Summer Means Bikinis and Book Clubs

Original Post Date May 08, 2013 at 05:24 PM

The author has a project plan for conquering the 2013 Summer season.

Last week, I took my art too seriously. This week, I worked on recalibrating back to a placid state. I had good company in the form of my business partner, in town from Orlando (or “up north” as I find the locals saying), and we made the most of Cinco de Mayo/my birthday. Our new friends at Red Mesa Cantina and The Avenue reminded us both we should spend more time celebrating, not scrutinizing, our achievements. And celebrate we did.

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Why are mothers so good at picking out birthday cards? I provided you a picture of mine. Nothing like a to-do list to keep the calibration in check! That’s basically my objective list for the 36th solar cycle. I posted it above my workstation, so in those challenging moments when my characters are hesitant or my storytelling peters off, I’ll move my eyes to my objectives. Like Marie’s great impression of Tim Gunn, I’m gonna make it work.

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When you have company on the beach, it’s a great time to proselytize, and Gina and I are great at selling each other on concepts and ideas we can carry forward in our enterprises as we soak up sun. I had to get something off my chest to her, which I’ll summarize here but with the preface that I’m not trying to stoke dramatics. That’s what Facebook is for. Merely mentioning a facet of participating in the creative community: haters.

I thought, as I have progressed in age, persons in my demographic bracket and the next tier above would have some sort of, I don’t know, decorum, when it comes to interacting artistically. I don’t want to say there needs to be a professionalism about it, because ‘professionalism’ denotes stuffy shirts, time sheets, and quotas. It would be nice, fellow artists, if we could stand out from the at-large society by automatically projecting positivity instead of negativity towards each other when we’re engaging as a community? It’s hard enough to work the energy and mind towards sharing something so intimate and definitive, one shouldn’t have to add to the struggle by defending against daggers and shards of animosity. Especially when all I’ve done is promote and laud your artistry! I didn’t like experiencing that when I wore suits and my hair pinned back. I definitely don’t want to repeat it in my bohemian artist mode. So can I just make a blanket request here…save the hatred for global terrorists? If everybody loves everybody, it makes for richer art and productive creative sessions. Thank you, the management.

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This summer, I invite you to join me in exploring all the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, starting with Casino Royale. These average about 200 pages; you can get it done in one beach or pool outing.

And I did re-read The Great Gatsby with the DiCaprio movie coming out soon. The 1974 Redford/Farrow film is available on Netflix. Check ’em out!


To Read Or Not To Read?

Original Post Date May 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

The author weighs in on the opinion of reading fiction to qualify to write fiction.

“To be a good fiction writer you have to read fiction.”

Is this true? I’ll offer substance for both arguments.

Don’t Read In Order To Write

Many writers’ blogs warn of the death of the book, but I’m not that apocalyptic. Imagination in and of itself is not dead. Video game and movie plots interpreted from novels have evoked so much curiosity that people are investing in the original medium. For example, this past Monday I took myself on an Artist’s Date to watch Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this work in 7th grade, and then again in 10th grade, and revisited it a week ago. When I watched Baz’s version, I truly enjoyed the story. But one thing didn’t change since 7th grade: I still can’t stand Daisy Buchanan! During Baz’s interview on The Colbert Report, he mentioned there were more sales of the book leading up to his movie’s release than there were sold collectively when the author was alive.

I’m reading Ian Fleming’s 007 series as my summer book challenge. As Fleming wrote Bond, he considered how the character would appear on screen as well as along his pages. Was he reading a whole bunch of mystery novels and collaborating with other authors in the same genre? Not at all. Fleming was writing in one medium, but considering another medium as he typed his words. This was the beginning of the 1950s, y’all. How could this not be applicable in the Twenty Teens?

Read In Order To Write

From an artistic standpoint, this makes sense. During the development phase of I Blew Up Juarez, I read a myriad of works, fiction and non-fiction, as research and to supplement my story presentation. Of course, avoiding abject plagiarism or mimicking. I am my own artist, and my story is delivered with my creative essence. However, there were specific works that I wanted to experience to support the messages I want to convey in my novel.

From a marketing standpoint, this also makes sense. If you’re writing in a certain genre, you’re gonna want to attract the readership of similarly focused authors. So if I want to promote a book that features a strong female protagonist challenged by supernatural beings, I would look up works in a similar vein and read them to get an idea of how those authors present that type of story.

I contend you don’t have to be a book reader to love a good story, and thanks to the imagination and creativity of the digitally-inclined, a good story can be enjoyed in a multimedia format. Such is my business model. I look forward to releasing I Blew Up Juarez as an e-book and a physical paperback. I absolutely see this work in movie format. My editor thinks it could be a video game. My question is: where are we on action figures? Are they still a thing…?

I, Author

Original Post Date March 06, 2013 at 07:50 PM

The definition of author proofed by superhuman attributes.

“And what is your occupation?”2013-03-05 17.05.35 2013-03-05 15.23.22

“I’m an author.”

The words tumbled out of my mouth like house keys in front of the door from an errant hand.  As subconscious as the reflex which captured the keys before they hit the floor.

I am an author.

Granted, I was speaking to someone gathering information to assess an insurance quote, but the exchange held significance.

We are conditioned to announce titles only if bestowed by society.  I am not big on waiting for social acknowledgement.

I write, therefore I am.

If you would have asked me a year ago this month, I would have entered into some haphazard diatribe about a dream deferred and coming out of the darkness and other sad cliches, then have petered out with a disillusioned whimper.  The curse of the shadow artist.  The artist lives, but we’re too afraid to admit it.  Why?

This comes natural to me.

In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and won!  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words – think “The Great Gatsby” – in thirty days.  I did it in nineteen.

I didn’t write poppycock either.  I had colleagues read my rough and their critiques were in the neighborhood of repairable grammar.  Bragging?  Might as well.  I’ve never had an issue producing written works.  Which is why I don’t understand how college students can’t hammer out a simple 200-word essay.  I can be drunk, high, with a hand tied to a foot, and it would be cherry!

Longhand used to be my preferred method, but like most cyborgs, overuse of a particular assembly results in ugly wear and tear.  Adamantium arm in backorder.  Before my hand literally curls shut, I can compose on average twenty pages front and back on college ruled paper, about 5,000 words in one session.

To counter my withering instrument, I work in a sweet wireless setup on my couch opposite a 50″ screen.  This allows me stellar witching hour compositions in my jimmy jams.

As any warrior poet knows, a pen and notebook should always be at the ready, at the waist or to the back.  You never know when inspiration strikes.  This particular entry was drafted under a clear blue Saint Petersburg sky and proofed at Taco Bus.

No, I did not buy that insurance policy.  But she hung up the phone noting she completed a conversation with Ivonne, the author.  She probably slept peacefully that night.

This is my station in life.  I am quite comfortable here.