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 cafĂ©, 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!