Friday, February 09, 2007

Speaking to the class

It was so strange.
I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous but I pushed the nerves back and just went into the school. As I approached Jeff’s class (I’d been there before, after school) a young boy started calling out my name.
“Mr. Bryan! Mr. Bryan!”
I guess he was my escort. I’m not used to being called Mr. Bryan but it made sense. It was kind of funny.
So I entered the class and Jeff was up front. All these 6th graders smiled with excitement. Holy spit! They’re all excited to hear from me. Plain ol’ me!
Jeff had told me ahead of time that they had questions. Once I was there, at the front of the class I just figured I’d open it up for questions, then after I’d tell them about the changes to the book and how a writer tries to get an agent and publisher.
During the questions I was able to tell them those things too. When I said that I heard they had questions over half the class shot their hands up! I was so happy that so many kids enjoyed Ann and her brother. Man what a rush!
There were questions on how did I come up with many of the characters. People wanted to know the name of the second book and how many books there would be. They wanted to know if I was going to write other books after Ann’s tales were done. They wondered what my vision of the covers for books 1 and 2 are and when I told them what I wanted for cover 1 they smiled. When I told them that I didn’t have cover 2 planned they had ideas! They laughed and shot even more hands out as I explained things. They seemed to understand as I told them of Ann and Roland’s aging problems and hoped that I would be published.

I was scheduled for 30 minutes and it took 45. Jeff finally had to cut it to those who still had their arms up. No more questions were allowed after them. The last question was if a kid could have my autograph. Soon I was signing a bunch with my real name (cause they knew it) and my pen name. I guess that pen name idea is redundant now, but I’ll still proceed with it.

After I left, my head had swollen very big. Don’t worry. I’ve had strong beta reads and a bunch of rejections. I wont believe any dilutions of grandeur.
Still, it was an amazing experience. They all wanted it published. This was the earlier version, too. The one that needed lots of work.
I can only hope that the next version will entrance adult agents like it entranced the main age group it’s meant for.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Yes! Finally got my Destroyer!

Toy Biz made quite a few figures during their time as Marvel's chief action figure maker. One line was called Marvel Legends and it featured many of the comic company's characters. Even some of the most obscure characters made it on the shelves.

The toy making rights have passed onto Hasbro, but last year before the switch, Toy Biz released Marvel Legends 15. I needed each character for my collection with the exception of one. The Thor Buster Ironman was useless to me. Problem was, each figure had a piece of the villain Modok (that's him on the far left in the chair thing).
As luck would have it they created variant versions of most of the line. I needed most of those to fill in certain gaps in my collection too. The variant Ironman was a Thor baddie called the Destroyer. He's an unstoppable suit of Asgardian armor that can be activated and sent out to kill Thor. A rare character and a truly dangerous bad guy. He's on the far right.
New problem. I never saw any of the variants here in Utah. So I waited until the time came to finally buy Destroyer on eBay.
$40 bucks! Sheesh.
He arrived today and I couldn't be happier. :)

Stuff #2 The class

Tomorrow is the day I get to speak to a classroom of 6th graders!

I'm scared, because I've never done this before.
I'm excited, because I get to talk about my book!
Yes, I know. Writers are pretty self absorbed about their stuff.

Thing is, I'm no longer the green little writer who stepped off the finished novel bus, waiting for the first passerby to get swept up in my masterpiece.

See, I don't have a masterpiece. I don't have junk either. I've got a story several people like and enjoyed, but still needs work. Now that the 3rd edits are done and it's in the hands of a friend who is checking that the "I"s are dotted and the "T"s are crossed, so to speak, I'll be able to take her mark ups, change it and (maybe) it'll be ready.

Another online friend (who happens to be a teacher) gave the first two chaps to her class with a questionnaire. I got five responses back.
This was for the 2nd/3rd draft. It still had the Parker first hook chapter and a second chapter choking in description, POV swapping and over stating stuff. Tell, tell, tell.
A lot of what those kids said were problems Aprilynne and "Moth" pointed out. Stuff that Willard, Dani, Jeff and Mike saw and I had thought I fixed. Well after two major read troughs and some heavy fixing, I think those things are not only fixed, but some more things that Adam and Chris saw were changed as well. I had to cut some of Ian's ideas though. They wound up hurting Chapter two.

The version Jeff read to his class is just as out of date as the two chapters "Night Author" gave to her class. I wish this version was the one all those kids saw.

Now the book shows children vampires becoming teen vampires. What happens to your body (it's clean guys, I'm NOT that kind of author)? How do you feel when your body changed out of control? How does it throw off your vampire abilities? What does this mean to a girl who is over obsessed with being in control and always learning first? Now she's way out of control.
The Advancement is what happens to children vampires. It allows for their children bodies to catch up to their ages. It's supposed to happen a couple times, allowing the vampires to grow up. It occurs over day while they are asleep. For Ann, it's at age 14 and for Roland, at age 16.

Preteens and teens are facing growing up into strange out of control bodies. They can relate. If only the class could see THIS version!
But, at any rate I'll be talking to them about it.

I'm hoping to get a questionnaire to them. I reworked the one "Night Author" gave to her kids. Here is my version.

1. On a scale of 1 - 10, this is a ______.
2. Would you like it if Annabelle was 14 and Roland 16? _________
3. Should they age? ________________________________________________________________
4. The part I liked best was_________ because___________________________________________
5. This story would be better or more interesting if __________________________________________
6. I liked this book. Yes No Why? ___________________________________________________
7. Which character was most interesting and why? _______________________________________

So tomorrow's the day!

Again... ahem... GAHHHHHH!!!!!

Jeff has the questionnaires. He's going to give them out so I'll have them to work with after tomorrows class apearance. He said his kids really loved the book! That's the earlier revision, too! That gets me excited that the newer version will rock even more!

Stuff #1: Jobs

Things are clicking.
Yesterday I went to that job interview. I scored well on the time test and even did a little extra. I could tell they were impressed with me during the interview. I could be starting in three weeks.

I took the rest of the week off on vacation. Can you tell I'm not very serious about my current job? Hey, I'd rather be elsewhere than getting exposed to chlorine gas and acid drips. Let the EPA keep sorting them out.

If I do get this new job, it may potentially be for a short time. the reason?

My second news.

My lovely wife has passed the first level and is scheduled to go in for an interview for her job as Assistant county clerk of a particular Central California town. It's an hour from my parents and two hours from my sister. I think it's four from my brother.
We live in Northern Utah, far away from my family,surrounded by her family and getting sick of it every year. Don't get me wrong, I love Utah, too. But I miss my California and my family.
Things could work out for the bad school situation for my kids as well. There is a possibility of them going to a Charter school out there because we'd be closer to it there than we are here.

So she's scheduled to go in for that interview ion the 20th. Either she's going by herself or we're all going.

Wait and see!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cool Heroes behind the scenes thing

They have set up a web page for Primatech Paper. That's the fake paper company seen in the show.

This site explains how you can get into the "secret files" through the Primatech Paper site.

Keep checking that page. It might update every time there is a new episode.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Job thoughts

What to do? What to do?

Recently, my wife and I decided to move to Central California. There are some job opportunities there for us, a better schooling system for the children and for the first time in almost 20 years, I would be near my family.
I can't really take time from my current job to look, though.

There are a few negatives about this job and only a couple positives.
The positives;

1. It's slow and there is time to do my own thing.
2. The work hours are 7-3:30 (which is really 3:15)
3. Transportation. I pay for a seat on a van to get out here, saves on gas and I can sleep on the way in.

The negatives

1. Hazardous environment. I do sit at my desk all day, but any given time I'll need to go into the plant for measurements. This means the possibility of exposure to chlorine gas, acid or chemical drips, and walking on very rusty scaffolding. They are in deep trouble with the EPA.

2. Personal Time Off is called UNEXCUSED Absence. Last year I used 10 when we're only allowed 4 a year. I'm on probation because of that and so I can't have any family emergencies unless I want to use vacation for it. I was told by the HR person that "It's hard but you can do it". Yeah, right. My wife has bouts of sickness, Three of my children are special needs and I can do it? Shyeeah.

3.No communication. No cell phone coverage out here and the work phone is loud.

4. No tardies allowed. It doesn't matter if the highway i shut down for extreme weather, or the weather makes it too hard to get to work on time or even if your car breaks down on the way out here. It's a tardy and therefor an absence and not tolerated.

I know here's another negative but it's escaping my mind.
Anyway, I'm set up with Monsterjobs so that I can look into California. Well, about four local employment agencies all told me the job market is great. They want me to leave this place and interview for them.
I'm set up for an interview tomorrow. I've been taking lots of vacation time and the boss just eyes me when I do come in. Two weeks ago I took Thurs and Fri. Last week it was Wed and Fri. This week it will be yesterday (Mon), tomorrow (Wed) and Fri (that's the day I finally speak to the class. YAY!).

I don't think they're going to fire me so I might need to just give my two weeks. I've lost any desire for this place. It's not horrible like my previous job, but it's not great either.

So it's decision time.

Holy Heck! Heroes Shocker

I really love this show. The writing is fresh and the show keeps up a good pace.

I want to mention that even though I suspected that SPOILER was Clarie's dad, it was still a shock to see it happen. I would say the name but I don't want to spoil it.

Fun show.