Book Review: Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

51QXF8KQDCL.SX316.SY316John Hutchinson (aka Hutch) and his buddies want nothing more than to escape their less-than-successful lives by going camping in the middle of nowhere up North. After all, angry ex-wives, the unemployment statistic, and an overall depressing atmosphere can’t reach them out in the woods, where even phones are hard to come by. But when Hutch is nearly vaporized by a group of madmen with a powerful toy, it’s clear this wasn’t the vacation they bargained for. When Hutch becomes the protector of a nine-year-old boy, he realizes it’s up to him to save an entire town from sudden death.

This book exceeded expectations. When I received word that the Hutch series would collide with Liparulo’s other adult novels, the Immortal Files, I realized I was going to have to educate myself before his next installment.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Dyslexic Superpower: Why Our Uncanny Abilities Aren’t Weaknesses

Third-grade me sat in the back of the class, staring at the scrawled penmanship on wide-ruled paper. More specifically, I was staring at the large, unforgiving red F at the top. Ironically the failing letter grade was the easiest letter to read on the entire page.

My failing spelling grades weren’t just for lack of diligence. Oh, I tried to write legibly, tried to read without stumbling, and tried to pass a spelling class with an acceptable grade—but I struggled with something other kids didn’t: I was dyslexic.

But here’s the thing. Although I struggled with spelling in school, Mom wouldn’t let me believe I was disadvantaged. She determined to share with me the secret of dyslexia: it isn’t so much a disability as it is a superpower.

Dyslexia Thumbnail

Continue reading

Joy of Checkers (Short Story)

The world has forgotten its history and now resides in a rustic shadow of its former glory. But one little girl determines to share her memories no matter what.

This was my second short story for my Advanced Creative Writing class. As I did with the last one, I had to write a literary short story that focused on characters more than plot, but I decided to again defy the expected and wrote a science fiction literary story.

The main characters live in a post-modern world that’s intended to allude to the current political mindset of “forget our history, forget our mistakes.” The government in the story has erased its history, and anyone caught remembering or recording past events are taken into custody.

Checkers Thumbnail


The stretch of hemp fibers and rawhide creaked as a lone archer drew back his primitive bow from a crook in the maple tree. The fletching caught the golden hue of sunset dribbling through the trees, every fiber glistening in fire. The archer shifted his weight in the maple, carefully balancing his position in order to follow the deer picking its way through the underbrush, unaware that a stone arrowhead carefully tracked its heart from above.

Continue reading

Book Review: Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

711WBU9Yz1LReuben Land is an eleven-year-old asthmatic boy with a loving family. His younger sister, Swede, is an aspiring writer, his older brother Davy a passionate man and an accomplished game hunter, his dad…a man of miracles. But when the town bullies begin a feud between themselves and the Land family, the war is taken too far and Davy sentences himself to the life of an outlaw. With Davy gone, the Land family must find a way to recover, and Reuben and Swede are determined to find their older brother, who’s escaped to the Dakota Badlands.

This book was required reading for my Advanced Creative Writing class because of its masterful use of description and word choice. I had my doubts before picking up this book, but before I knew it, the humorous and literary writing style of Leif Enger had kidnapped me into his world of outlaws, road trips, and of course the Dakota Badlands. Its setting I particularly enjoyed because of a family road trip we took ourselves through the Badlands a couple years ago, so that’s always a plus.

Continue reading

Not With My Watch (Short Story)

This was a short story I wrote for my Advanced Creative Writing class. The goal was to write a literary story that focused on characters and description more than plot and action, but still manage to balance all aspects well. While our teacher told me that no one has attempted a science fiction short story for this project, she was in full support of me trying to write a literary sci-fi, referencing Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.

While I ended up sticking more to spiritual and “paranormal” (for lack of a better term) than sci-fi, I feel it’s safe to say that the story content hasn’t been done at PCC’s creative writing classes. The story is inspired from a concept my roommate and I are developing about a guardian angel watching over a young troublemaker throughout her entire life. In the original story, Eitan, the angel, is tasked with guarding her from the moment she’s born, keeps her out of childhood dangers, coaxes her to Christ, protects her from wayward rebellious stages, boyfriend problems, eventual marriage problems, and ultimately sits beside her during stages of cancer and taking her home.

This story focuses mainly on one section of this would-be larger story (and animation if we were ever to go through with our plan). Eitan is a character who’s appeared in several of my short stories (originally a response to Frank Peretti’s exquisite novel This Present Darkness), but as of now, this story takes place at the beginning of the canonical timeline.

Eitan and the other angels in the story appear similar to demons because they once were the same creature, which explains the rams horns while the demons have goat horns. Their ears are sheep-like while the demons are more swine-like. Angels have bronze skin and demons have pale skin.

Not With My Watch


The parkway leading to Highway 27 was mostly abandoned at this time of night. The only vehicles that did pass, tires thundering over bridges and echoing through the underpasses, belonged to those who were returning from a brutally tiresome day’s work, a late taxi from the understaffed and woefully inefficient local airport, or from an unexpectedly long evening of gaiety and frivolousness that parents wouldn’t approve of. Every twenty feet or so the parkway attempted and failed to show off its winning personality by displaying its wide collection of travelers’ trash. Gum spots the size of silver dollars cemented themselves to the shoulder’s asphalt, aluminum beer cans in the shape of pancakes twirled with each pass of an eighteen-wheeler, and the local gangs thought it would be a special kind of genius to graffiti the “55 MPH” speed limit signs. The only signage that successfully avoided wayward teenaged boys was that of the “No Littering” notices. Instead, a shrine of cracked beer bottles was laid at its base.

Continue reading

Writing Contest: Fruits of the Spirit Daycare

I entered in my Advanced Creative Writing class’s contest this year, which was a 600 word story with the prompt “kindness in action.” Trying to find a way to keep a short story from becoming cliché and cheesy, I decided to pull from my memory of Union Station in Washington and write about a homeless man who spends his days under the arches outside the station. I won first place in my class and received a journal as a prize.

Fruits of the Spirit Daycare

Continue reading

How to Meet Your Characters Without Doing Tons of Character Worksheets

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve probably come across that one blog that suggests character interviews is the solution to every writer’s writing block. Then they’ll give you a long fill-in-the-blank worksheet that has questions entirely irrelevant to your character’s interests. Why do you want to know about their love life? Who cares if they have a theme song? And they don’t have time for sports — the world is at stake, for Pete’s sake!

I will say that Charahub is a pretty legit place for these kinds of questions, but I personally think interviews are mostly useless unless you’ve already got a pretty good grasp on the character’s main interests that pertain specifically to the plot of your story. Only after you figure out their most immediate concerns (saving the world), can you focus on love lives and sports.

That being said, over the years I’ve discovered different ways to learn your character’s psyche — and some of these ways I’ve never heard recommended anywhere else.

Know Your Characters

Continue reading