Check out the prologue to "Alone In The Light" by clicking here

An excerpt from: Alone In The Light

Monday, February 17, 2020

Frank - A Short Story


Written by: Benjamin W. Bass

“Can you tell me your name?”
“Frank... er, Francis James Ackerman...  People just call me Frank.”
“May I call you Frank?”
“Good. Do you know why you are here, Frank?”
“I was told you could help me get a job.”
“That we can, Frank. We help people get jobs.”
“That’s good.”
“You signed the red-form, right, Frank?”
“That’s good. Am I coming through the earpiece all right, Frank?”
“Yes. I hear you fine.”
“Good, Frank. We’re about to start the procedure.”
“That’s good. Will I be awake the whole time?”
“More or less, Frank.”
“What’s it like?”
“I’ve been told it’s a little disorienting, but painless.”
“That’s good. I guess.”
“We’re starting the calibration, Frank, you should feel…”
“I can feel it. What kind of job will I get?”
“Based on your scores, Frank, the computer will pick a job that suites your creativity, skills and…”
“I think I’m falling.”
“Right, Frank. You may feel like you’re falling a little, but I assure you, you’re fine.”
“I’ll say. Wow. That’s… ungh!”
“Yeah, Frank, I may have lied about the painless part.”
“Sorry, Frank. Moving up to forty-percent.”
“I can remember things.”
“That’s good, Frank, just let it happen. Don’t try to hold on to any of the memories. Just let them in.”
“I… Oh, god.”
“Just relax, Frank.”
“This isn’t…”
“Let it in, Frank. Let the machine do its job. Up to sixty-percent now.”
“Doing great, Frank. Almost there.”
“I…. Hngggh.”
“Up to ninety. Pushing to one hundred.”
“AH! I…”
“Full strength now, Frank. Just hang in there.”
“Can’t… told…”
“I’m sure you were told many things, Frank. We’re almost there.”
“And, go!”
“How’s it read? Good? Okay. Private Ackerman, can you hear me?”
“Can you hear me, Private?”
“Y… yes.  Yes, sir!”
“Good, Private. How do you feel?”
“I have a headache, sir.”
“That’ll pass soon, son.”
“If you say so, sir.”
“Yes, sir?”
“What is your name?”
“Private Ackerman, Francis James. U.N.E.F.! Serial Number 45-34K-J1, sir!”
“That’s excellent, Private. The restraints on your arms will now release. Do not touch the connectors on your head. you’ll need them. Proceed out the door, turn left and follow the yellow line to advanced combat training.”
“Yes sir. Thank you, sir.”
“You’re welcome, Private. Send in the next applicant, nurse.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sick and tired of being sick... and tired.

Laziness is a hard habit to break... 

A friend of mine made a comment about "wanting to become healthier" recently on his Twitter feed and that really got me thinking. It got me thinking about myself and my current state of health.

I, like many of you, like to drink alcohol. It's a nice way to wind down after a long, stressful day. But this isn't healthy.

I also like food. Especially foods that have been coated in some sort of breading and dropped into a vat of boiling oil... But this isn't healthy.

I have become lazy in my old age of 41.

Hell, I used to run all the time. I have completed THREE Spartan Races - which were a LOT of fun. But that was then... this is now. In the last year or so, I've stopped with the balanced meals. My free time is spent watching the tv. And it slowly became a habit. Now it's just life. I keep putting things off for "later" because laziness and procrastination have become comfort foods to me.

But I have come to recognize that laziness and procrastination are destructive to my word. When you take on a task you make a promise to somebody (perhaps just yourself, but somebody) that you will complete that task. But being lazy means you are breaking your word... That’s not bad, or wrong, it just is. It's impacting my life. It's impacting my ability to write... And that needs to change.

You can't fix a problem with good intentions. You can't get healthy just by not wanting to be unhealthy anymore. You can't just research "How to get off the couch" and not put it into practice.

You have to get up.

You have to move.

I'm really sick of being out of shape. I'm sick of being lazy. I'm sick of being sick of it all... I've got more false-starts than I care to.

I'm sick of the amount of time I spend on the couch...

I am at the beginning of this new journey - I'm making today DAY ONE!  And I'll take as many DAY ONEs as I need until I find that motivation and that drive. I need to dig down, dig deep, get up and GET MOVING!!

Anyone want to join me on this trip?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Twas The Night Before Christmas - 2019


Twas the day before Christmas and I am wearing a smirk,
The last present has been wrapped so I don't feel like a jerk!
The kids and some bourbon were dropped off to my mom
Along with homemade sausage - which is the bomb.

This year has been trying, not the usual happy ole time
And I'm having trouble coming up with happy things to rhyme
But that's not really true, for I have AJ, Bug, and The Glump
They're the center of my world, and they keep me out of the holiday slump

We laugh and we dance, we watch corny shows
A right jolly nerd family, we can laugh at our woes.
The Glump is just silly, a carefree soul who farts
And Bug is independent and a fair hand at Fine Arts

They play and they draw, they laugh and they cry
When I ever question my life - I think, "They are certainly why."
For money is tight, and the world seems to suck
But be with your family... and just don't give a fuck.

We got to MeMe and Papaw's and played with the pups
That is at least until they start chewing things up!
I, of course, mean the dogs in this Christmas fable.
But knowing the Glump, that's still on the table...

Stop, Ziva! Stop, Gibbs!
Don't eat that, Little Bug!
Why is your brother hiding under a rug?
To the top of the stairs, go play and stop fighting!
Wait, shit! Come back!
Santa's gifts are up there in hiding!

They're like little hurricanes, the kids and the pups
They're too fast for me... I might just give up.
Can we just eat? Oh god I need food.
This fat guy needs to get in his holiday mood!

I'm not always happy, but that's part of life
I'd probably be depressed if it wasn't for my wife
She is the shining star around which I fly
Writing books and dealing with the kids when they cry

We're a matched pair, the author AJ and I
She makes you laugh, and I make you cry!
We write and we parent and we try to live a good life
This frumpy fat man, and his smokin' hottie of a wife.

So Merry Christmas to you, from me and my fam...
And if you drink enough bourbon - you stop giving a damn!

Have fun. Be happy! Make someone's day bright!
A Merry Christmas to all... and to all a goodnight.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Did You Just Drop The F-Bomb?


There, I've said it. Glad we could get that out of the way.

I'm here today to talk about the important use of "language." And, no, I don't mean grammar and punctuation. I mean "naughty words"... you know... shit, fuck, damn, ass, and so on.

As some of my readers may know - I was in the military. And, having been in the military, I have a close, personal relationship with swearing. It's part of the culture. Hell, it's been part of my life since the, what? 8th grade? Probably earlier. And having this as part of my life - I have incorporated into my lexicon both orally and on the page. I don't see the problem with it. Everyone I know swears... except my in-laws. I don't think I've ever heard either of them say anything more harsh than a possible damnit.

Being a fluent swearer, I wrote my characters and their dialogue in a way that reflects my own speech patterns and colorful adjectives. Sorry, but sometimes "oh, dang it!" just doesn't cut it. These words have grown, changed, and worked their way into out vocabulary throughout history. It is my opinion that there IS a reason for this... sometimes our brains just need a release valve for emotional turmoil or stress. Swearing is that valve for many of us. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit in the Kroger deli and ask for some fucking turkey or damn cheese. I know when and where to swear... and, I'm sorry to say, it doesn't bother me if you don't like these words.

That's it. That's the ticket. I did not write this book for you. I wrote this for me. In doing so - I went with the most accurate and realistic portrayal of people in this situation that I could. And that includes some F-Bombs. 127 of them to be more precise. I also use shit, damn, asshole, bitch, dick, and a few others. Why? Because when people are upset, angry, and walking the fine line between drinking themselves to death and thinking about suicide - they tend to be a little less polite in their daily word-choice.

I'm not one of those people who thinks that using swear words is somehow a reflection of said person's lack of intelligence or low-brow thinking. Generally speaking, I find a book without those words to be lacking or fake - depending on the age group of the book. I don't expect my son's (he's 7) books to be littered with swears. Nor his favorite cartoons. But I do feel that a book about strong emotional trauma that excludes any kind of harsh, directed language to be... insincere. Few people I know when met with life altering news would respond with, "shucks, that sounds bad." Most would probably opt for the "are you fucking kidding me?" response.

So - when you comment on my book's language... I just don't care. I mean, I do care because I'm not a raging asshole. But not enough to make a revised, edited version for the sake of your high moral standards.

I hope you will understand this. As a reader, I would hope that you've seen many books with this questionable language and, being a good reader, understand that words are just words. And we all use them for our own ends. In the case of my writing - I want it to sound like it came from me... and I say fuck a lot.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

From our family to yours!

Today is December 4th. I know we're still 3 weeks away from Christmas, but I wanted to take a minute to say thank you all for your support and to offer up a simple "Merry Christmas" from me and my family to you and yours.

Things are about to get very busy on my end, so I don't know if, or when, I'll be getting over here to my blog. So I am taking the moment to wish each and every one you a very wonderful, very peaceful and stress-free holiday!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Thank you for being a friend!

One of the best things to come out of writing Alone In The Light is the connections I have made with people who have read it.

I have been contacted by people who I might otherwise never interact with. They've informed me how much the story has spoken to them and how much they've been able to connect with the characters I've created. On multiple occasions, I've struck up wonderful new friendships with these readers.

That, to me, is success. That, to me is the entire purpose behind this book. I'm not trying to be famous. I'm trying to connect with people and say, "Look, we're not alone. We're all out here trying to survive." In doing so - I hope that this work has, in some way, made a difference in someone's life.

If you are one of these readers-turned-friends... let me take a moment to say THANK YOU. Not for reading my book - but for reaching out to me and becoming friends with me. I cannot tell you how great this feeling is.

So, as they say on The Golden Girls, "Thank you for being a friend."

I look forward to our continued friendship in this crazy world and as I, hopefully, write more for you to read.

All my best,

Friday, October 4, 2019

An Open Letter To Jenna Bush Hager's Book Club

Dear Jenna,

I know that November is still several weeks away, but I would like to recommend a book for your #ReadWithJenna selection - Alone In The Light, by Benjamin W. Bass.

With November being the month of Veterans Day, I feel this book would be a particularly good choice. It was written by a veteran and tells the tale of two soldiers who meet in Kuwait and are painfully separated by the war.

Josh Carpenter is a National Guard soldier from Indiana who is injured in an IED explosion on Thanksgiving morning and he returns home, broken and unsure about his place in the world. Before his unfortunate incident, he meets, and falls in love with, Mary Fischer. She is an active duty solder from Fort Sam Houston who works in the Combat Support Hospital at Camp Wolf. After Josh's departure from her life she tries to go home and pick up the pieces of her life, leaving her overbearing mother and setting out on her own - which eventually leads her back to Josh on the campus of Indiana University.

The story is a very personal and real tale based partially on my own life and the experiences I had while in the military. The characters are very real and very relatable and the book itself is receiving great reviews.

I am an independent author. This book was thought up, written, and published by me and my wife. We have no backing of a publishing house, advertising group, or any other support outside of friends and family. It is this fact, as well as the book's overall message of hope and redemption, that I feel it is an excellent choice as your November pick.

Thank you for your time and, hopefully, your consideration. I am very proud of this book and I feel that many people will love it if they only knew about it.

All my best,
Benjamin W. Bass