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October is Zombie Month at TTMM


TTMM ZOMBIE Month

Halloween is the time of year where we embrace our fears and mock the things that would normally send us screaming from the darkness. Common villains such as witches, vampires, werewolves, and zombies that once drove our ancestors into hiding as the nights grew longer, are now common themes with their own fan bases in modern books, movies, and television. Times have changed since our superstitious ancestors hung bells on graves in case the dead would rise. Witches no longer hold the contempt that they once did when we believed they all wore pointy hats, were covered in warts, and their voices echoed with cackling laughter. The television show Charmed introduced audiences to the concept that witches could not only be good heroines but smoking hot, and not because they were burning at the stake. Thanks to Joss Wedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel series, vampires can be heroes and funny while witches are bubbly red headed sidekicks. Vampires have been reduced to characters in twisted love triangles with werewolves and some even sparkle in the sunlight. Book series like Laurell Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” read like a play by play of pornographic orgies between the heroine, vampires, and werewolves.  The werewolves have become less of a nightmare and more of panting pups in modern literature and media as witnessed in the Twilight Saga. All of these characters, historically so beloved for their malice and evil are now merely brooding, misunderstood, love struck wimps. Who fears a sparkling vampire or a werewolf that is trying to save the world? My childhood nemeses are modern anti-heroes. Then I remembered the last holdout in the romanticism of evil…zombies.

Zombies are unadulterated evil. Nobody wants to be romantically interested in a creature whose only desire is to eat your flesh. George A. Romero brought them to the screen in his classic “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 and started the zombie sub-culture that we know today. With the exception of titles like “World War Z” by Max Brooks, large publishing companies were slow to recognize the public’s hunger for zombie fiction. It wasn’t until indie authors were able to give voice to zombie stories with the invention of e-publishing, that the book industry was finally able to provide many different takes on zombie lore.

The popularity of the horror sub-genre of zombies and the indie author’s ability to publish new fiction prompted ground-breaking changings in other mediums as well. In 2010, AMC took a chance on a television series, based on Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore graphic novel “The Walking Dead”, to broadcast the first television series set around zombies. This month, “The Walking Dead” will begin its fourth season and rumor has it that there might be a spin-off related to Kirkman and Moore’s zombie world. Zombies have firmly rooted themselves into modern pop-culture.

I, personally, was one of the late-comers to the genre. Years after it was published, I picked up my copy of “World War Z”. I quickly followed with Bourne’s “Day by Day: Armageddon”. I couldn’t get enough of the genre and sought out more. This fascination with all things zombie, took place around the time I received my first e-Reader. As I was looking for more titles, I came across the listing for an indie author named Mark Tufo and his “Zombie Fallout” series. Mark led me to another indie author, James Cook, and the “Surviving the Dead” series. Book after book, I have been reading all that I could get my hands on for well over two years and eagerly awaiting the next installment of each in the series I am reading. What is it that I like so much about stories of the smelly, slow moving, undead?

Zombies fiction represents more than what is seen on the surface. While the zombie genre features the mindless, creatures that once were human; the stories are also about the fight to survive for those that are not infected. The survivors represent our fears of being alone, of battling something we cannot control, the will to hold on to our own humanity, and the importance of community. Zombie stories are stories of the choices we make in order to live another day. The stories are about the battle to continue on when everything around us has been lost. The stories of the zombie apocalypse are stories of hope.

The month of October will highlight one of my favorite horror genres, zombie apocalypse. Each Tuesday, a new piece will be published leading up to Halloween. I hope to introduce you to some of the authors and series that I have been enjoying over the years. With Halloween drawing nearer it is time to celebrate, with a month long dedication to the last holdout of evil creatures. Welcome to Zombie Month at TTMM. 

Until next time…

Jerry b.

©2013

Related articles: The Hills are Alive with…Zombies?;  When Research Goes to Hell

Follow TTMM on Twitter for the ideas before they grow into the stories here @trpthroughmymnd

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Writing, zombies

 

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So You Want to Be a Motivational Speaker


Previous: So You Want to Be A Blogger

Since the launch of your blog, life has been going well. So well, you feel that you should share your insights with many others. After gaining popularity with the twelve people following your fascinating blog, many hours of Bejeweled logged during your writer’s block, and a collection of Starbuck’s paper cups filling your new office, it is now time to take things to the next level. How could you top your blogging success? Time to take your vast knowledge on the road- you want to become a Motivational Speaker.

The Look

In order to be successful, you must have the right look. You need to throw out every bit of your current wardrobe and start over. Start by checking your spouse’s credit card balance, as your credit cards have been maxed out from your blog launch. However if your balances are unable to accommodate the “new” you, you might need to find another source of funding like new credit cards or a benefactor. Image is very important! Only the very best will project the level of success needed for your protégés. Who would pay big bucks to see someone wearing a worn suit from Men’s Warehouse? Don’t forget to get the right shoes for the outfit, a proper Motivational Speaker must tower above the rest of his followers.

Now is time to rid yourself of the yellowed, coffee stained teeth acquired over your recent Starbuck’s addiction. One hugely important aspect all motivational speakers and used car salesmen share is a bright winning smile. Your face will be plastered all over billboards, which means your teeth will be the size of poster boards. Spare no expense getting those pearly whites capped for the brightest smile possible. At this point you may need to check on your mistress’s credit limit –you know the mistress you hooked up with over the internet while you were writing your blog. Once you have the look, you need to get the message ready for the masses.

Creating the Right Pitch

Dale Carnegie could tell you how to “win friends and influence people” and Tony Robbins has been “unleashing the power within” over the years, so you need a new message that speaks to the masses—a message that will have them lining up around the block to be in your presence. Time to do research. Thankfully, YouTube has all the necessary pirated video clips of the most popular speakers so you can memorize the delivery and approach. You quickly realize all the great motivational stuff seems to have been said before.  Your post-it notes cover the walls of your office in multi-colored greatness as you try to figure out what to say to the crowds. Then it dawns on you. Why recreate the wheel? Gather up all your post-it notes and start copying all your notes into your new spiel. With your new mash-up of catch phrases, it is time to start your world tour.

Time for the Buzz!

All great motivational speakers on tour have marketing material and swag for sale. Since you have already maxed out your spouse’s credit cards, both of your mistresses are in financial ruin, and the guy that comes over to cut your grass loaned you his last twenty dollars, you decide now is the time to reach out to your parents so they can invest in your multi-million dollar endeavor. Since their house is paid off, it will be easy to mortgage it and build your media kit. No simple instamatic camera will do for your pictures, it is time to hire the best photographer and graphic designer around to create the posters, website and DVD covers. It is time to hire a public relations company to handle your career.

At this point, you need to get in the studio to record your amazing prose for your new CD and practice your delivery. Though ordering the first 10,000 copies seems steep, it will be well worth the investment when the public sees your pearly white smile on the newly designed cover art.

Time to be great.

Time to be great.

Unleash the Person Within!

You have the look, the catch phrases, the bright white smile on the cover of your over-priced CD, along with all the people behind your new career. As you sit in your newly expanded office, with your image plastering the walls, your mistress in her role as your new secretary, you rock back in your chair and wait for the word to spread about your stunning message.

You pick up your phone, asks your secretary to fetch you a Starbuck’s and smile to yourself about how clever and far you have come since you left that job to become a blogger, now an aspiring motivational speaker. What could possibly be next…

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2012

Related Articles:  Warning Signs of a Bad First Date; Five Winning Ice-breakers For The Office;

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Humor, Writing

 

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So You Want To Be a Blogger…


It begins after you’ve read your Facebook status, accepted a few new friends, deleted a few others, completed your tasks in Farmville, and then you follow a link over to a blog site. You get lost following the links and reading other people’s attempt at sharing their inner writer. After a couple of hours of blog exploration you begin to think to yourself:

”I can do this. I am witty, have a computer, and people seem to like what I have to say.”

ComputerThe Site

You spend days researching the perfect site- your platform to launch your message, showcasing your originality and creativity. Finding the site that will give you the most focus, you decide to not belittle your project with a free site.  Now is the time to invest money purchasing your own domain name, renting server space, paying someone to set up the site, and configuring the site for  the optimal amount of  viewers. As a budding writer, you will need to get people to read your work, so contracts are signed for advertisers to promote the new exciting site. No expense is too small when highlighting all the important witty things you have to say. Other bloggers brag about how they were able to quit their jobs with the revenue they made from blogging part-time. Because you are much better than those other bloggers you have read, then obviously if they can make money, you can begin planning your early retirement to a nice tropical paradise. However, you have the next step to prepare for and since you have spent a small fortune setting up the site, you now need to obtain the right tools.

The Tools

You realize that professional writers need the best equipment, so you head out to purchase a state-of-the-art computer loaded with all the newest gadgets. Electronic stores look for people just like you. These electronic stores, with all the latest and greatest gadgets, base their quarterly income on the dreamers with an idea, who will to stop at nothing and spend anything in pursuit of their dream.  The other part of their quarterly income comes from the sports fans that need the 72” theater system to watch their team lose week after week. As a new writer you have the inflated, elated feeling of an experienced blogger already, so you decide you will not sacrifice your talent to just any computer, smartphone or display-only the best for you. Shopping cart full, you happily proceed out the door from the electronics store thinking that you really need to upgrade your car to something more fitting of your status as you anticipate your fame and fortune. Maybe you need to do some research about what the successful bloggers are driving these days but cringe hoping it isn’t a Prius.

Unloading your overpriced toys, I mean tools; you suddenly discover you do not have the best work area to cultivate your creativity. After lobbying (begging) your spouse to change the spare room into an office, you are faced with the next challenge in your journey: creating the right atmosphere for your work space.

The Right Workspace

Wall color is essential to your ability to write. You could pay an overpriced (notice this is the second time that word is used, see the trend?) designer but in the nature of being the underground writer that you are, you decide to pick the color yourself. Unless you are a rebellious controversial blogger, I would recommend staying away from anything in the blood red color spectrum. Pale blues give off peaceful feelings but also promote sleeping. The earthy tone realm is recommended.  Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like earth tones. However, be cautious as these earth tones also promote the desire to drive the eco-friendly Prius.

Once the room is painted, it is time once again to go shopping. The right desk can make or break the writer so you need to carefully examine which desk will inspire you to get your words out to the eagerly waiting world. Small desks do not bring “great writer” to mind in fact they seem like the Prius of writers. The over-sized executive desk seems like overkill. You settle on the ultra-modern, overpriced (there is that word again) glass-topped desk. You just know that all the successful bloggers have artistically pretentious desks in their offices. In addition the desk will look great in front of the new bay window you talked your spouse into letting you install in your world of wonder and creativity.

The Writing

Sitting in front of the afore mentioned bay window, behind your new wrap-around glass top desk, sipping your espresso from your new coffee machine, thinking about how great it was you quit that silly job that was so obviously beneath your creative mind, you suddenly realize this is THE life. The cursor on your new computer blinks as you think how offensive a blank screen can be. Just a few more hours before you can relax from all the stress of trying to write your great work of art that everyone will rave about after reading. Fans and stalkers alike are out there just waiting for your words on the blog that will change their lives. Your fans will be lining up in droves to subscribe to your every word.  You think about how everyone will link their Facebook status to your page, and tweeting like mad, pinning you, stumbling across you, making your blog go viral. Your thoughts will reach millions of people. So when your inspiration to write kicks in, all of this will come together and you can finally show everyone how a blog should be written. It is only a matter of time…

Five minutes later, you realize that much of the fodder for your stinging wit is still back at your old job. Now, to figure out where best to people watch, while keeping up your image…

Next Up: So You Want to Be a Motivational Speaker

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Articles:  Warning Signs of a Bad First Date; Five Winning Ice-breakers For The Office;

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Humor, Writing

 

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The Chase


If I fall back into you, Don’t fight it, don’t fight it

Show me what we’ve got to lose, Don’t hide it, don’t hide it

Memories stuck in my head

All the things I should have said

If I fall back into you, Don’t fight it, don’t fight it

Don’t Fight it…10 Years

From time to time, I mention the mythical muse that I call upon to put my thoughts into words on the screen. Throughout the past year, I have written about her, sought her out, complained when she was away, and discovered her again. All relationships are planted in the fabric of our mind, growing through the stages of life and if care is given, these relationships live to a ripe old age.  My courtship with the muse is no different.

It isn’t easy to chase my alluring temptress through the mist of my mind as she plays hide and seek. In my imagination, her flowing gown disappears around each corner as I give chase; small laughter echoes in my mind. I glimpse her eyes for a moment as she looks longingly over her shoulder, a brief sparkle viewed through the veil of her blowing hair. It is a love affair that brings comfort and security as well as fear and heartbreak.  I feel that the relationship crumbles and we part ways, only to find each other at a later time.

Other moments, I am the one that walks away from her game of chase, frustration growing with no relief. I tire of her, as any lover would from the promise of pleasure, which is not delivered. Then, I remember her kiss, which brings a spark of idea, the brief moments of her warmth next to me as I search for the lines of text.  I begin, once again, my search for her. Will she run from me? Of course she will; that is her nature. I only ask that when she sees my approach, she does not fight it and falls back into our game.

 

If you come right back to me

I won’t fight it, I won’t fight it

Show me what you need from me

Don’t hide it, don’t hide it

Don’t Fight It…10 Years

Until next time…

Jb

© 2011

Related Articles: Where is My Muse , I Once Was a Writer , A Writer’s Muse-ic

© 2011

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Writing

 

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A Writer’s Muse-ic


But your thoughts will soon be wandering
the way they always do
When you’re ridin’ sixteen hours
and there’s nothin’ much to do
Turn the Page ~ Bob Seger

What happened to me? I was cruising along on my creative highway, seeing inspiration through the windshield when the creative world went dark. It wasn’t a road block. The highway just vanished. Darkness closed in and not even the headlights could penetrate. First the frustration, then the fear and finally resignation that it was gone. That was nine months ago.

I had high hopes for creating a series of muses to share each week. It would go in cycles and then the cycles crumbled, not to return. Through all the pressure I tried to put on myself to hit the publishing deadline, I felt I was forcing it. Some of the writings that were published showed the effects and eventually, even the attempts ended with a blank screen. Throwing my figurative hands up, I let days, weeks, and then months pass without attempting to write more than a project plan or email. The creativity had gone into hiding and I let it go. The muse had abandoned me, or had I abandoned the muse.

Last year, I started enjoying audio books on my somewhat long commute to the office. As the year wrapped up, I was deep into many series that I would have never had time to read in the normal sense. The hour long trip to the office or back home was enjoyable. I would avoid phone calls (before you scream at me, I have a hands free system in my car), and just slip away in the fantasy world of Heinlein, Abercrombie, and others. My drive time was filled with enjoyment that only good stories can produce.

A few weeks ago, I was waiting on a business call on my commute and didn’t want to get into a story only to stop in the middle. I turned on the music of my iPod and let my mind drive. The darkness that was encapsulating my creative muse started to fade. I listened to the lyrics and an idea crept to life. I played the song again and built on the idea. By the time I was in the driveway, a story was born. The darkness cleared to a murky shadow and words flowed out of me to the screen once again.

It seems that in my enjoyment of the audio books, I was concentrating on the stories so much that I was not letting my thoughts flow or develop. I was escaping into their stories without working on my own. This isn’t necessarily bad but stifled the creativity that not only helped to produce thoughts like this but also my writing and planning in my job. My muse had now returned.

I will not give up my audio books but I am going to work to temper them with times of creative thoughts and to ration out the stories of others with my own voice and expression. My writing started back up a few years ago from listening to music and pulling thoughts from the lyrics. The first few published posts from over four years ago were based solely on that style of writing. I forgot my muse. I lost my way in the darkness. Let the light shine again and the words flow out.

Until next time…

jb

© 2011

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Music, Writing

 

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Things That Go Bump in the Night


Upon waking each morning, I drift to consciousness to the sounds of the morning news playing in my bedroom as my wife gets ready. Slipping in and out of wakefulness, I pull on the threads of my dreams and wonder what journey I travelled through during the night. It always amazes me that my dreams, those that I can dig out of my limited sleep memory, are more akin to full Technicolor movies than disjointed images. They say that dreams are the brain’s way of dealing with issues that the conscious mind cannot deal with. Other ideas are based around the need for the human brain to rest and it entertains itself by giving it something to do while it rebuilds the body after a day of stimulus. Whatever the cause, I can honestly say my dreams can be something of an epic story.

Unlike other people I know who long for the peace of sleep; I am not one that is easily drawn to sleep. I fight turning the light off and giving myself over to the blissful silence of the darkened room. It is partially due to the desire to experience life as much as I can. Looking back, the comment must have been made at an early age that “I will sleep when I am dead”.  Not that I actually buy into that line of thinking, but it makes for a quick quip when someone chastises me about only sleeping five hours a night. There are so many things I want to do and it can’t be too much of a cliché if it is true. I need more than twenty-four hours a day to do all that I want to do.

There is also the pleasure of the silent house after everyone goes to bed. The darkness folds around each dark corner, breeding thoughts and potential horrors that only the mind can imagine. Read enough stories of paranormal beings haunting an unsuspecting protagonist and even the sturdiest of minds will get lost in the slightest creak or shift beyond the reach of the dim lamps. A few might say this is why I don’t sleep much but I have to admit, there are few things that excite me more than the imagination of what might be in the shadows. Walking through a dark house, how many of you let your imagination cause your heart to pound in your chest, your pace quicken as you almost sprint to the edge of the light? The feeling you get when you walk through a darkened room and almost experience the reach of a hand brushing past you from the dark can be exhilarating. Just when you think that you will make it to the safety of the lamp’s luminosity, the air conditioner kicks on with a rattle, breaking your resolve. Once in the light, your heart pounding, you laugh at the grown person still jumping at dark and its nefarious possibilities.

This fear drifts over into our dreams and produces the tendrils that grip us in our sleep. Think back to when you are startled awake in the middle of the night, brought out of your deeper sleep and remembering the flashes of your dreams. At that moment, the veil of dream and reality are blurred, mingling together to reveal what is truly hidden in the dark, or what our mind creates to explain its fears. This is the moment that we gasp, heart pounding, and sit up in bed searching for what brought us awake. When nothing is discovered, our head falling down to the pillow, our mind starts creating explanations. Changing the dreams we are captive in to reflect the terror that courses through our now active bloodstream, we fold back into sleep.

In the morning light, the news anchors cheerfully spew out stories about death, fires, and the continued uncomfortable weather as I pull at the threads of my dreams. Fading back into sleep, in search of that movie like dream causes so many emotions in me throughout the night only to stumble through darkness without any hope of finding it.  I search it out as I know that if the images could only stay with me a little longer; I would be able to write them down, sharing them with others to give life to more dreams. Abandoning my futile quest, I begrudgingly embrace the day and give up hopes on the elusive story. The rest of the day will bring brief flashes of my terror, taunting me of what is to come when I again sleep. One of these days, I will catch it and give it life in the world for others, until that day, I am forever chasing my dream.

Until next time…

jerryb

©2011

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Life, Writing

 

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Great Expectations and then Reality Set In


Normally, I try not to write from a personal perspective. I look to put together things that can be seen from all of our views. This blog is not a personal journal for me but a way to inspire thought, look beyond the surface, and to expand conversation. Sometimes, I feel like I hit the mark. Other times, I fall short and wish I would have taken more time to build on the idea. So why don’t I?

I want to have a consistent forum that you can look forward to reading, something that is there in the mornings for you to glance over and read throughout the day. The issue (I don’t say problem because I believe it is something that can be solved) in this mentality is that I can’t keep up the pace on a daily basis. With the rapid pace of the day behind me each night, the creative flow doesn’t always come, and as a result, the posts have a randomness about them. What to do?

Well, I have given this some thought. I have sought out knowledge of more experienced bloggers and writers. The recommendation is that I reduce the posts to a more manageable rhythm to help keep the quality consistent and articles worthy of posting.

After some deliberation, I have come up with a new schedule. Starting November 29th, I will be posting three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The week of Thanksgiving 2010 will be when I get the new post ready and enjoy time with my family. I will occasionally have some posts that come on the other days from guest bloggers or short, humorous thoughts of mine. The scheduled days will allow me to not rush through the articles and do more research into the subjects. Hopefully, this will allow for better reading.

I hope that you continue to enjoy visiting the Trip Through My Mind as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. If you have not signed up for a subscription, please look to the right below my picture for the Email Subscription link. Thank you for reading and I look forward to sharing more with you.

Until next time…

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Writing

 

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