December 4, 2016
First of all, I'd like to say Привет и добро пожаловать! to our friends in Russia. This site currently gets more visitors from there than any other nation, including the United States. I haven't the slightest notion why, but it's quite cool to me that The Emperors of Bedlam is resonating with people in a country that we Americans are brainwashed into thinking hates us. I say screw all that media hornswoggle. I love my readers—lines drawn on a map be damned.
This "Don't call it an apocalypse" speech marketing piece comes from Chapter 11 of EoB. It's delivered by Hennrik Taschen who strives to re-create human civilization by drawing upon the best parts of the greatest empires in human history. Particularly the Roman Empire. I envisioned him as this great motivational speaker, so to pull it off I drew upon the speeches of Shakespeare's Henry V, ("Once more unto the breach, dear friends!") and used John F. Kennedy's voice in my head as I crafted each one. Hennrik gives several throughout the novel, but this is one of my favorites because of his powerful tone of hope that we humans have the potential to evolve into something greater than we are now.
Spewing hate about each other's political views and blindly living our lives as if we're not trashing the Earth for our children … I can't help but wonder if we're even close to the road to reach the peak of human potential.
JFK could've read the US Tax code and I would be ready to run right out to write down some hardcore tax exemptions. Maybe it was just that charming Boston accent, but I yearn for a leader to give a rousing, thought-provoking speech like JFK and Martin Luther King did in the 60's. Kennedy said we'll go to the moon, and not because it's easy, but because it's hard.
These days, our culture has lost the art of truly great, motivational speechmaking by our leaders. Perhaps it’s because giving a great, inspirational speech is anything but easy. It is hard.
October 25, 2016
Free Parking in the Post-Apocalypse
Trolling parking lots and garages for a free spot to leave our vehicle ranks right up there with waiting in a Space Mountain-length line at the DMV, inside an old exhaust pipe. How many hours of our life have we lost forever from driving around at two miles an hour scouring for spaces among parked cars?
"Compact? How is that compact? A frickin' moped wouldn't fit in there." On we drive, stalking people with their nervous over-the-shoulder-glances who might be heading back to their car to part the heavens and free up a place for us. It's well known that there’s a diabolical group out there called The Parkers of Pain. They sit in their cars for an hour with the white reverse lights on, pull into a free space even though we’ve already signaled that we're pulling in there, and most sinister of all, park over the lines to take up two spaces. There have even been reports that the PoP fill up parking garages and lots with their cars and wide-assed trucks, to never, ever return.
But in the post-apocalyptic world, there's plenty of wide open, free parking. In fact, since there are hardly any people, you can park in the middle of a once bustling intersection if you want. Middle of Times Square? No problem. Free parking for as long as you want. Of course, there is the galactically massive downside that a majority of the human race has gone bye-bye.
If you were to speculate that I chose to write "The Emperors of Bedlam" because I'm in love with the idea of open access parking, I'd have trouble arguing with you. Contemplating the fall of the human race can be a massive bummer, but to spend time in a world free of the crush of overpopulation, the soul-sucking work of underpaying jobs, and a planet thriving again in our garbage-spewing absence … glorious. Sadly, the reality of an orange clown spouting hatred in an exhausted world is always waiting for me when I return from Bedlam.
Every now and then, a car will pull out of a space just as we enter the full parking garage, and, *cue hallelujah music*, we slide in, just a few short steps from the exit. The PoP gnash their teeth on those days. Thwarted … that is, until they can park too close to our driver-side door, and we have to slither and suck it in just to get out.
Curse you, Parkers of Pain!
October 6, 2016
It's been a busy week with the release of the book. Can't say that I'm very good at this whole marketing thing, but I'll get there eventually. Lots of fun stuff on the way. Podcasts, a book trailer, even a short story set in the Age of Bedlam, all while trying to get Book 2 rolling along.
Yeah, leeetle busy. But that's the way I like it, so I'll stop my bellyachin'.
On Saturday, when EoB was released, a blissful feeling of accomplishment soared in me, but at the same time, I felt … kinda blue. Not drink-a-gallon-of-bleach-with-razor-blade-bar-snacks kind of blue, but a sadness. A good friend of mine, who is very much pregnant, suggested that, after two years of working on this book, I was suffering from postpartum depression.
Does this happen? Do writers get postpartum? It makes a little sense, I suppose. I mean, look, we're not exactly suffering volcanic contraction pain and launching a small human out of our nether regions—although some writers do that too, of course. But there is a letting go of sorts. Once released, our story ceases to be just our story kicking around in our head and on our word processors. It now belongs to the world as they fall in love with the characters we've created. Just ask any reader what they're doing when engrossed with a story:
"I’m reading my book."
I've said it a hundred times myself. It's a wonderful thing, If you think about it. Like a grownup child going off into the world to have adventures. Although, it does tend to leave an empty nest in my brain.
By mid-week, after listening to most of the sad, brooding songs on my playlist (REM and Nirvana came up quite a bit), I felt much better. Bright even. With any luck, it won't return, and I can get on with the shrewd, high-finance maneuvers of selling my book. *laughing*