Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Become a ZomBee Hunter

ZomBee on roids? Maybe. Maybe so.

During the height of my procrastination yesterday, I discovered ZOMBEES!

According to a study, Zombie Flies infect bees with a virus that causes the bees to exhibit "zombie-like behavior." The halmark characteristic of the ZomBee is the abandonment of its hive at night. If I'm reading the study correctly, the ZomBee then becomes accutely attracted to nearby light where it then becomes stranded and dies.

Sounds like a zombie virus to me.

I think I'll become a hunter of these ZomBees.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Homes For Your Zombie Apocalypse

Living is hard to do. Dying? Well, that can be harder, especially when it means having zombies gnoshing on your grey matter bits. has put together 16 of the best houses to help you survive a zombie apocalypse. These places can get a little pricey, so I would suggest befriending the owners now while there is still time. That way, when all hell breaks loose and the dead break for lunch, you can have a posh place to stay while you wait out the rotting meat bags that want your head on a platter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Journey to Publication - The Road So Far

"Hey, isn't this a writer's blog? Where are the links to the books he has written, hmmm?" you may ask yourself.

In answer, let me just say that I'm working on it. A lot.

I've written many stories, scribbled loads of ideas, and hiccup-started numerous novels. I've even made it to the end of a couple. I've taken breaks to focus on education and family, but book ideas have always kicked at my brain stem during those brief interludes. Problem is, I've never submitted any of my novel work for an agent to consider. Until now.

The urban fantasy novel I just completed clicks with me. I bled all over the pages to make it so. It also has the potential to extend its life beyond one novel.
So, again, I'm working on it.

I'm excited to hear back from the agent who requested my first three chapters and my ideas for books 2 and 3 in this series. For now, my hopes remain high.

Back to work on book 2.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Soul for Sale...on eBay

Ah, the price of a soul. How much do you value yours? This woman values hers at just around $2,000.

In my new book, my MC is in a line of work that puts him in the crosshairs of demonic fiends who would be happy to have a willing soul for that price. Hell, they'd pay double. It's a small bit of coin to pay for an eternal soul.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free Your Mind With An Outline

Writing is hard. There, that's out of the way. This isn't going to be a post about a writer's struggle. It's a post about making your writing easier.

Free your mind, and the book will follow. How do you do that? With an outline, of course.

Some may argue just the opposite. Pantsers (those who shun outlining) posit that having an outline takes the writer's freedom away and restrains creativity. To that, I say, "Pffft." Creativity is in the outlining process. There have been countless times that I've had a whopper of an idea but decided to write it out instead of outlining. It usually ended up DOA. That's how many of my novels have started and died. Bless their hearts.

With an outline, I can be as creative as I want to be in short phrases. In the outline itself, several words describe a scene. Boom! Scene finished. Once the outline is complete, it becomes a living thing, changing to accomodate my fluctuating intentions as I write within the creative structure that I've imagined in the outline.

This isn't meant to be disparaging to the pantsers out there. If you're successful with no outline, go for it. Write your pants off. Do what you do. For someone like me whose closeted skeletons exist alongside the dessicated corpses of so many novels, an outline has been the jaws of life, extracting novels one happy accident at a time.

Plot outlines, however, don't occur in nature. You create them. The trick is finding which one best suits your needs. Some may use the tried-and-true I, II, III, etc. method, which reminds me too much of high school. Others use bullet points or spreadsheets. The spreadsheet method is intense but effective.

I prefer something that is efficient and fun to use at the same time. I've found that the FreeMind software program works best for me. (It's free!) It's mindmapping software that allows me to start out using thought clouds that have no real structure. That's how I brainstorm. But, when I'm ready, I can format my thoughts to use as an outline using FreeMind.

I start with a large circle in the center, which is usually the working title of my novel. On the left hand side goes the Plot Summary, Major Characters, Minor Characters, Concepts, and Places bubbles. To the right are chapter bubbles. Each bubble branches out however you want. For example, I break each Chapter bubble down to scenes and then down further into micro-scenes. On the left, the Character bubble is broken down into a branch for each character. Each character, then, has branches for important character information.

The best part about using the FreeMind software is that I get to take it with me. When I'm at home, I upload my FreeMind file into Dropbox, which I also have installed on my smart phone. On my Android phone, I use Thinking Space Pro (now called Mindjet). That allows me to access my FreeMind outline from my phone. So, if I have an idea that needs to go into my outline, a couple of screen taps is all it takes.

Do any of you have ideas to make novel outlining less complicated? Please leave me a comment below and let me know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mind Blown: Writers League of Texas Agents Conference

I walked into the Hyatt with trepidation. I knew no one that was to attend the agents conference. The revelations came at me fast, though. Most everyone there had the same or similar misgivings about themselves, their work, and how their pitches would hold up to an agent's scrutiny. It made me feel better knowing that I wasn't alone. That lasted until the conference volunteer called me into the pitch room. The fear returned.

I didn't need to worry, though. The pitch session was fantastic. I met with an awesome agent with a great personality. She expressed genuine interest in my ideas.

Now comes the hard part. I need to spit-shine the sample chapters and construct a pristine synopsis.

If anyone out there is currently repped or looking for an agent and you have some advice, please leave a comment with your best suggestions.

Here we go.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flash Fiction: "Home Again"

They’ve come back to me.
Shane and Amanda stood silent, staring hard at the chipping paint that I could scarcely say was white anymore. If I had known they were coming, I would have demanded a fresh coat. When I saw them last, adulthood hadn’t yet shoved its unfeeling spikes into their carefree innocence.
And now they’re home.
Their faces told me why.
But what could I have done?
I wanted to move. I tried. If I could have nestled myself deeper into the evening’s darkness to comfort those pain-riddled glares, I would have.
            Twinkling tears blazed paths down their faces and shook me to my foundation. I only wanted to open my door to them, to shelter them. Like before.   
            “This is the end of it, Amanda,” Shane said in a small voice. He didn’t look at his little sister as he spoke. His eyes never strayed from me.
            Amanda gave a short snuffle and wiped her eyes bitterly. “It only took us sixteen years.” She kicked at something metallic in the uncut grass and weeds.
            “I guess we had to work up the nerve.”
            If they had come to me sooner, things might have been different. They won’t listen to me now. They’ve made up their minds.
            “Those kids. The things Dad did here – “
            “Stop it,” Shane said, looking at Amanda for the first time since they arrived. “Don’t mention his name. It stays dead with him.” He held her pale hands in his. “We all got it from him. It’s a pimpled memory that needs to be popped.”
            They blame me. And why not? I’m the last thing standing in their way to freedom. I watched and did nothing. Dammit! I’m as guilty as he is. The things I saw. I wish I had done more.
            Shane reached down and came back up holding a sizzling red canister.
            “You know, Shane, before all this happened, I liked living in this house, the C.L.R.”
            “Yeah, we were the California Lunch Room kids. Everyone wanted to be our friend because it meant free candy from…him,” Shane said, ending the sentence with a grimace.
            He twisted the metal lid.
            The sharp smell of gasoline blitzed the air. Their intentions were clear. All these years, I’ve been racing to this point.
            Hand in hand, the two siblings approached and doused my face and body with liquid death. Like when they were children, I did nothing but watch.
            I didn’t think Amanda would be the one to strike the match. Yet, she did.
            And the fire climbed me like so many imps.
            I’m sorry! He was your father. I never imagined…Please, come home!
            Yellow ribbons popped and spat their razing anger. Those were the sounds of Finish. They were the sounds of End.
            Shane put his arm around Amanda’s shoulders and guided her to the sidewalk. They were kids again.
            I watched them walk until the sirens came.
I watched until the fire set us free.


I enjoy creating stories from photographic prompts. They really are worth a thousand words (this in spite of the fact that the above story is just under 500). Are there any works of art that have inspired you to write something?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Man with a Pipe and a Fiat

On my commute to work yesterday, I saw a small man in a smiling new Fiat. I knew the man was small. He was in a Fiat, after all.

He looked to be in his late 20s. When I saw his eyes, they were half-lidded and relaxed. He could have been driving through the countryside on a Sunday instead of the Interstate during afternoon rush hour.

Perhaps most interesting of all, he was smoking a long, wooden pipe. Even from my vehicle, I could see the pipe flash its careful gloss.

The man leaned back in his seat and puffed. And puffed. Garfield eyes.

He strolled through the Land of Contentedness.

I wanted to be there, too.

Have any of you seen something interesting during your commute or other daily drudgery that just made you think?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not Telling But Showing: Emotion in Writing

Emotions are complex. They're Rorschach tests on people's faces. But conveying them through writing? That's harder. Much harder.

Take the following for example:

Jasper's birthday had arrived. Kayla and Simon were overjoyed, having never given up hope that their father would make it to this day. They hugged him tight and told him they were proud. His grandson brought in the birthday cake. Jasper grinned from ear to ear. He was alive. His family loved him. He beat cancer. Everything was perfect.

We could do that. It's easy. It's simple.

It's also cheating. And lazy.

How do I know? I did it. I do it. The first draft of my novel was riddled with simplistic emotional responses to external stimuli. Worse, I repeated the same images with the same characters. Over and over and over.

With few exceptions, fiction writers are called upon to show and not tell each emotion. Some of the tools we use to do this are dialog, setting, and descriptive action.

Let's revisit Jasper and his birthday cake:

Jasper's birthday had finally arrived. The other 364 days didn't matter. This one did.

In the small kitchen, the refrigerator hummed. The clock ticked. The other sounds slept. Still, the air buzzed. Kayla and Simon wrapped their arms around their father, squeezing their eyes shut. They transferred all their memories, all their life into the elderly man. 

Jasper never thought this day would happen. His doctors didn't either. But Kayla and Simon planned it anyway.

Seventy-five years old. The pancreatic cancer would take Jasper before this day, his oncologist had warned. Jasper proved her wrong.

A small boy shuffled into the room, biting his lip, and moving in slow jerks. He carried a perfectly shaped cloud of icing and delicate pastry. A candle-created bonfire illuminated the words "Only The Strong Survive."

Jasper didn't count the candles. He didn't need to.

"Happy birthday, Pop-Pop," the boy said after he set the cake down on the table.

"You did it, Dad," Kayla said, gripping his shoulder.

"We knew you would," Simon added.

After they all sang "Happy Birthday," Jasper lifted his fork with a steady hand. A strong hand. That first bite, that one chunk of bliss, came with sugar-infused victory.

Okay. We could find better tweaks. I'm sure you get the picture, though. Setting, dialog, and descriptive action will do a better job than simply telling readers what characters are feeling.

In this vein of showing and not telling, I'll bring up a new writer's reference that I've found helpful.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have put together a wonderful writer's reference entitled The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression. What makes it so fantastic is that it not only helps describe emotions in a compelling way, but writers like myself can use this book as a tool to show emotions without merely telling readers what the emotion is. It helps avoid descriptive repetition as well. It's great during the first draft of a novel, especially when we are more prone to keep writing as opposed to mining our brains for that perfect turn of phrase. As a result, the rewrite is less taxing.

The book's table of contents easily identifies the desired emotion and then takes the reader to the relevant section. The authors intelligently divide each section into different categories that demonstrate different methods of conveying an emotion. For example, after locating "Sadness" in the Table of Contents, the reader is directed to the appropriate section where the emotion is defined and then separated into the following categories: Physical Signals, Internal Sensations, Mental Responses, and Cues of Acute or Long-Term Sadness. Each category then lists numerous examples. If the emotion is one that can escalate into another emotion, that's indicated as well. The authors also include helpful writer's tips to lend a bit more verisimilitude to a character's emotions.

If you've found other great writer's references, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear about what's out there.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hysterical Miracle Friday

Supernatural. Paranormal. Angels. Demons. Possession.

It doesn't always have to be doom and gloom around here. So, for some Friday entertainment, please let me introduce Hysterical Miracle Friday.

What's so funny, Buddha?          by Lavoview

A pole dancer with soul; seven or eight of them.

Here's a paranormal treat to get the blood pumping and the heart racing. According to Wendy Reardon, a pole dancing instructor at the Gypsy Rose in Boston, her dance studio is haunted by seven to eight ghosts. She has even gone so far as to name some of them who she claims come in different shapes and sizes. There's Bullet who, appropriately enough, looks like a bullet. There's Blinky. He blinks in and out of sight. What else are you going to name him? There's Thriller, too. He made an appearance when Wendy danced to the song of the same name. Could it be the King of Pop?

It seems a little unfair that Bullet, Blinky, and the rest of the gang get free dance lessons, though.

Get tested...for Demonic Possession?

Ever thought standardized tests were evil? Well, here's proof that they're at least second cousins. Head over to Bob Larson's website and take the 21 question challenge to determine how likely you are to be possessed by a demon. The catch? It's gonna cost you $9.95! Doh! Fella's gotta eat, right?

Rev. Bob Larson is a modern day Van Helsing. He's a demon fighter and exorcist who claims to have come into more contact with demons than anyone alive. His newest claim is that Jezebel is attacking him with ferocity.

Ohhh, noes! Not ferocity!

Larson claims that Jezebel has launched a series of personal attacks. She's out to destroy him. But, you can help, according to his website. Just donate $5,000, $1,000, $500, $200, $100 or whatever you can to aid this holy warrior. Stop Jezebel's ferocity! Throw some green his way and then, "Poof!" she's gone.

Oh, check out this news report covering Larson and his work. It's a hoot!

If you have any of your own Hysterical Miracles to share, please do in the comments below.

Happy Hysterical Miracle Friday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Passive Voice: Break its freaking neck!

I'm not a writing authority. Far from it.

This post and future ones like it shouldn't be taken as Scribbler Dogma. What follows are hellish potholes in my own writing that I managed to fill during edits. If it helps anyone in their own work, then, "Yay," I say. If all it serves to do is provide a Laurel and Hardy-esque view into my writing world, then may the pianos fall and the laughs commence.

Bad writing becomes famous meme. So, there's hope?

For mortal writers, especially new ones, bad writing is probably inevitable at the early stages. For example, seven aborted novels reside in my desk. They're souvenirs of a guilty conscience. My inner critic has choked the life out of them.

Why? I reread the word jumbles that tumble out of my head. Masochism at its finest.

What my inner critic sees is a comical buffet of crapola. He's merciless with his jibes and taunts. The budding novel then takes an unceremonious trip to the vault of dead prose. It still lays buried there with the hopes and dreams of similar would-be novels, fallen brothers in arms. (By the way, I murdered my inner critic. That's right.)

So, what was it that turned on my inner critic's megaphone? Passive voice.

"We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice-that is, until we have stopped saying 'It got lost,' and say, 'I lost it.'" - Sydney Harris

If you're a proficient writer or grammarian, good for you, you can spot the slothful word vomit that is passive voice. To you, it'll stick out like a priest in a strip club. To the rest of us, well, we have to hear it, develop an ear for it.

We can notice the sound, because it's not all that different than a slap in the face.

Here's an example of toilet-bowl writing:

"The first to light up was the limestone lamp next to the bench closest to me. The light was dim at first."

Ugh! There are three big problems with these two sentences: 1) Passive voice in the first sentence; 2) repetition of the word "light"; and 3) there are two sentences when one will do. So, here is how I changed it:

"The limestone lamp next to me pulsed a dim glow."

Is it perfect? Heck no. But it sounds much better than it did before. You'll also notice I squashed the word "light" altogether. Repetition is bad, mmmm-kay?

As I discover more writing gems, I'll share them here. If you laugh, then, "Score!" You've just been entertained.

Have you noticed bad writing in your work? Please feel free to provide tips and tricks to better writing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Deus ex Star Wars?

Happy Star Wars Day!

So, in honor of this happy day, religious themes in Star Wars, anyone?

Darth Vader is a variation of Dark Father. Coincidence? Luke's last name is Skywalker. Fluke? Darth Vader was once a well-intentioned Jedi that fell from grace. Happy accident?

You decide.

Here are a few similarities to religion that make us think:

Christianity - As in many stories (The Matrix comes to mind) the main character, Luke Skywalker, is propped up as a Jesus figure, a messiah, that is destined to save the world. He begins as a humble farmer  that, because of circumstances beyond his control, is launched into a series of events that lead to his destiny.

Like Jesus, the Dark Side tempts Luke. Vader wants him to join the Dark Side, promising immense power in return. It's the Temptation of Luke.

There are mountains of Christian connections in the movies that I won't get into here. They've been done to death. Below are some lesser-known similarities.

Judaism -  During the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Jews waive the lulav, a long and straight palm branch. It symbolizes the unity of the Jews. There is a correlation there to the light saber, which is symbolic of the unity of the Jedi. It's interesting to note that lulav storage involves fitting two plastic cones together over the lulav, making it look like a light saber. Although, I wouldn't count on it to sever a hand.

Also, according to Ben Kenobi, "the force surrounds us, and penetrates us, and binds the galaxy." This is reminiscent of the lulav song "Hashem is Here":
Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere.
Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere.
Up, up, down, down, right, left and all around, here, there and everywhere,
that’s where he can be found.

Scraps: Yoda is hebrew for "the one who knows." The name Chewbacca sounds an awful lot like the Hebrew ts'va-chah, which means to scream or growl. I think Chewy did a lot of that, no? Finally, didn't we all think "Bar Mitzvah!" when C3PO was hoisted into the air on a chair while the Ewoks held him captive?

Zen Buddhism - Alright, so Kenobi's description of the Force also applies to Buddhism. And, yes, many of these themes can fit nicely into several religions. Force push me, why don't you?

Probably the two most notable aspects of Buddhism in Star Wars are the concepts of the Force and a Jedi's lack of attachments. In Buddhist teachings, attachments lead to wanting, which leads to suffering when those wants are not fulfilled (Which leads to the Dark Side?). Same goes for Jedi. Padme asked Anakin if Jedi are allowed to love. Anakin said that such attachments were verboten. Okay, he didn't use that word, but we know he meant it. What he did say was, attachment and possession are forbidden and that compassion was central to a Jedi's life. In other words, no big screen televisions for Jedis. You'll have to get your soap opera fix elsewhere, Yoda. Another example of no attachments is seen at Yoda's place. I mean, come on, that place was a hovel, right?

Buddhists also teach compassion. One cannot obtain true elightenment without it. In Star Wars, Luke's decision to take his father's mask off instead of slicing and dicing is the ultimate example of compassion found in the movie. Dare we say, it is the most memorable moment of all the movies.

Scraps: Padme means "lotus" in the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum."

There are plenty of other religions that have their holy fingers in the Star Wars pie. Taoism (Yin and Yang) and Zoroastrianism (duality of Good vs Evil) are two others.
George Lucas himself has stated in numerous interviews that he pulls themes and concepts from various religions.

What other religions can you spot? What are the themes?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Religion Awesomeness: Sikhism

I'm fascinated with religions of the world. They provide some of the most in-depth glances into the human condition. They are filled with magic, conflict, evil, murder, hope, and mysticism: all components that make up a good story. There's no getting around it. That's just the way it is. You don't have to believe in a religion to find it interesting.

From time to time, I'll post about certain religions that have caught my attention. In my writing, I take elements of religion and incorporate them into my stories to add a sliver of reality while maintaining the integrity of the more fantastic elements.

So, for today's post: Sikhism.

The Khanda is the Sikh universal symbol.

Sikhism originated in India roughly 500 years ago. For a religion, it's a youngster. In that short amount of time, however, it has become the fifth largest religion in the world. With over 20 million Sikhs worldwide, it's a powerhouse. That's a boatload of people all focusing their faith on the same set of standards and beliefs. (See how this relates to my Novel Concept in my previous post on faith.)

Without going into too much detail, Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that holds everyone as equals. Also, it's a religion that teaches religious freedom. Everyone is free to find their own path to God.

The Sikh Kirpan is of particular interest to me.

Sikh Kirpan

The Kirpan is usually a hooked blade ranging in 5 inches to 3 feet in length. It is one of the five articles of faith that baptised Sikhs are supposed to have on them at all times. The Kirpan is special because of what it symbolizes: readiness to protect the weak and defend against injustice. It's a tangible representation of the Sikh's warrior spirit. Unless the Kirpan is being used to help others, it's to remain sheathed.

I've enjoyed learning about this religion so much that the Kirpan and other references have found their way into a novel I'm working on.There are many more inspiring elements to this religion and its system of beliefs that I can't possibly do it justice in a blog post.

Are there any religions or specific religious beliefs that you have found fascinating? Please leave a comment and let me know. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Those Dastardly Sins

Sins, like chickens, come home to roost. - Charles W. Chesnutt

An allegorical representation of teh Seven Deadly Sins

Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Lust. Pride. Gluttony.

Like many of you, the Seven Deadly Sins have nested in an area of my brain reserved for topics of interest. For some reason, they've acquired a meme status in pop culture that mainstream media has perpetuated. For me, it started with the movie Se7en and Morgan Freeman. I leave Brad Pitt out of that equation. His character was a bit of a goober.

And so am I. I usually shy away from characters too much like myself.

According to common thought, Christians used Those Dastardly Sins as tools for teaching appropriate thoughts and actions. Ask just about anyone what the sins are and most of them will rattle off a few. They'll also know what they mean. There are some other curious pieces of information about those evil thoughts and deeds that are not widely known.

According to George Tsakiridis's book, Evagrius Ponticus and Cognitive Science: A Look at Moral Evil and the Thoughts (see it here), Evagrius Ponticus, a Christian monk born around 345 CE, codified an original list of eight sins: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, sadness, acedia, vainglory, and pride.

"What?" you ask. "Eight?"

Yes. Eight.

In about 590 CE, Pope Gregory I whittled those evil little suckers down to seven, combining acedia and sadness into sloth, vainglory moved in with pride and became Mr. and Mrs. Pride, and the green, little monster envy moved into town. Thus, we have the seven deadly sins.

Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

In future posts, I'll write a bit about each of the sins and how each one was matched with a particular demonic baddie.

Those silly little demons. Always up to their shenanigans.

If you want to comment, feel free. Let me know what your favorite quote or moment is in the movie Se7en.

I've got mine:

John Doe: "Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing Pangs: Schedules

"I'm gonna do it."

No, you're not. The television beckons. Besides, it's HD.

"Okay. Real Housewives is over. Now, it's word slingin' time."

Wrong again, Writer. You've been neglecting your video games. That princess isn't in the business of saving herself. And don't fool yourself into thinking you're almost finished. She's in another castle.

"Done. She didn't even say thanks. Time to write."

Nope. Your son has a ball. Time to play.

"Finally. Kid is in bed, asleep. I think I'll head there myself. Tomorrow will be better."

Keep telling yourself that, Mr. Draft Jockey.

Maintaining a writing schedule isn't easy. It's frought with obstacles. Real Life comes rumbling in. It stomps on my writing and makes a litterbox of my notes and ideas, mocking me with its urgency to be addressed. When Big Resposibilities come calling, the ol' writing schedule is the first to get axed.

Because people are depending on me. Real Life needs me. I'm a grown-up, after all. Whether I like it or not, I've been drafted.

Unless I fight back.

Real Life has whipped me with its cat o' nine tails. It has pierced me with guilt. But I'm still writing.

How have I managed so far? I've made writing more important than my Dumb Time. Mindless television? Gone. Video games? Bye-bye. My son still gets playtime with Dad, though. It's about prioritization. It's about adjustment. I don't know exactly how other writers do it. I don't pretend to. I've read a bajillion books on writing over the years and no advice has given me that epiphanic episode of pure understanding.

I just sit down and face-off with a blank screen. I pray the words out. I will them to appear.

And then they do.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Novel Concept: Faith Binds Us All

First, let's get this out of the way. This isn't an advertisement for religion. It isn't a testimonial. It's not a sermon. It's an observation of faith and how it applies to my Big Idea.

Faith is one of the few things that connects everyone in some small way. It's a charged word that causes most who hear it to think of religion. But it's not about religion. It's bigger than any such institution. It transcends. It's secular and religious.

I have faith, for example, that my car will start each morning. It's a small example, but the point remains. We put our faith in many things. On rare ocassions we have faith in each other. If we're lucky, we have faith in ourselves. We all demonstrate a little faith in just about everything we do.

But what if to "put faith in" something is more than just a turn of phrase? What if it's more literal than that? And, if literal, what is faith exactly and where is it stored? To answer that, tear away the material, irrelevant trappings of faith and you'll discover the truth.

Faith is energy. It's power.

When focused, it's stored in objects and symbols connected to ideas. This power is demonstrated regularly, but we often choose to ignore it.  It's not uncommon, for example, to feel a short burst of moxie and vigor when people put their faith in you. Also, zealous fans supply athletes with strength and determination through devotion and admiration. The difference between the two examples is the number of people involved. The larger the pool of faithful, the more power is transferred. Now, imagine the same idea as applied to a religion. Hundreds of thousands of people putting faith in one idea. As an amorphous concept, that steady stream of energy is stored in the things closest to the religion: its symbols. A Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David, the Sikh Kirpan, and even the Egyptian Eye of Horus all contain stores of energy. In that context, there is indeed power in symbolism.

If a small, select group of people could harness and use that faith like any other form of energy, what kind of dominance would those few have over darkness?

Would you be afraid ?

Or would you join in the fight?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Writer in a Straightjacket

Screwy and unhinged.
That's me.

Since I penned my first short story many moons ago, I've slowly driven myself tongue-chewing loco trying to get my name on the cover of my very own novel.

So, I've taken my word slinging to the next level. Or, at least I like to think it's the next level.

It begins with a blog. (It began well before this, but I can pretend.)

From this point, I'm at the starting line, itching to get moving. I'm a marathoner. (But not the running kind. That's just insanity.) This blog will serve as a trough of thoughts and ideas that shove their way into my head. I'll continue posting as I slog through the muck, making my way to the Other Side where a polished urban fantasy novel exists. With a little luck (and a tub of coffee), the concept will develop into a series. As I blog, I'll toss out writing snippets, interesting research discoveries, and, eventually, sample chapters. The occasional off-topic post will likely rear its digital head, too.

I hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I do writing it.