SELF PUBLISHING, Uncategorized, WRITE

PUZZLE POTION Ch. 3

Chapter 3 — FINDING MAGIC

 

Chapter 3(2)

Tears stood out bright in Galen’s eyes. As they were about to fall, he wiped the backs of his hands across them. For once Lan didn’t have a joke ready, and didn’t make fun of his cousin. He knew exactly what Galen felt, a deep pain. Lan put a hand on Galen’s shoulder. His cousin looked up at him, and Lan steered Galen away from the family room and what sat there. Galen let himself be led outside without a complaint.

Birds chirped happily in the bright morning. “Be quiet! There’s nothing to be happy about! Stupid birds!” Galen yelled. They didn’t listen and kept on with their song. “Lan, my…my…parents.”

“I know. My mom and sister, too.”

“What do we do? Do we call the police?”

Lan thought for a minute. “No, I don’t think so. First off I don’t think they’d believe us. Second, they’re for normal stuff, and this is definitely not normal.”

“So, what do we do? My parents…,” he turned hopefully to Lan. Galen had always looked up to his cousin, and it was no surprise that he put all of his hopes on Lan in this emergency.

Lan knew that and immediately took charge, even though he had his own grief. If he kept thinking of his mom and sister turned to stone he might start to cry. Not only would that make it worse for Galen, but it also wouldn’t help his family. They needed to find an answer, not focus on the problem. “All right, this isn’t normal. So, what turned everyone to stone?

Poison, maybe?” suggested Galen.

“Poison? In what?”

“Uh, the pizza, of course,” Galen looked at Lan like Lan should have already thought of it.

“We order pizza from that place all the time. Why would they poison it?”

“I’m not a poisoner. I don’t know. But maybe they did.”

“No,” said Lan. “We ate the same food Sarah and my mom did, but we didn’t turn into stone. It’s got to be something else.”

“How about a magic animal?”

Lan’s plan was working. Galen was thinking of things besides his parents. There weren’t any tears in his eyes anymore. Instead, his eyebrows were all scrunched up in thought, like two caterpillars..

“Hmmm, I think you’re right about the magic part Galen. Nothing else makes sense.”

 

Illustrated by Emily St. Marie

Uncategorized, WRITE, writing

Puzzle Potion Chapter 2

A Nightmare Come True

 

Orange Juice for Mom.jpg

 

     It was night. No, it was darker than any night had ever been. Darkness surrounded him, swallowed him. Lan started to panic. He tried to call out to Galen. His lips wouldn’t move. Only a strangled sound, half yell, half gurgle came out. He tried to force the darkness away with everything he had. He could now see a slit of light. It gave him hope. Harder and harder he tried. With a great cracking sound, his eyes opened fully. That was all he needed. Lan forced his lips, arms, and legs to move. Gray dust flaked off with each movement.
“Galen! Galen!” No one answered him. There was no blue sky. No green grass. No treehouse. The world was empty around him except for the rope ladder, all gray. A kick proved the ladder was made out of stone, like he thought. The ladder wasn’t coiled. It wasn’t all tangled up. The ladder was now a long stone line stretching into the distance. Lan followed the stone rope and limped as he did so. He sure wished he hadn’t kicked it so hard. On and on the rope went, forever and ever. Every little while he would call out Galen’s name, even though he no longer thought he’d answer. When he thought that, he’d start to tremble. No. He couldn’t think about it. He had to…

 

There was something in the distance. Finally, there was something besides the endless rope in the blank world. What at first looked like one blocky shape soon became two, then more. They were statures. Statues of his mom, Sarah, Galen’s parents; they were all there. Only Galen was missing. Lan had never cried. Not the type of cry that made you leak tears and snot at the same time. But when he put a hand on his mom’s frozen arm his knees felt watery, his eyes felt watery. He wanted to sink into a blubbering pool of sadness. The sound of footsteps made Lan look away, and there was Galen in the flesh.  At least he hadn’t been turned to stone.

 

Illustration by Emily St. Marie

 

SELF PUBLISHING, Uncategorized, WRITE, writing

Puzzle Potion ch.1

Pizza in the Treehouse

THE LAST PEPPERONI

 

Lan and Galen sat in the treehouse with no idea that nightmares and dreams were going to come true. Their lives would be completely different by this time tomorrow. Strangers thought they were brothers since they shared brown hair, brown eyes, and were always together. Really though, they were cousins, which was even better than being brothers because you lived in different houses, so you hardly ever got on each other’s nerves. Sometimes it still happened, but not much. They were as close as could be, and no matter what happened the next day, that wouldn’t change…much.

 

 

The boys were reading comics and eating pepperoni pizza. Galen picked off his pepperoni piece by deliciously greasy piece and put them in little rows on a paper plate. “What?” Galen asked as he saw Lan’s head going back and forth from the plate of pepperoni to the slice of cheesey pizza, “you always have to save the best for last.” Lan held up his own piece, with the pepperoni still on it, and gobbled it down. He smiled at his cousin and squished the cheese through some gaps in his teeth until Galen shook his head and went back to his comic book.

 
After a couple pages were turned and Galen was bent over the comic, only noticing his plate when his hand reached for picked off pepperonis, Lan made his move. Galen’s searching fingers found an empty spot. Galen looked up from reading his comic book and saw Lan smiling at him while he chewed. “Why’re you smiling?”

 
“No reason,” Lan mumbled, his brown eyes smiling.

 
Scrunching his eyebrows, Galen looked down quickly and checked his plate. Where there had been four pepperoni, there were now only three and an empty greasy circle. “Hey, where’s my pepperoni?”

 

SELF PUBLISHING, Uncategorized, WRITE

Putting Social into Social Media

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Social media is something that I personally struggle with. Call me an old fashioned 36 year old, but I always preferred a face to face conversation. I was that guy that never answered his phone. I would just show up because you obviously wanted to talk to me. This led to a few awkward times when I was a drunk dial or butt dial. Not awkward for me mind you. I have very little shame. I’ll accept more calls now. I prefer, very much prefer videochatting. Isn’t technology great? Love it!

Oddly enough, I write. I write 15 page letters. Not emails. Real letters. I swear, I probably kept USPS afloat for as long as it has. Every holiday. Every birthday (which are personal holidays, but that’s a whole different blog lol). I send cards too. A lot of cards. I’m probably why Hallmark stores lasted as long as they did.In fact a friend of my wife’s texted to her, “I just got a card from J.D., it must be some kind of holiday!”

I need social media for self publishing. My wife had a Facebook. I didn’t. Now I have one dedicated to writing type stuff and at first it drove me crazy. I never wanted to let something go past my timeline without responding to it. I felt it was rude. Yeah, that didn’t last long. The stuff just kept coming, lol. Now I’m much better at it. I joined Twitter. I felt like I was missing everything because people I’d follow would tweet multiple times a day. The more people I followed the more I missed, lol. I started this blog and here I feel like I’m getting to know people a little bit. Of course for the platform I’m building I probably don’t have enough followers and don’t follow enough people and need to blog more than several times a week, and the list goes on, lol.

I would like to get to know people on a deeper level than I do. I have friends. I have followers. I am a friend. I think there should be more depth. I want to put more SOCIAL in social media. Don’t you?

 

publishing, SELF PUBLISHING, Uncategorized, WRITE, writing

Learning Spike

benescenoreds

So…I’ve decided to self-publish. I throw myself into things with a passion (I guess, or at least hope, that’s what helps me be a writer). There was no learning curve where I could just slowly take one thing at a time. Nope, not for me.

Instead, I had a learning spike. I went from zero to sixty like the best Ferrari! Hello to Facebook Account posts multiple times a day in various groups I’m part of, prior, my wife had a family page and I would only get on it on occasion. Hello Twitter Account  with my couple of tweets a day (incidentally during a recent twitter pitch I set up Hootsuite to handle it and found out that Twitter won’t let you repeat the same messages). Hello WordPress where I try to blog at least a couple of times a week (and I’m still not sure how to gain blog followers, maybe be more interesting I don’t know).  In fact, I just learned how to add links in this post.  Hello critique group Inked Voices  where I’m part of a critique group and average 3 critiques a week.

I’ve also taken a crash course in illustration. How else would I know if what I was getting, even though I liked it, would work for the market? Yep, I have better understanding of genre styles, age group preferences, interior art vs. cover art, figure placement, oh and the psychology of color.

I’ve also had to learn about the big one…SELF-PUBLISHING. Things like: finding editors, finding illustrators, which self-publishing company to use, how to build an author’s platform, various marketing and promotion strategies, and on and on.

The learning spike began 1 month ago!

Uncategorized, WRITE, writing

More than Memories

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Memories haunt me. That’s why I wrote creative nonfiction of my childhood. Darkness. Blood. Hunger. Eventually I wanted more than those memories.

 
Memories remind me. That’s why I wrote of years now turned to dust. Eventually I wanted more than ghosts.

 
Memories embolden me. That’s why I write for children, to give them a chance at laughter I never had.

publishing, SELF PUBLISHING, Uncategorized, WRITE, writing

Pepperoni Before the Storm

Pizza in the Treehouse.jpg

 

I just got some of the interior illustrations for POTION PUZZLE. This is for the first chapter, before the petrification curse, the confrontation with a witch, and a mad-dash adventure to find ingredients for a potion to save their families; so, a typical summer day! Thank you Emily St. Marie!