Monday, December 30, 2019

Goals for a New Year, New Decade

All right, people. This is it. Time to get serious. We're 48 hours away from the Roaring Twenties 2.0!

By the end of this decade I will be an old person. (That's assuming I survive until 2030.) Therefore, I want to hit as many of my bucket list goals as possible, within the next ten years.

My most ambitious life-long project that I hope to complete is a cycle of Eight Novels.

One of them (CAMP OMIGOSH) is in print. Two of them have been completed in manuscript form (VISIONS in the MIDNIGHT REALM, TWIXT & TWERP).

God willing, the next book in the cycle will be KETTLE BLACK. Hopefully I will complete that during 2020. Then, I have the rest of the decade to generat the last four novels (and I only have murky ideas about what they will be).

New Year's Resolutions...

For 2019... I was a bad boy. I did not write / sell a new play, or a new picture book, as I had promised myself. I also failed to gain 1000 YouTube followers. However, I can easily forgive my shortcomings because I surprised myself by writing my longest novel ever, and all entirely within 2019... That, of course, is Twixt & Twerp, which is currently in the hands of my agent.

So now, it's time to generate my 2020 Goals... They will be quite similar to last year's since I didn't accomplish those goals... Here they are:

1) Write / Sell a new picture book

2) Write / Sell a new play

3) Gain +1100 YouTube followers

And... I have been very forward thinking, and I have created a Vision for the Year 2030:

1) I am retired.

2) I have free time.

3) Cheri and I are head-over-heels in love with each other.

4) I have many creative outlets and abilities.

5) We have $100,000 in savings and less than $5000 in credit card debt.

So, that's the vision. I know the universe might have other plans for us... But for now, that's the direction I'd like to head... And I'm ready to get to work!  Part of me is tempted to list something like "my children are happy and successful." However, that's their journey, not mine. It goes without saying that I will do all within my power to help them towards a fulfilling life.

To any and all who read this, HAPPY NEW YEAR! May the Roaring Twenties 2.0 be breathtaking.

Monday, December 2, 2019

New Month, New Project

So, I finished my second draft of TWIXT & TWERP. Now, I am waiting for feedback from my agent.

While I wait, it's time to work on some new projects. Mr. Flowers and I are developing a play for next September. Currently, it's being called SUGAR AND SPIES.

I'd tell you more about it, but the dogs are bothering me again. They DO NOT want me to be an author.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend 2019


(a series of "hellos" echo into the never-ending void of the internet)

I hope you enjoyed your extra long weekend of Thankfulness. And I hope the coming year gives you even more for which to be thankful.

It was a wonderful weekend for the Bradford family... but it was bittersweet too. Emily visited us for the whole week! But the time flew by so fast. She left this morning on an early flight to Portland. We already miss her!

Our Thanksgiving feast took place at a friend's house in Acton... and it snowed!!!

We also watched the Opening Night of ELF at the Canyon Theatre Guild. (Get your tickets, ASAP, Santa Clarita... they are selling out fast!)

In between rainstorms, we met with Mia, an amazing photographer, and she took pics for our upcoming Christmas card...

(Don't worry... These are photos I took of the photography session... Mia's are much better!)

The Christmas lights are up on the roof (thanks to me) and the inside of the house is all decorated (thanks to Cheri).

Let's see... What else did we do???

Oh, Emily got her very first tattoo!!!

Oh, and to fulfill a promise I made to her over four years ago, I got my first tattoo as well... But that's a story for another blog post! 

Seasons Greetings!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In the Thick of It...


The days are packed. Mostly with grown-up stuff. Grading essays. Going to and from work. Walking those desperately needy dogs.

There's also been a lot of good stuff going on. Mackenzie turned 21!!!!

My agent likes the first five chapters of my novel!!!

We have an improv show this Saturday!!!

Yet, around us, there's been bad things happening. Today, a 16 year old murdered two students and injured several others. This happened at Saugus High School, about ten miles our neighborhood. So, we've been feeling sad and subdued today.

I'm thankful to be alive. I'm thankful that my family is alive and well. It's not fair that today there are other families that cannot say the same thing.

But here I am, doing what I do. Typing on my blog. I'm sitting in my office at Moorpark College, and as soon as I'm done writing, I will attempt to grade my daily quota of six essays. It makes me think of that sad Robert Frost poem, "Out, Out--"

Little --- less --- nothing! -- and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Revising My Novel: Tips for Sensational Second Drafts

I'm continuing my YouTube Journey... If you'd like me to keep on making these videos, you can help me out by Subscribing to my channel!

If you are writing a novel for NaNoWriMo -- I wish you all the best. Leave a comment and let me know how it's going!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

ADVICE FOR NEW NOVELISTS: 4 Tips to Help You Write Your Book

I've been very ambitious with my YouTube videos lately.  The last couple have been playing for laughs, but I really did want to offer some genuine advice and encouragement to newer writers who have decided they would like to write a novel.

I'd love to keep making these sorts of videos, but starting on Monday I'll have another batch of essays to grade!  We'll see what that does to my creative output!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Second and Third Drafts -- Simultaneous Revisions

My middle grade fantasy is still progressing. I am one third of the way through the second draft, and about one eighth of the way through the third draft.

How can I be working on the second and third draft at the same time? Simple. The second draft is all about me and the page, revising the novel chapter by chapter, making it the best i can all by my lonesome. The third draft happens orally. I have been reading it out loud to my eldest daughter. (I hope she doesn't mind being my first audio book beta-reader.)

Reading my work out loud to another person helps me understand what works and what doesn't. If Mackenzie laughs at the funny parts, I know I'm on the right track. If she gasps at the exciting parts, then i know I'm raising the stakes at the right moment. Even when she isn't verbally responsive, I'm still getting a good third draft done because just by me reading it out loud is incredibly helpful to me. It really helps with the sentence clarity and the over all flow.

Well, enough blogging! Back to the revision!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Twixt & Twerp Update; The First Draft Is Complete!

Well, Monday morning I typed the words "THE END" into my first generation iPad.

The first draft of Twixt & Twerp is complete. Now, I'm forcing myself to take a break from it for just a few days. (Stephen King takes a few weeks, but I don't wanna wait that long!) Then, I'm jumping into the second draft. Hopefully that will tighten up the story and clearly define the characters, not to mention improve the descriptions.

When I get five chapters polished, I will send it off to my agent.

Keep your fingers crossed. I am thinking positive thoughts, believing that this little middle grade novel will find the right editor, and it will be love at first read. I have had such a marvelous time writing this book. It would be a shame if I'm the only one who gets to enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Family Trip 2019 - Day One (Fun Was Had by All)


We are back from twenty days of traveling around the country. Not all of the country, just parts of the East Coast. We began our journey in a place many families go when on vacation: Orlando, Florida.

Our hotel room was way up high on the 25th floor. I was nervous every time I stepped onto the balcony, especially during the many sudden rainstorms.

Our first day in Florida was a celebration of capitalism, which set the tone for the rest of this priceless adventure (that cost us thousands of dollars). We explored Disney Springs, the Orlando version of Downtown Disney. Above, you'll see a dinosaur themed restaurant. Every fifteen minutes a meteor shower light show flashes across the ceiling, scaring the beejuzus out of these hapless animatronic reptiles.  

We patronized the Coca-Cola store and purchased an Around the World Sampler of various Coke products. Some were pretty good. I enjoyed a fizzy apple drink from South America. The worst by far was a cloudy white carbonated beverage from Italy, called "Beverly." DO NOT DRINK BEVERLY! We are pretty sure that it's actually Windex. 

I looked on YouTube and discovered that we are not the only ones who feel this way... 


It started pouring down rain throughout Disney Springs. (Sudden rainstorms would become a theme of this trip.) And just in between storm showers we discovered the VOID -- sounds creepy, but it's just a fun Virtual Reality place that let's you become a STORMTROOPER! So, we of course yelled at them to take out money and the four bradfords became the most incompetent storm troopers in the galaxy. 

We also bumped into a silhouette portrait artist. Back in our Disney annual pass holder days the girls had several done when they were much younger, so we decided to get a more up-to-date version. 

The final result was adorable -- but I don't know where Cheri packed it, so I'll have to post the image later.  In addition to occasional rainstorms, we also experienced occasional dessert cravings. They have every kind of snack here, including a specialty chocolate shop that roasts marshmallows.

And since this place is part of Disney, there were of course many places to buy Disney merchandise. My favorite establishment was the one with all the Disney art. 

It's nice to travel, especially when you can travel with the whole family. This sort of adventure doesn't happen very often for the four of us, and since the girls are now adults, it might not happen again *sobs into keyboard*

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Back in California for a Bit

We left the wonders of Lake Chelan to journey back home to California... but we'll soon be hitting the road again, this time traveling to the East Coast!

I'm not sure how this upcoming trip will impact my writing. So far, I'm on Chapter 43... I was cruising along while we were at the lake, because there's not much to do besides eat, write, and occasionally in danger yourself on the water. (I went kayaking, people!)

We'll see how much writing gets done on the East Coast. Going to be much busier... but I'm really hoping to finish this draft by the end of August!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Washington Adventures

I'd like to add photos to this oater, but right now I'm working on my first generation iPad, so it's not possible.

We've been traveling this week. On July 1st, (Monday) we hit the road, driving for about ten hours until we arrived at Seven Feathers Resort Casino, our favorite place to stay the night when we're headed for Washington. I made a ten hour mix tape, made mostly of "old people music" according to Emily.

On July 2nd (Tuesday) we continued our journey. We stopped at Willamette University along the way to explore the campus for the second time (the first happened last year). There are a lot of beautiful spots to study outside, assuming the weather permits! We made it to Everett in the early evening and we picked up food from our favorite Washington fast food place: Ivar's Fish and Chips!

On July 3rd, we spent the day hanging out in Everett. Emily and I visited Boom City to buy abiut 30 bucks worth of fireworks. We also tried one of those electric scooters you can rent. nWe didn't break any bones! We took Judy and Gil (and Cheri's brother Mark) to Anthony's Home Port, I had more fish n' chips (just as good as Ivar's but about 3 times more).

On July 4th, my niece Maddi picked up Emily and they drove out to stay with my brother and sister-in-law at Ocean Shores. They will be spending their evening blowing stuff up on the beach. Cheri and I had a more relaxed 4th at her parents' condo. Gil (Cheri's step dad) has been waiting for the results from a bone marrow test because his body is not producing enough blood cells. (Any good wishes and prayers are appreciated.) Everett's bay gave us a terrific view of the fireworks up and down the coast and on the surrounding San Juans.

July 5th, Cheri and I went to Ocean Shores. Fun was had by all. Jeff's wife Sheila was a wonderful hostess. She spoiled us with a lot of bacon, french toast, and other goodies. We spent a lot of time gathered around the fire, talking about old times. (Many folks drank Sheila's famous MaiTais -- I had a coke.) My sister Jill and her boyfriend Phil were there too. We played this cool board game from the early 70s called Masterpiece; it was an art auction game.

July 6th.... Cheri and I took a morning stroll to the beach. Then it was time to head back to Everett. We met with two of Cheri's friends from her Rainbow girl days, having a late lunch
 at Beck's American Cafe. I had a delicious cheeseburger that sent me into a deep nap when we got back to the condo. Cheri and Judy have been enjoykng Christmas in July on the Hallmark channel...mthey have seen two romantic Xmas movies so far.

My Twixt and Twerp novel is coming along, although I have not been working on it every day since traveling. I'm about to finish Chapter 36. I think there will be a total of 60 chapters. So, maybe I'm beyond the halfway point?

In other writing news, an editor admired my latest chapter book enough that he plans to show it the next acquisition meeting. I would love the opportunity to branch out from picture books into this new realm of chaoter books. Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Coming Soon -- All Inclusive: A New Comedy by Bradford and Flowers

Get ready for the theatrical journey of a lifetime! Prepare for waves of laughter, a hurricane of comedy, and just a pinch of romance. (Be careful, the crabs do pinch!)

Join us September 13th - 22nd for a vacation into the imagination of playwrights Wade Bradford and Christopher Flowers!

All Inclusive is the story of Mr. MaCa'a and his delightful island paradise. At least he thinks it's a paradise. However, when the first guests / disgruntled spouses Rick and Kathy arrive at what was supposed to be a five-star resort, they realize that MaCa-a's island is less of a delight and more of a disaster.

Stay tuned for more information about cast, crew, and tickets!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Glorious Summer Blur

During certain years in the past, I have blogged every summer day, recording each date to help preserve it in my memory. These months of creative freedom are precious to me. Silly as that may sound.

So far this summer, I haven't really done that. In part, I think, this may be because I've been having fun on Instagram, taking snapshots during most of the days. But, more likely, I haven't been blogging on a daily basis because many of the days blur together in a wonderful haze, a combination of relaxation and productivity.

There have been exceptional days, of course. Emily's graduation. Mackenzie's latest hospital visit which resulted in a surprisingly good diagnosis (no MS!!! No Syrynx!!! No permanent nerve damage!!! And it seems the occupational therapy has alleviated most if not all of her symptoms!)

Aside from those exceptions, many of the days contain much of the same ingredients.

-- I wake up between 8 and 9 am

-- I exercise a little bit (40 sit ups, 20 push ups, 20 lifts, 20 mountain climbers)

-- I spend time with the dogs

-- I go some place to write (usually a Starbucks)

-- I do some errands / chores with Cheri

-- I walk the dogs

-- hang out with the girls

-- I usually write outside in the yard (with the dogs)

-- we eat dinner (sometimes at home, sometimes out somewhere)

In addition to my novel, I have also been:

-- writing new picture books (one has been submitted this week)

-- working on All Inclusive (the new Bradford / Flowers play)

-- revising Visions in the Midnight Realm

When I'm too tired to work on my writing, I entertain myself with...

-- going out to the movies (Cheri and I watched Toy Story 4 & Rocketman)

-- going to some plays (Ernest & Moonlight and Magnolias)

-- binge watching shows with David Tennant (Good Omens, Jessica Jones)

-- reading / listening to Stephen King (Dreamcatcher & Insomnia)

-- playing my snowboarding video game

-- reading old Spiderman comics (online)

I've been doing my best to avoid eating sugar. I'm trying to get more fit than my current state. I could stand to lose five to ten pounds, but the scale has read about 170 all summer long.

When I get tired at night, I make bad food choices, so I really should just go to bed earlier than I do.

So far, this summer is glorious! I hope yours is too.

Leave me a comment to let me know what you're up to!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Wade Reads Camp Omigosh - The Prologue

The Five O'Clock Frazzle

I spent most of the day writing... and yet today's word count is lighter than most. I never got writer's blocked, but things got a little slow in places... The characters are kind of in a jam -- as they should be in an adventure story -- and it hasn't been easy to get them out. Maybe they won't get out! I don't know how this book is going to end!

I've noticed that on these days when I have the time and energy to write most of the morning and afternoon, I start to get a little bit frazzled by five o'clock. It's like I could keep writing... but it's not going to be very good stuff... at least it's not going to move the plot along. When I start getting close to five o'clock, there's more talking and less action with the characters.

So, now it's after five... I'm telling myself to take a break, so what am I doing. Blogging!

I need to find something to cleanse my mental pallet and give me some fuel for tomorrow's writing adventure.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Creativity + Productivity = Happy Wade

Oh, let me tell you people... Summer is feeling so good right now!

The book is cruising along at light speed. Or, at the very least, it is surprisingly on schedule. Will anybody read it? Who knows? Will it ever be traditionally published? No idea? Am I still incompetent and marketing and promotion? You bet!

But who cares? The book is coming to life!!!! It's almost at the halfway point!

And, to top it all off, after a morning and afternoon dedicated to the novel, I came up with a new idea for a picture book. So, I guess what I'm saying is... It's time to dance!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Free Digital Download of Camp Omigosh

Celebrate the joy of Summer reading with a free digital download of my middle grade adventure novel: Camp Omigosh!!!

You can download a PDF of the book (did I mention it's FREE???) from my Teachers Pay Teachers Page. This summer marks the 4 year anniversary of my first middle-grade novel. It's been a labor of love, brought to life by the incredible team at Skyrocket Press.

So many people, of all ages, have told me how much they would love to read a sequel. And I would love to write one, but to be honest... There haven't been enough people reading the book. According to Amazon, I've sold about 300 copies. I'm very grateful to all of my readers. I'd just like to have some more people interested before returning to the exciting world of Camp Omigosh.

So... here's how you can help...

Tell your friends... the best summer camp in the world (maybe even the universe) is waiting for you! 

(Would you rather read the paperback edition? Click on the image... it's on sale for $12.55...)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Clapping Out the Class of 2019 @ SCVi Charter School

Resolution Check-In: June 2019 Edition

We're at the halfway point, people! And I'm kind falling behind on some of these goals, but to be fair that's because I'm taking on a brand new project that's a bit more ambitious than anything esle on this list. I'll explain more after we go through the resolutions. Here they are!

1) Gain More Followers

I want to achieve at least one of the following...

I want to end the year with 1000 subscribers on YouTube. (I currently have: 311... It's been that way for a while.) 


1000 people signed up for my Newsletter. ( Currently, no newsletter exists, neither is there a sign-up list.)  

Gain a total of 1000 followers of my Author Page on Facebook....  (Currently, there are 240 followers)

So far, the YouTube channel has made the most progress, but it still has a long way to go...

ACHIEVEMENT: 31% Complete

2) Make 24 YouTube Videos

This year I have currently uploaded 18 videos. Some of them are very short and somewhat pointless and have very little views... but hey, what matters is I'm posting stuff!

If you're reading this, why not visit my youTube page and subscribe??? 

ACHIEVEMENT: 75% Complete

3) Sell Another Picture Book and/or Chapter Book

The Buggle Bunch chapter book has been sent to five different publishers. So far it has been politely turned down by one house... We are still waiting to see what the other editors have to say.

ACHIEVEMENT: 0% Complete

4) Write / Sell Another Play

Here's the thing... I am really caught up in the new novel I am writing. If i am lucky, I might finish the first draft by the end of August. But then there's all that revising to do, and school will start... So, writing and selling a new play is going to definitely be a challenge. Hopefully it will happen, but if I need to sacrifice a play in order to finish writing my novel, i will happily make that sacrifice.

ACHIEVEMENT: 0% Complete

5) Follow my New Creative Calendar (at least 52 times)

I've really dropped the ball on this one... The original goal was to have themed days that I could play around with on social media and on this blog...

Monday -- Money Makin' Mondays
-- each passing week I brainstorm, scheme, and implement

Tuesday -- Teacherly Tuesdays

Wednesday -- Heroic Humpday (Games and Geeking Out)

Thursday -- Movie / Theater Thursday

Friday -- Friendly Fridays (Good Deeds)

Saturday -- Nostalgic Narratives

Sunday -- Picture Book Sundays

But since I've been concentrating on my middle-grade novel, I haven't bothered with this playful, social media stuff -- even though I still really think it's a fun idea, and I think it could help me grow more readership online. Although, I continue to post the Thursday movie questions on facebook, so that's good. All in all, I have had 14 theme-related posts (out of an eventual 52)


ACHIEVEMENT: 11% Complete

Monday, June 3, 2019

My New Writing Spot!

I'm knee deep in a new novel, but decided to take some timeout to talk about my unusual writing process this summer. Normally, I write at home, in my office or in the living room... But these dogs of mine want constant attention (no matter how much I walk them!) and so instead of just sitting under the weight of their stare, I have felt compelled to leave the house. Surprisingly, I've been getting a lot accomplished just sitting in my car, about a half-mile away from home.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Summer 2019 -- Knee Deep in Novel Writing

I've been on summer break for eleven days now. I am happy to report that Twixt & Twerp, my middle grade novel, is coming along. Fingers crossed that I will continue to be prolific

My writing process has changed a bit. That is to say, my writing location has changed. During the day, I CANNOT write in this house. That's mainly due to the distraction created by the three dogs who live here. But I think it's also because I went to sit at Starbucks on my first day of summer, and since i had a very productive session, I guess the creative side of my mind now assumes that we have to get out of the house in order to pursue art.

Ah well... at least I'm writing. I'm clocking in about a half-chapter a day, although today I wrote a full chapter. With a little luck and a lot of inspiration, I might be able to complete the first draft by the end of summer. Did i say a "little" luck? Maybe let's double or triple that.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Summer 2019 - Let It Begin!!!

It's almost 10:30 pm, on the first evening of my summer break. I've got 90 days of the stuff I crave the most: free time.

Of course, we'll see just how free it actually is... Life has that funny way of throwing you curve balls, and I have a funny way of getting mixed up in things that seem like whimsy at first but then transform into dreary obligations.

I started this morning with my exercise routine (something I've all but abandoned during the last few weeks of school).

Cheri and I have been listening to audio tracks from "The Greatest Salesman on Earth." (Hint: It;s not about Willy Loman.)

We spent the past month listening to this one... (Scroll #2)

And we recently moved onto this one... (Scroll #8) 

I'm not sure why we aren't listening to the scrolls in order, but so far I'm enjoying these visualization techniques. I'm not much of a "daily affirmation" kind of guy... but the Scroll #2 message is about greeting the day with love in your heart, and what's wrong with that? If more people greeted each day with that attitude we could certainly decrease world suck, as my DFTBA friends would say.

What else did I do with my first day off? I walked the dogs. Quite a few times, actually, because we've got people working in our backyard, trying to make it a bit less of a weed-infested jungle. So, since the dogs couldn't go frollicking in the back yard, I took them around the neighborhood. Or perhaps I should say, they took me.

Graded lots and lots of essays today. That was my main goal, to finish as much of the grading process as possible. But I did manage to get out to the Moorpark Campus, one last time before summer sweeps me away. For the first time ever, I attended a Moorpark graduation ceremony. It was great seeing some of my students step up to receive their diploma. Hooray for Education!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Emily's Music Videos

Emily has been very prolific with her music and film making...

Here is her most recent collaboration with her YouTube friend, Spencer Ty...

It's an Indie Girl styled cover of that Shrek-famous pop-song: All Star!

She also recently wrote her own song, a blissfully sweet composition called suburban jungle. You can see her frolicking in the wild weeds of our backyard:

Emily has selected her university! Can you believe she's old enough to go off to college? I can't. Man, I'm gonna miss this kid! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Twixt & Twerp

I am pleasantly surprised to say that I have actually been doing some creative writing this semester. Most of the time, I don't make much progress. I believe two years ago, I was able to get about three chapters into Glowdark, before the "essay grading blues" hit me and the project faltered.

However, this semester, I started a new middle grade novel, and I think I've gotten to the part where I am having such a good time with the characters that i hope to someday finish this one.

It's called Twixt & Twerp -- and that's such a bad title I don't mind posting information about it, since I hardly doubt anyone else would want to lay claim to such an obnoxious pair of words. It's a fantasy novel, inspired by my recent return to playing Dungeons and Dragons with some of my theater friends. (Or perhaps i should say, my recent gaming has rekindled memories of my childhood days playing the game, and that's what's inspired me to begin on this current book.)

I don't know if I will finish the novel. But I do know that I am overcoming my fear of working on longer projects that go nowhere. (Remember Duck Town??? Waaaahhhh!)

Here's a difference, with Duck Town, I truly believed and visualized its mainstream acceptance and success. However, with Twixt & Twerp, I don't think anyone will be interested in publishing it -- and probably very few will be interested in reading it. And yet, despite this, i am still interested in writing the book. I believe that's a healthy attitude. This is a rare occasion when I am telling this story with one reader in mind: myself. I genuinely want to find out what will happen next. (And since I am writing by the seat of my pants, I don't really know what's going to happen.)

It's fun. As writing should be.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Resolution Check-In: March 2019 Edition

We're a couple months into the New Year... which I guess means it's not that new anymore. It also means it's time to post an update to see how I am progressing with my resolutions (aka goals).

Here's where we stand...

1) Gain More Followers

I need to attain one of the following: 1000 YouTube followers, 1000 Newsletter followers, and/or 1000 Facebook Author Page followers. I have made NO progress on those last two... However, I did lure some of my Faceboook friends over to my YouTube channel. I now have 288 subscribers.

ACHIEVEMENT: 29% Complete

2) Make 24 YouTube Videos

I had a good start in January, but things have slowed down considered due to this thing called LIFE. The videos are much shorter than I imagined they would be, and most of them are animated. I think that because I feel awkward in front of the camera, I might continue to develop this quirky, crudely animated style.

ACHIEVEMENT: 47% Complete

3) Sell Another Picture Book and/or Chapter Book

Nope. Not yet. But hopefully I will soon finish editing my chapter book and that will be sent forth out into the world via my agent.

ACHIEVEMENT: 0% Complete

4) Write / Sell Another Play

Nope. In fact, I have no idea what my next play will be.

ACHIEVEMENT: 0% Complete

5) Follow my New Creative Calendar (at least 52 times)

I'm glad I checked in on this one... because I nearly forgot about the different categories I've come up with... suffice to say, I've been falling behind, but I have done several of these little projects. (6 to be specific.)

ACHIEVEMENT: 11% Complete

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Buried Deep in a Stack of Essays

A quick little update...

Haven't been doing very much as far as creative projects... The last two weeks has been a combination of hospital visits and papers to grade.

Mackenzie is doing much better -- but we still don't know what exactly is causing the symptoms, and whether or not they will return...

I have been listening too Stephen King's IT. It's good vs. evil motif speaks to me even more than I did when I read it back when I was 15.

For the most part, I've been going to work, grading essays, and trying to stay positive. 

I did get some notes from my agent about my chapter book, so hopefully I'll find some time and energy this weekend to do another revision.

Hope things are well in your world.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Rough February

On Superbowl Sunday, our daughter started showing symptoms of spinal inflammation. If you follow me on social media, then you might recall that back in December Mackenzie was in the hospital and had lost her ability to walk on her own.

In January, she had recovered enough so that she seemed to have returned to normal -- except for the lingering back pain. Doctors weren't exactly sure what was causing these problems, but they believd it had something to do with syrinxes -- little pockets in her spine that may or may not be filled with fluid.

So, she had been doing well -- and I had my fingers crossed that those symptoms, which arrived mysteriously back in Octorber, would just as mysteriously never return. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

As I said, on Superbowl Sunday, Mackenzie awoke and her legs were malfunctioning. It wasn't as bad as back in December, but certainly bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER.

Long story short: she was at Henry Mayo for about four days -- and we were unable to transfer her to the UCLA hospital (we should have listened to Mackenzie when she said she wanted to go to UCLA to beginn with). But when we discharged her from Mayo we went home for a few hours, so she could shower and hug her dog, and then when the symptoms did not improve, we took her to UCLA.

The doctors at Mayo were good, but the medical team at UCLA was amazing. She was there another four days? Five days? It's a blur now, so I can't quite remember.

But I do know this... The UCLA doctors do not beleve her symptoms are caused by that syrinx. They believe that Mackenzie has Multiple Sclerosis.

I'm still in shock about this. My whole family is, I think. And Mackenzie goes back and forth between being brave / optimistic and scare / depressed -- and who can blame her.

She's been home from the hospital since last week. The steroids have been helping. She gets around in her walker -- and she has been much less shakey. While in the hospital, she began having double vision, but her eyesight seems to be doing a bit better, though I think it still might be blurry. Perhaps best of all, her pain level is much more managable. She has not taken her Norco pain pills in the last two days. A very good sign, I think.

She will see more doctors this week, as an out patient this time. We will find out more about treatment options very soon... And I think they might do a couple more tests.

So, that's what's been going on with me this month. It really sucks.

I know a lot of people lead healthy and productive lives with MS, some of them with little to no disabilities... But I'm very afraid of my daughter's future -- both the immediate and the distant.

I want her to be able to drive her car again. I want her to be able to walk her dog, and go jogging or surfing. I want her to be able to teach children martial arts.

I'll stop now before I get too maudlin. As sad as this experience has made me, I have also been counting my blessings. My fanily and I... We still have so many things in our lives, so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is hope.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Continuing Tales of Wade's Dream Diary

My dreams are always an interesting combination of the bizarre and the mundane.

Friday, January 25, 2019

ALA Mid-Winter Conference

It's Friday evening and I'm sitting at my In-Law's condo in Everett, Washington. Cheri and I flew into town last night. We're spending the weekend in the Pacific Northwest, and tomorrow morning I will be on a bus to Seattle. For the first time in my life, I will be attending a conference of the American Library Association.

I have very little knowledge of what this event is like. Sometimes on Facebook I see posts from fellow writers -- and they are typically squeeing with delight about all of the new books they are witnessing... As well as the advanced copies they are receiving.

I'm not a featured author or anything exciting like that, but I am hoping to spend some time visiting the people who have made my books come to life: Candlewick Press and Charlesbridge Press. I don't even know if they will have my books on display. But even if they don't it will be nice to be able to personally thank them for all the work they have done. Maybe Peter Pauper Press will be there? Perhaps even Houghton Mifflin -- they are the ones who will be bringing my next book to life (Yes, Mr. Complain Takes the Train is coming down the tracks!)

So, I am looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. Keeping expectations very low. As long as I am in a place surrounded by books, I'll have a good time, right?


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Improv Selfie!

Do you notice how terribly rude I'm being in this photograph. I'm blocking my poor daughter Mackenzie! Very thoughtless of me, especially since she (and the rest of the Knights) did an amazing job!

Not picture here is Barry Agin, who planted himself in the audience at the start of the show.

Fun was had by all! Not every theater game was an A, but we generated enough laughter from the audience that I would give us a solid B+. Not too shabby for a Saturday night in Newhall.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Meet the Knights of Improv

The quest for comedy continues as The Knights of Improv are ready to return to the Canyon Theatre Guild once again.

I've been dabbling in theatre games ever since my friend Pat Mannion started hosting workshops at the CTG. Actually, I dabbled long before in high school -- but that seems centuries ago now. Back then, instead of experimenting with drugs or alcohol, I experimented with drama.

I've been facilitating the workshops for a while now, and I feel so blessed to work with these folks. To give you a glimpse of how wonderful they are, here's a grainy photo I took when Mackenzie was at the hospital, coping with severe inflammation of her spine.

That's Thomas Carbone, one of the Knights who won't be able to make it to this weekend's adventure. But there he is performing, along with many other Knights, bringing a smile to my daughter's face while we make fools of ourselves. 

That night meant so much to me and my family. Mackenzie was learning how to adjust to a walker and getting used to the idea of a wheelchair. She was very sad earlier that day. Scared for her future too. We've heard the cliche about laughter being the best medicine. Well, it sure seemed to help this night, not just because the Knights performed for her, but because Mackenzie actually rolled up in her wheelchair and performed with us! 

A Quick Mackenzie Update: Check out that grin! She has been walking on her own for several weeks now. We feel so thankful for this turn of events, and cannot thank friends for their continued support. Mackenzie still experiences back pain and numbness; an upcoming MRI will give us more information... But we are hoping that miracles continue to happen and that a full recovery is on its way. She is anxious to exercise again! The doctors say: no running, surfing, or martial arts. But they didn't say anything about Improv. So, guess what! Mackenzie makes her debut as a Knight this Saturday Night! 

Who else will be there? 

Jeremiah True (above in the gray shirt) will be bringing his quick wit and wild characters. Mackenzie and Jeremiah have been dating for over two years now, and I cannot thank him enough for all of his kindness and support he's been providing my daughter through these tough times. He's a great guy. And as for improv, his skills get stronger with every workshop. 

Scott Sandler (in the Star Wars shirt) is amazing at free-style rapping and he brings his lyrical cleverness to many of our theater games. (You may have seen him at the CTG as Graffitti Pete from In the Heights of Sam Wainwright in It's a Wonderful Life. He seems to have a habit of playing supporting roles in which the character swoops in to save the day at the end. Hopefully he'll save us too!

Marcus Langston, master of the dry comeback lines, won't be here. He's off visiting Hogwarts. But Kelly Nicole will make her world premiere as a Knight. She has been learning and growing during the workshops, I am excited to see how she does in front of an audience! 

As will the saucy Ms. Jane Arnett who goes straight for a laugh the way Cujo goes for a mailman. I don't have a photo from our Improv workshops, but I rather like this snapshot from last year's Rex's Exes. Literally breath taking. 

The amazingly talented Nancy Lantis was originally going to be our special guest (because she's one of the stars of the upcoming Steel Magnolias). However, after she attended many of our workshops, I feel so fortunate that way can say she has enlisted as a full fledged Knight! 

Kirsten Rast seems very innocent and young. But don't let that fool you. She often plays hilariously devious characters (and she's actually 58 years old.) She's also got a strong musical theater background which is going to help us during our brand new music-themed games. 

Speaking of music, our resident musical genius Jennifer Teague will be performing with us. She has not only agreed to play improvised compositions for us, but she's even willing to step center stage and play some of our theater games. I am so thrilled to have her expertise enhance the show. 

The wise and white-haired Barry Agin (who is actually 23 years old) will be returning to the Knights of Improv. He is the master of one-liners. As I like to say, only one person inside the theater knows what Barry's going to say next. (And it's not Barry!)

Finally, we have Josh Aran, another Knightly debut. He made a guest appearance during our first performance in which he played the game PROPS, and he hit home runs with every gag. The man is funny -- and a pure joy to work with.

Well, I think that covers everybody. Except me. But I don't have a photo of me performing Improv. However, I do have another snapshot of me at the Cat Cafe. This is shortly after allergies got the best of me. 

If you live in the Santa Clarita /  Los Angeles Area, I hope to see you tonight at the Knights of Improv! 

8pm at the Canyon Theatre Guild. Call for tickets: 661-799-2702

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Crumbs and Whiskers: The Cat Cafe

Emily gave me a very special Christmas present. A visit to the cat cafe...

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Theater Dreams & Actor Nightmares

If you have ever fulfilled your dream of acting on stage, there's a good chance you have also experienced theater-themed nightmares.

I'm not a professional actor, but I do occasionally appear on stage at my local playhouse, and it seems whenever I am in the middle of the rehearsal process, I start having the usual actor's nightmare. There are many variations of this dream, but they all involve me about to go on stage for a production I haven't prepared for... Sometimes it's a familiar show, like Hamlet or Hamilton. (That's when my dream-self says, "Maybe I'll be able to wing it.") But often it's a never-performed show, and I have no idea what the heck is going on!

The last theater dream I had was so amusing and so vivid, I decided to make a little animated film about it and post it on Youtube.

(Can you tell I've been on vacation and have way too much time on my hands? Don't worry, that will all change when I go back to work on Monday.)

For me, as an amateur actor, the experience of being in the middle of a scene is very dream-like. I guess there's that deja-vu feeling because you have practiced the scene over and over again. It can be a bit surreal if I stop and think about it -- which is the last thing you'd want to do when you are performing for hundreds of people. Thinking too much is a great way to forget your next line!

There's also something dreamy about the theater space, especially in those moments before or after a show in which you are all alone... Like being out in the Quonset Hut prepping my lines...

Or getting lost in the prop attic...

I guess there's dreamy about the whole theater process. It starts with a playwright's imagination. Then a director, actors, and a whole team of dream-builders...

Dream-builders such as our amazing lighting-designers...

(Don't they look thrilled to be here???)

... our incredible set designer / set-builder...

(who also got dragged in to play a supporting character 
because Theatre desperately needs men!)

... the sensational stage crew...

(who also moonlights as our theater's phantom --- every playhouse needs one!)  

...and let's not forget the directors!

(The rumors are true: I had to sleep with one of them to get the part.) 

At our local playhouse, the Canyon Theatre Guild, we take dreams and bring them to life.

Are you involved in the Theatre? Professional? Amateur? School plays? Leave a comment or link to share your dream-like experiences on the stage.

(PS: I slept with the one on the right -- my wife!)

Friday, January 4, 2019

New Year's Resolutions for 2019

It's that time of year... When everything seems possible, the world is new and shiny. You've got big dreams and big goals. What could possibly go wrong?

Last year I had a dozen goal, so this year I am streamlining the resolutions. Here they are:

1) Gain more Followers (Achieve at least one of the following) 

-- Gain 1,000 YouTube Subscribers
-- Gain 1,000 Newsletter Followers
-- Gain 1,000 Followers of My Author Page

2) Make 24 YouTube Videos

3) Sell Another Picture Book and / or Chapter Book

4) Write / Sell Another Play

5) Follow my New Creative Calendar (at least 52 times) 

Monday -- Money Makin' Mondays
-- each passing week I brainstorm, scheme, and implement 

Tuesday -- Teacherly Tuesdays

Wednesday -- Heroic Humpday (Games and Geeking Out) 

Thursday -- Movie / Theater Thursday  

Friday -- Friendly Fridays (Good Deeds) 

Saturday -- Nostalgic Narratives

Sunday -- Picture Book Sundays