Monday, September 27, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

“Get the window. I’ll slow them down.” Anna said pushing the footlocker against the door. It scraped along the wood bringing a chill up along her arms.

The growl grew on the other side of the three inch think wood separating them from the creatures. They banged against barricade, vibrating it and sending splinters through the door. It would only take them minutes before they got through.

She turned to Kyle, who still clung to the girl. He hadn’t moved. “Kyle, get the window. We need to get out of here.” She snapped and he jerked.

“Sorry.” He set the girl down and pried the window open. It screeched as it rose. A stench filled the room. Decay, dirt, grim, and death awaited them outside, but inside it would be worse. The first fist came through the wood. Fresh blood coated the yellow fingers as it tore at the opening.

Stumbling back, Anna let out a gasp. They were only inches away and hungrier than before. “Get the girl; we need to get out of here.”

Kyle had already started through the window with the girl before Anna ordered him. She remained fixated on the fingers clawing the small opening, working it wider by the moment.

“Anna come on!” Kyle shouted at her, snapping her from the panic.

She darted to the window and kicked one leg out when the door caved in. Creatures poured in like a wave of limbs. Blood splattered the frame as they climbed over each other to get inside. Some were missing fingers, ears, eyes, jaws, whole arms, and many had fresh flesh in their snapping teeth as they started toward her.

She slammed the window, which shattered the glass, cutting her finger. Blood shot across the windowsill as she pulled her hand to her mouth. A second later, a decaying creature was licking at the fresh blood like an alcoholic to a new bottle of bourbon.

Growls greeted them as reached the edge of the roof. They weren’t as dense as inside, but creatures were approaching from all sides. Their dead eyes locked on the fresh meat on the roof twelve feet off the ground.

“Look for a way down? She can’t make this jump.” Anna said already searching for a way down, as the creatures started to slither through the narrow window. Most didn’t mind the glass as it peeled away their skin, leaving chunks of congealed blood on the glass.

Kyle started toward the corner of the roof, peering down. “I can jump down first and then you can drop her to me.”

Not finding any other solution she nodded. “Fine, but be careful.”

Without another word, Kyle set the girl down and leapt off of the roof. Immediately an unseen creature jumped on him. He threw the creature off as it only had one arm, but it had already started to get back up.

“Kyle look out.” Another creature had approached from behind. He dodged it and ran away from the house. More creatures came from the house following him as he darted around the corner of the house and out of sight.

“Kyle!” The girl screamed, which echoed in the surrounding hillside. “Come back, you promised that you wouldn’t leave me.”

Anna’s heart broke as the girl remained crouched at the corner of the roof searching for Kyle among the dozens of creatures shuffling among the yard.

Turning to the approaching sound, Anna found three creatures had made it through the window with a fourth squirming his one armed self through the opening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NFL Pick'em for Week 4

Wow, I'm not sure I did any better by offering up a description like I did last week, so I am going to make is short and simple this week. If you have any critiques, let me know. I finished 7 - 9 last week to bring my total up to 22-26. Not bad I guess so here are my picks for next week:

Jets @ Bills - Jets

Broncos @ Titans - Titans

Bengals @ Browns - Bengals

Panthers @ Saints - Saints

Ravens @ Steelers - Steelers

49ers @ Falcons - Falcons

Seahawks @ Rams - Seahawks

Lions @ Packers - Packers

Texans @ Raiders - Texans

Colts @ Jaguars - Colts

Redskins @ Eagles - Eagles

Cardinals @ Chargers - Chargers

Bears @ Giants - Bears

Patriots @ Dolphins - Patriots

Teams with the week off: Cowboys, Chiefs, Vikings and Buccaneers

Kids books

My daughter is 9 and is a good reader with a variety of tastes. Currently she is into Wayside stories, which I bought her 3 years ago, so I find it funny how that came around like that.

My 4 year old daughter is still in the Dr. Seuss books and various Disney princess books, but my question is more for my son.

He is 1 and a half and likes to get in the way of reading time with my daughters, and all, which works, but I want to get some books for him. I am looking for suggestions for a 1 year old boy as most of our collection consists of books for girls? Any ones that you share with your boy kidlets?

WiP Wednesday

So this past week, I finished red marking my current project. I now get to dive into the actual fun part, which is the retyping it up with the edits. I am looking for a deadline in two weeks if I can, but since I am making some major plot changes, I think it might last until the end of October. This is okay as long as the piece comes out stronger than originally.

So what are some of your horror stories when you have done a revision? Have you ever felt like it was like starting over from scratch, which mine does at the moment because of the detailed changes I am making? Have you ever added characters? Combined some? Changed POV? What are some of your favorite moments of revision? I'm just curious, so let me know.

Playstation Move Review

So my wife talked me into getting a Move on release day recently.

I have heard many things about it before it came out. Was it the Wii just in HD? Was it as accurate as they say it was? What made it different than the Wii?

So after playing with it for a week I am ready to give my review.

The controls work well. I have two move controllers and really enjoy the way they work. They are pretty precise, but this depends on whether or not you calibrate them correctly. I will elaborate on that point a bit later. The games that I have tried so far have been decent, about even with the current stuff on the Wii in terms of control and gameplay. Nothing too spectacular.

The one game that I have spent the most time with is Sports Champions, which came with the bundle. The controls work very well in a sport environment such as these. My wife and I enjoy all the games pretty equally except for Bocce Ball, mainly because we have never heard of it before, so it's learning the rules as well as the controls.

I have played all the demo's that have been released, and the one that really stuck out to me was Tumble. It is sort of like a Jenga clone. The demo level that I played with my wife was us building a tower out of the parts and scoring points. When pieces fell, we lost points. Pretty simple, but it works well and is a great showcase of the precision of the controller.

Now on to the only thing that I have found lacking in the Move, the calibration. It is very finicky and if you don't do it right, it can mess up the experience. This is primarily the cause of my frustration because at times the camera can pick up other objects in the room and if they are lit up at the right spectrum, it can cause the game to flip out. I have experienced it most playing the Archery game, where my son would run across the room carrying some toy, and the light would reflect off of it, causing my aim to shoot to the floor. Now it doesn't happen all the time, only once in a while, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

So I would rate the product a solid 4.5/5 and recommend it to my friends who have a Playstation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters

So in answer to Elana Johnson's blog challenge ( here is my post:

I think the keys to creating Compelling characters are three fold:

1. They have to have weaknesses, such as something that the bad guy can exploit, or something that can be an obstacle. Some examples of this in popular fiction is Superman's Kryptonite, or Indiana Jones fear of snakes.

2. They usually have something unique about them to help them stick out in a crowd. Examples would be Harry Potter's Scar or Blade is a half vampire, half human, so he doesn't have the same weaknesses as normal vampires.

3. They can be related to by having a goal, or desire that everyone has felt once in their life at once. An example of this would be a characters desire to be liked , such as Carrie in "Carrie," or the want of a dream, such as Jersey in the movie "Coyote Ugly."

So I think every character has one or more of these traits that makes them compelling. The importance of having a compelling character is that it makes for a much more involved read because you connect with the character and go through their successes, and failures. This is what makes a compelling story since great characters can make a good story even better.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

The door splintered at the top of the frame.

“Don’t let them get me. Please don’t.” Donovan said as he rolled around on the ground. The smell of burnt flesh filled the air.

Anna coughed at the scent, it stung her nose at it rose up her nostrils. Fanning at the smell, she started up the steps. The creature’s growl intensified.

“Please don’t. I don’t want to die.” Donovan cried. He found her leg and pulled on it like a lost child.

She grimaced at the thought of using him for his powers, but it might prove useful. “Get up. Head to your right and use your power. They might fear the heat.”

“You really think so.” He asked hopeful for a moment.

“Yeah.” She didn’t believe it for one moment, but it would buy her some time.

He turned on shaky legs and started toward the door, the red hue rose again. The temperature went up a few degrees.

The creatures didn’t seem to mind, and only intensified their crashing against the door. It came down a few bangs later.

Anna had already started up the steps. Donovan’s screams were muffled by the sounds of his own flesh being ripped from his bones. They weren’t scared of the heat for a moment, which only meant she had less time than she had hoped.

“Kyle, get the girl, we are leaving.” She reached the top of the steps. Her breath came in quick gasps and she rushed toward the room where Kyle and girl were holed up.

The creatures had already begun to make their way up the steps. Their shuffling footsteps cracking against the wooden steps like a confused army. The growls had been lowered as they had eaten, but still fresh meat was only another door away.

Anna slammed the door and with Kyle’s help they stuffed the bed up against the door. Almost immediately it quivered from the first wave of creatures crashing into the door like a wave of flesh.

The girl started to cry. Kyle swooped her up into his arms and tried to soothe her. He looked adorable with the girl clutching to him, and the color had returned to his face. He almost looked like the boy that she fell for months ago.

Scanning the bare room, Anna had to find a way out. A small wooden dresser, and a footlocker were all that were left in the room. The girl quivered in Kyle’s arms and the crashing grew as she looked over her options.

What should Anna do?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

NFL Pick'em for Week 3

So I'm not very good at this it seems. Last week, I ended up 7 and 9. That's not even a playoff team unless you are in the NFC West. Anyway, for the year I am 15 and 17. Time to turn this around, maybe comments on each game will help me. Maybe I should pick against my team... Nah, so probably at least already 0-1 for the week, but here it goes anyway:

49ers @ Chiefs - Chiefs have played strong the last two weeks, and the 49ers look like they finally got some swagger back that they were missing. - 49ers win.
Titans @ Giants - Titans didn't look sharp at all against the Steelers, but neither did the Giants. I'm going Giants because they are at home.
Steelers @ Buccaneers - Buccaneers beat the Panthers at home, but aren't for real yet. Steelers win this one easy.
Lions @ Vikings - Favre looks his age, and the Lion's have been playing inspired. However, I think Favre bounces back and plays well. I think the Lions deserve this one after being so close twice now.
Falcons @ Saints - Falcons put up a ton of points last week against the Cardinals, but the Saints can keep up. I pick the Saints.
Browns @ Ravens - Ravens have too strong of a defense for the Browns to win. Ravens win by two scores.
Bills @ Patriots - Patriots looked average against the Jets. The Bills are still the worst team in the AFC. Patriots.
Bengals @ Panthers - Bengals have Batman (Ochocinco) and Robin (T.O), the Panthers might be starting a rookie QB. I think it inspires the Panthers to win this one.
Cowboys @ Texans - Cowboys look confused and have too many weaknesses. The Texans are a serious team this year. Texans win the battle of Texas.
Redskins @ Rams - Redskins put up almost 500 yards against the Texans and still lost. The Rams haven't put up more than 300 yards a game yet. Redskins easy.
Eagles @ Jaguars - Jaguars looked like I thought they should have been the first week. 7 Turnovers won't happen again, but the Eagles win by ten.
Chargers @ Seahawks - Seahawks were brought back to earth last week, and the Chargers looked like themselves. As long as it's not rainy, the Chargers win this one.
Raiders @ Cardinals - Both teams are horrible, but at least they are better than the Bills and Rams, I think this one is going to be close with the Raiders winning behind a strong defense and new quarterback.
Colts @ Broncos - Colts came back to form against the Giants last week, but so did the Broncos. I think the Colts win, but it will be close because these teams usually fight tooth and nail against each other.
Jets @ Dolphins - I hate the Jets, and the Dolphins have played well so far this year. I think this one will be another close low scoring game like the Jets first game, and this time the Jets sneak out with a win on a last second field goal.
Packers @ Bears - Bears have looked better than expected, however the Packers are the best team in the NFC currently. The rivalry will be reunited, but I think the Packers win this one by fourteen.

Poker strategies

So I haven't continued with this section for a while, so I wanted to update it a bit.

Lately, I've been playing once or twice a week with my group and have found that I play better against smaller groups. I think this is mainly because I take more chances with my hands. I am more willing to play A6 or A7 because if my ace hits, it's usually good. Now it gets even better they are suited, but I wanted to focus on a strategy, that I think is important: Heads up play.

This usually only happens when its the final two people in a tourney, and is a very important skill that many people don't utilize fully.
I don't want to give away all my strategy, but I will go over some of the basics:
Face cards are worth a ton, because a lot of hands can just be won based on high card.
Suited connectors are strong as well.
Any pocket pair is good enough to raise with.

With these in mind, I will call out a hand that I had last night.
I was big blind and I had noticed that the person I was playing against was easy to get off of hands, so I started to raise on any two cards, but this strategy isn't that sound as if I didn't pick up on this weakness, it could have backfired with him reraising over the top, causing me to lose the chips I bet into him.

So that is all I have to say for the basics of heads up play.

"The Haunted" Review

This past week, my wife and I both finished the "The Haunted" by Jessica Verday. I know the author from her posting on a forum that I frequent,, so I had to support her. You know supporting authors is part of being an author.

I have to say first and foremost, I am not a fan of first person view usually, mainly because I sort of like to get other POV's from time to time. However, this book really excels at telling the story well in the first person. It gave me a real connection with the narrator, and that was important to understand her feelings throughout the story.

I really like the characters of both Caspian and Abbey as they are young people in love. I found the secondary characters to be pretty well drawn as well, especially like Ben.

The only problem that I really have with the plot of this book is that for the first half of it, it is sort of boring. A lot of setting up the world, slowly building Abbey back into her normal life and her friends, but after this gets setup, it all pays off wonderfully in the end. Lots of suspense and tension both romantic and action oriented.

I would give this book a solid 3.5/5 and my wife has already recommended it to a few of her friends, so she probably liked it closer to 4.5/5.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

“What’s your idea?” She said reluctantly.

The red hue returned and Donovan had moved down to the bottom of the steps. Sweat coated his forehead, and the red gleamed in his eyes. A sinister smirk rested on his lips. “I think we should try to reach the military base.”

“What about holding up in here?” She asked, already wary of her choice. Something about the gleam in his eyes made the skin on the back of her neck crawl.

“They will break in eventually. We can’t keep it as secure as they could.” He stepped forward. “Come on, with my power, we should be fine.”

She lowered the gun. He made a bit of sense, but with Kyle in danger, she needed more than just a bit of sense. “What about Kyle?”

“I can protect them.” He stepped closer. The gleam in his eye grew. “Come on, let’s get ready to leave.”

He reached his hand out to her, and she stepped back. Her gut twisted as a low growl moved past the window. They were already closing in. “What about the little girl? You think we can protect them both?”

Donovan flinched. The little girl was his weakness, he had to protect her.

She raised her gun again. “You…”

“Hey! I’m on your side.” Donovan raised his hands. “I swear.”

Someone moved down the steps. With the red glow in front of her, she couldn’t make it out, but knew it could only be one of two people who they left up there. “Kyle?”

“Yeah it’s me. What’s going on?” Kyle stopped on the bottom step. Only his silhouette stood out against the red.

“Donovan here wants to make another run to the army base.” She said.

“Did you tell him he’s crazy? That’s suicide.” Kyle stepped up to the feet of her uncle. With him being closer she saw that he was holding the little girl. It made her hear flip seeing him with the girl on his hip. She snuggled up against his sore shoulder. Her hand rested on the wound and with amazement she saw a soft white light through her fingers.

Not letting on to Donovan, she nodded to Kyle.

“So are you with me?” Donovan asked.

“Tell me again, what is with the girl. How did you find her?” She turned the gun on him again.

The glint faded in his eyes and the sneer rose on his lips. “I saved her from the car she was trapped in.”

“Why though? What were you doing there?” She was hoping to get the truth.

“Right place at the right time, I guess. Lucky for the girl.” Donovan lowered his hands. He wiggled his fingers and the room temperature rose a few degrees. With each wiggle, the red light flickered across her uncle’s corpse, giving him a decayed demonic look.

Not wanting to do what she knew she had to do, Anna tightened her finger on the trigger. Something wasn’t right with Donovan, and from the look in his eyes, he was planning something. “Why didn’t you tell us about the girl being able to heal?”

Donovan’s smirk faded. He raised his hands, heat radiating from the tips. Shadows cast from the light raced along the walls and she opened fire. The gun kicked back, shocked her wrist and she dropped it.

Darkness surrounded them and she heard Donovan cussing. “You shot me, why did you do that?” He scrambled along on the floor toward the steps.

“Kyle keep her away from him.” Anna screamed. She dropped to her knees searching for the gun.

A scuffle happened by the steps and the girl screamed. Creatures growled and started to bang on the front door. They knew they were here now. They had made more than enough noise. All the terror began to bubble up in her chest. She didn’t know how things had gotten so messed up.

Unable to find the gun, Anna darted toward the scuffling sound. Determined to save the girl from Donovan. The girl was special and didn’t deserve being held captive by a lunatic. “Kyle!”

Anna lunged and grabbed onto Donovan. The warm blood from his wound slicked her hands as she struggled to get a grip on him. He bucked her off like a horse and she fell against the floor. Hitting her head, a ringing started in her head and she struggled back to her feet. Her knees shook as she reached for the wall to steady her.

Red light blinded her as Donovan loomed over her. The wound in his upper shoulder glistened in the light. “You will not take her from me.” He said and dropped to one knee. Lowering his hands to her face, she felt the temperature rise steadily. Her skin warmed and she knew if he touched her that he could cook her from the inside.

The rattling against the door intensified as the creatures seemed to catch a whiff of her warming flesh. She did the only thing she could think of doing and that was gouging him in the eyes.

He recoiled, bringing his own hands up to his face. Almost instantly she got a chill from the change in temperature and he dropped to the side. He had pressed his own hands against his face. The skin blistered almost instantly and he screamed and rolled off of her. The red went out soon after, but not before she saw his own power had seared his eyes out of his head.

Kicking him away from her, she pulled herself up.

The dark heightened her other senses and it sounded like the front door was going to break down any minute now.

What should Anna do?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NFL Pick'em for Week 2

Last week I didn't do very well in my picks ( 8 right and 8 wrong), so I am looking forward to making it up this week.

Ravens @ Bengals - Ravens

Dolphins @ Vikings - Vikings

Bears @ Cowboys - Cowboys

Eagles @ Lions - Eagles

Cardinals @ Falcons - Falcons

Chiefs @ Browns - Browns

Bill @ Packers - Packers

Steelers @ Titans - Titans

Buccaneers @ Panthers - Panthers

Rams @ Raiders - Rams

Seahawks @ Broncos - Broncos

Texans @ Redskins - Texans

Jaguars @ Chargers - Chargers

Patriots @ Jets - Patriots

Giants @ Colts - Colts

Saints @ 49ers - Saints

Let's hope for better luck than last week.

Writing place

So this past weekend my wife allowed me to get a couple of hours alone at the library, which worked wonders in sparking my muse. I found the quiet and the new location to motivate me again after I had been dragging my feet to start my next draft, but after getting this time to really focus on writing without any of the distractions I found a new place that I would like to spend more time at, at least while I'm doing revisions.

I used to have an office, but we had to change that into my Son's bedroom now that he's old enough to sleep in his own bed. So I lost out on that section of the house, because my office is now mixed in with the kid's playroom. This makes it practically impossible to write when the kids are awake as I need some semblance of peace and quiet while writing so I have had to change my writing schedule to more late night sessions. I will adjust, or at least I hope I will, but it definitely is a change that has been hard to get used to.

So what are your favorite places to write? Do you have a place set aside to write in?

WiP Wednesday

I am currently working my way through my action/adventure novel via print out and red pen. I have already made a large change to the beginning and have started to implement a lot more back story that was missing in the first draft to really bring out the main character's motivation and try to get the reader behind him in his life choices more. Another thing that I have been focusing on is really upping the tension, while keeping it relevant to the main plot, which seemed to drag a bit toward the end.

What are some of your tips for upping the tension in a story? I am relying on the character's actions and choices to really center the tension around him and his mission.

"Gone" Review

So a while ago I mentioned that I picked up "Gone" by Michael Grant. I read it in a little over a week, and have the following review for it.

The characters I felt that they were well rounded, except for a few of the minor characters that came across as sort of stereotypical. I really liked Sam and Astrid as well as Caine. I could real feel for Sam as his time drew short and how he felt trying to be the one in charge of everything, but only because everyone seemed to rely on him.
The friends of his, like Little Pete, Quinn, and a few other's seemed only there to serve their purpose and I didn't like how they felt more like tools than real people. Maybe it better as the series goes on, but I don't know.
One thing that worked well was the way that the author slowly introduced the powers of the characters and how not all of the people trapped have them.

The plot: I liked the plot, I thought that it wasn't that original as I read Stephen King's "Under the Dome" before this one, even though it came out first. Maybe if it was the other way around, it would have been different, but the idea of being trapped in a small area is something that is interesting, especially how the human interactions are forced because they are trapped.

Pacing: I felt the pacing was very spot on. It grew steadily throughout the book and never really let up, which made for a very enjoyable ride while it lasted. I also liked how they hinted at things that would be problems in future books.

Overall I would rate this a good 4/5. Something I would definitely check out if you are into stories about people with abilities.

Monday, September 6, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Donovan lunged forward. The glow from his fingers reflected in his pupils.

Anna fell to the side, not nimbly, not graceful, just sort of fell over hoping that she would get away. It worked for the moment as Donovan came up with nothing but air.

Gathering her wits about her, Anna rolled to her stomach, jumped up and darted for the door. A weapon, need something. She tore the door aside and darted down the hall. Not sure if Donovan was following and too scared to look over her shoulder, she reached the top of the steps and propelled herself down them. Her heartbeat matched the rapping of her shoes against the carpet.

She crashed into the wall at the end of the steps, sending a shock through her shoulder. She let out her breath, which she didn’t realize she was holding, and looked up the steps, expecting to see Donovan coming down on her.

The stairs were empty. Not a sign of any sort of pursuit. She kept her focus, shoved off the wall, and headed toward her uncle’s office in the back room. Leaping over his body, she started to search the room for anything that could be used to protect herself.

Kyle screamed from upstairs, a blood curdling scream that iced her lungs. She wanted to cry, her stomach churned, and her knees quivered. She left Kyle up there with a maniac with glowing hands. Ripping open the drawers, she let the contents spill to the floor only taking another look at anything that glinted like metal.

Papers continued to fall until she caught sight of a revolver that tumbled out of the last drawer. She glanced toward the steps again, but still she was alone.

The growls had grown closer, she didn’t know how close, but close enough that she had too many problems to deal with on her own.

Kyle bawled again, pleading for something to stop. “Anna! Help me!”

Not thinking twice, she grabbed the revolver and headed back to the steps. She stopped, looking down at her uncle. Flies had started to make his body their home. Already a few new maggots were squirming behind the ear she could see. Her stomach clenched, and if she had eaten anything recently, her uncle would have been covered in it.

Shaky, she lowered to her knees. Trying to clear her thoughts, she checked the cylinder of the revolver. Three out of six were filled. She clicked it back into place and brought the barrel to her forehead. The cool metal against her burning skin felt relaxing. She cocked back the hammer and a single tear ran down her cheek. It would be so easy to end it just like this. All her problems would be over. No more worries, no more trouble, she would be at peace.

“Anna?” Donovan called out to her. “Kyle’s fine. He was having a nightmare.”

She thought about biting her tongue, make him come after her, but she didn’t. “You’re lying.”

“I can explain.” Donovan said. The top step squeaked as he started down.

Lowering the gun toward the steps, she remained kneeled. “Come down here then.”

Another two steps and his first foot came into view. She had to use her other hand to keep the finger from pulling the trigger too early.

“It started the same time these creatures started popping up.” Donovan braved another step.

Not really listening, Anna focused on keeping her breathing steady.

A red hue slipped down the step, illuminating the room.

Seeing that again, her hand started to shake. “Why did you attack me?”

“I was scared you were going to hurt the girl.”

“I would never hurt her.” She spit back.

“I don’t know you that well. We just want to be left alone.” His knees became visible.

“You saved my boyfriend.”

“I know, but I get a bit crazy sometimes.” His waist came into view.

Sweat ran down her cheek, dripping down to her t-shirt. She had to decide soon.

“Stay where you are.” She said. “I have a weapon.”

“A weapon? Are you going to hurt me?” Donovan asked. One foot had moved down a step, so she saw the bottom of his shirt. “I wanted to apologize.”

“Stop moving.” Her finger inched closer to the trigger. The metal compressed slightly, any sudden move she would fire.

He stopped on the next step, his chest rising and falling beneath his shirt. “Please, accept my apology. I will help you secure this place. I have an idea.”

The red hue faded, leaving behind a darkness she didn’t recall being there before.

What should Anna do?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Football weekend

This weekend is the opening weekend of the NFL. I'm a HUGE fan of the NFL, probably been following it with a passion since about 1999. I have to thank a lot of my coworkers at the time who talked football all the time at work. I started talking to them about the Draft, Training Camps, etc., and this led to my year around football hunger.

Do you guys have any sports passion be it baseball, hockey, basketball, or soccer?

Just FYI, my favorite team is the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. This year I am planning on catching more College Football as well. Well as much as my wife will allow me as she isn't a fan of sports, so it can be a touchy subject sometimes.

Any tips from my women readers on how to keep the delicate balance of sports and women?

BTW for fun, I'm going to predict the winners of the games this weekend.

Vikings @ Saints - Vikings
Browns @ Buccaneers - Browns
Dolphins @ Bills - Dolphins
Bengals @ Patriots - Patriots
Colts @ Texans - Colts
Broncos @ Jaguars - Broncos
Falcons @ Steelers - Steelers
Raiders @ Titans - Raiders
Panthers @ Giants - Panthers
Lions @ Bears - Bears
Cardinals @ Rams - Cardinals
Packers @ Eagles - Packers
49ers @ Seahawks - 49ers
Cowboys @ Redskins - Redskins
Ravens @ Jets - Ravens
Chargers @ Chiefs - Chargers

There you have it, I will keep a running tally of my correct picks.


So my current outline of my novel is going ok so far, and since I don't usually outline, I'm trying to focus on the major points that I want to explore in the story. I have reached the turning point of the first act, which is going to spin it off into the meat of the story, and unfortunately, this is where I'm getting stuck.

What are some of your tips for outlining? What do you find most useful for you when you outline? Major characters? Major plot points? Do you ruin the fun of writing by detailing it so far that there is no discovery to be had when the words flow?

The start of school

So my oldest daughter started 4th grade yesterday. I remember my 4th grade class, my first male teacher and he scared me at the time. I look back on it now and I feel that I learned more from him than I did any year before.

So what was your character's first day of school like? I know most of my readers also write, and I think they mainly focus on the Young Adult genre, so what do you picture your character's first day of school to be like?

Do you focus on the school aspects of your stories, or use them more as a backdrop of the story? I read the "Daughters of the Moon" series, and those books did a pretty decent job of incorporating the school life in the beginning of the books to set it up for later plot points.

My first book focused the first 30-40 pages of school life, but after that it sort of falls to the past and we move on. In the sequel, it is going to be more focused on school life, but still with some major things happening away from school as well.

Review of Piranha

So this weekend, I picked up the old 1977 version of "Piranha." I was sort of expecting a cheezy movie, but not quite as good as this one turned out to be. Now don't get me wrong, this wasn't a movie I would buy, or rent again, but it was good for what it was trying to be. It didn't take itself too seriously.

The characters were pretty good, and by the end I felt for the main character, which is a hard thing to accomplish when the story is pretty paint by numbers like this one.

The special effects were pretty lame, but if I put in context to its time period, they were pretty decent.

So I would give this movie a good 2/5.