The Salem Witch Trials.

No, this is not going to be some intelligent study of the events that took place way back when. (See right there?  I don't even know the dates.) I just find the whole thing really interesting, so I thought I'd talk about it a little bit. Over the last week I've been writing a new book while I let The Sometimes Sword rest, and it includes a young witch character. So I thought, hey, I'll do some research on witches and witchcraft, just for kicks you know? I even went to the library with Becky. Let me tell you, I never thought I would find myself looking up witchcraft in a public place using the Dewey Decimal System. But you live and learn right?

Anyway, I found some great books, some a little more.... technically informative than I preferred (let me just stress, I am NOT a witch, you people with torches and pitch forks), but overall there was some good stuff. A lot of the books focused on presenting thoughts and evidence on two sides of the whole witchcraft issue; for, or against. I'll just say this: the Christian pastor who tried to represent Harry Potter as evil in his arguments came off looking quite a bit worse than the self proclaimed Wicca did in her arguments. But that's beside the point.

A quick update.

I've been really busy lately, which is a good thing. Sometimes I think back to two years ago when I worked full time and didn't go to college; and I wonder what I did with my time. True, that job was incredibly stressful and I usually worked over time (almost 60 hours a week around the holidays), but other than that, I didn't have much else to do. I'll admit to spending hours and hours playing World of Warcraft, mostly just to unwind after work.

Now however, I work a (relatively) low stress part time job (if my boss can keep the company afloat that is), attend school part time, and write. It's a pretty nice set up, and I know I'm lucky to have it. I was able to finish my rewrite of The Sometimes Sword just a couple of weeks ago, and it's currently in the hands of my beta readers. In a month or so I'll be starting up my web comic Kestrel with my brother Travis, and as of this last Monday, I've officially started my fourth novel. My brain is swimming in fiction and it's awesome!

It seems as time goes on I find myself wanting to write for younger and younger audiences. And I'm cool with that. I know it won't always be that way (I like to write violence and dark stuff too much to never return to adult fiction), but for now it's what's floating my boat. Here's how it goes: my first book ever was written for adults; the second, for the older end of YA; the third (which was a rewrite of the second) lowered that age by two years; and now I have this new book, written most likely for kids ages ten and up. Perhaps I'm just regressing, losing some of my ability to write mature material. Who knows.

Anyway, it's my first attempt at a diverse fantasy, and I'm really excited about it. It's about a young girl living in a smallish town in late 1996 (heck yeah, I'm way excited for a period piece). One day, another girl moves in down the street, and she just so happens to be a real, self taught witch, complete with pointed hat and striped stockings. They get into shenanigans and a mystery unfolds. Should be fun.

So that's what I'm doing so far! What about you?

T-shirt contest results announced!

Alrighty! It's Monday, which means it's free t-shirt time! This month's interview with Isaac Stewart was a huge success, with well over a thousand of you showing up on the first day alone to read the great stuff he had to say. Over one hundred people entered the contest by commenting, at which point Ink Wing Arts decided to add another shirt to the mix. Thank you everyone for entering and supporting Isaac, Ink Wing Arts, and myself.

okay, on to the good stuff. I drew two names, both of which ended up not having any contact info, which was too bad. After drawing again, the same thing came up. Unfortunately "Unknown" with no email, Twitter handle, or Facebook was not a valid entry! (Believe me, I tried to do everything I could to track down their info.) Ah, but such is life. So after a third try, success! Our two winners are:

Sean Jackson

Congrats guys, I'll be sending you an email here soon to give you further instructions!

Well, thanks to everyone else who entered; don't be too sad about not winning, I'll be hosting monthly giveaways from here on out, so make sure to add me and stop by to say hi! If you still want a shirt, stop by and check out their great deals.

Interview with Isaac Stewart, the man behind the maps of Mistborn and The Way of Kings! Also, a free t-shirt contest! Yay!

"Save the puppies."
Permit me a nerd-like "squeee!" before I start this one. I'm not ashamed. Okay, now that's taken care of, let me tell you what the big deal is all about today. As you can see in the post title, this month's interview is with Isaac Stewart, hence my excitement. He's just the guy who created the maps, symbols, and chapter headings for Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series and The Way of Kings, in addition to a ton of other cool stuff. But I'll let the interview detail the rest of that. There's some seriously good info in here boys and girls, so make sure to pay attention.


The other big thing is this: by coming to my blog and checking out this super-sweet interview, you have taken the first steps toward the possibility, nay, the opportunity to win a free t-shirt of your choice from, the merch site for everything Brandon Sanderson (which is run by, guess who, Isaac Stewart). How does one win such a prize, you ask? By leaving a comment of course! Each unique visitor's comment will be assigned a number, which will then be pulled from a hat (you'll have to trust me that I'm actually using a hat, and not a coffee can or something). Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner! (That's important.) Multiple comments by the same person will be considered as only ONE submission. The contest will close on April 15th, 2012, and the winner will be announced on this blog on April 16th, 2012.

UPDATE: Due to the volume of awesome people commenting (like you!), Ink Wing Arts would like to throw a second shirt into the contest! Meaning you no longer have to sharpen your swords to fight for just one shirt, but two! (Still only one shirt per winner; your chances simply went up.) Keep em coming!

UPDATE UPDATE: The contest has officially closed. Winners have been announced, check out the latest post for more info! Thanks everyone for your support!

Celebrating Diversity, Not Killing It.

I've been thinking about a lot of things related to our society lately, to the point where my brain has officially overflowed. I suppose I'll begin emptying it slowly by writing about it. I don't even know how this particular post is going to end up. We'll see, but be warned, this will be a true, flat-out ramble, so here goes.

I've been increasingly concerned with the state of our world in the last couple of years, and I don't know what to do about it. It seems like humanity is going to doom itself no matter what the few try to do. Violence, war, hate, disdain, anger, prejudice, and bigotry run rampant everywhere I look. What is it about being human that makes this okay? How has the world not stopped and said, "Hey, whoa. What's going on here? This isn't how things should be, let's fix this!"? Sure, over time there have been tons of individuals that say exactly this, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, and others. (Note: they were all murdered.) Why is it only the people who truly care about what is right are labeled as "outspoken"? Shouldn't the violent ones, the hateful people of the world be the "outspoken" ones? What's wrong with us?