Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spreading The Words

Not so very long ago, I was quite content to hammer out a few lines of nonsense here, mostly as a distraction from the serious business of fiction writing. It would be serious if I really thought I was good enough to actually get anywhere, but alas I don't. OOOOOOPPS!!

Turns out there is a whole other world of writing available if you are prepared to make the step. I did, and am actually very glad to have done so. Almost all of my free time is now taken up writing SEO articles on a variety of subjects, from granite to kitty detectives. What strikes me as odd about the whole thing though is the secrecy, if that's the word, involved in the whole process. By that I mean, I write the piece, send it off to the buyer, and then never find out where it ends up. It's an odd thing to spend time writing something, only to have it completely disappear with the click of a mouse. There are some folks though who are quite happy to show off your work, and let you in on the details. Here are just some of the articles I've done in the past 2 weeks....

Crime Kittehs is my favorite recurring gig, and involves me writing as a feline detective named Harry Meowahan. I write about real cold cases from a Dirty Harry cat perspective....fun, fun, fun.

I've also been taken on as the resident blogger for a website called Party Cafe, and my job there is to do recaps of this seasons Hell's Kitchen, episode by episode. I may eventually be called upon to provide other food related articles, which should be easy given that my wife is a chef.

I've also done a couple of kitchen design gig for a customer in Australia. The difficulty in those was that I was required to put an Aussie spin on what I wrote. The customer was pleased and you can read the results here and here.

There is also another gig that could turn into something big, but I can't really talk about it until all the details fall into place.....very exciting though. I've never really been ambitious or craved money, but it really is nice to be making some dough doing what I love the most......long may it continue, as will the fiction writing, if I ever find the time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rollercoaster Of Love

This has been one long, strange week and it's only Wednesday. I'm really not sure if my poor old, fragile heart can take any more. Monday saw my wife Penny start her new job, a gig that will take her away from home most Monday through Fridays. It's really the first time we have been apart in our 3 years together, and I don't care for it at all. The mood was lightened somewhat on Tuesday when my kids got home from a one month vacation up in Canada. It was great to see them again, and we got to hang out and eat some ice-cream. I had survived my first rollercoaster drop on Monday, and was cresting again by last night.......and then all hell broke loose....
but first, let's pause for some music......



Spurred on by my lovely day, I managed to crank out 5 articles for my customers, cutting my backlog in half. I had a little text chat with Penny and then headed for bed. As the sandman was just about to sprinkle some of his happy midnight dust on my tender forehead, it started; the yowling and howling of cats engaged in the sort of sexual debauchery normally only reserved for Free Love Night At The Playboy Mansion. It went on, and on, and on to the point where I started to get a little envious, but then, mercifully, it stopped. Only to be replaced by the sound of a low flying jet heading for our local municipal airport....at 2 in the morning. REALLY? 2 in the morning, nothing is open in this area after 10 except for bail bondsmen and laundromats. At 3, the sandman tiptoed back in and put me under his magical spell......until my alarm went off at 5.30 for work......
Another musical interlude....



I stumbled out of bed, engaged in my morning cleaning ritual, and headed for the car (Penny's, not mine....she is using my more reliable auto for work) only to find that i had not one, but two flat tires. Unable to cope, and on the brink of a complete nervous breakdown, I called out sick, went back inside and drank an entire pot of coffee, straight from the coffee maker via a bendy straw and an IV tube.. Back out to the car, only to find that the spare is bolted in, the threads rusted a glorious shade of orange. 6 hours, and a gallon of CLR, later, the spare was out and ready to be put on....the jack though, was not prepared to co-operate; all rusted and bent, it held long enough to get the really bad flat off (I could drive on the other just long enough to get to the gas station), before giving up. Called my friend who brought a spare jack, popped on the baby tire, lowered the car, and discovered the spare was almost flat......AAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!! Fortunately there is a gas station about 1 minute up the street.....Both tires now inflated and ready to roll....me, totally deflated; hands up, here comes the next big drop.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bangers & Mash Update

I thought that this week off work would mean a big chunk of Bangers & Mash being written, but actual paying writing gigs have stalled the process, with only about 200 words of chapter 4 getting onto paper (well, memory stick). The coast looks clear today though, so I am going to try and crank out 2 more chapters which will take me to about one third done.....I have also started writing, in my head of course, their second adventure, The Wind Demon Of Wisteria, featuring the evil villain, Heinz Bacchus Benz.
Other than the writing, there has been some progress made on the B&M front, with the book cover done, and a little teaser video set up....check them both out and let me know what you think...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wanted : Personal Assistant

This would be a fairly straightforward gig for the successful applicant. All that is required is to answer the messages I receive at fiverr.com, and make sure I take my medication....simple.

I kid, I kid, but this little writing gig has exploded more than I ever thought it would. I have pumped out 13 articles in the past 24 hours, and now have a head full of useless information (to me at least), that won't go away. It's very rewarding to get that $5 cha-ching sound with every finished blurb, but the stress of having to deal with the customers is terrible (interaction is not my strong suit), and waiting to see if they actually liked what I wrote is unbearable.

Before you know it, I'll be hiring myself to write about high blood pressure and stomach ulcers. Truth be told, I am actually enjoying this whole thing. It feels good to be writing on a daily basis, and, thus far at least, everyone seems pleased with my output. Writing daily can only help improve my craft (God that sounds pretentious), and will help me get better in the long run.

So, for those of you visiting from fiverr, contemplating using my services, bring it on. I'll be right here waiting, pepto bismol and blood pressure cuff in hand.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Anything For A Buck........Or 5

In these tough economic times, it seems that people will do just about anything for a couple of extra dollars. They will scream your name, over and over and over, make little woolen baby chicks wearing a hat, or write your name on their belly and do a hula dance while singing the national anthem of your country. I am of course referring to a magnificent little website called fiverr.com.

The gist of the site is simple; you post an ad stating what you will do for $5. As you can see there is no limit to the personal torment that people will put themselves through in pursuit of the almighty dollar. I had stumbled across this site numerous times, but finally decided to offer my writing services last night. My initial idea was to write 500 words while spraying canola oil over my supine body, but turn out my laptop keyboard does not react well to corn.....so, I just stuck with the 500 word articles for a finn.

Given the amount of ads over there, I fully expected to be quickly lost in the shuffle, but, much to my surprise and delight, I had an order waiting for me this morning. Not exactly a glamor piece, but paid work nonetheless. No matter the content, I find this sort of writing challenge more than a little exciting. it's fun to do a little research and try to coherently write about a subject you know little or nothing about. The first draft is done and sent, and now I anxiously wait and see if I have pulled it off. A little thumbs up and positive feedback could lead to more work....fingers crossed.

If you'd like to check out my ad, or perhaps even chuck a little work my way, you can do so by visiting my fiverr page by clicking here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacation Time

Sundays have always been something of a good/bad thing for me. Good in that it is another day off, bad in that work looms large on the horizon. Despite the fact that next week is vacation time for me, this Sunday still rings a little hollow.

A good chunk of that off time will be spent alone. My kids are still up in Canada, vacationing with their family, and Penny will have to work most of the week she was supposed to be off. She will have to train the new chef and get prepared for her new position, regional chef, which starts next Monday. All of this combined has left me a little cranky this week, snapping at the slightest little thing, and generally being a major, unsmiling, pain in the ass........well, more so than usual some would say.

This, I fear, will be nothing compared to what is coming next Sunday, the day before my Penny flies the friendly skies en route to her new career. It is both an exciting and mind-numbingly scary time. It's an amazing opportunity for her, yet we are so attached at the hip, I fear I may fall over when she goes. On the bright side, we do have a little experience with this. When I was forced to go on second shift at work, our quality time became early morning cups of coffee together, and Saturdays where I struggled to stay awake, courtesy of my messed up schedule. We came through that unscathed, and will do the same with this.....the force is strong in this relationship.

So, what to do with all this free time? Reading and writing will occupy the biggest part of it. I have already finished 2 books on my NOOK, and am systematically cutting a swath through the literary backlog. I will also be looking to hammer out a large chunk of Bangers And Mash (my young adult novel currently in the works) in an attempt to get a large percentage complete before my kids get back. The book is, more than anything, a labor of love being written for them, combining characters and places that I used in the bedtime stories I would weave for them when they were little......I miss them so much.

I'm also going to try and get some sleep, although that seems a lot less likely than anything else attempted in the next week. 3 or 4 hours slumber is a good night for me, no matter how tired.....I am rambling now, let's put it down to sleep deprivation. For now, it's beer and soccer time ( A perfect combination that never gets old), while I wait for Pen to get home from work and, much like booze and footy, we are a combination that will never get old......Love you baby.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Half Price Summer Sale

As a Scotsman, it galls me to have to part with money in any way, shape, or form, but I have made an exception for all the lovely folks that take the time to visit my blog. I have included my collection of short horror fiction, Behind These Eyes Of Sleep, in the Smashwords Summer Sale. You can now have it for the low, low price of $1...... get it while you can, and please don't worry that the price is so ridiculously low that any profits I make from the sales will do nothing to help feed my family......sigh!!

I kid, of course. There are some great writers over at Smashwords, and the prices are great. Just follow this link to be taken to my book page where you will find the download link and half-price code....enjoy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Bleak Outlook

My wife Penny received some fantastic news this week, an exciting turn of events that has this household a little giddy. She received a major promotion and will now be regional chef for her current company. The new position will have her in charge of 13 properties, across 4 states. The downside is that she will most likely be on the road 5 days a week. Given our current work schedules, our quality time will not alter that much, but it will also mean that I will be left alone for large periods of time.....never a good thing, just me and my head.

In these sorts of situations, scientist love to come up with forecast models and scenarios on how this will change the world. I'm no scientist, obviously, but thought it would be interesting to look at 3 major life changes that may take place while Penny is out of town....so here goes..

#1 EATING HABITS
 As previously mentioned, I am married to a chef, a great one at that, and I eat well. Penny is happy with my sticky out belly, which means I am too, but left alone, food will become a rather unnecessary priority. I never think to eat when I am alone, my mind is far too busy living in some other fantasy world for such mundane tasks as chowing down....the one week forecast is not pretty...


#2 APPEARANCE
I don't think of myself as a particularly natty dresser. I am very comfortable in cargo shorts, skull t-shirt and sandals, but I do try to make the effort to maintain a tidy appearance so that my wife will not be appalled by my penchant for scruffiness. Shaving and underwear changing will be the first to go, followed by water avoidance and soap deprivation.....the forecast is again not too great....

#3 Skin Tone

I am from Scotland and have the skin tone of an albino on crack. Anything more than 5 minutes in the sun will cause me too blister, crack and peel in spectacularly quick fashion. This, combined with my natural shut-in tendencies, has done little for my color over the years, but Penny has forced me outside and the hot rays of the Atlanta sun have turned me a nice shade of melba toast with a thin smearing of philly cream cheese over the past 3 years. Left alone, the indoors will once again become my friend and there is the distinct possibility that I will revert to my natural pale blue skin shade......here is the outlook....
I do not fear these changes, as it will simply be a case of my body sliding back to it's natural, pre 30's state. With all this going on, perhaps my hair will decide to start growing in places other than my ears, nose and ass. Maybe the future is not so bleak after all.