Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve a Decade Ago


mapsoffindia.com

Ten Years Back I Wrote:

For the last 48 hours I've been writing a story to submit to a horror anthology. Right now, New Year's Eve, my darling wife is proofing the last draft. Submission deadline closes at midnight. I wrote from noon to 11:00 last night. Eight o'clock to 1:10 today, went to the gym, then wrote from 4:30 to 10:20. MDW assures me I'm getting the rapid proof that will merely nip the worst grammatical offenders.

This story actually started out as something called Behind the Scenes. But over three weeks, it's changed, changed again and finally become Tyto Alba, the tale of a slacker who pays a price for "going with the flow." 

All pressure is self-imposed. I must return to my young adult novel and didn't want this almost-finished story lounging around, up to no good.

And so, as I await changes on my final story for 2007, I say to one and all: 


Back in the day, I still had a prostate.

The story in question was rejected. Basically, it was characters trapped in a Food of the Gods-like farmhouse. No one really changed much and all the action  was contrived to generate gruesome deaths and a clever escape.

In addition, I was writing a YA novel which eventually migrated to the 2008 unfinished pile as I entered the new year coaching with Team in Training, piling up the weekly miles in preparation for the Eugene Marathon, while staging our house for sale, plus seeking a condo to purchase as the housing crisis was in full bloom.

Today I've written five books, returned to running after a long injury-fueled absence and, on December 31, battle the flu. May it pass quickly. (The years certainly do.) In the meantime:




giphy.com

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kaiju Thriller Falls Short


Island 731Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A storm-tossed ship winds up in the lagoon of an uncharted island. As the characters sift through the damage, crew members go missing. Searching the island for lost shipmates, the protagonist stumbles upon remains of a notorious World War II Japanese dark science outfit known as Unit 731. But park ranger Mark Hawkins soon learns that gruesome experimentations have never stopped.

This seemed like two books: a half horror-thriller and the rest a justification for what came first. The chief antagonist seemed impossibly smart for his age, the scientific justifications thin, the evil agency behind it all opaque. To keep the plot moving in the second half, the author unloaded back story like a man lightening a balloon to stay airborne. And while such a practice justified the narrative, it threw me out of the story.

Which is a shame, since good action scenes combined with a stripped-down writing style made this tale zip along. More foreshadowing may've helped.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Freakazoid Christmas of Some Sort


90's Animation Returns for the Holiday

Thanks to Julian Madison on YouTube, we can enjoy the Guy With Lightning in His Hair shopping for gifts when trouble, as it always seemed to do, arose. Also, Freakazoid confronts the mysterious Cloud, based on the 1958 special effects extravaganza, The Crawling Eye. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Last Second Gift Idea Round-Up


Clocks ticking. Almost Christmas Eve. There are still unchecked names on your gift list. What will you do? I would fold up on the couch and hope everything turned out Okay. But if you're more proactive than that, click away.

Buzz Feed

215 gift ideas including something for people you hate. Very 21st Century.

New York Magazine

40 Gift Ideas for People You Almost Forgot which includes adjectives for some such as 'foodie' and 'sullen.'

Amazon

Heavy

10 Best Last Minute Gift Ideas for Women including a Comfort U Total Body Support Pillow for sleeping eight hours when the bed is simply too far off.

PC Mag

10 Last Second Gift Ideas that consist of lots of subscriptions and a Flickr Pro Account.

Five Golden eBooks

One click and your shopping is over as I sandwich in a plug for my latest book.

1. Ghost Star by Roger Eschbacher - Sci-fi, YA space quest as the survivor of a massacre seeks out his sister, discovering along the way his family's secret past.

2. The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz - A techno-thriller as a young man discovers someone is erasing scientific history.

3. A Place Outside the Wild by Daniel Humphreys - A Dragon-nominated dystopian fiction with survivors battling zombies and the human evil within their own little enclave.

4. Dreadful Outcomes by D.G. Heckman - Dark, sardonic short stories centered around a small town that is home to cannibals, river monsters, and the pesky Wendigo.

5. They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope (You'll Never Guess) - An autobiographical tale of an unemployed writer diagnosed with prostate cancer as he struggles against vanishing health care, bureaucrats, and the consequences of living without a prostate.

Merry Almost Christmas!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Top Five Sites for Writer Gifts


To be specific, five web sties from the top page of DuckDuckGo. But all offer writerly gifts for the word smith in your life.

1.  The Creative Pen

Twenty-five gifts for scribes including pens, books, and, of course, a Hobbit-themed blanket.

2 . The Write Life

Twenty-two gifts including an Awesome Trophy for dark loveless days on those drafts that seem to stink from front to back.

Pride and Prejudice Tote Bag
3.  The Write Practice

Twenty gift ideas including Edgar Allen Poe socks.  Keep them warm by walling them into the back of your closet. Mortar included. (Naw.)

4.  Helping Writers Become Authors

Among various sundry notions, there's an Aqua Pen for scribbling plot points in the shower.

5.  Amazon

From the commercial behemoth itself, select from a number of coffee mugs and/or signs threatening to put annoying people into stories and kill them.

On the topic of writing, nothing says 'Christmas' more than prostate cancer. My book, They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope is now available on Amazon in sturdy ebook format. Learn how I put the 'in' into incontinence, yet survived with carpet and furniture intact to tell the tale.   

Saturday, December 09, 2017

New Amazon eBook #1 in Category

This is what first place looks like—at least for another hour:


Put another way:


I'll call it a day now and bask in the rankings, knowing that They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope is doing just fine. 

New eBook Rises in Amazon Rankings

Let the screen shots speak.

Out of all the books on cancer, I'm in the top hundred.

And this:

They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope ascends, thanks to all who pre-ordered. You could do likewise. Let's keep this going. Number one is not too much to hope for.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Feel-Good Prostate Cancer Book of the Season

Hang the mistletoe, fling the tinsel, unleash the candy canes! 


Yes, nothing says 'holiday cheer' like a good book on prostate cancer. So if you can't stomach another slice of fruit cake, head on over to Amazon and pre-order a copy of They Took My Prostate: Cancer Loss Hope.

MaleProstateHealth.com
Discover what happens when a luckless writer in Los Angeles  realizes his career, money, and health care are evaporating at the same time that he is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Why prostate cancer? Why Christmas time? Essentially, I didn't want 2017 to pass without publishing something, and the closest work available was my tussle with the Big C.

Janet Farrar Worthington, co-author of the #1 Best Seller Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer feels ". . . Mac is very funny. I believe his ability to find the absurd and keep his perspective even in the most awkward or discouraging situation is one important reason for his successful recovery."

Jean chuckles at the budget for Freakazoid!

In closing, television executive great Jean MacCurdy has battled cancer in her own family. She graciously agreed to read a review copy and comment on same. When I receive Jean's notes, I'll post here and at the Amazon page.





(Mistletoe Image: gardenvarietynews)

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Famous People Born on My Birthday v.4

A lazy blogging day as I re-re-repost my birthday entry. What has changed since 2016? Sure enough, famed physicist Walter Heisenberg also vacated the womb December 5 in the Year of Our Lord 1901. (Walt Disney was born the same year.) A pioneer of quantum mechanics and a Nobel Prize winner, he could never balance his checkbook and was struck by a trolley while pondering a simple addition error in the middle of a Munich street. (I made up the last part.) Welcome to the club, Walter.

Harried today as I rush to prepare my prostate cancer ebook for a December 15 launch. Hours pass editing, formatting the sucker, perusing the final artwork changes—quite minor, an excellent cover—seeing if I can't do a limited pre-order, then cranking out one or two promotional videos. Nevertheless, I'm pleased by such chores and that's my birthday gift to me.

From December 5, 2011, I repost my birthday thoughts on fame and fortune. Since my last repost in 2014, what have I learned in two years? Age is a state of mind provided you're healthy, and it's cool being retired if your wife works a good job.

Note: My friend Randy reminded me that noted physicist Walter Heisenberg was also born on this day, but I'm not certain about that.






Thank you very much to all who have, so far, wished me Happy Birthday. In thinking of this day, I am reminded of several famous Americans who share my date of birth. I will list three and examine their accomplishments as compared to mine.

1. Martin Van Buren - b. Dec. 5, 1782

2. George Armstrong Custer - b. Dec. 5, 1839

3. Walt Disney - b. Dec. 5, 1901

4. John P. McCann - b. Dec. 5, 1952

1. Martin Van Buren succeeded greatly in becoming the 8th President of the United States but was hardly remembered even in his own day. He had a large bull frog stuffed and used as an ink well in the White House. However President Taft later sat on it by accident and they had to throw the thing out. That's about it.

2. George Armstrong Custer succeeded greatly as a soldier in the Civil War but had a mixed record fighting Indians. (1-1-2, I think.) He is best remembered for his  spectacular fail at the Battle of the  Little Big Horn. At first, everything was going well; then it all fell apart under an Indian tsunami. In later years, Custer had a park named after him as well as a monument and a movie where his part was played by Errol Flynn. That's a whole lot more than Van Buren ever got.

3. Walt Disney succeeded greatly in animation, a pioneer in the field, creator of iconic characters—but not the word 'iconic' which has been seized upon by junior execs.—established Disney studios and Disneyland and is fondly remembered to this day. Nonetheless his body is frozen in a vault beneath Disney's Burbank lot and should Walt be reanimated and start making decisions again it could effect his legacy.

4. John P. McCann was greatly successful as a Hollywood atmosphere player. McCann was the ship-board stand-in for a Canadian actor portraying Errol Flynn in My Wicked, Wicked Ways. In addition, he is visible catching Dennis Quaid's jacket at around 1:19 in a clip from  Great Balls of Fire.
More successful in animation, McCann created the non-iconic character of The Huntsman. For the next fifteen years, he piggy-backed onto as many successful shows as his friends would allow. While the record is still being written, outsiders agree that McCann will be remembered by Bank of America and several other creditors who might reasonably feel aggrieved should he pass from the scene within the next several months.

Images: whitehouse.gov, Parcbench, fold3

Monday, December 04, 2017

They Took My Prostate and I'll Tell You How

Me at the hands of the medical establishment. (wallpaper cave)

And while cancer was sliced from me with digital precision, certain vital functions were diminished, leaving me in a grim battle with my own body. Not for the squeamish, this tale of a man, a prostate and destiny has already received kudos from author Janet Farrar Worthington.

Kind enough to read my manuscript, Janet is co-author of Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer, a great resource if you're smitten with the aforementioned disease. (I loath 'eponymous.')

Having spent considerable time writing about men's health issues, Janet said that I wrote "about the nitty-gritty aspects of recovering from this life-saving but difficult surgery—something few men are willing to do. . . . Reading this might help you get through it, too."

A short essay in ebook form, "They Took My Prostate: Cancer-Loss-Hope" will be available on Amazon December 15.

With annoying regularity, I will be promoting said book over the next two weeks. Tell your friends. Tell the indifferent. This is the can't-miss prostate cancer book of the year.

Update: Or, as Tom Ruegger says, the "feel-good prostate cancer book of the season."

Update: NOW the book is ready for Pre-Order, with copies delivered December 15. In time for Christmas, if you're a Yule sort of person, and not-in-time if you aren't. But December 15th remains the constant. Let's set that to rest.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Jungle Fighting in the Central Highlands

As a replacement, a friend of mine joined one of the units chronicled in this work shortly after the incidents described. Here's a brief glimpse of his life as an infantryman. A medic is mentioned who, I believe, survived the destruction of a platoon mentioned in the book.


Nine Days In May: The Battles Of The 4th Infantry Division On The Cambodian Border, 1967Nine Days In May: The Battles Of The 4th Infantry Division On The Cambodian Border, 1967 by Warren K. Wilkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engrossing description of infantry combat as American units reacted to North Vietnamese Army ambushes and assaults, with young U.S. draftees battling a hardened enemy, often in hand-to-hand fighting.

Struggling in the dense forests of Vietnam's Central Highlands at a time when most Americans still supported the war, the U.S. companies and platoons generally possessed excellent small unit leadership. They would need all the help they could get as they clashed with the NVA under triple-canopy forests that often blocked out the sunlight as well as supporting artillery fire.

Wilkins touches on the U.S. strategy of attrition, and the political constraints that hobbled American forces, leaving them unable to pursue the NVA into their bases across the Cambodian border. Reduced to counting bodies, the 4th Infantry Division could never put away their foe. The fraud of body counts and the untouchable nature of enemy sanctuaries negated the courage and endurance of the men, eventually forcing 4th Infantry Division units to battle over the same ground again and again until the attrited Americans finally withdrew.

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