Ghost Hunters Extraordinaire

I’ve been watching these ghost hunter videos on YouTube and some of them are pretty funny. I mean really–you’re supposed to be a big, bad ghost hunter and when you hear or see a door slam all by itself you shit your pants? One of my favorite videos was made by this guy in Saudi Arabia exploring this abandoned house (I think) that’s supposed to be haunted. So this guy is walking through the house with his camera. Doors start slamming all over the place, swinging back and forth and whatnot while he’s recording so you see all this shit going on. The whole time, he’s breathing like a spent racehorse and screaming prayers. Hilarious. There are lots more like that. Maybe they’re just thrill junkies.

A bunch of posts back, I said I believed in the paranormal. I do. But I also think a lot of what’s labeled as paranormal have more prosaic explanations. Still, it makes me wonder if there really are houses haunted by spirits out there. Like, the house I pass by when on my way to my parents’ place. It’s a beautiful brick house, probably 4-5 bedrooms, nice sized yard. Right now it needs a paint job but that’s neither here nor there. A murder occurred in that house. It was all over the local papers when it happened. I got a chance to dig a little deeper, though. Anyway, a woman shot her husband to death in the kitchen. He was a prominent surgeon,… Continue reading

Moving Along

So I’m hard at work with this author thing. Took a rest from editing The Underground manuscript. I finished editing, but I want to go over the 1st 10 chapters or so to make sure I’m happy with the text. For the last go-round, I was working off the formatted copy where I’d highlighted changes I wanted to make, but around 10 I saw I needed to make changes that weren’t highlighted–i.e., the ones I missed. On the formatted draft, if I didn’t see yellow highlights, I passed over the corresponding text on the Word doc. Got to make sure it’s fine and dandy because I ain’t doing this again. Yes, the nice thing about self-publishing is that if you see something funky, you can pull the book and re-work it but it’s best not to fuck up in the first place. I cut myself some slack because there’s been a long learning curve, but I’m far along enough now that I know what NOT to do.

While I’ve been resting from editing, I’ve been working to build my author platform. I’m concentrating on Twitter at the moment, interacting with people, letting folks know I’m out there. It’s working. Still, I have some concerns. It seems that most of my new followers are also authors. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself but I don’t want to be author-heavy. What I want are people who are potential or actual readers to follow me. My fellow authors are not the… Continue reading

The Road Not Taken

A few posts ago, I ranted about how jealous I was of my high school friends who’d pursued a musical career.

I talked to one of those friends today and told him how I felt. He said his career had been a hard road, what with having to perform day after day with people he hated, riding a bus with a bunch of “stinky feet” guys and so on. Many times he wanted to quit but what kept him going was that so many people got pleasure out of his music.

I don’t doubt him. In fact, I know exactly what he’s talking about. After high school and college, I hung around enough musicians to know how hard it is. Chasing gigs all the time, wondering if and hoping that people show up for your show because what you get paid depends on how many drinks the nightclub owner sells. And so much more.

But the key here is that the pleasure he gave his listeners is what kept him going. My day jobs never afforded me that. I didn’t and don’t care if people get anything out of what I do. It’s a paycheck and I need the money. If I could, I’d walk away from it tomorrow. Or right now, even.

That’s where writing comes in. It’s what keeps me going. I love to write my stories, and it gives me pleasure that other people get pleasure from reading them. It’s a shame I came to the realization… Continue reading

Day of Anger

I really shouldn’t be blogging because right now I’m pretty deep in the pit. Or the black dog has come to visit. Or whatever your preferred euphemism. But I need to say something.

Today I turn fifty fucking nine years old. I’m pissed about it. I’m so mad I could just spit. If you’ve been following my posts, you know why.

I hate birthdays.

Ciao.

Holy Shit!

Have you ever had the experience where you’re just hanging out or doing whatever, minding your own business when out of the blue it hits you that your life for the last 15 years, your surroundings and your routines, may very well be totally upended and real fucking soon? And you sure as hell ain’t ready for the train that’s about to run your ass over?

Yeah. That happened to me yesterday.

My sister from out of town had come to DC, and I ran into her outside our parents’ house. We went inside and talked about inconsequential things for a while, and then our conversation turned to my parents.

A little background: My parents are in their mid-80s and have chosen to “age in place” as it’s called in newspeak. My other sister lives with them, mainly because they want her there, I think. My mother is getting more and more forgetful though she doesn’t have dementia or Alzheimer’s (thank goodness). Otherwise, my parents are in fairly good health for their age.

About two weeks ago, while visiting folks in Georgia, my mother fell and cracked her hip. The Georgia surgeons successfully put her back together and she’s now undergoing physical therapy to get her to the point where she can at least get on a plane. When that happens, she and my father will return to DC. I’ve talked to her a couple of times since her accident, and I’m happy to say she’s her usual, bubbly self… Continue reading

Oddz ‘n’ Endz

Just a few random thoughts that crossed my mind today.

I am officially old. The gym I go to plays music, I guess it’s supposed to help your workout. After finishing my shower, I’m back in the locker room getting ready to leave. Listening (you can’t help but do so), I came to the conclusion that today’s music is absolutely banal. No artistry in the instrumentals. The lyrics are stupid. Then a memory surfaced. My mother and I had a very similar conversation in the car when I was a teenager. The song on the radio was Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.” Mom said she thought the lyrics were too suggestive to play on the radio. I countered with Bessie Smith’s “Kitchen Man,” which makes the lyrics to “Rock With You” sound as innocent as a nursery rhyme. Then she said, “well, I don’t think a 19-year old should be singing a song like that.” Then another memory surfaced. An ancient television show, it might have been Steve Allen, and anyway, this guy on camera was reading the lyrics to the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” The look on his face was one of pure disdain. And that was me now. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Today, while driving to the gym, I asked my housemate when he’d next be out of town. He thought for a moment and then said around the July 4th weekend. It gave me a start. It’s almost July. This is… Continue reading

How The Hell Do They Know?

Okay, so lately I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about ancient megalithic structures and stuff like that. So here’s the scenario: Somebody stumbles over something that looks interesting, digs a little bit and realizes they’re in way over their head. They call the university, and a horde of archaeologists descend upon the place and start digging. They find something truly spectacular. Here’s another scenario: A bunch of spelunkers exploring a cave find a bunch of stones arranged in a circle inside this big chamber. They call the academics, and everybody gets excited.

Then the anthropologists step in and declare the stone structures or arrangements or whatever to be religious sites. How come it’s always gotta be connected to religion? I get that ancient peoples might have thought the gods were pissed when some bad shit went down and they thought they’d better sacrifice something to chill ’em out. I get that they didn’t understand stuff like the connection between ocean currents and weather and the rest of it (though honestly, I’m not so sure they didn’t). But why can’t Gobekli Tepe be a party place where everybody got together for a hootenanny? For no reason other than because it was a helluva good time? And the animals and stuff carved into the stone was simply decoration? Those circled stones found in that cave that anthropologists claim were put in place by Neanderthals? What if they set ’em up for a game of bocce ball?

See, what makes me suspicious… Continue reading

Another Year Gone

If you could live your life over again, what would you change?

Yeah, I know. The epitome of tired old questions. But I ask for a reason. My birthday is in a couple of weeks, and I’m not happy about it. I haven’t been happy about my birthday for almost a decade. It’s not so much that I’m growing older, though I’m not happy about that either. It’s that when I look back on my life all I see is gray. To be sure, there are bright spots but the gray consumes all. When I look the other way, toward my future, I see the same. Bleak.

Me, I would make several huge changes.

When I was 12 (or even earlier), I’d have figured out some way to convince my parents that there was something wrong with me, that I was emotionally unstable. I would have badgered them to take me to a psychiatrist, instead of retreating because I figured they didn’t care about me. Then again, when I was growing up, black folk didn’t go to mental health providers unless they were going to the loony bin. Psychiatry and such was for white people. Black people worked out their problems in private. Don’t air dirty laundry.

I’d have stayed with my music studies. Become a professional musician. Years ago, I caught up with some of my friends from high school. One is a bluesman in South Carolina who performs with his wife. They travel the globe doing their thing.… Continue reading

Cover Reveal!

Okay, this is gonna be quick ’cause I’m under deadline for the day job. I’ve got just over 7 hours to finish this article. That may sound like a lot of time, but trust me–it isn’t.

I posted some time ago that I was working on revamping my published books. Re-editing and new covers. So I now have the new cover for The Underground. I’m hoping this one will pique the interest of convention-goers more than the earlier covers, as well as those folks shopping online. Anyway, I’m liking this cover a lot. More dynamic than the others. The way the skyline is tilted lends a sense of urgency, suggesting there’s some serious shit going down in Seattle. Of course, the fact everything’s on fire helps. The werewolf and the woman (Melera, the interstellar assassin) are obviously a team and their pose implies a physical relationship between them. Hmm. If you fuck a werewolf while he’s in wolf form, does that count as bestiality? Heh-heh.

You know, this is one of the upsides of self-publishing. If something isn’t working, I can pull the book and fix it. Can’t do that in traditional publishing. Once it’s done, it’s gone.

Treasonous Tittyknacker!

The mother of a dear friend of mine is a narcissist.

She’s told me much about her childhood, what it was like growing up with a mother who, through word and deed, took every opportunity not only let her daughter know she was unloved and unwanted but fervently hated. A refrain my friend heard often was “I wish I’d aborted you!” or “I wish you were dead!” When she was small, about 7 or 8, a major fire broke out in the apartment building where she and her mother lived. She had been asleep and was awakened by a fireman who carried her to safety. After leaving the building, the fireman asked the crowd standing nearby where her parents were. HER MOTHER DID NOT SPEAK UP. Eventually, she was claimed by one of their neighbors. I don’t think it can be more obvious that my friend’s mother wanted her to die in that fire. And, my friend said, her mother had been mightily pissed off that she hadn’t.

There were other incidents. When she was a teen, my friend had gone shopping with some of her friends and bought a trendy outfit for a party she was attending that night. After dropping off her purchase at the apartment she shared with her mother, my friend went back out. She returned home to get ready for the party and found the clothes she’d bought that afternoon had been cut to ribbons. When she asked her mother why she’d done this, her… Continue reading