The Girl in the Painting

In my new novella “The Month of April” I dedicate this story to The city of New Orleans, but also to “the girl in the painting.”

This is the painting. It is a beautiful watercolor painted by the late great artist Steve Hanks called “The Streets of New Orleans.”

I fell in love with this city back in the early ’90’s the first time I visited and have been back several times since.

As an art collector, and collector of music memorabilia, collector of books, (Many I have given away to mentors over the years) I was visiting one of my friends who owns an art gallery. I was browsing through many of the paintings he had in his show room and found this painting and fell in love and had to have it.

After my friend created a custom frame for it, I hung it over my desk for many years. It is a limited edition print signed by the artist himself.

However, the girl walking away in the painting, she became my muse for the story The Month of April.

I would often times be writing at my desk or editing papers for students and when I stopped and leaned back in my chair I’d stare at the painting often times wishing I were in the French Quarter listening to the band playing in the painting, but I wondered who she was mostly.

She seems to sashay as she walks, as if she were walking to the rhythm of the song. It struck me as odd because she is wearing a heavy black or blue overcoat.

As a writer, she intrigued me. So I created this story “The Month of April” for her.

I still own the painting, although it’s no longer hanging over my desk as I type this. We have been doing some renovations on the inside of the house so most of our paintings are stored away. But one day it will be back on the wall.

But this is the amazing thing about writing, is that you never know how you’ll be inspired or what will inspire you. It could be something personal, something you have lived, and or struggled with, or it could be fantasy, role-playing if you will, or in a galaxy somewhere far away. Having read so many books in my lifetime, and now, having a chance to read so many independent authors, I love the human imagination so much. I didn’t know when I purchased this painting almost 20 years ago, it would inspire me to write a complete novella about the girl in the painting. But I wanted to share this with you, and encourage to always be on the lookout for something inspiring, because it can happen by looking at a painting, or listening to a song, or even in our dreams.

Still, I am so happy to have written this beautiful story and I hope you love it too. You can find it on Amazon.com or find it through the link in my menu at the top of this page.

So from a love of New Orleans, to my love of art, to my love of writing, “The Month of April” came to life just like the late great artist Steve Hanks brought this wonderful and beautiful city to life in this amazing painting “The Streets of New Orleans.”

Short Stories or Novel or Screenplay or….

After having just published several short stories and poems in “Fool-Hearted” and released my novella “The Month of April” on April 1st, I really have no clue on what to work on next.

I have several ideas, of course. But one seems to keep fighting against the other. I do have a novel I could be working on that is 250 pages in, but from the time I started writing it to now, I’ve reworked the story in my head. So that means pretty much scrapping 90% of the story. That does not sound fun.

I have a few screenplays I’ve written already copyrighted with the Writer’s Guild, but I haven’t pushed trying to sell them. In fact, The Month of April started out as being a screenplay but later, like the aforementioned novel, changed it and turned into what I believe is a really beautiful love story.

Then, I have several short stories that either need to be edited, or finished. A couple of short stories I actually have considered turning into full length novels, or perhaps writing a script.

In the meantime, while I contemplate what’s next, I’m going to attempt to market “The Month of April” and see how well it performs. It’s not been to bad. Yesterday it was ranked around 130 in Lesbian Romance. So that’s cool. I’ve even considered if it does well to expand upon the story. Still, though I know a few people have read it I have yet to have any feedback or reviews, so that’s a little disappointing. It is a marathon not a sprint I keep telling myself. I’m also attempting to market the short stories and poetry in “Fool-Hearted.”

I’m trying different marketing strategies and at the end of the month of April, I will write and tell you my experiences and let you know if they worked and are worth utilizing for your own self-publishing venture.

I also keep reading about this software program called Scrivener, it looks interesting. Still though, I’m not sure if I need it. I would love to try it out though, maybe it will be useful especially with my scattered brain way of thinking.

Day 2 of #indieApril

So it’s day two, I just finished a loving story “Scout’s Honor”
written by author Dori Ann Dupré. You can find the copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6PF4GK

This is a beautiful and I believe a story people can relate too. I won’t give any spoilers, but while reading, the author is unafraid to allow the characters to speak for themselves so you see the story from several perspectives and not just Scout’s. A lot of time went into writing this story that spans several years, and I know from my own life that many characters remind me of people I have met and even my own faults and regrets I have had over the past 45 years from teenage romances to having to put aside things I dreamed of doing to take care of other responsibilities and one day looking back and realizing that through some of the heartbreak and hardships I can look back and smile and perhaps even accept it was fate that led me down the road I traveled and not live life tormented by regret.

I also finished

If A Monkey… Kindle Edition
by Norman Robert Langford (Author), Aurora Kruk (Illustrator) a Children’s book. Unfortunately, my kids are all grown, but I would have read this story to them. It is cute, with great art work, and I think many children will enjoy this story as will parents enjoy reading it to them.

You can find this story here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MF34TDR

I have added so many stories by so many amazing independent authors and I plan on reading as many as I can while I contemplate what my next writing project will be. So please keep sending stories.

Next on my list is the book “Crossed” Kindle Edition
by Ivy Raye (Author) you can find this book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q46LCV3

Keep writing, and don’t let anything stand in your way of your dreams.

Much respect and love always: Chad

#IndieApril: Support Independent Authors

Last night to kick off #indieapril, I asked independent authors to send me links to their books because I would like to not only support these amazing self-published authors, but I want to read their works. This morning I woke up with over 70 books posted by writers, and I’m so excited to start reading. As a matter of fact, I posted later that I may even attempt to read 10 books in 10 days.

So please keep sending links to your books. I’ve already viewed each and every single author and followed your author pages (if I didn’t follow your page it’s because I didn’t see the link) and I’ve already downloaded ten books, but that doesn’t mean I will stop with just the ten.

Just the other day I read a book of poems by Beverly Maier titled: Detaching Roots: Poetry and Prose, and found it to be so many inspiring, thought provoking poetry, heart rending, and courageous even. You can purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Detaching-Roots-Poetry-Beverly-Maier-ebook/dp/B07NKSRH4V

I promise you I will be reading your books, and posting reviews, and I will try and read as many of them as I can.

Much respect and love to all of you…..Chad

Today depression. Tomorrow who knows

Don’t know why I’m depressed. Just hit me. I make excuses like well it’s the change in the weather, or I didn’t sleep well.

I know it will pass, ok, I really don’t know, but it always has in the past.

I am excited about the release of my new book The Month of April. A little anxious and nervous. I love it, but I guess now it’s a waiting game.

I am tired. Which is an added bonus to depression, but otherwise I don’t feel like climbing back in bed and giving the depression the satisfaction of knowing it beat me.

So I will write this instead. Then post it and then I don’t know.

Still thinking about what my next project will be. That could be part of the depression. I have several stories competing against one another.

The great part about the writing community on Twitter is knowing that I’m not alone.

Oh well… Much love and respect to all of you… Chad

Busy Day

I’ve been busy the last few days. I am updating my 1st book Forever Striking a Crucified Pose.

I rushed to self-publish, and I’ve never been satisfied with the way it turned out. Now that I am familiar with formatting after a lot of trials and errors, I am finally happy with the end result.

I hope to start pushing the update out with the release of my new book The Month of April.

I’m happy to get away for the next couple of days. I’ve been behind the desk each day writing, proofing, editing, marketing, and I won’t lie, I love it. Still it’s nice to step away and take a well deserved break.

But I’ll be back at it by Friday.

Up at dawn prepping my new series Peace in the Valley which will be available on Channilio

Check out the site and subscribe for more great content.

Sincerely, Chad

What’s next for me?

Tomorrow I plan on finishing up the first part of the new series Peace in the Valley a mystery/thriller that I’ll be writing on Channilio. Please check it out and subscribe for great reading.

I’m also preparing a marketing campaign for my new book The Month of April out April 1st.

I hope on Tuesday to be part of LA Rivers Podcast. Which sounds exciting.

I have also decided to erite a screenplay for the book The Month of April.

And I have a few book ideas in mind but haven’t decided on which to start first.

But I am excited for all things I have planned for in the next few days.

Much Love and respect always, Chad

My thoughts on Self-Publishing

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My first job wasn’t in fast food, but at a newspaper when I was 14 years old. I had an editor, and he was grouchy. I didn’t get paid much, but I loved it.

It wasn’t until my late 20’s I began writing fiction. I wrote short stories mostly, and some poetry and used a typewriter. Many of the short stories in my book “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose” started on a typewriter. After the internet boom, and computers were made available for consumers, I began re-tying the stories on Word.

Over the years, the files would go with me and I wrote more stories, and worked on improving the stories I had written years earlier. Then they sat on a file again. I probably went through a few upgrades on computers as time went by. Right now I’m writing this blog post on a Chromebook, and working on a desktop to write my stories using Windows.

In the past I have been published. I’ve written Editorials, I’ve had a few poems published. I mostly dabbled in political writings. I’ve had arguments with politicians and I’ve received hate mail, along with mail thanking me for the work I was doing.

I remember having written an essay on Ursula Le Guin’s short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and her writing me, thanking me, but disagreed with my essay.

Over the past few years I’ve worked on a few screenplays and thought at one point I was close to having one purchased. We were within the final stages when the project was dropped. So I started working on a novel, and well trying to write and be married, and all that, I stopped.

I was working for a internationally recognized nonprofit organization. I dedicated my life to it. It was a 24 hour a day job to me. I was the director, and during my first year I had to put in over 20000 hours of overtime. But I loved it. I even miss it now. I am so humbled and blessed that I was able to meet so many people and assist them and I will never forget it.

Then in February of last year I had a heart attack. I was told I have congestive heart failure. I had the heart attack on a Friday, surgery that same day and was back to work on Tuesday, much to the chagrin of my wife who knew I was pushing myself too hard. It’s funny, maybe funny is the wrong word, but the heart attack was so painful, but it’s weird I guess how my wife took it more seriously than I did.

Knowing all of this, my wife and I spoke and I resigned my position and then began thinking of writing and she encouraged me to do so. I’m familiar with the Writer’s Market. I have been a subscriber for many years.

I have not submitted a lot of my work. I think over the past twenty years I may have when on vacation or had free time, I would send a few query letters out, but then go back to work, so I didn’t really give it my all.

However, after I resigned and began thinking of stories I wanted to write, I still had the several short stories and poems that had been stored on a file for all those years.

Having read so many books over the years, I had held out against self-publishing for multiple reasons. As I have gotten older, and after not only my heart attack, but losing my son to heart failure when he was 21, and realizing how fragile life can be, and how quick it can be over, I decided to self-publish my short stories and poems.

I realize that many may not read it, and there may be some editorial issues, I don’t know, but the stories are well written, and I love them. But I felt this desire to let them go, flaws and all, and it was never about sales, or becoming successful, but about putting it out there for it to be read instead of sitting on my computer, or writing multiple query letters.

In recent blogs I have written about the inner turmoil I have had about self-publishing. I’ve written about how being inexperienced to self-publishing I didn’t understand how to format the stories, or market them, and after publishing I read it and I was freaked out by formatting issues that had spaced words where there shouldn’t have been. I don’t know how many times I’ve went through it and taught myself how to format properly, and I’m still not 100% satisfied and still even considering pulling the entire book and reworking it.

But I don’t think as the writer, I will ever be 100% about anything. I’m a perfectionist and I see flaws where others see just words. Even with my newest book, “The Month of April” I’ve learned from my experiences with “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose” and instead of releasing it as soon as I finished I held off pushing the release date to April 1st. And I’m so glad I did, because I have made a few changes since finishing the story. I wrote the story in less than a month. And I love it. It’s one of the few things I have written in which even though I’ve read it at least a hundred times, I still find myself choking up while reading.

And when I say, I have a thousand other stories floating around in my head, it’s not much of an exaggeration. Just last night even as I was sitting at my desk I began going through old files and found a story idea I had forgotten about.

The thing is, I feel like I don’t have much time left. Maybe I’ll live another fifty years. I don’t know, but I want to tell my stories, and put them out there and I do feel this urge, and the ticking of the clock telling me time’s running out bud. And I’m not one who fixates on death or dying, because it doesn’t scare me as much as the thought of leaving my wife behind. That thought scares me.

At the end of the day, I have stopped worrying about whether or not to self-publish or fixate on traditional publishing. I’m just happy to be able to have a way to get my stories out there. That is important to me.

Writing is what I do, and it’s what I love.

So, only time will tell whether I eventually find myself working towards looking for an agent or publisher. I do have a few scripts I’ve written and a few I haven’t written that I could submit. But for now, it is somewhat pleasing to me, to be able to pick up my book and read it. It’s also nice knowing, something I wrote is there for someone to read and maybe have that same excitement I had when writing them, or even more, the excitement I have had over the years of walking into a library and picking up a book and falling in love with it.

That’s my thoughts on it, and I know what I’m up against. I know I’m no marketing genius. I’m a reader and lover of books and stories. And I’m so happy that I can give back, and it will be there for future generations to read. And I love it.

Purchase Forever Striking A Crucified Pose A Collection of Short Stories and Poems here.

Pre-order my newest Book The Month of April here.

Also be sure and check out CHANNILLO. COM where I will be writing my mystery, thriller Peace in the Valley soon. And subscribe for more content and read stories from other amazing authors.

Much love and respect, Chad

Behind the Story: “Fool-Hearted” from my book “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose”

“Fool-Hearted” a short story from my book “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose” was inspired by the opening melody of Coltrane’s “My Shining Hour.” If you’ve never heard it, it really is beautiful. The narrator of the story is the main character. He is a jazz guitarist. I imagined him as being somewhat successful locally or regionally, but not nationally, and has found steady work at a local jazz club.

He’s a “Player” not just in a band, but likes to sleep around, and never really considers settling down with one person. I think perhaps in my mind as I was writing it I saw him more as if the musical notes had come to life and formed into a living breathing human being. He becomes in some sense the embodiment of the seemingly improvised melodic notes he plays on his guitar, swinging from one beat to another.

It is one of the few stories that do not take place in Arkansas, but in Philadelphia, a place I have lived, and the bar Chris’s Jazz Cafe is a real jazz club. I don’t know if it is still open.

It wasn’t until a few years after writing the story that a friend of mine pointed out that the character does seem somewhat full of himself and mildly misogynistic. I agreed that he is full of himself, perhaps, but not in the sense that he is misogynistic as much as he may be somewhat deluded and the title “Fool-Hearted” is him, and he is projecting that image on others and it says more about him personally and his lifestyle and not so much about the other people in his life.

Still when reading the story I do not get the sense that when I was writing it or after re-visiting it years later he represents classic projectionism in the sense that he sees his life as being better than yours and is in reality lonely and pathetic. I believe he never really cared to be internationally known, but is just happy to have a steady gig, and still at the same time at least locally he is comfortable with his celebrity and he has in many ways reached the point in his life where he wants to be and is happy. And what is so wrong about that, knowing what you want, reaching it and being happy with it.

It may be in the last line some readers may think his usage of the word “desiccated” is somewhat obtuse. And maybe it’s me as the writer who is being glib, but I don’t think that either, but again, when writing this story it started with a Coltrane song. The melody seemed to come to life and form into a character that lived and breathed jazz, or in some sense was jazz come to life like a colorful abstract painting, and in that sense anything outside of jazz, is a world he doesn’t wish to live.

We’ve all, well this is a major assumption, but most of us have been in our car alone and have had the radio turned up and begin singing along to the song and seem not to notice that driver’s passing us by are watching us as we are lost in the music, carried away singing out loud in the privacy of our own vehicle and maybe if we see someone watching us, we’ll freeze and blush and become embarrassed.

But this story to me is like singing when no one is watching, or dancing, except in most of our lives, we finally reach our destination and we have to turn off our radios and go in and make dinner, or go into our 9-5 job where in Robert’s case, he is jazz, he is the music, and it’s always playing. So the statement isn’t rude or obtuse, or mean-spirited but in a many ways the final encore of the night, the band finishing the last song of the evening, and the song ends, and Robert’s the one saying to the band, one more song, come on, how about “My Shining Hour.” James counts off the song, Jerry plays the opening notes on the piano, and Robert looks out over the crowd and smiles. And even after when the lights do come up, and the audience does has to leave, he’s in the back room, a young lady has been invited to visit with him, and he still has his guitar out and she watches his fingers move along the fretboard stretching and bending the strings, and he sings an old blues song, just for her, and she knows he’s probably done this many times with other women, but as he sings she finds herself lost in the music and his voice and and she is swept away by him and his cockiness and bravado.

And that to me is the real meaning behind this story–living in the moment, savoring it even if you know the night will have to eventually come to an end, but you’ll worry about that later.

You can find “Fool-Hearted” in my book of short stories and poems: “Forever Striking a Crucified Pose” on Kindle for $0.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited Here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N8L16CW

Candy versus Beets Part 2

Over the weekend I’ve been thinking about my idea to set up a page to invite writers to have their work edited, and critiqued, that will not only I hope help them create more marketable “Beets” but in a way that won’t break them, and even more create a relationship built on trust and a place writers know that I’m going to give them my undivided attention and offer them an unbiased analysis of their works.

I have the credentials and the tools, and years of experience as an editor, teacher, and a talent coordinator, and as a reader of thousands of books from Plato, to Faulkner, with a background in classical literature and poetry, non-fiction, history, LGBTQ, and African-American literature.

Not only will I use my own skills, but other editing software to create a detailed analysis, to find issues with grammar, sticky sentences, readability, and even assist in promoting your book online and helping you find publishers to send query letters, to assisting those who wish to self-publish.

I will be working on creating the page this week.

If you are interested, please feel free to send me an email at ard.chad@gmail.com or you can find me on Twitter.

Much love and respect, Chad.