Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(19 March 2005, Michigan) "Unusual" and "complicated" is how the Missaukee County sheriff described the mysterious death of 19-year-old Christopher.

After an evening spent imbibing large quantities of alcohol, Christopher noticed a shortage in his liquor supply that could not be attributed to his own depredations. He concluded that his neighbor had stolen a bottle of booze! He menaced the neighbor with a knife, to no avail, whereupon he retired to his own apartment to brood about revenge.

Finally he figured out the perfect way to get back at that conniving bottle-thief: Christopher would stab himself and blame the neighbor!

A witness saw Christopher enter the bathroom as he called 911. He calmly informed the dispatcher that his neighbor had stabbed him. Witnesses said he looked fine when he emerged from the bathroom, but a moment later gouts of blood spewed from his chest. Suddenly he began screaming begging for help. The dispatcher heard a woman shout, "Why did you do this?" He collapsed at the door of his apartment.

Deputies arrived quickly, but Christopher had already bled to death from self-inflicted stab wounds to his chest. An autopsy determined that he had stabbed himself in the chest twice. The first wound apparently didn't look dangerous enough, so he tried again. The second time, the knife plunged into his left ventricle. This wound was plenty dangerous: he had only two minutes to live.

Christopher died in vain. His deathbed accusation of his neighbor failed, as a witness confirmed that the neighbor was not in the apartment. All Christopher got for revenge was an accidental death sentence.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stone Cold Killa

I remember the first time I killed a man. Somehow, I thought it would be easier than it was. After all, I’d seen it done a thousand times in a thousand different ways. I’d read about it, seen it in movies, hell…I even heard about it on the evening news. Perhaps, that what was what made it so difficult; it had all been done before. If I was going to kill somebody, I needed to do it in a way that set it apart from all the others. It should be unique, not necessarily horrifying, but strange enough that it would be remembered.

What to do, what to do? Should I use a gun? Nah, that seems to impersonal and let’s face it, a little too quick. If a man’s life is going to be snuffed out, a killer ought to have the guts to get up close and personal. He should be close enough to feel his victim’s last breath flutter his eyelashes as it leaves his body. His arms should shake as his victim spasms beneath him in the throes of death.

Should I use a knife? Maybe, but then…how many times has that been done? The blade pushed snug against the skin, causing an indent as the muscles beneath try to deny it entry. A little more force and… splash, the blade sinks through to bone with ease. Blood gurgles up, released, flowing free like lava from a tiny volcano.

Perhaps I could put my devious mind to work and invent some new weapon. Of course, there are many pitfalls with this route as well. Do you build it yourself? Where do you begin? What if your design is flawed? It could get really messy if you didn’t pay attention to even the most minute of details.

Finally, I decided on a kiss, a gentle touch, and a passionate embrace. Death comes in many forms. In death, we learn about life. How one dies is nothing compared to how one lives. Having said that, they are often related. It became apparent that there needed to be a reason for someone to care about whether or not the victim died or why they were chosen.

We as a people have become too desensitized. Death for the sake of the act itself is no longer shocking. It moves people, but it is not memorable outside those directly affected. If I wanted people to take notice, they had to have a vested interest in either the victim or the killer. Armed with this knowledge, I put pen to paper. Yes, I’ve killed numerous times since then. Sometimes I killed for passion, other times for rage, still other times just to quench an immortal thirst. In the end, I will always remember my first. Do you remember yours?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Recap

The 4 Players is a wonderful band who provided the highlight for our weekend festivities. If you are in the Tulsa area, you should check them out. They play a wide variety of music and they do it with such enthusiasm and ability, one can’t help but enjoy themselves.

Some of you may remember that I had surgery on my Achilles tendon back in September. This is the third time I’ve attempted to dance since then. I just couldn’t help myself. What can I say? I was moved by the music. Don’t worry, I didn’t over do it. I was, however, a little more sore than usual the next day, but I had that worked out by last night.

So, how was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Book Review: Chasing the Dead

I just finished reading Chasing the Dead by Joe Schreiber. It is a fast paced supernatural thriller that takes place over the course of one night. What begins with what feels like a story about a serial killer quickly disintegrates into a world of ancient evil and death at every turn.

“You have a very lovely little girl,” breathed the voice on the phone. Sue Young will do anything to save her daughter. Secrets from her past come back to haunt her as she follows the instructions of her daughters abductor.
Mr. Schreiber does a wonderful job of describing the characters and places in the story without bogging down the pace. You can practically smell the stench of rotting flesh as you travel along a backwoods route, each stop along the way making the night that much more bizarre.

I highly recommend this book. Murder, ghosts, a mystery from 1802 and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, it has a little something for everyone.

Rating: 5 stars

On a side note, Joe is a blogger. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Running In Circles

Four years ago, I wrote the greatest book ever to be unleashed on the human race. How could it not be? I poured my heart, soul and tears into this thing. It didn’t take long to realize (yanno, in publishing time, which was seven or eight months) not only was it not ready to be submitted, but it was crap. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the basic concept was fine; the writing was the problem. Yeah, I was a sucky writer with delusions of grandeur.

I skinned my knees a couple of times early on in the submission process. It sucked, but I began to learn. I developed a vague sense of just how much I didn’t know about the biz. It grew. I queried far and wide. Looking back, even my query letters sucked. I received stacks and stacks of form rejections if I received any response at all.

I read. I learned. I grew. I put my first attempt under the bed. I set out to write another book. As it turns out, it wasn’t quite ready either, but at least with that one, I began to comments and suggestions along with the standard form rejection.

I attended a Con, where my eyes were opened all the wider. Not only did I learn a few things, I made a few new contacts. I also, discovered the joys of having a beta reader.

I wrote a novella, it was accepted. I learned a bit from that. I wrote some short stories. Still more I learned.

I went back and with the help of some encouraging beta readers, tore the original works to shreds, only the idea survived and even that was twisted and changed. I took a break, wrote more shorts, had them accepted. I revisited the books again, one after the other. I put them away.

I made several friends in cyberspace, some of which are accomplished writers. I’ve learned from them. I seem to be in an ever evolving world.

It’s a brand new day. I’ve learned so much over the past four, I look back at my early attempts and wonder what the hell I was thinking. Do I know everything I need to know about the biz now? Of course not, but I know enough to keep me out of trouble.

I’ve begun the query process again after all this time. I’m on the hunt for an agent to champion my work. I have a good feeling about this round, but only time will tell.

I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. Can I get an amen?

(August 2006, Libreville, Gabon) In August, a congregation's 35-year old pastor insisted one could literally walk on water, if one only had enough faith. Big and bold was his speech. He extolled the heavenly power possessed by a faithful man with such force that he may well have convinced himself. Whether or not he believed in his heart, his sermons left room for only shame should he leave his own faith untested. Thus, the pastor set out to walk across a major estuary, the path of a 20-minute ferry ride. But the man could not swim.

Lacking the miraculous powers of David Copperfield, let alone holy Jesus Christ, this ill-fated cleric found only a Darwin Award at the end of his final path.

(A related Personal Account from Palorca, Portugal: "I met an elder villager who once tried to walk on water. He strapped small floaters to his feet. He floated, all right, but upside down, with his head submersed. He was rescued by the spectators."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Random Thoughts

Heroes returned last night and it is as strange and exciting as ever. Do you watch this show? Are you on the List?

Don’t forget tonight is the big blowing smoke up our asses State of the Union. I usually don’t talk politics on this blog, and I won’t dwell today. Let me just say, I’m a Republican, but not a big fan of Bush. This entire debacle in Iraq is leading us down a road that has no exits. We don’t seem to be making progress in a timely fashion. If anything our presence there is perpetuating rifts, but if we pull out now, the general sentiment over there would be that they drove us out and I can’t help but think they will bring the fight once again to us. Who am I kidding? Whether we stay or withdraw, they will bring the fight to us again as soon as they figure out a way to get the most bang for their efforts.

We will be put into a position where we must bomb them back into the stone age which will cause us to lose all face with the rest of the world powers or our entire country will be plagued with random acts of violence until the fear becomes so great, our system will crumble under its weight. Nothing good can come of this.

Monday, January 22, 2007

This and That

What a heartbreaker last night’s game was. My beloved Patriots lost the AFC Championship to their nemesis, the Colts. The game was really close though. I guess there’s always next year.

In other news, the ice is finally starting to melt and we made a trip into Tulsa over the weekend. We slipped by Barnes & Noble to pick up a nice stack of books and much to my surprise and delight, my son asked for some books. Other than comics, getting this kid exciting about reading has been like pulling teeth. I think he may be finally catching the bug. I suppose, only time will tell.

I would love to write more, but I’m feeling the tug for a different type of writing and I can resist no longer. So, I must go tend to the voices in my head.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Book News

Tales of Abject Human Misery is a collection of short stories. It will be released in the second quarter of 2007 by Cyber-Pulp Press. There are six stories in the collection: Esprit de Corps, The Ty that Binds, The Sweet Release, In Sickness and Health, The Long Road, and For Love or Freedom.

Why am I telling you about a book, months before it is released? Because it is mine. That’s right, I will have two releases this year. Drums of the Nunne’hi in the first quarter of this year and Tales of Abject Human Misery in the second quarter. I will keep you posted as we get closer to the release of each.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(September 2006, Florida) A fearsome mythical giant was felled by a humble slingshot. But a modern speargun vs. an underwater leviathan is another tale altogether, as a Florida man discovered.

Outlawed in 1990, hunting Goliath-sized groupers remains surprisingly popular. These fish can weigh hundreds of pounds, yet there are underwater hunters who choose to tether themselves to such muscular sea creatures. However unlikely a pursuit, the poaching of groupers by divers and snorkelers continues, in defiance of both the law and common sense.

Of this elite group, our Darwin Award winner distinguished himself yet further by disregarding one essential spearfishing precaution. By embarking on this hunt without a knife to cut himself loose, the "fit and experienced snorkeler" was guaranteeing that his next attack on a giant grouper would be his last.

Why anyone thinks it's a good idea to tether yourself to a fish twice your size, I don't know. Some time later, the body of the spearfisher was found pinned to the coral, 17 feet underwater. Three coils of line were wrapped around his wrist, and one very dead grouper was impaled at the other end of the line.

In those final hours, the tables were turned, and the fish was given an opportunity to reflect on the experience of "catching a person."


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Smash and Gab

Yesterday afternoon, my wife ran out of medication. She called it in and I opted to go pick it up for her on account of how bad the roads are. I hop in my 4wd Trailblazer, back out of the garage, and proceed to slide down the driveway.

Ok, this ought to be fun, I thought. 4wd doesn’t make a hoot, when all the streets are covered with a nice smooth sheet of ice. There are a few people out and about, so I figure if I can get out of my neighborhood, the main streets should be treated by now.

It’s a straight shot and I’m idling along, using the gas pedal only to get up a small incline in our road. I’m two houses from the stop sign where my road meets the main road. I press my brake. Nothing. If anything, it feels like I accelerated. I tap my brakes, I slam my brakes, I don’t seem to be slowing down for anything. I look left and right, to my left a decent size truck is making his way down Garnett, which to my disbelief is covered with as much ice as the neighborhood.

I quickly realize, that now that I’m finally slowing down, I’m going to stop in the middle of the road and as close as this truck is, he’s going to T-bone me. I hit the gas. Now, I know I can’t stomp on it, or I’ll just spin wildly out of control. I’m hoping I can pick up enough speed to get across the street and turned away from him before the collision.

BOOM. Yep, he smacked into the back of me. He had no choice. I couldn’t get clear and I didn’t leave him near enough distance to come to a stop on such treacherous roads.

We finally skid to a stop. I open my door and the first thing I hear is, “what the hell’s the matter with you?” The guy is obviously upset.

I step out, suddenly thinking that I’m going to have to fight somebody on top of everything else. Then I notice he has three kids in his car. He’s understandably upset but he starts to calm down. We call the police and as we wait for them to show up, we talk quite civilly and he even apologized for be so “grumpy” when he first got out.

No one was hurt, but both of our vehicles look like they will need substantial repair. Groovy… This will go down as another reason why I hate winter.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weekend Recap

Housebound Day three:
Near stir crazy. Things that normally make me laugh are really starting to get on my nerves. There’s nothing but a sea of white outside of any given window. There’s no escape. If I hear Daddy or Baby one more time…

Just kidding, yeah we’ve been stuck in the house all weekend, but we’ve had a pretty darned good time. I’m looking forward to getting out of the house later today or tomorrow, but I’ve actually enjoyed the weekend.

I watched my New England Patriots advance to the AFC Championship game against Indianapolis Colts. They had to get through the number one seed San Diego Chargers to do it. It was an exciting game all the way down to the last six seconds or so. The pats might go all the way again this year.

Oh, before I forget, guess what this is: ISBN 978-0-9782681-1-4
Progress on Drums of the Nunne’hi is what it is. We still don’t have a firm release day, but it should be soon. We are just working through the cover art and a few other little odds and ends. We are so close I can taste it. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know when it is available for purchase. : D

So, how did you spend your weekend?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday 55

I would like to take a moment to congratulate my wife on her recent promotion. She may well be the youngest Analytical/Catalyst Lab Manager I’ve ever known. I’m proud of you, Baby. When I grow up I want to be just like you. : D

We are hunkering down for another wicked weather weekend. The rain started last night, should turn to freezing rain this afternoon, continue with the freezing rain throughout Saturday and finally top it all off with a little snow on Sunday. Ah…good times.

Not to worry, my house is as decent a place as any to be stranded in. We have a pool table in the upstairs game room, a dart-board downstairs between the living room and one of the dining rooms, and a slew of board games.

This will also provide one of those rare opportunities to use the fireplace. I think the fireplace is absolutely beautiful, but my goodness…it throws the heat. We can only turn it on when the temperature is in the low teens or colder else we find ourselves lounging in pools of our own sweat.

Oh, and for those of you looking for a little Friday 55 action, I will come back with a vengeance starting next week. Until then, here is one of my originals. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

His eyes burned with desire. Nostrils flared. She turned away, his face too much to bear. Rain bounced from the tin-roof, comforting, distracting. His hands found her arms, pulled at her, strong with need. She resisted, putting her hands on his shoulders. He begged; she relented. Her teeth met his throat. He was her first.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Meme

The Lovely Lime came up with this meme. I won’t tag anyone, but if you feel like doing it, let me know so I can come see your answers.


1. Canned peas: tasty and economical preserved veggie or olive drab pellets of vileness?

I used to eat canned peas on occasion, but after reading Quits by ME Ellis I’ll never eat a canned pea again.

2. Mayonnaise: delectable artery-clogging condiment or revolting mass of congealed gunk of unknown origin?

Oh, I love mayo. I use it in macoroni salad, potato salad and a slew of other dishes.

3. Sauerkraut: great topping for a hot dog or vomit-inducing social repellent?

Just the smell makes my stomach turn. My wife on the other hand thinks it’s a gift from the gods…

4. Head cheese: tasty deli meat or the remnants from a bad sinus infection?

I think this nasty concotion should come with a free box of tissues. Yuk…

5. Explain your theory on who would actually eat pickle and pimento loaf.

Well, I think these two deli choices come from people that were either too lazy or too pressed for time to dress a proper sandwhich.

6. What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Not much. They are alright, but in truth…I’m really not a sweets kind of guy.

7. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

As many as it takes to get the job done.


8. While we are on the subject, how do you eat your cream cone?
I give it to my wife so that we both can enjoy it.
9. What kind of ice cream cone is best?

One eaten by a lady.


10. Organ meats?

Sure, I’ve been known to eat gizzards, but I’ll only eat the other organ meats out of necessity.

11. Why would anyone contaminate perfectly divine chocolate with shredded coconut?

I suppose it would be for variety. I’m sure there are some people in the world that think chocolate is just so so as a standalone dessert.


12. Then what should I do with this lovely bunch of coconuts?

Food Fight! Oh, wait…that would be a rough little brawl. All Kidding aside, I would shred them for use with coconut shrimp.


13. Give me your thoughts on brussels sprouts.

Yummy… I make a batch of brussel sprouts at least two times a month.


14. And artichokes?

Oh, this strange looking thing has a way of livening up some of the most bland casseroles.


15. Invertebrates as a food source?

If I had to use one thing to eat for the rest of my life…this would be it. I Love oysters, clams, scallops, etc… My mouth’s watering already.

16. Describe a properly cooked and adorned hot dog.

The Dog must be grilled. A think layer of shredded cheese is sprinkled on the bottom of the bun. A splash of mustard goes on top of that. The hot dog is placed in the bun. A thin layer of slaw is placed in the bun next. Thin a liberal sprinkling of minced onions. Chili locks these ingredients into the bun and another layer of cheese on this finishs it up.

17. How did Wonder Bread get that name?
I’m sure it was an advertising gimmik to make kids think they were getting something special with their pb and j

18. What possessed anyone to look at the droppings of a palm civet and think they should search through it for coffee beans to roast so they could market it as the highest priced coffee in the world?

I don’t know, but I’m really glad they did. I drink coffee more than any other beverage during a normal day.

19. Twinkies: irresistible junk food or indestructible weapon?

Twinkies suck.

20. What is the best use for olives?

Pizza. Olive oil on the other hand, I use to cook most everything.

21. Normal watermelon or seedless?
Normal watermelon. Without seeds it just doesn’t seem near messy enough.

22. Have you ever had caviar?

Yes, it’s not my favorite, but I rarely turn it down when offered.


23. Tell me about a flavor experiment that went horribly awry.
I tried to make my own Sweet and Sour Pork. I didn’t have a recipe and I tried to recreate it by taste. It was a disaster.

24. File this under 'why bother?'

Beans. I hate beans. I can’t understand why anyone in the world would even think of eating them.

25. What is one dish you tasted because it looked irresistibly delicious but it turned out to be really revolting?

Pig feet. Smelled great tasted like ass.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

Before we move on to Darwinesque entertainment, let me apologize for my long absence. I had several computer woes that were only resolved yesterday. I hope to be back to posting on a regular basis now.

So, without further ado… it’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(28 April 1998) Bob Herschler, 77, of Olympia, WA, died from burns suffered last week after he placed a smoldering pipe in his shirt pocket. The pipe ignited a book of matches and soon Bob's clothing was ablaze.

Family members quickly extinguished the fire, but not before he suffered third-degree burns to his chest and abdomen. The Thurston County resident died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle of pneumonia brought on by his burns.

(31 March 1998) In a related story, the life of Reiva Nix, a 67-year-old grandmother living in Egdewood, TX, was claimed in a tragic accident on March 31. She was cleaning her tennis shoes with gasoline when a nearby candle ignited the shoes which Reiva was still wearing.

Alone at the time of the accident, she ran next door for help, and her neighbor extinguished the fire with a water hose. She died from burn wounds at 2AM at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Investigators noted that her flammable 65% polyester clothing contributed to the blaze. Chief Corbett said several people have told him they clean their shoes with gasoline. He cautioned others to be careful when using gasoline in any way.

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