Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blog Flash 2012

I'm not a blogger.  I know it says up there but I don't blog.  Blogging is getting people to pay attention to what you say and dedicating yourself to informing them with smart stuff on your website.

I don't know smart stuff.  I'd love to deliver tips on how to be a successful indie author but I ain't one.  If I had time, I'd share some of the things I've learned, but I don't have time.  I know a lot of people are busy and I hate to sound like some sort of martyr, but with a full time job, a marriage, two young kids, a house, and a writing career to get off the floor, finding time to blog is impossible.  Already I choose each night whether to write or sleep.

But I've been invited to do Terri Giuliano Long's Blog Flash 2012 this August and I'm doing it.  A different writing prompt every day in August (most of them one word) with little instruction other than be 50-100 words, fictional, factual, prose, poetry, anecdotal or whatever.

Sounds like I can do that.  All the writing prompts are already posted, so with a little planning and forethought, few of my entries will be "oh crap" pieces written at 3am when I'm beat up from a night of bartending, plotting my paths to success and failure with my executive assistant Evan Williams.

But I'm doing it my way.  Say what you want about self-promotion, but why does anyone do anything, especially online?  To get noticed.  To become successful.  Why is any writer or blogger participating in this?  To get website visits and book sales.  Hell, why is Terri doing it?  Yes, to help people like me become successful but to further her own success.  All of this action helps more people notice everyone.

So everything I write for The Flash will be about Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse ZooCathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere, the upcoming CA3, post-apocalyptic thought, the genesis of the project, or the future: Passion of Father James, Bar on the End of the Earth, Mousebutt Soup and beyond.  A lot of personal history, choices, decisions and deliberation will be involved in the construction of this 100,000 syllable project. I might die of pride if I ever complete it.

August 1: the prompt is "Thinking" and I am thinking about it.  Something regarding how I chose to make this whole thing into a collection of 10x10s narrated by a turkey vulture.

I've been putting way too much work into this thing, picking out words with tweezers, to not spend a little bit of time writing about how I think.  I'll slip in some talk about David Priest, mention why my wife and sons are the smartest people I know and the most beautiful.  I'm likely to talk about the naughty mystery I'm writing for Penny A Page Erotica.

But I'm giving everyday of August to my bird, my boy, the Turkey Vulture Cathartes Aura for submitting to be the unwilling narrator of my post-apocalyptic saga.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Smashwords Sale

I'm participating in the Summer/Winter Sale during which tons of stuff are available for 25% to 100% off.  All three of my books are only 99 cents during July.  Click on the covers above to go to each book page.  Use coupon code SSW50 to purchase.  I thank you in advance.

Also, Cathartes Aura 3 is coming along.  340 lines done, 660 to go.  But I need a title.  Cathartes Aura at the Last Call Mall was my first idea, but I've come to dislike it.  It's okay, but I can do better.  Something that mixes both the location at a shopping mall with the religious and apocalyptic overtones. CA at the Mall of Revelation?  CA at the Gas 'N God?  I need to brainstorm synonyms for mall, terms for close-out sales, and different armageddon terms.  Who has a suggestion?

Preview stanzas are coming soon.  Publishing will happen around then end of the summer.  Until then, read up on CA 1 and 2.  Get drunk with David Priest.

Monday, July 2, 2012

10 x 10 Contest Wrap-Up

I was honestly pleased with the range of work submitted for this contest.  I'm supposed to say I liked them all, but I truly did.

Read All the 10 x 10 Entries Here

We had a couple of lurking, skulking predator poems.  Some metaphorical internal animal poems.  A graceful swan poem.  A surprising suicidal earthworm poem.  A personal and cathartic dead kitten poem.  Some my-favorite-pet poems.  A werewolf poem.  And an unforgettable piece about a father much like Animal from the Muppet Show.

What is a 10 x 10?

A couple rhymed.  One was built from two five line stanzas.  Another was written in five unrhymed couplets.  Strange to me, but only two had titles.

In truth, I never counted the syllables in any of them, except my own after I published it.  I realized it had one nine syllable line and one eleven.  Mortified, I rapidly rewrote but my fumble is on the web plain as day.  I also typed in my wife's poem and changed her correct spelling of "dessert" to the wrong one.  Remember, you want seconds of dessert, hence two Ss.  No one wants more desert. And I'm the one who grew up speaking English.

Judging was tough and a bit confusing.  A week before judging was due to be finished, Rafflecopter published a second and third place winner.  I wonder what would have happened if I chose their number 3 as my number 1?  Fortunately, I have all the prizes and control who receives them.  After weighing the input of the entrants, the judges and my wife, I decided three finalists were too few and chose five.

I gave Amber's poem the win because of the emotional power, imagery and her use of the form.  She combines physical details and memories of her kitten I could feel and hear.  Her ninth line is one reason I love the 10 x 10 form so much.  "Feline Infectious Peritonitis."  Don't know what it is and sure don't want it, but it slams the door on the furry and fuzzy kitten verse.  The ten syllable limit forces this line to be point-blank and concise.  "The dry form, took my purring sweet baby."  Yes, it's easy to get an emotional reaction when you play the dead kitten card, but I think these words were placed precisely and thoughtfully.

I think everyone, including myself, grew a bit from this experience.  I'm know most of the entrants are not primarily poets.  Most are unused to restrictive forms.  This is an exercise in control, like dribbling a soccer ball around cones.  I find that even when I'm not writing verse, I take a poet's economy of language with me.

A few entrants I had to nudge into unfamiliar waters and I know they had fun despite apprehension. My own "Wanna be a Fish" is a repackaging of some rambling free-verse I'd scratched on paper years ago, but I recognized the same sort of understated irony I used in "Fake Flowers".  In the latter, I describe how I really prefer fake flowers to real because they're "Not hungry, always growing at the sun."  In the former, I mention how I want to be the best fish, a goldfish.  Truly, I can think of hundreds of ways real flowers are better than fake and I would rather be any kind of fish than a captive goldfish.  But to a jaded, tired, frustrated personality, the easy way is better.  Fake flowers don't wilt.  Goldfish swim circle and eat flakes.

More of My 10 x 10 Poems

Also, in promising the winner a spot in the back of my next book, I realized I'd better get to writing it.  No obstacles accepted.  So now, Chapter 3 of Cathartes Aura 3 is done and the boulder is rolling downhill.  Yes, I need a better title.  End of summer is the tentative launch date.

Keep track of my progress here

I'd love to do something like this again.  10 x 10s on another theme?  Maybe later.  A different form, perhaps.  Whatever it is, it should be short for a few reasons.  I like getting as much as possible from a small number of words.  I know writers are busy with other stuff and I want it to be easy to find time to participate.  I also want to have time for the judges.

So, what's the next poetry or short fiction contest?  Suggestions very welcome, plus feedback on CA3.  Vulture writing contest?

Thanks to all the Book Bloggers at The Indie Exchange.

Get CA1, CA2 and David Priest at Smashwords