Avid Readers, check out this uranian fiction!

Miriamspia's Blog

555545_4438412967325_1970803969_nThe Future of Engineering – an anthology
This anthology of short science fiction stories is ideal for college students or those who are curious about it. The author originally wrote these while living as a foreign exchange graduate student in London, England. While, definitely science fiction shorts, the ambiance of international academia and college students shines as the background setting.

Jimmy Bodeilo Travels Through Time
This is a single short science fiction story starring Jimmy Bodeilo who is about 11 years old. He appears in more than one story by the same author. To keep it simple “If it is a Jimmy Bodeilo story, then you know it is for kids.”

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  This is an urban crime novel.  You can also check out a page at the blog, and read a chapter for free.

The Children of Loki at Jet.com Using mercenaries in corporate…

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Blogospheric Interactions

Read, Respond

While still coming down emotionally from upset based on a formatting issue (I tried to put an image at the top of this blog post), I’m starting this today.

A few of you may have read the odd post that I wrote directly related to someone else’s post.  I’ve been known to also do that at Facebook.  This type of behavior is sometimes known as “Letter to the editor” of Newspaper X.

Not surprisingly, I’m sure that all of us have some degree of desiring to interact or to now when we read blogs.  I’m no different in that I would guess that 70% of the time I spend reading, I do so with a desire to interact involved with the behavior.  For some reason, I get the feeling I can’t or won’t with in person living people so I read or watch videos of people speaking on given topics.

It’s also usually true when writing, including this post.  Again, I have been assuming this is the case for at least 50% of the people, but am open to being corrected if I am just being blind to the fact that “It’s just me”.  Sometimes that can happen to people; we think we are mature enough to know the difference, but really we don’t know.

Feel free to let me know if you have the same feeling and think I’m right that most of us are like that: when we write a blog post or article or read one or a book, our desire to interact is engaged.

Blogosphere

The blogosphere is actually fairly complicated, I think.  I feel my own knowledge of it is like having touched a few places on that smaller upside of the proverbial iceberg.

Some of it is purely professional and segmented according to the industry in which a given blog exists.

Other blogs are a mixture of business and pleasure, or somehow come across that way.  Most recently Christian Mihai and MakeItUltra and Isha Garga (Garda?!) come across to me as a blend of personal and business.  Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha is often right on top in my WordPress Reader feed.  It occurs to me: is this the same for everyone?  Maybe not; when I searched for it, I was able to find Psycho Bunny’s blog and of course there is always The Writer in Black.

There are blogs that are strictly personal, but I’m not sure 1) whether I would claim that mine is.  I have tried just letting my blog be natural but then,…a few years ago, just as I began to improve how professionalized it was…something happened that made the upgrade die in the water like the recent death of one of my pet fish.   This paragraph is almost entirely personal rambling on.  2) If I know how to find which type of blog or if the truth is I only very rarely bother to search up someone’s personal blog.  That said, I can easily imagine feeling I developed an intimate psychological relationship with someone via his or her blog.  Resulting in “I feel like I really know you, although we’ve never met” until the sting of reality hits and he or she is like “Who the heck are you? Get a way from me, you weirdo!”  Of course, if the whole thing is not a delusional fantasy, the other person will say, “Wow, it’s mutual.  I guess we’re fans of each other” or will try to be diplomatic but not duplicitous and will say something like: “Well, I’ve accessed your account and have found that you’ve commented on the blogs…You know, I think me and just a few of the other employees here have been reading the messages you send and the posts you post….You know, wait a minute So-n-So is on staff and I see that s/he has handled your posts in the past…” You get put on hold for a few minutes and then finally someone says, “Yeah, hi, I remember you I’m So-n-So Not-the-Star you contacted at Star’s Blog.org.  Yeah, I’m starting to feel like I know you.”  I think you all know what I mean.

Today’s Experiment

This blog post should be viewed by the readers as an experiment in connection with you all.  It makes a big difference whether or not any of you see this, read it and provide feedback that I will be able to notice at my end within the upcoming week.

If so, I hope you feel that I’ve reached out, so to speak, without embarrassing myself in any way.

Things gone awry

Below is the image intended for the top center of this blog post.

 

German castle in the mountains

Author Interview: Robert Fitzgerald Jr.

Welcome to this blog.  Today, we are featuring the interview with the author of the science novel The Children of Loki by Robert Fitzgerald Jr..

Q. Robert, is this your first novel?

A. Yes, at least this is the first novel I’ve ever published using that name.

Q.  Wow, was it hard to get it published?

A.  Compared to what the main characters in the novel go through, no, not at all.  My life is much easier than those of the characters in the novel.  I did find it challenging to get published but I can’t be sure whether that’s only because I haven’t been living in NYC for the past 30 years or if that’s not the cause of the problem.

Q. Can you give us a general feeling for what kind of story this is?

A.  It’s military science fiction.  It’s intended to be able to complement or rival David Drake’s Hammers Slammers and the like.  I’d rather people read both than just lose to his fans.  It’s very much subgenre fiction.

It’s about military soldiers working in the private sector after completing military service, but it’s nothing like what happens when veterans from Afghanistan or Iraq become corporate managers or trainers.   In fact, that could be construed as misleading based on what the novel is really like, but its also an almost freakishly accurate way of describing the actual plot line.

Q. Really?

A. (makes strange sound) Yes, absolutely.   It’s about a business start-up only…If I tell you, it might be a spoiler.

OK, let me ask you a few different types of questions about it:

Q.  What did you use for character development in your fiction novel The Children of Loki?

A.  Oh, wow, that is a different type of question.  I used a number of features.  How to express unique individuals in writing is an exciting and fun part of the process.  I used a few traits and pieces of world-views and attitudes to set up how each of the main characters tends to make decisions.

None of the characters is taken from anyone alive, although I would like to cast that man Rock to play the lead male character if the novel were turned into a movie during the upcoming 5 years, which sadly, isn’t likely.  The main male character is a big, strong middle aged mulatto from right here on planet Earth.  He has significant military experience but he wasn’t career military.

In stark contrast, the main woman character is a cradle-to-grave soldier.

Also, just to be clear, I dared to make the leads not a romance; I know that’s very un-Hollywood, or may seem anti-Hollywood but all the “why nots” are shown and explained well in the story itself.  Just one hint about that might be her fear-inducing body odor and how that was scientifically developed in her native culture.

In truth, I haven’t been able to find anyone I would cast in her role.  There might be someone living who could do it, but I tend to think she would be done using advanced graphic arts, and a voice-over actress.  That’s not necessarily easier on the acting staff: something about green walls and pretending to talk to someone who isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  I’m not sure who’s voice would be ideal.

I realize that’s strange to have easily cast one role but not the others.  I don’t know if the Rock would even want to play Kiel Bronson in a movie, but he’s got the right physical size and his face would also suit the part.

(the author blushes) and looks sheepishly at the interviewer.

Q. Can you tell us anything about the setting?

A. Sure.  In truth, there is a map from a game that I did use for guidance.  Some map that shows the main starts within the 50Light Years closest to our Solar System.  The setting is within 50 LY from Sol and out planet.

(author makes a noise that sounds like a mixture of chuckling aloud and suffering from embarrassment)

I made up almost all the details.  It’s set in the distant future or else in an alternative but very nearby universe where most things are the same, but some stuff isn’t.

It’s a typical military science fiction setting.  (something that seems like fidgeting again, on the part of the author).

Q.  If you could only tell us one more thing about the novel what would it be?

A.  For me, the author, the 2 main characters, Gezka and Kiel, drive the whole story.  In truth, the characters, events and setting are all interconnected but that’s what it was and is like for me, the author.  That’s part of why it says on the title page *a Gezka FaucMerz and Kiel Bronson novel.   In the event of related sequels, from my perspective it’s that the future stories would star one or both of those 2.

Q. If we want to buy it online, can we?

A. Yes, of course.  Here are a couple of links.  The Children of Loki from Barnes & Noble bookstoreThe Children of Loki via Amazon .

Q. Is it possible to buy it offline?

A. You can also buy it from nearly any book store, especially a large chain store, but you have to ask for the store to order it.

A.  Also, I actually go out to sell the books for myself.  So, depending upon our relative locations I might show up out of nowhere offering the book.  It is very common for authors to have a few copies of their books in the trunk of their car, or stashed nearby for selling to people when it comes up.  Unfortunately, the publishing companies don’t handle most of the marketing for me;  I wish they did, but they don’t.

 

Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them

the most concise work of applied philosophy ever known

love donation in gratitude for the content on the blog

If you are willing to support the author of this blog, send a small donation.

$1.00

Does it matter?

Perhaps you are having one of those days when you are actually asking yourself questions such as:  Does my life matter?  or just What does it all mean?  If so, there are a few simple approaches to handling this.  One, if possible you should get a hug from someone who cares about you.  Two, you should either read a bit of philosophy or go to a church service, or three: all of the above.

This is one of the questions directly addressed in the booklet shown in the image with this post.  Not only that, but it’s only $13.50 and can be delivered right to your door.  Here’s a link: Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them

How do know what’s true anymore?

Let’s just say that the headline describes your subjective mental state.  It could be because you aren’t sure whether or not your spouse is cheating on you.  It might be caused by having found a crook at the company you work for, or because you recently suffered from an online scam.

Whatever the reason, this is a fairly serious question.  Let’s rephrase it just slightly: how does any of us know what’s true in the first place?  Often we trust authority and experts: this is normally the case whether we mean a religious cleric or a school instructor who claims to have received trusted information from scientific researchers.  In both cases, whether from The Bible or History of the Universe we are faced with serious efforts to get at truth and knowledge.

Philosophy also seeks truth and knowledge.  If you are an avid and vigorous reader or lengthy works you can start with the link at the beginning of this paragraph, but if you just want the short answer, you can click on the link for the booklet above.

Either the human mind contains the power to perceive the truth or does not.  If so, then either we can get to it from: God, and or from thought and or from sense experience.  If we can get to it in any of those ways, we still have to look into methods.  There are spiritual methods, and there are also philosophical and scientific methods for getting at the truth.  In Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them, I help readers see how these basic principles work and how they show up in daily life.

Sadly, I am not in a position to call your boyfriend or girlfriend for you and explain what happened…nor am I in a great position to call you right now and talk you through your present problem.

If it is mainly emotional unrest, please take a few deep breaths and maybe go for a walk.  I do also recommend getting a hug if you can get one from someone you trust at this time.  If it still seems important after you’ve calmed down, buy the booklet and delve into this more deeply.

If you love the booklet you can come back to this article and find the links to books that cover the same topic in more depth.

Just for College Students

Wild Undergraduates

Are you a college student?

Wondering what to get your friends or yourself for the holidays?  Maybe you would like buy someone you like or love something, but don’t want to spend much.

If you, and any of your friends are college students who have Kindles and love to read, have I got good news for you.

Here is a great little set of short fiction stories for just $0.99! :   The Future of Engineering

What’s Special About Them?

You are probably wondering.  Every story in The Future of Engineering collection is about college students.  Starring college students.  Set on university campuses.

These stories are so good, that you may want to get yourself a copy, at $0.99 there’re at a price it’s tough to beat.

Genre and plot line:  diverse:  1 is about a goddess-project; 1 is a comedy story about advanced engineering research and an old saying.  1 is about whether or not anyone died of an overdose of fun the night before.

Nevertheless, these were written by me, when I was a college student during my mid-20s, and everything about them is especially designed for this niche market.

If you do it to buy something for your friends or that sibling who is in college, that’s great.

If you do it because you love yourself…All I can tell you is that I hope your self-love is the healthy kind, rather than narcissism.

Avid Readers, check out this uranian fiction!

555545_4438412967325_1970803969_nThe Future of Engineering – an anthology
This anthology of short science fiction stories is ideal for college students or those who are curious about it. The author originally wrote these while living as a foreign exchange graduate student in London, England. While, definitely science fiction shorts, the ambiance of international academia and college students shines as the background setting.

Jimmy Bodeilo Travels Through Time
This is a single short science fiction story starring Jimmy Bodeilo who is about 11 years old. He appears in more than one story by the same author. To keep it simple “If it is a Jimmy Bodeilo story, then you know it is for kids.”

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  This is an urban crime novel.  You can also check out a page at the blog, and read a chapter for free.

The Children of Loki at Jet.com Using mercenaries in corporate conflict and cross-cultural relationships are the central themes of The Children of Loki. A middle-aged mulatto man from planet Earth discovers his military muse when he comes across one of Emperor Rejkyavik’s organic sentient warriors in The Rim.

Five Big Questions in Life and how to answer them In stark contrast to the other works, this is a practical philosophy mini-book.  Is there a God?  What is knowledge? Is morality absolute or relative?  These answers and more are addressed in this short and handy publication.

Just click on the link to purchase any of these.  They are all available at multiple locations.  The books can be ordered at any book store.  The short stories are available to Kindle readers.

Basics of Book Writing

Type of Book

This is the most important aspect of the project. Are you going to write a nonfiction book or a fiction novel? If the book is going to be a nonfiction book, there is more than one way to decide which type of book to write. One can look at the market and see what is most needed. One can look at oneself and see what one most wants to write about. Each leads to a good decision but not the same kind of wise choice.

If the book is going to be nonfiction, then one needs to make a decision on which type. Likewise if fiction, it helps to know the genre before one begins the writing process.

The goal of the end product does also matter. If one is just doing the work for fun, without any need to make money from doing it, then one can be driven more by preference and maybe take more risks. Money making endeavors can involve risks, but on

Planning

You may have just a simple form of the idea.

Pitch

You have to decide based on your self-knowledge whether or not you are going to pitch your idea to the publishing industry at this stage, or after you have an outline, or after you have written the book. There is one other option and that is to put together enough for a book proposal and pitch that.

Pitching an idea, means meeting with or calling or emailing industry moguls to see if any of them are interested in your idea. For some people this is the easy part, but for others this is the part that is harder than making a private trip to the Moon.

Outline and first draft

When that is the case you can start with an outline. In the case of fiction, some authors prefer to develop a detailed plot line and outline before they get to writing. Others begin by just writing and seeing where the creative process leads. People like that often face a great deal more editing after they have produced a first draft.

Depending upon the other demands in your life and your over all personality structure, you may also need to create a scheduled production time. This could be anything from ‘for an hour in the morning before the children get up’ to ‘9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.’

Editing & Book Proposals

After you have a draft, you can edit the entire work. Around the same time that you do this, you can also begin to query, and to prepare the book proposals. If you pitched and it worked, then you know who will be directing your queries to or where you will be submitting your book proposal. If you have had astoundingly good luck, then you will actually already have a publishing deal for your book. In that case, you know where to send the edited version of the book.

Editing tips: while a lot of editing can be done right after you complete the work, the more emotionally invested or simply overworked you are from writing the first draft the more you need to let the draft just sit for a while before you edit it. How long it should just lie around without you doing anything with it can vary from 2 weeks to 13 years. In most cases, you will be able to edit the thing with improved emotional distance after 2 weeks to 2 months. Even if you think you are not emotional about your book project, you should wait. Once you forget the exact details of what you meant to write, it will be easier to see what you actually wrote. Typos and other errors will become more readily apparent.

If you have the money and the connections to, hire a second person to edit the work for you at least once. Constructive criticism can be a big help in improving your performance. Outside editors tend to see things you miss as the author. In some cases, your editor will make you happy by showing you how well you wrote your book or story.

Once the work is edited, put together your query letter and assemble any other information the prospective publishers may want from you. This may include: an overview of the market for the type of book you have written, the first 3 chapters of the manuscript, a direct sales pitch letter to the publishing company to convince them how great your book is. They do normally expect a short bio, but it can be quite brief, telling them mainly how or where your work has been published and how well you were paid or if the problem is that you were not.

Submission

You may have to decide where to submit your book. You can try literary agents and you can try publishers. The Writer’s Market is one example of a resource that tells you which publishing companies require literary agent representation and which ones do not.

You also have to check whether or not simultaneous submissions are viewed as acceptable. Simultaneous submissions is like dating multiple people without having to get sexually involved in order to land a spouse or both in one. Some people get offended by it, and others are comfortable with it. Check with the publisher or literary agency.

Nowadays, you may sometimes email the publisher or literary agent. There are people who prefer this, and others who still want it the old fashioned way. Find this out to submit the way they want it.

Response

There is nothing left to do after submission but wait. Most of the results of a long wait are the way it is in romance: you don’t want to marry each other and you aren’t ever going to have sex. They will neither represent your book – in the case of a literary agency, nor will the publisher actually accept your book for their investment and publication.

Now and then you will be fortunate and get a positive response. Sometimes a positive response means “We can’t use this one but if you write another book, be sure to let us take a look at it.”

Be wary, but realistic. Many a positive early response rather than being serendipity should set off your alarms. It is probably a self-publishing company willing to publish your book as long as you pay them to. There are times when self-publishing is a perfectly sound idea but for most writers who are still naïve about the publishing industry, having no one but self-publishers interested after all your hard work can be devastating or, for the tough minded, only a little disappointing.

Seriously, it is possible for an author to ‘hit the jackpot’ and get a big publishing company to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, even as an advance on sales for your book. Not only that, but in some cases, the editors won’t even change it so much that you no longer feel as if it is the book you submitted to them but does still have your name listed as the author.

Most likely, that is not what will happen. Most likely, if you have written a really good book you will be able to find a small publishing company willing to support your work with a small advance or no advance but a decent professional production of the book. In other cases, you can get it self published. I’m not sure about the % on this.

A large minority of writers will find that after all their hard work absolutely nothing more will ever come of the project. After a while, the author will get over the shock and numb, and move on with his or her life.

 

The Children of Loki excerpt

The Children of Loki

This novel is now available at the link above and numerous online and offline book stores.  To get it from a regular book store, just order it through their customer service desk.

This excerpt is from right within the story:

At long last, Gezka got a chance to confer with her superior officer – she wanted to ask about forcing hand to hand combat and close gun fighting and wanted permission and then advice on the best way to achieve it.  Instead, Gezka jogged through the smoky, dusty dark night only to arrive just after her commanding officer was killed by combined ‘mortar’ then laser and bullet barrage.  Gezka entered what remained of the field command point and did not leave until she had grabbed the maps and called in to confirm to other officers that the Captain was dead.

She was informed, as she ran for cover in the night, plotting revenge that must not be revenge but simple tactics to move the war forward, that she had just earned a field promotion.  She managed to get medical staff to the dead officers and to gather together a couple of the other junior officers to make the new plan.

“Congratulations Captain,” reported one of her beleaguered comrades.  She had known the man for years.

She smiled.  “I think we had better prevent that from happening again, don’t you?”

They worked on the plans for hours, with a hot wind whipping past their ankles.  No one knew why, but on that planet, at least where they were, there were winds that scraped the ground and didn’t seem to ever get as high as the knees.

For readers wondering why the combat is not being described in more detail, all that can be said is, ‘Please be patient, we’ll get way more into that later’.

Gezka, the new Captain, did not sleep again for days and nights due to the demands of the combat.  She was able to get what she wanted – which was three squads who managed to raid the enemy and to use hand-to-hand combat.  She preferred this, but not all the time.  It was gratifying for her to punish the enemy and to protect her troops by killing off some soldiers who were running a ground tank and then some more who had been using something the equivalent of a helicopter – as that was what had killed off her Captain.

After a few cycles of day and night as her mind had begun to grow strange, some relief arrived along with a set of brief orders for her to return to a base for re-medication and rest.  She was not opposed to this, and set out to follow orders.  She disliked handing off the maps and the command to the man she left them with.  She had also known him for years and felt that there were conditions in this scenario that might outdo him.  Every soldier has their strengths and weaknesses.  She would have been happy to pass the same man the duties if they had been making combat in orbit or in forested terrain or even in a city, but this was something like rocky coastline on desert and not a good match for his skills.  Nevertheless, she obeyed her orders.  The liquid off the coast was not water.

En route, she was drawn to what looked like a small aero-spacecraft.  She could tell she needed sleep rather badly because she was only fairly certain that she had seen one of these craft before – not the enemy’s but their own.  They had only shown up within the previous year or two.  She went to it, expecting to find either a superior officer or else an injured or dead team inside of it.  She checked it for traps and wondered if she was slap happy or paranoid.

She cleared the interior – it was empty.  She was able to identify it as belonging to another battalion of the Naav’s, but last time she checked, they had relied on the same mother ship.  She felt compelled to fly it herself.  She had no idea what possessed her to suddenly try something new but she went ahead and figured out how to make it go.  She had been trained to drive a few different types of vehicles and had been engineered for brains as well as combat reflexes, so it seemed like something she should be able to do.

Sure enough, it worked.  She began to fly back to the Naav’s big ship in orbit.  Then something happened she didn’t understand.  Once she brought the small vessel off the planet, and into orbit, she began to steer it away from where she was supposed to go.  It wasn’t like her to disobey orders.  This will come up again.

Soon after that, Gezka figured out that this little rig was able to go faster than light but that whenever it did there was an unpleasant side effect: this nasty, weird feeling is going to be called “dimensional burn” for the rest of the story.  Gezka tried a few things and ended up taking the aerospace craft on a hyper light journey to one of the few places in the Rim where she had gone on vacation.

Readers may wonder – is the obvious true?  Was she that out of her head from lack of sleep, or is something else going on here?

Perhaps now is a good time for readers to know:  Exterior military personnel, at least Rejkyavik’s don’t ‘mix well’ with civilians.  They have segregation laws there to prevent such things.  The space station Gezka went to was one of those special places that was dependent upon the business it brought in from the Exterior.  In this case, one of the means of survival had been to cater to military troops.  There were a few decks where the Exterior was able to bring in military troops without them getting exposed to regular people.  Normally, these meetings had to be arranged days in advance so that the decks would be clear of all other subtypes of humans.

Now, Gezka going there alone, without the station having had time to prepare was too much like a terrorist bringing a bomb with the timer already running to an airport.  The funny thing was, Gezka did not know this.  She just went to a place she had been before.
The Space Station was a faint glow in the vast expanse of darkness that is space.  This wasn’t standard practice amongst space stations.  There was a reason for it.  Conditions in outer space are actually quite sensitive.  Most of the freighters and other ships that approached this particular station ran lights and vibrations.  It turned out that anything too reflective would endanger approaching ships.  As a consequence, this station was covered in a slightly radiant form of black which would absorb the lights rather than bounce them back.

Gezka flew around until she found a docking bay.  She was not asked to report in by the station.  The station serviced a lot of black market operations and found it easier to ask fewer questions.  There were people and systems inside that read the area around the station.  They would know if someone showed up.  No one needed to tell them.  She docked the small vessel, unsure of how seriously clouded her mind was from lack of sleep.

She disembarked still not knowing why she had not simply returned to the battleship like she normally would have.

*                                                             *                                                                  *

I lifted the bottle in the nick of time.  The FaucMerz came crashing into the booth table with at least one opponent, wrapped together in a grappling bar fight.  I pulled back in my seat.  I didn’t know if I just felt old, or mature.  I don’t get into many bar fights nowadays.  I turned 50 Earth years old a couple of years ago now.   Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t back down; its just that I start trouble even less than I used to.  My name’s Kiel Bronson.
The FaucMerz made quick work of the end of her little tussle and I could tell it was time for us to leave.

Gezka looks a lot like a young, giant Earth woman but with a very special twist.  If you’re an Earthling then you’ll see how alien she is, for a human.  She’s bigger than most Earthling men, with strangely broad shoulders as well as hips and skin as pale as an albino’s.  You probably won’t see her eyes; she wears special goggles to keep out the light in places where you might come across an Earthling.

Once you know what to look for, you can easily tell she’s a soldier.  She’s one of Emperor Rejkyavik’s pieces of military equipment.  They breed them out there.  They use genetic engineering and eugenics, not to mention brainwashing and cultural separatism.   In actual fact, I’m the first friend she’s ever made who isn’t also part and parcel of the ExxyNaav – that’s what her military force is called.  Emperor Rejkyavik’s ExxyNaav.   They are something along the lines of a “Space Navy” but their military forces do not have the same divisions of labor as Earth’s.

I found her.  She’s mine.  The kid went AWOL; we still don’t know why.  She told me she had just been field promoted to Captain – that means someone else died in combat so she gets the new job opening.  She broke the law again by leaving Exterior Federation Territory and went to one of the few space stations in The Rim she had ever been to.  Typical, she went somewhere she’d already been.  I found her in there, ordering her first drink while soaked in blood.  Back home we call this guilty of murder.  I think her perspective was more like war atrocities, but that’s the trouble with taking a soldier out of combat and mixing them in with regular people too soon.  She wasn’t ready and a lot of civilians died because of it.

I talked to her.  She could tell I was some kind of Sergeant.  Her Interior
Federation English was not very good.  Even so, we left the space station in a hurry and left a trail of blood, but we left together.

To me, she did not really look human, but I only thought so because I had been trained to identify military personnel and equipment.  To me, it was obvious.  As long as she was in uniform, most people would be able to tell.  I was considering trying to hide her; that was really why I was even thinking about it.

*                                                               *                                                                  *

When she was at a bar she had been to before she noticed that it seemed different.  The bar tender was terrified and there were no other soldiers there.  Well, almost none.  A man spoke to her who wasn’t the bar tender.  Everything seemed strange as she had gone without sleep so long and she was low on her normal doses of metabolic enhancers.  He spoke strangely.  It was actually a different language, but it was Interstellar English.  She recognized it in a vague way: she had received some lessons about it during one round of training.
Most Exxy Naav soldiers get new training any time they get hospitalized but aren’t so far gone that they get euthanized.  The Naav has very strict measures for who to bother to save and who to wipe the floor with.  This was part and parcel of the lifestyle.  There were other times when soldiers received additional training but it was much more efficient than letting them lose their minds from boredom while costing a lot of money.  Most soldiers hated how long it took them to heal from their injuries.  They liked it when they at least had something to show for it at the end.

She turned to the new stranger.  He was short but strong.  He looked like he had military experience and she could tell he had some combat experience, but how much was not clear.  He was from a foreign political power, but not one of the enemies.  Enemies: in truth the Emperor rarely viewed opponents as enemies.  He told the people that they should be viewed “as friends who need some persuading”; nothing more; nothing less.  Persuasion often included military warfare against them.  Not always, but that was Gezka’s Emperor.  She loved him of course: every loyal soldier does.

The new stranger spoke to her.  She found him comforting but did not perceive why.   He invited her to associate with him, and seemed to accept her military mannerisms – he was awkward compared to her comrades-in-arms but he was clearly more relaxed than everyone else in the bar.   She had 2 drinks with him but when someone tried to ask her to pay just as strong lights blasted in through a suddenly opened door she attacked the wait staff without really thinking.  There was some scuffling and screaming and groaning.  She felt the older man pull at her and shout about leaving and for some reason she did what he said, but didn’t know why.

They left together.  He flew a different small ship.  He told her go into the back, to relax and get some rest.  She passed out amongst some cargo.  It was easier to sleep there than in the field, but not as good as a cot or a bed.  When she woke up, she knew something had changed but didn’t know what.  Other than that, she was mainly just confused.  She did feel better, though.  In fact, she felt so much better that she suspected she had slept for an abnormally long time.
The older man with the dark skin moved and suddenly spoke, “You up, Soldier?” he asked.
“Ja, ja,” she muttered, realizing she had not even learned the man’s name.
“Good, good.  You can clean yourself up there, in the back, I think,” he said.
She did.  She was running low of most of her normal boosters.  It wasn’t good.  She looked into a mirror.  She appeared to be OK.  She washed and checked her tattoos – it was her serial numbers.  Something was different, but she didn’t know what.  She wondered if some program the scientists had hidden in her brain and mind had been set off – was it because she was a Captain now?  Captain Faucmerz?

She wondered if her comrades were missing her.  She both hoped so and hoped not.  She hoped that as a Naav soldier she mattered to her team, but now as it sank in that she was gone, she had a surge of fear and hope that they were doing OK without her.  She had been supposed to check in for a rest.

The man she had just met made some noise.  She re-checked herself and went out of the little bathroom.  He was very alert to her.  She tried to tell how much it was fear and how much it might be attraction.  He was definitely darker and not the same type of human as herself.  Where Gezka came from, everyone was engineered.  Without that, the human species would not have been able to colonize the stellar region.  This man was a type she had not seen before, but she thought maybe she had seen an image of the type on a news broadcast.

He gave her a weird smile and said, “I’m Kiel Bronson, but maybe you had better call me Sergeant.”

She gave him a weird look right back.  “I see you’re not the enemy,” she said.

He chuckled, but she could hear the fear in his voice.  “That’s right, soldier.  I’m an Earthling.  Have you met an Earthling before?”

“No,” she said.  It was the truth.  “Well, I did meet you last night, so yes.”

“OK,” he said.  He was certain now, that he was more than twice her age, even though she was an adult.  It still made him uncomfortable at times, to realize how old he really was, but there was a lot about it that he liked.  One thing for sure, was both the good and the bad of it: he had a lot more life experience than anyone her age.

What are you really?

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Sorry, what?

That’s UK English for ‘What’re you talking about?’.  In this case, what I’m going to go on about is the various names for and meanings of “writer”.   Due to my own position, I learned at some point to describe myself as being ‘a writer’.  Well, while it was true, I can’t say that it has done any good.  The reason for that, is that the vast majority of professional writers are not called writers, and they don’t describe themselves that way at parties.

I was young and naïve when I began as an amateur and happy student and also early on when I started getting paid, at least now and then, for writing something or for having written something.  Now, I wouldn’t say it’s that I haven’t grown up, but there is some kind of weird vibe.  I think the weird vibe is when one develops a sense of self that isn’t simply the job title of an occupation but then does try to apply it or to at least continue to use it during gainful employment.

Amateurs and Professionals

Let’s just say that getting published despite significant or tremendous competition is considered to be some kind of legitimate achievement amongst people who write and those who actually respect people who do.

I admit that it was thrilling for me to get published offline, and with considerable competition even when the only payment was recognition or a copy of the book that I wrote a review of for the magazine.  Despite that, I always wanted to write so as to be paid well even though I also wanted to write with 100% personal integrity, rather than feeling that I’d sold out on myself.

Brief aside about “selling out” and “selling out”

This can actually be horrible or fantastic.  For instance, currently, I have works of which I am the author which I want to sell out of, thanks to having found real live paying customers who want to read the novels and I want them to feel afterwards, that it was well worth the money they spent.

It is also true, that often when people say, “selling out” they mean in the much worse sense of the phrase.  They mean the painfully sad story of exchanging one’s values for material security or happiness or success.  It is a sorrow that can be spiritual degradation with age, instead of becoming better with age or at least staying the same.  It can be a sorrow that is actually merely ego-related.

Poetry and Op-ed where they meet

Poetry and Op-ed writing are examples of terrain where many who do work within the field frown upon those who are paid to do it almost as condescendingly as people tend to treat prostitutes despite the weird similarities that every good wife gets paid for by her husband, and prostitutes are single women who get paid by their lover even when it isn’t only one who is her husband.  Well, poetry is strangely similar.  There have been many women poets thrilled to be recognized for their poetry and are proud to be published, who find it rude at best, and evil at the worst, for anyone to be a paid poet/ess.

Opinion and editorials, letters to the editors, and much of online writing goes unpaid.  The majority of people looking for honest opinions about books, prefer to read ‘unpaid reviews’ hoping in an often corrupt world, to find some objectivity, honesty and truth.

That granted, there has always been and still is something to be said for real professionalism.  Not surprisingly, more adult male poets are able to publicly seek pay for their poetry without being scoffed at by the general public.  Even so, one of the greatest poets of all time, William Blake, was forced to work a day job in an unrelated field.

In that respect, William Blake comes across as a heroic artist of the middle classes and as a suffering, real, artist, forced to hold down a day job even though he really was one of the greatest poets to ever live, and one of the greatest of his generation.  Humility in greatness, or just depressing facts about how the world really works?  You decide.

The bottom line may be: that’s how tough it is to earn a living from poetry.

Culled 11 Dec. 2018 from the Penny Hoarder online: average pay for a greeting card writer is $51,000/year when doing it full-time, as a staff writer: 2 to 20 cards per week, every year, year after year.

Now, admittedly, that’s a respectable income.  Envision your life and the looks you will get at parties or family reunions if when someone asks: what do you do?  Should you say, “I’m a writer,” and let them ask for any details, or should you tell them, “I’m a greeting card writer,” or would you feel less dirty or more proud-yet-secretive if you tell them that, “I work for Greeting Card Producing Company X.”  If they ask, you can divulge – maybe after a 2nd glass of wine, “I write greeting cards.”

No, not at all; actually yes

I know that sounds a little crazy, but in truth it’s that I have met professional grant writers in real life who seemed either incapable of believing themselves to be a kind of professional writer or unwilling to admit to it.  They did seem willing to be the “I have a job at Such-n-Such a Company,” type of writers.

This is only the beginning

There is so much more to the various mysteries of what happens with “writers”, including those with professional aspirations.  As for myself: thanks to events in 2015, I became qualified for at least 2 years to call myself a “journalist” which was a first for me.  I could also claim to be a freelance article ghostwriter, a professional ghostwriter for books, a professional editor, a copy writer, and an author of poetry, short fiction.  As of 2005 I could call myself someone who successfully completed the Writer’s Bureau creative writing course.  I call WB a trade school because it is exclusively to develop people into writers who get paid for their writing.

If it’s me, you could also say I’m an author and ghostwriter of books.  Just do a search here at my blog, or online to find works of which I am the author which are for sale.  Volunteering is nice, but not being paid for working is exploitation or slavery.

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Positivity and Negativity

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Public talk

We hear a lot about how much good attitudes help.  In general I agree, but today, when I read a post by Dr. Perry on the subject of positivity and negativity I felt inspired to write about the subject.

When negative is bad

Negativity can really ruin peoples’ previously happy day.  People can be going along and decide to be sociable only to run into someone who seems to just drain their energy.

Complaining, blaming others for events that are really one’s own fault and negative attitudes can really negatively impact other peoples’ moods.

People can develop negatives attitudes and behaviors both accidentally and on purpose.  It can come from lots of disappointment or from buying into ideas picked up in the media.

People can desperately need to break free of negative people in their lives and/or bad circumstances or attitudes.

When negative is good

There are times when negative is good, rather than bad.  The first examples I always think of are when:  the results of the medical tests are negative – you or I or you plural don’t have a disease.  The other case that I think of most strongly, right off the top of my head is what a relief and a joy it is whenever a woman or a man finds out that the partner is really not having an extramarital affair.

Negativity is also good when it means that a person is able to be honest, at least with the self, about emotions and circumstances.  This can include being truthful about negative emotions or feeling badly about a particular set of circumstances.

Being negative can help motivate people to make needed changes in their lives.

Criticism

Criticism is a well known form of negativity.  It can also be good or bad.  Constructive criticism is one of the most helpful non-things that a person can ever receive from a more experienced person who knows what he or she is really dealing with.

Correction is really a great gift to the recipient.  Most of experience this from loving parents, from school teachers and from religious leaders.  Once adult, most of us also experience correction and constructive criticism from colleagues and bosses at work.

Destructive Criticism

When on the wrong side of this, destructive criticism is actually devastating.  It can make people insecure; bullying can destroy people.  Criticism can make people hopeless and incredibly depressed without any self-esteem left at the end.

One common example of this is when a person is so ridiculed for something that he or she no longer tries.  In my own life, I relate this most easily to living in a foreign language atmosphere.  The amount of error one must endure to even attempt to use the local language is sort of horrible.  Destructive criticism can make a bad situation worse, because it becomes much harder to learn if one doesn’t dare to even try.

Over all

Due to all of that, I personally don’t believe that negativity is particularly bad or good but that like so much in life, if the balance is wrong it makes matters worse but when right, it is healthy and helpful.

 

Who’s Tutweiler Buckhead?

Who?

Who is this man?  In truth, that’s the big question that the protagonists want to know.  The cops know a little bit about him, but unlike you, they don’t even know his name.  That’s a slight tease: all you do know is his name…and that’s the one piece of information the cops would most like to have.

The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead  may be one of the first if not only, mystery novels named after the villain.  Perhaps you should chime in on whether or not you feel this makes the novel more attractive, or if you find it misleading, as far as titles are concerned.

The novel is an action adventure story set in the city of Indianapolis, which is where I lived when I wrote the first couple of drafts.

The story is not told from Tutweiler’s perspective.  In fact, if he could respond to this post it would only be to hope that no one notices it or else that no one takes it seriously, because of how much he is evading the Police with some of his activities, but not all of them.

Tutweiler is also honestly not based on any single real-life person but I suppose anyone like Tutweiler might worry that this was about him.  In reality, in my fictions stories, especially novels, each character is a composite of at least 4 different people.  To share a sad joke, the other day I saw a video in which Tai Lopez essentially said this ideal girlfriend is also a composite of at least 3 different women.  While that may be painfully true, I immediately thought of the way that I personally write fiction and how I do that intentionally in the invention of characters for novels…but would not find it so helpful for making myself content within a marriage.

The name is very intentionally exotic.  I think I found his first name doing Internet research about dog breeds while scouting the terrain for potential freelance writing contracts over a decade ago.  Strangely enough, I do recall specifically how I came up with the character’s surname.  I was being paid to write a real estate blog for a little while and through the related research learned that Buckhead is one of the fancier neighborhoods in greater Atlanta, Georgia.  Well, something about it struck me as fitting.

White Collar Criminals

I am willing to divulge, and I hope it’s not a spoiler, that Tutweiler is a white collar type of criminal, but even telling you that I begin to digress into that character’s personal issues that are explained in chapters of the novel.

Everyone who has known or hated white collar criminals will appreciate this.

What’s the plot line?

It’s really about finding out who Tutweiler actually is, and saddling him with the burden of the responsibility for some of his actions.  Mind you, he’s enough of a real person type of villain that there is a lot more to him than just his crimes.

The City of Indianapolis resorts to using a special squad of 4 who are a compromise between the law enforcement agencies and vigilantes.   The 4 are not all alike, which will appeal more to some readers than others.   Three types of people will feel most at home with our protagonists: 1) people who like those crime TV shows like NCIS where there is obviously a team solving a criminal case, 2) fantasy role play gamers who are used to thinking in terms of “adventuring parties”, 3) people who love comic book heroes and heroines.  (old use of the actual feminine form instead of only the masculine grammatical form).  If you or someone you know is any of those types, then you might really like this novel.

Magical Realism

Fans of fantasy might be terribly disappointed by level of magic in The Double Life of Tutweiler Buckhead.  In fact, here’s a link to a  negative book review – fantasy disappointment.   There is some magic and occultism in the novel, but it does not conform to either sword and sorcery nor to ‘Satanic crimes’ genre expectations.  It may live up to the standards of magical realism.

There is also God related magic in the novel, and in this case, it is done by Christians rather than say Buddhists or Hindus ala Dr. Strange.

Other details

The writing style developed from someone who finds it normal if you take advanced classes in high school or go to college in stark contrast to someone who thought all that would go right over your head.  This is not a book written “at an 8th grade reading level” so that foreigners and kids can feel as if they understand the English language.   Be prepared for relatively long sentences and descriptive sub-clauses.

Interested?

If this sounds like your type of thing, then just scroll on up and click on the link.   The review is also real by the way and not a ‘brain wash positive’ work of paid promotional advertising.

If you go for it, I hope you love it.

I would be thrilled if anyone who reads it would bother to post a comment or a semi-public or public review of the reader’s own free will.