The White Stuff

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-or-e-o, what’s in the middle (middle), The White Stuff

Those awesome lyrics are Weird Al Yankovic’s version of Vanilla Ice’s “The Right Stuff.” Of course, the white stuff I’m referencing is the snow falling in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley.

In better news, The Guide to Literary Agents is doing a Middle-Grade/YA writing contest. (Hopefully I’ve done enough advertising for it to be officially entered.) I, of course, entered my book into the contest. A year’s subscription to Writer’s Market can’t hurt.

Yeah, this week is my company’s annual audit. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Maybe I’ll be abducted by aliens in front of my boss and returned to my home instead of having to be here. Doesn’t that sound good?

So remember: Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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Blustery

Today’s weather forecast had a high in the low 70s and a beautiful sunny day. Ah, my perfect weather. But, alas, this is Utah. Imagine the weather-gurus’ surprise at the high 50s, overabundance of win, and what I will otherwise deem what I will now think about when I hear the title “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.” Yes, today’s weather is blustery. I think I’ll go with Bill Engvall’s quote and say that ‘the only people surprised by (the weather) are the people reporting it on tv.’

In other news, I’ve recently joined the League of Utah Writers and by sheer willingness was named the Treasurer for my chapter. Cool. Recognition is always nice in any form. Oh, and on April 7th-ish I’ll have a really short story posted on the Utah Children’s Writers blog. I’ve already started it, thankfully. I’ll just go through it a few more times before submitting it.

And, I’m very proud that I found a left handed putter the other day at Play It Again Sports on Saturday. Now I need to try and get time to go play and/or drive.

I have recently discovered that I can’t spell ‘found’ anymore. Yeah, lately, I’ve been writing or typing ‘fount’ in its place. The ‘d’ and ‘t’ are pretty close to one another on the keyboard, right? Isn’t it strange how doing things on ‘autopilot’ can cause you to mess up more than you’d like to admit? Yeah, I know. You don’t care, but I thought I’d share this random tidbit.

And finally, the new book that I want to read is “I am Not a Serial Killer” by Dan Wells. I only mention it today because today’s its release. Dan was my favorite presenter from LTUE in February and seems to be a pretty cool guy. Either way, how many titles of books are as cool as that?

As always: Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

And Then There Were None…

So part of today’s post is going to be a book review. The other thing is going to be my awesome investigation team.

Anyway, for some reason, I’ve been really interested in reading this book that was first published about 71 years ago. I don’t know why. I’ve always loved the story (even though my first attempt at reading the book was when I was 15 and I only go to the second death.) I did read the play when I was in high school. Somehow, I had known how the original story ended (someone told it to me). And I was intrigued to learn that the play ended differently. Regardless, this past weekend has been spent in a reading frenzy. It wasn’t too difficult to read (even thought I’m not exactly done yet, I do know who did it and what’s going to happen next.) To be honest, I am at the part in the book where the inspectors are just being clueless and unintelligent. Either way, this is one of the best books in all of history. It’s the number one selling mystery novel of all time (according to wikipedia) and the number four selling fiction book of all time. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

If I had my team on the case, we’d figure it out. Who is on my team? Oh….that’s a tough one. I think if I were to have a team of investigators it would be: my three siblings. So why? (Well, this sounds like a better post than naming ten people to take to Indian Island then killing them one by one).

My sister: Well, Apryl is important because I would want someone who has a methodical thought process. She’s intelligent enough that she and I could work together to find all the possible clues.

My oldest brother: Eric is chosen for a few reasons. First, we need someone to do the grunt work. But second, which is absolutely more important than the first, he’s most likely to notice the one thing that no one else had caught. For example, he’d notice the one piece of evidence that the inspectors seemed to have failed to notice in the confusion of the Indian Island murders in the book.

My older brother: Chris is the one that I’d name as leader of the group. Why? I don’t know, he’s just in awesome capacity to do that. He’d be the one making the notations and drawing out what happened as well to help the situation.

I’m sure the four of us could have solved this case easier than the inspectors in the book. Unlike some families, I trust all three of my siblings well enough that arguments would be kept to an all-time minimum (the worst thing would be if my sister and I disagreed on something because we both know how to argue. In the end, she’d win though, I’m sure.)

So yeah, what a dumb post. Or is it? It would make sense to have a team of people that can easily work well with one another. I mean, maybe I’m wrong. But honestly, I’d be willing to be that even if I’m right on how well we’d work together, we’d still be quite comical to watch. I’m serious, we could have our own reality show (if the four of us were actual investigators and I didn’t want to puke at the sight of too much blood.)

And, as always: Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Awesome Things to Enjoy

So, Pandora just started playing “Pork and Beans” by Weezer. I don’t know why, but I think it’s an awesome song. Well, I know why. A) The song isn’t yelling at me in an attempt to get some sort of subliminal message across. B) It’s got great lines that people need to hear. and C) There’s a part of the music video where bits of “Will It Blend?” from Blendtec is featured. Yeah, I used to work there and think it’s awesome that this song’s video is making fun of Youtube’s viral marketing.

Anyway, that song put me in a good mood. It makes me smile. What are other things that make me smile? My son’s smile. Wow, it’s just so great. Honestly, when he smiles he just lights up a room. What else? My daughter’s smile. The other day she was so happy when Mary and I gave her something that she said thank you and gave me a hug. What else? Buying my wife flowers or making her blush.

There are so many things about life to enjoy. Despite the fact that it rained/snowed today in Utah, I’m actually happy that it did. Yeah, I want it to be clearer so that I can convince Mary to let me go golfing. But I also want to take a nice relaxing shower without having to time myself. (That would mean I don’t like droughts.)

Speaking of golfing. It made me smile to find a $1 lefty 3-wood yesterday. (Oh shoot, forgot to inform my sister of that. Ok, now I did. Back to important things.) I also got a different bag because the one I had looked like a little kid’s bag or it was just broken in a spot that would make it difficult to carry. I hated wasting the money, but the new bag looks pretty nice. Oh, and until I get a putter I officially own a 3-iron, 4-iron, 6-iron, 8-iron, 10.5 driver, 3-wood. After the putter I’ll just tack it on that list.

Wednesday night I had the awesome opportunity to go to a League of Utah Writers – Utah Valley Chapter meeting. Yeah, it was awesome. Jeff Savage or (J. Scott Savage, whichever you wish to refer to him as) did a great presentation. I don’t own any of his books so I didn’t get his signature. But that’s ok. No big deal. I already have it on a poster for his second book that I got at The Book Academy conference last September. Either way, going to the writers group reaffirmed my faith in myself as a writer. Don’t know why. The annoying thing was there were a couple of people that I wanted to talk to afterward, but didn’t get a chance to since they were talking to each other and I was going to fall asleep waiting on them.

Funny enough, I saw that Stacy Whitman of Tu Publishing posted on her twitter that she just got her girl scout cookies. I referred her to my cookie monster blog entry and was surprised to see that I received 2 hits from twitter and 4 onto that post today. I wonder if Stacy actually clicked it or if it was someone else who either a) hadn’t read it and decided to do so or b) went to it thinking it was a new blog and was disappointed. *shrug*. But if Stacy saw it and loved it and had to recommend it to all her friends…well, that’d be awesome.

I did a few things that made me smile. Now I’m going to discuss something that made me frown recently. I really have been enjoying reading Rick Riordan’s (his last name is a word? Really?) The Lightning Thief. I’ve been enjoying the Greek god references and such. Well, there’s a problem. It didn’t seem like he knew much about Denver or Vegas as his main character went to both places. Denver has a high elevation. Yes it does. However, Denver isn’t surrounded by mountains. It’s somewhat flat as it sits atop a plateau. There are the Rockies to the west and not a lot to the direct east. And really, it’s all downhill (unless I’m overly mistaken) to the north and south. Percy Jackson, however, expresses the overwhelming feeling that came with being completely surrounded by mountains. Oh, and the Amtrak doesn’t go to Denver like in the book. The other thing I have to complain about this book is that Las Vegas hotels do have an order. Having been to the strip more times than I’d like to count, I can tell you this: Going North you have The HOTEL at Mandalay Bay, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur (pre-Tropicana). To the right you have Tropicana. You cross the street and you have New York, New York to your left and MGM Grand to your right. Well, funny enough, the Monte Carlo and Treasure Island hotels were suddenly right there in the southern part of the strip with them. According to The Lightning Thief they were. I mean, if you’re going to go somewhere that millions of people have been to, please get a topographical and political map of the area.

Well, it’s Friday. Isn’t it great? Obviously, I was a round early on Syracuse’s demise. Excited for Kentucky St. versus Butler. I think Butler is out with something to prove right now. And I’m still hoping that I can claim something and see West Virginia win it all. If not, I’ll just continue my losing streak at NCAA tournament picks.

Launch Party and Immaturity

So last night I got to go to the Fablehaven Launch Party, even though I honestly had not intended to go. And like the lame guy that I am, I did not take any pictures because I do not bring a camera anywhere. So, no pictures of anyone.

I did get to see Brandon Mull, James Dashner, and Shannon Hale. I’ve only recently heard of Shannon Hale thanks to Dashner. She did an awesome job as hostess of the event. I don’t think she put up enough of a fight when she was forced into the Quiet Box.

I’ve gotta say, nobody does a launch party like Shadow Mountain publishing. There were awesome sets on the stage, beautiful banners of the book cover, and a great show. It was pretty cool that they had people dressed up as characters from the book. (As opposed to fans dressed up as characters from the book. When I went to Borders’ release of Harry Potter 7, I was fearful for my life. Yeah, it was scary.)

I posted on my facebook that I was high on the age,  maturity, and IQ scales and low on the patience one. (I didn’t use scale in my post. I was posting from my phone and missed it.) Of course, I seemed to have dropped in the maturity spectrum of things as I thought the party was really awesome. I was cheering and screaming with all the children and teenagers (and plenty of other adults).

Sadly, I didn’t get to have my copy of the 4th Fablehaven book signed. The line was far too long. I mean when they were as disorganized as they were at seating (to the point that I had to keep my 3-year old daughter in my arms as close as possible so that we wouldn’t get trampled and block the way so a lady could get her toddler and stroller through) Yeah, this was a little too chaotic. I would’ve organized a nice line and had it more like the entrance to a movie hall. To those tramplers I have to say this: You’re lucky I didn’t start punching you out one by one. It was horrific at the lack of organizational control that those putting on the launch party. To those who put it on, I have this to say: Thank you for a great show, but please don’t expect courtesy to outweigh mass hysteria and selfishness in fans’ minds.

Mary was kind enough to buy me the second book in James Dashner’s 13th Reality series. Um, yeah, I know I was at a Fablehaven release. But honestly, leave it to me to go to one author’s big release and purchase another author’s work.

Ok, so this post may have made me look like a total dork, jerk, or otherwise bad. Oh well, don’t care.

Just remember: Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

One Day Closer

My day was made when I found out that a picture I took and sent in to the Safety Graphic Fun blog got posted. Click here to see it. My caption that I emailed was something along the lines of “So without a hard hat you die. With a hard hat you dance like an old fogie. I mean, look at those jazz hands.” (Note: ‘jazz hands’ is a recurring joke on the Safety Graphic Fun Blog.)

My day got better when I checked and saw that I have had the most visits to my blog in a month as of yesterday. I’m still trying to break the individual day mark that I have of 43 visits in one day.

Today, my boss asked my opinion for who would win two of the Sweet Sixteen games in order to win a possibility at winning donuts. I was probably wrong. But seeing as how none of the four teams were in my bracket, I may as well just count on buying donuts if I want any.

Sadly, I’m not motivated on my book lately. Well, as of yesterday afternoon I wasn’t. But, then I kept reminding myself that I’m not the first author to send out a bunch of queries and get either no response or a negative one. So, I’m going through who I have submitted to and then see who else I can submit too. There are plenty of agents out there and I really do believe in my work.

So, with all this soppy boringness, my next two days sound pretty cool. Tonight, I’m going to the Fablehaven 5 launch party and meet Brandon Mull for the second time. Also, I hear rumor that James Dashner is going to be there as well. (And we all know my thoughts on Dashner. If not you can check out one of my many posts where he is mentioned: here, here, here, the question here, here, or here.) Tomorrow, I’m going to go to my first writing group where I get to hear J. Scott Savage speak. I’m pretty excited for that. I’m trying to convince Mary that I should join the League of Utah Writers and this meeting will convince me whether or not I still think it’s a good thing. So, I may not have an agent or be published, but each day I’m getting one day closer to achieving my dreams.

Until then, I’ll have fun getting there. Remember: Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

Oh wait, that wasn’t my motivational thought for the day, it was: Stand tall, that’s what it was supposed to be.

New Zealand Woman Sells Soul to Highest Bidder

Writing Excuses, my favorite podcast (and only one I actually listen to), gave the following as a writing prompt:

Brainstorm your own from this headline: New Zealand Woman Sells Souls To The Highest Bidder… but don’t spoil the process by looking up the actual article.

I have not searched this, but since my title is so awesome, anyone searching it may find me. 🙂

New Zealand Woman Sells Soul to Highest Bidder

Christina Thorburn of Wellington has officially placed her soul for sale on Ebay. She plans on using the money to pay off her mortgage.

In 2003, Christina’s husband Richard passed away from heart disease. About ten months before Richard’s passing, the Thorburn’s had purchased a beautiful home in the southeastern section of Wellington. Richard became a VP at The National Bank of New Zealand in June of 2000. Unfortunately, Richard did not claim Christina as his main heir. David Thorburn, his son from his first marriage, received all of Richard’s life insurance. Christina was widowed with two children, Sophia (then 13) and Alexander (then 11) and a hefty savings account

Three months after Richard’s death, Christina Thorburn began working at a local grocery store. But when it closed in mid-2009, Thorburn was really uncertain how to live off what was left of her savings. “I tried looking for work. But it became discouraging.” Thorburn suffered from a minor mental breakdown and is being treated for depression.

Recently, she decided that she would try to sell her soul. When none of the local banks and auction houses would sell it, Thorburn went for the global auction website: Ebay. The auction closed last night with the high bid of 200,000 New Zealand dollars (a little over 142,000 American dollars). The winning bidder’s handle is ‘dvlnsde.’ At this time, it is uncertain when the winning bidder will take possession of Thorburn’s soul.

(Ok, that was fun. Until next time: Be Random!)