Disastrous Awesome

Here’s happens to me when weather like this rolls around:

Why work when I can lay in the sun and do nothing?

Why work when I can lay in the sun and do nothing?

I get lazy.

The garden gnomes work harder than I do.

The problem with this situation? Team Pop Culture’s work gets done in less than timely fashion.

To make matters worse, release of our second book, the Everything Sucks Anthology did not create the giant media frenzy we were (of course) expecting. Not a single entertainment reporter called to request an interview. I was shocked. Point is, promoting the book’s release was up to us. The renegade indie publishers! Who really don’t like this part!

I’ve finally managed to muster up enough discipline to get important shit done despite the sun’s glorious, seductive glow. Our most important shit to get done at the moment is do our best to make sure every English speaking man, woman, and transgendered person who reads this post becomes overwhelmed with a deep desire to own OUR BOOK. Our other one is pretty sweet, too. It’s available RIGHT HERE.

I don’t normally push two products at once, but like I said, I’ve been lazy. Really need to catch up the self-whoring. [I'm told 'serious' artists use the term 'self marketing,' but pfft! Liars. We're whores. Outrageously talented whores who live on ramen noodles and hope, but the fact stands]. We pride ourselves on being considerate whores here at Team Pop Culture, so even though we’d get more royalties from paperback sales, we’re still spreading the word that we’re offering the ebook on Amazon AND SMASHWORDS at .99 cents. Aren’t we the nicest indie artists ever? though we are upping the price in a month or so. $3.99ish(?), we haven’t decided. Point is, get ‘em while they’re cheap!

Do it for LITERACY!
Do it for INDIE ART!
Do it so Shawn and I don’t STARVE TO DEATH!!

Whiniest Blog Post Ever.

The view out my window refuses to be anything but blah. Boring. Bland. A middling, pasty grey without even the common courtesy to darken into a dramatic, foreboding storm. Give me giant, boiling clouds! A howling wind! Bolts of lighting! (Basically allow me the illusion that I’ve been transported to a gothic Mary Shelley-esque world.)

SEE? REALLY FUCKING DRAMATIC, RIGHT?!?

SEE? REALLY FUCKING DRAMATIC, RIGHT?!?

But no. Nothing but blah meets my glazed over eyes. The smallest possible raindrops wander down in no particular rush. The tree branches wobble occasionally as if trying to stay awake despite total disinterest in what’s going on.

It’s days like this that my creative energy becomes. . . insert your own interesting parallel here, I blew all my creative juice for the day on the Mary Shelley thing.

It’s days like this I’m most likely to take a Fuck It All approach to life. Load my system with sugar and caffeine for the energy spike–with the intention of regaining the energy to be productive, go ahead and guess how well that works out.

Basically, bland weather is my whipping boy.

“I’d go for a nice walk if I had the energy. DAMN YOU, WEATHER!”

“Lemon ginger chicken wraps sound really good right now, but the box of cheeze-its is right here. Yeah, I’ll settle for the crackers. DAMN YOU, WEATHER!”

“I know it’s only noon, but I’m gonna go ahead and change back into my jammies and fuzzy socks. DAAAAAAAMMMMMNNNN YOU, YOU DULL-ASS GREY!”

Then I feel guilty for being so lazy. Then I chug more coffee and shuffle around the house munching cheeze-its.

Is blaming the weather a cheap excuse? Yes! Do I care? . . . Meh. Maybe I will tomorrow. Today all I can think about is how much I love my fuzzy socks.

The Twist.

Detective Hank. Gritty. Determined. Always surrounded by dramatic fog for some reason.

Detective Hank. Gritty. Determined. Always surrounded by dramatic fog for some reason.

This is a short sample from one of the stories in our recently released Everything Sucks Anthology. Read. Laugh. Share with all your friends. And family. And the guy next to you on the bus. Seriously, don’t shut up about it.

Jon’s grin grew to face-eating proportions. “What do you think of when I say . . .” (one last pause for effect) Detective Hank and the Black Widow?

“No fuckin’ way!” Al leapt off the couch, throwing hands in the air as he rose.

Jon savored his golden moment.

Al gushed on. “Oh man, I ate those books for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when I was . . . oh, musta been about fourteen or fifteen. Oh, wow, I am old!”

Jon threw back his head and let out the triumphant hollar he’d been waiting all day to enjoy. “I knew I had you figured right! Man, Haggerty was king of the pulps, wasn’t he?”

Al nodded. “Damn right! Martin J. Haggerty was tops, no one else came close. Shit, I can’t believe someone in 19 friggin’ 81 wrote a Detective Hank movie!”

“I know!” Jon shouted, unable to suppress the slobbering fanboy within.

Al returned to the couch, practically panting with excitement. He didn’t outright hate most of the projects he attached himself to, but it was rare he ever found one he wanted to really sink his producer claws into. Find the money, assemble a team, and move on was his typical involvement. “So the script is a winner?”

“Oh god no!” Jon said as he picked up the script and unceremoniously dropped it. “No, this script is awful, my cat could crap a better one, I’m interested in the idea. I figure we call . . .” he squinted at the name typed under the title. “Montgomery Sheldon–what an awful pen name–we butter him up, get him to sign over the rights, and kick it to the best script doctor we know of. With a set of guidelines, of course.”

“Strict guidelines!” Al interjected.

Jon fixed Al with a serious gaze, and replied with the sincerity of a Minister, “I promise, I will protect Detective Hank with my life.”

“You’re a god among mice, Jon. Mice.” A moment of silence passed. “So who do we like for the cast?”

Jon shrugged. “Not my department. I just truffle pig the scripts.”

“I’m bringin’ ya in, buddy.”

“Can you do that? I thought producers just wrangled investors and yelled at directors.”

Al’s mouth puckered and his nostrils flared. “I am shocked, shocked that someone on my staff told you what I do!”

GET THE REST OF THE STORY, AND SEVERAL OTHERS HERE.

Man, I love this Lady!

Meet the main character of Easy. She’s a strong, ballsy gal, and I really enjoyed writing her. You can download the whole story HERE

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Later that evening she flipped the ‘Closed’ sign in the front window, and shed her ‘Seamstress’ skin, exposing the one beneath. The Runner. Stealthy, solid, and clever.

Stitch and their Ma handled the brewing, she and Tommy did the running, and Norman was the guard dog. He wasn’t so big on intellectual stuff, but a sharp guy in all the ways that mattered. He just wasn’t the bookish type, and that was fine by Bitsie. She knew he’d cut off his own leg before he ever lied to her, and a man you could trust was a man to hold on to.

Anyhow, every night when she flipped the sign, it was an electric thrill.

Most nights the ‘shine business ran smooth as any other, but the possibilities excited her for some reason. She figured her insides were wired a little off center, though she was darn glad for it.

. . . and then WRITER HELL.

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Tweaking character and/or plot points as you write is par for the course in Writer World. We all know this. But sometimes the process becomes . . . a special experience. Sometimes you find yourself in a deep, fiery pit, confused and surrounded by details that don’t make sense.

You suddenly realize you’ve spent the last five chapters writing a character into way too many plot threads, crowding out or sidelining other vital characters. Or you accidentally specified a character’s age at some point, and the age doesn’t work with the arc you had planned for them.

Oh! Here’s another fun one: you decide to cut a storyline about midway through, but cutting it renders one of the characters totally useless. You gotta go back, weed out all of his scenes, hand off his dialog to other characters if it’s something important, smooth over remaining rough edges, and move forward. Not so bad, right? Moving on. Buuuuuut then you remember the character you just cut was going to play a tiny–but still vital–role in one other subplot. Not a big enough role to resurrect the whole character, but the detail does need to be reassigned to someone else. Which means choosing a character and slightly rewriting a few of their previous scenes to accommodate set-up. You grit your teeth and do it, figuring this will finally fix your last big narrative issue. You’ll be back to moving forward within the hour. Sweet!

HA! Sucker! Three chapters later you realize that the small detail you just reassigned would actually work a lot better with with a different character. It would make more sense. It would add depth. So you back up (again) and make the switch. Guess what? the switch forces you to change some elements of established backstory! IT JUST KEEPS GETTING FUNNER AND FUNNER!!!

Along the way you do have several exciting ‘narrative epiphanies,’ the likes of which will improve both character and story going forward, which is nice. But the good times won’t roll until you finish rebuilding the mangled wreckage of what you thought, just days before, was a pretty sharp piece of work.

I have spent oh so many days trapped in this Writer’s Hell. I’ve head-desked to the point of delirium. I’ve turned to the comforting arms of either the outdoors, or Netflix (depending on weather). I’ve eaten my feelings. (They taste like potato chips.). Honestly, I’m only blogging right now to postpone discovering today’s shiny, new frustrations.

Sure, I’m in the home stretch. The fun part is within reach. But it’s always that laaaaaast leg of the race that’s hardest to survive. When I finally do get through this crap, I plan to blast Ode to Joy as loud as possible, and run around my house throwing fistfuls of confetti in the air. This will go on for at least an hour. Then I will bake a cake. Then I will eat the cake while writing a fully rebuilt, coherent story.