An Update on TRR

I don't have much to share with you in relation to LU, so I thought I'd update you on The Rat Race (my side-project turned 1100+ pg. monster). As of this very moment, TRR is 615,314 words long. Or 1110 pages, whichever you prefer. Normally I wouldn't bother you with a word count, but TRR is now longer than Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. People have asked me why I haven't split it into several books, but it's just not one of those stories; it spans almost two years so far, and while TRR probably could be divided up, it seems more natural to simply let the action flow. You know, like real life does. I may consider chopping it up when I got back and edit it later, but for now, it remains one, seamless story. 

     Since I know none of you have read TRR and probably don't remember its plot, I'll just leave you with this teensy intro scene, voiced by one of the main characters (Sam Decker). I haven't edited this since I wrote it almost two years ago. Sorry if it's total rubbish >.< 

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy! 


I’ve heard the stories. About how, so many years ago, men would go to tracks and watch horses race. They’d dress up in their Sunday best, don hats and slacks and nice shoes, and take their wives to the races on clear, sunny days and bet with their friends on which animal would win. They would peer at the horses and jockeys with their binoculars and sip on dainty little drinks while they watched. The betting was friendly and good-natured, if competitive. The grass in the center of the track was always lush and green, and the track itself was kept clean and pleasant to the eyes. There was a wreath of flowers for the winner and his horse, and a gold cup that meant he was the greatest that year. The gamblers were gracious and gentlemanly with each other, and so were the jockeys and owners. Their wives chatted with one another under the shade of lacy parasols and were proper and mannerly.

It was considered bad sportsmanship to curse or become overly upset with the results of the horse they bet on. Everything was bright and clean and innocent and pleasant. It was a gentleman’s sport, saved only for those of wealth, men who worked hard and used their intellect to get to the top of their little worlds. Men of good character and morals, who loved their sport and would never do anything to betray it.

Those were the people my father told me about when I asked him how the mudhorse races started. I didn’t believe him at first, that people like that really existed, or that the races were really like that at one time. Everything in those stories seemed to cry fantasy, like they were the imaginings of some silly girl who was envious of the posh life of the upper class. Even today, I’m not sure I believe his stories, though I want to—they’re the only thing I have left of him.

Of either of my parents, actually; they both died of fever when I was eight, and they had nothing to leave to me except the memories of their voices and their stories. But that’s a better inheritance than becoming a mudhorse when I was nine. My dad, he was a woodcutter; I had nothing to inherit from him when he died. The races were my only option, and they’ve kept me alive these six years.

I’m a mudhorse. Once, I was the son of a woodcutter, but now I have nothing but the races and the mud and the sweat and the betting.

But those silly stories, about the gentlemen and their ladies and their horses, I still like hearing them. They’re how the mudhorse races began—even if the truth has been stretched and distorted—and they make me feel like there’s still some hope for us mudhorses, despite what the rest of the world tells us. Like maybe we can go back to that someday. Like maybe there are still some honest, good people in the world. If there are, I’ve never met them, but maybe one will turn up some day and convince me that all the goodness isn’t gone.

No. It is all gone.

I’m a mudhorse, and the world is cruel.

Back in the 'Burg

A.R. and M.F. prepare for the spoons championship round

I have successfully finished my first week of sophomore year! This semester has already been 100x more fun than last year; I've shopped at a farmer's market, played spoons, watched Captain America: The Winter Solider, baked cookies, learned how to use a Tier 1 camera, and laughed (a lot). My quad is much more active, friendly, and goofy than last year's, and I've made friends with all of M.F.'s quaddies too. Last night, for example, we cooked spaghetti and meatballs, made garlic bread, jammed to electro-swing, made a cake, ate ice cream, played spoons, and watched The Winter Solider. And it was just as fun as it sounds. 

     Today I attended my Saturday class, in which I learned how to operate, set up, and dismantle a Tier 1 (Sony HDR-AX2000) camera. This class is an equipment workshop that all Digital Media majors (i.e. me) have to pass before we can use LU's cameras / audio / video equipment. Even though it's technically a four-hour class, we got out after about two hours, and the class is only four Saturdays long, so it's not that bad. It'll be nice to have Saturday off once the class is finished, though. 

      All of my other classes are going well so far. Creation Studies is by far my favorite, and I have a friend in that class, so that's a bonus. I'm also taking World Lit., European History, Psychology, Biblical Worldview, and Math ... this semester will be a busy one. 

     Which is not to say that I have no time for writing. TRR currently sits at 560,000+ words (1025 pages), and it grows daily. An idea for a new sci-fi story popped into my head a few days ago, and I'm fighting the urge to start a new book ... I'll never finish TRR if I quit now! But someday I'll get that other story down on paper. Promise.

     It's gonna be a good year, y'all! Hope you're having a great week too, and I'll try to keep you updated on my doings up here at LU. Ciao for now, lovely people :) 

Phone Interview

Just got off the phone with a reporter from The News Dispatch who wants to write an article about me and my books! The article probably won't be published until next week, but I thought I'd give you all a heads-up so you can be on the lookout for it! :) 

Flex Those Reviewing Muscles

Hey, readers! If you’ve read Fallen Rose and enjoyed it in any way, shape, or form, please head over to Amazon and give it a review. This lets potential buyers know that others loved it and encourages them to purchase a copy for themselves—and remember, the more books I sell, the closer you get to Book Three

A short update on B3 for you: I've written 270 pages, and there are several characters returning from YF. In fact, I'm writing a scene with a returned character at this very moment. Any thoughts as to who it might be? Is there someone from YF you'd like to see again? Let me know! :) 

Character Profile: Zoser (sort of)

We first hear mention of Zoser in Young Falcon when Lord Riyad (governor of Meneltauré) reveals that there is another young assassin besides Lliam working for the humans’ mysterious leader—this, of course, is Roman. Elysia knows the tales of the War of the Red Moon, the first great battle between the elves and humans, and later learns that Zoser was the instigator of that seven hundred-year-old war, as well. Though baffled by his timelessness and virtually negligible information about Zoser, also known as Neron, she doesn’t have her first encounter with the man until Fallen Rose. He isn’t exactly what she expected—blonde, blue-eyed, well-mannered, and seemingly filled with true love for his people, Zoser presents the greatest threat to the elves’ comfortable lives. But Lliam has no love for his employer, and Elysia suspects a darker side to this man who wishes to reclaim her home for his own people in revenge for past wrongs.

I would love to tell you all about Zoser; besides Lliam and Roman, he’s one of my favorite characters in S&D. You’ll learn some fascinating tidbits about his past (who is Cerwin’s mother?), get a thorough glimpse inside his head, and come away with a solid understanding of who he is as a person. After all, evil people never believe themselves to be the villains. Is he really evil? Or do the elves deserve this, after everything they did to the humans during the last war?

One of the major focuses in Book Three will be the grey areas of war and interpersonal conflict. If you thought there was tension in Fallen Rose, wait ‘til you get your hands on Book Three! There is drama galore, mostly fueled by our favorite sulky assassin, Roman. War looms ever closer, driven by the reappearance of Zoser’s oldest enemies (it ain’t the elves) and members of a certain fiery nature.

Zoser becomes a main character in Book Three—he has his own storyline, and I can tell you that there will be some high-seas adventure! Maybe even some swashbuckling? No, don’t worry, I’m not throwing pirates into the mix ;) And through everyone’s storylines runs the question: who is right? The humans? The elves? Can they both possibly be right? Hmm, philosophy—gotta love it. Since I know everyone’s entire backstory, know who’s right, but as the story progresses, I’ll tease the question until you hate me. (But hopefully you’ll still like me enough to buy the books! :) ) 

So I can't tell you a lot about Zoser yet, but know that you'll be seeing much more of him in Book Three, as well as Cerwin, the twins, Haidan, Elysia, and some new characters as well! The guy’s got his own storyline. It’ll be great. And if, for some reason, you haven’t yet read Young Falcon and / or Fallen Roseget yourself a copy pronto

Dripping Springs Presentation

Had a great time presenting my books at the Dripping Springs Community Library today! Some church friends came out and bought books, as well as some young writers. I spoke about my publishing experiences, as well as some general writing tips, and overall, it went really well! :) Libraries aren't usually the best places to sell, but this one was unusually productive, and I'm glad some young writers came out to see me! They asked some great questions.

         Hope you all have a lovely day! :) 

And if you haven't yet picked up a copy of Young Falcon and Fallen Rose, you can click here and here to check them out on Amazon! 

Market Days in Belton

Outside the McWha Book Store

On Saturday I had a signing at the McWha's book store in Belton, during their monthly Market Days. Vendors come and set up along the main streets of Belton and sell items such as plants, bird houses, paintings, jewelry, snow cones, and various other fun stuff. I did a signing there last year as well, and once over Christmas, so despite the brutal Texas heat, I enjoyed my time there and even sold a few books! My friend G.C. and her mom surprised me by showing up after lunch, and they stayed with us until the event ended at two. G.C. and I briefly left the table to look around, and I found some great books about medicinal herbs and foods (a newfound interest of mine) in the store. I got three sizable books for only $11! Great store—check them out. 

      And coming up this Saturday, the 25th, I will be speaking at the Dripping Springs Community Library about the writing and publishing process. This will take place at 1 in the conference room, so swing by, have a listen, and buy Young Falcon and / or Fallen Rose if you haven't yet gotten the chance! (And there will be cookies.) You can register for the event here, and if you plan to go, you need to register so we can have enough space for everyone :) 

      Hope to see you there, and have a lovely summer day! 

Adventures in Deutschland

I returned from Germany last week with a camera full of pictures and a new appreciation for the rolling green pastures of Bavaria. A more picturesque place, I can hardly imagine; there were window boxes and gardens full of roses and every other beautiful flower imaginable, fields of barley, quaint, colorful little houses, and bicyclers coasting along neatly-kept trails. A castle presided over the village where my brother lives, surrounded by a moat, and swans glided along the peaceful waters outside the small church. Basically, I wanted to pack up and move to Germany by the end of our twelve days in Bavaria. However, my German skills don't extend far beyond danke and Hallo, so I don't think a trans-Atlantic move in is my near future.  

        After a looooong flight across the Big Blue, we landed in Frankfurt and drove to the aforementioned village where my brother, sister-in-law, and niece live. In order to accomplish this, my mom and I were introduced to the autobahn—for those of you who aren't familiar, this is the stretch of road on which Germans may speed along at speeds of 100, 120, 125, etc. But fear not: that's kilometers, not miles per hour ;) Still, it was an experience. 

       Upon reaching my brother's house, we settled in, unpacked, and met my wee niece for the first time! She was still very new and tiny but has been able to raise her head and look around from day one; she's extremely alert and likes taking in all the new sights. She even gave me a smile or two while I was holding her :) 

       The next day, my brother's mother-in-law (MIL), Mom, and I went to the train station and rode to Nürnberg, where we viewed a cathedral or two, shopped in the vegetable / fruit markets and stores, and walked along the wall that surrounds the city. When it came time for lunch, we met my brother, SIL, and niece at a little restaurant, at which I had sausage goulash and some crepes. Germans love their potatoes; apparently every meal in Germany includes some type of spuds, whether it be French fries ("pommes") or something a bit fancier. 

       My brother took me to the castle when we returned, and we strolled around the premise admiring the swans and trying to keep Zuri, my brother's German shepherd, from plunging into the water after the ducks. The walk back to the house from the castle is a pleasant one through some fields and along a few budding pomegranate trees; I made the trek twice over the course of my stay and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. 

      Next we ventured to Ansbach with the crew. Here we visited St. Johannis' cathedral and one other (whose name escapes me) with a decidedly French flair and a mega-amazing pipe organ. I probably spent more time gawking up at the organ than paying attention to anything else. We also toured The Orangerie, a glorified mansion and ballroom often used for military balls and other such fancy events. It included several fountains, lush gardens, weird statues, and a restaurant. 

      My dad joined us shortly afterwards, having stayed in the U.S. longer so he could attend to work stuff. Once he came, we all packed up and went to Rothenburg via train. This place was pretty darn cool; it's the oldest walled city in Germany and boasts almost as many shops as Italy ;) We toured a few more cathedrals, ate in a hotel restaurant (where I had lamb ravioli), and enjoyed the profoundly German flavor of the city. 

       It was here that my SIL noticed an ad for a medieval shop nearby, and I, being the weapons fanatic that I am, dragged my poor family to see it. This place was basically Heaven. Swords, bows, knives, pistols from wall to ceiling, a basement stylized like a medieval prison, The Lord of the Rings chess sets, medieval clothing—goodness, it was amazing. Now, I've had my eye on a flintlock pistol for the past year or so but never imagined finding one (at an affordable price!) in Germany. Only decorative, but still beautiful and now mine :) I also procured a German knife (I collect knives from each country I visit), so the day was doubly productive. Definitely my favorite store that we visited! We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant overlooking a pristine golf course, on which my brother and dad played over the weekend. 

       During our last days in Germany, we got in lots of time with the baby, enjoyed my brother's cooking, and took Zuri on many long walks. We spent our last night in Frankfurt and then headed to the airport the next morning. On the 10 and a half hour flight home, I watched The Hobbit: Battle of the Five ArmiesAnnie, and Frozen. And wrote, as always. It was a great trip, and I look forward to hopping the pond next year when I venture to Scotland, England, Ireland, and Wales! Have I mentioned how much I love traveling? An expensive love, unfortunately, but well worth it, I think! Well, that's all for now, lovely readers of this blog. Hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Deutschland! :) 

Germany, Here I Come

The wee one is finally here, and we're headed to Germany to see her very soon. I've been looking forward to this trip for quite some time and am eager to hop the pond to see them all! 

    In the meantime, G.C. and I are headed to a play tonight to see a fellow author and her siblings perform. It'll be performed outdoors, but thankfully, the play doesn't start until 8. In other words, pray we don't faint from this dern Texas heat ;) 

     I'm still working on getting my driver's license. Maybe I'll get it before my twentieth birthday. Maybe. Haha! 

      B3 has grown by a few pages, and TRR grows daily. I have a few events / signings scheduled for July and August, but for now, Germany is the main event of the summer. As requested, I shall take way too many pictures and post them at some point, whether here, my website, or my Facebook page. Probably all three. 

     And once I get home, I start online classes, so those and driving will likely constitute the rest of my summer. I'm eager to return to LU in the fall and begin life as a college sophomore, and I'm so thankful that my amazing writer friend M.F. will be on the same hall with me! Next year's gonna be great. 

     I'll be back soon with pictures! Have a great summer, eat organic veggies, and don't do stupid things.