Monday, March 31, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo 2014

Last year was the first year I ventured into the literary adventure known as Camp NaNoWriMo. I didn't know much about it, even though I have participated in the original NaNoWriMo for the past nine years.

While NaNoWriMo forces you to adhere to a 50,000 word count goal for the month of November with a strict advisement against editing, Camp NaNoWriMo is more flexible, allowing you to create your own word count goal and use the month of April or July to polish an existing project - possibly the novel you crafted in the previous November.

I wasn't going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year except for the fact that I am waaaaaay behind on completing my short story series, The LZR Project, which I wrote the bare bones for in November during NaNoWriMo. I have 30+ episodes that have to be written and edited and ready to go by the end of April, and I only have the drafts written for 22 of those episodes. That being said, I am pretty proud as to how far I got in the project during November, but now I have to pull up my bootstraps, engage the warp drive on my coffee maker, and get ready to carve through some late nights in an effort to get these episodes finished.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #12 - Crystals

The red hue emanating from the fist-sized crystal shard reminded her of the lava pits of Endwon.

“You must handle the crystal carefully, your majesty,” Cedrick advised.

Breata huffed. “This is the fifth shard I have recovered in the last Universal Year, Cedrick. I don’t need a lecture on how fragile and unstable they are.”

Cedrick took his worn brown cap off and bowed. “My apologies.”

Breata brushed her hands, which were covered in sweat and grime, on Cedrick’s cap before he placed it back atop his head. “I would much rather have come to these caverns in more appropriate attire.”

Cedrick cleared his throat. “I sincerely think the blue gown you picked out for our excursion makes you look the part of royalty – which is what we needed the denizens of this planet to believe if they were to let you near this specific shard.”

She glanced down at the hem of her gown, covered in mud from their trek into the cavern. The glow from the red crystal shard made the brown dirt look black – like Legion’s dark form – against her attire. With much resolve, she thrust her hands toward the rock wall and took hold of the crystal shard embedded within.

“Careful!” Cedrick snapped. “If you break that shard, the magic energy within it will kill us!”

Breata sighed. “When we get back to Endwon, will you do me a favor and grow a pair?” She grasped tightly to the shard and pulled on it. The crystal came free from the weak rock. She held it up in front of her face, feeling its warmth against her skin, and grinned. “One step closer, Cedrick. One step closer to defeating Legion once and for all.”

Cedrick chuckled. “Hardly a step toward such a lofty achievement, your majesty. This crystal shard – well, enough of them – will simply keep Legion at bay, it will do nothing to destroy Legion.”

She took the burgundy-colored pouch fastened to her wrist and slid the crystal inside it. “That in itself brings us one step closer to defeating Legion for good. Have you no sense today?”

A loud click echoed through the cavern corridors. Breata turned to Cedrick, her earlier suspicions confirmed when she saw the energy pistol in his hand, pointed directly at her. He held his other hand out toward her. “I’m sorry to do this, your majesty, but I’m going to have to insist you hand that pouch over to me.”

“Your words don’t fool me,” Breata said, placing the pouch in his palm. “You’re not sorry. I had my suspicions about you since the day you requested to accompany me to this place.”

He grinned, shoving the pouch into his coat pocket. “If you suspected me for a traitor, maybe you should have done something to prevent this.”

“I hoped my suspicion was just that. I placed my faith and trust in you.”

“And look what you get for it,” he said, slowly backing up toward the entrance of the cavern. “You get abandoned here on a desolate world outside of your own star system. I’ll make sure to inform the kingdom that their royal majesty was killed valiantly attempting to retrieve the Sols crystal before it shattered and she was killed instantly by the magic residing within.”

“That doesn’t sound rehearsed at all.”

He stopped backtracking and tilted his head. “You don’t seem that concerned in regards to your predicament, your majesty.”

“Is that what you want to see? Fear? Begging? I will give you neither. I’ll find a way off this world and I will hunt you down and make sure I get back what is rightfully the Kingdom of Edwon’s.”

“Correction, your majesty, I will make sure to give the Kingdom of Edwon’s what is rightfully theirs: judgment.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Of Dreams and Faith Cover Sneak Peek

Of Dreams and Faith will be released soon, and in anticipation of the book entering the final stages of formatting and design, I thought I'd give everyone a glimpse at the cover design.

My wife took the photograph and applied all effects, and I handled the fonts. This project has been - by far - the most challenging writing project I have ever done. Of Dreams and Faith isn't just about my pursuit of the dreams God birthed within me, it's a very candid look at certain areas of my life I would otherwise keep to myself. My hope is that this project will inspire hope and encouragement in anyone attempting to take God at His word when He compels us to chase after the impossible. 

I don't have an exact release date yet, but you can expect this book to be available for purchase both in paperback and ebook before the end of April.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #11 - Legion Theory

Legion Theory
 “It’s only a theory, Rezmalfen. I can’t base decisions on theories alone.”

Rezmalfen sighed loudly, unafraid to let Snendinky know he was supremely irritated with the man’s lack of vision. “I understand it’s only a theory, but that is what our work is based on. We are scientists.”

“No, you are a scientist, I am a religious warfare expert. There is a huge difference.”

Rezmalfen scoffed. “Give me a break, Snen, there is no difference between religion and science. Science is my religion, and religion is your science. Simple as that.”

“The Legion Theory is only a theory. I cannot instruct others to follow precepts and guidelines based on a theory alone. Especially one as weak as this.”

Rezmalfen stroked the bottom of his icicle-shaped goatee and then dashed to the giant whiteboard. Using the eraser, he swept clean the myriad of formulas and scientific equations until he had an adequate space to begin his doodle. He began by drawing a stick figure – one with a triangle dress.

“Let’s say,” Rezmalfen began, “that this person here is your mother.”

Snendinky chuckled. “You would need a much bigger triangle if that is my mother.”

“No jokes!” Rezmalfen shouted. “This is science. Do not joke about science. Now, let’s say this is your mother. And let’s say she has been inhabited by Legion.”

“Okay, let’s start with that.”

“Okay. Now,” Rezmalfen drew another stick figure, this one with an upside down triangle. Then another, with a sideways triangle, and a final one with no triangle at all. “Let’s say your mother is destroyed and/or cured of her Legion possession. Now,” he tapped the next stick figure, the one with the upside down triangle, with the dry erase marker, “let’s say you run into this individual on the street. Let’s say she looks like your mother, has the same qualities and characteristics of your mother, maybe even sounds and smells like your mother.”

“You are giving me the willies, Rez. Move on with your point.”

“Let’s say the Legion entity that once inhabited your mother scrambled to find a replacement. It’s comfort would be found in someone who closely resembles your mother, correct?”

“That makes logical sense, if we are applying logic to the things of the spiritual and/or alien world.”

“Well, that Legion entity is going to reside within this copycat of your mother, until it is destroyed or chased out somehow. Then it will move on to another incarnation of your mother.” Rez tapped the stick figure with the sideways dress. “And it will keep doing so in order to accomplish familiarity. To add to this theory, since the Legion entity is the same entity leaping from host to host, it will begin picking up the characteristics, mannerisms, and qualities of each individual – include the subtle ones that have nothing to do with your original mother – and will keep reinventing itself as it jumps from host to host. Eventually, the last host in this line that the entity takes may not be recognizable as your mother, and will instead be a modge podge of your mother’s characteristics and the characteristics of those who came after your mother.”

Snendinky turned and stared out the window on the dark street below their highrise lab.

“What are you thinking?” Rezmalfen asked.

“I wonder how many of them are out there, Rez. How many people are wandering the streets, carrying the weight of that grotesque alien species with them. I believe you, Rez. I believe your theory – our theory – but the way you just explained it stirred something within my spirit. We have to warn the President. We have to warn everyone.”

“You are wrong, my friend. If you cast this theory out there into the waters, the school of fish will turn into a mass of piranhas. Everyone will become suspicious of everyone else, and each will turn on each other. We cannot allow that to happen.”

“Then what do you think we should do about this?”

Rezmalfen shrugged. “What can we do? Our situation, my friend, is hopeless.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reflections on Of Dreams and Faith

In the next couple of weeks, I will be completing and ordering the proof copy of my non-fiction project, Of Dreams and Faith. This book is a chronicle of my own walk of faith, starting when I first fell in love with writing and ending with my arrival here in California. This has been a more emotional project than I thought it would be, because I've pretty much relived - through writing - this incredible journey God has had me on.

The crafting and completion of this book has served an important lesson to me - never forget what God has done for you. Until I sat down and connected the dots of my life, I wasn't fully aware of the incredible path God set out for me many years ago, and I wasn't fully appreciative of the incredible things God has done for me, my family, and my friends as I've walked out this path.

Of Dreams and Faith is a very personal look into my life - mistakes and successes - to give everyone a greater glimpse of who God is and what He can do with our dreams and passions. I like to think of my life as a blank sheet of paper that God wrote his story upon. Of Dreams and Faith is that story, and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

I will be announcing a release date soon, so stay tuned. I have the official page up on my website as well, which will include information as I release it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #10 - Light

After being sick for the past couple of weeks, I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. That means Flash Fiction Fridays are back, and this week's is sure to shine some light on another Black Earth survivor...

A light flickers in the distance. It is the only light I can see from the window of the Mega Dollar Store. I can’t tell what the light is exactly – a malfunctioning bulb, wild electricity, maybe even someone attempting Morse code with light? I am too afraid to venture outside of my little trinket store, cross the dark parking lot, and make my way to that light. For all I know it could be a trap.

My time here in the Mega Dollar Store began a few days ago. I ran here to escape the menagerie of evil that has infiltrated our planet. Hellhounds and Trapors and Sceens and all other matter of darkness came after me as soon as the mark on my right wrist began to glow – the three horizontal lines with the small dot in the center of the second line. Bright white light poured out of the mark, yet I have no idea where the mark came from or how my body is able to create such light naturally.

I was in the middle of scrounging for food on the outskirts of town in an abandoned grocery store. My wrist lit up in a flood of light and the shadows suddenly came alive. I ran for it, lost them – somehow – and managed to get to this dollar store. I’ve been living off cans of stale chili and flat soda since then. The light coming from my wrist allows me the ability to see in the dark, but it also draws in the darkness. I use towels sometimes – most of the time – to muffle the light.

I move from the window and make my way through the cash register stands, using my wrist light to guide the way while shielding it with my left hand. I am glad I traded out my squeaky boots for quieter tennis shoes. They are more comfortable, but less durable. I wish I could find pants, but my skirt will have to protect my legs from the cold until I am able to leave this place and move on. I know there is a mall not too far from here, but I fear what may be in that mall now that Legion has overrun the city.

I wander down the educational aisle, full of pencils, stencils, poster paper, and...yes, music books. Cheaply made, highly generic, but they may do just the same to comfort my trembling soul. There is a book here with church hymns within its flimsy pages, and I thumb through to a random page of which I am unable to read the title of the song.

I clear my throat and glance around the dark store, confirming there are no glowing blue eyes anywhere. Then I began to sing, my voice a bit raspy, but melodious just the same.

Your mercy stirs my heart to sing,
a melody I was taught in creation’s womb,
Though the stars fall to the earth, and darkness plagues the land,
Your love will remain,
The flowers of the field will sing Your praise,
and all the world will dance for You,
You, oh Lord, give me light to battle the shadows,
You, oh Lord, give me healing with the pain,
You, oh Lord, give me shelter in the storm,
Oh Lord, I live to give glory to your name!

It isn’t until I pull my face out of the music book that I am startled by the fact that the darkness which once resided with the Mega Dollar Store is gone, and in its place, the light from my wrist is able to fill the entire area with a brilliant light, as if it were daylight within the store.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sickie Blechy Blech

I really hate being sick. Rarely am I ever sick, but when I am - it's bad. I've been under the weather since last Monday, and I'm just now getting over it. Besides not feeling well, I hate being sick because my project deadlines slide backwards as I lay on the couch and watch cartoons with my son. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get done by the end of this week, but those tasks are going to have to be pushed out because of my inability to sit at my computer long enough without launching into a cough storm. 

Even though I hate being sick, I know sometimes sickness forces us to do one good thing - rest. I've been known to run myself into the ground working on projects late into the night and forgo sleep to stay one step ahead of my own schedule, but this last week has given me the opportunity (however involuntary is has been) to slow down a bit and just appreciate the fact that on a normal day when I'm not under the weather, I am able to do what I usually do - write. 

For now, I am calmly climbing the hill toward recovery from whatever evil alien invaded my body. Blech.