Mail Chimp

Friday, September 5, 2014

She Speaks To Me On The Wind

She speaks to me on the wind
If I listen closely
That red-headed, freckle-faced girl I once knew
Timeless
Ageless
It's the only way I can hear her, now
Lover
Fighter
Mother
Little girl
Teacher
Of life's harshest lessons

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Future Past

Howard was going mad, he was sure of it. Of late, each time he sought the solace of sleep, he awoke terrorized, drenched in sweat, trembling. These were no ordinary nightmares, he felt. Quite often, he was unable to allow himself to return to slumber, the visions frightened him so.

His wife offered little consolation.

“Try some warm milk, dear,” she would opine. He spared her the grisly details, lest she too become affected.

Subsequently, he occupied two hells, a waking one, and a dreaming one. The conscious one, in which he was perpetually tired and cross, was still infinitely preferable to what lay beyond the wall of sleep.

En route to work each day, he found himself intensely annoyed by the presence of a multitude of filthy foreigners, and began to imagine a connection. Perhaps it was voodoo being practiced upon him. He had no proof, but this seemed most likely. Arcane black magic conducted by the never-ending stream of newcomers to his once proud neighborhood.

After weeks of distress, he sought out the opinion of a psychiatrist. In secret, of course. Psychiatry struck him as the white equivalent of voodoo, at some base level of thought. But it was here that he began to unburden himself. It was here that the madness touched his soul in full.

He saw a future world occupied by gigantic sentient beetles, humanity no longer extant. A desert mad man enacting dark rituals. A breech in the fabric of time and space that resulted in a flood of indescribable creatures issuing forth to creak a havok heretofore unthinkable.

But most of all he saw...It. Chanting men in robes, undoubtedly foreigners, summoning a great beast from beyond the dimensions we can perceive. An entity so foul and alien, it was entirely without motivation as we understood it. To look upon it, to feel its thoughts radiating outward, a rapid blast of unknowable symbols, was to lose your humanity. The creature didn't feel hate toward us, or even contempt. It simply destroyed without emotion, as though its very nature was death.

And it had a name. Cthulu.

This is what frightened Howard the most, lending it the air of truth. Never a creative man, he felt it impossible that such in-depth realism could be the creation of his own tired mind. He might ascribe it to the very powers of Hell themselves, except this alternate reality seemed to dwarf Christian Hell in terms of horror. In fact, it made the very idea seem comforting.

He longed to die and vanquish his suffering. To end it all before his visions of the future began to come true, as he surely knew they would.

Putting these things into words for the doctor did, in some small way, comfort him. They made his somewhat abstract thoughts concrete, thus painting them with the brush of reality. He realized that he was, to his relief, not going mad, as such. In fact, he felt he was to be commended for dealing with the enormity of the situation as well as he had. Lesser men would have crumbled, collapsed, begging for the safety of the asylum.

The uncomprehending doctor of the mind prescribed him an opiate sedative.

“No dreams with this stuff, no sir. You'll sleep the sleep of the dead.”

If only he could trust death to be without dreams.

Howard walked home, deaf to his wife's inquiries, and sat at his desk, putting pencil to paper for the first time in response to his situation, and began to write.

Somewhere in a future time, members of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society posted endless pictures of Cthulu to Facebook, transmitting them to the past.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Using Musical Themes In Your Writing

Long before I got serious, um, serious-ish, about writing, I was a musician. And before I was a musician, I was a music fan. Consequently, I find my writing infused with musical themes, on various levels.

I have always been struck by Stephen's King's work ethic. Write ten pages a day, he points out, and you'll have a novel every two months or so. I don't work like that. But he has also stated that he loves to blast music while he writes, often metal or classic rock. The Talisman, for example, has an extended sequence during which he listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Run Through The Jungle” as he wrote, and it seems to have had a noticeable influence. The text doesn't give it away, but when you learn about that and read it, wow. He sort of transcribed music into prose.

I also don't do that. I tend to write in silence. But at the same time, my books are usually not too removed from the world of music. I've done that in several different ways, now that I think about it.

Least often, I just write about music. In Pageburner, Paige attends a Bad Brains concert in New Orleans. This afforded me an opportunity to talk about one of the best concerts I have ever attended, while at the same time, driving both the plot and character development.

But music is also a part of Paige's life. She listens to The Cure at home alone, wallowing in self-pity. Her friend Bryce sends her MP3s of his nerd raps. When she goes clubbing, it's retro night, where she gets down to Lords of Acid and other bands that invoke feelings of nostalgia in her. I think these details add an air of realism. Consider how many novels you've read in which no one ever listens to music at all.

On a slightly more sneaky level, I interjected bits of old school rap lyrics into the text itself. It's seriously understated, but if you have a depth of knowledge about that genre, you'll encounter little phrases throughout the book that might make you smile. It's sort of a secret club. I'm not sure if any such fans have read that one, but still. It's nice to know they're there, just in case.

At other times, I have used a song as the basis for an entire novel. Radar Love is sort of an expanded telling of 'Life in the Fast Lane' by The Eagles. I'm not even sure how that happened, but I use snatches of verse to introduce chapters, and there's an amazing correlation there, however unintentional. This is sort of the main theme, but there are also leitmotifs that support the overall arrangement. One of my favorite parts involves Don Henley himself, actually. I'm pretty proud of the way that one worked out. I really need to get a copy to him so he can sue me or whatever.

Hurricane Regina can be said to be my Bjork novel. The character herself is named for The Sugarcubes' song 'Regina', and there is the additional use of a Sugarcubes song in the course of the romance that develops as the story progresses. Rapture is a location in the book which comes directly from that lyric. A record store in Iceland, in fact, sets the stage for a pivotal scene, which was originally the ending. It turned out to be the mid-point of the story, and I'm glad I pushed on. And if you're really paying attention, Bjork herself makes a tiny cameo appearance.

One of my later, unfinished-as-of-yet experiments is a retro piece set in the 80s thrash metal era. Chapter one is purely Mercyful Fate's 'Don't Break The Oath', and I think I listened to that album twenty times in between writing that single chapter alone. The music helps to define the character of the female protagonist, and also serves as a friction point between her and her ostensible love interest.

Perfect Me has a few nods to comedic genius Rappy McRapperson (the character President Gorlax), and my own former metal band, Gortician, which has evolved into a planet and a race of people. The sequel, Cure for Sanity, takes a slightly more serious approach in a sub-plot, which involves some lyrics invoking nasty Lovecraftian beasts from beyond.

I guess this is an extension of 'Write what you know', or perhaps, 'Write what you love'. I think music can be an effective shorthand in conveying certain feelings, and finding a common ground between author and reader. There is a danger, I suppose, in placing too much burden on such devices, and having the meaning lost on readers who don't know what you're referring to. But I strive to find a balance that doesn't make the story dependent on them, but instead uses them as enhancements.

Do you have a favorite piece of music that invokes feelings within you? Explore it in your work. Properly employed, they can add a rich layer of meaning to your writing. At worst, you might get a cease and desist letter from The Eagles. Win/win, I say.





Saturday, March 8, 2014

Crypto Everywhere

I am reminded daily that most people have no idea of what cryptocurrency is, or why it matters. By now, you may have heard of Bitcoin, the leading crypto. But even that is questionable, and chances are you don't know what it is, if you have heard about it at all.

I didn't write this to explain crypto to you. But in a nutshell, it's a new form of currency, electronic in nature, and anonymous. It is basically credits that you can purchase with paper money, and spend online, or later convert back to paper money. But it can also be 'mined', or earned for performing tasks. It also works well for tipping and micro-transactions. 

It can increase or decrease in value based on things like availability and demand, which can be quite nice. There's a lot to like about cryptocurrency. But whether you like it or not, it's here to stay, and will only gain more prominence. 

Why?

Well, it's incredibly bloody useful. Beyond that, it's about to become the de facto for things like 'Coke Reward Points' and frequent flyer miles. But it's really about branding.

When Coke realizes it can create CokeCoin out of thin air, for an investment of a few million, it is going to do it. Everyone will, at some point in the future, have their own currency. Corporations, universities. Yes, even people. Each currency will have a value assigned to it that is derived at least in part based on reputation. A dollar from Joe might be more valuable than a dollar from Bob.

Don't worry. All of this stuff will be handled invisibly, for the most part. If I want to buy from you, but you only accept Flappycoin, and I only have Dogecoins, we'll just go through an exchange without either of us having to do anything.  

My point is that the prevalence of cryptocurrencies is only going to increase. I can easily imagine it exploding in a way most people can't imagine right now, as is often the case with new technologies. Get ready. Or not. Meh. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Has the Online Conspiracy Scene Been Co-Opted?

Of course it has. Anyone familiar with, say, Mockingbird, knows that this is just as logical as the feds co-opting the media. And that's common knowledge, for those who think. See, for example, the CIA's office at CNN, or Anderson Cooper's admitted CIA ties.

This has been sort of a hobby of mine since before the Internet. I used to study every book on the JFK assassination that I could get my hand on. And early Internet conspiracy research was a vast, fascinating wonderland. There was a lot of wide-eyed alien and UFO-related crap, but there were also fabulously fascinating things about things like Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, AIDS, etc. You had to be discerning when reading these things, and have the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Looking at the Internet now, it's pretty obvious that, while there is an even larger community now, the entire scene is pretty heavily controlled from within. Ain't that some shit?

Want some examples?

85% of the entire online conspiracy scene is Alex Jones. He runs Prison Planet.com and Infowars.com, with millions of hits each month. Alex Jones is a bit of a Chicken Little, using his pulpit for fear-mongering, and often urging people to violent revolution. A bit like the FBI-backed racist Hal Turner. Furthermore, Alex Jones has admitted that half of his family are CIA connected. Curiously, Alex Jones avoids any discussion of Zionism in regard to world affairs. Odd, that, when it's a big part of normal N.W.O. discussions.

Rense.com is another long-time conspiracy site. It's a real mixed bag, with lots of UFO stuff mixed in with virulently racist articles, making it easy for many to dismiss any valid stories they might happen to publish.

Michael Rivero's WhatReallyHappened.com is a pretty good link aggregator. It mainly assembles news stories from around the world, both mainstream and underground. It does often veer into vaguely anti-Semitic rhetoric at times. But there's another curious quirk at work here. Michael Rivero insists that a 767 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, despite zero evidence, and a ton of evidence indicating the opposite.

Then there are the message board sites. Abovetopsecret.com and Godlikeproductions.com seem to be the biggest around. Having studied them in depth recently, I noticed a few odd things about them as well.

Above Top Secret recently hosted an "Ask Me Anything" with Lt. Col. Michael Aquino. As many long-time researchers know, Satanist/Setian Aquino was tied to the Presidio and McMartin-Buckey child sex scandal. Curiously, this subject is never raised in the AMA... Just wow. The majority of the posters seem to be doing damage control for the government.

Something else that was very telling was the reaction on ATS and GLP when the congressional stenographer made a remark about Freemasonry and Godlessness. While you would think conspiracy sites would be all over this, instead, she was mainly mocked as a Christian, and Freemasonry was defended. This even extends to Alex Jones' site, which called her diatribe "bizarre". Really, Alex? This is the bread and butter of conspiracy theory.

I think that collectively, these sites are both a pressure valve, providing entertainment for the conspiracy set, and a great place to introduce disinformation. And the huge amount of scare-mongering that never seems to actually come true tends to taint all information on the sites, valid or not. It's also a great way to collect info on every anti-government activist in the U.S.

Conspiracy theory used to be an exercise in intellectualism. Since the scene has grown, the overall quality of the research has declined. Even conspiracy theory is a conspiracy, and I think that's awesome.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nerdapalooza Quest 2013 - Album Review

I am not giving you the backstory on nerdcore here. B-Type is a rapper and producer from the UK who wants to perform at this big nerdcore show in Orlando, FL, so he's released this "pay what you want" compilation album to help pay for it. A noble gesture, and one he hopes you'll return. 
http://b-type.bandcamp.com/

There are thirty tracks, many of them quite good. I'm just going to mention some of them.

The first, appropriately enough, is by B-Type himself, "Party Robot". And, oh, yeah, B is a British MC. I sort of forgot about that somehow. I don't really dig British MCs. I never even listened to The Streets. I like that sort of thing best in small doses, like on The Shamen's albums. But, to his credit, what he does is pretty listenable, and also nicely nerdy. The track itself is classic nerdcore, instrumentally, and sets the tone for the rest of the compilation.

Next up is The Great Divide, by Dual Core. I love the instrumental, which is a slow dubsteppy track. Intense The MCing is sort of frantic but cool. The whole thing is utterly dominated by the instrumental, though, and that's not too bad, in this case. Cause I love the instrumental. I'm not "down" with the latest "lingo", but I think this officially makes DJ Roborob a "beast".

"Digital Nightmares" by Equivox is pretty amazing. I guess this qualifies as chiptunes? It's an instrumental that would be a great soundtrack for an R-Type style shooter, preferably on the Amiga. But to call it mere videogame soundtrack music is to do it a huge disservice. It's actually more like a video game itself, if that makes any sense. The music actually does a great job of making you actually see the game in question. While the graphics are supplied by you, the actions of the game are well described by the music. There is simulated laser fire and explosions. Not sounds effects, but the music implies such things. So it's overall subtle and compelling. They're really packing a lot into a three-minute instrumental, conceptually. Bravo. 


Breakbeat Heartbeat 's "Breath" is a slower, non-techno instrumental. It's vaguely Asian in feel. A bit repetitive  but it did make for nice background music as I wrote the previous review. Excellent video game music, though.
"Palette" by Skin Walker comes pretty hard. Very Octomed/Tracker in feel, it's bouncy and varied. The bridge is wild. I really like this track. It's hardcore. I could dance to this, but people might get hurt.
SK8BIT - "Thats What You Get" (Paramore Remix). Couldn't do it. Not a fan of Paramore, and I couldn't listen to enough of it to say anything about the instrumetal aspect of it, and I never heard the original, so I can't comment on the remix aspect. Great if you like upbeat, female vocals in your techno. Just not my thing.
Superpowerless - "My Dinosaur". Ha! I've got this bastard now. Oliver is one of these scene cats that just makes everyone sick. Everything he touches is golden. He's made some insanely good tracks, is immensely popular, by most accounts good-looking, a phenominal artist and humorist with an ever-growing following. And I think he dated fanatical? We all love him so much we hate him. Yes, I can speak for everyone, here. That's why I am ELATED to say I don't like this track very much. Fuck. That's what I was going to write. But I'm listening to it again because I need to write this review. And it's grown on me. It'd be perfect on college radio. Hell, it would make a good intro to cartoon on PBS. Bah, you bastard, Oliver. You have a weak point, somewhere. I'll find it. A perfect example of someone who would have been snapped up by a label back in the days when there were record labels.





On the other hand, I wanted to like Ham-Star's "Moral Turpitude" more than I did. Of course, it's a sort of niggling complaint I have with it, anyway. I don't mind the somewhat tinny backing track. This is kind of like a white kid "Nature of the Threat", in feel and conceptually, to a lesser degree. The flow is cool, the lyrics are an example of Ham-Star's command of the lsnguage. I like what he's saying, furthermore. I just don't think the track got as extrene as it could have. He even makes note of this in one of the last verses. Since it's all about moral outrageous of the past, it feels a bit like preaching to the converted. I'd like to have had it tackle controversial issues of today, as well, for maximum impact. I would almost compare this to Consolidated, except it's not whiny and annoying. 


8bit Duane - "Party In Space" (feat. Shammers and B​-​Type) is great. It's just a fun party track, and the backing instrumental is sort of subdued. A lot of clever lyrics.

And that's just a few of the whopping 30 tracks included. This is a great compilation, especially if you're not a nerdcore snob and also like non-hip-hop nerd music. I gotta hand it to B-Type for helping to keep the nerd music scene alive. 

I should also mention that Torrentz, a crew in part also from the UK, are trying to get to NPLZA, and have a compilation effort of their own, toward the same end. My man Milk Plus.
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-torrentz-to-nerdapalooza

Best of luck to all involved. Nerdapalooza looks to be massive this year. http://nerdapalooza.org/ 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"World War Z" (the book!) Review

Just wow. This book is really amazing.

The author is way beyond intelligent. I can't imagine a more interesting zombie novel. It's written as a series of interviews in a post zombie holocaust scenario, international in scope. The amount of research that's gone into it is readily apparent. It takes you from China, to South Africa, Japan, the International Space Station, and beyond, slowly building a global view of the events, and their aftermath.

In fact, this novel sort of makes me want to see it happen. Yes, millions of people die, maybe more. But it's sort of like Reagan (whom I'm not particularly a fan of) said. The world will unite against a common enemy.

Each little piece of the book taken alone is fascinating. But the big picture it paints is even more inspiring. Along the way, there is plenty of geopolitical commentary. It actually paints xenophobia in a positive light, with Israel and Cuba, for example, behaving in surprising ways.

The standard zombie fare is in there, as well, with lots of grisly and action-packed moments full of tension. It's also full of heroes, and two enemies: the zombies, and ourselves. A top-notch book, from start to finish. Read it!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0770437400/ref=cm_cr_thx_view

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Final Poem

I hate the moon, now
Despise it
For it reminds me of failure
And my lost love
Wretched lunar sphere
Full or crescent
Waxing or waning
It is the shape
Of a broken heart...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short Story - All The Time In The World

Abraham Kochinsky had had enough. Life just wasn't working for him anymore. The dream was dying, or perhaps had already died.

He'd spent the first half of his fifty-odd years aimless, for the most part. Following his bliss, as they say. But bliss, he had found, was fleeting. The things that had once made him happy no longer did. In fact, they depressed the everliving fuck out of him. 

Working was working. He was never lucky enough to find solace in laboring to earn a living. The world defined men largely by their work, and the subsequent earnings it brought. Women, although a joy much of the time, led to further disappointments. You only needed to break a heart once, and have your own broken, before you could lose your taste for romance. Which is what led him to his current ennui.

Along the way, he picked up writing. It was writing, ultimately, that ruined his life.

He endured the first ten years like a soldier. He had been taught that being an author was largely a story of rejection, and had steeled himself for it. Eventually, he was inured to the rejections from editors and agents, most of them stock replies. He survived by telling himself that he was good, but the market wasn't ready for his style of storytelling. Cliche piled upon cliche. He had the wall of letters from publishers telling him, in so many words, that he wasn't quite good enough to be published. 

For a long while, even that was a badge of honor. Eventually, his optimistic philosophy lost its effectiveness at staving away depression.

Then the self-publishing revolution took hold. Suddenly, he was in an admirable position. He had skills, and a huge back catalog of unpublished work, free and clear. He set about getting his books online. True, he made many mistakes, initially. But he was convinced of the quality of his work. It was all just a matter of time and effort, he told himself.

Another few years of this, and his hope had again faded. He had a few fans, and some reviews that one could be proud of. But commercial success continued to elude him. There was never enough time to do all that he needed to do, trying to juggle work and writing. It was overwhelming.

He felt foolish. Again. A writer writing about a writer writing was hackneyed. Done to death. No one really wanted to read it. Especially other writers, who had once commiserated with him, drinking from the same cup of sorrows.

He braced himself with a few shots of rotgut, and fingered his three-eighty, waiting for his courage and resolve to kick in. Finally, he walked to the station house down the street, smiling with genuine kindness at neighbors and passers-by.

Moving as though in a dream, he shot the cop working as desk clerk right in the nose, opening up a fist-sized hole that exploded like a water balloon. With a cheery expression on his face, he took out the first officer to respond with a double-tap to the heart and throat.

Then he was engulfed in blackness, shot from behind. Textbook suicide by cop.

When he awoke, much to his dismay, he was in a prison hospital. His greatest hopes had been realized, in part. He was famous. But he had wanted to die. 

At least he could fully devote himself to the craft, though. Now he had all the time in the world.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter Seven


7 – Growth

Back at the office, Janique leapt into Chris's arms and kissed him with fervor. She reeked of sex and happiness.

Someone had a good day,” he said. “What did you do?”

Bought a print shop.”

What a coincidence. I bought you a computer store,” he said, smiling.

She hugged him tighter. “Really?”

Yep. I had to offer him ten percent over market value, but it's between the lawyers, now.”

Wow. It's all coming together.” She sighed. “Wait'll I tell the girls.”

But they had already discovered Natalia's completed bedroom set, and were engaged in a giggling pillow fight. Laughter emanated from their room as they began a second, happier childhood.

Chris squeezed her hand. “Mommy,” he said.

Oh, daddy. Which reminds me. I want to talk to you about something. But let's review this footage, first.”

He threaded the projector, and they cuddled on their new couch, watching each reel in turn.

So what do you think?” she asked him when they had finished.

Well, it's hot, I admit. Mostly because of you and the girls. But it's a different sort of hot, in part. I like it, ultimately.”

She beamed at his approval. “I only regret that it's so short. I know we were talking about hour-long tapes.”

Yeah, but we have four different angles to work with. With a little judicious editing, we can get forty-five minutes out of it.”

Do you really think so?” Both of them hated camera trickery, like reusing shots or flipping them horizontally to double their length.

I can already see it in my head. To make up the difference, we'll use previews, and we can film a disclaimer-type intro.”

That sounds like fun. Can we do do that now?”

Of course, angel.”

They set up a camera, framed the shot, and then removed their shirts. Then they ad-libbed on the spot.

Hi, this is Chris.”

And I'm Janique.”

We have a lot of wild sex.”

Crazy, rough, acrobatic sex.”

But we're also in love.”

Madly in love.”

And we're trained professionals.”

Everything we do is consensual.”

Even when it looks like it's not.”

So if you're going to try and do what we do.”

Do it with someone you love.”

And if you can't...”

Please wear a stupid condom.”

Don't hurt anyone.”

Unless they ask you to.”

Most of all.”

Have fun!”

Chris grabbed Janique and kissed her with heartfelt passion, then shut off the camera.

That was sweet,” Janique said. “But it's only a minute long.”

We'll pad it with legal stuff. Proof of age statement, custodian of records. I have a feeling it will be mandatory in a few years, anyway.”

Cover your ass.”

Movie title,” Chris replied, and she laughed. “We don't want another Tokio situation.”

That's for sure. We should check on Payback's progress.”

I'm sure he'll let us know if something happens.”

They got dressed with some reluctance, and went to talk to Janice.

Hey, kids,” she said. “You two look happy.”

Really happy,” Janique said. “I'm afraid we spent eight-hundred thousand dollars, though.”

Naughty, naughty. Good investments?”

The best. They're both solvent, and ideal locations to run girls out of.”

Let me guess. The print shop?”

Yes!”

That is shrewd, Janique. Beverly Hills runs on the backs of beautiful young girls.”

I know, right?”

On a related note, I ran the ad. You should soon have more clients than you can, uh-”

Shake your dick at?” Janique said.

Well said."

"You're the best, Janice.”

Thank you, ma'am. I know. I also took got the numbers of the three biggest porn distributors in the world, as you asked. The best offers sixty-thousand per finished hour. All three are waiting on footage.”

Do you mean to tell me that we made, what, almost a quarter million dollars just goofing around this week?” Chris asked.

Subject to their approval, yes. Although I feel compelled to point out that you spent three times that much on investments. Money well spent, in my opinion. But don't lose sight of the bottom line.”

Movie title!” Janique said. Janice nearly blushed. “But I think we can do better.”

Oh?”

I want to work with Payback on the terms. I also want points.”

Very astute. I'll draft something and pass it along to him. I think we can make that work.”

The money is obviously going to be a lot to deal with. Can you recommend an accountant and financial planner?”

I wouldn't do this for anyone else, Janique, but I can give you a referral to my own. They've been in business for over a hundred years, and have never steered me wrong.”

Are you really that old?” Janique asked with a smirk.

Janice, I could kiss you,” Chris said.

No, sir, you cannot. But I'm glad to help. When you incorporate, I should like stock options.”

You are just full of good advice,” Janique said.

Anybody here?” said a voice in the hall. Dana and Brad had arrived with the computer delivery.

When Chris entered the corridor, Dana dropped the box of cables he was holding.

Hey! That's the guy who threatened to pistol-whip me!

What?” Brad said.

Oh, Dana. Chris was just playing around. Weren't you, Chris?”

Oh, sure,” he said.

Chris would never hurt anyone.”

He tried to smile, but the thought of the people he'd killed, and the arms and kneecaps he'd broken made it more of a pained and unconvincing grimace. The moment was saved by the girls, who swarmed the two computer salesman.

Hey, Brad and Dana,” said a chorus of voices.

Girls, I need to talk to Brad. Show Dana your new room,” Janique said pointedly.

Ooh, come see,” Lateesha said, taking him by the hand.

Brad, we're buying the store. Would you like to work for us?”

You mean, at the store?”

No, silly. I mean here. You're too talented to be a mere shopkeeper. Sure, you can oversee operations, there. But I'm talking about being our technical consultant. And also developing hardware and software.”

Dana walked back out as they were talking, looking flushed and disheveled.

Janique, I'd be a fool to say no.”

Especially once you learned that the position pays a quarter-million a year to start...”

Fuck Brad, what about Dana?” Dana said.

Not to mention a generous R & D budget...”

Fuck Brad, what about Dana?” he repeated.

Dana, go unload the truck, please,” Brad said, annoyed.

When he was out of earshot and into the elevator, Brad said, “Look, my brother's sort of a screw-up. I can't just abandon him. I'm afraid I can't accept if it means he'll lose his job at the store. And without me, he'll never make it, there.”

Well, what can he do, besides run a cash register and be a goofball?”

That's the thing. Being a goofball is all he's really good at. He's a comedy writer, and he does a little stand-up and improv.”

I may be able to use him, then. We'd still have to audition him.”

Please keep him off camera. No one wants to see that.”

Janique laughed. “Not like that. I mean, he'd have to write a test script for me.”

Pornos have scripts?”

I don't want to do bog-standard porn. I want funny, exciting art pieces. At least occasionally.”

Well, dependent on how he does, I guess, I accept.”

Janique kissed him on the cheek, and he looked nervously to Chris, who, rather than being angry, betrayed a hint of a smile.

Wonderful,” she said. “Welcome aboard.”

I'm going to help him unload,” Brad said.

Great. I'll talk to him about it today. Or, Chris will, rather. They need to be friends for it to work.”

Brad joined Dana downstairs, and Janique said, “Well, can you work with another writer?”

Yeah, I think I'd like that. Comedy is not my strong suit.”

And not pistol-whip him?”

Chris smiled. “I'll do my best.”

You always do. Reason four-hundred and fifty-six of why I love you so much.”

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter Six


6 – Perfection

Janique held the door open and the girls walked in, forming a vee ahead of her. Already, she loved her entourage. They were a sexy little female gang. The shop was quiet and empty, and the proprietor's eyes bulged at the sight of them. But he played it cool, as though this sort of thing happened every day.

Hi,” she said. “I need five thousand cards on your priciest stock. Black, with gold embossed lettering, in this distribution.”

He accepted the list with the text she wanted, and she found herself amused at the sight as his eyes grew wider still.

Wow,” he said. “Ordinarily, I'd caution you about ordering so many at once, but you seem, uh, very confident. Let me see what it'll cost.”

He forced himself to focus on his adding machine for a moment, and eventually said, “Eight-hundred and fifty-six dollars. My name's Romeo Montague, by the way.”

Romeo Montague? Seriously?”

Yeah. Montague's my family name, and I guess my parents thought it would be funny. I'm not much of a Casanova though, to mix metaphors."

Janique laughed. “How long would it take?”

This number? Oh, three days.”

We can make it an even thousand. Two days.” She had no pressing need to get them that quickly, but she was enjoying the power play.

I'd have to work overtime, but I think I can do that. I work alone,” he added.

An idea formed in her head, but she resisted the urge to announce it too soon.

Well, I can give you cash, or-”

How'd you like to fuck the shit out of us, instead?” Mia said, shamelessly.

Romeo's facade crumbled, and his face went pale, and then bright red.

Gee, I don't know. I need the money, and Julie'd kill me.”

Your wife's name is Julie? Close enough, I guess,” Janique said. “Do you have any kids?”

He nodded. “Yep. Pride and Joy.”

That's their names?”

Right.”

Very cool. So what do you say?”

I'm torn. It's a very, uh, tempting offer. I mean, I love my wife...”

But she doesn't get down like the porno bitches, right?”

Right,” he admitted.

Well, we do get down like the porno bitches. And we're very discreet. Does she ever come here?”

No, she hates the shop. She wants me to spend more time with her and the girls. But the sales just aren't there to hire anyone, and I don't trust anyone to run the place, anyway.”

I might be able to offer a solution. And I can promise you the best sex you've ever had. Right now.”

He caved, and moved to lock the door. “We Romeos do have high libidos...”

Wait. You don't mess with nasty street whores, do you? Escorts, maybe?” Janique asked.

Me? No way. I could never cheat on my wife.”

Well, this isn't cheating. It's business. Girls, set up the cameras.” she commanded, and they scrambled to set up tripods near the back of the room.

Cameras?” Romeo gulped in apprehension. He was afraid he was getting himself into a blackmail situation.

Company policy. Otherwise, it's prostitution. And I need you to sign a release form.”

I don't know about all this,” he admitted.

Does Julie watch porn?”

"Never."

Some women are like that. It's an insecurity or something. But at least you know she'll never see it. Anyway, do we have a deal?” She proffered the release form.

Romeo sighed, defeated by his desires. “Yes.” He scrawled his name on the form.

I'll need a copy of your driver's license, too.”

Driver's license?” He looked up, and Janique had her tits out. “No problem.”

Ready, girls?” she called out.

Yes, mommy,” Gia said. “We're rolling.”

'Come on, Romeo. Let's see if you can live up to your name.” She led him by the hand to the center of the three cameras the girls had arranged, and pulled her own handheld from her bag.

Strip,” she told the four of them. He hesitated, and Janique grew annoyed. “For fuck's sake. This is not the time and place for modesty. We don't care about what kind of shape you're in.”

The girls disrobed, and then help him finish taking off his clothes.

Ever fuck a black girl?” Lateesha whispered in his ear.

Romeo shook his head no.

The girls tried not to look disappointed at his somewhat undersized dick, which had grown hard, despite the stress and pressure of the situation. Mia and Gia knelt in front of him, taking turns swallowing his cock and licking his balls. When Lateesha tried to spread and lick his ass, he panicked.

What are you doing?”

Relax,” Janique said, getting some nice shots of the action. This was good, she thought. It had pathos.

He did, and Lateesha tried again. But the moment she touched him with her tongue, he pulled out of Gia's mouth and squirted on the carpet.

Bad Romeo!” Janique scolded. “I ought to make you lick it up.” Something about him brought out her dominant side, one that she ordinarily reserved for females. “On your hands and knees, worm.”

Powerless, he did as she told him. Janique slipped out of her clothes single-handedly, laid down in front of him, and spread her legs, continuing to film. “Now eat my pussy,” she said. He was more than happy to oblige.

Mia and Gia got on their backs and slid under him, and Lateesha licked his ass and balls from behind. Apparently, that was her thing. They all began to get into it again, when he came a second time. The twins devoured it, and then complained.

Mommy, he came again,” Mia said, disappointed.

This was going nowhere fast.

Spank his fucking ass, girls,” she told them, changing her approach.

Janique rose and stood in front of him, looking down at him both figuratively and literally. The girls paddled him with delight, and she was unsurprised to see that he had already regained his erection.

Romeo, you're going to stick your dick in each of my girls before we go. Do you understand me?”

Yes, ma'am,” he said meekly.

The three lined lined up on their hands and knees, and Janique moved him behind Lateesha, who was on the left this time. She guided his cock into her and urged him on. “Fuck her hard,” she said, and he did his best to follow orders. After a minute or so, Janique made him pull out and she cleaned the delicious taste off of him.

Next,” she said, and moved him to Mia, repeating the process. When he had finally reached Gia, Romeo couldn't take any more. Three strokes later, and he came all over her 'Perfection' tattoo. Lateesha and Mia lapped it up for the cameras, and then snowballed each other, before spitting it all into Gia's mouth.

For shame, Romeo,” Janique said. “I was going to let you fuck me, next.”

I don't think I could handle it,” he admitted, and laid back, panting and exhausted.

Professionals to the end, the girls switched off the cameras and pulled towels from their bags. They dried the sweat from his body, and the twins laid on either side of him and cuddled as he caught his breath. To Romeo, that was the best part. He nearly cried at their gentleness and consideration.

I want to buy the shop,” Janique announced unexpectedly.

He raised his head to look at her. The girls moved to get dressed and pack up the gear.
I'm listening,” he said. At that point, he would have given it to her.

I propose a lump sum buy-out arrangement, and I'll retain you as a consultant. You can train some of my people, and draw a salary. Not to mention,” she said, “you can have sex with one of them every week.”

Romeo was stunned, but he knew a good deal when he heard one. It was too enticing to pass up.

Deal,” he said without thinking.

Great. Now you can spend more time at home, and get away when you need to.”

This is like a dream come true. How could I say no?”

Please,” she said. “It's what I do. This place is about to become Beverly Hills' best kept secret. Girls, tell Mr. Romeo goodbye.”

Each delivered him an open-mouthed kiss, and walked out without a word.

We'll be in touch,” Janique called out over her shoulder.

At the curb, they found the cabbie waiting for them.

San Fernando?” he asked with a grin.

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter Five, Part Two


While Natalia and her minions worked on redecorating, Janique reviewed the existing footage to determine how much usable video she had so far. It was hot stuff, for sure. Mia and Gia were naturals on camera, and had been proven to do pretty much anything. Lateesha's bathroom sodomy was an intense vignette, but had only lasted about twenty minutes or so.

Still, she had about three hours of footage, all told. Enough to advance her plans, she decided, but she needed more. Janique realized that the spontaneous nature of the encounters were part of what made them so enticing, and set about devising more scenarios.

But before she could move forward, there was business to attend to. Always business. She loved the act of creation, and enjoyed being hands-on, but had decided that she needed to offload as much of the day to day drudgery as possible. Too much of her energy was being diverted to the details of running things, and interfered with her art.

She walked into Janice's office, and the receptionist (office manager, she reminded herself) quickly put away the yellow legal pad she was writing on.

Hey, Janice. Whatcha doin'?”

Oh, just some creative writing. For a little critique circle I'm a part of.”

Cool!. Looks, I think we need nametags and business cards. Do you have a printer you can recommend?”

Indeed, madame.” Janice consulted her personal Dayrunner and wrote down the name and address of a company she used for manuscripts. “Romeo should be able to provide anything you need.”

Romeo? That's hilarious.”

Oh, it gets better. I won't spoil it for you.”

Perfection Printing. Nice. In Beverly Hills, no less.”

They do a lot of high-end business work. Business cards are his specialty. He also does run-offs of scripts for a lot of major studios.”

Excellent. I'm going to work out exactly what I need, and then take the girls on a little field trip.”

Do you need anything from me while you're away?”

Oh, just keep an eye on Natalia. Don't let her smoke in the office.”

Janice smiled. “I don't think that will be a problem.”

Janique returned to her desk and began to work out what her cards needed on them. A smile crossed her own face when she came up with the phrase “Private Independent Movie Producer”. P.I.M.P. She loved it. The fact that she had started a completely legal escort service wasn't enough. She wanted to run the authorities' noses in it.

She went through the racks of her own costumes and selected three schoolgirl outfits for Mia, Gia, and Lateesha, and one for herself that suggested a principal or headmaster.

Janique found them involved in the process of setting up their bedroom, and distracting Natalia's movers tremendously.

Get dressed,” she told them. “We're going shopping.”

The girls squealed with delight.

And leave your panties and bras here,” she added.

She changed with them, and the sight of all that firm young flesh made her indescribably horny. The schoolgirl outfits from Japan only heightened the effect. One advantage she had in sticking with a particular body type, so far, was that all of her many outfits fit the girls as well. Lateesha's exaggerated tits and ass strained the limits of the fabric, however.

They changed heedless to the workmen coming in out of the room, each of whom suddenly found reason to stay and aimlessly move boxes around. Only Natalia had returned to the truck.

Line up and touch your toes,” she told the girls.

When they had, she flipped their skirts up, exposing their bare asses. One of the workers dropped a lamp he was holding, and it shattered.

Idiot!” Natalia screamed as she walked in. Realizing what the problem was, she said, “Get out!” and her hired hands reluctantly left the room. She stayed to watch, however.

The girls, with Lateesha in the middle, forming a reverse Oreo, widened their stances to keep their balance as Janique slapped each of their asses hard enough to leave bright red hand prints.

Thank you, mommy,” they responded.

Then she knelt behind them and passed her tongue up and down their exposed pussies and asses, relishing the scent as they grew increasingly wet. It was so intoxicating, it almost turned into a scene right there. She stopped herself with some reluctance before it did, and made a mental note to someday develop a perfume that smelled like pussy, After “Still Life With Woodpecker”, Chris had read “Jitterbug Perfume” to her, igniting a love of fragrances that had persisted ever since.

Finally, she replaced their too-short skirts and told them to stand. Janique smiled at a stunned Natalia as they walked out.

###
Outside, Janique hailed a cab, and two of them screeched to a halt at the sight of them. Nice, she thought, and selected one based on the appeal of the driver. She opened the back door, and the girls piled in.

Can I ride in front?” she asked.

Lady, you can do whatever you want,” he said, and tripped over himself as he got out to open her door.

When he had returned to the driver's seat, Janique said, “Beverly Hills, and step on it.” She had always wanted to say that.

In the back, the girls had assumed the same formation as they had upstairs, and couldn't keep their hands off of each other. Each of the twins was taking turns kissing Lateesha as they worked themselves into a frenzy. Janique watched with interest, and fired up a Marlboro. She noticed the driver's momentary discomfort and rolled down her window.

Problem?” she asked.

No, ma'am,” he said. “I mean, technically, they're supposed to wear seatbelts, and no one is allowed in front, either. But...” He glanced in the back and realized what was happening, losing his train of thought.

Hey!” Janique said, and the girls snapped to attention. “No orgasms.”

They laughed and went back to what they were doing. After that, the driver had trouble focusing, and his eyes kept moving from Janique to the rearview mirror. When his inattention to driving caused him to run a stoplight, she took his hand and put it in her pants.

Eyes on the road,” she said.

He nodded vigorously, and after that, his driving was as excellent as his fingerwork. I love my life, Janique thought. She couldn't help but be reminded of “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”. It was just a Tom Robbins sort of day.

They slowed down as they entered Beverly Hills and made their way to Rodeo Drive. Janique realized he was trying to drag out the trip, but she could hardly blame him. She was so wet, she had to force herself not to cum, as well.

She was thinking about Chris.

They had spent a lot of time on the highway with Janique's legs up on the dashboard, her tits out for passing truckers. More than once they had caused massive slowdowns and traffic snarls as drivers tried to keep her in sight.

At the printer's, she had to remove his hand herself. Without a hint of self-consciousness, he rubbed it all over his mouth and mustache. He's be smelling her for the rest of the afternoon. Then he reached for his wallet and tried to hand her sixty dollars.

Don't be silly,” she said, handing him a hundred of her own, instead. The business side of her wanted to turn a profit, but she was too sympathetic to the plight of working people to allow herself to do that. “Thanks, sweetie. We make movies. Ultimate Hustle. Remember the name.” She almost added that he could have any of them for three thousand dollars an hour, but resisted the urge. He probably had a family to take care of.

Yes, ma'am!”

Janique smiled. She liked making other people happy.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review - Titanic: QED by Catt Dahman

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about spoilers, now. It's all pretty much right there in the book description.

I really enjoy the tale Catt tells in this one. The previous short story collection I read from this author hearkens back to the past, so this story was the perfect match for her. The use of H.P. Lovecraft as a character is brilliant. It's never specified until the last page that Howard Philips is Lovecraft, but astute readers will pick up on this a lot sooner. It's very much a part of the Cthulu mythos, and by the time you're two-thirds into it, that becomes apparent. It's a great homage to a phenomenal writer and story-teller.

Although he wasn't actually on the Titanic (thankfully!), many of the other characters actually were. None of them stand out nearly as much, to me, as Maggie Brown, the plucky heroine of the story.

In fact, it's a sort of feminist piece, in part. The men, on the whole, behave admirably, as you would expect men from that era to act. Of course, not all do. A crisis can bring out the worst in us. But it's the women who stand out to me, as they are acting, not out of character as such, but beyond their ordinary station in life for that time period. You can also tell that a lot of research went into writing this.

Where Catt really shines is in writing horror, and that is here in spades. There's plenty of opportunity for it in this book. It really is a lot more than a mere Titanic/shark story. It succeeds as a literary mash-up of sorts. In fact, it's sort of a meta-prequel, in that it is a prelude to Lovecraft's entire writing career. That's an amazing and exciting accomplishment.

I'm dinging her a single star from my rating, but only to push the author toward further greatness. I realize it's a matter of taste and stylistic differences, but I'd have enjoyed the story more if the narration used contractions, for example. It doesn't really take away from the tale itself, though, and I recommend this book to fans of horror and the sea, and H.P. Lovecraft fans in particular.

Four out of five stars.

Get Titanic: QED at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CEW0T1M