloaded a "free" copy of my novel, and you're checking me out, you would do me a great service if you could post, review, or comment on the things you enjoyed about my book online.

Thank you in advance for your help in getting my novel into more hands.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Publishing Addendum Volume 5

"Alexander Murphy's Home for Wayward Celebrities" is now available in ebook form on Buy it here, and check out my Amazon author page here.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Quotations Various # 2b - The sea

Ah, the sea: my literary mistress. I can't help it, I can't control myself. A lovely passage like this one from Shusaku Endo's "The Samurai" will make me stray from many other fine literary passages:

"He was seeing the great ocean for the first time. There was not a trace of land of land, not even the silhouette of an island. Waves collided, jostled, and sent up war cries like a melee of countless warriors. The prow of the ship thrust like a spear into the gray sky, and the hull, shooting up a tall spout of water, seemed about to plunge into a valley in the ocean, then lurched up once again.

"The samurai's eyes swam. He could scarcely catch his breath in the gusts of wind that pounded his brow. To the east, an ocean of billowing waves. To the west , an ocean of clamouring waves. To the south and to the north, ocean as far as he could see. For the first time in his life the samurai understood the vastness of the sea. Compared to this ocean, his own marshland was little more than a single tiny speck. He groaned at the immensity of it all."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Quotations Various # 2

"As the samurai and his men cut wood, snow grazed their rustic outfits, brushed against their faces and hands, then melted away as if to underscore the brevity of life." ~ Shusaku Endo, "The Samurai"

The first page, the third paragraph, the fifth line, the third paragraph, the forty-first to seventieth words of the novel.

You've just begun a new novel. You're expecting, perhaps, a little scene-setting, maybe some character introductions; your eyes are really only sliding over the surface of the story so far. Then you encounter the line above.

You almost drop the book. Instead, you close the book and put it down slowly.

If you are a writer, you pause and reevaluate if you should continue to write. You would be lucky to come up with such a stunning line, and would probably not have the audacity to put it so far forward in your story. The pause will seem longer than it is.

But then you will see that the feeling of inadequate talent falling like snow over the idea of your writing doesn't have to cool your motivation. You will feel that if you keep writing down your lines, and then write some more, and continue writing some after that, eventually you will write a line that makes you almost drop your pen. Pause, set your pen down slowly. Reread the line a couple of times.

Then pick up your pen and try to write some more.