Hobbit Birthday Celebrations

Inspired by a close acquaintance and her hobbit birthday celebrations, I’m celebrating my birthday by offering the Kindle version of Martyrs al-Sabra free to all on Amazon for the next five days. Pick it up!

If only the print version will do, and you want an author-signed version, they can be found here.

Chasing Eleven Available

Chasing Eleven was released this week. It’s a collection of my short stories, early versions of some have been shared on the site, but others are definitely new.

The foreword is exerpted below.

“The title and concept for Chasing Eleven is inspired by an iconic scene from the movie Spinal Tap; specifically, a conversation between characters Nigel Tufnel and biographer Marty DiBergi:

“..If we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?”

“You put it up to eleven.”

“Exactly! It’s one louder.”

“Why don’t you just make ten louder, make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”

(long pause as Nigel considers the possibility)

“These go to eleven…”

What does that have to do with a collection of short stories? More than is initially apparent! I’ve found certain behaviors in myself and others invariably becoming a source of rueful amusement. Generally, this occurs when a person is so focused on a singular obsession they ignore all external indications they may be incorrect and persist in likely folly.

Think of a poker player, betting all-in while drawing to an inside straight. The odds of pulling that one card is very low, but the gambler ignores them, betting everything left, sure this is the one time it will happen. Indie authors are kind of like that: persisting regardless of ample evidence to heaven’s vast indifference. Why each writer persists varies by the individual, but is closely tied to the reasons they write in the first place.

As for me, I’m just chasing eleven.”

It was fun pulling it together, Sarah Kalin – Editor helped me trim some of the more self-indulgent elements into something more or less cohesive.  I hope you enjoy it!

What Do You Do?

Recently I was standing in line to board a flight, making small talk with those around me, and an earnest extrovert (who was doubtless in sales or marketing) asked me “What do you do?”. Oddly enough the question triggered a system failure in my brain, as it looped unsuccessfully in search of a correct or acceptable response. After a longish pause I muttered something about management consulting and continued on my way.

Later I considered why the question stumped me so. Part of the issue is I’ve never identified with things done merely to earn a living or for recreation. Being limited to something like that is faintly repulsive to me. I don’t mind the need of people to categorize/stereotype others, it’s merely a way for them to make sense of the world. In short, they’re building a model of who you are to guide them in further discussion. The problem I have is a simple answer will not always provide an accurate model. It generally doesn’t in my case.

So how should I answer the question?

Should I say;

    • I’m an international energy systems engineer?
    • I’m the founder of a gaming software company?
    • I’m an inventor?
    • I’m a technology product manager?
    • I’m a program manager for space systems?
    • I’m a book reviewer
    • I’m a publisher?
    • I’m an author?
    • I’m a management consultant?
    • I’m financially independent?
    • I’m a masters swimmer?
    • I’m retired?

An accurate answer requires much more than these simple statements, all of which are true but don’t get to the heart of the literal question. I wouldn’t be happy with any of these answers as my summation. Standing in line with strangers however requires a simple throwaway statement, one which conveys the balance of who you are without providing excessive detail. Better yet, the answer should provide the questioner nothing to engage (just in case they ARE in sales).

After a great deal of thought, I’ve come up with the response I’ll use going forward.

“Anything I choose.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Swam for Alligator Light

Swam for the Alligator Light in Islamorada, FL on September 14, 2019. Due to weather conditions the organisers shortened the race to 4 miles rather than the usual 8. Placed 94th out of 224. On one hand, disappointing, on the other I have enough energy left afterwards to smile with a duck on my shoulder. All good!

No, that is not a Dasani product, it is a home-made electrolyte drink with diluted orange juice.

April 2019 Production

Before being tasked with the obvious, I did forego doing much writing last month for reasons other than my readers’ welfare. (untangle that one!) As referenced earlier, Feral Cat LLC needed an infusion of cash, and rather than pulling it out of the personal vaults I did some project work. Happily it is now over, and Feral Cat has a couple more years of funding in place without being beholden to anyone else. All good!

Chart of daily work done
Nothing to see here, keep walking!
Unpublished titles list with stages of completion
I think A Song for Eleanor will be a love-turns-horror story, we’ll have to see!

A Man Swims

What was I doing last weekend rather than writing? Swimming in an open water race around Lido Key, Florida. Still recovering but was back in the pool this morning.

Pre-race 4/27/2019
Less than a mile from the finish…

March 2019 Production

I’m in the process of acquiring additional funding for Feral Cat, LLC. In due time, there will be development funding for even more loss-making publications! I’m only paying for it with my life’s blood; which I guess is how it’s supposed to be.

Gaps correspond to funding for Feral Cat LLC
Plenty of projects in queue!

February 2019 Production

February got back on track with regards to new words written. Days where I fell below the target (1K/day) were made up on other days. February also saw completion of the Pandora’s Children manuscript. Time for the editor and her chainsaw! I also changed the project/title list to exclude published items. Titles which show complete are pre-publication (short stories are the lower word counts).

I have a few more short story ideas where I need to add placeholders, next month!
Something every day