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Monday, September 1, 2014

A BLACK WIND BLOWS


 
 
“All of us have a path to follow, and that path begins in the heart.”
           - Samuel McCord  {a supernatural LONGMIRE}
 
          The world is filled with mystery and shadow.
 
What is life?  The years bring us the conceit that we grasp life.       
 
What we grasp is but illusion.
 
Childlike we seize a fistful of seawater and say we hold the ocean.  And even that slips through our grasping fingers.
 
As the ocean holds depths Man will never see so does Life.
 
But one cursed man has seen more than most.  And the enemies he has made doing so are now trying to un-make him.
 
From the undead halls of power in colonial Washington, D.C. to the bloody plains of India to the mystery-shrouded deserts of Egypt, Texas Ranger Captain Samuel McCord is spoken of in whispers lest he take notice of the speakers.
 
Follow his cursed footsteps from 1826 and the death bed of President John Adams to the blood stained hills and ravines of 1857 India. 
 
 
And finally to 1895 Cairo and the far deserts wastes of Egypt. 
 
 
Some fool has disturbed the sleep of something that should never have been awakened. 
 
 
And it is up to McCord, his deadly wife, Meilori Shinseen, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Nikola Tesla, and Lt. Winston Churchill to keep the world from slipping into a new Dark Age of madness and death.
 
But this time, the past has caught up with McCord in the form of the undead Abigail Adams and the revenant Empress Theodora of the Unholy Roman Empire.
 
 
Worse, an ancient Pestilence in the body of a mummy child now reaches out for him and those he loves.
 
And his friends and even the world itself may pay the terrible price if he cannot be more than what he believes he can be.


Don't forget
HIBBS THE CUB WITH NO CLUE
only 99 cents
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In the shadows, CANCER plays a deadly hand



Michael di Gesu:
http://writing-art-and-design.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-big-c-bloghop-update.html

is doing THE BIG C BLOGHOP September 15th 

to help Melissa Bradley with her expenses as she fights cancer. 

Write a story about cancer. They are trying for comical, uplifting, inspirational.  (Quite a chore, right?)

My mother died of breast cancer.  My best friend is dying of it.  Their stories are theirs to tell. 

Cancer has so many variables.  How to write something that speaks to each one?

So what to do?



Sam McCord came to my rescue as he often does in my story, PLAY THE HAND YOU'RE DEALT 2 weeks early:

"All of us have a path to follow, and that path begins in the heart."
- Samuel McCord


The gas lights gleaming from his bald head, the young boy in the wheelchair looked up at me.

"Gosh, Capt. McCord, I always wanted to see the insides of Meiloiri's."

He sipped his ice tea held with unsteady hands.  "To think a hero like you'd make time for just a kid with cancer like me."

The ghost of Mark Twain sat down beside the boy and winked.

"There ain't no just kids to Sam.  And you're the hero.  Me & Capt. Sam, why we get so jim-jammed with fright sometimes we get all turned around and actually RUN to danger instead of AWAY FROM it!"

A flurry of snowflakes slowly formed in the chair beside me into a tall, regal woman in white buckskins & lightning hair.

THE TURQUOISE WOMAN.

Eyes the color of her name pierced me.  "This poker game has the potential of a loaded gun."

Mark nudged the frightened boy with a wink.  "Mother Nature there sure sucks the joy clean outta the air, don't she?"

The boy clutched my arm as the 3 remaining players pulled up their chairs and sat down.

The bald man in grey Armani grinned like a skull.  "Am I late?"

I said, "You always come too soon, Cancer. I see you brought your usual companions, Despair and Hopelessness."

 Cancer smiled at the trembling boy.  "Ah, I see you recognize them as well.  They keep you company with me in the long, long watches of the night."

"I heard that," I said.  "That's why I set up this game."

Cancer laughed like the breaking of brittle bones.  "You cannot win."

I patted the boy's shaking fingers.  "Watch us."

Cancer drew out a deck from his inside jacket pocket.  "I'll deal the cards."

His shark smile widened.  "I always do."

I patted the boy's tightening fingers.  "It's not the cards you're dealt, son, but how you play them that counts."

The heavy fog called Hopelessness murmured, "You have Zero Chance, boy." 

Mark refused to look at his dealt cards, winking at the boy.  "You know what the Zero said to the Eight?"

"N-No, sir."

"Why, ain't that a lovely belt you're wearing!"

The boy laughed, and the fog thinned though it growled.

Mark nodded to the threatening fog.  "What did the right eye say to the left one?"

The boy shook his head.  "What?"

"Between you and me something smells!"

The boy laughed so hard that ice tea came out of his nose, and Hopelessness faded away completely.

The man-shaped leech called Despair murmured, "Laughter won't stop the pain, boy!"

The boy cocked his head.  "I-I do hurt less now."

Despair whispered, "But the pain kept you up all last night."

Turquoise Woman sent a spiral of snowflakes shimmering to the boy.  

"And so you were awake to see my sunrise, were you not?  Was it not beautiful?"

"Oh, yes, ma'am!"

"All else in New Orleans slept thru it.  Only you saw it."

"Wow!  Really?"

"Really ... which is why I sent you the robins this morn to sit on your sil and serenade you."

"It was lovely, ma'am.  I heard them in my head all day."

Turquoise Woman smiled.  "See how much more you lived than everyone else in New Orleans?"

She stroked his cheek.  "The pain does not let you sleep thru life.  These past weeks you have lived on a level few ever achieve, appreciating what most take for granted."

I winked at the boy. "Know what you get when you quit?"

"N-No, sir."

"Neither do I.  I've won.  I've lost.  But I've never quitAll it takes is getting up one more time than they knock you down."

I patted his steady fingers.  "Each scar life gives us is a gift, son."

"It doesn't feel like a gift, sir."

"No, not at first.  But think on it, son.  Where we are unhurt is where we are unsure of who we really are.  Where we are wounded & healed is where we get to show what we're made of."

The boy's jaw firmed, and the leech called Despair disappeared.

 Cancer flipped over his cards.  They were a Royal Flush.  "I win!"

"No," calmly said Turquoise Woman.  "You lose."

She smiled like a new sunrise at the boy.  

"You may hold the boy for a season.  But only a season.  And even in that season, the boy decides if he chooses laughter and courage over despair and hopelessness."

Turquoise Woman gestured, and a robin fluttered on the boy's shoulder.  "If his treatment works, you will lose your hold on him."

Cancer sneered, "And if I kill him?"

 Turquoise Woman smiled wider.  

"Then, he goes to the Great Mystery where those like Mark Twain here will keep company with him for eternity.  And pain will not even be a memory."

I squeezed the boy's arm.  "Forever with laughter and love.  Not too bad, huh?"

Mark Twain nudged the now-smiling boy.  "You know what sound porcupines make when they kiss?"

"No, sir."

"OUCH!"

The boy covered his eyes and groaned, "That was terrible, sir!"

"Hey, whipper snapper, you got it for free!"

"I was over-charged," grinned the boy.

And Cancer got up and slowly walked away.


LONGMIRE MURDERED BY GREED!


 

Longmire,

A&E Network's most-watched original drama series of all time,

will be ending its run on the cable network after three seasons.

In a surprising move, the network has opted not to renew the series for a fourth season.

Warner Horizon, the studio behind Longmire, will be shopping it immediately.

The White Wash:

“We would like to thank the phenomenal cast, crew and producers of Longmire, along with our partners at Warner Horizon, for their tireless work on three seasons of quality dramatic storytelling,”

A&E said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved together.”

Truth:

There has been a drive at A&E Networks to own a large portion of their scripted programming,

which was also the impetus behind the launch of A&E Studios.

Both Longmire and The Glades came from outside suppliers, Warner Horizon and Fox TV Studios, respectively.

What’s going on is that A&E doesn’t own the show outright, so they don’t want to pay for it anymore.

When a network buys a show from a production studio, (in this case A&E has been buying the show from Warner Horizon), they pay big bucks.

It’s a combination of this and the fact that A&E is moving back to unscripted, cheaper to produce, reality programming.

.

Friday, August 29, 2014

AVAILABLE NOW!


 
AVAILABLE NOW!
{AUGUST 30TH}
 
If you enjoyed THE HOBBIT,
 
you will find yourself absorbed and in love with HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE.
 
Imagine a mysterious valley where all the myths of the world mingle and clash. 
 
Into this dreaded rift in realities wanders an innocent bear cub from the land of Lakota legend.
 
Trying to land a catfish, he catches a dragon
 
He irritates leprechauns and antagonizes killer unicorns.
 
He meets Ratatoskr, the Asgardian squirrel who spreads malicous gossip back and forth
 
from the dragon who gnaws at the roots of the World Tree
 
to the enormous eagle perched on the top of Yggdrasil, ever vigilant for the first signs of the Twilight of the Gods.
 
As he wanders, the mysterious Turquoise Woman teaches him lessons he will need to survive. 
 
The thick of head, big of heart cub never learns, but somehow always manages to survive.
 
 
His enemies are legion. 
His friends are few. 
His legend is just beginning.
 
 
Don't miss HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE!
 
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON WRITING ...


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
 -Dr. Seuss


Some neural scientists suggest that music confers no survival advantage and describe it as “auditory cheesecake.”

On the other hand, they suggest that fiction can, like gossip, be biologically adaptive.

 “Fictional narratives supply us with a mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday 

and the outcome of strategies we could deploy in them."

Neil Gaiman mentioned the same thing in the YouTube video of yesterday on my blog. 


The brain, by itself, 
would have no mind. 


It requires the cooperation of the body in order to think and feel. 

It is this interaction between the brain and the body that causes the mind. 

Speaking of actually using the body, here is an interesting fact:

 A new study that compared the different brain processes used for writing by hand and typing 

has found that there are cognitive benefits to putting a pen to paper. 

These findings give support to the continued teaching of penmanship and handwriting in schools.

By the way, how legible is your handwriting these days?  :-)


Writing is more complicated because it integrates the following three brain processes:
  • Visual: Seeing what is on the paper in front of you.
  • Motor: Using your fine motor skills to actually put the pen to paper and form the letters to make the words.
  • Cognitive: Remembering the shapes of the letters requires a different type of feedback from the brain.
 As adults, we know that writing by hand is a much slower process than typing on a keyboard. 

And we’re all in a hurry to share our every thought with our social networking worlds. 

But, as an experiment, sit down and write a letter.

 See how different it feels to actually hold the pen and to have to plan out your thoughts. 

It’ll be good for your brain. 

Handwriting may be slower, and there is no spell check, 

but this is precisely why picking up a pen and writing your thoughts down on paper may actually help you exercise your brain.

 The latest findings from the real neuroscience of creativity suggest that 

the right brain/left brain distinction does not offer us the full picture of how creativity is implemented in the brain.  

Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.

 Instead, the entire creative process–

 from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– 

consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. 

Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, 

different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.

 Alice Flaherty, one of the most renowned neuroscientists researching creativity 

states an important ingredient to be creative is dopamine: The more dopamine that is released, the more creative we are.

 Typical triggers for events, that make us feel great and relaxed and therefore give us an increased dopamine flow 

are taking a warm shower, exercising, driving home, etc. The chances of having great ideas then are a lot higher.

Also being distracted helps:

 Jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the “incubation period” for your ideas. 

The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face 

and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind.

So are you stuck in your novel?  Hop into a warm shower!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ARE YOU PLAYING FOR KEEPS OR JUST PLAYING?




 Kristin Lamb wrote an intriguing post on how to write NO MATTER WHAT:

She points out that many of our noted writers were journalists, but forgot the two most famous:

 Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway.


When the bullets are flying and the forest fire blazing, your editor does not have time to wait for your muse to become inspired.


She equates journalism with blogging since it is a form of digital journalism.


And she is right: 

We have to be concise, engaging, and convey the most information using the fewest words possible.



BUT IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR STORY …



Your novel is going nowhere.   

It will be buried under “wonderful moments” that tug at the heart and stalls your story.  


What is the story of LOTR

Is it Frodo throwing the Ring into the river of fire in Modor, or is it Frodo finding Frodo?


What is the story of GONE WITH THE WIND?   

Is it Scarlett hopelessly chasing Ashely Wilkes or vainly trying to retrieve the vanished South she loved?




LEARN TO SEE WHAT IS AROUND YOU.



Take the first face you see in the next crowd. Describe it in ways that would draw in a reader and accurately display what your eyes see.


What follows each major scene in your novel?  If it does not turn the reader’s expectation upside down, you’re going to bore her.




DRAW YOUR READER INTO YOUR NOVEL BY MAKING THEM PART OF IT.



How to do that?   

Give them a character to root for, to relate to.  All humans bleed, hope, have their hearts broken.  


Have your heroine suffer those universal blows.   

Better yet have your antagonist suffer them as well.




BE A DO-ER NOT A DREAMER.



Write every day.  Even if it is only a paragraph.  Write every day.


Make a Bonzai tree out of your novel.   

If you write 5 pages in the morning, refine them to 3 in the evening.


SAY IT IN QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.


November is coming up.  Forget volumeFocus on value.

Have you ever read a novel and groaned, "Just get to the point!"

Don't do that to your reader.   

Raymond Chandler once wrote: "She gave him a look that jutted four inches out of his back."

ShortPunchyFunny.

It made me want to read on.

I hope that this helped in some small way.  If not, read Kristen Lamb's blog.  I know she will help you.




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UPDATE -- WE ARE WATCHING YOU!


{Image courtesy of Tea Bladez}

D.G., Wendy, and other of my friends read my post of yesterday 

and wrote they would promptly turn off their cell phones when not in use to prevent government snooping.

Ah, those pesky buggers have thought of that.

Can someone truly bring your phone back to life without touching it? 

No.

 But government spies can get your phone to play dead. 

 The NSA or the FBI can set up their own miniature cell network tower.

Your phone automatically connects to it. 

Now, that tower's radio waves send a command to your phone's antennae: the baseband chip.

That tells your phone to fake any shutdown and stay on.

A smart hack won't keep your phone running at 100%, though.

Spies could keep your phone on standby and just use the microphone -- or send pings announcing your location.

The only way you can tell is if your phone feels warm when it's turned off.

That means the baseband processor is still running.

Scary, right?

There literally is no place to hide. 

Murderers can remain at large for years, but let you get on the wrong side of the Intelligence Agencies -- BAM!

Of course, your phone does not have to be turned on to tattle on you.

 The software inside your phone pinpoints you whether it is on or not.

How?

Something in your phone known as an accelerometer.

It's a tiny chip inside your phone that measures whether you're holding your phone horizontally or vertically, 

so the phone can alter its screen accordingly.

But in the same way your fingerprints are yours alone, so is your phone's signal.

Those imperfections mean your phone's unique signal can make your habits easy to track whenever your phone is in use.

Your phone's camera, gyroscope and microphones, among other parts, make you vulnerable as well.

That's any cell phone, too. Sigh.

 And it is NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT:

Monday, August 25, 2014

FLIES CAUGHT IN CYBER AMBER



Remember that scene in MINORITY REPORT,
 
where Tom Cruise is on the run from the law,
 
but is unable to avoid detection because everywhere he goes
 
there are constant retina scans feeding his location back to a central database?
 
That’s Tomorrow.
 
Today, Google is tracking wherever your smartphone goes, and putting an ominous Red dot on a map to mark the occasion.
 
You can find that map here.
 
All you need to do is log in with the same account you use on your phone,
 
and the record of everywhere you’ve been for the last day to month will erupt across your screen like measles.
 
googlemap
We deny the cyber intrusion into our lives. 
 
We watch the latest on the Kardashians or Miley or Taylor, pop a diet soda,
 
and force the murmur of Big Brother into the back of our minds.
 
But just one look at a map of your movements for the past few days in Red, pimp-slaps some reality back into you.
 
Yet, we can trust the government, right?  Until you look towards Ferguson.