CD or not CD? This is the question.

My question: Do most people have CD/DVD drives with their computers nowadays? Or are they getting to be obsolete?

I am considering getting another printer, or loading up on cartridges for my current printer. My current printer is an HP Photosmart C5550 all-in-one that does something few printers do nowadays: print on a CD. (Which I have never tried. But I digress.) For every copy of my little paperback book that I sell at little conventions, I burn a data CD with ebook files, artwork I have had done at conventions, and my audio readings of my stories (mp3 format). I want to be an author who gives you more stuff with the sale.

Please let me know if it is worth burning CDs or if I should find a better way to hand out my ebook/art/mp3s because I will soon have Costco reward $$$ to use up. Thanks.

P.S. Audio CDs are still a thing at open mics. But an audio CD only holds 45 minutes of music. Skimpy for audio stories. I burned a couple for my barber so he could listen to my audio stories over the holidays while driving to Santa Cruz. He did that without crashing his car. He liked the stories, even though I do not think I imitate his voice very well (he helps Super Holly with her mangled hair in Super Bad Hair Day).

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Belated announcement: My Stories in Carry The Light 2017

I should have posted this six months ago. Oh well.

In the 2017 San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest, I won first prize for my audio reading of “The Intellecta Rhapsody.” Holly gets into a big argument with her Batman-esque boyfriend’s car during her driving lesson. The background music is The Hungarian Rhapsody, a tune to which Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker have all danced.

I also won third prize for my short story, “The Lutefisk Door.” My Trumpy villain Billington Stumpfinger builds a nasty wall to trap Super Holly Hansson: the old trap-Batman-and-Superman-in-a-steel-and-kryptonite-vault trick. Can Holly’s boyfriend, Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert, save her before she succumbs to the deadly rays of the green lutefisk?

You can buy the print version of “The Intellecta Rhapsody” and “The Lutefisk Wall” in the book Carry The Light 2017 at Amazon. It has plenty of great stories, essays, and poetry from local writers. But it does not have the audio version of “The Intellect Rhapsody.” You can hear a previous version on a podcast I was on, details here.

 

Quick writing idea: phonetic

I often use phonetic dialog. From an upcoming novel chapter after Holly is brainwashed into thinking she is the evil cowgirl Laura Shrub:

Not them two dudes again. On the sidewalk, two teen guys gave Laura a look sadder than starving hound dogs. Laura crossed her arms and jutted her chin at them. “Whut’re yew lookin’ at?”

I was writing all the text in chapters where Laura is the point-of-view character to use her phonetic misspellings. But in the above paragraph, I kept that only to her spoken and internal dialog. Seems to work. I’ll try it more. (But I still might keep the style of the non-dialog to be Western.)

Fault Zone Uplift: My latest published Super Holly story

My short story, What Goes Up, is published in Fault Zone, a publication of the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club. Super Holly Hansson saves the day several times in one day, but finds something she cannot save. I give many thanks to Laurel Anne Hill, who worked super-hard to put together this anthology, and who edited my writing into a story worthy of Fault Zone. Writers, editors are your friends.

Here is the start of “What Goes Up.”

The six-foot-tall, apricot-shaped computer on the auditorium stage glowed brighter. Was the thing about to go KA-BOOM, like old sci-fi mechanical brains computing love to the last digit? Super Holly Hansson gritted her teeth harder, tapped the console’s keyboard, and motioned toward Chris Jobz, the Apricot Computer CEO.

“Would you please hand me your tablet,” Holly said, “and get your butt behind the blast shields with your employees?” Too bad she couldn’t pitch that big yellow- orangish monster into the ocean. Too dangerous, according to Chris. “You’re not bomb- proof. I am.” So far… She swallowed hard.

Chris glanced in the direction of his staff, yet made no move to give Holly his tablet, as if he thought his lint-free black turtleneck was a supersuit. Arrogant but brave. He acted as if she could still channel superpowers into others, like she’d done to those comic book geeks months ago. She couldn’t do that anymore. Not even for a fellow geek.

“Miss Hansson, you need both hands and my help.” Chris shoved his Apricot tablet closer to Holly’s face. “You’re not an engineer.”

“I was a technical writer,” Holly said, “and this geek girl can read code.” But could she get through this in one piece? All those kids in the hospital would be so sad if she didn’t show up today. She typed faster, restraining her super-strength. Last year she’d

pulverized her favorite wireless keyboard. The shining apricot’s timer taunted her: 01:29, 01:28, 01:27…

“I know women can code. Forty percent of Apricot engineers are female,” Chris said. His eyes shot virtual daggers toward the smiling teen boy his employees restrained. “But if you don’t finish writing this Swoop code before that timer reaches zero, this Apricot will destroy the Internet.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Holly hissed as her fingertips tingled. “I suppose it was that kid’s bright idea to build a doomsday Apricot with a super-scalding keyboard.”

“Yes. Me. Crestley Smusher, to you.” The teen’s voice was nerdy, gleeful, and dripping with condescension. “It was a science project to put my highly intelligent, brightly smiling face upon every display on the planet. Upon the exact second of my eighteenth birthday, less than a minute from now. Except my superior code merged with inferior code from lesser engineers to form a nasty virus—”

“Shut up, Crestley,” Holly and Chris shouted. Holly tapped out the last line of code and turned. Behind thick, clear, plastic bomb shields, several angry Apricot geeks held Crestley’s arms. A six-foot-six and rather wide engineer got a stranglehold on the techie, whose smug smirk vanished. Speaking of vanishing, how much time had elapsed?

…00:03, 00:02, 00:01… The timer stopped. Just like on Stellar Trek, where the countdown always stopped at one. Whew! She’d done it.

Chris examined the Apricot’s display. “The Internet is saved.” He shook Holly’s hand. “Thank you.”

Such firm fingers he had, like a writer. “You’re welcome.”

“Auto destruct in fifteen seconds,” the monster Apricot voiced in a monotone. “Fourteen. Thirteen.”

“What the hell?” Chris sputtered. He and Holly whirled to face Crestley. Crestley smirked again. “All doomsday devices need a failsafe.”
“Nine. Eight.”
A failsafe? Time for Holly’s own brand of mind over matter. Crap. This was

gonna hurt. She reached out. A telekinetic hand—big, blue and transparent—shot from her own flesh-and-blood hand and engulfed the Apricot monster.

“Seven. Six.”

She punched her free fist upward. A telekinetic fist cannonballed out of it and bashed a hole in the ceiling.

“Five. Four.”
She flew through the roof and into the bright blue sky.
“Three.”
The Apricot campus shrank below her.
“Two.”
She held the doomsday Apricot in her telekinetic hand.
“One.”
Damn all arrogant nerds. Well, not all.
“Zero.”
KA-BOOOOOOM!

TO BE CONTINUED!

Fremont CWC Book Sale on Dec 2, 1-4PM

The Fremont branch of the California Writers Club is having a book sale at the Fremont Main Library (2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, CA), Saturday Dec 2, 1-4PM. We will have an open mic at 2, and I will perform one of my stories. Click the poster to download the book covers, and the time and location.

I will also sell and sign paperback copies of Super Bad Hair Day. I include a CD with the book, which contains artwork of my superheroine Super Holly Hansson from Batton Lash and other artists, AND ebook copies of the book, AND audio MP3 versions of the stories in the book, AND EVEN my two stories that won the audio division at the San Mateo County Fair this year and last year (“The Malevolent Mystery Meat” and “The Intellecta-Rhapsody”). All that for only 5 bucks! SUCH A DEAL!!!

A rubber cop beats me to the punch.

I watched The Flash tonight. They introduced Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man. Ralph has super-stretching powers. And he’s a cop.

My character, Bennie the Rubber Cop (based on Lennie Briscoe of Law & Order) also has super-stretching powers. (Long arm of the law, get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge?) I have not even published his short story yet (The Criminal Cupid, click to read an excerpt). Bennie does show up at the very end of my little Kindle book Super Bad Hair Day. He helps Holly deal with her… um… twin physical adjustments when her superpowers manifest.

Oh, well. My Bennie will stay rubbery. There is room for more than one stretchy cop in the world. Bennie is older. Wiser. World-weary-er. I just hope I can write more former-homicide cop wisecracks.

For Talk Like A Pirate Day: Sulu’s Gay Trek!

In honor of today being Talk Like A Pirate Day, I repost one of my fanfics. I intend to perform this tomorrow night at Reach and Teach, 144 W 25th Ave, San Mateo, CA, at the Peninsula Writer’s Club open mic starting at 7:30.

SULU’S GAY TREK! (OR HOW SULU CAN BE STRAIGHT IN RODDENBERRY STAR TREK AND GAY IN J.J. ABRAMS STAR TREK WITHOUT BREAKING CANON!)

SCENE 1:
THE BRIDGE OF THE ROMULAN MINING STARSHIP NARADA, WHERE CAPTAIN NERO, A MANLY ROMULAN MINING MAN, SITS IN THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR AND FROWNS, MAKING HIS MANLY FACIAL TATTOOS EVEN MORE MANLY.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, me mighty manly Romulan mining crew, for aboard me mighty manly starship, even the women are mighty manly! Our big mining starship has just passed through a big space-time rift, and now I spy a puny little starship whose captain might tell us where to find that logical Spock scoundrel upon whom we wish to wage our manly vengeance! ARM ALL WEAPONS!!!

THE MIGHTY MANLY ROMULAN MINING CREW: Aye aye, Captain! ARRRR!!!

SCENE 2:
THE BRIDGE OF THE FEDERATION STARSHIP KELVIN.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: (talking on his communicator) Really, honey? Your labor pains feel like he’s throwing full body blows?

THE NAVIGATOR: (a young man of Japanese descent hunching over his navigation console) Sir? I detect a tremendous space-time-from-the-future disturbance from that giant stormy rift! And another incredibly manly disturbance from that gigantic ship that just emerged from the rift! (He studies the readings.) As though everyone on that ship is so manly that they only like other… wait, the disturbances are combining…

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Into what?

THE NAVIGATOR: Into a concentrated energy wave that covers the entire sexual spectrum! And it’s heading directly at our ship! Um, along with a bunch of really big torpedoes and disruptor rays.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: You might have led with that last thing. SHIELDS UP!

SOUND EFFECTS: SKRAAA-CHOOOOOOOOMMMM!!! FZZT! BZZT! ZZZZZURP! THUMP BUMP WHUMP!!!

The entire bridge lurches to tilt at a 30 degree angle. Sparks fly out of control consoles that, after all these centuries, still do not have circuit breakers installed. Crewman fall out of their chairs.

THE NAVIGATOR: (picking himself off the floor) When are they gonna put seat belts on starships? (He checks his console.) Oh no, shields are down! We’re open to any energy attack imaginable!

A rainbow energy baseball rushes toward the main bridge viewscreen, and through it, and onto the navigator’s fly.

THE NAVIGATOR: (doing a double back flip) wwwwWWWWOW!!!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: What was THAT?

THE NAVIGATOR: (staggering) Oh… my… I just felt a surge of incredibly manly energy! Enough to bend sexual space-time 180 degrees!

The main viewscreen lights up with Nero’s mighty manly face.

CAPTAIN NERO: Avast, enemy captain! I be Nero of the Romulan mining ship Narada! Shiver yer timbers over to me bridge where I will torture you for information about that scurvy dog, Admiral Spock!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: Admiral who?

THE NAVIGATOR: Narada? Isn’t that Romulan for raging rainbow?

CAPTAIN NERO: (his tattooed face turning several shades of red, or green if that is the color of Romulan blood) ARRRRR!!! Me blood be boiling with rage! Prepare to enter the Romulan version of Davy Jones’ Locker!

THE CAPTAIN OF THE KELVIN: (disappearing in a transporter beam) But I’m not even wearing a red shirt!

THE NAVIGATOR: (to the first officer) Sir, their incredibly big and manly weapons are powering up again. Speaking of manly, shall we man all escape pods?

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Yeah, save one for me while I distract Mr. Romulan Road Rage. Computer! Set the autopilot for a collision course with that mining ship!

Computer voice from control console: (singing) Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

FIRST OFFICER GEORGE KIRK: Nuts. Looks like I’m the designated driver.

SCENE 3:
CAPTION: A FEW YEARS LATER.

A hospital room. The navigator stands beside a hospital bed where a young Japanese woman holds her newborn baby.

THE WOMAN: (lovingly looking at the navigator) He’s beautiful. (She looks at the baby.) Little Hikaru Sulu. My healthy and strong baby boy. And so stubborn!

THE NAVIGATOR: How so?

The woman points to the baby’s diaper. It is colored like a rainbow.

THE WOMAN: We tried white, blue, and even pink, but he kept tearing them off.

THE BABY: (looking into the camera and smiling) Oh, my!