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GOATS EAT CANS VOLUME 1: Of Course They Think I’m Hot

In Personal Stories on June 5, 2012 at 1:14 am

In honor of our newest book of the month, LitU is proud to present a a sample chapter from Steven Novak’s Goats Eat Cans Volume 1.|

Enjoy?

 

OF COURSE THEY THINK I’M HOT

I was in high school. It was about 11:30 at night, and I was driving home from my job as a ride operator at Six Flags Great America in my mother’s GEO Prizm, which I was allowed to drive only to and from work.

Yes, I know. I led a glamorous lifestyle, didn’t I?

Anyway, I was stopped at a light on Grand Ave about three miles from my house, when another car pulled parallel to me in the next lane over.

The song “Waterfalls” by TLC was blaring from the speakers so loudly that it literally shook the seat beneath me.

Keep in mind, that this was way back in 1996, so an annoyingly loud TLC song was a slightly more acceptable and common occurrence.

Honestly though, is TLC acceptable in any year?

Hidden beneath predictable lyrics and a laughably common beat was laughter and voices—the laughter and the voices of girls—real life girls.

Girls scared me. They still do. I swallowed deep.

Quite unexpectedly, the music lowered. “Hey, cutie!”

I sort of half-glanced toward the car and spotted a girl with dark brown hair hanging halfway out her window. She wasn’t drop dead gorgeous or anything, but she wasn’t unattractive either.

Plus, she had boobs. I liked boobs.

Was she talking to me, though? She couldn’t have been talking to me. Why would she be talking to me?

I looked over my shoulder and in the other direction, expecting to find someone more befitting of the description of cutie. There were no other cars. It was just me and a streetlight and the dark.

Holy shit. She must be talking to me.

I sort of turned my head again in her direction, though my eyes opted to look at the street instead. I was moving like Frankenstein in a full-body cast after a ten car pile-up on the I-10. My heart was beating double-time. My limbs were shaking. There was absolutely no way whatsoever I would have been capable of eye contact. My head would have exploded and drenched the windshield in brain matter.

“Me?” It was a lame response. It was also all I could manage. It squeaked out of me like I was a timid twelve-year-old girl being asked on a first date.

“Yeah, baby! You wanna follow us to a party?”

Oh, sweet lord.

What the hell was going on? This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I wasn’t entirely sure it was supposed to happen to anyone in real life.

This was how pornos began.

Another girl with blonde hair and a shirt so low I thought I was staring at the Marianas Trench leaned out of the back window with a beer bobbling around in her hand. “Come on, sexy! Follow us!”

The light in front of me turned green.

***

Let’s stop for just one minute and take a breather, shall we?

Here’s the deal, in high school my mother used to tell me that I was the coolest kid in my class. She even tried to convince me that the only reason people would pick on me, throw crap at me, or get a little group together and beat the snot out of me was because they were jealous.
I was well aware that she was shoveling me a steaming pile and hoping beyond hope that it would make me feel better. That’s what moms do. I just wish she could have come up with something a bit more believable.

Jealous of what exactly, mom?

Maybe it was because my oversized hindquarters were so dimply, they looked like the surface of the moon and were more red than the lady-lips of a porn star after filming fifteen separate films over the course of a three-day period?

How about my shy, not-so-vaguely girlish personality?

My lack of self-esteem?

My bad hair?

My terrible fashion sense?

The fact that I smelled like a sweaty sock filled with poop, dipped in olive oil, and swabbed with dog saliva?

I’d always assumed that my mother was either too nice for her own good or a complete idiot. With a car full of girls playfully referring to me as cutie in their flimsy tops filled with their perky flesh, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was onto something.

Maybe I was a cutie.

Maybe I was the cutest cutie that ever cutied in the history of cuties.

They seemed genuinely interested in me. Maybe I was cooler than I thought.

***

With images of boobs and lips, and booze and crotch (neatly shaven or otherwise) clouding my brain, and despite my better judgment, I hit the gas and actually followed the car of my new drunken friends.

It was unexpected, and it was exciting. My chest was heaving. The hair on the back of my neck was standing at attention, and the stick in my trousers was doing the same.

About fifteen minutes later, their car stopped in front of a house with seventeen or so other cars parked around it. There were multi-colored lights flashing from inside. The music was blaring. There were empty bottles and dented cans scattered across the lawn. It was an actual party.

It was an actual party with actual people, and I was actually there!

I tried my best to steady the wild beating of my heart and slow my pulse. I was experiencing a weird sort of nervousness I’d never felt before and trying my best to put thoughts of orgies and booze and all sorts of unspeakable debauchery out of my head. I didn’t want to step out of the car with a hard-on.

That might have been awkward.

I couldn’t believe I was doing what I was doing. It was so unlike me. It was something cool people did. There were to be cool people at this party, and I was going to be one of them. Finally!

This was going to kick so much ass!

SPLAT! Something smashed against my windshield.

SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! Two more pelted the side, and one slammed into my mirror.

They were eggs.

Someone was throwing eggs at me.

I peeked through the splattered yolk on the windshield and noticed the dark-haired girl standing outside her car, laughing. To her immediate right were a whole group of idiots in hysterics.

Damn, cool people.

Damn, cool people with their cool tits and cleavage and cool hair and mostly non-offensive body odor.

I hate cool people.

SPLAT! They disappeared into a yellow, gloppy haze just as another egg hit the passenger side window.

CRASH! CLUNK! KRASH!

Shit.

Guess they ran out of eggs because those last three were rocks.

 

Steven Novak is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, blogger, podcaster, illustrator, graphic designer, and the host of LitU’s official podcast. You can find everything you need to know about him, and a bunch of things you don’t, at NOVAKILLUSTRATION.COM.

The Story Behind The Voodoo Follies

In Book of The Month on April 4, 2012 at 1:59 am

People ask me all the time how I come up with my stories. So, here’s the story of how The VooDoo Follies came to be.

First of all, let me address the title, because I have been attacked by “critics” for the capital “d” in Voodoo. I capitalized the “d” on purpose because it is, in itself, a folly. That’s it. That’s my big reveal! lol Sometimes, the answer is short and sweet. I won’t change the spelling – no matter what my critics say! ;)

So, how did this book happen? It all started when I was taking a shower. My mind runs rampant at the most inopportune times, really. And I just happened to have zombies on the brain that day for some reason or other. So, as I am taking a shower, I am thinking… ‘I wonder what it would be like to hear the zombie’s side of the story?’ Lots of moaning and groaning I would imagine. But, what if you could be inside the zombie’s head? So, then I wondered what it would be like to be a teenage zombie. Let’s face it, as the mother of a couple teenagers, I often stash the Twinkies away and worry that I will have to get cracking on more cardio if the kids get any faster. Sometimes all my kids are capable of are grunts, groans, and jerky shuffling movements to get to necessary spaces in the house.

BAM! an idea has been born. I believe I might have titled it, “My Life as a Teenage Zombie” or some such nonsense at first. Then, as I’m washing my hair the ultimate zombie question pops in my brain. “But how did little miss teenage zombie become a zombie in the first place?”

This one tiny little question changed my story and turned it into The VooDoo Follies. You see, I was tired of the virus route. So, I figured what better way for her to become a zombie than a voodoo ritual run a-muck? Then the character of Seraphine developed rather quickly, because obviously someone had to loose control of the zombie to begin with. Seraphine was such a fun character to develop, that she actually became the focus of the story instead of the zombie.

Seraphine is based off of my own 16 year old daughter. She’s super smart, but she also has issues with grace. In other words, she’s clumsy. So, Seraphine took on a little of that demeanor and ended up being “clumsy” with her voodoo, which leads to a slew of other problems along the way.

Those problems are worked out in a series of six short stories told in succession. When put together, they become The VooDoo Follies. I do plan to follow up The VooDoo Follies with a full length novel this summer titled, Beyond the Grave. Until then, I hope you grab a copy of The VooDoo Follies and enjoy Seraphine’s adventures. Oh, and the first story in the book is all about that darn zombie that started it all!

Until then, you can check out more about The VooDoo Follies on the website HERE or like the series on Facebook HERE

Christine M. Butler is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, blogger, reviewer, and owner of a rabbit named Mr. Fuzzy Bumpkins. You can find her personal blog HERE.

Legal Censorship of Books – where do you stand?

In Thoughts on Publishing on March 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

In case you haven’t heard, online payment servicing giant PayPal recently sent ultimatums to many ebooksellers. I’ll summarize with my words, not theirs: ”Remove all books containing rape, incest, underage sex and bestiality from your store. We will not service your payments if you do not comply. Resistance is futile.”

If you feel like some light reading on the topic: Go here.

Heavier reading: Go here.

Indie distributors like Bookstrand and Smashwords have been scrambling to comply and this has led to some fireworks in (mostly) the indie ebook world. Some people (bloggers, authors, internet blowhards) are criticizing sites like Smashwords for moving so fast to comply with PayPal’s demands. I think that’s misguided, and here’s why.

While the word “censorship” is being flung around over this matter (umm… don’t look at my blog title), I think the reasons behind the PayPal mandate are money-related rather than morality-based. I’m just not convinced the decision came from some moral crusade within PayPal. You see, it looks like a business decision to me. Credit card returns/challenges are vastly higher in the porn/erotica and gambling industry, and that costs the industry money. Since PayPal is a middleman for the credit card companies, they shoulder much of that risk to allow smaller web companies to use their service instead of working directly with the credit card industry (at much higher buy-in and service charges).

Since PayPal only allowed 30 days for compliance, distributors had a choice to make: go out of business or comply and see what could be done on the back-end (though stay away from that cow’s back-end — no bestiality, mister!). It’s not as easy as flipping a switch for someone like a Smashwords. Truth is: it takes longer to change to another provider and PayPal offers a unique service.

I believe it’s wholly unreasonable for anyone to expect a small, online ebook retailer to raise arms in rebellion against the credit card industry. Do you know what would happen? I do. They would lose. Tragically. And that would be a decisive blow against writers, publishers and readers everywhere. I fully support efforts bySmashwords and others to remove the non-compliant material while they continue to engage PayPal to get some definition around the mandate. Nobody needs to be a martyr in this and perhaps an agreeable solution can be met down the road.

Matt, you’re a pig-fucker. Wait. Sorry CC Industry: I’m just a “plain” fucker. (I’d likely never fuck a pig… though everything from that glorious animal is so tasty… if there ever were an animal… *slap* Right, bestiality.)

So what do I say to the writers who had their content unceremoniously removed? Or to the other writers (like me) out there wondering if big business will someday attack our stories of murder, ghosts, wizards, unicorns, corrupt politicians, secret agents, angels and demons? Well, to the erotica writers, the unfortunate truth is many cultures view your work as “borderline” or “offensive” in some cases. Just like I’d have a more difficult time opening a 1-room casino in my hometown than if I wanted to open a store selling spatulas — you too will have a harder road ahead of you if you want to make money off your bestiality, incest or rape fiction. Until the views of the cultures you service change, this is just a truth.

To a lesser extent, some of the fiction removed as a result of this enforcement of PayPal’s policy was freely distributed anyway. There’s always sites like Wattpad which don’t sell the fiction — so, no “control” from the CC industry. I know it’s not a perfect solution for some erotica writers, but it may allow the free, creative expression you are looking for.

Free expression. Putting my “douchebag” hat on again, let’s remember that nobody is being told they cannot write and distribute what they want. But if they want to distribute it through certain channels, in partnership with a private corporation, then that private corporation has every right to act within the laws which mutually govern them, us and the distributor. While there’s nothing “illegal” about rape, incest and bestiality fiction – that’s a moot point. We’re not discussing criminal or constitutional law. The censorship isn’t at that level.

So, in the final analysis, where does Matt stand? I do understand the business case on PayPal’s side. They have rights too – rights to keep their own business viable. The reality exists that money is lost when credit card users challenge a charge or makes a return – and these two activities happen more for porn/erotica and casino-related activities (hence why you can’t “charge” a scratch ticket - same deal there, folks). Yes, I’m saddened by this because it means less books available. But I’m not going to expect a small business to go to war over this. We also can’t expect an industry (credit card, CC) to make bad business decisions just because some of us feel strongly about a certain topic. Their vision of this morality may be different than ours, and at the end of the day – it’s their business.

I will end by saying there is hope. From my rudimentary understanding, PayPal has been refining the language. For example, they clarified bestiality as involving “naturally occurring” animals. Yes, your stories about a human woman falling in love with a were-octupus are totally still viable. They also clarified some of the requirements around incest.  Some of the links above contain links to petitions and such – feel free to check them out if you are so inclined. However, I’m not sure your time won’t be wasted. The CC industry has successfully limited how consumers and partners can use their service in the past, and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. If you want to benefit from the services they offer, you gotta play by their rules. If you don’t like those rules, you can crusade to change them or look for other outlets to provide the services you require.

(as a closing note, I’m curious to see all the new traffic to this site with all the instances of bestiality, rape and incest in this post. gotta love the internets!)

Matthew C. Plourde is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, blogger, and an absolute writing machine! You can find his personal blog HERE.

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