Although I’ve been on Twitter (@JoeEliseon) and Facebook and Google+ for several years and joined Instagram (I think) a couple of months ago, I’m not much of a social media type. Twitter is the only one I’m comfortable with.
FB leaves me cold. (I apologize to everyone who sent me birthday greetings last month – I only look at FB every six weeks or so and I missed them.) I hate the way FB constantly scrolls up when you move your cursor. I hate the multiple columns. They give your screen a crowded look. Moreover, I find the display non-intuitive. I can’t figure out where my groups are, or if I’m in a group.
G+ is simply a mystery to me. They reorganized it some time ago. I had gotten up to speed on it, then they changed everything around.
None of these “tools” are very good at enabling you to organize your own space, the way you would your own desk or workbench.
But that’s the least of it.
I don’t even want to talk about it. Here’s the fifth video in my Snarkey & Putts: Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator series. Hope you enjoy it.
I try to build each of these Snarkey & Putts stories around some point of law. Undead Arbitratorrevolves around a testamentary bequest and the provisions of the federal Arbitration Act.
The second adventure, The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter – due out shortly; I’m waiting for the cover art to be completed; you can see a draft in the previous post – is based on a topic near and dear to every writer’s heart: copyright protection. The third story, The Case of the Canine’s Curse, currently out to my beta-readers, concerns landlord/tenant law, evictions and eminent domain takings. I did something similar in my novel, D.P.W., where the plot points involve the unexpected interplay between some real federal anti-terrorism statues and some fabricated, but not unlikely, municipal ordinances.
Which leads to my latest problem. I’ve got the plot for my next Snarkey & Putts story but no legal point to… Oh, gosh! Talk about inspiration. The creative process has taken place right before your eyes. I’ve got it. Immigration law! That’s it! And it’s topical! Perfect.
Unfortunately, I’m no immigration lawyer. I’ll have to fake… er, research it. What? You wonder, what’s it about? The story? Of course, a writer should never discuss his ideas before they’re down on paper. For one thing – and this is the trouble with pitches – they never sound as good as they read. But, I’ll give you a clue. It has something to do with the TV character above. If you remember who he is, and you can put him together with one of my characters, you’ll have an inkling what I’m up to.
Why don’t you mull that over while your reading, or re-reading, all my three previous Snarkey & Putts stories. That will give me some time to write the fourth and, with luck, come up with an ingenious title.
I’m shocking myself. After doing a blog post yesterday, you’d think I’d take a month or so off, judging by my track record. But, as they say in the stock market, “past performance is not indicative of future results.”
Below, you’ll find another Snarkey & Putts video, which features me reading a third excerpt from their origin story, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator. I made it two or three weeks ago, recording the whole series of 11 videos in one day, which is why I’m wearing the same clothing in each segment. Since then, I’ve made a couple of additional videos for the second S&P story, The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter. I’ll post them here eventually, so you’ll get to see other components of my wardrobe. I’ve got more than one shirt, even though I am an author.
Here’s Excerpt No. 3.
The first series of videos is admittedly a little reserved, i.e., stiff. But I’m learning. You need to get used to the camera and the mic and I nearly threw out my back moving in all those bookcases that form the backdrop.
That’s it for today. Back with more tomorrow, hopefully.
O.K., so I didn’t get back in a week. I’ve been busy getting the second of my Snarkey & Putts stories ready for publication (self-publication, that is). This time, the boys rate a full-length novel. The title is The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter. I’m not going to tell you any more about it for the nonce, but you might like to see the latest version of the cover. (See left.) It’s not quite finalized, but it’s very close.
The artist is Angel Nichols, who did the cover of The Case of the Undead Arbitrator. Angel is a breeze to work with, very talented and reasonably priced. If Ghastly Ghostwriter sells, I may be able to afford to have her work on the cover art for the third Snarkey & Putts story.
It’s a long time since I added a post. I’ve been busy writing. Although it’s no excuse, I have finished two new Snarkey & Putts full-length novels to accompany their introductory adventure, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator.
For those of you who who aren’t in the know, Jack Snarkey and R. Andrew Putts are a pair of attorneys who stumble into a new legal specialty, the paranormal! It turns out that Putts, who’s always been the much-abused, bumbling, junior member of the team, possesses latent psychic powers that have been waiting to be unleashed when the right case comes along. Come along it does in the first story, when Snarkey makes a crafty legal move in a dispute between three elderly sisters over their father’s estate, leading the unwitting Putts to open a portal to the spirit world. Talk about a change in venue!
Undead Arbitrator is available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon. It’s right on the dividing line between novelette and novella, so I’m calling it a short novella. Publishing terminology has become so precise, i.e, nit-picky.
In a few weeks, I’ll release the second Snarkey & Putts story, a novel-length extravanganza entitled The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter which, as you may have surmised, features a real but somewhat unusual ghost, a spectrum concretus, to be precise. Ghostwriter also delves into the dim netherworld of copyright law. Talk about horror!
To jig up enthusiasm for my paranormal attorneys, I’ve recorded a series of YouTube videos of yours truly reading excerpts from the Undead Arbitrator story. Here’s the first one.
I’ll be posting a new video every couple of days. If you can’t stand the suspense, you can head over to my YouTube channel and watch them all.
So be on the lookout for Snarkey & Putts. Ghastly Ghostwriter will be followed by the third in the series, The Case of the Canine’s Curse, a novel-length sort of werewolf story that deals with summary process and eminent domain proceedings. Real estate always brings out the worst in everybody. Canine’s Curse is currently out to beta readers.
I’m always looking to expand my beta reader corps. If you’re interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve spent all day, except while actually in the voting booth, trying not to think about politics. But my maternal grandfather, of whom I often speak, always had a finger in the political pie. Here he is, second-from-left, with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. That’s the Senator’s autograph, on the left, against the first man’s white suit.
To keep busy today, I’ve written another little story about said grandfather and his coming to America, to Chicago in the 1920s. You can read it here or use the menu above, under “Free Stories, Family Tales.” It’s entitled, Who Would’ve Thought Of It. I hope you get a charge out of it.
I haven’t been around for a while, but I’ve been productive during my blogging hiatus. If you check under “Books” and “Stories” on the menu to the right, just below the header, you’ll find a number of new pages.
Also, since my last post, I’ve completed two novelettes, The Mystery of Ambrose Pouter and Snarkey & Putts, Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law I: The Case of the Undead Arbitrator and a full-fledged novel, Snarkey & Putts, Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law II: The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter.
Ambrose is a – I hate to say it – “coming of age” tale about an unpopular boy who suddenly becomes popular, and for an unusual reason. It’s set in the same childhood world as my Reincarnation of Lou Gehrig. I’ll most likely self-publish it on Amazon, as I have most everything else. I’m still working on the cover illustration. I’ll keep you posted on its release date.
I’m very happy with the Snarkey & Putts series. My pair of mis-matched paranormal attorneys is coming along fine. I’m going to post a few excerpts here and on Twitter within the week and see how people react to them before deciding what publishing route to take. But I’m optimistic, so much so I’m working on a third installment, tentatively titled, The Case of The Canine’s Curse.
Let me leave you with something my late confessor of many years, an old Spanish priest, once told me:
There are three types of souls, like bows in the hands of the divine Archer.
The first type says to the Archer, “Do not bend me. I am afraid I will break.” This type is useless.
The second type says, “Bend me, Archer. I know you will not break me.” This type is good.
The third type says, “Bend me, Archer, and if you break me, who cares?” This type is most excellent.
I haven’t posted in a while, still busy setting up the website. Takes a while to learn the ins-and-outs of WordPress. But I will say that it’s much easier than it was a few years ago. Hats off to the WordPress team.
One thing I don’t seem able to do yet is get a CAPTCHA on my comments forms. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky.
If you look under the “Stories” tab, you’ll see that I’ve imported a number of stories originally posted on my Google+ page. I’ve re-written them all, more or less. Can’t look at anything I’ve written without making corrections. There are a few more coming.
I also have another couple of books to add. Still must complete my bio and even the book descriptions that are up. Oh, well. I’ll get to it. When it’s all done, I’ll start blogging daily.
What I’m busiest with now is my Snarkey & Putts, Paranormal Attorneys-at-Law series. I’ve completed my first, The Case of the Undead Arbitrator, the pair’s origin story. I’m working on the second, The Case of the Ghastly Ghostwriter. I’ve learned something from my epic comedy-satires, i.e., keep it short.
I’m Joe Eliseon, as the tagline says, author, attorney and humorist. I’m also the owner, operator and sole proprietor of this website, the purpose of which is to inform, encourage, empower, enlighten, enliven and enable you, something I accomplish mainly by getting you to buy my books. Reading them would be nice, too. I recommend it.
This blog is in the start-up phase, but I’ll be adding free Stories and links to my Books on their respective pages shortly. Of course, I’ll be adding new posts, too. Check back often. As someone once said, “Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home.” Welcome aboard.
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), Norwegian adventurer and ethnologist, became famous in 1947 when he and an international crew sailed from Peru across the Pacific to French Polynesia in a home-built raft called the Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl’s aim was to demonstrate that, since he was able to do it, ancient Peruvians could have done it, too. Thus, they did, he claimed, and Polynesia was settled from east to west from South America and not west to east from Asia as standard anthropology had it.
Archaeology, linguistics and the new science of DNA research have subsequently failed to support Heyerdahl’s claims. Conventional scholarship has weathered his assault. But he told a damn good story and helped create the field of experimental archaeology, in which people learn about the past by getting out there and doing it. His theories may have leaned toward the preposterous, but he sold a lot of books and riled up a lot of people.
One of those people was me. I remember quite vividly reading his The Ra Expeditions, recounting his 1970 voyage in a papyrus boat from Morocco across the Atlantic. This time, Heyerdahl and another hand-picked, international crew wanted to prove that the ancient Egyptians could have crossed the Atlantic in papyrus reed ships and made contact with pre-Mayan MesoAmerica, inspiring the natives to build their own pyramids, as those that now dot the jungles of Yucatan and Guatemala. I came across the book when I was a junior or senior in high school and devoured it. It made an impression on me which persists to this day.
No, I didn’t run out and build balsa wood boats and sail across Buzzards’ Bay. Here’s what sticks with me from Thor Heyerdahl.
As The Ra Expeditions recounts, Heyerdahl modeled his papyrus ship on paintings of such craft he and others found in Egyptian tombs. Some of these paintings showed the vessel’s rigging and construction in great detail. Heyerdahl saw to it that the craftsmen he employed for the ship’s construction followed these drawings faithfully. He constantly inspected their work to ensure their reproduction was accurate. It was.
Despite all the care that went into building the ship, at the last moment Heyerdahl had to make some considerable changes. Before they would allow the ship to sail, the local port authorities demanded that Heyerdahl equip it with a shortwave radio. Heyerdahl had followed strict weight limitations in the ship’s construction to guarantee the papyrus’ buoyancy would be sufficient to carry the crew. The authorities’ last-minute demand threw his calculations into the waste basket.
So Heyerdahl went back to the drawing board. He scoured the Ra for every possible piece of excess baggage he could jettison. But, even when he had stripped Ra down to her bare essentials, she was still overweight. He had to find something else to get rid of.
His eye fixed on a hawser, a thick rope, that extended from a fixed point on the rear deck up to the curled-over tip of the Ra’s scorpion-tail stern. Here was a feature that was on all the drawings. But when Heyerdahl tested the hawser, he found that the tip of the scorpion’s tail stayed put without it. They did not need the hawser to keep the tail down. In this detail, at least, the ancient Egyptians hadn’t known what they were doing. A few quick chops with a handy ax and the hawser flew overboard. Ra lost a quick 50 pounds and looked as ship-shape as Marie on Nutri-System.(c)
About two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic, Heyerdahl noted that the ship seemed to be foundering. Close inspection revealed that the rear deck was depressed directly beneath the tip of the stern’s tail, at the exact point where the hawser had been fixed. Ra’s structural integrity had been compromised and she began to take on water. Heyerdahl realized to his shock that the hawser he had assumed had been there to keep the tail down had actually been there to keep the deck up.
The ancient Egyptians had known what they were doing after all.
Despite the crew’s herculean efforts, the Ra foundered east of Barbados. Ironically, the radio enabled them to call for help. Water over the gunnels, they were rescued by a private yacht.
There are many lessons to be drawn from this parable: government intervention made the crew less safe than it otherwise would have been; the radio was simultaneously the cause of Ra’s demise and the instrument of her crew’s rescue; and it was private action that saved them in the end.
But most salient, I think, is this: some things can work so well over such a long period of time, that succeeding generations can forget why their ancestors put them there in the first place. They can look like they are there to keep something, or someone, down. But in reality they are in place to support a structure that sustains us all, a function they perform so well that we can no longer imagine the structure capable of foundering.