Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Rules of Attraction

   There’s a certain subject I’d like to talk about today. I don’t want to get too preachy about this, I’m just sharing my opinion about something.  I hope most of you feel the same, but no judgment if you don’t.  This is just my opinion, and it’s my blog, so this seems like the place to shout about it.
     I was in the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday, trying to dwell on what the subject of my next blog was going to be.  As I waited for the lady in front of me to decide which one of the eighty-seven items she wasn’t going to purchase after all because she was a dollar short, I started checking out the magazine covers. Usually, I expect to see any number of overexposed celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber or Kylie Jenner. 
     Instead, this is what I saw.





      My celebrity crush Amy Schumer on the cover of In Style.  Musician Meghan Trainor on the cover of Cosmopolitan. It sort of made me happy. Not happy enough to buy the magazines, of course, ‘cause I’m a dude. But still. It made me happy.
      It immediately reminded me of a significant memory from college.
      When I was younger, there was a girl in college I was absolutely in love with. For reasons too numerous to explain here without going too far off topic, it just wasn’t to be. But I’m happy to say that we remain very close friends to this day.
      But there was a day I recall sharing my feelings about this girl with a group of friends. And even more clearly, I remember the thoughtless comment that one of them had made.
       “Oh, John likes her? Oh yeah, that makes sense, since he’s into fat chicks.”
       I kind of stopped inviting him to parties after that. This girl didn’t have a thin waistline, but calling her fat was simply mean and dismissive. Not to mention totally off the mark. She was a healthy weight, not to mention curvy and beautiful. Still is. I’ve never thought of her as overweight.
       But for years after that incident, the remark was stuck in my head. At some point, especially after my first wife divorced me, I started questioning my tastes in women. Was I naturally more attracted to heavier girls?
        During the two years following my divorce, this question almost because a little crisis that I had to resolve. So, mostly out of boredom, I made a physical comparison of all the women I had either dated, found attractive, or taken home with me from a bar. Out of scientific curiosity, you understand.
       I made my list, cataloging all the traits. Not an insane, obsessive, conspiracy-theory episode with yarn and threads and post-its covering an entire wall sort of epiosde. Just a few pages of notebook paper and a bottle of beer. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity.
       I discovered that when examining all the girls I had developed some sort of connection with, I was having trouble finding some sort of common denominator. There were just as many skinny women as there were heavy gals in my list. Some of them were very serious about make-up and clothes, others sported a natural look and were more comfortable in jeans and pullover sweaters. Some of them were painfully shy, others were outspoken and brassy. Some preferred books, others preferred movies. Some of them were highly educated and successful, others struggled in school. What was the common attraction? I had proven to myself what I already know----I wasn’t just attracted to big girls. But there have been something.
       Then it hit me. And guys (and ladies), here’s the advice I hope you take from this.
       With a few notable drunken exceptions, nearly every woman on the list was someone that I actually wanted to spend time with. I mean, even if it didn’t mean seeing them naked at the end of the night. They were girls that I actually liked being around.
       Maybe I was one of the lucky one who had known the secret all along, but I just wasn’t able to quantify it in words back then. But there was the secret. It seems so simple.
       In the end, I don’t care if you’re a few pounds overweight. (Obviously, if you’re so heavy that it affects your health, you should consider making different life choices.)  I don’t care if you have a slender, unblemished body. I don’t care if you have tattoos or not.  I don’t care if you have breasts that are barely visible, or if they could be classified as dangerous weapons. I don’t care if you shave, or if you proudly display armpit hair and an untamed jungle south of the equator. I don’t care if you’re smarter or more successful than me.
      What I realized that I care about are the important things. Do you make me laugh? Do you like me for who I am? Do you like yourself for who you are? Are you as kind to yourself, as well as kind to others? Do you like to laugh? Are you willing to give me as much attention as I’ll give you?
       The world obsesses about physical beauty. Physical beauty is important, but when I see magazine covers put impossibly (and often airbrushed) depictions of beauty on their covers every single month, there’s an effect it has on people. It crushes the spirits and the self-esteem of wonderful girls who don’t necessarily live up to those standards. These are the women that get ignored by men who are only looking for real-life examples of what they see on the magazine covers. These are the men who are denying themselves the romance of their lifetime by looking for something that isn’t there without the assistance of a highly trained make-up team and Photoshop artist. (And going back to my original inspiration for this article, it’s why seeing non-traditional beauties like Amy and Meghan on the magazine covers this week made me smile.)
       I’ve been married to my wife for over fifteen years now. To this day, she can make me laugh out loud in public by saying something I wasn’t expecting. To this day, she’s the one I want to share my free time with. Because I fucking like her, as well as deeply love her.
       I think most men my age have already figured that out for themselves. I just hope that other guys without as much mileage as yours truly learn these facts sooner. So my point is, it’s not that I’m only attracted to big girls.
       The point is, I’m only attracted to girls that I’d want to be friends with.
       Even more to the point, you never know who your match is going to be. If you’re the type of person who only goes for a certain body type, please consider knocking it off. Keep your eyes open to everyone and try not to obsess over the physical details. The love of your life might be a blonde runway model, and she might be a curvy, purple-haired nerd girl.
        You never know.

    


John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE.  Both of these fine fantasy novels are available on AMAZON.   His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE will be coming out in September.  You can get updates by v visiting him at www.yeoniverse.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Like my books? Need more junk mail? Subscribe to my newsletter!

     
      They say to be a successful author, you have to build your brand.  I'm vaguely aware of what that trendy marketing set of buzzwords means, but I know that I need an easy and not-too-annoying way to keep readers informed about the books I'm working on.

     So beginning in May, I'll be releasing a newsletter via e-mail.  I have several projects in the pipeline right now, and I'll never quit my day job if no one even knows what books I've written!
     For example, THE INFINITE LEAGUE will be coming out in September.  And also this year, I have a graphic novel project (fully colored) is coming out in December in conjunction with Kickstarter.  In 2018, I have a new novel called THE BARREN DAGGER, as well as a book of humorous true-life stories and anecdotes that's absolutely perfect for reading on the crapper.
      Beyond that, I'm kicking around an idea for a Choose Your Own Adventure book for grown-up children who liked those sort of things back in the day, a different comic project if the upcoming Kickstarter campaign works out, and a fifth novel that I'm starting to put together.

     The point is, I'm aiming to have a new book out every six months.  As much as I generally hate being assaulted with e-mails like anyone else, it really remains one of the best ways to keep my readers informed.  So if you'd like to sign up for my newsletter, here's what you get:


#1.    Only two newsletters a month.   I promise.    I hate tons of junk mail, and I don't want to unnecessarily add to yours!

#2.     One newsletter will be an update about upcoming projects, cover reveals, sample chapters, and a chance to answer any questions.    The other will be news about a monthly contest to win free copies of one of the books in my library.  In fact, I'm giving away a copy of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT to one random friendly face who signs up for my newsletter before the end of the month!  Be sure to fill out all the questions, your information helps me a lot!

#3.     If you are a subscriber, you will receive 20% off pre-orders for all future releases.  So if you don't want to pay the full $15 for THE INFINITE LEAGUE when it comes out in September? Bam! Problem solved.  Just $12 for you. 


Okay, so thanks for bearing with me while I use my blog to pimp my wares.  I promise next installment I'll have more funny stuff to share.   In the meantime, just click right HERE to fill out the newsletter sign-up, and keep an eye on your e-mail box for stuff that I'm writing, developing and selling.  And thanks so much!!



John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE.  His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE is coming in September.
You can check out his novels, graphic novels and artwork by visiting www.yeoniverse.com




      

Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Easter

      Salutations, my friends!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  Now that I work on the weekends, my family time is a bit more limited on Sunday.  But Cameron did get her Easter basket, and we spent an hour outside blowing bubbles and running through the grass, so it was a pretty good day. Much better than the Easter the following children had, anyway.     



       Now, I’m almost certain that what I'm about to tell you is a true story. I wasn’t present for the drama that’s about to unfold here, but I know someone told me about this and I’m pretty sure it was my sister Michelle. I swear my sister told me this years and years ago, but when I brought it up a few years ago while researching this book, she swears that she doesn’t ever remember about this happening. But someone told me, and I’m going to attribute this to my sister and nephew anyway. Maybe it did happen to her and she’s just repressed the memory since then. But I don’t think I could make up something like on my own, someone must have told me about Red Easter. But whether it’s true or not, it’s a fascinating tale and I’m going to lay it out for you as I heard it.
      This would have been fifteen years ago, when my sister was still a young mother, and my nephew Zack was five. They’re a very religious household, and I’ve always respected them for that. And on the occasion of this fine Easter morning, the family’s church decided to hold an Easter Egg hunt for the children of the congregation.
      It was a very pleasant sunny morning, the perfect day for an Easter Egg hunt. It was a small church located by an old country road, with a huge yard of tall grass for the kids to run through. Easter eggs were hidden, along with hundreds of little plastic eggs containing candy and trinkets. Plenty of volunteers were on hand as well, to keep order and to prevent any of the youngsters from wandering too close to the road.
      Among those volunteers was a guy named Bob. Bob was a man-child of guy, the sort of guy that kids love because he’s fun. He was also the sort of guy that parents didn’t want to leave with their children unsupervised, because that fun often included activities that involved slingshots, fireworks or testing the upper stress limits of merry-go-rounds. Bob wasn’t a family member, or ever a particularly close friend of the family. Nor was he, for that matter, a particularly clever human being. But he meant well, he was a nice guy, and he could lift heavy things. And he really loved kids, and kids loved him, so he was a great volunteer for these type of things.
       So the kids were running around the tall grass of the church yard, looking for easter eggs, candy and other hidden treasures. Everything was running pretty smoothly, until a tiny pair of fuzzy brown ears poked up in the grass a few feet away from Bob.
       If he hadn’t have noticed it, the story would have a more happier ending. If he had just had the foresight to have anticipate what was likely to happen, none of the sad details of this tragedy would have ended up being written about in a blog. But when that small rabbit made it’s presence known, a burning little light bulb illuminated within Bob’s head. He shouted out to everyone, commanding the attention of adult and child alike.
        “Hey look! It’s the Easter Bunny!”
        No matter where in yard these children were, they abandoned their quest and suddenly ran screaming towards this small rodent like a pack of hungry dogs. The field was suddenly awash in the combined sounds of childish giggles and parental reminders to stay away from the road. With Bob’s one innocent remark, the activity had turned into the sort of chaos only made possible with a few dozen toddlers on the hunt to meet one of their idols. What any of them planned to do with the rabbit once they caught him, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t think they were thinking that far ahead.
       Bob was stupidly beaming with pride. In his point of view, he was the absolute hero of the Easter Egg hunt for spotting this bunny for the kids. For the children, this was the most magical day of their young little lives.
       For the rodent, it was fucking Armageddon.
       So the bunny ran, and it ran like an animal that didn’t want to be cornered. Every direction it went, another child was there ready to cut him off, pick him up and squeeze all of the candy, easter eggs and gold out of him. Do Easter Bunnies deliver gold?  Who knows what these kids were expecting.
       To make a long story short, these kids had no chance of catching this fast critter. But the animal knew that it would be better off being in a different area. So it ran for the road, hoping to flee the church yard and never come back. Thankfully, all the grown-ups were successful in preventing any of the children from going anywhere close to the road.
         If only someone had been protecting the bunny. Or at least been able to warn the small truck that just....well, there's no other way to put it. The truck straight up smashed it in front of all the kids.
         Every child stopped, staring at the truck as it vanished over the hill, taking their childhood with it. Then, in unison, each of them turned around, looked at their parents, and erupted into a unified tidal wave of tears and despair.
         Bob just stood there, looking for all the world like he had just filmed a Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away" commercial.  Every parent ran out to comfort their child with flimsy stories about how that particular bunny was just the real Easter Bunny's helper, and he's with Jesus now, or something like that. The rest of them just bore holes into Bob's head with their eyes. Those volunteers who didn't have children (or souls) tried not to laugh in front of the others.
        It resulted in a combined cost of hundreds of dollars in therapy bills, several heartfelt official apologies from the church, and a polite but firm request that Bob not participate in any more youth functions. 
        Well, at any rate, hope you had a safe and happy Easter everyone. Thanks for reading!

        



John Yeo Jr. is the author of The King's Tournament and Mama Sauveterre's Curiosity Shoppe.  His next book, The Infinite League, comes out in September.   Hey, want to know about John's upcoming projects and perhaps earn some free stuff?  Sign up for John's newsletter by going here!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

In memory of a friend

       This isn’t easy to talk about, but I really needed to take a few moments to say some kind words about a very good friend that I lost this weekend.  It hurts a bit, but we all knew this day was coming.


       

       He was only in my life for a couple of months now, but the bond between us was tangible and deep.
       Not only was he much loved by myself, but my entire family accepted him as a very old friend that we never wanted to say good-bye too.  And although we knew, when he came into our lives, that our time together might be brief, we had hoped to have him around for a little bit longer.  I mean, at least until July or August or so.  At least until May, so I could have gone to C2E2.
       He was there for us when our family went out to Sunday night movie nights, or when my buddies got together on Sunday for a game of Cards Against Humanity.  And who could forget the times he joined us for Friday night Netflix & Chill sessions.

       But he’s gone now, and we’ll just have to remember the good times more than the sad times without him that lay ahead.

       So farewell to you, my good friend Daytime-Shift with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays off.   Or, as I affectionately called you, The Sweet Schedule.  I’ve been promoted, and since I’m at the bottom of the seniority list for Floor Supervisors, I’ll be heading to Graveyard Shift with Mondays and Tuesdays off.  You’ve been a good friend, Sweet Schedule, but I’m sure we’ll see each other again.

       Probably in 2022, more than likely.  And hey, maybe I’ll be a best selling author by then and I can stay home every day.  But for now, farewell...my dear friend.  I shall miss you, more than you can possibly know.  It’s going to be tough seeing you with another person, but at least I had you in my life for a short time.  We’ll always have our memories. I’ll leave your tapes and clothes and shit on your porch next week.  Pleaes don’t call, I just want to make a clean break and move on with my life.  I know you’ll understand.

       Never good-bye.  Just….see you later.


       * choke *



John Yeo Jr. is the author of The King's Tournament and Mama Sauveterre's Curiosity Shoppe.   Both of which you can buy on Amazon as a paperback or in digital copy.   His next book, The Infinite League, arrives in September.  You can follow him on Twitter and www.yeoniverse.com

Friday, March 31, 2017

Jerome, the Baccarat Prodigy

           When I'm not writing books, my day job has me working at a casino. And as some of my close friends are aware, I was just promoted to floor supervisor. So, with April 6th being my final day as a dealer after six years, I thought I'd devote this week's blog to one of my favorite memories as a casino dealer. I've got lots of favorites, but this one still makes me laugh.




            This is about the baffling game of Baccarat.  To explain the complicated rules behind this game would take an entire separate article, and I don't want to bore you.  Suffice it to say that there's a Player hand, and a Banker hand. Each hand gets two or three cards, depending on the aforementioned complicated rules. Face cards are counted as zero, and we only count the last digit of the sum of the cards.  So a total of 9 would be a "9", and a total of 19 would also be a "9."  A total of 30 would be a "0."   Everyone at the table is simply betting which hand will come closer to 9?  Player, or banker?  If you're right, you win.  If you're wrong, better luck next time.
            It’s a very popular game with high rollers, and it’s very popular with the Asian community, but it attracts lots of people because of its simplicity. Most casinos keep a running digital display of the results of the last twenty hands, and it’s permissible to keep a scorecard at your table to track the hands yourself. Theoretically, if you’re a mathematical prodigy, you can extrapolate from the results what the most likely outcome is going to be on the next hand. In reality, I think you’d have the same luck if you made your decision based on a coin flip.
            So I was dealing the game one day to a group of very serious and silent gamers. A young, brash black guy named Jerome was walking by the table with one of his friends. I knew Jerome to be a strict Blackjack player, he didn’t touch anything else. His buddy paused at the Baccarat table, looking at the activity and hustle surrounding the table. It was a normal day of Baccarat at our casino, which meant there was probably about a dozen people jockeying for bets.
            “Jerome, how do you play this game?”
            I had never seen Jerome play Baccarat before, but he immediately and without hesitation launched into this explosive, loud and wild speech.
            “You gotta bet on what side is gonna have the highest score, Player or Banker! And you see that display up there on the table? The last five hands were Banker Wins! That means that 80% of the time, it’s gonna chop over to Player this hand. But the two of those hands were natural wins, so that tells most people it’s gonna be a Banker win after all. But you go back ten hands ago, there were two ties in a row. That makes resets everything, and means those natural wins don’t mean shit, so that’s why it’s gonna be a Banker win after all! So you gotta bet Banker, you got no choice. Banker! Bam! Banker Bet! Let’s see that shit, dealer!”
            And to illustrate the point, he took ten dollars in chips out of his pocket and slammed it on a Banker Bet position. This was done in conjunction with the word bam for full dramatic emphasis. Then he stepped back, folded his arms, and waited.
            I was speechless. Anyone who knows anything about the game could tell that everything Jerome had just said was one of the most wildly insane rants ever uttered by a human tongue. But he sold that story like an expert. His friend believed him, and followed suit by placing a ten dollar bet of his own on Banker. Not only had he convinced his friend, but several of the other gamblers at the table, many of them notoriously superstitious by nature, followed suit. He had influenced the entire table. Jerome just stood back, folding his arms, and smiling at what he seemed convinced was an absolutely sure bet.  Not sure enough to place more than $10, of course, but if he had any shred of doubt, it didn't show.  Had a new Baccarat prodigy revealed itself?  Every player waited breathlessly for the Banker bet to win.
            I drew the cards.
            Player bet won. It wasn’t even close. Player  8, Banker 2.  Everyone at the table lost. Everyone looked at Jerome for an explanation.
            Jerome, cool as ice, just shrugged and before he walked away, he said, “What, man? I don’t know how the fuck this fucking game works.”

            I didn’t laugh out loud. But I nearly pissed myself trying not to.  I'm going to miss being part of stories like that.



John Yeo Jr. is the author of The King's Tournament and Mama Sauveterre's Curiosity Shoppe.  Both of which are available at Amazon, which you should order a copy and read 'cause their awesome fantasy and adventure novels that's gotten a few good reviews already.   His next novel, The Infinite League, comes out in September.   You can follow more of John's news at Yeoniverse.com