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Category Archives: books

Promotion For Glitch In The Machine

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Author photo courtesy of Aline Hernandez…

Having realized that most blogs people read are either about sports, politics, science or how to get others to read your blog I have given up the fantasy that anyone will read this, but I will continue this forum anyway despite such drawbacks. And what the hell, right? Can’t hurt. So without further adieu here is my latest post, announcing my newest book, the Sci/Fi speculative fiction masterpiece ‘Glitch In The Machine’. This book will be available in May as an ebook on Amazon.com, followed by the print edition in the summer of 2014. Here is the hook:

In an era of mandatory health insurance, why are everyone’s claims being denied?

It’s 2025 and America is a shell of it’s former self, staffed by a puppet government run by overseas despots and dictators. Big business has taken over, in particular health insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations and weapons manufactures. The population is now divided between the 99%’ers and the 1%’ers, with food, drug and product testing no longer a part of the government’s social programs. In fact, there are no social programs anymore; government involvement has come to a standstill, defeated by their overlord’s crushing greed. For the 99%’ers this a nightmare world of unregulated food and drugs, one in which they are legally required to have health insurance if they wish to see a doctor, but inevitably will find their health insurance claims are regularly denied because of various ‘technicalities’. Enter Floyd Jasper, a hired killer trained by the 1% wealthy elite to sniff out fraudulent health care claims submitted by the impoverished 99%’ers and initiate a termination sequence…on their lives, that is.
His job, should he choose to accept it (and he did, oh hell yeah) is to mete out justice as he sees fit in a hail of bullets or a well-placed twist of his bone handled ‘killing knife’. He is good at what he does, a veritable one-man extermination machine, but eventually time runs out on his maniacal ways and soon the hunter becomes the hunted.
Accepting aid from a well-endowed, blood thirsty co-worker, they embark on an inquest to find out who wants him dead, only to become immersed in a world of suicide cults, megalomaniacal military leaders, population control demolitions experts and, ultimately, find he is to be groomed as the second coming of ‘Christ’ in a no holds barred, winner takes all battle royal of the classes. The 99%’ers versus the 1%’ers in a version of ‘Occupying Wall Street’ that the world has never known.
At times comically upbeat, at turns tragically brutal, Glitch In The Machine is a roller coaster, whirlwind of a novel that never pauses long enough for the reader to catch their breath. The first person narrative is reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk, and was written from a ‘Vonnegutian’ point of view, intended for audiences who enjoyed his work, as well as that of Anthony Burgess. Glitch In The Machine is Clockwork Orange meets The Terminator with a dash of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Bladerunner thrown in for good measure.
Look for it on Amazon.com as early as May 2014!

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Happy One Year Anniversary!

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of this blog’s inception, and as I made my way through the day I thought I was going to post a nasty, sarcastic, scathing tribute. I’ve relocated from beautiful, sunny, San Diego to cold, rainy, snowy, cold (did I say that twice? Yes, yes I did) Wisconsin for starters, leaving behind a life I miss just about every day. There were many reasons for this move, but none of them seem very good when staring down the barrel of a Midwest winter. And while sitting in my car at a gas station this morning (aggravated, grouchy, out of sorts) my doors automatically locked and when I opened the door the car alarm went off and I couldn’t shut it off. The gas station attendant and his two teeth thought I done had sumthin’ wrong wit me. Then I took the wrong highway and wound up in some cow pasture, trying to get from Whitewater to Madison. Returning to Madison, my GPS lead me to a highway with a bridge out and refused to take orders otherwise to direct me around it. All of this happened after visiting one of my sister’s, a weekend involving a lot of outside activities in forty-degree temperatures and rain. It was no wonder two of her children were sick, I’d thought sarcastically, watching as she made a homemade apple pie while her youngest child continued to hack her lungs out into the batter no matter how many times my sister told her to ‘cover her mouth’. And the auction we attended left plenty to be desired; I told her quite frankly that if this were merely five years ago I would have been giving her ten shades of crap about this ridiculous, redneck activity that her husband (a very nice fellow, by the way) adored so much. In my opinion they couldn’t give that junk away, much less sell it, yet they did. Yes, it was with all this in mind that I was going to write an absolutely wretched piece that would involve nothing but insults and bitching about small towns and the inbred people who inhabit them, not to mention the Midwest, Wisconsin in particular.
But instead I am not going to do that, and here is why: I just read somebody else’s blog post (bluestockings19) and it was such a positive, uplifting message that I’d feel like a douchebag in comparison. I called off the dogs, so to speak, and am instead going to give thanks for my wonderful family and all the things about them that I enjoy and love. For anyone who reads this blog because of my narcissistic, supercilious, often downright haughty nature I most sincerely apologize for the turn of heart and assure you it won’t last. Everything still sucks and I am a grouch who wishes his debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World would sell so I can thumb my nose at decent society, trust me.
Be that as it may, thank you to anyone who has read, ‘liked’, or followed this blog. You have certainly made my year. Peace.

 

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2013 Frankfort Book Fair, y’all!

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This blog has been about many things over the last year ever since it’s inception: funny and tragic pet sitting stories, personal health issues, rants about bad California drivers, crappy, crazy jobs I’ve had, classic alcoholic writers, pissing and moaning about moving from the west coast back to the Midwest…I’ve covered a lot of ground since I’ve been writing this. The blog was started because of a suggestion made by Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, a literary promotional company. She told me it would be a great way to promote my novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. But the thing is, I’d never quite understood what people read blogs for, and found that the different subject matter I touched upon was hit or miss. Looking around throughout the blog world, I found people wanted sports and news and politics and hard facts, not necessarily silly stories about animals or being inappropriately wasted in a Von’s grocery store and getting into it with the guy outside collecting money for the Salvation Army, subsequently arrested and then getting anally raped in jail by a six foot six black man named Michael Jackson. But be that as it may, I am pressing on. I suppose I could make this entry a rant about how hard it is to push a self-published book to a saturated market where traditionally published authors are fighting to gain ground, about how much money I’ve spent and seen no return on my investment (over $12,000 and counting), or how my novel is actually well written over that of the 299,000 other crappy self-published authors who are churning out zombie novels at a pace that is beyond ridiculous (anyone ever hear of Dave Moody? Hater’s and then his Autumn zombie series? Jesus Christ give me a fucking break (parenthesis within a parenthesis he is NOT self-published)!). Yes, I could go on and on and you (all of my three readers) would think that I am jealous, that I am a bad writer who is blowing off steam making fun of authors who make it onto the bestseller list and don’t have to pay to publish their own work. The fact is you might be right.
So I’ll switch gears here and talk about my latest attempt at publicity: I have my book registered and being presented both in soft cover and ebook at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair, the largest literary event in the known universe. Folks from all over the world (over 300,000, a quarter of them members of the media) gather in Frankfort, Germany to see what the latest and greatest trends in literature are. Who’s going to be the next Stephen King, the next J.K. Rowling? Inquiring minds want to know! Even better, what the hell are those two promoting as we speak (a sequel to The Shining and a thriller, respectively)? Yes, all in all a bonafide HUGE ASS event in which my novel will be stacked amongst thousands of others in the Combined Book Exhibit bookshelves, vying for attention both in print and digital copy. And will I get any attention, this absolutely fantastic book that has so far been virtually ignored? A novel Kirkus Indie reviews called ‘Visually engaging, an irrefutably intoxicating adventure’ and ‘one big, bad-ass book’ by Kat of Bibliobabes.ca, not to mention many readers on Goodreads and Amazon.com. Every time I do a free give away I run out well before the posted closing (but I am not stupid; I’ve found SEVERAL copies immediately for sale on Amazon, listed as ‘autographed’…fucking pricks).
As no one is clamoring for this blog I can say whatever I want here. I can cuss and scream and shout and call you all a bunch of pussy faggots for not buying my book and it doesn’t matter (although I do apologize to my three readers; I am not talking about you). Because in a world full of books we, the unknowns, can only keep competing for your attention and hoping that we eventually get it. That one day it will click and you’ll say to yourself: “Holy shit! His autobiographical stuff is like David Sedaris and his horror fiction is like Stephen King. I love those fucking writers! Where have you been all of my life?”
And the answer would be: right here, sitting in front of this fucking laptop and begging you cocksuckers to at least read a free excerpt (available on my website http://www.edgarswamp.com or at Bookbuzzr (also known as Freado) or on Goodreads). It is literally everywhere. If you looked hard enough you’d find the whole copy for free somewhere (don’t ask me where, but I know it’s out there. I do a lot of stupid things when I’m drunk, just ask my neurologist).
But readers don’t want good books, they want tired crap churned out by hacks who need money to buy fourth homes in Stockholm, Sweden where they can hide inside by the fire and secretly burn journals they kept while in community college in Andover, Michigan where they had unprotected sex with minors and never got caught because their parents where on the board of review and the city council…
Yet I digress. My book is at the 2013 Frankfort Book Fair in Frankfort, Germany where I hope someone fucking sees it and picks it up, flips through it and reads something that catches their eye (if indeed I haven’t been scammed by Combined Book Exhibits and the book isn’t really there). And then maybe they’ll contact me through my website and ask to see my next book, ‘Denied’, a futuristic take on the American health care system (available in paper back and ebook in April of 2014). And soon enough people will be willing to pay to read this fucking blog but I’ll continue to give it away for free because I’m such a nice guy. Really, honest. Trust me…and buy my fucking book ($2.99 ebook for fuck’s sake available through Amazon.com). Thank you (and sorry to my three readers!).

 

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Give me Whiskey or Give Me Death; a tribute to Charles Bukowski

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In an effort to remain true to this blog’s original plan I am now going to write about previous jobs I held, the crazier and more ridiculous the better. If there are many folks out there who enjoyed the writing of Charles Bukowski, this blog is for you. For those of you who have never heard of him, he was an American writer who found notoriety writing for the L.A. Free Press in the 1960’s, a column called Notes Of Dirty Old Man. He later found fame writing several books about jobs he worked, one called Factotum (later made into a movie starring Matt Dillon) and Post Office. In fact the latter was his first published book, having written it for a publisher named John Martin who believed so strongly in Bukowski’s ability to spin a good yarn that he offered him $200 a week to write so that he could quit his job. Writing about what he knew best (drinking and working for the United States Post Office) he was surprised to see that it did well enough that he was able to publish several more novels (for they were marketed as ‘fiction’) and garnered a rather eclectic audience around the world. He was especially beloved in Europe, but he made a splash in America as well. He wrote the movie ‘Barfly’ (based on his own life) starring Mickey Roarke and Faye Dunnaway.
So that is the new focus of my blog: all the crazy, crappy, preposterous jobs I’ve worked over the course of the last thirty years while pursuing my creative endeavors. Like Bukowski, I am a college dropout and enjoy the occasional beer or ten, but unlike Bukowski I was never a very good fighter yet I was never unwilling to ‘go’ if it indeed became necessary. I also traveled a lot and ended up in some rather compromising situations. I’ll also embellish a bit in some of these tales, as he was known to do. Rest assured they are rooted in reality, but sometimes you have to stretch them a little to get the desired effect. All that said, here is a short one since I’ve already taken up this much of your time: Hotlanta in the summer or Give me Whiskey or give me death, a tribute to Charles Bukowski.
The year was 1994. Kurt Cobain had killed himself in the garage of his Seattle home and the new Woodstock would prove to be a bust, as the grunge generation was a surlier, more unpredictable lot than their predecessors. Artists like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains and Beck were topping the charts while smaller bands like Mudhoney and Monster Magnet were making the rounds, keeping things afloat until they later found fame (Monster Magnet) or they dissolved into an historical footnote (Mudhoney). I was living in a warehouse in an area called Little Five Points in Atlanta, Georgia, having moved there from Raleigh, North Carolina after I got the boot from a band called Motherload. I’d been their lead singer (and chief purchaser of alcohol because they were all nineteen to my twenty-three) but they eventually had enough of my drunken shenanigans and sent me packing after I picked up the lead guitarist during a gig at a packed pool hall in Raleigh and tossed him into the crowd. He was mad because 1) they didn’t catch him, they instead ran out of the way and 2) because his Gibson Les Paul got ruined in the process. I couldn’t really say I blamed them. I was drunk and on drugs most of the time back then, in fact one of my favorite pastimes was driving around the triangle area drinking malt liquor and smoking weed and taking acid and going wherever the wind blew me. Suffice it to say I met a lot of strange people, some of whom thought I was the strange one. Go figure.
In Atlanta I held several jobs, but the first one I worked was selling school supplies for a shady company called Pacific and Atlantic Wholesalers, a telemarketing outfit that violated just about every law you can imagine when it came to consumer fraud (overpriced, crappy merchandise, hidden fees, broken promises regarding free bonus items with every order etc. etc. etc.) run by a man so crooked he made the Enron presidents seem like portraits of American stability. He’d sit behind his desk cleaning automatic weapons and snorting white powder off his desk blotter, every now and then venturing onto the sales floor to holler: “Let’s get a hum going men!” or “I hope you get stuck in traffic and don’t have a forty ounce can to piss in!” if he was upset that we weren’t making enough sales. Sometimes he said even cruder things like: “Shut up bitch or I’ll fill your mouth full of sperm!” or “Shut your pie hole or I’ll fill your corn hole!” Despite all this ranting lunacy the surprising thing was we actually made sales, lots of them. We were cold calling schools all over the greater continental United States and asking to speak with whomever did the purchasing for the school store. When they were put on the phone we then stroked their egos and smooth talked them into buying grosses upon grosses of shit they didn’t need, all of it cheap, easily breakable garbage. Notebooks with bindings that came unglued the first time you opened them up, pens with barely any ink in them that ejected what little there was in a puddle all over the page, pencils that snapped in half if you looked at them funny and so on. Yet we all made sales (some of us to a greater or lesser degree) and some weeks I made enough money to cover all my bills for a month.
It was in the middle of a heat wave in August that the air conditioning went out and, to keep us working, the owner, Cliff, bought us several gallons of whiskey and a quarter ounce of blow, encouraging us to help ourselves. He didn’t have to ask me twice. Within a few hours I wasn’t sure what the hell I was saying to people over the phone, all I knew was that I wasn’t making any sales. When I’d had enough, I snorted another large pile of coke, slammed a giant shot of whiskey, announced I was ‘getting the fuck out of here!’ and got in my car. I don’t remember driving home, all I remember is arriving and getting into it with my drug dealer roommate. I was sick of he and his friends keeping me up at night, partying into the wee hours when I was trying to sleep off a drunk, and I decided this was the time to air things out. Well, one of his thug buddies was there too, and between the two of them they easily restrained me and proceeded to ‘convince’ me that I was in the wrong. They were quite persuasive, let me tell ya, and the next day at work I looked like I’d gone a few rounds with Floyd Mayweather with my hands bound behind my back. To make matters worse the owner called me into his office.
“You left early yesterday,” he scolded, not even mentioning my beaten-to-a-pulp-face; he was too busy using a large hunting knife to shave a mole off his back. “I don’t think you’re taking this job seriously.”
I looked at him incredulously. “Taking the job seriously?” I repeated, trying hard to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. “What’s not to take seriously?”
“You don’t come and go as you please. The manager has to authorize it.”
As I recalled the manager had been under his desk when I left, wearing nothing but black, ankle high socks and muttering something about the impending apocalypse while he drooled over a photo of Ms. July, but I kept that to myself.
“Yes sir,” I muttered, not wanting to argue. What was the point? “It won’t happen again.”
“Damn straight it won’t.”
“Yes sir.”
“You fucking freeloaders,” he said, dismissing me. “That’s the last time I give out free drugs. None of you assholes made any sales.”
“Not even Kennedy, sir?” Kennedy was the only sober person in the bunch; he never drank nor indulged in anything stronger than coffee.
“Kennedy was sick yesterday.”
“Oh.”
“Now get out there and get a hum going or I’ll-”
“Fill my mouth full of sperm,” I supplied for him. “Got it sir.” I was tempted to salute but I simply turned and left, wondering why I was stupid enough to keep working there. But when I felt the cold blast of the newly fixed ac, and I got that phone in my hands and spun some magic that landed me a twelve hundred dollar commission, I knew why indeed…

 

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Busting my *ss to make a buck

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I started this blog ten months ago with the idea of writing funny stories about my pet sitting business, using it as a platform to promote my debut novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World. The stories were meant for entertainment purposes only; I wasn’t trying to impart any kind of message. And then, out of the blue, I came down with a neurological disorder and in the blink of an eye my pet sitting business was gone. Having no other recourse, I moved from lovely San Diego back to my home state of Wisconsin. Here I found work in another field entirely, back breaking labor that exhausts me every day, making me realize how easy my pet sitting business was. My point? This blog will either have to be about my pet sitting exploits of the past or I’ll have to think of something else entirely. No one (I think I can say this without dispute) will want to read a blog about the life and times of a landscaper. Oh, I am certain there are people out there that want tips about landscaping, but there are few who would want to listen to me prattle on and on about dumping and spreading wheelbarrows of mulch on primed beds, of mowing lawns at seventy degree angles and shoveling tons of gravel. But don’t get me wrong, I’m being paid very well for my hard work, it’s just that it gives me a lot of time to reflect on what I had. Like the dog walks, this kind of work gives you a lot of time to think. As I’m busting my ass it is easy to wax nostalgic about those carefree dog walks, those cushy pet sitting jobs. As a pet sitter I’d have my laptop set up at a table overlooking the various yards of the various homes, and inevitably I’d see the gardeners (Hispanic, mostly) toiling away in the yards. Sometimes they would see me and I’d feel a bit foolish, that they were out in the hot sun and I’m in the air-conditioned house with the dogs, sitting on my ass, writing. Of course in my mind what I was doing was very important; I was, after all, writing the novel that was ultimately going to save humanity from itself. But how could I explain that without looking like a douchebag? Instead I smiled politely and would occasionally ask them if they wanted something to drink.
In Wisconsin there are still white people that do gardening, so I must insist that I am not insinuating that I feel I am doing work that is beneath me. I am getting paid top dollar for my efforts (more than I’m getting paid as a writer, but a bit less than I was making as a pet sitter) it is just that it is hard work. The hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. But I still get to work outside, and my family lives in Madison, Wisconsin. And the neurological disorder, the sleep twitch that turned everything in my life upside down? Well, it is unfortunately still a part of my life, albeit a manageable part. Gone are the nights of no sleep while I twitched away like I was being electrocuted with a cattle prod. Now I have medications that keep the twitches at bay, and some nights I don’t have to take any medications at all. After doing a sleep study, involving a polysomnagraph (a sleeping EEG) the neurologist determined that the problem would go away eventually, but he couldn’t say when. For anybody interested in the subject of hypnic jerks there is a blog called ‘The Man Who Cannot Sleep’. Many people post messages there that have suffered or are suffering from this strange sleeping disorder. They offer advice as to what they do to alleviate their problem, also making suggestions as to possible causes. It is very interesting. I had a doctor in San Diego who had apparently never heard of it; because of his misdiagnosing, my problem got worse before it had a chance to get any better, hence my hasty departure from the wonderful sun soaked state of California and back to the unpredictable rain, snow, mosquitoes and humidity of Wisconsin.
So this blog has been intermittent at best, as I no longer have the generous amounts of time I used to have to write. But I have been hard at work on a new novel, getting up an hour early everyday before work so that I can get in a few thousand words. I suppose once I find my focus on what this blog is supposed to be about I’ll retool it and come back bigger and badder than ever. Maybe I’ll even find a subject that people will actually want to read about. Who knows, stranger things have happened!

 

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New Reviews For The Gyre Mission

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I have waited quite some time to hear what people think of my debut novel The Gyre Mission, and it is with great joy that I see the reviews are not only good, but totally freakin’ great! Check out http://www.kirkusreviews.com to read the praise they heaped upon my disgusting disasterpiece, as well as http://www.bibliobabes.ca to read what the illustrious (and ever amusing) kat thought of it (see photo above of the very lovely and talented kat). In a saturated market where everyone and anyone is publishing a book, there are actually GOOD ones out there. Mine is one of them! For a measly $4.99 you can own the book (ebook) that will be a bestseller by this time next year, and for a lousy $19 you can have the JUMBO paperback. Come on people, I know you can get free ebooks from Kindle but if you have any taste whatsoever you will realize you get what you pay for. As soon as Stephen King tells you to buy my book you’ll do it, won’t you? And then you’ll say to yourself: “Damn, this book is freakin’ awesome! Thanks for cluing me in Stephen!”
I understand it takes a lot of convincing to make a purchase, especially from some jerk-ass you’ve never heard of before with an author photo that looks like a mug shot, but simply read the free preview and see for your self if the writing is any good. And leave me some feedback. Tell me what you don’t like about it and I’ll send you something free (like a bag of burning shit!). Tell me you like it and I’ll autograph the cup I used to wear in football and send you that (limit one per household). As casual readers you have choices, millions and millions of choices. Do you want to continue giving your hard earned money to writers who’ve sold their souls for the corporate dollar (please contact me if you know who to sell my soul to) or do you want to take a chance on an unknown who might someday be seen in your town, wearing an orange jumpsuit and picking up trash alongside the road? Don’t answer too quickly, take your time. And remember, strangers are simply friends you haven’t made yet, but don’t trust them with your children or the keys to your car! Peace!

 

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