Monday, December 31, 2012

So Dream Something begins!...

It's time for the big announcement! As we get ready to ring in the new year, let me share with you my most exciting project for 2013: So Dream Something!

Being a dreamer - following a dream - makes us happier, healthier people.
It turns our focus to the future.
It nourishes our hearts.
So Dream Something is a podcast in which I will speak to dreamers pursuing their dreams and learn how it has changed their lives for the better.

http://www.kenlasalle.com/so-dream-something

You can listen to Episode One here: http://sodreamsomething.libsyn.com/webpage

or by clicking this link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/sodreamsomething/So_Dream_Something_episode_1.mp3

How about this for one year?...

I don't often talk a whole lot about my writing on this blog but as the year comes to a close take a look at what 2012 held for me...


First Published Novel
Climbing Maya (which ended up hitting #16 on Amazon!)
 
First Published Audiobook
The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers (The #5 Inspirational Audiobook in Finland!)





 

… And that was just the headlines.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 was the year I got shorter…

Since time immemorial… well, since 1984 at least, I have always worn jeans sized 36x32. Even as I got older and even as I got fatter, I made sure my jeans were 36x32. If my jeans began getting too snug, I’d know to stop eating so I could still fit in my jeans. When my jeans got looser, I’d know I had my weight under control.
But I could never have guessed what really made my jean size change…
A while back, I realized the cuffs of my jeans were dragging. After a while, they were always dragging. Eventually, I had to start rolling up my cuffs.
Must be the brand of jeans I’m wearing, I reasoned. They simply made a longer 32 length jean… right?
Well, if you read the subject line, you’d know that not to be the case.
Today, when I went to buy a new pair of jeans, I grabbed a size 36x30 jean – just as a lark! And when I put them on, they fit beautifully – not too tight, not binding – and then, it hit me!
They were the right length!!
Somewhere out there, I had shrunk! Shrunk!
Now, I know people get shorter as they get older but, dammit, I’m not that old! I’m only 47! I’m not supposed to start shrinking, yet, am I?
… AM I?????
… still, there was no escaping it. Somewhere along the line, I lost two inches of height.
It’s going to be difficult readjusting to life as a short man. I’m going to have to start using stepping stools. I’m going to have to just up and wave just to be seen.
I’ll have to stand on my tip-toes to kiss Vicky…
Sigh, ain’t old age a bitch?

What is So Dream Something?...


Friday, December 28, 2012

There are a few things Vicky does not understand about video games…


There are a few things Vicky does not understand about video games… which is why that makes such a great subject line for this blog entry.

You see, Steam is having their holiday sale right now and oodles and oodles of awesome video games are as low as $4.99 a pop! $4.99!

I have a few problems with that on my end, however, and most of them begin and end with the fact that I don’t have time to play video games. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t want to. I do! I WANT TO!

But time and (whatever passes for maturity) has shown me the futility in buying video games. I tend to work an awful lot, which leaves little time… very little time.

So, when Steam puts Skyrim on sale or FarCry3, I know I don’t have time to play them. When Steam has a great price on Saints Row 2 or 3 or Sleeping Dogs, I remember there was a reason why I didn’t pick it up to begin with – I just don’t have the time.

Oh, and I don’t have the money, either. Let’s not kid ourselves.

So, when Vicky says to me, “If you want a game, just buy it,” she doesn’t realize that, like an addict, it’s not just one game I want. I WANT THEM ALL! And I’ll buy them all, which will mean spending far more than she can imagine, and then they’ll all sit silently, waiting for me to find the time to play them.

Again, it’s not because I don’t want to… I do! And like the old guy who dreams of sitting on his porch and reading all the classics when he retires, I dream of playing all the terrific video games I’ve missed…

I’ll need cheat codes, of course. I mean, face it, after I retire I won’t have the patience or the time (I could die at any minute) to waste respawning, will I?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Almost unemployed...


This has been quite the year for employment.

I don’t mean to underplay that, either. It has been quite the year.

I began the year with a terrific job at a place called The Write Connection. (I only mention the name since they’re out of business.) After a few months, however, the owner hired a new office manager who turned out to be crazy and who ran the whole place into the ground. Just lovely. Then, I worked for a fledgling ISP and a law office. They didn’t work out.

Now, I’m working for a trampoline company. Yep, you heard that right. It’s nice to be working somewhere that makes such a fun, wholesome, and enjoyable (if potentially life-threatening) product.

But then, the other day, everything went quiet and I couldn’t get any replies to my emails. I found myself caught in a kind of terror because I realized just how sick I was of having to find a new employer. Sure, I’m a freelance worker with my focus mostly on my books, but all the same I take my freelance work seriously as well. What had happened? I wondered. What went wrong?

Turned out… nothing. It was just that kind of day. But it was a day that clarified some things for me in my mind.

For a long time, I’ve talked about how important my writing career is for me and how my freelance work is only on the side to help pay some bills. What I didn’t realize, or at least what I wasn’t admitting, was how important my freelance work is as well.

I mean, I put a lot of work into that. And when it’s something I can take pride in – as opposed to the law firm that just made me feel dirty – I would feel terrible losing it.

It’s a strange revelation but nice to know in a way, not that I don’t want to lose my job but that I actually care about what I do. It’s easy to be cynical and nice to know that hasn’t happened.

Not yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Right to Work" takes away rights...

For those of you who haven't seen a rant for a while in these here parts... look no further:

http://greenheritagenews.com/taking-away-your-rights/

Click the above link for my view on the so-called "Right to Work" laws and how they are actually far more effective at stripping people of their rights.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Being Thankful…


You usually hear these kinds of stories around Thanksgiving. You know, “Why we should be thankful, etc. etc.”

But the pursuit of my dream has not always been peaches and cream. In fact, there have been plenty of times this year when I’ve wanted to give up. And I think those are the times when it’s especially important to remember to be thankful, when everything is unsure.

So, I hope you check out my new piece over on Recovering the Self. You can find it by clicking this link: http://www.recoveringself.com/fulfilling-your-dreams/being-thankful.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is why writers need wives…


 
Or, at least, this is a story that explains just how much I need mine.

I might have mentioned over on the Ken La Salle blog that I had been working on an audiobook for Daughter of a One-Armed Man. (I’m not sure. I never read it.) And, you know, this was the case. I recorded the entire book and began working on post-productions issues of sound quality, editing, and so on.

After I finished a couple of chapters, I asked Vicky to give it a listen. In fact, I cornered her in her car, as we drove to dine with her family the day after Thanksgiving.

Almost right away, I noticed something going on with Vicky’s nose, as if she smelled something… very bad.

“How is it?” I asked.

“It’s fine,” she said. But she seemed to be lying.

But then, after a while, she began to turn green.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Yep,” she lied. “Just enjoying it.”

Now, here’s the thing. Not only did I want to play the disc so she could hear it, but I also wanted to hear it. Before this point, I’d only heard the book on my PC as I worked on it. I knew that hearing it “in the field” so to speak would prove very useful in knowing how it had turned out.

And it hadn’t turned out well. Despite my care, there were several problems, most stemming from the dramatic nature of the book and the limits of my technology. In other words, the book sounded horrible whenever I raised my voice and inaudible when things got too quiet. This wouldn’t be so bad if I had a studio… but I don’t.

Right at that moment, I was standing on the edge of a decision. Should I continue working on the book or should I chalk it up to a failed experiment and move on to the next project? (One I will comment on much further over in the Ken La Salle blog.)

That’s when Vicky had heard enough. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” she said, which was really all I needed to hear.

“Just tell me,” I said. Even if I didn’t need to hear it, it would help to hear it.

So, she told me. And she confirmed a lot of my concerns. You see, I am always overly critical of my own work and it was this knowledge that I was going to be much harder on myself that had kept me on the edge. Knowing that I wasn’t just being overly critical, that the book had turned out poorly, was enough to help me reach a decision.

“I’ll move on,” I told her.

“Do you have to?” Vicky asked. “I hate to think you wasted all that effort.”

“I’ll learn from this,” I said. “Nothing is wasted. It’s a learning experience.”

So, to return to my original point, I am fortunate to have Vicky around. Because I generally think everything I do is shitty. It’s only the enthusiasm from everyone else that changes my mind. It’s good to have someone I trust who can assure me. “No. It really is as shitty as you thought.”

Ken's Holiday Deals...


The holidays are on their way! What better time to pick up an audiobook or a paperback (or even an ebook) for a friend or loved one? (Wouldn’t want to get those confused.)

Audiobooks!

Did you know you can give audiobook downloads as a gift? It’s a great way of buying a gift for someone far away – better than a giftcard!

The #5 Self-Help book in Finland (October 2012) is The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers. It’s the perfect book for anyone pursuing their dreams. You can download it from the following sites to play on your iPod/phone/whatever. (Just click the links!):

Emusic!                                                              Amazon! Just $5.95!

Audible! Just $8.40!                                        Audio Book Store! Just $7.49!

iTunes! Just $5.95! (You can find it on iTunes or check this webpage for their shelf of books by Ken La Salle.)

For more information, just go to The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers page on my web site!

Paperbacks!

You don’t need an ereader to enjoy a paperback! And Climbing Maya is available from all major etailers! (It’s only $12.99 on Amazon!)

What is success? And what’s the point of working so hard for it if you don’t know what it is? Check out the Climbing Maya page on my website for more purchasing options, interviews, and the book’s trailer. (Climbing Maya is also available as an ebook.)

Ebooks!

Do you enjoy ebooks? Well, I have ebooks! A whole lot of ebooks! Everything from fantasy novels, short story collections, political novels, and memoirs. (All are under $4!)

If you’d like an ebooks for your Kindle (or Kindle-app), check out my page on Amazon.com, listing all of my ebooks. For any other ereader, from Nooks to Schnooks, head on over to my Smashwords page.

Happy Holidays! And thank you for your support!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankishly filled…


You often hear people on Thanksgiving talk about those things for which they are giving thanks.

Man, does that sound awkward. I’m not just talking about that sentence structure; I’m talking about the incessant and gratuitous thanking that goes on. “I’m thankful for my job. I’m thankful for my family,” they say. No kidding? Thanks for pointing that out, because most people aren’t…

My point is, it’s easy to be thankful for all the things that make your life better – because they make your life better! But what about those things that make it crappy? Where would you be without that? How would you know just what you have and just what you have to be thankful for if other impediments did not stand in the way?

And so, it is with this in mind that I present the following list for this Thanksgiving…

 

I am thankful for the three jobs I lost this year, because without them I wouldn’t appreciate just how hard this journey to become a full-time writer is.
I am thankful for my weight issues, because without them I’d probably be much lazier.
I am thankful for my wife’s often-fragile health, because it reminds me just how temporary our time together is.
I am thankful for my father-in-law’s stay in the hospital, because it helped me appreciate my in-laws better.
I am thankful for the mistakes I make, because I get an opportunity to learn from them.
I am thankful for my messy pets, because they would be insufferable if they were perfect.
I am thankful for the friends who left me, some of whom read this blog, because it makes me appreciate the ones I still have.
And lastly, I am thankful for this life. It ain’t perfect. Hell, sometimes it ain’t all that good… but it’s mine.

 
(But I’m not thankful for Justin Beiber… let’s not get crazy.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Things left unwroted…

 

I had several ideas for today’s blog but they just didn’t go anywhere. Some of them included:

  • The stoner I met on my job yesterday (He was mid-bong-hit when he saw me coming and ran away...)
  • My return to playing WoW
  • How my ex-sister-in-law made me realize my mistake
  • The possible connection between Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD and James Roday (of Psych)
  • How hungry I am

But, as I say, none of them seemed to go anywhere. The truth of the matter is, well, things are pretty quiet over here. We’re in pre-holiday mode, which means getting all of our plans together. For instance, this Thanksgiving we’ll be celebrating twice with three different parts of the families.

… you see? Boring stuff. Certainly not worth writing about. I’m just in a boring place. And, you know what? I’m not minding it all that much, to tell you the truth. I’ve been DVR’ing old movies, working on a new audiobook, and working at a new part-time job. Things in these here parts are nice and slow.

… How are you?

Friday, November 09, 2012

That’s me all over…


This entry begins with a fat joke: Me.

Now, you may have noticed that I keep pretty active. Between jogging and cycling and playing WoW (that doesn’t count?), I get out pretty often.

So, why were my clothes getting tighter and tighter?

Recently, Vicky picked up an app for her phone called MyFitnessPal, and she suggested I try it. When I say she suggested it, what I mean is she worked it into every sentence. “What’s on TV tonight? (cough) Getmyfitnesspal (cough)

I could take a hint – after a couple of weeks. Besides, I knew something was off. You shouldn’t gain weight from jogging, after all. I had the exercise down. I had to find out what was packing on the pounds.

So, I downloaded it and decided that I wasn’t going to diet right away. The best thing for me to do was just to track my eating and find out where all the calories were coming from. I set my goal at 2000 calories/day, which I hear is supposed to be life-sustaining. If I ever went over 2000 calories, I would know.

… within 15 minutes, I’d eaten twice that.

I may have found the problem.

You see, I like eating. Pardon me if I shock you. I fucking love eating! And it’s not just good food I love to eat. I love just about everything! My weight gain should have come a no surprise when, after Vicky’s last business trip, I was eating an entire pizza for dinner. My caloric intake was 2000 calories an hour!

The good news is that I really don’t have to go on a diet. I don’t have to watch everything I eat. I have learned that if I just eat like a normal person, I’ll be fine.

For instance, I have a bed habit of eating something and saying, “Those dozen burritos were pretty good. I think I’ll have another!” No… that’s not how normal people eat… ANYWHERE!

Relearning how normal people eat is going to take me some time, as will losing this weight, but being aware and knowing where I went wrong was an important step. Maybe then, I’ll stop being so fat that when I walk outside in a yellow raincoat people shout “Hey taxi!”

Saturday, November 03, 2012

La Salle takes Finland…



I haven’t posted anything about my writing career around here in some time, so allow me to steal an article from my other blog…

Here’s how this happened: The Worth of Dreams The Value of Dreamers climbed the iTunes Self-Help/Self-Development Audiobook chart last week, all the way up to #5. Typical of me, I discounted it as a joke. Why? Because I’ve been so conditioned by people I thought of as friends to discount any achievement that I couldn’t just accept it and embrace it.

Then, my friend Ernest, who is the Editor over at RecoveringThe Self, suggested we run a piece about it and I thought, “No!” I was afraid of being judged negatively – once again – by those folks who I had once considered friends but who fed me so much negativity, well, I shouldn’t have.

And when my agent, Jeanie, heard about it she reminded me of something. “This makes you an international author,” she told me… and it took a few days for that to sink in. This achievement I had been discounting had actually been a good thing! And I realized I should embrace it and accepts it – and that I should do the piece Ernest had talked about.

And you can read that piece right here: http://greenheritagenews.com/ken-la-salle-takes-his-new-audiobook-to-finland/. I’m rather surprised at how it makes my life sound almost like a straight line to this point. There’s no such thing as fate, but it’s surprising how strong a tool hindsight can be.

This news was subsequently picked up by the Bozeman News: http://bozemannewsonline.com/ken-la-salles-audio-book-wins-attention-in-finland/.


It’s nice to put one in the win column. And it’s good to know all the negative people are gone and I have the support of people like Ernest and Jeanie.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My presidential pick for 2012…


When I decided to wrote down my presidential pick in this election as a blog entry, I thought, “Now, that one is going to take a while. Make sure you have plenty of time to write – because you’ll end up writing a book.” After all, politics are complex and nuanced and require carefully worded answers in order to…

But the hell with that.

Because as soon as I thought that, I remembered some important truths.

Let’s start with Romney. Would I endorse and vote for Romney? Are you kidding? Hell no! The man and his running-moron have been caught in more lies than I can count. Their system of ethics is based on how many people they can step on. Their economic plan goes from “trickle down” to a full pee stream. Anyone who votes Republican is either stupid or grotesquely broken.

So, that rules out Romney.

Of course, you were probably expecting that answer, just as you’re probably expecting me to pick Obama.

Wrong again.

Listen, I wish I could vote for President Obama again. I believe he’s a far better man than Romney, just as I believe the Democrats are far better (not just ethically, but mentally as well) than the Republicans. If you are going to vote for one of the two major candidates, I believe Obama is the clear choice.

However, with all of the promises Obama did not keep, I cannot vote for the man. He kills indiscriminately with drone strikes. He still allows illegal wiretapping and never moved to make sure torture was illegal. He never closed Guantanamo and continued the growth of our war machine. He did nothing about the banks and on an on and, for my money, he’s just too conservative.

I want someone in the White House more liberal – yes, I said it – than that. Someone who takes a more progressive stand towards the economy and towards peace, towards global warming and towards the future.

Sadly, no one like that stands a chance of getting elected.

But I’ve always felt that you only waste your vote if you chose not to vote your conscience. And so, this year, I will be voting for Jill Stein. I do not believe she will win, but I know that party building is important to give the Green Party a chance to win in the future.

Then, I’ll hold my nose for four more years, and hope for the best.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The funniest thing that happened to you today…



What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? Just name it. Anything. It could be a joke you heard or a funny movie you saw. It could be something you saw on the street or thought of out of the blue. Anything.

Sadly… many of us – most of us – don’t really think in those terms.

I got to thinking about that the other day. If you look around you, it seems as though most people just don’t find the humor in their lives. They don’t focus on it. They find it a waste of time.

But why not? Humor is one of those things that makes life really worth living. It makes life fun!

And yet, you don’t have to go far to find someone who just doesn’t think about it.

And so, I thought I’d send a little note out into the universe and suggest you think about the funniest thing that happened to you today. What made you smile? What gave you a chuckle?

Think about it.

And smile again.

Wasn’t that nice?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dog on the trail...


I was out jogging yesterday when I came across a dog on the trail.

You see, I jog on the Santa Ana River Trail. It’s cheaper than the gym and much more scenic, especially when you get up into northern Orange County. It’s a nice way of getting out in the world when, as a writer, I find myself cooped up in front of a keyboard so often.

So, there I was, jogging away when this great big pit bull came up to me. Actually, it might not have even been a pit bull because I don’t know if they get this big. The dog came up to my waist! It was out on the trail with its human, but the idiot human didn’t have him on a leash. One of the rules of trail is that all pets should be on a leash, but nobody ever follows that. Okay – so that’s one of the downsides.

It’s especially one of the downsides when this dog that is off his leash is half your size and is running up to you with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth bared!

A decade ago, I probably wouldn’t have handled this very well. I won’t kid you; I used to be terrified of dogs, especially large dogs. This goes back to my childhood, when I watched my sister get bit by a large dog.

But people change and I’m happy to say that in at least this one way I have changed for the better. Dogs don’t freak me out any more. This is probably because I own two dogs of my own. They’re not big dogs but I’ve learned how to handle myself, how dogs communicate and what they like and don’t like.

I also thought, as this dog was approaching me, that I have Vicky to thank for this as well. Vicky has had a very calming effect on my life. People in my family are pretty high-strung, he said tactfully, and I am no different. But Vicky handles things so well, dare I say “gracefully”, that I believe some of that has rubbed off onto me.

It’s nice to be married to someone who has such a beneficial influence. When I say I’m a better man because of her, this is just one of the ways.

And so, this big dog came up to me, its owner oblivious and walking as though nothing was wrong. (Of course, there was plenty wrong. I could think of ten different ways this dog unleashed could be a hazard but what are you going to do?) I slowed my jog and lowered my hand, palm-out.

He gave it a juicy sniff.

And… that was it.

I kept jogging and the dog kept… doing whatever dogs do.

And yet, the experience reminded me of a few things I have to be thankful for… and I thought I’d share them with you.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Great News about Climbing Maya...

Who would have thought Climbing Maya would be a best seller at such a great price?

That's right! The paperback version of Climbing Maya has climbed up the Amazon charts and even reached #16 this week! Have you picked up your paperback copy? You can get it for only $12.99 here: http://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Maya-Ken-La-Salle/dp/1477531858/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349301041&sr=8-1&keywords=climbing+maya!

And if you think $12.99 is a great price for a paperback - and these days it is pretty darned good - you e-readers will be thrilled with the price of the Climbing Maya e-book. For a short time, Solstice Publishing has reduced the price on the e-book to just $2.99! That's right: $2.99! Heck, that's less that... well, anything!

You can pick it up Climbing Maya...
For your Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Maya-ebook/dp/B007YIF510/ref=sr_1_14?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349620056&sr=1-14
For your Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/climbing-maya-ken-la-salle/1110856081?ean=2940014453479
And for all e-readers: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/156534

Again, that's just $12.99 for the paperback and only $2.99 for the e-book (for just a short time)!

Thanks to everyone who picks up a copy. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and hope to hear from you.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Lies are not debatable…


Watching the first Presidential debate this week, I couldn’t help thinking, “You can’t debate lies, not as long as the liar is allowed to keep lying.”

I suppose I should say up front that I don’t have a horse in this race. I won’t be voting for either Romney or Obama. Romney is a corporate stooge with no more conscience than a corporation. His disdain for the poor is only overshadowed by his Bushian incompetence so… No. As for President Obama, as much as I might want to like the man I cannot simply ignore his library of broken promises. Is Gitmo shut down? No. Did he keep his promise to respect state decisions on medical marijuana? No. And on and on. So, I can’t vote for either of them.

All the same, I feel it’s important to be politically educated and a part of that is watching these debates. In the end, however, all I watched was a white guy drown the nation in lies while the black guy stood speechless with this, “Are you really going to allow that?” look on his face. That look was directed to a moderator who was about as useful as the parts of Romney’s religion that tell him not to lie… or any religion at all for that matter.

President Obama began by mentioning the tax plan Romney has been selling for months now, which would devastate the nation. Romney responded with, “I never said that.” Obama waited for the moderate to step in and… you know… moderate. But he didn’t.

Now, listen, I understand that politicians lie. I get that. But what’s the point of having a moderator who refuses to do his job? The sad truth, of course, is that he couldn’t do his job. News outlets are beholden to politicians, at the holy alter of ACCESS, so they don’t dare offend anyone and everything has to be equal lest there be any hint of favoritism… even to the facts.

I know there will be plenty of people who gloat at Romney’s so-called victory, if it’s possible to be a victor and a liar at the same time. There will be those who say, “He got away with it!” with a kind of glee. I get that. I don’t like it but I get that.

But what’s the point of having debates when one party can just make shit up? Romney never did give specifics about his economic plan but he might as well have said it was a “Magic Mormon Mincantation.” He would have probably got away with it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I finished a video game?...


Yes! I did!

Okay, I suppose a little context is in order here. You see, for many years I played World of Warcraft and pretty much nothing but World of Warcraft. And the thing about World of Warcraft is… you don’t finish it. You never finish it. Even if you finish it, you don’t finish it.

So, I quit WoW a while back and moved on with my life – first, I got a life. Eventually, I hankered for a new game for my PC and found a little thing called Just Cause 2.

I got there in a roundabout way. First, I decided to load my old GTA games – Vice City, San Andreas, you know – only to learn that they run like hell (when they run at all) on Windows 7. Dammit! Okay, lesson learned. I moved on from there to GTA IV, which ran fine… just fine… just… yawn… fine.

Ugh! There was just something missing from GTA IV. The game plays like a great mob movie but not like a great game, you know? I wanted something new and exciting, something that allowed me to spread havoc and chaos. I wanted Just Cause 2!

From the day I bought it – just over $10 on Steam – I couldn’t stop playing it. With the mods I installed, I could use my grappling hook to go anywhere I wanted with ease. I loved it!

And then, the moment came when I finished it… I mean FINISHED it! I hadn’t finished a video game in so long it actually took me by surprise! I found myself wondering, “Why doesn’t this cut scene end?”

But then, it was done.

What next?

Why, another game of Just Cause 2, of course! I think I’m going to have to play this at least a couple of more times – not because the story is so great but because the visceral thrill of it is such a blast!

I suppose you could say that’s a good review. Anyway, I have to go.

I have a game calling me…

Friday, September 21, 2012

A little time away…


Vicky is in San Francisco this week... the bitch.

As some of you may know, our wedding anniversary is coming up on September 24th and me being an out of work bum means I don’t have much I can give her by way of a present. That feels pretty shitty, to be honest. Our year hasn’t gone quite the way we had hoped, and that includes my book sales and my inability to find a job.

Fortunately, I just signed a contract on a new part-time job, just signed a contract with a new agent, and recently signed a distribution deal for my audio book – so things are turning around.

I guess I’ve been thinking about this so much today because, simply put, I miss her. Vicky and I talk on the phone every night and almost every morning and we text each other off and on during the day but I am just going crazy with how much I miss her. And did I mention our anniversary marks seven years of marriage? Seven years! And I’m crazier about her now than when we first met!

The funny thing is, I know what’ll happen when she gets back. She’ll be tired and busy and I’ll be busy, too. We’ll have a few moments here and there, a few kisses and hugs, and a little time to hold each other on the sofa – but mostly, we’ll be working.

I kinda hate that.

Still, I know that’s how we are. And maybe that’s why I’m so crazy about her, because I never have the opportunity to get bored.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I am leaving out what’ll happen just after she walks through the door. I think she better watch out, though, because I’m getting some ideas…

Friday, September 14, 2012

Off my ass…


As you probably know, I am an avid cycler. I enjoy taking my bike for rides of up to 50, 80, 100 miles…

… oh, wait. Not anymore. I used to be an avid cycler, but my bike has suffered some problems and I can’t quite afford to get things fixed.

Oh well. As you probably know, I’ve really gotten into jogging. I like to jog on the Santa Ana River over 10 miles…

… oh, wait. I used to be into jogging but I burned through my shoes and can’t afford new ones.

These problems could be solved once I find a job or if I sell some books… but no luck so far.

So, what I decided to do is take up a different form of exercise and I started doing this bodyweight workout. And the thing is, it is killing me! I’m not kidding. I am busting my ass doing the…

… wait, I should tell you I’m not exactly doing that workout. I’m actually doing just about 50% of it, and I’ve had to build to that. I am not exactly what you would call the picture of health… unless you’re talking about a very wide frame.

But, you know what? I’m doing it. And, yes, it is kicking my ass but it’s also getting me off my ass and for an hour every morning, give or take, I am outside working up a sweat. I have refused to let my financial situation get in the way of staying – or just getting – healthy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put my ass in a sling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remember 9/11?


Remember 9/11?

I’ll remember 9/11 the same way I remember the Gulf of Tonkin or “Remember the Maine!”, simply as reasons the United States used to go to war.

I wonder how the hundreds of thousands we killed in Iraq would remember 9/11. I wonder how the hundreds of thousands we killed in Afghanistan would remember 9/11. I wonder how the victims of drone strikes and those illegally detained and those held in secret prisons in our name would remember 9/11.

How do I remember 9/11? I remember it as a day in which America took the wrong path and just said “Fuck it. Let’s kill some brown people.” You know… just another day.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Life is change…


If you’ve been reading my blogs for some time, this may come as no surprise to you. And if you just started, it’ll give you some idea of what I’m about.

But I gotta tell you, one thought has stood out in my mind recently: All Life Is Change.

We see it all around us. Heck, just check Facebook or your Twitter feed. For that matter, consider how much has changed for there to be such a thing as Facebook or anything called Twitter.

In my own life, I’ve been seeing change all around me. Some of it is good, and you can read more about it over on the Ken La Salle blog. Some of it, well, ain’t so good. But, you know what? It’s my life and I have to kind of accept it.

… Begrudgingly…

Things have been tough in the old La Salle home. Vicky has been doing an amazing job, keeping things going while I try to make this writing career work. I’m not kidding. She’s wonderful. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. Every day, she impresses me with just how smart and creative and conscientious she is, and so much more. But, I know that’s not enough. She’s doing all she can but money is tight and somewhere, I need to come up with money.

I won’t lie. The books have not been selling well and things aren’t moving as fast as I’d like. Worse, some deals I thought would work out just haven’t. I’m so happy to announce any good news because so many times things I think will be good news just don’t work out. So, I’ve been looking for part-time work so I can continue this path but, as you can probably guess, the job market isn’t really there with the jobs. No matter how much I apply or many jobs I apply for, I can’t exactly say things are working out.

And that makes me sad because I don’t want Vicky to pull all the weight, no matter how great she’s been about it. I want to help out.

Now, as I said, there is good news coming down the line and mentioned over on the other blog but those are long-term deals and we need short-term fixes.

What’ll I do? I’ll keep on working on what I’ve been working on. I’ll look for work. I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep at the business of being a writer. I’ll do it all every day and hope for the best, which I figure is about all I can do at this point.

You know, the other day someone referred to me and my writing career as if I must be wealthy because I’m published. What they don’t realize is that I’m only taking the first steps in a long journey, a journey that can go wrong anywhere along the way. I laughed at the thought that someone thought I was wealthy, and then it occurred to me just how misunderstood I was for someone to think that. I can’t begrudge someone who doesn’t know me for making an assumption. But I can try to speak a little truth to it.

I won’t repost the links to the books here. You know where to find them. They’re on my website at www.kenlasalle.com. I’d love if you could pick up a copy of one of my books. Most of them are cheaper than lunch.

My goal in all of this is to make writing my career and to make a decent living at it. Vicky’s goals are a bit loftier and I hope she’s right. In the meantime, life keeps changing and I keep on changing with it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Some Fine Non-Fiction from Solstice...

As many of you may know by now, my philosophical memoir on success, Climbing Maya, has been published by Solstice Publishing and is available in ebook format and in paperback!

I figured this might be a good time to endorse Solstices' other fine non-fiction titles so you could enjoy them as well... you know, after you pick up Climbing Maya.... hint.

My Open Heart by Andrea Buginsky in the inspirational tale of living with heart disease, available as an ebook and also in paperback.
"Growing up with heart disease can be difficult, but it does not always have to alter your life course. MY OPEN HEART is written for young adults growing up with heart disease. It's meant to inspire them to chase their dreams, to show that they are not alone, and, perhaps, to help guide them through the maze of life with heart disease. Parents of children with heart disease and other chronic illnesses will find support and inspiration within this true story. We are not alone."

My Open Heart is a moving read. As one reviewer puts it, "This book does a seemingly good job at illustrating what it's like to live with heart disease. The author recounts her life and her struggles with a life inhibiting heart condition that she refuses to let rob her of her independence. Though she's made many sacrifices in the things that she can do, it would seem that she has always focused all of her energy on reaching the milestones that she sets for herself. It's an inspiring read that would truly appeal to anyone who shares similar challenges in life."

Also, from Solstice, comes The Elephant Lady of Thailand, the fascinating true story from Dennis W. Shepherd, available as an ebook and also in paperback.
"Born a poor hill tribe girl from a mountain jungle village in northern Thailand, Lek Chailert spent her childhood learning spiritual and healing powers from her grandfather, the village shaman. Hers was a world filled with beautiful morning calls from hundreds of gibbons, lush jungle foliage, banyan trees and giant timber bamboo, clear mountain creeks, and, from time to time, a wandering Asian tiger. She learned how to collect medicinal herbs and heal sick and injured animals. She also fought a constant battle against the vicious discrimination practiced against hill tribe minorities. Elephant Lady is the true story of this amazing woman. At her low point, she was a hunted woman, targeted for assassination. She became a national disgrace when the world learned that elephants were being tortured for the sake of pleasing tourists at elephant shows. Powerful shadow forces in her native Thailand blamed her for the loss of tourist dollars. Discover the power of truth and conviction as you take one woman’s journey into darkness, only to overcome it all, and ascend as the world’s premier elephant savior."

The Elephant Lady of Thailand is a fascinating read. As one reviewer puts it, "Outstanding account of the background and early life of an unselfish individual, pure of heart, dedicated to the protection of all creatures great and small. Posterity will record that "Lek" is a historic role model for young people world wide, and an inspiration to older generations for providing them the "wake-up call" that has been long overdue."

Lastly comes The Tale of Wisdom and Delight, an ebook by Mari LaFore.
"This is the true and inspirational story of two cats and reincarnation.
It’s also about love, devotion and loss. And belief."

As one review puts it, "I couldn't put this book down - touches on all emotions and is a must read. Miss LaFore captures the reader with this "delightful" moving tale."
I'll feature other titles on this blog periodically. So, get out there and read one of these fascinating titles!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recovering the Self reviews Climbing Maya...

Recovering the Self, the magazine and website that occasionally publishes stuff by your's truly, has kindly posted a rather nice review of Climbing Maya, by their writer Patricia Wellingham-Jones. You can find it right here on their website.

The review begins as follows:

When Ken La Salle was fired from his job as a marketing writer, he decided to find out what success really meant, as he felt very far from that ideal. This memoir is a description of the months following his unemployment, his friendships with two men important in his life, and the woman who’d been his wife only a few months but was the acme of acceptance and support.

You can read the rest of the review at Recovering the Self. Remember, Climbing Maya is available in ebook and paperback version, just check out my website for more information!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Five REALLY BIGGEST Job Interview Mistakes…


 
Today, Yahoo is featuring an article on the five biggest job interview mistakes but I’m sure they’re leaving a few important ones out. Here, then, is my list of the

 

FIVE WORST JOB INTERVIEW MISTAKES

5. Laying on your resume. (I mean literally laying down on top of your resume.)

4. The words, “You won’t regret hiring me for this fucking job, cum-sucker!”

3. Slitting anyone’s throat during the interview.

2. Offering to bribe the person interviewing you with “quality crack.”

And

1. Three words: Spontaneous Human Combustion.

 

Oh, I’m sure there are more… these are just a few.

Happy Interviewing!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You can’t pay bills with love…


I said these words to Vicky today. They sound horribly cynical, but…

People shared a lot of love with me today, actors who are in my show, my agent, and others. It was really nice. I mean, right now I’m feeling pretty sad about the way things are turning out and it’s nice to hear that people think so highly of me.

But then, I was talking to Vicky and I felt stupid telling her about all the love. And I said, “I know, you can’t pay bills with love…”

Listen, I’m getting a reputation as something of an optimist these days. Between my regular gig on Recovering the Self and the way people are seeing me after Climbing Maya, I suppose that’s how I present myself. And, honestly, it’s better than that cynic people saw me as for so many years. The problem with being seen as an optimist, though, is that I feel like I’m letting them down when I let my natural disappointment at current events show through. It’s been hard and I’m feeling pretty raw. I’m not quitting by any measure, but sometimes I need to just honestly vent…

And then, I get all this love. People telling me how much my play inspired them and how they’re looking forward to more of my work. Other people letting me know how my writing has helped them understand life a bit better.

My agent wrote these words to me today, “One day we are going to share a bottle of wine and reconstruct the world.“ I don’t know if I’m worthy of that – I mean, I’ll take the wine, of course – but the idea that I’m someone that anyone would want to sit down with and even play at reconstructing the world. These days, I can barely hold my own world together. And yet, the faith people have in me makes me think that maybe… I mean, just maybe, I might be worth it.

It doesn’t pay the bills but it is inestimable. And I hope one day to earn it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And the bottom fell out…


I make it a point these days to blog at least once a week… and that usually means once a week.

I try to keep the blog honest, talking about things that are currently going on for those who care to know. It’s like a weekly journal of the big events in my life, with the Ken La Salle Blog being a journal of the big events in my writing career. Sometimes, they converge and this week is one of those times.

Just over half a year ago, Vicky and I talked about how I would begin pursuing my writing career full-time. We had my first published book coming out with plenty of self-published e-books so we knew some money would come in, if only just a little. I told Vicky to let me know when she would need me to return to work, when her income would no longer be enough to keep us afloat. Until that time, I would work full-time and more than full-time at pursuing my dream.

I finished my book on ethics. I self-published two more e-books. I wrote a new novel and started a new memoir. I wrote several new plays and quite a few web articles. I promoted my work tirelessly and sent out mountains of submissions to theaters and publishers and agents…

But it wasn’t enough.

Recently, Vicky let me know the time has come. I’ll need to return to work again, which means first finding a job.

Vicky feels horrible because she thinks she’s let me down but she’s wrong. I let her down. I just couldn’t make my writing career work. Not this time.

The simple, unavoidable truth is that those who make their dreams happen possess a robust support system of friends and family who buy their products, talk them up, help promote them, and serve as a first line of proponents in making it happen. Truth be told, I just don’t have that. Now, it would be easy to say that the fault lies with my friends and family for being unsupportive slackers who just don’t give a shit… easy and true… but the fault lies mostly with me, for not networking as well as I could, for not promoting my products as well as I could, and for just not being good enough.

That’s what it comes down to.

And so, this is a time to learn and not to blame, to regroup and try again in the future. The dream is not dead and I’m not giving up. I just have to get better at this.

Mind you, the economy is such a mess that finding a job is not a foregone conclusion. I’m already applying everywhere I can but my work history, with most of 2012 being vacant, isn’t exactly stellar. Nothing is certain and most everything is in doubt. This is not what I’d call a good place to be.

As always, Vicky has been a gem through all of this and I’m thankful she still believes in me, even when circumstances make it easy to believe otherwise. Hell, my belief in me isn’t as good.

I’ll keep you posted on developments as we move forward. If you’re still interested in helping, go buy a book. They’re reasonably priced. Share this blog with your friends. Share the links to my books and my website, which as always is at www.kenlasalle.com.

I’m not giving up and neither should you.

If dreams were easy, they wouldn’t be dreams.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Daughter of a One-Armed Man


Jackson is just a Wal-Mart worker from Los Angeles, far too caught up in the apathy of modern life to believe in anything. After spending one night with the daughter of a wood nymph and the man who surrendered his arm for the woman he loved, the lithesome beauty named Mari, Jackson knows he believes. And he knows he’ll do anything to find her again.

He follows her up the coast of California and a polar bear drives the taxi. Into the forest and through frozen mountains, he talks to God and creatures of faerie alike but the final confrontation is with the mother whose people have been wiped out by mankind. They were wiped out the same way humanity is wiping itself out, with greed and disregard.

Daughter is more than just a simple love story because it also poses this question for the reader: Is love really possible? Can human beings really love each other? How is it possible for parents who pollute the world they’re leaving behind to say they love their children? How can we say we look out for each other, even as we divert our eyes to the homeless we see every day? For, if love isn’t possible, how can Jackson really say he loves Mari? Faced with proof after proof that it doesn’t exist, Jackson’s only hope is to somehow prove otherwise.

You can find Daughter of a One-Armed Man at:
Amazon.com for your Kindle or Kindle-app e-reader, or
Smashwords.com for all e-readers!

Thank you very much!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Vicky’s keeping me afloat…



My first impulse is to make a fat joke. As in, “I’m so fat, I shouldn’t need any help staying afloat!”

… but I won’t.

As you might have noticed over on the Ken La Salle blog, things have been pretty stagnant lately. Despite all of my best efforts, sending out a constant stream of submissions in the last month alone for books and plays and other projects, my writing career has come to what feels like a dead stop.

Last night, sitting in the middle of this writing career of mine – a career that is netting me very little in the way of money, by the way – I asked Vicky if she would prefer I just call it quits and look for a full-time job. I’ll be honest with you, Vicky is funding this endeavor and she has every right to say, “Cut the crap.” Sometimes, I feel like I’m doing her a terrible disservice. Sometimes, I feel like I’m taking advantage of her in the worst way, because things just haven’t been happening for me no matter how hard I try.

Listen, I love being a writer. I love having the opportunity to write books and plays and whatever else strikes my fancy. But if I can’t get people to buy my work or even to read my work – this blog being a perfect case in point here – then what the hell am I doing?

But Vicky did not say “Cut the crap.” Instead, Vicky asked me to calm down and try not to worry and keep doing the work that I’ve been doing.

It’s not comfortable, being in her debt like this, but I try to remember how blessed I am by her love for me. I’ve always wanted someone who believes in me as much as Vicky does and I am working my ass off to prove her right in her belief.

… Things have got to turn around soon…

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another possible cure for depression... or not...

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel so blue you think, "I'm going to sit in front of the TV and eat ice cream until I feel better..."?

Only you're not sure that much ice cream exists...?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

While the Vic’s away…


Yesterday, I drove Vicky to the airport so she could catch a flight to the Midwest. Vicky’s gone away for a paralegal conference and I’m at home all alone… and ready to start some trouble!

… Wait. Let me clarify…

As much as I might like to think of myself as one of those crazy writers you hear so much about having sexual escapades while ingesting too many drugs – snorting coke off a model’s abdomen, for instance – the truth is… well, would you like to know the truth? Would you like to know how crazy I get when Vicky’s gone?

Here it is. Here’s the craziness this author gets into when his wife is out of town…

The first thing I did was to prepare myself for several days of sin and debauchery… I bought several large, frozen pizzas. Then, I made sure I had plenty of booze and Otter Pops. (I have this theory that Otter Pops would made amazing ice in vodka… we’ll see.)

After I dropped Vicky off at the airport, I immediately went home and began setting up my DVR to record every James Bond film shown on our movie channels until this weekend. That equals about a dozen James Bond flicks, and that includes Moonraker! (And, yes. I will watch Moonraker!)

At some point in the next few days, I plan to sit in front of my TV, with lots of booze, and watch James Bond flicks until I can’t stand it anymore…

… I know. I’m boring. But, truth be told, I’ve never sat through an entire James Bond flick. I think I’ve seen half of each of them but never an entire movie.

By the time Vicky comes home, I will be going crazy from missing her as will our pets. I’ll let her deal with that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Life does not stink...


I was out at breakfast this morning with my friend, Sean, and I found myself saying, “Things are really different these days. I used to have a job that I went to every morning. I’d wear clothes I didn’t like very much and go to a job I didn’t like very much. I hardly ever got to do what I wanted to do. Now, I wear what I want. I do what I want. My whole career is about doing what I want. Even the things I don’t want to do aren’t really things I don’t want to do; I just want to move on to the next thing I want to do.”

I took a deep breath and realized, “Yeah, things do not suck.”

It’s a strange revelation for someone like me, that things do not suck. I spent a lot of my life caught in situations that sucked, that really sucked. I was in a divorce that sucked. I was in relationships that sucked. I worked at jobs where I wasn’t respected and that sucked. I worked at jobs with loathsome people and that sucked.

It’s just nice to know that things do not suck.

So, I thought I’d talk a little about that today. I wanted to get the word out. I wanted to share my happiness with those who love me. I wanted to share my fortune with my readers. I’ve seen how sometimes old friends who have stopped talking to me read this blog and I wanted to let them know. I even know of some who dislike me for unresolvable reasons and I thought I’d let them know, too.

Life is good.

I’m working on projects I can be proud of. I just finished a novel that I think is a lot of fun; my agent should like it (which is saying something). My next project is another memoir, another chapter in my life. I’ve put out some good plays recently and have garnered a little, dare I say, respect.

Mind you, I say things like “Life is good” and I cringe a bit. I look skywards for the anvil that may drop on my head. I’ve still got that superstitious streak everyone who was once religious finds so difficult to shed.

Saying “Life is good”, I also immediately think of my wife, Vicky. This is mostly her doing. She has gone out of her way to make this opportunity possible, for me to write for a living, and I like to think I’ve taken the ball and run with it. I hope my running will suffice. Actually, running – which in this case actually means “writing” – is what I’ve wanted to do for so long. Together, we’re putting me in that place where I can run.

Vicky’s going to go away next week and I’ll be on my own. I have a pile of work I can’t wait to get to while she’s gone. At the same time, though, I know I’ll miss her. But it’s that feeling, that knowledge that I’ll miss her, that makes me feel good. Knowing how crazy I am about my wife, and knowing she loves me as well, just adds to my feeling of well-being. It’s nice to have someone to miss.

Anyway, there you are. I’m running. I’m loving. I’m working. These are all active verbs, which is to say I am not just sitting around wishing things would get better or hoping for an opportunity. I am not alone. I am not aimless. My life is pretty darned full (and even fun) at this point.

Life does not stink.