The writing blog for L.A. Little; The WMT is inclusive of my thoughts on writing, publishing, cool stuff I find or read or see, updates on my releases and forthcoming work, old work, free stuff for my followers, run on sentences, the oxford comma, and random rants. In other words it's proof that I need more people to talk to.
Reviews for Deadblood
5 Stars for Deadblood on Amazon & Goodreads
"This twist on the legend of vampires is quite refreshing as it brings to mind the question, 'How much do we really know?'I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the supernatural..." ~
About a week ago I heard a promo for
NPR’s All things Considered which advertised an upcoming interview with Trent
Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. I enjoyed the on-air portion but it left me wanting
more. Fortunately they posted the long form here. Maybe it's just because I'm a music
nerd but I thought the best parts were left out of the broadcast edit. For
instance he talked about what I've begun referring to as "crowd-source
said, "I think we live in very dangerous times right now... with the
Internet and the feedback loop you can get from people who somehow feel their
fingers are connected to an impulse — first second of hearing something, I need
to write some reaction that gets blasted out to the world." It's
essentially what I'm doing right now; critiquing an interview that, in part,
discusses a critique. Is my criticism more valid because of my past credentials
or is the reporter more valid because she works for NPR? Do you need to have
credentials other than the support of the crowd? It seems not, but a lot of
snarky and ugly stuff does get pushed to the surface when the crowd is the only
determiner of quality.
started in the small press, which was the internet for people born before 1980.
When I started we had trouble getting press passes and were looked down upon by
publicists and “real” journalists. I actually found that small press (I wrote a
lot for regional entertainment papers) had a harder time getting treated as
members of the press than did my community college newspaper. I found this
terribly frustrating at times, especially when I would see an interview with a
major act that I hadn’t been able to get. In one instance in particular the
publicist for a punk rock icon said I could interview his guitar player if I
wanted, but the icon himself was interviewed by a major publication that did a
truly awful job. Having that experience, I’m interested in what makes criticism
or commentary worthwhile. Snark, unfortunately, gets a lot of eyeballs these days,
but there is also a lot of truly poor journalism on the websites and in the
pages of major media outlets.
Reznor lamented, "I could spend a lot of time being frustrated about one
aspect of the press, which is what low qualifications are required to become a
quote-unquote journalist these days.", I wanted to hear more of that
discussion. Unfortunately the journalist didn’t dig as deeply as I would have
liked. This was also within a couple of days of AP making, at least to Nine
Inch Nails fans, a huge attribution mistake regarding Johnny Cash’s cover of
the NIN song “Hurt”. Perhaps the NPR interview was conducted before that story
broke and broadcast later, but it was a wonderful coincidence that this
happened at AP, an organization that should have the best qualifications and
processes, within days of Reznor challenging the threshold of journalistic
hope someone does another Reznor interview soon and really sounds him out with
regard to what is journalism and what is criticism and how it is different from
what we do on Facebook and other social media sites. Is crowd-source criticism more
or less legitimate if it lacks journalistic credentials? Those are topics I'd love to hear discussed in
I’ve watched the Little League World Series over the last week or so I’ve
reflected a lot on my own relationship with the great game of baseball. As we
watch the Series play out in Williamsport, PA, it’s easy to draw on the all the
old lessons about teamwork, good sportsmanship, and even learning to lose. But
those great lessons aren’t really unique to baseball. In fact these sorts of
themes are repeated so often that I wonder if they don’t become somewhat
cliché. I wonder if we say them so many times as adults that the kids stop
listening.Yet as I watched the back and
forth battle between Westport, CT and Sammamish, WA on August 13, as I saw the
will to win in both teams and the true sportsmanship in both the overjoyed
victory and the crushing defeat, it was obvious that those lessons are being
taken to heart. This is a special game.
me it started when I was a boy of six. I played my first season of T-ball with
a hand-me-down glove from one of my mother’s cousins. I was a small kid,
skinny, and a terrible runner. At school I was always the last picked for
everything. In that first season of T-ball things didn’t get much better. It
was the beginning of two or three seasons of stints in right field.
great things happened in that first season though. For the first time ever I
was on a team, and a winning team at that. This was huge. I was not a strong
player and I was picked on a bit by the older ,more talented boys, but I got to
play and I got to be a part of something I could never have done on my
own.Of course every team sport teaches
teamwork and it could be argued that some make a kid feel even more a part of a
team because the positions don’t stand out so obviously in an offensive line or
a group of soccer midfielders. In baseball, where you play is immediately
obvious and you are immediately accountable. It is a team sport that sharpens
rather than dilutes the individual, not just for superstar performance, but for
their overall contribution to the team. Is it any wonder that this is the Great
American Pass Time?
other great experience was that I got better. I swung the bat more, I threw and
caught more, I ran more and with every practice and game I got a little better.
I liked getting better. I liked it so much I would take my second-hand glove
and a tennis ball and bounce that ball off the back of my house for hours
almost every day. I learned that depending on how I threw the ball I could make
it come back as anything: line drive, grounder, one-hopper , or pop fly. I
started out just trying to catch ten in a row, then twenty, then fifty. I made
the catches harder on myself by making the ball come back further from my
starting spot or come back faster. Of course to do that my throwing accuracy
had to improve. Ultimately I played whole World Series out against the back
wall of my house every afternoon for months. I got good, really good, over just
a couple of seasons. More importantly, as I got better I believed more in my
self. I believed that I, as an individual, had something worth contributing to
a team and to other people. This is a belief I have carried with me as an
athlete, professional, father, coach, and author.
that, on any day that was warm and dry enough, and on which I didn’t have
practice or a game, I was on my bike. And my mother’s cousin’s old glove was
hanging from my handlebars as I rode far and wide looking for someone to throw,
to catch, to hit with. I wanted to share baseball everywhere I went and I did.
I was still skinny and not so tall, but I had learned the skills of the game
and more importantly I had learned that I could be more than just what was
given to me.
time I would become an outstanding catcher and center fielder, I would throw
more runners out at second than any catcher in my district and in one season in
Junior High I hit over .700. I never hit six feet tall, I stayed skinny almost
all the way through high school, and I was never a Presidential Fitness Award
winner. I just learned the skills and did them the right way.
didn’t care that I wasn’t big. It just required me to put my heart into it and
to practice and play with passion. As a coach and a fan of youth baseball I’ve
seen the smallest kids on the field stand head and shoulders above everyone, as
players and as leaders, time and again. Some people refer to a sport as a
“love” or a “friend” but I see baseball as a teacher and constant reminder that
we can be more than what we are given and that sometimes, something as
unassuming as a worn out, second hand glove, hanging from bicycle handlebars is
a gift that lasts long after it has been lost or passed on to the next
My "new" novelette, Deadblood is out on Amazon as an e-book only, as of today. I originally wrote the story about 20 years ago. I came up with the idea while I was marginally employed as a music journalist in 1993 and 1994, and doing a lot of low-rent travelling around the U.S., interviewing and photographing music artists in the then-burgeoning alternative rock scene. Alternative and Indie are different, though not mutually exclusive descriptors, but that's a rant for another day.
That first version was called "Dying the First Time" and was published as a chapbook in the mid-90's. It was widely rejected by genre magazines in the late 90's. Throughout the 90's there was talk of doing a comic book series based on the idea. I wrote a dozen scripts and some initial pages were drawn, but the project fizzled for reasons I don't really call. I gave up on the story and forgot about it until a film came out in the early 2000's that seemed to incorporate the most critical factor of the story. That's another tale entirely and I'm still a little sore over that experience, so enough said.
In the mid-2000's I actually was starting to have quite a bit of success in contests and getting the attention of editors with more "science fictiony" stories but then I got a good, but demanding, job and started my Master's program, so that was that for a few years.
Now with school a year and a half behind me and my day job evened out, I'm throwing my spare hours into my true avocation. When I was finally able to turn my attention from cost accounting, organizational behavior, marketing, industrial organization, and statistics, I knew I wanted to get some writing done. I started in November 2012 with National Novel Writing Month and a story from a dream that has become The Flatstone Beach. I started on November 28, I think. So obviously I didn't finish by the end of the month, but I kept going and am now about halfway through the first book of what has grown into my The Paler World series.
As I've gone along I've wanted to start meeting potential new friends to share my work with and I got the idea (not terribly original) to re-publish some earlier stuff so readers could get to know me. As I looked through my files, I saw the dusty, worn, and neglected folder labeled "D1T". I was actually nervous about picking it up. I opened it with dread. Twenty years ago I held a GED and had taken two comp courses at my community college. I'd only published non-fiction at the time I originally wrote the story. I had written a lot of non-fiction, but a lot of that wasn't very good. I was afraid to see how bad a fiction writer I was 20 years ago, prior to earning three college degrees, including a writing intensive undergrad degree.
Now I'm not trying to say higher education is over-valued, but I was sucked right back into the story written by my under-educated, younger self. It contained some dated references and some dead giveaways of my immaturity, both generally and as a writer, but it had good bones. So I violated my one rule of writing, i.e. don't start a new project until you've finished this one, and spent about a month rehabbing the old girl. And here she is. I hope you find (or found) it a worthwhile way to spend a few pages.