Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"A Plague 'O Both Your Houses"

Happy Belated New Year!

I planned on posting at least once before today, but like many across the country, I got sick. I'm not exactly sure what I had. The flu has been hitting America pretty hard, but I'm not sure I actually had influenza. I had a horrible respiratory thing, and then it went away on Christmas Eve and Day, and then I most definitely had a sinus infection knock me down hard.

I'm on the road to recovery, although this lingering cough is such a pain.

With the new year upon us, I've got some awesome things in the works.

Quixotic Publishing will be putting all three books in our Black-Eyed Kids series together into one boxed set. It's always sad finishing a series, although we're not done with this "world" yet. The Black-Eyed Kids trilogy is part of a larger series titled the Dark Projects. You all know how I love the paranormal, and I've got a conspiracy theorist streak in me, so this series is going to be a lot of fun.

Here's our boxed set:

I'm also up to my ears on edits of the first spin-off novel of Dark Projects, Gateway Mothman. This is a book that I've been thinking about for many years. In fact, I first posted about the Mothman back in 2005 here on the 'ol blog. It's hard to believe that it's taken this long to finally get this story out there.

The cover art is currently a work in progress, and I can't wait to see how the finished product looks:

How about you? What projects are you working on? What are some things you're looking to tackle in 2018? If you're like me, just trying not to get sick is priority #1.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My MOST Favorite Christmas Songs

It was in the mid-50s here in St. Louis today, so it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit with it being so warm. Normal for this time of year is around 40 degrees. Tomorrow will be near 60! Regardless, Christmas music is still going strong on a couple local radio stations, and here's three of my favorites:

"Mary Did You Know?" -- Voctave with Mark Lowry. I LOVE Voctave. They are all incredible vocalists, and together, they pack a punch. Mark Lowry is the original songwriter of this gorgeous piece, so it's great hearing him sing his own song. Pentatonix's version is a very close second to this one.

"Christmas Time is Here" -- Vince Guaraldi Trio. I grew up with the Peanuts Gang, and my kids love it too. Watching Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus specials is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. This song has a dreamlike quality. My daughter and her choir sang this at a retirement center just last week, so I'm biased!

"Grown-Up Christmas List" -- Amy Grant. Written by David Foster, Natalie Cole sang it first back in 1990. But this song became a big hit for Amy Grant in 1993. I also like Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble's versions, but the lyrics get me every time. It's always this time of year when we reflect on what we've been through the last twelve months, and we always hope for the best.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I hope you get to spend time with friends and family this time of the year.

Monday, December 11, 2017

My LEAST Favorite Christmas Songs

With the holidays in full swing, two of my local radio stations have converted to Christmas music 24/7, 7 days a week. I do listen to holiday music this time of year, but it seems I change stations when the same dreadful songs come on...every single time.

I know many of you will disagree with me on at least some of these, but for one reason or another, the following songs make me cringe:

"All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth"
I totally get the cuteness of the lyrics in this song. What creeps me out is the fact that the "child" is actually an adult trying to sound like a kid. I hate that kind of stuff. All that annoying whistling is like fingernails across a chalkboard.

"Christmas Shoes"
Did you know this song is based on a stupid email chain letter from the 90s? The song is melodramatic, depressing, and tries too hard to evoke an emotional response. Also, the singer/narrator of the song is self-centered and makes the entire story all about HIM. God must have sent this poor kid to HIM to teach HIM a lesson. Whatever.

"Wonderful Christmastime"
Paul McCartney's musical equivalent of a loud, stinky fart is perhaps the worst song of any kind EVER. The farting synthesizer sound. The lyrics (ding dong ding dong ding dong ding). The last 2 minutes of the song where all you get is more farting synthesizer and ding dong dinging. When I do try to listen to this song, I have to wonder just how much LSD was Paul McCartney dropping when he wrote this?

Do you have any Christmas songs that you just cannot stand? I'll give you some of my most favorite holiday tunes next week to make up for these three.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday After A Holiday

I don't know about you, but I am dragging today. I've never been good at Mondays, but a Monday after a long break has always been a struggle. I was only off from Wednesday through Friday, plus the weekend, yet I'm completely out of it. I have no idea what I'm doing!

Science has tried to explain why Mondays are difficult for so many of us. Here's what psychologists found:

1) Sleep Patterns are out of whack. Many of us take advantage of the weekend to catch up on sleep. Even an extra couple of hours throws us off. Even though you are more well rested on Mondays, our internal clocks are messed up.

2) Self Esteem Sinks. A lot of people did a lot of eating and drinking over the weekend, particularly if it was a big eating-fest, like Thanksgiving. So come Monday morning, many of us feel that guilt. That's why diets start on Mondays.

3) Less Healthy. Scientists have found that people are more likely to get sick or suffer from cardiovascular events on Mondays. Blood pressure seems to be highest on Mondays too. Even people who are healthy suffer from the natural weekly cycle.

4) Job Dissatisfaction. For those who hate their jobs, Mondays are the worst. You've been away from "prison" for a few days, and now it's back into the "pokey." I will assume job searches surge on Mondays too.

Hopefully, you get through this Monday a-OK. If it's a Manic Monday for you, just know you're not alone.

* If you'll take a quick glance at my sidebar, you'll see that I surpassed the 50,000 mark for NaNoWriMo. It's the first time I've won since 2013, and it feels great. What makes it extra-special is the fact that the almost-66,000 words makes up an entire rough draft of my YA paranormal novel, Gateway Mothman.

Next up, hardcore editing before sending it to my publisher's editor

Happy Monday!!!

Monday, November 13, 2017

My Brain is on Hyperdrive

So much is going on, it's difficult to pinpoint what I'm thinking about long enough to write a coherent post. I suffer from adult ADD, but I'm usually pretty great at managing it. Today, however, I'm having a tough time focusing.

Here's a stream of consciousness post for you:

1) NaNoWriMo is going really well for me. My first WriMo since 2013 has been a volcano of creative energy. Maybe all this pent up imagination over the last two years has been dying to get out. You can check out my progress in my sidebar. I cracked 30,000 words on Sunday night. I'm way ahead, so now I'm running downhill from here.

2) My body hurts. Last weekend, I painted a bathroom. Have you ever done that? I was finding myself in all kinds of crazy yoga poses. I can paint three regular rooms in the time in takes me to paint a bathroom. This past weekend, I completely reorganized my horrible garage. I went from a three car to a two car garage. I know, First World problems.

3) No, I didn't see Thor. I hope to, but I'm just so busy. Justice League is coming, and I'm excited about it. I've been reading about some kind of Justice League project since 2007.

4) The time change has really screwed me up. It takes me over a month to adjust. Dark at 4:30 just isn't very nice.

5) Two of my neighbors put up their Christmas lights, which is fine. But they turned them on. I'm downright militant when it comes to celebrating Christmas too early. Yeah, the itch is there, but let's have Thanksgiving first!

6) Speaking of neighbors, this guy down the street told my youngest and his friends to get the f---k off his sidewalk. This idiot is always wearing a blue robe, and he punched out a construction worker for using his outdoor spigot during construction of his neighbor's house. I did go down there and explain to him that he doesn't own the sidewalk. He wasn't too happy about me standing on it, but he was too chicken to do anything about it.

7) Anybody else excited about The Last Jedi? I'm not too sure about yet another trilogy in Disney's future plans. They are just sucking the Star Wars franchise dry. At some point, there has to be some kind of diminishing returns on this thing.

8) We say this every year, but how the heck did it become almost mid-November? As we age, time seems to speed up.