Words. They Affect Us.

Make The Right Choice. (By Realart Pictures Corporation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Make The Right Choice. (By Realart Pictures Corporation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Isn’t it amazing how words affect a person?

Oddly enough, this really hit home as my wife and I were watching Birdman—a movie we both loved. But there was a scene in there when Michael Keaton’s character, Riggan, was baring his soul about why he was doing what he was doing, and Edward Norton’s character, Mike, basically tells him his reason was based on a lie. Riggan believes him. Questions his life (there was more than one scene like this, but this one in particular really drove my point home to me), really hit me.

The words we say…write…have incalculable power. They can destroy relationships and topple governments. They can also soothe and bring together. Yet we don’t seem to really respect the power of our words when we speak them. We say things we wish we could take back. We’re flippant and uncaring of those we hurt.

We claim we just say it “like it is.”

That we’re only “being honest.”

But is that really the truth?

This can all be applied to both the spoken and written word: what if it’s not so much “honesty” we’re being…as lazy? What if…we’re just not putting in the time and effort to be more observant of the distant end of our conversations? We’re not putting in the effort to tailor our vocal or written expositions to be more considerate of the situation or persons with which we are interacting?

As writers, we like to think that we’re considering each and every word we put down. We like to think we ask the tough questions, explore the uneasy avenues. But when we write or voice brutal, even nasty reviews or opinions about someone or something…are we really putting in the needed effort? What’s the real point in tearing down another’s work, even if it is in the public domain? To prove you’re better? That another sucks? Why? Why does it really matter? In writing that book review, what’s the real reason you’re being ruthless about your opinion of a weak plot, lame characters, or poor writing? To show your mastery and command of your native language?

Why must there be so much accusatory finger-pointing and negativity?

Show your mastery of your native language by avoiding “the nasty” and discussing the item at hand by “taking the High Road.” Whatever that means.

When talking at parties, don’t be so ready to pick apart another’s work or talk behind another’s back. Spread gossip. In fact, do you really even have to talk about something you don’t like at all? Is there really so little you do like to talk about that you have to tear down other people’s efforts? Other people? Is there so little good in the world that you have to constantly visit the negative?

And I’m not just talking about writers.

Lately, I seem to be running into so many people who seem to have nothing good to say. I recently stood in a line and as I listened to the various conversations going on, I realized not one person had one good thing to say about anything. Don’t you see how this will color your outlook on life? How it will color your actions and thoughts? If all you talk about is the negative, how can you be positive?

How can you be a good person and how can you spread goodness and positive energy?

Everything in this world starts with you.

Your thoughts. Your actions.

And, as in Riggan’s case, if you know the real truth behind an action…an action that another used as a corner-stone upon which they created their life (in a good way)…why spoil it for others? Keep it to yourself. If it doesn’t hurt anyone, allow that person to live their life and exist as they choose to.

Words have power. Words contain energy.

Energy is Life.

Focus on only using, attracting, and putting out only good energy.

And if you’re gonna nail me and this post with propagating “Pollyanna nonsense,” you’re missing the very deep, very soulful and salient point. Please reconsider your thoughts and reread this post.

Namaste!

I Need To Be Nicer

Relax. Enjoy the Ride. (By Sstasi (Own work) [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)

Relax. Enjoy the Ride. (By Sstasi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I’m only human…as far as you know.

So, I occasionally get caught up in things. One of those things seems to be posting about so many negative situations. How broke things are. How screwed up they are. And though there seems to be a lot of material to choose from…I don’t want to be that person. I think I made this pledge once before.

So, I’m going to again renew my pledge and try not to be so negative about the way things are in publishing (for example)…am going to (once again) try to take that “High Road” I keep talking about and discuss things in a more positive light. There may be the occasional “WTF” thrown in there, because (again) I’m only human (again, as far as you know), but, for the most part, I’m going to regroup and not be a doomsayer.

For example:

Yes, there are definite issues in the world of publishing and Big Business in general, but there are also the good. As much as I might have complained about the state of publishing, there are still some great works coming out. And most people, I truly feel, really do try to do their best at whatever they’re working on. As for the rest of the ill-intended and evil out there…I’m not going to stick my head in the sand and declare everything’s all right, blah x 3…I just don’t have to focus on it. I don’t want my posts to be rants portraying the negative side of life. I want my posts to be entertaining and informative. Something you’ll look forward to reading…something I’ll look forward to writing. I want my posts to be fun and reinforce the better side of life, the GOOD side. The optimistic. Because (I’m sure I’ve also said this before) there’s far more GOOD in the world than bad. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be, here, discussing all this in the first place. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention that there are definite metaphysical aspects to all this, too, as in…you get what you attract in life.

So…I promise to do better. To return to that “happy otter” I used to be. I think I just got caught up in all the debris we’ve been getting from all this rain….

I already have some posts pre-set to post in the next couple weeks, so bear with me if they’re still a little on the negative side, but after this month, I promise to keep a brighter attitude. Maybe it’s just in my head and hasn’t really come out in to my posts…but I’ve felt the slightly negative focus.

Time for a change!

My apologies and thank you for reading!

I Can Work On My Novel….

I'm Dyin' Here. (By Rafi B. from Somewhere in Texas : Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

I’m Dyin’ Here. (By Rafi B. from Somewhere in Texas : Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Being a writer used to be unique and “different”…like being an astronaut used to be…but, now, well, everybody seems to be doing it.

“Hey, while traveling the world with my spouse, I think I’ll work on my novel….”

or

“Gee, now that I’m laid off, I can finally work on my novel….”

or

“My cousin’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt knew a guy who knew this girl who made tons writing her first award-winning NYT’s best-seller romantic fantasy dystopian zombie mainstream young adult novel that actually went to auction….”

Was the uniqueness of writing something that attracted me to it? No, not even. It was always the whole writing bit that I’d just gravitated to…and it wasn’t like I was sitting there throwing darts at “Things to do When I Grow Up”…it was just something that organically emerged from within at a young age.

Right, like every thirty-something out there, today. Twenty-something. Teen-something. I’m waiting for the first Ga-Ga Doodle Book from an infant-something….

I’ve always played with words. Some would say I’m just playing with punctuation, too, but that’s another story.

So, what’s a unique job today? What can I shoot for when I grow up that is not commonplace, with all these millions now becoming astronauts and best-selling noveliers?

What could I do to make a living at The Unique?

Let’s see..I could be:

A snowplow driver.

A bounty hunter.

A magician.

Stuntman.

Police sniper.

Grave digger.

Life coach.

Animal actor…agent.

Coroner.

Dolphin trainer.

Elephant trainer.

Oooh…ice cream truck driver!

Zamboni mechanic.

Well, there are plenty of odd and weird unique jobs I could look into…but, clearly what I’m really looking for…is for all of you aspiring writers out there to take a hard look at any of the above interests.

Now.

Really.

So that I can get back to working on my own novels without all of your interference….

What Ever Happened to Book Editors?

Do It Right. (Tacoma Narrows Bridge, by RustyObjects {Own work} [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

Do It Right. (Tacoma Narrows Bridge, by RustyObjects {Own work} [CC BY-SA 3.0 {http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0}], via Wikimedia Commons)

Book editors.

We all have images in our heads of what they are. What they do.

But are our images correct?

Marjorie Braman’s article, “What Ever Happened to Book Editors” got me to remembering the first time I’d ever heard about the real working lives of publishing editors. It was at a writer’s conference. From the very editors themselves. What I’d heard sounded more like my own work life (minus the specific book stuff)…meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Budgets. Schedules. Reading queries. Writing flap copy—oh, and trips.

I didn’t hear a whole lotta editing going on in those offices.

Now, they did tell us that any editing they did they had to do on their own time…at home. After looong days at work. So, they had that going for their job descriptions.

But what Marjorie’s article brings out is that publishers believe it’s all about acquiring and selling. She was flat-out told by her publisher at the time—as she says, “almost in passing”—that “We don’t pay you to edit.” She says that one little quip meant to her (and rightly so, as I’ve gathered over the years I’ve experienced being in the publishing world) was that editing is no longer important. It’s all about buying and selling. She says this has been true since she came into the business in 1985.

This date, I found curious.

You see, I started getting serious about writing around that time (May of 1987). I still have my original log books—see, I even started treating it as a profession back then…doing it every day, studying it, going to critiques groups, keeping track of all my work.

But, man, talk about being a day late and a dollar short in an industry where editors were editors and authors were cultivated!

On the flip side to Marjorie’s article is that she became a freelance editor and left trad publishing, so all of the above no longer applied to her. Now…she’s full-bore into helping authors write the best books possible.

But what she’d described above is what I’m seeing everywhere: the constant focus on the bottom line to every business. It’s all gone to bean counting. Bean counters are even making heady corporation direction decisions, all based upon what’s making money and what’s not. That’s not a good perspective. A good perspective would be the overall picture/health of a company and what needs to be reworked…sometime a “minor” correction in one department can generate huge, positive outcomes (yes, even positive revenue generation) elsewhere. It’s not just a “this makes money and this doesn’t.” What is working and what isn’t…how can we improve processes…more intelligently schedule…make better use of existing capabilities…make a better product/give a better service…and the rest will follow?

How can we publish better books?

Better cultivate authors?

Not just sell crap cause crap sells?

If all you have is crap (or “the same old thing”) available…that’s all anyone can buy. If you don’t challenge people, they do not grow.

A fair cost-benefit analysis (again, I find this different and more in-depth and useful than a mere “this makes money…this doesn’t…” indignance).

Just how much of a profit is really needed for an industry to survive?

Hire the people you need…staff the actual positions with qualified individuals…cultivate better authors…and let editors do what editors are supposed to be doing. I know all this “costs.” So do books. And there are other options out there for readers…for writers.

My dad always used to say, if you’re gonna do something…do it right, for God’s sake.

 

 

X-Files Returns!

I just post my Intruders post when I see this X-Files tweet. I’ve known about the X-Files return since it was announced, but I really wanted to make this Intruders show known and hope it does return (Glen Morgan is associated with both The Intruders and The X-Files)!

Anywho, check out the updated information on the X-Files!

The Truth is Out There.

 

The Intruders

I LOVE this series.

This is my new X-Files.

Finally! A show worthy of the X-Files legacy, yet kick-ass all in its own right!

And I near missed it, if it hadn’t been for one of my Twitter friends, Cindy, aka @Mater2Six. On the day of  its first or second airing, she asked me if I’d heard of it. I hadn’t. I went looking. I’d missed it.

Then found it!

Quite fitting for this show.

I found the online site and watched the first two episodes back-to-back staying up until 2 a.m. or something when they were still airing the online versions. This show just grabs you by the throat and it don’t let go! Admittedly, the first episode was a little jarring, but just stay with it. It all fits, it all works.

And the character of Maddie. Oh. My God. This girl is killer!

I’m posting this some seven months later, because the post had gotten lost in the shuffle! I had meant to post this back in October, but things had gotten quite busy for me. I hope it…returns…I visited their website, but didn’t find anything talking about its (if you click the Qui Reverti links, it gives stuff away, so don’t select them if you want to catch the episodes first) Qui Reverti return. I do hope we see it again this Fall. In the meantime you can look for it at these locations (which I haven’t tried, so I hope some are still in operation). You can also buy on Amazon.

But…but…Qui Reverti! It can‘t die!

The show is inspired by the 2007 Michael Marshal novel of the same name.

Of course, maybe Shepherd got to the producers….

Award Winning…What?!

Seriously?

Award Winning-Expertly-Milled-in-the-USA-Gold Medal-Premium Quality-Over-125-Years-of-Baking-Success-Enriched-Bleached-Presifted-All-Purpose Author, F. P. Dorchak (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak composition of some really, pretty damned good flour).

Award Winning-Expertly-Milled-in-the-USA-Gold Medal-Premium Quality-Over-125-Years-of-Baking-Success-Enriched-Bleached-Presifted-All-Purpose Author, F. P. Dorchak (© 2015, F. P. Dorchak composition of some really, pretty damned good flour).

When I see this associated with any author and not a bag of flour I cringe and immediately get all pissy.

It seems, methinks, that every author I come across has won some kind of award.

Even me.

My blog won a Liebster Award in 2013. Does that make me “award-winning?”

Oh, and I did take second place in a PPWC writing contest way back in ’92.

Award winning?

Now, I’m not trying to diminish everyone’s hard-won and legitimate successes, I’m really not, but it just really bugs me that I see so many “award winning” authors out there that, well, have awards from places I’ve never heard of or are awards that are, what I consider, kinda “incestuous” to only the organization “awarding” it.

Or such books are so labeled and I’ve never heard of them.

Or, you know, that they’re labeled at all.

It doesn’t even matter the reasoning behind it…it just annoys me on principle.

Yeah. It does.

I mean, “Hugo winner” used to mean something until I read Bob Mayer’s post. Same with NYT’s and WSJ’s Best seller lists, when I read somewhere how these are “fixed” (wish I could find that article but this one will serve the point).  I just don’t believe much in any award-winning labels anymore.

Except for flour. The stuff that works really, really well. And tastes good, too.

I’ve read some “award winners” and wasn’t all that impressed with most of what I’ve read (not counting Hugo winners when I was a kid; it seemed that might have meant something back in the day…but I’ve also found when I tried to reread some of the fiction I read as a kid that I thought had been great…that the writing actually wasn’t all that well-written, so am still kinda up-in-the-air about the whole thing…)

I’ve removed the Liebster award image from my blog. I felt weird putting it there in the first place and have wanted to remove it for a while and just never got to it. It was fun answering the questions and nominating others I thought really deserved it—and I truly thank and appreciate the guy who nominated me for it, I really do, that was très cool of you, Samir—but I really don’t want to get into all that “award labeling.” I’ve never been one for “pomp and circumstance” (not a fan of it while in the military…still not). Let the “thing” (whatever it is) stand and speak for itself.

I mean, do you ever really see or hear anything about “Stephen King, award-winning author…”? No. All you hear is:

Stephen King.

Then you pee your pants, clean up, know exactly what is meant by “Stephen King” (his name is always italicized). You don’t need any adjectives or adverbs or whatever those modifier-thingees are supposed to be called before or after his name.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Okay, okay, I know…there’s also the whole “best selling” debate, and King and others have been so labeled, but that kinda dilutes my whole argument so I’m just gonna ignore it. My blog, my topics.

The upshot of either discussion is that I don’t want to be coached into what you’re bringing to the table…I just want to see what your words do to me.

I want to read the jacket copy…take in the cover…check out what’s between the covers (kinda like checking out what’s between a person’s ears…). Now, I don’t have to like what’s between the covers…but I can certainly appreciate the wielded skill. I feel that way about a couple of authors I’ve read—damn good authors but don’t like what they write. I really can appreciate kick-ass writing even if I don’t like the content.

Yet (<sigh>)…I know it’s all about promotion and marketing annnd whatnot.

I know being on a best-seller list means more money to authors. I’ve read that readers like to see that kinda stuff on covers…but I gotta say, I just don’t know that I believe it. That readers really care whether or not “award-winning” (or “best selling”) graces the cover of any book. What I’ve got from my informal survey of the 3.5 people I’ve asked such questions of was that, no, they really don’t care. They just want a good story—in some manner—that grabs them. makes em cry, angry, or emote and associate in some way with the story. In some manner. I think it’s the media and the publishing industry that cares about what’s on covers. When I was a young kid buying books the only thing I cared about on the covers were how frigging cool the images and graphics were! As an “aware” adult author/reader the only thing I care about on the cover is how fricking cool the images and graphics are! Sorry, but I have to side with Franzen, here, I really don’t want an Oprah sticker taking up space on any cool cover graphics!

What the heck’s behind the sticker? Like author intrusion into a story, such embellishments intrude into the weltanshauung of the cover!

Is Oprah adrift and in the boat with that tiger and that guy?

Did Oprah just give the dirty and barefoot and smiling 1930’s kid money?

So, nothing against Oprah or all the authors who received hard-won accolades for their efforts—we all like to think we’re making a difference in this world—but, in the end…whenever I hear that someone is “award-winning”… I just automatically think of them as being nothing more than

A sack-a-flour.

You-Turns

You-Turn. (By Eric Kilby from USA (Confusing Sign  Uploaded by xnatedawgx) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

You-Turn. (By Eric Kilby from USA [Confusing Sign Uploaded by xnatedawgx] [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

I always used to say “I hate regurgitating myself.”

And this is a true statement…I really haven’t liked redoing my work or, well, anything. I’ve figured once I’d done something, it’s done…time to move on.

Then reality would intervene.

Never say never.

It doesn’t mean that everything I’ve done was perfect and not to be trifled with…what it means was that I’m done with whatever I’ve done, either a job or a manuscript; whatever: got that T-shirt. Time to move forward. But as my life progresses and I get older I find that the energy behind my life seems to beg to differ. It seems much of my life bears repeating.

My writing. Job hunts. TV reruns. Reincarnation.

I posted a list of my writing projects over the years…and how I’ve gone back and reworked several of them to publish. Most of my published history (all of my novels) is work I’d done years ago. Maybe this is nothing new to authors in general…but to me, well, it’s the subject of this post.

Take a look at this post: I did one about my short-lived modeling career. Retrospective.

And there’s my current work in progress (WIP) that I’m looking to publish in the coming months. More retro.

Oh, and in my daily life…my day job…there’s a certain line of energy that seems to have me revisiting the past. Returning to that which I’ve “come from” in a certain fashion. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the work I’m doing or have done in the past…it’s just that I’ve returned to it a couple times over the years.  It’s the whole “retro argument” I’m making here….

However and curiously…as I’ve grown older I don’t seem to have as much “against” going retro in and of itself anymore…I guess it’s only natural that after you’ve lived “some life” and gone down all those roads paved-and-otherwise it’s only natural to revisit some of those journeys as all the roads you’ve traveled cross and weave in and out. When you’re younger you’re afire with boundless energy and ready to frickin’ carve (not just carve, but frickin’ carve…) your name into the world…but after a while (if you live long enough) you come upon those carved-names in the strangest of places…places you’d never dreamed of every seeing again….

Life has a way of getting you to reflect.

Everything changes.

And eventually those changes transition the physical world…so enjoy life while it’s happening. There are far worse things that can befall a soul than having to, you know, redo a thing or two.

Enjoy life. Enjoy the journey.

Enjoy your You-turns.

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Hate The Author…Still Read Their Work…?

Just Because You Can Say It Doesn't Mean... (By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Just Because You Can Say It Doesn’t Mean… (By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

I read a post by another writer who said that he would still read the work of an author he couldn’t stand. To me he was essentially saying he could separate the person from his work.

I gave that some thought.

Some years back I sat in a session at a writer’s conference given by a very famous writer. Very famous.

I couldn’t stand the guy. To be frank (pardon the pun) I found the guy a total dick. He also openly and with great relish dumped on other writers’ work. Named names. And the bulk of the audience was “in there” with him!

I was stunned.

And I was gonna buy one of his books. I didn’t.

To this day I can’t think about one good thing to say about this guy, that’s how off-putting he was to me.

I can’t support a writer (or any other person) if I can’t stand that person. If I find them abhorrent in whatever way bugs the shit out of me.

Why would I possibly want to support a livelihood if I don’t like the message?

I mean, I might possibly find an exception in the future and eat my words, but today I cannot think of a single exception to this rule: if I can’t stand you or your message I more than likely will not read your work. It’s hard for me to separate the two. I will wish you well and personal and spiritual growth (please have some spiritual growth…), but I will not be supporting your habit.

Now, I’m sure there are probably some authors I read who are jerks and I just don’t realize it. True. But if I do, I will most likely not continue to support them. There are just too many other books out there to read, and if this reasoning culls the herd for me, so be it. I wish you all (even the jerks) peace and growth in your journey through life…I just don’t want to be a part of it.

Update on WIP: Out For Proofing

Wailing Loon (2013, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Wailing Loon (2013, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

After seven months of rework, I’ve completed going back through my current Work-in-Progress (WIP) and sent it out for my beta reader/proofreader review. I’ve also sent it off to my “Cover Guy,” Lon Kirschner, so he can read it and come up with the cover (Lon is one of the rare breed who actually reads all books he does covers for).

To me, it’s a powerful love story written with strong sexual elements. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “erotic fiction,” per se, as I’ve mentioned before…but can see how it could definitely be classified as such. Especially since I even subtitle it “an erotic tale of nonphysical love.”

Now, whether it succeeds or not will be interesting as I get my comments back from my readers. Hopefully the content justifies the story.

I’m looking to get comments back by the end of May, expect to incorporate them within a month or so, then get the manuscript formatted, which can take a couple weeks, depending on Pam’s schedule—but she already has me “penciled in” for the summer. So…if this passes muster…this should see the light of day around a June-ish/July timeframe. I’m also looking to do this as an e-book. If the sales do well, I’ll also publish as a softcover trade.

What’s next?

Well, that will be it for drawer-manuscripts (those manuscripts written and hidden away in drawers)…I mean, I have several other manuscripts (mss) I haven’t published, but I really want to get back to something new…and that means a couple years of work. It takes me on average about 2 1/2 years to complete a new manuscript. However, if my current novel sells well, I’m very interested in publishing some of my short stories…but that’s only if the income will carry the outflow of publishing said book.

And none of this considers promotion!

Yes, I plan on doing more promotion…and am trying to work up some ideas there. Hard to do when you have a more-than-full-time day job. So, if any of you have speaking engagements or signings you think might be a good idea for this or any of my other work, feel free to contact me, at fpdorchak at fpdorchak dot com. I can do telephone interviews, blog interviews, guest blogs, et cetera.

So, while you’re waiting for the final product, feel free to check out my Pinterest site for this WIP, to load up on some of the imagery this novel has to offer.

I thank all who have been supporting my (and other indie author) work—thank you all so damned much! Even “on your own” it takes a TEAM to publish a book! And part of that team is the readership!

Otherwise, it’s a return to more blogging and new writing!

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A teenager trapped in a middle-aged body

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