THE CURRENCY OF TIME – ONE MORE TIME

 For those of you who have been following th e epic journey of “the currency of time” from novella to published novel, I have good news and good news. And a request foR a favor.

1,  the first bit of good news is that amazon was very nice about making the changes from an unedited final chapter to a corrected version. I was worried about readers who might have bought the first version but I was told that a notice will appear on any such versions alerting buyers that changes have been made.  Hit the key and you have the new book.

2. the second bit of news is that I’ve decided to post only on amazon meaning I’ll have five days of free books for readers. It should have been free today, Friday and saturday and next weekend. Besides the free days it will only be $1.99 until MaY 1. After May 1 I’m raising the price to $4.99. I figure anybody that already read the short version will have plenty of time to get the fuil novel for little or nothing.

3. the third item is a favor. I can’t and won’t offer any prize because amazon frowns on that. But I will ask that anyone who gets the whole novel post a review on amazon. I need five or ten and I’d love 25 or so. They don’t have to be long, but  I know some of you get off on posting four page doctoral papers. And I enjoy reading them. So fire away. As anyone who’s followed me from my Literotica days knows,   I’m a ‘comment whore.’ I loved it when my stories aroused huge responses, arguments, debates. I’ve written most of my life but I’ve never enjoyed any interaction with the reading public. It’s good to finally experience it.

CURRENCY – $$ & cents

   

I’ve already written in other places  that because a good chunk of “the currency of time” has already been published on Literotica, I was going to sell it for 99 cents to $1.99.  I decided I was going to go with $1.99 through April 30 and it will go back to $4.95 on May 1.

That shouldn’y be a major problem because the book will only be sold on Amazon for the first three months. And will be available free Thursday, Friday and Saturday April 4-6 and two days the following weekend.

Obviously, this  is meant to allow readers familiar with it to buy it for $1.99 or free, while allowing me to see if there is any interest on the part OF  non-fans who might pay $4,95

 

THE CURRENCY OF TIME – MAYBE

The BIG News  is that  the “CURRENCY OF TIME”  has either been posted to Amazon.

Or maybe it hasn’t.

AND, if you;ve just bought it, you might have bought a good version.

Or you might not.

If that seems confusing  it isn’t. I posted “currency´to  Amazon a few days ago. And although I’ve done it ten times, I still managed to screw it up. I usually wind up writing dozens of versions of each of my novels and the finished and formatted and edited versions are what I put on Amazon, et al

Only in this case I sent in an earlier and un-edited version. Why didn’t I use the Amazon preview just to look it over? Because when I was preparing to post it.  I accidentally went through all three versions of preparation and somehow Amazon assumed I thought it was ready to print. So it was and I didn’t have  any chance to preview  it.

I didn’t discover what had happened until the next day. I immediately re-did the content and this time it read the way it should. But it would take 1-2 days for the new version to appear. Which means at least one – and maybe more – readers purchased a version in which the last chaper has missing words and question marks where the words should be. Most of the chapter reads fine, but when you hit this spot you’ll wonder what the hell  I was smoking or drinking when I posted.

Obvioiusly, it this happened to you, just email me at danielqsteele1@aol.com and I’ll gift you the corrected version.

ANYWAY, THAT’S ONLY ONE OF THE  ITEMS I NEED TO BRINZG TO YOUR ATTENTION SO THERE WILL BE OTHER POSTS.

DQS

THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

                You don’t wake INTO nightmares. You drift into nightmares after  you slide into sleep.. You don’t open your eyes out of a sound sleep to a roller coaster bouncing you  up and down and around in a roaring river of saltwater blinding you and choking you.

And then drowning you. Bobby Blue reached frantically for anything to grab hold of. He was sinking into an unknown ocean and the fear that felt like a heart attack was the awful vision of himself sinking down and down into the depths until he  outran the sunlight to drift forever in the darkness.

He grabbed at something. Something solid.  Against the crushing power of the ocean, he pulled himself up until he finally rose out of the waves. He pulled again and found his shoulders out of the water.

Which, looking around, wasn’t that much of an achievement. He could see the roof of the twin-engine modified Pilatus PC12 under the water. It couldn’t be more than a foot or a foot and  a half deep. It was the roiling  waves pounding the private lounge that made the water seem so much deeper.

He made a silent prayer of thanks that his first night terror hadn’t been true. Of course, he could never tell ANYONE that he’d been freaking out about drowning in 18 inches of water.

He pulled himself up until he was on his knees, for about four seconds. Then the roller coaster threw him to the left and he wound up under the water again. And hit his head on something hard.

He grabbed onto the nearest thing he could find and held tight. AS he pulled himself out of the waves he grabbed a quick breath. Blood dripped into his eyes. The salt water burned like fire. He made himself ignore the fire.

The salt water was real. The pain was real. The nightmare was real. That realization in itself calmed him more than a quick tranq.  This wasn’t a nightmare, which meant he had to start thinking and stop reacting.

His head hurt. His shoulder ached. His back hurt. Somebody or something had done a   good job of beating the hell out of him.  Something….

He had no memory of what IT was but looking around he realized where he was and why everything had seemed so alien. He was in Callan McNeill’s private suite where the big man relaxed in his uniquely modified PC 12, the only one like it in the world.  And the floor under the waves had been the roof of the luxury suite.

Blue held onto the top of one of the specially designed Egg Chairs that Callan relaxed in. Or read his business reports. Or used to have sex with the magnificent  Misty when he didn’t want to use the couch at the rear of the cabin.

The cabin was upside down. The plane had flipped. They were in the water. The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach warned him to grab onto the chair and wrap himself around it. The roller coaster returned and tried to throw him across the room but he somehow held tight.

The rolling continued. He thanked God he never got sea sick. His memory began to return:

The quick, down and dirty little jaunt as Callan called them, to quiet a shareholder rebellion in Pittsburgh. In and out in a few days, with time left over  to enjoy the weekend. Of course, while Callan enjoyed the sun and fun somewhere the ladies wore few clothes, or fewer,  his faithful executive assistant, Bobby Blue would be poring over papers, looking for traps, crossing T’s and dotting I’s. And – Maybe – getting to enjoy some room service and some In-room soft porn television movies.

His stomach made that rolling motion that alerted him to hold fast to the chair. This time there was not only the bounce but a sideways rock and roll.

They had flown out over the ocean to make better time and avoid predicted bad weather between Florida and Pennsylvania. There was supposed to be some stormy weather off the coast, but nothing too bad. Callan’s long time executive pilot Brad Michaels had assured them they’d be in and out without jostling a single drink.

Which showed how much expert pilots and television weathermen actually knew. They had hit rougher weather than expected, but Callan told the pilots -Michaels and co-pilot Denny Davis -to stay the course. God forbid nature would dare to interrupt Callan McNeill’s plans.

And yet, here they were. Speak of the devil, he spotted a large form to the rear of the cabin. It was entirely too big and male to be  the shapely Misty. You could have spotted her curves from an orbiting earth satellite.

Callan looked like he lay partially in the rushing torrent and partially with his head up on one of the suitcases that normally rested in storage areas underfoot. Blue sloshed through the rushing tide. Where in the hell was all that water coming from, where was it going, and why in the hell weren’t they completely underwater now? Questions for another time.

He reached the mostly submerged hulk that was his billionaire boss he was used to seeing dressed in black tie or business conservative. Now it was soaked casual. He reached out to grab Callan’s left shoulder to roll him and see how bad his injuries were.

Callan screamed. It was loud enough and surprising enough that Blue backed away for  a moment. Blue then heard something else he’d never expected to hear from his boss – deep groans of pain. That shook him more than the knowledge they had crashed. Callan was The iron Man to friends and girlfriends. He didn’t cry out in pain.

“Boss.”

“hurts…what’s going on…hurts so damned bad. Blue…is that you?”

“Boss, it’s me. Bobby. We  crashed. Do you remember that?”

            Callan shook his head and that brought another distinctly unmanly whimper. But it made Blue feel better because it was a sign that the world was returning to normal. Callan was trying to fight back the sounds that he was hurting.

Blue would never forget the day a crazy eco-something or other had slashed the billionaire with a long switchblade. As security guards wrestled him down, Callan held his hand out and told Blue, “Have the hotel get a doctor up to my suite. Keep it quiet.”

Looking at the raw meat the blade had opened, Blue had to ask, “That’s got to hurt like hell?”

“Yeah, but only women cry when they’re hurting. The first thing a man’s got to learn is to hold it in. You never let anyone see they’ve hurt you.”

And he never had in Blue’s presence.

Callan grabbed at Blue’s left arm with his right hand and pulled him close, whispering as if worried somebody might overhear. As if that was the worst thing they had to worry about.

“What’s happened, Blue? I can only see shadows, shapes moving in the mist. How bad is it?”

“About as bad as it gets, Mr. O’Neill.

“We crashed into the ocean. I don’t remember how,. The last thing I remember was this tremendous boom and then everything…went. Just went. I came to on the floor of this cabin, which is actually the roof. The chairs and everything else is upside down. The sea is pouring in and I thought I was drowning in …a few feet of water.”

“You see any holes. In the cabin.”

“No, but the water – the tide – is coming in from the far end of the cabin. It must be pouring out somewhere else or we’d be breathing salt water.”

“Feels like we’re on  a roller coaster gone crazy.”

“You remember what it was like, the last thing you saw? We were in the cockpit and Michaels told us the one place on earth we didn’t want to be was down below. It was too dark to make out the waves but you could still see the white caps… so damned high. We’re riding those waves.”

The cabin shifted again, dropping like they were in  fast moving elevator. O’Neil’s big body shifted against Blue, who threw himself under the big man to keep him from hitting the floor/ceiling with his broken shoulder. Blue went under the water and was afraid again he was going to drown before he could raise O’Neill’s  muscular 250 pounds off him.

 As he pushed Callan off him, trying not to injure his shoulder any more than it already was, Blue grunted and before he could stop himself, muttered, “Jesus, you need to go on a diet.”

Looking back at him, Callan said, “You need to go on a diet, Mr. McNeill, SIR!”

Despite himself, knowing he’d never find a  job that paid like McNeill, he couldn’t help laughing. Callan grimaced and after a moment uttered a shaky laugh.

“You’re right, that is kind of stupid here and now. We’ll go back to Boss and Serf if we make it out of here.”

The plane continued to shake, rattle and roll. Blue managed to get to his feet and stepped around Callan. Despite the roiling and pitching, he reached down and grabbed the Billionare’s right arm and tried to tug him up to his feet.

“Come on,Boss, can you get to your feet? We need to get to the front of the cabin. If we can get to the console-“

“Yes, dammit. My head is still scrambled. We need to get to the console.”

In business and life, nothing ever goes smoothly or according to plan. Blue knew it, but every time life proved it to him again, it was a BIG disappointment.

He noticed it subliminally before it dawned on him that the seawater was changing. It  was turning a pink, then a darker rose. He dipped his hand into the rushing tide and lifted it to his lips. Nothing tasted exactly like blood, even diluted by salt water. In this case, a lot of blood. Human blood.

He lifted his gaze from his bloody palm to the long, dark shape gliding under the water at the far rear of the cabin.  Because the plane had flipped, it glided down down along with the  blood from the main section of the plane where passengers usually sat, where the pilots flew the plane, where Misty had her quarters at the rear.

Blue looked behind him at the console at the front of the private cabin. You couldn’t run through the tide, stagger maybe, but the chances of losing your balance were great, the chances of outrunning the bullet-shaped, shark fin behind them not so good at all. And where the hell would you go.

“If I help you, can you use your good arm to grab the top of the Egg and pull yourself up? You can stand on the seat and be out of the water.”

“Why……?”

McNeill looked down at the shape of death gliding smoothly toward them in a crimson tide.

“What are you going to do?”

Blue pushed O’Neill up to a perch on the nearest Egg chair and dropped back into the tide, turning to face the oncoming bullet shape.

“I’ll figure that out when it gets here.”

 

 

*************                    *****************    ***************

22:30 hours:

 RED ONE, what have you heard?

RED TWO: The telemetry came in a half hour ago. Two of the bombs went off on schedule. One took out the black box. There won’t be any recordings, any hard data on what happened.

RED ONE: Who the hell cares? We planned too carefully to leave any fingerprints. What about McNeill? Is the son of a  bitch dead? That’s what we paid for.”

RED TWO: Don’t know. We can’t find any confirmation that the main bomb under the center of the plane went off. But, think about it. The plane must have gone down hard into a storm packing 60 mph winds. And the place is crawling with sharks. It’s a commercial shark area for the Japanese and Chinese. They keep the area chummed up  regularly. Sharks are big money in the Far East. But there’s no such thing as a tame shark. The wild ones are bigger bucks.

RED ONE: Again, you dumbshit, WHO CARES! You can’t prove McNeill is dead. And if he makes it out,  not only is it going to cost us a lot of money, he is going to come after us. He won’ t sue us or try to get us into a criminal court, he will do his best to kill us.

RED TWO: Don’t panic. There’s no proof he’s alive, either. The main bomb could have gone off and the sensing equipment is screwed up. And McNeill is tough, but he’s not superhuman. The crash, the storm and the sharks will take him out.

** **********     *****************    ****************

23:40 hours

POTUS-12 : You realize what time it is? It’s nearly midnight. Has somebody launched nukes at us? That’s the only good reason I’d see for waking me this late.

POTUS 14: Fox ran a bulletin 30 minutes ago and the AP and Reuters confirmed five minutes ago. Callan McNeill’s small plane disappeared from radar nearly two hours ago.  In a violent storm fifty miles off the coast in the Atlantic. With no indication mechanical problems were at fault. All the people who should know are saying the main reason planes vanish like that is they’re blown out of the sky

POTUS 21: Got  a group connection, here. Normally a billionaire checking out  would only be news on the business networks or scandal sites depending on which society slut or movie star he’s banging. But, McNeill is the GREAT WHITE HOPE to more than the bitches he’s banging.

POTUS-12: He’s the Great White Hope only to delusional bitter clingers and white racists. He’s nobody.

POTUS- 21: There are already a few polls out actually showing in a head to head the President would take him in 2012, but not in a blow-out. That’s without any advertising, without any thing. You guys would be stupid to just ignore him. He’s got charisma and sex appeal.

POTUS 14: It’s kind of moot right now, I assume. He’s probably on the ocean floor or providing a  healthy meal with lots of protein or growth hormones to some lucky shark.

POTUS-21: But if terrorists took him down, and who else would be planting bombs, and he survives… You got a Genuine American Hero with sex appeal.

POTUS 12: Keep ears on this. Let us know what happens and if we have a legitimate political threat rising out of the Atlantic… JESUS CHRIST! That even sounds good to me.

 

   ******                     ********                    ********       

THERE ARE NO BETA MALES, ONLY LOSERS

 

                You don’t wake INTO nightmares. You drift into nightmares after  you slide into sleep.. You don’t open your eyes out of a sound sleep to a roller coaster bouncing you  up and down and around in a roaring river of saltwater blinding you and choking you.

And then drowning you. Bobby Blue reached frantically for anything to grab hold of. He was sinking into an unknown ocean and the fear that felt like a heart attack was the awful vision of himself sinking down and down into the depths until he  outran the sunlight to drift forever in the darkness.

He grabbed at something. Something solid.  Against the crushing power of the ocean, he pulled himself up until he finally rose out of the waves. He pulled again and found his shoulders out of the water.

Which, looking around, wasn’t that much of an achievement. He could see the roof of the twin-engine modified Pilatus PC12 under the water. It couldn’t be more than a foot or a foot and  a half deep. It was the roiling  waves pounding the private lounge that made the water seem so much deeper.

He made a silent prayer of thanks that his first night terror hadn’t been true. Of course, he could never tell ANYONE that he’d been freaking out about drowning in 18 inches of water.

He pulled himself up until he was on his knees, for about four seconds. Then the roller coaster threw him to the left and he wound up under the water again. And hit his head on something hard.

He grabbed onto the nearest thing he could find and held tight. AS he pulled himself out of the waves he grabbed a quick breath. Blood dripped into his eyes. The salt water burned like fire. He made himself ignore the fire.

The salt water was real. The pain was real. The nightmare was real. That realization in itself calmed him more than a quick tranq.  This wasn’t a nightmare, which meant he had to start thinking and stop reacting.

His head hurt. His shoulder ached. His back hurt. Somebody or something had done a   good job of beating the hell out of him.  Something….

He had no memory of what IT was but looking around he realized where he was and why everything had seemed so alien. He was in Callan McNeill’s private suite where the big man relaxed in his uniquely modified PC 12, the only one like it in the world.  And the floor under the waves had been the roof of the luxury suite.

Blue held onto the top of one of the specially designed Egg Chairs that Callan relaxed in. Or read his business reports. Or used to have sex with the magnificent  Misty when he didn’t want to use the couch at the rear of the cabin.

The cabin was upside down. The plane had flipped. They were in the water. The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach warned him to grab onto the chair and wrap himself around it. The roller coaster returned and tried to throw him across the room but he somehow held tight.

The rolling continued. He thanked God he never got sea sick. His memory began to return:

The quick, down and dirty little jaunt as Callan called them, to quiet a shareholder rebellion in Pittsburgh. In and out in a few days, with time left over  to enjoy the weekend. Of course, while Callan enjoyed the sun and fun somewhere the ladies wore few clothes, or fewer,  his faithful executive assistant, Bobby Blue would be poring over papers, looking for traps, crossing T’s and dotting I’s. And – Maybe – getting to enjoy some room service and some In-room soft porn television movies.

His stomach made that rolling motion that alerted him to hold fast to the chair. This time there was not only the bounce but a sideways rock and roll.

They had flown out over the ocean to make better time and avoid predicted bad weather between Florida and Pennsylvania. There was supposed to be some stormy weather off the coast, but nothing too bad. Callan’s long time executive pilot Brad Michaels had assured them they’d be in and out without jostling a single drink.

Which showed how much expert pilots and television weathermen actually knew. They had hit rougher weather than expected, but Callan told the pilots -Michaels and co-pilot Denny Davis -to stay the course. God forbid nature would dare to interrupt Callan McNeill’s plans.

And yet, here they were. Speak of the devil, he spotted a large form to the rear of the cabin. It was entirely too big and male to be  the shapely Misty. You could have spotted her curves from an orbiting earth satellite.

Callan looked like he lay partially in the rushing torrent and partially with his head up on one of the suitcases that normally rested in storage areas underfoot. Blue sloshed through the rushing tide. Where in the hell was all that water coming from, where was it going, and why in the hell weren’t they completely underwater now? Questions for another time.

He reached the mostly submerged hulk that was his billionaire boss he was used to seeing dressed in black tie or business conservative. Now it was soaked casual. He reached out to grab Callan’s left shoulder to roll him and see how bad his injuries were.

Callan screamed. It was loud enough and surprising enough that Blue backed away for  a moment. Blue then heard something else he’d never expected to hear from his boss – deep groans of pain. That shook him more than the knowledge they had crashed. Callan was The iron Man to friends and girlfriends. He didn’t cry out in pain.

“Boss.”

“hurts…what’s going on…hurts so damned bad. Blue…is that you?”

“Boss, it’s me. Bobby. We  crashed. Do you remember that?”

            Callan shook his head and that brought another distinctly unmanly whimper. But it made Blue feel better because it was a sign that the world was returning to normal. Callan was trying to fight back the sounds that he was hurting.

Blue would never forget the day a crazy eco-something or other had slashed the billionaire with a long switchblade. As security guards wrestled him down, Callan held his hand out and told Blue, “Have the hotel get a doctor up to my suite. Keep it quiet.”

Looking at the raw meat the blade had opened, Blue had to ask, “That’s got to hurt like hell?”

“Yeah, but only women cry when they’re hurting. The first thing a man’s got to learn is to hold it in. You never let anyone see they’ve hurt you.”

And he never had in Blue’s presence.

Callan grabbed at Blue’s left arm with his right hand and pulled him close, whispering as if worried somebody might overhear. As if that was the worst thing they had to worry about.

“What’s happened, Blue? I can only see shadows, shapes moving in the mist. How bad is it?”

“About as bad as it gets, Mr. O’Neill.

“We crashed into the ocean. I don’t remember how,. The last thing I remember was this tremendous boom and then everything…went. Just went. I came to on the floor of this cabin, which is actually the roof. The chairs and everything else is upside down. The sea is pouring in and I thought I was drowning in …a few feet of water.”

“You see any holes. In the cabin.”

“No, but the water – the tide – is coming in from the far end of the cabin. It must be pouring out somewhere else or we’d be breathing salt water.”

“Feels like we’re on  a roller coaster gone crazy.”

“You remember what it was like, the last thing you saw? We were in the cockpit and Michaels told us the one place on earth we didn’t want to be was down below. It was too dark to make out the waves but you could still see the white caps… so damned high. We’re riding those waves.”

The cabin shifted again, dropping like they were in  fast moving elevator. O’Neil’s big body shifted against Blue, who threw himself under the big man to keep him from hitting the floor/ceiling with his broken shoulder. Blue went under the water and was afraid again he was going to drown before he could raise O’Neill’s  muscular 250 pounds off him.

 As he pushed Callan off him, trying not to injure his shoulder any more than it already was, Blue grunted and before he could stop himself, muttered, “Jesus, you need to go on a diet.”

Looking back at him, Callan said, “You need to go on a diet, Mr. McNeill, SIR!”

Despite himself, knowing he’d never find a  job that paid like McNeill, he couldn’t help laughing. Callan grimaced and after a moment uttered a shaky laugh.

“You’re right, that is kind of stupid here and now. We’ll go back to Boss and Serf if we make it out of here.”

The plane continued to shake, rattle and roll. Blue managed to get to his feet and stepped around Callan. Despite the roiling and pitching, he reached down and grabbed the Billionare’s right arm and tried to tug him up to his feet.

“Come on,Boss, can you get to your feet? We need to get to the front of the cabin. If we can get to the console-“

“Yes, dammit. My head is still scrambled. We need to get to the console.”

In business and life, nothing ever goes smoothly or according to plan. Blue knew it, but every time life proved it to him again, it was a BIG disappointment.

He noticed it subliminally before it dawned on him that the seawater was changing. It  was turning a pink, then a darker rose. He dipped his hand into the rushing tide and lifted it to his lips. Nothing tasted exactly like blood, even diluted by salt water. In this case, a lot of blood. Human blood.

He lifted his gaze from his bloody palm to the long, dark shape gliding under the water at the far rear of the cabin.  Because the plane had flipped, it glided down down along with the  blood from the main section of the plane where passengers usually sat, where the pilots flew the plane, where Misty had her quarters at the rear.

Blue looked behind him at the console at the front of the private cabin. You couldn’t run through the tide, stagger maybe, but the chances of losing your balance were great, the chances of outrunning the bullet-shaped, shark fin behind them not so good at all. And where the hell would you go.

“If I help you, can you use your good arm to grab the top of the Egg and pull yourself up? You can stand on the seat and be out of the water.”

“Why……?”

McNeill looked down at the shape of death gliding smoothly toward them in a crimson tide.

“What are you going to do?”

Blue pushed O’Neill up to a perch on the nearest Egg chair and dropped back into the tide, turning to face the oncoming bullet shape.

“I’ll figure that out when it gets here.”

 

 

*************                    *****************    ***************

22:30 hours:

 RED ONE, what have you heard?

RED TWO: The telemetry came in a half hour ago. Two of the bombs went off on schedule. One took out the black box. There won’t be any recordings, any hard data on what happened.

RED ONE: Who the hell cares? We planned too carefully to leave any fingerprints. What about McNeill? Is the son of a  bitch dead? That’s what we paid for.”

RED TWO: Don’t know. We can’t find any confirmation that the main bomb under the center of the plane went off. But, think about it. The plane must have gone down hard into a storm packing 60 mph winds. And the place is crawling with sharks. It’s a commercial shark area for the Japanese and Chinese. They keep the area chummed up  regularly. Sharks are big money in the Far East. But there’s no such thing as a tame shark. The wild ones are bigger bucks.

RED ONE: Again, you dumbshit, WHO CARES! You can’t prove McNeill is dead. And if he makes it out,  not only is it going to cost us a lot of money, he is going to come after us. He won’ t sue us or try to get us into a criminal court, he will do his best to kill us.

RED TWO: Don’t panic. There’s no proof he’s alive, either. The main bomb could have gone off and the sensing equipment is screwed up. And McNeill is tough, but he’s not superhuman. The crash, the storm and the sharks will take him out.

** **********     *****************    ****************

23:40 hours

POTUS-12 : You realize what time it is? It’s nearly midnight. Has somebody launched nukes at us? That’s the only good reason I’d see for waking me this late.

POTUS 14: Fox ran a bulletin 30 minutes ago and the AP and Reuters confirmed five minutes ago. Callan McNeill’s small plane disappeared from radar nearly two hours ago.  In a violent storm fifty miles off the coast in the Atlantic. With no indication mechanical problems were at fault. All the people who should know are saying the main reason planes vanish like that is they’re blown out of the sky

POTUS 21: Got  a group connection, here. Normally a billionaire checking out  would only be news on the business networks or scandal sites depending on which society slut or movie star he’s banging. But, McNeill is the GREAT WHITE HOPE to more than the bitches he’s banging.

POTUS-12: He’s the Great White Hope only to delusional bitter clingers and white racists. He’s nobody.

POTUS- 21: There are already a few polls out actually showing in a head to head the President would take him in 2012, but not in a blow-out. That’s without any advertising, without any thing. You guys would be stupid to just ignore him. He’s got charisma and sex appeal.

POTUS 14: It’s kind of moot right now, I assume. He’s probably on the ocean floor or providing a  healthy meal with lots of protein or growth hormones to some lucky shark.

POTUS-21: But if terrorists took him down, and who else would be planting bombs, and he survives… You got a Genuine American Hero with sex appeal.

POTUS 12: Keep ears on this. Let us know what happens and if we have a legitimate political threat rising out of the Atlantic… JESUS CHRIST! That even sounds good to me.

 

   ******                     ********                    ********       

Tis A Far, Far Better Thing

A LOVE STORY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. THIS IS RATED X FOR LOTS OF SEX, VIOLENCE, LOTS OF POLITICS RANGING FROM OBAMA TO A TRUE FREEMARKET CONSERVATIVE. IF THIS EXCERPT GRABS YOU, THE NOVEL WILL BE OUT ON AMAZON AND SMASHWORDS IN JULY. SEND ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AND I’LL FOLLOW UP WITH MY NEWSLETTER, BARGAINS AND A FEW TREATS.

TIS A FAR, FAR BETTER THING

 

 

            Whoever  came up with that ‘tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’ line was full of crap. Having surgery for a failing heart is better than dying for lack of the surgery. When you’re lost in the woods and have an arm turning black, it’s better to cut the sucker off than to die alone.  If you hear your child crying for help in the middle of a roaring house fire,  watching your skin turn crispy isn’t that bad a deal if you can rescue them to live beyond you.

            But loving, truly loving and losing the one you love for no good reason you will ever understand serves no purpose  at all. No Good purpose. It does provide a learning experience, but unfortunately, the lesson you learn is never worth what it costs you.

            For myself, I’d much rather have skipped the enlightenment, but I wasn’t given that option.

            It all started years ago in the middle of a wild bar room brawl. Not my usual scene. Bars, I’m familiar with, but bar room brawls complete with flying beer bottles and hurtling chairs and overturned tables and screaming women and angry men engaged in a violent ballet are not what I expected when I walked into a big bar called O’Brien’s on Jacksonville’s Westside.

            It was a Friday night and a couple of friends had invited me out for drinks.  I’d been out of town for a month, which wasn’t too unusual for me and the few friends I’d kept from high school tried to stay connected.

 

ME AND MY PALS

 

            Gary Wells was an emergency room physician at University Shands for nearly 10 years and he could long ago have moved into private practice and doubled his income. But he said he loved the chaos, the insanity, the challenge and the chance once in a while to change lives. I was glad to see him smiling and joking.

            There was a time around the turn of the century when I thought I‘d never see him smile again.   Kevin Butler and I had done our best to keep taking him out and getting him drunk. We’d managed to get him laid from time to time. I have a fair amount of money, I’m not too bad looking and I had a fat little black book.

            Kevin was married, but he wasn’t bad looking and he worked in television advertising which meant he met a lot of attractive, moving up and free-thinking females and he’d kept a lot of the numbers, although I was pretty sure he hadn’t been calling anyone. Guys talk.

            Anyway, for a couple of years we had worried about Gary. It helped that a prosecutor named Maitland had sent the three dirt bags who’d kidnapped, raped and murdered his wife to Death Row in Raiford. Of course, they probably would have lived out their lives in reasonable comfort because even in Florida few scumbags are executed – ever.

            But within a year, one of them had suffered a shank to the eye and the impromptu brain surgery left him a vegetable for the four days he lingered.

 

            The second scumbag was a big tough guy and made it a point to beat the crap out of a few gang leaders to make the point that it would be a bad idea to mess with him. They found him in a laundry room with the sharpened end of a broom handle shoved up his anus so far the sharpened end came out through his throat.

            The third scumbag’s body was found on his bunk in solitary with his detached head shoved down into a toilet.

            Maitland always insisted that he had nothing to do with  their fates, but Gary said there were a lot of people in Raiford and on the outside that despite being on opposite sides with Maitland liked and respected him. All he would have to do was utter a word, but he swore he never had.

            In any case, Gary seemed to recover his peace of mind and it didn’t surprise his friends that within a year he had met Gloriana, a single mother nurse with two small children. And he started smiling again. And he was married after a  respectable period of mourning.

            Kevin had been a happy go lucky bachelor until he’d been caught in the honey trap and wound up marrying a young cutie, Amy. He’d lost her for a time and went through his own dark period, including being suspected by police of having killed her and disposed of her body. But he came out the other side with two daughters and a teenage stepson

            So I was the remaining champion of bachelor-hood. I had just come back into town after a few months cleaning up a failing small grocery chain that had just been swallowed up by a bigger grocery chain. I was the Clean-Up Man. I fired people, demoted people, promoted people, closed beloved community icons that been serving their communities for generations, but which had been bleeding money for the last decade. I was very good at winnowing out the chaff and dead weight and leaving leaner, more profitable companies in my wake.

 

 

DEFLOWERING MAIDENS AND OTHER FUN STORIES

 

            So they swapped married stories and pumped me for details of the wild hedonistic life style I enjoyed.

            “So how many maidens did you deflower on this tour of duty, Gregg?”

            “Oddly enough, not a single one, you perverted bastards. You’re both getting some every night – I hope – and you get off on stories of my sexual exploits? You must lead very dull lives in the bedroom.”

            Kevin grinned and said, “Sometimes I pretend to be you and Amy pretends to be your latest seduction target. Spices up our game playing.”

            “You are one sick, twisted bastard, “  Gary and I said in unison.

            “I still have someone to go home to every night.  So does Gary.  What’s  the longest you’ve ever been with anyone?”

            I pretended to think real hard.

            “A month..no, two months, wait, there was Amelia. I think we were together three months.”

            Gary took a swig of his beer and said, “I’m torn between being envious as hell, and feeling sorry for you.”

            “Sorry for me? I could have three women a night if I hit the right trifecta.  You two wake up beside the same woman every night. FOR. THE.REST.OF.YOUR. LIVES. And you’re sorry for me?”

            “You’ve never been in love, Gregg, have you?”

            “You mean, have I ever temporarily lost my mind due to a biochemical, hormonal accident? Actually no.”

            “That explains a lot,” said Gary.

“Such as?”

“The fact that you go through women like Kleenex, the fact that they’re pretty much all interchangeable, the fact that you’re so oblivious that you never tumble to the fact that they’re cheating on you until you walk in on them fucking a guy …or in the case of Amelia, two girls. I guess it’s good you don’t have a jealous bone in your body. But don’t you EVER get suspicious when you can’t find the love of your life over a weekend, or a strange male voice answers their cell phone? Or guys call your phone and hang up?”

“Why should I? I’m straight with all of them. I’m not promising them anything except a good time when we’re together. They all know they can walk away anytime they want. “   

            Kevin just shook his head.

            “It’s a good thing that you’ve got a ton of money and are good looking to boot. With that going for you, you don’t need brains and you still get the women.”

            “But,” Gary said, “ you’re hitting 30. You’ve got a sweet life now, but someday it’s going to come back to bite you?”

           

THEY WERE PROBABLY LESBIANS

 

I listened with half of my mind on what he was saying. The other half was focused on three women at one of the  pool tables. One was a lean, trim athletic type in jeans. Her friends, who were shorter and rounder, wore  tops for various football teams and tennis shoes. They were drinking beer out of the bottle, laughing at each other’s jokes, and gently but firmly declining a lot of offers for free drinks or new players at the table.

            The tall one was wearing a Florida Gators team shirt and my eyes kept drifting back to her. She had a little up top, but breasts had never been my main turn on. On the other hand, when she leaned over to make a shot, she displayed an ass in those tight jeans that should have made me want to howl like a lovesick coyote.

            Gary noticed where I was staring.

            “They’re probably lesbians.”

            “I hope not. It would be a tremendous waste.”

            “Anyway,” Gary said, “before you got distracted I was going to lay some wisdom on you.”

            “I can always use more wisdom,” I said, but I kept my eyes on UF’s ass as it worked its way around the table.

            “I worry about you, Gregg. We’ve known each other a long time and Kevin and I have gone through our heartbreaks. We’ve both been dumped and hurt, picked ourselves up and went on. But you…It’s like getting mumps or measles or chicken pox when you’re a kid. You get it and get over it. But you catch any of those as an adult, it can be bad. It can kill you.”

            “So you are worried that I’ll die of a broken heart?”

            “Don’t be a drama queen. I’m just saying it’s not normal to get into your 30s and NEVER have had any kind of emotional entanglement, Even guys that play the field start thinking of family and permanence and kids when they hit their 30s. We’re both afraid you’re going to get your heart broken somewhere and we won’t be able to help you pick up the pieces. Or, that you’ll fall for the wrong woman and having your heart broken will not be nearly as bad as getting snared in a really bad marriage.”

            “I am touched,” I said, still concentrating  more on the UF ass than his words.  She had leaned back from the table which made it possible to tell that while they weren’t big, she definitely was not flat chested. Her hair was a shade between red and brown that’s beautiful but hard to put into words. It was cut into a kind of shag that didn’t quite make it down to her shoulders.

            She was rubbing full lips when she turned her head to look back toward the bar. Our eyes locked for an instant. She was surprised but her gaze lingered an instant longer than necessary before she looked back at the table.

            She wasn’t conventionally beautiful. Her nose had a bump in it that looked like it had been broken once and her face was a little too thin for those lips. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She talked to one of her friends and they both looked back at me. I was still staring at her. I smiled. She started to smile when her friend spun her back to the table.

            Gary had followed my eyes.

            “Really. I thought this was a guy’s night out.”

            Kevin  added, “and there are three of them. Two of us are out of action.”

            ‘It’d be a challenge, but I think I could handle it.”

            “Dreamer.”

            “Optimist, ” I replied with a grin. I really hadn’t been planning on trolling but suddenly it seemed like a good idea. And these assholes had dumped me and each other growing up for one girl or another.

 

IT WAS A NICE NIGHT UNTIL THE RIOT  BROKE  OUT

 

            That’s when the riot broke out.

            We heard the screams first and the pool playing girls looked over to the far end of the area of the tables. A dark haired guy was beating the crap of a dirtbag while around him bottles were flying, fists were flying, chairs were being knocked over. Without thinking I moved toward the table where the girls had gathered together protectively, holding their pool cues out.

            Before I made it to their table, two large men locked in a whirling death embrace hit the group like a pair of bears hurtling through a flock of chickens, or more precisely a bevy of long necked swans.

            The girls went in all directions, UF straight backwards at  me. I tried to catch her but she hit me too hard and I wasn’t set for her. I want stumbling backward and fall on my back with her on top. She rolled almost as soon as we hit the floor and  went up on her knees looking down at me.

            “What –“

            “Sorry, but I figured you’d rather land on me than on the floor.”

            “Ugh – thanks. Does this kind of thing happen often?”

            “You’re not a regular visitor.”

“I’ve been in here a couple of times, but it’s been a while. Never anything like this.”

“Well-“

“Sarah!”

She screamed and that scream bought my gaze up to see one of the girls who had apparently broken a cue stick over one of the brawlers’  back grabbed by the hair and a big fist poised to do some severe damage to her dentures.

I hit him low and took his feet out from under him, sending UF’s friend sprawling out of the danger zone. He rolled away from me and pushed himself to his feet. He probably had reason to be pissed. One eye was swollen almost shut, his face was already swollen and bleeding and he was snorting like a bull about to charge.

 

IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?

 

          I placed my hands out toward him, palms out, and started to try to calm him down, say something about the girls   weren’t fair game when guys got rolling, He brought a big fist up and toward my face and hit me with enough force to take me off my feet. He grinned and started toward Sarah who was scrambling to get away.

“Is that all you got, asshole.”

He stopped in midstride and looked back at me in disbelief as I got my feet under me, rubbed my chin and said, “Not as easy beating up on grown men, is it pussy? I’ve had girls hit me a lot harder. Let’s see how you like it.”         

Of course, he was at a little disadvantage because he didn’t know that I had a chin that one boxing coach in college had called pure concrete. Some guys have what’s called a glass jaw and you know what that is. I had guys who were known as knockout specialists and nobody ever put me down. Or out.

“Get the fuck out of here, dimwit, or I am going to hurt you. Bad.”

I had surprised him and I really thought he might get out of there. Instead he came in with a straight left and my face exploded. The force of the blow knocked me flat on my ass. I couldn’t breathe for a moment through a ruined nose.

In case of confusion, I have a concrete  jaw. The rest of me is all too human,  which is why I took up ballroom dancing instead of boxing as a less painful means of conditioning.

Despite the fact that I was having to gasp for air through my mouth and tears poured out of my eyes and blood ran down into my mouth, this stupid woman-beating Neanderthal was not going to put me down, especially in front of UF with the great ass.

I would have hurt him except that he kicked a field goal using my stomach and sent me rolling backwards. Despite the fact that I couldn’t breathe, I stopped my roll and rose to my hands and knees. Whereupon he buried the toe of his country shit-kicking boots so far up in my groin I said a silent instinctive prayer that he hadn’t reduced my dick and balls to a sticky paste.

UF and her two friends had balls- no pun intended as they cracked another pool cue across his back and when that failed they turns jumping on his back and trying to pull his hair out or gouge out his eyes. Unfortunately, maddened femininity was no match for his bull-like rage and he tossed them in all directions and went back to stomping on my ribs.

“Hey.”

 

ALL FOR ONE

 

He turned his attention from reducing me to a red spot on the floor to look backwards and all I caught was a colored blur that sent him  staggering and then dropping to the floor. I looked up to see  Gary tossing a red cue ball up and down and then dropping it on the floor.

 He held his hand open and said, “You know I can’t afford to damage these.  Besides, I hit him just hard enough to stun him. But Kevin, now…”

I raised my head just high enough to see Kevin straddling the Neanderthal and pounding him, because he didn’t need to worry about saving his hands. After a moment, Gary grabbed Kevin by the shoulders and pulled him off, saying, “come on, man, don’t kill him. He’s not worth it.”

I noticed UF and her friends looking down at me and tried to say something cool, but I started throwing up instead.

We all heard sirens at the same time as combatants began to scramble to get out before the cops arrived.  Gary looked  up toward the main combat area and said, “Jesus Christ. Look at that.”

Between  hurling, bleeding, gasping, I managed to glance up and saw something most people will probably never see. A tall, dark haired guy who had been beating the crap out of the redneck had locked up with something that was probably human, or a humanoid gorilla a good eight feet tall – actually probably six ten or so – and was pushing him backward until the pair hit the glass front of the bar and the glass exploded in all directions. It sounded like a bomb.

The sirens were here, UF and her two friends looked to the front and UF said, “let’s get out of here. I have places to go and I don’t feel like trying to bond out of jail.”

She looked down at me, puking, bleeding and gasping, and said, “Wish we had more time. Later.”

Gary reached down to help me up and said, “Ditto, Gregg, let’s get the hell out of here.”

It was a struggle but Gary and Kevin helped me to my feet. It seemed the longer it took us to get to the front of the crowd, the harder it got to breathe. The first incoming wave of cops stopped us, but Gary had his wallet out.

“I’m an ER physician, Sergeant Hastings,” Gary said. The two men knew each other. “We were in here having a drink when the riot broke out.  My friend went to the aid of three women being attacked and got the hell kicked out of him. He’s having trouble breathing, which leads me to believe he has a rib or two puncturing his lungs. We really don’t have the time to waste talking to investigators and we didn’t see anything except flying bottles and fists.”

He took one look at me and motioned to the uniformed cops coming in.

“He’s a doctor and he’s got a seriously injured man. Let him through.”

I stayed mostly conscious on the 30 minute drive to Shands/University on Eighth Street. When I got in there were snapshots of gurneys and nurses pushing me  into a cubicle, tests and trips to rooms where people took what were apparently x-rays and and lots and lots of needles draining my precious bodily fluids.

I would have sworn I couldn’t possibly fall asleep, but at some point I must have. Gary was gently shaking me and Kevin stood beside him.

“Gregg, Gregg? You with us?”

“Yeah. What’s…happening.”

“We’re prepping you for surgery. You have a punctured lung, three cracked ribs and a spleen that’s been lacerated and needs to be removed…..immediately. And, we’re going to have to rebuild that pitiful excuse for a nose

“See what kind of trouble a pretty face can get you into?” Kevin said.

“If I could move I’d get up and kick your ass across this room.”

“By the time you wake up you’ll have forgotten all about that.”

I didn’t forget but by the time they released me from the hospital three days later I was too grateful to be pissed. My two friends, neither of whom are bar room brawlers, had waded in to save my ass after I’d gotten myself royally stomped trying to impress a pretty face.

Who had vanished without another word after her final good bye.

“I didn’t recognize any of them and I’ve talked to some people I know who were there that night, and nobody else can ID them,” Kevin said.  “I even talked to the bar owner, O’Brien, who might have recognized them if they were regulars and he said he thought it was the first time they’d ever been in there.”

I was lying on a couch in Gary’s den where he and his wife were letting me crash for a couple of days until I was completely back on my feet. Kevin and his wife, Amy, were in the den with us while their children and Gary’s children were in a bedroom watching television.

“It’s okay. I was just curious.  It really doesn’t matter who they were.  The one with the UF shirt had a great ass, but there are a lot of great asses out there in the wide world.  If I’d had time to think about it, I probably could have saved myself a lot of pain, but I probably would have dived in there anyway. I wasn’t raised to let guys pound on women and not do anything about it.”

All things considered, I’d come out of it fairly lightly. Of course, I’d have to live without a spleen which meant I’d have to be careful of things like pneumonia and other serious illnesses since they could be dangerous without the spleen. But at least, I didn’t have to take antibiotics every day of my life like children who lose a spleen are forced to do. I’d just have to be careful.

Both the wives gave me somewhat reproachful glances when I talked about UF’s fantastic ass, but just shook their head.  I might have been a boor, but I was their husbands’ boor and they both realized how we all felt about each other.

“Anyway, it was a brave thing to do, “ Mrs. Wells, Gloriana, said.

“That’s our knight errant. Always charging to the rescue of maidens with cute asses,” said Kevin.

“Well, if you have to charge to the rescue of maidens in distress, having a cute ass is one of the better reasons.”

THERE ARE 100,000 MORE WORDS OF THIS, ACTION, ADVENTURE, TRUE LOVE, INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE, STARTLING TWISTS AND AN ENDING YOU RE  !NOT! GOING TO SEE HAPPEN.

 

 

 

TIS A FAR, FAR BETTER THING

 

 

            Whoever  came up with that ‘tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’ line was full of crap. Having surgery for a failing heart is better than dying for lack of the surgery. When you’re lost in the woods and have an arm turning black, it’s better to cut the sucker off than to die alone.  If you hear your child crying for help in the middle of a roaring house fire,  watching your skin turn crispy isn’t that bad a deal if you can rescue them to live beyond you.

            But loving, truly loving and losing the one you love for no good reason you will ever understand serves no purpose  at all. No Good purpose. It does provide a learning experience, but unfortunately, the lesson you learn is never worth what it costs you.

            For myself, I’d much rather have skipped the enlightenment, but I wasn’t given that option.

THE OPENING PARAGRAPHS OF A NEW NOVEL OF LOVE AND LOSS

THE POWER OF ONE

As most readers of this website are aware,my writing under Daniel Quentin Steele is very mainstream and sexual. Under WE Marden or William Marden I write fantasy, science fiction and horror. The following is part of an extensive epic fantasy involving a 17-year-old girl battling a bloodthirsty gang of mercenaries and mages. “The Power of One” is more than a title.

 

THE POWER OF ONE

 

 

 

 

      Yssela was fingering a clump of tart onyons, shaking the dirt  that clung to their roots, pondering how far down she could haggle the price when she heard the sobs of a child and harsh panting.

     The gold-skinned Messavi maiden tried to keep her mind on purchasing food stuffs and vegetables for the next several days’ meals at her father’s inn.

     But a child’s scream, the thud of fists against flesh, and the sudden silence that settled over the small alley near the produce stalls of what was called the Farmer’s Quarters sent Yssela running instinctively toward the alley.

     As she entered the dim, dreamlike shade of the alley, the sunlight shrouded by numerous tents, awnings, clothing stretched out to dry on lines between windows, and the like, she knew her father and brothers would give her a tongue lashing for her

stupidity had they seen her action.

     How many times had they drilled the first law of Messavi survival in the matchless continent-spanning city of Zymmerys, or anywhere else for that matter, into her head.

     “Don’t get involved,” her father had told her since she was old enough to sit on his knee at the downstairs window looking out on the busy thoroughfare that ran past The Sword and Crown, her family’s inn.

     “You see these people going up and down the street,” he had told her. “Most of them are friendly, some are trustworthy, some are valued allies. But they are not Messavi. You have only one loyalty, daughter, and that is to your family, your Inn, and beyond

that to the Messavi people. You must be a good citizen of Zymmerys since we live under its Emperor’s laws, but do not become involved in the affairs of its people.”

     And now she had done just that.  Her gleaming, pearl-handled Messavi blades appeared as if by magic in her hands.  A dozen paces down the alley, no more than eight ells, two men held a held a struggling boy while two others gripped a slender female form, one roughly squeezing her breasts while the other tried to force her

legs apart to rape her standing up in the alley.

     A fifth man stood apart, saying, “Buldrys, Austur, you are insane. The Blindman has said she must be delivered intact, along with the brat. If you rape her, Gulleman or that bitch Lystina will have your balls.”

      “Go plug a hole in the wall, you simpering mongrel,” the man trying to rape the woman said. “The Blindman, for all his damned airs, is not some sorcerer, he’s just a garden variety mage. And that big black bastard Gulleman or Lystina don’t scare me. We’re together in this mission, they’re not our lords. I say we’ve worked damned hard to track this bitch down, and I’m going to have some fun before I turn her over to the Blindman.”

     Yssela stood frozen for the smallest fraction of a moment, her eyes locked on those of the woman who had turned her bloody face to the alley’s entrance. Ysella wondered if she should shout at the men and raise such a fuss that merchants nearby would come to her

aid or call for Guardians and hope that one of the city’s famed peacekeepers was close enough to hear.

     A strange sensation passed over Yssela, as if she were waking INTO a dream and she somehow was not surprised to find herself moving forward without pause, cutting down the hesitant bandit  from behind with a single quick slash that cleaved deep into the

side of his neck, stepping beyond him and plunging both swords simultaneously into the backs of the two men who held the struggling youth.

     She yanked hard to pull both swords free as the surviving two men let the woman drop like a sack of vegetables to the ground.

     “What?” said the man who had been mauling the woman’s breasts, looking at Yssela and telling his companion, “Buldrys, it’s another damned ambush, the witch is at it again.”

     Both men brought out scimitars, the sight of the curved and finely honed blades along with the men’s height and coloring convincing Yssela that they were renegade Arlians, a seafaring race that controlled much of the ocean traffic.

     “Not that much of an ambush this time, Austur, just one big eyed Messavi wench,” the man called Buldrys said. “She cut the others down from behind. Let’s take her swords away and I’ll let you have her while I do the witch.”

     “Easier said than done,” Yssela said, finding herself in control of her voice again. She cast a hard glance toward the fallen woman. She must truly be a witch of some sort, because she had taken control of Yssela’s body for just those critical few seconds to carry out the deadly surprise attack. Perhaps it was something she would have done anyway, Yssela thought, but she’d be damned if she’d let anybody play with her as a toy for their own uses. But first things first. And disposing of Buldrys and Austur was first.

    “You can walk away and I’ll not stop you,” Yssela said, “or you can die here. By your looks, both of you are Arlians and must be well traveled. You should know of the Messavi skill with swords.I may be female, but I am the equal of any of my brothers and

better than most. Just leave the woman and child and go.”

     The one called Buldrys spat at her and said, “I think I’ll cut your tongue out before I let Austur take you. I hate babbling bitches.”   

     He came at her waving the scimitar around in undisciplined but still effective swipes. The alley was so narrow that he created a curtain of steel that he hoped would push her back. He died with that contemptous expression on his face as Yssela deflected the

scimitar with one short sword and buried the other deep in his gut.

 

 

WHY READERS LOVE MY WRITING

Before any of my readers express concern about my injuring myself by patting myself too roughly on the back, this column is not in any way boasting about my literary prowess. Even though it may sound like that.

No,  this is an attempt to answer a question that’s puzzled me for at least five years. Namely, how could an unknown writer with no publicity, no contacts in publishing, no media reviews, relatively few reviews of any kind, self published, no paid advertising, almost no cheap or free advertising, complete ignorance of virtually all the technical bells and whistles of Internet advising, almost NO use of social media,  possibly have attracted the interest and loyalty of thousands of readers who aren’t related to me by blood or marriage.

Add to those negative factors, the subject matter which fits uncomfortably in established genres. It’s not erotica, although it has sex and rough language. Erotica is fiction ABOUT sex, designed to arouse sexual desires. My work – whatever else it might be – is not designed to arouse sexual desires and while sex is present, it’s not the major element. It has courtroom action, but it’s not about that – or only about that. It has crime ranging from murder to fairly rough sexual assault, necrophilia, mercy killing, drug dealing on the local, state and international level, racial tensions and murders and the international sex trade. But it is not a crime novel. It’s about divorce and marriage and state politics, but not just about those things.

Okay, you might say, but you haven’t seen my name on any best seller lists, no movies have  been announced. How can I say readers love my writing?

From time to time Smashwords and other sites release stats on the typical sales and income for the average reader.  It’s fairly common knowledge that the average Indie just putting a novel out with no advance push may sell 100 or 200 books. In my case the figures are several thousand copies and while the average sales may be only 50 or 100  a month, they continue to sell.

And more importantly, two years after the last book was published under DQS or short story as well and no communication with readers, each week brings in emails wondering when the next DQS work will be released. They come from the US, Canada, Europe, South America. Everything I’ve read tells me the key to keep readership is not to let them forget about you. Publish something every year, if not more often.

I just released a newsletter this month and the response has staggered me. I really was  afraid the newsletter would out in a giant explosion of silence and there would be only the faint sounds of crickets in the night as my name and work were simply forgotten.

And as importantly,while there are a lot of writers who have faithful readers, I don’t have readers who just drop a line and say ‘I liked your latest book,” My readers are more likely to either send me a two page critique of the characters and the plot, or if they hate something, they will unload on me. Bad or good, they care enough to act on their feelings. I don’t know that there is any praise greater than that for any writer.

So, how come?

I had an idea and that was going to be my next post, but this applies more directly. I’m still going to write a post explaining exactly WHAT it is, I write. But this one is WHY my writing has touched a nerve. Today I read http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/is-it-ok-for-men-to-feel-sad and I think it explains why my writing appeals to certain readers.

This intriguing and eye-opening post explains that men can’t cry, can’t show fear, can’t feel or express any deeper emotion. This is a fact that every man – from 25 to 85 – knows in their gut. You can’t express helplessness, even when you’re in a corner and you can’t ask for help. Don’t listen to Millennial crap about women wanting you to share your deepest feelings and fears. Do that and I promise you have a 20 percent or lesser chance of ever getting laid unless you move far away. And try explaining to your wife that you’ve quit your $50,000 a year a job because the soul-sucking routine was killing your soul.

So, if men can’t cry, can’t grieve, can’t communicate any deep emotions, can’t form any attachments outside the bedroom, what purpose do they serve? If you answer a paycheck and sperm, you might be cynical, but would many women in a group away from men argue the point  too strenuously.

So why do readers love my writing? Perhaps because my men are not automatons with genitalia. My men – if they don’t cry – at least mourn and they hurt. They wrestle with rejection and depression and betrayal. They don’t walk away from marriages with the main thought in their head that now they can sample new stuff. They love their children and will fight as hard for them as any mother. They love women long beyond the point they should kick their cheating asses out.

So that’s why men love my writing. There aren’t many places in modern literature or culture where a man can find his humanity recognized. Where they are allowed weakness and courage in the face of defeat and humiliation

And female readers? Of which there are a number. Perhaps it’s heartening to realize that despite 50 years of feminist propaganda,  there are still decent men. And perhaps they can appreiciate reading about women who make mistakes, terrible mistakes, but remain as fallible and human as any man.

Anyway, those are the reasons I think my readers love my writing. I’d be interested to hear any other opinions.

DQS

 

Nobody But A Fool Ever Wrote Except For Love

NOBODY BUT A FOOL EVER WROTE EXCEPT FOR LOVE

Not too long ago I was reading a post about the ghetto that genre fiction once inhabited Maybe the neighborhood was not as sleazy as erotica or porn.  But still, writing or wanting a career in the genres was the kind of thing a nice girl wouldn’t admit to her fiancé’s upper class parents. Anybody who ever took writing or literature classes in college knew enough not to admit to a respected professor the kind of stuff you loved, read or wrote.

Which is only one of many reasons I’m glad I grew up in a lower middle class Southern family. I grew up reading Ace Double science fiction novels,  branching out to HP Lovecraftian horror and then 20th century fantasy and Lord of the Rings, and then private eye novels from the cookie cutter variety to “The Big Sleep.”

I never knew or cared about mainstream fiction and while I made my acquaintance with some real classics, my love was genre. Despite that,  I took writing classes at UF, where I was fortunate enough to meet and know slightly the late HARRY Crews. He was an original. I don’t  think there was a genre bone in his body, but he wrote great novels about guys eating cars and others that simply can’t be described. I knew I could more easily lift myself up by my shoelaces than write his kind of fiction so I didn’t even try. I wrote what I liked, which resulted in my selling  a novel to Doubleday and Robert Hale in England. And later a dozen or so pro short sales in the horror, sf and fantasy genres.

Now to the point of this comment. I never wrote or for that matter read more than a handful of mainstream lit books for most of my life. And then in my early 60s I started reading romance, mainstream male/female stories, some erotic some not. And I wound up beginning a mainstream epic of a modern American marriage that blows up in a cataclysmic divorce and family rupture. It’s up to three novels,more than 500,000 words and it has a long way to go. And is nothing like anything I;ve ever written or wanted to write. Whether it’s good  or not, it has loyal followers literally around the world. Which only goes to show that what you write, what drives you to write, comes from your gut. You can’t make yourself  want to write what’s popular or esteemed or what you SHOULD write. It’s really more like falling in love than anything else. You love what you love and you write what you write, regardless of how much trouble either decision can get you into.

The point of this post, and most of the things I;m currently doing, is two-fold. The first is to be more open and try to strengthen the bonds with my readers. I started writing when the only practical path to publication was to get an agent and then get a publisher so you could sit back and sip mint julips while your publishers did all the hard work of building your career. I never expected and never planned on having to become at least a pseudo public figure. I come from a generation before Facebook and the whole process of discussing your daily meals,  ills and bowel habits still strikes me as more than a little voyeuristic. But I’m trying.

And the second point is to try to provide some information and guidance  for whatever it’s worth to readers and fellow writers. That’s the whole point of blogging. And again, this is not something that comes naturally to me. I’ve read tons of blogs and columns and self help books and they’ve always seriously intimidated me. Not only do I NOT walk around burdened  with  this burning desire to spread the pearls of my hard-earned wisdom about the answers to life’s perplexing questions, I truly have a hard time figuring out what the hell  the questions are.

But, recently I’ve begun examining my life and it seems that I do have observations ,some experiences that may be of  value to others. One directly contradicts one of the most famous pieces of writing advice ever uttered.  Cynics echo Samuel Johnson who famously stated that “nobody but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

I’ve written for money my entire life, but I have never written anything I loved FOR the money. The closest I  came to being paid to write the things I loved were non-fiction that came close to the kind of things I wanted to write as fiction! For most of my life I wrote fiction to satisfying a driving urge to express sentiments that could never be expressed in non-fiction. And with rare exceptions I was never paid. But that never bothered me because I didn’t write for money.

And now for the point of it all. I’ve written tons of non-fiction over the decades. And if some cataclysm were to destroy every word, I wouldn’t lose sleep. Because they were all just jobs. But Ive had novels and short stories published in the conventional press and as e-books and losing those would be like having someone rip the bones out of my body without pain killers.

Writing without love and passion  is like marrying without love and passion. In  the end, all you have is a pale, weak imitation of life.

 

THE PERFECTABILITY OF MAN

I WROTE THE FOLLOWING IN RESPONSE TO A FACEBOOK POST ABOUT ANOTHER CALLTO CHANGEGUN CONTROL LAWS FOLLOWING THE ON-AIR MURDER OF TWO TELEVISION PERSONNEL. .  THIS IS A HIGHLY PERSONAL REACTION AND I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE IF I OFFEND ANY CURRENT READERS OR FANS OF MY WORK. BUT, IF YOU’RE READING MY WORK, YOU MGHT BE INTERESTED IN MY WORLD VIEW.
I’ve often wondered – in the case of the news people shootings – how you can stop a man with no criminal record, no record of psychiatric problems, and a man who had planned the murders with great care and would probably not have been deterred by a week or a month waiting period – from getting a legal weapon. Or a perfectly law abiding guy who;’s lost his family and been fired from snappng and going into his former workplace and shooting it up. Don’t allow anyone recently fired or divorced from buying legal weapons?How do you prevent a white racist who hates blacks but has no criminal record and is not a member of a hate group or stupid enough to advertise his intentions onFacebook, from buying a legal weapon and shooting blacks.How do you stop a black racist who hates whites – and there are a few in 300 million people – from doing the same thing with whites as the targets.There’s really only one answer but bereaved relatives can’t think that far ahead and politicans don’t have the balls to tell the truth. You confiscate ALL GUNS, handguns and rifles and shotguns. You halt sales of weapons and ammunition. But there are hundreds of millions of weapons already in private hands and it’s not impossible for would-be murderers to get these weapons. So to make the country safe, you must remove these weapons. Make it a first class felony to possess private firearms. Some people will turn in weapons, but a lot won’t. Another mass murder, the killing of innocent children, and the cry will go up that those hoarders of firearms are criminals. The cry will go up to find these hidden weapons. But we’ve already done that before. Anybody heard of Prohibition? The experiment proved that you cannot prevent people from doing what they want to do by the use of police power and criminal prosecution. And any attempt to make possession of weapons a criminal offense will have the same result as Prohibition – to turn millions of law abiding citizens into criminals who lose respect for the law in general. Talk to millions of Boomers and Millenials about their views of the current drug laws. The hard truth is that there is no way to prevent senseless murders and slaughters. You can mourn the dead, but you can’t save them. Guns – for hunting and Friday night shootouts – are part of the fabric of our nation. Go back 400 years and check the history books. We are a violent people and we always have been. In a lot of countries a powerful government could impose a new way of thinking and change attitudes. Killing people who disagree is a perfectly wonderul way of imposing a new social order. But it doesn’t work when citizens can shoot back. SORRY TO EXPLODE, BUT THEPATTERN NEVER CHANGES. A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW THERE WILL BE MASSACRES,AND CALLS TO “DO SOMETHING.” aND NOTHING SIFNIFICANT WILL EVER BE DONE!
AND A FOLLOWUP TO THOSE THOUGHTS:
I remain a pessimist about changing the nation’s gun culture, although I do realize that social engineering can work.
  Driving drunk use to be a humorous topic until Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAD) transformed the nations attitude and turned a matter for jokes into a deadly serious criminal affair.
Smoking was an integral part of the nation’s culture, entertainment and a rite of passage for young men and women. It has become a disgusting addiction frowned on by all elements of society. But I’ll add that smoking has not been stamped out, it’s flourishing around the world, and it remains an underground part of our cuture today.
Black white relations have changed unbelievably in 50 years. As a young boy I  remember when there were separate black and white entrances to stores in Palatka, Florida, there were separate black and white high schools, black men going out with white women if not a lynching matter was still something to look askance at.
It’s not even necessary to comment on the sea change that has occurred in attitudes about homosexual and alternate life styles. It’s been pushed by the media but there is no doubt there’s been a genuine revolution in attitudes among millenials and younger Americans.
But even granting that some attitudes can be changed, some things can’t.  You cannot educate violence out of human nature, you can’t transform males into women with different plumbing. Men are men and women are women and there are basic immutable differences.
Which is why writing about relationships between men and women is so fascinating.