Super Short Storytime: “Where Credit is Due”

As the writer in this story is about to learn, just because someone else has a different job than you do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier. Featured in Fuzzy Words, this furry fracas is titled “Where Credit Is Due.”


The weasel’s tail swished back and forth rapidly as he paced back and forth in his living room with a cell phone held up to one ear.  “The script is done, Mark, but I can’t seem to get the songs down, and well, you can’t have a musical without music, right?”  He joked in a feeble attempt to appease the angry producer he was speaking with.

Mark was not pleased at William’s attempt at humor, and he let the nervous weasel know: “This is not the time for jokes, Will!  I am going to be out several thousand dollars for your advance, not to mention a lot more if you don’t give me a script to put on!  It’s been nine months!  What’s going on in that head of yours?  Are you homesick?  Girl trouble?  Guy trouble?

William hesitated before answering.  “Do you really want to know, Mark?”

Mark regained some of his composure and eagerly replied, “Well.  Yeah, Will.  This delay isn’t doing either one of us any good, so…so let’s talk it through and figure this thing out for both our sakes.  What’s eating you, man?”

William let out a heavy sigh before answering: “Well, it’s that, uh, I haven’t seen my Muse lately, and, well, I’m pretty useless without her.”

This time, a flabbergasted Mark hesitated briefly before speaking.  “Whoa.  I did not just hear that.  Did you say your Muse?” he asked with a nervous laugh.

“Yeah.  My Muse…”

“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING, WILL?  That has to be THE nuttiest thing I’ve heard in all my years working on Barkway!  Have you lost your mind?  You know what?  Don’t answer that, ‘cause I think I already know.  I need a finished script by the end of next week, or you are finished working in this town, do you understand me?  FINISHED.  Nobody will touch you with a twenty-foot leash after I’m done.  Get some help and get it done, Will!”

Even the beep that William heard as Mark ended the call sounded angry.  William collapsed onto his living room sofa, closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh.  My career is over, William thought as he dropped his cell phone onto the carpeted floor and contemplated the dreary future ahead of him.

After a few moments, he opened his eyes to find her there.  His Muse.  She was a short, sprightly thing: a mink almost completely covered in brown fur except for her muzzle, which was white.  She stood over him and looked down at William with a big goofy grin on her face.  William stared back for a few moments before the Muse finally broke the silence.

“Hi-eee!” she cheerfully said as she waved a hand in front of William’s face.  In response, he groaned and rubbed his eyes before sitting up on the sofa.  This was not the reaction that the Muse was expecting, and she began to pout: “Hey, I thought that you’d be happy to see me, Willie!”

“It’s William, and just where have you been?” an agitated William answered.  “I need to finish this play because I’ve got a producer breathing down my neck, and if I don’t get it done, he’s going to want his advance back.  You know, the one I already used to pay my rent.”

The shocked Muse took a step back.  She opened her mouth to speak, but William cut her off:

“What is it with you, anyway?  You’re never there when I need you.  You pop up at the worst possible times, or at the last minute, like now.  You can’t show up whenever I’m sitting at my laptop, you know, WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE.  No, that makes too much sense.  Instead, you pop up whenever you feel like it, like when I’m in the shower, or when I can’t sleep at two in the morning, or when I’m out on a date.  I then have to drop whatever it is I’m doing so I can jot something down because I have NO DOGGONE IDEA when you’re going to decide to grace me with your presence again!”

For a moment the Muse looked as if she were about to burst into tears.  Instead, she regained her composure, took a deep breath, stepped towards William, and unleashed a tirade of her own:

“Oh, so you think it’s so easy to do MY job?  You think you’re the ONLY so-called ‘creative’ person that needs a little extra help every now and then?  Well, let me tell you, Buddy, you AREN’T.  Every day, I have to help loads of people just like you finish their books or their poems or their scripts or their songs or their paintings or their sculptures.  Every. Single. Day.  It never ends: ‘I’m on a deadline!’ ‘My assignment is due next week!’ “My mom’s birthday is tomorrow!’  ‘Help me!’

So I show up, inspire somebody, and what I get for my trouble?  Nothing!  Nada, zero, zip, zilch.  When people say: ‘Oh, what a wonderful work of art,’ does the artist ever mention me?  No.  Do you ever hear somebody say, ‘Thank you, Muse,’ in an acceptance speech?  NO!  I-I don’t even get residuals!

A bewildered William interrupted her.  “But you’re a Muse…what would you even do with money?” He asked.

“SHUT UP!” she snapped back.  “It’s the principle!” she said, turning away from William.

William started to approach the Muse, but since her long fluffy tail was in the way, he walked around to face her.

“So you’re just looking for some recognition, huh?” William asked.

“Just a little would be nice.” The Muse said coyly.

William thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. He enthusiastically asked the Muse, “What if, I were to write a play with you in it?”

The Muse pointed a finger at herself before speaking. “With little old me?” she said with feigned modesty.

“Sure.  It will be…” William took a step back, assumed a dramatic pose and spoke as if he were narrating a movie trailer:  “The inspirational tale of a guy who’s down on his luck.  He can’t get a break, and just when he’s hit rock bottom and things can’t get any worse…” he stopped to point at the Muse with both hands, “His Muse appears out of the blue and saves his tail!”

“Yay!” chirped the Muse in a delighted tone, clapping her hands as she excitedly hopped up and down on both feet.  “I’d like that, Willie. I really would.  Have you thought of a name for it yet?”

William stifled a laugh before answering: “What else could I call it?  Un-a-mused!

With a smile and a wink, the Muse replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll let you take the credit for that one, Willie!”

THE END.


Inspiration is where you find it, Dear Listeners, that is, assuming it doesn’t find you first. For more super-short, super-silly stories, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com.  This has been Super-Short Storytime, and remember, listeners; always cite your sources!

300 Seconds Episode 90: “A few words before Furry Invasion 2018”

Listen to the podcast here!

I was recently a guest on Tommy Kovacs Splat from the Past podcast. Join us as we discuss our convention experiences in California and Texas.  That’s Splat from the Past, episode number 215, on YouTube. And now, on with the show…

You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 90:  A few words before Furry Invasion: The Road to Furdition, so let the 300 Seconds begin!

Furry Invasion will be happening at the El Tropicano Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio this weekend, October 5-7 with badge pickup happening tomorrow night.  Because life has been getting in the way of my fun lately, I will only be at Furry Invasion Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  I’ll be presenting my Furry 101 panel on Saturday afternoon at 5PM in the Bolivar C room.  If you or someone you know would like to know more about the fandom, then come on down.

This is the second year for Furry Invasion; last year’s show was a solid first effort that had a few hiccups here and there, including a few that affected me personally, so just a heads up, this is going to get just a little bitey.

The biggest issues that I had last year were the slow registration line and the panel schedule being disorganized.  The problem with registration last year was that attendees were required to print their registration sheets at the convention which slowed down the process considerably.  At other conventions, attendees are allowed to print out their preregistrations beforehand, allowing them to be processed much more quickly.  I’m happy to report that I was allowed to print out my registration paperwork after paying, so that should make things more efficient.  While that problem appears to have been solved, a new one has been introduced by the convention’s choice to put registration in the hotel’s ballroom, which is in the back of the hotel and on the third floor.  This is going to make signage VERY important and staff should also be aware of how to get to registration so they can direct people there.

My second beef last year was with the panel scheduling; the schedule that was printed in the conbook ended up being different than the actual schedule, due to some changes being made after the original schedule was made.  This led to some confusion among attendees and presenters, including myself.  Fortunately, the Powers That Be decided to make the schedule digital this year, which means that last minute-changes can be made without fear of ending up with an outdated print schedule, so good on them.  What I’m hoping happens is that they print out each panel room’s schedule and post it outside so folks can see what is happening.

While Furry Invasion has made efforts to fix their registration and panel scheduling issues from last year, one thing that was sadly not addressed, was the weather.  Now, you may be asking yourself: What can the convention do about the weather?  Well, they can try to push the con ahead a week or two in the hopes that the weather cools down.  Cooler weather makes it easier for fursuiters to go outside and have fun, puts less strain on the venue’s air conditioning and is just nicer.  Should there be a third go-round, Furry Invasion really needs to look at pushing their date forward a week or two.

I openly admit that yes, I am harping on the convention a bit, but that’s mainly because the first two issues I mentioned were really touchy issues for me personally.  As I mentioned at the top, the first Furry Invasion went well; if the registration and panel problems weren’t there it likely would have been a great show instead of a good one.  Year two should be better since steps have been taken to address most of the issues from last year and the staff will have a year of experience under their belt to build on.

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after the convention.  I am Eduardo Soliz, if you’d like to hear more 300 seconds subscribe to this podcast or check out my website at Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories.  Thank you for listening!

Signs that the group is a just a BIT older than you are

randomEven though I’m bear-ly in my 40s 😀 I joined an online group for older furries recently.  After a while, my Spidey-Sense began to tell me that most of other folks in the group have at least a decade or two on me:

  1. “Attachment unavailable”
  2. Vertical videos
  3. “I hate that thing that’s popular with the young people!”
  4. Black and white pictures
  5. Scans of actual Polaroid pictures
  6. Pictures rotated the wrong way
  7. Five-year old memes
  8. “Why is this [meme] funny? It makes no sense!”
  9. When people say ‘back in the day’ they REALLY mean it
  10. And of course: “Get off my lawn!”

Super-Short Storytime: “Reassurance”

ssst003

In the future, a pair of friends join the Space Force but don’t exactly end up where they want to be.  In light of current events, I should mention that this story was written in 2014.  Of course, lots of other folks have had similar notions for years.

Greetings From Texas Wonderland!

madhere

I’m mad, I say! MAAAD!

Hello and welcome to my little corner of the web, where you will find lots and lots of words!  Blog words, short story words, list words and even spoken words!

I recently returned from Texas Furry Fiesta 2018: “Lone Star Wonderland,” where I had a ball hanging out with my fellow fuzzers.  Check out the pictures I took over on Flickr, scroll down for the customary ‘things I noticed’ list, and listen to “Con Talk-Texas Furry Fiesta 2018 Post-Game!”

Stay tuned for the return of ‘Con Talk’ next week!

80 Things I Noticed at Texas Furry Fiesta 2018

Texas’ biggest furry convention moved to a new hotel this year, which introduced a few new issues.  Overall, though, it was a lot of fun.  As always, I noticed a few things:

  1. BEFORE/DRIVE UP-I’m a little bummed over missing the conbook deadline but that’s what my website is for.

    #31 PUT SOME CLOTHES ON YOUNG LADY

  2. I’m guessing I’m going to see a lot of Alices and Mad Hatters. Hopefully, the cartoon versions.
  3. Seriously, I thought the 2010 version was ‘The Mad Hatter Movie”
  4. I will openly admit to being jealous of all my friends that will be there on Thursday
  5. I swear work gets tougher the last few days before a vacation…it’s like THEY KNOW
  6. Okay, I wussed out and told my cowokers I was going to a ‘comiccon’
  7. Does loading Disney soundtracks onto a USB stick for the drive qualify someone as ‘furry trash?’ Asking for a friend.
  8. Thing I forgot: Cologne. Given the female-to-male ratio it’s just as well!
  9. I’ve lost about 30 pounds since last TFF. I bought a pair of slim fit jeans so I gotta keep the weight off now!
  10. Honestly, I-35 keeps getting better and better each year…Temple notwithstanding
  11. The Czech stop was definitely worth the 200-mile wait!
  12. Parking seems to be one of the big issues early on; I was furtunate to get a spot fairly close by.
  13. I feel like a tourist lugging my bags around the hotel before check-in.
  14. It wasn’t too long before I started running into friends, YAY FRIENDS!
  15. I had forgotten about the placeholder name I had placed on the reservation beforehand, which made for a funny moment: “So that will be two keys:  One for you, and another for Roger Rabbit?”
  16. “Can I get the lowest room available? I have a thing with heights.”
  17. New hotel is very nice, though the open elevators are a little scary for me. (see above)
  18. FRIDAY-Noticed a few folks kvetching about the lack of con suite this year.  Hopefully they bring the snacks back because playing ‘bartender’ there was great fun.
  19. The Presidential Suite is open to Super-Sponsors, though. :/
  20. Forgot to print out my reg sheet for the first time ever. *hangs head in shame*
  21. Their reg was so fast it didn’t matter.
  22. The Hyatt Regency feels so wide open compared to the other hotels.
  23. Taking five fights of stairs to the room (if I don’t want to wait for the elevator) is definitely a workout
  24. The hotel room has an Ethernet port, and me without a cable *argh*

    #28: It’s Furry Pat!

  25. New camera has been great, but the battery went dry after only 75 pictures! So glad I got a spare…that I had to retrieve from my room. *pant* *gasp* *wheeze*
  26. It’s awesome that the con T-shirts aren’t black this year.
  27. I’m usually pretty careful about catching autocorrects before I hit Send, but finally had one slip through the net 😀
  28. There’s a fursuiter named Sherbert who has you try to guess their gender.  I went with ‘male’ because if I can’t figure someone’s gender in 3 seconds at a con, I just assume it’s a guy.
  29. I am seriously considering buying a Lemonbrat partial fursuit.
  30. Overall, the bigger hotel is pretty nice with plenty of space to work with BUT the elevator situation is pretty bad and it is a (understandably) a mite warm inside.
  31. That moment when you realize the fursuiter you’ve seen in a partial for months now has a fullsuit which means SHE’S NAKED NOW OMG
  32. It’s 6pm, send in the normies!
  33. There are places to eat downtown if you don’t mind a little walk.  Cool.
  34. Elevator situation is pretty awful, I wonder if the top-floor con suite is a contributing factor.
  35. Random young lady: “Are you Eduardo Soliz?”
    Me: “The one and only!” *peers at person* “Do I know you?”
    Her: “No but I love your YouTube channel!”
    Aww! *blush*
    UPDATE: Found her on Twitter!
  36. Maybe I’m not done with “Con Talk” after all…
  37. I really really need to get cracking on making some panels for next year’s Furry Fiesta.  People want them!
  38. SATURDAY-630AM and I don’t want to be up, but I guess I’m up, bleh.
  39. Might be early enough to hit Waffle House without losing my parking, hmm
  40. Upon further review I decided not to risk losing my spot.
  41. A little disappointed in the scheduling app; it shows the full schedule without hiding events that have already passed.
  42. Oh, I have to manually refresh it. Derp.
  43. Nope, still didn’t do it. Boo.
  44. For some reason I have Matthew Ebel’s “Merry Christmas from Cell Block 2” in my head
  45. Are the microphones in the panel rooms even on?
  46. New addition to the fursuit parade: Concerned parents
  47. Dunno what the deal was with the peanut gallery continually yelling “Spring Break” during the parade but it was annoying to the point where I might put music over the parade audio.  UPDATE: I didn’t.
  48. Nothing like 40-degree weather to make you want a fursuit.
  49. Freezing my face off was totally worth it for the Cuban sandwich, though
  50. If you’re running audio you should be professional enough to know to not talk while a presentation is going on.  Fuzzing amateurs
  51. Another great Furry Psychology talk from Nuka. I was getting a little sleepy near the end, and not because of the content, just to be clear!
  52. I learned that some of the FurScience folks went to San Japan last year. I invited them to attend “Furry 101” this year.  COME ON GUYS, I WENT TO YOUR PANEL AND I DID MY HOMEWORK 😀
  53. The partial suit I was thinking about buying was sold. Oh well.
  54. A friend bought Lemonbrat’s ‘Tide Pod Fox’ and got very popular very quickly.

    #54 He looks good enough to eat!

  55. Knees starting to feel it by afternoon, likely due to all the stair-climbing bought on by not wanting to wait for the elevators…or I’m just getting old.
  56. Halfway down the stairs to go to dinner, I realized I still had my bear tail on. Screw it.
  57. Nothing like walking 2/3 of a mile to go to Spaghetti Warehouse in 30-degree weather.
  58. Totally worth it, though.  Chicken parm you taste so good.
  59. I was disappointed to find karaoke was full up; I wanted to sing ‘Why Should I Worry’ by Billy Joel from ‘Oliver and Company.’ The canines would have loved it!
  60. Nice lobby-wide howl on Saturday night, by the way.
  61. I wanted to be all supportive and stuff for Padunk’s first panel, but it was completely packed!  I guess that was a sign it went well! (link warning: some naughty bits)
  62. Drunk normies + fursuiters = hilarity
  63. I swear the ‘Two women: One embarrassingly drunk and the other trying to get them to stop being embarrassing’ bit is a trope.
  64. SUNDAY/TRIP HOME-Breakfast was weird: After we got seated, the hostess kept fussing over our table being dirty (it wasn’t) The table is fine lady, I WANT FOOD
  65. Mom never made ‘fingerling potatoes’ for breakfast, just sayin. That said, they were tasty.
  66. No salsa on the breakfast buffet? What is this, NEW YORK CITY?
  67. The longer the con goes, the harder it gets to not take multiple pictures of the same fursuiters. Oh well!
  68. Me to friend: “I was thinking about buying a partial”
    Her: “I have a bear head base I haven’t started yet.”
    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
  69. So yeah, I may be getting a fursuit made.
  70. Left the con at probably the earliest time I’ve ever left.  Continually going up and down four flights of stairs took more out of me than I thought.
  71. To the jackass who parked their Honda CRX in the middle of the end of the parking lot: YOU SUCK.
  72. I am very glad I only make two trips that involve I-35 a year
  73. Didn’t stop at Buc-ees on the way home, the Wendy’s across the freeway was too tempting.  I may have sinned against Texas.
  74. Big thank you to the solider who fished a soda out of the machine for me at the Bell rest stop. Enjoy the freebie!
  75. Note to self: Lay off the caffeine on the day when you are making a long drive unless you want to make restroom stops every 50 miles or so >.<

    #71 YOU SUCK

  76. AFTERWARDS-I will openly admit to being jealous of my friends that are still at the con on Monday.
  77. I think the reason I don’t get post-con depression is that afterwards I go over pictures, post the fursuit parade video, work on this list, prepare for and record a podcast, so the show isn’t really over for me for several days.
  78. There is apparently an underground tunnel leading from near Union Station to the hotel. I may consider taking a train ride for next year.
  79. Remember how I said “Con Talk” was over a few months ago?  I was never very good at lying. 😉
  80. “Roll Fur Initiative” for next year’s theme?  I guess Creativity failed her saving throw!  Hey, I tried!

Adventures in Self-Publishing : Cover Stories

rotscover

It’ll do

I am not a visual person by any stretch of the imagination.

When I was in college studying computer science back in the 90’s, people would occasionally ask me if I could make websites for them.  The conversation would go something like this:

Person: “Can you make a website for me?”
Me: “Yeah, I can code one, but it’s going to look like a computer guy made it.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s going to look terrible.”
So yeah, I didn’t make any websites.

Given that I’m self-aware of my lack of design sense, I don’t know what possessed me to make my own book covers when I started self-publishing short story collections.  It comes even more perplexing considering that I knew artists that could do quality artwork.  Ego may have had something to do with it; the notion of doing everything on my own.  Maybe I didn’t want to pay for art at the time.  Whatever the reason, I figured some text on a solid color background would be good enough.  I did three covers like that, and it honestly only worked for The Rules of Tech Support.

cf1cover

A picture! Yay!

I like to think I made the most of my limited skills with my Nine to Five Lives ‘clock face,’ but that may have been too clever for its own good considering its low sales (it’s free now!).

At that point I figured it was time to get some actual artwork done.  My friend Damon Cone provided some artwork for Con Fluff 1, which I used to make a faux ‘con badge.’  I thought about making similar ones as promotional items for the book.  That never happened, but it remains an interesting idea for future use.  The character on the cover is me, which seems a little conceited, but at the same time, why the heck not?

cf2cover

SO PRETTY

I commissioned an artist friend who goes by Padunk for Con Fluff 2 and she knocked it out of the park.  She was also kind enough to put the title text on the artwork, which made it look really nice.  Future volumes have also featured artwork, and with the exception of The Rules of Tech Support, most of my collections featuring my early awful covers have been put off-sale, though you can still see them here.

While I have been happy with all of the artwork (Faeries, Fantasies, and Furries is another favorite) there are a few that need a do-over:  As the first book in the series, I don’t want to pull Seven Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories, but it does need a facelift.  Funny Animals, Funny People kind-of works, but I have a better concept in mind I’d like to see for it.  I took the easy way out with Fuzzy Words by plastering a picture into the middle of a (wait for it) solid colored background.

I’ve since commissioned new cover art for the printed version of Fuzzy Words from an artist named TinyBunner.  After spending the day arguing with CreateSpace I think everything is ready to go for printed copies.  I’m very excited at the prospect of having an actual printed book, but that’s a post for another day.