Monday, September 27, 2010

Nicknames: Why they are important

Remember your nicknames, folks. Everyone has a nick, most of us have many, and we nickname everything from our kids to our dogs to our guns and cars, to our lovers and best friends and favorite beers and the favorite parts of our lovers that we only find after drinking a few of those favorite beers we call Black Syrup.

I drive a Tahoe. Its nickname is The Tahoe.

So we're in The Tahoe, and the kids are watching Lady & the Tramp over and over. They do that, watch the same movie over and over, and I get to hear it, over and over, and that movie is what got me to thinking about nicknames.

See, the man and woman in Lady & the Tramp have names, but their dog, Lady, only knows them by their nicknames: Jim-Dear and Darling.

Then later, when Tramp meets Lady, he immediately nicks her with Pigeon, which is nicked even further to Pidge.

Do you see the art there? Nicknames dig deep. That nick is the private name, the one whispered and never written -- except when we, as writers, write them!

I nick my kids, my wife, both the dogs, my brother and my pop, and in fact my dad never calls me Eric, I'm known only as Boog, short for Booger.

My brother is Tigger. His wife is Bear. Mine is Sweetie Pie.

Nicknames, people. Don't forget your characters have nicknames.

What is your nickname? What about your characters, do you nick them?

- Boog, E, ET, Baby, Bro, Daddy, Mr. Eric, Coach, Saul, Saul Goode...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paying it Forward

Pay it forward, you jerkies!

I'd like to thank Mesmerix over at Scribbler to Scribe not only for reviewing some of my work, but also for inspiring me to Pay it Forward.

See, she and I emailed a bit and I thanked her for the review and offered to read some of her work and return the favor and thanked her again for "wanting to read my gunk." (That's a direct quote.)

Know what she wrote back? She said, and I quote: "I'm all about supporting my neighborhood blogger-writers. Pay it forward and all."

So I'm paying it forward and heading off to buy one of my fellow blogger's books.

It's a book I've been eyeing for a little while. I like her excerpts. It sounds good and manly (so many of my fellow bloggers are either YA or romance).

In other words, it sounds like my gig.

A book I might actually enjoy reading.

I don't patronize or buy out of obligation, nor do I guilt or push my work onto anyone else. I read because I enjoy reading. I critique writers I like to critique.

Likewise, I expect the same from my readers and critters and betas. I'm not an obligation, dadgummit.

So I'm not asking you to buy a book you'll hate, out of guilt or obligation.

Nope. Instead, I'm suggesting you buy that book that you've been thinking about buying. Get the electronic version, if you must, it's sure a lot cheaper.

Buy that self-published book that sounds decent.

Buy that romance, or even that YA that sounds nifty.

Maybe they're self-published, or working with a micro-pub, or it's their first book with Penguin or Harper.

Go support your local blogger!

Pay it forward and all.

Whose book do you want to buy? Post a link to it in the comments! See my old post on how to insert a link into the comments: HTML for Bloggers!

Here's my choice: Mary McDonald's No Good Deed

- Eric

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review: An Honest Lie Vol 1

There's a fine book review at Mesmerix on an anthology containing one of my short stories. Special thanks for the awesome review!

You'll note in her comment that purchases made through my portal go toward a vote that earns the leading author a book deal. Last I checked I was the leading author and am working hard to keep it that way! Wish me luck, and I'll know for sure in October...

Again, M, thank you for the review. Hopefully next year it'll be a full-on novel to shred up.

- Eric

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shaved heads and other setbacks

We all face little setbacks. Life doesn't hit the pause button when you're ready to write. To be successful in writing -- and in anything you do -- you need to be ready for those setbacks and you must employ two of my favorite all-time quotes:

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Paraphrased and reversed, spoken by Clint Eastwood, written by Jim Carabatsos (the actual quote was cumbersome and backward)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Teddy Roosevelt, spoken in perfect order and brevity

I'm a believer that obstacles are not problems, they are opportunities. I say this at work all the time. "Send me into the fire," I tell em. "Because that's where the opportunities are."

And the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. The harder you have to work at writing -- and I'll stick to writing as the goal here, but really this applies to any goal in your life -- the bigger the payoff.

I don't know why that is, but there's a Divine Law somewhere that says just that: Payoff is directly proportional to effort.

Rarely is it the casual writer who la-lahs into a bestseller with ho-hum effort who then laments that it was too easy.

Instead, it's the struggling artist, the Clancy writing with his kid on his knee, the King locking himself in his office away from his family, the McCarthy writing in squalor, the Grisham going from store-to-store hocking his books and begging for shelf space, the Rawlings writing it out on napkins after a dozen publishing houses rejected her story.

It's the hard-earned EFFORT of the writer that pays off. If it's easy, you're probably doing it wrong. If you quit when it gets tough, then you're not doing it at all, are you.

Which brings me to a shaved head.

I asked my wife this weekend to help me shave my head. I keep it short since there ain't much left to keep anyway. "The guard's not hitting it," she said.

"That's all right," I said.

So she does something behind me and hair starts falling away and I say, "What'd you do?"

"Took off the guard."

Crap. I didn't want to get peeled, just clippered. Now I'm bald as Bruce Willis.

So it's a setback, albeit it a minor one, but I still looked at it as an opportunity.

Namely, I guilted my Sweet Thing into some very nice nibbling.

That's how it works, folks. It's not a setback or a problem.

It's an opportunity.

Even when it's the hair on your head.

- Eric

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Publisher's Interview

And now, here's the interview from my publisher. He's done two of my short stories, and I like to think we'll continue doing business together, so long as the worms keep digging and he keeps being able to pay his rent.

Purchase the book here, with my first-ever short story Apple Tree:
 Click to Buy


OHP: Do you have any advice for aspiring publishers {writers} out there?

D.C.: Keep to your deadlines. Nothing else matters above your word and keeping to your deadlines.

Is your life in shambles, can’t pay the rent, need a new car… tough shit, keep to your deadlines.

The world is doomed, the wrong political candidate won the election, there is a race of mutant rats overthrowing your city… ah well, stick to your deadlines.

An author needs an extension on their piece, an artist is having issues, your printer is going away on holiday, who cares… Keep your deadlines.

Remember those words, my fellow wannabes and gonnabes and are-nows and has-beens and ceaseless lifelong dreamers.

It's all about the deadline.

Go figger.

- Eric