Archives 2020

Book Launch, Savior of Dayspring

The latest book in the Silverwood Chronicles series is done and we will be launching it at the Monroe County Fairgrounds during the Christmas at the Fairgrounds Gift Show on November 14th, 9am-3pm. I will be signing books and answering questions about the series.

We will also be showcasing my card game, Super Computer and the latest expansion. There will be great deals for the holidays, so I hope you will plan on stopping by and seeing what we have to offer.

Flashback: Mary & Joseph The Musical

Many things get accomplished when you rearrange and cleanup your office. The workspace is refreshed, which for me sparks a new surge of creativity. Items that have accumulated finally get put in their rightful resting place, usually the trashcan. Items that have managed to survive such previous purging now have the opportunity to be revisited in hopes they survive the current round.

This is where we begin. I have accumulated a lot of paper. Now, most people garner their fair share of bills, tax returns, school papers from their thirty-year-old’s fourth grade math assignment as examples. In addition to all of the above — yes I’m guilty, I still have papers from my oldest’s (not thirty yet) elementary school days — I have manage to write a lot. Unfortunately, it has been left scattered to various binders and folders over the years, but this week, I consolidated.

What does that mean? It means I kept one copy of the fifteen copies of the same one page poem and eliminated the others. It dawned on me that I have more unpublished writings than I do published which I am sure is true of every author. My intent with this series is to explore some of these lost gems of yesteryear in hopes that I spur some fond memories in those individuals that I many of these items touched.

My first product that I want to reminisce is the largest theatrical endeavor I believe I’ve ever undertaken. Some of my prose readers may not realize that I began my writing career in the theatrical genre. Many of these flashbacks will cover some of the plays that I’ve written. Mary & Joseph, started out as a simple effort to craft a new play for Christmas. What I ended up with was a two act, nine scene musical with eight original songs. The story was just supposed to be a modern day retelling of the Biblical account of Mary and Joseph from Luke chapter 2. Simple, right?

Let me step back and give you some history. I had just closed down my computer business at the start of the year, and I had taken a new job in downtown Indianapolis working at the Indiana State Department of Health. More specifically, I sat in a basement office underneath the sidewalks of Meridian Street, where, when it rained hard, we had to throw plastic sheets over our monitors so as not to destroy our computers.

Another cool sign of the times were smartphones were becoming all the rage. I had procured a Samsung SPH-i500 flip phone.

Samsung SPH-i500

This phone had the ability to recognize a certain handwriting style called graffiti. You could literally, write letters in the little gray square above the number pad and it would translate them into characters on the phone’s apps. Needless to say, this is how I wrote the vast majority of this musical’s dialog, while sitting in the Indianapolis Arts garden on my lunch breaks.

As the dialog began to flow, the idea for some songs came along with it. Before the end of spring 2000, I had written most of the scenes and all eight of the songs’ lyrics, but this is where things got real challenging.

I love music. I was in choir most of my life. I took piano lessons when I was younger, but I was not a composer. Time was limited, so I grabbed an old Casio keyboard that ran on double-A batteries and stashed it in my car. Now, instead of the peaceful, inspiring atmosphere of the Arts Garden, I spent my lunch breaks in my burning hot car, plucking notes out on that keyboard day after day. Even after weeks and weeks of cooking myself, I still barely had a melody line for four of them.

This is where Pastor Ben stepped in. Pastor Ben is a musician at heart, and he knew that I was trying to create something . . . above average. So, he put me in contact with one of his old friends named Greg. I believe Greg was affiliated with the Symphony. He invited me up to his home/studio and I sat down with him for a couple of hours. I explained to him what I was trying to accomplish, and I shared with him the notes I had jotted down.

What Do I Do Music
Original Notes from Mary & Joseph The Musical

What he did next blew me away. After studying each score, and asking a few more questions, he sat down at his keyboard and started playing precisely what I had heard in my head all those days I spent hunting and pecking on my Casio keyboard in that car.

Unfortunately, we were only able to do a handful of the total songs, because I had simply ran out of time. Pastor Ben and his daughter Ashley composed the music for my favorite song of the whole musical, “Anytime Now”, which announced the birth of Christ.

To this day during the Christmas music season, I will find myself recalling the lyrics to that particular song. I know there’s a recording of it somewhere. Maybe someday, I’ll stumble across it.

September 24th, 2020, marks the 20th anniversary of Mary & Joseph first rehearsal (at least by my records). 13 rehearsals later would be our first of two performances on December 15th and 16th of 2000.

Many people from my church came together to pull this production. So many helped out. In looking at the program, I was amazed that we were able to get it all together.

Cover Art for Musical
Cover Artwork for Mary & Joseph

Is silent progress still progress?

The title of this post is in reference to the old adage, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make any sound?” This is to say, I’ve not been actively updating my blog for some time. My absence should not equate to inactivity, quite the contrary. I have many projects I would like to share with you regarding updates.

Book 5 of the Silverwood Chronicles, Savior of Dayspring, is now in production. I have high hopes that it will be available sometime in September. This is huge for me as this completes the five book series that I started back in 2014. I can remember on several occasions during one of the many planning sessions with my creative consultant (also known as daddy-daughter dates), that I was never sure I could get to the end. I knew what the end would look like, sort of, but I personally was never confident that I would make it. However, after 82 chapters, 428,140 words and over 1728 pages (I don’t have the final page count for book 5), I made it.

Next on the list is in the area of game development. Designing and building games is a passion of mine that I thoroughly enjoy, but requires a different aspect of my brain than writing does. Super Computer, the card game, has been a fun project. Along with the Core set, I have been able to produce a small expansion that allows the players to attack other system builders. The latest expansion is a step back in time. Builders get to add retro parts to their computer builds to score big points. This expansion is nearly complete, and should be available through my distributor or this website in time for Christmas. I have an third expansion in the works as well dealing with the Internet, but that development has stalled as other projects have gained traction.

Staying with the gaming genre. I’ve been working on a Silverwood game. I’ve gone through several prototypes, and I’m finalizing the rule sets now. Look for demos and opportunities to see this game coming up at future shows.

Finally, I’m looking at an old manuscript and dusting it off to see if it can make a nice Novelette. It happens to be that first fantasy story I wrote long ago, but there’s something about that story now that is hitting me as worth polishing up an telling. We will see. All it takes is time and with Covid limiting the external excursions, I seem to have a little bit more of it than usual.

Cover Designs for Book 5

Savior of Dayspring Cover Prototypes

Cover Prototype 7
Original Prototype for NaNoWriMo
Prototype 2
Prototype 3
Prototype 4
Prototype 6
Cover Prototype 7 Original Prototype for NaNoWriMo Prototype 2 Prototype 3 Prototype 4 Prototype 6