Between Something And Nothing

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You’ll see some changes to this space as weeks progress. I learned from my BlogHer trip that I must more organized and focused in what posts here so you can know what to expect and grow along with the content. My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog will be a platform for my serialized fiction, subsequent published books, and other writing. This has always been a writing blog by a writer who likes to write.

Lefty Pop, aka http://www.leftypop.com or @lefty_pop or http://www.facebook.com/leftypop will be the destination for my opinions, politics, and pop culture material. My partner, Linda Roy aka @modmomelleroy of http://www.elleroywashere.com and I are planning some changes there that will feature more video and podcast blogging. We’re very excited about all of this.

I will write about music here, because a) that’s my gimmick b) you can’t stop me.

I’ve neglected my serialized short story, Light Of Day, about Silas and Olive, two 19-year-old lovers on the run in 1989 Florida. It’s coming to an end, sometime in the next two to three months.  So, let’s get on with it. Here’s a new story episode, no prompts or tie ins, just a several hundreds words of the inevitable confrontation.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/100-word-song-best-day-of-my-life/

There was a party of four riding in the Cutlass as Silas drove from The Jade strip club to Finn Brothers Garage. Zola and Olive shared the backseat as Olive changed clothes and chattered about her shift as a waitress among nude dancers and grabby men. Silas drove while a stark disquiet rode shotgun. As he pulled the car to a stop in an alley between the garage, Olive blurted.

“What the hell did you tell him, Zola? He hasn’t looked at me once since I got in the car.”

Silas parked, took the keys from the ignition, and tossed them over his right shoulder. Without turning around he delivered the plan.

“I’m going inside and getting the money. Zola, if they don’t have the two thousand you said they’d have, I’m taking whatever I can get. If something happens, let Olive drive, she knows how jacked up the brakes are on this car. If, I’m not out in five minutes, get the hell out of here.”

He walked past the passenger side window as Olive rolled it down and stuck her head out.

“Honey, I love you, forever, okay?”

The pacing of her words were typical Olive, Silas thought to himself. Quick, deliberate, and with emphasis on forever and okay. Everything he’s learned about her over the past few hours from Zola told him to not answer, keep walking, and perhaps, not come back. He gave in, one more time.

“I love you too, Liv. He felt tears well, so he squeezed his eyes shut and pivoted. By the time he got to the window, Olive was smiling. He leaned in and kissed her, tasting liquor, lipstick, and lies. He put his left hand in the waist of his blue jeans and adjusted the gun so he could draw if necessary.

He walked into the auto body shop, let the metal door slam shut, then looked over the empty bays as the echoes died down. Both Finn Brothers and their cousin, Kenny, stood thirty feet in front of him. None of them were holding money.

Here’s The Ocean Blue with their alternative 1989 hit, Between Something And Nothing.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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You Get What You Give, Blogher Part 2

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Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/save-me-san-francisco-blogher-part-I/

Being around hundreds of others who do do what you do, the mantra “blogging is hard” gets reinforced and validated. I heard stories just like mine, mostly of a different gender, since I was one of few dudes at BlogHer.

“I write in line to pick up my kids.”

“I blog late at night after everyone has been asleep for hours.”

“I’ve done my best work on cocktail napkins while out at dinner with my significant other.”

I also met many people who do more than detail personal diaries of their kids’ adventures growing up.

Friday, day 2 of BlogHer, was my personal favorite as I learned the most about the conference and myself. This sounds ridiculously coy, but I had no clue of my audience. Sure, I’ve connected, online, with thousands of people, sold some books, and gotten positive feedback on the politics and pop culture site I tri-launched in January 2014, http://www.leftypop.com , but it’s hard to believe numbers and messages on a screen. By the end of breakfast, I’d met, face to face, so many people who’ve read this space and my other one; messaged, retweeted, shared, liked, favorite and emailed. Hugging and talking to people I’ve admired for years was overwhelming. Meeting people larger than their 200 x 200 avatars was a great feeling. I didn’t mind the worst breakfast burrito ever because the connections and conversations were unique and satisfying.

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This experience was supported by the morning keynote speaker, Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. Her meteoric rise to internet fame was told brilliantly by her recollection of her first BlogHer, six years ago, meeting Dooce, arguably the web’s first celebrity blogger, Heather Armstrong. Lawson talked about “geeking out”, then pledging to write her own story and become successful. Lawson is a hero to many in the blogging community because of her plain-spokeness and championing of mental illness. I got close to her, about 15 feet, but several others were having their own moment with the star. Maybe I was witnessing the next Bloggess, hugging and complimenting their inspiration near the restrooms. It was like watching a real-life Behind The Music but with slightly less drugs and nudity. The Bloggess was the perfect role model for so many bloggers.

The first session I attended may have been the best and worth the entire trip. I sat in a panel discussion about book publishing with 4 successful authors including Kami Wycoff, whom I I’ve read and admired. My writing friend Rachel aka @rachelintheoc sat next to me and even helped me organize my own blog. She’s found a ton of success an a published author and her help will be invaluable.

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Over the past 4 years I’ve written 4 manuscripts, including an 83,000 novel that lurks in a zip file, and three 45,000 plus word novellas, publishing two, The Ballad Of Helene Troy and Soul To Body on amazon.com for kindle and lulu.com in paperback. Reviews were good but sales were not and I wondered it I was doing it all wrong or wasting my time altogether. No one handed me a book deal or assigned me an agent, but the advice on networking and writing process affirmed my belief in what I’m doing.

Keep Writing

Keep Trying

Keep Putting Yourself Out There

Keep Believing.

At the end of the class, I pulled out a lighter and started to sway. Not really, maybe.

I figured out that talent and hard work find an audience you nurture. I slipped so many business cards into well connected fingers, I’m convinced 1 or 2 didn’t end up picking turkey sandwich morsels of their teeth later during lunch.

The afternoon session on freelance writing had nothing to do with me personally, although my name is Lance and I write a lot for free. Four writers, two of which I follow on the Twitter, Jenn Pozner and Liz Henry, talked about putting a price on your work and getting paid for freelance. I’ve done a little of this and learned I’m doing it wrong. Their were a lot of shocked faces and shaking heads as the panel lectured us on how to earn money for our magic. Selling your words can feel gross when it’s not a book or an entire website you run. The class showed me how to get over it.

As day two came to a professional close, I felt more confidence that I had in a long time. I’m not doing anything wrong, but I know I can do it better. Blogging and professional writing is frustrating when you think it’s just friends, foes, families and fellow freaks occasionally checking you out. I learned it’s more than that. I need to give myself more credit. Blogging is hard but there’s another mantra, you get what you give, especially for those of us with the dreamer’s disease. I should’ve sang that at karaoke.

Part 3 tomorrow night; killer karaoke, years of friendship made real, being late to the party was a good thing and breaking glass.

wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Save Me San Francisco – BlogHer Part I

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When you spend most of your time in one kind of box wanting to get out, the empty feeling of containment can only be helped by breathing new air. The first thing I noticed getting off the plane in San Francisco was the continual breeze, the Bay Area current that symbolized the different kind of people that live there.

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When my wife. aka The Bobina, and I figured out we could navigate budget and schedule, a week before school starts for two of our three daughters, we signed up for BlogHer 2014, the tenth anniversary of a blogging conference that started in Northern California in 2005. Since I started blogging almost five years ago, I’ve become integrated into several communities and some of those people have attended and talked about BlogHer for years. I’ve been in a deep rut, writing, personally, especially on this space, but the successful launch of my other site, Lefty Pop aka @lefty_pop http://www.leftypop.com I co-own with Linda aka @modmomelleroy, meant I had an opportunity to really figure out what I’m doing and how to do it better.

After landing on Thursday, we rented a car and drove to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, becoming serious tourists, taking pictures with Alcatraz in the background.

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Despite locals telling us that it was unseasonably warm, about 80 degrees, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Bay breeze. In my hometown of Atlanta, summer days are characterized by a stifling hot temperature and air that feels like a scalding wet washcloth smacking you in the face when you walk outside.

We spent several hours walking, eating, shopping, and photographing. I’m never calm, but relaxation swept over me. The left coast gets mocked where I’m from but step one of getting out of the box and the rut was complete. I didn’t even care when we hit the fifth souvenir store. This felt more than a working weekend vacation. It was an intervention.

By the time we knew the way to San Jose, I was energized. We checked into the hotel and the conference, then planned our night, meeting more than a dozen amazing people I’d previously only known in 200 x 200 avatar settings on a computer screen. I didn’t even think about the general weirdness of it all. The quote of the weekend belonged to my writing friend Natalie Ricci aka @singingfool1224 of the blog The Cat Lady Sings who answered someone else saying they felt awkward meeting people, “hey, no one here was the prom queen, we’re all pretty awkward.”

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I wasn’t the prom king, either. Being dropped into an island of outcasts was refreshing, like the Bay breeze. I quickly realized that while I did fly west to figure out how to blog better, sell more books, and promote my politics and promote Lefty Pop, with the great double-barreled blast of San Francisco and San Jose, I was also saving myself from the piping hot, stale-aired wet washcloth of self-doubt that had me considering blogging suicide.

The much needed Save Lance intervention was just starting.

Part 2 tomorrow; featuring The Bloggess, book publishing secrets, business card bonanza, freelancing, tribes, and being late to the party.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Boys Don’t Cry

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Being a blogger, author, online journalist, and co-owner of the politics and pop culture website Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com, means I get attention from people who think they know me. Hate mail, or since so many of you tell me I use “love” and “hate” too much, polarizing people, let’s call it Disagreement Mail; is a thing in my life. Between this blog, Lefty Pop, the Twitter, Google + (don’t laugh, there are people on there, sort of) and The Book Of Face, I average about 25 to 35 pieces of Disagreement Mail a day. Recently, I got one from a “Facebook friend”. Let’s call him Stan.

“Your pandering to your female “fans” is getting (freaking) pathetic, don’t you think? We get it, you live with 4 women, they took your balls, and you love gays, and that stupid “war on women bull(crap)”. If you think MSNBC is going to come calling because you’re this put upon (crappy) liberal in the conservative South, then get the (freak) over yourself. You’re just being a (female cat). Be a man! That’s what women want, a man!”

I did some editing because my daughters read this space and we’re all smart enough to see Stan The Man’s world view, or Lance view. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this critique. Let’s go hip hop on Stan’s Disagreement Mail and break it down.

1) Pandering to female “fans”. Here’s a factoid about writing online. Females outnumber males 1 gazillion to 1. I suck at math but that’s a fair statistic. I know of maybe 12 guys who blog. Until a year ago, that number was 4, but I started networking. We’re planning a retreat where we’ll meet in an internet café and bang on Starbucks coffee cans and express our feelings. No, not really, that’ll never happen. There many more female bloggers than male. My demographics are identical to other guys’. I never set out to be the dude with a bunch of gals hanging around me, but ’tis my life. This is why I workout and go into an office for my real job away from writing. I get to at least say hello to other XY chromosomes. Also, fighting for equal rights for gay people and women is the decent, correct thing to do. I shouldn’t have to defend that, but I will, forever.

2) My balls. Living with a wife and 3 daughters means I compromise and sacrifice a lot. I find this an endearing quality of mine, because it makes my household run smoothly and my heart, full. My politics proudly lean left. The left is where compromise and sacrifice reside in today’s arena of ideas and political discourse. Whether you and Stan agree with me, so be it. I’m a lefty in a righty culture. Being too punk rock for the room is something I usually enjoy, because it means I’m not lock stepping with the Joneses, whom I can’t even keep up with, anyway.

3) Being a man. If, at the end of the day, my wife and 3 daughters see an example of someone who doesn’t knee-jerk respond to stress with violence, either verbally or physically, then I’m a real man. I ask my wife constantly, “are we okay?” Most of the time she says yes, but when she does say no, it has nothing to do with whether I’m being a rhymes with the watusi, it has to do with me being insensitive, bi-polar, hard to get along with and a cliché “dude” about hating shopping, not wanting to watch the Food Network and soap opera-like shows, and see her and my daughters try on clothes for an hour before we leave the house. Being a real man has more to do with love, care, and hope, not driving a truck with a gun rack and hanging metal nuts.

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There are a lot of Stans out there, perpetuating gender stereotypes out of fear, self-loathing or good old-fashioned, ha.., I mean disagreement. Whether you click on this page, Lefty Pop, or my media that are social, I wish you see someone just trying to figure out how to be a better person, notice I didn’t type “man”, and wanting to do so in a way that sets some sort of example for the next neurotic writer behind me.

I believe in progress. Many years ago, I listened to The Cure, alone, sometimes in tears, afraid of what my “real men” friends or family would think. Now, I can do so with an audience of thousands, mmmm, okay, hundreds, fine, dozens. Screw it, share this and let’s talk, we can make it hundreds, at least. Don’t make me cry.

Here’s The Cure.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – Dark Sunglasses

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I’m going to pack a lot into today’s post since I’m overwhelmed at work. The song is Chrissie Hynde’s Dark Sunglasses, chosen by my lefty pop aka @lefty_pop  from http://www.leftypop.com partner in crime, Linda @modmomelleroy of http://www.elleroywashere.com. It’s also matched up with my friend Velvet’s @velvetverbosity of http://www.velvetverbosity.com one word prompt of  “transistor”.

For my 100, we push the story along as Silas and Zola plan to meet back up with Olive after her first shift at the strip club in 1989 Florida.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/100-word-song-sing/

As the Cutlass took gas, Zola talked on a pay phone. Silas felt pain in his neck from lack of sleep and paranoid searching of anyone who knew of his sins.
Inside the station, a stand advertised transistor radios for thirteen dollars while another showed dark sunglasses for five.
He put one of each on the counter and handed the elderly female cashier his twenty.

Wearing the shades, he straightened the curled ear buds. Zola met him on the driver’s side.

“They found Bart’s body.”

Silas climbed across to the passenger’s seat.

“I need to hide while you drive.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 inspired words from Chrissie Hynde’s Dark Sunglasses. Use the green mr. linky button to link up and the media that social to advertise your magic post.

 

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – Sing

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Real life has been overwhelming lately. I just returned from vacation and like washing those smelly, wet towels and unpacking the inexplicable 8 key chains and 9 t-shirts that were purchased, I realized I hadn’t written anything, fictional, in almost a week. After tossing up a gargleblaster for Yeah Write in Monday and a reaction post to the Supreme Court mess yesterday, I was anxious to get back to the world of complex characters I can control.

Before we return to Silas, Olive and for now, Zola, I want to acknowledge this week’s song chooser the great Cyndi, aka C Lo. Cyn was one of the first people I ever met after starting this blog in early 2010. She’s a fellow lefty Christian and tattooed parent. Go see her. She’s smart and funny. She picked Sing by Travis. Y’all should love this one. Her entry this week is here: http://onthegroundblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/100-words-sing-by-travis.html

Now, on to my 100.

Last time: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/100-word-song-keeps-you-runnin/

Silas stared into the pond then crossed his legs and sighed.

Zola’s stretched out her legs and leaned back on her arms. The sun glimmered off her white skin. She pulled her shirt up, stopping an inch or so from her chest, exposing her stomach.
“Silas, there’s something going on today and you know what that is, right? Just let me tell you everything and then you can man up and decide what happens next.”
He closed his eyes and wished for something to go right. He gave in to her manipulation and said.
“Tell me everything. Go ahead. Sing.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog</

As always you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 inspired words from Cyndi's pick of Sing by Travis. Use the green Mr. Linky button to link up then employ the media that are social to share your 100 word magic with the world. Tell a friend or 50.

Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

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There’s a prayer I say every once in a while in hopes that my 3 daughters are listening as much as I’m asking for God to hear.

Please Lord, give these girls the strength to fight for their hearts as well as their bodies when I’m not around to protect them.

Earlier today the country I pledge allegiance, changed. It was conned like a little old lady with a pension and a smiling grifter in a thousand dollar suit and silver tongue of lies.

The thief was a lawsuit filed before the United States Supreme Court called Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and the victim was America.

You can read the result, from the point of view I hold, here.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/30/the-hobby-lobby-decision-is-bad-for-conservatives-and-religious-liberty.html

I write elsewhere, Lefty Pop aka @lefty_pop http://www.leftypop.com, so I’ll keep my commentary there, along with my amazing writer friends. For now, let’s focus on why it’s important to a man with 3 daughters.

I’m a Christian, I opened this with a prayer. It’s one of several I say every day. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and I ask for his Grace and my soul is saved. This is the same tenet Hobby Lobby says they hold. What happened today wasn’t godly and it certainly wasn’t just.

Decisions over the female body belong to that individual. My wife and I talk to our daughters about their bodies, their feelings and what it all means. They’re 18, almost 11, and almost 10 so the talks are varied and catered. The Court’s decision means that a company can take away the things I teach my own girls. So now an employer can hold power over their flesh and bone.

At the end of the day religion should unite, comfort, and lift. Now through company scam, faith is a weapon holding women captive. How do I tell my 18-year-old when she gets in her first job after college that offers her health care that she isn’t safe? By making her more empowered than ever, that’s how.

Some place that sells glue, poster board, glitter, and political lies shouldn’t have this much significance. I also can’t worry about other fathers who just don’t get it. Only family can offer the cover against coercion and deceit.

This is the revolution that has to take place. Not with pitchforks, protest, or physicality, but strength of ideas. An educational revolt against the bastards of anti-science and pseudo-religion.

Fathers of daughters join me, or watch your girls become victims of a society that only cares about itself.

Please Lord, grant me the perseverance to withstand my selfish frustration with those who trespass against me and my daughters minds and bodies.

I’m talking about a revolution, one where we rise up intellectually, and make this a better world before the fraud steals it all.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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