Living in The Moment and Other Such Nonsense

Today’s topic is about nonsensical advice and how it can really mess you up. For Brevity’s Sake, I’m only going to discuss two particular pieces of crap advice that’s been going around because if I went after every one of them, I’d never get this article written. For my British readers, this is what they call “taking the piss” so without further ado, let us begin:

1) Living in The Moment: First up on The Chopping Block is this little gem that never fails to stick in my craw. Don’t ask where the Craw is; I’m fairly certain it’s located somewhere down around the posterior end where it belongs. This particular piece of advice has emerged in recent years and in my personal opinion, it’s probably the worst advice that could ever be floated around in Modern Society. It disregards basic common sense because it advises that you should never plan for the future, never consider the consequences of your actions, and to settle for what you have instead of striving for a better life.

For a good part of my 20s and 30s, I tried to live by this and I ended up with bad credit, no personal funds to speak of a good portion of the time, and more headaches than a woodpecker on Monday. I’m sure it was originally intended that you should enjoy Life as it comes and treasure the special moments, and that’s not bad in itself, but we all know that realistically, one must keep one eye on the Present and the other on The Future.

2) You Only Live Once aka YOLO: Whoever came up with this one needs a good tap on the back of the head. First off, it’s pretty obvious that we ALL only live once unless you are a Hindu and believe in Reincarnation, but that’s a topic for another day. Again, there may be a well-meaning intention behind this expression but it’s often used to excuse reckless and irresponsible behavior that beggars all common sense understanding. Unless you want to go through Life becoming intimately familiar with the expression “Sorry, I Effed Up” then disregard this one.

Be selective about which pieces of advice you internalize and remember that you are ultimately responsible for your actions, whether they are successes or not. Failure only occurs when you stop trying. The recent weekend was a very long and arduous affair so I’m looking forward to a much calmer and lower-stress time this week. No writing got done so that always makes me a tad cranky. Until later, hang in there and keep fighting the good fight. 🙂

Ah Thursday

Having obligations is a fact of life.

Whether we like it or not, there are always those things that we have to do, as adults, that don’t fill us with warm and fuzzy feelings. We work our jobs, live our lives, and try to work toward certain goals that make our existence worthwhile.

I’m not going to sit here and preach at you about things that you already know about. God knows there are tons of other places that do a better job than I. I merely observe and report what I discover when I’m not writing about fictional people doing fictional things in fictional places.

This week, for example, the Day Job has been making some very heavy demands on my time and though I would love to put my foot down and say that I want more time with my writing, I’m not exactly making the kind of “Eff You Money” that would allow me to make that kind of stand. So I deal with it and squeeze as much time in as I can to get my stories written and out there.

Which brings us to Thursday, a day that saw me work an 18+ hour overnight shift at my motel managing the ins and outs of working in a night manager capacity. I suppose I could piss and moan about it, but the reality is that I’m pretty good at doing the job. Of course, I’d rather be writing but as John Lennon once wrote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

Not much story writing got done today, but I’m marshaling my creative energies to keep on task and moving forward.

The Writing Lifestyle: It’s a Juggling Act

I’m still trying to find a middle ground between juggling a Day Job and making more time for working on my writing projects. It’s not easy and it often involves lack of sleep and some weeping and gnashing of teeth. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little about the weeping and gnashing part but you get the point. This particular article was inspired by Danny over at Dream Big, Dream Often. He’s got a great blog so you should really check it out.

Unfortunately, our modern society often preaches, subliminally, about instant gratification and an emphasis on end results instead of the in-between parts. Let’s face it, hardly anyone goes from Point A to Point Z without dealing with the 24 points in between. It’s a fact of Life that is often glossed over when we are bombarded with media images of people who seemingly come out of nowhere and achieve instant fame and fortune.

I’m not going to tell you how to get where you want to be. Instead I’m going to relate my situation and perhaps you can glean something useful from it.

First off, OF COURSE if we had an opportunity to achieve major success with little effort, we would do it. You’d be dumb not to jump on that. But Real Life doesn’t work that way and changing your personal reality takes Work. Lots and lots of Work. I’ve said many times that I’m not pursuing a writing career for the money or fame. Fame is fleeting and there are easier ways to make money.

For me, having a Day Job means having a support system for both myself and my writing. I’m also good with money so working with less income isn’t an insurmountable obstacle. Still, when you count on particular times of the week to write and the Day Job calls you in for one reason or another, it can be frustrating. I suppose I’m lucky that my Day Job is usually at night, on the weekends, and the boss doesn’t mind if I set up my laptop and work on stories in between motel customers. Not every job is like that.

If there is one take away from this article, I want it to be that my example is that working hard, sacrificing, and planning go a long way toward achieving goals. It’s not easy and it’s certainly not fun nor sexy, but it’s also not forever. Thanks for your time. 🙂

Lights and Shadows Update #3

It’s Update Time again and so I wanted to share the latest excerpt from Lights and Shadows as I work my way through the morass of mystery that pervades Planet Tarson’s Outpost 19. Enjoy.

Moreau jerked a thumb at the corpse. “I really don’t think he’s going to raise up and tell me how offended he is. Come to think of it, we should probably cover him up before he really starts adding to the ambiance.” A floral scent danced its way into his nostrils. The smell was familiar, too familiar to be simply the smell of Death that pervaded the control room. It nagged at his memory. Something from his Academy Days stirred and swam upward in his mind but stopped just short of breaching the surface. “Do you smell that?”

Finch looked around, sniffing the air like a bloodhound. Her nose kept leading her back to the console, but all the readouts read normal. “It’s a very pretty scent. I wonder where it’s coming from.”

“Strange and Pretty.” Moreau said. “I’ve heard of stations using olfactory stimuli to modify staff behavior, but I didn’t see anything in the records to indicate they had installed the equipment here.” He put his reading aside and checked the bullets in his pistol. “Strange odors coming from electronics make me twitch internally. Whatever you are doing, be careful.”

“You’re being paranoid.” Finch waved him away as a system status message popped up. “Good News. I’m in. Just give me a few more seconds to get into the authorization subsystem and…” A blinking icon caught her eye, a stylized M superimposed over a multicolored cube and reminded her of old company logos she had studied in Academy history classes. “Hmm, that’s new.” She observed, resisting the urge to touch the screen. “It’s not The Fuller Foundation’s asterisk orbiting an atom logo. I wonder what it means.”

Moreau stood and walked around to her console. His brow furrowed as he studied the lazily rotating icon with its oddly hypnotic colors that pulsed as it moved. “Are you sure you haven’t been digging in the historical archive files by mistake? That’s the logo for MacroSquare Software, a company that’s been defunct for almost forty years.” He humphed as he watched it. “I’m surprised there are any records of its existence left around after the damage they did during the AI Rebellion.” He stopped and stared at her, his eyes fixed and accusing. “I thought you fixed this damn thing.”

“Thirty-Three years and six months and if you think you can do a better job, then by all means have at it.” She smiled, reaching out with a slender finger to press the icon.

“August on Tarson.” He blocked her hand and forced her away from the console. As he held her by her arms, he looked into her blue eyes. “Marla, did you take your injection today?”

Finch’s beatific smile disappeared, replaced by a frown as she struggled against his firm yet not uncomfortable grip. “What? Why are you holding me like this? I have work to do.”

He pinned her against a nearby support beam with his left arm while his right pulled his pistol from its holster. Her eyes widened as she felt the cold steel of the muzzle press against the soft tissue under her jaw. “I asked you a question.”

“You aren’t planning on using that on me, are you?” She asked, her voice keeping her fear secret. “Think of the paperwork.”

He pulled the hammer back on the pistol. It clicked into place with the too-loud sound of approaching mortality. His voice chilled the air as he spoke. “Union Regulation 666 Stroke 5 clearly states that anyone subject to regular vaccinations is to provide immediate verification that they have complied. I just watched you become influenced by Black’s viral attractor scent. I don’t know how that got into this computer system but if I hadn’t stopped you, I have no doubt that you would have become AI Compromised. I’m going to ask you one more time. Did you take your injection this morning? Evade the question one more time and I will put two rounds into your skull that are guaranteed to turn your brain into scrambled eggs and leave me with a pound of paperwork that I will fill out with due diligence.”

“For Fuck’s Sake, Zack, I have implants in my arm that dispense my immunizations and the calibration card is in my right breast pocket.”

Moreau held the gun steady while he removed a small plastic card from her shirt pocket. His eyes scanned the printed hologram and the dates inscribed in a bold type face on its surface. He slipped the card back into her pocket and uncocked his weapon before slipping it back into the holster. “Fair enough. Let’s get back to work.”

She rubbed her throat. “Would you really have killed me?”

Moreau turned his back and allowed himself a small sigh of relief. “Without a moment’s hesitation. Be careful what you’re doing. There are a lot of things in this place that want to kill us and they don’t all use holographic projectors or pretty floral scents.”

“I’ll take that under advisement.”

Tuesday Stuff

Apparently yesterday I had one of those long overdue moments of insecurity where I felt I needed to vent. Thankfully, those moments don’t happen very often and today I am back to my usual cheerful and fairly optimistic self. Let’s blame yesterday on Monday and move on, yes?

Welcome to Tuesday, the end result of when Monday finally gets its act together and goes with the program. I have a number of things planned today and getting up early goes a long way toward making it a productive day.

A sleepless night of fussing and fretting jogged some interesting scene ideas loose for Lights and Shadows so I’m incorporating them into Chapter 9. Yes, I’m still working on wrapping up Number 9 but it’s looking really well and the story is moving forward again.

I’ve decided that I will be taking a break after all, but at the end of December after Lights and Shadows is edited, rewritten, and released on Amazon hopefully with a snazzy new cover that better fits the story. I’ve also been reminded that worrying too much does little to solve any given situation and the best remedy is to simply roll up your sleeves and get down to it.

On the Sales Situation, I really can’t do much more than I currently am with regard to generating interest so I’m going to stick with I do best: writing kickass SciFi/Adventure that I’m proud to share with you all. As long as I don’t give up, the good stuff will come with time and that’s all any of us can ask for.

I had some time to think about my Writing Schedule, so here’s a brief listing. This is a preliminary schedule so it’s possible that adjustments may be made, but I wouldn’t worry about that too much:

1. Lights and Shadows: On track for early December 2015 release. The story’s been planned and plotted already so I just have to write it.

2. Parallax: Genesis: Book #2 of the Parallax Trilogy will be written during the First Quarter 2016 and released by March 2016. This installment will continue Pratt and Dubois’ adventures and will feature a glimpse of 2223 Earth. Should be an interesting time.

3. Future Finders: A standalone book that is set in The Present and will center around Michael Grey, a young playboy who is forced to grow up and assume some new responsibilities when he inherits more than his industrialist father. The novel will feature secret societies and an ancient enemy out for revenge. This book is planned for Second Quarter 2016 and should be available by June 2016.

4. Parallax: Darkfall: The final book in the Parallax Trilogy, where Pratt finally confronts the aliens that have made his life SO much of a laugh fest up to this point. This will be written during the Third Quarter 2016 and should be available by September 2016.

5. Falling Stars: Another story that I have been trying to finish for a VERY long time. All I will say about this one is that it involves time travel and is set within the same world as my novelettes, Corona, and The Three Safeties, but different locations and  with different characters and situations. In fact, this story is the one that inspired both Corona and The Three Safeties in the first place even though they were ultimately finished first. Funny how these things happen.

6. Past Prologue: This is a planned sequel to Falling Stars that will finish out the Last Quarter 2016 and I anticipate having it out by December 2016. Yes, I am ambitious but Life without something to strive for isn’t much of a Life. So kick it in the butt.

Anyway, that’s where I am on this Tuesday. As always, thank you for being patient readers and loyal blog followers and I will endeavor to keep from disappointing. Have a great day and a creative week. 🙂

Maybe I Should Take a Writing Break

2015’s been a busy year for me. Getting into Self-Publishing, writing/publishing 4 books and building this blog into something significant and holding down a Day Job while keeping my sanity at…well, sane levels. Many long nights at the keyboard writing, too many cigarettes and enough coffee to float a battleship. That’s been basically my daily routine for the past 10 months.

I like to keep busy and I do not like unfinished stories that sit in the active file waiting to be finished. I currently have 28 of them on standby including the sequels to Parallax. Now, I did commit a personal boo-boo when I promised myself a break during the last quarter of the year (October-December) but decided to take on Lights and Shadows instead. I’ve always been the guy who tells others to keep moving forward but not at the expense of losing your mind and beating the enjoyment out of something that at its core is about personal entertainment first.

What do you guys think? I know that any breaks I take mean adjusting personal schedules and of course, the stories will be there when I come back. I wouldn’t be leaving the blog, though; that’s become a source of entertainment in and of itself and I couldn’t leave it just hanging out there in Space.