Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Are You?

How fareth thee, o followers? Good, I hope. So, I’m going to wax a little…I don’t know, strange? Today I’d like to ask a question? Do you know who you are?

     Hey, stop laughing! I’m being serious. Do you know who you are? Most of us would at once answer, ‘Of course I do, you fool!’ But how true is that answer? The number of people that actually don’t know themselves is staggering. You’d be surprised. I was surprised. Would you believe that things such as insecurity, unsureness, anger, and confusion (not to mention ignorance) are so rampant in our society right now, that in all likelihood the majority of the people you know struggle with at least one of these things regularly? I mean like every day regularly. And probably more than one.
     
     This has led to an unfortunate truth: So many folks believe that they are something they are not. They believe a lie. The worst part of it is they think that it’s true because they’ve convinced themselves that it is, when in fact it is a falsehood brought about by a struggle with one of those struggles I mentioned. They convince themselves that they are something they’re not because their unsureness, anger, or confusion dictated to them. This creates numerous problems for them. Not only are they believing a lie, but they often interact with others in ways that often (not always) leave them feeling somewhat off or at a loss. I mean, if somebody who was generally a good-looking person, allowed insecurity to creep into their minds, allowed it to gnaw away at them like a hungry ant, by and by their interactions with others would begin to conform to that way of thinking. They might begin to wear clothes that hid or disguised their natural looks, become reluctant to be in any situation that placed attention on them, and, when meeting with someone whom they thought was generally good-looking, would be unreasonably cast down in their own sight.

     Now, to some of you it may sound like I’m painting the individuals of whom I speak in a very weak-minded light. That’s not what I’m saying. The mind is a powerful, powerful tool. It has influence over our bodies and hearts. When you allow a disrupting thought to come in like that and gnaw away at you, it will change the way you think, and thus it will change you. I didn’t realize just how grandly this problem persisted among the inhabitants of society (or at least, not to the extent that I do now). It is an unseemly blight within the ranks of humanity; a rotting seed that needs to be plucked ere it flowers.
     You see, that’s how to deal with it. You have to get rid of such thoughts the moment they rear their heads. How, you say? Well, let me list a few things:


#1 Stop looking for things that aren’t there.
     Are you generally good-looking? Then stop looking for the blemishes that you do have (because everyone has them) and making a great deal out of them! Gosh! You’ll never be perfect (or look like those folks in those lying men’s and women’s magazines) so understand that. Man.


#2  Be truthful and be willing to take action.
     What I’m about to say may seem like a contradiction of my last statement, but it’s really not. Are you putting on some extra pounds in that belly of yours? First, be sure that that is indeed the case, and you’re not just trying to be Henry Cavil or Gal Gadot. If it is, then don’t just lament over it and wear loose clothes. Get up and do something about it! Jog a mile, eat more greens, do some pushups and sit-ups. And for goodness’ sake stay away from that McDonald’s food! (Although Carl's Jr is okay; they have an awesome four for four deal with better burgers!)


#3  Live your life.
     Look, even if you’re not as good-looking as you want to be or as thin or as fat or tall or as short, guess what? People don’t care. You think that random salesclerk who gave you a dirty look in the mall when you told her your waist size in order to try the pants she recommended is going to give any further thought over you once you’ve left her sight? Does that random guy who laughed and called you ‘chunky’ when you passed him on the sidewalk even know your name? Does the 6’3’’ health coach that said to you, “Ideally, the proper height for a healthy and happy life should be 6’3’’” know anything about your life? Maybe you crawl into short and narrow pipes for a living! And are any of these people, any of them, going to go out of their way to help you achieve any of these goals that they think you should attain? No. No. And no. So who cares? Get on with living your all-too-short life, because happiness is a choice.


Alrighty then, I suppose I’m done for now. Maybe this has given you something to think about or maybe you’re unsubscribing. (Are you really?) In any case, I’d like it if it was a small help to at least somebody. But then again…does anybody even read these posts??



Keep Strong!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Get Strife of the Mighty For Free! (Limited Time!)

Hello, everybody! Just a very quick post here to let you guys know that Strife of the Mighty is currently free on smashwords! This means that you'll be able to download it in a format of your choice (from PDF to mobi) for nothing! Zilch! Nada! (See, my Spanish is pretty good, huh?) Simply follow the link I shall provide you in this post, type in the coupon that smashwords will present you with, and download! (And, if you will, tell others what you thought of it by writing a review--no matter how short--when you're done!) But hurry-- this freebie expires in three days! Here's the link: Get Strife of the Mighty for free! 


Keep Strong!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Bit On Dialogue

Hey, guys! I’m popping by today (tonight, if I’m being truthful) to say a few words on dialogue. Nothing too extensive, just a tip or two to keep in mind.
     So, in a book, dialogue between people can’t happen like it happens in the real world. I mean, apart from the fact that you can’t have your characters say ‘um’, stutter, or repeat the same word(s) (or repeat the same word(s)) like everybody in real life dialogue does when talking, you must always remember to move toward whatever point the dialogue is trying to make. Furthermore, really good dialogue conveys information to the reader without having to rely on narration. Make sense? If you were to hear two people carrying on a conversation on the street or in the mall or in a café, it would probably sound something like this:


“Yeah, so after that I told her, like, just no.”

“You said that?”

“Yeah! What else was I gonna say? She just made me so…ugh!”

“I know, I know, but to be that way about it? C’mon, you could’ve had her just—”

“No, no, you don’t know how it was. Right there, I seriously thought my brain would start oozing or something. And it’s not the first time!”

“I hear you.”

“Like, my blood was seriously close to bubbling or whatever.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And I’m not usually like that, you know? I’m not!”

“Sure.”

“But she just…man!”


As you can see, this dialogue is going nowhere and tells you nothing other than person #1 is upset with someone and is telling person #2 about it. Well, I say about it, but you don’t really know what it is, do you? This is what I meant by written dialogue can’t be like real life spoken dialogue, because you’d lose your readers the moment your characters started talking! Now most of you are probably thinking, Fool! We know this already! To which I’ll say, Great! I await reading some of your character dialogue! If you know this, good for you, but lots of folks, especially first time writers, don’t grasp this truth at first. Your dialogue can be as witty or prosy or artistic as you please, but if it doesn’t move anywhere it is a waste. You’re allowed more leniency in this when it comes to description, but dialogue is a tricky thing. Here’s the same conversation from above revisited as it might be written:

“Yeah, so after that I told her I was done. That was the last time.”

“You said that?”

“What else was I gonna say? She’s been on that stuff for too long. I don’t want to be caught up in that. This is drugs we’re talking about!”

“Well, yeah, but to be so mean about it? You could’ve—”

“Look, you weren’t there, you didn’t see her. But you do know that this isn’t the first, second, or third time! Seeing her like that, again, and arguing with her about getting the help she needs was infuriating! I refuse to fight with her about her own problem for the rest of my life.”

Katlyn didn’t say anything, but nodded her head in reluctant understanding.

Joyce shrugged and sighed. “So that’s it. I’m done.”

See the difference? The overall dialogue has been lengthened just a bit for the purpose of flow, but what were the big changes that made it readable? It moved forward, it conveyed information and key points through itself, and it was able to present, to a degree, the sentiments of both Joyce and Katlyn without resorting to the narration to do so. You weren’t told that Joyce was angry and frustrated and Katlyn was surprised at it, that was conveyed through the dialogue. And through that brief exchange, you even learned something about an unnamed third character.

     So there you have that. Just a little something to keep in mind when you’re writing conversations between your own characters. It’s such a valuable truth to keep in mind, and it saves so much time in the editing process later. (Trust me, I know.)



Keep Strong!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sneak Peek At Book Two! (Because I Feel Guilty.)

A greeting to all of you! I am trusting that your new year has been favorable so far. If it has, great! If it hasn't, well, I'm sorry (but at least it isn't my fault....). This year is set to bring many changes, and many new things. We're going to have a new president, I'm going to get new shoes, hopefully Wal-mart will reconsider its change of new colors, and..... I will be releasing book two of the Chronicles of Vrandalin!

     Now, for those of you wondering the 'when', it'll be a bit later on in the year, towards early summer if my computer holds out (but hopefully before then). For those of you wondering furthermore, this will be the conclusion to this story. There will not, I repeat, will NOT be a trilogy. So anybody who was fearing that can rest easy. I'll be writing other stories for your reading pleasure afterward (of course) but that will be after this story. But I feel bad. Wanna know why? (*No, we don't, please keep it to yoursel--*)  You do?! Awesome! Okay, well, I feel bad because the sequel to Strife of the Mighty was supposed to already be out. But complications, deferred remunerations, and an illness or two, have gone on behind the scenes and, well, it's just a lot harder to write a book than it is to read one. I wish to conclude this tale with a bang, as it were, and not one or two surprises. So please believe me when I say that I am working hard to not disappoint (both you guys and myself).

     However, I do still feel bad for the long wait that many of you who've read Strife of the Mighty some time ago are being forced to endure. Therefore, to that end, I am posting, for your viewing pleasure, a sample of a chapter from book two! It'll give you guys an idea of what's going on, and hopefully leave you fired up for book two's release. Mind you, it is rough and still in manuscript form, so pray forgive any shortcomings.

(The sample is not really that spoilery for those who haven't yet read book one, but do keep in mind that it is mainly intended for those who have. If you've not yet read it, you can pick up a copy here)



"In the western end of the city of Mariz, crouching behind the brickwork of a partially broken wall, Parma the healer released a silent breath. The night was cool and dark around her, but very quiet, amplifying any sounds that disturbed it to a detrimental volume. To her keen ears at any rate. One of the loud, careless, and empty-headed persons that made up the city would probably not have noticed anything if a troop of peddlers wearing wooden shoes had tried to tip-toe by on the lane of stone. Such things were beyond them. Tonight held a watchfulness and the feeling of waiting.

     It was a hunter’s night, and Parma was hunting.

     But from which way will the prey come? she thought. And when? She was very patient, of course, but she was on the outskirts of a rather large area. There were many ways from which a thief could secretly enter the quarter where the villagers of Varalel and Creath were housed. This had been proven several times— hence the reason why Parma crouched hidden in the dark against a cold, brick wall with a staff in her hand and a pouch at her side instead of lying asleep in a warm bed.

     Four bandits had now struck on three different occasions, making off with clothing, livestock, and food belonging to the villagers under Parma’s watch. The first incident had been taken as an ill surprise and a lesson learned, but when the agitators had struck again two days later there had been a brawl between them and a few of the southeasterners, the latter party taking the far greater injury. And now, only a few hours ago, Lora Billows had been threatened by a darkly dressed figure in a mask as she had been returning from the market. Parma had had enough.

     She guessed that it had now been about five hours since sunset and the beginning of her vigil, having made an attempt to keep up somewhat of a count as she had moved between vantage points. It was a large area to prowl, but she was not exactly on her own. Besides advising the folk of Creath and Varalel to institute watchers to help guard and protect their own, she had selected some to join in her effort. These were currently stationed in similar points of watch throughout that part of Mariz’s western end. Parma had been crouched in her current spot for about forty minutes, and in that time had seen and heard nothing unusual. She glanced at the sky, then rose to her feet and stretched. It was time to change position.

     Just then, there rose a collection of cries from within the villagers’ quarters. Leaping forward, Parma dashed down the lane back toward the inhabited area. Letting the yells guide her, she sped past buildings and houses in which lights were beginning to appear, rounded a bend, cut through an ally, and entered a torch-lit square. About ten Varalelans were there, wielding hatchets, brooms, or clubs, and yelling at the top of their lungs as they made sorties at four figures garbed in black hoods and cloaks. But though the strangers were outnumbered, it was immediately clear to Parma that they were in little danger.

     Three of them—men she realized by their bearing—brandished long swords, and these they used to deflect the clumsy attacks of the villagers with ease. The fourth held in either hand a short but curved dagger, and moved with greater aggression. Even as Parma hurried toward them she heard a cry of pain from one of the Varalelans and saw the man stagger back, clutching his bleeding side. But there was no mistaking the litheness with which this one moved; the person was definitely a woman.

     “Hai!” shouted the healer, and she sprang into the fray. Numbers were against her, but she went instinctively for the largest of the group. She struck her staff against his knees with a force that caused his whole body to jerk forward. Flicking her arm up, she cracked the end of the rod against his jaw. As his limp form fell, she swung at her next foe. He was fast, bringing his sword up to intercept her strike in a blink. But at the last instant, Parma twisted the staff in mid-air, jerked it to a barely perceived stop, and then rammed it straight down onto her opponent’s right foot. Toes crunched beneath it.

     Knowing better than to press her fortune, she leapt back and out of reach as the remaining two moved against her. “Form a circle!” Parma ordered the Varalelans. “Push them against a wall!”

     The villagers did their best to obey, rallying themselves into a more sound formation. At this, the postures of the hooded figures tensed, but they did not give ground. Even the man whose toes Parma had broken stood firm crookedly. For a moment the two groups faced each other in silence, neither seeming eager to engage its opponent. Parma frowned slightly. She had removed one man from the four, and somewhat crippled another, but it seemed he could still stand, and that meant that two swords were still in play. And two daggers, she thought, eyeing the woman. She stood with her knees slightly bent, one of her weapons held in plain view near her thigh and the other clutched in a hand hidden in her cloak. Parma’s frown deepened. She is the most dangerous.

     Then the healer spoke, raising her voice but keeping it heavy with threat. “Back down. You are outnumbered more than two to one.”

     The strangers gave no answer, but Parma heard the woman scoff. She clenched her teeth. If there had been but one proper warrior amongst the village-folk standing with her she would have felt more at ease. Or if she had been alone. But there was not, and she was not. If the brigands brought their obvious skill to bear, even outnumbered by eight Varalelans it was most likely that they could still cut their way free. Which left Parma one option. One that she did not wish to resort to before the eyes of the villagers.


Keep Strong!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Important Things.


What are the important things in life to you? Really. Give it a thought for a moment. Hobbies? Friends? Pets? Socializing? Family? I’m going to wager that, among whatever else you thought, most all of you were in agreement with family and friends. Splendid, after all what could be more important than the ones you care about and who care about you? Hold on now. Let me ask you this: Was December the 25th or is today and tomorrow the only times you made time to visit them? Some of you will say ‘of course not!’, but some of you may say something else. If you are among the folks who said something else, then I’d like you to consider this: Something—or someone—is only as important to you as you make it.

     What do I mean, you may ask? Well, I imagine that all of you try to spend time doing whatever those things are that you find enjoyment in. Despite the busy schedules that our lives lead us on these days (curse you, smartphones) we all do seem to find time for making ourselves feel important. Now, of the important things that came to mind when I asked what you considered important in your lives, how many do you actually, willfully, make time for? You see, you can go on about how important something is to you till the end of time, but if you never really show it, take the time to show it, take the effort to show it, than it truthfully is not that important to you at all.

     Lots of folk claim to place importance on so many things, and yet so little of those things really matter to them. I hope that, as this year comes to a close, you will think hard and decide what is—or who is—truly important to you, because nobody ever fooled others or themselves forever.



Keep Strong!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finished Poem

Hello there, awesome folks. Thanksgiving is less than a week away (time flies, so it does!), and I want me some turkey! Things sure are moving very fast this November, and I'd say that that's both a good and bad thing. But let's quit beating around the bush. This post is coming later than I wanted it to (so please don't strangle me through the computer screen), but I hope you'll forgive me once you read. The other half of that poem I was working on is complete--it's been complete for a while, won't lie, but I had to tweak a thing or two and there were a couple things going on behind the scenes, but who cares?-- it is my pleasure to share it with you.

     I've managed to come up with a title for the work, and that title is: The King of the Deep. Huh? Huh? Decent, you think? No? Well... I tried... (For those of you who've not read The King of the Deep Part 1, and for those of you who have but want to refresh your memory, click here.) Now then, without further babble, here we go!




Then the wrath of the king was great indeed.
At his roar the oceans trembled.
Upon the nearest coasts of the dwellings of men
Waves of fury were assembled.
Then many mortals’ cries rang out
In prayer and supplicating word.
The fates wrought and worked that day
For one unlooked for heard.


Their cry reached the ears of Lanielia
Who paused in the waters’ caress,
And who felt a sudden pity stir
At the noise of their distress.
Forth she went, with graceful speed,
Forth unto the coast,
Where rolling waves of fury were poised
To strike many an innocent host.


Out from the sea she sprang suddenly,
Her arms raised in command.
And at the cry of her voice the waves leapt back,
Ere they dashed upon the sand.
This she did a few and several times more,
Till at last the waters took heed,
And dared not again to strike the land
Even if so the King had decreed.


Forthwith leapt Lanielia back into the sea,
And to the depths she went alone.
Till she stood before the King again
Who sat upon a pearl-white stone.
To her he smiled. “Back,” he said,
“Back you have come as a sheep.
How could it be any other way?
Who can defy the Lord of the Deep?”


“Fool!” cried she. “Pride-filled fool!
Careless abuser of might!
You hide behind your haughty strength
Because your weakness is out of sight.
The ‘Lord of the Deep?’ A prisoner you are,
Fettered against your will.
Whose anger burns at lands beyond him,
That the mortals govern and fill.


“But no longer will I allow your wrath to strike,
And bring ruin to the innocent.
Soften thy heart, pride-filled king,
Or beware my grim intent.”
The King at once leapt to his feet,
His golden eyes ablaze;
And Lanielia saw that his pride was not humbled.
He was a prisoner to his ways.


Then began a contest sharp,
A battle of the two.
A struggle such as never before was seen
In the bottom of the Deepened Blue.
The mighty strength of the King was vast;
Seven times he struck her down,
And seven times she rose up again
With wounds beneath her watery gown.


But at the last, weariness came,
Written on her face wrung with pain.
And the King smiled within and without,
Deigning to become her bane.
About her neck he fastened his grip,
In his eyes a fell delight.
For no help could come to Lanielia
To deliver her from her plight.


Yet even as her strength was quenched,
She swung hard her head.
And little and naught thought the King of this,
Thinking her already dead.
Thus when her league of snowy hair
Seized suddenly his mighty limbs
He had not time to feel as one
Whose hope swiftly dims.


From her neck her white locks pried him,
And upheld him doubly bound.
And ere he could summon the waters to his aid
At her command he was wholly enwound.
Coil after coil she threw about him
Till her hair was spent and tight.
Then with her nails, enchantment aided,
She cut the league of snowy white.


Then she took the nameless, pride-filled king
And cast him in a pit of the Deep,
Where madness roams, and soundless foams
Form about monsters that creep.
And there he has remained from that time on,
Twice-over bound in such a tomb.
But whether he has died, or shall yet escape,

Remains an unknown doom.



Keep Strong!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Camping Trip!

Ahoy, my good peoples! I do hope that all is well with you and yours, and that the fall colors are setting in to their full extent wherever you are. The ones around my place sure are! Recently, I've been totally absent on all of my internet platforms ('What?' you say. 'I never even noticed you were gone!') Well, the reason for my absence (if you did notice it, that is) was that I went on an awesome camping trip! It was really, really great!

     I got to link up again with dear friends, forge ties with new ones, dance and sing, and even eat vegetarian food! I know, right? The merriment lasted for eight days, and it couldn't have been better. Well, except for the night it rained chilling rain and wet the inside of our tents and clothes, forcing me to seek shelter in a populated foyer for the night... I got a few pictures, though not as many as I ought to have (there was just never a dull moment!). Take a look. I'll share a few.




Just chillin' and taking a drink. And for those of you wondering, the hand sign is the sign of the Three Feathers!




He's here, he's there, he's anywhere: It's the Everywhere Man!!!
Great guy and even greater friend. Hope our paths cross again soon, Christian.




Introducing Señora Laurie, la maravillosa! And the young and tender Ben! Fantastic person. If you don't know her, then you're missing out.





Ain't there nothing quite like a smilin' young'n?





Relaxing by a smoldering fire is the only way to fully reduce stress. They know it.





But only when the fire flames like the mane of the Balrog does it hold you mesmerized.





And joining Senora Laurie are two more increíble women. K. and Isabel!





Nine-square, anyone?





And last, but by no means least, I had the ultimate pleasure of meeting someone who's wonderful spirit even now affects me. Were I to tell you that Cyan Campau has a heart as mighty as a dragon's but as gentle as a dove's it would fall utterly short of the reality. Everything about her radiates strength, peace, and beauty. I have never met her like, and she has left an impression that shall never fade. May we meet again someday, Cyan!



And there you have it. I've been around a little. I may have some other photos somewhere, and if I do I'll try and post them. Those eight days were fantastic. 'Nuff said.


Keep Strong!