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Home page: http://www.davidniallwilson.com
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I told myself I was done writing posts like this when we quit watching American Idol, but last year we got hooked in (late in the season) to “The Voice” – and it felt “different”. It felt to me as if the coaches actually were connecting on a deeper level with their teams, and that they really cared. I wonder if I’d have felt that way if I’d watched from the beginning.
Anyway, last night we watched the final battle round, and I have to say – connected to their final teams or not – at least in the early rounds, this isn’t a contest between singers – just coaches. It was pretty obvious in the battle round segment that songs and pairings were being chosen where either a: The coach already knew who was going through and set it up so they couldn’t lose – or B: (even worse) The coach put through who they wanted regardless of how the actual battle went.
I guess that’s what you should expect, right? The coaches all want to win. I came out of last year disliking Blake, because he seemed more of a horn-dog than a coach, and don’t get me wrong, he still does stupid things like thanking girls for wearing (basically) their underwear on stage. If I were his wife, I’d shoot him in the head. That aside? He was the only coach who seemed to honestly be choosing the singer who – in THAT BATTLE – did a better job.
Here’s my biggest complaint. Cee Lo Green. Seriously. The Shields Brothers against Erin Martin. The song? Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to do With it?” – huh? First off this girl Erin Martin can’t sing. She is a one-trick pony with a baby-goo-goo voice that left the world in the lounge singing days of “Santa Baby” and has been (thankfully) absent since. She was off key, made no pretense of trying to like the song, or respecting the original, and she was rude, arrogant, and wore her underwear on stage.
The Shields Brothers – sure they aren’t polished. Sure, they rocked it harder than she did…but they actually SANG. They pulled back as their coach asked them to do. They harmonized. They IMPROVED while Erin Martin served up what looked like a bad karaoke performance of Grace Slick mixed with Bjork. I’m pretty sure she did not hit a SINGLE NOTE…she has no range…
Cee Lo’s reasoning? The boy’s sound too much like they have the “one sound” and he isn’t sure how he can work it in / work with it. Huh? He worked with both artists. One listened to him and improved (Shields) the other went her own way very literally and made a fool of herself. She was saved when Cee Lo picked her, claiming that a world class producer can’t work with the Shields Brothers? Sad day for that show, I think.
A couple of shaky choices were made. More than once – on a show where the battle is supposed to go to whoever did better THAT NIGHT – we learn yet again the reality of reality TV. It’s a joke. They do whatever they planned to do all along, they clearly don’t care what the people in the audience do, or think…and we are left with our new hero – BLAKE – to give the show a tiny ounce of respectability (which is not his forte, I might add).
We’ll continue to watch it, but my reason for loving it last year was that the coaches seemed to care, and I’m thinking right now that The Shields Brothers – after getting the shaft in the most bizarre contest ever – aren’t feeling the love…sent home to the farm because a model with a bad voice wore her underwear (that’s my take, anyway). When the coaches say “I’ll stick with you” it only means nothing. This is not the first ridiculous decision obviously made before the battle began, but it’s clearly the worst (maybe in the history of reality TV).
Too many things going on at once. I have a bunch of stories I need / want to write. I have books to publish. Heck, I have a pie to bake, and a book to write about that. I’m virtually stuck between the lines, and almost every day a new thing I’d really like to work on comes along.
I have a novella started for The Scattered Earth, bring Euphrankes Holymnn and the crew of the Airship Tangent back for an encore. I have even more written on a new Cletus J. Diggs Mystery. I have “Nevermore,” the next DeChance book, which will involve an appearance by Edgar Allen Poe…and I have a novel about a zombie apocalypse and ulta-marathon running in the wings.
I need to write my way out…it’s the only way through, as I know from experience. I suspect all of these things and more will be written in short order, but tonight…I feel stuck. I hate that.
Tomorrow…there will be words. I will share some with you just to prove it’s so…
This pie is another experiment. I like peach pie, and I like nectarines, so I figured, what the heck. As long as there is a recipe for a pie made out of something I like, and people seem to like the PIE, then I am in. I also have vanilla ice cream to make sure. It worked with the apple pie. Everyone dug in and that one was gone almost as soon as I sliced it.
This brings me within four pies of the writing of the first book by The Pie Guy – wherein I will explain my contempt for crappy, thin, too small and overpriced pies as sold in stores – go on about my childhood and how much I love pie in general – and tell you all the lessons I’ve learned along the way trying to bake all these fruit pies. I will probably talk about how much I enjoyed EATING them as well.
So without further ado – the gallery of photos from the Fresh Nectarine Pie.
Today is the start of the thirty day exclusive run of KALI’S TALE on Barnes & Noble. It’s part of a special promotion I was chosen for (I love it when that happens) called NOOK FIRST LOOK – I am hoping it can get me some more notice for not only this book, but the first three in the series, and some of my other titles as well. Kali’s Tale crosses over to a number of my books. If you are NOT a B&N buyer, you could read “The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature,” and “The Preacher’s Marsh” for background on the setting of Kali’s Tale, as well as “Vintage Soul,” the second book in The DeChance Chronicles, where we meet the vampire Kali and first get th hint that she might have less than happy thoughts about her “sire”.
Kali’s tale includes a lot of subjects I hold near and dear. Alchemy – some of you will have watched the indie, artsy movie GODHEAD that I wrote the screenplay for…in which two young men run their lives and minds through the alchemical process. Others will have read Deep Blue, and will appreciate the segment of Kali’s Tale spent in the back alley of a Memphis Juke Joint.
DeChance fans will learn more about Asmodeus, the old crow that joins the crew during Vintage Soul, and will get a few more peeks into Donovan’s past.
This also marks the first direct cross-over between DeChance and the other original series, O.C.L.T. – about an agency Donovan sometimes consults for. If you are a fan of that particular series, you’ll find two old friends, Geoffrey Bullfinch and Rebecca York making appearances.
Now…hie thee to B&N and buy yon book. Srsly.
Okay, this one is cooling on the stove, and I have to say…it smells awesome. There are six cored and sliced honey-crisp apples inside, dusted with sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled with lemon juice to keep the apples from discoloring prior to baking…butter (margerin, actually) melted in between the slices.
I purposely held off on apple pie because it is one that most of the family loves. I wanted everyone to enjoy it. As usual, I overstuffed it a bit. There are more of them than the recipe called for, but somehow it did not pop the crust open, or spoil the amazing smell.
One thing that led me to start baking pies is the ridiculous, deflated, tiny things we’ve started bringing home from the grocery store with the label “pie” on them. They have very little filling, they don’t seem to be a full 9″ around…they just are not what I remember, or grew up loving, and honestly – at $9-$12 apiece, I can make much better ones much cheaper – and DO. Here is the gallery for the honey-crisp apple pie.
Does Amazon’s new KDP Select Program Work?
I don’t know the answer to that. I know it has worked for a number of others. I know that it has – in fact – worked incredibly well for some others. It has also – to my knowledge – worked mediocre, and not much at all for still others, so, like anything – there are tricks to it. Everything has secrets if you dig deeply enough for them.
One person I know has given away incredible numbers of downloads…but ended up with a ton of bad reviews for the trouble. Make sure you have a good book.
One person I read about went from “dead in the water” to selling more than 4k copies of their book.
Several people I know have given away 500-3000 copies and it DID lead to continued sales in every case, but in those cases, not to major numbers, just numbers.
There are some places you can advertise your free promotion days:
You can blog about it (see this blog for a clever example). For instance…MY first KDP Free Promotion runs from 31 January to 2 February. It is for my brand new collection ETCHED DEEP & OTHER DARK IMPRESSIONS – if you are an Amazon.com PRIME member you can already get it for free. If you own any Kindle reading device you can borrow it through the KDP Lending Library. If you go to Amazon.com during the promotion – also free. If you download it, I’d appreciate a review.
You can ask your friends – Authors – Readers – whoever – to download your free book, and to spread the word (please) to everyone ELSE who might want a free book.
HEY! FRIENDS! AUTHORS! Do me a solid? My eBook is FREE! If you could, like, download it..and tell EVERYONE about it…that would be cool.
You could make a Youtube Video about your book (I have not done that, but others have, and you could).
You could make a LOLDOG using the soulful eyes of man’s best friends to draw them in…
Of all the strange pies that have occurred to me, which is how this whole journey to make as many as possible began, Fresh Kiwi Pie seemed one of the least likely. I have to say, now that we have made it, tried it and fallen in love with it (or I did, anyway) … the “PIE” is the limit (lol). This is a very very good pie. The nutmeg in the recipe makes it – at first taste – seem a bit like an apple pie. But it is sweeter than an apple pie, and at the same time has a tiny citrus twang that gives it an extra burst of flavor. It is also a good consistency…not too much juice, firms up well.
It’s a lot of work, but only for the peeling of the fruit. Katie helped me, and I managed to keep her from stealing too many bits of kiwi (we both love the fruit fresh, and we peeled two dozen of them. Another thing learned is that four cups of kiwi is right around 12 of the little buggers. I would have put in five cups per pie, but I only bought 24, and I promised to bring a pie to work on Monday.
That is the last lesson I learned today. It takes more planning to make two pies at the same time. I pulled it off, but…I will make more preparations next time. For now, here is my gallery of fresh kiwi pie photographs.
I have put together what I think will become one of my most important collections. The title story, “Etched Deep,” is a good example. This is a very short story that originally was published in THIN ICE #7 decades ago. I lost the story, but it stuck with me, and later on I rewrote it from memory, in a more modern voice, and it’s stronger. These are stories that I believe in. Some of them were buried in themed anthologies, or in books and magazines where I appeared alongside much more popular authors and was delegated to the “And Others” land I have spent so many years in. A couple among these are borderline literary fiction, and at least one has been rejected more than one time for being “too literary”. I’ll leave it to readers to figure out which one.
There are also a couple of very old stories in the book. I’ve tried not to change them very much, but when you edit your old work, even trying just to proof read it, there is only so much you can stand. The point is, you’ll find a couple of rougher pieces here, but I wanted to include them to give them another shot at a new group of readers.
There are fourteen stories in this book, and I added fourteen poems as well. These are an even wider variety, spanning many, many years. There is a poem I wrote very early in my relationship with Trish, there is the only known poem by the famous Angus Griswold (as well as one story, “One Off From Prime,” that has never been published prior to this book, and that features Angus as a character. There are some of the poems I wrote for the three-word poetry challenges that Rain Graves invented – I’m given any three words and have to find a poem in my head that uses them all. I love that game.
Here are the contents. Starting on Tuesday, January 31st, this collection will be FREE ON AMAZON for three days. It runs from Tuesday through Thursday, and I am hoping the promotion will help find me some new readers for my other books… Also included in this collection is Chapter One of “My Soul to Keep,” the Donovan DeChance origin story.
SHORT STORIES INCLUDED:
Through an Eyeglass, Darkly
Fear of Flying
One Off From Prime
The Purloined Prose
Pretty Boys in Blue, and Long Hair Dangling
To Strike a Timeless Chord
Also included are the poems: The Acropolis, Clamdigger, Cuttlefish Squeezings, Thanatology, A Poem of Adrian, Gray, The Fishmonger, Revelation, Loch Ness, Mirrored Hearts, Dark Man, Banished, End of Days, & Longhaired Puppies.
So, I mentioned on Facebook that the Invisible Shoes I ordered arrived, surprising me by being so think and light they came in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. I’ve been reading the book “Born to Run,” which I recommend even to people with no love of running, and trying to find my way back onto the road and out of some extra poundage I’ve picked up.
The gist of it appears to be…we were born with feet and bodies designed to be able to run long distances. The shoe industry (Nike in particular) has spent decades now convincing us we have to cushion, support and baby our feet with higher and higher tech shoes for half our salaries, while – in fact – there has never been any data to support their claims. Now the data seems to say – if you wear expensive shoes you are MORE likely to be injured. Barefoot runners are winning races, racking up the miles, and have caught my interest.
So…just to share…tonight I strapped on (incorrectly) my Huareches (sandals) and hit the road with my son Zane’s Hero HD camera strapped to my head. Here are the things I learned.
The heel strap is very important. If the shoe slips off your heel, it simply won’t work for running. I found that one of my two sandals was too loose at the heel. I decided, however, that I was not giving up that easily, so I ran the first mile barefoot. I passed a very amused and confused man and his dog. I did NOT hurt my feet as I feared on gravel or anything else..I also did not go far.
Your first time out you WILL use muscles in your calves and legs that are not ready for it. It IS good to have the tiny thin padding of the shoe, just because those of us not used to going barefoot don’t have calloused soles on our feet.
Then I came back, watched the video again, laced on the sandals to take the dog for a walk…and learned that having them too tight over the toes is ALSO not going to work, which means…I have to get this just right. I intend to keep at it. I am convinced, after one run, that the sheer difference of it will keep me going, and I see many miles in my future. I would LOVE to work up to a half or full marathon before I’m done. I’m 52, but that’s not nearly too old for this.
Today I completed the revisions on the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, Kali’s Tale. This book is the one I started, way back at the beginning of November when Nanowrimo began. I got de-railed twice. The first time was when the flashback I’d planned in the beginning of the book got out of control and grew into a novella of it’s own, My Soul to Keep – which tells the origins of the character Donovan DeChance. The second was when in early December our online store crashed, and the back-ups turned out to be no good. I spent most of December rebuilding that..and meanwhile, I picked up a deadline. Kali’s Tale will go live on Barnes & Noble’s online site for the Nook on the 6th of February. It will be exclusive to the Nook for thirty days as part of a promotion they have – Nook First Look. I am happy to say, the book will make the deadline, and the promotion will go on as scheduled. Below is the author’s note from Kali’s Tale…just to get you excited!
This will mark the fourth book in The DeChance Chronicles, which starts with the novel Heart of a Dragon, moves on to Vintage Soul (which was actually written first – long story for another time) and the novella My Soul to Keep which is the origin story for Donovan DeChance, and not to be missed by fans of the series.
This book also accomplishes something I have intended for some time. In this volume, The DeChance Chronicles make a direct connection and crossover to another series I write for, O.C.L.T. In that series, I’ve written the novel The Parting and the novella The Temple of Camazotz. The characters Rebecca York and Geoffrey Bullfinch appear in this novel, as does Cletus J. Diggs, from my book The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature. This book takes place largely in Old Mill, North Carolina, which is Cletus’ stomping grounds. My books and my stories have long shared certain locations – San Valencez, Lavender, and Friendly California, Old Mlil, North Carolina, and Random Illinois. If you enjoy this book, you should look up the titles above – you’ll find some old friends waiting.
If the story The Preacher’s Marsh – which involves a legend mentioned in this book appeals to you, that novella is also available. In North Carolina I’ve found that all roads lead to highway 17, and in my writing, it seems the same may be true.
There will, with the grace of whatever power watches over me, be many more Donovan DeChance books in the future, and many more adventures for Cletus J. Diggs & and for the agents of O.C. L.T. I hope you’ll join me. I’m always ready to tell a story.
David Niall Wilson
Just off to the side of The Great Dismal Swamp