There’s such a thing as too much

Torico Ice Cream double scoop

There’s such a thing as too much.

That’s right, too much of a good thing is often too much.

Torico Ice Cream double scoopIf you love ice cream, eating a cone every so often is a savory treat that coats your tongue with exploding flavors as its cooling succulence slips down your throat. Even eating it once a day, in small portions, is manageable. Force fed it continuously, hour after hour, every day, well I know that I will soon hate the stuff.

That’s how I feel about some bloggers I follow. Many I eagerly look forward to, soaking in their insights on the world around them. I enjoy reading about their inner struggles and their ways in coping with life.

What I don’t like are posts done six to ten times a day, touting this or that, or promoting their wares. I want to support them. I really do. However, I am finding that I simply delete the unread post from my inbox. I am treating the posts as junk mail. Yes, I know it’s not fair. However, is it fair to be inundated with a dozen posts or more every day? Nope. Perhaps you feel the same way?

Just over a year ago, I was working with a publicist that wanted me to post something of 300 to 600 words at least daily, more if I could manage it. The idea was that the more I post, the more people would find me, and follow. At the time, I knew nothing. I trusted what I thought of as an expert. So, I tried. Six months later, we parted ways, but I still decided to follow the recommendations.

What did it get me? I started hating the idea of posting an article, especially daily articles. It took a lot of time away from my novels, stories, and painting. I also started to feel like it was too much ice cream.Fallen ice cream cone

Fortunately, I suffered a severe concussion last summer that I am still dealing with the aftereffects today. What it did for me in posting articles was first, a well-needed break. Then, I had a whole new topic to write about and share.

In the writings, I knew that I had to give you, my readers, something they wished to read. I did not want to fill them with fluff about marketing my books. I wanted to give you want you liked. I also had trouble with cognitive and creative thought, so I landed upon the idea of posting the ‘Word of the Day.’ Using M-W, I used them to add my personal two cents to their daily word.

Easy I thought. The trouble was, I was really getting into researching the word, finding images to support the word and then adding my two cents. Towards the end of last year, I was spending upwards of two hours a day, fascinated by the word, and digging deeper into it. As the holidays rolled around, I found that I was, once again, getting tired of the daily grind of blogging.

The Trafficking ConsortiumAs you may have noticed, I have since cut down my posts to once or twice a week. I can manage that, I think. Since my cognitive and creative streams of thought are slowly returning, I am writing once again, focusing on the final tweaks to my new book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ I’m even thinking about a sequel to the story, but that’s down the road.

Limiting my posts gives me the time to work on why you follow me. Many of you are looking forward to my next release, and have written me asking when, et.all. How cool is that? Anyway, with summer approaching, I must decide between blogging and writing. I think writing is going to win every time.

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.

Good Morning One and All

Blue sky and snow

Good Morning One and All

Blue sky and snowI woke up to a lovely day today, a blue sky devoid of clouds. I haven’t seen a blue sky in weeks. However, it’s cold outside. A balmy 18F (-8C) with a strong, steady breeze encouraging me to stay inside, despite the fact that I had to go out to get the paper for my girlfriend. To bad it’s not delivered to my door but at the street. Oh well, stop bitching. Sitting in my office, staring out the windows as I write this, lifts my spirits and brightens my mood. I hope that the same goes for you.

There have been a lot of changes in my life since I last wrote to you. An extensive assessment of my post-concussion condition revealed that, except for a couple of areas, I am mostly better. I still have the headaches, delayed memory issues, and a couple of other things. The overall consensus is that I need to mix things up in my life. Get out, do things, and stop focusing on my headaches. Perhaps there is truth in that.

Frosty beer mugI’ve gone back to work. Whoo hoo! At least on a limited basis. Half-days, three times a week is a pretty good start getting my life back to normal. I started last Wednesday and finished the week up on Friday. Both days were significantly better than when I tried it last September. I’ve gone to the movies twice, gone out and met friends at restaurants and a bar & grill. Damn, I sure missed that last one. Hanging out, sharing food and beer with friends, acquaintances, and making new friends as people come by to see what the good cheer is all about.

From what I hear from those keeping the tally, sixty-three of us officially stopped by last night, and probably a few more as I saw people come in and not get acknowledged by the keeper of the clipboard. Due to the music, various monitors displaying various sports games from around the country, and the din of exuberant conversations, the place was loud. Thankfully, I came prepared with a pair of decent ear plugs.

All in all, it’s good to get out. My headaches stayed mostly in the 2-3 range the entire week, though right now, it’s a strong 4. I blame the gathering at the bar & grill for that though in all honesty, if this were a month ago, I believe I would have experienced a 6 or 7. That’s progress.

As I laid in bed just before I fell asleep last night, a potential scene for a novel popped into my head. Maybe, perhaps, it will make it to print in a future novel. I can only hope.

Lastly, as I mentioned last time, I was cleaning up my office in preparation to do some drawing. Well, that project is done, at least enough so that I can pull out my drawing tablets, pencils, gray eraser, and blending stubs and begin work. I’m going to take the weekend off from my office, right after I post this article, and start on Monday. Since my creative juices are at an all time low, I’ll start simply by using photographs as references. I do that from time to time though I often take it to a whole different direction than what I see in the photo.

The plan is, by drawing, that will open the creative stream in my head, and allow me to come up with a plot for a new book. Wish me luck.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.

Life’s learned lessons

Elicit a confession

Life’s learned lessons

Good Day Everyone. Looking at my site, I just realized that I haven’t posted in a week. I knew it had been a while, but I didn’t know that it was that long. Sorry about that.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been seeing a lot of doctors and going to Physical Therapy (PT) lately. I’m working on my post-concussion issues, and I have made some progress and learned a few things. The two biggest things that I learned are:

  1. I’m still not ready to go back to work. (Shit!)
  2. I’m dwelling too much on my headaches and other issues, and not enough on life.

Number 1 scared me until I learned about number 2. I must accept it and deal with it while living my life. I’m sure that my colleagues at work won’t be happy with number 1, but I’m not in control of that aspect of my life. ‘It is what it is.’ As I write this, David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ is playing in the background and I just realized that I identify with many of the verses in the song.

To deal with number 2, I’ve been advised to change things up in my life. Change the venue so to speak. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, get out of the house more often. Now that the holidays are over, I can do that on my terms rather than on someone else’s terms.

My psychologist asked me an important question. “What are your go to items that make you happy?”

An easy answer for once, “Drawing and Painting, Writing, and Sharing intimate time with my girlfriend.” (I don’t necessarily mean sex, but that’s an important part.)

The problem is that all are suffering. I don’t yet have my painting studio setup which prevents me from putting paint to canvas. My injury stopped me from working on it for several months. I muddle through it at times, but I usually ran out of steam before getting far. I’m now motivated to get it done.

The Trafficking ConsortiumThen there is the writing. Without my creative stream running through my head, I am struggling to come up with a storyline. What I do know is that last October, I put pencil to paper and came up with several new compositions that I am very happy with. Drawing them put me in a headspace that made me happy and I forgot about my chronic headache. Checking my headache logs, I discovered that during those days and the following weeks, my headaches were relatively mild. And guess what? That’s when I had my inspiration for ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ Writing it consumed me, and after looking at the logs, the headaches never surpassed a four on a scale of zero to ten. What do you know?

I can draw almost anywhere and yet; I prefer either my studio or my office. They represent my personal space and allow me to dive in without distractions. Until last night, my office was not configured to allow me to draw easily. It is now. 😉 Starting later today or tomorrow, I’ll finish a piece I started months ago and move on. Perhaps that will be the avenue to find inspiration for a new story. In fact, I’m betting on it.

That leaves the last of my goto’s, my girlfriend. Due to my injury and other issues, which I am not going to go into, our relationship has been strained. She is concerned about my condition and often frustrated that she can’t help. So, I was advised to change things up, do things differently and do it in new environments.

So, change the venue, right? Last night, the two of us went for a walk around my neighborhood. The first time since last fall. I usually do it alone. It was nice. Later today, we’re planning on doing a couple of errands together and then go to the movies. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie in a theater. I’m looking forward to it. We’ve also made plans to go out more, see friends in other venues, rather than have them come to our house. I’m also looking forward to playing cribbage or other games together which we’ve not done since last summer. Playing games at the table gets us away from the TV, and conversing in an intimate setting which is something I crave.

What does all this mean to you, my fans and followers of my blog and readers of my books? Despite what my marketer muse has told me, I’m going to stop forcing myself to write a daily blog. It is stressful to think of topics to write that you are interested in and it takes time away from life, my girlfriend, and my happy place. But don’t fret, I will write you at least weekly and maybe more as things settle down. Yes, it will be true that I will miss your interactions and responding to your comments. You can comment all you like. I will read, and I will write back.

In the meantime, just know that I love and appreciate all of you. Thank you for your support and reading my books. Be sure to look for my latest novel ‘The Trafficking Consortium,’ which I will be publishing on Amazon in early Feb.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow!

The Day After Christmas

Merry Christmas Tree Card

Day After Christmas

Day after ChristmasWell, it’s the day after Christmas.

The world still exists, and I am recovering from hosting a number of people for the holiday feast. As Dr. Seuss wrote, we served roast beast, au gratin potatoes, green beans and a broccoli cheese casserole.

For desert, we served a wide array of strawberry rhubarb pie, cannolis, cheese puffs and the annual traditional rum cake. Oh, and let’s not forget the numerous bottles of wine and spirits consumed.

Cheesy Eddie's
Cheesy Eddie’s, Rochester NY, USA

For me the best of all was the local and best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted from Cheesy Eddie’s. I love their cheesecakes, especially the perfect New York style. My belly hurts just thinking about it all.

They tell me that the roast beast was cooked to perfection. It’s amazing what you can do if you have a great recipe from the butcher shop and an accurate thermometer. Hint: virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh thyme lovingly rubbed into the meat before cooking. I think it was the thyme that made the difference. Delish.

Everyone had a great time and I even heard comments like ‘this is my favorite party,’ ‘looking forward to coming back next year,’ and so forth. Warms my heart though I always look forward to bedding down afterwards and sleeping in the next day. Ah! That’s today.

Despite the chaos and cacophony of loud conversations, I managed to survived to the day after Christmas without too much trouble. Of course, for awhile and in order to stem the growing concussion migraine headache I’ve lived with for the past five months, I had to wear dark glasses and ear plugs at times to soften the assault to my brain. Fortunately, I kept it in check and even managed a couple of glasses of red wine.

Chillin’

Today is recovery day. My girlfriend and I are just chilling, taking it easy. Whew! We had a great time but I’m glad it’s over.

The Trafficking ConsortiumChilling out and relaxing is giving me a chance to read my new novel on my eBook reader (my phone) as if I am an ordinary reader. So far, so good. There are probably a couple of very minor edits I will do. I’m marking them as I read. When I finish the novel, I’ll incorporate them into a second edition of the book.

I must say, I’m very pleased with the way the book turned out. I love the story, and regardless of the circumstances of the main characters, there is budding romance that came about entirely by accident. It is not in the nature of either character to see the other with warm, compassion, and love, yet, each character’s heart softens to the other as the story unfolds. Of course, with any good story, you’ll need to read the book to see whether their romance flourishes or explodes.

Sure, it’s gritty and disturbing, even horrific at times but it’s also a gripping story that keeps you connected to the end. Afterall, a good story needs conflict, drama, and suspense to keep you riveted to the story. Give me a week, and I’ll upload the second edition. I’m sure you’ll like it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. I’m looking forward to a better 2017.