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28 February 2013

Anytime you can look like a hero

My son is the handsome one

It was career day at my youngest son's school and I participated.

By day I work as a compliance analyst for an insurance company. By night I create worlds, murder characters, and act the peeping tom watching other characters fall in love.

Which career do you think I chose to talk about?

Such a fun time. I did a twenty-minute presentation to four different classes of ten-year-olds. Now there's a magical age. Imagination and fun characterize a major part of the day for a kid in fourth grade. Or it should. I know it does for my son.

This age is also great for a dad because most ten-year-olds haven't realized yet their dad doesn't have super powers. For twenty minutes today as I talked to the kids about writing and being creative, my son was having one of those moments where he wanted to tell everyone that this was his dad. I could see it in his eyes.

Rare moments. I'll take them when they come.

26 February 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Slimy bugs

Slimy bugs can be used to scare girls or to feed survivalists being filmed by television crews.

Only, in today's world more and more little girls are not scared by slimy bugs, and pretty much all shows that document survivalists and their gross, slimy bug consumption can only be found on cable. I dropped cable a month ago.

To conclude, most of the slimy bugs I see nowadays are on the undersides of the stones I collect to use as markers when I need to dig a new grave in my backyard.

Slimy bugs . . . eh.

25 February 2013

Outline writing

I am familiar with the concept of using an outline first before you start your novel. I've been in an audience and listened to authors discuss the subject, more than once actually, and it seemed that the big-time authors usually were the onces who used outlines.

Which falls in line with my sales figures for the year. Of the nine books I have written, I've used an outline for only one, and that's because the outline was already created. That book isn't out yet. It's called Pocket Hole, and it started off as a graphic novel. I put the graphic novel together with my friend AJ Bell and we released a first issue. Looked great.

We got stalled on the second issue though, so I decided to try and convert the graphic novel into a full-on novel. The thumbnails for the whole story were done, so really, I had more than an outline, I had an outline with pictures. The novel came together quick and easy and it's really a fun book. Like I said, I'll probably put it out in a month or two.

Anyways, since then I've written another book, without using an outline, and now I'm starting the latest, which will be a big book (first in a trilogy) and it won't be set in this world. At least not beyond the first chapter. So, I'm doing a little world creating and I think an outline might help.

22 February 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Lightning Tattoos

I saw a guy the other day with a lighting bolt tattooed on the back of his hand. This was something he did on purpose.

I have no experience with tattoo parlors, but what the tattooed guy basically did was allow another guy to stick needles into his hand repeatedly. This second guy had likely been featured recently on a television show where the theme music to the show had words in it like "bad boys" and "what ya gonna do." Money exchanged hands in this transaction, and inexplicably, it was the second guy who got the money.

Women pay doctors to remove varicose veins from their legs, even though many times the veins in their legs look like lighting bolts.

I am going to assume the difference here is a Women are from Mars, Men are from Venus kind of thing.

Lighting Tattoos . . . eh.

21 February 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Oingo Boingo

Oingo Boingo was a band that held guitars and played saxophones sometime in the 80s and 90s. In the band's early days they labored under the monicker Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, but that didn't make any sense so they shortened their name to something that did make sense.

Danny Elfman, King Boingo to his friends, disbanded Oingo Boingo when his best friend Tim Burton gave up fashionable haircuts for Lent. This seemed like a poor reason to many fans, but it worked out well for King Boingo because he was going deaf from all the dead man parties.

King Boingo now lives in Hollywood and periodically waves a baton.

Oingo Boingo . . . matters.

20 February 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Peanuts

Where did Peanuts go?
I haven't seen him in ages.
For one, Peanuts was the name of a comic strip featuring Charlie Brown. I could Google the reason why Charlie Brown's comic strip is called Peanuts, but I worry the reason might be that Peanuts was an unpopular character Charles Schulz murdered in the comic's second year.

Actual peanuts are used in cooking and baking. They have a distinctive taste and can be found in all kinds of dishes ranging from appetizers, to main courses, to desserts. Peanuts can even be added to foods that somehow don't fit into one of those categories.

I like peanuts, but it concerns me that a character by that name might have been murdered by Charles Schulz.

Peanuts . . . eh.

18 February 2013

Perfect Movie Scenes - Deep Impact

Deep Impact is a show I like to pull out every once in a while and watch again. It has a few deeply emotional moments that really shine for me, though the moment that should have been the best didn't quite achieve its zenith, and that is because of a brief lapse in the writing.

The movie features a bunch of great actors: Elijah Wood before he became a hobbit; Morgan Freeman as the President of the United States (sidenote: in my opinion, the best job an actor has ever submitted as president); Vanessa Redgrave; Robert Duvall;  Leelee Sobieski; Maximillian Schell; and last but certainly not least, Tea Leoni.

 Yes, I know, not from Deep Impact, but this is
a good picture of Tea's legs
I mean, look at those legs. I'm glad I'm typing this because I'm speechless. Tea was perfect in this movie as Jenny Lerner, a driven, talented reporter who makes the best of an opportunity when it falls in her lap. At the same time, as the movie delves into Jenny's backstory you also start to see a vulnerability lurking behind her eyes, which traces back to a troubled childhood and a father who likely cheated on the mother. Jenny loves her parents and spends much of the movie playing referee for two adults who should be the ones imparting strength to her.

16 February 2013

Daily Ambivalence - Striped Shirts

Striped shirts supposedly slim when vertical. Horizontal stripes make you look fatter.

I was in a room full of science fiction/fantasy nerds today (I do not except myself) at Life the Universe and Everything listening to Megan Whalen Turner talk about censorship and I was thinking about striped shirts.

A guy sitting in front of me was fat and he was wearing a horizontally-striped shirt. He looked fat.

Three rows up and a little left there was a thin guy wearing a shirt with vertical stripes. He looked thin.

There was a girl sitting a few seats over from the thin guy. She was kind of medium-sized and her shirt had horizontal stripes. She looked kind of medium-sized.

Striped shirts. . . eh.

11 February 2013

Sour grapes

I was doing a little research about wine and vineyards and grapes the other day. It's kind of interesting that drier conditions in a grape-growing season tend to produce better wine.

In other words - arid stresses, harsh conditions, unkind circumstances - these are good things. Look for them in a year and you find the best wines.

It makes me wonder if you can transfer that concept to authors and what they produce? Do authors who work under unfavorable conditions produce the best stories? Take a lonely guy typing away at his Mac for instance, a total loser, a "guy unwept, unhonored, and unsung," completely ignored by the reading public. Is that the guy you should go to if you are looking for a truly superior read?

Hey, if the answer is "yes," maybe I should feel good about myself.

I will be offering three books for free in a couple of days. See for yourself if what I have stated above equates to any kind of writer's maxim.

Alone with you Somehow will be free 2/13 - 2/15.