Saturday, May 26, 2012

Post-Blogathon Catch-Up

Whew. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I just have not had the time to stay as active on my blog as I would like. Thankfully, today is part of a long relaxing holiday weekend and I'm getting a chance to try and get caught up on some things.

I have three things I'd like to hit today:

I. Blogfest Wrap-up:

First off, thanks again to everyone who visited and commented on my submission in Cherie Reich's Second Annual Flash Fiction blogfest. I really appreciated all the kind and supportive comments! There were many, many excellent pieces of flash posted by all the participants, and Cherie announced the six finalists yesterday HERE.  Congratulations to the writers who had their work selected – there were some extraordinary entries. Each of you deserves to win! I urge everyone to visit Cherie's blog and vote for your favorite.

Also, I mentioned in some of my entry comment replies that I'd talk more about my story after the finalists were selected. I didn't want to sway Cherie's opinions beforehand. So OK, here's the deal:

When I signed up for this blogfest, I had visions of me carefully crafting an entry well in advance and then tweaking, refining, and honing it over several days until it was razor-sharp. Well, uh – that didn't happen... Real-life intruded, and then there I was, 10 PM the night before the start, scrambling to throw something together. So I borrowed an idea from another short story that I currently have out in submissions, focused in on what is only implied in the short story, moved the setting to the old-school backwoods crossroads, and added the dialogue.

So then was my blogfest entry a legit, original piece of flash? Well, I stole the concept from myself and added and revised, so I'm going to argue that, “yes” it met the guideline. And as for the choice that Vince had to make and what he decided? Ah – that's something that you'll have to read about in the original short story, should it ever get published. ;^)

II. Kreativ Blogger Award:

Next, I've been (twice!) nominated for a Kreativ blogger award and I'd humbly like to acknowledge and accept that now.

Both Gina over at the Diary of a Writer in Progress and Charity at Charity's Writing Journey awarded me a Kreativ Blogger Award!

Thank you so much, Gina and Charity – I really and truly appreciate your support and kindness!

So here are the award rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award.

2. Answer the ten questions below.

3. Share ten random facts/thoughts about yourself.

4. Nominate seven worthy blogs for the Kreativ Blogger Award

Well I definitely and deeply thank Gina, and encourage everyone to visit her awesome blog. She stirs together an entertaining and enlightening mix of interesting topics covering writing, novels, fiction, movies and videos. She's also a wonderful person. Follow her blog – you'll be glad you did!

So now the ten questions:

1. What is your favorite song?

– Geez, I love so much music that it's hard to pick just one song as my single 'favorite' but to stick with the spirit of this award, I'll say “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” by The Allman Brothers. HERE's a old version from 1970 with Duane recorded at the Fillmore East. Horrible sound and video quality, but a kick-ass song with some amazing guitar playing.

2. What is your favorite dessert?

– How about some awesome moist German Chocolate cake with dark-chocolate frosting and some Hagen Daz chocolate ice cream on the side?

3. What ticks you off?

- Conceit, arrogance, bigotry, pomposity, pretentiousness, bullying, snobbery, and hate.

4. When you're upset, what do you do?

- Stew and brood about until it either goes away or until I finally start snapping. Luckily it rarely happens. I try not to let too many things get to me.

5. Which is/was your favorite pet?

– Wow, that's like asking which was my favorite child. I've loved all my pets deeply. I currently have a black lab / border collie mix named “Max” He's very energetic and high-strung, but extremely loving.

6. Which do you prefer to wear, black or white?

- Well, I guess this is better than then the “boxers or briefs” question, but I wear both, although I guess I lean more towards white.

7. What is your biggest fear?

– Bad things happening to those I love. I tend to worry more about others than I do about myself.

8. What is your attitude mostly?

– Optimistic and easy-going. Or at least that's what I strive for...

9. What is perfection?

– Usually an unobtainable ideal for us mere mortals. The secret instead is to cultivate contentment – the richest man isn't he who has the most; it's he who is most satisfied with what he has.

10. What is your guilty pleasure?

– I try not to feel guilty about the things that I like, but among my broad tastes, I do enjoy some things that others might think are 'uncool' or not edgy enough – Star Trek, Jeopardy, Supertramp, Sade, fantasy football, and others. But if you feel elitist and think less of me for the things I enjoy, see my answer to number two above.

OK, now ten random things about me:

  1. I was born on the same day that a swamp in New Jersey was established as a protected area.  I'll let you gather your own inference about the cosmic significance of the two events occuring on the same day.
  2. I was a National Merit scholarship award winner based on my ACT scores, but then dropped out of my scholarship-funded college to try and 'make it' as a guitar player. Sheesh, was that a stupid mistake that was, lol!
  3. I've never seen the Rockies or been west of them – traveling is one of the things I would very much like to do more of.
  4. I grew up and lived most of my life as an only child, but then discovered only just a few years ago that I actually have a half-sister (Hi JoAnn! Love you!).
  5. I was married on my wife's birthday, which is also April Fools Day. Now I can never think of 4/1 as a day of inane jokes or lame pranks – instead, for me it's a celebration of the best thing that ever happened (Love you, Tracey!).
  6. I am blind as a bat without glasses. Wore them since kindergarten, although I had contacts for most of my life. But now that I've joined the bifocular crowd, I'm back to glasses.
  7. The first concert I ever saw live was Kiss with Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band opening. Musta been like 1975 or so, I think... My tastes have evolved a little since then, lol! But I do remember it as an amazing show.
  8. I enjoy a wide range of taste when it comes to eating, and love so many different kinds of food, but I cannot stand mushrooms or bleu cheese.
  9. I got my first car at 16 (in 1977 – my grandfather's used 1970 Chevy Malibu), and have owned a car ever since, but I've only owned a total of six cars in my life (counting the ones I've owned with my wife as 'mine' if I'm the primary driver and 'hers' if she is). That's six cars in thirty-five years, an average of almost six years per car... I drive them until they drop!
  10. I wish I could sing. I've tried many times, but while I think I have a pretty good ear for music and pick up things quickly on the guitar, I can't sing my way out of a wet paper bag. I make Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joe Walsh sound like the Three Tenors.  ;^)

And now, I'm supposed to nominate seven other blogs for the Kreative Blogger Awards. Well, this is hard, because most of the blogs I would nominate already have this award, or are new bloggers I've just met through this most recent blogathon. It seems a little presumptive to nominate someone who I've just started reading. But I will mention two blogs that I've followed for at least a while who don't already have this award, and who surely deserve it:

– Jes at “.a sort of mental squint” She's been a bit AWOL recently due to having bought a house and other things, but her blog and her writing are definitely creative!

– Tonja at “Tonja's Musings”. She has an engaging, entertaining blog and I want to recommend her to you also.

III. Writer's Lucky Seven Meme:

Finally, Mina Lobo tagged me with the “Luck Seven” meme in the comments to my blogathon post.  Thank you for the recognition and your kind thoughts, Mina!  So according to this meme, I have to:

-- Go to page 77 of your current MS

-- Go to line 7

-- Copy down the next 7 lines as they're written-- no cheating!

-- Tag 7 other writers

Well, my current WIP MS is kind of a combination mystery / father-son relationship / delayed coming-of-age story. Going to page 77 is a slight challenge because I have each chapter in separate files right now. But if I add up the chapter pages, my SWAG ciphering tells me that page 77 should be a page near the end of chapter 6, and so jumping down seven lines, we get a conversation between Detective Clark and my main protagonist Justin:

"(...we're) hopeful that someone will tell us that they saw something."

"But so far no-one has?"

Clark scowled. "Unfortunately, no. Not yet." He pulled a small spiral notebook out of his pocket.

Justin looked downward to hide his smile. As a kid, he'd seen his father carry the same stupid notebook with him wherever he went.

"Did your father ever say anything to you about his job?" Clark asked.  "About the people he was working for? The neighborhood?"

Justin looked up.  Clark held a pen at the ready.

"No, not really. We didn't talk that much."

So now I have to tag seven other writers... But I think I'm going to wait a bit. This post is more than long enough, and I also want to build the suspense, lol.


Tonja said...

Thanks for the award. :)

I'd love to hear your parents' reaction when you opted out of the scholarship. Yikes.

.jessica. said...

I *have* been AWOL! It's so sad - I planned to post today but got hit with a virus (the body kind, not the computer kind) and couldn't get my brain to cooperate. Still kind of can't... pardon my rambling. Anywho, I loved reading the 10 things about you! (And I also turned down a scholarship years ago! WHAT was I thinking??? Oh yeah, that it was all monopoly money and it didn't really matter. Oh, to be 18 again...) :) I'm also with you on the complete and total blindness sans contacts... AND the 4/1 anniversary! (Well, dating anniversary. Now that I'm married I guess it's different.) But still - how funny that we have so many random things in common.

Do you still play the guitar?

Tonja said...

BTW, I gave you an award too - but a different one.

DL Hammons said...

Wow...when you catch catch up with a vengeance!! :) One of the things I love about these awards is that it helps us find out more about the bloggers we follow. Wear them with pride, you deserve them! :)

L. G. Keltner said...

Just dropping in to let you know that I selected you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by to claim!

Chris Fries said...

@Tonja: You're more than welcome! And yeah -- Mom was not thrilled about my decision, to say the least (my father passed away when I was 11). But at least she got to see me eventually graduate with my BSEE after I went back to school in my later 20's.

@Jes: Jeez, I'm sorry to hear about the virus! I hope you're feeling much, much better! LOL! It is funny how many things we have in common -- maybe we're siblings from different parents? ;^) And yeah, I still play, but nowhere as much as I did back then. Now it's just a part-time recreational thing.

@Tonja: Well, thanks again! I'll pop over and check it out!

@DL: LOL! True -- I can border on the long-winded. I'm surprised to not see more comments like "tl;dr!" And thanks, buddy!

@L.G.: Wow! Thanks to you too! I'll be over ASAP!

LTM said...

Hey! What a bunch of awards and information here! And no worries about catching up. I think everyone has to go through those moments. Ooo, I lurv German chocolate, too, and uhh! guitar over school. How is that not a given? No worries--I bet you're doing just fine now.

Have a great week, Chris! You ARE very optimistic and easy going. :)

Anonymous said...

It's great to get to know you a little better. Actually, a lot better.

Nicole said...

So many fun insights here! Thanks for sharing.

Charity Bradford said...

Wow! That really was a catch up post.

Loved reading your answers and getting to know you better. And you write mysteries! Awesome.

mmshaunakelley said...

Blogging is powerful-- your favorite dessert just made me get up and go rummaging through my pantry for chocolate. Congrats on your award!

Nancy Thompson said...

I like these awards where we learn more about someone. It's so interesting to learn these things. Like I never would have thought you were older than me. Your spirit is so young & un-warped, if that makes sense. Anyway, sorry I haven't been around. I was neck-deep in edits with a deadline to meet.

Gina said...

Man, are you busy! More accolades come your way than ice cream to kids on a hot summer day. You do deserve them, though. I loved your lucky 7, very intriguing; as for your flash fiction, well, now you got me all peaked and I want to read the whole story. Good luck on getting it published! Keep being awesome!

Milo James Fowler said...

Holy cow -- too much good stuff, Chris! I like your excerpt, I'm a fellow Trekkie (no surprise there, probably), and I'm not a fan of bleu cheese either -- there's a reason the e comes before the u!

C.M.Brown said...

This is a big catch up post! Congrats on the award and your WIP sounds intriguing. I'm a Trekkie too!

Chris Fries said...

@LTM: Thanks so much, Leigh! I hope your week's been great, too!

@Stephen: Thanks! It's great to be known better. ;^)

@Nicole: You're more than welcome. I'm happy to share.

@Charity: Thanks! Yeah, I write mysteries, although sometimes when I'm wading in rejections, it feels more like it's a mystery why I write, lol!

@mmshaunakelley: Thanks! but it's not just my blog -- chocoalte has a tremendous power all on my own. ;^)

@Nancy: Thank you! I'm rarely described as un-warped, lol! And no worries -- I understand and am wishing you enormous success!

@Gina: Mmmmm.... Ice cream.... And thanks! Glad you liked it!

@Milo: LOL! I loved that "e before u" -- I'm definitely going to use that the next time my wife slathers her salad in it. And thank you for your positive support!

@C.M.: Thank you very much, fellow Trekkie!

Arlee Bird said...

I was scrolling down looking at your posts and the mention of the Kiss / Seger concert jumped out at me. I saw this tour as well--early to mid 1975 I believe. I saw them in Knoxville, TN. The arena was strung with lights and they had the big columns of flame shooting up. I was more there for Seger cause I was a big fan, but Kiss put on an amazing show even though I've never been a big fan of their music. Ah, the good old days. The concert tickets were probably less than $10.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Chris Fries said...

@Arlee: Too cool that you saw the same tour! Back then, I was young and into Kiss, but from that concert I learned how good Seger was, and remained a fan of the Silver Bullet Band well after I had moved on from Kiss.

And yeah -- it was probably like $10 for 'festival seating,' where you raced in with the mob when the doors opened so you could get close to the stage and stand in a crush of people, lol. This was well before that Who concert in Cinci that led to the deaths of several kids and pretty much ended festival seating.