I Feel Fortunate

Happiness is relative

I feel fortunate this is not meThat’s right; I feel fortunate. In fact, very fortunate. Why? Worldwide, this year’s flu season is a particularly nasty one and depending upon your authoritative source, with the flu shot being only 17% effective.

During the second half of January, I was laid up with a nasty upper respiratory virus infection. Commonly called a cold, I was very cautious, looking for signs that I can the flu, such as fever, nausea, and dizziness.

I took my temperature several times a day and didn’t once register an elevated temp. I did get my flu shot back in October, but frankly, I was worried I might be hospitalized.

I’m happy to say; I successfully steered clear of the flu. My cold did migrate to the early stages of bronchitis which I am still dealing with the aftereffects. My doctor fixed me up quite nicely. Thanks, Doc.

Research

U.S. Virologic Surveillance:Still, I am astounded by the volume of stories and news reports regarding flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Some are quite tragic, such as a healthy mother going to the ER and sent home a short time later with a flu diagnosis and appropriate medicines only to die a few hours later at home. 63 children have died from the flu. WTF?

In researching this article, I visited the CDC.gov websites related to the flu. I didn’t know that there are so many varieties of the virus out there. I thought that there were relatively few but each had multiple strains due to mutation. Was I ever wrong. Oh, my heavens.

The following numbers relate only to the United States. World-wide, the numbers are even more staggering. To keep it simple though, let’s just look at the 2017-18 flu season, beginning Oct 1, 2017, to Feb 3, 2018. In the past week alone 16,641 confirmed tested cases were documented, bringing the seasonal total to 666,493 cases using samples tested by clinical laboratories. Among public health agencies, add 1453 new incidents for the week and 27,667 for the year. In the state where I live, each week we break a new record for the number of confirmed cases.

The long and the short, I feel fortunate?

I wonder when the virus might let up. I wonder more whether this is just the beginning for the human species. Are we in for a long stint dealing with out of control viruses? I’m happy that what I caught was just a cold. Actually, I feel fortunate to only have caught a bad cold. These influenza statistics are just too unreal. Maybe I should rewrite my ‘Taste of Honey’ books to use the Flu as the catastrophic event rather than my fictional protein purge plague.

Word of the Day — Lothario

Lothario

Lothario

Lothario: noun | loh-THAIR-ee-oh

LotharioDefinition

: a man whose chief interest is seducing women
: lady-killer

Word Origin and History for Lothario

Masculine proper name, Italian form of Old High German Hlothari, Hludher (whence German Luther, French Lothaire), literally “famous warrior,” from Old High German lut (see loud ) + heri “host, army” (see harry (v.)). As a characteristic name for a lady-killer, 1756, from the name of the principal male character of Nicholas Rowe’s “The Fair Penitent” (1703).

Did You Know?

other words meaning LotharioLothario comes from The Fair Penitent (1703), a tragedy by Nicholas Rowe. In the play, Lothario is a notorious seducer, extremely attractive but a haughty and unfeeling scoundrel beneath his charming exterior. He seduces Calista, an unfaithful wife and later the fair penitent of the title. After publishing the play, the character of Lothario became a stock figure in English literature. For example, Samuel Richardson modeled the character of Lovelace on Lothario in his 1748 novel Clarissa. As the character became well known, his name became progressively more generic, and lothario (often capitalized) has since been used to describe a foppish, unscrupulous rake.

Examples of LOTHARIO

“He was now quite an elderly Lothario, reduced to the most economical sins; the prominent form of his gaiety being this of lounging at Mr. Gruby’s door, embarrassing the servant-maids who came for grocery, and talking scandal with the rare passers-by.”
— George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, 1858

 

“He probably even envisioned himself as a prized Lothario, never for a moment identifying with this observation by the great songwriter Kinky Friedman: ‘Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.'”
— Joe Fitzgerald, The Boston Herald, 16 Oct. 2017

My Take

Seeing today’s word at Merriam-Webster’s site gave me great joy. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. Finally the most prominent smile crossed my face, starting my day off with a bang.

Lady-KillerI discovered this word in researching my Mona Bendarova books. In the first book, ‘The Taste of Honey,’ I introduced a club where the estate owners would hang out, drink and socialize. At the time, I called it the Club. However, when I wrote the sequel, ‘Broken Steele’ I decided to give it a name.

After thinking about it, and researching the idea, I decided upon the name Club Lothario and even its own website ClubLothario.com. The name fits in perfectly with the membership of the club and their favorite pastimes. One definition, ‘lady-killer,’ is perfect for the storylines. I hope you will read the stories and discover for yourself, the society Mona, Charles and the rest of them live in harmony together. Maybe I’ll see you at the club. If so, I’ll buy you a drink.

I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Do you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.

Have a great day.

Brought to you by Merriam-Webster, Word of the Day.

Shocking but Happy Discoveries

The Trafficking Consortium

Discoveries

I discovered something fascinating the other day, discoveries that shocked me, and made me very happy. It has to do with sales of my books, specifically, my printed versions.

Amazon had sent me an email regarding the royalties for my sales for the past month. Usually, I just delete them as they do not contain any specific information that I am interested in, other than a payout is coming. However, the format of one of those emails was different than the rest. I was intrigued.

Upon opening it, I realized that it was different than the standard fare, and denoted sales from an unfamiliar source. Digging deeper, I logged into my Amazon account and checked. Nothing. Huh?

Investigations

Discoveries regarding paperback versions of 'The Trafficking Consortium'After following sales channel after sales channel, I was stymied. I couldn’t figure out who generated these sales. Amazon is good at identifying transactions. They just don’t offer the seller information on who the buyer is, that is without paying for it. They know how to make money.

After investigating all of the sales channels my books are available through, I checked one last source. A source where I don’t expect many sales, as it prices my books reasonably high, considering the costs of producing the book.

I realized that this email had to do with sales of my paperback versions. WhooHoo!

Findings

People are buying the hard copies of my books. What’s more, I dug deeper, finding that I had a spike in paperback sales back last January. I missed that.

What an honor. Sure, it’s easy to purchase and download an eBook and read it on your favorite eReader. But holding a book in your hand, smelling the paper and ink, and feeling its weight as you turn the pages, well that is entirely something else altogether. I know many a reader who prefers holding a real book as opposed to the electronic version.

Most sales were people buying the book ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ I suspected that. However, I noticed that someone bought every one of my books on the same day. I’m astounded, pleased, no, happy. This one person is not the only one. I noticed several sales of all of my books over the course of the month. To be honest, I’m shocked but very pleased.

Gratitude

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read my books, including ‘The Taste of Honey,’ ‘Broken Steele,’ and ‘Her Client Trilogy.’ You don’t know how much that means to me. What can I say? You, my fans, are fantastic.

And, oh, by the way, thank you Amazon.com. None of this would be possible without you.

Followup to ‘How do I think of these things’

Thaumaturgy

Followup to ‘How do I think of these things’

In my last article, I wrote about how I come up with my ideas for my books. I received several comments from people who read my books. I found them interesting.

The Taste of HoneyThe first comment comes from a reader who read my first book, ‘The Taste of Honey.’ At the time, this reader wrote me and, if I recall correctly, told me she had a hard time with the story. She considered herself to be a traditional, conservative person and didn’t read all that much. However, a friend turned her onto the book and while struggling with the storyline, discovered an underlying unexpected love story that she loved. It turned her around, and she eventually wrote a compelling five-star review.

The following is what I received in response to the article.

“I found it insightful as well as a confirmation of what I already felt in my heart was the way you find your inspirations. I’ve always believed you to be intelligent and extremely creative. It’s nice to see you finding the right outlet for that creativity (of which you do so well!).” jb

Apparently, she knows me well, and yes, I am acquainted with this person.

Another reader sent me this comment.

“It’s hard to understand how you can write that in such detail and emotion. And, not wonder about you. […] After reading your statements and seeing that your girlfriend felt the same way, I think I feel much better. Maybe, lol.” gd

Her Client Trilogy StackedI am only just becoming acquainted with this reader, having recently received several comments and messages regarding my ‘Her Client’ trilogy. After reading the first book, she contacted with a note indicating how much she liked it. After reading the second book, I received a second comment expressing the need “… to think about this one?” implying that the story might have been a bit over the top for her. [No surprise. This book is intentionally horrific and deals with the real monsters among us.] Her followup to this comment to this book inspired me to write my previous article. The last I heard, the reader was just starting the third book, ‘Her Essentia.’ I have little doubt that she will send me an additional note.

Interestingly enough, the ‘Her Client’ books are my best sellers. I never expected that to happen. As a result, those are the kinds of books I will continue to focus on as I write.

The Trafficking ConsortiumI received many comments on the article. I hope it helps you understand where I am coming from and where I am going. My stories don’t come from personal experiences. Rather, they come from observation and wondering, “what if …”.

That’s how my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ came to life. I was at my doctor’s office and as I sat in the waiting room, wondered “what if someone behind the counter and sent the medical history of a patient to someone who had no right to the file?” From there, the pieces just fell into place, and Avril’s story came to life.

The BreakupThen there’s ‘The Breakup’, a story about what a woman hopes will happen on a date of dinner and dancing. My ‘what if’ revolved around the word, dancing. “What was his definition of dancing?” Ginny is about to find out. The question is, will she be happy about it?

Overall, I don’t really know what to say. If you, my current and new followers, continue to read my books, what am I going to do but keep writing new ones that tickle your fancy and your emotions? I have notes on several ideas for future stories. Stay tuned.


maggicalExpressionsOh, and I almost forgot. I finally finished putting together my online art gallery. It’s called ‘maggicalExpressions.’ Links to it are on my book site.

Yes, that’s correct. I paint and draw when I need to disappear. Oh, yes, that’s what I do when I write. Well, it’s a different kind of medium, and I enjoy it. I hope you like them.


It’s a nice day today, blue sky, and lots of sun. I’m going to work on my book most of the day, and then I’m going to a party tonight. I can’t wait. It’s a themed party sponsored by a social club I belong to. It’s been way too long since I’ve attended one. I’m looking forward to it.


Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
Rich

How do I think of these things in such detail?

Creative Stream Working

How do I think of these things in such detail?

Yesterday, I received this intriguing comment from one of my readers. My life partner girlfriend also wants to know the answer to this question. She cringes at many of my stories. As many times as I try to satisfy her with a reply, sooner or later, she brings it up once again. I figure everyone of my readers is thinking the same thing. So I thought I would give it a stab and try to answer the question.

The reader asked the following question.

“Just finished the 2nd book. [‘Her Overseer,’ book 2 in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy] and I need time to think about this one? Guess my question is how do you think of these things in such detail? It was pretty gruesome. Are there things you write about that you’ve done or want to do? Just wondering.”

Her OverseerThe book, ‘Her Overseer’ is gruesome. It is brutal and graphic. It is the second part of a three-part story within the ‘Her Client’ trilogy. There is a twist in book 3, ‘Her Essentia’ which I think readers will enjoy. My girlfriend cringed reading the first two books, but by hanging in there, she found redemption in the third book.

Frankly, I don’t know how I think up these scenes and describe them in such detail. They just appear in my head as I write them. To me, it is a natural progression of the story that seems obvious as I write.

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. From a young age, I’ve always been interested in mystery/suspense and true crime novels. Later I added science fiction to the list. The more fantastic the story, the more out there the characters behaved, the more I liked it. However, I’m not referring to fantasy stories such as depicted in today’s graphic novels and the like. I like realistic stories that are plausible and could happen in real life. Some of my favorite books from my early years included the true crimes of the FBI, which depicted the thoughts and reasonings of characters on both sides of the law.

 18" x 24" graphite on 50# matte paper
Today’s Challenge

My paintings and drawings reflect a naturalistic world. I love realism in my creative works. I don’t do abstract or fantastical creatures, such as depicted in much of today’s art. The one exception would be my love of mermaids.

Mythical, yes. Naturalistic, yes. Plausible … absolutely.

But fantastic creatures that nature could not possibly develop on this planet through natural selection … no.

I also believe in monsters. Not the kind thought up by the creative minds of scary movie, no, I mean the human kind of monster. The kind that actually exists.

I write what I believe could naturally occur, here on earth, by humans. Nature is uncaring and brutal. Sharks and other predators don’t care about the feelings of their prey. They kill and eat what they want and move on. Orca whales have been observed playing with and tormenting their prey before killing them. From the lowliest of life on earth to the king of the jungle, this is how nature developed life on our planet.

All humans have this drive built into our DNA. Societal norms try to adjust us to not act upon our baser instincts but wInterview Snippets on Mona's Storiese all let it out, at some time or another. A husband beating his wife to belting a misbehaving child when a simple spank of the hand would do, are just two examples of human instincts struggling for release. I could list thousands of examples supporting my belief. Fortunately, most of us suppress this impulse as best as we can.

My stories delve into the realm of humans who drop their shields and let out their baser instincts. My monsters are real, and I have little doubt that the monsters depicted in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy, are real and they exist. They hide and stay out of the limelight, but they exist. In the real world, a rare few are discovered and make the news, but I believe that the known monsters are a small percentage of the total out there. No one can convince me otherwise. My scenes are gruesome and describe a realistic interpretation of the human monster hiding in all of us.

As to the reader’s follow-up question, no I don’t write about what I’ve done, nor what I want to do. Like 99.99999% of the population, I suppress my inner instincts in everyday life. However, I will grant you, that perhaps it is possible, that as I write, I allow a tiny fraction of my basic human suppressed instinct out, enabling me to write in such detail.

I’ve been told that writers write what they know. I don’t believe this. Look at Stephen King’s novels. Do you really think he did all that he wrote about? Do you think he thinks about really doing it? I doubt it. Do I wish I could actually do what I write about in my scenes? Definitely not. I’m a pacifist at heart. It’s all in my imagination, knowing full well that these monsters do exist.

On thing I discovered in my writing journey is that I like to write from the character’s point of view, rather than a third party, observers point of view. I like to write what the characters think and feel. At times I will bounce from the protagonist’s point of view to the antagonist’s point of view and back again. I find it interesting to reveal their thoughts and ideas. I like to expose their emotions of surprise, love, lust, anger, fear, rage, bloodthirst, relief and revenge as the scene develops.

Find out how the human race survives 3DIn ‘The Taste of Honey,’ I wrote a scene where one of my main characters goes through an ordeal of her own choice. She is offered many opportunities to avoid the tribulation. Yet, she chose to go through the ordeal, knowing she would die in the end. All because she loves her family more than she loves herself.

I wrote the scene from her viewpoint. I tried to capture her every thought, fear, and desire she experiences. I tried to capture everything she endures, moment by moment, from her point of view. I attempted to convey all of her senses; taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell; as she lived and died throughout her ordeal. I believe I was successful and again, all from the characters point of view.

A Mermaids Irresistible CuriosityJust know that not all of my books are gruesome. My free short story, ‘A Mermaid’s Irresistible Curiosity’ is a love story with a twist. It’s not gruesome nor brutal. It’s a story about a misguided mermaid who lives a life of instant gratification who falls in love with a fisherman. You can find the short story on my website, RichardVerry.com. It free and you can download it and read it at any time.

I hope that this explains the question and alleviates any concerns about my writing. More importantly, I hope this explains things to the love of my life, my girlfriend, and committed partner in love and life.