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Just One of the Girls December 29, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Real Life.
4 comments

So, I’ve long held that despite being male, I am just one of the girls. Lacking any real evidence of this, though, I’ve been forced to use more anecdotal facts to try to persuade the non-believers among my various acquaintances that this is, in fact, true. However, it seems that my distaste for monster trucks, my lack of interest in barbecuing and the unnatural-to-some number of female friends I’ve had throughout my life (historically, about 90% of my friends have been female) is not really a confirmation of my membership in the Just-One-of-the-Girls Club of America .

The fact that some kind soul has subscribed me to Redbook magazine, Working Mother magazine and has also gotten me a brand new exclusive subscription to Teen Vogue magazine (complete with a nice, big For Girls Only notice on the invitation) is also not strong enough evidence.

Well, now I have real proof.

As evidence that I am, in fact, just one of the girls, I present the Gender Analyzer for blogs. The Gender Analyzer is meant to help you, the reader of any given blog, to determine the gender of the author of the blog. I do not know the mechanism it uses, but I am assuming that a lot of science and psychology have gone into figuring out what words men use and what words women use when writing.

And science, of course, cannot be argued with, especially when it is coupled with psychology.  So, here we go:

The Theory

I, Rob, a male, am nonetheless just one of the girls

The Science

I have several blogs. Here are the results when I expand them to show all posts (so the analyzer can parse everything on the site and not just the latest thirteen posts) and then run them through the Gender Analyzer:

  • Thirteenth Dimension (this blog) when analyzed, comes up as likely being written by a woman (71% score).
  • Percival’s Place, when analyzed, comes up as being likely to have been written by a man (66% score).
  • Thirteen Exits, my travel blog, comes up as likely being written by a woman (68% score)
  • Thirteen Harvests, my gardening blog, is, apparently, written by a woman(70% score).So, three of my four blogs, when read in their entirety, appear to be written by a woman.

    The Psychology

    I suppose I’m conflicted by this. At least sort of. I mean, I’ve always just been one of the girls and I have no problem with that at all… but at the same time, having some computer program give me cold, hard scientific evidence that I may not be a real man feels like it changes things. I mean, seriously – I do like the power tools and lawn equipment that “real men” like (assuming that real men are into rechargeable, battery-powered lawn mowers and weed-whackers) so where does this computer program get off telling me I may not be a man?

    All of this leaves me wondering if I should just officially adopt a single-name penname such as “Roberta,” which was the name all the women in my wife’s all-female dorm at college called me, or if I just need to put some more cursing, fighting and pyrotechnics into my writing, just to prove that I am, in fact, a man.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that I can’t argue with science and this is clearly science. I also know that anything found on the internet must be a true and accurate portrayal of the universe, so clearly this proves that I am, truly, just one of the girls.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 November 3, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical.
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I’m currently getting ready to participate in NaNoWriMo 2011.  I have been busy dealing with “The Real World” so far, and therefore I haven’t actually started my novel yet.  In fact, I don’t even have an idea yet.

The lack of ideas is, however, not a big problem for me.  I think I’ve started before November 5 only once in the past 5 years of NaNoWriMo (the only year I actually had an idea before November 5 as well).  In all honesty, though, Life has made things a bit more complicated again this year (third straight year of complicated Novembers).

If I could count the words I’ve written in tech-related forums posts, I probably already have well-over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo 2011. Hmm… maybe I’ll write a novel all in forums-post format. It’s kind of like iambic pentameter, epic poetry and haiku combined, especially if you squint a little while reading it.

Or, well, maybe not.

In any event, I’m hoping to have some kind of idea by the weekend. In the meantime, I was interviewed for the Office of Letters and Light’s blog, so you should check it out!

Meet Our Team: Rob Diaz, Ticket Master

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know in the comments!

Coming Soon to a Paperback Near You October 15, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
2 comments

Within the next few weeks, you will be able to purchase your very own paperback copies of not one, not two, but three anthologies in which I have stories.

First up, we have two books in the Chinese Whisperings lineup:

RedAndYinAndYang

My story, Out of the Darkness, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Red Book; my story, Thirteen Feathers, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Yin and Yang Books.  The Chinese Whisperings books are mainstream fiction anthologies consisting of inter-related short stories which were written sequentially – each subsequent author wrote based on what had been written previously.  Twenty-two authors from around the globe contributed stories (ten of us in The Red Book and all twenty-two of us in The Yin and Yang Books).  The Red Book was released in eBook format on January 1, 2010 while The Yin and Yang Books were released electronically on October 10, 2010.  And now, after many, many visits and pranks from the entity lovingly known as the CW Fairy**, the paperbacks are finally shipping!

See those links above? The ones that serve as the title for my stories in these anthologies?  Click them.  They bring you to a story teaser as well as behind the scenes commentary about the stories.  I’m told the excerpts, and the behind-the-scenes details, are must read material!

The paperbacks were supposed to be available on October 11, 2011.  But the aforementioned CW Fairy decided another prank was in order and as a result the date slipped a bit.  But now you can pre-order the paperbacks directly from eMergent Publishing right now.  And as long as Amazon.com can keep the CW Fairy at bay, you’ll be able to order from them in the next week or so.

The third book coming out in paperback form this month is the Literary Mix Tapes anthology called Eighty-Nine:

EightyNine

My story, “All I Wanted,” appears in this anthology.  The Eighty-Nine anthology has twenty-six authors from around the world creating stand-alone stories inspired by specific songs from the year 1989. The song which inspired my story is “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone-Lōc.  This anthology is speculative fiction.

I don’t have fancy links to an excerpt or behind-the-scenes commentary for this story… but I do have a link that might be even better:  For a limited time, you can enter to win one of three free copies of Eighty-Nine.  That’s right—between now and October 25, 2011, all you have to do is click on that link and then the button in the middle of the page that says “Enter to Win” and you may win a free copy of this anthology!  Good luck—and if you win a copy, stop back and let me know!

I also have a fancy link to a video book trailer for this book, too.  It’s only the teaser trailer at the moment, but it is still fun!

Eighty Nine releases officially on October 25, 2011.  You can pre-order it now through the Literary Mix Tapes website.

As always, I thank you for your support of these projects.  I’ve been blessed to work on these anthologies with some amazing emerging authors. I hope you get a chance to pick up one or more of these books and if you do or if you have already done so, I’d love to know what you think of them.  Post comments here or, even better, on Goodreads.

________________________________________________________________________
**The CW Fairy is a filthy, awful, vile beast that no one has ever seen, but most everyone involved with Chinese Whisperings has interacted with from time to time. Trust me—you do not want to meet the CW Fairy in a dark alley.  Or in an airport lounge.

The Red Book in an Alternate Dimension September 21, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in General Fiction, Publications, Real Life.
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Jodi Cleghorn and Dale Challener Roe have thrown down the gauntlet and challenged me to think about my story, “Out of the Darkness”, and what character I might wish I’d have written about if I could do it all again. Not being one to back down from a challenge, and especially not being someone who wants to stop the ball from rolling on this sort of thing, here are my unscripted and written-way-too-late-at-night thoughts on the subject.

As background, The Red Book is the first in the Chinese Whisperings anthologies.  It has been available as an eBook for almost two years and is coming out in paperback form on October 11, 2011.  The book was co-written by ten authors from around the world, many of whom have never met or spoken outside of social media and email.  The book was written in a one-after-the-other process where one author would write their story, the next author would choose a secondary character from the prior story and write that character’s story, and so on… providing a unique and interesting exploration of the lives of ten distinct-but-related characters. None of us knew what we were getting from the prior author until we got it and then had to choose our character.

I was the eighth author in the book.  I was also one of the last authors added to the mix, a replacement player of sorts when someone else couldn’t go.  That meant I had a lot of insight into where the characters had gone and I also had a lot of big footsteps to follow in terms of keeping the story writing at a high quality. Being a computer (software) geek, I built a spreadsheet detailing every major and minor character that appears in every single story before mine, along with details about them and what we knew about them. I had the honor of following Jasmine Gallant in the writing process and her terrific story, “Not My Name” had plenty of characters from which I could choose.  Specifically, (as I refer to my spreadsheet) I had seven choices:

  • Ronnie
  • Professor Jacobs
  • Frankie
  • the short female cop with bushy hair
  • the tall cop
  • Susie
  • Verity

If you read my thoughts on writing “Out of the Darkness”, you’ll recall that I started thirteen separate stories as I wrote (the thirteenth being what became “Out of the Darkness”). Three of them focused on the short female cop with bushy hair. One was related to the tall cop. One was about Frankie. All the rest were about Susie.  Ultimately, I chose to write about Susie, a character who actually appears in two stories before mine, Paul Servini’s “Discovery” and, of course, Jasmine’s “Not My Name”.  In these stories we learn about where Susie ends up and about one of her stops along the way.  But we don’t know how she got on this path in the first place.  In “Not My Name”, we see Susie through the eyes of Sam as she comments about how tired he appears. It was Sam’s thought, “You’d look tired too if you were me,” which made me choose to write about Susie because Sam’s reaction made me wonder why he assumed Susie was not as tired and not struggling as much as he was. I saw an opportunity to look at how we should not just assume we understand what someone is going through, whether they are happy or sad or look tired or energetic.

But what if I could do it again?

If I could do it again and was still required to choose a character from “Not My Name”, I’d write about Verity.

Verity appeared in Dale Challener Roe’s “Not Myself” and is simply a captivating character. I like how she was caring and compassionate—to me she was caring and compassionate almost to a fault.  I like her outlook on life and how she seems to look for the positives even in bad situations.  At least that’s how I imagined her.  She stayed strong and steady, even as others around her felt their world crumbling.  The description of her sigh in “Not Myself” intrigued me. Essentially, Verity just feels like a character who has a lot of positive stories to tell…and if I had another shot I think I might help her story be told.

If I could choose any character in any story, I’d choose the veggie delivery boy who appears in Jodi Cleghorn’s “Mercurial”.  Why? Well, the vegetarian in me feels there are not enough stories about vegetables and the people who love them.  And frankly, I think it would be a heck of a compelling read.

“We should run away together,” said the veggie delivery boy.

“No, no, we mustn’t,” sighed the short female cop with bushy hair. “Mama would be so disappointed.”

“Well…” said the veggie delivery boy as he bent down on one knee, “if we cant-eloupe, then how about we get married?”

“I’m not real sure that’s a good idea,” she replied, scratching at her head.  “I think my cats don’t really like you all that much. But, don’t despair, we all like your veggies.”

Ahem.  Well, I did warn you that I’m writing this way-too-late-at-night.  I’m sure the story would be more compelling if I were writing this in the morning.

Anyway, I’m pleased to have chosen Susie Lim as the focal point of “Out of the Darkness”.  There are things I’d change about the story, things I’d do differently, things I’d add or remove.  But all-in-all, I’m glad I picked her and had a chance to get to know her and the people around her. You can read an excerpt from “Out of the Darkness” as well as read some behind-the-scenes commentary, as well as story excerpts and commentaries from the other authors in the anthology by clicking over to the post on the Chinese Whisperings website.

And I am tagging Paul Servini to talk about what he might do differently if he had another shot at “Discovery” for The Red Book.  Take it away, Paul!

 

Edit: You can read each author’s thoughts on hypothetically revisiting this project by following these links:

Annie Evett

Dale Challener Roe

Jodi Cleghorn

Paul Servini

And for an added bonus, read what Dan Powell might have written had he been involved with the project.

Writing Is My Time Capsule June 12, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Non-fiction.
6 comments

I was tagged by Icy Sedgwick in her meme and while it has taken me a few days to get to it, I absolutely do not want to be the one who breaks this chain letter… so here’s my post about what writing means to me.

Writing is my time capsule.  Or maybe it’s a scrapbook.  Whatever stamp I may put on it, writing is a history.

I have written for as long as I can remember.  Poetry, short stories, plays, novels, limericks… whatever it was, it contained a part of me.  Much like someone might build a scrapbook of important events for themselves or their child, my compiled pile of writing is a memory book of thoughts, ideas, emotions and dreams.

While I lost quite a bit of the writing I did in my early years thanks to yellowed paper, faded pencil marks and water damage, I still have most of what I wrote from my middle school years and beyond.  Whenever I go back and read any of it, no matter how good or bad the writing itself was, I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was feeling at the time.  I remember who inspired each piece, as well, so I am reminded of friends or family or unrequited teenage love.  I can see patterns in the writing that show me periods of deep depression, periods of extreme happiness and periods where I was (or was not) at ease with myself and who I was.

Even though the majority of my writing is fiction, there is a lot of truth to be learned from it. When I wrote things as a teenager, I couldn’t see it then. Nor can I see it in the writing I do today.  But the passage of time allows me to look back and see what was really going on inside my head and, sometimes, remind me of how I dealt with situations that have come up again.  While it would be easy to say “wow, Rob, you deal with everything by hiding on a different planet, with different rules which make your problems go away”, it isn’t really the case. Escaping to a different time or place is certainly a part of the reason I write, but I could tell stories that are set on a sandy beach just as easily as I tell stories set in alien landscapes.  While the settings, the aliens and the abundance of free coffee are included to entertain people who might read my writing, the emotions and plot elements are straight from my life, usually something I’m trying to work through without yelling at too many people. Putting them on the page allows me to review them and analyze them later to see how I did.

What is the writing I’m doing today reflecting about me and my life today? I don’t know. But in five or ten years, when I re-open this time capsule, I should have some interesting things to sort out.

Tagging:

Matt Robb

Virginia Diaz

Heather Dudley

Hidden April 1, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(A note about ‘Hidden’) 

I initially posted a draft of this story several years ago. I wasn’t a big fan of it, so I reworked it significantly and re-published it today. I hope you enjoy it.

“This is the perfect hiding spot, isn’t it?”

The teenage boy hiding behind the big oak tree along the edge of the park nearly jumped out of his skin as the man’s voice broke the silence of the wooded ravine. “Shhh!” he hissed as he peeked around the tree to try to see if any of the other kids who were playing Hide and Seek had heard the noise. “You’ll give me away!”

“I wouldn’t want to do that,” the man whispered, joining the boy in peeking around the tree.

The boy looked at the man suspiciously for a moment before setting his focus back to the open field of the park on the other side of the big tree. “I’m going to win this time. Jimmy Falloner always wins these games, but this time will be different. This time I won’t be the first one they find.”

(more…)

Mercury Marshmallow Men February 17, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Short Stories, Unedited.
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by Nick Diaz and Rob Diaz

(A note about ‘Mercury Marshmallow Men’) 

My son has been struggling in school with writing.  He has been putting together extremely brief answers to essay questions and largely not enough details about anything.  The other day, he got a ‘D’ on a story he had to write. This was because he was supposed to write a complete story and he, instead, wrote three or four sentences.  His ideas were very good, he simply didn’t explain them or explain what happened before or around the ideas.  He acknowledged that he really didn’t do the work but he didn’t know how to expand the simple ideas.  So, I decided to try to help him learn how to build a larger story, essay or answer from a brief idea. We sat down and took the last email I received, which was an update on NASA’s MESSENGER probe.  I said, “So, MESSENGER gets to Mercury and finds flashing lights.”  We built up the concept of the story from there over a 10 minute conversation in which we asked “okay, why?” and “Okay, what did it smell like?” a lot.  Then, based on our brief notes, we started writing.  This story is the result of our efforts.  We both worked on this and in spots it is probably clear who was leading the effort.  But ultimately this was collaborative.  And, it was a lot of fun. We’ll probably do it again.

It had been only thirteen days since NASA’s MESSENGER spaceship first went into orbit around Mercury on March 17, 2011. Scientists on Earth were studying the data being sent back from Mercury when they noticed that the spaceship had recorded several bright flashes of light on the dark side of the planet. Over the next few weeks, the scientists directed the spaceship to spend more and more time focusing its cameras on the crater where the light was coming from. They used the spaceship’s cameras to zoom in and take close up pictures. They were surprised – shocked, actually—at what they saw. (more…)

Nothing But Flowers, A Literary Mix-tape February 16, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Publications, Real Life, Sci-fi/Fantasy.
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It has been my privilege and good fortune to be asked to be a part of a new anthology!

NothingButFlowerscoverFINAL

“Nothing But Flowers: tales of post apocalyptic love” is the second offering from Literary Mix Tapes (a quarterly crowd-sourced short fiction anthology inspired by music).

Inspired by the Talking Heads song of the same name, Nothing But Flowers explores the complexities and challenges of love in a post-apocalyptic landscape. From plague to fundamentalist governments, comets and war, from terra firma to outer space the people on these pages face up to what it means to love and be loved when you’ve lost everything.

My story, “Escape from Paradise”,provides the “comets” portion of the above blurb as it details the last-minute attempt to escape of the last outpost of humanity.

You can get information about this book and about the many, varied authors from around the world by checking out the Literary Mix Tapes website.  Starting on February 17, 2011 you should be able to purchase web-access to the stories or an eBook version (ePub, mobi or pdf format) as well as pre-order the paperback.

All proceeds from this anthology go to support the Grantham Flood Support fund, supporting the victims of the January 2011 flooding in wide areas of Queensland, Australia.

Thanks to all who have or will support this great and worthy cause.

As an update, you can now purchase the paperback version of this anthology from amazon.com. It is available here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/098074461X

My 2011 Anti-Resolutions January 5, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Fiction Friday, Humorous.
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(written based on the [Fiction] Friday prompt on December 31, 2010: “What are your Anti-Resolutions for the coming year?”)

Note:  Most people put in 5 or 10 of these… but somehow, 13 seemed more appropriate for me.

  1. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee investments as a business expense, even though I drink most of it during business hours.
  2. I will not blame Microsoft for everything that is wrong with technology in the world; clearly, most of the blame belongs on Apple.
  3. I will not blame the cats or the dog for smells that most certainly came from my daughter.
  4. I will not sing about compost and pig slop at my next audition for a role in a musical; clearly, it’s better to sing about gang violence and infidelity instead.
  5. I will not continue to float the idea of coffee-flavored cigarettes and coffee-flavored alcohol products because I am completely against supporting such addictive behaviors as smoking and drinking.
  6. I will not go into local steak houses just to place “Meat is Murder” stickers on all of the tables, chairs, menus and light fixtures; I will make sure to order a blooming onion and use the “For Customer Use Only” restroom first.
  7. I will not allow my son to blame the cats, the dog, his sister or his mother for smells that most certainly came from him.
  8. I will not continue my lobbying efforts to make March 30 a national holiday in honor of the glorious day in 1971 when Starbucks opened its first store in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
  9. I will not continue to blame science for letting me down by not having invented flying cars and teleportation devices yet when it is obvious that these technologies do exist and have been suppressed and hidden by a little-known, right-wing government conspiracy.
  10. I will not make my apocalypse story be about December 21, 2012 because the world doesn’t need another story about that specific apocalypse on that specific day; clearly, the real apocalyptic event would be due to a shortage of broccoli and garlic on December 22, 2012 and will take everyone by surprise because of the media’s focus on December 21. (Multi-million dollar movie contract for this unique idea… here I come!)
  11. I will not goad my wife into breaking her anti-resolutions by bringing Caxton or the Great Vowel Shift up in otherwise ordinary conversations, even though it would be a lot of fun to watch her try to avoid her inevitable rant about the subjects.
  12. I will not make fun of the dog for wearing the ridiculous outfits my wife puts on him; I’m sure that if he had opposable thumbs, he’d change out of that stuff and into ripped jeans and spiked studded collars as soon as he got out of her line of sight, just like any self-respecting dog would do.
  13. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee purchases and intake as a healthcare expense, even though I drink it for the health of those around me and I once had it prescribed by a doctor (No lie! This happened on November 9, 2010 – along with a slip for antibiotics and codeine-laced cough medicine, I got a slip for a cup of coffee).

Thirteen Things I Can Live Without in 2011 January 3, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited.
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At the beginning of a new year, we often think about the things we need or want more of in the coming year.  Today, I’d like to think about what I’d really like to do without this year.  This list, in no particular order (aside from the first one), should not be considered all-encompassing.  It is simply what came to mind when I started thinking about this.

  1. I can live without another deadly hurricane, flood, volcanic eruption, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, mine collapse, airplane crash, ship sinking, school shooting, hate-based crime or terrorist attack.  Oh, and I don’t need any more wars or sabre-rattling speeches or threats from leaders of any nation or negative election campaign advertisements from leaders or wannabe leaders of this nation, either.
  2. I can live without hearing anything more about Rex Ryan’s wife’s feet or how much he loves them.
  3. I can live without seeing another television advertisement for prescription drugs. I’d especially like no more drug commercials with catchy jingles, plumbing-less bathtubs in the desert (or on the beach), green-colored mafia-backed blobs that move into the lungs and invite their extended family, butterflies that make you sleep and then wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go (with brushed hair and full makeup on), or legal disclaimers about the possibility of death as a side effect. I also don’t need to see advertisements for miraculous seasonal allergy medicines with a side effect of “head cold symptoms” because, like, why bother?
  4. I can live without another oil spill. Unless it’s a nice splash of extra virgin olive oil on a fresh, green salad. Perhaps with a little vinegar and garlic, too.
  5. I can live without hearing about how WikiLeaks is the worst thing that ever happened to the world, how it needs to be shut down, hidden and vilified as a terrorist website and how Julian Assange is a traitor to every nation on the planet and therefore deserves to be tortured, jailed and/or put to death for leaking confidential information.
  6. I can live without hearing about how WikiLeaks is the best thing that ever happened to the world, how it needs to be protected as a true, honest and important source of information everyone needs and how Julian Assange is an international hero who is being turned into a martyr who will eventually be tortured and either locked up or put to death in order to further the cause of leaking confidential information.
  7. I can live without hearing the politicians in Congress talking about how they’ve now come to Washington to “change how things are done around here” and “fix everything that’s not right.”  What the heck have you been doing for all the prior years you’ve been in Washington?  Seriously… every new Congress has said they’re going to change how things are done, but the only thing that ever changes is the portion of the country that’s angry at any given time.  So just shut up and get on with pissing off the 50% of the country who didn’t vote for you.
  8. I can live without hearing anything more about Bernie Madoff. Give a small amount of money to his wife and then let her get a job like the rest of us losers.  Then sell his homes, sell his cars, turn all of his assets over to the victims of his Ponzi scheme and let him rot in jail.  Maybe make him file his victims’ tax returns, by hand, as well.
  9. I can live without hearing another Justin Bieber song. Baby, oh baby, do I not want to hear another Justin Bieber song.  Throw David Archuleta into this category, too.
  10. I can live without hearing about health care reform or about the plan to repeal health care reform (is that called “health-care-reform reform”?).  And if the current plan is called “Obamacare”, will the new one be called “Whocares”?  Seriously, the subject is giving me a headache and I can’t afford to see a doctor about it. And, really, does it have to be this difficult?  As someone who is about to lose health coverage for himself and his family AND has a pre-existing condition, I want solutions, not rhetoric from a bunch of idiots who DO have coverage!
  11. I can live without hearing or seeing anyone being a Lady Gaga copy cat and wearing an outfit made of raw meat.  And this has nothing to do with me being a vegetarian – I don’t think I’d want to hang around with anyone wearing an outfit made out of raw onions, either.
  12. I can live without hearing someone use the statement “Global warming is not caused by humans” as a reason to justify their stance that there is no reason for us to find better, more efficient and cleaner ways to use  and generate energy. Even if climate change is not being caused or exacerbated by humans, there’s no reason we should be breathing dirty air, drinking polluted water or turning the planet into a giant, toxic strip mine.
  13. I can live without an iPad, an iPhone and a Wii. No, really.  I can.

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe: An Autobiography Written Especially for the People of Earth December 28, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
1 comment so far

Some people say that I’m pretty special.

I just laugh. Me? I’m nothing! I’m just like any other guy of superior intelligence, better than average looks and awe‑inspiring charm, imagination and athletic ability.

Really.

Yet, there are still some people who insist on calling me “special.”

I hear you and I know what you are asking.

You’re asking, “What is the reason for all this hype over a seemingly average Joe?”

You’re thinking there must be something about me that causes everyone to stare at me with that glazy look in their eyes, some reason why people step aside out of respect whenever they see me enter their vicinity. “What could it possibly be?” you wonder.

(more…)

And the Winner Is… October 18, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.
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The first thing I want to say is thanks to everyone who posted comments describing their worst travel experiences. I’m sorry that you all had such harrowing experiences, but I thank you for sharing them. I, personally, have had many bad experiences. One of them includes paint can lids flying out of the back of a truck while riding down Route 95 South in heavy traffic. Another is roofing shingles flinging off a pre-fabricated building that was being pulled by a big truck – this also occurred on Route 95 south.

Still another bad experience, and possibly the scariest (more…)

Launch of the Yin and Yang Books (Chinese Whisperings) October 10, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.
2 comments

As many of you know, for the past eight months I have been involved with the second set of anthologies coming from the Chinese Whisperings brand. Last year’s debut anthology, The Red Book, was an exciting event consisting of 10 authors from around the world. It is a great book and has generated a lot of interest in the project. (You can read about The Red Book or buy it here!)

Today, the second Chinese Whisperings project launches!  Initially planned to be called “The Jade Book”, this follow-up anthology project was expanded to include 22 authors from around the globe and became two separate but interconnected anthologies known as The Yin Book and The Yang Book (or the combined The Yin and Yang Book). Again, you can learn about or buy these great anthologies right here!

The blurb for the two anthologies only tells a little of what happens in the books:

In the international terminal of a large European airport, Monday morning is about to get a whole lot worse. At 7.35am Pangaean Airlines, one of Europe’s major carriers, is put into receivership grounding all flights, stranding thousands of passengers and impounding tonnes of luggage. But all is not as appears on the surface and the sliding-doors moment of one woman deciding to abandon her suitcase will ricochet through the lives around her.

(more…)