Friday, November 14, 2014

The Excellence of "E"

In this world of E-mails, E-ticket, E-paper, E-recharge, E-transfer...
Never Forget "E-shwar ( God )" who makes e-verything e-asy for e-veryone e-veryday. 
"E" is the most Eminent letter of the English alphabets.
Men or Women don't exist without "E".
House or Home can't be made without "E".
Bread or Butter can't be found without "E".
"E" is the beginning of "existence" and the end of "trouble."
It's not at all in 'war', but twice in 'peace'.
It's once in 'hell' but twice in 'heaven'.
"E" represented in 'Emotions'.
Hence, all emotional relations like Father, Mother, Brother, Sister,wife & friends have 'e' in them.
"E" also represents 'Effort' & 'Energy'
Hence to be 'Better' from good both "e" 's are added.
Without "e", we would have no love, life , wife , friends or hope.
& 'see', 'hear', 'smell', or 'taste' as 'eye' 'ear', 'nose' & 'tongue' are incomplete without "e".
Hence GO with "E” but without E-GO.*

*This was sent to me in an email. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, September 25, 2014

If You Liked The Iron Giant, You'll Enjoy This Short Film.

I am in no way affiliated with this film. I'm promoting it simply because I think it has huge potential and I'd love to see it on the big screen. As a fan of The Iron Giant movie (released in 1999), which was done in cartoon form and was surprisingly touching, I would be very interested in seeing something similar done with real actors. So would my 11-year-old son, of course!

From the website:  E N V O Y is a science fiction, action adventure, short film to be used as a proof concept for a larger full-length motion picture. It is the story of a troubled young boy who befriends a deadly alien creature, and embarks on a life changing journey...Director DAVID WEINSTEIN and Visual Effects Supervisor ADAM COGGIN.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When A Rescue Dog Becomes the Rescuer

I love this true story about a rescue dog who becomes the rescuer!

Way to go Norman!

If you're considering getting a dog or cat, remember the thousands of wonderful animals just like Norman waiting for forever homes! 

After our hilarious lab/mix died of cancer earlier in the year, we were heartbroken. The house just wasn't the same. We needed another dog as much as some dog out there needed us. Rigby came to us through a shelter in Bowling Green after I found his picture and description online through Petfinder. He's a two-year-old lab mix.  He might not be a pure breed, but he's a pure sweetie.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Writing An Effective Opening Paragraph: An Analysis of The Hunger Games

C. D. Verhoff

Writer, Teacher, Blogger

This is a follow-up to my article, Common Newbie Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

If you recall, I wrote about the all-important opening scene and some of the associated cliches, including the overused ‘Wake Up Scene’. This is when the novel begins with the protagonist waking up, usually stretching and groaning. Some versions of the 'Wake Up Scene' feature the protagonist throwing the alarm clock or struggling to remember last night's events. Just as often you will find him or her shuffling off to a mirror, which is the inexperienced author's favorite way to work in the character's physical description. If a novel opens with any of these elements or a combination thereof, it’s probably the work of a new writer. There are always exceptions, of course, which brings me to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 

This dystopian tale begins with the proverbial 'Wake Up Scene', but it works beautifully. Happy accident? Not a chance. Collins knows the rules of the writing fiction and usually follows them. When she breaks them it's a carefully thought-out and deliberate decision.

Before I explain why the ‘Wake Up Scene’ works so well in The Hunger Games, let's look at at the duties of an effective opening paragraph. 

The opening paragraph should: 

1)  establish the mood and setting; 

2)  introduce the main character; 
3)  build empathy or make the protagonist interesting; 
4)  give the protagonist a problem to overcome.

If the first paragraph is set up with these four essentials, your readers will care about the main character and want to see how he or she conquers the problem at hand. In their eagerness to find out more about the main character and her situation, they will keep turning the pages until there is nothing left to turn. So finally, let’s examine the opening paragraph of The Hunger Games

The story is told from the point-of-view of Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the novel. Below is the first paragraph of chapter one:

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

This opening paragraph is deceptively simple. As we dissect it line-by-line, you'll quickly realize that this isn't just a random 'Wake Up Scene' the author pulled out of a hat; it's a carefully crafted beginning to an extraordinary story.

Line 1: When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. Not the greatest line ever, but combined with the rest of the paragraph it's diligently working at building character and setting. When the main character notes that the other side of the bed is cold, the reader knows that someone who brings warmth to her life is missing.

Line 2: My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim's warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattressIn this one ordinary gesture of having Katniss reach out for her sister, the author has done an amazing amount of character and world-building. For instance, the close bond between the sisters is instantly revealed. The way the protagonist is drawn to her sister's warmth shows her vulnerability and the need to connect with another human being. At this point, readers are already feeling a connection with Katniss, even if they don't realize it.

As the story rolls along, we will see that life has already hardened Katniss around the edges. She can be a cold fish at times, but not when it comes to Prim. Little sister is the one ray of warmth in her cold and dreary life. Prim physically relies on Katniss’s survival skills, while Katniss relies on Prim at an even deeper level. Prim is the emotional anchor of the family—Katniss's reason for living.  

This same line also give important clues about the setting. The fact that Katniss shares a bed with her sister hints that the Everdeens are impoverished. We already know the house is cold, so there’s another clue. The cover of the mattress isn’t cotton or linen—but canvas—and it's rough. That’s not exactly living in luxury. By line two of the book, the reader comes to understand the family's depressed economic state.

Line 3: She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. The small sentence does double time by adding vital information about the setting and the conflict. When Prim climbs into bed with mother, but no father is mentioned, it begs the question...where is he? The father's absence is a stark mystery. At the same time, it establishes another piece of the settingKatniss lives in a household headed by a single mother. Then there is the bad dream, indicating that Prim is afraid and trouble is afoot. The reader wants to know what has poor Prim so upset. The mood of the paragraph invokes a sense of fear and anxiety, which leads us closer to the conflict.

Line 4: Of course, she did. This simple line emphasizes that the bad dreams are not simply the product of a young girl's overactive imagination. Katniss herself seems to agree that the bad dreams are warranted. Oh my, the reader wonders, what terrible thing has everyone so worried?

Line 5: This is the day of the reaping. Bam. Collins smacks us in the head with the conflict. At this point, we don't know exactly what “the reaping” entails, but that doesn't matter. Prim's dreams indicate that the reaping is a bad thing and it's going to happen today. 

Did you feel your empathy growing with every sentence? I know, I did. When I read the Hunger Games for the first time, at this point I was thinking, “I must find out more about the reaping and why the Everdeens fear it!” 

In other words, I was hooked. Helplessly compelled to turn the next page and I kept turning the pages deep into the night. When I got to the end, I didn’t want the book to be over. That's because Collins knows how to manipulate readers in a good way. This is why she can get away with starting a novel with a 'Wake Up Scene', whereas most newbie writers shouldn’t even attempt it. It’s a marvel how she imparted so much information in a mere five sentences. 

Notice how Collins plays by the rules most of the time. Her first paragraph includes all of the four essentials, but it's done within the confines of a verboten 'Wake Up Scene'. Yet, it works like a charm. My point is that there are no rules, just guidelines, deviate from them at your own risk. As writers, breaking from the mold should be an intentional choice, not a mistake born out of ignorance. If you understand that 'Wake Up Scenes' are generally a bad idea, but remain convinced that your character waking up makes for a killer hook, then by all means go for it.  

Purchase The Hunger Games Here

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Zombie Dad

A zombie has just bitten your arm, but you haven't turned yet. You are stranded in the middle of nowhere with your infant daughter. What would you do?  I love this video's take on it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Old People Humor

You don't have to be a certain age to appreciate "old people" humor. My sister sent this to me, made me laugh, so I thought I'd share. 


I very quietly confided to my best friend that I was having an affair.
She turned to me and asked, “Are you having it catered?”
And that, my friend, is the definition of "OLD".


Just before the funeral services, the undertaker comes up to the very elderly widow and asks, “how old was your husband?”
“99,” she says. “One year older than me.”
“So you’re 98?” the undertaker comments.
“Yep,” she responds. “Hardly worth going home, is it?”


A reporter is interviewing a 104-year-old woman.
“And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” he asks.
“No peer pressure,” she replies.


I’ve sure gotten old!
I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees, fought prostrate cancer and diabetes.
I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.
Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92. Have lost all of my friends.
But, thank God, I still have my Florida driver’s license.


I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.
I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.
But, by the time I got my leotards on the class was over.


An elder woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests.
First, she wanted to be cremated.
Second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wal-Mart.
“Wal-Mart?’ the preacher exclaimed. “Why?”
“Then I’ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.”


My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.


Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat until the wrinkles fill out.


It’s scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker.


These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, “For fast relief.”



Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.


Now, I think you’re supposed to share this with 5 or 6, maybe 10 others.
Oh, heck, give it to a bunch of your friends if you can remember who they are!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Stole These 10 Blog Post Ideas

The owner invited me to steal his list, so actually it's a gift. This was originally posted on Bryan Hutchinson's inspiring blog. I encourage you to visit: Positive Writer, Create Works That Matter

Friday, March 21, 2014

Emerge from the Promised Land

It took me a while to realize that I didn't put enough thought into the original title of my book, Promised Land. In hindsight, there's a bazillion other books by the same name, not to mention movies and religious articles. After careful consideration, I decided to change the title to 
Emerge. I like how it reflects how humanity 'emerges' in so many different ways throughout the book. Drum roll, please. Here's the new cover:

The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes, forcing them to the surface centuries ahead of schedule. What they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits, Lars and Josie, work together to unravel the mystery.

"Emerge is my favorite fantasy book of the year, but I didn't fully appreciate the thought that went into it until I read the entire series. The books are brilliantly connected, yet manage to have individual self-contained plots, leaving a very satisfying feeling. The characters seem so realistic, even when they're doing fantastical things. I can't get enough of these Galatians and the new earth they live in."  - Andrea G. from Chicago, IL  

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Hunt for the Blood Map is On!

Seeker of the Four Winds

(Book Two of the Galatia Series) 

Follow the last survivors of the human race as their adventures on a radically altered earth continue. Led by an alien artifact called the Seeker of the Four Winds -- Josie and the Red Squad are on a mission to prevent the annihilation of their people. But with a demented warlock on the loose, growing political unrest back at home and a hostile army gathering on the horizon, will their be anything left to save when they return?

Intended for mature audiences only.

For sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Diesel and other online retailers. 

Get THE WISH THIEF for a steal!

I'm offering you my personal favorite for a steal. Just  $2.99 (Reg. $4.99) for the holidays. Click here to go to Amazon page. ...