Friday, October 30, 2009

Coincidence #2 What are the friggin' odds?

Is it merely a coincidence or was it destiny unfulfilled. I have no idea, but the story is great.
I was doing basic training for the Army National Guard in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. One day in the cafeteria, another soldier that was from New Orleans had his girlfriend and her friend Keri visiting and he was introducing them to everyone. I had met her briefly and that was that.

After I was back in New Orleans, I was starting my first semester at UNO and found myself on the third floor in my Spanish class. I sat next to this girl and before the teacher arrived, we began talking and found ourselves on the subject of the Army and I discovered that this was Keri, the girl that I had met that day. What are the odds that I would sit next to her?

We talked every day for about two weeks before I found out that I was sitting in the WRONG Spanish class. I should have been on the first floor and I had to leave her class. If I had sat in the right class, I would have never met her again.

I liked her and wanted to date her but she had a boyfriend. We stayed friends, meeting up at the campus bar to drink between classes. She was one of the coolest, funniest people I knew. I mean, wipe away tears funny.

A semester or two after that, my friends and I decided to go to Astro World in Houston just for the hell of it. One night we went out to a club and as I was scoping the chicks and I practically ran into Keri and her date. It turned out that her mother lived in Houston and she was visiting and we happened to run into each other. Okay, what are the odds that we would both be in Houston and go to the same bar! I’ve seen this girl in three different states at this point. Crazy.

The following Spring Break, I go to Fort Walton, Florida. Keri and I had lost touch at this point, so I had no idea what she was up to. One night, I’m running down the hallway of my hotel (I’ve been drinking) and when I turn the corner, there is Keri. Four states! Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. Not only were we both in Florida, we were at the same hotel! We were in disbelief. I found out that she had moved to Houston to live with her mother and even though we were both single, the timing still wasn’t right.

The very last time we saw each other, I was mobilized for the Gulf War and had to do some training in Foot Hood, Texas. I got a hold of Keri and for the five or so months that I was stationed there, we managed to get together on several weekends and when the war ended, it was all over, Keri and I were over.

At the time, I did wish it could have worked out, but long distance things usually don’t and if really was destiny, then this story would have a different ending. The final coincidence isn’t as dramatic, but we both ended up married and living in neighboring states, Illinois and Ohio. Oh, well.

Coincidence story #1

I love strange, out of the ordinary coincidences.

My very first job was at the Thom McCann shoe store in the Plaza in New Orleans East. I was sixteen years old and they had me working in the warehouse. I was doing such a fine job that they allowed me to integrate myself onto the floor as a salesman and since I was especially good with kids, they gave me all of them.

I was working this girl that I developed a crush on. I’ll call her Tanya Kelly. It took me weeks to work up the courage to ask her out. She was around twenty, much older than me relatively speaking and I know I came off as a pizza-faced nervous teen, but I managed to ask her to a movie without throwing up and she turned me down and I scampered off with my tail between my legs.

Fast forward to Winn-Dixie. I must have been nineteen or twenty and my acne had cleared up and I was working out, so I had gained a little more confidence over the years. I ended up asking out the older sister of Tanya Kelly. Her name was Jessica Kelly. I believe Jessica was around 27 years old and she accepted and we did go out. Did I have a thing for older chicks? Not really, if they were cute and legal, I was interested.

On one of our dates, we stopped off at her parent’s house to get something and I had the opportunity to meet them. They were dressed up in some kind of Mardi Gras-hippie getup and were on their way to a costume party. It was a fantastic first impression.

Okay, fast forward to the following semester at the University of New Orleans. My friend and I were taking a Geology course and who was the professor? Martin Kelly, the father. I leaned over to my friend and told him that I had dated this guy’s daughter. As a joke, my friend told me to drop the class. Mr. Kelly then looked up to me and nodded and I waved back. I didn’t think he’d remember me having met just once, but he did.

I think I got a B in that class.

PS – I also working with his son at the same Winn-Dixie.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comic Collecting led to writing

I was trying to think back to when I first got interested in writing and it seems it all comes down to Marvel comic books. My best friend Pat lived around the corner from me in New Orleans East and as early as I can remember, probably around eight or nine years old, we began collecting comics back in the 1970’s.

The first thing we did was set up our collecting rules. We each chose our favorites like we were each picking for a football game. I chose Captain America first and Pat chose Daredevil. I chose Hulk and he chose Avengers and so on. Little did I know that Pat picked all of the good ones and I got the not so good ones. His prize collection? X-men. My prize comic from this entire endeavor? Hulk 181 with the first appearance of Wolverine.

So, the next obvious thing to do was to start drawing our own comics, which meant writing them, too. I must say, we both became quite good artists. I was so into it that art was my major when I went to college, eventually going into graphic design. Writing was only a hobby at this point - short stories and the attempted novel. But the comic book writing had been the fantastic part. I’d assemble of group of superheroes, male and female and give them villains to fight as well as their own personal shit they had to work through. We were sure we’d work at Marvel Comics in New York.

Comics were a major part of our lives. I remember constantly riding our bikes to the K&B to purchase our new issues. We would put our valuable comics in plastic bags with cardboard backers and then we discovered an older kid on my block that also collected. He was about five or six years older than us with long hair and a beautiful girlfriend and he became sort of a hero to us.

Over time, it was less about the stories and more about completing the collections and purchasing the valuable ones. Once Pat and I lost touch, I sold most of my comics, keeping the best ones, about 100 in all. I sometimes pull them out and relive those glory days, when caring about comics meant you had no cares in the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Add a little sex...

This blog entry is a little blah, so I’ve decided to pepper in a little sex with it.

I’ve been trying to alternate my blogs about writing and about New Orleans. It’s getting difficult to update my journey to being published, as there is nothing going on. It’s a waiting game. My publisher has my manuscript and they will contact me when they are ready with the edits. What I have been doing is working on the follow up novel and checking my phone every so often for calls I may have missed and telling my friends that there’s nothing new to report.


It’s been a little hard to motivate myself to write. I feel like this should be a stepping back period, but there’s the anxiety of having my next book ready. So, what do I do to motivate myself? I read a good book and when I put it down, I find myself wanting to get on the computer and start tapping away.


I just finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and I have mixed reviews on it, but it did inspire me. Of course, I don’t write about that kind of subject, but I do love the historical facts, the religious aspects and, of course, the chase.


So, now I’m ready to write again, but I’m pretty sure that my next few blogs will concern New Orleans or Chicago or subjects pertaining and not necessarily my writing.

S-S-S-Sex, sex, sexy sex!

Man, this is a really boring blog entry.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Those days are gone…

My Maw Maw and Paw Paw (grandparents) used to live in a double shotgun house in Gentilly (a suburb of New Orleans) and my Maw Maw’s sister lived on the other side of her. Across the street from them was her other three sisters, living next door to each other in their own double. My grandmother was one of 13 children and at any part of the day at any time of the year, you could find them sitting on their porches bullshitting.

People would walk up and people would leave, rotating to keep the conversation alive. Most would get a beer or go out for sno-balls and talk about things relevant or inconsequential. It didn’t matter.

I was a child back in the 1970’s, but going to their house meant chocolate and it meant dollar bills. It meant great home cooked New Orleans food and I remember the mellatons on the vine in their backyard.

Sometimes my Dad would take me around the corner to the barbershop where there were Penthouse and Playboys mixed in with the regular magazines. I thought I was slick in hiding them inside other mags, but later I realized that they knew. They had to have.

When I grew into my late teens, my visits were less as I had more important social issues, but one particular memory sticks in my head of bringing a girl I had just started dating to my grandmother’s house and my Aunt Myrtle offered us a couple of Miller Ponies and when I refused, saying that I was driving, she called me a sissy – right in front of the girl I was trying to impress.

I do miss those days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Early P.O.D. Experience

While I was still new to Chicago back in the mid 90’s, I found an ebook site that wanted to publish my book as a POD. At the time, I thought this was my break. Print On Demand was a growing business and was going to revolutionize the publishing industry. Finally, the rejected masses had a course of action!

My book sucked and I realize this now, but back then, I thought I had something. I had called it PARALLEL WITH MORALITY and it wasn’t edited properly and the storyline wasn’t good, but it was a book I wrote and I had high hopes.

So, I met the staff of this company as they bought space at the Book Expo America in Chicago and they were great people, my publisher. Well, I got a few copies of my book and the cover was terrible (I designed it myself on the fly, not giving myself any options) and soon after all of this, the company went under. I had to start from scratch.

I put that book aside and started another novel and this one, built on the experience of the first one, was a lot better. And this time, I had other people read and edit it and over the years of my trying to get it published, it continued to get edited and polished. Then one day an online company called Another Chapter said they wanted to publish it online to subscribers where they get one chapter a week to read. It sounded unconventional, but it was the internet where you could strike gold with the right venture. Well, after a couple of weeks, it went under. Groan.

So, I started my third book and then my fourth, still trying to publish and still editing every one of them. I tried started my own company and stopped when I realized it was too much work. A few years went by and sick of rejections, I started the publishing company again, and if you’ve read my previous blog, you know how this finally turned out. The book I printed and was trying to sell was placed into the hands of a real publisher and I got the call.

My book is being published for real.