FRIDAY NIGHT FIEND: LOVE

I bet you thought I was gonna do my little Welcome to 2014, here’s my one rinky-dink goal for the year and dip out, didn’t you? Oh ye of little faith…

See here’s the thing: I’m earnestly doing rewrites right now because the other voices in my head—the ones you don’t know about, the ones who don’t let me sleep or take control of my hand during boring ass conference calls and draw themselves or the ones who have big plans like “Make me an action figure!” or “Remember that graphic novel? There’s the thing called Comixology where we can post for free…”—yeah, those folks won’t shut up. But because I’m knee-deep in making Come Hell or High Water ready for you, my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed wicked little readers, I tend to approach the world through the lenses of my characters. And right now, I’m living La Vida Lucifer—I’m going to apologize in advance for whatever else happens on this blog.

Antywayz, in 1984 Anna Mae Bullock AKA Tina “I Did It First, Beyonce, Stop Dick Riding” Turner asked a quintessential question: What’s love got to do with it? Well apparently a lot: I was going over some of my old posts about villains (which I do just for amusement) and realized there was a nice segment of them whose villainous exploits were triggered and maintained by good old-fashioned L-O-V-E. I mean, these cats did everything from boiling bunnies to becoming immortal…let’s take a look:

First up, Alex Forrest. You remember her, doncha? She’s the only reason (for real) you know who Glenn Close is (because, seriously, it ain’t because of Damages). She and Michael Douglas had a hot and sexy, stolen rendezvous and one of them caught the vapors. I won’t ruin the surprise but “someone” broke into “somebody’s” house an put their pet rabbit on the stove. And that was just to get his attention. Your girl tried to ruin his life and marriage, faked a suicide attempt, and finally came at him with a knife and my man’s wife shot her.

That’s just the first one on the list. It doesn’t really get any better.

You got Gaston from Beauty and the Beast fame. Now his crimes in the name of love aren’t so bad: when Belle spurns his advances, Gaston has her father committed, leads a torch and pitchfork assault on the Beast’s castle, and shanks Beast in the back while your boy is trying to save him. This is a Disney cartoon. While I am not a fan, Gaston does have a pretty hilarious Twitter account.

But wait, there’s more!

Disney came back with another damaged soul for us to examine. Davy Jones CUT OUT HIS OWN HEART AND HAS AN OCTOPUS FOR A FACE! You need me to say more? Fine, Davy Jones is the ferryman for purgatory, taking souls between life and death, so he could kick it with his woman, Calypso. And when she didn’t show up one day in 10 years, my man imprisoned her in a human body and started destroying people with a giant squid. And he cut out his own heart and put it in a box. I mean damn.

Maybe it’s a stretch but have you seen Gollum? This cat has a 3-hour segment on My Strange Addictions because he has a passionate love affair with a ring. And oh did he let himself go! Smeagle killed his best friend, started eating raw fish, goblins and people, lost his teeth and his hair, and declared war on the sun (you know he needs SPF 3000). He gained a split personality and was so in love with the ring, he tracked it for 60 years (in a loin cloth!), bit Frodo’s finger off, and dove into a volcano to save it. And it wasn’t even alive…

Shit, even the finest show on television is a victim of the same thing: Walter White AKA Heisenberg is driven to set up a meth lab, commit numerous murders—he poisoned a woman, set up automatic weapons in his trunk, orchestrated the killing of 9 people in 2 minutes in prison, blew half of Gus Fring’s body off, and ran over 2 people with an Aztek. Y’all this was a highschool chemistry teacher. But he loved his wife and kids.

But love in the villains worlds makes folks do some otherworldly stuff. Look at Dracula. In the Bram Stoker version, my man loses his woman and curses God enough to become a blood-sucking immortal. Dracula outlived everyone he cared about, ate hundreds of other people, killed the entire crew of a ship commuting to London. And then created an entire race of people who, worse than Gollum, can’t have sunlight (except him), can hypnotize people, make somebody eat rats, turn into bats, wolves, and fog, and can’t be killed by normal means.

I’m gonna end this with my main man. You know I’m a Darth Vader fan. You know this. Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader over love. He gives up everything he knows, betrays his friends, kills a bunch of kids, tries to kill his teacher/ace so he learn how to live forever so his woman won’t die. Then he turns around and chokes her out, loses her anyway, gets burnt to a crisp, tries to kill his son—twice, tortures his daughter, and blows up a planet. This is the worst case of PW in cinematic history.

I’m gonna wrap this one up a little diddy from the J. Gelis band that sums it all up. Catch ya next week!

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WHACHOOTALKINBOUT WEDNESDAY: Fine, Happy F’ing New Year!

So I guess after 8 days, 2014 is here to stay, huh? I can’t be the only one who came into this year with a “It’s 2014? Goddammit <sigh> Fiiinnnneee…”

It seemed like this year came up entirely too fast. I wasn’t ready; I hadn’t made any resolutions or decisions or goals or anything. Last thing I remember, my mom was in my house telling me how “sexy as hell” Henry Cavill is as Superman in Man of Steel (folks, hearing your mom tell you ANYBODY is sexy as hell is disturbing anyway but I LIKED that movie. Shit…) and the next thing I know, Schmancy down the street is inviting us down for champagne and flank steak and God knows what else.

I wasn’t ready!

I didn’t even have a fantastic Facebook status or an end-of-the-year blog post or 140 characters worth of 40-year-old wisdom and optimism. I was just a collection of “Isn’t it time for these lights to come down?” and “when do y’all go back to school?” Then I got sad about it because I’m reading other people’s This Is The Year of Awesomeness posts and that only made matters worse. Guess I should say something, huh?

I spent the last 8 days trying to figure why I didn’t have much to say. Why, even toward the latter part of 2013, my little well of wordiness seemed to dry up. I think I get it now. Have you ever had that moment at work where you look down at the spreadsheet, or realize you haven’t heard the last 10 minutes of that conference call, or are having vivid daydreams of throwing shit at your boss and realize that there is not another productive thing you can offer in that day? Imagine having that in like October for the remainder of the year. Yeah, that’s what happened. If you look back, and I know you will, you’ll see a general decline in the timeliness of my posts right around October—right around when the Swoaps got arrested.

The truth is, I didn’t want 2013 to end because I wasn’t done. Somewhere along the way, I got sidetracked or fell into the tar pits that life often places in your path. I didn’t do everything I set out to do and I just wasn’t done. But enough lamenting, let’s look at how things shook out.

And a note, there is a reason to not write shit down: people tend to hold you accountable:

In the beginning of 2013, I wrote a little post called Hey 2012! You Can Kick Rocks! 2012 was a tougher year for me and I had plenty to gripe about. In that lovely post, reviewed my goals from 2012 and set a couple new ones for 2013. Only a couple. Which is good because I didn’t do shit. Well, let me clarify: I didn’t do a lot of shit. Here’s the nonsense I said at the beginning of 2013:

Author Goals

  • Write a blog post 2 times a week
  • Complete Come Hell or High Water
  • Participate in a 1 blog tour in 2013
  • Complete one graphic novel script
  • Write one non-Angel related novel

Publishing Goals

  • Publish Come Hell or High Water
  • Publish Crooked Letterz’ Big Book of Villains

Look at that—these are moderately feasible goals. They’re not ridiculous, they don’t smack of hubris or unrealistic expectations. They’re fair and valid goals. So how did I do?

  • Write one blog post 2 times a week. To be fair, I didn’t realize that schedule until I was like halfway through the year. But still, I knocked out 50 posts in 2013. 50! That is 1 post a week and I took December off! How bout that?
  • Complete Come Hell or High Water. I’m tired of talking about this book. You’re probably tired of hearing about this book. But I did actually complete it. Close your mouth—yes, I did. I finished it in July, thank you very much. Then came the spate of rewrites and climbing the mountain of making the book everything it should be dwarfed the molehill that was the first draft. Truth is, all of this lovely imagery is just a disguise for me saying I procrastinated.
  • Complete 1 blog tour in 2013. It is awfully tough to participate in a blog tour for a book you don’t have. Not a whole lot to promote. Um…this didn’t happen.
  • Write one graphic novel script. Believe it or not, this actually happened. My cousin is an artist and I’ve always had a dream about doing graphic novels. We shared some texts and emails, came with a pretty decent Nat Turner-meets-Superman type of story (you’d have to actually read it). It’s gonna happen, we just have these other commitments hanging over our heads.
  • Write one non-Angel related novel. Yeah, no. I planned it. Plotted it out. No words on the page though.

Let me be brief on the Publishing goals. I didn’t meet either one of these because publishing a book generally takes a book to publish. And on the Big Book of Villains, the only head way I made was working with an attorney to make sure I wouldn’t get my ass sued by Disney, Marvel, Sony, LucasFilm, Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Scholastic, Hasbro, Comedy Central, and fucking Katniss. Mission Accomplished. Seriously, I should be able to knock this one out in 2014.

But other stuff did happen that wasn’t writing-related. My wife got better, then got worse, then got better. That was a good thing. She took herself to Disney World, Disneyland, and then on a Disney Cruise—hey, when you survive cancer, you win. Do what you want. I changed jobs and got some FANTASTIC financial news in the process. I also learned I suck at managing money (but you have to say this like Debbie Downer). My aunt passed away and so did my good buddy, Rocky the WonderDog. I got a puppy, Lady the Damn Dog—now before you say anything, have you ever had a puppy? Ever? I can handle the “every 2 hours I gotta pee” thing. I don’t get the “let me eat your walls” thing. The fuck is that?

The Boy was…The Boy. His phone met a hammer, his Xbox went out the window, and he is now officially taller than me. The Honey Badger dropped that childish innocence with an unauthorized pool party, fucking FaceTime, and 3am texts on New Year’s Eve. Her phone is currently on Craigslist. And we got a new kid in the mix: The Fox joined the party and all she wants to do is DANCE! No, seriously, all she wants to do is graduate and she has 6 months left.

My point is, even though I didn’t reach my writing/publishing goals for 2013, I lived those 365 days. I made the most of my time with my wife, my family, my dog, my career. Every day I didn’t put words on the page was a day I was putting time into the living, breathing mammals that inhabit my life. My sole goal for 2014 is to find balance. To find the time and energy to give each facet of my life the attention it deserves.

And just when I started to feel bad for what I hadn’t accomplished over 2013, I read this:

No Regrets

That, my friends, is the Happy New Year’s post from your friends and mine, Melanie and John Swoap. She makes a point here–a HUDGE one: if they can enter a New Year with no regrets after defrauding a bunch of little girls, getting arrested for back child support, taking a cruise while under indictment, lying to the state of Tennessee for continued unemployment employment benefits, refusing to pay their employees, and trying to gain disability benefits for being bipolar and a couple of shoddy suicide attempts, I can certainly sleep well for missing a couple publication deadlines.

Perspective, people. Perspective.

Happy New Year! Catch ya on Friday!