Thursday, December 15, 2016

Highway Interlude -- Excerpt for Boy 4 Higher

Antoine Rucker leads a double life. During the day he's the young beast ruling the IT department at Equitable Insurance. At night he walks the streets of Atlanta selling his body. What inner demons drive this young man? Is it the money or the monkey on his back? Dare to read the excerpt below before you take the journey into Antoine's life. Warning! 18+ Only

Highway Seventy-five running from Atlanta to Valdosta was extra packed with folks heading to Florida for some sun or that last romp through Disney World. It’s also filled with big rigs carrying timber and fruit back and forth. I turned off the highway, scattering gravel as I slid into the rest stop’s parking lot. It was a small place not much bigger than a garage shed and not too far from the Lions Den 24 Hour Adult Emporium. I remembered from my college years; it was a favorite place for truckers. I sat in my car for a moment looking at the parade of men waddling in and out of the restroom. A Highway Patrol Officer sat parked two cars away. He glanced at me a few times. I picked up my phone and pretended to be talking. In a moment, he pulled out of the stop and headed up the highway toward Atlanta. I got out of my car and walked into the restroom. I pissed and waited. Whenever the door opened, I pretended I was peeing or finishing up. Another dude came in stood at the urinal next to me. He spat, and it took him a while for him to pee. I glanced at him to see if he was waiting for a signal from me. He gave me a go-to-hell look and left without washing his hands. I continued to wait. A group of teen boys burst in. They pissed and made a mess at the sink splashing each other with water. After a few minutes of punching each one another, they left and the restroom grew quiet. The frosted window above the stalls turned gray indicating the sun was going down. I waited. My cell jiggled in my pocket. I knew it was my mother calling to inquire about my whereabouts. I let it ring. The door opened quietly and another guy came and stood at the urinal next to mine. He had a choice of ten toilets between the door and me.  I took this to be a sign. A tattoo of a snake ran the length of his forearm and disappeared into his sleeve. Piss gushed out of him.
“Ready for the weekend?” He asked looking at me.
Silence and furtive glances are the codes for hooking up. The sound of one’s voice breaks the spell of anonymity. I nodded. He was white and big bellied like Larry the Jailer. When he finished pissing, he walked over to a stall and held the door open. I shut the door behind us. He stood in front of the toilet, and I jumped up on the seat and squatted so no one could see two pairs of feet in the same stall. I wrapped my arms around his waist to keep from falling, and he pulled his dick out. I took it in my mouth. His crotch smelled like a fishing pier. In a moment he was hard and pumping my throat. Other men came in and went out. I glimpsed the shadows of their feet. For some strange reason I had the urge to throw open the door so they could see, join in or call us names. My guy flushed the toilet to throw off any suspicions and to drown out the noise I made sucking his cock. He held my head against him until I gagged. We went at it until his breathing grew heavy, and he yanked his cock from my mouth. His cum splattered my left cheek. It was hot and runny. I grabbed his dick and licked the tiny drop hanging on the tip, then tore off some toilet paper and wiped my face. I slipped the paper into my pocket. We listened to the feet shuffling on the concrete floor. When it was quiet, he went out first. I waited to make sure he had time to get in his rig or car and drive off. I then trotted to my car and continued on to Valdosta.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Editing: Autocrit vs Grammarly vs Human vs Nothing

Editing is the most important task for a writer after writing the book. It's more important than marketing, social media engagement, book cover design, and nail biting--all activities that most authors spend a great deal of time doing. How many times have you read a forum post where an author asks, "Why is my book not selling? I've had magnetic car signs made, created cards and bookmarks, but yet no sales!" You look at the sample provided on Amazon and observe poor grammar and bad punctuation. Now, what was the question again?

While editing is the most important task, it's often the most expensive, depending on the type of editing you need. Prices for simple copy editing can go from about a dollar a page to a penny a word. However, more in-depth editing to fix plot holes, one-dimensional characters, can cost at least 5 bucks a page. That kind of money takes a big bite out of anyone's purse. Most of us haven't reached superstar status where we hire our own in-house editorial teams. So what do we do? Some authors may ask their retired Aunt Gladys, who taught middle-school English and who loves to read to help out. This is certainly better than nothing at all. However, Aunt Gladys is old. You may not feel comfortable letting her read your steamy romance epistle where people are kissing where the sun doesn't shine and talking about it in the most earthy of language. She may cross out every "ain't" on paper, regardless of whether your character or narrator speaks that way. "You must use proper English, young lady!"

So what's left? Online editing software. There's a host of them out there. Just google and find them. I use Grammarly and Autocrit. In fact, this post is being written with Grammarly's help. (It's insisting that Autocrit should be autocrat) I'm ignoring Gramma um, Grammarly right now. Which one is best? It depends on your weakness. I need them both. Grammarly is good for catching most misspellings, punctuation errors, whether you meant comma or coma, capitalization, and word choice problems, like that comma or coma. But then it sometimes acts like Aunt Gladys without her glasses and misses the obvious.

Autocrit (no Gramma, not autocrat) is very in-depth. I love its repeated word and repeated phrases feature. For some reason, I like to repeat myself. In fact, it will no doubt tell me I've used the words editing, in-depth, comma, and comma. It also hates the passive voice and the author's use of beginning a sentence with too many pronouns or nouns. "Well, how else do I write in my omnipotent all-knowing voice where I see the character doing everything," you might ask. Autocrit will get you to thinking about a better way. However, it won't care much about your spelling or if you put a comma right in the middle of co,ma like I just did. Grammarly didn't seem to notice either. Perhaps she was asleep. 

Another thing editing software won't catch is plot holes. So what if your character has blue eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter three. Neither of them cared. John jumped out of bed screaming on his way to work? Who cares. (Grammarly cared somewhat. It said I was missing an auxiliary verb.) And whatever happened to that gun in chapter one? Grammarly and Autocrat (happy now?) will shrug and have a cup of coffee. Therein lies the weakness of online editing software.

The other weakness is they just don't get the tone of your writing and will try and correct too much. Sometimes tone is set by repetition, a narrator's poor grammar, and a host of other devices. I threw an award-winning story, (my own) into Autocrit's machinery to see what it might suggest. It went nuts over the fact, I had too many repetitive words and way too many pronouns beginning a sentence. This story, Cheeseburger won an award in 1987 (ancient times) I know. Joyce Carol Oates was the guest judge and she selected it for publication in The Ontario Review, Edited by her husband and I'm sure a staff of other human Editors. And yes I made the editing changes, they suggested, including changing my name to CW Harvey because the protagonist's voice was a teenage girl and the fact I was a guy might confuse readers. Like I said, 1987 was ancient times. 

The takeaway from all of this? Edit very carefully whether you use a human or a computer. Go with your gut feeling, if you don't like a particular suggestion. Don't close your eyes and rely on the software to work magic. It's very imperfect, yet better than nothing. If you have nothing, read and study good books in your genre. Read good books on writing and grammar. Look up books on craft by Janet Burroway and Donald Maass. There are many online grammar resources. Use the comments section to suggest some of your own. 

Note: Autocrit provides a host of useful stats about your writing. So far its found two instances where the pacing might be slow. It was ok with sentence length variation, but not paragraph length. It was happy not to find dialog tags and adverbs in the dialog. It didn't mind a couple of adverbs in the narrative. Autocrit found too many instances (16) of showing vs telling. It suggested I remove one. Overall I did fine. Aunt Gladys is upset because I didn't use her picture.


#writer #amwriting #editing

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Be Afraid, Be very Afraid, But do it Anyway

When is a book finished? Probably when the author dies. Right now I'm doing what most of us are afraid to do, and that is taking a look at my major books with a fresh pair of eyes--my own. Sure some will go to an Editor at some point, but I can't believe what I'm seeing that's making me cringe at this point in time. Bloopers of course, in the category of misspellings, punctuation, and the extra word that I meant to delete. But misnaming a character on a later page? Putting backstory right in the middle of the action? Ugh! and there are many other ughs to numerous to mention.

What caused this? Rushing, not being in the moment, sleepy-eyed editing, woking nights and being tired, and just not paying attention. Worrying about the so-called business of writing and not the writing. Ugh! Get off that Facebook and Twitter marketing page. And absolutely stay away from the printshop with your orders for bookmarks, posters, and business cards until you've put your best book out there. Amazon forums are full of "Why is my book not selling? I've bought bookmarks and magnetic signs for the car!" Take a look at your book. I'm taking a look at mine. Ouch! It hurts! If you want to lessen the pain, do get an Editor at some point in the process.

Sorry. The picture had nothing to do with the subject.


Friday, February 12, 2016

On Writing

I wish I had paid attention in 2009 or whenever it was that the kindle debuted. I had a short story in an earlier amazon program. In around 2008 they started sending me emails to convert this story over to their earlier DTP (digital text platform) ebook platform. I had no idea what they were talking about and just ignored the emails. I thought the eReader phenomenon was some sort of fad. So yeah I wish I had been astute and jumped on the bandwagon sooner. October 2011 was a bit too late. Things were changing. The early adopters were moving on and getting deals from publishers. The one thing to focus on now is to just be a writer. Don't spend a lot of time on twitter and other social media. Focus
on writing the best books possible. Join writing local writing groups if they are available. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more than critiquing others and being critiqued. If you can't find local writing groups, join an online community. Avoid schemes and scams. Even people who offer well meaning advice, generally only know what works for them and their genre. Self publishing is great if you can do it right, but don't leave out the possibility of connecting with an agent. I hope you're enjoying writing as a process and creative outlet. First and foremost make it about the writing.

#writing #books #authors 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Maura and Her Two Husbands

An Excerpt From Maura and Her Two Husbands (18+)

Chapter 10

Easy lay on his side propped up on his elbow with his head cradled in his hand. The thin sheet that covered him, traced every curve of his leg and ass. He faced the television and didn’t notice Maura standing in the doorway. On the TV, Tom and Jerry played their games of cat and mouse until Jerry bashed Tom upside the head with a mallet. Easy laughed. Maura cleared her throat. He turned and watched her looking at him.

Maura searched her head for words, but she found nothing but numbers and accounting formulas. What could she say to this man, she wondered?  She looked at Easy lying in front of her swaddled like a baby. She could have grabbed the African Fertility statue and clubbed him to death as he lay helpless. He had come between her and Sidney. But was that his only crime? Someone had let out his cornrows. His hair hung loose and almost touched his shoulders. A black Christ or a black devil? A voice in her head told her to touch his hair and he would take the curse away, and she would be healed. But Maura disobeyed the voice. She pulled off her top and flung herself across his body. He managed to turn over onto his back. As he turned the sheets wound tight around him imprisoning him more so. She ravished his face with kisses as he struggled to free his arms. Easy's lips reminded her of Sidney before he showered. She knew those lips had traveled over Sidney’s body in the wee hours of the morning while she slept fitfully, dreaming of the act she was now committing. Her thigh brushed his thick manhood. It was hard as a brick.

“Slow down, girl,” she heard him utter. But she did not slow
down. She thrust her tongue between his lips and tasted his pungent morning breath. She could not slow down. She could not turn around.

Easy managed to free one arm and he held her tight against his chest. With one hand, he grabbed her hair, pulled her face from his, and looked into her eyes. He released her and their tongues probed and teased like two prizefighters. Her hand grasped his manhood and squeezed until it felt like a rolling pin. Overcome with energy, Easy sprang up and caused Maura to roll over. He freed his other hand from the sheets, rolled on top of her, and pinned her arms. His lips traveled down her neck nibbling and probing the soft flesh. He kissed her collarbone before traveling to her chest. His tongue circled over each nipple until it stood up firm. She pulled his head close to her and he tugged and sucked her nipples like a baby. He stopped and looked at her. But she couldn’t stand to see her reflection in his eyes and she pushed him back to her bosom. She held him there and felt him tugging at the waistband of her warm-ups. She tried to pull his hands away, but they tugged her pants halfway her thighs. She wanted to kick and free her legs. But caution stopped her.

“Where are the condoms?” Maura asked between kisses. Easy leaned over and pulled out the top nightstand drawer. The box was as light as air in his hands. He looked inside and shook the carton as if a foil shield might be stuck to the sides hiding.

“Damn,” he cursed. Maura played with his lips, circling their thickness and inserting her fingers between them. “We don’t need no condoms,” he whispered. He rose and planted himself between her feet. He reached up and grabbed her panties and pulled them off along with her warm-up pants. He threw them 
off the bed, grabbed her feet, and sucked her toes. His mouth traveled down one leg, took a moment to breathe in her crotch, before traveling down the other thigh and back to legs and ankles and feet. When he journeyed back to her crotch, he lingered over her shaved pussy. Maura arched her back and pulled his head close as if she was going to pull him inside of her. She shut her eyes and imagined herself as the woman from Hustler--eyes walled back in her head between ecstasy and death. She looked in the mirror and watched Easy's ass and his balls hanging between his legs.

Suddenly she pushed Easy’s head away, grabbed his ankles and lifted his legs. Her only instructions came from the fire-scarred photo. She bent over Easy’s manhood and opened her mouth wide. His dick felt like a large pickle, rigid and ringed with veins. She wasn’t sure what to do. Her mouth cradled it until Easy grabbed a handful of her hair. He gently eased her head up and down until Maura caught his rhythm and swam on her own. Her eyes took in his hairy balls that looked like turkey gizzards and the nappy hair between his legs. She teased him until he grabbed her hair and sent her back to work. She felt Easy’s body tighten and the veins in his manhood grew rigid. He began to groan. He tried to push her away, but Mara would not turn away. She was stubborn and one-minded like a fish after a lure. She reminded herself of an old sow rooting after filth in the mud and she didn’t care.  Her pace quickened. Her throat ached. She looked at Easy. His eyes were closed and he breathed rapidly like a dying man. His hands gripped the back of her head. He was the fisherman who would not let go of the prize catch, even if it meant falling into the sea and drowning. He called Jesus’ name a couple of times as any sinner would about to release his soul upon the altar. In a moment Maura’s 
mouth was filled with hot bitter seed.

He wanted to ask her where she had learned to suck dick. But he felt the sound of his voice would ruin the moment. They lay there listening as the pest control guy sprayed the yard next door. The motor  driving his spray gun hummed, ebbed and rumbled depending on how much effort he exerted in driving away Maura’s spell. She raised up on one elbow and looked at Easy.

“I need a favor from you.,” she whispered.

 “What, little lady?” He kept his eyes closed.
The little lady sounded strange to Maura’s ears. She had always been called Maura. She had never had a nickname outside the names Myesha had called her when they were growing up. “I need you to talk to Sidney about the divorce, get him to change his mind.”

“Sidney is a grown man.”

Maura touched Easy between his legs. “And I’m a grown woman.” Her hand traveled over his manhood, over his belly, and caressed his neck. Her fingers brushed his lips. When he parted his mouth, her index slipped in and he sucked it. Maura’s 
cellphone rang feverishly downstairs. She let it ring while Easy sucked her fingers. He kissed her and tasted his seed in her mouth.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Easy whispered.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Me, Sisyphus, and Editing

Editing! Argghh. Just when I think I'm done, I look over the work and realize I started my previous edits while I was legally blind. (I'm not) But that's what it feels like to encounter so many mistakes and start all over. Page sixty seems to be my crest of the hill of one hundred and ninety-three pages. If I could just get past that point. 
My problem is I'll read a really good book, and think my own weak prose sounds nothing in comparison. Or I'll pick up a book on writing, and realize my scenes aren't doing anything to advance the novel. They were just visions I loved. I have to beat them in shape or let them go. So A change begets a change that begets a change that begets a fresh new batch of mistakes that begets more editing. All that rock pushing. 
But I see the solution. Stop reading good books and books about writing. Well I think that's the answer. What do you say Sisyphus?

Author on:


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Unemployed Writer

I've recently become unemployed from my day job. Or night job in my case. The questions from co-workers lucky enough to have kept their jobs was, "What are you going to do? Are you looking for work?" I'd mumble something like, "Yeah I'm looking, not sure, perhaps soon, blah blah blah." But then I realize I was about to live a dream, I'd been wishing would come true. The ability to write full time was about to come true. So no, I was not to become unemployed at all. I had a job waiting for me. I just had to make it pay. Yay! or Yay?

I have I been actively writing everyday since June 30? No. I had to take a moment to mourn the loss ... of a decent paycheck and benefits and even an identity. A new routine had to be established. I had to give myself a new title. I was no longer "Service Delivery Level Tech I." I now can say I'm a "writer!" Yay! or Yay? 

Now that writing is my job and I want to go from having one sale a day to having dozens I have to establish a new routine. Working nights at my previous job often meant I slept late in the day, even on days off. It meant I was sometimes depressed and exhausted. It meant my off were for resting and idling the day away.  But now I'm revived and energized. Here's the action plan for the new career as a writer.
1. Get out of vacation mode. No time for idle driving and shopping (no money either)
2. Get up early
3. Hit the books for reading
4. Hit the keyboard for writing and editing
5. Have fresh eyes for new and old work
6. Enjoy the process! 
So has all of this been yay! or yay? Well I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that all of those moments when I feigned exhaustion and tiredness,  I was just being lazy. There's no day job boogey man to hide behind and blame for my lack of writing. Or my lack of reading. The internet is as distracting as ever. The bed sometimes still holds me until almost noon. The house isn't that much cleaner, and the belly isn't that much flatter. So now is the time for this good man to stop kidding himself. Get to work!

What does the future hold? I don't know. I fight off images of myself living under a bridge. I feel more guilty about not giving that homeless person a dollar. Gee that could be me one day. 

Enjoy these Amazon freebies!

How I Got Over
No Satisfaction
When Dogs Bark
We Are Here