Clues: Alex's Blog

A Halloween Treat for You...

It's nearly Halloween!

In that spooky spirit, Alex reads his acclaimed suspense short story Obsidian on the Mysterious Goings On podcast. The show is free, available on iTunes, Stitcher your desktop and pretty much everywhere else you can find podcasts.

About Obsidian:

Catch a disturbing glimpse of the night with this multiple award-winning short story in the tradition of The Twilight Zone. A man awakens in a secluded cabin to find he's being watched by a shape with obsidian eyes. Who or what is watching him, and why? 

This story is the winner of the Shelf Unbound/Wattpad 2011 Short Fiction Award and the April 2010 WritingRoom Award.

Want more horror from Alex? Click here!

Note: There were some odd occurrences when recording this episode--gremlins? So you may need to adjust your device in a few places during playback. Thank you.

Want to help keep new chapters of this podcast coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage for more about the John Pilate Mystery Series at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood or email him: Alex (at) AlexGPR.com.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Additional music stings by Incompetech. 

Copyright 2016 J. Alexander Greenwood. All rights reserved.

In Honor of #StarTrek50...

In honor of the 50th birthday of Star Trek, enjoy a strange new world of Mysterious Goings On podcast episodes (well, okay, two) talking about the films of Star Trek, with special guest Mike Z from Racine!

Click here for episode 22.

Click here for episode 23.

Enjoy...and live long and prosper.  (And leave us a review or some stars on iTunes, would ya?)

My Comfort Zone Has Mud and Barbed Wire

By Alex Greenwood

"Did you think you could do it?" my friend asked, his face earnest.

"What? Finish the race? Yes. I did," glancing at a large purple and green bruise on my left bicep. "But I was nervous about taking the plunge. It's intimidating in a lot of ways."

I was referring to the Rugged Maniac, a 5 kilometer obstacle course/race held at Snow Creek ski area near Weston, Missouri on July 23, 2016. Here's how the Rugged Maniac folks describe it:

Picture this:  You arrive at Snow Creek on July 23rd with a carload of your most adventurous friends.  As you step out you notice the people around you admiring your group’s coordinated “Avengers-in-bathing-suits” costumes and your on-point Hulk-green body paint. In the festival, people are already riding the mechanical bull and playing beach volleyball (Rugged Maniac is definitely more than just a mud run), but you’re more interested in the stein-hoisting contest on the main stage. You make a note to sign up for that and the pie-eating contest after you run.  You see obstacles in the distance – mud-covered people jumping over fire, bouncing on trampolines, rocketing down a huge water slide – and your surging excitement confirms what you already knew: Today is going to be awesome!

"So why did you do it? To win or...?"

I thought a moment, then explained, "Win? No chance. I just wanted to finish it."

 

"Why?"

"I wanted to do two things: one, prove I could do it, two, to shake things up a little. I was getting stale. Not just physically, either."

So, joining a team of pals from my local gym, 9Round Kickboxing Fitness of Waldo (Sidebar: without the past ten months getting in the best shape of my life at 9Round Waldo, I would NEVER have attempted this) I hit the snow-free slopes in 100-degree heat for more than an hour of running, climbing obstacles, treading water, crawling through mud, squat-walking through tunnels, swinging on rings, jumping over fire and much more. It was hard. Really hard. Days later I'm still terribly bruised and achy.

But you know what? It was fantastic and I want to go again. Why? Because I can, and it reminded me of a different me: a hungrier, more energetic, less risk-averse me.

My friend then told me my eyes were bright when I talked about it, and that I had a more confident bearing since the race. He reminded me that when he texted me after the race and asked "Did you die?" I texted back a photo of me, exhausted at the finish line with the words "And was reborn."

What about you? Are you pushing yourself outside your comfort zone? Are you making it happen in your business by taking risks, jumping through the fire, swinging over the water hazards or climbing under the barbed wire? Or are you playing it safe?

The rewards of safety are many: comfort and fewer negative surprises are at the top of that list. The rewards of risk may get you bruised, but it can also get you to new levels and wake up something inside you--perhaps a "rebirth" to the day you started your business?

Reborn?

Maybe an obstacle race isn't for you. Maybe it's guitar lessons or giving speeches at Toastmasters. Just do something to knock you out of that comfort zone. Push yourself. You may like what you find.

But I like something that ends with a giant water slide, myself. By the way, my friend? He's joining me for my next obstacle race.

 WHEEEEEEEE!

WHEEEEEEEE!

Shock That Monkey

On this episode of the Mysterious Goings On podcast, Alex talks about inspiration he drew from attending a Sting/Peter Gabriel concert recently. Specifically, he discusses ways that getting our "monkey" shocked (as Peter Gabriel's hit "Shock the Monkey" illustrates) in real life can be dangerous, but perhaps can be useful in your writing.

Listen on your desktop here.

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community onFacebook!https://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood or email him: Alex (at) AlexGPR.com.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Stephen King: Creative Writing Cannot Be Taught

Stephen King on creative writing classes....I have to agree. Some of the most tedious hours of my life have been in creative writing classes.

 

Not every writer is good and not everything written by good writers is great.

That's true, and the idea that someone can tell you how to create is ridiculous. Certainly you can learn structure, format, discipline and tricks of the trade, but even my grandfather--who had more than 30 of his books published--could never give me the secret of how to make a good, solid story.

The idea of teaching a fledgling writer how to be the next Hemingway--or Stephen King-- is like teaching a tone-deaf person to sing. You can't do it.

Either they can create or they can't.

To keep this from being a complete downer, I will say this: you can write if you work your butt off. You may be like me, terribly average with an occasional "good one" that comes from that hard work (and reading this helps). And if that "good one" is satisfying, then keep writing. But if it's all frustration and "where's my book deal?" then you might want to try singing.

 

P.S. Have you listened to the latest episode of the podcast? Click here

Where's My Podcast?

Fans of the podcast have no doubt noted we took a little break from production after our first 15 chapters (episodes) of Mysterious Goings On. This was due mostly to stuff you would file under "life" and "am writing".  I hope you will stay subscribed (what? you're not subscribed? HURRY and click here!) and that way you'll get an automatic download of the next chapter.

When will that be? Well...some things must remain a mystery...

In the meantime, I am writing and will be back to podcasting as soon as I can. (You'll hear from me soon!) Thanks for reading...and listening.

--Alex

A Death in the Family

Alex discusses why the loss of celebrities we've never met like David Bowie, Prince, Garry Shandling and even Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, can feel like a death in the family. 

Please leave your thoughts about this episode in the comments section below!

Listen above or goto iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mysterious-goings-on/id1080474124?mt=2

 

Stitcher link: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mysterious-goings-on

Soundcloud:

 

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebook

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter: @A_Greenwood

Anyone for Boat Drinks?

Are you as sick of the cold weather as I am? Craving sun, sand, a refreshing cocktail with a shot of mystery? Then you need a Boat Drink.

Perhaps the overall fan favorite character in the John Pilate Mysteries (besides John himself) is Taters Malley, captain of the fishing charter boat TenFortyEZ.

In "Boat Drinks", a short story from Pilate's 7, it's fun to see Taters in his own element--guiding the TenFortyEZ straight into mischief in the waters off Key West. 

So, fix yourself a boat drink, put on your flip flops and get set to enjoy my hammy reading of one of my favorite stories. All you have to do is click one of the links below to Chapter 13: "Anyone for Boat Drinks?" on the Mysterious Goings On podcast:

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mysterious-goings-on/id1080474124?mt=2

Stitcher link: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mysterious-goings-on

 

SoundCloud link:

https://soundcloud.com/alex-greenwood-14/chapter-13-anyone-for-boat

If you enjoy this story and want more, you can pick up the Pilate's 7 ebook from all the usual suspects, including AmazonBarnes and NobleiBooks, andSmashwords

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Fired Up for Horror!

Alex thinks all this cheery spring weather deserves some gloom. Therefore, on the latest episode of the Mysterious Goings On podcast, a reading from the horror short story "A Debt of Fire" is our big feature this week.

Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B00EEIXBJ6

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

Weeding Out New Ideas

In the latest episode of the podcast... 

Alex talks about mowing the grass as a means of generating ideas for his fiction.

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

Latest Podcast Episode with Jason McIntyre Available Now

The latest chapter of Mysterious Goings On podcast welcomes back acclaimed author Jason McIntyre about the unique concept of Jason's ten-book Dovetail Cove series, reading books "out of order," and more. The pair also compare and contrast the style of the Dovetail Cove Series with Alex's John Pilate Mystery Series.

Jason is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE and his latest: ZED. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.

His debut novel ON THE GATHERING STORM is cited by readers as an 'uncomfortably thrilling' read and earned McIntyre a spot in the Top 20 Debut Authors for the Goodreads Choice Awards.
 

Learn more about Jason at his mothership:http://www.thefarthestreaches.com/p/the-author.html.

 

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

Why I Hate Book Signings

Listen in to the Mysterious Goings On podcast for this week's episode...

Alex talks about why he hates doing book signings. (Yes, smart guy, it's mostly because nobody shows up.)

 I want a brownie.   

I want a brownie.

 

However, he also offers some tips on ways to make your book launch more successful with the huddled masses yearning to read.

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

 

Click here to listen FREE on iTunes.

 

Click here to listen FREE on Stitcher.

Or just listen right here, right now...


Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood.

New Podcast Episode Up!

Chapter 8: The Keys Go Viral is available now!

I have the stomach virus, so you get the Key!

Listen on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chapter-8-the-keys-go-viral/id1080474124?i=364189442&mt=2

Listen on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mysterious-goings-on

Go to the Showpage to Listen: http://mysterious.libsyn.com/

Or, Just Listen Right Here On Your Desktop: 

Thanks for listening and a big thanks to iTunes for selecting us as a "New & Noteworthy" podcast!

http://pilatescross.com/clues-alexs-blog/

Want to help keep new chapters coming? Please tell a friend about us, and definitely leave a review on iTunes. It only takes a minute! Click here to learn how:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201991

Be sure to visit the Mysterious Goings On webpage at www.PilatesCross.com and join our community on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/John.Pilate.Mysteries/

Are you an author? Want to be a guest on the show? Contact Alex on Twitter:@A_Greenwood

 

Intro music Mary Celeste by Incompetech.

Our Podcast Named "New & Noteworthy"!

Our new podcast, Mysterious Goings On, was listed on the iTunes "New & Noteworthy" page! This resulted in dozens of downloads in one day. So, we are up and running and having fun.

What's a podcast? Where you been living, under a rock? Just kidding. Think of a podcast as a free, recorded radio show that you can download onto your smartphone, tablet, computer or MP3 player--you can time-shift and listen when most convenient. I listen to podcasts at the gym (well, not the kickboxing gym--the other gym with the elliptical machines) or before I go to bed or while I'm doing house or yard work.

We call each episode a "chapter" and at this writing, we have produced seven. No idea how long this "audio book" will be--if people continue to listen, we'll continue to produce new chapters. 

So far, we have had shows that featured audio essays from yours truly, readings from my books and two episodes that featured interviews--really more like conversations--with acclaimed novelist Jason McIntyre. We aim to get other authors to appear soon, and of course would love to interview editors, reviewers and regular ol' readers, too. 

The show comes out (mostly) on Fridays--but you don't need to remember that if you go to iTunes or Stitcher and subscribe. It's free! If you want to subscribe, here's the link on iTunes. Click here to subscribe on Stitcher. And here's the link so you can listen on your desktop while pretending to be working. 

Want to help the podcast grow? (You know what I'm going to write next, then...) WRITE A REVIEW! Here's how to do it--just click here
Well, that's it for now. Thanks so much for reading, er, I mean listening!

 

 

Be Sure To Listen to My Interviews with Jason McIntyre

On last week's podcast (Chapter 5: Creator of Worlds) we spoke with  acclaimed Canadian author Jason McIntyre about writing a series, creating a universe of characters and his 10-part Dovetail Cove series, published by Booktrope. We also discuss the weather as character in our work.

Jason is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE and his latest: ZED. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.


His debut novel ON THE GATHERING STORM is cited by readers as an 'uncomfortably thrilling' read and earned McIntyre a spot in the Top 20 Debut Authors for the Goodreads Choice Awards.

Currently, McIntyre is preparing for the launch of THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND which is the latest installment in the THE NIGHT WALK MEN saga.

Learn more about Jason at his mothership: http://www.thefarthestreaches.com/p/the-author.html.

Jason will be back this Friday (Feb. 19, 2016)  on the next episode, so be sure to subscribe now!

About Mysterious Goings On Podcast

Every week author J. Alexander Greenwood talks about writing mystery, thriller, suspense, horror and other genre fiction on the Mysterious Goings Onpodcast.

Join Alex for plenty of writing-related topics, as well as interviews, guests and some stuff that has nothing to do with anything.

It’s free, and you can subscribe on iTunes,  Stitcher or listen on your desktop here.

Alex Launches A New Podcast!

Alex has launched "Mysterious Goings On," a podcast version of the "Clues" blog. Available on iTunes, Mysterious Goings On will feature news about Alex's work, interviews with other authors and readings of chapters and short stories. There will likely be some malarkey and silliness here and there, also. Check it out on iTunes--and please subscribe and leave a quick review!

Mysterious Goings On Podcast.png


In the Beginning: A Reading from "Pilate's Ghost"

Welcome to "In the Beginning" a series of audio recordings of the prologues or first chapters from each of the John Pilate Mysteries, read by the author. Today's reading is from Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable Book recipient Pilate's Ghost, Book Three in the series.

To order your copy of Pilate's Ghost, click here for an autographed version, or here for paperbacks or ebooks.

If you'd like to enjoy an author reading of an excerpt from Book One: Pilate's Crossclick here. (Please note that an entire audiobook version of this book exists, read by the excellent John Edmondson. You can get it here.) For a reading from Pilate's Key, click hereTo enjoy a reading of a short story from the latest John Pilate mystery book--a series of short stories-- Pilate's 7,  Enjoy!

Music on this reading is by Incompetech.