These random ramblings and author musings are designed to entertain, though they might drag you kicking and screaming through my daft indie publishing journey. If you are somehow inadvertently informed, or if you have discovered something useful within, well then . . . count that as a jolly coincidence. Thanks for reading! (header background - Sky_18 Free Texture #133 by Brenda Starr)

20130425


Indie author shout out: Indie author (and my good friend and editor) David Gilmore has published a short horror story with a bonus flash piece, The Dead Should Stay Dead, now available on Kindle for only 99 cents. Go, read, and enjoy! Please support this indie author. You'll be glad you did. 




Word of the week: behest \bi-ˈhest, bē-\ - (hear it!) - noun – 1 : an authoritative order : command; 2 : an urgent prompting - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Slug Fears and Smelly Depths: Chapter Nine From My Humorous Middle Grade Novel, It Happened on Tarantula Island

A little something I've been writing with my son . . . for five years. Background info? Sure! This is chapter nine, after all.

Fourth cousin fourth removed from the fourth family of Forths, ten-year-old Christopher Forth has traveled the sea on the back of a beluga whale at the behest of his crazy cousin, the loopy scientist, Gerald Passion, to a small isle named Tarantula Island to become Passion's perfect personal scientific assistant. But pirates are coming, and Passion has decided that slugs are scary, and making sticky potions and tea is the best way to solve that problem.
Bob or Jeff?

Oh yes, and Bob and Jeff are cabin-sized talking tarantulas.

* ahem *

Please note: This is in very rough draft form, and it's quite the deviation from my usual dark writing. Enjoy!

Slug Fears and Smelly Depths

“What!”

Christopher gaped at Passion. Passion gave him a nervous grin.

“I said, we need to make more potions,” he replied. “It's the only logical thing to do. Well, that and make tea, of course. You wouldn't happen to want some, would you?” He picked up his kettle.

“Are you crazy?”

“No, no, no.” Passion waggled his finger. “Never say crazy. I don't like that word. Tea?”

“But, Gerry, pirates might be coming.” 

“Yes . . . well, maybe. Tea?” He filled his kettle to the brim and hung it on the hook over the fire. Christopher shook his head, bewildered.

“Tea? Now?”

“No time like the present. Personally, I like the future, but it's so hard to see what's coming—”

“Pirates!”

“Where? Where?” Passion ducked.

Christopher smacked his forehead. “No, pirates might be coming.”

“Oh, right.”

“So?”

“So, what?”

“So what are you going to do?” asked Christopher.

“About the tea?” said Passion.

“No, about the pirates.”

“Oh, right, that. Yes, um . . .” The scientist tapped his finger against his lips. “I've thought about that little issue, and I've decided the best course of action would be, well . . . to do nothing.”

Christopher gawked. “Nothing?”

“Yes. Right. Nothing.” Passion gathered more ingredients from the floor and dumped them into a cracked beaker, which he stabbed into with the block of wood. Christopher snatched back his flashlight and shoved it into his rear pocket.

“Nothing, my foot,” he said. “I thought you said pirates were scary.”

“They are,” said Passion. “Sluggy, even.”

“So?”

“So what?”

“So aren't you going to hide?”

“Oh . . .” Passion shrugged and poured some of the newly mixed potion into a fresh tube suspended over yet another orange-blue flame. “I suppose so, yes. Later. Maybe. Um . . . no. No, I don't think so.”

“But why not?”

“Well, you see,” said Passion. “I've never been fond of hiding, especially underground.” He uncorked the cotton-candy-pink liquid vial, dodged the itty-bitty puff of smoke, but coughed anyway. “Besides,” he added, “those annoying spiders will take care of everything, won't they? I mean, at least that's what Bob said.”

“Jeff. And what if they don't, what'll happen then?”

*  *  *

How cute is that?

20130414


Word of the week: malleable \ˈma-lē-ə-bəl, ˈmal-yə-bəl, ˈma-lə-bəl\ (hear it!) - adjective - : capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer or by the pressure of rollers; 2 a : capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces or influences, b : having a capacity for adaptive change - (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Oh my Gosh! That is Like, So BIG!

Words.

Writers love them. Readers love them. They're flexible, malleable, tasty, and strange, and they're always at a writer's disposal whenever s/he needs to create or expound upon some narrative or dialogue, poke a reader with a certain point, or caress him with soft sentiments of oozy-goo in a romantic tryst.

They're fun to play with—to bend, twist, and break—and they even taste like pop-tarts, if you eat enough of them. In fact, Connecticut native Noah Webster believed they were important enough to compile and define in the high hopes of expanding upon people's knowledge back in the nineteenth century.

Dictonary
Mmm . . . words.

So why in the dad-blamed world are so many people today terrified of “BIG WORDS”!? [insert screechy music here: think Psycho shower scene]

Gasp, and highfalutin horrors!



Big words. Little words. Medium-sized words. Pfft. They're all the same—they're words. Wonderful letter-constructed play toys. So when someone ever told me: “Oh, don't use that word. It's too big. People won't understand it,” I nearly fell out of my chair in astonishment, befuddlement, and heartbroken sniffly-miffed-ness. I loved that word! And I couldn't use it in my own creative works because . . . people wouldn't understand it??

O_o

Really? Really?? (Touchy subject for me, can you tell? And yes, I plan to go against the grain of common thinking, here.)

Through the years, and through the time I'd been learning about and trying to teach myself the fickle craft of writing, I've had a half-dozen bits of projects critiqued at a half-dozen writing forums, and while I appreciate the effort (trust me, a well thought out critique takes a hefty amount of time; I've given enough of them myself) and all of the useful input I had received, I still find it mind boggling that another writer would even say that!

“Don't use that word. It's too big.”

Przewalski's horse
Przewalski's Horse
These words, these large, obscure (but beautiful, and useful) words have been coined “fifty-cent words,” or “five-dollar words,” or even “ten-dollar words” (depending on the rate of inflation, apparently); they're words writers use to supposedly make them sound “clever,” or “intelligent,” or even “well-read,” according to some people.


Well, duh. Writers should be well-read; it's one of the essential tools for good writing. And readers shouldn't be fed a junk diet of only “two-penny,” or “three-penny,” or whatever other stupid phrase used for smaller (equally beautiful, equally useful) words out there (remember, they taste like pop-tarts). Heaven forbid we writers make readers think . . . and learn a new word. (Does my Word of the Week now make sense?)

Consider this: How exactly does the average child learn to successfully read, and expand upon his working vocabulary, if s/he isn't constantly, and consistently, confronted with new words? Kids are introduced to them all the time, and can certainly learn them contextually. Adulthood does not mean this learning stops. We have our own vocabularies to consider, lest we get mired beneath a bog of “little” words, with no hope of progression.

“Subjective!” you cry. “I know more big words than the average person does!”

Fair enough. Sure, it's probably subjective. After all, it's only my opinion, my belief, what I've seen/experienced. Yes, many people know a variety of big words; however, I'm willing to bet more don't. I still learn new words almost every day. So perhaps, if a writer's first task is to entertain, it should be his second (or third) task to inform or teach—on the sly.

No, of course, writers shouldn't cram string after string, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph of colossal, unfamiliar words down a reader's throat; it'll make him choke, and he's likely fling the book (or e-reading device) away in terrified escape from the bombardment. Horribly disastrous. Yes, “the expeditious russet vulpes vulpes hurdled over the indolent canis familiaris,” is more clunky to read than: “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” with a greater chance of incorrectly used words (which I suspect is the real issue, and which I suspect I've done here).

lazy dogquick fox


But really, one, two, even three “ten-dollar words” per chapter should not result in torture. It should result in enrichment. And with the advent of in-device e-reader dictionaries, that “Oh, I can't be bothered to get up and get a dictionary” excuse is (again, just my humble opinion), no longer valid. Click on the word, and a dictionary will present you with its definition. There. Like magic. Use it. Revel in it. And please, always, always continue to learn exciting new words. Your brain will thank you.

Believe me, I'm extremely proud of my twelve-year-old son who has the vocabulary of a high school student, and of my kindergarten-age daughter who not only knows the words “concierge” and “defeat,” but can also use them properly in sentences without prompting or hints. I'm glad they're not afraid of “ten-dollar words,” and they know exactly how to spend them wisely.

*  *  *
Photo credits:

Handwritten dictionary - autumn_bliss - Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License

Dollar horse - the real juston - Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License

Lazy dog -  Faith Goble - Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License

Fox - Minette Layne -  Flickr Photo Sharing - Creative Commons License

20130403

Word of the week: sesquipedalian /ˌseskwəpəˈdālyən/ (hear it!) - adjective - 1: having many syllables : long; 2 : given to or characterized by the use of long words – (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Indie Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Glen Solosky

Back when I was the acquisitions editor for a small publishing company, I was given the absolute pleasure of line editing a young adult novel written by author Glen Solosky, a project then under contract and in the pre-publication stages of polish-and-shine . . . and what a tale to behold!

The Abominable Sruvius is a delightful story for both kids and adults. Storyline, characters, setting—all are fascinating and unique, interwoven with themes of courage, understanding and acceptance, supportive friendships, and pure ingenuity, all of which made me smile, genuinely proud of the characters.

But alas! Before the novel could be released, the small publisher went under, calling a halt to all projects. Fortunately for us, however, Mr. Solosky chose to go indie! (For now, at least.) Most definitely a good decision, methinks; the story deserves some decent spotlight and praise, and the author needs our support for braving those choppy “indie waters.”

And he's a fantastic artist. See? (Yes, he created his own cover.)


Besides, both my son and I currently lie in wait—eagerly, mind you!—for the release of his sequel (mentioned below in his interview).

So, please, allow me to present here at The Ether of my Imagination . . . Mr. Glen Solosky! 

* * *
Hello. I’m Glen Solosky. Besides being a writer, I’m an artist, designer, and illustrator. Being an artist comes in handy when writing in the fantasy and science fiction genres. I do a lot of doodling to get things clear in my mind before I start writing about them. The pages of my sketchbooks are filled with dozens of drawings of the characters and strange creatures that appear in my novel The Abominable Sruvius. By the time I first wrote about Ravma Sruvius, I had looked into his scheming, bloodshot eyes so often I already knew the depths of his soul. (Yeah, I know. That’s a bit creepy.)

Another perk is that I don’t have to hire an artist for the cover or illustrations. And there’s no misinterpretation in how the characters should look. When my readers see King Yonchobar and Sruvius on the cover, it’s exactly how I imagined them.

Years ago I worked as an artist for a now-defunct comic book publisher. (You can see some of my comic samples on my portfolio at www.gsolosky.carbonmade.com) I had originally thought of offering them The Abominable Sruvius as a comic book series, but the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced it should be made into a novel. The imagination does a much better job at creating a fantasy world than can be inked in the panels of a comic book. I think I made the right decision.

So what’s next? There’s a sequel in the works, The Sruvian Templex, which leans much further toward science fiction than fantasy. After that I think I’ll try my hand at hard science fiction. Just don’t expect any abstruse literary works. I’m not sesquipedalian in the least.

You can learn more about The Abominable Sruvius at www.sruvius.com

*  *  *
The Abominable Sruvius is available for Kindle at Amazon. com.
Please, support this indie author. You'll be glad you did!