Life

SILENT AUCTION TO HELP A FRIEND FIX THEIR ROOF

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2013-11-12 18.56.57I AM SILENT AUCTIONING BOOKS AND PRIZES to help Our good friends Elizabeth Massie and Cortney Skinner, who need some help with their roof. It’s a bad situation, and I want to do what I can. Here’s the deal. I am going to hold a small silent auction. Those who win on each item will be directed to donate their amount (or more) to the Go Fund Me below, and I will personalize and send their gift… I will run this auction for 24 hours. Here are the things up for grabs:

1) A Signed Limited copy of my novel Ancient Eyes – published by Bad Moon Books – Cover art by Don Paresi – Number 173 of 300.

 

2) A trade paperback of HALLOWED GROUND by myself and Steven Savile

3) A Signed limited edition of my novel MAELSTROM – published by Bad Moon Books – cover art by Alex McVey

4) VERY RARE – #2 of only 35 copies – the Deluxe slip-covered edition of my collection DEFINING MOMENTS – published by Sarob Press and containing my Bram Stoker Award Winning story “The Gentle Brush of Wings”

5) A Signed HC copy of my novel NEVERMORE – cover art by Lisa Snellings

6) A signed limited edition of my novel The Heart of a Dragon – Book I of the DeChance Chronicles…this is the true first edition – published by Bad Moon Books, cover art by Don Paresi

7) A signed hardcover of Patricia Lee Macomber’s ZOMBIE – A Love Story

8) Here are the ones that could get interesting. I am also putting up for grabs a Philips Norelco beard trimmer, the best beard companion there is. I’m also currently writing the second Cletus J. Diggs novel, The Crazy Case of Foreman James. You can be a character in this story if you are high bidder. I will also auction off a character in the upcoming Donovan DeChance novel “A Midnight Dreary.”

That’s all. Just e-mail me. Tell me which item you’d like to bid on and your top bid. Tomorrow night at 8:00 PM I will announce the winners (assuming anyone bids).

ALSO you can just donate to help out BY CLICKING HERE

The restoration of the Kay Style Master Guitar – HELP WELCOME

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Recently, I bought an old Kay electric guitar.  It’s a Style-Master – from 1959 (the same year I was born).  Today I disassembled the guitar, and now I will proceed with the restoration.  The wood body and neck are going to need very light fine grade sanding, and a clear coat of lacquer.  It’s a blonde wood with no stain, so it won’t change the appearance, but should help preserve it.  The pickups are a problem.  The chrome covers are pitted a little.  They used to be a sort of gold tone, but are mostly silver now.  They are also riveted to one of the pick-guard plates, which also have some light corrosion and discoloration.  I have to figure out how to fix them.

There is some corrosion around the potentiometers that manage the tone and volume – this guitar has three each of tone and volume, and then one that changes the pickups.  I have to find a small tabbed knob for the top control, which is the pickup selector.  The “V” and “T” is faded on some of the knobs, but I can use a tiny bit of white paint and fix those. The electronics, I’m afraid, I will have to replace, but it’s a simple wiring project, and I did this for 20 years in the US Navy – that part I can handle.  The bridge is in great shape.  The tuning pegs are functional, but the chrome is a bit rusted and pitted (see pictures) so I may replace them.  The tail piece is copper or brass – it’s a little worn, but I think it will stay (after a polishing.  There’s a white peg that goes through the bottom of this tailpiece and into the wood (looks almost like the pegs that hold strings) except the top of it is broken off (where a strap would connect) so I have to find one of those.  I will keep you all posted as I go – but here’s what I could use… someone with experience to tell me how to handle those riveted on Pickpups.  I guess they could be drilled out and replaced…?  I need to figure out how to buff out or clean out the corrosion on the pick guards and then fix the finish (sort of a copper or gold-tone finish that looks as if it was lacquered over (again, see pics).  I need a vintage K control knob with a single pointed tab on one side to point where it’s selecting.

A Christmas Gift – A Story – "You Are Just Like Gods"

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“You are just like Gods . . .”

By David Niall Wilson

 

Myoshi felt his foot slip on the slick, moss-covered rock, and he gripped the rocks above him more tightly.  The sharp lava stone cut into his fingers, but he regained his balance and remained very still, letting his breath and heartbeat calm.  The sun rose slowly, warming his back as he climbed.  Birds cried from the rocks above, and from the depths of the trees.  Myoshi brushed his fingers across his brow, wiping away the sweat.

Fuji rose above him, grim and imposing, but no more so than the formidable drop behind.  Myoshi had begun his climb at first light, and he had made good time.  On his back, his school book bag bulged with supplies.  There was a souvenir shop at the edge of the forest, but he’d wanted to avoid prying eyes.

He carried some well-packed fish and rice, and two small packets.  One was his school work, graded and banded carefully to be saved and shown to his parents.  The other was a packet of letters.  Letters from Myoshi’s grandfather.  Letters Myoshi’s father had kept, wrapped carefully in rice paper and bound with a silken ribbon.  Letters that one day would be missed.

The mountain leveled off for a time, and Myoshi was able to walk normally, sweeping his gaze along the trail that wound up and up until it was lost among trees and clouds.  It was a wonderful day for a climb.

Far below, beyond the ocean of trees that was the ancient forest of Aokigahara, school was in session.  Myoshi’s father had been at work for two hours, and his mother would be home, cleaning and organizing.  Nothing in their small, neat apartment was ever out of place.  Myoshi’s father would not have permitted it, and his mother would do nothing that shamed her in her husband’s eyes.  Perfection.  Myoshi yearned for that. In everything he did, he fell short.

In school, his mind wandered.  His grades were not bad, but neither were they good.  In Myoshi’s household, mediocrity was not an option.  Other children excelled.  Some were athletes, others could calculate in their heads faster than Myoshi could press the buttons on his calculator.  Myoshi could write, some, but even in this he fell short in his father’s eyes.  His marks in penmanship were less than satisfactory, and his grammar was erratic.  His teachers said he lacked focus and discipline.

Myoshi’s grandfather had known about discipline.  He had understood about being different, as well.  It was all in the letters.  Letters written by a man who died before his own young son could bring home grades, or books of letters.  Letters that were Myoshi’s father’s one link to the past.  A fragile link, built of memories half-forgotten and fantasies long rehearsed.  Myoshi had heard those fantasies.  He had met his grandfather through his father’s words.  He had seen the glint in dark eyes, and the shining leather of the uniform.  Myoshi had heard the roar of engines as great birds of war took flight.

“You are just like the Gods,” Myoshi breathed, “Free of earthly desires…”

He slipped under the umbrella of tree-limbs and continued up the mountain.  His father’s voice echoed through his mind.  The mountain slipped away, just for a moment, replaced by white, billowing clouds.  The soft cries of birds and the chirping of insects gave way to crackling static.  He sensed the others, tightly formed squadron of death, moving as a single unit with the sun blazing above.  Myoshi could feel the sweat beneath the flight helmet.  He could sense the symmetry of the squadron’s practiced motion.  One great bird.  One bolt of lightning aimed at those who opposed the Emperor.

 

“To fly as one bolt

From the crossbow of a

Victorious light.”

 

A tree root protruding from the mountain’s rough hide sent Myoshi tumbling, and his mind returned to the moment.  He caught himself on both hands, scraping one palm, and fighting the urge to cry out.  The weight of the pack pressed him more tightly to the earth.  Turning, he seated himself on a rock and caught his breath.  The sun was bright, and as he looked back the way he’d come, he saw that the trail had disappeared, the winding course cutting off his entrance to the tree-line completely.  Nothing below but the green tops of the trees, obscuring the forest floor, and the rocky peak above rising on a gentle slope above a second line of trees.  Myoshi could just make it out, and he smiled.

From his pack, he pulled free a rice cake, and the packet of his graded school papers.  Carefully, he unwrapped the bundle, plucking out the sheets one by one.  He laid them on the stone beside him, tracing the even lines of his script with a critical eye.  He had been doing well on this one.  Line after line of formulas strung together in the proper patterns.  Then the error.  One figure out of place, another line used to scratch the mistake from the paper and the continuation – flawed.  Beside each figure, a corresponding red character in the elegant script of his teacher.  Corrected. Berated.  Imperfect.

Myoshi had done well enough to pass from this class to the next, but with no honors.  No fine words from teacher to parent.  No pride. It had taken him hours to complete that assignment, painstakingly forming each character.  He had wanted so badly to please his father that the old man’s image had formed in Myoshi’s mind.  The words, and the stories, and lectures slipped in to distract.

Myoshi traced the scratched out character’s with the nail of one finger.  He whispered to himself.

“You are just like gods.”

The figures mocked him.  The red letters, so bright in the sunlight, glittered like the eyes of serpents.  His father had not seen them.  Myoshi had kept the papers, folded and tied.  Bound and under his control.  He could not control the characters, or the formulas, but he could control their outcome, for a time.  The birds did not threaten to expose his secret, and Fuji beckoned.

Myoshi glanced at the second packet of papers. He slid his hand into his pack, stroked the silk bindings, but he did not open the letters.  Not yet.  He quickly packed the wrapper from the rice cake, and the school work, and rose, turning to face the mountain once again.

“Free of earthly desires,” he said softly.

Free of his family.  Free of school, though it tugged at his heart.  He would be a disappointment to his father this final time.  Myoshi had not missed a day of school in five years.  The only desire he could recall in all those years was to please his father.  The most wonderful moments of his life had been spent at that great man’s feet, listening to stories of emperors, and wars.  Stories of his ancestors.  Stories that filled his heart and mind with dreams of other places, and other times.  Times and places where he was not a clumsy young boy, but a hero.  There were ways for those unworthy of honor to regain it.  There were answers to the loss of pride.

The good times with his father had grown fewer and further between as Myoshi had grown older.  As the piles and piles of papers, just like those in his pack, had stacked themselves against his future, and his honor, his father’s eyes had grown distant.  They still saw Myoshi, but not the same Myoshi they had seen before.

Myoshi rose once more, his gaze sweeping up the winding trail to where the peak of the mountain slipped through the clouds.  Eagles soared through the highest branches of the trees, circling slowly.  Myoshi screened the sunlight by cupping his palm over his eyes and watched them.  The brilliant light glittered on a bit of mica imbedded in the mountain, diamond glimmer nearly blinding him.  Myoshi squinted, cocking his head to one side to listen.

He could hear his father’s voice as the mountain faded.  Could sense the shift, and welcomed it.

“We watched from the decks as the pilots swarmed to the sky, a black horde, synchronized and dangerous.  It was not our time.  We were too far from the enemy, and these would return, but they were majestic in flight.

“I remember standing very still on the flight deck, watching them shrink to fly-specks on the horizon, and knowing, when it was my time, that speck would be me.  Shrinking to nothing.  Here, and then, no more, a bright spark in the Emperor’s eyes – a memory in my family’s heart.  Just like the Gods.”

With his eyes squinted so tightly, Myoshi saw the aircraft shimmering against a darkened sky, saw them bank and circle against the clouds.  Saw them focus.  Eagles.  Eagles were like the Gods, as well, but a different sort of God.

Myoshi picked up his things and started up the mountain once more, suddenly eager for completion.  He could feel the wind on the wings of the eagles, and that same wind shivering through his hair.

There were not many letters.  Myoshi’s grandfather had not served for years in the military, or even for a year.  Months, only, and he had never returned.  He had not been a precision pilot, nor had he been blessed with the blood of the Samurai. Still, he had soared.

Myoshi had read those letters again and again.  He had begged his father’s indulgence to allow him to watch over them.  To guard them.  He had seen in his father’s eyes the struggle this had been, but those words, those images, were ingrained in his father’s mind.  That great man no longer required the letters, and so they had passed to Myoshi, who had cherished them as no other possession.

His grandfather’s penmanship had never faltered.  There were no red characters or strike-outs.  There were clear thoughts, worded in poetry stretched to prose without loss of continuity.  It was his grandfather’s words that inspired Myoshi’s own writing, unworthy as it was.  It was the images of his grandfather’s death that stole those words, and distracted him from his own honor.  His teacher said his mind wandered.  Myoshi knew it soared.

The trees had begun to thin.  All that stood between Myoshi and his goal was a ragged backbone of rock.  Far above him, farther than he could have climbed in such a short time, patches of snow were visible.  The air was noticeably cooler, and Myoshi was glad, very suddenly, that his mother had insisted on the sweater he wore, though it had been too hot less than an hour before.

“The higher you go,” Myoshi’s father’s voice, “the colder it gets.  The harder it is to breathe.  It is always dark.  We don’t fly by day, and those few of us who get to practice at all are very sparing with our fuel.  We are not trained to fire at the enemy.  We are barely trained to land.  It is not expected of us.

“We study the great maps daily.  We listen to the inspirational words of our leaders.  I have meditated more this span of two weeks, my son, than I have in the last two years of my life.  Things I have never thought of become clear.  Your mother.  Your face, watching over me in my dreams.

 

“My face reflected

Bright smile, shining eyes, dark

Like the twilit sky.”

 

Myoshi’s eyes were dark, as were his father’s.  He knew that he resembled both men, third generation to bear that visage, first to fail.  There would be no medals hanging on the walls of Myoshi’s home.  Not unless he inherited them.  He would not write wondrous letters to a son yet unborn, telling tales of glory, and darkness, blood and fire.

He stopped again, shielding his eyes and glancing up toward the mountain’s peak.  The eagles had roosted, leaving the sun to beat down on a desolate slope.  Myoshi planned to be across the ridge and safely on the plateau on the far side before the afternoon sunlight waned.  He considered stopping for another snack, but there wasn’t much shade until he crossed, and he wanted to reach the ledge with enough light for reading.

Not that he needed light.  Not that every word in every letter wasn’t ingrained in his imagination, every image fully formed and captivating.  He stepped out onto the bare stone.  The wind whipped up and nearly toppled him from his precarious perch, no longer blocked by the trees.  Myoshi fought for his balance, regained it, and took a quick step forward, then another.  It was easier once he was moving, and he concentrated on the stone at his feet.

Myoshi did not want to think about the side of the mountain, or the lava fields, obscured by the forest below.  He dislodged a tiny avalanche of dust and stone and stopped, waiting for his heart to grow still.

Myoshi thought of Cherry blossoms.  His grandfather had often mentioned them, as had his father.  One of the other pilots, younger even than Myoshi’s grandfather, had written a poem that Myoshi loved.  The haiku, so simple, so profound and complete in that simplicity.

“If only we might fall

Like Cherry blossoms in the spring

So pure and radiant.”

 

Myoshi contemplated the mountain.  The distance to the base.  The remaining climb.  There were no cherry trees on the mountain, and somehow, he was glad.  He didn’t want to think about the ground littered with their petals.  He didn’t want to walk over so many great souls.

As the sun warmed his back, and the wind chilled his face, Myoshi climbed.

* * *

The sun dropped fast beyond the horizon, and Myoshi leaned in close, trying to catch enough of the dying light to finish the letter.  It was the last of them.  Eight, carefully penned slices of life; all that remained of Myoshi’s grandfather.  When he had read the last familiar word, he carefully folded the paper, painstakingly matching the folds and tying the ribbon as it had been reverently.  Myoshi tucked the bundle under his shirt, close to his heart.

Next he pulled free a single sheet of blank paper, and his pen.  It was getting more difficult to see, but it would not matter.  There would be no red glaring characters to mar this piece.  Nothing to correct.  No figures, only a promise.  A single promise.

Myoshi wrote slowly as his mind wandered, for once allowing the words to be absolutely his own.  He didn’t watch the paper.  It was getting too dark for that.  He had to depend on his instincts and luck.  He knew his teachers would not approve, but for once, he was beyond that as well. He was not writing a lesson.  He was writing a history.  He was encapsulating his life.

“Since I was very young,” he began, “sitting at your knee, my father, and listening to your stories of grandfather, I have loved the cherry blossom.  I read the haiku, and in my dreams, the blossoms grew to men.  In the words of those who died gloriously, taking the paths of falling stars to the hearts of their enemies, I found dreams.  As I failed in my life, they gave me hope.”

The mountain faded around him as shadows lengthened.  The moon had yet to rise, but only the last rose-tinted hints of the sun licked the skyline.  Stars glittered like diamonds.  Like petals.  So many petals.

Myoshi continued to write, but his mind closed out the reality of mountain and paper, the pen slid silently, marking the trail of his thoughts, but not carefully.  Not with the painstakingly rigid strokes of the school, now empty and silent, like the mountain.  Not with the measured rhythm of his grandfather’s even script.  With Myoshi’s heart.  He penned each character as it felt, and he paid no more attention to it than he did to the breeze.  He mouthed his grandfather’s words and shivered.

“The air was cold on deck.  We were allowed only minimal equipment.  Nothing, really, to prepare for the weather.  If we grew ill, we would find our release.  If we were cold, we had but to think fo the flame, and the glory to come.  Each brow was covered with a single strip of cloth, white, with the rising son emblazoned.

“I remember last night.  I went, alone, to the flight deck.  The Oka  – cherry blossom – stood before me, silent and empty.  I tried to picture the skies, the enemy, the waves.  I saw a coffin.  I saw an end, and a beginning, etched in flame.  My heartbeat quickened, fanned like a flame by the wind as it whipped across that dark, empty deck.  I stood there a very long time, and when I returned to my bed, I could not sleep.  Instead, I turned to the pen, and the paper, wanting you to share the moment.

“Waves lapped gently at the sides of the ship, rocking us like babes in the arms of our mothers.  It is the last night we will spend in the arms of any mother, cradled by the earth.  I want to sleep and let it slip away.  I want to awaken to that last day as I had so many others.  I know I will not.  I cannot sleep.

“Now the sun is rising, and my hand shakes as I hold the pen; my heart races.  The others have tossed and turned all around me.  None found the peace of deep sleep, and those who did sleep are round-eyed with visions and final dreams.

“I will close this now, so that I may seal it and put it in the Commander’s hand.  He will see that you get this letter, and the others.  Tonight, I die, but part of me lives on.  I have a sun, and I am blessed.

“I remember the words of Admiral Ohnishi, by whose grace I have this chance to die so well.

 

‘In blossom today, then scattered,

Life is so like a delicate flower.

How can one expect the fragrance

To last forever?’

 

“May I honor you.  May I honor our Emperor.  May the gods embrace me.

“Farewell.”

Myoshi’s pen did not stop scratching at the paper as his grandfather’s words ended.  He could feel the deck swaying beneath his feet.  He wrote on until the paper was filled, and turned, and filled on the opposite side as well before he set it aside, unsigned.  Only the weight of the pen held the paper in place against the stone, and the edges flapped in the breeze, like the wings of a great moth, reaching into the moonlight.

The takeoff was rougher than usual.  The waves had risen higher, and the deck slanted one way, then the other, great sweeping rolls that skewed the skyline and stole one’s balance.  Myoshi blinked, the strobe effect easing his nausea.  A thousand butterflies had risen to flight in his breast, and his hands shook like those of an old man.

All around him the roar of engines.  Each coughing to life, sputtering drowsily then roaring with barely contained life.  Life.  That is what pulsed through Myoshi’s veins, pounding so loudly he thought of the surf, and the ocean.  The air was cool, but he felt a fiery heat building, felt the glorious binding of man to machine to air as they launched.

The air whipped against his face, and he felt the exhileration, the pure joy of release as the deck/earth/world slipped away.  His breath was stolen, and though he fought against that breathlessness, he could not quite force the words past his lips.

Myoshi’s body tumbled, falling freely from the ledge of stone, arcing out from the stone and whirling, head over feet over head again and crashing through the upper branches of the ocean of trees, swallowed whole by the ancient, silent forest.

Far above, the clouds opened for one second, and the silhouette of a single plane was outlined – then gone.

* * *

A group of teenage boys, on a hike, came across bones, picked clean and whitened by the sunlight, slipping through the trees.  They turned in horror, ready to bolt, but one stopped.

A packet of papers, mildewed and rotting, lay to one side.  It was bound by a single ribbon of silk.  Forcing his eyes from the bones, the boy reached out and grabbed the packet.

They ran.  It wasn’t until much later that the papers were carefully opened.  Most were very old, but a single page of newer script was tied atop the pile.  On it, this verse.

“White blossom, broken

stained petal, crimson, gliding

Lost in the moonlight”

Blessed With Sons, & Daughters

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Off to the US NAVY

Parents joke around a lot about kids growing up, kicking them out into the world, etc…  When the time comes for them to go, it’s just not as funny.  It’s important, and it’s necessary … but it’s never easy.

Trish and I are blessed with a big family.  We have Stephanie, Bill, Zach, Zane and Katie.  Stephanie started pulling free three years ago.  She’s on her senior year of college at Columbia College in South Carolina.  Bill headed out last year to the US Navy, and he’s down in Georgia getting ready to sink beneath the waves on a submarine.

Now – tomorrow – Zach is following, heading off to Great Lakes, and boot camp, leaving another big empty room … shrinking the home front by a voice and a smile.  There are things that we’ll be able to do as the house empties out that we could not do before, but the fact remains, it gets emptier each time.

I have known Zach the longest of any of the kids. He’s not the oldest, but I was there when he was born.  I watched him grow up and then missed some of the most important years of his life – because that’s how it happens, sometimes, with families.  Now he’s leaving again, but I know he’ll be back.

His brother Zane isn’t too far behind him – one year – then we get holidays and visits…their lives and families will expand outward.  I hope we’ll stay a family that is close.  I don’t want to be right up one another’s faces, but I want home to be just that.  Home.  For all of them.  (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them to move back in …)  I just want to know that when we are together, it will be a happy, important time for everyone and not a chore or a duty.

I can promise there will be pie…

And I’m not even ready to start thinking about Katie following them off into the sunset…with her we still have years.  Really fast years that will dribble through our fingers, I know…  But still, years.

You’ll understand this more later, Zach, but Fair Winds, and Following Seas from your Dad.   Bill – we’ll see you soon, I hope.  Stephanie will be here for Thanksgiving.  Trish and Katie can hug me while I try to pretend none of it bothers me…  I’ll miss you bud.

A lot.

And I love you all…

Your Dad

 

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

 

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