NVDT Random – All The Hype in the World…

Won’t make it any better than it is.

As writers, our inboxes are constantly assaulted by the latest “What Readers Want” and “What Publishers Want” infomercials from writer’s aid websites, publishers and editors. All full of quantified data molded around the messenger’s claim. What if we took time to check out the real world?

I bought a book the other day.

Brand spankin’ new.

For a dollar.

Yep $1.00.


Lightly textured jacket.

Heavy cream paper.

No fewer than nine author testimonials. Some I’d never heard of, but several pillars of the wordy type cop genre. Even the ones I didn’t recognize were noted as NY Times bestsellers (of course). Along with the usual brand name rags like The Observer, and The Guardian.

Inside that high rent jacket was the original retail price.

$27 US. $36 Canadian.

Fuck me. I can buy real literature from Half Price Books for two bucks.

This one didn’t come from a book store.


It was in a bin at Dollar Tree just like the bins where they pile up shitty tools, five packs of colored electrical tape, foam paint brushes and neon plastic fly swatters.

I hope the irony of a “best selling” hardback book at Dollar Tree wasn’t lost on anyone.

There’s a great review of Sirens here: https://charles-harris.co.uk/2018/05/seductive-sirens-joseph-knox/ Written, no shit, by one of those nine bestselling author’s dad.

I’ve read small pieces of Sirens. You know how you pick up a book you paid a buck for, glance inside just to see what it is because you set it down someplace in the way. Here’s an interesting observation. If you read the brief review, you know the lead comes in weak. I looked at this baby-faced kid who wrote it whom we are told runs, I assume that’s important to keep his cherubic cheeks pink, and once worked in bars, bookshops and was a buyer for some book chain.

And there it is. Several urban myths and much writerly advice bullshit blown out of the water. He’s writing what he’s read, stuff you can find every day in The Guardian and on ID’s streaming murder procedural porn, or even in my Character Bullpen or Gambits posts, but has no real idea how his characters got to be who or what they are. From what I’ve read it also has more than its share of adverb-ly dialog tags, and weak or downright bad dialog from what are supposed to be “streeters”. There’s a two-fer of myths exposed right there – publishers hate adverbs and it’s all about content, not who you know. My opinion is you aren’t going to learn to write “street” jogging around suburban Manchester and London, reading tough guy books, buying mysteries for a book store and watching a few Tarantino movies. But I do know if you bang on the back door of a concert they’ll let you in if they know you.

I see the author now has 3 books in the series. The original (the one I have, 2018) is still $8.99 on Amazon. Over $11 for the Kindle. That’s like the $2 I paid for air the other day after my TPM lit up on the interstate. The newer books escalate in price to $16.99.

Used for a buck fifty-nine.

Is that price really “Publisher overstock with possible minor shelfwear, remainder un marked” or an indication of what readers and Random House think how much of their investment is recoupable? What did the warehouse sell them to Dollar Tree for?

What do readers want? I can’t speak for all of them, but I damn sure don’t want to shell out a tank’s worth of gas coin, or even tire air coin, for a mediocre book.

Which is why I found it in a cutout bin.

At the dollar store.

Brand spankin’ new.

For a dollar.

Regardless of how wonderful many important, best selling authors are still telling everyone it was.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty clean, mostly goes in a straight line and with the exceptions of being flacid and predictable is a decent, albeit paint by numbers low fat vanilla coffee creamer “gritty crime novel” book. What the hell do you want for a dollar? A keeper?


Very few modern musical instruments or accessories are in the bulletproof box. In fact, there’s only one thing guaranteed to be in that box. A Shure SM58. Stanky windscreen and all.

“Whatcha got boilin’ in the big pot, Doiron? Crawfish?”

“Fifty-eight windscreens.”

“Counted ‘em, didja?”

“Anybody ever told you – “

“They have.”

“I know dat’s right. What color’s the water?”

“Light rusty orange? Smells kinda like cumin.”

” ‘Bout right. Nonstop country an cumbia on five Cinco de Mayo stages.” Bob quit wiping a snake cable with Goof Off, set it on an amp rack impersonating a workbench. He wiped his hands on his jeans while he walked over, bent, picked up a wood handled meathook and pulled the fry basket full of microphone windscreens out of the big pot of boiling water and headed for the open warehouse load-in door. “Harper? Grab that Crescent on the floor there an open the draincock on the pot, will ya?”

“Did I just get employed?”

“Do it for the muse, bitch. I gotta go turn the hose on these puppies.”

“After the rinse cycle what?”

“You ever stop talkin’ long enough to start that pot to drainin’ you can light the joint on the table there and bring it out back with ya.” He stopped, looked over his shoulder. “Don’t start up no ‘you don’t see a proper table only a amp rack’ bullshit, neither.”

There’s nothing nastier in rock n roll-dom than an SM58 windscreen that’s been used on a rental or festival stage. Alcohol, weed, cigarettes, vomit, name your poison food spit, tobacco juice. Depending on the artist(s) a crotch wipe or two, lipstick, geezer halitosis capable of peeling paint or being weaponized, sweat, beard pubes, blood, snot …

Replacement ball screens are inexpensive at dealer cost, and under ten bucks at retail. Most of them get a wipe and a spray. Bobby Doiron was retentive.

From Karen Carpenter to Sinatra through Roger Daltrey, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, Alice Cooper, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Wonder, Buddy Guy, Snoop, Martina McBride, Megadeth, Katy Perry, Sting. The International Space Station.

If you’ve ever grabbed an improperly grounded SM58 you get astronaut hair without the space ride

It’s not much of a reach to say that anyone who has ever used a microphone to perform has probably used an SM58. Theirs, gold plated, or a rental. Scary, huh, all that DNA floating around in the windscreen from yesterday’s bill of Heart, Boston, Van Halen, Ted Nugent … I used that mic.

I prayed it was Nancy Wilson’s.

You know, because no telling where David Lee Roth’s mouth had been.

The man who designed the 58, Ernie Seeler, once said, “I love classical music, but rock and roll, I don’t take very seriously.”

Well, Rock n Roll took the SM58 seriously and here we are 50+ years later still using it for a microphone, a makeshift hammer, a shim to get an amp off the floor or prop up a piano lid, a spittoon, a weapon …

Which is why, on your next book tour, you should always pack a travel can of Lysol spray in case you meet an SM58 hooked up to the suitcase bookstore PA. Because who knows who was there last. Ahh, eau de Marlboro and Onion …

Happy SM58 day!

You never woulda heard it without one!

NVDT Random – Character Bullpen Series – Cosplay Gone Awry

Cotard Delusion – With Backstory Freebie

Goth gone mad. A character, protagonist or antagonist, walks with a slight supination or underpronation, and feels compelled to spend their time hanging out in graveyards, refusing to eat or bathe for extended periods. Known as “walking corpse syndrome.” Or The Walking Dead as pyschosis. This character firmly believes they, or parts of their body are dead.

This is not to be confused with a death obsession or staged death enactments as cleverly explicated in Harold and Maude.

How did this character’s behavior come to be? The walk is the tell. Without standing in front of the mirror or dropping forty lines of head-time backstory between two lines of dialog or going Disease of the Week, there’s Dactylolysis Spontanea. A disease where the little toe (or even another appendage) decides to amputate itself. There is no known cure nor explanation. A disease and the resulting psychology that can be explained in a line of dialog. My toe fell off. I must be dead.

I continue to offer the Character Bullpen Series in an effort to do my part for expanding inclusivity and diversity in fiction. I feel it’s my duty since we have reached a point in extreme political correctness where a person with an incredibly rare one-in-the-whole-of-Earth’s-human-population affliction must be accommodated and granted access to fast food meal delivery through an elaborate device required by law to be installed, at considerable expense, in every greasy spoon on the planet. Just in case that one someone from, say, Zimbabwe or outer Mongolia decides to collect their ICU unit’s complete array of support devices into a van and hit the Steak and Shake in Clermont, Florida.


Every day Martin Luther ate a spoonful of his own excrement.

He wrote praises to God for His generosity in giving man such an important and useful remedy.

And this is the guy who was fed up with the Roman Catholic Church’s rhetorical, dogmatic and behavioral shit? Was all that too “intangible”?

Did he get it first hand? Did he catch it fresh and warm or collect it cold? Condiments? Bread? On a toasted ‘bun’? Is this where that old shit sandwiches joke came from? Martin and his poop really make me wonder about Lutheran communion.

I keep hearing a medley of Cream’s “Spoonful, spoonful, spooooon-ful” and Aerosmith’s “Gimme a little kiss. Like this.”

Never mind, I could beat this one to death. Have fun!

NVDT Random – Character Bullpen Series – That Crazy Acquaintance

Man on trial after allegedly trying out product at adult novelty store in Oklahoma City

The whole story is here, courtesy of Fox4 OKC

We all probably know this guy whether we’d admit it, or even know. The old guy at Mass with too many hugs for everything with a vagina and a heartbeat from cradle to one foot in the grave. The guy you worked with on that construction job who painted your fender for you while he told you about the most disgusting things he did with hot dogs and his obese wife. The guy at sales meetings who always has a hard drive full of PowerPoints of ‘stuff’.

I remember working for this man. He wasn’t a perv, that I knew about anyway. He and the other business leaders in his industry bought each other ‘novelty’ gifts for birthdays. They’d drop by and show off their wind up penises that hopped around the boss’s desktop. I walked into his office one afternoon and on the desk sat a box about five inches square, emblazoned with “Pocket Pussy” on every visible side. I acted like it wasn’t there. He said “That’s for Mr. so and so,” picked up the box, took out the pink donut, examined it. “I was wondering if one of us shouldn’t try it out first.” Long pause, reloads the box, sets it down saying “Just kidding. What’s on your mind?” WTF? I forgot because the visual of my boss’s pecker in the wrinkly rubber donut was too much.

I worked at a hardware store for a couple of months with this old fart, had to be a hundred. When you’re 20 that’s anyone over 50. On Saturdays, he’d sit in his office and read Penthouse Letters because all the rest of the admin people were gone and he had the space to himself. If you needed something you’d walk up the stairs, tap on his door frame, walk in just in time for him to slam a desk drawer on the mag and stand up to greet you with a suspicious wet spot on his slacks. And offer to shake your hand. I made it point to always have my hands full of hinges or orders that needed to be ‘pulled’. (Couldn’t resist)

In my extreme youth as an Avant Garde theater co-conspirator (read that as ‘space music’ synth arteest) there was a director in residence at the Contemporary Arts Foundation (a cinder block warehouse) who made extra money writing pulp porn. We’d sit around the tiny living room of his rented pad in a smoky haze and he’d regale us with his latest. He’d often speak as he wrote, and ask for contributions. He wasn’t a serious pornographer, more of a porn humorist. An X rated Carl Hiaasen. Talk about adverbial and adjectival descriptive excess. I heard shit in that room at a tender age still makes me laugh at the sheer audacity of it.

All that to say, unfortunately, we know this guy even if we wish we didn’t, and thank God he found an outlet for his urge before he hurt someone. But really? I mean that’s the epitome of “Hey fellas! Watch this!”

NVDT Random – Character Bullpen Series – The Kiamichi Oysters Boys

From The Lost Ogle

Cannibalistic Black Market Castrators Arrested In Eastern Oklahoma…

October 22, 2020

Here’s a story from Oklahoma that even Joe Exotic would think is nuts!

Earlier this week, the happily married couple pictured above – Bobby Lee Allen, 53, and Thomas Evans Gates, 42 – were arrested after they botched a “surgical procedure” at their makeshift black-market castration clinic located in the backwoods of eastern Oklahoma.

That sentence, on its own, is enough to make this story a typical “Only in Oklahoma” classic, but as you know, we’re in 2020, and nothing is typical anymore.

After interviewing the patient who voluntarily sought out the surgery, and following a search of the pair’s property, authorities discovered that Allen and Gates – who apparently ran their clinic under the online name “The Eunuch Maker” – allegedly saved the discarded body parts (a.k.a. testicles) of their patients/victims in a deep freezer for possible human consumption.

Yeah, that’s right. They would allegedly eat the discarded human testicles. In the eastern part of the state, I think they’re called Kiamichi Oysters.

If you’re that curious, details can be found at The Oklahoman

Need a Bag Lady with a pedigree?

Queen Isabella of Spain lived to be 50, but bathed only twice in her lifetime.

Paint Me a Picture

“Whatta they call you?”


“Well Queenie,” the cop said, trying to keep his nose upwind. “You can’t stay here so we have to take you in.”

“Not takin’ no goddam bath.”

“That’s fine.” The cop used a gloved hand to guide her head through the back door of the cruiser.

“Maybe the firehose for drunk tank control,” his partner suggested, fanning his nose.

“You want that runoff in the ground water? I mean think about it.”

His partner thought for a few seconds, blew lunch in the storm drain, stood up, wiped his chin with a paper napkin from the dash.

“Whatsa matter? Think too much about that runoff?”

“Don’t know why, but it just got too big in my mind.”

“Too big in your mind?”

“Yeah, you see somethin’ somebody says, and your brain adds shit to it.”

“My brain don’t add shit to –“

“You hosed down Queenie there in the drunk tank with all that puke and shit in there and somehow that went to… You ever pulled cottage cheese that’s been around too long outta the fridge, that stink it’s got goin’ everywhere, and gagged when you flushed it down your disposal with the sprayer? Yeah, now see? That’s the shit I’m talkin’ about. An it’s ridin’ in the back seat of our car.” He grabbed another napkin off the dash, handed it off. “Go ahead, I’ll wait.”