Friday, May 29, 2015

It's a Scam!


Last night at 7 PM I got a phone call and when I picked it up it was a robocall from the IRS claiming that I had to pay emergency back taxes and I would be in hot water if I did not return their call.

It's a scam.

I also found out that an elderly person in my circle of influence has been sending money to a PAC and when I smelled a scam, I found out I was right. Every penny goes to line the pockets of the company's owners.

The Age of Information has brought out the vampires. Do support good causes with your money and respond to legitimate concerns, but WARN THE ELDERLY IN YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. They are seen as nothing more than cash cows.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Upcoming Reviews

The year 2015 started with the best intentions on my part, but life had other plans. Ill health and other situations swept through my family which increased my own responsibilities and then, on top of it all, my own health deteriorated and I ended up having my gall bladder removed and having to delay surgery to restore hearing in my right ear.

One of my goals was to complete my review and edit pile that other authors have been patiently waiting for.

If you are an author and have approached me for a review or an edit, please look over the list below. If it is not listed, please contact me ASAP.

For Amazon review:
  1. In The Grip of Prayer, by Terry Magee
  2. Junior, by Ray Donley
  3. A Fine Day for Fishing, by Marsha King
  4. Lancelot: Knight of the Heart, by Donald Gow
  5. Advent, by Donald Francis
  6. Booklife, by Jeff Vandermeer
For edit:
  1. The Ferret and the Priest, by Ken Pick and Alan Loewen
  2. Dagger: The Hunted Mage Trilogy (Book Two), by Michael R. Wilson
  3. Mistwalker, by Amanda Mitchell
Knowing that life will fight me for time to even so much as to read a page, my goal is to still be done by August 30, 2015.

I regret that until these reviews and edits are finsihed, I am not available for additional work except for what I am already committed. My apologies.

(Note: I receive NO REIMBURSEMENT for reviews or edits. And unless your book is a total insult to the human race, if I can't give it three or more stars I will not post a review at all.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Come Into My Cellar is LIVE

My newest chapbook, Come Into My Cellar: Darker Tales From A Cerebral Vault is live. Twenty nine pages of dark dreams and darker visions, BUT DON'T BUY IT!. Soon I will reveal how you can get this little gem and other examples of my work simply by making a small donation to a nonprofit in some unfortunate struggles.

The work's centerpiece is In The Father's Image that takes place in London, England in the first year of John F. Kennedy's presidency. A doll store and its eccentric owner conceals a dark secret. The story is the first chapter in my Doll Wars novel hopefully to be released within the year.

Come Into My Cellar is my dark tribute to the wonder of the written language. I love English and I love the magic of words.

Blood and China takes place in an auction hall in Paris, France, just one year before the Nazis invade. Could a bidding war be the real cause of World War II? An dark tongue-in-cheek trek into the fantasy of "What if..."

The Vicarage is part of the opening essay into a future collection that features a trio of tales all about magical houses.

Stay tuned. I am committed to your entertainment.

Review copies of
Come Into My Cellar: Darker Tales From A Cerebral Vault is available for legitimate reviewers.

Addendum: Just discovered the Look Inside feature gives you the entire opening essay. Enjoy for free.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Secrets of My Success

I feel conflicted to post a list of anything because I have discovered that writing is a subjective art. What works for one writer is anathema to another, so I post this as saying this is what works for me. Consider the list. Experiment with you. If it actually works, keep it. If it doesn't, discard it as there is only one universal for writers:

Just write. BOCHOK (Backside On Chair, Hands On Keyboard) must be every serious writer's motto. Why? Because the mind is like a muscle. If you don't use it on a regular basis, it will atrophy. And discipline, though a vulgar curse in today's culture, is still a trait shared by all effective authors.

Nonetheless, here is my list:
  1. All writers are readers. I have been an avid reader all my life. On August 5th, 2010, I started a list of books I completed reading. Today, 1,754 days later, I have read 209 books which averages a book every 9 days. Believe it or not, that is pathetic compared to my youth when I was averaging a book every five days.
  2. I have the best critique group in the world. From my reading of other authors' blogs, to get a good critique group is like winning the lottery and I won big time, but it took me 17 years to find and cultivate them! The other three members of the group are priceless to me and in almost every one of my collections, you will find they get credit for their invaluable and many times stinging critiques.
  3. I write, write, and write some more. Many times it is sheer drivel, but real writing comes with revision.
  4. The English language is fascinating, Writing is a torrid love affair filled with moments of ecstasy and broken hearts. And I never stop learning, My library on the craft of writing is huge and many of them are stylebooks and reference manuals. By the bye, you do own a dog-eared copy of The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, right? Right?
  5. I write for an audience of one: myself. I write what I like to read and I'm delighted to find an audience that shares similar tastes.
  6. Be aware there are always people who will despise what you write, but as you are to write only for yourself, that's okay. I know it stings. Producing a short story or novel is like having a baby and nobody likes to hear that their baby is ugly. It's okay. Keep writing and don't let critics and naysayers stop you.
  7. I listen to music while I write, but that is a very subjective experience. On Spotify, I listen to Epic Study Music compiled by a Michael Liu. You may find it distracting, but I find it empowering. Play with various styles. 
  8. There will be days you will find no joy in writing and you will actually end up hating your work. Keep writing. It all works out.
    Don't sweat titles and character names. Keep them to the last. In my works in progress, I use the title, Untitled, and I use the names of my friends, family and enemies, changing them before I publish. (An aside: twice I forgot to change the names and the stories were published with the names of my friends intact within the story. Fortunately, I have gracious friends.)
  9. And never stop writing. Never.

All graphics taken from the website, Authors Publish Magazine.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Sad Tragedy

I have had a number of people proudly tell me they have not read a book since they graduated from high school. Then they wonder why I look at them like a two-headed freak.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Woman Who Carries Her Dead

Yesterday I stood in a long line at the Walmart pharmacy patiently waiting my turn. In front of me stood a woman, her back to me, wearing tight jeans and a tank top. I could not see her face, but I estimated her to be in her late 40s.

Standing as close as I was, I saw that on her right shoulder blade she had a small tattoo. Never having seen a real tattoo up close, as I discreetly studied it I saw that time had made the dye bleed out beyond the original lines. The green vine and small red heart was identifiable, yet the word or name associated with the tattoo was an unreadable blur.

As she slightly turned, the tattoos that covered her upper arms became more visible and evidently were more recent. The colors remained clear with the lines boldly clear. Each tattoo had one or more names associated with it.

It was when she turned further, I could see at an angle that on both of her inner arms she had tattooed a lengthy list of names and dates of birth and death.

She carries her dead with her.

When she picked up her medicine from the pharmacist and turned, I was even more surprised to discover my estimate of her age was way off. Moving in obvious agony, she was clearly in her 70s with a face lined with suffering that transcended the physical. 

She carries her dead with her.

And my heart broke for the woman. What compelled her to bear the memories of her dead with her? Why so many? 

When she passes, who will carry her name and the dates of her birth and death, this woman who converted her own body into a into mausoleum of memories?

She carries her dead with her.

I have written many stories with remarkable characters, but they seldom touch the poignancy of the real people that walk among us every day so easily ignored and so quickly forgotten.

Many of the characters that populate my tales have been erased from my recollection, but I do believe I will always remember the woman who carries her dead with her in perpetual memory for, even if her mind falls into senescence, until she goes into her grave, the memorials on her skin will still give her a voice that speaks and remembers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Does This Prove I Have The Mind of a Writer?

The sticker says, "My Children Have 4 Paws."

Cute little buggers, but you have to shave them everyday.

My immediate thought was, Good heavens, the poor woman gave birth to werewolves.

Monday, May 18, 2015

No Comment

I am not qualified to comment on this statement. The voices in my head won't let me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gray Matter: A Dark SF Story in Six Paragraphs

Nobody will let me publish this, so therefore I share this with you freely because I love you.


Gray Matter
by Alan Loewen

The Gray Hive at Zeta Riticuli reeled from inner turmoil. To find a solution, the Master Mind met to meditate on the reports of aliens abducting individuals during their communal hibernation period.

The reports were all the same: Reticulans would awaken with dim memories of being removed from their hibernation pods and subjected to humiliating physical procedures conducted by tall, fearsome beings.

The reports described the abductors as having various skin colors different from a healthy Reticulan gray. The victims telepathically wailed about small, frightening eyes that consisted of colors different from simple ebony. With horror they mentally transmitted images of five-fingered hands that prodded and poked, and cold metal instruments used to shameful effect.

The abducted experienced such trauma, euthanasia of the individual units served as the only solution to ultimately protect the Hive from being overwhelmed in horror and revulsion.

However, before the Master Mind could derive a final solution to the problem, alien spacecraft attacked with a ferocity so sudden, planetary defenses never had an opportunity to even come online.

With the exception of those that had been selected as breeding stock, for the majority of Grays, their last experience of home was being herded into starships bearing an emblem of two golden arches, starships that sped their living, gray cargo to a terrifying blue world to feed its hungry trillions.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Magical Anime Girls Are Real!

I know. I saw one this afternoon at Walmart.

Being the dutiful son that I am, once a month I take my wheelchair-bound mother shopping to various stores. Today, after visiting several, we ended up at Walmart, and as my mother perused the vitamin aisle, I turned around to see a vision straight out of a Studio Ghibli production.

A little Japanese girl—about eight years old— stared back at me with those distinctive almond eyes, her face framed by long jet-black hair that glistened in the light. Dressed in a Catholic school uniform she looked like a real-life extra from a Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura episode.


I was so surprised by the materialization of an anime archetype, I could only stare in mute surprise. Any moment I knew she would suddenly burst into a 15-minute long transformation scene as she became Princess Sugar Starlight and, being the unworthy slug I was, I knew I was moments away from being beaten to death by her Sugarplum Confectionery Wand of Unimaginable Agony.

The last thing I thought I would ever see in this life ... 

Alas, that glorious fate was not to be mine. Her mother pulled her away by the arm and the first real-life magical anime girl I ever saw disappeared around the bend into an aisle of shampoo and hair products leaving me feeling strangely sad.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Loewen's Maxin On Happiness (Inspired By Zig Ziglar)

The best teacher draws out of you what you already knew but either forgot or lacked the words to put into form. Today I was listening to a speech by the late Zig Ziglar and he made a comment on happiness that made me think. The quote below is adapted, but uses words and phrases I feel carry the message with greater strength.

By the bye, I do not post these for you. I post them to remind myself. If you find value in them, that's great, but they are created for an audience of one who needs constant reminding.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Best Villains All Drive Jaguars

 I love villains. I love good advertising campaigns. 

The 2014 SuperBowl saw an award-winning advertisement from Jaguar with star power from Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Strong all promoting Jaguars with what is known as "the Alpha Male."

And instead of making them James Bonds and other hero-types, they made them...villains.

The “Making Of…” video is a great tutorial for writers who want to make the best bad guys possible.
Following on the heels of their popular SuperBowl ad on villains, Jaguar came out with five more that told together tell something of a “Day in the Life of a Villain” story. In order, they are:
My favorite line: “The spoils of a day well lived.”