A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

On an oddly answered prayer

Last month I set a deadline of August 31, by which time I'd have found a new job for money and full weekends off. And for a while it seemed that I was on a roll: a call from the HR department of a former employer...and then a phone interview which seemed to go well. The next step was go be a call from the hiring manager within the next couple of days.

I didn't count my chickens yet, though everything seemed to be going my way for this as with the other goals I'd set, and met, for August. I had experience, references and a good record for my previous year with the company. On top of that, I'd tested the commuting time to their new office--a problem for some employees--and it was no longer than some past commutes I'd done. So, all in all, it seemed safe to assume I'd be one of the front runners.

But the damnedest thing happened.

They never called. Not only that, the starting woman in HR did not return any of my voice mails requesting a heads up.

The rudeness galled me. I felt down. And it seemed, at lease till next year, that nothing could be done. The one thing that I did do was remind the new department head that I'd been promised weekends off when I was offered the job and had spoken to three people about this.

Long story short: nothing happened.

Nothing happened until Thursday--when I learned I'd now have weekends off starting next Saturday.

It's been an interesting lessons in patience, persistence and flexibility.

Where I am is fine for now. The main takeaway for me is this: sometimes it's not that our prayers are ignored but answered in ways that surprise us.

At the same time, though, I'm prepared to admit:\

Friday, September 7, 2018

Lady Luck Loves Shopaholics

You know what it's like to wait day after week after month after year for the great goddess to bless us with: a new job, a new home, a new lover...

I've done my share of waiting too. But lately I've grown mindful of the number of times Lady Luck did drop by--but I wasn't prepared to receive her.

At this time of my life, though, readiness is everything. So,while casting my bread on the water, I spend much of my free time doing one essential thing: I shop. And I don't mean I just shop for food or even home necessities. The goal's to be ready on all fronts.

Recent shopping excursions::
1) Multiple trips across town to Value Village, Seattle's best thrift store. I scoured the racks for like-new dress shirts, ties and slacks to go to any business interview relating to writing or to a new job. A broad base of shirts is essential for me since I want to wear what is right for my mood on any given day, rather than be forced to choose from of a few things on hand.
2) Big 5 sporting goods store for an exercise mat, rounding out my home gym.
3) Amazon: a good book on body weight core workouts.
4) I shopped for a new strategy to obtain more reviews for my new novel, The Big Bopper.
5) I shopped for a new barber because my current one is out of town and my hair isn't interview-ready.
6) Tomorrow: Office Depot for cardboard file boxes to manage the clutter of papers.

Future shopping excursions:
1) Seattle DMV to update my address on my State /ID.
2) Post Office for a new passport.
3) Contact my cover artist about doing a promotional post card and/or business card.
4) Used furniture store: seating for guests.

And so on and so on and soooooo...Forth!

Live long, shop well and prosper.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Half-Goodbye to Facebook

I've never believed in doing  anything by halves...till now. But when my smartphone died last Friday, I did more than replace and upgrade it. I removed Facebook from my apps.

My issues weren't with Facebook itself. I value my membership and cherish my friends. In fact, I'll post a link to this post there. No, my grievances included:
--The daily deluge of ads
--The junk mail and spam
--The drain om my battery
--The leeching of my time

My time and my attention. I was starting to resemble the FaceJunkies I saw everywhere: my nose all but glued to my phone. On the bus, in the break room, while walking.

No more. I'll check FB only on my laptop, at home. A few minutes in the morning before I head for work, then 15-20 minutes after work on weekdays. Weekends, perhaps a bit longer. But FB's an enjoyable part of my life--not a way of life.

If the change brings a bit of withdrawal, I'll tough it out and ask myself:

I'll tell my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 'I love you dearly, darlin', but I'm a slave to nothing. I'll check you for messages or emails twice a day and that is all.'

This is my report. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

3 Hot Times Will Be Had This Month: REVISED

Intensity, thy name be NOW. No, rockets aren't exactly lighting up the sky, No bullets whizz about my ears. But wars are waged on several fronts. Here's the news you can expect this month.

Tuesday, August 14
I'll post the results of a top secret attack on a dream that's defeated me for far too long. I'll go up in flames or prevail. Enough said.

Sunday-Monday, August 19-20
The first phase of a Kindle Countdown will offer 5 of my best books for $.99 for two days. Four of the five have new covers.

Friday, August 31
This is the Do By date I've set to land a non retail job for more money and all weekends and major holidays off. Several things have gone done where I work now that led to this decision. And I've gone into action mode. Enough said again. Must avoid Lady Jinx.

See you all on the 10th!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

An Old Book Made Young Again

My first novel The Suiting came out of nowhere and went on to pick up a Stoker Award back in the late 80s. The book was blessed with an elegant cover that suggested the horror beneath the gift box and the catchy pen name Kelley Wilde.

It had its moment in the sun--or, say, the horror midnight: it was optioned for film and cited as one of the 100 most influential horror novels. 

But after three more horror novels, when the market began to dry up, I set out to write my real first love: noir mysteries and suspense. New pen name. New ambitions. But...

After publishing a half-dozen new books online, I decided to reissue at least a couple of the Kelley Wilde novels, bringing them up to my standards today. For the revised 25th Anny edition of The Suiting I did a massive rewrite and wanted to try a new cover. I still hadn't tried a pro designer and was doing my own with the help of friends. This is what we came up with, believing a manga-style would do the job:

Well, I can be a stubborn bastard even when a cover doesn't win a single sale. But in the past few years I've learned the importance of professionally designed book covers. And recently I confessed to having been a meatball and asked my new designer, J.T. Lindroos, to have a try.

We agreed to steer clear of both the original cover's gift box and the manga-style approach. J.T's first attempt was good enough for almost any horror novel:

But it didn't quite work for me. I wanted something suggesting the beauty and elegance of the stolen haunted suit...and the horror it contains. J.T. came back shortly with a pair of stunning designs:


I loved the first. But except for the pitchfork vein design on the back of that right hand, there is no suggestion of horror. Or of the style that I call Glitter Noir. Anticipating my reservation, he'd also sent this second take:

And there it is: the story, the theme and the style at a glance.

I will sin no further by deigning my own covers. 

P.S. If you haven't read The Suiting yet, check out its sassy rejuvenated self.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

MoviePass: Too Much of a Crazy Good Thing

Not to kick a good thing when it's down, even a crazy good thing, but I signed up for MoviePass...then canceled in disgust after futilely trying to use it. I'd taken a Lyft to the theater, since I had to be within a hundred yards on order to check in. No problem there, I was excited by thoughts of the big bucks I'd be saving if I wanted to see a movie a day for each month. Holy wow!

But the app didn't work at the theater. The film and time were shown--but I could not check in. Nor could I get any information from the app--which I learned later was having an outage. Could I contact MoviePass by phone? Uh-uh. The message said they were too busy to take calls.

My first experience with the app and MP's customer service soured me to the extent that I followed the ticket cashier's advice and considered their new AMC Stubs/A-List program. I reviewed the brochure, did some checking online...then checked for complaints against MP. This wasn't the first app outage, I learned, and their customer service received almost universal thumbs down.

I canceled with MP and signed up with AMC's A-List program...and I'm here to tell you I'm glad that I did.

MP's $9.95 monthly fee is half of AMC's fee, it's true. And MP offers a movie a day instead of 3 movies a week. But if you have anything resembling a life, how many films can you see? No, no. Forget 'can'. How many films do you really want to see? And to see these films, are you willing to travel across town on the off-chance that the damned app might be working?

Here's something I think of as much as the math: reasons to go to the theater for movies that aren't big screen blockbusters. AMC's first class approach rings all of right bells for me. I'll pay the charge for the convenience of being able to reserve tickets on my phone and waltz straight into the theater rather queuing in to purchase 'coach' tickets. There are no  blackout periods on hot new arrivals and no restrictions on premium formats: IMAX, 3D, Dolby.

Hats off, from me, to AMC with hopes that it keeps bringing me back to a great joy I'd lost:


Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Electric Cowboy

2018 is already turning into an electrifying year.

From New Year's Day through June, these changes have entered my life:
--The move to a new studio, with everything from rent to PayRange laundry paid online.
--Home internet for the first time in my life.
--Amazon's Echo Dot--with Alexa as my personal assistant and Stage Manager for my place.
--Today, a good as new used Panasonic Blu Ray Player
--Experimentation with Facebook boosts and Amazon sponsored ads.
--Savvier use of smart phone and a widening range of apps
--Acquisition of a MoviePass

As we mosey along on our timelines, it's easy to lose track of the number of ways we've grown stuck in our ruts...or the ways that we've fallen behind:
--The stunned looks I get from the young and the hip when I talk about buying DVDs.
--The even more stunned looks from younger writers when I say I write in longhand, then type it all
up and input corrections through at least five drafts.

Through the remainder of this year I want to take better advantage of some cool-sounding things that are out there. After all, the two lead characters in my new series are still in their twenties, And they'd know of these things so I'd better know too.

Immediate plans:
1) Become Alexa's Lord and Master, empowered by her wizardry.
2) Find a method of converting my scribbled manuscripts to text--Dragon Speaking, One Note, Evernote...?
3) Learn from the kids how to build a music library
4) Learn how to connect my new Blu Ray player to the ethernet
That'll do for now, I think. The new words I plan to live by are:

Know what you want, pony up--and ride, Electric Cowboy!