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20 Things I Just Don't Get

1. Honey Boo Boo (or any other reality TV for that matter)
2. Justin Beiber
3. The Kardashians (take your pick)
4. Politics
5. eReaders (okay, I get it…I just can’t adapt to it)
6. Tattoo’s or Body Piercings (other than ear rings)
7. People still driving with multiple DUI’s on their records.
8. Rap Music
9. Hate
10. British Royalty
11. Prescription Pills that cost $15,000…PER PILL!
12. Comedians who consider personal insults a form of humor.
13. Parents who put up with derogatory back-talk from their kids.
14. High Fashion.
15. Low Expectations.
16. Who vs. Whom.
17. Seven SAW films.
18. People who run marathons...FOR FUN.
19. Twitter.
20. The fact that me and many of my blogging buddies aren’t published yet…and Snooki is.

Bonus - The fact that I know who Snooki is!

I guess I don't have a clue.  What is it you don't get?

Don't forget to cast your vote for WRiTE CLUB Bout #6 and Bout #7!

WRiTE CLUB 2013 - Bout 7

Our winner of Bout #5...Imalie Teller!  Congrats Imalie, now comes the agonizing wait for the play-offs.

I've spent the majority of my adult career in the Customer Service field and one of the most frustrating things about that line of work is that despite what the motto says...THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT! After manning a 24-hour support line for a couple of years, as well as factoring in my own experiences with people in my life, I can tell you that the majority of issues originate because customers do not read the instructions.  I guess the same is true for WRiTE CLUB, because in every round so far somebody has voted without registering on the Linky List first.  Maybe its intentional?  Maybe they want to voice an opinion without having it impact the decision of who wins or loses? 

Why have a Linky List in the first place?  Because in the very first iteration of WRiTE CLUB there were some suspicious votes that appeared and it became clear that it was too easy for one person to vote multiple times.  I started using the linky list to provide more accountability.  Anyway, once again here is my attempt to prevent empty votes from happening.  Been here since day one or arrived just today, anybody can vote on their favorite writing sample...just sign up on the Linky List first!

Are you ready for a bone-crushing battle of words? 

Here are this bout's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in with 500 words or Urban Fantasy, please welcome to the ring FMWriter.

I remembered the large bull on Dion's balcony. The snorting animal seemed to understand more of what was going on than I did. The evening had started at Dionysus's high end strip club, Goddess, in the VIP section to celebrate his new brand of wine. Ares and I were celebrating six months of not breaking up. The wine started pouring and half naked women bounced everywhere as dollar bills slithered their way into sweaty crevasses. Ares didn't have enough money to split the check from our dinner earlier but he somehow had enough cash to "make it rain" here. The never ending wine helped me not to notice. Never underestimate a gorgon's ability for denial. A trait my mother taught me well.

Dion had snorted a line, and his pupils burst wide open. He started rambling about eternity or immortality or some shit like that. He always gets really immortal when he gets high. But it had infected Ares and he started rambling about how we were "so perfect right now," and how he wanted to "preserve our love." It sounded so romantic and what I'd been dying to hear for years. So I agreed and wound up here on Dion's balcony naked and contemplated petting the big dark bull to the right of me. Dion always brings out the worst and weirdest in me.

I held my hand out to the beast and he bellowed again. His nose ring wiggled as he scrunched his nose. I took small steps towards the balcony ledge and the tarp beneath my feet made crinkly noises. I looked back at Dion and my snakes slithered in waves around me.

He looked up from the book he was studying. “This flooring cost me a fortune. Blood is a bitch to remove, from anything. Remember that.” Immortals give the oddest advice. The hood of his velvet robe covered his face as wisps of his long black hair peeked out the corners.

I should've walked away at the mention of blood. I foolishly thought we were going to do a commitment ceremony since our kind couldn't legally marry yet. And no one said otherwise until the bull arrived. To this day I've never figured out how they got a bull up to a penthouse at three am.

“When was the last time you performed a blood oath ceremony?” I mouthed the words "blood oath" several times in order for it to feel right in my mouth. I would be exchanging blood with Ares, binding us together for eternity. He would never leave me again and hopefully stop cheating too. I said it once more to calm the storm in my stomach. Dion slammed his book shut and gripped my shoulder to help steady me; it was a nice bit of warmth on this windy autumn night. “Sometime in the late sixties; I hope to be reunited with my blood brother one day. We promised to spend our days in the Elysian Fields, writing verse and drinking wine.”

And in the other corner, weighing in at 499 words in the YA Post Apocalypse genre, let me introduce to you Joy Stique.

Douglas laid down the axe and stepped back. He wiped his brow with the sleeve of his flannel shirt and sat down on the crude bench made from two short logs and a longer log. His stump was aching where it met the foam of his home-made prosthetic. He needed to find a car soon, so he could scavenge some newer foam from one of the seats.

He sensed someone, and he glanced to his right and saw Petal. The pre-teen was staring at him and holding something between her hands.

“You want something?”

Petal approached him cautiously as if he was a big dog she had never met. When she was three paces away, she lifted her hands.

“Whatcha got?”

“Cigarettes. They’re for saving me from those two men.”

She handed the small box to Douglas. Curious, he turned the box this way and that as he examined the package. He had seen cigarettes before, usually half smoked, and he had seen the packages, but he had never seen or held one that was not opened.

“You’re giving me this package of cigarette? You know a lot of people would give you some good stuff for this package.”

“Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes.”

Douglas paused his inspection. “Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes?”

Petal nodded.

“So you’re giving them to me.”

Petal nodded again. Douglas shook his head with amused disgust.

“How about you? Are you good or bad?”

Petal frowned. She sat down next to Douglas, leaned forward, put her elbow on her knee and grasped her chin. She thought about the question, her little brow furrowed.

“I’m not sure.”

“Well, I suppose there is one way to find out.”

“What’s that?”

“We could each smoke one of these cigarettes.”

Petal lifted her head and looked at him. “Really?” Her voice was full of eagerness.

“Sure. If we like it, we’ll know we’re bad.”

Petal was tempted, very tempted. She looked around in a surreptitious manner. She knew Susanna would lecture her if she was caught smoking a cigarette. Susanna was the only mother-like person she knew. She didn’t want to disappoint Susanna, but still…

“We can’t tell anybody.”

“It’s our secret,” Douglas assured the girl.


Petal gave up any pretense of reluctance and watched fascinated as Douglas tore off the plastic wrapper. Using his fingers he tried to pull out one of the cigarettes, but it stubbornly resisted. Emitting an incoherent sound of frustration, he found a sliver of oak and managed to force one of the cigarettes far enough out of the package to where he could pull it the rest of the way. He handed that cigarette to Petal and took another for himself. Then he took a small device from his pocket.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a cigarette lighter. They used to have a lot of them back in the old world.”

A few minutes later, the man and girl were coughing violently from the smoke in their lungs.

Please tell everyone you know about what's going on here at WRiTE CLUB and encourage them to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Sunday (Aug. 4th). 

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

WRiTE CLUB 2013 – Bout 6

Help me to congratulate Dirch McGurken as the 4th preliminary round winner.

Here’s an interesting question, how much does reading the other comments/votes influence your choice? Do you read what others have to say before you cast your own vote? When you go to the movies, do you read the reviews beforehand? How about when you buy a book? Do you ever wonder how much of our opinion is truly ours, and how much is simply the regurgitation of the popular view? Do you fear becoming a pariah by expressing an opinion contrary to the norm? Not a fan of the Hunger Games (I’m not – kids killing kids for sport – really?), or do you think that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo needed some serious editing (Yes!), but afraid to say so? Although the anonymity of the writers helps protect against favoritism, it still takes internal fortitude to stand your ground and make a choice that may not appear as popular if you’re reading other comments. All we ask at WRiTE CLUB is that you vote with your heart and mind, not someone else’s. 

Without further ado....

Here are this round's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, representing the Dystopia genre and weighing in at 498 words, please welcome to the ring……..Gordon Holmes.

I ran. Faster than I ever thought possible. The one season I ran track in eighth grade I took every first place medal there was, and in the State Competition I took home several trophies. My top speed was a mile in 4.35.

I thundered past dead aliens and humans. I didn’t look down to see how much blood, brains, and guts I splashed through, or what color it was. I’d count the victims by the splotches of red vs orange on my shoes when I cleaned them later. This was the last pair of running shoes my mom bought me before the invasion two years ago, and as luck would have it, I didn’t outgrow them before she got her eighty bucks worth of wear and tear as she feared.

I own the road between Titus High and Check Point 12. No scouts have ever caught me, motion sensors are useless against my speed – and a home built EMP - and if all that fails I have a fully charged disrupter stolen from one of the alien generals about a year ago.

Some call it luck I survived as relay this long. But I’m Gordon fucking Holmes. Flash Gordon to my long lost coaches; Homey to my new gang of resistance misfits; JohnSon to the only girl that mattered to me before, and now. Inside joke, never mind.

I dash past Indiana mile marker 42 and the thrown together edifice of check point 12 looms ahead. “Titus 12, Titus 12,” I scream as I break into the perimeter.

Fifty yards in an no shots are fired. Relays are expected, and each outpost has its unique signature. Not original you think? Trust me, the aliens haven’t figured out something so simple yet.

The metal door rolls up and I throw myself spread eagle against the sensor wall. I don’t even want to know how the military obtained that bit of technology. It identifies my disrupter and in seconds I’m prodded by a similar disrupter to give it up.

I turn to face my captors, and they shake their masked heads and motion with heavily gloved hands to an entrance on my left. They know me by sight, the wall has confirmed my identity.

General Guff always meets runners in the same storage room. I give my report as I load up my backpack with as much canned and boxed goods as I can carry. We’ve a bit of a garden in the quad, and a pig and lamb housed in the former gym, so I only take what we can’t grow. The rule is you only cart out what fits in the backpack, but my eyes consistently roam to the three natty army blankets next to the salt packets.

At last the General is satisfied, and he leaves with all the guards. I snatch the blankets, tuck them protectively against my chest, and start my run back to Titus High. I’m Gordon fucking Holmes, and I always deliver.

And in the other corner, weighing in with a 495 word sample in the Narrative Non-fiction genre, let me introduce to you ……..Liva Humoir.

When the patient transporter lead us to the elevator, two nurses jumped on and hit the button for the OB floor. We lurched up, then bounced to a stop. I placed a protective hand on my swollen belly and glanced at the other occupants to gauge their reactions.

My husband Rick appeared a little green. But he’d looked like that ever since hearing I was in labor, so I didn’t think his pallor had anything to do with the elevator situation.

One of the nurses sighed as she jabbed the button for our floor. “When are they going to figure out what the heck is wrong with this stupid elevator?”

Okay, good to know this was a regular occurrence. I figured we’d be going again in a minute and everything would be fine. Besides, I had been shocked when my doctor sent me to the hospital after a routine check-up. Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions, I had the illusion there was still plenty of time.

Tick tock.

A minute, then another, then several more went by.

I started to get a little nervous. Although the curriculum in our Lamaze class did cover alternate delivery options such as home births, they strongly promoted having your baby at the hospital. I assumed that would mean a traditional birth with me in a bed on the maternity unit and my doctor there to catch the kid. While I allowed for some flexibility in my birth plan, I hadn’t accounted for the possibility of delivering in a crowded elevator.

At least I was lucky enough to have two OB nurses trapped in there with me. Sure, I would’ve preferred my doctor, who had attended medical school. But I took comfort in the fact that two full-time nurses probably assisted at three or four times the number of births an average OB delivered in a given year. I could be in worse shape. Right?

And that’s exactly what I told the nurses when one chuckled and said, “Well, at least you’re not in labor.”

When I got to the part about coming from my doctor’s office already five centimeters dilated, I realized I was in worse shape than I’d thought. By the look on the nurse’s face as she fixated on my protruding belly, you’d have thought she was confined in an elevator with a suicide bomber whose unborn baby threatened to explode from her body at any second, like a miniature weapon of mass destruction.

“We’re not OB-Gyn nurses. We work in Oncology,” the taller of the two said. “We’re just going up there to visit a friend who had a baby.”

Then the shorter one grabbed the transporter and shrieked, “Do something!”

My already faltering sense of calm took an irreversible nosedive. I think Rick’s did too because as I instinctively started my Lamaze breathing, I heard him doing the same. I wondered how long it would be before all five of us were panting in unison.

Nope, it doesn't get any easier!  Leave your vote for who you believe should win this bout, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer, in the comments below.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Wednesday (July 31). 

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out! 

Someday This Will Make a Heck of a Author-Bio

How many of you out there ask yourself…”What’s the deal with DL? He’s been around the blogosphere forever and he still hasn’t landed an agent or even attempted the self-publishing route. Maybe he doesn’t have what it really takes?”

Raise your hand if you thought that…come on...I got mine up. I wondered this for a long time until last year when a small piece of legitimacy and respectability came my way in the form of a short story accepted for publication in an anthology series entitled An Honest Lie. I can’t tell you how much that little accomplishment rejuvenated me. It was like Popeye downing a can of Spinach! "I yam what I yam and tha's all what I yam… a-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah!" I doubled my querying efforts for my mystery/thriller book, pitched it to an agent at a writer’s conference and landed a couple of full-requests. Then I tried my hand writing in the YA genre and was very pleased with my first draft (and so was my CP). My theme for last year was making it uncomfortable in my comfort zone…and it was starting to payoff.

Then the train de-railed on December 21st and everything changed. Those of you who’ve followed my journey know the details, and I’ll not rehash them here, but suffice it to say that 2013 has been a year of setbacks. Writing has pretty much ground to a halt, so has querying, the writers conferences have come and gone with at least one empty seat, and basically most of my forward momentum has turned into suspended animation. I keep semi-active here on the blog, taking part in A-Z…a couple blogfests…WRiTE CLUB, but even here I’m really just treading water. I’m not getting around to other blogs near as much as I’d like to and most of my post are filled with so much angst they come off sounding like a bad episode of Dawson’s Creek. The one thing I was holding onto was the fact that soon I’d see a piece of my writing in print.

That was until the proverbial rug was pulled out from under me last week when I learned that An Honest Lie had gone belly up! I never knew that ground zero could feel so cold. Maybe that’s because I didn’t just end up there, I felt like I was buried six feet under it.

But this is not me boo-hoo’ing again. No, what your reading is me doing what this blog was originally created to do…chronicling my writing journey…good, bad, or indifferent. All of this…the past eight months…is simply another chapter in my story. The medical issues are almost behind us and I’m poised to take up that pursuit once again. Though I haven’t been able to write, I’ve been reading A LOT and doing what I can to prepare for the moment when my mind will be at ease and I can focus on the dream. That time is almost here. My wife’s final treatment is today, which means in a few weeks our family will be on its way back to normalcy. There are still a couple of hurdles ahead, but they are speed bumps compared to the Mount Ranier's she's already climbed. I'm so proud of how she's handled everything thrown at her! But now that my family is safe again, I’ll be turning that cap around on my head real soon.

So, for those of you that have been asking the question I led off with…here’s my answer. If you’ve had faith in me up to this point…hold onto it a while longer. If you’ve always had your doubts…I suggest you put them aside. If you have no opinion either way, but are looking for a horse to back…put your money on me. Although I’ll still have to contend with finding time to write and be creative while holding down a full-time job, past that the only thing holding me back will be finger cramps.

Besides, someday this will all make a dynamite author-bio…don’t you think?

Don’t forget, Bout 4 and Bout 5 of WRiTE CLUB is still accepting votes.  :)


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