Adventures of your average every day writer!
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on March 5, 2016 at 6:10 PM|
Sooo, welcome to my page! I cleaned up a little bit. What do you think? You likey?
Great! I want to present an essay that I wrote a little while ago while sitting at the front desk of my day job. This is my inner monologue. Thank goodness I don't speak everything that crosses my mind.
And so, this is my essay entitled: "IDGAF"
“Did you know you can trade in your Ipad for a new one if the battery runs out?”
I looked up from my computer screen. This woman, who I’d been attempting to check out for the last five or so minutes, looked at me over her checkbook. Her beady, narrow eyes were boring holes into my soul through the modified coke bottles on her face.
“I’m sorry?” I say.
“Your IPad. Like, if the battery runs out, you can replace it for 99 dollars. See, my last one ran out, so I took it back to the IPad store and they said they don’t open them up. But they replaced it for 99 dollars. Isn’t that awesome? This is a 700 dollar IPad.”
She smiles as if she’s just performed a magic trick.
I am trying to check her out. You see, we are not sitting on a porch somewhere drinking a beer. We are not sharing stories over a game of chess or spades or even pinochle. This woman is not my friend. She’s not even my acquaintance. She is standing at the front desk of my place of employment and she is paying the copay for her father, who has been seen as a patient there today.
So. She’s not even a patient.
And no one has said anything about an IPad prior to this outburst.
I stare at her blankly. I’m not in the habit of smiling when I have nothing to smile about, but I manage to force a smile and nod.
“That’s nice,” I say.
In reality, what I mean to say is: “I’m so sorry, but I really don’t give a fuck. I’m sure I look like someone who gives fucks out on a daily basis and based on that, I’m sure you thought I might have some to spare. I don’t, though. Sorry.”
She goes on. Now I have to hear about her boyfriend. Oops, she wrote a check from the wrong checkbook. That one’s Margie’s, her father’s girlfriend, you see. Boy, would that have been a mistake, because she would have seen that she had 25 dollars missing and ooh-ho-ho.
Still staring, I force a smile and laugh.
What I want to say is: “I don’t care. I really do not care at all. All I want is to check your father out so that I can get to the next patient. I do not give two fucks on the moon about your checkbook, or Margie’s checkbook, or your boyfriend or the fact that your father needed his diaper changed in the bathroom before he’s seen and you highly recommend the diaper genie for that sort of thing…”
I don’t give three fucks on Sunday. I don’t give three hundred Spartan fucks through the rolling desert. I do not give a sweet Texas Barbecue fuck at a cattle range. See, I did not ask why you needed to take your dad straight to the bathroom when you came in. I did not ask about your boyfriend or your IPad or your checkbook. Had I asked, I might’ve given a fuck. But I didn’t ask. That should have been your first clue.
Plainly put, I do not give a fuuuuucccckkkk.
Thus is the life in the world of customer service – in any degree. You sit at the front desk with all the Polite 101 home training that you were brought up with and you expect that there is a reason why you were taught not to express yourself in its true, raw form. You imagine your parental figures saying that “we do not say such things in mixed company” and you take that to heart. In a civilized world, we act as thus. When the fuck vault is empty for the day, we must present the appearance of having a plethora to give. Thus is thine lesson in proper customer service.
So, I smile. I smile and I nod and I give the appearance of giving a fuck as I have been taught to do by my mother and my mother’s mother. There I sit in front of my computer, smiling my forced smile as she hands me the right check and she and her father leave.
One day, when I’ve finally lost all my marbles, I will probably end up saying all these things to some poor unsuspecting person. Until then, I must maintain good customer service as best I can. Forced smile, blank stare, my mantra on repeat until the day when I do actually snap and all my training will indeed be for naught.
Sorry, no fucks here to give. Thanks for the boring story, but you should know…I don’t give a fuck.
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on December 27, 2015 at 12:30 AM|
I recently decided to have lunch at this little diner around the corner from me. It's Sunday and once again, I have forgotten that in the city of Ferndale, MI, brunch is an institution.
So needless to say it was really crowded. Like Really crowded. Like...
This is distressful to me, you see. I really like their salmon burger and I like to sit at the bar and have my salmon burger and cold cider in peace. As a result when it comes to these situations, I usually bring a book or dive into my phone to give off the impression that I am not available.
On this particular day, I was left relatively alone...which is good.
It is said that a writer has to enjoy being alone for long periods. I guess I fit that mold quite well. I've always liked being alone. When I'm alone, I can think. I'm free to work within the confines of my own mind.
Of course, there's a catch to that...since the confines of my mind tend to be a little...well...
But this is the curse of a creative mind. When all is quiet, the stories start telling themselves. In my mind, The Pride Books 2-7 are already written. (Yes, there will be more, I haven't forgotten).
I don't, however, want to be known as a serial writer. So, other stories are pushing their way to the forefront in order to get my attention. It's like a mob in my head most days.
I think other writers can relate. If I had the chance to write more, I would, just to relieve some of the pressure of my overactive imagination.
If the truth be told, I like having a brain that's always on that way. When I was little, it was enough for me to daydream. Daydreaming was like having HBO or Showtime running all the time. Many of my first stories came out of those daydreams.
Those are my actual first stories, by the way. Clearly, I wasn't an artist.
So, being alone doesn't bother me. Sure I get lonely sometimes, but when you have lions that turn into men roaming around and charismatic demons offering the world on a silver platter for a piece of a soul and families of gargoyles and aliens searching for a little piece of humanity, you never really get bored. The muse that lives in my heart colors my world and for that I am eternally grateful.
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on September 23, 2015 at 8:30 PM|
I am interrupting this blog for shameless promotion to bring you my own personal PSA about Salespeople.
Yes, salespeople. First, though, a little disclaimer.
To the hard working people who are just doing their jobs: I realize that in sales, sometimes you are required to do or say some things to people that you, yourself, would not normally say to sell the thing that you really feel I must have. You, call center worker offering me a bundle for twenty dollars more (or even less). You, the kindly woman going door to door selling candy for the disabled. And you, the third suited gentleman to show up at my door with the same product that two of your people showed up with this week. This blog is not directed towards you as I have probably never been rude to any of you - and if I was, sorry. You probably caught me on a bad day.
This blog is for the overachievers. The salespeople that take their job way too seriously and as a result have made it so that I now have to answer my door on a Sunday with a baseball bat.
Case in point: A salesperson came up to me while I was at work and the following exchange occurred.
Salesguy: "Hi. I was hoping I could speak to Dr. Blahblah? I'm from Tomcast and I wanted to verify something on the phone about his account."
Me: "The doctor isn't here right now, actually."
Salesguy: "Well, is there any way I can come back and speak to him?"
Me: "Sorry, but he doesn't really see sales reps. If you want, you can leave your info--"
Salesguy: "Well, when does he come back? I'd really like to come back and talk to him."
Me: "I understand, but he's not in right now and he doesn't see reps anyway."
Salesguy: "I just want to talk to him for a few minutes, though."
Me: "And I told you, he doesn't see reps."
Salesguy: "Okay. When does he come in?"
Me: "He's here two Mondays a month. That why he doesn't see reps."
Salesguy: "But I'll only be a minute and I can help him save on his Tomcast bill."
It's about here that I'm starting to get pissed. So, I'm looking for a fast end to his conversation before I get angry and end up saying something I shouldn't be saying at work.
So I say: "Listen, you seem like a nice enough guy, but you're not worth my job, so I'm sorry. He won't see you."
Salesguy: "Come on, you won't lose your job if I just talk to him."
Me: "Oh? You work here?"
Salesguy pauses for a second as I imagine he can see the mood has clearly shifted. You would think his instincts would be telling him: "Danger, danger, Will Robinson!" Well, folks if the red light went off in his head, he clearly decided to plow on anyway.
Salesguy: "Well, no."
Me: "Then how can you tell me if I'll lose my job or not?"
Salesguy: "Listen, I just want to talk to him. I'm just gonna keep coming back until you let me in."
At this point I just glare at him for a moment as all the possibilities of this guys personal life roll through my mind. Does he do this to his girlfriend? Like: "Come on, let's go out to dinner. Please? Please? PLEASE? I'll just keep asking until you say yes!"
Me: "Okay, look, I don't want to argue with you and you're starting to make me angry."
Salesguy: "How am I arguing with you? I'm just asking if I can see Dr. Blahblah."
Me: "Okay, I say no and you keep going and you're not arguing with me?"
Salesguy: "The doctor doesn't want to take advantage of these deals--?"
Me: "I've said no and you're still going. No means no, sir."
Me: "No means no."
Salesguy: "Fine, I'll contact him another way." He leaves.
Ahem. Here what we've learned from that little exchange. If his entire mission was to get me to talk to the owner and therefore score a sale, not only did he fail in said mission, but he made it so that if he or anyone from his company shows their faces around there anytime soon, he'll be shut down before word one. I would say he failed spectacularly.
So, this message is for every Salesguy that believes that forcing your product or service on a person is the best way to go. No means no. Even if we look like we might agree in the middle of the conversation and we say no. Even if you buy us donuts. Even if we seem like we're "that kind of customer". Even if you've sold something to us before. No means no and once you hear no, you need to stop immediately. Continuing on could result in swearing, bodily injury, or harassment charges. This goes for the trainers as well...maybe especially the trainers.
If I can impart a little advice? Has it ever occurred to you that being polite might work instead? Believe it or not, kindness goes a lot farther than date-rapey techniques. Maybe I'm not interested now, but if you were to, say, leave your info and politely thank me for my time, I might be inclined to call you later. Trust me. That works a lot better than harassment.
So take my advice. Please. It might save someone's self esteem or keep them out of the hospital...or jail.
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 29, 2015 at 2:55 PM|
Hi There! I decided to greet everybody with a little introduction to my book - The Pride: Sacrifice - complete with an excerpt from the book.
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 23, 2015 at 1:50 AM|
The storm clouds gather at the building's peak. A rumble echos against the stone walls and streaks of lightning shoot across the sky. I look down at my creation. Months and months of hard work finally its final stages. The shape that I have created shall move forward into the world and into history.
I press the button. The sky cracks open to herald its arrival. I laugh. Ripples of uncontrollable laughter well up and explode out of my body. I fall into hysteria as the internet lights up, spreading my words through cyberspace. I scream, words coming forth in a mad shriek.
Okay, okay, so that was a little dramatic. But how exciting! The book is finally out!
The final proof came in and the book finally looks like I wanted to - well, 97 percent of what I wanted it to look like anyway. The point is - It's here!
So, yeah, that thing I've been talking about for a while now is finally on the market. Now. Now comes the hard part.
The hard part is marketing, of course. How do I convince you, my dear and only friends, that my book is the best book that has ever been in the history of the world? Surely if you've come this far, you don't need all that much convincing.
So, this next part is just for the newbies. The people who liked my Facebook page with a "Well, this looks interesting" thought in mind. Gather round!
The Pride: Sacrifice! The new novel from author Ophelia Crane has just dropped today! For only 12.95 you can be thrilled by the exciting adventures Saro and Mainor - Princes of the jungle!
The tale follows the maneaters of Tsavo and their mission to protect their hunting grounds from The Great Iron Snake as it rips through the jungle, destroying the land and its inhabitants!
Don't miss this exciting first installment in The Pride series! Don't miss the thrills! The chills! The explosions! Oh, the humanity!
The book has been herald as the greatest work of this generation! The words just jump out at you and dance all over your living room floor, then run outside and invite all your neighbors over for a party!
But that's not all! If you buy this book today, world peace will be declared all over the planet! A virtual utopia will spring up from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean and we will all share a coke and sing in harmony!
It is the greatest book of all time! But don't take my word for it! Neil Gaiman might've said: "I tried reading it, but my mind was blown! Literally! I'm still picking up bits of brain matter in my rug! It's that good!" And I heard President Obama calls it: "A triumph for mankind! We can forget about going to Mars! The Pride: Sacrifice has reached the pinnacle of all works for humanity!" Stephen King kind of said: "After reading Ms. Crane's novel, I said 'That's it. I don't have the will to write anymore. I'm going back into retirement.'"
So buy it! Discover what is taking the world by storm! It is The Greatest Book in All of Human History!
The Pride: Sacrifice. Available now!
Thank you! Thank you!
Yeah, so okay, maybe some of that wasn't true - but buy the book anyway! It's still pretty awesome!
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 15, 2015 at 4:50 PM|
So, guess what? Guess what? GUESS WHAT?
I got the proof for my book!
The proof! You know, the demo copy of the glorious book that I slaved over to bring into this fair world for you, my dear friends, to read and enjoy? My Proof!
That's the good news! And it looks okay! Well...you know...okay. All right, let's just say there are some tweaks to be had. Tweak number one:
While this looks pretty good, I have to admit, I noticed that the placement of the title is too high. With the stretched out looking cover, it makes the entire book looks like it was originally supposed to be the size of an ant.
So, fix the heading on the cover. Check. Tweak number two:
Can you tell what this book is about by reading it? Yeah, neither can I. That's not lighting folks. The blurb is completely blended into the background. It's dreadful.
But this isn't a terrible thing. These are easy fixes. So I redid it and the second proof is on its way to me in about a week and some change. We have to focus on the positives, folks.
Like the fact that the inside looks like I wanted it to look. Like the ebook that I designed isn't so bad either. Like my mom's beautiful drawing will be included in the inside cover as well.
So, yeah. One more go with the proof and this time, we'll have something awesome to share.
By the way, if you have a Facebook account, make sure you stop by and show some love by liking my page! See you later, folks!
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 5, 2015 at 7:35 PM|
Well, hello world!
Three days after my little announcement, I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have been a touch ambitious in my wanting to release this book before the week is out. One might say I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew, even.
I’ve got everything I need. Book’s finished and edited. Inside pictures and structure have been chosen…mostly. And I’ve selected my cover art…maybe. I dunno.
Nobody told me that creating a book was so dang hard! Not that I thought it would be easy, but dammit, so far everything I thought would just fall into place is a filthen,flarnin struggle!
So, yeah. I asked my mother to draw the cover art a few months back. Despite the fact that it’s taken a few months for her to come up with something, we’ve managed to come to the conclusion that her work would be much better as the inside art to my books. The Pride in particular is supposed to be a series, so this will give her plenty of ammo as time goes on.
Of course, now that I have said pictures, the publisher I’m going with is having issues with them. I upload them. They say: “This picture is low quality. Try again.”
Okay, so I take the picture directly from my camera and upload them. They say: “This picture is low quality. Try again.”
Okay, so I take the drawing and scan it directly into my computer, check the quality (300 dpi resolution, thankyouverymuch) and upload them. They say: “This picture is low quality. Try again.”
Oh, it gets better. So I just say screw it and move on to the cover art. I design my picture. It looks pretty good and I upload it. It’s too big. Way too big. Like it doesn’t even look like my picture anymore.
So, I have to resize, but the seven programs I have for resizing photos don’t seem to know what I’m talking about. It’s like I’m working with programs from another country or something.
I had to step away from it for a night. After I did, I decided to bend instead of breaking. That is, I redesigned my cover art to fit within the boundaries of my publiser's programming. The result?
That brings me to the good news. I was able to complete the final designs for my book.
The bad news is, I now have to wait for the proof to arrive in the mail...which means I have to push back my release date.
But hopefully only for about a week.
Stay tuned for a new announcement date folks!
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 1, 2015 at 1:50 PM|
So, I’ll bet you all were wondering “Whatever happened to that one chick? You know, the one with the lion book?” My website appears to have gone cold, I’ve posted very little on the subject in the last few months. Well…
When last I left you all, I was going to give up on self-publishing. I’d thrown my proverbial towel into the ring on the whole subject. After all, I’m just as good a writer as all those big fish in the pond. Why couldn’t I do the traditional route? If I sent out enough queries, somebody would bite eventually because I am the shit, right?
A side note - a query is a letter to a publisher or agent telling them why your book is amazing. It’s an encouragement to all the big timers to jump on board the “Ophelia Crane” train as it were. Not that you asked or anything but...
So, why not go traditional? Well, I don’t have anything against it. I have tried the road before and I firmly believe that if one keeps knocking on doors, eventually someone will open the one you want. That being said, I was fully prepared to run the gamut once more for my art.
Only as I looked at the pages of my novel I realized what that would mean. It would mean giving away some of my control. In some cases, that can be a good thing. A lot of times the editors, publishers, what have you, know best in terms of what would make a good novel. But in all cases their main goal is to sell, sell, sell. Even if that means sacrificing the very thing you worked so hard to create. I mean, I’m all about killing my darlings, but I’m not trying to hack away my integrity with it.
So, I asked myself, how much would I be willing to hack away for “The Pride” to be published? How much integrity of this story would I be willing to give up to the Gods of Fame and Wealth? The answer was a resounding “NONE”. I just couldn’t bring myself to hand over my story only for it to become something I never intended. Not for any price. I say thee NAY!
What I’m getting at, dear friends, is that I am going to release my novel in...wait for it...one week from today! That's right, August 8th! I am going to market it to the best of my capability. Most importantly, I’m going to do my damnedest to convince you, oh dearest friends and compatriots, that this story is worth your time. This story in its entirety is worth your beloved eyes and imaginations and this story is how I will continue to capture the nights all over the world and bring them to you. If I make a million, yay! If not, then I will write on, a little wiser and with a little more knowledge. But nothing will be sacrificed that doesn’t need to be. I will kill my darlings only when necessary and never for the greater good of book sales.
Here’s hoping it all works out and here’s hoping you’re all still reading.
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on October 1, 2014 at 7:25 PM|
After much deliberation and soul searching, I've decided that self publishing is not for me at this time. Sorry, Self Publishing. It's not you. It's me.
Now we can blame it on not enough resources, or the failure of the crowdfunding campaign, but truly what it comes down to is that, clearly, at this point in time in my life, I am not ready to drive on my own.
I'm far from bailing completely however. I've decided to give my creation up to the editor gods in lieu of better opportunities in the future...
In plain English, I'm going to seek out literary agents and publish traditionally...well, give it a shot anyway.
I've avoided it because...well...I'm not too cool with the idea of an editor who doesn't share my vision to come in and take apart my work and turn it into what I had not intended. You see, my writing is a piece of my soul and...well...the idea of facing rewrites are painful...really painful.
But, face them I shall. I wasn't blessed with this gift for nothing. So, with that being said, I'm taking the plunge. Wish me luck!
|Posted by Lokispark Publications on August 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM|
Okay, let's start with the bad news.
Sadly, I did not raise enough money in time for my crowdfunding campaign. It's truly a sad, sad day.
But I've dried my tears and I'm ready to move forward. "The Pride: Sacrifice" will go on as scheduled...sort of. It's just going to take a little longer than originally planned.
Okay, not that long. The Pride: Sacrifice will make its way into the world. It's just going to be a little tougher. I'm up for it, though. I always knew bringing my book-baby into the world would be tough. Labor is never easy.
And I am! Party on! In the meantime, I'm working on other works, so stay tuned! There is so much more to come.