Sunday, March 24, 2013

Live, From Texas ... It's Saturday Night!

I love live music. Especially small venue live music.

I'm lucky in that the music I like best and the artists I most respect are not the huge arena and stadium types. I am a lyrics man first. Whether it be wit and cleverness or simply stunning wordsmith I greatly admire a musician than can turn a phrase, create a visual, or spin a good story in only a few minutes. there is no genre that does this better than Texas Country. Red Dirt. Y'allternative. I've heard all these terms used to describe the music I'm talking about.

Americana. Folk. Southern rock. And traditional country. These are the ingredients behind most Texas country. is ay most because really it can be anything that works. There is a freedom and rebellious nature behind this mostly independent and lesser known studio artists. They experiment. Create original sounds and songs. At times actively shun the mainstream. I like and respect that. I incorporated some of this attitude in my upcoming novel, TWISTED ROADS.

While rewriting the book and creating Lucas's character I listened to many such artists, but perhaps none as much as Mike McClure. The song, Haunt Me No More particularly spoke to me and my muse.


So when I heard Mike McClure was playing at a little dive bar down on Old Route 66 I had to go listen to him play. I enjoyed the show but wow was that the weirdest collection of people I've seen gathered in a while.

None more strange this this guy who decided to launch into a game of charades right int he middle of the concert.

Then there was the 70's throwback with his groovy wristband.


Now I like my beer as much as the next guy, and being a rather hairy fellow of substantial girth, I do my share of perspiring, but never have my paws gotten so wet, I couldn't hold onto me Shiner. Should that occur, perhaps I too will adopt the beer wrist band as a way to preserve every last drop of my beverage.

Then there was this guy. His peculiar actions made me video tape him as my immediate though was ... this is great blog fodder.


Concert charades? I'm sure you've all played. I sure hope that is his wife and I haven't unwittingly become a homeworker in the name of humor.

There was the girl with the odd spots on her exposed breasts. The gal with the super power wedgie from hell, a trio of robust women all wearing the same baby blue shirts, the tequila shooting gyrater with the lungs of an elephant, and a pair of I'm-Here-With-My-Sugar-Daddy-ers. I have pictures but in the name of good taste or at least better taste have opted not to post them. Take my word, there were some odd folks present that night.


And perhaps the weirdest of them all ...
  


Not sure what happened to this picture.It became fuzzy when I cropped my wife out. I didn't want to crop her out, but she said if I posted her image with all this craziness she would kill me. Given the fact she's downstairs right now watching Snapped, I'm not willing to risk it.

I will leave y'all with another of my favorite Mike McClure creations ... OUTLAWS PRAYER



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing (fingers crossed)



The name of this blog stemmed from my pursuit for publication.Six years and somewhere int he neighborhood of 100 posts later I am proud to say I have achieved the goal of publication a good many times if you count short stories, non-fiction articles, and of course my memoir, THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES. 



But the slippery ladder to success still has many rungs on it yet for me to climb. Today I am happy and to announce that come May I will lift my foot and inch ever so higher in my pursuit with the publication of my first novel. 

These days I am much more active on both Twitter and Facebook than I am here on the blog but I still have a very fond spot in my heart for this blog and my many friends who I came to know via the blogosphere so I decided to announce the details of my novel here first. Several people have tagged me with the NEXT BIG THING meme over the past few months including Kevin Tipple, Peter Dudley, and Avery Debow. All three are talented writers so please go check them out.

As for the meme I sure its name is prophetic.

THE NEXT BIG THING

1: What is the working title of your book?  TWISTED ROADS - Not a working title but the actual title as the novel is slated for a May release. No specific date yet, but I'll let y'all know as soon as I get word from my publisher.
   
2: Where did the idea come from for the book? Much like the characters in the book, this novel has traveled a Twisted Road to publication. I completed the original draft back in 2001. The idea for that version came to me back when I was a high school football referee. Most often I officiated games in tiny out of the way towns here in the Texas Panhandle and being a temporary outsider in such places gives you a unique glimpse at the dynamics of these towns. I began wondering what it would be like to move to such a place. Not by choice but by necessity. At first I wanted a total outsider as my central character, but eventually I decided they would have an easier time adapting as an unknown quantity than say someone who had fled as an exile. What if you had to move back to a close knit small town where few of anyone liked you? From there other character developed and changed over the years in various drafts. The story that will be published in May actually bears little resemblance to the original and now includes four POV characters. It is set in the fictional town of Grand, Texas
 
3: What genre does your book come under? Women's Fiction. I've yet to a write a single story that does not have at least a thread of a love story and TWISTED ROADS is no exception. 
 
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? This is tough for me. Unlike many writers I do not picture actors or any other real life person when creating my characters. I have my own mental image and rarely do I think any particular actor is the perfect fit. Having said that, there is one character in this book, an old drunk named L.J. that serves a sort of Yoda wisdom guide role for several characters that I feel Kris Kristofferson  would be a perfect for. And the novel has a musical element so that makes him an even better fit. Here are others, though I am not as enamored with those choices.



Angela Ross (the girl with the checkered past returns to Grand after running away 16 years ago)  Actress Tricia Helfer




 
  
Lucas Cahill (Would be singer/songwriter who gave up not only a chance at a stardom but also his career as a lawyer to be near the woman he loves, but can't have in Grand, Texas)


I'm conflicted here because signer Dierks Bentley has the look I imagined for Lucas, but his Nashville sound contradicts with Lucas's brand of Texas music. And really he needs darker hair.
 
Shelly Sampson assumed her role Grand, Texas royalty back with her homecoming victory and in the sixteen years since she had fought desperately to remain atop the town's social ladder. But her looks are fading, her marriage is crumbling and she is hiding one hell of a secret.  

Hilary Swank might work, but again she needs dark hair. 




Jake Sampson a good ol' boy coasting along on the reputation he earned back in High School when he led the Grand Cougars to back-to-back state football titles. These days he can't even score with his own wife. But he would like another go at Angela now that she has returned.

This is another tough one for me. I can see Jake but I can't think of a real close match so I'll go with actor Ryan Hurst.

There are of course more characters but that covers the four point of view characters plus L.J. who I always thought of as Kris Kristofferson.

 5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Desperation brought her back, love convinced her to linger, but that was before she learned Grand, Texas is a small town, hiding big lies. 
 
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? TWISTED ROADS is being published by TAG Publishing LLC.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?Nine months for the first draft, but many drafts and years have slid by since then.
 
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation comes to mind first. And not really in the genre but there are elements of Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show as well.
 
 9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? Not a who and the what was covered up above. But I will add my love of Texas music colored Lucas's character, who was not in the original draft. Once Lucas hit the scene the book took on more life.
 
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Life rarely travels the exact path we envision or want, but often the twists and turns along the way lead us to our best moments. The same can be said for this novels as well as the characters it contains. I came with a whisker, okay actually a marketing meeting of of placing this novel with a big New York House a decade ago. At the time I was bummed. Looking back I'm glad it didn't happen. The team at TAG saw potential in the book and urged me to improve upon it. TWISTED ROADS is a better book for it, and I am excited for y'all to read it. Had it been published 10 years ago as it was, I wouldn't be half as proud as I am now.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bluebonnets in Blume





The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas.

Bluebonnet is also the name of a literary award sponsored by the Texas Library Association. Here is a blurb from their website.

 Texas Bluebonnet Award

is a unique program that encourages
reading for pleasure and is aimed at 
students in grades 3-6. Each year, 20 
books are chosen as the “Texas 
 Bluebonnet Award Master List” by 
the TBA selection committee.
If students read a minimum of five 
books from the current master list 
(or have the books read aloud to 
them), they have the opportunity to  
vote for their favorite title during the 
month of January each year. The 
author of the book receiving the most 
votes statewide is declared the winner 
of the Texas Bluebonnet Award. 

I tell you this for two reason. one, I cut my reading teeth on Bluebonnet winners like  Superfudge by Judy Blume and Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary 





As far as I know my school did not participate in the official voting, however my 10 yer old son's school does. And he took the task very serious this year reading a dozen of the nominated books. He was quite proud and excited he would get to vote. Well that and his school's librarian does an excellent job of promoting the reading and the participating in the award by hosting a party for the kids that are eligible to vote. 

The morning of the big event he was downright giddy and I just could resit having some fun with him so I lowered my voice conspiratorial and whispered. "When it comes time to vote go ahead and right down my book, THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES."

The look of pure disgust that graced his face was priceless as he said, "No, Dad. The award is for good books."

Of course he hasn;t actualy read my book as he is not old enough to know THAT MUCH about his dear old dad, but he is quite disgusted by the image of that guy pinching that girls butt on the cover.

For the record, I am not sure what book he did vote for but I believe the winner will be announced in April.    
 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This Bucking Sucks

$1.26

 One buck, one quarter, and one penny.

That will buy you about a 1/3 gallon of gas depending where you live. If your rides gets 30mpg that $1.26 will get you 10 miles.

Or you can purchase something in the neighborhood of 1/6 of a movie tickets which equals about 20 minutes of entertainment.

For three more pennies $1.29 you can get yourself a Whopper Jr. at BK, but unless you are 8 that is unlikely to full your gut.

However, you can buy the PRINT copy, an actual hold in your hands book, of my labor. Better than a year's worth of labor if you count rewrites.





That puts my per day profit at 0.0034520547945205 cents per copy sold. Or at least it would if Amazon and my publisher didn't take a cut. I'm not even going to do the math because a third of a cent is woeful enough.

Tell me again why I do this?

Oh yeah, Because I love it.






p.s. The Kindle version is even cheaper at $1.20