December Update/Christmas Traditions

posted in: Film/TV, Life, Review, Storytelling | 0


My plan is to keep the normal schedule and format for the blog this month. 
The next flash fiction for the ongoing Shoals to the Hallowed series will be released on 30 December (this also happens to be my bday so I expect high praise in the comments section. If you don’t want to give that, I accept Amazon gift cards).  The third and last newsletter of the year will be released on the 31st.  If you want to sign up for that, please do so when prompted on the website or send me your email address and I’ll add you to the list.

For the month in general (we’re half way done already!), you’ll see a lot of Christmas themed posts.  I’m a big fan of Christmas.  The season (I prefer cold to hot always), movies and music (there’s just so many good options), food and drink (nothing like carbs, coffee, and whiskey to keep me comfortable), and traditions.   It’s these last that I want to explore a little today.


I can only speak for myself and my heart goes out to those who don’t care for the Christmas season for whatever the reason. 
I understand and get it.  However, I have pretty much nothing but good memories of the weeks and days leading up to Christmas.  My family never did anything crazy or outlandish (far from the Griswold experience).  We did the tree and lights.  Maybe a few other decorations around the house.  What I remember best was going to my grandparents’ house Christmas Eve to eat dinner and exchange gifts.  My grandpa would read the Christmas story from the Book of Luke and we’d all go on our merry way (no pun intended).  Christmas morning was getting up way too early (I was one of those kids who could not sleep no matter how late I stayed up), getting into our stockings first and waiting the appropriate amount of time before waking up my parents so we could get to the good stuff.

After we made a mess of the living room, we would eat breakfast and get ready for the day.  Usually we were out the door after noon and heading to the gift exchange locations with friends and families.  Dinner was usually at my grandparents’ house again with or without other family members who came in form out of town.  We ate, played games, and had the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story playing in the background.  All in all, it was an easy traditional holiday season that I have fond memories of.

Now that I’m married, my wife and I have our own traditions that we’ve put in place and hope to carry on the rest of the way.  Our children will grow up with these and even have a part in adding to our family’s plans and activities from December to December.  Traditions are one of those things I really enjoy and Christmas allows for them to be focused and anticipated every year.

I’ll leave you with some do’s and don’ts:

Don’t spike the eggnog

Don’t stand under icicles

Don’t sit on Santa’s lap in an alleyway

Do spike your coffee

Do bundle up if it’s snowing

Do watch Christmas Vacation with a room full of friends and strangers (if you can)

Call to Action:  My hope is that you all have a great Christmas this year.  Even if past ones have not been worth remembering, I hope this one is.  Be with the ones you love.  Make sure to let them know how much you appreciate their being a part of your life.

Sunday Levity: Christmas!!!

posted in: Life, Sunday Levity | 0

Tis the season!  Ho ho ho!  Ah nuts!

It’s Sunday and you all know I put on the relax and rest machine.  Decided to share some stuff that made me laugh and hopefully it does the same for you.

I really want to do this at work…

So many great quotes from Elf.

The Santa Claus is one of those movies that I appreciate more as an adult because the jokes land better when you’re older.

One of my favorites is Scrooged.  Bill Murray at Christmas is the best.

Christmas Vacation is my favorite movie to watch and I can always watch it (though everyone else seems to be done with it and wants a longer gap between viewings.  You had eleven months!  You want more?!)

Call to Action: The season is all about being with loved ones and letting them know how much they mean to you.  Not through gifts but through time spent.  Play games, watch movies, sing carols (if that’s your thing), and enjoy it!

On This Day – 18 November 1985 – Calvin and Hobbes First Published

My first exposure to Calvin and Hobbes came when I was probably around thirteen years old at my grandparent’s house.  My grandpa had recently received or bought one of the collection books and had it on the living room table.  I picked it up and was pulled into the world of the precocious six year old and his imaginary best friend/stuffed Bengal tiger.

Suffice to say, Calvin and Hobbes will always remind of my grandpa.  I have great memories of growing up and creating outlandish scenarios with him (his imagination was just as a vast a child’s).  This coincides with my love for Calvin and Hobbes because the comic strip is more about imagination than it is about a misbehaved child.  Just peruse the examples I’ve included in my post.

As a thirteen year old (I’ll remind you I was not reading a whole lot during this time of my life), I naturally gravitated more to the pictures and art of comic strips to understand Calvin’s current escapade.  As I grew up though, I began to read beyond the more minimal scenarios and found a great intellect and wonder in the kid.  His alternate personas (Spaceman Spiff, Tracer Bullet, and Stupendous Man) exemplified my own imagination as I played with action figures and created several different characters and worlds faced with conflict (a precursor to my days of writing).
We’ve been blessed with ten years of Calvin and Hobbes by the great Bill Watterson.  I continue to revert back to the comic strip whenever I need a quick laugh.  In my mind, there is no better cartoon strip for children and you can bet my kids will be introduced to it at a young age.
Call to Action: What are your memories of Calvin and Hobbes?  I’d love to know how others first encountered the strip and how it has affected them in life.  Also, check out the great documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson,” if you can find it.  It’s a great exploration of the comic and its creator.

Sunday Levity: The Swanson Way

posted in: Film/TV, Sunday Levity | 4

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Sunday Levity post so I jumped at the chance to offer one.  There are an abundance of tv characters that I enjoy but none is quite like Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec (may it rest in peace).  Whenever I need some humor to bust away at the drudgeries that like to cling to me, all I need is some Parks and Rec.  Enjoy these small examples of the Swanson Way at work.

  

Call to Action: What are your favorite moments from the show?  Please share!

Sunday Levity: Just Relaxin’

posted in: Reading, Sunday Levity | 2


Hello all!  I’m here in beautiful Colorado surrounded by a big blue sky and the Rockies (not the team, that’s tomorrow).  Today’s a relaxing day.  After two days of driving, I am excited to be here, enjoying the weather and out of the Mojave Desert heat of hell!

I came across some things that made me laugh and wanted to share.

I’m a weirdo.  I’m OCD about very little but when it comes to book series, I want them all to be of the same cover style and even backing, which means I hate having a mixture of paper and hardback books of a series.  It’s a pet peeve.  I want them all to be the same size and design.

I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to this.  Even if I am reading a book I don’t particularly like, I have to finish it.  I will muscle through a multi-hundred page book no matter what!  Once I finish, I exhale, grab a new book from my “to read pile”, make some coffee and read.

I need this mug.  If you are a friend and want to buy me a congratulatory gift, this is it.  Nothing else.  Just.  This.  Mug.

Alright!  Hope you enjoyed the quick read today.  Be on the lookout for funny stuff like this.  I’m such a word nerd and love these kinds of things.

Sunday Levity: Pun Fun!

posted in: Sunday Levity | 2


I’d like to dedicate this Sunday Levity post to my sister-in-law.  She’s a punner.

Puns nowadays can almost seem kitsch.  Dad jokes are soaked in them yet there seems to be this continual employ of them in our water cooler circles.  Sometimes, they can be funny and unexpected.  Sometimes they are clever and earn the slow clap treatment.

Whatever your feelings towards the play on words, I hope you are having a great Sunday and surrounded by people you love and love you back.

Enjoy the video I’ve attached!  It’s punny!

Sunday Levity: What Not to Say to Writers

posted in: Sunday Levity, Writing | 2

Sorry about the smaller pic but I thought this was a great list and definitely worthy of the Sunday Levity post.

I have heard these many a times but I’ll go over my favorites and give my best sarcastic answers.

2. Must be nice not having a real job.

It really is!  I just wake up each morning at whatever time I feel like, make some coffee, watch some Netflix, eat lunch, and then if I feel like it, hash out a couple thousand words and send them off to my agent.  Then, I eat dinner and watch more Netflix and finally go to bed whenever I feel like it.  The best part is, I just let the money role in from royalties as I’m counting sheep.  Ah, the good life.

7. Can I be a character in one of your stories?

Oh, but you already are!  Trust me, you’ll be happy once you see yourself but I have to warn you, I’m not responsible for the things that happen to you.

10. You’re writing a book?  Tell me everything.

Well, you see, there’s this guy and he does this thing and this other thing happens and this guy, you know, the one I mentioned before.  Well, you see, he has to do this one thing, but that turns into this other thing, and then he finds out he did it all wrong.  So, well, you see, he has to go back and correct his mistake just he can get to the end and find true happiness.

LOL.  Honestly, I’m not this snarky in real life and probably wouldn’t answer these questions that way but I cannot help writing sarcasm.  Scathing and biting are the most colorful in the sarcasm tones.  Have a great Sunday everyone!

Sunday Levity: A Father’s Pride

posted in: Life, Sunday Levity, Uncategorized | 3

Just as I did for Mother’s Day, I’m going to give equal love to the guy who is my dad.  He’s amazing and we are very much opposites.  He’s analytical and I’m not.  He’s got dad jokes up the wazoo and I’ve got biting sarcasm that got me in all sorts of trouble as a kid.  He likes all the Transformers movies and I’m more ambivalent about them.

Where we are alike is in our creative minds.  He’s an inventor at heart, always thinking of ways to expand technology in the world.  I can’t go into details but I’m pretty sure he could create a teleportation device.  He has a wealth of knowledge that I continue to draw from to this day.  Rather than telling me to go look it up on the internet (which is my default all too often), he will do his best to show me and teach me.

I’ve learned a great deal about the sacrifices a father makes for his wife and children through my dad.  He didn’t do everything right along the way but he’s made a substantial effort in keeping relationship with my sister and I as well as adopting our respective spouses, going out of his way to make them feel part of the family.  His example helps me to look forward to when I’m a dad myself.  He’s awesome and amazing in his own right and he should be proud to be my dad.

Sunday Levity: A Mother’s Joy

posted in: Sunday Levity | 1


So today’s Mother’s Day!  I can’t say enough good things about my mom to be honest.  She’s amazing and wonderful and one of the most genuine people I’ve had the privilege to know.  Her patience with people is amazing.  We have quite a few people in our family who are capable of testing one’s patience in a few ways.  She can hang no matter the situation.

And she always had the answers to hard questions!!!

Best of all for me is that she supported from the very beginning when I told her one day back in 2003 that I started writing fantasy and had a passion to be a writer.  She might be my biggest fan yet!!!

While I was never the problem child like Calvin, I know my sister and I tested our mom’s nerves on several occasions.  She’s the best and we have a lot of memories of laughter whether joking or watching movies like What About Bob? and Ferris Bueler’s Day Off.  There has never been a time where we couldn’t talk and have great conversations.  She is the best and lucky to have me as a son.

Sunday Levity: Easters Edition

posted in: Sunday Levity, Writing | 0

I think of two things on Easter: the death and resurrection of Jesus and Nacho Libre.

Enjoy the day in however way you choose!  If you’re the type to spend all day eating glazed ham, mashed potatoes, greens and wondering why we eat the same foods for all three major food and family holidays or just like to relax, then you should appreciate those you’re with.

Call to Action: Watch Nacho Libre and leave a comment with some awesome quotes from the movie!

Sunday Levity: More Writing Rules

posted in: Sunday Levity, Writing | 0


Another worthy list with plenty of good info for writers.  I know these Sunday Levity posts are short but it’s a matter of relaxing and taking the day from a place of rest.  Enjoy and look for the next blog post on Tuesday, which will feature the latest updates for novella 1 of the Ravanguard series, “Dim the Veil”.  I cannot wait to share!

Also, it’s opening day and Go Giants!

Sunday Levity: Word Crimes

posted in: Sunday Levity, Writing | 0

Just another Sunday Levity post today, friends.  I’m a word guy all the way.  The more I learn about writing, the more fun (is that correct usage?) I have taking words and assembling them in a way that entertains and tells a story.  Being a word guy though has its downside.  I struggle with horrible usage and grammar.  We see it a lot these days in our culture and I would love nothing more than to be the word police…but…I cannot.  I told myself years ago I would never be that guy who corrects people (unless you’re Gabe).  Otherwise, it’s not my place, lol.  So, what I do instead is get a little chuckle whenever I come across some truly funny misuses.  Better than that, when I make mistakes (and yes I do it too), I laugh at myself.

So, I’ve attached a little video for you all to enjoy.

Sunday Levity: Funny Signs

posted in: Sunday Levity | 1

It’s all about laughing today!  Sundays are meant for rest and laughing.  I’m convinced of that.  Take a moment, sip some coffee if you have it and relax.  I decided that these posts on Sunday will be more lighthearted, quick and easy.  The next blog post should be up Tuesday.  I’ll be working with one of my beta readers this afternoon, going from page to page, fixing small things.  I’ll probably write a post on this in the coming days just to share the benefits of editing the book this way.  Enjoy and have an amazing day!


Doesn’t this ring true for us?!  Hahaha!


Kudos for originality!


Makes you think…


This is not me but I know people like this.  Okay…maybe it’s a little me.  Hate’s a very strong word though.  I prefer detest.


I seriously want this for when we have a house.  More because it’s funny…partly true.

Have a great day!  Read a good book!  Spend time with your loved ones!  Just enjoy life!

 

Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing Pt 1

posted in: Writing | 0

I thought it would be fun to discuss some of these and share my own methods, experiences, practices.

Let’s start with #21 first.  Listening to music is essential for me.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve listened to music and a wide range of genres over the years.  It would be somewhat embarrassing to list these phases but I will say, I try to be open to all styles, forms and expressions.  My iTunes library is a ridiculous smorgasbord of artists that drives my wife crazy.  One song is the melancholy melodies of Bon Iver and the next is thrashing guitars and drums of A Day to Remember.  We like what we like.  I gravitate towards music.  I can always listen to Cold War Kids, City and Colour and Mumford and Sons, especially when I’m writing.

#40 is next.  Be curious.  This has been my go to lately when I just need unwind.  I will often go to Wikipedia and peruse the “Did you know…” section where there’s tons of random trivia on everything from history to the arts.  Really interesting stuff to be sifted through.  I also listen to a lot of podcasts that focus on movies, sports and politics.  Every day, I seem to hear a name or term that I am unfamiliar with and research.  I love being informed about things so this definitely helps me creatively.

Last, let’s go with #5.  I try to socialize more as I get older.  I’ve never been the center of attention or wanted to be really.  I prefer smaller circles of get togethers and really build relationships one on one.  My wife and I enjoy meeting up with other couples and playing games and just talking.  So many topics are explored and we really open ourselves up to be known and get to know others.  Building relationships with others benefits creativity because to know others is to expand the mind.

Call to Action: Take a look at this list and pick some out that you want to do more.  Share if you want too!  I’d love to hear form all of you.

Sunday Levity: Laughter Prevails

posted in: Sunday Levity | 0


This short post comes from my simple sitting back and not engaging the world in its full spectrum of divisive positions.  In short, I prefer to observe from a distance for the time being and take solace in the little things that bring me laughter and joy.

I have no intention here other than being honest (very few probably actually care to know my opinion of the current social climate of the nation).  I encourage everyone to be slow to anger and simply take moments throughout your days and go to the things that make you smile.  Laugh a little.  It does the soul good.

May I suggest simply going to Pinterest and typing in “funny”.  Take a few minutes and scroll.  You’ll be glad you did!

Call to action: Even if you don’t feel like it, take my suggestion and run with it!

Sunday Levity: Today’s Topic is Sarcasm

posted in: Sunday Levity | 0

Good morning to you all!  Well, I need some levity this morning.  Life is good and I can’t complain over anything except I still haven’t taken a shower yet (I’m getting there…)
I needed to relax and laugh and here is the best way I know how.  Here are some good definitions from one of the best Christmas presents:

Burrito: A delicious way to alienate the guests at the party you will soon be attending.

Hippie: Someone God always turns into a corporate executive just to make sure we never lose our sense of irony.

Monopoly: A board game that allows family members the thrill of screwing each other over financially.

No: A word not understood by dogs, children or commissioned salespeople.

Opinionated: Knowing absolutely nothing really loudly.

If you like these few, look for the book below at your physical or online bookstore (probably have more luck at your online one though):