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FB Posts

With each post, we’ve been trying to see how we can spark a conversation. And not just how, but what type of conversation. It’s been an experiment, this virtual world. An experiment of riches and of failures. We’ve agreed and quarreled. We’ve touched on issues and shied away from them. Each day more and more people share their point of view, their perspective, their ideas. Everyone says what is correct from their perspective, from their angle of view, and it isn’t always right. 

We have shared pictures of our lives, snapshots out of context, painting moments as if it told of the sweeping monotony and minutiae of our daily existence. Then we started sharing videos, saying more while saying nothing at all. Next came memes, a trite bite with a crunchy kernel of truth that wears down the enamel of our toothy minds. At every turn, there has been a try to share something meaningful, something life-changing, something game-changing, and something worthwhile knowing about, reading, understanding, believable, honest, authentic, and (like this) pedantic. 

It’s been an interesting ride on the virtual wave of ‘socializing’. “Here, wear this blindfold. You can’t see or hear the people, other than an image of their face, and their words. You’ll have no idea how serious or how funny they are trying to be. Try it, you’ll like it. In time, you won’t even remember they were flesh and blood, people who made noises with their mouths, people who spoke volumes with just their eyes. Men and women whose beating hearts are precious jewels hidden away behind brave chests. It’s okay, all that stuff was superfluous anyhow…just try it, you don’t need to _see_ these people to appreciate them. And, what’s more, you can know all of them or so many more than you would comfortably fit into one place. Oh, and you _need_ to know them all! As many as you can! Let them be your friends! It’s the wave of the future.”

And somehow that feeling of being alone, of being lonely, persists in spite of these promises. Thank goodness we still talk to and meet with flesh and blood people, the ones we share close proximity oxygen with. 

You’ve been promised the universe and given a screen.

Each night I die.
Each morning I am born.
Every day I’m a wanderer
in an all new house.
Every night I experience a new bed.
My mind holds one of my
hands gently
While pinching the skin of my beliefs
with the other hand.
My heart beats a spurious song
to a rhythm unheard.
My heart beats relentlessly behind a fragile cage,
Making each new birth
possible
Making each nightly death
passable

— Scott Msrmorstein
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Fresh Paint & Matching

So far I have published two major pieces in my canonical fictional works (to date).  The first in the series is called Pursuit, and the second in the series is called Plight. In the past I have made my own covers for these books because I didn’t have the financial means to get other artists to create the vision I had in mind for each book.

Recently I’ve discovered the power of a particular Mac program called Affinity Photo and have begun to learn extensively how to use it. In the process, I realized I am quite good at taking images, manipulating them to my purposes beyond their original intent, and making them into something entirely my own. I created, as a result, all new covers for my first two books in the series, and plan to make an even better cover for the third than the one I’ve paid for (I like it, but it doesn’t match the series.)  These images are purchased and licensed, and I’ve completely manipulated them from their original look to fit the look I was going for in the first place.

As a result, I think they look so much better, and they match. They actually look as though they are part of a series, rather than disconnected books. I have been making my own book covers for years, but they haven’t been the greatest. Merely serviceable. These are marked improvements, and now that I’m confident in my skills for creating better book covers, I intend to continue doing so for all my future publications.

In case you didn’t know it, I had also bought some powerful (Mac only, sorry) software for interior deign of the printed version of my novels as well as much cleaner and more fancy ebook versions.

All of my books have been converted using this newest software. Additionally, I’ve made my fictional works available in multiple ebook formats, you’ll see a button called ‘Other E-stributors’ and that will open a new tab or browser page with all the vendors where you can purchase in those formats. iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Playster, Kobo and more are all there, and they all look good on those devices.

I keep the price of my books reasonable and fair. Happy reading!

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Wizards & Magic Publishing & Prevailing

I’m in the throngs of writing an epic modern day fairy tale about a wizard. I don’t like to do things in any sort of ‘traditional’ way, so this particular yarn is going to reflect that fact. The Wizard in question is Ionor. The story is told from his perspective (first person perspective.) It’s a challenge to write about magic in the modern world. But an even greater challenge is to thrust the main character into his original world which he had never experienced before. The rules there are different. The wizards there are also different. He’s used to living among us regular humans. He’s used to a lot of things because he has lived among us for nearly 300 years. 

Imagine taking Superman and having him only know cursory bits and pieces about his home world of Krypton. Then one day he gets pushed there before it’s destroyed. He knows only how to behave like a regular person, while his strengths are immense and his talents are impressive on earth, they are erased from his time on Krypton. He doesn’t really speak the language, he doesn’t know about custom or decorum, and that is just some of what’s going on in the story I’m writing about.

Why Write About A Wizard?

Aren’t wizards overdone? Haven’t we heard enough from these beings? Aren’t there about a bajillion books covering the trials, travails, and adventures of all manner of wizards? Of course not! We can never get enough wizards! Ionor is incredibly powerful right off the bat, brilliant and capable too. But when he’s brought to his homeworld, he has to dig deeper and learn even more about himself than he’s ever had to before. What’s so fun about this is that it gives a whole new meaning (in my mind) to character arch. The story is mostly straightforward with a few twists and turns. In a world of over-stimulating news and information overload, I like to dabble in the magic. Magic is also something specifically addressed in this newest piece I’m writing. 

Who couldn’t use more magic in their lives?

What about PREVAIL and OHS Book 3?

I’ve hit a slow down with the editing process. It’s all my own fault. It has to be right and what I’ve written and rewritten just…has not been on the mark. I’m not willing to put something sub-par out there for people to read just for a quick money-grab. This is my first serial novel and my first work of fiction. I don’t have any intention of sacrificing the artistry for the story or vice-versa. Sometimes a rough draft is written too hastily, and you lose sight of what the story is all about. I did that. So I’m undoing that by making sure every part of the story is consistent and flowing forward in a way that is surprising (in a good way) and entertaining, as well as (possibly) thought-provoking. 

 

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A World of Illusions

I’m a big fan of a well done illusion. The magician takes out a deck of cards, shuffles it, and does something that totally stuns everyone watching. It’s unexpected. It’s a fantastic illusion. It looks like magic. It’s just well placed science and art, we know this intellectually, but our eyes deceive our brains. Sometimes an illusion is so craftily put together, so outrageous in composition, that we simply are not capable of figuring out how it was done. It defies all our attempts to explain it.

It’s still an illusion and not magic.

We fall into a similar hypnotic trance if we read a particularly engaging novel. We’re transported from wherever we actually are into a fictitious world that feels almost as real as the one we normally occupy. And it’s no different when we watch a good TV program or movie.

It’s still just an illusion.

When we create scenarios in our minds about upcoming events based on trajectories we’re keen on, we can become embroiled in fights long before they would even occur. We are often adept at creating the very inner-illusion of our problem externally when we meet with the circumstances we foresaw. In fact we do this kind of thing habitually and repeatedly to the point we don’t even notice that we make many of our illusions into an unnecessary and painful reality. 

Being mindful means shedding light on this strange illusion-making habit we have. Maybe we can stop it, and maybe we can’t. Maybe we can change it.

It’s a matter of great curiosity why we continually perform these self-sabotaging ‘magic tricks’ on ourselves. I don’t have any answers or pointers about this. I just find it curious.

I too create these illusions, but then I put them into novel format (whenever I can). I purposefully create the illusion on the page. This achieves a couple of things. One, it often (definitely not always) puts a stop to the outer discord I would otherwise sow. It also helps me release any unrecognized emotions floating around under the surface. Or at least see that they’re there. Sometimes those emotions are too strong and they trip me up as predictably as you’d imagine. 

The idea of using the creative power of inner illusion and putting it on the page is it traps some of the energetic investment there. It doesn’t escape as easily from your projection to the page and out to the people around you because as you review it, you can begin to see the absurdity of it.

Illusions are powerful. We need to be conscious of them because they really can negatively impact our daily lives. Our phones and computers can be a major contributing factor to this–especially social media.

Think about this just a moment: you are reading words on a screen right now. And you’re reading words on a screen when you look at your social media feed. The difference is in what those words evoke or provoke in you as you read them. Now, they could just be words on a screen if you wanted to be all Spock about it. That might even be preferable. But words illicit and influence what we think, how we think about something, and our actions or reactions. 

If you really think about it, our words are programming ourselves and others in a way that has never before in history been possible. Our words are programming a very large audience all at once. Whether that’s through social media, or blogs, or tweets–our words can create powerful and even dangerous illusions that can actually harm others. Or help them. Or really powerfully and radically help and change someone’s life. It’s up to us. 

The amazing thing is that it’s up to us how we want to program and condition ourselves to change our words, create better illusions, and make better realities and conditions as a result. It’s up to us.

With these same hands we can create tools of construction or destruction. That’s on us. It’s up to us. It’s not a ‘one person job’. It’s a collective humanitarian effort.