Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Who am I?

Do you need a jolt of energy for the day that caffeine can't provide?

THIS was for a Freshman City Championship game.  Does it seem a bit over the top?
I doesn't to me.
The level of competition doesn't matter.. it's not about the external factors you face, but the internal struggles you overcome.  Doubt, fear, insecurity... they're not real.  We create them to give us an excuse for not finishing what we start.
Trying consists of much more than starting. I've started things dozens of times that I've never finished, but true courage is more than trying. Anyone can try, anyone can start something...
We aren't measured by the things we start, but the things we finish.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review: Seeds of Rebellion

Seeds of Rebellion
Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Honestly, this is hard for me to write because I really, really want to like this series.. but I was really disappointed in this book, and I've been very disappointed in this series.

I want to like it very much and I occasionally find myself liking some parts of it, but overall it just isn't grabbing me. Some aspects of the world that Mull has created I enjoy, and it is imaginative in some ways, but overall the story is missing something. I don't care about the protagonist(s) at all, I like a couple of the secondary characters much more. And, frankly, the Heroic boy who finds he's good at weapons and the female who is somehow gifted at magic is so gender/genre cliche that I literally rolled my eyes and shook my head when I reached that point of the book.

I have really enjoyed Brandon Mull's other books, as have my children, which is why I'm so torn over this one. His other stories have been incredibly imaginative, but what this story is lacking perplexes me. I think that maybe he's so concerned with world building a unique world that he's losing focus on his characters, and his characters were one of the things I enjoyed so much in his other stories. Possibly my expectations are too great, given how much I enjoyed his previous books.

Had the last 1/4 of the book not been a marked improvement over the first 3/4 I probably would have been forced to give it a 1-star review.

It honestly pains me to give a review like this.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Observations of a Befuddled Mind

From observations of my own 5 children over the past 24 hours, I've come to the following conclusions..
  • When you have children, not only it is always darkest before the dawn, it's also loudest.
  • At night, a strange metamorphosis occurs that leaves all children with cold feet and uncut toenails.
  • All Toddlers are blessed with the innate ability to know exactly how long they can go between smiling at their parents to ensure their survival.
  • There has not yet been a diaper created that can successfully last a night on freshly washed bedding.
  • No food offered to a toddler will taste good unless it has dust fuzzies and hair stuck to it.
  • To a toddler, every door is an invitation to a new and astounding world that must be seen at all costs.
  • Math is not the universal language.. wailing in a high pitch is.
  • Might may make Right.. but it does not make silence.
  • 'Current fashion trends' of children under 6 years of age will never include matching socks.
  • Most people are not aware, but the "DefCon" system is actually a measurement of a Mother's level of frustration.
  • There is not, nor will there ever be such a thing as a 'Happy Medium' when there are more than one child involved.
  • The Universal Truth is that you can buy 4 of the same toy and without fail, 1 will be broken, 1 will break within an hour of the purchase, 1 will get lost, and 1 will work perfectly and become the motivating factor behind dozens of fights.
  • All empirical evidence suggest that children between the ages of 12 and 18 months are rendered intoxicated by breathing oxygen. 
  • Children are physically unable to understand any further attempts at communication once the word "candy" has been introduced into a conversation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top-10 Tuesday - Fictional Worlds

Nobody wants to live in their own dull, dreary world anymore. We all want to escape to fantastical worlds where there's danger, romance, magic.. who here hasn't been swept away by a book or a book in a way that would make even Calgon jealous?

Whether it's Fantasy or Science Fiction.. or even possibly Horror if that's your genre.. everybody needs an escape.  So, today's Top-10 is all about the best places to adventure to when you're getting away.

  1. Middle Earth:  Probably the best known literary World.. Middle Earth is full of magic, danger, heroism, and stunning visual effects. The depth of Middle Earth is staggering, the creatures and characters that live there are revolutionary. Plus, what other world can transform a hidden Island on the other side of the World into one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world.. merely because a movie was shot there?
  2. A Galaxy Far Far Away:  In movies, there really is no comparison. Sure, maybe it's not the biggest money making movie franchise anymore, (or is it?).. but no other movie has spawned as many games, books, fan fiction, side-movies, Halloween costumes, etc.. Who wouldn't want to take a spin in the Millennium Falcon?  And lets be real.. who here hasn't tried a Jedi mind trick at least once in their lives?
  3. Jurassic Park: OK, maybe we wouldn't want to really live there.. but come on, a Tropical Paradise with a motorized tour of real live DINOSAURS? Tell me where to throw my money!! Of course.. something needs to be done about the electrical failures.. and some better employee screening might be a good idea.
  4. Wonderland: No list of Fictional Worlds could be complete without a voyage beyond the looking glass. From a disappearing Cat to a Rabbit who is always late, to the guy with a Fetish for Hats.. Wonderland is just that, a wonder. And there are some who say that Lewis G. Carrol was experiencing with drugs when he thought up Wonderland. Off with their heads.. I say!
  5. Narnia: Consider it Middle Earth light.  Narnia, much like Middle Earth, is a place that any adult would want to visit and any kid would never leave. Talking animals, fairy tale creatures, and a good and noble King.. CS Lewis was a very religious person, and that is unmistakable in his very moralistic stories of Narnia, but he was also incredibly imaginative, and that's what keeps us coming back to Narnia. 
  6. Hogwarts: Really? Do I need to say anything here? Magic, selfless heroes, flying broomsticks, every flavor beans, Quidditch, talking to snakes, magic wands, and Dumbledore..come one. How many books get an entire Theme Park?
  7. Dreamlands: I know most people who read this probably have not much love for Horror, but HP Lovecraft isn't so much a pure Horror writer as he was a visionary in the landscape of dark literature. An entire genre of writing is named after him. He broke the chains on some seriously dark stuff, but his mythos has shaped literature for decades. How cool is his stuff? When you can get a 15 year old kid get his friends to forsake a movie night just to sit and hear about Cthulhu. And when a writer like Stephen King calls you his "single largest influence as a writer", that's saying something. I have no idea if Lovecraft really dreamed the things he wrote, or just thought them up in a much less dreary scene than I imagine in my own mind.. you cannot have light without dark, and Lovecraft stands nearly alone in his expansion of the dark.
  8. World of Warcraft: OK.. don't roll your eyes at this.  The MMORPG World of Warcraft had, at one time, over 15 Million subscribers. It's down to around 10 or so now.. but that's still an incredible feat.  Going on a decade of dominance in the gaming industry is simply unheard of. Yes, it's a video game, and yes, it's a HUGE waste of time. (I've wasted hundreds of hours on it.. but am now free of the addiction) However.. it's also a phenomenally original storyline with some truly interesting and heroic characters. If you get down to the story behind the game, it's seriously great fantasy literature. That is is expressed behind a video game doesn't negate the depth and quality of the story.
  9. Land of Oz: OK.. I'll be honest here. I never liked the Wizard of Oz.. never. Haven't liked one of the movies or the takes on the original story. However, even though it's not my cup of tea.. I can still absolutely recognize the brilliance of the place. Yes there's a yellow brick road, yes there's witches and animate scarecrows and metal men.. and even a talking animal or two.. but nothing, and I mean nothing, sums up the brilliance of OZ better than 2 words.
    Flying Monkeys.
    That is all she wrote. Hated the story.. hated the movies.. LOVED the flying monkeys.
  10. Panem: So this is Hunger Games week.. so you know we can't end this without throwing in the (no spoiler) Districts. Who wouldn't want to at least fly over Panem.. visiting District 12 would be interesting, but I'm not sure I'd like to live there. However, that doesn't mean that it's not a tremendously inventive world that Suzanne Collins has created. It just means that if you're going there, be sure to pack your weapons.. and preferably a platoon of heavily armed Marines.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Backstory..the thickening agent for some plots.

Most of us who are writers, whether aspiring or accomplished, have read countless books in our favorite genre, and we've no doubt picked and chosen the parts of each book that we loved and incorporated it into our writing, whether conscious or not.

One of the things we all try to do when writing fiction is to make our characters well rounded.. we don't want our Main Character, (MC), to drag around some cardboard cutouts that he talks to on occasion.. we want people who stand up on their own, not only do they walk and talk, but they yell, argue, spit, drink, swear, and fight on occasion I'm sure.

So how do we accomplish this feat of creating believable make believe people? One way is through backstory.

Say you have an old man who's grumpy and crotchety. He's always yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.  Pretty cliche, right?  You can almost see the prototypical old man sitting on a chair, or maybe a porch swing, in front of an old house that's badly in need of repair and a new paint job.  You can see his manicured lawn, in contrast to the house, it's well cared for.. yet also a little neglected in spots.  Maybe the grass is burnt in a couple of places.. the path up to his door has cement that's cracked, and there's some spots where some grass is grown through the cracks.  Maybe his mailbox leans a little and has some cobwebs on it because he doesn't get any mail, not even junk mail.

Put this guy in your story and he's.. meh.. slightly interesting, but not original by any means.  He's crazy old man Jenkins from down the street who has inhabited hundreds of stories similar to yours.

BUT.. now throw in some backstory on old man Jenkins.

What if I told you that Old Man Jenkins sits on his porch every day because he's scared of what might happen if one of the neighbor kids gets too close to his lawn.  Say there's a sinkhole in his lawn that nobody can see, but it's there..right behind the spot half way up his lawn where the grass is dead.  Maybe the sinkhole is in the same spot where Old Man Jenkins buried the door-to-door kitchen cutlery salesman that he thought was having an affair with the dearly deprated Mrs. Jenkins, (God rest her soul).  Maybe every night Old Man Jenkins gets woken up by a knock at the door, and when he goes to see who it is he can hear someone with rattley breath and a raspy voice asking if he'd like to see a demonstration of the latest ginsu knives. Maybe Old Man Jenkins is afraid that if one of the kids disappears down the sinkhole there will be an investigation and they'll find the body of a certain salesman, so he keeps a daily vigil.


What if we spin it a different way and say that Old Man Jenkins has always been a vegan, even before being a vegan was cool.. and he has a knack for experimental biology and cross-pollination.. and he is dedicated to creating an edible grass that can be grown in arid locations but that will provide the same nutritional benefit as a steak dinner.. it's so revolutionary that Countries in Africa can feed an entire city with no more space required than the size of a soccer field, something that already exists in Africa in abundance.  HOWEVER, his "meat-grass" has been found out by the FDA and the Cattlemen's Beef Association, and they'll stop at nothing to keep him from successfully harvesting his grass, even sending in spies who look like children to stamp out his crop.  So here is Old Man Jenkins, with the dietary health of the world on his shoulders, trying to stop an army of evil super spy-kids from stomping out the discovery of the century.

Pretty big spread in character's, no? Old Man Jenkins is just a side character in your story.. but suddenly he might be a hero to thousands, or a hidden killer.. suddenly this cliche' bit character has a life, a motivation, and is interesting. How does this new deeper character change your MC's interactions? Maybe not at all.. maybe quite a bit. Maybe he grows from bystander to confidant..or secondary villain.

In fact... I'm kind of interested in learning more about both of these guys actually.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Copious Amounts of Blood.. Overkill?

In trying to write action scenes for my current WIP, (Middle Grade Adventure/Fantasy), the question pops up, how much violence is too much? What goes over the top?

I was listening to an archive recording of Writing Excuses, (which if you don't listen to religiously.. then I have to ask.. WHY?).. because I was looking for some suggestions on this topic and they were discussing some really interesting ideas/thoughts.. when one of the podcasters, (I believe  Dan Wells) speaks up about a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie where there was a huge fight scene with hundreds of bad guys and the 4 turtles, 3 of them using deadly, bladed weapons.. and not one drop of blood in the entire scene.

How incredibly unrealistic it is to have a massive ninja style fight scene with all these weapons and bodies flying around, and not one single drop of blood. Obviously, the movies have to do this for rating purposes.. but it begs the question of what do we, who are attempting to write Middle Grade, use as a base level for violence in our stories?

Brandon Mull has people die all over the place in his Fablehaven series, but I don't recall many really descriptive deaths, apart from in the second book when they are fighting the thing below the floating catwalk.. (I will leave this intentionally blank so as to not put a spoiler in for those that haven't read the series), and in Harry Potter, Malfoy is hit by a dark spell cast by Harry himself in 'Half Blood Prince', (Sectumsempra), that causes him to bleed profusely.

"Blood spurted from Malfoy's face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backward and collapsed onto the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp right hand. "No —" gasped Harry. Slipping and staggering, Harry got to his feet and plunged toward Malfoy, whose face was now shining scarlet, his white hands scrabbling at his blood-soaked chest."

In my WIP, one of my characters is a life-long fighter.. my Writers Platform first writing assignment was based on this character.  He's been in captivity for most of his adult life, fighting for his life. His body is covered in scars. How do I NOT make him an embodiment of violence? That's my whole thought process for this character.. he's a potentially very violent man, not by choice but by having it thrust upon him. His ability for violence is a central part of the story. Not that it makes or breaks the story, but it is key to him, and to his part in this world.

How do I scar him, give him such a history, and then shackle his scenes with near misses and hefty body blows.. but no blood, or not much blood?  This is a person who has survived despite tremendous odds, he has known violence, pain, and death.

I know it's a fine line, and obviously I'm wandering all over and around it without much direction.. but how do you stay true to your character and yet maintain an appropriate level of decorum for the target audience?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riordan always has good action in his books, and this one is no different.. packed from the opening to end, the book has good twists, and enough obscure Egyptian references to make you think and even maybe do some research. A fun read that is, in some ways better than the first book in the series, but in other ways not as fun.

I found the action more believable, (if you can call it that when speaking of a book of this sort), in this book than the first, but the interplay between characters was lacking in this as compared to the first. There were no real suspenseful tweenie love plots in this one, and the interplay between the male character, (Carter) and his love interest is completely ignored.. likely setting it up for more attention in the third book.

However, even with those criticisms, Riordan delivers one of the better books/series in the MG market. He's found the winning equation, and he does it well here.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Writing Software Options

It seems that every couple of months there's a new writing addon or program or software out there to tempt the novice writer with promises of the perfect pitch, or the perfect manuscript format.. but what are the options?

In today's list, I'll give some of the most popular programs, and give a slight overview of what they offer.  Their addition to this list is not an endorsement, and their placement is not meant to be a guess as to value.. this is merely a list of some of the most popular writing programs on the market today.

  1. Microsoft Word
    -- Probably the most popular, simply because it's the most widely available. It may not have all the pretty bells and whistles, but it's a good strong base, and it's been used for years. How can you go wrong with the program that produced the largest selling franchise in history?  (Harry Potter)
  2. Corel's Word Perfect
    -- Most people have forgotten about the program that really started the CPU writing craze. Still highly adaptable, Word Perfect is still the preferred method of writing for some old school writers, and if you don't believe me.. check out Corel's online tutorial.
  3. Scrivener
    -- Probably the most popular true novel writing software, it was exclusively a Mac program, but was recently expanded to include Windows. (Author note: This is what I'm currently using, and I like it.. but for the bells and whistles it's still just a word processor, ala Word, at its heart.)
  4. WriteItNow
    -- Similar to Scrivener, just a little more simplistic in it's interface and deliver, but that can be a good thing. Honestly I was more comfortable using WriteItNow initially, but Scrivener just had more options that I felt I could grow to use.
  5. Storybook
    -- A Free Open Source writer program, Storybook has all of the essential ingredients that make Word and Scrivener so popular, it simply lacks the polish and all of the options of the popular 'pay' products. It is, however, still a very reliable and popular program. If money is an issue, (and when isn't it?), you could do a lot worse than Storybook.
  6. Liquid Story Binder--  I know literally nothing about Liquid Story Binder, apart from the fact that it's the coolest looking program on my list.  From their own site, "Liquid Story Binder XE is a uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system. It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work"
  7. Storybase-- Storybase seems to be designed more as a writing aid than a writing program.. what I mean is, it bills itself as a means of getting out of writers block. The program suggests ways to proceed, giving you prompts to chose between, and suggested lead in and lead outs. Personally I can see the value, but only as an occasional prompt.. if overused this could become a crutch to a new writer.
  8. yWriter
    -- Probably the best free software on the market, yWriter gives you many of the same options of the pay programs like Scrivener and WriteItNow, just without the depth and options. It does, however, offer a cork board for spitballing, an outliner, and a storyboard so you can see a visual representation of the timeline of your story.. something that I find extremely useful in outlining and 1st draft writing. Probably the program I'd recommend to most new writers simply off what it offers and the price, (free). If you try it and decide to keep using it, I do recommend that you register your copy, (pay a small fee), simply to reward the person who wrote the program, and encourage him to continue updating the program.
  9. Storyweaver
    -- Storyweaver is a good program.. it's sorta smack dab in the middle when it comes to what it offers and price, but since it's not too far to one side on either it's the perfect fit for some. It does offer a free 90 day trial period, which can be great for writing a new story. Download it just before NaNoWriMo and use it for a month of serious writing to get a feel for it.. then you'll know if you want to pay for a program or go with one of the open source/free programs instead.
  10. WriteWay-- Writeway will move you from outline to published eBook if that's what you're looking for. It has a great tool for not only formatting, but creating a cover, an author's bio, even a dedication and foreward. It even has a tool, (on the demo and the pro-version) that will read your book to you, so you can listen for inconsistencies or editing mistakes. Once you're all done, it has ebook publishing for both the Kindle and Nook built in.  A handy tool for the hardcore self-publisher.
There are, of course, many other options beyond these 10.. but from what I could find, and from personal experience.. these are the cream of the crop. Any/all of them will help you move your project forward.. but none of these programs will improve your writing style.. that's up to you.

So the bottom line is, pick on, or a few.. try it out, and then go with what best suits your desires.  THEN.. write, and write, and write. And when you're done.. write some more.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goodreads Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials (Partials, #1)Partials by Dan Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good introduction to the series. Gives you just enough information and twists to be both entertaining and yet still set up the sequels in nice fashion.

Characters are very interesting and show good diversity, which can often be a concern in these sorts of books, (cardboard cutouts of each other).

Ending sets up interesting new paths without revealing anything about where they may go, so I am looking forward to the next book in the series very much. Absolutely one I'll be buying on it's release day.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Wednesday.. Insecure Writer's Support Group

So today is my very first foray into the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop.. but I feel like I'm an old pro just off my old posts already.

You Have A Friend In Failure
What Are Your Excuses?
Treading Water or Body Surfing?

Sorta feel like I should say something about how, I'm not just the President of the Insecure Writers.. I'm also a client.

Hell, the name of my blog is Graphophobia.. which literally means A Fear of Writing.  So for my first entry into this storied tradition of my fellow timid scribes, I thought I'd just put a toe in to test the water, in the spirit of insecurity.

I am a voracious reader, a day can't pass without me reading at least for 30 minutes or so before I got to sleep. However this seems to be a double-edged sword for me because often it seems I read books from authors that I greatly respect and admire.. and inevitably I find myself looking at their writing and comparing it to my own drivel and coming away muttering something about having been weighed in the balances and found wanting.

I know it's not fair to expect my writing, as a novice writer, to measure up at this stage. I haven't put in my esoteric 'million words' yet.. my stripes have not been earned. Also I know that I'm comparing a rough draft, possible a second or third rewrite with a piece of writing that has been gone over dozens of times by the author and professionals at the publishing company.

In other words.. I realize that it's an unfair comparison. Doesn't change the way it impacts me, however. I look at their literature, and my feeble attempts, and I shrink inside my own mind.

Now.. I have improved over the past year or so over how I used to react in those situations. As I said, I know very well that it's a total apples to orange comparison. The problem is, even with that knowledge.. it still has an impact.

I've actually considered not reading while I'm in the process of writing a 1st draft or a 1st or second edit.  But that just seems unrealistic as I always seem to find myself in one of those various stages at this point in my life as a writer.

So I guess, where I'm headed with this for any other Insecure Writer's who stumble upon this blog is.. have you experienced anything similar.. and how did you deal with it? Did you simply outgrow it, or did you find some other way to deal with it.. or is it something that you just have to learn to deal with over time?

I promise, all my posts in this hop won't be so negative.. but this one was the freshest in my mind, so there you have it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

(Drum Roll Please) And The Winners Are..

No.. Not This Guy.
The winners are in for the Kevin Hiatt 100 followers Extravaganza give-away.

We used a fool-proof, double blind means of choosing the winners, (I numbered the entries from 1-12 and had my three youngest, (speaking) children choose a random number, but I gave no indication of what the numbers represented.)

I figured this was more inventive than just pulling numbers out of a hat.

And after much thinking and "ummmmm"ing.. and one case of choosing the same number.. the winners were chosen.

And they are...
Thanks to everyone who entered.. and for everyone who's following my blog.  Stay tuned.. because if things really take off like I've been told will happen with the A-Z Blog Month.. I'll be having another Extravaganze Give Away when I hit 200 followers soon.

To the winners.. first off, CONGRATULATIONS!!  I'll be contacting you via either your blog, or your email if you left it.  Or, you can shoot me off an email at kbh@kevinhiatt.com if you'd like.  Once I have your preferred mailing address, (or email address for the gift card), I'll get them sent off to you.

Thanks again everyone.  Lets do this again real soon.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

4th Platform Building Campaign 2nd Exercise

Boy 2.0
Trevor watched the red unit intently, wondering what its data limit tested out at. He appeared to have the largest capacity of any of the data retention units available.

His current memory unit had begun to age, bits of data had been corrupted and lost, and that was unacceptable given the timeline of his Department of Defense contract. However it wasn’t until the diagnosis of memory retention dementia that he’d been forced to take action.

The Data Espionage Wars of 2031 had left all silicon based memory devices infected, leaving bio-storage as the only incorruptible form of data retrieval. And since his DoD contract required a level 12 security encryption module, bio- storage was mandatory. However, even after 10 years, Trevor still struggled displacing the humanity from what was technically a human child. Legally, it was considered nothing more than a data storage device but it still looked and acted like a boy.

He was speaking with the salesman to arrange for delivery when the unit was brought over for inspection. Trevor moved to leave when he felt a small hand grasp his, turning he saw the child’s eyes lock onto his own. “Are we going home now?” he asked.


The technician, Ron, was busy preparing the boy for the procedure. “This isn’t going to hurt,” he told him.

Not hurt, Trevor thought, just reformat your brain. Trevor got up to leave the room, but the boy called out to him, “Please, doesn’t leave. I’m scared.” Trevor hadn’t considered that he knew what was coming.

“Enough,” Trevor said grabbing Ron's shoulder. The move startled Ron, who accidentally brushed the green implantation toggle, causing instant activation. The device hummed, suddenly becoming ensconced in a swirling vapor cloud.

"Get me something to hold this thing that won't conduct electricity, we've got to contain the nano-docks!" Ron yelled. Trevor ran to the kitchen, grabbed a ladle, and threw it to Ron, who balanced the implant on the wood and tried to reverse the dispersion command, to no effect. The vapor cloud had already contacted skin.

Both the boy and Ron jerked in shock as the microscopic machines entered their bodies and began to work on their nervous systems. Without thought, Trevor grabbed the boy and ran.Whisps of vapor clung at first, but then redirected to Ron, whose eyes glazed over, blank.

Trevor looked down at boy and felt tears pool in his eyes.


(Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts)

The pair ran until the man was forced to rest his injured leg beside the broken bridge, the boy’s hair was still wet from the dye that changed its color. Pausing, they watched a group of abandoned children dig through some rubble and the man wondered if any of them were created like the boy, alive but with no intended life. Just days ago he had watched the boy blissfully play away what was supposed to be the last moments of his humanity. The conversion process had, however, gone horribly wrong leaving a technician essentially brain dead, and the man scared of how close he’d come to losing the boy. The man told the boy to get some sleep and the boy, looking at the man, asked “Daddy, will I ever dream of more than flying lines and stars?”


What I undertook:
  1. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  2. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”. 
  3. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme
  • Write in a genre that is not your own (I normally write Fantasy/horror, this was an attempt at Sci-Fi)

and.. PLEASE.. do feel free to critique my writing.  The only way any of us learn and improve is to write, learn, grow, and write again.  I will very appreciatively accept any feedback given in that spirit.

I know I probably messed up on the first prompt, I initially thought it was a prompt to write a flash fiction about one of the pictures, not all of the prompts, but I'd completed the second flash fiction by the time I figured that out, and I liked the story too much to delete it.. Like how Trevor comes to look at the memory unit as a boy, I've come to look at the flash fiction as 'my baby'.  ;)

I hope you enjoy, and as always, if you do.. Please Vote for me by clicking here and voting for #19
Even if you don't want to vote, please go read some of the other tremendous works by other writers at that link. These challenges are full of some very talented writers, so go enjoy.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Today is Dr. Seuss's birthday. Dr. Seuss, the man who, during his lifetime, won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and a Peabody Award.

He sold over two million books including some of his most popular: "The Cat In The Hat," "The Sneetches," "Green Eggs & Ham," "Oh, The Places You'll Go," and "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

An absolute GIANT in the literary world. So of course, he could have nothing in common with us struggling writers trying to break into the publishing world.. correct?

… Au Contraire, Mon Frère….

Yes, even Dr. Seuss was rejected. In fact, his first book, “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before he finally got a “yes.” 

(As an aside.. how’d you like to be that chap who, on the 28th attempt said, “I think you might have something here.” What a smile he must have worn for the rest of his life. “… oh yea? Well, I discovered Dr. Seuss.”)

27 times. One of his most famous rejection letter excerpts read, “This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

Happy Birthday, and Thank You Dr. Seuss, for being a shining example of perseverance, and for breaking down the walls of conformity.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

100 Followers Festival: Kevin's Giving Stuff Away

Let the festivities begin.. I've finally hit 100 followers!!  (After being stuck on 99 for 2 days.. it was like watching a pot of water, waiting for it to boil.. and then discovering you forgot to turn on the stupid burner; and then of course once I hit 100 I get to 101 like 5 minutes later. HA!)

So.. in the spirit of what I've no doubt will soon become a National Holiday.. You have my permission to take the rest of the day off as National Graphophibia Day!!
To get in on the festivities, and enter yourself for the fabulous prizes, just...

  1. Make sure you're a member of my blog
  2. Reply to this post with your book preference.
  3. 2 of you will get your book preference.. and one ultimate winner will get a fabulous cash prize.
That's all you have to do.. just do a quick reply to this post to throw your hat into the ring.  Once the winners are chosen I'll contact you to get contact/mailing info.

3 winners will be chosen at random to receive these fabulous gifts & prizes..
  • 1 $20 Gift Card from Amazon.com
  • 1 Paperback Copy of Septimus Heap: Magyk by Angie Sage
  • 1 Paperback Copy of NYTimes Best Seller Tunnels by Gordon & Williams.
(Both Paperbacks are unique in that they're both from English authors)

I'll leave this up for a few days, and then pick the winner on Monday the 5th.

Thanks everyone for reading my ramblings.. and for making this so much fun!!

I'd Like To Thank All The Little People...

I was given the Kreativ Blogger award for meritorious service to the world of Literature.. and of course because I think I'm the last blogger on the interwebs not to get it yet.

However.. that aside.. I humbly accept the accolades and generous cash prize that goes with the award.

I'd like to thank Alyssa for recognizing my award worthiness, and for providing the cash prize.. (So I should expect a check in a week or so.. yes?)

Now it's been requested that I give a listing of 7 things about myself that others might find interesting, so....

  1. I'm a licensed attorney in the State of Idaho, and I've worked cases ranging from Attempted Murder to all manner of drug cases, to a case that was described as a "rolling vehicle of death", as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. I've also worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Idaho, making court appearing all over the State, and collected in excess of $1Million dollars in awards for the State.. and for a while, I got to carry a badge and a concealed weapon because the County where I was the Chief Deputy Prosecutor was a bit.. 'wild west', and we had Constitutionalists, (tax evaders) who showed up to court armed.
  2. I have 5 children, all 10 and under, and all have Hawaiian names, (Kanani, Kapono, Konanui, Keoni, and Koali'i.), as my better half is Hawaiian, (and Yes, her name starts with a K.. but we honestly didn't plan all the K names until we had 3 kids.. then it was sorta too late to stop)
  3. I am soon moving to the State of Virginia so my wife can pursue her PhD in Speech Language Pathology.  (She was accepted earlier this month to the PhD program at James Madison University.)
  4. I was a varsity college athlete for 1 year at Ricks Junior College before going on a 2-year mission for the LDS Church.. I was a track athlete. My main event was the Long Jump, with a PR of 22ft 8in.
  5. I have 2 undergraduate degrees, one of them is in Spanish.
  6. I've taught online business law courses for the University of Phoenix School of Business for the past 4 years.
  7. I lived in the same house all of my childhood and grew up 10 miles outside of a town with a population of 2100 people. My HS class had 42 people, but only 39 actually graduated.

The other requirement for this award is to nominate 7 other people.. so below is my list of bloggers who I regularly read/check.  I'm sure they've all already received this honor.. but tough noogies.  If you didn't want multiple honors, you should've just let your blogs get all ratty and nasty and uninteresting. So the blame rests with you.  

My nominees as Kreativ Bloggers:
  1. Yelena Casale:  http://yelenacasale.blogspot.com
  2. Tina Moss:    http://tinamoss.blogspot.com
  3. Erin Shakespear:   http://erinshakespear.blogspot.com
  4. Melanie Stanford:   http://daydreamertowriter.blogspot.com/ 
  5. Sher A Hart:   http://sherahart.blogspot.com/  
  6. Juli Page Morgan:   http://julipagemorganauthor.blogspot.com/
  7. Jayrod Garrett:   http://the1stog.blogspot.com/

Guess what time of year it is.... FIRST DRAFT TIME!!!