Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meet the Author Monday

Going around the blogosphere recently is a wicked game of tag. Kind of reminds me of other initiation rites I experienced in college, like getting creeked. For those who don't know what getting creeked is like, imagine living in the "JOCK DORM" and looking up from your dorm room bed where you are chilling, to see a room full of your hallmates grinning like the Cheshire cat.  This is disturbing to say the least. Jock Guys do not look good with a Cheshire cat grin on their faces. Just saying.

I had just witnessed a fellow hallmate get creeked, and he's much more buff than I ever was, even in college. They handcuffed him, and he BROKE THE HANDCUFFS. Then, because he didn't cooperate, they saran-wrapped him head to toe and carried him down (3 flights of stairs and across campus) to the creek, stripped him and threw him in. When he got out, they only gave him a diaper and bib and baby bonnet to wear; they had taken his clothes elsewhere.  With this kind of initiation experience in mind, I quickly decided cooperation was a good thing to minimize the impending embarrassment. Did I mention I'm not a jock?

So, the guys taped my wrists with packing tape, lifted me up on their shoulders (there were a dozen or so jock guys involved), and carried me awkwardly down the hall, down three flights of stairs through the main campus center building, past security ("it's his birthday, okay?"--which sadly worked) and down across the covered bridge and to the creek. I was a little creeped out to envision a dozen guys stripping off my clothes, so I opted to take them off myself. (I'm a helper, it's what I do.) They took my clothes and I jumped in (bonus points for cooperation?) Yay. I was "one of the guys." They cheered and whooped and thought it was hilarious, me standing naked in the creekbed. Passersby stopped and gawked at my nakedness. After climbing out, they were nice enough to give me my clothes back and security even drove me back to my dorm. I didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't my birthday. I just let him talk on and on about his own fond memories.

In the spirit of revealing more personal information, and the current tag game going around (nope, no one has tagged me yet!) I've decided to post these "Meet the Author Monday" blogs to share such amusing anecdotal stories and tales from my life. I did consciously use the word "author," because I am confident I will achieve this title soon. Also, I'd like to suggest a few things:

1. Learn to laugh at yourself.
2. Find ways to incorporate your funny experiences in your writing.
3. Don't take yourself so seriously.

I'd love to hear your favorite initiation story. Did you ever get hazed in college? Another common one was ice water dumped on you in the shower. Of course, most of the guys on the hall typically walked down to the shower with the towel in their hands, and completely naked. It's just the way guys are. What stories do you have to share? I'd love to hear your zingers in the comments below. Oh, and the picture is my tattoo, a dragon and phoenix entwined.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Follow: Great Blogs YOU Should Follow!

We are in a great age of writing. Many writers are accessible online and maintain blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts, among others. After reading a great book, we can easily find the writer online and share our enthusiasm. Sometimes, as what happened with me, the dormant desire to write surfaces and comes alive again as a result of this almost instant interaction.

Great writing inspires others to write greatly. I've always had a dream to write, but having a family deterred me. I am blessed with a lovely wife of more than 11 years, and have four boys to keep me constantly busy. I love it, I truly do. But, back in my single college days, I was a writer, and I spent most of my free time working on honing the skills to write. My focus was primarily poetry.  Once I was married and had children, I thought I had to put that aside until later when I had the time to write.


If writing is your passion, and you recognize you are a writer, don't bury that seed and hope it comes back some day off in the future. The time is NOW to write. I alluded to direct interactions with writers. That actually happened for me. I read a fantastic book, The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney, and found her twitter account online. I wrote her a few tweets, and she wrote back. WOW. I know it's not a masculine thing to do, but I couldn't help the SQUEE factor.

I then wrote Daisy an email and shared with her my desire to write. She took the time to respond and has encouraged me several times as I took the plunge and wrote my first novel. Daisy is a very busy woman. She has an online business she runs in the day, a website and blog, and is a full time writer as well. During the time I wrote my first book, she finished the sequel to her first book, The Rivals, which is set to be published in February 2012 (I can't wait!!!), and wrote and is publishing a third book, When You Were Here, which is currently in the early publication process. Oh, and she is already working on ANOTHER new book. Daisy is a WRITING MACHINE! and definitely inspires me in my writing. One thing she shared with me when I referred to the difficulty of finding time to write was, "write during the interstitial times, such as when you take your son to karate." Thank you, Daisy. That was a world-changer and eye-opener for me.

I know I've rattled on here quite a bit, but my point is this: If you want to write, don't let anything stop you. Get out there and write. And, while you're at it, get reading! That's RULE #1 of writing. Read to fill up the "Writer's Creative Well," and out of that comes your own writing, written in your own voice.

To help you along the way, I'm sharing the top five blogs I go to for writing tips, encouragement, and for sharing the writerly journey.  If you haven't done so, create a twitter account and follow writers to learn more about the process they and we are going through. Many writers share these things online, and you might stumble across a great book giveaway, or other opportunities to win autographed and other nifty prizes. What have you got to lose? Check out the list below and share your own great resources in the comments section.

Oh, and GET WRITING! Make a daily goal and shoot for that as a minimum each day. Try to write around the same time each day if you can. Set it up like a schedule. For myself, I write during nap time, after bedtime and when I take my son to karate, but you already knew that, didn't you?


1. Daisy Whitney's Author's Blog: http://daisywhitney.com/blog/
2. K. M. Weiland's Word Play Author's Blog: http://www.wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/
3. Ava Jae's Writeability Writer's Blog: http://avajae.blogspot.com/
4. Tymothy Longoria's Aspire No More Writer's Blog: http://tymothylongoria.wordpress.com/
5. J.A. Bennett's A Book, A Girl, A Journey Blog: http://abookagirlajourney.blogspot.com/

Please share your faves in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meet the Newly Agented Writer, Tymothy Longoria!

Writers rejoice when a talented fellow writer becomes an agented writer. That just happened for a good friend of mine, Tymothy Longoria. He has joined Martin Literary Management as of last week. Join me in cheering on a fellow writer. Click the link and read all about Tymothy's writing, including an awesome exerpt here. Oh, and if you're curious about his new agent, her name is Bree Ogden. You can follow her on Twitter @breeogden and if you haven't followed Tymothy yet, he's at @tymothylongoria

Rock on, Tymothy! So excited to see your vision in Stories: Book One come to fruition. Stay tuned! I know I will.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fire Salamander in The Packing House

Ray Bradbury, in his early dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, described a fiery future where books are burned and banned. Guy Montag, the thinking fireman, must choose whether he accepts this future, or rejects it for another. Within the flames of a book bonfire, Montag has an epiphany, setting him on a course that drags the reader through the flames of the rest of the book.

The first section of this book is called, The Hearth and the Salamander, and makes reference to Montag's "professional symbols": a salamander on his arm and a phoenix disc on his chest. Clearly an allusion to the fire salamander of myth, the creature is known to have an affinity for fire and often has been associated with the attributes of a fire elemental.

In The Packing House, Joel is a sixteen-year-old plagued by recurring nightmares, many of which have connections to fire. You'll have to wait for the book to know these specifics, but there is a distinct reference to the fire salamander, as depicted in the stunning artwork by Onzamano above. In fact, there is also a reference to several books the MC reads throughout the novel.

Care to make a wager as to one famous novel in particular referenced in The Packing House? Here's a hint: read chapter one, which is conveniently posted at the top right of this blog, and see for yourself. I am confident you'll sort it out right away. Just stick your hand in the fire and don't get burned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God's Eyes in The Packing House

God's Eyes are a common craft in VBS. If you've ever taken Popcicle sticks and wrapped colorful yarn around, you know what I mean. However, many of you probably do not know the origin of where these crafts come from, or what they really mean. Often, the sentiment associated with God's Eyes are something like, "God is always with you, always watching over you, always protects you."

The real origin might surprise you. Check it out here. The Huichol, a people group from Western Mexico create God's Eyes to see what is unseen, to understand what has not been understood, and to know what is unknown. The four colors and the four corners illustrate the four basic elements: air, earth, fire and water.

How does this connect with The Packing House novel? You'll have to wait and see for yourself. It's something that connects Joel with Amber. I hope you'll read about it when the novel comes out. I welcome your comments below. And, while you're here, join the blog so you don't miss out on other hints, announcements, contests and tidbits as more information can be shared. Thank you for stopping by!

Rorschach Inkblot Test, Is My MC a Little Crazy?

What does the classic, ten picture test mean for my main character, Joel in The Packing House? That's a great question. And, one you'll need to read about halfway through my YA novel to discover. For those of you on the straight and narrow, here's a glimpse of what the test looks like. Imagine yourself sitting across from a shrink, showing you each card, and asking you what you see.

How would you answer? I'd love to hear your comments below. The picture has them numbered, so you can just list them in order and share your response. I'm not a psychologist, so don't worry. I don't think you're crazy.

Find out what Joel thinks of this test in The Packing House, a YA contemporary novel about a boy with recurring nightmares and his need to figure out the root cause.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memoriam: A 9/11 Tribute Through Poetry

The Death of A Poet

By day's end we are spent,
our lumbering through this
living slumber to the last look
light leaves us at the lake shore,
swan-like fierceness flickering
under feathers white and tomb-like.

How horribly the waters part
beneath us, surround on all sides,
grapple us with long ripples,
bony strokes pressing us to
the lowest point of the lake floor.
There the silt settles from waters

stirred and cycling around us,
laid with whispered prayers
and dreams too terrible
to remember by morning.
How stunned and numbly we wake,
shake off the watery shroud,

breathe awareness through
lungs drowned by night's respite.
We stumble down to lividity, hers,
a thought unshaken by morning's breath,
desperate death where the heart
stops and air escapes altogether.

Now words stick fast to the inner
walls, my chest still grasping for air,
stubbornly held by the dream's
dampened and delicate darkness,
drifting in the swan's scything path
and death, which is a letting go.

G. Donald Cribbs, copyright (c) 2011

*allusion to "Der Schwan," by Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Packing House Back Cover Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener's vicious nightmares return and force him to stop avoiding a problem he thought had to do with his parents’ divorce. Driven by an embarrassing viral video of himself in study hall where he fell asleep, Joel must figure out who or what is the source of his bad dreams, before his brother Jonathan joins the school crowd and leaves Joel isolated and alone.

When Joel discovers his mother gambled away the bill money, landing them in yet another school and what might as well be a meth-lab trailer park, Joel runs away. His decision to break into a school building is soon derailed when he’s caught, first by his brother, and then his mother. Running from his problems solves nothing. For Joel, it earns him a full, psychological exam.

His ally through it all is Amber Walker, childhood friend and kindred spirit, who also happens to be the only girl he’s ever loved. Amber is conflicted. A true friend would help Joel lose the bad-boy reputation he’s recently acquired. If they’re more than friends, something she has not yet admitted, Amber must sort through her true feelings for Joel.

After Joel's mother ships him off to live with his grandmother, Joel finds a way to improve his failing grades and get his life back on track through his writing. But, when a project for his grandmother leads him directly to the root cause of his nightmares, the truth it uncovers threatens to destroy everything Joel desperately strives to overcome.