Tag Archives: peter licari

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Surprise!

1 Sep

Hello! If you’re reading this that means I’m no longer here. Sorry.

But what it does mean is that I’m now at a different location: www.caustccookies.com!

This is your surprise. You guys have inspired me to take this blog and bring it to the real world! It is now it’s own dedicated place, it’s own site! And the site has a whole bunch of goodies! Many of them will be coming to fruition within the next 48 hours, like the caustic cookie twitter account. Stuff like that.

There’s a forum, a webstore, and a bunch of other amazing things!

To WordPress: I love how awesome your platform is for starting out. It helped me get on my feet. It helped me get my start. I sincerely appreciate it.  And although I won’t be posting to wordpress anymore, I hope you know that this move could only be possible because of all the support of this community.

To the fans: this is yours just as much as it is mine. I hope you enjoy it!

Much love,

Peter.

New New New NEW

12 Aug

As you can tell, I really don’t like to play around when I get an idea I like to run with. It just so happens, I have an idea I’m going to enjoy running with.

So I have created a new website, registered the domain name and everything. It’s not quite up yet, but it’s going to act as the official website for my professional ventures. Meaning that my professional blog will be located there, links to my professional works will be located there, even a store will be located there for my books and other professional works. Don’t worry though. If anything, that just means that there will be more posts here of just miscellaneous (read as incredibly awesome) thoughts about anything in general. You can expect stuff about reading, writing, music, sports, a little bit of life itself bursting out of these webpages. Notice how I’ve posted for the second time today? That’s something that you’ll actually need to get used to: multiple steaming servings of your favorite caustic cookie goodness!

August 25th is the drop date for my book The Dimensional Constant! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for contests and giveaways. A handful of lucky readers will receive a free autographed copy of the book!

I’m finally designing the logo for this site. I already have it mapped out, but it’ll be coming to fruition soon. Also, I’m considering purchasing a domain for Caustic Cookies itself, so it’ll be causticcookies.com. Yes! “.com!” I’m seriously moving up in the world.

Plus, there’s also a really super secret project in the works for this site and this site only. Stay tuned in the next two weeks to find out what! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Drop me a line, leave me a comment, open up a conversation. This is your space to interact with me just as much as its mine to interact with you. I live for your feedback, it makes my heart go a-flutter…

(Don’t tell my girlfriend. It’ll be our little secret).

Change in Directions

11 Aug

Hello avid followers of Caustic Cookies! It’s great to see that you are still alive, as I’m sure it’s a relief for you to learn that I am too.

I’ll cut to the chase. I haven’t been posting a lot, and that’s rather terrible. See, I have been just trying to force myself into a routine with this blog, trying to come up with ways to make it better, fresh, and popular. Unfortunately, none of them really seem to work. There are aspects I really like, such as the book review and the Caustic Countdown, but the hardest thing about those have been the incredible amounts of time I need to dedicate to these pursuits. The Caustic Countdown, for instance, takes up hours researching, editing, and other miscellaneous processes and the posts are still far from perfect.

I’ve been unhappy writing. I’ve never been unhappy writing. Ever. And when I got this way, I started thinking about putting on MORE work, I guess to try and light a fire up under my ass and get me going. But you can’t force inspiration. You can’t just will yourself to create. The first post I ever wrote on this blog discussed the importance of NOT FORCING IT! And here I was: blatantly disregarding my own wisdom. (Considering that it is one of the few wise things I’ve ever said, it’s pretty unwise to ignore it).

So where does it go from here?

See my major goal in writing this blog was to expand my web presence. I wanted to create a virtual hotspot where people will go to get their fill of writing related goodness and hopefully create a name for myself in the process. I know that this takes time, I’m a patient man, but it doesn’t take 20/20 vision to know that the way I’m currently doing it is not working. I’m trying to cater to two extreme aspects of my personality on the same site, resulting in either sloppiness or a schizophrenic webpage. Either way, it’s certainly not pretty.

As you may notice from the Countdowns, I love being silly, sarcastic, and a bit crude. I’m joyous to know that there are people who like those posts. As you may notice from the Book Notes and the Updates, I also feel the desire to be professional and serious. And I love the fact that people enjoy those posts too. But it’s a strain to continue to swing between utter extremes. I felt trapped between a rock and a hard place. I felt stuck in a rut. Choose your favorite euphemism, it’d probably work.

Then I realized something. Something awesome. This is MY blog. This is MY life. I can do whatever I want with both. There’s no need for me to put myself under pressure. There’s no reason to contort myself. I should just BE myself. I should post, write, and act as myself while ENJOYING it. The thing is, though, that I’m not blinded to the fact that I need a professional location. I’m trying to make money, become a business man; I just happen to be the proprietor and the product. So I need a professional location for my writing, but I desperately crave a place where I can be as goofy, loony, and inspired as I can be. I need two different things. I’m a fan of Occam’s razor, so I believe in simplicity. Hence, I am creating a brand new blog to act as the sister site to Caustic Cookies!

Caustic Cookies will now be my outlet for the creative. Where I’ll post every day about really awesome stuff that interests me. Such as Art, Music, Movies, Writing, Exercise, and Life in general. Meanwhile, I’m creating a webs site to act as my professional site for freelancing. There, I will update a blog occasionally, as it will devoted to my professional writing pursuits. I think that this is the best way to have my cake and eat it too.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Readers of all ages, I want to thank you for reading the current incarnation of Caustic Cookies. It has been incredible to know I’ve made a difference in some way, even if it’s negligible. I invite you to a follow me in this change in direction and enjoy the new Caustic Cookies. I guarantee it will be one hell of a ride.

-Peter

Weekly Update: 7/16/2012

20 Jul

Alright. So now I shall unveil the plan for Caustic Cookies 1.5! Monday will be the Caustic Countdown, same as usual. I’m keeping the weekly update and the book notes, but moving them to different days. Thursdays will be the update, book notes on Fridays. And on Saturdays, there will be a normal post. It can be about anything, but mostly will revolve around writing and reading. Of course, Twitter will be updated daily. On some days, there will be extra, goody posts. But this current configuration will help with my increasingly hectic schedule.

These last few weeks have piled opportunities on top of each other. I’ve been getting jobs and opportunities out the wazoo. For one, I’ve been writing a plethora for Yahoo! while also securing an internship. It’s all extremely incredible and the future looks bright! I’m excited to see what the weeks to come bring!

Articles:

I don’t even know where to begin. For starters, my perfect Text Broker streak is unbroken at 21 articles. 21 articles written and 21 articles accepted! Furthermore, I have also accumulated a double-digit streak on Yahoo! as well. I’ve been writing so much and getting so much exposure! Here are the links to my two most popular articles in order to sample just some of the work I’ve done. One and Two.

My internship has also provided me with a new audience. I wrote an article about the conflict between low and high mileage philosophies in running. It’s much more interesting than that previous sentence, I swear.

Short Stories:

Night of the Living Brain-Dead is still evolving. It has developed into a full-fledged novella. It’s development is rather impressive. The characters are actually multi-dimensional and the comedy is appropriately dark. It actually seems believable and the diction is far from mundane. It’s completely awesome and coming soon!

Poetry:

Today was my first excursion back into poetry. I wrote a poem called “Have I? Am I? Will I? Then I Will at Least Enjoy the Ride.” I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. It’s more dark than my usual poetry but it flows much better than any poem I’ve ever written. So right now it’s just sort of sitting in limbo. Maybe I’ll find a market for it. I’m honestly hoping for it.

Other:

My book, The Dimensional Constant, is finished its final editing. It is now in the very capable hands of my friend Irey who is designing the cover. After that, it will be available for sale! I anticipate the date to be within the next couple of weeks. It depends on how well we collaborate on this project. But we have been close friends for a few years, so I anticipate a quick turnaround.

Hey, this list is never too full. If you have an article you need written, or are in search of a flexible freelance writer, e-mail me at peterlicari13@gmail.com. Or message me on Twitter.

Post: Honesty is the Best Policy

25 Jun

We writers are in a bit of a bind when it comes to expectations. We are expected to entertain, but society often demands us to inform. I personally think it’s funny that we have to be the mirror of the world and reflect the faults through an ultimately empty image, but that’s a post for another time. What I’m currently musing about, is the fact that we are told to entertain at all costs, but we are damned if we don’t properly inform.

I don’t think it’s a conscious stigma or burden placed upon us. I feel it’s just human nature. People want to lose themselves in a different reality- but not one so different that they feel truly alien. It’s exactly why 99% of extraterrestrials in books and movies have a spoken language and desires for expansion (in either knowledge or territory). Hell, it’s why they even look like us. Most of the time, they’re bipedal humanoids with only a few differences in proportion. Why can’t we just tell a science fiction story as it is in reality? The story would at least fill our quota for information. Well, because we all know that it’d be incredibly boring. What would we call it? “The Story of the Microbe that May (Perhaps) -Probably- Existed Beneath the Rust?” Even the title makes me want to fall asleep!

So what gives? Why is it that we’re demanded to tell the truth but society has such fickle demands when it comes to entertainment? I think this is something that a lot of writers overlook in the pursuit of good stories. See, if life were a rally, it would sound a lot like a grassroots political event. You’d have a bunch of people yelling “we want the truth!” and a heck of a lot more merely listening to the speeches and being entertained by their notions. Now imagine that this is a Tea-Party rally and just across the park is an Occupy demonstration. If they both manage to go for more than five minutes without starting a riot, I’d be questioning reality- but let’s pretend for this hypothetical scenario that they can co-exist. On opposite extremes, and on opposite sides of the park, they’re preaching two truths. Now, common sense says that only one of them can be right. But, at least in this case, common sense is wrong.

Many writers begin their careers under the false pretense that there is only one truth. Usually, it is the one that they happen to prescribe to, but that’s not egregious or wrong. That’s merely human nature. The fault comes when one is unable to accept the existence of other truths.

There is no such thing as the truth. There are merely perspective. Writers aren’t tasked with telling a facet to a single universal truth, we are tasked with telling a truth. We’re not particle physicists; imagine if you had to connect every single fictional work through some sort of unified literary theory. It’s not just improbable, it’s impossible. These books represent entire universes and realities endemically separate from each other. Sure, you can find patterns (I’m a huge proponent of “inter-textuality”) but aside from the occasional similarity, you can’t unify all works. So how else could you possibly tell the “truth” and simultaneously “entertain” unless they are both part of the same process?

The process, of course, being lying.

You have to, have to, need to lie. As a writer, there is no other way. Everything from fiction to articles, you have to put forward a reality that inherently fails to account for the totality of everything around you. Whether you realize it or not, by not creating a comprehensive encyclopedia filled with every possible paradigm, you are lying. You are omitting, you are being (in a sense) deceitful. Now, is this execrable? Of course not! This is the very foundation of writing! Stories, lies, and fantasies! These lies tell the story of a truth, just not THE truth- only when they disregard reality entirely do they become empty lies.

We as writers are tasked with seemingly conflicting mandates. Entertain the masses, yet tell them the truth. It is ironically through lies which we can fulfill this contract with the world. It just goes to show how seemingly paradoxical and wonderous writing can be. Honesty is the best policy, but deceit is the best means of implementation.

Caustic Countdown: Three Insane Food Laws

22 Jun

Recently, there has been a lot of commotion over the proposed law in New York designed to make it illegal for fast-food providers to sell more than 16 oz of soft drink per transaction. The aim is to curb the tide of obesity by constricting the sale of sugary drinks and soda, which do in fact deal a heavy hand (pun totally intended) in raising obesity rates. Of course, the bill is quite controversial and many individuals feel that this is directly infringing upon the inherent freedoms in this nation. (Apparently, people believe that to get fatter than Gluttony and more lethargic than Sloth is directly in the constitution. It’s probably somewhere in the 28th amendment. Gawd Bless America!).

[Serious note: Some legal experts are quick to point out that this could seriously be illegal due to the interstate commerce clause. That being said, there is no endemic freedom to eat yourself to death and causing a burden upon society. I’ve read the constitution five times. It’s shockingly not in there.]

Proponents of the law believe that it is legal due to the fact that many seriously obese people create a burden upon taxpayers, thus warranting legislative intervention. I’m not one to pick sides (both of the constitutional arguments have merit and that’s left for more experienced people to decide. I yield to superior understanding), but I will say this: this is not the most insane law pertaining to the consumption of food. Actually, comparatively, this looks about as sane as illegalizing texting while driving.

3: Protect the Pigs!

As I mentioned above, I’ve read the constitution numerous times. Why? I don’t know. I get some weird kick when I read me some constitution. I get wired. That and the fact that my major is Government and World Affairs. But hey, the hankering for some constitutional understanding probably plays hand in hand. It’s a knowledgeable addiction. Plus, I actually like to know what I’m talking about when I talk politics with people. I don’t want to be the one who shouldn’t have opened his mouth and removed all doubt.

So I’m a lega-phile. And I’m a knowledge-a-phile. Most importantly, a nerd to boot. So when I was in high school and they asked me if I wanted to register to vote, I said, “awh hell yeah!” Just like that. In the middle of class. Clearly, I was an intellectual bad-ass.

Upon registering, I realized that I had to sign an oath to defend the constitution of the United States. No biggie. I had read it about three times by then, I was pretty comfortable with it. But then came the caveat. I also had to protect the Florida constitution. Well, shoot. I had signed my name and all. So I did what any legally bound nerd would do. I read the Florida constitution. What I discovered shocked me.

There’s an amendment protecting the sanity and safety of…

If you guessed a) children, you’re wrong. b) adults, you’re wrong. You’re actually getting colder. If you guessed c) kittens, sorry but no. If you guessed d) pregnant pigs, then you’re both oddly specific and correct!

Yep, the Florida constitution protects the rights of pigs who are, more likely than not, going to end up as bacon on my cheeseburger.

2: McBanned.

Now fast-food is helping obesity in the worst of ways. The way these companies see it, they give you food which barely qualifies for pets and you give them money. It’s like eating your cake and mugging you in a dark alley too!

We just learn to sit down and accept that these companies are running on the capitalistic system; they exist because people will pay them to. So the only logical thing is to accept this as an inevitability of human advancement or, if it really tickles your fancy, avoid perpetuating the system by not giving in to their business.

Or, you can just up and ban fast food from distributing toys. I mean, why just avoid them yourself? Clearly, you got to go all out for this to work. Think about the children!

In Santa Clara County, California, a law was passed banning McDonald’s from selling their infamously cheap Happy Meal toys. This presumably worked until they realized that most of the people who frequent the Golden Arches are a little too old to be playing with HotWheeles… Unless they’re able to hide them from their wife/girlfriend. In which case please, you brave souls, spread the word and tell us immature men your secret!

Of course, there were good intentions with this law. It’s just that its lunacy and ultimate futility kind of makes it one of those good intentions that paves the road to Hell.

1: Enjoy Champagne on a World War Technicality.

Who doesn’t enjoy the sensation of liquid victory? Whether it’s celebrating a win or a wedding, champagne is the go-to for bubbly happiness. Who wouldn’t like to take a sip of champagne to accentuate good times? Who hasn’t poured a glass or guzzled it straight from the bottle because damn it, you’re awesome!

Well odds are you haven’t and you probably never will.

See, if you live in the United States (where most of my readership lies) you have probably never actually tasted champagne. See, champagne isn’t just a type of sparkly alcoholic beverage. It’s supposed to be an indication of origin. In Europe, if you drink champagne it’s because that drink hails from the champagne region of france. Most of our champagne hails from California.

See, the treaty of Madrid first solidified the term champagne the legal property of the champagne region in the late nineteenth century. It was a treaty the United States wasn’t involved in. After that, the treaty of Versailles after World War One reaffirmed this legal right. Guess what, we weren’t involved in that either. Even though we tried to put forth several ideas in the treaty, we never actually ratified it ourselves. Meaning that it wasn’t until recently that the U.S. stated that all new bottles of sparkling wine had to be properly identified. How recent? Well, it’s still cool if bottles from 2006 and before use it.

Book Notes: Calico Joe

16 Jun

Calico Joe has got to be the most recently published book I’ve written about on this site. Which is fantastic! Considering I’m trying to pen fiction in this modern literary climate, it might be considered advisable to sample things from the last few years or so. It may be the best way to notice trends in the fiction world. The alternative to studying modern fiction is just to take USA Today at its word and start selling erotica considering the “50 shades” of porn  series are at the top of their selling list.

Calico Joe is a first person narrative with two separate time-lines: one during the protagonist’s past and one set in his present reality. Of course, something that complicated can only be handled so brilliantly by famous wordsmith John Grisham.  In a surprising move, the story isn’t filled with the legal jargon that usually defines his works (and that  I, as a government and world affairs major, find interesting) but with something notably outside the bounds of the courtroom: baseball statistics. However, I never felt inundated with averages and numbers; the presence of these tidbits actually added to the overall credibility of the novel. That being said, while nothing happened in a traditional legal format, this story definitely contains characters tried and hung in the court of public opinion.

The plot follows the incredible rise of fictional rookie Joe “Calico Joe” Castle and his tragic fall due to a near-lethal bean-ball while also analyzing the execrable actions of rival pitcher Warren Tracey. The story is narrated from Tracey’s son, Paul, as he struggled to come to grips with the hellish reality that his abusive father  has imposed upon his family. This incredibly believable nightmare includes abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, and intentionally hurling the career-ending pitch at Calico Joe’s skull. Warren Tracey is ostracized by the nation for his inexcusable actions. Paul Tracey goes through life afraid of revealing his last name. Paul decides, as he grew older,  that someone has to rectify the wrong. He goes to his now cancer-stricken father and blackmails him into apologizing to the now handicapped Joe Castle.

What makes this an interesting story to me is that it wasn’t incredibly serious. There wasn’t some earth-shattering revelation, nor was there any fighting for a greater societal cause. Everything about this book was entirely personal. The diction was simple and conversational- like a child. Not an uneducated one, mind you, but  a child who has seen and known more about the world than any other should. This wasn’t the world’s story, this was Paul Tracey’s. Through the spitting of statistics and the reiteration of his childhood memories he became an incredibly believable entity.

Books like this are necessary for aspiring fiction writers to study, especially those who are going to try their hands at first-person narratives. It teaches us about more than just what constitutes good writing, but what constitutes excellent character development. The biggest mistake that most novels in this format make is assuming that the character is fully actualized. You’re writing from the first person, after all. As such, you’re either writing it as a journal/ diary entry or with the benefit of hindsight. Why wouldn’t you know everything that’s going to happen? Plus you, the author, usually knows where the story will end up before you ever put pen to paper. The character is already full developed to you and you subsequently write as such.

I’m just as guilty. My first novel The Lupine Institute (an unpublished work that will never see the light of day) was inherently flawed due to the same mistake. I wrote as the character and he was fully matured from the get. We have avoid spoiling our readers with the full picture in the beginning if we’re penning a traditional, linear narrative. If we don’t we’re doing them a disservice. Character development is just as crucial in creating a lasting story as plot and word choice. While this practice of prolonged development will always be a challenge for authors, Calico Joe is a great model for us as we strive for believability and literary merit.