History May Not Repeat, But It Does Rhyme: My Potential Stieg Larsson Fate Problem

by Shelt Garner

After years of willfully not looking it up, I learned today how old Stieg Larsson was when he died — 50.

This is meaningful because if I’m lucky, that’s how old I will be when I sell somewhere between 1 and 3 and 5 novels. So, it’s beginning to sink in that that may very well be my fate, too.

I sell a novel or five at 50, then within days promptly drop dead.

That’s pretty deep.

It’s so eerie as to be a potential Twilight Zone episode.

The Amazing Absence Of Sexxy AOC Bikini Snaps

by Shelt Garner

I’m being silly with this one. But this came to the forefront of my mind again when the “news” broke that AOC was enjoying a visit to Miami. The thing about AOC is she’s a demonstrably gorgeous woman.

As such, being a human being, she must have at some point worn a bikini in public. Now, this should not be a big deal. Just because she’s in the public eye as a politician should not somehow make it impossible for her to wear a bikini.

AOC, Smoke show.

And, yet, here we are.

If *any* picture of her wearing *anything* other than something that made her look demure came out, Fox News would explode into a very thirsty rage and demand she resign and be put in the stockade. (All along furiously masturbating to the picture in private, natch.)

It’s all very dumb. But it’s simply amazing that AOC’s media team has manage to avoid any such snaps from coming out. I will also note that the center-Left’s insistence that we can’t talk about how fucking hot AOC is, that we can see her as anything but a Very Serious Politician is, unto itself, something of a trap too.

I say this because AOC is fast approaching 35, the age when veep and POTUS talk will begin to swirl around her. And, remember, even the Clintons popped out a baby. And even those two hippies were willing to get marrired!

So, for crass political reasons, something’s gotta give for AOC’s lovelife. The moment she turns 35, there’s a chance that the “Why isn’t AOC married with child” discourse may enter the mainstream.

But, I will admit, I’m always wrong.

Angst For The Memories — What Do My English Students In Korea Remember of Me?

by Shelt Garner

The thing about teaching English in South Korea is you’re thrown into the development of young children who find you just as alien as you find them. And at the time I was teaching English in South Korea way back when, I was kind of burning my candle on both ends.

My fear is at some point in the future, one of my students will track me down as an adult and want to catch up or something. While that would be flattering, it would also force me to address how maybe I wasn’t the best teacher (I wasn’t, I sucked.)

I was such a doofus.

But that hasn’t happened yet and maybe it never will. This website will, on occasion, get random pings from Seoul which makes me wonder if there’s some sort of discussion about me taking place there still. I was lit back in the day. I was so nuts when I was in Seoul I got put in a book about crazy expats!

I’m so different than that now, however. I’m far more laid back and relaxed than I was back then. It helps that I don’t have access to cheap soju like I did back then.

But I do plan on going back to Seoul and other parts of Asia briefly before I drop dead. At some point in the future, I would like to go to Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia one last time before coming home and preparing to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Wow. I’m Actually Working On A Second Draft Of This First Book

by Shelt Garner

For the first time for this massive project I’ve been working on for about four years now, I’m finally — finally — working on a solid second draft. I think a number of things have contributed to this being possible.

The man, the myth, the late Stieg Larsson.

The first is I’ve made this second draft as tight as possible chronologically. Second, this story is far more Mare of Easttown than it is The Girl Who Played With Fire, so I’m dealing with something I’m pretty good at — detailing the human condition — rather than having to live up to the potboiler expectations of Stieg Larsson.

But things are moving fast. I have a pretty stable first chapter now and am going to work on the second chapter today. My first draft was stable enough and good enough (in my opinion) that revisions are going pretty smooth. Unlike previous versions of this process, things haven’t fallen apart the moment I review what I’ve written.

Really leaning into making this first novel a homage to Mare of Easttown.

So, I think I’m well on my way to start querying as part of the fall querying season of 2022. And, as I’ve said, if it gets pushed into the spring season, then I will have several other books in this series finished and I can try to sell them as a series.

Hopefully, however, I won’t drop dead of a widowmaker heart attack like Stieg Larsson. Go, me!

Another Tik-Tok ‘Coincidence’

by Shelt Garner

I was in a position to count a few hundreds recently. Then, would you believe that within 24 hours, I was pushed a video about $100s? I know this sounds like just a coincidence, but, I don’t know.

It’s spooky.

And, as I’ve said before, the issue is either Tik-Tok can read our minds in some way or their algorithms really are that good. Neither one of those scenarios makes me feel all that great.

Either one of those scenarios is enough to make one sit-up and taken notice. In either situation, I would support some sort of Congressional investigation to figure out what the fuck is going on and what the Chinese government is doing with such information.

But, given that American Big Tech is probably using the same technology, there’s a good chance that any such investigations would make THEM nervous, too.

So, lulz.

Writing Fragment: ‘The Meeting’

Just fooling around. This is fragment of an short story idea that I’ve been thinking a lot about these days.

The Meeting
A Short Story Fragment by Shelt Garner

Scene 1
Sargent George Hillman liked to consider himself a brave man. But his courage was being tested by the bouncing up and down of the small plane he and his battle buddy Corporal Jack Apler were now in. They were on their way to meet one of many American warlords that controlled various parts of post-civil war America’s landscape.

“How you doing there, chief,” Corp. Apler said.

Hillman said nothing, but kept looking out the plane’s window as the ground began to slowly grow closer to them.

The one they were going to visit, a man who called himself Ender after the Orson Scott Card character, was rumored to be more adept than most of the near criminals that populated most of the now hopelessly balkanized United States.

Finally, the prop plane landed at Danville Regional Airport in southern Virginia. They got out of the plane, got their stuff and hopped into a waiting Jeep. Their driver was an attractive woman under the control of Ender. Hillman was take aback, in fact, at how beautiful she was. Her long blonde hair sparkled in the early morning sun.

“Ender is really looking forward to talking to you guys,” she said. “It’s a big deal for EU representatives to come all the way out to these parts.”

He and Corp. Apler exchanged knowing looks.

“Yeah. We’ve heard interesting things about Ender, too. We hear he’s been working with the Koreans in some capacity? That they’re helping to train some of Ender’s forces?”

“Indeed. It probably seems really weird to an outsider, but there’s a pretty ready explanation — Ender lived in Seoul for a few years. Funny how the smallest thing can have huge implications when you least expect it. Have you brought any kind of gift for Ender? He’s going to be expecting one.”

This came as a surprise to Hillman.

“What kind of gift are we talking about?” Hillman said.

Scene 2
While in real terms, the trek to Ender was only about 20 miles, on a practical level there were so many barricades and road blocks that it felt like they were being stopped every 10 minutes. The civil war that abruptly fell the most powerful nation in the world was severe and swift. The contested 2024 election was just too much for the United States’ political system to handle.

Soon enough, Blue States left the Union. WMD were seized and used by both sides to the point that the once great United States was now nothing more than a patch work of little fiefdoms. What made Ender’s fiefdom different was how well is was run and the amount of military advisors it had been able to attract. There was a real possibility that Ender would make a significant play at bringing order to much of Virginia and neighboring North Carolina in the coming days.

Danville itself was largely abandoned. Once the home to some 30,000 souls, the small city was now nothing more than a large town. Like much of the United States at the moment, electricity was non existent. Ender’s driver parked their Jeep in front of what was once a CVS and pointed.

Hillman and his battle buddy got out and walked inside the CVS. It was just as ravaged as they expected. They went back to the pharmacy area to look for the “gift” that Ender demanded — anti-psychotic medication.

“Well, who would have thought Ender was nuts,” Corp. Apler said.

Hillman shrugged.

“So what. He gets the job done, doesn’t he? That’s all that matters.”

The two men continued to talk as they rummaged through the remains of American civilization.

“How did the United States get in such state?” Corp. Apler said.

“Well, good question. A lot of things happened at the same time. A lot of people tried to warn about the possibility of civil war in the United States in the years leading up to the event, but they were called ‘hysterical.’


After about 20 minutes of searching, they finally found the purple pills they wee looking for.

Scene 3
There was one last roadblock before they read Ender’s HQ. The guard of the checkpoint looked over their papers. “From the EU, are we. Pretty far away from these parts. Though, not as far as the Koreans. Do you have a gift for Ender?”

Hillman dangled a pill bottle.

“Cool,” the guard said.

They were waved through. The first thing they noticed as they got closer to Ender’s camp was the lights were on. The lone stoplight in town worked, which in itself was a big deal.

After a few more minutes of driving they were soon on the campus of the former military academy that served as Ender’s base. The campus was full of people — many of them Koreans in uniform. They came to the front of the school and said goodbye to their driver.

They were met by another attractive young women. She was very formal and official in her demeanor. “It’s so nice to meet to the two of you. You’re arrival is the talk of the base.”

Her nametag read, “Lt. Shapiro.”

“Come with me, Ender is waiting.”

They walked a short distance to the entrance of a fall out shelter. Once they got past one last guard, they were soon walking down a short flight of concrete stairs. A huge, heavy wooden door creaked after a bit of effort.

They walked down a short hallway and turned a corner. What they saw amazed them. There was a huge room full of people doing what could only be described as partying. A group of people were eating and drinking Korean food, seated on the floor in front of a long table.

In the background others were singing karaoke.

They saw an open door nearby and figured that was were Ender was. They walked in and saw several rows of tables with young women looking intensely at computer screens. All of this was too much for Sargent Hillman and Corporal Apler to process.

At the very back of the room was a large desk with two computer monitors. A cat was sleeping soundly between them. As they grew closer to the desk, they realized there was a futon behind it with a man sleeping on it. They looked down on him and he opened one eye.

He finally shot up and greeted them warmly. He was a middle aged man with graying hair.

This is guy is Ender? Hillman thought.

Ender was now seated at his desk. He took the pills.

“Well, great to see you guys. Ready to bring back America?”

‘Seminal Thought’ — #Lyrics to a #Pop Song

Seminal Thought
lyrics by Shelt Garner
Please give credit if you produce or perform

I can’t be that unique
to gasp when your sleek body
comes through that door
leaving me weak in the knees
thinking you’re the one
but could it be that it’s all a

seminal thought
as special as can be
seminal thought
something never before seen
seminal thought
seminal thought
seminal thought

but that can’t be true
your beauty is a sight to see
so many others must think as I do
that your physique is a work of art
something only a God could create
but you’re alone
is it possible I’m the first to think
your beauty is supreme?

seminal thought
as special as can be
seminal thought
something never before seen
seminal thought
seminal thought
seminal thought

everything is dull
everything has already been thought
nothing new is under the sun
but what can I say
I feel different than the others
maybe I am
maybe I’ve had

a seminal thought
as special as can be
seminal thought
something never before seen
seminal thought
seminal thought
seminal thought

‘Gorgeous Gorgeous Girls’ #lyrics to a #Pop Song

Just screwing around. This phrase is used a lot on Tik-Tok these days and I thought it sounded like the title to a pop song.

Gorgeous Gorgeous Girls
lyrics by Shelt Garner
Please give credit if you produce or perform

gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
they do what they want
they are always top shelf

girls may come and go
but when you’re in need
don’t turn to them I’m afraid
they’re too gorgeous for your hurt
even if you blurt out your shame

boys will be boys
and gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous girls
won’t take your shit
no matter how much you flirt
so leave them alone
they’ll be at your side
when they can get what they want

gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
they do what they want
they are always top shelf

ugly hearted girls
make you take the blame
they don’t realize what they have
too busy making people feel sad
but if you’ve got a black card
there’s always
a gorgious gorgious gorigous girl

gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
gorgeous gorgeous girls
they do what they want
they are always top shelf

Damn, I Want To Write Lyrics For Marina

by Shelt Garner

I’ve just stumbled across Marina and some of her lyrics are eyepopping in how specific they are. I also like how she’s got a New Wave vibe going on. But what I really want to do is write song lyrics for her. I know nothing about music, but I think my writing style would fit her vision quite well.

She has a very biting lyrics at time, which I find very interesting and thought provoking. If I was 20 years young, I would try to be a singer-songwriter. But I’m old and not nearly as cute as I used to be.

But I have a lot on my plate at the moment, as it is, which is the way I want it.

First Time Novel Jitters

by Shelt Garner

I keep expecting at any moment someone to steal a creative march on me and throw this whole five novel series up in the air. I really think that’s a possibility. But when I’m not worrying about abstract fear, I comfort myself by thinking what I do have going for me.

It’s an Easy Read
In the Stieg Larsson to Gillian Flynn spectrum, I fall very much closer to Larsson. I’m not trying to challenge readers. I want to a popular writer, not a good writer. Though, the copy I’m reading from myself right now is very easy-breezy. Things move at a fast clip. Hopefully, if I get you hooked, I’ll reach my goal of you reading the whole thing so fast that you’ll check your watch at 4 a.m. on a Thursday night and realize you want to finish the last little bit, even if it means being very sleepy at work.
It Falls Well Within the Expectations Of The Genre
One reason why I’m so worried about someone stealing a creative march on me and forcing me to rework everything is these novels are pretty standard action-adventure-thrillers with a dash or two of Mare of Easttown thrown in for good measure. Especially the first two books are very, very influenced by Mare of Easttown. So, given how middle-of-the-road these novels are, my only defense is that I’m telling an old story in a new way, I guess. I have a very singular vision and the stories I’m telling are both very personal and very unique. But I still worry everything is going to fall apart in a rather unexpected manner.

Of course, what I need is to stick the landing. To knock it out of the park and write a novel series that is as huge as the Millennium series. I know I got it in me. And, yet, what’s more likely is that I should just be proud to sell the novel. Just to get a literary agent would be quite the accomplishment for me.