Friday, July 29, 2011

Revisiting Your Past To Help Your Writing

You ever wonder when you started believing in something, talking with a certain twang (or without it), wearing a specific brand of jeans? If you're like me, some of those details have vanished from recallable memory.

That information, of course, is up there somewhere in my brain, but I can't seem to find it. Think of my memory like a large house with several levels, rooms and hallways. Each room has certain pieces of memories. My problem is that I don't know which floor or down which hall those memories now reside, and even if I did, the doors to the rooms are locked and I've misplaced the keys. 

Come to think of it, those rooms might be so cluttered that those memories might even be packed away in unlabeled boxes in those rooms. Add to this the idea that my memory is more like an endless track of houses in a neighborhood as vast as the horizon on the Texas plains. Each day I keep adding more boxes and more houses.

 I tweeted this the other day:

When's the last time you visited your childhood home and reflected? If you're a writer, you should and take pen and paper.

As an educator, I know that I am who I am because of all I have experienced - especially early in those particularly exciting developmental years of life. My exercise is to rummage through that part of me that existed what seems like a lifetime ago: before I was a husband, father, educator, college graduate, etc., etc. 

I know it will affect (and help) my writing. I just don't know exactly how. That is the exciting part.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Article Series on Setting Writing Goals

Over the past several weeks, I have spent many hours on my Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Short Story Series. Parts One and Two are already online at Wattpad for your reading pleasure.

The first two parts never would have seen the light of day if I had not set specific goals to get them published online. In fact, the Mall Demon stories might have ended up where many of my other fiction projects have through the years: nowhere but a fantasy in my head.

Can you relate? I'm sure some of you can. Truth be told, setting goals is fairly easy. Setting meaningful, specific goals is harder. Following through until the goals are met is even tougher. 

Tough, but not impossible. That's the good news for beginning writers. I will share the techniques I have learned and used to write the Mall Demon series and thousands of newspaper articles and news blog posts over the past 15 years. And so we can get it out of the way now, I am sharing this information at no cost to you. That's right. No charge. Free. Well, you will need to spend your time to read the articles and set your own goals.

Again, the first step is to set specific goals. As beginning writers, we must avoid vague goals. We need concrete goals. So, this first step is where my article series on Setting Successful Writing Goals will begin. 

Over the month of August, I will outline the four parts to Setting Successful Writing Goals. The four parts are as follows:
  • Make specific writing goals
  • Plan writing goals in three time categories
  • Include goals in areas of your life (outside of writing)
  • Reflect often on your goals 
As I explain the strategy, you may recognize parts of it. Truth is I adapted it from general goal setting strategies I have taught to college students. More on all the specifics later. So, if you are serious about setting successful writing goals, be sure to read my article series beginning in August.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

NEW! Second Part of Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series Released

I just posted the latest addition to the Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Short Story Series. Readers can check it out for FREE at Wattpad.

The latest addition is PART TWO in the THIRTEEN-PART short story series that focuses on the battle between angels and demons at a modern-day shopping mall. The story, "Swift To Sin, Swift To Shed Blood" follows PART ONE, "Death Speaks Loudest To Those Who Flee (A folk story retold)."

After showing the second story to a few readers, I looked again at the end - in particular, the last scene with Lily. Some said they thought it was "too creepy." So, I'm wondering what others might think.

Is the final part of "Swift To Sin, Swift To Shed Blood" too creepy?

Let me know. Comments and e-mail messages are always welcome.

COMING NEXT: PART THREE in the Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series.
(If you like what you see, please feel free to make a donation using the "Donate" button at the top right of this blog.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

J.K. Rowling and Shakespeare: Do They Compare?

On July 22, 1598, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was entered on the Stationers' Register, according to That's Mr. William Shakespeare, the literary icon, for anyone who slept through English Literature in high school.

The Merchant of Venice, was one of the Bard's many plays, his bread and butter. It's how Shakespeare made a living. I was reading a post on The Guardian's site, The theology of Harry Potter. The post received hundreds of comments. Many from readers who did not see the value of a Christian theology and Harry Potter class being offered at a university.

As I read through the comments, I noticed an argument forming in some of the comments: Rowling's work is popular fiction not really worthy of academic study as literature. And of course, the comparison was made to Shakespeare's work. His work is worth studying.

What do you think? Share your comments below.

I am the first to say that the Bard is "THE MAN!" I can't help but conclude, however, that Shakespeare wasn't always "THE MAN!" In his day, Shakespeare was doing then what Rowling has been doing now: giving the audience what it wants and earning a living doing it. He was successful. She is, of course, wicked successful. That is how Rowling and Shakespeare compare to me, at least. 

Now, if I could have some of Shakespeare's staying power and Rowling's earnings, I'd be set.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series: Part Two, Designs Coming

Part Two of the Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series is almost ready for print. Part One was "Death Speaks Loudest To Those Who Flee." You still can check the story out for FREE on Wattpad. Part Two is called "Swift To Sin, Swift To Shed Blood."

This is the second of 13 parts. I will be posting it on Wattpad, which you can view for FREE on your PC, e-Reader or smartphone. For the moment, my mugshot is still the only art on the cover. However, a designing duo is working tirelessly as we speak on graphics concepts for the cover. I'm hoping you'll see some of those concepts by the time Part Three is posted.

As always, if you like what you read, please share your LIKES and if so moved, make a donation using the DONATE button at the top right corner of this blog.

Not lost in all this, coming in August is the first in a series of helpful articles on setting specific, realistic writing goals.

OK... back to the cave.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series: Second Story Coming Soon

Despite all the emotional drama that I'm having to deal with (parent in the hospital), I am still going to hit my deadline for the second short story in my Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series. There are 13 parts to the series. I will be releasing subsequent parts about every two weeks.

You can always check back to my Pedro Is Writing blog for updates.

I will be traveling over the next couple of weeks, but armed with my netbook, I'll be plugging away at the drafts.

If you haven't noticed, I've added a few new features to the blog. One key addition is a Donation button. If you like the Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series, please feel free to make a donation - even a $1 will be appreciated.

If you have comments about the Mall Demon Urban Fantasy Series, please share them here or on the Wattpad site.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Writing Through Emotional Times

I woke up this morning with a plan for finishing my Mall Demon short story series. The plan involved weekly writing checkpoints, blog posts announcing updates, and other reminders which I jotted down on a dry erase marker board and placed in the kitchen.
And then, I found out one of my parents was in the hospital. Now, I am facing the challenge of working through emotions swelling within me. It is an uncertain time with an ending I can not really plan for - not yet, at least.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How Much Did J.K. Rowling Get For The First Harry Potter Book?

If I could find a way to pay for seven tickets to the last Harry Potter movie, my kids would think I was the coolest dad.

Hmmm.... gotta work on that one. Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in movie form, there were the books. And before Rowling was the writing success all writers dream of following, there was the unknown writer trying to get her first book published.

W-a-a-a-a-a-a-y back when, Rowling received approximately $2,400 in an advance from her publisher for the first book,  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, according to a list of Potter-related stats on an Entrepreneur blog posting by Jason Fell.

The rest, as they say, is history.

That kind of an advance would be enough to make me happy. Well, a couple hundred bucks would make me (er... my kids) happy because I could take them to the movies.

Back to work.

Grading Papers, Research and Chess - Summer camp Pedro Style

As I work on grading papers and do Web research, the kids are using my old laptop to learn chess.

Yes, it's summer, and since we can't afford to send them to camp, they are participating in Camp Pedro. This morning that means they are learning chess on dad's old Wal-mart laptop using an old chess game for Windows 95/98. The game case was a little dusty since it's been sitting in a box of forgotten items for the past few years.

But... except for a stray beep and buzz from the game when they make an illegal move, it's peacefully quiet in the room. They are having fun. Isn't that nice.

It's quiet so I can work. The kids are having fun on their own (No, "Daddy, I'm bored!" Um... at least, not yet.)

Good times. Fun on a budget. I like it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Angels Enter The Picture

"Death Speaks Loudest to Those Who Flee" is the first of 13 stories in my Demon Series.
The second story is about ready for release. Towards the end of the next story the forces which will counter evil in the Demon Series will make their entrance:


Death personified will return as well - but not until the third story. I started working on the cover design for "Death Speaks Loudest to Those Who Flee." Some may recognize the design, since I borrowed it from old propaganda posters.

If you haven't voted for "Death Speaks Loudest...", please go to Wattpad and click away. You can also say you like it on Twitter or Facebook.

OK... Time to catch the last half of the USA v France replay on ESPN3. Go USA!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Second Story in Demon Series

Here's the read-in so far for the second story in my Demon series:

A trip to the mall turns deadly when a teen-aged girl stops at nothing to get what her sister has. A host of demons take advantage of the moment and feast.

I'll probably change it a dozen times, but there it is. I'm a little worried that the final scene is too disgusting. Sitting on it for 24 hours to see how I feel about it tomorrow.

If you missed the first story in the Demon series, "Death Speaks Loudest to Those Who Flee", check it out on Wattpad. I'll throw a bunch of good karma, vibrations, and all that your way if you cast a vote saying you like it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fantasy Short Story Series on Wattpad

The last week or so I have been going crazy working on a fantasy short story series.

So far I've put out one of the stories to gauge reaction. The plan on the board is for a series of 12 related stories to go with the first one called, "Death Speaks Loudest to Those Who Flee." I posted it on Wattpad, self-dubbed as the most popular e-book community out there.

Here's the teaser to the story:

Demons are lurking, hunting for souls. Death walks and talks and is training demons. In this old folk story retold, a man encounters Death and tries to escape his fate. It is the first of several stories following the demonic hordes as they hunt modern day humans.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Getting Back In The Game

It's been a long three months since my last entry. The time has been challenging with family tragedies. My hope is that now I will be able to maintain a regular rate of entries.

As writers, we can see times of sorrow as opportunities to explore the realm of human experience and ultimately improve our craft. It is a great tool for coping with life's challenges.

Pedro Is Still Writing

It's late at night... I am watching the news... I'm drinking a beer. I'm about to make a huge transition in life. In about t...