Inspiration: You Are Here

From Mars, You Are Here

If you’ve ever wondered what Earth looks like to someone standing on the surface of Mars, well, now you know. In this NASA-supplied picture from the surface Mars, Earth is visible as just a bright object in the sky. In other words…you are here.

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Inspiration: Galloping Crocodiles

Galloping Crocodile

Oh, yeah. I gotta use this in a story. Modern crocodiles and alligators are edge feeders. They wait in the water and strike from ambush when prey comes to the water’s edge. They’re dangerous but relatively localized. These crocs, though, they can chase you down.

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Inspiration: Traveling in Snow in Your High-Tech Skimobile

High Tech Skimobile
It’s winter. It’s cold. Damn cold.

All I can say is…I want want one of these.

I mean, if you have to travel in the snow, you might as well do it in style. Plus, my writer’s mind is thinking about skimobile chases through the trees, etc.

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Inspiration: Solar System Necklace

Solar System Necklace

Our inspiration this week is the “Solar System Necklace,” a real piece of jewelry from ThinkGeek that can bought for around 40 bucks. The Sun is on the left, followed by all of the planets. Even the Asteroid Belt is represented. I understand, although it’s not pictured, that there’s also an optional dangling comet that can be added to the necklace.

Now THIS is what I call fashion.

(Yes, yes, I know, Pluto isn’t officially a planet anymore…but the jewelry folks haven’t caught on yet, so let’s not burst their bubble).

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Inspiration: A Ruin in the Forest

Forest Fantasy This is a great picture from As a writer, I look at a picture like this and I wonder…

What heinous crime happened in this crumbling ruin in the forest?

Or, perhaps, taking advantage of the shelter of this convenient ruin:

What danger lurks in the forest just out of view?

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Inspiration: Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars, 2005

This is sunset on Mars in 2005, compliments of a very cool photo from Nasa. It doesn’t get better than this, as long as you have a spacesuit on.

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Our New Writer’s Group T-Shirt

I’m a member of Loudoun SF & Fantasy Writers, a writing group that meets here in Loudoun County, VA, just south of Washington DC. And now, we have our own T-shirt, the back of which features the cover of our group’s first anthology, Uncommon Threads.

In fact, that anthology commemorated the group’s one-year anniversary (which is why we’re in the process of putting together a second anthology).

Loudoun County SF & Fantasy Writers Group T-Shirt

Note that the ebook of Uncommon Threads will be available soon (the print edition came out last June). I know this, because I’m the one working on it.

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The Selfish Shellfish

The Selfish Shellfish My friend Asher Roth has just released a children’s picture book called The Selfish Shellfish on Amazon. It’s available in both print and ebook editions. It’s about a shellfish who discovers the joy of sharing.

Asher was inspired to do the book because of his kids. I know that it’s been a special project of his for a few years. He did all the illustrations himself, then added all the coloring, gradations and various effects in Adobe Photoshop. Furthermore, as a children’s picture book, it’s full bleed, which means that the illustrations go right to the edge of each page.

As a self-published project, this was a mammoth undertaking that pushes the very limits of what a print service like CreateSpace can accomplish. Most self-publishing projects don’t have to worry about illustrations, full-bleed, true colors, clarity, image positioning, etc. The result is indisputably worth it, though, because The Selfish Shellfish is absolutely gorgeous from cover to cover.

This Christmas season, give your young children a great picture book that they’ll truly enjoy.

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How the Lord of the Rings…Should Have Ended

Some things are just too funny. Fellow writer Joanne McAlpine brought this little gem to my attention. It’s a very interesting video that’s been floating around Facebook and YouTube.

The deliberate overacting from the voice talent really punches up the humor in this one.

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Operation Eagle: Practically a Military Maneuver

Spy MissionWhen you’re a writer, you get to do unusual things, and it’s all right. Apparently eccentric behavior is expected for writers. A situation arose this weekend which allowed me to exploit this principle.

My sister-in-the-law had to go to Florida on a business trip. Her husband, Steve, my brother, already had a cross country motorcycle race he was scheduled to be in with some of his friends. So there was a twenty-four hour period where they had to do something with their daughter.

They arranged for their daughter, Bailey, to stay overnight and for most of the next day with the family of Bailey’s best friend. Everything was planned in detail, and then the plan fell apart.

Bailey got sick.

The family that was taking care of her was unsure what to do with a sick child that wasn’t their own. Many phone calls ensued between Virginia (where we’re all from), Florida (where Bailey’s mother was) and West Virginia (where Steve was). Operation Eagle was therefore created out of necessity to retrieve Bailey from the family that was taking care of her.

Everybody had a code name. The mission was set in motion by Control, in Florida. Bailey became the Package, located at the Target Site in Ashburn, VA. I was Liberator1, accompanied by Liberator2 (my wife) for backup. We drove over to pick up the Package and take her to the Safe House, otherwise known as our house. Bonehead (Steve) cruised in a few hours later to pick up the Package and take her back to Home Base.

My niece, Bailey, thought it was all pretty amusing, as well as being yet more proof that her uncle was crazy. Being the crazy writer uncle is kinda fun.

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