help, help, I’ve been Liebstered

Not Quite Alice, that may be true, but she’s definitely Awesome.

She popped out of the rabbit hole and chucked a One Lovely Blogger award at me.  It looks like this:


While I was ducking that award, a crazy psychedelic tiger wrestled me to the ground and forced a Liebster Award upon me.  This one, to be exact:


It’s true.  I’ve been Liebstered and there is nothing I can do about it.

My challenge to you, dear readers is to step off my blog for a moment and read these great posts:

Back already?  Weren’t those great?  And you went ahead and clicked the little follow button on both of their pages?  Nicely done.

Questions?  Questions?  We don’t need no stinkin’ questions:

1. What is your favorite song?
How many people can actually answer that?  One favorite?  How about this:  favorite Springsteen song: No surrender; favorite Blink 182 song: Stockholm Syndrome; favorite Foo Fighter song: Best of You; favorite Killers song: Sam’s Town (Abby Road version); favorite Tiesto song: Just Be, favorite Crystal Method song: Name of the Game, favorite Johnny Cash song: Jackson, do you want more?  I can keep going…

2. What was the last thing you ate?
A cinnamon and raisin bagel, a banana, and some strawberries: breakfast of champions.

3. Do you prefer to read from an eReader or a paper copy?
Paper copy for the moment.

4. List your five favorite movies?
Five?  Only one song, but you are okay with five “favorite” movies?  That just doesn’t make any sense.  So, here are the first five(ish) I can think of at the moment: Tombstone, Braveheart, LOTR Trilogy, Troy, Open Range, Dances with Wolves, Crash, Spiderman 2, Bladerunner….

5. What writing project are you working on now?
I’m working on three:

An epic fantasy called Ascursion – it’s done, I just need to write up a synopsis, cover letter, etc… and figure out where I want to submit it.

I’m in the process of editing a backpacker, mystery, intrigue sort of story that I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2012.  You can find it here.

I’m just a few chapters away from finishing writing a comedy western.  You can see what I’ve posted for that so far here.

6. Are you allergic to anything?
Penicillan and Amoxycillian – and I’m sure I’ve absolutely butchered the spelling of both.  It’s probably something I should know how to do considering I’m allergic, but… since I’m allergic I’ve never had any bottles of them sitting around.

7. Do you have any real life stories that start with, “This one time at camp…”
Yes.  Tons.  Here’s a sample:

This one time at a camp we used aerosol bug spray pooled in our hands to create little torches.  Then one of us got the brilliant idea to try doing the same thing on our feet.  It’s not as easy to clap out the flame when it is on your feet…  Running through camp seemed to do the trick okay though.

This one time at camp our scheduled night out in the woods (away from the main part of camp) coincided with a meteor shower.  As we lay out on our ground tarps the whole heavens opened up for us in a fantastic light show.

This one time at camp we found a trail that led from our camp to a neighboring camp.  Oh, the shenanigans we had planned, until we realized the trail dead ended at the end of their shotgun range.

8. How do you handle telemarketers?
I don’t have a home phone and I don’t answer calls on my cell phone from numbers I don’t recognize.  It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to a telemarketer.

9. When was the last time you wrote someone a letter by hand and mailed it?
Last month – all of my thank you letters for Christmas cards and gifts.

10. Besides writing, do you have any other artsy talents?
Some people have said that I was a pretty good DJ…


7 Facts about me:
1. The force is not strong with me.
2. Snickers is my favorite candy bar.
3. My truck has almost 200,000 miles on it.
4. I broke my wrist in high school rollerblading.
5. Spiders creep me out.
6. There was a time in my life where I could have very happily become a hermit.
7.  I think there is real magic in this world just waiting to be found.


The One Lovely Blog Award Nominations are:


The Liebster Award Nominations are:


And my questions for them:
1. If you were a knight, what would your knightly name be?
2. What is your quest?  (What is the purpose of your blog?  What do you write?  What do you get out of it?)
3. What is your favorite color?  (Seriously just asking about your favorite color.)
4. What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?  (This is sort of a bonus question – Google or Wikipedia might be able to help.  I will accept an answer for either the African or European variety.)
5. What is your favorite Monty Python movie or sketch?  And why?  (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge…)
6. How much do you hate lists?  (You can answer this question any way you like: comparison, a picture representation, with a list, a number on a scale (out of 5 out of 10 out of 42), etc…)
7. If you were a woodchuck, how much wood would you chuck?  (See question 6 for suggestions on acceptable answers.)
8. If you could be any character from TV or film, who would you be and why?  (Moe from the Simpsons so you could own your own bar?  Princess Leia from Star Wars because she looks good and knows how to fight?  Or Beatrix A Kiddo from Kill Bill for that matter?  Indiana Jones because he is awesome? etc…)

Chapter 6

Another addition to my comedy western.  I’m making fairly good progress on it (close to 70,000 words) and I think I’ve finished writing the main climax.  Just need to wrap it all up nicely with a bow.  Then again, there may be one last twist that unfolds as I pour the words out onto the page (screen).  But, I’m getting way ahead of myself, because this is only chapter 6!

The first five chapters are available here.

Would love to hear what my faithful readers think about this story so far.  Is the tongue in cheek approach working?  Is anyone finding any of this funny at all?  Are the characters likeable?  Do I need to spend more time developing them, or the dialogue, or the scenes, or…?


I know you are wondering, so even though it isn’t important for this story, I’ll go ahead and answer your questions.  No, Sheriff Brown didn’t drink the whole bottle of whiskey.  Yes, he did have a drink, and then he put the rest of the bottle in the bottom right drawer of his desk.  No, he didn’t offer any to Jack.  And, no, Jack didn’t go looking for it.  You can put it out of your mind, and you might as well, because the bottle will not be mentioned again.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can we get on with the story?  Okay, good. 

The shakes weren’t bugging him as much anymore.  Two weeks had passed since Jack had first woken up in Sheriff Brown’s Jail in Gunnison, and for those two weeks, other than the initial day, Jack had been sober.  The occasional beer to settle his nerves and ward off the tremors couldn’t be held against him.  Besides, he’d started cutting down on his intake of beer as well and was down to only one or two a day.  It was quite the progress from the 1 or 2 shots of whiskey he would have normally had before breakfast.

The odd jobs he’d been doing for the sheriff helped keep his mind off the sauce.  The physical exertion helped sweat the alcohol out of him and get his body to recover faster.  He was grateful for the opportunity to sober up that Sheriff Brown had given him.  He still wasn’t certain that he’d be able to stay sober, he was after all a drunk, but he was going to do his best to repay the faith the sheriff had shown in him. 

Back to the point at hand, the shakes weren’t bugging him as much anymore because he wasn’t getting them as much anymore.  His right hand still held the slightest bit of a tremor that he couldn’t control once or twice a day but that was the end of it.  He wasn’t entirely certain those shakes were alcohol related anyway.  His right hand was his… well; we’ll get to that later in the story.

After their interrupted prank, Ed and his little posse hadn’t been seen around town much.  The sheriff had warned Jack to keep his eye out for them because Ed wasn’t the type to just let that sort of embarrassment go.   Luckily Richard Blunt had called in all his hands the day after the incident in front of the jail.  It was time to round up the livestock again, count the heads, brand the new additions, rebrand any where Blunts bar double horseshoe standard had faded (it looks like a B), and a whole slew of other ranching tasks that needed to be addressed.  Both Jack and the sheriff figured it was only a matter of time until Ed was unleashed and found his way back into town. 

Still, Jack had kept his eye out for Ed, his cronies and anybody else that might be getting ready to cause him some sort of trouble.  After several days of being vigilant it became obvious that Gunnison was an incredibly dull town.  He liked it even more for that.  Maybe he’d actually be able to stay out of trouble for once in his life.  Maybe he could get a job, a real job, find a quiet place to build a little house and spend the rest of his days in peace. 

With that in mind, Jack broached the subject with the Sheriff one morning while they ate a small breakfast of dry toast spread with cherry preserves, hard boiled eggs, and coffee.  “Do you know of any openings around town a man like me might be suited for?”

“I reckon so.”  The sheriff leaned back in his chair, coffee mug in one hand, second hand scratching the spot on the back of his head for his hat normally rested.  “You getting tired of helping me out?”

“Not really,” Jack responded with a sheepish grin.  “I’m just thinking ahead.  I’m thinking I might like to stay on in this little town and I’ll need something more permanent in the way of work, income and housing if I’m not going to be a drain on you anymore.”

Sheriff Brown blew across the top of his mug to cool the dark brew before he took a sip.  He gave jack a once-over: the tremors were almost gone, his eye had cleared up, he’d put on some muscle tone and color in the last two weeks so he actually looked healthy, and he hadn’t asked for a drink in the past two days.  It might be rushing it a bit but he might be ready for the next step.  He didn’t want to rush it and risk Jack relapsing but you could never tell if a man was truly ready to stand on his own until you made him try. 

“I’ll ask around and see what I can find.”

“I’d certainly appreciate it.  Just like I appreciate everything you’ve already done for me.”  Jack gulped down the last of his coffee and got up to set about his tasks for the day.  First he was going to sweep and mop out the empty jail cells.  Then he was going to do a stock check, and tally, to get a count on all supplies within the jail.  Those two tasks would probably take most of the day but if he had time he would also walk around the building and look for weakening boards that needed reinforcement and then nail patches into place as needed.

While finishing up his own coffee, the sheriff pondered what type of man Jack was.  He’d asked for a job suitable for a man like him. 

Well, he’s a drunk, so we probably shouldn’t get him a job in a bar, or near a bar.  He’s only got one eye so we should steer clear of anything where depth perception is key.  He’s a bit smelly and raggedy but a bath, a shave and a haircut, and some new clothes should get that settled up.  Still, I can’t really see him working as a store clerk.  He’s strong, does well following directions, and is a hard worker.  I could see if any of the ranches on the outskirts of town are looking for some extra hands.  If he doesn’t know the ins and outs of working with animals it may not be something that could be taught at his age though.  Plus, the one eye thing comes back into play, is he going to be able to work with rope?  Can he ride down strays in fading light in rocky terrain? 

 I could train him and hire him on as my deputy but somehow I get the feeling that wouldn’t be right for him either.  He seems a good man but I couldn’t trust him without knowing what drove him to drink in the first place and I don’t think he’s ready to spill that nugget of information.  He may never share that with me.

 Quite the dilemma. 

 Well, perhaps I was wrong.  Maybe the bar is the best place for him.  He’s got a lot of experience in bars.  Sure it’s been on the other side of the bar but he still would have picked up on a few things.  It might test his self control to be tempted every day, to have the sauce under his nose, but he’ll need to be able to resist the temptation anyway once he gets some pay coming in.  Could be a bar would be the best fit for a man like him. 

His mind made up, Sheriff Brown polished off his coffee, grabbed his hat off the back of his chair and pulled it on, and made his way out the door and down the street to see his good friend Dan Reilly.  Dan owned and operated the Gunnison Inn, a small, misnamed bar, it had no actual rooms for rent, that was popular enough with the locals that it always did steady business year round.  Occasionally Dan needed to hire some extra help when the busy season for moving cattle picked up.  The sheriff hoped that Dan hadn’t already filled all of the extra spots he was looking to hire for the season and that Dan wouldn’t laugh too hard when the sheriff asked him how he felt about hiring a drunk to work at his bar.

Chapter 4

As promised, here is the next chapter in the comedy western I’ve been working on.  The first three chapters are also filed away in the writing segments section of my blog.  Happy reading.


The storm had passed in the night and the next morning had brought a beautiful day.  It was hot, no doubt, but it was cooler than it had been and ended up being a comfortable temperature for working outside.  Which was fortunate because that is where el borracho, I mean Jack, found himself. 

Sheriff Brown had gotten another good breakfast into Jack’s system, and another beer as well, and then set Jack up behind the jail house with a shovel clearing away the mud that had begun to build up from the rain washing through the town the night before.  If left unchecked the weight would eventually snap the wooden walls creating a gaping wound in the side of the jail.  And since holes in a jail probably aren’t the best thing to have, it was important to get the mud cleared away. 

It was hard and dirty work and Jack felt like complaining about it but when the beer wore off and the shakes didn’t pop up again he figured that the exercise was helping keep them away and he was thankful for that.   So he dug in, literally, and set about the task he had been assigned.  He would have whistled a tune while he worked, if he could have thought of one.

A cool breeze flowed out of the Rockies and helped keep him energized.  Every once in awhile, to give his aching arms a break, he let his eye wander up and take in the majesty of the surrounding peaks.  It had been night when he’d jumped on the train leaving Denver so he hadn’t really had a chance to appreciate his surroundings as of yet.  Though he’d had plenty of time to enjoy the view while he was in Denver the current view was even more awe inspiring.  It helped him forget, mostly, that he hadn’t had a real drink in over a day.  It gave him a bit of hope that maybe this time he’d actually be able to go sober.  Maybe this time he’d actually be able to start to live again.

With that end in mind, he went back to shoveling mud.  It’s quite the disconnect, no?  Sometimes you just have to get down and dirty playing in the mud to work your way back up in this world.

Sheriff Brown showed up with a bucket of water and some rags around noon so Jack could clean up a bit before eating some lunch.  Jack happily leaned the shovel up against the wall and started to scrub his hands and face.  He was filthy, of course, and it wasn’t long before the water and rag turned dingy.  He hadn’t had a proper bath in a few days so it wasn’t just the layers of mud he was scrubbing off.

“Looks like you are making some good progress,” the Sheriff said after surveying the amount of mud Jack had managed to move that morning.  “That’s real good.  Seems like you should be able to finish up today.”

“That shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” Jack responded.

“Good.  I think I’ll probably have some other jobs lined up for you tomorrow.  Always seems like there are things that need to be done around here.  I just can’t find the time to do them myself.”

Jack didn’t respond to that, he just finished washing up and handed the wash basin back to the sheriff.  The dirty rag hung off the side, and water dripped off it into the dirt street leaving mini craters where each one hit.  Neither man noticed that little detail because it’s not an important detail to notice.

The two men walked around the outside of the building and went through the front doors.  Inside on the right, on the sheriff’s desk, were two bologna sandwiches waiting patiently to be devoured, a cup of coffee and another beer.  The sheriff took his seat on the opposite side of the desk, picked up one of the sandwiches and sat about moving it into his stomach.  Jack pulled up a chair that had been stationed closer to the front door, in case it needed to be propped against the handle to keep out overzealous lynch mobs and the like, took a seat and picked up the other sandwich. 

He flipped through the contents to verify that it was in fact a bologna sandwich, decided it was better than nothing, and followed the sheriff’s example.  He was hungry so it didn’t take long for him to polish it off. 

He was about to reach for the beer to help wash away the taste, and to help quench his unending desire for the booze, when the sheriff stopped him, “You sure that’s what you want to do?”

I think so, jack thought.  It sure seems like something I would want to do?  Is this going to be some sort of test to see if I’m still employable?  His hand was paused midflight, fingers in the ready to grasp the neck of the bottle, and his eye was firmly frozen upon the object of his desire.  What will happen if I do drink it?  What will happen if I don’t drink it?

As you can see, Jack was conflicted.  Well, in truth, el borracho was conflicted.  Jack knew the right thing to do would be to try and forego the beer.  El borracho was worried about what would happen if he didn’t have at least some booze in his system.  It was quite the dilemma. 

“Well,” jack finally said, “I guess we both know what might happen if I don’t drink this and the shakes come back stronger than I can control.”  He paused for a moment, fishing for a rebuttal or confirmation from the sheriff.  The sheriff just kept his gaze steady and firm on Jack, showing no real emotion or inclination one way or the other.  “I guess knowing what might happen isn’t a good enough reason, is it?”

His hand shifted over to the coffee mug, he picked it up and brought it to his lips.  The sheriff remained unmoved.  Jack drank a few gulps of the thick black sludge.  It was good.  He drank a few more gulps and finished it off.

“Guess I should get back to work then,” Jack said, excusing himself from the jail.

“I reckon so,” Sheriff Brown responded.  Once he could hear the shovel scraping away the mud again, the sheriff smiled and drank the beer.  It was good too.

Badge of …

honor?  accomplishment?  success?  triumph?  time wasting?  insert appropriately vague word here?  wordiness?  something else that sounds exactly like any of the other responses I’ve listed out here?

Winning! Winner! Won!


I do promise that eventually all these NaNoWriMo posts will go away and I’ll return to whatever I used to post about.  October seems so far away at this point I’m not even sure what that means… rants, football/soccer updates, daily post challenges, and other randomness I guess…

Based on the results of my impromptu poll conducted at the end of my “I wrote, I wrote some more, I NaNoWriMoed” post, the consensus is that I should continue to fill this blog space with segments from my other writing projects.  I’m mostly okay with that… It does mean that need to get back to work on those writing projects though. 

Luckily, I’m still caught up in the inspiration and motivation and other such driving forces and factors left over from my NaNo sprint.  I pulled up the comedy western I’m in the middle of yesterday and started familiarizing myself with the characters again.  I plan on getting some words added to further along that plot this afternoon.  If I get far enough I’ll post a new chapter into the Writing Segments section of my little blog world tomorrow.  In the meantime you can, and should check out the three chapters already sitting there waiting to be devoured.  You know you want to.

“This is the blog you are looking for…”

However, while I will work on the comedy western, I don’t want to drop the ball on my NaNoWriMo story either (which I’m going to refer to as Sierra Storm from now on, because the titled I’ve decided to label it with forever more, which you would know if you had visisted my page (djmatticus) at  Last night I printed out the entire story and began attacking it in earnest with one of those red pen things.

If you do happen to stumble upon my official NaNo page, you might just notice the recently acquired halo hanging over my picture (pats self on back).  It is a really good organization and I was more than happy to send them some funds to keep them operational going forward.  If you have also donated to them, then we should definitely be friends.  If we are of like minds but you haven’t sent in your money yet, I promise it was completely painless.  You can trust me.

Well, probably.


Okay, okay, you caught me.  This entire post was just a bunch of rambling to show off my “Winner” badge and try and gear up the comedy side of my brain so I can get back to writing my western.  Tongue firmly in cheek now, off I go… hmm, after I do something about the need for food to quiet the rumblings in my stomach.  Priorities, right?  Right.