Tag Archives: Creative Writing

How I wrote Kyle McDuffy, Elementary School Investigator

I haven’t been giving much love to the blog as of late. I am currently focusing on getting a first draft of my next book revised. As any writer will tell you, this is the least fun of the entire process. Painstakingly going through every sentence and tweaking, removing, reworking, reimaging is, at times, a mind-numbing process. So, why not take a little break and tell you about how I got my ideas for the stories in Kyle McDuffy, Elementary School Investigator.

I started off by reading the entire original catalog of Goosebumps books. All 62 of them. I loved them as a kid and wanted to capture that same sense of excitement, horror and mystery that made those stories memorable. I also started watching reruns of the show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” Similar concept to Goosebumps with more of a paranormal bent. Originally, I had envisioned Kyle McDuffy as a paranormal investigation series. Once I started writing, I figured out it is much more interesting to read about the exaggeration of mundane things as can only be seen through the eyes of an elementary school kid.
So, inside my new book you will find several cases. Each case can be considered a chapter in a normal book. Each case deals with something extraordinary happening at the elementary school. For instance, the first case involves the principal’s toupee of terror. Is there really something living under his toupee, or is it just Kyle’s imagination? Or perhaps another case of Polly’s pigtails. How are they so perfect every day? And what’s up with Mrs. Micer’s voice? Could she really be a mouse turned into a human?

The first draft is finished and being revised. I look forward to sharing these great stories with you, and I hope you are excited to read them!
Stay tuned to this blog for official updates and a few sneak peeks as I edit the story.

Surface Pro 3: The Writer’s Perfect Companion

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A few years ago I posted about the original Surface tablet. I praised it for its portability, slim keyboard cover, free Office and amazing battery life. I still use mine to write, surf the web and entertain my daughter. However, the device can be a bit limiting with only one kickstand option slow processor. Today I would like to introduce you to a true laptop replacement, the Surface Pro 3.

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Many angles – millions of possibilities

It all beings with a slimmer design, faster processor and 8 hours of battery life. That stuff may not be exciting to non-techies, but it is very important. It will enable you to load applications faster and work longer.

Why is this device such a great buy for writers? Where do I begin? For one, you can buy a keyboard cover to make sure you always have a fast, accurate keyboard anywhere you are. Any time inspiration hits, just flip open the Surface and get writing.
The kickstand can be positioned to any angle you need. Writing on a tabletop with a pen? Flip it all the way back. Writing at a desk with a keyboard? Position it at any angle you choose.

But those are mostly novelties. What’s the reason to sell your old laptop and get a Surface as a replacement? Glad you asked. It, of course, runs all Windows applications, including Office. You have Word with you anywhere you go. And all of those Word files can be stored in the cloud via OneDrive. When I update my latest story on my Surface, it saves automatically to the cloud. If I go home and want to continue working on the story on my desktop PC, the story is there waiting for me right where I left off.

Canvas mode. Perfect for creating.
Canvas mode. Perfect for creating.

Not only will you have access to 6GB of free cloud storage with OneDrive so you can work on your documents and have them sync seamlessly between your PCs,  there is also a USB port and MicroSD slot on the Surface. Let’s say you are out at a conference somewhere and there doesn’t happen to be Wi-Fi. All you have to do is carry your documents with you on a USB Memory Stick, external hard drive, or MicroSD card and you are ready to go. Or, of course, store them directly on the device itself.

Write directly on the screen. Send edits and comments in your own handwriting!
Write directly on the screen. Send edits and comments in your own handwriting!

For those who like to write by hand, the Surface Pro 3 also comes with a special pen. This digital pen will allow you to instantly write on the go. Just simply double click the top of the pen (just like a real life retractable pen) and your Surface will wake up and launch OneNote. What else can you do with this pen? Well, there’s Photoshop, Paint, etc. You can also write directly into Word or OneNote and it will convert to digital text. The perfect compromise for those who still wish to write by hand! You can also write directly on Word documents for editing, proofing, etc. and those notes will be viewable by any other person an any PC. Cool stuff!

The Surface Pro 3 is the perfect device to travel with you to the next writers convention. Leave your bulky laptop at home and get just as much work done in an even faster time with your Surface.

Surface Pro 3 is available for preorder at the Microsoft Store.

Sneak peek of my newest story

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I am currently working on two projects at the same time. It’s not something I’ve really tried in the past but, I love these stories too much to hold one of them back. Today I will be sharing a short section from Kyle McDuffy: Elementary School Paranormal Investigator. Enjoy!

Will and I sat next to the jungle gym, our eyes moving back and forth over the playground. All the other kids were laughing and playing kickball and having a great time. They didn’t know what was going on right under their noses. Where was Cindy? Recess was almost over and there was no sign of her. “Where do you think she is?” Will asked. “I wish I knew. She must still be in Principal Adams’ office,” I said. “Man, I hope she’s okay. I knew we would get in twouble,” Will said. The bell rang to end recess, and Will and I walked back to the dark halls. Cindy was usually in my third period. I was hoping she would show up, but the class came and went with no sign of her. I could barely focus on the jumble of plus signs and long division. My first investigation was on course to go horribly wrong. What would I tell Cindy’s parents if she got kidnapped by whatever was living under Principal Adams’ toupee?

 

 

Dead Skin Dave one year Anniversary!

Ahoy, mateys! In a few short weeks, it shall be one year since the release of Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate! To commemorate, the paperback copy of the book will be on sale for a limited time starting pretty much as soon as you read this!

As always, you get the e-book FREE when ordering the paperback through Amazon.com!

Be sure to check out all of my Junior Pirate activities by clicking the Dead Skin Dave tab on the menu!

Now is a great time to buy or order a few extra copies for your friends, family, co workers, church, neighbors, homeless guy down the street, your post man….

coverfrontOnce upon a time , there was a short, skin-peeling mess of a pirate known to the world as Dead Skin Dave. Dave wanted nothing more than to impress his fellow pirates, but he rarely succeeded. Then one day, the feared Hairy Hazelroth sank his ship and left him stranded on an island full of wanna-be pirates!
Join Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate, his dim-witted first mate, Tom Swiftfellow, and the evil Hairy Hazelroth, as they face off across the high seas for the legendary lost cutlass o’ Captain Bo Ben in an adventure full of laughs and swashbuckling action!

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Writers Rejoice: Office for iPad is here!

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A few years ago (where does the time go), I wrote about Microsoft’s Surface and why every writer should own one.  I still feel that way, but a lot of people already have iPads with keyboards and various accessories and don’t want to commit to a new tablet and ecosystem. The iPad has long been merely a consumption device where people go to play games and watch videos. Now, thanks to Microsoft, you can turn your iPad into a true productivity machine.

What do you get? Touch centric versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote.
The price? Free to view and present all documents. $9 per month for Office 365 for the ability to edit and create documents (a must for any writer). The best part about the Office 365 subscription? You always get the newest version of Office for free, and you can install Office on up to five PCs, Macs, or iPads!

2014-03-27-image-6Now you can edit, create and present any Office document anywhere you can bring your iPad. Any writer who has attended a conference knows that some of the best ideas come out of those conferences, and you’ll want to take notes and start tweaking your stories immediately.
With Office on iPad you are now free to create anywhere, anytime.

Watch this short video for a demo:

Play with action figures!

There are a few things that kids can do that are frowned upon when we were adults. for some reason, playing with action figures is one of them. And I say actions figures because I am a boy and I don’t play with dolls!

When I was a kid, I spent most evenings and weekends playing with my Batman the Animated Series action figures. In my head I created the most elaborate and imaginative stories that I would kill to be writing today. So, what happened? Like most kids, I grew up, stopped playing with toys, and stopped using my imagination, instead letting my imagination be dictated for me through movies and TV shows. The next logical step in this story involves me picking up some action figures and playing, right? Well, not really. yes, I am advocating for playing with action figures, yet I am not doing it myself… yet. It’s more of an idea that popped into my head whilst thinking of amazing storylines for my next book. The ideas just weren’t coming like they usually do. So I got to thinking: What could I do to spark creativity? And then it hit me. we just had an earthquake and a picture fell right on my head. Where was I? Oh yes, creativity!

Why can’t adults play with action figures? Or, more accurately, why don’t creative types play with action figures? Creating a story all comes from the head. why not have a little visual aid to go along with it? We could come up with a line of writer action figures. Get a little Edgar Allan Poe vs. Cormac McCarthy or something. That could be fun! I wonder who would have the kung fu grip…?
Being serious for a moment, playing with action figures definitely sparked my creativity in the past, and I have no doubt it would do so today. It’s all about creating stories, forming images, in our minds. Take a few minutes out of your day to find an activity that will enhance your creativity. Sure, it could be playing with action figures. Or maybe you really like to paint, ride a bike, etc. You will be a better writer for it.

Choose my next book!

I have a few stories cooking up in my head, and I need your help in deciding which to write next!
Just answer the poll below, and we’ll see who comes out on top! 🙂