Monday, November 20, 2017

Woe and Problems

Not so many months ago, I bought a new desktop. It was an Acer and it was made like a laptop. At first, it was a joy to use and naturally I loved it. I had some new stories on the word processor that have never been saved elsewhere. Because the machine was new, I thought there was plenty of time for that. But I just got a text from the repairman: motherboard fried. I have to pay him $170 to rescue my files. So here is a word of wisdom to all who would like to trust modern technology: It's out to screw you. Never trust any of it for an instant. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Collection: Items Expelled

Two of my short stories have been removed from the contents of Spelville. Try as I might, I cannot steer them away from being cliches. Perhaps if I allow them to stay in time out a spell, they may decide to cooperate. Meanwhile, time to get on with a new one, having completed Walk on the Sky, yesterday.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Writers.me

Books published by submitting to Writers.me
Beyond the Dark Water is one that you will see there. But there lots of good ones to choose from.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I haven't plotted out Walk on the Sky at all.

I don't know what will happen next until I write it. Hope I get a clue in time to tie it all together.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Took time off to recharge the batteries

I plan to put my current work into the NaNoWriMo site. My user name there is Arlo Clyde. Current tale under construction: Walk on the Sky.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sleeping With Strangers

The title of my novel, Poppy Fields of Mars, is now, Sleeping With Strangers. Still trying to get some attention to this one.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

At Seventy Five

There is a calmness and satisfaction in older people's lives. I don't think we earn it. It seems to be a natural cycle, one of the many stages of life. But it is not altogether smooth sailing. Roiling the calm are poverty and/or infirmity, for many. Until recently, I had been completely certain that I would defy at least the latter. Then I learned that I have a damaged liver and that for years have been eating, always, the very foods that I should have avoided. Recently, for days I had gotten so lethargic as to spend most of the daylight hours either asleep in the easy chair or wasting time on social media. None of my stories progressed. It seems entirely logical that I might have fallen asleep and failed to awaken. During the last five days I have changed my diet and already my energy level is up, so I have possibly bought some time. I feel better now. Much of the mental fog has lifted and I have been staying busy all day, as of yesterday.        

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Our Great White Winter

Brother Sam and I were footloose through the last years of the 60s, except we were becoming settled, in Kansas City, in 1969. We rented a home in a boarding house and got jobs and an auto. He drove a delivery car. I worked at a plant that provided caustics for soaps and the like. As it settled into winter, we had lots of ice and some snow. I recall one day watching a thermometer go to minus eight. More than once, my feet skied out from under me and my butt slammed into the sidewalk.
After work, we two introverts would go home, and play records, into the evening. As one unhappy resident put it, walking past our door, "Clang, clang, clang." We had just discovered Leonard Cohen and we had Beatles, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Donovan and the Band, and The Fugs. Sam discovered James Taylor. He loved Sweet Baby James. I never liked Taylor's delivery and ignored him, except later, when he sang Fire and Rain.
I had recently been in New York City and DC, to participate in civil rights and antiwar protests. I avidly bought the LA Free Press and other anti-establishment publications and collected R Crumb comics. R Cobb had some fantastic editorial cartoons in the LA Free Press.
Lately I had been staring at blank spiral notebook pages, yearning to write. Finally, Sam said to me, "Write a story about Wild Wormwood." Inspired, I began to turn out daily stories, all instigated by Sam. "Write about Nathan Warlock." And so on. Then we began to collaborate on a magazine, which never materialized.
This period I have called Our Great White Winter, because, in the ice and snow of Kansas City, we were inside, warm, and the artistic ferment seemed wrapped in a pure, white, secure, blanket. And the seeds were planted for the future.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Clowns

A Murder of Clowns
'Nother to go in the collection.
I grew up a fan of clowns. Even the unfunny ones had a gentle humor that made me want to smile. Even now I salute them for working so hard to entertain. The evil clowns of today are as separate from my childhood clowns as Jekyll from Hyde. I reject them all. Which could explain why I wrote this story.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Quote of the day:

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear." ~ Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Authors.me library


The Authors.me Bookshelf

Through these people I found my publisher for Beyond the Dark Water. I am using them to push some more writings. I saw a few agents listed. Some of the publishers are Indie and I was approached by one who wanted to "partner" publish. So, if you are interested, please be careful to fully check them out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Shorts

The new shorts to accompany Spelville:

Peace: Murder against a backdrop of realized world peace.

The Twelian: A boy and his extraterrestrial.

Untitled: The secrets in Grandpa's attic.

This list to be expanded as work prgresses.

Monday, September 11, 2017

New Direction

Instead of trying to peddle Spelville, individually, it now seems doable to make up a collection of stories. I had not expected publishers to be receptive, but, it turns out, some are requesting it. I have some ready and and a new one is taking shape as I write.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Formatting to submit

I am formatting three stories. I hope to submit them by Monday.

A woman friend of mine has seen my stories. "Why do you kill everyone?" she asked, one day. Why do butterflies sing? Why does the walrus soar? Nobody knows.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

well, about the storm

I never flooded, was never in danger. I lost the internet before the storm even hit and it took me until now to get it back. Lots of things to make up. I hope all is well with those who endured Harvey and also who may be attacked by Irma.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Feedback on Spelville

I wrote the first two chapters in a fairly distant past. My writer friend - now deceased, so I will not name him - told me he liked it better than Nevil Shute's "On the Beach." While I am not vainglorious enough to compare myself to such a fine writer, I totally love to be praised. The other day, I sent the complete draft to a lifetime friend, who lives in a state distant from mine. Of course, I first made certain he was interested. This friend will be totally honest with me, which is why I trust him with my stuff. He has ripped into a couple of things I showed him and I hope he will give me the works, once again. Anyway, I anxiously await a response and while I let this version cool a while, I am at work on one concerning a stranded extraterrestrial. (It's no imitation of E. T. by any means.)   

Monday, August 14, 2017

Zimbell House Publishing

I submitted Poppy Fields manuscript to these folks. I suspected they ask the authors to pay them, so made it clear up front I am not looking to pay a publisher. They thanked me for letting them know, thus saving us each our time. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Promotion

Seems the Indie authors may have broken down a wall. Maybe it was never there. Publishers leave most of the 'leg work' to the authors, these days, from something I have been reading.That is, unless your name is Stephen King or John Grisham.  I always believed that when, or if, one becomes published, the publisher does all of that and sends your royalties.  I knew about book signings and readings, but had no idea it was key to your success. Boy am I dumb. Well, nothing to do but keep plugging away. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Spelville last chapter written

Now to fill out certain sparsely written passages. After that will ensue a cooling off period before I do a final edit.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Progressing

I read through Spelville, from page one, yesterday. Not to polish, but to check for cohesiveness and obvious errors. I had read a particular passage a number of times without realizing I had the character of Annie born after her brother, Joseph, but as of the very next page had Annie the eldest. Caught that, yesterday. Some errors were comical - almost. For 'tome,' I somehow managed to write 'tomb.' It's too soon for a final polish, but I can proceed with a feeling it is coming together.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sold more copies than I expected

I have said all along that Beyond the Dark Water was never expected by me to sell too many copies. True enough it will never take off, but it is doing pretty well. Thanks to all who gave it a try.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Agents

I think if I wish to avoid Indie publishers, I have to seek an agent. Spelville is far from completion, but I decided to begin a list of potential representatives, to be ready. I feel lost, going through so many websites. I am keeping a copy of my book in a non formatted form, to make it easier to set it up as each agent or publisher specifies. I plan to explore the possibility that this story could be of interest as a movie.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Poppy Fields of Mars and Henry Miller

There were two Henry Millers. First, he was a notorious writer of explicit, often crude, sexual encounters and fantasies, for which he was banned, before a court allowed that his books had redeeming value. He dared to pen what others thought, but were reluctant to make a literature of. In my book, I took up this aspect of his work to inspire my own. I make no apologies for my choice of words, or the implied point of view. Like Miller, I have incorporated other aspects of storytelling, of a non sexual content, to round out a tale that is essentially a love story between two, who become separated and must await the end of odyssey to be reunited.

Second, for Miller, his observations of culture, art and personal angst fill far more volumes than the sex. It would be an honor for me to be able to claim similar skills, but not so in Poppy Fields of Mars. It is straightforward storytelling, minus the abstruse, told as sparsely and simply as I could manage.

It would be presumptuous, as well as delusional, for me to claim my work in any way equates to Henry Miller's genius. But, I think, if someone loves Tropic of Cancer or The Rosy Crucifixion, they may be slightly amused by my own efforts.   

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On the Rewrite

Notes to self:
1. Sprinkle cars and trucks about some of the descriptive passages. (Joseph playing in a few as a child.)
2. Explain how Nicole got her spine twisted by Joe Kerr.
3. Explain about the mysterious concoction in a barrel that saved lives.
4. Add clever chapter titles
5. Revisit this list from time to time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Knowledge Gaps When Writing

On social media I asked friends the following question:


"Has anybody here ever installed or removed an outboard motor? Specifically, does the motor bolt in place or merely slip in a bracket and then simply lift up and out? It's important to know for a story I am working on."


I got the answers I needed. Then:

  I got it now. Thanks. You may have helped - or hindered - my efforts to save the captives on board a boat.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

After Three Months an Answer

I submitted Poppy Fields of Mars to Inkling, via Authors.me, three months ago. This week they emailed me to let me know they no longer use that site. I can resubmit to their other site, but the manuscript has a different set of rules to follow, after I spent a week making changes for the Authors.me app. A manuscript can be blowin' in the wind for a long time before its fate is settled. Another problem with the book, it is oriented mainly to heterosexuality, told from the male point of view. It is hard to find somebody to allow it as a submission. I have to keep it circulating until somebody gives it a chance.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Spelville

That's the working title for my tale of the few to survive a disease that one could almost describe as the Earth acting in revolt against infestation. Every major species was stricken. Spelville is the name of a riverside settlement where a family of three resides, living in isolation for years before getting discovered by an expedition of twelve men on a mission to learn if any women at all survived. Before they came to Spelville they had found none - 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Multiple Stories

I think nearly all writers have more than one work in progress. I have recently made considerable progress revising an older tale of mine and expanding it into a longer, more rounded, more readable, manuscript. It's a dystopian tale about a woman who lives alone for the first ten years, before being discovered by another survivor, and then things start to happen to her. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Poppy Fields of Mars

I never wrote anything remotely like this before. It is a book of sub plots, with a giant cast of characters. It careens from dark to light, from humor to tragedy.  Mars and his wife, Joanna, are a team of sexual adventurers, until his wife strikes out on her own. Wounded by the betrayal, he discovers within himself a desire to go mainstream and abandons her. There is a strong element of revenge in his subsequent sexual encounters, before he selects a woman named Dance to share his future. Theirs is a troubled relationship, destined to fail. Her depression  as a gang rape victim drives her to suicide. In the dreamscape of sexual adventures, Mars encounters a bizarre list of partners. He finally breaks away from the life of the player, and has a series of adventures, before the plot is resolved and like Ulysses goes home. It has yet to be picked by a publisher.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I Knew it Was no Best Seller

I wrote Beyond the Deep Water with the full realization it would likely have few readers. It was my life mission, at the time, to gain the catharsis the writing afforded and also to state my case to the ones who would pay attention. Until one has read this book, one knows virtually nothing about me, whether as friend, acquaintance or otherwise. I lived the greater portion of my life like a cockroach hiding in cracks and shadows during the history of the greatest decades of the wealthiest nation in history. With the exception of a few episodes I maintained sanity in the face of being ridiculed and ignored. I quit school at age 16 and worked for relatives, framing houses. They most reluctantly employed me, for I was considered too slow, too stupid. Thoughts of approaching a stranger to ask for a real job terrified me and I stuck with them. The year I turned 20, desperation drove me to hitch hike across four states, with two dollars in my pocket and no change of clothes. A car wash hired me to vacuum cars, in Long Beach, CA.

Every day was a climb up a rugged slope, with a raging beast strapped across my back. Even when I married, the struggle never abated. Only the calm that comes with old age has eased my burden in the slightest. During the writing of my book I gained self knowledge I might otherwise have remained ignorant of the whole of my days.

When I set out to write it, I intended to tell the whole story of my entire family. For years I turned out a chapter here, some pages more now and again, but was unable to combine the whole into a cohesive narrative. Discord with some of my siblings made me delete most references to living persons, leaving me with a short tale indeed. I turned to fiction to bind it together and was able at last to wrap it up, with the introduction of Rusty as a ghost.        

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Message from a Reader

This was a quick and easy read, I enjoyed the geographical details, I don't know how you do it! The diagnosis at the end...brilliant!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rejected

Poppy Fields of Mars got its first rejection today. It may be a difficult one to place, so I am cultivating patient persistence where it is concerned.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doggy Door

Now I got a dog that needs to roam 
All around the yard and inside my home 
I didn`t argue the why and what for 
I up and installed the doggie door
 
She went out and peed 
And ran per her need 
I thought all was wonderful and well 
But that door made my life a living hell
 
She`s a fifty pound pup called a lab 
And what she wants to chew on she`ll just grab 
Like new shoes and sox 
And porch support posts 
I lost two ten foot banana trees 
The dog got bored and took them down with ease 
She once put in the wife`s sleeping face 
A sopping wet azalea's root (mud laced) 
Brings in long tree tops 
Insects even rocks 

Tree chippers prob`ly make better pets 
And are a lot less stressful on the vets 
All in all I`d say the dog`s absurd 
But I love her so just take my word

Friday, May 5, 2017

EDGAR'S COFFEE AND BOOK STORE

I write from the seat of my pants, mostly. That's why I can rarely give an in depth preview of anything I'm working on. In this new effort, Edgar Blythe owns a neighborhood store. He daily visits wife, Mary Blythe, who is an institutionalized Alzheimer's patient. The regulars who visit to share coffee and camaraderie provide much of the color and drama. I've already written of one cast member. He is Irving Bradbury, who is proud he shares the name of a famous author. There is no comparison. Irving has written just one book and has been five years peddling it. In the course of my novel, he sells the book and becomes an international celebrity, netting a movie and theme park in Florida. Anyway, I am still populating the book and there will be as varied a crowd as I can conjure. I took nearly two years to complete my last book.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sci-Fi Didn't Fly

I tested my premise on a few friends the other day. To a soul they didn't like it. No kind words, no sycophancy. It's crap. Ditch it. Well, I learned early on, from the Walt Disney Company example, everything can be recycled, whether good, bad or impossible. As it happens, my other in progress novel is EDGAR'S COFFEE AND BOOK STORE. One of Edgar's customers has been pushing his only novel for five years. Surprise. Turns out his story is my failed sci-fi attempt. In the course of EDGAR'S, the man not only sells his book, he nets a movie series and a theme park in Florida. He who laughs last . . .   

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rocking on the Rail

Hear the clackity clack clack
of a train rollin` west
I lay me on the boxcar floor
just to take my rest
And the tunnel of night
Shuts out all but starlight
I clackity clack clack
rockin` on the rail

Rockin` on the rail

As I`m laying here awake
with my bottle and a restless heart
Thinkin` on the lovely towns
to visit and soon depart
If you see me on your street
Have some mercy when we meet
Or it`s clackity clack clack
rockin` on the rail

Rockin` on the rail

Don`t say we`re outlaws
who live beyond the law
I never want to be unkind
or hurt anyone at all
I got no points to prove
I`m just born to move
I clackity clack clack
rockin` on the rail

Rockin` on the rail

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Next Book - A Sci-Fi Story

I have settled on a new project. After several false starts, my next will be science fiction. More fantasy than science, since I have no expertise in any scientific fields. Plot lines are in flux. I have a foreword and a description of my aliens, at this point. I can confide that they will come in contact with earthlings.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book available on line

I have not been informed if copies of my book are in any physical book stores, yet, but I found it on Amazon. It must be on other such sites also. I received my advance copies yesterday and they are beautiful.

To clarify, Beyond the Dark Water qualifies as a novelette. I did not know how to peddle it. I submitted it at authors.me, where a large number of publishers and agents are invited to examine an author's work. It was picked up, after about one, maybe two, months.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

San Luis


This is perhaps my most unpopular song lyric. Personally, I love it. It tells the true tale of a time I hitch hiked out of California, headed home to Texas.

Lost in San Luis

lost almost drunk in old san luis 
somehow i just can`t find the border 
i hitched i got stranded in the land of ease 
im walking and asking in english for the border 

one day i was leaving san diego 
with my thumb he drove with lightning speed 
we almost died in the high sierra 
that car lost its will and stalled in the heat near san luis 

he said i`ll pay we`ll play in mexico 
a stranger set us on the dusty street 
it was cerveza for me and my amigo 
he vanished in a manner not altogether discreet 

lost almost drunk in old san luis 
somehow i just can`t find the border 
i hitched i got stranded in the land of ease 
im walking and asking in english for the border 

men sit at ease on the wooden walk-way 
and one will point his finger to the north 
should i load the lettuce trucks or merely segue 
because i need to see my momma back home in fort worth 


lost almost drunk in old san luis 
somehow i just can`t find the border 
i hitched i got stranded in the land of ease 
im walking and asking in english for the border

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I've submitted my book

to two publishers, as of this morning. I am looking for more. Self publishers are everywhere. Some try to fool you into submitting work, but I am getting pretty good at spotting them.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My LIfe on the Moon

Life on the moon 
Ain`t really bad 
When you`re in love 
And feelin` sad 

Nowhere on Earth 
To run from the blues 
No one in space 
Bringin` bad news 

My life on the moon
Goes on like a dream
I stay there and pretty soon
Trouble lifts like a moonbeam

Life on the moon
Away from it all
Then like a tune
My lover's call

As down to Earth
I hurry on home
For what it's worth
Our happy home

My life on the moon
Goes on like a dream
I stay there and pretty soon
Trouble lifts like a moonbeam

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

How to Become Charles Mitch Turner, Writer

Henry Miller came as a revelation to me. I had read only a few authors who wrote autobiographically in the mode of fiction writers. Notably, Philip Wylie, to an extent, and Jack Kerouac. Miller blew me away. It was 1963 and the edition I read of Tropic of Cancer was illegally imported. It was more than sex and four letter expletives. It was a bleeping masterpiece.

I told my older brother I would love to become a writer, in the style put forth by Mr. Miller. He responded, saying, "If you do I will disown you."

Not to be dissuaded, I dallied forth to learn the art of authorship, with that sort of material set as an ultimate goal. With no formal education, beyond a few years' failing grades in high school, without a clue how to get started, most disheartening of all, with nothing to say, even, I persevered. I wracked my brain, dawdling, straining to produce what my first wife described as "dumb little poems"and producing one addled manuscript for juveniles, titled, "Ollie Philbert." A couple of my poems seemed to work. For the longest I produced mostly rhyming verses. Lyrics. The occasional short story.

But, consider my origin.

Life was a struggle for me, from day one and through middle age. Dirt poor, bullied by a step father, saddled with unrecognized Asperger's Syndrome, I lurched like the punch drunk boxer, who's getting slugged consistently and dancing at whatever portion of ring he got knocked into. By age thirty I had been on my own for ten years, done a stint in the Navy and had been living the vagabond's existence, riding by freight train and hitching with my thumb. I was sometimes accompanied by a brother, who fought his own demons, most valiantly. By the time my older brother got himself murdered, at age twenty seven I could point to just one non family person who counted himself a friend. And he was long gone, making a life in the far-off northeast part of our great nation.

By age thirty, I was ripe for a new strategy. I married a woman who actually latched on to me, first. We lasted nearly six years.Still the punch drunk boxer, I married a second time. We raised four children. I still clung to the notion of producing literature, beyond the time they were grown and I was nearing retirement.

Self publishing seemed the only out, as I knew the work to be for the most sub par. During the several years surrounding the self publishing, I wrote bits and pieces, aimed at eventual unification of the pieces into one huge autobiographical novel. With time I began to realize that the book was not feasible. I had too many half siblings that hated my guts. So I deleted most references to any living persons and riveted the newly molded superstructure onto a fictional framework. I had a novella, which I called, Beyond the Dark Water. It had none of the genius of Henry Miller or Philip Wylie, but was true to the material

Then I set to work on a novel meant to employ some of the tricks of a Henry Miller. My new book, Poppy Fields of Mars is aiming to find a publisher as I write.