Saturday, December 19, 2015

Rish Outcast 32: Beggar's Canyon

(written before seeing The Force Awakens)

Today, the new STAR WARS movie comes out. Exciting, yes, but also daunting, a little scary, and potentially sad if I don't enjoy it.  J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job, though, in keeping most of the plot, action, and surprises a secret from us, and I really appreciate that.  The final trailer­­ which was the last thing I saw about the movie, purposely trying to keep myself from spoilers, ­­introduced three characters, and in the segment dedicated to Rey, a voice (Leia?) asks, "Who are you?" and our heroine's response is, "I'm no one."

For some reason, this is the thing that grabbed me hardest in the trailer (though Kylo Ren's devotion to the long-dead Darth Vader, and Han acting as some kind of Obi-Wan Kenobi really struck me as well).  That spoke to me, even though it's out of context and probably not even close to what I'm interpreting it as.

The idea of being a nobody, of not mattering, is something that is always with me. As I've gotten older and seen people around me achieve their dreams, or barring that, putting away their dreams and settling for more ­reachable goals and pursuits, it's become clearer and clearer that I've not made much of my life. That I'm not special or unique or great. That I'm no one.

Sad, sure, but what can you do?

Not long ago, I was in a conversation where I wondered what happened to Luke
Skywalker's T­-16 (the flying vehicle he mentions and you see briefly in one scene), and ultimately decided it was probably destroyed by Stormtroopers. But pondering about Luke's life on Tatooine, and what his childhood might have been like got me thinking.

"Beggar's Canyon" was the result. It's a story (probably too long) that takes place on Luke's homeworld, set before we meet him in STAR WARS.  I'm presenting it here on the Rish Outcast (in two parts), and Marshal Latham will be presenting it over on the Delusions of Grandeur podcast (in one part right here). As I say here or next time, this was probably the most pleasurable thing I've written in my adult life (a pleasure to write, not sure about listening to it), and even if it's not a particularly good story, it gave me the opportunity to write in that universe I so love: the Star Wars franchise as it existed in 1995.

I'll be back soon to present the second half of the tale. So if it's at all possible, enjoy.

Here's the link if you'd like to download the file (just Right-Click on it).

Also, ole Marshal Latham did a full-cast, music and sound effects version over on the Delusions of Grandeur podcast, after which the two of us further discuss the story.  Check it out here, boys and girls!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Rish Outcast 31: Unconventional Part 2

So, here is the second half of "Unconventional."

I did jot down some plans for a sequel to this tale, but they never went anywhere.  Feel free to encourage me, or say nothing, and I'll forget.

If your thing is to download the file, Right-Click on this here LINK.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rish Outcast 30: Unconventional

So, in the summer, I recorded a bunch of episodes of my solo podcast, knowing that later in the year, I'd be too busy to record any.  What I didn't realize was, when that time came, I'd be too busy to post the episodes.  Whoops.

So, here is the first half* of "Unconventional," a story I was inspired to write after taking my nephew to his first comic book convention.  Sadly, I asked him this week if he's excited to go to next year's convention with me, and he said, "Nahh."  Time is cruel.

If ye'd like to download yon episode, Right-click THIS.


*Sorry for slicing it in two, but I'll get more of these shows out there if I do this with the stories.  Maybe I'll do a Patreon one day, and it'll all make sense.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name 13: The Cemetery Tale

Since it's pretty close to Halloween, I figured I'd present some kind of scary story on here.  Barring that, I could present a story that's merely "scary."  Maybe next year I'll do better.

Oh, "The Cemetery Tale" is a story I wrote several years ago, based on (mostly) actual experience.  It is one of a trio of stories featuring the same main character, but just between us, Walter is me.

If ye care to download this awful, awful thing, Right-Click on the LINK!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rish Narrates on Far-Fetched Fables

Gary Dowell over at "Far-Fetched Fables" seems to like my work.  Otherwise, why would he keep giving me stories to narrate on his podcast?

Of course, I could always decline.  Then I'd have to, ugh, go back to my audiobook narration for money.  *Shudder*

This month, it's a very short piece called "Percy's Crossing" written by Elizabeth Archer.

Here's the LINK!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Big Anklevich

I asked my "friend" Sir Fake Sean Connery to create something for my friend's (last?) birthday.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rish Performs "Veruchia" by E.C. Tubb, on Audible

So, here's another Dumarest of Terra book I finished this summer.  It's called "Veruchia," and is the best one so far.

Veruchia is one of two possible successors to the planet Dradea's throne, but her power-hungry cousin is determined to inherit, even if it means eliminating the competition.  Enter Earl Dumarest, stuck on the planet and forced to do battle against monsters for entertainment, until he is hired to be Veruchia's bodyguard.  Will they fall in love?  Of course they will.  Will Earl finally discover the location of Earth?  Of course he won't, not when there's another two dozen of these books on the horizon.

It is my favorite of these books, as I mentioned.  Of course, it does have a couple of interesting subplots that are introduced and then abandoned, and the chapters are so depressingly long as to keep me from doing more than one in one recording/editing session.  But I liked the this book quite a bit.

You can find it at this LINK and spend your valuable credits and/or money on it.

These books have taken me an insanely long time to get recorded, to the point where I guess I have been replaced as the narrator in question for the series.  I'm of two minds there, but I do admit that it's my fault for not having worked harder to get these out by the deadline (or even within a year of the deadline).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rish Outcast 29: Boom Clap

Here's a short little show with Rish talking about "Hannibal," a girl he did a drawing for, that song he hears at work every day, and whether his would-be protagonist should have a would-be love interest.

If madness drives you to download the episode, then by all means Right-Click HERE.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Rish Outcast 28: Not-A-Novel

Here's Rish talking while driving through the desert in a car that's supposed to break down.  He discusses the novel he was supposed to write this summer, the various rip-offs he has unintentionally perpetrated, and the mental block he has keeping him from ever being a novelist.

If you really want to download this thing, Right-Click on This Here Link.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Rish Performs "The Fox Bride" on Podcastle

Podcastle started out my enemy, and has now become my friend.  I wish that sort of thing happened in real life.

The most recent tale I've narrated for them is "The Fox Bride," by Mari Ness.

This was an odd tale that felt like it was a metaphor for something (luckily, I'm too thick to get any subtext in pieces like this), about a young prince who gets married off to a fox.  If he can get the fox to transform into a girl, then he'll live happily ever after . . . if not, well, there are other princes.

It can be found at THIS LINK.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dungeons & Dragons, Satan's Game

I don't know if this will be an entertaining post or not.  I'm really tempted to do an audio version of it (those are way easier), since the tone of my voice might convey my feelings better than some hastily-typed words while glancing at the clock.  But ah well.

So, I went to a comic convention over the weekend.  It was the same one I first took my nephew to two years ago, only to discover the basement had flooded quite terribly when we came home.  I took both of my nephews this year, one on each day, and ended up getting vomited on my the older one Friday night.  I spent quite a while cleaning up chunder, and discovered that I smelled pretty strongly of regurgitant for the rest of the evening.

What's worse, my buddy Merrill told me about arugula yesterday, and said his wife likes it (or claims to).  It made me feel not dissimilar to how I felt seeing my sister's kid upchucking beans and enchilada onto the floor and himself.

But the reason I wanted to write this up is that today at work, I kept thinking about the D&D panel I went to yesterday.  It was a very disappointing panel, yet I couldn't stop dwelling on it, to the point that I thought it might be amusing to talk about how unamusing it was.  So, I went out and did a little Rish Outcast about it you can listen to here, if you like (or download it here).

It wasn't very amusing, though, and I thought I'd try again here in the blog to talk about it.

So, my pal Jeff has been into Dungeons & Dragons all his life, and his mother is one of those types who believes the worst about anything, and constantly tried to keep him away from that devilish pastime.  He's told me many amusing stories about the moms in his community gasping and shuddering at the revelation that he spent his Fridays rolling multi-sided dice in oblation to the Beastmaster.

So when I heard there was a panel at this weekend's comic-con entitled Satanism, Insanity, and Dungeons & Dragons, I made it a priority to go to it.

But save for one brief shining moment, it was absolutely no fun.  You see, apparently religious nuts and paranoid politicians can do a great deal of damage, and the panel talked about people who were persecuted, arrested, boycotted, shunned, and small businesses that went under due to the anti-D&D hysteria.  Sure, it's kind of hilarious to play that Tom Hanks phone booth scene from MAZES & MONSTERS, but when you find out the actual story behind that, and how role-playing games were the scapegoat for an unhappy individual that lost his mind and eventually his life at his own hand, well . . .

On the panel were people who sold role playing games, people who loved (and were harassed for loving) Dungeons & Dragons, and Michael Stackpole, who was (and remains) head of a gaming coalition who comes to the aid of those who are sued, threatened, defamed, or strong-armed by multi-millionaire televangelists and backwoods politicians in places like Virginia Beach, VA.  Stackpole told story after story of people trying to stamp out the new and vulnerable RPG industry in the Eighties and it never--not a single time--ended with the outraged parents or church groups admitting they'd been wrong.

I went to the panel to chuckle at how naive folks were just a few years ago (and there was a chuckle here and there, like when some of the religious tracts were quoted, helping parishioners identify those who might be "under the influence" of these wicked, destructive games), but when you hear first-hand witnesses of book-burnings in church parking lots, the laughter tends to dry up.

It's all too easy to make comparisons to recent panics and blame games, such as the post-Columbine video game/movie violence paranoia, the Heavy Metal Equals Satanism movement, and the anti-Harry Potter bullshit of the last decade.  And that's not totally fun either.

EXCEPT for this.  Early on, a guy came in and sat in the corner.  And he was dressed in an elaborate devil costume* he'd made himself, and he sat silently throughout the panel, which seemed really bizarre to me (I took a picture as he sipped his drink through a straw early on).  Then they opened it up for questions, and he stood and went to the microphone.

Several people laughed, gasped, or cheered when they noticed him approach the front of the line, and when he started to ask his question in a timid, nerdy regular voice, the entire meeting room exploded with laughter.  I now think, a day later, that it was useful in deflating the nervous tension that had been building up with all the unpleasantness they were talking about (there was a panel later about Ted Bundy the serial killer, and I imagine there would be a similar reaction of someone dressed as Pokey the orange horse stood up and said, "Bundy?  Oh, I thought this was a discussion about Gumby.  My mistake.").

So, when the guy asked his question the second time, he put on a gravely death-metal Satan voice, and the crowd laughed and applauded him.  Certainly the highpoint of that hour, if not the whole day.

I felt a little sad having dragged my niece to the panel, since it was my idea and it turned out to be so unpleasant.  However, it must be said that she dragged me to a "Carrie: The Musical" presentation, which was really hard to sit through (yeah, it's the Eighties Stephen King musical, back in kitschy revival form), so turnabout is fair play.  It was such an awkward, odd choice for a musical, that I started to wish I hadn't abandoned my "Pulp Fiction: The Musical" project earlier this year.**

The Dead Alewives had this comedy sketch about D&D that began, "Dungeons & Dragons: Satan's Game," and it never failed to amuse me.  It's introduced as an actual peek into the sinful debauchery of that evilest of all games, and then presents a pretty realistic depiction of game-play, where nerdy teens snort and giggle and pretend to be elves and wizards while drinking Mountain Dew.  I stole the title from that, but boy, I would've enjoyed the panel more if they had only talked about how funny that sketch was.

Rish Outfield, Dungeon Bater

*Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure (kiss my pudgy arse, by the way), his costume was actually that of Tim Curry's demonic character from LEGEND, The Darkness.  But hey, if the cloven-hooves fit...

**This is no joke.  I really started work on a Pulp Fiction musical intended for the my podcast, but only got as far as writing a Samuel L. Jackson Ezekiel 25:17 song.  Yeah.  The first part goes:
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides,
By evil men’s tyranny, and selfishness he hides.
But blessed is he who shepherds the weaker,
Through darkness, as his brother’s keeper.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rish's Voice in "Night Delivery" on Campfire Radio Theater

Years ago, I was watching David Letterman when he had Lance Henriksen on as a guest.  Henriksen was talking about his FOX show "Millennium," and he was really excited about the project because the producers had actually written the show with him in mind.  Dave could not have cared less, but it struck me how thrilled with the idea Lance Henriksen was.

Cut to 2015.  I got approached to be the voice of the main character in John Ballentine's new episode of Campfire Radio Theater "Night Delivery," and having so enjoyed voicing Old Jim on "R.I.P." last year, I was happy to sign on.  As I performed the character, I started to think of it less and less of a character and more and more like me.  Twas then that John told me that he wrote the part with me in mind.

It's surely not a big deal to you, and it's nothing compared to a TV show being made for you, but it was quite an honor for me to hear.  And the funny thing is, maybe I remembered the conversation wrong . . . deliberately.

I play Dustin James, who gets a job as a radio DJ in the 1980's, when he discovers there might be something weird going on with his late night shift, or maybe the radio station itself.  He meets a beautiful young woman, and at one point gets a stack of records with a warning on them: Do not play backwards.   Three guesses as to what he does next.

Check it out at this here LINK, or go to Campfireradiotheater dot Podbean and listen to them all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Podcast That Dares Not Speak Its Name 12: Dracula's Guest

Back before there was a Rish Outcast, I recorded this and another story that never saw the light of day.  Well, here's one of those long-lost episodes, wherein I present "Dracula's Guest," by Bram Stoker.

Afterward, find out if this truly was the first chapter of Stoker's "Dracula," and who owns the original manuscript.  Or don't, I'll never find out if you listened or not.

If you wanna download this episode, why not Right-Click this link here?

Monday, September 07, 2015

An Honor Just To Be Nominated (2015)

So, last year, the Dunesteef got no Parsec nominations.  Or heck, maybe we did, but we weren't finalists, you know what I mean?

This year was different.  I really made an effort to at least get us a chance to win one of the podcasting awards given out at DragonCon each year.  Big Anklevich too jumped through the requisite hoops.

And when the (finalist) nominations were announced, our show got two, both for stories written by me.  "Last Contact," and "Say Uncle."*

That felt good.  So I typed up this little blog post, to drop when the winners were announced.  "Do I care if I lose?" I wrote.  "Nope."

So, DragonCon happened, and immediately, people were sending messages to let me know we'd won.  Category was  Speculative Fiction Story (Large Cast), and the story that won was "Last Contact," which Big was especially proud of (since it wasn't just for a piece we'd performed or produced, but also written).

I'm not really a competitive person, at least not in a deriving-pleasure-from-defeating-others sort of way (or even a "I don't want the world, I just want your half" kind of attitude).  Winning means . . . well, not a lot.  But having my name on the ballot, well, that's pretty great.

Oh, and the irony is, I wrote "John Hughes's Last Contact" with entering it in a contest in mind, coming up with a story I probably never would have written without that particular competition.

I should give credit where credit is due: Big made sure not only to send our samples in by the deadline, but even insisted we film an acceptance video, on the off-chance we won an award.  He took a Parsec trophy up to the mountains with us last week and shot it, then got them the video within twenty-four hours.


*The former co-written with Big, and produced by Clay Dugger, the latter written and produced by me.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Wes Craven R.I.P.

It was 1986.  Somehow, I'd gotten my mother to rent us a horror film from the local market (a tiny family-owned store on Main Street that sold candy, dry goods, a few groceries, and had, by then, converted one wall into a makeshift video store--as all markets did in those days) to watch on a Friday night.  My friend Steven had come over to spend the night, and I assumed that he was as into scary movies as I was.  The film for the evening was A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

We made it about halfway through.

Steven did not enjoy the movie, and when I suggested we finish it up the next morning, was less than enthusiastic.  He probably never watched a horror movie with me again.

But I was really impressed with it.  Like every unbalanced child of my generation, I became somewhat fixated on Freddy Krueger and his seemingly-endless series of slasher films (I had a big "Freddy's Revenge" poster on my bedroom wall that I would always avoid looking at late at night).  That was my first exposure to a Wes Craven film, though I vaguely recall wanting to see SWAMP THING when it came out.

I was disturbed watching SERPENT & THE RAINBOW at my Uncle George's place, and rolled my eyes at the end of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS in the same house.  He directed my favorite episode of the Eighties version of "The Twilight Zone," the one where Melinda Dillon could stop time by saying "Shut up."  My friend Dennis recorded SHOCKER off of HBO and we watched the tape, only to discover the recording ended before the movie did.  And I laughed my head off when Anne Ramsay was beheaded by a basketball in DEADLY FRIEND.

In 1996, I saw SCREAM with my roommate John.    It took a while for me to embrace it like the people around me did, but when I did, I recognized it as a love letter to my favorite genre, and I thought, "This is what I should be/could be writing."  I probably loved SCREAM 2 more than the first one, also seeing that with John (on opening night).

Well, Wes Craven died this week, of brain cancer.  He was seventy-six, which sort of amazes me.

I only met Wes once, though I actually saw him speak at one of those Horror conventions I always felt out of place in for not having a tattoo of the Tall Man on my inner thigh.  He was a very patient, well-spoken man, and he signed my copy of SCREAM after a screening one night.

Unfortunately, that and most of my DVDs were stolen by a neighbor who, upon discovering a way to let himself into my apartment, came over from time to time, waiting, of course, until I'd gone to work.

But hey, I still have my memories.  And I never saw MY SOUL TO TAKE.  Maybe I'll do that this week.  

Thanks for the bad dreams, Wes.  Rest well.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Rish Performs "The Wood of Ephraim" On Far-Fetched Fables

Gary Dowell over at "Far-Fetched Fables" keeps handing me projects to narrate.  I don't know if a lot of people listen to his show, but I'm sure it's significantly more than those listening to mine.  I told him I would do any story as long as it was as good as "The Secret To Catching Rabbits," and he sent me this one, called "The Wood of Ephraim" by Edward M. Erdelac.

Erdelac wrote something that, in my experience, is totally unique.  It is a Biblical horror story.  I remember, a few years back, Big and I got to work on what I believe was an episode of "The Way of the Buffalo" which was basically a horror tale about a malevolent Jesus Christ (like the one in Carrie White's little prayer/punishment room).  That's the closest thing I can think of to "Woods of Ephraim."

It's a scary tale with a bunch of Biblical names about the death of Absalom, the son of King David, and the army that is pursuing him.  The tale begins with the ominous scripture 2 Samuel 18:8: "For the battle was there spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword."  That's pretty fitting, actually.

The names were a challenge, and I really might have done a better job separating the characters into different voices, but what are you gonna do?

Anyway, I dug it, and here's the link.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dry Run: Update 17

Okay, I'm all done.  Only, what, three months overdue?

I should feel terrible about that.  I should be ashamed it took me a long time to write "Into the Furnace," and even longer to get it all typed up.  But I'm not.

I actually feel pretty good about it.

Things take time.  I find it hard to stick to a task.  But I crossed the finish line, and even though all the other racers had long since finished their marathons, and were now at home, showered and balls-deep in significant others or strangers, I at least crossed that finish line.  And that's something.

I ought to write up a little post-mortem on "Into the Furnace," which started out as friendship and grew stronger, I only wish I had the strength to let it show.  When I began this post, I estimated that it would end up being about 35,000 words.  Now that I finally got the whole thing from my notebook (and my head) to a computer, the total looks like this:

Forty-two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-two words.  That ain't a short story.  Not even a novella.  It's a novel in my book, and if it's not quite there in yours, well, let me have this little victory.  Maybe my next one will be longer.

But as for the post-mortem, I think I'll wait on that.  Let the story sit for a month or three, then get it out, read it over, and write up an author's note for it.  Then publish the suckah.

I took a picture from the freeway on my recent road trip (actually, I took about twenty), thinking I could use it as a cover image, and that picture is this:

In the book, I describe three buttes alongside one another.  Since I took so many pictures, I figured it would be easy to combine them so there appeared to be a trio instead of a single lonely mountain.

I'm not particularly talented when it comes to photo editing, but this is a sort of test image to see how it might look:
Still, though I like the photographs a great deal, this one doesn't do much to sell the product.  Chances are, I'll have to get someone to create cover art for me, but maybe they can use my butte pics to build upon.  The problem is, there's an obvious, easy cover that would tell you all you need to know about the book, but since the revelation doesn't come until a third (or more) into the book, I really don't want to do that.  Like when a movie like E.T. or GREMLINS or ALIEN makes you wait an hour or so to see the creature, but they put it right the on the cover of the videocassette.

You know what I'm saying?

Rish Outfield, Novelist

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A couple brief ramblings

I would never be cut out for political office.  I hate pretending to be pleasant to unpleasant people, and the first time someone deliberately misinterpreted my words or took them out of context for reasons of hate . . . well, I'd start with the profane screaming, and I guess that'd be it.

Somebody recently said that "you don't get to choose whether what you say is offensive," because I'm in that evil cys-gendered patriarchal cabal of the vast majority.  And it bothered me . . . at least long enough to type this.  Now I'm over it.

I'm in between audiobook projects right now, and it's strange to have so much free time to work on my own things.  I've recorded between four and six episodes of my solo podcasts, and actually got one edited, so all I have to do is post it.  So, consider yourself warned: Rish Outfield is not quite done with podcasting just yet.

Similarly, I've been thinking (for about two years) of putting out a collection of audio recordings for sale, and made a list of everything I have ready to go.  I can't help but feel like I need some kind of unifying theme, even if it's just "stories involving children" or "stories where the third act falls apart."  I'll keep thinking.

There's a teenager at work they just hired, who is really sweet, and really good at her job.  The other night, we left work and her boyfriend was waiting for her in the parking lot.  They hadn't seen each other in, like, eight to ten hours, and he just wrapped his arms around her and held her while the rest of us old people got in our cars and drove home.  I realize the years and circumstance have made me cynical, but in watching that I had to wonder what young love might have been like, and if a couple of teenagers knew something that we grownups had forgotten . . . or never known.

Of course, those two will never use the Dewey Decimal System or go into a video store, so I guess into every life a little rain must fall.

I created a new YouTube page to upload an audiobook reading or two, figuring that if the 'Tube police take my performances down, it would affect the account I created for that purpose.  But when it asked for my email address, it recognized me as Rish Outfield, and insisted on calling the new account by that name.  I could not change it and even got my 14 year old niece to try and fix it for me, but to no avail.  I don't suppose I really even care--I intended to upload, I dunno, around a thousand Fake Sean Connery videos with that first account, and I never did.  Ah well.

In other news, only sixty-six days to Halloween.

Silver Shamrock.

There's a new manager at work who is young and handsome and so covered with tattoos that they make him wear long sleeves to hide them when anybody else is around.  He's pretty cool, and likes to talk to me about Fantasy novels whenever I see him.  Recently, he shared with me a list of the Top Ten Fantasy Series as voted by the readers of or something, and I surprised him by only having read two on the list (and one was the [friggin'] "Lord of the Rings").  I told him we ought to pick up some Brandon Sanderson, to make up for the fact that his "Way of Kings" series was number one on the list and we'd never read it.

The manager, might, however, actually read his copy.*

Yesterday, he was sharing a new list with me from his phone, and it was Ten Things To Avoid When Writing A Fantasy novel.  One of them was pretty obvious ("Don't write just a one-off novel, but a whole series of books"), one was somewhat puzzling ("Don't make up your own curse words"), and one just flat-out pissed me off ("Avoid starting your book with a prologue").  For some reason, I kept thinking of good prologues, and why whoever wrote this article had a bias against them.  There were others on the list that I scratched my head over (one was "Don't invent your own languages"), but the prologue one was the only one that made me angry.

After I told him I disagreed, the manager said that the list had been compiled by polling editors, and that one editor said, "If I see a book begins with a prologue, I won't even read the manuscript."  For some reason, that made me even angrier than if it had just been the readers of who had compiled the list.  I stewed for a while, then realized that, in all likelihood, I'm never going to write a Fantasy novel if I live to be a hundred, so again, I just let it go.

I think that's about it.

Oh, I won the Masters of the Macabre contest over at the Horror Addicts website and podcast.  It was for my story "Miss Fortune," which I had my niece and Renee Chambliss help me out on.  It was my fifth time entering the contest (sixth time on the show), and the story that came out the best in the contest's format.  You may recall that I had a distinct advantage on this one, since this year they wanted an audio drama instead of a story, and required at least two voices instead of just my own.  And I may have said on this blog that this was probably my year to win the thing.

Even so, it's nice to win something that isn't my own contest for a change.  I don't imagine it amounts to anything or will impress any of my fan, but after losing four years running, I suppose it's nice to--

Wait, no, it isn't.  Having won, I'm no longer eligible to enter the contest in the future.  And that's really too bad.  Of course, I could always enter again under a pseudonym, like Roy G. Biv or something.  Maybe the name I use when recording Erotica audiobooks.  So there's that.

Rich Oldfiend

*I was surprised to get to work the day I posted this to find out my manager bought two copies of "The Way of Kings," one for him and one for me.  It sort of touched me, like I had a friend or something.  Weird.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rish's Voice in "The Black Bird" on Journey Into...

I have to admit, when I got a message from Marshal Latham that my work on "The Black Bird" could be heard over on his podcast . . . I had no idea what he was talking about.  Had I recorded a story for him so long ago that I no longer had any memory of it?  What is this, Starship Sofa?

But going over to "Journey Into..." reminded me.  David Barr Kirtley did a sort of mash-up of "The Raven" and THE MALTESE FALCON, and Marshal had asked me if I'd voice Sam Spade.*  I'm always happy to a) help out on other podcasts, and b) try new voices, so I sent the lines over, promptly forgetting it had ever happened.  Chalk it up either to early-onset dementia, or middle age a-hole-ism, I don't know which.

Anyway, check it out over at this very link, and enjoy!


*He later had me re-voice it because I sounded so whiny and obnoxious.  I didn't dare tell him that I had somehow mistakenly voiced the character as David Spade the first time through.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rish Outcast 27: Dry Run Update

Rish talks briefly about his attempt to document writing a novella in the spring of 2015.  Wait, what's a novella again?

If you feel like downloading the audio to your hard drive, Right-click right HERE!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Do you love?

I was thinking yesterday, for no reason, really, that there's only a handful of things that I really love.  Maybe ten things, if I really, really strain myself.  Maybe only five, if we're being realistic.*

It may be too personal to go into here, though I'll give you an example.  I don't know if it's number one on the list, but it's in the top three or so, but I really love Pepsi.  I can't live without it.  I won't live without it.  Probably all five of my short list are things like that: things that you think are vices or bad or deplorable, but are the only things that make my life worth living.  Such as it is.

But I walked into a store today, and found a sixth one.

I took that picture, and it just made me feel warm inside.  Heck, looking at the picture here makes me feel warm.  That's love, right?

"Do you love?" Nona asked.

Rish Outfield

*There's a girl at work who is clinically obsessed with Robin (from DC Comics), to the point where it's actually shocking.  She loves Robin the way kids love bubbles.  To quote Paul Rudd (in KNOCKED UP), "I wish I loved anything as much as kids love bubbles."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rish Performs "The Secret To Calling Rabbits" on Far-Fetched Fables

This is a good one, folks.  A lot of times, I'm given a story to narrate for another show, and I sort of shrug whilst reading it, or sometimes I don't understand the story, and every once in a while, I'm handed something that is Not Ready For Prime Time, if you will.  But not this one.

"The Secret To Calling Rabbits" by Wendy Wagner is such a great story, I would've done it for free!

Oh, wait.

Well, I certainly would've fought to get this thing on the Dunesteef, if it had come across our door.  It's an interesting, sad tale about the last dwarf in the world, and his encounter with a little Big (human) girl.  And it's better than anything I could write, I fear.

Here is the link to the story over at Far-Fetched Fables.

Still, I'd like to think I brought something to the table with my reading.  If you don't like my voice, though, then you can listen to someone else read it at this link.  After you go eff yourself, of course.

Rish Outfield, Rabbit Caller

Friday, August 07, 2015

Rish Outcast 26: A Novel in 90 Days?

This is a show I recorded sitting in the backyard one night, talking about "Into the Furnace" and the goal Big and I made of writing a novel over the summer (2015).  There were three potential novel ideas kicking around my head, and one had to make the cut.

There may be a bit more information here than in previous conversations about it.  And maybe not.

If you care to download the audio to your hard drive, Right-click HERE, lads and lasses!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Rish's Tale "Popcorn Movies" available on Amazon and Audible

A few years back, I wrote a lengthy, semi-autobiographical story called "Popcorn Movies," about a young man who, after making a mess of his life, comes back to his small town to work in reopening a neighborhood movie theater.

I was hesitant to share this with people, since it's sort of a personal story, and since I'm always afraid to share, but here it is.  It's available to read at this link, or I've created an audio version.  That link is here:

It may not be to everyone's liking, but if it is well-received, I'm all the more likely to put out other recordings of my writing.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dry Run: Update 16

Alright, this will be my second-to-last post.

I wish I could say this was it, that I've typed it all up, and we're ready to move on to the next challenge, but . . . look at the word count thingie:
Yeah, even after bumping the total to 35,000, I've exceeded that, with around ten more pages to type up beyond that.  So, I could reset the goal to 40,000, which looks something like this:

But it doesn't change the fact that my traditional way of writing (notebook first, then maybe typed up) is not efficient, is not working.  Since "Into the Furnace," I've written two more stories ("Beggar's Canyon" and "True Ghost Experience"), and one was half-notebook/half-laptop, and the other was 90% laptop.  I've written nothing in the notebook since then, and have taken the laptop to work with me, or occasionally to eat.  It makes things better.

I might actually be finished by now if I'd been a little smarter.  I got to the point in the notebook where that writer's block hit, and for two pages, I just outlined the next couple of scenes, what would have to happen in them, and a few lines of dialogue.  So, when it came time to transcribe, I got to that part, and fleshed those two pages out to full scenes, writing it up over an hour or so.

Then I wen to the next page in the notebook . . . and discovered that I'd done the same thing there, writing out the scenes and dialogue.  No big deal, I know, but then I had to waste another stretch of time trying to combine the two, decide which lines I liked better, and as usual, try to shove as much of the work from both attempts into the second draft.

I also added a new scene in between them, and discovered that it sort of throws off the timeline of the rest of the story, and that's no fun either.

But boo hoo.  It's better than actually working for a living, getting blisters on my fingers, sore feet I have to soak at night, and a rash on my taint.

One more post to go. 


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dry Run: Update 15

Alright, I'm back.  That writer's block I spoke about in the last post (which was a month or so back) did not last long.  It was just a psychological hurdle I had to jump over.

Once I did, there were no problems.  Smooth sailing, all the way to the end.  Which came quickly.

Mostly, I just had to put in the work.  I had to go somewhere and focus solely on writing, with as few distractions as possible.  So I went to the park a couple of times, I went to Taco Bell and wrote, I wrote on my lunch breaks (finally taking the laptop to work so I wouldn't have to type it later), and wrote a time or three in the backyard, putting in the hours until I finally reached those blessed two words.

Ever since I started using the laptop in that way, I've been phasing out my notebook, doing less and less work in it.  Strange, since I was/am only about ten pages from the end of it.  I even bought two more like it when I saw I would soon reach the end (this was in April or so, before I even had a new laptop, or was in need of one).  It makes both writing and the word count much, much simpler, and as Big said, I do sort of wish I had been using a laptop all along.  But ah well.

So, somebody somewhere--and it honestly might even have been the guy who did the "Write a Novel in 90 Days" presentation--said that, hey, your first novel is probably going to suck.  But the second one will be better, and the third one even better.  And you'll never get to any of the good ones if you don't write that first sucky novel.

Deep words from a dude with a garish Hawaiian shirt on.

The idea that all that work amounting to something that sucks is more than a little depressing.  But ah well.  Maybe "Into the Furnace" isn't so great.  Maybe it has too many meandering plot threads that go nowhere.  Maybe it's too predictable in where it does go.  Maybe the bad guy is as all over the place as Ultron was in AVENGERS 2 (though if I can be compared to Joss Whedon, I'll take that criticism anyday).  Maybe there's no color to it.  Maybe it's too long and should have stayed the short story it was originally intended to be.

But as I near the end of the tale (typing it up, anyway), I have to think that it is worth the effort to finish it, that it was worth the effort to write in the first place.  That between seven and nine people will someday read it and enjoy it.

Too late to turn back now.

Rish Outfield, Dry Runner

So, here's the word count symbol thing today:

That's only eighty percent finished.  And I've really no excuse for that.  I sat down tonight and started typing and told myself I couldn't stop until I reached 27,777 words.  Once I got there, I did just a little bit more.  But I should be finished by now.  It's sad how much I'm dragging my feet on this.

I promise, there will be only one more post here.  One or two, no more than seventeen total updates.  Let's see if I can't grit my teeth and push through till I get there.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dry Run: Update 14 (The Stall)

I can't remember who it was, but a famous writer said that "writer's block doesn't exist.  Laziness exists."  It stuck with me because when I heard that I had experienced writer's block a number of times, and I often abandoned projects in the middle, despite wasting many hours getting there.  Now I'm a decade or two older, at least six months wiser, and I still don't know if I agree or not (about the laziness thing).  A lot of my projects that fall by the wayside happen because I'm distracted by something else, or because I start to worry that it's not very good (which happens a lot--including during this one), and also, because it's easier to not work on something than it is to actually work.

And though laziness has also been my nemesis over the years (so bad I nearly said it was my STAR TREK: NEMESIS, the worst of the Trek movies), there have been times when I set aside time to write, forcing myself to do it, and couldn't manage to come up with anything.  My mind was just empty of ideas, of any drive to create something, and in those cases I tend to ruminate on or list abandoned projects until the writing time runs out.  That happens probably five or six times a year, but the next time I mow the lawn or go on a drive or awaken suddenly in the night, I'll have another idea I want to pursue, and everything is alright.

I say all this because, for the first time, we hit a stall during "Into the Furnace."  We, I say, for some reason, when it's really just me.  The last important character, the sheriff's friend from childhood, showed up*, and now the whole idea I had originally written down on that piece of paper in January was complete.  And I froze.

Ostensibly, I should only have a few pages left.  They get together, go after the bad guy, take him down, and the story ends.  Except I still don't know how to pull that off.  Especially since this little tale, which I envisioned as a short story, has ballooned into what it is now.  There needs to be at least one failed run, my gut tells me, before they succeed, because if they win too easily, then it's just lame.  I dunno, you remember IRON MAN 2, where they've built Vanko up as this more-powerful version of Iron Man, too tough for even Tony and the new Rhodey to defeat?  And they have their confrontation, and my guess is, it's thirty seconds at most they do battle before Vanko is killed.**

The problem is, if they attempt to kill the villain and fail, how do they survive that?  The bad guy is just too powerful.  There should be no second chances, and at least the town would pay the penalty, if not every person in it.  I . . .

Okay, I think I got it figured.  Maybe.  It could be stupid, if I set something up in an earlier scene and then have our heroes do something else, won't readers know it's not the end, that the thing I set up still needs to be paid off?  We'll see, but it feels righter than what I had in mind.

But I was talking about stalling out in my progress.  I had a lot of time to write yesterday, in the morning, during lunch, my break at work, but I didn't know where to go.  If I'd had my laptop, I'd have spent that time doing this blogpost, worrying about writer's block.  Instead, I summarized three scenes that still have to happen before the story can end, and then a fourth.  So the tale is not yet told, dang it.  I have to keep on truckin'.

Luckily, nobody but me cares about this stuff, about deadlines passed and focusing my attention on this not that.  I think I can still finish, though it may be July by the time I start on my novel (my other novel, I suppose).  But I do really enjoy writing these blog updates, and though I try to make them interesting, I don't know if they're enjoyable to read.

Either way, there are more on the way.

Rish Outfield

P.S. Here's where we are in the word count:

Yeah, I passed my goal, so I bumped the total count to 30000 (which is also too short), just so there was still something to work toward.  We'll see how long it gets me to type stuff up.

*And I have no idea why he had to be a friend instead of a stranger.  I needed a big game hunter character, and when I was sketching out the book, it seemed better if they already had a history together.  So I figured that they were childhood friends in St. Louis, and had gone their separate ways for these last fifteen to twenty years.  It made for a couple of jokes between them and some familiarity--and most importantly, there was already trust between the two--but it doesn't change the story any having them know one another.  Just makes it longer, I guess.

**I could have brought up the final confrontation with Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, except I actually like that Catwoman killed him so quickly.  She's not an honorable character, and so she just shoots him with that big gun (something Batman--at least the Batman we know from the comics and cartoons--would not do), not entirely unlike Indy dispatching the Cairo Swordsman.  However, I never liked that Nolan didn't spell it out for us in that moment that Bane was dead, since I expected him to pop up again before the end, but in seeing the movie a second time, it was fine.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SDCC 2015 Post

So, I went to San Diego Comic-Con again this year.  And after trotting out my camera for the first day, I discovered that one can take as many pictures with their phone as with a camera, plus it's smaller and more handy than a camera, so I took roughly two hundred pics during the time I was down there.  I couldn't help but delete bad ones as I took them, but then I remembered the tradition of putting up my worst photos on my blog and having absolutely nobody try to guess who they were.  So, I'll see if I have some stinkers that I can stick on here too. 

This backpack of mine has seen a lot of conventions.  And I've seen enough to know that, except for a paperback book or something similar, there's not gonna be room in there when the free swag gets entered in.  Hence, I only dared take my big heavy metal laptop in there once, on Saturday (is it normal for a laptop to be made out of metal?  Are they all plastic nowadays?  I wonder if that makes mine special, and/or if it would take a bullet for me.   Hmmm).  

And my back seen a lot of conventions too, and understood that it would be expected to cart around a great deal of weight in posters, buttons, toys, and the giant offerings people fight over to purchase from Hasbro.  So I made the mile-plus trip out to my car on multiple occasions, filling my arms (and back) with as much as it could possibly carry, then trudging down the road to put it in my car, then returning for more.  It'll be sad to look back on five years from now when I'm at the end of my life, but for now, it's just another part of Comic-Con.

Oh, and one more tiny detail along those lines.  Parking for this thing has never not been a bitch. Oh, there's pre-dawn Saturday when I can find a parking spot less than a mile from the convention center, but the rest of the time, it's always circling, doubling back, searching for a spot, or hoping someone will pull out just as I happen to drive by.  It's probably the second-worst thing about the con, traditionally.  And this year, on Thursday, I noticed a trio of cars that just parked right on the road (Harbor Boulevard, I believe) in no parking spaces, just on the soft shoulder of the road itself, and after parking in the lot of a grocery store (where I parked most of SDCC 2013, and only got a ticket once), I told myself, "If those cars are still there and ticket free when I come back here to move my car (mine was a 2 Hour Parking lot), I'm going to join them."

Well, not only were those cars unmolested, but they had been joined by between fifteen and twenty other cars, obviously thinking the same thing I did.  I parked at the back of the line (in just that stretch of time, the "lot" of Harbor Blvd. was almost full), and went my way, worrying for the rest of the day that my car would indeed have a ticket on it, or worse, be towed, almost-literally screwing me for the rest of my trip.  I worried, I ran it over and over in my mind, I kept thinking I should go back and check, and then finally, I came to an epiphany: "Either my car is fine or it isn't.  Either way, it is out of my control.  Worrying about it is not going to make my car okay or not okay."

It's something you obviously realized years ago, but in this case, it did make the convention more enjoyable, and every time I hiked back to the car, it was still there, and neither it nor the other many cars in that makeshift lot were bothered.  I do expect, however, to find No Parking signs in that area next July.

So, on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into Hall H with no line and find myself in the "Doctor Who" panel.  I haven't really been following the show lately, but I know it's insanely popular, so to not have to waste hours in line, or even wait, was a nice change.

There was also an enormously entertaining panel for "Con Men," the crowd-funded passion project of Alan Tudyk's.  Nathan Fillion was his usual charming self, but the real joy came from Chris Hardwick's relentless mockery of Will Wheaton, who had been his roommate back in college.*

So, it was a more unpleasant surprise the next day when I sat in line for more than three hours to get into the "Star Wars" panel, only to be turned away when there were only forty or so folks ahead of me.  I suppose, if I had it to do over again, I'd have sacrificed even more of my day to see Luke, Han, and Leia again as senior citizens.  Or maybe I'd have just taken an AK-47 to the place.

Not that I'm complaining.  I just thought that would be nice (to see the "Star Wars" panel, not to murder strangers with an assault weapon).

In the two years since I last stood in the Hall H line, they've instituted a wristband policy, wherein they hand out wristbands to the first, say, thousand people in line, so those folks are guaranteed to get in.  They are even allowed to leave the line to go defecate, or if they dare, to go shower, eat, or sleep.  They just have to come back to the line and they'll be allowed in before the folks without wristbands.

I think that works well.  Of course, if I had a friend in the world, that might work well too.  You end up spending so much time in line with strangers that, occasionally, you'll befriend the people around you.  In the past, I've been happy to hold their spot in line as they go get coffee, go use the toilet, or go make the beast with two backs.  It would work both ways if I physically had to urinate anymore, but my body has discovered a way to simply convert it to fat, so that's pretty nice.


I'm in Hall H again, at the end of the night, and I could have typed a little on this thing earlier, but I didn't.  I did a good deal of reading, which I don't regret, and I finished up another story, which I TOTALLY don't regret.

I was glad to come here this year, after having missed it last year.  And even though it was work getting here, cost a lot (nay, a ton) of money, and I haven't managed to see everything I wanted to, or buy everything I wanted to, I'm in a good mood.  One day, I'll not be able to come here at all, because I'll be too poor, or too unable to get here, or most likely, too fat.  But for now . . .

I like being with people who feel the way I do about things.  It's like sports, really, a group of strangers cheering for their favorite team.  Except maybe it's not like sports, I don't know.  I don't know much.

Kevin Smith talked about lost opportunities in his Q&A, talked about regret, and did his "Why not?" speech again.  He said, "Everybody has a story that's uniquely theirs.  You need to get out there and tell your story."  I tried to take it to heart as best I could, and I'm really going to try, in the next few weeks, to do the things I obligated myself to do, and maybe do more.

If I were truly serious about my art, I would quit my job and focus 100% on writing, podcasting, publishing, and doing audiobooks.  I could make a go of it, I know I could.  But who knows if I will or not?  One thing at a time, right?

I think I'll go home tonight and see if I can't type some more of "Into the Furnace" and do a post update.  I know that novel needs a lot of work, but right now I am feeling positive enough I could just publish it, and say, "There you are.  Enjoy it if you can," then go on to the next project.  That doesn't sound foolish to me.

I should exercise more.  I should get out of my comfort zone a time or three.  I should work harder at putting out my art, see if I can't get the fifty items for sale that Dean Wesley Smith said you need out there to really make money from it.

And I will.  Maybe not at once, but if I can just keep this attitude in mind, I will do it.

Except for the exercise part.  Sorry, doctor.

Rish Outfield

*Remind me to tell you about my favorite part of the panel, if I haven't already.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Look at me, Damien!"

I'm at my annual trip to San Diego Comic-Con (missed it last year), and as I'm sure I've mentioned, every year, a group of loud Born Again-type Christians protests the con with big yellow signs and microphones.  They are on the sidewalk, shouting as the attendees (and their children) walk by, about sin, Jesus, and hellfire, and waving signs with scripture in an attempt to either sway us from pursuing these godless endeavors, or to draw publicity toward themselves.  It's always been a little bit irritating, though I suppose they're free to think (and do) as they please.  However, a couple of years ago, anti-protesters started showing up around the protesters with homemade pro-Comic-Con signs such as "Galactus Is Coming!" and "Thor Loves You!" and "Hokey religions and ancient religions are no match for a good blaster at your side!"* and "Kneel Before Zod!"  That people would do that always amused me, since it was fairly light-hearted, harmless, and pretty clearly hate-free.

So, I was of two minds today, when Fox** had a bunch of volunteers (or just as likely, paid actors) do a counter-protest promoting their upcoming series "Damien," which yes, Virginia, was a follow-up to the classic movie THE OMEN.  "Damien is the one true path!" a zealot shouted, right alongside the Jesus-criers.  "All shall worship Damien!" another one called out, looking between us and the protesters. "It's all for you!" the signs they carried read, along with the trademarked 666.  Now, I don't really have a dog in this fight (though you can probably guess my views), but it struck me as more than a little incendiary, crass, and obviously sacrilegious, though I can't say if what they were doing was genuinely offensive.

I would be curious to know what the protesters thought.  But part of me is pretty glad I don't know.

Rish Outfield, Been From One Side This Galaxy

*Okay, I made that one up.  But it'd make for a darn good anti-protest sign.

**The show was, if you can effing believe it, originally intended for the Lifetime channel, but will now be airing on A&E.  But it's still Fox, guys.  Don't be misled.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Dry Run: Update 13

Okay, we're well into June now.*  I have gotten all my characters into place in "Into the Furnace," having finally introduced Samuelito Quinto, who, as of this writing, serves absolutely no purpose in the story.  But I'm closing in on the end.  I think.

Did I mention that this one could also be a novel?

Something I know that I have written is how much easier this blog is to write than my book is.  I think it's still that mental crossing guard I've got up there, the one who thinks its job is to protect me from any and all risk.  If I get too close to making an arse of myself, it's there to say, "Uh, you probably shouldn't snort that, especially if it's trying to get away."  But it is too good at its job, and is often there saying, "No, no, you shouldn't try that.  You might not like it.  What will others think?  How will you live with yourself if it doesn't work out?  Think of how comfortable you are doing nothing.  Yes, that's where you belong.  Get fatter.  Get more complacent.  You are exactly where you are safe and toasty-warm."

That inner crossing guard is a bit of a taint.  And I wonder if it is eager to provide me with distractions so that I don't have to write my novel and find out that it's not good, that I'm not a great writer, that all that work was for . . . well, not very much.  Or it could just know me so well, that it's sure I'll give up halfway through, and so it doesn't want me to even try, since it's worse to get a drink thrown in your face than it is to dance alone.

I brought this up in a previous post**, but the other day, I really made it a point to focus on writing.  I knew this thing was overdue, and each day not working on my Novel in 90 Days was going to make the NIND all the harder to accomplish, so I spent nearly my entire day off typing away on my laptop.  I took it to the park with me (until the battery died), then brought it home and plugged it in again, and as soon as it had juice in it, I went in the backyard and wrote some more.  Then, I took my notebook with me to my nephew's baseball game, and wrote another page or two there.

Today, I didn't have nearly the free time (and even some of that I squandered), but I took the laptop to the park and did it again.  I am closing in on the end of this thing, and I feel like I can have it all finished with one more trip to the park or backyard.  In fact, tonight, right before I started typing this, I went outside, even though it's past one am, and fired up the laptop to write.  It then said it had to install a bunch of updates before it could proceed, so I came in here and did this instead.  But I assure you that, by this time next week, I will be done with my story.

Which means that, by the time you read these words, I will have been done with "Into the Furnace" for a while now.  With the writing, anyway.  The typing (and inevitable rewriting) will be much longer in coming.

As far as the word count goes, nothing has changed:

But that is due to me being distracted and not even once typing up my scribblings, despite having the notebook open and ready to go.

Since then, I have started on a new audiobook project, finished another Rish Outcast, and written another short story.  I actually took my laptop to work, as Big suggested I do, and managed to be a little more efficient with my writing, since it's typed rather than pen-written, and those words can be instantly counted.  On my actual novel--which as of this writing I would rather eat nightcrawlers than have to work on--I will try to do the laptop thing as much as possible.

Rish Outfield, Running In Place

*Sadly, being published into July.  I need to learn to stick with things.

**But it was a tiny addition at the bottom of the screen when I was making excuses for not increasing my word count, so scream, Blacula, scream.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Rish Outcast 25: Chalupa Dale - Next Exit

Somewhere on the way to meet somebody, Rish came up with another Outcast episode.  In this one, he presents an awful short story "Chalupa Dale- Next Exit," and he talks.  A lot.

If you feel like downloading the episode directly, right-click HERE and save this thing.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dry Run: Update 12

I just came to a realization: I enjoy doing these little blogged writing updates more than I enjoy writing the book.

Is that weird?  Is that yet another sign that I am pathological?*

At this point, I just want to be done with my book.  And whoa, I'm no longer calling it a story, short or otherwise.  Creepy.

But I just want to be finished with it.  Maybe all lengthy tasks are that way.  I certainly feel it when I'm recording (and especially editing) an audiobook.  Heck, I feel that way when I'm listening to an audiobook and I feel the narrative has gone on too long.  I just want the thing to be over with, and if it isn't immediately so . . . it starts to feel like a drudgery.  Like a chore to be completed, instead of a pleasurable passtime.

Anyway, I wrote these words a while ago, and just wrote Dry Run Update 13, then came on here to see what I'd written in number 12.  Turns out I wrote the same thing in both, just on different days.  Whoops.

So instead, what I'll talk about here today is Rish Outfield's final rewrite.  Should that be capitalized?  Anyhow, back when I was an extra in L.A., I carried my backpack around (both the one that was stolen when I went to see JURASSIC PARK 3, and the later one) with a notebook in it to write in, and with a print-out of an older story.  I would usually write my stories in longhand, eventually type up what I had written, and then print it out.  I'd wait anywhere from a month to a year, then grab that printout and read through it, making notes and changes as I saw fit.  I'd incorporate those changes, and that would be my final draft.

You see, being an extra, besides paying so little it almost comes close to how little I make at my job in 2015, is all about sitting around, or standing around, or riding a shuttle, or waiting for a shuttle, or waiting to change into your wardrobe, or waiting for Makeup or Hair, or waiting for a vacant trailer to change out of your wardrobe in, or waiting to get signed in, or waiting to eat, or waiting to see if you're even needed that day, or waiting to get signed out.  In other words, it's hardly any downtime at all.

I used to get through a ton of book reading, and quite a bit of writing done while being a "background player," and I always dug that about the job.  But now, I have less sitting around time, and the internet is a constant attention harlot (which I realize is demeaning, but if it didn't want my attention, it wouldn't dress that way).  So my writing process in the twenty-teens is this: I write the first draft in longhand in the notebook, then I eventually (or never) get the notebook out and transcribe the story onto the computer (usually adding and changing little things there), and then comes the final draft: reading it aloud.

I find SOOOOOOOO many things wrong with my stories when I read them aloud.  And lately, I've tried to record the readings, so I'll have them for my podcast, or to put up for sale.  This process is unbelievably slow, and in my recent final draft of "Popcorn Movies," it probably resulted in, oh, about a thousand or so changes.  Only when I read it aloud do I realize I've used the same word too many times, or phrased things awkwardly, or repeated the same information in two different sections, or changed a character's name from Joanne to Glynis.  And, as I've said, beyond it helping my story suck a little less, it creates an audio file I can actually do something with.

It works for me ("Popcorn Movies," for good or ill, is a heck of a lot better after all those changes).  And that's how I'm going to play it from now on.

Until I don't.  You know me.

So, looking at my word count machine, I'm at:

My math puts that at eighty-two percent finished.  I'd say, I'll be done by about Dry Run Update 15.  Or, if I decide to REALLY work, I could be done sooner.  Except I don't want it to be a drudgery, so I won't.  Sorry.

Rish Outfield, Nearly Done

*You think that's effed-up, I actually named my pillow when I was a boy.  And talked to it.  And asked it to the prom.  It had other plans that night, though.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rish's Story "Miss Fortune" in the Masters of the Macabre Contest

This is five years in a row I've entered the Masters of the Macabre contest over at  I find it hard to believe I've been doing it that long (and that I've lost every one), but the second you win, the contest is closed to you, and this may be my year.


This year was something a little different (although for me, not at all).  They wanted us to write an audio drama for the 2015 contest, and to have at least two different voices participating.  I have a bit of experience, when it comes to putting together audio with more than one voice in it, if not in writing audio drama, but I worked hard on it anyway.  Ultimately, I thought I was doing alright to make it to the final round of the contest, since this year, only the four stories that got the most votes would actually be played on the show, but the host/webmaster told me there were only four entries this time, so . . . *

I like this writing contest.  As I say every year, they give you certain elements you have to use in your story, so it produces a tale I would never have told without their help.

Briefly, let's look at the five entries I've done for the show.

2011.  "Friends In Paradise."  This was a fairly awful little story, due mostly to me having to fit "luau" and "hang-gliding" in the same damned story.  It didn't end up being at all scary or amusing, though I still like the part where the dad was talking about his daughter's beautiful legs.  I enlisted my niece to voice the main character, which was probably unusual for the contest judges, at least back then.

2012.  "The Scottish Scene."  This story I'm much, much happier with.  I had to write about the Curse of MacBeth, so I wrote about three teenage girls who plan to read the Three Witches scene in the play.  I got Renee Chambliss to voice all three girls, which again, elevated the story, and though she initially voiced the witch for me as well, I ended up using my own voice there, because her voice always sounds too young and lovely to pull that off.  Ironic, considering she's a Level Three Mistress of the Dark Arts.

2013.  "White House Tour."  I had to do the most research on this piece, since they wanted me to write a ghost story set in the White House.  I believe I got my niece to voice the ghost in this one, but this turned out even less scary than the first story, which is probably not what a website called "Horror Addicts" looks forward to.  This isn't a great story, but it's pretty harmless.  If there was a podcast out there that did genre stories intended for children, I'd certainly send this their way.

2014.  "Lighthouse View/Creature Feature."  Last year's story had to be about a monster and take place at a lighthouse.  It's pretty alright, I think, but also had the disadvantage of being not at all scary.  I didn't like the title, so I changed it to "Creature Feature" when the rights reverted to me.  I once again got Renee Chambliss to voice the main character, so that sounds good, at least.

2015.  "Miss Fortune."  So, this is an audio drama, which turned out to be EXTRAORDINARILY easy to write, more so than any story . . . ever?  Seriously, it took about as much effort as writing "Sleepless Afternoon" or one of the annual barbecue sketches I do on the Dunesteef.  Of course, the editing took a little longer, and I layered the hell out of this thing, with sound effects, homemade foley, music, and both Renee Chambliss' AND my niece's voices.

The theme this year was . . . hmmm, I can't remember exactly.  I know we were all given a tarot card from the Major Arcana that had to be worked into the story, and we were all given a monster the story would feature/be about.  I got a double-whammy in that I know nothing about the Tarot (including "The Hermit," which was the card I got) and just as much about "The Rawhead," which was my monster.

The Rawhead can be one of two things: in British folklore, he was a kind of bogeyman, who would snatch up disobedient children if they, say, forgot to curtsy to the upper class, or made eye contact with an unmarried member of the opposite sex without a proper chaperon, or ended a sentence with a preposition.  In America (particularly the Deep South), the Raw Head and Bloody Bones, as they call it, is a legendary monster made up of pig remains that stalks the night, or perhaps vegetarian restaurants.

Of the five stories I've done for this contest, this was both the most fun to produce, and the one I'm happiest with.  Sure, it may not be up to Horror Addicts's standards, but it's up to mine.  Plus, it was only allowed to be ten minutes long, and the first draft clocked in at 10:14.  So that's pretty darn successful, in my book.

Here be yon link:

You can go to their website and listen to the entries, and if you like mine best, feel free to vote for it.  If not, there's always next year.  It'll be fun to see how long I can pretend my now-teenaged niece can pass for a ten year old girl (or boy, in the case of "White House Tour").

Rish Outfield, Bator of the Macabre

P.S. I didn't know what to call this year's story.  I made a list of potential titles, as I am wont to do, and some of those included "Wrong Turn," "After the Festival," "Raw Deal" and "Raw Head Festival," none of which worked.  I did try, "Raw Head and the Misfortune," which I believe is the name of the band that sings that song that goes "Don't listen to a word I say, Because the truth may vary, This ship will carry our bodies safe to shore," which was played into the ground recently, and is still heard at least once a day at my work.

"Raw Deal" is the best of those, but it was also a Schwarzenegger film, so . . . no.  Finally, I thought of a little tale Big Anklevich wrote once called "Unfortunate," and thought that would be an appropriate title for mine.  I tried, briefly, calling it "Misfortune Teller," which is maybe the worst title ever conceived, but then thought I'd split "Misfortune" into two words, and you know, I'm pleased as a pig in slop with that.  Good day, sir.

*I'm reminded of a conversation the other day at work.  One of my supervisors was talking about how many hours I was scheduled this upcoming week, and I said, "Guess I'm one of the reliable ones, huh?"  To which she said, "Well, unlike the others, you aren't able to find anything better, so . . ."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dry Run: Update 11

Damnation, why am I not through with this yet?

One of my problems--yeah, yeah, one of many--is that I cannot focus on one single thing and exclude all else until that one task is done.  I am so easily distracted that, believe it or not, this is the second paragraph of this post and already the third time I've worked on it.*

Before this post ever sees the light of day, I will have posted a Rish Outcast called "Chasing Pavements."  It is a really good example of this, as I recorded it not too long ago, to be a quick and easy story-free episode of my solo podcast, and finished the episode, only to remember later what the whole point of the episode was supposed to be.  So, I picked up my recorder again, and recorded the second half, telling myself I would post it the next day, so it wasn't too outdated, or something.

A month and a half later, it still isn't posted.

This story--"Into the Furnace"--got interrupted by another story I got it into my head to tell, also inspired by my solo podcast.  I was recording during my Monday night drive to meet Big, and came up with--what I considered to be--a hilariously stupid idea for a story.  There was a holiday and I had to work, and since there was little to do, I sat down and started that story, thinking I could have it finished during that one shift and I could keep working on my Dry Run tale.

But I didn't finish it, and because it was so close, I spent my writing time working on that, and then, forgetting about that, went on to other projects (like That Gets My Goat episodes we recorded weeks ago).  But the whole point of that story was to run it on my podcast, so I had to sit down and record it, despite being in the middle of TWO audiobook projects, one of them closing in on a year overdue.

Now that story is recorded, and I got it in my head to self-publish it, maybe for free (which is a post all on its own, and maybe I've already posted about it), since it's done and just sitting there.  Which means I need episode art for it.  So I requested some.  But it looked like it was gonna be a while, so I made some myself.  And now THAT sits.

So, why did I interrupt "Into the Furnace" for that, if nobody ever even saw it?


Anyway, I'm happy to post the following:

The number jumped up because I was able to incorporate the writing I did on my laptop (and meant to do so in my last post), which suddenly makes me 75% finished with my tale.  My tale of woe.

And that's pretty durn good.

Rish Outfield, Real Estate Novelist Who Never Had Time For A Wife

*I ended up cutting part of it out and making it its own post, then bumped this one to number eleven.