Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Horror

October has arrived. Yes, October, the month of rain and colored leaves; a time when little children prepare costumes and count down the days until the night of sugary ecstasy, and the time of year I wander the aisles in my favorite little bookstore looking for anything that will scare me silly. After all, it wouldn't be October without true Halloween horror.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Find something good to read, but beware, the ghosts and ghouls may not just be in your head. Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome to the Inn

Hey everybody! Check out my new blog for my novel at

Monday, April 18, 2011

And That Light at the End of the Tunnel Gets Bigger

I think I just may have found someone to print my book. While on band tour in San Francisco (though I tell people I joined a gypsy caravan) I found out that the tour director owns a printing company. He said he could print some copies when I had it ready. From there it could be sent to publishers or he could print thousands of copies. I just need to here back from a couple beta readers and I'll make some final adjustments. And an update on the quest, I did finish Les Miserables in under a week. Five and a half days to be exact.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Quest

It's good to challenge yourself every once in a while and try something outside of your usual reading selections. Which is how the Quest arose. I am trying to read Les Miserables in under a week. To give you a better idea of the caliber of this little literary quest of mine, let me tell you a little about this book. Firstly, it's by Victor Hugo and, while I love his writing, he has a tendency to go on and on and on (and on and on and on...) Secondly, this book is over 1,400 pages long. That's over twice the length of any other book in my collection. And I have to read it in six days or less. Am I crazy? Most likely, but if I wasn't I could never do this.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some Random For Your Tuesday

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Oh yeah, well what if someone throws a dictionary at you? What about THAT?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You Can't Beat the Classics!

Goodness, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Well, the weather is warming and I can start reading outside again which means it's time to dig out some good books and when it comes to good books, you can't beat the greats. Tip to all, the most sure fire way to seem smarter is to read classic books. Remember, classic does not mean boring. Here are a few of my favorites.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie- Every element that composes the perfect fantasy land: Indians, mermaids, fairies and pirates. Pirates always make for a good story.

And speaking of pirates...

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson- Avast ye landlubbers! Buried treasure awaits any who dare sail the seas with Jim Hawkins, but watch out for scurvy pirates.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne- An underground sea, creatures that we never knew existed, a strange world, what really is below our feet?

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs- Lions, panthers, and apes, oh my! Tarzan's jungle world is filled with danger and intrigue. Including a certain someone named Jane.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Eummuska Orczy- I can't talk this book up enough. Romance, adventure, blackmail. It's enough to keep any one's heart racing.

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss- A struggle for survival becomes an island paradise. At least until the pirates invade.

And if you're up for it...

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo- A hunchback touched by kindness, a gypsy trying to escape an evil plot, a priest with a plan, and a poor penniless poet caught in the middle.

There are far more classic beyond this. I have failed to include Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Alexandre Dumas, or Wilkie Collins. That doesn't mean I don't love them too. So go read some classics. They'll improve your IQ level and save you 15% on your car insurance. Well, maybe not that last one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspiration in Every Aspect

Coming up with ideas is hard sometimes. There's nothing worse that sitting down to write and having a total brain fart. Well guess what? There's a little secret about ideas. There are no ideas, only combining old ones to make something new. So where do ideas come from? The answer: Everywhere.

My creative writing teacher said that when we wrote he wanted us to be pirates. He wanted us to plunder and steal ideas from everywhere. Ideas come from everywhere; from what we see, what we do, what we say. You may not notice this, but there are hundreds of ideas just outside your window ripe for harvest. Here are a couple ways to reap the bounty.

1. Be observant. Notice things.

2. Ask questions. Wonder about everything.

3. Ask "what if."

4. Read.

5. Write ideas down for later use.

6. Look at things in a different way.

Follow these simple steps and you can become an idea farmer in no time at all. Go on, have fun, go write. Create something awesome. Write on!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Port of Pirates

It's been a while since I've posted some of my writing. So let's get caught up. Who here likes pirates? This is the first couple paragraphs of a new short story of my called "Port of Pirates."

Port Simeon was know to most of the world as the port of pirates. The weak law enforcement was long gone and the town was full of buccaneers, cutthroats, and scalawags. Despite the obvious danger, my longing for the rush of adrenaline pulsing through me veins got the better of me and I had to see the lawless town for myself.

I could only find one boatman who would ferry me out to Port Simeon. His name was Blue Bill. No last name was given. I met him on the docks in the swamps of Louisiana. He bowed low and gestured me into his rickety old swamp boat. I checked to make sure I still had my pistol, dagger, and sword; the usual things one takes when among pirates. Bill stepped into the boat behind me and pushed off from the dock. A parrot sat on a branch of a nearby tree. As we passed, it eyed us and squawked "dead men tell no tales." I don't believe in omens and I don't think this was the best time to start.

The swamp was riddled with shacks made from what looked like odds and ends of other houses. Dinghies were tied to porch posts, laden with fishing nets and bottles of cordial. We passed a withered old man rocking back and forth in a creaky old rocking chair. I don't know which made more noise, the creaky wood of the chair or the creaky joints of the old man. He stopped plucking the banjo sitting on his knee to warn us of our path. I thanked him for his concern and urged Blue Bill on.

We entered the black gaping mouth of a cave. I felt like was was venturing into the belly of the proverbial beast. Darkness closed its grasp on us as we journeyed further into the cave. Bill lit a lamp and the darkness subsided. Well, to a degree.

A throat cleared behind me. I looked to see it was Blue Bill. He opened his mouth and spoke to me for the first time and most likely the only time.

"So ye be lookin' for salty ol' pirates, eh?" His voice was slow and calm. "Well ye've come to the right place."

It's not much, I apologize, but it's just a start. If you want to hear the rest, just say so and I'll post it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Books for all Genres

Reading is like a buffet. There are lots of different things to choose from. And while it's okay to like one thing more than others, a buffet is most fun when you try a little of everything. It's never a good thing to restrict yourself to reading just one genre. You could miss out on a lot of really good books. Try some of every genre and you may find that there is something you like you thought you wouldn't. Luckily for picky readers, there's something for every literary pallet.

For fantasy fanatics...
If you love fantasy novels as much as I do, you need to get some Terry Brooks books today. He's most famous for his Shanara series, but my favorite of his books is the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. There are currently six books and there may or may not be more; it's an older series. The books are about a lawyer who becomes the high lord of the magic kingdom of Landover when he buys it from a department store Christmas catalog. If you are more partial to epic fantasy then by all means check out the Shanara books as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

For high adventurers...
Nothing beats the adventurous imagination of Jules Verne. I highly recommend Journey to the Center of the Earth. Not to prone to older books? No problem! Dive into the spying world of the Alex Rider series, the chronicles of a teen spy. Or maybe enjoy the swashbuckling tale of the Treasure of Savage Island. Pirates, runaway slaves, and buried treasure make for a good read.

For historical fiction buffs...
I cannot express my love of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" enough, as well as my love of the sequel "El Dorado." If you've never read them, look into it right away. While you're at it, check out "The Three Musketeers." No book ever goes out of style. Alexandre Dumas is a master of historical fiction an his books are well worth the read.

For mystery maniacs...
Why it's elementary! The greatest mysteries ever solved are those of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed Sherlock Holmes. The best of which being "The Hound of the Baskervilles." I also would recommend the Mary Russel mysteries by Laurie R. King. They're the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his apprentice, the young, intelligent, and witty Mary Russel. The series currently consists of ten books. Can you solve the mystery first?

For romance lovers...
Oh goodness. I haven't had much experience with romance novels; I'm usually not attracted to them, but there is one that holds a dear place in my heart. I combines romance with one of my favorite things: pirates. "To Catch a Pirate" by Jade Parker is the tale of young woman set out to reclaim the gold stolen from her father's ship and save him from the gallows, but her plan may be in jeopardy when she finds herself falling for the young pirate captive meant to lead them to the treasure. Yet another timeless romance is "The Princess Bride." There's nothing like sword fighting, poisoned wine, giants, and snobbish princes to create the perfect bedtime romance.

Time to whet that appetite. Head out to a local library or bookstore and pick up your four course dinner today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Goals and Resolutions for 2011

The first of the above being to blog more. Sorry about the long wait.

2010 was a good year. I did a lot (and boy do I mean a lot) of editing on my novel, I survived another year of high school, I got into the school's literary magazine Pegasus, I scored a job at the Hogle Zoo, became Employee of the Month, went to a teen writer's conference, hung out with authors, went to book signings, got Karen E. Hoover (author of The Sapphire Flute) to critique the first three chapters of my novel, and rode Space Mountain four times. Very good year indeed.

As for this year, in my attempt to make it as enjoyable and successful as possible, I hope that by the end of it there will be nice shiny copies of "Castaway Inn" on the shelves of bookstores everywhere. One can hope; we'll see how that goes. That's the goal for this year. And get a 4.0 GPA. That too.

Resolutions? Blog more. Don't procrastinate. Practice my drums more. Um... is that it? Is that really it? Ah, well. I'll stick to these for now. Now I know I'm not the only one with resolutions and goals for the new year. What do you hope to accomplish?