Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 25 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About Your Worst Habit And What You Do To Avoid It

Anytime I see a woman in a wetsuit...Well that's not really what I'd call a habit. It's more like the occasional guilty indulgence. About the worst habit I have is my insomniac nights. I literally have to tell myself to put down the book, close the notebook, shut off the computer, do not make a pot of coffee, or a bacon, cheese, tomato, jalapeno, and onion omelet. and Go The Hell To Bed. Let's get a bit therapeutic here, I still have to maintain a day job, there is the reality of a mortgage, food, gasoline to get back and forth to Staples and Office Depot, oh yeah, AND work too, clothing, the light bill, gas bill, water and refuse bill. Notebooks, stationary, pens, toner, postage, reading fees for contests...Dammit! Think I'll go cruise a dive shop!
Literally, I have to remind myself that, besides the possibility of a total psychotic break, or massive injury on a job in the building trades (Ever seen the actuarial tables...that will make you wonder why you thought manual labor was such a GREAT idea!), writing demands a rested mind and the ability to concentrate and explore the subject at hand. So, after my beloved has already visited me in her nightgown and kissed my feverish brow, hinting that I might want to THINK about getting some rest, I am still sitting in this chair as if I were a character in some surrealist flick like "Brazil" or "Twelve Monkeys" shackled to my workstation with no chance of reprieve.
This has been my pattern since before my teens when I would literally hide under the covers on my bed with a desk lamp and read entire adventure and science fiction novels in a night. My teachers all though I had some blood disorder which caused horribly bloodshot eyes combined with bags beneath them of a size normally associated with around the world cruises. After all these years you would think I just simply would have burnt-out like a lightning-sparked fire in the Snake River Canyon, but nope, given half an inspiration and a moment's drop of my guard and the next thing I know it's midnight and I have to be up at quarter to five to get ready for work. Son of a bitch! Where did the night go?
So, if you're up way past your bedtime, think about submitting a bit of short fiction out to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, or a carefully thought out essay for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay. Just exposure. Authors retain all rights. Use the follow or subscribe gadgets on the right side of the page if you like. I love the company. As always, comments, critiques, or questions are welcome with a timely response guaranteed.
In the, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 24 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About Execution (Of Projects)

Well, I'm glad the qualifier was added to this one. I've definitely been out cruising the darker side of the human psyche these days and that could have been just a wee bit...uh...edgy.
As far as execution of projects goes, I'm one of those plodders out there. I believe in outlines and character studies and plot arcs and all that. This means I spend a lot of time trying to get to actually know my characters and their environment. This will take the shape of details that occur well before the story I'm presenting begins and my reader may never get to know. But, for me, it is an essential part of understanding not only what my characters are doing, but why they are doing it.
So yes, I may spend as much as a month or more working out the details for a short story, and this after walking around for god knows how long letting the thing simmer in cerebral soup until I'm sure a) I want to write it, and b) It's ready to be written. Once those two questions have been sufficiently answered I get to work. Does this mean that I really had the timing right? Look in my in works in progress file and you'd see that there are any number of tales in suspended animation. This is usually caused by hitting a point in all the outlining and development where I realize I went off half cocked and the story isn't there. It may be an interesting vignette, a rambling anecdote or even a decent scene or two. Just not the story I thought I was heading towards.
Once all the preliminaries are done we're off to the races. The advantage of all the pre-planning for me is that I can pretty much concentrate on the language and emotion of what I'm developing knowing that the story is there like a skeleton awaiting muscle and guts and flesh and hide. I've pretty much assured myself that I won't go tumbling into a major plot hole that will require me to set fire to a hundred or so pages and pick it up from what's left.
Presently I'm working on a thriller (my first novel length piece) and I've already spent weeks just pulling together the outline and character studies not to mention researching locations and a thousand other things. I've committed about fifty five hundred words to paper in first draft form just to see what they might look like and the result so far is, IMHO, not half bad. In the meantime, there are notes for other projects, poems to be written and others to be revised, submissions to be made and blogging to keep up with. I guess what I just said is, for me, execution is a constant process. How about you?
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines and carefully thought out essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay just exposure. You retain all rights. You're welcome to follow or subscribe, I love the company. Comment, critique, or question in the box below.
The usual, please remember,love,write.
Dane F. Baylis   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 23 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About Inspiration

Inspiration? There's a question I have fielded so many times. Where do you get your inspiration? What inspired you to write that poem? Who was your inspiration for that character? Who inspired you to write?
Honestly, inspiration is such a fleeting thing (which is why I carry a notebook and a sketchpad around all the time). It can be a word, or a phrase, or a bit of conversation between myself and someone I know or between total strangers I overhear. It can be an article in a paper, a song on the radio, or a comment on something I see out on the Internet.
It might be totally visual and thoroughly non-human, a building, a road, a derelict car or a billion other things. But what it always possesses is that feeling it stirs. It may be sudden and fleeting (thus the notebook and sketchbook) fragile and gone like a soap bubble. It may have the weight of the ages and the ability to hold my attention for years. It is that 'Aha!' moment. Whether or not I make anything of it after that is pretty much dependent on the vagaries of my heart. Whatever happens, this thing has touched me and if I have been paying attention it has altered me, sometimes hardly at all and other times on a grand scale, but it has and because of that I am never the same.
I have written about the seemingly unremarkable and attained a moment of eloquence I didn't know was there and I have languished over the really big ideas without any notion of what to do with them. Much of that comes back to my heart and whether I know, really, how I feel about something. If I do then it happens, if I don't I move on. I like what Hemingway said, "I write one page of masterpiece for every ninety-one pages of shit, and I try to make sure the shit goes in the wastebasket."
As for any one particular person who has inspired me. I would track that back to a high school English teacher long ago passed from this world. Fran Burbank who never judged, always critiqued with brutal honesty and let me know that writing, in all its forms, was a noble vocation. After that, the world became a palette.
Still soliciting comments, critiques, or questions. Followers or subscribers are always welcome. Looking for submissions for the Your Work/Your Love page. short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully thought out essays. No pay, just exposure. You retain all rights.
As,love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 22 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share Some Industry News and My Thoughts On It

This one definitely comes under the heading of, "Are You Kidding?" I'm like Rip Van Winkle. As far as the "industry" goes I went in to a self-induced coma a decade and a half ago and you all moved everything while I was gone! It's like looking forlornly into the refrigerator and realizing someone has eaten my key lime pie!
The major houses are shrinking, the e-book is on the ascendant, and people are ripping out novel length work in three months or less on an assembly line like basis! The Internet has afforded everyone the opportunity to be an author, or at least to write a vampire romance set in a Midwest high school where the principal is a werewolf scientologist. Most of those leave you wishing someone would ram a stake through the chest of the next person who buys a copy of Scrivener software and contributes to the clone war. Then there's that long forgotten programming artifact. Does no one remember what the spell check function is for??? And don't even get me going on confessional poetry being written by people who have never done anything that warrants confessing. GAWD, I so need another cup of coffee!
Okay, I'm over it. Really, there's no need for the Tazer! I have Wolfe and Pynchon, Clancy and Snyder, Chaucer and Hunter S. Thompson and a dream that when I'm done with the outlining and character profiles, the scene lists and the subplots, I'll peddle my baby around like some perverse literary pimp. If it finds a home I will be ecstatic...and if it doesn't...well,hey, I tried. Maybe the next one? In between times there's caffeine induced insomnia to supply delusional symbolism to grit poetry.
Still accepting short fiction to 1200 hundred words, poetry to 25 lines and well thought out essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Feel free to follow or subscribe. I truly enjoy the company, I just go a little schizo every once in a while! Drop me a line in the comment spot at the bottom of the page. Just say high or tear into me if that's your want. As the saying goes, I've broad shoulders.
As, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 21 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Write About One of Your Niches

Yeah, I got a niche right between my shoulder blades and I was wondering if...Oh, like in a unique space in the writing landscape my style, voice, and work tend to inhabit? I get it now!
Tonight's prompt is a relief. After a series of topics about novels I haven't written and blurbs I've yet to have applied, we're back in territory where I can do a little more than kick at the crumbled copier paper under my desk and mutter, "Well shucks!"
Having a history of writing and publishing poetry and short fiction I definitely have a niche in both. I grew up on the streets, one of those literate smart asses with an attitude and a novel or collection of poetry in my back pocket. I've read widely but the ones who have had the greatest influence spoke to my environment and experiences. Not unusual then that I should have translated that well worn bit of advice, "Write what you know.", to a hard edged take on life and living. As I was introduced at one of my earliest readings for a summer course on creativity and modern poetry at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, "You've heard tweedy, now here's seedy." I wasn't the least bit put off by that because it was right then I realized I was already on my way to distinguishing myself from so many others in the field.
So now I try to portray in sound and feel the settings and mood of the urban landscape. My characters are never all good or all bad and their dreams and hopes are the same as anyone else's except for the crust of soot and road salt and the fact that at times they have to be louder or more intense to stand out. Love is still love, whether you're at the top of the heap or the bottom of the pile. Everybody has doubts and triumphs and nights full of dark despair or moments in the sun. The difference in my stories is that moral quite often is, "Pick yourself up and try again."
So love can be edgy, anger can have compassion, and sweet relief may only happen behind a dumpster in an alley, but hey, that's life on the streets.
Still looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and short, well thought out essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay. Just exposure. You retain all rights.
Would love it if you have comments, critiques, or questions. Use the form below for that or submissions. On the right margin of the page are gadgets to follow or subscribe. I'm a little tied up at times but I reply to anything fairly quickly. You may have noticed I haven't posted anything new to the My Work/My Love page for a while. Like I said, I've been a bit busy but I'll rectify that omission ASAP.
For now, my,love,write.
Dane F. Baylis

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 20 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share My 2012 Book Releases With Blurbs

Just had an interesting talk with my logical side, you would recognize her as my wife. She expressed concern that there are so many prompts for the 365 Days of Blogging that are lead-ins to talk about books that have been written, published, and released. As I have said here rather often, I have published a good deal of poetry, some short fiction, the occasional op/ed and one or two essays. I have not yet published a novel length piece nor have I ever actually tried to do that until now. I am working on a techno/thriller that I feel has some real promise and daily is becoming more and more what I would want in a novel.
The concern expressed is that by taking part in a blog-a-thon that is organized around and fitted to the already recognized producers of longer fiction I may be shorting myself and the chances of the work I have undertaken. She feels that, regardless of my age or background, I am presenting a negative image as a neophyte in a community of veterans. I have to admit that I can see a validity in what she says, but at the same time I feel that I have things to say that are worth hearing and that, finished or not, being in the process has purchased a ticket for this ride.
Of course, I've been wrong in the past and have to admit that I can see the logic in the argument for silence until the project is more complete but it is contrary to everything I am seeing about 'platform' and 'prescence' so I want to put this out to the general community. Should I shuck the 365 Days of Blogging in an attempt to protect myself from creating an image of a raw amateur? I would really like some feedback on this from the community at large, and I don't kid myself on that count either because my audience is anything but large as of yet. What says the jury?
I leave you with the, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 19 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share A Social Media Tip

Well, I guess my most relevant tip is realize what it is you want to accomplish as far as your use of social media. Once you have a clear idea what that is, stay on track. Even if you're trying to make a name and garner a little recognition for some aspect of your artistic or business life, it is really easy to wander off into the socializing part of the entire experience and forget, or at least become really scattered about, why you initially came here. If you're in it purely for socialization try to remember that there may be times when you're trying to get some one's attention and they might seem distracted at that moment. Odds are they're not snubbing you but simply concentrating on their product. 
For myself this whole thing is about becoming active once more in the arts community and having my work exposed and published. As my main focus is the written word I have attempted to make contact in the writer's communities on Google + and among more experienced on-line personalities such as Rainy Kaye. I have also posted some of my work in entirety or as excerpts while making sure that this blog has a professional but personable style. I occasionally post an original photograph or re-post something I find interesting or amusing on facebook or Google + but those are just a way of adding visual interest.
Even when working on the daily prompt for the 365 Days of Blogging I try to keep in mind that this is an example of who I am personally AND professionally. So it is always part of my intention to make these pages pertinent, personal, and entertaining. Then again I have been told that I have the focus of a pit bull on a pork chop once I've made up my mind to accomplish something so if at times I seem a tad pedantic, bear with me, it's not the destination but the journey that's important.
As always, comments, critique, or questions are always welcome. Feel free to follow or subscribe. Gadgets for that are on the right margin. Always looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines and carefully thought out essays for the Your work/Your Love page. It's an exposure only deal. You retain all rights and I make no other use of your work.
Dane F. Baylis

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 18 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tell About My Hometown

I was born and raised in Boston and the South Shore area of Massachusetts. I've lived all over the U.S. and the world but there are few places like that town. To be specific I was born in Dorchester which is part of Greater Boston and at that time was an Irish-American bastion. Then and now that part of the town enjoyed what was known as stoop society. The "stoop" is a colloquialism for the front steps in front of the apartment buildings that line the streets. During the warmer weather people would gather on the stoop and socialize and swap gossip.
Another great slang term was one applied to the apartments themselves. These three-deckers (buildings constructed in three floors each of which housed a family) were often referred to as Irish battleships. Mostly the term was applied by law enforcement when they had to respond to domestic disturbances.
If I were to draw comparisons between cities in this country I would compare Boston and San Francisco. They both have a certain eclectic style that mixes blue-collar, upper crust and intellectualism. Boston still has more institutions of higher learning per square mile than anywhere else I've ever been. This isn't saying that deep thought and debate is limited to ivy covered halls. Even in a neighborhood bar you might want to be fairly well versed in current affairs on a local, national and international level. A little behind on your newspapers and weeklies...Then just nod and agree.
There is a tremendous art scene, literature is alive and well, music from symphony to head banger and a vibrant fashion district make the place a constant adventure. The people are friendly and think you're the one who talks funny. From Haymarket to the brownstones of Beacon Hill, the U Mass campus to Newbury Street, it was a great place to grow up, be from, and return to from time to time.
Still accepting submissions for the Your Work/Your Love page. There are gadgets on the right margin that allow you to follow or subscribe and I entertain any comments critiques or questions at the bottom of the page.
As usual,, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 17 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tell You Something I Wish I'd Thought Of.

Well, I guess I could say I wish I'd thought of the Internet but Al Gore beat me to that claim, even if it was a slip of the tongue!
A lot of the things I wish I'd thought of are literary. I wish I had thought of The Friends of Eddie Coyle. The crime novel by George V. Higgins is set in many of the places I lived and worked and has some of the best dialogue and plot twists ever.
Ironweeds. by William Kennedy is such an emotion packed piece I couldn't put it down and was through it in a night.
Who wouldn't like to have created the worlds and the characters that populated them in Frank Herbert's Dune.
Then there are Bukowski's poems and Shakespeare's plays and a list that goes on forever. Tom Clancy's heroes and Eric Van Lustbader's detail drenched thrillers.
All of this when I am wishing I could think of the next paragraph, or sentence, or, sometimes, the right next word in my own work. I just feel lucky that I have the shoulders of such giants to stand on.
Still soliciting short fiction, poetry, and assays for the Your Work/Your Love page. If you want to post comments, critiques, or questions I am always open to them and try to respond in a timely fashion. Subscribers or followers are always welcome., love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 16 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share Your Second Book Ever Published

Well, if you read yesterday's blog your looking at the prompt for tonight and thinking, "Yeah, right!" Which is exactly what I'm thinking. Because, unless Rumpelstiltskin has spun one off of his enchanted wheel then my number of books ever published is still zero! Yes, I have published a fair amount of poetry in any number of journals (at least two of which live on and continue to garner acclaim). Short stories, a few. Essays from time to time and Op/Ed opinion.
So, without further ado, that was the whole spiel! Nada, zilch, butkus. Don't blink or turn your backs for too long though because there is one in the works and I am ready to enlist the aid of a professional editor and, lord willing and the creek don't rise, by this summer I hope to be approaching that magical goal. Bear with me a bit and we will all get through this together.
Meantime, I still welcome any comments, critiques, or questions from you, the visitors. There is the ubiquitous comment form below. If you would like to follow this blog you will find a gadget for that on the right side of the page. Also, there is another gadget on that side which will allow you to subscribe via e-mail or rss feed.
In the banner at the top of the page you will find the "My Work/My Love" page. It's what it says, my ravings! Have a look. If you would like to get a little free exposure you can submit short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 Lines and short, well thought out essays for the "Your Work/Your Love" page.. As it's my blog I am the final arbiter of what goes in and what doesn't.
Dane F. Baylis

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 15 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share Your First Book Ever Published

Well, this will be fairly short and sweet. I am still working on that first book ever published. I have published short fiction, more poetry than I actually remember, photography and graphic arts. I've sat on selection committees and editorial staff for journals and small presses.
My first great work that never was, was a screenplay written in collaboration with my best friend when I was twelve years old. It was to be our sci/fi epic until we discovered that writing them was a hell of a lot cheaper than producing them. Later I would be introduced to the other reality of Hollywood, never let anyone read your screenplay until you've registered it with the Screen Writer's Guild. Some things I only learn the hard way, but I have never suffered from the delusion that life, or the movie industry, was fair.
Presently I am at work on a serious novel and have actually made enough progress that I have begun to look into actually trying to get it published. Time and experience have been great educators and the best part of that education has been learning to take advice. In that vein, I am seeking out editors, publishers, marketers and other writers for their experience and know-how. Do I expect to be a Michener, Clancy, or King? Well let's just say I aim for the stars and try to keep my feet on the ground.
I welcome all comments, critique, and questions. Sign up to follow with a gadget on the right margin or you can subscribe by email or rss, also found on the right margin.
Actively seeking your short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines or carefully thought out essays for possible publication on this site. No, it doesn't pay, except in exposure. You retain all rights., love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 14 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What are My Views On Flash Fiction?


As a writer who is getting back into the community and establishing contacts in the ever shifting landscape of writing and publication as it exists today, giving an opinion on this one feels a bit like being asked for my favorite burger recipe in Calcutta! As an exercise for sharpening your grasp of basic form and function I see a purpose in it. As a valid part of the art form that is writing....I'm still out on that. I've seen it used well when the creator has a solid idea and knows their craft. It isn't, as I've seen it defined lately, something that you just sit down and rip out in as brief a time as possible in a minimum number of words  (sometimes as few as three hundred) and expect substantive art. Yes, there are some who I feel get lucky, but whether or not they can repeat the performance over and over on a broad range of prompts or topics, that would have to be proven.
Now then, remove the time constraint and leave room to work at and consider the content and mechanics, okay! Let's face it, for something of this nature to bear real scrutiny and provide insight and impact, a lot of fine tuning is going to need to occur. Otherwise you have an open ended scene with too many loose ends to it. I am not saying I need resolution in every case. There are any number of times I can look at something and say, "It would have been nice if I was left to ponder just where that was headed." That, though, usually only occurs if you can make me feel for the subject. Do I invest in the character and plot immediately? Or am I left with more hole than fabric?
Of course this is IMHO and in no way am I saying it can't work. It can and it does and when that happens I like it, but it takes real skill. Yes, skill needs to be developed and if you don't risk it how do you improve? Just consider if you are HONESTLY comfortable with the next one you bang out before you hit the send/post button. Does the rest of the world really need it? I have a drawer full of poetry, short fiction and longer work that isn't up to my standards yet. Occasionally it gets to see the light of day and from time to time I find the missing pieces. None of it is a given though and I have committed some of my stuff to shredder heaven and recycled it as cushion for Christmas presents, but then my two favorite quotes are from Ernest Hemingway, "I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit, I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.", and the second from William Faulkner, "Kill your darlings."
If you have any interest in seeing some of what I have sent out, or not, recently, check above in the My Work/My Love page. If you'd like to put something up here, I welcome comments, critique, suggestions in the comment window at the bottom of the page. If you'd like to get a little extra exposure you can submit short fiction to twelve hundred words, poetry to 25 lines or thoughtful essay in the comment function (I prefer them in .doc format please) and they will be considered for the Your Work/Your Love page. That's not a guarantee I'll post them but you have my guarantee I won't pirate your stuff either. If you like I would consider commenting on why or why not something got in (just remember, it's my blog and life is subjective).
On the right margin are gadgets. You can use one to 'Follow' this blog. There is another one that will connect you via rss or e-mail. Also are some of the spots I visit on a fairly regular basis looking for ideas and inspiration in 'Procrastination Lane'.
As, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 13 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About Ebook Piracy


What do you say about something like this? As with the music industry, someone decides to challenge the right of the artist to earn a fair return on their work by simply STEALING what they were supposed to pay for or a wunderkind comes up with an idea for a site where they can "share" other people's work without charging for the sharing (all the while knocking down a healthy profit from advertising that flocks to the site that the audience is flocking to without paying fees or royalties). The justification being of course that they purchased the original media that the copies are being made from and somehow that is supposed to translate to a "right" to do with it as they please!
Sorry, but copyright infringement is copyright infringement no matter what color you want to paint it. If your creative enough to be able to mount the site, figure out the marketing, attract an audience, and dream up this legalistic rationalization of why it wasn't your fault but the fault of the artists for not preventing your thievery in the first place, then you should apply just a little more imagination and effort and write frigging crime novels. You'd probably be a New York Times listed author in no time at all. But it's so much more of an adrenaline rush to actually be a criminal, isn't it?
Let's not leave out those who borrow other's work and then cannot begin to imagine how THEIR name ends up on it. Really? Yes it is a big interconnected world and you can probably get away with it, but how lame! Especially when it does get noticed and you find yourself trying on the dumb ass pants in front of the entire world. If your confused as to what constitutes copyright and what doesn't? As I type these words into an electronic medium and they are identified with my name and the date then they are copyrighted from the point of inception. Can it be any simpler?
So much for my rant. I welcome any comments, critique or questions (or even just a hello) in the comment window below. Yes, I moderate everything. For those of you who would like to, on the far right margin you can find several gadgets. One allows you to follow this blog, another patches you through to Google + where you might catch me cavorting. If you prefer there is one that allows you to connect through rss or e-mail.
If your interested in reading some of my latest it can be found in the My Work/My Love page that you can link to above. If you would like to see some of your own stuff here (exposure is exposure and you retain ALL rights) then submit it through the comment function. I'm interested in short/short fiction out to 1200 words, poetry to twenty-five lines and will consider well thought out essays. No guarantees, everything submitted is for review and if it makes the cut it goes up on the site. If you have it out there as a multiple submission and it gets picked up elsewhere let me know so I can take it down.
As always, I leave you with my deepest philosophy for happy, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 12 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share My Favorite Recipe

So, like many of my writer friends who have been at this endeavour for more than a week, we all discover at some point that there is nothing that fills that gnawing hole in your mid-section (or stimulates as much good conversation) as an evening spent at a dinner table dominated by a great pasta. I have several variations but the one that has drawn some of the most laudatory comments is a from scratch marinara with mushrooms and sausage. One of my nephews has brought motherly disdain on himself for comparing mom's best to Uncle Dane's. For this my never ending thanks Matthew and my equally endless apologies Amanda, at least the boy has good taste, if not the greatest reservoirs of tact.
Start off with 15 to 18 firm Roma tomatoes. Immerse these in boiling water to crack the skins, shock cool them in a cold water bath (I add ice cubes to mine) and peel. In a 12" saute skillet heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over a med. high heat. Into this add 2 tbl spoons of fine chopped white onion and saute until tender, about two minutes. When the onion is tender add about 4-6 ounces of Crimini mushrooms quartered and a half cup of white wine with a dash of white pepper. Cook this until reduced by about three quarters and set aside. Brown 1 lb of loose, mild Italian sausage and set this aside also.
Next add two more tbl spoons oil to the pan and to this add 1 med. chopped white onion and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes then hand crush the Roma's into it seeds and all. Bring to a boil, add 1 tbl spoon sugar, fresh ground black pepper and about a teaspoon of kosher or sea salt and 6 lg, coarse chopped Basil leaves. Reduce to a low heat simmer uncovered for about 1 hr or until the sauce reduces by about half.
When the sauce has reduced by about half, dot with one small can of tomato paste, add the mushrooms and sausage and continue to simmer while you cook the pasta. I have a preference for regular spaghetti with this sauce but it works well with linguine or rotelle also.When the pasta has cooked dip out about a half cup of the pasta water before you drain it and add it to the sauce, mixing thoroughly.
The pasta goes into a big bowl, the sauce is poured over it and mixed in and everything is ready to serve with fresh grated Parmesan and a good Como bread. An antipasto plate, beverage of preference (believe it or not, mine is San Pelligrino) and good company and the stage is set for laughter and comradeship!
Please, feel free to leave any comments, questions or critiques in the space provided below. If you would like, on the right margin you will find gadgets that will allow you to follow this blog and others that tie into rss feeds and e-mail notifications. Also is a list of some other sites and people I find interesting or inspiring.
If you want to see some of my more recent work check out the My Work/My Love page. If you feel like submitting some of your own for the Your Work/Your Love page please use the comment box and I will be glad to consider it. I am accepting short/short fiction to about 1200 words and poetry to 25 lines for consideration.
As, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 11 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

My Favorite Music/Band


Thought this photo would better fit the days topic. That's me with Honey sitting on a picnic table in Montana d'Oro Park in San Luis Obispo County on the central California coast. What you don't see is the some half dozen people who were dancing away as I was improvising a little E Blues. It has always amazed me that so many people correlate the blues with low down feeling bad when it is one of the forms that almost instantly makes people want to clap their hands, dance, and whoop.
I have been lucky enough to see many of our American greats. John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Rait, Robert Cray Band and Joe Bonamassa to name a few. Then there were the British talents, John Mayall, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Adele . But what I really enjoy are those backwater festivals and out of the way joints where you can hear some of the best talent no one's ever heard of like Laurie Morvan or Michael John and the Bottom Line or The Bone Shakers Blues Band.

No matter where I go a pile of Cd's, an ipod loaded with scintillating minors and flatted sevenths and an eye out for one of those places or events keeps me steeped in the music, history and life of the blues.

I appreciate any comments, suggestions or critiques you might want to send. I welcome anyone who wants to sign on and 'Follow' (there's a gadget for that on the right margin) and also you can find links to an rss feed or e-mail receipt of this blog.

Until the next, love, write.

Dane F. Baylis 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 10 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Traditions From My Childhood That I Still Stick To!

First I'd have to say that, as far as the Left Coast contingent of our family is concerned, my wife and I have become the de facto keepers of the traditions. Whether it is planning a spring time picnic for Easter, a little Fourth of July barbecue action, a feast to throw a Pilgrim in to a winter long coma, or the hosting of the Christmas Morning gala and savaging of the wrapping paper, we are the ones who have been in charge of the logistics, menus, locations and entertainment. A good reason for this is that we have been fortunate in our jobs and lives and have the where with all to host such things without having to stress too much over how we might afford to provide the best ingredients and hospitality we are capable of.
The real jewel in the crown is definitely the Thanksgiving meal. I love to cook and this is when I can shine. Out comes 'The Joy of Cooking' and I dredge my memory for the additions and nuances to each recipe that has eventually made it mine. There is, of course, the center piece, the turkey, slow roasted to a golden brown and served with plenty of pan gravy. Of course, to my daughter, the only reason the bird is included at all is so that it can be converted into a tryptophan laced vessel for stuffing.
This is a concoction of slightly toasted wheat bread, celery, mushrooms, sausage, walnuts and so much more. All of the aforementioned is accompanied by a decadent amount of mashed potatoes, creamed carrots, peas with pearl onions, nut bread, banana bread, ambrosia, home made cranberry sauce, a green bean casserole and, as an after thought, fresh baked breads and rolls. All of this is followed by one or two pies, ice cream included, and a liberal amount of belt loosening. The preparation has been accomplished in a whirl and clatter of pans and dishes and conversation (before, during and after) and visiting amongst any number of guests who have or not been in close contact over the course of the ensuing year.
Several plates of left overs are carried off by family and visitors as they depart and the clean up is sped along by fresh brewed coffee and tea and the voices of satiated visitor lodged on the premises. As the damage is cleared away board games appear and the friendly but intense competitions begin. Recipes are shared over these post engorgement past times and slowly people drift away for the proverbial long winters nap. Yes it is a LOT of work and something I have enjoyed for a LOT of years and would not trade for all the catered splendor in any restaurant.
As always, feel free to leave me your comment, critiques or questions. If it suits, you can sign up on the right hand margin to 'Follow' this blog or, further down that same side, you will find a subscription gadget that will connect you to rss or e-mail updates. You can also contribute to the "Your Work, Your Love" page. Short fiction to about 1200 words, poetry to twenty-five lines.
Until the next installment, live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 9 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Favorite TV Shows

At the moment I have two favorite shows. First of all is The Rachel Maddow Show. This one incredibly well informed commentator with an incisive mind and a razor sharp wit. If I head for the TV at all in the evening she is one of the few people who can hold my attention.
The other one was Anthony Bourdain's: "No Reservations" but unfortunately Tony has stopped production of that one. To bad, I like my travelogues on the acerbic side with a healthy dash of drunken joie de vivre.
Other than that I'm afraid I'm not a TV person. Weather reports and about a half hour of global mayhem are enough to satisfy any curiosity. Most sitcoms just leave me wondering about the fate of the human race and drams...Well, there's enough real drama in everyday life. I surf through PBS and if there's something by Ken Burns I'll visit or spend some time with Nova or Frontline. Outside of that, uh, nope. Guess that might make me something of a wonk but oh well.
Excuse the sudden change in appearance of the site but blogspot seems to be having issues and in order to make this posting I had to shift from a Dynamic to a Simple View. But that doesn't negate the invitation to drop a comment, critique or just a hi. Your always welcome to subscribe or follow and, yes, I actually will find a way of returning any posts, notes or hellos.
For, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 8 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Thoughts On Winter

This one is actually pretty funny. Here I am a transplanted New Englander living just northwest of La La Land and simply cracking up at most of what I see around me this time of year. It reached the mid fifties today in this area and I watched as people went about their business dressed as if the next Ice Age was just around the corner. Bluejeans with leggings and jackets over vests over hoodies over flannel shirts over thermal underwear. Gloves that would keep a snow mobiler's entire arm warm and lets not forget bulky knit caps WITH ear flaps!
On the other end of extreme cool weather fashion are the young women in knee high, fur lined, high heeled boots, just barely to the belt line faux-fur coats with enough trim on the collar and ubiquitous hood to do an Inuit parka justice and butt hugger short-shorts. There they are, standing huddled together waiting for a light to change practically doubled over from shivering BUT at least they look good in goose bumps. Hope they've had their flu shots!
I so miss the times I could look out at snow falling thick and fast and throw on a sweater and jacket, jeans and a cap and tromp off into a woodland where you could actually hear the soft crashing of huge snowflakes against skeletal branches. Watching Chickadees performing their fascinating acrobatics through bull briers as they searched for food. Or just walking through the neighborhood during a chilly night time snow fall. The illuminated oasis under streetlamps that gave way to blurred and disappearing scenery. The only foot prints your own as you shuffled through ankle deep snow.
Or walking across the wide expanse of a frozen lake to visit a small island that was a muscle fatiguing swim away in the hot months. Maybe starting a small camp fire by the edge of that same lake to warm up in between periods in pick-up hockey games. Or the look of fresh snow as it settles on auburn red hair and the way the cold air seemed to heighten the color of gorgeous blue eyes.
What are my thoughts on winter? Just that I'm going to have to take a weekend soon and drive out to the Sierras and visit the season. Go and get my chilly fix of the real opposite of summer.
Remember to live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 7 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Type Of Books Do You Generally Read?

Well there's a hell of a question! I read a lot of different things. Buddhist doctrine and philosophy is a big one. Then there's histories of all types covering the gamut of periods and cultures. I love a well written thriller (Crichton, Grisham, Clancy). Biographies are high on my list, especially those about artists and writers. (O'Keefe, Picasso, Miller). Erotica of all intensities, although I have to say the whole Shades of Gray thing left me flat.
I really don't 'generally' read any one genre or subject more than another. It's all dependent on my interests and curiosity at the time. I got my first library card when I was seven and shortly after that my mother had to talk to the librarian so I could get out of the children's section (absolutely bored the ears off me!). and into adult reading. Haven't looked back since and I don't think anyone else should limit their reading either. Sure, if your aspiration is writing then you will probably settle on a style, voice, and genre. But outside of that you should have no limits. It is an enormous life and universe, embrace it in both arms!
 In the meantime, as always, I invite anyone who would like to leave me their comments critiques, or thoughts to feel free to do so. You'll find the appropriate box for that at the bottom of the page. On the right hand margin are several gadgets. One is so you can sign up to 'Follow' this blog, another allows you to sign up for rss feed or e-mail. There is one that lets you check out some of the stuff I check regularly. Feel free to take advantage of any of this.
Meanwhile, remember to live, love, and write.
Thanks for stopping in,
Dane F. Baylis

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 6 of the 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Do You Think About Series Books?

Actually, these were like my television when I was In my teens and early twenties and still offer a lot of good escapist fare. I read the complete Hardy Boys library and roamed the red planet with John Carter On Mars  and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes left me wishing I could develop Holmes deductive insight. Many a night was consumed with Conan the Barbarian (Crom!) and James. James Bond, Ian Flemings alter ego.

Yes I moved on to Kerouac and Corso, Joyce and Frost, I drowned in the philosophy of Sartre and Proust and have read Nietzsche and Kant. I return perennially to Victor Hugo and find Twain as fresh now as I did at first reading. But it was these series that fueled my early thirsts for prose and it is to those writers who seized an adolescent heart and transported it outside of mundane day to day things that I am forever grateful.

Series have an important position in the fiction and non-fiction arenas. They offer readers familiar characters and ongoing story lines. Because of their creators abilities to build worlds and plots that evolve and still fit comfortably after several installments they attract an audience year after year. Yes, there are stellar talents out there who generate long histories of one off works and my hat goes off to them. But for me, I have discovered that taking a character and finding new and engaging fictions to wrap them in is as much a challenge, if not more at times.

You'll notice in my banner that I have opened the "Your Work, Your Love" page. This is for any of my visitors who would like to have me publish some of their work. Let's face it, even I don't like reading my own stuff all the time. I'm soliciting short/short fiction (1200-1500 word max.) and poetry to 25 lines in any genre or style. I and a couple of other writers I associate with will review and make selections from any submissions. No, there is no payment, this is for the glory and exposure. Please use the comment form below for this purpose or to leave any comments, critiques or just to say hi.

On the right margin of my main page you can find links to my followers gadget or to subscribe to an rss feed. I believe you can also subscribe by e-mail. I can also be found on Google + and Facebook. I appreciate anyone taking the time for any of this as it helps to get my ratings up and increases my visibility.

If you're considering an on-line critiquing group check out these posts by RJ Blain, Writing Workshop: Book Country and Writing Workshop: Critique Circle, both are well written and offer a tremendous amount of information for these two sites.

So, as always, thanks to any and all visitors. Leave me a message and let me know how I'm doing.

Remember to live, love and write!

Dane F. Baylis.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The 365 Days of Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About A New Work In Progress

This is going to be rough because it's something I am in the early stages of and it is literally the first novel length fiction I have seriously sat down to. That being said, I have a background that will inform much of what gets written and a knack for dialogue and action that should serve well. Without further horn blowing and gong beating here it is.
I have in development a novel length techno-thriller tentatively entitled "Resist". It is set a few years in the future in the U.S. where, driven by the excesses of a corporate backed conservative government, a protest movement has evolved into an armed resistance. The conventional military is perennially entangled in the never ending war on terror so the opportunity is used to bring a private military corporation (PMC) to bear to suppress the nascent rebellion.
My lead, an integral member of the PMC, finds himself in this cauldron and, after being injured by a roadside IED, is lionized by the far right and their minions in the government who see him as a hero to rally the people behind. He rises swiftly and is groomed by the chief of staff of the Liberty Tree party's Speaker of the House. She cultivates and encourages this American version of Reinhardt Heydrich's emotional attachment and maneuvers him in the halls of power as a possible successor to her boss.
But the rebellion and its leaders may not be the enemy our lead has been led to believe. When his girlfriend, Corey Llewellyn, is abducted and mysteriously released, what she imparts to him may cost them both their lives.
I hope to have this completed by May or June and am currently looking for an editor to help me with the project and, of course, representation and an outlet for the finished product.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Author/Book/Reader Conventions

Day 4 of 365 Days of Blogging

Never been so I don't really know. What I have heard is this is where you have to go to capture the attention of the high octane crowd. The agents and editors connected to the big name publishers. Of course I've also heard the horror stories of the terminally desperate cornering someone in the toilet to pitch their latest brainstorm!

I've worked on selection committees and editorial staffs for a few small anthologies and journals and I realize how unapproachable someone on staff might seem. I also appreciate how it feels to be one among thousands vying for a few moments time. So, that said, I am planning on attending a couple of events in the near future (ones that offer an interesting selection of seminars or panels). I guess it's as much a matter of testing the water in the pool, until you get in you don't know, and networking is networking. You can't predict the outcome any more than you can the lottery.

As always, live, love, write,

Dane F. Baylis

Day 4 of the 365 Day Blogging Challenge

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Opening the Promised New Page


As I've been threatening for the last few days of posting, I've opened the new page for visitor contributions. It will stand as a complement to my own "My Work, My Love" page. With that in mind I have entitled it simply "Your Work, Your Love". Its entire purpose is to showcase the poetry and fiction of visitors to Dane Baylis Undeterred.

The guidelines are fairly straightforward, I'm accepting short/short fiction (1200-1500 words and poetry (any style out to 25 lines). I and a couple of trusted minions will review anything that is submitted. Based on quality and the subjective predilections of the reviewers, with myself as the final word and therefore sole responsible party, works will be posted. I encourage you to submit because, as I will testify, it is often the exposure in less than prominent venues that leads to wider name recognition.
I also would like to encourage you to check out Rebecca Blain's, Story Bible Series
for a really thorough and useful approach to building and keeping track of all the elements in your novels or short stories. Also, check out Rainy of the Dark's interview with author Lissa Bryan who has several romance works in different genres to her credit.
As always, live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Day 3 Blogging 365 Challenge

What Will I Be Doing To Market Myself?


This topic is one of the more intimidating for me being as I have just recently resumed an active writing life. Of course, I will be on this blog as much as possible. In that vein I am opening up a new page to attract other writer's and give them an outlet for their work. It's the kharma thing. What goes around hopefully comes around.

Second is my participation in a very active writer's club locally and attendance at workshops and conferences and participating in contests. That and culling the best of what I encounter on the internet and passing it on in the belief that helping others is just another way to help myself.

Third I will be sending out those queries and proposals and trying to get articles, stories, and poetry published.

So for now live, love, write.

Dane F. Baylis


The author, Dane F. Baylis

Day Two of the 365 Day Blogging Challenge


And the hits just keep on coming. A couple of interesting things to check out. If your into the mystery/crime scene then you really should take a look at The Kill Zone and especially their latest post How To Stay Focused On Your Writing for some handy hints and reminders (and lets face it, we are all guilty of the wandering focus).

Next, check out On Writing; The Thoughts of RJ Blain . She has a really informative piece on keeping track of all the elements in your novel or story at Creating a Story Bible: The Basics. This is a well thought out method for those of us who tend to keep everything catalogued in that pile of scrap paper in a shoebox.

As I mentioned yesterday, and just haven't had the time yet to implement, I am going to be opening a new page (tentatively titled "Your Work, Your Love) for the publication of contributors works. So I would really appreciate it if you would consider submitting short/short prose of 1200-1500 words and poetry out to 25 lines for consideration. Selections will be made by myself with input from other writers.

In the meantime, as always, I am most appreciative of any comments, suggestions or critique. Please use the comment box at the bottom of the page. Also, if you rest your cursor on the right side of this page you will find links to my Google + pages, a gadget to Follow this blog and a subscription area.
So, keep writing and hope to hear from you.
Dane F. Baylis


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The author, Dane F. Baylis

So The First Prompt to the 365 Day Challenge is : "What Are My Writing Goals for 2013?"


My goals are a resurrection. It has been sometime since I have actively pursued my writing dream. So for 2013 the goal is to write...write...and then write some more. I already have short stories of varying lengths in several stages. Some are out the door, others in 2d and 3d draft, some are notes and ideas in my files. I have an idea for a novel length techno-thriller I am working on and  I think I can have somewhere near done by May or June. Poetry still happens and continues to be a medium I pursue with zest.


On top of all of this throw in a real desire to sharpen my craft. To this end I am reading everything availble on fiction writing and, as the funds become available, I am planning attendance at some near by conferences. I am casting about for a critique group and reading everything I have time for on-line.


Name recognition is another pursuit. This blog, a Google + account, Facebook (even though I am told it is soooo 2009). Add to that a desire to offer other writer's a chance to publish some of their work to a new page on Dane Baylis Undeterred that I will be launching this week.


Gawd! I think I'm tired already! (LOL)


Dane F. Baylis

The author, Dane F. Baylis

I So Love Challenges

I was scanning my feeds yesterday when I noticed a challenge. It came by way of Rainy of the Dark from one Kharisma Rhayne (be advised that some of the content on the site is definitely for a mature audience). The challenge is simple enough...Blog everyday for the next 365 days. Something that would seem pretty easy but then how many of us set goals for ourselves and down the line we're going, "What the heck happened with that?"

Anyway, I figure I'll give it a try. I can always regard it as an unresolution, seeing as I'm just getting started. That also means that I'll have to continue for a week into next year if I make it, so to help make this more interesting for any of you who visit my site I'm contemplating opening a new page. The object would be to provide space for some of my readers to have their work posted. As you've probably noticed from mine I swing between the gritty, slice of life style to more structured and influenced work but I'm open to anything.

Submissions should be sent to this site and I will review them. I've had a handy bit of editorial experience in the past with small journals in Southern California, you should take in to consideration though that anything that finally gets posted will be subjective. I am hoping for quality and would like to see fiction of the short/short length (under 1200 words) and poetry of any style and limited to 25 lines.

If this would be something that would interest you then let me know and as always I would appreciate any comments or critiques directed towards this site and its content. You can contact me using the form below. If you'd like to follow or subscribe then rest your cursor on the right side of the page and the appropriate tools will appear. I can also be found on Facebook and Google +.

Keep writing!

Dane F. Baylis

Friday, January 4, 2013

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Answering The Bell!

Tonight has that familiar feel. A remembrance of sitting on a stool in the corner. Trying to catch my breath. Trying to hear the encouraging words. Trying to formulate the next moves. That is what finding out that I probably am not among the three winners of a local short fiction contest feels like right now.
It takes away my wind for a minute. It has me flat footed and dazed, trying to cover up those vulnerable parts of my ego long enough to clear my head. I want to do the 'what happened?' and 'what ifs?' but that won't keep me going. So I stagger back to my corner and sweat for a few moments and attempt to disguise any fear the blow might have awakened and call on my reserves.
The only answer is stay sharp. If my original plan didn't work then I need to look for a new approach. Maybe I was too finessed? So this time I'll wade right in. Or if I sacrificed craft for brutality perhaps I should call on all the tricks and generalship I can muster? No matter what, I'm coming back out to win. There are always other venues and challenges. It comes from the samurai belief, "Three times down. Four times up."
In the meantime I've posted a couple of new poems on the "My Work/My Love" page and I have another short fiction piece out to a trusted editor, another story is in its second draft and the notes for a novel are coming together. Perhaps I'm just too stupid to lay down for the count?
As always, I appreciate any time you spend here and welcome you to comment, follow or subscribe and promise not to leave you waiting for a response to any thing you wish to post.
Happy New Year,
Dane F. Baylis