April 30, 2014

Z Is For Z

Well my friends, what a way for me to finish up this 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge. Once again I'm stuck for an idea to connect with my writing journey via the letter Z.

Shooting blanks, one might say.

Well....not quite.

"But G.B., you just said you were stuck, did you not?"

Yeah, well, I'm a writer, I'm allowed to change my mind.


Shhhush, let me get this done.

I recently started listening to music while writing. Mostly it's been hard rock/heavy metal, which matches perfectly with the genre that I'm writing my latest in (crime). However, there have been times when I have drifted into other types of music. Some of it being alt/country like Dwight Yoakum, while others have been like the Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan. But I always liked a little quirkiness/black humor with my music and Warren Zevon certainly exemplified that with his songs.

Most of you probably know him from his major monster hit "Werewolves of London" from his wickedly black album "Excitable Boy". I kind of like that song but it has been really overkilled on the radio. My personal faves from the album are the title track and "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner".

As you know, Warren Zevon left us way too soon from inoperable lung cancer in 2003. His last album "The Wind" featured a song that became my favorite song about death, or at least one that I could tolerate more than Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven".

So I think this is a suitable ending for this edition of the 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge, two songs from Warren Zevon: "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Keep Me In Your Heart".

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 29, 2014

Y Is For Y

The letter Y is the 25th letter of the modern alphabet and as such, holds a special place for me in this A-Z blogging challenge. Why a special place you may ask?

Go ahead, ask.

"Say G.B., why does the letter Y hold such a special place for you?"

Glad you asked.

Ya see, the reason why it holds such a special place for me in this blogging challenge is that it's one of two letters that I have not been able to come up with a topic for. I thought for sure that the letter Q or the letter X would be the toughest, but those were a snap compared to trying to come up with a topic for the letter Y.

Not one single strand of an idea that I can connect with me and my writing journey have I found for the letter Y.

Nada. Zip. Zilcho. Diddly/squat.

In fact, the first and only thing that comes to mind for the letter Y is the algebraic letter Y, as in x+y=z.


Where does that leave us?

Heck if I know. But, I still need something for the letter Y. So how 'bout this funky song from Y&T called "Summertime Girls" to help you get in the mood for spring?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 28, 2014

X Is For X-Rated

When I had first really started to get into writing, I pretty much didn't have a good grasp on how to write scenes of sex and violence. I figure that since a good chunk of action movies had over the top violence, then I should write like that. Ditto for sex, as in porn equals gratuitous and graphic sex, then I should write like that.

So I did.

I started writing gratuitous violence and sex into more stories because I figured that is what it should be. Little did I know how wrong I was.

First off, if I was going to have graphic/gratuitous sex in my stories, I needed to make it relevant to the story. Didn't matter whether I was writing a regular genre story or something else (if you guessed erotica, you would be correct), it had to move the story along.

But I did none of that. My first attempts at writing graphic sex scenes weren't that good. In fact, people started labeling my writing as porn, which was very touchy subject with me, then and now. However, one of those early stories did indeed straddle that line very well. Entitled "Audio Dynamite" {disclaimer: this link goes directly to my adult blog, which contains content that may be inappropriate/offensive to some. reader discretion is strongly advised} it was partially inspired by the song "Dani California".

Over the years, I've grown as a writer, and along the way I have managed to tone down the sex scenes to a level of acceptability when needed. Still, there has been some bad backlash over the years because of it. One very notable example happened at work in early 2013.

I decided to participate in the vendor program that we have at work so that I could do a book signing for my debut novel "Line 21". Everything was going fine and dandy until I got grilled by a fellow co-worker who was much higher up the food chain than I was. He asked what the book was about, asked about the person who wrote the blurb, what kind of stories he wrote, mentioned that he dealt with the issue of child trafficking (I work for a social services agency that specializes in dealing with children), etc. etc.

About five minutes later, I got a visit from our Affirmative Action dept. saying that someone complained that I was selling porn. Even though the plot had something to do with the adult entertainment industry, the entire book wasn't a porn fest from beginning to end. Nevertheless, they chose to believe this lie and I was forced to shut down early.

I should note that the fallout from the early closing was swift and brutal. All word of mouth that I managed to generate for my book instantly dried up and I no longer felt comfortable in talking/pimping my book, or any book for that matter.

So always remember that there is a very fine line between erotica/graphic/non-gratuitous sex and porn. Cross it and your reputation may not be able to survive the hit.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 26, 2014

W Is For Who Am I?

A rakish old man is staggering down the road with a greater degree of frequency than he cares to admit. A plethora of pedestrians and bicyclists conspire together to make him dive into a gully so as to avoid getting hit. One dozen times the pedestrians and bicyclists ride and ride through his space and one dozen times the rakish old man successfully dodges the bullet.

However, on the 13th try a bicyclist succeeds in striking the man with her rear tire as she fishtails to a stop. The force of the impact sends the rakish old man flying through the air with the greatest of ease, where he promptly and perfectly executes a four point spread eagle landing face first on the concrete.

The bicyclist checks her tire for damage, frowns, then hops off the bike. Taking off her helmet, she fluffs and splays her hair for a minute or so, before casually walking over to where the rakish old man was laying. By the time she gets there, the rakish old man was in pretty sorry state of affairs, as the time that it had taken her to hop off the bike and walk over to him (and causing multiple guys and dolls to drop their collective jaws in the process), the rakish old man had been struck by three more pedestrians and a moped.

She kneels down next to him and says, "Look at what you did to my bicycle! Who do you think you are damaging my tire like that?"

The rakish old man slowly raises his head. As he did, his bones emit a sickly crunching sound that makes the young lady gag in disgust.

"I am...one of the best writers and bloggers out there today. People far and wide eagerly away what my muse eloquently states. I have no equal and no peer. I am a deity among the little people. I am the best that ever was, the best that ever is and that best that ever will be!"

The rakish old man began coughing and spitting up blood. The young lady drops the man and says, "Ewwww...you just got icky blood all over me! How dare you do that to my clothes!"

"Please...I beg of you! Have mercy!" sputters the old man.
"Why should I have mercy for you?" says the young lady as she takes out an emory board to fix a broken nail.
"I told you...I'm a well known writer and blogger! Please, have mercy!"
"Got a name?"
"G.B. Miller," sputters the rakish old man.
"You!" screams the young lady.
"No mercy for you!"

The young lady jumps on top of the old man and devours him from head to toe. In less than three minutes, the only thing that remained of G.B. Miller was a dark red spot on the pavement.

The young lady finishes licking her fingers and walks back to her bicycle. As she hops on, she says, "Hmmmm....always wondered what my creator would taste like."

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 25, 2014

V Is For Vanity Publishing

This post was very hard for me to write, so it is my sincerest hope that this is a sobering reality check for you.

A cautionary tale for those who are 1} thinking about self-publishing because you somehow identify with the post for the letter "U" or 2} thinking about self-publishing because you want to get something out there that has your name on it, and by golly that is the bottom line or 3} you really want to self-publish because you believe that is best path for you start out on or 4} you want to become one of those hybrid authors.

After recovering from my disastrous (and seriously expensive) foray into vanity agenting, I was at a lost on what to do with my first novel (no, not Line 21). I wanted to become a published somebody, but after receiving about one dozen rejections (which in hindsight was the absolute right thing to do with this novel), I thought there had to be a better way to getting published. (Un)Fortunately for me, I struck up a friendship with a local author who was self-published. She told me about the publisher that used, Author House (ASI), to publish her books.

I did a little research (but obviously not enough) and figured, what the hell, I might as well take the plunge.

If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have taken the plunge. Instead, I would've spent far more time in editing/fixing/gutting my story to make it more palatable for the masses. Even better, I would've realized that this "novel" wasn't worth the paper it was printed on and it should've been stored in a jar and buried in a deep dark hole in my backyard. But that was not to be, as I decided to take the plunge and shell out roughly $900 bucks to self-publish my novel. This was on top of the $2,000 that I spent with the vanity agency for "editing" services.

What this initial foray taught me (which I partially learned with my second foray with the same company, as I self published a chapbook which was miles better than that novel but still should've gone through at least two more wholesale revisions before being published. still, it is a good read and is available for purchase. click here for details), is that if you self-publish a crappy manuscript, be prepared to spend years not only recovering from your mistake, but rehabbing/repairing your reputation as well. Incidentally, the total outlay of funds to publish with ASI was, after receiving a refund of about $450 for a marketing campaign that I did not need, was $1,400.

Believe it or not, there is a large silver lining in all of this crap. I have roughly 30 books left that became the basis for my little enterprise called "Books by G. B. Miller", so every year I file a Schedule C with my taxes. Also, the only way you can buy this horrible novel is through me, because I made sure that book was delisted with ASI.

So my friends, if you're going to self-publish, spend your money wisely. Don't spend it to get your book published. Instead, invest your money with a good graphics company, a good editor and some judicious marketing.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 24, 2014

U Is For Unknown Writer

We all start off in our in writing career as the Unknown Writer (not be confused with the Unknown Comic). But through patience, perseverance and downright groveling (admit it, you've probably done the last one at least once in your lifetime), you managed to get published, and thus move from the realm of the Unknown Writer to the realm of the Published Unknown Writer. Eventually somewhere down the road, you managed to get a few more stories published, the occasional accolade and the occasional reference, which pushed you out of the realm of the Published Unknown Writer to the realm of the Published Semi-Known Writer. And again, through perseverance, tenacity and having the IDGAF attitude that all successful writers have (please, if you have to ask what the acronym means, then obviously you're just a pansy who lets people walk all over you), you move to the realm of the Published Known Writer, which hopefully you will become a permanent fixture of until the day you pass away into the next realm of whatever higher deity you happen to follow.

However, if you're just starting out your writing career as the Unknown Writer and for whatever reason, you think that you don't have to pay your dues 'cause deep down you believe that your writing is the greatest thing to come down the road since Barry Manilow picked up a pen to write jingles and that no one else can possibly understand your voice, your mentality, your story, etc. etc. etc. and that your story is fantastic and to hell with all those professional and semi-professional writers who tell you that your writing needs some major work so you're gonna self publish your masterpiece to worldwide acclaim (yes, some people are just that delusional), to quote Fire Marshal Bill, "Let me show you something!"

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 23, 2014

T Is For Two Page Shorts

Like I'd mentioned earlier, I became infatuated with flash fiction, which was mostly due to this post back in late 2008. In early 2009, I started writing up a storm and ultimately churned out some 5 1/2 dozen plus short stories, most no longer than two pages, in roughly six months. But what to do with them? I certainly couldn't submit them as is, as they were really about as unpublished as you can get, but I really wanted to share them with everyone.

Thus, a new short story blog was created. Called Flashing Georgie's Shorts, it became a new home for the bulk of my flash fiction, as well as a few other traditional (length between 8 and 12 pages) short stories. Even though a lot of people told me not to do it, because once you publish something, you can't submit anywhere unless you specifically state it's a reprint, I did anyways. Not for the accolades, but more for practicing/honing my craft, such as it was back then. Each story that I had published, not only did I get comments on it, I also was able glean all kinds of writing tips from all kinds of writers in the process.

What made these stories interesting, at least for me, is that I covered almost every kind of situation under the sun. I wrote about a prisoner execution, guerrilla warfare, hybrids, alien lifeforms, inanimate objects, crime, you name it, I probably wrote it. Now a few of those stories I did find homes for, of sorts. I had one story, which basically was a modern twist on cannibalism, which got rejected a couple of times and I'm pretty sure that it got stolen as well (long story short, submitted to an anthology that didn't go anywhere but I think in essence was a way for someone to collect horror stories. Haven't been able to prove it, yet, though), and three others which I basically rewrote, tweaked and eventually self-published as a short story trilogy.

I wish I could give everyone a link to that blog, but unfortunately, in late 2010 after I had someone, who I later determined meant me no harm, spend several hours on the blog reading all the stories thus scaring the crap out of me, I closed the blog. The best I can do to show everyone what kind of short stories I wrote back then, is to direct you to my adult blog{disclaimer: this link will take you to my adult blog, which contains content that may be  considered inappropriate/offensive to some. reader discretion is strongly encouraged}, where I have reposted a short story specifically for this blog post. The story is called "Stopped"  and this was originally published on my now closed short story blog Flashing Georgie's Shorts on June 10, 2009.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 22, 2014

S Is For Shadow's Vengeance

Shadow's Vengeance will be my first true adventure with self publishing, as soon as I can get my finances straightened out from the current bent position that they're in. Shadow's Vengeance had a very unique conception, birth and growing up, and within the A-Z blogging challenge, I thought that this would be a good place as any to tell you about it.

Shadow's Vengeance's conception was very unique to say the least, as it was originally based on a blog post called "What If". The path to the conception itself was nothing unusual to speak of, in that while I was busy querying Line 21 in 2011-12, I needed something else to work on. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than a writer in between projects. Anywho, while researching the deep recesses of my memory, I was able to recall that particular blog post. Not the title mind you, but the content. I did a semi-brief search and destroy for the post and eventually found it.

I read it through again, batted the words around in my head and said to myself, "This could work." At the time, I was becoming somewhat enamored of the paranormal/fantasy genre, having liberally peppered my debut novel with it, so I thought that this could be the perfect vehicle to really dive into the genre head first.

So I took the basic premise, which was boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, and boy becomes an obsessive stalker of the girl, and turned it upside down. I introduced a female demon who escaped from Purgatory as the boy's weapon of choice to help him win the girl, I sprinkled in elements of Hell (I'm an admirer of Dante), tossed in two well-known archangels Michael and Raphael, and presto! a fun filled story that presents a new twist on the concept of revenge.

Two important elements were introduced to the story that I consider to be a very radical departure on how I write and in fact, have continued to influence my writing to this day. One, I toned down the graphic sex. While my debut novel was a paranormal fantasy, it was classified as erotica by my publisher, as the setting for the story was the adult entertainment industry, so the sex was very graphic. For this novella, I toned down the sex to basically one scene in the bedroom and only made it as graphic as necessary. Two, just before I started to query this novella, I rewrote it into first person p.o.v. (did both synopsis' that way as well). The violence remained unchanged, although the intensity ebbed and flowed based on the scene.

In order to have a better understanding of the content and plot, I have posted the full synopsis which you will find on my now dormant adult blog, so please proceed with caution as that blog contains content that may be inappropriate/offensive to some.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2014

R Is For Red Stripe

My second published short story came about in a most peculiar way, well at least for me. I was in the supermarket one day back in October 2010, picking up some odds & ends, when the register that I happened to walk up to was manned by a young lady in her early twenties. Apparently she was wearing part of her Halloween costume, as she had on a pair of ears, a painted nose and whiskers.

That particular image kind of stuck with me long enough for me to sit down at my computer to bang out a short story. It took me about a week or so to write, as I kept getting stuck in certain plot points, and ultimately finished it on Halloween night while I was manning the door.

The most interesting thing about this story is that I managed to weave elements of punk, speed metal and classical guitar music into the story. I also created a character that pays tribute to a particular punk rock singer from the late 70's/early 80's.

The other interesting thing about the story is the title. I've always had a very hard time coming up with a title for my stories and this one was no exception. For my astute readers I'm pretty sure that you were able to guess what the item is that I pulled my title from. This is directly due to the fact that this particular item was hanging around my den that day, so in keeping in the same spirit as the rest of my stories, the title has no connection to the story.

So my friends and fellow blog readers, here is the link to my 2nd published short story, Red Stripe. Please let me know what you think.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2014

Q Is For Quirky Fiction

When I had first started writing back in 2006, I had a heck of a time trying to categorize/pigeonhole what it was exactly that i was writing. I had originally started writing what I thought was romance, so whenever someone asked me what I wrote, I would say enthusiastically, "Romance!"

However, the further along I got, the less that moniker seemed to fit. So we went off on a search and destroy to come up with another label for my writing. By 2009, I had a short story published that more or less left the question of what it was exactly that I wrote, extremely murky.

Still, we muddled along as I became severely infatuated with flash fiction, which in turn had me all over the dial for my writing. By 2010, I was hopelessly deadlocked for a genre. At that point, i had started dabbling with the paranormal/fantasy genre.

After finishing my debut novel plus finishing up on a novella, I found that I really liked writing in that genre. But, like most things in my life, I wasn't writing paranormal in the strictest sense of the word, in that I enjoyed writing hybrid characters (i.e. half human/half animal).

So off we went again in search of a genre that I could attach to my writing. Eventually and after much deliberation, I created a category for my writing, which coincidentally fits my personality to a T.


Quirky is who I am and fiction is what I write. Quirky is the be all to end all, and you can become quirky as well. If you don't like having your writing categorized/pigeonholed, just call it "Quirky". You'll be glad that you did.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 18, 2014

P Is For Pen & Paper

If you managed to stick around this far, you've read my post for the letter H and my wonderful extremities that are my hands. Today's post is a companion piece to the letter H.

Back in early 2009, I was suffering from major hand fatigue, which was directly due to the fact that I was using a computer up to 14 hours a day, both at work and at home. To rectify that situation, I started writing my blog posts by hand. At first, it was very cumbersome and time-consuming, especially since I was still trying to find my groove with not only holding a pen but making sure that my printing was up to snuff. Ya see, my penmanship sucked major moose testicles and over the years it has deteriorated to the point where the only thing I write in cursive is my signature. Beyond that, I print everything, and I mean everything.

So thus, I began writing out my blog posts by hand. The beauty of writing by hand is that you can do it almost anywhere, and you need just a few items to do it. I have at my disposal a neat mobile cube. Basically, it's a large clear zipper folder that holds the following items: four to five pens; about a half package of loose leaf notebook paper; a clipboard and because I'm trying to do something with my writing, business cards and postcards feature both of my published books. With this thing, I can write anywhere I so choose to.

I can write outdoors, which I often do from the late spring through the early fall; I can take it with me and write in public places like the mall or the library, and most importantly, I can do this at work, because it's one of the few things I can do without getting into trouble. I originally started out by writing blog posts, but quickly branched out to other things like short stories (more on that later), my novel (parts of five chapters were written with pen and paper before being transcribed to the computer), and my novella.

At the moment, I've hit a lull with using pen & paper. The myriad of reasons include work (short staffed since November) and lack of time (see first excuse). Having time is very critical to me, because even though it takes me about 15 minutes to type out a blog post, it takes two to three times as long to hand write one post. Lack of time is why I've done all my posts on NotePad first, before copying/pasting it to the blog.

For those of you who might suggest Dragon software to cure my ills, I do have an old version on my old computer that I did acquire for that purpose back in 2010. However, I have major mental block when it comes to writing with voice software. So until that happens, it shall be used for transcribing prewritten stuff to a Word document or blog post.

Pen & Paper: the simple and most effective way to get the job done.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 17, 2014

O Is For On The Outside Looking In

This one is a toughie for me to write, as when I originally came up with this topic I did have a faint idea on what I wanted to write about. However, roughly a month later (this originally being writing in late February) I have not a clue on what to write about. However, if you're one of my long time readers of this blog, you know that when I get just a little bit stuck on what to write, I wind up winging it in from the upper deck of Wembley Stadium.

Which is to say that I write like a politician bloviates on why more government and more taxes is a good thing.

So, here we go.

I have never been part of what people would call back in younger years, a clique. Didn't matter what was going on, who was involved or what it detailed, I was always the outsider. I guess you could partially chalk it up to being a major introvert throughout my life, which considering what I'm doing right now in public is very very strange, and partially chalk it up to an innate love of being a jack of all trades and a master of none.

So I acquire just enough institutional knowledge to not only keep me functioning, but to make me an indispensable individual for whatever particular unit/group I'm working for. I also have an innate desire of being left to my own devices, which I'm sure sounds to you like I'm being anti-social (or uncle-social as I like to call it), but in actuality, being left to my own devices allows me unfettered access to pay attention to my surroundings, aka grapevines with an infinite number of tentacles.

Ultimately, showcasing myself as anti-social to the people who don't really matter in my life (i.e. the majority of my co-workers), allows me to always be on the outside looking in, which if you think about it, isn't really that bad of a place to be.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 16, 2014

N Is For Novella

My current style of writing lends itself to the suitability of the novella, but it hasn't always been that way.

When I'd first started writing back in 2006, I churned out mostly what I like to call "longish short stories", in that the word length usually crapped out in the general neighborhood of 14,000 words. This was directly due to the fact that my writing initially drifted towards an over winded and wickedly excruciating detail oriented jumbled mess. By the time I was able to corral my writing, I found that the short story format really didn't work for me, as it didn't accurately reflect me as a person, and then, as now, I was a firm believer in that a person's writing should be an accurate representation of the person. An accurate representation of me as a person is someone who has a tendency to elaborate on a given scenario so that the other side that is receiving it can look at the scenario from all possible sides.

Even though I've made a few detours over the past 8 years to the short story genre (two published shorts and a year+ infatuation with the under 750 word flash fiction genre), I've basically stayed the course by keeping my writing within the 18K to 21K zone, which is by traditional definition a novella. Now I know you're probably scratching your head asking yourself "huh?", which is probably due to the fact that you read the post for the letter "L", which covers my debut novel. Well, to let you in on a poorly kept secret, that story will probably be my one and only foray into that particular word length. That story was something very special and it definitely did not lend itself to the novella length.

Anyhow, the main reason why I enjoy writing novellas is that particular format meshes perfectly with the way I like to flush out plot lines/characters. I don't feel the love in the short story format as to me it feels stilted. As for the novel, while I enjoy reading them, I just can't bring myself to write one as the love simply isn't there.

Right now, I have two completed (more on that later), another that I'm rewriting (see the letter "I" for details), and three more in my slush pile of ignorance. I would also like to point out that the novella format also meshes with the genre that I now feel comfortable in writing, which is paranormal/fantasy (more on that later).

In summation, the novella is my weapon of choice, as it allows me the flexibility to explore different themes without worrying about the complexities/nuances that a novel requires. In other words, I always go with the guilt free writing, and writing a novella is about as guilt free as one can get.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 15, 2014

M Is For Money

If you want to forgo the traditional route when it comes to becoming a published somebody, then you have to spend a little bit of money in order to do it.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch, I'm not talking about vanity publishing, in which you pay through the nose to get very little (more on that later), I'm talking about paying money to acquire a good product so that you can publish a good product.

If you want your manuscript to be the best it can be, with zero errors in the text, spend your money on a freelance editor. Chances are they'll help you get over that last hump by giving you a clear crisp 100% error free manuscript that still stays true to your vision.

You need a pair of excellent covers, both for print and e-book, so if you can't get it done yourself, looking into hiring a reputable graphic designer. That way, you can have a cover that stays true to your vision of what your story is.

For other assorted odds and ends, like business cards and the like, look into using a graphics company like VistaPrint. Chances are that you can do an excellent job of creating what you need within the budget that you use.

Sadly, money is what's bringing my self-publishing journey to a temporary standstill. While I have no problem in using VistaPrint (they have both payment options available: check & c/c), in order to use a graphic designer, I need a c/c and my c/c's are current under lock and key, so to speak.

So until I can get my financial house rebuilt, the most I'll be doing with my writing is to write, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

While spending money to pursue your dream can be a necessary evil, if you have to spend, make sure you spend it wisely.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 14, 2014

L Is For Line 21

Back during Super Bowl weekend 2010, a germ of an idea happened to impregnate my subconscious in the wee hours of the morning. It basically grabbed hold of me and with the kind of lightning speed only seen in a fantasy series, gestated and grew until an hour later it was ready to pop. What was this idea that had such a bloodsucking hold on me? The basic premise was that a young woman was in debt to her uncle, who was a loan shark, and the only way she could raise the cash was to become an adult movie actress.

Different? Sure it was. But how to make it truly unique was the actually the easiest thing to do for this story. Taking a cue from one of my favorite Star Trek series that sadly doesn't get a lot of air time like some of the others, I gave the young lady a symbiont for a sister. Once I had that factored in, I wolfed down my breakfast and ran to my computer. In no time at all, the words were pouring out at such a fast and furious pace that it was quite difficult to reign it in.

Nevertheless, even though I was proceeding at breakneck speed with this story, which started as a short story before quickly morphing to a longish short story, then a novella and finally a novel, I wanted to make sure I got every single possible component of this story correct. You name it, from clothing to body shape, from hair to sexual practices and everything else in between, I researched it. If it had to do with a woman, I asked questions, both on my blog and with friends and co-workers, and trust me, those questions were very pointed and explicit. To put it bluntly, if I had asked those questions of typical strangers, you can rest assured that my face would've been slapped many, many times over.

Now in addition to making sure that everything that I wrote was accurate (example: I spent three days researching how to properly drive a motorcycle because the MC drove a Harley) I also wanted to have a little fun with it as well. So when I got to the final scene in the novel (dinner at a restaurant) I ran a contest on FB and my blog, in which I took suggestions for what kinds of meals the characters would eat. The winner would be written into the story as a throwaway character. I had two winners, one won a free PDF while the other was written in as a throwaway character.

Overall, the 1st draft took me about 2 1/2 months to write from the first word to the last. The rest of 2010 was spent taking suggestions from a few beta readers and revising and re-editing two more versions, until by the spring of 2011, I had a viable manuscript to submit/query. I spent the rest of 2011 submitting and querying, and by the spring of 2012, I sold my book to Solstice, and for the first time in my life, I actually accomplished what I set out to do.

Here, in this lovely book trailer produced by the wonderful folks at SelectOGrafix, is a two minute synopsis of my paranormal/fantasy erotica novel, Line 21. For details on how to purchase for your Kindle and how to purchase an autographed print copy for 30% off the cover price, check out my book blog Books By G.B. Miller. To read the first five pages, please click on this link at my adult blog called "It's Always Saturday In Suburbia" (disclaimer, my adult blog contains inappropriate material that is not suitable for all ages. reader discretion is strongly advised.).

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 12, 2014

K Is For Knuckling Down

I have always been a pro's pro when comes to procrastination.

Whether it has to deal with blogging (yeah, baby), writing a story (awesome, baby), writing a scene (smokin', baby), writing a query letter (let's swing it, baby), synopsis (baaaaaaaaby), or even a hook for the query letter (yo, baby), I've always procrastinating to the point of know return.

For example, when I was trying to write a synopsis for my debut novel, it took me almost two months to write it. First there was research on various writer's websites (i.e. Query Tracker) on how to write a synopsis and what it should contain and how long it should be. Then there was reading a few samples of synopsis on what they should look like. Finally, after about three weeks of serious procrastination, I finally sat my butt down and hammered out a first draft. Then another couple of weeks went by, and after getting some advice, chopped it down from 8 pages to 6, then from 6 to 4, and finally from 4 to the general neighborhood of three.

Even though that was an extreme example of procrastination, I've always had problems in knuckling down. Ever since I was teenager in school, I always had an abnormal fear of failure. So for the longest time, I wouldn't see things all the way through because I couldn't stand what the potential end result would be. Even as an adult, when I decided to start doing this writing thing, I had a major problem in dealing with rejection. So for three years, I procrastinated big time and didn't submit much of anything to anyone.

It really wasn't until 2009, when I decided to get serious about my writing that I needed to stop procrastinating, and in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, get-R-dun.

So from early 2009 to the present, even when there are days when I would rather shove a magnet under my hard drive and floppy discs and just be done with it, I make it a point to do some kind of writing/blogging. Whether it's something simple as applying a couple of edits to my latest WIP, or something complex as writing an intelligent blog post, I make it a point to write at least three times a week.

And for the most part, this has worked for me as I no long procrastinate with my writing/blogging. Instead, I now have issues involving time. Specially, finding the time to write/blog. But that is a subject for another time (eh?) and another place.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 11, 2014

J Is For Journey

My journey as writer and a blogger got its start through a most unusual way: I got laid off from work.


Short version: In 2003, Connecticut was then, as it is now, hip deep in a recession. With budget deficit dropping faster than a porn star's pants, the governor chose to play hardball by laying almost 3,000 state workers, of which I was one of them. And no, I didn't decide to start writing then. I was pretty much suffering from shell shock for roughly six months, and the next year and a half after that was spent trying to recover from the financial blow.

By late 2005, I hit a few personal hiccups in the road and those hiccups ultimately started me on the road to writing. The blogging factor didn't kick in until 2008, when I took up a friend's suggestion (see the letter "C" for further details) to move over to the blog world. So basically, I've been writing since 2006, seriously since 2010, and blogging since 2008.

Addendum to the short version: It definitely wasn't all peaches and creme de minthe by any stretch of the imagination. By last count, I have churned out some six dozen short stories of mediocre goodness, a half dozen solid short stories, of which two were published and three self published, one good novel, one average novella, three good novellas and about a half dozen longish short stories of dubious quality. As for the blogging, I have  created/maintained 6 blogs, two of which are still functioning, one which has become a living archives, one permanently closed and two others on semi-hiatus. All told I written roughly 1200 combined posts, most of which are between one and three pages in length (which on average means roughly 250 to 750 words per post ). If you're a number junkie like me, you can extrapolate that out to a rough minimum of 300,000 nouns/verbs/adverbs/adjectives of all kind have been written for posterity.

And that my friends, is something to be proud of.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 10, 2014

I Is For It's Just Business

"It's Just Business" is the 3rd part of the triad of events that has me, at the moment, talking to you on this blog. In fact, I daresay, without this mother ship of a novella, I probably would not be here today talking to you on this blog.

Back in 2007, I was writing the first version of this novella (currently working on #6) when I hit the proverbial wall. I had written myself into a corner with the novella, which is a story about a drug dealer/runner who runs afoul of his supplier, and had at the time, no real out for it. It contain all the elements in which I was experimenting/writing at the time: unmitigated violence, unmitigated sex, and multiple plot lines. All of which I executing very poorly (except in my mind at the time, I was executing properly).

Anywho, I decided to take a break by surfing the 'net (see the letter "C" for further details) and the rest they say, is history. Or rather, the proverbial 2,000 pound manuscript that for the longest time I could not do a single thing with. In fact, from 2007 thru 2010, whenever I decided to work on it, it often went like this:

Take out printed copy; open Word; start to read the entire manuscript; think about it for a spell; go to Word; change the title; get brain cramp; save and close Word; put printed copy back into the slush pile from hell.

Basically, for four years, the only thing I did with this novella was to change the title. It went from "Cedar Mountain" to "Cedar Mountain's Ecstasy" to "Ecstasy" to "E is for Ecstasy" to another title that I don't recall to finally the current, and in my mind, the one that makes the most sense, "It's Just Business".

Fast forward to 2013.

By the mid-summer, I had made an important decision in regards to my writing, so one of the first things to do in regards to that decision, was to get a lot of product at the ready. I'd already had two complete novellas at my disposal and I was trying to think about what I could write for a 3rd. At this point in my writing life, I had become enamored of the paranormal genre, and while my first book was liberally sprinkled with the paranormal (more on that later), the two novellas that I had on deck were hip dip in the paranormal (more on that later). After mulling the idea on what to write next in my head for a week or two, that novella pushed its way to the forefront.

So I took it out, did a thorough and very deliberate read through, and decided that this was a worthy candidate for my 3rd novella. However, just because it was worthy candidate doesn't necessarily mean that it was ready for use. In order to keep it like the others (paranormal/religion/moderate violence and semi-graphic sex) I needed to do a major hatchet job on it.

For the past three months I've been slowly chipping away the rewrite, mostly on the weekends, but when I do finish it, this crime novella will stand alone from my other written works, in that it has taken me the better part of 7 years to write and complete an acceptable 1st draft. Which if you think about it, is a fitting tribute to a novella that was 1/3 instrumental in getting me to where I am today.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 9, 2014

H Is For Hands

I have major problems with my hands, in that I have very little dexterity and strength in them. It wasn't always like that, but around 2007, I was experiencing issues with hand fatigue, lack of strength and lack of dexterity. After visiting a couple of doctors who specialize in muscular diseases, I was diagnosed with a neuro-muscular malady called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT for short, is genetic disease characterized by the atrophying of muscles in the arms, legs, and shoulders, to name a few. There is no known cure and the best the one can hope for is to maintain the status quo for as long as humanly possible.

I am considered to be, by the doctors I used to visit (long story made short, all they did was monitor the progression on a yearly basis, which in my opinion, was a waste of money. If you can't cure me, then at least leave me to my own devices), an anomaly, in that my CMT has taken up residence in my hands. What does this mean?

For starters, while I can still type, my typing speed has dropped down to about 12 wpm, from a high of about 35 wpm back in the early 2000's. Secondly, I've always joked that a toddler has more hand strength than I do, but realistically, the heaviest thing that I can comfortable hold/carry without problems is a book. Anything heavier, like a full three ring binder, then we have a problem.

However, over the years, as my hands have slowly deteriorated, I've managed to come up with a few ingenious solutions to make life workable for me.

1} Because I can't hold a pen like normal people anymore, I've had to teach myself how to sign and write while holding a pen like a five year old does (i.e. full grip like one was holding a stick to jab into the ground). While I now sign my name with the best of them, my handwriting is incredibly atrocious, which is why I now print everything I write. Exceptionally time consuming and its something I will elaborate on later in the month.

2} I use rubber fingertips quite extensively. They have been a lifesaver as it allows me to grip everything under the sun with very little risk in dropping things. I can also type with a reasonable degree of accuracy as well.

3} I have learned how to grip things with my knuckles, which comes in handy when I have to pull files, etc. some ten to fifteen times a day.

Right now, I'm still maintaining the status quo with a reasonable degree of accuracy, but as the years progress, the bar for the status quo will become lower and lower, until finally, I'll be forced to retire before I'm ready to do so. But until then, I'll have fun mocking people who complain about the littlest inconsequential thing they can come up. Because as you know, the more money someone makes, the more they whine.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 8, 2014

G Is For Goading

One major trait that I initially developed in the chat rooms, then nurtured and grew to the point where I can inflict it on people without even realizing that I'm doing it, is the ability to push peoples buttons at will.

I've always had issues with people who are either super inflexible on a given point/belief or just simply unable to see another reasonable point of view. When I come across people like that, more often than not I will become that distinct minority and present a very sobering opposing viewpoint/thought that will often buzz the person in question w/o them even realizing it. Others, who are pretty high up on the food chain IQ-wise, will realize it that I'm calling them out on their stringent belief and either join in, mock them, mock me or ignore me.

While most people would call that being a troll, I don't rise to the technical definition of a troll. Unlike most trolls, I actually stick around to either triumph, meet my match, or get hoisted by my own petard. The reason why I sometimes get hoisted by my own petard is that while I'm more than willing to change my views on certain things in my advanced age (48 1/2), I'm not as willing change my views on hot button topics if I feel that I'm being bullied to change my viewpoint.

To give you an idea on what topics I'll speak up about, here is a short list of topics in which I was the recipient of an unbelievable amount of vitriol/hatred:

1} gay marriage (not 100% opposed as I believe marriage should be between a man & woman, but I'm willing to accept the inevitable);
2} language (I'm not a big fan of political correctness nor am I fan of 1984/NewSpeak)
3} Matthew Shepard (my viewpoint is that he was murdered not because he was gay, and a book that came out last year reinforces that viewpoint, and note, the person who wrote it is gay and married)
4} bullying as it applies to religious beliefs
5} unions, specifically public sector (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

So my gentle readers (as Miss Manners would say), can I interest you in an honest debate about a topic that is near and dear to your heart, or would you rather have a flame war, in which there are no winners or losers, only collateral damage.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 7, 2014

F Is For Facebook

I find Facebook to be a necessary evil these days. For me, Facebook is the pesky little brother to the big brother that are the chat rooms. Except that the pesky little brother is smart enough to learn from the mistakes of the lumbering Neanderthal that is big brother in order to become one of the major players in social media.

This is actually my second go-around on Facebook, as I'd previously deactivated my account back in 2011 when they were busy unleashing the new (at the time) Timeline feature. The deactivation lasted until after I had signed with Solstice. They were (and still are) big with social media, so I decided it would be in my best interests to reactivate my account, which I did in the spring of 2012.

I slowly expanded my circle of friends (no family in my circle), with the bulk of the circle being comprised of writers, with the remainder evenly split between friends from the real world and friends from the cyberworld. For the next year or so, I had a decent time mostly trolling (in a good way) my friend's newsfeeds while posting infrequent status updates. The main reason for the infrequency was that because I spent most of my cyber time blogging, it made little sense for me to add insult to injury.

Nevertheless, in the summer of 2013, I decided to follow every other writer in my circle by creating an author's page. While on paper it seemed like a good idea, the execution left much to be desired. I originally envisioned it to become a place where I would do writing updates and what not, but since I was already heavily involved with blogging as well as with my normal profile, I really didn't have the time needed to properly build it up. While I had over 180 likes for the page, I really wasn't able to properly capitalize on those likes. So on January 1st, I unpublished the page*.

So now, the only way you can follow me on Facebook is at my personal page. Forewarned, I'm very picky about accepting friend requests as the person making the request has to meet one of three criteria: 1) I have to know you in the real world; 2) I have to know you from the blog world; 3) I have to know you from else where in the cyberworld. Because of that pickiness, I utilize the "follow" button on my personal page {which is as public as you can get as everything I post is for public consumption}, so feel free to follow me on Facebook. Hope to see you there.

*I decided to take another crack at maintaining my author's page, so if your twisted little heart has the desire or the gumption, please give some thought to liking my author's page, GB Miller. I promise that this time around, in addition to writing about my writing, I will also do mini blog posts that cannot be had elsewhere.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 5, 2014

E Is For E-Book

During the summer of 2013, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing again. There were a myriad of reasons as to why I decided to do this, but that main was that I while I was trying to decide on what course of action to take with my writing, I should make an attempt at keeping my name out there with the reading public.

Of the two major self-publishing programs that are there, I decided to go with Smashwords. This was directly due to the fact that their programming guide was a lot more user friendly than Amazon's Kindle programming guide (although their print programming guide is just a tad less ornery than the Kindle) and I knew quite a few writers who were quite happy with it.

My next course of action was to decide on what exactly I wanted to self-publish. While I did have a few novellas at the ready, I wasn't quite done with taking another crack at getting published the traditional way. So I settled for the next best thing: short stories. And it just so happened that I had a group of four short stories that I felt was a good representative sample of how I write. After taking one out due to some issues that I don't feel comfortable in elaborating on, but Smashwords has a strong policy about plagiarism and copyright infringement, I tweaked and did some last minute editing on three of the stories.

After purchasing a good photo from iStock and having a fellow writer/graphic designer do the cover for me gratis, I ambled over to Smashwords, and in the span of about week (work and family took precedence over the book) I had a nice short story trilogy all set to be published.

Entitled "Broken Promises", this short story trilogy marks my return to the world of self-publishing. All three stories revolve around the themes of love anew, love lost and love misplaced, and these stories are what I consider to be worthy examples of what and how I write. Feel free to click on the caption for further details.

Available at Smashwords

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 4, 2014

D Is For Descriptive Verbiage

One of my strong suits in my writing/blogging is my descriptive verbiage. The way I can describe a setting, a scene, a person or even an object is something to truly behold. With a simple turn of a word or a phrase, I can basically put you inside the character, make you be one with the character, method acting and all that. Why I can make you taste the salty ocean breeze, savor the moonlight as it dances across your backyard on a starry night, and get your body a-quivering all over as you smell the aroma of a hot sweaty exotic dancer as he/she performs a scintillating lap dance.

Or, I can simply say that I was writing a paragraph of full bodied whimsy to tease your palate and drive you to the height of distraction.

Or, I can honestly and truthfully say that I was piling it on so deep that you need hip waders to walk through it.

In all seriousness, just like everything else with my writing, it took me a very long time to get to this particular level of descriptive writing. Way early on, I pretty much did my descriptive verbiage the same way I did everything else: over the top and redundant to the point of nausea. Blogging helped me tremendously in both tightening and loosening up my descriptive verbiage. In other words, when the situation called for tightening my descriptive verbiage, I did so. When the situation called for me to loosen it, I did it with gusto. Most importantly though, my fellow readers gave me insight and critique to what I had written, so that when the time came for me to nail the scene properly, I had the skill set to do it.

One final thought: over the years, I have gone off on memorable descriptive tangents that have often left my readers both scratching their collective heads and quoting various tidbits that they've read. For a good sample of what I can do, I leave you a link to my number one post that has drawn the attention of spammers for the better part of three years, simply called All Points Bulletin. It features a small piece of flash that the publisher for my debut novel was gracious enough to accept as a reprint for their blog for Valentine's Day 2013.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 3, 2014

C Is For Chat Rooms

As I've alluded to my in my previous posts, I was a devotee of the chat rooms. Back in 2007, while I was suffering through a nasty case of writing myself into a corner, I decided to surf the 'net and one morning I found myself on my local newspaper website. I decide to comment on a story and surprisingly found myself taken to a website called Topix. In no short order, I created a profile for myself and within a couple of weeks, made some nice cyberspace friends.

Ultimately, while being in the chat rooms did help me with my writing (like how to get a point across in less than 750 words), the negatives far outweighed the positives. If you check out the tag called Chat Rooms, you'll read the equivalent of a novelita about my experiences in the chat rooms. From 2007 through early 2011, I created multiple personas for myself. Not for trolling purposes, but more based on a given mood that I was in.

I won't bore you with the gruesome minutia of who I was in the chat rooms, but suffice to say, the chat rooms run by Topix are at least 25 times worse than whatever you may have experienced on Facebook. Selective enforcement of their Terms of Service based on favoritism; harassment of fellow posters; threatening fellow posters; and the stalking of fellow posters are but just a few of the things that I have personally experienced during my time there. While I have made some long lasting friendships that I have successfully transferred to Facebook, there really is no way on God's green earth I will ever go back.

So much damaged was done to me and to a lesser extent my reputation that within a few months of calling it quits over there, I deactivated all of my personas there. For all intents and purposes, I am but a distant memory there. One of the side effects of being in the chat rooms is that I developed a healthy dose of paranoia about what people say and/or imply about me. There are certain lines that cannot be crossed, and sadly, I lost a Facebook friend because what they thought was a funny joke was in my opinion a very cruel joke. So not only did I unfriend them, I also unliked their page and stopped following/reading their blog.

A word of warning: if you do intend to check out the chat rooms, check them out in a safe environment. What I mean about safe is go to a forum where the admins are not only very competent (i.e. CNN, Fox, FoxSports and ESPN), but properly enforce their T.o.S. and make you feel welcome.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 2, 2014

B Is For Blogging

Back in the late spring of 2008, a good cyber friend of mine suggested that I move my musings and writings from the toxic wasteland of the chat rooms to another part of cyberspace called "blogging". If I did that, said he, I wouldn't have to worry about my writing being censored or removed by narrow minded people. I thought about it for a day or so, then said to myself, why not?

And thus, my very first blog Cedar's Mountain. Why Cedar's Mountain? One very small reason was that at the time I created that blog, I was hip deep with waders in the chat rooms and one of my personas was called Cedar Mountain. The reason why I called myself Cedar Mountain is because where I live in Newington CT, Cedar Mountain is but a stones throw of fifteen feet from my side yard to across the street. I love that mountain so much that my very first published short story was named after the mountain.

Anywho, I created Cedar Mountain as a dual outlet for my wit and my writing, which any sane blogger will tell you, a blog is a fantastic way to practice and fine tune your writing skills. In the proceeding five and a half years, I expanded my horizons with my blogging.

I got the short story bug in early 2009, so I created a short story blog (now closed) called Flashing Georgie's Shorts. This lasted for about a year and a half, and the challenging thing about maintaining that blog was writing the short stories for it. In mid 2010 I decided that my pictures should have a separate blog, so I created Shooting Suburbia. I also decided in the same year that some of my more explicit posts/ramblings should have a home of their own, so I created an adult blog called It's Always Saturday In Suburbia {disclaimer: this blog contains content that may be inappropriate/offensive to some. reader discretion is strongly encouraged} As I decided to become a writer, one of the first things I did was to create a website for my books, so in 2008 Books by G.B. Miller was born.

At this point, I'm sure you're wondering why your reading this A-Z Blog Challenge post on this blog as opposed to my first blog. Well my friends, in November 2013, I was suffering through a major attack of the blasé with my original blog, so after careful thought, I decided that I really needed a fresh start, thus Father Nature's Corner was created. This blog, while remaining true to the original in most aspects, has given me my third wind not only with my blogging, but with my writing as well.

I hope you can find the time to explore all of my blogs, as with close to 1,200 posts written, I'm sure you'll be able to find something to tickle your fancy.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 1, 2014

And Thus Begins The A-Z Blogging Challenge, V 2.014: A Is For Author

Howdy do everyone! Today kicks off my participation in the 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge (details of which can be found by clicking on the button to the right of this post). The overall theme for my part of the blogging challenge will be my journey and experiences related to writing. I hope you will enjoy this journey through 8 years worth of writing experiences.

I never really wanted to be an author while growing up. I was more than happy to be a perpetually funny guy doing verbal humor, verbal linguistics and verbal parodies of t.v. commercials. As an adult, I was content to simply continue the aforementioned verbal thingys, with my writing skills being strictly limited to writing business correspondence.

However, by late 2005 a singular event dramatically changed my life (what that was is between God and myself) and thus I entered the chaotic world of writing. Why, you might ask? Well, truth be told, the cheapest form of therapy is writing, so I started writing a rather bad novel and a ton of very bad longish stories. Four years and probably three hundred thousand words later, I finally became an author. Self-published, but still an author. After another year of so of exploring my inner sanctum, and other writer's blogs and stories, I decided to retool and reboot. In 2009, after much perseverance, I became a real author with a short story published in a very respectable e-zine called Beat To A Pulp. This was followed two years later with another short story published in a respectable e-zine which will be talked about later in the challenge, which was followed a year later by a novel published through a traditional publisher which will also be talked about later in the challenge.

While my current writing projects are temporarily on hold due to the real world (work) gumming things up for the past four months, I can proudly say that no matter what the future may hold, I can honestly and truthfully say that I am a genuine author.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.