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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015, and the Next Time Around

Well, I'm probably not going to offer you any Earth-shattering stuff this time, and I largely detest year in review laundry lists. I'm trying to think exactly what I should say as I look back at my 50th year.

My half-century has been a good one, not always great but I can't complain too much. If anything, I've advanced in a few ways, and I'm finally starting to see things come to fruition, which is pretty cool.

So, let's see...1st things first, radio survivor. After nearly two years at Tango/GeoTraffic Network, I finally left when the place I really wanted to work and end my career at had something open up.

It's like this: I am Morning Desk Anchor for the Radio Pennsylvania Network, which means you hear me delivering the updates in the AM drive our network of stations all across the commonwealth. There's a lot more that goes into it than you can imagine.

I get up at 2 am (boo!), but I get out of there like before 9. That's pretty awesome. The work in itself is involved, and there's steps, and there's a lot to keep your mind on. After some rough spots, I'd like to think I've figured out how to do it and hopefully do it well.

Now to explain...WITF (the NPR/PBS) affiliate in Harrisburg, does own Radio PA, but we are a separate entity. Works well. I'm with the same people I've been around nearly six years, a short ride to work, a building that's nice, equipment that works (and gets fixed if it's not--CONCEPT!)...all good.

This is my last stop in my radio career. I want to end it here. That's it. I've done everything else I set out to do, now I need to do this. And do it right. Work in progress, but I'm getting better at the new job.

I've my hand in at another place which I've often spoken of by talking about Dante, and you can guess where that goes. But it's life.

Now...how about this...I'm gonna need your help here:

Okay, I don't know why that does not get bigger, but no matter.
It's finally happening. "A Moment in the Sun" comes out on March 1, 2016 on Sunbury Press Books. 

Published, by a real publisher. Ain't that some shit?

This will be available on the Sunbury website, and through indie bookshops (wherever you are, they should be able to get this, if they don't have it in stock...that is something I want to see). I'll be trying to get it into stores on the local level, and also I'll try my best to get it into bigger ones.

Our plan is also to do some appearances around this area, and beyond hopefully. I will be signing and also reading, that's the plan anyway as we carry on with some different ways of making this work.

I'll be asking you when the time comes to forward my message that the book is out on social media. Just one time, I think...I want to get this to as many people as I can, because maybe, just maybe...someone will buy it. And read it. And like it. And lend it. And recommend it.

That'd be nice.

I have much more in the can, and I'll be concerned with getting the next one out much later, but it's there. I am still writing. I am writing new things, I've two new manuscripts this year, I have two or three more I need to write, and I have an idea burning for another.

That's how it goes.

Other writing I do...you can find me on BroadwayWorld.com on occasion, writing features and stuff, and I've had some great conversations with people this year. Some of them individuals I've admired and have incredible respect for.

A lot of Skype chats, that is true, but sitting down in an empty theater after a show, and having a long interview/talk with Joe Ely was probably the highlight of my year. Nicest guy.

Not from that date, just a bit earlier in the year. This type of setup, and format. Way cool.

Back to the radio thing...it's well into my fourth year of hosting a program on the London-based Radio-Airwaves Station...you can find us at www.radio-airwaves.co.uk -- always growing and being different, I'm usually on Sundays, hosting The Music Club, from 3:30 ish to 6 pm Eastern.

I had a slight brush just the other day with melanoma...got it off my face, everything's cool, no cancer, none of that.  My health is good...my mind is somewhat settled after quite a bit of turmoil, and I hope to end the year pretty quietly.

And then make one hell of a noise with that book...this is the best thing I've written, maybe not the most creative, but it's a step forward, and we've got to get it done..

I have to get it done. So admittedly I'm not around that much, but this is what I do and I have to do it.

The future is bright, no matter what your situation may tell you. Find yours, go for yours.

As my friend from XM always liked to say, "Let's make it a good one."

Peace, Out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

50...among other things...

Well, here we are...to borrow a phrase, "So Anyway..."

I have hit the Big 5-Oh. Needless to say, I'm appreciative of the fact that I'm still alive, and by all rights should not even be sitting here writing this. I don't need to go into the gory details of what happened to me 22 years ago, and what left me torn apart inside, minus half of my body's blood, and looking like a death camp survivor. Not to mention two years of really getting my life and health back. You get the picture, I think.

I have a lot to look back upon, and I'm amazed that a half-century has come, but I don't see it as gone so much. This has been quite a journey, and I do not plan to have any end to it for a while.

Longevity runs in the family for the most part, and so I think I have got about 25 more left before this body finally gives up and sends me off. It's been alright; I've made a lot of mistakes, said and done a lot of stupid things, but I'd like to think I have learned enough to be able to say, "Okay, now let's move on."

So where are we now? Well, I have nothing to be sad for or complain about. Despite my ongoing depression issues, and the Black Dog that does tend to rear its vile head in numerous ways, I can say I've won a fair number of those fights.

Look at this: my second book, "A Moment in the Sun" is coming out later this month (I hope). I have written furiously over the past eight years. My 20th (I think) novel, "Live from the Cafe" is almost in the can, and I am working toward the hope of a good relationship with my publisher, Sunbury Press Books. The vision I have for these works could have the psychedelic mishmash of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with a fair amount of Hunter Thompson. Gotta think of these things, or you will get nailed by them.

I have a 31-year broadcasting career, and I don't plan to retire (again). Tomorrow, I officially go full-time with WITF, Inc. as the Morning Desk Anchor for the Radio Pennsylvania Network. After 5-1/2 years of puttering about the radio, tv and network sides, I'm getting my spot. I don't plan to leave it.

After six years of struggling w/numerous part-time jobs, trying to find a real one (hah!) and writing maniacally all through it, here is where we are now. I have settled a bit; my health is at its best, and I am hopeful now to find the time to finish up everything I am meant to do.

I also have more than 3 years with Radio-Airwaves Station; the UK Internet place where I can play the music I like, and sound like me, and not that horrific creature that sounded like he did numerous lines of coke before opening the mic, standing back and screaming! What the fuck was radio thinking?

We are survivors; there are a few of us left in this business, who give a shit. We do it right. We don't think about our fucking egos, and we don't think about what's going to get us to the network, or in that individual's pants we fancy. Being a part of this is what we do.

And this is what I fucking do.

I admit, I am not normal. I do suffer from mental issues, but I am happy to say I no longer am on medication, and I don't need it. Yes, I do have issues from time to time, but I work on it. 

The best years are coming for me. I may not be married any longer or have kids, but I wasn't meant for that. No offense to Kaitryth; I don't regret one moment of our marriage because it was good, we did our best and I think we both learned an awful lot about each of us, and ourselves.

Add to it, no one gave us more than a year, heh. We beat that.

I'm alive. Last night, I was having those problems again, but somehow I got out of it. I realized I have matured.

"I'M NOT MATURE, I'M JUST DERELICT!" -- thank you, Ray High (from Psychoderelict).

Anyway...it's been one hell of a ride. I've done a lot more than most of us, and I'm not finished. I have a lot of writing to do, music to play, news to deliver, and I plan to live the rest of my life.

So, rhetoric aside: I do not think of 50 years lived, or wasted, or this, or that. I've long given up thinking about stacking up the things society says you're supposed to have by now. I am not in the mood of wanting more, demanding more or trying to take from someone else what isn't mine. What fucking difference does it make?

We do have to make our own way, and I think I've done well enough. It's been a varied life, and as I say, not done yet.

I'm enjoying my half-century. No, I'm not accepting my AARP card, thank you all the same.

I'm not going to be an old fart. I'm not going to sit around and bitch and moan about the good old days, because you know what? They might just be coming. I really think the best years are not here yet. We have a lot to do in this world, and we have to do for ourselves, and hope that the example rubs off.

I said this about my writing: I hope that it at least entertains. I hope that it makes readers think. I hope that it inspires them, but not in a religious way, because that is not my intent. More....look at the weird shit I put my characters through (my own life, and others). You get through that, you can get through anything. 

I should have been dead years ago. I don't thank deities for it, but I do think the life force that rules the universe may have helped a little. We are getting it done. I am getting it done. 

We all will.

Namaste.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Waiting Game, Advice, and Other Musings

Well, here I am once again, sitting in one of my various "offices," and starting to find that the rat race that I spent six years trying to get back in so I could "make a living" is taking its toll on me.

I'm certainly not unhappy to have a job, and to also have the health benefits that go along with it. Right now, no amount of holistic living, nuts and berries dieting and other obsessive ideas would be enough to keep me alive. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that, I lack the time, money and expertise in the field.

Too much travel. I drive too far, too often, etc. in order to make this living, and yet it is what I must do. Moving is not an option. There's not enough to make that work or worth it.

So when do I write? I don't. I do edit, and I do map things out, and consider, but actual writing is something I have to really make time for, and there's little of that.

I do not mean to complain. I know too many people in worse situations. I also refuse to succumb to Grumpy Old Man Syndrome, which I'm sorry to say afflicted certain people at said job. 

People who cannot accept change become an issue. Daily whining, bitching and moaning about the "way things used to be," and "back in my day, we did it like this..."

Change is very difficult. Veteran broadcasters, just as much as new people can have a difficult time learning new systems, new ideas, new procedures. It's not always fun. But when you go into it with a mindset that the new way is WRONG, and the boss is WRONG, and that everything is WRONG WRONG WRONG, you're not gonna get anywhere.

I am going to recall a passage from one of my favorite Douglas Reeman stories, "Pride and the Anguish." In a certain exchange, the first officer tells the navigator what he thinks of the ongoing, rancorous dislike between the latter and their captain. This fellow was disagreeable, stiff, and not always right, but he did have leadership qualities, stuck up for his men, and would never let them be put down by superiors who knew nothing about the war they were involved in.

The Number 1 tells the navigator (paraphrasing), "Your whole problem with the captain is that you have never even tried to get along with him, and never even tried to work with him!"

There's your point. This is not to play company man, either; you have to do what you can, best you can. If you can see changes needed, then you speak out, and you find a way to get them in.

I felt weighed down, sad to say, by certain people who are my friends, but who allowed ego and not getting their way to be their undoing. Someone wouldn't see any need to change; someone forgot who is signing the checks; someone who was out for themselves; someone who did a lot of nothing; someone who got all butthurt because he/she didn't get their way on something.

It gets a little easier as you get older, if you let it.

So I'm not unhappy as I've said. But is this what I really want? I have said I would take less money to have a little better quality of life. And more time to do what I want to do.

Now...about that:

We are at this time waiting for "A Moment in the Sun" to get a release date. I have to look over the copy one final time, I must wait for the cover art to be finished off, and then we can start getting ready for the push.

Have you see it yet? Have I mentioned?

Yes, I'm sure I have. If you see my Facebook posts or anything else, this cover by Mitch Bentley is all over the place. Yes, I'm shamelessly plugging this fucking thing.

I have to consider a book release event, a physical one, somewhere that is central to my location, and one that people would actually show up to. I'd like to do that, and hope we might generate some interest, and yes, sales.

These books to not make themselves. I would rather sell books and make a living like that, but as someone in "A Moment..." says the life of an artist making one's living that way is not practical.

But it would be nice.

Anyway, I am considering ways to get the word out there that my work will be available, and trying to get it into the right hands. 

Now, the good thing about my publisher, Sunbury Press Books, is that they primarily work with indie bookshops. Those odd little places that don't have gigantor space and signage, the one where actual, physical BOOKS can be bought, read, and so forth.

The online world has killed shopping of just about any kind...

[phone call, hang on]

I don't get many of these. But yes, one of my team got in touch, wow.

Okay, I gotta get going, but yes I am soliciting ideas for places, and things I can do to get YOU to buy and read my book...shameless, I am!

Peace, Out.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Book, the Future, and Time to Reflect...

Well, it is the first time in a long while that I've had to blog and write meandering lines about everything that's going on in the world right now. I have quite a store of thoughts, ideas, decisions and other bullshit that I have to blast out of me, and I'm not going to do it unless I do it now.

I'm sitting in the Office, a place I spend very little time in anymore. As you have gathered from watching my Facebook and other posts, I'm on the road a lot and busy. Full-time employment, and the needs of chasing money are not something I enjoy. At least not the way I'm doing it right now.

I try not to think too much about it, because our obsession with that kind of thing leads a lot of us to split hairs. We'll say we don't believe in/need lots of money, but then we plot out how much we actually think we need, and scheme to get it. Like that's going to do you any good.

A lot of people haven't seen me lately, and that is because of what I do. Time is not on my side, and will not be for the foreseeable future. I need the job I have in order get insurance, and to pay for the medicine that gets pumped into me at various times in a hospital. I tend to wonder if it's really worth it. Add to it my specialist is retiring next year, and I wonder who I'll get referred to.

That is really not a worry right now. I feel like I am in a big fucking hurry right now. I have about 25 years left on this earth, perhaps more if I am lucky. Well, longevity in my family is pretty good, so perhaps I'll be granted a little extra time. 

The deal is: I have too much to do, and to accomplish, not because of my ego, but because I want to do it. It also is a very good defense against a world that I see turning on itself yet again, and looking to kill itself.

I do not honestly think the world is coming to an end, nor do I think there will be any sort of end of days scenario that so many people seem to want to have.  We are such a fatalistic bunch, aren't we?

Some of the things I say and think (especially the latter) would probably offend you, because it would seem so weird. I am just of the mind that with what time I have left, I have to make it count.

So what's this mean? I have yet to disengage from everything I need to in this world, but I'm working towards it. My goals are damned well clear, I have to figure out how to take all the proper steps.

This is where we are right now: I am this close to having "A Moment in the Sun," my second book, ready to come out on Sunbury Press. I am feeling very positive about this one. It is better than "Parasite Girls," in terms of how it's written, and it does have a pretty decent flow to it. The characters are interesting, intriguing, and I want to think all have a fair amount of humanity in them. In that, they are not perfect, even though a couple of them think they are.

A lot of you have asked what is it about? That would be telling, but let's say I examined an aspect of society that (while it's set in Japan) is unique to one place, it can be anywhere, and it is everywhere. That issue leads into others, and without knowing it, I got these characters to face themselves.

Those in the danger areas had to do that anyway, but those outside looking in are forced to examine themselves. Some have to let the boundaries of class and rank, as it were, go. They had to change, or at least accept differences in others that were always there, but they just pretended not to see.

That is a problem we have now. In the big picture, we are people who cling to what we have, our past, and all the issues that hold us back. I got sick years ago of people going on about all the stuff that held them back (they thought) and how they were going to do things, but always found an excuse not to.

Excuse, not reason.

I'm not saying I get everything done on time, and I do not always keep my word the way I should, but I make the effort. Too many people are making excuses, and they're not innocent ones.

We are also lashing out against one another, and as always over two subjects, religion and politics.

I'm pretty much done with one, and could fucking care less about the other. We have to decide for ourselves what we want, and fighting about it, and losing friendships does not make it right, nor does it do any good.

I've lost at least one person who I thought was a friend. He flamed me on Facebook for not following his POV about a certain presidential candidate, and insulted me. He went completely out of his mind over it. 

His view is for himself, and against all others. I was really surprised, because this fellow is really an intelligent guy. I have no idea what happened to him; I think he melted his brain on Facebook.

I really want to give that up, and just do a website of my own. Unfortunately, it is a thing to bear, because it is the one site that is reasonable in its ease of use. Google + I use and I like, but damn it is slow. It takes an awful lot to get the thing to work; I don't really care for its setup, but I think it has potential to be fixed and improved.

Social media is still a weird animal to me. Thank whatever remains that has any form of goodness to it, that I do not have a fucking smartphone. I'm being encouraged at work to get one, but I don't want one. I am not one of those people. 

I dug all the Star Trek stuff, esp. the technology of TNG, and we're using it now, the tablets and stuff. I have no use for it, though. I spend too damn much time in front of this laptop and computer screens as it is.

My writing is leading into a direction where in at least one story perhaps we can disconnect a little, and see what happens with that. Long time down the road, though.

Anyway..."A Moment..." is the big step up. It is a cross between young adult and mainstream fiction; anyone can read this and get it. You will I think find yourself in this story. 

Now, where to get it? Sunbury has a website, and they primarily deal in independent bookstores. Unlikely you'l find this in Barnes & Noble, but I'm gonna try for it. So if not via the web (or one of the usual sites), go make friends with the manger of your local shop and tell 'em about me, haha.

My goal is simple: make this one work. Hopefully it works well enough that Sunbury likes what I offer. I am fortunate to have found a fantastic editor there; Janice and I recently met, and I am taken.

She understands my writing. How about that?

She got where I was going with the story; Janice also got some of the other project ideas, and got me to submit the potential next one as well.

This I hope is a platform, to lay the groundwork for the even better stuff I have planned. I have been on this kick for nearly eight years, and I'm not stopping.

I am writing what I want to see, not what the media, your politicians, your churches, your whatevers tell you you're supposed to see. Get that? Not saying I'm right, and I don't demand you buy in. It's not that different.

I'm trying to blow the fucking establishment out of my brain once and for all, and I hope one day to get there and yet still have enough of said brain working that I know where I am by the end of it. 

To paraphrase a wise man, "I know where I'm going, I feel it deeply."

Peace, Out.