Countdown to 500 (#2)

This is post 496. The anticipation is palpable.

Have some cake.

 

It’s early. Have a cuppa.

 

Let’s turn on some tunes.

Not just any tunes…

If you google for Top 500 songs, the 500th song will vary based on who published the article. So, just for fun, today we are going to listen to the songs considered the 500th greatest song of all time.

A little s.o.u.l system will get us started right:

According to Rolling Stone, this is the 500th greatest song of all time.

Hello, Smokey!

In the 500th slot of country’s greatest is this:

Did you know I have over 500 songs on my playlist? The good news is that I haven’t downloaded anything in about a month, so I was able to count backwards on my “recently added” list to find the 500th song on my phone’s music player…

Are you up and moving yet? This is a party!! Everyone needs to hit the dance floor!

A movie from 2009 fits today’s 500 theme. Any guesses before the big reveal?

It’s called the 500 Days of Summer and if you click the link, you can listen to the FULL album, but for our purposes here, I chose just 1 song from the soundtrack to share with you this morning…

And to finish off this eclectic list of 500, I give you my favorite 500 song of all. In fact, I love this song so much, I had my wedding party walk down the aisle to it…

Now that you’ve got some cake, a cuppa, and some tunes to start your day, it’s time to talk about the big giveaway! If you missed yesterday’s post, click here so you can get in an extra entry!

Here’s what you can win:

Til Death 2 christmasnew

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover? And I’ve heard that the words on the pages beneath this gorgeous cover are just as delish! You need a copy of this book gracing your bookshelf-real or virtual.

1 lucky commenter will win a signed paperback copy and 5 lucky commenters will win a copy of the ebook.

Yes, you read that right. Six (6) lucky My Write Side fans will win a copy of my debut story. If you’ve ever wondered what a rejected engagement ring does to gain acceptance, you need wonder no more. This book follows a fascinating chain of events that will horrify you even as you find yourself rooting for the ring to come full circle.

And it can be YOURS, just by doing this one simple thing. Comment, comment, comment. There will be a total of five (5) posts this week. You have four chances to comment. The more you comment, the greater your chances to win! On the 5th day, the 500th post, I will announce the 6 lucky winners.

So please, take a moment and say “hi,” and have a piece of cake. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow, when I share more fun 500s!!

Thanks for coming by!

Countdown to 500 (#1)

A couple of months ago, as I posted something new, the number at the top caught my eye. Once I realized how near my 500th post I was, I knew we had to celebrate.

And today, with this 495th post, we begin our celebration of 500s.

And a giveaway.

Who’d like a free SIGNED copy of my novelette, Til Death Do Us Part?

Who’d like to win 1 of 5 ebook copies of Til Death Do Us Part? That’s right I said 5! And you can enter to win both because sharing is fun.

But more on the giveaway at the end of the post….

Step into my time machine and let’s travel back in time. Very far back in time, to the year 500 BC.

First stop is Europe…

(borrowed from Wikipedia)

Most notable there is the fact about language, because what is writing, if not language? I suppose this is proof that since the beginning of time, man has been trying to control language. Do you ever see it happening? Do you ever think we will have one world language?

I’ll tell you what I think. Here in America, learning another language is a required part of high school (and college) graduation. Is it possible that we will have a one world language? I do. Look how prevalent the English language already is around the globe.

Ok, let’s hope back in. Push those shiny silver buttons over there and turn that big silver knob to Africa…

Not much to say about Africa. Perhaps they build quietly. Let’s move along, with a spin of that dial and go to…

Asia! Here’s what’s happening when we open the time machine door…

Do you think the people of India celebrated their new republic? How do you think they did that? With cake? Hmmm…cake. We need some cake.

 

 

Ohhh, nom nom.

Ok, back into the time machine.  Let’s go see what that “Mesoamerica” is all about…

  • The oldest known Zapotec writing appears (approximate date).
  • The Olmecs establish Monte Albán, the sacred city, and continue building pyramids. Founded toward the end of the Middle Formative period at around 500 BC, by the Terminal Formative (ca.100 BC-AD 200) Monte Albán soon becomes the capital of a large-scale expansionist polity that dominates much of the Oaxacan highlands and interacts with other Mesoamerican regional states, such as Teotihuacan to the north (Paddock 1983; Marcus 1983).

Wait. What was the first bulletin again? oh, right! WRITING!! I wonder what Zapotec writing is?

We complain about how writing is hard today? Imagine filling THAT blank page!

And, did you know that even in 500 BC the world was already getting crowded?  That’s right. By 500 BC, there were already 100,000,000 people!

Now that you’ve had a bit of a history lesson, I bet you want to know more about the giveaway, don’t you?

Here’s what you can win:

Til Death 2 christmasnew

 

Isn’t that a gorgeous cover? And I’ve heard that the words on the pages beneath this gorgeous cover are just as delish! You need a copy of this book gracing your bookshelf-real or virtual.

1 lucky commenter will win a signed paperback copy and 5 lucky commenters will win a copy of the ebook.

Yes, you read that right. Six (6) lucky My Write Side fans will win a copy of my debut story. If you’ve ever wondered what a rejected engagement ring does to gain acceptance, you need wonder no more. This book follows a fascinating chain of events that will horrify you even as you find yourself rooting for the ring to come full circle.

And it can be YOURS, just by doing this one simple thing. Comment, comment, comment. There will be a total of five (5) posts this week. You have four chances to comment. The more you comment, the greater your chances to win! On the 5th day, the 500th post, I will announce the 6 lucky winners.

So please, take a moment and say “hi,” and have a piece of cake. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow, where I share some of my favorite “500” songs!!

Thanks for coming by!

 

Wednesday Writers Wisdom: Being D. John Watson

Today’s post is an interview with author D. John Watson, whom I met through a page on Facebook caller Master Koda. I’m proud to be a part of the MK community for many reasons, one being that I’ve met so many fantastic authors like this.

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1. How long have you been writing?

DJW: Actually it seems like I’ve always been writing but realistically, since high school really.  So yeah forever.

2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

DJW: I like science fiction and fantasy but I find enough elements in history, and current political events to give it a more real world feel.  Some of my work could easily happen now despite the time it’s set in.

3. Why did you choose that particular field or genre?

DJW: I like the endless possibilities of both, there is no right or wrong, whether I‘m using political intrigue ala JFK or modeling a society on a blend of ancient Asian cultures.

4. What inspires you?

DJW: In general?  People.  But it’s more than that, it’s people who defy the limits others impose on them because of stereotyping or some form of physical/mental challenge.  I hate the word handicapped, that word should only be used on a golf course.  As a former MA Instructor, I worked with all kinds of student, of differing backgrounds and abilities but the ones  that inspired me most were the ones who never let their challenges get in the way, who worked  harder than the rest and succeeded.

5. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?

DJW:  I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember.  I would go to the library and take out the limit and bring them back a couple weeks later.  My writing stemmed from that but it also stepped from my own artistic talent and the need to tell the story behind the picture I’d drawn.

6. How do you find or make time to write?

DJW: It’s not always easy, what with family and work, but I try and stick to a routine when I’m not working, which for me is best in the morning.

7.Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

DJW: It’s more a visual thing for me.  It really is different from book to book but for my first work, a trilogy called the Chronicles of Irindia, it started as a series of sketches I drew.  Eventually, the need to tell the story took over.   Other times, I just let the story unfold however it‘s going to but I always have a clear understanding of what the end it going to be like.

8. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

DJW:  I’m not sure how to answer this one, there are so many aspects but  overall I would say good old fashioned determination.  I don’t like to give up and I might set a goal aside for a bit but I eventually return to it.

9. What projects are you working on at the moment?

DJW: Aside from my YA series, The Chronicles of Irindia, the first of which is in the hands of my publisher, I have several other WIPS that seem to take turns demanding my attention.  My two biggest are both sci fi with heavy elements of intrigue and political commentary..

10. What process did you go through to get your work published?

DJW: At first, I tried to go indie but was totally unprepared for what I had to do to become successful.  It was a whole new world for me and I really was in over my head.  My editing  needed work, my cover could have been better and when it came to networking and getting reviews, I had no clue.  If there’s an example of how not to self-publish, it’s me.  But  friend of mine on FB was using a regular publisher and she gave me pointers on how to get accepted.  Another friend of mine took my original cover idea and  made it  look awesome.I started  getting more involved in groups and I’ve started getting my name out there through my own blog and as a contributing columnist for All Author’s Magazine.   I was eventually accepted by Master Koda Select Publishing so now the work begins again, but this time I hope I’m better prepared.

11. What was the hardest part of writing for you?

DJW: Editing.  There’s a reason why there are professional editors and why writers shouldn’t do their own.  We fall in love with our words too much to be impartial.  Stephen King put it  best when he said “kill your little darlings.”  That I think is the hardest part for any writer, our words are our children.

12. What do you enjoy most about writing?

DJW: I enjoy the research  I sometimes requires.  One of my as yet unfinished pieces is making me do a lot of it.  I’ve been looking into medieval coastal siege and naval warfare, Asian religious and social customs and actually was what started me on my journey in martial arts.

13. What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?

DJW: That it’s all sparkly vampires and dragons.  No offense meant in that last sentence.  But it’s true.  Often there’s a deeper message that goes unnoticed because people don’t look for it because it’s just a fantasy book about wizard traveling the world helping people or something of that nature.

14. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?

DJW: For myself, it’s how much  work there is behind the story.  Not the actual writing but the knowledge that goes into the writing.  I think  all writers, once they  have that initial “what if?’ moment, they have to do the research.  For me it meant ancient mythology, differing languages, combat, and a hundred other things I didn’t know. I don’t think  most people realize  just how much  real information is needed to make the book believable.

15. For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your writing/book, where should they start?

DJW: My first series is rooted in the legends of places like Ireland and other ancient lands.  It’s where I got the foundation for the Irindia series itself.  But I was inspired by books like The Hobbit and the Dragon Riders of Pern.

16. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

DJW: I try to stay active on social networking and building those relationships plus my blog, Artistic Reflections as well as my columns so that when I do get released, people already know me.  In some ways they detract because if I’m  hunting through FB posts, I’m not writing but if I find an article about writing or I’m working on something for the magazine, it makes my writing time more productive.  It really isn’t about how many words a day or how many  chapters a month, it’s the quality of the words and chapters so sometimes less is better than more.

17. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

DJW: I have a few, but I have to say my two most favorite are Tom Clancy and James Clavell.  They were both writers who had a knack for researching their material and it’s that dedication to detail which came through in their writings.  Whether it was a cold war era submarine or nineteenth century Hong Kong, the details really bring the story to life, and that’s what I try for.

18. What are you currently reading?

DJW: Right now, I have two books going.  I’m reading Shad’rah by Neil Orr and I’m rereading Shogun by James Clavell.

19. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

DJW: I think the power of the internet has given reading a dimension that never existed when I was a kid and there’s a world of information out there that’s free to any writer who wants it. That tool allows writers to become more knowledgeable without having to haunt libraries and newspaper archives while giving us whole new markets and methods of  delivering us to our readers.  And for reading, we have so much more that’s available whether it’s a paper in hand book or a file on your ipad.  My laptop has maybe thirty books on it, I could never carry that many around.

20. Please give a short description of yourself after the questions.

DJW: I guess I would have to say I’m a curious person.  I like learning new things and it might be some random tidbit or it might be something that  is important.  I’m also becoming a bit of a political junkie, which I guess fits in to my writing.  Beyond that, I’m a husband, father, and grandfather, as well as a self-acknowledged beach rat.

You can always find me on Facebook, as well  visit my blog, Artistic Reflections, which is always looking for new posts, or  read my column Randomness in Writing in All Authors Magazine.

And don’t forget to look for The Chronicles of Irindia: Book One: The Gatherer coming soon from Master Koda Select Publishing!

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Thanks, D. John Watson, for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for my readers. Won’t everyone please take a moment to visit his links and say hello?

For next week’s WWW, please answer this question in the comments below, and leave your links for promotion also:

How do you effectively juggle multiple writing projects?

As always, if you have a question you’d like to have answered, wish to be interviewed, or would like to submit your words of wisdom as a guest on the blog, just click on that Contact Me tab on the left sidebar and send it to me with Wednesday Writers Wisdom in the subject line.

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Thanks for stopping by!! You need to know there will be no more posts from me this week, however, there will a be a weeklong celebration NEXT week for my 500th post! You could win an autographed copy of my book, Til Death Do Us Part, or in eBook form for your reader! How exciting is that! So, have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you here Monday with the first post leading to my 500th. Bye!

Serum of Unfortunate Effect

unnamed“I can see the similarities,” Mandy said, her doubt evident as she spoke. “There aren’t many, honestly. The lower part of the face and the body structure are the same. Their skin is human-like, even if it is much paler. It’s the absence of eyes and repetition of a smaller head over a larger head that’s so strange. The very real frowns and the appearance of tear trails on their cheeks is what gets me the most.” She whisked a small tear away. “Their personalities are definitely human-like though. Did you know Amalia told me a joke the other day? Despite the fact that she is freezing and can barely move her lips, she told me a joke.”

“Amalia?” Peter asked, his eyebrow raising in concern.

“Creature A.”

“They weren’t given names on purpose. I want no attachment formed.” Peter’s eyes squinted together. This news upset him.

“How can I not form an attachment working with them every day? I’m not cold and insensitive like you in the lab, Peter. I have a much harder time denying attachment to anything so I stopped resisting.” Mandy took a few small steps until she was standing in front of Peter. She took his hands in hers and looked him in the eye. “Why are you torturing them like this? Why do you deny them the serum if it will help them?”

Peter’s eyes flared. “Did you not hear what I just said? The government wants a mass genocide! These creatures and their survival is the key to that! They want to create new, smarter, stronger breeds with those who survive, but the survivors will only be those they hand-picked.” He removed his hands from hers and placed them on her biceps. He shook her gently. “Mandy, what if you and I are not on that list! We could be contributing to our own deaths!”

Mandy grabbed his hands and threw them away from her. “Give them the serum, Peter! It’s the right thing to do!” She turned her back to him as her voice caught.

Peter trembled slightly. “And what if it works?”

“Then you saved them.” She turned around and faced him. “Why do you have to tell anyone? Can’t you just ‘lose’ the data?”

“No, I can’t. That is why I have neglected to check the temperature, though I know you decrease it daily. That’s why I haven’t administered the serum. I’m honest to a fault. It’s my name in jeopardy if I lie, and I can’t let that happen.” Frank looked at the floor. He picked up the clipboard Mandy set down a few moments before. His head shook with sadness as he rifled through the charts. He looked at the creatures beyond the glass. Ignoring their strange heads, he soaked in the rest of their features. He saw the shriveling fingers of arthritis. He saw the bluish veins coursing through the translucent skin. He saw the blackened tips of their bare toes and knew that frostbite was setting in. He startled slightly to realize that Creature A had taken on the female form. The small mounds on her chest showed puberty, and the swelling of her belly told a story of its own.

“She’s pregnant!” Peter shouted.

To be continued…

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pictureitandwrite2copy-1I used this week’s picture prompt from Picture It and Write to further this blog-only serial along. Missed the first part? Click here.

Please share your very welcomed and much appreciated thoughts in a comment while you’re here.

Thanks for stopping in!

A Serum of Unfortunate Effects

“What’s wrong with them?” Mandy asked. Concern for the creatures on the other side of the glass creased her forehead.

“They are preconditioned for summer. The colder temp is slowing down their growth,” Dr. Rondo said. The grey around his temples belied his age, making him seem older than he really was.

“Why did they do that? There’s no constant temperature anywhere on this world. It’s a defeatist move. The poor things.” One of the creatures had turned and looked at the humans forlornly. Mandy offered it a false smile and looked away before her dismay over their deteriorating condition registered on her face. They had lost their color several days ago. This morning their phalanges had become swollen and twisted. It seemed that the colder the temperature, the faster they aged. “I hate this.”

Dr. Rondo watched the creatures through the glass silently. After a few minutes, he scribbled on a clipboard. Just as he finished, the phone rang shrilly, causing both scientists to jump.

“Hello?” Dr. Rondo said as his index finger hit the speaker button.

“Dr. Rondo, this is General Isaac Pembleton. I believe you’ve been talking to my aide, Johnathan Sparks, for several months now. He assures me you are on board with our experiment? “

“That is correct, sir. Both my assistant and I have spent day and night on it.”

“Yes, that is what I wanted to hear. Peter- I may call you Peter, correct? Peter, the greatest concern at this moment is whether the creatures are ready.” The general barrelled on with his questions without pause. Mandy did a large amount of eye-rolling in the background but remained silent.

“General Pembleton, if I may, you must know the experiment is failing. The creatures have not been able to sustain health under their present conditions. They have not been properly prepared for the cold temperatures.” Peter spoke when the general paused.

“And up to the point of the temperature change? Will any of the creatures survive?” The general said with a lack of emotion.

“It doesn’t appear so, general,” Peter said. His voice wavered slightly as he tried to keep his own emotions under control. A tear slid from Mandy’s eye. It was as if it became more true once spoken aloud.

“I have to agree, general,” Mandy spoke up. She did nothing to hide the emotions. A slight wail tinged the edges of her words. “We have yet to find a solution that will allow them to survive the cold. Even the addition of a hair growth serum is not protecting them.”

Peter shut his eyes and lips tightly and shook his head. This was not information he wanted to give out yet. Mandy didn’t know that he had not given the creatures the hair growth serum yet. “Actually, that is incorrect. My assistant is not aware that I haven’t tested the hair growth serum on them yet. I’m waiting for a certain temperature to be established before giving it to them. I want to see how effective it really is.”

Mandy’s jaw dropped in surprise before a dark cloud masked her emotions. She kept silent until the phone call ended.

“What? You mean these creatures are suffering needlessly! Why haven’t you given them the serum yet?” Mandy said, her lips quivering.

“The temperature has to fall below 32 degrees before the serum will even begin to work!” Peter shouted. He’d not meant to shout, but emotion got the better of him.

“Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention. The temperature has been below 32 degrees for the past week!” She walked over to the window and smiled gently at the forlorn creature within it. She pointed to the small thermostat. “See? It’s reading 26 degrees. You should have given them the serum already! Why must you make them suffer?”

“Mandy, do you really understand the purpose behind this experiment?” Peter’s eyes searched hers. “This isn’t about breeding a new brand of animal. This is all about humans and the quality of life. This is about playing God and deciding who is worthy of life and who is not!”

“What do you mean?” Startlement iced her voice.

“I mean that these creatures were designed to mimic humans and the serum is designed to help them overcome the cold because the government wants to put a freeze on the world for a mass genocide. Only the richest and smartest will survive. This is why I have not given the serum yet, and why I didn’t share that information with the general. They want to emulate Russia and slice the population of the US in half.”

To be continued…

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Thanks for stopping in!! Please share your thoughts in a comment. This is a work in progress being written exclusively for the blog. I’d really, really, really love to know what you think.