Archive for May, 2013


Posted: May 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s 3:29 a.m. and I just cannot sleep. I cannot get what happened today out of my head, and I have this sick, twisting feeling in my gut that won’t go away.

I don’t live in Moore now, but I did for a period of a year. My lease ended a month ago on a house just a block north of where the tornado hit.

Even though I’m alright (I live in OKC now), I can’t help but be worried sick about my friends who were in the path of the tornado. Everyone is alive, but some have faced major losses. This is cutting me deeper for that reason. I was shocked as I listened live on the radio on my way home from work, as the tornado cut a swath over familiar streets and buildings. I could not believe it hit so close to where me and my friends used to live. When I finally saw the footage, especially the schools, it was too much. I can’t imagine how the people of Moore are feeling now, because I feel sick.

Moore was my home for a year. I ran and drove down those streets, I ate at those restaurants, and going to the Warren to see a new movie was one of my favorite things to do. Seeing the city hit like it was yesterday hurt.

Everything I’m doing now with my writing seems moot in comparison, even if it’s highly important to me. I hate to think of all the lives that were lost. Just imagining that level of pain is horrible and no amount of words can wipe it away. Living in Oklahoma, the threat of tornadoes is always in the back of your mind, and is always very real. I learned that the minute I moved here from southeastern Texas, and not a spring has passed where I’ve haven’t heard the sirens.

To see the familiar landmarks in Moore either tarnished or completely uprooted feels wrong. The footage looks like the scene of an apocalypse. Even now in OKC, I can hear sirens passing my apartment.

I think when something big like this happens, it becomes overwhelming, especially the closer you are to it. I can’t help but think of the symbolism of the marquee sign on the Warren, which showed the movie titles “Into Darkness” and “Oblivion.”

I feel like that’s what happened in Moore. I hate to be so dark, but I want to be honest about this. Yes, people will rebuild and push on despite the catastrophic loss, and there are moments of heroism that give us hope, but I don’t want to understate how very bad it is. I feel so fortunate that my family and friends are alright, at least physically, even if there were some very, very close calls. For many people, that was not the case.

There is no way to put into words the horror of watching it, much more, living it. The closer you are to something, the more important it is. But Moore will be living with this awhile, maybe even decades.

There is nothing more I can say, because there are no words. This hurts.

If you are reading this, then please donate $10 to the Oklahoma Red Cross by texting “Red Cross” to 90999. A little bit goes a long way.

Inspiration Running Dry…

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Well…I hope this isn’t the case, but I just zero motivation to write today. It’s been like that for the past three days. Just a general mehness and boringness and lack of movement, which really isn’t conducive for creativity. I feel like I need to find inspiration somewhere, but right now, it’s just not happening. I could try to write, but everything would just be horrible because I wouldn’t be having fun with it.

Like millions across the world, I am reading The Great Gatsby. I read the book in high school, and if I remember correctly, I got through half of it before Wikipedia-ing the rest for the answers (Yes, they had Wikipedia in 2006). So, technically, I never finished it.

I think the only book I genuinely enjoyed in high school (that I was assigned) was 1984. As far as The Great Gatsby, A Separate Peace, among others , it was torture. Not because the books were bad, but because high schoolers are generally too young and inexperienced to truly appreciate these books. At least, I was. I guess I shouldn’t speak for others. All I know, this book is definitely not the same, a mere seven years down the road from when I first read it.

Reading Gatsby again, I can actually understand what’s going on . As a writer, I can really appreciate the way Fitzgerald makes his characters so human and real, in a way that has only been equaled by Tolstoy in my reading. Something in me tells me I will never get to that level of expression. I wonder how Fitzgerald lived and what he experienced to be able to write that way. I wonder how writing that book changed him as a person.

It’s a weird balance as a writer, between writing about life and living it at the same time. You need both, or neither will seem real. It’s all very weird, like I said.

I think when I was younger, I believed that I was capable of writing something amazing like The Great Gatsby. Now that I’m older, I’m not so sure. Not that I’m old by any stretch, but my perception on things has definitely changed a lot, especially from age 20 to 25 – some for better, some for worse. I think when you’re young you’re more willing to be bold because you don’t know any better. I think that is amazing, and I think we praise that boldness, even worship it and enshrine it. There’s something charming about it, when we see it in another person. It reminds of us of when we were young, when we thought that way.

I feel like I’m still young enough to feel like that, but I’m becoming more conscious of growing older. I think I would be if the right conditions happened in my life, I might be able to write something like The Great Gatsby. Then again, maybe that’s that youngness in me  talking. Or maybe I was meant to write more about slimy monsters and aliens, and I should be content with that.

I think I’m still trying to find my voice and the book that will bring it out. I’m at a complete loss at how to do it. It’s really weird, and really don’t know what I’m talking about. Rambling, once more.

I have nothing more than the urge to watch TV right now. I have a TV, but I have no cable, and my Blu Ray player and antenna I ordered from Amazon never arrived. They sent me a book instead, some war memoir. That’s all been straightened out, and my Blu Ray should be here on Tuesday, meaning I can watch movies and TV shows and such. And sports. I don’t know why, but I’ve had the urge to watch sports. I don’t really like sports that much (probably because I was never good at them growing up), but I think once I get ten minutes of a baseball game, the urge will go away, probably for years.

Anyway. I just bought four books online in one minute. I might have a problem.

ImageGenre: Fantasy

Author: Valerie Zambito

My thoughts: Island Shifters should appeal to fantasy fans who enjoy the tried and true good vs. evil story. The book is well-written and has a fascinating world.

The world Zambito created is rich and imaginative. Just when I thought I had things figured out, a new layer to the Island of Massa would be revealed. It was cool when she even worked some of these elements in at the end of the book (I won’t say what they are so this review can remain spoiler free). I really enjoyed the map at the beginning, which added a lot of depth and made me feel like I was taking the journey with these characters. I wish more fantasy authors would do this.

The plot is fast-paced, and there is almost always something interesting going on. The beginning is a bit slow, as it takes until chapter eight for the main action to start. But once you get there, the story is entertaining and hard to put down. There are lots of fight scenes and epic battles, and enough twists and turns to keep you occupied.

I think some of the characters, like Rogan and Airron, could have done with a bit more developing. However, there is plenty of punch that will keep fantasy readers entertained.

The book is currently free, and you wouldn’t go wrong with picking it up.


Posted: May 7, 2013 in Writing

7,714 words in. The longer I write, the more I’m convinced that this one will probably be two books. In that case, the title won’t be Extinction, but Evolution, which was alternate title I was playing around with. Extinction would be Book 4. That’s still subject to change, because maybe this won’t be as long as I thought.

I got some really cool ideas of where to go in the next 30,000 words. I really hope I can write on it this week.

Well, I have not posted in a while, so here it is. A post.

Writing wise, I’m starting book 3, Extinction, and so far I’m really liking it. Just the way the book is set up, I can jump into the action immediately. I’m about 4,000 words in, and if the stars align, I’ll be setting pretty at 10,000 by the end of Sunday. I’m hoping to get into a good flow.

I’m pretty excited about this one. It’s going to be long, I can feel it. The characters have a lot of things to do, and they are not easy things. I would not be surprised at all if this one clocks in at 70,000 words or more.

This book will be very different from either Apocalypse or Origins. One, there will not be as many monsters. Or at least, I don’t think there will be. Actually…yes. There will be monsters, because monsters are cool. Scratch the entire beginning of this paragraph.

In this one, all the world building that’s been alluded to in previous books will come out in full force. The characters will be traveling to all the places mentioned, like the Empire, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. I’m very excited to explore not just these areas, but also the people that inhabit them. From Book 1 to Book 2, the world of the Wasteland expanded. Book 3 will be the same, and in fact the characters will spend the majority of their time outside the Wasteland. The pace will be a bit slower. Slower might not be the right word. Maybe thicker? I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

Kind of like Book 2, Book 3 will very much be a Point A to Point B to Point C quest-type of book. Quest books are fun (think Lord of the Rings), but they can suffer predictability, because you know exactly where the characters will end up on the different legs of their journey. Hopefully I can find some way to mix it up…and just now writing this, it’s jogged my brain into thinking of the solution that creates more problems. Problems=good, as far as storytelling goes.

There will still be plenty of action – that’s sort of what Books 1 and 2 are about. But I’m not going to allow myself to rush too much. I think Book 3 is where The Wasteland Chronicles will finally find its heart, somehow. I’m not outlining anything, but am just going along with what’s in my head currently, hoping that I can surprise myself along the way.

In fact, outside of what I’ve written down just now, I don’t know much about Book 3. I have a feeling it could be the best one yet, and it is possible the scope of it might force a splitting into two books. Hopefully, I don’t have to do that, as it would mean my five book series would now be a six books series. But there’s something about the number six that does seem right for how long a series is…and that would give me a chance to use my alternate title for Book 4, and in that case Book 5 would take Book 4’s current title. Sorry if that was confusing.

Actually maybe I should do six books now…or not? I don’t know. We’ll see how long this one is, and if there is a logical place to split up the two. Definitely if it creeps up to 80,000 words, I’ll want to split it in half, which means the next time I release a book, I would probably be releasing two at the same time.

Actually, now that I mention that, I really, really like that idea. Hopefully it works out, or maybe that’s just the coffee talking.

I know for sure that I will not be releasing a 90,000 word novel. I want to keep each installment short, between 40 to 60 thousand words, because I like the episodic nature of the books. I think novellas work really well on Kindle.