10.05.2018

Lights, Camera...Wait...You're Fogging Up the Lens. Dammit Heath!

Greetings from SkaggleRock and the Gallifrey Annex. It's almost Fall. Well, technically it is Fall, but it's almost that magical 3 weeks in Ohio where it actually feels like Fall and the weather behaves the way it's supposed to in the autumn.

Gallifrey Annex
I'd  like to tell you all a story.

The year was 2016...maybe it was 2015. The only "romance" novels I'd read besides the hastily stowed away copies of Judy Blume (because, you know, they were 'girl's books'), was an excerpt of "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong that I found in the back of an issue of Cosmo. Needless to say, I only really read it for the naughty bits.

And then I met Monica Corwin. She was a romance writer. Prolific as heck, and further along in her writing career than I could have dreamt of being. I didn't know it at the time, but this author and amazing woman would become my best friend.

Having said that, you may think that what I'm about to tell you is just the rantings of a dude wanting his bestie to make good. And that's partially true.

Here's the thing, though.

Her books are amazing. She has had a mission since the day I've met her--To make Romance accessible to everyone.

And, I'd have to say, she's done it. I've read a good chunk of her books and I have to say, it's the story that keeps me coming back. Sure, I buy the books to support my friend. That's a given.

But here's the key...I read the books because I love the stories and the way she tells them.

And I'm pretty sure you will too.

All of that just to say that Monica has a new book coming out. It's another in her line of Twisted Classics.

This time it's Wuthering Heights that gets Corwin'd.

If you think you know Hollywood or Wuthering Heights, I can tell you right now, you don't.

Check it.


Heath was never my brother. 

Nor my step brother, or any other relation our family tried to impose on us.

He was always just Heath, and at the end he was my Heath. Ten years ago he disappeared, and within three years of his absence he’d taken over Hollywood.

The world my father built.

The world he wasn’t good enough for.

The world he’d been denied when he was told he couldn’t have me.

Now he’s back, and he only wants one thing…to take it all.

Even me.

Hollywood King is Wuthering Heights crashed into the glitz and glam of Hollywood Royalty. A stand alone book with the happily ever after you always wanted for Cathy and Heathcliff.




Wow.
Was that hot or what? I can assure that it's really only a hint of the heat that is in this book. But the heat is like a fine salsa. Sure, it's hot, but not so hot that you can't taste and savor the flavor.

Seriously. I can't wait for that. And if you are like me and you want to get in on this world now, you can check out the first three chapters on the Radish app.

Oh. you might have been wondering what was fogging up the lens.

It's a special cover reveal for the book. There's only a handful of us that get to show you this cover before the book comes out. You may want to have a cold glass of water handy.





I know. It's sexy. If you click through to Monica's website, you can sign up for her newsletter--don't worry, she's one of the good ones that won't spam you. AND...you can get another story set in the Hollywood Kings world before the book comes out. 

Alright SkaggleRockers (look I'm still working on a name here for when there's actually a group of people all in one place that are fans of my books, help a fella out), I know I've given you a lot to take in. It's OK. No, really. Go ahead and get that second glass of cold water. Cold shower? Uh..sure. Might want to leave your electronics on the bed, though. They don't play well with water. 

Have an Awesomesauce weekend, and if you see Monica (or even Heath), tell'em Todd said 'hi'!

Peace,
-A.T.

9.08.2018

The Theater of Semantics

The house lights are down. The audience an invisible mass gathered with a low jumbled murmuring sit restless, somewhere out there in a cloud of black nothingness. A lone, bare bulb hangs down, center stage, trying to cast light somewhere. Anywhere. A slight electrical pulse, a heartbeat of electrons, visible to anyone who might be casting their eyes its direction, the only evidence that the bulb is succeeding in its life purpose.

A lone figure comes out. He heads toward the microphone stand, taking care not to trip on the cable going from the stand to some magic port off-stage. His steps are cautious, but fueled by a purpose. It is a purpose he has either just learned, or just remembered. Having forgotten since the days before he was born. His movements are slow, deliberate, some would say timid. The shyness is not all his. He doesn't want to spook anyone that might be in the audience. Be they eight or eight-thousand.

A finger comes up. The mic is tapped. One time. Two times. The third time is three rapid taps. A loud thumping heartbeat reverberates through the theater. Bump. Bump-bump. Bump-Bump-bump. Followed by a high, piercing tone cut short by gruff throaty hrrmrumph.

"Good evening. Uh. Hello... Is this thing on?"


I can't believe it's been over a month since I blogged. Why didn't anyone tell me it had been that long? Did you guys stop loving me? Did you even miss me?

I jest.

I don't have a good reason for not posting anything in August, I really don't. I could say that lunch breaks were spent working on 18 Clocks which is true. I could say that I've been busy unpacking yes still and adjusting to life with a roommate which, while true is kind of a cop-out. There's very little adjusting needed, my roommate is one of the few people I think I could live with and not actually go nuts. So, there's that. 

Truth is, I just haven't made the time like I used to for the bloggy blog, but I realized this week that I need to. This is a good outlet for me to just get some things off my chest and just clear some cobwebs.

I know there's a great deal I could go off about right now. From the antics of our current tenant in the White House, to the stuff going on with Nike, to any of a dozen things that people are getting shitty with each other over on Social Media.

First though, a moment of silence for Burt Reynolds.

...

Smokey and the Bandit is one of my favorite movies. Always has been.  And other than a 1971 Pontiac GTO Judge, the Trans Am that's in Smokey and the Bandit is really the only other Pontiac I've ever wanted. There is a scene in an episode of My Name Is Earl where Jason Lee and his brother have their moment of nirvana by getting to drive the Bandit's car. I get that. I totally get that.

So, the topic at hand...what shall we talk about? OH, right. Semantics. The way in which something is said and interpreted. It's not an exact science. Well, maybe it is. But it's not one I ever really took. I just like fucking with people sometimes by taking exactly what they said literally. It messes with some people, but to be fair-sometimes people need to be more clear when they ask or declare things.

Case in point, if you have spent more than fifteen seconds scrolling on your bookface wall these past two weeks, you've no doubt seen something like the following:

Can you answer this? There are 5 people in a room, you go in and kill 4 of those 5, how many people actually remain in that room. Comment with your answer and I will inbox you if you're right or wrong. If you're wrong, you have to repost it with the name of the person to whom you lost.

Now,  my response to this on a friend's post (after having passed by it so many times on others') was to comment to the post by simply saying "your answer."

I was inboxed with the reply that I was wrong. And what they thought the answer was. I was then instructed to post it on my wall and see how many other people I could 'get.'  That's dumb. I'm not doing that.

What I am going to do, though, is point out that the 'right' answer really depends on which part of the paragraph you're dealing with.

Let's break it down.

Can you answer this?  Yes, yes I can answer this.  <--this answer.="" bullshit.="" by="" is="" p="" right="" the="" way="">
There are 5 people in a room, you go in and kill 4 of those 5, how many people actually remain in the room. Typo, or intentional admission of a question-mark aside, this is the part of the post that most people get wrapped up in.

So, breaking it down. 5 people are in a room. I walk in. That makes 6 people as of the time I walk in. The question is how many people remain in that room (presumably after I kill 4 of the 5 that were in there).

Barring any motivation for walking into a room and killing 4 people, I have some questions. First, seriously, what was my motivation? Why only 4? Were you burned with acid or something? No, ok. Here's the thing.

Right. Semantics.

At the point in time I walk into the room, there are 6 people in that room. Your possible answers to how many remain after my random killing spree are as follows:


  • 6 People.  Presumably the 5th person I didn't shoot is just chilling there with me and 4 dead bodies.
  • 5 People. The person I didn't shoot bugged the hell out, but I'm still there just lording over my handiwork. 
  • Also 5 people. The person I didn't shoot is still there, but I bugged out, because witnesses, dontchaknow.
  • 4 People.   The 5th person I didn't kill bugs out. And I decide to leave, too. I mean, after all, I just killed 4 people for no reason and a witness got away, leaving the 4 dead people in the room. 
  • 2 People. Me and the 5th person I didn't kill. One could argue that since four people are dead, they are no longer people, but instead are bodies. Anything that made them a person, ended when I took their life.
  • 1 Person. Me. Assuming the 5th person bugged out, and the 4 dead people aren't people (for the reason mentioned just above), I would be the only person in the room. I would assume since I was crazy enough to kill 4 people for no reason and leave a witness alive, that I might want to chill among my artwork for a while. 
  • Also 1 Person. The 5th person. This scenario also plays on the dead not being people, but presumes that I would have bugged out leaving the 5th person with therapy bills and survivor's guilt. 
  • 0 People. Again assuming the dead are longer people, this answer assumes that the 5th person and I went off to have drinks and toast to the fact that those 4 assholes are no longer in our lives. And also to work on our alibi. 
So which answer is actually right? 

All of them. That's the joy of Semantics. Depending on your focus, you can make any of the above answers work. 

Except the bullshit "yes" answer. That's cheap. Of course we can answer the question. To me that's just the lowest form of bait and switch smart-assery. It's almost as bad as the bullshit "Your Answer" that I left in the comments.

Technically I followed instructions. It says "Leave a comment with your answer."  My comment was "your answer." Boom. Done. 

I did that because deep down, I knew there was a trick. But, you can do what you want. You can play the game. If you've paid attention you know the "right" answer that this post is looking for. And you also have several other answers and the justifications for why you chose those answer. 

Now, I am not normally an argumentative person OK, that's a lie, but you can do whatever you want, or come up with your own answer for why your friends are full of shit and randomly accusing you of walking into rooms and killing 4 people. It's all on you, man. As my bestie says, you do you.  

The funny thing about this, is that it's really just a small reflection on life. The kind of life that creeps up on us every day. 

First off...no one has the right answer. Everything that is thrown our way is responded to based on the item we are choosing to focus on. Secret sauce time? So is everybody else's. And the likelihood that you and another person are focusing on the exact same thing in a given scenario, identical though they are, is astronomical. 

Secondly, most of the time, the questions in life are poorly worded and for the most part, bullshit anyway. 

How about this?

How about maybe you cut other people some slack?

And how about maybe you cut yourself some, too?

Oh, and if you happen to walk into a room and I'm in there with 4 other people, how about maybe you don't kill anyone?  That would be awesome.




The last words hang thick in the air. The audience is still a faceless cloud of nothing beyond his field of vision, only making its presence known with a laugh here, a gasp there. 

The echo of his final thought, verbalized, finds its way into to the darkest oldest crevice of the theater. Waiting to be the stuff of a recounted memory years down the line. 

The anticipation battles the heavy silence for his last breath. 

Then a clap.

Then two.

Then seven. 

Then a roll as the claps swell and roll to the stage. Crashing over in thunderous applause.

He sets the microphone back in the clip. A hand shoots up in a meek wave. Gratitude that they didn't boo him off the stage, and a seed of hope that maybe one person out there got it. Got him. 

"Thank you." 

Exit, stage right. 

7.24.2018

Collision Insurance

"Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you will see your entire future."

Almost Famous is on right now. My bestie is in the kitchen heating an IKEA cinnamon roll.

"It's all happening"

I'm going to put a cork in the cerebral spew that's about to happen at any second (likely with the next Crown and Coke). But the cork for now is because between sentences I am watching a movie that hits both nerves with me...writing and music. Something about this movie hits me in the feels every time. Even more so after the 6 days on the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp tour in 2008.  Holy shit. That was almost 10 years ago.

What's up, Columbus? What's up, Internets?

I feel like there is a muscle that I have used...and was getting pretty good and comfortable using it, and then I stopped using it for a while. And now I'm using it again. Or trying to. Try. That's a fucked up word. But the writing. That's thing. And it feels fucking amazing.

No, my johnson is not the muscle I'm talking about. The pen is.

The last four months have been amazing. Amazing is the crazy word I'm choosing.

I have moved. I moved from the iTapt. The zone I was in after the second marriage ended. Then the iTapt evolved into SkaggleRock. I'm sure I had a post about that. Or a blog post. Or at least I thought I did. You should have read it. It sounded great it my mind, I didn't actually post it.

It's happening.

It's all happening.

Did I mention the brainspewing? That's also happening.

And now, on my bucket list (since I can no longer meet Lester Bangs OR Phillip Seymour Hoffman), I have added Party with real people in Topeka, KS to the bucket list.

I have to get this soundtrack on vinyl.

I think that's the underlying current of my life. Like, you...well maybe not necessarily you, but definitely you. You're in my life. And I feel like you're vibing on the soundtrack. Which is cool, because I am too. But I have to tell you this.  And I tell you this in all seriousness.

The soundtrack sounds so much fucking better on vinyl.

It's all happening.

I'm listening to the author of a book read the book to me on Audible. The book is Unfu*k Yourself  by Gary John Bishop. And I'm about halfway through it.  It's kicking me right between the eyes. It's some serious shakabuku shit happening. So, that along with the fact that I'm exhausted from hoisting boxes all weekend is putting me in a place of weirdness. More than normal weirdness for me.

I love this movie.

Sure, Almost Famous,  but also this movie I'm living. I have for many months now felt that I have just been around the corner from some really awesome shit for some time now. Books to be written. Things to be crossed off my bucket list. A life to be lived. How many of us are sitting around waiting for 'life' to happen without realizing that it happens when we stop waiting?

I couldn't have predicted what this piece would look like. It's barely a piece, to be honest. But it's writing. It's words. It's happening.

I find myself starting the words to a new chapter. There are still boxes to be unpacked. Words to be written. A life to be lived.

I have to say it's pretty awesome to be in this chapter.

Word by word.

Hope you'll hang around to read what comes next.

Shit...

I have some writing to do.

-AT

7.01.2018

Crushing Self Minimizing

I had intended to write this post the other day as it was still fresh in my mind. I had some rather well thought out points that I wanted to make, but time, as is oft the case, decided to be short with me and I only got the first part of the post out.

I am currently taking a writing course and there is a raffle prize up for grabs. To be in the running for the prize, I need to write every day.

To be fair, I should be writing every day anyway, but this just caters to the Obliger in me. So, here are. The post that didn't happen is seeing the light of day.

I'm not sure it's a good thing, though. Maybe it is, maybe not. It does tend to fall into the realm of trying to deal with the dreaded Imposter Syndrome that is a constant companion to me and other creative people I know.

And bless your heart, I know you mean well when you tell me that I really need to be proud of what I've accomplished and that I need to embrace the fact that I am a "real writer."  I know you say it from a place of love, but I need to ask. If it were as simple as just telling myself and the world those things and that my mind, the twisted synaptic quagmire that it is, would just believe it and I could go on happily writing, don't you think I would have gone that route already?

I have posted many times in this very space about the self-doubt and the issues I have had with embracing my identity as a writer, both as symptoms of Imposter Syndrome. One thing I haven't really touched on that I've been noticing in myself lately is self-minimizing.

It plays out a little bit like this in my head. If this is something you do, too, feel free to sing along. I'm sure you know the words.

WOW. I am super stoked. I just put up my novella (book, poem, etc). This is an awesome moment for me. It's up there on Amazon. I'm a real-life writer now!!

(Cue Self-Minimizing)

You know, Todd, you probably shouldn't make a big deal about this. I mean they aren't *new* books. Technically they already came out in a box set. And you're kind of nuts if you think that people are going to pay another dollar to get a story they already got just because you threw together a cover for it. 

or

It's *just* a novella. It's not like a real book or anything.

or

Why am I getting excited about this? My friends are putting out *real* books. It's silly of me to think that anyone will want to read these, or share the links, when there are much better things out there. 


Yeah. It's a bit of doubt and self-sabotage.
I get excited that I have *goes over to check KDP* sold 36 copies of both books combined.
(side note: I really am excited. Yesterday that number was 35. Today it's 36).

Does it seem silly? 36 books sold.  Maybe. And if I sit to long and think about it, I won't want to say anything.

I'll convince myself that I would be better served saving the excitement and enthusiasm for when the next book hits. THEN I'll be allowed to get really excited.

And there you have it. Some jacked up inner dialog caught on a loop of somewhere, somehow I don't deserve this joy. That I don't deserve to be this excited over $12.60 in royalties.

But I am.

Have I made any bestseller lists?
Am I able to quit my day job and be a full time writer?
Am I going on a national or international book promotion tour?
Am I guest speaker at any panel (or anything) to do with writing?

No.

Not Yet.

Not Yet.

I add the 'yet' in there because I know I will be. I know that the people that I secretly hope will read and love my books will actually one day do so (and tell me about it).  I know that I will be on a best seller list at some point in my life. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will speak to a group, or even a single person, about my writing and something in that conversation will ignite the spark, set aflame their creative pilot light and their furnace will be up and running, waiting for them to stoke the fires.

I know all of this is going to happen. It's not law of attraction or anything like that. It's just that I've seen it. I just know that it will.

That in itself should be enough to quash the self-minimizing. And yet, it still creeps in. I see it hiding in phrases like "it's no big deal," or "I know it's silly to get excited about this..." or "It's just a ...

The key is to now be on the lookout for it. The more I get an understanding of my patterns of self-sabotage, the more I will be able to fully embrace the me that is here now.

The soon to be bestselling author,
Todd Skaggs

OH...and because I think you'll like these books, you should go over and pick up copies for your Kindle. I'm posting the link to my Amazon Author page because 1--I really like saying "Amazon Author Page" and 2--because you can get both titles there.

amazon.com/author/toddskaggs

And with that, my friends, have a great rest of your evening. I have laundry to put away before hitting the sack.

6.28.2018

Resetting The Why and Crushing Self-Minimizing

Resetting The Why

If I am able to string the words along properly and give some kind of accurate representation on this page that bears some resemblance to the dance they have been doing in my head for the last 3 days, then you may well get two lunchtime bloggy blog posts for the price of one.

And I may again be able to stare down a couple of demons who have been whispering shitty things to me from the shadows of my mind.

There seems to be some kind of romantic notion (good or bad) that springs to mind when you tell someone that you are a writer. Images of  empty whiskey bottles strewn about the room. A glass dish big enough to be considered the murder weapon, littered with butts; evidence of nicotine fueled battles between author and muse. Crumpled sheets of rejected ideas you wished you'd written yourself if only to see where the shop keeper's son stored the dead presidents found in the pocket of the banger, dirt napping dead in front of the store on 2:30 in afternoon on a Sunday in August just before the storms rolled in to clear the stench of piss from the air and the stain of blood from the sidewalk.

The other extreme is equally terrifying. The project board and perfectly detailed notes. Color coded and cross-referenced on a separate print out. Dates and word counts clearly displayed, sticky-notes flapping proudly like the trophy case of the state-champion high school. A subtle nod of intimidation, whether intentional or not, to any who might want to one day throw their own hat into the ring. Dipping their metaphorical and very literal pen into the ink that is both fuel and vessel. Ship and roiling sea.

I won't tell you where I fall on that spectrum. Likely you already have your own idea.

A friend of mine had a setback. Not a minor one. One that knocked the wind out of the sails. One of those 'question the very reason for donning a cutlass and eye-patch and thinking they could make a go of this pirate' kind of thing.  I got a note from them at the time. It said simply, "I need to reexamine my why."

Like many things this particular friend writes, the words hit me in a way I didn't see coming.

Now, to be fair, comparison is death. But you're lying if you say that you don't use someone who inspires you to at least build the guidelines for your own benchmarks. At some point, there is a shift and the milestones and goals are truly your own. The shift from "I want to do XYZ just like so and so" soon becomes, "I want to do XYZ."

But there's always the why.

Why am I a writer?

Not what makes me think I am a writer?, but why do I write?

Why?

The thing that really pissed me off when I started to think about the why was the fact that it didn't seem like too long ago I was just coming to grips with even telling the world that I was a writer. I mean, fuck, man...give me a minute to just be able to say that I am a writer first.

It doesn't work like that.


I'm looking at my words. I'm looking at what I've written in the last 6 months (and it really doesn't feel like much, if I'm being honest), and I realize that I really need to stop and look at my why.

It's time.

And I didn't want to.

Because I already know part of my why. And facing that part in the light of day sucks. It just really...
It just sucks.

I grew up needing to feel like what I did mattered. That it was good. That you liked it. That you wanted me to do more of it.

In one of the hundreds of personality tests out there, I come back as an Obliger. This means that I will put your needs above my own if given a choice. And I did, a lot.

I still do.

And I know that tendency has crept in and morphed into part of my why. Now, having the obliger tendency in itself is not a bad thing. As long as you recognize it and realize that it's ok to actually take some time for you and do things for you before someone else.

That's just it, though. Part of the 'why' for me is because inside me there is still that little kid, unsure, holding out the paper with a space battle drawn in pen, hoping that the person they are showing it to will tell me it's the best thing they've ever seen. But more than that, I want the people I love to tell me that they have read my words. Love them or hate them, I just want to be read.

There. There is it. Part of me writes because I read Stephen King growing up. I read Koontz. I read Tolkien and Asimov.  And Douglas Adams. And Piers Anthony.

And I loved them all. I hung on every word.

As a writer, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want that. That I don't want someone to fall in love with my voice and my style and to hang on every word, wondering what the next glorious page will hold.

I do. Part of me wants that.

I write because I want to make you happy, and there's a part of me that's vain enough to think that my words can do that. Can bring a feeling, an emotion, and take you to a place you've never been.

I write because there are writers who inspire me. And I want to pay them back for that inspiration. I want to show them that what they wrote matters.

And I want to be that inspiration for someone else.

Yes...it's true. There is a part of me, of every writer that says they would write every day, because to not write is tantamount to not breathing, as dramatic as it sounds. And yes, I would write anyway, even if I knew it wasn't going to be read. But I can tell you that stuff that I write half thinking no one will ever or want to ever read it...that stuff is raw. And it's probably garbage. But yes, I still write.

The other reason I write is because I feel like I'm fairly fucked up in the head. And for me, writing is way I can create characters who may or may not be messed up in the same ways that I am, and I can walk them through scenarios in the story. I can make things happen to them, for them, and by them.
And maybe, just maybe they will get their happily ever after.

Because if the characters in my stories get their happily every after, then maybe I will too.

So..yeah. There's the brutal why. And it's pretty clear that I won't stop writing until either the happy ending happens in real life or I run out of ways for my characters to find theirs. 

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

And, unfortunately, I've run out of minutes in my lunch break (and I just killed the oatmeal cream pie).  The second piece on the crushing self-minimizing will have to wait for another lunch, I'm afraid.

Until then, I hope you'll tell all of your friends about the raw post thrown out on the interwebs by one of your soon to be favorite writers.

Peace
-Todd


6.21.2018

2AM AGAIN

If I am ever asked to write a...what?

OK Fine.

WHEN I am asked to write some kind of article or give an interview about how my writing process works, I might just leave out the part where I think it is actually a good idea to down a Watermelon Rockstar at 1AM on a night where I need to be up just 5 short hours later to do what is commonly referred to as 'going to work.'

And yet, here we are.

Oh, but...against all odds, I am actually sitting at my writing desk (such as it is at the moment) giving you a fresh dose of bloggy randomness.

This is quite unique as it's the first (I think) blog post from the new abode.

It's also the first blog post on this blog that I think I have penned from my bedroom (I'm not counting hotel rooms, and neither should you. Vile things, really).

So, for anyone betting on this...official move in date was March first. It is now June 21st.

I'd like to give a hearty shout out to Summer. Welcome, Summer, you wee right bastard!

My daughter, by the way is VERY lucky that her parents weren't some new-agey/hippy types or she might very well have had some kind of name like Summer Rae or Sunbeam or some shit like that.

Which is to say, she's lucky that her father was afraid of what her mother would do to him if he pulled that shit. I suppose it's bad enough that I got to warp the way we spell her first name.

Someday she'll appreciate that.

Maybe.

Holy shit. Writing. So, that's a thing.

I've been nose deep in working on the first draft of 18 Clocks these days. Stealing words during lunch on the Alphasmart NEO2. No, I haven't been lunching on it, don't be ridiculous.

I've been reading quite a bit more these days than I am used to.  It's a good thing. Weird, but good.

Current mood is...hmm. That's a little trickier, isn't it? Let's just say, it's not full on 1996/97 level depression. More of a dip in the road. If you're still in my life these days and you knew me back in 96/97, first of all, I'm sorry. Second of all, wow, are you a fucking glutton for punishment.

Yeah. I mean, things are going well. On paper there is absolutely no reason for the grey film that's covering everything and yet, there is it. I wipe it away, but in that odd post-shower instant condensation science is cool kind of way, it comes right back. I think a large part of it has to do with getting things settled in the house. Once things get where they need to go and I find places in this space for the shit that's mine, I think a lot of it will go away. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

OH. Shit. I almost forgot.

I have put out Shadow Initiate and Ovid's Folly as standalone e-books on Amazon. The cool thing about that is, that between the 2 titles, I've already sold 30 copies. AND, since they are standalone, I can keep them up on Amazon and my author page won't go away. Now when I tell people my things are on Amazon, they can find me instead of getting a heartfelt collection of life lessons from a rookie College referee. I'm going to track that dude down one day just so I have can have him autograph a book To Todd Skaggs, From Todd Skaggs--coolest name ever bro! And naturally, I'll have at least one paperback by then and I can return the favor. We can then each put the books up on our shelf and pull it down when the record-listening party had hit a lull.

Here's the thing, I'm not tired. I should be. And I probably am (I'm not), but it's likely the Rockstar keeping me alert (or what passes for alert at 2AM). I'm going to go ahead and hit the hay.

I will catch you on the flip side my friends!

Peace,

Todd "Not A College Referee" Skaggs

3.22.2018

I Know You Got Soul

Whenever I wander back over to the shelf that is this blog, I think to myself, "man...I wonder if anyone still reads this anymore?"

And then I see how many days (weeks, months) it's been since I put anything of substance (or sometimes just anything) on here and the prescient words of Erik B come to mind...

"It's been a long time, I shouldn't a left you without a strong rhyme to step to..."

Here, let's just enjoy that groove together for a minute.  Very few other hip hop artists of that period put the depth of the philosophy into the amazing lyrics quite the way Erik B did. I need to meet this dude. I have a feeling he and I could seriously shoot the shit for hours and have some wicked mix tape built up by the end of the night (or early morning as the case may be).


Is it weird? I mean that I see myself being friends with and having conversations with people that others see as 'famous' or untouchable in some way?  I guess it might be. I don't know. I just always figured that things would fall into place to make that happen.  If you had told me 5 years ago that my best friend would be someone who was a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, I might have looked at you a little sideways, but the revelation would not have surprised me. I would have just figured that by having that person in my life, I had something to learn, and something to teach.  And, by the way, that has been the case. As I look at the people in my life now from the outer, extreme circle of facebook acquaintances, to the people who guard my deepest secrets, the universal connector is all of these people enrich my life in some way that I need. I have lessons to learn or lessons to teach, and we're all in the same classroom for this version of the syllabus. 

It's pretty fucking cool, to be honest. If I stop and try to stare directly at what the lesson (and my role in the giving or receiving), I lose it. It flits away until I'm truly ready. And it seems that the times I am truly ready to learn or teach are the time when that is the absolute last thing on my mind. Then it's all of a sudden like, "boom. wake up, bitch. We gots to go to work!"

Jeeeeeeesus, Skaggs, when did you get so philosophical?!?

Somewhere around my 6th birthday.  Every 7 years, my birthday falls directly on Thanksgiving. I was turning 6. My parents were hosting Thanksgiving for the whole famdamily and a bunch of people I was expected to remember 30 years later at a family reunion when they said, "I haven't seen you since you were six years old."  Spoiler alert: I never remembered them, but smiled politely as though I did. 

So, six year old Todd didn't really process too much about Thanksgiving. But birthdays. Yeah buddy. I knew ALL about that. And birthday parties! While the tone and timbre of the parties have changed for me over the years, I learned all I needed to know about parties early on. They were awesome. Especially if they were for you. And the more people at these parties for you, the better.

Can you see where this is going?  

Six years old. Birthday boy. House full of people coming over for Thanksgiving.  Only I thought they were all coming over for my birthday.  Most of them didn't even know it was my birthday. So, no cards. No gifts. I don't remember if there was a cake or not. Actually, I'm sure there was a cake for dessert, but it wasn't a birthday cake.  Second worst Thanksgiving ever (But I wouldn't know that at the time. From that day until the first Thanksgiving without my Grammy (early in the 80's), it stood as the worst Thanksgiving ever. 

Pretty sure Todd the Philosopher was loosed into this world about 4:57PM on that Thursday in 1977.

And he's been here in one form or another ever since learning the lesson of "the world does not revolve around you, son." In fact, I think that might have been a direct quote from my father. It brought tears at the time (or more tears, as I may have already been sitting on my bed with the Star Wars blanket and Mickey Mouse and Pluto as knights sheets and pillow case set) when he said that. 

The details are foggy. But that's the way it is with our origin stories, isn't it? Foggy until that moment when a singular detail emerges with crystal clarity and smacks us dead in the eye with a "Oh fuck yeah!! I had completely forgotten all about that!!"

Did I mention that this was going to be a fairly random and rambling post? I didn't? Shit. My bad. I thought you might have picked up on that when I went from 80's hip-hop to 6 yr. old Todd. 

Well, yeah. Rambling randomness is afoot my friends. It's probably a good time to go back to your bookface feeds if you want. 

OH! That reminds me.

I'm getting sick of The Book of Face again. It happens about every three months.  And then I realize that someone will only communicate with me through that wretched platform, so I stay. And then about 2 or 3 years later it builds to the point where I can no longer take the bullshit.  The Cambridge Analytica BS has tipped that scale a bit early. 

Here's the thing. I'm not dumb. And neither are you. Of Course livre visage has been mining all of our data. From the day that it opened up from campuses to the public, its model has been to collect and mine as much data as possible. Why do you think it stopped being a university only app? Because students don't stay students for ever. It's a limited data set. And if they are going to make money selling data, they need a bigger pool. Boom, faycebooook is now open to the public. 

Why do you think it claims it will never charge to use the service? Because it wants as many people as possible.  Games? Advertising? Messenger? Video? Marketplace? Payments?!? Hell yes. All data  points.

Within 2 weeks at the outside the book of face knows everything about our lives it can possible know. Because we give it the information it needs. The information it sells. They don't need to charge, they are making money hand over fist by us using the "service" they provide.  And forget trying to figure out the algorithms to actually make it useful for yourself (like say, as an author trying to gain readers).

Do you know why retail stores move product and fixtures around in a store?  Studies have shown that if a shopper takes more time trying to find something that has moved, they will walk out of the store having purchased more than they intended to, even if they had a list.  I don't have the study that quotes that, but I work in retail. That shit is real. 

All the bitching that happens when something changes on the feed, or your wall? Makes you spend more time. Clicking on things you might not have click on in your old routine. 

All of that is to say that very soon I will be looking at deleting my FB account. I don't need it. It's annoying the piss out of me. And the reason I came back to the 'social' media in the first place is no longer there. 

I'll still maintain Instagram (also owned by the bookfacers, but still somehow less evil at this point), and Twitter. 

And of course this blog.

If you're worried that you won't see these posts because I don't have them on your wall anymore, you can do this, right now.

Hit CTRL+D. On a Mac, hit COMMAND+D.  Almost all browsers will save the URL of the page. 

Save it in your bookmarks. Come by and see me from time to time.  I'll be around. 
Hell, you might see me on the New York Times Bestseller list some day. (Spoiler alert: You totally will.)

And remember, if you get invited over for dinner, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving...be sure to ask your host if there is a birthday boy or girl. If there is, bring them a present. You will be the hero and change their life forever, I guarantee it. 

Until then my friends, I'll see you on the other side.

And remember, it's not where you're from, it's where you're at. 


Peace,
AT

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