Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Resolution to Make Resolutions: The Paradox Ends Tonight!

Every year since I turned thirty, I have made the same New Year's resolution: No making of New Year's resolutions. As resolutions go, it's a pretty easy one to keep. Or not, since its paradoxical nature ensures at least a tiny rip in the delicate fabric of the space-time continuum. What can I say? I love creating small paradoxes. When I was younger, my resolutions were more mundane. Stop eating so much junk food. Exercise more. Stop pining over celebrities I have little to no chance of meeting in real life and even less chance of ensnaring with my womanly wiles.

Mel Gibson while I was undergoing puberty.


Mel after puberty...Resolution achieved!
The funny thing is, I never kept these resolutions until I stopped bothering to try. I gave up junk food one cookie and pastry at time. It wasn't a resolution made on New Year's Eve, but a decision made months later after taking a hard look in the mirror and realizing my eating habits had to change now or they never would. This point was driven home when I took a gander at my Disney vacation pics. They say the camera adds ten pounds to your picture, and the cameras at Disney World were especially generous to me. I had already given up sweets and fast food. After looking at myself in Stay Puft Marshmallow form, I made it a point to exercise daily as well. I lost fifty pounds. I've kept it off, but the stress of losing one job and acclimating myself to another has caused me to backslide a bit. It's time for a tightening of the reins and, if Dr. Mike Evans is to be believed, now is the time to do it.
According to Evans, New Year's resolutions are more likely to be achieved by people who "self-monitor" as opposed to those who try utilizing "self-control". This means minimizing temptation as opposed to fighting it on a daily basis. For example, if you're trying to give up drinking, don't visit your neighborhood bar expecting to win the excruciating battle between choosing a club soda over a gin and tonic. Staying out of the bar is easier. And if you're invited to a party where you know alcohol is going to be served, ask the host if there will be any "virgin" beverage options. Preparing ahead of time makes the battle so much easier to fight.
So what are my resolutions this year? Will I bother to make any? Yeah, I think I'll give it a shot. Here's my list:
1. Continue to eat healthy. I'm already doing this, but there's still room for improvement. I need to start bringing my own lunch to work since the cafeteria isn't always diet friendly. And, you know, when the meat they leave out is a weird pink color and you can't figure out what animal it came from even after you've bitten into it...probably not a good sign.
2. Renew my promise to exercise. I have no excuse for this one. The spa I work at has a fitness center where I can work out for free. I've been dying to use the pool and the dry sauna too. Although, the thought of me being seen in a bathing suit by my coworkers is not my idea of positive motivation.
3. Finish my damn novel. NaNoWriMo jump started my ass, but I haven't written much since the end of November. Maybe if I impose a minimum word limit to my day? Say, 1,000 words? Maybe I'll get it finished before the end of the year as opposed to sometime when I'm wearing Depends.
4. Keep up with my blog. This is one I would have actually kept if I had made it last year. For the first time since I started Doomtown, I have made at least two entries every month for the past year. No. I misspoke. It's been over a year-since November 2012, at least. Quite an achievement for someone who couldn't keep a diary for more than a week.
5. Spend more time with my man. This isn't about the rock he gave me. Honest. It's just that as I get older, I start to appreciate that our time on this planet is finite. No one lives for ever. Not you. Not me. Not the people we love. Best to make a point of appreciating the time we have with them now lest we regret not doing so in the future.
Those are my resolutions for the New Year. We'll have to wait and see if I keep any of them. And to the rest of you making resolutions, I wish you the best of luck and please remember to keep the space-time continuum intact while you're at it. We kind of need that thing.
*Special thanks to Gerald for pointing out that "Mel Brooks" and "Mel Gibson" are two different people. Sometimes I think I need a designated editor. Let this be a lesson to you kids out there: Write drunk. Edit Sober. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Yearly Christmas Battle

I've never been big on Christmas, seeing it more as an aggravating yearly ritual of guilt brought on by lack of funds for that whole gift giving thing. I am not one of those people that breaks out the big bag of goodies for every Tom, Dick, and Harry I've ever met, and I make sure to warn everyone a month in advance that if they buy for me expecting something in return, they will end up being sorely disappointed. I have an extremely small circle of people I buy for. My nephew, because I'm childless and someone has to take care of me in my old age. My step niece, because it just wouldn't be fair if I got something for my nephew but not her, and I don't want to start a war in my sister's household-at least, not one that doesn't give me some sort of perceptible advantage. My mom, because the woman birthed me and raised me and kept me in coffee and books all throughout my childhood. And if I can figure out just what the hell he wants, I'll try to buy a gift for my boyfriend. Because love and shit. Everyone else is on their own.

My high school photo. Senior year. Really.

Things were tighter than usual this year. Because of this, it was decided between me and my significant other that we wouldn't exchange gifts this year. Now, I'm not the kind of woman that says one thing and means another. If I say I'm okay with not getting gobs of presents, I'm not going to be butt-hurt if I don't find anything under the tree. So when I came home one day to find a bunch of nicely wrapped packages under the tree a week before Christmas, my first thought was, "Son-of-a-bitch! He did not just do that to me!"

I'm right there with you, Batman.
There I am, scrambling to find my guy a reasonably suitable gift that says, "I totally did not regift this piece of shit. Honest!" Something he could use. Something that wouldn't have him plastering a smile on his face to avoid a fight. Something that wouldn't break me financially would be nice too. D- had been getting on me for years to start a scrapbook of our relationship. I've been meaning to do it, saving bits and pieces of memorabilia of our time together and shoving it in an old box to be pasted in some book whenever I found the time. I found something suitable on Amazon and had it express delivered. He had also mentioned wishing I had some David Arkenstone to listen to whenever I gave him a massage. I ordered the album he wanted on iTunes, no delivery necessary. I bought him a Best Buy gift card and a Christmas card. I even tried to get our friend James (AKA, Brandon Black) to wheedle some info out of him, hoping to find out what anime he was interested in buying. I did this knowing that whatever I got for him, it couldn't compare to anything he would give me. Because my man is ALL about the holidays. Christmas is his favorite time of year. He loves to see the look on my face when I open a gift that he probably hocked a kidney to buy me. Year after year, he always tops himself. It's infuriating. And he's probably running out of organs.

But this year, he screwed up. Oh, he out-gifted me alright, but he won't have such an easy time of things when he tries to outdo himself next year. If he won the lotto and bought me a small island, it wouldn't top the gift he gave me a few days ago.

Bling, bitches!

That's right. That is THE RING. We haven't set a date, but hopefully sometime next year I will be changing my last name and forcing some unfortunate women to march behind me wearing the ugliest dresses possible. I'm getting hitched to a man that is far better than I am. A man that is much, much better than I deserve. You can't top that...

And now that I've said that, I just realized...I'm still childless.

Fucking Santa Claus!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another Marathon? Seriously?

Marathons suck. Hear me out on this one.

I work in New Orleans most of the week, and one of the things I hate about working in the city is having to pay for parking. The hotel I work at charges its employees six dollars a day for this privilege. Six bucks doesn't seem like much of an expense, but it adds up, and it's still money I could be spending on books or the Catching Fire Blu-ray when it comes out.

Note to Santa: Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.

Another thing I hate about working in New Orleans? I'm directionally challenged. Driving to unfamiliar places is a nightmare for someone like me because I get so easily lost, especially a city like New Orleans where every other street seems to be one-way. Hell, I get lost on the Westbank, and I grew up there! If it weren't for the wonders of GPS, I'd never make it out of my driveway. Once I've driven to a particular destination a few-cough, hundred, sputter-times, I'm good. Once I learn the route, as long as I stick to the same roads every time, I won't need the GPS. Eventually. If, however, there's something like a marathon that closes most of the street I need to use to get to my destination like say, ALL OF FREAKIN' POYDRAS, then I have a problem.

The first time this happened to me, I was lucky. I had convinced my boyfriend to drop me off that day because it was his day off and I was tired and lazy and my boyfriend is easily plied with promises of sex. I don't think he will be so easy to ply in the future considering the annoyance that followed. Poydras was closed. All of it. He took another route, took some side streets, got me as close to the hotel as he could get, and let me out right in front of the building-which, by the way, I didn't realize I was standing in front of until he rolled down the window and pointed at it in exasperation, probably wishing he was dating a woman who came with a GPS device installed in her brain pan instead of Ryoga, the perpetually lost girl.

Those of you who watch anime will totally get that last reference.

That was the first time. It certainly wasn't the last. There seems to be a lot of marathons in New Orleans as of late. It's one of the reasons I leave for work early. That, and I'm paranoid I'm going to be held up by Superdome traffic or abducted by aliens or sasquatch or some damn thing. I try to keep myself informed about events in the area, but yesterday, I was caught off guard when I came to the Poydras exit to find it blocked by police cars. I had forgotten to watch the news that morning. If I had, I would have know that the entire street was closed all the way up to Magazine due to the Run For the Goal Line 5K Run. Sigh.

I drove around blindly, searching for any street that would get me close to my destination, hampered by a GPS constantly trying to get me to that destination via my usual route-did I mention I'm technologically challenged? Yes. I am chock full of irritating quirks of uselessness. I finally got fed up when I became trapped on a one-way street by a streetcar that couldn't move because it too was blocked by parade barriers. Luckily, there was a pay-for-parking lot right next to me. It was like they KNEW! Irritated, I paid the fifteen bucks to park in the lot, slammed my door closed, and got out to trek the seven blocks it would take to get to work, cursing under my breath and glaring at the runners as I went. I wasn't alone. There were others just like me spitting and cursing and glaring as they went by while those marathon jerks jaunted down the street, happy as sweaty clams.

As I plodded along, it occurred to me there had to be some sinister purpose behind all this running. Perhaps the participants are all a part of some dastardly plot to take over the city using EMP's to make our cars useless hunks of metal while we non-runners walk around in a confused daze without transportation or a means of escape. Easy targets. Don't think I don't know what you're up to, marathon runners! I'm wise to you now.

Beware: The Enemy!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Feature Interview: Lauren Scharhag

Lauren Scharhag is the author of such books as Our Miss Engel, Order of the Four Sons series, La Tutayegua, Under Julia, and West Side Girl & Other Poems. She has won the Gerard Manley Hopkins award for poetry. Ms. Scharhag hails from Kansas City where she lives with her husband and three cats, but not a dog named Toto. Because that would just be silly.

LAUREN: Yes, especially since I live in Missouri and not Kansas.

KARMA GIRL: Before we start, I'm going to give you
my usual Unusual Disclaimer:

Silent tongue is filled
With questions yet to be asked
Interview begins

Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Lauren.

LAUREN: Thanks for having me.

KG: Tell us about yourself. You live in Missouri now, but according to your bio you grew up in Kansas City. What was it like growing up there and have you ever dropped a house on someone's sister?

LAUREN: Actually, Kansas City is in Missouri as well as Kansas-- it's the older, original KC.

I had a pretty unique childhood--my mother is Mexican, so I spent a lot of time growing up on KC's west side, which is a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.

KG: I see. So no Dorothy? No Toto? No Auntie Em griping at you for not keeping your room clean?

LAUREN: Nope, no Dorothy or Toto this side of the state line.

I never dropped a house on someone's sister--I tend to sympathize with the witch. Funnily enough, my great-great grandmother from Mexico was a Santerian.

KG: You're grandmother sounds like an interesting woman. Did she teach you the tricks of the trade? How have her beliefs influenced you both as an author and a person?

LAUREN: I didn't actually get to meet her--she passed before I was born, but her beliefs and skills were passed down the family line. I know how to read Tarot cards. She was also a big storyteller, so she passed that love of tales down to my grandmother, who told them to me. I heard a lot of great folktales and family stories growing up, which instilled in me a love of language.

A bilingual household also helped that.

KG: How would you describe your writing style? Do you have a preferred genre?

LAUREN: I would say my writing style is both diverse and literary. I try to shape the prose to suit the narrator, so I pay very close attention to speech patterns and try to replicate them accurately. My preferred genres are literary, horror, sci-fi and fantasy.

KG: What made you decide you wanted to be a writer? Who were your literary influences?

LAUREN: I've wanted to be a writer my whole life. My father taught me to read and write early. He always bought me diaries. I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading and writing. There's never been anything else for me. I wrote my first full novel when I was 13. But of course, it was terrible. I started writing for the KC Star that same year--they used to have a teen section.

My influences are all over the place: Nabokov, Stephen King, and Sylvia Plath are probably the main writers. But then I have influences like Quentin Tarantino and Joss Whedon. I think TV shows and film are perfectly valid forms of storytelling, with unique voices that I admire.

KG: You've won awards for your poetry. Is that correct?

LAUREN: Yes, I was awarded the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry.

The Order of the Four Sons
KG: Can you tell me in Haiku form how that makes you feel?


What would Hopkins say
An award in his honor?
"Write because you must."

KG: Damn you're smooth.

LAUREN: Heh. Only when I can write. In person, not so much.

KG: NaNoWriMo is upon us. I think a lot of us are using the time to work on things we should have been working on the previous year (insert sneaky expression here). Can you tell us what you are currently working on?

LAUREN: Sure. I'm working on Book IV of the Order of the Four Sons series with my co-author--it's the final book of the series, which means we are both excited and sad. I'm also working on a submission for the Dark Crystal prequel competition, and a new literary novel called Black Antler Farm.

KG: The Order of the Four Sons. Can you tell us more about this series? What's it about and who are you writing it with?

LAUREN: O4S is a sci-fi/fantasy series about a group of paranormal investigators who get sucked through a bunch of interdimensional gates and have to find their way back home again. My co-author is Coyote Kishpaugh. We met actually working on a film crew up in Excelsior Springs, MO and decided to write together.

KG: What were you filming?

LAUREN: A horror flick. Excelsior Springs used to be a tourist destination, so there are a lot of creepy old hotels up there. Coyote was an extra. I was the writer.

KG: So you are a poet, novelist, and a screen writer? A woman who wears many hats.

LAUREN: I am. And in my grown-up job, I do PR, marketing, report-writing, and grants. Words, words, words. Which is how I like it.
KG: Awesome!

Now it's time for THE SERIOUS THREE, a segment in my interviewing process where I ask you three challengingly serious questions. Please answer as honestly as possible. Are you ready?


KG: Question #1: You're not from the land of Oz or Dorothy’s home town, but maybe you can help me out with this one. The Wizard of Oz. Fanciful American fairytale or a story about two women fighting over a pair of shoes?

LAUREN: Fanciful American fairytale. But I'm generally biased in favor of fairytales.

Though, as I think of it, why can't it be both? A fairytale about chicks fighting over shoes. I mean, Cinderella did sort of set the precedent for fairytale footwear...

KG: Good answer. You have the plot for your next novel right there.

Question #2: If beauty is truth and truth beauty as Keats is quoted to have said, why is it when a woman asks a man, "Does this make me look fat?" his honesty is neither beautiful nor wise?


KG: But beautiful also? I think not.

LAUREN: There has been a lot of debate on Keats' definition of beauty and truth though. We're in the fiction business, so we like lies.

KG: You got me there.

Question #3: Where can my readers follow you (facebook, twitter, blog, yellow brick road)?



Twitter: @laurenscharhag


KG: Thank you, Lauren and good luck with your writing career!

LAUREN: Thank you! I appreciate your time.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

LAUNDRY DAY Begins Production In New Orleans

November is NaNoWriMo, so I'm going to busier than...a person...who is very busy? Forgive me. My brain hurts from trying to write a 50,000 word novel. On the plus side, I might actually finish the sequel to my first book before the end of time. Yay me! Unfortunately, this means my schedule this month will be hectic, and I'm going to have to cut back on my blog posts. I can hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth even as I type this. I have an author interview set up for sometime this week, however, so don't fret.

And here's a little something to keep my adoring fan(s) satiated until this mad month of NaNo is over. My apologies to Cheri Cerio who gave this to me three days ago to post:

LAUNDRY DAY Begins Production In New Orleans

Armak Productions is proud to announce that the new feature film LAUNDRY DAY begins production in New Orleans in November, using an all-New Orleans cast, crew, and creative team. LAUNDRY DAY is a dark comedy noir from the award-winning filmmakers behind indie festival hit BURNING ANNIE, and it is set in NOLA’s “brackish waters” where the lower French Quarter meets the Marigny triangle among the service industry underclass— ie. bartenders, musicians, drug dealers, strippers, performance artists, etc.— who live, die, work, fuck, and fight there.
LAUNDRY DAY is the third feature of award-winning writer-director-producer Randy Mack, but his first in/of/about New Orleans. “I got tired of the 'Hollywood South' myth,” says Mack, “NOLA hasn't produced a feature film about itself in the better part of a decade. Most films shot here— sadly, even by locals— could take place anywhere, and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD is a bayou film with no relevance to life in Orleans Parish. 'Treme'? I bet the Chamber of Commerce loved it. This is the best city for stories in the country: the deepest history, the most lawless, idiosyncratic culture, the best raconteurs. It's time for New Orleans filmmakers to step up and tell real New Orleans stories.”
LAUNDRY DAY is a clever yet moving nonlinear dark twist of a tale exploring four lost souls entangled in the service industry that never sleeps. A bizarre fight erupts among low-lifes in a bar- laundromat, but revisiting their respective day(s) reveals a twisted web of hilarious & harrowing personal intrigues. In the tradition of indie game-changers like BARFLY, PULP FICTION, FARGO, and MAGNOLIA, it is uniquely inspired by a true story that could only happen in NOLA. It boasts a stellar cast of award-winning NOLA talent, including Billy Slaughter, Kerry Cahill, Diana Shortes, Kurt Krause, Michael Martin, Theo Crane, Tony Pallo, Gideon Hodge, and Samantha Huffman.
Many notable NOLA musicians are contributing to LAUNDRY DAY, including Rotary Downs, Sneaky Pete and the Fens, Caddywhompus, Sweet Crude, The Night Janitor, Vox and the Hound, The Dana Abbott Band, Beth Patterson, Andy J Forest, The Nervous Duane Orkestra, Strange Roux, Ariana Eve, Dominic Fusca, and The Happy Talk Band. Original music is being written for the film by The Get Rwongs.
NOLA auteur Glen Pitre and award-winning Austin-based producer Chris Ohlson are advisors to the production. Internationally renowned producers rep Steven Beer is representing the film for FWRV. Producers Lexxi Broussard and Marshall Woodworth are both from southern Louisiana, have produced a variety of short films and videos across genres, and are looking forward to making the first local feature about downtown New Orleans in too-many years... Ya heard, brah?
Randy Mack (writer-director/producer)— born in Curitiba, Brazil; raised in New Haven, CT. Winner of the Connecticut Penny Awards for comedic documentary about school food. Produced, co- wrote and co-directed the feature ONE WEEK TO BILL'S THING in New York City. Wrote, directed, shot, and produced the short films “Five Minutes Late,” “Laundry Morning,” and “Two Minutes Ago” in New Orleans. His screenplays have semi-finaled multiple times in the Nicholl Fellowship, Austin, Final Draft and Chesterfield awards. Produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the feature BURNING ANNIE, which premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival, won six awards on the film festival circuit, and was acquired by LightYear/Warner Bros.
Armak Productions PO Box 56307 • New Orleans • LA • 70156 info@laundrydayfilm.com

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Dead Have Risen! Alex LayBourne's Diaries of the Damned Released Today

The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal the answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.

Nine survivors banded together, yet none of them realized, as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen. 

Crab your copy from Amazon today for just $2.99

Alex Laybourne:

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that he became a horror writer.

Married with four children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

Diaries of the Damned’ is his third full length publication along with numbers short works.



Chapter 1 – Boarding

Paul Larkin sat in his seat and fastened his seatbelt. His body was caked with sweat and dried blood. His ears rang from the gunshots, and his ankle was swollen again; remnants of an injury he acquired jumping from the first floor window of his suburban home. At least, it used to be suburbia, before everything went to shit.

He sat back and let out a long, deep breath. Shock threatened to take hold of him, so he closed his eyes and waited. The plane filled up and the cries of those refused admittance echoed down the walkway, swiftly followed by the sound of their execution.

Paul spared but the most fleeting of moments thinking about it. He found it strange how killing and death had become such a large part of his life.

Excuse me,” A fragile sounding voice stirred Paul from the calm place he had just started to settle into. “I believe this is my seat.” An elderly woman, late seventies at best stood before him, her face was smeared with blood, while one eye had been covered by a filthy rag that had been hastily secured to her face with what looked like duct tape.

Conflicting Opinions: Why I Question Everything I Learn Through YouTube

Learning massage is not a static thing. I'm constantly researching new techniques, perpetually attempting to hone the old techniques I already know. Every year I'm required to attain at least 12 CEU's (continuing education units) to remain licensed and certified. The problem with massage is that you can't just read about those techniques. You have to see them before you can perform them. The best way to do this is to take a class with a certified instructor who knows what the hell she/he is doing. And for those 12 CEU's I WILL be required to find and pay that instructor so that they might give me a piece of paper that says I shelled out the dough and passed the class. That class will probably set me back a week's worth of pay, so that instructor better be damn good. Grumble.

If I were a rich woman, I would take a class every couple months. There are so many modalities that I'm dying to learn. Lymphatic Drainage, Table Top Thai, Reflexology, are only a few. I am not a rich woman, so I rely on the next best thing, educational videos. If things are really tight, I'll resort to the cheapest method I know, otherwise known as YouTube-How-To. It's not a method I particularly care for, however, and I'll tell you why: anyone can make a YouTube video. You could be a 20 year vet or fresh out of massage school. You could be some loser with a can of Wesson Oil and no certification other than, "Well, my girl says I rub her shoulders real good. Real good, if you know what I mean." Anyone can say they're a massage therapist and make an instructional video. Anyone. How would I know if they're lying unless they specifically give out credentials I can check?

Even when they give out their bona fides, there's no guarantee that the information they give is 100% accurate. Take these two instructors:

In the first video, massage therapist Athena Jezik suggests around 0:14 that working the sacrum for a prenatal massage is contraindicated (i.e. stay the hell away). Working around the sacrum is okay, she says, but in general, it's best not to touch it at all.

Now watch the second video. Skip ahead to 5:22 where LMT Heather Maynard says, "You can use firm to very firm pressure on the sacrum." Not "around the sacrum". Not "very light pressure on the sacrum." Firm pressure on the sacrum is A-OK. Hmm...

Both of these women are licensed professionals. Maynard has co-authored a book called Home Pregnancy Massage. Jezik has been an LMT since the mid 70's. They know what they're doing, and they know what works for them. Unfortunately, what works for them isn't necessarily going to work for me or my clients, and I have to be careful which techniques I use from either one of them. If these two were teaching me face to face, I could ask, "Well, I heard Maynard say this. What's up with that?" or "Jezik said no way to that. Can you explain why she's wrong?" I could email the quandary, and eventually I will ask for their take on the conflicting advice, but there's no guarantee they will get back to me on that or that I'd get a satisfactory answer. At least in person they could see me scowling in frustration. Frowny face emoticon over instant message just isn't the same.

Guess I'll have to make do with a Fancy Bear Meme.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feature Interview: Author Tom Tinney

Tom Tinney is a conservative loving, hippie loathing, v-twin power riding biker and writer of the science fiction novel THREADS: FABRIC OF THE UNIVERSE. He also loves puppies. Do not make him drive a Prius; he will only laugh at you.

KARMA GIRL: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I'm glad to have you.

Before we start, I'm going to give you my USUAL UNUSUAL DISCLAIMER: No bikers or writers will be harmed in the making of this interview. No hippies either. Sorry dude.


KG: Are you ready?

TOM: Yepper. Have you turned on the "fat finger" correction feature?

KG: Oh yes. Even though I'm an excellent typist...an excellent typist....(Insert Rain Man impersonation here.)

According to an interview you did with Indie Author Land, you are a self proclaimed "Biker-Nerd". Can you explain how this concept is possible without ripping a hole in the space-time continuum?

TOM: Sure. As a biker nerd, I am predisposed to ride with a rough crowd, enjoy the freedom of the road, get tattoos of skulls and admire scantily clad women with questionable moral standards. As a nerd, I think it would be cool to be that biker guy but keep getting distracted by science fiction/fantasy, computers and scantily clad women with questionable moral standards.

KG: I'm seeing a common link between these two states of being. Interesting. It's good to know boobs can bring all classes and cultures together, though in my case, it would be men with questionable moral standards. Or as I like to call him, "My Boyfriend".
You served in the United States Air Force as a long range radar tech. Is this correct?

TOM: Yes. The service was a great experience. I scored high on the ASVAB test and found an interesting field. I was able to travel quite a bit and work on the oldest (Vacuum tube technology) and newest (Digital) systems at the time. I honestly believe more young people would benefit from a stint in one of the services. They learn chain of command, personal responsibility, teamwork, how to work in adverse conditions and come out with self confidence. I look for those qualities in a potential employee.
Plus you get to shoot guns.

KG: You sold me with the word "guns".
Would you say your service in the USAF has influenced your writing, and if so, how?

TOM: Yes. I was exposed to different cultures, political systems and personalities (Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Germany, etc.). I was also exposed to technology and adversity when stationed remotely. That all plays into how my characters see and deal with situations and give me a better world view. I can write the "military/technical" aspects of the novel accurately and push the limits. I can also flavor the intrigue and political aspects with "experience".

KG: Who were your literary influences growing up?

TOM: Asimov, Varney, John Norman, Raymond Feist, Frank Herbert, and William Gibson. They all rock for different reasons, but were huge influences. I read Dune when I was 11 or 12. I was hooked on the depth and span of the entire series of Dune books. William Gibson's Neuromancer and Count Zero changed how I looked at science fiction. I called it "techno punk" sci-fi and it was so creative and different. I paid tribute to both of them in my novel THREADS. Sometimes subtly and sometimes with out and out quotes.

KG: Can you tell us a little about THREADS? How did the idea for this novel come about?

TOM: The basic idea had been rolling around in my head for years and I had even written a few outline paragraphs when I got my first PC (like everybody else... "I have a word processor, now I can write that novel I always wanted…”). Of course, writing is work, and the project went static.
I don't want to put out a bunch of spoilers, so let’s just say the characters, plot and direction of the book were always in my head, it was just the execution lacking to finish it. Lots of surprises and "I did not see that coming, but should have" moments in the book.
Last August I was telling a co-worker about the idea of THREADS, and he kept on me to write the novel. So I did. It took me 6 weeks to write the entire book.
I realize that if I had written it 15 years ago, it would have been very "candy" sci-fi. But with more life experience and lots of writing experience from editing biker mags and blogging, it flowed out and became the interwoven "page turner" that is the final novel.

KG: I've done National Novel Writers Month for years now. I have to say, I'm impressed with your work output.
As you've said before, you've had experience both writing and editing biker mags. What was the strangest story you've ever edited?

TOM: When I say I wrote it in 6 weeks...that was beginning to end, straight through. It only took another year to go back and fix all of the grammar, missed dates, plot holes, etc. The final product is very refined for a first novel.
Strange biker stories? OK. There is a Nude Biker Rally in Missouri. Seriously. The guy that wanted to write an article about it was not a regular contributor. Instead of focusing on the event as an event (Who attended, what entertainment, what charity, how many people, etc.), he went "penthouse letter". He also submitted pictures, but they were all full frontal nudity. We could have done some creative editing with the pictures, but the story was so badly written that I had to turn it down.
I also had a regular contributor that fancied himself a "Model Photographer". He had a little digital camera and was trying to convince attractive gals to do Easyrider ( another more men's-only magazine) type poses on choppers. The magazine I was editing was oriented to go on shelves in dealerships, so we had to be a little more discerning in what we printed.
The contributor talks these gals into doing risqué shots "for the mag" and submits them with an article, which I have to shoot down. A few weeks later, I get a call from a very pissed off boyfriend of the girl wondering why she is not in the magazine. I said "We don't do risqué stuff and if we did, there would be bars and stars over the fun bits." Turns out the photographer had her do full nudity and kept the shots for himself.
On a "regular stories" note, I was with the magazine at the height of the biker craze (American Chopper, Biker Build-off, Jesse James, etc.) so I was in the thick of it. I was able to interview famous biker builders, icons in the industry and attend events that were amazing. I was even recognized in Argentina by a club owner/biker and ended up writing an article about him while I was there.

KG: Is it true that you are currently coauthoring a book with your son? What's it about, and when can we expect it to be released?

Blood of Invidia
TOM: Yep, very excited about that. He is an excellent writer. Very descriptive and a big fan of anime. It makes his writing very visual and intense. He and I have never met face to face. Skipping the bad bits, when I found out about him, I started corresponding.
We are the ultimate in "genetics vs. environment". We look very similar (tall and handsome). He is smart, creative, loves sci-fi and Fantasy. He writes and is a smart-ass with a wicked sense of humor. He is me, just 22 years younger.
He was raised in Australia and still lives there. We correspond via text, Facebook and occasionally Skype. During one of our marathon texting sessions, we started outlining a book about vampires as aliens. As it evolved, we came up with the initial arcs and characters. Since then, I have been writing the meat of the book and he has been writing the action scenes. Its very well written at this point, and the prologue and first chapters that I have shown to people has elicited an overwhelmingly positive response. It will be titled BLOOD OF INVIDIA and all funds generated will be put to he and I getting to meet face to face.
BTW, I should mention that 10% of all sales from THREADS goes to ALS research and patient care.

KG: That's amazing. And I know I enjoy a book all the more when I know some of the proceeds go to a good cause.
You have proudly proclaimed on your blog that your political views are to the far right. Have you ever met or talked with a liberal that, while they didn't convince you their position was the way to go, had you thinking that if you were to write this person into one of your stories, you totally wouldn't kill them horribly?

TOM: No.
Just kidding. I love most of the liberals I know. they are great people with big hearts for the most part. In the second novel, WEAVES, in the FABRIC OF THE UNIVERSE series, one of the new characters will be a die hard liberal trying to live the utopian socialist dream. He doesn't die and is a likeable, if not misguided, fellow.
Liberalism is a wonderful idea, but the execution almost always dictates a serious intrusion into people's lives "for the greater good" and that "greater good" is determine by a politic filled with angry, ambitious and self righteous people who refuse to accept any input or reasonable argument to their world view. If you do present a fact filled reply that disproves their position, they attack the messenger, not the message. If the hippies of the free love seventies met the liberals of today who are running things, they would be disgusted and disenchanted. (And that is where I lose 47% of my potential sales. Oopsie).
This is one of the reasons THREADS has a slim to none chance of ever being turned into a movie. I would have to retain final script and release approval. The Hollywood mantra would be to turn the storyline in to something they could palate. I would end up smacking the hell out of the director and script writers.

KG: What's your deal with hippies, by the way? Are you allergic to patchouli? Did they give you a bad batch of brownies? Seriously dude, what's up with that?

TOM: Maybe it's jealousy. When I became a teen, I just missed the hippies by a couple of years and never had a chance to convince a hairy pitted, paisley sporting and completely stoned out girl to do obscene things behind the stage of a Grateful Dead concert. That must be it.

KG: Yes, you have missed much, my friend.
Now it's time for a little thing I call...THE SERIOUS THREE! This is the thrilling part of the interview where I ask my rough and ready interviewee three shockingly pensive, electrifyingly sincere questions. Are you ready, Easy Rider?

TOM: Umm...er...OK. I. AM. READY.

KG: QUESTION #1: You find a lost puppy on the sidewalk. It's dog tag list its name as Prius. The owner's home address is written on the back along with instructions begging the finder not to feed this dog meat as it is being raised vegetarian. What do you do, man? What do you do?!?!?

TOM: I take the dog home and feed it a nice meal of hard boiled eggs, bacon and salami. I then take the dog to the vegan home knowing that I have restored the natural order.
The vegans get to enjoy my accomplishment and philosophical triumph through the continuous effervescence my meal has produced from the puppy. Also, if they have a mail slot, I come by every few days and slip some bologna through the hole.

KG: You are truly a benevolent soul. Bacon cures all ills...except, you know, high cholesterol.
QUESTION #2: If you were a witch, how would you "soup-up" your broomstick?

TOM: BTW...Prius is Japanese for "Self righteous Douche".
You know that, right?
Soup up a broomstick? Since I would be a very cool wizard, I would trade in my broomstick at "Potters used Brooms and Notary public" shop (Seems he fell on hard times after he graduated) and get a sigil engraved staff. Then, donning my black duster and strapping on my 44 magnum, I teleport to Hogwarts and yell "fuego" until my voice gave out.
Yes...HUGE Dresden (and Butcher in general) fan.

KG: LOL. I'm going to have to check that out on Google Translate later.
QUESTION #3: Where can my readers follow/stalk/ride pillion with you (Facebook, twitter, blog, biker hangout, etc.)?

TOM: Twitter: @FOTU_Threads
For Threads:
And please tell me you read The Dresden Files....if not...you should. They are awesome.

KG: I haven't, but I'm doing a 50 Book Challenge this year so I might include one or two for my last five.
Thank you for taking time to answer all my whacky questions, Tom. I'll be keeping an eye out for BLOOD OF INVIDIA, hopefully to be released soon.

TOM: Thanks Karen, This has been a fun interview that made me think outside the typical interview box. Have a great day.

KG: You too. And may all your rides be patchouli free!