Frankenfinger (or Oooops!)

On November 11, 2013 I accidentally slid my hand into a jointer. I say they don’t call it a “jointer” for nothing. In a fraction of a second the end of my middle finger on my left hand had been deboned. The bone was reduced to fragments scattered around the workshop, which I have collected and intend to frame in the shop with “Safety First” written across the top.

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The image above shows a tasteful look at the difference in my hands. I will spare you from seeing under the bandage. My middle finger is now the same height as my index.

At the time, I was prototyping a new line of wooden sword for kids. I was trying to drink less caffeine. Moon was in Pisces. I was being lazy, and instead of setting up my router and doing it right, I was shaping the side of the sword slowly with the jointer using the rail at a 45 degree angle. My eye had strayed to the rail to see if the wood was tight and my hand slid the sword forward an extra inch too far.

The worst part was that my two youngest kids were in the shop with me. I went into a rational state of shock, unplugged the machine, searched for a clean rag, and bled all over the place. Drew later told his mom, “I knew it was serious because dad never freaks out, but this time he said ‘fuck’ like five times.” Gracie said, “is ‘fuck’ spelled F-O-K?”

I told the kids to get into the truck and they didn’t argue, which told me they understood the situation was serious. They still didn’t complain when I peeled out of the driveway before they had their seat belts on and put my foot to the floor. I could see Drew filing away the experience that will no doubt come back to haunt me when he’s a teenager—“Wow, you can go this fast without getting caught by the police or killing yourself?”

I don’t know why I bothered. I got to the hospital, let some very nice person take my kids into the waiting room, and then was ushered to a gurney where I waited. It was at this point, as I tried to get someone I knew on the phone to come and take my kids home, that I realized my hand friggin’ hurt. At least there is a maximum pain level, and thank God. Once you have met that level and can handle it, you’re good. Eventually, they took me down to X-ray where the attendant said she wouldn’t tell me how bad I’d screwed up, which made it clear it was as serious as I thought it was. I’m not sure how long I endured the feeling that someone was taking a blow torch to my finger before I was shot up with a local anesthetic, and morphine. Ah, morphine…

My doctor did a great job and had a fine sense of humor. I like a man who can laugh and talk about good literature as he grinds away at your bone. Needless to say, I kept his email address so I could drill him for information about medical procedures—you know, for my books.

I specifically asked for no Oxycodone and got it anyway. That shit is evil. I went cold turkey after about a week and haven’t been right since. First, my mood plummeted so low I could imagine someone jumping off a bridge feeling like that, except that it would take a certain amount of ambition which oxycodone kills. I know myself well and recognized that these feelings were outside myself, not me, as it were, and didn’t give into them.

I had been scheduled to play congas at the local theatre for a private school’s production of In the Heights. I love latin music, and an opportunity like this in Vermont comes around every decade or so. Monday, detoxing and messed up in the head, I went to listen. I decided even with one hand I could contribute something so proceeded to practice everyday that week to do the show that weekend. The first night after practice I took off my bandage feeling in the heights of my depression and wondered if I was insane. What the hell am I doing? Why can’t I just lay on the couch like a normal person? I had a perfect excuse to be taken care of and I was still dragging wood into the house with stubborn determination and now I’m drumming all night?

The truth is, I am slightly crazy, but maybe not as stupid as I felt after I took the end of my finger off. Music is a healer. The pain that had been shooting up my arm and into my head from cramped muscles went away. My feeling of uselessness gave way to feeling a part of something great; the show came off well and as one of the few members of the band versed in latin music I thought I helped contribute something important. By the time the show was over my detox was over.

…ah…with the exception that I couldn’t sleep. I don’t sleep much anyway, but oxycodone robs you of your ability to sleep easily no matter how tired you are. Frustrating. Did I mention that oxycodone is evil?

Okay, this was supposed to be a short blog, but there’s something else I have to tell you. I’m on week three since the accident and I’ve just started to try typing with it—which was my number one concern the instant it happened. Luckily, the week before it happened I’d been listening to Stephen Hawking’s A Theory of Everything, and in the hospital I decided if Hawking can write without the use of his hands, than I could, too, if necessary. Now, that thought makes me laugh at myself. Losing the end of my finger is a long way from having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But, I have to say, “Stephen Hawking, you the man!” You not only completely warped my sense of reality, but gave me hope as well.

I have a weird factoid about losing the end of your finger. Your brain still thinks it’s there and it’s waiting for some message from it. Since that doesn’t happen, the message is that the end of your finger is touching nothing, and whatever your hand is resting on must have a hole in it. I think the Police had a song about that…

The ultimate result is that I’m a little slower on the keyboard, but I appreciate everything so much more—my partner Sarah, especially, who has given me a deeper understanding of how important it is to be loved by someone who’s got your back. I won’t forget it.

Cover Motif


I’m not sure how to feel about changing my cover motif. Originally, I wanted sketched covers, graphic novel style so that the books felt more like pulp fiction. Yes, I know that graphic novels come in many different styles, but generally speaking they’re a style all their own, such as not-a-photo. As I was working out what the cover of the third D Generation should be, I found an artist who was really good at painting exact replicas. She suggested I make a mock up of the cover, and she would paint it and smooth out some of the rough edges. Great.

So, after two takes–my first turning into the Brady Bunch meets the American Gothic–I made the above image. I could have it painted…but why? I like it. It’s definitely a departure from the other two book covers (see The D Generation – Graphic Artists). If I’m going to have a series of books–which I do–then I want them to look cohesive. Does it matter? I guess it matters to me, but does that even matter? I’m inclined to let the issue slide for now and trust that it will resolve itself when the time is right. Feedback?

Crappy Blogger

Okay, so I’m a crappy blogger and I’m sorry; I like to write books. I’ll have to call myself the seasonal blogger because I only publish one about every three months. I was always told to leave my audience hungry. However, despite my “radio silence,” things have been humming along.

This summer my kids and I created a vending tent made out of saplings. The tent was a pain in the ass to haul around, but when crazy storms blew up I was one of the few that didn’t worry about his tent blowing over. Yeah, I’m practical that way. Originally, I was going to sell books at festivals and my fiancee’s healing CDs, but decided that wasn’t enough. It took a few weeks, but my kids and I churned out a solid inventory of wood crafts: swords, shields, staffs, wands, and hammers for kids and adults. The crafts were all wood burned and mostly one of a kind.

The festivals were a lot of fun and educational. I not only sold books, but made a lot kids happy (including my own) and turned a profit–albeit a small one which I shared with my wee workers. I’m sure you’ll see us out there again now that the experiment has been successfully carried out. My son wants me to create a webpage to display our crafts because he (at seven) has decided we would sell more over the internet for Christmas and birthdays. I want to say “Hey, you’re a jewish pagan or a paganish jew; what are you thinking about Christmas for?” But I guess the answer is obvious, he made more running a drill press than he does taking care of our home’s recycling. I can hear people yammering about child labor, but if you’d ever seen my son idle for five minutes then you would understand: productive, creative outlets are GOOD!

In other news, I wrote a short story, Double Negative, that was accepted for publication in an Anthology that last year had 20K copies downloaded. I’ll report more on that as the release date approaches. Suffice to say, I’m excited to be a part of that, and I hope it leads to some reviews of my work. Since most of my reviews have been positive, I worry it’s because I’m not hitting a big enough audience and somewhere out there is a mountain of negative shit-flinging waiting for me to step into it. Nanman has been shot at a few times, but that’s because it’s flinging shit itself–such responses are expected. Last year, publication of the Anthology (The End: Visions of Apocalypse) raised some money for charity (here are the details). I hope it is even better received this year, and since it’s on the subject of Luck, it probably will.

Check back soon for updates on the The D Generation III cover. It’s finished, I just need to post it…yeah, I know, just finish the editing right; who cares about the cover? Despite the other subjects I wanted to cover, I’m finding more typoes then I can handle and I know I need to go to bed…

The D Generation III is written….

I can’t believe it’s June and that my last entry was March! Oops! I guess that should tell you how intensely I’ve been trying to finish the third D Generation. Before I get to that though, I should give you the news that I failed to win the ABNA contest. The reviewer thought that I was offensive not funny–he/she took his/her romance quite serious. The Nanman is a romantic COMEDY, and if you have doubts you can read it yourself for free (for a while longer) by downloading from the ‘free’ page–see side menu. Some people thought it was fantastic and humorous and left kind reviews on Amazon before the title was submerged into some hidden database of failures, and the reviews with it. Bummer. I am undeterred, though. I know the Nanman is the beginning of a series of blockbusters that will transform the stay-at-home dad stigma from dead-beat to chichi.

Speaking of dead-beats, I was recently called a privileged dead beat dad–yes, me!–by my not so endearing long xed-partner. I am still laughing about it. Laughing! Without living in my shoes you have no idea what I experience in the course of a day, and be grateful. For instance, the other morning I received a stack of roofing tin and hauled it up and screwed it down to the 32 feet of shed roof before noon–being the dead beat that I am. I thought “Wow, that looks impressive and most people would think it was pretty hard, but writing The D Generation III was a lot harder than that.” Spending the last week putting up fence, weeding the garden and doing upkeep to the buildings was a relief after the mind bending concentration it took to spin out D Gen III. That said, I wish I was back at it. See, I’m a dead beat that likes to work–go figure.

As for privileged…I’ve seen privileged, and if I am, then I wish someone would slap me awake to it, because I’m not feeling it. I feel average, or what average should be. See, if having one adult member of the family partnership working while the other is taking care of kids is privileged than this country is fucked. I do feel lucky, but not privileged. I think of my stay at Berklee College of Music one summer with just enough money to buy raisin bread to eat for the week, while listening to the guy down the hall say “Daddy just bought me my ninth keyboard,” and it tells me I have a ways to go to reach privileged status. When I pray to the God of tractor starters to “Please! Once again, start my tractor today!” because my wobbling tractor is over fifty years old and eats batteries like the wildlife around here eats stray chickens, I know my dream of farming profitably is a farce, but if I was privileged I could farm. That’s fucked, too. Just like the idea of me being privileged is fucked. And there you have it. I guess in some people’s mind, if I’m not working fourteen hour days, and I have the time to write this down, than I’m privileged. Wake up! I’m not privileged, you’re oppressed!

Anyway, who cares.

I finished writing the third D Generation. I had the goal of sowing up loose ends from books I, II, and ones newly created in III. I also wanted to talk about GMO’s, alternative power, aliens, evangelical fanatics, pagans, and few other things. I’m being urged to cut back on some of it, and told I have too many characters. All I can say is that the D Generation I is an ungrateful beast that came into this world as a surprise demanding to be heard and uncensored. That beast reeked havoc that took some serious puzzling and weaving to mend. D Gen III, which is longer than the first two put together, succeeds in my goal and if you have to meet a few more characters, I guarantee they’re worth meeting–like Cody and Kate who you will love, and Andrew and Peter who you will despise.

What surprised me from the third, was that I was planning on ending it, and I found instead the doorway to where I really wanted to go. So as much as book three finishes the story, it also creates the perfect set up to a completely different D Generation in book IV. It is hard to articulate without giving away too much. Let’s look at it like this: When I first started writing music I wrote a very complicated song that sounded like crap. Later, I wrote one of the best songs I ever produced in about five minutes. The song was better because it was clean and simple. I’m not saying that Books I-III are crap 🙂 Okay, I’m laughing now–writer paints self into corner. No, I’m just saying there is a hell of a lot going on, but book IV is clean and simple.

Okay, let me redeem my privileged dead beat writer self. I just have to say that I loved writing The D generation III, and the feedback I”m getting so far is that it MOVES with an electric vibe. Great. I’ll let you know when its ready for publication. Where’s my illustrator?

The Good News

Today I received the reviews of The Nanman excerpt from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Here are some samples:

“Very different kind of light romantic novel…in tune with so many of today’s marriages and changing lifestyles.”

“The Nanman has an interesting and to me original premise.”

“I think the author has a “way with words” and is able to develop clever phrases…”

Last year I put the piece in as general fiction and I think it was better received. This year I put it in as romance–which it is–only romance has rather rigid rules in my opinion that this story challenges…like a guy who raises kids. Hmmm, that’s so unattractive, right? Hopefully, I will find an agent who is willing to break into a new sub-genre of romance. What would it be called? Hopefully not SAHD (Stay-at-home-dad) romance, or house-husband romance. I guess man-of-liesure romance is out because it certainly is not that. Fem-male romance? Yuck.

I see the problem here is men-at-home have not found a banner to stand behind. Hmmm. Men-at-home romance… Oh, yes, the GOOD NEWS: I am still in the contest headed for the semi-finals. Yay!

The Bad News

The bad news is after I produce the third D Generation I’m going to take a (short) break from the series. Originally, I wrote the first book with a complete lack of censorship in mind—both in language and in subject. I was also inclined to do very little research for it which made it extremely fun and easy to write. However, old tendencies (such as my own brand of “perfectionism”) crept in and I’ve found myself doing a ridiculous amount of research to produce the third.

The effect of this research has led to six things: 1) Anxiety for the future; 2) Excitement for the future; 3) An appreciation for people who can find solace and hope in their religion; 4) An understanding that 99% of religion is myths that have arisen out of the miscommunication of primitive science, a few inspired spiritual leaders, and the need of powerful entities to either maintain or gain control; 5) A solid perspective of humans not as the height of the evolutionary ladder, but somewhere around the middle; 6) A need to see in my lifetime an honest factual accounting of world history based on ALL the available data, with a few speculations and no assumptions like “pyramids are tombs” and other unlikely ideas.

So, what’s the big deal right? What does learning everything is false that you’ve always believed is true have to do with taking a break from the D Generation series? If you’ve read the books you know that concept fits right in with them. So what the problem?

Nothing, really, I love that shit. In fact, I intend to read and study a lot more of it to get a better understanding of what the truth is. We are bombarded everyday with noise that supports the illusion within our reality—the present dominate cultural perspective. However, as information technology continues to permeate our lives, so does the potential for people to have access to information outside the “box.” Based on social trends, it appears that people are becoming less religious, which on one level I see as a good thing; let’s look at facts not superstition. On another level, as a person whose spirituality is very important to him, science’s inability to qualify the spiritual experience fully (yes, they’ve begun to perceive its surface qualities, but no more) creates the danger of misleading people in thinking that a spiritual realm does not exist. This is already evident in many scientists’ complete dismissal of psychic phenomenon, and intention based healing arts. In the 1990s when I was looking for scientific evidence on these subjects the information was scarce, but already in the 2010s the data has become overwhelming—so to those scientists who are still skeptical, I say, do better research. You’re a scientist goddamn it; don’t reach a conclusion until the evidence is in!

All that is to say that there is a lot of information I want to look at, but also that the information is emotionally intense and I want to play ostrich for a while and stick my head in the sand—speaking of culturally excepted ideas that are actually false.

The D Generation IV—and yes there is one—is a departure from the previous books. Because of certain circumstances, which I’m not going to tell you, the subject matter is more focused on James’ hunt for truth about his encounters of the fourth kind, and less about surviving in the post-apocalyptic Republic of Vermont. Unlike earlier books in the series which I have simply sat down and written, this one is going to take a great deal of planning to pull off what I want to achieve properly. I better stop thinking about it, because I’m already excited…and it’s not up next. It’s not even up after the next book.

Right. I’m taking a break because I want to write Ardis, the fantasy story of a half-breed pubescent who accidentally kills his teacher when a strange power erupts out of him, and as a result runs away only to wind up a slave. A little intense, but I need to inhabit the fantasy world for awhile. The other “issue” I’m going to run into is that I’m selling The Nanman this year, which will probably mean I need to write a sequel. That’s okay, I have one percolating in my brain, and everyday my kids give me more material for it.


Mockumentary Finished

As promised, I have created some entertaining multimedia for your enjoyment. This fiction – the road to dystopia – was and is a bit of a ride to the year 2056. I wish I could cram all the information I have studied in the process of making this 5 minute video into a publication. I think that is what I like about writing the most, you never know where it is going to take you. One place it took me was to a website that predicts future events based on collected data and probability curves.

There is a prediction for computer processing speeds comparable to human intelligence by 2025 and comparable to ALL human intelligence combined by 2050. The latter is a bit mind blowing to me. Someday government officials will be sitting at tables with sentient robots who can wisely council them on the best path to take based on all the information contained in every history of the world. I think they need it; I can hardly wait.

Enjoy the video.

Get on your ass!

After a long frustration with the sad state of affairs of my old website I finally have a new one. Why didn’t I deal with it sooner? Well, life is all about timing in my opinion. I was distracted all summer long with projects and writing the third D Generation, then I got a job–oops! After four months of working my butt off for little pay and few results, I said “Hey! If I wanted to work for no pay I would work for myself.” So here I am.

The motto for this year is “No distractions.” If you know me then you know how hard that is. I’m interested in everything, and being a hands-on kinda guy, I have to try everything, too. This year no distractions means no animals and no garden–okay, some garden–and no building projects. Luckily, being a jack-of-all-trades is a great prerequisite for being a writer.

Time is ticking; I know I have this year to sell a significant number of books, get a decent contract, or get a job. In Vermont, most people’s reaction would be “Get a job!” Then I think about this week; I have been home with my boy who has the nasty flu that’s freaking out America and I’m really glad I don’t have a job. I get to make sure my son gets sleep, he’s still getting educated and well fed–not to mention he’s great to play games with. Sometimes I think games do a better job educating kids then school does. I also get time to work while he’s home. Right now he scrolling through the Magic The Gathering database reading cards on-line. This involves some new computer skills for him as well as reading far above his first grade reading level–and he’s happy about it!

All that is to say its time to sell something. I don’t know why I haven’t been using my skills with media and computers to provide you some multi-medium entertainment–maybe because I’ve been spending all my free time writing?–but that’s changing. I’ve been crunching the last month to learn a host of new applications. You may soon see the results. Anyway, enjoy this new website. The easy interface will mean a lot more updates and information from me, more entertainment, and more cool stuff I’ve wanted to put out there for a long time. Now that I’ve finally sat down and gotten on my ass: enjoy!