Posted in Freedom Friday

Future Projects—Maybe

Now that I’ve announced the release date to the final installment of my Ranger Martin trilogy, a heavy weight has lifted from my shoulders. If someone were to have said to me a few years ago that I’d have a trilogy out by Fall 2015, I would have thought he or she had lost their mind. Yet here it is, 2015, and in several months, the dream will have become a reality.

Perryville Prison
Perryville Prison

With the series fully complete, a number of other projects have fallen on my lap. I could easily tell you what they are, but then where would the fun be when I announce them? Rather, I’ll give you a hint about some of the things I’m working on, then you can tell me if you like the idea or not.

Part of my method to my insanity is diving into heavy research of a subject until I can make that research part of the story without it sounding made up. You can read some of the crazy topics I’ve written about here:

Why Don’t Zombies Eat Each Other?
Real Zombie Stories
Top 10 Most Horrifying Parasites
Zombies and Mental Illness
Zombie Animals
What Makes Horror Movies Scary?
Why do Zombies Eat Brains?
Zombie Apocalypse: Causes
A Zombie Primer
Death’s Cure

The other side of the research is byproduct subjects I never intended to write about, but nonetheless seemed fascinating to explore at the time. Things such as these:

The Human Brain
How to Sleep Well
Heads Down
Social Media Vacation
Being of Value
A Law of Success
A Day Off
Bully
Insomnia
Stream of Consciousness

Given this happens often, one of the settings to the first book in the Ranger Martin series takes place in a prison called Katlyn County Jail in Arizona. The inspiration for this setting was Perryville Prison located west of Phoenix in Goodyear. Little did I know that last month it had become the center of talk in the media for a famous criminal case that had ended. I won’t go into the details of the case, but I’m sure those familiar with it know what I’m talking about.

My natural inclination to write a book about prison life actually sparked an interest in me. That’s as far as I will go hinting on that idea. Okay, maybe I’ll go a bit deeper here. Prison can be the worst place on earth or a learning ground. Also, there are different kinds of prisons. There is the concrete kind where the prisoners are behind bars paying their dues, then there is the prison we create in our minds that we can’t escape without either helping ourselves or others helping us.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

Another idea I’ve been looking at has to do with time. I like the idea of time travel, but in a non-linear fashion where the time continuum becomes corrupted. Einstein proved time is relative. Wouldn’t it be interesting meeting yourself and finding you’ve lived an entirely different life?

Well, that’s about it for now. I had other things I wanted to mention, but I think that’s enough to give you folks an idea of where I’m heading. These ideas may or may not happen, depends if I can find a story in them, but know I’m always open to writing about anything.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Do you like prison tales? What about time travel stories, do you like those?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Marty McFly

Hello, McFly? I remember it so well. I was barely out of high school. It became the feel-good hit of the summer. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Back to the Future raked in piles of cash and made Michael J. Fox a household name.

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly
Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly

For this week’s Wednesday Warriors, I salute Marty McFly, the kid who went back to the past to save the future.

This is one movie I’d love to spoil—but I won’t. If you’ve seen Back to the Future then you’ll know how wonderful a film it is. Shot in the mid-1980s, the flick features a time machine, plutonium, terrorists and a smart story wrapped in a catchy tune by Huey Lewis and the News called Back In Time.

Thirty years later, we have yet to have a working hoverboard, but that’s getting ahead of the story. [Edit: The hoverboard is real and you can see Tony Hawk riding it here!]

Michael J. Fox plays a kid who travels back in time to save his best friend’s life. The story takes a comedic turn when he actually spends a good chunk of it playing matchmaker to his teenage parents. Through Marty’s eyes, the audience enjoys the treat of working through multiple plot connections between timelines and characters. What happens in the past does not stay in the past.

Marty McFly
Marty McFly

What I find fascinating about the film is how it possesses the ability to stir the imagination with a simple story that grows more complex by the minute. I call it the mushroom effect. Like a mushroom cloud that begins with a small impact so does this story propel the viewer into a world of hilarity. If you’ve seen a rendition of The Barber of Seville, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The film also deals with time in an interesting way. The theory that someone could go back in time is not new. Einstein proved time is relative. We are now receiving images of supernovas that have long since disappeared from the universe all because their light has finally reached our telescopes after nine billion years. When we look into the sky, we’re looking at a snapshot back in time. The Back to the Future series presents the idea of parallel universes based on a changed time continuum. Star Trek deals with the same idea, but I digress.

Marty McFly’s special nervous way about him makes him the ideal candidate to suffer through the nonsense of a time breach. His witty comebacks allow for unexpected results where they insult the class bully, but also attract the wrong kind of female attention. His love for music also brings a new twist to the theme of who really invented Rock and Roll. If anyone needs to relax, it’s Marty. He expends enough energy on the screen to power several nuclear power plants.

But overall, when picking my favorite Top 10 movie characters, I would choose Marty. No matter how bad a situation gets, he’ll always end up making me laugh.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen Back to the Future? Have you seen it more than once? What makes it so magical?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Being of Value

Albert Einstein once said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

I’ve never been much of a philosopher although I’m sure in past Freedom Friday posts I blurted a few words that may have made sense. For instance, I know success is a moving target. I’ve seen lots of folks chasing it, too. They’ve gone to great lengths in an attempt to get what they want and proclaim it a success. Have a look at some of the titles in bookstores. You’ll find shelves devoted to the topic of how to be successful. It’s a popular subject.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

Getting back to Einstein, not many people know that in 1895, when Einstein was sixteen, he failed to achieve the required standard for the general portion of his Swiss Federal Polytechnic’s entrance exam in Zürich. He did obtain, however, stellar marks for physics and mathematics. Eventually, his studies led him to a four-year teaching diploma program in physics and mathematics. During that period, he met his future wife Mileva Marić who was the only female registered in the same program. Romance blossomed, and he graduated in 1900. But because of poor grades in mathematics, Marić failed to graduate with a teaching diploma.

Still with me? There’s a point to this mini-biography. Bear with me.

Now, Einstein married Marić in 1903 and produced two sons. What historians later found out is Einstein and Marić had a daughter in 1902. She ended up either adopted or died of scarlet fever as a baby. Either way, he never saw her because Marić was staying with her parents when she had given birth. In those days, pregnancy out of wedlock was a major stigma that would have caused loss of employment and social standing. In 1919, after having lived apart for five years, they divorced and he married his first cousin Elsa Löwenthal who later died in 1936 from heart and kidney problems.

Portrait of Albert Einstein
Portrait of Albert Einstein

Once out of school, Einstein was without work for two years, unable to find a position in the teaching profession. He later found a job with the Swiss Patent Office, which, although paid the bills, his superiors kept passing him over for promotion.

In the midst of his personal failures, loss of a child, marriage breakup, affair—he was seeing Löwenthal in 1912, two years before his separation from Marić—Einstein retained his sense of humor. He founded a self-mocking discussion group called The Olympia Academy, which focused on philosophy, and science. At the patent office, he also fielded questions regarding electrical-mechanical synchronization and electric signals that led him to sweeping conclusions about the nature of light, space and time.

The year 1905 was Einstein’s annus mirabilis or the miracle year, in some circles The Wonderful Year. He published four landmark papers in the Annalen der Physik, a German physics journal. These papers became the foundation of today’s modern physics. During this same year, Einstein came up with his now famous special theory of relativity equation e = mc².

It’s not difficult to see Einstein’s impact on our lives today. With his radical ideas on time and space, we wouldn’t have GPS (Global Positioning System) to tell us where we are and where we are going. We also wouldn’t have touch screens, which aided in the creation of this post. I’m sure as the years progress, scientists will discover more new applications for Einstein’s theories.

To me, though, Albert Einstein is an example of someone who loved what he did in spite of the personal and professional setbacks in his life. He contributed incredible ideas and became synonymous with the word genius. It’s been well over one hundred years since he revolutionized physics with his theory of relativity. And even though many may not remember his successes, the value of his gifts to our everyday life is priceless.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Did you know Einstein had so many failures to overcome?