Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book excerpt: Pythagoras Prophecy

Kofa Blama quickened his normally leisurely steps after reading the note and shoving it into his back pocket. He stopped, looked down at the dry earth below his feet, looked up, looked straight ahead and broke into a full-speed sprint toward the home of Madia Biyarna.

The sun bore down on the western horizon of Eritrea; a land that was his homeland and a land that his family had shed blood to call home for 165 years and maybe longer because that’s the farthest back he was able to research his family history.

Sweat poured down his face. Dogs barked at him and chickens scattered as he rounded the corner of the single road leading out of his home village of Denbe Bengul; a place barely north of the Ethiopian border and not far east of the Sudanese border. Off he ran, into the outskirts of the village, and past, to a place that had no name, to a house made entirely of bamboo and mud, a solid house, where Madia lived.

Forty-four minutes later, he arrived to the dirt path that led to her home. He kept his run all the way up the trail to her front door. She opened it before he knocked as the sun made its final dip in the west.
“Kofa. Are you alright, boy?”

He fought for air, closing his mouth to swallow while nodding and struggling to breathe through his nose. He bent over and put his hands on his knees. Flies and mosquitoes descended onto him.

“Come inside and I’ll get you some water. Come and sit down over there,” she said, pointing toward her wicker loveseat that sat alone in the living room, facing the single front window. A small end-table made of twine and bamboo sat in front of the loveseat with a large, 3-wicked candle atop that had not yet been lit. A pair of binoculars sat underneath it, beside a pair of leather moccasins.

As he moved past her, she looked at him in wonder, leaning her head back as if she was trying to read through bi-focals, studying him, startled, concerned, and quickly becoming afraid.

“Duwna sent a message,” he said, between gulps of water from the bowl she had served him. His orange button-up was made maroonish by the sweat that adhered it to his skin. She watched as he gulped again, finishing the rest of the water in another large swig, gasping for air again after he swallowed. “He says they are asking questions and not just the normal ones. Here…” he said, handing her the damp note.

--Pythagoras Prophecy, Vol. I of the People Phenomenal series, Ch. 2

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book excerpt: The Unbitten Onion (Full Issue!)

The Unbitten Onion
Issue #20: Baseball Players Protest Umpire's Animated Calls

American League third-base umpire Jeffy Hux has earned a following in the crowd, but a resistance on the field.

Orioles third-baseman Tony Batista is leading the protest. "The guy is using the field for his own gig," Batista said. "It is distracting our players and the fans away from the game."

Hux, a 12-year-veteran AL umpire, has been calling, "out," "safe," and "foul," in what some protesters refer to as, "...anything but orthodox and very disruptive," ways for the past three years.

Reports state that his favorite is the Hux-coined, "Michael Jackson Rudo Judo." In this move, after deciding that a player has been tagged out at third base, Hux runs over to the base-runner and throws a right hook a mere two inches away from the base-runner's chin. Simultaneously, he gives four mock-karate chops and screams a word described only as, "Odd ADAH!" He then dances and sings a verse from Billie Jean.

"The fans love it," says Blue Jays CEO Paul Godfrey. "Never before in this sport had I seen kids walk through the gates saying to their dads, 'Think some people will tag out at third today?.' I mean, the mascots are background attractions now compared to this umpire."

And so are the players, according to Tony Batista. "Three years ago, I sold 400,000 jerseys. Last year I sold 18,000, but guess what Hux merchandise has done? Bobble-headed Hux, Dancing Hux...they have a line dance forming in DC now named after the man. He's just an umpire," said Batista, kicking a dugout bench. "And when my son asked for an autographed Hux cap, that was it. We need to stop this fool."

Another crowd favorite is the "Foul Cow Buckin' Bronco," also coined by Hux. If a ball goes foul, he runs full speed in reverse around all the bases mooing, bucking, and finally crying, "Foul." Yankee catcher Chris Widger enjoys that one. "I usually either trip him or run along with him for fun, but he mule-kicks me and snorts sometimes and I can't keep up. But you know, shin protectors and cups and all; I've only had to get medical help, like, two times."

If a runner is safe, Hux uses his more complex, "Reach Out and Vogue," routine. "You know the runner is safe when Hux pulls the cell phone out," says Red Sox left-fielder Manny Ramirez. "He dials straight down the middle, calls some random phone number, then walks around third base saying, 'Can ya hear me now? Good.' Then he puts the phone away and crosses his legs and does this ballet-type of artistic safe sign, putting his arms up and then apart instead of out and apart. It's all hype."

Hux was also berated in the report for getting into fights with mascots, chasing bat boys off of the field with his, "Crab Pincer Side-Skiddle" run, and taking sips from cups of beer offered by the fans.

Fans are petitioning that Hux not be removed, but more and more players are signing up for the opposite. Says Cal Ripken Jr. from the box seats, "Sometimes I forget I'm at a baseball game; it's all about Hux now. But I gotta give him credit—he's never missed a game."

Although reporters were able to ask Hux questions, he would only answer with, "Diane Sawyer or nobody. Talk to the hand."

Book excerpts; starting to post them today!

I started posting book excerpts on my Facebook Author Fan Page but it won't allow enough text for context (granted, you could use "notes" or use "comments" but that obscures the view) so I'm posting them here and a handy little app. I'm using will post links to them on the FB page anyway.

PS Liking my FB fan page automatically enters you into all future contests to win free stuff like ink pens, customized bookmarks, calendars, and (later) Nooks, Kindles, and accessories. No entering e-mails. No input of information. Just click. Like. Done. Forever. (See pics of what we are giving/have given away on the page).

All that said, here goes my first blog-born excerpt:

"I just don’t think about it. My dad says the same shit every time it comes up; ‘You can’t see the damned wind, and you know it’s there; what you need to see God for?’ and I’ll be thinking, ‘Shit, dad, wind can be shown; it can be proven. Wind can power a big ass windmill. Tell God to power one on command; nigga, show me that.”

Tim covered his mouth and held the phone away from his head to try to collect his composure since he wasn’t entirely certain of Von’s position yet, racially or religiously, but slipped into snort-laughing. “I’m serious, though,” Von said. “Let God come turn a windmill when I call him. A nigga will be in church this Sunday if that Nigga does that. Cuz you know God is black, right?,” he said, drifting off into laughter himself, a quick sputter of a laugh at first, slipping into a complement to Tim’s spectacular display, a little over what he had said but mostly over Tim’s laughing fit that made Von imagine an angry pig having his hooves tickled.

“Stop it! I can’t…” were the only words Tim could get out for the next couple of minutes, and Von egged him on a little more to wring every bit of humor out of the moment that he could, because he knew that they both needed humor, especially now, when things were beginning to get real… when crimes of conspiracy against a government had already been committed, and many serious charges would be coming, if their luck held out.

(Von, a black guy, and Tim, a white guy -- Flight Fortamente, second book of the People Phenomenal series)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book signing map

Mathews Memorial Library
3-26-11, noon-2:00 p.m.
Book Signing
Kevin A. Kierstead

Book signing location has changed! Please e-mail me for details with "New Location" in the subject line (in case it goes to spam) @ wutzthedeal at ya h o o dotc om.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Question your source, always!

The human creature is one that competes. We have developed this way (not evolved: I believe evolution is an illusion--you'll have to take a look at Name of Alt or The Lost Dialogues of Table 18 to find out why ;) ) as a result of the requirements for survival forcing their rules upon our lineage. Gazelle falls over dead, you eat it or your neighbor does in the olden days. Might even have had a battle on your hands if you wanted a piece of that meat.

Fast-forward 20,000 years and not a lot has changed. And that got me to thinking.

Are you a writer? An E-bayer? A mortician? Doesn't matter. Somebody wants what you have. Somebody wants your audience, your customers, your position, your money, your stuff...

As a writer, I've been doing the usual; pounding down the articles and stories about the craft and business of writing like an alki at an open bar. Drinking them in, one after another. I was not suspicious that anything was "off," or, certainly, that anybody was intentionally misleading me, until I read a few articles or blog entries in a row that seemed to advise counter-productive methodology for writing, getting published, and promoting your work.

Militaries have used it since the beginning of militaries; mislead, misdirect, and win. Let your enemies believe that what they want is east, not west. Make them believe that what they need to survive is around the corner, rather than across the street. It is very effective, especially if you can get your "enemy" to trust their source of information... best example: the double agent.

For those that don't know, a double agent is a spy that is caught and then offered incentive (or life) for then pretending that he/she was never caught and, instead, passing misinformation back to the force that he/she was initially spying for as well as reporting accurate information back to the original enemy, who they are now working for.

Get people to trust a source, and then control that source, and you control all of the trusters to one degree or another.

If I want to get to the top of the N.Y. Times bestseller's list, why would I want competition? Why would I want you, another writer, to succeed? Wouldn't my best interests be served in directing you toward a less lucrative, more diversionary path toward writing success? Wouldn't clearing my competition by directing them to the exits and off-ramps from the highway of success then open up my lane? Wouldn't a seller of some product do well to get other sellers to believe he was giving tips for their success, even if he were really just trying to make them lose their focus and chase phantoms about?

Question what I write. Ask yourself what my motive is. Don't believe me until you have run everything I say through your mind in a critical way. They are out there, these people. Some of them are incredibly deceitful and crafty and will mislead you only one out of ten times; just enough to get you to be less likely to be chasing their own goal along the same path.

This goes for anybody in any profession. You may have somebody in your office that you've worked with for 10 years who starts sharing "inside" information with you. You may start finding that as you digest this information and put it to use, things start to change in a negative way for you. Don't think that just because you can't figure out their motive or because you've worked with them for ten years that they haven't decided to try to send you off into a forest of danger, while promising you that a pot of gold is hidden in that forest. Question every single piece of seemingly good advice you get.

Example: I've heard many writers say things like, "You should never write a book until you've read a whooooole bunch in the genre you wish to write in." Wrong. That's delay. You want to read some to learn form; fine. But two or three popular ones are more than enough. (Not only that, but reading too much of what's out there will ultimately start to dictate your own style; you'll be copying their styles and losing your own unique angle, mostly unconsciously, further reducing your chances of success. Don't lose your voice to try to look like somebody that did it right already; ask any reader. They get tired of repetition; they want fresh, unique, and exciting writing that also must be well-written and you can make that happen without becoming a mere reflection off of a large lake; make your own damned lake and make it better than any other lake, ever).

I read very little fiction, and I do that on purpose to protect my unique voice. I had to read my share in school and in college, just like you, but outside of that formal venue, I've only read about ten fiction novels in my life. I don't want my brain to use some accomplished writer's style as a crutch, and it would just as yours would. You can read allllll the rule, writer's style/craft, and publisher advice books you want if they are from a credible author (we must watch for the double agents) but you should stay away from reading too many from your chosen genre, or you will lose yourself.

That deviation was necessary; in the business of misdirecting, it is your source that is the enemy. In the business of imitation, it is your source that will shine through, not you.

This applies in any field. Question your source, never fully trust anybody, and always follow your gut (it'll be wrong here and there, but by and large, that gut feeling comes from a culmination of complex thoughts and senses that we do not understand and you must trust it, accepting that it will be wrong on occasion, but if you'll just trust it, you'll begin to recognize when it was wrong and why, and in that way, you'll hone that sixth sense; that gut feeling. It'll become deadly accurate, and deadly accurate is what you want your direction to be in a world where increasing numbers of misdirectors are waving their flags in front of your face...)

My 2.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Calling all readers; need reviewers, free e-books provided

I'm trying to find a few people to review my books. You will get the e-book free and your name will be mentioned in the next printing of the book (for positive reviews, only; if you get 10 pages into one of my books and aren't feeling the happies, might as well let it go...).

For any established reviewers (top Amazon reviewers or reviewers with a well-established review history/blog), you will get free copies of all three e-books for any one you review and I'll also send you copies of my fourth and fifth books for free (release set for May and September) as well as include you in the next printing of the book, which will be immediately following this batch of reviews. I will also send you free promotional items (pens, calendar magnets, bookmarks).

My two humor books are quick reads; around 100 pages each. My one sci-fi is about 200 pages and a little deep.

Please respond either here or send me a message with "reviews" somewhere in the title (might go to spam; makes it easier to pull out) to wutzthedeal (at) ya hoo d ot c om.

Thank you, mah friends!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A pain-free way to preview my books quickly

You can now click on the book titles to your right to get a free (and pain-free) preview that does not require you to download any special readers like most book samples do. There is also a purchase link with many options (paperback, Kindle, Nook Book version) in the event you decide to pick one up!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stop Choking on Routine and Live Your Dream!

How many friends or family members do you have that aren't passionate about anything? Even if they are "into" something, like thrift-store shopping or following a sports team or their job, how may of them are truly passionate about it? Or anything else?

Passion used to be valued. The Greeks, it was said, would ask only one question during any funeral: "Did he/she live with passion?" Shouldn't be any wonder why some of our greatest works ever from art and science came from there.

I know people who have zero passion. Lots of them. They just want to survive, and I even question that goal in some people I know. They're just here because, they figure, it is supposed to be that way.

Isn't there something you can sink your heart into and love it and do it with energy? Not gambling, drugs, or sex or any of the obvious things that have short-term rewards... something you "live" for.

There is a reason people like to watch Manny Pacquiao fight, or Gordon Ramsey cook, or Elton John sing, and you and I both know what it is.

If you've been plodding 'round this mud-ball on a whim or, even worse, on a precisely-structured plan toward the mundane goal of stable repetition, you aren't finding fulfillment on the scale that you could be. When you're sitting there thinking, 'Is it all worth it? I hate my job, hate my life, what is this?' and instead of doing something about it, you go on about your daily routine, you are dying inside, quickly.

Find what makes your heart beat faster. It could be something from your childhood; what you wanted to be, what you wanted to do, who you wanted to be. You've lost touch with it or never really let it surface completely. Find it, and go after it like a piranha on a chicken leg.

Without going into religion, I think most can agree that we live this life, in this way, just one time. You have one shot. Instead of just convincing yourself that success is a 40-hour week, making enough money to pay for a roof, a toilet, and a television with which to watch others succeed or fail, why don't you go for it? Is it fear of failure? What do you lose if you don't "get it?" More importantly, will you forgive yourself in 20 or 30 years for having never tried?

It's time. Today is the day. Look inside, drag it out, and own it. Nobody is going to get you to that fantasy-life in your mind except you, and doubt is the only thing holding you back from that life. Stop doubting. Entirely. Know. Go. Score. Win. Now!