January 27, 2016

My World Can Be Yours: 1/23/16

If you so desire, a fresh new post at I Are Writer! (of which you can leave a comment at this post) can be had for the inexpensive price of two minutes of your time.

Or, if you so desire, a fresh new post here at Father Nature's Corner to be had for exact same price.

I'd mentioned last week that while I was writing the opening paragraph, I came up with what was sure to be a hit (amongst the fans of me, which number about, oh, 1) phrase for my blog posts. I dig consistency, so the phrase would have worked quite well. Alas, poor Horatio, I knew him Yorrick.

sound of crickets chirping in the background

Yes, well, ummm....be that as it may, I came up with a new title for my posts: My World Can Be Yours. Simple yet highly functional.

Anyhow, I was reading Anne R. Allen's highly informative blog the other day, when she got to talking about the collegiate degree one can get for writing and persistent myths that said collegiate degree expounds upon. As I read this highly informative piece, I got to thinking about literary fiction/non-fiction in all of its inglorious annoyance.

For those of you who thought they knew everything that there is to know about me, guess again. I have an almost pathological hatred of anything literary, fiction or otherwise. While I'm willing to experiment with almost every genre at least once (and from those of you who I've bought books from over the years, can vouch for the veracity of that statement), literary is the one genre that I will shoot first and maybe ask questions about later.

I'm not sure why I developed such a pathological hatred of that genre and to a lesser degree, those who partake in it. I do know that reading a story in which the writer talks down to me, or turns into preachiness (literary non-fiction is notorious for this), or even worse, turns it into a manifesto about themselves, irritates me to no end. I also hate anything that seems to be formula driven (this originated from working with newspapers in the mid-90's). The literary genre is notorious for being so formula driven that the vast majority of writers are interchangeable with their stories.

Now I may sound like a close minded individual when it comes to the literary genre, but rest assured, I have tried on numerous occasions throughout the past decade or so to read literary fiction/non-fiction. Only once did I read a book from cover to cover in that genre, and that was a debut western by Clifford Jackman called The Winter Family. I haven't written a review for it yet, but chances are that it may get a 3 star rating from me on Amazon when I do write it.

For the most part though, reading literary fiction/non-fiction has been a frustrating journey of ginormous info dumps, ego stroking to the nth degree and prose drier than a prolonged water drought. I would rather read....well, I can't say what I would rather read...actually, I can. I would rather read a anti-police screed containing a forward from this ego-driven monster, than another piece of literary fiction/non-fiction that has blurbs glorifying the writer as the newest true genius of (insert sub-genre here) literature.

And that, my friends, is a rare rant for this blog. Tune in next week, when I'm pretty positive that I'll get down off my soapbox and talk about the more mundane things in my life. Maybe.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

January 20, 2016

Answer: What's This Called Again?

First up, a fresh new post at I Are Writer!

I Are Writer!
Secondly, the question to the answer of, "What's this called again?", is, "I never said what it was in the first place."

Seriously though, the immediate issue that has cropped up with the not-so-new-but-definitely-retooled-Father-Nature's-Corner, is uniformity. To whit: at I Are Writer!, every single blog post will have the same three words, with only the date being changed the weekly basis. I would like to do this same for this one, but I'm a bit stuck on what to use....Aha! Just came up with the perfect phrase to use while I was writing this paragraph. Three cheers and a tiger for me (as Smokie the Genie would say)!

In other briefly assorted weekly news, of which a very small smidgen can be found at my other blog (of which you can leave a comment here for), I decided a few weeks ago to update/refresh my business cards. For those of you are new here, and that means since 2009 or so, this is what my business card initially looked like:

January 13, 2016

An Old Blog, A New Blog, And Less Stress

As I've been alluding to for the past few weeks, I've been thinking very long and very hard about what I want to do in regards to my blogging and my writing, and I've recently come to a decision about. My New Year's resolution is this:

Write more, blog less, and be more active in social media.

1} Write more.

I really haven't done much in the way of writing since, oh I don't know, 2014. I spent three quarters of 2015 prepping this novella for release on Kindle, Smashwords and CreateSpace. The remaining one quarter was spent rediscovering my writing groove, specifically, working on a re-write for novel as well as developing another short story trilogy for the Kindle.

Because work has been the the constant thorn in my side, I decided starting this year to prioritize my writing output. Which leads us to resolution part the 2nd.

January 9, 2016

Death Tweaks Who We Are


It affects us in a myriad of ways. Those ways get their collective cues from the distance that we are from the person/persons in question.

Using me as an example, certain events affected me certain ways. Tragedies that happened far away from me (i.e San Bernardino, Aurora, Virginia Tech), while they made me sad and angry, didn't affect me much. Tragedies that happened close to home (i.e. Sandy Hook/Newtown, CT Lottery, Hartford Distributors) made me exceptionally sad and angry, while tragedies dealing with the extended/immediate family (cousin passing away) hit me very hard.

As you can see, just about all the events in my life fall to two different ends. But what about a tragedy that falls on neither end of the spectrum, but somewhere in the middle?

This past Monday (1/4), I decided to log onto Facebook. No big thing there as my visits are pretty much the length of a three minute egg. But in my newsfeed, I saw a tagged photo featuring a FB friend with the phrase "RIP". Curiosity piqued, I went to my friend's timeline and saw to my dismay that I was seeing a boatload of tributes to this person.

Obviously, one W and the H came to the forefront, and I sat there scrolling through trying to find an answer to what the hell happened. Unfortunately, being the research nut that I am, I was able to put two and two together and came up with a conclusion that was confirmed two days later (the picture of Robin Williams couple with a prayer mantra was his last post on his timeline).

Now, my very talented (artist) FB friend had issues dealing with depression and he would often write about it on his timeline. Most of the time his other friends would try to help him deal with the issue in their own way. But apparently, over the course of the New Year's holiday, he decided to apply a permanent solution to what was a truly solvable problem.

While I wasn't particularly close to my FB friend, as we only hooked up because we went to the same high school, his death still bothers me. In my lifetime, I never had a friend/close acquaintance pass away. But this hit a bit too close for comfort. I don't care who you are, losing someone who is basically in your age bracket, give or take a year, makes you reexamine who you are as a person.

For the time being, my FB friend's page is still up and his family has posted a GoFundMe link to raise money for funeral expenses. Not sure if I'll donate to it, but if anything, this has made me stop and think about what I could've/should've/would've done while he was alive.

I know this probably sounds like a broken record, but as Ms. M always says, you can always do something to help, to prevent, to be that life preserver in a sea of quicksand. No matter what you think, a permanent solution to a solvable problem affects a grapevine's worth of people.

Addendum (1/10): The family changed his personal page to a memorial/remembrance page, and his family and friends are sharing their fondest memories of him, either verbally or combined with a pic.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

January 6, 2016

An Unusual Review Of 2015

We interrupt our genuflection at the altar of Should I Stay Or Should I Go? so as to insert just a tiny bit levity for this blog. After all, being a Danny Downer is certainly not the most intelligent way to start off a new year.

I got to thinking the other day, which as you know has gotten me into a peck (remember, a peck equals a half a smooch) trouble, about what to blog about. Usually nothing of note comes to the forefront, but this time, the idea of looking back at 2015 gently tapped on the chamber door. Well, I shouldn't say "gently tapped" but more like "punch-a-hole-through-the-door-and-pull-you-through-it".

And in keeping with the violent nature of the tap, we decided to do a certifiably strange review of 2015. Most people review what they wrote, what they read, who they visited, what they blogged about, what they accomplished, etcetera, etcetera, so-on, so-on, ad infinitum and to infinity and beyond.

For me, I plan on pontificating about the NEW THINGS I DONE DID for 2105. I know, it's hard to believe that this old dog done did something mighty newfangled (no, I didn't get a new phone), but I did. In no particular chronological order of importance, here are some of the NEW THINGS THAT I DONE DID for 2015.

1} Commit career suicide.

This is something wickedly hard to do, yet when you do do it, the short term consequences usually morph into something extremely long term. Kind of like declaring personal and business bankruptcy at the same time. I finally managed to extricate myself from a particular nasty job duty that was seriously affecting my job evaluations/performances for the past several years. But, in order to accomplish that ignominious feat, I had to put myself in front of the proverbial firing squad and take a couple of bullets. Trust me, it's something that you shouldn't do, but when you're left with no other alternative after exhausting all possibilities, you do what you need to do. I did it, but more importantly, it's a decision that I can conformtably live with for the next few years.

2} Went to a high school football game.

Now this may not sound like much, especially to those of you who live in an area that lives/breathes/eats high school football, but the last time I went to a high school football game was when I was in high school doing the marching band thing. That's 34 years ago for those who are too tired to do math (Barbie says, "It's hard!"). Sure enough, the marching band is what got me to go to our town's annual Thanksgiving football game between Newington and Wethersfield. My daughter Jenelle plays the French horn, so being the supportive parent I is, I went to the game. My daughter performed very admirably, especially with the wind chill being in the low teens. The team, not so good. Scored a t.d. on fumble recovery (missed the PAT), then gave up 37 straight unanswered points to lose the game.

3} Went to a figure skating show.

Considering how much I've bragged about my daughter's ice skating ability, you'd be probably saying to yourself, "Duh!". Well, the truth of the matter is this: the amount of figure skating shows/competitions that I've gone to in her entire life (she started skating @ 3 years old) you can count on One. Entire. Hand.

One of the man reasons as to why I haven't gone to most of her skating shows is money. My friends, dropping anywhere from $10 to $100 a pop just to watch a child perform a sub-two minute skating routine, is not getting bang for your buck. Multiply that by seven to twelve competitions per year and you can see why Dad doesn't attend.

But, attend I did. She did a fine admirable job appearing in the annual winter show that a New England area skating group puts on, and I was very proud of her showing and talent. For those of you who are curious what the total outlay of this particular event was, it came to a shade under $27 (event ticket, parking, concessions, and yes, ticket was approx. 60% of the total outlay).

4} Career suicide redux.

Going back to the original point, there was one very important lesson that I gleaned from that event. I learned how to portray myself as a "I told you so and in spite of your misguided opinion about me, I know WTF I'm talking about and I can do your job just as well as you can" in such a way as to let everyone know that should you disrespect me, I do indeed bite back.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.

January 3, 2016

Back To The Beginning

I originally started writing this post in October 2015, when I first started having serious doubts about my blogging in general and this blog in particular. Please consider this to be part one in a series of posts that should culminate in a decision on where I want to go with my blogging in 2016.

Way back in the late spring of 2008 when I'd first began to blog, I decided that one of the cornerstones of my blog would be to talk about my adventures in writing. So talking about my adventures we did. We blathered on how difficult it was to write, how much pain/sweat/tears it took to do this, that and the other thing. Etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.

But we had some fun along the way too. In 2009, while I was doing a self-publishing of this lovely little book:

Books by G.B. Miller
We decided to chronicle one of our adventures with ASI, with the whimsical title of G's Adventures? Now! and wrote 5 super informative and highly amusing posts about the expensive journey from writing the story to publishing (I, II, III, IV & V) said story (total cost is/was pegged at $700).

Then after that was completed, we got bitten by the bug of flash fiction, and spent the rest of '09 thru the fall of '10 cranking out some five dozen two to three page short stories (about 500-700 words each) of mostly mediocre quality. But, we gained valuable insight and great writing tips from fellow writers and readers.

Around 2011, after closing my short story blog, we decided to once again get serious about our writing (having published a short story in 2009), and some time later that year, we got another short story published (unfortunately, the online magazine that it's currently housed on has seem to taken a powder, so we're gonna try to get the rights to it back).

But I slightly digress.

In 2011, I had gotten the seed of a story idea during Super Bowl weekend, and within the span of 3 months, had a first draft of my novel "Line 21" written. I then spent the next several months revising, re-writing, and most importantly, sharing some of the results with people I respected. I also decided to share my adventures with this particular novel with my blogger friends and readers, especial my female readers. Why? Because the main characters were female, I wanted to make sure that I was portraying them as accurately as possible, which meant asking lots of slightly personal/open-ended questions.

Remember kids, research is everything when it comes to writing a good story. I researched the daylights out of this thing, so that meant asking my colleagues at work and my blog readers here, pointed questions about women, not only their characteristics, but their clothing/hair/physical limitations as well. I also researched motorcycles, especially on how to shift/drive a manual.

I actually had a good time writing this particular novel with input from my friends and co-workers, simply because it made it 100% authentic/believable.

With my next novella, I think I got away from that particular concept of asking open-ended questions about certain things with my readers. As the old cliché goes, writing is often a solitary occupation. Especially if you find it easier to express yourself via the written word as opposed to becoming severely tongue-tied/engaging mouth before putting brain into gear like myself. So I basically wrote the story sans input from almost everyone save a couple of beta readers. and even then, not all the input was applied.

I do have a 3rd completed novella on-deck waiting for yet another round of editing by me as well as by a freelance editor (if you're gonna self-publish, do it right), so I might explore another facet with that novella, like a title for example. And more importantly, a title that meshes with the previous novella that I have out, since the original goal was to write a trilogy.

However, like most goals that one sets for one's self, that original goal has fallen by the way side (or more like pounded into oblivion the way Alice does with Elbonians), and was replaced with another modest/doable goal of writing a series.

Like most potential plans/outlines/goals, in order to properly tackle the said plan/outline/goal, one has to minimize most outside distractions, lest they create a viable sideshow to the main attraction. What is the main attraction you might ask? Tune in next week when we confirm the answer that I hope everyone has acquired non-exclusive rights to at this point.

(c) 2016 BOOKS BY G.B. MILLER. All Rights Reserved.