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Let’s Read a Book Together

51ixb8IOefLAs you know, my brother died of lung cancer a little over a month ago. I am still hurting and grieving and will be for awhile.

Anyway, as a tribute to his memory, I am rereading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole. Care to join me? We can discuss in the comments…

Deluxe Edition of the Verge: Now with TWO Blogs!

It occurred to me that it was pretty crazy trying to find things here with my book reviews and writing posts all in one blog. It also occurred to me, as I was staring at code and looking at solutions on the Internet, that I would probably break the site altogether if I tried to make it work. A BIG thank you goes out to my friend Fernando (I don’t know if he wants his last name published…) for helping me separate the blogs.

So… welcome to my new old blog. The old writing and miscellaneous posts are here, ready to be joined by some new ones. Book reviews have their own home. Look around, get comfy, but don’t move the furniture. I get easily annoyed when I can’t find things.

Clearly, I Am Lost

I am really trying to work out this whole 2 blog thing, but for some reason, all of the posts that are not book reviews have gone into some archive and new posts are going onto the old blog.  *sigh* Perhaps someday I will find the archives and return them to the world and somehow get all of the posts to go in the right places…

Testing… Hello?

I’m trying to sort out my blog posts so that the book reviews aren’t mixed in with everything else.

I’ve misused “Categories” and abused the entire dashboard at this point, so watch this space for further mistakes and insanity as I struggle through re-categorizing each post. Fun? Wow!

Welcome, New Followers!

There seems to be quite a few new followers of this blog. I am receiving many notifications that people are following me, which results in a little paranoia, combined with gratefulness and a little confusion.

I’m not sure how you found me or why you are following me, but welcome. I have a very busy life and have been sporadic in updates. I am attempting to improve (not going well), but I’ll keep trying. I am also trying to separate the book reviews from the general freelance blog (also not going well). So, I’ll keep trying and hopefully you’ll stick around.

This is my site, welcome to it, and hopefully you will find some good information or at least some fun.


Freelance Life Post: Everything Hits at Once



Have you noticed, if you are a freelancer, that right around the holidays everything happens at the same time? Everything. EVERYTHING. Enter: Stress Threat Level Orange. We’ll be leading into Red by Christmas.

My brother, who will be blogging with me as soon as he feels a bit better, is ill and was recently in the hospital. He lives a few hours away, so I am communicating by text, email, cell phone, and tying messages to the legs of ravens. I don’t recommend that last one. I think it only works on TV. I don’t like not being able to see him, so I get very stressed. When someone I love is sick, I want to be there to make sure they are well taken care of  (even though I know his wife is doing this for him). I once was the “last straw” in having a Physician’s Assistant fired for being a jerk… he was – there were witnesses – and trying to bully me when my mother was in the hospital. I do not fear nurses, doctors, lab technicians, or other hospital personnel who need to pay attention to their patients. I am not nasty unless they are uniquely horrid. My sister wants to make sure I’m at her side if she’s ever sick. ANYWAY… I feel helpless because I can’t help.

In addition, I have/had a client. I can’t say for sure because I’m trying to cancel the job and the whole situation is like gum on my shoe. Let’s just leave that there.

My sons were home for Thanksgiving and the sewer clogged at my mother-in-law’s where we were having dinner.

My phone has rung 14,586 times today and only 2 weren’t telemarketers or charities.

It’s December already. I have done no shopping at all for the holidays and don’t even have one decoration up.

My router stopped working and the 5 minute firmware update took a day and a half.

I have deadlines upon deadlines and I’m writing a blog post instead.

I hope you haven’t read this far hoping I have a solution. I’m just putting out fires as I go along. I guess that’s one of things about being a freelancer: you must be able to prioritize, multitask, and just keep moving forward. Are you still here? Shouldn’t you be doing something?

Author Todd Keisling Live Event! November 15, 9:00 P.M. EST

Friend of the Verge, author of A Life Transparent and The Liminal Man, wants to talk to you tomorrow, 11/15.  Well, read to you, actually. And talk. But not just to you. Oh, just read this note from Todd:

To celebrate the release of Miseria’s Chorale, a new horror anthology published by Forgotten Tomb Press, I will read my new story, WHEN KAREN MET HER MOUNTAIN, live via Google Hangouts & Youtube. 

Tune in at 9 PM EST on Friday, 11/15/13. I will do a brief intro, talk a little bit about the story’s origins, plug the new anthology, and then get on with the story.

Consider joining the hangout! And if being on camera isn’t your thing, you can stream the broadcast via Youtube. I will post links about ten minutes before the broadcast goes live, so watch this space for updates. 

I hope you’ll consider being in the audience!

And just for us, a little Q&A:

Q: Do I need to RSVP on the Google+ or Facebook Event pages?
A: No, but you’ll make me happy if you do.

Q: Do I have to be a Google+ member?
A: No, you do NOT have to be a Google+ member to watch the live stream on YouTube.

Q: Can I join the Google+ hangout?
A: Yes! However, if you’re being loud or consistently interrupt me, I may mute you and/or kick you out. This is my party and I’ll kick if I want to.

Q: What’s the new story about? Does the new story have anything to do with the Monochrome trilogy?
A: No, this story has nothing to do with the Monochrome trilogy. It’s way more extreme than what you’re used to seeing from me. This is a story about a woman who suffers a psychotic break while trying to save her husband from a cult in the Arizona desert. It is quite possibly the most violent, gory piece of fiction I’ve ever written (to date), and if it were a film, it would definitely receive a hard “R” rating.

Q: What sort of content and/or language should I expect?
A: Gore. Extreme violence. Sexual situations (but not explicit). “Bad” language. Religious implications (real Old Testament stuff). Fire raining down from the heavens. Human sacrifice. A thousand years of darkness. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria.

Q: How long will you broadcast?
A: The story is approximately 10k words long, which may take me around an hour to read (give or take). I will take about 10 to 15 minutes beforehand to introduce myself, the story, and plug the new anthology before I begin the reading.

Q: Will you do a Q&A afterward?
A: Maybe, if enough people are in attendance. The YouTube stream will have a chat bar (but you will need to be logged in to participate). If you join the Hangout, I may also take questions there. Bottom line: If you’re up for it, I’m up for it—but nothing is set in stone.

Q: Are we going to have a good time?
A: No. We’re going to have a decidedly bad time.

The Walking Dead Goes to College

Walking_Dead_Season_3_CastAMC’s huge hit, The Walking Dead, has been integrated into a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) offered by UCIrvine. The course, Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead starts tomorrow and runs through December 21.

From the course description: Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

Yes. I am signed up. You should too, if you’re a fan of the show. This looks incredibly interesting and engaging. I’m up for it and willing to set up Google discussions to chat if you want. Who’s in? Let me know in the comments. With enough interest, I will set something up!

Oh, and don’t forget: The premiere is tonight!!!

Never Stop Learning

courseraI’ve heard a lot about MOOCs lately. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, it means massive open online course. There are several outlets for these courses and many were recommended to me before I stumbled upon Coursera.

A Facebook friend mentioned that she was taking a course, so I decided to check it out. I was shocked to find that everything was free. Everything. Access to textbook readings, material that usually requires website membership to access, videos that are not usually available for viewing online, and video lectures made specifically for the course.

I took Social Psychology from Wesleyan University, taught by Professor Scott Plous. I cannot begin to tell you how engaging Professor Plous is. His lectures were never boring and he made the material easy to understand and absorb. Assignments were interesting, and most were peer reviewed for grading. I even got to participate in a discussion group with members from all over the world!

I took my final exam yesterday and hoping to pass and receive a certificate for the course. The best part is that I am already applying Social Psychology principles to my life! I updated my Linkedin profile and immediately got a new job. Coincidence? Maybe…

Anyway, Coursera has classes for everything from computer science to the arts. I highly recommend taking a free class and continuing your education.