rock on

The Translator

The last ISG meeting was a load of fun, as usual. The table is getting too small – there was hardly enough room for my treats amongst the tea pot, the cups, and all the computers. But we managed somehow 🙂

Many great things are on the horizon as this year draws to a close (it’s the middle of November already!! Yikes!) and a new one opens before us. Most of it involves copious quantities of writing, so my news may be scarce and scrawny. Bear with me, and it will be worth it, I promise.

Here are the writing exercise from the meeting. A continuance was in order, as you’ll see. Enjoy!

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silky, petrify (my word), microwave,

Put under a red moon in the microwave door to the best silky. Beil looked down, and squinted at what he had just read. The others were staring at him with uncertain expressions.

“What was that?” Heidi asked, a polite frown on her face.

Haam was a more direct. “Are you sure you translated that correctly?” he demanded. “Give that to me.”

The much bigger man snatched the paper from Beil, who stood as if petrified. Beil watched Haam glare at the message, challenging it with his bright blue eyes to give up its secrets. One day, Beil told himself in a furious but silent voice, one day I’m going to prove that I’m of some use to this expedition.

He glanced around at the others in the group, and tried not to feel inferior and worthless. Heidi was a magnificent witch, whose spells could protect the whole group even if they were under goblin attack. Haam was the best warrior in the six realms, and was proficient in the sword, bow, and hammer, all of which he carried on his person. There was Dorn, the tracker, Yelda, the seer, and Jaim, the Guardian of the Talisman.

Then there was Beil, of no great talent and no apparent value. __________________________________________

dictator, roam, apple

Beil watched Haam continue to glare at the paper, feeling more and more irritated at the whole world as the big man just stood there without saying a word. Beil was more scared of Haam than he would be of any cruel dictator, but if this continued, they would be standing here for the next three days as the warrior refused to give in and refused to grant quarter.

“Um, Haam?” Beil stepped forward in timid steps. “I’ve had an idea…”

He stopped suddenly, starting at Haam. Beil expected the man’s eyes to be be roaming the paper, searching for clues in the writing, but they were fixed, glassy, and blank. A lump the size of an apple obstructed anything but a soft gurgle coming from Beil, but his terrified look and shaking finger alerted the others to the problem.

A scuffle ensued as Dorn and Jaim attempted to wrestle the paper from Haam’s frozen fingers, and Heidi cast spells of protection and exorcism, all to no avail. Somehow, in the middle of the ruckus, Beil managed to wriggle through and snatch the paper from the bigger man. At once the spell was broken, but it took a while for them to notice Haam was now fine, and that Beil was holding the paper.

“You shouldn’t be touching that,” Heidi warned. “And don’t look at it.”

“He’s fine,” Haam frowned. “And he was trying to read it for a very long time before.”

Despite the insult, Beil felt a sense of satisfaction. At last, some use.

___________________________________________

I’ve still got a few more sneak peeks lined up for book III of the Guardians of the Path, Omens,  now avaialble for pre-sale on amazon, and I’ll try to keep up the updates, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. No rest for the wicked, you know 😉

Until then,

Rock on!

❀ DragonBeck

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Shout out to the Ink Slingers Guild

I want to take moment to tell a story about how I met some of the greatest people I have ever known.

I’ve been writing for about 12 years now. I sat down and wrote my first novel, longhand, on anything from to notebook paper, to flyers, to scraps of paper I found lying around and typed it into the computer on Saturdays, when I was fourteen years old (it was called The Three Mountains and the last time I looked at it, it needed some serious editing).

I have learned as a writer, you get these three questions.

1. What do you do? (or as a young person What would you like to do when you grow up?)

Writer: I write.

2. Oh, what do you write?

Writer: Fantasy (or genre of choice here).

3. Are you published?

Writer: …

I was mortally terrified of question #3, or more accurately, of the answer, which was an unfortunate “no”. In fact, I was so terrified that when I was  a younger writer, I would never tell people that I wrote.

I had the idea that I would like to go places with my writing, but I had no plan for that. Until I received a fateful text from my brother, telling me to talk to a woman he worked with. I recently went and found the first email I sent to her, on March 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM:

“Hi Lisa,
My name is Nicole.
I got your email address from my brother, (insert name), who works with you. He told me about this inksligersguild that he overheard you – or someone else at the office, I forget exactly which – talking about.
I checked out the website that he gave me, and it sounds awesome. I am a fiction writer myself and am very interested in finding out more about it!
If you could email me back with the details of what it is all about and what I would need to do to be a part of it, that would be really great.
Thanks very much,
Nicole.”

Yes, I did refer to it as “this inkslingersguild”. Lisa still saw fit to invite me to attend a meeting, and so I went to my first ISG meeting on 13 April 2011. Thusly, I was introduced to, and  subsequently inducted into the Ink Slingers Guild.

The Ink Slingers Guild, as described on the website, “is a group of fiction writers that provide each other support, inspiration and the occasional kick in the arse.”

We are awesome.

isg

(And we have matching shirts).

We get together every two weeks to go over our accomplishments (or conquests, if you want the real, insider lingo), check up on each other, and and get that kick in the arse, if required. Even if someone can’t come to the meeting for some reason or another, we make sure they get the words of the writing exercises, and there’s always Skype:

ISGG

We support each other in our writerly endeavors, with feedback, beta-reading, proofreading, or providing emotional support when reading aloud in front of real, live people.

isg 2

(Like the time we went to read some Stories My Friends Started at Wordier Than Thou.)

Before the Ink Slingers, I had some talent, passion, and a secret dream. Now I have two novels published, multiple short stories in seven anthologies, and a group of awesome friends. I can honestly say joining the Ink Slingers Guild literally changed my life.

So here’s to Lisa,  Courtenay, Rhiannon, Alanna, Erika (and Dalia), Jen, and Desi:

I’d like to say you guys are magnificent, amazing, and wondrous, and I love you all!

❀ ❀ ❀ DragonBeck

Called to Dance

My exercise from the ISG meeting last Wednesday. We had epic music playing in the background, which was, well, epic. And the inspiration for my first word. Enjoy!!

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Dance, pipes (my word), demand

Halley didn’t know how much longer she could keep up the pace of the dance. Her muscles burned and sweat poured from her skin, but still the pipes demanded more. Her feet flicked and swept in the steps, her arms waved, her head dipped and bowed, and just as she thought her heart was going to give out, silence descended over the forest.
Halley collapsed, chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. She brushed the fiery hair from her forehead, and stood, lifting her chin in defiance. The pipes may call her to dance, but she would not remain on the floor in a position of propitiation for one moment longer than necessary. Her legs were unsteady, threatening to give out under her, but she gritted her teeth, and remained
upright.
The prince looked down at her from his high throne, his green eyes cool. She waited for him to speak, unwilling to ask if he was pleased. The silence stretched on and would have gone on until Halley died, for as a mere human, she could not compete with the life span of the fae, but a figure rushed into the starlit clearing. Halley had time to see he was dressed in black, and wielded a silver blade before a bag was thrown over her head and she was borne away over a
broad shoulder.
________________________________________________

Continuation coming soon!

❀ DragonBeck

An Appearance by Jimmy

Hello everyone! 🙂

I hope you are all doing well. I have been rather slack in the writing (and blogging) department over the last couple weeks, but that shall be remedied, starting now.

Just a reminder: the Ink Slingers are going to be at Tampa Bay’s First Annual Book Fair at Park Station in Pinellas Park tomorrow, and you are all welcome to come out and join us for a good time; I will be there with my gold sharpie in hand to sign books. The above link will take you to the place with all the details. Hope to see you there!

Now, here are my exercises from the last ISG meeting, wherein there is an appearance by Jimmy, of The Death of Jimmy fame. Enjoy!

Naughty, squishy, sellout

Henry sat in the corner, shooting glares at the teacher and sellout Jimmy. It was not fair. What he had done wasn’t naughty. He had only wanted to find out exactly how squishy the frog really was. Now he was in a time-out because Jimmy had shown the teacher what Henry had done. Henry seethed to himself, silently plotting revenge. Jimmy was sitting like an angel, in the front row, rapt eyes on the teacher as she lectured about the difference between reptiles and amphibians.

Henry gently pulled the frog out of his pocket. It blinked at him with wet eyes.

“Sorry about that,” Henry whispered. “I didn’t know you would explode like that.”

The frog blinked again and shifted its sticky feet.

“It’s okay,” it croaked in a tiny voice. “At least you put me back together again. How did you do that?”

Henry shrugged, pleased at the attention. “Just something my grandmother taught me to do,” he said.

“Ah,” the frog said. “Do you think your grandmother could teach you to turn me back into my true self?”

Henry thought about it for a moment. “I think so. We could ask her at least.”

“Could we?” The frog gave an excited hop. “I would love to be able to eat a proper meal again, something that doesn’t involve insects.”

“Sure,” Henry said, eyes straying back to Jimmy and the teacher. “But there’s something I have to take care of first.”

Lotion, magnetic, classical

Trebert sighed, looking at the mess of a potion that he had managed to concoct. Classical magic was such a pain. If every little thing was just exactly right, if all the components were placed together at the exact right fraction of a second, the whole thing turned into something that looked like a four-year-old had dumped some green food dye into some tanning lotion and poured it over the dog.

Trebert shifted his feet, wondering if this would classify as hazardous waste and what he was supposed to do with the thing. Then a bright idea occurred to him. This was Classical magic, of course, but Trebert was much more proficient in the more fluid approaches of New-age magic, where the twirl of the wand didn’t matter so much, nor the utterances of precise and complicated syllables.

Diving into his bag, Trebert pulled out a number of things. He needed something magnetic. He held up a lodestone, then put it back, then picked it up again. That was the downfall of this New-age stuff. There was no map, no precise recipe, and sometimes winging it was hard. Trebert picked up the stone again, grabbed some ogre powder and the gizzard of a reborn phoenix, tossed it into the mess and stirred.

It changed color, becoming a nice, serene brown color, and evened in texture.

Then it exploded.

_______________

Until next time,

Rock on!

❀ DragonBeck

 

ISG Writing Exercises from DragonBeck

Here are, as promised, my writing exercises of the past meeting. This also appears to be an exercise in “get all the words into one sentence”.

Enjoy!

Premature, Expose, Hilarious

Gilly knew that if she were to expose the gem to sunlight prematurely, the effect of her impatience would be far from hilarious. Deadly would be a more accurate term. She cradled the heavy stone in the black velvet bag watching the timepiece with unblinking eyes.
As soon as the rose etched into the stone passed fully into shadow, Gilly tipped the gem out of the bag. It had grown since she had put it in the bag. She set in in the sun, and keeping a sharp watch on the time, she proceeded to follow the ritual the witch had written down for her.
She watered the gem, rolled it around to polish the glittering surface, then oiled it with the special cloth and the funny smelling lotion the witch had concocted for her. Exactly one hour later, when the carved snake was in the shadow of the sundial, Gilly put the gem back in the bag.
As she started to put the back into her jacket, it shook. She froze, watching the bag as it began to shake more violently. With a sharp cracking sound, the bag fell still. A thin wail came from the velvet depths. Gilly held her breath and peeked inside. The moist, scaly face of the newborn dragon looked up at her, mewling and sniffing.
“You’re a lot tinier than I expected,” Gilly said. “How exactly are you supposed to help me win back my father’s throne?”

Honed, Cherry, Elastic

This day had started so well, but it was rapidly spiraling down into living hellfire. Filip had spent years practicing, had honed his skill with dedication and persistence, all to lose to to this terrible excuse for a man who dyed his hair a bright cherry red that burned the eyes, and wore equally bright elastic tights. Filip threw away his blade, chest heaving, covered in sweat. He didn’t want to accuse the other of cheating, but something told him that the slim, pretty man had used more than a sword to beat him. That pretty man’s smirk confirmed Filip’s suspicions.
“I demand a rematch,” Filip said through gritted teeth.
“Why?” his opponent said, looking shocked and hurt. “You don’t think I played unfairly, do you?”
“I think you used magic!”
“But however could I do that in a place like this?”
Filip looked around, and had to admit the very annoying man had a point. In the King’s Court, there were wards and hexes to prevent any one from using magic. Including the very slippery sprites and pixies, one of which was standing in front of Filip now. During the games, the security was even tighter. So tight that it would be impossible for anyone to cast even a faint glamour. Still, that would mean the smirking creature had beaten him through outright skill. And that was unacceptable.
“I demand a rematch,” Filip repeated.
“As you will,” the pixie bowed, and raised his blade. “But I invoke the Law of the Challenger!”
Filip paled. No one had used that ancient practice for a hundred years. Hellfire, it seemed, was calling.

That’s all for now. Until next time,

Rock on and write on!

❀ DragonBeck

ISG Meeting and Anthology

Hello world 🙂

Exciting news cometh: the fourth Ink Slingers Anthology, entitled Bent Horizons, is on its way! Get ready for imminent and concentrated awesomeness!!

Partially due to that fact, last Wednesday’s meeting of the Ink Slingers Guild was not a normal one. Other reasons include: one, I brought chocolate chip cookie dough to Lisa’s house and made cookies fresh so the whole place smelled amazing; two, Erika brought a boat-load of books for the taking. It was as though Christmas had come early. I took some of the Writers of the Future anthologies, several of the Forgotten Realms novels, a collection of Douglas Adams stories including Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which I have been meaning to read for a long time, and some instructional books on writing Fantasy and Sci-fi by Orson Scott Card.

Three, and most important, Court skyped in and got with the authors about their submissions for this year’s anthology.  Meaning, this weekend I’ll be engaged in writerly things like conquests and rewrites 🙂

Which includes the sharing of the outcome of our biweekly writing exercises. All of us had to do our exercises solo this week, so at this exact moment, only I have ever laid eyes on the following:

Cankerous, Flustered, Treasure

Halley rushed around, putting everything in place, making sure everything was shiny, trying not to get flustered. It was common knowledge that dragons got, well…annoyed, when they were away from their treasure for any length of time, but Darcy was a special case.
Halley put the sapphires with the rubies, equally interspersed just like he like them, and just in time as a bellow came from the front entrance. Halley frowned. It sounded worse than usual.
“What’s the…”
She barely had time to get out of the way before Darcy came barreling in, a flurry of wings and claws messing up her perfectly placed gold doubloons and silver medallions. The dragon burrowed into the riches, still moaning.
“What’s the matter?” she finally got a chance to ask.
“I think it’s cankerous!” Darcy howled.
Halley sighed. “Let me look.”
Darcy rolled over, exposing his scaly underbelly. The delicate silver scales were flaking off in patches. Halley rolled her eyes.
“You’re shedding.”
“Dragons don’t shed,” Darcy sniffed.
“Then you’re dying of a horrible, slow, painful, dread disease,” Halley said. “It’s been nice knowing you. Can I have your stuff when you’ve passed on to the great beyond?”

Predator, Wound, Pushy.

He was being stalked, helpless prey as the cunning and lethal predator glided ever closer. His breath came faster, lungs burning as he ran, trying to escape the shadow that came relentlessly on. Carson woke from his dream, drenched in sweat. He lay in the dark, eyes closed, afraid to open them and find what he knew must be there. Tense, waiting, then he heard it. The soft scrape of claws on stone.
Whatever it was that was after him was still coming. Whatever it was that was watching over him had warned him in time once again. Carson rolled over and moved to a crouch, ears straining. The raspy breathing of his pursuer came from behind the rock ledge that Carson had collapsed on, too exhausted to continue.
Now he had no choice but to continue further up the treacherous mountain side, hoping against hope the whoever was guiding him with those dreams that were too real to be anything other than true knew what it was doing. But Carson was in no position to argue, beggars couldn’t be pushy or whatever that saying was. So he began to run up the mountain, hindered only slightly by the wound the creature had inflicted the first and last time it had caught Carson unawares, and the fist time Carson’s mysterious guardian angel had revealed itself. Sort of.
Carson pushed the thought from his mind. This was not the time to be distracted. He rounded the bend and ran into a sheer face of stone.

Have a delightful weekend, and I’ll be sure to let you know when Bent Horizons is available for purchase and your reading pleasure!

Until then,

Rock on!

❀ DragonBeck

Cupcakes and Other Things That Might Explode

Greetings earthlings 🙂

I recall that I may have said that the next time a certain prince or lord or some other such person asked me to come save his kingdom, I would refuse so as not to miss my Ink Slingers Guild meeting…I may have made I liar of myself. I do that occasionally, but it’s okay. It’s part of my job to lie 😉

I was absentee again, which really sucked because the meeting was held at Starbucks. In Barnes and Noble.  Yes, the same one I was just visiting. Oh well, there’s always next time 🙂

On a happier note, I was looking back on all the exercises I’ve done with the group. They number 177 as of today, which I find rather impressive. That’s about 80 meetings, which is over 3 years worth of exercises. Whew! So does that make me a veteran Ink Slinger, then?

Anyway, here are the exercises I did this week, involving cupcakes and other things that might explode.

Island, Spice, Package

She opened the package of “island spice”. It wasn’t really spice of any kind, of course, but it was the easisest way to transport the stuff without it getting stolen. Inside was a note, brief and to the point.
“Here’s the stuff. Don’t fail me now.”
She rolled her eyes. He was always dramatic like that. Taking the tiny package, she went into the back room. In the corner was a tall bookshelf. Carefully counting until she reached the right one, she pushed it in. A tiny click came from behind the bookshelf, and she turned and walked to the desk.
It was cluttered with all manner of junk and crumpled paper, but that just made it easier to hide the fact that a feather quill in an ink pot had magically appeared on the surface. She took the feather out. Instead of a nib was a key dripping ink. She wiped it on the blotter, then opened the left drawer. Inside was a lock. When she turned the key, a door in the fireplace opened.
She didn’t know why it had to be so secret; they were just making cupcakes, for god’s sake.

________________________________________________
Battery, mind, shiny
It was an old battery of some kind, Nirt thought to himself. That much he could tell, but he couldn’t wrap him mind around what it ran or even how it got charged. Mabye if he cleaned it up a little.
After a solid hour of rubbing and scrapping off corroded metal, the battery was more-or-less shiny in some places, and not to grungy in others. Still Nirt couldn’t tell how it worked. There were some weird symbols on the side and some kind of a counter to show how full or empty it was. It was slowly draining power the longer he stood there trying to figure it out.
“I think I’ll take it back to the lab up top,” he said. “The equipment there will have a better chance of giving me some decent answers.”
Nirt collected the rest of his gear and left the dig site. The trek through two miles of ancient stone tunnels to the surface was dark and quiet. Only the faint hint of fresh air told him he was making progress. When he emerged, it was sometime close to dawn. Harry waited for him at the entrance, in the mission rover.
“Did you find anything?” Harry yelled, pushing his glasses up his nose in true geek fashion.
“Yeah!” Nirt called back, jogging over and waving his find. “It’s some kind of power-storage unit, but I can’t…”
“Stop!” Harry leapt out of the rover, charged over and yanked it from Nirt’s hand. “You idiot! That’s not a storage unit! That’s a freaking bomb!!!” He hurlded it away from them, the rover and the tunnels then yanked Nirt down.
“Take cover!”

________________________________________________
Dandy, comeuppance (a punishment or fate that someone deserves), dollar
“Well, that worked out just dandy,” Georgia said, glaring at Ben.
“I’m sorry!” he said, glaring back.
Georgia knew he wasn’t sorry at all, and it infuriated her. “How are we getting out of here?”
“Just relax, I’ll think of something,” Ben said.
“Right. Like you did last time?”
Ben settled himself on the small cot in the prison cell and closed his eyes. He wasn’t going to be able to think of a plan with her yelling the whole time. Some would say this was comeuppance. Ben disagreed. This was just a step on a very carefully planned ladder that reached…somewhere. He still didn’t know where exactly, but he hadn’t gotten to the top yet.
“So?” Georgia demanded.
“Give me a minute,” Ben held up a finger. “Just one minute of complete silence and I’ll have us out of here.”
Georgia bit her tongue. When he got like this there was no talking to him. This whole mess to make a few dollars. She rubbed her temples. This was the last time she was going along with one of his schemes. The sound of the iron door creaking open made her spin and stare in surprise. Ben stood in the doorway. Georgia’s gaze snapped to the cot. No, Ben was on the cot. Timothy, Ben’s twin stood in the doorway, waving a key and grinning like an idiot.
“See?” Ben said, standing up with an identical grin.
Georgia was not impressed. “You know when you do that telepathic-call thing, all other telepaths can hear it too, right?”
A shout from down the hall made her point.

 

I hoped you got a laugh or two. There’ll be more in a bit, and I won’t make that one a lie.

Until then, Rock on!

❀ DragonBeck

DragonBeck *First Magyc* release party, part II: The Party!

Hello again 🙂

Now, to continue from part I:

…we were waiting for the guests, and they came…

…to give me sentences for the Stories my Friends Started:

SMFS participants

There were a lot of those, and I must say, my friends are quite talented with their story starters (actual stories to follow soon):

SMFS

I did a lot of book signings:

Author 04

(and a few impromptu, informal Q&A’s with fans and budding authors.)

Author 03

(I love how excited my fans get.)

Erika

(I didn’t realize I hold my head in exactly the same position each time I sign a book…)

Book signing

We were treated to a reading (by Erika Lance) of the short story “Finding Magic” by yours truly from The Death of Jimmy:

Party 01

Rapt audience

Beautiful Russian

Reading

Party 02

Everyone gathered for cake and a toast in my honor *blushes*…

Party 1

…with amazing dragonish punch:

Drinks

Hey, look at that! We were actually on schedule for once. (My beautiful mom is doing the cake honors).

Cake and beautiful mother

Party 2

First to speak was fellow author, friend, and publisher Lisa Barry, who gave a lovely toast about her first client (that would be me, by the way) and how amazing said client was. It made me feel very special:

Party 03

Then friend and fellow author Erika Lance (you’ve probably heard of her, she’s kind of a big deal) complimented me some more.

Party 05

(whereupon I got rather embarrassed)

Party 04

Then, in order to make sure my ego swelled to appropriate proportions, another friend, author and all around cool person, JM Paquette gave her favorite memory of me (it involved the decision that the reason we were stuck in traffic, crawling along in first gear, for over an hour, was that a dragon had crashed into the causeway and was holding things up). I ❀ her.

Party 06

And of course, the author was informed that she was obligated to say a few words. The words were something like “This is awesome. I’m very happy and I’m glad that you are all here to share it with me!” I thought it was a pretty good speech, considering it was on the fly and off the cuff, and I don’t usually speak in front of groups of people.

Party 07

A little bit later, we did the raffle drawing to find out which lucky three would win the signed ISG anthologies:

Raffle drawing 2

(Hello there!)

Raffle drawing

Here are the prizes with the names of their recipients elegantly written on post-it notes:

Raffle

To top it all off, I was given these wonderful flowers by my friends, Tesia and Aspasia Loehwing. I felt like I was winning an award or something. It was lovely, almost as lovely as the flowers themselves:

Flowers

All in all, it was a brilliant,  amazing, unbelievable evening. And now you’ve shared it with me via these photographs! I hope you enjoyed yourself 🙂

I’d like to thank everyone who came to the party; a very, very big thanks go to my mom, dad and sister for all their help, to Lisa, Erika and Jen for the toasts, and to Erika for reading for me. Also to Lisa, mom and Ayla for the photographs. I couldn’t have pulled this off without them. I ❀ all of you!

If you haven’t already gotten my book, and would like to purchase a copy, it’s available here on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Bring it by and I will be more than happy to sign it for you 🙂

I am very much looking forward to the next one and the journey onwards and upwards. Until next time, Peace and love.

Rock on!

❀ DragonBeck

Dragon

[Say hello to my little friend 😉 ]

The Brilliant Idea

As a prelude to the following anecdote: I love music, as in looooovvvvvvvveeeeee music. I play a little guitar and keyboard, but would describe myself only as an amateur at best. It’s not even a hobby, really, it’s just something that I fiddle about with if I have a spare moment or two. I know even less about computers (that’s relevant, I promise).

Music features heavily in my current series of books, The Guardians of the Path, (computers do not) and I got this idea for the covers of the books: what if I had a song and put a few bars of it on the back of each, so when you laid the books together you would get the whole song? Brilliant, right?! So, I wrote a little ditty on my keyboard, then I just had to figure out a way to get it into written form on my computer.

As noted above, I don’t have the skill-set necessary to do that all on my little own, but enthusiasm and optimism has carried me through greater trials and tribulations. I figured out I needed to download some music writing software (Finale free trial) and hook my keyboard up to my computer. Simple, right? Yeah, no (not for me – this whole thing was truly a major accomplishment, hence the blog). I came up with and followed three simple steps:

1) Find and procure people who know stuff.

2) Think positive!

3) and make Magyc!

1) Fortunately for me, in my life I have many people who know stuff. One such person helped kick-start my endeavor with two words. The first was “USB”. Now, I don’t know much about computers, but I’m not a complete troglodyte. I know what a USB is and what it looks like; my keyboard didn’t have that. Upon my description of “a round hole”, I was provided with the word “MIDI” (for the non-music people like me, that means Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or what you add to chlorians to endow mastery of the Force).

So I went to the wisest person I know – Google – and put in “MIDI to USB cable” and what do you know – such a thing exists!! I ordered one, and being the slightly naive, frugal and pragmatic person that I am, figuring this was a once-off deal, bought the cheapest one on Amazon that qualified for Prime shipping (I can already hear the sighs, eye-rolls, lectures and general censure from the purists – don’t worry, I learned my lesson). Bad idea. No computer I have could see the keyboard and long story short, I bought another, more acceptable cable, and


2) 
with the new cable, though the keyboard could now be seen by my computer, I couldn’t make it work with the software. I was about to scrap the whole idea, thought about it, came close to deciding it wasn’t that important anyway – it can be easy to get frustrated when things don’t work. That never helps. Ever. So – think positive! Never give up, on yourself or your dreams.

Decide that it’s all going to work out, even if everything is going wrong, and hold on to that. Be confident in yourself. If it’s going really, really badly, refer to #1 and be confident in someone else.

In my case, that would be my brother. If you don’t have one of those, I recommend getting one, as soon as possible. He’s amazing – he is to electronics what Jesus was to the sick, lame and blind – he waves his hands and they work. I don’t know how he does it. After about two weeks of me trying different things, I swallowed my pride and asked if he could help me the next time he was over at the house. He spent five minutes – five minutes! – clicked some things, looked at some other things, and voila! Suddenly, when I pressed a key on the keyboard, music happened on the computer and I could


3) 
make Magyc!! It’s not easy to describe how to make Magyc. It’s a different process for each person, and unfortunately the schools don’t cover what to do if you have no inherent magic talent. You’re just pretty much screwed. If you have magic talent, but don’t inherently know what to do with it, you’re also screwed. Very few people are able to point a wand at something and make the right thing happen on the first go.

It’s more an art, less a science. There’s no hard and fast recipe for sparkly-rainbow-golden-beams-and-unicorn-tears Magyc, no pseudo-Latin phrase you can say with the right inflection or formulation of strange and exotic ingredients simmered together under a blue moon to produce this ethereal thing. Trial and error is always fun. Trial and success is more fun. And I fully believe that if you try enough times, you’ll learn more and more of what you need to know in order to make your own unique brand of Magyc, which this world desperately needs.

Anyway, with some optimism, people who know stuff, persistence, trial and error, more trial and error, coffee, and trial and success, my brilliant idea came to partial fruition:

A GOTP

Yay!!! So, that’s what I did with my last weekend. I have the music – I have no idea if I’ll be able to get it into a format to put on the cover, but remember, there’s always:

1) Find and procure people who know stuff.

2) Think positive!

3) and make Magyc!

In the eternal words of David Essex, Michael Damian and Def Leppard, Rock on!