“Crystal Moon” is Available!

My latest book Crystal Moon is now published! You can purchase it here.

Here is a little more about it:

Gerald’s life suddenly changed, leaving him moody, hungry and scared. He lives in terror due to his own wife! For reasons Gerald cannot fathom, she has become a witch bent on hexing him. While attempting to survive his wife’s curse and its side effects, he discovers a new friend and a town that feels like it was made just for him. As Gerald’s plight grows worse, he begins to document his experiences, but little does he know, his wife has been keeping a record as well, and not all is as it seems.

 

 

The Difficulty of Staying on Task

When I do my job, I tend to be watching a show or listening to something on YouTube or my computer.  My mind tends to work like a gear, every time a groove locks into place it needs to step back from writing.  That is when I will do my research, read or pace around the house.  Yes, my writing involves quite a bit of pacing, especially if I find the serene or topic exciting.

After a little bit of time the gear turns again and I am drawn back to the keyboard.  I hammer away, but after some time my mind grows tired and I research for my book or look for inspiration.  It is a rather chaotic process, but one that surprisingly works well for me.  It may work for my writing process, but not so much with research.  I really enjoy learning and researching things.  It is just easy for me to go down rabbit trails because I’m so curious.  I can spend a lot of time, learn many new things, except for what I was originally researching.  That is one of the greatest difficulties I face as a writer.  It’s one of the more minor challenges, because research is necessary, even for a completely fictional setting.

For one of my manuscripts I’m working on, I’ve been researching the Freetown State Forest in Massachusetts.  Mostly what I have found are the strange stories surrounding it.  Great, then I read about those and after a few hours I learn very little about the geography, which rather boring but it’s still important.

I wonder if other writers are guilty of being easily distracted as well.  Let me know in the comments!

Pondering on Myths

 

We are all familiar with myths of old.  There’s the rich Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies that still inspire stories today.  There are lesser-known myths from Babylon, Assyria.  Then there are the tales and legends from Japan which influence video games.  There is folklore of werewolves, vampires, and zombies, monsters that have become especially popular again in recent years.   What is a myth?  Why do they captivate us so much?  As a Fantasy writer, it is undeniable that myths are a heavy influence on me, therefore I feel it is important to take a closer look at.

The term “myth” has come to mean something that isn’t true, especially superstitious or spiritual beliefs held in ancient times.  It is also applied to a widely held belief that is untrue.  However, I feel that is a watered-down view of myths.  Concerning mythology of ancient times, they were stories rooted in fact intended to convey a philosophical or moral message.  Essentially, a myth may or may not be real, but that doesn’t diminish its intent or meaning.  I believe that most myths are rooted in truth, whether it the truth is found in the message or something else.  Even modern myths I find it likely to be rooted in some truth, obviously not all.

Stories of strange encounters or haunting are intriguing, especially for me since I’m a writer.  Some are of course more believable than others.  In the modern age of science, it is difficult for those of us who live in the west to see truth in myths or mythology. It is how we were trained to think, which isn’t necessarily bad.  However, we lose something if we dismiss a story simply because it doesn’t fall nearly into a scientific worldview.  That’s not to say reason and science should be thrown out the window, not at all.  The point is that there can be truths revealed about a person or a people group when it comes to the myths they believe.  That’s because a myth is something Legendary, popular, a well-known story passed down.  An example of what I mean is Abraham Lincoln.  He was a real man who had real accomplishments, but he is a legend among American presidents.  He has become a symbol of the office itself.  Many things he is credited for aren’t true or partially true, some things are true.  It would be silly to say Abe Lincoln didn’t exist, but at the same time it wouldn’t be wise to believe everything culture says about him.  George Washington and Julius Cesar are just a couple more examples of real myths.

Myths, especially those from ancient times, are enthralling and far deeper and richer than we can often realize.  It is the natural reaction of a modern westerner to dismiss something that isn’t completely factual or can be reproduced in a lab.  Again, rationality should never be thrown away, but there is wisdom in acknowledging the value of myths.  For myths don’t have to be untrue in order to be classified as a myth.

How Dare Book Adaptions be Different!

Ever notice how book adaptions, either movies or television, differ greatly from their source?  This happens so often that if a television series or film does stick close to the book they are based on it is incredibly rare.  Most people know this, however there is almost always universal outrage when a film dares to take liberties with the story.  Why is that?  Why are people surprised by this?

When we read a book, we set up certain expectations for the story.  Things look and feel slightly different in the story for each reader.  This individual experience creates an emotional bond with the characters and world created within the book.  That’s perfectly fine and to be expected if the author did his or her job correctly.  When the story is adapted into another medium there are changes and inevitably some people become disappointed.  Disappointment isn’t bad, and some adaptions of stories are indeed subpar.  I feel the constant backlash and surprise when an adaption differs is silly.  Film is a different medium than books.  A movie or television series due to the very means in which they tell a story must differ from a book or comic.

A book’s job is to show, not tell, to be descriptive while allowing room for the imagination to fill in the blank as much as possible.  A film still needs to show, but relies much less on imagination than a book.  Subtle details are impossible to avoid in a movie and on top of that it must hold the viewers’ attentions and leave them with wanting more.  Sometimes, the source material doesn’t go very deep due to its target audience and film makers want to flesh out one-dimensional characters.  The movies may not succeed at their goal, but I can acknowledge their intent.

The Hobbit films are often criticized as terrible adaptions.  It is a trilogy of movies based off a short novel written for children.  There are quite a few deviations from the book, the same can be said of the Lord of the Rings movies as well though, which are not criticized nearly as much.  This isn’t about defending The Hobbit films, I respect why people don’t like them.  They are a perfect illustration for my point.  They are films that are very different from the book they were based on.  The book was written before The Lord of the Rings and had a very different feel to it.  The elves were silly, the goblins were less-than threatening, and you have talking animals.  The entire tone changed so much with its sequel that it leaves quite a bit of continuity errors.  I adore Tolkien, but the explanation that Bilbo wrote the first book and Frodo wrote the sequels is something I’m familiar with.  I feel that is a weak explanation.  The Hobbit films tried to rectify that in some areas, some of which I feel they did a good job, while others not so much.  Whether someone agrees or disagrees with me is fine, but anyone would have to admit there are more factors going into the disappointment The Hobbit films wrought than merely not being true to their source.  These films made a bold decision to draw out the story longer than it was, and show other sides to characters, and because it didn’t meet many people’s standards they are maligned.

Perhaps we need to stop being so surprised when film makers take liberties?  Movies and Television are different means of telling stories, and we should expect as much.  The option is always to stick with books because they are generally better than any adaption anyway due to their ability to go deeper and not be constrained to a certain time frame.

Border Collie Musings

July has been one of the hardest months for my family.  Without warning we lost our main source of income, and this happened one month after we just got a border collie named Syrup.  Anyone who has dogs knows the first year they are very expensive due to spaying/neutering and shots.

I grew up with border collies and absolutely love the breed, and from the first day we brought Syrup home my family was in love.  Then on July 5th we lost our income and my wife and I feared we would lose Syrup.  As one can imagine it hasn’t been easy, but through it all Syrup has been a bright spot in each of our lives.  She is a gentle, sweet-hearted dog that knows exactly how to comfort her family, despite being only a few months old.  My wife and I have resolved no matter what financial struggles come our way, Syrup will remain a part of the family no matter what.  No parent would give away a child just because their income was lost, and the same goes for our dog.

Through it all, it has been difficult to write.  The stress, the exhaustion from being stressed, along with the never-ending job hunt has put this job on the back burner.  I’ve tried a few freelancing gigs, which paid little, applied to scores of jobs, but it appears this is where I’m supposed to be for the time being.  I’m now armed with an adorable border collie at my feet, and a reminder every day that no matter what happens, she is a bright spot for my family, and an inspiration of what love should be.  Imagine if humans loved as unconditionally as some animals do?  What if we all showed grace and patience with everyone, including those who wronged us?  These are just a few musings I have.  Even with growing up with dogs, it is a sweet reminder just how caring they can be in the darkest moments.

As always this stirs up inspiration within me as a writer.  Humans can and are often as caring animals, but why is it often so difficult to see?  Many times, it is easier for an animal lover such as myself to see the good in animals more than humans.  Is it in our nature to be harsher with our own species than an animal that is cute and soft?  Dogs and especially cats can have bad attitudes and disappoint us.  They why do they seem to get more of a pass than an unpleasant person?  Is it because we expect more from sentient beings, knowing that animals don’t always know better?  These are the sorts of things I ponder as an author.  That is what’s strange about what I do, literally everything is fair game for inspiration, including a sweet little puppy who is there no matter what.