Posts Tagged With: indie writers

A Brief Newsflash

This blog has been neglected for quite for a while, and perhaps a few people out there might be wondering what I’m up to (Naaaaaah!). The main item in this news report is that the emotional online relationship between me and Simone has reached the point in which we’re planning to meet in person.

Okay, before you go Yaaaaay! on this keep in mind that it isn’t as simple as it sounds. The problem of meeting Simone isn’t merely about the distance between the two of us, but more like a problem of geopolitics.

You see, her country and mine aren’t exactly in good terms these days. So the American Embassy raised the bar that every single one of my fellow countrymen has to jump over to apply for a Tourist Visa. These days they’re asking for a bank reference letter (easy), copies of my last three bank statements (easy), a verifiable list of my close family here (grumble) and a letter from my workplace certifying that I have a job and how high is my income (uh-oh!)…. And here’s where the problems begin. Of course, the fact that I do maintenance work for my neighbors at $50 a month isn’t helping much in this department.

Also, the international airlines that cover the local routes have started to dish trouble out. The first plans that Simone and I had concocted so far for our meeting involved Insel Airlines. On a short research visit to their website, a BIG (and I mean BIIIG!) notice popped up on-screen, stating that Insel Airlines was very sorry, but they wouldn’t be taking any Venezuelan credit cards anymore. Of course, when this information is written across some airline’s website in BIG, BIG RED letters it certainly means something, doesn’t it? I can hardly blame the airline; the money in my country is nearly worthless.

(Go to any currency exchange house and ask if they accept Bolivars; you’d be either kicked or laughed out of the place).

Of course, this has led to a veritable logistics nightmare related with getting poor little me out of my f%$!&ng country. Yeah… I know this looks rather bleak right now, but we still have the feeblest hope of making it through.

So maybe you’d be interested in helping us by buying one of Simone’s books. I urge you to check Keeping Katerina; it was topping the charts last week on Amazon and it has remained quite high in sale numbers of late (and I can assure you that she’s a far better romance writer than I am…. LoL)

So I’m counting on your generosity to… errr…

Too bad there isn’t a “Save Edwin and Simone’s Love” foundation I can go to and ask for help, is it?

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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Mosquito Heaven

Ah, well. Things down here have been quite hectic with the oncoming launch of Xaman. My writing partner is quite enthusiastic about the book, but I still have a few reservations. Anyway, I’m doing a lot of work with my limited online resources, like trying to get some bloggers interested in interviewing us (their usual response is who the $#!&! are you!), having the book highlighted (very little luck) and getting us a few advance reviews (completely s*** out of luck there), so I’ve been neglecting to update this blog.

Not that there’s much to tell. Life is in a complete standstill in this hellhole. A couple of days back, a lot of hoopla was up because Our Fearless El Presidento announced he was going to make drastic changes to the country’s economic policies. Everyone’s breath was held, expecting some major amends that would save us from falling down the cliff of economical collapse but no such luck. The usual creation of additional bureaucracy was announced. Nothing else.

It still rains constantly (almost daily) since the dry season ended about three months ago. I’m writing very little these days, with the exception of all the e-mail queries to bloggers who don’t even deign to answer them. Whenever Fate allows it, I chat online with Simone, who certainly has become a very important part of my life and my only beacon of hope during these dreary moments.

The only major change is that I’m now spending three or four hours each days, walking all over my place with a flyswatter in hand and killing every mosquito that dares to rest temporarily on the walls. As I suspected, the idiots who razed an acre of jungle a block over have altered the local ecosystem and now the entire area is literally swarming with black clouds of the damned bugs.

Since the walls are (or were) an off-white, and the darling little critters have just bit me or someone else, their surfaces now look as if some deranged impressionist had decided to paint a mural on them, with only black and reddish brown spots as main colors


I just called the hardware store and asked how much a gallon of white paint costs. The price was so staggering high (we have a crazy, runaway 80 percent inflation rate here in the South American boondocks) that I’ve decided I must live with this mess. Besides, it’s a moot point as the mosquitoes won’t go away until next dry season… which may be a couple of years away, anyway. It would only be a waste of good paint.

You know… it makes quite an interesting pattern… when you look at the walls with your head cocked sideways and squint a lot.

I wonder if I could sell the whole house to the Guggenheim Museum.


Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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Why so many movie remakes?

I’m following several horror fan pages in Facebook, and one of the many questions that pop up in there (besides the “Where are you from?” and “Who’s single here?” ones) is “Why are there so many movie remakes being done? Is there no longer any imagination?”

Well, considering that practically every major horror franchise I grew up with during the 80’s is being rebooted and made into a new film (the genre has been recently plagued with remakes of Nightmare in Elm Street, Friday the 14th and The Evil Dead; for Heaven’s Sake, they even made one of Fright Night, my second best favorite upbeat vampire movie! Quick! Somebody shoot me before they remake The Lost Boys with Shia LeBeef in it!), this is a fair simple question with an even simpler answer.

The Hollywood guys don’t have the guts to try something new.

You see, making a movie is certainly a risk. When you’re a Hollywood executive, the fate of several hundred million bucks lays in your hands when the time to greenlight a project comes. Film business sounds like fun, but in reality is a nightmare of colossal proportions. You have to deal with the terrible decisions someone else made, last-minute script rewrites, explosive tantrum-throwing diva stars, production problems, a special effect department that didn’t comply with a deadline schedule. Film business is a land where Murphy’s Law reigns supreme. (Sounds a bit like my home country, doesn’t it?)

One of the major problems a movie mogul faces is the possibility that the whole thing may be a turkey or, even if the final product is a real excellent and good movie, that the idiotic masses don’t even cast a glance of acknowledgement in its direction, dying at the box office. Now, don’t feel bad for these guys; they always recoup losses in the international market, TV cable rights and the after-market DVD sales (I suspect that the secret wet dream of some of these guys is to make a cult classic that will keep reaping benefits decades after the majority of people out there has forgot them).

Therefore, movie executives would like to minimize risks to the barest minimum, so they resort to doing a reboot of a formerly successful franchise instead of taking a risk on a completely unknown Intellectual Property (IP from now on; I’m too lazy to type that out every time I need to refer to it 😉 ). They are in the hope that an easily recognizable franchise will draw enough of an audience to pay for the venture and, why not, even make enough money to get some profits to their personal benefit. They expect that by making a new version of, let’s say Nightmare on Elm Street, would bring in the now mature fans along with their teenaged kids, plus a massive gaggle of bored people who hadn’t been yet born at the time when the original film was made. It seems an easy cash cow.

So these days, chances are one in a thousandth that a movie executive will take the risk with a complete unknown in the talent department, with the potential of becoming a major hit if it’s managed properly. Yes, it’s exactly the same as when you overlook my books, not desiring to risk $10 in one of my paperbacks … Now… if you’re not willing to risk $10 (or $2.99 per e-book, for that matter)… why would a Hollywood mogul risk 100 million bucks on a brand new, original potentially franchise-generating movie?

So we’re stuck with remakes of old successful movies. Horror and no-horror ones.

Blame yourselves.

BTW… most of these glorious movie reboots were phenomenally great risks at their time.

That’s what made them so great the first time around. Just food for thought, folks.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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A First Chapter….

What follows is the first chapter of my upcoming book Attack of The Hackman!, the third book of my The Karaoke Duo Series. The first installment is already available for 99 cents as an Amazon’s Kindle download at this link. Stay tuned for updates about the days when it will be available as a free download. Read On!


Attack of The Hackman! (Duh!)

Attack of The Hackman! (Duh!)

Sheila Freemont-Strongbox was profoundly asleep when the discomfort in her taut belly woke her up, very late at night. Oddly, she was lying on her back; which was pretty unusual for a pregnant woman that is expecting triplets. This was the most probable reason that had caused her to wake up. Edward Strongbox, her husband, was lying next to her in the double bed they shared. He was snoring softly. Both Sheila and Edward were the civilian identities of Fermata Girl and The Man With The Mike, also known as the Karaoke Duo, a.k.a. those $#%@&!!! superheroes, according to Nosfort’s Chief of Police, Aloysius McGillicuddy.

Sheila and Edward were recently married; she could barely believe that their wedding had happened just four months ago! Edward snored a little more loudly, which caused her to come back to earth with a crash. Sheila was twenty-six years old, going on to twenty-seven in another eleven weeks. Her age had been the cause of a lot of gossip in their wedding reception, especially considering her small circle of friends. How could such a nice, talented, young woman like her marry a fumbling slob like Edward Strongbox, who was twenty-one years her senior? For Edward forty-seventh birthday was going to happen next week, which was a Capital Sin among Sheila’s twentysomething friends.

What the hell did she see in him?

Well, Sheila loved Edward because he was nice, thoughtful and a very good man in spite of all his obvious defects and his inherent clumsiness. If her friends weren’t able to see those qualities, it was their loss. As husbands generally go, she got herself a great catch.

Sheila tried to turn around to lie on her side, but the tautness in her belly prevented it. Then she remembered; she was approximately six-months pregnant. Of three baby girls, nonetheless—which caused her midriff look as if the Badyear blimp had decided to take residence in her belly. This was one of the few facets of expecting a baby—no, three babies!—that she really didn’t enjoy much. Sheila preferred to sleep face down, lying on her stomach. She hadn’t been able to assume her favorite sleeping position since the beginning of the second quarter of her pregnancy, choosing to sleep on her right side instead. At least that’s what she hoped for; her dates were a bit off in that aspect.

She couldn’t really calculate the exact moment when her daughters had been conceived; Edward and her had been quite active in the sex department when it happened, and, well, to be frank, Sheila wasn’t occupying her body at that precise moment.

Don’t ask.

There was another small nagging thing that was troubling her: none of her baby girls had shown any sign of the prenatal activity mentioned in all the books she had read on the subject. No tiny kicks. No sensation that they were shifting places. Sheila’s obstetrician told her not to worry, doing a half-assed job at assuaging her fears—her little girls were fine and were healthy, although they were unusually quiet ones.

Edward snored some more.

Well, there was nothing she could do to fix the problem about the incredible mass of her abdomen. That matter would resolve itself in due course; she estimated the delivery of her three babies would occur sometime around the date of her own birthday, maybe a week before or after she became twenty-seven. But she could fix the issue of Edward’s snoring. She kicked him.

Her husband mumbled something under his breath and turned around to sleep on his right side, facing away from her.

Blessed silence.

Only the soft purring sound of the alarm clock sitting on the nightstand next to her broke the silence of the night. Sheila sighed and closed her eyes, ready to go back to sleep.

She tried to turn over and lie on her right side, a sleeping position that still felt unnatural even after three months of using it. This time, however, she found that she couldn’t assume it. There was something odd in the tension present in her midsection, preventing her body from achieving this small goal. She could feel her spine arching slightly, as if this force were pulling her whole body upwards

Alarmed, Sheila reached for her night lamp. In her hurry to turn it on, her hand struck the alarm clock, causing the appliance to fall from the nightstand. It didn’t hit the floor; it dangled from its electric cord, gently swaying back and forth as it made a soft, scraping sound against the paneled wood of the piece of furniture.

Sheila blinked in the sudden light that flooded the bedroom. What she saw was far from soothing: a small bulge the size of very large grapefruit was showing on the right side of her abdomen. A horrible succession of images—from all those horror movies that Edward seemed so fond of—assaulted her. The alien creature that burst from someone else’s stomach; the tied up girl in that Yecchorxist movie; any movie with that Mandona singer in it (who the hell told her she could act?!?)

Sheila’s arched back was indeed hovering about six inches above the mattress, while her shoulders and lower hips were comfortably resting on it. It was as if…

“Edward!” she cried. But her exclamation was filled with joy instead of fear. One of her unborn daughters was levitating while still inside the womb! “Edward! Honey! You must watch this!”

Edward woke up from his slumber. He turned his head, blinking owlishly while he mumbled something. His eyes opened wide when he saw what was happening at his back.

“Whoa!” he yelled as he whirled violently on his side of the bed. A loud thump! followed; in his surprise, he had fallen off the bed’s edge. Edward was soon on his feet, staring dumbfounded at his wife’s floating belly.

“Come, honey! It won’t bite you!” she said, urging him to draw closer. She placed both hands around the protruding bulge. She presumed it was the head of one of her little girls. Sheila felt the vibration of a faint humming reverberate directly under the palms of her hands. The baby girl was singing! Oh, this was even better than a small baby kick! “Come and feel it!”

Edward climbed back onto the bed, crawling cautiously toward her wife. His eyes were full of awe. He caressed his chin; his unshaven, overnight bristles made a scratchy sound that seemed to fill the entire bedroom. Sheila was smiling with joy.

He placed his right hand next to Sheila’s fingers. He grinned when he felt the small thrumming sound that seemed to originate directly beneath the skin of her belly.

“Hush, little girl,” Sheila whispered softly. “You certainly have impressed us tonight. But you better let your Momma sleep.” She sang a small ditty, using her own superpowers. The song was one she reserved to make people drowsy in her presence. “I wonder what kind of surprises your two sisters have in store for us in the future.”

The tiny song subsided. Sheila could feel the small one inside her abdomen release a yawn, right before the restless baby made a rollover. Then the bulge began to decrease; Sheila’s belly began to lower, the same as her spine. Everything was returning to normalcy.

Well, what stands for normal in the Karaoke Duo’s household.

Husband and wife remained with their hands on Sheila’s distended belly for another five minutes. Their eyes shone brightly. They had shared a great moment.

Then Edward went to the kitchen for a glass of warm milk. He returned a minute later, with the milk thoughtfully nuked in their microwave oven for just thirty-seconds, exactly as his little missus liked it.

Sheila drank the milk. When she was ready to show her appreciation for her husband’s gesture, she discovered that he already had crawled back into bed and covered himself with the blankets. Only the top of his head showed from beneath the bedspread.

Ah, well. Sheila sighed as she placed the empty glass on her nightstand. She reached out to fish the dangling alarm clock by its electric cord and put it back to its original spot.

Click. The night lamp went off and the bedroom darkened.

Sheila went back to sleep, wondering what the future would bring them.


Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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Welcome to Hell

I think it’s time to start a tradition of some sort in this blog. Like performing an introductory post on occasion, in benefit of all recent followers who just have stepped and so they won’t feel as if they have arrived to a movie show during the second or third reel.

I guess it will be right if I do every now and then, like every new hundred followers or so at the beginning, and then space them out to every 500 or so in the future (who am I kidding? lol).

I reside in Venezuela, and I live in an abandoned housing development at the outskirts of a small town known as Caucagua.

This housing development lays on the edges of a tropical rainforest and, as such, it carries all the inconveniences of living right in the middle of a jungle: the humidity, the heat, the bugs and constantly shifting weather. Life conditions are pretty harsh down here; there’s a constant influx of people who attempt to attempt to move in, but most cope out in three months or less, completely defeated. The longest uninterrupted time period I’ve seen someone tolerate these harsh conditions is about a year.

Just to give you a clue of how tough I am, I have been living 16 years here.

You may ask why; it’s cool. Early on in life, I’d have gone into a never ending tirade on the reasons why I’m stuck here. These days, I just shrug it off and have a good chuckle. For the most part, you wouldn’t understand. And even worse, I’ve started to not care about what other people might think. I’ve mellowed out.

The town of Caucagua is pretty close; two miles west as the crow flies. I can even see some of its tallest buildings from the place I live in. Sounds neat, but there aren’t any direct roads there. To reach town, I have to walk a mile North to reach a main road, about two miles West to get to the Caucagua-Merecure National Highway (such a big name for a two lane blacktop road full of potholes), and another two miles South to reach the edge of the town. Let’s not mention that I have to walk another mile and a half to get into town proper.

Public transportation is in shambles and there’s a small Mafia of taxi drivers that prevents me to properly getting supplies and groceries without paying through my nose for a ride. There is only a supermarket in this place, and it sells at frontier town prices; three or four times the money sum you’d pay in a capital city like Caracas. The merchants in town are even worse. So, if you ever drop by, you’ll generally find me walking alongside these roads with 30 or 40 pounds of foodstuff strapped to my back, returning from a restocking expedition to Guatire, the nearest city, where prices are affordable even after you add the cost of bus fare.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But I want to finish this note in a positive note by mentioning two extra good benefits to all this mess: first, it keeps me fit and trim.

Second… I’m not afraid of Hell anymore.

I’m already living in it.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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The Truth and nothing else but the Truth…

A writer friend just asked me online what’s my next writing project. I had to be honest with him, so I told him: “Nothing.” Of course, he was scandalized by my blunt response.

“But you write such great stories!” he said.

“And?” I asked back, shrugging. I just wished it was a face-to-face meeting instead of an online encounter, so he could have witnessed my who-the-hell-cares pout.

He began to press me more from his side of the world; how could I do that, that I must succumb to the art of writing… that sort of things that people who deal in this craft are so prone to concoct to justify their compulsion to cook up bizarre lies on a blank paper or a computer’s word processor. And that’s what the art of writing is all about. Just putting outrageous lies on a piece of paper.

One of my childhood’s strongest recollections is about a very silly movie. I was flipping through the only three or four channels that existed by then; as I recall, I was probably seven or eight years old and the film was a comedy about spies. Sorry, I can’t remember its name; all I can recall is that it was a late 50s, early 60s film and it started with a silly cartoon of very large slothful dog and a nimble fox jumping over it. The sentence ‘The fast red fox jumped over the lazy dog’ was slowly appearing from the right side of the TV screen, accompanied by the sharp sounds of someone typing Morse code on a telegraph machine. Later, I learned that ‘The fast red fox…. et cetera et cetera’ was a time-old phrase to test telegraph and telex devices and their connections. But enough of that; the cartoon was enough to pique my childish attention and I started to watch.

The movie was great fun. Again, I don’t recall its name or who starred it. When you’re seven you don’t pay much attention to those details. All I remember was the plot. It was about this IBM sales representative who had this odd compulsion to tell the Truth. As you can imagine, this always led him to trouble with his bosses, because he lost many sales by telling his potential customers the Truth. ‘No, this computer model can’t fulfill your needs… why don’t you try the X and X model from brand Z?’ he would say to them.

It was obvious that his superiors couldn’t fire him for telling the Truth; it wouldn’t look good on paper, but it was hurting sales. It wasn’t long before they s suggested him to take a very long, long (did I already mention long?) vacation.

Well, he goes on vacation. And the fun part starts now. Meanwhile, some spies kidnap a White House telex operation. They drugged her and ship her to Europe inside a large steamer trunk as though she were some second-rate luggage. The girl was quite pretty and she held the secret codes the US government used to send messages back and forth to Russia though the hotline between Moscow and Washington. For their own dark motives, the spies wanted the codes to mess with this fabled communication line. For the sake of the plot, this girl had become the proverbial McGuffin.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the steamer trunk in which she is shipped in resembles a lot the one that our awkward Truth-telling hero has carried on his vacation… and somehow they got switched. The fumbling spies pick up the wrong trunk and get our protagonist’s entire summer apparel, while the guy gets a handful of pretty lady.

This led to a madcap spy chase through Europe with all the typical trimmings of confusions, spy disguises and such. The most memorable joke I remember is about the leader of the Russian spies being threatened with being sent to Siberia… while the Secretary of State had a bleak oil painting of Alaska outside his front door as a reminder of the fate of American spies who had failed their mission.

For some reason, our protagonist and his new lady friend got separated; he was in the hands of the American agents, while she was now dragged about town by the Russian operatives. By this time, it was obvious these two were pretty much deeply in love (the hero and the girl, not the American and Russian spies… ah, well, who knows).

Our Truth-telling guy is on board a moving car, escorted by two CIA goons and their boss. All of a sudden, he catches a glimpse of the girl out of corner of his eye; she’s entering some sort of large bazaar alongside her kidnappers. Our hero excitedly tries to tell his captors that he just saw the girl entering the place. As it’s prone in a business which is basically fabricating lies for a living, they don’t believe him. They won’t stop the vehicle to check his story.

Then, Our Good Guy musters all his strength and manages to tell the very first lie of his life: that he has just seen a dozen Red China agents enter the bazaar. Unbelievably, the car screeches to a halt because of far-fetched story. Another madcap chase and finally, (finally!) the bad guys are stopped, the hero gets the girl and everything is cleared up.

However, one burning question remains. The leading lady found out she has told his first lie ever. She cocks her head questioningly, staring at him. “How will I ever know that I can trust you from now on?” she asked him. He smiles, looking into the camera.

“We will never know, will we?” The End.

Why am I bring all this up? We’re getting to that point.

Well, when I was seven I found the whole Truth-telling compulsion thingy quite amusing. Anyway, I simply stashed the whole thing away in my mental files and went to the backyard to play the rest of the afternoon away.

Three years later, when I became ten, I began to unravel the pack of lies that my father had made to shape the lives of others to his personal convenience. I learned, the hard way, that telling the Truth is a must, even if no one in this conniving, lying world believes you. I slowly began to understand how the protagonist in that movie must have felt. In fact, I feel compelled to tell the Truth, having a physical revulsion to the mere Idea of telling an UnTruth. Only in later years I learned to temper this compulsion, finding ways to work my way around the issue at hand without actually telling a lie. I may delay your discovering of the Truth, I may try avoiding to talk about it (which would make me a great politician…) but you’ll never catch me in a blatant lie. I only lie in my books.

Okay, now back to my writer friend. Why would I lie to this guy? I didn’t feel like writing; my last project, once more, was to impress someone (which I surmise I achieved to a great extent). But the main reason that I don’t feel motivated is that I’ve had absolutely no book sales for nearly two months. Of course, I had two sales yesterday, but it was another writing colleague who felt bad and bought a couple of my book. I feel like the ugly kid in High School who gets a mercy f**k from one of the school cheerleaders. Rather cheap.

Well, this writer dude was becoming quite a nuisance, so I decided to play the no-sales card.

“Okay, buddy, how many books have you sold this month?” I typed.

I could imagine him stuttering on the other side of the screen. After a while he mentioned a two figure number that was very close to bordering the three figures bracket. “Well, that’s your motivation, Al,” I said. “That and that you have a wife and kids to write for. You can afford the dream. Me? I have to deal with a harsh reality every day and—”

Suddenly, this guy disconnected. I finished typing the sentence anyway, just in case, so it would be the first thing he saw when he logged next on Facebook. However, it was the Truth and nothing else but the Truth. It was my side of the story, anyway.

The Truth is certainly an underrated thing, isn’t it?. Sigh.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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A Self-Squeezing Parable

Once upon a time existed a fine group of Orange Juice Manufacturers, called the Big Juicers; they were six and they prized themselves of offering the Orange Juice Drinking Public only the best of the best that the Orange Juice Market could offer. This reputation had firm grounds to root in, as they only accepted for their manufacturing process the best crops that a select few Orange Farmers grew for them. Even so, every writer… erm… Orange Farmer that provided them with oranges had to have their fine products closely scrutinized for flaws and typos… ahem! Scratch that!… bugs. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Everything was nice and fine, the Big Six Juicers were idolized by the Orange Juice Drinkers, and they were so important that every Orange Farmer out there thought they had only made it in life when a crate of their hard-worked for products was finally accepted for sale with a big fat advance (and a seven and a half royalty check by the end of each quarter). Life was fine; Orange Farmers managed to sell a few of their Orange Crates: some just a couple of thousands of them… others (most of the Farmers) could sell ten to twenty thousand crates. Not much, but they could squeeze (pun definitely intended) a living out of their work. There were a few Orange Farmers like Steven Queen, who could sell a few million crates of his horrible oranges, but he was more like the exception to the rule.

One day a certain British lady came up with a brand of orange that caught the Big Juices with their pants down. Of course, like many other Orange Farmers before, she was rejected plenty of times before finally being accepted for publis… err… squeezing her fruits to make juice (now… why does that sound even worse and lewd?)

One of the Big Juicers took the risk with the lady’s oranges and, wouldn’t you know it, the juice that came out was a wild success among the Orange Juice Drinkers. Her oranges were so popular that the Big Juicer who took the chance saw his investment rewarded by big gains (the movie rights about the lady’s oranges were staggering high, by the way).

Problem is, the Big Juicers got greedy after that. They only began to accept oranges from new farmers who had the potential to sell gazillions of units from the word ‘go’. They even asked themselves: ‘Do this guy’s oranges taste like those from that lady’s oranges? Can we envision a line of easily breakable toys in the future?’ Well, yeah, they occasionally let some little guy in, especially if he or she looked as if he or she could sell more than one hundred thousand crates, but now it looked more as though they were making him or her a big favor instead of a business transaction.

The little guys who now couldn’t make it, simply because their Orange Crates couldn’t sell in the range of millions, went temporarily into a corner and grumble about their fate.

Then another big event happened, some guy known as Geoffrey Bozo, who ran one of the largest Orange Juice Distributor companies (and who consistently sold gazillion of Orange Juice Glasses coming from the Six Juicers every month) came up with a brilliant idea: how to electronically sell the Orange Juice without actually having to squeeze the Orange!

Yeah, that might sound crazy, but it’s the sort of idea that comes out from a man who names his company after the Aar River, so it will show up first on Google searches.

This was achieved by means of a little device called the Sparky; it could be easily held in one hand and it allowed you to experience the same, well, experience as drinking a real Orange Juice Glass. You felt refreshed and it left you with a tangy aftertaste in your mouth, but it was an electronic virtual experience. No need to move Orange Crates physically about. The era of the E-Orange Juice Glass had dawned.

By now, the Big Juicers were so used to their little corner of the world that they began to fear change. They shunned Bozo’s creation, paying little heed to it. But Bozo was quite a businessman; he offered his device, the Sparky, to all the little guys out there that couldn’t offer their oranges because they wouldn’t sell by the millions. Now they could reach the Orange Juice Drinker audience… directly! YAAAY!

This new form of business, which we will call the Self-Squeezing Orange business as to call it someway, became a wild success. Bozo was happy, the little Indie Orange Farmers were happy… everyone was happy with it, except the Big Juicers (which had become only five due to some terrible mismanagement). Reluctantly, the Big Juicers decided to jump into the bandwagon. But they made a nasty decision. They decided to sell the Orange Juice the Bozo’s Way, but they made the Virtual Orange Juice pricier than its physical counterpart.

“But… but… you’re only selling the experience without actually moving the Oranges,” a bewildered Bozo would exclaim, along with the irate Orange Juice Drinking audience. “The Virtual Orange Juice ought to be cheaper than the real thing! That’s insane!”

The Big Juicers were adamant; they would only sell their Orange Juice the virtual way if they gained more money than in the old-fashioned way. Bozo and his company Aar River, went as far as going to court to prevent Haatchoot! (yeah, I know it sounds like someone sneezing, but that’s all I could come up with on such short notice), a little branch of the Big Juicers from selling its Virtual Oranges at a higher price.

Well, that didn’t really go well, and then the Big Juicers organized a boycott against poor Bozo and his company, so they could teach him a lesson.

How do you think this little tale will end?

Disclaimer: Yeah, I know I should have put this at the top of the post, but it would have killed the parable effect: Any resemblance of this post to the publishing industry out there is the product of your own deranged imagination.

Edwin Stark
Signing Off

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An Update to my ‘Crossed Wires’ post…

Ah, well, an interesting development happened since I published my ‘Crossed Wires’ post the other day. A positive one, which must be a first on this blog. The lady in question responded (almost immediately) to this post, stating that I wasn’t imagining things after all. She was indeed flirting with me. She seemed delighted with my post, as if it were some sort of green-light signal she had been waiting for some time.

So, we started talking things out and, while we still have a long road to travel before we reach the ‘sign thingy’ stage, we agreed to get to know each other on a more personal level.

Both of us have delicate situations that must be resolved before we get to manage a face-to-face encounter (mine being stuck in a backward country that’s crumbling like a wet paper supermarket bag… and hers of a more personal nature… plus at least 5000 miles between the two of us), but I suspect (and hope) everything will end up nicely.

Meanwhile, getting to know her, by the slow process of meeting her online, will be time well spent; we have developed a sort of ‘Harry-met-Sally’ state of affairs so far, which I consider a good augur at this point.

It could have been more of a ‘Tango & Cash’ sort of relationship, you know. 😛

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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How to get rid of an Internet Marketing Specialist…

For the past ten days, I’ve been trying to shake a pesky Internet Marketer off my back (he was offering me his services to peddle my books online) with almost no success until today. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of decent folk who are earning a living in that area, but this guy was the main reason why many individuals working in the Internet Marketing field are considered a lower life form than the Protozoa Amoeba.

It started quite innocently with a few Direct Messages through my Twitter account:

Hey, I notice you have several self-published books on Amazon! this guy PMd me.

Yeah… and?

You have very low sales rankings. I can help you market them.

Sure. No, thanks.

I got a surefire method.

(The same way as Ponzi had a surefire method to make me rich, sure). No thanks.

This went on for at least a week. He was hinting that a cover change, blurb rewrite and several “other” little tweaks to my books would get me into the hotsellers list. I’ll give him that; he was very persistent. He was a little like a dog with a Frisbee.

Okay, here’s the problem why my books don’t sell: I write mostly for myself. I write the books that I would like to read… little crazy things with a touch of Monty Python, a dash of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a little of Something happened on the way to the Forum and a generous dosage of silliness, right out from the Police Academy movies. So basically, the only potential buyer for my books is… me.

Yeah, I know, there must be a lot of people out there who might have a special fondness to all the things I just mentioned, but I seriously doubt that my potential audience is allowed to use e-readers in the Mental Asylums where they’re locked in.

After the eighth day, this guy’s pestering was beginning to bother me. I had to shake him off my tail. Okay, I agree, I told him. My books need some help, I said in a Direct Message.

There was a surprised pause on his side. I honestly think that he really couldn’t believe the way I had finally caved in. He was about to give me the straight pitch about his services (and his comprehensive prices) when I cut him with: “Problem is: my books are unsaleable.” Of course, this was only the first one of several baits I was laying for him.

Nonsense! he replied. There are no bad books; only badly marketed ones. Besides, I love a challenge!

I have no budget.

Nonsense! he said in the next DM. Everyone can afford me!

I mean it; you’d have to work for me on spec.

An awkward silence. We’ll see, he replied after a long pause.

I thought you said that you loved a challenge, I taunted him with my next bait.

Being a writer with a deep knowledge of human nature is a great advantage against this sort of people; I knew that vanity would get him for me. I felt him nosing the bait, even from this far side of Mongolia.

Yeah, sure. We’ll work it around, he answered If we want to continue with the fishing metaphor, I could say that I was feeling a little tug on the line by now.

One moment; I can’t really trust you on this task if you don’t have faith in the product you’re going to sell for me. I’ll send you a complimentary copy. Read it and you tell me later.

So I sent him a Smashwords coupon for The Karaoke Duo Vs The Karaoke Zombies.

He redeemed it five minutes later. Bingo!

That same night, he sent me another Direct Message. A very defeated DM. It was evident that he had read the first couple of chapters.

You were right. NO ONE can help you market THIS.


I haven’t heard from the guy since then.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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This tree knows something I’m not aware of…

Not as impressive as it ought to be... ah, well...

Not as impressive as it ought to be… ah, well…

The dry season is still at its cusp, but there are subtle changes in the air telling me that this might not last for too long. First of all, there are gray clouds gathering on the horizon. Unfortunately, they are just passing over my land without releasing the anxiously awaited rain that yet refuses to fall. The other day, a loud crack of lightning was heard.Second, the air down here is thick, pregnant with humidity as every living vegetable being gasps for relief, heavily contributing with its share to the atmosphere’s moisture.

Things are-a-changing…

But the most sure-fire signal that the draught is about to end is a lone araguaney tree that grows near the end of my backyards. It’s the National Tree of this stinkhole that calls itself a ‘country’ (*drips sarcasm that rivals the acid blood of the creature of all those ‘Alien’ movies*) and it only blooms when the dry season is about to be over.

It’s a thing of fleeting beauty and its flowers bloom almost overnight, only lasting from 24 to 48 hours before they wilt. In most cases, the fallen flowers form a veritable yellow carpet around the base of the tree. This yellow color is so intense and bright that sometimes you have to look away from it, especially when the sun hits it directly.

It’s quite regrettable that my araguaney tree is sitting on such a depleted soil (it’s basically just hygroscopic clay) that it lacks the necessary nutrients to create the necessary thickness to have my own memorable flower carpet. All I get is a rather thinly spread layer, which is just a terrible travesty of what could have been if things were otherwise.

Alas, I have to be satisfied with it. Also, I regret the camera of my cellular phone isn’t as versatile as I wish it was, so you’ll have to go by with the poor depiction I included in this post. Ah, welladay. It’s a beautiful thing, anyway, and I wanted to share with you this short-lived moment.

P.S. As the time of this writing, a light drizzle has started to fall.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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