Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Giveaway!!!

This giveaway is for Darien's Rise, by Paul McCusker. This time it's a points based giveaway, and I'm not hosting it. Up-and-coming author and current Focus on the Family Product Marketing Manager, B.D. Eastman, is. Follow THIS LINK to his blog for details. Remember that you heard about it here first, as this fact will potentially earn me points! (Cue evil laugh) Let the games begin again!

Monday, June 29, 2009

What I've Been Up To

A week without blog posts due to the recent giveaway means I have some catching up to do...

Publishing Update: As stated earlier, I've signed up for the Oregon Christian Writers' Conference. My "mini-proposals" have been shipped off, and now a month-long wait for the conference. I hope to take a video camera and document the week. It should be fun. In the meantime I need to practice introducing myself and sliding manuscripts under bathroom stalls.

I also won a short story contest of sorts. Christian fantasy author, Christopher Hopper, hosted a contest on his blog. My entry was very sloppy, but I think this contest was based more on content than craft. For some good laughs, you can check out my story and others HERE.

Last thing: I've posted links to my facebook, twitter, and myspace accounts on the sidebar. If you're on any or all of those, I'd love to connect through them.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Giveaway Winner Announcement!

The week is finally over and, personally, it's been a blast. Thank you very much to everyone who entered. This giveaway totaled 35 entrants and 51 entries, which I consider a great success by all accounts. The name has been drawn through a random integer generator I found online. So, without any more delay, the winner is...


Congratulations Earwen! Please e-mail me at yodeling dwarf [at] gmail [dot] com (no spaces) with your full name and mailing address in order to receive your prize.

To everyone else, thanks again. And don't forget that Swords of the Six is still available to buy. I hope to do more things like this in the future, so keep checking in. And, if you are a publisher or author who would like to donate a book to giveaway through The Yodeling Dwarf, let me know!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Giveaway!!! (Swords of the Six)


Great news! Flaming Pen Press has been so kind as to donate a signed copy of Swords of the Six (with a collector’s “Specter” bookmark) to be given away on this blog! A person will be chosen at random to receive the prize. Here’s how to get your name thrown in the hat:

1) Leave a comment on this post. Anonymous comments will not be counted, so be sure to either sign into an account, or click the Name/URL option and type something to identify you by.

2) To double your chances with a second entry, write a post about this giveaway with a link to this blog post. You can post on your blog, or any social networking site (Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife, etc…). Then be sure to leave another comment here with a link to where you posted. Please note that it must be a separate comment from the original in order to get two bids.

Friday, June 26th, at Noon Pacific time will be the deadline. Shortly thereafter I will announce the winner.

See the post below this one for more information on Swords of the Six. Let the games begin!


Swords of the Six Book Review

His black scales shimmering with the blood of a thousand warriors, the dragon Valorian spread his wings and drew back his long neck.

This is the first sentence of Scott Appleton’s debut novel, Swords of the Six—a book filled with dragons, swords, fairies, a host of other imaginative creatures, and endorsements from Wayne Thomas Batson and Bryan Davis to boot. As the above sample implies, Swords of the Six contains a great deal of action. But romance and suspense also find substantial roles within its pages.

General Appearance: This is a book of high quality construction. The cover is very appealing, good paper is used, and the pictures at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful as well. Overall one of the best I’ve held.

The Opening: The prelude was perhaps my least favorite part of the story. I felt somewhat disoriented, though not exceedingly so. But I thoroughly enjoyed the book from the first chapter on.

Characterization: A great cast of lovable characters, unique and clearly defined. The characterization was terrific. One in particular, Specter, I found totally awesome, and hope to read more about him in future books.

The Story: There are actually two story arcs in this book, clearly separated into two parts. The first is a story of six sisters with special powers as they grow up and then embark on a quest to find and bring to justice a traitor. The second is a love story between one of the sisters and a warrior. I enjoyed the first story, and could hardly put the book down through the second story.

Warning: Some serious topics are discussed, and the effects of the battle scenes aren’t glazed over or omitted. So younger readers and parents be warned.

In conclusion, Swords of the Six is a great addition to the fantasy genre and recommended to anyone with at least a favorable disposition toward the genre. I should note that my little sister adored this book, declaring it one of her favorite books ever despite being reluctant to pick favorites in the past. I think it would have reached The Favorite status if she wasn’t a bit young to be into romance.

Find out more at www.theswordofthedragon.com or at Scott Appleton’s blog: www.flamingpen.blogspot.com. Or, if you’ve heard enough, the book is for sale at the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

See the post above this one for a chance to win a copy of this book!

Monday, June 15, 2009

God Willing, Let's Free Gao!

A serious issue has come to my attention. From freegao.com:
Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, disappeared February 4, and was last seen being taken away by a dozen police officers. Gao Zhisheng has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities, because he has defended the persecuted and has been an unyielding voice for justice in the Chinese courts.
A Christian brother is in trouble. We need to respond with prayers, and action as well. As James 3:14-16 says, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, 'Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well'--but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?"

Please go to freegao.com, and sign an online petition for Gao's release, and then send an e-mail to top Chinese government officials. Western pressure has worked in the past and can work now. Gao has been missing for 131 days, and only 93,737 people have signed the petition. We have to do better. Tell people you know, and blog about it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oregon Coast Photographed

Here are the Oregon photos from the recent trip as promised, with color(ful) commentary.

The Spruce Goose. Humongous airplane designed and built by Howard Hughes, whom was portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in "The Aviatior."

You already saw the Spruce Goose, and this is the spruce-lots of spruces actually. The Spruce Goose was constructed of plywood made from mostly birch and some other woods, including spruce.

"You done me wrong, Ralph. That was my nut, and now you gonna pay."


Beautiful, isn't it? That far rock is called "Frog Rock."

This cart does not, in fact, make a very good getaway vehicle for three distinct reasons. 1) It's freeway merging capabilities are dismal. 2) In off-road situations the lack of suspension results in the loss of a lot of cargo, including Jimmy. 3) That fancy rocket booster on the back is misleading; it's kind of a downer when you propel yourself off a tow truck with the ramp down only to discover that there is no red button in sight.

There was actually a peregrine falcon nested on this cliff with a nest full of hatchlings. But they could only be seen via telescope.

Well garsh, I'll be dadgummed if ole' Bessie don' look glad ter see meh th'smornin!

Tillamook cheese. Lots and lots of Tillamook cheese.

Stay tuned. Something I've wanted to do since starting this blog is in the works. My only clue: "Book Giveaway." (Yeah, that's not real subtle...) I'm not going to say what the title of the book is, though.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Skeeter & Skunkbeard - June 10th

Click on image for full view.

Copyright 2008 by T. Wilcox & J. Parker. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm Back! (Video)

I just got back from a family vacation to the Oregon coast. It was a lot of fun, and included such highlights as a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory and standing inside the Spruce Goose. (For those of you whom've seen The Aviator, it's that big, huge, airplane Howard Hughes surprised the reporters with by taking off unexpectedly) I'll post some pictures soon.

Anyhow, I think the saltwater may be addicting, because I've decided to, God willing, attend the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Coaching Conference on July 27th-30th. It should be a great opportunity to network, meet some agents and editors, get some great tips from pros, and, again God willing, further me on my quest to get The Shepherd in print. I'm definitely looking forward to it. Prayers much appreciated.

And now for the video promised in the title. This is a kind of spoof I made for video production class last semester. Enjoy...

Thanks for all the comments on the post below. I'm glad you all enjoyed it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Skeeter & Skunkbeard - June 3rd

Here's another strip from the Skeeter & Skunkbeard files. (Click to enlarge)

Monday, June 1, 2009

I am no Mechanic...

The disastrous events of last week serve as a testament to that. The object was simple; change the oil in my pickup. It's the most basic and common of mechanical tasks, performed every three months or 3,000 miles, as nearly every car owner knows. But I still managed to fail miserably.

This is the picture of my oil pan. The red dot on the left is my oil filter, and the red dot on the right marks the oil plug (notice how shiny and new it is...)
I started with a brand new oil filter (oil filter has to be replaced with every oil change) several quarts of oil, and what I thought was enough knowledge to get it done.

I was wrong.

I slid an old plastic sled underneath the pickup to catch the old, dirty oil, and unscrewed the used oil filter. The filter came off and the thick, dirty liquid came streaming out, collecting in the sled. The stream dwindled to a drip and then to a stop, but long before enough oil had collected in the sled to resemble the five quarts I'd put in a little over three months ago.

You'd think I would take pause upon noticing this. But like a kid who, upon discovering a french fry covered in grime and hair, shrugs and pops it into his mouth, I went ahead and screwed the new oil filter on. Little did I know that I had forgotten to pull off the oil plug (it wasn't as shiny and noticeable at the time, but more on that later).

I started pouring the new oil in. It came as a bit of a shock when, after pouring in two quarts, the oil level indicator indicated I was way above full.

I started the engine so the oil could become dispersed and give me a more accurate reading. I don't recall a shiver passing through me, but perhaps somewhere in the county, some seasoned mechanic cringed as the old, dirty oil poured into my brand new filter.

Upon looking underneath again, I spotted the oil drain plug, slapped myself in the forehead, stopped the engine, and unscrewed the oil plug. This time a deluge of the dirty stuff poured forth, nearly filling the sled. And I had to remove the new oil filter and drain that as well.

Problem solved, right? Wrong! When I went to put the oil plug back in, I put it in crooked and stripped the threads, ruining the bolt. That wasn't so frightening as the google search that revealed that I might have to replace the WHOLE OIL PAN!

Fortunately--and I think Ford deserves some praise for this--the threads on the pan remained unharmed. I got a new bolt and my dad screwed it in without a problem.

But the trouble wasn't over yet.

I slid the oil filter back on with surprising ease--too much ease. The rubber seal had fallen off without my permission which resulted in a tight, metal-to-metal grip and, although it would have been extremely resistant to bumps, rattles, and attempts by superman to pull it off, it also would have leaked oil all over the road. It took a special tool to remove the filter, but I did, in fact, finish the job with a working pickup and a shinier bolt to boot.

However, I wasn't prepared for the task of oil disposal. It might be hard to imagine, but a long, narrow sled filled with seven quarts of oil is kind of tricky to lift up high enough to dump into a bucket. It wobbles around a lot and...


I don't think there are any of you left to disagree with the assertion in the title of this post. But I'm very glad that I know someone who is a mechanic, and a great one at that. He doesn't work on cars. In fact cars hadn't yet been invented during his brief time on Earth. But I can attest to the fact that no one gives a better, more complete oil change than He does. Nothing can come close to the feeling of being emptied of every last drop of dirty oil and filled with newness itself--the service that He alone provides.

1 Corinthians 6:11- And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.