Monday, September 28, 2015

Sagacity - Volume 3

                     Kindle Edition is now available!

Sagacity, the exciting conclusion of the epic tale about a boy learning how to find his way in an unforgiving world. Wizards women, and monsters, oh my! A wild adventure, where in the end, the only thing Wajue wants more than anything else is to find his mother and return home.  



I not only write about a fantasy world, I actually create them too! 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Broke Résumé

Yesterday, as I was browsing the Internet, I noticed an advertisement about how to improve your Résumé. Instantly, a thought occurred to me. I have never written a Résumé. None of the jobs I ever applied for required one. I just showed up and they hired me on the spot. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true, and my wife hates me for it. Although, there is one exception, but I’ll reveal that at the end.  

Today I shall attempt to write my first ever Résumé! Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure what goes into one, and I’m too lazy to research the particulars. Therefore, I’ll just jot down what I think is important and/or required.

Name: James L. C. Kafka
Marital Status: Married, but my status depends on her mood swings.
Children: 4
Race: I was pretty good at running the mile in High School. 
DOB:  Wednesday

Current Occupation: Residential Lawn & Garden Superintendent, Housing Maintenance Supervisor, Sustenance Wrangler and Cook, Finance Clerk, Domestic Clothing Purifier, Dishware and Utensil Sterilizer, and Volunteer Bartender at the Polish American War Veterans Club. 

It feels wrong being on that side of the bar!

Education: Kindergarten & Elementary School Graduate. I completed 4 years of High School. My GPA was better than 215 other students out of 825 and I received a diploma. I was highly recruited by the United States Air Force and Navy. I signed with the Air Force and attended their 8 week physical and mental training course. I passed.  

Previous Employment: Paperboy – 2 years. Automotive repair apprentice – 3 months. Ice Chipper at the East St. Louis Railroad Stock Yard – 2 days. United States Air Force – 12 years. Radio Disc Jockey – 1 year. High School baseball umpire – 12 years. Football Coach – 8 years. Professional Golf Instructor – 2 years. Golf Course manager and maintenance supervisor – 2 years. Grocery Store Stock Clerk – 8 days. Automotive parts delivery driver – 6 months. High School shop teacher (small engines) – 1 year. High School job placement coach for special needs children over the age of 16 – 2 years. Janitor – 1 year. Child Development Coordinator – 36 years and counting. (We have 4 children; you never stop being a parent and you can’t get fired from the job either, no matter how hard you try.)

Higher Education: 60 day Modern Male-Female Behavioral Science class. (Dated my future wife) I passed. Male Commitment 101 - (Got married). Human Creation 101, 201, 301, and 401 – graduated Sumo Wrestler Yell Loudly, whatever that means. Potty training children in one day 101, 201, and 301. I failed the 401 class, only because the female child didn’t respond to my male training techniques. Advanced Marriage Protocol Degree – PHD, with 36 years practical experience.

Undocumented Education and Experience: Innovative adult-child negotiating tactics 401. (I advocated for my children’s defense in the principal’s office at least 150 times.) Stay-at-home dad - 14 years.

Hobbies: Coffee drinking, reading, day-dreaming, watching football, sleeping, gambling, and laughing at the neighbor when he picks up his dog’s crap. Oh, and I occasional write stuff.

Domestic Experience: Chauffeur - Halloween make-up artist - Santa Claus impersonator - Tooth Fairy assistant - TV remote control operator - Spider, Mouse, and Cockroach exterminator – Medical practitioner for minor wounds – Finder of lost socks.

References: Joe the Bartender, Roger the neighbor, and my wife. I’d list my children, but I’m not sure if they’d tell you the truth. And please, don’t call my sisters; doubtful they'd say anything good about me.

Contact Information: Call the One-Eyed Pirate Tavern most days, but never after 5pm.

Salary Expectations and Amenities: A minimum of $80,000 a year, company car, personal bathroom, private office with a secretary, full medical and dental coverage, and 375 vacation days a year.

“Whatcha think, jimmy? Would you hire me?”

“Nope! You’re over qualified for just about every job out there.”

“I agree. Wanna eat lunch on the patio? It’s a beautiful day.”


Note: My dream job – I have always wanted to write fantasy adventure novels. However, no one ever hires an unknown person off the street to write novels. So, I hired myself. I now have to pay myself, set my own hours, and I have to pay someone to publish my manuscripts. I also have to do my own marketing or I can pay someone to do that for me too. This job sucks! If I don’t get fired soon, I’m gonna quit!

Based on my previous employment record and being magically hired on the spot, I am stupefied as to why publishers – publishing agents haven't called or contacted me yet. Maybe if I sent them this résumé they'd hire me.  

It truly is a strange world and it is for amusement only!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Broke Punctuation

After reading a brief narrative about how punctuation evolved over the years, I noticed it had an eerie similarity to the seven Ecumenical Councils.

Wikipedia Note: The first seven Ecumenical Councils, recognized by both the eastern and western branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, were convoked by Christian Roman Emperors, who also enforced the decisions of those councils within the state church of the Roman Empire. Acceptance of councils as ecumenical and authoritative varies between different Christian denominations. Disputes over Christological and other questions have led certain branches to reject some of the councils that others accepted.

The key words in the above text are enforced, acceptance, disputes, and reject. Let’s translate that to today’s world, shall we?

The Enforcers are the Literary Police whose only purpose in life is to point out mistakes. The Acceptee’s are the Readers; they like a good story and don’t dwell on disputable punctuation. The Disputers are unimaginative 12th Grade English teachers and College Professors; they know everything, just ask them. And finally the Rejecters, they're people like me; we play with punctuation like a child plays with Legos.

Out of necessity, jimmy and I convened our own Literary Ecumenical Council to determine our preferred definitions of punctuation.

A Period means stop, start a new sentence, go pee pee, get a drink, or continue reading.

A Comma means you need to take a short breath, or perhaps, you just want to be a drama queen, and, add, an excessive amount of, pauses.

A Semicolon is for a continued or specific finishing thought; or make a crazy long sentence that takes the readers breath away; hey, you gotta exercise somehow while reading!

A Colon is for listing things like: rum, coke, ice, and lemon. A cool refreshing drink while reading is vital.

Quotation Marks are a writer’s paradise. Inside them you can say it and spell it however you want! Quotation Marks are like Las Vegas – What happens in the quotes, stays in the quotes.

An Exclamation Mark means you're excited about what you just wrote! More than one is redundant!!! , but fun!!!!!!

A Question Mark denotes a question or confusion. HUH?

Parenthesis they are a writer's VIP room. (See Quotation Marks.)   

Dashes and Ellipses – use them for extremely . . . exciting . . . dramatic pauses, or . . . you simply want the reader – to take a breath. Breathing is very important.

There you have it! Dr. jimmy says that exploiting and manipulating punctuation is a great way to relieve stress.

Note: Italicizing and Underlining mean you probably should pay attention to those words; there could be a pop-quiz about them later.

Librarians are the gatekeepers, protecting written knowledge for future generations to study and explore.

“Mr. Kafka; did you reread Homers Iliad last night?”

“Yes . . . yes I did, jimmy.”

“That explains it.”

“Explains what?”

“Nothing. I’ll make you a grilled cheese sandwich, and then we’ll go take a nap under the willow tree.”

“Thanks jimmy. That’s a great idea!”


Friday, September 11, 2015

Broke Awards - in search of logic

Random thought - Had I known that writing would have caused me so much sorrow, I never would have written a single word. (How I felt the moment I killed off a character I enjoyed writing about.)

The Oscars (88th year) are coming soon. So, I decided to go on a quest in order to understand the purpose of award shows. According to my initial research, being nominated is just as big a deal as winning. I suppose it's kind of like when I get one of those things in the mail that states, "You might possibly have won a Cruise to a tropical island!" So, should I be happy I might possibly win?  

Awards are given out every year for just about anything - the Oscar is definitely one of the most sought after by actors. (I recommend we all invest in a trophy shop; the award business is booming and it shows no signs of slowing down.)

Let us begin:

Using my Encarta Dictionary, I started with the word award and then picked out a particular word within the definition and then looked up its definition. Sometimes this is necessary to reveal the true rationale behind how something came into being. In other words, I had nothing better to do today and also because, yesterday, at the casino, I lost a lot of money and now I'm broke and have nothing else to do but this.

Award - something such as a prize that is given in recognition of somebody's merit or an achievement.

Achievement - something that somebody has succeeded in doing, usually with effort.

Effort - mental or physical energy that is exerted in order to achieve a purpose.

Purpose - the reason for which something exists or for which it has been done or made.

Reason - an explanation or justification for something.

Justification – a circumstance that justifies an action or attitude.

Attitude - an opinion or general feeling about something.

Opinion - a view regarding the worth of somebody or something.

EUREKA! I figured it out! Awards are nothing more than an opinion!  But if that’s the case, why are people so excited to get an award or so angry when they don't? Every day there is always someone expressing how they don’t care about what other people think about them or if they win an award, but yet, they accept it, and then they babble on about how happy they are. Confusing eh?

I think the key word was recognition. People won’t readily admit it, but deep down inside, we all like it when someone, anyone, recognizes us for something we did that required a good amount of effort. A simple pat on the back can be a monumental award if it comes from a person whose opinion is dear to us.

A coach patting you on the butt for doing something exceptional was always appreciated, though now it is frowned upon. Hmm, never mind, I’ll let that dog sleep.

Therefore and whereas, now that we have discovered the true meaning of an award, I feel that jimmy and I are duty-bound to also participate in the handing out of awards. Yes, you read that right. We have begun the process of concocting three separate awards to recognize brilliant and remarkable people for outstanding achievements. (Specific achievements will be detailed at a later date.)

Winning anyone of the three Broke Fiction awards will be bigger than winning an Oscar, Pulitzer, or Nobel Prize! Those awards are for wimps. Getting an award from Broke Fiction, however, will truly be a memorable moment in the life of the recipients, and of course the fame and fortune that will surely follow.

I haven’t quite worked out all the details yet - such as: what do you get or when we’ll announce the winners, but just think how awesome it will be! You’ll be able to tell your friends that you won a Broke Fiction Award (BFA). I know what you’re thinking; please don’t pick me!

Bah, it’ll be fun. Besides, we’re professionals. We know what we’re doing. jimmy is a certified preternatural thinker; he’s even got a piece of paper to prove it. And I’m crazy, so there’s no way this is not a good idea.

“Mr. Kafka.”

“Yes, jimmy?”

“How did I get included in all this and you never even asked me.”

“Okay fine. jimmy, do you wanna help?”

“Sure, whatever, I’ll help. Although, in the future, you should ask me first instead of just assuming I’ll do it.”



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Broke Marketing

The general consensus amongst new indie authors is that the majority of them loathe the idea of promoting their work. (That includes me too.) For starters, it’s time consuming. It is also very difficult to present your book in a manner that doesn’t make you sound like an arrogant asshole or that you love annoying everyone with non-stop spam about your new book.

On the other hand, some authors really get into the whole marketing thing and a few are very good at it. The obvious reason of course is because they all want to make money. Others truly believe they wrote a great novel and are eager to share it with the world.

Some indie authors will go as far as hiring a marketing professional to make sure their work gets all the attention it deserves. I prefer to invest my money in the casino. 

Whatever the reason, marketing your book is all about getting the word out there.

As for me, I’m embarrassed by it all. Why? Well, it’s because I have yet to get verification that my work is worthy. But how do I get verification? The two biggest ways are sales and reviews. Neither of which, for me, has happened yet. It could be because I don’t overly spam my books on social media sites. Another reason is that perhaps my books aren’t all that good – and guess what – I’m okay with that. I can’t make people buy and read my books, and I certainly don’t like spamming twitter and Facebook.

It’s a brutal world out there and screaming, spamming, and marketing that your book is awesome could come back to haunt you with one bad review. Word of mouth spreads like an out-of-control wild fire. A simple review like, “Don’t waste your time reading this,” is the ultimate death sentence!

Oddly enough though, people do sometimes gravitate towards the smell of rotten tomatoes, much like rubbernecking a horrific car wreck. It’s bad, but you just can’t stop staring at it. So, a bad review or comment could be a good thing to push sales upward. We humans are silly that way.

I wrote three books. Do I think they’re good? Eh, maybe; and I believe that's exactly how most new indie authors feel as well, and thus the reason why self-promotion and marketing can sometimes be an excruciating exploration into the abyss of internal soul-searching.

Honestly, everytime I tweet an advertisement about one of my books, I get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don’t want to annoy anyone, because it annoys me when I see a high volume of spam. Don’t we all race to the kitchen, bathroom, or somewhere else at every TV commercial break? I do. The Super Bowl commercials are the only time I stay put.

You can make marketing entertaining, but it’s not that easy to whimsically promote a book. Books are slow and tantalizing entertainment, basically the complete opposite of a rollercoaster. But how do you entice a person to spend approximately 5-10 days or longer to read your book? Time is money and everyone considers their time to be valuable. And once they’re done reading, it’s over. Only a very small amount of people will ever go back and re-read a book, and definitely not anytime soon.

Sorry, but there is no definitive answer on how to effectively market yourself and your book. What works for one person, might not work for you. Be creative, be different, but more importantly, write a good book. 

My marketing promo - I think the books I wrote are fantastically entertaining and I also think that once you start reading them, you’ll anxiously turn the pages; eager to discover what happens next. If you do read them, please write a review, good or bad. I won’t be offended.

Finally, if you're annoyed when I promote my books, know that I’m really, really sorry. I promise I won’t do it very often.

“Mr. Kafka.”

“Yes, jimmy?”

“You’re pathetic!”

“I know.”

“Can we go to the casino now?!”

“Okay, if you insist.”


Monday, September 7, 2015

Volume 2


Volume 2 is now available!!! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Broke Prophecies

Prognostications scribbled down by ancient prognosticators were rarely favorable or optimistic about the future of mankind. In most cases, their predictions were actually pretty depressing. 

However, if you are so inclined, I suggest you visit a local palm reader or mystic, they always offer up a positive future, such as luck, wealth, or true love. Although, I'm assuming your happy future will be primarily based on the amount of money you’re willing to pay the all-seeing psychic palm reader.

Obviously, current prognosticators predictions are motivated by greed, whereas the ancient mystics prognostications were probably inspired by a random comet, streaking across the sky. Or perhaps they drank one to many tankards of a local concoction brewed up by some crazy alchemist, and consequently they suddenly had extraordinary insight about distant future events. (I understand, because I too have had visions after consuming 5-6 tankards of rum.)

Anyway, here’s the way I see it.

Caveman shaman sees the clan leader, Grog, eaten by a T-Rex – Prediction for the future is doom and gloom.

Dark Ages – death and famine everywhere – Prediction for the future is mankind is up shit-creek without a paddle.

Incas, Aztecs, and other distant peoples also faced disasters; be it natural or human intervention, and of course, their prognostications about the future were obviously doom and gloom as well.   

I could go on, but you get the point. If there's a flood, a guy named Columbus stopping by to chat, or conquistadors storming the beaches, your future is definitely gonna be bad.

Romans, the Egyptians, and the Greeks, for example, all lived large and in charge. Doom and Gloom, as far as they were concerned was for the lesser unfortunate tribes of the world to worry about. Guess what? They all eventually got their butts kicked by something, but they did manage to rise up again and reinvent themselves. Now those civilizations are great tourist attractions, and they beg for money, but the Pyramids, the Colosseum, and the Parthenon are bucket list must see sights. I consider that to be a positive! Yes, they had to go through a shit-storm to get to where they are at today, but that's just the way humans are. It takes a hard slap in the face before we realize we're doing it wrong.

I personally would love to see the Great Wall of China, but that whole communism thing is the proverbially wall that prevents me from doing so. Speaking of the resilient Chinese, they also had a very violent past. Doom and Gloom, destruction, and a lot of blah blah blah prognosticators surely must have predicted their inevitable demise, but yet, they’re still hanging in there. Just goes to show you, even the ancient Chinese wise guys got it wrong.

Global warming, economic collapse, and nuclear bombs are humans present doom and gloom. Will we survive? Eh, maybe, but we shouldn’t run around screaming that the sky is falling. It has fallen before, and it will fall again. Can we do anything to stop it? Sure we can. Will we? Nope, not until we get that hard slap.  

Each of us has a certain amount of time on this planet and what we do with that time might determine a favorable or unfavorable outcome for the future. Fate is funny that way. You just never know.

As for global warming, I don’t doubt that it’s a real thing, but the ones who are warning us about it are still living large and in charge. I consider that a Paradoxical situation.

Rome is burning and Nero plays his fiddle. Factually, he couldn’t have been playing the fiddle, because the fiddle hadn’t been invented yet. Nero did, however, blame the Christians for the fire. I wonder who we’ll blame when the waters rise up and cover the land.

Blame me. Nostradamus predicted I would forget to put the plastic milk container in the recycle bin, causing the glaciers to melt, greenhouse gases to destroy all life on earth, and the long overdue ascension of Aqua Man as the supreme super hero.

In the 60's we were told that hiding under the wooden school desk in the event of a nuclear attack or a tornado would keep us safe, and we believed them. Things were a lot simpler and silly back in the old days.

I have a few predictions. Keith Richards will never die and scientist will eventually prove that the boogie man is real. Aqua Man will be elected president in the year 2112 and I will live on my wooden desk yacht when the waters rise cover the land. Save me Aqua Man! Save me! Screw them other people, they never thought you were a real superhero, but I did!  

“jimmy, I’ll never let go! I'll never let go.

“I don’t believe you, Mr. Kafka! I’m keeping the blue diamond, and I’m gonna party like its 1969.”