Bleh with Barry

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Night Terrors

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Found this poem from a while back and thought that I would share.

 

“Night Terrors”

The music of this place pulsates

To the rhythms of heartbeats.

The lights shame me into feeling

That none of this is real, but your hand

On mine makes my heart lose count.

 

Elegies written in the corners of crinkled

Eye and smile lines. A hollow beat beckons

Me to stay true; however, I know how this night ends,

With me clutching pillows, waking

From a nightmare vision in my own bed.

 

I scream into the dark, but only silence

Answers my tirade. I hear my heartbeat again

Running away in time with my thoughts and dream

Spectacles again, taking me out of sync. Yet a breath

And a few uncried tears lull me back to my

Blissful torment. An unending dirge.

 

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Written by barryr22

March 7, 2016 at 1:09 am

Posted in Poetry, writing

Things I Never Want to Admit that I Want to Myself or Others

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So I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I know that those who know me are so surprised (*sarcasm*). And I’ve been trying to figure out what I really want from the here and now and from life in general. So I’m listing some things here. However, now, you have to really wonder if these are the deepest recesses of my soul or if these are the ones that I will allow myself to share.

  1. A full-time job. While working part-time at many different places can be rewarding in a lot of ways, the fact that I work several jobs and always feel like I’m meeting myself coming and going is not fun. I’m currently looking for something a little more permanent, but I know that permanency is not something that is necessarily 100% super either.
  2. Being published for something. I know that this sounds a little vague or whatever, but I really want something of mine to be published by someone. I know that I could self-publish and that this is still an option, but I want for someone in the traditional publishing field to want something of mine so much that they offer me that golden ticket contract. I say this as I have submitted a short story recently, am prepped to submit a selection to an open call pub., and have several other things that I’m working on creatively. These are all the crazy things that are consistently running through my little mind, and I have hope that something will come of it, maybe.
  3. Inner piece. Recently, I have put myself out there in ways that I cannot describe here nor want to. I have done as Miss Frizzle said. I took chances, got messy and made mistakes. And now, I feel like I am dealing with the fallout of these things emotionally as well as in the real world. I don’t know what will become of all the stuff, but I really want to get to a place where I feel like I’m not a raw nerve, and while I know that many people would never know what is going on in my head, I want the calm and collected demeanor to be a reality within the framework of my own head.
  4. Love and intellectual companionship. I’ve always imagined myself as a loner and as someone who would be alone with their 40 dogs, cats, and fish much later in life. This was never a thought that I would have pondered until recently. As pragmatic and logical person who is capable of reading people and situations quite well, connecting with people is hard. I don’t make friends or start relationships with people easily. This is even more true of those that I feel might last or be lasting. As a person who has grown up around people with faulty relationships, seen marriages fall apart, and gotten jaded by any number of events, I find it hard to admit to myself that I have this desire. My family says that I’m picky, but  as shallow as it sounds on some level, I can’t be with just anyone because I have to feel that spark not only of attractiveness but of intellectual compatibility. For me, attractiveness and sexual compatibility goes beyond whether or not someone is “hot.” I could really give a shit less about whether a person is the hottest thing that has ever walked the earth, but to feel that connection and to be able to hold an intellectual conversation, I don’t know how to describe it but damn… dayum.
  5. Change. I don’t do well with instability paired with monotony. While these may sound like conflicting ideas, I talk now about the monotony of being in a particular situation while feeling like that position is precarious. As such, I long for change. I may have to manufacture the change on some level, and I don’t know what that will be. However, I need to roll along and find something. While this may be weird to those that long for the everyday or the ordinary (and these things aren’t bad), I need something more, and I am becoming uniquely aware of this with every passing moment in my own head.

So there you have it. A few thoughts from this chaotic head of mine. I find writing to be cathartic, and maybe, you’re feeling the same way too. If so, feel free to chat with me in the comments below.

Written by barryr22

March 2, 2016 at 11:10 pm

Posted in goals, life, writing

Song in My Head: “Letting You Go” by Luke Sital-Singh

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Here’s another song by the really talented Luke Sital-Singh. The one is really intriguing, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I understand / read the song (It’s the English major in me).

Here are some of the lyrics that I transcribed from the song:

“Well, it’s been too long. No, it’s been too long, and it’s all my fault this time. I’m a long way back in the distance now, and I don’t know if I’m strong. On the darkest night when I told you lies for a chance I might seem cool, well, the ghosts were there roaming in their underwear, making me look like a fool.

At the breakneck speed of tomorrow, I’m never letting you go. I’m never letting you go. At the heartbreak speed of tomorrow, I’m never letting you go. I’m never letting you go.”

I find his poetry mesmerizing.

Written by barryr22

January 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

[Guest Post] Literary Worth in Genre Fiction

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Today’s blogpost comes to us from B. J. Keeton, who writes adamantly on his blog professorbeej.com and continues to work on his fantasy / science fiction and steampunk series. By day, he is a mild-mannered college professor in Tennessee, and at night when the world isn’t watching, he tweets, writes and many other things…which I know a lot of you also do. Now, let’s lend our ears and support as he tells you all a little more about his awesome series that he’s about to publish (with our help of course). So without further ado, Mr. Keeton. 

Cover art by Falon Yates

As an English major in college, I was taught how to read and appreciate literature. I was taught how to recognize.  literary worth–how narrative pacing and structure, character development, and thematic depth all added up to make a text great.

As an English teacher, I try to do the same for my students. I want them to be able to get as much from literature as possible.

As an author, however, I can’t help but find the idea of so-called literary worth a little overwhelming. In a move totally and completely unlike James Joyce, I did not set out to write something great.

I wrote Birthright because I wanted to tell a good story. A fun little sci-fi/fantasy story that people would want to read.

And if folks find literary worth in it, all the better!

But what I find interesting is that as I’ve done this blog tour to promote the Birthright Kickstarter, I’ve begun noticing a few things I didn’t intend to notice. I started thinking about themes and deeper issues present in the novel, and I have to admit that I surprised myself.

I mean, Birthright is genre fiction. There’s no doubt about it. There are laser guns, technomages, fiery swords, hyperspace travel, and ten-thousand-year-old former gods.

Ulysses, this is not.

So why then, in my guest post for BioBreak, did I end the article like this?

I want to explore the real-world implications of [humanity playing the roles of gods, and] not just [through] the creation of artificial intelligence like in I, Robot or virtual reality like in Neuromancer, but full-on synthetic universes made of real-as-you-and-me organic matter. I want to explore the question that when the very foundation of your reality is both [natural] and created, is there even a distinction anymore?

Genre fiction isn’t supposed to be that heavy, is it? I mean, I didn’t set out to write a SF/F trilogy that dealt with humanity grasping at divinity. Yet I somehow managed to.

According to an editor I worked with earlier in the year, though, that’s exactly what good genre fiction does. She said that “SF is at its best when it tilts and expands” the reader’s worldview and understanding.

I would add something to that, though. In addition to tilting and expanding, it must also be interesting and engaging. In genre fiction, storytelling is paramount. All the worldview tilting and expanding the writer can muster is for naught if the story is lackluster.

And I think that’s where Birthright shines. Because as an author, I put the story first.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Birthright is great (though it is pretty darn good, if you ask me), and I’m not saying it will ever be a literary classic. What I am saying, though, is that it’s a prime example of how genre fiction can tell a good, fun story without the overbearing weight of literary worth hanging over its head like the Sword of Damocles.

And to me, that’s what makes genre fiction great–not that it must have worth, but that it can.

B.J. Keeton is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for Birthright, the first book in The Technomage Archive series. He is is a writer, blogger, and teacher. When he isn’t trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he writes science fiction, watches an obscene amount of genre television, and is always on the lookout for new ways to integrate pop culture into the classroom. B.J. lives in a small town in Tennessee with his wife and a neighborhood of stray cats, and he blogs about pop culture, geek media, and awesomeness at www.professorbeej.com.

Written by barryr22

July 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

Excerpt from the Novel I’m in the Process of Writing

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So after working on my novel for the past six months (and writing the bulk of it during the last two months), I feel like it’s time to share a bit of it. While this scene may change a bit when I hit the revision stage, Sadie (the vampire protagonist) and DaSuh (a shadow elemental who is escorting her) run upon a group of zombies that long to feast upon their flesh, and they must deal with these lesser undead. This is a first draft of a scene, so please be gentle in your feedback. . .however, feedback is appreciated. Without further ado, an excerpt from “A Taste of Night.”

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            Poised for the battle, we waited until the zombies slowly formed a ring about us: a vampire and a shadow elemental against a horde. We quickly launched our attack, hoping for the best and preparing for flight if we got the opportunity. Soon, we lost the world in a flash of flesh and limbs as our bodies beat out a symphony against the decaying meat.

My claws sank into the head of the closest zombie, ripping through his rotted flesh and skull and tearing into the gray matter. With the brain destroyed, the body collapsed upon the cracked sidewalk. Turning away from it, I grabbed the outstretched arm of another and separated them from the body as the zombie tried feebly to bite me with its jawless mouth. Its suffering was ended quickly as DaSuh’s shadowmancing blade sliced the whole body in twain.

“Look out!” DaSuh shouted as what looked like a giant maggot lunged, for lack of better term, toward me from the brain of the now rapidly decaying corpse. I caught it midflight and crushed it in my iron grip, destroying it.

“So that’s what they look like!” I yelled back, swiping my talons through the heads of three zombies at once, thereby rendering them incapacitated and most certainly dead.

Glancing over my shoulder, I could see DaSuh destroying many more of the shamblers with single swings than I was managing. One flick of the shadow blades and ten went down. However, the creatures seemed to keep coming and moving in on us too swiftly to count. When I destroyed five, ten appeared to take their place with a few stopping to feast upon their truly dead and now rapidly decomposing comrades, which was disgusting since the books allowed they only feed on living flesh. Again, I did not allow my stomach to become upset and kept tearing into the insurmountable wall of rotting flesh.

“There doesn’t seem to be an end to them!” I bellowed as I crushed yet another parasite under my expensive boots.

“Yes, they keep coming!”

“What can we do?!?”

“Keep fighting and give me a sec to think!” he shouted, taking down another ten with one swipe of his blades.

Kicking hard into one’s skull, my heel broke off leaving me hobbled for a second as I quickly decided to break the other one in a similar fashion. I lodged this one into a zombie that eerily reminded me of someone, but for my unlife, I couldn’t remember who. Still, there was no time to think as I slammed two of the walkers’ heads together with a sickening “CRACK!” This still did nothing to stop the remaining zombies from descending, and unluckily for us, the wall of bodies that we were accumulating around us was beginning to turn to dust as quickly as we added to it, leaving us without this meager protection and turning the feasting zombies’ attention back on us.

“I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up!” I yelled back at DaSuh, who wasn’t fairing any better than me by the way the dead kept closing in.

“I can try one thing!” he roared. “But it will take all my concentration. Do you think that you can hold them on your own for a little while?”

“Maybe with your swords.”

“Fine here!” he replied tossing the blades to me that turned back to sapphire in my hands. However, they would still cut though.

“Thanks, but now what do I need to do to help you, besides protecting you from them?” I questioned as I sent the blades hacking into the snarling creatures around us.

“I need to be against something like a building,” he said pulling two daggers from his side sheathes.

“I think that we can do that.”

Cutting down all the zombies to my left with one swish, I began to clear the way to the abandoned back to our side, long boarded up. But hey, it was a building. Wheeling around, I began to take on the brunt of all the attacking undead as DaSuh took position behind me.

“I warn you before I start, little princess,” he said, “This will be dangerous on both our parts. Do you still wish for me to do it?”

“Yes!!!”

“It will take me a few minutes to work the intricate magic. DO NOT let them interrupt me or the consequences could be dire.”

As I continued to hack away at the never-ending seas of decay, I saw in my periphery that DaSuh sat down as if to meditate. From him, a chant began to rise as zombie hands tried to touch him, yet none of them ever did because I chopped them off and destroyed their owner before they got remotely close. Shortly, a tingle of energy began to flow through the air around us, which the zombies did not seem fazed by as they maintained their attack. This energy gained in intensity for the next few minutes, while DaSuh’s voice steadily rose in frequency and overall loudness; until suddenly, his voice was all that could be heard over the groaning and teeth-snapping of the zombie horde surrounding us.

“OKAY DUCK!!!” DaSuh roared.

I kneeled quickly as the bolt of shadow energy flew over me, waylaying the zombies in front of us, but they seemed to recover rather quickly as they started stumbling back to their feet. Suddenly, this ball of pure glowing purple stopped, however, and imploded into the space above where the zombies once stood. In an instant, the true power of the void enveloped the group and sucked them into nothingness. What’s more, all of their bodies vanished into it and went. . .who knows where. I felt myself being drawn to this singularity and found that I could do nothing to stop it as I dug my claws into the concrete beneath me. However, even doing so did not help me, but I wasn’t going to let this be my end.

“DaSuh, I’m slipping! Help me!” I screamed at the stolid figure looking on the scene of zombies being sucked to their death. . . redeath. . . to die again.

As I continued to be pulled to my imminent demise, DaSuh’s tight, steel-like grip closed upon my shoulder, keeping me from whatever the shadowy energy was. However, the bones in my shoulder did not quite like the strength of his grasp and proceeded to snap under the force. The “CRUNCH” filled my ears as the pain shot through my upper body.

“Oooowwweeeewwww!” I screeched, reflexively trying to pry his fingers from my tender flesh. After a few seconds, I stopped because the urge to live was more powerful than the hurt in my shoulder. I was thankful to not be consumed by nothingness or what I would assume to be nothingness.

While the zombies were also fighting against the power of DaSuh, each of the rotting corpses slowly found themselves devoured by the singularity. Moreover, the flesh of those that struggled to stay in this realm the hardest peeled off their bones and destroyed them all just the same. Before long, empty space and silence were all that remained around DaSuh and me, but perhaps even more dramatically, the large vortex of swirling purple energy started to shrink and left with a slight pop. It left us in an uneasy calm after the ordeal, yet we were still living. . .or whatever you want to call the existence of two creatures such as ourselves.

Written by barryr22

June 28, 2012 at 4:13 am

Writing My Novel Part 1: The Basics of Things

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So over the course of this summer, I have taken my first venture into the writing of long form fiction. Now, this has been something of a task for me because I’m used to writing short stories and poetry; thereby, I create characters and set them free on the ocean of 2k -7k words. However, as my novel stands at around 50k words, I have invested a large amount of time and writing space for my characters and the premise of the story I’m going to tell. This post is to give a little insight into what I’ve been doing… here goes.

Premise: In the year 2042, the world turns all its nuclear warheads on each other and destroys the world in a cataclysmic event that causes the surface of the Earth to be uninhabitable to the humans that survived. (Matter-of-factly, I have written a short snippet that deals with this, which I hope to expand too.)  However, even as the human race is driven underground, the Eight monster races of the world (and some of their mutated offspring which don’t constitute a new race per say) which have existed in the shadows alongside humans come to power under the dust cloud covering the sun and making the Earth habitable for them. All Eight species try to live in harmony with one another, but like all those with power, peaceful cohabitation may not be possible… Enter our protagonist and her allies and enemies several hundred years after the great cataclysm…

The Eight Races (The races and a fun fact about them):

Vampires–Some feed on the  blood of the other seven… which is frowned and punishable by death. This is why it’s kept secret if they do. Others feed off the cultivated herds of mutant animals that they tend.

Weres— Werewolves and the like (there are more than just werewolves). They are called werebeasts by the other Seven races, which is a derogatory term… Prefer to be called Weres.

Arcane— The witches of folklore and legend who command external forces. In large covens, they have been known to shift the clouds and control the weather. Using their magic causes them to age physically; however, their youth can be recovered by focusing their magic toward rejuvenation.

The Fae— Similar to the witches in terms of their magical nature, yet they additionally are physically strong despite their lanky appearances. Known to be very beautiful. Their Queen is the Titania of lore. . .she rules them with a doll that contains the soul of Oberon, whom she trapped there so she should never be alone. Some call her the mad queen…

Elementals— Beings of immense power. Embody certain elements in a physical and magical way so that they become living fire, ice, shadow, etc. However, they can look human. Widely varying levels of power exist among them. Some are so weak that they barely exist. . .others can rend the Earth.

Harpies— One of the few flying creatures in the new world order. They are all covered in a fine layer of feathers that both protects them and streamlines them for flight. They are pack creatures that hunt, attack, and destroy creatures much more powerful than them through their group dynamic.

Infernals— Also called Demons by the other races. Usually remain in their monstrous / demonic form complete with flaming spectral wings and horns. They mostly appear to be genderless. Their ruler Bilge is known in the Christian Bible as Legion but not because he’s multiple demons…

Celestials— Called Angels by most creatures’ standards, they are additionally known as Valkyrie, goddesses, and more. Deemed by most of the other Seven (the Infernals won’t consent) to be the most powerful of the races, they are usually seen as the peace keepers because they can keep the others at bay. Have a club in the remnants of Carnegie Hall named “Heaven”.

There are other mutant species that exist that occur as splinter forms of the main groups… for instance, there are a few harpies that call themselves furies because they have acquired slightly different forms and powers. Hence, the variation of monsters throughout history.

Protagonist: Sadie is a highborn vampire who is relatively young by vampire standards (almost 2000 years old at the beginning). In addition to her youth, she is also plain by vampiric standards, which causes her purpose to be a little clouded. At first, she is just trying to find out from higher authorities what her destiny is, but inadvertently, she stumbles into a war that she finds herself at the epicenter of all because she chose to put on a necklace.

So there you have it, a little bit of insight into what it is that I’ve been writing. While I know that I’m being vague to a degree, I hope that my future posts will enlighten you  more. Maybe this will entice you to read more, even as I head to my 85k word count goal.

Review of Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel (Part One)

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I recently had a Twitter conversation with author B. J. Keeton (@professorbeej on twitter. . .you should follow him if you don’t) and expressed how hard it is for me to write a review of anything because I feel like I can be a little too critical at times. I also told him that this is the reason why I hadn’t already written a review of his and Austin King’s Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel (Part One), and honestly, this is true. I have started and stopped writing my review several times, and each time, I have thought that I might be being a bit too hypercritical. However, as I have let the thoughts sit, I know that I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading it, and although the first part isn’t perfect, I really enjoyed it. Now, I’m going to tell you why as briefly, succinctly, and honestly as possible.

First the novel’s blurb:

NIMBUS: A STEAMPUNK NOVEL (PART ONE) is the first volume of a serialized steampunk fantasy novel that started as an experiment and came out of the authors’ desire to do something new and interesting with ebook technology, while also dealing with a wide variety of narrative goodies–from airships to demon possession.

The story of NIMBUS: A STEAMPUNK NOVEL follows Jude Finley, a new recruit aboard the Gangly Dirigible, an airship that extracts water from rainclouds. Having only lived above the Skyline for a year, Jude is still getting used to the way things work in the world above the clouds. While working aboard the airship, Jude and his friends uncover a secret which may or may not help them against a growing uprising that could spell doom for everyone on the planet.

Meanwhile, Demetrius Rucca, wheelchair-bound son of a prominent religious leader, begins recruiting followers for his own subversive cause. As allegiances are sworn to him and his followers grow, he begins to discover the new powers that lie within him. This power could be the salvation Demetrius is looking for–or it could be the destruction of the known world. (From Amazon)

About the Authors:

AUSTIN KING has written plays, poems, novels, and short fiction, but he spends most of his time making sure his credentials sound more impressive than they really are.

B.J. KEETON is a writer, blogger, and teacher. When he isn’t trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he writes science fiction, watches an obscene amount of genre television, and is always on the lookout for new ways to integrate pop culture into the classroom. He lives in a small town in Tennessee with his wife and a neighborhood of stray cats. You can find more free fiction by B.J. Keeton at http://www.professorbeej.com. (Amazon as well)

Both of these guys are awesome as well!

The Good

The characters– Both Jude Finley and Demetrius Rucca are fully fleshed out characters that I find to be completely believable. While both characters are interesting in their own right, Jude takes up the mantle of our main hero as he manages his life aboard the Gangly Dirigible and is confronted by increasingly difficult situations up until his cliffhanger. Rucca (as he is referred to throughout the novel) lives the life of a highborn crippled man, and it becomes obvious quickly that this has affected him as he literally takes to the skies to rid himself of his existence. Moreover, each has another hidden layer that surfaces as the story continues. . .

The story– It’s original and unlike anything I’ve ever read before, but moreover, it puts a new spin on the steampunk genre, which can be dry for me at times. From the beginning, the readers are shown the importance of water and how difficult it is to gather in turn through Jude’s story. With Rucca, we are brought into the problems of someone stuck in his own skin, feeling the limitations and hoping to be able to bypass them somehow. And. . .AND it has demon possession which will serve as a huge plot device within the remaining parts. . .I find this to be really awesome.

The Concept of Serialization–They’re releasing the novel in four parts on Amazon, but they’re also releasing it chapter by chapter on Keeton’s blog professorbeej.com. I’ve oftentimes thought of how interesting it would be to read something serially, like the Victorians once did (and others… I know that too). This indulges my fancy and allows me to see how it would function. Also, I think that this is a brilliant way to build suspense, especially with the overall strength of the writing. It makes the overall premise great.

The Not So Good

Imbalance with alternating plots early on– While the writing and the story were really, really strong overall, I found myself at times feeling like the alternating chapters between Jude and Rucca’s points of view were a bit uneven in terms of their overall pacing and interest level. This occurs mainly toward the beginning and slowly begins to work itself out as both plot lines amp up in terms of action. Give it the first few chapters, and I assure you that you will be drawn in (that’s why I make this point).

Awkward phrasing at points– Although this doesn’t happen that often, there were a few times in this section of the novel that I was left scratching my head at the connection of ideas in a sentence or at just the structure of a sentence. For example, at one point there is discussion about a character that has been damaged by the fog: “His fingers, hands, and arms were also damaged. Muscle tissue and, like the spot on his right hand, even bone showed through.” I understand what was meant to be said here within the context of the larger scene; however, it took me reading this passage a few times to get the exact meaning. These types of issues occurred very infrequently, which shows you that the copy editing / proofreading was done with great care and attention to detail.

Overall— 4 of 5 Stars

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it is provocative, the concept is interesting, and the characters, especially the main ones, are well written. I enjoyed it thoroughly and anxiously await the second part to know what happened to both our hero and the budding villain. Honestly, it is pretty fantastic for only 2.99 at the Amazon Kindle Store. Go out and get it today!