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You will never look at Burning Man the same again

I am officially archived as The Wicked Library Podcast #519.

I absolutely have fallen in love with Nelson W. Pyles’ voice. I cannot believe how amazing he makes my story, “Leave No Trace”, sound. Then there is Maddie Von Stark’s breathtaking artwork, which captures the essence of the story perfectly. Listen to the podcast – the drumbeats that Pyles adds to the audio are beyond perfect.

You will never look at #BurningMan the same again.

Artwork by Maddie Holliday Von Stark

Artwork by Maddie Holliday Von Stark

The Five Gallon Parable

(Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

TRUE STORY: I am often reminded of a situation that happened to me back when I was in my early 30’s. I worked for a huge corporation that maintained multiple offices in the Stamford, CT area. For the first year that I worked there, I was located in one of the smallish offices with several partners, the international security division, and the tech department. There were 30 odd people, men and women, existing together in this corporate microcosm.

We had a watercooler in the kitchen; one of those simple water systems that relied on five-gallon jugs being lifted onto the water distribution dispenser. For a long time, whenever I saw the water jug empty, I would just replace it with a full one. No big deal, just lift with your legs and muscle the awkward jug into the plastic hole. Not difficult, just heavy. Finally it dawned on me one day – I was the only one replacing the jugs. To test my hypothesis, I let the current jug reach empty and did not replace it. For three days, the office had no water except tap water, until I got so annoyed and thirsty that I replaced the jug myself. Within half a day, the watercooler was swarmed with everyone drinking the fresh water. It was gone quickly, because everyone was waiting for the water.

The next time it emptied, I ignored it for 5 days… and for 5 days, no one in the office replaced the 5-gallon jug. Only this time, I was intrigued. I asked other people: “Gee, I’m thirsty. I wonder why the water jug isn’t full?”

The responses were numerous and lame. “It’s too heavy”, “I can’t lift it”, “Someone else always does it,” and the best one – “I’m thirsty, too. I wonder when it will work again?”

Is this story a parable? An example of office politics? A way for me to try to understand the way the brains work of the people around me? I don’t know. All I know is that whenever I’m in a situation where I feel left out or confused, I always remember the watercooler. In my head, I try to figure out – is everyone waiting for someone else to solve the problem? Or is the problem so obvious that no one can figure out the simple solution?

And the ultimate question – should I bother opening my mouth and give my opinion, or should I just be quiet and fix the problem myself?

Nerine Dorman’s Year in Review

One of the great people I have had the opportunity to get to know over the past two years is South African author and editor Nerine Dorman. Her popular blog This is My World has plenty of author interviews, WIP updates, opinion pieces, and reflections on music. Check out her recently published year in review.

13582064  I first met Nerine on Facebook back in 2010, and she graciously agreed to read and review my novel “Let It Bleed“. She liked it (whew!), and we found out that we had a lot of things in common. Voila! Social media friendship success story!

Since then, our working relationship has continued to grow and expand. In January 2011, right before I exited from Dark Continents Publishing, one of the last projects I launched (with the divine Ms. Tracie McBride) was the successful Darkness and Dismay series of e-book novellas which included Nerine and her co-author/co-partner-in-crime Carrie Clevenger’s Blood and Fire. Simultaneously, Nerine was editing the South African Horrorfest’s Bloody Parchment: Lost Things, Hidden Things and Other Stories, which happens to have my story “The Woman Who Sold the World” in it.   15786709        

Next year, I’m looking forward to reading Blackfeather and Camdeboo Nights from this talented author. Keep up the incredible work, girl!

Second Edition this n’ that n’ brick n’ brack

It’s here, and it’s gorgeous.

Dark Continents Publishing has released Let It Bleed in a second edition format, available in both e-book and softcover format.

Please take a moment and take a chance on my controversial little novel – it is dark, engaging, full of big words and big ideas.  Dark Continents has had Let It Bleed on the KDP Select program for the first three months of its life, but as of September 2012 it will be transitioning over to other purchasing sites such as Barnes and Noble.

Want to know how to help a struggling author (like myself) get their novel into local bookstores? Don’t use Amazon. Go to your nearest independent book publisher and do a special order request that they order Let It Bleed for you. Either use the title, my name, or the ISBN #978-0983160304

Alternatively, if you want to really step up and help make a difference, go to the Amazon site and leave a review of Let It Bleed. If you’ve never left a review before, don’t be intimidated — it is really easy. Just use your regular login information, and then go to the book page on Amazon and do the following three things:

1) “LIKE” at the top of the page

2) Scroll down towards the bottom of the page and check that you are in agreement with the “tags”. If you can think of a great tag that is not currently represented, please feel free to add.

3) In the center of the page, there is the ability to “write a review”. There appears to be no maximum to the number of words one can utilize to either like or not like a novel (OH! But I hope you like mine!), but the minimum number of words is 25. Even saying a quick “this was my favorite part” is helpful and greatly appreciated.

Every single author I know would love this treatment, not just me.

Get out there – shop and comment. Especially if you’ve been the recipient of a free copy. Do the author a favor and pay it forward!

My Predications on The Walking Dead Season Finale

All I can say before the season finale of The Walking Dead this weekend is: DO NOT KILL CAROL OR DARYL!

There. I feel better now.

And for those of you who have not watched this season’s previous episodes, don’t read the rest of this post because I am about to bitch slap this series, and will use a whole bunch of spoilers to prove my point.

Episode 212: “Better Angels” ended with Shane’s death. Now, I happened to beleive that Shane was a brilliantly conceived antagonist and that Jon Bernthal was a really good actor. You know why I say this? Because I did not like Shane Walsh at all. In fact, by the end of “Better Angels” I was relieved that Rick killed him because he was becoming so dangerous to the group. But now here is where I get pissed off- why did they kill off the one character who actually had a personality?

Bernthal took that character, a small town police officer with a good-ole-boy attitude and transformed him into a violent, jealous killer.  But he did it slooowly…changing ever so slightly from the end of season one until his death last week. He didn’t just wake up one day and turn into a the villian vs. Rick Grimes’ superhero…. he simmered until all that zombie death and destruction and the loss of Lori just boiled over. The day he shaved his head was the day he crossed the threshold from innocent bystander to hostile witness. I didn’t like him, but his character was completely believable – every tribe always has a someone who goes against the staus quo.

So the Season Finale is this weekend, and I better not see Daryl or Carol bite the dust. Daryl is my favorite guy on the show; I always like the bad boys who rebel against society. He needs to be given meatier dialogue, though, and definately deserves more screen time. I am getting bored of watching him just walk around with a crossbow and avoid Carol’s soulful gazes. Come on, writers! Give Daryl something to do! And when the hell is his brother going to show up and avenge his missing hand?

As for Carol, I find her quiet but intriguing. Actress Melissa McBride gives Carol a strong backbone despite her weak first impressions. The most emotionally devasting scene from the entire series occured when Sophia the walker came stumbling out of the barn. It was totally unexpected. Carol tried to get to her daughter, but Daryl wrapped his arms around her and they both collapsed to the ground. Carol’s heartbreak combined with Daryl’s disbelief was powerful to watch – I felt so sorry for the Grimes Gang and everything they had lost due to the zombie outbreak.

On top of that, I want to see Carol and Daryl get together and snog. Of all the couples on the show, they have the most chemistry.

So who could die, and I would be OK with it? Well, Lori has turned out to be a bit of a loser. She is one of those females who plays on both sides of the fence, just to be safe. She keeps Rick by her side because he is currently the alpha male, but its pretty obvious that her allegiance is thin. If Shane had lived and become the alpha male, Lori would have quickly sided with him. Survival of the fittest, right? Can’t blame her for her actions – if it was the end of the world and I had the two strongest guys in the Grimes Gang fighting over me, I would probably do the same thing. But I’m tired of her hair being in her face, and I’m also tired of her pouting. Being pregnant does not absolve her from being a simpering princess.

So my prediction for the season finale is that something bad is going to happen to Herschel, the farm is going to be over run and everyone is going to have to leave in search of a new safe place.  There may be more group separations coming, because I think Maggie will decide to stay on the farm, and will try to convince Glenn to stay with her. The Grimes Gang will run into Randall’s group of dangerous humans and Merle Dixon, minus one hand, will be the leader of the group. This causes consternation with Daryl, who now must choose which group to join.

Oh, and wouldn’t it be interesting if the kind and mild Morgan and his son Duane were now a part of  Randall’s roving band of humans?

Hmmm… the possibilities are endless…. as long as NEITHER CAROL NOR DARYL GET KILLED.

There. I feel better again.

By the way – I just re-released Let It Bleed via Dark Continents Publishing. It is available on Amazon on this link. Try it – you’ll like it!

new website at slschmitz.com

Its official. I have gone ahead, made the phone call, and inactived thedeadgirl.com

It isn’t really that big a deal. I was getting less than 100 unique hits a month, so its not like there were thousands of people breaking down my door to get to my content. Plus, I didn’t update it. Ever. It was one of those stagnant, unmoving wildebeast websites that live in the wild and foraged for themselves.

So, I went ahead and activated slschmitz.com

I decided to do this for a couple of different reasons; I decided that “the dead girl” was just a vanity name, and that it no longer met my needs. Also, when contemplating a website from a business point of view, it just made more sense to name the damn thing after my own name.

Plus- and I NEVER, EVER thought I would say these words – WordPress is easier to use than all those other fancy, expensive websites out there. Those of you that had to suffer through my summer 2011 technology nervous breakdown when I tried to learn how to use WordPress will recall all of the curse words I used as I navigated the site. Oh well, live and learn.

So slschmitz.com it shall be from now on. Trouble is, the old website is everywhere. It’s on postcards, business cards, social media sites, etc. Pardon me while I shut down for renovation. I’m going to need a Swiffer around here until all this dust settles…

About Me

I am S.L. Schmitz. I live in North Carolina in the United States with my husband,
son, and four cats.

It is very strange to write about myself. I was a teenager in Chicago during the 1980’s, and am heavily influenced by the punk, gothic and industrial musicscene from that time  period. My musical influences include Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, the Cure, Bauhaus, Skinny Puppy, Rites of Spring, and the Swans. I can still rock that Siouxsie Sioux black eye make up, if the right
event came around!

I respect and admire so many different authors, so I couldn’t possibly just list
a bunch of names. I think that would be insincere. Instead, let me just say that I can never get tired of reading Patti Smith or RayBradbury. I adore John Shirley, both the man and the myth. More recently, I have become deeply enamoured with the
Mythpunk genre, particularly the writings of TheodoraGoss and Amal El-Mohtar.

Last year, I couldn’t decide if I was insulted or not when someone told me that I
was an ‘enigma’. I may look quiet and unassuming, but I have the heart and soul
of an Aquarian Rebel. You know what they say – never judge a book by its cover.

Unless it is one of my books.

In that case, I hope you are able to see the images in each word which I have carefully
chosen, and that the unraveling embroidery of my story speaks volumes to you.

Don’t ever forget how to fly-

S.L. Schmitz

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