Monthly Archives: September 2013

October Wine & Write Update

I’ve decided to create a Facebook page to celebrate the October Wine & Write.  The blog format which I envisioned for this is not quite working out.  So in the meantime, feel free to check out the page on Facebook at

I hope to have new and exciting followers, and have fun in the spirit of writing and creativity.


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I stand before you, naked to the eyes.

The 5th of September is a personal favorite day of mine which very few people outside my close friends know the significance of. First off, it’s the birthday of Farrokh Bulsara, better known to the world as, Freddie Mercury. Secondly, like most cool things in the music and comedy world, it’s a day that is celebrated and really only recognized in the U.K. For this, I’m jealous. Like Live Aid, Red Nose Day, Bonfire Night and really any other reason they decide to give a bank holiday, the U.K., and more specifically The Mercury Phoenix Trust, came up with Freddie For a Day, a fundraising initiative to raise money supporting the fight against AIDS while celebrating Freddie’s birthday and legacy. First time I read about this I thought, “Where do I sign up??”

You see, if there is one thing people know about me after the fact that I love to write is that I love Queen. Let me say that again, I LOVE QUEEN! I clearly remember it started in high school. My friends took me to a little movie entitled Highlander 2. Having never seen the original Highlander movie, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but if my friends recommended it, I was game. Now, let me say this: Highlander 2 is one of most horrible movies I’ve ever had to sit through. I couldn’t understand why my friends subjected me to such a monstrosity. Afterward, my friend Shelley convinced me the first one was by far better and I really needed to watch that one instead. So off to the video store we went and rented Highlander. Rushing home to meet curfew, I didn’t know what I was in for, but I held out hope. From the moment we pushed play and I heard the glorious choir of voices singing, “Here we are, born to be kings…..” I knew I was in for something special. That led me to buying the soundtrack CD, which led me to buy the greatest hits CDs, thus leading me to eventually buy every single album, compilation, double live album and video collection I could get my hands on. I loved Queen. And more than anything, I adored Freddie Mercury.

Can't decide if I look like Freddie or Wyatt Earp.

Can’t decide if I look like Freddie or Wyatt Earp.

Many words have been used over the years to describe Freddie: ultimate showman, musical mastermind, groundbreaking songwriter, flamboyant front man, trendsetting troubadour, video pioneer, etc. My only regret is that I did not get into Queen’s music until after Freddie’s death. But I remember it clearly, sitting at my desk during 1st period Spanish when we watched a current events news channel one November morning. The big news was that the rock world lost one of its most dynamic pioneers: Freddie Mercury. I remember thinking it’s sad the world lost such a beautiful person. It wasn’t until later years as I made my way through his entire catalog of music that I realized how truly beautiful he was and what a true loss his life was to the music and entertainment world.

Sometimes I like being the only one in my circle of friends who is so enamored with this musician and his band of musical geniuses. It’s a love that is mine alone and it comforts me when I am sad, having a bad day, having a great day, needing answers or needing inspiration. As a writer, I have gained immense inspiration from Queen’s music. Many of my stories have tiny nuggets of their influence. It’s not obvious to anyone but me because it might only be one word, maybe an innocuous phrase which harkens back to a song or even a prop I saw in a video. Only I know it’s there and it some how makes me feel like the story is all the better for it. Sure, I’ve tried to convert friends over the years and I’ve succeeded with a few. But in the end, I know Freddie and the band are still mine, and I kinda like that feeling of knowing I got there first. The music is my world.

Not having the talent to play an instrument or write music, I resign myself to being a fan, which I am perfectly content with. I have the music to inspire me, I have it to play, the videos to watch and more importantly, I have the amazing legacy Freddie Mercury left behind. And for that I am grateful. I celebrate his life every time I put in a Queen CD, rewatch a video or visit the Mercury Phoenix trust website to see the great works his charity has accomplished in the last 21 years since his death.

If there’s anything this blog is hoping to accomplish today, it’s this: find your passion and celebrate the passion of others. Art is many things, find one that you connect with and let its beauty bring the goodness out in you. Let it inspire you to create other beautiful things, whether it’s a song, a picture, a story, a poem, a kind word to a stranger, your child or your relationship. There is so much beauty in the world to not celebrate it. As the song, Who Wants To Live Forever, so elegantly states, “this world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.”  Make your moment mean something.

Happy 5th of September, Happy Freddie For A Day. Celebrate life and celebrate beauty.

Happy birthday, Freddie Mercury.


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The Unpaid Writer Gets Paid!

A lot of people measure their self-worth by how much they get paid at their profession.  As we all know, money obviously means you’re good at something.  (I’m quite sure I learned that on Dynasty when I was a kid.)  Once you establish your worth, rarely do you go below that.  You’ve entered an echelon of either standards, wealth or reputation.  You can be proud to wear your badge.  Shine up your nameplate.  Dust the cobwebs off that neon sign you’ve been waiting years to turn on.  Hoist the flag you’ve been waiting years to raise, the one that’s emblazoned “I AM A SO-N-SO”  I’m finally worth something!

So how much am I worth?  Fifteen dollars.  That’s $15.  That’s the cost of a specialty roll, a spicy tuna roll and glass of water at my local sushi bar.  And regrettably, I have to skip the miso soup to stay on budget.

My sushi dinner at Ginger Lime restaurant in New Orleans, LA.

My sushi dinner at Ginger Lime restaurant in New Orleans, LA.

After 15 months at this publishing game, I can finally claim to be a paid writer.  It’s a small sum, but I don’t care.  I was paid for a story.  And ironically enough, it took me 24 hours to realize I was paid for it.  I received the news last month as I was spending a long weekend in New Orleans with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  I’m used to rejection letters.  So much that I know they typically always come in on Sundays.  So, that Sunday morning while discussing how we still needed to go check out a voodoo shop that evening, I received the email.  Assuming it was another rejection letter, I casually opened it.  First word: “Congratulations!”  I thought to myself, okay, this is different.  I read further, and it seems Allegory Online Magazine has accepted a piece entitled “Graveyard Love,” which is about a young woman’s visit to a voodoo shop to reverse a spell that went a little too well.  I was so excited and proud of this, especially since I was currently on my first trip to New Orleans, and the story takes place in New Orleans.  What are the chances?  It wasn’t until the next day while I’m making my way back to Texas that I received an email about my contract.  What?  A contract?  What in the hell do I get a contract for?  After pulling my car over to a Starbucks (because all serious writers go to Starbucks to write and find inspiration), I read my contract and discover I will receive monetary compensation.  I was happy!

A month later, I still am.  It’s a small sum, but I’m not complaining.  When I tell friends or family that I got paid for a story and I reveal the amount, I see that little glimmer in their eye as if they’re not sure if they should be happy or disappointed.  I can tell they want to ask “Is that all?” without it coming out insulting.  But I don’t care.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  It’s true, I could make more money doing online surveys in my spare time, but that’s not the point.  Money is not the point at this stage in the game.  My writing credits are.  And now I have three!

I remember in a particularly funny episode of Will & Grace when Karen Walker referred to setting your self-worth as “It’s how you establish your quote.”  Granted, she was referring to a woman’s first marriage and divorce, but the phrase always stuck with me.  I guess I finally have my quote.  It doesn’t mean a lot right now since I’m still submitting stories to mags and journals that can’t afford to pay.  Being published is my quote right now.  And I’m quite enjoying it.

So check out my newly published, first compensated story, “Graveyard Love” at Allegory Magazine while I change my flag from “UNPAID WRITER” to “PAID WRITER”.  Support me with web hits and if you like the story, send a letter to the editor.  Support is worth its weight in gold.


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