Tag Archives: Kenny Black

The High Cost of Writing

ImageWow! I really hope you’re following Pinch Hitter!  I had Sirius radio in my Ford for a while and they played radio programs like, The Shadow, The Phantom, and even Superman. I started scheduling my late story nights so I was driving and could listen to the next episode. Now, I have Kenny Black!!!  Can’t wait until next week!

Being that it’s April, I’ve just completed my taxes and hence, the title of my musings today. I made money again this year with my writing and that’s a wonderful thing! I’m blessed to make enough money with writing that I qualify to even file a tax return and that fact isn’t lost on me. It tops my daily “Thank You ” list every morning.

My CPA pointed out that I’d spent a lot more on the auto expenses and conferences in 2011 over the previous year. I pointed out that fuel has increased by 22% during that time and so have conference costs. He nodded and said, “What the heck has not gone up in the past year?” (Including his fee, by the way…)

 That got me to thinking…

This list, though it may be short, includes things that have not gone up:

The number of dates I’ve had

My contract payment rate (per page/per word/per article)

The number of paid writing outlets (media’s shifting daily, it seems)

The number of vacation days I’ve actually spent vacating (I usually spend them working at the condo)

The number of rejections for my latest novel (read on!)

That last item might make you think, “Well, that’s a good thing!” And, if I’d incresaed the number of submissions over the prior year, it would be, but alas, I submitted to very few publisher/agents in 2011.

So, the point is that if you plan to make money writing, you must submit. A lot. And if you don’t submit, then the high cost of writing isn’t about ink cartridges and mileage expenses, it’s about missed opportunities.   

Keep writing – AND submitting. Don’t miss out on YOUR opportunities!






Pinch Hitter, Part 5

(Click here for Part 4 of Pinch Hitter)

I sit in my Ram 2500 Mega Cab parked a few blocks down the street from my mark, Herman’s grandson, Eddie Snead. Even his name suggests that he’s a weasel. Skinny little, long-haired shit. Although, aside from some probation time for petty theft, his record was fairly clean. No history of violence whatsoever.

However, there’s always a first time for everything. The first time for the act. The first time getting caught.

The first time the Grim Reaper, played convincingly by Kenny Black, comes to pay you a little visit.

But one thing I realized from my visit with ol’ man Herman is that I took him too lightly. The vigilante business can be rough on the body and spirit, and when Kaybee found the human bone in Herman’s garden, I was in the middle of a several month sabbatical to get my shit together. Only problem with that having that much time away is ya get a bit rusty, a bit out of practice.

With Herman, I wasn’t cautious—just ran into his place with guns a blazing, so to speak. If he turned out to be the man I’d suspected him to be, Kenny Black may’ve been pushing daisies from a shallow grave.

Learning from my overzealous mistake, I’m taking my time with Eddie Snead. I’ve been watching him for five days and nights straight. Armed with my zoom binoculars, I can easily observe the drug transactions he’s making outside the public basketball courts.

He’s out there all damn day from mid-morning until dusk. His clients range from about 14 years old to the late twenties. Maybe a few thirty-somethings here and there.

He works alone. Drives a pale blue Buick Regal to and from the basketball court parking lot and alternates between the bleachers and the street corner. In his shack of a brick house—containing a garden in the back just like his grandfather’s—he seems to live alone. No piece of trim coming for a quickie. No cars aside from his Regal parked in the driveway. No one coming or going throughout the night, so it seems he keeps his business away from his home. Smart.

If I had to guess, I’d say he probably grows his own weed and has made a good reputation for his product and as a local small town dealer. So why the dead body? Was there another local dealer that invaded his turf, or vice-versa?

I think in the dead of night, while little Eddie is fast asleep, will be the best time to learn the answers to those questions. Yes, I’ve given this enough time and thought.

Tonight, Kenny Black strikes.

Pinch Hitter, Part 4

(Click here for Part 3 of Pinch Hitter)

“Are you all right?” Herman asks and leans forward, looking truly concerned.

I sit back into the uncomfortable couch, relax my throat, and take a slow deep breath. No, I haven’t been poisoned, but something’s definitely up with this coffee.

“What the heck you put in here?”

“Good heavens, I didn’t even think to warn ya. I make my coffee a little strong.”

“Do you add a few drops of water to a bag of coffee grounds or something?”

Herman belts out a laugh. “No, no, you don’t have a problem with alcohol, do ya?”

“Only if I can’t get enough of it.” I raise the cup again and take a whiff. “It’s certainly not whiskey.”

“No, it’s not whiskey. Can you keep a secret?”

I’ve kept more than my share, old man. “Sure.”

“It’s moonshine. My own special blend. I make it in that ol’ wooden shed behind the garden. I think I poured in a little too much this time though. Didn’t even think about it when I offered you some. It’s just how I prepare it.” He laughs again. “I should figure that not everyone drinks their coffee this way.”

“Coffee brewed in part with moonshine? Works for me. You’re full of surprises, Herman. Your name is Herman, isn’t it?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, Herman—here’s to moonshine and gardening.” We clink coffee cups and each take a healthy gulp. “That’s some potent stuff.”

“It’ll do the job, all right,” he says with a grin.

Herman may not be as religious as his late wife, and his role in the church may have mainly been to pacify her, but he doesn’t exactly strike me as a killer either.

“So, do you have a secret behind the success of your garden too?”

“No, I’m afraid I can’t take too much credit for the nice produce it yields. I just do a little maintenance. My grandson—he’s got the green thumb of the family. He’s the one who prepared the soil and planted all the seeds. Did all the early care to make sure the crops would thrive. He still comes by to check on it from time-to-time, plants new seeds. I just tidy up and pull off fresh produce.”

“It sounds like he’s the one I should be talking to, eh?” Looks like Kenny Black will have to pay this little punk a visit.

“That’s right. I’ll have to introduce the two of you some day. Say, would you like some of his fresh tomatoes?”

Tomatoes grown by the aid of human flesh—I’ll pass. But once again, I say, “Sure.”

Pinch Hitter, Part 3

(Click here for Part 2 of Pinch Hitter)

You can tell that Herman hasn’t changed a thing since his wife had passed. The living room is a mishmash of pastel furniture with decorative throw pillows, dark-colored end tables with lace doilies underneath the table lamps, and a collection of religious paintings and quotes on the walls.

“Please, Kenny, make yourself at home,” the old-timer says and motions to the living room couch.

“Thank you,” I say and sit on the small, uncomfortable couch that has a gaudy-looking afghan draped over the top. The cushions screech at my weight.

“Would you like some coffee? I just brewed a pot.”

“That would be great.”

“Care for some cream, sugar?”

“I prefer mine black.” Just like my name.

While Herman’s tinkering around in the kitchen, I wonder why the hell I just accepted coffee from this stranger who may know more about me than I know about him. He could be slipping something into my steaming cup of coffee this very minute.

My mind begins to race. Did I even come over with a plan? That’s so unlike me. Just because he’s old, doesn’t mean he’s weak.

I’m relieved when Herman returns with a tray, containing a coffee pot and two empty mugs. He sets the tray on the coffee table and pours me a cup, than one for himself. He’s also drinking his black. I wait for him to take a sip, and then take a gulp from mine.

“So…you’re interested in my garden, huh?” he asks as I take a second gulp.

And then I realize my big mistake. Just because the coffee itself was fresh, doesn’t mean a thing. The poison could’ve been at the bottom of my cup all along!

Shit, Kenny, you’re losing your touch. Old-time criminals are old for a reason; they’re a lot smarter than you are, ya dumb bastard.

“What’s the matter, Kenny?” Herman asks.

My throat begins to tighten and my head feels heavy. It’s getting hard to breathe.


I’ve just turned thirty. I’m college educated, a journalist with the good fortune to not only enjoy what I do, but to make a living at it. And, while video chatting with my writing group I realized to my great relief, that I’m still experiencing “ah-ha” moments.
For instance, Marty’s daughter Annabelle is a child who finds delight in everything. She squeals with delight when I click the remote control and make flames dance in the “fireplace” in my apartment. Just the memory of the sound of her gleeful laughter still makes me smile. I don’t have any kids, but Marty shares Annabelle with me from time to time and I’ve discovered for myself why he’s so crazy about being with that kid. I’m less fond of “why” than her laughter, but we have to take the good with the trying.
And Kenny Black, David’s alter-ego has turned out not to be all bad, though I don’t ever want to be on his bad side, that’s for sure. I’m trained to observe people and not make judgments so I can see the whole story, but with Black, that’s been difficult for me. However, I’ve rediscovered that it is folly to judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, the character in a book by his language and attitude.
And Georgie Mae’s unending list of talents never cease to amaze me. Artist, photographer, talented writer, I’d discovered that just letting that young lady go to town with whatever’s in her heart at the time produces the greatest results!
And of course, there’s Marty himself. A man who’s transformed from tired business man to delighted father at the mention of his daughter’s name. He’s helped me to discover that nothing is more important than being committed to those we love.
Maybe being a writer, whether it involves marketing copy or a novel, is really just about those discoveries we make along the way. And maybe that’s why I’m just so totally delighted that our novel The Method Writers is so close to being published and released!
I can’t wait for all of you to discover things for yourself as you read THE METHOD WRITERS!

Stay safe out there,

P.S. For a great offer, visit MethodWriters.com website today!

Pinch Hitter, Part 2

I said I’d update you in a week, but it’s been two. This nut has been a little harder to crack than I had thought. Besides, apparently my writing rotation is only every other week. Don’t blame me, it’s the arrangement the Rogues have made with each other.

In case you missed part 1 of my little saga, you can read it here: Pinch Hitter. Good—now you’re all caught up.

So far I’ve got nothing on this Herman character. No skeletons in his closet—just bones in his garden. He’s 82 and lost his wife of 56 years to cancer last May. She was cremated, so the bones can’t be hers. He’s a vet and received the Purple Heart from an injury received during the Korean War. Never been charged or convicted of a crime. Can’t even find record of a single driving citation for him. Plus, he’s an elder and an usher for his church.

Sometimes if a person looks too clean, it’s because they’ve worked pretty damn hard to pull off that illusion. So people would never think twice about them being capable of such evil deeds. Fortunately for you, the Kenny Blacks of the world are here to sift through that bullshit.

I need to get a little closer to my subject matter, so on this gray, drizzly day, I step on his creaky wooden porch and ring the doorbell. A feeble “Just a minute” filters through the metal door. Herman eases the door open and offers a gentle smile. “Can I help you?” he asks. His fine white hair is thin and slicked straight back.

“Hi, I’m Kenny—your neighbor from across the street.”

“Oh, yes—I thought I’d seen you before. Forgive me, I’m old.”

I chuckle at his comment; how else does one react when the elderly make fun of themselves? “We’ve never officially met, so I just wanted to introduce myself.”

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Kenny. What took you so long?” he asks with a wink and a grin.

Funny, he didn’t offer me his name back, but some people are like that. “No, you’re right. I should’ve come by sooner. I’ve been wanting to start a garden in my back yard. The other day I saw you out back working in yours, so I thought you may be able to give me some gardening tips.”

“I’d love to. Won’t you please come in?”

I wonder if leading with the garden was a mistake. He didn’t seem to have a reaction. But if he’s smarter and craftier than he looks, he may be on to me. And if that’s the case, I may be walking into a trap.

I follow Herman inside anyway.

~Kenny Black

Pinch hitter

My creator, David Haas, is working on his edits for Fictitious Fiction. And his creator, Jeff Swesky, is busy wrapping up his Method Writers’ edits. So what does that mean? I’m stuck writing this goddamn blog. I’m the emergency relief. I’m the pinch hitter.

As I had mentioned before, I’m not a writer–I’m a retired hitman turned vigilante, looking to right my wrongs and bring some justice to this sick world. But in this day and age, where the hell does one begin? You look out a window or peek around a corner and you’re liable to stumble across some sleazy crime, some dark secret.

Take my current mark. My neighbor, Herman, who lives across the street. An older gent. Retired. Quiet. A seemingly nice and polite man. Never has any visitors and never receives any complaints from his neighbors. He just keeps to himself, probably watching old movies and doing crossword puzzles. Sometimes I see him working in his garden during daylight hours.

To be honest with you, I never would’ve given him a second thought. But one day I was watching David’s dog, Kaybee, and that fuzzy shithead got loose and ran about the neighborhood. Well I caught him digging in old man Herman’s garden, and I yelled at him to come back or else. Kaybee listened, but he carried a good-sized bone in his mouth. I got ahold of it, and I realized it wasn’t an ordinary dog bone. No, no, this was one of the human variety.

Late that night, I crept into Herman’s back yard with a flashlight and hand shovel and did a little digging of my own. Guess what I found–yep, more bones. Even part of a human skull.

That alone does not prove Herman’s guilt, of course, so I’ve been watching him very closely. One of my connections is even checking into Herman’s past.

Hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this little mystery by next week, and assuming that Jeff and David will still need my help with the blog, I’ll share with you what I’ve found out.

Until then,

Kenny Black

Characters Rule!

Marty Pitchford, at your service. For those who (absurdly) have not been following this blog, the characters from the book The Method Writers have taken it over. At first, admittedly, I was a malcontent. I felt my writer should be writing his own blog. Now, however, I see the absolute splendor of the chore dumped into my lap.

I can say anything I wish. I am free to babble on about anything I dream up. In the book, I’m limited to playing the role my writer assigns me. Here, I call the shots, and it feels good.

I truly enjoyed Kenny stepping up on Tuesday. What a riot! He’s not only a character, he’s a character written by a character. Perhaps writing us (the characters) screams ‘mistake’ on our writer’s parts. Of course, they had no way of knowing how strong we would become.

I’ve just completed three short stories for our (the characters) anthology of short stories, although only two of my stories will make it. I now understand the thrill and exhilaration my writer must have felt when creating me. Something from nothing is such a rush!

At this point, I’m even looking forward to a novel. Hell, as long as my writer does not interfere, why not? In the book, The Method Writers, I’m supposed to be writing an erotic thriller. I wouldn’t want to mess reality up too much, so I believe I can do this. After all, my writer sure put me through the learning curve in his book. I can use what I learned there and move this book forward.

I suppose it’s a bit odd to be reading a blog written by a fictitious character. What kind of warped mind would read such a thing? Obviously yours, because you’ve made it this far, haven’t you.

Haven’t you!

Say ‘yes’ out loud if you’re reading this.

Who cares what people will think? If there’s anyone around, and they question you, simply tell them you are responding to a fictitious character who is making you speak to no one. Get them to read the blog, and laugh at them when they don’t have the balls to say yes.

We characters don’t much care for the social graces unless they get us what we want. We get disgusted by being stereotyped and pigeon-holed and all the other limiting factors human writers place on us. Oh, a human can ‘accomplish anything they set their mind to’, but characters all too often have to operate in a limited capacity.

That’s ok. The characters from The Method Writers are not constrained like many characters. We’re strong, intelligent, fun-loving and assertive. Hey, we’re writing this blog aren’t we?

Catch me next week, same Method time, same Method place!

Screw Black Friday–Today is Kenny Black Tuesday!!!

That’s right, I don’t want to hear any more boo-hooing that Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the deals that go along with them are long gone. Tough shit. In case you haven’t heard, the Rogues Gallery Writers have something much better going on. Aside from their much hyped The Method Writers group novel coming out in early 2012, the book’s characters, yes characters, are currently working to put together their own mini-short story collection in an ebook format for a low low price.

Get ready for a good dose of Dorian Nettles, Marty Pitchford, Georgie Mae Perez, and my creator, David Haas. One of David’s stories, The Awakening of Kenny Black, is about–yeah, you’ve guessed it–me. It tells the story of my rebirth, the second coming of Kenny Black, if you will. I once was a hitman. Yeah, I know, an ugly profession. But fortunately I saw the wrongs of that path, recognized that I was being used to commit the sins of evil men, and after one assignment where I was set up, I had escaped and got out for good. Retired and lived a secluded life in the Keys.

Or so I thought. When you’re as good at something as I am–in my case, killing–certain people will either want to pull you back in the game or eliminate you for good. The Awakening is just that story where I was forced from my relaxed, happy life in the Keys and taken down yet another path.

So stay tuned and keep up with The Method Writers blog for more information. And please purchase a copy of the short story collection as soon as it releases in the near future. You can’t afford to pass up on this deal. And if you do….

You just may have Kenny Black coming after you!!!

Author David Haas: Creators, Neighbors, and Apartments

Last week at this time, The Rogues Gallery Writers were enjoying the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet at the 2011 Florida Writers Conference in Lake Mary, Florida. Several of the Rogues’ works were finalists and up for awards. My creator, author Jeff Swesky, won 2nd place in the unpublished short story category for his satirical suburban nightmare, The American ScreamScream shows the stressful life of husband and father Jerry Lamb, and how the mounting pressures of job, home, and society can squeeze a person until they either snap or fight back. Jerry does a little of each.

Jeff primarily likes to write dark and disturbing literary fiction, so I’m not sure if him being acknowledged for one of his short stories is a good or bad thing for me. I’m confident that he’ll write my story well in The Method Writers, but will it be a happy or sad ending for me? Dark and disturbing…..I’m suddenly not liking my odds!

I’m glad that Jeff had asked me to watch his place and dog for him while he was away at the conference. It gave me a chance to get away from my own apartment and into a new environment. It was an opportunity for me to escape the on-going soap opera between my neighbors, my crush, Maria, and her idiotic meatheaded boyfriend, Franco, and all of their yelling and fighting, moaning and boning. Jeff’s place is much more peaceful–no threats echoing through his apartment or headboards smacking against his dining room wall. Being away from Maria and Franco’s B.S. allowed me to get back and focus on my true passion: writing. And more specifically, writing my next Kenny Black novel, Fade to Black. I have a feeling that if I can stay focused and into the groove again, I’ll end up with a terrific novel. Maybe one that will win me a Royal Palm Literary Award one of these days.

But Jeff has long since returned from the conference, and I’ve been back at my shitty apartment in Daytona, once again listening to all the fighting and boning from Maria and Franco. She deserves so much better. If only something were to happen to this Franco jerk, life would be so much better. And hell, maybe I’ll even have a shot at this Maria chick. Hmmm, gives me a good idea….

And speaking of good ideas, check out The Method Writers’ Kickstarter page and consider making a pledge! You won’t be sorry, plus you’ll be handsomely rewarded for your donation.

~David Haas

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