Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Tardigrade

One of my most favorite creatures, if not the most favorite, has to be the adorable and fascinating Tardigrade; also called a Water Bear.

Or, as it’s also known by, the Moss Piglet; due to the fact they are found in moss. Obviously.

So what in the world am I talking about?  Well, I’ll tell ya.

Say hello to Mr. Water Bear!

Moss Piglet

 

Here’s a short video to tell you more about these awesome little dudes:

See what I mean? These squishy little guys are awesome! How can you not love Tardigrades? And, yes, I know I keep capitalizing the names, but these fellas are the superheros of the animal kingdom! So why not?

Want more Tardigrade facts? Then click here.

 

Advertisements

My Inspiration: The Early Years

All good stories begin with a great beginning. With that said, in reference to life, I don’t see why mine (and yours) should be any different. So, how should we begin?

Well, let’s see. Ah, yes. Of course! Let’s start with one of my favorite beginnings: “Once upon a time…”

…a young boy was attending school without any expectations of something extraordinary. Life for him wasn’t as fortunate as it was for other kids. But, at the time, life for him was anything but unfortunate.

The boy had something that most of the kids at his school didn’t have; fantastic worlds at his disposal. His imagination had erupted a few years before, and in the safety and seclusion of his home, he was free to explore them at will.

And explore…he did.

I was blessed with a father who would tell stories and play pretend; thus fueling my imagination. Everywhere I looked, anywhere I was, I saw things much differently than those around me.

My favorite school years were, hands down, the years I spent at my elementary school. The school was kindergarten through the fifth grade. And little did I realize at the time just how much of an impact the school, primarily the teachers I sat under, would have on me for the rest of my life.

It was in the second grade when a remarkable thing happened. My teacher, Mrs. Rector, walked us down to the library at the beginning of the book fair that was going on. I always anticipated the book fairs, but I never quite understood why.

Upon walking into the library, my most favorite place in the world at the time, I excitedly looked over the rows of books in a state of pure awe and wonder. And then, sitting on one of the lower racks, I saw it. The single book that changed my life:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Of all the books on the shelves, that one book kept drawing my The Book That Changed My Lifeattention. In fact, I dare say, it was the only book I could see! But there was a problem. I had no money to buy it.

When we got back to the classroom, Mrs. Rector had us write a letter to some one (I don’t remember to whom the letters were going to be sent to) and tell that person what book(s) we liked and wanted at the book fair.

It’s no surprise what book I wrote about. But I took it further. I described how my parents were poor and didn’t have money to spare to buy the book with.

Later that week we received our replies.

I opened my letter and out fell some cash money! My classmates were jealous. And I really didn’t know how to feel about it myself. But instead of running to the library like a crazy person and buy my book I took the money home and hid it between the mattress and box springs.

I figured my parents could use the money and was hiding until I could figure out how to surprise them with it without getting into trouble on the thought that I had stole it.

The next day, I was back in the library with a heavy heart. I watched the other kids buying up books and bookmarks and I used every ounce of willpower I had to hold back my tears. As I was in school, sitting in my Union Mission bought clothes thinking about the book, my mother was changing the sheets on my bed back home.

Later that day, she sat me on the bed and, producing the money, asked me why I had the money hid away. So, I told her everything.

She told me that the money was mine; that I could do with it whatever I wanted. And so the next day, with money in my pocket and glee in my heart, I went to school. I was a man on a mission!

I guess I had an angel looking after me because that day was Friday-and also the last day of the book fair. Being such, we walked to the library one last time for one last chance to purchase something.

My happy butt made a bee line to the paperback and immediately bought it. The funny thing was, I didn’t even know what it was about! And when I did read it, admiring the pencil illustrations and the witty characters, I noticed that Charlie Bucket was, in essence, ME!

I saw my life on paper that was written long before I was even born.

My mind was blown!

I still have that book to this day. It’s one of my most cherished physical possessions. Around this same time, I wrote my first book. I took a spiral notebook and wrote a story about a blue bird catching a worm. I then used the yellow divider pages as the covers.

I illustrated the cover and pages within the book and colored the pictures in with crayons. I stapled the pages together and even had the sense to copyright it! I still have this book, too.

In the third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Hook, read books to the class. Such titles included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass ElevatorCharlotte’s WebJames and the Giant PeachBunnicula, and others.

Needless to say, I was starting to see my life’s purpose before me. In the fifth grade, my reading teacher, Mrs. Hopper, was going to be the first to put this theory to the test; writing stories to read to the class. And I did so with purpose. Fortunately, they always seemed to go over well.

In closing, I think the world for those who have inspired me to write. I may never become the next Charles Dickens or Lewis Carroll, but if I can give my readers something that will bring a smile to their face or take them from this world to some fantastic place, even for a moment, no matter how brief, then I will have done my job.

To all of my fans… Thank you! To each and every one of you, thank you for your readership!

Don’t Believe “You’re Not good Enough”

You SUCK!

It has always been your dream to be a published author. But there is something holding you back: The belief that you aren’t good enough. You want to know what that is? I’ll tell ya…

It’s a LIE!

It is my belief that everyone has a story to tell. And I know I am repeating myself when I say that, but it’s the truth. Authors, novice and seasoned, are publishing books everyday.

So I’m wondering… Why shouldn’t you?

Let’s look at some non-in depth reasons that keep people from accomplishing their dream of publishing that book.

1. You don’t know where or how to start.

Let’s say you have this idea for the next big thing. You know what you want to say but aren’t sure how to begin. You don’t know anything about writing a book or the publishing process.

Well, I have some really good news for you! The internet is FULL of resources to help you along the way. There’s tons of stuff that I don’t know about. And I can tell you the internet is my best friend to get to the answers I am looking for.

With that said, however, there is no way I could give you a list of places to turn to for help, but I will give you a push in the right direction!

The Writer’s Market is probably the holy grail for authors. Think of it as the 101 class for beginning authors and the literary bible for writers in general.

I’d also suggest looking into writing forums. Get involved. Ask questions. The folks in these groups are more than happy to answer your questions and give you their opinions on whatever you have in mind.

READ!!! AND READ A LOT!!!

Read Everything

Reading will help give you insight on how a story is constructed. Sure, there’s the technical stuff like the setting, plot, character development, grammar usage, and so on.

By reading you can get the feel of how a story should flow and what it should look like.

Writer’s Digest would be another valuable source for info. They are all the time holding classes and writing competitions. I think it would worth your time to look into.

2. Unveiling the mysteries of publishing.

Publishing a book is an art form in and of itself. Today, you have two options: traditional publishing and self publishing.

I won’t get into great detail about either, but here’s the basic low down:

The road to traditional publishing is a tedious one. If you’re looking to go with this method, I’d suggest using the Writer’s Market to find a publisher that deals with the type of material you have.

More than likely, the publisher won’t even look at your manuscript unless you have an agent, but this isn’t always true. Not in the least bit! And there are books for finding and submitting to agents, so stop looking at that trash can.

When submitting to an agent (or to a publisher, magazine, whatever), you’re going to need to write a querie letter and a cover letter.

If you’re manuscript is accepted to be published, which is sad to say the odds are stacked against you, then you’re in for a very long wait. There’s contract negotiations, editing, cover designs, and more that’s going to cause you nothing else than a big headache.

Personally speaking, I don’t do stress and drama and I also like having control of my work. Which is why I take the other route: self publishing.

Self publishing, in my opinion, is a lot of fun. Now don’t get me wrong! It’s a lot of work, too! The general consensus is that self publishing a book is about 30% writing and 70% marketing.

Unlike the traditional method, where the marketing is done for you (for an allotted amount of time), self publishing is ALL on you! This is to say that the success or failure of your book, no matter how great or small, is determined on how well you spread the word.

Also unlike the traditional method of publishing, you will need to edit your own work. Fortunately, there are programs yo help you with this. You can use a free software like Pro Writing Aid, but I would advise you study on word usage and punctuation before submitting your book to go live.

I’m no English major by a long shot. But that’s not going to stop me from getting my work into the hands of the public. And it shouldn’t stop you either!

With self publishing, you have total control of everything. From the book design to how much you want to charge for your book. And, OH! Let me say a quick word or two on covers and pricing…

As for designing a book cover you can do it yourself, but I’d suggest you have a background in graphic design. No one wants a cover that looks like your eight year old colored.

You can hire some one to create a cover for you or you can do a search for premade book covers. Most of these look really good. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. Just be sure to read the fine print before purchasing anything.

Pricing is always a question that many people are very insecure about. Don’t fret. It’s just really a matter of personal interest and common sense.

For example, I wouldn’t want to write a full length novel and sell it on Kindle for .99 cents. Nor would I sell a novella for the their (lowest) max royalty price of $2.99.

What you decide to sell your book/E-book (and you can do BOTH!) can be based on several factors. I would say to get an idea for whatever type of book you have to go to Amazon and compare your work to the work of others.

In doing so, you can get not just an idea of how to price your book, but cover designs of other books in your genre. Indie authors like doing this to see how they can get their book to stand out from the crowd.

Another thing you need to do is to know how to format your work. To do so you will need to figure out which platform you want to publish with. And there are several choices out there. The biggest names are Amazon’s KDP, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble’s Nook – to name a few.

3. My stories SUCK!!! :C

Aw, yeah? So somewhere, at some point, some one gave you some negative feedback? Ha! JOIN THE CROWD!!!

As a writer, you will need to learn to take the good with the bad. Artists of every form of media has to develop a tough skin. Let’s face it! Everyone’s a critic. And the world is filled with them!

I’m sure that a bunch of those folks that said you’re writing wasn’t any good is probably jealous that you have done something they can’t. Little do they know they could. Just don’t let those people get to you.

It’s a great feeling seeing your work published. There’s something so internally gratifying to it (and, for me, the process) that it’s difficult to put into words.

But first thing’s first. You need to WRITE! And start writing now. Today! Devote some time each day to write something. Use the resources I’ve given you to head you in the right direction.

It may take days, weeks, or even months, but before you know it, you’re going to be a published author! Believe in yourself, and soon your dream will become a reality! So stop worrying!

YOU GOT THIS!!! 

I Got This!

 

What Is Your Daily Exposure Level To Radiation?

Have you ever wondered how much radiation poisoning you may be receiving from everyday things like cell phones and microwaves?

Well, here is a nifty chart I came across to help answer your questions.

We writers like researching all sorts of things for our books, and cool little pieces of information like this can be handy.

But, even if I wasn’t a writer, I’d still find this interesting!

For a larger view, click the image to open in a new window or tab. Then click the image again to blow it up. Enjoy!

 

daily radiation levels

 

 

Click here to view sources.

150 Of The Least Used Words Index

Word Index

 

I got to thinking about what words in the English language we (Americans) probably use the least. So, with curiosity running rampant, I browsed the web and compiled an index of sorts.

The words I chose to list just sounded interesting. Words including, but not limited to, borrowed words, silly words, and even the longest word in the dictionary! As far as I know they are all spelled correctly.

Sadly, I must leave the defining to you due to  lack of time. You can easily define any word by copying the word, going to Google.com, and type “define” (without the quotation marks) and pasting the word.

Here is the list (in alphabetical order):

A

  • Abdicate
  • Absquatulate
  • Absterse
  • Aglet
  • Agog
  • Akimbo
  • Alsike
  • Anachronistic
  • Antediluvian
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism
  • Askance
  • Atrabilious
  • Aquabib

B

  • Bailiwick
  • Bourgeoisie
  • Brummagem
  • Brusque

 

C

  • Cacomistle
  • Capitulate
  • Castigated
  • Chaulmoogra
  • Chersonese
  • Chthonic
  • Concupiscence

 

D

  • Dagnabit
  • Dasyure
  • Defenestrate
  • Deleterious
  • Demagogue
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid
  • Diaphanous
  • Didapper
  • Discombobulate
  • Draconian
  • Duvetyn

 

E

  • Effulgent
  • Enervating
  • Ephemeral
  • Evanescent
  • Evert
  • Extenuating

 

F

  • Floccinaucinihilipilification
  • Florid
  • Forbearance
  • Fortitude
  • Fortuitous
  • Fraught
  • Fulsome
  • Futhorc
  • Fylfot

 

G

  • Garrulous
  • Genipap
  • Gimcrack
  • Glub
  • Gorgonize

 

H

  • Harpy
  • Hebetude
  • Higgledy-Piggledy
  • Hitherto
  • Hornswoggle
  • Hypergraphia

 

I

  • Iconoclast
  • Ignominious
  • Imbroglio
  • Impetuous
  • Inimical
  • Intelligentsia
  • Invidious

 

J

  • Jejune
  • Jingoism
  • Jubilation

 

K

  • Kalian
  • Kismet
  • Klockemupterhagerbad

 

L

  • Leitmotif
  • Limn
  • Loquacious
  • Lubricious
  • Lunula

 

M

  • Maladroit
  • Marplot
  • Maven
  • Meliorism
  • Mephitic
  • Mulct

 

N

  • Nacreous
  • Ne’er-Do-Well
  • Numinous

 

O

  • Obambulate
  • Obfucscate
  • Obsequious
  • Onomatopoetic
  • Orator
  • Ossify
  • Ostentatious
  • Overweening

 

P

  • Paroxysm
  • Pellucidity
  • Penurious
  • Penury
  • Perfidious
  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
  • Procrustean
  • Pulchritudes
  • Pyknic

 

Q

  • Quaff
  • Querulous
  • Quidnunc
  • Quisling
  • Quixotic

 

R

  • Rancorous
  • Recidivist
  • Recrudescence
  • Refulgent
  • Ribald
  • Rumpus

 

S

  • Sagacity
  • Schadenfreude
  • Sesquipedalianism
  • Shibboleth
  • Sibilance
  • Simoom
  • Skullduggery
  • Smaragd
  • Spurious
  • Squamous
  • Stentorian
  • Stibnite
  • Superfluous
  • Surreptitious

 

T

  • Tatterdemalion
  • Tergiversate
  • Tintinnabulation
  • Tout De Suite
  • Transmogrify
  • Troglodyte
  • Twee

 

U

  • Ugsome
  • Unctuous
  • Uxorious

 

V

  • Vacuous
  • Verisimilitude
  • Vituperation
  • Vociferous
  • Voluble
  • Vulpine

 

W

  • Weltschmerz
  • Witenagemot
  • Woolgathering

 

X

  • X-irradiation

 

Y

  • Yataghan
  • Yclept
  • Yogh

 

Z

  • Zaftig

 

Hope you enjoyed the list! Be sure to comment below and let me know how you liked it!

 

SOURCES: You can find the listed words at wayne.edublog.dictionary.com, and merriam-webster.com.