YouTube, Basketball, and Short Stories-February on a roll

Hello all. February has been a crazy month so far and it’s not over yet.

Emma (my 3yr old) has a YouTube channel now for all the adventures she gets up to. we also started a Facebook page and Instagram account. She’s really enjoying all her activities. Her mom and I are loving sharing our unique girl with the world. You can find her on YouTube at http://bit.ly/EmmasWorld

She’s already surpassed 100 likes on her Facebook page which is amazing. One of the best stories out of this so far has been tweeting with Ted Allen from Food Network’s Chopped. When she was just a few months old, Emma would stop and stare at the screen any time Ted talked. Now that she’s cooking on YouTube, I tweeted him telling him. He responded the next day, not once, but twice.

My oldest is rocking the basketball court and getting lots of playing time on Varsity as a freshman. Here he is taking the tip-off on the Junior Varsity game tonight. He then went down and scored the first two points of the game between either team.

#44- That’s mine…

Lastly for this update has to do with short stories. I’ve been working on a few the last few months and one of my favorite lines is from one dealing with the God of War )or lack there of) in my fantasy realm, Ezrahn.

Kreios was a General before he killed a demigod in self defense and became a Master of War. Now, as he learns why there is no centralized overseer of conflict, he discovers that it is his destiny to become the new God of War. With the help of the magical Emerson’s and armor that make up the powers of War, he sees that having the many demigod Masters, keeps the world in conflict far more than if there was the single God. After he strips the Armament and status of one of his fellow Masters of War, he says, “I am War, so that there can be Peace.” He then sends the now mortal Master Into the battle he was formally orchestrating. I can’t wait to share these stories once they are all done and bundled together. They’ve been a lot of fun to write.

Take care, keep writing, and I’ll be back soon my Gentle Readers.

February already?!?!?!

How does this happen? We are already a month into the new year. I feel like I just woke up from the sensory/family overload of the holidays. Oh wait, that’s cause I spent this last weekend at an indoor water park, sharing a villa with my wife’s entire family (Parents, brothers and sister, plus their spouses and kids). All told we had 19 people in this spacious 5 bedroom, three story house. It worked, on a lot of levels, but it was also… well, crowded isn’t the right word. I’m going to miss everyone and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, but I am glad to be home.

I finished a beta read of a thriller novel this past week and managed to get my word count in on my own projects. This week I need to focus on getting Spring Into SciFi 2020 ready for betas. This means I have to cut two more submissions to hit the magic number of 13. I’ve whittled it down to 15, three of which are already confirmed accepted for publication. This is the worst part of my job doing this, because I don’t like sending rejection letters. Sometimes you get an easy one, the person sent in something way outside the submissions guidelines (way too short, way too long, or the one guy who sent me erotica when I specifically point it out as not what is wanted for these collections). Most of the time, however, there are great stories and I just don’t have the room/funding to publish them all. So 13 is our magic number and we’re cutting down to that this week. Updates will come via the company’s website (http://www.cloakedpress.com) , and social media platforms.

I’ve been looking into ways to improve my editing skills, not only for myself but to utilize this within the business and for friends/critiquing. I think I’m going to look into some EFA courses, and possibly this online coursework through San Diego Extension. Will just have to figure out the funding for either/both of those avenues. I could probably file for a student loan for the San Diego stuff, but I don’t know how the wife will take that. We’re trying to cut debt, not create more.

Anyway… I’ll leave you with a snippet from one of my short stories I’ve written recently. “The Blacksmith” originally was supposed to be about a group called the Highwaymen, that protect merchant caravans, or retrieve stolen goods, for a price, within the Realm of Ezrahn. As I wrote it, it became more about a young man who wanted to be an adventurer, but found all the adventure he could handle right in his own hometown.

***

“The Highwaymen? Are you out of your mind, boy?” the older man said. “Take it from Old Sawyer, you don’t want to get mixed up with they’re mercenaries. That’s no life for a young man. Selling your soul for a bit of coin. No. You’d be best to go marry that blacksmith’s daughter who fancies you. Learn her father’s trade and make babies. That’s my advice.” Old Sawyer drank deeply from his tankard. “Fetch me another round, if you please.” He tossed the young man a gold coin.

Gareth stared at the coin a moment. It wasn’t often gold showed up in his little town. Silver, sure, especially when the merchants passed through. The shiny metal mesmerized him.

“Boy,” came Old Sawyer’s voice, breaking the coin’s spell. “Get me a bowl of that stew I smell as well. A half loaf of good warm bread should go nicely. Do that, and you can keep the change.”

Exciting times with Cloaked Press

Hello Gentle Readers.

I have been trying to keep my personal writing career separate from my publishing company, but I have to share this with all of you. Cloaked Press has launched its first short story collection, Fall Into Fantasy 2017.

fallintofantasy

This collection features 13 authors from all over the world, giving us their take on Fantasy and all of its subgenres we could cram into the pages. Details on the authors can be found on the Cloaked Press website.

There is a story of a dwarf who can “hear” precious gems, a bookstore that can transport you to another world, magic, fairies, love, deals with demons, and a good old fashioned zombie story. I hope you will all take a moment to check it out, grab a copy if it interests you, and leave a review if you read it. If you know anyone who might be interested in our fantasy collection, please share the link.

Also, while we are excited at Cloaked Press about the release of our first collection, it is also time to start working on our next, Spring Into SciFi 2018. Submissions are open for this collection, and all details can be found here.

We have an email list with monthly giveaways and a special flash fiction story that comes straight to your mailbox. You can join our newsletter on the Cloaked Press homepage.

I hope that you will take a moment to check out Cloaked Press and what we have to offer. Keep reading everyone.

Launching Cloaked Press

Today, my Gentle Readers, I began the process to launch my own publishing company, Cloaked Press. You can see my Kickstarter project by Clicking Here

My goal with Cloaked Press is to publish two short story collections a year by collaborating with other authors. The Fall edition will be focused on Fantasy. Be it Epic or Urban, High or Paranormal; I love them all. For the Sprung Edition the focus is on Science Fiction: AI, space exploration, aliens, and technological warfare in cyberspace. 

My goal is ambitious but completely doable with your help. Share the link, tell your friends, and if you are so inclined, pledge a donation to the project. 

Thank you so much for all your support of my blog and I hope to bring you even more great stories and content in the future. 

“Hack the Planet”

Dade Murphy: I don’t play well with others.

The Plague: Kid, don’t threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.

The Plague: There is no right and wrong. There’s only fun and boring.

Dade Murphy: Mess with the best, die like the rest.

A recent Daily Post challenge is to take a quote from a movie and make that the title of a post. Unfortunately, I cannot pick just one from one of my favorite movies of all time, Hackers. Here is a little story using the above movie lines.

Charlie sat on his bike near the edge of the woods. The older boys had thought it a joke when he started following them, especially his older brother James. James knew that if his mother found out he left Charlie somewhere unattended, he would be in serious trouble. For that alone he had told his friends to just keep an eye out for his kid brother. Charlie sighed deeply and began to slowly pedal after the laughter of the older boys just inside the tree line. They were already jumping off the natural clay ramps of the trail ahead.

No one remembered when the trails were formed, they had always just been there. It was like a rite of passage when one graduated from the normal flat roads to the rough, hard packed clay of the woodland paths. The natural hills provided ample opportunities for jumping from peak to peak for the more accomplished rider. Charlie was nervous when he came up to the first long circle that his brother and the other older boys were on. This trail doubled back on a sequence of small hills that the boys were trying to clear in one jump. Charlie sat there until the group had moved on towards the relatively flat spaces deeper into the woods.

As he stopped at the top of the first hill, Charlie looked down and trembled visibly. Just then another rider came up the trail behind him. When he looked Charlie paled, it was Derek, the biggest bully in their little subdivision.

“Move kid,” Derek said as he started down the trail in Charlie’s direction.

Charlie was frozen, but he finally got his mouth working at least, which probably wasn’t the smartest move, “Leave me alone or I will get my brother.”

Derek came to a stop next to Charlie and glared at the younger boy. He knew he could pound this little pipsqueak into the ground, but something stopped him. His hands flexing on the grips of his bike, he said instead, “Kid, don’t threaten me. There are worse things than death , and uh, I can do all of them.”  Before he could push off to go down the hill there was a sound of bicycles sliding to a stop behind him.

“Hey, what are you doing to my little brother?” James called to the bigger boy. He was roughly the same age as Derek, but where James was lean, Derek looked built to smash bricks with his fists.

“Nothing. I don’t play well with others. Best you just move on,” Derek adjusted his feet in preparation to pedal off.

“You shouldn’t harass little kids,” James spoke up, walking his bike up the hill towards the bigger teen. When he reached the top he continued speaking, getting between Charlie and Derek. The top of the hill was very crowded with all three of them standing there. “It isn’t right to pick on little kids.”

“There is no right or wrong. There is only fun and boring,” Derek laughed as he shoved James backwards into Charlie, the two brothers tumbling off the side of the hill into a heap in the brush along the trail. Charlie began to cry as Derek pedaled away.

Charlie started crying and James got mad. Sure, he found his little brother annoying at times, but no one else is allowed to harm his little brother. James jumped to his feet, stopping his friends with a look. They backed off as one, seeing the fire in their friend’s eyes. James grabbed his bike and started down the trail towards Derek’s retreating back. James could barely make out the darkly dressed teen as he flitted down the trail. Pedaling hard, James started to gain a little on his quarry.

Looking back, Derek sighed when he saw James straining to catch up with him. He had hoped to have a little fun by shoving the smaller boy around and then get lost in the woods for a little bit where he could smoke in peace. His aunt didn’t care for his habit in her house so he was forced to go elsewhere when he wanted a smoke. He had found several places deep in the woods adjacent to his neighborhood conducive to peace and quiet. As he reached the point where the trail leveled off and ran parallel to the train tracks, Derek slowed down enough to allow James to catch up.

James noticed Derek slow down and braced himself for the bigger teen to stop and face him. When that didn’t happen, James kept pedaling hard. He came up alongside Derek and, mimicking a police pit maneuver, rammed his front tire into the side of Derek’s bike.

Derek was not expecting this. Caught completely off guard he went hard left off the trail. The ground dropped sharply before rising back up at the railroad tracks and he careened down the hill to land face first in the pile of granite rocks at the base of the tracks.

James nearly lost control of his bike himself but recovered to stop and watch the bully crash. He then shouted, “You are right, that was not boring at all. Next time be careful who you pick on.” James began pedaling back towards his friends and little brother.

Derek sat propped against the pile of rocks, sharp edges digging into his back through his t-shirt. He pulled out his cigarettes and lit one. After taking a long pull of the smoke he smiled to himself. “That guy has some serious balls to try that. Maybe he isn’t so bad.” Derek laughed and took another pull from his cigarette.

When James got back to his friends, they had Charlie up on his feet. The younger boy was still brushing dirt from his clothes and looked up, eyes full of concern, when his brother came back into sight. “Is he coming back?” Charlie asked fearfully.

“I don’t think so,” James slid to a stop. “When I left he was lying face first at the bottom of that ramp that goes over towards the train tracks.”

“Really?” Charlie and the other teens were incredulous. Then Charlie said, “You are the best big brother in the whole world.” He threw his arms around James and hugged his brother tight.

James grinned, “You know what they say, mess with the best, die like the rest.” He shared a high five with a couple of his friends and then the boys all headed for the pathway that led back to the street. Their adventure for the day was done.