Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Exotic Dancing

First, let me thank Sandra for allowing me to occupy her blog for a day. Second, let me introduce myself.

My name is Travis Erwin. I suppose I am many things but for this post's sake I'm going to label myself as a writer, a Texan, an observer of the world.

Sandra is one of my favorite twitter buddies. I first met her via the blogosphere but these days I keep up with her life in exotic Ontario via twitter and facebook.

And yes, you read that correctly, I did write EXOTIC Ontario, because it is exotic to me.


ex·ot·ic [ig-zot-ik]  


1. of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad, but not fully naturalized or acclimatized: exotic foods; exotic plants.
2. strikingly unusual or strange in effect or appearance: an exotic hairstyle.
3. of a uniquely new or experimental nature: exotic weapons.
4. of, pertaining to, or involving stripteasing: the exotic clubs where strippers are featured.

5.something that is exotic: The flower show included several tropical exotics with showy blooms.
6. an exotic dancer;  stripper.


If, I'm being honest I've seen enough strippers in my day that they no longer qualify for "exotic" status, but no doubt y'all are all fine puritan folks so perhaps you find scantily clad dancers quite exotic indeed.

And that, FINALLY brings me to the point of this here post. 

When I first began writing I thought the stories I created had to be about far off places. I thought they had to be stocked with strange and mysterious characters. I thought my plots had to be spectacularly unique.

Long before I was a writer seeking publication I was a storyteller. A Texas bullshitter prone to cracking open a longneck or ten. Once my vocal cords were well lubricated I could talk for hours telling tales of my misspent youth. At parties, in hunting camps, and even at more than a few writing conferences I told stories about my teenage years, when I worked at a dusty Texas Feedstore. I regaled my audiences with stories of my immoral but vivacious boss. 

Being serious about the craft of storytelling I of course enhanced the stories where I deemed necessary. I thought I had to because well I thought without spice no one will care about the happening at a common place called Pearl's Feed & Seed. Sure the stories were funny, but embarrassing tales of bulldog masturbation, headless parakeets, ex-wives with murderous intent, and feed room fellatio are far from exotic. I mean hasn't everyone stolen a prosthetic leg, lost their virginity to a disenchanted goth girl, and fought off an angry emu?

Turns out that NO, not everyone has had those experiences. Turns out my coming-of-age tales centered around Pearl's Feed & Seed didn't really need much dressing up. Turns out my listening audiences found the tales of my youth quite exotic indeed. So one thing led to another and bam, I wrote a book.

And the best thing is TAG Publishing found it exotic enough to add it to their lineup.
THE FEEDSTORE CHRONICLES was released November 1st and is now available via Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and very soon in electronic format for both your nook and kindle. 
And of course if you live in in some exotic locale like Ontario, you can order from Amazon's Canadian branch but wow, is the shipping slow. I suppose that's what happens with you live someplace exotic.
I write this not only hoping to sell a few copies but also a word of advice to all my fellow writers for it is easy to discount your own experiences as uninteresting or not worthy of creating a story, but fact of the matter is the grass is usually green on both sides of the fence.

 Hi guys, Sandra here. Wow... two posts in a month! It's a Christmas Miracle and Hell froze over! But I'm glad to help my buddy Travis out with his debut novel-slash-memoir-slash-comedy. I've known Travis almost since I was a wee little writer (as in about 4 years ago) and he's always been supportive and gosh darn funny. 

Here is Travis.

Here is his book:

You can check out Travis' blog here.

Hope to see you before Christmas!!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Burning Bridges

An Open Letter to Bridge Burners Everywhere:

I remember when you kicked me in the shin for saying, "Hey, what's the big idea"
I remember when you took a leather strap to my hand in first grade because I kept pushing a boy's hand off my desk.
I remember when you showed up an hour late for our movie date and I missed all the best parts because of you.
I remember when you didn't visit me in the hospital, even though you said you would.
I remember when you grabbed my pigtails and pulled them, hard.
I remember when you told me I was beautiful, but I then discovered you were just playing me like a gullible violin.
I remember when you made fun of my book on Twitter.

But guess what? I forgive you, my best friend, my teacher, my first boyfriend, my book reviewer. You're lucky you were only cruel to me because I'm not the kind of person who holds onto a good mad.

Some people might not be so forgiving. If you choose to be insulting, abusive or hostile in person or online, you might get the attention of the wrong person -- like an agent or editor or employer. Remember that when it's your turn to query or apply for that job, because they'll sure remember you.

Sometimes I think writers have a distinct advantage because they can exact subtle revenge by incorporating their past nemeses into their fiction. Too bad plumbers, shopkeepers and wait staff don't have such an outlet. But... maybe they do. *Checks soup for spittle*

People say stupid things, all the time. I've said them and I almost instantly regret them. Sometimes people say stupid things and they don't remember, or don't care.

People can be hurtful and cruel, or just plain ignorant. It's  too easy to be careless online and cause pain to another person. You might think it's a passing moment, but that moment is burned in, forever. Not just in someone's memories, but on the world wide web.

Think before you type...  and if you're ever on the receiving end of a careless post or email, I hope you can forgive your adversaries. Or at least turn them into trolls on paper.

On a lighter note, I'd like to wish my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving. May your tables groan, and later, your stomachs.

Picture credit: I don't know... this picture is EVERYWHERE!