Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Re-Wind

When I find a new blog to follow, I don't always get a chance to go back and check out the earlier least in the beginning and, especially, if they've been at it for a few years.

To that end, I thought I'd re-post this little bit of flash fiction I put up about a year ago. It was, obviously, heavily inspired by the old pulps and movie serials. I did just a bit of reformatting and rearranging but, besides that, it's pretty much as is.

If you've already seen this, I apologize. If you haven't already seen this....I still apologize. <rimshot>

O.k, maybe it's not all that bad, so let me know what you think.

The Fortune Society in: 

Gems 'da breaks, kid.

The Cast--

The Baron: Swashbuckling man of mystery, wielder of the Karma Blade, and leader of the Fortune Society.

Professor Proton: A scientist of undetermined age and credentials. His wondrous devices seem to bend the laws of physics until they scream....when they work, that is.

Aristotle Slate: Philosophical strong man and medic. Fluent in over twenty languages thanks to his photographic memory.

Jimmy Dohicky: The son of Dohicky Toys magnate, Chester Dohicky, Jimmy wants to lead the life of adventure, helping the team with his amazing, cobbled together from nothing, devices.

"Now young man, if you would be so kind as to toggle the starting mechanism located just above my left shoulder, I will...."

"Huh?" came the reply from the young blonde kid with the slicked back hair, tweed jacket, and bow tie.

"Flip 'da switch..." grunted the hulking figure that stood behind the both of them, rolling his eyes up as if trying to look under the brim of his battered derby.

"Oh...well, why didn't ya say so?" the kid said, reaching up and flipping the button to the 'on' position...then taking a step back. He was never sure what, exactly, Professor Proton's wondrous inventions did at any given time, he just knew it was always a good idea to stand far away from them when they were set to go.

The device strapped to the smaller, older, looking man's back started to hum. Lights began to shine, in a circular pattern, on the outside of the device which looked a bit like a round backpack, but made of highly polished metal. Two hoses were attached to each side which ran down the length of the wearer's arms and fastened at his wrists. A nozzle stuck up and over each hand, which he brought up and tried to take aim.

"Uhhh.....Prof, I don't think 'dats da best idea ya ever came up wit', ya know? I mean, I think The Baron wants know....take care o' 'dis himself..." the big man standing behind the other two men said.

"Now,now, Slate", the smaller man in the white lab coat said, holding his arms up and clenching his fists, "it should be obvious to any plebeian that our illustrious leader is in dire need of a bit of scientific assistance, wouldn't you say?" He closed his left eye, taking aim behind his thick, darkly tinted, goggles.

"Oooohhhh....this ain't gonna be good...I just know it." the blonde kid said, taking a step back and adjusting his bow tie.

"James, please refrain from vocalizing your inner dialogue as I am in the midst of addressing the fascinating beast which has designs on ingesting our fearless leader?"


"Shaddup so's he can aim..." the hulking figure, Slate, said screwing up his face in frustration.

"Oh....well, why didn't you say so? And besides, you can call me Jimmy...everyone dmmmpffff!"

A large hand clamped over his mouth as Jimmy's eyes widened. He looked up, nodding at Slate, who removed his overly large hand from Jimmy's mouth and returned the nod.

"Almost.....almost......there...." Proton said as his fingers on each hand depressed twin triggers and bright beams of crimson energy shot out from the nozzles on his wrists. The bright flash of light drew the creature's attention and it turned it's many tentacled head towards the twin beams of energy. Just before they impacted it right between it's two sets of eyes. A loud explosion echoed in the small chamber and the Beast from a Thousand Nightmares dropped into a pile of rubbery, foul smelling goo.

"Blast it, Professor!" the dashing man with the wavy blonde hair and matching goatee shouted, his right arm still up and over his eyes, his left arm out and brandishing a glowing rapier. "I had the creature just where I wanted it!"

"Oh Baron, your cavalier attitude towards danger never gets dull." the Professor grinned as he motioned for Jimmy to flip the switch of his Plasma Manipulator off. "Besides, our mission here was to obtain the Sultan's Guardian Gem, correct?"

"Exactly...something we couldn't have done until the gem's thief was dispatched. We had him on the ropes, didn't we Dumas?"

"Of course sir." a disembodied voice echoed from the glowing rapier in the Baron's hand.

"I hate 'dat sword..." grumbled Slate as he continued checking over his shoulder to make sure that the portal behind them was still open. 

The Baron grinned at Slate, then glanced down at the pile of rubbery goo that was the remains of the Beast. Barely visible was the gleam of a multifaceted, aquamarine, gem.

"Well, that looks to be a bit of a sticky wicket, eh?" The Baron said, motioning towards the smelly, bubbly, mass with the glowing rapier.

"Sir, if you stick me in that mess I will cut you in your sleep...", the rapier said in a haunting voice.

"No need for that, I'm certain. Jimmy, might you have something to help us out here?" The Baron winked at the blonde young man.

"Oh, sure thing Baron....gimme one sec. I got what ya need or my name ain't Jimmy Dohicky!" 

The young man approached, pulling a small, telescoping rod from his inner jacket pocket and attaching some silvery string to the end of it. From another pocket, he produced some copper wiring and began bending and twisting it while his tongue stuck out of the corner of his mouth. He then tied the other end of the string to the copper wiring and lowered the fishing pole like device down towards the goop covered gem.

"Ya know, I've been thinkin' about makin' some sorta game outta this one. See, the people would put their money in and try to move this claw like thing down into a buncha toys or such and if they can clamp onto 'em", he said as he snagged the gem with the bent wiring, "then they get ta keep it!" he grinned as he held the now brightly glowing gem as if he'd just caught a prize bass.

"Jimmy, you're definitely a keeper." The Baron smiled as he took the gem from the wiring and put it into a black, silky, pouch.

Jimmy smiled, dismantling his gizmo and putting the pieces back into different pockets.

"Now lads....we're off. Let's get this gem back to the Sultan before the hourglass runs out of sand."

"Agreed Baron. I think now is good time to retreat to our own plane with alacrity."


"We gotta get home....quick-like....."

"Oh, well why didn't...."

A three voiced chorus replied "Shut up!"

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar who?

Seeing as I didn't pick up anything at last night's Oscars, it was nice to see that my blogging pals didn't forget me :)

As if the Ninja Captain, himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh doesn't do enough, he's gone and nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Alex is a true prince among bloggers...very encouraging and helpful and always willing to lend a digital hand to his fellow writers/bloggers. For someone like that to say that I inspire them, is a real honor.

Thank you Alex, I do appreciate it!

So, as per the custom of the award, I'll reveal seven things about myself, then pass it on to three other bloggers who I find inspiring.

  1. I'm left handed (hence the title of this blog), for the most part. Because my dad would always take things from my left hand and put them into my right, I do some things right handed...such as throw and swing a bat or golf club. Most things, write, eat, swing a tennis racket, bowl, etc., I do left handed.
  2. I was a huge pro wrestling fan when I was younger. Had I more drive and ambition, back then, I would have tried to make it a career.
  3. It's hard to explain, but I can make my right pinky finger crack on command. It bends normally and silently, but I can also make a knuckle cracking sound with it and it alone.
  4. I had a mullet in the 80s.......don't judge.
  5. Back in the 80s I also used to love wearing bolo ties. I had a bunch of them.
  6. Before it came out I loudly predicted that E.T. the Extraterrestrial, would be a flop. I also said the same about Top Gun.
  7. I used to take country line dancing lessons and was pretty darn good :)

I'd like to pass this award along to three (well, it's supposed to be three, but I'm going to cheat) four bloggers whom I really enjoy:

Elise Fallson---Her video post for the "Re-introduce Yourself" blog hop was amazing and one of the highlights of that hop, for me.

Jaybird over a The Bird's Nest---I always look forward to her down to earth, no nonsense view on life.

Nancy at The Writer's Mark---Always upbeat and always has something interesting to say.

Morgan Shamy---She's always encouraging and very helpful. If you haven't already, check out her journey on becoming a's great stuff.

Of course, I could say great things about all the blogs I're all winners in my book, seriously.

Thanks again to Alex for the award!

Other award type mentions....

Also, over at Misha Gericke's My First Book, she's taking votes for her Paying Forward Awards

This month, someone was so kind as to nominate lil ole' me for "Best Commentor". I'm in awesome company with Alex, Mark, and M.L. Swift. So, if you haven't already....go over and cast a vote. 

There are a lot of great folks mentioned and, as cliched as it sounds, I'm just happy to have been nominated. Also a big "Thank You!" to whomever nominated me.

Kudos to Misha for getting this going. I think it's a fun and positive way to highlight blogs we might never come across otherwise. 

On Wednesday, I'm thinking about re-posting some flash fiction I did a while back, for your reading pleasure consumption....

You have been warned :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

CassaStorm Cover Reveal/Healthy Writer's Club

It's always nice to be able to help out a fellow blogger, especially when they have a brand new book coming out. This isn't just any blogger, though.

Today, we're talking about the Wizard of the Written Word, the Grand Poo-Bah of Grammar, the Sultan of Synonyms, the Duke of the Dictionary....the one and only, the Ninja Captain.....

Alex J. Cavanaugh! <cue applause and fanfare!>

Alex's new book, CassaStorm comes out on September 17th and I'm honored to do a small part in helping him spread the word.

So, without further ado....I give you a sneak peek at the cover for....


CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Big time congrats to Alex on his upcoming release. The cover looks downright amazing and I'm sure it's going to be a huge success.

Alex is a heck of a guy and always there to lend support, advice, or to remind you to turn off your word verification on your comments.  Not that he had to do that for me, or anything.....ahem

Anyway, here's wishing Mr. Cavanaugh much success and best wishes, all around!

The Healthy Writer's Club

Friday also means another update for the ongoing saga that is, The Healthy Writer's Club.

Hosted by Shallee McArthur, it's a weekly roundup that lets us writers/bloggers, discuss what healthy choices we're making regarding diet, exercise, and fitness.....or what choices we should be making. While blogging and writing is hard work, to be sure, it doesn't really burn all that many calories or help tone the muscles. Getting out of the chair is just the first step....

This week, I actually dusted off the old weight machine and got in a good workout. Only once, mind you, but it's something more than I had been doing.

I'm still keeping track of my caloric progress via MyFitnessPal and it's been invaluable to me in regards to actually thinking about what I'm eating. It's a great tool, easy to use, and has a phone app, too! If you're looking for friends there, my name is mmeans68.

The more support, the better!

I hope you all have a great Friday and an even better weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday's a hoppin'

Today I'm participating in not one, but two....that's right two....bloghops. I say that like I'm some wordsmithing powerhouse, but's the little things, right?

Anywho...on to the hops!!

First up is a neat little excursion I saw over on Alison's Geek Banter blog. She and Jamie from Mithril Wisdom want to know what some of our favorite games are and how do we enjoy "Leveling Up!".

I realize that I'm going to be giving my age away here, but I remember when the only 'video' type game out there was the original Pong. I got it one year, for Christmas, and played the crap out of it....figuratively speaking, of course.

Pong was great until the advent of Atari, where I got hooked on Space Invaders. From there it was the original Nintendo where my friends and I would have have all nighters playing Castlevania. Now that was a hard game....but lots of fun and many hours of sleep were sacrificed in defeating Count Dracula!

Two of my all time favorite games are the first Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior 3 for the original Nintendo. In fact, I have the first Final Fantasy game downloaded onto my Wii and still play it when I'm feeling nostalgic.

These days, though, my favorite game would have be (as cliched as it is) World of Warcraft. It's an MMO (Massively Multi-player Online) RPG (Role Playing Game) where you play with millions (in WoW's case) of other players.

One of the reasons this game will always hold a special place in my heart is that it's where I met my wife. She was one of those millions of players who I happened to start talking to and interacting with. Things progressed into the physical world and the rest, as they say, is history.

To this day, we still play and are hopeless alt-aholics. We have our own mini-launch parties with each new expansion and just have a great time playing the game.

World of Warcraft, as silly as it sounds, helped me to level up in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Some honorable mentions from other game genres:

Board Games: Clue, Monopoly, Descent.

Card Games: Munchkin, Magic the Gathering, Euchre

Table Top Role Playing Games: Champions, Feng Shui, D.C. Heroes

Cue cartoon hopping sound effects....

Now, springing to the next hop....

Elise Fallson and her blogging buddy Michelle Wallace at Writer in Transit have put together a very creative and fun hop to celebrate their one and two year. respectfully, blogging anniversaries.

They've provided the pictures and we're supposed to provide the captions and we got bonus points if we use the words twist, cheek, buzz, honour, grey, champagne, tango, and vomit.

Here goes....

Panel 1:

M-- "Elise, you do realize that you have to get into  the balloon before it takes off, right?

E-- "No really? I thought I'd just put a new twist on things and jog next to it."<smirks>

Panel 2:

M--"Will you stop fooling around and get up here. It's tough to steer this thing with a buzz from the champagne. I need another drink."

E--"I'm working on it, but I need to make sure my skirt doesn't fall. I wouldn't want that lurking dragon to see me 'turn the other cheek', as it were....ahem."

Panel 3:

Hero--"Never fear ladies...Major Vomit is here! I bet you're wondering about the's a long story and...."

Panel 4:

Major Vomit--"Ooooffff!"

Panel 5:

M--"When I said I needed a 'drink' this wasn't what I meant. I'm just sooo glad we had the honour of being rescued by this doofus."

Panel 6:

E--"The Major obviously proves the fact that you don't need a lot of grey matter to be a super hero. Ugh...we're soaking wet!"

M--"I think I heard a combination of a 'splash' and a 'thud'. Sounds like The Major is following the law. The law of gravity."

Panel 7:

Dragon--"O.k, I guess I should explain why I've been lurking in the see, I've been trying to learn the tango and...."

M--"Nope, not interested sorry. Hurry Elise, we need to get back behind our keyboards where it's safe. This way back to  the blogosphere!!"

Congrats to Elise and Michelle. Here's to many more years of blogging and having fun doing it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liebster Award

Did you ever have that feeling, deep down and in the back of your mind, that you've been forgetting something?

I have....for the past week. Then, this morning, as I was doing some re-organizing on this blog, it struck me.

Someone was kind enough to give me a blog award. Now, how on Earth this could slip my mind is beyond me and I have to apologize to Nancy over at Writer's Mark for not getting to this in a more timely manner.

I'm sorry, Nancy!!

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've been trying to keep a "schedule" for my posts and, yes, I realize it's neither Monday, Wednesday, nor Friday, but I think my schedule can forgive me this time.

Anyway, Nancy has been so kind as to think of me for The Liebster Award and here are the ground rules:

1. Thank the blogger who presented the award and link back to their blog:

    A big "thank you" to Nancy at Writer's Mark! (I love that name, btw)    

2. Answer eleven questions posted by the presenter, ask your nominees eleven questions, and list eleven random facts about yourself.

3. Nominate eleven bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.

4. Post the award on your blog.

O.k, here are eleven random facts about me:

1. Once, while jumping off a wall, a tree branch jabbed me in the left eye. I had a splinter on my eye lens that the doctor took out with tweezers. The only ill effects were some retinal scratching and I see just as well out of that eye as my other.

2. I love Native American culture and always wanted a Native American girlfriend. It never happened, though.

3. When I was young and my mom would make me go to bed, I would lay there and just imagine things. When she asked me what I was doing, I would tell her "I'm watching the Mark Show." Hey, don't laugh...I was just a kid :P

4. I once bench pressed 300lbs. because I wanted to lift twice my body weight.

5. I still plan on finishing of these days.

6. I met my wife online through playing World of Warcraft.

7. I wish I would have joined the military. At least for two years.

8. I once had aspirations of being a Secret Service Agent.

9. I also wanted to be a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

10. I love brussell sprouts.

11. I once L.A.R.P.'ed with Bruce Campbell. Yes, the Bruce Campbell.

Now, to answer Nancy's eleven questions:

1. Does your name have a backstory? Were you named after someone, does it have a special meaning, etc.

Not that I know of...though, once, my mom told me what my name was going to be if I had been a girl. Of course, I can't remember it now...

2. What’s the one thing you wish you could brag to everyone about?

That I had a degree in Creative Writing.

3. What’s your favorite word and why?

Actually, I have two... "What if"

4. If you could eat as much of anything you wanted without stopping until you could pop whenever you wanted, what would it be?

Banana pudding.

5.What’s the one thing you wish you could say to your spouse/parents/siblings/best friend but haven’t?

I can't think of any because I always speak my mind.

6. If you could make someone in your family the MC in a book or story, who would it be and what type of character would they be?

I would cast my dad as a hard boiled, noir, investigator sent to solve supernatural crimes because he's so "non-P.C." and very cynical. It would, probably, wind up being a comedy.

7. If you could be a #1 NY Times bestseller for the one book you’ve written and can ever write, or be a relatively unknown writer of many books, what would you choose and why?

I'd have to say a relatively unknown writer of many books. More options there.

8. Who’s your favorite actor and in what movie?

Claude Raines in Casablanca....he's just so slimy and does 'polite evil' so great in that one.

9. If you could only have a TV or stereo system (and no other music playing device), which would you pick?

A doubt about it.

10. Would you rather vacation somewhere hot or cold, and where would that be?

Definitely hot.....somewhere like Key Largo or Key West.

11. What’s your most controversial belief?

These days, it seems, it's controversial to believe in God....but, I do and always will...regardless.

Now, on to my nominations:

Jennifer at A Creative Exercise
Jaybird at The Bird's Nest
Celeste at Words Done Write
Jenn at Scribbles From Jenn
Alison over at Geek Banter
Steven at The Twisted Piece
Sara at S.P.Bowers
Yolanda at Defending the Pen
Julie over at I Create Purty Things
Cynthia at Read is the New Black
Sheena-kay Graham at Queendsheena

As for my scintillating....o.k, I'll settle for random here....questions for the nominees to answer....

1. You get to choose one super power....something the ordinary mortal can't do...what is it?

2. A 'crazy, wild-eyed, scientist pulls up in a shiny DeLorean and says he can take you anywhere in history. What do you tell him?

3. The country or the city. Where would you rather live?

4. Your cat starts talking to you...and everyone else. What's the first question you ask?

5. A meteor is hurtling towards the planet and it looks like the 'end is nigh'. You have about 24 hours left. What do you do?

6. A famous author asks you to ghost write their next book and offers you a ton of money to do long as you sign a contract to never reveal the secret. Do you do it?

7. You get the chance to host a small soiree' with five celebrities from any time period. Who do you choose?

8. Waking up one morning, you find the world has suddenly, and mysteriously, run out of coffee. What do you do?

9. The Zombie Apocalypse has arrived. You have to grab one thing and one thing only as your weapon of choice to fend off the oncoming hordes of undead. What do you choose?

10. Someone gives you a million dollars on the condition that you have to give half to someone else. Who do you choose?

11. Which cartoon....old or describes your life?

Thanks again to Nancy for her kind consideration :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cause and Effect

I've always, and I mean always, have loved stories involving time travel. I've never been sure just why that is....maybe it has something to do with always getting a second chance or that certain "cause and effect" that comes about with mucking with the time stream.

Anyway, one of my absolute favorite bits of time travel "cause and effect" has always been from one of my favorite time travel films, Back to the Future.

It goes a little like this:

Doctor Emmett L. Brown calls Marty McFly and tells him to meet him at Twin Pines Mall for an "experiment".

This experiment turns out to be a test run of Brown's time machine, a DeLorean sports car that has been outfitted to traverse the space-time continuum. One of the 'hitches' of said time machine is that it needs plutonium to power the flux capacitor...the thing that makes time travel possible....which you just can't buy in any corner store. To get plutonium, Doc Brown flim-flammed some Libyan terrorists into stealing the plutonium, promising to use the material to make them a bomb.

Instead of giving them a working bomb, the Doc gave them a 'shiny casing filled with pinball parts' which, eventually, the Libyans figured out and decided to hunt down the inventor.

It just so happened, they found Brown at Twin Pines Mall at 1:33 a.m., just as he and Marty were testing the time machine. The ensuing conflict, which was fatal for Doc Brown, forced McFly to hop into the DeLorean, accelerate to 88 miles an hour, and vanish into the past, circa 1955, leaving behind twin fire trails in his wake.

On that bumpy 're-entry' into 1955, McFly crashed into old man Peabody's barn after running over his scarecrow. The commotion roused the Peabodys who, upon seeing the time traveler and mistaking him for a space alien, requested Marty leave the premises via some shotgun shells. On his way off the property, McFly runs over one of a pair of small pine trees....old man Peabody screaming "My pine!" as Marty tears off into the sunrise.

At the end of the film, Marty finds a way home and decides to re-adjust Doc Brown's initial return setting to bring him to the point in time just before the Doc is gunned down by the angry terrorists.

Gee Mr. White...that's awful!
That's why they're called terrorists, Kent.

(Sorry...couldn't resist throwing in that line from Superman II. I do it almost every time I mention the word "terrorist".....anyway....)

Racing back to the mall on foot (the DeLorean had stalled out), Marty now finds himself at Lone Pine Mall.

Apparently, running over that single pine tree in the past, caused a chain of events....different from the original set....the effect being a slight change of the mall's name.

Marty watches himself outrace the Libyans, vanish in a flash of light and twin flame trails, and causes all sorts of time paradoxes too numerous to mention in one blog posting :)

Now, I caught mall name change the very first time I saw Back to the Future and thought, pretty much, everyone else did as well. It wasn't until I had seen it numerous times and with different friends, that I found they didn't even notice it until having seen it more than once.

I'm sure, by now, anyone who's seen the film has noticed this little bit of time travel "easter egg", but it still remains one of my favorites.

Any other bits of "cause and effect" from movies/t.v./books that stand out for you?

Back to the it or hate it?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Potpourri for $500, Alex....

This week's been a fairly busy one, here at the Means Mansion. Out of town company has thrown off my schedule...and that's totally fine. It was nice to have my mom and sister down from the frozen wastes of Kentucky for some fun in the sun....even though it pretty much rained all day Thursday. We still hit all the places my sister wanted to see before they leave today...mainly, the beach and Disney World, which I mentioned on Wednesday.

(For anyone interested in more pics from the Disney trip, they can be found at my other

This, obviously, meant nothing much got done writing-wise. I was lucky to be able to crank out a few blog post in what little spare time I did have.

As far as some of my actual writing is going.....

When time permits, I'm still going back through The T.E.M.P Agency...rereading, researching,editing, and revising.

Not much progress on my Lucha Libre murder mystery project, besides random ideas here and there. I'm still looking to make it as "fair play" as possible without giving the whole thing away in the first few paragraphs. As I've said before, mystery writing is fun.....but challenging.


Next week means a couple of fun bloghops that I'll be participating in. Elise Fallson, over at...ummm...Elise Fallson, is doing a hop with one of her writing pals to celebrate her one year anniversary traversing the blogosphere. "She Said What?" sounds like a lot of fun and congrats to Elise on her milestone.

Allison, over at Geek Banter, is hosting a "Level Up!" blogfest centering around a favorite game...regardless of whether it be board, card, video, computer, etc. This one sounds like a lot of fun and something right up my alley.

Links to both hops can be found on the right sidebar.

Friday also means it's time for another installment of The Healthy Writer's Club, hosted by Shallee McArthur.

Unfortunately, not much to report for this week. In fact, if anything, I'm pretty sure I was the antithesis of a "healthy writer". I haven't logged into my MyFitnessPal account since Sunday and have eaten fairly poorly. So, it looks like I've been "unhealthy" as well as "not writing". I feel like the Bizarro version of myself.

Me am so happy! (Bizarro speak for "Ugh!")

Nothing earth shattering, though. There's always next week and I can do nothing but improve after this one.


Oh, and as a side note, I've just noticed that this post makes my 25th for 2013, so far. That's one more than I wrote for all of 2012. A small accomplishment, but an accomplishment all the same.

Hope you all have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Breaking the Mold

Going to keep it short and sweet this Hump Day, due to some out of town visitors.

My mom and sister flew down from Kentucky on Monday and, boy, were their arms tired (rimshot!)  Like a lot of folks from out of town, they wanted to see Disney we made the hour and a half long trek up to The Magic Kingdom.

As we walked around the park, I noticed all the cast members who were walking around in character, smiling, waving, and I started thinking about how they did it. I mean, how did they handle jerky/rude visitors? I've never seen it, first hand, but I assume they continue to smile and remain friendly. Kind of like that line in the movie "Roadhouse" (yeah, I've seen it....don't judge...) where Patrick Swayze's character tells them to "be nice until it's time nice."

As I thought about that, a question popped into my mind....

How important do you think it is for your characters to stay in character? Now, by that I mean how far do you think a character can "grow" or "evolve" before they stray away from your original concept of said character? Not that I'm saying a character 'takes on a life of it's own'....though I know some see it that way, and that's o.k too...but, I'm talking about the ebb and flow of the story dictating a character start behaving in a way not in your original character concept.

Do you let your characters change, in ways you weren't really anticipating, as the story progresses?

Ever been to Disney? How did you like it?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coming Attractions

Hey, I know it's Monday and all, but that doesn't mean you can't have something to look forward to, right?

A couple of my blogging buddies have some new offerings on the horizon, so here's the lowdown.....

First up is Julie Flanders whose debut novel, Polar Night is already out for the Kindle and will be out in the "physical plane" tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 12th). The blurb sounds very cool, especially if you're a supernatural/suspense buff. 

All the juicy details can be found here.

Julie will also be doing a whirlwind mini-blog tour this week, so catch her...if you can!

Next up is Tyrean Martinson's offering, Champion in the Darkness. This book is a YA, Christian Fantasy and the first part in the Champion Trilogy

Now, in case you haven't heard of Tyrean, here's a few particulars:

Tyrean Martinson lives and writes in the Northwest, encouraged by her loving husband and daughters, and reminded to exercise by her dogs and cat. Champion in the Darkness is the first book in the Champion Trilogy, and she has previously published short stories and poetry.

You can find out more about her at her

And here is a small taste of Champion in the Darkness:

Clara is younger than most trainees, but she is ready to hold a Sword Master's blade. While visions and ancient prophecies stand in her way, they also offer a destiny unlike any other. Clara is aided by a haunted mentor, Stelia, whose knowledge of their enemy Kalidess is both a bane and a blessing. As evil threatens their land, Clara and Stelia must find the strength to overcome the darkness.

You can find Champion in the Darkness at the following:

Both of these look very good and I think they'll be great hits. If you get the chance, check them out and help support a couple of great bloggers.

I wish them both great success!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Five

It's Friday, so today I want you to name five books you'd want to have if you knew you were going to wind up on a desert island. Also, why would you choose said books?

My impromptu picks:

1. War and Peace. One book I've never even picked up, it's long, and I would be able to tell people that "Yes, I have read War and Peace." Provided I ever got off the island.

2. The Hobbit. I tried reading this one many moons ago when I was in high school. I wanted to read it because I had always considered it to be the pre-cursor to Dungeons and Dragons. Back then, I don't think I had quite the appreciation for Tolkien's work, or writing in general, for that matter. I wonder if I'd think different today?

3. A compilation of the Myth Series novels, by Robert Aspirin. Something I could read over and over again. The imagination and originality put into these books never gets old and the subtle humor is awesome.

4.  Any Sherlock Holmes book. Preferably a compilation of stories or, barring that, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Because....well.....Sherlock Holmes...

5. The Jon Carter of Mars series. You can never go wrong with old-school sci-fi.

The practical, 'be prepared' side of me would say How to Stay Alive in the Woods....but, then, that wouldn't be too much fun now, would it? ;)

Fridays (now) also mean a post for something I've just joined....

The Healthy Writer's Club, hosted by Shallee McArthur.

It's a way to highlight how, as writers,we're also trying to stay in good physical shape. As writers/bloggers, a lot of us spend a lot of time sitting on our rump roasts behind a computer. The HWC encourages us to mention a little of how we've been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

To be honest, I haven't made much progress in this area. My good intentions to get back to our home gym has, pretty much, fallen flat. It's never too late, though.

On a more positive note, though, I've been pretty active on MyFitnessPal. Keeping track of what I eat and counting my calories has really been an eye opening experience. Into how much I'm actually eating, as well as making me think more about just what it is I'm putting into my body. I'd recommend it to anyone as a great starting point on the road to getting fit.

My link is under the "Other Social Places" tab of this blog if you're looking for more pals.

I hope you all have a fit Friday and a fun, relaxing, weekend.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG February 6, 2013

It's that time of the month again. Man, it seems like it's only been about thirty days since we last had a first Wednesday of the month....go figure.

Anyway, the first Wednesday of the month means that it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.  The IWSG is the brainchild of that Wizard of Words, the Swami of Synonyms, that Baron of Blogging, the Upper Echelon of Encouragement....the Ninja Captain, himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. As always, a big thank you to Alex for hosting.

The IWSG posts are a place to discuss with our fellow bloggers the ups, downs, and sideways of writing and what makes us feel a bit insecure.

This month, I'd like to talk about.......the future! <insert Doc Brown's voice here> "Great Scott!!"

The more I think about writing, the more I wonder just how I'm going to proceed. I mean, obviously, I want to improve...that's a given and I think there will always be room for that.

I mean, after that. When I finally finish my story...edit it...polish it up...edit it some more....what's the next step?

I've read about doing a "query", but am not real sure what all that entails.

Do I look for representation?

Do I self-publish?

Do I traditionally publish?

Am I  being arrogant in thinking that anyone would actually pay real money to read my stuff?

Now, I know I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to ask these questions, but they really do give me pause and I get the feeling that I'll be in for a lot of research, once I get to this point.

So tell me, future-boy (or girl), if you've already passed this stage in your writing, what advice would you give your past self, if you could hop in the DeLorean and travel back in time?

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Good Cause

When I opened my Google reader this morning, a bunch of the blogs I follow were highlighting a very special bloghop. It's called "Overcoming Adversity", hosted by Nick Wilford over at Scattergun Scribblings. It's a hop designed to help his son, who has cerebral palsy, get into college. Something not readily available for special needs students in Scotland. Nick plans on compiling an anthology of the posts, with the proceeds going to help fund his son's schooling.

I'm totally down with that.

This seemed like a good idea for a great cause and, lucky for me, I was able to still sign up. How I missed it, initially, I have no clue. So, at about 3:00 pm today, I did just that....having no idea what I'm going to write, but I figure I'll come up with, here goes.....

The Last Minute

" pressure or anything...but, if you don't do this, it's going to be the end of the human race. We have five minutes left!"

"Yeah, no pressure....sure...right..." Simon said into his com-link, trying to keep the utter panic out of his voice. His hands were shaking like a wino suffering from the DTs.

Because that's what he was. Or, at least, had been. He didn't like to think of himself as a "wino" anymore. He hadn't had a drink in months....though, sometimes, those months felt like years. He licked his lips.

He sure could use a drink.

"No!", he thought...he didn't need the booze. Not anymore.

"You sure about this thing?" Simon asked, trying to steady the wire clippers in his left hand. The back of his right hand wiping sweat from his furrowed brow.

"As sure as we can be...." the voice on the other end of the com-link said. "If it blows, that's it. Ta-ta terra firma. Look, I know your training doesn't even begin to cover this, but you were the one in the chamber when it locked, so we're a little behind the eight-ball here."

Karlov was scared and, if he was scared, Simon should be too....he knew that. "We only have five minutes left...." Simon muttered to himself.

"Four minutes left, Simon!" the captain called over the link.

 It had seemed like just yesterday he had heard of the massive, global, conspiracy that had replaced the leaders of the world with slimy, alien impostors. These impostors had really made a mess of things....probably more so than their real counterparts would have done.


Everything had been geared to throw the planet into chaos, making Earth ripe for an invasion force from a dying planet. They had succeeded, for the most part. That is, until the resistance movement found the one thing the really fouled the aliens up.

Pencils. Well, the graphite in the pencils was the real anathema to the P'locus as they slowly revealed themselves to be called.  

Simon's hands trembled more and he began sweating profusely.

"Three minutes, Simon. Do you have the plate off? Can you see the wires?"

"I've had the plate off", Simon said slowly, "which wire?"

"You've..." Karlov stammered, then blurted out, "the green wire. Cut the green wire!"

"Green wire..." Simon exhaled, fingering the five wires before him.

"Quit gabbin' and cut the damn wire! Two minutes left!" the captain screamed into Simon's earpiece.

"Captain...I think there's something I should have told you years ago." Simon said.

"What's that?" Karlov said, almost breathless.

"I'm colorblind." Simon said, his hands suddenly stopped shaking.

For a second there was nothing but static on the other end of Simon's earpiece.

"Simon, just cut one....and pray.", Karlov said low, "Last minute."

And he did...suddenly knowing in the bottom of his heart that he was given the chance to crawl out from the bottom of the bottle for a purpose.

This was that purpose.

Simon took a deep breath and cut a wire.

Years later, when he would retell the story to his children and, then later, grandchildren....he'd leave out the part about where he had pissed his pants.

Thanks for hosting this hop, Nick, and best wishes on your son's academic future.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fries Day

I like french fries. Especially MacDonald's french fries.

What's that got to do with this post? Nothing really, besides sounding like "Friday"....that and I just like french fries....oh, and tater tots.

I don't really have much to report on the writing front today. As productive as last week seemed to be, this week has been, almost, the complete opposite.

In comic book terms, it'd be a 'Bizarro Friday'.....or 'Day-Fri'...however you want to think about it.

When I tally up the score, it looks a little like this:

In the 'minus' column I've got....

  • I did zero writing on any of my projects.
  • I did very little a few decimals away from zero.
  • I didn't read like I wanted to. I have two books that need finishing up with many waiting in the wings. 
  • I wanted to come up with five story ideas. I came up guessed

I can't really beat myself up too much, though, because in the 'plus' column I've got....

  • I took part in a great bloghop, the "Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself" hop was a lot of fun and I met a ton of new and interesting blogging buddies.
  • I've stuck to my new blogging schedule that I set up last week, which meant that I was writing.
  • I signed up for the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge", (link on sidebar) which looks like a lot of fun. 
  • I came across another fun looking hop, the "Level Up!" blogfest, which is going on Feb. 20th. (link on sidebar)

All in all, not a terrible week when it came to writing.

How about you? Any progress on any of your projects? Have a 'minus' or 'plus' week?

Regardless, though, I hope you all have a great weekend.

With all this talk about french fries, I'm going to leave you with a recipe so that, you too, can make your very own MacDonald's french fries.

Bon appetit'!

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