Life

Spring Vacation & The Aurora Fossil Festival FTW!

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About six months ago, we began planning what seemed at the time an unlikely vacation.  It was to begin the very night of my son Zachary’s high school graduation.  The plan?  We would hop in the van, drive to New Bern, NC to a hotel, and on Saturday, we would attend the Aurora Fossil Festival.  None of us really knew anything about this place except that they HAD a museum, there were giant Megaladon jaws you could get your picture taken in, and there was a pile of dirt – somewhere – you could dig through and find your own fossils.

None of us (at that particular time) was obsessed with fossils.  We wanted a break, a getaway, and something different.  We found all of that and more.

The trip up was an adventure in itself, as there are a lot of new bypasses and roads in place that were NOT in place when our Tom Tom was last updated.  Several times in the middle of long stretches of bridge it suggested we go 80 yards and turn left.  We declined.  Also, there was a tiny place named Chocowinity along the way…but it passed so quickly I thought maybe I’d hallucinated it.  It turns out it’s from a Native American word for “Fish From Many Waters,” but that’s for another story.

We spent a good first night in the Holiday In Express, rose early, ate our continental breakfast, and piled into the van. Along the way we passed interestingly named places, and as we pulled into town, we cut in around to the left and ended up parking two spaces off the main street.  Quite by accident.

After hitting the one ATM machine in town, we started back across a big field into the festival.  Before we really got in, we were handed a sheet to identify fossils, and a very friendly girl told us that the secret was that the gravel and dirt in the parking lot was fresher than what had been dumped for the festival.  She showed us a very nice prehistoric Great White shark’s tooth she’d found.  We went back to the parking lot.

We gathered four or five baggies of fossils, and the pride of the lot was Katie’s Great White tooth, about twice the size of a quarter.  When we’d finished in the parking lot, we crossed into the field and dug with the rest of the festival guests in a big pile of “reject” from the Phosphate mine, which is the source of all the fossils.

While there we saw some odd species of duck, played with a corn snake, had funnel cake, bought fossils – and hats – and other things – and attended an amazing lecture on how the biggest specimen ever pulled from the mine was preserved, cleaned, and displayed.  It’s the skeleton of a juvenile whale, and the care and ingenuity involved in that project was well worth the our we sat listening to the lecture and learning.  After that we went out and saw the skeleton itself, as well as the rest of the museum, and took the obligatory photos of people in giant jaws.  We also bought raffle tickets for the giant Megaladon tooth, over 6″ – did not win – and enjoyed the parade, including a passably good Jack Sparrow impersonator.  Below are some more pictures from the trip.

 

The Invisible Shoes & The Barefoot 1/2 Mile.

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So, I mentioned on Facebook that the Invisible Shoes I ordered arrived, surprising me by being so think and light they came in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope.  I’ve been reading the book “Born to Run,” which I recommend even to people with no love of running, and trying to find my way back onto the road and out of some extra poundage I’ve picked up.

The gist of it appears to be…we were born with feet and bodies designed to be able to run long distances.  The shoe industry (Nike in particular) has spent decades now convincing us we have to cushion, support and baby our feet with higher and higher tech shoes for half our salaries, while – in fact – there has never been any data to support their claims.  Now the data seems to say – if you wear expensive shoes you are MORE likely to be injured.  Barefoot runners are winning races, racking up the miles, and have caught my interest.

So…just to share…tonight I strapped on (incorrectly) my Huareches (sandals) and hit the road with my son Zane’s Hero HD camera strapped to my head.  Here are the things I learned.

The heel strap is very important.  If the shoe slips off your heel, it simply won’t work for running.  I found that one of my two sandals was too loose at the heel.  I decided, however, that I was not giving up that easily, so I ran the first mile barefoot.  I passed a very amused and confused man and his dog.  I did NOT hurt my feet as I feared on gravel or anything else..I also did not go far.

Your first time out you WILL use muscles in your calves and legs that are not ready for it.  It IS good to have the tiny thin padding of the shoe, just because those of us not used to going barefoot don’t have calloused soles on our feet.

Then I came back, watched the video again, laced on the sandals to take the dog for a walk…and learned that having them too tight over the toes is ALSO not going to work, which means…I have to get this just right.  I intend to keep at it.  I am convinced, after one run, that the sheer difference of it will keep me going, and I see many miles in my future.  I would LOVE to work up to a half or full marathon before I’m done.  I’m 52, but that’s not nearly too old for this.

Onward!

-DNW

Nanowrimo and Story Updates

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I make daily updates on the official Facebookpage about what’s going on with the Nanowrimo writing…but I figured I’d sort it out here at a little more length for those who might be (understandably) getting confused.

THE PLAN: Write the next Donovan DeChance novel – Kali’s Tale.  This novel is the story of the young female vampire who was part of Vein’s posse in the novel Vintage Soul.  She was brought “to the blood” violently and against her will, and as her rage builds, she is called to perform what the vampires of my little universe call “the blood quest” – in which she travels back to North Carolina to destroy the one who created her.  Naturally, these usually go south, as the creator is older, faster, stronger…thus she is not going alone.  She is accompanied by Vein, Bruno, and Bones.  Still, as it turns out, her creator is not just old … he is nearly ancient.  Top that off with a few other secrets he hasn’t shared with the world, and you get classic “imbalance” in the universe… but wait!  That makes it a job for…Donovan Dechance.

Donovan and Amethyst head off to NC to sort of look on from the shadows and help when they can.  Along the way Amethyst and the young vampires run into a problem in Memphis Tennessee, and Donovan makes a side trip to consult with an old friend, Geoffrey Bullfinch, who has recently become a full-fledged agent of the newly formed O.C.L.T. – thus tying the two worlds together.

That was the plan.

The PROBLEM with the plan was that in the first few chapters I planned a short flashback where Donovan would finally reveal his past to Amethyst – how he became who, and what he is, and why.  This, of course, turned into a lot more than a quick flashback.  It turned into a 21,000 word novella that I cut OUT of Kali’s Tale and will publish first, and separately.   The rough of that is finished, and I’m now 20k or so into Kali’s Tale proper, with all the primary characters finally getting on the road and leaving San Valencez behind.

For those of you worried about it, do not fear.  I will be finishing up Killer Green very shortly as well – at least the rough draft – and then (hopefully) Tattered Remnants – a long-time project that has been sitting too long.  Somewhere in there I will find time to edit all of these.  Welcome to the world where time ran out and we keep going anyway.

At 41,000 words for the month…the end of Nanowrimo is in site.

Onward!

Quick Update Heading into Veteran's Day

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Which is, for those who care, my day to share with hundreds of thousands of others who served.  It’s something I’m proud of…so…that’s my thought for the day.  I’m glad my country has a day to celebrate those of us who sacrificed years of our lives…

Currently reading:  City of Knives – Unpublished (until I publish it) novel by International bestselling author William Bayer.  VERY good book, with tango, and nazi weapons collectors, and mystery in Buenos Aries … good stuff.

Currently listening to : The Sufferer’s Song – by Steven Savile, narrated by Andrew Randall

 

Currently writing : Kali’s Tale – or I will be after I write the final chapter tonight of the origin story of Donovan DeChance.  For those Donovan lovers out there, and those who WANT to be…this is must-read entertainment.

So…back to it.  Miles to go before we sleep…

-DNW

Updates – it's About Time

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It’s been a really long time since I posted here.  I know this, because this blog posts on to my Amazon author’s page, and they sent me a note saying if I didn’t start updating soon they would deactivate it.  This is what happens when you diversify and spread out too far.  This has always been my personal bully-pulpit, and also the place I focused on updates to my own writing.  It will be that again.

Currently I’m novelizing KILLER GREEN – the first ever screenplay conceived on Twitter, posted as blog-posts, starring Twitter celebrities (and others) and then optioned right back there on Twitter.  It’s not produced yet, of course, but we all know how those things go.  It’s still “in the works,” and I’m ever hopeful.

In the tradition of this particular story, if you want to read along as I write it, I set up a blog.  The chapter posts are private, but all you have to do to read along is register and login.  I have fifteen chapters posted so far, and I’m well into the next one, so get on over and catch up at the KILLER GREEN READ-ALONG BLOG.

My novel MAELSTROM is due soon for Kindle and other eReaders. I have also recovered the trade paperback rights to this title, so it will be coming out from Crossroad Press in the next year. This, of course, will join the so far unspectacular sales of other trade paperbacks we’ve done…there was a lot of grumbling about books coming out digitally that you couldn’t buy in print.  I set up the print line and priced it about five dollars cheaper than anyone else doing it…and no one is ordering.  Not a great argument for the hardcopies, but we persevere.  So far from Crossroad Press you can get a number of books in print, including original novels from Aaron Rosenberg, Chet Williamson, myself and Steven Savile, as well as an original collection by Jo Graham.  If you buy these books straight from the Crossroad Press store, you will receive the eBook for free with your purchase.  Many are also available in audio (with more to come)

All of this, of course, is available through CROSSROAD PRESS and also on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

My collection The Call of Distant Shores is getting some attention now, and my most recent novel is also available, The Parting, the first full-length book in the new O.C.L.T. series.

More specific updates to come, and I’ll be fleshing out the books pages.

-DNW

Happy Father's Day to My Kids

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To my best Father’s Day presents:

I wanted to take just a few moments to thank the five people who have made Father’s Day such a joy for me.  I know I’m not a perfect father…but I try my best.  I love my kids, and I love the woman I share my life with…some thoughts.

Thanks Bill.  You’re the one who looked up to me, even when it seemed like you weren’t.  You’re the one that followed my love of computers, learned to do web sites, and now, you’re following my footsteps into the US Navy.  We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I’ve always known I can count on you, and I hope you know, the same will always be true for you.  Love you buddy, and you’ve made us proud.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Stephanie.  You were my first daughter…and though I missed some of your life, I shared a lot of it.  The first time we met, and I had to leave, I’ll never forget that you cried … and how it felt to know you cared.  You’ve grown into a lovely young woman, talented, artistic, and always positive.  You’re the smile in the family when – at times – everything else frowns. I’m proud to be part of your life.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Zach.  You’re the one who has most shared my love of reading, and of places and things not real, but that seem better.  You’ve grown up honest, and kind, and even though a big chunk of the years we should have shared got stolen, I’ll never forget the first half hour of your life, when I held you in the hospital and the stupid nurses forgot I had you.  You’re doing great in school and looking to the future, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.  Looking for you to turn the world of Physics on its ear…or at least to write the next great epic fantasy.

 

Thanks Zane.  If Stephanie is the smile in the family, you’re the laugh.  Like with Zach, a huge piece of the time that we should have shared got messed up.  Through all of that, you remained a good kid, and grew into a talented artist, photographer, and guitar player.  You and Bill shared that love with me too – the music.  There are great things ahead of you, and I’m glad I still have some time to be part of it.  You know I’m there when you need me…always will be.

 

Katie…we are all blessed to have you.  Smart, pretty, and so loving – you’re the one that loves everyone here unconditionally…the one that is happiest when you are with your brothers, your sisters, your mom, and with me.  You are like the knot that ties us all together, and you have an AMAZING group of brothers and sisters to look out for you through your life.

 

All of you…there isn’t anything I’ve done in my life more important than helping offer you guys up to the world.  It’s what I’m proudest of – it’s what I hope I’ll be remembered for – it’s the thing that keeps me going.  Your mom and I spend more time than you could imagine thinking about you, worrying over you, wishing and working for your futures.

Thanks for making this –and every Father’s Day – magic for me.

I love you all,

Your Dad

 

Lost Benjamin Franklin Limerick – to William Dawes

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For those following the Palin historical fiasco over Paul Revere’s ride, just a quick note. Paul Revere rode off got distracted, and was captured by the British … but he got all the credit… another guy, William Dawes, ALSO rode out yelling “The British are Coming” with a much different outcome…he actually completed the job. Such is the fickle finger of history. I was rustling about some old parchments and suddenly – I felt the presence of Benjamin Franklin…I grabbed my ball-point quill and began to scribble…

There once was a fellow named Dawes,
Who rode off on his horse for a cause.
But a guy named Revere
Hollered HEY! OVER HERE!
And made off with the fame and applause

BF (poorly channled by DNW)

Kindle Star (With a nod to Nickelback)

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SUNG TO THE TUNE OF ROCKSTAR – by Nickelback 

 

I’m tired of writing for publishers who never give in,
I’m a genius, they don’t see it and I just can’t win
this famous writer gig ain’t turned out how I thought it’d be…

I want a mega-best-seller on the New York Times list,
with some killer cover art no one could ever resist,
and a glass-fronted shelf for my books so everyone can see…

I want a new bookcase full of old first editions
and a Mont Blanc pen with some gold ink in it
and a hot librarian to keep it polished up for me…

I want to sign some books, and trade ’em for money,
and a bunch of author groupies who will call me honey,
and my whole life’s work made available fully digitally…

I want to trade this life for fortune and fame,
I’ll even comb my hair and dress up lame,

 

Cause we all just wanna be Kindle Stars
and write a pile of bestsellers from the stools of bars,
Every new ereader’s gonna have my books,
and I’ll be on the menu of all their Nooks

And I’ll hang out in the coolest blogs,
with their kid’s bat mitzvah’s and their cool loldogs,
every avatar you see will be my cover art,
while they’re waiting for the day when the blog tour starts…

and we’ll cruise You Tube and the Web-TV,
Fill everybody’s monitor with videos of me,
hit the Twitter and Facebook and the online mall,
everybody has my address saved in Paypal…
oh yeah, I wanna be a Kindle Star.

Sung to the tune, you know?  Maybe I’ll get the guitar out someday and record it … Meanwhile, you can go to AMAZON.COM and the DNW LINKS and make it happen for me…

 

From the Past …D. G. K. Goldberg Interviews Me…

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This is another excerpt from my Live Journal back in the day.  One of my friends – someone I lost back then, D. G. K. Goldberg, she of the sharp wit and love of NASCAR, sent me some questions one day as a sort of “challenge,” or “meme,” or whatever.  I answered them…this is what I said.  I’m saddened to see that some oriental spam-bot website has assumed control of the url dgkgoldberg.com – but in actuality, I can imagine what she would have said/written about it, and smile…

 

Current mood: amused

Current music: Still Nick Cave…

Questions From dgkgoldberg and answers from Me

 

This is a five question “challenge” sort of interview spawned in the live journal of dgkgoldberg I decided to post her questions and my answers here so everyone could share in the nonsense. Besides, I almost never get interviewed….

1. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started writing?
This is obviously a trick question assuming that I know things now. I can hardly even figure out where to START an answer, because if I’d known any particular thing, all the other things that led up to me knowing the rest of what I know would be skewed. I guess that if there was one thing I sort of hoped to be true at the beginning, but know to be true now, it’s simply that I am good enough to do it. The writing, I mean. When I started outI was not good enough – I was the best who ever lived and would soon eclipse everyone. Now I know that the truth is simply that I have some things to say, and a way of saying them, that people are interested enough to read, and in the end, it’s better than eclipsing things would be. If you cause an eclipse, one side of you always gets burned.

2. What is the one item for resale that you would most like to come across and resell?
There are a lot of things that would fall on the most like to find column, but the hard part is making yourself resell. I think if you are talking actual items that really exist, I would like to find that last existing copy of The Declaration of Independence that is still missing. Why? Not because it’s the most valuable thing I could find, because it isn’t, though I’d be rich for the rest of my life after selling it. The reason is because I’d like to hold it in my hand, read the words inscribed there for myself, and then – when I got the chance to return it to the country and to whatever weasel-snouted politician is currently called Mr. President to his face and a laughingstock on the Jay Lenno show, I’d get the chance to commentate. I have a lot to say about the Declaration of Independence, the rights of Americans, and the country in general, and I think if I found and resold that particular piece of parchment, I might get the chance to make those comments, and actually have a few people hear them. It would be spitting in the wind, but at least – for a change – it would be my spit.
Barring that, there are some lost films that no copies of have survived that it would be cool to locate in a frigid vault somewhere.
If you allow the fanciful, I’d probably take something simple like The Holy Grail, or Jesus’ actual remains – both of which would be worth enough to bankrupt the Catholic church. I remember what happened when a guy found that body in a novel called “Another Roadside Attraction,” though, and it might be more trouble than it’s worth.
3. What is the one thing that if you came across it at a yard sale you would most fear?
Hmm. A lot of things would bring downright terror, but the question says specifically at a yard sale. Again, you open two doors with one question. Should I be artsy and interpret this to mean anything real or fanciful, or should I interpret it as straightforward and pertaining to something one might find at a yard sale.
Cursed objects would bring me that fear, particularly if the person ‘s item was up for sale because the curse took them out. Let’s do this with a bulleted list, all organized and some junk:
· A painting of myself, beginning to molder right where my hair is thinnest on top? · A cheesy romance novel with #1 Bestseller at the top, a raunchy pirate bending back a buxom maid with my byline on it in a dusty box of books I didn’t write, dated 3001? · A sealed, carved box with a label that says “If found, please return to Pandora”· Any relic or holy object that proved the narrow-minded Christians have been right all along.· Any relic or holy object that proved Christians were, without a doubt, absolutely WRONG, because it would be like a train wreck. I would have to buy it, and I would have to make it known, and they would kill me, as they have so many others – not to protect their faith, but to protect their power.

4. Which writer who has not been alive in your lifetime would you most like to spend an evening with?
It I only get an evening, I would have to go with Byron. I love his poetry, and only the dim among us don’t know he has inspired everyone up through Stephen King. He wrote about vampires, and he provided us with lines like, “She walks in beauty, as the night…” while instilling Polidori with dreams of Dracula, and Mary Shelley those of Frankenstein. He played Cricket though he was lame, and drank like a fish (thankfully before there was any driving to be done, and in any case, he was rich enough to BE driven). I think the night would be memorable, and if he can send others off with the inspirations that became classics, why not myself?
Many who know me would have guessed the Marquis de Sade, who, while a horrible author of porn and nonsense, was also a brilliant man, but I suspect he wouldn’t have been much fun at dinner, and I’d hate to think what sort of entertainment he might provide.
5. If you had to be a character in a book and live it out as it was written who would you be and in what book?
I could cheat again. I could say Judas Iscariot from “This is My Blood” – my own novel, because I would be the real hero of the gospel, and being a vampire-born-of-fallen-angels would still be alive to tell the tale, but that would be wrong.I think I’d have to say I’d like to be Roland of Gilead in King’s Gunslinger novels. He’s a hero, and a desperado, an asshole, and a legend. He had abilities and memories that others can only dream of, and his destiny? To save not only this world, but all worlds…or die trying. He has loved, been loved – yep. Roland of Gilead for me.
Of course, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at being Harry Potter, though his life tends to suck at times. (Don’t’ they all?).
DNW

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This is the entry I made long ago about Bunting Miles’ tombstone, which does, indeed, still live in our living room, propped up against the NEW fireplace.  It’s an interesting story.  We have since learned that he was probably a laborer, a black man living in a portion of Norfolk that used to be called something else.  We have not been (quite) able to track relatives.  He is welcome right where he is, if he traveled with the stone.  We’ve had some odd, ghost-like goings-on near where the stone has been placed for years…anyway, here’s what I wrote a few years back:

deep_bluze (deep_bluze) wrote,
20040305 08:41:00
Current mood: awake
Current music: Bauhaus – 1979-1983 – Volume II

I own a tombstone. It isn’t MY tombstone, but it does live in my living room (perhaps not so well named), propped against the fireplace in the main living room where all our most precious, gaudy, and should-be-living-in-a-Victorian Whorehouse furniture, gold gilt, dark velvets, old wood are kept. And Bunting. Bunting Miles, to be precise.

Years back, my good friend Richard Rowand came to visit. Richard was then editor of a sci-fi mag called STARSHORE – four glorious, full-color national distribution issues, one of which carried “A Candle in the Sun,” My first really big sale, the story that was reprinted in Karl Wagner’s Year’s Best Horror (despite his threat never to print anything with a vampire in it) and later became This is My Blood, my first critically acclaimed work (that no mass-market place will touch, despite the great PW review). But that’s neither here nor there.

Richard came to visit me in a house I’d just bought at the time (long gone down the drain of bad marriage and bankruptcy). He brought a house-warming gift. Sort of.

He brought me a concrete tombstone. It is so old the material threatens to crumble slowly away. It is marked, simply, Bunting Miles – who died in 1867 ( or it could be 1857, I will put up a picture, eventually). I have searched the net. I have contacted the freaking MORMONS who have a great database for this. I have consulted libraries, the 1870 census, have discussed it at length over food and wine and whiskey and I cannot find a trace of this man. I do not know who he is, where he came from. I have his tombstone. Every year I put lilies on it and drink a glass of cognac while I’m watching them wilt.

The tombstone came in a load of fill dirt. The fill dirt was delivered to Richard’s neighbor, and when he went to spread it, there was the stone. The dirt came from either Portsmouth VA or North Carolina. It was delivered to Virginia Beach. The neighbor, knowing Richard was “Strange,” brought it to him. Richard’s wife, who is NOT strange, consigned it to his garage, and later on, just wanted it gone. Thus it passed to the next strangest acquaintance up the chain. Me.

The fact is, it probably leaped and bounded its way to the top of the strange pile, because I kept it. I have tried to find its original home.

I’ve had it suggested that this was the marker of a freed black slave, or a native American. I have had it suggested the fill dirt actually came from the ballast in the bottom of a cargo ship and could be European. Many scenarios have been offered. At one point I was nearly certain I’d nailed it down to a freedman who worked a farm in Virginia who actually worked for an ancestor of mine, but that fizzled.

I intend, when time permits (soon I hope) to put a link from www.deepblues.net called the Hunting Bunting page with all pertinent info in pace. I’d love to bring him home.

If not, there’s probably a book in the hunt somewhere…

DNW

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