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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wattpad - Bullseye

23 APR 17 Howdy all!  Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!
I write here and there and like many other authors I have various pages at different sites. My latest writing I added over to Wattpad, which has several small pieces and one serialized me. Go check it out:

Wattpad - Montellano

Latest story piece is Bullseye, inspired by a dream. I forgot most of it by the time I got around to writing today, but the core survived. It turned out pretty good I think and I have ideas on how to merge it with a few other pieces I've written. Not my usual stuff.

Dumb pun: Mountains aren't just funny, they're hill areas! :) I like puns. One of the many reasons that I like the Xanth series.

Picture for today:
Nothing could be more true.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Another Short Story!

15 APR 17 I have another short story in the pipeline! A total departure from my normal genre, this short story is a crime story. Set a few years in the future, it focuses on a dastardly man who goes to extreme lengths to get the ultimate Viagra. It was written specifically for an anthology about incarceration in the future. The anthology is due out later this year. This will be the second short story published this year, a third story, horror genre, is at another publisher as well, still awaiting final approval.

My wife also has a story in the same incarceration anthology, which is very nice and another change from the usual. The anthologies that we have been a part of so far have leaned more toward my neck of the woods genre-wise: Fantasy. She has felt like the odd man out and now in this anthology, I am the odd man out. Even though I wrote a story that fits with the theme of the anthology it definitely is not my comfort zone at all. Feels good though to stretch my writing wings.

What I really want to do now is write a fantasy story about police and incarceration. Makes my mind juices water. How would the police develop in a world of magic? Might makes right? Truth spells? Crimson Bands of Cytorrak or some similar means of restraint? Would there be sheriffs? Cops? Makes you think. Reminds me of Corwin being blinded in the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. Now that was a punishment. It also makes me think of the Xanth series by Piers Anthony and the banishment of those who have no magic.

In my main fantasy setting, as times change, incarceration and policing change dramatically. It is something that I am still working on. I like the idea of justice. I may have found my next story idea!

Picture for today: A Snowy Sentinel, to go along with the theme of policing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Short Story - The Legacy

11 APR 17 I have a new short story released out into the wild! Woot Woot!
You can get it now for 25% off over at www.createspace.com/7040219
Enter in the discount code: 9HW5GHYR to receive a 25% discount on purchases. This code is valid for this month ONLY!
My wife Cheryl Toner has a story in there too. Hers is a murder mystery, a murder most foul, in the Pentagon of all places! All the tales revolve around or take place during the winter.

My story is called The Legacy, and deals with what happens when an ancient witch, the eldest of five magical sisters, dies. Here's a taste:

“Well, that’s it then.” Destra said as they helped each other get back on their feet. She was always the practical one. She hugged her stomach and hung her head, still shivering. “Anna’s gone.”
Twilight was soon replaced by the stars and coruscating colors of the northern lights. The three old witches shuffled back indoors. Anna and her would-be rescuer never surfaced.
The arctic air grew colder by the second. A keening noise ran away, out into the darkening and was joined by wolves howling deep and long in the night. That sad susurration traveled far and wide through all the lands. Those who were able to hear the Death Knell knew what it signified. The eldest had passed. The entire family would mourn tonight.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go buy it!
And feel free to share this post shamelessly across all social media platforms my homies! lol.

Picture today is of a woman dying, and much like in my story, releasing something free, something precious that is flying its way to her eldest son. His legacy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The VA and Surgery

27 MAR 17

Today's post is about my first surgeries ever. I have snored for most of my life and I was referred to a sleep study by the Veteran's Administration (VA) near me (Overton Medical). The Doctor that referred me said surgery may be an option and so did the sleep study Doc. When I got to Dental, the actual doctors that would perform on me listed what they wanted to do. It sounded pretty severe. The most minor of the three surgeries was removal of my uvula. The second was a removal and change up to my septum. They were wanting to peel open my nose, remove the septum, cut it up and use it to make changes to the interior of my nose. The last thing on the schedule was the most drastic-sounding to me: they were going to cut a cubic centimeter chunk of my chin (a piece attached on the backside to my tongue) and move it and my tongue forward a few millimeters. All three surgeries together should stop all snoring forever!


Surgery took hours longer than they thought, but when all was said and done, everything went all right. I was even able to go home the same day. It is pretty amazing that the only stitches to be seen on the outside were on the underside of my nose. Everything else was done inside my body.

This is me at the hospital in recovery. I was the first one in for surgery that day and the last one to leave.

Nobody told me I would peeing so much after surgery! Every hour on the hour for forever!
The pain medicine also did a number on me. Made me constipated, itchy all over and gave me nausea.

This is me ready to leave the hospital. Well, maybe not quite ready. lol

And this is me after a day at home.

I have bandages over my nose and chin. The only stitches are on the underside of my nose. Swelling of my nose and chin as well. Stints up each nostril that will come out tomorrow. One thing you don't see in the pictures is the bruising in and under my chin.

The docs did a good measure of he level of pain meds I would need, but I encountered a lot of side affects. The itchiness, constipation, and wooziness were big obstacles. I was definitely in enough pain to take the medicine though. Over the week I tried various times to pace out the meds, but ended up on Sunday (surgery was on Monday) switching to taking a half dosage for each time.  That left me hurting, but I could think a little more.

I'm not looking forward to teaching tomorrow, but we will see. I have a relatively easy day, hoping I can do it! Then appointment in the afternoon to get the stints out and then should be done!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Roots of Magic

18 MAR 17
If magic were to exist, ever since mankind has been around or even earlier, what would it look like? What shape would it take? I pondered this question as I rewrote a section of a story today. To me the beginning of magics might start with cavemen hunching away from the winds and the rains, shaking when the lightning and thunder come a calling. Maybe they call out to an ancestor who was strong and brave against the elements. Maybe they make a gesture at random and the rain lessons somewhat.
But let's go back even further. Let's talk about dolphins, sharks and trees.
Dolphins are smart, no reason to fudge around about that fact. And life started in the sea. So magic use probably started with them. If ancient man could figure it out, we could assume that dolphins could too. Sea magic. Dolphin magicians. The power of tides and currents. How would they conjure? By waving their fins? Swimming in certain patterns? What would magic-using dolphins do to the world? Fish calls for meals? Would dolphins swim through the air, using magic to explore the 'upper waters' as they might call the atmosphere? I can see that, a school of dolphin mages swimming through some clouds, looking down at the cavemen on the ground. Would dolphins use magic to protect themselves from sharks? Would sharks use magic? How about trees? They've been around a lot longer than man as well.
So many questions. Lots of story ideas in there.

Picture: I don't know why the guy in the pic is using a tome, maybe he stole it from a land-dweller. But yeah, sea-magic, ocean-magic, water-magic.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Life is Beautiful Grazie and Danke

08 MAR 17

First off, a big shout out to everyone around the world who is reading my blog! Nearly a dozen other countries are showing up in the stats! Thank you! Danke, Grazie! Domo Arigato! Hm, I don't know how to say thank you in the other languages!

No matter what subject I teach or where I am teaching, I always try to slip in the movie Life is Beautiful sometime during the year. If you've seen it, let me know in the comments what it is about the movie that affects you so, good and bad. I wish I knew enough Italian to enjoy the movie in the original language. I know enough to be able to watch it in Italian with English subtitles and follow it all right.
The reason I mention the movie is because I had a pretty cool thing happen in class a few weeks after we watched it. My students were quietly working away at an assignment and one of them sneezed. Normally this elicits several "Bless You's" from other students and a "Thank You" in response from the sneezer.
Today however the student who sneezed said, "Grazie," like Joseph, the son in the movie. Then someone in class whispered, "Danke. You're supposed to say Danke." And a few of the students nodded and smiled. It was kind of a touching moment. Right then I knew that the movie had become something personal to them, something that they would remember for many years.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, go see it! I'll wait right here. It's a holocaust movie, so if that isn't your cup of tea, well, you should see it anyway. It's a great movie.

There is a pivotal moment where the young son Joseph (who is an Italian Jew) is eating with a bunch of German children. He is pretending to be a German and getting a good meal, his first in a long time. But when he is served dessert his manners come to the fore and he says 'Grazie' which is 'thank you' in Italian. Oh no! But he is pretending to be German! He should have said Danke! The German waiter knows something is wrong and goes to get someone to haul this impostor child away. The father, Guido, is nearby, serving food as well and has a few moments in which to think of some way to save his son's life.
When we watched the movie earlier in the year, I timed the day's viewing to stop right at the moment when Guido is trying to figure out how to save his son. Many students complained! I gave them the homework assignment of putting themselves in Guido's shoes and try to figure out how to save the son. But what was really amazing was the next day I had several students come to me and say they couldn't wait till class and they watched the movie online. That's when you know you have their attention! I even had one student cry at the end of the movie, she was so emotional. The movie really stuck with them.
Again, if you haven't seen it, go see it! Let me know what you think, good or bad. The first half of the movie is a little silly, the second half more serious. I have a few favorite scenes. Go ahead in the comments and let me know what your favorite scene is.

Two pictures for today, both from one of my favorite moments in the film:
 "First prize is a tank!"

"These guys get to play the part of the mean guards who yell all the time!"

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Guest Post over at Our Write Side

04 MAR 17: The good folks over at Our Write Side were kind enough to ask for a guest post on the writing process.  I gave it some due thought and the whole shebang is posted over on their site:

My post over at Our Write Side

It's about how I write short stories. I am actually going to write the tale detailed in the article. It is indeed one that is in the hopper for development. It was pretty cool to do the whole 'how do I get from point A to point B' when writing something.

Picture for today, a beautiful elephant. Will he turn into a story? Who knows what the future may hold.