Monday, July 18, 2011

Death and the Bully…

A dangerous night, feathered revenge, the dragon cometh, beauty could not save Bad, midnight madness, a Scottish opinion…

Update on ARC (Advance Release Copies) of three new Tim Greaton novels…
Thanks so much for all the excitement and support regarding the upcoming early release novels. Ripped…From My Cold Young Fingers is now available in ebook on It will also be available soon at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as soon as Focus House works out some last minute formatting issues.

Zachary Pill, The Dragon at Station End will also be available shortly (likely this week J).  Ancestor is only a week or two behind the others. I’m really looking forward to your feedback, because the folks at Focus House will be determining the priority of my projects by your emails and sales figures.

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at: tim-at-greateastdevelopment-dot-net.

Tim’s going to spend more time on Twitter: Starting this week, I will be dedicating at least a few evening hours to Twitter. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but I hope you’ll all follow me there and ask me to follow you. I’m really looking forward to this new avenue of conversation between usJ. I also think I’m going to drift toward the new Google+ system. I think I’ve been invited but I haven’t gotten around to linking up yet.

Fat Duck has a few late nights alone and teaches me a lesson: This has been an incredibly busy week for me, and several times I’ve been out until late evening. Each night I’ve driven into the yard after dark to find Fatty sitting what I thought was patiently on the porch waiting for me to put him in his pen. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly how Fat Duck feels about being left out that late, but it’s possible he did seem a little somber at least one of those nights.
That brings us to the one steady day of drizzling rain we had this week. That rain either confused poor Fatty or gave him a chance to get back at me. Several times that evening I looked out the side windows to see if he was up on the porch and ready to be locked safely in his pen, but each time I wouldn’t find him until I went to the front rain-splattered windows to see him sitting out on his hay bale. Finally, it was pitch black, sometime after 9pm and still raining when I decided it was too dangerous for him to be out there. It’s hard to know if he enjoyed watching me traipse through the puddles to get to him, and I couldn’t really be sure that he was stalling as he ever-so-slowly allowed me to herd him across the yard and up onto the porch. All I know is that dozens of times I’ve seen him waddle much faster and that this rainy journey might well have been one of the longest slowest marches of our relationship. I was completely drenched by the time Fatty sauntered up onto the porch and into his pen.
He snorted as I sloshed into the house.

Patsy the Dog is sure to drive me insane: I doubt I have to say much to convince anyone that I like animals. I think they deserve our kindness and our protection…and I’ve even been a vegetarian for more than fifteen years now. But I swear my dog Patsy is going to drive me bonkers. She’s a sweetheart of a dog and is quiet 99% of the time…but when she sees something of interest in our yard or at the end of the driveway she has an ear-piercing bark that makes me want to either pitch her outside or cover my ears with pillows.
When Fatty spent all of his time in the yard, I appreciated her middle-of-the-night warnings of a fox in the yard so I could run outside and scare the duck-eater away for a night or three…but since Fatty started spending his nights in a safe pen, I really could do without all the ruckus, especially at night.
I’ve tried to sit down and have a reasonable discussion with Patsy, but all those attempts end the same way: she wiggles, wags her tail and tries to lick my face…
Then she runs to the window and barks like a raving lunaticL

Benny the bully gets a motorcycle: During my teenage years, my father started and ran a very successful autobody repair shop, and during my last couple of years of high school I worked with him. This might well have been one of the most informative periods of my life, because my dad tended to surround himself with some interesting characters. Though we could spend lots of time talking about the shysters, thieves, and equal numbers of war heroes and friendly policemen that used to come and go from my father’s shop with equal treatment and comfort, but instead I thought we’d talk about one particular employee and the summer of hell he put us all through. Let’s call him Benny.
A year older than me, Benny was easily one of the brightest people I had ever met up until that time. Though my parents never believed in IQ tests or allowing their children to be advanced in school (I later learned that the school system had tried multiple times to jump me and two of my siblings forward a grade) I knew I was pretty bright, but Benny made me feel downright stupid much of the time.
I’ve since come to believe that books could be written about Benny’s personality, but lacking an expert opinion I can only describe him as two-thirds bully, one-third genius. At the time, Benny was in his late-teens or early-twenties and though he was over six feet tall, he was also stick thin, which didn’t allow him a lot of occasions to be a physical bully—though he later became all that and more. In the meantime, however, he had to rely on his mouth to antagonize and bully everyone around him. I can’t think of a single instance or example to offer at this time, but I imagine he might have looked up facts in an encyclopedia just so he could ask a few questions the next day and wipe all the other garage employees’ faces in his superior knowledge. But it was more than that because on the few occasions when a tricky repair or other problem came up at the shop, all the employees sought my father’s uneducated but intelligent advice and experience first then turned to me for straight-up creative solutions. I would often come up with something, but Benny— who nobody liked, respected or listened to—would often come up with something even better.
Benny thought an awful lot of himself and spent most of his days letting the rest of us know how great and important he was, while simultaneously letting us know just how small and insignificant we were. Of course, his attitude made him an absolute target of the other four to six employees in the shop…but, because we weren’t nearly as mean-spirited, we were seldom able to get through his sharp-tongued defenses.
Of everyone working at the shop, Benny was not just the meanest, he was also the most broke…as in the one with the least amount of money. He would get paid on a Friday afternoon and by Monday morning would have blown his entire check and be borrowing money from my father for coffee and a sandwich. Even I, a kid in high school and working part-time and summers, had more cash than he did. Broke as he always was, Benny decided one day that he HAD TO have a trail-riding motorcycle. Of course, he had no money nor the ability to save any money, but he somehow worked out a deal with a motorcycle dealer who let him buy a used motorcycle with a blown motor for weekly payments…but the deal was though Benny could use their garage a few hours each Saturday to rebuild the engine, he couldn’t take the bike until all the payments were made.
Now, I could tell you that the entire garage spent six months making fun of Benny because after adding up all of his payments, we figured out he was actually paying more for his broken, used motorcycle than he would have paid by simply buying a new one. I could also tell you that Benny had never rebuilt an engine in his life and that he wound up rebuilding that one two or three times before he got it to work. But the only thing that matters is what Benny pounded into our brains all day, every day, for the duration of his many-month payment agreement. “You wait until I get my bike,” he would say. “I’m going to tear up the streets…Once I get my bike, I’m going to run this town…I’ll be like the wind with a mad engine between my legs when I get my bike.”
Over and over, day after day, we heard him carry on about the powerful rocket he would soon have between his legs. We were all so sick of it that we all began to pray for the day he made his last payment and got that godforsaken vehicle on the road or trails or wherever it was going. We just didn’t want to hear another single thing about it. And then it finally happened. After months of being harangued about how we peasants would forever be glued to our tired sad vehicles while Benny would take over the world with his insanely fast, motorized throne.
And then the day arrived. Benny had been in especially fine form that entire week, but that Friday he was like a mouthpiece from Hell. As we filed out of the shop, we each went home hoping and praying that it was over. That finally we wouldn’t have to listen to the hopes and dreams of the pompously insane any longer. Sure, he would come back bragging about his many adventures, we knew, but at least it wouldn’t be the same drivel over and over again.
But then as we were settling down in our homes that Friday night, something amazing and wonderful happened on the seven o’clock news. There, beneath a scene of flashing police cars, Benny’s name was printed. Like victims at a trial, we watched as the camera zoomed in on two policemen questioning Benny and a bedraggled friend, then the scene switched and showed a tow truck pulling the wreckage of a motorcycle down from an overhead railroad bridge. It turned out that Benny had been riding with his friend on the back of his new motorcycle but when they crossed the railroad bridge, he somehow didn’t notice that a train was coming. Scarcely two hours from the time he had picked his motorcycle up, Benny was forced to leap from his motorcycle and duck under an iron railing as his motorized throne was chewed up and spit out like so much bad spaghetti.
Of course, Benny was always late arriving to work so that next Monday morning we were ready. Sitting in a circle in the office, we laughed, retold and relived that glorious moment when each of us had seen Benny’s pale face show up on the news screen. We were all locked, loaded, and ready to tear into the skinny creature who had been torturing us with stories of his upcoming greatness astride that motorcycle.
Finally, we were going to get revenge. As one, we held our breath as we saw him cross the parking lot…on foot. The time had come. We were finally going to get ours. We were going to get the best of the bully. The door opened and he came through the door with a grin.
“Yep,” Benny said. “I kicked death in the ass once again!”
It was a hard line to beat.

My Review of Bad Teacher (2011) starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch and Jason Segal
My rating « (one out of five stars)
Wretchedly terrible teacher..., 17 July 2011
It’s true that I’m not a huge comedy fan. I like to think that I’m more discerning than some or that maybe my writing background gives me a little deeper understanding of the writing craft behind a good joke, but the truth is that I just like what I like…and when it comes to comedy the bad list is longer than the good list. However, that said, Bad Teacher is just a “bad movie.” It’s not funny, it’s not logical, and it’s populated with some of the least believable and most terribly acted characters that I’ve seen in a very long time.
Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a down-on-her luck Chicago teacher who supposedly gets away with swearing, drinking, and doing drugs—all in front of her students. When her rich fiancé breaks up with her, she then attempts to snag the new, apparently wealthy teacher Scott Delacorte (Timberlake). However, forever cheerful teacher Amy Squirrell (Punch) wins his affection and leads us into a mostly pointless series of events occasioned with quips and barbs made by the gym teacher Russell Gettis (Segel) from the sidelines.
I can’t even claim this story was predictable (though the basic plot was) because it was so nonsensical that it would have been impossible to imagine any similar direction. It’s even harder to believe any self-respecting screen writer would have imagined this to be good film. We also can’t excuse this flimsy excuse for story on the need to tell a great series of jokes, because the film just wasn’t funny…not a little…not even a tiny bit.
I remain a fan of many of the talents involved with this project…but the project itself definitely has my vote as a DON’T SEE!

Thanks Chris Longmuir for taking time out of your busy schedule to review Bones in the Tree (Smashwords)
Her review…
««««« (five out of five stars)
A satisfying read, July 12, 2011 :     
This novella was a really satisfying read. I enjoyed Karen's take on life after a marriage breakup, followed her on several disastrous dates, and loved her relationship with Bones. I really felt drawn in by this character and shared her anguish at her role in the loss of Bones's home and rejoiced with her when she found happiness.
A lovely satisfying read which I read right through without stopping.
Chris Longmuir is a Scottish novelist, winner of the Dundee International Book Prize and the author of three great novels: Dead Wood, A Salt-Splashed Cradle and Night Watcher. See her work here:

In the next blog (Sunday July 24th): my review of David Baldacci’s Camel Club, why you should never have eleven geese,  a moment when I realized how tough my dad’s life was, more comments on the newly released Tim Greaton ARC’s and more…

My thanks to you: I once dreamt of writing for a living. Though a lot of my time is spent writing for nonprofit corporations and charities around the country, work that is incredibly fulfilling and that I will continue to do long after it is required on my end, each and every day more of my income comes directly from readers of my books. Please know that I couldn’t be more sincere in my appreciation.


  1. Another great blog Tim. Benny sounds like some guys I have met before. Just no easy way to deal with them, lol.

    As for Fat Duck, he no doubt walked slow just for your benifit. Maybe he thought you needed a shower. There is no telling. I had a cat get stuck in a tree and didn't realize he was missing until after it started raining and it was dark. Had to have a friend back her truck up to the tree just so I could reach the first branch and start climbing. He was rather high up. It was an especially fun thing to reach out far onto the limb perched on just to grab said wet cat while being twenty feet up. Thankfully, he never climbed another tree again.

  2. Thanks for the mention, Tim. I have your other books on my reading list now.

  3. Hi, Suzie: Yeah, Benny was a tough guy to deal with. Unfortunately, his nature caught up with him after just a few years. He wound up arrested for a series of buglaries and drug deals and spent the last ten or so years of his life in prison. Because he got involved with steriods which are like fertilizer to cancer, he died chained to a hospital bed with guards posted outside his door.

    Your cat adventure sounded like fun. She was lucky to have someone willing to cut her ordeal short. I have a similar scene in my upcoming "Zachary Pill..." novel, but it's an old man being saved by the local pizza boy who dents his truck while doing it :-)

    Chris, you are of course very welcome for the mention. I am waiting for Focus House to iron out some web-bugs and then I'll be posting author interviews. 'Hope you can participate when the stage is set :-)


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! :-)