Longevity

I was asked to pen a post for the Pikes Peak Writers (PPW) blog about longevity and writing. I didn’t want to just write a straightforward article, so I came up with the following:

https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/2018/07/longevity/

PPW also posted about my Psychic eBook release:

https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/2018/07/f-p-dorchak-releases-psychic-as-an-e-book/

Hope you enjoy them!

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Posted in Metaphysical, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Started It All?

So…what started it all? How and why had I begun to write?

I’d asked my mom that question a few years ago when I’d begun to write my bios. She’d told me that I’d started out drawing dinosaur and Civil War “art,” then began to write about the dinosaurs and the Civil War. That I’d started at the age of six. I’d written about this on my other site.

And I do remember doing this!

I’ve always been interested in writing. If I hadn’t gotten to writing a particular story down, then I’d write down its idea…and save it. And up until so many years ago, I’d saved all those exact little scraps of paper—whether they’d been the ripped-off corners of envelopes, the backs of business cards, or pieces of toilet paper. I’d kept each original scrap with its idea. I’d since begun inputting those ideas into a file and tossed the little pieces of papers, etc., away.

Then there was also the one time when I’d been outside on one sunny day and decided—through some form of wonderful “kid logic”—that I would write a story around on the outside of our house!

It was the Lake Clear house, in upstate New York, and had been painted yellow and green at the time. Thankfully, I’d used pencil…but my dad was still not amused (though I’m sure my mother probably was!). So, I stood there on that sunny day and just started writing…of course I then had to remove all I’d written. If I had—I don’t remember doing so—but I don’t remember saving that story. Dang it. Would be really neat to see what I’d written!

And speak about writing on things in public…there was also one teenage Hallowe’en night wherein which I’d taken some fluorescent green paint and a flashlight and hoofed it down a length of Adirondack railroad track that ran between the lake and a field across the road from our house (in my Hallowe’en costume), and painted “Denn Die Todten reiten schnell!” Translation? “For the Dead travel fast!”

I’ve always loved writing!

Whenever I’d had assignments that involved essays, I loved them! Whenever I’d see a blank page, I’d grown excited with the possibilities. About how I was going to be able to bring that blank, white page to life.

It had always been an innate drive. What I’d felt drawn to, pardon the pun. And I’d begun writing about horror and the supernatural, because that was where my interests were: the weird and the strange. The paranormal! But when my dad asked me (in my early twenties) about why I liked to write about this stuff, I’d realized I’d had no answer. And it wasn’t so much about the writing he’d been asking about…but the content. And I made no additional points when he’d caught me reading the The Exorcist, let me tell ya.

So…I thought about it…and realized years alter that I didn’t really like writing about nasty, gory things…but I did like writing about all-things weird…and I’d later discovered The Twilight Zone. As well as Night Gallery, Circle of Fear, and The Night Stalker.

While some of that stuff was still horror and the supernatural, it wasn’t all gory…it was freaky. Spooky. Atmospheric. Psychological. And I found I loved writing about that kind of stuff.

Now, mind you, I wasn’t against writing the occasionally nasty scene…but I was no longer going to focus on long, extended works that required lots of focus and concentration on such highly distasteful material.

Along the way, I’d studied many books about writing, editing, and grammar, and had even taken a Writer’s Digest correspondence course, under the direction of the now-deceased James Kisner. I’d also found critique groups, and later, writer groups and conferences.

And I wrote. And wrote. And still do.

Just not on the sides of homes…or on rocks.

 

Posted in To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BookBub

I am looking into trying out BookBub to advertise books. Again…this has been heralded as THE WAY to make a name for oneself by more than one author friend of mine. So…I’m going to try it.

It’s a complicated and very user UNfriendly site, but here is my profile. I’m asking that if you’re interested in my work at all, give a look-see and FOLLOW. You can obviously also follow others.

As far as I can understand, I create book deals here, and it specifically targets like-minded readers with my deals. Advertisers get paid based on my budget, and on either a “per-click” or “per-impressions” click-through rate. Best as I can understand it, the “per-click” is based on actually clicking through to buy my book, and the “per-impressions” is based on people interested in my book, but not necessarily BUYING it. I’m trying to “per-click” rate one first.

I’ve got all my book out there, except for Sleepwalkers. Apparently they have to vet that that IS my novel. Don’t get that.

I’ll also try to populate with book reviews.

So for this advertisement I’ll try in the near future (today…or whenever I get around to it) is with Do The Dead Dream?, and it will send out a regular ad for my book across all the distribution platforms when I actually pull the trigger. I’m still trying to figure out an aspect of the ad itself, so haven’t done it yet. Later on, when I better figure things out, I’ll send out the ad…and even way later, try to do some “deals” where the book—or other books of mine—will be advertised for a reduced rate. It really is a very convoluted website, not easy to navigate, and links all over the place, but no one landing page for good, solid, understandable information…at least for authors.

What I do know that if I do a “deal” sometime in the future (free or some substantially reduced rate), it will cost me lots to do…but I can do basic advertising, which is what I’m going to try here, in the near future, which just puts the books out there to specifically targeted readerships.

So…I’m gonna give this a shot and see what happens.

 

Posted in Books, Technology, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Another New Book…?

The Best of Cordwainer Smith (Image © F. P. Dorchak)

The Best of Cordwainer Smith (Image © F. P. Dorchak)

I think I’ve begun a new novel.

I think.

It hadn’t started out that way…but the more I continue working on this particular short story (currently at just over 6,500 words—and nowhere near complete…), the more I feel it’s more than just a single story.

And it’s science fiction-y.

It takes place in interstellar space. It’s an idea I’ve been messing around with for quite some time. I was inspired to write it based on several reasons, one of which was reading selected short works of Cordwainer Smith, aka Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913 – August 6, 1966). These short stories are in The Best of Cordwainer Smith. My version is a 1965 paperback, by Ballantine (A Del Rey Book) that I’d first read as a teenager. I still have it and am currently about a third of the way through it. His stories had captured my imagination. Especially the deep space stories.

I’m no longer much of an SF or fantasy reader (though I like good SF films!), but there are aspects to his work that I love. The loneliness…loves lost…deep, deep space and its weird unknowns.

Ever since I’d read this collection, I’d wanted to do something similar. Having also read Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, I was inspired last month in what to do with my idea.

So, I sat down and began writing.

And before I’d realized it, I’d created a space opera that desperately needs to be completed.

A space opera.

Now…I am not an SF writer. My only SF novel is ERO. I don’t want to be pigeonholed in any one genre, either. I’ve written all over the place in my short stories and novels, so the best description of my work would be speculative fiction. And it is in this space opera that I am again speculating…and on a grand scale, massively speculating. If the stories (yes, there will be several, composed into a single book, just like The Martian Chronicles) bear themselves out, this opera will span millions, perhaps billions of years.

So far the story is grabbing me and not letting go, but all kinds of LIFE is getting in the way, so it’s taking me longer than normal to complete the first draft.

But I love where it’s going!

That other novel I’d started (twice!)? Once again, is on hold.

As I finish each of these stories, I will try to seek publication of them. As I have said, I am not a huge reader of F/SF, but from what I’ve seen my idea has not yet been done, so I hope this to be a unique point of view.

I even have a really cool title not only for the first short story, but the book into which these will go! But, sorry, no-can-tellski.

I am really looking forward to this!

Posted in Books, Paranormal, Short Story, Space, Technology, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

New York State Vacation – Paul Smiths VIC

Heron Marsh, Paul Smith's VIC, New York (Image © F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh, Paul Smith’s VIC, New York (Image © F. P. Dorchak)

As I’d mentioned, last month I’d traveled to upstate New York. While there I managed to take a hike on a really cool trail called the Heron Marsh Trail, which winds around (take a guess!) Heron Marsh, but also travels over the Shingle Mill Falls. This is one of many trails that are located at Paul Smith’s College Visitor’s Interpretive Center (VIC). It’s located north of Lake Clear on Route 30, where I lived as a kid in upstate New York (if that pointer on the map stays put as it was when I viewed it, we lived right around where that pointer is—a little to the left—on the south side of Lake Clear). Here is some more information about the VIC.

I took all of these photos with my Nikon D3400, except for the video at the very end.

I chose this destination because of the terrain, proximity, and amount of time I had available. I’ve been on this trail before and really loved it. As mentioned, I’d grown up in the area. So me “playing outside” was not far from how this trail looks…except that I lived across from a lake, not a marsh, but who’s quibbling….

While there, I hadn’t brought any bug dope and shopped their store to see what they had, and found an incredible local product I’d written about last week. Man, this stuff worked better than anything I’d ever used!

So, I signed the ledger, filled up my water bottle, and headed out. It was already warm (I mention this because in my video at the bottom of this post, you can quite clearly see the sweat pouring off my face!).

Overlook Platform, Paul Smith's VIC (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Overlook Platform, Paul Smith’s VIC (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

My first stop was at a slightly raised wooden “overlook area” platform, just above ground level, instead of raised like the one shown here, and it extended a little ways out over Heron Marsh. It’s a beautiful area. I stop to take a couple of shots with my Nikon, then decided to change lens. I removed the 300mm lens from the camera body, carefully set it down on the bench (carefully placed in a space in-between two boards so it wouldn’t roll), while I got the 55mm lens—when the danged thing takes on a life of its own and decides to roll off the bench and drop off the platform!

Arrgh!

I look over the railing…and find it nestled in the brush below.

NOT in the waters of the marsh!

Waters of the Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Waters of the Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Inhaling a sigh of relief, I hop off the platform and retrieve the lens.

Heron Marsh Dragonfly (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Dragonfly (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

As I hike in and out, around and through the beautiful terrain and trees, I find multitudes of dragonflies! Not just one or two, but literally clouds of the beautiful fliers! I love dragonflies! Of course, it’s hard to catch them (nooo, not running around trying to catch them in my hands…geeze, I’m not 12 anymore…with my camera), but I tried, and got a nice one here. There were different colors, including my favorite blue ones.

Into The Woods

There is so much to say and show about this trail that is absolutely stunning and gorgeous! the bulk of the interior of the trail looked like these images:

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail Interior. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

When Ya Gotta Go, Ya Gotta Go

A couple of times along the trail were these iconic structures:

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Yes, that, my friends, is an Adirondack outhouse! Having used leaves (TMI?!) out in the middle of nowhere, I’m here to tell you that you will appreciated these fine, fine structures when you come across them! At least in the Adirondacks, they are loosely placed and usually have toilet paper…and also have that iconic crescent moon. They are humble, Spartan, and wonderful!

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Adirondack Outhouse. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

We’ll Leave The Light On For Ya

Also as I hiked this trail, I came across an interesting version of a shelter:

Marsh Trail Rustic Shelter. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Marsh Trail Rustic Shelter. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Marsh Trail Rustic Shelter. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Marsh Trail Rustic Shelter. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

This one was probably constructed just for fun (I forgot to ask about it upon my return), but who knows…maybe a trail worker or two constructed it for his or herself as they worked the trail…but I tend toward they might have built it just for fun, or to use the cleared-brush for something, so they didn’t have to haul it out or burn it….

Paul Smith's VIC Trail Markings. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Paul Smith’s VIC Trail Markings. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Over all the trails were well-marked, and I did have their trail map…but at the very end I came to an intersection that wasn’t very clear and actually not obviously marked. A volunteer guy came walking past and I asked for directions, and he showed me what was not obvious by the lack of trail markings. As I walked on, I did later notice there were the smaller, round, trail-markers higher up on the trees. But still, not well-marked there.

 

On The Boardwalk…

About a third-or-so of the way into the trail, you come across a really cool and long (900 feet!) boardwalk that cuts right across the marsh itself! It was here I did my first selfie video, which I’ve posted at the end of this post. Coming out of the trail’s interior toward the boardwalk looked like this:

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Here is where I did the video. I stopped halfway across the boardwalk and took shots of what was before-and-behind me:

Heron Marsh Boardwalk One Way... (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk One Way… (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk The Other Way. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Boardwalk The Other Way. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

And this is what the boardwalk was keeping you out of:

Heron Marsh Sans Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Sans Boardwalk. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

I’m not sure what these blue things are, I wish they came out better, but they were beautiful:

Blue Things on Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Blue Things on Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Dead Wood

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh Trail. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Pristine Scenery!

The beauty of this area was draw dropping! I was so amazed to have it all to myself! And it was so quiet…except for the noises that you want to her: the wind, dragonflies, toads. The relaxing scent of pine…and the scent of the dirt, the humus, the woods. Absolutely wonderful…

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Seeing The Marsh For The Trees. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Seeing The Marsh For The Trees. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Waterfall

Making my way around the marsh, toward the end of the trail, you come across Shingle Falls. This is just a small waterfall with a small bridge over it. It’s kinda hard to see in these shots, but there is a “fall” in there, a ledge, over which falleth said water. In the second image is a big rock near the top, and along the straight rock face of that rock…and off to its right…is the waterfall part. In the third image you can see it a little better.

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Shingle Falls. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Frame Worthy!

There were just so many frame-worthy shots I took, that it’s hard to get them all in here! But I’ve included as many of the neat images I’ve taken as possible. I would love to enlarge some of these and frame them!

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Heron Marsh. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

And, finally (thanks for sticking with me!), here is my first selfie video…sweat and all! Sorry about its huge display size, I cannot figure out how to resize it. But when you hit play, mouse over the screen image icon at the bottom right, beside the “HD,” and select the “Enable Fullscreen mode.” That’ll make it bearably viewable. :-] While it wasn’t all that hot when I started out, the humidity was of course there, and all my walking around in cargos (no shorts—which you don’t really wanna do in the bug-infested woods anyway), well, I sweat sitting in the shade.

As for the backward hat, no, I’m not asserting my nonconformity or dominance against humanity or the elements…it’s simply because I was taking lotsa pictures and the cap’s bill gets in the way of using the camera.

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy your summer!

Posted in Fun, Leisure, Nature, Photography, To Be Human, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

NYS Honeycrisp Apples

The North Country Honeycrisp Apple. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

The North Country Honeycrisp Apple. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the North Country Honeycrisp—and I loved it. I say “North Country,” because I’ve had “Colorado” versions and they taste nothing like the ones I had upstate. And when I went back to NYS this month I again had Honeycrisps, and they did taste far better than the ones I’ve had in Colorado (which could well come from orchards elsewhere).

So.

To that end, here is an unbiased and totally mythical comparison between the upstate (North Country) New York Honeycrisp and all other honeycrisps:

The Upstate New York Honeycrisp on the right. Every other honeycrisp on the left:

Would The Real Honeycrisp Please Stand Up? (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Would The Real Honeycrisp Please Stand Up? (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Above you can clearly see that the North Country Honeycrisp is far superior in both size and personality. As you can also see in the image at the very top of this post that the North Country Honeycrisp clearly overflows the control of my hand, by swelling above my grasp. I almost dropped it it was so huge. Huge, Jerry.

Below is a normal serving plate:

Standard Serving Plate. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Standard Serving Plate. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Yes, this is your standard serving plate some seven inches across. Note hand size, which is not displayed below (for obvious reasons).

That same serving plate with a single upstate New York Honeycrisp cut up and presented:

Standard Serving Plate With Upstate NY Honeycrisps! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Standard Serving Plate With Upstate NY Honeycrisps! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

I mean…clearly.

The superior North Country variety is far too large in personality for standard serving plates. I’m not even going to dignify a presentation of that same plate with all other honeycrisp apples.

And lastly, flavor:

North Country Honeycrisp Flavor Is Far More Massive! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

North Country Honeycrisp Flavor Is Far More Massive! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Mmmm!

Just look at how much more massive is its flavor! It has much huger apple cells than all other honeycrisps (they should be so ashamed), which explosively rupture when bitten into, filling the mouth with huger and far more euphoricer Honeycrisp fruitly fluids!

And in that final image above, yes, here I am displaying it alongside all the other honeycrisps, but, as you can also clearly see…there IS no comparison.

I rest my case.

Posted in Comedy, Fun, Nature, Reviews, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Adirondack Bug Dope

Bye, Bye, Black Fly! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Bye, Bye, Black Fly! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

While on vacation in upstate New York last week, I’d stumbled upon a new bug dope that looked like underarm deodorant. It’s called Bye-Bye BlackFly, and it worked beautifully! Check out their info here. There appears to be another company of the same name (no hyphen, different spelling: Bye, Bye Black Fly) in Maine, but the one I’m talking about is based out of Vermontville, NY: 217 Muzzy Road Vermontville, New York 12989. In any event, this stuff worked beautifully! Remember, I grew up in these, here parts, and am quite…um, well…experienced…with black flies, deer and horse flies, mosquitoes, etc. In my youth we used Old Woodsman. I’ve looked for it and the closest I could find seems to be this one, which is called Ole Time Woodsman. It looks like what we used, though it’s in a glass bottle and not a plastic bottle.

Rub It On! Bye, Bye, Black Flies! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Rub It On! Bye, Bye, Black Flies! (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

This Bye-Bye-Blackfly, however, worked so damned well on my hour-and-a-half hike through marshes and woods that I never once got bitten!

I can’t ever remember that happening…not even sure with Old Woodsman.

With this stuff, you just rub in on you—or in your hands—and smear it around your exposed skin. You might (as in my case) get some of the stuff flaking on your skin, but just rub it around.

Damn, but this stuff works!

So, next time you head to the great outdoors in the bug-infested woods, marshes, or swamps, give this stuff a try and let me know how it works for you!

Homemade. All natural. DEET Free. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Homemade. All natural. DEET Free. (Image © 2018 F. P. Dorchak)

Posted in Fun, Leisure, Nature, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments