2009 New Year's List

Okay, people, let's not kid ourselves and make up some phony New Year's lists that will never, ever be followed. A little honesty and self-reflection should open our eyes to what should be practical and attainable for us all.

Here's mine:

1.) Not to eat all of my vegetables.

2.) Stay in bed a few extra minutes.

3.) Don't shovel the walks the second a new snowfall hits.

4.) Let the dishes sit for one bloody night.

5.) Leave the car on empty for my wife to fill.

6.) Leave the 'seat' up.

7.) Maybe flush.

8.) Watch more TV.

9.) Ease up on parental resposibilities.

10.) Say 'I have a headache' for a change.

11.) Gain a few pounds and/ or inches.

12.) Become a 'close-talker'.

13.) Never follow a New Year's resolution list again.

See you next year!



A light at the end of the tunnel; YES!

It truly is a bitter-sweet time of the year.  On the one hand, I'm stoked to be in 1st place in my football pool, and headed for the playoffs; though I am sad that the NFL season will soon come to a close.  On the other hand, I can't bloody wait to get back on the wagon (writing wagon) again.  I've got the job, NFL is almost done, so now I'll be able to concentrate on what's been on my mind for these last couple of weeks.

I'm sure all you writers out there can empathize with what I'm talking about.  Even though I've only really been at the writing gig for just over a year, not being able to write the stories that are burning to get out, not being able to put to paper the constant berating of ideas that are about to boil over in my mind, has been driving me absolutely coo-coo.  I apologize now, boys, for daddy's lack of patience these past few days.  Sniff.

Well, another blog entry is in the books.  Sorry, but it's not going to be anything spectacular, just me spilling my guts to my good old electronic shrink.  Thanks Dr. Toshiba, you know where to bill me.  

So keep writing, all you writers and wanna be writers.  As long as we can remember that writing is the culmination of our imagination, and events, and dreams, and aspirations that fill our lives, then perhaps we can suffer through the drier spells.  I'll just think of the time away as refueling my creative juices, yeah, that's it...



Sorry, just had to post something else

I realize that I haven't been paying as much attention to my blog as I would like to.  So I'm apologizing to everyone (well, to my one follower, really).  I just figured it was time to bump the old Remembrance Day post off the top, and get something a little less depressing to greet people with.

So this post isn't of any significance, really, just me chiming in and letting everyone (one) know that I'm still here, the beard is still on my face - though I had to give in and trim it a bit - and things are a little more hectic than usual.  Along with raising my kids at home, I'm also training for a new job, taking a very long time to make a Christmas gift for my KK, and the fantasy football season is quickly rapping up.  So you can see where my writing priorities for this blog and my book have fallen to the way side a tad (sadly - I was on such a good role with my book.  Why does Life have to keep interfering?  Oh, wait, I think I already covered that...)

So please don't stop checking my blog.  Soon the football season will have come and gone - with me as champion - and I'll be motivated to get back to my blogging and writing.  But if I lose, and there hasn't been a posting for quite sometime, please notify the proper authorities...



Lest We Forget

Sometimes pictures are better than words...

Remembrance Day Haiku.

To all the soldiers

Who've sacrificed for the world

Let us not forget


Are there Pulitzers for song writing?

As promised at the end of my last blog, I'm going to leave you with 5 of my favorite lyrics from within my music library.  Read them this weekend, mull them over, even turn them on, or down load them to your mp3 player and give them a listen this weekend.  

You would assume that writing a great song should, in theory, be easier than writing a really great book.  I mean, what, are they, like, 1/1000 of the size of a book.  Not many words, yet to make a song really ring true to a listener and establish itself as truly great, it takes a lot more skill and talent than one might think.  Go ahead and try to write a song - a really sweet sounding, flowing song - and see how you do.  Pretty tough.

So enjoy these 5 snippets, in no particular order!    :D

"Money" - Pink Floyd

Money, it's a crime.
Share it fairly, but don't take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say,
Is the root of all evil today.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I'll buy me a football team.

"Sympathy for the Devil" - Rolling Stones

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change.
Killed the Czar and his ministers;
Anastasia screamed in vain.
I rode a tank,
Held a general's rank,
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank.

"Democracy" - Leonard Cohen

It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they've got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way.
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

"Wish You Wer Here" - Pink Floyd

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
year after year.
Running over the same old ground,
what have we found?  
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

"Blowin' in the Wind" - Bob Dylan

How many times must a man look up
before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have
before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'till he knows
that too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
the answer is blowin in the wind...




A great writer doesn't have to be an author.

After cleaning the whole house today, I lounged back on my couch, put my feet up, and threw on the old IPod.  It didn't take very long for me to be reminded that although I was never a really avid reader before, I sure was - and still am - a very avid music lover.  And not following too far behind one of my favorite tunes will most assuredly be an inspirational message, or just some down right great writing.

What is the difference between an author and a lyricist?  I can't really think of one, unless you hit the obvious.  But don't they both try to basically do the same thing?  Yes, perhaps books may entertain you more, but often we can also get swept off our feet by a beautiful song.  And themes and messages can run rampant throughout songs as well.  

I've been blessed in having absolutely exceptional taste in music.  Today's "music" - to me - is a mockery of the truly great artist that have paved the way for today's wannabes.  But I guess that today's generation is easily pleased.  Okay, there may be a few exceptions to the rule, but it's really hard to compare anything to the classics.  That's why they're called the classics.

So I'd like to leave you with a great line from one of the most influential bands to ever grace the airwaves - Pink Floyd:

No more turning away, from the weak and the weary.
No more turning away from the coldness inside.
Just a world that we all must share,
It's not enough just to stand and stare.
Is it only a dream that there'll be no more turning away?

- No More Turning Away

Next blog, I'll outline 5 of my top lyrics that just make me shiver every time I hear them.  Some truly inspired, and great writing!



Thank you - Life - for getting in the way.

You know, just when you think you're on a roll with writing and things are looking promising, this little thing kinda gets in the way every once and a while. You know what I'm talking about, right?  No, it's not s**t, although that does happen every so often.  It's that other four letter word that we often tend to take for granted way too easily in today's world - Life.

During these last few hectic weeks, my ongoing attempt at writing my first book was going along quite smoothly.  I'd been at it for a year (next month) and was finally winning the revision/rewrite battle I had waged against my story, though my story was laying quite the licking to me in the early stages.

As a stay-at-home dad, I guess you could say that my duties were being fulfilled satisfactorily; all three of my boys were eating regularly, bathing as regularly as preschool boys will, and occasionally I would play with them.  But usually I would throw a movie on and leave them fend for themselves a-la "Lord of the Flies" and hope to get some writing in.  After all, if I didn't get between 500-1000 words on my writing days, well, that meant the end of the freaking world.

Maybe I'd spend some time with my wife too, who teaches junior-high, and I'm certain could use some grownup conversation every once and a while.  But the evenings were when I was at my best....  I couldn't possibly give up one evening a week.  Maybe we would watch the Office together - good quality time in front of mister TV - but then we'd split up and she would do her marking, and I would try to finish a chapter.  

My love affair with my first book was starting to consume me.  It was becoming my life, rather than complimenting it.  After all, why was I even writing in the first place?  Surely not for the constant struggle, the constant revising, and re-readings.  Probably it was a little for my own self satisfaction, but then I remembered I had started it primarily for my family.  I would love for my kids to grow up with something daddy wrote.  

So this past week Life gave me and my wife a little whack on the side of our collective heads.  I had just recently tried re-living my younger days by playing some tackle football with my much younger brother-in-law and a bunch of his buddies.  Well I got really run down afterwards and caught a cold.  Then my oldest boy contracted pink-eye from kindergarten.  Then my wife caught some virus from her school.  Then my oldest boy passed his pink-eye on to his brother (not literally).  And today, October 28th, my youngest has just been blessed with pink-eye of his own and he is not very happy to say the least.  (There's now only the cat left) 

"Hello, people, this is Life paying a visit.  Welcome to my world!"

Suddenly we were all forced together into one mass area of infestation and disease.  Suddenly we were forced to take care and nurture each other and pay attention to one another.  Suddenly I hadn't even glanced at my notes for a week and a half.  This will sound weird to those who don't have a family yet, but it felt really good.  Not being sick, but being needed, and being by your child's and wife's side every minute of the day.  It reminded me - almost too bluntly, Life - of why I was even writing to begin with.

So thanks to Life, I'm now not going to have a freak out if I go a couple days without writing anything.  I'll still maintain some semblance of a schedule, but my writing will be the icing on the cake that is my life.  

I will say this though, there's nothing more I would want then to get picked up by some very wise and forward-thinking publishing house, and signing a three book contract.  I think then I'd be able to handle the deadlines and my family quite nicely; and vice versa.

Now if I can just get J. K. Rowling's and Stephenie Meyer's personal e-mail addresses and get some advice on writing as a stay-at-home parent, I should be golden!



This is the title to my newest blog, which is going to be very fun to read and a little longer than the last couple of blogs I've written....

Boy, what I have learned while writing my first book.  You could...uh, fill a book full of the stuff I've discovered about myself.

Here's a good quote from Stephen King:  "The road to hell is paved with adverbs."  I like that one a lot, and it has certainly helped me with my dialogue.

Another really crucial pointer for me that I came across in a literary mag I subscribe to, bluntly stated - and I'm paraphrasing - "Don't assume that your reader is an idiot."  Basically, stop over analyzing and over describing and over explaining every little detail in hopes that the reader will be able to follow along.  This will have the opposite effect and most likely make them stop following along and close the book.

I admit that my shortcomings - when it comes to writing - are partly due to the fact that I hated reading when I was younger.  But now I have to accept the fact that, although most book readers might be socially inept, they usually are bright and like to figure stuff out for themselves.  (Sorry, that's the jock in me talking ;D)

Prior to this realization, I had completed a rough draft of the first 19 chapters of my book.  After having done lots of reading about writing, I have now eliminated at least 1000 - in some case several thousands of words - from each chapter!  Yikes.  My book is tentatively planned for 30ish chapters, and in nineteen I had 92,000+ words!  A seemingly unbearable task to follow, since this is the first book in a series of six.  My poor reader was getting spoon fed to death.

Now my writing feels much better; more natural.  It's also taking less time, now that I know what to look for, and these re-writes have become quite enjoyable.  I'm just dying to get this stupid thing finished though, so I can submit it and get on to other projects I'm excited about.



Gobble, gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian brethren out there where ever you are (Well, I'm assuming in Canada, duh).  Stuff yourselves silly.  

I'm sorry for the limited blogging, but all of my creative juices are currently being funneled elsewhere.  Please stay tuned though.



The 12 Steps

The first step is admitting that you have a problem, so here it goes.

Hello, My name is Jason, and I'm a Fantasy Footballaholic.  It's been 9 minutes since I last checked my 3 teams to make sure that I couldn't tweak them just one more time before Sunday.  I'm still conflicted by starting either my WR in the flex position or my 3rd RB.  I'm sticking with the RB, even though that particular WR had a crazy game last week.  I just don't think he'll duplicate it this week.  

But I love writing, and I'm loving my story, but it's that time of year again - that most wonderful time of the year - where the monsters of mayhem, those gridiron gladiators do battle every Sunday for all the degenerate Fantasy Football junkies around the globe.  CURSE YOU FANTASY FOOTBALL!  I'm trying to finish my first book.  Don't you care?  Can't you think of anyone but yourself?  Can't you tell me if Derek Anderson is ever going to snap out of his absolutely putrid funk that he's currently in?  Can't you just leave me be, until I'm done writing?  Just this once?

Oh well.  Guess the beard's just going to get thicker, 'cause the Superbowl isn't until January.  Tune in next post for step 2: apologizing to all who have been neglected because of Fantasy Football (and writing).




Okay. This beard thing is going from bad to worse, and I'm only about 3 weeks in. The writing is going great, though.

Update # 3



Friend or Foe?

Whoever said revision was a four, er, eight letter word anyway? This is my first go at this writing thing, and all I've read about and researched and heard from other aspiring or published authors is that "revisions are hell", or "I just can't stand revising".

I have to say - unless I'm doing something wrong here - that I've been having nothing but fun with the whole revision process. It's actually turned into a rewrite as apposed to a revision, which is cool because my characters have really started to take on a skin of their own.

But maybe I should just shut-up about it, on second thought. I can only imagine what the whole revision process must be like when you're under contract for two more books. Perhaps then, when a publishing house is expecting your next novel by such-n-such a date next year, maybe it's not all that delightful. Hey, I can only dream of being in that position . . . . For now, I'll just continue to stay at home with my boys - occasionally playing, feeding, and caring for them - and write to my hearts content.

So as the beard grows, so does the writing.


Update # 2


"Bwiu ahtow fki" - Aewoie nekrou!

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Qwoie! Flkjsdkj nanc mapjejut ;apri ndafnf akdjf ajfeoq nvbmncvh ahhdhe nvbohd the cnal wlalwei. Dkgjiro kajhoef, nvmk. Owpo nand mxcn ajjery, askdjhfo, abn akdjhqoerir anbcvb kjsadhfi fnka eiwepvn ksjd jdhfe. Iejd habnbcvz c hdeye, kjsk wkjrhg owiruy 94 jn ksdjf, qkd oieucmbv becas aljfowejf vnvd adjknc. Aakjdh hdh , ahdfheowo, aqope nvbx "ahdfq dkjah!", akjdhfq fncmnx oope!

Hjsf weriupqhjq bvjd ajdhfiae ngnbsnvirh bawoiu nfvbnln ndjn aie. E oihe ajnd anhyqznc xnkzi oijhdfiejpuejrh n aldjfa aldj alej hoh nsnvowhef evfov ksdhiur vuvos. Sd joweij justice alkdpwpef skjf . fjhfue akdkjnv adfhje qjenf eojwieuy nbvbvoe!

Woops. Laptop upside down . . . . Sorry people.


(That's too bad, 'cause that was one heck of a blog!)



Can't talk . . .



Hyde, Mr. Hyde: Agent double oh, oh

It's time to get down and dirty people, like, for real. I'm talking about physical alterations. I'm talking about making deals with yourself to do or not do something until something else is completed. (Sounds vague)

Yeah, my wife's just shaking her head as I type. It's not that I'm not motivated to finish my first story. It's not that I don't have an abundance of ideas to help complete my first manuscript. It's just that my mind is starting to slowly fall into
self-doubt mode. Hey, this is my first go-around, okay.

So I've decided to grow my beard out; I'm talkin' out baby. Even if I'm going to a job interview, swimming, or some sort of formal outing, I'm going to be sporting the Grizzly Adams look for awhile.

I already had the goatee, but the rest is a good week old so far.

And it's not like I've never grown a beard before, usually every winter, but I've done my best to keep it clean and tidy. This time, however, is going to be a totally different beast. My beard will not be trimmed or primped in any way shape or form, until I finish my novel. Not until it gets requested or published, just until I've finally written every chapter and there's a definite beginning, middle, and conclusion. When that time comes - and honey, I apologize again profusely - the beard will go too.

So be sure to keep track of my face when you check out the blog. Because once the beard's gone, that can only mean one thing . . . .



If you want to write, move to Canada!

Ah yes. I can feel the cool autumn breeze teasing me with what was, and what's to come. I must say that since being suddenly assaulted one late November night with story ideas, and realizing that I should be putting them down on paper, these last couple summer months have been the complete opposite of productive.

After all who in their right mind would want to sit down in some musty old basement, tapping away on their laptop, smelling the beautiful fragrance of recently soiled kitty litter, while everybody else is outside splashing around on the "slip 'n slide", drinking beer and eating corn on the cob? (Long sentence, sorry) Obviously me, and other hopeless cases who love this thing called story telling.

But living in Edmonton, Canada, I can now feel the deep-freeze crawling to us in all of its inevitable, chilly glory. -25C, I've longed for you. I've waited for the blizzard's siren call. Please, oh wintry wonderland that shall cover my driveway with 4 feet of snow in early November, please give me no reason to stray outside and neglect my chosen craft. Entomb me within your frosty surroundings and never let me leave my desk (except to shovel said 4 feet of snow before my wife kills me).

So all of you aspiring and published writers in God-awful places like Phoenix, or L.A., or Florida, or anywhere else where the temperature is hot and the writing's luke warm, stop your procrastinating ways and move up to where it can still be sunny and clear, yet reach -40C with the wind chill.

Oh, there will be plenty of writing to be had these next six months! On second thought, I've always wanted a girl . . . .



A prose pro

Sorry people, I just thought that the above title was cool. I won't be blogging about prose per say, but feel free to stick around none the less.

I was asked recently where I get my ideas from. Good question. Probably one of the most common questions asked of authors or aspiring writers. Because, really, that's what separates good stories from great; a hundred books sold from a hundred thousand books sold. And here is the textbook answer. Here is the
cliché answer of all clichés, but it's so true: Write-what-you-know. We've all heard it before, I realize, but they say it for a reason.

Of course a fully functioning imagination and a somewhat healthy grasp of the English language (hey, prose) will also contribute to some nice stories. In every story that I have waiting to be written or am in the middle of writing, there are characters that are based on people, relatives, acquaintances that I've met throughout my life. Some spitting images, others, mere glimpses, but it sure makes it easier to write a captivating character when you know them inside out.

So if you're out of ideas, or stuck in a rut, or frustrated, just open up your personal phone book or old yearbooks or photo albums, and get inspired.

Next week, making sense of cents . . . .



Just Do It! (Sorry Nike)

This is a blog rant to. . . myself. . . .

Now stop over-researching and over-compiling and over-thinking, and get on with the revision already!! You know what needs to be done. There's no reason to be scared of anything. How can you be worried when you haven't even written a full book yet. Cart before the horse, man!

(This next part deals in profanity a tad) So get off your ass and get going! Stop being a chicken s*** and JUST DO IT!

So there.


What are you trying to say?

As we aspiring writers struggle on to get our stories out to the masses, what's our point? Do we even need points to our stories? Why are we even writing in the first place? All good questions with not so clear answers, so I'll give it a go.

This will be a short but sweet summary of why I have fallen in love with writing and why I keep striving to reach my personal goals. I have two main motivating factors for my continuous writing.

#1: This is a purely selfish reason. It's my version of hanging on to my ever fleeting youth. I guess it's my early midlife crisis. I know I'll never be able to buy that totally over the top sports car when I'm 50, so I might as well stay young in my stories. It's fun, and I love living vicariously through the characters.

#2: Simply to entertain the readers. I'm not here to educate, or to influence, or to brainwash, or to teach. Not that my stories don't have any meaning to them, they certainly do. There should always be some sort of underlying main theme that runs throughout the body of the plot of course, but not every writer is meant or called to preach or teach. That's what educational or inspirational books and authors are meant for. I just want the readers to enjoy the ride and take in whatever they want from them.

I find that my personal beliefs and/ or religious convictions are better served being taught and passed on to the people that matter the most to me: my family and children. I can have a much more profound and positive effect doing that, as apposed to seemingly force feeding it to the public and having the chance that my message gets misconstrued. No thank you.

I have found that in most of my story ideas lies the common theme of friendship, and self confidence, and self esteem, and self worth. All great moral fibers I think! We could all use increased doses of each.


5 Steps For Writing Good Stories

Welcome back folks. I've rectified my technical difficulties and am ready to get on with my blog. Good to have you back!

I'm going to list for you the 5 crucial aspects for writing a novel or story or whatever, that I've found to be invaluable in helping me put pen to paper. These are listed in no particular order, but all share an equal percentage of importance within the bigger picture.

#1: PLOT

Sorry people, I know it sounds
cliché, but you've gotta have one; a good one. This is basically translated to a "good story". You may be the best, most gifted writer in the world, with the deepest vocabulary and perfect spelling and grammar, but if your story bites, there's not much you can do about it. On the other hand, someone with weaker language arts skills, but has a great story and knows how to tell it, well there isn't anything that they can't do with a little help (editor) and persistence.

#2: Characters

Perhaps even more crucial to a successful story, is a strong protagonist. In the end, I suppose that all of the supporting characters also should be fairly engrossing, but your main guy or gal needs to be really memorable. They are what drives the plot. You want the readers to root for and sympathize with and relate to and be concerned for the protagonist. A weak and forgettable hero makes for a weak and forgettable story.


This doesn't solely mean fists fights and being tied up in the middle of a railroad track or trying to defuse a bomb. This can be any type of situation where the hero needs to resolve or figure something out. Every chapter should have some sort of conflict eventually leading up to the main climax of the story. It's important to put the hero into situations where the reader needs to know what is going to happen next. From an argument, to saving the world from certain annihilation, to losing a wallet, to trying desperately to flatten the tuft of hair that just won't behave. These are all good and all necessary in developing plot and character.

#4: Setting/ Environment

You want the reader to really believe that your fictitious locale might actually exist. It might even be set in an actual place. Make the reader feel like they're there. But it can't be too over that top. It needs to be believable. It needs to play within the boundaries of the story. Rich, detailed descriptions come into play here. Remember to keep it relevant and to the point. Even an ordinary, everyday street corner can be made into an eventful milieu.

#5: Writing Tense

Here's one I bet you didn't think of. This can be very important to writing a clear, flowing story. I found this out the hard way while writing my current story. I just couldn't get the ideas out right. Everything seemed to be forced and too deliberate. I soon found out that my story should be told from the first person perspective, giving it a more personal feel. I found that I was much more relaxed while writing in the first person to begin with, so I stuck with it.

The type of story you come up with will help push you in the right direction regarding what tense to write in. Some stories are better told from the more personal first person perspective, while others are better told from the more detailed and omnipresent third person perspective. What you ultimately need to remember is to write in the tense that makes you feel the most comfortable. If it just feels right, then stick with it. Only you can answer that feeling, so don't have anyone tell you which way you should write. Remember, there is no set-in-stone template for writing a good story after all, just mine perhaps.

Until we blog again....


Uh, hello, editors? . . .

And I thought I was terrible at revising my work. Now I feel a little bit of delight as well as utter fear.

What might be the single most scary thing for a published author I wonder? Maybe that nobody likes the book. Or worse, maybe nobody is even interested in the book. That wouldn't be good.

I can't speak for any other aspiring authors, but I want the sales. I want the enjoyment people get from my stories. I want that mysterious number you need to hit before your book can be a national bestseller, whatever that means.

Here's another one. How about reading your newly published novel and finding not one mistake, but several. I would be mortified if I ever saw this in one of my novels.

But now I'm wondering how picky can editors and publishers really be when sifting through the thousands of potential novels that pass by their desks. Of course you do need a good story. Obviously you can't blame the author for having a misprint published, that's the editors and/or the publishers job isn't it?

So I just recently came across this very thing. I started reading a very popular book series that is eventually being made into a movie, with the fourth book about to be released this August. I found several misprinted passages during the last few chapters - at the climax. In a published book. A massively successful published book that is currently part of a huge best-selling series.

I guess we can all take a small bit of comfort in knowing that the pros do make mistakes as well. Too bad it makes the authors look like hacks, but what can you do. The author of the above best-selling series is millionaire so I don't think she cares too much. Still, it hurts the pride a bit I'm sure.

Stay tuned next week. I'll go through my top 5 requirements for writing a novel. It's really what helped me get off my butt and finally get at it! See you then.



I'm just like Tolkien, Hemingway, and King...

. . . Well maybe not quite. But at least I've found out that my writing brothers and I are not so different after all.

Last week I attended the 87th annual CAA Writers Conference in Edmonton. It was definitely a pleasant eye opener for me. Going into it I was feeling very intimidated and also a little worried. From some of the focus activities and lectures that were going to be presented and from some pictures posted on their website from previous conferences, I thought #1, I was going to be the pathetic wannabe in the group, and #2, I was going to be the only male attending.

Well luckily I wasn't the greenest one there and thankfully I was one of seven guys who attended. Hey, being outnumbered 30:1, women to men, really isn't that terrible to deal with.

What really resonated the most in me, was that all writers are, or have been scared at some point. One way or another everyone of us - aspiring or not - have had doubts and fears and questioned our abilities and at some point were afraid of even writing at all, because of baseless worries that our stories wouldn't be good enough.

I should probably amend my title above, as I haven't actually spoken to Tolkien, Hemingway, or King lately to confirm whether or not they indeed felt this way. The conference was a Canadian conference and only focused on well known Canadian authors. But I would have to assume that all authors around the world must have - at some point - had many doubts of some kind.

So what did I get out of the conference in the end? I guess it would be to 'Just Write'. If it's something you want to do or explore, then you have to start somewhere. The keynote speaker - who himself has had 14 of his books published - said he knew several friends that were much better writers than he, who were bankers and dentists and teachers, but who never had anything published. Why? Because they never had the courage to put their ideas down on paper. Period.

So let's not worry so much and just write, okay. What's the worst that can happen? Well, not having anyone like our stories I guess, but don't think about that! If you love them and your family loves them, then your golden.

And to the comment regarding my little excerpt from my story I recently posted, no it was not based on a personal experience. It's all imagination. I hope I never experience anything like that ever. The cool thing is what appears to have happened to the boy isn't exactly what has really happened. Maybe you'll get another piece of the puzzle later. Maybe.


I knew I couldn't be that clever. . .

Just when I thought I was the smartest cookie in the jar, I get devoured faster than you can say chocolate chip.

I'm sure all of you knew that lad-lit or "dick-lit" as I've also seen it called, was not my bright idea. See, there's this thing called the internet and apparently lots of people surf it. So I figured I'd Google lad-lit and see my clever blog come up as the only site to use it. I think mine was the 21,098th out of the 29,700 other times it was referenced. Curse you Wikipedia!

I'm still keeping my blog title though!

Anyway, I won't let that deflate my enthusiasm. This weekend is quite busy for me so I'm posting today and keeping it brief. Thanks to all those that leave comments; I love that! And to "Tammy" whom I've never met before in my life, it sounds like you've got your act together. I'm sure your boy is the sweetest little guy! And cool idea about a dinosaur party, I'll have to keep that in mind. . . .

So as promised - and very nervously - I'll leave you with a tiny little morsel from my first book. Perhaps there might be other bits and pieces that will follow in postings to come. Also keep in mind that I am still in the draft phase, so that dissolves me of any responsibility for parts that you may find bad or poorly written. But if you like it, then it was just something I threw together pretty hastily. I guess I'm a natural, what can I say.

A brilliant white flash danced in the cloudy night sky, followed by a deep rumble.

The rain tapped on my face as I lay trapped. Both of my eyes were swollen shut and the only thing I could hear was a loud ringing in my ears mixed with some sort of muffled babbling. I tried to move but couldn't. The left side of my body was totally numb and the right side was both wet from the rain and hot from the fire. I tried to call out for my dad and great-grandfather but only heard the weird humming echo in my head.

'-- their way, just hang tight kid,' I suddenly heard.

'Who's there? Help, I think I'm hurt. Please, where's my dad?' I said trying to wiggle my way free from whatever was pinning me down.

'I said don't you move! Look, the fire department is here, hang on!' the voice said again.

The sound of the sirens cut through the air and I tried hard to strain my neck over to see what was going on. I managed to crack one eye open but could only make out the intermittent flashing of red lights. I turned my head to the other side and saw warm, flickering colors of orange and white; heat waves rising up. The smell of gasoline was starting to make me want to barf.

Another white flash from above followed by a menacing thunder clap.

Suddenly the rain stopped and I turned my head back. Someone new was now standing over me, wearing a helmet and long dark coat.

'Oh my God..., O.k kid, what's your name?' the man asked out of breath.

'Jason--' I answered confused, tasting blood.

'Jason, we're going to have to cut you and the old man out of the car, o.k. You're going to be o.k. We've contacted your mom and she's on her way.'

I didn't understand what he meant.

'The old man is my great-grandfather. Is he alright? Where's my dad, I need to see him...!' I said starting to panic.

I tried to get up quickly but now the numbness was fading and I felt a jolt of intense pain run through my left side. The man knelt down and held my head straight to prevent any further injury.

'Now Jason, I'm going to need you to remain calm and stay as still as you can ok? Do you understand what I'm saying to you? There is a --.'

The man's voice started to fade into the background like a deep sunset. I closed my eyes and knew that the situation was grave. Dad, Dad, was all I could say as two, three, four more people now emerged from out of nowhere. A mask was put over my nose and mouth and I started to feel light-headed. I felt a sharp stab in my right arm as the IV was being administered.

It was close to midnight. The weight was still crushing me. The pitter-patter of rain was still hitting my face. I was drifting in and out of consciousness and at one point thought I was at home in bed, dreaming.

Then I heard the sudden strain and grinding of metal, and then relief came. I felt at peace now, calm, numb again.

One more flash of white, but the thunder started to fade.

* * *


Parents, be the parents!

First, I just want to apologize to the bookstores out there that may have received some criticism from me regarding all the chick-lit books and girl displays. Please, I desperately would love to sell my books in your stores some day. Don't take it so personally. You could even stick them with the girl books, I wouldn't mind! But I digress.

I knew I should have paid more attention in economics class, because its simple economics. Supply and demand, right?

Who buys books, usually? Who goes to libraries? Who goes to bookstores? It was explained to my quite succinctly by someone within the school system, that boys just don't buy books; plain and simple. They don't think its something cool to do, and we all know that young boys are desperately trying to be cool.

In a way, I feel real embarrassed that I didn't figure that one out for myself. Am I getting that old? Did I completely forget my youth? Was it that scarring to me?

I hated books when I was young. I never dreamed about books, except the kind that had Batman or the Hulk on the covers. Whenever our classes had "library time" at school, a bunch of us just sat in the far corner cubicles and fooled around. So what's the solution? If our boys aren't even setting foot in bookstores, that's a crucial first step that's being missed.

Hello parents, are you out there? Over here, we're talking about your kids; YOUR KIDS! I know that nobody likes to get criticized, but I'm going to do it anyway. Parents need to be held accountable for whether or not their boys are reading books. That's right, you're in charge! I know it sounds hard to believe for those that have "strong-willed" children, but oh well. Parents need to make that first step, because the boys certainly won't do it.

Don't think of it as "wasting money" on them. Its sure better than buying them that new $60 video game, or upgrading their video rig to the new $400 model. These machines are meant to become extinct and depreciate over time as the games get bigger and faster and more demanding. Trust me, I'm in that industry. You can buy a video card for a PC for $650 that won't be fast enough to play the new games next year. That's just the way it is. Now should you "waste" $15 on a book that might not get read right away, but still holds its value while it sits on the shelf until it is discovered, or should you buy that $60 game that'll be played once, maybe twice if its good - trust me that's what we do - and then put on the self when the next game comes along.

So don't be afraid of their reaction, don't start squirming thinking that they'll just laugh at you and throw them back in your face. They are kids and you are adults. Suck it up and go out and find the right books for the right boys. Talk to the people that work in the bookstores, they get paid to know what books or hot and what kids are looking for. And if my memory serves me correctly, I do believe that I actually saw a male bookstore employee once while I was browsing around; not that there's anything wrong with that. . . .

So let's get at it parents; let's take the initiative and do the leg work for our boys, because you know they're not going to do it; not now anyway. And if they don't read it, don't get frustrated, they're boys remember. Don't cram it down their throats, don't ground them for not trying. One of those National Film Board TV shorts once taught me that "persuasion is better than force". That's a good philosophy to follow I think.

More next week. Maybe even a sneak peak at my work in progress, we'll see if I'm brave enough. . . .



"LAD-LIT" strikes back!

Wow! People actually responded to my blog, that's so cool. Thanks so much for your kind words, though I do welcome any and all words as well. Just ask my wife; I love to argue. It's just so easy when your views are the right views. But I digress.

Anyway, I apologize for the temporary lack of posting that I'm going to be going through at the moment. Our house is probably the only one in western Canada not carrying internet of any kind, so please bare with me. I'm a stay at home dad, so on my days off on weekends - when I'm at work - I'll try to post something. So be prepared for a once a week scenario until the fall.

I'm sorry for the cop-out heading of Lad-Lit, buts it's the best I could come up with for the time being. Lad-Lit will rule some day, I am confident.

What I would like to eventually make this blog about though, are my trails and tribulations during my novel writing experiences. News flash to self: it's bloody tough! It's truely amazing how many books actually get published out there, because from what I've experienced so for, it takes a lot of time. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that you can write a novel in 30 days or whatever the internet suggests these days.

Of course it figures that my first idea for a book had to involve a six book series (sigh). But I guess go big or go home right. I started planning and outlining the first book last November, just out of the blue, and am now currently on my first revision - sort of.

I've just recently encountered my first hiccup of my brief writing career. What point of view (pov) to write in. And I have to thank blogging for my change. When I started, I naturally assumed that writing a complex story with many characters needed to be done from the 3rd person pov. However, through lots of reading and research I've come to find out that there really is no set template for writing. Just write the way that's most comfortable to you.

So of course the first 19 chapters I already wrote in 3rd person. Now I've come to find out that I write much better in 1st person. So guess what. Yeah, that's what. But you know, I wasn't discouraged at all. My whole reasoning for starting to write was because I had a cool idea and character, and if anything, wanted to write something for my kids to enjoy.

So big deal if I have to re-write. I'm having a blast doing it. And I know that when my boys are older, they're going to like it too - I hope. And if I get picked up by some very, very wise publishing company, then Lad-Lit will have landed.

So to all writers, or aspiring writers out there, please make yourself known. I'd love to start networking as soon as possible, because I am quite green in basically every aspect of writing and would love to get suggestions and hear about other experiences. Especially the business side of things.

And for those who enjoy my blog, don't be afraid to pass on my address. Who knows, maybe I'll even post some excerpts of my story online just to whet your appetite a bit.

See you next week!


Let's get started!

It sure is neat how things can work out. One night you're playing on the computer, shooting bad guys in the head with a sawed-off shotgun, then before you know it you're changing diapers at three in the morning. What the heck just happened here? Where did the last six years go?

I'm sure everybody goes through this seemingly cliche moment in their lives. For me, it was when my wife and I had our third child. It started to dawn on me (finally) that perhaps I needed to change my "hobby" to something else. So I retired my PC - much to the delight of my wife - and bought a couple laptops for us.

Then something very unusual happened to me. It was like a part of my brain was lying dormant, paralyzed from the mind-numbing hacking and slashing and shooting that had been part of my recreation time for so long. And it woke up. Big time.

If you were to ask any of my family members or loved ones about me, they might politely say that I have a unique sense of humor or imagination. Now suddenly this mind of mine needed to focus its thoughts on something new. Enter book writing. To borrow a line from the movie "Pulp Fiction", I had "what alcoholics commonly refer to as a moment of clarity". Suddenly I had all these ideas for stories popping into my head that I had to start writing them down so as not to forget. Granted, I'm in the infancy stage of writing, but the process so far has been so freeing and exciting.

Here's the funny part. I'm not even a reader really. I'm going on 34, and in my entire lifetime, I've read maybe 20 books from front to back. That's it! And J.K. Rowling was responsible for seven of those by herself, yikes. So how am I supposed to write anything? I think that's irrelevant really. If you have a great story, just find a great editor, that's what I say.

So you can imagine how happy and encouraged I was when I starting my research for young-adult fiction writing. I was assaulted with terms like "chick-lit" and covers of books with high-heeled shoes, and lipstick, and bikinis, and pink stuff, and frilly things, and teddy bears, and flowers, and puppies, and lipstick (did I already say lipstick?), and ponies, and Barbie dolls. O.k., maybe not Barbie dolls, but I think you get my point.

So this is my mission: to write books for girls and boys to enjoy equally. Can it be done? I think it can. Harry Potter everyone. Our boys are out there, I know it. I'm raising three myself. Video games are always getting better and faster and gorier, books need to keep our boys attention and get better too. So let's get started. Help me maybe not squash the "chick-lit" trend, but to at least give it a run. Let's come up with a quick phrase for boys literature (and not boys-lit, o.k.).

I know that I'll keep writing my stories until they're done, and hopefully I'll be able to share them with everyone one day. That's my dream. Sorry, that last part was really sappy.... CURSE YOU CHICK-LIT!