Edward Owen – Author

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Building Bridges

bridge

Writing is an odd occupation for far too many reasons to attempt to list them all here, but there are a number I would like to bring to your attention. Like most artistic pursuits, it is a labor of love. Very few writers make a living from their craft (we belong to the same club as painters, poets and actors). Most don’t even cover the cost of the ink and paper they use sending out query letters and manuscript submissions (there is a special place in Heaven for the person who invented electronic submissions) not to mention craft books, conferences and classes to help us improve our skills. On top of the time spent reading and attending classes, there are critique groups, social networking sites, book signings and festivals – oh, yeah – and the time we actually use to put the words on the page (I am currently camped out in the lunch room at work). If wealth is your goal, I would advise you to choose bank robbery over writing. Even with the jail time, it would be much more profitable.

One of the aspects of writing I find most interesting is the camaraderie found in the writing community. Most writers will go out of their way to help their fellows. Blog hop tours abound on the internet. If you’ve not witnessed this phenomenon, it works as follows; a number of authors give up their precious blog space to promote another author’s book. This is normally part of a book launch promotion. On the surface, it might seem like McDonald’s is promoting the Jumbo Jack or Chevy giving ad time to the Mustang, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s all about synergy and karma. First of all, books and the stories they contain are consumable at an astounding pace. Some readers can tear through several novels a week (my retired mother in law for example). That’s a lot of writing. Second, readers’ tastes are all over the map. One of my horror fans may see a blog hop for a historical romance novel (something she would never read herself) and recommend it to her sister. Most of us do not see other writers as competition, but as allies. Critique groups (on line and face to face) are invaluable to most of our writing processes. Beta readers are often writers themselves. We teach and learn from each other. Synergy in its purest form.

Here’s something I personally like about blog hops; they give me a day off without short changing my readers (all three of them). Someone else fills the empty space on my web site and I don’t even have to pay them to do it. Often, they do a better job than I do and I get an education to boot. And when my book is released, I’ll have friends helping me promote it.

Social networking is the fuel for our creative-community fire. Let’s face it, if we only communicated with writers we met in person, most of our circles wouldn’t surround a coffee cup. If not for the internet, critique groups would be few and far between and beta readers would reside with unicorns and bigfeet (bigfoots?). So get out there and build some bridges.

Yes, social networking is necessary. Unless you’ve hit the NYTBS list two or three times and even then it’s still a good idea. There are a lot a folks out there who know more about this than I do. WANA mentor and social networking goddess Kristen Lamb has a new book on that very subject. I have not made it that far down my reading list yet, but based on her blogs and reviews I feel it’s safe to give it two thumbs up. You can buy it here.

In the words of Harvey Mackay, dig your well before you’re thirsty. Build your platform. Make friends with other authors, editors (yes, they have friends, too) and beta readers. Help others out before you ask for their help. Here’s your hammer, the wood’s over there. Now get busy. Until next week, Dear Reader, scary construction dreams.

Blog Hop with Guest Author Jenn Nixon

As the Fall book release season gets under way, Blog Hopping is in full swing. Now here in California, the temperature is in triple digits but the calendar says Autumn is two weeks away. Mother Nature is quite the comedienne.

This week it is my pleasure to welcome my friend Jenn Nixon to my blog. Jenn is an internet buddy I met via Twitter. She’s from New Jersey, but apparently has never met Snooki nor did she ever date ‘The Situation’. I know, I was dumbfounded. Apparently Jenn doesn’t get out much choosing writing and self promotion over the East Coast social scene. This explains the glaring lack of paparazzi photos of Jenn humiliating herself in public. Maybe she’ll show up to a book signing tipsy and land in a stranger’s lap. Hope springs eternal, cell cams wait at the ready.

Jenn was kind enough to send all kinds of stuff over for me to post in exchange for letting me out of her basement for the Blog Hop. Looks exciting and I’m wishing her the best of luck. *rubs ligature marks on wrists* Girl ties some mean knots; must be a Jersey thing. Contact info and buy links down at the bottom: Yes, so you’ll read everything and no, you are not allowed to skip ahead. You’ll miss the secret brain washing message all the good stuff.

LgMind

MIND: The Beginning

 

Blurb

 

After Dina Ranger loses telepathic contact with her brother, she breaks into his apartment and stumbles onto a special government unit responsible for monitoring the psychic population. She’s offered a job where she can use her psionic gifts to help people.

Stranded on earth over a hundred years ago, Liam of Shria is searching for a metal needed to repair his ship when he finds Dina, a telepathic investigator, and narrowly saves her from an exploding alien pod. Together, they uncover a plot to rebuild an ancient weapon and discover the truth behind Dina’s abilities while unlocking dangerous secrets about the alien presence on earth.

Can they stop a powerful weapon meant to enslave the human race? Can their relationship survive the secrets of the past or will it tear them apart?

 

JennBW

Author Jenn Nixon

 Author Bio:

Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

 

Excerpt from “MIND: The Beginning”

The woman’s phone rang for the second time in ten minutes. Someone really wanted to talk to her. Considering it was five in the morning, he assumed it was one of the two men she’d been with at the visitor’s center. Liam had an inkling she needed to answer the next call.

Going to have to wake her…” He crossed the motel room and shook Dina’s shoulder. She mumbled, rolled away, and stretched her legs down the bed. Come on, wake up.           

I’m awake, get out of my head. “And stop staring at my ass.”

Did that earlier when I put you to bed.”

Oh, ha, you’re a funny alien.” She blinked, the expression on her face changing slowly as she moved to the edge of the bed and sat up. “This is all real; it’s not some psi ability.”

Yes, ma’am.”

You…look human.”

Frankly, so does the vast majority of intelligent evolved life out there. We’re all made up of the same bits and pieces of the universe. Those shows you humans entertain yourselves with are so far off base.” Liam smirked, thinking of all the fantastically bizarre creatures science-fiction had turned out over the years.

We all look the same?”

Not the same, similar. Various differences, skin tone, hair and eyes, appendage length, shape—”

Powers? You were invisible, teleported, what else can you do?”

A lot. Most humanoids have psionic traits in their genetics, only some develop depending on their planetary conditions and evolution. I come from one of the older, more advanced planets in the universe.”

Okay, information overload, let’s take it down a notch.”

We’re going to be interrupted shortly anyway.”

Dina’s phone rang. Her eyes expanded wide. “You’re a precog too?”

No,” he replied with a chuckle. “Third phone call. That’s why I woke you. I figure it’s important.”

Contact Info

MIND: The Beginning Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Mind-The-Beginning-Jenn-Nixon/dp/1939173434

Website: www.jennnixon.com

Facebook: facebook.com/JennNixonAuthor

Blog: www.jennafern.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jennnixon

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Jenn-Nixon/e/B002BLNBBQ/

Past Release: Romantic Suspense, Lucky’s Charm

Ray Bradbury Challenge #7 – A Date With Destiny

For an explanation of The Ray Bradbury Challenge, read my friend Arial’s blog. A special thank you to Goldilocks for her help with this story; she added the heart.

 

The bridge loomed ahead as Matthew wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans, his pulse pounding in his ears. Five years was a long time to harbor such an irrational fear but that was over as of today. He closed his eyes and ran through the visualization exercise Dr. Anderson taught him.

“See yourself driving across the bridge; in control and rock steady. You’ll be on the other side in no time.”

It took him six months to stop reliving the accident. The first time Matthew tried visualization, his mind was filled with images of fire, smoke and shattered glass, along with Monica’s broken body, hurled through the windshield, lying bleeding on the asphalt. ‘The Accident’ had taken on a personality of its own; it was the single defining moment of his twenty-one year life. It was also the period, final chapter and end of Monica’s. It had only been their first date, but the memory of her face filled his mind as tears filled his eyes.

“You’re too chicken-shit. You won’t do it.”

Matthew’s knees slammed into the bottom of the dashboard at the sound of Monica’s voice.

“It’s just nerves. Shake it off,” Matthew said, his knuckles white against the black steering wheel.

“Just cuz you say it don’t make it true, butt head. At least have the decency to look at me.”

Matthew turned his head to the right and swallowed a hard lump in his throat. Sitting in the passenger seat was Monica wearing the same white skirt and green tank top she’d had on five years ago, her perfume wafting into his nose. A familiar pressure in his crotch seemed to both amplify and mock his fear. Monica ran her fingers over his bulge, squeezing it near the end.

“Nice to know I can still make you hot. Of course, you know you’re getting turned on by a CORPSE!”

The skin on Monica’s face cracked and sloughed off in ribbons exposing a weathered skull crawling with maggots. Her hand transformed into a bony claw clamping down on his member like a vice. The sickly sweet odor of rotted meat filled the car as Matthew screamed and stomped on the gas pedal. His car shot across the bridge like a rocket, careened off the guard rail and slammed into the concrete stanchion before bursting into flames. His skull was crushed against a steel beam, sparing him the agony of burning to death.

 

 

“You screamed like a little bitch,” said Monica.

“Screw you. Let me squeeze your tit in a vice. I bet you’d squeal like a pig. Especially if all my skin came off. You are such a bitch.” Matthew turned away from Monica and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Don’t be such a baby,” said Monica, sliding her hands around his stomach and down into his lap. “This could be the best second date ever.”

Pain of Change and August Dvorak

Day one of a four day weekend and I’m up at 5:30. Considering I’m usually up at 2:30, I did get to sleep in a few hours. Thought I’d share my latest experience with the three of you that read my blog. And thanks for your support.

In 1936, a man by the name of August Dvorak developed a keyboard layout as an alternative to the QWERTY style (the one most of us still use today). It was far more efficient and put less strain on the typist. Unfortunately, the typewriters of the time had mechanical arms that forced the type against the page. If two letters near each other were struck together, the arms would jam and the typist would have to stop and untangle them. The QWERTY layout was not designed to slow the typist down as is commonly believed, but to speed them up by preventing key jams.

Dvorak’s layout never caught on, not because it didn’t work but because the typewriters of his day were inferior. I learned to type almost forty years ago on a mechanical typewriter (yes, I’m that old despite my youthful appearance and immature childlike demeanor) that had no numbers or letters on the keys. Touch typing was the only option.

I had heard about Dvorak and two weeks ago decided to give it a try. Wow. Old dogs, new tricks, you do the math. I have both my work computer and my personal laptop changed over (most operating systems will allow you to do this). I used a label maker to change the keys. (See photo) Now the fun begins. And the pain. Change is hard, especially old habits. My fingers keep wanting to go back to their wicked old ways. I am nothing if not stubborn and I am committed to making this happen.

Keyboard

My modified Dvorak Keyboard

Blogging is another habit I am forcing myself to do. WANA Goddess Kristen Lamb talks at length about the importance of blogging. You can read her blog here. She’s more well known than I am and I’m assuming makes more money with her book sales than I do. So I shut up and listen. And blog. And learn to type all over again.

I read an article that said doing things differently (brushing your teeth with a different hand, etc.) helps keep your brain healthy… Imma be a fricken genius!

 There are a lot of good habits I would like to develop and more bad ones I would like to lose (you don’t want to know, it ain’t pretty) but change is a slow and painful process. Sometimes you have to take two steps back before you move forward. My current typing speed is a fraction of what it used to be and I still type every day. Fortunately all I use typing for at work is email and I’m in edit mode on my current WIP (Nightmares and Body Parts Vol. I),

NABP KC COVER Final lores

so the timing is pretty good. But I still have this weekly blog and my Ray Bradbury Challenge, so the slow typing is still having an impact on my life. No pain, no gain … but typing slow hurts my brain.

 I’m signing off early this week. Between Dvorak and the bus (and a dead skunk) … well, 4:30 a.m. is too early for a headache. Until next week, Dear Readers, painful life changing dreams.

Time Warps and Weekend Warriors

Yes, I’m tardy. Blame it on the Time Warp.

 

I need to give you a little background info for this to make sense. My baby bear youngest son, now almost 19, has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair. He goes to college on the city bus and is a very creative graphic design student. He is also as independent as his disability will allow. To further his quest for self reliance, Goldilocks asked if it might be possible to do some minor remodeling in the bear’s cave boy’s room. Her eye batting accompanied by Baby Bear (BB’s) grin of anticipation hardly left me any choice in the matter.

Her list of requests was, on the surface, not unreasonable. Relocate the TV to the opposite corner of the room and build a small platform to raise his mini fridge to a usable height. Given that I possess a general contractor’s license (thankfully inactive), it was assumed this project would proceed with the precision of a SEAL Team operation. As it turns out, circus seals would be a better analogy.

While I have been busy slaving away working, technology has gone berserk. Like cell phones, TVs have suddenly become ‘smart’. (The content they deliver leads me to believe this is yet another oxy-moron). Add to the mix a seven year old TiVo (DVR) and a cheap DVD player… The result is me looking up wiring directions on the internet. Oh, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

For the TV to work, both the cable and the ethernet cord had to be relocated. (Remember when TVs only had one cord and it plugged into the electrical outlet?) Smart TV? Hmmm. Unlike the clowns technicians from the cable company, I do not tack cable to the wall in plain sight. (I have a theory this is the origin of the word tacky.) This requires that I climb into the attic. In August. Yes, it is nice and cool in the early morning. I’ve been in lots of attics. I know this. So I worked on several writing projects first and climbed into the attic at 11:30. Second degree burns did not make the job any easier and Goldilocks complained about the smell of burnt flesh. My visit to the Land of Deadly Insulation and Dust was brief. It was, however, long enough to produce sweat in areas of my body not prone to moisture emission. Another odor to share with my family. Because of my incredible planning skills, I was forced to cut the hole and pull the wires out of the wall behind the flat screen T.V. which was already mounted. Taking it down would been admitting to a lacking in my abilities. As if…

At some point there were numerous cables and wires (and bears… Oh my! None of whom offered to help me so I’m cutting them out of my will. They’ll just have to earn the extra $200 on their own.) At this point I have two problems. One, I can only get a picture on half a dozen channels (four Spanish, one Korean and a 24 hour infomercial station). Two, the remote  is not changing the cable menu. Goldilocks saunters in the room and casually inquires about the availability of HBO. I’m beginning to suspect a hidden agenda. After reviewing the results, a call is placed to our local cable provider who shall remain nameless as I refuse to promote them. A clown technician will arrive the next day. Fine.

The following day BB and I trek to the DIY Mecca known as Home Depot. These are my people. They love me there. Our quest is a shelf large and strong enough to support TiVo and the cable box. This requires buying a large eight foot board and having it cut down. Apparently I’m the only idiot customer who needs a shelf wider than twelve inches. BB and I waited so long to get help that we looked like Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top by the time we got home. Shelf, brackets and wall anchors in hand, I bravely forge onward. Everything proceeds smoothly until I try to mount the power strip to the wall. None of the screws I have are small enough. This gives a whole new meaning to the saying “Size matters”. I find some nails small enough and assuage my inner contractor with the assurance that the strip will be behind the TV and nails will be just fine. He’s not happy but he lets it pass.

I am now faced with a tangle of wires and cables that would confound an Agean sailor. Our cable guy has called to say he is on his way so I opt to leave it as is in case I have to change something. A knock at the door and we have two techs for the price of one. The younger of the two informs me he is a trainee. “Oh, that means you don’t get to touch anything,” I say. My demeanor and nervous laugh make it sound like I’m kidding. I’m not. I’m just relieved that his name isn’t Larry or Jim Carrey. The entertainment wouldn’t be worth the aggravation.

Older, experienced cable guy looks over the TV and the box, then presses the little button with “CBL” on it and magically everything works just fine. He probably doesn’t read my blog so he doesn’t know about the clown reference. I think about faking a stroke so he’ll forget what an idiot moron simpleton I am. I reject that idea as Goldilocks might be inclined to call 911 (I’m going with this theory, shaky as it is) or Middle Bear who is an EMT. I justify this by reminding myself that I probably won’t see Cable Guy again but I am most likely stuck with Goldilocks and the three bears and would hear about the fake stroke until such time as I have a real one. Given the project at hand, the odds of that occurring are better than average.

I notice that time is passing much faster than it does when I am at work. Apparently honey do lists invoke a special time warp that sucks the weekend dry in an eye blink. I make a note to call Steven Hawking about the phenomenon. There may be a book deal in this.

At this point I am faced with a flat screen television mounted to the wall (yes, to a stud. What kind of idiot do you take me for? Rhetorical question…requires no answer), a cable box, a TiVo unit and a DVD player. Too many shiny things in one place; I almost go into ADD shock. I do have the presence of mind to mark all the wires before I disconnect them and wrap them up. By some miracle – due no doubt to my sacrificing several small animals in my back yard – (What PETA doesn’t know won’t hurt them) the installation is complete and everything works. BB is happy, Goldilocks is happy and even makes me an ice cream sandwich with a strawberry Pop Tart and Butterfinger ice cream. Totally worth it. I suspect the entire scenario will be reenacted in the coming months as Goldilocks has confessed to a serious case of TV envy. (My paranoia about hidden agendas now justified.)  Just keep the ice cream sandwiches coming. Can I get chocolate chip cookies instead of Pop Tarts next time? Until next week Dear Readers, scary T.V. dreams.

Wanted- Temporary Muse, Must Like Classic Rock

The bus is bouncing and rattling its way to Los Angeles and I am at a loss for a blog post. If you read Wednesday’s Ray Bradbury Challenge story, first of all, thank you and second, I think I used my words for the week. As I explained, that story hit over 3000 words before I chopped it down to 1000. My well hath run dry. I think my Muse is in Cabo this week. School’s started and most of the tourists are gone so she’s having a little ‘me’ time. Consequently, I’m thinking of running an ad on Craigslist.

Wanted: Temporary Muse

Writer seeks temporary muse for inspiration and motivation, to cover duties while regular muse is on vacation, pouting, bitchy, moody, uncooperative and/or oversleeping. He is rather lazy by nature and suffers from chronic ADD. (Let’s face it, if I could focus on ANYTHING, I’d be a millionaire by now). Applicant must be an excellent multi-tasker as he will have several projects going at once. Did I mention the ADD? Oh, yeah … SQUIRREL!

You will be doing most of the heavy lifting. You are expected to come up with brilliant plots, subplots and twists. Characters must be three dimensional, interesting and original. No teen angst love triangles and NO sparkly vampires. Traditional archetypes are to be expected, but they must be fresh, new and edgy. Genre hopping is frequent, so be prepared with awesome horror, sci-fi, fantasy, murder mystery and possible alternate timeline ideas. The ability and willingness to create tasty meals and snacks is a definite plus. Hunger pangs are not inspirational. And neither are dirty dishes.

Blog posts will also fall within your job description. Topical, humorous and instructional at all times, all posts must reflect well upon the author and his work. Please know that although he mentions you often, you are by no means the only woman in his life. His mother, his wife (Goldilocks, mother of the three bears), his editor (Arial, like the type, not the little mermaid) and Kristen Lamb, his newly adopted mentor and WANA Goddess all have a place of reverence in his blogs. Each has had some part in making him into the man he is, however, under no circumstances are they to be blamed for anything that comes out of his mouth fingers. You, however, are fair game for such finger pointing.

The author assumes all credit for such stories and blog posts as get noticed by anyone. You will subsequently get the blame for all typos, plot holes and crappy ideas. It’s part of the job. You must be comfortable dressed in leather clothing. If it gets really hot, Daisy Dukes and a halter top are an acceptable substitute. Yes, he’s a pig. Deal with it. You do get a whip as an accessory and may use it as necessary. What? He’s a writer. You should need no other explanation.

The benefits package is pretty meager. He will thank you sometimes, but not nearly often enough. He’s pretty liberal with the chocolate, but you’ll have to share. He’s married and loves his wife, so there won’t be any romance between you, but it’s probably better that way. A crying muse is not a pretty sight.

A few more details: You MUST be a fan of classic rock. Anything released after 1995 probably isn’t worth listening to. The good news is that when he is writing, it will be classical, fusion and other great instrumental pieces. Sometimes country, but don’t hold that against him. Star Wars and Star Trek are gospel and are NOT to be disparaged in any way. Bradbury, Asimov, King and Koontz are Gods Among Men and will revered as such. Any mention of their names should be in the following context: “Your writing reminds me of ____________ (pick any of the above mentioned authors). Yes, ego stroking is part of the job as well. Author=attention whore.

All interested parties should apply by replying to this blog post along with a full length picture. A resume is not necessary. Interviews will be held when the author is in the mood, so please wait by the phone for his call. If you’ve been a muse for any length of time, you’re used to it.

Yeah, that’ll work. Until next week Dear Readers, a-musing dreams.

 

 

Go With the Flow

Today’s post is a little late. I had it all written and forgot I hadn’t uploaded it yet. Yes, Captain ADD strikes again. A little over two hours, hope you haven’t been sitting around waiting for me….

I am developing a web series called Black Rabbit with a friend of mine. Action/adventure/drama with a predominantly female cast. I know very little about scripts and shooting video, but I’m learning. Suffice it to say we wish we had a shoestring budget. Consequently we often have to modify our plans to fit the circumstances.

One of our characters is a young woman named Raven; she has a thing for knives, fast cars and hot men, not necessarily in that over. In my original character sketch she was hispanic from Columbia. The actress we ended up casting in the role (Nique Rose, an absolute joy) is African-American. Columbia just didn’t fit, so Raven is now a Creole from New Orleans. Still likes knives, fast cars and hot men but the accent is Southern instead of South American. Go with the flow.

Sometimes my novel writing takes the same kind of turns. Ever write in a character then find that getting them to do anything productive is like pulling teeth? This will likely happen to plotters more than pantsers, but even us ‘writers of the rear’ get stuck with characters and plot lines that just don’t work. Go with the flow. For me, sometimes the fix has been as simple as changing the character’s name. You can also change their physical description and gender if it helps. I write a lot of horror so I always have the option of killing them off in some gruesome manner. (This is a good thing to do to coworkers and family members who piss me off… But only on paper. Actual murders tend to produce a string of uncomfortable questions by the police and can put a large dent in your writing career.)

Another, similar problem is having a sudden great idea for a character, plot line or setting hit you from out of the blue, only to find it doesn’t quite fit. WRITE IT DOWN. Scrivener is great for this. You can jot down a quick note and get back to work (more info here {me} and here {them}). If you find a place for it, use it. If not, stick it in an idea file and give it a name that will allow you to remember what it’s about. GWTF.

Sometimes the whole story just isn’t working. Read Kristen Lamb’s blog about this. Bury it and move on. GWTF. Your job is to write as well as your talent will allow. Don’t let an albatross hang around your neck and drag you down. GWTF. This applies equally to characters, coworkers, neighbors and family members. You CANNOT GWTF if you are SIAR… (stuck in a rut). Move on. Write. Write some more. I’m tapping this blog out on my cell phone (it is NOT a smart phone) riding the bus on my way home from work. I’m GWTFing… And writing. Probably won’t get a Pulitzer, but the words are on the page, and that’s all that counts. Until next week, Dear Reader, cool flowing dreams.

Special Monday Edition

Just wanted to throw a shout out to my friend Kristen Lamb… and share her situation so that we may all learn from it… NEVER let your Tech Guy run your blog… This is what happens: (click here).

Yes, more heads will roll than in an episode of Game of Thrones…

Slow Juicers and Fast Zombies

Two weeks ago Goldilocks (my beautiful wife) and I went to see World War Z (yeah, she’s cool like that). It stars Brad Pitt which is good for several reasons. He’s an excellent actor, especially in this movie. Most of the ladies find him easy to look at, so you’ll have a better chance of convincing your wife or girlfriend to go see the movie. Just don’t invite both of them unless you are looking to start your own personal apocalypse.

Forget every zombie movie you’ve ever seen, including the esteemed Walking Dead. These zombies do not walk, amble or stroll. They run. Like cheetahs. On steroids. Unless you have bionic implants (Google the Six Million Dollar Man if that last remark confused you) you are not going to survive. Not even if you have an army of Daryl’s with crossbows. No spoilers here but the (sort of) good news is that these zombies seem more intent on biting and spreading the virus than eating their victims. There was a lot less gore than I was expecting and I think it made for a better movie.

Unfortunately there were a few times I had to say “Oh come on, really?” Yes, out loud in the theater. Sorry, the movie deserved it. Goldilocks just rolls her eyes when I do this… Unless we are watching movies at home. Then I usually get chastised for calling the movie makers on some stupid mistake. I am no longer allowed to make comments about the inaccuracy of lock picking scenes in movies under threat of severe bodily harm. Two comments in a whole movie? That’s pretty good, so you can feel safe about going to see it.

On the home front, we purchased a slow juicer in our continuing quest for better health. This thing does to carrots and apples what zombies do to couch potatoes. Juice out one side, pulp out the other. I have found the pulp makes excellent muffins so nothing is wasted. Well, except beet pulp. Not doing beet muffins and you can’t make me.

To her credit, Goldilocks has been drinking juice from beets, kale and spinach. Mixed with copious amounts of apple, kiwi and honey dew juice. Oh, if I was still drinking alcohol I could hurt myself with honey dew daiquiris. That is some fine sweet juice, let me tell you.

Here’s the thing; juicing is a messy endeavor, especially when you have three square feet of kitchen counter space like we do. Our only saving grace is the kitchen has a tile floor so clean up isn’t too difficult. This is a picture of the juicer. If you want to know where to get one, email me. edward@edwardowenauthor.com

How does this all fit together? Watch and be amazed. Zombies have always been portrayed as the tortises of the monster world. WWZ comes along and not only shatters the stereotype, but makes about a gazillion dollars in the process. Juicers have been, for the most part, high speed devices that destroyed some of the nutrients in the foods they juiced. The slow juicer takes it easy and gives you every last vitamin and mineral to which you are entitled. Just because it’s always been done that way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Keep an open mind. Things will start to creep into it and you might learn something. BTW, if the zombie apocalypse does happen, I hope I’m hanging out with my couch potato friends. I can run faster than they can. Until next week, scary zombie juice dreams (eeewwww, gross!).

Writing and the Wizard of Oz

First of all, I’m talking about the original with Dorothy, Toto and her three goofy boyfriends… It will forever have a place in my heart. Second of all, this entire blog post was done on my phone and sent as text messages, so I hope you appreciate the effort (No, it is NOT a smart phone, it’s pretty dumb.)

I’ve been known to use the phrase ‘I’m off to see the Wizard’ when leaving the house or the salt mine Keyshop. As is often the case, my writer’s brain hopped on that train of thought and forced my fingers to type.

Dorothy represents our neophyte writer, wide eyed and pursuing her dreams of becoming an author. Upon announcing this to friends and family, she finds herself in the Land of Oz, a cleverly disguised and little known outer circle of Dante’s Inferno. She is warmly welcomed by her friends and family, represented by the Munchkins. There’s a lot of singing and dancing and ‘You go, girl’ but they can’t really help her. Then the jealous friend/relative Wicked Witch shows up and does her best to derail Dorothy’s plans.

“You write? (cackling laugh) You don’t have a degree/enough imagination/ the time… You’ll never be a real writer my pretty, and neither will your little dog.”

"We're off to see the Wizard...."

“We’re off to see the Wizard….”

But wait! There’s a publisher/wizard who can make all your dreams come true! the Munchkins cheer. Just follow the Yellow Brick Submission/Query Letter Road.” Fortunately for Dorothy, a Good Witch/Mentor shows up to help her on her journey. (Tonight the part of Glenda the Good Witch will be played by WANA goddess Kristen Lamb http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com).

Like any new writer, Dorothy makes some writer friends along the way. The Scarecrow is sweet but keeps using ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ and his spelling is so bad it makes it hard to read his work. Dorothy is too nice and too naive to suggest that the Scarecrow take some writing classes and simply watches him stumble through one clumsy paragraph after another. Alas, he cannot help her much on her trip.

Along the way Dorothy runs into a bunch of nay sayers and psuedo critics, but has the presence of mind to collect their comments/apples and use them to her advantage. She also toughens up a bit and adds a much needed layer of skin.

The next member of Dorothy’s writing circle is the Tin Woodsman. His prose is perfect. His writing is grammatically correct with nary a typo in sight. His writing is BORING! Because it lacks what? Oh, please tell me you connected the dots on this one… It lacks HEART! He takes no chances and allows none of that pesky emotion bleed into his work. Great cure for insomnia. For that reason TW can’t help our intrepid Dorothy much, except as a living spell check.

Poor Dorothy, searching the path to authordom with such poor results. Companion #3 is no better. The Cowardly Lion Writer writes only for himself and doesn’t have the courage to put his pennings out there for others to read. He is, however, more than happy to tell others what is wrong with THEIR writing. Bully, coward and useless to boot. And Dorothy because of her kind heart drags the dead wood along with her, prolonging the pain of becoming a successful writer. Thankfully when the evil witch/jealous coworker tries to bog her down with poppies/cookies and shiny things her mentor comes to the rescue with a snow storm vente espresso.

Low and behold the day arrives when Dorothy and company reach the Emerald City/Publisher’s office, only to be told the Wizard is not accepting submissions, “Not no way, not no how.” Poor Dorothy is crushed. She’s come so far and fought so bravely only to have the door slammed in her face. She does what any good writer would do; she resorts to tears. (If this worked in our world I’d be slamming my toe in the door every day… NOT my fingers, I still have to write).

And magically (because this is a movie), our intrepid adventurers are admitted to the Emerald City (so named because publishers have money lying around in stacks). Surely now Dorothy can get a killer book deal. But alas, the Wizard has other ideas.
“It needs vampires, vampires are hot.”
“But it’s a con-rom mystery set in Santa Monica,” argues Dorothy.
“And a long car chase, we want to be sure Hollywood will pick it up. Oh, and I need you to steal the witch’s broomstick. I’m pretty sure I can pass it off as a Harry Potter movie prop.”

Frustrated, Dorothy tries to fall back on logic.
“But that’s not fair!” At this point the Wizard is tired of our fledgling four and shoos them out in a storm of fire and mounds of poorly written legal forms.

I would cut to the chase, but we’ve come this far…

The Wicked Stepsister (what? It never said they weren’t related) is seething with jealousy by this point and starts a number of vicious rumors about Dorothy making time with three losers and before you know it the gossip is flying like… Oh yes I will… Like monkeys. The personal attacks are extremely damaging and the Witch manages to lock Dorothy in her slum apartment in South Central. She won’t even give our poor heroine a paper sack on which to scribble the charming romantic comedy burning a hole in her brain. Her fellow writers in arms sneak into the tenement to free her, but Dorothy engineers her own escape when she inadvertently douses the Wicked Spinster Aunt with a glass of Koolaid. The overwhelming sweetness of the drink puts the Witch into a sugar coma from which she never recovers. Upon their return to the Wizard with one very beat broomstick in hand, they learn that his powers are not quite so all powerful.

“Ebooks and self publishing have ruined me,” he laments. “but I can teach you all a thing or two as a small token of my gratitude (considering he hocked the broomstick to a rabid Potter fan for a cool $20K, it’s the least he can do).

“For you, Scarecrow, there’s nothing wrong with your writing that an English class and a Macbook Pro with spell check won’t cure.” In less time than it takes to write a cheesy teen angst-super natural-love triangle hack novel, the Scarecrow is banging out some very respectable short stories.

“For you, Tin Man, all you need is a muse to inspire you and get you a little steamed up from time to time.” The curtains part and Jenny McCarthy prances over to the Silver Scribe and plants an embarrassingly long and passionate kiss on his quivering mouth. At last report, they were living in Spain and the Tin Woodsman was the hottest thing on the erotica market under the nom de plume of Steely Dan. Rumor has it that Jenny hired a tinsmith with a degree in electrical engineering and now you couldn’t wipe the smile off her face with a two by four.

“To the Lion I give you a lifetime membership in WANA and WLC. These two groups will give you all the love and support you will need to get your writing out there. I’m even throwing in lunch with Kristen Lamb who can help you build a platform that will help you find an audience.” This so inspired the Lion that he has self published two novels and teaches creative writing at the local community college.

“I bet there’s no book deal with a huge advance in that bag for me,” Dorothy said with a pout.
The Wizard placed a hand on her shoulder (he’s a toucher, you know) and looked wisely into her eyes.

“I can’t help you anymore. I’m getting out of publishing and opening a Starbucks in Jamaica. Have a nice life, kid.”

After which he sped off in his Porsche Boxter leaving poor Dorothy all alone. Ah, but all was not lost! Glenda/Kristen floated in on champagne bubble to save the day.

“My dear, you’ve had what you needed all along. You write with heart, your grammar and punctuation are spotless and you are fearless in your prose. All you needed was an editor to pull it all together.”

In a puff of smoke Arial Burnz (like the font, not the little mermaid, wrong story) appears and says, “Your POV bounces all over the place and you have more filters than a coffee maker. I can’t do this alone.” Another puff of smoke and AJ Nuest joins the party.

“Don’t worry, honey,” says AJ, “I got a whole box of red pens with your name on it. They’ll go great with those shoes.”

In the end, all Dorothy needed was a little guidance, some creativity and a big box of HARD WORK. Sadly there is no magic short cut, but Dorothy did self publish her cute little rom-com novel and made enough money to move off the farm into her own place in Malibu.