Friday, July 27, 2007

Strange Coincidences Between Harry Potter and Paraworld Zero

Originally posted July 27, 2007 HERE

I just watched an interview with J.K. Rowling and I was shocked to hear that she got the ideas for Harry Potter 17 years ago. Holy Cow! That's the same amount of years ago that I came up with the ideas for Parallel Worlds. There must have been something in the water at that time.

I'm constantly frustrated every time I read one of her books, because we seem to be on the same brainwave. I finished Paraworld Zero before the fourth or fifth Harry Potter books came out, although I started writing my book in 1990. And when I read the later Harry Potter books, I found a few similar ideas and characters that I had included in my book.

The other day I was filming a movie trailer for my book and I had the character snap his fingers and then turn his head away. One of my boys said that he was doing that because fire was coming out of his fingers. My boy hasn't read the book, so I asked him how he knew that. He said that he saw it on Fantastic Four. ARRRG! By the time my book gets published it will look like I'm copying ideas from other people!

At least I have video footage of me when I was 14, talking a little about my book. I have the original printed version of parts of the first 6 chapters from 1990, but that doesn't mean anything to most people. I'm sure it will be a battle I'll have to go through to prove myself. As it is, I've already had to change parts of my book after I read the Harry Potter books because they were just too close together.

On a side note: the first book I started writing (even before 1990) was called The Sorcerer's Wand and it was about a boy who discovers his parents (who had died) were magical. He sets off on a journey that would end up with him joining a magical school. No joke. I do have some of that printed out from the 1980s. The computer file died on me twice and I had to rewrite about 60 pages from memory. With so many frustrations, I stopped writing it and then a little later I started Parallel Worlds, which had a similar theme. What a crazy coincidence to Harry Potter! I've said this before that reading Harry Potter (or listening to it, as was the case) was what got me excited to finish my book, so thanks J.K. Rowling for giving me a kick in the behind.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Little Miracles

Originally posted July 23, 2007 HERE

Today my wife turned on the garbage disposal with her hand inside of it. You have to first understand that her fingers are very important because she plays the piano and does many other things with them. The miracle is that the garbage disposal made a sound but didn't spin. She quickly turned it off and practically had a heart attack when she realized what she had just done.

Like most garbage disposals, ours normally starts grinding away the second you flip the switch, so it was definitely a miracle that she didn't just grind up her fingers.

New Swimming Pool!

The ongoing saga is Here

Well, after 6 years of waiting, we've finally decided to get a swimming pool, and we're finally extending our patio. We've had 7 pool companies come and give us their spill. It was pretty frustrating, since everyone had different opinions and many of the pool guys contradicted each other.

Finally, my wife and I went online and did some research to get the real answers from non-biased sources (i.e. from people who are not trying to sell us something).

We almost went with one company who was going to totally rip us off. They sounded good, but upon further investigation, it was all a crock. We found a dozen complaints against them last year as well. Thank heavens that we kept looking at pool companies.

So in the end, we're getting an 81 perimeter pool with an 8-foot slide. No diving board, but it will have a sheer decent (little waterfall) for the boys to jump off and crack their skulls. Should be fun.

When I was younger I used to jump off of our roof into the swimming pool. Now-a-days, everyone is so cautious about everything. Now that I'm a daddy, I am super protective. The slide we're getting has a special barrier around the ladder so the kids won't fall off when climbing.

So my wife and I spent the whole day clearing out our back yard. It was grueling work. I had to remove a fence and put it back up in a different location to keep our tortoises away from the pool area. We had to make a pathway, clear bricks, cut down trees and the worst part.... I spent hours digging in a place that I could have sworn I put a 4 inch pipe. I flooded the area and will try again. Basically, I put a 10 foot pipe under our concrete. The problem is that the concrete slab is 12 feet, which means, I had to dig 1 foot under each end of the concrete to find the pipe.... I never did find it. ARRRg. So tomorrow I'll try again.

Jerry D. Simmons 1-day Writers Seminar

Originally posted May 15, 2007 at

I have seen and heard Jerry D. Simmons speak at several other conventions. He has a lot of good things to say but much of it doesn't apply to me, since I have a small publisher at this time. He tends to feel that knowledge is power... however, I'd rather he spend more time telling us how we can actually apply that knowledge.

I got a lot of good out of this seminar. It was pretty pricey for a 1-day seminar (i.e. $100) and they sent me an email telling me that they weren't going to provide me a lunch because I registered later than everyone else. Bummer. The library doesn't allow you to bring food in, so I sat there while everyone ate their boxed lunches.

The #1 good piece of advice I got was that I can make arrangements with bookstores like Changing Hands and Poisoned Pen for me to buy my own books from them at cost so I can sell them on my own. My publisher gives me a steep discount, but they do charge for shipping. I'm hoping that it would be the same price for me to just go through the independent book stores. Another good thing this would do is allow me to actually get credit for selling my own book. If I bought the books directly from my publisher, the sales wouldn't be recorded in the universal database that many bookstores share.

Here's some info about the speakers.

MONA GAMBETTA, Public Relations Director for the bestselling author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki and the architect for Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki's #1 bestselling book; Why We Want You to be Rich.

CINDY DACH is Marketing & Events Director at Publisher Weekly's 2007 Bookseller of the Year, Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona. She is the creator of the national author tours including First Fiction, which partners independent bookstores, publishers, and bands together to create unique author events. Cindy is also involved with the Roosevelt Row Arts District and the development of arts as an integral part of the revitalization of downtown Phoenix.

NANCY McCURRY is a freelance editor and founder of ALL ABOUT BOOKS, a Phoenix-based editing bureau. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from the prestigious Goddard College and though she specializes in nonfiction and personal narrative, she is fully versed in fiction and nontraditional learning and teaching strategies. Nancy has multiple publishing credits as well as national awards in short story, short-short story, personal narrative and essay.

JERRY D. SIMMONS is the former Vice-President, Director of Field Sales for the Time Warner Book Group in New York, and has more than 25-years publsihing experience. The author of What Writers Need to Know About Publishing, Jerry is a nationally recognized speaker and the founder of this website, as well as the recently launched, an innovative new way for Independent Writers to market themselves and their books.

Leprecon 33

Originally posted May 15, 2007 at

I only went to the Friday session of Leprecon 33.

It wasn't my favorite convention, since it was more focused on art and music. I think I recognized just about every single person there from previous conventions. Wow! It was a very small convention.

As I attended the panels and got some glimpses of what was in the art show, I was reminded how different my tastes are than most of my colleagues. I have no interest in erotica.

Arizona Book Festival

Originally posted April 14, 2007 at

I just got back from the Arizona Book Festival

I heard about this convention from Amy Black, the Corporate Sales Coordinator for the Borders bookstore in Chandler, a year ago at the Nebula convention. I almost didn’t come but I’m very glad I did. I was able to see Amy again (a very sweet lady) and I was also able to meet Maureen Piano, another author from Windstorm Creative. It was a big surprise for both of us. This is exciting because now I have a fellow author that I can associate and promote my books with at future conventions. Also we can share the costs of a booth in the future. Perhaps Windstorm will pay the costs. So far, my convention excursions have been fairly lonesome. Still, I have learned a lot of valuable information, but I have evolved to the point that the new information I do learn is diminishing, since I’ve heard most of it before.

This convention was for families, unlike the previous ones I’ve gone to... and it was free! I will definitely go to it again next year. A couple people asked me to send a review copy to them. Now that my work is starting to become stable, I hope to devote most of my time writing and promoting my new book.

Jared has Noonan's Syndrome . . . officially

My baby boy, Jared, has Noonan's Syndrome. It's official. The test results finally came back and they discovered a mutation in the SOS1 gene, which has been known to be related to Noonan's Syndrome. The doctors were going to diagnose him with Noonan's Syndrome, regardless of the test results, but now we have test results to prove it as well. This might be helpful along the line with help from the Government for children with disabilities.

So we're happy the test came back positive.

He is doing well, except for the feedings. We have to feed him a lot from a tube in his nose and because he's becoming more active (he's 6 months old) he's starting to pull the tube out more and more. This morning it took us about 10 tries to put the tube back in and it was so sad because it hurts him every time. What happens is that he cries and coughs so hard that the tube comes out his mouth as we are putting it in.

He's a sweetheart. He's finally starting to smile and coo and play a little with toys. He'll need surgery on both eyes and a few more surgeries on his body by the end of the year. We're getting a band for his head to form his head properly (the insurance actually approved that, which is great because it was going to cost us $3000).