Best Laid Plans

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Did some house cleaning and renovations on the blog to kick off the New Year. That Orlando cityscape was more than I could continue to look at being faced with the daily compromises of city life. Yes, it has its conveniences, but I am soooo ready to be inconvenienced.

To that ends, once Irma passed by, we rallied to get some actual home renovations started in an effort to prepare to sell this house. We started with one bathroom, which led to two bathrooms and one bedroom. And then a sliding door, which led to a dining room that we use as a den. Right now, there are walls torn down and furniture placed everywhere except where it is supposed to be.

Access to my computer has been limited, and I cannot get much accomplished on my “slow as Christmas” laptop or phone. I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I do have plans.

  1. Get the house ready to put on the market.
  2. Get the house appraised.
  3. Get rid of the 50-60 years’ worth of junk in the house.
  4. Stage the house.
  5. Sell the house.
  6. Move to an island.

OH, YES!

I’m back to writing book two in the Naked Eye series, which used to be book three.

(A little update on book one. It got a one star review from a lady who once was a blogger friend. Apparently, she feels the word “fuck” is sensational, and not used in the “real world”. Not sure what world she lives in, but it’s a pretty common word…especially in crime circles. I was okay with that. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even tho I felt it was retaliation for a comment left on her blog wherein I called her out on some racist comments she had made on her post, as well as derogatory statements regarding those who are not afforded the socio-economic status she enjoys. Just to be spiteful, she couldn’t stop there. She went back to her review on my previously published book and changed it from 5-star to 2-star and rewrote it. Really? These so-called “Christians” appall me. Honestly, it’s laughable. What an ass she is making of herself.

Progress on book two has been slower than expected. My trip to Vegas, while informative and exciting, basically let me know that I am ill-prepared to write the book two that I was planning to put to pen. There are far too many layers of depth to the gambling community that I do not understand well enough to make that story as authentic as it should be. Maybe later, when I have more time for research.

But I have to write, so book three has become book two. A case of mistaken identity leads Richard and Brandi into a much more sinister plot. I’m working on my character profiles to add to Scrivener now, and will post those soon.

I would like to have the first draft of this book completed by April, but writing for fun, I refuse to force myself onto deadlines that stress me too much. I want my work to reflect that it was well thought out and not forced.

There is something else I want to add on that note. We did away with our Kindle Unlimited subscription. I am ashamed to have to admit this, but the truth should be told. Most of the books were independently published and unreadable. I’m sorry if people find that offensive. We spent two years picking thru the rubbish piles trying to find decent books to read. We gave it a chance, but seriously…the poorly edited and sloppily written novels to choose from weren’t worth the time we spent sorting through the dribble. Quite an embarrassment. People need to do better.

If you cannot afford an editor, for developmental assistance and proofing, you cannot afford to publish. Your story isn’t worth shit if we have to struggle to read it. It certainly won’t be recommended, and that is how we sell books.

Enough on that.

Recently, I stepped down as team leader and admin for our local Pokemon GO group. We have about 10,000 members in our PoGo community and planning activities and hosting events for large crowds was wearing me thin. I hit level 40 (max) and now have a huge collection of 100% ers that are max combat power. Other than Raiding the Legendaries, I have pretty much gotten off the road with that game.

Brandi, however, has my addiction, which you will see comes in quite handy in the end.

Cheers!

Here’s to spending more time in your company this year.

Peace and good will to you and yours throughout the coming year!

What are your plans for the New Year?

Promo Update and a Couple of Quick Stories About What I Do For Fun and the Nights I Almost Got Arrested

Quick update on the ENT promo: 120 eBooks sold, 4 paperbacks, and 10 audiobooks.

During peak of promo, we actually got Naked Alliances down below #3000 Kindle books sold in store at about #25-#30 for three categories.

12amday2

If you don’t have a copy yet, and would like one, you can find it here: Naked Alliances. I highly recommend the audiobook if you like to hear a good storyteller. The eBook is still 99 cents until Sunday.

Not as good as ENT promos once were, before FB changed the algorithm, but not a bad shot at it either.

I was a little concerned when I saw the “Customers who Bought this also Bought”…only because so many also bought cozy mysteries. I can’t count the number of times I have made a point of letting people know that Naked Alliances is NOT a cozy mystery. It clearly sates on the cover and book description that it includes nudity, sex, lies…and murder. The story is about murder and sex-trafficking.

Then, the RS reminded me of the many books he’s purchased and didn’t like…not to further disappoint me, but to say, “Hey, just because they bought those cozy mysteries doesn’t mean they liked them.”

Maybe they are looking for something new. I had not thought about it like that.

Leave it to the RS to point me in the direction of the positives. That’s why he’s my better half.

On to other things:

Pokemon Go:

I have stories to tell you about a Pokemon Go adventure or two.

As I’ve shared, Pokemon Go gets me out of the house and into city parks. I enjoy the sunshine and the people I find out and about. Sometimes, I just have to escape these four walls, get out from in front of the computer, stop the words in my head, and focus on something totally unrelated. The game helps me do that. For a while, when I was building up my pokedex, I would spend from 2 pm to 2 am at a special park in Kissimmee that is a magical place for finding rare pokemon.

A little after 2 am I came to the intersection of Hwy. 192 (the road in Kissimmee that runs by Disney’s front gate) and Main Street. I was stopped at a traffic light and the road was empty in all directions, until a car pulled alongside me.

It was occupied by a white guy (the driver) with long, dark dreadlocks and a black guy in a red, yellow and green crocheted hat and wearing a bright green floral shirt (the passenger). I was vaping with my window down.

Picture this.
Picture this.

“Hey, mon, Vape Life!” the passenger yelled at me holding up his personal vaporizer.

I nodded in his direction and gave a little salute with my own PV, and smiled.

He was, it seemed, a bit drunk, and hopped out of the car. The driver called to him to get back in the car and stop acting the fool, but the guy approached my window chattering on about the good life in paradise and tossed a bag of reefer in my car window. “Go home, relax, and burn one on me,” he said.

I immediately looked around for the cops, wondering if I was being set-up.

He hopped back into his car, the light changed and they sped away west down 192. I proceeded up Main St. to OBT, then right onto Osceola, and left onto Orange Ave. heading for Orlando.

Instantly, I found myself paranoid. I know people are pretty open down here with this stuff, but I haven’t smoked it but three times since 1983. Once with my oldest son at a Pink Floyd concert (hey, it was necessary to get Comfortably Numb), once with my daughter at the Salvador Dali Museum (think about it), and again with my youngest son on the back porch of my lake house on Toho, (just because he was jealous).

I proceed up Orange Ave, going the proper speed limit, looking over my shoulder, scared to death that some cop was going to pull me over any minute. Just as I crossed the railroad tracks on the edge of Orlando, not one, not two, not three, but nine police cars came screaming by with their lights on heading for somewhere in a hurry. I nearly shit myself.

128745-e8b04

By the time I got home I was shaking all over, but slowly, I began to feel like I was in the clear. If you’re wondering what happened to the greenish-gold bud that was in the bag, I’ll tell ya. I kept it and put it in a special place. I started to flush it, but then thought, “Why not just hold onto it….you never know when you might need it and you have no earthly idea where to find it.” So, I locked it away someplace special.

Then my birthday came around. We didn’t have any sort of celebration planned and I was sitting on the lanai thinking I should do something different for my birthday. Why not get stoned? I mean, I’m retired, it’s not like I have to pass a piss test.

I went to the local head shop and bought a small pipe figuring I could burn a few bowls. I didn’t buy rolling papers, because I was sure I’d forgotten how to roll a joint.

I came home and sat on the lanai with my bowl and fired it up. After about four or five tokes I was completely self-aware and self-conscious. No way could I relax. My hair didn’t seem right, it was too short, my skin wasn’t clear enough, my clothes were frumpy, and I needed both a manicure and a pedicure.

It was a horribly negative experience, so I flushed the rest. It made me feel really old and I feel that way already…no need to have something on the menu that reminds me.

On to Pokemon story number 2:

One thing Pokemon Go players do is catch pokemon. The other thing we do is take our games to pokemon gyms where our pokemon battle other pokemon. You have to get into your car, walk, or skate to the gyms. The gyms are frequently located at churches, dining establishments, places where there are murals or sculptures, parks, city monuments, and the like, but you can drive within playing range of most of them…not having to get out of your vehicle. You see the gyms on your phone screen and touch the screen to enter the gym with your pokemon. You line up your six pokemon to battle with and once the battle starts, you tap the screen to move your pokemon and strike the opponent’s pokemon. There doesn’t have to be another player around. They’ve left their pokemon inside the gym for you to come along and battle. If you win, they get their pokemon back and you gain points toward your team winning that gym, or take an opponent’s gym back for your team and leave your pokemon there.

So, it’s 3 am and I’m out battling gyms alone. Sometimes we go as a group to stack gyms. I like to go when there is little traffic on the road, and not a lot of competition. I also like to take a bunch of gyms in the middle of the night and cash out (if you have ten gyms you get max coins and stardust for playing the game with).

I’m parked in a big parking lot next door to a bank at a sculpture. Suddenly two cars pull into the lot at angles on either side of my car to block my passage forward. I’m frightened because sometimes players take the game too seriously and have been known to assault people taking down their gyms, so I back up quickly, and spin the van around.

m-low-light-shooting

In seconds there are four people with guns in my face, and I’m holding out my phone saying, “Pokemon, I’m just playing Pokemon.” The cops relaxed and lowered their weapons. (They never turned on their blue lights, so how was I supposed to know they were cops?) They thought I was trying to flee when I backed up. Just as they lowered their weapons one of the cop cars rolled into the wall at the bank because she hadn’t put the damn thing in park when she jumped out of it. I tried really hard not to laugh.

I thanked the officers for keeping me safe and asked if I was free to go. The lady cop uttered expletives as she ran for her car and the other three cops just laughed and said, “Sure, be careful out here.”

What do you do for fun?

Have you ever played pokemon?

When was the last time you got stoned?

Pokemon Go and Grief Therapy

Poor little angel
Poor little angel

Candidness is one of my attributes, for better or worse. Lately, we’ve suffered through one tragedy after another. The month of May brought a horrible experience with a dog bite on the face of my one-year-old granddaughter at her great-grandmother’s funeral.

We’re still working through those scars.

christina-grimmie-gives-her-fans-sneak-peek-cliche-her-birthday-alt
Christina Grimmie

June 11th brought the murder in our town of an aspiring musical artist, Christina Grimmie.

Before the shock was over, June 12th, this was followed by the horrific assault on a nightclub wherein forty-nine people lost their lives to a deranged killer, at a place called Pulse. A place my daughter and son-in-law had been fifteen minutes before the first shots were fired.

download
Forty-Nine Pulse Victims

Then a young child was snatched from his mother’s hand by a vicious alligator and killed.

Mom and Lane
Mom and Lane

July left us heartbroken when a young man who was staying with us RIP Gabrieland successfully turning his life around was involved in a dirt bike accident that took his life and all the joy he had brought into ours.

Times have been really tough. It’s been a lousy year. But there are good things on the horizon. Naked Alliances, my new crime novel, is on track to be published in late September. I’ll start working with my publicist soon for pre-marketing and the release. There are lots of folk helping in the background to make this happen and to you I am truly grateful.

After Gabriel passed away, I was inundated with grief. Not even able to get out of bed, I lay there and cried for two weeks, not accomplishing much of anything and wallowing in self-pity. Feeling like I was heading full thrust into a bipolar depressive episode, I needed a diversion.

Enter Pokemon Go.

maxresdefault

Yes, a simple game, but one that gets you out of your house, into the sunshine, and around other people enjoying themselves and working together to have fun. I have met people of all ages and from all backgrounds while playing this game. It has brought me out of myself and helped me grow as a person. My Pokemon Go Florida FB group has been an inspiration. There are some wonderful folk in this state.

Yes, I’m still grieving, but I’m not isolating myself, and I’m not obsessing over the worst of things.

Sitting in city parks, I have had deep and meaningful conversations with young people, Gabriel’s age and younger, as well as many much more mature and wiser that I am.

I’ve seen some videos of angry people. I understand that people find it irreverent for folk to be gathered together playing games at certain memorials. I get that. I also get that most of these folk, me included, would have never known about these memorials in isolated places had it not been for the game. I have stumbled upon fabulous places I never knew existed.

It is very simple to write Niantic and have pokestops removed from such places as war memorials. It is NOT necessary to go out trying to pick a fight with young people, assaulting them, punching them in the face, and destroying their property. These young people are finally outside seeing their world, exploring their communities, instead of being closed off in a room somewhere doing much of nothing.

From what I have seen in the many places I have visited these past couple of weeks, players are respectful, taking their trash with them, quietly playing the game, focused on their phones. I’ve not seen any drinking or rowdy behaviors at ANY of the parks. People know not to trespass, and it’s not necessary. The app allows you to touch the screen to bring the pokemon to you rather than you going after it, but some people didn’t know that in the beginning. And new people taking up the game are still learning.

As with anything new, there have been some stupid people driving while playing, not staying aware of their surroundings, and some nasty folk taking advantage of people playing. That’s sad, but for the most part it is a happy thing and loads of fun.

I’m suffering from allergies and a severe head cold at the moment, else I’d be out playing today. Instead, I’m home checking my IV stats and culling my pokemon characters so I have the very best specimens to work with.  It’s something I can mindlessly occupy myself with, steering me away from the dark recesses of a troubled psyche.

Say what you will about the game and the “stupid” people out chasing pokemon, but for somebody who has never understood the allure of athletic sports, fantasy football, and the fortunes in taxes spent on places to play them, and one who has never been able to get into chasing little white balls across pastures with a club either, I’m quite content to enjoy my augmented reality game. For me, it has been a Godsend.