Be sure to catch the entire interview with Assaph Mehr later today. Mr. Mehr is the author of Murder in Absentia.
“Murder in Absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – it will appeal to lovers of murder mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.”
The reviews are all positive.
— Jonathan Maas, author of City of Gods – by Hellenica
Don’t forget to catch up with Mr. Mehr and Felix the Fox later today for the latest installment of Writer’s Wednesday!
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
The sinking of the Titanic produced horror for the victims, ruined entire families, created the backdrop for non-fiction and fiction stories of books and famous movies, became the prime example for engineers to study to keep their egos in check, produced many studies to make ships safer, and created the modern safety regulations we now have in place for cruise ships.
Now creators of the play-by-play video want game players to have the experience first hand.
The video was created as a precursor to a video game, called Titanic Honor & Glory, “where players begin their voyage on the doomed ship at Southampton, recreated as it was in 1912. They are then able to live through the voyage and the sinking of the ship, interacting with historical characters along the way.”
Follow along with the video from The Daily Mail (UK)
It may seem odd to make a video about something so personal, filled with horrors of screams, death, and real human beings, but the video creators assure the public they do it out of respect and yes, fascination of the event.
“A statement on their website reads: ‘Our core team is made up almost exclusively of people who have grown up appreciating the disaster, respecting those who were lost, and simply want to see all of that brought back to life.
‘Our consultants are on hand to make sure we get this done right, and we are even bringing decedents of survivors and victims to make sure those on board are accurately represented and properly memorialized.
‘Overall, we just want to tell their stories, preserve their memories, and revive a luxurious ocean liner that the whole world poured its heart into.”
Even if you are not a game player, the video is worth watching. The 2 hours, from seeing the ice burg, to actual sinking, must have been a terrifying time for the people involved. Life boats only half full, no plan in place for the ship to sink, egos and arrogance stepping in the way, and the chaos of realizing something must be done, but it was too late, makes the story of the Titanic a tragic event people still discuss and always fear will happen again.
This video is important from a purely engineering perspective. Watching something so huge and built to last, sink so fast, should be a constant reminder of the importance safety plans and creating plan B, when plan A fails.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
Credit given to http://www.dailymail.co.uk for publishing this story and to writer, Bob Mueller, @ which is where I originally found the story.
I am so confused with MS and NC.
Just because you bring a gun into a bathroom doesn’t mean you’re going to shoot someone. So why is NC and MS making a big deal about the gun a person may or may not have in their pants?
In all my years, I’ve never once asked someone sitting in the next stall if they were carrying a gun or not carrying a gun.
I just assume anyone who has a gun will use it responsibility. It’s not my place to judge them on their right to lawfully carry a concealed gun under their dress or in their pants.
Now, on the flip side, if I see someone taking their gun out, swinging it around for everyone to see, and using it in an improper manner, then I will have an issue with that behavior and call the police.
Until that situation occurs, I’m not going to vote or support any bill which requires law abiding citizens to use a different bathroom just because they happen to possess a gun.
It takes good people with guns to defeat the evil people with guns, right? Maybe allowing more law abiding, gun toting people, into all public bathrooms will serve to protect me from those who don’t use their guns correctly.
Either way, it boils down to, guns or not, we all just want to pee.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
** For anyone who is confused. Replace each reference of “gun” with penis. **
This Wednesday, April 20th, I have the honor of interviewing two published authors from Australia.
Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia and Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary. Both authors have graciously offered their valuable time and experience answering a few questions about their path to creative writing and ultimately publishing their stories.
Each journey in writing is as different as the sands on the beach, yet many new writers never start because they fear their personal stories aren’t as perfect as the famous writers they know by heart. They fear they aren’t good enough, they aren’t interesting enough, they aren’t smart enough, rich enough, and so on. These fears paralyze their creative minds and they never publish one word. All the stories are locked away forever, never allowing anyone to see these new worlds and adventures.
My goal is not only to introduce wonderful authors to new fans, but I also hope new writers will understand they have the tools to began their own writing journey right now.
I hope those who lock their stories away behind fear and self doubt will read the interviews and be inspired to tell your stories to the world. Every author’s journey to publishing is completely different. There is no perfect setting, no perfect story, no perfect person, and no perfect time. For new writers, the time is now.
As I spend more time with Assaph and Wendy and explore the trials, tribulations, and the path of success paved by different authors, it becomes clearly obvious, “all roads do indeed lead to Rome.”
Leading up to the interviews, please see for yourself the wonderful worlds created when words are allowed to flow.
First up is Murder in Absentia; a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – it will appeal to lovers of murder mysteries, ancient Rome and fantasy.
You can find this intriguing murder mystery set in a fantasy world on Amazon, http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1
Next up is Catch the Moon, Mary, a story of a deeply troubled family, difficult decisions, and living your life for your own dreams.
This passionate story can be found on Amazon, http://amzn.to/1RL8933
Don’t forget to read both individual interviews next week in Writer’s Wednesday!
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
Today we feature Jessica West in Writer’s Wednesday. She’s talented and witty, and she has provided a wealth of information for new authors.
AB: Thank you Mrs. West for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.
JW: Thanks for featuring me at your blog today. I’m happy to offer my perspective to people who are considering a career in self-publishing. I’m just getting started myself, so still very much in the learning phase. But I’ll share what I’ve learned so far
AB: Which book or written work has proved to be most successful?
JW: So far, my most successful work has been Sin Eater, an Urban (Paranormal) Fantasy serial I co-wrote with author P.K. Tyler. Marketing Sin Eater was my first real experience with advertising sites. Previously, I’d only used Goodreads ads and boosted Facebook ads. The conversion rates were dismal, but I think that was mostly because of poor timing on my part. When you have a new release coming out, you “blitz” a bunch of ads, lining them up so they work together to boost visibility. I’ve learned from personal experience that the hardest part of marketing is believing in your product (your book). I absolutely adore my co-author, and love everything I’ve read from her. Our editor was amazeballs. (Naomi Leadbeater. Y’all be sure to check her out.) And so I have the utmost confidence in Sin Eater. That, in and of itself, makes marketing it so much easier; I’m certain that what I’m advertising is a quality product. So the best thing authors can do to ensure their own personal success is to produce quality work. The rest will follow.
AB: For new authors, what are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus using a publisher?
JW: I’ve never worked with a traditional publisher, so I can’t speak to that experience. But I have worked with Booktrope as an editor. For authors, the biggest benefit of publishing with them is that you don’t have to pay any upfront costs. The down side is that you have to build your team of freelancers. I say that’s a down side, but really it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on how good you are at project management. They do have project managers, but it’s still up to the author to obtain the services of one and build the rest of their team. But here’s the thing about self-publishing: you are a project manager. You will either fill several roles, or you’ll hire someone to do the work. And if you can afford it, I would definitely recommend hiring a team of professionals to help you. Publishing isn’t just about the writing.
AB: In your own opinion, when using a publisher, do new authors need an agent?
JW: I have no experience with traditional publishers, but I do know that some traditional publishers will not accept queries from authors. For those publishers, you have to have a literary agent submit your work. My advice to authors who want to publish traditionally is to research the publishers you hope to submit to. Search for their submissions guidelines pages and read them closely and carefully. That will give you a good idea of what each publisher expects, and what you’ll have to do to meet those expectations.
AB: For any book you self-published, where did you find your art? Did you use an artist you located yourself or did you purchase cover art available to authors?
JW: I like DeviantArt. Sometimes you can find copyright-free works there. But do include a line on your copyright page with a link to the artist’s work. It’s just a nice thing to do. Pixabay also has a great deal of free art. These are typically okay for eBooks. But for print copies, you’ll need a photo that’s at least 300 dpi, and those free ones are usually 70 dpi. If you try to print those as covers, they’ll just look bad. So look for either high quality (at least 300 dpi) photos or commission a work. There are some surprisingly affordable options. Patreon is a good place to find artists. Nothing will ever be as good as something that’s custom made for you. But if money is tight and your budget only allows for $200 or less for the cover, consider some pre-made options. I like Rebecca Poole’s Dreams2Media covers. Mallory Rocks has some great options too, but hers tend to run a bit high.
AB: Did you use an outside editor for your books? If you did use an editor, did you use more than one? Would you like to give your editing service a shout out for their great services?
JW: My published works typically go through either a critique workshop or several beta readers before I get into the editing phase. So while it’s still in development (after the first draft is done but before “real” editing begins), I try to get as much feedback as possible. Then I go to editing. I recommend Pavarti K. Tyler for developmental edits and Naomi Leadbeater for content and copy edits. I like Elizabeth Darkley, I’ve had my eye on her for a while, but haven’t had a chance to use her services yet. (Would it surprise you to learn I haven’t even written my first novel, yet? 😉 ) I’ve worked with Ally Bishop, she’s good. I’ve heard good things from people I trust about Robb Grindstaff and Phillip Lee, so I’m confident in recommending them as well. Susan Kaye Quinn, who I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with, recommends Bryon Quertermous. I’ve researched him and would definitely consider working with him. I’ve heard good things about Crystal Wattanabe too, but I haven’t worked with her personally. There are a lot of good professionals out there, it’s just a matter of finding someone who offers the services you need at prices that fit your budget.
AB: Where did you find trusted, experienced, beta readers, who would give you honest feedback on your book?
JW: Yes! Absolutely. For beta readers, I’d suggest asking people you trust. I would not recommend searching for beta reading services. Now, you can find editors who also beta read for a fee. I think Crystal does this, in fact. So that’s always an option. Finding a critique group is ideal, but that’s really hard to do. A critique partner is a blessing, truly, but people are busy. So it’s not always easy to find someone you can “trade services” with. But be open to trading beta reads with author friends.
Important note: Understand that your author friends aren’t the people you’re selling your book to. And remember that the people you are selling your book to probably don’t want to read the early drafts. Just be aware of what kind of relationship you have with a person before you ask them to beta read for you.
AB: In running, many runners face a wall, where they wish to give up and quit. They have to dig deep and push through the wall. Writers sometimes face the same hurdles. While writing your book, were there times when you wanted to scrap the entire thing and start over, or not publish the book at all? For new writers, who may also face this wall, what advice do you have for them to push past these feelings?
JW: More often than giving up on a specific work, I hear about writers who want to give up on writing period. How to get past that is different for every writer. Our struggles are intensely personal, almost like our own customized hells on Earth. We face our own demons. And we find our own paths. If there’s one thing we can all benefit from knowing and remembering, it’s that this whole creative business is a cycle. Sometimes, you’re up. And when you’re up, everything just seems to fall into place. Sometimes, you’re down. That’s when the doubt comes. You just have to remember that the “up” is coming around soon. It always does. So keep writing. Or take a break. Do whatever it is you need to do until you cycle back around to a good place. And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.
AB: Everyone has something they wish they knew when they started in a new field. If you could share one lesson you learned to avoid or one experience you wish you could re-do to make your writing experience better, what would it be? Feel free to share the experience leading up to the lesson and what made you choose the path you took.
JW: I think the one piece of advice I wish I hadn’t taken is something that’s unique to me, really. I hear “write it down” often. It’s good advice for pretty much everyone, it seems. But it’s not good advice for me. If I pursue every idea I get, write down everything so I don’t forget any of it, I’ll never get anything done. Last year, I took what was for me a bold step and decided NOT to write down any ideas. To simply let them drift by while I focused on one project. And I learned an invaluable lesson for me: I can get shit done by focusing on what’s in front of me. And those ideas that seemed brilliant at the time? Some of them stuck with me. They’re still with me, even though I didn’t write them down. They’re a part of me, and they won’t go away simply because I didn’t acknowledge them. So that’s one thing I wish I knew from the start. To pursue only those ideas that really stuck with me. And to focus on one project until it was completed. That’s the hardest part for many authors, finishing what they start. But necessary for growth.
AB: What work, besides your own, are you reading right now or have you read recently?
JW: I’m editing a few anthologies and a couple novels right now. There’s Mosaics 2, UnCommon Origins, a Clones anthology, and a Hotel anthology. I’m editing Cairn Rodriguez’ Solstice series, the first of which is The Last Prospector, and The Potter’s Daughter by Daniel Smith. I’m looking forward to projects with Meg Collett and Ken Mooney, both of whom I read whether I’m editing them or not. I’m always up for reading anything by Pavarti K. Tyler or Alex Nader. I recently started reading Susan Kaye Quinn too. I read The Third Daughter and loved it. Which reminds me, I need to write a review. So many good authors to read, so little time.
AB: If you were on a desert island and only allowed one book or other written word, what written word would it be and why?
JW: A “how to” survival guide!
AB: It’s time to give yourself a shout out. It’s time to dig deep and show your fans what you have. What would you like your fans to look for on shelves now? Where can they find your work? Is there anything else you would like your fans to know?
JW: Thanks for asking! The box set of Sin Eater is available now at Amazon, along with other works I’ve written and edited. Check out my Amazon Author Page for details. Readers who are fond of dark (and sometimes sexy) fantasy can follow my blog at west1jess.com for updates on my new releases and occasional freebies. Authors can follow my blog at west1jessedits.com to keep in touch and schedule consultations. I also write a monthly blog at Kate Tilton’s Connecting Authors and Readers. You can find my posts at her blog here. The easiest way to keep up to date with all my comings and goings is to follow me at Twitter or Facebook as West1Jess. Fair warning, I’m not a PG-13 type of person, and my online persona reflects that. Proceed with caution. 😉
Thanks again for hosting me on your blog today!
AB: And thank you, Jessica West, for allowing us the opportunity to highlight your work today.
I’m sure our readers have learned so much from you, about your work, and how to start writing for themselves.
To our readers, and especially new writers, please take the time to support the authors who support you. Take time to read their books, follow them on social media, and of course, share their pages.
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy!
(First came the announcement, then came the show)
Formal announcement sent to every animal:
Come one! Come All!
It’s the Woodstock of the animal kingdom! Music, sex, and rock and roll, plus a natural hormone high like no other!
The main act playing this year is The Birds and Bees. The Beetles and Rocking Robin will follow with their summer loving music. The Monkeys have been invited, but unfortunately they’ve already booked for a gig overseas, and can’t travel this time of the year. Don’t worry, at midnight, everyone will be treated to the Three Dogs Howling at Night.
The entire schedule of entertainers is way too long to list here, but here are some of the fantastic acts attendees can expect to enjoy. The Beastie Babes are back and are really looking good this year. The Ants and The Roaches will be in a secret location playing a set just for their insect fans. Due to customer input, and the unfortunate incidents of last year, the Event Coordinator decided The Hornets and The Wasps should perform during different weeks. This works great for all attendees! You can plan your mating rituals around both venues.
Be sure to check your schedule for all entertainment events and especially look at the specific mating areas you are assigned too. Breaking into another species’ mating territory can get ugly and ruin all the beautiful events we have planned for you this year (Cats, I’m looking at you).
It will be a 4 week party you do not want to miss. (Seriously, the fate of your descendants depend on you being there).
Have fun and happy mating!!
(Me this afternoon)
Somewhere I missed a memo. When I woke up today (yes, it was 1 pm, don’t hate), I didn’t know I was going to be presented with some X-rated action.
It was a normal afternoon. I pulled myself to the kitchen, walking less like a human and more like Frankenstein. I made myself a cup Heaven’s juice. That sweet, sweet, berry called coffee. The elixir of life. With each sip I became more like myself and less like a cross between a human and a big ball of crazy. I looked outside and saw the chickens having a good time. I figured I would walk out and see what they were up to.
As I walked to the back door, I heard a ruckus. Living in the country, you learn to ignore noises which do not include screams of help or screams from your personal animals. You learn the difference between a ruckus and an emergency. If I jumped up for every noise, I would never get anything done.
Let me address these noises for a moment.
City people think it’s quiet in the country. HA! In the spring, it’s a fuck feast of biblical proportions.
It’s nature’s version of spring break and every animal, far and wide, are invited. All furry, scaly, and feathered creatures meet in backyards across the northern
hemisphere and become insanely high on their own hormones.
This leads to the biggest interspecies orgy ever. If you don’t believe the animals are a little crazy this time of year, you’ve never seen a horse trying to mount a cow or a turtle trying to mount a rock before realizing things aren’t working as they should.
Growing up in the country you do not need sexual education in school to teach you about the birds and bees, you see it every day from around mid-March to May.
Trust me. An animal party is like no other party on the planet. Animals are not shy about showing their passions and mating potential for each other. In fact, many species believe the noisier they are the better their chances are to get laid. Honestly, if an animal can’t get laid during the spring, they have some serious issues, and need all the help they can get. This leads to drunken songs of love, passion, and mating with the best female animals they can find.
Hey human ladies, we should take some lessons. These male animals work really hard to attract their mates. Only the strongest, smartest, and most talented wins the hand of their mate. Well, except snakes…… those MTHFRS. Damn. They have a huge mating ball around a female and get what they can when they can. It’s insane watching them during spring break. Geez guys. Take a chill pill or something.
But I digress. I was talking about how loud animals are in the spring.
Male frogs are showing the lady frogs how loud they can sing, Owls are looking for their nest mates by hooting throughout the night, chipmunks are scurrying around, giving each other high fives on the way to new and exciting orgies, and of course, my own chickens are doing it doggie style (OK. Chicken style), two to three times a day.
I swear, my yard and deck becomes the natures version of a Holiday Inn (I serve free meals and water, so we are a few steps above an hourly flop house).
Everywhere I look the animals are having the greatest times of their life.
Hell, I’ve even dug up my garden, innocently planting pretty flowers, only to find two or three worms wrapped around each other. I’m pretty sure they were not cuddling for pillow talk or worm yoga. They were making babies. Just think a worm doesn’t even need another worm. They can make a baby all by themselves.
Dan Quayle would have an issue with this family plan. — Yes, I used the reference to his view on single parents due to his last name. I couldn’t help it. His platform against single parents was the main headline back in the day. Go ahead young parents, I know you are Googling his name. I’ll wait. ——– (Jeopardy music playing in the background) — OK. Good. You’re back. — See, this blog isn’t only about jokes, venting, and my opinionated views of the news, there is a little education along the way too.
Okay. Where was I? Animal sex? Springtime? Dan Quayle? Dammit. No. hang on. Ahhh! I was talking about the ruckus on my back deck.
With all this sex occurring each spring and in my own backyard you would think I’ve seen it all and expect it all. Nope. I see something new each year.
I open the door and step on the back deck and what do I see? There are two birds pounding it out on the actual deck (not in the air as sometimes they are). They were getting it on like, well, like birds do. Normally birds will fly off when disturbed. Not in my back yard. Not during mating season. For 4 weeks in the spring, and a few weeks in the fall, I’m just an intruder in my own backyard. I feel like I should be walking around with trays of snacks or something. Maybe next year, I’ll lay out a feast and bring in Kenny G to play for the attendees.
I looked at them and they looked at me. They didn’t move. They weren’t scared off at all.
Seriously, they looked at me with such disdain, I was actually embarrassed to catch them in the act. You know the feeling you get when you come home too soon and find your roommate with a one night stand, whom you’re never supposed to meet? Yea. It was like that. I was still in shock that they didn’t fly away immediately, which made me stare a little longer than was comfortable for anyone in this situation.
Finally the spell was broken and they gave me this look like, “Do you mind giving us some privacy?” I quickly turned and went back in the house, where I drank my coffee in my living room, uncomfortable listening to bird sex noises out my back window.
If you think listening to your roommate or neighbor get it on with a one night stand is strange, imagine the strange feeling I had when I turned up my music so I wouldn’t embarrass my yard mates while they squawked, tweeted, and sung out their passions to the entire backyard.
I was thinking, “Damn dude. Hang a feather on the door or something next time.”
After a very short time, they flew their separate ways. If I’m not mistaken, I saw her wink at him as she flew away and I’m pretty sure he headed to his house for a smoke. I know his feathers were more fluffy than they were only a few minutes ago and they both seemed very happy about the experience.
Well, Have fun birdies. It’s spring break for nature! It’s the yearly nature party and everyone is invited!
Awww…… This has me thinking, I’m pretty sure those birds were not using protection.
I get the feeling, in about 2 weeks, my yard will be less like spring break and more like a nursery during the baby boom. Yes. I think it’s time to set out the bird seed, water, and some yarn so those new parents can build a strong nest and take care of their babies.
** I do believe I need to write a blog post explaining how to best prepare your own yard for all those babies created during natures biggest baby making season of the year. **
Time to plan for all those pretty babies!
First, I need to finish my coffee……. and take a cold shower.
As always… Be safe, be kind, and always be happy!
As many of my readers know, I support medical marijuana a.k.a. medical cannabis.
Our entire generation was bashed against the head with the whole “Say No To Drugs” campaign. It was this campaign, the war on drugs, and mandatory prison sentences for non-violent offenders, which led to the corrupt and over-burdened privatized prison system we have now. The families of the non-violent offenders and the families of very sick patients have all suffered due to the lies we were told since “Reefer Madness.” The story is long and sad, and with so many political dollars supporting The War on Drugs, it is very hard to pick apart the history from the rumors we were force-fed for so many years.
The laws are broken, the medical system is broken, and even the political process concerning legislation against marijuana is broken.
At this point, I won’t go into too many details concerning the damage which draconian marijuana laws have cost the American people, but suffice it to say, no human being should spend years on a mandatory prison sentence for a natural drug, when murderers and rapists are allowed to cut deals and many times are released after serving only a fraction of their sentence.
The laws in America are broken, and we can work to fix those laws if we get rid of mandatory prison sentencing for non-violent offenders including those using marijuana, investigate the relationship between judges and prison system owners, and increase non-judicial options for those who are first time non-violent offenders.
According to Tennessee Law , possession of any amount of marijuana, even as little as a single gram, can lead to a sentence of one year in prison with a mandatory fine between $250 and $2,500. It is important to note that a prison sentence isn’t the end of the punishment. Many times these small crimes will also come with a sentence of probation and community service, even after the prison sentence is completed.
A gram is an incredibly small amount of marijuana, yet this amount can lead to a person being put into prison and losing their careers, their voting rights, Pell Grants for higher education, and so much more. These punishments aren’t just for a year or two, or only for the time they spend in prison and on probation, but these punishments last for their entire lives. When compared to rapists and murderers, the punishments do not always add up. Not only do small time drug offenders face all of these punishments and more, but with the laws of “property seizure” put into place, anything owned by the individual while in possession of a drug, even a gram of marijuana, can be seized by the police and sold at auction to fund their “War on Drugs” programs. Police do not seize cars, homes, or others items they find when arresting criminals involved in murder, assault, or rape. How does this seem fair? How can a small time drug offender, especially one with a drug which is legal in many states and countries, face harsher punishments than violent criminals?
Throughout the next few weeks, I will lay out the story, from beginning to end, so you, the reader, can make an informed decision when you visit your Doctor, when you make medical decisions for your family, and most importantly, when you go to the polls in November.
While I address each issue, there are some questions we all need to ask ourselves. How is it the US government owns the patent to cannabis for medical purposes (US Patent number 6630507) and still continues to claim there are no medical values associated with medical marijuana? Why are police and communities allowed to seize the property of those who are non-violent criminals and demand mandatory sentencing for non-violent offenders, but these same policies are not put into place for violent offenders? With the huge amount of research available to the US and the world, why is medical marijuana not allowed for every man, woman, and child who needs this medication to live a more productive life and to actually survive diseases?
The American government, the FDA, and even the CDC have all been denying the truth about marijuana and how it can be used to help the people of this nation. People have died from ailments which could have been cured, patients have suffered from excruciating pain which could have been lessened with Medical Marijuana, and children with brain destroying seizures could have been saved if the US government had been honest with itself and with the public. It’s time the American people demand the truth.
I will be covering these questions, and more, in my new weekly update, Medical Marijuana in the United States.
For now, I leave you with part one of CNNs special on “Weed.” If you haven’t watched it, please do. There is a part two, and three I will share in the coming weeks.
As always… Be safe, be kind, and always be happy!
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