Winding Down – halfway through a story

I needed content and figured one of the things I could talk about at length was the shit I do when I’m not actively writing or pursuing the Luxury Lifestyle. Except when I’m not actively pursuing it, I am passively letting it occur to me ha!  How you like them apples?

Resident Evil training Facility

I’ve already discussed in part, my love of chess and continued desire to get back into a routine of playing regular games, both in bullet, and long game form.  I like stretching my mind, and that game makes me think.

It does nothing for my imagination on a writerly level that’s apparent.

Thing is, I’m on the other side of the halfway point for “Riding Tempest” my MC Fae/Vampire Paranormal Romance. I should finish that very soon!

A few years back I discovered old game console emulators. I’d found a handful of games as I used to play as a teenager and earlier than that and begun downloading them. What?  It’s not like the producers didn’t make their money back in the 90s with that shit!

Besides, it’s not like you don’t know my moral compass isn’t as…high as some.

Anyway, I started playing random shit. Mario Bros.  Street Fighter II, then I wondered if the gamecube had an emulator and I managed to find a copy of Resident Evil 0.

This to me was gold.

(For what it’s worth, I did own/legally purchase those games when I lived at home!)

When I was playing Resident Evil 0, I was working on Her Male Slave (I’m pretty sure that was the book at the time) or my foray into paranormal romance. The game had brilliant layout, a decent control system but I’ll mention my disclaimer: I’m not a gamer.  That would be the middle girlfriend and she’s more into the technical aspects of shit than I will ever be.

What really caught my attention was the detail to graphics and the storyline.  Yes, it’s tired. Humanity is getting erased by Big Pharma (essentially) or being used for control purposes and zombies are the natural outcome. First question:  How come I didn’t see this trend in publishing? Oh wait, I was riding it out.

I’d even tried to read a zombie romance that came out a few years later. Just FYI, it, and was terrible. Completely awful.  Imagine Sex in the City, and all the shit it did to set women back 100 years, only now we’re talking about four bimbo zombies. Or zombie bimbos…not sure which really but both seemed pretty accurate.

But the visualization and graphics, the soundtrack, all of the elements of surprise that can go into a horror video game just kept fresh in my head for a long while. After I left Texas and moved in with my ex in California, I used the training facility in Resident Evil 0 as the exact mansion in Endangered and the soon to be released follow-up, Cursed. When I did the rewrites on Cursed, I had to move things around and remind myself of the layout, and that there were a few rooms in Resident Evil 0 that had other purposes than just killing zombies.

The funny thing was trying to imagine how that room would look with actual lighting, considering in the game the only light that remained on was maybe a candle? If not, it was the moon glaring in through the window.  I’m pretty sure I’d used this same room in Endangered when Josef broke away from Livia, almost killed Marianne, (who did I base her on?) and went after attackers by jumping through the window, shifting into a wolf and taking off.

I remember much less of The X-Files game but it had the same sort of content as Resident Evil 0.

I find my inspiration from weird shit.

I’m still hoping to write a romance version of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, all because Sepultura had an album called Dante XXI. That, along with A-Lex were great concept albums.

Suppose I could share a small excerpt from CURSED since it’s going to be released before the end of the year!

Istvan watched Joséf study Livía and then something occurred to him.  Istvan had watched Joe do this a time or two before with his opponents, but that magic came to him in the middle of fight or flight and gave him an intense perception from an energy perspective.

This was not that.

Isabella’s worry wasn’t just broadcast on her face.  No, the frown real, but the scent she gave off smelled of bittersweet melon.  Shame too, because her disappointment wasn’t a detractor like her attitude was, but he had no idea of the full dynamic here.

Joséf let out a small moan. “You’re sick.”

“No.”   Livía turned her back to Joséf.

He grabbed her and forced her to look at him.

Bold move.  He’d never do that shit with Kissa.  Istvan knew firsthand how stubborn the little wolf queen was, and had tasted her fury before.

He wasn’t lying either when he said Joe didn’t allow Kissa to follow, she forced her way. Which he supposed was her right.

“You’re lying to me.”

Livía opened her mouth to respond, but stopped short.  A quick sniff of the air clued Istvan into her sickness.  He’d detected bitter, old dirt and earth, almost as if rust filled his nostrils and made them flair.

“Even for the undead, I can tell she’s definitely not well, Joe.”

“Don’t you think I can tell that in my mate?”   Joséf pushed back from Livía slightly, caressed her cheek.

Would his typical behavior show?   Or would he revert to what he’d been like before he and the pack had come to terms?

Kissa would hopefully help.

“I’m surprised you couldn’t feel it from here.  I tried to not let her broadcast so much.”

Livía’s stare on Isabella would have made a lesser woman cringe.  Instead, Isabella stood her ground, hands on her hips.

“I had no choice.  He can’t fight a two front war, Liv.  No one can without coming out scarred.  And we both know he’s already jagged enough as it is.”

“I resent that.”   Joséf growled and Istvan watched another set of posturing begin.  He needed to keep this from escalating, else his Alpha become distracted.

“Joe.”

“What?”   He spun around, clear ire in his black and silver irises.  “Everyone’s been trying to baby me but the fucking pack.  I expected different upon my return.”  Joséf’s energy started to rise, his temper a proponent of that magic.

“And we have it.  Joe, calm down.”

The wolf magic was very much tied to feelings, emotions. Joséf had, as far as Istvan had known, never been one-hundred-percent stable.  “Calm down.  We can deal with things one at a time.  First, why are we here?”

“Isn’t that obvious?”

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Personal Growth – Who to listen to?

In continuing with my exploration of personal development as a writer, to grow as a human and have more experiences to draw from, as a writer, a question pops up from time to time. It’s important to question most everything in areas like this because there can be so much confusing information.

The first question I ask is, who the hell is right? I mean, we have several different diets on the market that exist and get results, most of which are scientifically backed, but even that sometimes requires a degree most of us don’t possess and have no desire to attain.

Take the Bulletproof diet for example. I wanted to eat better to increase longevity and at first, blunt the current levels of destructive behavior I engage in routinely, then I wanted to reverse the damage done. For starters, this is NOT an excuse for me to overdo it, thinking my diet will take care of EVERYTHING. Excess is still excess. But the Bulletproof diet suggests (basic high points) higher concentration of good fats and oils (coconut, olive, non-gmo, organic, grass fed butter and ghee) and adding a lot more vegetables to your diet.

The veggies are even ranked by effectiveness based on what they do internally to the body and how they irritate or promote health function.  Garlic and onion are out. (fuck that shit!) But asparagus, zucchini, squash, kale, (I haven’t named a single vegetable I LIKE) are in because they promote the body’s health response and are not irritants. Also, vegetables are mostly water.

Meats should be limited to wild caught for fish, organic, grass fed for meats and again, limited. I break this rule because my red meat intake actually makes me feel better.

Wildfit, another popular option isn’t nearly as restrictive in what you can eat, but then again it is. Both diets eschew cutting out ALL processed foods, unnatural ingredients, saturated fats, and going as close to clean as you possibly can.

Those two diets I have concluded, work best for me and honestly, most people I know who have gone that route. But they do conflict slightly. So who is right?  In a case like this, I go for the combination because the results people seek when going on diets aren’t the same as what I want or need.

But doing your research in a case like this is best. Oh, and standard warning: I am an author, and lifestyle blogger, NOT a doctor so do your due diligence.

Let’s take another aspect of personal growth:  Meditation. I’ve stated in previous posts that I meditate regularly but which style works for you?  Marisa Peer says one thing, John Asaraf, another, Vishen, another, Ziva Mind, yet another.

To me, this area depends on what you’re seeking to achieve. I’ve found for starting off, Six Phase (through Mind Valley) is a great way to hack the mind and put you in the mindset needed to create a better life with more depth and meaning.  As stated, my meditative practices vary on what I think I need, and what I learn from them but they are not one stop fix all solutions that happen immediately, though I have had immediate results upon starting this practice. The key is to start with one thought, hold onto it and be more present in your life. Actually pay attention to YOU. When you notice a positive thing, acknowledge it. A negative one? Same thing, and keep a journal of thoughts, feelings and maybe the event that triggers the experience. Over time you’ll see a pattern emerge.

The way I approach this area is based on my results. Need deeper sleep? I set up a month and pick one style, apply it, then test it using Sleep Cycle on my iPhone.  Need to hack my attitude? I do Six-Phase because it was designed explicitly for neurological hacking to put your mind in a certain state and generate certain brain waves. Vishen designed that tactic to take the best practices he’d learned about through 40 years of Zen, teaching meditation, learning and studying about it, and then finding the quickest, most efficient ways of utilizing meditation to achieve the desired results. If I need more compassion, Emily Fletcher’s Ziva Mind Practice has that down pretty well, plus she’s not bad to look at.  (like you didn’t see that coming!)  If I need a self-esteem boost, Lisa Nichols has my back.

My main point is that most of these practices utilize similar concepts designed to prime the brain out of the sloth-mindset of protection and encourage stimulation to put the energy of the universe (this is actually quantum physics based) to work for you.

The main point about personal growth is that there is no one-stop solution for fixing what needs fixing. They all work to some degree but you have to put the work in. Picking up my favorite authors in this realm invariably leads me to other authors with similar points and different ways of expressing them. All of the great businessmen and thinkers of our time share one thing in common: They never stop learning.

And neither should you.

Disclaimer:  I am hyperlinking for your interest, I am not shilling for these companies even though I do respect them and benefit from their products.

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Drilling Down – Tim Ferriss Style

One of the things becoming more important as I get older and more seasoned in the publishing industry is the need for efficiency.  I’m already (mostly) an efficient writer but I could improve. I’m still on my personal growth kick though and when I got the last 5-Bullet Friday email from Tim Ferriss, he was pimping his new book Tribe of Mentors.

His email had the first chapter in which is defined the premise of the book and set up the most powerful interview questions in the best order to pull the best responses from his guests, all of whom are world class performers in some manner or another.

I know, it makes more sense to put up his current book, but I don’t have it yet!

I thought for the sake of my own personal development, and of course, blog content, I’d start answering these questions to maybe give you, the reader, some help.  Or fuck, I don’t know, maybe see where MY head is at.

Let’s begin.

1. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

This is easy right now. Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani and Tools of Titans, by Timothy Ferriss.  Both books are not only solid and chock full of information that can radically shape your life, but I’ve talked extensively about growth and breaking of the brules in our current culturescape here, and again here. Both books are definitely challenging.

2. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.

Well, purchase “I” didn’t make, was my iPad Pro 2. For someone with visual impairment issues, getting into the stock market and looking at stock charts on an iPhone 6+, along with reading e-books. Even over my kindle fire, the iPad is superior.

But that doesn’t count since A: it’s over $100 and B: I didn’t buy it.  I’ll have to come back to this question.  I really don’t buy much right now outside, books, cigars, alcohol or food. And when it comes to food, I buy a LOT of food.

3. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

I can’t say I have anything specific. This answer is subject to change obviously, but right now, nothing’s coming to mind. Part of that is because I’ve been learning to control me more, and that means my emotions remain more in check, along with my logic so I don’t let gut reactions get the best of me in the situations where that’s not the best reaction.  Have I failed? Sure I have. Spectacularly, in fact. I can remember this one time in real estate I fucked up this purchase, a $60M (yes that’s MILLION) apartment complex that was in downtown Arlington. I couldn’t structure the deal because I’d been looking at the deal entirely wrong.

I was trying to obtain financing for myself, rather than invite a team in to give them a better rate of return and still make some cash. I was trying to be a lone wolf, which appeared to be working for me in publishing (up until this last year) but that’s a different ballgame altogether.

The next time I tried to buy commercial, I went smaller and looked hard at the numbers, but also had a better idea of how to structure the deal because I’d called upon my mentors.

By the way, I now ask my mentors and supporters for help in publishing.

Chai, the awesome GM at Highland Cigar Company here in Atlanta rocking my fedora and a cigar

4. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

You create your reality. It’s all about what goes in your head and comes out of your mouth that dictate how your life goes, so stop blaming others for your circumstances and the life you’re experiencing. Create your life.

5. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

Cultivating the cigar culture in Atlanta – because when I was at a low, the fellow BOTL and SOTL reminded me that I was still family. (For context, I tend to run lone wolf more than I should – more than any human should, really)

6. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

Few things actually. Really simple three chord college rock (think songs like Breathless by Lifer, Comedown by Bush, Someday by Sugar Ray – Fans of mine know I NEVER touch shit that’s in 4/4 or isn’t damn annoying, musically), umm, Kekism, Meme magic, #AllHailBlueWhale, and don’t get me started on my rules for what to drink and when it can be served. Offensive gangsta rap, geeksta rap, all that shit’s absurd. But I fucking love it!

7. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

I am Enough. Thanks to Marisa Peer, incorporating that into my life has been the biggest improvement since T. Harv Ecker’s belief that I can rewrite my own story to support me.

8. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Advice to take: If you’re going to rise above humanity in the easiest manner, work for or become an innovator.  That will get you ahead faster than the old methods.  Study money, not people, economics, not liberal arts, then when you have a grasp on money and how an economy is supposed to function, study people through psychology. And remember, sometimes you need to let some of that shit go.

Advice to ignore:  Anything that sounds like bullshit, honestly. If it goes against whatever integrity you’ve developed to date, and it rubs you the wrong way, fucking chuck that shit.

9. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Self publish from the start.

10. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

Everyone and everything that doesn’t serve me, honestly. I’ll flat out just say “nope, not serving me.” The fact that I can actually turn shit down has made a tremendous impact, because unless it’s a personal matter, it doesn’t matter because it’s just business and I’m out for a win-win but first I’m out for me – something I’ve ignored for too long.

11. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

Sascha at Occidental Cigar Club, San Francisco December 2013

Usually that’s the time when I need to decompress or “deload” as Tim Ferriss says. That usually means a cigar out on the balcony, glasses off, glass of bourbon or wine, and maybe my iPad just so I can talk to the girlfriends. I’ll play chess. I’ll change the soundtrack I’m listening to from something djent-heavy to either a lighter (is death metal lighter than djent-death?) style of metal or a completely different genre.  It’s not unusual for me to be listening to Devildriver, Whitechapel, Anciients, The Room Colored Charlatan and then J. Balwin or Yelawolf and Twenty-One Pilots all in the same afternoon.

Else I’ll take off to the cigar lounge in downtown Decatur and sit for a few hours with a cigar and enjoy THAT moment – to refocus.

If you enjoyed this post and getting a deeper look at who I am, it might be time for you to look at some of the best World Class Performers and you can do that through Tim Ferriss’s books at his site.

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Slice the Cake’s latest kicks ass compilation

Yeah, we’re talking about Djent and my music obsession.  I need the heart because if this is my blog, and my site, and I’m going to lure fans in not by talking writing shop all the damn time, but by talking interest, let’s talk about “Odyssey to the West” the last album from the dynamic death/metal-core band Slice the Cake, made up of members who from what I understand, have never met in person.

I won’t go into the detailed explanation of what this masterpiece is about, someone else did that here. Short version, the album is a journey based loosely on “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, by John Bunyan. It strays from what the link above says, but I’m not familiar with the particular allegory.

But I will say that the album on full rotation, from start to 78 minutes of music, Shakespearian Soliloquy, death metal vocals, clean vocals, acoustic and heavy guitars, calm drums and death metal blast beats tied up with booming bass, has moved me. Parts of it pick up from their previous album “Other Slices” in the love department and the meaning I’ve pulled from that segment (taken possibly out of context) where as parts of it like Unending Waltz challenge my Soul.

Yeah.  Because a musician asked the right question of the emotional listener.

Unending Waltz – give it a listen.  It’s…somewhat typical for fans of more aggressive metal and fans of this band. It literally shatters me when the Oracle starts speaking, because of the questions she poses to The Pilgrim on his journey.

I’ve only known sadness until recently and this song was a huge reinforcement of what I wanted my characters to go through in order to provide you with release.  Unshed tears needed to fall while I wrote, and they probably need to fall when you read my stories if you’re digging in that hard into what I’m trying to convey.

This still falls into line with a basic tenant I’ve been learning. The Oracle once asks tough questions to the Pilgrim and makes him question himself to the point of even calling him a coward. Then she puts forth another ideal that may work better for him. “Because it’s all so simple, can’t you see?”

The entire composition of this one song gets me every fucking time.

It makes it harder to write through tears but the stories come out better because I emote.  I release.

In the end, “What are the chances, that I would come to see with such great ease?”

~~~~

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Life Hacking – an author’s journey

Over the last year you have probably noticed I’ve been on this spiritual and physical growth path in an attempt to not only increase my financial success but increase my happiness in life.  I’ve been driven to succeed even more.

That started when I first read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Ecker. Some of you may know on that other site that I am now T-Sascha Illyvich and there’s a reason for that explained in my profile.

The journey started many years ago honestly when I was still living with an ex in Houston, TX.  I’d begun reading Zig Ziglar and gotten into the idea of motivational speaking and learning to grow mentally since that was lacking.

I’d become a Toastmaster when I lived in California.

When I came to Georgia and found a place to call home, I’d re-read T. Harv’s book and then came across the seminar. I detailed that experience a little in this #holdontothelight post.

Shortly after that, I’d become a member (Free) of MindValley Academy and found myself immersed in free (and sometimes paid) training on how to supercharge my life in a grand spectrum.  In the post mentioned above I also talk about my affinity for author and lifestyle hacker, Timothy Ferriss, embracing simple yet powerful techniques that 10x my life. Everything from simplifying and reclaiming time, to hacking my diet, I’ve been embracing it.

Now I’m going through Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by MindValley founder Vishen Lakhiani. He is proof that you can actually change your reality to bend it to your will via the things he’s done in only the small time I’ve been following the instructors he’d brought to MindValley.

In CodeEx, he talks about the 12 areas of improvement, based on LifeBook, a program developed by John Butcher and without giving away Butcher’s program, Vishen asks you to think about these twelve areas, question them and really expound upon them. A girlfriend of mine is currently engaged in the Lifebook course and says the actual paid for course is deeper than what Vishen mentions, but the difference is that Vishen, like Tim Ferriss is hacking things for “busy people.”

You may be wondering what the fuck ANY of this shit has to do with my writing or my normal interests as a cigar and alcohol connoisseur and sex god.

Experience!

Writers ARE the TRUE reporters of the world.  I have been quoted as saying “We are the heart of the world that beats with pain,  pleasure, agony, ecstasy, hope, dreams, fears, goals, wants, needs.”

I’ve also said “Remember, we are dreamers who dream the impossible, then write it like it’s fact because the world needs that.  The world hurts, and we, especially as romance writers, are the cure.”

All of the things I do to my life impact the lives of others around me and allow me to enjoy a greater range of emotion and then put that down on paper for you, the reader.

And in the end, aren’t we all looking to feel something?

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Unedited Excerpt – Clint

Clint shifted uncomfortably in his seat, but met her stare with a hard gaze.  “I promise, it won’t land on you.  My brothers have my back and we’re going to finish up the mess with our local associates soon as we can.  But that’s all I can say.”

“Else you’ll have to call me your ol’lady and make me subservient?”

Clint snorted.  “As if you’d ever be submissive on any level.  Why do you think I hired you?”

Chuckling, Haley waved a hand about.  “Oh, I don’t know.  Because maybe you said to the universe, I want the biggest bitch to be my lawyer?”

“Yeah.  We’ll go with that.”

Funny how he didn’t backtrack on them being a couple.  For the time being, she’d chalk it up to exhaustion, alcohol and stress.

Not that she wanted to be his girlfriend.

Or did she?

“Something going on in that pretty head of yours, Hales?  I saw the wheels spin for a moment.”

“No.”  Haley didn’t try to stop the yawn from happening in hopes of deterring Clint’s actions.

He set a hand on her thigh but didn’t move it any further.

The spark between them flared brightly, making her stomach clench in anticipation but the look in Clint’s eyes not only told her he wanted her as bad as she wanted him, but he’d be patient staking his claim.

“Tired?”

“Yeah.”  She faked another yawn but the look on his face said he wasn’t buying it.  But, Clint took another sip of his tea and rose to his full height.  “You should probably walk me out then.  It’s getting late and we have a thing.”

Nodding, Haley stood and moved back from the couch.  Any small space she could find herself in with Clint was not a place she needed to be.  Not right now.

Before she made it to the front door, Clint was on her, pressing her against the wall, fingers holding her shoulders, and his mouth on hers.

She pushed back against his chest but the bulk of his muscle stopped her and she finally reneged when his tongue slid into her mouth and she made the mistake of inhaling him.

Yes, she tasted him, the beer, the cigar, but her nostrils flared at him.  Instead of shoving him away, she’d found her hands clutching his shoulders for dear life and moving to his upper arms while his fingers tangled in her hair.  Another hand captured her around the waist and pulled her into him while he nipped and sucked at her lip, biting playfully with enough pain to stake a claim.

It pissed her off.

Unfortunately, it also hardened her nipples and made her nether region take notice and her breath hitch.

Good thing she hadn’t decided to change when she’d come home.

Haley kissed him back, inhaling his essence while he slanted his mouth over hers.  She couldn’t stop herself from wrapping a leg around his waist and pulling him even tighter against her while she cupped the back of his head.

He’d slid one hand down to grip her ass through her jeans, giving her a good, hard squeeze.  The move felt as possessive as his love nip, even though what he’d said to her earlier replayed in her head.

That noise was slowly drowned out by him sucking in a breath and kissing her hard, gliding his tongue over, and ultimately between her lips.

They wrestled for control of the kiss, but he won.  It wasn’t the MC influencing his hormones, this was all Clint.  The man who was in control of everything, kissed her.

His tongue explored her mouth as though searching, learning.  Each slow, deliberate lick had a purpose and hit its mark, heightening her arousal further.  Skin grew too warm and she wanted to pull his cut off, yank off his clothes and hers, but he’d kept himself pressed against her so she couldn’t get a finger between them.

He backed off, sucked in a breath, as did she.  Then he leaned in and kissed her once more, this time, with softness.

Haley tasted all of him and more, her body throbbing now from the way he caressed her mouth with his.

Then he pulled back and moved away from her before making his way to the front door.

Before she could respond, Clint had let himself out, shut the door behind him with a quiet click, leaving her heaving and frustrated, leaning against the wall in her living room.

His mug still steamed slightly but the heat from the tea was nothing compared to how she wanted to melt when he finally kissed her like he meant it.

Goddamn him.

~~~

This is the first of probably 3 MC romances I plan to write during the 2018 year. Clint is already finished in draft form but I need to edit it. I’m looking for betas, and those who subscribe and donate to my Patreon will get sneak peeks!

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I was looking for something else and came across this photo gallery of graffiti murals.

My Youtube Channel for readers and authors!

Some of the work is pretty amazing!  Back in December of ’16 when babygirl was here we’d taken a trip down to Krog Street Market, which is sort of like Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  I hear the Ponce City Market down the street is bigger/better but also bouzy.

I like bouzy heh. You should all know that by now.

Click here to see what Atlanta’s East side beltline has to offer.

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Thought I’d share one of the more beautiful…

Houses I walk by when I’m headed to Highland Cigar Company.  See, the train doesn’t get me all the way there but it does stop at Inman Park/Reynoldstown.

First, some brief history: Our Beginnings

Further toward North Highland Avenue is this beauty – I’d LOVE to smoke cigars and relax on that porch with bourbon and company.

Inman Park is Atlanta’s first planned residential suburb and also Atlanta’s first electric trolley neighborhood. Created at the cusp of the twentieth century, this ideal Victorian neighborhood — curved streets, generous residential lots and verdant parks — was built upon the wrecked land of Atlanta’s Civil War battlefield, two miles east of Downtown Atlanta. – From Inman Park website.

That being said, it’s a brief walk, about .7 of a mile from the MARTA stop to Highland and during the Spring and Fall months, the walk is quite enjoyable.  Large sweeping trees overhead, beautiful Victorian houses, plenty of landscape? Yeah, that’ll get me in the mood for a #SundayNightChillSession all right!  The neighborhood is pretty large with both implements of modernity and history, including a park, the Church and a series of lofts in some of the older buildings that have been repurposed.

The remodel on this is gorgeous!

Anyway, the houses in this area are iconic, with gorgeous Victorian style architecture. I truly enjoy the walk through the neighborhood and for the last two years, have done the Inman Park Tour of Homes for a relatively low fee.

I needed to do something to shake up my normal cigar/booze routine and this just seemed cool.  I’ll throw up a few pictures in another post later about interiors, but being able to see some of the houses restored to either former glory or modernized with impressive designs was awesome.

The second photograph is actually the finished product. When I first arrived here, they were rehabbing the house and about four months back maybe? I saw new owners moving in.  It was pretty and the exterior looks amazing.

Even going into the old church was astounding.  I really loved the stained glass windows and will have to find those photos to accompany the exterior to the right of this post. Oh and both my youngest Girlfriend and I got to ring the bell last time she was in town and we did the tour of homes.

 

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Chess fans!

I’ve been playing chess more intensely for the last three years, and have finally found a partner! I mean we play via chess.com client for iPhone/Android but still. I’ve been with this kid for some time and we go rounds often.

Most folks don’t know that I am a fan of the game. I picked it up in high school, my Freshman year as something to do after school and my friend/neighbor and I would play for two hours at a time over one game. Then do it again. I remember when Tool’s first full length album Undertow which, for the time was a long album. It clocks in at 72 minutes, if you include the hidden track. (I tried some acid once…)

We were just playing, knew the rules, understood the goal. Capture the king. That was it.  The next year I had enrolled in Cross Country so that eroded any free time I had, along with my AP/Honors classes (yeah, fuck that shit. Listen, don’t bother with those, they are only for your delicate, teenage ego ONLY) and I no longer could keep up.

chess1Fast forward to my early 20s. I picked up an online client once I’d settled in with an ex girlfriend in Houston. I kept up as best I could, but I still had no idea about anything other than thinking several moves ahead. Writing took up more time as I decided to ditch the cancer that is a traditional job (I’ll do another blog post defending that position later) and become an erotica writer.  Only I became an erotic romance author, instead.  Then, as luck would have it, I ended up in yet another long term, but long distance relationship until moving to California where the relationship was long term, but now we lived together. It wasn’t until 2011 or thereabout when I picked up the game during a dead spell in winter.  That I think was the winter I decided to drink all during the month of December and when I say drink, I mean from sunrise (or 9 AM in this case) to bedtime (or Midnight in this case) and my ex was on board because, hey, what else was I doing?  I was suffering from burnout -which is NOT writers block.

Writer’s Block is a lie. I covered that in an earlier video post here.

Burnout occurs when you’ve written all year and not refilled the word well or restocked your imagination. Block is just a bullshit state of mind.

Anyway, I remembered this amazing thing called Youtube.  Yeah I’m a little fuckin’ slow.  Some days…remember, drunk (sort of?) and burned out. I started watching chess videos and memorizing moves and positions and learning the finer arts of the game.

chess2Things such as openings became important and here’s a hint. If I’m playing white, I almost ALWAYS open with Kings Indian Attack, though lately I’ve been toying with the Fried Liver Attack.

Mid games: Mine sucks if I don’t do it right.

Endgames:  Same.  I either have it or I don’t.

Now I do tactics daily when I wake up, have this partner I’ve been playing with often enough that it’s a regular expectation honestly, and when I’m smoking a cigar I’ll do the occasional bullet chess game.  That’s where you have 3 minutes to complete a game and in my set up, if you move quickly, you gain time.  Two seconds. I’ve been lucky to win a number of games through time loss on the other side when I was clearly having my ass handed to me, but I’m getting better.

It’s a mental exercise that lets me stretch and play. It also serves to remind me of a very important life lesson.

Look at the ENTIRE BOARD before making a move.

Let that sink in.

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Video: How To Defeat Writer’s Block

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