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Category Archives: The Gyre Mission

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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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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Welcome to Dairy Land or See Ya San Diego!

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I haven’t updated this blog since June, might have been May, I’m not quite sure. What started as something I updated every week became more and more sporadic as a health problem took over my life, changed everything, and left me to pick up the pieces. The topic of the blog started to take a turn in late March/early February; what started as funny anecdotes about pet sitting became personal rants about various things. Then there were a few posts about my health issue, how a primary care physician mismanaged it and then nothing…tumbleweeds…less than nothing. My life as I knew it completely changed, forcing me to move from sunny San Diego back to rain-soaked Madison Wisconsin (a fine city in its own right but nonetheless very different from what I’d been accustomed to over the last decade) to live with my parents while I figured things out. Here I am, a man in his mid-forties, and a serious sleep disorder forced me to move back to Wisconsin from California to live in my parent’s basement. It’s almost like the set-up to a bad movie produced by Happy Gilmore Productions (no offence dudes). And the town they live in is cow pastureland, cornfields and dairy farms. I moved from the very edge of the Pacific Ocean and into the heart of cheese country.
There are many things I use to console me: 1) I can now watch the Packers play every week during football season 2) My entire family lives here and I do enjoy their company very much 3) Once I get my shit together I can get the f*ck out of here and go back to California. We’ll see how that works out.
I am writing this on the evening before seeing the neurologist to review the results of my polysomnagraph (a sleeping EEG). This was a test I’d begged my doctor in Encinitas for but he refused me, telling me it was ‘a pain in the ass’ and that he could figure out my problem without tests. Well, thanks to the neurologist here, we know what I am dealing with (preliminary results were phoned to me right after the test) and that it is nothing life threatening, but what a trial it has been! I’ve been hosting a seemingly endless stream of ‘exaggerated hypnic jerks’, sleep starts that every one has but, in my case, EXAGGERATED. Most people will have a few and then fall asleep. Mine go on all night, every night, nonstop. Just when I am on the verge of sleep: POW! A jerk that shakes my whole body (or just moves my hand, foot, arm, leg, neck, back etc.) waking me up. Shit, I’ve been through this a million times. I’m sort of sick of telling the story.
Irony, that lousy bitch, came in the form of my returning to this lovely manure tainted paradise and the problem seemingly going away. All of a sudden I could sleep without twitching, and I was able to reduce the medication I took nightly. I did the sleep study and it showed I was ‘normal’. Five days later and the twitches came back with a vengeance straight out of the bible. Seriously, they were like electric shocks being sent through me at regular intervals (possibly from a cow prod?). And worse yet, the medication was no longer working! Sleeping pills used to shut them down and now it was barely keeping them at bay. I was jittering and jiving the night away until I was forced to get up because sleep was impossible.
The worst part of the whole ordeal (besides leaving my sunny seaside town and my pet-sitting business and my independence) was having to try and get people to understand my problem. Somebody was forever giving me advice on what they did when they couldn’t sleep. I don’t know how many times I had to tell them: it isn’t that I can’t sleep, this isn’t insomnia! I am jerking more than a prepubescent boy who’s just discovered masturbation! This is a physical problem, not a mental one. Of course, the longer it went on, it became a mental problem; I nearly had a nervous breakdown from lack of sleep. Hence why I came to my parents house and am writing this in their basement, hence why I abandoned a successful business in one of the best cities in America to cut grass and weed flowerbeds.
So, this blog can still be about funny pet sitting stories, no problem there, but I am no longer a pet sitter. In fact, as I alluded in the previous paragraph, I’ve been working as a landscaper for my brother in law’s company. I work much harder now and get quite filthy. Inbred chicks at the BP won’t give me a second glance when I come in reeking of organic compost (read: manure) with circles of dirt lining my neck like jewelry. Writing, well, let’s just say I haven’t been doing a great deal of that. My latest novel is stagnating at around two hundred and five pages and promotional activities for my self-published novel The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World have screeched to a dead halt, with the exception of the video pitch I submitted to greenlightmymovie.com. I’m not sure if that $40 was well spent, but it was an interesting experience.
Tomorrow I find out what my neurologist (actually, not my neurologist after tomorrow; I had to switch health insurance and my new policy no longer covers him) thinks of this on again, off again problem. Maybe he will do me a favor and give me a lethal dose of barbiturates, like they use to euthanize animals. Put me out of my misery, as it were. Or maybe he’ll just shrug his shoulder and say: “Sucks to be you dude.” Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be worth the two hundred + bucks it costs for thirty minutes of his time, and that bit of advice you can take to the bank. Just don’t take it to mine; the check will bounce. Peace.

 

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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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