In Full Swing in Spring (it seems)

Blog, Journals, Lifebook, Update

~ Lifebook #17 ~

Spring always brings turbulent weather and this year’s season of renewal has been no exception. A monsoon season in both April and May? C’mon, now, that’s going a bit overboard. May is usually my favorite month of the year because of a few reasons, such as it being a period of time (usually) beyond extreme weather, a time of moderate temperatures (usually), the flowers are in full bloom and the NBA Playoffs are happening. It’s arguable that May, along with October, is the most beautiful month of the year. I do like beautiful things.

This Spring brings things that seem to represent my getting back into the swing of things. To wit:

  • Started a new job recently, effectively returning me to the mortgage business. The new position comes with my highest salary yet. That’s kind of the idea as you progress through your working life, whether transitioning to a new industry or remaining in the same one. It’s rare that your cost of living decreases over time in this society, so continued growth in earnings is just what the accountant ordered. Now . . . if I could just get used to working 8-to-5, meaning having to go to bed no later than 1 AM . . .

  • Recently rekindled my burgeoning creative partnership with my old writer friend Jennifer Macaire. We’ve been kicking around the idea of co-writing a book or small series of books (likely a trilogy) the past two years and that’s still the plan. After presenting her with an idea for a different approach to a collaborative novel experiment, she has tasked me with the initial conception of our project, which, funnily, was the opposite of what I wanted to do. But I’m glad she did because I got started on it (tentative codename: Project Seven) right away that Friday and have conceived what I think could be a very interesting YA urban fantasy series. The brainstorming sessions I had last weekend also got my creative juices finally flowing on an older idea (codename: Project Arcana) that I’ve kicked around in my noggin probably since Moses reportedly parted the Red Sea. So it’s good to be back in a creative and productive state of mind and I can’t thank Jennifer “Sneezy J” Macaire enough for indulging and inspiring me to get the ball rolling.

  • The band has been about as active this year so far as we were in all of 2016.  A month or so ago we put the finishing touches on our initial 5-song EP (although we still need to mix it, master it and release it). There are rumblings of finally returning to the stage by this summer, but as I’ve learned in the 2.5 years of this band’s existence, I need to curb my expectations, if not my goals for it altogether. We’ve only played one show (in January 2016) and written eight songs in all that time. Yes, we are men in our 40s, all four of us married, three of us with kids and jobs, so naturally a band at this point in our lives is going to be a part-time venture. One would be foolish to think that what we did in our youth and 20-something years as musicians could ever be replicated now. The dedication of time, hell, the availability of time for guys not far from middle-age just isn’t there. It can’t be. And that’s a hard, inconvenient truth I had to come to grips with in 2016. For now I’m happy to ride the wave as it comes (and goes).

 

Ruckin’ With You | 10.16.16 | I Am Returned

Blog, Ruckin' With You, Update

Family vacation is over. A good time was had. But it’s over and today I deal with the looming return to work on a gloomy overcast day with some rain after a week of blue skies and sunshine. Woe is me, right? At any rate, overall we enjoyed our time in the mid-North states of Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.


On My Mind

I arrived home with a great deal on my mind in terms of stories and writing. It seems my intense focus on the launch of my Library of Works website, RUCKERPEDIA, has got me so immersed in my past work that it’s served to inspire me on to current and future work. This past year the concept of a writer’s body of work, particularly MY body of work, has been very intriguing to me. Heck, it’s a huge reason why I built the RUCKERPEDIA website – inherently as an archive it serves as a virtual monument to my more than two decades as a writer. Essentially, were I to meet an untimely demise, well, there’s RUCKERPEDIA sitting there for WordPress, Google and Bing to offer proof, that, hey, this dude actually did a little something while he drew breath. It’s not much, but it’s something, check it out.

Currently there is a variety of nearly 30 pieces of fiction, poetry and lyrics posted, with so much more to come over the next two months. Naturally there are varying degrees of form, length and even quality. I keep everything and trust me, if I’m willing to share it publicly, then you can figure it’s probably not the worst that I have to offer. Some of it is actually worthy of publication elsewhere, and a decent handful of them were published by others at some point. But as is often the case with small press, your work is not widely circulated or worse, publications become defunct, which is the case for 90% of my previously published stuff.

But enough about the past body of work. I need to simultaneously focus on the future body of work I am building.


NaNoWriMo

In the past I have failed to commit to this annual activity an embarrassing amount of times. I really want to do it this year and work on PROJECT: DAME GAME, which is the codename for a crime/noir/romance novel that’s been percolating in my noggin for half the year. I think the pants-ing style of writing may actually benefit that particular narrative, especially since it’s a first-person viewpoint. I don’t think I could fly by my pants using my usual approach of multiple third-person limited viewpoints. For me that requires a great deal of pre-planning (i.e. outlining) and such so I can keep all the various moving parts and timelines straight. With first-person that’s an easier, more focused task. This is not to say that I won’t do a decent amount of prep work before committing to this year’s NaNoWriMo. I am a world-class preparer, if nothing else.


Serialized Fiction

I’ve been obsessed with episodic fiction ever since I was a kid watching TV and reading comic books. This is something I still strongly want to do on a periodical basis, be it in prose, comic scripts or something new I’m developing as a hybrid of both forms. And the advent of RUCKERPEDIA helps because it’s not only intended as an archival library of my works, but also a self-publishing venue. I want to start a series of some sort at the spark of the New Year. So I continue to brainstorm on that.


Collaboration

Something else I’ve been more open to of late, not just because I need artists to collaborate on graphic fiction projects, but also in terms of prose stories such as serials or novels. Not every teamup can be great and it can be a harrowing task finding those you synch naturally with, but it’s an idea I continue to entertain as a viable possibility.


ICYMI

Saturday Night Noir on RUCKERPEDIA

Crime Spree Saturday Night on RUCKERPEDIA

My Poetry on RUCKERPEDIA

LINKAGE


Be good to each other.

Have a great week.

-BLR

Lifebook 1 | Belated New Year’s Brief

Blog, Journals, Lifebook, Update

Hello! And, um, Happy New Year!?!?

Yeah, I know, I’m really late. I guess it’s been a long minute since I’ve posted a proper update. A New Year has come and gotten well underway since the last time I discussed my life activities, or confessed in stark detail my ongoing creative struggles – or what I like to call the Writer’s Plight. The latter I will get into more this coming week, and the former I will touch on in this quick rundown of notable events this year so far:

January 3rd – New Guitar

2016-01-13 00.07.05Started the new year off with a instrumental acquisition: a 2015 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro electric guitar with silverburst finish, special humbucker pickups with coil-tapping feature, a thin neck and decent string action on a rosewood fingerboard with medium-jumbo frets. This beauty — I named her Silvestra — made her debut in the next event . . .

January 16th – NTA’s Debut

My band Neglect the Alarm made its live debut on the Punk Rock Night stage at the historic Melody Inn in my native Indianapolis, IN. Many thanks to PRN curator Rich Barker for booking us in a pinch, and the three other bands on the bill: The Last Standing, XXX Smut and Roberta Sparrow. Videos and photos from the show can be viewed on the Neglect the Alarm Facebook page.

After the show we promptly went on hiatus as our drummer 2016-01-19 22.18.15continues to land job opportunities working on independent films in various entry-level capacities, building his CV. We’re all old men in our forties so it’s almost a certainty that our little band is a transient thing, whereas Tommy’s goals in filmmaking are bit more far reaching into the long-term future. The plan is for NTA to resume operations as a proper four-piece in the month of April.

February 2nd – Traffic Accident

So I was involved in a car wreck on my way home around 6:30 PM. My 2014 Kia Forte Sedan was rear-ended by an elderly fella who seemed a bit out of it. I was at a stop light, perhaps 4 cars back when BAM! My world was jolted, jostled, rattled, rocked – whatever synonym you want to use. I was unharmed, miracul20160203_110518ously, I suppose because he obviously wasn’t going too fast, but obviously the rear of the car took the brunt of the impact and the collision forced my car into the SUV ahead of me, hardly even damaging it, yet crunching the frontend of my car pretty good. Long ordeal short, my car wound up being totaled (the estimator got up to $10k in damage and knew another $5k was likely and thus I got a call from an adjuster and was happy to’ve had GAP insurance as well). So this unfortunate event eventually lead to . . .

February 13th – New Car

I now have a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan, easily the best, biggest, sexiest Civic they’ve ever made. I wanted a dark gray one with dark interior, but since that was not in the cards (they only had the light interior) I got yet another black car with dark interior – my third in a row, also my third new car since 2011 because in I had traded in the 2011 Kia Forte Koupe in for the 2014 Forte Sedan. I had been with her quite two years yet before we were forced apart. I was quite fond of her. But I can’t deny I may be even happier with the Civic. The music streaming technology and sound system alone make it the most enhanced ride ever. Also happy to have a sun/moon roof again.

February 27th – New Laptop PC

A week ago I finally upgraded my PC operations with the ASUS Q552UB, a 2-in-1 with 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500U CPU @ 2.50 GHz, 12 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, Windows 10 (with touch). Also has an NVidia Geforce dedicated graphics card.

Looking at my last ASUS which came out in 2010, it’s amazing how fast micro technology changes and the insane efficiency they’re able to achieve nowadays. The elder machine has huge vents on the back to help cool itself, because it has a Core i7 along with an ATI Radeon processor — both of which ran quite hot. This newfangled one, however, is fully sealed and doesn’t even get  very warm and the fan is a quiet whir, unlike the old one that sometimes sounded like an airplane at takeoff. The only thing that could truly make this new on better would be a Solid State drive for increased speed and optimal efficiency.


Housekeeping Notes

If you’re a regular reader returning for the first time in a while, you probably immediately noticed a different look here in terms of layout and even the general name change. This has always been brandonrucker.com but a couple of years back I named it Ruckerpedia. I am now in the process of re-configuring my online venues – expanding, actually, and thus I need specific brands for each venue. Brandon Rucker Dot Com is the hub — the HQ the main blog. Comic Book Fetish.com is specifically a comic book commentary and appreciation blog, dedicated to comic book-related geek culture and such. Two more online venues are under construction, each with a specific purpose: the all-new Ruckerpedia will be my online publisher and archive of fiction, poetry, etc – both old and new (and developing). The fourth and final site will be outlet for my musical production. I’ll tackle the specifics and informative details in the coming weeks. I aim to launch Ruckerpedia on the first day on the Spring Equinox.

-B.

 

Daybook 3 | Autumn Descends

Blog, Daybook, Journals, Update

So I spent the latter part of the summer away from actively writing anything creative, instead spending a great deal of time inside my own head, and of course being a bookworm, getting caught up on lapsed reading and acquiring even more to read for both entertainment and research.

During these past six weeks or so I dealt with a serious bout of lacking conviction in my path as a writer. To be clear, it’s not that I don’t believe in my ability as a writer (well, with the exception of my prospects of being a novelist in the foreseeable future), but I had serious doubts in my likelihood in drawing an audience in the vast sea of yet-to-breakthrough authors.

I just need to mentally, if not publicly, remove the title/occupation/identity of “writer” from myself so as to remove the pressure to live up to that identity, as well as lessen the guilt some.

By happenstance, I named an old composition of mine “Autumn Descends”. Have a listen.

Workbook 5 | Quick Musical Update

Blog, Journals, Update, Workbook

Me - ntaThere is much to update from the past two months or so, but I’ll just touch on the musical aspect because that requires less words to summon before I head out for the day.

So my rock band of 10 months, Neglect the Alarm, has been putting the finishing, polishing touches on the five songs that will form our first release of new music into the wilds. We have slated our as-yet-untitled (though likely will be self-titled) 5-song EP to be recorded at the earliest part of November at Azmyth Recording studio in Indianapolis, IN, not far from the practice space we use every other week. The mini-album will be financed, produced, mixed and mastered by us D-i-Y style, and likely released digitally for free.

Practice July 29, 2015

NTA banner cropped

(not final graphic)

Group photo by Jason Fredriksz

Daybook 2 | Update Untitled

Blog, Daybook, Journals, Update

I Got Nothing

Firstly, I have no Workbook update to share this past week (or the past week before that) because, honestly, there wasn’t any of that kind of work done the past couple of weeks.

ME3_Garrus_NormandyRe-calibrating Like Garrus *

Making some reconfigurations and changes here and abroad, and so things will be a little different here after that reconfiguration. Going to resurrect my old blog and reassign all my nonfiction writing over there and make Ruckerpedia the venue for my fiction writing and music. Or something like that. Gimme a week to tend to these . . . calibrations . . . and we’ll see what’s what.

* Bonus geek points to those who get the Garrus Vakarian reference.

Back In Briefs

With my novel writing prospects in flux for the immediate future, I see no reason to avert my writing attention from short fiction. The novel stuff will likely have to wait at least until the darker, colder months arrive which is when I go into hibernation mode like a grizzly bear in the American wilds. If then, because it’s quite evident that right now I’m just not novel-ready, despite my public displays of eagerness and determination. Who knows if I ever will be? Despite that, I am still a storyteller and will be exercising those muscles on some shorter works. I think I could use a dozen more bylines under my belt, so it’s time I start submitting short fiction work again since my only new fiction credit in the last 3.5 years happened back in March or whenever (see Four Deep” @ Dead Guns Press) . I’ve zeroed in on a few online venues that I will pay off, er, I mean persuade to read, accept and publish my work this year and next with my meager talents. So yeah, short prose fiction. Speaking of which . . .

Smash Hits

So on Sunday I ran a series of posts that focused on the digital versions of old previously published short works of mine that are live over on Smashwords. I included some ‘behind-the-scenes’ author commentary that you may want to read for a little insight on the work. Fair warning, it’s warts and all on those old pieces. Featured on my Smashwords profile page are these four:

The cursed object story Finder Kept

The bizarro horror story The Underneath

The Poe inspired horror story Pieces of Candice

And of course there’s also the bloody little ditty called Shard

I have four or five more previously-in-print works on deck to upload, so once they’re live I will link them here on Ruckerpedia.

I think that’s all I have this time. Be well, be merry and be better than you were the day before today.

– B.

Workbook 4 | July 26-August 1, 2015

Blog, Journals, Update, Workbook

Current Project: Me (my confidence, my outlook, my purpose)

The week that was . . .

  • Started the week off in a bit of a funk. Lacking confidence in my ambitions and lacking conviction in the possibility of actual achievement in my goals.
  • Began to wonder if I should simply forgo writing fiction, which over the last few years has truly become hard work, and just take the easy way out and opt for nonfiction since that has been so much easier to do the last few years.
  • Exorcised some of those negative demons in a Journal Juice entry and felt a little better after the expulsion of negative emotions.
  • Agreed that even though I have serious doubts about my ability to pen a complete novel at this current juncture, I should still continue to work on my fiction, long or short, at any opportunity that I can, but should remove some of the self-applied pressure from myself so that I can still at least enjoy life while I continue to struggle.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me? (digital uploads)

The week that was . . . 

  • Read through, spit-shined and polished “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” since it has such a timely subject matter given current events regarding police and citizens. This short story was originally published in my LOCAL HEROES anthology back in November 2011, which of course is no longer in print. While still not a great example of my abilities (its origins date back to my earliest days in prose), this latest update of it seems to read better than the print version, at least. So there’s that.
  • Began reading through and spit-polishing “All Things Considered”, but with that story being over 5000 words long and needing serious updating to bring certain details into the 21st century (unless I decide to keep its setting in the mid-1990s),   it’s going to take more than a quick afternoon sit-down to get it up to par. It’s likely I’ll get the other stories on the project ready before I get this one prepped to go.

The week to come . . .

  • Upload “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” to Smashwords this week, but not before . . .
  • . . . Putting together a serviceable digital cover for it.
  • Read through “The Other Roommate” to see if it is truly finished and decide whether to self-publish it or submit it to fine bizarro publication.

Current Project: Blood-Borne (novel)

  • No comment.

Current Project: Neglect the Alarm (band)

The week that was . . .

  • Band practice was great this week. We got the official fourth song done with the beginnings of what will be #6 in the works. There’s a first ever group photo below. It’s an action shot, DGAF punk rock style.

Practice July 29, 2015

The week to come . . .

  • Looks like there may be another short break.
  • Continue to work on riffs and lyrics.
  • Kick around logo ideas for our “non-logo”.