Why Are You Being So Rude?

Why Are You Being So Rude?

Hunter S. Thompson and Kurt Vonnegut were two of the people most responsible for me wanting to become a writer. I was a teenager, and couldn’t believe you could actually get paid to be so rude, irreverent, and just plain weird.

I used to love to turn people on to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It was especially fun to see their reactions to the arsenal of drugs Duke and his attorney kept in the trunk of the big Shark. Hilarious. The Back Door Beauty scene in that book is one of the funniest things ever written.

In later years, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hunter was friends with Warren Zevon, another madman/genius who is sorely missed. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when those two hung out.

 

The Jihad Insurance Connection

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Work-In-Progress Jihad Insurance even when I’m not working on it, and last week I wrote about John Cleese. The Monty Python legend got himself in a bit of hot water when he made reference to the “sanctimoniousness and narcissistic posturing” of “the wokes,” and I commented that.

The reason this resonates with me goes back to my teen years listening to Frank Zappa, reading Vonnegut and HST, and hanging out with some other rude young fellows.

And it’s funny: although I agree in principle with about 99% of what “the wokes” want, I object to their methods probably as much as John Cleese. If you’re trying to affect social change, using guilt and shame as weapons is a pretty crappy method of going about it.

 

So, Buckle Up, People

In Jihad Insurance, Hollywood movie director J. Edgar Schnatz decides to make a “classy” porn film using real actors performing real sexual acts. This leads him on a series of misadventures which could only happen in a novel like this, which is basically Blue Movie meets Gargantua and Pantagruel.

What does that mean in practical terms? It means the easily offended, and those with no sense of humor, had better either stay away or buckle up for a wild ride.

Just as my last novel was the most spiritual and autobiographical work I’ve ever done, this next book promises to be the funniest, and the most profane. I’ve laughed out loud while working on it already. Wokes, you’ve been warned.

storm

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm

A while back, I was having a very bad Monday, and wrote a blog post called Roll With The Punches, Baby! The idea was that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; sometimes life hands you a bouquet of flowers, other times, a punch in the mouth. On that particular...
Whizzers

New Year, New Projects

"A goal is a dream with a deadline." - Napoleon HillI had this quote in my head today without actually remembering who said it. So I was a little surprised when I looked it up and found it attributed to Napoleon Hill. After all, I'm more likely to remember Charles...
break

Taking A Break

Today I'm taking a break from the regular weekly blog post—not because everyone is exhausted (which is true enough) but because we had a four-hour blackout in my neighborhood this afternoon! So now I'm too busy to create anything new, and time has run out....
proofreading

The Improtance Of Poorfreading

So right up front, I know I'm taking a gamble with today's headline. I only hope most readers of this blog will be able to translate Improtance into Importance, and Poorfreading into Proofreading. Goodness knows Spellcheck tried to change them on me. The reason for...

What If I Don’t Want to Sell?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a talk called Marketing Your Novel that was hosted by the Orlando Public Library. A good twenty people or so were kind enough to show up on a blazing Florida Sunday afternoon to hear me speak. The talk went well: I gave the group...
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones and Storytelling

Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that's not the oldest way of telling stories. Really, stories began with cave drawings and...
dead

Celebrating The Dead

“The bus came by and I got on / That’s when it all began…”This week I was planning to write about some of my adventures (or misadventures) in southeast Asia. But the calendar tells me it’s September 23rd, and that’s a meaningful date in my history. So I’m going back...

How Do You Write A Book?

This past week I had the chance to talk to a fair number of business owners. That's normal for what I do, but the interesting thing this week was the similarity of the conversations. Not all entrepreneurs ask me the same things. Some ask me what I do. Many of them end...
remember 80s

Remember The 80s? Placing Scenes in History in My Most Recent Novel

Remember the 80s? How about the 70s, or even the 60s? Of course, I know the old expression: if you remember the 60s, you weren't there. But in my house, it was different. I was born in the 60s, but in my house it was pretty much like the 50s. No discussion of the war...
music

“Music Hath Charms to Soothe a Savage Breast”

So wrote William Congreve in 1697, and it’s still true today. Of course, not everyone today understands that “hath” meant “has,” or that a “savage breast” was another way of saying “wild heart.” And these days, more music is made to stimulate than to calm.My own...
Anyone Else Thinking about Canceling Cancel Culture?

Anyone Else Thinking about Canceling Cancel Culture?

Ordinarily, I’m on the side of the poor, the beaten-down, the marginalized. In short, the outsiders.

But this week, what’s on my mind is something a little on the opposition side, or what I’d like to think of as the middle.

Most everyone who knows me would describe me as a Lefty, or a progressive. And God knows I’ve taken some risks in the name of my belief system. However, I’m seeing more and more evidence that some of my fellow progressive types are so extreme, so intolerant, and so utterly humorless, that they’re nearly as bad as those on the far right.

This weekend I came across some tweet storms among people debating some comments from comedy legend John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, as well as Fawlty Towers, and movies like A Fish Called Wanda.

Now, I’ll admit I’ve got a soft spot for old Cleese. Not only was he my favorite of the Pythons, but also a favorite interviewee. The guy has always been, to me, both hilarious and brilliant. Well, evidently he got some heat because he made a comment that was dismissive of trans people. And someone on Twitter took a poke at him by implying that he was no longer “relevant.”

 

Woke Vs. Comatose

Look, I get it: gay people, trans people, people of color…everyone who isn’t a straight white male has been somehow marginalized in the past, and even the present. I’m on your side. But here’s the thing.

When I go on social media these days, I frequently see people fighting about pronouns at a time when we here in the United States, anyway, are teetering on the brink of collapse into a right-wing authoritarian police state. Would it be “dismissive” of me to suggest that maybe we’re focusing a teensy bit too much on things not quite as important as that?

Seriously, I do understand that these things are important. I’m 100% in favor of women’s right to choose, of people’s right to love and/or marry whomever they want, of the need for people to feel like they can be themselves. I am on board with all of that.

But man, oh man, you’ve got to be in one hell of a comfortable little safe space bubble to spend much time arguing about pronouns or what senior comedians think while we’re all in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and a possible coup that takes down the original U.S. of A.

 

Where I’m Going With This

So I scrolled through old Cleese’s Twitter feed, and found a few more nuggets. He mentioned the “sanctimoniousness and narcissistic posturing” of “the wokes,” but he also noted he is “not that interested in trans folks” but hopes “they’re happy and that people treat them kindly.” Fair enough.

Of course, that wasn’t good enough for a whole bunch of people, and now they’re piling on an 80-year-old man for not being progressive enough, and talking about humanitarian issues, and on and on and on. 

Where I’m going with this will become more apparent, I suppose, when I release more previews of my upcoming novel, Jihad Insurance. In it, I pay a bit of an homage to the late, great Frank Zappa, namely by being an equal opportunity offender.

You see, I kind of miss the days when you could make a career out of making fun of absolutely everyone. Now, of course, you’re taken to task by cancel culture or the woker-than-thou, unless you kowtow to their incessant demands. I mean, I’m a liberal, but I read some of this stuff and think, “That’s why people hate liberals.”

So Jihad Insurance is coming, and it will have something in it to offend just about anyone—especially those without a sense of humor. Oh, and before I forget: don’t call me cisgender. I identify as straight, or heterosexual. I don’t want to be labeled with anything that sounds like “sissy.”

Happy Monday, everybody!

Thanksgiving

Gratitude Week: A Thanksgiving Reflection from Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

2018 has been trying, to say the least. In January, I posted a New Year's resolution to finish my current WIP, Whizzers, this year. Then, on Valentine's Day, that got back-burnered when the call came that my 81-year-old mother had taken a fall and had to be...

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

When I was thinking of the title for this week's post, I realized I really needed to look it up and confirm that the word is "peace" and not "piece." Just in case. I'd forgotten that that expression is commonly used in weddings...ironic, since my lovely wife and I...

But What If I’m Sick?

Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it. And...
book launch

Ready to Launch Into 2019?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’ve shown an obsessive side lately – lots of content about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel, Whizzers, in 2019. That means I’m putting a lot of emphasis on building my marketing plan well in...

Who Are Your Greatest Connections?

When it comes to networking, making connections with people who have a greater influence in your industry can be beneficial in ways that go on and on. This has proven true for many people, I'm sure, and I know I've seen it in my own experience. Two recent examples...

Talk of der Führer at the Local Library??

This past weekend I had a pretty weird, disturbing experience related to Nazism, which I only documented on my personal Facebook page. In retrospect, it's probably just as good for blog fodder as anything else. I must be a little naive, because somehow I've managed to...
Whizzers

The Glories of Language: Making Stuff Up and Other Fun Things I Do

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” - Pablo Picasso   One thing I was never especially afraid of was breaking the rules. What I was afraid of was getting caught. When I was young, I got into a tiny bit of trouble, but not much....
ISBN

More Fun With the ISBN Number

I've grown so accustomed to cranking out my blog posts on Monday afternoons, I almost forgot to schedule one for today. Thanks to the magic of WordPress, I can write this in the morning and schedule it for the afternoon. By the time you're reading this, I'll be out on...
ledge

Nightmare On Acid Street

In my mind, I flash back to a time years ago, and the image strikes me with peculiar clarity—the dismal boarding house where I lived when I was newly sober, the shattering acid flashback with its neon cockroaches skittering across the dirty ceiling. Then, further back...
money

Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow…Right?

Recently, I was reading a post from an online trainer who coaches authors and other professionals. This trainer discusses the contrast between writing for money and writing for passion. In other words, the age-old conundrum: if you do what you love, will the money...
And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Now that I’ve reached the latter half of my sixth decade, I increasingly hear myself begin sentences “Back in the day…” or “I remember when….” It’s weird. In our eternally youth-obsessed culture, growing old itself is just plain weird. 

And the current pandemic has upended so much of what we knew, or thought we knew, that things are even weirder than they were before. Let’s face it, that’s really saying something. 

Variations on the phrase “And now, back to our regularly scheduled program” have been around since at least the 70s, possibly even earlier. I use it today because in these first few post-election days, there’s a sense that maybe we’re going to get some kind of normalcy back, some time or other.

 

But When—And What Would That Even Look Like? 

Well, you know I don’t have a clue what the answer to that subhead will be. I’ve been virtually on voluntary lockdown for close to nine months now, so my perspective is perhaps a bit skewed. But here are a couple of my random observations, in no particular order.

1) Our entertainment is going to look a whole lot different for a while. We already see plenty of bare studios with hardly any staff. Wait until every new movie features a cast wearing masks. Even more than the post-9/11 years highlighted that terrible day, a post-pandemic world promises lots of movies and shows about the pandemic. Good luck putting it in the rearview mirror.

2) A return to some real semblance of normalcy may resemble the Roaring 20s…only I guess we’ll call them the Roaring 2020s. If a vaccine gets the world back to something like its pre-pandemic old self, we could see an absolute explosion from all the pent-up demand for live music, sports, travel, and so on.

3) The “breather” our planet got when much of the world locked down this spring will need to be replicated somehow: maybe it’s going to be about carbon capture, maybe just more attention to one’s carbon footprint. But one way another, the future has to be greener.

 

Bringing It Back Home

So when I think about “back in the day,” I sometimes mean the 1970s or 1980s, but these days I might also just be thinking of those far-flung pre-pandemic times…a whole year ago. I mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like 2020 has been about a million years long. It’s put some mileage on my odometer for sure. 

And who knows? Maybe some time in January, we’ll all start to breathe a little easier. Maybe we’ll even start treating each other with more kindness and respect. Stranger things have happened.

arrows

Slings and Arrows, Arrows and Slings

Almost two years ago, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote a blog post called Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm. The idea was that, hey, everyone is having a rough time right now, and we’ll likely see more rough times ahead. Knowing that life...
holidays

Happy Holidays from Mike Sahno – Author, Speaker, Publisher

I suppose I’m courting controversy right out of the gate just by using the phrase Happy Holidays. I get that. But I’m also pretty sure it won’t upset most of my readers! My wife Sunny and I would like to wish a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, Kwanzaa,...
7 Things to Check Before You Publish That Book

7 Things to Check Before You Publish That Book

This year, I'm pleased to announce I'm going to be publishing my fifth work of fiction, Whizzers. Hard to believe, because it seems like just yesterday when I launched my first novel, Brothers' Hand, into an unsuspecting world. I still remember some of the reactions...
collection

A Free Short Story Collection

Last week I wrote a bit about the upcoming Rides From Strangers short story collection, as I finally got the completed cover design. Today’s post is related, but with a little twist. As I mentioned a week ago, I’m offering this e-book free to anyone who joins the...
software

How Hard Is Software Supposed to Be?

So last week I took the Memorial Day holiday off from everything: no blog, no book project...nothing. Just me and my wife enjoying the day off from work. We don't get that many of those together, so it was nice to just hang out, sleep late, and watch mindless TV shows...
cancel

Anyone Else Thinking about Canceling Cancel Culture?

Ordinarily, I’m on the side of the poor, the beaten-down, the marginalized. In short, the outsiders. But this week, what’s on my mind is something a little on the opposition side, or what I’d like to think of as the middle. Most everyone who knows me would describe me...
racism

Would You Like A Side Order of Misogyny, Prejudice, or Homophobia With That?

I didn’t intentionally set out to write a new novel addressing the rampant intolerance, Islamophobia, and racism in America today. I really didn’t. My novels always start with a character, or characters. Sometimes their actions get pretty hectic right out of the gate;...
giving

Why I Think Giving Your Work Away Is (Mostly) A Bad Idea

​Free books—who doesn’t love that idea, right? Me. I don’t love that idea. In fact, I think it sucks. Now, you might wonder: why, Mike, are you so against free books? I mean, don’t you want more people to read? You’re not against libraries, are you? No, I’m not...

Rolling With The Changes

I’m back on the blog today after a two-week break, which hasn’t really been a break at all. At least, it hasn’t felt like one. But the topic of today’s post is change, and for good reason: I’m dealing with some major changes in my family, as my parents move past the...
ebook

Are Stories Inevitably Autobiographical?

Recently, I’ve been writing quite a bit about writing, providing some explanations about why I write what I write. I’ve even got an upcoming podcast appearance talking a lot about my background and history in relation to my works of fiction. In the case of my short...
Taking A Break

Taking A Break

Today I’m taking a break from the regular weekly blog postnot because everyone is exhausted (which is true enough) but because we had a four-hour blackout in my neighborhood this afternoon! So now I’m too busy to create anything new, and time has run out.

Congratulations to former VP Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris on a historic win. It feels like we can breathe again for the first time in four long years.

Hmm, four-hour blackout, four years…coincidence? Who knows?

See you next week.

 

metaphysical

Five Ways You Can Help With a Local Book Launch Event

This week I want to write a bit more about my fourth novel, Whizzers. It’s my current Work-In-Progress, and I plan to have it finished this year in order to launch it in 2019. One of the few luxuries of being an independent author is that I haven’t set a firm...
humor

When Your Sense of Humor Is One Part Vonnegut, Two Parts Hunter S. Thompson

Sometimes you have to really switch things up. Even shake them up. Such is the case with artists of all types, and I’m the kind of novelist who needs to shake things up from book to book. I've never written a series, and I don't think I could unless my life depended...
followers

From The Archives: Frances Caballo on Why You Should Never Buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes

I don't often feature guest posts on my blog, but today's post from the archives was an exception. Back in 2018, social media guru Frances Caballo graciously accepted my invitation to write a guest post. Here's a link to the the original post, but you can read her...
cover design

The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I'll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects. Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads...
repetition

Insanity: Writing the Same Thing Over and Over?

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of those steps. I’ve been really lucky: I’ve had the good fortune to publish and sell four of my novels, and I run a freelance writing and editing business as well. I have great clients who love what I do and send me...
genre

Have You Ever Written In A New Genre?

When you don't normally write genre fiction, it can be difficult to talk to non-writer people about your work.I love the classics, and have always worked hard to create modern classics of my own. You could call them Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, or just...
spiritual

Do You Have An Interest in the Spiritual?

Today’s post is the second of a three-part series I’m creating on some of my personal interests. Last week, I wrote about metaphysics; this week, I’m writing about spirituality; and next week, I’ll be writing about music.Of course, the metaphysical and spiritual are...
history

Nostalgia, Conspiracies, and A Vanishing World

Recently, I’ve been visiting the minutiae of history a little more than usual. Some of my readers may be aware that I’m a a big music fan, and have collected music in various formats over most of my life. While it’s often digital these days, I've also been known to...
LCCN

Do I Need A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

This week I promised to write about one of the most often overlooked items in the publishing business - the Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN. I'm going to write about it a bit today, but my thinking on the LCCN has changed to some degree over time.According...
Vote Like Your Life Depends On It—Then Let It Go

Vote Like Your Life Depends On It—Then Let It Go

In 1994, I wrote a novel called Brothers’ Hand, in which the titular character mentions that someday working class people might very well use billionaire “Duncan Scrump’s” name as a curse word one day. Of course, I never imagined such a person could become our president, but here we are.

The only funny part about all that: we actually believed he was worth a billion dollars, not in debt half a billion. Hilarious!

As I’ve watched my country devolve into a COVID-infested nightmare, hurtling toward authoritarianism of some as-yet-undefined nature, it’s been like the proverbial car crash. I see it all in what feels like slow motion, although it’s unfolding in real time. And I remain transfixed, appalled, yet unable to look away.

 

Please Do Your Part

Look, if you’re in Canada or the U.K., you’re probably watching this stuff with an attitude fairly similar to mine. Except you’re not voting here, because you can’t. I can, and I have. So I know you can’t do anything about it (although there is a part of me that wants to quietly whisper to you, Please…help us).

Just as I never envisioned the rampant intolerance, Islamophobia, and racism we’re dealing with today—what with the “Proud Boys” out in the street and all—I also never envisioned this guy getting a first term, much less a second one. And I understand, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

But with less than 36 hours before the polls close on the east coast in the US, I feel like I have to do a little bit more.

You see, I campaigned for former President Obama—twice. And, less enthusiastically, I’ll admit, for former Secretary of State Clinton. I’ve stood with a clipboard in my hand, registering voters. I’ve gone door-to-door with flyers.

I knew what kind of monster we were facing. Well, I thought I did. He’s proved a hundred times worse than I’d ever reckoned.

 

Keep Calm And Carry On

Even if Triumph the Insult President loses decisively on Tuesday night, we will have to endure a few court skirmishes in select states at best. The chances of knowing the outcome right away, and having a normal, peaceful transition of power, are slim to none. I get that.

What can we do? In the short term, we can take that wonderful British expression to heart, and do our level best to “keep calm and carry on.” It won’t help anyone to either self-destruct or destroy other people’s property.

In the long run, I think we have a real fight on our hands. Anyone concerned with women’s rights, LGBT rights, or indeed any level of civil rights, should be concerned. And that might be what it means, going forward, to carry on.

anti-vaxxer

Anti-Vaxxer Hysteria and the Mo-ron Contingent

I can’t help but wonder: what kind of idiot do you have to be to believe that Bill Gates has nothing better to do than follow you around while you schlep to Wal-Mart, pick up your dry cleaning, and eat the free breadsticks at Olive Garden? I've always got my cell...
spiritual

Do You Have An Interest in the Spiritual?

Today’s post is the second of a three-part series I’m creating on some of my personal interests. Last week, I wrote about metaphysics; this week, I’m writing about spirituality; and next week, I’ll be writing about music.Of course, the metaphysical and spiritual are...

Feeling A Little Bit Better

There's an old, very bad joke that goes something like this: It was Christmas, and everyone was feeling merry; so Mary went home. Then everyone jumped for joy, but Joy jumped out the window. I know those only work when spoken aloud, and in the #MeToo era, it's a...
identity

Who Are You? And What Do You Want?

Readers of this blog who are also movie buffs may be able to help me out today: tell me where I got that title about identity! I’m fairly certain there was an old movie or TV show where a character said, “Who are you? And what do you want?” But for the life of me, I...

Blogging About…Blogging?

Last week I blogged a bit about my upcoming relaunch of Miles of Files and the accompanying blog tour. This week, I'm not delivering just more of the same. Other exciting events are afoot! First off, I'm pleased to announce that I'm going to be hosting another guest...

But I’m Too Busy to Blog!

If you're like me, you're a committed writer: maybe you keep to a rigorous writing schedule, or maybe you have actually written a full-length book or books. Chances are good that if you're reading this, you're also a blogger. Maybe you even have a blog like this one....
black friday

From Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday: A Reflection

​Not so long ago, it was easy to think of the week of Thanksgiving as “Gratitude Week.” In fact, I actually did that: back in 2016, Facebook reminds me, I posted an entire week’s worth of “Things I’m Grateful For” to my timeline. It was fun, and certainly provided...

Rolling With The Changes

I’m back on the blog today after a two-week break, which hasn’t really been a break at all. At least, it hasn’t felt like one. But the topic of today’s post is change, and for good reason: I’m dealing with some major changes in my family, as my parents move past the...

Communication? Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

Last week’s blog post was all about business. This week, I’m still going to talk about business a little, but really it’s more about writing. And if there’s one lesson we should take to heart in writing – in fact, in all our communication – it’s Keep It Simple. Today...

How Do You Write About Sex—Seriously, Irreverently, or Not At All?

“Writing about sex is like engaging in sex: it’s hard. Or, it should be.” —Sean Murphy   Today I want to talk about fictional scenes where characters either discuss sex or engage in sexual activity. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, because I’m working...