Monday, July 26, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Getting up the courage to stand up again, Anna’s legs shook as she put weight on them. The sun had set, as she watched over Kyle. He seemed to be sleeping well enough to leave him for a bit of time. This place would do for now, but she needed weapons and started back out to the hallway.

The darkness seeped in from every corner and in the faint distance growls of the undead littered the air. She tried the light switch but it didn’t respond. Cursing to herself, she kept her hand along the wall as she shuffled further into the unknown.

Sweat sprung up on the nape of her neck as she reached the end of the wall, her hand diving into empty space. If it wasn’t for the quick reaction, she would have fallen over like a lead weight.

A low creaking sound sprung up behind her and she glanced over her shoulder, but only darkness greeted her eyes. Her bottom lip quivered and she said, “Hello?”

Her voice faded away like a breeze in a harsh wind.

Swallowing down the large lump down her throat, she moved toward the sound. Each step closer to the origin, added a weight to her chest until she felt like she would implode.

Gently pushing the door where the sound came from open, she found her uncle’s game room. A large room that was ordinarily a dining room had been turned into a single guy’s fantasy. Foosball, a couple dart boards, a pool table, and about three ancient arcade machines.

“Hello?” she questioned the darkness again and got the same response. Without anything but moonlight to guide herself by, she continued into the room. Weapons, she scanned the room and the first thing that caught her eye was a pool cue. It could work.

With the cue in hand she started toward the back of the room where lines of darts were neatly hung on the wall. She pulled them off the wall, one by one and tucked them into the waist band of her jeans. As she put the last dart into the waistband, something slammed behind her. She sprung around, cue in hand, ready to strike. The scream that grew in the pit of her stomach settled into a sigh.

The door closed behind her.

Loosening her grip on the cue stick, she moved toward the door. Kyle might be waking up, it seemed like she had been in the room for longer than she wanted to be. It had lost its attraction.

Tugging the door open, a man appeared before her.

She shrieked, swung the cue stick and it dropped with a groan. She raised the cue stick over her head ready to strike again when she saw her uncle. The bottom half of his jaw had been chewed off by those creatures. One eye was missing and blood streaked his face. He reached out for her, rotten flesh clung to his fingernails and she let him have it again across the skull. A loud snapped filled her head and the cue stick broke in half. The smaller half shooting off into the hall.

Her uncle didn’t relent; he pulled himself up, his one good eye locked on her like a hungry animal. He stepped forward as she stepped back. The remaining cue stick quivered in her hand.

She remembered better times with her uncle, but at this moment, her desire for survival superseded those. She drove the end of the cue that she held into the gap that used to be his jaw. It shot upward like cutting Jell-o with a spoon, and with a similar sound as it popped out the back of his head. He fell over with a thud, his hand twitched for a moment before falling still.

Darting out of the room, she dashed to the bedroom. Kyle remained on the bed, silent, breathing and resting. She fought the urge to wake him immediately and instead slammed the door shut behind her, cutting off any light in the room. Her ragged breathing remained the only sound as she slunk to the floor.

She couldn’t muster the strength to go out tonight and search. It was too dangerous. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hands, she crawled over to the bed and pulled a blanket over her. “Light would be good before searching again, light would be very good,” she mumbled before sleep washed over like a comforting wave.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Relaxing Weekend

So after a few weeks of way too much excitement with birthday party galores out of the way, I have told my wife that I just want to relax at home, with the kids and be left alone. Granted things will probably change, but I will do my best to keep it simple this weekend. Maybe even slip in some online poker, which I haven't done much of lately, and hopefully get to get a few more chapter revisions out of the way.

So what are you going to do this weekend? I'm interested to know what my friends are doing while I'm being lazy.

Fun times

What do your characters do when they aren't in the middle of your story?

This question was asked of me when I was in college, ages ago, and at the time, it didn't really click with me until I really started to get into novel writing.

To start this off, my characters are just like normal teenagers. Boring right? Well it would be except that being normal everyday teenagers requires intense focus because otherwise they could literally destroy everyone they know.

For example, Rebecca in my current story went to a school dance once, but because of her telekinesis, she had to leave early when her nemesis Gretchen stole her date. Now she could have threw the poor girl through the wall, but that would have put a damper on her very small social life, so she had storm away before her own energy burst from her.

So what sort of things do your characters do when they aren't in your story? It's small things like this that affect your characters decisions when they arise in your book, so what are some of more interesting tidbits, not like my example was the best.

Twists in your writing

So I have been doing this blog for quite a bit now, and can't remember talking about creating believable twists for your plots. If I have forgive me, but the movie I saw this weekend, sort of brought this to my forefront again.

The way that I write, let it flow, these sort of twists sort of take me for a loop at the same time. Now this works two ways, one is that it is bad, because sometimes I didn't set it up properly and it comes out of nowhere and doesn't make a bit of sense. Then there are times where it surprises me so much so that I let it go, and realize that when I read the book again, it makes sense.

Now the thing about these two twists is that they both come out characters that I've created, and that is a good thing, but if the first instance happens, its bad because then I realize that I don't know my characters that well. Which any writer will tell you is a disaster.

Since I'm tired of talking about bad news, the good news is that when it works, it works on multiple levels, which is exhilarating for me. It really is so much fun for my story to have a life of its own.

So what are some of your most memorable twists? Did they take you by surprise or were they well planned from the start?

Salt Review

So this weekend, for a surprise, my in-laws came by and gave us some money and told us to get out and go see a movie. It was for my wife's birthday on Sunday. The coolest gift ever and I have to say surprised me a lot. So after debating whether to see this or Inception, we decided to Salt.

So this movie was interesting. I liked it, but not for the reasons that I thought I would like it. The twists, and turns that this movie goes through are the most exciting things for me. It has you going one way, then flips the script on you, believably, and it works. It caught me off guard, but in a pleasant way.

Now like I normally do for my reviews, there is no spoilers here and I will leave the twist at that, but moving on.

The action was top notch, some of the coolest chase scenes in a long time, probably since Ronin.

The characters are what make the story turn. They are interesting, 3 dimensional characters that I can relate to on a human level, such as Salt's reaction to her pet dog, and husband.

So after all that, I would give this movie a solid 3.5 out of 5 as it could have been better, but that is because the Bourne series has sort of set the bar so high for these types of movies, however, it was great for what it was going for.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

Looking down at the blood stained arm of Kyle, Anna’s heart thumped loudly in her chest, each thrust seemed to come closer to cracking a rib. She took hold of the vibrating steering wheel of her father’s buggy and looked through the mist of dust in the air around them.

The creatures had started to close in on them, and Kyle was dying. She shoved down on the pedal, the buggy lurched forward, and the wind blew through her hair as she navigated back toward civilization. The creatures ignored the roar of her buggy as she guided it up the dirt path.

Gunfire continued to erupt behind her, but her ears blocked it out as her focus remained on getting Kyle to safety. The dune buggy bounced into the street enticing a groan from Kyle.

The blood soaked street, spread out before her. It looked like a blender’s top flew off and body parts came flying out. At first she tried to maneuver around the limbs, but it became too difficult and she had to stomach running over the remains. Each little bump made her stomach gurgle.

She sped past the hospital, a couple of creatures milled around outside, one held the leg of a human, pieces of flesh dangled from the wounds.

Looking at Kyle, his face had turned pale, and his lips were moving. She couldn’t hear what he was saying, but she knew it wouldn’t be good. She had to find a place to take care of it before too late.

Zooming through and intersection, she glanced at the sign and hung a quick left. The street was where her uncle lived. He was a vet, and might have some supplies at home.

Her uncle’s house sat to her right. The front windows were shattered, blood and what she guessed was flesh coated the windowsills. Taking in the surroundings, it looked like the creatures had left as all the rest of the houses were dark, and silent. The only sound was the rumble of her buggy.

Pulling into the driveway, behind her uncle’s Honda, she wiped away the tears that collected at the corner of her eyes. The last time she saw her uncle she yelled at him, because he wanted her to work for him, and she didn’t want to. She couldn’t handle the sight of seeing an animal be put to sleep. She shut the engine off and turned to Kyle.

“We need to get inside, can you walk?” He didn’t answer. She slipped the good arm over her shoulder and started to pull him out. He outweighed her by a good fifty pounds, but her determination drove her onward. With a lot expended energy, she managed to get him out of the buggy and to the front steps. She set him down and he groaned; a good sign. At least he wasn’t dead.

“Kyle?” She looked at the steep steps and wondered if there was a way to get him up and into the house. Her legs and back throbbed, and the lack of food didn’t help matters. Grabbing his wrist, she pulled him up one step at a time and twenty minutes later they were inside the front door.

Sweat clung to her forehead and back. Still, her mind remained sharp and she locked the front door. Leaving Kyle on the floor, she headed toward her uncle’s first floor bathroom. The room was neat and organized, but nothing of use was in there.

She stormed up the steps and into the second story bathroom, and the same empty results. Lastly, she headed back downstairs and into the master bathroom.

In the medicine cabinet she found gauze, hand aids, and some other necessary medical supplies like Vicodin. With her supplies she hurried back toward the front door and found a surprising sight. Kyle had managed to sit up; he looked at her with a glint of despair and tried to smile.

“I’m feeling better.” His voice wavered and his head lolled around on his shoulders.

Sliding up next to him, she ripped at his shirt. It shredding from around the wound and she almost fainted at the sight. Blood still dribbled out of the hole; the edges of the wound were dark red, already trying to heal on their own. At least the bullet went clean through, so she wouldn’t have to dig in there to retrieve it.

“I’m going to try to help you.” She said, more to calm herself then to relax him. She took cotton swabs and cleaned around the wound. The blood soaked into the gauze turning each piece into a bloody spit wad as the pile grew next to her. After the wound was cleaned on the front and back, she began to apply some of her rudimentary sewing skills to the test. She managed to sweat up the back wound easy enough, but the front one proved harder as Kyle flexed his shoulder as she inserted the needle.

“Stop twitching. I’m trying to close the wound.” She ran her fingers through his hair as she continued to focus on her task. After a few tries, she tied up the second hole and applied the bandage to the wound. It wasn’t better, and looked like hell, but at least the wounds were closed, medicated, and Kyle wasn’t bleeding too much anymore.

Collapsing back, she leaned her blazing head against the side of the wall and stared at him. “Kyle, we need to get some rest, can you move?”

He nodded and tried to get to his feet, but collapsed before he could. “I guess not.”

“Okay.” She pulled herself up and on shaky legs, offered her hand to him. He clutched it and she draped it over her shoulder. The weight almost took them both down, but she grunted and continued to lead him toward the back master bedroom.

Once inside, she shut the door, and helped him onto the bed. He was asleep before she could even make sure the windows were shut and locked. She looked around the room and at him. A smile cracked her face and she knew tonight wasn’t going to be restful. She took a seat on the edge of the bed. Lowering her head into her hands, she sighed. She had no idea what she was going to do now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Music for writing?

I know a lot of fellow authors like to listen to music while they are writing, and I'm one of them, so I was just wondering what sort of music do you listen to?

Do you listen to music that fits the mood of what you are writing? I certainly do. If I have to write a high energy action scene, nothing like some hard rock to get the juices flowing and the energy to pour out into my words.

Do you listen to music that maybe your characters would listen to? I've never thought of this before, but it could work if you are working on a very personal and intimate scene.

What is on your writing playlist?
I listen to a wide variety, ranging from Aerosmith, to Classical Mozart and Beethoven.


So this has been brought up before by many a blog and it got me to thinking, why do some author's decide to keep their books from this format? Is is because, like J.K. Rowling, that you want to keep the integrity of the written word on book format? Or do you embrace it and think of it as a way for your words to get to more readers?

Me, myself, I feel that if my project ever sells, that I would sort of like to have it on e-format, because of the last reason. It allows more readers to get my book the way that they want it. That should be the goal of all authors is to get their story out to their audience no matter where they are hiding. In particular, kids these days are more attuned to electronic devices, cell phones, video games, computers, ipods, ipads, etc, so if they are more into this sort of device, why not bring your story to something that they are comfortable with.

I'm not saying that the physical book is dying, and it probably wont die off in my lifetime if ever, but I believe in allowing the reader to experience your book in the way that they choose. Heck if they wanted a copy of the book written in sky writing, should I care? Maybe so on that one, but I hope you get my point.

Back at it

So last week, I took the week off to really sit back and enjoy my weekend doing things not related to writing. I did this for two reasons. One to refresh my view of my WiP, because I was getting overwhelmed with revisions needed, and two to enjoy myself in other aspects, such as vegging and doing things with family and friends.

Now that I'm back at it. I have to say that I love the energy that is back in my writing. Coming back and reading the last chapter before diving back into the revisions helps me regain my focus on where I want the story to go.

What is one of your favorite moments of coming back to a project after a break? Did you blaze through the next section like a bat on fire, or did it go slower than it did before? Have you ever switched projects because when you came back it still wasn't there?

Sorcerer's Apprentice Review

So I'm back as you saw yesterday with my post, but today, I'm going to review a little movie I saw over my birthday four day weekend, the Sorcerer's Apprentice. This movie was exactly what I expected, a CGI fantasy adventure story, that was very little in the way of Oscar winning performances, however it was exactly what I wanted it to be.

This film stars Nicolas Cage as the Sorcerer who has to train an Apprentice, who he has been searching for for centuries. Of course the Apprentice doesn't want anything to do with being a wizard (new word as Sorcerer will be hard to type so many times in this review), because he wants a normal life.

Now this movie doesn't quite have the heart of the Harry Potter Films, but it does have some very neat effects, and spells used. My personal favorite is a nod to another Disney film, but I won't ruin it for you here.

The one downfall for this movie wasn't the acting of Cage himself, but the acting of the Apprentice, and the love interest. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't expect much, however, these characters seemed to be very by the book. Not much emotion, and the Apprentice especially was sort of grating because of his voice. Other's might not feel the same way, so I just wanted to call it out.

The action of the movie moves at a good clip, and keeps you interested with the variety of spells and how they work in relation to the rest of the world. I really liked how to learn magic, you need to know the physics behind it. A nice world building connection that draws the audience in, or at least me.

The conflict was well fleshed out and mainly because the bad guy was such well acted that it was hard not to hate him. Alfred Molina seemed at ease in the role, and really looked to be having fun.

So I'm not going to recommend this film for everyone. You have to be in the mood for it, and it might not appeal to everyone, but it is an enjoyable film that I recommend at least seeing when you get a chance.

Monday, July 12, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

“There has to be another way, maybe some way that they aren’t watching or something.” Kyle said grabbing Anna’s hand.

She glanced at him. The warmth from her hand matched the fire in her eyes. The fear of life being over settled in her eyes and she sighed. “Fine. What do you suggest?”

Kyle took in the area. Large, thick bushes and trees lined the area to their left, and the right was barren dirt and rocks, a few creatures scrambled through the debris. Their growls cut short in a flurry of gunfire.

“Let’s go up that way, and see if we can find a less guarded way.”

She slid it in reverse, spun the wheel and sped up toward the barren dirt area. The buggy rocked and rattled, but kept its self upright. Dirt spit up as the buggy hugged a corner.

Despite the close proximity of the rounds, Anna remained calm and kept the vehicle on the path. A creature jumped onto the buggy, its snarling teeth and decayed hands grabbing for Anna.

Panic seized Kyle and he drove the crowbar into the creature’s skull. It looked at him for a moment with anger before tumbling off of the buggy.

Keeping a look out for any sort of opening, Kyle didn’t see a creature which grabbed him by the back of the shirt. As Anna sped on, he was torn from the cabin. The creature hung on and they both went tumbling toward the military compound.

“Open fire!”

Kyle didn’t get a chance to react as bullets shot up dirt around him, turning the creature into a fine blood mist before him. He turned on the balls of his feet and darted toward safety. The buggy was already returning. Panic sank into Anna’s face as she kept her eyes on him.

Then it hit him, a bullet clipped his left shoulder. The pain rocked him in an instant and he dropped to the dirt. Dust filled his nose and mouth. More bullets sprayed up dust around Kyle as they continued to fire.

Clawing his way up through the dirt, he reached the buggy as more bullets rained down on them. Stupid military, always thinking that guns are the first solution to a problem. The pain his shoulder didn’t let up and he barely kept conscious as he pulled himself into the buggy. His left arm hung to his side, blood ran down his arm in a steady river. He struggled to find a comfortable position as the buggy shot away from the compound.

“I’m so sorry.” Anna screamed with tears running down her face. “I didn’t see that one.”

“It’s not your fault, we need to find medical help before I bleed to death.” Kyle said through his gritted teeth. He blacked out from the pain. The last thing he remembered was the faint sparkles of light.

Monday, July 5, 2010

You can't call them Zombies!

The screech of metal made the hair on the back of his neck stick up as Kyle continued his search for a weapon. After she started the dune buggy, the rumble of the engine rattled hi brain. He snatched a wooden club off the counter, and took two crowbars.

“Fine, we’ll do it your way.” He said as she slid in next to her. Strapping on the harness, he clutched his crowbar ready for the worst.

She pressed a button on the dash, and the garage door began to roll up. Slowly, in the growing light, the bloodied feet shuffled, casting long shadows across the stream of light. The growls intensified, like they knew what was coming, meal on wheels.

As the first created crawled in, Anna hit the gas. The buggy had pep, and the wheels caught with a fury that he didn’t expect. He would have dropped his crowbar except his fear had it in a death grip. The buggy darted toward the first creature. It didn’t move, or try to dodge and when she hit him; it sent him up and over the roll bar. Blood stained the metal, but they were out in the open among the creatures.

They reached for her, but her face remained firm as she gunned it down the alley, through the horde that collected. Once or twice, a creature clung to the bars, but Kyle struck them down with a bloody vengeance. Pieces of their fingers clung to the metal for a moment before flying off in the wind.

Anna didn’t make a sound; her hands were maneuvering the buggy along the deserted streets with skill that Kyle hadn’t seen before. The engine rattled behind them, but remained strong.

“Where did you learn to drive like that? Kyle shouted over the engine once they separated from the creatures.

She didn’t answer at first, swerving around the abandoned cars that lined the streets.

As they buzzed down the street, creatures seemed to take notice and begin to follow. Some ran a few steps before being left behind.

Kyle was about to ask again when she spoke. “Since I was little. I used to drive go karts in races.”

His jaw slackened and he had to remember to close it. His girlfriend of years, and he had no idea she was this talented. “That’s cool.”

Her stern, focused face cracked a smile. The one that he had been hoping to see for a little while now. “Where do you think we should head?”

“Away from the city.” He set his crowbar down on the floor. “How far can we go before we run out of gas?”

Her eyes flickered to the gauges. “About a hundred miles, before we have to refuel.”

She nodded to the small section behind them. A small five gallon gas tank sat back there.

“We could head to the coast, or the country, or—“

“No. No and No.” She said without looking at him.

“Okay.” He slinked down. “Where are we going then?”

She shifted and spun off road. Dirt kicked up and the buggy rattled in as she took it down the rocky hill. She skidded to the left, swerved around a tree and then she dropped the buggy into another gear. It shot forward, through the open space on the other side of town. A deserted place where few people visited since the Army base closure.

Ahead of them, through the rising morning sun, the once shut off lights were on. Military personnel patrolled the catwalks. Creature corpses were littered around the chain link fence. Two soldiers had manned the towers. A pair of creatures wandered toward the fence and in a flurry of bullets their bodies shredded in the center of the road.

Kyle nodded. He could get behind this idea.

As they approached, Anna slowed down until she stopped about two hundred yards away.

“What if they do what the police did?” She had second guessed her choice.

“What if they can help us?” Kyle argued.

Gunfire erupted toward their vehicle; the pavement broke apart in chunks. Anna didn’t flinch. She held onto the wheel, staring at the gates before them.

Over the loud speaker, “This is an active Military Zone. If you have no business being here, then leave.”

Anna gripped the gear shaft, stared down the gate. “We need help.”

What should Kyle do?

My Birthday next week

Just wanted to leave a small note that next week is my Birthday. The 15th to be exact, so I might be only posting the Choose Your Own Adventure story and use the rest of the week to really relax and enjoy another year.

To keep this post from being completely worthless, have any of you written your characters birthday? Like their party? What they got? Who they invited? Did they have just friends over, or did they do something more extravagant? I've thought about doing it and think it would be a good way explore the character.

So have you, and if you have, what was it like? Did you have a good time at their party?

Children Readers

So lately, I've been trying to read to my 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son more often, and wanted to get some opinions on what I should be reading them. I've already started with the Dr. Seuss books, but was wondering if any of my readers would have any suggestions?

Some things to note:
My daughter is big into the Disney Princesses, and Dora the Explorer?
My son is into boy stuff, like Toy Story, etc.

So what do you suggest I use to start them out?

What to do while you wait for beta readers feedback?

So right now my WiP is currently in the hands of a beta reader, and I have found myself without something to do. I don't really have any projects that strike my fancy to work on currently, but have finding myself having the itch to write. This blog has sustained that itch a little. So I've been thinking about something things I probably should start to do. Since this is my third book, second one not part of a series, I have debated on started getting the query ready for it. Now, this should be the next step I guess, however, I'm not sure this book has a market. Maybe that's not for me to decide, and I should do it anyway, but that's hard to start.

So what do you guys do when you are in between projects and nothing really strikes your fancy? Do you just start hashing out a rough idea to see where it takes you? Do you work on marketing your current project? I'm up for ideas. Let me know in the comments.


4th of July

So this 4th, my family and I went to a rodeo on Molalla called the Molalla Buckaroo. Now, I'm not much for rodeo's as I don't really think of myself as a cowboy, but this was entertaining, for the fact of just seeing it in person.

My kids got to see their first big firework display as well, which was worth it as well, and they enjoyed it. Usually we just light fireworks ourselves in the front yard, so this was a ton more fun.

How was your fourth, and what did you do? Blow anything up, or anything else exciting?