Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh My Gawd ... Did You see That Fat Hairy Soccer Dad

A person must possess many different traits to be a writer.

Imagination -- without it you can't think up a good story.
Patience -- writing, especially a novel is not an easy or quick process
Stubborness -- a wannabee writer hears no more often than a two year old at Toys' R Us.
Ego -- it takes a certain mindset to wanna play God with characters and worlds.

There are of course more attributes but for the sake of getting tot he point let me add nosiness to the list as it is one of my favorites as well as one trait in which I excel.

Some people call it eavesdropping. I call it research. But if I am honest it is just out and out nosiness.

A few years back I sat on the concrete base of a pillar outside the Golden  Nugget on Vegas's Freemont street next to a young man in his early twenties.

The young man was too drunk to pay me much attention as he slurred  into his cell phone. He alternated between begging for forgiveness and professing of undying love. It was obvious the fellow was only minutes away from either passing our or puking. Perhaps even both. My wife was tried her best to persuade me to move along but I couldn't. Despite having had a drink or three myself I was fixated on this guys conversation. My writerly mind began to picture the young, way too patient woman on the other end.

For the record the girl hung up after fifteen or twenty minutes. The kid puked, luckily his vomit missed my shoes, but sadly that luck didn't carry over to the gaming tables. Last I saw that guy was curled on the ground in the fetal position but my eavesdropping gave birth to a story I've yet to write it. I do, however, have ten pages of notes for what will someday find their way onto the page.

Yesterday the scene was much different. I was at a city park here in Amarillo. Watching my nearly 9 yo son try out for a select traveling soccer team. I sat in a lawn chair surrounded by women as apparently, soccer dads are an oddity.

These women mostly knew each other as their kids have played in this particular organization since they were 5. The soccer mom's hung about in small clusters of three or four whispering, talking sideways from their mouth and smiling while venom dripped from their gleaming white fangs.

To be fair let me say not every cluster operate this way. The two women to my left were quit pleasant and talked about family, friends and kids. The group behind me and the two to the right however dissed upon every other woman at the park. When they got down picking apart the bones of their peers they started in on the kids, husbands and even coaches within the soccer organization. Then when they ran out of specific people they started talking about cultures and get this ... people who eat and serve red meat to their kids.

The bastards.

Chicken or fish once or twice a week is okay they surmised but how do you expect your kid to be healthy of you feed them steak and hamburgers every other day?

I'm gonna sneak in my own tacky comment here and say my meat chomping kid made the team. At least one of Vego-mom's lettuce chompers will not be traveling with the squad when they head off, get it HEAD off to tournaments.

But really this post isn't about me defending my meat loving ways or my kid being better than her kid at soccer. Really,it isn't but that was fun to type.  

No, this post is a thank you to those women, for I know have a great idea for a hilarious novel. Characters are already starting to take shape and while it may change right now I'm calling it ...Vegan Soccer Moms From Hell

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Taste T Weekend

It is only Sunday morning as I sit here typing this, but halfway through the weekend I gotta say this has been a great one.

My youngest son is playing club soccer for the first time and his kick-butt team got the weekend started off with an impressive 13-0 win over their opponent early Saturday morning.

My oldest kept the family pride rolling when his football team won in shutout fashion 34-0 Saturday afternoon.

Not to brag but i tossed in a win of my own with the turkey I brined and smoked all day Saturday. The bird was dang tasty and between my family and the fiends that came over we at the whole dang thing in one setting.

I also discovered a tasty new rum, at least new to me. Blackheart is a spiced rum that I found to be even tastier that my old favorite Sailor Jerry's.

I sipped a few Blackheart and Coke's while watching my beloved Nebraska Cornhusker's whip up on the Wyoming Cowboys. If the Saints will give the Texans a good thrashing today all of my favorite sports teams will claim victory in one weekend.

And in writing news, I have found out THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES will be released November 1st. My publisher blogged a bit about the book and if you hope over there now you can get your first sneak peak inside the book.

Here's hoping you too have had a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feelin' Good Again

Thanks to all of you who chimed in here and on Facebook or twitter about my last blog post. Y'all have helped re-energize my feeling toward both this blog and blog in general.

Speaking of being re-energized I was fortunate enough to be invited to a celebratory dinner for Anita Howard last night with better than a dozen other local writers. Many of which are multi-published and I have gushed about on here before so this time I'm not going to list them all. Y'all may remember my recent post about Anita and her novel Splintered landing a contract.

Hanging out with other writers always gets me pumped up, but last night while talking about the upcoming release of my book , The Feedstore Chronicles one of my writing friends described the book to another as "Sedaris with a twang." Given that I love Sedaris I found the statement quite flattering.

Sticking with the whole "feeling re-energized" them of this post let me give you an update on status of The Feedstore Chronicles.

I still do not have an exact release date but the publisher liked the revisions I did so the book is now at the lay-out stage and cover art is being designed. I am told the book will be out in time for an upcoming speaking engagement I have in November.

So that means I'm 6 weeks or so out from release. Now comes the part where I begin to be and plead.

Those of you who read are writers and read this blog realize that most of the marketing these days falls upon the shoulders of the author, even if you are being published by one of the big 6, the old-time publishers. I have no qualms about marketing myself. I'm not scared to stand on a street corner and shout, to scale a tall building, or whore myself in any other way possible, but chances are I'd be arrested for panhandling if I stood on the corner with a sign, be confused for King Kong and get shot down if I climbed up a building, and you can;t sell what you can;t give away so prostituting myself is a no go as well.

But I do have friends here in the blogosphere. So I'm asking, begging, pleading with y'all ...

Who wants to let me do a guest post? 
Who is willing to interview me on their blog?
Host a giveaway for a signed copy?
Wrestle an angry emu on YouTube while wearing a Feeedstore Chronicles t-shirt?
Get me the email address and contact person at your local feedstore? Or farm and ranch type establishment?
Pimp The Feedstore Chronicles out on twitter, Facebook, Google +?

Yeah, I know I'm asking a lot, but it could be worse it's not like I'm asking you to reenact the bulldog masturbation scene, or disclose the seediest of your youthful transgressions. No, those things are left to the book, but I do plan to give away a Texas themed prize package to at least one person. Details to come, but I promise it will be a fun-filled prize package worth at least a case of Shiner Bock and Steak dinner. All who help THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES, even in a small way will be eligible.

If you are interested in helping send me an email at travis AT traviserwin DOT com.

I'm gonna leave y'all with a mighty fine song by a fellow Texas which matches how I'm feeling today.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Ma Bell of Social Media

Is blogging dead?

Well, obviously it's not dead. I mean here both you and I are. So perhaps the better question is ... is blogging bleeding out and gasping for its last breath?

To that I have no concrete answer.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google + have certainly changed the face of social media. They appear to be where all the cool kids are hanging out these days.

I have been blogging for 4 and a half years now. Long enough to have access to some interesting stats, that only serve to dilute the question of blogs still being viable in today's crowded field of social media.

Since August is the most recent month I have complete data for let's use it.

In August of 2007 -- 3635 unique visitors stopped by my blog. During that months I posted 19 times. 269 comments were left on the various posts. This averages out to 191 hits/14 comments per new post.

August 2008 -- 6178 unique visitors landed at my blog. I posted 23 times and received 518 comments were left. This averages out to 269 hits/23 comments per new post.

August 2009 -- 2684 unique visitors stopped by to read the 13 posts I created. 265 comments were left.
This averages out to 206 hits/20 comments per new post.

August 2010 -- 1811 visitors stopped by. I posted a measly 10 times but still received 279 comments.
This averages out to 181 hits/28 comments per new post. 

August 2011 -- 9488 visitors stopped by. I posted 21 times, but despite all those people only 154 comments were left. This averages out to 452 hits/7 comments per new post. 

The five biggest months for visitors to this blog are

June 2011 -- 14,810
March 2011 -- 10,480
August 2011 -- 9488
May 2011 -- 8726
January 2009 -- 8250

January 2011 -- 8218
October 2010 -- 8188 February 2011-- 7870

December 2010 -- 7476
November 2010 -- 7214

As you can see 9 of my 10 biggest months have came within the last 11 months. (the one anomaly, January 2009, was when my house burnt down and my name was championed far and wide by my awesome friends) So you might think Hey, your numbers are as high as they've ever been. Blogging at least your blog is stronger than ever.

And yet, I feel as if One Word is hooked to life support and Jack Kevorkian just walked into the room. Not only is comment participation way down but so is my drive to create new posts. I often feel as if I've already said everything I can in this venue. I enjoy twitter and Facebook though to be honest Google + still confounds me.

A large number of my hits these days land here by accident after a Google or Bing search. I suppose I have an impressive ranking or my blog would not appear near the top of these searches but I'm sure most of these people take one look and hit the BACK button rather than sticking around to read.

I wonder if there is a single person out there that reads this blog regulatory that is not also on my Facebook or twitter. (possibly Alex Keto?) Alex, if you or others are out there and fit in this category please let me know.

I know several of you have blogs that I do not visit or comment at as often as I sued to and mostly that is because i spend my time on twitter and Facebook communicating with you there. 

I'm not telling y'all that I'm quitting. I'm not ready to pull the plug just yet, but the idea has tickled my brain in the last year or so.

Blogging has done better than say MySpace which is more like the smoke signal of social media than the land line but still I wonder how much longer the medium will be around.

I'd love to hear y'alls take but just the fact you are here reading means that like me you are still willing to pet a dinosaur at least occasionally.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Me and the Sandman

Sometimes I forget or get confused what I have blogged, as opposed to Facebooked, or tweeted. Sometimes I say the same crap on all three, but juggling, without dropping the balls, never has been one of my talents. Good thing I never tried juggling chainsaws I suppose.

So, I think I mentioned on here the Post Office's plans to scrap 300 mail sorting facilities. Given that I work in a mail sorting facility this bit of news was quite concerning, but I don't think even I realized how invasive this danger was into my psyche.

The list of sites slated for closure was announced yesterday and in the days before that I had some of the worst sleep of my life. I feel certain he two facts are related.

I've always been a vivid dreamer but Tuesday night my nocturnal illusions were particularly vivid and terrifying.

There I was riding with a Texas DPS officer in his car. I was researching for a book because I kept asking him questions in regards to my character. A radio call came in saying we needed to come ID a body announcer officer had just shot. The man was a famous serial killer law enforcement all over the country had been searching for. We arrived, ID'd the body, which was bloody and riddled with bullet holes from the shoot out. We were standing there talking when the man sat up shot both officers int eh face and then began taking shots at me as I ran zig zagging across a field. Several bullets hit me in the back and I woke just as I was falling to the ground.

I sat straight up in bed with my heart beating wildly and my skin clammy with sweat. It unnerved me so much I woke my wife up just to talk to her.

When I went back to sleep tornadoes destroyed my house, then a semi plowed into the car myself and my family was riding in. The next night I dreamed an ER doctor sawed off my foot with a hacksaw because the cut was too deep to do anything else. Then I got arrested.

So as you see sleep has been spotty at best.

Yesterday that list came out and Amarillo was NOT on it. Some 270 odd other places were. Places much bigger than Amarillo. Dallas, New Orleans, Orlando and many more. (should you be curious enough about your local sorting facility, you can look at the complete list here)

I imagine geography saved us, as we serve a large area.

And last night's dream? I was at a hotel bar. I ordered a bottle of Rum. The waitress brought me Vodka. When I complained she took it back and brought a bottle of Crown. Again I pointed out her mistake. She first told me she thought whiskey and rum were the same thing to which I answered not hardly. At her confused look I said," Just forget the Rum and bring me a bottle of Shiner." Which she did.

Perhaps that is my subconscious saying .. Drink up, you get to stay in Texas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alanna Coca Guest Blog

Today, I turn the blog over to twitter pal, Alanna Coca.

Hello! My name is Alanna Coca. I write romance novels, and my favorite genre is romantic suspense. Travis has offered me a spot on his blog to talk about my latest release PreView.

Here's the blurb:
Architect Ryann Phillips lives a normal life—except for her psychic dreams. Few of her premonitions make sense, or even cause her to lose sleep, until she dreams about a vicious murder and is compelled to warn the would-be victim.
Attorney Trevor Kearney doesn’t believe it when Ryann claims his client’s life is in danger. Nevertheless, he’s intrigued by her ability to hold up to his questioning, and by the unexpected attraction he feels for the beautiful woman. He reluctantly agrees to work together to keep his client safe…and to spend more time with Ryann.
Ryann hasn’t met anyone who infuriates and arouses her like Trevor does. He may question her psychic visions, but there’s no doubting their sexual chemistry. As they grow closer, their relationship could put them in the path of a killer and inadvertently set the course of events in motion…

I sat down with Ryann the other day, because there are a lot of things I'd like to know about this psychic heroine. I thought I'd share our conversation with you.
Alanna: "Hello, Ryann?"
Ryann: "Yes, how are you?"
A: "I'm just fine. Sorry I'm a little flustered. I guess I was expecting someone a little more…um…"
R: "Outlandish?"
A: "Well…yeah. You're wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, not a flowing paisley dress and turban like I imagined when I heard you were psychic."
R: "You're the crazy one. You wrote me."
A: "Oh yeah. That's right. So anyway, tell me what it's like to see the future. I've always wanted to be able to do that."
R: "You have?" Her brow furrows. "Why would you want to do that?"
A: I shrug "I don't know. Sounds like it would be interesting. Maybe find out the World Series score and pick the best players for my fantasy team?"
R: She laughs. "If I ever have a sports-related vision, you'll be the first to know."
A: "Obviously. But really, you've had these visions for a while. When did you realize that your dreams were merging with reality?"
R: "The visions began when I was a teen. I blame puberty and the whacky hormones bouncing through my system. At first I just assumed they were just very realistic dreams. Most of my visions are completely harmless snippets of strangers' lives. A child learning to ride a bike, or a young man's graduation day. Nothing that would make me think these were actually real people. One vision was disturbing enough that I told my friend Ashley about it. She urged me to take it seriously, and it was a good thing I did, it meant the life of a little boy."
A: "What, really?"
R: She looks away, and picks imaginary lint off her jeans. "Yes. He'd wandered away from home. I saw where he slept in my vision, and I was able to direct the police to him."
A: "You look embarrassed about it. I think if it were me, I'd be shouting from the rooftops."
R: "Unlike you, I don't want to be branded a freak."
A: "I see." I scratch through my notes for Ryann's role in a sequel. "Do you have any other talents?"
R: "Well, I'm an architect, so I think I do a pretty good job drawing a straight line."
A: "With a ruler." I roll my eyes. "I meant psychic talents."
R: "No, just these weird premonitions. I can't even control them." She takes a drink of water. "Maybe I'd rather be able to move things with my mind."
A: "Well that might be interesting in a romance." I grin. "How about mind-reading? Can you do that?"
R: "No. If I could, it would have been a lot easier to figure out what happened in the dream about Victoria's murder."
A: "Oh yeah you're right. Maybe I should have written some mindreading in there for you."
R: "A little late for that."
A: "Another book maybe. I'm full of ideas."
R: "Oh!" She scoots to the edge of her seat. "Maybe write one for Ashley. She really needs a happily ever after. Give her a guy who snores. She hates that."
A: "You're evil! I love it." I Jot new notes. "How about Trevor's friend Kevin? He's a little too cocky for her I think, but putting characters in difficult positions is one of my favorite things to do."
R: She snorts. "Don't I know it?"
A: "Hey, those positions I put you and Trevor in weren't my idea. I'm just the conductor for you guys. You of all people must know that."
R: "Trevor and I don't need your help any more, thank you very much."
A: "Is that so? Do tell."
R: "That will have to be off the record. Trevor is a private person really. He'd kill me for talking about our sex life."
A: "Well, he must not have read PreView. I'm afraid I spilled some beans there."
R: "Yeah you did. Maybe I'll read those scenes to him. His blush is so cute."
A: "I can imagine. He's a sexy guy anyway." I fan myself. "Okay, before we go off the record, I'll thank Travis for letting us use your blog to chat. I'll be sure to clean up after we're done. I'd love to give away a copy of PreView to one of your readers! Just leave a comment, any comment, and in the morning I'll randomly choose one to win. Thanks for sitting down with me, Ryann. Best of luck with your premonitions. If you have any more interesting ones, let me know."
R: "I can't wait to tell Trevor about Ashley and Kevin. He's going to laugh."

Always a voracious reader, Alanna began writing poetry in grade school, and short stories in high school. She started her first novel, Wyoming Solace, years ago with a legal pad and pencil, often written in the wee hours of the morning when she needed something to do to relax. Before long the story lived on her computer desktop, where it sat patiently awaiting periodic visits from the reluctant writer. After her first release, she moved to romantic suspense and contemporary romance, but keeps the cowboys close to her heart. She loves to write stories to keep a reader guessing, and surprise them in the end. Alanna continues to write love stories, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? For a spicier selection of romance novels by Alanna, see what her alter ego Olivia Brynn is up to at oliviabrynn.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pimping In Pampa - A My Town Monday Post

I've worked 19 years for the United States Postal Service. The last 13 1/2 in the maintenance department. Most of the time I work in the main sorting facility here in Amarillo, Texas but at times I am dispatched to other small post offices in both the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.

And not long ago I visited the facility in Pampa, Texas which is 55 miles northeast of Amarillo.

In all of my postal travels I have never seen a post office as cool as the one in Pampa.

Here is a shot of the front of the building.

and of the old style postal eagle in the stonework.

And of a topless woman.

No really. See the lady near the top of the ironwork. She really is topless.

An odd thing for a government building especially one located in the bible belt. Sorry for the poor picture quality, but all I had was my cell phone.

Inside the post office is all marble, iron, and ornate woodwork. Here is a shot of ceiling.

And another looking through some of the ironwork.

And the old antique style of post office boxes. Note the  marble on the walls.

And a shot from the roof of the Spanish tiles.

A shot of Pampa from the rooftop of the post office. As you can see the town still has several brick streets.

And I'm including this last shot for all you postal haters out there. Yeah I know waiting in line can be a drag but the USPS still is the most economical, and best shipping option. Heck, with those boys in brown want their stuff to get there where to do they take it?

That's right to the post office.

The above shot was taken at the Pampa receiving dock but it is a daily thing for UPS to drop off packages for us to ship. Why? Because we do it cheaper and more efficiently than they are able to.

For more My Town Monday posts from all over the world stop by the official MTM blog.

Friday, September 9, 2011

JoJo The Dancing Bear

I've got a reputation for being somewhat quick witted. Some might prefer the term smart-ass. I credit my days working for Doyle at the Feedstore for this skill for there it was fire back, fire hard, or forever be fodder. So whether it be in the maintenance shop at work, having drinks with friends, or sitting around the dinner table with my family I am prone to let loose a verbal jab. To me it's just a natural reflex.

So I have only myself to blame for my boys jackassery streak. My youngest is especially adept and he LOVES to push my buttons.

"Dad, know why I still believe in Santa Claus?" He is 8 almost 9.
"Because you are too lazy to get up in the middle of the night and pout out all those toys."

And there is no place my boys like to jack with me more than in the car. They will fake fight, though Lord knows there is also plenty of authentic fighting also, just to get me excited. They will repeat the same word ten thousand and eighty-nine times just to get me twitchy. They will snort, snot, hack, wheeze, couch, stutter, stammer, poke, prod, hoot, hollar, scream, shout, bawl, belly-ache, snicker and sneeze just to drive me bat shit crazy while I am behind the wheel.

And about a week ago during the midst of one such episode I lost my cool and in VOLUMIZED manner told them one of these days they were going to make me wreck.

Flash forward a few days. My youngest spotted a billboards for a local Donut store that read CHIPPY DIPPY DOO. I wasn't in the car at the time but my Jennifer said both boys immediately started laughing and said, "I bet if we say that over and over and over Dad will freak out and tell us we're gonna make him wreck."

So all three of them decide to do it, and the next time I'm serving in my chauffeur capacity the trio begins to sing out CHIPPY DIPPY DOOO in singsong. Between fits of laughter they kept up their barrage until the next stoplight.

But that's when I struck back.

With the band Lemonade Mouth singing away on Disney Radio I quickly peeled off my shirt and began dancing wildly while sitting at the stop light. Let me tell you the site of their dear old shirtless dad gyrating away in a minivan with untainted windows more than puckered their spirit.

And to those unfortunate souls, sitting at the stop light at 34th and Bell streets, no that was not a bloated dancing Sasquatch you spotted behind the wheel.

I've already threatened to reenact the scene when I drop them off at school.

Suddenly the car is a much more peaceful place.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

But Everyone Is Doing It

Summer 2011 is over.

Put your hands down, ye anal folk of technically correctness.

Yes I am aware the Autumn equinox is still several weeks away, but guess what? I don't give a shit.

In my book the season are defined as the following -- Memorial Day through Labor Day = SUMMER. Labor Day through Thanksgiving = FALL Thanksgiving through March 1st = WINTER March 1st through Memorial Day =SPRING

Those are my definitions so take your solstices and equinox's (and really Chevy this is the best name you could come up with for you quasi-SUV vehicle) and cram them up your sun dial.

Back to Summer.

As I said I'm glad the 2011 edition is over.

For one thing it was the hottest and driest on record here in the Texas Panhandle. Not only did Amarillo set a new all time high of 111 degrees Fahrenheit but we also had 50 days of triple digit temps. Top that off with less than 3 inches of rain since January 1 and this entire region is a tenderbox.

But Mother Nature is going to do as she wants so perhaps more agitating was the two big summer trends that the masses made popular.

Let's start with hair feathers.

I can understand why say a 10 year old girl wants to clip feathers and tassel in her hair but unless you are a stripper, named Pocahontas, or are part peacock, I for the life of me do not get why a grown woman would do so. Yes, even my wife took part in this craze. I waited for days for her to lay an egg but alas she never did.

Yes that is Selena Gomez sporting the plumage up above. I used her picture since my 10 year old son thinks she is the hottest thing since Fried Chicken.

And summer 2011 fad number two?

Frozen Yogurt joints.

Suddenly they are everywhere and frankly I think they suck. Who the hell wants fermented milk? Frozen or otherwise. The tang is bad enough but these damn places all have these flavor bubble doo-dads that are basically like biting into a puss pocket. Call me crazy but I don;t like the sensation of biting through a  thin film only to have something squirt in my mouth. Then they put the same crap in tea and call it bubble tea. Me? I call it nasty.

Here in Amarillo we have 8 or nine of these joints that have sprung up in the last few months. Half of them have a name that ends with berry but not one has adopted the name I'd use ... Dingleberries.

Let me know when goatee adornment and beef jerky shops become the next big things. Then I might be interested.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

For The Love of Money

In my thirty eight, nearly thirty-nine years on this earth, I've had a very eclectic assortment of paying gigs. Some I've done for fun others purely for the money.

As a young kid of twelve or thirteen my buddies and I raised cash by dumpster diving. We'd gather aluminum cans from the various trash cans that lined the alleys and then ride our bikes to the closest recycling center. Generally we blew that money on fireworks or trips to the arcade.

Then Nintendo came out and pretty much that same group of friends went together with our can money to buy spray paint and a pack of stencils. Nowadays we wouldn't be able to even buy the paint on our own. Painting address numbers on curbs bought not only my first Nintendo but Playstation as well.

I've trapped and shot coyotes, bobcats and other fur bearing critters for cash. 

The first real job came in high school when I went to work for Albertson's grocery store. But I quit only a few weeks in because they wouldn't let me off to attend a pig show. My senior year alone I earned better than 25,000 dollars showing pigs so I'm going to say I made the right decision. I wouldn't make that much money again until I went to work for the Postal Service.

For most of my high school years, I worked at the feedstore. It was the job that made me the person I am today. It was the job that inspired The Feedstore Chronicles which now counts as a paying gig in itself.

From the feedstore, I went to the Post Office where I still am today, but alongside my daily shores of ensuring the mail gets to its destination I have padded my income with a variety of gigs.

I reffed high school football for a number of years. I played both Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny at a shopping mall. I sold Kirby vacuum cleaners (the worst job I ever had). I mowed lawns. I hauled hay.

These days I write stories. Stories often inspired by experiences from all these other jobs. Stories that I hope are richer than most of the paychecks I've cashed.

I still consider myself a storyteller first and a writer second. For years now I've fought hard to reconcile the two, perhaps too hard as sometimes I let the mechanics of writing derail the storytelling train.

In life happiness comes to those who realize who and what they are. To those who embrace their strengths rather than run from them. I'm trying to do that for myself these days. That is not to say I don't strive to be a better writer with every article I read, workshop I attend, or piece that I write, but at the same time I am going to trust myself, take more chances, tell the stories I want to tell.

I hope y'all will enjoy them. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Feeding the Habit

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook chances are you have already heard the news, but I'm going to share it again nonetheless.

Yesterday, I signed a contract with TAG Publishing (the link takes you to a list of Tag's titles currently available on Amazon) for The Feedstore Chronicles. 

The Feedstore Chronicles started as a series of posts here on this blog back in the spring of 2007. In many ways they were what made this blog as until I began posting them I had few readers and even fewer who commentators. Some of you longtime readers may recall the tales about my days as an impressionable teenage boy working for what I still believe to be the worlds most morally bankrupt boss at a Texas feedstore.

For the sake of protecting the not-so-innocent I changed my boss's name to Earl in those days and I told tales about dead parakeets, sack room sex, bulldog masturbation, love both found and lost, arrests, ostrich boots, dead bodies, and fist fights.

Well for the full length book all those things and more are included, but my boss's name has been changed to Doyle and while everything is based on the truth characters and events certain things have been manipulated to better fit the arc of the story. Call it the writers prerogative.

I began fleshing out the stories and turning them into a cohesive story rather than a collection of anecdotes in 2009. It was in October of that year that The Feedstore Chronicles found its first success.

It was then that Blog Star/former super agent now turned writer and tech man extraordinaire, Nathan Bransford hosted a Stupendously Awesome First Paragraph contest which drew over 2600 entries. When the smoke cleared I was shocked and damn proud to discover my opening for The Feedstore Chronicles had won.

The opener has been tweaked a might since then, but here is the current first paragraph ...

Most coming-of-age stories are fraught with symbolism, hidden metaphors, and a heaping mound of other literary devices. Not mine. you see, I came of age while working at a dusty Texas feedstore.  A place where To Kill A Mockingbird involved a twelve-year-old and a BB gun. Of Mice and Men was a problem easily solved with rat poison. And David Copperfield nothing more than a dude that made shit disappear. 

  So nearly two decades beyond my working there and better than four years after the first blog post, my experiences working at the feedstore will be published sooner rather than later. Work is already underway on the cover and a few changes as requested by the acquiring editor. I will keep y'all updated along the way and thanks to all of you, my friends for, the continued faith I would get here as well the camaraderie to keep me writing even when most of the world kept saying no.