There ain’t no rest for the writer

Seriously, there isn’t. Especially when you are an eccentric, bi-polar-ish, cynical person like me, and stories are everywhere you look just waiting to be written. So you write, and then what, send 100million query letters, say the hell with that I’ll just self-publish, or maybe I can find an agent or then again teach my cat how to tweet only to find out that for two whole days it’s been trying to eat the bird.

I published my short stories and poems, turned right around and wrote The Month of April which is out April 1st, I know clever marketing right??

And yesterday after I finished reading The Month of April like after the 100th time I became depressed because now wtf?

Fortunately, I woke up this morning with a better attitude and began writing two new stories, oh and did some more tweets, and posts, and Instagrams, and wrote some more. Cat still won’t tweet. Need a new agent. Anyone interested.

Still, I’m having fun. I love writing. It’s just always been that way.

Growing up I read books above my grade level and up until about five years ago never really read a book for fun, but more as if I were savoring it, learning from it. If you go through my books, and I have thousands, you will find notes scribbled inside, and highlighted sections, and my handwriting sucks. I remember on more than one occasion giving one of my (wait I wrote giving I meant loaning) books to my kids and they’d come back and go what did you write there and we’d have to use Google Translate and it didn’t work.

So I’ve always been a speed reader and reading up to five to seven books at a time no less. I’d read a paragraph in one, pick up the next book, read another paragraph, and so on and so on, and since I have this almost impeccable memory, at least with words, I never truly started enjoying reading as so many others do until I was in my forties.

So there is no rest for the self-publishing, acting as his own agent, and 100 more stories just queued up and ready to go, writer, and as I write this line, I look over at my cat who doesn’t give a damn.

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The Way You Look Tonight

This song has been trapped in my head. It’s a Sinatra song. One I have fallen in love with over the years, and one that reminds me of my wife. When writing the story “The Month of April” the song kept playing in my mind and I would catch myself actually singing out loud as I was writing.

When I’m writing I do see the story visually, and I become so engaged with the characters and it’s quite sad when you come to the end of the story. I love short stories for that reason. In many cases when you come to an end to a short story there isn’t closure or a “The End”. It’s like a snapshot, or people watching or sitting in a cafe and overhearing a conversation. And just because there isn’t a finality, that’s ok too.

I mean how often in our lives does someone come into our lives, I mean even as far back as our first days in school, or even later in life we meet someone, we have a romantic tryst, and it ends and you think this is it for me I’m done, it’s over. Hopefully, though your heart will heal and you can move on.

It happens every day, from relationships ending, to new ones beginning, and children growing up and leaving home, and you find yourself proud and yet saddened at the same time and wonder now what?

Kind of like a song you haven’t heard in years, and then you hear it on the radio and it takes you back to a certain place and time and memories come rushing back to you of where you were, and maybe even how young and carefree and stupid you might have been.

That is one of the things I’ve enjoyed about writing this particular story is that it invokes that type of imagery to me personally. Especially on the level of how well do we really know someone and how well do they get to know us. We do such a great job creating an image of ourselves, don’t we?

Like Bob Dylan. I mean here’s a man who changed everything from his name to his image and over the years began recrafting the image, and he becomes this mysterious legend. His voice is one that for some they find too caustic and are immediately done. But he doesn’t seem to give a shit. He’s still out there to this day performing on his “Never-Ending Tour”.

Maybe that’s the point, is sometimes you have to stop giving a shit. You have to get up the courage and go into Sun Studios and bust the doors wide open if you have too.

One of the main antagonists in the story “The Month of April” is regret. Those moments where we don’t take the chance, or even if we do, fate intervenes and takes it from us bam and it’s over. Problem is sometimes is we don’t see it coming, or we are too ignorant of it, or too caught up giving a shit about things that shouldn’t really concern us and only in looking back to we realize what might have been.

It’s happened to me often, Looking back, and going dammit, but I’m more blessed that I am still here and have matured enough to recognize those things and will hopefully have my eyes open and my blinders off and won’t make those mistakes again.

Must keep going

I finished my book The Month of April in less than a month. It helped that I had came up with the project a few years ago and had written a short rough draft. In the process the story did change some from my original concept, for the better.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, from the moment you settle in and begin writing the story began leading in directions I hadn’t seen coming, but that’s the exciting part of writing.

But I must keep moving. Even if this story is complete I have to now market it. Which has its own challenges and time consuming for sure. So it is a matter of keeping yourself motivated and on schedule because even if I have no boss, telling me to do so. So I’m not sleeping well.

But each day I wake up I’m right back at it. Whether it’s writing my blog, promoting, or preparing what project I will work on next.

So, that’s where I am, no victory dance, no champagne, just back at it, because I must keep moving.

I have a few projects in mind. I also have a novel that is partially finished with 250 pages.

But I really want to work on something new because the novel I’ve sort of bored with it. I still like the story but have since fallen out of love with it.

So the work never ends. I may even revamp my first book Forever Striking a Crucified Pose because I made a lot of rookie mistakesin the rush to publish it.

Then I might even work on the screenplay for my newest book.

But I will attempt to sleep tonight and tomorrow, I’ll be right back at it.

Much love and respect…Chad

The Story behind: “The Month of April” a little bit of New Orleans, Plato, Fate, Romance, and my personal fight to see Same-Sex Marriage legalized.

New Orleans, the Big Easy…Bourbon Street, hedonistic, fusty, beautiful.

I chose this city as the setting (for most of it anyway) because it’s a place I’m familiar with, a city I fell in love with the first time I visited in 1994 and would go back to many times over the last 25 years. And it’s not the voodoo, the hoodoo, or stories of vampires even. Then again, I’ve never ventured too far from Bourbon or the French Quarter. And why would I, because that is what I love about this city–the hedonism, and the “every hour is a happy hour”, and “the I can leave right now, drive the ten hours and find it open as if it were waiting on me for the party to begin==and I have. I’ve shown up on on a random weekday, two in the morning, and on a few occasions believed I had one too many shots of whiskey, and as soon as I walked off Bourbon, sobered up and went back for more.

So of course, I’d want to take my character’s there and show them around. Perhaps have a few shots of Jager and maybe even dance with them in the middle of the street, in the rain, as a jazz band plays “My Shining Hour”. My wife would smile even, knowing, it’s nothing more than a dance and I’ll be going home with her when the dance is over.

In Plato’s “The Symposium” he writes: “Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.”

And when it happens, if it happens, where the ever-ticking of the clock stops if only briefly, and two become one dancing blissfully under the starry skies of heaven, the wounds of human nature may heal, but often times fate, who answers to no one, will leave one and take the other leaving them without the chance of even saying goodnight, never knowing why the dance ended so soon leaving them standing alone and with a broken heart.

Only her story will not end when she passes from this world and into the other and is no longer forbidden to dance on, and into the end of moonlight. It will be her story she leaves behind, however, “The Month of April” that will resolve many of her unanswered questions and bring closure to a mystery time would have forgotten.

This book is also very special to me because for many years I lobbied politicians and worked to make same-sex marriage a reality. I wrote several papers on the subject and engaged in debates with politicians who did not agree, and their rationale was at times baffling to me.

It was my argument that the requirements of marriage are outlined and enforced by the state, not by the church. Once the state began charging money for marriage licenses, the church gave up the right to impose on who can and cannot be married.

We should be happy that two people are in love instead of posing restrictions because some oppose their lifestyle. We don’t question why a couple of the opposite sex want to marry, we trust their judgment and when we tell two people of the same sex they cannot marry in reality we are not only questioning their judgment but imposing our own.

It is now a reality. And I am so thankful for that. This story is a love story, it is not a political statement, it is as Plato said: “Love is born into every human being.” And I hope you find the characters in this story as beautiful and as human, and as loving as I do. It is not erotica, or overtly sexual, and if anything playful, and romantic. And I for one believe that romance and love and passion, all of that is important in a relationship.

The book will be released on April 1, 2019, on Amazon Kindle and in paperback as early as today. You can pre-order your copy today by going to the menu on this site, and click the link provided.

As always, much love and respect to all of you..,Chad

I sit and I wait

I’m in a Walmart parking lot. I sit and I wait.

I have a lot on my mind. My book that I recently self-published. The book I’m currently writing and should be completed by the first week of March. Then there are the projects still to be written, and trying to determine which one gets to go first, all of them saying pick me.

But today I’m not behind the desk editing. I have meetings to attend, emails to reply to about upcoming projects, community projects, because outside of writing, I have committed myself to serving, volunteering, helping in any way to bring hope help, and my heart to those who are hurting, the disenfranchised because I do believe in the philosophy that 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

The story I’m writing will be there when I get home.

When it all comes together…

The origins of my new project came from a painting–a girl with auburn hair walking away from the painter on a bustling city street. I had that painting over my desk and I would think of who she was, not personally, I didn’t want to track her down, contact the artist and ask for a name. But as a writer, I was intrigued by her. So I had found my muse and by starting where she was last seen, in this painting, she began telling me her story.

The words just seemed to be there, the dialogue, and the narrative, leading me, the story guiding me rather than me guiding the story until I had written 70 pages, over 32000 words.

I stopped there. It was at this point that I began writing the story, instead of allowing the story to speak to me, and I had to stop because it just didn’t feel right. My ideas would have worked, I could have made them because I am in some respects the omnipotent creator, but that isn’t free will, that’s not autonomy. So I stopped writing and began editing. And somewhere while in the process of editing, it happened and all the pieces began coming together.

This is important to understand because I know many writers’ hit walls, and they become frustrated and aggravated, and either decide to give up, or maybe attempt to break down the walls, and push the story into gear, grinding them if need be to make it move forward, and maybe this works for some, but for me personally, it’s best to wait. And be patient and be thoughtful, respectful even. Let the characters speak and have free will. It is their story–or in this case hers.

No post today….

Wow! The laat two days have bsen hectic. I’ve written over 32,000 words in my new project and have spent today editing the first draft.

The amazing thing is I have written several stories over the years, and it’s always amazing when you read something, something you have written and re-read and it amazes you.

It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve had a few stories that I still even to this day will read and wonder how did those words come from me. Especially in a few poems I have written.

But this new project is something different, at least to me, that each time I read it has me, a former Marine, 6’5 male begin crying and choking up. It’s become such a beautiful story that I cannot wait to finish so I can share it.

I have a few more pages still left to write, and of course more editing and a few more read throughs and more editing, but it’s very close.

Much love and respect Chad.

35,000 Words and Still Going: Writing in Progress

The last two days have been for the most part sitting behind the monitor and well, just letting the story write itself. And It’s moving quickly.

This is a story that had originated a few years back and I had put it away and just recently came back to it. I opened the file a few weeks ago and fell in love with the story, a romance and although I had other projects that I could have started, this one kept speaking to me, especially after reading the first few paragraphs to my wife and she started to cry.

In many cases when writing, I start off just letting words flow, a stream of consciousness approach, a crude first draft. One of the issues I face is becoming fatigued after writing, and re-reading, and writing, is that either I become lazy and just want to find the end, or I just, well, it’s like reading the same book over and over, no matter how much you love it, eventually it becomes exhausting. So I find the best medicine is to write a few words a day 3-5000, and then without reading the entire story at once, just read the new sections, and then repeat the process. It surely does help, at least for me, that when I do come to an end point, I can then go back from the beginning and read it all as if it were still fresh ink on paper and then begin the editing process following the same steps. A few words a day. Then step away from it and come back tomorrow.

I can tell you this, that while writing it, there were moments my own words began making me want to cry, and that’s an amazing feeling to just begin a sentence and not really know what you’re going for and as you’re moving along watching the cursor move to the pace of your writing and it starts developing into something, like in a dark room watching something becomeĀ  a silhouette, then a shape, and then a fully developed picture.

And that for me is the most amazing part is that process, just moving, and in many respects you aren’t writing the story, you have taken on the role of the character and they are telling the story. And when you get to the end of the paragraph and read it for the first time as a whole, and you get goosebumps from the words, that’s an amazing feeling. It doesn’t happen all the time, but that’s what I keep striving for is that emotional guttural reaction as if it’s not me writing, but I am taking on the role of the reader, knowing I had written this, but at the same time it’s like, it wasn’t me, it had come from someplace within.

I cannot wait to share this story. It is very close now to being finished. I’m currently editing some formatting issues and style and as I had written in an earlier post I am using ProWritingAid software to help, and so far it’s been helping me out immensely by finding things that as the writer are easy to miss.

So, I just wanted to give everyone an update on where I am, and I hope soon, maybe by the end of this week I’ll be finished with the entire story and then I’ll began editing, and re-editing, and may ask a few beta-readers to read it and get their feedback.

I hope everyone is doing well….Much love and respect always. Chad

Inside the Book: Forever Striking a Crucified Pose: Crazy Eights

As in most of the stories in this book, the setting is a place I’m familiar with–Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I grew up there and lived there up until around 1990. I have been back on several occasions to visit friends and family. I don’t think I mention the town within this story.

For a small town, it has a very high crime rate. You can find the statistics online. It had been ranked at one point as having the highest crime rate with a population of just below 50,000 people.

That’s not the meaning behind this story, however. There is a scene within the story that talks about a persons dying words. I mention in the book about the death of John Wilkes Booth and his last words were “Useless, useless.” For a man who had grown up in a family of famous actors and he himself being one, then assassinates Abraham Lincoln in the back, his last words were unremarkable. At least not as remarkable as his theatrical leap from the balcony of Ford’s Theater after shooting the President, and holding up his blood covered knife above his head in front of a shocked crowd and yelled “Sic semper tyrannis!” and then–The South is avenged.” before fleeing the stage with a broken leg.

At the end of his life, he knew his act of vengeance had not produced the results he had expected, with the south, having just surrendered after a long fought Civil War, decimating entire families and towns, the country was tired of war and dying. And Booth did not receive adulation and a born again south rising up to take on one last attempt to maintain its independence from the north. Let me stop. This story isn’t about that either.

I could have easily used Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” as a reference instead of Booth. I think in one draft I had used the word “Rosebud” the much talked about words uttered by the tycoon Charles Foster Cane. But in a later draft I had taken it out.

But I think the one section the conversation with the detective and the first officer on the scene is important. Not only as the detective in this story but it’s important for writers and well anyone to be blunt, it’s about details and how often times it’s the smallest of details.

In life, in relationships, in writing, in investigations we tend to get lost in the process, hung on things and in doing so it’s often the little things we miss, and it’s those little details that can change outcomes and tear relationships apart, or not to be so depressing can be the thing that makes a relationship so much better.

The difference between the letter “o” and the number 0 is easy to overlook. And in this particular story, it makes a huge difference in the case. So it’s one of my favorite stories, because of this one section, the difference between an o and zero. Can you think of something you may have over looked as small as this example that may have made a difference in a relationship, a story you are working on or just in everyday life?

So, like Noel, we too, have to as writers pay attention, but not just when we are at our computer, we have to sometimes know when to stop typing and come out of the rabbit-hole and be with people who love us. The words will still be there tomorrow. So don’t let your writing get in the way of living.

Much love and respect…Chad

Inside the Book: Forever Striking a Crucified Pose: This is Me Going Crazy

This is me going crazy. That should have been the title of this blog or perhaps even the book.

Many parts of this story do have some personal connection to me. I too, like Anthony believed I could fly. I remember right after watching Christopher Reeve star in the original (and I may argue the best Superman movie and I can speak to that to some length making that case, but won’t at this time) that I too, even though I was not an alien life form, could fly. So I taking a jacket and buttoning the top button to where it was fashioned like a cape, and found a nice open area in my yard, took three steps, jumped and just like Anthony hit the ground hard.

Other aspects of the story are fictional, at least as far as the relationship between the family, but were developed by my memory of me attempting to fly.

There are so many things as an author I love about this particular story. I especially love the scene when in the hospital Lynn orders her oldest son to see what they can “steal” from within the examination room. Not that I’ve ever done it, I have peeked in some of the cabinets while waiting on a doctor to see me. And the scene at the dinner table. I love the descriptive details and the dialogue.

The best scene to me is when Lynn is pulled over and where I found the title for this story. I guess the question is, is Anthony lying about his father’s relationship? He is known to fib and exaggerate.

I think though for me personally, the story is about how quick we are to take our kids to a psychologist and place them on medications when in many respects the kid is just being a kid.

Lynn is obviously worried, but in some respects she is also going through her own troubles at home, and I assume the question could be asked is Lynn using Anthony as a way to suppress other issues that she isn’t prepared to deal with.

This story was written about 10 years ago, and hasn’t changed much since the original version.

I hope you enjoy the story. Much respect, Chad.