Monthly Archives: January 2012

I Am Enjoying The Addiction – Starshot, The Revision!

So here I am — knee deep in revisions to a novel that WILL end up being 400-500 pages. That’s good. I’m happy. I am looking at just two more chapters for Part 1 (God I hate that. I want a Part 1 subtitle). Starshot has been sitting on the back burner for so long — I have actually forgotten some of the plot twists!

Still looking for cover art. Had a great Face-to-face with one artist. I like the way he thinks, but the art talks. I have heard from more that 1/2 dozen people who are interested — but no one has answered with “Yes, What exactly are you looking for?” I have the bare MS on display on my defunct Live Journal, so I will direct them, if thy want to read the novel there. While it’s getting revisions – The story remains eh same…

I have been using the edit features of Open Office. I like it except for the color of the red-lining. I’d like a darker shade. But if I’d work in better lighting like I should, it’s fine.

So — to those who are wondering…. The project moves forward……

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Looks Like it has Started.

Due to some real support and encouragement, the ongoing plan to publish Starshot is moving forward. Along with my planning and what I think is a great little plotting scheme that will make this novel something a little different I have to write out to a group of blogs who have made me look forward to the blank pages and clumps of unedited prose. Anyone reading this and even thinking about writing can get some great ideas and support from the likes of 4am Writer and Limebird. I also read New Author Publishing because it is fun, and SO real. There are most likely more that I am missing but I wanted the bloggers to know I enjoy their efforts.

Now my re-write plan that will help me conserve the time and setting of the novel I am going to publish as a Nookbook. Starshot is set from the 60’s into the 90’s.  What I consider the golden age of Rock music. The biggest reason is because that was the age I grew up in, listening and LOVING that sound. So here I was some 400+ pages of MS. If I let it go as just a novel, I felt it would read as dated with no real reason why. So I have decided to set it as a book written by a journalist for Rock Out!  magazine. He has decided to put together all of his past articles and file materials about the Rock Superstar DeeJay Gloss, whom he has followed from discovery to the end of his story. Dane DeForest, feels it is his duty to tell the story in a novelized story steeped in the truths and intrigue of Rock history. This now allows me to present the story and have a fictional narrators voice! I have to say it feels like fun. So today, I began my re-write of Starshot. I will, I’m sure, be here from time to time to: Rejoice at great headway. Bitch at huge writer’s Block. Moan at what I am doing to my psyche. Celebrate some small advance. Inform everyone of my new favorite drink…. Whatever.

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OK – It Has Bitten Me

Got the writing bug back. Back many, many years ago I had it all planned. Write the Great American Novel. I enjoyed writing, in fact, I started a publishing company (Bolt Publications) and began as Editor In Chief of  The Nuts & Bolts of Gaming (NABOG)., a bi-monthly fanzine that followed the Play By Mail gaming industry (this was before we all had our own computers) and growing Play on Computer games. I enjoyed it, loved the writing, after a while hated the work of running the whole show. I had some talented volunteer staff and lasted three years.

Prior to that I had an idea for a novel. At the time I was laid off work and had lots of time. I had no idea how to put my story into words and on paper. I had an old electric typewriter and a cheap ream of paper, and a dream. I wrote by hand, transferring that (editing as I went) to typewritten pages. I set the story down as far as characters and basic storyline, but I actually wrote the last chapter, first! Soon the pages accumulated. I knew that I’d want to see this tome in print. I went to the Yellow pages and looked up Literary Agents. I sent postcards as an inquiry. After a month or more I got one response from an agency in Florida (I can not remember who it was – but I am forever grateful). He asked me to send the first 50 pages. I did and three months later he wrote back. Three pages of suggestions, ideas, encouragement mixed with well needed criticism. Soon I was working many hours a day on the project.

Life intervened, by the time I actually finished the story, you know; A Beginning and an End with a middle of 50-70,000 words, it was 1990. I decided I needed an agent. It took a year and the first one that took me held on for a year. No luck. He did suggest editing and gave me a list of people to contact. I did and a fine editor worked with me to superficially fix the manuscript (MS). I have to confess, he did a good job, but I tended to NOT take the knife to my babies. I’ve since learned “they are words, not babies.” Still the MS was shopped but not sold. Rejection was okay. I took it well, always saw the bright side. Not one told me my work was bad, many praised the story and my characters, still no one bought. After three agents, I began to blind send to small houses.

Then, one day I received a letter from a big New York Agency. The writer said they’d like to see my work (at least 100-150 pages) as they had heard of it from a person “in the business.” It sounded like something they would like to read. I bundled up 150 pages and sent them off. I knew 2 even 3 months might elapse before I heard anything. I was wrong, nearly 6 months went by. I got a typed letter from the agency saying that the agent I had been contacted by had… Wait for it….. DIED. They were closing shop as he was the Principal Partner and were not taking on new clients.

Soon I got another Agent who loved the story (and wanted to know how long I had been in the music business [the subject of the novel]). He read the whole MS. He commented, he liked it. He tried to sell it both as a book and as a potential screen play. No luck. He sent a long letter after I had played the “woe is me” card. He told me that, perhaps, the 480 page MS was just too big, too much for a first timer (he confessed it was the most often heard reason for not contemplating the book). His suggestion was………………….. Write another, shorter work and find a publisher for that.

I had been banging another story, a Supernatural Suspense story. I work, in earnest, for over two years. I went directly to small houses and was published in 2001 by Twilight Times Books ( It was an eBook then it became a printed book in 2004. WolfPointe became my book to establish myself before I tried to get my first novel, Starshot; A Rock Stars’ Story. Well, I was not able to get out there and promote and market my novel like I should have. TTB still carries it and I have some remainders (I can sign them for you!). I told myself, before I’d do this again I wanted to dedicate much more time into the marketing. Until now.

I have decided to resurrect Starshot; A Rock Stars’ Story, and give it the real editing it needs and put it out there on my own. I know I may never be the Big Author the Next Movie guy; I just like to tell stories. So, soon, I will offer Starshot; A Rock Stars’ Story Part 1, as a nookbook. I have a deal to publish direct to Barnes & Noble via nook. I will be charging a VERY reasonable amount to download, and hopefully, if you like, pick up parts 2 & 3…

There you have it. Keep me honest — make me tell you how its going. I need a taskmaster (or mistress) to keep me going. I know once I begin in earnest, I will get this done. I am not out to get rich, I just want you to hear my story…….

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Weather Watching: A new view when you are retired

The Chicagoland area is gearing up for another “major” snowfall. In addition, the temperatures may drag down into the single digits. Hmmmm Bad news, oh, wait — I don’ t have to go out in it (much) because I am retired!

The work I had done for over 43 years was primarily outside work. I actually don’t mind cold (I often go out with no coat or jacket even into the teens), but prolonged work in it is not fun. Years ago I was looking at taking a job on the construction of the Alaskan Pipeline (yeah — the 1970’s) while laid off work locally. The money was good but what stopped me cold was teh requirement of having to work bare-handed (15 min at a time every 1/2 hour) in cold down to -40. By the way, did you know that one of the only readings that coincide between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures IS -40, so yeah that is cold. Minus 40? Seriously. That was the end of that.

So, now I can see the beauty of falling snow more readily. I can empathize with workers who make a living in it. I can enjoy a warm snug spot due to work done well starting long ago. I can still mutter, “Damn it looks cold!”

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Oh Lord, More Mad Ramblings

Started out my day with a discussion about voting rights here in the USofA. Those on Facebook have read the shortaned version of this, perhaps.

Great reading here this morning. I had to stop and think. For me any restriction, test, requirement that somehow disenfranchises ANYONE from voting really restricts our freedoms and rights in this Republic. Beyond the basic registration, votes should be counted and the winner fairly awarded victory. Sometimes we (the voters) make mistakes. In general, the wisdom of the masses rules. Media can affect the information we gather, but most know we need to gather it — not just read what lays on top. I really don’t anyone who regularly votes has ever voted for the perfect candidate. Perhaps some have used the vote against someone rather than for someone. Many have held their nose. I bet some wish there was a do-over election. Regardless, we as a majority get who we vote for. Uninformed people, ignorant people, well educated, misinformed, overloaded, gullible, well-schooled, paid off, lied to, and good people just guessing, all vote. Rather than cloud the pull, restrict some one, or deny their rights: If you are a citizen, you get a vote.

As I look over results and comments of people and votes and reasoning, especially around voting times (which seems never-ending any more) I see more and more division. A deeper chasm between parties, and candidates. It also seems all candidates try to be all things to all voters. Read above, we have never voted for an ideal candidate; even if we thought so at the time. Depending on where you read and how many versions, the Conservative block of voters has a majority, if slight proportions, The Liberal faction is a minority and the Dependents a smaller cut yet. The reason is somewhat simple in my mind, and while I have believed this for some time, in the last decade or two it truly has shown itself. There used to be a Right, a swing towards Moderate-Conservatisim, Centrist, Moderate-Liberalism, and Left. Wider on either side was considered Anarchy and/or Totalitarianism. But there were DEGREES. I remember Clinton being called a Moderate Liberal Democrat. Think he’d be called that now?  HW Bush certainly was a more Moderate Conservative than his son, George W. . I find it amusing amid the charges of Socialist and outright Communist leanings of Barack Obama that he is considered a Centrist in his views. With little effort though this fact is borne out. So the problem that has arisen is not a choice of who will steer the Ship of State, through the wide channel of Democracy, guiding it between sandbars and past wrecks, through reefs of danger and threat toward a Shining Future. Governing this country is now being offered to whomever can skim the right edge of this channel, ignoring the rocks that lay so close to that edge, the threats to lives, finances and freedom, or to those who might veer so far left that the same threats loom for those citizen passengers as well. Has anyone even tried to sail up the middle? Yet the current pilot is viewed by nearly every disinterested expert as the one that really wants to steer the Ship of State in the middle.

The Right has a numerical majority because they (for what ever reason they say/choose) have been able to lock their block in with a belief system that works for few, but is backed by many. They tend to vote for who they like – or not at all.

The Left is in the minority because Progressiveness or Liberalism can not be defined. The definition can not be nailed down. It would be like hanging Jello as wallpaper. The views and levels are so fractured that even those who identify themselves such can not agree. When they find a rally-point they tend to back the choice, and the Independents tend to flow their way.  Liberals, tend to either back their candidate enthusiastically, or not vote.

The Independents tend to vote. If they split — elections are close. If they flow either direction in great numbers the vote count is swung.

I think less people identify themselves as Independent so that swing is less. We cheer, yell, back the right or the left, but elect pretty much – In The Middle.

That’s my mad ramble……

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I Know its Been a Week, ’cause I’m doing Laundry again

So, while I officially still have one day to show up at work again (Thursday Jan, 12) I pretty much have retired from my work of over 44 years. Still, there is so much living to do. Still there is so much day-to-day life to do. Which brings me to today. It is laundry day once again. I figured if I have time off, I should at least try to use some of it to take a portion of the load off my dear spouse. I figured laundry being more  time sap rather than an exercise in mental acuity, would be a good thing to do. My first attempt (last week) showed that I could handle it. Clothes were clean. I managed to fold them — but I am unaware of where my wife’s clothes go! Towels turned out to be a mystery. Clean, folded, they did not fit into the shelves where we store them! Clearly this project has an apprenticeship I am unaware of.  So round two begins to day (whites are started and  am sipping tea and typing.). I’ll get round to letting you know how it goes

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Let me Introduce SUNNI1 (Sunny One)


I like to use this shot to say, “yes you can own a convertible in Chicago…… People tend to question your sanity if you drive it like this in February…”

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I’ve Worked 44 Years and WHAT??!?!

So when I was 18 , literally by days, I was standing in line. No concert tickets for me — no sireee, I was waiting in line for a job. Little did I know back in the summer of 1968, that standing in line for jobs was going to be a reoccurring story, or at least a setting in my life. My brother had dropped me off at 600 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois. The Union Hall for the IBEW Local 134. I was going to be an Electrician! I got out of the car, I had a fresh copy of The Godfather to read, some food, a few cans of soda, some cash and determination.

Back then, here was the best way to become an Electrician. Know someone. Ok we are done here. Actually, having a Sponsoring Contractor was what was needed. This was a company that said, for all intents and purposes, that they were going to employ you for the next 4 years. Your 4 year Apprenticeship was covered. You’d be a made man in 48 months. So in line I got. Oh By the way the doors opened at 8:30 AM Monday. It was 5:30 AM Sunday. I was given a card that designated my place in line after I sat on teh sidewalk for about 5 hours. I was 134th in line. Wow, an omen — 134 was the Local number too. Destiny.

By the time I was allowed in the building (about Noon, Monday), I had more than my first beer (of the week), had played softball on Washington Ave, I had taken a 2 hour watch with a baseball bat in hand to watch for “line cutters” overnight. The highlight was offering a local (Things were not as PC) Wino a $20 to climb a 10 foot tall pyramid of empty beer cans. He did – he fell we laughed and gave him $30. The next morning someone bought him coffee and a single serve cereal (Corn Flakes), which he poured Orange-A-Go-Go fortified wine. I never saw Willie the Wino again — but he seemed a nice guy.

Flash forward. Its 2012. I have worked many, many jobs. Stood in line for some. Walked by those standing in lines at places I worked. I have worked with many people, some fantastic, some so fucking bad — I actually have to say I can hate. As much as that bothers me. Sure I can hate someone threatening my family — even myself, but to hate someone who only interaction with you is his job…. That my friend is a visceral, basic hate. Yeah — I can do that hate.

I was in the middle of the 1970’s gas wars with embargoes and recession hitting. Off work for 27 months. One son born and my second during some of the poorest times in our lives. My wife and I still laugh about the Federal Cheese, the wonderful neighbor’s apple tree, the Bacon my brother got for working side jobs. I had a trade, I was able to supplement the years of Unemployment Insurance I collected. We made it and when I made the decision to go into maintenance and get out of the building trade, we were better for it. Our marriage was better, we learned to save money, we learned to laugh at adversity. We learned that sometimes working was not important – it was working for a purpose that really made a difference. Even so, work was tough. Remember I was entering the Manufacturing sector which would begin and continue to shrink. Until I established some seniority or hung on longer than others I had to lose, find and lose jobs again. My personal record was 6 jobs in one year. Still, by 1988, I had not worked one job for more than 9 years……

Finally after joining with Union Carbide in early 1988, I managed to stay in one place for nearly 24 years. Sure – three owners (UCC the The Dow Chemical Company (UCC was then a wholly owned subsidiary of TDCC) which then had to sell us (FTC came knocking!!) to Arkema. What a ride. Training, schooling experience, travel…. what a rush. In all that, I kept thinking that one day I’d retire.

Well….. It has. Now a new life begins….

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Seriously… 2012??

I remember way back in the Twentieth Century, laying in bed, up because I was young…. excited about every day, that I’d be alive at the turn of the Century. Well, I was right (at the time there was no doubt). But 11 years after, no jet packs, where are the flying cars we all were supposed to have? Ah, well… it has been fun and continues to be so. But I have changed and re-changed and even in somethings – changed again.

They say as we get older the more conservative we get. That is true, but it’s not — yet — yes, yes it is.I was a bit of a political radical when young — and went from a pretty conservative viewpoint to a VERY liberal. Then as a worker, parent and citizen, I think I went right-leaning once more; still to the left of many of my friends a co-workers, but still right-ish for me. Now though… I am  complex political animal. I tend to be conservative at the local level, where I feel I have the most control. At county, state a federal I lean more and more left as I was to see more control over what my single vote can easily affect. The guards are thicker at the federal level, the checks and balances work. Less so as one gets closer to home. But things have happened to the stance of the paties. The Left – Democrats are Centrist at their most liberal lean, and the conservatives have de-evolved into a quasi-theocracy.

On thing I have noticed in my 61 plus years of observation is often, in fact, most often the harder thing to do (name the issue) the is most often the “right” thing. A quick, knee jerk instant answer is easy, but not, in the light of day, the right thing. Conservatism, at its root, is the easy way, being liberal and trying to improve the good is the hard way, often so hard it may be impossible. As columnist Mike Royko once wrote, “Being a Conservative is easy as it simpler to give a guy the finger rather than a hand.”

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