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29 August 2013

Pocket Hole is available

Buy Pocket Hole in paperback here through CreateSpace or on Kindle or paperback here through Amazon.

If you want a little backstory on this, uh . . . story, read on.

+Alex Bell is a friend of mine as well as a talented artist. The cover art for Pocket Hole is his. A few years ago we decided to create a graphic novel and used my novel Boo Noon for the adaptation. Boo Noon is a book, not a huge one, but still big enough that it was a challenge. Boo Noon the graphic novel was going to be really big, and we spent hundreds of hours working on the story and creating thumbnails. We re-imagined the first few chapters at least three times. Each re-imagining was amazing and did really cool things, but in the end it was too big a project.

One night, after a frustrating session, Alex called me on the phone (I think he was in his car driving home) and said that we just weren't going to get this done. We'd bitten off more than we could chew. A year-and-a-half of work wasn't going to see life.

He was right, but that didn't make it any easier. I was pretty bummed for a few minutes, but I had seen this coming. The story was just too big for two people with full-time jobs and actual lives to complete. So what we needed was a smaller story. I decided not to dwell on what wouldn't happen and thought hard that night before I went to bed about coming up with a smaller story. When I awoke the next morning, Pocket Hole was there in my mind. I hurried and wrote down all the highlights, but most everything was there.

I called Alex on the phone that day, pitched the idea, and we changed directions.

Now by me saying that the whole story was there in my mind, I don't mean to infer that what I wrote down that morning didn't change. There were lots and lots of things that Alex and I came up with as we worked on the story, great bits that fleshed out characters, lots of humor and sight gags, and even crucial plot points. The story is as much Alex's as mine.

So our goal was to attend ComicCon in San Diego in 2010, Pocket Hole in hand. After almost killing ourselves for six months we had the first issue, which covered maybe 2/5s of the story. Pocket Hole, Issue 1, was really good and we were proud of it. We went to ComicCon with high expectations, and while we had a good time, sales were less than spectacular. We were both a little deflated.

Another roadblock. This one lasted for a while. Alex and I worked on projects here and there, but Pocket Hole, Issue 2, didn't happen and it appeared it never would. We had a couple other starts and stops on other projects, but that was it. Life gets busy. Alex and I are still close friends, but the attached-at-the-hip project work doesn't happen anymore.

I love writing novels, so I wrote Alone With You Somehow and put together Six Christmas Stories, and then I thought about Pocket Hole. It was a complete story. The darn thing was thumbnailed to the end, why not adapt it to a book? Alex and I had attempted the same thing with Boo Noon but in reverse. Seemed like a good idea.

Writing Pocket Hole ended up being one of the easiest things I've done.

So, if you've read this much, I would expect you are interested enough that you picked up a copy. I hope you like it. I really think you will. It contains the best efforts of a really talented artist/storyteller and a marginally talented storyteller. Together, I think Pocket Hole turned out pretty exceptional. Let me know what you think. I welcome feedback.

27 August 2013

And to all a good Pocket Hole

If Pocket Hole were a book, what would it look like? Plato first postulated this in his Dialogue: Holeus Pocketus.

If you have caught yourself at some point in your life asking a similar question, well, catch yourself no longer. The answer will arrive in a matter of days.

I want to express my undying love to +Alex Bell who came up with this cover. I love the cover so much I've begun to think of it as one of my own children. Not my favorite child, by any means, but not my least favorite either.

Pocket Hole will soon be available for purchase on Amazon as an ebook, and for the first time for any of my books, as a paperback via CreateSpace. The paperback will also be available through Amazon.

I am excited to have an actual book in my hands where I can turn an actual page. Dork that I am, I have already ordered the first copy.

So at least I got one sale.

26 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - landscaping rocks

The world teams with marketing genius  . . . let me start that again. The world is plagued by marketing genius.

You've seen Smart Water, right? One day a guy filled a plastic bottle with water and called it smart. You'd have to be stupid not to buy it. You know, pay money for free stuff. That falls out of the sky. For free.

I imagine something similar happened with landscaping rocks.

There was a farmer digging up a rock in the middle of his field just as a guy from the city drives by and has a vision of how that rock would look plunked down in the middle of his yard.

City Guy offers to pay the farmer for the rock, and after a brief battle with his conscience, the farmer says he would charge City Guy 50 cents.

Later that day City Guy, back in his car with a rock as copilot, has an epiphany. "Hey," he thinks, "my neighbor is way stupider than me. I'll bet he'd pay fifty bucks for this rock."

And the landscaping rock business was born.

What's his name in the cubicle next to me says this isn't a sign of the Apocalypse, but I don't believe him.

22 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - putting Baby in a corner

If you're in a saloon and it's the Wild Wild West, being in a corner is exactly where you want to be.

Sorry, wrong movie
I read a lot of Louis L'Amour westerns when I was a teenager so I know that. Only a greenhorn or someone with a death wish ever sits close to the swinging doors.

As a father, I take issue with +Patrick Swayze telling Baby's father that he was doing something wrong by putting Baby in a corner. How do we know that Baby didn't die a week later for the very reason that she wasn't in a corner?

You don't even have to go the Wild Wild West route to make this argument. +Dirty Dancing  wasn't a slasher movie but it did happen at a summer camp, right? Summer camp is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from slasher territory.

And who is it that always dies in slasher movies? Teenagers doing the nasty, of course.

It's been a long time since I saw +Dirty Dancing, and I don't remember if Patrick and Baby did the nasty, but I am pretty sure they dirty-danced the crap out of everything.

I think a guy in a mask holding a cleaver would be drawn to something like that.

Baby should have stayed in that corner.

Putting baby in a corner . . . eh.

21 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - bacon

Bacon smells.

Good, bacon smells good, but bacon smells.

If I was an international spy, I would never eat bacon because it would be impossible to sneak up on unsuspecting guards at secret facilities.

Mmmm, bacon
Of course, later that night when I was seducing my arch enemy's girlfriend, maybe I would want to smell like bacon. Her take on American breakfasts would be the deciding factor. There seems to be a trend among femme fatales towards veganism these days, so who knows?

Being an international spy is tricky enough. I think worrying about how I smell is one-element-too-many to worry about.

Unless we're talking about a nice pancetta. That goes without saying.

Or a thick-sliced dry rub.

Or applewood.

Or hickory smoked.

Or peppered.

Heck, even turkey bacon.

Come to think of it, I smell like bacon right now.

18 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - dust mites

In ten years your mattress doubles in weight from a build up of dead skin cells.

I heard that statistic once.

We've all seen pictures of dust mites and how scary they look, but I think what people should actually say when the topic of dust mites comes up over dinner is how much dust mites suck at their job.

I mean, c'mon. Beware the dead skin cell, right?

What, are dead skins cells hard to track down and kill? Are they wary woodland creatures almost impossible to catch? No.

Stupid dust mites. They basically live on top of a mountain of potato chips and can't take care of business.

I'll tell you what, if I lived atop the equivalent of an Eiger of Cool Ranch +Doritos, you can bet that pile would be smaller, not bigger, after ten years.

And I don't even like Cool Ranch Doritos.

I prefer original. With bean dip.

Dust mites . . . eh.

16 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - various kinds of licorice

When it comes to licorice, the first thing you need to get out of the way, of course, is the way it is spelled.

Licorice has two C's in it. The first C is pronounced with a hard K sound and the second C has an SH sound.

How does that even make sense? Now I'm no English major . . . no wait, I was, but that's beside the point. I really didn't pay that much attention in school anyway, but shouldn't the silent E change the I instead of the C?

I pity those people who have to learn English as a second language.

But back to licorice. Obviously cherry is the only acceptable flavor of licorice. From there you can get creative. Licorice rope is nice because you don't have to keep putting your hand into the bag. Just one rope and you can munch for up to an hour. Well, thirty minutes. Well, ten minutes.

The problem is, it's hard to find soft licorice rope. Even fresh from the bag. I couldn't count how many times I've been in a store squeezing licorice bags like Charmin, all to no avail.

Nibs are almost always soft and perfect, but they're small and you have to put your hand into the bag repeatedly. If you're reading a book while eating licorice that can be distracting.

I found a bag of Nibs licorice rope a couple years ago and it was better than winning the lottery. Of course, now I don't remember which store I found the Nibs licorice rope in.

I'm being punished for something. Must be. Stupid karma.

Various kinds of licorice . . . eh.

14 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - comic books about jello molds that campaign for president of the United States and then win

Lots of comic books start off with a silly premise.

  • Superman is strong and invulnerable because the sun does more for him than just stimulate the darkening of existing melanin in his skin.
  • The Human Torch can catch himself on fire anytime he wants and can somehow still afford to shop at +Nordstrom.
  • Wonder Woman and Cat Woman wear skintight costumes with ridiculously plunging necklines but you never see a panel where Spider-man or Captain America is staring at their cleavage.

All pretty silly.

Still, a jello mold campaigning for president and then winning the election seems far-fetched.

I don't think there is a comic book where a jello mold campaigns for President of the United States and then wins the election.

Comic books about jello molds that campaign for president of the United States and then win . . . eh.

13 August 2013

Recumbent bikes

I like people who are lazy even when they exercise.

I saw a guy on a recumbent bike the other day and I just had a feeling I would probably like that guy. Sure, he was sweating and pedaling, but it was like he was sweating and pedaling from the comfort of his favorite +La-Z-Boy.

I take my hat off to anyone who plays a sport in a laid-back, what's-on-the-tube-next fashion.

Guys who play half-court basketball? I like them. I've never met a guy who played quarter-court basketball, but if I did I would totally like that guy.

It goes without saying that I like baseball players and golfers.

But that guy in the recliner on wheels? That was sweet.

11 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - paper with lines

There's the classic question of what came first, paper with lines or the English language?

A friend of mine said that's a little like wondering if electricity came before the +iPhone. I think that's stupid. Follow my logic here: Ben Franklin discovered electricity with a kite, and everyone knows that Franklin Day Planners were a precursor to the iPhone. Hence, electricity clearly came before the iPhone.

In all that, I didn't mention the name of Steve Jobs once.

My point is, I can think of lots of uses lined paper could be put to that don't depend on the invention of the English language.

  • Making airplanes
  • Origami
  • Lighting campfires
  • Tic Tac Toe

I could go on. See, you can't just automatically state that the English language came before lined paper. Or vice versa.

Some day, someone is going to invent a time machine and the first thing I am going to do is go back in time and learn the truth of this.

Of course, once the time machine is invented, I wonder if a whole other question will arise? Like what came first, the time machine or time? Because you'll be able to go back before time, won't you?

I'll leave that for another, ah, time.

Paper with lines . . . eh.

08 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - living under an overpass

I would never want to live under an overpass.

For all the obvious reasons, of course.

Urine for one. Both the smell of urine and the puddles of urine behind the cement columns from years of outdoor bathroom use. Overpasses are drenched in urine.

Overpasses are drafty. Caulking and generous use of weather stripping be damned.

Overpasses also typically team with flying rats, otherwise known as pigeons. There was that Home Alone with the indigent woman who was a scary character at first but as the show went on +Macaulay Culkin learned that she actually had a heart of gold? She just happened to like birds and living in +Central Park?

When the movie first came out, as a person in the theater, it wasn't hard for me to accept that Culkin developed a strong attachment to the woman.

In reality? That poor woman would have smelled a lot like bird poop. And she probably only had a few more months to live on account of having the hantavirus. I'm pretty sure you can catch that from pigeons (note my reference to flying rodents above).

I'm just saying.

Nothing funny in a timeless Christmas story about child neglect if it ends with the child dying from the hantavirus.

I could go on.

But the real reason I would never want to live under an overpass is that living under an overpass sounds dangerously close to the start of a pun.  And as everyone knows, liberal use of puns is a predictor in children for a predilection towards serial killing.

To each his own though. You want to live under an overpass? Go for it.

Living under an overpass . . . eh.

07 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Igneous Rock

Igneous rock is rock that originates in the center of our planet but is then spewed out of land pimples onto the land's surface. The whole sordid history of igneous rock sees it melted by intense pressure and heat and then forcibly evicted from its home.

I suppose you could feel sorry for igneous rock on account of the hard times it has gone through. But for me, no.

According to one theory that involves land pimples and lots of dust in the air, igneous rock was at least complicit in wholesale genocide (i.e., the extinction of the dinosaurs).

I love dinosaurs, but am relegated to the Syfy channel and such classics as Dinocroc or Sharktopus to get my dinosaur fix. Sometimes even +Sharknado if I'm desperate.

But for igneous rock I might have my own pet gigantoraptor in my backyard.

Stupid igneous rock.

Igneous rock . . . eh.

05 August 2013

Daily Ambivalence - personalized license plates

+Sherlock Holmes is probably really good at deciphering personalized license plates.

I can picture Holmes and Watson in a cab driving from one mystery to another and Watson being puzzled at a stop light by the license plate of the car in front of them. But then Holmes says "Elementary, my dear such and such . . ." and he tells Watson what the license plate means.

That probably happens all the time, but you don't see it in any of their stories because deciphering personalize license plates isn't much of a super power. As far as super powers go.

Sometimes it sure would be nice though.

Like right now.

What the hell does RDMRMNT mean?

Personalized license plates . . . eh.

02 August 2013

Early Morning Rhythm

One ribbon of blacktop,
roundabout circle where 4 is 1 mile,
so swears the sign.

Her walk's to retread the already trod.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Monitor pace, pulse in vein,
search for the clarity
rumored at mile 6.

All the world’s contained in this,
living, moving beside the edge of green,
park full of life to avoid,
directed despite such open alleyways,
no walls, no row houses, no crust of commerce,
just promise of measure.

For such she is sold.