Saturday, March 16, 2019

A short parable

Once upon a time, there lived a fun, loving, passionate and compassionate prince who was fair and very sure of “Happily Ever After.” 

He watched as many beautiful princesses passed him over, each one of them desperate to marry frogs and dragons instead.  At first he figured they were tempting Fate.  Maybe they were fools chasing after riches.  But over time, he soon realized that everyone makes mistakes.  And “Happily Ever After” is a concept pioneered by villains, schemers and roustabouts.  He felt great pity for every one of those princesses.  For like him, they were only chasing after happiness.  But as for him, all he had experienced was a lifetime of shadows and regret.  He was confined to his humble cottage, a prince only in title, not in status.

One day he met one of the princesses who passed him over, wondering if she still had any affection for him.  As soon as he met her, he instantly felt all those feelings return.  For she was as beautiful then as she was all those years ago.  She still spoke with the same lovely voice.

And with that lovely voice she answered him.  She tilted her head and said, “Who are you again?”

He said, “I am Prince Charming.  I knew you many years ago.  I loved you many years ago.  I understand you have children now.  And yet nothing has changed.  I still love you.  I want you to come away with me.  For I have never experienced passion before.  But I have always waited.  And now I am happy to see my waiting has not been in vain.”

She replied in confusion.  “I see.  But sir, I am not waiting for a prince.  Nobody wants a prince anymore.  I am waiting for a King.”

“A king?  Why?  Because of his riches?”

“No.  Don’t you see…a prince is but a boy.  A king is a man.  A king has lived, has worked, and has proven his value to the kingdom and all his subjects.”

The prince accepted her answer and even nodded as she giggled to herself, confused as to why such a silly prince still existed.

On his way back to his modest cottage, not at all like a castle, he saw a magical frog. 

The frog ribbited, signaling the prince’s attention.

“What is it then?” the prince said.  “Haven’t I suffered enough?”

The frog replied, “If you are a prince, where is your horse?”

“My horse?  My horse is back home at the cottage.  Why?”
“Your horse is missing you.  Learn to love only what loves you.”

COMMENTARY: This parable was inspired by two people I met while visiting Texas. The ending is not suggesting the prince fell in love with his horse.  Rather, this refers to a more platonic sort of love.  The prince learned the value of caring for people or animals that cared about him - not devoting more attention to people who didn't care.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Weirdest Book Ever!

I happily accept Jenn's review of The Evil Princess and The Saint of Science over at Goodreads - "The weirdest book I've ever read!" 

You might think splicing together fantasy, literature, comedy and psychological horror is a difficult and artificial feat, but it comes perfectly natural to an odd fellow like me who has always thought outside the box, even when there was no need of it.

I think humor, even dark humor, is what keeps us going in a cruel world. Laughing is our way of processing pain, finding reasons to keep going, a forced sense of optimism.

Depicting the cruel world, the good and evil side of humanity, is what literature aspires to be.  In the words of my writing partner Karla Fetrow, "literature doesn't have to be's about being human."

Psychological horror has always come easy to me, even before I started watching horror films. I was always fascinated by ghost stories, unsolved mysteries and true crime reporting.  It occurred to me much later, however, that Psychological Horror is a difficult technique to learn. 

Horror films were too simple, too visual and not much in the way of scary ideas.  Horror books on the other hand were so limited by strict formula, they rarely allowed the writer the freedom to explore new territory.

Psychological Horror is about trapping your reader inside a fictional world, creating scary monsters, and holding the audience captive as some great symbolic truth is revealed and dissected in the human psyche.  It's quite the opposite of suspense / horror, which is mostly about catch & release, building and easing tension.  Some of the best films and books I can remember didn't follow a suspense formula, but were all about the horror of the mental experience we had to endure.

These were techniques I used in Attempted Rapture and Cry On Cue.  But it wasn't until I tried the fantasy genre, where I really discovered how much more devastating plots and characters could be if they had no contraints in "reality."

Reality is what keeps us safe.  When there's no real world to fall back in, things get very disturbing.

My last book in the fantasy genre will be The End of the Magical Kingdom #4 The Twin Flame, coming by the end of 2019.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Update on Attempted Rapture and Cry On Cue

After careful consideration, I have decided to retire Cry On Cue as its own entity and add it as a supplement in the re-edited "Complete Series" book for Attempted Rapture. Attempted Rapture: The Complete Series also includes Jaded Sapphira and both Rapture the Sinner and the Saint version. These encompass three separate books.
 However, as a few people already know, they were all connected by the same universe. 

For some reason, I strongly feel that Cry On Cue doesn't work as its own separate novel anymore, nor does Jaded Sapphira make much sense.  Adding them as part of a complete series feels like the right thing to do, even though it's going to make a massive novel of god knows how many pages.

They were Late Mitchell Warren's "Love Atheist Trilogy", all written in my twenties before I understood a lot about love, sex, god and life. Idealistic, not necessarily.  But perhaps very heart-on-sleeve realism style writing, which is not what I do anymore. 

I feel as if I've somewhat outgrown them in perspective, particularly Cry On Cue.  But I think in order to understand Jaded Sapphira, one has to read both Cry On Cue and Attempted Rapture: The Sinner and The Saint.  

This is why the trilogy works as a single book. 

Where is Attempted Rapture BTW? It's currently unpublished as I will be preparing a final, somewhat abridged edit, where I make it a little more modern and up to quality, matching my other books.

For most of my thirties, all I have to show for it is a small novel called Raining Cats and Dogs, and I will be exclusively offering this book as a free eBook. 

This leaves Gouging the Wound and The Song of Solomon in limbo.  I'm ashamed of Gouging the Wound, honestly, and will possibly recycle parts of it into the final episode of The Twin Flame (the novel I'm currently working on).  I just think I was too arrogant back in my twenties and wrote beyond my capacity at the time, for that particular book.  A lot of good scenes that never really fit together for a well organized novel. 

The Song of Solomon I might edit and release some day, I haven't decided yet. 

The End of the Magical Kingdom will remain four episodes, a tetralogy or quadrilogy.  Unlike Attempted Rapture and its sisters, I believe each episode of The End of the Magical Kingdom works as a self-contained book, in addition to a series. 

Also exciting: In 2019, I also look forward to starting audio books based on my novels - after I finish The Twin Flame.

Please continue to follow me on social media. 



Here is the preserved copy for Cry On Cue, a marketing campaign I will likely retire in 2019. 

Fake Girlfriends, Split Personalities & the Dangers of Not Taking Your Meds"

"In the literary sense, it is my book. I structured the book, I wrote a lot of the words and ensured that the jumping narratives flowed together smoothly and were always closely connected so as to be understood. However, Floren deserves the credit as far as the byline goes. It's her story, a great deal of it is her life.

Obviously that collection, unedited would have been unmarketable and hardly readable. Not because it wasn't interesting. More like, it was just too interesting. Too much for a reader to digest. Floren is mentally ill and possibly sociopathic. She may well have a psychological condition that doctors have not discovered yet. Not to be rude or anything, but any man who marries her would kill himself slowly--not even quickly. The woman is unbearable to be around for any length of time.
That said, I still found her interesting in that science lab gawking sort of way.  So one of my assignments was to make this strange, impenetrable story written by a mad woman somewhat readable and understandable for a mainstream audience.

I don't know if I meant it to evolve into this James Joyce-esque cataclysm of vitriol and parody, but the more the story pressed on, the more Floren's insanity affected the narrative. She has no concept of time, even as a real person, so the book flows in this sort of surreal heavenly know if heaven were fill of dildos.  Er, don't quote me on that. I think Floren's psychotic view of life also influenced my writing, even down to the strange words in the book...which very often make no sense. It is an authentic book, if nothing else.

What I liked most about this creative challenge was the chance to write an anti chick-lit book. That is, a romantic comedy, but one that the destroys the values of a traditional romance novel. A horror story crashing a chick lit novel is what it amounted to.

It's not a literary novel like Attempted Rapture or a  mishmash adventure like The Evil Princess. It's a troll book that tortures its audience and satirizes everything we hold sacred, from religion to psychiatry, to writing, to feminism, and of course Love. Basically an optimistic nihilist book."

Do you hate therapy? When people describe antisocial disorder do you think, “Wow, I just met my soul mate”? If you checked off yes to any of these questions, then Floren Felvturn’s anti chick-lit autobiography Cry On Cue is just the downer you’ve been craving.

Floren Felvturn, a virginal nymphomaniac, has come forward to tell her unflattering and bizarre life story to author and editor Mitchell Warren. Floren details her court-ordered therapy sessions, recounts her lost friendships with complete psychos, and confesses a secret so horrifying it could set postmodern feminism back 1000 years.

Mitchell Warren was somehow able to take hundreds of hours of Floren’s insane rambling, traumatic memories, and manic delusions and develop them into a semi-coherent adults-only book with a message. The end result is a tragic parody about love, life and the secrets we hide all in the name of sanity.

Audience: Adults Only...Preferably people who like confusing, weird James Joyce-esque stuff.
Category: Comedy, Anti-Chick Lit, Parody, Experimental Novel
Cast: Floren Felvturn, Paula Brakken Retsmah, Dr. Pera Rateur, Dr. Less Lamron and a hamster

Warning: This book is strictly of the love-it or hate-it variety. It contains graphic language, horrific subject matter and scenes of perverse nihilism. Oh yeah and sex too.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

My last political rant on Twitter:

My last political rant on Twitter: It surprises me to say, as an independent, that I hope #Elections2018 go in the Democrats' favor. I don't believe in their party, but it's the natural evolution of the USA to become a globalized progressive capitalist society. Trump is wrong.

I think populism is always a short-term experiment. Democrats are not socialists. Not at all. Never will be. But I think, overall, their way is the future and the American culture of yesterday will stay in yesterday. That's where the past belongs.

Capitalism is the best way to unify Americans, that is after all, what Americans are: capitalists. Republicans are old world capitalists, fixated on old laws and racist ideologies. Democrats are new age capitalists, focused on green technology and Big Brother censorship...

But green technology is what will keep the world going for another 200 years so it's better to err on the side of caution. Our only long-term hope is someday leave the earth and colonize other planets.

Logically, the only way to save earth is a worldwide government.

There is no good or evil, just youth vs. old dinosaurs, as always. Youth always wins...for better or worse, it always wins. Good and evil are speechwriter's words. Take a look at how we Good Americans treat animals and tell me how "we" are "noble creatures."

I've never approved of imperialism, still don't. But imperialism is a human flaw that will continue to thrive as long as humans exist. Everyone thinks of a Utopian society but no one has ever actualized it, not in millions of years of human history.

I like socialism, but it's it's a fantasy, a novel plot, nothing more. Every socialist experiment falls off the scale with capitalism, communism or centrism. All we as humans understand is power, (old world monarchies, religion) and now, the merchants who keep economies running.

We're still stuck in a Utopian-wannabe culture that still worships people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Zuckerberg and you @jack.  We can never grow as socialists as long as merchants steer the ship.

But capitalism is what works for now.

Ultimately, I'm proud of millennial culture. #MeToo, #PCCulture and #racialequality #LGBTQ rights - these are all wonderful things.  They have taken some wrong turns, sure, but they are going to shape a better future.

Finally...I do admit, I still wonder in the back of my mind if Trump was a CIA experiment to get millennials interested in politics. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Network (1976)

One of my favorite films is considered a masterpiece of 1976. I first watched it as a teenager and even back then I knew this was one to be studied.
This is how all writers should write, at least if they have an ear for comedy and drama.
"Network" was more than just a dramedy, however. It was a satire and a bit of a psychological horror because of the inhumane way it treated its characters, as well as its schizoid-like deconstruction of the human experience.
Howard Beale was the mad prophet, a fun scenery-chewing role to play, by the late Peter Finch, but the real terror of the movie comes from William Holden and Faye Dunaway who inhabited their characters (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen) with such horrid detachment from all humanity.
Perhaps the deepest thought in Network (a film with so many direct parallels to the culture Modern American has created that it's less a satire and more of a prophecy) is the idea that the news, as well as the dehumanizing approach news producers take to such dark material, makes people insane.
This was certainly the thought emphasized by journalists who directly attributed inspiration of the movie to Christine Chubbuck, who committed suicide on live television a few years prior.
However, in a later interview with Paddy Chayefsky, he stated that Christine did not inspire the fact, the idea came from the experience of going behind the scenes of a news network and seeing the amorality of what they do to sell stories and get bigger ratings.
That's what inspired Network - the idea that so much dehumanizing language and emotional detachment from life drives one mad.
The movie is all the more appealing nowadays because of the "fake news" war going on between the Right and the Left.
What immediately drew me to it as a young man, was that screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky received just as much attention - if not more - as director Sydney Lumet for writing the satirical script. That was huge for the 1970s and even quite the milestone today, where it seems only writer-directors get any credit as visionaries.
And just to end this on a demoralizing note, you know what movie won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976?
That's right, you can write something so brilliant only to someday be outvoted by Sylvester Stallone's biceps.

Girly, - Musmy Nanny, Sonny and Girly

#Girly is one of those rare cinema gems that denies you a gut reaction and leaves you in a state of perpetual confusion...until days later when you realize you've actually seen something new and groundbreaking.
Not so much traditional horror as it is psychological horror, an unnerving experience in which you're held hostage by a family that is sociopathic, if not as traditionally violent as the Sawyer / Leatherface family.
The movie was initially looked over because of sheer "indifference" - it wasn't a slasher movie or a thriller. It was very low budget.
I wasn't sure what to think of it when I first saw it, except to label it as a that critically analyzed UK politics and culture of the 1969 era.
But even today, it's relevant in the sense that it is still a great study in psychosis. It was a pioneer of the psychological horror genre, as well as a political satire.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover was a similar film, except that it felt like an absurd and artsy narrative, compared to "Girly", which actually resembled a more traditional horror format. Which is why, I suppose, it's still considered a horror flick. (Just barely)

Raining Cats & Dogs

Raining Cats & Dogs was originally published at Subversify magazine in 2009 and then compiled into an ebook in 2017.
It was slightly ahead of its time, since it took about ten years for filmmakers to explore the idea of an "all dog cast" and a canine stream of consciousness, NOT for children but for adults. Most notably Wes Anderson and the Isle of Dogs, which I haven't seen yet, but might sometime soon. I gather his film will be very different from mine, since mine was written in the spirit of Animal Farm and not a survivalist adventure flick.
I devised the idea of an all-dog murder mystery after being repulsed by the writing business and of course, suffering from a multi-year writer's block. (I finished my last new book in 2005 and took a long break)
It was very loosely based on The Brothers Kamarazov and explored concepts of religion, family and depression from a dog's point of view.
It was a predecessor to The End of the Magical Kingdom for its satirical themes (funny but also disturbing), and according to my writing style, in that it was violent, lustful and dark in subject matter, even while being rather absurd in theme.
I don't think it was the best work I've done, but it was the blueprint for writing superior works like The Saint of Science later on.

A short parable

Once upon a time, there lived a fun, loving, passionate and compassionate prince who was fair and very sure of “Happily Ever After.”   ...