I CAN’T WRITE PROPER

There is not a moment of my writing life that I am not more than a few inches away from these same sentiments! Any writer who is great on Monday will be horrible on Tuesday when the edits make it back. Such is life. As I walk slowly toward my inevitable writing life I know the rules will change in the blink of an eye. Or is it in the blink-of-an-eye? I can never remember.

All we can do is just keep on keepin’ on. 🙂

lucinda E Clarke

I am feeling quite depressed at the moment. Why? Once upon a time, I thought I could write. Not as well as Tolstoy, or Shakespeare, but the average, everyday stuff. This is a good thing, I thought I’m not particularly good at anything else. Don’t ask me to draw a smiley face, or cook gourmet meals, I plant, nurture and watch the green leafy things die, I’m best in the back row of the chorus (or off stage altogether) and … I could go on and on about my lack of accomplishments, but I’ll spare you.

At least I can write, pop words onto paper in reasonable order, tell stories and the extra bonus is I can do that as long as I have wiggly fingers and the mental capacity – unlike those super sporty people whose career is on the downward slope by the time they’re 25.

My belief in…

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I love vacations; however …

I was put recently in the unenviable position of having to take a vacation. *gasp* I know what you are thinking, “Bryan the Writer, who really thinks vacations are bad?” Well, as much as I like seeing new things, I am really more of a home body. Leaving the confines of all I know and love can be traumatic for me.

That being said, I wanted to let you all know why you have heard so little of me lately, I’ve been out and about cruising the world. Well … maybe not all of the world.

1st stop, Indiana. I know, you are likely unimpressed with the state of Indiana, but if you are me it is a salve to my wounds. We go to a place where literally time stopped in like the 70s. I jokingly say it is God’s Midwestern waiting room and the median age is like 473 years old. Nothing happens or even changes. I love it. While we were there we caught up with family, swam, watched grass grow, complained about mosquitoes. It was awesome!

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Chillaxin’ in my favorite part of Indiana

Likely, it is one of the only places on this planet I can go and truly feel like I am rested afterward. There is nothing to do, no expectation there will be anything to do, and a complete lack of desire to do anything. I need that. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), I need time to let my emotional armor hang on a hook for a while and maybe rebuild the damaged pieces for what comes next.

I proudly say I am half Hoosier. I spent about half of my childhood there.

If Indiana is the place to send in my emotional suit of armor for repairs, the next stop on my vacation is essentially the reason it needs occasional repairing.

New York City is the wrong place to be if you are a HSP. It is a bundle of nerves, wrapped up in irritation, surrounded in a thick coat of grumpiness and wrapped up in too many people! It is energy, constant and unending. While some people find it invigorating, an HSP can easily be overwhelmed by it. Try taking on the emotions of all of NYC for 12 hours a day. Yeah, I actually yelled at someone the other day. I never do that. I was past my proverbial edge. However, it is not as bad as it may sound. The people around me were also irritated at this jack-ass. They just weren’t fed up enough to yell at him.

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NYC Time Square

I really enjoyed seeing Central Park. It is beautiful! We stopped to chill out on a couple of park benches throughout the day and just watch New York wander by us. We stopped by a castle in the park which is now part of the National Weather Service. You can tour the castle. It is kind of neat to see.

We toured Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital, the Statue of Liberty, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and had some amazing Irish food in this off the wall place we found. And that was on the first day!

My daughter wanted to see “Trump Tower” so, while on 5th Avenue, we made our way to the building. I posted this on my personal Facebook account but I want to reiterate, it’s kind of a hidden jem. First off, the building interior is gorgeous. Downstairs, they have a great café with reasonable prices. REASONABLE PRICES IN NEW YORK! You can also buy sandwiches and burgers, which looked really good. It wasn’t mealtime for us, so we didn’t eat. In NYC, it is almost impossible to find anything reasonably priced to eat, but Trump Tower actually has them. Take the escalator down. Most people don’t do that, they just head inside, snap a photo, and then leave.

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My two favorite ladies!

There are the traditional things to do in NYC, like catch a show, etc. However, if you really just want to wander around a bit, there are tons of things to see and do.

I literally was forced to take a vacation … no lie. I had too many vacation hours at my full-time job and I needed to burn a ton. There is a sick part of me that is excited to get back to my work schedule which is highly regimented; albeit self-imposed regimentation. There is comfort in a schedule. However, I have to say, this is been interesting. And, as a fellow writer pointed out, you need to take these little trips occasionally to fuel your imagination.

My point to this blog is simple, get out and see NYC. Lots of cool things to see. Yes, I can’t wait to get home but it has been a pretty great trip overall. As for visiting my secluded corner of Indiana? No … stay away. It’s mine.

-Your Humble Servant

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Book Review: Villains Rule

Villains Rule (The Shadow Master #1)Villains Rule by M.K. Gibson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heroes are great! But, the villains have way more fun! Thus it goes with M K Gibson’s “Villains Rule”. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the power behind the power. M K Gibson explores this idea in this massively entertaining book.
The book breaks through the fourth wall very successfully, bring the reader in at points with some excellent internal dialogue. Witty and hilarious, the interplay between the characters is enough to keep any reader fully engaged. The book itself excellently written, with a story line that moves along at an good pace.

“Villains Rule” attains what I consider my highest praise. It is an airport book. What I mean by that is this, a book you would be very glad you brought along on an extended plane trip. At points, I chuckled at the witty humor and the amazingly well-written dialogue.

I can highly recommend “Villains Rule” to anyone who is looking for a smart read without all the heaviness that some adventure books seem to keep on the reader. Just when you think the story has had a dark point the villain, Jackson, says or does something to elevate you to a place where you can laugh at the situation.

One warning. This book is addictive and will have you sneaking away from moments to continue the adventure.

-Bryan the Writer

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It’s Horror, what we do for people!

The Golden Girls, Friends, The Odd Couple … they all had one in thing in common, friends!

As I was driving home today from “Scares that Care”, an annual convention which celebrates all things horror related, I was trying to think of the best way to put friends in perspective.

  • Friends are like … oil? Every once in a while you need to check the levels and make sure you have enough. Hmmm … maybe not, too many dipstick jokes.
  • Friends are like … ice? The more you have the cooler you feel. Ummm … no. Friends are not normally cold and melt.
  • Friends are like Oreos? Not even going to complete that thought.

As I sat at the convention this weekend, a worthy cause to raise money for people in need, I was surrounded by new and old friends. Some people I’ve known for years. A few people I got to know this weekend and they quickly became a friend. A couple I only saw once last year and when we got together, it was just like time had never passed.

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A bishop, the grim reaper, and a plague doctor walk into a bar …

People who are really into horror are a sort of an unusual lot to figure. You have the people who dress up like demons, monsters, and otherworldly creatures. There are people at the convention who wear t-shirts from other conventions dedicated to monsters and horror. Then you have people walking around in shirts dedicated to things like knitting … cats … and other less threatening activities. You get it all, little ones who love to watch the classics with their parents and can recite line and verse from Goosebumps. Mothers, who are a perennial favorite at their local bake sales and spend their quite moments reading everything they can get their hands on pertaining to real life serial killers. Then you have the grandmas and grandpas who love the genera of horror and walk calmly around the displays, taking it all in.

Everyone has one thing in common they love horror. And, if no one else gets it, essentially they just don’t care. I was talking to one of our neighbors at the next table over about the beauty of horror fans. It comes down to this. We all are essentially lovers of all things horror related and that is what binds those odd-looking people wearing a necklace of human ears, the mother who dressed herself and her one-year-old up like zombies, and the grandparents walking around in slacks and polo shirts.

This year I added tons of new friends to the mix. In addition to the new fans I hopefully gained, I also met Pisay Pao, or Cassandra, of Z-Nation fame. BTW, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She even introduced me to a few of her fans and friends who attend all of her events and they came to my table and visited me. I am glad to add them to my list of casual friends who I hope to see again at another convention.

But, I guess that is how things work. You meet people in real life and the web of friendships grow. All of us joined in our mutual love of all things horror related and a desire to do some good in the world! I’d like to think that, at the end of the day, we accomplished our mission.

My friends, Bryan the Writer is tired

I really don’t like social media. As I’ve said in the past, it is a necessary evil. To be a serious author, you have to have a social presence. If you don’t, there’s no way for your readers connect with you. Gone are the days where an author will write a book behind walls and hardwood doors, never to be seen by the public. That reality, if it ever existed, is nowhere to be seen today.

When I was in England, I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the Globe theater. The Globe theater sits where it was originally. The remains were actually found underneath a nearby parking lot. Presently it is impossible to reconstruct it on the location where it was originally. However, the present day Globe theater is not too far away from the original location. It is then painstakingly reconstructed in the manner what it looked during Shakespeare’s time. It is highly likely Shakespeare would have readily recognized the modern theater he helped to found.

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Master of the Globe Theater

The reason I bring up Shakespeare is that he participated in the social media of his day. He not only wrote plays but he was an active contributor to the artist community around him. The Globe theater was not just used for performances, but it was also a place for actors to meet and hone the skills of the trade. Even in Shakespeare’s time it was impossible to hide behind the wall, free from prying eyes.

What makes it more difficult today is that no matter what your stance is on a particular issue, the opposing viewpoint will just assume you’re an idiot for not supporting there’s. I like to think that I am pretty open-minded. I think it’s important to understand the other person’s point of view. I also think it’s very necessary to be able to admit when the other side’s point of view has influenced your own.

I promise you I’m not getting into politics here, but I am reminded of the debate I accidentally found myself in on healthcare. Tricky business, this healthcare. It’s not really easy to fix all of the problems of healthcare. The system itself is gigantic. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work because there are nuances which will be problematic. However, allowing healthcare to become the Wild West doesn’t really work either. Too many people would be left in the lurch.

I’m not trying to solve the issue here, just simply point out the problem we have right now is that too many people are talking at each other instead of to each other. This problem is exacerbated by social media. We can just throw our opinions out there for the world to see and never check that post ever again if we don’t want to. The other side can do the same and no one ever really communicates.

I guess, if you boil down this blog, I will submit to you that it would be great if we all could just stop posting to Facebook for a while. With the time we’ve saved, not posting inflammatory comments pointed at the other side, we could talk. Just sit and talk.

Maybe over a cup of coffee, glass of wine, mug of beer, flagon of ale, snifter of brandy or any other type of beverage you prefer.

My friends, Bryan the Writer is tired. I’m tired of the arguments. I’m tired of too many people talking and no one listening. The idea that the conservatives have the right answer or the liberals have the right answer is ridiculous and foolhardy. No one has the answer; however, I’m convinced we, collectively, as American’s do have the answer.

We are not a cold and heartless lot. We are also not mindless Socialists who let the government control everything. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Pray some enlightened person finds the answer.

– Your Humble Servant

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Review: Helter Skelter; The True Story of The Manson Murders

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson MurdersHelter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vincent Bugliosi said it best, “… The singularity of Manson’s evil and the particular brand of demonic murders he authored have not again been inflicted upon our nation. We can only hope that the ensuing years will be the same.” He wrote those words in June 1994. It appears in the afterword of the currently available version of “Helter Skelter”.

We continue as a society to be fascinated by the actions of Charles Manson and his followers, who are collectively known as ‘The Family’. And who better to tell that story than prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi himself? Although Vincent himself has passed away, his story lives on. In my humble opinion, works like “helter-skelter” are absolutely important to the future of society as a whole. As my mother would say, those who failed to observe the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Although, I’m sure she took that quote from someone else.

Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the Manson trial, does an excellent job laying out for the reader all of the important elements of the crime, the prosecution, and the defense’s actions during that famous trial. You cannot separate an understanding of Charles Manson and an understanding of the trial. The two are inseparable. The vivid descriptions of the witnesses, crime scenes, evidence, and the courtroom drama served to encapsulate one of the longest and most expensive trials to ever take place in US history.

I would argue that without Mr. Bugliosi’s book, a gaping hole in the recollections and recounting of the Manson trial would exist. We would also lose a haunting look at the mind of a madman and those who would unquestioningly follow him.

Truth in advertising, I’m an author who writes about serial killers. Because of this, the studies of the most infamous killers of the world is an important aspect of what I do. No serious study of violent crime in the US would be complete without looking at Charles Manson and The Family.

They say that time heals all wounds. However, I don’t think the nation ever completely recovered from the wounds inflicted by Charles Manson and his followers. We still seem to be just as fascinated today with what happened on those two days back in 1969 as the nation was during the time of the trial. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to our love of the macabre or fascination with courtroom drama.

For anyone interested in Charles Manson and the events surrounding the Tate and LaBianca murders, “Helter Skelter” is a must-read. I found it to be well-written and chock full of detail that no movie could ever quite cover as well is Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry did.

-Your Humble Servant

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The Lesser Sin, by D.B. Corey

The Lesser SinThe Lesser Sin by D.B. Corey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I love a deeply conflicted and morally ambiguous hero. One who you know you shouldn’t really root for, but can’t help yourself. D.B. Cory gives us one such hero in the form of Hanna Braver. A sniper who forged her warrior prowess in the fields of Afghanistan, only to return to a pretty screwed up world, which sees the torture and death of her sister.

“The Lesser Sin” is a complicated story and really sets itself up to be a sequel from the first half of the book. Aside from Hanna’s dogged pursuit of the man who killed her sister, you are also presented with Cole, her CIA handler who has more skeletons in his closet than one can count. We don’t know the true nature of those skeletons, but get the sense D.B is going to give us a glimpse of that in the next book.

If there is one thing I would caution you about is that there are a couple of places where I felt the police procedure end of things were a little weak. For example, there were a few places where I thought the character of Detective Finn would have acted differently in the real world. However, I will also point out that I also have a background in law enforcement, so I look at these things with a critical eye.

However, “The Lesser Sin” has the one thing that I love to see in a novel. Characters I can care about. I find myself concerned for Hanna’s safety, disliking Cole, and not being entirely sure how I feel about Sonja. I get the impression, D.B. meant for me to have mixed feeling about Sonja at the end of the book. I kind of like her, but feel like she has something up her sleeve.

“The Lesser Sin” is overall a great ride and well worth the trip. I can highly recommend it to all my readers who like a good dark thriller.

-Your Humble Servant,

Bryan the Writer

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