Best Defense

I have a not-so-well-kept secret.  At times my mood tends to turn dark and everything I look at is pointless.  For a while I thought I might be bipolar, but eventually I came to realize that I was just one of many people that feel that way I think they call themselves writers).  I’m never really sure what triggers it.  Everything is going along fine, and suddenly the good ship lollipop begins to sink into the mire and the rainclouds of doom and gloom move in.  Over the years I have learned to recognize when I am descending into the ‘valley’ between the waves.  If I actively look at all the positive things going on , I may not be able to stop it, but I can at least lessen the grip of despair that use to envelope me.  I don’t always succeed, and I would like to give each one of my family a medal for putting up with me during those times.  Times when they stand in front of the waves of despair bracing themselves behind shields of positive comments, and generous actions forcing a way through those storms to keep me from drowning.  They really have no idea how much they bolster my confidence, how much they help me through the darkness.  They are my best defense against the depressions of life.  They are invaluable to me.  If you know somebody that suffers these bouts, maybe you can remember this post and it will help you understand.  Maybe you can be their invaluable friend or family member.  Maybe you can be their best defense

Is Horror What We Want?

I had a discussion with my eldest son the other day. Someone had asked me if I wanted to submit a story to one of their anthologies. Usually I am pretty open to submitting my work to all different kinds of publishers, but this particular genre was horror. “It is hard to convey a good message of faith in a horror story,” my son said. I have to disagree. People are placed in terrible situations every day, and usually it is these exact circumstances that make their moral fortitude shine through. It is really easy to put good people in bad situations in stories because the good guy is always trying to help in those situations. So yes, I think you can really convey good morals through the horror genre. That being said, I don’t think there are a lot of writers trying to. Most of them take you to a place you don’t want to be, make you consider things you probably rarely think about, and then LEAVE you there. I guess that’s why I have a little trepidation over writing in that particular genre. I don’t like leaving my readers like that. I want my readers to come away from my stories thinking, but I want them be thinking about how good a certain character acted or reacted. I grew up wanting to be those heroes in the stories, and that’s what I want my readers to want. I haven’t decided on whether or not I am going to submit yet. Only because I am not sure if I can pull off a horror story that leaves my reader in a place I don’t mind leaving them, but I will be sure and let you all know if I do. Then you can be the judge.

Warning Cry

I haven’t written poetry in a long time. I think it has been about 15 years, give or take a few, but as I have scanned headlines, and read articles of current events I have felt the words swelling in my heart. So I wrote a new poem for this great country that I love so dearly, and I pass it on to you, my readers, all the while hoping against hope that disaster can be averted. Fearing at the same time that the crystal goblet has already tumbled from our hands and all we can do is watch and wait for it to shatter as it strikes the floor. It is with great sadness that I give you my latest work.

Warning Cry

A cold wind blows across the land,
And devastation follows close at hand.
A once great nation creaks and groans,
as politicians gnaw her bones.
The spring and summer of her years,
Have faded into a fall of tears.
In memory we cried together,
Our enemies in fear were tethered.
Laws we made with honest seals,
Are now corrupted by shady deals.
Arrogant leaders spite the people,
Pointing fingers at church steeples.
They stir up hate and malcontent,
To hide a corrupted government.
With gilded lies they promise vapors,
With plans that only work on paper.
A wink and a nod is all you will see,
While being forced to bend your knee,
To a new world order of poverty,
Where freedom is a bittersweet memory.
For after fall the winter comes,
Revealing hidden ledger sums.
As we start to feel the cold,
Our liberties have already been sold.
Rusty hinges and brittle gates,
Are all that shield our beloved states.
And as the Eagle fights the Raven,
Our epitaph is being graven,
By the petty thieves that we elect,
That lied and promised to protect.
Even if we turn today,
How much of our heritage is left to save?
So with a hollow heart on a bended knee,
I humbly pray for our country.
God turn us from our paths of sin
And bless our country once again.

Update

Just to let my followers know (yes, both of you), I am on vacation this week so I will not be posting my regular blog. I will be back next week though! For those of you who like my writing, I just finished the first draft of my newest book. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements. I hope to have it out soon!

It’s Never Bad To Do Good

Has anybody ever seen the movie “The Langoliers”? It was based off of Stephen King’s story. It was about these people in an airplane that slip sideways in time to yesterday, only to find out that yesterday was being ‘erased’ by these creatures. The premise of the story was that there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, there is only today. Time was just ‘now’ and all that happened in the past and all that was yet to happen didn’t exist. I don’t agree with the story on that point, but I do try to live like that. The Bible clearly states that we are not promised tomorrow (Proverbs 27-and to clarify the verse refers to tomorrow in these earthly mortal frames that we inhabit). Life is a fleeting thing, and we need to do all the good that we can while we are here. There is more than enough evil and sorrow in this fallen world, we need to stand fast and be bold in helping our neighbors. Tomorrow we may be gone and it may be our neighbors who are left to save those of our loved ones that come along after us. Just one act of kindness could mean the difference between a strong, joyful life and one lived in darkness and despair. It is never a bad thing to do good.

My Life Story

For those of you who do not know, I am an author. I love stories in whatever format they may come in. Movies, plays, audio books, paperback books, e-books. You name it, I like it. I like to think of life as one big story that God is spinning out. He sets the stage and works the cameras, and cues all of the extras. He does all of it that we, as the hero/heroine of the story do not see. The behind the scenes stuff that goes into the making of an epic tale. There are times in my life when I doubt myself. I second guess what I’m doing and yes, (Heaven Forbid!) I even question why He has me taking certain paths. When I come to those times in my own story I sometimes stumble. Then I think to myself “If I don’t do anything, how good of a story is that going to make my life?” I won’t God to use my life to tell the greatest tale it can be. So when I have those doubts and questions, I say a silent prayer and ask Him to guide my actions, and then forge ahead. I may not always choose the best course, but at least I am writing my story. How well are you writing yours?

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Well, I finally got roped into it. This week’s post is part of a blog tour, thanks to my friend, Kathryn Lang. She asked me to write this blog to let people know a little bit more about me and my writing. The funny thing is, she is asking me to share a little piece of my life with everyone who reads it, which is basically what I have already been doing each week with my regular blog. I originally started Heavy Metal Cowboy (the blog) to share things about my writing and what I was working on, etc. It has become more of an inspirational/pep talk blog since then. Mostly it has been just things I wonder about and things that I’ve learned along life’s journey. So when I changed the look of my blog, I also tacked “Musings Of A Wandering Paladin” on to the name, because it was an apt description of what I wanted it to contain. Author is one of the many hats that I hang upon my hat rack, along with illustrator, instigator of creative concepts and boilerman to help pay those pesky things called bills that seem to be a side effect of life. Anyway, when I agreed to do the blog tour, I was given four questions to answer. Well, here goes nothing.

1.)    What am I currently working on?

At the moment I am actually working on two different books, along with a few side projects that may or may not tie into those in the future. The first is an actual full length book of my “Hammertown” series. It is a fantasy story set in the world of Alongrid, a world primarily ran by steam. Think 1940’s style setting populated by dwarves, elves and gnomes (with elves being the Nazis) and then throw a human detective in to make things interesting. As Kathryn puts it “Sam Spade meets Lord of the Rings”. I get a kick out of that. It is actually going to be the second book in the series. The first was “Alongrid Knights”, a selection of short stories set in the Hammertown world. Interested? Check out my website for a link to a free preview. The second book I am working on is more along the lines of traditional fantasy, but I can’t share the details yet.

2.)    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve read a lot of books. A LOT of books. So I managed to learn the usual plots and basically how a story is normally told, as is usually the case with people who read a lot. This, coupled with an overactive imagination allows me to think ‘outside the box’ and lets me keep things interesting for those who are tired of the same stuff over and over again.

3.)    Why do I write what I do?

When I started writing, I had a distinct agenda. I wanted to write stories from a Christian Worldview. Stories that parents didn’t have to worry about their children reading because it was written by someone with the same fundamentals that most Christians share. My first book was well received, which prompted me to write the second. That one too was well received, so I finished up the series with the third book. At this point I took a step back and looked at all I had done. It was entertainment for Christians. That’s all well and good, but how does that further His Kingdom? We are supposed to introduce Him to those who don’t know Him in such a way that they will want to seek Him out. So I thought to myself, what makes me want to be a good person? What prompts me to try to follow the good path? Heroes. My heroes from those stories I used to read all the time. Those heroes who stood for the morals, courtesy and common decency. But how does that further His Kingdom? It introduces those people that are looking to be entertained to good values. It is a bread crumb. A bread crumb that will show someone looking for more the true glory of God.

What about the Christian part of it? I’ve come to realize that I am an integral part of my stories, and since I am a Christian, my own values and beliefs ‘bleed’ through during the telling of the story.

4.)    How does my writing process work?

Sporadically. I do tend to take it in spells. Luckily it usually manages to stick in the general vicinity of one main idea until I get it on paper. Some of my writer friends work from an outline and have everything all planned out ahead of time. I’ve never been able to work like that. I usually have a starting point and an ending in mind when I begin, but everything between tends to form as I go. Sometimes I have to go back and make corrections to my story so that things actually work out nice and neat in the end, but not very often

 

Thanks to THE Kathryn Lang for the nomination. I shall continue the trend by nominating a few of my fellow authors to carry on. I nominate Robert Krog, Herika Raymer and David Blalock. I do hope they will continue the tradition, as I look forward to seeing their answers to these thought provoking questions.

If you’re interested in seeing some of my written works, or you would like to check out some of my artwork, visit my website at http://www.heavymetalcowboy.com.

Problems Problems

Recently I came to the conclusion that I had a problem. (Shocking, I know.) My problem is that I am relying solely on my everyday job to generate the income I need to support my family. (Yet another shocking revelation!)  There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, except for the fact that I don’t want to make a career out of my everyday job.  It’s a good job, don’t get me wrong, and I thank God I have one. A lot of folks out there wish they had a good job.  But since I published my first book in 2009, all I have wanted to do is make my writing career, my main career.  The job that supports me and my family.  I have made great strides in that direction (I now have 2 books published and 2 more soon to be), but I am still not even close to where I want to be.  Thus enters my problem.  I have been treating my writing as a secondary career.  It has taken backseat to my everyday job.  This hinders my ability to move forward with it.  I know I can’t (in good conscious) quit my job and expect to live off of my writing royalties (yet), but I can treat it with the same dedication that I do my everyday job.  I go in, I punch the clock, put my time in, punch out and go home.  So, I’ve come to the conclusion I need to work harder at making my writing work.  It may require me to sacrifice some of my free (haha) time, but it is something I enjoy, so it’s not that big of a sacrifice.