Monday, August 30, 2010

My Town Monday: Hot and Bothered

Folks in Livingston County get all worked up over anything related to sex.  Like the Intimate Ideas shop that moved into town a few years ago to sell mostly lingerie (per local ordinance) and some adult toys.  You know, the fun stuff that plenty of people use, either married or not, to enjoy themselves sexually.  And, yes, I know about that sort of thing.  (If you're here, than surely you've read a few of my stories!)

But a good number of Livingston County residents got upset about how such a shop didn't represent the interests of the local community. Okay, so, if the local community doesn't want such a horrid, "depraved" shop in their midst, then sales would reflect it.  Oh, well, it's still open.  And... so is the much older store of a similar nature in the next town over.  The one that no one has picketed.  Same concept, but it was the new store that got people upset... for a while.

Seems that lingerie and adult stores do reflect the interests of at least SOME of the community.  Though I prefer to buy my items online.

The latest hoopla to get in the press is the new Hot Spot Coffee shop.  You've probably heard about coffee shops like these.  The young, hot chickadees dress in skimpy attire while serving up hot coffee.  The idea has been very popular in other locations.

The controversy provides lots of free press as first there are articles in the paper.  Then there are the several letters where people must voice their outrage that such a shop does not reflect the interests of the community.  I dunno, I drove over there even though I don't drink coffee.  If I did drink coffee, I'd totally go there for the scenery.  Who doesn't like a nice mountain view?  And so far, business seems to be doing well.  Time will tell if this place-- like the two adult novelty stores-- fits the 'character' of Livingston County.

On an "unrelated" note, after some 30 years, the local Christian Bookstore is closing it's doors...

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Town Monday: Naked Guy On the Move

The Naked Guy is infamous in Brighton.  He's pretty controversial.  And he's been dressed up a good number of times.
Now, he's on the move.  The Powers That Be in Brighton have decided that the Naked Guy statue will be relocated from his present position-- where he flashes drivers on Main Street and visitors to the Mill Pond-- to another, yet to be disclosed location.

Frankly, I'm a little disappointed.  I was enjoying his changing attire-- like the shirt for the local Cancer Run/Walk or the Red Wings Jersey.  Then again, I don't get all hot and bothered by undefined lumps that don't at all resemble genitalia.  (Oh, man, I could so make a comment here about local men lacking balls and dicks, which is why neither the men or women around here know that the Naked Guy isn't showing ANYTHING off.  But I'm not like that.  ;-)  I mean, really, a Ken doll has more definition than the Naked Guy.

But the Naked Guy is going to go on a naked trek somewhere else in Brighton.  A new piece of art will replace it.  I hope it's not some abstract hunk like the big orange THING up the street a ways.

Now this knee-jerk "conservative" town will have to find something new to get upset about.  That new coffee shop seems like a good idea... but more on that next week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Too Pretty

The latest Bo Fexler story has indeed found a home.  This little flash piece follows Bo as her attempts to seduce a man at the bar don't go as planned.  Being a pretty girl doesn't mean she gets everything she wants... find out what happens in "Too Pretty" over at Twist of Noir.

Fun author's note about this story: it was composed entirely on my cell phone using Mobile Word, and almost completely with T9.  I still hate T9, but it was the only way to write with one hand while I held my son in the other.  Since T9 doesn't have quote marks, I used parentheses in the original draft.  And thus, a shred of my sanity was preserved.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Town Monday: What's Missing?

Little Ceasar's Pizza
Dunkin Donuts
Mr. Pita
Big Boy Resturant

What do these things have in common?

They each closed locations in Livingston County.  For years, this county had one or more of the above businesses in the local towns (including nearby but actually the edge of Oakland County's town of South Lyon.)  But in the last 10 years, many of the locations have shut down.  Sometime, pulling out of the area completely.  There is no longer a Dunkin Donuts-- though the shop previously known as Dunkin Donuts still makes Donuts, etc. under the name Brighton Donuts.

Little Ceasar's pulled out of most of it's locations, then brought a few back in new spots a few years later.
Mr. Pita lasted a few years in an odd, difficult to get to location before leaving.  Like Brighton Donuts, the shop operated a little longer under a generic name before giving it up all together.

Big Boy-- now this one I know-- was struggling financially as a company and shut some of it's least popular locations.

There are a good many places that have never made an appearance in Livingston County, for reasons I may never understand.  Sure, population is a little light out here, but not that light.  As a suburban area, I would expect to see a few more businesses take the opportunity to bring their wares into an area where they're not represented.  It was only in the last few years that Livingston County got a White Castle.  Still no Sonic or Krispy Kreme.  No California Pizza Kitchen.  I couldn't even list what we're 'missing.'

No Dominoes Pizza, even, which is a shocker since Ann Arbor-- home of the corporate HQ-- is just 20 mins south of here.

Being in the Metro Detroit area, I see a good many commercials for places that just don't exist out here.  It doesn't break my heart any, since I can't eat most places, but it's always struck me as curious how many businesses don't open a location out here.

I can't tell you how excited folks were for the White Castle to open.  I understand there were people camped out iPhone-release-style before the opening.

Tell me your favorite chain location and I'll tell you if we have one nearby.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Out of It... And Getting Back Into It

It's been more than a year since I spent much time on short stories.  And almost as long since I paid much attention to the ever-changing landscape of short mystery/crime fiction markets.

No, this is not a post on why.  This is a post on lamenting how much work it seems like it's going to be to get back up to speed.  I have a new short story that I finished and polished up that is ready for a home.  But I don't even know where to begin looking at markets.  Most of my old-standby's are long gone.

I admit also having some of that new-writer trepidation, afraid that my work isn't going to be good enough.  It has been a good long while since I wrote and submitted anything new.  (And everything I did submit in the past year was soundly rejected.)  

It doesn't help that story in question is one of those hard-to-classify the sub-genre shorts.  It's a Bo Fexler story, of course.  I don't think it's either crime fiction or a mystery.  Just a 550 word short story that's maybe a little noir-- with a hot female detective as the lead character.  

It feels like I'm starting over, but I still have that taste of success from those two years where Bo Fexler was strutting her stuff through so many of the mystery & crime zines. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Town Monday: My Town through New Eyes

No, I'm not going to get all mushy and such just because I've procreated... but I have noticed that I'm looking at my world a little different now that I have a young son.  (He's six screaming weeks old now.)

When I look around town, I wonder what will change.  What's going to be there and what will be gone. 

Will I be able to point out the first apartment that I rented (with Hubby)?  Or the retail center where I sold my soul for a few measly bucks an hour for 11 years of my life?

I've come to the conclusion that things change in our towns without us paying it much attention.  It's like the shifting of sands and before we know it, it's a different place. 

I was 9 when the change was made to prohibit left turns from Main Street to Grand River.  In my world, it's always been like that.

Roads change course (including the one that runs in front of my house, but no one I've talked to remembers when that road was realigned.)  Businesses come and go, sometimes without anything even as long lasting as a write up in the little local paper.

I grew up in this town.  But it is not the same town I returned to as an adult.  And it will not be the same town that my son grows up in.

Gratuitous picture of my son