I Am Writing

The following is what I expect my WordPress experience to be every time I post something.

*walks on stage to a silent crowd*

“So…ah…”
mag7coburnmcqueen.gif

END

To my surprise, my expectations have been wildly exceeded. Thanks for that.

Since day one, I’ve made a conscious effort to keep from putting out any “throw away” posts. I understand the utility of such posts, but I’ve elected to keep things real so that when you lovely ladies and classy gents click on a post of mine, you can always expect something substantial (The Jesting Parables have not quite met my standard of substance, but they are remnants of me attempting to find my footing blog-wise. You won’t catch me posting another).

With that, I figure it’s perfectly fair to say I’m holding off on sharing another planned post in the interest of working on my novel. Given that this is my blog, everything is fair by definition, but you know how I feel about technicality (see last week’s hummus analogy in my post about Violence) [<—probably the last time I will ever use those words in that order].

My point is I’m writing. I’m writing hard. I wrote 5 hours on a plane yesterday. If I could have, I would have written 5 hours on a train too, and 5 hours more in Spain, and 5 more in the rain, and 5 more still in a crane (the construction device, not the bird. That would be weird). I’m enjoying myself immensely. It’s challenging, but it’s a joy. With the holidays here, I figure y’all are busy regardless. I’ll spare you a cerebral post and leave it at that: I am writing.

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

(‘featured image’ Magnificent Seven art by Renato Casaro)

Question and Answer with J.J. Azar (#1)

Boy, do I love referring to myself in the third person! (Honestly, it’s a struggle titling these blasted posts. This is the best I could come up with).

Anyways, you asked, I answered! In celebration of reaching 100 Followers(!), I gathered a bunch of your questions and answered them in video form. Thank God I didn’t answer them via text. The transcribed wiseassery would come across as far too pretentious without a goofy face attached to the words.

I did my best to keep the video as short as I could (5 quick minutes), well aware that you and I typically hop onto WordPress to read, not to watch videos. I had a blast making this though! If you have any thoughts about the video (or would like to compliment the fine candles behind me), drop a thought in the comments! I hope you enjoy. (No, really. I dressed up in a suit and everything. I went all out on this. LOVE IT, I TELL YOU!)

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

100 Followers! + Q/A Announcement!

HELLO, lovely ladies and classy gents! I woke up this morning to find a fat 100 plastered on the side of the blog. This can only mean one thing: 100 people accidentally subscribed to me. To those who tripped and fell onto their keyboards with enough ferocity to complete such a complex action, thank you!

In seriousness, I am deeply grateful for your follow, and it’s not for the number’s sake. Sure, it’s nice seeing my follower count climb (and make no mistake, 100 is a good-looking, classy number), but from the start, this endeavor of mine has been about supplementing my writing journey with interaction. I’m in this thing for the WordPress bell at the top-right of the interface. Since joining WordPress, I’ve found a whole bunch of impressive blogs full of substantial content. I’ve conversed with bloggers with diverse backgrounds, from diverse places, and with diverse interests. I’ve even exchanged some thoughts with readers who don’t blog. That’s cool too! I look forward to carrying on the dialogue. To all who have liked, commented, or otherwise exchanged a word with me, THANK YOU for making my blogging experience all the more satisfying.

Before I get to my Q/A announcement, I’d like to highlight what I consider to be my Top 5 favorite posts thus far in case you missed them. In no particular order and paired with complementary descriptions, here they are:

5 Books and the Lessons They Taught Me About Writing (like a refreshing Coca-Cola)

For Writers: 5 Reasons Why Consuming While Creating is Dangerous (like a bowl of nails without milk *shoutout to Spongebob*)

Mom, Thanks for Teaching Me How to Read (like hot chocolate)

November Writing Progress Update (like hot tea because tea is made with hot water)

A Brief Excerpt From My Novel-in-the-Works (like iced tea. Something refreshing)

SO!

Q/A. Question and answer. I’m having one. I know, I know, EVERYONE does Q/As. But I’m gonna make sure I put on a good one. Rumor has it that I may answer your questions in video form, but rumor is fleeting, so who really knows?…

Here’s the part where I pass the microphone to you. *passes microphone* Ask me some questions! Everything is fair game. About me, about the blog, about poultry…I’M OPEN TO ANYTHING! The less conventional the better! Of course, you can be vanilla if you’d like. That’s cool too. Whether it’s silly or not, if there’s anything you’d like to know, I’d be happy to tackle your questions. Drop them in the comments below and I will compile them to be answered in a post in the near future. I’m looking forward to seeing what whimsical questions you well-dressed people will cook up.

Ladies and gents, thank you once again. You truly are a classy bunch. Don’t ever forget it.

~J.J. Azar

You Choose: Which Story Excerpt Should I Share?

Ahoy, lovely ladies and classy gents! I hope all is well. If you’ve read my November Writing Update, you know that I’m working on my novel at full-capacity. Because I’m in story-writing mode, I figure there is no better time to share with you a piece of what I’m working on. On Friday, I will extend to you a short (2-3 page) excerpt from my novel-in-the-works so you could get a taste of what I’ve been up to! Here’s the catch! 

You (yes, you!) get to decide which excerpt I will feature. There is a poll below where you can vote for either snippet. Before you make your choice, you may want to take a gander at the info below, as it may help you to identify the excerpt you might be more interested in reading.

Choice #1, pulled from a chapter titled, “To Wrestle With a Starved Bull”

Clarence receives a knock to the family jewels due to his horse’s abrupt stop. Much to his dismay, Clarence can do nothing but writhe in pain in front of his new companion, Kairi. An exchange ensues.

Choice #2, pulled from a chapter titled, “For Cash, For Coin”

Kal, who was featured last week in a Character Tag, is caught in the middle of a lab accident. He is severely wounded. The description of his injury is graphic in nature, so this excerpt isn’t ideal for those who are squeamish.

Here’s the poll! 

(for WordPress users, you can vote without having to follow a link if you view this post outside of Reader).

If you voted, thanks for voting! If you didn’t…why didn’t you? It’s free. I’ll see you on Friday!

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

My First Tag: The Character Dating Profile featuring Kal

This is a special day.

“Why is it a special day, JJ?”

Well, disembodied voice, this blog has been tagged by the fantastic Orangutan Librarian to participate in the “Character Dating Profile Tag.” For those who aren’t savvy with the workings of the WordPress community, being “tagged” is essentially equivalent to having your name drawn in the Hunger Games. The difference is, nobody can take your place. Oh, and the other difference is this is a joyous occasion.

Indeed, today, I am bound to the rules of a “tag.” My task, if I choose to accept it (I do choose to accept it, didn’t you hear!?), is to answer the provided dating profile questions (think eHarmony)  as a character I have written.

That’s right, lovely ladies and classy gents. Today, I’m giving you a special glimpse into my western-adventure novel-in-the-works via the dating profile of a supporting character, Kal. If it isn’t obvious by the answer to the second question, these are not my answers, these are Kal’s answers. (Let it be known, however, that any dating inquiries intended for me can be sent via email). Here goes…

______

Name

Kal. Just Kal. I haven’t the time to provide a surname. Don’t you know that time and money are one in the same?

Age

Late forties, and I feel it every day.

Interested in

Innovation, creation, and invention. Oh, you mean relationship-wise? I’m interested in women, I suppose, though I haven’t the time to commit to any soul but my own. I hardly have time for myself!

(Why did you make an eHarmony profile, then?) <–(#anachronism. This is 1861.) 

I only did this after suffering endless prodding from my friend, Clarence. He has a habit of irritating me, to put it mildly.

Looks

*cue heightened self-awareness*

I have buggy brown eyes. I also have what you might call a novel posture. I stand with my head cocked forward and neck bent stiff. I bob about when I speak, and I often bend and sway and shuffle. Do I care that people throw odd looks my way? No, I most certainly do not.

I do make a point of dressing nicely, however. I dress much like a professional, electing to tuck a long-sleeved white shirt into black trousers which allow ample room for the pockets. A fat wallet must always be accommodated.

Religious views

That’s a question for the philosophers.

Greatest ambition 

I long to reach the level of greatness I had so deliciously achieved ten years ago by way of the Boland Deal, the arrangement which put enough coin in my pocket to build a shack and then some. Unfortunately, I have yet to strike another deal of the Boland caliber, but I am hopeful in the mornings. The nights tell a different story…

Favourite Hobby

I like building things. As previously mentioned, I have a shack, of sorts. There, I go about my tinkering. Using raw material, mathematics, and money, I craft devices you won’t see anywhere else. I’m currently developing canned shaving lotion, a mechanized drawer to aid countermounts, and an aphrodisiac. All three have given me more than my fair share of grief, though the aphrodisiac has proven especially problematic…

Three BEST Skills

Innovation, creation,  and invention. In that order.

Ideal Partner

A partner will only get in the way of my light. Oh, you mean relationship-wise? I don’t think I’m quite ready for something like that. I was seeing a lass in New York, many years ago, but I mucked that up when I left for Nevada to build. She didn’t want to come with me, which I understand. She has a lovely family, a fine life, and plenty more suitors who are taller and more charming than I. Ever since I left her, I haven’t bothered with relationships and the like, if I’m being quite honest. On occasion a strumpet will find her way between my bed sheets, but that’s another story.

Perfect Date

I presume you’re referring to a date on a calendar, in which case my perfect date is one that never ends, because, as I said, time and money are one in the same!

___

Whew. That was really something. Kal’s a charmer, isn’t he?

Ladies, tell me: Would you extend Kal the opportunity for a first date, or would you pass?

Sorry guys, you can take to the sidelines for the day. Or maybe you can tell me how I did for my first tag post! I hope I did everything properly. If I didn’t, please call me out so I can get it right next time.

Thank you for reading, and as always, stay classy!

~J.J. Azar

Explosion of Soul with a Title

Happy Friday, lovely ladies and classy gents! I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I personally broke my pants, so my holiday was a success (I go hard). If you didn’t catch the post on my Facebook page, know that I am incredibly thankful for you. Whether you’re a follower, a frequent reader, or somebody just stopping by, I am grateful for your support. Y’all are the best!

I wrote something up that I suppose could be considered poetry. I don’t know, really. I typically deal in prose. Whatever it may be, here it is. If you have any thoughts about the piece, please share them! I do the macarena every time I get a comment.

____

Quill in hand.

Paper on desk.

Empty room.

All quiet save for a ticking clock.

I turn the nib of the quill to my chest.

I eye the thing, the sword, knowing where it must go.

I plunge the thing into my sternum.

The incision is but an avenue. Now for the surgical slice.

I drag the nib from left to write, tearing at tendons, opening my chest enough

That I may reach inside and retrieve my heart.

I seize the throbbing organ and hold it over the page on the desk before me.

I squeeze

That its tales and fancies may gush onto the page.

I squeeze

Until the blank sheet is stained red with blood and soaked wet with tears indicative of joys and sorrows.

Now quill is in hand, nib is on paper.

With an emboldened hand I trace words into the human substance drenching the page before me

And spilling out over my desk.

There is no trick, here.

There is only explosion of soul, here.

An explosion of soul with a title.

____

Today, millions will be assaulting the malls and department stores in droves like walkers from the Walking Dead. I’ll leave you with some food for thought: Isn’t it interesting how Black Friday comes directly after the day when we celebrate what we have?

~J.J. Azar