Tag Archives: Online Writing

Amnesia

room

 

There’s an aspect to amnesia
That I find quite attractive
A forced blank slate
The loss of so many regrets
Haunting mistakes
Poorly chosen words
Many people won’t forgive you
Because they know that you know
What happened that day
They want their justice
But if you don’t know
If you just simply don’t have
The recollection

It wasn’t you.

So there is no one to blame
They must forgive you
That you no longer exists
An alluring opportunity
The bitch of it, the tradeoff
Would be kissing goodbye
All of the things that went right
Pretty little picture postcards
Torn to shreds

The new replacing the You that you knew.

To be truly reborn at an older age
To experience everything for the first time
A loss of irony and cynicism
That’s attractive to me
Because I judge far too often
I’ve been carrying these bags for years
I’m exhausted and
I have no idea
How to shake the memories
That follow me.
Photo Credit: Jon Chevier™ via Compfight cc

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The Indignity of Falling

It’s kind of hard to admit this
But I did something stupid
It wasn’t the last stupid thing I have done
But it was perhaps the greatest

I was at a party
Downtown, in a warehouse
Old slaughterhouse turned hipster
I was bored so I wandered

Up and up.

Seven stories until the roof.

A spectacular evening.

Detroit skyline.

Blinking and pretty.

The false warmth of
Many drinks made me feel quite cozy

Night sky, stars, the manufactured beauty
Glass and concrete creations
I thought it was all quite special
Pardon my precocious sentimentality

Took a few steps around a water tower
One step too many I’m afraid
Found myself gripping the edge of the roof
Thought I might die hard

Slipping fingers and thoughts to instinct
And down I went ass first, head second
To the fifth floor, my good sir
No stops in-between

There I lay, half-in-a-stupor
Facepalming just thinking about it
By the providence of the greater
I landed on a second roof instead of the street

Then the waiting, the hallucinating
The worry, the piss, the dehydration
The hunger, the pain, the shame
Broken hip couldn’t move no one knew

Took nearly two days for them to find me
I was a complete wreck a damned fool
Fractured bones and ego but happy
For a stretcher ride out of the shit

8 days in the hospital
10 weeks on crutches
15 years of head shaking
It’s been a while but I don’t forget

I dodged a bullet
I was spared for what purpose I
Might never know for sure
But I recognize the gift

One day my number will be called
Ticket punched and all that
A lovely service then
The trash heap

And there I will be watching
All of the events of my life
With the big bearded guy keeping
His finger on the rewind button

He’s going to want to watch this particular
Highlight more than a few times
And I will have no choice but to sit
Patiently waiting

While God laughs his ass off.

Photo Credit: bruckerrlb via Compfight cc

The Fields of the Unworthy

 

Shadow or spotlight
Neither promises much
Glaring truth in plain view

Chopper blades humming
Thumping looming closing
Heart valves pounding straining

RunningStumblingFallingSweatingScreamingStruggling

They finally found me
Hopes and expectations to the ether
The noose tightens quickly

All those things
I did or said or thought
Have come to fruition

My denial shattered
Foolish confidence
Outranked by reality

Fraudulence uncovered
Burning light centered

One shot.

One drop.

And the check finally cashed.

Photo Credit: Connor Tarter via Compfight cc

Blogger Book Fair: Special Guest Adele Park

July BBF button copyWelcome to the Blogger Book Fair! All week I will be featuring a diverse group of bloggers and authors, but I also recommend heading over to the event’s website, Blogger Book Fair, because there are a lot of other blogs and websites participating, and there are all kinds of freebies and great books to discover.

In addition to a week of guest blogs, I have marked down the Kindle version of my novel, Leather to the Corinthians, to only .99 for the week! Click here to get it.

My first guest post is from author Adele Park. She is the author of the award-winning audio book, Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book and has taken the time to share her experience with the process of narrating an audio book. As I am considering taking this step with my work, it’s quite interesting. Enjoy!

Do You Want to Narrate an Audio Book?

Are you an actor or voice-over artist looking for more work? The market for narrators is expanding with the growing audio book industry. New studios are cropping up every day so you don’t necessarily have to live in New York City or Los Angeles to land a gig. In fact, the cost of opening your own recording studio has dropped so dramatically that many narrators do their work from the comfort of their own homes.

Audio book narration is a very specialized skill, especially for projects where just one person is reading the voices for all the characters. Narrators must develop a unique voice for all the characters and make each one believable, even if they are reading a part for the opposite sex. Additionally, the narrator must be able to move seamlessly from one character to the next.

If your narration skills could use a little polishing or if this is a talent you’d like to develop, one place to start is with Pat Frayley.com. Pat has been hosting narration workshops all over the United States for many years. Not ready to commit to a workshop? Pat also offers a variety of free lessons on his website.

Seasoned narrators have an abundance of work opportunities thanks to ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) www.acx.com. Narrators can create a profile an post their voice demo on the ACX site. Narrators can also use ACX as a way to audition for specific projects they are interested in working on. Better still, ACX allows narrators to negotiate their own fees.

Another way for narrators to advertise their services is through the Audio Publishers Association www.audiopub.org. The APA is a networking organization which strives to promote the audio book industry and keep its members informed on sales trends and other relevant information. Please note: there is a small fee associated with joining the APA.

As the owner of Straight to Audio Productions LLC, I’m often approached by narrators who would like to work on my audio books. All of my audio books are multi-voiced and feature numerous actors. While I can’t tell you what other studios require, perhaps some of the things I look for have a universal quality. At the very least, you’ll know the best way to pull off a successful audition for my projects.

At Straight to Audio Productions, a positive attitude is one the main indicators of whether or not I want to invest time and money in an a certain actor. My goal is to attract those with an upbeat, happy disposition. I consider every actor who works on my projects to be equally important, whether they have the lead role or just read one or two chapters. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to punctuality and preparedness. In return, I’m careful to respect other people’s time, so I’m always set up and ready to go when an actor comes in for a recording session.

I’m not sure what school of thought other production studios use, but for my company I have a few things I look for during an audition. As an audio book listener, I get distracted by sound tracks where the volume level changes due the way the narration is voiced. I look for actors who can read at a consistent level so listeners won’t have to keep turning the volume up and down. I also prefer strong voices as opposed to reedy ones that may be tricky to edit.

While I’m not currently in production for an audio book, I do have one in the works. Narrators who are interested in being invited to audition for Straight to Audio Productions are welcome to send their demos to studio129@infowest.com. Please make sure your demo is in mp3 format and doesn’t exceed three minutes in length.

Best of luck to all the narrators in the world. You have a valuable skill that helps listeners learn new things and enjoy their favorite books. Now is the time to make your voice heard!
Written by: Adele Park
Website: www.yikesaudiobook.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPotQyyPsuo&feature=g-upl

IMG_1742About Adele:

Adele Park worked as a TV and radio reporter, news anchor and on-air personality for more than 20 years. In 2008, Park formed Straight to Audio Productions LLC and opened a recording studio in St. George, Utah. Park’s first audio book, WHEN RADIO AND POLYGAMY COLLIDE . . . Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book, received a 2011 Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association for Multi-Voiced Performance. Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book was also honored with a spot on Jimmy Fallon’s Do Not Read List.

yikes-thumbprint-1200x1200About Yikes!

WHEN MARIJUANA AND REALITY TV COLLIDE . . . Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book
Written, Produced and Edited by Adele Park. Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is a satire about a marijuana enthusiast named Blue McKenna who uses reality TV as a way to cure an apocalyptic case of writer’s block. A conglomerate of kooky contestants invades the polygamist community of Navel, Utah, to compete in a reality show called Yikes! Participants include Steven Finch, a lovable stoner who develops a conspiracy theory involving a rock band called the Rectal Surgeons, and Randall Smoot, a member of the Gay Mafia.
Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is 10.5 hours long, features a cast of 11 actors, and is available for sale on Audible.com and Amazon.com. Yikes! was released in September of 2012. The ISBN number for Yikes! is 978-0-9837074-1-7.

How to Write a Novel

…and Not Lose Your Mind in the Process.

screamIf the title of this post caught your eye, my guess is that at some point you have said:

“I’m going to write a book someday.”

Or perhaps:

“I want to write a book.”

And even better yet?

“I’m working on a book.”

As an instructor in a creative writing BFA and first-time novelist, I salute your ambition. I also offer my condolences.

You’re in for a rough ride. Writing a novel (and I’m just going to talk about novels — not non-fiction, how-to, or self-help books) is an artistic Tough Mudder – only the strong of mind, body, and spirit will survive. It requires craft, determination, and a thick skin. You will also need endless passion for your story and a reliable coffee maker.

Once you commit to writing a book, it will create a huge empty space in your soul that will exist until you type that last word. Even then, there will still be a part of you missing. It will now live in that book. It’s a proverbial pound of flesh.

A fortune cookie once told me that the gift of a painful experience is that you get to pass on your wisdom to those who may face a similar experience. I recently published my first novel, and I would like to spare you the mistakes that I made as I stumbled through the process.

Here’s some advice for your consideration.

1) KEEP IT A SECRET: Tell no one you’re working on a book. NO ONE. Otherwise you will endure constant questions that seem to be encouraging. The moment you tell people about your plans, you will be haunted by well-meaning friends who when seeing you will ask, “So, how’s the book coming?” If you haven’t been working on it, you will suddenly get the sensation that approximately 2 tons of lead weight has been placed on your shoulders. It gets old very quickly.

But…if this is not your first book, tell everybody, especially agents and publishers. Always look busy.

2) SECURE A CORNER: You’re going to need alone time. Create a quiet, isolated place to work, free of distractions.

3) SECURE THE TIME: For me, writing is work not play. I see many writers in my Facebook feed proclaim that they love writing. Personally, I like it a lot more when it’s completed. The actual process is work. When you are busy all day with a job and schoolwork, it can be hard to get motivated to sit down and work some more. Schedule time every day.

Put it on your calendar just as you would a work or school schedule. Commit to it. Time will slip through your fingers, and the world is filled with entertaining distractions such as family, friends, and gainful employment. You will have to lock the time in and defend it with all your might.

4) ORGANIZE: The romantic notion of sitting down to the blank page and showering your brilliance upon it isn’t realistic. That’s not what’s going to happen. Writer’s block is what’s going to happen. Before writing that novel, organize your thoughts. Think out the story. Make lists. Create character sketches. Get it all in a notebook, Evernote binder, or index cards. Take this step as far as you can, it will make the other steps easier, and crush writer’s block where it stands.

5) RESEARCH: Unless you are an expert on all aspects of your story, you will have questions to answer before you begin to write. Setting your story in Tokyo but you’ve never been there? Hit the books. Period piece? Hit the books? Science fiction? HIT THE BOOKS.

Armed with knowledge, you will be free to write without stopping to fact check constantly. You’ll feel confident and that will translate into productivity. You have to know your “stuff” because savvy readers will find your mistakes and you’ll end up as a subthread on Reddit.

6) OUTLINE: You’ve organized your thoughts and story. You’ve done a nice chunk of research. You should have a solid idea of the story you want to tell. Now it is time to look at its structure. Outline the story and take it from beginning to end. You don’t need to know everything, but you need a solid foundation. There will be much more that will come from the process of writing, but the more you know now, the better.

7) WRITE IT: Say bye-bye to free time. The only way your book will be written is if you get your butt in the seat and write. A typical novel has roughly 90k words. You need to know this because you are about to go on a WORD DIET. What this means is that you are going to write 500-1000 words a day (you set this goal) and do nothing else until you reach your word count for the day. If you shoot for 1000 words a day, you’ll have your first draft in three months. Not bad.

8) TAKE A BREAK: Once your manuscript is complete, take a week off. Call your mother — she missed hearing your voice. Do your laundry and get some groceries in the kitchen cabinet. All that fast food is unhealthy.

9) REVISE IT: I have some bad news: the writing was the easy part. You need to go line for line and revise. Tear it apart. Cut unnecessary words. Nothing should be so precious it can’t be deleted. Fix every mistake you find, as for each mistake you fix, there are two that you didn’t see.

10) SEEK CRITIQUE: Now it’s time to tell people you have been working on a book. Rejoice! Find a writing group. Find friends who can provide the tough love. Have them read it. Ask them for feedback. This is a miserable process. You’ll probably feel nauseous most of the time. Hang in there.

11) REVISE AGAIN: Take what you learn from the critique process and apply what is appropriate. Remember, some people don’t like pizza. Opinions are opinions, not law. Stick to your vision, but take what they have to say seriously. Rework that manuscript.

12) HIRE AN EDITOR/PROOFREADER: Seek professional intervention. Hire the best editor and proofreader you can afford. They will tear through your manuscript yet again, but this time it will be with a cold, mercenary eye. It is critical to get professionals involved at this point. You need the best product you can possibly have.

13) BETA READERS: You should have a sparkling draft as this point. Something that has become quite popular is finding beta readers to read the book. They will point out any consistencies or questions that remain. Again, you are soliciting opinion, and not all of them will be appropriate. This process is similar to the focus groups used by Hollywood for years, and they have destroyed some amazing films. Tread lightly.

14) REVISE AGAIN: Sigh, I know.

15) GET PUBLISHED: This article is about writing a novel. Getting published is a conversation for another day. Spoiler: it is just as fun as writing it.

See you on the other side.

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

Violet Pastures

Flashback Fridays continue with this strange item I found written on the back of a notebook. Is it worthy of life beyond the box in which it was found? Not entirely sure! There are a few things going on here that I like, and for me at least, there’s a vibe that’s interesting. Feels a bit like excerpts from different poems jammed into one. Perhaps it will lead to several more…regardless of it’s merit, I give it life today.

Purple lasting longer209662750_826d454af2_b
Than any other shade
Disciples of deceit
Carrying traumas of regular anticipation.

What could take us away
From casual frustration
And scheduled stress

Posing questions is three on a match.

Befuddled stars scratch
Their heads and shrug
Turning to the cameras.

Alien to natural design.
Obstacle to daily life.
Irrational to all biological function.
We simply think too much.

 

Photo Credit: young_einstein via Compfight cc

Party of the Year

I can bring only a
Silent gasp
To this party

Volume of madness
Levels of excess
Devoid of substance

This gathering of mistakes
Which beg only
Give it give it

What is temporary
Is of the most strength
Weakness of the fleeting

Here for the moment
On standby for ruin
By your hands

All that was ever wanted
Was love but the party
Was about something else

Fuck the guests
They were fools
To begin with.

Photo Credit: Maarten Thewissen via Compfight cc