Monday, June 28, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Cutting through the crowded streets, Kyle clutched Anna’s hand. She had regained her strength and for the first time since the police incident, she seemed to be more her normal self. They were looking for anything that they could use to get out of town. Most cars were soaked with blood from their previous owners.

“Come on this way.” Anna said, tugging him to the right suddenly. He stumbled for a moment before regaining his balance.

She led him down a small alley, creatures were closing in on them and he didn’t think the small passage would be the best idea, considering they were weaponless. She stopped at a door with a pass code lock. Her fingers nimbly ran over the digits and the lock buzzed open.

He stood in awe for a moment as she pulled the large steel door open. “What was that?”

“This is my dad’s business. It’s the security entrance.” She said as she pulled him inside. Moments upon the door closing, the creatures slammed into it. Their growls vibrated against the door as they smashed against it in a wave.

Spinning around, Kyle took in the dim room. The only light coming from the steel shuttered windows. Creatures had broken the glass, so the stench of death floated amongst the scent of gasoline. While he searched the room for a weapon, he had a wide variety to pick from, wrenches, clubs, saws, and anything a normal mechanic would have.

The moment the door had shut, Anna hurried into the office. She tossed things around as she searched, cussing and kicking things as she did. He thought of bugging her, but instead loaded up a duffel bag with a pair of crowbars, and wooden clubs. The chainsaw tempted him, but he left it behind as he had seen too many movies where it ends up killing the good guys instead of the creatures.

Creatures had started to take notice of them banging around inside the building as they pressed against the steel gate. Their growls and hungry eyes following him as he looked for the reason that they were here. He remembered Anna’s father was a mechanic, but never had any sort of vehicle that was reliable beyond a few months.

“Got it!” Anna said. She came out of the office holding up a small single key.

“Okay, what’s that for?” He asked. “We don’t have time to really get broke down.”

“Oh this won’t break down.” She said and started across the room.

She pulled a sheet off of a lump in the corner. Underneath the sheet, a two-seater dune buggy sat.

“Um, honey, that has no windows. They can just grab us right through there.” He stated the obvious.

She glared at him. “They have to stop us first.”

Kyle didn’t like the idea, and felt a weight sink into his gut as he thought of a way to express to her his reservations about this gently. “That’s a death trap.”

She shook her head. “Then you can stay here.” She wasn’t going to take his crap anymore I guess.

Looking around the room, Kyle didn’t see any other vehicle in one piece. It was either the dune buggy or back out there on foot.

What should Kyle Do?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tips for Poker

So I posted a few things about poker a couple weeks ago to get some of you started in the way card hands are ranked. This time I'm going to explain to you a few other terms that you need to know before you sit down at a poker table.

Dealer - Self explanatory, its the one who is dealing the cards, or the one on "the button." This player has the advantage of position in the hand as he will be the last to act in a given betting round, except before the flop. So he can see what people are doing before making any decisions.

Small blind - this is the person first to the left of the dealer. He has half the blind, or minimum bet for the hand. He is in a bad position because he is first to act after the flop comes out.

Big blind - this is the person to the left of the small blind and is forced to put the minimum bet in the pot before even seeing cards. Now he has advantage of being last to act before the flop, so it is a good position to be in. He also has the advantage of being able to just do nothing if no one raises before the flop as well, so he can have a wider range of starting cards than most other players at the table. Usually if you are planning on raising before the flop, you want to raise it enough to make him not want to call just for the sake of protecting his forced bet.

So there you have it. I don't want to lay it all out right away, so I will follow up with future information later on down the road.

Art or Entertainment? (continued)

So last week I asked you what you felt about novels, is it art or entertainment, and why? ( So after sifting through the massive amounts of feedback on the topic, (0 replies) I figured I would start off with saying that I believe it can be both, but myself, I strive for entertainment first and foremost. I want my reader to be entertained, get wrapped up in the story, and really be able to forget about their real life for the time they are reading my work.

I use movies, video games, books, and many other things to escape the harsh stresses of life. So I try to do that with whatever I create. I really enjoy getting feedback from readers, saying that they sat down and started reading, and then realized that two hours flew by.

I'm not saying that artistic novels can't do the same sort of thing, however, I don't strive for it. Maybe that makes me lowbrow, or not as good of a writer as others out there, but I know what my goals are and its not to be an artist, but to be an entertainer.


So I wrote last week about audience and how I go about choosing mine for my novel. So this week, I wanted to touch on genre and why do you write the genre you write? Me, I consider myself a young adult author, but keep them in the realm of paranormal, (no vampires), or action/adventure.

The reason that I started writing in the first place, was because I wanted to write the stories that I enjoy down, so that's why these genre's are the ones I play with most. Granted, I have dabbled in other genre's such as horror (oh so bad), romance (hehe), and comedy (made it about fifteen pages before dropping it). I'm not funny.

So what sort of genre do you prefer to write? Why did you choose that genre? What are some of your favorite books or stories in this genre?

Game Review: Fat Princess

Since the expansion is coming out for this PSN title today, I decided to revisit this game recently. I remember really enjoying it, but other games came out that sort of took my attention away. So I fired it up this past weekend, and it completely rocked.

The main thing about this game that makes it so fun, is the animations along with the sound effects. Small comments like, "Their in our base, killing our dudes!" the announcer screams when the enemy invade your castle, are part of the charm.

There are a few bugs that happened to me during the games this weekend, but only one really frustrated me. I was up on some roofs sniping some guys, when the game switches my character with a computer character. I could watch, but not play. Then after like five minutes, and it dying for me, the game opens the menu and quits for me. Weirdest thing, was like I wasn't even in control of my system. Once I got back to the menu, everything worked fine. I would have thought it was a hacker if I didn't know better.

So I played about 30 games this weekend, with a 22 - 9 win/loss ratio. Not bad for not having touched the game since October of 2009. The charm is still there, the ease of it to pick up and play is still there, and with the co-op patch coming out today, my wife wants to join me in the online romps, so needless to say, that this game just got a lot better. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, the expansion includes, pirates, ninja's and giants. We'll see how they affect the balance of the classes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Looking at Anna, Kyle knew he had to do something and her dragging ass like this wasn’t going to cut it. He darted down the hall, meeting the hungry eyes just on the other side of the door. He slid to a stop, turned back to Anna, his heart in his throat. The girl was free upstairs, but he had faced these things one on one before.

Tearing his eyes away from Anna, he started up the steps, and each step proved harder than the last. For one thing, he has the creatures banging along the door and walls downstairs, and one upstairs that seemed to have uncanny sonar on flesh.

Reaching the top of the steps, the silence tore at his skull like a pair of woodpeckers. He gripped the smooth, polished banister and started toward the door where the girl came from. Her blood had dripped across the carpet, but it gave him no sense of where she was now.

He reached the splintered door and peaked inside. The woman remained on the ground, the rocking chair overturned, and nothing else. The door caved inward when he touched the door knob and immediately, a growl came from somewhere in the house. His nerves set off like firecrackers and he jumped to the woman, the chain holding the key stuck to the blood drying on her chest.

Not worrying about anything, he tore at the key, and her head snapped up and down with his frantic tugs. Growling grew louder. He ripped at the chain again, and her eyes popped open. Red, bloodshot, dead eyes shot at him.

He jerked back and slipped in a puddle of blood on the carpet and his shoulder popped. It echoed in his ear as he saw the woman reach for him. Her pale hands, splattered with spots of blood wrapped around his sneak. Her teeth gnashed through the opening in her cheek.

“Get off.” Kyle kicked, but she absorbed the blow with little movement. Fresher, meant stronger, Kyle thought. He pulled his legs away from her as she bit down where his toes were moments before. Not registering what was going on, Kyle sprung up and dove through the doorway.

The woman was up and after him like her daughter. He stood, twisted on his toes, and darted toward the nearest escape route. The bedroom. He rushed in, slammed the door and searched for his weapon.

Crash, the woman ran full steam into the door. It vibrated from the blow. The hinges held, but for how long? He tore open the closet door and it was empty. A single hanger rack hung across the opening. Desperate, he yanked on the wooden rack, it came free and he turned to face the door.

The woman continued crashing against it. He gripped the smooth wood in his hand, waving it to test its weight. He still had to get the key from the chain, and get back down stairs before the creatures got through.

The door splintered on the next blow. Bits of the woman’s gray hair poked through the cracks. He reared the bat back, ready to strike the moment the door gave way. His entire focus on the incoming threat. The door gave way a moment later. Not one, but the girl joined her mother in a haunting reunion.

Not hesitating, Kyle swung. The blow echoed in the small room, and up his arms. Blood shot out of the woman’s head in a fine mist. She collapsed into her daughter, and they both hit the ground. Going on pure adrenaline now, he dropped the wooden club into each of their heads until the wood snapped.

Blood coated the walls, his hands and a few sprinkles decorated his face. Not hesitating, he pulled the chain over the remains of the woman’s head. Darting down stairs, the front door caved in. He hit the bottom floor, as the creatures flooded in, all bent on devouring him.

He hopped over the man, who was just coming through. He didn’t have a chance to react as the creatures fell on him. His screams were delightful to Kyle as it bought him some time. He slide next to Anna, hoisted her onto her feet and began work on the lock. It pleasantly clicked open. The door swung open and into the wide open back yard. Holding Anna against him, Kyle dragged her across the back porch. Creatures had finished the man and came tearing after him.

Food must have been scarce, because there were dozens of them closing in on them.

“Anna. I need you to help me here.” Kyle panted, trying to keep a head of the herd which gained on him.

Anna regained her feet, and with her weight off of him, they were able to outrun the creatures. They were distracted by a few animals that were too slow to realize what was happening, becoming snacks for the group.

Racing back toward town, they saw more of the creatures milling around. All more than likely hungry.

What should Kyle do?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So last week, some of my favorite bloggers were mentioning this for free online conference called WriteOnCon, and wanted to spread the word. You can check out information about it from Elana Johnson at:,+Author)

This has the details laid out much better than I would attempt to do myself, so check it out, be part of something new and exciting, because you know what? I'm so in on this. Sounds like fun.

The website is:

Also, please remember to vote on the above poll regarding my Choose your own adventure story. It ends soon.

Art or Entertainment?

This is a widely debated topic among writers of every genre. Is what you write art? Or is it entertainment?

Books like Twilight, Harry Potter, etc (other mainstream successes) are they art, or entertainment?

Does a successful book have artistic merit to it to be valued, or is entertaining wide audiences enough?

I have a very specific point of view on this, but would love to hear what you have to say and will dedicate a post on this topic next week.

So let me know? What is your thought about writing? Art or Entertainment? Which side do you choose?

Writing for an audience

So most of us writers want to write to share their stories with others, but how do you go about deciding what audience you want to reach? Do you let the story tell you, or do you sit down with a specific audience in mind?

Me, I like to write the kind of stuff that I like to read, and that varies a lot. See, it's not easy. However, I've noticed that as I have matured as a writer, I have focused more on the Young Adult age group. I think it has to do with my fascination of Teenagers, and the many changes they are going through. Example, Graduation. It is a very scary time for most teenagers, as it signifies their first step into adulthood, but it also is exciting for some as its the moment of freedom. I like this dynamic because it plays so perfectly into interesting drama.

Teenagers are also going through developmental changes as well, such as learning who they are and what they want to make of themselves.

Not to get off track too much, I want to know how you go about deciding your audience?

Review of Toy Story 3

Just as a heads up, I will not be posting spoilers of the story here.

I went and saw this movie this weekend with my 4 year old. I went expecting a fitting ending to the series, and this movie delivered on all the emotional notes that you would expect of a Pixar film. I even felt a bit choked up at the ending.

The animation style was very similar to the previous films, and the characters are back in their old comfy roles. This all plays out perfectly, because when seeing the movie, its very much like going back to hang out with some friends you haven't seen in a while.

I don't want to give out any of the story, but want to let you know that this one is original.

I don't have anything really negative to say about this movie as if you've seen the other's this one is at least equal to those, but I think it exceeds it in other aspects.

So my rating of this is an easy 5/5. A must see if you have kids, and a even if you don't its worth seeing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

The sun glistened over the horizon, filling the house with awkward shadows. Sweat had made Kyle’s hands slippery. Anna had already started up the stairs, but he snapped out of his desire to escape and pulled her back. He couldn’t let her go up there by herself.

“I’ll check it out. Stay here.”

She looked at him with a hint of contempt in her eyes. “You are going to leave me down here by myself?”

He nodded and started up the stairs before she could utter any comment. Two steps later, she followed.

“I’m coming.” She said.

He didn’t want to argue, so he continued to creep up the stairs. The steady thumps from upstairs matched his racing heartbeat. Thump. Thump. Thump. The top of the stairs came into view. Trace amount of light reached the hall.

He stopped and turned toward the sound of the thumping. It came from behind the door that he left the woman in. Anna stopped beside him, her breathing heavy and sour. He couldn’t explain it, but his feet started to shuffle toward the door. Anna followed him.

He wanted to ask her to stop, but didn’t. She wouldn’t listen anyway. Reaching the door, he pushed it open. Inside, he saw the decaying girl sitting in her chair, rocking back and forth. Her rotten feet cracking against the wall. The sun streaked across her face, hiding part of it in shadow.

“Stay here.” Kyle said as he stepped into the room.

Anna’s breath caught in her throat and he saw her hair in a blur as she raced toward the bathroom. Her lurching overpowered the thumping for a moment.

In the room, the woman laid sprawled out on the carpet. Half her face torn off. Tendons and ligaments, stretched like silly putty to the puddle of blood. A coppery taste filled Kyle’s mouth and he felt sorry for the woman. She was crazy as a bat, but still didn’t deserve this. Approaching the woman, he kept his eyes on the girl. She stopped rocking, and turned to Kyle. Bits of flesh clung between her teeth like mountain climbers. Her eye sockets drew him in. The emptiness, darkness, and the sense of being watched.

Kyle froze, the tips of his fingers numb, and as the girl stood up, gnarling her teeth and the low growl began. Kyle stepped away like he would a rabid dog. The girl couldn’t see him, yet she moved toward him with deceptive speed.

Turning to flee, he tripped over his own two feet, and the girl tripped over him. She tumbled into the wall, allowing Kyle a moment to get some distance. It would be all he would need as he dove out into the hall, pulling the door shut behind him.

The girl crashed into the door, the echo of her thud and growl filled the hall for a moment. Kyle scurried on his hands and knees toward the stairs, not getting to his feet until he reached them.

He didn’t see Anna. He ran to the bathroom. She sat against the bathtub, her head coated in sweat and her eyes shut.

The thudding against the door gave way to the snapping of wood. The girl continued to crash against the door, oblivious to the sound. More growls came from outside. Almost like a mating call.

No time to waste, Kyle picked Anna up, and started to carry her toward the stairs. The girl had gotten one arm through the hole her head had made and madly gnashed at him. She couldn’t see him, but it didn’t stop her as the door buckled from her constant slamming.

Kyle hoisted Anna over his shoulder, his back screaming in pain, and raced down the steps, nearly falling most of the way.

He reached the bottom, turned and found creatures approaching the house through the front yard. His legs ached, but he pushed onward. Racing toward the back door. He reached the back door and yanked on it. The door didn’t budge. The large deadbolt held fast. He set Anna down in the corner. He searched his immediate area for the key to the deadbolt, but came up empty. The growling continued to grow as more of the creatures encircled the house.

He couldn’t shove Anna through a window, so he needed to find the key to the door. Creatures had reached the front porch, crashing against the door. Kyle bolted toward the man, his heart in his throat as he searched the man’s pockets. All empty. The woman, he thought. If the man didn’t have them, then she must have.

Turning back to Anna, she had grown pale. He didn’t have time to waste.

What should Kyle do?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Books your anticipating

With the vast days of summer approaching soon, what are some of the books that you are looking forward to reading?

My list includes:
The last two books of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
I want to finally get around to Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'm looking for ideas as well.

So what are some that you are going to reading this summer?

Any recommendations for me?

Minor characters

I have been working with my minor characters in my current work in progress, and it got me wondering how do you handle your minor characters. Do you use them to deliver plot information?Are they used as a stepping stone by your main character to get to something greater?

Or do you use them as cannon fodder for the main character to mow through? This is common for my books, because they are action oriented, so there has to be some minor thugs at least to get taken out. Now I don't spend much time developing them as they are usually introduced and killed, taken out in the same scene.

The one twist that I like to implement is to introduce a thug that you think is just going to be killed, but surprises you because he escapes, or does enough damage that the main character has to escape to survive. This usually works on a couple levels. One it keeps the reader guessing whether or not the normal thug will stay around, or die quickly. It also introduces minor subplots that drive the main character in directions that he wasn't expecting.

What are your favorite things to do with minor characters?
Do you use them and lose them, or do you like to build them up for a while only to be handled later?

Plot twists

They are something that every book needs to keep the reader on their toes. What are some of the ways that you manage to do this?

You can have a death of a major character happen, which does a few things. It takes any idea that the reader had of where the story was going and makes them reevaluate the situation. It can also be a good way to get the reader emotionally attached because they never know when someone that they got to know could be taken away from them. However, the downside is that if the character was their favorite character, you risk alienating the reader so much that they don't want to finish the book.

You can have a secret be revealed, such as a long lost daughter, or relative. This works because its surprising, and powerful if you hint at it before it happens. The downside is that if not done correctly, you can cause the reader to stop right there.

There are a ton of different ways to implement plot twists, and the key is doing it correctly. You can't just surprise the reader with new information without leading up to it. You can't break the own rules of your world for the sake of surprising the reader. So plot twists are necessary, but also need to be managed correctly for them to be pulled off. If you fail, your entire book will fail.

What are some of your favorite plot twists?
What sort of twists have you implemented in your book?

Review of the Original two Toy Story movies

So I decided to rewatch these movies again in anticipation of seeing part 3 with my 4 year old this weekend, and I have to say that they hold up amazingly well.

I think what helps them most is that the characters are toys, but you can relate to them better than the people in the story. In the first film, Pixar did a great job showing us an emotion that everyone has experienced in their lives before, jealousy of a new person. Be it on your block, in your school, work, etc. Everyone has experienced it, and the way they handled the emotions of the characters was spot on.

The graphics have aged a bit since they originally came out, but not so much that it looks dated. The details of the humans have improved dramatically from the first and second film which was a nice touch, since the second one had more human scenes.

The story of the second one was not as good as the first in my opinion because it lacked the emotional connection that the first one had. It was there, but less common, and not everyone could connect with the feelings that Woody was feeling, left out and lost. Maybe they can, but it lacked the wide appeal the first film had. It did have more action in the second film, which was a nice change, but I felt that the characters weren't as interesting the second time around.

Despite this, I still think these movies are worth seeing. And am looking forward to the third one as well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Ducking behind the corner of the steps, he locked eyes with Anna.

“Don’t hurt me.”

“Where you think you going? It’s not safe out there.” The man said and moved down the hall toward her.

His pulse speeding, his legs tense, Kyle waited, unsure of what to do. He knew he couldn’t let this slob shoot her.

The man’s footsteps plodded down the wood floor. Clop. Clop. Clop.

The tip of the rifle came into view and Kyle lunged. He reached for the barrel, slipped and crashed into it with his stomach. The shot went off, his chest burned and he groaned. Anna screamed behind him. The man laughed.

“Stupid kid deserved it.”

The room spun, his flesh stung and his mind went to the first thing. Anna. He failed her. Crashing through the glass doors into the dining room, shards crumbled around him as he fell.

The floor met him and the pain subsided. This must be what it felt like to die as he rolled onto his back. The man stepped through the remaining door, his single round rifle pointed at Kyle’s chest. The cocky, insane grin on his lips. “You’re one dumb kid.”

“Please don’t hurt her.”

The man raised an eyebrow, popped a new round into the chamber and cocked it. “Hurt her. No. Not yet.”

Kyle shoved with his legs, hoping to move away, but the man stomped on Kyle’s foot. He didn’t try anything, resigned in his fate. Looking up at the popcorn ceiling, he pretended they were icicles and that the torturous burns on his chest would end.

The gun went off, Kyle flinched, expecting it all to end, but instead the floor beside him exploded, carpet and wood bits stung his face. He blinked, and saw Anna struggling with the man over the gun. Looking down at his chest, no blood to be found. The burst from the rifle must have burned his shirt and skin. His shirt had a hole in it now, and his skin underneath was blistered, but he wasn't dying.

Renewed vigor rushed through him. He picked up a glass shard, climbed to his feet, and went to help Anna. The man threw her off, just as Kyle drove the pointed end of the shard into the man’s chest.

The man didn’t make a sound as the glass went up to the hilt.

“It didn’t have to be like this.” Kyle said as the man’s eyes went out of focus.

The man fell backwards, the rifle crashing to the floor.

A scream erupted from upstairs. The woman. Anna grabbed Kyle’s arm as they both looked up.

“What should we do?”

The woman’s scream came again, howling through the house like a gust of wind.

Can the Good guys be too good?

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the bad guys have feelings too, and now I wanted to see if anyone can relate to me in wanting to make your protagonist, your hero, the one you love and cherish too good? For example in a story that I wrote a long time ago, way way way back before I was even thinking of making writing my life, I made this one guy who was perfect in every way. Now that sounds cool, and should work well, but then I read it again, about a year ago, and realized that he was boring.

The reason he was boring, you might be asking? Or maybe not.

It was because no matter what sort of trouble he got into, or problems arose, there wasn't anything he couldn't do and things were never too hard for him. I couldn't make them too hard for him because he was perfect. You get what I'm saying. Now some of you might say, what about Superman or others like him, they are pretty perfect. You have to remember about Kryptonite. That was his one weakness.

So you have to make a flawed character for two reasons, because that way your reader can better relate, as well as it makes your story more suspenseful.

What are some of your character flaws? Alcoholic? Gambler? or do you go smaller than that? Say Cheater? or bigger? Kicks puppies? So let me know, what are some of the flaws of your dream character? If you don't want to mention one of your characters, maybe one in one of your favorite books?

Summer plans?

So summer is right around the corner so to speak. In Oregon, it's not so much. Stupid rain has been plentiful for the year so far. It's sort of like that movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," but more like Cloudy with a chance for a ray of sunshine. It's been ridiculous. So I want to live vicariously though my readers. What are your big plans for this summer?

I think we are going to head to California for a long weekend to see my grandpa, it might be later than initially planned, based on finances, but it should still happen.

My oldest daughter is going to Australia with my mother in law for a wedding. (Donations are accepted so she can have some spending money. J/K)
So that's pretty cool for her, but the rest of the family is sort of stuck at home.

Are you going on any big fancy cruise, or anything? Maybe a trip to the beach? Or Disney World/Great America/ whatever the big amusement park is nearby?

The Bad Guy's have feelings too.

What are some of the motivations of your antagonists? I've read that you should have a goal in mind for them, like what do they desire to make them more real? Mine currently are after the money, but that isn't good enough in my opinion. So I really sat down and started to think about what would motivate these guys to do the things that they are doing, and I started to really get in their heads. I found out that they think they are doing something to save the world from the protagonist. If they didn't think it was right and the only way to go, then why would they do it?

So my question to you, my fellow readers, is what do you use as a motivating factor of your current bad guys? Do they know it's wrong, or do they know its right? I'm interested to know on ways to make my antagonists more believable.

Law Abiding Citizen Review

So I rented this movie this past weekend, and I was delightfully surprised by it. It wasn't earth shatteringly original, but it was enjoyable.

The initial opening really made me feel for the antagonist, because of what happens that causes him to do the things he does. I won't ruin it, but lets just say that if you have a family, you will sympathize with him. So that added effect made the story more emotionally invested than other recent movies.

The acting was very well done, I liked Gerard Butler in this role and Jaime Fox was very good being the arrogant lawyer. The rest of the cast was good, especially Fox's friend, who's name escapes me at the moment.

One thing that I wish would have been better was to up the personal danger for Fox's character as he is not really threatened in any major way throughout the story. I think by doing that, I would have sympathized with him better than I did in the end. I was almost going for the bad guy because of the opening sequence.

So I definitely give this film 4/5.