Regarding Comfort Zones…

I have a new novel coming out

This still strikes me as somewhat surreal. I’ve published three before, but always through self-publishing/small-print venues. Having a proper publishing company accept my work – under a traditional contract, and not some dodgy ‘hybrid’ deal – is a new one on me.

I’m very grateful for my blessing. God engineers all of our lives, and I’m thankful that He’s nudged mine in this direction. I’m grateful…

And I’m also very, very nervous!

During my small-press days I was a ‘big fish in a small pond’, easily one of the more popular writers in the circles among which I ran. Now I’m just a minnow… in a really big pond!

But that’s okay.

I’m out of my comfort zone, but I also know that I won’t grow unless I challenge myself. I know this as a person, as a Christian, and as a writer. So here I go, learning how to network alongside my publisher’s established writers so I can effectively do what writers are supposed to do: Bring their work to the people who wanna read it!

I’m nervous, sure…

I’m also very, very excited!

And that’s a good feeling. It’s hard to be excited in a comfort zone…

Regarding Lies…

‘For nothing that is hidden will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light…’Luke 8:17

‘But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire…’2 Peter 3:7

Does anyone besides me wonder how the world got so screwed up?!

It’s always been the tradition of rock singers and poets to blame ‘them’, the politicians and world leaders. But are they really the problem?

Is it really ‘them’… or is it us?

One in ten people that you meet, you will not like… for reasons that have nothing to do with them. One in ten people that you meet will also not like you. The usual subconscious reason is that they remind of someone that you already didn’t like, and vice versa.

But do you tell them that? Do they tell you that?

Nope. We hold our unspoken motives close to the chest, turning our day-to-day lives into a cloak-and-dagger game. Half the time, we aren’t even aware of our motives… but that doesn’t stop us from acting upon them.

We live in a world of shadows, a world of half-truths and outright lies. We can’t even begin to unravel it all because we’re telling ourselves the exact same lies that we tell others, often blissfully unaware that we’re being deceitful. Only fiction ever makes sense; only stories come with the blessing of tidy, fully-explained endings…

 In real life, decisions are made based almost entirely upon the Unseen.

I’m pretty sure that’s the reason that, in the end, God’s gonna burn this world to the ground.

We need a fresh start…

Regarding Another Novel Novel…

I read Daphne Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel yesterday…

I read it all in one day; I just couldn’t bring myself put it down. It was like being fourteen all over again, and reading Rebecca for the first time.

It’s similar, in some ways. Like Rebecca, it’s narrated from a first-person perspective, and set in Cornwall ‘high society’. But the narrator, this time, is a man (as opposed to the nameless bride in Rebecca). 

Rebecca, in some sense, was a tale of moral absolutes: The nameless narrator-bride is pure and innocent, while Rebecca was pure evil. My Cousin Rachel is murkier, and more morally ambiguous. Is Rachel truly a heartless manipulator, as her deceased husband made her out to be? Or is she simply a misunderstood victim of circumstance?

Maybe Dame Daphne answers those questions, or maybe she doesn’t. In any case, the same brooding, haunting tone that defined Rebecca defines this tale as well. There’s a movie, too, starring Rachel Weisz. I’ma hit Best Buy tomorrow, and pick it up.

And if the movie sucks… I’ll hafta go have words with the director, ‘cuz the novel was pure gold.

Go read it!

The Authoritative ‘Chick Flick’ Guide for Clueless Husbands… (by Shaun Moser)

A good friend of mine and I were talking today about the differences in movie preferences between men and women…

I totally get it! I tend to avoid my wife’s movie choices like the freakin’ PLAGUE, man! Titanic? Really?! The Notebook?! BLECH!!!

On the other hand…

I wasn’t born yesterday, and thus I’ve learned a few things over the years. As my friend Virginia Wallace once wrote: ‘Passionate characters transcend even trite genres’.  Some stories – ‘chick flicks’ or not – are so beautifully told that they appeal even to us rough-n’-tumble types.

So, in no particular order…

Here are some movies that you fellas can use to impress your respective better halves, while also enjoying them yourselves! (And yes, these were partially chosen due to how ‘hot’ the Leading Lady was. You’re welcome, Gentlemen!)

So here we go. Feel free to look up the previews!

Serendipity (Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack)

Blood and Chocolate (Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy)

While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman)

Sliding Doors (Gwyneth Paltrow)

Benny and Joon (Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart-Masterson)

If I Stay (Chloe Grace Moretz)

Life as We Know it (Catherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel)

When in Rome (Kristen Bell, Dax Shepherd)

Much Ado About Nothing (Kate Beckinsale, and a BOATLOAD of A-list actors)

Shakespeare in Love (Joseph Fiennes, Gywneth Paltrow)

August Rush (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Keri Russell)

The Devil Wears Prada (Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep)

Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley)

First Knight (Richard Gere, Julia Ormond)

Maid in Manhattan (Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes)

Jersey Girl (Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck)

The Family Man (Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni)

Bewitched (Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell)

The Phantom of the Opera (Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler)

Cats (Francesca Hayward, Dame Judy Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Idris Elba, James Corden… Hell, everybody’s in this flick! Even the laughably talent-less Taylor Swift couldn’t ruin it, it was so good.)

There you have it, brothers! That list was just off the top of my head, so if I happen to think of more great ‘chick flicks’ I’ll letcha know. And if any of these recommendations help you ‘get lucky’ with the missus, you owe me a dollar. Seriously. I LIKE me some royalty payments, now!

Cheers! – Shaun

(P.S. – I may have misspelled ‘Fiennes’. And possibly also ‘Heigl’. Sorry.)

Regarding Poetry…

‘Here I sit, broken hearted / tried to @#%! and only farted’ – Poem I once read on a bathroom wall

I ALWAYS wished that I could write poetry…

Alas, it ain’t exactly my forte. Even ‘bathroom-wall’ poets’ are better than I am.

And it’s not that I don’t like poetry, or admire poets. Yes, a great deal of poetry is indeed pretentious nonsense. But I am also connected to numerous talented poets via my webpage, and I enjoy reading their work a great deal. (One of my favorites is Harman Kaur. Check out her WordPress page!)

I’m also a big fan of the classic poets, my favorites being Kipling, Stevenson, Poe, and Lewis Carroll. I quote them all quite often, and re-read their work all the time. I also appreciate musicians who write profound lyrics: Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Mustaine, Axl Rose, James Hetfield and Nina Gordon are at the top of my list… but there are numerous others that I love as well!

So why can’t I write poetry?

I think it’s my lack of patience, honestly. I’m all about the best possible verbal nuance, exactly the right word in exactly the right place, every single time. But poetry goes beyond even that. Poetry is all about exactly the right word in exactly the right place… penned in a manner that exactly fits the cadence of the poem.

That’s a whole extra layer of artistic demand, right there!

So here’s to all you poets, be you famous or be you not… and sadly, most of you are not but that doesn’t dim your artistic star one whit. You have the patience to plug away at an art form that completely befuddles me

But I admire you all nonetheless. Be well, and thank you for all that you do!!!

Regarding Writing…

I am very interested by this question: Where do stories come from?

The answer, of course, varies from writer to writer.

As Timothy Hutton’s character (in the brilliant film The Kovak Box) said, ‘a good story is a virus’. It plants itself within its intended host, and then it begins to reproduce. At some juncture a ‘tipping point’ is reached and the unwitting host at last surrenders to the virus, bringing it to full-blown life.

My first three published novels were born from my teenage role-playing days, during which I learned to tell stories with my best friends.

My later full-length novels were actually less complex in their origin: They were all born out of varying single, over-arching philosophical concepts. Once the concept dujour became cemented in my mind, everything else (as the late, great David Bowie once put it) was ‘just structure’. Characters, scenarios, foreshadowing, settings…  Everything falls into place once one has developed a clear concept around which to build a tale.

But those are my novels. My short stories…?

Dreams. They all come from dreams, every single time.

Sleep – or lack thereof – is my eternal curse. Chronic Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Apnea… If it’s a sleep disorder, I have it! A local sleep specialist actually said this to me (after a couple of overnight studies): ‘You don’t go into deep sleep. Like, ever. How, exactly, is it that you’re still alive?!’

I’m still alive ‘cuz the Good Lord wants me to be. And I ain’t gonna croak ’til He damn well feels like I should! ‘Nuff said.

I don’t really sleep; I just change realities. Asleep or awake, my mind hums along at ninety miles an hour. It sucks, but I’m used to it.

That means my dreams are brutally vivid, and more than a little bizarre. Every short story that I’ve EVER written (including the ones on this site) was born from a dream. I wake up in a cold sweat, grab my bedside notebook, and begin feverishly scribbling down an outline before the memory of my latest dream fades away. (To read my short stories, by the way, go to the above menu and click on ‘Fiction’)

What’s great about being me is that my personality is rare dichotomy: I’m a 50/50 split between Melancholy and Phlegmatic. That means that I am moody and artistic, and yet I am also capable of sorting out my maudlin visions in an orderly, logical fashion. I’m a strange cross between a hippie and a lawyer. (Ironically, I despise both hippies and lawyers!)

But ya know what? That works for me!

Writers are a strange breed, and every writer has a different system within which he/she works. Mine is ‘have a weird dream, jot down the outline at dawn, let the idea fester for a week, and finally write the story at three a.m. after a few beers’. Other writers have different methods, but that’s the beauty of writing: Authors are like flowers. No two are alike.

So yeah, I’ve shared MY method…

Now go find yours!

He is Risen!

Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? – 1 Corinthians 15:55

We are living in a very, very dark time right now!

For those of you who live in a cave, a virus known as COVID-19 was recently unleashed from a laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Whether its release was deliberate or accidental, it has raged through the Western World like wildfire.

That ain’t the problem. The survival rate for COVID-19 is over ninety-nine percent.

The problem is that the Globalist New World Order unleashed their loyal servant – the Mainstream Media – to inflate and distort the breadth of this ‘pandemic’. Swiftly picking up the ball, governments (at nearly every level) followed by instituting totalitarian, unlawful ‘mitigation’ efforts to see just how far they can push ‘We the People’ before we revolt…

We’re not revolting; apparently, we’re bigger sissies than our forefathers were. How does that Green Day song go? ‘Don’t wanna be an American Idiot/ One nation controlled by the media/ Everybody do the propaganda/ and sing along with the age of paranoia…’

We are all going to wake up tomorrow to a world that will be more socialistic and despotic than it was yesterday… and it was pretty socialistic and despotic yesterday. As South Park’s Big Gay Al once rhetorically asked, ‘The whole world’s gone to hell, but how are you?

To which he replied, ‘I’m SUPER, thanks for asking!’

We may live in dark times right now, but as my man Dave Draiman once wrote: Sometimes darkness can show you the light!

Today – illegally locked in our homes, or not – we celebrate the greatest event in all of human history: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The triumphant God-made-flesh demonstrated His power by dragging evil into a tomb and leaving it there, and this is the day upon which we celebrate His victory!

Most will, sadly, reject this truth. We still, after all, live in a world plagued by legions of empty, bogus belief systems.

But

Just because Satan hasn’t been done away with yet doesn’t mean that he isn’t still defeated. He’s already been condemned; now he’s just awaiting his sentence. In the meantime, anyone can choose the redemption offered so freely by Jesus Christ. All men and women now have a choice: Embrace these dark times as though that’s all there is, or embrace a bright future in which evil will be burned away and goodness will reign for all time.

We have this hope because Christ died to purge us of our guilt, but that death would have been an empty gesture had He not triumphantly defeated Death…

By His own grace, He did.

The whole world’s gone to hell, but how am I?

I’m SUPER, thanks for asking! HAPPY EASTER!!!

To read more on the subject of Christ: https://shaunmoser.com/2019/12/14/forsaken/