Saturday, October 28, 2006

The mother of all tags

Listen up Superdad, Yoobee, Roo, Hubbyman, Dcver, Cream, LisaLou, Virtual Junk Drawer, Shortensweet, and especially Bunnyjo and Veeflower. You’ve never been tagged like this before. Each of you should consider yourselves to be officially challenged to… are you ready for this?… write an entire novel in the month of November. That’s ‘write’. November is National Novel Writing Month, and I’ve just discovered this cool online community dedicated to it. 50,000 people successfully did it last year and I know you can too. I’ve written them fairly easily in two months before, in between all the other things my life is full of, and I plan to be in on this with you (although I’m going to disqualify myself because I’ve just started a book and therefore have an unfair head start).

Don’t laugh and dismiss this tag. I know you all have ideas for stories you’ve someday wanted to write and now that day has come. In fact, that month has come. You’re book doesn’t have to be long, 50,000 words, 195 pages, or 6-8 pages a day. It doesn’t even have to be good. Their goal is quantity, not quality. They want you to be able to say, “I’ve written a book” come December, and be able to scoff at Stephen King, J.K. Rawling, and Dan Brown. After all, six weeks from now, you’ll be their peer. If you’re still not convinced that you can do it, click this link, or the new one in my sidebar, and read what these people are up to. They’re simply people, like you, who rose to the challenge for fun.

You only have a week to get started. Write down your idea, then go to this site to learn how to plot it. By Wednesday, you’ll be ready to go.

After November, if you're feeling pretty good about your story, I'll personally help edit it and help you get started down the path to publication (so you can share my pain).

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Here is a collection of pictures stolen from all over the web. They are similar to the people and settings of the book I'm outlining right now. And no, it's not about mermaids. It has to do with an old Scottish sea legend. I made this collage and called it 'Mer-spiration' because I'm going to try really hard to convey the shadowy, murky beauty of their environment.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A literary announcement that you're probably not interested in.

For those of you who've read Krimsonspire and were interested in reading the second and third book, bad news: I've decided to put it on the back burner. Legend of Dragonsire is done except for some editing, and Guantlets of Bagabog is a couple chapters underway, but I've just had a wonderfully original and marketable story idea for a YA fantasy. Cindy and I discussed it, and we feel like I should write this before I finish the Krimsonspire series. The problem with writing a series of books is, even though I have six completed, there are only two I can try to sell - the first in each series. So I'll start this third series just to have another iron in the fire.

Bagabog can wait a few months. Even though its nothing like Harry Potter, I've got a feeling that agents are looking at my query letter and setting it aside as soon as they get to part where it describes a young wizard in training. I love writing, but I hate the business.

All I'll say about the new story at this point is that it involves a young mer-girl who falls in love with a human, making her father angry and driving her to the sea-witch to... oops. I'm starting to give too much away.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

So let's see... what's new with Chilldaddy? Hmmm...

Say 'Hi' to Hollowmet over there to the left.

So, yeah, I finished writing my sixth novel tonight. It's called 'The Legend of Dragonsire', and it's the second in my young adult fantasy, 'Wizards of Krimsonspire' series. It of course needs to be edited and printed before it'll be available for any of you to read, but that shouldn't take too long. I think I started writing this over Labor Day weekend, so I'm pretty happy with my speed right now, considering all my responsabilities; fatherly, husbandly, Surgery Technologistly, and Cadet Counselorly. (One couldn't accomplish such a feat without the faithful support of a rock-steady spouse, obviously) It's 195 pages in what, six weeks? I'm so encouraged that I'm gonna start book three as soon as I log off. It's the story I'm really excited about writing, 'The Gauntlets of Bagabog'. About half of it takes place under the sea with mythological creatures I've been researching for months. But enough about the writing. Y'all never seem interested in that biz, which I gotta say, kinda hurts Chilldaddy's widdle feewings.

Gotta leave you with a story. I drove through a tree with my father-in-law's car last night. His low-beams are aimed REALLY low, and I was going down this hill, and there was this car in the far lane, coming down the opposite side of the hill. As soon as I hit the bottom and started to go up, the headlights revealed this huge tree fallen across only my lane, directly in front of me. I wanted to swerve around it, but of course the other car was right there in the other lane, so I hit the brakes, but it was too late. I was right on top of it, and crashed through like a scene from a hollywood car chase. My father-in-laws little compact car swallowed like half of the thing, and when I managed to get over to the shoulder, I spent the next ten minutes jerking compacted branches out from under it. No damage, but very scary. These things happen so fast, and it's always when you're not expecting it.

For posterity, I have to mention that Cindy was behind me in our van and pulled a few branches out herself. Thanks babe. Love ya.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The reapearance of 'oldray'.

I had to delete the first version of this post because I think it messed up the margins on my template and knocked my sidebar to the bottom. So here it is again. Let's see, what did I say about it? Something about Ratword's 'Rottendad' rising up to the challenge of the last post and aging my photo (and I seriously want that program).

I posted it again, here, on my blog, becuase I wanted to give you all the opportunity to compare the picture with this picture of Cindy's dad -it's pretty amazing, don't you think? Mr. Ratwords must have some sort of psychic, future-seeing superpowers. After staring at it with squinted eyes and tilting my head from side-to-side, I decided that I could handle looking like this -- fifty years from now.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Man strangles friendly elderly couple who made fatal mistake of bringing grandchild into restaraunt and sitting in smoking section"

(This photo represents a challenge to the 'Ratwords' man, who seems to like marring otherwise beautiful faces with whatever evil art program he uses. Go ahead Mr. Murdoch - do your worst.)

And now, the actual post:

Because I like symetry, balance, and even numbers, here's another rant to go with my last one. I realize it kind of makes me look like a hypocrite (because I'm starting to sound like a critic) but here it is: children shouldn't be allowed in the smoking areas at restaraunts.

It's got to be some form of child-abuse, wouldn't you think? If I owned a restaruant, I'd have a strict policy against it. Not because I don't like children, but because I do. "Oh, you want to seat your children in the smoking section with you? GET OUT OF HERE YOU LOUSY DIRT BAG BEFORE I LET THE HOSTESS WRESTLE YOU DOWN AND KICK YOUR TEETH IN!"

I don't smoke in my house, and when I take my kids to a restaraunt, I sit in the non-smoking section. So when my wife and I go out to dinner, its a real treat for me to sit at a comfortable table, enjoying a cup of coffee and a smoke after a good meal. (because I don't mind abusing my wife) And then it never fails: someone with a kid gets seated right next to us. I don't care if both of their parents are blowing smoke straight in the child's face, if there's a kid next to me, I can't smoke.

This happened last week on our date, and what made it worse was the fact that this kid was an overindulged squealer, out with his confused and clueless grandparents. The fact that everything plunged the little prince into a rage was so unnerving to his grandmother, that she smoked one cigarrette right after another. "Please honey, don't scream at the restaraunt. Don't throw your silverware at Grandpa. Don't shove things onto the floor to prove how angry you are."

It's like my Mom always said, "It's like your Grandma always said, 'people who smoke have problems'."

Here's the kind of thing that gets Chilldaddy fired up

I'm not affiliated with any political party, okay, but as a veteran and a Christian, I felt very moved by this story I got in my email. I don't normally do this, in fact, Iusually don't read email forwards, but I'm glad I did this once.


A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avid atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class then he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am God. I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "God was too busy today protecting America's troops who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an asshole. So, He sent me."


I doubt that this story is true, but it went and got Chilldaddy excited.

See, I respect people who contribute, even if they're imperfect. What I don't like is the person who stands back observing, but knows exactly what the 'contributer' did wrong. I'm speaking of the least productive members of our culture: the 'critics'. My biggest problem with critics is that they usually tend to be people that have a high opinion of their own intelligence, and a low opinion of just about everything and everybody else. Critics are such whiners. they think they know exactly what to do to fix the world, if only everybody else wasn't too stupid to listen to them. And when it comes right down to it, critics are always busy when somebody needs help. They wish them well, but what they're doing is too important to be set aside for the unwashed commoners. Perhaps if the dullard had a little more mental capacity, they'd understand that.

Grrr... now I need to go yell at my kids until I calm down.

Author's update on the stuff that authors do

I know this looks crappy, but try to restrain your hurt, disappointed glares and let me explain. I'm halfway through with the sequal to The Runaway Apprentice (I'm calling it 'The Legend of Dragonsire' because that title makes me feel all tingly) and since my main characters are going to be doing a lot of travelling, I decided to make a rough map. 'Rough' as in, 'work in progress' - its a tool that keeps me from making mistakes like saying it took them four days to travel to Gallowhaven, and then in the next chapter it takes them two to travel back. Anyhow, here's the reason I've even brought it up. I'm trying to base this series on Celtic mythology as much as possible and during my research, I happened across a relief map of Ireland. Guess what? If you look at the northwest quarter of the island, there are all these pointy things along the top and the left side. Then there's this bay-like thing along the bottom with a series of waterways that leads roughly to the north. In the center and on the right, flat open land. Quite a coincidence, eh? Of course there's no 'Great Mist Canyon' in Ireland, but I'm not really trying to steal their layout anyway - its entirely too small. I do get this paranoid feeling that the final map that will be printed inside the book cover is going to be somehow altered by my subconscious - dear God, please don't let me plagairize Ireland.

In somewhat related news, now that my second and third Krimsonspire novels are completely plotted, I've allowed myself to watch the Harry Potter movies. Not to offend JK Rawling, but I honestly think I like my own stories better, and that's exciting. I thought Harry woul be so awesome that I'd have to go and delete hundreds of pages of drivel. I did enjoy them though. If I could give Ms. Rawling some advice, I'd suggest that she give her main character more of a personality. Harry's too passive. He's a good kid, don't get me wrong, but the stories are too much about what happens to him, and not enough about his thoughts and reactions to it. He could use a few quirks. Of course, who am I to be giving advice? I'm not even published yet. And when I am, people are going to look at my books on the shelf and think, "Oh great, a series about a young sorcerer's apprentice - that's original." Truthfully, I originally wrote a seven-hundred page story with pretty much the same characters and similar plot roundabout ten years ago. I swear. I'm looking at it on my shelf right now. I mean 'right now' (I can type without looking at the keyboard). That book sucks, though, so lets never mention it again. Anyway, I said all that to say this: I'm relieved to find that there are almost no similarities between my story and the really good one that's sold tens of millions of copies and re-invigorated an entire genre. Isn't that grand?

In other related news, but less relevent than the previous 'somewhat related news', I haven't heard back from any of the contests or the one sainted agent that's so far asked for a complete manuscript. None of the contests get judged until a few months from now, and the agent's asked for up to six months to make her decision. So, I'm planning on warming up this Michigan winter with big stacks of prizemoney and accolades, a few publishing credits and then topping it off by signing a contract with a real live literary agent. And if not this winter, then next summer, and if not next summer, then next winter, and so on and so on cuz I ain't givin up folks. And that's a fact.

Of course, I'm not about to quit my job either.