Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Day of Scares

I decided I should do a Halloween post. Don't worry. I won't be sharing any of my ghost stories. I don't share those. They tend to freak everyone out, including myself. They're real. No need to embellish them to make them scarier. They are the type of things any ghost hunter would love to stumble upon. Every time I tell them, things go badly, like the camping trip I ruined.

So, I'll share a funny story instead.

Since I've experienced real situations that make me shudder to recall them, nothing much else manages to scare me. I laugh through horror movies. I argue with zombie shows that get everything wrong. I giggle through haunted houses and smile sweetly as the poor staff attempt to frighten me and fail over and over.

I love haunted houses though. Someday, I would like to run one. I helped out with one when I was twelve. I was in the dungeon room. It was so much fun. I go to haunted houses now for ideas and to see the wonderful sets, props, and makeup.

One Halloween I went with a group of friends to one of the better haunted houses I've seen. As you parked and made your way to the front door, people on stilts in crazy clown and bat costumes followed you, eliciting screams before anyone even paid for the privilege. In line, zombies attacked. The people selling tickets wore horrifying costumes.

My friends pushed me ahead and I led them into the dark. I easily spot the sliding trap doors, the peepholes, the boo spots. After a few ghouls tried to scare me, they got the idea to focus on my friends. I helped them. Whenever I saw an upcoming peephole, I'd make eye contact, point at someone behind me, and smile. The staff was wonderful and caught on instantly. It made for a fun night.

At the end of the house they had an optional mirror maze. We decided to do it. My friends once again pushed me ahead.

Them: "You're good at these types of things. You lead."

Me: "Okay. Fine with me."

I like puzzles. I spend a few seconds figuring out how to guide them through. We didn't bump into a single mirror or glass wall. I also managed to avoid the dead ends where people were hiding, waiting to jump out. Literally less than two minutes later we stepped out into fresh air. My friends had the gall to be upset with me.

Them: "You made it too easy."

Me: "You didn't have to follow me."

Them: "Of course we did. You know what you're doing."

Me: "I suppose you all could go explain the situation and see if they'll let you go again."

None of them wanted to. I was glad. I really didn't want to wait around for them for the half hour it would take to go through themselves.

But, the real story here is this, this haunted house managed to scare me a little. In the middle of the house part, before the end and the maze, we came to a dirt road flanked by cornfields. This was all indoors. I was amazed at the sets. We walked down the road and came to an old farmhouse.

In front of the farmhouse was a girl. She stood still, staring ahead with a blank expression on her face. She held a hammer in her right hand. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not a costume, not a lick of makeup. She frightened me.

All the other patrons were flowing past her, unafraid. Some laughing at the lack of imagination. I made a wide arc around her, keeping her in sight the entire time. I then glanced back several times to make sure she hadn't moved.

As we entered the house, a few of my friends made fun of me.

Them: "You aren't afraid of zombies or psycho clowns, you didn't even flinch as people popped out of walls, you laughed at the freaky things outside...and you're afraid of a girl with a hammer?"

Me: "She doesn't look like she works here."

They couldn't argue with that. This is the way I saw it.

I still don't know if she worked there or just wandered in after escaping from an institution or prison. Have a safe and happy Halloween! Avoid girls with hammers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Luckiest People

I took all the entries to my contest and ran them through a randomizer that picks winners. I only got to see the boring webpage, but I'm sure it looks like some crazy Dr. Seuss machine on the other side with womboozles and their vemtuzles (spell check must love that man).

The lucky recipients of my books are:

Atypical Scott



Congratulations!! I will try to contact you this weekend or you can email me at raptorbark (at) hotmail (dot) com. I'll need to know if you want print or digital. I'll also need your address if you want print. Thank you all for entering and playing along with my fraggle self.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reading in the Bathroom

First, a reminder to enter my contest and win my books. Then, on to the story.

When I was thirteen and living in Florida, I was very into books. I'm still into books, but, since Florida sucked more than suckitude, I was extra into books there.

I read in my bedroom. I read in the living room. I read on the bus. I read everywhere.

My favorite place to read was the bathroom. When you have eight siblings, the bathroom is often the only place to go for some true peace and quiet.

On such a day there came a knock on the door. I wasn't actually using the bathroom. I just was annoyed with my family and had escaped to read.

I ignored it.

The knock came again. More insistent.

I answered.

Again the knocking. Louder, more urgent.

I realized I should probably let someone else use the bathroom. The other one might be in use.

At that moment, my sister did something to infuriate my brother who had been knocking on the door. What did she do? I have no idea. I don't really want to know. This is the result.

Fist through the door.

I nearly peed my pants after spending twenty minutes in the bathroom. That would have been hard to explain.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Celebrating Fraggle Style

I recently rewatched the first episode of Fraggle Rock.

Wow. It was fun to remember things about the show. Here is a highlight.

- Clothing is optional. Some fraggles wear shirts, some hats, some a scarf, and many wear nothing at all. Are fraggles semi-nudists?

- Doozers are still cool. They work all the time, but they're stinking cute. I wanted one as a pet when I was little and I always wondered what their construction tasted like.

- The Trash Heap continues to freak me out. There is nothing more unnatural than sentient compost. So wrong.

- Fraggles celebrate everything. "You got a letter. Let's all dance and sing!" I think we can learn a lesson from them.

I am now over 1,000 pageviews for the month. The closest I've ever come before was 950. It's time to celebrate, fraggle style.

No, I'm not going to dance and sing. That might scare you all. My wife says I dance like a disturbed cartoon character and my singing is random and not great. Instead, I'm going to give away my books.

Yep, two wonderful followers are going to get a copy of The Crystal Bridge and Zombies at the Door, Planning for the Inevitable. I'll send you a print or digital copy, whichever you prefer. Yes, two. Each of you will get a copy of each. That's four books I'm giving away.


To enter, leave a comment below. That's it.

But, for more chances to win, you can also:
- Tweet about the contest or the books
- Post on Facebook about the contest or the books
- Post on Google+ about the contest or the books
- Blog about the contest, the books, or the author.
- Add The Crystal Bridge to your Goodreads shelf

Make sure you mention what you did in the comment. Good luck to all. I look forward to seeing two of you read my books for free. I will announce the winners next Friday, the 28th.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crazy Awesome Week

Thanks to the recent blogfest, I now have over 100 followers. This is something I thought would take me months to accomplish and it happened in two days. I want to welcome all my new friends. You, along with my old friends, are amazing! I have gotten more support from this little blog than I ever imagined. Finishing my novel is partly thanks to all of you.

I'm also very close to getting over 1000 pageviews this month. That's never happened before. This post will, most likely, put me over the top. I think I'll have a celebration next week for these accomplishments. I may have to give away a copy of my book.

For my new friends, I blog about once a week. I draw goofy comics and I babble about writing, though not usually at the same time. I'm hoping you enjoy both.

I also want you to understand my humor and see what my little blog has to offer, so I've compiled a list of must see posts. You don't have to visit them all, but click on one or two. You'll thank me later.

Newspaper and Bathtubs Do Not Mix

How I Almost Got Shot

Why Skunks Love Me - Part One

My wife is weird and I am Hat Eye!

The Thing - Part Two (Revenge)

The best camping trip, ever!

Yes, wax is a grease!

Never gobble at a turkey!

The ANTM Guilty Pleasure

The Crystal Bridge and Me Talking to Myself

I'll also leave you with two drawings I did from my novel. Don't worry, the novel is better written than these are drawn.

Thank you all for stopping by and for the wonderful comments and support. And thank you to everyone who bought the novel. I really can't thank you enough.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay it Forward, A Festival of Blogs

I'm paying it forward. Here are three blogs I love...or four because I always cheat. After you check them out, you should check in with the founders and see the list of those participating if you haven't already.

1- Brent Wescott over at Building Castles on the Beach. He's a writer, hoping to get something published soon, a teacher, and very funny.

2- Emily White over at Emily White. She is an author and publishing her book, Element, soon. I'm excited for her and to read her novel.

3- Doug Stephens over at I Like Cheese. I do like cheese. I also enjoy his stickmen and he is hilarious. I did an interview with him and he had the funniest questions.

4- Chanel over at Fabulously Neurotic. She often rants and rages against the world or against the woman who tried to kick her dog. Her writing is beautiful and funny, more than she realizes I think.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Neurotic Dog Part One

The other day we dropped off our dog, Mahoney, for his haircut. We decided to try a new groomer to support one of the parents of a student my wife teaches.

You must first know my dog is super neurotic. He's a huge chicken. He's afraid of the vacuum cleaner, exercise balls, our laundry basket, the spzzzzzzt sound of the mop sprayer, other dogs, and all people besides me, my wife, my brother, and my father in-law.

We've tried to help him overcome some of these. We tried taking him to the dog park so he could make friends. He wound up cowering underneath our camp chairs and eyeing the other dogs suspiciously every single time. We've tried having people hand him treats when they first enter the house. We've tried holding him and letting neighbor kids pet him on our walks. They love him, but he squirms and whimpers. Nothing works. He remains the biggest chicken ever, but he's super cute and sweet with my wife and I.

We got the phone call to pick him up and we drove over. I walked in and paid while the groomer went and picked him up. She handed him over, but not without asking a question.

I got out to the car and sighed, turning to my wife.

I don't know what else to do. We took him for a walk at night the other day. As we passed a house with a bright porch light our shadows crawled across the ground.

When my shadow reached alongside our dog, he yelped, jumped, and almost fell in the gutter as he tried to get away from the scary thing.

I think there's no hope.

I'll leave you with some cute videos of Mahoney. Just click on them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bad News

I got some bad news today that left me feeling a little down about my decision to indie publish. I'll write a huge post about the whole thing on Monday or Tuesday. I'm hoping all my bloggety friends are well this weekend. You have been amazingly supportive. I hope you're okay with some venting. Maybe I'll do a funny comic post on Monday to break things up. Yeah. That would be good for all of us. Thanks again. You are freaking awesome. I couldn't ask for better online, virtual, mostly unmet friends.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure Writers Support Numero Dos

It's that time again. The first Wednesday of every month The Insecure Writers Support Group gets together and we write about our fears, flaws, insecurities, and inspirations. Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this sobfest that I am a part of.

My novel is done. I edited it many times. I formatted many more times. I self published it on Kindle, Nook, and in print.

It looks good. People are buying it and loving it. I'm getting great reviews. My dreams are coming true. What is there to be insecure about?

There's always something, isn't there? Now I worry that my sales won't pick up. I worry that I'll have to go back to a soul-crushing job when I'd be a million times happier writing. I fear I will run out of money and my wife and neurotic dog will starve and hate me for putting them in the poor house.

Okay...that's enough for today. My writing is professional. My book is amazing. The sales will pick up, because good writing get's noticed. That's what I'm going to keep saying to myself as I work on another novel and look for a part time job.

As a treat for visiting, I am leaving you with my drawing of a pivotal scene in my book. I do goofy comics on my blog in almost every post. How could I not in this one? I did this for an interview I did with another blogger. I'm sure he won't mind me using my own drawing here too. My novel is science fiction, but it does have dragons. Enjoy.

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