Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An Aviator's Night before Christmas

The author is unknown.  It's a cute aviation play on 'Twas the Night before Christmas.  Came across it here and I just had to post it.  Enjoy!


'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all the fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eight-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."


Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Yuletide Magic


Before hearts entwined and battles fought, a little girl invoked the ancient magic of Yule.

A holiday themed short based in the magical world of the epic fantasy series, the World In-between.


Download a free copy at Kobo, Google Play, iTunes Barnes & Noble, Sony, Diesel Books, and Smashwords.

Amazon is charging 99 cents, for now.  Hopefully, they'll "match the price" to free soon.


Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Immersed in Editing

Well beyond my deadline and well over my anticipated word count, I finally finished the third book of my epic fantasy series, the World In-between. Halloween night, I penned the final words of Secrets of the Sages. Since then, I have been immersed in editing.

“I am emptying the ocean with a thimble,” Silvia says in this book.

Editing is all-consuming. Before a copy of my manuscript sees a different computer screen, I edit. On my desk, I keep paper and a pen ready for jotting down editing notes. How did I spell certain words in other books of the series? Should I capitalize shaman? What will be the spelling of Teresa’s family’s last name? Et cetera, et cetera.

Manuscripts are funny things. They evolve with each reading. When I write, I will have what I call alpha reads. This is when I will read a few rawly written pages to a few close testers (my family). They give me feedback. I learn what works, what needs improvement and what sounded better in my head than on the page. I scribble notes in the little white areas between the lines. Lately, I began using a different color pen for notes.

My notes make my typed manuscript a much better read than my handwritten one. Yet, I still change more than what my notes indicate. The first line of my handwritten Secrets of the Sages reads: “Uncle Berty, Mommy wants to talk to you,” Hope said, holding out the receiver of the old white and brass rotary phone. The first line of Secrets of the Sages is (thus far): Magic infiltrated Berty’s life, yet it baffled him.

Who knows what subsequent read-throughs will bring? What I do know is that chapters will form. They will get fun little titles. Missing words will be found. Typos will be corrected (hopefully). I will research spelling and grammar underlined within the document. My hands will hurt and my eyes will know fatigue well.

Culminating at roughly 90,000 words, Secrets of the Sages smushes the magical and the non-magical worlds between which Berty lives. I have yet to set a release date. The cover is in production. Secrets, left to be forgotten, can destroy the Land of Sages and crumble the Empire.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Poetry Wednesday 23 Oct 13

Toxic Vision

by Patrick Loafman

Clouds, steel gray as the sides of salmon, brushed themselves
against the swollen bellies of mountains, and the full moon fell
into the river and sizzled.

Then I was hiking somewhere upriver to where bearded old men
become spruce trees, until everything became too vivid
and I collapsed, falling to the skin of the earth, my head rattling
the bells of chocolate lilies, their tongues oozing nectar into my ear.

Beneath the bitter umbrellas of oxalis, I could see stardust and red mites.
Moss braided itself into a green rope, and I climbed further down this toxic
vision, turning glistening pages of liverworts, shattered wings of cicadas,
searching the undersides of the smallest leaves for a window or a mirror.

I kept descending down this green rope into smaller and smaller forests,
into the gray tangle of mycelia. Maybe, I imagined, this is death’s journey,
to enter the earth’s pores like water.


Patrick Loafman is an author, wildlife biologist and artist.  This poem is adapted from a paragraph from his new novel Somewhere Upriver.  Read more about his novel, see his gourd art and watch videos of him playing gourd musical instruments at http://ploafman.wix.com/patrickloafman


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Letter Home

Characterization exercise for my work-in-progress space opera, Where Pirates Go to Die.

Mom,

I don't know if you'll ever read this.  Had to write anyway.  Seems like something a good son should do.

I'm sure you're wondering how good of a son I actually am.  I know I disappointed you and Dad, and for that I am terribly sorry.

You never got to hear my side of the story.  The one where I claim my innocence.  Flyers ripped me from the interplanetary transport.  Without warning was the way they wanted it.

They wouldn't let me correspond while I was incarcerated.  Not that being on this ship is any less of a prison.  But, at least I have some sort of future.  It's not the future you and dad wanted for me.  I'll never be able to go back to that life.

There are a lot of things I will never be able to do again.  I have accepted that fact.  That doesn't mean that I don't miss you or my work, however trivial it seems now.

If this reaches you, I hope it reaches you well.  Destiny is taking me another way.  I don't know what I did to deserve this, but perhaps this is what I need to do.

All my love,
Lorne

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Writer’s Exercise: Foggy Inspiration

Fog on a summer’s night mesmerizes. From the time it rolls in until the sun burns it off, I imagine all sorts of possibilities.

People always ask from where I get my inspiration. The answer is simple. Most of the time, I look out my window.

I watch the fog hug the streetlamp, then reach to kiss the window’s screen. Eventually it fills the void between the buildings, shrouding the brick and clapboard in a hushed whisper.

The sky begins to lighten. A blue-gray glow settles into the mountains. Retreating into the valley, the fog leaves a shiny roof that reflects the light of the newly liberated streetlamp.

Headlights pierce through the dense air before plunging into the valley. They emerge with a heightened Doppler effect, which barges through my window.

A still breeze rocks the opened blinds gently. Spreading a chill, it mocks summer. I pull my covers over my head.

In my writing, I often use what lurks outside my window. I made a mist only Declan could see. My heroes wade through an unfamiliar fog laden valley that hides fears just beyond their view.

The elements creep into my books to set a mood or to create obstacles. What is real can be fantastical with only a stroke of a pen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

To Type or Not to Type

Regular readers of this blog know that I hand write all my manuscripts before I type them. Typing, for me, is my first edit. Novels have a lot of words that need to be typed. So far, I have published just over a quarter of a million words. After typing the first 30,000 words of Secrets of the Sages, I decided to give up typing novels to try something new.

For about the past week, I have been using speech recognition software. I got Dragon Naturally Speaking 12. The regular retails for $99 while the premium version is $199. My consensus, thus far, is good.

I use it with my own headset. Not a pricey bit of plastic, but it does exactly what I need it to do. Since my vintage version of Word has gone wonky, I am now using Open Office. After going through the tutorial and reading an excerpt of a novel by Lewis Carroll, I began to dictate my hand-written manuscript.

My book was already started in manuscript format—double spaced and first line indent at a half inch. All I needed to do was read. My words magically appeared on the page, well sort of. I had to teach it my characters' names and places that I had already entered into Open Office’s spell check dictionary.

Every so often, it mistranslates. I read a few lines, then correct. Correcting is easy. The program is instinctive to use. I do have to remember to say my punctuation and say “cap” before some of my characters' names. But that is what I get for naming characters commonly used words, such as hope.

I have been racing through my manuscript. Typing would have taken much longer. Another bonus with this software is that it spells things correctly for you. I love that feature. It saves me from doing extra work.

If the dog barks or a loud truck passes by, even with a noise canceling microphone it messes up. Once in awhile, what I have written does not always flow from my mouth. After having a good laugh, I correct the mistakes. I find myself only having to type in my ancient Fairy language and in what I call the ancient tongue in my fantasy series. My main beef with the program is that it uses straight quotes instead of curly ones. I can’t seem to get it to use the latter. It is something that I will have to fix in the next round of editing.

The software learns the more you use it. It tries to figure out which word you meant by using context. All in all, I am very happy with it. I would recommend Dragon Naturally Speaking software to anyone who wants to make life a little easier.


Follow-up article 22 July 14


Monday, June 10, 2013

A Birthday Celebration

Tricentennial by IE Castellano
Tricentennial is a year old this month.

To celebrate, I am offering the ebook for 99¢ throughout the month of June and into July.  

Tricentennial’s patriotic nature is great for Independence Day reading.


This American dystopian novel follows extremes to their logical conclusions. Only 60+ years in the future, Tricentennial brings us to a controlled society where the survivors of “environmental collapse” live for the collective good.

Twenty years into the New Era, two newly orphaned teenagers chip away the utopian veneer to find corruption, lies and high-level cover-ups. Together they discover the truth behind the new order of government that emerged and shredded the Constitution, warring the very people they claimed to serve.

Xavier and Nickie Kelton, while trying to keep what is left of their family together, inadvertently start another American Revolution.


Tricentennial can be found at Amazon, Apple iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony, and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Writing Workshop—Getting into Character

Character Building Exercise: A monologue of one of the main characters in my upcoming space opera, Where Pirates Go to Die.


Naria: Captain of the Tigerlily

The rumors are true. I have no man to complete me, nor a child to fulfill me. That is probably why I turned to pirating. If you believe that, I also have a moonshare to sell you. No one is going to tell me what kind of life a woman is supposed to lead. I bought the Tigerlily. I restored her and enhanced her. I also handpicked her crew—the best of the best at what they do.

You think I care what anyone thinks about how I live my life? I am the Captain of this ship. My ship, my rules. Don’t like them? There’s the airlock.

My ship is my pride and joy. Yes, it’s old, but she’s modified. What is so special about the Tigerlily? First, it has a hematite alloy bonded to the titanium hull. Gives her that pretty black sheen. Second, it can maneuver out of the Flyers’ laser snare. How? Like I’m going to tell you. Her secrets are my secrets. I’ll take them to my grave.

Why did I become a pirate? Well, it wasn’t because I woke up one day and realized how crappy my life was. I relish in the thrill of the heist. There is a certain satisfaction when your laser hits just the right spot to drop a man. Or woman. Though I do not rely solely on laser weaponry. I have a soft spot for the archaic weapons. Gripping the handle of a sharp piece of cold metal is an art form. When it rubs against warm flesh, veins shake nervously.

You don’t approve? My methods are very effective. Oh, you think I should have a civilized hobby. Perhaps gem setting? I do love the feel of jewels dripping from my fingertips. Maybe you meant something more mundane like robot coding. Where’s the fun in that? Besides, it doesn’t earn anyone an asteroid load of lons.

Lons rule the Galaxy. The more lons the better. Sure, a sextillion of zeros in your bank account won’t keep you warm in the vacuum of space, but it keeps the engines running.

I know that judgmental look. You want to judge me? You can do it with a laser thrust up your final frontier.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Peeking Through the Portal

The World In-between brought us from the modern mundane world through the portal to the magical Land of Sages. There, we discovered the quaint Sages’ Grove with the Empire Tree at its center. We journeyed to the magic hating walled city of Calledin. Then, we ventured into the dark Dragonlands.

Bow of the Moon showed us glimpses of the Elf stronghold, Irmingard with its moat full of magic and blinding white ramparts. We raced to colorful Fairyland, which straddles the border of the Land of Sages and the Dragonlands. Beyond both lands, we traversed the mysterious God Mountain. Finally, we traveled further than the known world and lived to tell the tale.

Secrets of the Sages will take us to the hot, barren grasslands of the Outlands where the Ghost Tribe finds you. We are summoned to the underground city of Grunnan—the last Dwarf state on either side of the portal.

From Secrets of the Sages:
Rounding a bend, they entered a large room full of multiple tracks. On the rough walls hung torches whose flickering light illuminated thick timber supports. They approached one of the half dozen mine carts.

As Colvin opened the cart door, Berty glimpsed at the hammer and pickaxe crossed in front of a keystone that was embossed on the metal. Inside were three benches. Two on either end, where occupants would face each other, and one in the middle on which a person could sit either way. The Dwarf had Edwin and Declan sit on the rear bench, while Berty sat on the middle bench. Closing the door, Colvin sat next to Berty.

With a push of a lever, the cart began to move. The last time Berty traveled in a mine cart, his advisor took him to the Empire Vaults.

Before leaving the large room, the tracks converged. They entered a tunnel, which held two tracks. The wooden supports and torches started to whiz by as the cart picked up speed. When the torches ended, cool air rustling through his hair told Berty that they moved much faster than when he visited the vault.

Every so often, he could feel the cart lean as it rounded bends. He was not sure how far they had been traveling, but his legs told him that he had been sitting in the cart for awhile. Eventually, his eyes detected light somewhere up ahead. The cramps in his legs relaxed hoping that they had reached their destination.

The cart slowed slightly. Torchlight illuminated levers between the tracks. Reaching, Colvin moved a couple. When the tunnel widened, the cart rode on the Dwarf’s chosen track. Their speed decreased further, making the rough rock walls less blurry.

The tunnel opened into a gigantic cave. Rushing water echoed in the cavern. The track wove through stalagmites spiking from the ground and columns formed by the meeting of stalactites and stalagmites. Berty’s eyes detected a soft light, but he could not find the source.

A forest of cave formations gave way to an imposing expansive clearing. In the distance, Berty spied an underground El Dorado. Rays of sunlight spilled into a crack in the earth above. Mesoamerican style pyramids glittered with a golden hue. Crossing the clearing quickly, the cart zipped towards the golden city.

Some tracks led to the golden steps that cascaded down the side of the first pyramid. Their track took them inside a golden tunnel that cut through the pyramid.

“Welcome to Grunnan,” said Colvin. Pulling a lever, they switched tracks. “This takes us straight to the Prince.”

“Is Grunnan made entirely of gold?” asked Declan.

The Dwarf smiled under his fiery beard. “All the stone is covered with thin sheets of a gold alloy. It is a secret blend of metals that helps keep our city safe.”

“Gold allows for magic to travel easily,” said Declan.

“When need be,” Colvin responded. “The gold also is easier on the eyes underground.”

The mine cart stopped inside a golden room. Dwarves wearing brownish-gold armor heavily guarded the room and its many exits.

Opening the door, Colvin jumped out. “Mind your head, Lieutenant. Dwarf construction does not take into account the height of Elves.”

Berty carefully exited the cart. While waiting for the others, he realized that his head was very close to the gold ceiling. Declan glanced upwards at the ceiling that was also only a few inches from the top of his head. Getting out of the cart, Edwin had to hunch to stand and walk.

All three of them ducked as they followed Colvin into a claustrophobia-inducing staircase. The golden tunnel that encased the stairs looked to go on forever.

To distract himself from feeling like the gold walls were going to close in on him, Berty said to Colvin, “This area is heavily guarded, but I did not see any guards as we approached the city.”

“The Royal Battalion protects only the Palace and the Royal Family,” Colvin said.

“Who protects Grunnan?” asked Berty.

“The city does not have an official guard. If need be, we Dwarves will head into battle. However, Grunnan is equipped to protect itself,” Colvin explained. “The Dwarves who built this place were masters of their trade. Any Dwarf who learns their secrets and knowledge are known as a Master tradesmen in his field.” He glanced at the three men following him. “Mind your heads,” he told them.

Bending to avoid hitting his head, Berty stepped out of the staircase. A grandiose room with plenty of room for their heads greeted them. Gold columns supported a gold vaulted ceiling. Shining shallow bowls holding fire dotted the golden floor. Members of the Royal Battalion stood guard throughout the room.

They approached many golden steps that led to a golden throne encrusted with large jewels.

“My Lord, welcome to the Royal Palace of Grunnan,” said Goscislaw’s low growl. The Dwarf Prince hurried down the many steps to greet his guests. “I am glad that you were able to come on such short notice. Please, come with me.”

Secrets of the Sages is the third book in the World In-between epic fantasy series. Look for it this year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Poetry Wednesday 15 May 13

INTO ABYSS

At which point does low end,
Where does abyss begin?
How deep is the void in the fowl's eyes,
That prey on the darkness so quiet.
A winter season so withering, speechless its morning, fear in its quake.
I wonder is this the paradise Hell speaks of,
No heart for love, no mind for good.
Where selflessness is the charity, donation for disaster,
Every blood drop, from the tip of the knife is hate's revenge on love.
Schizophrenic peace, must be wars sanity,
Deprived soul, a wind in a vessel quilt together.
The scream to be let go, but trapped till death decays the bond that holds.
Pleasure the inner covet, the flesh weak, and quick to envy.
So it embarks on a journey into ego,
Unknowingly it will reach low.
Unsatisfied by the taste, goes on to find the ingredient to enhance the aromatic artefact.
Only to find the journey is to a place at the end of low,
And the beginning of abyss where this lonely fortress holds.


By David Worlanyo


Find David on Facebook

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Poetry Wednesday 8 May 13

Art of Noise

If a symphony were a collection of memories,
thoughts would be instruments, yet I wonder
how the songs they played might describe the
human temperament.

Could percussions articulate one’s discussions?
Or their tempo explain why through
life we are constantly rushing?
Would violins praise or hate? They may
only be relevant to help foresee one’s fate.

When choosing to compete, will trombones’
allure allow the rest of the song to sing?
While watching clarinets show movement,
I saw an oboe, harp, and flute grow wings.

Whereas trumpets are knights
anointed with the strength to fight,
saxophones are king of the stage,
and thy queen is shown through
the beauty of its melody.

Yet wisdom is shown through
a director’s willingness to follow,
for by loving the art of noise, he shall lead.
Gods Love by Calvert Tynes
Full book cover for God's Love by Calvert Tynes

—Calvert Tynes


Calvert Tynes is the author of God's Love. Find Calvert on Facebook.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Call Me Archaic

When people discover that my manuscripts are first handwritten, they cannot believe that I do all that extra work. Most writers type their first drafts. Very few of us bother with pen and paper.

The funny thing is that I type my blog posts directly into Word. No pen, no paper and no ink on my hands. Blog posts are relatively short. I type them. Read them over. Read them aloud. Fix typos. Format. Preview. Post.

One day, an idea popped into my head. It was the beginning scene for a new story. The kind of story I did not know if I would do. Sure, I wrote a dystopian science fiction, but would I touch a space opera?

I did. And I decided to write it solely on the computer.

Opening my extremely old version of Word, I typed my typical manuscript title page. When I started page 2, I changed the normal style to my self-made manuscript format style. I typed, “Chapter 1,” then hit enter.

My opening scene sprang to life magically from the blinking cursor. Black letters in times new roman filled the white page in double spaced lines. Instead of crossing out, I backspaced. Highlight and drag replaced my arrows.

The new story is told from an omniscient point of view. It switches between scenes in space and on planets. The result is many relatively short chapters. Usually when I write, I leave determining chapter breaks to the editing phase.

Three thousand words into the story, my mind no longer wanted to continue this experiment. I removed a stack of unlined paper from a ream. On the top of the page, I wrote the title, Where Pirates Go to Die. Underlined it. In the top right corner, I wrote “1,” then circled it.

Starting at the left edge, I wrote, “from Chapter 4.” Right underneath, I copied the last two lines from the screen.

Without the computer, I have penned more of my space opera. The black ink from my pen scribbles whatever flows from my brain. The pen scratches out. It arrows. It carrots where I should add the words crammed between the lines. Ink is fluid. So are my thoughts. In a digital word, I am analog.

I guess the resistance to writing equals typing makes me “old school” or a “Luddite.” Perhaps I am just an old-fashioned kind of girl. Maybe I am one of those set-in-their-ways, unchangeable people. Or perchance my brain likes to do things in its own way and not in ways that others suggest. To write fiction is to dream.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Interview on Mount Pleasant Up Close

Here’s my half hour long interview on Mount Pleasant Up Close in three parts.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


It is strange to watch yourself. I can see how nervous I started. Being on the “pointy” end of the camera is foreign to me. I’ve spoken in front of large groups. I’ve performed on stage. All without fear, I might add. During a college internship with a network affiliate, I’ve even operated the camera and been floor manager. The front of the camera is much more intimate. Only being on camera more often can make it more comfortable.

My previous interviews were via email with people across the pond. Being interviewed by people you know, who are also friends, is completely different.

Besides being Borough Manager (Jeff) and Borough Mayor and Fire Chief (Jerry), Jeff and Jerry are co-organizers of the Mount Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival. Being co-founders, they have been with the festival since its inception. Every year, it gets better. This September will mark the 27th year.

They do so much for the town. Jerry has been mayor since 1985. He listens to the residents, bringing suggestions to council and working to alleviate problems. Right now, he is working to implement a severe weather warning system. Jeff initiated the constantly growing multi-town summits, based on the G-8, that successfully find solutions to local issues. Working with the competent council, Jerry and Jeff have kept the town running smoothly and efficiently without raising taxes for almost a decade. The ever-busy duo also does this weekly tv/radio show to showcase friends of the borough.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jerry and Jeff on the festival for the past five years. Through festival social functions, they have had the opportunity to peruse my books that were published over the past year. While reading Tricentennial, Jeff looked up and said to me, “We have to have you on the show.” I was honored to be a guest on their show. It was a great experience.

Behind the Scenes of my guest appearance on Mount Pleasant Up Close

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Quick Update and Springtime Greetings

Not having access to the channel on which my interview on Mount Pleasant Up Close aired, a DVD of it has been made for me. All I need to do is pick it up. Look for the video to be posted the week after Easter.

Happy Passover!
Happy Easter!
Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Exercising Arms

When I do research for my books, sure, I turn to internet sources and books for information. I also interview people who have experience with certain things and do or learn things for myself. One of my works in progress is the first book of a mystery series where an injured homicide detective turned PI has to relearn how to shoot. Recently, I went to a local pistol range to take a private lesson on shooting a handgun.

It was my first time shooting any kind of gun. The instructor was surprised that I had never even shot a bb gun. I learned on a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The former Vietnam Marine started with basic gun safety. Although I wore a turtleneck, he warned me about wearing open necked shirts for future shooting. The empty shell casings are hot when they fly out of the gun and if you are wearing a shirt with an open neck, there is a possibility that the casing can hit your skin and burn you. (Always good to know.) At the shooting bay, he went over grip, stance, sight lines, and loading a magazine.

Then, it was my turn to pick up the gun. The black metal felt foreign in my hands. After he checked my grip, I squeezed the trigger. A hole in the paper target appeared in the vicinity of the A for which I was aiming. My heart raced and I was not aware of breathing. When he told me to shoot again, my hands couldn’t feel the gun. The front and rear sights blurred too much to align. My eyes saw nothing but a black blob in front of a wash of gray.

When he finally told me to stop, he brought the target towards us. All the holes were clustered where they were supposed to be. He told me that I did a good job. Then, he had me put the bullets into the magazine. I impressed him by loading them correctly after only watching him once.

The second time I picked the gun up off of the plastic ledge, which rested on top of the metal bar separating us from the target area, I was no longer shaking. My shots reflected my new-found ease with the firearm. Holding the gun steady and not allowing the recoil to control my shots was my biggest challenge. In time and with practice, I will be able to compensate for recoil.

After shooting two handed, he had me shoot one handed with each hand. I liked one handed shooting the best. However, that was near the end of the lesson where I was feeling the most comfortable with the pistol.

On the car ride home, I realized that I got much more out of the lesson than just fodder for my books. A part of me feels safer with only the knowledge of how to use a gun. I look forward to returning to the pistol range. Practicing can only make me better and more comfortable with guns.

I believe that all of us should be “armed” with the knowledge of how to defend ourselves. Knowledge is power and learning any kind of self-defense puts the power in our hands.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Behind the Scenes at My Recent Guest Appearance

Sitting at the table with Jeff and Jerry


Mount Pleasant Up Close is a weekly local TV and radio show.  The hosts are Mayor Gerald (Jerry) Lucia (on the right) and Borough Manager Jeff Landy (in the middle).  This coming week, I will be their guest.

Talking with Jeff and JerryWe recorded it yesterday amidst the snowstorm.  Sitting at a small table in the Borough Council Chambers, I answered questions about my books and being an author.

In the beginning of my first “live” interview, I was nervous.  Jeff and Jerry started the show with a little intro, then they turned to me.  Jeff said something like, “Tell us a little something about yourself and your books.”  And that’s when it happened.  I felt as if I were having a brain freeze moment like a kid in school on test day who just stared at the paper on the desk because the answers eluded her.  I took a small pause, let out a tiny laugh, then my brain began to function properly.

Answering questionsOnce we got going, everything flowed so well. The half-hour show whizzed by faster than I expected.  Jeff and Jerry asked great questions.  We had a lot of fun.  At some point, I felt as if I were simply having a conversation with two of my oldest and dearest friends.  The camera and microphones no longer existed to me.  I had a great time and I am so glad that I was able to be a part of their show.

Anyone in SW PA and NE WV can catch Mount Pleasant Up Close Sunday mornings at 7:30 on 103.1 WKVE.  It also runs on Armstrong Cable channel 20 Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 am and 6 pm in the Fay-West PA region.


Listening to their questionsMy guest appearance will air this Sunday, March 10th at 7:30am on 103.1 FM and on Monday, March 11th, Wednesday, March 13th and Friday, March 15th at 10 am and 6 pm on Armstrong Cable channel 20.

To know more about the quaint, friendly town of Mount Pleasant check out this video.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Favorite Lines

As my hand glides ink across the blank, white page, some of my favorite lines are penned into existence. Every time I read them, they give me the same emotional response as when I first wrote them. Over the next few posts, I will share them with you.


From Bow of the Moon, the latest in my epic fantasy series, the World In-between:

As they drove into the city, Declan tried to look up with his head plastered onto the door window.

The old adage of forgive and forget became a trudge through quicksand on a beach as high tide crashed onto the shore.

“That Scholar fed me lies and I devoured them like a starving man.”

The people in the pub lived their lives mostly on the insides of a tankard.

“With wisdom comes responsibility. Somewhere along the way, I misplaced both.”

A large serpentine yellow Dragon curled herself around the rocks the way a small child would cling to a stuffed animal or security blanket for safety.

All he could smell was a uniform, musty dampness. He thought that mythological beasts would smell more distinctive if they came near.

Chuckling, he thought that his life had a normalcy of strangeness.

He had reached his destination and it wished to behead him.

“Forgive the tests, Emperor, but wisdom does not come without its price.”

“She believes in the Land of Sages more than she believes in the Easter Bunny. Though I am not quite sure where Santa lies on that scale.”

“Let two become one, until days are done. To you, I pledge my everything.”

Looking around, Berty felt as though he had stepped inside a box of exploded crayons that had been left in the sun too long.

“What is the purpose of wisdom without practicality?”

The clicking of her shoes on stone echoed through the corridor as she ran back to the surface.

Colors dripped from the domes that topped the building down the walls in a sparkling cascade of colored chaos.

“We do not answer questions with a question.”

The beige burned away revealing beautiful multicolored designs that covered the walls, pillars, ceiling and floor.

“Those of noble soul will always do what is right regardless of immediate outside consequences or judgement.”

A scream cut through the forest.

“We are all only men, defined by our choices.”

The structure reeked of neglect and birds.

An orchestra playing a symphony of sadness stalked the black stone ruins.

“We have rested enough. Let’s not keep the far reaches of our world waiting.”

As the trees got closer, the ground shook with giant fury.

Berty could not imagine losing the son to save the father.

“I will walk all night for a hot bath and a soft bed.”

Myths were stories invoked from the pieces of our distant memories.

They walked emitting only the muffled crunching of boots rhythmically touching the forest floor.

Declan returned his wand to the inside folds of his cloak as the flames floated on top of the lake.

“It’s nice to have something that always points you home.”


Find Bow of the Moon: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Smashwords, MYO