Thursday, December 31, 2015

Free Beaverton Library Book Fair for Local Authors

This was posted on Oregon Live:

"The Beaverton City Library will host a free local authors' book fair on Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12375 S.W. Fifth Street. The library is seeking writers from Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas counties to apply for a space to share and promote their latest work. All genres are welcome, including adult, young adult, and children's literature.

"Selected authors will receive table space to discuss and sell their books. There is no cost to participate and authors will keep 100 percent of proceeds from sales. In exchange, the library requests that each participating author donate two books, one of which will be raffled off to attendees and the other of which will be considered for inclusion in the library's collection. Donated books not added to the collection will be sold by the New Friends of the Beaverton Library to support library programs and services.

"Up to six authors will be invited to speak or read from their work at the event. Participants will be chosen by random drawing.

"Applications are due on Tuesday, March 15, 2016."

For more information or to request an application, contact Helen Butler at

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

PNW Writer's "Shannara" Books Debut in TV Series

One week from today (12/29/15) The Shannara Chronicles will air on MTV. January 5, 2016 marks the television debut of the series by Seattle/Cannon Beach writer Terry Brooks. The author's many post-apocalypse fantasy novels take place in the Four Lands (a future PNW*). To learn more visit the Wikipedia site for the books.

*The series was shot in New Zealand, but you'll see PNW icons (like the Space Needle).

To learn more about Terry Brooks click here.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Stories from Long Ago: A Martha Stewart Christmas

I'm pretty stoked for Christmas. Not only are there the presents and family gatherings, the decorations and special foods there are the "stories of long, long ago." I'm going to share some of those stories with you. These--there will be three of them (one each week now until Christmas)--come from my book Rocketman: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond. The book is a collection of personal essays, poems, short fic and photographs "from my sleepless life and addled imagination."

There are three Christmas stories in the book, here is the last of those three:

A Martha Stewart Holiday

After weeks of preparation by scores of technicians, staff consultants, creatives and artistic directors… 

Director: “Cue music and...roll titles!”

Camera one zooms from the tabletop centerpiece of candles and greenery. “And action!” Panning slowly right it comes to rest on a neat, blond woman standing in a beautiful kitchen. Camera one takes on a slow zoom.

“Good evening and welcome to my Inn. I’m Martha Stewart. There’s nothing quite as satisfying to me as preparation for a holiday. There’s something especially exciting this evening, as we are live here in Bethlehem for what promises to be the event of the ages.

“I’ve prepared a sumptuous meal of herbed lamb, roasted garlic, toasted pita bread, and myrrhed wine. I’ve chosen the very best lamb from my flock, only my finest grapes (which were pressed under the feet of eunuchs and fermented for 36 months), freshly ground grains have been combined in just the right mixture, and only my premium garden herbs and garlic have been selected. It’s a meal fit for a king!”

Cut to camera two showing a bed of cut greens, a candle, and other trimmings on a simple wood table.

“At the start of my show you saw the beautiful centerpiece I created for this momentous occasion. Here’s how I did it…” The manicured hands flash to work as a gentle Jewish lullaby plays softly in the background. Cut to remote cam outside in a humble stable. There a newborn infant rests on a bed of straw. Standing near the babe are a beautiful young girl and her husband. Silently they ponder the child.

Voice Over: “Earlier tonight, after my inn was quite full, a lovely peasant couple came to my door in search of lodging. I had nothing to offer them except my stable. She was pregnant and near her time. They had searched throughout the town, and it was the same all over—no room. I gave them what I had. Lucky for them I am also a skilled midwife.”

Cut back to the tabletop.

“This evening I offer you my very best in holiday d├ęcor and fine dining. And that’s a very good thing. Notice the cut of these greens—meticulously harvested at their peak and beveled just so. Now, take a piece of floral wire exactly one cubit long. Twist it firmly around the stem of the greenery and insert it into the floral foam at a precise 53.7 degree angle.”

Cut to camera two; a medium shot of our hostess.

“Detail and preparation are everything. Planning ahead is the key to any successful occasion. The couple out back could have easily sent a courier for reservations had they thought ahead. You’d never catch Martha off guard like that.”

Cut to remote cam.

“Notice the child’s fair mother, Mary. She is all wrapped up in her child, just as he is wrapped up in swaddling clothes. She is entirely unprepared for this festive occasion. She has neglected to make plans for the celebration and she and her family are missing out on the best the holiday has to offer.”

A slow lapse-dissolve brings us back to camera two.

“Unlike myself, she has missed the boat, so to speak. Now set the home cast candle, gently scented with frankincense, in the center of the greenery circle. There you have it—a fragrant royal centerpiece for the entire house to enjoy. Now on to the meal. Behold the lamb, without spot or blemish…”

* * *
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“Now it came to pass...a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word, while Martha was busy with serving. She came to him, and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.’

“And Jesus answered, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, you are so care-full and troubled about many things, but only one thing is really needful: It is Mary who has chosen that good thing, which will not be taken away from her.’” (KJV Bible, Luke 10:38-42, paraphrased)

Have yourself a Mary Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dialogue: Funny or Dull?

Sometimes it's not the dialogue you write, but what you write the dialogue about. Here's an example of what I mean:

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of BYU or the Mormon church. Studio C is a clean comedy show produced by the broadcast students of BYU. Be advised some of their episodes are tagged with propaganda.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Stories from Long Ago: The Christmas Tree Tyrant

I'm pretty stoked for Christmas. Not only are there the presents and family gatherings, the decorations and special foods there are the "stories of long, long ago." I'm going to share some of those stories with you. These--there will be three of them (one each week now until Christmas)--come from my book Rocketman: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond. The book is a collection of personal essays, poems, short fic and photographs "from my sleepless life and addled imagination."

There are three Christmas stories in the book, here is the second of those three:

The Christmas Tree Tyrant
Many families enjoy cutting their own Christmas tree. I have come to discover that such a venture for my family is seen as an ordeal. You must understand that I’m as dense as a forest, so this took years to dawn on me. 

We enjoy the look and smell of a fine Noble fir; it’s just that any form of choosing a tree — U-cut from the forest or farm, or even shopping the lots — seems to have been, well, grueling.

My wife and I have been married nearly thirty-two years; our oldest child is twenty-nine. Our eldest and her sister, being true romantics, have always loved the charm of a fresh-cut tree — both resisting all forms of trees artificial. They even threatened to leave home should we choose that option. They left home anyway and have married.

My wife, on the other hand, has long complained about the task of selecting a fresh-cut evergreen. She began by grumbling about the rising price. Truth was, she was grousing over my obsession with perfection in the matter. Seems to me that women seldom say what they mean.

One year, we lived in Florida and were unable to find decent evergreens, so we bought an artificial tree. The family seemed happy. We returned to the Pacific Northwest and again began sacrificing living trees (and cash).
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Finally, a few years ago when my wife finally came clean that I was destroying her Christmas spirit with my quest for the perfect natural tree, we bought another plastic pine. She’s been much happier. Still, I have been restless, so when our church offered Nobles at the low price of $25 each — $10 of which supported a kid for Winter Camp — I raised the idea of purchasing one. She balked. I kowtowed.

I’m not entirely dense, so I will once again, gladly keep our marriage intact, erect the plastic pine, and give $20 to a kid for camp.

And that, after all, is a perfect tradition.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Stories from Long Ago: I Believe in Santa

I'm pretty stoked for Christmas. Not only are there the presents and family gatherings, the decorations and special foods there are the "stories of long, long ago." I'm going to share some of those stories with you. These--there will be three of them (one each week now until Christmas)--come from my book Rocketman: From the Trailer Park to Insomnia and Beyond. The book is a collection of personal essays, poems, short fic and photographs "from my sleepless life and addled imagination."

There are three Christmas stories in the book, here is the first of those three:

I Believe in Santa
My mother Dolores Zschomler playing Santa Claus.
Hi, my name is Greg. I’m fifty-five years old and I believe in Santa Claus. Some would say this is delusional. Some would say it’s time I grew up. But, let me explain:

It all began when I was a child growing up in Vancouver. My parents blatantly propagated Santa’s existence (some would say they lied to me). It was a wonderful childhood of Christmases long, long ago when times were less skeptical and children had vivid imaginations. (This was before computer games, mind you.) The space age was at its height and the radio and TV news would even report sightings of The Claus by astronauts and air force pilots. So why wouldn’t I believe? And why can’t I believe now?

You see, Mom and Dad would concoct elaborate schemes to make Christmas magical for my two sisters and me. When I was about eight years old, doubt in old Saint Nick began to creep into my mind. Classmates no longer believed and were vocal. The Santa at my Dad’s company party—a family friend—laughingly pulled his beard down and almost stole the fantasy from me.

From then on those mall Santas were more than a little suspicious, if not differing from one another. The next year my Dad would play Santa at the Hough School Christmas party (we were allowed those back in the 1960’s). I knew it was him and I sat on his lap proudly. But it was that year—that very Christmas—when I was eight that my doubts and disbelief were forever banished.

It was Christmas Eve, 1966. As tradition, my family piled into the old station wagon to head out for a lazy drive around the local neighborhoods for a look at the Christmas lighting displays. Just as we were about to pull out of the drive Mom announced that she had forgot her purse. Dad said that we needed gas and he would drive up to the corner station and come back for Mom in a few minutes. Mom ran in, we drove off. Arriving back just minutes later we picked Mom up and went about ooing and aahing at the sights of Christmas around Vancouver.

Coming home that evening I was filled with even greater awe and much wonderment. Underneath our icicle-laden Christmas tree was a stack of brightly-wrapped presents! How? Could Santa be real after all? It was the best Christmas ever. I don’t remember what I got for gifts, but I do remember that I was given back the gift of belief.

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Sometime later my mother revealed to me the secret of the magic. As you may have guessed, in returning for her purse, she had pulled all of the presents from assorted hiding places and scurried about in preparation while we went to the gas station and back. It was my mother who was Santa Claus!

Today I know that Santa isn’t a fat, jolly old elf who lives at the North Pole, but is real none-the-less. He is the spirit of giving, belief, magic and faith that lives in the hearts of people…

Like my Mom.

This story is dedicated to my mother who passed away April 2007.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

So, NaNoWriMo No Mo, Y'kno

I did about 30K even though my ambitious goal was 80K. LOL I hope you did better, and I hope you y'all hit at least the 50K mark. I did get my entire story roughed out narratively. 

I'll be adding to it and fleshing out some more dialogue, adding a few scenes, etc. as December progresses. I will be happy if the final manuscript rounds out at 50-60K.

Here's the premise in a nutshell: A burned out pastor thinks he's living hell until he actually goes there. A visit to Heaven reminds him what he's living for.

At the right is a rough mock-up of the proposed cover art. A few tweaks are in order, but the general concept and layout are there. >

Final editing will take place in January and the book should be out in time for Valentine's Day.

I hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic and that your Christmas season will be a joyful blessing to you and yours.

Friday, November 27, 2015

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" a New Set of Fans, but Will it Satisfy the Old Guard?

In 1977 the first Star Wars film, then titled Star Wars, but later A New Hope, hit the big screen, Three years later we met the next installment (The Empire Strikes Back 1980) and, after another three years, the final film of the trilogy (Return of the Jedi 1983).

But there were rumors of a trilogy of trilogies.

Screenwriter/Director/Producer George Lucas did deliver the first (The Phantom Menace 1999) of a second trilogy seventeen years later. The trilogy was a prequel to the first. The cinematic quality of the second collection was much better than the first, but it lacked in several ways.

Lucas seemed to have lost his ability to write. He could tell a good story, but he couldn't tell it well. He introduced cardboard characters and delivered atrocious dialogue. Then there was Jar Jar Brinks, a matter of discussion all its own.

The second set was short on humor, so much a part of the the original films. It was all too serious.

So what can we expect from the third trilogy that Lucas once said he had no intention of making? I think we can expect a hybrid of the previous two trilogies. The best of both worlds, so to speak. Lucas set the groundwork and Disney (who now owns the rights) will blast it into hyperspace.

After I'd seen the first film in 1977 (I'd just graduated high school) we were all excited to see the second film. When The Empire Strikes Back was to open we camped out overnight for tickets. Not this time! Harrison Ford may still be able to hack the roll of action hero [he's contracted to play Han in a future film as well as Indiana Jones and Rick Deckard (Blade Runner 2)], but I'm getting too old to camp out on the cement in the cold.


...there's a  lot of buzz and speculation surrounding the newest film The Force Awakens, directed by genius J.J. Abrams. I have loved his films--lens flares and all. We all hope he and the Disney folks do the film up right. We all hope it works.

The trailers make it look awesome, but we all know you can't really judge a movie by its trailer any more than you can judge a book by its cover. Sometimes they fool us as Lucas did with the second trilogy.

AND, we all hope the writing will be better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Get a $2-5 Rebate Just for Buying My Book(s)

Just in time for Christmas:

Buy any one of my books on Amazon, take a picture of you holding it and send it to me at along with your address and I'll send you $2! That's right, two bucks for your photo with any one of my books! And if you buy all three Bayou Boys Adventures I'll send you five bucks!!! Now through Black Friday only. Previous purchases not eligible.