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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hiatus

Fiction writing has been a wonderful outlet for me. As eager as I am to finish the Jimmy Miller series, there is a reality. I need an income and I want a meaningful career to to fulfill this need. Therefore, I am planning on being part of a teacher training program through Michigan Teacher Corps (Teach for America). The track I am on requires my full attention. This means I will place my writing on hold for the moment. I hope to return when my life becomes more settled. As for this blog, I will post from time to time. However, I will post with less frequency.

Thank you to all who take the time to read this blog. My books are still available at Amazon. Just follow the links. Be good to yourselves.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Update

Just one last chapter and the rough draft to my kid's book is complete. Then, it's revision/editing time and off to search for a literary agent. The difficulty is placing words that a third grader would understand. I have to keep the sentence structure simple but interesting. Challenging them is one thing, but there are some words kids just don't use.

Time slows down when I get to the end chapter. It's hard to stop a train and a novel's resolution is much like that. Since I'm not self-publishing this title, I won't worry about developing a cover. That's one less item I off my to-do list. However, it does mean...getting a polished query letter together. Agents are particular folk, so it has to be exactly as they expect it.

I do intend on getting part 2 to "The Skateboard" completed. My target is Friday, but I have to get blood work done for an upcoming physical. It may be Friday evening when I finish it. Have a great St. Patrick's Day to all of you.

Before I close, I must note it was ten years ago my son was diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism called PDD-NOS. Since no one knows what that is, we just say autism. My younger son was a little more than a month old. Anyway, be good to yourselves and if you find a leprechaun, be good to him, too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dreaming

One of my favorite activities is dreaming. Inherently, sleeping is a big part of it. My dreams are vivid and I often can't tell that they are just dreams at the time. They can be exciting, weird, but never scary. As much as I think I'll remember them, as soon as I wake, I forget most of them. I can recall only bits and pieces. This type of dreaming is better than daydreaming because I never know what's coming.

Obviously, dreams are coming from somewhere. If they are from God and are meant to be visions, then I hope He can help me remember them. The source of my dreams are most likely from my unconscious. I'm surprised I have no nightmares since I had a nightmarish childhood at times. My mind is often preoccupied with plenty of worries. I know, I shouldn't worry about anything, but pray about everything. If only I had the spiritual strength to live this out. So, I'll stop calling them worries, but anxieties. See...I'm not worrying, I just have a lot of anxiety. (Really, though, it's worry.)

When I write fiction, much of it is done with a great deal of free association, a Freudian concept. I try to let my unconscious come out and give me dreams that I can write down and remember. Then, I tailor them in hopes others might enjoy these same "dreams." I try to get my worries down, too. In the Jimmy Miller series my worries are deeply embedded in it. 

There are plenty of worries for me. I did have a previous post where I listed my fears. Well, fears are worries and worries are fears. Here's a list of current worries (not an exhaustive list, mind you):

  • Will Russia engage in a sneak nuclear attack on the U.S. and our allies? Is there another "reset" button?
  • Is Netanyahu right about Iran? Can anyone really stop them from getting the Bomb? Is he the Winston Churchill in all of this?
  • Am I being abducted by aliens at night and could that explain my vivid dreams? If so, how are they getting in?
  • Will I ever pay off my student loans?
  • Can my son with autism lead a life of independence?
  • Will the world ever run out of coffee? I mean, good coffee?
  • Will America stop voting for village idiots, also known as Republicans and Democrats?
Well, there you go. I hope this helps with my anxiety. Have a great, worry free weekend everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's Sprinter

Sprinter is now here. That's what I call the period of late winter and early spring. Signs of a warm-up are everywhere, but I know in the back of my head cold and snow can come back at anytime. Once the snow can all melt then there's a better chance of warmer temperatures. As for Jimmy Miller, sales of both books so far are pretty chilly. Hopefully, this will change. 

I still have the same writing projects in process. My sleep cycle needs to get adjusted to the missing hour. Really, I don't have too many new things to report. Most important to me is that you all have a wonderful sprinter, which for me will lead to decent maple syrup production. Of course, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere then you're not experiencing sprinter, but have a great season wherever you find yourself.

Be kind to yourself and neighbors!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Skateboard

I have a new short story for you faithful blog readers. It is part one. I call it "The Skateboard." It's part of my mission to give you something to read in a non-threatening environment while you sip on your coffee (or hot beverage of your choice).

The Skateboard Part I 
Glad to finally be home from school today, I went inside and dumped my backpack in the middle of the kitchen. I knew one of my parents would yell at me to hang it up...yeah, it's a game I like to play with them. They think they're teaching me something. Parents have to feel like parents and all. My stomach growled and I searched for a snack. Nothing on the shelves, the cupboards, or the fridge.

"Mom!" I yelled. "Dad!" How strange no one was home. I thought I heard a car pull into the driveway, so I went back outside. Must have been hearing things. "Hey, a skateboard," I noted. It wasn't there when I came home from school. Looking around to see who might have left it, I saw no signs of anyone. This thing was something the pros used.

A sign taped to the back instructed me to "step on." I found my bicycle helmet, strapped it on, and placed my feet on the surface. Without any push from me, the skateboard moved and I waved my arms to keep my balance. It continued rolling past the driveway and across the street. I checked for cars and stayed on the skateboard.

The skateboard scooted into my neighbor's driveway directly across from ours. Their driveway sloped upwards, but the skateboard showed no signs of stopping. As I cut into my neighbor's backyard, I caught the last glimpse of my house before it became hidden from my view. I hadn't locked the doors, so I hoped no one breaks in.

Grass and weeds did not slow the ride. I should have jumped off the board and ran away for my life. A skateboard powered by some mysterious force needed to be avoided, but I wondered where it planned on taking me. What I never realized that the lawns across the street had a paved back alley. The skateboard hung a left. I don't how fast it traveled. As fast as I could pedal my bike and I stayed on like a pro. Regardless of how I tried, I couldn't steer it to where I wanted to go. It decided on its own course.

Onward I went, and I passed a wooded area. I emerged in a neighborhood that shouldn't have been there. The back alley led to a residential street where hundreds of other kids had their own skateboards. Unlike mine, these kids didn't have ones that were self-propelled. Who were these kids? I didn't recognize any of them. When they saw me enter the skateboard traffic, some kids would point at me. Some jeered, "Hey, you're riding that wrong!"

"What do you mean?" I protested. "This thing is driving itself."

However, these kids were jerks. They proceeded to taunt me about my skateboard skills. How could they when they weren't any better than me? Wasn't because I didn't have to push mine to keep it going? Of course, they could steer theirs, but mine...it had a mind of its own. In the middle of the skateboarding preteens, a hooded guy stood. He stared at me, but I couldn't make out his face. I assumed he was a guy. He could've been a girl.

I heard him speak in my mind. Get ready...it's coming. Suddenly, the other kids and I became engulfed by a ball of fire so bright I couldn't see anything. Then, came the boom!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Long Haul

The good news is that the ebook versions of Book 1 and 2 of Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful have both sold a few copies. Between 25 and 30 copies of Book 2 have sold, while Book 1 had between 35 and 40 sold. It's a good start for a self-published title with virtually no marketing, at least not on a large scale. Hopefully, readers will leave reviews with Amazon. Since the end of the free promotion periods for each book, there have been no further purchases. They have a long ways to go before becoming best sellers.

I'm making good progress on a novel for children. It's right on the fine line between early chapter book and middle-grade fiction. This work will have under a hundred pages and 20,000 words. Self-publishing it is out of the question because it requires a level of illustration that is beyond my capabilities. When I did the illustrations for Crazy Adventures, I only did so because I meant it to be an anthology of short stories. I needed a place to store them besides this blog, so I didn't need the illustrations to be professional. My new children's story, though, will not work with me doing the illustrations. Therefore, once I have the manuscript edited, I will seek out a literary agent and get it traditionally published. They can find the right illustrator for it, I'm sure.

Very soon, I'll begin working on Book 3 of Jimmy Miller. I have another rough draft of a novel I finished for NaNoWriMo month. It's a very dark tale for teens. I'm almost afraid of unleashing it into the world. Yes, I'm afraid of my own fiction. Like in Stephen King's The Dark Half in which a writer's fictional character comes to life and...you can only imagine the chaos. If I do go forward with it, I will seek traditional publication for it. 

Finally, I've put an outline together for a Christian novel. My vision is for it to be primarily for Christian readers and for those of the faith. However, people outside of the Christian faith will be welcome to read it, too. It's a daunting task because I don't want the Christian faith to simply be a substitute for magic. So, it won't be a fantasy or science fiction work.

Well, that's it for now. This concludes this super powerful update. Be awesome to yourself and to others.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Remember...

The death of Leonard Nimoy proved that he was truly human after all. If only he had a Vulcan half and could live for centuries...Upon hearing the news of Nimoy's passing, I went right to Netflix. I already have the Original Series of Star Trek queued, and I'm on the third season. Of course, I re-watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan because in my mind Leonard Nimoy's death is so much like that of the ending of the movie. James Kirk, who was an admiral at the time, reflected that there are always possibilities. Of course, he hinted that Spock would return, become reborn in the sequels.

The reality is the Spock character will live on by other actors, but Leonard Nimoy's Spock is now forever embedded in our memories--and now he is truly gone. With ghastly atrocities happening every day, the death of this one man has reminded us of the joy we can put into this world.

Leonard Nimoy's Spock showed just how super powerful science fiction can be. He shined a light on what it means to be human--and how humans could be better. That's what science fiction can do. It can pose deep philosophical and theological questions, maybe sometimes answer them. We knew the day would come when Leonard Nimoy would not be with us anymore, at least physically. "Remember," Spock told McCoy before his sacrificial scene at the end of The Wrath of Khan.

Good-bye to Leonard Nimoy. And yes, we will always "Remember."

Be good to yourselves, you readers of this blog and LLAP!