Golden Gremlin by Rod A. Walters

Golden GremlinGolden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers

by Rod A. Walters

Kindle Edition, 228 pg.
Omega Man Press, 2016

Read: February 1 – 2, 2018


Edmund Kean (1787 – 1833) — or someone else, it’s unclear — said “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Stand-ups, actors, and writers alike will testify to at least the latter. The downside is that those that do the hard work, those that are good at comedy make it look easy. Too often it seems that people (professional and amateur alike) go for the easy approach, and it’s never a good idea.

There’s also no accounting for taste.

I’ll accept either as the explanation for why this book left me underwhelmed.

Walters assumes a curmudgeonly tone, calling himself a misanthrope and taking shots at the foibles of the culture around him. The younger set is a particularly favorite target. Too often his pieces come across as angry Facebook rants, written by someone who spouts off against social media. Still, his points are occasionally clever and his jokes show promise. If he’d subject each of these two a few more revision passes, I could imagine myself enjoying many of these.

I’d strongly encourage reading this in small bursts — the essays don’t build on each other, there’s some references between the two, but nothing you won’t remember even after a few days. I wouldn’t do more than one or two in a sitting or Walters’ charm will wear thin.

Walters says that he wrote to make Dave Barry and Ben Stein laugh. If he’d invoked Andy Rooney, I might have agreed with him. I didn’t dislike the book, but I sure didn’t like it. Walters was frequently amusing — and I have no trouble thinking that many would find him funny. But not me. At least not without a few more drafts.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in this book tour.

—–

2 1/2 Stars

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Guest Post by Rod A. Walters: Little-r-Slash-Big-R Has to be BIG Enough

[from “Captain [OF] America,” t.b. published August, 2018]

Size really does matter if you want a really dark partial solar eclipse. Having seen a spectacular annular solar eclipse—a “ring around the moon” thing—in upstate New York in 1994, I expected the Monday, August 21, 2017, predicted local 70%-partial solar eclipse to look spectacular, too. Wow, seventy percent! That sounds really dark!

During pre-Eclipse Morning, taking our usual walk around the neighborhood, I sensed all those neighborhood cats who came trotting up to us were worrying about the upcoming eclipse darkness. This many troubled cats didn’t happen often. They seemed to want extra head pats. Certain that they had primitive cat worries about the dangerous coming darkness, and needing fatherly attention, I gave them each a short lecture about how it’s only going to get sort of dark, but no wooba-monster dog-thing will be lurking in the shadows for them. A couple of reassuring pats each, we would go on our way. Cats love science lectures.

Later, wanting to make sure the Eclipse Day turned out special, I had much earlier set a lunch date with my wife, knowing that a romantic bayside restaurant table would make just the perfect afternoon. If clouds or rain had turned up instead, we still would have gone to an excellent lunch, and called it a Solar Ecrapse instead.

Armed with ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse-watching dark glasses, I treated my date to a running commentary about eclipses, about the ones I had seen before, and about the eerie darkness which would soon envelop us. Romantically. At about 30% eclipse, then at 40%, and later at 50%, it still looked just as bright as when we sat down an hour earlier.

At the maximum expected 70% eclipse, I could feel my date’s unspoken question, “Is it getting darker yet?” Wup.

Lunch was good, the company was good, but the 70% partial solar eclipse didn’t put on any show, except as viewed through the ISO 12312-2 eye glasses. How could that 1994 annular eclipse have looked so weirdly dark, and this 70% partial not be? Why! Why!

Time to whip out the old slide rule. A quickly jotted-up equation showed that for an annular eclipse to block the same 70% of the sun’s light, the so-called “apparent” moon’s radius today would be about 83% of the sun’s. All real engineers will yawn, bored with this simple equation: little-r-divided-by-big-R equals the square root of 70%. All non-engineers  would just yawn, neither group giving a rat’s eclipse about it. But the slide rule’s mocking answer: that 1994 annular eclipse hit 90%—a much, much bigger size than today’s event. No wonder 1994 got darker! I should have done the calculation before opening my blathering mouth. I can still hear the slide rule laughing.

I’d decided to make up for it next day by explaining this crucial little-r-slash-big-R mistake to all those neighborhood cats.  I just know they will all be interested, if they bother trotting out to me again.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Golden Gremlin by Rod A. Walters

Today we’re welcoming Rod A. Walters’ Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers to our humble abode. We’re starting things with this spotlight post (which includes a giveaway). In a little bit, we’ll have an Guest Post from Walters, and later, I’ll tell you what I thought of this book. But let’s start by learning a bit about it:

Book Details:

Book Title: Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers
Author: Rod A. Walters
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 228 pages
Genre: Humor
Publisher: Omega Man Press
Release date: November 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Mild and indirect innuendo to both sex genitalia, a short essay about the fictional “AssBook,” an essay on current health-care talk, a teaser “is his cord long enough?” to get readers to choose a short piece on electric cars next, etc.)

Book Description:

Written to make Dave Barry, Lily Tomlin, and Ben Stein laugh, Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers delivers the experience of a balanced life, and the wisdom to like most of it, and then laugh at the rest of it. What the heck, Barry lives in Miami, habitat of geezers, and Ben Stein is one. The world really needs that push, vigorous or gentle, from misanthropes & geezers, the world’s most valuable golden gremlins. Misanthropes pretend to not like or need other people, but in reality they merely prefer their own company much of the time. Geezers, aside from that silly name, also like their own company quite well. Both share the virtue of seeing the world calmly. You get pointy bite-sized life pointers from these experienced gremlins, told in easy bite-size chunks. Laughter included in the price! Two out of three wouldn’t be bad either.
Life is good! So laugh a little at yourself on the way through these pointy essays, and that will buy your laughing at the world’s simpler parts, guilt free.

Golden Gremlin comprises about 70 short essays bundled into six topic areas:

NATURE: boys, ugly drivers, and coffee cups in the ‘fridge.
WORDS: the real meaning of Caucasian and Genre.
BUSINESS: deafness at the economics conference, and getting on AssBook.
KITCHENS: sushi chefs, and truth about manna.
HISTORY: when Hell froze, and Attila the Honey.

Golden boy gets to be GOLDEN GREMLIN: experience overcomes certainty.
What things could possibly be more important!

Buy the Book:

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

Rod Walters lives and writes in upstate New York to prove he can be an all-season writer. Since he wants everybody to be all-season persons no matter her or his circumstance, his writing aims sharply toward the practical—without turning into one of those godawful do it ma’ way authors. Life, after all, is practical hour by hour. Self-described as “old enough to know better, and he probably is,” his former life as Army officer, engineer, and administrative assistant could not have better prepared him to write both light and more serious short pieces pointing to creating a balanced life. Chuckling at yourself usually makes a good takeoff, he says. Giving up having to be certain makes for a good landing, especially for one’s friends! Then again, who the heck wants to live a balanced life? Mostly everybody does. That’s why he now writes. Although many friends nudge and badger him to be a Facebook and Twitter butterfly, he tries not to spend many numbing hours a day with circular keyboard tapping. Writing works better.

Connect with the author: Website

Enter the Giveaway!

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GUEST POST (and a little more): My Top Five Writing Tips for New Authors by Anita Dickason

Anita DickasonRetired Dallas police officer turned detective novelist, Anita Dickason, is sharing the good news about her debut detective novel series, featuring strong female lead characters.

To kick things off we’re highlighting Sentinels of the Night, which puts FBI Tracking Agent Cat Morgan on the trail of a brutal serial killer.

Cat teams up with town police chief Kevin Hunter to accomplish one crucial goal: catching the sadistic killer before he strikes again. Although Cat and Kevin soon recognize that the romantic tension between them is undeniable, both hard-working, dedicated professionals know that catching the killer comes before anything else. Cat and Kevin must set aside their personal feelings to put a final end to the killer’s reign of terror.
Sentinels of the Night
This week, Dickason is showing up around the Book Blogosphere with some guest posts. We’re happy to have her drop by this little patch of cyberspace with these writing tips and a giveaway. Click here to enter.

My Top Five Writing Tips for New Authors

I came across a website that ran a short story contest. The theme was based on a picture posted
on the site and was limited to 500 words. The image caught my attention. A tattered and broken
doll stood in a barren, run-down old room with spider webs and torn and stained wallpaper. I
later learned the doll did exist and was used in haunted houses. While it was designed to be eerie,
there was also a sense of tragedy.

I thought what the heck, its only 500 words. I wrote my first fictional story titled Not Dead, Not
Dead. To my utter amazement, I won third place. I was hooked. I now have two published
books, Sentinels of the Night, and Going Gone!, and am working on a third.

I have learned a lot about the craft of writing along the way and would offer these suggestions.

1) Write! Now that seems like a simplistic answer to a complicated question: how do I start?
However, it is so true. I enjoy talking to writing groups about writing and publishing.
Someone will always ask this question. Most everyone who has a yen to write has ideas
rolling in their head. Start putting them down on paper, just start writing.

2) Start with the challenge of a short story. It is a fun way to learn the dynamics of writing.
When limited to 500 or 1000 words, you cannot ramble. Once the story is complete,
submit it to a short story contest or magazine.

3) Don’t worry about perfection in the first draft. Get the ideas and flow of the plot down.
Trying to get a paragraph or dialogue 100% perfect will only slow down the creativity.
Write, get it all down, then go back and edit.

4) Keep a notepad by the keyboard. It helps to keep track of character names, dates, times
and other pesky details that can get lost. I use multiple changes in POV (point of view) as
I shift between agents and locations. The technique can get complicated, and I use the
notepad to keep track of who knew what and when.

5) Edit. There are software programs that can be invaluable. I use Grammarly and
ProWriting Aid. Each has several great features to catch not only errors in punctuation
but also sentence structure, overused words, etc.

For more information on Sentinels of the Night and the second Tracker novel, Going Gone!,
please see my website or the book trailers.

www.anitadickason.com
Sentinels of the Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m00v2W4K4o
Going Gone!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGI9MzkBkSE

Guest Post: The Delicacies of Writing Non-Fiction by Nathaniel Barber

The Delicacies of Writing Non-Fiction:
What to Leave In or Omit and Why Asking Permission Is the Greatest Hurdle to Telling a Great Story

Luck Favors The Prepared is a collection of nonfiction short stories. But, that ‘nonfiction’ part has been a tricky business. Nonfiction is rarely flattering. Seldom does its characters move about as gracefully or as tactfully as we believe we move about our own lives. Most people long for privacy—while the goal of nonfiction (as is the goal of any writing) is the opposite of privacy, to reach an audience. Additionally, the claim (and the sting) of nonfiction is that these are stories which have actually happened, concerning people who actually existed—people with feelings and, possibly, access to legal counsel.

What if I get it wrong? What if I muddy up the dates or fail to nail the dialogue verbatim? These, while valid points, were the least of my concerns. The ultimate hang-up was whether a person would be not flattered by the character I’d made of them.

The conclusion I always reached (which was no) held up the writing of these stories for many years, until, at long last, I was able to call a truce with my inhibitions and get to writing.

What explains the shift?

For starters, these are good stories so they were not easily dismissed. Given time and pressure, eventually their persistence forced me to reconcile this seeming insurmountable hurdle to nonfiction: the spectre of fairness.

Readers of Luck Favors The Prepared will notice I traffic in some incredibly unsavory characters. Was it fair of me to write them so? Probably not. People, however, have had more than enough time to get along without fairness. Indeed, we’ve lived in a dearth of fairness since time immemorial. It is audacious of my characters to demand fairness would make a historically rare visit just to save their hide.

The best we can do is be proactive, and behave ourselves. If you’re good, most assuredly, nobody will write about you.

We’ve developed many ways to live well, even in this absence of fairness. Chances are you’ve had a brush with Christianity, the founding tenets of which warn we should (to paraphrase a number more eloquent passages) watch our ass. If you feel exempt from the offerings of Christianity, the scientific community has an equally potent formula coined by Newton’s third law: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There are some still who feel left behind by both Christianity and science, for them I can only hope they have a magnanimous sense of humor. After that, you’re S.O.L.

The idea is, in a world where what goes around, comes around—fairness is a red herring.

It took me longer than it should have to come to this conclusion. When I did, it was like a fresh breath of air. Which is why I am now gleefully submitting Luck Favors The Prepared for publication, just under the wire, during this lapse in the Universal Calendar when fairness seems to have checked-out.

If nothing is fair, what then, will keep the world from coming apart?

In this supreme absence of fairness, Christianity, science or humor implores us to act with kindness, beauty and grace. It is, you could say, a last-ditch stopgap to prevent everything from going to pot. This is an idea I can get behind in a major way. It has allowed me to finally locate my voice—and write nonfiction to my heart’s content. But to do so compassionately, in spite of appearances to the contrary.

In the spirit of kindness it is important to note: while I have not shied away from capturing a character at their very worst, that unfortunate snapshot is strictly happenstance. I am not aiming, specifically, to capture a character at their worst. Though, to be fair, I am not straining to capture a character at their finest either. One should not aim to catch a character behaving any which way. They should only aim to capture the story. Kindness should be, above all else, a commitment to the story.

While many of my characters found themselves illuminated in such a harsh light, kindness suggests that (hopefully) they were just going through a rough spot. Their only real crime (in the universal sense) was they experienced a fevered lapse of judgement in the company of someone with such an impeccable memory.

Kindness forces us to consider the angels of our better nature, that people are great, complex creatures. We are brimming with contradictions. Sometimes we are terrible and evil. Other times, we are beautiful and reaffirm all of the wonderful things.

How does one know when they’re writing from a place of kindness? Crap stories are usually unkind. We’ve all heard an embittered divorcee seethe about their poisonous ex-wife or husband. It’s nothing you would treat yourself to after a day’s work. That’s what red wine is for.

Nonfiction without kindness reads flat and vindictive. Any too-thin story is so obviously a sad revenge-vehicle to facilitate a tantrum. It is painfully uninteresting. Yes, sometimes unkind nonfiction is fun to read. But it’s a dirty, bitter pill and should be enjoyed sparingly.

Are the stories objective?

Just because I am the narrator, doesn’t mean I am exempt from the critique of these narratives. To lean faithfully on the story’s foundation means I should just as freely throw myself on the same pyre to which I’ve thrown these poor characters. Could I have been more critical of myself, the character? Maybe, but that’s above my paygrade.

Writing nonfiction is to shoulder into unfairness. So the very least a nonfiction author can do is make well and sure they’re writing from a place of kindness and objectivity. Or, at least, try real hard to do so. This is why I still write with boundaries. Very strict boundaries in fact. There’s much more I could write, but it’s a waste of time if there’s no redeeming story.

I am forty years old now. Does an inability to understand and reconcile the dueling perspectives of fairness and kindness explain why it’s taken me so dang long to offer Luck Favors The Prepared? Probably not. But lay off, I’m short on time. I suppose I could try harder, to completely throw myself at producing books, which is a lot like working a second job without pay. Try explaining that to a wife and a daughter.

Writing The Damn Book by Stacy Nelson (Guest Post)

A friend started talking about this book last week, and it sounded pretty interesting. Actually, when I said “talking,” I should’ve said “raving.” Anyway, it’ll probably be a few months before I can get around to reading this, and the author’d probably prefer something sooner, so my friend is allowing me to post her review instead of mine. Thanks, Erika!

Writing The Damn Book: How to Start, Write And Publish A Non-Fiction Book For Creative People Who Have A Hard Time Finishing Things

by Stacy Nelson

Kindle Edition, 83 pg.
BadAss Publishing Co., 2016

Practical Magic for Alchemists Who Like to Play in the Esoteric Sandbox

by Erika Nall

(I had the privilege of reading this book before it was released to the masses.)

The “Who Is Your Reader?” section is the MOST IMPORTANT section. It stopped me dead in my tracks!

I’ve bought countless courses and trainings but something always felt off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. All of them had me “start with the end in mind.” I was painting these beautiful pictures of my days, my 3 months from now, my 1 year from now, and beyond. It was so yummy. It tapped into my superpower of visioneering. It satisfied my romanticism. It validated my idealism. Then I reversed engineered to create that in the present.

However, when it came to my readers and clients the “guru” always had me start at the beginning of their journey. “What are her pain points?”

EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I start there my stomach clenches and my heart shrinks. Inside I feel small and powerless. I get confused and lack clarity. OUCH! It’s painful.

I can hear it now:
Guru: “Lean into your discomfort. Just push through it. This is good for you. This is an opportunity to grow.”

Me: “Um, I don’t think you understand this is not uncomfortable like my shoes are a little too tight or I have a bit of indigestion from the pepperoni pizza I just ate. This is killing me inside.”

Guru: “Well, that’s just a thought. Notice the thought. Let it go back from where it came. Back into nothingness.”

Me: “I don’t think you heard me. THIS IS LITERALLY KILLING ME INSIDE! I avoid death as much as possible thank-you-very-much.”

(And as an alchemist, I know I can excel in the dark art of manipulation to get what I want. I always felt like I went there when I started with pain. “I can help you. Or, better yet “I can save you.”)

Why do I die inside when I start with pain?

My reader is me. I am her. When I talk about her beginning, I am talking about my beginning. When I talk about her insecurities, I am talking about my insecurities. And believe me, they like to show up and be a part of the show anytime they can.

Now, I understand why the beginning is a terrible place to start. Brains are pretty clueless. Whatever it’s thinking, it perceives as reality. That’s its job. And, mine does it very well.

Now I understand that those sensations. That experience is also what happens when I am insecure.

When I wanted to share my message through writing, my self-assurance, my self-confidence, my self-trust was nowhere to be found. Frozen, I just stared at that incessant blinking damn cursor for hours as the insecurities played and had their fun in my head. Frustrated and feeling rather poorly about myself, I would give up. I’d walk out of my office thinking, “What’s wrong with me? How can I usually write so freely and unabashedly with great perseverance one minute, but not the next.”

I wrote the answer, “who is your reader going to BE at the end of the book?” (Honestly, I wasn’t sure if this was going to work.)

And, I felt it. For the first time I felt that what I wrote was coming from a deep place inside of me and not my head. I expected the sensation to be like a blast of, or at least a pulsating, bright light. (Well, that what I thought was suppose to happen when you are passionate and empowered.) Instead, my stomach was relax and I felt a gentle pressure across my chest. It was a constant glow and warmth like after the fire burnt up the firestarters -the tender and the kindling- and it’s just being a fire, doing what fires do. Sure there was an occasional popping of pitch, but I didn’t stop. My fingers just pounded a bit harder on the keyboard.

My breath deep and long. Every once in awhile tears would run down my face. My mind quiet. There was no judging. I just typed. I didn’t set a timer like I usually do to keep me on track. When I felt like I got up into my head, I paused, looked out the window and watched the birds for a little bit, took a few deep breaths, and went back to writing. When all that I had inside was out in black and white -unedited and raw- I looked at the clock and only 50 minutes had passed – talk about flow, baby.

I took a deep breath, exhaling slowly, coming back to my surroundings. Then my intuition said, “Is this making her BE EMPOWERED?” And, I cried.

Several times since then, I’ve tapped back into empowered and I’ve cried every time. Not because I am sad, or happy, or relieved because now I can feel the glorious ginormity of it. How badly, how passionately I want that for my readers AND for me.

You see, I was asking the wrong question. I was starting in the wrong place.

Now when I begin with the energetics of empowerment, I write within the place of security. My assurance, confidence, and trust will be front and center. And, when the writing gets hard and there is a call to perseverance, THIS is what will pull me through the challenges of spreading my message in whatever form I choose.

—–

4 Stars

GUEST POST: Behind the Scenes – Rafael Lovato


Rafael LovatoMagimakía – the quest for Merlin is the first book of a contemporary fantasy series for Young Adults that explores the universe of RPG and MMORPG. In it, Oliver, a naive young virgin bullied 15 year old boy, without any knowledge of magic, trying to find the mage Merlin and save the Order of Mages and Witches of undoubted extinction, ends his journey victim of a magnificent and at the same time terrible event.

From a young age I always wanted to write a fantasy novel, because of my experience with (MMO)RPG games like Diablo and World of Warcraft. The magical universe, the battles and the powerful characters fascinated me. But writing a fantasy book is not something simple. So, after five books published and feeling capable of a foray into this universe, I finally wrote Magimakía – The search for Merlin.

The first step was to choose about what would be the story, and what kind of races and powers I would use in it. Since I always liked fantasy movies, and there was no way for me to escape this influence, I took Tolkien’s idea of introducing demons as non-religious entities (from ​​Lord of the Rings, the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog). Alongside the demons, I brought angels, who resemble paladins, also not religious, and mages, witches, elves, trolls and goblins.

Regarding the writing itself, to construct the history I used the Hollywood structure, with the characteristics turning points structure (10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 95%). Also, took great care to develop the “arc of the characters”, and build well-marked voices for the three book narratives: Benjamin, goblins and Oliver. The scenes and sequels respect the international structure (Scene: objective, obstacle and disaster; sequel: reaction dilemma and decision), and wrote the entire text within the MRU’s technique (motivation and reaction units).

The story itself respects the dynamics of the RPG universe, with close attention to powers mathematics. This means that all races powers are balanced, as well as the most powerful entities. To a careful analysis, you can identify that in the mechanics of battles there are warriors, generals, mini-bosses, bosses, and world bosses. This engine respects the dynamics of RPG games, to appeal to the book’s target audience, who are young adult video-gamers aged 12 to 25 (and adults too, of course).

The book was originally written in Portuguese and published in Brazil by Editora Zap Book (eBook and print) and in Portugal by Editora Chiado (print and eBook), both in June/15. Availing the fact that I speak English fluently, I wrote the English version of the book, and introduced it to a US editor, for editing. I was fortunate to present the manuscript to Ravenswood, who did not hesitate to offer me a publishing contract.

About myself, I am a well-established Brazilian author with six books commercially published, being Magimakía – the quest for Merlin the latest. Recently the Oxford University Press bought a short story of my to use in their courseware as writing model for fiction short stories, already published in the book Portuguese language for 6th grade, by Oxford. Magimakía already is the best-selling book of my Brazilian Publisher, which is starting a national advertising campaign of the book.