Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

Well, these are the last few minutes of 2011, so I thought that (like most other bloggers) it was time to write up a year-end blog post.  Considering that I don't read most year-end blog posts, I don't expect a lot of people to read this one, but I'll continue nonetheless.

This year has been a great year for me and my family.  My wife and I took a great vacation, we bought a new house, I got a new job, and we got a new car.  That's just the short list.  I've written about each of these things in this blog.

Of course, there's always some bad that comes with the good.  This year, my wife found out that she was Hyperthyroid.  She went in and got a radiation treatment to calm down her thyroid.  It turned out to have calmed it down too much and turned her Hypothyroid.  So, now she has to take a pill every day for the rest of her life.  It's been difficult for us and particularly for her.  Of course, it could be worse, so we'll get through this.

For myself, like I said, I got a new job.  So far, I'm happy with the change.  Also, I've been doing this thing called Story a Week.  I've been a little lax during the holidays, but so far, I've written 40 stories and I LOVE doing it.  Most of my stories fall into part of one of a few story arcs that I've been working on.  That wasn't my plan when I started the project, but overall I'm happy with what I've done.  In my opinion, the experience has really improved my writing.  It has also allowed me to share with you all some of the stories that I've had floating around in my head.

So, now's the part where I make some resolutions.  It's also the part I hate the most about New Years.  But, it's a tradition, and I do like the sentiment of it.  So, here's a list of resolutions from me:
-I will finish a novel this year.  I have a few started, and I could probably turn some of my storylines from Story a Week into novels.  I'd also like this to be separate from my attempt at NaNoWriMo this year.
-I will get healthier this year.  I've already started this by joining the YMCA and I've even gone a few times in the two weeks we've had the membership.  I have medium-high cholesterol and I'm a little bigger than I'd like to be, so that's pretty much why I'd like to do that.
-I will be less crabby this year.  I've been turning into a crabby old man and I need to stop that before it's too late.
-I will attempt NaNoWriMo again.  I can't do much worse than the 3,000 words that I got to this year.  I think that I know what I need to do differently; I need to do my research first and write about something that flows easier.

I think these are attainable goals.  Plus, this year I've documented them on my blog, so I have more motivation to stick with them.  Hopefully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Story a Week 40 - Candy Land 7

Welcome to another edition of Story a Week!  This week is another episode of the Candy Land series.  We've rounded the bend and are coming up to the end.  I think maybe three more stories after this one, though I'm not quite sure yet.

I haven't posted a plain blog post in quite a while.  I think that I'll think of something to write and do that this week or next.  Maybe something about the holidays.  Dunno, we'll see.


I was dazed.  "How did I get here?" I asked.

"I don't know for sure," the woman replied.  "Some strange things have been happening around here lately.  The Queen of the Baked Alaska Islands has ordered her float-illa mobilized to patrol the sea.  You appeared out of nowhere on the flagship.  As long as you don't cause any trouble, I won't have you confined to the brig, yet."

I looked around the ship and saw many sailors standing with weapons ready.  I must have been coming out of my daze as I realized that the sailors had been ready to leap on me if I made a wrong move.  I took a deep breath to steady myself.  I'd never been on a ship before and I was starting to feel a little queasy.  I said, "I'm sorry to drop in like this, but I assure you that it was against my will.  I think that it was pure luck that I dropped onto your ship rather than into the sea."

She looked me over and said, "Well, good or bad luck remains to be seen.  Tell me who you are."

I could tell by her tone that her patience was running thin.  "My name is Ap LePie," I said.  I told her my tale from that fateful call from Plumpy all the way up to being teleported to her ship.

After I was finished, she nodded and stared at me for a moment.  Finally, she said, "Okay, Mr. LePie.  I believe your story.  Follow me."

She walked back towards a door at the rear of the deck.  We went through the door to a large cabin.  Within was a large table with a stack of maps, a desk and a bed.  The woman walked over to the table and began to shuffle through the maps.

I looked around the room and asked, "Are you the captain of the ship?"

She continued to look through the maps as she said, "No.  The captain was nice enough to let me use his cabin while I'm aboard.  Ah, here it is."

She pulled out a map and spread it out on the clear part of the table.  The area it represented wasn't familiar to me.  She said, "Based on what you've told me, I think that I know where your king is."

Her news sent waves of excitement through my body.  I couldn't believe that I'd stumbled on someone who knew where the king was.  "Really?  Where is he?  How do you know?"

She laughed and said, "Calm down, Mr. LePie.  Let me tell you a story of my own.

"The people of the Baked Alaskan Islands love the sea.  We trade with everyone who lives on the shores of the sea.  From the Peeps Tribes on the northern shores to the Gummy Bear Tribes on the south shore.  There is only one set of people that refuse to trade with us.  The Molasses Monsters are a Xenophobic people who live on the western shores of the sea in the Molasses Swamp.  However, lately we've had some contact with them and they've told us a tale of a castle appearing out of nowhere in the Butterscotch Plains to the west of the swamp."

She pointed at the map.  "Here is the swamp.  And here," she moved her hand west, "is the plains.  Your king and his castle must be there."

I stared at the map in disbelief.  I was finally getting close to finding the king!  "Well... wait.  I don't even know your name yet."

She looked me over once more and said, "Okay, I think that I can trust you.  I am Queen Frostine III, the Queen of the Baked Alaskan Islands."

"Oh," was all I could say.  I felt a little silly, so I said, "Thank you for the information, your majesty.  But...I think that I have a favor to ask you."

She nodded, so I continued, "Well, would you be able to drop me off at the swamp so that I can make my way to the castle?"

The queen looked down at the map for a moment, then back up at me.  "Mr. LePie, I'll do you one better.  I will accompany you through the swamp to the castle."

"You majesty!" I burst out.  "You can't do that!"

Queen Frostine scowled at me.  "Two reasons that I will be going with you."  She stuck out a finger and said, "One, I'm the Queen and you can't tell me what I can or cannot do."  She stuck out a second finger and said, "Second, you're going to need help.  The Molasses Monsters don't know you and won't let you through their swamp without me."

I could tell that she wasn't going to be swayed.  I sighed and said, "All right.  You may come with me."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Story a Week 39 - Candy Land 6

Hello everyone!  I had a dream this week about how a movie studio wanted to use my stories to make a movie.  Ever since, I've been thinking about who might play some of the roles.  My thoughts so far:
  • Ap LePie - Joel McHale
  • Plumpy - Patton Oswald
  • Lord Licorice - Jeremy Irons
  • Princess Lolly - Cherize Theron (sp?)
I think that Jolly and the bears would have to be CGI.  That's all I've got so far.  Do you have any thoughts on who would play some of the roles?


It took some time for the tribes to agree, but they finally did and the combined kingdom and tribe forces assembled outside of the woods.  It took a couple of hours, but once we were all assembled, I led everyone back towards the Peanut Brittle Patches.

Princess Lolly, Circu S'Peanut and Lemo N'Drop walked with me.  I said, "Gramma Nutt has promised to lead us through the patches so that we don't have to chop any of them down.  I promised her that we wouldn't do anything to harm them.  Can you spread the word among the troops?"

The three of them nodded and spread the word.  About an hour later we arrived at the edge of the patches, and, as promised, Gramma Nutt was there waiting for us.  The four of us walked over to her and I said, "It's good to see you, Gramma Nutt.  I've shared our agreement with the forces here."

Gramma Nutt glanced around as we approached and gestured for us to be quiet.  She came in close and whispered, "Lord Licorice has sent spies into the patches, following you, Mr. LePie.  A dozen or so Swedish Fishmen are now wandering in circles through the patches."

I smiled at her.  "I don't know how you do it, Gramma Nutt, but I'm glad you're on our side."

She glared at me and said, "Let's get this straight, bucko; I'm not on your side.  I'm on my side."  She pointed her finger at Princess Lolly.  "I want an agreement signed after all this is over that says your kingdom will build a new road that goes around the patches instead of through it!"

Princess Lolly glanced over at me and I slyly nodded.  She said, "Of course, Gramma Nutt!  I don't know why we never did that before!"

Gramma Nutt grunted and without another word she turned and headed into the patches.

Princess Lolly and I shrugged at each other and followed her.

To this day, I don't know how we did it, but we managed to get through the patches in just over an hour without losing anyone.  We emerged from the patches and the commanders set about counting their troops.  I turned to Gramma Nutt and thanked her for her help.  She grunted and said, "If I don't get what I want from your kingdom, no one will ever get through the patches again.  Don't you mistake me, Ap LePie, I don't intend on killing anyone.  It's just that everyone who enters will find themselves leaving the same side of the patches that they entered after a couple of hours of walking.  Understand?"

I nodded and said, "Princess Lolly will make sure that a new road is built."

She shrugged and nodded then turned and walked into the patches.

I turned and found Princess Lolly and the Gummy Bear chiefs.  After another moment or two we had the army moving on its way again.

It wasn't long before we had Licorice Castle in sight.  Everything looked much as it had before I left.  Colonel Crunch must have seen us coming as he was coming out to meet us.  When he got in speaking range, he said, "Please tell me that the bears are here as allies and not guiding a defeated army home?"

I thought about teasing him about it, but I thought better of it.  Instead, I said, "We've asked them to help us convince the Lord of the error in his ways and they've agreed."

Colonel Crunch nodded and smiled.  He said, "Good.  We'll array them in the front flanks with the siege ladders that we've been making."  He glanced up at the sky, judging the time.  I noticed that it was getting dark.  "We won't have time to properly set up our lines tonight, so the bears can camp wherever they like that is behind the front line.  Princess Lolly, your troops can camp with mine."

We all agreed on Colonel Crunch's plan and set things into motion.  When everything was moving, Colonel Crunch said, "Princess, Ap, let me show you the preparations we've been making."

The princess and I followed him to a large tent in the center of the camp.  Inside the tent was a large table with a map and figures on it.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that the map was of the castle and surrounding area.  The figures on the table represented some number of troops.  There were three giant-shaped ones and a dozen or so smaller pieces.

Colonel Crunch pointed to the table and said, "Sergeant Ers and I have come up with a plan to attack the castle.  I knew how many troops you had, but I didn't know that you'd be bringing reinforcements with you.  We'll have to redraw up the plan, but I think that the basics will remain the same."

Suddenly, a soldier ran into the tent and up to the colonel and saluted and waited.  Colonel Crunch barked out, "Report!"

"Sir!  The drawbridge has lowered and Lord Licorice is waving a white flag.  I think that he wants to parley, sir," the soldier said quickly.

Crunch looked over to me and Princess Lolly.  She looked at me.  I said, "I think that I should go alone.  I don't want either of you where Licorice can easily get them."  I chuckled and said, "I'm not that valuable of a hostage."

I walked out of the tent, then the camp.  I could see Licorice waiting for me at the gate to the castle.  When I got to the edge of the drawbridge, I stopped.  We weren't in speaking range so we just glared at each other for a few moments.  Finally, he shook his head and chuckled.  He confidently walked over to me and said, "You are one stubborn man, Ap LePie."

"What do you want, Licorice?  The army and I are preparing to storm your castle," I retorted.

The smirk disappeared from his face.  He growled, "This castle isn't going down that easily, LePie.  Even with your pet Gummy Bears."

It was my turn to growl as I said, "I disagree, Licorice.  I'll see you soon, Licorice.  On the inside of your castle's walls!"

I turned to leave and Lord Licorice quickly grabbed me before I could react.  He pulled me close and said, "I don't think so, LePie."

I was beginning to think that he was going to kill me rather than let me go back to the camp.  Instead, he dropped me and pulled out some sort of wand.  He waved it at me and I closed my eyes.  That's when I felt the magic hit me.  It felt like I dropped a couple of feet onto something soft and squishy.  I opened my eyes and found myself staring at a beautiful woman.

"Wh-where am I?" I managed to stutter.

She extended her hand and I took it.  As she helped me to my feet she said, "You are aboard the Queen Frostine, sailing on the Ice Cream Sea."

I looked out and saw several other Ice Cream Floatships sailing with the Queen Frostine.  Somehow, I'd been transported a couple of hundred miles to the Ice Cream Sea.