Friday, August 28, 2015

A Beautiful Day


A splendid time was had at the park yesterday. The weather was a marvelous 85ish and the sun brilliantly glistened over the landscape. I sat in silence as I watched the wonder of life skip by and while I was there, I engaged in several entertaining conversations, but nary was a word spoken aloud.

How is that possible you ask? I imagined what the people I saw were thinking, and then I mentally chatted with them. Some told me about their work, others rambled on about their families, and a few told me where they had gone on a recent vacation.

The local wildlife at the park were also very chatty. The sparrows told me about their squabbles with the blackbirds, the robins introduced me to the newest member of their family, and a squirrel reminded me to get ready for winter.

You might think it odd to sit alone and have imaginary conversations, but I didn’t mind. Being alone is normal for me, because no one ever wants to talk to me, except for jimmy of course.

I would have brought, jimmy, but he dislikes going to the park. He got stung by a bee at the park last year, and now he thinks all the bees are out to get him. I tried to tell him not to play with the bees, but he ignored my warning. I also told him that curiosity is dangerous, if you're not careful. His naughty reply verified that he did not appreciate my wisdom.   

Around midday I spoke with a spider. He had crept up on the park bench where I sat, although he wasn’t in a very good mood. A child had destroyed the web he built last night and now he had to find a place to build another one. I offered to help, but he refused, and he scurried off.

The dogs that the people were walking in the park had all sorts of things to say, but because they barked so loudly, it was impossible to understand any of them. Thankfully, they didn’t stay very long.

Then a lady walked by pushing a stroller. The child inside the stroller was screaming frantically. From what I could make out, it sounded like the child was saying, “Feed me!” I wanted to tell the lady what the child was saying, but I thought it best not to say anything. She seemed to be in hurry.

When the shadows of the tall trees began to stretch over the grass, I decided to leave. All in all it was a great day at the park. The moment I got home, not so surprisingly, jimmy asked if a bee had stung me. With a grin on my face I told him no. I then poured myself a glass of water and sat on the porch until all the sunlight was completely gone. I would have spoken to the stars and the moon, but I fell asleep. I was exhausted.

The next morning when I woke, I found myself still sitting on the porch and saw there was a blanket neatly placed upon me. No doubt my good pal jimmy was the one who thoughtfully covered me. The evil dog lady and her pooch then meandered by and when she saw me sitting there, she gave me a haughty smirk. I returned her smirk with a contemptuous smirk of my own. Afterward, I went inside. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. It was indeed a great start to another beautiful day of being alone with my imagination.

-jk- 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Volume 1


                                                                VANGUARD  



Now Available on Kindle!

It's been a long hard road, but fortune favors the fool who refuses to quit! One down, two more to go, and then it will be time to focus on printing. Oh, this is my entire marketing strategy. Post it on the blog site and hope people see it and buy it. We have a very limited budget here at Broke Fiction.  

-jk-

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Determination – The Saga of an Amateur Writer


  


You don’t have to crash and burn to learn, but you sure do acquire a vast amount of invaluable experience when you do make a mistake. And when it comes to trying to publish a readable book, I am the embodiment of crash and burn to learn. This is my tattered tale of how I got to where I am today – the abridged version.

I had written a few stories over the years, but never once did I consider publishing any of them. Then one day I decided, why not? I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain – I sure was wrong about that, because I didn't think it through to the end.

I tirelessly began reworking several of my old scribbles and then asked a friend of a friend take a look at the story, and offer any advice; little did I know he was on the clock. Six chapters into it, I received a bill for $300 worth of bad editing. That relationship ended fast!

From that moment on, I chose to work on my own. (Keep in mind I knew nothing about the literary world during this time and I barely do now.) I finished the story (rough-draft), and then I began cleaning it up. I spent five months fine tuning plot lines, characters, and the fantasy world I created.

When I completed my work of art, I did a foolish thing. I fired off hundreds of query letters. Needless to say, I had no idea how to write a perfect query letter, and to make matters worse, I also sent them an unedited manuscript. Yup, I was rejected a lot, and by everyone.

Despite being discouraged by the rejections, I was still determined. I scoured the Internet for self-publishing companies to make my dream of becoming a published author into a reality. I soon found out dreams are extremely expensive. The phrase, “There’s no excuse for stupidity,” should have jumped up and slapped me across the face at that moment, but I was blinded by the enticing advertisement, promising to make me a published author. I was an easy mark.

I paid a lot of money, the book was published, and I was happy. The title, Casualties of Truth, it was completely unedited! OUCH! The feeling of stupidity and utter embarrassment surged through me like a freight train the moment I realized what I had done. If there was a hole to crawl into, I certainly would have. I had no one to blame but myself. I could have quit then and slithered back into the void of my meager existence, but I wasn’t about to give up just yet. I needed to fix it, and fast, by whatever means possible.

Then, as luck would have it, or fate, I showed the book to my neighbor, two houses down from mine. He just so happened to be a retired teacher and librarian. The more we talked, I found out that we grew up in the same town, and we went to the same high school, though he graduated a few years before me. I asked for his help and he said yes, for free!

For the next six months he edited the first book, while I wrote 17 more chapters to be added to it. The finished book was titled, Warfolkan, and I self-published it. The book wasn’t entirely clean, but it was readable and far better than my first attempt. I was proud that I had redeemed myself, somewhat, and my saga could have ended there, but it wasn’t what I truly wanted. I wanted a trilogy, and maybe even more.

What I didn’t know at the time, but I do now, I had become addicted to writing. I desperately wanted to keep writing. So, I once again turned to my newest pal, my neighbor, and asked him if he would help me. He graciously said yes. The plan – split Warfolkan into two shorter books, write a third book to finish the story, and thus making the trilogy into a reality.

After a lot of time spent and enormous effort, Tom and I finished the project. All three books are currently being self-published, and they will be released soon, hopefully by the end of September or early October. For those of you who read the original Warfolkan, Book 1 & 2 is a cleaned up 2nd edition.

There are no words that I can say to sufficiently express my gratitude to Tom for helping me. His patience, guidance, and understanding made everything possible. Thank you, double thank you, and triple thank you!

The first thing he asked after we finished, “When will you be starting the next book?” He truly is a gem.

And that's how and why we came up with Broke Fiction. My advice to any new writer; educate yourself, and then educate yourself some more. I certainly know a lot more now than when I started, and I’m still making mistakes, but I am not giving up. Being hard-headed is what I’m good at. There is nothing wrong with taking a risk or screwing up, as long as you learn from it.

Be responsible for the consequences of your own actions, and then ask someone for help.


-jk- 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Broke Superstitions, Adages, and Axioms


Seeing how today is the infamous, Thursday the 13th, I decided to share with you some cryptic, mysterious, and fantastical oddities. I already know what you’re going to say, Friday the 13th not Thursday the 13th, but here at Broken Fiction, we be broken, and we be slightly abnormal. 

For the record, I am not a superstitious person. The over-analytical gene I was born with does not invite hogwash and hooey to the party inside my head.

I’ll start with one of my favorites, Red sky in the morning, sailors warning. Red sky at night, sailors delight.  I suppose it means smooth sailing weather is ahead. This meteorological prognostication is probably more reliable than a local weather prognosticator. However, I think it might mean, red eyes in the morning, sailors are hungover. Red eyes at night, sailors are drunk and happy!  

Being a casino addict, I hear this one a lot – Beginners Luck. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge anyone who is lucky enough to rake money from the casino, but if you’re a harden gambler like me, hearing someone say they won because of Beginners Luck just drives me crazy.

A humorous one is – Rub a rabbits foot for good luck.  Human imagination never ceases to amaze me, so the person who came up with this one was no doubt a very creative person. Rubbing a rabbit’s foot or even carrying one around with you, on purpose, is pure gold. I feel you; we all do what we gotta do to get through the day!

Knock on wood is a classic. It is meant to preclude/circumvent/thwart something bad from happening, and if there is no wood available to knock on, a person will knock on their own head or on a friends head. (Humans are very silly.)

Opening an Umbrella Indoors is believed to be very bad, and it will bring bad luck to all those who do so. No doubt in the near future there will be a law suit brought before the courts, because the umbrella manufacturers did not stamp a warning label on it that read – DO NOT OPEN IN DOORS, IT CAUSES BAD LUCK. (I want to be in the court room on that day.)

Finding or Having a Horseshoe will bring you good luck. I believe it is highly unlikely anyone would find a horseshoe just lying around in the street nowadays. So, if you do find one, it probably will bring you good luck. Warning: make sure you never turn it upside down, because all the luck will run out!!!

At the end of every Rainbow is a Pot of Gold. I have done extensive field research on this one, and it is 100% false, dammit!

The Wedding Veil Protects the Bride from the Evil Eye. I did not know this one until I met my ‘Greek’ wife. Her people are from the old country, and the ‘evil eye’ is big time juju with them. When I saw her father spit on my newborn son; supposedly meant to ward off evil, she had to stop me from punching him in the face!

A Sailor Wearing an Earring Cannot Drown. Well, if the earring was the size of a life-preserver then I might believe this one. Interesting fact though, the reason why old-time sailors wore a gold earring was to pay for their coffin and other funeral expenses, those without one; well they probably just got tossed into the sea.

Beggars can't be choosers, Better late than never, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, Charity begins at home, and Two wrongs don't make a right are just a few in the long list of Adages and Axioms I used to hear as a youngster.

They were all meant to teach me important lessons about life, and the older I got the more I understood them.  

No man is an island, Fortune favors the the bold, and Practice makes perfect are very very very true. 

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones and Beauty is in the eye of the beholder are two I have to relearn every so often.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. But I'm an idiot, so that one has never made any sense to me. 

That’s all for now, folks. Be careful out there today, Thursday the 13th can be particularly dangerous if you’re not wearing a garlic necklace. I suggest we all stay indoors and hide under the covers.


-jk-    

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Broke 2015


As a young impressionable child of the 60's, I saw riots in the streets and the Vietnam War, delivered by Walter Cronkite every night on the TV. Yup, we had TV’s back then, only 3 channels though, and we did see a man walk on the moon. I also read a lot books and magazines, and they all promised the 21st century was going to be awesome.

Guess what? They lied!

Ironically, riots in the streets and wars are still on the TV every night. There is, however, a land rover on Mars, yippee! We have iPhones, computers in our homes, and 999 channels on the TV. Whoopee! This is not the 2015 I dreamed about back in the 60’s.

WHERE ARE THE FREAKING ROBOTS THAT DO EVERYTHING FOR ME?!

I still have to push mow my own lawn! I can’t count the times I mowed the lawn as a young lad and thought how fantastic it would be in the future, when robots would be doing it instead of me. Boy was I foolish to think that was ever going to happen in my life time!

I WANT TRANSPORTERS AND HOVER CARS!

I want this, the car we should be driving. Car

Yes, we have central air now, which is great. Back in the day we had a fan, then a box air conditioner that cooled only one part of the house. Electricity is wonderful. We do pee & poo inside the house now, so I guess that’s a good thing. Yippee!

Space travel is still years away, but where would we go -- to the moon? Been there, done that! Mars? Um, why?

This is all wrong! I want the 2015 I dreamed about as a kid. Replicators. Transporters. Space ships. A holographic room to play video games in. Robotic replacement parts for my aging body. Cancer a forgotten memory. Speaking of which, I think it’s time to put an end to every form of cancer once and for all; don’t you?

WHERE IS ALL THE COOL STUFF THEY PROMISED?

People still play board games, with dice. WOW! I can’t believe they haven't developed a holographic board game yet. Video games on a computer or on a phone are outdated. We need need new stuff that's really cool. 

I WANT TO LIVE LIKE THE JETSON’S! In the 2525

Can we please have one monetary system, one flag for a united earth, one language, and no more wars with other humans! It’s time we travel to the stars to see distant solar systems instead of the wonders of ancient civilizations here on earth. We need to stop killing each other and start focusing on the future. 

I really can't understand why we still need a passport to travel around the world? The religious wackos and political nuts need to chill. Oh Vey!

The world is a mess. The remainder of 2015 and the foreseeable future does not look very promising. We need a backup plan. We need people who think outside the box and then outside the box again. An efficient and clean energy source would be nice. Food for all the people should be doable, right? And, ...... peace on earth. Or am I asking for to much?

I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least I don’t have to hunt for my food or gather berries. And, I am thankful for indoor plumbing. Yup, 2015 is Broken! Buck Rodgers we need help!


"jimmy, I'm worried that one of the personalities inside my head might be a suicide bomber."

"Don't worry, I'll keep'em line!"

"Thanks jimmy."


-jk-

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Broke Publishing Agents


Ever since I jumped into the deep end of the literary world, without a life preserver, I discovered there are many quirks and peculiarities about traditional publishing; all of which baffle me to the point of craziness. Publishing agents are the primary bafflers.

When I started searching for someone to publish my awesome, but poorly written manuscript, I did what probably most first-time neurotic writers do, I browsed through the list of publishing agents. Here is a small sample of what I found.

~Would love to see some contemporary and fantasy pieces hit my inbox!
~We are actively seeking upmarket and commercial Fiction, Magic Realism, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.
~Looking for science fiction, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy!
~YA fantasy, killer world building, complicated characters, unique settings.

The last one seemed like a perfect match for the novel I wrote. However, as I read how to submit a manuscript, weird thoughts raced through my mind. It felt like I was about to make a drug deal and the publishing agent was a high powered drug lord who occasionally visits back alleys in search of new exotic drugs to buy. At the time, I thought to myself, wow this is perfect! I had a drug (manuscript), and I was looking for a buyer (publishing agent). Unfortunately, I found out that peddling my drug to the highest bidder was not how the system worked.

The drug lords weren’t stupid. They wanted the good stuff – a drug that had marketable street cred, but I had no idea how good my drug might be or how it would effect the mind of a reader. I needed a professional agent (drug lord), though striking a deal with one can be dangerous.

To make matters worse, the drug lord (agent) wanted a query letter via email, no attachments, 2-3 page synopsis, and include 5-10 pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. Do not query more than one drug lord at the agency (syndicate) simultaneously. Due to the high volume of submissions, agents (mobsters, thugs, gangsters) will reach out to you directly if interested. The typical time range for consideration is 6-8 weeks. (On some it said 1-6 months) DAM! What in the hell should I do while I wait? And what if my drug (manuscript) gets rejected after I waited all that time? (Insert curse words here.)

This type of system is brutal!

The whole process of seeking out an agent makes me feel like a two-bit pimp. I got me a stable of street urchins (manuscripts), and I’m trying to push them off to anyone willing to peruse my goods. It's mentally exhausting!

With that being said, I do feel sympathy for all the publishing agents. We now live in a world where everyone wants to be heard. (That includes me too.) The Internet and social media has given the inhabitants an outlet to share their every thought to the world and they have overwhelmed the publishing agents. (Insert music – Sympathy for the Devil, by the Rolling Stones) 

On the other hand, the crazy traditional system did force people to independently publish, which now runs rampant and there is no stopping it – the lottery ticket to fame and fortune if you have the means and the know-how.    

Tip of the Day: Fiction is always about the story, so find someone who has the ability to make your story readable, perhaps an editor?


Smile, tomorrow is another day!

-jk-

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Broke Hollywood

Of the many things jimmy and I discuss, Hollywood is one of our favorite topics, and we love to repeatedly criticize current movies.

Remakes and sequels seem to be the line in sand for motion pictures these days, constantly producing crappy movies with less than stimulating dialogue. We certainly don’t blame the actors. They read what is given to them and they do their best to transform crap into something worthy of watching. We believe the fault lies with the buffoons who go after the cash instead of creating quality entertainment. Dammit, jimmy and I want to be entertained!

With that being said, my esteem colleague jimmy has come up with a great idea for a movie. The floor is yours pal, let's hear the pitch!  

King Kong is being transported on the Titanic, and we all know what happens to the Titanic. Everyone dies, but Kong survives and swims to an island. The island is Jurassic Park! Unbeknownst to Kong, a few people do survive the sinking of the Titanic and they make it to the island as well, but they’re zombies now, and they turn all the dinosaurs into zombies. Kong fights to avoid becoming a zombie. In a cave Kong finds a beautiful girl. She is on the island because she is doing a quest for the Hunger Games. Kong is smitten by her beauty. Kong and the girl work as a team to destroy the zombies and while doing so they fall madly in love. The plot thickens when a zombie dinosaur finds an ancient crypt. Inside the crypt is the king of the vampires. Kong is then bitten by the vampire king, and the beautiful girl must find the cure that will make Kong normal again, which sets up nicely for the sequel.

jimmy, I think that would make and excellent movie. It brings together several Hollywood hits to form one blockbuster movie! Well done!

Granted such a movie would never be made, but it is fun to toy with crazy ideas. I think Zoolander and James Bond teaming up to save Kong would work well in the sequel. Plus, the Avengers and Fantastic Four come to help too, but they are also turned into vampires. Only the team of Fast and Furious can save them all! 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is my choice for Kong. Victoria’s Secret model Stella Maxwell is a no brainer for the part of the beautiful girl. And, of course, Jimmy Kimmel is perfect for the vampire king. The movie could be titled, King Kong vs. King Kimmel!  Let’s make this movie!

Have a great day!

Note: my pal jimmy is not Jimmy Kimmel. jimmy is a made up friend in my head. Hey, we all do what we gotta do to stay normal. Don't judge me!

-jk-

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Introduction to Broke Fiction


We all live in this screwed up world, so jimmy and I feel it is time we embrace the flaws. 

So, what exactly is broke fiction? Stuff in the literary world that is not perfect, such as minor grammar blunders, the occasional comma that decided to make its home in a sentence, typos’, and incorrect word usage – common mistakes you’ll find in just about any book.

Broke fiction is also about a good story, but unfortunately it never gets published or it did get published. I’ll explain what I mean.

Fifty Shades of Grey – writing wasn’t great, but it had a story that attracted a huge audience. To E. L. James I say, “Bravo!”

Fiction is always about the story. I’ll say it again. Fiction is always about the story.

If the writing and the pace is just good enough to follow and the story is a page turner, the author wins and the reader wins! Winning means people are buying and reading books and everyone is happy. Happy is a good thing.

Fiction is very subjective. What is entertaining for some might not be entertaining for others. For me, it is the Foo-Foo fiction writers, they drive me crazy and I can’t read them books. I’ll explore that topic in greater detail in future posts.

Cash flow #1. Many writers don’t have the means to pay editors $3,000+ to perfectly edit their manuscript. We here at broken fiction understand and feel your pain. It’s okay though, because readers are smart, and they too understand that money doesn’t grow on trees. Write a good story, keep the errors to a minimum and you’ll win.

Cash flow #2. Book covers. They ain’t cheap. Readers don’t judge a book by its cover, so why should the writer? Write a good story, keep the cover simple and to the point.

That’s a small sample of the things we’ll be digging into. If you have any input, thoughts, idea’s, remarks, please feel free to express them in the comment section. We will be actively seeking indie authors for interviews as well. If you're interested, please let me know and we’ll set it up and post it. 

Keep it real, keep reading, and keep writing.


-jk- 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Time for a Change


 jimmy and I decided it was time for a change, and we welcome all the imperfect people to our new world. 

It's gonna get crazy. It's gonna be wild. And we certainly ain't gonna be holding back.  Never mind, jimmy said we have to remain calm this time.

It's a broke world out there folks, but we ain't got no designs on fixing it, however, we will definitely be pointing out the flaws. We'll leave the fixing stuff to the uppity know-it-alls.

-jk-