Archive for November, 2011


Canadian Eh?

Being the old-fashioned family that we are, we were sitting around the dinner table enjoying our meal and family conversations.  Our 12-year-old boy was relating about his exhausting day at school and announced that he was learning about Canada in some subject, whatever they call Geography nowadays.  Well, being a Canadian I perked up and put my fork of mashed potatoes down and asked him what he had been taught so far.

“Well Dad, it is just the first day, so we didn’t learn much”

“Oh exactly what did they teach you, who the first Prime Minister was, what the capital city is?”

“No Dad, for today we just learned that it was North of us”

Well, a good start I thought, I am sure 40 minutes in a class to instruct a group of 6th graders on the geographical position of a Country larger than the USA wasn’t too bad.  So I pursued my line of questioning a bit more.

“Did you tell them that you are one half Canadian?”

This comment was greeted by that look that you just want to wipe off the face of a kid, and he responded.

“There is no such thing as a Canadian Dad”

Gripping the edge of the dinner table now, I took a few deep breaths and asked

“Then what are people who live in Canada called?”

“Oh, they are North Americans”

Rising to my feet, my voice a bit louder as my wife glanced over with a smirk.  “Tell your teacher that I am going to come down there with a hockey stick and show him/her what a Canadian is”

The conversation quickly changed to addition and subtraction of fractions, all talk of Canada was suspended and I can only assume it was to allow my blood pressure to return to normal.

Next day, the boy comes home from school, dinner table scene is repeated (I told you we were old-fashioned)

“Well, did you ask the Teacher about Canadians?”

“Oh, yeah, that.  Well you were right I guess they are called Canadians”

“They? Did you not say you were half Canadian?”

“Uhmm no, I didn’t want to sound weird or anything”

I am seriously considering becoming more modern and having the three of us eat meals at separate times.

Bah Humbug !!!!

Well Thanksgiving is over, and here we are marching steadily towards Christmas.  This is the time of year when children get excited as the thought of presents under the tree fill their heads each night as they go off to sleep.  They pass time each night bringing the latest advertisement for toys and electronics to the attention of their parents.  A time when the family becomes closer, and more cohesive as a unit.

NOT ME

This time of year means it is dark at night by time I get home from work.  I leave in the morning it is dark, I pull in the driveway and it is almost dark, depressing, and my nemesis the squirrel is up in his nest, sound asleep.  Yeah I hate winter, I admit it, the thought of temperatures getting anywhere below 40F make me cringe.  Sure I moved south, but not far enough.  I still have to scrape ice off my windshield occasionally and I have worn out 3 credit cards doing it.  I have an ice scraper somewhere but I only see it in the summer when I am cleaning under the seats of the car.  Then I have to worry about the idiots on the roads, sure I know how to drive, the rest of them are the hazard.  I am sure they think that too, but they are wrong.  I hate the long nights of January and February, looking out the back door and seeing the ice on my pool cover, how cruel this time of year is.  Then, gasp, those rare times when it actually snows down here.  Watching from my living room window as the kids frolic in it, making snow angels in the 2 inches that barely covers the grass.  I don’t go out in it, I refuse to, the only ice I want is with my rum and coke.  I did my time, I served a full 36 year sentence in the frozen tundra of Ontario.  Don’t tell me that I am missing out on the fun of playing in the snow, don’t tell me that I must miss the sunlight glimmering off a ten foot high snow drift, oh don’t even bother, I have been there and done that.  So here I sit, killing time until March, when life begins again.  When the golf courses are open and my pool cover comes off.  Until then, leave me in the house, don’t even ask me to come out and play because I don’t want to.

Oh, Merry Christmas all 🙂

 

 

Excerpt “My Life In The Dirt”

The following is an exerpt from “My Life In The Dirt” available at Amazon in Kindle format at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G8B8F2  This brief bit is about Geotechnical Drilling, and the crazy people working in that area of expertise.  My introduction to them was rather abrupt, but probably not uncommon.

The very first time I met a driller was memorable.  In 1970 I was still not yet groomed in geotechnical boring logging.  My training in that area started late in 1970, but until then, the drill rig would show up from a neighboring city complete with a Golder technician from another office.  I was still an innocent teenager who had yet to be tarnished by a driller, my day was fast approaching. 

Once John told me that I had to take some empty jars for samples out to a rig working in the country near the city.  Off I went in pursuit of a drill rig, the station wagon loaded down with boxes of empty jars.  I pulled off the county road with my load of sample jars.  I looked across a soy bean field and saw the rig and where the truck mounted rig had entered the field and proceeded to follow the same path.  For those of you that don’t know, soy beans grow to about three feet in height, about the height of the hood of a 1970 Dodge Station Wagon.  Zipping along the flat field, soy beans flying in all directions I followed the path as best I could.  I could still see the drill rig in the distance but lost sight of the trail I had been following.  I stopped mid field and stood next to the car.  The rig was one still one field over.  Honking my horn I got the attention of the driller who waved and then motioned me to drive over to the rig.

Hopping back into the car I took off directly towards the rig, beans flying.  It is an interesting fact that farmers plow and plant all the way up to the edge of any creeks that may run through their fields.  At the time of this incident I was not aware of that fact but it would soon be a fact that I will never forget.  Zipping along at about 20 mph the beans suddenly turned into long grass which suddenly turned into a ten foot deep ditch.  The 1970 Dodge Station Wagon did not have modern day stop on a dime, or stop on soy bean, brakes and by time I realized what was about to occur it didn’t matter anyway.  The car ended up nose down almost completely vertical in a ditch with about one foot of water in the bottom of it.  I clambered out of the car and climbed up the side of the bank to the edge.  Looking over at the drill rig, now only about 100 feet away, on the other side of the ditch, I got my first impression of what drillers are like.  The driller, the helper and the technician were all holding their sides and roaring in laughter.  This laughter didn’t stop for at least half an hour as about 1/3 of the car was visible above the soy beans.  After they calmed down they drove the truck down the field to a “bridge” and into the field I was mostly in.  A quick chain to the bumper and the car was extracted from the ditch.  Minor shaping of the chrome grill had the car back to near perfect condition. 

The drillers admitted to me they knew the ditch was there, but wanted to see if the new guy would find it the hard way.  To this day, I still tend to let the new guys learn things the hard way, more on that later.  A couple of days later John Capps showed up at work in a Taxi.  Apparently the water pump had broken on the station wagon and was being towed to a garage.  I told him it was probably due to the mileage, John never did learn of the soy bean field incident.

Interview #6 – Jack Urquhart

I can’t believe I am already at Interview #6, I have been lucky to meet a lot of great people on Twitter and the guest for today’s interview is no exception.  Jack Urquhart, whom you should follow at @JackAUrquhart, caught my attention tweeting about his experiences.  I went to his blog and found an intelligent, thoughtful individual who can write circles around me and a lot of others.  I liked his personal story, the struggle and the triumph, and I wanted to share that with you, and of course in my traditional style, find out a lot of cool stuff about Jack.  Jack’s blog is at http://www.jaurquhart.com and you should all run there right now and take a peek at Jack’s writing; it’s amazing.

Hello Jack, and right off the bat I will confess to snooping around your blog a bit, well no not a bit, a lot.  You have some fantastic stuff up there.  Tell the readers a bit about the two works you have published “So They Say” volumes 1 and 2.

Thank you for welcoming me to your blog, Peter—and for asking about “So They Say”.  The two volumes you mention are my take on a traditional bildungsroman—a coming of age novel—except that I’ve presented mine as a series of self-contained, interconnected stories.  There are twenty-one in all—stories, that is—spanning the early 1950s through 2007.  My protagonist, Rex Fordham, is what you’d call a late bloomer, or, perhaps more aptly, a slow learner.  A good old southern boy, it takes him a long time—a decade and more of marriage, fatherhood, and professional endeavors—to own that he’s no good at self-denial and that he ought rightly to be living as a gay man.  Which is the decision he eventually makes.

When were those written, Jack?

My recollection is that the earliest stories were written in Colorado between 1992-97.  I wrote most of the other stories between 1998 and 2009 while I was living in San Francisco—except for “Pas de Deux” and “Bread Pudding”, which were born here in Florida last year.  Although the stories weren’t written in a chronological order, I’ve presented them that way in the e-book volumes—i.e., 1950s to 2007—and more recently in the single volume paperback: https://www.createspace.com/3713625

Do you have other books in progress?

Yes, I have several stories completed or in progress.  Seems I’ve fallen in love with some of the supporting characters in “So They Say”—so much so that I’m contemplating a collection that follows one of those characters for a few decades.

What genre are they in?

Aside from my blog posts, I write fiction.  Usually short stories, though some of them exceed twenty thousand words, which I suppose makes them novellas.  Genre?  General or literary, I guess.  Although the latter moniker seems a bit pretentious.  I should add that my stories are never autobiographical, ‘though I’ll plead guilty to focusing on things about which I know a little something.  Write what you know, the saying goes.

What genre do you like to read for relaxation?

For relaxation?  Again, fiction.  Usually novels.  Though I’m not immune to a compelling biography, memoir, or even occasionally a great sci-fi or crime thriller.

Your reviews are very good, how long does it take you to write one, typically?

Oh lord.  It takes me forever—at least the better part of a day-and-a-half, which is why I’ve only posted a handful.  I figure if I like a book well enough to write about it, I should take my time, be thoughtful, bring in relevant, specific details.  It’s my way of showing respect for the author’s labors—which isn’t to say that I don’t admire reviewers who can do as much in twenty minutes and two hundred words or less.  It’s just that I can’t.

The introductory paragraph of your blog indicates you are a gay man.  I understand from reading further on your blog that you “came out” in middle age.  Can you tell us a bit about how that was, the reactions from your family.

Yes, as you may have read on my blog (www.jaurquhart.com), I came out at thirty-six after nearly twenty years of marriage, two kids, careers in banking and teaching.  It was no fun; in fact, for a while I wasn’t sure that I could do it—break with my past, that is; live true to myself.  My ex-wife, a wonderful woman whom I loved and still love and respect, took the worst of it—she and my children.  My parents had a terrible time with it, too.  But we got through the mess with much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth—not to mention (laughing) long hours of therapy and the chemical assistance of Prozac.  These days, we all get on well enough and do our best to be mutually supportive.

I can imagine it was a surprise to them, how about close friends, what was their reaction?

My friends, the real ones, were unfailingly supportive.  That helped immensely.

Do you have a partner now?

Yes.  Raymond and I have been together since August 11, 1998 (around 3:30 p.m., I think it was).  We have similar backgrounds—formerly married, both fathers, both former teachers.  I’m so lucky to have found him—luckier still to have snared him (given my paltry charms and allurements).

Ok, enough of the snoopy personal stuff, but I do want to thank you for sharing that with us and I think the readers will appreciate it as well.  Let’s learn a bit more about what makes you tick and why.

Where were you born?

Orlando, Florida.

What places have you lived?

  • Apopka, Florida (‘Apopka’, I’m told, is a Seminole term meaning “potato eating people”; quaint, huh.)
  • Bloomsburg and Lime Ridge, Pennsylvania
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Boulder and Nederland, Colorado
  • San Francisco, California
  • Brief stints in Paris and Bordeaux, France

What part of the Country do you live in now?

I’m back in Central Florida for the time being.  Mount Dora, to be exact.  Lovely town.

What or who is your Favorite Musical Group or Artist?

I don’t think I have any enduring favorites.  But I do appreciate music—all kinds.

I imagine your work is a huge success, so this may be a moot question; do you have a day job?

Oh boy, I wish I could confirm your assessment of my ‘success’ as an author; however, I can claim no particular triumphs for my writing—not in terms of sales (more’s the pity).  I’d love more readers, of course; but I do derive a great deal of satisfaction in the work itself, in completing and disseminating my writing, and most particularly, in those readers—however few or many—who do me the honor of reading my work.  That, I believe, constitutes ‘success’ of a sort, and it will do for now.

You asked if I have a day job.  No, I don’t have one.  My former employer, the Judicial Branch of California, where I worked as a technical writer and analyst until twenty months ago, granted me early retirement when the state went bust.  Still getting used to that!

What is a typical evening routine for you?

Dinner, the television news, Internet cruising, more reading and writing.

What is your favorite room in the house and why?

The study (laughing)—where all the computers reside!

Who was or is the most influencial person you have had in your life?

That’s easy.  Raymond, my partner—the man responsible for getting me into print, and for making me fortunate and happy in a thousand other ways.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

The Holocaust.  It would never have happened.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a loving father, spouse, friend.  And as a writer.

What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

Best: My father planting a flower garden in the shape of the letters of my name “so the airplanes flying overhead will look down and see your name in a big-ole splash of color.”

Worst: Fourth grade, my teacher announcing in class that my achievement test stanines in math and science were the lowest in the class.

Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

Yes.  Andy, or sometimes Anda-Panda.  Since my father and I shared the same first name (Jack), family members used diminutives of my middle name, Andrew.  Lucky me!

What is the craziest thing you have done for your partner?

Seasoned an expensive steak with lavender potpourri.  I thought it was just another ‘spice’.  Oops!  Needless to say, he keeps me out of the kitchen as much as possible.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Whatever Raymond purchases at the market; he’s a terrific cook—plus my Gatorade.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I don’t know.  I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t ultimately be self-serving, so I’d rather remain ‘normal,’ as much as that applies to anyone.

Now some snappy fast questions, one or two word answers please:

Favorite color?  Red

Lucky Number  9

Most money you have spent on a single Book? $65.00

Best book you ever read?   Pride and Prejudice.  Never tire of Jane Austen.

Favorite TV Show (Laughing again) “Antiques Road Show”.  Us ‘antiques’ appreciate each other.

Movie that you watch every year or more often?  “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  Perfect movie.  Perfect novel.

Favorite Season?  Fall

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Guy or Country Guy?  Depends on my mood.

4-door sedan or sports car?  4-door (Prius)

Favorite food?  Anything Raymond cooks—except sweet potatoes.

How many books a year do you read?  25 or 30

Favorite Day of the Week?  Saturday

Wow, you did great on the one or two words, mostly.  Jack I want to thank you for agreeing to my rank amateur interview.  Hopefully one day you will be a famous Author and when that happens I promise to destroy all copies of this interview.  Personally I will be watching your blog for future developments and checking out So They Say Volumes 1 and 2.

A new feature to my interviews, I am giving each subject a chance to promote his or her favorite charity or cause.  Jack if you have any please give us some links here.

-Jack- I’m a recent fan of Flattr http://www.Flattr.com—an Internet site that facilitates social micropayments that let you support bloggers, content developers, and other creators—as well as charities.

I Want My 2 Ply

I admit that I have a lot of time on my hands, probably time I should spend doing something more productive than surfing the web.  Today though, a thought crossed my mind at a rather idle time at work, while I was in the bathroom.  It appears in austerity measure to save huge dollars the Company elected to go with single ply toilet paper, rather than that over the top, really pricey two ply.  I think I could almost suffer with that, but then to top it all off they go with a “No Name” brand, which feels like it missed a couple of steps in the processing from tree to roll.  So I thought to myself, what on earth did people do Before Toilet Paper? 

This brings me back to the opening sentence of this little post.  Where better to get this type of information than the internet.  So I pointed my mouse arrow thingy at the search bar and away I went.  Its like getting into a space ship, or a time capsule or something neat like that because you can find anything you want from any era.  So I searched for “History of Toilet Paper” why not, everything has a history doesn’t it.  Sure enough I learned some interesting facts. 

Before paper was widely available, a variety of materials were employed. The Romans used an L-shaped stick (like a hockey stick) made of wood or precious metal; at public toilets people used sponges on sticks that were kept in saltwater between uses.  So you think its tough at work now Peter?  For some reason I think of an NHL game with the Stick Boy in the back with a rack of sticks, handing them to each player as needed.  The bathroom valet would be similar, you would walk in and he would nod in acknowledgement and hand you your hockey stick.

You may not want to read this paragraph is you are squeamish, or a vegetarian, but in arid climates, sand, powdered brick, or earth was used. Until the late nineteenth century, Muslims were advised to use three stones to clean up. One favorite tool was a mussel shell, used for centuries. Until the early twentieth century, corn cobs were used.  Well this answers the question about the one ply “feel” I guess they were trying to replicate something for us, what other reason could there be.

In the late fifteenth century, when paper became widely available, it began to replace other traditional materials. Sometimes old correspondence was pressed into service, as were pages from old books, magazines, newspapers, and catalogs.  I can think of several books that would serve the purpose just nicely if there were ever a world-wide paper shortage, always best to have a library you know.

People also used old paper bags, envelopes, and other bits of scrap paper, which were cut into pieces and threaded onto a string that was kept in the privy.  I can hear it now “Hey Dad, we are out of string to tie up the paper pieces”  I wonder what that aisle would look like in the grocery store.

God Bless the Brits though toilet paper is a fairly modern invention, making its debut around 1880 when it was developed by the British Perforated Paper Company. Made of a coarser paper than its modern incarnation, it was sold in boxes of individual squares.  Not sure I like the coarser part of that description, but it had to be better than the old paper bags.

In America, the Scott Paper Company made its Waldorf brand toilet paper in rolls as early as 1890. The first rolls were not perforated, and lavatory dispensers had serrated teeth to cut the paper as needed. It was a nearly “unmentionable” product for years, and consumers were often embarrassed to ask for it by name or even be seen buying it. Timid shoppers simply asked for “Two, please,” and the clerk presumably knew what they wanted. To keep things discreet, toilet paper was packaged and sold in brown paper wrappers. Oh trust Americans to make it a dirty topic, but you can understand when you realize that some of the States don’t allow alcohol sales on Sunday’s either.  It almost reminds me of being a teenager in the late 60’s and having to buy a condom, wow, think of having that embarrassment a couple of times a week.

To sum up the history of the butt saving product, during the 120 years since its introduction, toilet paper has changed little, although it’s now perforated, and may be scented, embossed, or colored. Recently, toilet paper manufacturers increased the number of sheets on a roll, allowing consumers to replace the roll less frequently.

Well there you have it, a brief tour of the history of one of our most reliable products.  I just wish they didn’t mess with it and make it one ply, I have to use twice as much, kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?  Well I suppose it could be worse, the hockey stick idea doesn’t sound that good to me, although I am sure the Romans had right and left-handed sticks, don’t you think?

http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Toilet_Paper.aspx

Interview #5 – @Karakazoo

I have once again had the opportunity to chat with another great Tweep on Twitter.  @Karakazoo is always fun to talk to, she has a very upbeat demeanor to her all the time.  Our conversations are always funny and she does make me smile.  I really wanted to get to know more about the lady with the Vampire profile picture so I asked if she would agree to this interview.  I am very fortunate she agreed so Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring your attention to Kara.

Hi Kara, right off the bat I have to ask what genre do you work in, or are most comfortable in?

I personally enjoy dark novels, horror/thrillers are my style.

Do you have any work published yet Kara, or something near ready for publication?

I do NOT have anything published yet but I do have 2 novels that are near ready. One is a Paranormal Romance called Hostage and the other is a Thriller calledTAG.

Oh those sound good, are you self publishing? Or are you working with a Publishing Company?

I will be self publishing.

What has been your biggest influence, or reason to write?

Writing has been my greatest release of emotions. I’ve had a ‘rough’ life, I guess you could say and the only real outlet I ever had for it all was writing. Fantasies kept my mind occupied and kept me out of trouble.

How often do you work on your writing in a typical week?

I am ashamed to say I only work on my writing as the fancy strikes me. Could be several weeks of nothing and then 10 straight days of constant writing. I work 6 days a week so that may explain my odd habits.

I notice you have two blogs, are they for different purposes?

Yes. One is personal. I write whatever I feel like it on there and anyone is welcome to see. The other is simply my professional work, samples to show anyone who cares to see.

About how long have you been blogging?

Oh wow, I honestly don’t remember. Less than a year I’m sure.

Tell us a little about  the hash tag #IHOW, what is it, how did you get involved?

Well, when I first got onto twitter I was graciously accepted with open arms by the Team Captain Paul Greany. He’s a witty Irish/English man who happily welcomed into his group of sarcastic, but kind followers (those we call the #IHOW family) after seeing his hash tag a couple hundred times I asked what it was. He then explained to me that it was a charity held at the hands of Wayne McCullough the ‘Pocket Rocket’ the boxing legend himself. I met the crew and they taught me that it takes a village to take care of the wounded.  Not just a Doctor. #IHOW stands for I Help Out Wayne.Waynecollects as much memorabilia as he can from celebs and sells it. The money he makes from this goes to helping people heal from injury, sickness and disease by way ofMMA, Boxing and Dance. Encouraging people to live a healthy life style of discipline, exercise and diet to help speed up the healing process as well as encourage self esteem. It’s stuck with me ever since. I happen to feel very strongly about health and fitness as its helped me heal many times over. So I do what I can to spread the word.

OK, time to get to know more about Kara the person, not the writer.

Yes, I Googled it, were you born and raised in Chicopee Massachestets

LOL!! Okay first off, no I wasn’t born in Massachestets. LMAO!! That’s not a real place. I was born in Springfield, MA. From there things get messy. I moved…a LOT. I moved to Mainewhen I was 5 and stayed for about a year. Then I moved back to MA. 5 years later I moved back to Maineand stayed in that state till I graduated high school.  (Editors Note:  I mistyped the State in my original questions and forgot to spell check and go figure, Kara noticed it, but to have her answer make sense I have left the name misspelled and will suffer the laughter of you readers for it no doubt)

Middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

I’m the youngest of 3. I have an older sister and brother. We are all 3 years apart. Brother is 36, sister is 33 and I’m 30.

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

I grew up a foster child. Long story. To make it short I lived in many homes, went to many schools, seen many places and was lucky for the experience.

What were your summers like growing up?

Always uncertain, and short. You don’t get many warm days in Northern Maine.

Did you have a nickname growing up?

Nope. Nothing good rhymes with Kara.

Who was/is the most important person in your life?

That would have to be the only family I have left, my son Jake. I think that’s self explanatory.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life so far?

Good question. That would have to be that kindness and love do exist in this world, you just have to learn to recognize them.

I know from your blog that you are a Personal Care Assistant; can you describe your typical weekday routine from wake up to sleep time?

Well, I’ll spare you the gory details but I basically do what nurses would do for patients in a hospital. I just do them at their homes.

How do you spend your weekends?

I work every weekend. I take my son with me too.

I really want to know this one, hopefully the readers do too, what is your favorite musical group or Artist?

Uh oh….Okay, I will admit I have 2 favorites. Alicein Chains and STP. (Stone TemplePilots) Now I’m curious as to why you were so curious! LOL! (Editors Note: Because of your Twitter Profile silly). I see. Then my answers should be completely understandable. LOL!

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Have you ever been to a school or college reunion?

No way!

What is your biggest pet peeve, besides these questions?

I have aLOT, but I guess I’ll go with being interrupted when I speak. I’m normally a very quiet person so when I speak I expect people to listen.

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

 Um….LOL….I’ve done lots. Climbed a section of the Appalachian, rock climbing, white water rafting, I ran away aLOT, I’ve committed a few crimes…and so on.

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

I would never trust a time machine!

Now some rapid fire questions, one or two word answers please:

Lucky Number? 7

If you were an animal, what would you be? Owl

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? $45

Favorite pet? DOGS

Fast dance or Slow Dance? Slow

Boxers/Briefs?  Boxers

Best book you ever read? No favorite.

Movie that makes you cry? Hope Floats

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Dracula ‘BramStokers’

Favorite Season? Summer

City Girl or Country Girl? Country girl

Favorite food? FRUIT

Tattoo Yes or No? No

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

Skirts or jeans? Jeans

Favorite Day of the Week? My day off!

 Alright, you did great on those, you are the first one to keep them to two words, well except for a couple of them, but overall very good.  Kara, it has been a pleasure interviewing you and I want to encourage everyone to check out your blog at http://problogstefanowich.blogspot.com/ .  I think they will find that Kara is a pretty darn good writer and poet.

 Also, for those of you interested in the #IHOW blog please check it out at http://hughesihow.blog.co.uk/

 Thanks Kara for your time and open and honest answers to the questions.

The Quiet Road

 

The Quiet Road

The Quiet Road

Annie Frame

 Vanguard Press

ISBN 978 184386 567 4

 http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Road-Annie-Frame/dp/184386567X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320858281&sr=1-4

I absolutely loved this book, a fascinating story.

For the first few chapters, The Quiet Road appears to be a run of the mill Detective story as you learn the history of  the starched Chief Superintendent of Police Frankford Lucas and his faithful cat Old Whiskey.  A seemingly normal life of a single man, his path to high position was strangely easy.  He was destined for success in his field while applying little effort to be that way, but the dreams are getting stronger and stronger.

Soon it becomes clear to the reader and to Chief Lucas why this has happened and the story turns far from ordinary.  He narrates his own story as he takes you down The Quiet Road and enlightens all of us on the realities of good versus evil.  With the help of others both sane and not quite so, Detective Lucas follows a road of broken bodies and souls with dreams and desires shattered and seduced by a mysterious and ancient force. From earth to hell, points in between and beyond, Chief Lucas searches desperately for the answers, for his salvation and for the salvation of mankind.

From the Author of Imprint, Annie Frame has once again painstakingly laid out the delicious details in a tale that should become one of the classic writings of our time.  She provides a path for everyone to venture down, however, be forewarned, that The Quiet Road has many detours and pitfalls, and only the purest among us will find the end.

 

Interview #4 – Sessha Batto

As with everyone in Twitter, I first encountered @SesshaBatto in a passing conversation.  I was intrigued by the nature of the web sites under the profile and my natural curiosity, ok my natural nosiness, wanted to learn more about this person.   With only 140 characters at a time that was no way near enough for me to get all the information I wanted.  I couldn’t help but notice the number of books written and available and had to find out what makes this Author tick.  So without much further rambling on my part, please read on and discover a bit more about Sessha Batto.

I must admit this is a first for me, interviewing someone that writes homoerotic novels; could you share with us what drew you to write in this genre?

Remember the old ads in the back of comic books for x-ray specs? For me, sex is my x-ray specs. It strips a character down to his core truth and spotlights who they are with far more accuracy than pages of exposition ever could. Sex is the ultimate act of trust. Who we trust, why, and to what extent reveals much of our psyche that we would normally keep hidden. Sex is the catalyst for revealing hidden baggage, all the events and experiences we think are safely buried but which bubble to the surface under pressure. Our kinks highlight our transgressive natures, throwing into clear definition the whys and hows of our alienation from society in general. In short, it’s the knife I wield to cut to the truth. My writing includes sex in all its permutations, from barely consensual sexual torture to tender lovemaking and the entire gamut in between. My only real boundaries are no children and no women. I write about men exclusively because of the wonderful shifts of power and control possible in a same sex relationship . . . and because I love men. No offense to the ladies, but I don’t think I could explore the same boundaries of pleasure and pain without seeming overly abusive, and that is at the core of everything I write. Beyond that, there is something wonderfully vulnerable and revealing about the decision to relinquish power, and the potent eroticism of two strong, powerful men being tender with each other.

Do you find the homoerotic writings have a good following?

A dedicated following, certainly. The readers are very loyal to the genre and to writers they like. It isn’t a huge community, but it’s growing all the time.

I see you have several books published, how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was four, but I only started writing longer works, and sharing them with others, in 2008.

As a published Author, can you tell us about that process, the first time you were published that is?

My first experience with publication I did everything wrong – I submitted to only one publisher, a new e-book start-up, and jumped on the contract they offered. Three complete location changes and some editorial changes I did not approve of later, I had a book out I was not happy with and was not willing to promote. Thankfully the rights are back in my hands now and I’m busily trying to turn it into the book it should be. The positive result, however, was I learned a lot. Now I’m lucky to be with a publisher (the Pfoxchase imprint of Pfoxmoor Publications) that is wonderful to work with and dedicated to bringing out the best possible books.

Is writing something you do full time, or do you have to work outside of writing too?

My time is split between writing and freelance graphic design and video work. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of commissions for book covers, which are always fun to work on. It’s nice because I can write when the words are flowing, and work on graphics when they aren’t. It takes some of the pressure away from having to produce words every day.

How often do you work on a novel in a typical week?

When I’m working on a novel I write everyday for at least four or five hours. During the editing process, however, I write mostly short fiction, it’s too hard to keep two complex casts of characters separate in my head.

Your work is up at several sites, does that keep you busy maintaining all of those postings?

It does take time, but, to me, it’s time well spent. After all, I write to be read, going where the readers are and cultivating them is the best way I know of to grow readership.

Your Web Site does not give much inside info into Sessha, would you like to share some with us?

Hmm, I’m a Buddhist and a vegetarian. I practice battojutso and tai chi.

Well that is very interesting, but I have to ask you Male or Female Sessha? 

Female

Where were you born? 

I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Were you raised in that area, or were you a gypsy growing up? 

I spent my first six years in an orphanage in Belfast before being adopted by Americans. Since then I’ve lived in Detroit, New York and Baltimore.

Big question for me, are you a middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

No clue, that’s the downside of being abandoned at birth, I’m afraid.

What is your earliest memory?

Nothing I want to dwell on – my early years were not particularly pleasant.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined as a youth?

Day to day life is more tenuous and problematic than I expected, although I imagine that is always the case. I was never one for concocting elaborate fantasies of what could be, I’ve always concentrated more on the day to day of what is happening in my life. So far, at least, it seems to be working.

How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who cared, who worked hard, who tried to be compassionate. I’d love to break new ground in my genre and open it up to a wider audience.

Single? Married? Divorced? Nun?

Married to an extremely patient man. Our thirtieth anniversary is coming up at the end of the year.

How many children?

One teenage son.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I wouldn’t constantly worry about making ends meet, which would be nice. Otherwise, not much would change. I’m already doing what I want, money won’t change that, just make it a bit less stressful.

What is your favorite musical group or artist?

I don’t think I could single out one artist as a favorite, my tastes are very eclectic. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Angela Aki. As far as composers, J.S. Bach, definitely.

What is your favorite room in the house and why? 

The library, because that’s where most of the books are.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would is the first thing we would notice?

Boxes of tea – there must be twenty of them in the fridge right now.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleportation – no more wasting time getting from here to there, no traffic jams, no cancellations due to inclement weather.

Now for the fun, rapid fire part of the interview, one or two word answers please, but if you have read any of these interviews you will notice some have trouble sticking to that format, give it your best shot:

Favorite color? Green

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? Over $100

Fast dance or Slow Dance? Slow dance, definitely.

Short/Tall? Tall

Best book you ever read? Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima

Movie that you watch every year or more often? A Home at the End of the World

Favorite Season? Spring

Regular or Decaf? Regular

4 door sedan or sports car? Sports car

Favorite food? Mushrooms

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

How many books a year do you read? Around 200

Favorite Movie? Lawrence of Arabia

Favorite Day of the Week? Wednesday

Cats or Dogs? Cats

Wow Sessha, I am very impressed and you managed 1 and 2 word answers ~others take note~.  I am honored to have you participate in my interviews, you have provided us all with some very frank and honest answers, and I for one appreciate that. Based upon my poking around your various web sites and seeing some of your work I know you will continue to be very successful in your craft.  Thanks again Sessha.

 Below are some links that Sessha provided, please take a few minutes and check out her work.

 Her Website – http://www.sesshabattousai.com

Shinobi: Concealed in Shadows links

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64681

 OmniLit/AIIRomance  http://www.omnilit.com//product-shinobibookoneconcealedinshadows-559910-144.html

 Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Shinobi-Book-One-Concealed-ebook/dp/B0054M51TE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1307445641&sr=1-2

 Barns & Noble http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Shinobi-Book-One/Sessha-Batto/e/2940011321122/

 And in Paperback  http://www.amazon.com/Shinobi-Book-One-Concealed-Shadows/dp/1936827247/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308585423&sr=1-2

 

 

My Nemesis

I am not a Super Hero but I do have a nemesis.  Not like in my youth when there was always one kid that wanted to beat you up, no not that kind of nemesis, mine today is completely different, but let me explain.

Five years ago I bought a home in an old part of town; it is nestled amongst stately Georgia Pines.  For those of you unfamiliar with Georgia Pines they are very tall trees that have some pine needles, lots of pine cones and are kind of scrawny at the bottom and poofy at the top.  I have four of them in my front yard, which are all over 100 years old.  Around all the pines is a bed of Azaleas.  Yes I am really in the South aren’t I?  Oh to top it off, growing between two of the four pines is a Dogwood Tree.  You can’t get much more Gone With the Wind than my front yard.

Now on to my nemesis, last year I was trimming the azaleas one hot Saturday morning.  I was leaning down to do this trimming and I was under the dogwood tree.  I heard a rustling of leaves above me and thought nothing of it, until suddenly a drop of something whizzed by my head and hit the ground.  Looking up, I saw my new nemesis, a gray squirrel, taking aim at me with his uhmmm feces.  The leaves of the dogwood sheltered me from a direct hit and I backed away quickly and looked for a rock to toss.

Well this was one incident I thought, how childish of me to worry about a small squirrel that couldn’t weigh more than a pound or two.  I told my wife about it, she laughed, I told my son about it, and he laughed and cried.  So life went on for a few days.  Driving home from work, I turned into my driveway and there, sitting on the concrete facing me, was my nemesis.  Did he run away, no, he looked defiantly at me as if to tell me to go around.  I inched closer, he still didn’t move, I was almost upon him when he figured he better move and leisurely went off towards the trees.  So now it was set, the little bastard was trying to show me he was boss.  A few days later I drove in the driveway, there he sat, I revved the engine and raced up the driveway, he ran for the nearest pine. 

This went on for several days until I tired of the game.  I drove in as usual and there he sat, I revved up the engine and went up the driveway, he dodged right and headed for the tree, I dodged with him racing across the lawn, he missed the tree and went past it, I was in hot pursuit, I was going to run this vermin down no matter what.  I swear he smiled at me as he looked over his shoulder and took a hard left and found the third pine, I swung around, sod and dirt flying off the rear tires but I didn’t get to him in time, he was up the tree, safe.

I drove off my yard and back to my parking spot.  Walking in the house my wife met me with jaw agape.  “What the hell are you doing” or something to that effect, I didn’t hear her as my blood was pounding in my ears.  At least now he doesn’t sit on the driveway, more half way between the driveway and the tree.  I know he is getting older, next spring he will be slower, and he will make a mistake, and I will have my nemesis, and it will be good.

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