AUTHOR! AUTHOR! THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF EDITING

My third novel is ‘done,’ but not really, because after I typed “THE END,” I went right back to the beginning and started editing. Was that the right thing to do, or should I have waited a week or two? Cooled off? Got some distance? I put the question to my friend, the writing genius and all-around great person Lexi Miles. Lexi knows of what she speaks. She writes, she blogs, she promotes, all with an energy that I wish she’d bottle and sell.

Lexi not only weighed in on matters of editing, but she inspired an idea: Why not do a Q & A double-header? Two writers. Two edits. Plenty of questions…and selfies too!

Voila!

1.

When you sit down to edit, how do you begin your process?

green shirt elfLexi Miles: The first thing that I do is to make sure that I am editing in a space that is free of distractions. My preference is for it to be quiet when I settle in to edit. After that, like a beta reader, I just read through it looking for the big issues. I try to find anything that jumps out at me: errors (ex: spelling, etc.), holes in plotting, loose ends, my personal favorite all names are correct (Giggles. I have swapped a few characters a time or two.), and all other major issues. In the first sweep, I also look for points that may need clarification and enhance points to strengthen the outcome of events in later chapters.

2017A.B. Funkhauser: My mind must be absolutely clear, which means I can’t have anything out there that’s been left undone. So, if the lawn needs raking, I rake it. If the kids need a hand with a big study project, I’m there. When all’s done, it’s me and the book, and that’s the way it pretty much is until it’s done! 😀

2.

What is one of the most rewarding and joyful aspects of editing?

bagelAB: My writing gets better with each outing, and that comes from doing, doing, doing. That’s what I see in the editing. There are fewer missteps and errors, and when I do find something, it’s glaring. No second-guessing because I’ve been there before. Best of all, I’m getting a better handle on the fixes. It took three books, but I can finally ‘see’ the problems fast and, even faster, get them fixed because I know how. That’s satisfaction in editing.

hair up white tank carLM: One aspect that I find to be the most rewarding is that I have a chance to sit down and read what I have written. I love being able to enjoy it as a reader.

3.

What are some of the challenging aspects of editing?

head rocked upstairsLM: It can be tedious. In addition to that, between us, I am someone that likes to deliver a high standard of excellence in anything that I do. So, one of the hardest realities for me to accept is that no matter how many times or how many eyes are upon the novel there are going to be a few things that slip through. It is just the process of publishing a novel.

bimmerAB: First and foremost, you have got to be well-rested when tackling this. If three great days are followed by an hour or two of sheer grind, then something’s up. It usually means my attitude is skewed either because I’m tired or my mind is wrapped up in something else. When the grind hits, I walk away for a few hours or days and then go back with fresh eyes. Makes a huge difference.

4.

Have you over-edited a part of your novel and it turned into a disaster? If so, how did you go about fixing it?

CampNaNoWriMo2016AB: Ha! See above. In the beginning, yes. This was mostly because I didn’t know how to spot an indulgence, and when I did, didn’t have the heart to ‘kill my darling.’ This improved thanks to the hashtag games on Twitter. There’s nothing more exhilarating than taking an overwrought beauty, chopping it down to 140 characters, and then finding that it’s…BETTER!

But now as then, I always save the full MS at the end of each day as insurance. That way, nothing’s lost and anything can be restored.

impish smile insideLM: (Laughs) Oh yes. I have done this. Unfortunately, the first time that I did it I completely messed it up. I ended up hating that part so much that I removed it and had to try my best to rewrite the original from memory. It was such a heartbreaking experience. The process taught me a few new tricks. So what I have learned is to edit on a copy of the book and not the original. That way, if I tinker too much with a certain part, I can copy that section from the original and begin again. Adding to that, I limit the size of my edit. I will not write more than a certain amount of words. I find this minimization restricts me from altering the original idea beyond what I loved about it as well as makes me construct my words in a way in which I have to make my words concise, powerful, and count. It helps me to keep focused and continue to drive the story forward at a great pace.

5.

Can you please share what techniques you find helpful to identify or catch issues in your work? (ex: know favorite words that get overused, favorite words to misspell or misuse, other issues that you’ve spotted that you now look for, any helpful tips that are you go-to, etc.)

looking over sunglassesLM: For me, there are several things. The first, I know my overused words or favorite to misuse. I look for them. The second, I use a checklist similar to the helpful links included at the end. Another, I read out loud. It helps me to catch things that I might miss in my head. And finally, the best tips that I can offer you is to make notes about what past editors/betas have caught and always look for new editing tips resources that can help you.

CanadaAB: Scene for scene, I will read each one aloud after an edit session to listen for the clunkers that can so easily be missed in quiet reading. Then I move on to the next. The next day, I go back and reread the previous day’s work before beginning new sections. I always find more to trim!

Reading aloud also helps me identify my favorite repeaters: ‘at once’ ‘surely not’ ‘outrageous’. When I hear them, I make a note of them and then do a universal search at the end to prune them out.

My very first manuscript years ago had over 200 cuss words. Lol. I was able to cut them to 5 very essential oaths. I was proud of that!

Dropped words are a constant. “Do you have cat?” instead of “Do you have a cat?” I’m always on the lookout for dropped words. Hyphens and em/en dashes are also a bane. I either over-use them, or don’t use them enough. I’m working on this too. Lol.

6.

In what ways have you improved your editing? (Time efficiency, Using Deadlines, Sticking to Specific Steps, Checklist, Betas, other, etc.)

cat christmasAB: Beta readers are crucial, but to help them out, I work very hard to deliver the cleanest possible draft I can. I also parse out assignments so that no one is overwhelmed. Some betas look for the aforementioned dropped words, repeaters and spelling, while others check for continuity, credulity and pacing.

I’ve also learned that editing, like novel writing, cannot be done in a week. It’s a slow, lengthy process if you want to get it right. I’ve worked hard to make a friend of it. Atmosphere, background music and regular breaks help, along with very understanding family members that don’t mind pizza three times a week. lol

pole paint .jpgLM: I stick to specific steps on my sweeps (editing passes) and follow them in order. To give you more insight as to what I am referring to, I start edits as I am writing the novel. I edit at the end of each chapter. Then on the first read through of the full length written novel, I don’t attempt to edit the numerous issues all at once. I address the sizable/noticeable issues then progress to the more intricate or detailed issues. Following that, I move to my next steps to address grammar, pace, dropped [missing] words, punctuation variation, vocabulary enhancement, and so on.

I also use a loose deadline process (to account for creativity and details in editing) for editing chapters to help my time efficiency. If not, I may never put a book out. (Giggles.) I found that I work great with deadlines; accordingly, they keep me focused.

In addition to those elements, Betas [for clarification and several other critical elements of editing] and Checklist have improved my editing in spades!

7.

What is something that you stay away from while editing?

tight shot grayLM: Although I use deadlines, I do not rush. I STAY AWAY FROM RUSHING and take my time. Like a painter, a chef, or any other creative soul, take the time to create a work of art.

 

 

 

12747980_583865931760413_6710413406243198729_o (1)AB: My other novels! I’ll read the news before I go back to something already done. It would confuse me.

8.

How many passes do you take through the manuscript?

At the beachAB: Usually three passes and then another two after the betas weigh in.

 

 

pole paintLM: Honestly, as many as it takes. I usually find that number to be about four times through (not including my daily end of chapter edits as I write).

9.

When is the best time for you personally to do edits? (by chapter, start of day, completed manuscript, all of the above, other, etc.)

ponytail pinkLM: [While writing] I perform edits at the start of each day as a great help to get back into the groove. [Once the book is written] I do my editing at the top of my day or in a moment where it is quiet with minimal interruptions. As far as frequency, I do edits at all points of the novel construction process. As I progress, the focus of the editing will evolve as needed. I think it is critical to do edits at the end of each chapter, an in-depth scrubbing at the completion of the fully written manuscript, and any other edits that the book requires to make it polished and sparkle with life! Again, I edit at all points so that the book, at the completion, is the book I sat down to write!

doggie doggieAB: I prefer the morning, although multiple competing schedules don’t always allow for this. I treat editing the way I do my writing: if I work at it a little bit each day, I’ll get it done…and I do!

10.

When editing, do you edit for a set amount of time, set daily chapter goals, or do you go until you are tired, etc.?

EAR CUFFAB: I leave it to my moods, though I have certain deadlines in mind. There is usually a contest deadline lurking ahead that drives me to finish. I also like to have the book ready for publication in advance of NaNoWriMo so that I’m free and clear to begin the next novel.

 

rustic house backdropLM: I set a certain amount of time daily, and I also have a daily chapter goal. I set both of those so that I am completely fresh when I am editing. If I finish the daily chapter or the allotted time passes, I will call it. I do not go over the time I have blocked out in my schedule to avoid missing anything.

11.

What are a few editing resources that you use?

smiling pinkLM: I like to utilize a checklist, editing programs, Beta Readers, Professional Editors, thesauruses, grammar websites, Google, grammar reference texts/books, Youtube, my dusty college educated brain (Giggles), blogs, other Authors, and the list continues. (That is code for see below for more resources.)

 

 

Fall ColorsAB: I constantly refer to the rules of punctuation, which remain fixed in spite of conventional use changes. e.g. the ‘war’ on the semi-colon. The more I blog, the more I ‘unlearn’ the rules, so when it comes time to dig into a 60, 70 or 80K manuscript, I study up. Always, I ask: Oxford comma, or not?

Lexi’s Awesome Editing Resource List*

*We are not affiliated with these sites in any way. The links are helpful for editing.

Jerry Jenkins (21 things Checklist)

http://www.jerryjenkins.com/self-editing/

Creative Penn (Editing Questions Answered by Professional Editor/Author Jen Blood)

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/08/11/editing-writing-craft-tips/

Grammar Girl (Editing Checklist)

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/grammar-girls-editing-checklist

Mike Nappa (4 steps to Edit Book)

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/how-to-edit-your-book-in-4-steps

25 Tips for Tightening your Copy

http://thewritelife.com/edit-your-copy

10 Simple Ways To Edit Your Books

https://thewritelife.com/self-editing-basics

KM Edits (Not for Blog)

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-i-self-edit-my-novels-15-steps-from/#

12.

A lot of us jump into edits ‘boots first’ right after typing ‘THE END.’ What are the advantages/disadvantages of moving fast?

fat man bluesAB: The advantage for me is that I’m super keen. The pistons are firing and I know exactly where all the characters are and what motivates them. This makes inconsistencies a lot easier to spot. The disadvantage is that I’m too close to the work, and so I’m more apt to miss dropped words, and issues of clarity. Stepping away from ‘THE END’ strips a lot of that away. Distance really draws out what could be clearer or what scenes really don’t need to be there at all.

tight shot grayLM: The advantage to jumping right back in is that the story is in the forefront of your mind. The disadvantage is that your eyes aren’t so fresh and you tend to miss issues/mistakes that you will most likely catch when you have stepped away from a project. That is code for I tend to favor NOT jumping right back in. My golden rule is to step away from the full-length written novel for a bare minimum of two weeks before I return to it for the first full book edit pass. That way I can see it fresh as if I am reading it for the first time.

13.

The publishing world is evolving as never before. Do you agree/disagree with the current trend toward ‘sensitivity’ editing in the modern age?

upstairs sunglassesLM: First let me say some people are vile. And you have to write them accordingly. There is no sensitive way around that. If the story’s essence is rooted in that fact, has a purpose for writing a character a certain way, or a mirroring element is there to strengthen the storytelling. That is the story that must be told.

Now, having said that, as far as my writing in general, I tend to write with a certain level of ‘sensitivity’ anyway with respect for people being people. I don’t buy into people being different. Long before I studied the discipline of Cultural Anthropology[Human Behavioral Studies], I felt, which was confirmed by my studies, that we are all the same at our core. What I am saying is, my writing is written in a way so that anyone can sit down, read the books, and with minimal effort be able to see themselves or elements of themselves inside of the story. The hope is that anyone can connect to it. So, I agree with sensitivity editing because it is writing a story free of stereotyping. To me, that is an enjoyable read. Unlike some may argue, I don’t think it dilutes a story, but quite the opposite. I think that it enriches it and tells a better story. It is a story that is closer to life. As a romance writer, I am not a fan of the girl looking for someone to rescue them. Rather, I write from the unique perspective in the romance genre of a girl looking to share a new chapter of her life with the love of her life as they face realistic challenges. Also, I don’t write a man that can’t access his emotions. Those stories, in my opinion, also are the pits [weak writing]. Unless of course, there is a quality backstory there and there is a purpose [not an overused idea]. I think not writing with the crutches of false ideas gives an author the chance to step up their writing and enhance what they write with depth/substance that everyone can say huh, that’s an important challenge I am facing, and am benefiting as I read this material. I think it forces new dimensions and robust layering. You don’t fall back on comfortable elements of the past but are called to create new dimensions in a written work. You are forced to dive a bit deeper and to peel back the layers of emotion that the other method of storytelling glosses over or allows the reader to remain at a safe distance. That is limitless and something thrilling for the mind to savor, chew on, digest, and evolve to a new level of awareness. I love that!

finishing heuerAB: I think it depends on genre, non-fiction in particular. In non-fiction, as in journalism, balance is critical to accuracy. Information is conveyed in a manner that should allow readers to debate and then draw their own conclusions. Whereas in fiction, art, character and mood are apt to take the front seat to big-time tells and balance. Villains are villains because they are nasty. They say and do things outside of what the reader finds acceptable in law and culture, which is precisely the point. The insensitivity and cruelty we see in certain characters drive the action driving the protagonist to the big fix (if a ‘happy ending’ is what you’re going for). I don’t see how sensitivity editing would make it better.

14.

Which brings us to the subject of self-censorship. ‎ To what degree is editing for the market beneficial?

first bookAB: There are so many guidelines out there geared to writing success. Whether these guidelines lead to ‘self-censorship’ or are an invaluable metric to publishing success is between writers and their agents/publishers. I like to think that the moment I start tempering my words is also the moment where I need to take a break. I write fiction and I write morally challenged characters, so I have to take care not to make them too nice. 😀

yellow sunglasses smileLM: I think that as long as the true essence of the story is not altered then editing for the market is extremely beneficial. I feel this way because due to the editing the work falls into a clearer defined market. As a result, a larger number of people will have access to as well as have an opportunity to connect with the book’s material. Without that mild/targeted editing, readers might not have had the chance to meet up with the story.

15.

Self-publishing can cut out entire layers including ‘professional’ editing. Does this lend to greater artistic freedom, or heart-wrenching do-overs after the first run?

hair up white tank carLM: I have taken part in both styles of publishing. Despite my style of publishing, I ALWAYS utilize a professional editor as well as a professional editing program. I do not self-edit alone; however, over time I have learned from personal as well as other professionally conversational/documented resources outside of myself, even with the most skilled eyes professionally editing your book every book will have the occasional typo. As a writer, as I stated previously, you have to understand that some typos never get caught. Even the most experienced, well-known, or traditionally published authors release new editions with modified content. So, to answer the question above, any time you have to make a detailed alteration to a written work it can be heart-wrenching as well as tedious. That’s my way of saying it is not fun no matter what style of publishing.

Now to address the portion of the question about creative freedom when Indie Publishing versus Traditionally Publishing. I’d have to say for the most part it is close to the same, but in some ways, it is more restrictive to traditionally publish. I will briefly elaborate. There are some cases when you may want to write something that you have experienced within your life, but a publisher may deem it too harsh of a depiction, and the content may be too intense for the publisher’s audience. Another example of a restriction of freedom with a publisher may be a descriptive word while voicing something within a conversation. In very specific cases, saying that someone whispered something versus whimpered would shift the book from mainstream romance to erotic. Sometimes that can diminish the intensity of a moment.

Closing out what I am saying here is, to maintain your creative voice while working with an editor or publishing house it is important to find the right one. I am fortunate on both fronts my editors and publisher respects my voice, and they give me the final say. I feel the story you get when picking up my novel is the one I wanted to tell or at least very close to it.

floridaAB: Self-publishing, like the writing journey, is not necessarily something done in a vacuum. As writers, we have access to all kinds of writing services staffed by accredited professionals who can make our books better. The decision to use these services are personal ones governed by many things; craft uncertainty and budget are two. I’m lucky in that I belong to a highly-accomplished writing group that strives to excel. I’ve learned a great deal from them while keeping the creative drive alive. I think I try new things on in writing to see how they’ll react. Their critiques, 9 times out of 10, have proven correct.

16.

Speaking of editing, which books have your attention at the moment and when will you be sharing them with everyone? Care to give us a peek at the covers (or at the most recent book you have released)?

Cat MommyAB:  I’m hoping to get SHELL GAME out there in the next couple of months or so (depending on how the editing goes!). I’m really excited about this one in that it’s a departure from the first two novels. Rather than anchor the piece in a funeral home, I decided to take it outside into a fictionalized neighborhood that isn’t everything that it appears to be. As the title implies, everyone concerned plays a kind of SHELL GAME with neighbors, colleagues and even family members.

The thing I love most about this one is that the main protagonist is a tabby cat with a lot of insight. By being present, he makes things happen for good and for ill. There is still plenty of gonzo and revenge of the type readers have come to expect from HEUER LOST AND FOUND and SCOOTER NATION, but there are more insights, bigger laughs with a dollop of darkness on the side. i.e. One of the central questions is: What is that sausage really made of? 😉

A cat’s-eye view of the human soap opera

coverCarlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is threatened when a snarky letter from animal control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?

https://abfunkhauser.com/wip-shell-game/

 

And Lexi?

impish smile insideLM: There are three that are in the forefront.

The first is WILDFIRE (coming May 2017), hybrid poetry collection with a short bonus romance accompaniment SOME LIKE IT HOT. SOME LIKE IT HOT is a firehouse romance about an unexpected night of events for Bella and Lt. Xander Garten that changes everything.

The second is a romance about a psychiatrist, Lila, who goes on vacation in Vegas and runs into a sexy familiar face, Clark, she really should not become romantically involved with entitled OUR SECRET (coming Summer 2017).

And finally, PRIVATE LESSONS (coming Summer 2017). A romance-suspense about a recently divorced professional woman, Ryan, who gets much-needed lessons in self-defense and love from her alarmingly sexy private instructor Jimmy.

My most recent release is The Order of Moonlight. A vampire love story about a young woman, Clair, and a mysterious stranger G that invites her to a masquerade ball as well as into his magical world. Is Clair ready for all she will learn about his world?

 

The Order of Moonlight

cover Order of the Moonlight - CopyClair De Lune a young woman, who works at a small town café in the middle of nowhere, likes to live her life off of the radar.  One afternoon that all changes when a wildly handsome mysterious suit wearing gentleman walks into her café.  Intrigued to know more about the gorgeous enigmatic stranger, when he extends an invite to the masquerade ball later that night, she decides to meet him.  Soon Clair finds that there just might be more to him than meets the human eye.  Is Clair ready to step into his magical world of passion?

 

See the Trailer

 

Get it Here:  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXH3QDL )

Coming Soon

Private Lessons

aweb privatelessons - CopyRyan DeVain, a travel agent, gets tricked into taking much needed self-defense classes by her best friend Piper.  She is apprehensive, even given the looming threat of her past, until she meets the ultra-sexy brown haired instructor Jimmy Jalin.  Will there be sexy benefits included with his training?

Our Secret

cover our secret - CopyLila, a psychiatrist, hops on a plane to Vegas with her recently divorced best friend. They have a fun girls’ night out, but when Lila retires to her room she can’t sleep. Instead she has the same haunting thoughts that keep her up every night. Knowing that sleep is not going to happen that night, she goes out on a walk to clear her head. While out, she encounters the every so sexy Clark who just so happens to be off-limits because he’s a client of hers. Will she be able to deny what she feels for him or will they keep Vegas their little secret?

Wildfire Poetry Collection

cover wildfire - CopyLove in many ways is a wildfire that goes nuts within the heart. The poetry within this romantic collection gets the pulse racing and the heart fluttering. If you are in love, have been in love, or dream to be in love this sweet and sexy collection is for you. Fall in love with Wildfire and you’ll be happy that you did!

 

Some Like It Hot (Bonus Story In Wildfire)

Bella, a computer tech, just so happens to love that Fire House 34 is one of her assignments. It has everything to do with the fact that she gets to see the ever so sexy Lt. Xander Garten daily. But what’s not to like about him; he’s a tall, muscular, and madly heroic firefighter. No wonder Bella has developed an attraction to him. One day after work, Bella’s roommate Janine convinces her to go out for a much needed girls’ night. When Bella’s evening takes a turn for the worst, will a chance meeting with Xander heat things up between them and end up making it the best night of her life?

 

Ed. – Wow! You’ve got a busy summer ahead! Congrats!!!! ❤

17.

Writing the book is a great achievement. Editing it well, even more so. Do you agree?

looking over sunglassesLM: I am going to keep this answer simple, YES!

 

 

 

 

funky meAB: Yes, yes, and yes. Here’s my golden rule:

DON’T RUSH IT! You spend months or years putting something together that has meaning. Rushing the edits doesn’t serve it. Read it, say it, LISTEN to it. Spelling and grammar usage are as important as continuity, credulity and pacing. Get it right and you’ll love it forever. Your readers will too!

 

Thank you for stopping in to share a moment with A.B. Funkhauser and Lexi Miles. We hope that you enjoyed what we had to share. Feel free to drop a friendly comment below with your thoughts and other editing tips that have helped you.

Keep laughing. Keep smiling. Keep writing.

xo

About the Authors

A.B. Funkhauser

author 2017Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us, not we it.

Her debut novel Heuer Lost and Found, released in April 2015, examines the day to day workings of a funeral home and the people who staff it. Winner of the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Horror 2015, and the New Apple EBook Award 2016 for Horror, Heuer Lost and Found is the first installment in Funkhauser’s Unapologetic Lives series. Her sophomore effort, Scooter Nation, released March 11, 2016 through Solstice Publishing. Winner of the New Apple Ebook Award 2016 for Humor, and Winner Best Humor Summer Indie Book Awards 2016, Metamorph Publishing, Scooter picks up where Heuer left off, this time with the lens on the funeral home as it falls into the hands of a woeful sybarite.

A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

Funkhauser is currently editing SHELL GAME, a psycho-social cat dramady with death and laughs.

Lexi Miles

author pic black and whiteLexi is currently living in California, has one sister named Cat, and is a proud pup mom of 2 mischievous Yorkies. Tropical warm spots and out of the way ranches are Lexi’s favorite escapes. Lexi loves to giggle. She’s a huge fan of positivity, and she is delighted when she can help someone else smile. Lexi loves a good Netflix binge. She also enjoys music (all genres), baseball, bubble baths, cooking, and long walks on the treadmill (aka working out). As far as writing, she fell in love with it from when she was a kid, and she still finds that she falls more in love with it every day. Lexi is growing a cult following for both her poetry and romance novels and believes that love—all forms—is the most precious gift that we are given in life. She is thrilled to pen romance, and all of that comes with it on paper! To find out more about Lexi, please go to www.LexiMilesAuthor.com!

Contact:

Lexi’s Links

Website: www.leximilesauthor.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lexi-Miles/e/B0196OSLBU

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bVg6xj

Email: leximiles.author@gmail.com

Lexi Rom Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1746560782284851

Twitter: www.twitter.com/leximilesbooks

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LexiMilesAuthor

 

A.B.’s Links

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/ScooterNation

Geo Buy Link: http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound

Walmart:  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Scooter-Nation/53281677

Website: www.abfunkhauser.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/abfunkhauser

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser

Facebook: www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funkhausera/

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Ztg_M3NvIJV4hDzyXdf9g

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118051627869017397678

Publisher: http://solsticepublishing.com/

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1FPJXcO

FAQ’s: https://abfunkhauser.com/faqs/

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ELEMENTAL MAGIC: YA AUTHOR MARNIE CATE REVISITS OLD FRIENDS IN ADVANCE OF HER NEW RELEASE

It’s my great pleasure to introduce to you Marnie Cate, a young adult fantasy author chasing her dreams with the same energy and verve as the characters she creates. Today on Blog Funkauser, she revisits REMEMBER: PROTECTORS OF THE ELEMENTAL MAGIC. She does this in advance of her next release EXIGENCY. Coming Soon.

Congrats, Marnie!

 

 

coverSynopsis

Hiding the truth from you is no longer protecting you. Sit and I will tell you what you need to know.

With those words, the secrets of my great grandmother, Genevieve Silver, were unburied and my role as a protector of the elemental magic was revealed.

My name is Marina Addisyn Stone but Mara is what my friends and family call me.  I had always felt that there was something missing and that nothing was permanent. Why would I feel that way?  I was being raised with my little sister by my grandmother that loved and doted on me. Then, there was Cole Sands. Who could forget the blue-eyed boy that had stolen my heart? What more could a girl need?  I always thought I was just being dramatic and that bad things do happen to people but that is part of life.  People die.  People go away. Little did I know that with one secret, my life would change forever and my new world would be surrounded by the world of elemental magic?

 

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Excerpt

As I felt my determination build, the mirror in front of me began to change and the reflection filled with rippling water. The image made me think of the choppy water of Sparrow Lake. At first, the small waves were calm but the speed and intensity of each movement of the water grew. I found myself being splashed as the waves grew harder and began to slap against the mirror. Standing up, I moved away just in time to watch the mirror before me shatter and the violent water burst out towards me.

The room began to fill with rushing water. Feeling around the room, I searched for an exit. Behind the shattered mirror, I only found solid rock. Looking to the ceiling, I could see the same hard stone. Feeling the emotions build inside me, I began search the floor and walls around me for any exit.

“Damn! Damn! Damn it!” I cried.

The water did not slow. Instead it continued to fill the room as I frantically searched for my escape. The water soon reached my knees and, what seemed like seconds later, I was wading through waist high water. As the water continued to rise, I was soon struggling to keep my head above water. It was not enough that the water was filling the room so rapidly but soon the water felt alive. The cold waves kept tossing me back and forth as the water rose and I began to feel like I was in a game of Ping-Pong where I was the ball. Soon, I found myself pulled under the icy water and surrounded by thousands of bubbles. Frantically kicking my feet to keep my head above water, I broke the surface.

Remembering the swimming lessons my grandfather insisted on, I thought about the times I spent with my grandfather learning to swim. I began to feel less scared as I recalled his calm voice and gentle words telling me that I would be safe. As I floated in the rising water, it seemed to respond to my emotions. The thrashing became calmer as I focused on my grandfather’s words. My brief moment of peace did not last. Before I knew it, I had almost reached the ceiling that had no exit and I began to panic. At this rate, I would be trapped and drowned in minutes. As if it was feeding off my fear, the water began to toss me around again.

As the water began to rise up my neck and almost over the top of my head, I tried to calm myself. You are the granddaughter of Mae Veracor and the great granddaughter of Genevieve Silver. You are the descendent of strong women. You have nothing to fear. With these words, the water once again calmed and I was able to tilt my head back above the water. How am I going to get out of this?

 

Remember: Protectors of the Elemental Magic is on sale $0.99 / £0.99 Kindle from February 5th – 11th 2016

 

Amazon Book link: My Book

 

Author Biography

marnie authorMarnie Cate was born and raised in Montana before adventuring to the warmer states of Arizona and California. Her love of Dame Judi Dench and dreams of caticorns and rainbows inspired her to chase her dreams. One great sentence came to mind and the world of elemental magic and the humans they lived amongst filled her mind. With Remember, the story has begun.

 

 

Other Works by Marnie Cate

Exigency: Protectors of the Elemental Magic – Coming Soon

The story of Mara Stone continues.  Her world was shaken but she is a fighter.  Facing new adversaries, Mara is learning what it truly means to protect the magic.

 

Awethology Light – Contribution Story  

Beginnings: Protectors of the Elemental Magic (Novellette)

The story of Genevieve Silver and the origins of the protectors of the magic. With the balance of the elemental world shaken, four elementals take on the task of protecting the magic.

 

Links:

http://www.marniecate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarnieCate

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00UJNT7J8

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Marnie_Cate

Twitter: @Marnie_Cate

SLAY THAT DRAGON: SANS SERIF AND MONSTERPAUSE

Let’s be clear: I don’t want new clothes, I just want to fit into the ones I’ve got. But this will be a greater challenge than claiming the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. For unlike the mother of dragons, I am the arbiter of monsterpause, a dark and hideous critter that wreaks havoc on the minds, waist lines, and interpersonal communications of its victims.

Like a Rottweiler gone bad, monsterpause is a nasty beasty, flexed, on guard and poised to strike at a moment’s notice. When it does, sufferers get grouchy, miserable and pugilistic. Ask those nearest me: they know.

My editor recommends black cohosh, an all natural herbal remedy widely used by First Nations. I’ll give it a try, but not just yet. Because as I work and slave over a hot keyboard, I’ve noticed a neat little side effect whenever the big dog comes scratching. Like Viagra and the really great side benefits that result from it, monsterpause seems to generate terrific scene sets and character blow ups in this writer.

Is there such a thing as a method writer? If so, then I think I’m one of them, albeit Method Lite (like Coors). Instead of taking to the winter forest for a cool walk in shorts, I write man characters when my thermostat climbs. In their visceral, florid, furiosity (not a real word) my make believe guys soar and to great effect. My male muses who vet my stuff for authenticity offer praise for my creations, not knowing the subtext behind them. It’s gratifying and a tad sneaky: the lads must never know.

For such a result, I can suffer the monster. if it was a type face, it would be sans serif: meaty, moody and unrelenting in its abject disdain for curves or sentimentality…like Helvetica!

What I can’t rationalize away–yet–is a life in stretchy jeans, and so it must be conquered. My wardrobe, like a finished novel, is snappy, tailored and waiting to be discovered. I shall try to be worthy of both.

Or I could launder my sweat pants and remain at my keyboard.

Grrrrrrrrr.

Unapologetic, adult and cognizant, I wish you good Tuesday. Let’s stay above it.

ABF

#menomadness #writing #amwriting #wardrobemalfunctions

FRESH MEAT–Fifty Shades: The Unreview

NEW CONTENT AND THE ONE STAR THAT KEEPS GIVING

Hey! Who hasn’t had a cat across their back, and is it really so bad?

Well, uh, that’s the problem. There’s cats and there’s cats and then there’s my conflict over Fifty Shades of Grey. As a frenemy of the franchise, I can attest to both admiring and coveting the author’s zeal. Her enthusiasm for her characters and the situations they find themselves in are patently obvious: she’s having a ball and she’s making plenty of dough. Make no mistake, I covet her dough too, I just can’t get my head around the notion that it’s okay to get the hide strapped off of you so long as the guy with the belt is a rich dork with a helicopter.

Am I being unfair again?

SPOILER:

Ana comes round to Christian’s way of the world because he had a tough go growing up in Detroit. Plus he marries her and they raise kids in stunning opulence, kinda like the French Kings of old.

I’m still unconvinced.

Maybe if the cast in the new movie had been older. You know, like Clive Owen and Charlize Theron–people with a few miles on them. In my vision, Charlize could have cred: a professor, a jaded financial planner, a competing captain of industry. Old Clive, of course has to die and by her hand. In the final act, Charlize blithely dumps his body along with the cat o’ nine, waterboards, and electric chair he favored, but that she resented. Oh, yes, and she takes over his empire through a hostile mergers and acquisitions maneuver.

Now that’s something I could go for. Sadly, my vision was not to be, and the new flick will doubtless make MILLIONS so who cares, really?

As the release date approaches for Fifty Shades Part 1 (everything comes in three’s in Hollywood) I’m leaning towards the broad consensus arrived at Book Club: we can’t put money towards this thing when the economy is headed for the toilet…again. Best to wait until it arrives on the box, and then we can all get liquored up together in front of the flatscreen and insert our own dialogue.

Until then, I can only offer an intuitive critique of the upcoming film based on scuttlebutt, third party reports out of LA, and a really weird dream I had last night.

Presenting: The Unreview

Last week, I engaged in some trollish good fun with a fellow cinophile over the sturm und drang that occured on the set of Fifty Shades between director and writer. My Schadenfreude simply kicked in because the EL James juggernaut had stalled, if only for a brief time. The movie’s gonna make buckets no matter what, but at least for “one brief shining moment” there was trouble.

As a fan of enthusiastic authors everywhere, I place EL high on my admiration list. Lucky for her that the beware dogfantasy fest that is Fifty Shades The Movie is neither harmed nor hastened by the blow ups on set. For as much as the willful and spectacularly accepting race breathlessly to buy clothes and accessories made from the “softest leather,” others pinch nostrils shut because of the undeniable Euw factor that comes with the story.

As Canadian radio personality Jian Ghomeshi found out, rough sex outta the box leaves a stink that clears a room.

Fifty Shades is pretty. I know this because I’ve seen the trailers. Beautifully staged, wonderfully lit, it offers gorgeous scene set ups and fantastic costume design. Kinda like the Royal Wedding back in ’81.

However, as naive young Ana moans and groans under the ministrations of her wealthy and too young to be believable patron, the viewer soon experiences bilious side effects–a creeping feeling of extreme perviness–that accompanies visuals of a young woman stripped down and dehumanized for the greater good that is the heightened sexual awareness of her “I don’t do romance” helicopter loving, elevator riding partner, whose childhood of abuse and neglect back in Detroit makes this all okay.

Like the sets they play in, the youthful stars are super pretty too.

…And so was Rome under Caligula. (See Bob Guccione’s Caligula…or maybe don’t)

As my libertine friend suggests, life outside the box (or in this case, inside The Red Room of Pain) suggests either a sophistication derived from long-in-the-tooth experience and philosophical acuity (See A Dangerous Method) or deviance hastened by depravity and increasing violence resulting in death. (See Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka)

If Fifty Shades was honest, one of the characters would die at the end. But it’s not and they don’t.

Ana and Christian get a place and raise a family (Book III, suffer the trilogy), something serial killers Bernardo and Homolka hoped to do until they turned on each other. Prior to arrest, they hoped to abuse their future children and keep them in cages.

Does EL James have pretty little red rooms in store for Book IV?

Let’s hope she doesn’t go there.

Rating: 0

Author’s note:

I know, I know. I haven’t seen it, which makes this review extremely unethical. That’s why I’ll be back, but only after a free screening.

At press time:

Word out of H-wood is that the film is pretty mild; hence: no NC17 rating. The movie is very pretty and dialogue is very hokey. So what’s being shopped here? It doesn’t sound like S&M Bondage. Perhaps the joke’s on us?

Tomorrow: Fifty Shades of Creative Writing

Funkhauser, fragged out from an all-nighter of proof reading, jumps into a free for all on Facebook where she good naturedly offers up a little fan fiction.

February 16, 2015

Seems I got bogged down in proofing, and for that I am remiss. In not getting my fan fiction up when I promised, my emotions skewed much in the same way as when I heard that 25+ Dakota Johnson actually gave a compelling performance in the film. I’ve seen the stills–she looks dewy and real sad in character, and who wouldn’t be? Top performing billionaires like Fifty are doomed to disappoint given their alpha nature and tiresome veni vidi vici ethos. Professional reviews of the film so far suggest that Fifty is a firm “1” in terms of stars as opposed to “top rated”. Depending on their demographic, reviewers are either shocked at the domestic abuse portrayed, disappointed that it’s not dirty enough, or satisfied that its better than the book(s). The lead actor model is “wooden” they say, and that’s unfair, because the story really is about the woman, so beyond all the grunting and brooding, Christian Grey really is nothing more than a colossal woody and, that said, is entirely authentic.

Authors note:

I know. I know. I haven’t seen the film, so this review and all the content that accompanies it is still highly unethical.

The Fan Fiction

So here’s the thing: Much as I’d like to piggy back my besty tunes and the musicians that inspired me on my DEBUT NOVEL page, I won’t because of the “fair use” santa clause thingy that hinders me. Happily, there’s no such obstacle where the phenomenon ‘fan fiction’ is concerned. So with that, I’ll offer up my own Fifty Shades scenes. There are only three and they’re nice and short. I think EL would approve and maybe Dakota Johnson too, although I hope the kiddo doesn’t do the sequels. A one star rate does not a one star make.

Disclaimer

I know how to write good, so any weird phrasings in the fan fic is merely stylistic. Happy Family Day, Ontario. Happy Presidents’ Day, America. Happy Monday to everyone else this side of the International Date Line.

ABF

The Fan Fiction (Reproduced from a Facebook Free Fer All)

1.

Filling me with dirty socks and a coupla of golf balls, Fifty asserts his power with a rakish yawp.‘Cry havoc and let them dogs slip to war’ I howl at once remembering that I failed English. ‘I love your mind’ Fifty teases, his cruel taunts more hurtful than the cat I got him at Christmas.”.

2.

“Hot tears soak my downy supple cheeks. Fifty’s brought out the turkey baster again. My pert, anxious nipples flatten and he sees. ‘You have not eaten your dinner Mrs. Grey,’ he admonishes, loosening the chinos he picked up for real cheap at the Saks mid winter sale. I know what he means, and I am crestfallen because we’re married and it’s a bore. He advances to me, his essential being pulsing in his big strong ginger dappled baby bottomed hands. ‘Aw hell’ I mutter. ‘Gotta eat my meat and veg all over again.'”. 

3.

“Fifty teases me with his helicopter blades promising to Julienne fry me. Trussed up in my panties and a turkey halter, I can only give thanks for my incredible luck. Rich assholes are so hard to come by and this one, if I’m real, real good, is for life. ‘Pass me the colander darling. I want to wear it on my head’ Fifty laughs. My hands aren’t free so how can I position a chapeau? “I’ll free you goose,” Fifty promises, as soon as I take my blue pill.” A young man, he’s taken a beating so I forgive him a Pfizer. I wait patiently, marking time with a reminder to write the drug company a thank you for making my led zeppelin a reality. “Baby, baby, hit me again” I squeal, longing for his sordid touch. Sacred and profane, there aint nothining like a good old fashion stroppin before the break of day.”

Etc and more rubbish.

The Chronically Excited Rocky Rochford, Unleashed

My friend and fellow Solstice author Rocky Rochford reminds me of my dear Doctor Who. Curious, excited and always WORKING. His latest, The Devil You Know, now available on Amazon, details one curious con’s face to face with the devil incarnate and the consequences this provokes.

Ladies and Gents: Rocky Rochford. 

Greetings to one and all, my name is Rocky Rochford, writer, poet, scuba diver and sword collector, among other things. As I have been so kindly given the space to talk about myself and my works, let’s get to it.

About me:

Scuba Diving, Photo taking, Adventure Seeking, Sword Collecting, Writer & Marine Conservationist. That’s me. I’m a handful of years into my twenties, but after living life on the road, going town to town before finally settling down, I’ve gained great insight into the world and her workings. From Day 1 I have been a Writer and a Writer I shall forever remain.

I like to consider myself to be a Student of Everything, and yet a Master of Nothing, who does not

The prolific author at home, sword in hand.
The prolific author at home, sword in hand.

choose what he writes, but writes what chooses him, be it fantasy, crime, poetry, philosophy or even adventure. After all life is a journey we all get to experience, just like a good book.

Every read of one of my typed works, is another trip into the imagination of my mixed up, crazed and deranged mind. Welcome to the World of Rochford.

And just one of those works happens to be my newly released “The Devil You Know,” an 8 Chapter long ebook to introduce you to a conman who gets an offer he can’t refuse, one that would see him return in the full length novel “The Devil You Don’t.”

            The Blurb reads a little like this:

Meet a conman who always carefully chooses his marks. Then one day he discovers that he’s been someone else’s mark, and not just for a little while, but his whole life. Think you know the Devil? You don’t know Jack.

          And if that’s got your taste-buds waging, allow me to hit you with an excerpt:

I’ll never forget the day my life changed, never to be the same again, the day I met him. I knew it was him the second he walked into the bar. I didn’t need to see those yellow eyes of his, or to notice the curve of his mouth as he smiled gladly upon the mere sight of me. Out of all the bars in the world and the Devil walked into mine.

Shit” was the word that came to mind.

The Devil You Know released on Amazon and www.solsticepublishing.com on the 30th of January and is available on every version of Amazon, so what are you waiting for and pick up your very on copy of a devilishly good tale.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/IamRockyRochford?fref=ts
Twitter: @RockyRochford

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/RockyRochford
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7310280.Rocky_Rochford
My personal Website:  rockyrochford.wordpress.com
Rabmad: http://www.rabmad.com/authors/Rocky-Rochford/

And of course links to my works (listed from oldest to latest). Quick little thing I should mention, I am an author of many genres, I’ve recently released a Poetry Collection. I have written a number of short stories, both stand-alone pieces and part of a continuing series. As far as genres go, I write Fantasy, Adventure, Thriller, Psychological Thrillers, Espionage, YA & Supernatural:

Phoenix Rises – a Deep Water novel: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Rises-Deep-Water-Novel/dp/3854382375/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761419&sr=8-7&keywords=rocky+rochford

The Spirit of Iris – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Full length novel)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Spirit-Rocky-Rochford/dp/1625261292/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-4&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-rise-of-the-elohim/

Dead on the Floor – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Floor-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NOBCNIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-2&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dead-on-the-floor/

Hour of Darkness – Part of the Rise of the Elohim Chronicles: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Elohim-Hour-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00O4C4ZV0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761365&sr=8-5&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/rise-of-the-elohim-hour-of-darkness/

Don’t Turn Around – A short tale about Murder: (Short story)

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Turn-Around-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00NY9T8W0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761396&sr=8-6&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/dont-turn-around/

The First Glance – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/First-Glance-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00PUTJPES/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416760996&sr=8-1&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/the-first-glance-part-of-the-entwined-saga/

Little Boy Death The Life of: (Poetry Collection):

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Death-Life-Rocky-Rochford-ebook/dp/B00PV0MV56/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1416761121&sr=8-3&keywords=rocky+rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/little-boy-death-the-life-of/

I Watched Her Die – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Watched-Her-Die-Part-Entwined-ebook/dp/B00Q713HCE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028399&sr=8-2&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

Burning For You – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-You-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q389D8S/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028757&sr=8-5&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/burning-for-you/

Save Her – Part of the Entwined Saga: (Short Story)

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Her-Part-Entwined-Saga-ebook/dp/B00Q38A7LK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1417028812&sr=8-7&keywords=Rocky+Rochford

http://solsticepublishing.com/save-her/

The Devil You Know: (Short Story)

Link coming soon

A quick thank you to our kind and lovely host and to you, the readers, for putting up with me. Till next time.

Kind and lovely host thanks you, Sir Roch. Keep writing, sir.

ABF

GETTING TO NEXT

Five years ago, something wonderful happened, and I don’t mean something out of Stanley Kubrick. Dave Bowman didn’t invite me on a date and the space craft Discovery didn’t get jacked by the HAL 9000. My odyssey had nothing to do with outer space.  A great reckoning, it came in the form of a memento mori—a reminder of death—that turned out to be more inspiring than terrifying.

How could I know in that moment, a moment when I lost contact, that I would regain something bigger than myself? Allow me to digress. Like many young people, thirty years ago, I longed to express myself. Gloria Steinem, Margaret Atwood, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and others had spent the better part of their waking hours daring us to make a difference, and we were ready to take up the challenge. Trouble was, I had nothing to say. My first foray into literary excellence *laugh loudly* was a piece called Technological Advances in Bathroom Fawcetry. A great title, it had nothing whatever to do with metal things that shoot water. It was, instead, a study in big words with a few Latin terms thrown in for style and texture, along with a million appositives just to show that I knew how to use them properly. Nothing of Technological Advances survives; I have vague recollections of burning it when I realized how pompous it actually sounded. Like ice skating, writing appeared to be something beyond my purview, and I put it away along with the blades.

And then the muse appeared, and everything changed. Like monsterpause—a condition to be endured and not recommended—the muse spoke to me from a place beyond my understanding. Couched in grief, and accompanied by a bewildering feeling that I, too, was getting closer to the finish line, the muse spoke to me in verse and I begin to transcribe.

Wonky, no? I was ashamed to admit it, but it took the death of another to start a fire.  As pages filled with random thoughts, dialogue and scenes—some true, some not—I realized that I’d found what my writing teachers* call—a voice.

Loving it, learning it, making it come alive, it gave me an energy I didn’t know I had.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from my editor. The first round of edits for Heuer Lost and Found, the first of four novels with three more to go—had arrived. I had to lie down.

Getting to “yes”—that spectacular three letter word that meant I was getting published—was a joy. Getting to “next”—the edits, locked away in my hard drive, waiting—will be even better. The finish line is moving farther away from me; in its place, a new life, and a new beginning.

Something wonderful.

A.B. Funkhauser

* https://www.facebook.com/Writescape?fref=ts

* http://writescape.ca/site/ Thank you Ruth E. Walker and Gwynn Sheltema.

Hello, Old Friend

How many short stories do you have tucked away in the hard drive? At last count, I had seventeen. Somewhere between novel writing and this new thing I’m trying called “blogging,” these little gems got lost. Time again to trot them out. Presenting: ISCARIOT. Written in the fall of 2012, it began more as an assignment in a creative writing class. Tasked with making a reader “taste the page,” I had no recourse but to wax poetic about fresh produce.

ISCARIOT

Rowan Ican’s preoccupation with writhing bowls of fruit had become irksome. For one thing, he had taken to talking about it, slowly at first, then compulsively, texting with a zesty enthusiasm more commonly found in illicit love making. In the beginning it was cute. He would go on at length about his unusual observations convinced that he was on to something new and interesting. His friends accepted this. Everyone was texting, after all, and at all hours too. But Rowan was especially taken with the CrackBerry and the cheap and immediate mode of communication it afforded.

“I was mute,” he wrote, “and now I have voice and am given to speak.”

Christ, he spoke. And wrote. And spoke. For example, if the pomegranates in the fruit section were especially communicative, then he’d text his compadres and tell them so in minute detail. What they looked like, what they said and how they made him feel went out in real time, across space and into the buzzy devices on his friends’ belts. Next came the website and then the e-chat where he indulged his penchant for plums and figs and dates. If it was purple, he was on it, speaking unselfconsciously, red-faced with childish joy.

His friends, grey with middle-age and weighty-responsibilities, grew concerned. Rowan’s unusual predilections were well-known to them, even funny, and were hugely entertaining as long as they remained under wraps. But he was overt now, naming names, and posting photographs, claiming kinship on line with oddities that hid behind avatars with contrived names like “Jack Bunny” and “Rocketman”.

“If he keeps on this way, he will expose us to ridicule and cause us harm,” Gordon Ogden Davis – Rowan’s oldest friend – warned from his corner office on the seventy second floor. He wore a suit, drove a Porsche and, as a pillar of society, knew nothing of fruits purple or otherwise. It was G.O.D. who summoned them and together they hatched a plot on-line. They were business associates, college mates and lovers – the wellspring of Rowan’s literary genius.

“There are rules, and he is breaking them,” G.O.D. continued in Times New Roman. “I will not be his muse.”

Gisela Schonfeld threw back her mass of corkscrewed clavicle-length hair with a deliberate heave; her luxurious breasts, locked in a losing battle with gravity, followed, nearly knocking her off her ergonomic medicine ball. Her physicality had been the subject of Rowan’s most recent blog. A thinly disguised roman à clef, it was as unwelcomed by her as it was celebrated by his enchanted followers.

“I prefer private messaging over face to face,” she typed back in Old Century Schoolbook. Her hands were cold. “It is the way now, isn’t it?”

“Only if you are a coward, which you aren’t,” replied G.O.D. “And he trusts you. He will not see it coming.”

Rowan’s house was a stately pile of ancient stones inherited from his father’s side and was as intimidating to Gisela this day as it had been decades before. Entering the hall she expected kiwi-coloured walls and raspberry tapestries in keeping with her old friend’s new life in e-colour. She found quite the opposite. Muted tones of slate and umber flowed over chocolate walls dramatically framing a man at home in his chilly foyer. Rowan greeted her with arms outstretched.

“I was expecting someone sooner or later. I’m glad it’s you.” He smiled at her and she at once remembered summer, and vinyl LPs and whispers in the backseat of his GTO.

“Damn you,” she melted. Gisela longed for peace, privacy and safety in the surety of what ought to be. “If you knew it was coming, then you knew it was wrong.”

 He shrugged.We don’t smoke anymore. We don’t go out without a helmet. We don’t make a move without asking for permission. Comme ça?”

“Don’t be dramatic Rowan,” she said pushing a misbehaving ginger curl behind a peach-toned ear. “There are other ways to leave the house.”

Ipso facto, my clever girl.” The years separating them fell away and she longed to take him up again. “Now come closer. My wheels are locked.”

Rowan Ican’s chair was chrome and rubber and leather and she had a mind to re-imagine it with a Bimmer logo; a vehicle “For One™”. Funny, how it took nothing to cross the floor and everything to pick up a phone when he needed her most.

“You’re not locked, my love,” she said at last, her peach lobes dancing softly with every undulation of her cherry lips. “All it takes is a flip of a switch and you can move in any direction.” Gisela motioned to the toggle control at his right hand.

“Yes,” he said raising his hands to eye level. “And a mere flourish on a keyboard to bring you back.” Gisela knelt before him. “No. No,” he whispered softly stroking her lined face. “You have to do it. I betrayed you. All of you. Your stories weren’t mine to share.”

“And your accident was ours to ignore. Forgive us?”

Rowan nodded. The computer, buzzing compulsively in the far corner appeared to vie for their attention. But plums and figs had lost their lustre. In the whorls of Gisela’s glowing locks, he was warmed. She was real. Three dimensional. In the round.

“Pull the plug on that damn thing, will you?”

Rocking Transcendence

Not wanting to let that Happy New Year feeling go, I decided to jump in boots first and catch up on some films I’d missed in recent months. Fourteen hours later, I am bleary but grateful. Virtual humanity, immortality, computer psychosis and fibre optic love dominated story lines. In every case, good things went wrong fast, and humanity, with all its foibles, was left to clean up the mess. Trying to parse out the meaning of all of this, and aided in no small part by Kobe, The Occasional Cat, I grabbed for a very excellent bottle of J. Lohr cab sav. The message was clear: Artificial Intelligence fails every time and hoomans aren’t meant to live forever. The cat agreed—no one does his work for him and he has only one life, not nine. Still, I couldn’t synth the message. Transcendence is so darned compelling. Like New Year, it promises BIG THINGS that we can’t yet see, certainly don’t feel, but hope like hell is on the way anyway. So what if I don’t live forever? I have FB, Twitter, a website, and plenty of fine people I’ve never met, connecting to me in ways I could have never imagined as a pimply teenager three decades ago. I might not be gaining intelligence (lol), but I’m reaching beyond my own backyard. While the films I watched suggest that pushing away from the screen is the better way, I cannot help but embrace it all the more. We are writing, using dictionaries, consulting thesaurus, and communicating person to person as never before. If this isn’t life beyond the pall, I don’t know what is. Bests.

Now and Forward

Now and Forward

Hello, and welcome to the rest of my life. In recent weeks, I have been asked to summarize my life, dreams and ambitions, and place these on web pages, blogs and tweets for the world to see. The prospect of doing such a thing was daunting…at first. For as much as I wanted to please those who require such things of me, I could not fathom discussing ‘real life’ things in a public forum. I’m a fiction writer, and as such have tripped many times on the idea that I’m incapable of telling the truth. Hopefully, in the paradox, there lies a perfect circle, beginning and ending with a premise fully realized and proved somewhere in the middle. Does that make sense? I hope not. If everything did, why read or write at all. With only a few hours left in 2014, it becomes important to throw something up on the website I’m currently building. Like the novel Heuer Lost and Found it will take many edits and improvements before my ugly little site attains its ideal. That’s okay. For me, the getting there is better than the “yes” that started it all. More on that later.  For now, dear friends, both old and new, let’s raise a glass to whatever comes next. The journey is everything.

Happy New Year. ABF