Random Musings for Saint Patrick’s Day

  • I may partake in an adult beverage tonight, but it will not be green beer (see link below for one of the reasons why).
  • Once in a Blue Year now has a book trailer. Check it out on YouTube.
  • I have topped 30,000 words for the year. They haven’t quite congealed into a draft of the next novel, but I am getting close.
  • If you write, or even if you just like reading good writing, I highly recommend On Writing by Stephen King.
  • Has anyone read Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick? I typically steer clear from autobiographies, but I am curious about this one for some reason. Also, if you haven’t Mr. Right, you need to fix that immediately.
  • I have listened to the new Ed Sheeran album about a thousand times now. I’m still not tired of it.

Are you planning to grab a pint of green beer on St. Paddy’s Day?

Source: The truth about green beer and its potential nasty side effect | Fox News

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files

Picture this: a bear has been hibernating all winter, sleeping a lot, eating everything within reach, and staying close to its den. March comes. The air warms. Flowers bloom. The bear wakes up, shakes itself off, looks around its cave, and realizes what a freaking mess it’s made. There are bones and food scraps stacked in the corners, loose bear fur clustered everywhere, piles of crap, and the whole place reeks.

Twist: this is a metaphor. Writers, you’re the bear…

Source: 7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files | LitReactor

Indie musicians need love too

Metal heads, take notice: Conflict Cycle has arrived. Their debut album is definitely worth a listen. Hellfire is a truly worthy metal offering full of guitar shredding, bass punching, and sheer vocal aggression. My favorite track by far is Deadly Paradise, but they are all well-crafted and recorded. This collection even comes close to matching the raw intensity of their live shows. Horns up! \m/

You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Grab a copy of Hellfire on amazon.


Random Musings for Groundhog Day

  • I’m not overly disappointed that Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Aside from a few frigid days, this winter has been a letdown. I want some snow.
  • I will probably watch the Super Bowl on Sunday even though I will be angry when the Patriots inevitably win.
  • I will definitely watch the next episode of Black Sails to uplift my spirits after suffering through the Patriots victory. Unless of course they use a flashback to remind me that they killed my favorite character at the end of last season.
  • Despite having two whole days off work, I have not a read a single thing. That said, I have written over 2000 words in those two days and topped 12000 for the year so far.
  • I am proud of Black Rifle Coffee Company for standing up to Starbucks.

The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer

LitReactor is a destination for writers to improve their craft; a haven for readers to geek out about books; and a platform to kickstart your writing goals.

Source: The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer | LitReactor

Random musings for the holidays

  • I finally started an Instagram account: michaeldurkota. Stand by for pictures of beer and coffee.
  • Started reading Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. Good stuff.
  • Looking forward to the Ronda Rousey fight.
  • Office Christmas Party was not as bad as it could have been.
  • Didn’t read or write nearly as much as I had hoped.
  • Still excited about the article in the Tribune Review!
  • Only two weeks until the new season of Homeland!
  • The Breaking Bad marathon is killing my productivity.
  • Love the new Highly Suspect album. In a word, it’s ‘groovy.’
  • My review of The Bull by Erica Crockett is coming soon.
  • Best Christmas present – a precision spinning top from my brother. I didn’t know these existed. It has changed my life, and possibly created yet another addiction.
  • Only one month until Black Sails returns!
  • I watch too much TV.

Great Event to Support Veterans

I was honored to participate in a public reading yesterday with Ryne Tobar, a fellow veteran and an excellent writer. The event was held at Norwin Public Library and was organized by Ashley Kunsa and Brad Coffield of VetsWrite; the festivities included refreshments and a Q&A with the audience.  We had a great turnout and participation. I signed a few books at the end and raised almost $100 for Operation Homefront!

Here’s a shot of me trying not to let the nerves show:


Here’s the Q&A with Ryne:


Here’s the team celebrating the success (Ryne, me, Ashley, and Brad):


And here’s me getting ready to sign some books and raise some money for Operation Homefront:


Veterans Day, a public reading, and some random musings

First. The Veterans Day charity pledge will continue until November 19. This year all proceeds will benefit Operation Homefront; they provide short-term and critical assistance, long-term stability, and recurring support programs to military families. Seriously a great organization. Please support them by grabbing a copy of Once in a Blue Year on Amazon.com.durkota-vets

Second. I am honored to participate in a public reading celebrating Veterans Day. The event is hosted by Ashley Kunsa of VetsWrite and is taking place at the Norwin Public Library on Saturday, November 12. I will be joined by fellow writer and veteran Ryne Tobar. If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area, please stop in. There will be a Q&A, refreshments, and I will be signing copies of Once in a Blue Year with all proceeds of course supporting Operation Homefront.

Third. Some random musings from this week:

  • I started reading the second book in Erica Crockett’s Blood Zodiac series. It is haunting and beautiful. She is a gifted writer. I highly recommend that you check out her first book, Chemicals. After that, you should get started with book one of the Blood Zodiac, The Ram.
  • I discovered that a random tweet of mine from last year was referenced in an article by The International Business Times. I was venting about the Oxford word of year being an emoji.
  • I am glad I stayed up to watch the last couple games of the World Series, but I think it will take me few days to catch up on all the lost sleep. I really didn’t care who won in the end, I just love the excitement of post-season baseball.

Random Musings for a Sunday Evening

  • Highlight of the weekend was watching crows eat peanuts on my mother’s porch. They come every day.
  • I didn’t know how to feel about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel prize for literature. Now I do. What a waste.crow
  • Certainly the beginning of the end for The Walking Dumb.  They really should have clubbed the writers instead. It reminded me of the time someone thought it was a good idea to give Dexter a wife and kids. On the bright side, it is so nice to have an extra hour of free time on Sunday evenings.
  • Watched Mr. Right last night. Sure to be a cult classic. Reminded me of Grosse Pointe Blank in many ways.
  • I am about 20% through The Bull by Erica Crockett (@EricaCrockett). She is an amazing writer.
  • Consider me a fan of Colbie Caillat, High Dive Heart, and Justin Young. Great show last week.

Book Review: New Hope by Steve Hobbs

I have a confession: I have never read any of the Twilight books and I have only seen about 1.39 of the movies. That said, I can’t imagine any of those stories are as entertaining and well written as New Hope by Steve Hobbs. Hobbs invites us to a small town in Maine and introduces us to a group of teens in way over their collective heads. The story is full of action and adventure, and includes a unique twist on traditional vampire mythologies. As a fan of The Lost Boys, Stephen King, and all things eighties, I was hooked from the first page. I was even able to overlook the snub on Sammy Hagar (who I very much prefer over Roth).

I was immediately drawn to Miri, a fearless young girl with a new-hopedangerous sense of curiosity. As an ardent fan of The X-Files, I couldn’t help imagining that this is what Dana Scully must have been like as a teenager. Miri provided Hobbs an intriguing main character and he developed her well; she is equally confident and vulnerable. Hobbs adeptly captures the burgeoning investigative skills of the tenacious girl and provides just enough poignant moments to remind everyone she is still daddy’s little girl.

Although Miri is the star, the rest of the cast, including the adults, were equally compelling. Chris provided boyish charm with a dash of humor and sarcasm. Chris also provided some reflections on writing that I particularly enjoyed: “Chris wondered if one of his books would one day be lost in the rubble of some seedy little shop like this. That would be enough he thought, if he wrote just one book that hardly anybody read and it finally got lost in a barn full of similar books written by other people that nobody ever heard of.”

Here are just a few of my favorite moments/lines:

  • “Her mind turned to thoughts of friends, and to boys that she knew or would like to know.”
  • “We better go find our friends before mine starts a fistfight or yours burns down the church.”
  • “They generally don’t enter houses uninvited for the same reason that most people don’t: they don’t want to get shot.”
  • “None of us are exactly what everybody else thinks we are.”
  • “Maybe he’s an alien,” Bobby said.
    “Let’s deal with real world problems like vampires and werewolves, Bobby.”

If you are looking for an inspirational coming-of-age story with a strong female lead (and a little supernatural adventure), look no further. New Hope is highly recommended. With so many rich characters and story possibilities, I can only assume that Hobbs is penning a sequel. Check out Steve on Twitter or Facebook, and visit his website at www.hobbspond.com.

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