Monday, September 30, 2013

Trip to Portland

I just got back from a quick trip to Portland. We had a lot of firsts this trip: first time going to Portland, first time my nine-month-old son flew on the airplane, and the first time I got to visit the famous Powell’s bookstore!

Thankfully, my little boy did great on the plane and also handled the rainy weather quite well. Definitely a born traveler. We hit up many sights in town, namely the Chinese Gardens, the Voodoo Donuts shop (even though I don’t eat donuts), and the gigantic Powell’s bookstore. Powell’s definitely had a huge volume of material and I came away with a few more books to add to my ever-growing reading list.

So what books are you reading currently? Which are your favorite bookstores to visit? Do you have some favorites you like to read this time of year?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Conan the Valorous

Looks pretty cheesy right? I picked up this Conan book at the library almost as a joke, but figured…what the heck. I might as well give it a try.

I was more than a little surprised at how well written and thought out the plot of this novel was. Wow. This read about a “barbarian” tromping through a world of chaotic magicians, sorcerers, and gods also had some really down to earth moments. It actually made me question some of my preconceptions about honor, doing the right thing, and what it means to be an individual in a world that doesn’t always make sense. Conan was actually a pretty three-dimensional character in this book and not the flat “Arnold” you might have seen onscreen.

I did this post as part of the Armchair Squid’s monthly book “meet up.” What were some of the best books you encountered this month? What’s on your “must-read” list?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

USA Wins America’s Cup!

Team Oracle just won the America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay! After being down seven races behind Team New Zealand, the American Team made the biggest come back in the entire 162 years of the history of the sailing race. Whew!

My family and I went out last week to watch the races in person and almost witnessed one of the race-boats capsize at high speed. Thankfully everyone was alright, but it was easily one of the most incredible sailing races I’ve ever seen. Now that the San Francisco Golden Gate Yacht Club has won the Cup again for Team USA the next America’s Cup races will once again take place here in San Francisco in 2016. To the winner go the spoils.

Team New Zealand sailed a great race though, and very nearly beat the American Team in what was easily the closest America’s Cup race in the last half century. So mark your calendars, and I look forward to seeing you all out here for the next America’s Cup come 2016!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What’s Your Harry Potter Personality?

Ever wonder which Harry Potter character you are the most like? This awesome Harry Potter version of the Myers-Brigg’s test has been popping up on Facebook so I just had to try it out. As you probably already know, I’m fascinated by the Myers-Briggs personality test and have blogged about it before.

Turns out my personality corresponds most accurately with Ron Weasley. Who also turns out to be my favorite Harry Potter character (double awesome!). I even had red hair as a kid (like my son has now) and it’s both eerie and comforting to think how much my own childhood school years had a very Ron-like slant to them.

So which Harry Potter character corresponds the most to your personality type? Are you surprised by what you discovered or more intrigued or disturbed?  Makes you wonder, does art imitate life or life imitate art? 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Garden Harvest

Working the garden every year gives me renewed respect for farmers. It’s hard, dirty, sweaty work, but at the same time oh so fulfilling when you see your plants mature and thrive. Not everything lives of course, but the crops that do come in make it that much more worthwhile.

I’ve pulled over 20 pumpkins out of the yard this year, a couple bag’s worth of string beans, and the tomatoes are coming in really well right now (and tasty too). Of course gofers took way more of my lettuce that I would have wished this year and the crows find my corn just as tasty as I do apparently. But my grapevines and sunflowers did extra well to make up for it, so I consider it a pretty decent harvest.

So how do you reconnect with nature this time of year? It’s Indian Summer and turning into Fall for us (which is our best time of year), but what’s the weather like where you are? How are you enjoying the harvest season?   

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

Fellow Blogger/author David List mentioned me on his blogpost about “The Next Big Thing” questionnaire where a writer updates everyone on their latest writings and happenings. So here’s my blurb on the Next Big Thing. Thanks David!

1.       What’s the working title of your book?
Fort Defiance

2.       Where did you get the idea for your book?
Oddly enough it’s probably the first story I ever wanted to write, but I didn’t find the right words for it until now. I’ve always been interested in stories about family and how settlers survived on the colonial frontier.

3.       What’s the genre of your book?
Historical Thriller, with a leaning toward YA.

4.       What actors would you pick to portray your novel in film?
I really have no preferences, I’d be happy if people simply enjoyed the story as a book.  

5.       Provide a one sentence blurb of your book.
      Sixteen-year-old Joss Roebuck must defend his family and farm from the land-hungry Magistrate Pendleton and the nearing French and Indian war-parties that threaten to destroy his home on the Virginia frontier.

6.       Will you self-publish or have your book represented by an agency?
Time will tell, but either way I intend to make the book the best it can possibly be, via rewrites, feedback from CPs, and professional editors.

7.       How long did it take to write the first draft of your book?
It went fairly well. I wrote over 85,000 words in about 12 weeks.

8.       What other books in your genre would you compare it to?
It’s a twist between The Last of the Mohicans and Huckleberry Finn. More contemporary comparisons would be Thom’s Follow the River and Speare’s Sign of the Beaver.

9.       Who or what inspired you to write your book?
My wife. Definitely my wife. Without her I couldn’t have progressed a single day.

10.   What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
I genuinely wrote this book to be a fun and engaging read. I want readers to really enjoy themselves, and even though it’s a historical piece I think YA readers will like the story and pacing.  

Keep the Next Big Thing going…I nominate a few fellow writers/bloggers for this questionnaire, mainly because they’re super awesome and I’d be interested to see what they say to some of these questions.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gearing Up For America’s Cup

This weekend my dad, cousin, and I went sailing on San Francisco Bay just as the America’s Cup races started heating up. We had a blast out on the bay, and even though we certainly don’t sail as fast as the pros, we still got a good feel for the course as we cruised in neighboring waters. We’re looking forward to watching the cup races live and in person as the nice Indian Summer weather starts up.  

The youth races are already underway with New Zealand currently leading over the U.S., Swiss, and other teams. The races for the professional finals will begin this weekend and last throughout the month. Like the youth sailing bout, the professional finals look like they will be a close race between the two leading contenders, the American and New Zealand teams. But don’t count the Swedes or the Italians out just yet.