Weekend Report: The Silver Pen Midwest Summit

This beautful shot of our campsite was lovingly shot Friday night (July 15, 2011) by Sue Babcock (yes, that’s my big dome glowing under the lights)
The first ever Silver Pen in-person meeting (and camping adventure) was a success. I even arrived about 20 minutes early to our meeting place on Friday after a 3.75 hour drive (complete with a few detours, most of which by fault of my own).
Association Directors in attendence were Liquid Imagination publisher and Managing Editor John “JAM” Arthur Miller (Secretary) and Sue Babcock (Vice President), Silver Pen and SilverBlade founder/publisher, Karl Rademacher (President), lawyer John Krupa (legal consultant) and Me (Treasurer). That’s 5 of the 14 of us on the Board of Directors.
Friday was for camping, conversation, gossiping, brainstorming ideas, fire-kindling, relaxation, eating (chipotle brats, YUM!), the boardgame Blokus, urinating in the woods, firefly armada observation (two small children were in tow and in awe), and much spraying of various cans of OFF! bug repellent. And sleep, which I did surprisingly well, all things considered. Didn’t get any reading done, though.
Saturday was the day of our actual conference at the office where we had other Directors call in for an intense meeting of the minds for how we plan to procede with getting Silver Pen truly off the ground. It all pretty much plays off of an idea that I concocted and proposed back in April, plus another initiative that’s already underway that focuses on child literacy.
After a nice luncheon at Olive Garden where even more intense discussions emerged, we finally adjourned Saturday afternoon to return back to our respective corners of the world with plenty of agendas to further develop in the future and lots of work to do on our immediate initiatives.
Good times.
About Silver Pen Writers’ Association: The Silver Pen Writers’ Association is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. We started with a concept: provide information and mentoring needed to produce quality writing and quality online publications to showcase excellent stories, poems, essays and novels (in a nutshell).

Photos: As Promised…New Wheels

These were shot a week and a half ago when the middle child and I went crusing around on the first truly warm day of May. Shoot, it’s hard to keep your butt at home to save on gas when its nice out and you’ve got a new car.

I still haven’t settled on a name for her. I thought about Onyx, but I dunno. My Ibanez guitar is black and is named Raven. My bass guitar is black as well and is named Ebony. May as well go with Onyx for the black car.

If she were a he, I would go with Obsidian. But the unwritten rule is: men never have male cars. It’s simply against man code protocol.

Anyway, without further ado, I present . . . Onyx!

I always wanted a black car. Finally six cars later I have one!
I’ve always had 4-door sedans, so this is my first ever coupe.
She’s got a nice ass, eh?
I’ve never had alloy wheels, or wheels without covers!
Music control on the steering wheel is nice for a rocker like me!
What’s not pictured are the sweet and super-comfy sport cloth-covered seats with red stitching, metal pedals and red LEDs around the door speakers.
Yeah, I think I love her. 

Weekend Report Too: Miscellanea – Random Stuff On My Mind

Item #1 – In my household we are changing our diet, trying to eat right, lower our caloric intatke and all that healthy shit. I hate it. Food is one of the few daily pleasures those of us fortunate enough to purchase it can count on. To be robbed of that pleasure? Well, it makes one unbearably grumpy. My anger and discontentment with the food selection aside, I am enternally grateful to my sweetheart for looking out for us and taking great care of us. She’s a winner and a keeper, that woman.

Item #2 – It’s raining a lot here in the month of May, which is just a shitty thing. My new car has a sunroof. I’d like to drive around on a sunny breezy day with the windows down and the sunroof open. Naturally having a new car, I’m (somewhat) in love with the act of driving again. Of course, that’s easily curbed by the insane prices for petrol in this country. Hell, my Great State of Indiana is notoriously one of the top 5 highest in gas prices across the entire nation. That’s a sad state of affairs.

Item #3 – I subscribe to entirely too many podcasts to listen to on my Zune or my PC. This was fine last summer because the position I had at work then allowed for it. Now that I’m an on-the-phone field technician liaison, I struggle to get through the various sports-related ones alone that I commit to daily. I can catch up on the weekends, and that’s okay when I’m not writing or reading fiction. But really, it’s the weekend. Sports news is such a Monday thru Friday thing, at least for me.

Item #4 – The age of six is one of my favorites when it comes to childeren, particularly my own. But my six year old, like her sisters, is another diva in the making. Only she’s far more energetic and all-over-the-map than the other two were. That child is not easy to keep up with. I blame myself for this because that’s exactly how I am. I put training wheels on her brand new bike this weekend. She’s learning to ride a bigger bike. That’s precious.

Item #5 – I learned today that my favorite network television show, Detroit 1-8-7 was recently cancelled for next season by ABC. This pisses me off to no end. Not that I’m surprised, though. I knew the ratings, despite the quality of the show, were abysmal. Sometimes it takes a show a while to find its audience, especially when competing against a mass of artless drek that makes up most of television. They did the same with The Unusuals, cut the freshman season short and then cancelled in the Spring. D187 was a much better show, probably one of the best compared to all the other cops and crime shows on the very bland, very unadventurous network television landscape. Any wonder why the better television offerings are almost all on cable television? Julie Hinds wrote a nice ‘epitaph’ here at the Detroit Free Press (always loved that name for a newsmag).

Item #6 – Bob Thurber’s Paperboy novel is a great, great read. I wish I could read more than a few chapters at a time. I like to savor novels anyways rather than blow through them, so nothing new there. But still . . .

Item #7 – There are two new video games I really want to get (Brink and L.A. Noire), but damened if I don’t have the time to devote to them, shoot.

Item #8 – Have I bitched enough lately how there’s not enough hours in the day?

I need a nap. That’s not good considering I have a very contentious relationship with sleep.

It’s thundering and raining right now. Perfect sleeping conditions.

Well, if you forget that you’re right in the middle of tornado season in the Midwest. Compared to those in the South, though, we’ve been fortunate.

Ah, well. Back to my crazy life.

Notebook 1 | The Power of a Notebook . . . and a Pen

I don’t like to write longhand. My penmanship has never been the greatest, and I absolutely loathe writing in cursive. When I had finally discovered the true infinite power of the keyboard while in high school, I’ve been a ‘keyboard kid’ ever since. Well, at least by preference. It was a while after that before I was able to write by keyboard regularly.

When I got serious about writing in the mid 90s, I had a crappy Brother word processor/typewriter hybrid that allowed me to seize the power of the keyboard. But it was a cumbersome writing tool and so I still had to rely on writing longhand quite a bit. After it went bye-bye around ’97 or so, I had to do my writing exclusively by hand until ’98 when I got a desk job and also when I got my first Windows PC at home (yeah, poor people are slow to these kinds of things).

So prior to that time I always had notebooks laying around, filled with story starts and ideas. Pack rat that I am, I still have them stashed away somewhere. Writing by keyboard is still my preferred method of writing, mainly because of speed and the ease of erasure (the backspace and delete keys are my best friends).

Well, after realizing recently that some of my favorite authors still use notebooks for either story notes keeping (Warren Ellis & Bob Thurber), or for the actual writing of stories before moving it over to the keyboard (Elmore Leonard & Stephen King), I’m giving some serious thought to using a paper notebook at least for note-keeping like I used to, though I doubt I will use it for proper writing stories, but who knows? Point is, I should probably stop keeping everything jumbled up in my noodle prior to getting it out on keyboard, especially since I can’t ever turn off my creative mind and my time for actual writing is so conditional these days with everything I have going on. It just makes since to start keeping a notebook and a trusty pen handy.

And there’s something about a blank notebook that inspires you to fill its lines with sentences and paragraphs. There’s a fetish aspect to it that I’d like to get back to. These may be out of my price range, but Ellis recommends quality notebooks by FIELD NOTES.

They have quite the array, and here are a just a few:
And speaking of pens, my pen of choice for over five years now:
The G-2 (0.7mm) Gel Rolling Ball Pen (w/ rubber grip) by PILOT

Writes smooth as a baby’s arse.


Accept no substitute.

The Weekend Report – Item #2: Free Comic Book Day (FCBD)


This was definitely a success! The eleven year-old stayed behind, so the six year-old and I hit up two stores and came back with a nice stack of books. It’s hard for a geek father to put into words the pride he feels when seeing the joy and excitement of his offspring partaking in a mutual geek rite of passage for the first time.

Yeah, I even took along the family camera to get a picture of her standing in front of the comic racks (in the X-Men section, of course), clutching an armful of comics.  The thing about special moments like these is that they are so fleeting, and pass you by before you even fully realize you’re actually experiencing them. Then as the day comes to an end, you reflect on it and lament that you can never re-live the experience.


Anyway, here’s some of what we came away with —

For the Youngest:


For the Middle Child:
For Daddy:
For All of US
And then we also got a handful of various ones from previous years of the event that they had laying out as well, like AVENGERS, X-MEN/RUNAWAYS, and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN.
Curiously, this year’s offerings seemed to be negligent of offerings for adult females. It seems that if the female is not into what the male or the kids are, then she’s left out. Surely they could have made an old issue of THE SANDMAN available (not that my woman would read it, but still, it’s the principle).
Ah, well. It was a good day nonetheless. Especially when you hear the words “I want more!” from the not-quite-as-interested-at-first eleven year-old. Appears she has quite the jones for more BETTY & VERONICA (w/ ARCHIE) comics. And funny thing was, she had rejected the PEP COMICS issue on first sight (I had gotten it for her on whim; guess I was right).
So it looks like I have two new comic book readers on my hands, which is great because we want to keep their minds stimulated during the upcoming summer break, which is always a feat for parents. Comics will be a suppliment to the program. The  trick will be in trying to convince them to spend their own money on their new hobby.
(*) NOTE: I’m the furthest thing from a fan of Green Lantern (or even most of DC Comics’ superheroes — I am MARVEL zombie for life when it comes to superheroes). But it was FREE and I figured, what the hell. Give it a chance.

The Weekend Report – Item #1: The THOR movie

I went to see THOR with my fellow geek friends on Saturday night. It was pretty damn good. I’d definitely say it’s as good as the first IRON MAN flick. Both exist in that nebulous A-/B+ range, right in the middle of a lower A and a really really high B. Actually, production and special FX wise, that probably earns it the A-. Not to mention the casting, which was pretty good. MARVEL STUDIOS has been doing a great job with the slate of films they’ve produced so far. And they’re building toward a cinamatic MARVEL UNIVERSE, so this movie totally sets up the forthcoming AVENGERS movie directed by Joss Whedon and due next summer. But before that we must get to the summer movie I’m most looking forward to and that is CAPTAIN AMERICA this July.

Saw the trailer for X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and it really doesn’t look as bad as some seem to think it may be. I think I’ll see that one with the wifey.

Hanging out tonight just reminded me that with work, a family lifestyle and the hermitic lifestyle of a writer/editor, I’ve all but completely eliminated the possibility of a regular social life. It’s definitely an irregular one. I guess in a way that makes those rare hookups with friends that much more special and eventful.

My New Car: Kia Forte Koup SX

A beauty, ain’t she?
I haven’t taken a picture my actual car yet, so this is a very close representation of her. Bought her last week and ended about two weeks of depression and misery. Cars are like women…when they leave you, when you don’t want them to, it puts you in a real funk. Trust me, this is my sixth car in 20 years, and none of those previous five left at a time when I wanted them to, so I’ve had my fair share of car heartbreak.
She sure is a beauty!