Archive for July 2011

A Whole New Set of Lies.   4 comments

Well, more, or less.

Being that I am something of a storyteller, I have a bad habit of mixing truth with lies and leaving it up to you to figure out which is which.

Since my dear friend, Dawn, of Write Away fame, has gotten me embroiled in another meme… hang on to your BS meters, kiddies… here we go again!

Are you a rutabaga?

No. I am a meat Popsicle.

When was the last time you ate lion meat?

A gentleman never tells. Suffice to say our high school mascot was the lions. (I know… TMI… but, I’m feelin’ ornery today.)

Upload a heartwarming picture of something that makes you smile.

Damnit… I’m on dial up you sadists! But, here goes. I’ll be back in an hour, or so.

Sorry… didn’t work. It was a pic of my wife, but Facebook won’t let the thing get linked to.

If you could go back in time and kick the crap out of someone, who would it be?

The idiot who invented legal theft… I mean taxes.

Name one habit that makes other people plot your demise.

Being a total smartass… but, it’s better than being a dumb one. 😉

What song would you like to be playing while you are kicking the crap out of someone?

Nickleback: Next Contestant. (Probably for the same reason. LOL! BTW. To the person who started this meme… violent sucker, ain’t ya?)

Where da muffin top at?

Innuendo is one thing, but the censors won’t let me answer this one outright. Maybe on a porn site, but not here. 😛

How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle’s Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?

Damned if I know… I didn’t read Dr. Seuss as a kid. (Didn’t watch Mr. Rogers, either. Both of those kiddie icons gave me the willies.)

Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.

Instictuas authorius wantabeus.

That has to be pretty obscure, since I made it all up, like the pseudo Latin they used in the roadrunner cartoons.

Why does evil exist?

So the Gods won’t get bored. (Hey, would you actually like eternity in Care Bear land?) **shudder**

What the fuck are you thinking right now?

What the fuck am I doing this for?

If you could decide whose face should go on the money, who would you pick?

No one. I’d prefer pictures of bare rear ends on the money. Mostly because in a complete economic collapse that’s about the only thing that worthless paper will be good for. (See Germany’s collapse before Hitler if you don’t believe me.)

If you had to pick between a pet squirrel and a pet iguana, which would you choose?

Honestly neither. I prefer boa constrictors like Alice Cooper. But if I had to choose… the iguana. No fleas to infest the whole house.

Tag blogger some friends, whatever random number that suits you. (My random number is 2.) Ha! You can’t say “no tagbacks” because I just made up new rules! BOO YAH. Make up your own rules or be enslaved by another blogger’s.(<–these are actually Michelle Simkin’s rules, but I like them as well, so they still apply. besides, I'm a lazy cuss and I've been copy/pasting these suckers.) 😛

1. Dean C. Rich

2. Riley Redgate

Pick a funny nickname for number 1.

Ellie May Clampett’s new critter! 😉 😀

Number 2 dreams about…

Reaching the age of 21, so she can get plastered whenever she wants to.

Number 3 looks like…

Claude Reins…since there isn’t a number three. Boo Yah!

Since this is the only meme I got tagged with… Th-th-th- that’s all folks!

(Now can I plot revenge on Dawn? Huh, can I, huh? Can I, can I, can I?) 😀 ( Ya know I luv ya, Sweetie.) 😉



Posted July 20, 2011 by Peter Burton in Uncategorized

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What Red Flag?   12 comments

A strange malady that seems to infect aspiring authors is a form of color blindness. In particular a blindness to the color red. Often when a red flag shows up in their story they have an immediate tendency to turn it into a transparency. This usually manifests itself as having to explain/defend large parts of the story.

I’m not saying that there won’t be a handful of people who don’t get it, you can’t please everyone. But when there are a significant number of folks getting stuck on the same thing. Something is wrong and explaining/defending it isn’t going to make it go away.

It should be obvious at this point that for your story to work, you are going to have to follow every copy around and explain the same points to every reader. Now, I’m not the smartest guy slogging through life, but I’m pretty sure that is not a viable option. I’d also be willing to bet that the average reader isn’t going to wait for you to show up to explain your genius to them. Their just going to dump the story, experience buyer’s remorse, and cross you off their reading list.

As I said, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that just doesn’t seem like a sound business strategy to me. And make no mistake, dear readers, unless you are just writing to please yourself, this is a business. A business that depends as much on repeat customers as it does on new ones. Deliberately sacrificing repeat business for the sake of your ego is a sure trip to has-been land. If you ever make it out of never-was land in the first place.

There is a wonderful little business book by F.J. Lennon called; Every Mistake In The Book: A Business How Not To. (Yes, I read business books as well, because this IS the publishing business, and I want to succeed at it.) Mr. Lennon has made just about every business mistake you can think of, and a heck of a lot that you haven’t. So when he says to do, or not do something, I have to bow to his experience. After all, he has already paid the price for that mistake… damned if I want to pay it too!

Hear are just a few pearls of wisdom he learned the hard way, but they apply to the business of writing as well as any other. Ignore them at your own peril.

Give the people what they want, not what you think they should have.

In other words, if you are ignoring the red flags, explaining/defending every little point YOU want to keep in your magnum opus, you are giving the people what you think they should have, not what they want. Mr. Lennon lost his first company doing this, you’ll lose your career. If you ever get one in the first place doing this.

Make money, then art.

This goes right along with the above. Before you begin to make these fantastic art driven vehicles for your amazing prose, you better be a brand first. To do that you have to garner a reading public and hold onto them. Otherwise, consider a career writing fan fiction for free. (To be honest, I personally wouldn’t risk it then. Readers do not have to stay with you and there are literally millions of up and comers waiting to take your place.)

Above all else, don’t make crap.

This should be self explanatory, but I’ll bet that it isn’t. If you are just starting out, not a brand name author, turning out what you want, and shooting for high art that has to be explained/defended to more than one person… you ARE turning out crap. It’s that simple.

Readers want to be entertained. They do not want to have to scratch their heads, wonder WTF you mean by those new words you made up, or where in hell your going with this. They want you to guide them through your story as effortlessly as possible.

If you find yourself having to explain/defend large portions of your story, that is a big red flag. Pay it heed, or ignore it as you will. It’s your story, your career. Believe me, the big name authors won’t really care that much, because you won’t be taking any readers away from them any time soon.


Me-me-me Meme!   4 comments

Considering that my last blog was something of a rant, one that attracted more spam comments than anything else. Askimet eliminated at least three over the past few days. And taking into account that I have three beta reads to finish, a chapter that still needs to be finished for Monday’s posting, and this. I thought I’d do the meme first.

Post meme apologies to anyone I tag, who has already been tagged with this one. I swear on Ernest Hemingway I didn’t know. Now on to the meme.

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

Seems a bit masochistic to me, since I’ve never wanted to relive the past, but OK. I would go back to the first time I ever experienced a connection to the Divine Consciousness.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Being born. Sorry, but after 50 some years on this planet, I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of humankind is irrevocably, and violently insane. As we are the only species who deliberately pokes holes in its only life raft, and thinks we will survive somehow. Which I really don’t mind, I just wish they’d let me out of the car before they drive it off the cliff.

What movie/tv character do you most resemble in personality?

Groucho Marx.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

No one really. With the exception of self defense, I leave such things to higher powers than I.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.

Nothing. I kind of like me just the way I am.

Describe yourself in one word.

Treehugger. (Yeah, I know it’s considered an insult, but at least I’m not one of the madmen turning life raft Earth into a collective coffin.) 😉

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.


Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

To be read by few, irritate many, and be understood by none.

Who am I tagging?

How should I know who you are tagging? Dean’s the one who got me into this mess, and I’m pretty sure he’s not the one asking this question! 😉 😀

Meme The Second:

Are you hot?

Nope. It’s still early in the morning, but the temp is supposed to rise today, so I guess I will be later. No AC, don’t ya know.

Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment.

Beat ya to it. Pic is already uploaded, and a part of my banner above. Besides, with a dial up connection it takes for God awful ever.

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

Two years ago, KFC original recipe. (I prefer beef, or fish.)

The Song(s) you listened to recently?

Wytches, Inkubus Sukkubus
Ramble On Rose, Grateful Dead
Soul, Matchbox 20
Green Grow the Rushes Oh, Cherish The Ladies

What were you thinking as you were doing this?

How many people would be able to tell where I was telling the truth, and where I was bullshitting.

Do you have nicknames?


Tag eight Blogger friends.

1. Riley Redgate
2. Dawn G. Sparrow
3. Peri Oddical
4. Darke Conteur
5. Stephanie Diaz
6. Michelle Simkin
7. Tansy Ragwort
8. Kacey Mari

Who’s listed as number one?

Silly question. All you had to do was look.

Say something about number 5.

Steph needs to come back to Marathon next week… come to think of it, so do I.

How did you get to know number 3?

AQC, of course.

How about number 4?

‘Tame way.

Leave a message for number 6.

Michelle… we need your critiques in Marathon.

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.

Watch’cha tryin’ ta do? Get me divorced? My WIFE reads this crap, for the God’s sake!!!

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?

Yep, they are both on AQC, and probably pissed at me for tagging them.


Well, so much for that one, Gang. I should now have eight fewer blogging friends, and confused the heck out of anyone who still reads this thing.

Hmmmm? Maybe I should start letting the spammers through? 😉


Posted July 8, 2011 by Peter Burton in Uncategorized

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Who’s Working For Who?   2 comments

Recently AgentQuery Connects own AQCrew, (Our version of The Dread Pirate Roberts.), posted an article from The Telegraph about author J.K. Rowling’s decision to dump her long time agent.

After reading said article, I had to take a few hours to cool off before blogging about it.

First, let me state beyond contention that I am the last person to diss having a good agent. In my own humble opinion, a good agent is nearly indispensable, and landing one is the whole point of AgentQuery Connect. However, this particular article had me as pissed off as a Hebrew man at a Neo-Nazi rally. And, for me, that’s saying a lot.

To read the article you would think that Ms. Rowling had done little more than write a NaniWriteMo piece, and her agent did all the work on the novel. That HE was the one who made Harry Potter the mega success it became. This speaks volumes for the illusion of the agent’s role in the literary world, and like it, or not, I’m about to shatter that illusion into teeny-tiny little fragments.

The agent’s job is to find a publisher willing to take a chance on your book, and negotiate the best deal they can get for the author. That is IT! The agent does NOT sweat over plot. They DO NOT stay awake at night searching for the right scene to make the novel something special. They DO NOT spend years polishing a manuscript until it shines enough to be accepted by another agent. They DO NOT bust their brain into Excedrin headache #1,426 coming up with unique plot twists to entertain the reading public.

To imply that the agent is the person who made a writer’s career a success is not only insulting beyond belief, it is akin to saying that Leonardo Dicaprio’s agent did all his acting FOR him.

Now, I don’t know if this blog is going to totally ruin my chances at landing an agent, or not. But I can, and will say; at this point I’m not sure I really care. The only time in my 50 some odd years on this planet that I have felt this insulted was when I was working as a graphic artist.

True Story:

Like all graphic artists I also held the dream of one day having my paintings hanging in a gallery somewhere. Of turning out art that would pay my bills, and maybe leave a legacy to make my small mark on the world. A long shot, I know, but one worth taking, at the time.

One day, while channel surfing, I was halted by a news report of a brand new artist who was commanding an average of $15,000.00 per painting. I had to stop. To know that there was hope for me. To applaud another artist who had made it. Until the story revealed the artist in question.

A raccoon!

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to kicking in the television screen. It also marked the downfall of my desire to be a gallery artist, and probably my career as a graphic artist as well. The life just drained out of the whole scene for me that day.

Giving an agent, no matter how talented, kudos for an author’s success with the public is dangerously close to the same thing. I don’t care how good an agent is, if the public isn’t buying the story they are not going to be able to change that. In fact they are not even going to try. They will simply move on to the next client, and the next commission.

I’m not saying this is bad, it’s just how the business works. If an agent doesn’t earn any commissions, they can’t feed their children. They are, for the most part, hard working, intelligent professionals. But, to give an agent this much credit for a writer’s hard work is unconscionable, and in damn poor taste.

The story lives, or dies by the writer who penned it, not by the will of the agent. The agent is a broker, not the product. And that is all there is to it. No more, no less.

Besides, without a writer’s manuscript to sell, I seriously doubt the agent would be in business.

So, let’s give credit where credit is due. It was J.K. Rowling’s considerable skill as a storyteller and writer that conjured up those millions for her, not her agent.