Friday, May 31, 2013

Inspiration Friday!

Okay so again before I post, I have to say that I have been very slack on my blogging this week. I have wanted to get to everyone's great post and leave comments and be a good blogger, but mostly I have been writing like a mad man. August will be here sooner than I want it to(for writing and birthday reasons) and I need to have a finished copy of Ashes by July so I can get edits done. Anyway, if anyone has felt ignored I apologize and I will do better this week.

Inspiration Friday. Every Friday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This weeks topic is movies.

Movies for me are little bits of magic brought into the world. I would probably sit in a theater all day just watching back to back movies if I could. I know things are overpriced and as an "artist" I'm supposed to say things like, "There is nothing good anymore," and "It is all rehashed crap these days." I just don't feel that way. Movies inspire me and even bad movies can be enjoyed to some level or another.   

First up we have The Lord of the Rings trilogy. During the course of these movies coming out I began working a new job for the city, my daughter was born and my son was born. It was an eventful three years. I used to drive a truck to pick up curb-side trash or brush. As I would wait for my truck to be called, I'd write in this notepad or do my mental note thing. From the time these movies came out to their release on DVD, I built the majority of my "Epic Fantasy" world. I remember watching all the extra features almost religiously for each movie. I think the actors were perfect for the parts they were given and the grandfather of most fantasy stories was beautifully transitioned to film by an amazing director.

Next is a movie called Finding Neverland. First I want to say I find it hard to locate a movie with Johnny Depp in it that I have not enjoyed. In this movie he plays the playwright J. M. Barrie and follows how he came to be inspired to write the play The Boy Who Never Grew Up(Peter Pan). I think the Wiki describes it as semi-biographical, I can assume this means liberties were taken, but as a story in itself it is wonderful. It is sad and enlightening, Freddie Highmore gave a wonderful performance as Peter. This movie was a great look into a writer's mind and how he sees the world, I recommend a watch if you haven't seen it.

Last is a movie that is a bit of my childhood, a bit of who I am as a story teller and something that has stayed with me and probably will stay with me for as long as I am of sound mind. I was probably too young to watch this movie when I did. I often would take advantage of the fact my single mom had to work so much. Still anyone who has been reading my blog knows of my love for Bruce Lee, with his death occurring before my birth it was only natural for me to cling to the next closest thing. 

This being Brandon Lee his son. I owned at the time both Showdown in Little Tokyo and Rapid Fire. I also enjoyed the Kung Fu: the movie he was in. so when I heard he was going to be playing in some movie called The Crow I couldn't wait. Of course as most of you know Brandon Lee was killed during the shooting of the movie when he was shot by accident while filming a scene. 

I was not able to coerce anyone into letting me see the rated R film in theaters, but as soon it came out on video I used all my wiles to obtain a copy. Sometimes when an artist dies we tend to pay attention to their art with a clarity we may otherwise leave out. I can recite you the words to this movie from front to back I have watched it so much. I have my video tape version, my DVD version and last birthday my wife bought it for me on Blu-Ray. I am inspired in so many ways by this movie. 

There is a line in the film that says, "Little things used to mean so much to Shelley. I used to think they were trivial. Trust me, nothing is trivial." A truer statement can't be said when referring to those you love, each moment means something and should be enjoyed. I try to take this to my life and my writing.

Anyway these are some things that inspire me, what about you? As always have fun and keep writing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Randon Act of Kindness

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It was the end of November when I was woken up from a deep sleep to stare up at my shaken wife as she frantically tried to relate something about a deer. I jumped up and tried to calm her, finally she was able to get out that a deer had run out as she was driving home and had rammed into the side of the car. My first response was to make sure she was okay and thankfully beside being a little sore and upset she was.

I went outside with her to look at the car that had somehow crawled its way back into our driveway. It was smoking a little and the tire was acting funny. We both were worried something had happened to the frame. Either way the car couldn't be driven and we knew it had to be looked at. Well first we called the insurance company and after waiting while some obnoxious music played in the background, we were told that deer collision was not covered and they were sorry. 

We have many blessings in our life.  Two beautiful, healthy children, a happy and long—considering the age in which we met and the time in which we live—marriage. We were lucky to move to a nice neighborhood with a nice house where the kids can go to a great school. Money, though, had never been one of the blessings we often received. It was something we were used to dealing with and we always found a way. Still so close to Christmas anything extra was hard to come by.

So with a sigh and a knowing look we got a tow truck to take our car to this awesome little mechanic shop who most people with a brain go to around here. We waited for the number to come in so we could start planning. Two days later we got a call to come up to the shop for our car. Both of us were worried as we were not sure if we could pay that tab, but we went and did what we always do, hope for the best and get ready for the worst.

As we pulled into the shop we see our little champion of a car sitting in a parking spot. Its dents were repaired a bit leaving only a few battle scars. As we made our way to the desk to pay the guy who owned the shop came out from the back with our keys and said come on. With a confused look to each other we followed. Outside he told us that he had to bend the bumper back out it was hitting the tire and the headlight had to be fixed and few other things. My mind was trying to tally up some number when he handed us the keys and said have a good one.

With a look of shock my wife said, "How much do we owe you?"

The Mechanic smiled and said, "Not a thing, Merry Christmas."

Both of us tried to argue and say we could at least pay something, but he wouldn't hear it and soon we were both sitting in silence in the car on our way home. My wife laughed at some point which started both of us laughing and smiling. I tell you this I will never take so much as an oil change anywhere else.

Also just to further show there are things out there beyond us at work. As we headed back to our house we saw a man on the side of the street asking for money. We had brought forty dollars in cash with us and our card in hopes that it had enough combined to pay the bill. Without a word I looked at my wife and she nodded. I handed her the cash and pulled up next to the guy. She handed him the money with a smile and a God bless you, we drove off to home.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Inspiration Fri----er... Saturday.

So some stuff came up yesterday and I was not home from practically the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. Obviously this has affected my IF post, but since I drew the picture and am trying to be a good blogger, I have decided this week it will be Inspiration Saturday. 

Inspiration Friday Saturday. Every Friday This Saturday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This weeks topic is Books.

Now for me this is the hardest one so far to write and I had to constantly remind myself this is not a favorites list, because three books is not nearly enough to even touch my most favorite of stories. So I decided to focus on books that took me to a different place with my writing.

First we have maybe the most influential book I have ever read. Before this book, I was reading Tom Sawyer and White Fang and Treasure Island, before that I was having Charlotte's Web read to me at night before I went to sleep. This series, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe in particular, was the first time I had read something so fantastical. Has anyone seen the movie the Neverending Story? When Bastian is up in the attic(I believe it was an attic, been a while for me) and he starts to read and the story comes to life. This is how I felt reading these books. I would stay with my Godmother who lived on the grounds of a private school and during the summer the library there would be completely empty. It was as still as a graveyard and I would take my copy of LtWatW and I'd find a little nook and start reading. This was the first time I understood that a story could not just be fun, not just make you feel something, but it could be magic. After reading, no closet was left un-searched, no lamppost was ever looked at the same way and my love for lions was sealed. It is funny a book published in the 50s could speak to me so much, but that is what great books do they bridge time and become timeless. I have not felt so attached to a children series until I finally caved and read the Harry Potter books. I can honestly say this was the beginning for me as a writer and I will always thank C. S. Lewis for that.

Ah Drizzt. It is so funny to think this character was supposed to be a sidekick. It goes to show you that no matter what we plan as writers stories have a way of growing out of us in ways we can't always foresee. I was six when the first book of the Icewind Dale Trilogy was published it wouldn't be for another ten years that I would discover this amazing series. By this time I was reading a lot of fantasy. It was funny because until I got deep into reading about this Dark Elf I didn't understand what the Fantasy genre could be. Yes is has fantastical elements that evoke fun and amazement, that send our imaginations whirling, but they can also tell us about ourselves. The Drizzt books aren't a story about one of the baddest fantasy figures to ever hold a sword...or two—well it is, but it isn't just that. This is a story that talks about racism, about fitting into a world that may reject you, but doing it because it is worth it to try. About friendship and what it means to love another enough to give your life for them. We can talk all day about people's opinion of this sort of fantasy, but at the end of the day, for me, I felt like a better person after reading these books. A better writer to boot. Drizzt taught me that while it is sometimes important to fight, it is why we fight that means the most in this world. Mr R. A. Salvatore is still writing away at these and on my desk next to me I have the 27th book that has been written about this character, I have trouble thinking of a more prolific author. With no end in sight I am comforted by the fact I will have my friend the dark elf for many years to come.

This was a hard one for me, four book series rushed forward to fill this spot or maybe I should say authors: Brent Weeks, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I started reading these people's books all about the same time. So why Rothfuss? Well this is going to sound egotistical after I write it, but I hope this will be taken as I mean it and not as it sounds. When I am done reading a book I often ask myself a question. Could I write this? Often I have to say 'with a lot of work and honing of my craft', but I find confidence at some point and say yes I think I could. (Now this may be delusions of grandeur but that works for me.) A book that made me stop and no, no I don't think I could, was The Name of The Wind. This book is so smart, so classy(yes classy). The way the story is told is clean and crisp and while Patrick has said there isn't really a plot, it so doesn't matter. The characters are real and make you feel for them or hate or love/hate them. As a reader I was a complete puppet for both books in the Kingkiller Chronicles. As a writer I often find myself speculating as I read and many times I know things before they happen. With this book it wasn't even a matter of I couldn't do that, I just didn't even want to try. I was in this book for each word and all that mattered while I was reading was what I was reading. I am a slow reader and suffice it to say I lost a portion of my life after buying each book. Well all I can say to that is—time well spent. This series has become something for me to look up to while writing my fantasy. I have enjoyed books and have favorites that mean as much to me as this series does. Yet this one has become like a ghost haunting my keyboard. I often hear its chains rattling as I start to write a fantasy scene and an eerie voice floats to my ears, "Remember the Kingkiller, be better...."

Sorry for such a long post, but as I'm sure many of you can relate books mean a great deal to me. I could write this post over with three different books everyday for months and not finish off my list.

Anyway, what are some books that inspire you? As always have fun and keep writing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Super Dragon.

I know it is almost a day before Inspiration Friday and I am writing about something that gets me inspired, but I blame a certain friend that put the idea for the picture in my head. Also I get another chance to nerd out about Superman. So has everyone seen the new trailer? Every time I think I can't get more excited for this movie they put out a new trailer and I start drooling—not really drooling of course I am an adult(he is lying he means actually drooling in front of his computer screen).

I get that most people think Supes is an overpowered character and authors love to use him as an example for what not to write in your heroes. For me though he is that guy you look to for some of the most humbling of moral stands. He to me—as I have said multiple times— is a great symbol for hope and strength and pulling through to show by example what being a good person is all about. Okay I will step off my soapbox now and show the clip, watch, enjoy, drool a long with me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Hey just wanted to post this beautiful song I found on YouTube  I love her version of it and even if you don't watch game of thrones I think you will find it beautiful, if you like it go hit sub and give it a like. It is the prefect dragon meditation music, Axie approved. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013


So my mom put this picture up for mother's day. Yes that little king baby (Wow I am now hearing Bruce Campbell's voice saying— The King, Baby!) is me. Also yes that is a book in my hand. This picture had me getting all sappy about family so I figured I'd sling some of that sap on you guys.

A few years ago my wife and I had a discussion while I waited in the car for her shift to end so I could go into the same place and start mine, our two children were in the back seat asleep. The situation was not ideal. We had talked about one of us changing shifts, but neither one wanted to put our babies in daycare(too many horror stories). She had just gotten a raise and she told me I should stay home with them and write.

Now you have to understand while writing is now and has been my dream job for a good portion of my life, I was raised that the man goes to work and brings home the money or at least helps to. So while the artist in me enjoyed what she was saying, the male dominant side of me argued. We ended up agreeing that I would give it a shot.

Since then I have gone insane at times and taken crap jobs just to get out of the house, but for the most part it has been our lives for the past few years. Stay at home dad/aspiring author, this is my title.

I will say that while I have struggled with it, it has been a gift in two major ways. One, my writing, I couldn't have come as far as I have without her believing in me enough to stay on my butt about it. The other is the joy of raising my kids and seeing moments that a lot of fathers miss out on.

I got to teach both my children to read way before they started school, help them be potty trained and take them to both of their first days of school. I will say that being a father has made me a better person and as such I believe it has made me a better writer. I get to be there to make sure my daughter knows she is loved and beautiful and intelligent and capable of anything. To show my son how to draw the crazy things his wonderful imagination comes up with all the time. To teach him how to treat women and people in general. To be strong yet gentle and have integrity.

I sometimes look at my home and feel its walls pressing in, but it is times like these I remember how lucky I am to spend so much personal time with people who love and support me so much and I have to smile. As I now put my books out and continue to grow and refine my craft, I am blessed to have such a great cheering squad at my back.

Oh and because I promised it to an awesome friend of mine, here is Bax and Axie as babies.

Anyway this is my reflection on my family and life, who are the people that push you to be better? As always have fun and keep writing. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Inspiration Friday.

I can't believe I was away a whole week, well not away, I did  check in on other bloggers, but I didn't post. I want to say at least this was not laziness on my part, but a giant influx of writing this week. I am trying to have Ashes ready for August and so it is taking a lot of work. Anyway I hope that I can manage both better this week.

I also want to mention that I did an interview for ELEMENTAL at Falling 4 Fiction, please go and check it out and say hey.

Alright onto my post. Inspiration Friday. Every Friday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This weeks theme is Video Games.

In the past three decades gaming has not only become popular it has become as relevant and influential as any other medium of entertainment. Yes I know 70s rocked the arcades, but once we got to have consoles and computers in our home that could be played minus the coin, the clothes and the need to walk/drive anywhere—gaming was here to stay.

As a child of the 80s, well 82 and up, I can still remember the Atari. I rocked it out to Zelda and Mario at friends houses. I got my first system—a Sega Genesis— with the game Sonic included and never looked back. There were so many games that influenced me in my creativity. I think today I will look at immersion when picking my three.

Okay first up we have Final Fantasy VII. If I am honest many of the FF games can fall into this category easily. The first game actually appeared in 1987 in Japan and was the creators last effort to find success in the gaming world. Boy did he succeed  FF is Square Enix's best selling game to date. I mean it holds Guinness Book world records and spawned an MMO. So why 7? Well I didn't have all the new toys growing up and was never on the cutting edge of what was coming out in the tech world. One Christmas I was lucky enough that my grandmother bought me and my sister a PlayStation and with it, this game. I honestly can't say if my sister ever even touched the thing, that was how much I was on it. I had never encountered anything like this before. The story, the world, the characters, it was really like I was in a book and more so than any movie or game I'd ever watched/played before. I remember after playing weeks and weeks, my girlfriend at the time deleted my file and it was like she killed my best friend. I loved the game so much that after I pulled myself together I restarted it all over again. I was on this amazing ride that I don't think I have ever experienced since in a game. When certain characters died I felt it. Now the game went on to have this "Fanboy" following which has earned it a bad name to some people, but for me I had no idea I was supposed to like it, I just knew I did. When they released news about the PS4, FF's creator came on stage and talked about how 16 years ago they joined PS with FF7 it hit me just how long this game has stayed with me. I still have my copy and will be thankful to this game for how it made me feel and what it taught me about story.

Okay I know lots of text on that one I will keep these next two short. Next is Skyrim. Much like the FF series, the Elder scrolls put out in depth stories with wide open worlds and tons of interaction with everything around you. Their last installment was no exception, in fact it blew all the others out of the water. Character customization and a world so open you literally are able to tell your own story, this game is a fantasy writer's dream. 

Last we have Tomb Raider. Now I know some of you may say, but you like strong female characters why would this game that offended so many woman inspire you? Well, I guess I saw past the over sized bosom and short shorts that brought so many guys in to play these games. Lara was strong, intelligent and resourceful and I dare anyone to romp around ruins in daisy dukes. The games had these great puzzles that would literally have people stuck for hours. The games started to wane in quality after a while. I sadly thought the franchise dead, but this last year I got to play the new tomb raider and it was all of the Lara Croft I loved without any of the male generated exaggerations  The story of this game was intense and the game play and graphics just aided in every moment of it.

Anway here is my list don't forget to go check out Falling for Fiction and say, Hi. As always have fun and keep writing.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Inspiration Friday.

Inspiration Friday. Every Friday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This week's theme: Bands.

 First up we have Queen. Come on, their music could be called the anthems of inspiration. Formed in 1971 this band's music just pumps you up. We will rock you can be related from one person to another by simply stomping your feet twice and giving a clap. I like to think of their songs as a writers journey. Under Pressure, Another One Bites the Dust, and hopefully one day We are the Champions. Sadly in 1991 Freddy Mercury passed away due to complications from AIDS. What ever your beliefs toward his personal life, I hope most can agree with me when I say that he was to this day one of the greatest male vocals of all time. Honorable mention here: David Bowie.

Okay so I may have some that disagree with me here, but I have loved this band since the first slap of Fieldy's bass I heard when I was a not so angst-filled teenager. From their rhythmic coupling of bass and drums to the sometimes haunting, sometimes aggressive voice of Jonathon Davis, this is music that can really get you into an interesting head space. I actually plotted out an entire horror novel while listening to See You On the Other Side.(hopefully will get to writing that one day.) It is not for everyone, but when in a dark place I can relate to the lyrics and get pulled into the music.

Oh Nirvana. What could have been? I sadly have to admit that I was not so well informed in music that I was listening to them right after their first album dropped.  I in fact was so late to the game on this one, that I was talking to my friend about how much I loved a song Heart-Shaped Box and he said too bad the lead singer just killed himself. This hit me like a truck, anyone who listened or listens to this band could hear the pain in Kurt's voice behind the sometimes melodic tunes. Still much like when The Crow came out and Brandon Lee had died in filming, or Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, finding this music at the same time as the artist's death deepened my experience with every word and note.  It is really cool to know you need a character, one with issues or deep rooted pain and just put the headphones on and listen to the songs and see this character forming in your mind. Nirvana had a huge impact on music and in 1990 took on the drummer David Grohl who went on to form The Foo Fighters a band that is still a leading force in Rock music today. I still have to wonder though, like with many tragic stories of artist—what could have been? Honorable mention: Alice in Chains.

Anyway, here are some things that inspire me, what about you? As always have fun and keep writing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Okay I was supposed to do this Monday, but I had a short story I had to write that took over my life for a few days.  So here it is.

These are the first blog awards for me so first I want to say thank you to S.K. Anthony and A Daft Scott Lass for my awards.

My three awards are.

Now comes the tricky part, the awards come with rules attached. So I have to tell several random facts about myself and answer quite a few questions when all combined. To spare anyone who is reading and my fingers, I figured I'd combine these down to just a few of each.

Random Facts About Me...

1. I am a huge comic nerd, the books, the toys, the movies, if it is out there I love it.
2. I wave at people when in my car, but don't check to see if they wave back, this way I preserve my shrinking faith in humanity. :)
3. I love to draw almost as much as I love to write.
4. I have only been drunk twice in my life, it sucks being so tall I guess.
5. I'm a bigger fan of Harry Potter than S.K. Anthony. :P
6. I actually wish I was Superman, red underwear and all.( that felt like tmi.)
7. If I do drink, I do it like Captain Jack, with a bottle of rum.

I combined questions from each of these, so here they are...

1.  If you could be any animal, which would it be and why? Tiger, because they are awesome, and strips are slimming. 

2.  What’s your favorite word and why? Antediluvian, I just love how it sounds.

3. Bacon or Chocolate? Chocolate covered bacon? (Don't judge me)

4. If you could eat as much of anything you wanted without stopping until you could pop whenever you wanted, what would it be? Tacos, hands down.

5. If you could meet one historical figure living or dead, who would it be? Bruce Lee (Yes he counts...Because he just does and that is why...)

6. What is your most controversial belief? I am not sure if I can say this here...I guess I it goes. The Voice is now and has always been better than American Idol...there I said it.

7. What music album are you still listening to now that you also listened to years ago? Wow, so many. Hmm, Sublime- self titled first album. It earns its Parental Advisory label, but I love this type of music.

Okay so there they are, now I have to find some people to nominate. Instead of bombarding everyone with all three. I would like to find four people and give them the...

Here are my nominees.

2. David.

Just post this award on your blog, say who you got it from, give 7 randoms facts about yourself and answer these seven 4 questions.

1. What inspires you to be creative?
2. What is your version of the perfect dinner?
3. What are three of your favorite bands?
4. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Inspiration Friday!

Inspiration Friday. Every Friday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This weeks topic is— Actors.

First we have Anthony Hopkins. Whether playing the gentlemen psycho  Hannibal, or one of my favorite authors CS Lewis in Shadowlands, Anthony has a way of being completely compelling. You become engrossed in his character and hang on his every word. I strive as a writer to create dialogue that evokes the passion he gives in his performances. Giving Alejandro sword lessons so he may be worthy of the mantle of Zorro(The Mask of Zoro) or helping a young boy navigate his way through a troubled adolescence with a most uncanny mental ability(Hearts in Atlantis), a magnificent moment is sure to unfold. A true master of his craft I am always inspired by his acting.

While known for his masterful abilities in the martial arts, Bruce was after all an actor. While I find inspiration from his philosophy I also grew up watching all five of his movies as many times as I could. I even got into martial arts because of him. While his movies were fun and it is such a tragedy he never got to go forward in his career, this man was brilliant and so insightful. The way he saw the world was without the personal barriers that promote bigotry and division. With a will power and self-awareness lacking in the world today he was able to bridge gaps and change the way people viewed each other. I have three of his books and they've been read so many times that they seem almost abused in their dogeared spine-cracked state. Much of how I try to achieve my goals and look at the world come from his words. If you think he is a silly fad that never seemed to die out or just a badly dubbed kung fu star, I challenge you to pick up one of his books on philosophy and be enlightened.

I will say this last one may have been slightly influenced by the fact that I just saw Iron Man 3 this morning. Robert Downey Jr. could be called the comeback kid. Finding stardom through the eighties and early nineties  Downey was easily on his way to being remembered for a steady acting career.  I remember watching Only You and Heart and Souls as a kid. (Hey I had a romantic comedy phase as a kid what can I say) His story changed when a party lifestyle threatened to destroy any other image he had worked to create. This could have easily ended as another Hollywood cautionary tale, but Mr. Downey bounced back. Not only playing our favorite "iron" clad superhero, but a journalist in the compelling The Soloist, and also the famous Sherlock Holmes. If any of us ever feel that we have messed up in life or that our path has veered in a wrong direction this actor shows that by staying the course correcting what is wrong you can be what and where you wish to be.

Anyway that is my list for this Friday, thanks for reading. Do you have an actor that inspires you? As always have fun and keep writing.