Thoughts fall out before the head explodes!
Friday, June 29, 2012
It's Been Awhile
Well.. looks like me and my dear sister, Drena, haven't really been on..
I do apologize.
With school and everything that happened with our father, we've been I guess... distracted. Then summer starting, we were doing things with friends, going places and such. Though, there have been times I've gone to get on, then couldn't think of anything to say so, I didn't.
You see, I write poetry. Nothing sweet and lovey, nothing happy. Mostly depressing, twisted things of pain and betrayal because for some reason, it's what comes to me easiest. My father and sister wrote.. stories, poems, lots of things.. and sadly, I do not believe that it's a talent I picked up. Then again, I am only fourteen. So maybe, just maybe.. it will come to me in due time.
I hope the people who got to read my Father's work are not let down. I will try my hardest to do as well as him and Drena.
Oh, and update, by the way.
My sibling, mother and I are all doing fine. We've been a lot better in the past few months, though I am betting we're all be worse off when the anniversary of my father's passing comes around..
I will try to get on more and post, and will inform my sister to do the same.
-posted by Nobius 11:11 AM # Comments (0)
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Blank page. Zero words. No thought.
What to write, what to write...
Hmm.. a story?
A short one that ends somewhere good, leaving people wanting more?
Or maybe a long, complicated one with more complicated details?
How about an experience, an update on life?
No, no.. that won't do..
I have the perfect idea...
How about... a poem?
They paint her up,
Make her pretty,
It's time for a show,
In another big city.
Wearing a smile,
This had gotten old,
After a while.
It's only the beginning,
And fans scream her name,
They cannot see,
That she's hiding great pain.
Drugs in her system,
Her strengths wearing out,
In comes disparage.
The light are off,
The fame now dies,
Fake smiles disappear,
And she can cry.
The life she lives,
She does not want,
Her best friend, a knife,
Now becoming so blunt.
That mask they painted,
Onto her skin,
Now washes down the drain,
Won't be worn again.
Tonight is the night,
She calls the shots,
The show she has planned,
Won't be forgot.
She's hurt and weak
Has no hope,
She's at the end,
Of her very short rope.
She took all the pills,
And turned off the lights,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
She bids you good-night.
-posted by Nobius 10:10 PM # Comments (0)
Friday, September 23, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Memories Make Progress
The writer sits at her desk, staring at the screen. It isn't supposed to be this way. 'Any minute now,' she thinks to herself ' he will walk through that door, smiling and laughing.' She knows the truth but pushes it out of her mind. She takes a sip of her coffee, cold, bitter. She never real had a taste for it, but it was the same can he had left unused for so long. She smirks, remembering the rare times that he would make coffee before she was off to school. He was writing those mornings. She could tell. The screen was lit up with words like others would light Christmas trees.
Even now those words meant more than Christmas to her.
Even now reality hasn't hit her. She can feel it. It's Wednesday. He'll be home at 6:30, here to pick up one of her siblings. She could go, if she really wanted to. Now she wishes she did. They'll take the dog for a walk while she sits, staring at the screen and willing her words to flow like his. She reminds herself that his words are gone, and they won't come back. They won't flow from her pen quite as smoothly as they had his, but she will try. Try to piece together the words that do not fit right, irregular, jagged.
Her sister comes to sit beside her, resting her head on her shoulder. The touch is warm, almost unwanted, but now is not the time for rejection. She strokes her sister's mess of curls, the bump in her nose just like his. But he is gone, she reminds herself, looking back at the screen. He is gone and there is no way to bring him back. She stares at her sister. Her sister stares back. Within the seconds of eye contact is a lifetime of understanding. She sighs, pulling back her hair, putting her fingers to the keys. Nobius Black, deceased. In his place now, his two finest prodigies- Alyss and Drena Black.
-posted by Nobius 12:00 AM # Comments (5)
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This is a Takover
It shouldn't take this long to sync a simple device. I think that to myself as I watch the circle spin. There. There we go. Now I can listen in peace, no one complaining about the traumatic shift between my beloved Manson and NevershoutNever! in peace. I believe an introduction is in order, for this is, after all, a takeover.
Drena Black, pleased to make your acquaintance. You may not have heard of me, or maybe you have, as another person, another life. But as time changes so do we, and the time has come for me to follow in my father's footsteps. Gone is Nobius Black, who shall be sorely missed. But alas, who could stand to see White Rabbit Black Hole die? Not I, surely not I. So here I am to claim what's been rightfully given to me- the gift of word. What falls from the pen does not so easily the tongue. Words can bend, they can twist, and they speak to me, lovingly caressing the page.
There is another who joins me on my quest. Alyss Black, my sister, my confidant, my partner in crime. She may be young, younger than I, but she has the potential that our father has nurtured in us since birth. A dash of lunacy, a sprinkle of word craft, and we are made, the outsiders of tomorrow. The young and the fallen, the best and the worst. We are the Daughters Black, and we're here to stay.
Drena Laine Black
-posted by Nobius 5:49 PM # Comments (1)
Thursday, June 02, 2011
On the ninth day Seer confessed, "The Fields are about to fall." I felt the seismic shift, hard like a freight train. "But where will we land?" I asked. "On the sky, the sun, the stars and gods. Elysia falls upwards. Downwards is for lesser lands."
-posted by Nobius 9:01 PM # Comments (0)
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Calliope Nerve Interview Series: Keith Pascal
Keith, tell us about your book Coin Snatching: The Reputation Builder? Why is it important?
It covers two topics and appeals to two audiences: Coin Snatching teaches, of course, how to snatch and switch one coin for another in a participant's hand, but it also explores subtle ways of building one's reputation. If you have ever wanted to shine in your "group," this is the way to do it without bragging. You won't even come across as a showoff.
The book appeals to magicians (jugglers and bartenders, too), and it also helps martial artists and fighters. There are chapters on how to speed your punches (through coin snatching and other drills), and also a chapter or two on how to eliminate "telegraphing." A telegraph is an extra movement that tells your opponent what you are about to do.
I'd say that's pretty important, wouldn't you? :-)
(Sorry for the pitch.)
You're an experienced magician and martial artist. Can you tell us about both?
I have other hobbies, but these turned into professions, at various points in my life. In each case, I had some pretty fantastic mentors ... an original Bruce Lee student, one of the top ten card magicians in the world in the 1970s, and others.
Now, as a writer in both genres, I get to rub elbows with the best martial artists (practical-application fighters) and the most skilled magicians.
What inspires you to write?
I could take the easy way out and just say that I have always wanted to be a published author of books, which is true, but it's not the whole picture:
Actually, nowadays, it's more about my desire to teach. I was a high school teacher for 12 years, and a very successful one, if I might be so bold as to opine. Unfortunately, teaching conditions kept getting worse; at one point, I had 237 students.
Note: In one of my classes, there were 51 students, but only 36 desks. The principal came in to watch the class, at my request. He said I was doing a great job teaching foreign language. I felt more like a babysitter. And at home, spending just 2 minutes per student paper would keep me up until 1 am, nightly. I'm not complaining, but it was grueling, and I had a toddler that I wanted to interact with, more than teaching would allow.
After writing my first book, while still teaching, I realized that I could teach in a much larger "classroom" with books. It became an opportunity to reach many more than the 237 that I dealt with almost daily.
How did you become an author? How many books have you written?
I tend to write about what I know: I started there. I understand martial arts, and I understand magic. In both genres, I feel that I have something unique to offer.
Once I started hunt-and-pecking the keyboard, I never looked back.
How many books have I written? Difficult question.
Some are out of print, like Wrist Locks in hardcover (collector's edition, now ... not worth what it sells for on Amazon), and The Punch Papers. And I have a ton of smaller ebooklets ... and maybe 1700 articles, overall.
Here's a small blurb that I included with a recent query to a literary agent:
In print, I have Control Your Fear: A Guide For Martial Artists (soft cover, 2010), Wrist Locks: From Protecting Yourself to Becoming an Expert -- Revised and Updated (soft cover, 2008), Tiptoeing to Tranquility: The Parable for Finding Safety and Comfort in Dangerous Times (soft cover, 2006), and Coin Snatching: The Reputation Builder (hardcover, 2005).
I am also the author of several ebooks -- End the Fight with One Hit (2009), The Punch eCourse (Five Volumes, 2007), Secrets of Teaching Martial Arts More Effectively, (2005). Other current self-defense titles and a list of published magic projects are available on request.
I have built platforms in both the worlds of magic and martial arts. I write and edit one of the longest-running, martial-arts newsletters online (Martial Arts Mastery). There are over 43,000 subscribers to my martial-arts and magicians lists.
Also, you’ll find hundreds of my articles published all over the Net. For example, ezinearticles.com, arguably the most influential article directory, has posted over 300 of my articles. Some have been published in off-line magazines, too.
What techniques do you use to market yourself and your books?
I market mostly to my lists; so, I spend a lot of time list building. I write articles, and also post little how-to videos on Youtube and other video sites. I also distribute free ebooklets that have occasionally gone viral. These martial-arts "teasers" have links pointing to my sales pages.
I also spend a little time with Search Engine Optimization, and even less time posting to discussion fora.
I should do more ... getting better at it, every day.
What tips do you have for those wanting to be full time authors, etc?
Build a platform. Get the audience first. Find out what your readers are hungry for, then give it to them.
Make sure your genre is big enough to support you. For example, writing books only about collectible toys that feature "The Cat in the Hat" might not make you the kind of living you'd want. You might have to expand your expertise to all toys in the Dr. Seuss Theme. And expanding into other toy genres might help in the long run, too.
It's a fine, and fun, line between choosing too narrow of a topic and too broad of one.
Why do you write?
They say to do what you love, and the money will follow. Well, I love to figure out the best ways to teach people "how." It doesn't matter "how-to what." I just want to explore the best way to help others achieve a particular goal.
Writing seems to be the answer.
I also write to entertain. I'd really like to get some fiction published, too. Unfortunately, after over 100 queries, some bites, and one famous agent who never got around to pitching the manuscript to editors, my juvenile fiction is back in the drawer.
Still, I am not one to give up. I'll try with another manuscript ... maybe in the Fall.
My first goal was to build an audience of over 10,000 subscribers. Now, I have 43,000.
My next goal was to get more than three books in print — accomplished, and still writing.
My current goal is to earn enough with my writing to get my wife out of teaching. When I accomplish that, I'll have reached my "next level of success."
Then onward and upward.
What's on your recommended reading list?
All my books, of course. Just kidding ... sort of (depending on your interests).
In the world of writing and self publishing, I like Peter Bowerman.
For serious magicians, I like anything Lee Asher. I am also a fan of Aaron Fisher's Paper Engine. Add Michael Ammar and David Regal into the mix and you have a fun set of books to provide hours of practice.
In the area of martial arts, I like some of the books by Loren Christensen and anything edited by or written by John Little.
Actually, I read about four to five books a week, including business books, so it's hard to make specific recommendations without knowing someone's interest.
How do you feel about publishing/reading tech today? (i.e. Blogging, ebooks, LULU, on demand publishing, I-Pad... etc.) How do you feel technology effects readers and publishers? Will e-books replace the real thing?
I haven't jumped on board Kindle or Nook yet, but I have been selling ebooks on CD-ROM through Amazon for years. From my sites, I sell more downloads than printed books, even though I prefer to have real paper in my hot little hands.
If you ask me if I am Team Nook or Team Book, I am definitely Team BOOK ... but I do keep a few ebooks loaded on my ipod.
Blogging? I have a blog (kerwinbenson.com). Truthfully, I think there are a lot of people who have been told to create a blog, but don't really have anything to say. The Internet is a world full of self-proclaimed experts.
Note: I have bowed out of many a group online, because we were all experts. Nobody wanted to learn; they (we) all wanted to lend opinions to others. Ugh.
Why is the small press important?
It keeps me in business.
For example, I couldn't find representation for Tiptoeing to Tranquility: The Parable for Finding Safety and Comfort in Dangerous Times. So, I self published it.
Now, I bet there are a few companies that wish they had the rights ... to pitch it to police department community programs ... to offer instruction to mothers and daughters ... and to provide an inexpensive gift to martial artists who want to give something to help keep their non-martial-arts loved ones safe.
For me, small publishing and self publishing are what keep me afloat.
Do you consider yourself prolific?
Believe in writer's block?
Not at all. I'm serious.
I sit down everyday, and I write. It doesn't matter if it's good or crap; it can be edited later.
My mother once berated me, when I said that I wanted to be a writer. I think I was 16 years old. She said, "You don't want to be a writer. Writers write. If you wanted to be a writer, you'd write!"
She was write ... I mean ... "right."
Now, I love it. The act of writing really is an old friend.
What's next for Keith Pascal?
This summer, I am branching out into two genres ... one is dog training, with a twist.
The other is ... a secret. Both will explore mixed media.
I'm also working on more magic books ... one is a parable.
I'm still writing martial arts ... the next one has some "Keith Variations" on three martial-arts principles. I've never seen these variations anywhere else, before.
And I'd like to find an agent for some "bigger audience" scripts I have.
-posted by Nobius 12:37 AM # Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Calliope Nerve Interview Series: Kenneth Weene
Ken, tell us about your books Widow's Walk and Memoirs From The Asylum? Why are they important?
There are lots of books which are great to read but are not important. They hold our interest and keep us laughing or guessing. However, they do not get us to really think. To me books should be both good reads and important; they should get the little gray cells working.
I try to write books that are both good reads and important.
In “Widow’s Walk” I ask the reader to think about religion and spirituality, about the conflict between personal desire and responsibility, and even about what God wants from us. It is an important book. Is it also a good read? The folks who have reviewed it certainly seem to think so. It is a good story peopled with interesting and realistic characters with whom the reader can empathize.
The characters in “Memoirs From the Asylum” are even more compelling. They – staff and inmates alike – are caught in the world of the asylum. Yes, it is a psychiatric hospital, but it is also a metaphor for the ways in which people hide from reality. This is a novel that finds its roots in existentialism and in the terror we all feel as we consider real freedom.
“Memoirs From the Asylum” is written in a tragi-comedic voice. I believe that we cannot face such a momentous issue if we cannot recognize the inherent humor that is part of the human dilemma.
For those who look for unifying themes within a writer’s work, I should add that the tragi-comedic perspective continues a very important idea in “Widow’s Walk.” If we are to cope with the underlying angst that is being human, we must hold a notion of life’s purpose. If, as the characters in “Widow’s Walk do, we look to God for that notion, then we must ask ourselves about God’s sense of humor.
Of course, when people read both books, I hope they will share their thoughts that are elicited with me.
How do your create buzz for a book? (How do you promote your work?)
For one thing, I do interviews like this one. I also do any radio shows I can. I am very active on social media, and I offer to write guest blogs. One thing that is very important in my efforts is getting stories and poems published since such publication means people read my work and may want to find more.
One thing that sets me apart is that I don’t have a blog of my own. Why not? Because the people who read a writer’s blog already know that writer. The goal has to be to get new exposure.
My publisher, All Things That Matter Press, is very encouraging of a mutual effort among its writers. Although we are from all over the world, we are friends through an Internet group. We support one another in many ways. For example, I will mention many of the books whenever the opportunity comes up. Incidentally, I have met three of the other ATTMP authors in real life, and they have been every bit as delightful as I could have wished.
Why do you write?
You might ask why I breathe. It is just a part of who I am. I get up in the morning and spend some time at the computer. (My handwriting is so bad that using a pencil is generally counterproductive.) I don’t set a time limit or writing goal for the day; I just let myself go and try to enjoy the process. Some days I work at editing and correcting. Some days I can get huge chunks of writing done. Perhaps the best days are the ones on which I write just some small bit but a bit that really makes me happy.
How did you become an author?
As a kid I loved to read. By fourth or fifth grade I had ideas of becoming a writer. Being a “good” child, I didn’t grow up to be a writer. It wasn’t until the end of my professional career that I decided it was time to go do what I had always wanted.
I started writing some poetry and a few short stories. I even had some essays published in local papers, did readings, put together some chapbooks. However, I couldn’t get to the next level. I realized there was a problem in my psyche. My father had never been very supportive, and my internalized father-imago was standing in the way. I knew that I had to deal with that block before the old man died.
Having retired and moved from the East to Arizona, I decided I had to force the issue with myself. With my wife’s support, I put together an anthology of my stuff and published it with one of those pay-your-own-way houses. I called it “Songs For My Father.” When I gave him his copy, I felt a great sense of freedom. Once “Songs” was actually on Amazon and people were reading it, I knew that I had reached my goal. Since then not only “Widow’s Walk” and “Memoirs From the Asylum,” but also many short stories and poems have found their way into the literary world. Wow! I’m a writer.
What other careers have you had besides writing? How does your background affect your work?
I have to own up; I’m trained as a shrink. I practiced as a psychologist for years. I have also taught at the college level (and one year in middle school).
I should mention that I’m also an ordained minister in a small Protestant denomination, The Congregational Church of Practical Theology. Our denomination is primarily concerned with providing pastoral counselors.
What inspires you to write?
There are always two inspirations that come together when I actually produce something. The first is a story idea (or for poetry a metaphor idea). The second is the larger questions that I want to address. For example, the relationship between fear and freedom that I explore in “Memoirs From the Asylum.”
Believe in writer's block?
In my experience there are two kinds of writer’s block in my mind. The first is the kind of neurotic issue that I had to confront by putting together “Songs For My Father.” Often I will run into moments of self-doubt; the psyche is not an easy opponent.
The second kind of writer’s block has to do with working oneself into a corner and not seeing a way to resolve something. I have a book started and on which I have been blocked. The title is “Remembrance of Things Present.” It involves a science fiction book within the larger novel. The principle character of the novel is a writer looking back on his life, and that science fiction book was his great success. The problem was that I needed to have a clearer idea of how that science fiction book mirrored the issues in the larger work. Recently, I had an epiphany; I see how the book will work.
Fortunately, I have a three-week stay at the Writers’ Colony in Arkansas coming up this fall. I plan to use that time to get a lot of “Remembrance” done.
What tips do you have for budding authors?
Write, write, and write.
Find a group of writers where you can share. Don’t be afraid of criticism, but rather relish it. The best of those groups are honest. It is also best if you read your work out loud in the meetings.
Be sure to have an editor, somebody to check your work once you think it’s finished and before you try to publish it. I have had occasion to judge books for prizes and to review them for various settings. It always amazes me that so many of them have not been edited. By the way a good editor goes beyond grammar and such; your editor should make sure that your voice is consistent, that your logic works, and that you don’t somehow lose the reader’s attention.
What's on your recommended reading list?
I can only suggest a few books that I have recently read that have kept me thinking about what I want to achieve as a writer and what I think good writing is about.
Tim O’Brien; The Things They Carried
Paul Harding; Tinkers
Jose Saramago; Blindness (even in translation a great work)
Of course I love many of the classics. Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Faulkner, Steinbeck. You get the idea. I also like to read and attend plays. I love good dialog and try to write it. Becket, Pirandello, Lorca, Miller, and Brecht are among my favorites. I also read poetry regularly. If I had to pick a few poets, I’d go with Thomas, Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, and Milton.
In case your wondering I don’t recommend too much Shakespeare or the Victorian novelists because they tend to bring out the verbose in us. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they write beautifully.
Last, of course an aspiring writer should read Weene.
How do you feel about publishing/reading tech today? (i.e. Blogging, ebooks, LULU, on demand publishing, I-Pad... etc.) How do you feel technology affects readers and publishers? Will e-books replace the real thing?
Most of this is stuff I avoid thinking about. However, I do have an opinion about e-books. I prefer print. More importantly, I love bookstores. It is so terribly difficult to browse in a world without actual physical books. Also, I think from the selling point the quality of covers can help tremendously. All Things That Matter Press has done dynamite covers for me. When people see them, they pick the books up and look inside.
One nice thing from an author’s point of view about e-books is that they can’t be resold or gifted – at least it can be set up that way. This means that we are likely to get more royalties. Of course the actual size of royalties is usually minuscule.
Why is the small press important?
I don’t think too much of self-publishing. Why not? Because the products are often poor quality – especially poor editing. That is why many review sites and contests won’t accept self-published work. A good small press will make sure there is a decent product. The publisher should have skin in the game. For example by providing editing and cover design. If they expect you to pay for those services, you are simply self-publishing and doing it in a way that will even more severely limit your royalties.
One problem with small presses is that they seldom can place your books in stores and cannot offer marketing campaigns.
What's next for Ken Weene?
I’ve already mentioned “Remembrance of Things Present.” There are two other novels that are close to publication.
“Tales Form The Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town” is set in a bar in Albuquerque, I town in which I have spent three nights. It is about people at the bottom of the social ladder, not bums and homeless so much as those who are hanging on for dear life and trying to find social connectedness and a sense of family. This one is ready to go.
“Time To Try the Soul of Man” is a combined conspiracy and coming-of-age novel set in New York City during 2000 – 2001. Yes, it is in part about 9/11, but it about much more. It is In part my paean to newspapers, and it is also about lust, greed, and the seamy side of life. I am currently working on the rewrite; after that comes the editor. (I hire one before I send my work to the publisher; then they get to do their editing. Makes for a better product.)
Meanwhile, the short stories and poetry continue to flow. I just can’t resist the urge to keep writing and publishing.
-posted by Nobius 12:16 AM # Comments (1)
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Alice was scared. Her mumbling barely audible. "They're watching us. Watching us."
I asked the simple question, "Who?"
"Our other selves..," she said, "the Eyes have it."
For the first time in my life and the second time in this book, I was afraid.
-posted by Nobius 9:21 PM # Comments (0)
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Analyzing Apparitions by Felino Soriano
Calliope Nerve Media is proud to announce our first chapblog: Felino Soriano's Analyzing Apparitions of an Excavated XXIV.
-posted by Nobius 5:46 PM # Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011