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So our bathroom is being remodeled, and the time has finally come to paint. Being the obsessive compulsive that I can be (it once took me eight hours to mow a lawn, let alone four years to write a book), I’ve promptly taken over for our contractor, not trusting him to those perfectly symmetrical lines of color that I’ve come to love. As soon as I gave him the good news, the first thing he asked (after hugging me) was what color we were going to use. I told him brown (coffee bean), to which he promptly replied, in his thick Brooklyn accent:

“Brown? You kiddin me? Really? Brown? It’s going to make the room feel tiny, mo. Really? Brown?”

It gets better. Our (usually) supportive landlord’s response:

“No, I don’t mind. You going to paint it white before you leave?”

Where’s the trust? The vision? The support? No where! And you know what? I can’t blame them. Were they recently inspired by a trip to IKEA like Jen and I were? No. Where they (and are they ever) able to see outside of whites and creams? Nope. And could I have given the contractor advice on how to have done his job better? Hell no. But wait…what does that have to do with anything?

Some most people have opinions on things they really aren’t qualified to judge. A Northern New Jersey police officer and an unlicensed contractor should defer to a designer (best bud), retailer (wifey), and, well, me, but that didn’t stop them from speaking their mind, or from being wrong (it looks great!). Not convinced? Consider this anecdote:

When I was eight years old, I was actively drawing and writing stories. Dubious of my parents’ opinions regarding my work, I cooked up an experiment. After tracing an image of the comic book hero, Wolverine, I showed them the finished product, and after claiming to have made him up all on my own, asked if they thought he’d make for a cool superhero…

They didn’t like him.

So whether you’re writing a book, or pursuing a dream that no one seems to understand, do yourself a favor and learn to filter the constructive criticism from the bad. Just imagine where we’d be today if Marvel had consulted with my parents…

That’s right. Summers without Superhero movies!

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I haven’t been devoting much time to the blog lately due to the final developmental stages on the book. But this I had to share:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your query, and I apologize for the delay in response.  I have reviewed the work, and decided to pass at this time.  I wish you the best of luck, and success in the publishing world. (more…)

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The last few days have been exceptionally kind to me. Between having a picnic in the rain (under a gazebo), watching movies together (It’s Complicated, Ponyo, Shutter Island, MI:III), taking the kids to a carnival, and hosting a dinner for Papa Lopez, I truly couldn’t be happier sitting here and munching over another superb Monday morning breakfast (bagels today…mmm). No better way to write a blog.

I just read an interview with director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Insomnia). I regard him as a master story teller, even if I occasionally disagree with his directorial choices (Christian Bale’s incomprehensibly ‘realistic’ take on Batman’s voice, for example). In this particular article, he talks about his work with Leonardo DiCaprio in their latest collaboration, “Inception,” and how “[he] spent months with DiCaprio to find emotional logic for every moment and every decision in the story.”

Emotional logic. Every writer should fuse this concept into her subconscious. (more…)

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Funny thing happened at the movies yesterday. We took the kids to see the new Shrek (recommended for anyone w/children), and somewhere around the half-way point the film turned into The Dead Don’t Cry (my book). Now, this lasted all of thirty seconds, max, but when I looked over to see my girlfriend’s reaction, her expression told me that she was thinking the same thing…holy crap, it’s Mark’s book. (more…)

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Micro-brews. Expertly crafted pints of intoxicatingly delicious cerveza (yes, I just used a different language to avoid a future redundancy. Is that allowed?). My best friend and I had a couple of beers last night, and I can’t tell you how rejuvenated I feel right now. I wonder why that is? Our usual nights involve darts and lagers (cheap, American lagers), which are fun, but not quite as satisfying. Is that how people feel when they read genre fiction. And if so, what’s that like?

“Oh man, that was a whoot, but I need to get a literary fix quick or else my brain is going to rot.”

Or better yet, the equivalent to a genraholic: (more…)

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What do slot machines, video games, and smart plotting have in common? (more…)

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[My Best Friend] : What do you mean they want you to market your own book?

[Me] : They’re cutting costs across the board. Since we now have the ability to market ourselves, they don’t feel it’s necessary.

[My Best Friend] : I feel it’s necessary that you find an alternative.

He isn’t the only one. After another polite/generic rejection letter, I have to ask myself: what the hell am I doing? I’ve spent my adult life going against the norm, yet when it comes to my single biggest investment in time and money, I’m relying on a dinosaur to pluck me out of obscurity. Stupid. Don’t believe me? Let’s do some homework. (more…)

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