Dragons and writing

June 29th, 2009

I have a new series coming out this fall. Castle- the fall to Domum, is the first book and deals with a medieval world where dragons exist.  As I worked out the plot of the story, it became evident that I needed to include dragons. That led to some serious thinking about them.

I wanted this fantasy story to fit within the realms of science, and I tried my best to make everything reasonable and at least scientifically plausible. That is when I had to look at dragons carefully. First, what are they? Reptile, mammal or some other kind of animal? Most drawings have them with a scale like skin, though others have put feathers on them. Another important feature is that they fly and this led me to a couple of conclusions. For a large creature to fly, it would have a fast metabolism. The wings have to cover a large surface area to lift the body and that also implies the bones would have to be strong, but light. The closest example I could think of were pterosaur. Those ancient (and fortunately extinct) reptiles had very light bodies attached to large wings. They also, like dragons, possessed a scaly skin.

So to me, dragons are more reptile than mammal, but had to be warm blooded to sustain the energy needed for flight. That energy meant dragons had to be meat eaters. Energy to carry a large body does not come eating grass. There is an obvious difference between reptiles and dragons; reptiles have only four limbs while dragons possess an additional pair of wings. It could be dragons were an evolutionary diversion from dinosaurs that accounted for the wings. Regardless, in my story, dragons were real creatures that for a brief time were able to cross over to Earth but were unable to survive.

The last feature of dragons that really concerned me was the fire from a dragon’s mouth. I tried to come ways for this to happen but it just doesn’t work. Rather annoying after I managed to figure out the rest of the dragon. Even if I assume it could hold in its lungs, or some special sac, an explosive gas (hydrogen or maybe methane) it would be one very short blast and then be over with until it could manufacture more. My solution was to have the dragons twin glands inside its mouth. Each gland would contain a chemical, and when mixed with the other, would create a corrosive mist that would make the victim feel as if its skin was on fire.

There you have it. My solution to having a plausible dragon. By the way, because they are predators, I also made the dragons smart. I also decided to have more than one type of dragon. Large, solitary ones and other smaller types, including some that could hunt in packs. I hope you like my creation of dragons.

Great weekend

June 14th, 2009

Weekends are for having fun and Laurie and I did. For the first time in a long time we had a barbecue in our backyard with a bunch of friends. Our good neighbours, Carolyn and Lloyd, are moving. We invited other neighbours over to say good-bye to them, though we hope they will come back and visit occasionally.  That was Friday. On Saturday we went to a wedding reception on the north side of Edmonton. Julie and Ian were married in Mexico and had a celebration back here. Great couple; we wish them success. Today, I’m going to try to catch up on some paperwork. Not fun, but it has to be done.

I wrote a short story a couple of years ago and it was picked up by a magazine. Yareah Magazine is going to now publish it in their first book. I rather excited about that; they have a great publication and I’m pleased to be included in that.

On Saturday, June 20th, I will be doing a book signing at the Chapters Store located on Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona. I will have two books there and I hope some of drop by to say hello. Starbucks is located inside Chapters, by the way (hint, hint), and writers need coffee to survive.

Have agreat week

Jack

Almost writing again

June 11th, 2009

I guess I’m not used to working full time any more. The past few weeks have been busy with the wine business and at the end of the day I’m too tired to write. Well, I suppose I could force myself to write but that’s not the way to make a story interesting.

My wife Laurie is managing her dragon boat team, so she she’s on the water a couple evenings each week. I go down to river valley too. I can’t paddle- my neck and shoulder are still too stiff- but I do take long walks along the paths. I listen to music and relax, coming up with all kinds of stories to write about. Unfortunately, they stay in my head and never make it to paper.

However, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have the first part of a new series coming out this summer and while that means going over the edits, it also means I will get involved more with writing. I’m hopeful my writing will be back on schedule before the month is over.

Have a great summer

Jack

Warming trends

April 13th, 2009

It’s amazing how fast the snow has disappeared in the last couple of weeks. One day we’re shoveling a foot of snow off our walks and now I’m looking at bare ground. I do mean bare ground-nothing has come to life yet. Laurie and I did some yard work on the weekend; raking up some of the lawn and then repaired a planter box. I suppose it’s tempting to take out all the lawn furniture but it’s an old saying not to do any planting before the May long weekend. So we held off bringing out everything.

I haven’t had much time to write lately, but have managed to do some other work. I also made it past another birthday and had a great day. A few gifts, good company and a fine dinner. It was worthwhile getting older.

I guess it’s time to return to work and sell some wine. I also have to get started on writing a sequel to Talnut. Not sure of the whole story yet but have a plot in mind.

Have a good week.

In Calgary

March 28th, 2009

I did a bit of a road trip, stopping in Red Deer overnight. Most people drive through the 300km between the cities but I like to stay overnight in Red deer and maybe do a bit of business. I guess I’ve decided to take the slow road more often; it’s safer, more relaxing and gives me a chance to stay in a motel and do some laptop work. I also use the time to do some writing and work on a couple of new story ideas.

But I’m now in Calgary, visiting my oldest son and his family. Benjamin is now 16 months and is running around, exploring anything he can get his hands on. He is a lot of fun to watch. Natalie and David really enjoy playing with him.

I’m also here in Calgary to do a book signing at Chapters in the Chinook Centre. This is my first book signing in Calgary and I’m wondering about the reception I’ll get as a writer from Edmonton. Last night I went to a bar with David to watch the Oilers play and a few patrons made it known they did not like Edmonton at all. Just friendly jabs at our playoff hopes but I’m guessing not the type of person to buy my book.

As far as my writing is concerned I’m working on the third book of the Castle trilogy and doing some work on a new series. I’m waiting for the edits for the first books of the series and depending on the input of the editor, it may change the third book slightly. Maybe a lot.

This past week also saw the return of two people. Wendy-Anna has returned to Midnight Showcase and I was concerned about her as she seemed to just drop of sight. I wasn’t the only one happy to see her reappearance judging by the number of emails welcoming her back. Shannon also returned to Calgary after travelling around the world for several months. I had lunch with her and she has many interesting stories to tell.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. 

Busy month

March 7th, 2009

It’s been a busy month. Between my wine business and writing I don’t have much free time. I’m not complaining- it’s been fun. Sales for my wine has been higher than expected. Unfortuately I’ve had fewer samples left over as my customers want a second taste.

Last month a young lady left a note on my car saying she had damaged my bumper. She left her name and number. So I want to say thank you to her and anyone else who have left a note taking responsibility of their mistake. Sara, you’re helping making the world a better place. You can always look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

I had lunch recently with Nick Lees, who writes for the Edmonton Journal. He has had a fascinating life,and it’s certainly far from over. I told him he should write a book about some of the things he’s done, though a lot of people wouldn’t believe it was true. He is currently planning to do a bike ride over the Rocky Mountains and I’m sure he’ll succeed in that as well.

My wife and I had a great visit with our oldest son David and his family. His son is 15 months old. Smart little guy but his favourite song to dance to is Womanizer. Better keep an eye on him. We left Calgary on Friday and are glad we did. Lots of snow hit today and I’m not much for driving on highways with ice and snow.

Today I’m doing a book signing at Chapters in West Edmonton Mall. It should be fun. I know the staff at the Starbucks located in the bookstore and will have chance to say hello to them- maybe even get a free cup of coffee! (I’ll trade them a fine bookmark for a tall java).

Have a great weekend.   

Sunday musings

January 25th, 2009

Today is a good day to stay at home. It’s darn cold outside and I can’t think of any reason to venture anywhere. So I’m listening to music, coffee by my side and working on my latest story, Dragons in the Water. I’m about half way through the story and I’m not certain how it will end- minor details to be worked out.

I have book signing for my novel Talnut coming up for those who live in the Edmonton area. On February 8th I’ll be at Coles Bookstore from noon on at Londonderry Mall (137ave and 66st). Please drop by to say hello.

January 25th was my Dad’s birthday. He passed away a few years ago but I think of him often. He was a very intelligent, caring man. He worked hard all his life and led by example for those around him. I miss him very much.

I see this is a quiet weekend for TV. No hockey other than the All Star game, no football, and lots of reruns of shows. So this is a good weekend to catch up my writing and reading. I’ve got a few books on my shelf needing to be read, including a PDF Herbert Grosshans was kind enough to send me call the Cliffs of Time. I’m about halfway through and so far it’s an excellent story.

Have a great week everyone.

Jack  

Advantages of winter

January 7th, 2009

It’s not often when cold weather is a good thing, but it does help when your refrigerator breaks down. We had an odd problem of our freezer being cold but the fridge part only just below room temperature. I had to take the food out to work on the problem, and that’s where the outside cold storage came in handy. Anyway I looked on the Internet and the Fixya web site gave me enough information to fix the problem (it was the defrost thermostat for those who are curious). The fridge is working again, minus a few items that perished before I could move them outside.

A Spanish/English online magazine has publish a short story I wrote called The Garden. The story covers alien invasion, global warming and a cold drink on a summer day. You can read it in this month’s issue of Yareah (www.yareah.com). It’s actually an interesting publication containing prose, poetry, art and music. I wish I could read Spanish so I could read everything in it.

Cheers

Jack

New Book

December 21st, 2008

I have a new book released by Midnight Showcase last week.  “Shadows and Sensations” contains four short stories, dealing with the paranormal. On my website there are more details and an excerpt from each story. Unlike my other book, “Talnut”, these stories are adult orientated and may be considered a bit erotic in nature. I think those who like the paranormal will enjoy the twist in each story.

Currently Shadows and Sensations is available as an Ebook and in print.

Busy time of the year for everyone. For our family we also have several birthdays in December. Today is my middle son Ron’s birthday as well as my sister in law, Debbie. My brother Brian has his on Christmas eve. Last week it was my wife’s (Laurie) birthday and previous to that was our grandson’s birthday. Benjamin turned one on December 3rd. Though my Dad passed away several years ago, December 14th was my parents’ wedding anniversary. All in all, December is a wonderful time of the year to remember special occasions, including Xmas. 

I wish all those reading my blog a very merry Christmas and best wishes in the New Year.  Peace and Joy to all.

Book signing

December 18th, 2008

My first novel “Talnut” was released on November 25th. It was an exciting time for me and I feel I can finally officially call myself a writer.  I also did my first book signing at a Chapters bookstore.  As I was standing by the table I reflected back a few years ago when I first started writing Talnut, during a vacation in New Zealand.  The story is a lot different than the one I ended up with- even the characters were changed. But when I started to write the story I guess I didn’t expect it would end with myself doing a book signing. 

I was fortunate that a lot of my friends and family came by to say hello as well during the book signing. It was nice to have their support and share my success. For those writers still working towards their first publication I wish them luck and not to give up. They will also appreciate what I said about the support of friends and family on their journey to be a published author.

Good luck to everyone on their Christmas shopping. I think I’m done with my shopping unless I suddenly remember someone else on my list.