Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm All Out of Soap

Perhaps this is too much information, but I stepped into the shower this morning and realized I hadn't gotten a new bar of soap.  I thought to myself, "I'm all out of soap".  Then Air Supply started up in the back of my mind and I sang, "I'm all out of soap."  When I was done in the shower, I got on my computer and wrote this parody song. . . . Yes, this is my life.  *sigh*

I'm All Out of Soap
Sung to the tune of Air Supply's, "All out of Love"

I'm standing alone with my head under water
Thinking of all the dirt
I need to get clean but what else can I do
I'm filthy and oh so wet

I wish I had soap to wash myself with
For times when the grime feels so ick
It would make me believe that tomorrow would bring a brand new bar of soap, 
brand new bar of soap



I'm all out of soap, I'm so lost without it
I need it so bad, believe me I need it
I'm all out of soap, I'm dirty without it
I can't be too clean, I've now got to go to work


Perhaps I can use some of my wife's shampoo
Or maybe her sweet body wash
I'm reaching for it, am I smelling it too?
does the feeling seem oh, so right?

And what would she say if I used her loofah now
And used it to wash myself?
There's no easy way, I bet my skin would say
Please wash me or be filthy, be filthy

[Chorus]

Ooh, what is this loofah for
What is this loofah for
What is this loofah for
What is this loofah for

[Chorus]
I hope you enjoyed this little parody.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Do it yourself Valentine's Day love poem

I posted this poem last year, but it applies any year, so I'm reposting it for all you tongue-tied lovers.

**********************************

I like writing poems, even though I’m not all that great at it.  It’s a curse. *sigh* This particular poem is something I wrote as a do-it-yourself project where it could apply to anyone.  It’s not great, but it’ll do in a pinch for anyone who just can’t weave words.  I hereby give you permission to use it in any way that doesn’t include making money from it.

This love poem can be used any time of the year, but is especially useful on Valentine’s Day.  The language is such that it can apply to man or woman of any orientation.

Everything in italics is a customizable option.  Choose one, delete the others, un-italicize it.

 *** section *** marks the 6 different sections of the poem.  In most cases, there are options where the entire verses can be personalized.  Delete the parts that don’t apply.

Seriously: delete the extra parts and get rid of the italics once you choose the word you like, otherwise it’s going to look very lame when you give it to your significant other.  ;)
A Poem of Love

*** section 1 ***

My darling wife, husband, fiancé, lover, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend.
Thank you for being in my life.
You mean so very much to me.
I don’t always tell you how much I love, adore, admire, worship, care about you, think you’re totally awesome. 

You brighten my days with your light.
You make my nights bearable with your warmth.
Your presence brings joy to my heart.
Your kiss, hug, embrace, touch makes life wonderful.

*** section 2 ***


Option 1: For a new relationship, this:

Meeting you has been the best experience in my life.
It feels like I’m walking on air when I’m with you.
The clouds are smiling as we pass them by.
Stars twinkle in approval when we soar through the atmosphere.

The touch of your hand thrills me.
The sound of your voice brings me joy.
The sight of your smile makes my knees weak.
The gaze of your eyes fulfills me.

Option 2: For a long relationship, this:

Our lives together have been the grandest adventure of all.
We have seen and done so many things together.
Our journey has been filled with good times and difficult ones.
And there is much more to be explored.

The touch of your hand still thrills me.
The sound of your voice still brings me joy.
The sight of your smile still makes my knees weak.
The gaze of your eyes still fulfills me.

*** section 3 ***

Option 1: If life has been hard, this:

There have been so many challenges for us to face lately.
Every time we move forward, we get pushed back.
Just getting through to the next day seems impossible.
The universe seems determined to see our failure.

You keep me going.
You make those challenges bearable.
You help me to take each impossible step.
You are my success.

Option 2: If life has been good, this:

We have met every challenge presented to us.
We step forward whenever life would push us back.
Every day is brighter when I’m with you.
The universe basks in our triumph.

You keep me going.
You make every challenge bearable.
You help me to take each wonderful step.
You are my success.

*** section 4 ***

Option 1: If the target person has had hard times, this:

Lately it seems like the world has been out to get you.
I’ve seen you suffer at the treatment of others.
Your confidence has been shattered.
It hurts me to see you in so much pain.

You are the most amazing person I have met in my life.
Others do not see your potential as I do.
You don’t always see your own abilities.
Look and see how wonderful you are in the reflection of my eyes.

Option 2: If the target person has been successful, this:

The world is in awe of your ability.
Others look to you for inspiration.
You are poised and self-assured.
You are a leader in all that you do.


You are the most amazing person I have met in my life.
You have the potential to change the world.
I am better for knowing you.
Look and see how wonderful you are in the reflection of my eyes.

*** section 5 ***

Add if the person has children, delete if not.

When I look at our children, it fills me with wonder.
There is so much hope in their eyes.
The world around them frightens us.
But we give them love, compassion and the tools to succeed.

*** section 6 ***

When I’m not with you, it hurts.
When I’m not with you, there is an emptiness within.
When I’m not with you, sorrow fills me.
When I’m not with you, the smile disappears from my face.

I give you this poem.
To tell you how magnificent you are.
To let you know how beautiful, handsome you are.
I am the luckiest man, woman, person in the world for having you by my side.




I hope this is helpful to all you lovebirds out there.

All my best,

John H. Carroll

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Child of Fate - an Audiobook by Jason Halstead

Introduction

This is a guest post by an author friend of mine by the name of Jason Halstead.  He has been writing Science Fiction and Fantasy as long as I have and about three times faster than I do. (dramatic sigh) I'm currently reading his first book Voidhawk, an sci-fi take on fantasy style characters and adventure.

Jason is here to introduce you to his next audiobook, (Something I really need to do with mine) Child of Fate

You take it from here, Jason

My Baby Grew Up

In later 2012 Jason Halstead (that's me) wrote and published a fantasy book called Child of Fate. Since I am Jason Halstead, I'll stop talking about myself in third person – it's creepy. Child of Fate came out of nowhere for me and was honestly little more than an experiment at first. An experiment I hoped would do well because I had a lot of ideas of where to go with it.

By March I was selling hundreds of copies in a month. Yes, hundreds. It was amazing. I quickly wrote book 2, Victim of Fate, and then followed it up with Silver Dragon to cap off the Blades of Leander trilogy. People wanted more though, so I began a second series called the Order of the Dragon and it grew to four books (all available now).

What's it about? A group of young adults, kids still by modern standards, that are forced to grow up fast by their environments. Marauding monsters, international plots and intrigue, and behind it all a menacing threat with an agenda that goes far beyond the dreams of farm boys and princesses.

Child of Fate is still flying off the virtual shelves these days, but what has me really excited is that after almost a year of working on it, the audiobook version is complete and available!

Now I've done audiobooks before. In fact I think I have five others out and more that are being worked on presently. Child of Fate isn't like any of those. It's not that it has some special sentimental place in my heart or anything, it's just a game changing book. I have to credit the narrator for that, Sean Wybrant. Sean did things with his voice for each character that made me laugh or gasp in amazement. Then when that wasn't enough (there are some talking fantasy monsters involved), he turned on the special effects and made them even more amazing. He blew me away, and his performance forced me to offer him the second book in the series.

So if you're in the mood to listen to an epic fantasy story told with such variety and skill that you can close your eyes and feel like you're there, please check it out. Just don't try that if you're listening to it while driving (the closing your eyes bit). I promise you won't be disappointed!


Description

Early winters and distant cities make the northern reaches fit only for adventurous homesteaders. Alto is on the verge of becoming such a man when his father is ambushed by monstrous raiders from the mountains.

Determined to find help for his father Alto leaves his home behind and sets out with a group of adventurers tasked with learning the true nature of the raids. Help for his family grows more and more distant as the boy is swept up into a budding war with a neighboring nation and the threats of evil forces from the mountains.

A fiery-tempered princess from the eastern kingdom falls into Alto's hands by twist of fate. The fate of two nations rests in their hands, provided they can keep them off of each other's throats.

About the Author

Short version: Jason Halstead is a science fiction and fantasy author who spends his free time with his wife and two children, writing, and powerlifting.

Long version: Jason's always wanted to write, but making a living at it seemed unobtainable. So instead of writing fiction, he turned to writing code. That paid the rent and let him dabble in fiction.

The common theme shared by almost every great writer is perseverance. Refusing to accept denial by traditional publishing and agents, Jason was finally accepted at a publisher that was harnessing the cresting wave of ebooks. That ride, although bumpy, gave him the experience and knowledge necessary to strike out and improve his craft.

Jason now has multiple books out and regularly helps out other budding authors struggling to makes sense of the industry. He's a stickler on editing and professionalism, but also believes wholeheartedly that his readers aren't just customers, they're his friends. He wants to know them and encourages them to visit his website http://booksbyjason.com, his blog http://booksbyjason.wordpress.com, and even more to email him jason@booksbyjason.com so he can interact with them. His books come from his imagination and from his heart, and more than one of his friends has inspired him and shown up for at least a cameo appearance in one of his titles.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book review: Aielund Saga, books 3 & 4

The Aielund Saga

The Aielund Saga is a series of books written by author and artist Stephen Nowland.  I first learned of him through a computer game called Neverwinter Nights.  It has a toolset that allows us to tell our stories through game modules using their game engine.  The Aielund Saga is a high-rated, award winning series of modules made by Stephen.  He's turned them into books that are even better.

You can find the module that includes the story for both of these books here: NWN Module

My reviews of the first two books are here: Book Review: Books 1 & 2 of the Aielund Saga

One of my favorite things about these books is that the author paints his covers.  Beautiful artistry. :)

Book 3, Ruins of Legend




Description:
Aspiring adventurers Aiden Wainwright and Pacian Savidge are tasked with tracking down an obscure relic, said to be capable of banishing the Kingdom's greatest enemy once and for all. But the two friends are at odds over Pacian's dire actions and their comrades are forced to choose sides as they scour the land for the lost artefact.

Along with their companions, both young men face challenges of such magnitude that the existence of entire cities are threatened. Only their valour and determination will see them through as they uncover ancient evils determined to assail their every move.
   
You can get it at Amazon
Or Smashwords

Review

Lots of adventure in this one.  The adventures split into two and the author does an excellent job of making you want to know what's happening in one thread while he switches to another.  As a result, you have to read quickly to get back to it!  Then you want to get back to the other thread.

One of the author's strengths is in making the characters seem real.  Aiden is a jack of all trades sort of character who the reader wants to succeed.  Pacian is a definite anti-hero, but the reader wants him to do the dirty work and enjoys it when he does.  The supporting characters all have distinct and enjoyable personalities.

Quests lead them in separate directions in an attempt to find an artifact to save the kingdom.  The locations they travel to are easy to imagine without being over-described.  Enemies and other characters they meet along the way are just as colorful and diverse as the primary characters.

Surprising events lead to an unexpected conclusion to this story and more questions to be answered in the next.  The characters must find new resolve against despair and danger.  It sets up the next one excellently.

As with the other books, the dialogue has humor scattered throughout, the battle scenes are vivid and intense.  If you enjoy rousing, epic adventures, this is an excellent series for you.

Book 4, Legacies of Fire and Steel



Description:
With Fairloch safe from the villains who sought to wrest power from the royal family, the resources of the city are diverted to a last-ditch effort to find a way to stop their implacable foe. Slow progress toward a solution is being made, until the immortal engine of destruction prematurely breaks free of its century-old prison and embarks upon a single-minded quest for domination of the land.

With the countryside awash with deserters and brigands fleeing the onslaught, Aiden Wainwright and his companions must face down old enemies and forge new alliances to aid the beleaguered country in the impending clash against their relentless enemy. But before they confront it, Aiden must learn the answer to a question of singular importance: How do you kill that which cannot be killed?            

You can get it at Amazon
or Smashwords

Review

"Legacies of Fire and Steel" is the culmination of the events in the first three books.  The world is on the brink of destruction from an indomitable enemy that has no human emotion or mercy for fate of others.  Aiden and Pacian are back together, along with newcomers while others have left, some in tragic circumstances.  New characters fill the vacancies nicely along with the core.  A few from books past also make appearances.

Dark happenings have had difficult effects on the characters.  Past events weigh heavily on some members while others have become stronger in spite of them.  The author weaves the different threads of each individual with a deftness that Fate would envy.

Moral dilemmas and the quandaries of what is right and what is wrong are considered and argued by the characters.  This is one of my favorite things to do as a writer.  I like having characters discuss issues and their feelings about it, even argue about it.  It's an excellent way at looking at problems.  I've learned a great deal from writing such things, and throughout my life by reading such things.  I find a good book to be one that makes you a little smarter just by reading it.

These conflicts could very well doom the mission and the very fate of the world.  Various entities our heroes meet along the way have their own agendas and goals to follow that prevent the quest from carrying on.

Then of course there are dragons, sandstorms, barbarians, armies, giant bad guys without weaknesses, priests, criminals and countless others who would like to interfere with the saving of the world.

Do they save the world?  Hmmmm . . . With Stephen's books you never know . . .

About the Author

I am often astonished by the sheer amount of ideas that go through my head. I have tasked myself to grab hold of as many as I can, weave them into stories, shaping them to my will, and like, writing them down, because people can't read thoughts.

I spent over fifteen years dealing with poor health, including chronic fatigue syndrome (a symptom of other stuff, but annoying nonetheless) which gave me ample time for thinking, but slowed me down in the way of actually writing.

My first novel was actually done back in aught three, but I didn't care for that sort of thing at the time, so I scrapped it and started writing a new story for Neverwinter Nights, that RPG video game thing you may or may not have heard of.

The story was so successful (filled with rich, creamy character development) that I lamented that only people playing the game would ever see it. In 2009, with my health improving, I resolved to novelize the stories I'd written, in addition to developing the world in which they exist, for fun and profit.

Thus was my first novel conceived, and lo, it was published online, for the enjoyment of all! The saga will be five books in total, with another 4-5 books after that as a second saga that's in the pipeline.

Oh, I also paint. Expect to see more cover art with each title, probably becoming more technically sophisticated each time.


Disclaimer

I have decided to review books that I enjoy. I am an avid reader of fantasy, so most of them will be in that genre. I'm not taking any requests, just reading what catches my eyes. You'll find that most of these are from Indie Authors. The way I figure it, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster and Piers Anthony (my favorite authors) already have enough reviews, but Indies could always use a few more.

It is important to note here that while I am a writer, I am doing these reviews as a reader. I also know a number of the authors I will be reviewing. This is not an exchange of reviews, nor have I been solicited by those authors to write the review.  If I don't like a book, I won't review it.

All my best,

John H. Carroll