Monday, August 30, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Donovan with the small girl held in a tight embrace pulled at Anna’s heartstrings, but the steady approach of the creature’s growl weighs on her even more. They were getting closer and it was only a matter of time until they came knocking.

“Will you help me board up the windows?” Anna asked.

Donovan turned to her, one eye at a time as his face came into view. A snarl curled up on his lips like a dog about ready to bite.

“Seriously?” Anna sighed standing up again. Her legs tingled from sitting so long. “So you just want to let them bust in here and get us all like trapped rats?” Her anger hung in her voice and she felt ashamed as it set off the girl’s sobs again.

“Why don’t you just leave us alone, we were fine until you got here.” Donovan snapped back.

His childish antics infuriated Anna and she stepped forward slapping him before realizing what she did.

Donovan stood, knocking the girl off her seat, and shoved Anna back.

His strength sent her tripping over Kyle, who startled awake and tried to valiantly catch her. She ended up on top of him with a loud grunt.

Donovan continued to move toward her, fury in his eyes, and the tips of his fingers began to glow red like hot coal. “I saved his life and you slap me?” He hissed. The tips of his fingers brightened.

Anna scurried back, careful not to hurt Kyle as her mind raced. Suddenly Donovan seemed worse than anything outside.

What should Anna do?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poker Frustrations

I have to share this with everyone and I promise to tie it to writing in some way at the end.

So lately, my poker playing has been decent, but not good enough to make any money at it. I've made final table after final table at like every game, yet finish either 5th or 6th, which makes it outside of the money.

Now that the small rant is over, I have started to wonder if you had a character who kept falling just shy of his goal, would that be compelling or just frustrating? It got me to thinking about how my characters fail a few times, but it just makes them stronger and that is a good thing. It allows the reader to connect with them on a greater level as they start to root for them, which is what we all want our readers to do.

What do you think?

Update on my family

So I don't think I've done this before, so I wanted to share a few things about myself that I thought those of you who are family that I don't get in touch with often enough would like to hear.

My nine year old had a blast in Australia which she got back from about a week ago. She already wants to start saving up money to go again. I told her good luck :) as her allowance is about 2 dollars a week right now.

My four year old is currently giving Gymnastics a shot, and so far really likes it. It's only been 3 classes so far, but I like the idea of her getting out of the house and having something that is just hers. She is always bouncing around the house and I hoped that this would burn off a bit of that energy and so far it has just made things worse at home.

My son is currently being a typical 19 month old. Loves to say thank you and being all around adorable, which makes it hard to stay mad at him for some of the other tricks that he is sharing with us, like removing his diaper when we aren't looking and streaking through the house.

That's all for now. Hope you enjoyed it.

Breaks between projects

As I probably mentioned last week that I finished my newest draft of my current WiP, time to take the red pen to it, but in the meantime while I let it stew for a bit, I've been thinking about another project that has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I actually started before my current project, just never made it past the 100 page mark. (always seems to be my sticky point.)

So do you think it would be wise to work on another project while I let the current one stew a bit longer, or should I not be spreading my focus between two projects in case they start to get confused? What do you do in times like this?

Final review of The Dark Tower Series

So as you probably read, I finished up "The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King this past Friday, and I have been reading it over the past year or so. I'm lucky compared to some who read them as they came out and had to wait a while between books, which made it a tad harder to keep things straight.

I think my favorite book in the series was probably between the Third one and the Fifth one as I liked the stories told in both of those a lot. The last was well paced I thought as well, and I really enjoyed the ending as I found them both (there is one that King himself says that he didn't really want to write, but did for those people who would want closure on certain things) very well done.

My favorite character had to be Roland as I always found myself wanting to be seeing things in his POV when I was in the other characters. He was very real in every aspect and loved his weaknesses.

Not like I didn't like the other characters, but I felt for Roland and his overwhelming desire to complete his quest for the tower.

A thing that I really enjoy about the King books is his world building and this one, along with "The Stand" is another great one. To the small things like the way that Roland pronounces certain words, to the bigger issues, like the varying religions and beliefs that run throughout the world. It was very easy to get sucked up into the story and world.

Next up for me is "Gone" by Michale Grant. I'm looking forward to it as I think the idea of a world without parents very compelling. Look for my review in the next few weeks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stephen King's Dark Tower Series

I just finished the last book in the series, well up to the point where Stephen King says it is, there are still about 30 more pages to go, and I'm debating whether or not to read them. I'm the kind of guy that likes to read all the endings so to speak. Just look at my choose your own adventure story.

Anyway, I will post a more comprehensive review next Tuesday, but just wanted to say that I really found the ending fitting and worked well for me. This might change when I finish the "alternate ending" so to speak, but if it ended like he says is the ending, I found it a very nice and well done ending.

What are some of your favorite endings in books? Spoiler alert for those of you reading comments.

Monday, August 23, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Donovan remained kneeling next to the small girl who continued to quake before them. His comfort must have worked as her eyes shut and she stopped the low whine that she started.

Anna stood up and looked down at Donovan. Her heart raced, but if she was going to trust this nutcase, she had to get some answers. “Can I ask you something now?”

He turned to her, the sunlight reflecting in the one eye she could see giving him a sinister look. He didn’t answer.

Unsure of what to do, she swallowed the growing knot in her throat and choked out a few words of prayer before she got the courage to continue. “Where did you come from?”

He didn’t answer.

She looked to Kyle for help, but his eyes were shut and his face grimaced with pain. Figured that he would pass out now, but the color had returned to his face. Whatever this man did to Kyle, it was nearly magical.

“What is your issue?” She flinched from the words as they fell from her mouth. She didn’t mean to offend him.

Donovan smirked, and stood up. He towered over her, his teeth gritted as he faced her. The muscles in his neck went taut as stared at her. “My issue?” He asked a bit stunned.

“Yes.” She met his stare and licked her dry lips. He could beat her to a pulp if he wanted, but he didn’t move, just watched her, not even blinking.

“I’m angry.” He said after a moment of silence that seemed to hang in between them.

“Why?” She ventured to take the path he was providing her.

“Because those things are everywhere and…” He looked at the girl in the corner. A softer side emerged when he looked at the girl.

“You are trying to protect her?” She pried slowly hoping to keep his wrath in check.

He nodded and sat down. The floor creaked under his weight as he dropped his head into his hands. “I found her surrounded by those things. She was trapped in an abandoned car. Her parents were dead in the front seat, but not turned yet. I ran up to the car with my machete…”

The girl started to sob again and Donovan lifted the girl into his lap. He caressed her hair and she snuggled up against him.

Not sure how to continue, Anna waited for him to start up again.

“I took out four of those things before the parents started to stir. That’s when I broke the glass and pulled her out of the car. She screamed as I ran away, but I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t leave her there could I?” He turned to Anna, tears in his eyes.

“No. You did the right thing.” Anna said. She watched how he cradled the girl in his arms, how safe and secure she seemed to be, and realized that Donovan may be crazy, but he wasn’t going to let anything happen to the girl.

“Why did you come here?” Anna asked.

“I remember your uncle helping me put one of my cats down a few weeks ago and it was the closest place. I thought that he might have some ideas on what caused these things.” He said, wiping the tears that had gathered in his eyes. “Obviously he didn’t.

The small girl in his arms let out a soft snore and Anna a laugh tickled her throat, but she held it in. She didn’t know what this all meant except that they were still stuck here with Donovan. Maybe they could escape together as the creatures wouldn’t stay out forever. Their low guttural growls had already be closer than when they first got here.They would eventually smell them, or hear them, or even see them one day and being trapped was worse without any viable weapons.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Struggling for Ideas

So lately I've been having trouble coming up with topics to post about. I have touched on most of the things that I have been thinking about, so what are some of the topics that you would like me to comment on?

Should I focus more on writer stuff, or more poker things, or more random thoughts?

Finished with draft 5 of my current novel

So this is a small posting to celebrate the 5th version of my novel is completed.

Now I need to print it out and go at it in paper format to really get a birds eye view of the entire story structure.

What are some of your strategies when you have to fix overall story structure things? Mine is going to be to print it out, and go through it with a red pen, making special notes at the beginning and ending of each chapter on what needs to be corrected, and filled in, as well as a summary of that chapter and how it fits in with the whole story.

Review of Blockbuster Online's new Game rental service

So this past week, I started getting video games through the Blockbuster Online service that I've been part of for over two years.

Well after trying it, I have learned a few things.

One is that it's exactly like the movie rental service. You get a game in the mail, and can keep it for as long as needed.

Second is that I'm going to have to limit it to one game at a time for my own consumption. I just don't have the time to play two games to completion at one time lol. That's more of a downfall for myself than the service as I can't commit the time to video games that I could before kids. :) It's not a bad thing though.

Third is that the game selection isn't that great right now. All new releases are on a two month wait before they are available on the online service, which sort of sucks, but once again, since I don't play a lot of games, I have plenty of older titles that I wanted to try out to catch up on and by the time the newer games come out, I won't have to worry because I can wait.

So overall after the first week of the service, I found it a great value if you are already a Blockbuster Online user. It's both cheaper than Gamefly, and Netflix, if you use them in conjunction, so that's a bonus.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Shaking off of the tension, Anna sat down next to Kyle. Her heart raced and Donovan’s face remained stoic, completely without emotion. His hazel eyes glimmered in the early morning sunlight as it rose in the distance. The lines in his face made him seem older than those eyes told her he would be.

“How did you survive?” Donovan asked, staring directly at Kyle. He didn’t make any eye contact with Anna since the moment she found him.

She thought back to when this whole mess began. The night Kyle was supposed to take her out for a good night with some friends had turned into a disaster the moment her father tried to fight off that infected man. The shriek of her mother’s scream made her skin crawl and she jerked involuntarily.

Donovan’s gaze flicked to her as she lowered her head. Something about him made her feel uncomfortable. She shivered and raised her eyes toward him. “Kyle saved me from my parents.”

At the mention of his name, Kyle smiled, and looked at Anna. She reached for his hand and he muttered, “I think were more than even now.”

“What brought you guys here?” Donovan asked, without any sort of acknowledgement of their moment.

“This is my uncle’s house. We thought that it might be a safe place where I could find some medical supplies.” Anna said. Having Kyle back helped focus her. She turned to the girl and Donovan rose out of his seat.

“Don’t look at her.” He said in a voice that didn’t seem possible coming from such a large man.

Anna slunk away from Donovan’s large size. “I didn’t—“

“She’s my daughter. That’s all you need to know.” Donovan said as he glared down at Anna and Kyle. Any comfortable feeling that they had evaporated that moment.

“I wasn’t…” She didn’t finish as Donovan seemed to grow angrier the more she talked.

“What are your plans next?” Donovan sat back down. He seemed much more likeable now that he was back in control.

She fidgeted at his gaze and shrugged like the little girl that she felt like right now. Donovan scared her. How did he manage to heal Kyle so quick? How did he get into the house while she was sleeping, or was he always here? She ran the thoughts through her head as she looked at Kyle.

Kyle groaned and pulled himself up to a seated position. The wound on his shoulder seemed to glow red from possible infection, but he didn’t pay any mind to it. “I want to get the military to help us.” Kyle said.

Sweat broke out onto Kyle’s forehead and she urged him to sit back down.

“No. No. No!!!” The girl in the corner screamed. Her voice made the window quiver and Anna’s skin crawl.

Donovan dropped to a knee next to the girl in a moment, caressing her like a worried father would do. He spoke to her in hushed tones and she started to calm down.

Anna looked at Kyle hoping that he understood the fear that coursed through her. She wanted to figure out how to proceed next and Donovan seemed like a person with a screw loose.

What should Anna do?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Status update of my WiP

So this week, I finished the 4th draft of my WiP, and boy is it starting to make more sense. I still have to go back and start implementing more backstory and setup a few things differently that weren't working via my beta readers.

I read somewhere recently that the real writing is during this rewriting, and have to say that this is true. I am excited to really get back into this story now that I know it works on the basic story level.

So what are some of your strategies for rewriting? Have you ever found it more fun to do a revision than the first draft? What was one of your favorite things to come out of a revision?

Barnes and Noble

This past weekend, I paid a visit to Barnes and Noble for the first time in a long time. I know. I know. As a writer, I should visit it more often, but our budget was spent buying my wife a Kindle for her birthday, so sue me.

Anyways, I had a good time and picked up a couple of books. One was book 7 of the "Dark Tower" series by my favorite Adult Author, Stephen King. God what I would do to meet him in real life. Anyways, I'm excited about this because I have been reading this series over the past couple years and now finally get to reach the end of Roland's fateful journey. Should be fun.

The other book that I picked up was "Gone" by Michael Grant, which I picked up after looking over a bunch of other Young Adult books, such as "Forest of Hands and Teeth," by Carrie Ryan, which I've heard wonderful things about, also looked at "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, as well as "Fade" and "Gone" by Lisa McMann as I have read the first book in this series a while back, so I will go back and read these down the road.

So the reason that I picked "Gone" is because the premise interested me. Basically, in the blink of an eye, all the parents are gone. Leaving a bunch of kids left to fend for themselves. I liked it because it sounded really interesting to me. So I will post a review in a few months after I'm done with book 7 of the "Dark Tower" and "Gone" to let you know what I think.

Have any of you read any of these books, because I'm always up for recommendations.


This past week was a good week not to be blogging as I had a chance to visit this wonderful online conference more. However, due to work, I missed some of the chats and such live, but still got to watch them later in the night. I have to give a major shout out to all of those that set this thing up as it was very well thought out, well organized, and the guest speakers of agents, authors, and editors was very diverse and their presentations were wonderfully insightful.

I really hope that they continue this as a more annual thing as it was very educational for those of us still trying to break into the industry.

Despicable Me and Inception Review

So this past weekend, we went to a Drive-in theater. The first time I've been to one in a very long time. I think it was before I reached 10 as the last visit. So as I saw a double feature that night, I'm going to do a double review.

Despicable Me - Good animated movie, very, very cute minions and have to say that I liked it a lot more than I was expecting. I thought that the antagonist wasn't that great of a challenge though and was more of an obstacle as a true equal. I would give this movie a good 4/5 review.

Inception - This movie got huge reviews based on it's thrilling special effects and those didn't disappoint, however, I felt that the plot was hard to follow. It might have been that it was midnight almost for when it really got started, but I didn't care for this movie as much as I thought I would. The acting was good, the characters were well drawn out, but I kept thinking that the twist that was causing so much debate wasn't that great. I sort of had this feeling all the way throughout it. Good movie, and will rent again to see if the plot is better than I remember, but right now I have to give it a mere 2.5/5.

Monday, August 9, 2010


So I wanted to apologize for not having anything for "You Can't Call them Zombies!" this week due to the fact that we are currently doing some rearranging of the home and things got crazy. So I will try to post a new part this week, but it might have to wait until next week.

Until then....

Monday, August 2, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!


Anna jolted up in bed, the comforter still hung to her head. She ripped it down, her heart pounding, her breath stuck in her throat. Through the morning light, she searched the room. Dust cascaded through the beam of light shooting across her vision. With her nerves on fire, she turned to Kyle, but he was gone.

The sheet next to her still warm, so he couldn’t have gone far. Throwing the blankets off, she rushed to the door of the room and ripped it open. Its hinges squealed, but she bolted out into the hall frantically searching for Kyle or the source of the noise.

She stopped at the sight of her uncle on the ground, his blood congealed around his head. She bit on her tongue to stifle the vomit induced by the stench.


Above her, dust fell onto her shoulder. With her hand over her mouth, she stepped over her uncle and pulled another pool cue off the rack.

“Kyle?” She called out, but her voice died in the thick morning air. The rummaging from above sent a shiver down her spine. Maybe Kyle went upstairs to die because he was going to become one of them? She shook the thought out of her head. He wasn’t bitten.

With the cue in hand she started up the steps, they creaked as she tried to stealthily make her way up on whatever was making the noise. “Kyle. This isn’t funny.” She said, twisting the cue in her hand. The wood was comforting.


A small scream erupted from her so quick that she scared herself. She shook her head, had to get her game face on. The top of the steps were right there. She reared the cue back, ready to strike at whatever made the noise.

The hall split off in two directions and now that she was up here, she cursed herself. She didn’t listen close enough to know which way to head.

The ground shook and a rumble ricocheted down the hall to her left so she headed that direction. She wanted to call out for Kyle, but all words died somewhere at the back of her mouth.

The last door stood before her, dust floated before her. Her uncle needed to clean more. She grabbed the knob. It twisted easy enough, and she pulled the door open. The muscles in her arms and chest clenched as she expected the worst. A blur flicked by and she swung. The cue broke against the doorway, and rocked her hands.

She yelped, dropped the cue clattering to the floor.

The person in the room faced her, a gun raised in an instant at her. She expected the blast, and the darkness, but it never came.

“What are you doing here?” A man said. The gun hiding his face, but the scabs on his knuckles had cracked, blood dripped off his fingers.

She stood there dumbstruck and started to think of an answer. Her mind failed her and she uttered, “What?”

The gun lowered revealing a pair of beautiful hazel eyes. That was the only part visible behind the bandana around the man’s lower face and the beanie hiding his hair. “You live here?”

She shook her head, still trying to figure out the man’s purpose. She braved a glance and saw Kyle on the ground; his wound uncovered and had healed well. In the corner of the room, a pair of hunting rifles rested and a few handguns were set underneath them.

“Kyle?” She said. He looked better, but still didn’t appear to be very healthy. His skin hadn’t returned to full color yet.

“That’s his name?” The man said.

She nodded.

“Good. I’m Donovan.” The man lowered his bandana. His scruffy face looked out of place for the sharpness of his eyes.

She tried to smile. “Can I see him?”

Donovan nodded and moved out of the way. She hurried to Kyle’s side and touched his skin. The wound was a bit warm, and he flinched.

She turned to see a young girl curled up in the corner. She held her dirty blanket close to her face and everything clicked. That was Donovan’s daughter. She smiled at the girl, but she covered her face.

“We need answers.” Donovan said as he sat on an overturned medical waste bucket.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


So I've been doing this for a whole 7 full months now and just wanted to let my fellow readers know the goals that I'm striving for with the blog.

I want to get up to 30 followers by the end of the year. That's only 11 more, so its doable. I've had 19 for a while now, and I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself to get anything more. But if any of my readers have any suggestions on how to improve the blog, or my posts, even topics that you would like me to post, I'm open for suggestions. You can reach me at my email, which I will post below.

I also want to get some guest bloggers to post from time to time, but not sure how to go about asking. Any tips, once again let me know.

I would also like to guest blog on others blogs if they would want me. Not sure I'm ready, but I'll never know unless I try, right?

So those of my main goals for the rest of the year regarding the blog.

You can reach me at

Drama pt 2.

Continuing from yesterday, I was talking about drama and some examples of how it works in a current show that I'm watching, "Make it or Break it."

The reason that this interested me as well as the examples I mentioned yesterday was the fact that I deal with teenagers in my books, as many of my followers might as well. So watching the way that the drama unfolds, and how these girls, who work with each other every day for hours on end get along despite this drama is wonderful.

Now this show does its share of a couple cliche's from time to time, but its bound to happen in series like these, because they draw up an easy to spot flaw, or weakness.

Drama is the centerpiece of great books. Without drama, there is no action, and without action, there is very little for the reader to get involved in and follow. Who would really want to read a book where the character just sits there and mentions how perfect their life is, no one? Maybe someone, but still, it just doesn't work for the majority of readers.

So my advice to you, is go to your current Work in Progress, and stir up some drama, it will be fun, trust me. Make best friends turn on each other, make lovers hate each other, just something to cause a bit of a stir to the pot that you have brewing.


Hi again, I wanted to talk about drama in writing. I'm not sure if I have written about it before, but thought that this topic is alway useful, and I have been watching a lot of ABC Family teenage drama shows lately. Sue me, because I'm a sucker for this stuff.

Anyway, I started watching this show called, "Make it or Break it," about elite gymnasts and their lives outside the gym. I'm a big fan of gymnastics, so that got me started, but after watching a marathon of season 1 this weekend with my wife, I noted a few trends that were working on me.

Such as the love triangles. There are two girls fighting over a single guy, which cause numerous scenes of tears, mistrust, lies, backstabbing, etc., and it worked because its interesting to see which one of the two girls will get the upper hand. Now it's not nice and there is always things that make you hate one over the other, but that's also why it works. You have a side to take and then see if they win out. Sort of like a sport.

Another that I noticed was the pressure on the main characters to perform, both for their team, their friends, their family. They have it coming at the from every angle, which works because maybe not everything is understandable, but at least one of the points of pressure does relate to the audience.

Now I'll continue my point in my next post as this one is getting a bit long in the tooth.

Clash of the Titans 2010 review

This past week, my wife and I rented, the new remake of "Clash of the Titans." I haven't seen the original in many many years, but thought at least that it would be a decent action flick. I like the myths that it draws on and also, thought that the previews looked interesting. Don't underestimate my wife's influence in our movie choices. (Love you honey :p).

This movie was a pretty shallow film overall. The action scenes were cool, the special effects were passable, not great, but the thing that most let me down was the believability. Now I know its fiction and all, but even that has to have some merit behind it. The main character in this film started his quest because his family, who wasn't his real family, was killed. His real father wants him to fail, but also succeed, and it just seemed like too much to follow and get behind.

Now if they kept it to the single motivation of wanting to avenge his family's death, cool, but this movie had to throw in the girl in danger, the desire to get back at his god father, who wouldn't even claim him until it was convenient for him. This all adds up to a muddled story, which I found a bit boring because everything worked out for him, and it wasn't always that difficult.

Enough of the negative, I felt that this character was cool, and was interesting in his own right. It could be because I like the mythology and demigods rock most of the time. However, the rest of the cast was well done, and I felt myself feeling bad for some of the minor characters being killed when they were killed, because of this.

So overall, I would rate this movie a 2/5, but is worth a rental if you are into the mythology like me.