Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 84 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Okay. Today Is The Let's Get To Know Our Readership Better Poll!

I Would Really Like To Get As Much Participation On This As Possible So I Can Get A Better Feel For Who My Readers Are.

I Promise To Keep It As Short And Painless As I Can, Really. Honest. You can post your answers in the response box at the bottom of the page or e-mail them to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Thanks for taking part!

1st Question. Over the course of your life how many intimate partners....Just kidding!
All right...the real 1st Question. Where are you located? (Please, I don't want to know if you're reading this on your tablet while in a bathroom stall at the airport! Muncie, Indiana or Newport, Rhode Island will do.)
2nd Question. Age? Let's soften that blow a bit all right? Under 18. 18-30. 30-45. 45 to...?
3rd Question? Are you a writer? If not, what brought you here? (I don't want to know about your Ketamine habit.) If you are a writer...I'm sorry...For both of us!
4th Question. Is this your first visit? If not, have you considered therapy? What's your impression of the site and its content?
5th Question. If you are a return visitor, what brings you back?
6th Question. What would you like to see more/less of here?
Again, if you took the time, thanks. If you didn't...Hey, that's okay too, thanks for showing up.
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 83 of the 365 Days of Bloggong

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Is My Health And Fitness Regimen?

No more than fifteen minutes breathing without a ten minute break!

 

Kharysma darling, you had to be kidding when you included this one! Look at that handsome devil on your left. Sixty years old, six foot tall and one hundred and seventy-three pounds of rode hard and put up wet all in one adorable package. Seriously?
 
I ride a Harley Sportster back and forth to work almost every day. Granted this is Southern California, the weather never gets that bad, but drivers around here supply enough adrenaline stimulation to keep anybodies heart beating. I hike back country trails fairly regularly. I have a job that requires me to hump seventy-five pound compressors up ladders on to roof tops. My background is one that didn't tolerate overweight and out of shape and I have a wife who is plenty of motivation to stay as desirable as I can!
 
Add to all of this an ample amount of nervous frustration supplied by a writer's life (Writer's life? - If that isn't  an oxymoron I don't no what would qualify.) chasing down the status of submissions, meeting deadlines, etc. If you're getting rotund in this endeavor, YOU'RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH! So there you have it in a proverbial nutshell, fitness, the Literary Program.
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 82 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About Group Blogs And How I Feel About Them.

If you point your cursor at the right side of this page and open 'Procrastination Lane' you'll find, among other sites, The Kill Zone.
This is a 'group blog that features several mystery and thriller writers on a rotational basis. There's always a wealth of information there and, because each author takes a turn, it's always fresh and varied.
I have another that I visit sometimes when I'm prowling for ideas (or procrastinating), Big Think. This one is more of a conglomerate of articles and columns with contributors from all over the spectrum. I find it appealing because it stirs my thinking in ways unexpected. It deals with science, the humanities, opinion...A whole gambit of fact, controversy and speculation.
I have never run, nor taken part in, a group blog but recently was approached to guest blog on a page with what I guess you'd say is a time sharing arrangement (I post on theirs, they get access to mine...Oooohhh...Lower...looowweerrr!). I've never done this either and was wondering if any of my viewwers have? If so, let me know what your experience was like and if you'd do it again. Were there any unforeseen pitfalls?
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 81 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Take Today To Rant...Let Off Some Steam!

Yes, I know...Like I needed permission for that one!

I've been spending much more time on-line since I reactivated my writing career. This has been a boon and a dilemma. I have found many new sources for learning and a broader community of other writers. But at what cost?
 
Along with a wider reach, audience, and opportunity to collaborate and share, there is also the time involved in all this. As wonderful tools as computers, smart-phones, digital readers and tablets may be, they are also an intrusion. So much so that, making a comparison of my quantity and quality of work produced with their assistance and intrusion was kind of shocking!
 
I actually noticed a boost in quantity but it was accompanied by a measurable sag in quality. Was this because of my advancing years and diminishing capacity? Or was it because of something else? I could extrapolate any result I wanted - being as I am not techno-phobic but still somewhat techno-resistant. (I tend not to adopt newer devices and methods until I can see a definite benefit in them for my purposes.) Either would have been pure conjecture and strictly based on my opinion.
 
So I went looking about for other, far more savvy opinions than my own. To this end I would like to submit a voice both sage and respected in the technology world, Kevin Kellyof Wired Magazine, speaking at the TED conference; and British author, Tom Chatfield, speaking at the Institute of Arts and Ideas. I could go on for days on this subject but I bow to far more eloquent authorities.
 
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 80 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

The Programmed Topic/Prompt Just Wasn't Somewhere I Wanted To Go

Lets Say I Feel Like Offering Something That May Be Helpful For The Self-Publishers.

Sort of Tuning Up My Competition

 
 
This feels like sparring with a fighter I'll be meeting in a purse bout eventually. When you first start out as a boxer, it's not unusual to fight opponents you train with. Everybody learns from each other and it's not as demoralizing to get beaten by a gym mate. So let's look at this as a tune-up between friendly rivals.
 
I've been reading a good bit of, let's call it, alternatively published work lately. What has become apparent is an abundance of typo's, homonym confusion, and misspellings. All of this, combined with grammatical and structural errors, is terminally distracting. It would be something I might ignore if it were one writer's work, but this is far too frequent for a blind eye. Now, I could just shrug, thinking it's better for me if this is out there, but it really isn't.
 
I'm pretty sure everyone writing has hopes of becoming a discovered talent, climbing above your peers to gain notice and accolades on a bigger stage. Why, then, would you release a work you hadn't edited to the point where you were certain it was free of every flaw you could find? Basic artistic pride should drive you to not want the public to view you in anything other than a complimentary light! If proofreading isn't your strong point, you need to enlist someones help. I realize that profit margin is, for some, their foremost consideration. I would just offer, if your presentation is lacking skill and polish, you may never be a contender and will probably die poor.
 
Here's the selfish part. If your work is substandard and others, less experienced than you, follow YOUR example, then, before you know it, self-publishing as a whole is viewed as a refuge for hacks. This means that it makes it harder for all of us who are putting in real time and effort to be recognized for our finished work.
 
Straight up...Any putz can write! The real artists are those who rewrite until they polish a diamond from a lump of coal.   
 
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis
 
 
 

 



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 79 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Select One Of My Favorite TV Shows...?

Spoiler alert! There is no such thing as one of my favorite TV shows...

At least not the regurgitated crap that passes for enterntainment on Network TV. Anybody's Network.

 

The object is supposed to be to describe what I would have done differently or how I would have continued a series past or present. Initially, I'll go on record this way...I watch the news, mostly, and have through most of my life. If I was drawn at all to today's mediocre fare or, worse yet, tempted to relive yesterday's innocuous offerings there is little I would change and nothing I would continue. I had a favorite or two and having them live out their lives and fade from view is alright with me.
 
What would I do with, or to, those less than inspired productions marching relentlessly before me today? I guess I might write letters and make telephone calls to various dignitaries and opinion makers. I doubt that would change the steady trudge of so much shocking banality.
 
I tune in from time to time to the talking heads. I try to give both sides of the cultural divide equal time - Really a dismal effort I'm afraid - The conservative voices are busy drumming their, "the liberals are all Nazi's", propaganda, until I have to walk away. First of all, what they're spitting into their microphones is only wrong in that they never take ownership of the bile and indignity that they want to hang on anyone holding a different position from their's. Next, it all seems intriguingly comparable to those fascist societies they use as examples. 
 
Then there are liberals, who've adopted an all too smarmy and smug stance for me to take seriously their messages spoon fed to an audience with a shovel. Never underestimate the cunning of religious inspiration is my motto. Their way of hammering at the gates until they have broken in, constructing pyres on which to redeem heretics, is legendary.
 
I watch documentaries. Those produced by people who have done serious scholarship into facts and figures and causality...Not money grubbers who insist on making a buck off the lunatic fringe and conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy? We don't need no stinking conspiracies! Reality is scary enough, isn't it?
 
The only real change I'd make in television?...Turn it off!
 
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 78 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Lets Twist The Topic Just A Bit

I'm Supposed To Share An Excerpt From One Of My Books But...

I'm still working on my first novel length work. So I'm going to throw up a section of this very rough first draft. I welcome comments and critiques.

 
CHAPTER TWO--HEARTLAND
 
Boogie’s voice came across the intercom channel, “Hey, Anonymous! You checked that ambient temperature lately.”
Up in the gun ring Smith shifted his focus from the terrain flashing by in his night vision display and glanced at the read outs on the top right corner of his goggles. Ninety one degrees Fahrenheit, wind direction southwest at 12 knots, time zero one thirty four local. Clearing his throat to activate the auto-mic, Smith said, “Uh huh, but it’s a dry heat, man.”
Through the hatch, the Major could just see the back right quadrant of Boogie’s helmet wobble as he shook his head, “That was bad, “A”, even for you!”
“Maybe…but true.”
To those of them with any time at all in Cohort Security Systems the weather and terrain were all too familiar. Pushing heavily armored SUV’s through bone dry blackness using nothing more than dim blackout drive markers and the latest generation of night vision devices was second nature. Even on a wide expanse of superhighway where you thought you were safe the rule was hammer down.
The black top they rolled over and the low brown hills this took them between seemed to jealously hold on to the day’s heat. Since they’d pulled out of Scott Air Force Base there’d been nothing ahead in their line of travel or following on this side of the roadway, nor was there anything coming head-on on the east bound side. Left and right, as far as augmented vision reached, there was nothing but dark, tattered structures, abandoned farm implements and the skeletal remains of drought mummified trees. To the former residents these things had once represented their homes and occupations. Until the monotonous lack of rain and hot, dry wind had driven them away. To Smith and his men it was just a place that looked like so many other places that were only designated as hostile areas of operations.
Up ahead was the overpass that marked the junction of Route Sixty Four and the Two Fifty-Five and just before that was a derelict service plaza, its broken out windows and scavenged structure emblematic of the contractor’s relationship with the locals. When they first arrived the intent had been to purchase all their fuel and supplies on the local economy to help build rapport and good will. Utter scarcity and the piratical gouging that accompanied even the bargaining for the most meager of staples had necessitated shifting sources to the federals. After all, it was the federals that had arranged for their services, even if that too required an endless stream of negotiations to make things happen. But that's what the logistic types were paid for.
As the column roared past the crumbling buildings and trashed gas pumps something hung to the cyclone fencing caught Smith’s eye. It had the appearance of a small cheese round suspended by a coat hanger with wires trailing out from behind. His heart froze as he spun the armored shield on the gun ring toward that side of the road. Thumbing off the safety on the M2 machine gun he clung to, he screamed into the mic, “AMBUSH!”
No sooner did he get the word out then the muzzle flash from the first round out of the M2 lit up the darkness, this was instantly dwarfed by the nova from the platter charge on the fence as it detonated. In its turn this was lost in the fire ball that had been the fuel truck following behind Boogie and him. In that split second everything he’d been seeing was consumed by a sick green glare as his night vision device overloaded. He pawed the now useless goggles off his face just as the blast wave slammed into the back of the SUV and it began a slow fishtail and tilt to the left.
Boogie did his best steering into the skid but the lumbering bulk of the vehicle and the load it carried in armor, equipment and ordinance made it awkwardly top heavy. As it whipsawed back to the right he over corrected and this time it tipped slowly on to the two left tires and seemed to hang for an eternity before rolling all the way on to the driver’s side and sliding into the roadside ditch. Somewhere outside of the hum, buzz and ring that were hammering simultaneously in Smith’s head and ears, he heard Boogie’s muffled grunt over the intercom. The vehicle bucked violently as another explosion rocked it from beneath and the Major was ejected from the hatch to the edge of the pavement. Dazed, he lay where he’d landed and listened to the rattle of machine guns and small arms and wondered if his men were winning? Slowly, the adrenaline loosened its grip and he slid into blackness.
 
***
 



Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 77 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Do I Do Any Crafts?

(All Right, Is This Where We Talk About The Ashtray We Made In Occupational Therapy?)

 
Well, it was really a stash pouch and the only reason I took the time out of a really deep depression to do that much was to keep from losing my flipping mind altogether. Go ahead, balance that against what you've read in this blog so far and ask yourself, "Is he kidding?" I'll leave that up to you to figure out.
 
I've had a number of crafts. Thanks to a pretty well set up shop in the garage here I've designed and built furniture, done quite a bit of home remodelling and even restored and modified electric guitars and tube driven amplifiers. That last one is definitely one of those that falls in to the category, if you don't have the experience working around potentially deadly levels of voltage, don't try it at home!
 
I built a loft bed for my daughter when she was younger, which inspired her to provide the same arrangement fot her daughter. I've entered pieces of all descriptions in various competitions...and won. I've even managed to get some pretty sweet sounds out of stock musical instruments and amps.
 
My main diversion these days is the art of Bonsai or miniature plant cultivation. I have a number of species in various stages of development. I have Hinokai Cypress, Bald Cypress, Recumbent Juniper, Japanese Boxwood, Ficus Benjamina, and Apricot. I belong to a local Bonsai club which meets at the Buddhist Temple I am a member of. (Bet you didn't see that coming!)
 
There have been any number of others along the way. Some that were just passing attempts and others that I stuck with for some time. My wife and I raise and can vegetables and jams. (We make a mean tomato/mango chutney and a tomato/basil simmer sauce that is to die for.) She is a fabulous crochet and knit craftswoman. We both share in some things and others are our own. Again, it's all part of the belief that the more we learn, the better we are for it.
 
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis
 


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 76 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Discuss My Favorite Way Of Relaxing

First You Get A Five Gallon Can Of Vegetable Oil, A Rented Pony and The Stobbins Twins...

 
Sorry, I just gave away half of the plot line for my next short story. Or are those the plans for later tonight? Weekend time just seems to blur together. Maybe it's the Thorazine? I'll have to talk to my psycho-therapist about adjusting the dose.
 
SERIOUSLY? When I have the time (and I have found through the years that if you don't make time you lose time) I love to turn off my productive side and drown in others creativity. My mate and I maintain a number of memberships in museums in the area. These include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Huntington Library. We also have, within easy driving distance The J. Paul Getty Museum and any number of smaller local history, botanical and specialty venues.
 
We also both enjoy music to no end. For that you might find us at The Hollywood Bowl, The House of Blues, Hollywood, or again, any number of other wonderful venues, large and small in this area.
 
I attend frequent readings and literary events as a member of the audience. I have a number of on-line courses I am enjoying. And when the mood strikes, we jump in the car and just drive. Where is never as important as just going.
 
And as counter intuitive as this may seem...my main form of relaxation is still writing. Yup, poetry, short fiction...this blog...I love writing and these parts are those side roads that are the scenery and inspiration for the larger portions. Told you all a while back...OCD!
 
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right.
In the meantime...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 75 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share Something Interesting I've Found In An Article Or Online.

 
This prompt actually showed up at a very opportune time. I have just started an online course aimed at writers, writing, platform creation and finding an audience and peers. I have a real bug, I am a deep believer that as writers we need to be constantly looking for new ways to improve our art and craft and cultivating those contacts that will HONESTLY help us in this. We all have our friends and relatives who are usually more than willing to tell us what we want to hear. But what we really need are those other artists and crafts people who are willing to tell us the things we don't want but need to hear.
 
Jeff Goins' course TRIBE WRITERS is just that kind of community, a collection of people looking to better their art and help others who are striving in their own attempts. The author of the program, Jeff Goins , has put together a course and community that is aimed at all skill levels and accomplishments and is definitely a place where other writers are helping and encouraging each other to rediscover the joy and pleasure of the craft.
 
I got this e-mail from the course today and, with Jeff's permission, am sharing this down the line: Tips for Writers. Look, it's not all altruism. I'm paying this forward, as it were. Maybe you'll decide to give the course a try and we'll be there for each other, as audience, peers and friends. Give it a look and I hope you enjoy.
 
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right.
 
 
In the meantime...live, love, write.
 
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 74 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

It's All About Old Dogs

A Philosophy of Staying The Same In An Ever Changing World.

or

Why everything old seems to get prettier.

 
I've been out here learning all sorts of new tricks. Blogging, platforms, tribes...and there are times I feel like I'm chasing my tail. But the other thing I've been coming to realize is nothing short of revelatory. In a landscape that is absolutely flooded in vampires, and magic and self-help for every disfunction real and percieved, I don't have to go look for a niche...I AM ONE. Amid all the romances and coming of ages and the careers for the retired, by just plodding along I have carved out my space in the landscape without trying.
 
It's like that spot in the woodline where that old ferral dog has slept for season after season. There's a comfortable dent where the climate never seems to get to out of whack, enough shade in the heat and cover in the rain and it just smells right. No, it's not a warm rug by the fire...But that was never where I was headed in the literary landscape...It's a rough environment where you howl at the moon to declare your place. There's the occasional interloper, but they're mostly domesticated and more content to yap for a bit and run off. I can still stand my ground (I've got the scars to back that up) and will if that's what it takes.
 
There's something to be said for longevity. Nope, it hasn't made me rich or famous...It has made me less enamored of those things. This is that place in the scenery where you know who you are and that there are no boundaries for the bold. It's not genre driven or cliche'd. It's a place for free expression of ideas that can be nasty, direct and crass but are none the less beautiful in their homeliness. It's where you get to be YOU!
 
As self centered as it may seem, I like being me, and I invite you to come on out to the woodline. I don't bite, much, these days and I've got history, the kind that builds character and style. I can be blunt and at times, maybe, more truthful than some would like. Then again, not everyone who asks for the truth is actually looking for it. Stop by and bark me up...We might run the night together.
 
 
Got comments, questions, criticism? Please use the form at the bottom of the page. Love hearing from any and all. There are gadgets on the right of the page for following and subscribing. There's also a list of some of the sites I visit from time to time over there. Give them a look. I can be contacted directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com and welcome your email.
 
 
Remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 73 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Measuring My Directions

or

Even I Don't Think This Is Supposed To Be All About Me.

 

Boy, I'll bet that doesn't seem much like me. Does It? Chalk it up in part to being under the weather today combined with actually wondering what it is those of you who have taken the time to come around really want to see more of or different in this space.
 
I'm attempting to attract more followers and return visitors. However, as I'm not terribly savvy in all of this, and I tend to be...well...me, with all the warts,bumps and boils that can imply, I think that occasionally it's a good thing if I stop and invite your comments. Not just the, "Really liked what you said.", variety (Though my ego sincerely thanks you for every one like that), but I'd just as much welcome the , "What the hell was that about?" type.
 
The reason I welcome all of it is that it helps me to better define what I'm doing, not just here but in all of the endeavors I'm involved in. If you disagree with something then let me know...Does it mean I'll change my mind or say something that might change yours? Maybe...or not. What it does mean is that we can enter into a discussion about whatever it is you question or disagree with. This will help us understand each other better and, all things being equal, possibly understand ourselves better.
 
I don't believe in shutting off anyone and have yet to find a posting that I have blocked. Is this to say it won't happen? No, lets be serious, some people will attempt to post comments just to inflame a situation, but I've got a pretty roomy envelope and you might have to really work to push it.
 
Having said that, what are YOUR  opinions and suggestions? I really want your feedback in this.
 
There are gadgets on the right side of the page to follow or subscribe. Also are some of the links I visit regularly. Questions, comments, critiques or just plain gripes are always welcome. Us the window at the bottom of the page or get hold of me directly at dbaylis805@gmail.com if you'd rather not have your questions or comments posted here.
 
As always...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 72 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

How Much Of My Real Life Experience Is In My Writing And Why?

For a moment I considered getting all philosophical in this one, but I've changed my mind. I think a straight forward answer might serve better. That answer would be, A LOT!
 
It depends on what I'm writing and what I'm trying to convey. In almost any of my grittier works I would say there's quite a bit more than in other places. Locations, settings within those locations. The people that inhabit these constructs. Their physical characteristics, speech patterns, modes of dress, how they carry themselves. This is where I grew up and lived and all of it is right there, playing on the movie screen on the back of my eyelids.
 
My own experiences are there also, sometimes as some part of a main character or as that fly on the wall observer. I have led a diverse and rich life, full of emotion and actions to draw on and use. It has been full of some truly memorable people, some noble, some base...Most just doing what anyone does, trying to get through the whole thing with a little bit of style and dignity. I have learned some very real lessons from them. I have never been a crime boss, but I have known the type. I have never been a teen age girl, but I have been very close friends, and more, with a few. I have never been a priest suffering a crisis of faith, but I know what self doubt feels like.
 
There have been times of incredible good fortune and horrible depravity in my life. I have felt like a king and a raving loon (one hard on the heels of the other). I have been loved and hated, celebrated and despised. These are the ingredients, more than anything else, that show up in what I write because these are the things I "know" and what it takes to create a character with depth, vulnerability and passion. It would be a shame to have survived the journeys I have made in this life and not have something to take away from it all.
 
And anyway, isn't that the real key to convincing writing? We are capable of concocting any kind of outlandish bullshit, but why? Our lives are full of people and occurrences. Some of them are profound, but most are truly subtle. Why not draw on that ever filling pool of material that we live in. Yes, you may be working on Star Wars, or Twilight, or Cloud Atlas and no one has ever inhabited THOSE worlds...But the bars, and woods, and streets...the personalities, characters, emotions...These are all common to everyone of us and isn't the secret to a good story to tell the common in an uncommon way? Isn't what makes YOU care about a story, its characters, their trials and triumphs, how much YOU can relate to them. Where else do you find that if not in YOUR life, YOUR mind and YOUR heart?
 
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis
 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 71 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

HAVE I EVER HAD A REJECTION LETTER!?

Does the Ursa Defecate In The Forest?

There are only three types of people I can think of who claim to be writers who should not have received the dreaded REJECTION!
The first are those who, well, CLAIM to be writers. You know them...the ones who are always telling you about their ideas. The sweeping plot lines...The work that's similar to that other work, but different...The one that's really so personal that they haven't been able to decide who should handle it...The actual writing is contingent on one, or all, of the preceding rationalizations and will probably never occur (Strike a pose, you know who you are!).
 
The next are those who are actually working on things but have figured out that this is not a nice world and that the horror stories about the number of times Miller, or Hemingway, or King, or yes, even J.K. Rowling were rejected before finally seeing the light of day are true. So there they are piling up f'ing reams of manuscripts and waiting to make the acquaintance of someone who is the acquaintance of someone who knows someone who might help them place their babies without the pain and mess of the birthing thing. This next comment is not gender specific, grow a pair! There's only one way someone else is going to publish your stuff, you have to risk the hurt. Yup, that's right, rejection hurts...Got it?...Good...Now, get over it! You could be Upton Sinclair, Jacqueline Susann, or Kurt God Damned Vonnegut...If you don't take the same chance the rest of us have then face it,  we're the authors and your just someone who writes...KIND OF!
 
The third bunch are equally cowardly at times...The self-publishers...Now, before the mob grabs the pitchforks and torches and surrounds my grim and ghastly tower (Okay, so it's more like a suburban ranch house) let me clarify. There are those of you out there who have taken the chance and just NOT been able to cop the break you honestly deserve. I'll add to that, there are as many chickenshit's sitting behind editorial desks as any place else. They're not going to answer the bell for anything but a sure thing...Even when they're looking right at it! So there are those AUTHORS who have had to resort to that more round about route to get seen, read, and accepted. But there are a whole lot more of you who should have taken the time and found a community college writing class to invest in...Or at least a dictionary and thesaurus...Maybe even a Strunk and White's...God save us from the people whose friends have lied to them so sweetly..."Of course it's good. I just love the way you describe things. Really, I couldn't put it down." LIARS!
 
Have I ever received rejection notices? Let me show you the BOX! Did it hurt. I'll let you know that as soon as they take the stitches out of my wrists. Can it lead to self-doubt and angst?...Oh yeah, but then so can too much praise too soon (and I can prove that one too!).
The point is, eventually it's going to happen. You are going to submit something and, as soon as it's out of your hands you'll remember every fuzzy passage, each possible usage mistake, or that momentary shift in point of view in a minor character who appears for less than a paragraph. Maybe you're right and, then again, maybe what you've just sent down the pike is the best thing since GATSBY and the recipient is going to ignore the flaws in order to have the privilege of printing the damned thing. But you won't know if you don't try!
 
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 70 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Do I Do To Pass The Time While Waiting On A Manuscript Acceptance?

Is it just me or does the prompt for this one seem just a touch presumptuous?

 

Not to appear like I lack in confidence but, "While waiting on a manuscript acceptance?" I never wait on an acceptance, I don't wait to hear back from the ivory tower crowd, they're notoriously late in their response times anyway, unless it's a matter of simply cycling things between the in and the out pile because it's the third Wednesday of the month and they don't accept anything on the third Wednesday! I mean, come on, if you've got the time and lack of work ethic to sit around and wait, well aren't you lucky!
 
I write it, I re-write it for content, I re-write it for form, I re-write it for grammar, I re-write it for spelling, I re-write it for the hell of it because maybe it just might work better in another time/place/genre/main character gender...and just before I'm seriously considering a Secobarbital and bourbon cocktail...I slap that bastard in an envelope or turn it into a Word.doc and get it out of my life. At this point the wait is viewed as something of a therapeutic VACATION!!!  Just after I've hit the send button or hear the clank of the trapdoor on the mailbox I sigh a really big sigh of relief. The work's done! All there is now is the waiting. That's when the shakes start... If you've read any of my blog posts up to this point you know what's coming...Don't you.
 
I don't wait...There's another project right there in my files...It might be something simple, like the ongoing transcription of poetry from my notebooks to files on the computer and a hard copy I don't have to decode when I'm asked to do a reading. (This is also just another excuse to REWRITE IT.) Or there's the short story that's almost through first draft, or the one that is past that point and waiting for the heat to cool so I can deal with it dispassionately .
 
Maybe I don't have it for creative writing at the moment. Well, I'm involved in two different on-line courses at the minute...One on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and the other on...wait for it...writing, either of which demands plenty of concentration. I'm also a very deep believer in the old one about you get out what you put in, so we're never really done there either. Then there are the files with the pieces of dialogue that haven't found a home yet...Thematic possibilities...Setting driven thoughts...All of these amount to notes for the next project.
 
Passing time is the equivalent of passing the buck. "I was waiting to hear back from the publisher before I committed to the next one." Are you that god damned convinced that they're going to accept it? Well, let me get the hell out of your way, Ms. Rowling! Passing gas is more productive then passing time and at least that you can be fairly sure of...Work is the only way to make the time go by. If you sit there and wait you're losing valuable ground...You just got through one of the more difficult endeavors you're ever going to face. Don't waste the momentum, break out the notes and get back to work!
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis
 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 69 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

How Do I Feel About Multiple Submissions? Do I Do Them?

Kind of like hunting chickadees with a shotgun. Aim it at the bush and pull the trigger. You just might hit one!

 
So lets take a look at the first one. When I was young and kind of naive, hell when I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground, I figured that multiple submissions were the best way to go. Get that sucker out there and make THEM (magazines, major publishing houses, the most prestigious of journals) work for the privilege of handling my work. Come on...After that first couple of times a friend or acquaintance opened the door for me, I felt golden. My talent had prevailed, my words were like sweet nectar, the world had shown that it needed my every utterance! It was time for THE ATLANTIC and THE NEW YORKER and THE UTNE READER to step up to the plate. What better way to do it than to make them compete!
 
Hey, when you're seventeen realism is a concept, not a lifestyle choice. Ever seen my byline in those rags? That's where the reality part comes in. As I, uh, matured, I began to get a better handle on who was calling the shots. I could churn out as much verbiage as I wanted, if I wasn't taking the time to research who might actually be interested in my style and subjects then I was spending four or five times the amount of money necessary on paper, envelopes, postage, and return postage. That was a lot of potential beer and chips turned in to tiny little slips of paper that said, "No!" There wasn't an editor out there who was trying to beat out their competition to publish my stuff, at least not at the lofty heights to which I was aspiring.
 
It was an artist friend who finally sat me down and said, "Baby, you got to know who you're playing to. You don't bring a barrel house band to the Wagner Festival!" In other words, it would have been more productive if I had realized right away that I needed some mileage on my frame and some familiarity with the country I was traveling through. Sure, I might have had some good ideas and the occasional turn of phrase, but I didn't have the chops for where I thought I was heading. It's like that definition of insanity...You know, doing the same destructive thing over and over...Am I saying you don't? Hell no! You might be frigging Mozart. Then again...?
 
So that brings us to the second part of today's topic. The answer to that is no. Plain, simple, emphatically, nope. I have the advantage of time. Along the way I took a look at what it is I write...My voice...Style...Subjects...and, hey, commercial it's not. I know that. What it is, though, is me. It's rough around the edges and it finds triumph in the small things. (There are times when there aren't even small victories, just reality.) That means that, unless there's a real sea change sometime, I need to be choosy about where I put my efforts. Not everyone sitting at a submissions desk is going to want to read grit. But there are some. Not everyone wants to hear my take on poetic expression. But there have been those who have. Sometimes I get lucky and they find me...Mostly by chance. Other times I find them...Mostly by bull-headed perseverance. Either way it has led to some sweet relationships along the way.
 
What has given me an edge from time to time is just old fashioned labor. I write all the time. I edit until I start going cross-eyed. I pour through market guides, web sites and complementary copies of publications. I do the work, I have a body of that work, and I am willing to return to it time after time to refine, rewrite and resubmit it. One publication at a time.
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 68 of the 365 Days of Blogging



The author, Dane F. Baylis

Do I Outline? Why or Why Not?

DO I!  With my life, if it weren't for outlines I probably would wander off into the Mojave and never find my way back. I wish I were in a position to just sit at this desk and hammer my way through each project, devoting all the power of my singular brain cell to the task at hand, but I can't. I have my day job and classes and meetings and more classes and...You get it, right! So in order to keep everything I write in some small semblance of order and to prevent having the local constabulary at my door on a 'Keep the Peace' call because I can't find the notes for that section I thought I'd be working on five damned hours ago, I keep some pretty extensive records and outlines.
 
I have a tendency towards nuanced complexity, trying to achieve subtly that which, in some other works, is done with something less than art. I believe in my reader's ability to pick up on things and supply the sort of details that just clutter things up and slow the pace of what I strive for. I love subplots and minor characters who show up in staccato bursts, lending just enough of a flavor to hint at things to come. I have tried to do this by the 'seat of the pants' method and found myself having to constantly return to earlier portions of a work to add something that was needed to make the point I had gained tie in.
 
My present large project has an outline/scene list that runs to twenty three pages and is supplemented with character outlines (minor and major), physical setting notes, organizational notes for corporate and other entities, equipment, weapons, maps, regional colloquialisms, speculative possibilities...It can get pretty anal. But the beauty of this is that it frees me up as the work progresses to work on the fine points of character development, setting, mood and all the component parts without having to keep track of where the plot was supposed to heading (or just what does a Predator drone look like?). I have that in one neat package and, if it looks like the characters really want to go somewhere else, I can make the changes without having to worry about blowing the whole thing to pieces. It is an incredible load off my shoulders and leaves me the opportunity to really stretch what I'm accomplishing to new levels.
 
I do something of the same thing for my shorter fiction. But let's face it, with less ground to cover the form is much more simplified (sometimes as simple as a graph to give me a visual of story arch, where the major turning points and tensions are located and a very simple introduction of any minor characters along the way). Even here it frees me to concentrate on one of my favorite things, letting the characters tell their story. I love dialogue and the give and take my characters acquire as they develop. Not having to concentrate on the plot also is a definite stress reducer. Anyway, isn't this supposed to be something we take joy in? So why kick your own ass getting the story down? I say, if the tools are there, and they relieve the work load, then use them.
 
Of course this is just IMHO.
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis
 
 



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 67 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share My Brainstorming Process

Today's forecast, light. Followed by increasing darkness later in the day with general darkness overnight.

(Before we really get going on the topic I'd like to put in a plug for a young writer and speaker named Jeff Goins. Jeff speaks regularly at Writer's Conferences and is a wealth of practical tips and motivational common sense. If you're not already familiar with him you can check him out at Jeff Goins Writer . It will be worth your trip.)
 
Okay, the subject is my own personal thunderclap of revelation before the torrent of words! I'll let you in on something, I have brainstormed...formally...kind of...but the truth of the matter is I don't remember a time when I was not churning and burning. Honestly, even as a child I was constantly zipping along in a sort of stream of consciousness flow of ideas and questions. To the adult world this was either a marvel or annoyance (the former if you were just visiting, the latter if you had to live with me).
 
I've held a number of jobs and professions that required a high level of problem solving. I've also worked in several media, techniques, and genres in the visual and literary arts. All of this has a tendency to flow over and through me as a sort of image driven stew. For the most part this is subconscious but there will be a word, or phrase, an image or something in my environment that will grab my attention and a coherent line of thought will take hold.
 
ALARM!!! That's when I have to either; a) Go grab a notebook and pen and write, sketch or note some mnemonic that will keep the idea alive until later (I again call your attention to the OLD GUY in the picture...The gray matter is not as sticky as it once was, gang) or, b) I will begin to recite the lines I want to write, or describe the image I need to create, over and over until I'm fairly sure it's not going to disappear in the gases it materialized from. This can draw all kinds of queer stares and reactions, "Poor old bastard's talkin' to himself a mile a minute over there, Marge!" I will sometimes record snippets on my phone if I'm just inconveniently far from my notebooks or the idea isn't ready to go beyond the catchy phrase stage.
 
There are times when I sit down and intentionally push the envelope. Looking for a story line, trying to wrangle a better transition or progression, or when I'm photo walking and using the camera to capture scenery and settings...I've found that I start thinking the plot while I'm getting the pictures (Get the picture?) and this becomes a wandering storm that I can put words to later when I review the images. This is also something I'll do for first drafts of prose or poetry...Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!...sorting things out into usable grammar, spelling and syntax is for later. The ideas are only visitors, if not paid attention to they'll just get up and leave.
 
So there you pretty much have it. I really don't try to formalize or codify it that much. It comes when it wants, I listen and take notes as fast as I can and later I go to work. The first part is like critical angle skiing...Don't fall down, you'll die!...The latter is Sisyphus, rolling that damned rock up the hill! Over and over and over.
 
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 66 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share My MUST Do List

 

This in no way constitues a fair question for an OCD writer who has been described as having a Triple 'A' personality!

 

 
 
1. Write.
 
2. Write.
 
3. Write.
 
4. Did I mention WRITE?
 
5. Remember, you're an "aspiring" writer.
 
6. Keep the day job.
 
7. Eat (Something other than black coffee, chocolate covered espresso beans and a handful of Oreo's).
 
8. Sleep (You cannot recall your own name never mind the name of the tenth minor character you scribbled obscure notes about on a pizza grease stained napkin in felt pen three months ago if you don't get some rest).
 
9. Look at the shelf above monitor level. See the pictures? Think hard. Those are members of your family. Come on, son, what are their names...?
 
10. Go outside for a walk.
 
11. If there is no outside then the Apocalypse has occured!
 
12. No outside? Stay inside and write a poem about it and call the Help Line. After the revision.
 
13. Still plenty of outside? Why are you screwing around? Get back to writing!
 
14. Yes, you've got a great idea...What about today's word count goal first...Nothing like ADD and coffee!
 
15. Inquiry letters to two publications...Nobody's perfect...Except you, we know.
 
16. Research more outlets. A story's only dead if it lays interred in the file drawer!
 
17. Have you looked at the next dozen poems in the journal lately? How do you read those? Come on, man, catch up with the typing.
 
18. If you insist on keeping on-going idea books on-going you need to stop and read them occasionally.
 
19. Let the answering machine take it!
 
20. Last, but never least...WRITE!
 
  

Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis