Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prescriptive Fiction

If you google "writer" and "fiction" you'll notice that one thing that writers love to do is tell other writers how to write. We are the doctors of the written word prescribing this technique or that one to others. My favorite are the blogs that urge you to "show" and not "tell." A second close is the blogger who wants you to stop using the "laundry list" technique to describe characters and instead do it through action. I always get a kick out of those.

Already prescribed a technique to others? Never fear. You can always prescribe other writer-related nuggets of wisdom--I recently read a blog where the writer obscenely suggested ways they could get off their a$$es and stop doing X so that they could become better writers. Of course, the message was meant for other writers.

After many years of listening to professors and other writers (at various stages in their careers) prescribe things to me, all their advice is monotone. I'm not critiquing this--by all means, if you know something the rest of us don't, please share it. But you might try a google search of your intended topic first. At this point, if you want to write a blog prescribing a technique, all you have to do is google the technique and then just add links to all the other blogs that have already talked about it.

Why? Discussion. We don't discuss enough in blogs. Why not discuss the way a writer approached a technique in their blog? Do you agree or disagree with how this blogger said you should approach the "info dump"? How about their advice on how to improve your plot's pacing?

I don't know it all, which is why I'm usually confused. I'm just one of those guys who has read your blogs and knows all that YOU know. A lot of it is repetitive. Most of it is just rule-of-thumb stuff. Much of it is inspirational without any real substance. And there is lots of comedy. I like all of you, but I just wish you would talk to each other more.


Don't ask me to put my money where my mouth is, Bartholomew. I don't prescribe. I like to analyze. For example--oh, but I shouldn't do it. 


I am not a coward, sir. Very well.

For example, which is better, to describe characters using the "laundry list" technique or by showing details through action? 

The right answer is, show don't tell. At least this is right in the classroom. This blog is against the "laundry list" technique and so is this one. They are not alone. Their arguments are common, actually.

I would say, the question doesn't make sense. I require more input. So I instead ask, what are the circumstances? That's the question I always end up asking when someone prescribes one technique over another. 

I like to think that the "laundry list" technique and the details-through-action technique are both equally effective. There are so many novels that use both, strong novels, that there is no argument to support one over the other--the most successful novels don't limit themselves to one or the other, but use both. Then it doesn't make sense to use the word "better." And just because you fancy something does not make it better. It's like saying, which is better, a hammer or a screwdriver? Huh? Better for what? 

I like to think that you can make use of both, a hammer and a screwdriver, while building a house. How cliche. Writing a novel to building a house... 

I'll go into more detail about these things, one technique at a time, in future blogs. Maybe after I write that blog about the differences between editing, revising, and copy-editing. Surely, though, it must come after I write the blog that exposes the myth of the show-don't-tell technique. And that definitely has to come after I write that blog about how to distinguish between Preferences, Opinions, and Errors in writer workshop comments. Etc. Etc.  

But who knows. I'll google those words first to see if anybody else has done it already. If so, I'll just link you to them. Why waste an hour writing here when someone else has done it for me? 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smells Like...

Hello, Hello, Hello, How Low...
Hello, Hello, Hello, How Low...
Hello, Hello, Hello, How Low...

I recently discovered Kurt Cobain thanks to that new Family Guy episode. Cobain breaks down like this: Lead singer for the band Nirvana; married to Courtney Love among others; and, ah, he killed himself with a shot-gun while still relatively young. That's what your life amounts to in the end, three sentences.

From what I've read so far, I can tell he had died a little each day until he finally put himself down. Listening to his music, that voice of his, you can taste the pain and anger on your tongue like that metallic taste that blood leaves behind.

His early life has so much in common with my own it's difficult not to identify with the man. What finally crushed him--or finished crushing him--was fame. He was not ready for what Smells Like Teen Spirit became. I'm listening to it now and I have to admit there is a sort of harmony that goes beyond what the lyrics mean. It is the introvert as a melody.

He looked into anarchy and revolution and tried to bring that into his music. Why? I'm reminded of the song, El Sombrero Azul. It is a song created by rebels while they fought a war with a government they thought unjust. To be caught listening to El Sombrero Azul meant death.

I think Cobain wanted to bring that kind of spirit into his music. That feeling that if you were listening to one of his songs it was because you were a part of that other place--oh, don't make me say it. We've all been there on one occasion or another, visiting maybe because it's not the place you'd like to live. It is that place that hides the rage of the land.

It bubbles out in art. Kurt Cobain bubbled out in his music. I think it's lovely to look at it that way.

And what would he think of some asshole wannabe blogger/writer looking at his life and work, trying to dissect him, trying to find his Logos? I think Smells Like Teen Spirit answers that:

Here we are now, entertain us.


Sure. Why not. I don't have anything better to do...


PS: This will be the first in a series I will call, Finding Nirvana (the concept, not the band). I will explore other artists who came, saw, and checked out early.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Where the rubber meets the road."

I woke up with a Nyquil hangover the other day. Headache. Dizzy. It wasn't the cold I've fought off for the past few days. It was the dumb idea of taking a generous shot of Nyquil at two in the morning and then waking up at six. Los Angeles traffic has its own rhythm, but that day it was a monotone tune. It made me pensive.

If you look to your left and right while driving in the street or in one of our freeways, you'll see people driving too. But it's a snapshot of life. The further you drive away from where you live, the less likely you are of running into someone you know. Eventually, you reach the Abstract Realm; people are there who weren't there yesterday. You'll never come across the same people again. They exist only to fill the urban landscape and you wonder if they're real at all.

At Long Beach State University, I was a zombie. But as I headed for one of the Starbucks a crowd of people were all about me. The semester is not in session so this was a strange thing.

Oh. Graduation. The Commencement ceremony was that day. Students and family. It was their day. The proud wore their gowns and an assortment of regalia.

"Where the rubber meets the road," I said, but to myself.

The expression is similar to another one, "This is the moment of truth." In other words, it's time for you to perform or die. It's a little extreme, but that's how I learned it in the Army.
At the end of April, when I published Absolution, I gave myself a modest goal: Sell it to ten people who said they would buy it if you published it. I had to do that while the novel was still relatively unknown, before the start of the marketing campaign. Yesterday, I met my goal. That may seem like a very small amount, but it's the principle behind it. In my gut I know that if I can sell it to those ten, then I can turn around and sell it to a multitude of strangers.

To celebrate this, I lowered the price of the ebook version of my novel to $0.99. That's right. I'm almost paying you to read it. Also, the links work again! The paperback edition is ready at Createspace (good luck finding it on Amazon). Barnes and Noble has it in their Nook book store. Even Diesel and Kobo have it (though it will be a few days before they lower their price to $0.99).

And so, cliche, cliche muses, hear me! This is where the rubber meets the road.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hidden, a review

One of the things I wanted to do on here was talk about the books I've read. I don't mean grade them as most bloggers do, but discuss them. Of course, for other sites, like Amazon and goodreads, a star rating is required. But here, I have no use for stars. I'm not a professional reviewer. I don't do this for money. I don't even do it for free copies. One of my rules is that I review only those books that capture my imagination enough to buy.

The format will take this form: Overview; What didn't work for me; What worked for me; Conclusion.

To start with, I wanted to look at a vampire novel titled Hidden, which is the first installment in the Marchwood Vampire Series.

Author: Shalini Boland


Sixteen year old Maddy Greene and her younger brother, Ben, are alone in the world and not loving it; the foster parents are not thrilled with rebellious Maddy. When a mysterious solicitor offers them an inheritance that includes millions of (choose your nation's money) and a period property called Marchwood House, the two orphans think their troubles are over. New problems arise when they discover the vampires hidden in the cellar of their new home.

What didn't work for me:

I liked Maddy in the firs three quarters of the novel, not so much in the last quarter where she seems too dependent on Alexandre. This has to do with the romance element. I understand that she is young (and really, this helped me see her as realistically young), but part of the allure of the character is that she is so independent. That she fell so readily for Alexandre went against that, I think. And there came this point where Maddy seemed more worried about Alexandre than about Ben.

There is an enormous amount of repetition in the text. I think if we were to remove those, the novel could easily have been fifty pages lighter. One example of this is Maddy and the narrator continuously mentioning how hot Alexandre the vampire is. Thanks. I got it the first time you mentioned it.

Ben seems more like an accessory towards the end, not really contributing to the story. This is a shame because Ben is a likable character.

For most of the novel, there is a separation of point of views; one chapter, one point of view. Towards the end, the novel mixes the POV of Maddy and Alexandre within chapters so that in a few places it was chaotic. The chapter where Alexandre goes out at night to look for the threat is an example of this.

What worked for me:

Vampires. They were creepy. Very creepy. Even the ones who are friendly, like Alexandre still had this quality that spooks you. Giving them the texture of stone and some of their other qualities made this a very original take on the worn-out mythological beasts.

The pace. My god, this author had the balls to give me a slow story. I haven't read one of those in genre in forever. It was delicious to see that we took the time to appreciate the main characters in their own world before mashing them together in romance. I cannot praise this enough. Part of being an author is taking chances with some element of fiction that goes against what others have done. The author here wants to sit you down and tell you a story. There is romance. We'll get to the good stuff later, but let's build up to it, yes? And she does.

The resolution. It was a somber ending full of possibilities. I won't give it away, except to say that it wasn't what I expected. This gives the novel a true ending where other novels in a series will build up to a sequel or end with a cliffhanger (myself included in this guilty bunch).

The romance. This isn't a romance. That "a dark romance" tag is misleading, but in a good way. I only had to put up with gush for about fifty pages out of four hundred. I'm a guy. Deal with it.

The characters. Maddy is independent and pretty cool. Ben is a great addition to Maddy's life. Alexandre is
not your typical ladies' man; he actually came across as refreshingly human. And this is what drew me to them, the humanity that each showed. They weren't trying to prove anything. They were being themselves.

Themes. There is this wonderful theme of being trapped that resonates throughout the novel. Maddy and Ben are trapped by their circumstances even after they acquire a considerable amount of wealth. Alexandre too is trapped by the social rules of his age and by his vampirism. It seems that just when you think these characters will be set free, there is some element of their new circumstances that traps them. Only when they are together do they truly feel at ease and without constraint. Also, the dynamic between the characters, their interactions, were realistic enough.This was all well done. Without this element, I don't think I would have thought as highly as I did about the novel.

European! I'm American so reading the British dialogue and references to accents was a real treat for me. The European flavor of the language added a dimension to the reading experience that helped tremendously. I also gained a greater appreciation for some of the customs of that island those Brits call home.


I went into it thinking it was going to read Twilight again. This is NOT Twilight. This is by far more interesting than Twilight. But I do think that the tiny romance element may keep away those who loved the large romance element in Twilight.

Maybe the author could have spent a little more time developing that secondary plot with the solicitor, but the humongous secondary plot with the lost city and those ancient vampires is sufficient to drive the rest of the series.

Try it. You may be surprised.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I am one of the ten

I'm starting to get sick. Maybe it's a cold. A sign of this is random blog posts in the middle of the night that say things you don't want them to say. Another sign is weird dreams. I had one last night that dealt with my quixotic journey to be a successful author.

Here's how it went: I'm on campus here at Long Beach State University and I just got something from the Starbucks, a coffee let's say. On my way to find a table to sit in and write, someone walks up to me wearing a smile and says, "I am one of the ten."

It's like a shot in the gut. A genuine smile fills my face. I think I blush too. I have no words to say back to this person. There is only a dreamy sense of joy. That's when the dream ends.

What this person said is a reference to a joke I made in another blog entry, the one about the 99 cent store.

I said that before the year is out, ten people will surely buy my novel. And the person in the dream was one of the ten. Wouldn't that be something? It's just such a random thing.

I want to go to sleep but I have a mountain of work to do. If you haven't noticed, my blog tour starts next week. Here is the schedule: Schedule.

There are a ton of great things going on. Despite petty wishes and dreams, the novel is real. I have to do what I can for it. Who knows? Maybe one day you'll walk up to me and say, "I am one of the ten."


PS: Yes. I am one of the ten.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My writing habits...

My friend Anna recently posted on her blog about her writing habits. Being the parrot that I am, I decided to do the same here!

The first thing I do is find the noisiest place I can. My stomach makes these horrible noises when there is complete silence and only in complete silence; this makes it impossible to write in a library. I'm not the type of person who can write at home (except on rare occasions when, after a day of writing, I just HAVE to get something else on epaper). The idea of waking up extra early is also bothersome to me; I'm too clumsy in the morning and just stunned from being awake. So I never write before leaving home.

The place of choice for me is a Starbucks or a crowded cafeteria or even that lobby they have in the library I work in. Long Beach State has a variety of places for me to sit down and write. So, finding a noisy place is never a problem. As for silence, I like to think I carry the silence with me wherever I go. This is something that takes a while to achieve; our culture moves by so fast it doesn't understand inner peace.

I carry my writer's bag sometimes, but most of the time I need my laptop and story-notebook and my gel pens. My ipod also goes with me because I need music. When I'm very lucky, the story I'm working on has its unique  song. I have a song for Absolution, Ascension, and the third book in the Elohim Trilogy.

The actual writing takes place in the first half of the day when I'm off. I am not a word-count person. Always, I write a chapter or a sequenc--on a good day (one to three chapters); it's impossible for me to leave something half written. To preserve my hands and keep carpal tunnel away, I try to write only once per day unless the holy spirit has me and then I can't help it.

Another rule is I never write anything fresh when I work mornings or afternoons in the library. On those days I go over whatever I wrote on my off time, tightening things or expanding.

And yes, there must be coffee. If I write something in the afternoon, I drink Red Bull.

Last, if I were a word-count man, I would say I tackle about 2000 words per writing session on average or about ten pages.


For my blogging, my writing habits are slightly different. Each blog is roughly a couple of pages long. I write them out and leave them alone for a few hours, then return to them to see what I've written. Sometimes, I take a while longer. I can draft these at home or wherever (usually at night).

The time of day is important sometimes because it may be a post about what happened that day. If it's something that bothers me a bit, then I write it out and then look at it for a while. Staring at things helps or I might go out and not think about the post.

In my experience writing, magic happens when you are not thinking about your projects.


PS: I just got the second proof from Createspace. The novel thickness looks good and the cream paper is easier for me to look at. The line spacing and font size are also nice. There is one problem though. See if you can spot it:

"Book One of The Elohim Trilog"

What's a "Trilog"? Arrrrrgghhhh!!!

So, I went back to the PDF of the cover and saw the error and fixed it. For the lack one "y", an entire process is slowed! I will have to wait here and approve the proof. That was the only thing wrong with it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Summer Goals

Lately, I've had much time to consider my goals for this summer. Of course, I have to write the second installment of the Elohim Trilogy, but that's not all I want to do.

I have a previous commitment to revise a different novel, titled The Quantum of the Past. I will post things I like about it in the "Chasing the Coyote" page of this blog. That will take me a couple of months to do. I should be done by the middle of July.

Once that is complete, I will move on to the Elohim Trilogy book 2, Ascension. Drafting the novel will take me about a month and a half. This doesn't mean it will be ready then. I meant it when I said it would be ready for publishing in 2013 (and here we are in May 2012). I will explain why in a post that deals with the differences and similarities of these three terms: Revising, Editing, and Copyediting.

Before the end of summer, I have smaller projects to tackle. These are short stories, a novelette, and an outline for a different novel. All while reading. Reading is essential to my research, but probably the most painful aspect of it. You don't wanna know what I have to read this summer...

So, these are my humble goals. I hope to accomplish them in a timely manner. Keep in mind this assumes that everything else will remain constant. But things change so rarely, that's not a worry. Yeah, right!


Friday, May 11, 2012

RE: Absolution

Out of curiosity, I googled my pen name to see what came up. There were very interesting results. On the link to Goodreads, I come up as the "author of The Apotheosis of Debbie," a short story I posted for free. I would have preferred if it read, the "author of Absolution." I can live with it though. It would have bothered me if the short story and the novel were not Fraternal twins.

There are similarities in the themes and to some degree the plot. You would have to read both to understand.

Now I'm going to do something that I have not done up to this point: Talk about my novel. Absolution is a detective story, clear and simple and part of a trilogy. In it, the private detective, Ray Adams, dies in 1947 and later is brought back to life for one day to solve a gruesome and supernatural murder, and to find a missing soul. As you can see, it is mostly fantasy of the urban kind. The setting is Hollywood, our Hollywood. So, there is also that fish-out-of-water element to the story.

Genre fiction leaves open the possibility to explore our society while entertaining (fantasy and the urban setting is automatically entertaining as is the who-dunit and detective fiction). But the author of genre has to want to explore our society. This is something that Raymond Chandler knew, which is why he wrote Marlowe less like a pulp detective and more like an observer of the darkness of urban Los Angeles. Yet, while Chandler helped to pioneer this new vision of what the detective novel could become, it has not really advanced since his days. Aren't we still looking at the same cases that Marlowe solved? I won't criticize the wonderful mystery writers of today, but most refuse to explore the new types of darkness that exist in our cities. The same can be said of supernatural detective fiction.

As Chris Braak notes in this essay, the urban fantasy that features a mystery and a "hard-boiled" detective isn't necessarily noir fiction. He makes a good point too. The writers of urban fantasies mask epic fantasies with noir elements--think Frodo smoking a cigarette, running through darkened streets, instead of Middle Earth, while muttering jaded things that show his discontent with our society. The Hobbit is still carrying a ring to Mordor.

It is my reading experience that the writers of urban fantasy mysteries only caress the "urban" aspect of their writing. "Gritty" means more death. "Dark" means the bloody and graphic death of innocents (like children) or horror elements. Rarely, do they touch on what might be considered taboo. Rarely, do they touch on controversial subject matter. For example, why not have our favorite urban fantasy detective deal with a real gang like the MS 13 or the Bloods? And whenever we see a prostitute, why can't that be a male prostitute and not the clones of Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman? I mean, we never tire of seeing Indiana Jones tackle the occult nature of the Third Reich. And Nazis were some of the most controversial figures of their time.

These are the things I had in mind while writing Absolution. But it doesn't mean I wrote a sermon. I actually had fun with the idea of the sermon in the novel. I also had fun with the following observation: Just about every detective in fiction, from Spenser to Harry Dresden and Sandman Slim, mimics Marlowe (but not Sam Spade and this is an important difference). Marlowe is the do-gooder who ultimately follows his ethical code.

But Sam Spade does not. Had the Maltese Falcon actually contained the bejeweled, golden bird, I don't think Spade would have turned the others in to the police. But it does not and he betrays his co-conspirators. He actually plays on the side of the bad guys a while. And that speech he gives to Miss O'Shaughnessy seems like it's meant more for him, to bring him back to the side of the law. Yet, he has time and time again crossed the line of morality; he womanizes (which was a big moral no-no back then), going so far as to sleep with his partner's wife; he actually has in mind his own self-interests, like becoming rich even if it means screwing others over.

Is Ray Adams Marlowe or Spade? This is a real question that I had to answer as I wrote Absolution. But here I had fun with it too. I had so much fun writing this novel. Adams becomes his own man thanks to them.

In the end, my novel may be just as good as other detective novels and the writing may be as effective too (this is for you to decide). It is not my job to qualify the writing or to declare the novel "good" or to assure you that you'll love it. I don't know if you will. My guess is that some of you will like it and some of you won't. Hopefully, enough of you will like it to justify publishing a second novel. If not, I will write it for me and my friends.

But, I've rambled on enough...


My Busy Week...

Here at Long Beach State University, things are getting very stressful. The semester is at an end. It's time to dust off the textbooks for final examinations. Beer must disappear if only momentarily. Coffee pots stir to life. The routine is monotone. But not in all places. Take a look at this new sign posted at the entrance to our library:

I know what you are thinking. What a sorry state you must be in if you have to bring your living room set to the library for a study session. But stress does funny things to you. My stress level has been very low lately. The main sources of stress for me are all but handled. Now there is time to get back to that Vampire novel that keeps giving me reason to like Vampires again. It's time to reclaim my pantoufles from the dog.Tuesday I shall be free, as far as school goes anyhow.

As you may or may not know, my novel is only available on Amazon and Smashwords. No Barnes and Noble and no Createspace. Ugh...

I hope to fix this situation this coming week. Smashwords finally accepted Absolution into their Premium Catalogue, which means that soon it will be available on the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, etc. Next week I will approve the second Proof from Createspace and have my novel on their website once and for the price of $8.99. Again, the price will remain at $2.99 until the beginning of the book tour on the 28th, which is Memorial Day. What a day to start a tour! On that day, I will lower the price to $0.99.

Of course, if you want to make my day, help yourself to it. I know, maybe you don't have a Kindle. It's okay. I can wait with you.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Los Links!

I still remember that Microsoft commercial advertising the Bing service. It had a mock Mexican soap opera where the bad guy used Google to find a restaurant. Alas! He failed and the gallant macho man entered the scene (mounted on a horse no less), found the necessary information on Bing, and stole the bad guy's women.

I don't know what the fuss was about. Bing has links too.

And speaking of links... You may or may not have noticed that this website changed a little. If you look at the right hand side of your screen there is a place where it says "Buy My Books." Don't see it? Just brush the cobwebs from the screen or dust it or remove the sticky notes (I know it's a good place to put them); I promise you it's there.

Now is a good time to discover it. I added more links to it. :-)

There is a link to Amazon and a link to where you can buy the paperback and even a link to Smashwords since they carry every ebook format (and when they get their heads out of their asses they'll distribute them to Barnes and Noble and the iBookstore!). Oh, and if you see the Amazon link but not the others, just let the mouse wander just below that first link. They're there, but they're a tad shy.

So, try them. Amuse yourself with clicking those silly links. Some of you are at work and looking for something to do (I know your habits!) Make you and me happy.



Apparently this was a day of links! I befriended several writers on Facebook and after they accepted my humble invitation, they greeted me with...links to their books! WTF and LOL. This is no joke. It really made me laugh to see them do that.

Unfortunately, I had to modify one of the links up top before it had time to mature. The link to Createspace, which sells my paperback is kaput.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Ever since I posted about the price of the paperback ($12.00), the stink of guilt was about me. No one should have to pay that much for a paperback. Bartholomew, who you've come to know as the sum of my friends and co-workers, brought this to my attention too. He's a cheap bastard, but this time he had a point. And because I like to bend over backwards for my--cough--readers, I went back and changed the 392 pages of the old paperback to 274. It was no easy feat since it meant I had to reformat that thing again. Yikes! Oh, how my fingers ache!

At least this will allow me to set the price at $8.99 per paperback. Not bad, eh?

Sadly, it won't be available yet since I have to redo the cover to fit a thinner book and then wait for the Createspace people to review it before they mail me another proof.  And then some of you will buy it and admire it and its flaws. It surely has flaws. But each flaw is proof that I slaved over the damn thing for hours and hours.


Friday, May 4, 2012


Not everyone owns a Kindle or iPad or Nook. For them, I created a paperback edition of Absolution. I just need to approve the proof Createspace sent me today.

1) I didn't like the white paper and will most likely change it to cream.
2) I love the way the cover looks.
3) The font and line spacing is maybe larger than I wanted, but it doesn't look like Large Print.
4) I don't like the price.

Unfortunately, this will cost $12.00 to purchase (plus shipping and handling or maybe not if you go through Amazon); if I had gone with, the price would be much more. If you don't want a paperback, but don't own any of the ereaders I mentioned above, there is also a PDF version on sale at Smashwords (or you can get the free Kindle and Nook apps for Mac and PC). But, if you don't mind sparing a few dollars more for a starving artist...

I'll say this: There were butterflies in my stomach when I held that paperback. It's so frail. I looked through the pages wondering how many mistakes I would catch. No silliness now. I love this proof and its flaws.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Louis Corsair

I have an affinity for names. I am Shakespeare's "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Long ago, I debated with myself about what constituted my identity. Who am I? Was it my cultural background? Was it my nationality? Was it my race? Was it my job or status as a soldier? Was it the place I lived in or was born in? The philosophical question led me to this, among other conclusions: I am not a name. This leaves open a few playful possibilities. One of them is a lack of attachment to my birth name, which allows me to use other names. Louis Corsair is a name I chose for myself in or about 2006, maybe 2007 when, for the first time, I was a part of a writer's workshop.

It doesn't mean I'm a pirate or aspire to be one.

When I came up with the name I attended Santa Monica College. The school's nickname is "The Corsair" and its students are the Corsairs. I was a Corsair too, a Louis Corsair. Yes, my school spirit was that great. But keep in mind that I attended Santa Monica College immediately after I left the military. Months before my release date, one of my good friends had sold me on the idea of going to the school that was by the beach in Santa Monica. So, I was excited and proud.

You may be wondering if I don't have the same type of love for Long Beach State University, where I study now. Well, that's more complicated. But the main reason is this: The school's nickname is "the Forty-Niners," a reference to the California Gold Rush, and their mascot is a Popeye-looking fellow who is one of these miners. The students are the Forty-Niners. I am a Forty-Niner too. You see the problem?

"Louis Forty-Niner" just doesn't have the same ring that "Louis Corsair" has. And there would be awkward guesses as to what the "Forty-Niner" in my name was a reference to. I'll stick with Louis Corsair. Call that my prejudice.


They told me to smile...

I am something of a serious fellow--confused most of the time, but serious. So, when I posted a photograph of me on my goodreads account, this was what I thought would come through. Serious. I was a little baffled when some of my friends told me things about the photograph... Was it a mugshot? Was I depressed? Was I a sloth? The last thing that came across was "writer." That was the point, right? To put up a photograph of the author of Absolution so everyone could see. And honestly, when I looked through the array of self-published author photographs, they all had that one thing in common. Yes. My friends and some of my co-workers had mentioned it.

They told me to smile.

You have dimples! Show off the dimples! I posted a new photograph of me; a rare one showing me smile (my smile?). It was taken on the day of my best friend's church wedding, which ironically only lasted a few months. We laugh about it now. You can too.

So, there I am in the photograph, smiling and in a suit and tie. I'm sure the eight people who buy my book this year will appreciate it. That was a joke. The combination of my friends, coworkers and family should get me at least ten people. Franny, who will handle my book tour, should buy one too. But I paid the woman already so she would be using my money to buy my book. It wouldn't be the same somehow. Call it superstition.

But hey, after this silly post, I am smiling. A real smile. It's past midnight. My novel has officially gone on sale.