Come Look For Me on Wattpad!

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Heyhey!

Did you know I’m also over on Wattpad? No?! Oh I see how it is. Well, check it out anyway. I drop in from time to time and may release an exclusive story or two.

Oh, I get it! It looks like a row of books...duh!

Oh, I get it! It looks like a row of books…duh!

Click the Dub to hang with yours truly.

Ten Things I Learned About Releasing “Pay The Vig”

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Coming to your favorite eBookstore.

Availabe at your favorite eBookstore.

So “buy” now, my latest novel (or novella) “Pay The Vig” has been available at Amazon for a couple of weeks. It was a crazy experience, as the story was about 13 months in the making. It’s true, writing is as easy as stepping up to the keyboard and bleeding (thanks Hemmingway), but here’s ten things I learn about writing and releasing “Pay The Vig.”

1. Every day felt like I was behind on homework.

It’s true. When hanging out with friends, I was constantly telling myself “I have writing to do.”  After a while, I would tell my friends that I was working on yet another book. Haha, big mistake.

2. Making deadlines helped.

Hire yourself. Or at least, don’t let your projects fade away into that “someday” territory. Get in control, wrangle those words, and inch towards the goal if you have to.

3. There’s satisfaction in being done.

It’s there. It’s for all the world to see. Give yourself points for being brave.

4. Having an editor is a good idea.

I’ve edited for myself before to disastrous results. As indie writers, we want to save that money and cut that corner. Don’t! It’s not worth it. Trust me.

5. You’re proud and embarrassed at the same time. This is okay.

Hey, nothing is perfect. When creating art, we (the artists) have to be open to criticism. Sometimes it’s valid and sometimes it’s not, but it’s okay either way. When I read some of my old stuff I cringe, but that just tells me how much I’ve grown as a writer.

6. You’re already looking at your next project.

My mind comes up with the best ideas when I’m working on another project. That’s why I can understand so many authors having multiple projects going on at once. When I was finishing up “Pay The Vig,” I had a screenplay idea rattling in my brain.

7. E-publishing is easy but E-publishing is hard.

A way to instant upload your stories and have them for sale? Easy-breezy. Uploading your story to one digital site (among dozens) and asking your fans to navigate to a link to spend some of their hard earned disposable income on your project? Not so breezy.

8. By book five, I have modest expectations.

When I wrote my first book, I had stars in my eyes. “I wrote a  book! Now, prepare for the accolades!” Yeah, that didn’t happen. I actually had to learn writing for the craft of storytelling at point. Which while good for the long run, was really sobering when I realized initial sales were so sluggish.

9. You’re only as good as your last book.

In 2012, I got froggy and released two books in a year. I was riding high. After deciding to take a break in 2013, I wanted to have “Pay The Vig” done before 2014’s end. Well, in that time I realized that the fans I built up in 2012 had moved on elsewhere. Truly, that was no fault but my own. I decided to really put an effort into updating my blog as consistently as I could in order to engage with others. But really, I’m taking this as a “reboot” of sorts. Just like that third Riddick movie.

10. Realize you’ve “done” what countless others only dreamed of doing.

Because you’re amazing!

-F

Stop Being A Crybaby: Make Resolutions!

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Full Disclosure: New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday.

 

Why? Because time is objective. There’s no expectations for the holiday (you can make it as big as a party or as small as a silent prayer), most local television stations run marathons of classic shows, and it is a genuine chance to start anew. Heck, it’s even the start of a new fiscal year in the United States. What’s not to love?

Plenty, according to some.

There is really one everlasting tradition that surrounds New Years (two, if you count singing “Auld Lang Syne”): Resolutions. Ah yes, that thing we tell our friends and family that we plan to do to better ourselves. Seems easy enough, right? And while I understand you can make resolutions at any time, there is something noble about attempting to do so at the start of the year.

Cue the backlash.

Not sure if it’s a generational thing or just a matter of taste, but I feel folks absolutely abhor resolutions these days. What’s the use they say? Why even try? This ARTICLE really gave me pause.

Don't break the chain!

Don’t break the chain!

To that I say, stop being a wuss.

There’s nothing wrong with holding yourself accountable. When you make a resolution, you are putting yourself on the hook to deliver (or at least try to deliver). To say something like, “Well they never work out so why keep them?” is hilarious. You gave yourself a goal and missed that goal, so having goals are now stupid.

Trust me, I’ve failed at resolutions all the time. I’ve told myself that I was going to “lose weight” for almost a decade before hitting the gym. The result? I ended up actually gaining more weight than losing it, but that didn’t stop me. The problem I (and others) had was that my resolutions were too “big” or “vague.”

Lose weight? Well, how much? Over how much time? Are you going to give it up if you “slip” and eat a whole pizza?

Stop smoking? That implies doing so cold turkey. It can be done, but has a high failure rate.

Be financially stable? That goal is nearly impossible to achieve in a single year.

On December 31st, 2010 I tore off a sheet of a legal pad and got to writing. I started the concept of the “Yearly Bucket List,” or things I wanted to do before the next year kicked the bucket. Though they weren’t written as resolutions, the effect was the same: I was holding myself accountable. I’ve done Yearly Bucket Lists ever year since. I think I cleared a list only once, but the set up allows me to take action. Or at least, take more action than I would have otherwise.

In fact, the idea is so effective I tell everyone about the method. This usually leads to blank stares and those ironic thumbs up that says “Good for you, dude,” but I’m fine with it. Those lists have led to my taking up comedy, releasing books, writing screenplays, and finally visiting those cities I promised myself I would check out.

So make those resolutions. There’s still time.

-F

Are You In Love With Comedy, Or Are You Just Dating?

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Hey y’all, Flobo here!

Courtesy, Levi's Production House

Courtesy, Levi’s Production House

For those of you in the know, I’ve been trying my hand with comedy of the stand up variety (imagine me saying that sentence with a pithy British accent while wearing a top hat)

You see, comedy is hard! I’m not the first to say it and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Last summer, I was bouncing from day gig to day gig trying to make ends meet. In a way to keep morale high, I took an introductory comedy class for the life experience. It was a life-changer and before long I was doing my first couple of shows.

Things were going well. Even the shows where I “bombed”, I had so much fun. The reason being, comedy is really the last pure symbols of free speech. It’s just you, a microphone and your outlook on life. It’s the biggest rush and I understood when professional wrestlers and theater actors (lo mismo?) would say that it’s addicting. The good nights were great, the great nights were legendary, and the bad nights were still a learning experience.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done that environmental joke at that comedy show in the park.”

But as the summer rolled into the fall, things began to pick up on the “real side” of my life. I worked hard to make my latest novel available for the holiday season, I landed a new full time position that makes considerable use of the analytical side of my brain, and some of my writings have appeared in other corners of the web.

Needless to say, comedy (while still in the forefront of my mind) has been seeing less of an investment of my time. It was a lot easier to go to two open mics and three shows a week when I didn’t have a job.  When I started doing stand up, I would come across dozens who would say, “Yeah, I did this for a while. Then I stopped. Now I’m trying to get back.” Well, I knew nothing about this craft, but I knew the key to excelling at anything is momentum.

Four months after crossing the stage for the first time, I was at a crossroads. Was  I “in love” with comedy? That is, was I willing to commit to something in good times or bad. Or was I “dating” comedy? You know, just leading her on before I go back to my 9-5 job.

Come on babe, don't look at me like that.

Come on babe, don’t look at me like that.

There really is no “right” answer. I think I’m in love with comedy and so I’ll stick with it, but it’s not an easy decision. No matter what your creative endeavor is, I feel that we all hit that same crossroads. Authors, artists, heck even schoolteachers could relate. The only advice I can offer is this:

Besides your specific job (and its location) could you live without your craft?

For example: Imagine  you’re a welder and that you can’t stand welding because of a tough or arduous project. If you decide to never weld again, would that make you happy? If the answer is “no”, then congrats!

I think you’re in love.

-F

Holiday Short Story 2014

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It’s that time of year! Where I give a story in time for the holiday season. Check out past editions:

2011

2012

2013

This year, I’d like to try poetry. It’s still be a yuletide tale, matey… #ChristmasPirate

 

A Special Gift

Through the canyon

The canyon of people

Clusters of families

All around the promenade

 

Sits the jolly man himself

King of the North pole

He’s the one

The one that rules with a candied fist

 

Red and green lives with

Blue and White

Black and Green

Black and Green can come too

 

For the man with the beard

He sits between

Flanked by menorah and kinara

Alone on the throne.

 

For the masses believe

Believe in something else

Their eyes are locked

Locked into rectangle screens

Stamp My Passport for Lilyhammer!

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Wassup peoples!

Today, I would like to talk to you about one of the most unique television shows (not really) on television. Netflix’s Lilyhammer:

Ice cold to the fingertips

Ice cold to the fingertips

Now in it’s third season, “Lilyhammer” tends to get lost in the shuffle when talking about Netflix’s original programming slate. The show has the honor of being the first of its kind, and it’s one that I’ve stumbled across simply by accident.

You see, for some reason or another, there are a handful of days when I simply can’t sleep. Though the term “insomnia” gets used, I don’t I have the full blown medical condition the world implies. In any event, one fateful night Netflix recommended  “Lilyhammer” when I was searching to find something to lull me back to sleep. I was instantly gripped, and made quick work for the show’s eight episode season. So much for being the “cure” after all.

To say that there’s nothing like it on television would be an understatement. “Lilyhammer” is in fact a comedic-drama that throws elements of thrillers, mob films, westerns (!), romance, and adventure in a blender. On top that, there’s a whole commentary about leaving your past home behind, immigration, assimilation and  cultural norms that is interwoven with the setting.

Ex-wiseguy Frank Tagliano requests his witness protection from New York to be in the snowy land of Lillehammer, Norway. The reason? Because on television, the Olympics made the town look spectacular. (I wonder if this is how immigrants feel when they see a movie featuring the United States?). What happens next is a series of events that’s simply hard to describe. For a while, I didn’t even try. I would say.

“I like it. But I couldn’t recommend it.”

Why? Not because it wasn’t good (it was!), but I didn’t quite know how to describe the show. In many ways, I still don’t but I’ve come to learn that’s okay.

In an age where there are so many television shows to watch, it’s easy to dread picking up a new series. Sometimes I’ll throw up a show and do something else in an effort to be able to say “Yeah I gave your favorite show a show, but I couldn’t get into it.” Well, you really can’t do that with “Lilyhammer” because the show is bilingual. Which by all accounts a genius tactic.

There’s enough English in there for your mind to try to pick up the elements of the story, but enough Norwegian in there to make it impossible to put the show on and then do something else. It makes for gripping television, especially when it’s done for humorous effect.

I love girls too

I love girls too

The one thing I learned from “Lilyhammer,” is that sometimes not being able to be described is okay. Sure that may put you at odds with a bookstore or a video rental site when they try to put your creative work in a category, but if the story is gripping then who cares?  Whether by mixing genres or coming up with complex and unique characters, it’s all good. Go nuts I say!

 

Or you may find yourself in “Muriburiland.”

Project Round Up!

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Hey y’all, Flobo here!

You know, I’ve been blogging for just under 13 years and it’s been a wild ride. First it was a collection of funny stories that happened to me, then it morphed to diaries of my college and film school experiences, to the writing-focused blog you see here today. In the spirit of keeping things writing focused, here’s where I’m at when it comes to my writing projects. Allow me to toot my own horn and all of that, will you?

 

1. Submitted two of my screenplays to the TrackingB feature screenplay competition. Winners will be announced in January and I hope something comes of it. Notice I didn’t say that I wish I won, because winning isn’t everything. Then again, it would be pretty rad to at least get a nod from my peers in a form of an honorable mention. It’s funny how we independent free-thinking artists still strive for recognition on some level.

2. As we speak, I’m currently putting the finishing editorial touches on my upcoming novella, “Pay The Vig.”It’s been thirteen months in the making, and I’m glad to be finally sharing it with you. I’m also relieved that I’m able to close the door on that project for the time being. Who knows, maybe I’ll revisit this world (Which also shares the same universe of my last novel “High Desert Run” and my screenplay “Celeste: The Rhythm of Vengeance“) some other time in the future. Here’s the temp art:

Coming to your favorite eBookstore.

Coming to your favorite eBookstore.

3. Silverstreek: The Comic is in full swing. What? You didn’t know I was making a comic book about  an idea based on a screenplay adapted from a short story (that used to be a novel) based on a comic book concept? What, have you been living under a rock?! Either way, the one-shot (with the potential for a mini, maxi, or ongoing series) will be available for download in the early months of 2015.  Tell a friends, because the high-flyin’, soul searching Silverstreek is coming!

4. I think I’ve been once again been bitten by the screenplay bug. I usually try to write one screenplay a year. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but now that I’m finishing up “Pay The Vig,” the creative juices are flowing once again. I have an idea for a family-drama, so we’ll see where that goes.

 

As I continue to put pen to page, I (as always) urge you to keep creating!

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