Ausable Chasm – Upstate New York Vacation 2014 – Part 2 of….

Ausable Chasm, New York (August 12, 2014)

Ausable Chasm, New York (August 12, 2014)

I’ve wanted to check out Ausable Chasm for quite a long time (here’s their facebook page; tons of cool pictures!). Of all the regional theme parks we visited as kids, The North Pole, The Land of Makebelieve (wow that video brought back some memories!), Gaslight Village, Frontier Town, et cetera, we never made it to Ausable Chasm. On the past couple New York trips my wife and I made, I made an effort to go there, but it was never in the cards. This time, we finally made it and it was fantastic.

The Chasm is located off of New York’s Northway, or I-87, between Exits 34 and 35. They’re 12 miles south of Plattsburgh, NY, and one mile north of Keeseville, on Route 9.

What is Ausable Chasm?

Basically, it’s a gash in the Earth with a river running through it.

Okay, to put it more eloquently, here are the words of Seneca Ray Stoddard:

“AU SABLE CHASM tells the story of the Ages.  Here in enduring rock are the records of that dim past when in the eternity of “the Beginning” the unstable earth reeled and staggered with the pulsations of its heart of fire.

“Here may be found the ripple marks of waves that washed the ancient beach, and the pittings of raindrops that fell when the rock was in its plastic state.  Here are signs of the hardening shell and the shrinking where the thin crust wrinkled and bubbled up to mountain heights, then breaking like crackle-glass, left deep gorges and ragged peaks.

“Then the mighty leveling glaciers followed to grind and polish and fill, and the floods came down out of the mountains of the South loaded with sharp flint and rasping quartz to clear the gorges and gnaw their way deep into the new rock, until, in the fullness of time, stood revealed the “Walled Banks of the Au Sable.”  The story is all there, plain to those who can read its writings.

“To the scientist it is interesting as illustrating rock fracture and erosion; to lovers of the strange and beautiful, a place of wonder.

“-Seneca Ray Stoddard, 1907

We opted for the Walking Tour, it’s about five miles of hiking (okay, walking), but didn’t do the river float. I had hiking boots on, and those apparently aren’t allowed in the rubber rafts (you don’t really need hiking boots, here, sneakers are fine). They did have some more appropriate gear in their gift shop, buuut we didn’t want to spend the money and we’ve already rafted down a couple Colorado rivers, so we know the experience…but we watched the rafters “put in,” when we got to that part of the hike, and it did look like fun!

Little Unknown Critters, Ausable Chasm, NY (Aug 12, 2014)

Little Unknown Critters, Ausable Chasm, NY (Aug 12, 2014)

One of the first things we saw, at the beginning of the trail, was quite curious: a fossil that showed tiny footprints and tail impressions that the sign said were still unidentified.

That captured my imagination!

I mean, here are these tiny creatures way back when, just making their way along some muddy terrain, minding their own beeswax, most likely never giving a thought to their passage (really, I can’t assume the little critters weren’t thinking about their futures, now, can I?), especially that their tracks in the mud would survive them into some incomprehensibly distant future! We were here! those tracks scream, and it was so cool to me. Tiny critters we may never know had passed by this little strip of mud in a distant, foggy past….

Another interesting thing I noticed (but don’t have multiple pictures of) were all the “pointy sticks” angled down on us! As we walked through the chasm, I couldn’t shake the whole “Indiana Jones” feel to everything, and noticing these “pointy sticks,” which were angled trees that lost their footing (and their branches stripped) as the soil eroded away, just fueled that fire! The thundering river, the ancient rocks walls, the brooding shadows, the pointy sticks

Who was watching us from above?

What danger were we walking into?

Would we make it out alive?

Who Made These? What Ancient, Hallowed Grounds Had We Intruded Upon?

Who Made These? What Ancient, Hallowed Grounds Had We Intruded Upon?

Then we passed mysterious cairns….

…happened upon the hidden Nazi substation, secretly observing them as equipment was lowered into the gorge and people were hurriedly evacuating from some hidden horror—my God, what had we gotten ourselves into?

Oh, sorry.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying we got out alive.

Anywaaay…we continued to hike around the five or so miles of trails, including the Inner Sanctum trial, which is the trail mainly depicted in the slideshow below. It ran down and along the river. The hanging bridge was part of another trail we didn’t partake (at another fee we didn’t pay), but we stood really, really close to it and took pictures. We also hiked through a dry chasm., and guess what? It was dry. No river ran through it. It was a cool hike, over and under deadfall and rocks. My favorite kind of hiking. We managed to avoid detection by the roving bands of our unseen threat from above—

Dang it. Gotta stay focused, sorry.

Upon return to the gift shop area (where you can refill your water bottles by simply asking those behind the food counter to do so…or buy a gallon of maple syrup for over $80 [hint: don't do this]…), we found a mini-museum, on the left, right before the restrooms. It talked (“Really?” you ask, “it ‘talked’?” No, it “displayed…”) about the history of the chasm, and how the recent floods had damaged the chasm; how it was rebuilt. Surprisingly, one the most interesting exhibits there to me was the evolution of the Ausable Chasm promotional flyers.

What about all the rocks and flood destruction and history of Seneca Ray Stoddard on display at the museum?

No. My “take away” from the whole museum thing were promotional flyers from the seventies.

You see, I’ve had a certain image of the flyer in my head all these years, from what I’d remembered as a kid, and I’d found it there…it was the 1971 version of the flyer. That was cool to me….

Okay, whatever.

Well, there’s lots more to do there, so, we might have to make another trip to do the Zip line, foil our stealthy antagonists, and find that lost Ark thingy….

Next week, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Boldt Castle!

Enjoy the slide show!

 

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Upstate New York Vacation 2014 – Part 1 of….

What Much Of Where I Lived and Where We Drove Looks Like! (Aug 2014)

What Much Of Where I Lived and Where We Drove Looks Like! (Aug 2014)

Yesterday (as I began this post, on Tuesday, August 19th), my wife and I returned from our trip to upstate New York to see my Dad and stepmom. The trip itself was great, we got to be with family, air out, see some more of upstate NY—you know, all the things vacations are supposed to be about—but the trip to and back was more of something out of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles“!

We took red-eye flights. Haven’t done that in many, many, years. Our flights on the way out were not bad, but the return trip had us having to stay the night at a hotel in the D.C. area. We flew into and out of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Aéroport de Montréal (pronounced “Muh-ree-all”), Canada, something we’ve done in the past, but “done in the past” was, wow, 15-20 years ago, now that I try to put a number on it! Besides the obvious changes, the Canadian roadway changed dramatically…no longer was there that gnarly interchange out of the airport that I missed the last time out. Now, once you get out of the airport, it wasn’t nearly that bad, and when you factor in that we had been picked up and dropped off, that part was stellar! We didn’t rent a car, because to have done so would have cost us over $600! Good Lord, as much as plane fare! The rates themselves weren’t too bad, but, once you added in all the “fees” and “taxes”…then throw in Canadian “fees and taxes”…we about gagged! Do check all those add-ins when making rental car reservations, especially in another country. I mean, I like Canada, but, wow, holy crap on the car rentals, my northern friends!

We left late on a Friday night, to land in O’Hare, at oh-later-thirty, where we spent almost five hours waiting for our connecting flight

O'Hare Airport Slightly Left of 2 a.m. (Aug 9, 2014)

O’Hare Airport Slightly Left of 2 a.m. (Aug 9, 2014)

to Montréal in the early morning, eh? I finally saw a side to O’Hare that I actually liked: the after hours. Yeah, it truly does empty out! When we exited our plane and prepared to “bed down” for the night, one of the airline personnel did a really cool thing after talking with us: she returned with blankets that she handed out to all of us who had to stay the night in the terminal! Thank you, Really Swell Gate Attendant!

So, we took our blankets and sought out a place to lay down (hint: you can ask airline personnel for the least bothered, more quiet gates to bed down in), and hunkered down for the next four or so hours. I read Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep while my wife “slept.” For our last hour, I lay down and closed my eyes, but not sure I really “slept,” either. In any event, I haven’t stayed overnight in an airport since, wow, the College Years? But I really liked how the place empties out and goes “Twilight Zone” in the after hours (by the way also the name of a Twilight Zone episode).

Once we made it to New York, we had a great time, and did some hiking through Ausable Chasm, took a St. Lawrence boat tour of the rich and famous through “The Thousand Islands,” checked out Boldt Castle, and stopped by a couple upstate university book stores where I dropped off some of my novels for their book buyers to hopefully like enough to stock. We also checked out a salmon fish hatchery I used to bike down to as a kid (just outside of Lake Clear). Did our usual drive-bys of Barnum Pond, Lake Clear, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid.  Drove through the Keene Valley area. Visited the St. John’s in the Wilderness cemetery, where I know some of those interred. We even saw some fireworks! And of course: Donnelly’s Corner’s ice cream (where I saw the heinous act of a lady taking a lick of her cone, then tossing it into a trash can! Where’s NY State’s Finest when you need em?). Donnelly’s is the best soft ice cream anywhere!

And…there was even one possibly paranormal—definitely weird—event involving two dogs, one of them living. Wow. It still blows my mind, but more on that (and all the other mentioned activities) later….

As for the return trip, we arrived back at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International aéroport Monday, around 2:20 ET. The long and the short of it was…we didn’t leave the airport until after midnight.

The Gate We Were "86'd" To at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

The Gate We Were “86’d” To at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

Instead of O’Hare, on our return trip we were connecting through Dulles. But as we checked the airport monitors, we noticed our flight to Dulles wasn’t even displayed. It turned out that our plane was late getting into Dulles because of mechanical and weather issues. Nothing one can do about that. And to the “Angry Business Man Who Used the F-Word” who’d been in front of me at a gate attendant counter, you can’t blame the gate attendants! Seriously? This was your first rodeo, Mr. salt-and-peppered-hair, Angry-Business-Man-Who-Used-the-F-Word? Note to you: if you really were that important, I think you would have been on a charter flight. You wouldn’t be in that airport with all the rest of us “little people” taking standard commercial flights. But…to the Calm and Professional Gate Attendant (who told Mr. Angry-Business-Man-Who-Used-the-F-Word to “please watch your language”): you handled it most excellently, sir! International kudos to you!

Note to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International passengers: if your flights are delayed into that airport, they are removed from the flight schedules and the departure monitors, so they might not show up quickly enough on the monitors when delayed. I was also told that there are curfews in Canadian airports, but if flights continued to come and go, you’re allowed to stay, like we were, but otherwise, come curfew time, you will be exited from the airport to a hotel—at the airlines’ expense. The airlines will also give you meal vouchers. We received both. As we hung out at the aéroport , we ate on the airlines dime and met some interesting folk and had some good conversation! Thanks, “John” and “Unnamed Denver IT Dude”!

Another note: though you are given meal and hotel vouchers, if you refuse the hotel voucher and stay the night at the airport, you are

Anonymous Terminal Passenger at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

Anonymous Terminal Passenger at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

supposed to be given a $150 voucher. No one will tell you this, you have to ask (don’t let them try to tell you “they want you to get some rest” before your next flight, if you feel you can stay up; they just don’t want to pay out the dough, is what is really happening, here). And, I believe, it has to be used within 24 hours. That’s all I know, since we didn’t do this, but saw another who did do this. Also, you can be real “slick” and write your requests on a piece of paper instead of talking out loud and alerting other passengers to this little known fact—or anything else you might try to “bargain” for at the gate attendant counters. Doesn’t mean you’ll get any of it, but it might make the attendants feel better that you understand their plight in dealing with all the angry and inconvenienced passengers (if that kinda thing matters to you) and keep your bargaining secret (our hotel voucher was $73. Yeah, try to get a room for that price, without missing a flight, and you see it’s all cheaper than paying out $150 per person)!

We had to make a decision: stay the night in Montréal or in D.C. Thing was, even if we caught our flight out to Dulles, there were no connections until the next morning. Since we’d have to go back through Customs, if we stayed in Montréal, and were told in no uncertain terms that many actually do miss their early morning flights because of Customs (the lines can be quite long, as we witnessed during our near ten hours at P. E. Trudeau), we opted to get outta Dodge and make Dulles. So we did, and in Dulles were given a hotel room, where we caught less than three hours of sleep before we had to make it back to Dulles for the whole TSA ritual, once again. Here, I had to walk through the metal detector 3 or 4 times, because, it turned out, I had a foil wrapped stick of gum in my pocket. Yay. I was surprised I wasn’t strip searched after the second time, to be quite honest. Then my pack had been detained, because, I’d forgotten to dump the water from my water bottle, but other than that, we used our meal vouchers to grab some chow before out flight.

So, we boarded out plane, and quickly realized…we’re in the very last row. You know, the seats that do not recline. And are right in front of the galley.

And the restrooms.

Yes, we’re on first-name basis with every butt on that flight. Just sayin.

I detail all the above, and it might sound rough and sucky, but we really had a fun time, met some interesting people, and took it as much in stride as anyone can on little sleep, and chalked it up to yet another “life experience”; it really wasn’t that bad, and the Aéroport de Montréal is really nice. I like airports and aircraft, like being around them.

The "After Hours" at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

The “After Hours” at Aéroport de Montréal (Aug 18, 2014)

One other thing: before we left for the trip, I had watched a little of the Twilight Zone episode, “Mirror Image.” When I returned from our trip and watched the rest of the episode, it struck me how predictive that little episode was! In it, Millicent Barnes misses her bus because of a “key event”…and on our return trip we ended up missing our connection. It can also be applied to my next post, on my Reality Check blog, titled, One Painting…Two Dogs. Okay, maybe to you it’s “a reach,” but to me not so. I don’t believe in coincidences [that are ignored as not important]…I believe in synchronicity and that everything’s tied to everything else. Don’t ignore all those little events in life!

We had a great time in NY, and, to be honest, if was kinda fun not knowing what would happen and when and living in the moment, with all these flight gyrations. Sure, no one likes to be inconvenienced, but I took the “time” to consciously live in the moment and enjoy whatever came our way. Go with the flow. As my wife napped (no one every really sleeps in airports, or so the saying goes…) I reveled in the Twilight Zone-like atmosphere of the fast emptying airports, soaked up the “deserted ambiance,” and read my King novel. Walked the emptied halls and gates. Observed all the in-the-background maintenance folks who come out at night…or who are summarily ignored and “unobserved” during the day, going about their jobs keeping things cleaned and stocked with toilet paper.

It was all good.

On Monday, check out my other blog, Reality Check, for a paranormal experience, titled, One Painting…Two Dogs. In the coming weeks I’ll post about Ausable Chasm, the St. Lawrence boat tour, Boldt Castle, and all the rest of the fun stuff we did!

Tron Talk Interview Today

Tune in to I-25 Talk Radio, with host “Tron-in-the-morning” Tron Simpson (@TRONSHOW) on his show, Tron Talk, at 0735 MT.

Go to http://i25talk.co, select Listen LIVE I-25 Talk Colorado Springs!

Released: Psychic—The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory!

© Psychic (F. P. Dorchak and Duvall Design, coming mid-2014)

© Psychic (F. P. Dorchak and Duvall Design, coming mid-2014)

A hotline psychic.

Ghost children.

A lost teenager.

JFK.

A man-in-black.

Remote viewers.

A Man With No Name.

The 1990s.

After 20 years, it’s finally making it out into the world!

Psychic.

I started with the idea and began taking notes and research and all that back in 1994. I started actually writing the book in earnest, in 2000. And now—in 2014—Psychic is finally released! My longest (published) work so far, at 328 pages. It has been a long, hard road, and (I must say) I’m quite happy with the result…looking forward to how it will be received!

Psychic is now available at both the  CreateSpace eStore and Amazon.com. It will be available at the following outlets in the following timeframes:

  • Amazon.com: 3-5 Business Days (already available!)
  • Amazon Europe: 3-5 Business Days
  • Expanded Distribution channels: 6-8 Weeks

I’ve talked about this a little before (I’m sure, in some other post besides this one, but can’t seem to find it…), but Psychic was not an “easy” book. No, not at all. Nearly all of my manuscript first drafts were “easy” in that I just wrote them out—without an outline—I’d just sit down, put my fingers to the keyboard, and out came the story. I like to say I “vomit out” first drafts (ask me about my “fish” story—I love to tell it!). First drafts have taken me about a month or less, but it would be in the next several years where I’d work and rework the heck out of those manuscripts. None of them was any trouble, though…it was just the necessary mechanics of putting in the time, the research, the effort.

Psychic was different.

To be honest, it was a slog. Even as I wrote the very first words, the first draft, it was like running through water…or (more like) a swamp. I can’t explain it. It was the first manuscript that took any real effort on my part. And the antagonist, Victor NMI Black…he actually scared me. Whether or not it was the actual character or the idea of such an evil man like him possibly existing out there (physically or nonphysically…). I remember taking a walk one day, in the brilliant Colorado daylight, thinking about this guy…how nasty and “evil” he was…and actually got nervous…felt…uneasy—even while chiding myself in broad daylight that he was just a frigging character in a novel I had created, and I had control over him….

But did I…really?

The very idea of this guy scared me. He was flat-out mean. It surprised me that feeling of momentary fear I felt during that walk. To the story, well, that will remain to be seen from its readers if I did the proper job of transferring that image into the novel,  but, to me, on a nonphysical, conceptual level, this character was extremely distasteful and scary.

It was like the idea of him was far too real.

Anyway, it’s not so much that I had “problems” with the story, the work, or anything “about” it, it’s just that it had a totally different energy about it. The novel involves messing around with the nonphysical in the physical. About fucking around with our sense of what’s real and what’s not. Our ability to utilize abilities that might well be considered out of our moral range. Not to mention such considerations, like, can facts change? If I really wanted to get all weird about it—all conspiracy theory on your asses—it was almost as if there really was some weird psychic conspiracy trying to keep this novel from coming out…actively and continually interdicting and meaconing me away from my efforts….

But I don’t really believe that.

Not now.

<checking outside my office…the rest of the house…all locks are locked—it is oh-dark-thirty right now….>

Sure, such considerations and stories make for great promotional copy, but the reality of it is that each book is different. Each book has its own energy, and given the nature of the story, what I experienced was and is totally in keeping with the nature of the story’s energy. The whole absolute weirdness of it all. In fact, while working on the formatting of the manuscript for upload, my formatter, Pam Headrick (of A Thirsty Mind), sent me a strange e-mail: “Wow, Frank, what did you do?” She mentioned that there were all kinds of “odd anchors” and “strange text placement,” to which I replied I’d forgotten how I’d actually had problems with the file months ago (after a system upgrade) and had to save the file in a slightly different format to get it to work. How the system kept hanging and saves took, like, 15 minutes!

Find your happy place…find your happy place….

Psychic is “an extension” of Sleepwalkers. I could call it a series, but I don’t know that that would be quite right. Sleepwalkers is quite a different book than Psychic. Sleepwalkers is a pleasant metaphysical road trip, funny, philosophical, even a bit Richard Bach-ish, while Psychic is a nasty trip on the wild side of psychic activity. More dense. I’d use the term “complicated” but am finding that term overused and trite. And the only character common to both novels is the Man With No Name. Granted, perhaps less has been made of calling a collection of books “a series,” but I just prefer to think of them as “related.” Maybe I’m just resistant to the whole “series thing,” given how trad publishing is glutting the market with them, I don’t know (and I’m really resistant to being told what to do—real or implied). So…

I’ll bill Psychic as the ultimate conspiracy theory, and leave it as that.

It’s an alternate reality not only to Sleepwalkers (and deals with the Man With No Name’s origins) but to our “known” reality. Deals with the dark side of life we may never really know about…what goes on in the shadows of our so-called truths….

It’s about obfuscation.

The evil men can do.

Perceptions.

Probabilities.

Metaphysics.

Have you ever felt a different version of you (the “you,” here and now, not in some other reincarnational existence) did something else? Behaved differently? Maybe even died earlier than the you reading this, now?

What do we really know about our reality? Our facts? How aware are we of what we think we know? How much of what we hear and read are true—or were true at some point?

Do we notice when things…change?

Or do we dismiss the seeming inconsistencies in our lives and immediately discount them, because they don’t make sense with everything else we think we know and see in our lives? What we think is a solid “fact”? Hey, I put my ring right there—where the hell is it?

Psychic says, don’t discount this stuff. Do not ignore. Pay attention. The devil is in the details. Do you absolutely remember something that is different from what everyone around you is remembering? I’m telling you, no, you may not be crazy.

Pay attention.

One might well ask: so what? What does it all mean and why should I care? Can we actually do anything about any of this? Can we effect any real change in a world that seems to be running amok?

The easy answer to that is that I’m an eternal optimist. I’ve plugged away at this novel for 14 years of my life, 20, in one way or the other. I always believe we can effect good and positive change in the world…and I believe once you’re made aware of “things,” made aware that, yes, facts really can change—that each and every one of us can change them—it opens up a new, exciting world for all of us. And…

What do you believe?

Will Psychic change the way you believe? How you perceive the world? Your life? That’s up to each reader. Life is all about beliefs.

What we believe drives how we behave.

In the end, Psychic is “just” a novel. It’s fiction. Victor Black…fictional. Yes, there are lots of facts in there, even a few facts from my own life. Weirdness, like the ring scene (yes, that really did happen, as did another similar experience, “The Grape“). And the “rototiller” and “Woomera” scenes. Facts, as you’ll see, aren’t always what they appear to be…if they ever were.

I do have a bunch of people to thank in getting Psychic released, and they’re all on my Acknowledgement page in the book, but I have to spotlight a couple of them: lots of thanks to Karen Duvall, of Duvall Design for the cover, to Pam Headrick, of A Thirsty Mind Book Design, for formatting the files…and to Joyce Combs and Mandy Pratt for copyediting and proofreading! With all the back and forth I’ve done, initially setting the novel in milieus, like 2005, then updating it for the likes of (man…the years, they pass by oh-so-quickly…) 2007, 2010, 2012, and even 2014…I finally settled upon 1994. Adding and removing all the details  for each of those years was time consuming, to say the least, and it was here that Mandy did a great job keeping me on track and proofing my work!

I am currently only doing a trade paperback book. I find that e-books really aren’t selling all that great (for me), so am putting off creating those for later. So, don’t despair, at some point in the future, I’ll do the e-book version.

Where do I go from here?

I do still have some unreleased work in the various dark places within which I keep things like these, and will be revisiting yet another one. This one will be #7 in my list. Yeah, the “unnamed” one. We’ll see how that one goes and whether or not it will get released. After that one, I may get back to work on the one I started in 2011 (#11), but that’s so far into the future and who knows what the “facts” will be by that time…where I will be in my probable and alternate realities…but I do have a ton of work to keep me busy for a number of years, and would even love to compile a collection of my short stories….

With any of my work, feel free to pass on any of the graphics from my blog posts, tweets, Pinterest, et cetera (though I ask that you render proper attribution). If you need a book or a speaker at your local library, book club, or writer’s group, either in person or via phone/Skype, please, feel free to contact me, at fpdorchak “at” fpdorchak dot com (or leave a comment in a blog post). Post reviews at your favorite websites (if you’d like a book for a book review, please contact me at the above email). Need to fill a blog post? Interview me! Direct me to a library and I’ll send them some free copies. If you come up with any ideas, again, contact me at the above e-mail address. If you’d like a signed copy, send it to the following address: F. P. Dorchak, P. O. Box 49393, Colorado Springs, CO 80949. Take my books to work or the gym and flaunt their covers! Tweet and blog about them! Any way you can all help out to get the word out is hugely appreciated! Mention me to radio shows. Local writer conferences. Reader groups. Send my social media links.

As always, thank you for all your support! I can’t thank you all enough! Publishing is a team effort, and I always manage to find a great team—but part of that team is also the readers! I love what I’m doing and all the support I’m getting from all of you!

And again…pay attention to the details of your lives…let nothing escape your notice, however “insignificant” those details may appear.

What does it all mean?

I think that’s up to each of us to figure out.

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Psychic Cover "Flat" (© F. P. Dorchak and Duvall Design, 2014)

Psychic Cover “Flat” (© F. P. Dorchak and Duvall Design, 2014)

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Discovery Channel Old School

Serling on the Shelf: Rescuing Rod

fpdorchak:

I am a huge Rod Serling fan, so this was cool to find out about from fellow blogger Paul Gallagher!

Originally posted on Shadow & Substance:

I have on my shelves a dog-eared paperback edition of Rod Serling’s 1967 book “The Season To Be Wary.” It sits near similarly worn copies of several other books that he either wrote or edited. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you one bit, but WHY I have them might.

Serling Promo2

It’s not because I love old books (though I do). It’s because when I first began acquiring copies of Serling’s volumes, they were out of print.

You don’t have to be an obsessive fan like me to be struck by that fact. One of the most famous writers of the 20th century, and his books were less accessible than James Patterson’s? As Serling might say, file that under “L” for “literary crime.”

Enter Rod Serling Books.

44

View original 458 more words

An opportunity missed…

fpdorchak:

Okay, this is interesting!

Originally posted on Abominations:

Looks like I just missed my chance to pick up a hitch-hiking robot:

http://www.hitchbot.me

View original

Ring Around The Rosies….

I love this video! It is utterly creepy and, curiously, about 99.9% of the lyrics actually fit my 4th novel, Psychic, though it’s not a horror story.

When I began Psychic, back in the haze of the past, this children’s rhyme popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. As I wrote the novel, the rhyme beautifully integrated itself into the story…and as I researched the rhyme, I found that its origins were also shrouded into its own “haze of the past.”

This link (thank you, Mandy Pratt!) covers a lot of ground, and is a great place to start in trying to uncover the ambiguous origin to these words. It seems greatly debated and bandied about. Even some conclusions seems “jumped to,” if you ask me. But, people are people, no matter if they were lab coats, swing a sledgehammer, or study folklore. We all have our opinions, based upon whatever information we base them upon.

Here are the lyrics I use in my novel:

Ring around the rosy,

A pocketful of posies,

Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down….

I did research the rhyme a little and did find there were different versions, which I found interesting, but given how I was going to use the rhyme, the above-chosen lyrics were perfect.

As the above link shows, there is great debate over the rhyme’s lyrics, but, sometimes, I feel, the most obvious is the answer, whether or not one can prove it. Whether it’s describing the Black Death of 1347 or the Great Plague of 1665, it does, indeed, seem to describe elements of a nasty disease. Perhaps it’s like our present-day version of cancer, where most people don’t even like to joke about it, lest they tempt the Fates themselves, maybe, back in the 1300s and 1600s it was so fresh in mind that most didn’t even want to attribute anything to it, whether it was a rhyme or a personal action. But one line in this link‘s analysis really gets me: “Moreover, in many versions, everyone gets up again once they have fallen down, which hardly makes sense if falling down represents death.”

Um, you’re kidding me, right?

Unless everyone whoever acts out this rhyme actually stays on the ground—forever—you can never really, totally act out “death.” The rhyme is representative, not literal.

As to why there are so many variants of the rhyme? Did you miss the part where the first version of the Plague had ravaged most of Europe? Yeah, there are multitudes of different cultures in Europe. Why wouldn’t there be different versions? Wouldn’t the curious mind more marvel at the fact that there were so many similar variants, instead? In fact, even in today’s world (and I maintain that people are people and we’re really not all that inherently different from our forefathers and mothers), today’s song writers, lyricists, novel writers, we all take and borrow from that which already exits and modify it—hell, look at me, what I’m doing with the rhyme, look at this video, above! It is the nature of things to change, to morph, for humans to want to modify and transform. To me (and I’m truly stunned at folklorists) that this is not factored into their historical equations! Especially with something as far-flung and widespread as the Plague.

And, maybe, the Plague was so known to the inhabitants of the post-Plague world that—to them—it was a given. That this minor little soon-to-be-nursery rhyme was inspired by the grisly events from which they had all just survived, and they had more important diary entries to worry about….

If it looks, smells, and feels like the Plague…yeaaah, maybe it really is the Plague….

In any event, I found and find all this debate fascinating. Even on a “Zen level,” without being able to document “hard evidence,” the nonphysical concept of the Plague maxed out the psyche of the world and found itself inspiring many forms of creativity without the purveyors realizing it…or maybe all the “creatives” did realize it, but never talked about it, or admitted to it in public. This would be akin to today’s world when one person writes a story and another feels they stole their idea, because, hey, they were writing about that, too, so the “only way” this could happen would be that the other somehow found out about the other’s work and plagiarized them. I truly believe that this happens more than people realize, buuut, we can’t prove this kind of thing in a court of law.

Yet.

So, go ahead, replay the video, I know you want to (I’m gonna), and enjoy the stunning creepiness of a new take on the whole “ring around the rosies” controversy…and look out for Psychic, when it comes out, next week….

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Going Indie—What I’ve Learned (So Far)—Part 11

Forge Your Own Way. (By Morrowlong [CC-BY-SA-3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0] or GFDL [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]

Forge Your Own Way. (By Morrowlong [CC-BY-SA-3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0] or GFDL [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons]

It’s truly never-ending.

When you’re doing everything yourself—and by “yourself” I do mean having a team, but though you do have a team, you’re still in charge—you never really get a break. And that’s okay, because, in this instance, it truly is a labor of love.  But, you can only push yourself so far without adversely affecting your health, relationships, that kind of thing. It’s like I’ve said before, you can only do what you can do. Don’t fret about it…but do your best.

Indie publishing.

I’ve been working on my Psychic manuscript since before 2000. I’d originally started notes and chapter one around 1994, actually, when I’d discovered that our government claimed to have disbanded a classified remote viewing program. It gave me a story idea, so I began notes and such, but it wasn’t until 2000 that I sat down in earnest and began the task I’m still trying to complete. This month, I hope to finally complete it. And though I’ve been working on this project for a large frigging part of my life (surprisingly, this is the manuscript I’ve worked the longest, good God—20 years, if you count when I started taking notes—man that just hit me as I write this!), the difficulty has largely been the timeframe of the book. I’ve had to change the dates and ages and technology numerous times in trying to get this thing out there. And, as I’m wrapping things up, I’m still discovering little nit-noy shit (even though I have a proofreader), like the age of my antagonist at certain events, or the need to again change his weapon of choice. It’s become maddening. I am, however, finding this stuff before my proofreader will find it (she’s still reading and not yet at the end), but it’s frustrating! So, once again, I have to go back in and make corrections. But, that’s the way this works. Unless you do have another set of eyes…and even perhaps despite that, you may still find errors, because no one knows your story like you do.

Good Lord, 20 years?

Hopefully, what you find are not egregious errors…but even so, remember, even with the Big Dogs (the Big Five/Whatever) readers find errors. We’re human, and we make mistakes.

So, here is my latest round of things I’ve discovered:

  1. We’re human, we make mistakes. Accept that, but do your best. Have a thick skin, and readers…be kind. Understand this, fact, too.
  2. Blurbs? As I’d written in a previous post, I’m no longer seeking them…but to those I’ve already gathered, I’m going to use. Again, I reiterate: all those who have written me a cover blurb have actually read my work.
  3. Copyright your work! There is a really good post on this, and it got my ass in gear, now all my work is copyrighted. I always meant to do this, it got lost in the shuffle, so, thanks, Susan (Susan Spann has been most helpful to our writing community)!
  4. Don’t respond to e-mails with your favorite (or any, for that matter!) music blasting away! You could get carried away! There, I said it. You think that’s a stupid thing to say, but I love rock and roll, and, well, yes, sometimes I can get a little carried away with the energy of it. Music can and does change your state of mind, and you don’t want to get cocky. Just sayin’.
  5. Putting a price on your cover. When I first noted this item, I was of the mind to put a price on your book when printing the cover (if you can). It’s been mentioned a couple times on sites/sellers of books. I’ve asked my community about it, and I don’t remember anyone responding, so I don’t take it as being all that important. The more I thought about it, the more I came up with: why? In today’s world, that only really seems applicable to brick-and-mortar bookstores. So, I’m backing off the need for that. I don’t think you need to have that anymore. That’s old school (unless someone reading this can give me a good reason to do so). Everyone discounts books, even the brick-and-mortar stores. Indie authors cut deals left and right. Why would this be a necessity anymore?
  6. Be quick to apologize! Never be afraid to say you’re sorry for something you may have done, even if you’re not sure you’ve actually done something wrong. I am constantly amazed at how few people in the world actually apologize for anything, especially men. You got it. Men, friggin Man-the-HELL-up and take goddamn responsibility for your actions. I see it so much in my day job it pisses me off (and had another experience with exactly this just yesterday!). I forget why I’d originally included this item, but the point is salient. Get off your Ego Podiums!
  7. WP blogging: check that your saves are actually saved! Good Lord, this bites me more than I care to consider—and other WP bloggers! Yet, every time I contact WP about this, it’s like the first time they’ve ever heard about it! It’s not, WP, so please, fix the damned issue! Below the post window, on the right, there’s a “Draft saved at…” timestamp, and below that is a “Revisions” history. Checks these areas frequently!  Can’t emphasize this enough! Check them every time you save, to make sure your save—whether it’s a “Ctrl-S” or “Save Draft” selection—that they actually have taken. Especially if you’ve completed an initial post then been away from that post for a long time, like hours or days, and come back. Copy your text into Word or Notepad as you’re working. Highlight and copy into your clipboard what you’ve worked on periodically. If you happen to get a message that has the words to the effect “Do you really want to do this“…it’s too late. You’re screwed. You’ll keep what you last entered and saved, but anything after that last “official” save is forever gone.
  8. Cut your losses. If something’s not working out for you, detach yourself from it. Remove yourself from it. I recently had to do that with something with which I’d been associated for a very long time. It’s going  its way, I’m going mine. C’est la vie. Move on. Don’t keep the “bad energy” in your Weltanschauung. Don’t bad talk whatever it is…just move on.
  9. Not all advice is good. Everyone has an opinion, just like me, but not everything we give will work for you. And—I have to say this—not everyone knows what they’re talking about! Not everyone truly understands Indie publishing! And…some are actively trying to still discredit Indie publishing, because they’re in Traditional publishing, are pissed, scared, Old School, whatever, and are trying to interdict, spoof, and (argh, I’ve forgotten the term!) intentionally direct you away from your chosen path. Be aware. Consider all you hear with a block of salt. And remember this: there are always a million reasons not to do something…but, you only need to find one reason to change. Make the break and create a new path for yourself. This, however, is one guy who has his shit together: Bob Mayer. Read his stuff.
  10. Not everything you write is publishable! This should be obvious! Going Indie may give you license to publish everything you write, but everything you write is not necessarily publishable.
  11. Keep writing.

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ERO v. Extant

ERO (© F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner, 2013)

ERO (© F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner, 2013)

Okay, let’s have some fun!

Based on the trailers alone, for this new TV SF series that starts tomorrow, I’m going to begin comparing my novel, ERO with Extant. I see some basic similarities, so I’m going to start a tweet campaign. I’m gonna keep it light and fun, and try to stick to “the facts.” I urge all of you to do the same! Feel free to tweet any similarities or miscompares between the two items!

So,I’ll begin, here:

ERO has a solo astronaut in a space station…Extant has a solo astronaut in a space station.

ERO has a hot chick, Extant has a hot chick.

Extant is produced by Steven Spielberg…ERO is produced (and written) by…uh, ummm…me.

Extant is a movie…ERO, my readers say, should be a movie!

ERO has a creepy guy in a space station…Extant also has a creepy guy in a space station.

So, okay, that’s the idea! Have fun and tweet away! Let’s see what kinds of comparisons we can come up with!

My Twitter handle is @fpdorchak

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