Promotional Contest!

I’ve been anxious to do another giveaway that was combined with a bit of promotion as well. After talking with an artist friend of mine she gave me a brilliant idea.

From Monday July 18th to Wednesday July 20th Twenty-Five at the Lip, Tuesday’s Gone, Bright Lights and Cold Steel, and Just Say Maybe are free to download on Amazon – there is more though…

I’m going to do a contest with the interest of getting my readers insight into my work. I’m looking for any art inspired by my four books, short stories, promo pictures, music, or even short films – anything to do with my works. Work will be judged by myself and my staff and the winner will receive a complete set of the signed works of James Windale. Runners up will also receive signed copies of my books as well.

This also has an alternative agenda. I discussed at some length during my interview with G from The EMS Lounge about using art to mitigate PTSD and the effects of EMS, Fire, Police, military, and nursing work. Art is very much therapy and I encourage any and all emergency providers to engage in painting, writing, music, or anything that allows you to put what’s on your mind into something meaningful and helps to curb the effects of this sort of mental trauma.

The contest starts today and goes till Labor Day. Chances are I will do this again if I get a good turnout. Best of luck to you all and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Twenty-Five at the Lip

Tuesday’s Gone

Bright Lights and Cold Steel

Just Say Maybe
My Interview with The EMS Lounge (with pictures)

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Sympathy for the Devil

I’ll say it – I actually feel bad for Bernie Sanders.

bsp2I don’t agree with his politics and I think that the cult of personality that surrounds him is eerily similar to Obama in ’08. In fact I actually see his brand of politics to be in direct opposition with nearly everything I stand for with the exception of some notable human rights issues that I think most Americans agree on.

Under his policies my taxes will skyrocket and he will most likely set his sights on the Second Amendment in some absurd attempt to reduce crime. Hard working Americans will still be to blame for the lack of income equality and other myths about what will make us a “fair society” (at least in the eyes of folks like Marx and Engels) will be pushed until the safeguards that make America a separate entity from the likes of our European neighbors will be washed away.

So why do I feel bad for him? I think he’s getting cheated, and he’s going to lose to a very bad person.

That’s not me pulling for the lesser of two evils. I see his personal brand of politics as being more likely to put people into “resettlement and reeducation,” though I highly doubt something like that would happen under him. He perpetuates the concept of entitlement beyond that of which the current administration has been doing. After all this used to be a country where if you come here, apply yourself, accept your failures and learn from them that you can make something of yourself. Under Comrade Sanders people will be entitled to things simply because they want them without effort or ever really trying.

So why do I give a shit? Because I actually think he cares. In his own warped and twisted notion of what American should be like I think he actually cares about the poor and disenfranchised. He means what he says, at least to a certain degree, and I think that he’s probably riding the same absurd luck train that Trump has been on since late last year. I also think that the media, most of which in our country caters to the liberal side of things has been undermining him in order to push the Clinton campaign. We talk about campaign contributions as being the great moral evil, but nobody says anything about how the media portrays these people (or lots of other things – looking at you Katie Couric).

470462416-democratic-presidential-hopeful-and-former-u-s.jpg.CROP.cq5dam_web_1280_1280_jpegClinton claims to understand what it is like to be a woman, and it’s easy to see why she’d make a statement like that: she’s a woman. I think that’s where her similarities with your average everyday American female end. This is a woman who has known some degree of power for the last 30 or more years. True power, from the governor’s mansion in Arkansas, to the White House, to the Senate, to the position of Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton has never been an average American woman. For that matter she’s never been an average American.

Just on the women’s issues she’s a fraud. This is a woman who got a rapist freed and then laughed about knowing the guilt of the man who destroyed a 12 year old girl because she was able to get evidence thrown out. I might be able to admire her in some light if she stood by her husband after a single affair. Twist my arm, even a second, but her husband has been a serial cheater and some have claimed that it’s been worse than that to the extent that her husband is in fact a sexual predator. I don’t get how people can give her a pass on that. Once is an anomaly, but three, four, five… it becomes a pattern. For her to talk about women’s rights and dignity? Please spare me.

Now understand something right here: I’m not accusing him of that, and there are plenty of bogus accusations that have been thrown at men by some pretty desperate people. He’s a man of means and a public figure which makes him a target. But I get the sense that there has been a lot of hush money paid to keep things from the light of day. Again – not your average American. Once is an anomaly, but three, four, five…

imagesAs a gun owner and NRA supporter I’m disappointed that they came out this late in the game to back Trump. Trump is anti-gun and has stated as much in the past. His facilities are “gun free” and he applauded the “assault weapon” ban the Clintons pushed in the early 90s. He isn’t my candidate and he doesn’t represent my values. He is as much a threat to the sanctity of a free America as Clinton is.

And here’s why.

Both Clinton and Trump are in the party of Clinton and Trump. They are rich, entitled elitists who care only about their own interests and what will enlarge their enormous ego and prestige. Clinton rakes in millions of dollars in speaking fees and dares to talk about income inequality, while Trump has billions and tries to talk about the middle class. Neither of them have a clue what you or I have to deal with on a paycheck to paycheck basis. Trump dares to critique Bill Clinton’s fidelity to Hillary while having had at least one affair of his own. Hillary dares to talk about women’s rights, reproductive health, and rape having been willing to turn a blind eye to what her husband has been accused of. She was also a willing participant in setting free a sexual offender and then sat smugly about how she did it.

Both of them have had grievous things to say about the LGBTQ community in the past, and while I agree that it’s a person’s right to change their opinion, I think they should own what they used to believe and an opinion should never be changed because of political expediency. Both of these nitwits have done this and yet those of you who support them are willing to give them a pass over and over again. In all point of fact I would urge the LGBTQ community to not come out in support of her because she only started caring about things that mattered to you when it became politically convenient. I don’t buy Trump’s stance on 2A, don’t buy into Clinton’s on LGBTQ issues. They’re frauds.

Sanders is someone I actually feel bad for because I think that he actually means what he says. I think he’s genuine (mostly). Most of us didn’t know his name until a year ago, but we’ve known Clinton and Trump for the last 30 years at least. His policies would be disastrous to us as a nation, but I think that his heart is in the right place. He actually believes the Marxist bullshit he pedals. That doesn’t make him right because in all reality his means to an end is un-American and takes us further and further away from where we should be as a constitutional republic. I won’t be voting for him, or supporting him in any way. He has my sympathy though because while I don’t like his politics I can say I respect him as a person.

I can’t say the same for the other two.


 

 

BINGO!!!

My mom sent me a link to a news report by my local Fox 13 in Tampa Bay about a complaint filed by someone on social media concerning a post by a Sunstar EMT. Apparently a Bingo card made up to represent different EMS situations was posted to the EMT’s social media page and then somebody saw it and got offended.

EMSBINGO2_1463793044644_1334399_ver1.0_640_360The card in question was seen taped to the doghouse in the cab, in a location where if a patient’s family member was riding in the ambulance they would chance upon seeing it. Fox 13 interviewed a former EMT Garrett Goodwin regarding the matter. They don’t offer any other credentials for Goodwin other than him being a former EMT, but he seemed to have some rather poignant thoughts on the image.

“Imagine your loved one being hurt, watching your loved one have a heart attack. Imagine your drowned child trying to be revived. You get in with this ambulance, and you see this with boxes checked off.”

If I’m going to be honest, he’s right about this. I like to remind myself that if I said something, and it felt good to say it, it was probably the wrong thing to say. The same thing goes for social media and it seems like every other day there is some report about an EMS worker getting in hot water over something they put up on social media.

I remember first starting out in Fire and EMS and I am so glad that when I did the pinnacle of social media was Livejournal. There isn’t much to account for a 19 year old kid fresh out of high school who thinks he knows everything and has no filter. I feel bad for a generation of new providers who are growing up with that knee-jerk reaction to post something about Fire or EMS that they think is funny, even if it’s utterly benign, only to have the ugly head of social media turn and smite them mercilessly.

We have to be so so so careful about what we put up on display because it absolutely has a consequence in the court of public opinion. Everything you say and do on a public forum reflects on all of us. Regardless of if it’s a stupid picture you put up on your Facebook or Instagram that someone sees, or the sticker on the back of your car as you’re cutting someone off in traffic or, for the love of God… wearing your department t-shirt to a strip club… literally everything gets seen, posted, and potentially reported on. Trust me on this because in 15 years I’ve seen, and yes even done, some stupid shit. The fact is that you just have to be associated with something for your human resources to see you in a bad light. If it ended with just you that’s one thing, but it rarely ever does.

Most social media outlets have some easy safeguards to protect you from this sort of thing. First of all don’t have a public profile, set your stuff to friends only. You can even block that company tattle-tale from seeing it if you’ve friended them out of sympathy. The best safeguard is being able to recognize what is appropriate and what isn’t. Ask yourself if it’s worth being brought into the office. Most of the time it isn’t and your boss isn’t going to think it’s funny because somebody is going to call Fox 13 and make a complaint about it and that looks bad on the company.

Even if they are the sort of grunt supervisor and would think it’s funny too, remember that they have to eat and the brass at the top of the food chain are going to come down on them if they don’t discipline you. I can recall one of the coolest supervisors shouting across the parking lot at my Snuffy model to take her hat off after a blizzard because it was a “company image” issue. She wasn’t even on the clock!

12734230_534328393415524_6056817863284425619_n

 

Be smart. Even the best unions in the world can’t back you up if you post something really dumb. There’s lots of private companies that don’t have unions too and you should remember Frank Macomber’s sage words of wisdom from Twenty-Five at the Lip, “Behind every ambulance company there’s a clothesline they hang employees from.”

 

I don’t know this guy Goodwin. For that matter I don’t know why with the plethora of EMS and Fire providers in the Tampa Bay area they were only able to speak with a former EMT. I think I’d like to know what qualifies him to speak for any of us and our public image as a former EMT. The video states that he has twenty years in EMS, but not who he worked for or where. For that matter if he’s spent twenty years in EMS he should probably not be speaking out against anybody because he should know and understand that while this shouldn’t have been posted for the world to see, he could have offered more of an explanation than simply condemning it.

“This is the week we celebrate first responders. That’s why it stuck more to the heart,” Goodwin said.

“I think the fact that someone printed this up, brought it to the workplace, handed it to people and said, ‘let’s play dead people Bingo.’ That, in itself, is fundamentally wrong,” Goodwin added.

My guess is that Goodwin, much like the public in general, get their impressions of what EMS providers are like from Hollywood depictions. Stoic, straight-lined though sometimes edgy heroes who constantly deal with horrible situations, yet go home seemingly unaffected knowing in their hearts that they made a difference, have somewhat done us all a disservice in the public eye. The public absolutely deserves those sorts of people in an EMS system, but the fact remains that this job comes with a dramatic level of turn-over and burn out.

EMS providers have a need to decompress. We blow off steam in a way that only EMTs, firefighters, cops, corrections officers, and nurses know about (that’s not even getting into military service people). We have a very dark sense of humor and those who don’t adapt become former EMTs, firefighters, cops, corrections officers, and nurses. Another point I made in Twenty-Five at the Lip was how the public doesn’t get what it is to be an EMT. While that’s the case, we need to understand that it isn’t our job to expose them to what we say, think, and do to cope with the enormous stress of our profession.

Take it from a guy who has been around for a while. I’m not a dinosaur by any means, but I know my way around well enough to tell the younger ones coming in to watch what they say and do. We live in an era where there is a permanent record of everything we say and do. There are cameras everywhere and share buttons to link us to silly and stupid posts and remarks we make. Use caution around incredibly sensitive man-bun wearing vegan drum circle participating wet blankets.

Above all else though – Never forget where you came from and never talk out of shop.


 

License: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/“>(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85853333@N00/4100165977“>They’ve Got Your Poison</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com/“>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/“>(license)</a>

Dear Fenton and Family…

321644_10150463705629202_130923748_nA number of years ago I became interested in genealogy. There is something to be said about knowing one’s ancestors and knowing your heritage. Getting to know people that you’ve only heard of from your parents and grandparents becomes an addiction when you start working through documents and photos, many of which are available for free over the internet through the LDS. *

One of the projects I’ve been slowly working on is a transcription and editing of a real family treasure; my great-grandmother’s diaries that she kept for the better part of 40 years.

A number of years ago my father’s family started getting information on their paternal lineage and suddenly a great deal of information came forth about how our name came out of Ireland and then traveled into Canada just after the time of the American Revolution. My grandfather’s niece wrote him with some information, as well as attaching a 40 page synopsis of of family following a common ancestor who first appears in Ireland in the 1770s. While we found some of the information to be false (my birthday being one date that was wrong) much of the information was incredibly valuable and shed a great deal of light on our own lineage.


 

April 5, 1997

Dear Fenton and Family:

Enclosed is a brief summary of your ancestors.

Fenton, please note that you did not have 13 aunts, but 10 aunts and 3 uncles.

Fenton, please also note that there doesn’t appear to be an ‘s’ on our last name as far back as 1827, so I don’t know how that story ever started that your father dropped the ‘s’ because of his brother Clyde’s wild oats.

Mother and I have been to the National Archives in Waltham to do some research and realize that it will take a number of trips to do a thorough job. We would have gotten more research done that day , but the roll of mircofilm with the passenger lists of the ships arriving in Boston between September 1, 1911 and September 15, 1911 is misfiled. According to naturalization papers filled out by Grampa, he arrived in Boston, from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the vessel, A.W. Perry on September 7, 1911.

According to the information I had gotten from Aunt Nita, Grampa was John Douglas and not Douglas John. But he put Douglas John on his naturalization papers.

Love to all,

Donna


 

  • I’m not endorsing the LDS by any means, as certain elements of that faith have their negative sects. The reason that the LDS has such an interest in genealogy is that when someone joins their faith, they believe that all that person’s ancestors come with them, presumably under the guise of assimilation. For what it’s worth, they offer their archives to everyone for free without expectation that you join their faith. If it’s just not something you’re able to accommodate, I recommend Ancestry.com which I have found to be much easier to use. You have to pay for it, but I’ve found it to be worth the cost.

The Release of Just Say Maybe

This week I released my third novel, and fourth book, Just Say Maybe. This novel began (as many of by books do) as a short story concept that evolved when I fell in love with the characters and discovered that they had a much bigger story to tell.

1249892719_uncle_wayne.dluf21jbl14w048ck8ko480so.ae6egtt2xvk0sowk84g4ock8k.thI was initially inspired by a PostSecret entry by a girl named Tasha who was writing a letter of acceptance of the life of her great-uncle Wayne. I was touched by the story she told him, and the world, about how he died alone from AIDS before Tasha was born. The idea of a family casting out one of their own and then ignoring the fact that he met his demise alone and without his family around him really got to me.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure at first that I should be the one to write this book. First I met some resistance when I displayed my original concept art on a NaNoWriMo writing forum. A group of female writers, and part-time keyboard warriors, attacked my gender claiming that my cover art was inappropriate because I’m a male. Then I was hit for my interest in writing from the first person perspective. My protagonist is a fourteen-year-old girl named Ashley and there was even some disbelief that a man could or should write from that perspective. It was suggested that I use my initial J. Windale to hide my gender. This after generations of female writers having to hide their genders by using their initials rather than their names.

Then of course is the fact that I am not only male, but straight. To boot, I’m also *gasp* a conservative! How could a straight conservative male write a book with two prominent gay characters and a pair of teenage girls? Easy, I just wrote the damn thing.

I’d read something on Tumblr or NaNoWriMo somewhere about the fear some people have of writing about things they don’t directly relate to. There will always be naysayers who try to tell you otherwise, but if you want to tell a story then tell it. I’ve read wonderful testimonials from the LGBT community telling authors, artists, and songwriters to represent them in their art. The best way to build a positive interaction between two groups who are typically tragically in opposition is opening a dialogue on common grounds. So I set this story in the mid-1990s at the height of the Smashing Pumpkins era and picked the brains of several of my gay and lesbian EMS friends.

Also when I say I’m conservative I mean that I’m a Libertarian with a heavy Constitutional lean. I’m not a Bible-thumper or Trump supporter.

In the end I decided to take a page from Henry Flagler and build my bridge across the ocean even though I was told not to. I wrote the damn thing and then handed it off to a number of my uber-liberal friends who had some incredibly wonderful things to say about it.

My concept art and promotional images have also been a huge hit on Instagram (Psst, you should totally be following me).

Just Say Maybe is actually a prequel to my EMS novel Twenty-Five at the Lip, but you don’t need to be familiar with Twenty-Five to read it. They are stories independent of one another, but Ashley Barnes is a minor character in Twenty-Five and Just Say Maybe gives a great deal of background on her.

Ashley is fourteen in Just Say Maybe and through a number of odd coincidences she stumbles upon a family secret that’s been kept for almost twenty years; an uncle she never knew she had. Peeling back the layers on this tragic fact she is forced to delve deeply into the true nature of her own family, fearful of what she might find, but hopeful that amends can be made before it’s too late.

So check out a little bit of Just Say Maybe below. There’ll be a link at the bottom where you can go to the Amazon page and buy it in paperback or on Kindle.


from Just Say Maybe

11202821_497563537092010_3897296379655184939_nIn April of 1994 my sister Bonnie spent a week in her room sobbing into her flannel shirt and ripped jeans because her idol, Kurt Cobain, had stuffed enough heroin up his arm to put a rhino down and then blew his face off with a shotgun. She had been something of a prude about Nirvana, slamming her door in my face when I wanted to listen with her and her friends.

“Stay the fuck out of my room, Ashley!” she’d bark, her hair looking ridiculous, dyed red with Kool-Aid.

It didn’t matter that she didn’t want her “baby” sister tagging along with her friends. All I was interested in was the music and she played it loud enough so that I could hear it through her bedroom door. Mom bought me my own CD player for Christmas-1994, a Sony model with detachable speakers and a duel cassette player for transferring music from one tape to another or from CD to tape, for which I bought a stack of blank tapes from Strawberries at the Pheasant Lane Mall. Sneaking into Bonnie’s room I pilfered her Nirvana collection and put them on tape for myself. Meanwhile Bonnie began telling anyone who would listen that her Easter was now going to fall on April 8th, the day Kurt Cobain was found rather than the day he actually died. Like a lot of teenage girls, I suppose myself included, she could be a bit dramatic.

A stack of blank cassette tapes opened up the promise of making mix tapes, sitting with the radio on, the tape advanced to the right position waiting patiently for the DJ to play the song you wanted to record. This was my way of starting my own music collection, the CD player on top only for recording music, or as the later vernacular would call it “ripping”. The radio was an avenue to entertainment I had never been truly exposed to with the exception of my dad’s classic rock station and the vinyl LPs that still graced the turntable stereo in the living room. A year passed and Bonnie moved beyond Nirvana and adopted the Phish, a sound that made me gag just slightly more than the smells that came from her room while she listened to it. As her musical taste declined I was forced to seek out other music on my own and it was while I was waiting for a song by Alanis Morissette that I heard the most amazing thing that any thirteen year old girl in the post-Nirvana world had ever heard. That was the day I fell in love with The Smashing Pumpkins.

I sat in my swivel chair knocking myself back and forth on the rolling wheels, my Airwalks dirty and loosely tied. Billy Corgan’s voice had a quality to it that I had never found in Kurt Cobain or any other musician. The instrumentals in the song spoke to me with a lyrical storytelling was too much for me to bare and I pushed PLAY/RECORD after the first chorus. The song ended and I rewound the tape, playing it back and getting the same chills and goosebumps on my arms and legs that had been there when I heard it. I sat fixated on the dual black speakers, watching as they vibrated with each pulse of D’arcy’s bass. It was all so hypnotizing and I sat with my mouth hung open, the Red Hot Fireball I’d been working on dropping out and rolling across the floor.


Just Say Maybe © 2016 by James Windale


Click here to get Just Say Maybe in paperback and on Kindle!

Another First Draft Completed!

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 5.52.59 AM copyOne of the greatest feelings I’ve come to know is completing a manuscript. When you consider the population of the world as a whole, and the number of people who’ve sat down (or stood up) to write a book you realize that you’ve accomplished something that few people get to understand. There is a profound sense of accomplishment that goes along with transferring something from your imagination onto paper or computer. There are greater feelings than this in the literary world, but completing a manuscript means that you’ve reaching the summit and now you have to start on getting back down.

That’s how I look at the editing process. It’s one thing to reach the top of the mountain, but you still have to get back down again.

The first draft of The Delirium is complete! The zombie tale which takes place during The Great War (World War I) was a project I started with Jeremy Brinkett during the last NaNoWriMo session and I’ve finally been able to put it down temporarily. The first inception of it comes in at just under 38,000 words – 12,000 short of being considered a novel-length tale. The rest of  NaNoWriMo involved several short stories, Bright Lights and Cold Steel, a Tuesday’s Gone novellette entitled The American Big-Top, as well as a couple of short sections of what will become Last of the White Knights, the Twenty-Five at the Lip sequel.

The Delirium is the story of Reginald Barnes, a soldier in the British Expeditionary Force stationed in France during World War I. Barnes and a group of men are selected to go on a mission to retrieve sensitive information from a communications post behind German lines. In the process they discover a horrifying new weapon being deployed by the German army: a way to raise the dead and make them hunger for the taste of human flesh.

We’ve handed it off to a few people to look at from a preliminary standpoint. Normally this isn’t done until a full Beta version is ready,Patriotic-Eagle-1280-1024 but as it is written from a British perspective we had to make sure we were on the right track, particularly since the material isn’t just British, but 100-year-old British at that! Sometimes not being a loyal subject to The Crown has its drawbacks. So we’ve enlisted the help of my friend Liz, a real-live British person and zombie writer, to look at it.

It’s probably going to marinate on the desktop for a few weeks so we can get a new perspective on it after she’s done pointing out all the ways we colonials have bastardized a beautiful language thanks to reality TV and Pabst Blue Ribbon.