Yay for Hunger Games!

Dystopian craze here we come!I haven’t seen the movie, but I am a fan of Suzanne Collins’ books, and I am happy to see The Hunger Games had a huge opening weekend at the box office.  The Hunger Games series is more than an excellent Young Adult series.  They are excellent books for all ages written by a gifted writer. Collins deserves the success, and bonus for me, since the series centers on a dystopian theme her success can only be good fo the Oz Chronicles, my Young Adult dystopian series. Kudos Suzanne Collins!

The songs on The Man Who Saved Two Notch’s virtual soundtrack so far

Here are the songs that I’ve included on my The Man Who Saved Two Notch Virtual soundtrack.  If you like any of the songs, I encourage you to help the artists out and buy the song or better yet, the entire album.  They haven’t read or endorsed The Man Who Saved Two Notch, but their songs remind me of the tone and feel of the book.

Murder in the City by the Avett Brothers


Rye Whiskey by the Punch Brothers


John Prine’s classic That’s the Way the World Goes Round performed by Jeffrey Foucault


Goodbye by Steve Earle


The Cave by Mumford and Sons


Old Devils by William Elliott Whitmore


Woe is me, I’m ruined by The Lonely Forest


Dream a Little Dream performed by Eddie Vedder




Another song for the Two Notch virtual CD – Eddie Vedder sings Dream a Little Dream

I just heard this on the radio, and I couldn’t wait to add it to my list of songs for The Man Who Saved Two Notch virtual CD.  Eddie Vedder released a solo album of just him and his ukulele.  Right, I know.  It sounds crazy, but once I heard his cover of Dream a Little Dream I was sold.  The haunting vocals and simple instrument make it a perfect fit for Two Notch.

The Man Who Saved Two Notch update and new song for the virtual CD (Old Devils by William Elliott Whitmore)

Well, it’s out of my hands now.  I sent the synopsis and manuscript for The Man Who Saved Two Notch to my agent a couple of days ago.  It’s not a young adult novel and that’s the original genre his agency signed me up for, so I have no idea if he’ll want to represent it.  It’s not an automatic just because he’s my agent.  I like it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s marketable.  I don’t have the brand name recognition to carry a book through the vagaries and pitfalls of the market unless it is a primo property.  Publishing a book is a huge risk for traditional publishers.  It kind of parallels the big studio film industry.  I once got feedback from someone in the film industry about The Takers that went something like this, “It’s better than 95% of the stuff that comes across my desk, but I’m looking for something that’s in the top two percent.”  And, I can’t blame him for that. The publishing industry is in the same position.  So, unless it’s in the top two percent, you’d be a fool to take the risk.

That’s not to say that I won’t self-publish if he says no.  Thanks to Createspace it won’t cost me a dime up front.  I have a strangely strong gut feeling about this book that I’ve never felt before.  I’m not talking about the quality of the writing or my abilities as a storyteller.  My ego’s not that out of control.  It’s more like a feeling of total immersion whenever I even think about the story.  That suggests to me that I found “the zone” with this book when I was writing it. You more or less don’t write in the zone.  You simply record what you’re witnessing.

Anyway, I’m adding a new song to The Man Who Saved Two Notch virtual CD.  This is nothing more than a collection of songs that remind me of the story.  Today’s selection is Old Devils by William Elliott Whitmore.  BTW – If you enjoy on any of this songs, I encourage you to let your friends know.  Help an artist out and spread the word.

I’m getting closer….

When the world ends, the lawless old West will rise again!

… to new book nirvana.   I’ve gone through the first draft, made my initial edits, and now, I’m ready to hand it over to my first reader (Mia) to get her input.  Who knows? I might be able to get a little sleep now…. Nah, who am I kidding!  But this isn’t a bad sleeplessness.  It’s a hyperfocused lack of sleep.  I tend to lock onto the story at night and look for holes.  Oh, those maddening holes.

Still a celebration is in order.  Maybe a weekday matinee.

New Mock Cover and Title Change

Well, day one into the rewriting process, and I’ve already made one major rewrite.  The title has changed, and I’m pretty confident this is the permanent title.  Previously, I titled the book Saving Two Notch.  I thought it was okay, but it didn’t really speak to me. 

As I reached the end of the first draft, a new title suddenly came to me.  The new book is now called The Man Who Saved Two Notch.  Here’s the mock cover.  What do you think?

When the world ends, the lawless old West will rise again!

I don’t want to alarm you, but the aliens have begun their attack.

Turns out my "Welcome to Earth Blackbird pie" for the aliens may not have been the best choice.

In an omen that does not bode well for the Razorbacks in tonight’s Sugar Bowl,  around 3,000 blackbirds fell out of the sky last week in Arkansas, and 100,000 fish died in a nearby river.  No big deal, right?  Right?  C’mon, say right!

Things are getting freaky.  Turns out hundreds of birds fell out of the sky in Louisiana this week, too.  What is going on?  The only reason I’m fixated on this right now is because I was on a red-eye last week that flew over Arkansas, and I got sick on the plane.  I never get sick on planes.  I wrote it off to there being something wrong with the cabin pressure because it felt very much like altitude sickness (which I’ve had numerous bouts with), but now I’m starting to think maybe the same thing that got the birds and the fish got me, too.  I had a migraine yesterday without the head pain (people who’ve had migraines before will know what I mean), and a nose bleed.  And, to top it off, my wife and I both haven’t been able to sleep very well since we returned.

So, either the aliens are running tests on me, or I got zapped by some secret government weapon, or this is all just a big coincidence that I’m blowing way out of proportion (what are the chances of that?).   I think the answer is clear.  The aliens have arrived, and their probing doesn’t agree with me.  I wonder if they’ll let me take the non-probing tests.  Aliens, if you’re reading this, I do much better with essay questions than anal probes.

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What I’m Reading Now – The Passage by Justin Cronin

I’m reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I picked the book up because while watching an interview with Cronin on one of the morning shows, I witnessed something remarkable.  Stephen King called in to give a compliment to Cronin and take a cheap shot at Stephenie Meyer at the same time.  He praised The Passage and then said, “Thanks for making vampires scary again.”  HA!  Without mention the teen vampire queen’s name, he figuratively delivered a roundhouse left to her chin.  Ouch!

Needless to say, I had to have Cronin’s book, and King wasn’t lying.  The book is amazing.  It’s not just  a good read.  It’s a great time.  I’m loving it.  Cronin has infused character into an apocalyptic vampire novel that makes the book a genre buster.  It’s good writing, good storytelling, incredible reading.

Love the book, and love King’s inexplicable need to criticize Meyer every chance he gets.

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Swine Flu – Color me concerned!

Oh, my God!  The Swine Flu apparently makes you breakout in denim!

Oh, my God! The Swine Flu apparently makes you breakout in denim!

Picture this – I’m going through my normal routine this morning; relaxing, drinking some coffee, getting the trash together for trash day, making sure the dog empties her bladder out in the yard and not in the kitchen.  It’s business as usual.  One of the morning shows is on, but I’m not really paying much attention.  It’s just noise.  Suddenly I hear Kathleen Sebelius’, Secretary of Health and Human Services, voice coming from the TV.  I turn and hear her say, “We are concerned that American’s aren’t taking the H1N1 Flu seriously enough.”  I swallow my coffee with a loud, almost painful gulp.  She said it in a calm, even tone that did not connote any kind emergency situation, but in my head I heard her telling me to panic, to get on my knees and pray to my God for ever-loving mercy, that the Swine Flu is going to kill us all.  She’s the person who’s been put in charge of our nation’s health, and she basically just said we need to call the priest to administer Last Rites.  I’m concerned that she is concerned that we are not concerned enough.  It’s Stephen King’s The Stand coming to life.  Things did not go well in that book, people.  I am a student of apocalyptic situations, and I have to tell you that the viral apocalypse scenario is the worst.  People turn on each other.  The military kills civilians with impunity.  The chance for a zombie uprising is at its absolute highest.  And I’m pretty sure the virus will bring Hitler, Stalin, and Carrot Top back to life…. Wait, I’ve just been informed Carrot Top is alive!  It’s begun!  This is not good.  Run, run as fast as you can!

You got what you wanted, Madam Secretary.  I’m scared out of my mind!  Thank you!

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Viggo Mortensen to Star in The Road

They are adapting Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant novel, The Road, for the big screen and Viggo Mortensen is playing the father. The son is being played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (Yeah, me either). The book was so incredible I don’t have a lot of faith the movie will live up to the original. Mortensen is a great choice so that does give me some hope. This is from NY Times article:

Viggo Mortensen, who plays the father, said the same thing. “It’s a love story that’s also an endurance contest,” he explained, and quickly added: “I mean that in a positive way. They’re on this difficult journey, and the father is basically learning from the son. So if the father-son thing doesn’t work, then the movie doesn’t work. The rest of it wouldn’t matter. It would never be more than a pretty good movie. But with Kodi in it, it has a chance to be an extremely good movie, maybe even a great one.”

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. You could almost replace the words “The Road” and with the words “The Old Man and The Sea,” and you wouldn’t skip a beat. Same theme. Same sort of literary genius behind the work.

You can read the entire article here: At World’s End, Honing a Father-Son Dynamic