Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quick Hits

The Spring Home & Garden Show was a big success! We sold a bunch of books, met a lot of cool people, and had a great time. Much mahalos to my friend and fellow author Roslyn McFarland for organizing an awesome event and being an expert cat-herder. Thanks also goes to NIWA, Tina from Jacobsen's Books, O'Loughlin Trade Shows, and everyone who bought a book and supported us throughout the weekend.

Video Game Update: the game I'm currently playing is Xenoblade Chronicles, a sprawling epic sci-fi/fantasy adventure along the lines of Zelda, etc. The gameplay is actually rather simplistic - one day I realized that the whole thing could basically be boiled down to: run, fight, cutscene, repeat. You have to spend a lot of time finding your way around and leveling up, and at one point I even nearly gave up because I couldn't get past a certain bunch of enemies.
All that being said, it really is a pretty cool game. The landscape is enormous, to put it mildly. If you wanted to, you could roam around and explore for hours - in real world time. The storyline is solid and full of plot twists and intrigue. Also, if you like the constant process of upgrading your characters' gear (which I do), you won't be disappointed. I'm not done with it yet but I think I may be getting close, after which point I'll probably be talking about it again and ranking it among my favorites.

I also tried Flappy Bird at my son's request. That game is hard. My high score is 3. His is 91.
Parenting highlight of the week:

Me (noticing that Cindy Williams from "Laverne & Shirley" is on the Nickelodeon show "Sam & Cat"): Hey, that lady looks familiar

My 10-Year Old Daughter: (continues doing homework)

Me (noticing that Penny Marshall is in the next scene): Hey, it's Laverne! They're doing a Laverne & Shirley reunion thing! On Sam & Cat! That is so awesome. Several different levels of awesome, in fact.

Daughter: (glances at me, continues doing homework)

Me: Those ladies were on this show called Laverne & Shirley, like, thirty years ago or something. It was kind of like Sam & Cat, which is why this is so cool!

Daughter: Do we have any more apple juice?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stuff I'm Doing

It's been a busy week - just the way I like it! The last couple of days have been spent holed up in the recording studio with Second Player Score, tracking a few songs for our upcoming album. You can read more about it at our band blog here.

And now, I shift back to the author hat for the Portland Spring Home & Garden Show, where I'll be at a vendor booth with my fellow writer friends from NIWA. Come on down and check it out! My scheduled times are Thursday 2/20 from 6-8pm, Friday 2/21 from 6-8pm, and Saturday 2/22 from 10am-1pm. If you can't make it during those times, come on down anyway as there's lots of cool stuff along with the other awesome local authors who will be there all weekend. Here's a coupon:

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

This month, our friends at Geek Club Books are celebrating Valentine's Day with their 14 Days of Autism Love Giveaway. Every day, for fourteen days, they've been featuring one of their favorite authors, apps, and organizations, counting down to the big day when they'll do a giveaway of products by said favorites.

And today is our day! What are we giving away, you ask? (cue game show music) Why, it's a FREE, NO-OBLIGATION COPY of the audiobook version of Book One - featuring narration by Geek Club Books' very own Jonathan Murphy! So head on over to their site at this link, read the little love notes I wrote, and enter the giveaway. And while you're there, be sure to check out all the other cool stuff that Geek Club Books has to offer.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Musical History, Episode 4: The Dorm Banquet

Zoning Chinchilla practiced two cover songs for the upcoming banquet: "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns 'N' Roses and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison. Hair metal, woo! We also wrote an original called "Someday" that - gasp - had a standard verse/chorus structure and was over three minutes long. At last, a real song!

Not Zoning Chinchilla

We worked on these songs a few times over a period of several weeks (having moved our music facility from the bathroom to the roof of the dorm) until finally, the day of the banquet arrived. I had no idea what to expect. I mean, this was a semi-formal affair in a hotel ballroom where people were going to be wearing nice clothes and using multiple forks. And here we were, a scruffy, under-rehearsed rock band whose most redeeming feature at the time was being loud - which, naturally, would go over so well in a setting more accustomed to the sounds of lightly-amplified ukuleles and clinking glasses.

So anyway, after several other performers, we were up last. It was hard to know whether the organizers had intended to make us the headliners, or were thinking "this way, if the hotel management complains, we can just wrap things up and get the heck out of here." It was probably a little bit of both.

We changed out of our nice clothes and donned our rock 'n' roll outfits: t-shirts and jeans. Then something strange started to happen. First, the emcee announced us: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome - Zoooonniing Chinchillllllaaa!" Wow. I mean, that was pretty cool. I launched into the opening riff of "Sweet Child," and people started to go nuts. The positive response continued throughout that song and the next, and actually became even more enthusiastic during our original song! I couldn't believe it. It was awesome. After we were done and I was rolling my amp to my car, a banquet-goer called out to me with his fist in the air: "Zoning Chinchilla!! Woo!!" And he wasn't being sarcastic!

To this day, I still can't believe what a great show that was. It was like playing golf for the very first time and then striping the ball down the middle of the fairway on hole number one.* There were other shows to come with this band and others that weren't nearly as good, so maybe it was luck, or good timing. But either way, after that night, I knew that I'd be playing in bands for the rest of my life.

Next: It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll

* this did not actually happen to me, I sliced it into the trees