Story Time: When Peacocks Attack

Story Time: When Peacocks Attack

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in Story Time, Writing | 8 comments

The reason I’m telling this story, as opposed to letting my wife tell you, is because her vision is skewed. She has this memory in her mind about the day we visited the zoo that goes something like this: “My giant-like boyfriend threw me to the ground to potentially be eaten by zombies, while he ran screaming for the hills.” Naturally, there are two things wrong with this picture. First, there are obviously some missing details. Second, I would never do something like that… It was many, many moons ago, when said wife was known only as girlfriend. A clear blue sky hung above us, while the sun flared and cast a blanket of warmth against our skin. A soft breeze made the nearly intolerable Canadian heat bearable, and there were animals from all over the world awaiting us beyond the gates. Excitement filled both of us as each step took us closer to the entrance. Neither me, nor my wife, had been to the zoo since we were little and we were both looking forward to the day. I don’t remember what section we started in, but there were peacocks EVERYWHERE. I’ve never been to any other zoo so I don’t know if it’s normal, but at the Calgary Zoo they have a bunch of peacocks just strutting their stuff…and watching you. They’re always watching. They flaunt their feathers, fluff up their tails, and give you that “I could kill you if I wanted to, but I’d rather eat these French fries that kid just threw out of his stroller” look. They’re like beautiful seagulls, without the risk of being pooped on. They scrounge up what someone else was too lazy to discard, and they love every minute of it. We’d spent a good part of our day watching the animals, eating ridiculous amounts of junk food, and enjoying each other’s company. We were holding hands while soft white petals fluttered down from the flowering tress above. Young love was blossoming. The crowds danced and sang around us – we were practically in our very own musical: The Lion King Matt. It was a great day. Meanwhile, while I was obliviously falling in love, the peacocks were planning their attack. Their ultimate goal: To make Matt look like a giant baby and potentially crush all potential for a future love life. Little did they know, they were unprepared for my cat-like reflexes. The sun washed over us, lowering in the sky as the day faded away, and we continued our stroll through the zoo. Lions, tigers, and one  strange buffalo that made weird wheezing sounds, later, and we were nearly done. My charming self was busy weaving an entertaining tale for my future wife, when out of nowhere, a dark blur shot from the bushes. It was aimed at my head and I didn’t know what it was, but...

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Where I Almost Become Tiger Food

Where I Almost Become Tiger Food

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Random, Rant And Ramble, Story Time | 8 comments

Cotton candy, elephant ears, and deep fried everything fills the air. The parking lot is packed, people are on foot, and children’s laughter is everywhere. It’s time for our local fair. The Ferris Wheel and the Drop of Doom are already in sight from the parking lot. Clouds fill the sky, I’m hoping it doesn’t rain, and the wind is cool – a welcoming addition to what has been a warm and sweaty week. My daughter looks forward to this day all year long. She loves the rides, the over-priced and under-awarding games, and everything we devour that will later become an painful stomach ache. I won’t pretend that I don’t like it too, because I love it. We always have a fantastic time, and it’s a great day to spend with the family. This year our fair had something a little different than usual. They always have shows and performances that go on at different stage sets throughout the fairgrounds, but this year they were mixing it up. Last year they added a shark show, and this year they went a step further: lions, tigers, wolves, and a few other not-so-local wild life. I find wolves fascinating so I wanted to take a look them more than anything. As we arrived the keeper was walking a zebra around the open pen in front of the crowd. The speakers boomed with a lady’s voice, educating the crowd on the stripes of this horse-like animal. Next comes out the lion. Wow. Not that I haven’t ever seen a lion before – I’ve been to the zoo – but never one that did more than lay in the sun. The trainer had the lion climbing ladders and jumping from one platform to another. Naturally, this was amusing. From what they told us, this lion was very small for it’s age, but standing on all four legs, it was higher than the man’s hip. To me, if the creature I’m “playing” with gets tired of the teasing and has the ability to tear my head from my body with a single swipe of it’s massive paw, there is nothing small about it. But I digress. We must have missed the tiger show, because the tiger and a lioness were in a pen off to the side between the lions,and the camels. Sprawled out on it’s back and sleeping in the cool grass, we decided to take a closer look. Now to paint you a picture, there were three octagonal cages set up. The wolves were on the right, and pushed back from the largest cage in the center. The lion occupied the center cage, and to the left, pushed back from the center, was the lioness and the tiger. In front of this was a long metal railing.We didn’t break the rules and get closer than we should, but we approached the...

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When The Ankle Biter Turns One…

When The Ankle Biter Turns One…

Posted by on Jul 13, 2012 in Random, Story Time, Writing | 6 comments

you realize how fast time goes. My youngest daughter, Elena (Laney or Bugaloo to me) turns one today. I can’t believe it. Well I can, but wow how the time goes. When I first found out I was going to be a father five years ago, I was merging onto the highway. Why on earth would you tell the man of your dreams you were pregnant when he was accelerating at high speeds onto a traffic infested freeway? Well, that’s a short and somewhat funny story. I was only twenty, and my wife was nervous to tell me she was pregnant. She wasn’t sure how I’d take it: would I be happy, sad, freak out and loose my marbles? The answer, of course, is beyond ecstatic, but that’s not the point. I was bugging her and making jokes. “What are you, pregnant?” I ask. Silence ensues. I turn to her. “Honey?” She gives me a sweet, yet subtle smile. “Well actually…” I spend the next few minutes nearing the highway turn-off, and saying out loud “Oh you’re a good actor babe…you’re kidding right? Are you serious? Like for serious, serious?” Anyways, to make a short story longer than it needs to be, lets just say it took a few miles before my head wrapped around the idea. I’d saved up a bunch of money and we were going to the big city to go on a shopping spree of sorts. Once we got there, I sat down in the food court for something to eat. There were kids, EVERYWHERE. The world started spinning and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was still a kid, how the heck would I raise one? Air was needed, and so I went outside. We walked around the mall for a while after that, not going into a single store. Shopping for me just suddenly didn’t seem that important. I was going to be a dad. I didn’t need to blow a bunch of money on things I didn’t need. I needed to be responsible. So we took the hour and half long journey back home. Yes, apparently I drove an hour and a half to eat in a regular mall food court, and get dizzy. By the time we got back home, my nerves had settled. I wasn’t scared, I was stoked. I was going to get a chance to raise a little baby. Boy or girl, it never mattered. I was just happy to be a future father. That little baby turned out to be Peyton Lynn Merrick, a giant baby who is nearly six, and is 3/4 the height of my wife. She looks just like me, has many of my traits, but is so much like her mother. Fast forward five years, and my wife and I had come to the conclusion we would only have one. We...

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Because I Knew You

Posted by on Jul 12, 2012 in Author, Story Time, Writing | 1 comment

Author, and overall wonderful person, Elise Stephen’s asked me to take part in her “Because I Knew You,” blog series recently. An awesome series of guest posts about people who have changed our lives. For me, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I was on the tail end of a terrible few months. Months I spent fighting my own personal demons, mixed with depression, and I had lost my way more than a little. I hadn’t experienced a funk like this since I was a teenager. I didn’t see it coming and it turned me into a person I hated. Someone I wasn’t proud to be, nor did I want to know. That’s not who I am. I’ve always been a kind-hearted, generous, and caring person, but this person I became was so far from that, it saddens me to think I let it get that far. I was truly lost. The thing with getting lost is, you don’t see it coming. It happens bit by bit, and before you know it, you’re in a dark, strange place, filled with monsters you’ve never seen, and you can’t seem to recall how you even arrived at your current destination. You remember the descent, but the “how you got there” still seems to elude you. With gentle hands, much love, patience, and forgiveness, I was brought out of this darkness, and back onto my path. It  was returning to this path that reminded me how wonderful my life was: my wife, my children, where I was in my writing career. It went as far as showing me renewed appreciation for my parents and family. I was reminded just how great life can be, even when it’s not easy. Go check out the post, and when you’re done, stop and think who you are because of someone you knew/know. Who is your “Because I Knew You” post...

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Where I Almost Have a Heart Attack and become a C.S.I.

Where I Almost Have a Heart Attack and become a C.S.I.

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Random, Story Time, Writing | 11 comments

It’s a scorching outside. 31 degrees Celsius. For those south of the border, that’s about 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Now before you go calling me a baby, remember I’m in Canada. You know, we live in igloos, travel by sled dog, and ice fish daily for our dinner. Occasionally we wrestle polar bears. I’ve never lost…I digress. I’ve got fans blowing in the house like crazy, the kids and I are lazing about. It feels like the sun exploded inside us and we can’t consume enough water to survive. Perhaps a little dramatic, but not far from reality. We decide we deserve a treat. So slurpee consumption is added to our blank to-do list. It’s five million degrees inside the van, and it’s just down the street; we opt for walking. I put some clothes on and start my much despised sun screening process. Lathering on the sunscreen, it doesn’t take long to cover my five-year-old – she’s cooperative.The baby however, is another battle altogether. She squirms, rolls, yells at me, and fights against it every step of the way. I can’t blame her; I too hate the process. Naturally though, I win the fight. I give her kudos for effort, and let me take this moment to say, babies are unnaturally strong. It’s freaky and it doesn’t make any sense.The journey begins by strapping the baby in the stroller. I’ve got her little shade thing stretched out, and only her legs are exposed. I’m a little worried because it’s so hot, but then I remember I won the sunscreen battle. She’s happy. She’s ready. She’s cool. It’s only about a ten minute walk each way, and it isn’t until the way back and I realize she’s acting funny. She has her hat pulled down over her face and she’s sagging forward in her chair. Regardless that she’s only wearing a little summer dress, the heat is still bothering her. Picking up the pace, we make it home in record time and I strip her down to her diaper, put her on my lap in front of a fan, and we share a slurpee together. She seems fine. When she’s done, she squirms out of my lap onto the floor. My youngest doesn’t crawl, instead, she does this little boot scoot thing where she throws her self forward until her butt comes off the ground, then with her legs stretched out she pulls them towards her body and moves forward. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever, but she’s smiling, squawking and playing. I’m a happy daddy. A few minutes later she has an extremely runny nose, but she’s smiling and playing so I’m not worried. I wipe her nose and continue watching her play with her big sister. The phone rings, I answer it, and I’m on the call for less then a minute – telephone solicitor. I hate them. I look...

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Publishing: Indie vs. Traditional – My Road Traveled

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Author, Author Advice, Random, Story Time | 8 comments

Don’t let the title fool you, I’m not about to compare the two for you. If you’re planning on publishing, but you’re not sure which route to take, this blog post does not hold the answer for you. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of comments and questions about myself, my writing, and my choice to self-publish. I’m going to go over why I chose this path, my likes and dislikes of the journey so far, and what I hope for in the future.  I did try to make this post as short as possible, but it’s still pretty lengthy. I didn’t want to split it up into three posts, so if you really don’t care, turn back now! First the why? I truly hated the query process. Don’t get me wrong, I respect literary agents and the process, but I put a lot of pressure on myself and I’m naturally impatient, so the process didn’t work for me. I had passion for the story I was telling. I didn’t want to hear no -which was the response I was getting- and I didn’t have the patience to persevere until I found an agent that wanted to take a chance on me. I knew I had what it took, but thanks to research, I also knew everyone thought they had what it took.  I couldn’t make an educated decision without information, so for two years I researched. I read agents and editors blogs, talked to published and unpublished authors, and I weighed it all out. Did I follow all of their advice? No. But I read it, took it into account, and made a decision based on what I wanted. All I’ve wanted since the beginning was for readers to enjoy the stories I had to tell, and hopefully one day, make a full-time career of it. For the most part, I think I’m slowly making my way with the former. The latter however, I hope to achieve one day. For me, self-publishing was the way to start. Not because it was the future of publishing. Not because traditional publishing is evil. It was just the right decision for me at the time. What do I like/dislike about self-publishing. I love having full control over my manuscript, the cover art, the editing, and price. I love being a part of it from beginning to end. It’s amazing to see words turn into a story, a stack of papers turn into a book, and a glossy cover wrap the pages. There is something to be said about having 100% control over everything, and you get a new level of respect for the process. Plus, the rewarding feeling at the end, knowing you made all this happen, well, that’s incredible.  Of course there are downsides too. Learning to format for paperback and eBooks can be frustrating. For me, once I got the hang...

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