March 30, 2015

Verbiage For You!

Greetings and Salutations to one and all today!

Not much has happened this weekend, but since it's the start of a brand new week and furthermore, it's a bill bill day, a brand new post for you to chew upon and digest is here for the taking.

First, a little personal pimping.

Now through April 1st, my novel "The Inner Sibling" is on sale. If you enter the code VE24Z at checkout, you'll save 33%/$1 off the cover price. Clicking on the caption will bring you directly there.

Smashwords
And now, for something completely different, a post on how not to read a book. I know this sounds screwy, but trust me on this one, because it will make sense in the long run.

About a two weeks ago, I saw a book called "The Lesser Dead" by Christopher Buehlman at my local library. I immediately went through my usual routine and ultimately decided to check it out. A few days later, I opened it up and started reading, but eventually gave up after the 1st chapter. Never really got back to it so about a week later I returned it to the library.

Last week, I again saw that book on the New Fiction shelf, so I decided to take another chance, reasoning that perhaps I had an off week, which in turn prevented me from reading it. And again I started reading it, this time getting through three more chapters before giving up on it.

This time though, the reasons behind me giving up on it were pretty clear and that clarity prompted me to write my first 2 star review on Amazon (apparently this writer has received a lot of 4 & 5 star reviews for this book plus extensive reviews from some Amazon's top reviewers).

So my friends, this is what I left for review. Please note that 2 is the lowest I will go for a rating. I will not do 1 star because 1 star signifies that there was no redeeming quality. 2 means that you got me to pick up the book to read. No more and no less. Oh, the title of the review is "Needs An Attitude Adjustment".

"When I'd first seen this in my public library, I thought to myself, "Cool, a story about vampires." After checking it out and bringing it home, I found some time to give a read. However, after reading about 5 pages or so, I put it down. Why? For some reason, it just didn't grab my interest. Eventually I brought it back to the library. However, about a couple of weeks later, I saw it on the shelf and I decided to give it another try, because I figured I was having an off day the first time around.
However, after reading about four chapters, not only did it not grab me, but I got extremely turned off by the smug/condescending tone of the narrative voice. I deal with smug/condescending people at work and the last thing I want is to read a story that sorely needs an attitude adjustment. I have no idea on whether or not this is a good story because I couldn't get beyond the crappy narrative voice.
Because of the crappy narrative voice, I will think long and hard before trying any of Mr. Buehlman's other novels."
So my friends, this is how you don't read a book: you check out a book based on the inside jacket blurb, yet get completely turned off by the content once you actually start reading it.

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

March 27, 2015

How To Silence Your Newsfeed

Food for thought usually starts with a random observation, and this is about as random as you're gonna get from me.

My newsfeed primarily consists of people from all over the political spectrum, which for me, often creates a lively debate (usually one sided) because as probably the lone moderate Republican (WASPy all the way!) in my circle, I frequently bring a dose of reality to whatever happens to going on at the time.

Frequently, my newsfeed blows up whenever something (usually not good in the eyes of others) about gay rights/gay marriage happens in the US (and no, this does not surprise me). People start commenting left and right about all kinds of weird stuff that they dig up about politicians (Republicans from conservative states) who they think doth insert mouth in foot too much. And more often than not, it will really blow up when something (in their eyes) good happens (i.e. gay marriage passes in another state).

However, this week, when a story about that great state of theocracy called Utah did something positive for gay rights, SB 296, my newsfeed was eerily silent. Nary a peep was uttered about the fact that the Mormon Church, which basically runs Utah, worked hand in hand with the leaders from the LGBT community to create this bill, which ultimately passed with flying colors (no pun intended).

You would think with all the trials and tribulations (both real and manufactured) that the LGBT community has gone through, people would celebrate a major inroad that forged in the ultimate conservative state.

But no, not one solitary word from people in my newsfeed nor really in the pages that I follow. And before you ask, I do not follow George Takei's FB page. I did for a while, but I really got turned off by the reverse bigotry/alleged "open mindedness" that not only a solid majority of the commenters possessed, but (in my opinion) the owner of the page as well.

I'm a relatively reasonable person, and even though I've changed my opinion on some things over the years (like gay rights/gay marriage), which was directly due to people taking the time to both consider my position and offer their position w/o cramming it down my throat, there are others in which I will not change my position on, no matter how passionate you are about the subject.

So can someone, anyone, please explain to me why everything has to be an all-or-nothing proposition? Doesn't anyone understand the value of compromise so that you can build off a modest gain and turn it into something better? It doesn't necessarily have to apply to this issue, but to any issue, hot button or otherwise.

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

March 25, 2015

Acknowledge What?

I decided late last week that I wanted to get my book out in months of April and May, and in order to meet that goal, I needed come up with a new title (done) and both a dedication and an acknowledgement page. The dedication was ridiculously simple as I simply dedicated the book to a few late lamented family members.

The acknowledgements, on the other hand, were just a tad more difficult, simply because I am self-publishing my book. If I was publishing this the traditional way (aka small/medium/large press), I probably would be thanking a myriad of people who had a very small-to-none part in it: agent(s), editor*, copy editor, acquiring editor, higher muckity-mucks who wouldn't know a verb from a noun, research assistants*, proofreaders, beta readers*, strange readers, graphic artists*, my pet cat, my cousin twice removed from a distant third cousin who made a suggestion to change a sentence, etc. etc. etc., until I had two pages worth of clutter.

*these people straddle both worlds and thus deserve actual genuine acknowledgement.

But I'm not publishing it the traditional/legacy/corporate way. I'm self-publishing it, so in that particular spirit, I should be able to put my own Church Lady special mark on it. So in that vein, here is a rough draft of what my acknowledgement page will look like.

March 22, 2015

Sometimes New Music Is A Miss

As I've stated previously, most (if not all) the recent additions to my music collection have come from the library. The library has a perpetual fund raiser, in which they sell used c.d.'s, books and movies that has been both culled from their collection and acquired via donations (the library also has two monster book sales in the summer and fall, where they raise roughly 25% of their outside budget).

Whenever I go to the library to check out books, I always make a beeline towards the used c.d. rack. I figure that since all the c.d.'s are priced $1-$2, it would be the cheapest way to both expand my c.d. collection and my musical horizons. Most of the time, the c.d.'s I pick up are hits, in that after I listen to the one song I bought the c.d. for, listening to the entire c.d. brings a greater appreciation for the artist.

Sometimes though, I come up with the occasional miss, and it takes a lot for me to label a c.d. or a group of c.d.'s a miss, simply because I make a conscientious effort to play the c.d all the way through.

Some notable misses includes c.d.'s from: Curtis Mayfield (boxed set), Good Charlotte, Tutu, Blur and the Indigo Girls.

Today's post will cover last batch of c.d.'s that I bought from the library: one from a duo that I've heard, two from bands I've never heard of before and a movie soundtrack.

March 19, 2015

Success (Of One Kind Or Another)!

Lately, I've been measuring my writing successes in seriously small quantities of product. You know, the quality over quantity nonsense, aka I-rather-have-perfection-than-gibberish. This week, we managed to accomplish both: quality of writing was good and the quantity was surprisingly moderate. Plus, I managed to sneak a bonus for good measure.

1} Quality.

The quality of my writing was roughly 3/4 of what I like to call my high standards. I was quite happy with it because not only did it actually make sense, but it was germane to the plot at hand, and (this is really important for me) no weird swerve was inflicted on the story.

I have a nasty habit of experiencing S.I.S.S (Self Inflicted Story Swerve), which can be fatal to writers with less than five years of experience or less than three books published. This particular S.I.S.S. often works hand in hand with the other S.I.S.S. (Self-Inflicted Stupidity Syndrome).

Basically, for a refreshing change of pace, I managed to stick with the program, found a good rhythm, and churned out quality product. Three cheers, a tiger and a rim shot for me, I did good.

2} Quantity.

For three days (3/14-15, 17), I managed to churn out roughly 1200+ words, which equals about 5 pages of new product. What helped me churn out that amount was two things: didn't use the Dragon software and raised my butt an extra five inches from the chair (aka, added another pillow). The software is a bit of a crap shoot right now, and until I can work out the kinks (aka mental block), it will stay on the sidelines. As for the extra five inches, I'm a bit weird in that I like sitting in small chairs. Good for being closer to your work, but seriously bad for your posture and potential carpal tunnel. So I added an extra pillow and presto!, proper height for typing and not having my hands hurt (for those who are new readers, I suffer from this). So I is one happy camper with my keyboarding skills.

3} Bonus.

While I was running a few lunchtime errands this past Tuesday, I got to thinking about the 800lb gorilla that's preventing me from moving forward with this, aka needing-a-new-title-because-the-old-one-don't-work. So I let my mind wander around during breaks in driving (aka traffic lights), and during one of those driving breaks, I spied a sign in our town advertising a local eating event called "A Taste of Newington".

I thought about for a few seconds, then like the V8 commercial, it got knocked to the forefront of my brain: the perfect title for my novella. Not necessarily the actual phrase that you see in the last paragraph, but this:

A Taste of Pain

I think this title dovetails quite nicely with the major plot points of my novella: revenge, heartache and redemption.

It is my sincere hope that by solving this thorny problem, it will unclog the logjam that has been surrounding my writing for the past several months.

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.