Saturday, June 27, 2015

+ SpreadShirt Unbagging + (VIDEO)


What's up Comic Towel friends and visitors.  Time to share my very first Spreadshirt purchase–directly from my Spreadshirt shop.  I hope you guys enjoy.  Please comment and share.  Don't forget to post and share your own stories and dream-seeking progressions.  Lol.  You get what I mean!



Take care!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

GUEST POST: Suitcase Charlie by John Guzlowski


Suitcase Charlie by John Guzlowski

Title: Suitcase Charlie
Author: John Guzlowski
Genre: 1950's Historical Fiction Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1508975526

Synopsis: May 30, 1956.  Chicago

On a quite street corner in a working-class neighborhood of Holocaust survivors and refugees, the body of a little schoolboy is found in a suitcase.

He's naked and chopped up into small pieces.

The grisly crime is handed over to two detectives who carry their own personal burdens; Hank Purcell, a married WWII veteran, and his partner, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves the bottle.

Their investigation leads them through the dark corners and mean streets of Chicago–as more and more suitcases begin appearing.

Based on the Schuessler-Peterson murders that terrorized Chicago in the 1950s.


CHAPTER ONE
There wasn’t any point in hurrying. By the time Hank Purcell and his partner Marvin Bondarowicz got there that night, they couldn’t even get close.
For a block in every direction, it was like a midnight cop convention. The new black-and-white squad cars, with their red lights twirling and lighting up the darkness, were scattered along all the streets leading to the intersection, and a mob of detectives and uniform cops were there, some standing around sweating in the heat, others swarming and going nowhere.
Hank couldn’t imagine what the beef was, why they’d need so many cops. But he had to park the car, so he drove down Rockwell toward Division and finally double-parked a couple blocks south of where the action was. Then he and Marvin started hoofing it back.
When they finally got to the intersection, it was cordoned off.
Hank pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket, wiped his face,and looked around. Yellow police barricades kept the folks who were still awake out of the intersection and on the sidewalks. It was quite a crowd. At the White Eagle Tap, the corner Polack bar,the drunks and third-shift drinkers stood in the doorway, watching the commotion; some had beer bottles in their hands. Kids were sitting on the barricades, craning their necks and bopping up and down to see what was up. The windows in the apartment buildings fronting three of the corners had a few lookers in them, old guys watching and smoking, young girls and women in bathrobes and curlers.
Rubber neckers. Lookie Loos.
Hank wasn’t surprised. He’d seen crowds like this before. At accidents and fires, shootings even. What surprised Hank was that there wasn’t a lot of talking or shouting here. Even when they were pulling bodies out of flipped taxis and burning buses, you could hear some kind of yakking, shouting, crying, moaning even. But there wasn’t anything like that here. All Hank could hear was a low buzz, the kind of human hum he remembered hearing at the ball field when the Cubs were losing, or maybe at a church when the priest was trying to talk the congregation into donating more money so their souls wouldn’t scorch so long in hell. It was that kind of buzz.
Hank wiped the sweat off his neck with his handkerchief and tried to figure out what was going on. Some cops were coming in;some were going out. A darkened ambulance with its back doors swung wide open stood off about twenty feet down Evergreen Street. Three medics stood with their backs to him, but there was enough light from a streetlamp so Hank could see they were smoking. Their heads were together; they were probably talking too.
At the northwest corner where the nuns’ convent stood, Hank saw a half a dozen cops, officers and detectives mostly. They were clustered around something. He spotted his boss, Lieutenant Frank O’Herlihy, on the outskirts of the bunch and poked Marvin’s shoulder.
“Come on.” Hank started across the street, and Marvin followed.
Captain Feltt from the 5th Division, Shakespeare Station, was talking. Hank saw him jerking his head and yammering. The rest of the brass were listening. Feltt was worked up, agitated like he’d just got demoted or shifted over to one of the colored police precincts down on the south side of Chicago, in the Bronzeville section. Hank eased next to him and listened.
Feltt was blabbering the stuff cops always blabber, “Jesus Christ, we’ll get the son-of-a-bitch bastard.” Then Captain Feltt stopped jerking his head and looked down at the sidewalk.
Hank followed his eyes. A brown suitcase lay open on the sidewalk at the Captain’s feet. There was something in it, but Hank couldn’t tell what it was. The shadows of the detectives and the uniform cops clustered around made it difficult for him to figure it out. He wanted to ask but didn’t. Instead, he leaned a little closer and inched his head forward.
Then, he wished he hadn’t.
Hank spun around and threw up into the gutter. The beer he had with Marvin in the alley a while ago was the first to go. Flat and raw, it came up hard. The acid at the bottom of his stomach poured up next, quick as a flush toilet, all hot and burning and twisting his stomach. It was doing what it wanted to do. It churned and brought up just about everything Hank had left in him that wasn’t tied to his insides. Bent over, his hands on his knees, he started coughing and tried to spit the acid out of his mouth and throat.
Marvin was next to him then, holding Hank by his shoulders,steadying him, as his lungs kept hacking and his head kept jerking.
Marvin whispered, “What the hell, Hank, what the hell?”
Hank didn’t say anything, couldn’t say anything. He tried to clear his throat, and he couldn’t do that either. He threw up some more of whatever was left in his guts. Finally, he stood up a little straighter and used his sweat-damp handkerchief to wipe the vomit from his mouth and hands.
“There’s a dead kid in the suitcase,” Hank said.
“A dead kid? You’re crazy, man,” Marvin said as he turned around slowly.
Hank followed him back to the suitcase. Some of the cops had drifted away while he was puking. Others had come up to take their place. Everybody had to take a good, solid look. Get an eyeful. Like there was something here that nobody had ever seen before, some kind of evil that was one-of-a-kind, fresh, and original down to its buttons.
The suitcase was light brown, used but not old, and it wasn’t very large, about two feet by three feet. Big enough to hold a child.
And now Hank could see what he couldn’t see before. The kid in it was a boy not a girl. Hank could tell because the kid was naked: not a stitch of clothes on, and his body was twisted. Arms,feet, shoulders, hands—all twisted up like clean rags. The bones had been broken or chopped up before the body had been shoved into the suitcase. Hank could see that the left foot was pressed against the chin. The head was turned face up, and the right shoulder was placed so that it pointed away from the head.
Hank looked at the boy’s face now. His eyes were staring straight up at him. The mouth hung open in a funny way. Before he stuck the boy in the suitcase, the killer must have broken his jaw.Broken his jaw and drained the blood out of the poor kid. The child was yellow – his face, his feet, his hands, all yellow, the color you get when there’s no blood to keep you alive and pink.
The kid looked like a baby bird that had fallen from a nest in a high tree, a baby bird without feathers.
Hank couldn’t turn away.
“Jesus,” Marvin said as he stared down at the dead child.
Captain Feltt looked at him. “Yeah, Jesus Christ. You gonna puke too, like your pussy friend here?”
Marvin couldn’t say anything except, “Jesus Christ.”
Hank stared some more at the kid in the suitcase and shook his head. He wanted to know why all of the cops were standing around staring at the kid. What kind of sense did that make? They should be out tracking down the killer, pounding him when they found him. Smashing bricks against his head, shoving iron pipes up his ass. He looked at Lieutenant O’Herlihy, his boss. “What do you want us to do?”
O’Herlihy looked at him and said, “Fuck,” and then he didn’t say anything more for a long time.
Hank knew the lieutenant. He was a good man, clean like a boy scout, a church-loving Roman Catholic. He was like the old broads at St. Fidelis up the street who sat in the back pews and mumbled over their rosary beads, a guy who took any kind of looseness as an insult before God, his personal Father. O’Herlihy didn’t appreciate cursing.
So his “fuck” hung in the air between the three men and echoed like a woman’s scream in the dark, repeating itself over and over in pain.
Then the lieutenant shook his head and said, “You know the neighborhood here, Hank. Start talking to people. See if they saw anything tonight. It was hot, so there were lots of people out. See if anybody saw a guy carrying this brown suitcase.”
Hank nodded.
“And when you find him, I want you to hurt him.”
Hank nodded again.
“We’ll hurt him.”

AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS

Born in a refugee camp after World War II, John Guzlowski came with his family to the United States as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Growing up in the immigrant and refugee neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, he met hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead comrades, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. His poetry, fiction, and essays try to remember them and their voices.

His poems also remember his parents, who survived their slave labor experiences in Nazi Germany. A number of these poems appear in his books Language of Mules, Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books), and Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press).

Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, reviewing the Polish translation of Language of Mules, for the journal Tygodnik Powszechny, said, “This volume astonished me.”


CONNECT WITH GUZLOWSKI


SUITCASE CHARLIE AVAILABLE HERE



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kindle Direct Publishing | Inspired Actions | What I'm Learning...

Mrs. Zadie Jones is anything but easy. She arrived at Hemlocke Investigations out of breath and looking for a fight. Sadly, Aiesha Tonie is only the assistant of this establishment. With protocols and routines to follow, Aiesha swallows her patience while dealing with Mrs. Zadie Jones' cryptic perspective on her best friend's murder. But what does Mrs. Zadie Jones really want? And what could this 70-something church mother want with a private investigator instead of the police? 

I’m finally getting around to posting and talking about this, but it is definitely what it looks like. I took that chapter (once posted on my blog) of the private detective assistant–named Aiesha Tonie–and made a flash fiction ebook out of it. It’s not quite the same as it was featured on my blog, but it’s her story all freshened up for some episodic releases.  Now, I did this for several reasons, after sitting on the idea for years.  One: I needed to give myself some kind of testimony as it pertains to where I am right now with Life. My dream has always been to write and illustrate my own cover.  Professional designer and writer?  Hell no!  Willing to go at it despite researched opposing advice?  Hell yeah! Therefore, good or bad or indifferent, I made sure to follow my inspired guidance and do it.  Besides, I'm not good at learning without trial.  But now I can say a piece of who I dreamed at 14 has been realized, and I will continue to produce chapters from here on forward with him in mind. Which leads me to reason number two: find some kind of momentum and means to get off my ass and get back to writing daily.

Nonetheless, here it is. My beloved Aiesha Tonie character is now on Amazon. As I mentioned, I have a slew of reservations–from the writing to the cover–but I just felt like I had to do something. I dislike being around people who talk and talk and talk, and I dislike being around myself even more when I do the same. Whether this project lives on or dies out, I’m putting my faithful foot into it. Am I a little scared? Absolutely. Hopeful and optimistic? Always. But ultimately, I hope my stepping forward inspires you to do the same.  To go with what you love and do what's good for you.  Whatever that may be.

So here are a few things I suggest you do should you want to sneak into writing ebooks with a chapter of your work. 


~*The Fire & Lessons*~

0. Take your time, but don’t take too much time!  Though it's necessary, it ain't that much of a luxury we can all afford.  Do your research, then show up to your project with dedication.  I preach showing up to your Life, passions, and ideas more than anything.  And I mean it.  Why?  Because many people don't show up.  Nothing can happen.  No lessons can be learned.  No success can follow.  You have to play to win.

1. Write. Rewrite. Rewrite. And write more. This particular chapter I’m sharing is something I wrote in 2012, when I was in a mystery writing course provided by Gotham Writer’s Workshop. It’s been through many revisions, but it’s my project; I’ll see that it be expressed. Do the same for yourself. Even if it’s just a simple chapter. Actually, if it’s more than 10 pages–go for it. 

People will judge you/it anyway. The important thing is that you take a step forward.  Give yourself a chance. Never sell yourself short or count yourself out.  And if that doesn't convince you, go look on Amazon now and see what's out there doing the same.

2. Get someone to read your material until you’re comfortable with it.  Then let it go. The Universe worked me on this one, as I met a freelance editor at my day job who offered to help me get this together. A million thanks to her. But beforehand, I sat on my ass for a while fooling with some outsource services and emails that didn’t get responses until weeks later.  Neither panned out as planned.  Well, one did and I wasn't all that won by her work.  Still, I took an "F this" approach and kept looking.  Someone was going to read this besides myself, and advise me on changes.  I had some money on the side specifically for hiring someone who could legitimately help.

Then one day I looked on my dresser, and there was an email I wrote on a slice of receipt paper more than a month ago. It was to that freelance editor I’d met at my job.  I took it as a flag from the Universe.

3. Be prepared to learn about how to fill out Kindle Direct Publishing‘s enrollment details. I'll share a step-by-step video I found extremely helpful. Now it’s not a lot to learn, per se. But you’ll want to have a grasp on some of this until you get the hang of it all.  My biggest concern was tags for the book, categorizing it, and pricing.  All of which I've changed about four times now.

4. You can’t just upload your book from Word to Kindle Direct Publishing. No, ma’am. There are specific formatting guidelines you have to follow. Otherwise, your book will look a mess on buyers’ Kindle.  You have to take into consideration an active table of contents (I didn't require one this round), layout, image placement, page breaks, and etc.  (Guidelines HERE.)  While I felt I could've formatted my chapter with the help of a guide, I decided to outsource via Fiverr. For this first round at least. Just be careful who you choose to handle your project. I tend to click on the most ratings and hefty queue mirco workers on the site. Additionally, if you don’t know a cover artist/designer, you can utilize Fiverr to find someone available for the job.  Or the more expensive route, Deviantart.com.

I have one more video I found really helpful–and far more in dept and knowledgeable than myself.  I'll HTML it here:


Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I suppose the promotional aspect is next.  Because this is all so new to me, I'll try to keep you guys posted on my lessons and discoveries as I go along.  Good luck and share your tips and stories on e-publishing in the comments below!

Friday, June 12, 2015

#Friday Read | Surviving Another Go at Anita Blake

Do not judge, but this is totally happening...

According to Goodreads:

Anita Blake has the highest kill count of any vampire executioner in the country. She’s a U.S. Marshal who can raise zombies with the best of them. But ever since she and master vampire Jean-Claude went public with their engagement, all she is to anyone and everyone is Jean-Claude’s fiancĂ©e.

It’s wreaking havoc with her reputation as a hard ass—to some extent. Luckily, in professional circles, she’s still the go-to expert for zombie issues. And right now, the FBI is having one hell of a zombie issue.

Someone is producing zombie porn. Anita has seen her share of freaky undead fetishes, so this shouldn’t bother her. But the women being victimized aren’t just mindless, rotting corpses. Their souls are trapped behind their eyes, signaling voodoo of the blackest kind.

It’s the sort of case that can leave a mark on a person. And Anita’s own soul may not survive unscathed . . .



FRIDAY READ?  OR WEEKEND SURVIVAL?

I’ll see this series till the very end.  End of story.  Throughout all the sex and relationship vomiting and diarrhea combos this series produces (and fosters in me), I’m invested.  I don’t know what it is, but Anita Blake’s spell has yet to be broken by me.  It’s like nosy lurkers on your social media profile; I have to piece together her character from a distance, and understand how it has devolved over the series (while simultaneously bleaching my brain).  Well, that’s an awful perception, but a true one.  Nonetheless, it’s too complicated to make sense of, only that I’m a fan; severely troubled but loyal.  And possibly looking for more reasons to despise this series until I can finally get it out of my system.

Such a negative post, this is.  Wonder how steep my final thoughts of the book will also be.

And that’s the catch!  I gotta read it to know it.

So this is my Friday Read: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton.  I’m off today and tomorrow (this may be the one time I wish my job would call me to come in).  So I can stay up late with my energy drink and pulled pork sandwich (add the slaw and vinegar), and pray I don’t fall over dead from either the book or my survivalist binge eating.  Yes.  You read that right.  Survivalist.

This time I'm hoping I don't drop the book for eights months like I did the last entry in the series, Affliction.  That's right.  I started Affliction in June and didn't finish it until January.  Lesson, evidently, still not learned.

Pray for me, folks.  I'm going in...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kelly Cutrone Says!

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. Kelly Cutrone. You’ve probably seen her first on the MTV shows The Hills or The City (my personal favorite was The City; never got into The Hills). Perhaps you’ve seen her as a judge on America’s Next Top-Model. Or maybe you were introduced to her via her 8-episode Bravo reality show, Kell on Earth (I think you can still binge watch it on Netflix). Wherever you were introduced to Kelly, it has to be clear by now that she’s the CEO and founder of People’s Revolution.  You know.  One of the most acknowledged fashion PR establishments ever. Furthermore, should you be familiar with her, you've already realized she’s a no-bullshitter who doesn’t appear to have an ounce of hesitation as it regards speaking her ballsy mind.

No seriously, she gets in people’s asses quite frequently if you haven't noticed. So wherever the platform or media of your discovery, you’ve witnessed how she has a strong opinion and a will to match. She’s often condescending to others, and can be interpreted as a bully. However, she also works her ass off with a tide of people–both clients and employees–to support. Let’s just imagine what it would take to pull off five fashion shows for New York Fashion Week. Once visualized, it’s apparent that she doesn’t have time for flip-flops and BS. And Normal Gets You Nowhere couldn’t be a better window into why Kelly is the way Kelly is. This works for me because I respected Kelly's drive and outspokenness, previous to Normal Gets You Nowhere.  Besides, I'm drawn to people I feel I can learn something valuable from–and Kelly Cutrone is definitely one of those individuals. Therefore, for the most part, her book satisfied; Cutrone shares her advice on society, sex, religion, death, motherhood, and careers in one swift go.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chaos in Death by J. D. Robb

I told y’all I wasn’t done with J. D. Robb. Nope. Not at all. I have one more Robb session before Devoted in Death comes raining down in September. So that means for the rest of the summer my posts should be Robb free. (Sure. Totally commited to that idea.)

Nonetheless, for this final time, I want to talk about another Robb short, Chaos in Death. If you look closely at the image, you’ll notice that I checked out the large-print edition from my local public library (yay for using those facilities). It was the only copy they had of the anthology that contained the short story. So I figured why not.

Chaos in Death (In Death #33.5) opens with New York homicide lieutenant, Eve Dallas, reporting to the scene of a triple homicide.  Said homicide consists of three junkies, once squatting in an abandoned building where their bodies are found. Each appear murdered by three different methods–giving Eve the feeling there was possibly more than one murderer. Additionally, each of the three respectively have an ear, eye, or tongue removed. The connection between the junkies and the abandoned building leads Eve to a rehabilitation clinic, where she learns the three were having treatments for their drug addiction problems. Further inquires into the clinic uncovers the development of a treatment concocted to combat drug addiction, via a natural-based serum.

Before long an eye-witness turns up claiming to have seen a goblin-like creature prancing and skipping away from the crime scene.  With a sketch of the creature in hand, Eve’s investigation takes on a darker turn.  Now she suspects this natural serum created in the clinic may be the source behind the chaos she’s officially stepped into.

Buffy Season Ten Still Tops!

My love for Buffy and friends is never ending. Since I was fourteen, she’s been my best friend–and I’m glad to say she’s still managing so even in comic form. Now with that little gush out of the way, let’s get into my itty-bitty thoughts on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Ten Volume Two, I Wish.

Per graphic novel standards, I Wish follows immediately behind the previous entry, New Rules. We learned that at the end of Season Eight, Buffy destroyed the existence of magic on the Earthly plane. By the end of Season Nine, she restored magic to save her sister, Dawn. However, the restoration of magic comes void of rules, leaving Buffy and her friends to rewrite its laws.  But there's a large catch. Rewriting the laws of magic is privy to creating a “monkey’s paw” effect. What is that you ask? Well, it’s having a wish granted with some ugly–many times drastic–side effects. (Background: The term “monkey’s paw” is derived from a short horror story of the same name, written by W. W. Jacobs. In Jacobs’ “Monkey’s Paw," a sergeant of the British Army is given a magical monkey’s paw that grants him three wishes. Wary of the consequences, the sergeant tries to relieve himself of the paw. Unfortunately, his family obtains it and proceeds to have their wishes granted. In turn, this leads to… well… I'll let you discover the rest.)

Nevertheless, drawing back to my point, Buffy and her friends are aware of this (they've had years of experience with the repercussion of magic). So given the power to recreate the rules of magic, without careful and hyper-unambiguous wording on their part, could obliterate everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.  Seriously, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles were the guardians of the Hellmouth back when Sunnydale was sunny.  Now they've graduated to guardians of Earth where the stakes are too astronomical to even think about.  Obviously no one is touching rewriting magic before all thoughts of reason are considered, assembled, and re-assembled by all parties involved (which includes every filum of monsters outside of the Slayer's nucleus).  Until then, creating the rules of magic is off limits.

Except Buffy and her friends aren’t so free of the beneficial possibilities and potentials recreating the rules could have on their personal and individual circumstances. Nor is the new trio of mega-Big Bads trying to pick Buffy's team off to rewrite their own, destructive rules. And this is where I Wish truly, and I mean truly, earns its title.  Simply stated, I Wish maintains the character-driven atmosphere loved most inside the Buffyverse.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Help Me Utilize Laura's Couch

I have to find a good place to start with how I concluded my experience and understanding of How to Rule the World from Your Couch by Laura Day.  Without rambling, of course.  

I picked Couch up from my public library’s self-help section. Now did the “self-help” in self-help apply once I finished reading it? I’m… honestly… not sure.  I’m leaning toward accepting it has, considering I read the book cover to back without skipping any pages. So I was dedicated and invested, though not totally convinced of Day's self-help methodologies. Conversely, in a subliminal pull, I kept reading because the cover seemed so comfortable and promising in itself.  Don't you agree?

Nonetheless, let me run down Day’s unique (though not nearly so) approach to self-help.  She insists on the highly necessary use of our natural intuition to supply the assistance we need to produce positive changes in our lives. According to her, we could use our intuition to manifest (though she may not use that word) financial, relationship, and business changes. Furthermore, her definition of intuition comes sub-categorized and packaged into applications of mediumship, telepathy, body heat telepathy, remote viewing, precognition, and healing. I know, right. Sounds a little too supernatural and occultist. Personally, these subjects aren’t new to me.  I spent my teens researching all things related, and my 20s consuming books written by famed psychic, Sylvia Browne (God rest her soul). Nevertheless, it appears Day takes the psychic/supernatural element out of these subjects and rearranges them with a less than esoteric definition.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's Play The Evil Within - The Consequence


The is the last portion of The Evil Within’s Juli Kidman’s DLC.  It’s all over at this point.  Her tie with MOBIUS has come to an end after she decides to turn against them for the protection of her partners and her retrieval assignment, Lesley.  Watch me replay and finally conclude (although it’s a replay) her story.  Additionally, finally squash the monster Shade.  I’m going to miss my time with Juli.  I really, really enjoyed our time!  Even those stressful moments!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

~7. Back 2 High School - Towel Style ~

And for the next batch of pages from my junior year comic....  Confrontations and battle scenes.






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