Tom and __________

Tom and ___________

Have you ever had an imaginary friend? No? What about someone you know? Probably. These friends are made for many reasons, but we often think of them as being a kid thing.

But what about animals?

Ever see your cat or dog stare at the wall when nothing’s there? Sure, it could be a ghost or a portal to an evil dimension. Or it could be something benign.

If animals are people too, it’s only right that they create these friends just like many of us. Drawing from Tom and Jerry and all their crazy antics I used the comics (yes they have comics too, but then again, what doesn’t?)

Ol’ Tom Cat got into a lot of trouble over the years, didn’t he? Chasing that little turd around trying to get him out of the house once and for. Or maybe, he was never chasing a mouse at all. Maybe, he was chasing something bigger. Maybe, he was chasing… Himself. (!)

Check back for updates!

Tom and __________

Aww, isn’t he precious?!

One Last Day

One Last Day is the manuscript I have actively been working on full-time for the last 5 years. It is literary fiction told through the eyes of Resident Manager Alex Carmichael, a Scottish immigrant who has been stuck at the job his whole life. As for what it’s about:

Resident Manager Alex Carmichael often thought his senior home was behind the times. But he never thought it was literally a day behind the rest of the world.

It made sense; a rotten apple became crisp and fresh, a woman sprang back to life after half an hour of failed CPR, and the digital calendars show yesterday’s date. Alex eventually discovers the phenomenon can even bring people back to life, but it comes with a catch—they can’t leave the building, and they only live for a single day.  

Using this power to give people at the local hospital an extra day to say goodbye to loved ones, Alex vows to keep it secret from the world, knowing it will be reserved for the rich and powerful if discovered. Just as he begins to wonder if the stress is worth it, Alex realizes how much of an impact one day can have on a person’s life. He understands this more than anyone.  

Because today is his last day. 

 

This page is devoted to One Last Day and the progress made towards publication.

Randoms

Just like it sounds. Anytime I find something fun or want to be clever, here be the place for it.

Monkey George

George Washing-less

Don’t give up the pizza!

Normal dieting is a lot like this.

 

And it’s hard. As fat old TV personalities say, “I have to die from something!” and seeing what some people choose to eat on diets like a 32 oz smoothie for an entire day, I’ll take the premature scythe. As horrible as those fad diets are, they don’t really work, do they? Often, after a little while, they end up like this.

Be chubby or give up the point of living? Tough call. How about neither? Over the past five years I’ve developed ways to devour entire pizzas and still lose weight, no gel pills required. Don’t believe me? Fair enough. Yes, there’s a catch; it’s not as easy as going out to get a triple-all meat pizza hut with a size of cheesy bacon bread. The key is homemade, making these things with different, healthier ingredients. I have unlocked this incredible secret. And I am willing to share without even the cost of Handling fees.

A Kilo for Kilo

Growing up, I remember that old Video Only commercial talking about consumer reviews and thought it was the most ridiculous thing. Fast forward and not only do I read dozens of these things before buying anything, I even check Fakespot to make sure the reviews are legit. If they’re not fake, then I take the time to read through these dull, boring aspiring textbook authors that look like they’re trying to lull readers to sleep.

So I added a little habanero.

Informative and entertaining don’t have to be exclusive. And I’ve started this quest to make the web a better place.

The Writer’s Conference

8-10 Writer's Conference

Trying to get to an agent in the last pitch session

The Writer’s Conference. The Ivy League of authors. And perhaps the one place where writers go out of their way to talk to people. For once, the ice is already broken. We’re all here because we like one thing: bars writing. In one way or another…

Continue reading

Mark of FIre by Richard Phillips

Book Review: Mark of Fire by Richard Phillips (Top Review on Amazon!)

Link to original posting here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2DAJD85CY4S4C/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B06ZYW8B2D

Looking for a fantasy story with an intricate magic system, a solid plotline, and of course unique names you’ll never hear anywhere else? Then this is a good choice for you. But if you want deep characterization and powerful emotions, you likely won’t find it here. Despite that, I’d still call it a worthwhile, quick read.

For those worried about content, there is some violence of course, but it never goes into extreme detail. And I think that the only swearing used is the ones made up for the story, so not too much to worry about, unless the mere mention of something being a swear word offends you.

As for the story itself, this one took a bit to get going, and definitely improved later on. But I nearly put it down in the first few chapters. There were so many proper nouns after the prologue that I didn’t bother trying to keep them straight, and there are a lot of named characters I’m still not sure about. So if you’re wondering which ones actually matter, focus on Arn and Carol, who are the protagonists. It generally sticks with them from a 3rd person perspective, with occasional visits to Mr. Not A Good Guy and a few randoms as well. And because a lot of names appear upfront, I was surprised when one of the guys who seems like he’s kind of just a terdmonkey is really THE BIG BAD. At first I figured he was more of an advisor like Jafar from Aladdin (Which I guess if he’s THE BIG BAD he really IS like Jafar…), until it became clear that nope, this is THE GUY.

Anyway, The King Joffrey of the story decides to be a buttmunch and starts a long chain of events leading a group of people leaving the region and going… I’m still not sure what their goal was. Honestly, I was a little confused on how the main plotline got started in the first place. I felt like it was rushed through far too quickly.

And for me, that was the overall theme of this story; important events were rushed through. As this will be a trilogy, normally going quickly through some of these early events isn’t a problem as there’s a lot to cover. However, setting and description was crafted with great detail, and I would have preferred less setting and more focus on the characters and their motivation. Life-altering decisions would frequently be made in half a page or so with minimal discussion, sort of like,

“Hey, I have this idea. But it will affect the lives of thousands of people.”
“Hmm, I’m not sure about that. We should consider all our options.”
“I already did. This is the best. We should do it.”
“Well I’m convinced.”

And I’d be left scratching my head wondering how such a huge decision was made so effortlessly.

This feeling of being rushed through made it so we don’t get as much insight as I’d like into the characters. This book is strong when it comes to the storyline and action sequences, and if that’s what you like you won’t be disappointed. However, It felt like this series was originally going to be a book or two longer but was cut to fit into a trilogy. Usually, I have the opposite issue for Fantasy giving too much, like side characters that don’t really matter getting 100 pages of useless side battles. But for once, I would have liked MORE, as I was frequently surprised at how quickly battles and escapes played out, and how the characters didn’t discuss them very much.

The magic system was definitely unusual and one of the strong points, but I’m still not sure how powerful spells can actually get and the effect these ultra spells will have on the caster. There’s a lot of the usual stuff: The Avatar collection of Earth, Wind, & Fire (But strangely, no Water that I can recall…), but also some MASSIVE spells like changing the weather in September (Ha! Like the song…) and nearly insurmountable ones with an enormous area of effect I’m not sure how they can stay maintained. I’m assuming this will probably be covered in the sequel, but for now it was a little bit perplexing.

Still, I didn’t have any trouble reading to the end after I got through the first section. So if you love Fantasy and reading for action sequences, you’ll probably love this story, and while it has its flaws, I will likely see the trilogy through to its end.

Bachelor Seattle

Bachelor Seattle

*Disclaimer: No, I’m not single, I’m happily married, but this is how an old school SEO dating page would look!*

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Some Bachelors Seattle don’t listen when you talk about yourself. I do. I take note of appropriate conversational cues and respond respectfully and appropriately. As the best Bachelor Seattle, I talk for the right amount of time using only top-quality topics. You don’t have to worry about bulling lulls of awkward silence, because as the ideal Bachelor Seattle I know what to say and when.

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Solar Eclipse 2017 – The ApocEclipse

Living near Portland OR, I was one of the lucky few that got to be near the path of totality for the ApocEclipse. People around a hundred miles away were coming from all parts of the country and paying up to $1500 a night for a chance at a couple minutes of darkness. Since my apartment was at an area of over 99% obscurity, I chose to take a walk in the park instead of enduring dangerous freeway stops on I-5.  As someone who was already in the path of the eclipse, I didn’t have to do much to see it, while other people took days off over a year in advance. But was it worth all the trouble for them? And should you be planning for your great grandkids to return to Earth and fly to the North Pole in 2090? Read on to find out!

Santa Eclipse

As an immortal, Santa’s okay with waiting until Solar Eclipse 2090.

Continue reading

Kramerica

Kramerica’s Freeways

Someohow, Kramerica made it to my hometown.

In one week, I had the privilege to see both sides of how the American government works. Somehow, they can be both incredibly efficient and painfully inefficient at the same time. It all depends on the job.

It’s a given that the government can’t get simple things done. So much so, that you have to preface any difference as the exception. Well, this week was one such exception.

Driving towards Portland in the morning, there’s no escaping traffic. Even if you get up at 5AM. But there was always one part of the morning commute that was relatively pain free. The first three miles or so where the the freeway expands to a third lane was rarely congested because us peons would have the chance to expand. Until this week. Tuesday was normal. But on Wednesday, it was stop and go right off my exit. I figured it was an accident. Then I got to this gem:

Traffic Revision

Read: Misery Ahead

Okay, so they were going to do some roadwork. The third season of the year, road crews blocking every conceivable path to a destination. But no, there were no cones or trucks on the side of the road. Instead, as I was about to change to my usual lane, I was greeted with this:

Black out lane-lines one and three, and a four-lane highway becomes a two-lane comfort cruise.

Yep, somehow, they took away an entire lane overnight.. Overnight. Without warning even. And this wasn’t some temporary, orange cone job either. It had paint, egg bumpies, and everything. Like it had always been that way. And it covered more than a mile at two major merge points. Overnight!

Meanwhile, last winter there was a piece of a city dock that broke off from the rest of it during a major winter storm. They retrieved the 20-foot piece and set it right next to main portion. Fixes were supposedly supposed to be done in about 3 weeks.

Fast forward over 8 months, and it’s still not done. One of my coworkers got curious and wrote the city because the broken dock was part of our walking path. And he gets a message “Greetings, We had an engineer assess the structure and compare the winter damage against current codes for in-water structures and work. The engineer’s estimate reported that it would cost $1.1 million dollars to construct a new dock for the badly degraded long section that parallels the river.”

Million Dollars

With all the inspections, re-engineering, coding fees…

Over a million dollars. To fix a 20 foot section. They went on to say that it would end up costing less to build a new one, so it will remain closed indefinitely. 100 years ago if a dock broke, someone could just put a few two by fours and a piece of plywood over it and fix it in a few hours. Now? A crew of engineers and more than I’ve made my whole life.

How could it cost so much? And take so long? They’ve already proven they can work quickly… That’s when I realized the truth. The government can work efficiently….

But only when they’re making life miserable.

Interview with Deanna Fugett, Author of Ending Fear

 

This question will determine your future career as an author:

Yes or No: Pineapples on Pizza?

Yes. There is no other way.

 

So, Deanna, the title of your book, Ending Fear, it’s more than meets the eye, right? How did you come up with it?

The book is about a girl named Fear, and yes, she is afraid. It does have the double meaning of course, so I thought it was a bit clever. Probably not that clever. But I tried.

 

Since this name relates to a character, are you giving us a major spoiler right upfront?

Well, you will have to read the book to find that out because SPOILERS SUCK!

 

Lots of authors go through an agent, then the agent gets them a publisher. You seemed to skip right over that. How did you get so amazing?

No amazingness to behold. I did have two agents interested, but I got the publishing contract offered through a small publisher called Love2ReadLove2Write, so I took that rather than going through an agent. I figured, okay, one is going to take years possibly to get my book published and then they take some of my money, or I can get it published now and keep all my money. The decision was fairly simple. I get how rare my situation is. I can only point to the Big Man Upstairs on that one.

 

Revisions. Those must have happened, right? How different is the final product than the original?

Well, it’s the same story essentially. I haven’t had to do anything drastic like change the plot or alter the storyline. Nor did I have to get rid of any characters or anything like that. But the edits.

OH MAN, those edits. Lots and lots and lots of editing. So while the story has been added to, it’s essentially the same story, just much better fleshed out and worded much better. That took a lot of learning, researching, and effort.

I know you were able to see Ending Fear in its earlier stages as my FASTEST beta reader! (Thanks again for that, BTW) But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how it turned out in its polished, final stage. At least I hope you will.

 

Do you have a private office for writing with a bunch of bookshelves and a ladder on wheels? Or do you write somewhere not as cool?

Definitely not as cool. I write mainly at my kitchen table. Yeah. No massive bookshelves and definitely no ladders on wheels. Only in my dreams. Sigh. Now I need to go watch Beauty and the Beast.

 

How much input do you get for the front and back cover? Did you patrol the streets and find some random girl and say “Her, that’s Fear!” and corner her for a picture?

Ha! That’s awesome. Nope. I wish I could have found someone off the streets. Imagine the person’s surprise at being randomly offered the spot on front cover of a book!

My publisher and my cover artist Sara Helwe actually did most of it. But I did get to help with opinions. Mainly, “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know” type input.

There was one funny situation where I swear Fear had a little pimple on her face and I kept telling my publisher and cover designer and they couldn’t see it on their copies of the picture. But for some reason when the picture went through Facebook Messenger to me it messed up the pixels enough that there was one spot where she had a “blemish.” Luckily the zit didn’t end up on the front cover. J

 

Amazon’s page is teasing readers with “Book One of the Gliding Lands.” Does this mean Books 2 and 3 (Or 7 for Potter style) are already in the works? (Or have a draft or two done?)

I have the second book done but not polished. The next few months will be devoted to polishing it up. And then, book three will get drafted after (or possibly during) that. I honestly already have about 50 pages done of the third book as well. But the second book needs about 50 more pages, so maybe I should just shove all that third book stuff into the second? Huh? What do you think?

 

Does it feel nice to respond to skeptical Downers with “Yes, I write actual books” as your job?

Hehehe. I see what you did there.

Honestly haven’t run into many Downers who’ve said that to me. Probably because I was a SAHM for so long and didn’t have a job. So now, people are just like, “Oh, you’re writing? That’s so cute!” Yeah…maybe someday we writers will get someone to take us seriously.

 

When you aren’t writing, do you prefer reading books or doing Mensa Brainteasers?

*Looks up Mensa Brainteasers* Oh. Nope. No high-IQ over here.

Book reading is always pretty important to a writer, I’d say. But honestly I prefer having tea with chimps. It’s just more fun all around.

 

Do you regularly do work in an Adult Onesy?

All. The. Time. How did you know? *Checks for hidden cameras around the house.*

 

How does it feel to be doing what you love?

Amazing. Spectacular. Phenomenal. There’s really nothing better.

They say once you start getting paid for doing what you love it loses its magic. I just don’t see that happening with writing. It’s something once you start becomes a huge part of who you are. To stop now would be like ripping a giant piece out of my heart. And that would sting. Quite a bit.

 

Thanks for the interview, it was so awesome to be a part of your blog! Truly appreciate you giving me the opportunity.

Doing the scavenger hunt? Don’t miss the next step from Liv K Fisher!

Be sure to pick up your copy of Ending Fear on July 18th on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073G8Y5MZ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Bizarre Things People Say to Authors

I plan on doing one of these on my own before too long. But for now, here’s just a smidge of what us Bookfolk go through.

A Writer's Path

by Lev Raphael

Nobody tells you that when you publish a book, it becomes a license for total strangers to say outrageous things to you that you could never imagine saying to anyone.

I’m not just talking about people who’ve actually bought your book. Even people who haven’t read your book feel encouraged to share, in the spirit of helpfulness.

At first, when you’re on tour, it’s surprising, then tiring — but eventually it’s funny, and sometimes it even gives you material for your next book. All the comments on this list have been offered to me or other writer friends in almost exactly these words:

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How a Business Book Applies to Writing

Recently, I read The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. And even though it’s a tool hijacked by Amway recruiters,  it has some solid principles of good business strategies that I’ve always personally stood by. But what about the writing itself? Not so great. While it’s a world I don’t plan on entering, it got me to think about writing, and how if you want to use writing as a business (aka, make money with it) some of the ideas translate well to quality writing.

They have 5 laws of “Stratospheric Success”, which I’ll draw from to make “The Laws of Stratospheric Novel Writing”(No aliens required). To keep it simple, I’ll only use three. And like many laws, you break it, you buy it.

  1. Be authentic

As easy as this sounds, it’s one a lot of people have a hard time following. As a youngling, I was one of them. I remember writing stories growing up and being obsessed with the Flesch reading ease test and the grading level it gave in Word. But since this isn’t actual people, but a program (and an old one at the time), it’s not like it could actually read or interpret my words. So how do they do it? With MATH!

206.835 – (1.015 x Average words per sentence) – (84.6 x Average syllables per word) = Readability Ease

And for grade level,

0.39 x Average words per sentence +11.8 x Average syllables per word -15.59

So obvious, how could I miss it? 206.835, of course! Using MATH to figure out if words make sense! I wonder if the reverse is true…?

0x =   Sox Wow! It is!

And trying to adjust my writing to increase my grade level to make me feel smarter did no favors to the writing. Phrases like “As soon as he had a grand enough inferno initiated” for starting a campfire doesn’t do much good for he, the fire, or the reader.

This is often the case when authors try to write to please someone else. And whether that someone else is your friends, publishers, or an imaginary audience, changing to try to fit someone else’s ideals usually means lower quality for everyone. And if you don’t believe me, agent Chip MacGregor touched up on this in a recent blog post.

2. Take constructive criticism

This is mostly for trying to get your work published, since if you’re writing for fun or for yourself, who cares what anyone else says? Giant pizza-cats planning to turn the universe into a litter box from within the sun’s core? Sure.

But for query letters, competitions, and the like, if you want someone to look at it and they have an idea to improve it, it could be for the best. Of course, some people will find problems in everything, even Jack Black’s best song in the world. So when that happens, look back at number 1; are they trying to change the story to something that’s no longer yours? You might be better off ignoring it. But if they genuinely want to help you make your story better, keep the advice in mind.

3. Read!

While it’s true that a solid way to get better at your own writing is to read, there’s another reason for that. You want people to read your work, right? Other people want the same! Wow! What a coincidence!

Reading is in essence giving back to the community. Like taxes. Or something good that’s the same thing. Tom’s shoes maybe? No, more like stuffed gorillas.

Reading other authors helps in a lot of ways. It helps them feel valued. Or get a bigger paycheck. But it also helps you. You can get positive inspiration–things that you’ll want to add to your own writing–or negative inspiration–things you definitely don’t want in your own writing–that will improve your writing either way. Plus it can give your Netflix queue a break.

And always remember, vigilantes break the laws for the greater good!

Using Double Meanings To Foreshadow Plot Twists In Comics and Stories

The true motive behind writing Mysteries; outsmarting people.

A Writer's Path

by Pekoeblaze

Well, although this is a quick article about foreshadowing plot twists in comics, stories etc… I’ll have to start by using a TV show as an example.

As such, this article may contain some mild SPOILERS for the first season of “Game Of Thrones”. Likewise, I’ll also be describing a slightly disturbing scene from the show (albeit one that isn’t quite what it appears to be).

The night before I wrote this article, I started re-watching the first season of “Game Of Thrones” (with a plan to re-watch the first three seasons) and one of the things that really surprised me was the number of subtle clues about future parts of the story that I noticed in the early episodes. Most of these were really cleverly handled and they can probably teach us a lot about foreshadowing.

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Batmen Towing Logo

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I came across this little gem at work. It’s a real site, but unfortunately, not so much creativity for the pages themselves. I could fix that for them. But if anyone needs towing in Riverside, CA, come here.

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