Chapter 1 of – THE STITCHER – Preview

Cover for Chapter 1

Erik admired the way his little brother could smile through his bloodied face.

Ozzie received a beating with all the regularity of a clock striking twelve, but this time it actually came at midnight. Ozzie crushed stalks of wheat as he fell, but he jumped up and struck back. He was no match for Jonas though. Ozzie was only eleven; Jonas was fifteen. And with four more years of hard farming labor, Jonas’s arms were twice his size and impacted his body like an axe to a tree. Jonas’ fist drove into Ozzie’s gut and he dropped to the ground again.

The skin on Erik’s face burned. His stomach clamped every time his brother got beat, mainly because it was his fault. If it wasn’t for him, they wouldn’t be there. He dug his hand in his pocket, found his rock and squeezed. There was no chance Erik could best Jonas, but Ozzie was all he had left. He released the stone and lunged at Jonas. He beat his fat stomach, but it was like hitting a gorilla. Jonas grabbed Erik’s arm and twisted. Erik shouted and dropped to his knees. Jonas kicked his stomach. The air shot out of him. He rolled into a ball on the ground and choked for air.

Continue reading

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Write a Novel in a Year

New-Year_Resolutions_list

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’d started and stalled many times. Everybody has excuses. Most people claim they don’t have the time. I was one of those people, too.

But last year I did it, and this year I want to do it again.

Here’s the plan I followed to write the book.

1. Plot out the four major sections of the book. I used the book, Story Engineering as my story structure guide.

2. Make a New Year’s Resolution to write the book and write 20 minutes a day every day.

3. No..really, get off Facebook and YouTube and write!

4. After a while, email the WIP (work in progress) to yourself, read it, and fix some plot inconsistencies (edit)

5. Patiently persevere until it’s done!

That’s it. It’s not complicated. But it is a lot of hard work. At times you’ll hate what you wrote and want to quit. KEEP GOING! At times you’ll have an idea for an even cooler story. This happens especially when you’re getting bored/tired with your current story: IGNORE THAT AND KEEP GOING! Sometimes you’ll let weeks and even a month go by without writing. RESIST the URGE to QUIT and KEEP GOING!

motivation

What prevents your from writing (or accomplishing anything you want to achieve)?

The Paradox of Leisure – or – Why I Do More with Less Time

Shocking news: When you have a baby, your life changes big-time. Baby_Roger Okay, not so shocking, but as a new parent, I didn’t know what to expect. And really once the baby came, it was a fairly straightforward roller-coaster. Feed baby, change baby, try to sleep, try to eat, and put that on a loop.

With all of this going on, I didn’t want to lose my identity. Sometimes I felt like a human-machine, whose sole purpose was to nurture this new baby. I didn’t like that feeling. I want(ed) my life to have merit in its own right.

I’m not saying that I should have felt that way or that it was a reasonable way to feel (after all, the kid will grow up and become less dependent on me), but at the time I wanted to have something that was just about me. And wow did that sound egotistical!

That’s where writing came in. It’s an absolutely personal endeavor (at first). And now we get to the point.

I became more productive under time stress because the time stress was so absolute it made me want to grab in desperation at whatever I had left!

When I was a bachelor I had so much time. And because of all that time, I was more of a consumer than a creator.

But now that I have a wife, child (and another one on the way), a full-time job, and schooling of my own, I cherish the time I get to work on “my own things” more than ever, and because of that, I wrote my first book, and am knee-deep in my next one. Case in point, I’m writing this while my throw-up-sick-kid is taking a nap.

What about you? Ever feel the same way as I did, or am I just a ego-centric weirdo?

Top 5 Ways to Read When You Don’t Have Time

Being a full-time husband, father, teacher, student, writer and professional procrastinator has given me great experience in being time-squeezed. Life gets busy, and leisure often spirals into the vortex of time.

time vortex

I see these Goodreads people with their “book challenges” and think, 10 books in a month? I’ll be lucky to read ONE!

There’s not a lot that can be done, but I find the following 5 practices work for me:

5. Bathroom breaks…just stay in the bathroom for 5 more minutes.

4. One thing that’s always with me is my phone. Instead of Crushing Candy or Facebook stalking, fire up my favorite App (the Kindle App) and read on your phone.

3. Audio Books for car rides. More expensive, but, hey, this isn’t a list of cheap ways to read more.

2. Get a stationary bike. And then use it. My kindle hangs perfectly from the display. This one is great because you get to kill two birds with one stone. Running with an Audio Book is also allowable.

1. And the absolute best way to find time to read a book is [drumroll]…
Find a really good book. Great books find a way to cut their own time out of your life.

Those are a few ways I get to read between diaper changes, grading homework, making lessons, writing papers/books/blogs, listening to and giving lectures, and just plain going to work. What about you? What are your secret ways to find time for reading? reading a book

Bad Stories #1 – TMNT 2014

Anyone growing up in the 80’s and 90’s remembers watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon shows and movie-adaptations.

Megan-Fox-and-the-Ninja-Turtles-in-TMNT-2014

I recently watched the Michael Bay reboot of TMNT, and as a storyteller I was assaulted by problems that made me cringe.

But first a disclaimer. I know TMNT is not Citizen Kane. I know it’s cinematic cotton candy. I’m aware that compared to the original series, it is equally silly.

My problem is in use of LAZY plot conveniences.

Alright, let’s get down to it. Shredder comes to the Turtles’ lair and captures 3 of the 4 in the best fight-scene the movie has to offer (which, sidenote, it doesn’t feature enough of). April stabs Shredder in the back and “hides.” Shredder tells his cohorts to destroy the place and leaves with the 3 Turtles. They blow the place up.

All of this is fine. But then next scene April is free. Okay, maybe I missed something, but why didn’t she get captured by the Foot Clan or hurt in the explosions? She stabbed Shredder in the back, you’d think he’d want to get her too. Whatever, fine, that’s the least of my worries here, because how does Raphael find the others?

BY USING A FUNCTIONING COMPUTER SYSTEM IN THE VERY PLACE THAT WAS BLOWN TO HELL.

Donatello feels the same as me!

Really? C’mon.

Cut to our bad guy explaining to the other three Turtles exactly what his plan is, when it’s going into effect, and where (and even killing one of their own men to explain his evil plan to us *I mean the Turtles* – because that’s who he’s explaining it to, right…the Turtles?)

Of course they get rescued (which is fine) and know exactly where/when/how to stop the bad guy (not fine). I know it’s a cliché to explain the evil plan to the going-to-be-elaborately-killed-hero(es), but it’s a cliché that has no place in this movie.

I’m honored to give Michael Bay’s TMNT the first ever EXAMPLE-OF-BAD-STORY-TELLING award.

Which book/movie do you think I should award next?

How to Market a Book – Book Review

How To Market A BookHow To Market A Book by J.F. Penn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joanna Penn’s book on book marketing is full of helpful information. She doesn’t promise quick fixes and miracle marketing tactics that will help you “sell 100,000 books in a month.” She’s not interested in lying to you, which is what I appreciate about her.

That said, she does give advice for multiple avenues of book marketing, depending mainly on what kind of marketing styles you would be comfortable with. This will be a great reference book for me when I finally finish/edit/edit/and-edit my first novel. I’ll come back to it again and again when I wash/rinse/repeat for my second, third, and fourth.

No writer writes so that no one will read their work. I highly recommend Joanna’s book, website, and youTube channel if your interested in publishing, self-publishing, and generally getting your work out there and read by actual people! Wouldn’t that be great?

View all my reviews

Book Trailers – WHY?

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YouTube “Book Trailers” and you will find something startling. Movie-like quality trailers for books! What? You don’t find that strange?

Well, I do. I didn’t even know such things existed until I started reading about marketing my novel.

And that made me think. If I didn’t know they existed, how useful could they really be in helping to market a book? Especially unknown peasants like me who can’t pay actors or have super-snazzy editing.

The answer is, I don’t know how useful they are, or what people on no budget should do.

But what I do know is this: Making a book trailer is fun and let’s you do something that you can spread out on social media that isn’t an annoying spam message whacking people over the head to “BUY MY BOOK!”

So that’s what I did. I couldn’t afford Morgan Freeman to voice over the video, so I decided text would suffice (you can pretend Morgan Freeman is saying it if you want)!

Without further ado, go get yourself some popcorn and enjoy the show (all 52 seconds of it!)