THE MESSAGE! Summer 2012

Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Jacket design

I finally made contact with a media specialty company, concerning my book jacket design. Meeting is scheduled for sometime this week. Very excited about this. Primary reason for the decision to put the wagon before the horse, considering I'm writing the first draft is, the visual stimulation my imagination will receive.I need all the help I can get.

Having discussed this idea with published writer friends, I was made aware of the potential motivation that could be derived . Having an expanded photo copy of my book cover, hanging behind my computer on the wall, is in my eyes, nothing more than a tool. It couldn't do anything but help, considering the image of the cover shows it self to me constantly. Visualizations trigger plot details that are startling to me, mind you I'm new at this. And besides I think it would be cool, that's the nerd talking.

Anything to stimulate the imagination, right ?

It was very exciting to talk to my contact at the media company handling the design. I can see I will need to keep my composure when we meet, I'm easily persuaded to spend money! All in all it feels like a good thing, one that will pay dividends in the future. My final thoughts about the issue are, where did this story come from and why won't it leave me alone ! Well, actually, I think I can deal with it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thoughts on heroes

My father enlisted in the Marine Corps at the beginning of the second world war. A young man straight out of high school, having been raised in the country, was used to no running water and no electricity.  Of eleven siblings he was one of 3 that went off to war.  After boot camp in San Diego and tank training at Camp Pendleton he was soon on a ship headed for the south pacific. 

I have watched several documentaries concerning world war II and battles in the south pacific. The extraordinary death toll is stunning to me, the chances of surviving even one battle were slight.Amphibious landings during the pacific campaign suffered huge casualties, the water ran red with the blood of Japanese and American soldiers. Considering the facts, my father's story is uncanny...

Imagine a young man with little training, confined inside a machine marked as a huge target.The tank moves slow, draws tremendous amounts of anti-tank gun fire and exists under the constant threat of driving over anti-tank land mines.  He thinks, in the back of his mind," it will be a miracle if I live through this."

Fighting was so fierce that at times enemy lines became confused to the point that American naval gunfire fell on top of American marines attempting to advance. My father told the story of one friend who crewed another tank that made it safely through a gauntlet of fire only to take a direct hit from an American destroyer off the coast, his tank totally destroyed.I can see where morale could be compromised by actions like these. Was it chance, luck or fate that a young man from east Texas would live through this?

Island secured, back to the troop ship for rest and round two, next landing and another island to conquer. All the while the Japanese can see their grip on control of the island chains slipping away. Proud , fierce fighters, the Japanese provided an environment that bordered on suicide. My father once again rolls ashore and waits for death to knock on the door. All around him he see's friends blown to bits, tanks nothing more than burned out coffins.

Once again he cheats death, once telling us years later that he couldn't understand why all of his friends died and he remained, guilt congealed. Moving from island to island the fleet steadily crushes the entrenched Japanese soldiers. Most fighting to the death, rather than surrender. Finally his journey ended on Iwo Jima , the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Weary and weathered, my father completed his journey through the south pacific alive.After five amphibious landings he lived to tell the tale.

 The odds of survival were astronomical, yet he came home to marry and father five children while becoming the youngest man ever elected a sheriff in the state of Texas. Dying in 1980 of lung cancer as I turned twenty years old, I think of the hardships he went through and accepted at face value.He never questioned the right or wrong.

I  think of my life so far and wonder " do I appreciate what I have and try to love those around me?" I try, and I hope he looks down on me and thinks so too. I hope he knows that I am proud of him and all military men and women who have followed in his footsteps, many paying the ultimate price! I love and miss you dad.                                                         

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Yesterday while gazing at a picture a friend, Angela Carlie, had posted showing a wisteria tree in full bloom , with the grape like clusters of blooms hanging down, I was once again reminded of the power of the memory . Every since childhood I remember the vivid images of the wisteria in our front yard.                 

I played the game of hide away, only takes one player. Good for a loner and introvert like I was, strangely drawn to this tree standing guard inside our rustic waist high fence next to the gate. Even though bumble bees and honey bees swarmed the tree, I was never afraid to crawl under the hanging blooms. I understand now what they mean when scent therapy is described and the ability of the scent to stimulate brain activity. I can remember vividly the overpowering smell given off by the blooms, strangely calming and comforting to me. It was as if the wisteria was taking away my fear of the bees. Was it more than just a wisteria .                                  

 Now I know this sounds bizarre but even today as in last month, we had a short bloom of wisteria here. Not lasting very long due to the lack of rainfall I'm sure. Driving down a two lane road in the north end of the county I saw the blooms on the side of the road as I approached. Like clockwork the smell registers and I am immediately propelled back to childhood and the fond memories of the springtime hiding sessions and the strange draw that this plant had on me. Was it a feeling of security lacking in my life or was it an intoxicating scent that overwhelmed me. 

My strange fascination with this event has a rational explanation I'm sure, such as simple memories triggered by memories of a smell that I found comforting. Problem is I still carry with me today the vivid imagination that I developed as a child. I consider it a gift, whereas for many years I down played it feeling my friends wouldn't understand and think I was a bit strange! Well alert the media I am a bit strange! The wonderful thing about being friends with fellow writers is they understand the power of the imagination and the fuel sometimes required to jump start it. Another example of a gift that I took for granted for too long. So when I'm in the mood to put down 2500 words i think I will pull up the old wisteria tree, can't hurt huh!                                                                                                                                         

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The wordpress debacle

Im easily influenced by the actions of others!  Several days ago a system problem developed with blogspot's posting app. This brought a cry of frustration and anger from loyal users of the blogspot app, after discussing it with several of my fellow writers, I was made aware that this was not the first time issues had arisen with this app. A  grassroots groundswell of dissent began to develop, I was fascinated and excited about the possibilities to appear as though I knew what would be required to make the transition to wordpress when I became aware that a mass exodus from blogclunk was beginning! I happily participated in discussions about what actions to take concerning the issue, even though in the back of my mind I knew that I was setting myself up for a massive migraine! I anxiously watched the random posts on twitter and facebook, at last it was time for computer man to make his appearance. Quickly running  a search for wordpress I waited for a response. Hmm, did iImake a mistake typing the address, surely its not a porn site! Well lets try again and hope for the best. After several attempts I was rewarded with the link, rapidily clicking on the first button I saw I  was cast into a screen that struck fear into the very core of my being. I paused, remembering the comments I had made to friends about my decision to take action ! Leaning back in my chair I pondered the consequences of inaction. Would I be perceived as a goof, an imposter, possibly just a person with nothing better to do than bug people going about there every day lives. I began to think blogspot isn't really that bad, I can go without posting blogs. Who cares anyway, right! The battle waged on inside my head, maybe i need to take a break I thought. Lets go see whats happening on facebook, as I scrolled through the comments I began to see issues concerning the app itself, could it be that others were having problems with wordpress also. Hmm maybe an attempt to elicit a silly response from me about some setting that a monkey should be able to deal with. Not falling for that,I proceeded cautiously although deep in my gut i felt that I was over reacting and a starbucks double shot was probably causing paranoia. Returning to wordpress I forged ahead like a man possessed, Bravely entering the appearance tab, unbelievably the first background I came to was the one I instinctivly knew was the best one. Setting the background was the turning point for me.I felt an overwhelming feeling of confidence come over me. I can make setting adjustments like who i am and how to follow later, relatively unimportant issues.  But should I post a link on facebook  to the blog, what the hell I can always delete it later if someone says Im silly. All in all this has been a great confidence building experience can't you tell or maybe you dont think so. I hope so !

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


               Crouching down in the marsh grass, Emily could sense there were hunters coming toward her. The ability to see better at night was what the scientists at Center called mutation. Most of the time she enjoyed the edge it gave her, but tonight it was going to be more than she cared to see. She could smell them before she was able to see them, always the same at night. Concentrating as much as she could, the silhouette's of three hunters emerged from the heavy mist. This was not going to be easy. She estimated they were maybe 50 yards away from her, time for some decisions. She slowly reached over her shoulder and grabbed an arrow from the quiver slung over her back and set in to the bow. Slowly moving forward in a crouching- kind of  walk she moved to a position of better visibility. She could now tell the hunters were starting to separate, the one in the middle obviously the leader. She knew instinctively they were going to work her to the middle! They've got a big surprise coming, she thought. 

                  She could see beyond the one on her right, to the road and the ditch he was using as a reference, good, she could tell he was at a disadvantage in the mist. He is the only thing standing between her and the road. Time to open a gap. Positioning herself steady, she drew back the arrow and took good aim, momentarily looking to see the position of the other two.She would have to move fast! The hunters had stopped, she knew they could smell her, dinner time huh, not tonight ! Checking her aim she let the arrow fly, singing through the air straight to the target. As the arrow sliced through the hunters neck he let out one single wail as he fell forward into the soft marsh mud. Immediately the other two responded. Up and running Emily moved as fast as she could to the road, bobbing and weaving around the quicksand that she knew the location of. Apparently the hunters were too concerned with overtaking her that they didn't notice the pit they ran headlong into. In seconds they were struggling to keep there heads above the mud. Emily stopped and gazed at the apparitions in front of her fighting for life. Not many people have lived to look at them up close, once human now at best semi-human. Rotting creatures that only survived by killing others. Somehow strange satisfaction came over her as the one wailed  just before he went under.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Clearing the last bit of marsh she came up on the road. Surveying the area, she move along the road towards home. She was thinking already her father was going to have lots to say about her being out this late after dark and the harassing she would take from Jacob and Caleb, her two loving brothers. Although her father had taught everyone well about hunting and killing she knew if she talked about this she would have to set through a long sermon.  But as far as she was concerned she did pretty good for a sixteen year old! Not bad if she should say so herself! As she got closer to home once again her mind drifted to the image of this young man looking at her, with a smile that was the most comforting smile she had ever seen. Somehow able to tell that she would soon be placed in a position where she would have to protect him, knowing he would be unable to do it himself!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The book that did it all!

When i was 12 years old, reading was not important part of my life unless it was to help me keep from failing a class. Although I was obsessed with magazine titles such as Creepy and Eerie, monthly publications produced by Warren publishing. Bizarre stories, lots of blood and guts, usually some weird twist involved. Lots of vampires, werewolves, weirdos the like! These magazines took me to a place in my mind that I reveled in. Why that is I don't know, maybe growing up in a one horse town in east Texas, introverted, bullied by others including my older brothers led to a desire to escape reality. I remember waiting anxiously for the next months issues to come out. My mom and dad both worked so this left a lot of time to hide my interests. The pharmacy owner must have thought I had some issues constantly checking for the latest issues! I dreamed of being a vampire or werewolf, anything to give me power to act out my vengeance Also to give me the ability to live a in a world of darkness, my friend. My imagination ran wild, soon I required more complex stories to fuel my desire. Good thing my older brother had a paperback copy of Interview with the Vampire! This was what I like to call the turning point in fascination with horror and the world of phantasy. Definitely a lot  of information for a 12 year old to process! Actually a sizable amount of confusion came from reading this book in the midst of adolescence. I'm sure if my parents had known I was reading it they would have freaked! Burned into my psyche was this world of strange creatures that inhabited strange places, right down my alley. After yrs of being self conscious of my fascination with books, movies and anything with that was in direct conflict with reality I decided one day why not embrace it. I rationalized that my brain was a huge hard drive of 38 years of information that can be instantly accessed or so I say , laughs out loud! I decided why not put it down on paper, so here I am writing the draft of a story that I think will be fabulous. I guess in time we shall see, but the fact that I decided to embrace my true interests without regard for what my friends might think is a milestone for me! And surprisingly they have shown tremendous support. Life is a trip sometimes, but can be fun if you let it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The comfort of ghosts!

Within the last year i moved into the house of friends who had to relocate to Singapore. Hes a mechanical engineer in demand and today you have to go to the money sometimes. I remember yrs ago his wife mentioning a story about a ghost in the house,I didn't think much of it, didn't believe in those kind of things. Years later I move in as a convenience for both parties. They have a friend they can trust to take care of the place for 2 yrs and I have a chance to move from a neighborhood that had become suspect to a quiet place for me and my dog Jack.Soon after moving in I started to get this kind of creepy feeling come over me. Mind you I'm an ex marine. I don't scare easy. At first it was the waking up in the middle of the nite to the door bell ringing, next waking up to hear noises in the room. Actually getting out of bed to turn the lights on! Damn, whats up! Next its the covers thrown over my head while dozing off, actually cursed at it for that one :) At this point I'm thinking is there something fueling my imagination. I blow it off for a bit, next I come home to jacks crate moved for the laundry room to the dining room. No earthquakes! Hmm still in denial, I guess the thing that sold me on the ghost idea was standing in the shower at 800am on Saturday morning and listening to this pretty voice singing from one of  the two bedrooms close to the bathroom. This happened on two occasions. One nite playing on Facebook I see my friend in Singapore on chat, so I ask her about the old story she told me about the ghost.I said what kind of things happened that made you feel there was a ghost, she said it was the singing coming from empty bedrooms! No radio, no choir, just an empty room. Now  there were other things that happened, so I ask you was this all circumstantial or do I have another roommate besides my dog! Things have slowed down and not much to report and at this point. I think we have become mutually comfortable, who would have thunk it. Comforted by a ghost :)