Looking At Forty . . . And Zen Buddhism

Aging. It happened before I even knew it. And as I fight my way to live life day by day, it keeps happening. And, most days, I can’t truthfully say I’m enjoying the ride.

When I was a little kid, the world was full of endless possibilities. Anything was within reach. And they were, so I thought, the best years of my life. But, unfortunately, that was about to all change.

My early teen years just sorta happened. But in my mid to late teens, I noticed more reality than I cared to. And the closer I got to eighteen, the more and more I dreaded becoming an adult.

I was blissfully ignorant of the things of the world despite my constant teachings and lectures from my father. I should had listened. But I already knew everything. Or so I thought.

My twenties came in like roaring tornado. A swirl of having to quickly grow up, getting my own place, paying my own bills, and the unexpected surprise of parenthood. And that’s how it goes, I guess.

In my thirties, I wizened up. I looked at teenagers and twenty something year olds and thought to myself, They have no clue. Little did I realize, but neither did I. It was my thirties I began to see life for what it truly was: a bitch.

I didn’t want to turn forty. And, even without having my consent, it happened all the same. It was at this point that I have started to look more deeply and more seriously at my life. I now understand what they mean by having a mid-life crisis.

This year for me (and my wife) has been a torrential cascade of bullshit in the worst kind of way. The events of this year have been the fuel that has propelled this rocket car of bullshit, slamming us into a brick wall only to discover there to be more and more brick walls.

It just doesn’t seem to want to end. But, even so, we have one another. And, for that, I am beyond grateful. I am blessed in that way. I can only hope she, as I’m undoubtedly sure she does, feels the same way.

Waking up everyday with a heavy heart, going to a factory job that continually sucks the happiness from my very soul when I thought there was none more to be gotten, and fearing what’s going to happen to us this time, leaves me everyday – several times a day – asking two questions over and over:

What is my life’s purpose, and where do I go from here?

I find myself at a crossroads. And a very important one. But, I must digress . . . .

When I was a young man-child, my dad taught a form of martial arts called Goju Ryu. Later, a man came from Okinawa and was handed the class. From there, I learned Kodokan karate. Interestingly enough, and to the best of my knowledge, both styles being Japanese.

During this time, I was introduced to the famous David Carradine movie, Kung Fu; a series that ran during the 70’s before becoming a singular film. Kung Fu . . . the grandfather to the Goju Ryu my father taught. With Kung Fu also came Tai Chi. Like Goju Ryu, another offspring.

In short, it was Kung Fu that planted a seed that I would find myself coming back to to water from time to time.

I was grateful for my dad being hard on me, teaching me how to defend myself all those years ago. But it was the spiritual connection I found in martial arts that captivated my soul.

With this, meditation to calm oneself and to look inward became a very real thing to me. Mind you, I came from a very Christian family, so, of course, my dad never divulged much on the topic being Buddhism the principle behind it.

On a side note, I one day managed to get my hands on a book about self-hypnosis. I’m not going to say much about this here, because this was a whole new avenue of self discovery in and of itself. But it did play its part in its own way.

Fast forwarding . . . I grew up in a strict and religious family. I’m not sure when it happened or what sparked it, but, at some point in my mid to late teens, I began to question the bible. It no longer made sense to me. I found it contradictory.

So, I started to look deeper at what it was saying – trying to explain things myself with historical and scientific fact rather than just accepting a belief on blind faith. This ideal to just believe in something made no sense to me.

Little did I realize then that I had taken it upon myself to follow a teaching, I would later discover, from the Buddha: To not follow something on blind faith, but rather decide for yourself if a thing is worth believing/following (to paraphrase).

This dissecting of the bible led me to “study” demonology. From there, I looked more into witchcraft; namely Wicca, of which I began practicing, then into Druidism, which I felt more comfortable with.

With witchcraft, there was also meditation. Different from what I had known thus far from martial arts.

I never got too serious into being a practitioner of the craft, but it made a lot more sense to me than what my family had forced me to believe in. On the other hand, I still found something was missing. Then came metaphysics. And suddenly, the rabbit hole I thought I knew well showed it’s true colors.

And, my god, it was beautiful! Albeit vastly confusing.

So, with all of that said, I come to this point in my life; confused, emotionally racked with pain and heartache, sad, depressed, angry, temperamental, and still ever curious. In what seems like a time when I would have my mid-life crisis I see a door. A familiar one. And, this time, I’m walking toward it.

I’ve told people many times before that if I ever once set foot in Japan I would never leave. That’s funny considering I’ve never been there. But I can say that because there has always been something about the Chinese and Japanese cultures that have drawn my attention. Particularly that of Japan.

Somehow, I feel drawn to it. It pulls my heartstrings in a way that only a bird, who feels when it’s time to migrate, can understand. Although modern Japanese culture is now technologically advanced and fast paced, it’s the simplicity of the old ways that I love and admire most.

And, so, here I am.

As I mentioned before, this year has been horrific. The results of events that have driven me to the edge, looking deeply into the abyss, contemplating if it’s worth it – reaching a level of stress and unhappiness that has me weighed down to my breaking point.

Of course, I could never make the leap. I’m not that kind of person. However, I know I can’t continue going like I am, so I began to re-evaluate myself and my place in the cosmos.

Many things I would do, places I’d go, I can’t. It’s the sort of sacrifice you make when you marry. You have to find a middle ground. Granted, this can be a struggle, going against what you feel is best for yourself, but part of the end result, the happiness at the end of the tunnel, is finding a solution that you and your significant other can be happy with together.

Moving to a new locale, at the time of this writing, is not a solution; even though we both feel a change of scenery would do us good. Unfortunately, I can’t change jobs either because of reasons I won’t go into.

What I can do, and must do, for now has to start with me and start at home. I must devote my energy doing what I enjoy doing whether there is money in it or not; writing, art, treasure hunting. Mainly because it’s inner satisfaction and tranquility that I’m looking for anyway, right?

Money is one of the leading causes to my stress and worry. It can only provide relief, but never happiness. And this is a new programing I am having to force myself to face because it’s definitely not how I was raised.

Enter Zen Buddhism.

When one thinks about Zen, they often think about gardens filled with sand and rocks. I know I do, but there’s an interesting thing about that. At least, for me anyway. Let me explain:

The rocks in a Zen garden represents different things, and I like the representation of the five elements; earth, air, water, fire, and metal. For others, they may represent islands. Hence the raking of the sand to show water flowing from and/or around the stones.

But it’s the raking that I want to mention here.

For as long as I can remember, I have often enjoyed sweeping. Somehow, I find it relaxing and meditative. I figured this out long, long before I learned Zen Buddhist monks rake the sand in their gardens for this exact same reason.

With Zen Buddhism comes the obvious: meditation. Ah, yes. There it is again. It’s something that I am all too familiar with. And something I have probably, and unknowingly, been grooming myself toward most all of my life.

But there are the roots of Buddhism, as well. This is where I put forth the real work in my quest for inner peace. And, admittedly, although I’m obviously not looking to become a full fledged Buddhist monk, it’s still something that will take a conscious effort on my part.

So what am I hoping to get from this? I can answer that question in a word: contentment.

To come to terms with your true self and not who and what you perceive yourself to be is a journey. To accept the problems you must face, and face alone, is also a journey. To understand where you belong in the grand scheme of things the universe has laid out for you as an individual . . . also a journey.

There are questions I keep asking myself everyday. Questions that, ultimately, are negative when you really take a hard look at them. And these questions need to be replaced with different questions; the right questions.

I heard once that to find the answers you are looking for you must ask the right questions. This is seemingly much more difficult than it sounds. Wording is everything. This is where meditation comes in.

I need to change. If not myself, then, at the very least, my outlook on things. I have come to terms with the belief that Buddhism is the answer; has always been the answer. I have just been too ignorant to realize it.

Buddhism has always been there like a shadow; you see it, but so much so you take it for granted. Only this time, I’m stopping to give it my attention. It’s time. Past time! It’s simply what I have to do.

It may seem easy on the surface, but it’s actually a complicated thing with many labyrinths of subtle layers.

I have a good idea of where I want to be this time next year. But maybe, somewhere along the rails of self-discovery and change, I’ll learn that the path I once believed to be the correct one for me will turn out to be something completely different. For better or for worse, only time will tell.

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What Do Cats Think About?

Let’s face it . . . No matter if you love them or hate them, these four legged, hairball puking animals are very high on the list of the world’s most interesting creatures.

Besides the occasional mentally deranged human being, they are the only animal on the face of the planet to kill just for the fun of it. And, for many people, these deadly house lions in miniature live right in our homes.

Enter one: Felis Catus. Or, as they are more commonly called, the domestic house cat.Strange Stare Animal Kitty Cat Head Stray Eyes

Personally, I have mixed feelings about house cats. Whether I like them or not depends on the hour and the day you were to ask me. I have, however, if by choice or not, owned many. And by many . . . let’s just say I’ve lost count somewhere half way through my cat ownership years.

I have had some that I liked, some I couldn’t really stand, and only one I considered to be my little buddy; a Siamese mix who would wait by the door for me to come home from work, and, once I crossed the threshold, would begin telling me all about his day with nonstop, conversational style meowing.

We know the attitude. Even if you despise cats, everyone is fully aware of their personas. They think they are royalty. They con us to get what they want when they want it. They are not our pets, we are theirs.

Once worshiped by ancient Egyptians and even today by the most hard core of cat owners, they undoubtedly have their place in history on this planet we call home.

But one thing that has always fascinated me about cats isn’t just their quirky personalities we have come to baste the internet with, but the deeper side of whatever it is that lies behind those soul peering eyes.

Yes, the question we must ask now and probably forever more is:

What the hell do they think about?

Allow me to take a moment and give you a couple examples from some cats I use to know. I’m sure you can  relate.

Gato numero uno: The name eludes me presently, but I had this one cat who took contemplating all things deep and serious to a whole new level. I am sure if he could speak English, he would sit, wining and dining, with today’s most world renowned scientists and theologians.

Perhaps it was some bizarre form of meditation, but his favorite thing to do was to walk up to a random position near point blank range from a random wall, sit on his haunches, and stare for perhaps a few minutes, to an hour, or maybe even longer.

With his nose mere inches from the wall, he’d look at this spot and then another; studying it carefully. He may look around the room just to maintain a visual of his surroundings, but other than that, he would simply stare at the wall.

I have no idea what the point and purpose of this strange act was, but this is a cat we’re talking about! He really didn’t need a point to do anything, did he?

Then there was Satellite. So named for her habit of constantly being spaced out; a space cadet, as my father might have called her.

Satellite seemed like a normal cat until, especially until, she went to sleep. She had this thing she would do that she would (be sound asleep and) suddenly, out of the clear blue, jump up all freaked out, sometimes doing flips in mid-air, which often times included taking off running full speed to a random place in a random room of the house before stopping abruptly.

This didn’t mean the end of her little session, however. She now had the option to either return back to the world and resume cat normalcy, whatever that is exactly, or take off again to another random place in, more than likely, another random room of the house.

Why did she do this? Was it a feline version of night terrors? I don’t know. I may never know! In fact, we as humans may never come to understand what it is that makes cats tick.

I had a very dear friend who once said, “Cats know things.” This simple, yet powerful, statement was coming from a past era of his life as a pagan priest; obviously in reference to cats as familiars and magickal animals.

And maybe they do know things! Maybe they were worshiped for a reason? And a damn good one? Guardians of some spiritual realm or reincarnated beings from another time and place . . . .

It all boils down to, for me anyway, natural behavior. Animal behavior and instincts is interesting to me. It’s fascinating! Truly! Why do they do what they do, and how do they even know to do it in the first place?

What I do know, what I can say for sure is, they are probably far more intelligent and far more in tune with the cosmos than I will ever be; no matter how hard I try.

And with cats, there does seem to be something serious, almost important, going on in those little kitty cat skulls. I very much wish I could read their minds. I’m sure that if I could I’d be able to write some of the best selling material the world has ever seen or ever will see.

In any case, loved or hated, furry or hairless, but always mysterious, these domesticated catchers of things from grasshoppers to birds (and everything in between) will remain in close proximity to us one way or another.

Cats. They’re here to stay. And they’re so much more than just a musical.

I Don’t Like It, But Whatever

I’m not well traveled. I’ve only been to a few different places in country. I have college experience, but I’m not educated in terms of degrees. I am by no means the “correct” person to be writing this. But, I am.

I’m a people watcher. I look at people and how people think and act on a deeper level than the common Joe. And, the things I must endure myself with, drives me to the point of climbing a wall; scraping my fingernails on the stone in a hurried and vain attempt to get to the top and then over to safety.

What drives me crazy, really crazy, is how people are content with their ignorance. They have no desire whatsoever to look at life, religion, the cosmos, the greater picture (if you will) and try to find a deeper meaning. Everything is at face value, and, in their minds, fact as is.

Why? Why would you want to be like that? Or, for me, the more important question is: How? How is it that anyone can be happy to believe in things (and get pissed if you believe differently) without doing any kind of research and/or meditation to support their beliefs?

I’m set in my ways. I’ll admit to that. I was set in my ways before I ever became a grown up. I fault it on the way I was raised – the way I grew up. Life was hard and confusing. And you know what? In some aspects, it’s only gotten worse.

Of course people aren’t all the same. It would be a boring ass world if it were. But, at the same time, can we cut out just a little of the stupidity? For example:

  1. Bad/evil/self absorbed politicians.
  2. Flipping me off when YOU pulled out in front of me!
  3. Wear shorts, but also a jacket because it’s cold outside.
  4. Grown men (and women) who are less immature than a three year old and shouldn’t be.
  5. Holier-than-thou attitudes.
  6. Non-funny bosses who think they are hip and hilarious; more or less due to their fat, undeserved paychecks.
  7. People murdering people over stupid shit like .35 cents.
  8. Prejudice. Hatred.
  9. Getting into fights that can lead to death because you’re drunk or see someone from not from your turf. The fuckever, dude.
  10. And the list goes on and on and on . . . .

The human condition fascinates me, but pisses me off all the same time. It inspires my stories, but it’s what has driven me to wishing I could, more often than not, live on some deserted, life sustaining planet in another galaxy.

But, since that will never happen, I continue in my pursuit to find such a place on earth. As well as an ever going search for my lost drop of patience I’ve either used long ago or misplaced around here somewhere.

 

Komplex Sinplicities On Sale Now!

Hello!

And welcome! I am proud to announce that my book, Komplex Sinplicities, is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book. An innovative book that’s perfect for the reader-on-the-go, the coffee table, or where ever!

So what’s in it KS2-BACKGROUNDcoverfor you? Well, let’s take a look!

Komplex Sinplicities has three sections:

Section One consists of poetry and things like poetry that aren’t poetry.

Section Two is made up of insane prophecies and commandments to live by that you probably shouldn’t live by.

Section Three is a collection of short stories; humor, horror, and all around silliness.

This book is guaranteed to add some spice to your library. But don’t take my word for it. Grab a copy and see for yourself! I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Annoying Things That Annoy Me . . . Annoyingly

Sometimes, we simply get annoyed about things that there may or may not be a plausible cause for. Perhaps there was something from our childhood that has rooted a giant that is now in your life that just drives you crazy?

YES! Well . . .               Upset Pout Face Angry Woman Emotion Dissatisfied

This is a stupid and completely unnecessary list (not to mention a total waste of time) of SOME of those things that get under my skin and crawl around like wriggling hell worms that hate cute, adorable puppies and cotton candy Halloween pretzels with sugar sprinkles.

So, here we go!

  1. CHEWING! I despise chewing, and here’s why: it’s so-o-o a waste of time. I mean, sure there is a host of reasons why we must engage in the chewing process, but OMG! Is there not something else I could be using my time for? Um, let me thi – YES!
  2. Eating. Eating follows the same reasoning as chewing, so let’s move on . . . .
  3. Restroom Activities. Sigh. Do I have to say anything, really?
  4. Holier-Than-Thou Attitudes. Damn. No, this one goes on my things that piss me the “F” off more than mini size milkshakes.
  5. Bad Drivers. What defines a bad driver, you may ask? Well, a bad driver is a person that clearly needs to retake a driver’s test. Driving 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit? Bad driver. Someone who flies around you like a bat out of hell just to come to an immediate slow down to make a turn? Bad driver. Pulling out in front of you on a major road and doesn’t start to come to posted speed until 300 feet down the road, thus causing you to slow down to a near complete stop? BAD FRICK’N DRIVER!
  6. Little Annoying Things. This should be a list of its own. Things such as: fad clothes, fad haircuts, attitudes against you because you haven’t jumped on the FAD train. Being late for something only to have to deal with a bad driver. Water rings left on the table from the condensation from your glass. Ok. You get the point.
  7. Stupid People. Need . . . I . . . say . . . more? (Weak and badly timed laugh)
  8. Extremists. More specifically, extremists that lack the ability to use their common sense to look at facts and history and make an intelligent decision on a matter instead of believing something AS fact just because some one says it is or else.
  9. Smacking While Eating or Chewing Gum. Are you seriously asking for every living thing on the planet capable of slapping you to slap you? Are you? Seriously?
  10. Talking During a Movie at a Movie Theater. Have you ever seen a large bag filled with super buttered popcorn used as a lethal weapon? No? Then keep talking!
  11. Making a Cup of Coffee or Tea and There’s NO SUGAR! Or, even worse, only a few grains of sugar to mock you from accomplishing your life goal of a delicious cup of yumminess.
  12. Political CRAP! Yes, I capitalized every single letter of the word CRAP.
  13. Crinkle Noises From Cellophane and Chip Bags. More specifically, said noise(s) in a quiet room.

Alright. This can go on forever, so let me just make a paragraph structure of the next few things right off the top of my head to help speed things up. Annoyed Mauzen Stroke Cat Stress Teeth Annoy

Dying batteries, ass kissers (which should be number one on this list), bugs (gnats, flies, fleas, and mosquitos especially), yapping and whiney dogs – not to mention barking dogs that never ever shut up, humidity, being hungry . . . and/or thirsty, light bulbs blowing out, bleeding on the job, solicitors, being sick – especially having a drippy nose, people who do something wrong then look at you like it’s your fault and are willing to lash out at you about it, pin pointing a problem to a “professional” and they still say you’re wrong, cleaning (dust, dishes, clothes, etc.), people who think you are less of a human because you don’t live and think like they do, the fact that there are laws to enforce laws that have been made to enforce the laws that enforce the original laws which are more than likely stupid and pointless to begin with, having to go to the doctor for anything, fumbling with coffee filters, tea going bad, soda going flat, blog posts like this one . . . although they are fun to write (smiley face), always running out of gas in your vehicle, body aches and pains, dead cell phone batteries and no signal areas – the dreaded “dead zones”, war (not the song, btw. That song rocks!), small parking spaces meant for your car that are only big enough for a bicycle, people that act like they’re happy all the time when you know they really aren’t, and, to throw in one more to end this crazy thing, shaving.

Right, so there are obviously a lot of things that annoy me, and, of course, more personal things I didn’t add to the list. But who cares? Let’s hear about something that annoys you! Post it in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!

Komplex Sinplicities Character Interviews

Hi and hello! Today, I have with me a few special guests to speak with from my book, Komplex Sinplicities. Let’s see, we have with us Aldwin, from The Game, Carly, from No More Apart, Stephen, from The Unwelcomed Guest, and Amberly, from The Cereal Thief. Let’s get started!

KR: Ok! So, in no particular order, let’s start with Carly. Hello, Carly!

Carly: Hi! How are you?

KR: I’m good! I’m good! Welcome! And thank you for joining us today!

Carly: Thank you! Glad to be here!

KR: No problem! So, uh, in the story, No More Apart, you played a wife who had a beautiful life ahead of her and was brutally murdered.

Carly: Yep.

Me: Wanna tell us how you felt about playing that part?

Carly: Well, you wrote it, of course, but it was actually pretty intense! Robert (no offense, Robert!) is a scary looking guy. So when he came after me to do the rape thing, most of that, from me, wasn’t acting. It was for real!

KR: Well, you weren’t suppose to know what was about to happen. We needed that raw emotion for the readers, ya know?

Carly: *chuckles* Yeah, but you could have written me a heads up! That guy is spooky as hell! I thought I was going to have a frick’n heart attack!

KR: Yeah, except you were horrifically mutilated . . . .

Carly: Erm, yes. I was.

KR: Sorry. Just kidding. Well, I feel like you played the role very well. It was a graphic scene between you and Robert!

Carly: Oh, god, no kidding! And poor Johnny getting all smashed up and everything!

KR: The poor guy. *chuckles* He’s a good guy, but who cares, right?

Carly: O-o-oh ho ho ho you’re so mean!

KR: *laughs*

Carly: Harsh, but it is true! At least he didn’t have a guy’s head inside his body! *chuckles*

KR: The joys of being a writer. *laughs* Thanks, Carly! It’s been a pleasure. Next up? Aldwin! Get in here, hero! Aldwin from The Game, everybody!

Aldwin: That would be me, yes. Thank you.

KR: Whatever. So! Quite a show there with the suicide club thing.

Aldwin: I wouldn’t exactly call it a “club”.

KR: No, you wouldn’t. But I would. And I did!

Aldwin: Unfortunately.

KR: So, Aldwin, what did you think of the part I wrote for you?

Aldwin: Well, since you asked, I think . . .

KR: And where did you find these suicidal club members? How did you get a group of people together . . . that all wanted to . . . kill yourselves?

Aldwin: Um, it’s called fiction. It wasn’t real, Kyran.

KR: Yes, it was. Fiction, I mean.

Aldwin: It was a funny story though.

KR: That happens to be my opinion, also! Wow! We have so much in common!

Aldwin: No, I don’t . . .

KR: Thank you Aldwin! It was great having you here so I could waste your time!

Aldwin: Wasting the readers’ time . . . .

KR: Oh, yeah? You want to bring that attitude to the table? You just wait until after this interview, and see how I kill you off this time! *clears throat* Right! So! Let’s all give a big round of applause to our next guest, Stephen!

Stephen: Hey, Kyran!

KR: Hey, Stephen! How’s that trigger finger?

Stephen: *chuckles* Well, it’s better now! But you damn near broke it when you had me use that pistol as a damn carpenter’s mallet!

KR: Anyway, Stephen, that role in The Unwelcomed Guest was pretty twisted!

Stephen: Yes, it was rather sick, really.

KR: Yeah, disturbing! So, tell us, how hard was it for you to play that role? I mean, what was your method?

Stephen: I didn’t have a certain method or anything. It was more like me just knowing none of it was real and just moving forward with the scene.

KR: If you had a choice, how would you have written the story differently?

Stephen: Oh! Wow! The author asking the character in his story how they would write the story?

KR/Stephen: *both laugh*

KR: Well, just throw out an idea. Anything!

Stephen: Ok, well, I think I would had made it more clear, in a hinted sort of way, that the family’s house I went to wasn’t my actual family, you know?

KR: But then the ending would’ve been spoiled for the readers!

Stephen: Well, you asked. *chuckles*

KR: Ha! Ha! Yes I did. Thank you, Stephen. Our last guest played more of a supporting role, but she was fantastic nonetheless! Let’s bring in Amberly! Hello, Amberly!

Amberly: *smiling* Hi!

KR: Amberly, you played an annoyed older sister who was just . . . bored with life, bored with the world, bored with . . .

Amberly:  Bored with being held hostage!

KR: Indeed! Yes! Like you get held hostage every other day or something.

Amberly: *laughs*

KR: You played the part good, I think, but you don’t seem like the annoyed type?

Amberly: *more laughing* No, I’m not, but it seems to be my thing, so I just go along with it. I’m actually a happy-go-lucky sort of chick.

KR: Yeah, I get that from you! So, tell us, what did you like most about the story?

Amberly: Oh, gosh! What did I not like? I absolutely loved Brynn! She kept me rolling! Like, I mean, how many times did you have to stop typing because the story fell apart because of her?

KR: *laughs* She was a hoot, for sure!

Amberly: But, seriously, I also liked the other characters, too. And the names you came up with for those cereals? OMG! *laughs*

KR: Oh, the cereals! *laughs* Did you ever eat any of them?

Amberly: No! But I so-o-o wanted to try them!

KR: To be honest? So did I! *chuckles* So, thank you, Amberly! It was a pleasure having you in my book! Maybe we can do a part two to the story in the future?

Amberly: I would very much like to do a sequel! And thank you, too!

KR: You’re most welcome! So, that’s all the time we have today. I’d like to thank you for visiting my website. I hope, if you have read Komplex Sinplicities, that you have enjoyed it, and, if not, then you can go here to grab a copy for yourself.

I’d like to hear from you guys, so drop me a line! I may not be able to reply to all of them, but I will certainly read them. And as always, have an awesome day!

Ya Gotta Have Goals For 2016!

For some reason, people like to hear about goals authors set for themselves. I don’t blame them.  It’s interesting to look on the other side of the fence like that.

But! Here’s the thing . . .

People follow people for specific reasons. It could be because they’re interested in an author’s life, what a lead singer is having for lunch, or whatever. There’s countless reasons to follow some one of interest.

So, yes. This is my writing blog/website. It’s devoted to my writing. But I am, believe it or not, a real person. With real problems and concerns. And I even like to do things outside of writing.

GASP!!! Heaven forbid an author do ANYTHING except write all day every day!

Yeah, well, get over it. Anyhow, I thought I’d come up with a list of things I want to accomplish in 2016. They include things related to writing, but they also include other things also.

So, without further adieu, I give you my goals for 2016:

  1. Publish Komplex Sinplicities. If you read my blog before this one then you will already know that I have ordered my first proof for the paperback. There will be an eBook version to go along side it as well.
  2. Buy a vehicle. This one we did already. I say we because me and my wife don’t make those kind of decisions alone. Besides that, we may both drive it, but it’s really for her anyway.
  3. Work on my other writing projects. I have so much stuff to get out it’s crazy! I can’t just work on one thing. My mind doesn’t work like that. So I bounce from project to project.
  4. Work on illustrations. I have cover art and ads to work on, but I ALSO have a book project that will be illustrated almost like a children’s book would be. But this is no children’s book. I also have a comic strip type book I want to work on. Only time will tell.
  5. Publish one other book with eBook and one eBook. Talking about a challenge! This may be easy for some people to do, but not everyone has that kind of time! Again, only time will tell.
  6. Metal detect more. Until last year, I slacked off from my metal detecting. And that, my friends, is a real shame! So I plan on doing more of that and maybe some bottle digging. I have a sifting screen that I’m gonna put to more use this year too.
  7. Upgrade to a better metal detector. I’m more eager to do this than I can express with words! I’m looking at getting the Garrett At Pro and grab myself a NEL Tornado coil to go with it. It’s PAST time I found those deep targets that’s been out of my reach this whole time, dang it!
  8. Take a trip. Due to life and all that, me and my wife haven’t had the chance to really go anywhere in the last year or two. So this year I’m looking for us to take a trip. We know where we want to go, but it’s going to be a while yet before we are able to. It is what it is, I guess.
  9. Make some videos. I have a camera, not a very good one, mind you, but I have one all the same. Whether it’s metal detecting videos or videos about writing, I’m looking to throw some up on Youtube. If you have any ideas for some, let me know!
  10. The usual crap. Every year I tell myself I’m going to lose some weight, eat better, and blah blah blah. Well, I did lose about twenty five pounds last year. Don’t ask me how I did it, but I did! But my #10 goal(s) are just the usual things we all say we’re going to do every year, but end up not doing.

And there ya have it! My personal top ten goals for 2016. It’s not everything I want to accomplish this year, but it’s the ones I think you would be interested in knowing about.

So tell us what goals have you set for yourself this year in the comments below. And tell us how you’re currently working towards them. Until next time, and as always, have an awesome day!

First Proof For Komplex Sinplicities In The Mail

It has been one long and tedious journey to even get to this point: Ordering the first proof for the paperback. Whoo hoo!

But, we’re not out of the frying pan just yet. There is still plenty of work ahead. With that said, I want to go over a couple of things about where I am at right now with my writing.

Firstly, let’s go over what will happen once the proof arrives. So the files look good and the eBook files are waiting for their upload. It has been my experience, being this is my first paperback, that publishing a paperback is a whole different baby than doing eBooks.

In short, eBooks are formatted differently. You only need a front cover where as you need to create the spine and front and back covers for the paperback. The paperback cover has to be tweaked to meet the page count.

The interior is also different. Paperbacks are just that . . . paperbacks. Which is to say you are printing a physical book. So when formatting for this you have to think more traditionally.

On the flip side of this are the eBook files which are HTML and look different on digital devices. although there is a lot of freedom with what all you can do with digital files there are some things you’re going to have to sacrifice in order for the book to look right on a person’s reader.

Another thing to think about are pictures, links, and so on. Of course, in a paperback these things are printed on the page wherever they are in the file. Not so with eBooks. However, links can be clicked in digital files which will take the reader where ever you want to take them; website, landing page, etc.

Most people already know these things, so I’m not going to go into formatting details here.

Secondly, as stated before, the work isn’t over yet. Once the proof arrives it will need to be thoroughly gone over and looked at with the attention to detail of a forensics lab.

Such things I’ll be looking for are:

How does the cover look?

  • Do the images (live elements) fit? Are they cascading too much one way or another? Are they off kilter? Too short on any side? How is the image quality? Is the text clear and readable?

How does the interior look?

  • Are the pages starting on the correct page numbers? Is the text aligned properly? Is there any weird spacing anywhere? After reading the book from cover to cover, were there any grammatical and punctuation errors?

. . . and so on.

After going over every inch of the book, corrections will be made (if there are any and there probably will be) and the  files will be re-uploaded. Should that be the case then another proof will be ordered and the cycle repeats itself.

Once everything is fixed and finalized then comes the heart pounding moment when you push the Publish button. But hold on a minute!

Are you promoting? Do you even have a marketing strategy? This should have been worked out a long time ago. If you don’t or haven’t promoted yet then don’t release that book into the world just yet. You need a following!

I’ve got my marketing strategy laid out. It may not be the best of them, but I feel it will be good enough. It’s not like I’m looking to be the next J.K. Rowling. I just want people to read my stuff.

Anyway, moving right along . . . .

So what’s to be expected after Komplex Sinplicites? Well, I plan on writing a blog post just on this topic; and maybe soon. But, for now, I’ll just say there are several other projects in the works.

The hard part is is there are so many of them. Writing takes time and, sometimes, focus. I’m a fairly busy guy! And there are a lot of times when I just don’t feel like writing for whatever reason.

Hey! Writers are people, too, you know!

In conclusion, I’ll keep doing what I do when I can find the time to even do it. The first proof, again, is on its way. I’m already working on other projects. And I’ll start throwing on the thick promotion stuff soon.

In the meantime, thank you for your readership! And stay tuned for future updates by clicking on the Follow button. I hope to see YOU on the other side!

At The End Of The Line

Imagine something for a moment.

It’s after dark when they came banging at your door. You’re told to pack a bag filled with whatever you can grab; a bag that will later be taken from you and never seen again.Watch It Burn

Now imagine that you and your family being dragged out of your house and herded into the street. There are men with guns, barking dogs, and people crying and screaming all around you.

You’re loaded and carried away in trucks to the train that awaits you. No one has any idea what is going on, where they are being taken, or what is about to happen to them.

After a few minutes, the trucks come to a stop; you have arrived at the train station. More men with guns hastily let down the gate and yell at you to get out and move into formation. There are more dogs barking, crying, fear, confusion, and soon a door on the boxcar you crawled into is slammed shut and locked.

It’s a long ride to where you are going. But for a moment, and only for a moment, you relax for reasons you can’t explain. But, for you, things have just gotten started.

Finally, you arrive at your destination. The door opens and the scene upon getting out is more terrifying than anything you went through before getting on the train.

You’re torn apart from your family. You’re chances of seeing them again are slim to none. Your bag is tossed into a pile with bags of persons that came with you and before you.

What happens from here depends greatly on which destination you were sent to. Unfortunately, you have stepped foot in the worst possible place you could be.

You’re going to die here.

Thoughts of what is happening to your family are going through your head. At this point, you can only pray they are able to survive.

Book Delayed No Longer

After two months of my laptop being down for the count it’s working again. Unfortunately, the problem came at a bad time. I wasn’t able to work on Komplex Sinplicities, and thusly missed the Thanksgiving deadline.
 
So now I have to pick up where I left off, obviously. I have yet to set a new deadline, but another holiday is just around the corner so we may be looking at around Christmas.
 
Why wait until Christmas? Well, why not? Besides, it gives me time to do what I need to do and something for shoot for. Works for me!
 
Anyway, I apologize for the delay folks, but rest assured I’m doing my best! Keep an eye out for future updates, and thank you for your patience!