A Month Without a Bloggie-cause

tropical beach nature landscape with white sand at summer
tropical beach nature landscape with white sand at summer

There are few things in my life that I like better than not working. One of them I’m sure you can guess, but I won’t be that obvious. I spend a month without feeding you on any of my bullshit and I see that you’ve taken the hint. The fact that no one is checking in on my website proves that don’t love me anymore and I’m OK with that. My voice comes out in for everyone out there, not just for you elitists. On the other hand, you know I love you all, within reason, after all I do have a girlfriend, you know. Back as far as 600 B.C., in the writings of Sappho, a Greek poet, there is an expression, “Never bite the hand that feeds you.” And so it goes I must feed on your love and not bite.

I spent the month editing my book Mariline trying to get it out my developmental editor, which I did before I went on ‘vacation’ on the 22nd. I put vacation in quotes, as I didn’t really go anywhere. Some might even say, ‘staycation.’ I had some fun, eating at my favorite restaurants, singing karaoke, and sleeping till 7:30 am or sometimes in the afternoon. If I were on a beach somewhere, I would be doing the same things. I guess the only difference is I’m missing the hammerhead sharks, used syringe needles and sand, which I could get anywhere. It was a freedom. Mostly it was a freedom of work which had grown into a six-headed hydra. It kept me from my love of writing over my lunch breaks and causing my blood pressure to rise like a Fourth of July rocket.

I also had the pleasure of aging a year. Forty-seven is not for the faint of heart, I’m telling you from experience. I really didn’t expect my back to feel so crazy all at once after I gained a year. I feel it was lying in wait, just for the clock to tick past 12 AM EST on the Twenty-third. Genetics is a bitch.   I can’t see my parents in the same light now. They have done this to me (and my brother too), and now I must get back at them anyway I know how. “What was that you need help with your walker? Sorry, work keeps me chained to my desk. So sad!” I’m not that bad really. But in my heart of hearts I’d like to be.

So did you miss me? I’d like to think you did. I’m readying my ego for the developmental editor’s report. I need to bank up all the positive things I can so I’m not too devastated. Getting rejections is the life of a writer. I look at other authors and wonder if I could go through so much rejection without being discouraged. I know my first musical, No One Give a Damn, was prostituted out to some places, all of which said no. The only positive from that was one that kept the pilot light burning. The letter and I paraphrase because it was twenty years ago, said that he liked it, but it would be too hard to produce.  I guess that keeps me trying. I never thought I would have written a book, but after two I continue.

I started working on Trinkets, a screenplay I wrote that I’m changing to a book. It’s a serial killer who uses geocaching locations for hiding body parts. I thought about this years ago when a friend of mine was going to one of these locations and almost fell down a well trying to get to the geocache box. That started the brain moving. And the rest, they say is history.

I’ll try to keep up more with these little posts. I know how you like to read them. There are a lot of topics I’d like to cover, but I don’t want to alienate any more of you. Yes, I am a chicken.

Talk to you soon.

Mariline Update

beautiful girl with long hair in dark forest developingHe sat and mulled through the piles of chapters he had already thrown out. “What if I bring back this one,” he thought as he took another sip of coffee. In the early morning of a gray rainy day, everything looked like it could fit back into his story, but after seven drafts he should have it down to just editing. “Every draft is the first draft,” he thought. “Every draft is a chance to bring my story back to life. It had sat moribund for way too long. Mariline must be resurrected.”

 

That’s how I’ve been lately. My book is on life support. Mariline. I’ve written it from several perspectives, but Kim had gotten it right. I need to tell the story that I set out to do. So I’ve been spending time in the mythical Swedesford Township, Pennsylvania hanging out with the Fynn brothers that started this all. I am trying to get into the brother’s heads to better understand them and how to write them better. Also, I am learning to understand Max Benike, police Lieutenant and how they all fit together.

 

It is a story about baggage, people’s history and how it drives us. It is a story about life repeating itself. It is a story of the paranormal influencing our life and contributing to our death.

On the surface, we have a hit and run, something the police understand very clearly.   Benike has been on the trail of a murderer for over twenty years, and he has a new clue to investigate. Behind the scenes an accidental drowning, and how it fractures a father, and the impact on the kids. “We are all born with blood on our hands,” Detective Sergeant, Carla Ruiz tells Benike. “It depends on if we get caught as to how guilty we are.”

Spoon Girl: an explanation

spoon_girl_right_angleBefore you get any ideas that you think I know something about writing, I’ll let you in on a little secret. In 2012, I wrote and published Spoon Girl all in six months. At the time, I was excited about the story and couldn’t wait to spread my new found skills as a writer. I did my best to edit, but in hindsight I really need to leave it up to professional. Seeing my first book published was one of the triumphs of my life, having spent most of it like a fly on a wall for the rest of the world; people only noticed me when I was buzzing around them. I was mostly ignored. Of course, after I was published, people still ignored me, but I was on my way to being a big time writer. My great novel would have Hollywood busting down my door, wanting to produce my story into a movie. If you read Spoon Girl, you would know one of Jonathan’s (the main character) journeys is very similar, he writes a novel, and it becomes a movie. The book is deeper than that. Or I meant it to be deeper. His journey is more of self-realization and, spoiler alert, her journey too.

Jonathan “Jack” McVoy is the pseudonym for Jane Powers. Jane is a writer who was rejected as a writer when she wrote as female, but when she uses a pseudonym as a male, she is celebrated and thus becomes her internal conflict. We all have male and female parts and accepting them as they are is excepting ourselves. In the end, Jane accepts herself as she is, and eventually so does the public.

I entered my book into the Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. Here is the review I received:
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2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards
Entry Title Spoon Girl
Author: EJ Eisman
Judge Number: 3
Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect overall ranking. Ratings are not tallied, and are not reflective of placement in the competition judging. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal” and may therefore receive a “0”. A rating of a “0” does NOT indicate a low rating.

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Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 2
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 1
Production Quality and Cover Design: 0
Plot and Story Appeal: 2
Character Appeal and Development: 2
Voice and Writing Style: 2

Judge’s Commentary*:
This was a very confusing novel. “Spoon Girl” by E. J. Eisman is the story of a Nobel Prize nominated writer, his muse, and his collaborator. Jack McVoy and Jane Powers have written a novel, Spoon Girl. Jack has passed away and Jane is on her first book signing tour. But, the real Spoon Girl shows up at one of the signings. This sends the reader on a journey for the “true” story. But who is who? What is real?
It is a very interesting story idea and the characters of Jack, Jane, and Lisa are interesting and could hold the reader’s imagination. Finally unraveling the story of these characters could be a wonderful novel.
But there are way to many grammatical errors, misused words, run on sentences, partial phrases, and such that the novel is very hard to read , to follow and to understand. It jumps back and forth in time and between who is telling the story that the reader will be confused. Some very strong editing is needed to get this novel and this story where it needs to be.
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I’m sorry that my book has caused confusion. Perhaps thinking of what is happening to Jack is a metaphor for what is happening to Jane in real life. It is a concept book. It’s a book of memories, and as with memories they have a tendency to jump around in time. Perhaps the trouble is that is written from Jack’s perspective for three-quarters of the book. At the beginning of the book, Jack is dying. The concept of Jack is dying. Knowing that Jack is a non de plume for Jane might make it easier to understand but that is a mystery; the characters we are forced to play in real life (Jack) in order to be noticed and the hidden parts everyone(Jane). Is it a love story? Yes! Is it a mystery? Yes! The story is all there.

I think Spoon Girl is a good book. I have gotten positive reviews from people. If it was better edited, it could be an excellent book. Publishing my first novel was a learning experience, and I will do better in the future.

What Have I Been Doing?

girlfriend coverIf you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter feed, you know I’ve been working on a new novel, Girl, Friend for NaNoWriMo.   The story is Thriller/Suspense about a down and out musician hiding out in the Keys, befriends a local woman, who turns out to be more than he bargained for.

Here is a little taste of what I’ve been working on.  As you might know that in 2011 I started Mariline  for NaNoWriMo.

This is the first draft and I’ve not done any editing.  ENJOY!

CHAPTER ONE

It was a fine autumn day, the day my family lost their fortune. I wondered around the island that day, wondering what I was going to do, being already three weeks behind in the rent. I watched the sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico; the reds, yellows and blues all mixing together into a deep purple. The street bands would play on the pier and there would be celebrations until late in the evening as the sun disappeared on the horizon. The ocean smelled like urine as the wind blew in from west. When it had died down, the sand became more palatable to my worn pitted feet.

I had come to Key West to run away from everything, and did. I was not an angel; there were years of alcohol and drugs, and fathering kids around the world. Back in the day I was on top of the world, but after years of touring with my band, we had hit a stumbling block, the tour went bankrupt in Stockholm. We left our equipment there, and flew back to the states with the little money we had left. We scattered, being sick of being around each other for thirty years, and only having one, top hot 100 one-hit wonder song. I’m sure you’ve heard our song, it’s called “Mix Tape”, and we even had MTV do a “Where are they now?” on us. Now I’m stuck singing it in karaoke to a poor backup tape, and people looking at me like I have five arms coming out of my head. “Isn’t that?” No. I tell them. I don’t want them to remember me as a shrinking, fifty year old, gray haired old man, with fifty-cents in his pocket, and his sole possessions can be held in a duffel bag.

On the beach, the lapping water lulled me into a drowsy state, and I lied back and looked up at the stars, some stagnate, others seemed to float across the sky in a criss cross pattern. The moon was only half in the violet, and partially lit up the water, and sand. Occasionally, a runner would pass by, and wave to me in the darkness. They had gotten to know me, and I them. We looked out for each other, and it was comforting to see them out there. “Off the beach, Mr. Akins.” Jack was on night patrol, in his black shorts and polo; his badge flickered against the moon’s reflection in the ocean. He was twenty-six, about five-foot, six, and wore white sneakers. He looked down at me.

“Do you see the stars?” I looked past his big head. He glanced up quickly and then back down at me.

“Don’t have the time.”

“That is what is wrong with this world, Jack.”

“Maybe so, but you can’t stay here, Mr Akins.” His face frowned into his skull. I reached up to him.

“Give an old man a hand.” Jack pulled me to my feet.

“Thanks. You are not my son, are you?” He smiled.

“You ask that every night. Don’t you remember?”

“Yes, I remember, but things change so fast. Anything is possible.”

“I don’t have a musical bone in my body.”

“Oh, you don’t have to be musical. It’s has to be your mother that had a musical bone in hers.” Jack smirked and grabbed my arm.

“We should leave.”

“That’s what I thought.” He walked me to the Duval Street, said goodbye, and let me go. There was a lull in the tourists visiting, and just before winter traffic set in. Duval Street was getting back to the normal; I could almost see my friends without having to bust through a chorus line of drunken out-of-towners singing the Margaretville song. There was honesty in the air; the smell of food, sex, alcohol, pot, and tobacco. As the people passed me they was no judgment. I fit in with everyone, and they were all excepting of me. I didn’t always feel that way out on the road. Early on the paparazzi would follow us around the world and report on everything from bowel movements to zit outbreaks. As the band got older, it was pictures of arrests, and the drug and alcohol abuse. Here I felt insulated. They were all my friends, and they smiled, drunk or not, and the all knew. Some call it paradise, I began to call it home, up until the point all the money was gone. Now, I didn’t know what to call it.

I’m Sure They Mean Well

new facebook- spoongirl-adI was just on Facebook trying to place an ad for Spoon Girl, one of my novels.  Well, I’d run it before many months ago and never had any issues, until today.  Suddenly it’s asking me all these questions about “what is my objective.”  My objective?  Isn’t it to advertise?  I mean, wasn’t that obvious?   That’s why I’m there, to advertise.  Well, it turned out I had to rewrite the entire ad, because now I have to state my objective of the ad, and it didn’t even have the option to, “brow beat people into submission to purchase my book.”  I did select something less effacing, “Clicks to website.”  It’s not as exact as I’d like it, but that depends on how honest you want to be.   They’ve also added something about tracking sales, blah, blah, blah, if you have a means of tracking it.  Amazon and I are not that close, to have something like that, and I think I’d like to keep it that way.  I already know from their “sale rank” that the guy selling “Best Selling Hawaiian Muumuu’s of the 1960’s” (picture book) is doing much better than I.  But then again we are in different sales categories;  that’s like comparing selling authors to the rest of us.  I digress.

The new ad isn’t changed much.  I’ve added a new picture, which now has to be larger for the big ads, and crappy when the try to shrink it down for the side ads.  They used to have a limit of 100px X 72px.  Now they want it to be 600px X 315px, again great for the large ad, but shrink it and the text gets all fuzzy.  I haven’t figured out how or if you can up load a nicer version for the smaller ad.  Same text; there are only so much words you can fit into a 25 letter sentence, or only so many ways to beg people to purchase.  I’m not totally on my knees, but let’s just say there are rug burns in certain places.

I did start to market to the UK.  I don’t know who there would buy it.  I’ve heard that 65% of all e-Books read in the UK are free, so some Yankee selling his wares for a $1.99 USD has something like a 33% chance of selling to those even interested in reading.  SAD!  Honestly, I really don’t want to saturate the market her in the US.  Besides, once the big Hollywood movie is made for it, I’m sure they will push it out in another addition, under some larger publisher’s name.   Until then I will plug away at my little attempt at happiness; a sale here, a sale there.   Perhaps, I might even get a stalker!  A man can hope!

Successfully Alienating People Since 2006

ejeisman- seriousI’ve been writing for a long time now, but it wasn’t until 2006, when I started blogging. Back then it was on Yahoo, and I was married going through a renaissance.  I had started my own band, and I started spending more time away from the family unit in pursuit of who I really am.   I’ve always been creative; at least that’s what I’d like to call it.  When was in my teens, I thought I would be the next Sam Shepard or Arthur Miller because I was churning out plays.  None of which I showed anyone.  I was too…scared of rejection and what other people think.  Then I wrote a musical farce, No One Gives a Damn, with my high school friend.   I researched, and found that a new playwright should work up.  I started sending copies of it to a bunch of colleges that were looking for new material.  After many rejections, mostly because they were looking for drama rather than a musical farce, I got the idea from one professor that actually liked it, but thought it would be “hell to produce.”  I did start on another farce musical; I still have the music for it, The Unexpurgated New York Birthday, which I have stuffed in my coffers, somewhere, unfinished.  It wasn’t until I started to blog, that I got the writing bug back.  I wrote a play called, Dogs on a Porch, about several middle aged guys blinded by jealousy over their co-worker divorcing his wife and getting a pretty young thing for his arm.  They are all sitting at a bar gawking at the hot waitresses at a bar, and making rude comments to among themselves.  I’m thinking of moving it to a short story format, though.  I’ve started the move while I was in edits for Malaise last year, but left it on the shelf to work on later.  In 2007, I started my first novel, Malaise, which I finally edited and it was published in August of last year.   It was my blogs though, that made me taste the first critical response.   I was able to make friends and influence people with my jovial humor and my witty repartee while dealing with the falling apart of my marriage.  I got a nice following, until Yahoo stopped the blogging.  It wasn’t until 2012 that I picked up my own website, that I started blogging again.  More recently I’ve been able to post more often, as I’ve had the inclination to tell you what I’m thinking, whether good, bad, or indifferent.   I’m setting the goal to have at least two blogs a week for 2014, despite what people think.  I’ve taken the opinion that I’ve got to be me; one way or another.   I’m also continuing on Mainline or Mariline, the title depending on the outcome of the third draft of Mainline, a novel I started in 2011.  I hope to have it to the publisher sometime this year.  The concept of Mainline is that the main characters are all guilty of some murder, accidentally or otherwise; some have been punished by their actions, some haven’t.   Others are just evil.  I’m trying to pack it full of people doing really bad shit and getting away with it, and still you want to root and sympathize for the characters.  It should be fun.  I’m looking forward to getting it published.

For you, my friends, I wish you all the best this year.  I’m looking forward to a kick-ass, take no prisoners year!

EJ

Mariline

Mariline: A twenty-two-year-old hit-and-run comes into sharp focus when eight-year-old Emily Rosenberg is kidnapped from nanny Carol on the mainline of Philadelphia. Lieutenant Benike, the original detective on the first case, and his team follow the clues that lead to uncovering secrets, deception, obstruction, conspiracy, and murder in their race to catch the kidnapper before Emily becomes their latest victim. Everyone has baggage. NOW IN EDITING!

Spoon Girl

spoon_girl_right_angle Spoon Girl:A dying Pulitzer Prize nominated, pseudo-famous, alcoholic novelist, Jonathan “Jack” McVoy, collaborates with his nurse, Jane Powers, from his bedside to complete his last book. Spoon Girl tell the troubles of a struggling writer who uses his new novel Spoon Girl (a lover/friend/drinking buddy he met while teaching a creative writing class) to work through his issues of love and loss.Available now at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com

Jack McVoy Writer’s Block

To_Kill_a_Mockingbird Most people at one time or another have writer’s block.  In the story Spoon Girl, Jack is afraid to write another novel after having his last become so popular.  In the book, his book Malaise gets nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and gets made into a major motion picture. I couldn’t imagine what kind of stress it could put on you having to write another book, but Jack touches on that emotion.I loosely thought of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mocking Bird.  Incredible book, but Harper (so far) never published another novel.