Friday, January 30, 2015

Dream of Dreams

Dream #1:
I was at my parents' house, and I heard someone in the downstairs bathroom, in the middle of the night. Muffled voices came through the locked door. I kicked it in, to find someone had tunneled out through the wall, and into the garage. I went up to the roof, and looked around. The yard was a topiary maze, one in which anyone could hide. 

I went to my friends' house, but they didn't recognize me at first. When they did, they hugged and hugged me. My father came over, and asked for my help finding whoever was crawling through his walls. I went back to their house, and found there were medieval, iron-barred wooden doors that led from the house to the maze. They were broken.  I promised to help.

There was a giant reel of wire in the garage, and my parents helped me unwind it.

Dream #2:
I was hanging out with another guy in a bar. The king of the land walked in, and had a drink. My friend and I decided to play a game: how much could we steal from under his nose. The bartender had short bread, lottery tickets, and all kinds of plastic crap. I walked up to the bar, and asked the bartender for lottery tickets and a few cheap games. I told the king they were for my kids. He gave me hundreds of thousands of dollars to give to them, so I wouldn't have to buy them cheap toys. While everyone was watching this, my friend stuffed his jacket with shortbread.

A crowd built to watch the king's generosity, and chased him out of the bar. My friend and I stole some black SUVs from the parking lot, and drove them back to my parents' house. (Yes, most of my dreams take place in my childhood home.)

A bunch of hippies came over, sat on the lawn, and started playing their guitars. For some reason, I poured chemicals onto my mother's rosebushes, realizing too late it would probably kill them. The sprinklers came on. My mom came out to ask what happened, and I lied and said I turned them on to wash the chemicals away. She said no, they're automatic, and showed me the switch.

Sorry, I know these are anticlimactic. Let's end this with a little sketch, may detail in the future.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

With Apologies to The CTW

Oh, oh, oh,
Who are the assholes in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood,
In your neighborhood?
Who are the assholes in your neighborhood?
They're the people that you meet each day.

Well city life sucks, you know,
Shoveling your car out of the snow.
But you just worsen your neighbor's load,
If you throw it all into the road.

Then the people who try to drive through,
Get stuck because of you.
You just watch as their wheels spin,
And others push them free again.

And the plowman pushes it all back,
Into a nice, hard pack.
Now I have to re-chisel out my ride,
Since you didn't shovel to the side.

But you're even worse by far,
If you dump snow in front of someone else's car,
If to me you ever do this thing,
They won't find your body until spring.

Oh, who are the assholes in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood,
In your neighborhood?
Who are the assholes in your neighborhood?
They're the people that you meet,
Shoveling snow into the street,
They're the lazy pricks you meet,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

For those of you who are old fashioned...

Yea, rejoice and be merry - for the paperback edition is now available on Amazon!

(By the way, if you buy the paperback version of this or False Idols and Other Short Stories from Amazon, the Kindle edition is free.)


Monday, January 19, 2015

Behind the Scenes

I approved the paperback proof of The Lies of the Sage today, but it will take a few days before Amazon has it available for sale. In the meantime, here is some background information. Feel free to read before hand, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it more if you read the books first. I’ll try not to give any spoilers away.

A few real life events shaped this story. When I was young, a friend of mine lost her son to an illness. That always stayed with me, especially when both of my children spent their first few months in neonatal ICUs. (I have to state here that Alyanna’s character does NOT resemble her in any way, shape, or form - or anyone else I know, for that matter.) We also, for a brief while, owned a golden retriever named Bananas.

Over ten years ago, this book began as a short story, which took on many different forms as it progressed. Alyanna, in media res, was on the run with her son. She was being chased by a group of mysterious figures (possibly inspired by the men in black trench-coats from Dark City.) Their leader was Sigma, whose manner resembled The Lead Cenobite (Pinhead, to use the vernacular) from Hellraiser. At one point, the entire story took place in a city housed inside one giant tower.

The problem was, while I had the concept, I didn’t know what to do with it. The plot centered on Alyanna escaping with Matthew. But why did her mysterious cybernetic pursuers care so much? While the story was expanding, it wasn’t really moving in a concise direction. I found myself in a rut. I fleshed out a detailed back-story for the antagonists. To mix things up, I changed Sigma’s gender to female. Suddenly, she had an entire different set of motivations. This pushed the story in a new direction, and helped it move forward.

My son was about five or six at the time. While I’ve tried my best, I have to admit that I have been, at times, far from a perfect parent. Some of those flaws came out in Alyanna. Stephen King once said that (in his novel Firestarter) Charlie wasn’t based on his daughter, but his daughter had helped Charlie be herself. In the same way, Matthew is not based on my son, but he definitely helped me see life through Matthew’s eyes.

It made sense to me that the Cylebs would naturally think in metric terms, while everyone else sticks to the imperial measurement system.

I hate bugs.

Alyanna’s house computer was named Isis ever since the beginning. I thought of changing it after recent events, but I decided it wasn’t really necessary. Her car’s computer definitely owes a nod to Douglas Adams’s overly-helpful computer Eddie, but I do feel that electronics in general are becoming user-friendly to the point of annoyance.

When I was young, I had to see a child psychologist. When I joined the army many years later, I had to get a letter from the doctor explaining why. The letter stated that growing up, I had had the mind of an adult inside of a child’s body, and had had a hard time dealing with it. Also, having been prematurely gray since I was a teenager, people often have thought I’m older than my actual age. Hell, when I was forty, a girl at Dunkin Doughnuts gave me a senior discount.

“God Save the West” is based on the unofficial Confederate anthem, “God Save the South.”

My father and I often play pinochle. The joke he always tells when playing was a line from the Cosby Show: “No matter how dumb the dealer looks, always cut the cards.” When diamonds are played, he sings “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Obviously, both of these had to be changed for copyright reasons.

As I wrote the book over the years, it expanded to about 350 pages. After I released False Idols and Other Short Stories, I began polishing the novel to publishable standards.  When I had reached the cliffhanger at the end of the second act, the first 2/3 had expanded to about 320 pages (81k words,) and still had a hundred pages to go. This would have added another year of editing. There is another novel I’ve been working on over the years with similar themes. I decided to make that novel into the sequel, and end Lies on a “to be continued.”

Well, that’s it for now, I’ll add more if I think of anything I missed. I hope everyone enjoys it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


P.S. Something I just remembered. I took a picture of Bananas, and instead of having red-eye (this was back in the '80s, kids) she had glowing blue eyes from the flash. I once had a nightmare about her having eyes like that.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Joys of Magical Thinking

(In response to a comment on yesterday's post.)

Here's something that fascinates me:

Magical thinking IS real. We all control the universe with our minds, every second of our lives. Well, maybe not the entire universe, but definitely this planet.

You don't believe me? I'll prove it.

Stand up, walk to the nearest person, and say something affirming, or confusing. Anything from "You're a spiffy person, do you know that?" to "The Cookie Monster rises at midnight!"

Hey, you don't even have to go that far. Just take a deep breath and blow, spewing some of your own personal bacteria into the atmosphere. Bonus points if you have the flu and work in a crowded office.

The point is, our brains, every day, turn our thoughts into actions, which change our world. Hell, even woodlice do it.

See how easy that was? If you want to change the universe with your mind, make a decision, and do it. Let us meditate upon this, electrician style.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dreams and Childish Misunderstandings

I had a dream last night that I won a million dollars, and FedEx delivered the check. The driver was really scrungy looking, and heavily insinuated that she deserved a tip. I felt embarrassed, so I looked in my wallet for a twenty. She kept pressing against me and looking into my wallet, despite me repeatedly telling her to back off. Finally, I got pissed off, and said (ala the Soup Nazi) "No tip for you!" Went inside, and slammed the door in her face.

I had a conversation with my sisters via chat about misunderstandings children have, and the secret, false truths we cling to when we're a kid. For example, I would say the rosary at least once a night when I was a kid, because I was convinced if I didn't, bad things would happen to the people I loved. I would also say fifteen Hail Marys in a row instead of ten, just to show God I meant it. Also, after my grandfather died (when I was seven, I think) I used to pray that I would die in my sleep, so I wouldn't have to miss anyone else in my family.

Oh yeah, and I was convinced that I killed him, because I used to ask him to turn of his heater when the Muppet Show was on, because it caused interference. (Back in my day, kids, we had antennae, and electric devices and airplanes flying overhead used to make the picture all fuzzy...)

Sometimes we don't realize this as a parent. I can't remember who said it, but parents are butterflies who forget what it was like to be a caterpillar. For example, when my son was young, I would tell him that I wanted him to be self-sufficient, so he could take care of himself. Little did I know I was planting the fear in his mind that I was going to die soon and leave him. Kids can hold onto these secret fears without telling their parents.

Being a kid is fun, but it can also really f you up.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Better Late Than Never...

A couple of years later than promised, but here, for your gustatory enjoyment: Tony's Unpatented and Probably Stolen From Somewhere Else Delicious Lasagna.


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Je suis Charlie

Yesterday, terrorists killed twelve people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, including four political cartoonists. Their crime: making cartoons that satirized Islamic terrorism. (Insert honest but obligatory "I don't believe all Muslims are terrorists" here.) My heart goes out to their families and loved ones. We still live in a world where people fear the spread of ideas so much, that they feel violence is an appropriate response.

My entry for "Draw Mohammed Day"

I'll leave this with the tongue-in-cheek censored ending to South Park's  episode "201," which inspired Draw Mohammed Day back in 2010:

Kyle: That's because there is no goo, Mr. Cruise. You see, I learned something today. Throughout this whole ordeal, we've all wanted to show things that we weren't allowed to show, but it wasn't because of some magic goo. It was because of the magical power of threatening people with violence. That's obviously the only true power. If there's anything we've all learned, it's that terrorizing people works.

Jesus: That's right. Don't you see, gingers, if you don't want to be made fun of anymore, all you need are guns and bombs to get people to stop.

Santa: That's right, friends. All you need to do is instill fear and be willing to hurt people and you can get whatever you want. The only true power is violence.


Tuesday, January 06, 2015


To promote the release of my new novel, the Kindle version of False Idols and Other Short Stories is FREE on Amazon from January 6-8. If you haven't already, get your copy now!


PS - Wowsers, only one day (Jan 7 at 4am EST) and it's #231 on Amazon's free ebook list! Thank you everyone, get it while it's hot! :D

Monday, January 05, 2015

Debris of Shadows Book I: The Lies of the Sage is now out for Amazon Kindle!

Now available for the Amazon Kindle.

In the late twenty-first century, North America is a divided continent. NorMec is a nation of prosperity, while the West is a wasteland, ravaged by metallic insects that devour everything in their path.

Alyanna Galbraith is one of NorMec’s most sought-after zhivoi-painters: artists who create living works of artificial intelligence. But when the enigmatic Cylebs take notice, she finds herself and her son trapped within a cybernetic world of imagination—one from which they may never escape.

This is the first in a trilogy of novels, and it's taken more than ten years to bring it to light. Thank you to everyone who has gotten me to this point. Your love, friendship, and support mean more than I can say.

A print version will be available in a few weeks. Also, to promote the release, I'll be giving away Kindle copies of False Idols and Other Short Stories from January 6-8. Stay tuned for more information!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Was it like this for everyone?

For those interested in such things, when I got LASIK, this is what I saw.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Free ebook giveaway is coming soon...

Although I have ranted against the practice in the past, I have decided to have a free giveaway of the Kindle version of False Idols and Other Short Stories for a week upon publication of my next book, for promotion's sake. Amazon also has a new feature, which allows people who have bought the print version from them to have a free ebook copy. (If you've bought it somewhere else, let me know, and I'll hook you up.)

The only problem is, to do this easily, I'll have to join the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, which gives Kindle exclusive rights to sell my book. This is a little annoying, that means I have to (perhaps temporarily) pull it out of the Smashwords markets, the most notable being Apple and Nook. This isn't really an issue for me. I've sold hundreds of ebooks on Amazon, and about three on Nook. I've sold one on Apple, but having an exclusive Apple ebook store makes no sense, as i-products have a free Kindle app anyway. Thank you very much to all who have purchased it, especially those who have written reviews.

I hope everyone has had a happy 2014 and a Merry Christmas. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For the over-thirty crowd...

I've just made up a new phrase, "Busier than a no-legged man in a Weeble contest." Feel free to use it.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

"...and that's all that I yam..."

"So, you can see fine now?"
"That's right," I told Mandy, The Doctor says my sight is 20/20, which is pretty awesome for the first day. I still have a lot of dryness and irritation, though. I also have a really cool red ring around my eyeballs, which will unfortunately go away in a week.
"Wow," she said, "You're like a brand new Daddy!"
I thought about this for a moment. "But what if I like being the Daddy I am?"
She made a face at me, and went back to playing Wii Power Rangers.

So what if I do like being the person I am? Yes, I've done a million stupid things, made uncountable mistakes, good, things, bad things, been kind, hurt people, been fat, thin, too trustful, too suspicious, felt I've let myself down, been proud of myself... the list of bad and good things goes on and on. Are there things in my past I'm not proud of? Yes - but they're mine, they make up me. I love me, the good and the bad, and if I'm your friend, it's because you're awesome. I can't imagine wanting to be anyone else. All I can do is own it, and be proud of that. Yes, there have been times I haven't felt that way. So what? It's all part of me. Some days, I've woken singing Jim Croce's line, "Hey tomorrow, you better believe that I'm through wasting what's left of me." Other days I've woken, given myself a mental high-five, and gone on my merry way. Whatever. As the great late Frank Zappa said, "You are what you is, and that's all it is."

It looks like the book is going to be delayed until the new year, which is just the way it's going to have to be. The scouring s coming along nicely, but it takes time, and needs to be perfect. Besides, the kindle version will come out first, and it will be a pain in my anus if all the different versions have different copyright years. I'm only allowing myself to stare at the computer for a half hour at a time, through sunglasses. The doctor says I'm healing perfectly, so why fornicate it up?

Anyhoo, peace, love, and soul - time to get back to work.


Friday, December 19, 2014

LASIK recovery is getting boring...

"Hey mama, don't you treat me wrong, come and love your daddy all night long! All right now, hey hey, all right..."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pretty, Pretty Please?

Dear J. J. Abrams: I know George Lucas lowered the bar to the Earth's core with the prequels, so you can't really damage the Star Wars universe any more than he already has. There is only one wish I have of you. Do anything you want: Have Jar-Jar become a Sith Lord, bring back the Ewoks, have Luke, Leia and Han have a granny threesome - but please, I'm typing this on my knees right now - do NOT bring Hayden Christensen back as the ghost of good Vader/ Anakin. If you do, I can't be held responsible for my actions.

The world feels boring and sad these days. I had a bizarre dream about watching the Minions from Despicable Me with a man I didn't know, who had ginormous boobs that hung down to the floor. Feel free to analyze that all you want. Vacation is almost here - my first real vacation in eleven years (as opposed to furloughs or unemployment) and I'm treating myself to something I've always wanted. Happy to be employed all this time. Of course, it's always possible I'll be laid off the day I come back. Not expecting it, but it has happened. "Hope for the best, expect the worst," as the Mel Brooks song goes. At least I've been employed long enough to take vacation. The poop plant has been good to me. Unless, of course, the poop gas is slowly killing me inside...

The final edit of The Lies of the Sage is coming along. The best suggestion I can make to writers - have your phone read your book to you. (Moon+ Reader Pro for Android does a great job of this.) I've caught all kinds of things I would have skimmed over otherwise. I have to admit, I'm worried people will feel gypped that it ends on a "to be continued" note, but as I've said before, they seem accepting of it with A Song of Ice and Fire. As far as anyone not liking or over-analyzing its content, well, as they said in the old days, "Quod scripsi, scripsi."


Friday, December 12, 2014

Can't believe he's 17!

Birthday surprise! First time should always be at a midnight theater showing. :D


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Only Slightly Narcissistic

New book coming out means a new author photo for Amazon:

Monday, December 08, 2014

Manly Men!

Real men don't bitch and whine about having to work outside three winters in a row. We proudly do what is asked of us, and when our toes blacken and fall off, goddamn it, we serve them up as cocktail weenies!


Thursday, December 04, 2014

First Glimpse!

So here it is, the cover and title of my first novel. I'm hoping to have it out by Christmas, at least for Kindle. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome. (Click on the image for higher resolution.)


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

My brain seems to be leaking today...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving No. 2

Thankful for old friends. Still arguably the three sexist men in Basking Ridge!

Thanksgiving No. 1

Selfie With Your Sister Day! Feeling thankful for them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Analyze Tony: The Thanksgiving Special

Last night, I dreamt that I was at a small restaurant that looked like a cottage. The waiter was the snooty maƮtre d from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, ("Yes, call police.") and wouldn't let me use his bathroom.

So I went outside and peed in his mailbox.

Then I went back inside and laughed at him because I peed in his mailbox.

I went outside, where the mailbox was lying on the ground. I peed all over it.

I went back inside and laughed at him again.

Then I went back outside. There was a hole in the ground where the mailbox post had been, and I peed in that.

Then I woke up.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Executive Rant Privilege

Hello out there in TV land. I know it's been a while since I ranted about the world around us, I've been focused on getting the next book out. Ok, I've been playing Wolfenstein, The New Order as well, but that doesn't involve much brain power.

Look, an amnesty for five million illegal immigrants is just a stupid idea. The problem is, while unemployment is down, it's because people have to work more for less. Many in my own union already have to work at 80% of scale. Look at all the retail workers who must work on Thanksgiving or be fired. Everyone is already paying more for less medical benefits because of Obamacare. A surge of millions who can legally compete for those jobs will only make things worse. And after this amnesty, there will be another glut of illegal immigrants waiting for the next one (as there was after the Regan amnesty. That is the real concern, not the people who are here now.) Those workers will be as exploited as the current illegal immigrants are. Exploitation will not magically go away.

"But Regan and the Bushes-" -I don't care. Just because they did something idiotic, that's not a reason for President Obama to do it as well. Since last month's election was a setback for the Democrat party, this is just pandering for votes for 2016 - just as it was then.

"You're just racist." -Fuck you, I'm being realistic. Read over my reasons again, and pretend it's a republican president's executive order instead of Your Guy.  My views on this are strictly "Hate the game, don't hate the player." I can't blame anyone for wanting a better life here, but our cities are overcrowded, and our economy is barely holding together.

"But we're all descendants of immigrants." -Yes, legal immigrants, who were let in when the system could handle more citizens. It can't right now. End of story.

"But the evil 1%..." -Will NOT feel the brunt of this at all. Read over my reasons again. Like Obamacare, this is being spun as only being a burden to the super-rich, while it's the Middle Class (which everyone claims to care so much about) which will have to shoulder it all.

"But they've paid taxes!" -Think of it as visiting a hotel. You agree to stay for a while. After that, if you refuse to leave, you're there illegally-even if you continue to pay for you hotel room.

Love and peace out.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Dance, Polygons, Dance!

And the modeling for my next book cover continues...


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bending Polygons to My Will

I've begun digital sculpting for the cover of my next book. Any guesses on what this might turn out to be?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Coming soon to an online store near you...

So, as you all know, I've been working on this novel of mine for years now. It was finished years ago, I've just been scouring and scouring it to bring it up to a publishable standard.

The problem is, I have over 81k words so far, which, at the industry standard of 250 words per, comes to about 325 pages. I'm at a huge cliffhanger point at the end of the second act. But I've seriously beefed up the second act from the original finished draft, and added a lot of issues which need to be addressed in act three. Without even adding these resolutions, act three (which has yet to be scoured) is another 110 pages. I'm happy to be working full time, but at the rate I'm going, this means at another year before I'm finished, if I just leave things as they are--which I don't want to do. It will probably be two years if I do it in a way I'd be proud of, maybe more.

Another issue is I'm not the same person I was when I wrote the original "finished" draft. Things have happened that have changed my views on certain things forever, and I don't feel the third act is honest anymore.

And I'm getting impatient.

So I've decided to make it into a trilogy, or at least a two-parter. A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) has done well ending each book with a cliffhanger, and no one seems to mind. Hell, they're beating George R. R. Martin's door down to read the next one. Also, I can feel like I'm not just a one-trick pony, and have something else out there, in case I'm run over by a bus tomorrow, and no one ever gets to read the damn thing at all. I wouldn't want anyone to feel gypped by ending on a cliffhanger, but the trend these days seems to show people enjoy anthologies.

So friends and neighbors, I'm aiming for a Christmas release, if not sooner. I still have to come up with a good trilogy name, a good book title, and a cover...



Saturday, November 08, 2014

"It's a box of f***ing nothing!"

"Many years ago today, something grew inside your mother... that thing was YOU!"

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Just Say November

Here I am, another morning laying on the floor trying to make my sciatica manageable before work. My life needs some "quality of" back in it.
Another midterm election has passed, another year of everyone professing their ideologies, how whatever the guy on their side does is good / excusable, and whatever the guy on the other side does is uncaring and unforgivable. Of course, I'm perfect and above all that...
Ugh, I just want to sleep, perchance to dream...
Today marks one year at the Jamaica shit plant! It's been eight years since I worked in one shop longer than six months. I feel loved. Sniff.