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, writing

Speed Bumps and Lumps

 

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Publish! That’s my goal.

That’s been my goal since high school. That’s been my goal for some 19 years. That’s a long time. I often ask what’s happened since then. In that time life happened. I joined the Army. That was a fun and terrifying few years. I earned two college degrees. That was an intensive year. I was married and divorced. Apparently no matter how hard you try you can’t force each other to be in love. I worked my ass off. Job after job, 50+ hours a week. I published some misguided poetry. I published brutal memoir short stories of my childhood and won a few contests. Then, I got married to a woman I actually was in love with and got a cute, crazy daughter. I spent a few years enjoying the novelty of it. I also found out I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis). I joke with a tear in my eye and say MS stands for Me Screwed.

 

Now, I’m here. Emboldened by the loving support of family, or at least their grudging understanding, I’m here. I am selfpublishing! Where there’s a will there’s a way, blah, blah, and other inspirational phrases. Really it comes down to this. I’ve wanted to publish. Poems weren’t fulfilling. Short stories weren’t fulfilling. Childrens book here I am! I have a professionally edited manuscript. I have a critique group. I have an interior illustrator. I am getting my book cover started as I type this (Maybe not, she’s in Wales and it’s really freaking early in the morning there right now). I’ve been platforming for a month. Over 1,000 FB friends, over 700 Twitter followers, 30 followers on here. I think that’s okay? I still need more, many more.

 

There are more speed bumps to slow my goal down. More lumps life will give me in the pursuit of my goal. I only have one thing to say. Let’s do this!

 

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, writing

PUZZLE POTION BLURB

PUZZLE POTION is finished.

 
I figured I would post the opening paragraph for each chapter (or key paragraph) along with the chapter title and illustration for that chapter every Saturday at 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time. My hopes are that it will generate interest in the book. PUZZLE POTION is a childrens middle grade book, following is a blurb.

 

Potion Puzzle is an action-packed, 24,000-word, life-or-death scavenger hunt with more ups and downs than an enormous, bucking prairie dog.

 
With grudging help from a witch, Lan and Galen zoom around on a four-wheeler to find outrageous ingredients for a potion that will turn their families from stone back into pancake-making loved ones. Eight ingredients shouldn’t be too hard to find, except how do you convince a garage-sale-loving troll to give up his horn, or a woman-sized catfish to give you an egg? This will be more difficult and dangerous than they ever thought. But there’s no time to think, or even stop for a breath, because if the sun sets before the potion is ready, all will be lost.

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.