Putting my money where my mouth is…

As some of you may already know, I’m a teacher in an urban school district. For those of you who *didn’t* know, I teach life science and am the faculty sponsor for the school’s Anime, Writing, Sci Fi and Gaming club.

I’ve occasionally griped here and elsewhere about the lack of supplies and support. Since I’ve arrived, the school hasn’t gotten any new science supplies. The students do labs with whatever I can scrape together or buy myself. Many of them are quite bright, and recycling materials is great Environmental Science practice, but there are some labs you can’t do without at least a few supplies and imagining the lab from my description only stretches so far. Since it started, the club hasn’t had a budget *nor* have their fundraising activities been approved. I volunteer my time and the kids bring in whatever they can, which is usually ‘not much’. They’d like to make things like club trips to conventions happen, but without at least a little money that’s flat impossible.

Despite what some folks would have you believe, teaching is not a lucrative profession. After paying my bills, I have a pretty small discretionary allowance each month, most of which winds up in my classroom anyhow, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the roughly three thousand a year required to keep a high school laboratory stocked. I can just about afford cleaning supplies *or* one hands-on lab every other month.

SO…

This is where I’m asking for your help. For one year (to start), I’m putting one half of all the money I earn from writing into my classroom, split evenly between stocking my lab and supporting the club. If you’ve got a dollar or two and like SteamPunk, I’ve got one here and one here (print edition of that one is included in this anthology). If you’re into Urban Fantasy, my books are here, here, and here.

Even if you don’t have a thin dime to spend, you can still help me help my students. I’ve got a pair of *free* serials at Juke Pop Serials; the more votes I get, the more I get paid each month. If you have a few minutes, go here and vote. You can actually vote once per chapter, so if you’ve got a bit of time you can put in quite a few votes. If you’ve got a few minutes more, the other serial is here. If both of them can get to the ‘top 30’ list, I get a little money each month for each. It’s not much, but every bit helps. Also, this month only, they’re having a big prize for the largest number of votes, so if I can somehow get to the top of the list, I can get enough for a lab from that alone.

Thanks for listening, and for those of you who do help out, thanks in advance for your support!

Posted in Bob Life, Teaching

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Author Maureen O Betita tagged me (quite a while ago, but I won’t tell if you won’t) in a game of blog hopping and chatting about books. According to author Shel Delisle, the idea is “about a lot of authors getting together to share their readers and to help them to find other great authors to read.” We are supposed to answer ten questions about one of our books, or a work in progress, I’ve got… way more projects than I want to admit to in progress, and I’ve already talked about my published works, so for today I’m going to go squarely in the middle and talk about a pair of books that are both In Progress AND Published, because they’re being published in ongoing serial format over at Juke Pop Serials. The books in question are Blank and Blue Bloods. Without further delay, the questions:

1-    What is the working title of your book?

Well, in both cases I’ve got the actual title up there. Blue Bloods and Blank. Of course, the title ‘Blank’ caused some confusion at the publisher. They actually wrote me saying ‘we need a title, but you left it blank’.

2-    Where did the idea come from for the book?

For Blue Bloods, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of normal, everyday people developing powers. It’s not a new concept, but I like it enough to try putting my own spin on it.

For Blank, I’ve been working on the world it’s set in for a while. When someone asked if I had any YA, I truthfully told them ‘no’, but that same night I had a dream about a school ship lost in space. I forgot about it before I wrote it down, and promptly got a screaming migraine. The next night I had the same dream, and remembered to write it down the next day. Thus Blank was born.

3-    What genre does your book fall under?

Blue Bloods is a Superhero story. I’ve been told that’s Contemporary Fantasy, although I’ve far more Science Fiction in my story than pure Fantasy. Call it a Superhero Science Fantasy and be done.

Blank, on the other hand, falls solidly in the Young Adult Space Opera genre.

4-    Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Blank has three main characters, Dustie, Guy, and Tomas. The story centers on Dustie, so she’s the most important casting, but she needs the right Guy and Tomas to work with (sort of how you need the right Luke and Han for Leia).
Dustie – Emma Stone / Christina Hendricks : At one point in the story (haven’t hit it yet) Dustie matures suddenly, but both before and after should be curvy. Additionally, both actresses can act like they don’t think they’re the most attractive woman in the room even if they are.
Guy – Brett Novek : Dustie comments a few times on how attractive Guy is, in an ‘annoyingly distracting’ sort of way, but doesn’t go into too much detail beyond his coloration. Brett doesn’t have the right colors, but he’s got the angular, narrow look I envisioned for Guy.
Tomas – Marc Megna : Tomas is much harder to cast. He’s supposed to be built like a tank, which lead me to guys who have played professional football. It’s difficult to find one of them who doesn’t look a little battered, but Marc fits.

Blue Bloods is an ensemble cast, with lots of important characters.

Drew / Midnight – Angie Harmon. No questions on this one.
Walker – I’d like to go with a young William H Macy, but that’s not really possible now, is it? That said, he’s got the everyman look the part calls for.
Steve / Axeman – Played straight, much though I hate to say it, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. Played for laughs (which he could be), Ben Stiller
Charlie / Kronos / Luminar – Again, age is a factor, but a young Nicholas Cage would do nicely. That said, he doesn’t look his age yet, so he might still work.
Jack / JackHammer – Kurt Russell, as is. Solid, all-American guy with more than a hint of ex military bearing.
Angela / Widget – Claudia Schiffer, but dressed down rather than up.
Jesse / Stretch – Lucy Liu is the only one that comes to mind, although her younger roles, where she had a more rounded look, would work better.
Damien / Angel – Christian Bale, maybe. He’s quiet, with a dark side, but he’s also got a sense of humor, and I’m not sure Bale could do that.
Katrina / Shriek – Maybe Vanessa Hudgens, maybe Mila Kunis, maybe Selena Gomez, but none of them is quite right.

5-    What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Blue Bloods – A group of everyday heroes gains superpowers just in time to deal with a global catastrophe and all the problems which ensue.

Blank – A young woman tries to escape the legacy of her parents, which is only made worse by the memories she carries of theirs.

6-    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Both are currently being presented via Juke Pop Serials. I suppose I may self-publish a compilation at some point, although I wouldn’t be averse to going through a publisher if one were interested.

7-    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Each episode takes from four to eight hours to write the first draft. Since it takes equally long to edit and post, and I’m doing two a week, and this is *after* my eighty-a-week day job, that gets a little hectic.

8-    What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

BlankStarbridge by AC Crispin, or perhaps one of the Honorverse Academy novels.

Blue BloodsSoon I will be Invincible by Austin Grossman

9-    Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Blue Bloods is a story I’ve worked on for a long time. I’ve tried it in different formats, and just thought it was time to tell it all.

Blank, as noted, came from an insistent dream.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Blue Bloods has something for everyone. Action, drama, intrigue, even a little romance here and there. Also, it’s the first super hero story I’ve heard about where feminine hygeine products impact the narrative in any way, which should give you an idea of how far outside the box it wanders.

Blank is, at its heart, a coming of age story. If you’ve liked the Harry Potter novels or Hunger Games, or occasionally thought Bella was a twit, you might like Dustie, a female teenager who is blissfully unaware she’s the focal point of a love triangle, because she’s got too much to do learning who she is.

Okay, my turn to tag some folks… Who shall it be?

How about PJ Schnyder, Dana Marie Bell, Dellani Oakes and (just because I can’t wait to see what she says) Deanna Wadsworth.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing

Outlaw Six Sentence Sunday – Desert Fox 02/17/2013

Sorry about last week – burning the candle along it’s whole length finally caught up with me. For this week, Six more from The Desert Fox and the Iberico Clavel, third installment of Iron Angel!

***

“For me, it appears I must be a martyr to this cause.”

“No!  You can fight!  You must fight!”

Through eyes clouded with tears, Alondra saw Rinaldo smile sadly.

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Outlaw Six Sentence Sunday – Desert Fox 02/03/2013

Here we are, the first week of my outlaw continuation of Six Sentence Sunday. More Desert Fox for y’all!

***

She dropped to her knees, clutching at the rusty old bars of the jail cell.  Tears blinded her.  Rinaldo reached through the bars to lay a hand on her head.

“Sweet Alondra, each of us is given a destiny.  We are also given the strength to meet that destiny, if only we have the courage.  For those who wore the mask of The Fox in the past, that destiny was to risk their lives and honor as champion of the people of this land.”

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Six Sentence Sunday 01/27/2013

So. We’re here at the end of Six Sentence Sunday. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sara for all her hard work. It’s been a hell of a run, but it’s over now.

Officially…

That’s right! I’m going to keep it going, six a week, at least until the opening of Desert Fox is completed. Six Sentence Sunday is dead, long live Six Sentence Sunday!

***

“You will not argue with me, wife.  You pushed me to become the nobleman you wanted.  This is the result.”

Her mouth shut with a snap.  His words lashed at her, feeding her already crushing guilt.  The weight was too much to bear.

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Six Sentence Sunday 01/20/2013

More Desert Fox for you!

***

It had taken Alondra’s most imperious tones to get even this modicum of privacy with her husband.  She wished for the quiet of their bedroom with its understated elegance.  Instead, the adobe walls crumbled when her fingers brushed them, the bars on the windows were a mass of rust.  Must permeated the ever parched air.  She clutched her shawl close about her shoulders and ran a thumb across her wedding band.  One more time she opened her mouth to plead with her husband, but before she could speak Rinaldo cut her off.

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Six Sentence Sunday 01/13/2013

Okay, important question time: Six Sentence Sunday will soon be coming to an end. I’ve still got around six more months of the prologue of Desert Fox if I do it six-at-a-time. Please let me know in the commentswhich you think I should do: continue six-at-a-time, post in larger chunks, or stop posting entirely when SSS ends.

***

“The life of a fox is not a safe one, Señor.  I am The Fox you are looking for.”

The Sheriff sighed. His hand rose to grasp Rinaldo’s shoulder, then dropped back down to his side.  From behind the Sheriff, Alondra heard the coarse voices of Johns’ Fist, his five most trusted henchmen, and knew her poor, naïve Rinaldo had just signed his own death warrant.

***

Alondra stood in the ratty old jail trying not to fidget, trying not to scream.

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Six Sentence Sunday 01/06/2013

Six more from Desert Fox for you!

***

“Of course, Gomez.  The Fox has been the champion of the poor here in California since men of España came to these shores, yes?”

The Sheriff’s brows drew down in confused agreement, “Yes.”

“It is a title, Gomez.  I inherited it from another.”

“Who is this other, Senor Gonzalez.  I would not lose a good man to this…”

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Six Sentence Sunday 12/30/2012

An early Happy New Year to everyone! More Desert Fox for you! Also, I have a request – if you’ve liked these snippets, please go vote for (each chapter Smilie: :-)!) of my JukePop Serials, Blank and Blue Bloods. This is the last day before the yearly tally of votes, and there’s a big prize for the serial with the most votes!

***

“No need for that, my old friend.  For I did not lie, you see.  The Fox has always been the friend of right, and I know you are a good man.  The truth will have its day.”

“But how can that be, Señor?  The Fox has been with us for decades, but you have only just moved here this year!”

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Snippet!

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop Winners!

Okay, ‘tonight’ became ‘tomorrow’ frighteningly fast, but in the midst of holiday preparations, I’ve managed to put all the names in a notional electronic hat and pluck four of them forth via the magics of random numbers!

So… without further ado:

Nancy S and Carla each wins pfefferneuse!

Zina Lynch wins pfefferneuse and a signed copy of Yule Be Mine!

and the winner of the pfefferneuse, Yule Be Mine and ‘punked out Nerf gun is…

*drumroll*

Dee!

Congratulations, everyone! I’ll be contacting you this week to arrange for things to be mailed out! Happy Holidays to every one!

Posted in Uncategorized