Friday, September 30, 2011

Grandma's Story #1 - Page 1

Grandma Dovie Walker
Last year I was visiting my Aunt Beulah (my father’s eldest sister) and she started telling me a story about how she came across some stories her Mother (my Grandmother, Dovie Walker) had written a long, long time ago. As the story goes, sometime between the end of World War I and the start of the Great Depression, my Grandparents traveled quite a bit. Not for leisurely fun or because they were in the military, but because they were very poor, as many Americans were during this troublesome period of time. So poor in fact, my Grandfather would routinely uproot his family and move from city to city - from state to state - looking for work.

As many of you know, back in those days women were expected to stay home and care for the house and the children. Supporting the family rested squarely on the shoulders of the men in the family. Well, apparently my Grandma Walker had ideas of her own. In an effort to help bring money into the household, she began writing stories and submitted them to pulp fiction magazines. As you will see from her writings, she wasn’t well educated. In fact, I would go as far as to say she probably dropped out of school at an early age, so its safe to say that none of her stories ever saw print. But it didn't stifle her imagination, and it certainly didn’t stop her from trying. I find that immensely inspiring and courageous.

I was so excited to hear that my Grandmother was a writer; I just had to see and read these stories for myself. It took some time, but we finally found them buried amongst other family treasures. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hold these hand written stories in my hands. I never knew my Grandma. She passed away when my Father was just 2 years old from an infection after giving birth to my Aunt Omah. To have something personally written by her own hand was truly a treasure for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crystal Dina; My Best Friend

This came to me in a half-awake dream one morning. I wasn't abused as a child, nor did I abuse my own children, but something compelled me to write this for those little boys and girls out there that can't speak for themselves. I know it's a dark subject, but some things need to be brought into the light.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dead Poet

Celebrity voice impersonated.

Often times no one truly listens to us until we are passed on. Relinquished to ash and dust; our spirits departed and gone; our flesh rotting in the dirt. Dead.

I don’t mean listen in the mundane sense of the word. I mean when people really take the time to listen and understand the essence of our being. Our inner voice; our secret desires; the milieu of our mind, heart, and soul. Far more often than not, this sort of dissection and analysis doesn’t take place until we have traveled down that long and lonely road into the afterworld.

This is a frightening thought for most writers and poets; all creative people really. Their works of art - their writings - shunned, ignored, and unappreciated while life still breathes within them, but the moment they cross that border into the unknown, suddenly they become geniuses and masters of their chosen craft. Worse is to remain forgotten forever.

While it would be great to leave a legacy behind when I pass on, to have my writings scrutinized and heralded by the greatest minds of the ages, nothing would thrill me more than to have a great grandchild, hundreds of years from now, come across my writings in an old and forgotten family trunk (realistically, an old and out of date USB thumb-drive), like a sunken treasure chest, and be enchanted by each page, each word, like they were the rarest gems on earth. For them to sit and study and consider and scrutinize each story and poem in an effort to try and gain some insight or deep understanding as to the man I was; to genuinely appreciate and value my writings as family heirlooms. To gaze in wonder and wish they had gotten the chance to meet me; a chance to get to know me. To say, “Wow, my great great great grandpa wrote this.” To inspire them to chase their own dreams.

That is my secret desire.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Painting Life's Footstep's Photo Contest Winners

It's time to announce the winners! As I mentioned before, we had 61 photo entries, with a wide variety of shoes: 

(1) Motorcycle Boots
(1) Dress Shoes
(6) Kids Shoes
(1) Boots
(4) Work Boots
(1) Soccer Shoes
(7) High Heels
(2) Cowboy Boots
(16) Sneakers
(6) Stilettos
(7) Sandals
(2) Dancing Shoes
(1) Wedding Shoes
(1) Mountain Boots
(1) Flats
(1) Combat Boots
(1) Viking Shoes
(2) Mixed Pair

To decide the winners, we went old fashioned on this one. We had Alisha's children, Gavin (10) and Brynn (6) randomly draw the winners out of a hat. The kids got a kick out of knowing they had a hand in deciding the winners. Brynn was so excited, she wanted to keep drawing more names even after we had drawn the 3 winners. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Painting Life's Footstep's Photo Contest Finalist

Well, my first photo contest has come to an end. Alisha and I were very impressed with the creativity of the photos that were submitted. You guys went well beyond our expectations. There were 61 photo submissions, and well over 5300 votes cast! I'd say that was a very successful first competition. 

We had a few hiccups along the way, but hopefully it was an enjoyable experience for all. I’ll be holding more creative contests in the future, so here are some ways to follow me to stay in touch: 

Twitter: @WantToBWriter
e-Mail Subscription: E-Mail

You can also connect and keep up with Alisha K. Ard's work through the following options:

Twitter: @Alisha_Ard

Without further ado… here are the Top 10 Painting Life’s Footsteps Photo Contest Finalists...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview: Author Dan Abnett

New York Best Selling Author - Dan Abnett
Dan Abnett is a New York Best Selling author who has written for some of the most famous fictional characters and universes man has ever known - The Terminator, Transformers, Doctor Who, G.I. Joe, Ghostbusters, ThunderCats, Pendragon, The Punisher, Iron Man, Star Trek, Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Judge Dredd, Sinister Dexter, The V.C's, Planet of the Apes, Wallace and Gromit, Aquaman, Batman, Superman, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - but who's counting?

As I mentioned earlier this week, the short story I submitted to Black Library was rejected (I can only assume since I didn’t actually get a rejection letter), and that left me a little disappointed. However, the next best thing happened. I got an interview with one of my all-time favorite authors - and Black Library’s most exalted - Dan Abnett. I’m totally geeking out on this one. I am both excited and honored that Dan accepted my invitation. It means the world to me for a number of reasons.

Let me explain.

Back in 2006 my father was diagnosed with Leukemia and spent many months in the hospital before he lost his battle with the deadly disease. Needless to say, I spent many days and nights at the hospital with him during that time. Some days I would just sit there holding his hand while he slept or while he was unconscious from the pain medications. On the occasions when I would sleep, I would continue to hold his hand and rest my head on the bed next to him in the off-chance that he would awake in the night. I didn’t want him to wake up feeling alone, and in a strange way, it comforted me too.

There was a great deal of quiet time for prayer and reflection; just the repetitive beeps of machines and the occasional nurse or visitor to break up the monotony. While making a trip to Walmart for some snacks and some items for Dad, I decided to swing by the book section in the unlikely chance there would be something interesting there to read. To my surprise, standing alone in the gallows of science fiction mediocracy, I saw a Warhammer 40K book. A Warhammer 40K book… in Walmart… in the small country town of Crossville, Tennessee. My eyes had to be playing a trick on me.

So I picked up the book and began to read the first few pages. I was instantly hooked. The book was, “Ravenor Returned” by Dan Abnett. From that day forward I began devouring his books one at a time. I finished off the Ravenor series, then moved on to his Malus Darkblade fantasy series, and from there to Eisenhorn. Not only did Dan’s writing inspire me to read and write more, it also helped me get through a very difficult time in my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Dan.