Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

A little over a week ago I sent my agent Novel #3, written, edited, and ready for the critical eye of a publisher. Amazon—the publisher of my first two novels—gets the first look. I feel relatively confident that they will like this book and agree to publish it (assuming of course that the terms of the contract are acceptable to my agent and me). But, you never know. Now I wait and bite my fingernails, and think about Novel #4.

A week ago, I had no idea where I was going with my next book—didn’t even have the slightest clue regarding plot or character. You can’t imagine how desperate an author feels when he or she finishes a book and doesn’t know what’s next. One of the most important factors that promotes an author’s success is consistency. Unless you’re a big-name author whose loyal readers will wait 10 years for your next book, up and coming novelists need to produce a book a year if they ever hope to make it as a writer. An author needs to hook his or her audience and keep them hooked.

Frustrated that my creative mind didn’t have the slightest clue where Book #4 would go, I started going through my file drawer and pawed through every folder that had anything at all to do with writing. Among the ruins, I found an outline I’d written years ago. I read it and reread it. Nothing struck me. After the third read, it hit me. Like a 500 hundred piece puzzle taking shape in my mind, it all started coming together. The concept is a bit over the top, but so were my first three novels. So why tread lightly?

My mind exploded with ideas about plot, subplots, characters, relationships, twists and turns. I started making notes like a mad man, terrified that a brilliant idea would escape my memory. I don’t know about other authors, but when an idea unfolds in my mind, it’s like a runaway train without brakes! One idea fosters another that fosters two more. At any moment during the day or night, an idea could flash through my mind and I immediately have to make a note before it vanishes.

So, for the last week, my brain has been racing at warp speed. I’ve got the entire story loosely outlined and I know the sequence of scenes in the beginning and the end. But the middle is still foggy. I know it’ll come to me, yet I feel a pang of fear in the back of my head that maybe, just maybe, the middle of the story will never play out in my brain. Then what? I hear that the local 7-Eleven is hiring for their graveyard shift. How hard can it be to make Slurpees for a living? Hey, wait a minute. Suppose the clerk at 7-Eleven spiked the Slurpees, cleaned out the cash register, beat up his colleague, stole his truck . . .



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Things That Make You Go, “HMM.”

Atheists beware! This post is not for you. Or is it?

Whether you follow professional sports or not, unless you’ve been secluded on a space station 500 miles above Earth, you’ve probably heard about Tim Tebow, starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Not since Joe Namath has there been so much controversy over a quarterback. Of course, Joe Namath was the proverbial bad boy and his notoriety well known. But Tim Tebow is the clean-cut, straight-laced kid with the warm smile; a likeable guy who believes in God and isn’t afraid to exhibit his beliefs.

Statistic wise, he’s ranked well below a half dozen or more other quarterbacks in the NFL. When he has a good game, his performance is extraordinary, and he literally performs miracles. But when he has a bad game, it’s usually pathetically bad. For reasons no one has been able to explain, Tebow Mania is sweeping the nation, and even those who know little about football seem to be fascinated with him and cheering him on.

I’m a huge San Diego Chargers fan. The Denver Broncos are in the same division as the Chargers so we are huge rivals. For as long as I’ve been a Chargers fan—nearly 19 years—I’ve been a Bronco hater. The Chargers didn’t make the playoffs this year so they’ll be watching the Super Bowl on TV just like the rest of us—most of them anyway.

So, when the Chargers were eliminated from a playoff spot, I had to decide which team I would root for in the Super Bowl. If you’re not cheering for someone to win, it makes the whole event rather lackluster. Mostly because of Drew Brees, former Charger quarterback, my first choice was the New Orleans Saints with the Green Bay Packers second by a hair. As far as the Denver Broncos were concerned, I wanted them to be crushed. At least that was my initial reaction. But then something strange happened: I watched Tebow play and was bitten by the same bug that was infecting the rest of the nation. There was something about this kid that just made me want him to win.

After the Broncos beat the Pittsburg Steelers—in classic Tebow style—in sudden death overtime to advance to the next round of the playoffs, the world was just buzzing with Tebow Mania. But there was something even more interesting than the Broncos miracle win.

Many football players apply Eye Black grease under their eyes to reduce glare. During Tebow’s college years, he would write John 3:16 on the Eye Black, referring to his favorite passage in the Bible. In fact, this particular passage is, perhaps, the most widely remembered scripture in the entire Bible. In reviewing the game stats, an astute fan noticed an unbelievable phenomenon. During this game against Pittsburg, Tim Tebow threw passes equaling 316 yards. His average yardage per completed pass was 31.6. And the market share of viewers watching the game in the fourth quarter were—you guessed it—31.6. And here’s the icing on the cake: JOHN Fox is the head coach of the Denver Broncos and JOHN Elway is an Executive VP. Coincidence? I would bet a king’s ramsom that the Las Vegas odds against something like this happening is a gazillion to one.

So what does it all mean? Does God want the Broncos to win the Super Bowl? Has God given Tim Tebow special privileges? Is there a divine message somewhere hidden beneath the hoopla?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

As a Christian myself, I can tell you first hand that this single passage—one sentence, twenty five words—defines the entire foundation of Christianity. Could it be that God is reaching out to us? Millions of people caught up in this controversy, those who otherwise hadn’t a clue about scripture or the Bible, read these profound words for the first time—if for no other reason than curiosity. But they read it. Throughout the Bible, Jesus Christ preaches to all of His followers that we should spread the Good Word. Perhaps God has decided to offer some assistance.

Things that make you go, “Hmm.”


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New Year’s Resolution(s)

So, it’s that time of year once again when we lie to ourselves and make promises and commitments that we know will go by the wayside in a few weeks. Has anyone ever fulfilled a resolution? I wonder. I think that part of the problem is the fact that most people set the mark too high. Instead of resolving to lose 35 pounds, how about 10? Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to the gym 5 days a week. How about 3?

We seem to think that because it’s a new year, we are suddenly blessed with superhuman willpower. Is January 1st really any more significant than August 3rd? We can make resolutions to improve our lives 365 days a year. Why wait for some artificial date?

This year I’m doing something a little different (although I’m sure it’s not original). My resolution is to never make a resolution again for the new year. Instead, when the scale stares at me and laughs hysterically, that’s the day I’ll make a commitment to lose weight. When the alarm clock rings to let me know it’s time to get my butt to the gym and I hit the snooze alarm for the next two hours, that’s the day I’ll drag my ass out of bed.

We should all make resolutions as needed. Right now, I resolve to take a walk to the local CVS drugstore and buy myself a Heath Bar.


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