Posted in Monday Mayhem

Ranger Martin Concept Art

Now that the jacket for Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse is complete, I can concentrate on my golf swing, cracking open a bottle of champagne, and getting my yacht tuned-up for a mid-September Caribbean jaunt of sorts. Ha, as if. I’m going to be busy the next few months more than usual in preparation for my book’s release. So, I thought before heading into the unknown, for Monday Mayhem I’d give you a tour of my book’s jacket. It’s an interesting story. I hope you’ll like it.

Somewhere in Utah
Somewhere in Utah

A few months ago, I complained to my wife, well, more like explained, I hadn’t come up with any concept art for my book’s jacket. Being the practical person she is, she suggested I work through my 14,600+ photo collection and find something in there. My initial feeling was positive. Something I had shot years gone by must have some semblance of my book’s concept. I didn’t worry about it much, but it was in the back of my mind as something I needed to do.

In the meantime, my wife also asked me if I had any ideas of what I wanted on the jacket. I answered her with the very clichéd, overused statement, “I’ll know when I see it.” In fact, that’s exactly what I thought.

Anyway, as the months went by and I sifted through my vast collection of digital photos I had taken over the course of nine years, I was finding I didn’t see what I was looking for. I had a very specific idea, but nothing really stood out as “the” photo I wanted to use as a representation for the book.

Eventually, I spoke with one of my friends about the problem and over a period of a few weeks, the subject would come up over tea. I would hum and haw and he would placate my need for resolution of my creative plight. He’d ask what I was looking for and I’d say, “I’ll know when I see it.”

This whole thing between my wife, my photos, my friend and I continued for months.

Ranger Martin and The Zombie ApocalypseThat is until one day, my friend and I were having tea and talk surfaced of his trip he’d taken last year to Utah. I thought for a moment and asked if he had photos of that eventful journey. He did. I asked if I could have a look at a few. He asked how many? I said a handful; I was looking for those Utah mountains with the flat tops.

A few weeks later, he gave me an assorted collection of photos, and as I perused them, the seventh photo in the lot jumped out at me. Seriously, the “I’ll know when I see it” statement turned into “this is the one” statement. I had no doubt I had the right one.

And right there, within the span of seconds after seeing it I described to him how I would crop, darken and perhaps add a few elements to the photo to make it more dramatic in order to convey the book’s theme. The assessment went that fast.

That very weekend I spent playing with the photo exactly as I’d described to my friend. I didn’t deviate one bit from the plan. I implemented everything I said I was going to put in it and then some.

When I showed it to him a few days later, his jaw dropped to the floor. He couldn’t believe it was the same photo. Hey, I couldn’t believe it was the same photo.

So that’s how the book’s jacket came to be. I hope you found that story just as interesting to read as it was for me to write.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Are you curious about anything I may have not mentioned about the concept art?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Jokes

I have a weird sense of humor. Dark? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t laugh at other people’s misfortunes or anything. But when I see people with good intentions do silly things and end up making a mess of everything—I can’t help but laugh. Like the little girl who flushed the diaper down the toilet and wondered why all the other toilets in the house flooded.

George Clooney at Toronto International Film Festival
George Clooney at Toronto International Film Festival

Freedom Friday affords me the opportunity to explore why I’d get a kick from those silly folks. I suppose it has to do with my upbringing as the kid of a family of practical jokers. Then again, perhaps it’s my own innate desire for acceptance that precludes me from carrying on a serious conversation in a meaningful way.

Nah, that’s too deep for anyone to wrap their heads around. Whatever. While I think about it, I thought I’d share with y’all my favorite jokes. Maybe my weird sense of humor will make sense after reading these. Enjoy!

FORGET ABOUT IT

An elderly husband and wife visit their doctor when they begin forgetting little things. Their doctor tells them that many people find it useful to write themselves little notes.

When they get home, the wife says, “Dear, will you please go to the kitchen and get me a dish of ice cream? And maybe write that down so you won’t forget?”

“Nonsense,” says the husband, “I can remember a dish of ice cream.”

“Well,” says the wife, “I’d also like some strawberries and whipped cream on it.”

“My memory’s not all that bad,” says the husband. “No problem—a dish of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream. I don’t need to write it down.”

He goes into the kitchen; his wife hears pots and pans banging around. The husband finally emerges from the kitchen and presents his wife with a plate of bacon and eggs.

She looks at the plate and asks, “Hey, where’s the toast I asked for?”

TRUCK DRIVER & THE BIKERS

A truck driver stopped at a roadside diner for lunch and ordered a cheeseburger, coffee and a slice of apple pie. As he was about to eat, three bikers walked in.

One grabbed the trucker’s cheeseburger and took a huge bite from it. The second one drank the trucker’s coffee, and the third wolfed down his apple pie. The truck driver didn’t say a word as he paid the waitress and left.

As the waitress walked up, one of the motorcyclists growled, “He ain’t much of a man, is he?”

“He’s not much of a driver, either,” the waitress replied. “He just backed his 18-wheeler over three motorcycles.”

GOLF BUDDIES

There was an old man named Bill, and one of the things he most enjoyed was playing golf with his old buddy Fred. Bill’s wife always commented on how happy he looked after a game.

But one day he came home from their weekly game looking terrible and very tired. His wife asked, “What’s the matter, Bill? You always seem so happy after golf and you look miserable right now.”

Bill said, “Well, something terrible happened. Fred had a heart attack on the first hole.”

“My goodness, honey!” said the wife, rushing to comfort him. “That must’ve been terrible!”

“It was,” he said. “All day long it was: hit the ball, drag Fred to the ball, and then hit it again…”

Do you have any jokes you’d like to share with us?