Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jammy Updates

We've got more artwork coming in, y'all. Joey is about halfway done with the new full color image set for the eBook version of Flying Cowboy. It won't be long until we have all the updated images and Chris can begin working up a final eBook for your enjoyment. Stay tuned to this space!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All New eBook Coming Soon!

Listen up, all you Jammy Adventurists! Chris and Joey are teaming up again for an all new eBook version of The Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy. This one's going to be in full color, and you're going to be able to read it on your Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, iOS devices, and Android tablets and phones. Joey is currently working up all the illustrations and Chris is going to handle all the eBook techie nonsense.

But wait, there's more! We always wanted to say that, but only if we could do it like Billy Mays. Anyway, there really is more, because right now Chris and Joey are working on even more brand new Jammy Adventures. The next book will be The Great Jammy Adventure of Ninja Agent, and will feature our intrepid heroes, Noah and Jaden, in a crazy sci-fi secret agent adventure in outer space. Or inner space. Really, what's the difference? Get ready to meet all new heroes and villains, Adventurists, though of course Captain Bad Guy will probably show up to try to ruin everything. This one's going to be stuffed to the gills with superawesomeness. Plus, there's a top secret brand new third story we can't even tell you about because we don't even know what it is ourselves. How cool is that?

If you liked the print version of book one, you're gonna love the eBook version. Now, for the first time, you can see how it looks in full color. Granted, you won't be able to color on it without getting in trouble, but then again, the original is still available here. And we promise, you won't get in trouble for coloring on that one.

That's all for now, Jammy Adventurists. Until next time, keep it simple and just remember that bad guys never win.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For Kids That Are Perhaps a Little Bigger...Airel

Shameless plug alert: I am the co-author of this new YA breakout series, Airel. And by the way, book 2, Michael, is currently under construction.

I have to brag, though, about Airel, because it's getting great reviews and feedback. Noteworthy examples? Hoe about this: Cody, 14 year old male devourer of books, told me personally that the fight scenes were great. I'm telling you, there's a little something for everyone in here. You don't know what you're missing until you know what you were missing.

My co-author, Aaron Patterson--yes--the Aaron Patterson, and I meet regularly to discuss the fates of our characters in the next few Airel Saga books. There will be at least two more, depending upon, well, as my friend Bri Clark likes to say, "yall."

And you know what, while I'm being shameless here, don't forget to check out the first of the Airel Saga Diary Books: The Marsburg Diary, which tells the story that's in-between the lines. If you wonder what happened with old William Marsburg in the late 1800's, you're gonna have to get cozy with his youngest boy, Harvey...who was born when William was over 100 years old. Impossible? Hardly. This is fiction, anything can happen--which is right in line with how all Jammy Adventurists think. Happy trails, "yall."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Children, Arrows, and Launching

The Bible says that a man’s children are like arrows. That’s Psalm 127.4. And I agree with it. What I never really took the time to do, until now, is understand the meaning. And whether you’re one of those kooks who believe the Bible is divinely inspired (like I do), or an atheist (I don’t believe in atheism personally), the point is still quite apt. In other words, no matter how one looks at the Bible, it’s still useful for study and instruction. So I make no apologies.

Let’s look at this from the following perspective: if children are like arrows, what’s an arrow like? I mean, we live in a totally automatic, instant world. Everything is made on an assembly line and mostly by Chinese robots. But there was a time when the phrase “hand-crafted” was total nonsense because nothing that was crafted was not crafted by hands. Let’s look back to that time to understand better what it takes to make—to craft—an arrow.

First, a good bit of source material on this: Boy’s Life magazine. If you’re gonna make arrows that are worth a damn, the stock from which they come matters a great deal. Typically here in America arrows were made from ash. Shafts have to be light and straight and strong, and ash fits the bill nicely.

Once we’ve found the best branches to use for our arrows, we have to allow them to dry thoroughly. Boy’s Life recommends bundling them in groups of five and letting them sit for a few days. Then the bark can be stripped off.

Now we have to cut notches. The notch in the tail of the arrow shaft is very important because it will be the working surface of the arrow; the part where it is launched by the bowstring. Great care must be taken not to split the wood of the arrow shaft. At the opposite end, the shaft must be notched for cordage—which will allow the arrowhead to be secured to the arrow shaft.

The arrowhead is mounted to the arrow shaft by placing it in the notch along with boiling pitch (tree sap), and then wrapping it with about ten inches of cordage. Traditionally, this is sinew: tendons from deer. It has to be prepped for use by pounding it against rocks to divide the fibers, and then chewing it—the enzymes in saliva help to dissolve the collagen, which makes it hold like glue.

Fletching, or the feathers on the tail of the arrow, must match—they must come from the same side of the wing. The top feather must be aligned with the notch at the tail of the arrow shaft. Feathers are glued to the shaft and then wound with more cordage to secure them.

All this is to say that making an arrow is a bit fussy. It might take more than a day. It might mean that you have to step away from Facebook and football for a while. And it might be more efficient to make more than one, while you’re at it.

So what makes an arrow so special? Besides all this work, I mean? Consider: an arrow is a tool in the hands of a warrior or hunter. An arrow can go swiftly where he cannot. An arrow can kill game for provision or kill enemies for security. An arrow can fly and you cannot. An arrow can outpace a running man or a galloping horse. An arrow can be an incendiary device—the arrowhead can be wrapped in rags and dipped in fuel, set alight, and launched into an enemy position, flushing them out from hiding. It’s a highly adaptable and useful weapon. Most importantly, though, arrows work best in groups. A warrior doesn’t go into battle with a single arrow, after all; he carries a quiver full of them.

Perhaps most bittersweetly, however, an arrow is unique as a weapon system in that it is one of the few weapons designed to be launched and never recovered. Once the warrior or hunter deploys it, sends it along on its course, it goes out and does not come back. Coming back isn’t part of the mission or part of the commander’s intent, as we used to say in the Marines. Depending upon the wisdom and experience and skill of the warrior-hunter, an arrow flies straight and true and strikes the target at which the archer has aimed.

The arrow is part of a delicate and elegant system, one that asserts man’s God-given dominion. It is a valuable expression of the brilliance of mankind. Mostly, though, it’s capital T-true when speaking about fathers and sons. A father spends a great deal of time and effort carefully crafting his sons, preparing them for the day, eventually and inevitably, when the time will be right for him to launch them—proudly, skillfully, confidently—knowing they will strike what they are aimed at, go where he cannot, and provide, secure, influence, invade. We fathers raise up our boys so that one day we can let them go. It is the way of things. God grant us the strength to do it well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Children and Politics

An epiphany came to me not long ago that I can “give a prize” to my three-year old for going poop on the potty. (Sorry. This is the third blog post in a row that involves excrement. However, I have the perfect segue.) Coincidentally, I have just as high an opinion on poop as I have on what passes for political leadership in this country.  

So let’s get to it, shall we? Five reasons why politicians are exactly the same as children:

  1. Politicians have imaginary friends: the constituency.
  2. Politicians enjoy “prizes” for certain behaviors. These are actually called bribes.
  3. Politicians—when caught in a lie—use contorted reasoning to produce several new ones designed to cover the one that’s been discovered, or at least provide enough of a distraction while they run out the back door.
  4. Politicians will only share the toys after they’ve successfully hoarded all the useful/awesome ones.
  5. Politicians talk as if they know everything already, but everyone knows they’re really just plain ignorant and need to learn their lessons.

I thought of some of these as I committed yet again to dirty trade: I was going to pay money—I knew it would cost me—for nothing more than poop.

That makes me think: there’s at least one reason kids are different from politicians: the kids are worth every single expenditure. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Poop is Hilarious

It’s funny, poop. But why? It’s one of those things that’s only funny in the abstract. For instance, it’s funny to say the word poop (including its derivatives), but when it’s experienced live and in person, it’s quite nasty. Decidedly unfunny. Categorically serious.

I don’t know why, either. You’d think we would learn from experience that poop is not a thing to be trifled with. Witness the heady fumes of any memorable encounter with it, especially post-beef-stew-and-hot-sauce-with-extra-garlic dinner, and you wonder why we think it’s funny. One would think that the mind would declare a moratorium on the poop jokes, actually. That goes for the phrase, “the morning after” as well, which, when one has indulged (and I use this word in its most vague and flippant sense) in Taco Bell at any time the day previous, is positively abhorrent in every way.

But potty training pierces the veil. There’s nothing, nothing at all quite like standing a child in the bathtub fully clothed, fully loaded, sans diaper. People, there is nothing that can prepare you for this. Parenthood is one hundred percent OJT. Things you swore you’d never do, you do. Because some things you just can’t call home about. Not unless you want to temporarily lose the hearing in one ear (your phone ear) from the high volume cackling laughter of your mother. If you love her, you won’t. She may not recover from her fit of mirth for days. And all she’ll be able to enunciate will be a hissing, wheezing, “Prayed for this day to come, aaaaahhhhh-hahahahahahahaha.”

Yes. Poop is hilarious, isn’t it? It’s always fun until someone gets hurt. Or until daddy or mommy needs a half hour to bleach the bathroom again, starting with that tub. So go play, child. Laugh at your farts and how stinky they are. Learn how to play that mysterious game they call “Blue Darts.” And occasionally crap your pants accidentally, just a little bit, because it’s unavoidable and part of life. Especially because of Taco Bell. And laugh your head off about all of it. Because one day, like me, you will have little people in your house making puddles on the carpets and dropping stink bombs in inconvenient and antisocial locations. And I shall hiss with laughter. Because then, poop will be funny. Funny for me, precisely because it’s so very unfunny for you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Something About Creating Art

It's true. And that's why we're "experiencing delays" on the next book...