Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Letting Go

My older son got his license recently. 

We made him wait long enough for it. We’d held him back since he received his permit, seeing numerous mistakes (like thinking he could turn left on red if the road was clear). However, when his permit neared the expiry date, we decided it was time.

We were nervous. I guess every parent is. But for my wife and I, we’ve always thought it to be a little more.

Our older son has a language disability. He processes speech slowly. Math and science give him very little trouble and he’s gotten to where he can handle History. Language Arts, though, is a class he’d like to avoid.  It’s the way his mind works. He doesn’t make decisions quickly. He doesn’t process information quickly.Also, he processes without nuance. Doesn't affect him most subjects, except Language Arts.

We’d seen something similar in his driving habits. A steady drive he can handle. A drive in dense traffic left us nervous. Another driver being stupid scares the daylights out of us. Given how our son reacts, we worried he would make decisions too slow. Even after he got his license, we wouldn’t let him drive alone. 

Yet, after a while, and with my older son’s pleadings, my wife and I hit a point where we knew it was time. Our son is a responsible young man. He would do his best. 

We let him drive to his Boy Scout meeting first. Had him call us when he got there and call us when he left. Then we let him go to the library, pick up take-out, have him meet us somewhere. Short distances. 

No problem. 

Then, on the last day of school, he was helping out with graduation due to him being a junior marshal. He wouldn’t be getting home until late. He’d been up since 5:00 a.m. I worried that he might be too tired to drive home. He phoned to say he was leaving and I waited in the garage until I saw the lights hit the driveway…and heaved a sigh of relief.

As for my son, he thought he worried about nothing. For him, he only wondered what took us so long to finally let him be on his own. He’d been embarrassed, waiting for his parents to pick him up at school events while his friends could drive themselves home. Being able to drive himself meant something to him. 

Now he’s asking for a parking permit for senior year, saying every kid in his class drives to school. I told him we needed to wait until we got another car.

One of these days, I may be able to let go. 

One thing at a time.

Picture from www.mycutegraphics.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Time With The Experts

The late Tony Gwynn, one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, once wondered why so few people came up to him during practice to ask for his help. He wasn’t being cocky and saying he was an expert (and I think he was talking mostly who struggle with low batting averages) However, he was willing to help anyone who asked. When I first heard that statement, I wondered if those who played with Gwynn just studied what he did, even if they didn't ask.

So what does that have to do with me?

I’m involved in a Facebook party on Thursday night. I’ve been to a lot of Facebook parties before, but this is my first as one of the people talking. The focus of the party is the recent launch of Kindle Worlds fan fiction for the Body Movers series by Stephanie Bond. Last fall, I was contacted about being part of a launch of new group of fan fiction stories based on the Body Movers series by Stephanie Bond. I’ve since put out two stories, each the first in a series.

There are a lot of wonderful authors in the group, each with numerous published books and bestseller and/or award winner status. Interacting with this group has been, for me, like watching a lot of experts and trying to discover what I can (i.e. ways to improve my hitting). I’ve had the pleasure of reading their takes on the Body Movers series. As a writer and a reader, it has been an amazing learning experience. 

The party begins at On Thursday evening, from 7:30 – 10:30 EST. There will be a number of giveaways and one lucky person will win a $100 gift card.

I hope you’ll stop by.

Click here to be taken to the party.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My New Release

I happy to announce that I have a new short story out.

Back in October, I received an e-mail, asking if I wanted to participate in a Kindle Worlds’ launch for Stephanie Bond’s Body Movers series. It left me confused.

Body Movers 1Body Movers? I’m familiar with that. Stephanie Bond is one of my favorite authors and every book of hers that I’ve ever read is ROTF funny. Her Body Movers series may be the best of them all. Body Movers is the story of Carlotta Wren, a young woman who had the best of everything growing up, until her father, under indictment for financial crimes, skipped town with Carlotta’s mother, leaving then 17-year old Carlotta to raise her nine-year old brother.

The Body Movers series begins ten years after Carlotta’s parents left town. The parents are still missing, the police are still looking, and Carlotta’s life is still upside down.
(Click here to see all the books, but please come back.)

So, what is Kindle Worlds?

Kindle Worlds is fan fiction. Authors license their creations, allowing fans to create their own works based on the characters. Today is the launch date for the Body Movers world. However, no launch is done with nothing to offer. To coincide with the launch, several authors are asked in advance to write something to be published on the launch date or soon afterwards.

So, as of today, I have a short story coming out for the launch.

The story is titled Revenge Is A Body Best Served Cold and is told primarily from the point-of-view of Wesley Wren, Carlotta’s younger brother. It also includes the cop trying to find the fugitive parents. Please check it out. (Click here to be taken to the link on Amazon.) I hope you enjoy it. There should also be works from a number of other authors who have written stories for the launch, offering any number of genres.

I’m also trying to finish a second Body Movers work, a novella that imagines a prequel to the contemporary Body Movers series and then drops that prequel in the Yokohama Foreign Settlement of 19th century Japan. The projected story title is Even Bodies Fall From Trees. I'm nervous about it as my Japanese historical writing has focused on the 16th century, not the 19th century (i.e. the world of Shogun vs. the world of The Last Samurai). I've done what research I can to make it believable. I hope you’ll check that one out, too. The target date is December 19th.

Thanks for stopping by. Please click here to taken to my group blog, Petit Fours & Hot Tamales. Leave a comment there for a chance to win a free copy. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Posting Today at Petit Four and Hot Tamales

I'm posting today at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales (PF&HT), talking about the death of Saturday morning cartoons. I hope you'll join me. Click here to taken to PF&HT website.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stealing One More Year

My older son turned 17 recently.

It was a family celebration. We took him to a restaurant where he could enjoy a rack of ribs and got him his favorite cake. He also saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He’s now deciding how to spend his birthday money. Apparently, there’s an X-box game or two in his future.

He’s currently a sophomore, so he has two years of high school left. It’s going to go by quickly. I don’t know if I’m ready for it.

But it hit me recently that it could have easily been one year left.

When we moved here from Oregon, my older son was in the third grade. However, we moved during the school year. At the time, schools where we lived in Oregon began the school year about a month later than schools where we currently live in Georgia. It was more than a month between the time the kids left Oregon and the time we moved into a house in Georgia.

We enrolled our older son the day after we moved in. The schools were already focused on CRCT prep, tests he really had no hope of passing. After thinking about it, we figured he’d lost at least three months of school.

So we held him back a year.

It was an easy decision. Our son was young for his grade level anyway. Plus he had a learning disability. Re-taking third grade provided him time to mature.

For the longest time, my son complained about it. He often told people he should be one grade higher. We finally got it through to him that it was for the best and that he should move on. He has responded by excelling in school.

When his final two years of high school are over, I know he’ll attend college. I don’t know where he’ll go.

However, when my wife and I made the decision to hold him back, I know that neither of us was thinking about keeping him around one more year.

But it’s good to have him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Prayer Breakfast

It was around 5:30 a.m. on a school day. My son placed his oatmeal on the kitchen table and sat down, placing a spoon next to breakfast as he did. He then bowed his head, said a quiet prayer, and began eating.

I punched the button on the coffee maker, smiling as I did so. Where did he learn that? Part of me knew. We try to have at least one meal together every day as a family. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, due to team practices in the evening, the boys and I are eating while my wife is still cooking. Still, for that evening meal, we say the blessing as a family before chowing down.

Still, kids behave differently when they’re alone, as opposed to when a family is together. You hope they ingest the lessons you’ve taught them. Pride swells within you when you see that they have.

Granted, my teenager could have been thinking Dad’s here, so I need to pray. At the same time, he didn’t glance at me before he did it. It looked natural, as if he did it even on those mornings when I’m pushing to get myself ready for work and I only see him off to the bus but don’t see him eat. I can never be sure.

I can only pray myself.

And trust to God.

Clip art from www.watton.org



Friday, March 28, 2014

Dragging Dad Into the Modern Age

My family has a problem with my choice in music.

I have satellite radio in my car. When I’m alone, I listen to stations that offer 70s, 80s, and things that were on vinyl or cassette at one time (or that spindle looking thing that Edison used). I also listen to the news. However, when we’re driving somewhere as family, my wife and kids prefer modern stations with current hits. If I try to play my music, they gag. They beg for at least music from the 90s and then press for music produced within the last year or so.

The one who pushes it the most is my 12-y.o. He seems to know every song played on either the current music stations or on Disney radio. I wonder where he hears these things. Apparently, he has a number of these tunes downloaded to his iPod. (I’ve got to check that thing more often.) He particularly likes Imagine Dragons but enjoys all of the modern singers. When I drive him to baseball practice, he wants to listen to the current hits station, just to get himself prepped. Because I really believe it helps him, I oblige.

I really believed I would get sick of these songs at one point. However, after taking him to numerous events in the last few months, I have to admit that some of them are starting to grow on me, if only because I can’t get them out of my head, or have heard them ad nauseum. My 12-y.o. even sensed this, asking me a week ago if there were any of these songs that I liked.

I finally admitted to liking one. Dark Horse by Katy Perry.

My 12-y.o. found reason to barf. Of all the songs on the current hits station, this was the one song he wished was banned. His problem with it? It’s a stupid love song. He then thought about it a little longer, admitting the song would be good entrance music for a baseball player, if not for the stupid lyrics.

However, he’s now starting to notice girls.

I doubt he’ll think the lyrics stupid for long.