Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ideas? How do they work for you?

So since I have been finished with draft 1.5 of my newest book, I've been busy critiquing others in my group. I haven't had time to write as of late with sick kids and some other chaos that has invaded my home as of late. This doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about my next project or even some revisions on my current one, because that's not the case. As a matter of fact, I have a name for the protagonist of my newest idea. Her name is Robin. That's it. I have a sort of formed idea, but nothing concrete enough to write down, but this is how it usually starts. I get a character then it goes from there.

For example, my current book that I'm searching an agent for started with an idea, around siblings. They were going to have powers. Then it went to powers controlled by the mind and it took off from there. I may be a plot person, who loves a good action scene and lots of cool things happening, but they still start with one thing and that is it still centers around characters.

How do you guys work through your ideas? Do you just write it all out and let it come out of the writing? Do you come up with characters first, or plot first and then come up with the characters? I'm just curious on how your ideas manifest.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

God of War 3 Review

I had the privilege of playing this game since it came out a couple weeks ago. I have to say that some of this game was unforgiving in its brilliance. The graphics are top notch, the action smooth and precise, for the most part it is a perfect game.

There are, however, some flaws, such as glitches that people can exploit to get trophies, and some that just make the game frustrating beyond belief. The one I encountered most was the double jump to glide glitch which at point of the game is required and when it doesn't work, death. I actually took a break from the game when I reached this point as I could do the move when I didn't have to clear a gap, but as soon as I did, I would plummet to my death. Not fun at all.

So to wrap this up, despite the glitches, I have to say this is one of the better PS3 games out there. I would hold it up to the same standards that I put Uncharted 2 at which is my favorite game of the generation so far.

Monday, March 29, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

After looking back into the house, they were already streaming back through the door. Some heading their direction, other’s heading up the steps again. Kyle grabbed Anna’s hand and led her to her back fence.

“What if they are just waiting for us over there?” She said. The fear in her eyes made Kyle second guess himself for a moment, but then he interlocked his hands.

“It’s better than staying here.” He glanced toward the house. The first creature hit the sliding glass door. Its growl vibrated against the glass as it clawed at them. More would be coming. The glass wouldn’t hold forever.

“Come on.” He looked at her. Her eyes were sullen and her lips were pressed tight into a thin pink line. She lifted her foot into his hands and he jerked as the first pane of glass in the door shattered. He hoisted her up, his back tightened for a moment from exhaustion.

She pulled herself up and over the fence and he let out a low gasp. Standing up, he jumped against the fence and flipped himself over into the darkness below. He landed with a thud and a shock ran up his legs. That would hurt in the morning. Anna grabbed his hand, and his knuckles cracked at her grip.

“I heard something.” Her voice quivered.

He didn’t, but pulled her closer. The faint aroma of her sweat stung his eyes. He leaned into to her ear. “Can you run?”

The tickle of her hair against his cheek confirmed that she could. He gripped her hand and took off. No chance of them being cornered as he pulled her behind him. At the end of the alley, the street light shined bright against the wet pavement. Not a single sight of anyone or anything, just like he wanted.

Upon reaching the mouth of the alley, his perception changed. A chorus of screams came from a small single story house on the corner. Inside, the flickering lights of a television revealed the gruesome dismantling of a woman trying to open the window. First a chunk of her right arm disappeared into a mans mouth, and then a piece of her neck ripped out by a small girl who had leapt onto the woman’s back. Her blood smeared as she slid down out of view.

Nails cut into Kyle’s palm and he turned to Anna. About to blow, he followed her wide eyed gaze. A young kid stood on the top of a minivan. Three of the creatures were trying to get him, but he kept them at bay with a tee-ball bat.

“We have to do something.” Anna muttered and started toward the boy.

Kyle pulled her back. They hadn’t seen them yet and they could still make it to safety. “What do you want me to do?”

She turned to him, stunned into silence. Her cheeks flushed and hair stuck to her forehead. She looked lost like a child and it hurt his heart. He loved this woman, but right now she was being thick headed. He didn’t have time for this.

What should Alex do?

1.) Try to save the boy on the minivan?

2.) Lead Anna out of the street and toward safety?

3.) Let Anna try to save the boy while he escapes?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Small steps.

This is just a quick announcement. I finished the second draft(more like draft 1.5) of my NanoNovel. It isn't as bad as I thought. The plot needs to be fleshed out a bit more, and some of the stuff needs to be done better, but the actual plot seems to flow pretty well. Next up is for me to print it out and start working on fleshing out certain scene's, characters, and maybe rearrange the plot in certain aspects. So today is a good day, give it the weekend and probably print it out Sunday night to start the next phase next week.

Oh yeah, I think I finally got a new plot idea for another WiP which was floundering for me, so I might play with that a bit next month. We'll see. Have a good weekend and remember to vote on the poll. The next part will be coming Monday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Writing with Kids

How do you manage to do so? That's what I want to know. I've read blogs on this subject before and I've tried some of their examples, or tips with mild success. I'll tell you what works for me best. Sleep. Sleep. Once they fall asleep, around 8pm, I'm tired myself since I get up at 5:30 the next morning.

So lately, I've tried to do it right after work, while my wife works and the kids stay with her, since she runs a daycare out of the house. This might sound great, and it usually is, but it interferes with my writing a lot because once I get home, my kids want my attention and I just want to write because it relaxes me and gets me in a better frame of mind to face the evening, of dinner, playing games, hanging out with the family, and me and wife time.

So I'm asking for help. Should I go back to my old way and just slog my way through my writing before bed and after the kids are asleep, or continue to pop my headphones on my ears to drown them out right after work? What would you choose if those were your two options?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Critique Groups

This topic seems to have popped up a lot in the blogging world and many of them have good opinions on them. I figured I might as well chime in too.

First off, if you are looking for a critique group you need to think about what kind you are looking for? Some focus on one genre, some focus on one age range, some have no focus at all.

You also need to think about what sort of thing are you expecting to get out of it. Mainly what I look for is people of varying genres and writing styles, which might seem odd, but I think that if your book can get better by those that don't usually read your type of stuff because they look at things from a different perspective. This also works the opposite way. If they are readers of your genre they will also know what works and doesn't work in your book compared to others like it, so its a fine line to balance.

Another thing that I think is very important to a critique group. You have to like who you are working with. If you are always defensive because of something they said that you don't like, or rub you the wrong way, it will affect your critique of that persons work as well as not take their critique as seriously as you should, probably thinking, "What does she/he know?" So getting along with them is very important. You don't have to be best friends, and probably shouldn't for fear of them not being objective, but at least be cordial and nice to them.

One last thing that I think needs to be brought up, is are you looking for many opinions, or just one. I work with both myself, I like to get one person to exchange entire works with because then you get a sense of the entire thing in one fell swoop, while multiple people usually is more focused on the chapter you submitted for that week. Both have their pros and cons, so you need to decide what you are looking for again.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, do you want to do an online group, or maybe in person? Me personally I like the online ones because I have a young family so my schedule varies on an hourly basis and online allows me to fit in the critiques into my schedule instead of a set schedule once a week with live people. But whatever works for you. I haven't been in a face to face critique group since college, but would like to once my kids get a tad older.

Anything I might have forgotten or think should be mentioned, let me know in the comments. I'm off to critique some of my friends stuff now, so have a good rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review of Ninja Assassin

This movie proved to be exactly what I thought it was going to be.

The acting was pretty bland. I didn't mind because if you are going to this movie after seeing the previews, you could tell that wasn't the focus. It's all about the action, the blood, the gore, and more action, which this movie delivers in spades. Come on, a title like "Ninja Assassin," I hope you don't expect a masterpiece of cinematic genius.

Enough of that, I just wanted to lay it out there that I felt that the action scenes were pretty well choreographed, and kept my interest. However, please note, when did digital blood become the new fad, because this movie had enough to put most 80's slasher flicks to shame. At first it didn't bother me too much, but as the story moved on, it became way too over the top, even for me, who thought 80's slasher flicks didn't have enough blood.

Now on to the story. It is a simple plot that gets complicated because it tries to do too much. I would have liked just a simple revenge plot, which this has, but they had to mix it up with a government agency trying to figure out the mystery behind the ninja assassins. In my opinion this sort of bogged down the momentum.

It wasn't helped by the fact that the acting wasn't that great so the emotion they were trying to convey wasn't portrayed correctly, and the scenes fell flat. Usually when the didn't talk, or not in full sentences it was perfect.

So overall, I thought this movie was worth the rental to watch the cool fights and gore, but everything else was second fiddle and not interesting in the least. This movie gets a solid 2 out of 5 from me. Enjoy it, as long as you know what to expect.

Monday, March 22, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Kyle lowered his shoulder and dove at the knees of the oncoming woman. She snarled and snapped, but his cut block took her out. She tumbled over the edge of the roof and hit the flower pot on the way down. It didn’t take her but a moment to be up again, but Kyle had new threats already climbing out of the window. Two to be exact. One was a small kid, who he recognized as a friend of Anna’s brother, the name eluded him. His face was scratched and his left eye hung out of his socket. Despite the hanging eye, the same animalistic snarl creased his lips.

The second threat fell next to the boy, a older woman, her skin tight against her bones made her look like a skeleton and when she stood up, a hunch back made her look shorter than she had been, but as the moonlight shone onto her face, he realized she was partially decomposed. Sunken eyes, missing teeth and puffs of scraggly grey hair hung across her skull. She didn’t growl and charged.

A shrill chill wanted to burst from his lungs as the woman had an aura of terror that he hadn’t felt before. His limbs seemed to tighten at the mere sight of her.

“Kyle, come on!” Anna’s voice shocked him and he took three quick steps toward the woman. His fists clenched, his heart racing, but his legs felt like a pair of chain balls were tied to them. Turning toward the edge of the roof, he swallowed the dryness in his throat, and focused on Anna. A growl behind him gave him an extra boost of adrenaline. He bolted, his legs pumping like the pistons in a V-8 engine. The end of the roof came faster than he expected and he leapt.

A sensation of weightlessness overcame him as he reached for Anna’s hand. The bracelet he gave her for her seventeenth birth glimmered in the light and he made that his target. Her eyes widened as he soared through the air. Everything seemed to slow down around him as the air whistled through his ears. No growling, no fear, just pure adrenaline, like when he would do a big jump on a dirt bike.

The next thing he knew, Anna hand him, she grunted, like… he wouldn’t say it, and then he swung out over the mass of bodies beneath him. Fingertips scratched along the bottom of his sneakers and for a moment he thought he was dropping, but then the reaching hands faded beneath him. He swung up, reached out with his free hand, gripped the branch and she let go. He slammed into the branch, heard it groan and nearly lost his grip as fear seized him.

The bark bit into his fingers, and blood flowed as the branch scratched him. A moment later he managed to come back to earth, the groans and realization hit him like a surprise dodge ball and he pulled himself onto the branch. Sweating and panting, he straddled the branch, turned to Anna who beamed. He owed her his life and would never be able to repay her enough. The first thought that ran through his head burst from his lips, “I love you.”

She answered with a shy smile. “I love you too.”

A burst of gunfire erupted down the street and they both looked at each other with surprise. Almost immediately the swarm of undead started to shuffle their way toward the new sounds.

A rumbling engine zipped down the street toward the swarm and through the leaves; Kyle saw a custom Honda with two guys with guns hanging out of the back windows. Burst of fire followed the sounds of them shooting the undead. The first few fell, but soon more came out of the shadows. They soon surrounded the cocky gangsters and from behind the driver’s window, the driver seemed to be struggling with something in the car. Then blood burst against the inside of the window and the two gangsters out of the back window poured out of the backseat directly into the oncoming swarm.

Two more shots and they went down in choking screams. Slurping and crunching followed as the thugs screams died down. It would only take the twenty creatures moments to pick them clean.

Kyle turned to Anna, but she must have read his mind as she shimmied her way down the tree toward the back yard. The creatures were temporarily distracted and he hurried after her.

They landed safely into the back yard, the sweet smell of roses filled his nose and he hugged her in the center of her parent’s flower garden. At that moment nothing could have felt better.

“We can’t stay here.” She said after a moment of silence.

“Let’s get to a place with electricity, find out what’s going on.” Kyle said and looked over the options. Darkness oozed from every corner and growls closed in from what seemed like every direction.

“Your house?” She asked. Fear must have choked her because tears filled her eyes.

He grabbed her for another embrace and whispered into her ear. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

A warm tear splashed against his arm and he kissed her cheek.

Shuffling had already turned toward the house again and they had to make a choice. Which way to go.

Which way should Kyle and Anna go?

1.) Over the fence into their neighbors yard?

2.) Over the back of Anna’ fence into the alley and the fastest way away from her house?

3.) Wait it out in the flower garden hoping that the creatures wouldn’t find them?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Questions of success.

Hello blogger buddies, I found this questionnaire on a friend's blog, Rebecca Knight:

You should check it out if you haven't. She was talking about being successful or not at your goals, and I liked the idea, so I decided to run with it myself. So here are my answers to her questions.

1) Why am I writing? I write because its something that I enjoy. Exploring a world I created with people who I created. Something alluring about the whole God aspect I guess. :)

2) How long do I want to do this, even if I never get any credit or money from my work? Well I've been doing it since forever. Maybe not always in the same format, but I've stuck with it this long. Besides, like I said, I enjoy it. Not every day, but 90% of the days I do, so I would say until I don't enjoy it anymore. It could be tomorrow, or it could be till the day I die, I'm not sure.

3) How much rejection can I take? Rejection? I don't mind it. At first it was sort of disheartening, but as time wore on, I've kind of come to enjoy that aspect. Can you believe it, neither could I, but at least it means that I'm trying.

4) How much time do I want to spend on my goals, versus with my family, friends, and pillow? I have this pretty much set so far, maybe it will change when my kids get older, but I get about 10 - 20 hours a week in, some right after work, and some late at night, but that's about average.

5) What do I want to achieve Big Picture? My goal is to entertain my readers whoever they may be. Getting published is probably the first step, but if my beta readers at least enjoy the story than I've reached that goal. I'm not after awards or recognition, I'm not much for being the center of attention in that regard.

6) Will I be satisfied when I get there? Every time I get a reader say that was cool, or I found the story interesting, I get there.

7) Am I satisfied if I never get there? Since, I've already gotten to taste it, I guess I can't answer this one.

8) What steps do I have to take to achieve that Big Picture thing? Write a strong story, consistent plot and great characters. The rest of it will follow, so I guess the small steps are to keep writing stories that have all of these elements.

9) Which one needs to be achieved first? I think they are all intertwined. Strong characters equal a strong story and a strong story needs a consistent plot.

10) What is my support system? Family, friends, and my critique buddies. They all support me in different ways.

11) How will I feel if I never achieve this? Is it worth trying anyway? It's totally worth trying. If I never achieve being published that's okay. It's something I want to accomplish, but writing something that someone can read no matter where and they say, "I enjoyed that". That's enough for me.

So these are my answers, any of them you want to know more about, or want to know more about? Let me know in the comments. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Short Stories vs Novel's

Before I've started taking on novels I always thought that to get published you need to have started at the smaller stuff. Sort of like a prerequisite to the big show. However, some of the most recent agented author's I've ran into have never done this step. They got an agent and sold a book without any sort of previous experience.

I know some of the longer known writers, such as Stephen King, wrote short fiction before writing their first novel. Now, I have written close to 20 short stories, and have about another 15 that are in various stages of completion. Some never to be completed. So why do you think that has changed? Do you still think that writing short stories help build your skills for a novel?

I sort of do. My short stories might never get published as my genre tends to lend its self toward longer fiction, but I've used my short stories to help build a character, for example one of my short stories is the discovery of my novel's protagonist's power. It is a decent short story for what it is, if I say so, but I've never gotten it published. I had the same thing with my main antagonist, and both of them have been rejected by numerous magazines. I don't know, but my novel has gotten a lot more positive feedback to it than my short stories.

So what do you think about this? Are you one to write short fiction as well? I still like to, but right now working on a few novel idea's takes all my time. Have you ever written a short story, or do you only write novels? I would like to know.

Oh you can also mention poetry (which I've dabbled in before) or screenwriting (which I've written 3 complete feature scrips and 1 short) or something else. Just curious what you think whether or not Short Stories are a prerequisite to writing a novel, or not so much anymore?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Tale of Percy Jackson

So I've done it! I finished the entire 5 book series, however it could possibly be continued. I'll get to that later.

I really liked the series as you might have been able to tell over the course of the two previous reviews. The final book was I think the best. The pacing was spot on, I felt that Rick Riodan had gotten better at writing action by this point and this book contained a ton of action. I also enjoyed the way that he brought back previous characters to have small, but important parts of the final chapters.

Since, I'm not one to spoil things, I'll just say that the book didn't quite end the way I expected.

However, despite the good action and the development of the characters, which tied a lot of the lingering loose ends together, I felt that he did a cheap trick. He left the ending open again. Without ruining, I have to say you will know what I mean if you read it. But these sort of endings, just like the rest of the books aggravates me. I like a closed ending. Doesn't have to be happy or sad or any emotion in particular, just some semblance that the characters will go on with their life, but if I'm not going to read it, I don't want to know that there is a new thing awaiting them.

So in summary, these books were very well done, they are better as a whole, than the individual pieces, which is a glaring weak point in what I think keeps it from being a great series. Look at the Harry Potter books for reference. Those books each stand alone with their own plot that ties together at the ending, even with Voldemort still running around, the stories satisfactorily end at the end of the book. Anyways, that's really my only complaint of the entire series.

Do you guys have any things you would like me to review, or comment on. Any questions?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tell the Truth Tuesday

I have a few of my blogger friends doing something similar, so I decided to put my review for the entire Percy Jackson series on hold until tomorrow, so if you are looking forward to that check back tomorrow. The blogger's that inspired this post are:

Elana Johnson:
Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins:

Check them out if you get a chance, but you probably already have them followed if you're following little ole' me.

So below are some true things about me that you might find interesting.

Instead of getting drunk like a lot of my friends on their 21st birthday, I went skydiving. Better rush in my opinion.

I used to collect salamander's when I was a kid. Usually kept them until they dried up to nothing over the summer months, but I didn't understand then that they were dying because next winter there were hundreds of them in my backyard again.

I wrote a twelve part comic book back in kindergarten. Well I drew the pictures, my mom wrote the stories down as I told them to her. I still have them in my closet and want to eventually turn it into a Young Adult book.

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19 and that was because I didn't want to go to the doctor to get my eyes checked and a glasses prescription because of the nerdiness of glasses back in high school.

I love most horror books and movies, yet can't write in the genre at all.

I was technically homeless for an entire year as my parent's lived in a hotel across the bay and I lived with a friend since I worked across the bay from where my parents were staying. So no not on the streets homeless, but one step away.

During my homeless period, I was nicknamed "Nomad", because I could be up and out of any place I was staying in five minutes.

I think that's enough for now, but I would like to see some of you guys let me know what you think about my truth's and maybe provide some of your own.

Monday, March 15, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

With Anna clinging to his arm, Kyle looked below him at the increasing swarm of creatures and the few crawling their way through the window. Neither option looked favorable so he turned to the tree.

“You need to make a jump for it.” Kyle said trying to pry her vice grip off of his wrist. The blood circulation couldn’t reach his fingers and they started to turn purple.

“You’re crazy. I can’t make that. No.” Anna tugged on Kyle, ripping at shoulder.

A balding man fell out of the window, a huge gash on the side of his head showed his skull underneath. The blood had dried along his cheek. Bits of flesh dangled out of his mouth as he stood up and looked at them. The low guttural growl started in his throat, and soon the dozen of undead joined in a sickening choir hum.

Anna pulled on Kyle, nearly tipping him over.

The man charged directly at Anna, his mouth agape with flesh stuck to his teeth like spinach.

Anna screamed as the man collided with her. Her death grip proved useful as the undead man tumbled off the edge of the roof, his hand grasping madly as he went down.

His hand tangled in Anna’s hair and she let out a howl which set Kyle’s ears on fire. Through the ringing in his ear, the added weight almost threw them all off the roof.

Using Anna’s long hair, the man tried snapping at her leg as he swung toward her.

With his muscles singing, and already exhausted, Kyle was losing his grip on Anna. Her terrified eyes met his for a moment and she started to loosen her hands around his wrist.

Kyle grunted, feeling something give out in his back as a muscle tore, but he managed to keep her from falling. The man hit the edge of the roof, and luckily wasn’t coordinated enough to pull himself up her hair. On his first bite, he missed her bare calf by inches, but he was swinging back toward it again.

Not sure he could manage it, but knowing that it was either this, or the man would get to sink his teeth in, Kyle kicked the man in the face as he swung toward him. The hollow crack as his shoe smashed the man’s skull in sent his stomach for a flip and the world went gray for a moment.

His hold on Anna wavered and he felt her nails clawing into him as he tried to remain conscious. Dead, now, the man released his grip on her hair and fell to the grass with a thump. The rest of the creatures didn’t care and walked over the corpse looking up like starving animals being teased with a fresh meal.

“Kyle, I’m slipping.” Anna pitched backwards, spun on her only foot left and leapt for the tree. She caught hold of the branch and it groaned in the sudden weight.

For a moment, Kyle saw her dark eyes widened with fear. The branch wasn’t going to hold. “Go. Swing over to the bigger one.”

She tried, her legs kicking wildly, but as she did the branch cracked again. He could see the whiteness of the tree as the bark broke apart at the trunk. She had one swing left in her. She used it and leaped across the gap toward the larger, sturdier branch. He watched in slow motion as her fingers wrapped around the tip of the branch for a moment, slipped a second later, but she held on, by the nails.

“Oh my God. Oh my God!” She said repeatedly while pulling herself up onto the branch. She brushed her hair out of her face and looked back at Kyle. “Are you going to be able to make this?”

Kyle looked at the distance. He knew he wasn’t an athlete, and the gap was at least ten feet over the now two dozen undead neighbors all staring at them.

A thud behind him as the growl grew louder; another one fell their way out of the window. He spun, looking back at the woman, her arm gnawed off at the elbow, and the same dead gaze locked on him. The triple chin she sported had flesh stuck to it like souvenir pins and he almost lost his dinner right there. Blood and mud caked her flower print dress. She must have been in the garden. He thought for a moment before she growled. Behind her, Anna’s brother’s room continued to fill with undead as they clamored for his flesh. He sighed and knew his answer. “I can’t make that jump.”

He could almost image her face as she pleaded with him. “Come on. You can do it. I know you can. I’ll catch you.”

Kyle loved her for her it, but knew as well as she did that he wouldn’t be able to make the jump and would more than likely be landing in the undead mosh pit that was growing beneath the tree.

The woman charged, like a rabid dog, all teeth and blood. Kyle braced himself as she approached, her footsteps echoing over the noise of the growling pit beneath him.

What should Kyle do?

1.) Tell Anna to leave without him. Save herself?

2.) Try to make the jump despite his reservations about the distance.

3.) Fight off the lady and try to look for another way down?

4.) Jump off the roof and hope that he can make it away from the mosh pit of death?

Friday, March 12, 2010

To write or not to write, that is the question.

So I've been busy critiquing, writing, revising, you know all the things that writers do. It got me thinking about what I would do if I didn't write. Like what could I spend that time doing besides sitting in front of a computer pouring out a story?

I first thought that I would probably slack off more, play some video games, watch more movies, etc. This led me to think about how boring that would get after a few days of doing that. I used to do it a lot when I was younger, but now I would rather be doing other things, like writing. Then I thought I could spend more time doing outside things, like riding my bike, skating, playing with the kids, just general exercise activities, but then I realized that I do that, maybe not that much, and we live in Oregon, so it rains a lot. Who likes to do that stuff in the rain? Not me. I would rather be inside reading or writing.

So after much thinking, I think I gave it about an hour of thought before I posted this blog.... maybe only fifteen minutes, but who's counting? I blame it on the kids distracting me. I think that if I wasn't a writer, I would probably spend that time creating something else, painting, directing short films, or something else that was creative in aspect. I realized that I'm someone who really likes to create and entertain others and just so happen to choose writing as my outlet.

What about you guys? If you weren't a writer, what would you do with all the extra time? Would you use the energy in other productive ways, or would you be a slouch? Let me know in the comments, my curiosity is tingling.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to vote in the poll please.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Daughter's Birthday

Just wanted to make a quick note. It's my daughter's 4th birthday today. Party's Saturday, so Happy birthday!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Question and Answer.

I am currently been busy going over my nano novel, so I don't have much to update in regards to that, so I wanted to give you guys a chance to ask me any questions that you want to know?

So please ask away, and I'll provide answers come Friday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Percy Jackson Book Review

So I reviewed the first book a while back and have now read books 2-4. I am getting the feeling that the best thing about these books, is the mythology. The characters are pretty well developed, and the story is alright.

Still the thing that bothers me is the lack of any closure in the books. They all are so entwined that if you were to read book 3 first, you would be lost in the overall scheme of the world. The author does some tying together with the other book plots, which is nice for those that have read them, but if you didn't it would come across as a log line of those books.

I can't say I mind it too much, because the world that the author has created is very deep and lovingly handled. I think its because I have read all of them so far. I don't like to spoil things so I'm not going to, but some of the elements that carry over need to be carried over, otherwise the books wouldn't be quite as interesting.

I would recommend it to anyone, as long as they like Greek Mythology, and could handle the lower age group that the books are intended for. I'll post another review in a couple weeks about the entire series.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 8, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

“What’s going on?” Anna tensed, allowing Kyle to pull her away from her brother.

“I’m not sure, but my guess is that he’s hungry.”

She almost collapsed at his words and he kept a tight hold of her so that she wouldn’t pull him down with her.

A loud crack erupted from the constant force Anna’s mother put on the door. Her growl intensified as she could see them, her meal.

Out of the corner of his eyesight, Kyle saw a picture from last years Prom flicker across Anna’s screensaver. He grabbed the laptop and shut the screen. He could only imagine the terror on Anna’s face as he drove the laptop into her brother. He had to guess where his head was, but with a satisfying crack he thought he hit a bull's eye.

“No, stop!” Anna tried to grab for the computer. She missed and Kyle slammed it against Grady again. The growling intensified as the blankets spilled onto the floor with Grady inside.

His stiff body cracked as he pulled himself up. His eyes were dead, white spheres in his head. He grinned and reached for Anna. She didn’t move and wouldn't have unless Kyle did something to stop him. He swung the laptop in a wide arc and it crashed into the top of his skull. Bits of plastic cracked off the case and he heard the computer hum for a moment before it died. Bits of skin and blood clung to the corner where he hit Grady.

Grady didn’t collapse, but instead staggered backward. Almost sizing up his sister, he stiffly stepped forward, the whites of his teeth glimmered in the faint moonlight coming from outside.

“Grady?” Anna asked and took a step toward her brother.

Not sure what she was thinking, Kyle pulled her back as he lunged for her. She screamed as he nearly took a bite out of her hand.

Grady lunged again and Anna reacted on her own this time and ducked away from him. She pulled Kyle in the way of Grady as he made another lunge, and Kyle shoved the broken computer into his face before he could bite.

Like a relentless animal, Grady gnawed at the laptop, trying to eat through it, and by the sound of his teeth breaking, he wasn’t making much progress. Feeling the weight of her brother pushing him back toward the door, he had to do something before being grabbed by her mother. The growling surrounded him, and with Anna screaming, it made it hard to think straight.

A moment later, his leg hit the bottom of the dresser against the door, but Grady kept pushing, gnawing, growling. Kyle did everything he could to keep the laptop between him and Grady, but his arms were tiring. The muscles burned and sweat sprung out along his neck. “Anna, gonna help me?”

Anna was busy shifting things away from the window so she could climb out.

“Anna!” Kyle screamed and she stopped for a moment, looked back at him and he could tell she reached a realization. The situation dawned on her and she did something he didn’t expect.

“Grady. Come and get me.” Grady turned at the sound of her shrill scream, giving Kyle some reprieve, but only for a moment. The collar on his shirt pulled against his throat, tugging him backward toward the snapping jaws of Anna’s mother on the other side of the door. Gripping the edge of the dresser, he held on for dear life as the seams in his shirt stretched, snapping.

Anna used one of her laps to keep her distance from her undead brother who stalked her, waiting for an opening. Her hair bounced on her head like a tree in a wind storm as she bounced from side to side to keep Grady at bay.

With his grip slipping because of the sweat on his hand, Kyle was running out of time. He took the laptop and tried to swing it over his head, hoping to knock her grip free. All it did was tighten her grip, cutting off his air. He rasped, his vision blurred from the tears that filled his eyes. He couldn’t get the snapping of teeth out of his head as he was pulled closer to the hole in the door.

“Anna.” He choked out, but she had her own problems. And if things couldn’t get any worse, in the distance downstairs the front door crashed inward and slow, steady footsteps came in. The collective growl of at least a dozen creatures filled the downstairs and they started their way upstairs.

Fighting through the lack of oxygen, Kyle dropped the laptop, grabbed the dresser with both hands and pulled. A pain shot through his head, but he ignored it and strained against the fabric of his shirt. Thread popped in a rhythm like a ripping paper and he was free.

He dropped to his knees, gasping, blinking back the black spots in his vision. Death was so close, and he didn’t have time to think. Grady had knocked aside the lamp and closed in on his sister. She had been backed into a corner, her eyes closed as he bent down toward her.

“Grady!” Kyle stood up, laptop back in hand and swung it like a shortened baseball bat. He must have hit a homer, because Grady’s head caved, leaving blood and grey brain tissue on the broken edge of the laptop. Grady collapsed into a lump on the ground, his arm twitched one more time.

“An—“ Kyle turned as a loud crack came from the door. More creatures pressed against the door and the top hinge snapped off. The door began to fall inward from the force. Pieces of wood showered Kyle and Anna. They were pouring inward, free from the last barrier, the door.

Without speaking, Kyle grabbed Anna and shoved her toward the window. “Get it open now.”

He turned toward the first one to enter. Her mother, a broken sneer on her lips. Her teeth glimmered with hunger.

The window squealed when Anna pulled it open, a gust of fresh air sent a shiver through Kyle, but he backed toward the chill. Her mother hunched her legs tensed, ready to strike.

Not wanting to take his eyes off her, he felt behind and didn’t find anyone. A growl and a charge, Anna’s mother came at him, mouth snapping as she did so. Kyle panicked, stumbled over the pieces of the lamp and would have missed the window except Anna grabbed him by the shoulder and guided his weight out of the opening. He tumbled head over heels, and heard Anna’s mother crash into the wall as his feet broke the glass of the window as he fell onto the porch roof below him.

A burn shot through his shoulder as he landed, glass falling around him in sharp shards. His feet hit the roof with a loud bang and he opened his eyes. Anna crouched over him, her brown eyes looking him over.

“We have to go.” She said as a decaying hand, missing two fingers, reached out for her.

Kyle reached up with his one arm that wasn’t numb and pulled her down from the grasping hand. He kissed her, her soft lips on his a warm energy surged through him.

She gasped as he rolled her over him, holding the kiss.

Back up on one knee, he looked down at his right arm and saw why it went numb, he landed on the edge of the roof with it and it was bruised badly. He had to be thankful that it wasn’t broken, but didn’t have time to worry about it, as one of the creatures came after them through the window. Picking up Anna, he raced to the edge of the roof and looked down. Three more undead neighbors were shuffling their way toward the noise. Their groans not as loud and he noticed why, their throats were just holes in their necks. It looked like they were torn from them by fingers.

“Jump?” Anna asked her eyes scanning the darkened streets.

Kyle looked over his options a tree to their left they could climb down leading into the backyard, or back behind them, the creatures were swarming after them through the window.

What should Kyle do?

1.) Jump from the roof to the ground and run away with Anna?

2.) Try to climb down the tree and escape over into the backyard?

3.) Try to fight the increasing hoard coming from the window?

Friday, March 5, 2010

I got another Award

Not to brag or anything, but after being Super-Dad last night while my wife was down and out with a bad toothache, I feel its time to celebrate a blog award I received on February 27th... Wow, didn't realize it had been that long. Well here it is: The Silver Lining Award

I received it from my friend Deb Salisbury at You should definately check out her blog as it has very good writerly links on a daily basis.

Thank you so much Deb.

Now I need to pay it forward to five other bloggers, so my nominees are:

Elana Johnson at
Teen writers for Teens at
Rebecca Knight at
Shelli at
And I feel bad because I don't have another person to nominate....

I guess it's my fault being that I took 6 days before I posted about it.

Anyways, I hope you all have a good weekend, and please vote for the poll its tied currently and that doesn't work for a choose your own adventure story. I don't even have a plan if it ends in a tie either.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WiP Wednesday

I have been working on Nano Novel like I mentioned last week and I have to admit it is better than I thought it would be for a first draft. I'm not completely through the 250 pages, and remember the last 60 or so pages were the ones that I sort of got lost in while writing it. We'll see if it still seems that way after I read them again.

My question for you is, what is the most you have cut from a piece after you decided that it wasn't worth keeping. My first manuscript was the whole first 2 chapters which slowed the pace down too much before we got to the action. My current one, I'm thinking it might need to be rewritten for a different ending, but I won't know until my next read through and get some feedback from my critique group.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review of Bioshock 2

This was a game I rented a couple weeks ago and I was looking forward to it for many reasons. One of the main reasons was the story. I felt that the first one portrayed a very haunting, yet exciting story, which is sorely missed in the genre.

First off the points that I really enjoyed:
I really felt that the way you could combine certain plasmids with each other was a nice touch, even though it was limited to a few combinations.
I also enjoyed the story, which was key to, because the history of Rapture was so deep and interesting in the first game that I wanted more. This story delivered in many ways. Primarily the way that the Big Daddies were connected to the Little Sisters and how the Big Sisters came about. I also liked to learn what happened in the past ten years after the first game, which was developed in a very slow build manner.

The things that I didn't care for too much:
I felt that the bad guys weren't as various as they were in the first game. It seemed like I fought the same kind most of the game, which was kind of a drag. I honestly don't recall this from the first game, but this time it seemed like there were only 4 different kinds.
I also felt that the guns were less accurate, and not as powerful as the first. I found myself having to shoot some of the lower tiered enemies way too many times.
On a side note some of the Plasmids were overpowered, such as the insect swarm, which once I got it, I used it to take care of most of the threats.

Overall, I liked the game. Not quite as good as the first, but it had it's own charms to it. I really liked the ending and how it sets it up for another one. I would give it a 4.5/5 and would recommend anyone at least play it.

The multi-player which was added this time I around, I never touched. So I don't know how that worked out for them. What I've read is that it was pretty fun.

Monday, March 1, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Looking around the house and with his heart still racing for his recent encounter with the woman outside, Kyle rushed upstairs. Anna wouldn’t stand a chance against one of those things. His feet clop up the steps and the nagging pain hits his legs like a Charlie horse. At the top of the steps, he brushed his hand across the light switch. Nothing, but blood oozed through his fingers. A shudder ran through him as he turned toward the sound of banging behind him.

Instinct almost got the best of him as he wanted to call out to her, but he gritted his teeth instead. A low growl filled the hall and Kyle’s heart faltered. He knew he wasn’t alone and the mere sliver of hope he had that it was someone to help him vanished.

A loud crack erupted from the direction of the growl a whimper followed it. Anna was trapped in her room. Forgetting the danger for a moment, he darted down the hall and stumbled over something in the hall halfway toward Anna’s room. Hitting the ground hard, sparkles filled his vision for a moment and he struggled getting to his feet again. A shadow passed over him, filling him with terror. He glanced at what he tripped over and found Anna’s mother, Dorothy, her face gnawed off like a large rodent tore into her.

He knew that couldn’t be right, but saw the remains of her lips twitch. Pulling himself up the railing, he slipped against the puddle of blood which had pooled around her. He remembered her taking pictures of him and Anna on Winter Formal last year. Her chubby cheeks were nothing more than shreds. He stepped toward the oncoming sound and found one of those creatures trying to push himself in through the growing crack in Anna’s door.

Watching the slightly overweight man shove his body through the jagged crack without any pause caused Kyle a bit of concern. He looked at his shaking bare hands and thought about going back down for a weapon. He couldn’t take a man that outweighed him down, especially when he didn’t feel pain. The man pulled his arm back through the crack and pieces of his flesh peeled away from the arm as he turned. No blood dropped to the ground as it congealed around the remaining flesh on his arm.

The man turned toward Kyle, his blank stare meeting Kyle’s terrified gaze. He scanned for an escape and the only option was jumping over the railing to the first floor again and he knew that wouldn’t work. He recognized the man as Anna’s father, Tim. A large chunk of his neck had been pulled free, and pieces of flesh stuck to his lips. Kyle figured it came from his wife on the floor behind him.

The now familiar guttural growl began in Tim’s remaining throat.

Feeling the fatigue race through him again, Kyle had to grab the banister to keep from succumbing. “Mr. Fredricks? It’s me Kyle. What are you doing?”

Tim’s lips lifted in a bloody snarl for a moment before he lunged toward Kyle.

Not thinking, and relying on his reaction, he lowered his stance, taking Tim’s weight onto his legs and tried his best to throw him over the railing. His chest tightened and his legs almost buckled from the weight. Tim tried to grab Kyle’s arm to bring to his snapping teeth, but Kyle used Tim’s momentum and moved.

Tim stumbled and Kyle made it past him. It only lasted a moment as Tim spun on him.

“Anna! Are you there? I’m here. Don’t worry.” Kyle said the first things that raced through his mind. In the back of his mind he didn’t expect Anna to be alive. Just look at her parents before him.

Tim came forward, slowly, like he was trying to scare Kyle into making a move and Kyle didn’t disappoint. He stepped back toward the window at the end of the hall. The moonlight cascaded across Tim’s pale, bloodied face giving him a hideous beast-like look. Before Kyle could take it all in, Tim rushed. His teeth snapping and his arms grasping.

Screaming, preparing for the worst, Kyle did all he could think of doing and tried to stop Tim. His momentum carried Tim over him as Kyle’s gave out.

With a loud crash and screech, Tim tripped over Kyle and flew out the window behind him. He collapsed to the grass below letting out a scream as he pulled himself back up.

Kyle looked out on the street and saw the large group converging on the house, thanks to Tim’s howl. Time was wasting and Kyle turned back to Anna’s room. He came here for a reason and raced to the door.

“Anna! Answer me please.” Kyle knocked on the door.

Somewhere behind the door someone moved around.

“Anna, he’s gone. I threw your down out of the window, but we have to hurry. More are coming.” Kyle shoved his shoulder against the door. Just as he impacted, he thought he saw Dorothy move again. Thinking it must have been a trick of the light, he tried the doorknob. It didn’t budge.

“Anna, come on. Don’t be dead.”

“Kyle?” Anna’s raspy voice came from behind the door. She sounded like this when she had been screaming at the high school football game a few weeks ago. She lost her voice as they won the State Finals.

“Yes. It’s me. Let me in.” Kyle looked through the bloody crack.

Beyond the door, Anna stood by her computer desk. The laptop screensaver flickered behind her. Pictures of their various dates scrolled past. She moved something out of the way.

“Thank God you made it.” She pulled open the door and nearly jumped into his arms. He would have caught her, but his body still balanced on the edge of exhaustion. Her scent made his pulse quicken and he followed her into her room. She shut the door and shoved her dresser in front of it again.

Over her shoulder, in the very faint light of the laptop, he saw her younger brother. He was lying on the bed, underneath some covers. “Is Grady okay?” Kyle asked.

Anna turned to her brother and said, “My dad bit his hand. I think he’s okay. He’s sleeping now.”

Her voice cracked and she gripped Kyle’s hand tighter. “What happened here?”

Before she could answer a hand shot through the crack in her door and tugged on Kyle’s shirt. With Anna’s help, they were able to pull it free. Anna must have recognized it immediately as the hand had a wedding ring on it.

“Mom?” She stayed behind Kyle. He could tell she was shaken up by the situation and did his best to keep her close and feeling safe.

“She must have become one of them. Maybe when your dad bit her?” Kyle said that and saw a shiver under the blanket on her bed.

“Grady? Kyle’s here to save us.” Anna said and started toward her brother.

Kyle took hold of her arm and kept her away from the stirring lump. “Anna. I don’t know if that’s still your brother.” It made sense. If this was anything like the movies, than the bites is what turns them. He just hoped that Anna wasn’t bitten. “Anna, have you been bitten?”

She shook her head, she was able to block out the growling from behind her door as she stared at the blankets shifting on her bed.

Kyle didn’t know how to comfort her at the moment; he was trying to think of what to do now that they were trapped between her undead mother and her possibly undead brother. Just as that thought ran through his head, her brother’s pale bitten, and rotten hand rose out from the blankets. A low growl followed.

Anna tensed and he felt for her. The sadness he could never console her from. This was definitely going to change their relationship. It all depends on how he handles the next situation.

What should Kyle Do?

1.) Take his chances by fighting off Dorothy and get Anna out of there before her brother sees them?

2.) Kill her brother with the laptop computer before he becomes too much of a threat?

3.) Use Anna’s window as a possible escape before her brother notices them?

4.) Hide in the closet and hope it all goes away?

5.) Leave Anna behind and wish her the best as he uses the window to escape while her family eats Anna?