Earlier this year, I published a collection of fifty micro-stories in the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres called Poison Tongue Tales. If it wasn’t for my awesome beta reader Marie Krepps, this publication wouldn’t be possible. I know I brag about her a lot, but that’s just an illustration of how wonderful of a friend she is to me. Pointing out weaknesses and possible solutions in my stories while maintaining a silver-tongued sense of humor is a valuable skill to have. It makes the editing process virtually painless when you’re dealing with someone who knows what the fuck they’re doing. So far Poison Tongue Tales is sitting pretty at a three-star out of five rating on Good Reads and Amazon. Then again, it has only been reviewed once, so I’ve got a lot of marketing ahead of me.
Whenever I’m not standing on a street corner and shouting about my book like a madman (is that how marketing is done?), I’m usually pumping out more first drafts. In 2017 alone, I’ve written micro-stories for American Darkness 2 (contemporary) and Poison Tongue Tales 2 (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), poetry and songs for Lunatic Justice (a future publication that’s currently being beta-read by Marie), and a psychological heavy metal fantasy novella called Demon Axe. While trying to come up with the next novel idea, I’m currently pumping out more stories for what will be American Darkness 3.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the writing business so much that I want to build my entire life around it. It may not be the most profitable venture I’ve ever embarked on, but who gives a shit? I could have just as easily obtained an engineering degree, but I’d be bored to tears at whatever job I got with it. The writing business doesn’t owe me anything. I owe the writing business everything.
Another thing I’m grateful for is the fact that I’ve seen five music concerts in 2017. It all began with Roger Waters at the Tacoma Dome during my birth month of June. The special effects, the poignant music, and of course, those creepy ass putty face masks, they made Roger Waters’ performance a special one. It was my fourth time seeing him live and this was easily my favorite performance of his. Just over a week later, I got to see the Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd and they’re every bit as satisfying as the real deal. That’s a lot of Floyd in just a short time span. Then again, as long as someone is singing “We don’t need no education!” in my ear, I’m a happy motherfucker.
The other three concerts I went to in 2017 were spaced throughout the month of August. First on the list was Green Day at the White River Amphitheater. The second was Metallica at Century Link Field. And the third was Incubus, also at the White River Amphitheater. All three of these bands along with the openers brought their fucking A-games. I’ve never been prouder to be a metal head than in August 2017. Onstage antics, badass music, special effect gimmicks, and the sense of siblinghood I felt with the people sitting next to me at all three shows, they were worth the long rides home.
In 2018, I’ve scheduled myself for even more shows: Pop Evil and Starset in February (separate shows) and Papa Roach and Soulfly in May (also separate shows). And of course, every year at the White River Amphitheater, there’s the obligatory Pain in the Grass festival with an ass-load of bands (tickets aren’t available yet, but I’m fixing to snatch one up once the musicians are announced).
This year has also seen a great deal of hee-haws and belly laughter, compliments of guys like Garrison Keillor, Brian Regan, Jason Mewes, and the cast of Capitol Steps. I know how bleak Garrison Keillor’s performance looks in hindsight considering he was exposed as a sexual predator in the #MeToo movement, but I went to see him long before the allegations surfaced, so I was able to enjoy a night of poetry and giggles with him.Brian Regan has been a favorite of my biological dad and brother James for a long time now. Going to see him was like a pilgrimage for them and I tagged along to get a few laughs in too. And then there was Jason Mewes’ Q&A session, where my James Bond-esque laugh got a huge pop from the crowd in attendance as well as Mr. Mewes himself. I got to meet Jason Mewes after the show and he couldn’t have been more cordial and fun to be around. To close out the giggle factory, there’s Capitol Steps, an ensemble cast of political figure impersonators who made the Donald Trump circus in 2017 bearable and laughable at the same time. In 2018, I’m planning on taking my mom with me to see Trevor Noah and Bill Maher (again, on separate shows), but I haven’t purchased the tickets yet.
Sitting on airplanes or in cars during long trips can be summed up with the phrase “six hours of ass torture”. The vacations themselves, however, were worth the sore asses. The first vacation of 2017 was a Mexican cruise book-ended with a few days in
I got to pet a manta ray, snuggle with a sea lion, ride a banana boat, and get
my picture taken with Spiderman. The trip to
shortly after was a little more low-key with window shopping and beach
strolling, but I like low-key all the same. And then I spent some time in Seaside, Oregon New Orleans, where I ate
pralines (and other delicious meals), bought Legos, got a table massage, and
ventured onto a plantation to learn about the horrors of black slavery. Mom’s
going to try and get a job as a teacher again so that we have extra income to
go on more of these wonderful trips.
The more grateful you are for the positives in your life, the more positives you’ll have in the first place. This sounds ironic coming from a guy like me who has a permanent resting bitch face, but on the inside, I’m feeling the gratitude, which can only be described as warm and fuzzy. The year 2018 will bring good things as well if you want it to. Even if it’s something as simple as a back massage or a meal at Red Lobster, don’t take it for granted. Life is too short for constant complaining and drama. Be good to yourself in 2018. Don’t let this year of silver linings pass you by. We’ve got ears, say cheers!
***AMERICAN DARKNESS 3***
If there are two things American Darkness 3 is in no short supply of, it’s women named Vikki and women who are bound and gagged. “Duct Tape Princess” will bring you the best of both of those worlds. It goes like this:
1. Vikki Colt, Lounge Singer
2. Nadia Rinehart, Street Fighter
3. Johnny Rinehart, Nadia’s Gangster Husband
PROMPT CONFORMITY: To be announced.
SYNOPSIS: After putting on a seductive performance at a gangster bar, Vikki gets a visit in her apartment from a furious Nadia, who is convinced that Vikki was flirting with Johnny while onstage. Nadia has the fighting abilities to pummel anybody into powder, but instead she ties and gags Vikki with duct tape and holds her hostage in the apartment. The sexy songstress begins to think twice about choosing shady venues.
***DARK FANTASY WARRIORS***
Up next on the chopping block is Antonio Fujiwara, a giant ninja from a future Poison Tongue Tales 3 story called “A Bastard Sword in a Haystack”. Yes, you heard that right: a giant fucking ninja is attempting to blend in. He sticks out like a hard-on at the chalkboard, but that won’t stop him from at least attempting to find refuge in the dark forest, which happens to be full of tall trees.
***JOKE OF THE DAY***
Q: What do you call it when a fireman and a paramedic blow each other at the same time?