Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Happy Friday Update

Well I'm nearly through cycle 2. All I have left to challenge back is Gluten Saturday and Sunday, then Soy Wednesday and Thursday. Then I have two more days of Cycle 1 to reset everything and I get to finally go to the cycle 3 I've been planning. So far I've had no reaction to anything, save for a little gas after drinking milk, which is not necessarily a sign of inflammation. I think we just don't digest things well when they haven't been in our diet for a bit. I'm not going to really go back to milk anyway.

While I'm on the topic of Cycle 3 here's what I've worked out so far:
(I incorporated the research I did on Uric Acid diet based cures so I can ditch my sore joints and spine.)

My Cycle 3 ideas: (make/insert charts of foods to buy and where, of pg 243, 245-249)
For all the foods below, “as ingredient” means I’m not adding it back but I’m not going to be hyper-vigilant. “Every other day,” “twice a week,” or “Weekly” refer to eating that item that often and not being hyper-vigilant about it as an ingredient. “Avoid” means I’m going to take measures to avoid it, but if it can’t be helped, so be it.

RE Sweeteners: Add back honey, 2oz dark chocolate (>70% cacao), Cane sugar as ingredient
RE Peanuts: Weekly, but I’m not going to buy peanut butter. Thus I’ll almost never have it.
RE Alcohol: Twice Weekly Red Wine, Weekly Gluten Free Beer, (challenge Dark German or Tequilla)
RE Corn: Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup, Ear corn Weekly, Movie Popcorn Weekly, Non-GMO gluten free corn chips twice a week
RE Soy: Avoid unless it’s a trace ingredient such as in vitamins or food bar
RE Gluten: Avoid, although I’m going to allow gluten free carbs in moderation (every other day)
RE Dairy: Avoid milk (sub coconut or almond), Cheese in moderation (every other day) + (try goat milk/cheese and raw milk?)
RE Eggs: Add back free range without restriction.
RE Meat: Continue with free range chicken, grass fed beef, game, goat/lamb, and wild caught river fish in 6oz portions.
RE MSG: Avoid (not really mentioned in Virgin Diet)

with breakfast smoothie/shakes. (easy and I can make time to pack a lunch)
with lettuce wraps and salsa tuna for lunches
4x15 exercises,
parking at far end of the lot & taking the stairs,
to eat within an hour of waking and not after 8pm
getting up two hours early

Things I need to add
Increase exercise (do some research), take burpee challenge
I want feast and fast day’s cycling through the week so I think my 5% will all be on a single day.
Divide the shopping list into three-day increments to reduce waste (no preservatives).
Use small plates, smell dinner cooking, sit down away from TV and enjoy my food.
Wear a pedometer to track activity level.
While writing—burst for 20 minutes then walk around.
While watching TV—getup every commercial break until 8:30 and walk around

Researched ways to reduce Uric Acid:
I literally can’t avoid foods high in purine as there would be nothing left to eat. So add to Cycle 3
1.       Eat antioxidant foods: red bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli, grapes, and so on
2.       Continue to increase fiber: Absorbs uric acid
3.       Continue Virgin Diet oil recommendations: basically oils that go rancid destroy vitamin E
4.       Continue not eating baked goods with saturates fats and trans fats
5.       Supplement with Vitamin C & E
6.       Supplement with Celery Seed Extract: (or roots) long used for gout, rheumatism, arthritis
7.       Supplement with Raw apple-cider vinegar: thought to change blood pH and reduce uric acid
8.       Cherries are recommended but I’m alergic: contain chemical compound thought to bind with uric acid and carry it on out (40 every 4 hours)
9.       Take a uric Acid Cleanse: Solaray makes one, probably others too. (

Brainstorming ways to make it better/ more affordable
Grow my own sprouts?
Ferment my own veggies?
Make my own kombucha?,
Explore an aqua-ponics set up?
Track where each item is cheapest
Request some stores start carrying my favorites so we can reduce number of trips.

Going forward
I do want to repeat Cycle 1 and 2 once a year.
I don’t want my life to be as consumed by food, journaling, weighing, shopping, as it is right now. This was fine for a season but in cycle 3 it must be second nature. I refuse to make my entire life about physical fitness. I need to find something that interests me for exercise.
Two forms of exercise, start with walking and 4x15 (find pulling exercises to add to my resistance training.) Eventually I’ll need to up my game though, add some stares or jogging and a gym so I can get better variety of resistance. (I still want a total gym though). (

Today's Health Food experiment was Tumeric--Elixir of Life

Taste was bracing but not awful. Price was expensive at around $6.50. As an experiment it wasn't a terrible price but can you imagine buying half a dozen for the fridge. As for how I felt after drinking it???? Well lets just say I didn't notice the word cleanse clearly printed on the label. I blame the fact that it was hour 5 of a 6 hour marathon grocery shopping with my mom. I love the company and I don't mind doing the heavy lifting, but you just have to know the day is sacrificed if we go together. 

We did enjoy a wonderful lunch together--Hula Boy, my favorite Hawaiian BBQ. I subbed in brown rice with my chicken and added a salad, went light on the dressing, went all kimchi/no mac salad. I figured it was pretty healthy. I did sin twice today though. I didn't think about there possibly being gluten in the hot sauce at Hula Boy and when we got to whole foods they were roasting peppers in the parking lot. I had a sample of one rolled in a shell with cream cheese. It was heavenly. Anyway, there's no way to tell if my afternoon fun was from those two sins or from the 'cleanse' function of my Health Food Experiment. I can safely say none of it's in my system now. 

If anyone is considering this diet I'd strongly recommend you do cycle 1 and plan out cycle 3. Instead of doing cycle 2 just go into your doctor and ask for a blood test for food sensitivities. Have them check for IGg and IGc. For one thing, I suspect that I'm a statistical outlier and I'm sensitive to less common foods. The second tier of common foods to cause inflammation is Strawberries, Shellfish, Citrus, and Tree Nuts. Since I know I'm allergic to the first two, I'm nervous that I'm sensitive to one or both of the other. That would mean I just tortured myself for over a month and didn't even eliminate my inflammation. That might explain why I dropped 22lbs in 18 days and then held at that number ever since.  

 Anyway! To end on a happy note!

The audio format of  "On Becoming a Man" is up on Amazon, iTunes, and Links below:

There most likely will not be a Monday Post in honor of the holiday and my need to catch up on everything. Have an awesome weekend gang. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Health update! Updated...

Well, its week number 2 at the exact same weight. Pretty discouraging considering how miserable the diet is. I'm going to have to tweak something. Kristin wants to increase the exercise component. On that theme, we went hiking on Saturday at the beach. It was a beautiful day. She picked a moderate trail...

You can't see in the pictures but it was straight up and down the whole way. After climbing the equivalent of 10 flights of stairs (up and down) I threw in the towel and we turned back to the car. So we did about two miles and 20 flights of stairs. I could barely stand. Then we parked a thousand yards from the beach (the closest spot) and walked there for a picnic. I wanted to die. I don't think I'd normally have had a problem with the hike. I feel like the diet (30 day fast) has left me week. My spine and joints ache all the time these days. Anyway, Sunday I got to play test a new game for Firelit games. Looks like it's got potential. Then I helped a friend move some boxes to storage. We couldn't finish so I did another couple loads this morning. So my point is, I think I get exercise.

To tell the truth I could fall asleep right now, and I'm so far behind on my editing that I don't dare.
Okay here's the promised update part. I may have mentioned this product before but the Go Raw brand has been consistently good and consistently expensive. It makes a good item to have sitting around for those days that you don't have time to pack a healthy lunch. I wish I could say that it fills me up by itself but it's like half an ounce of thin wafer. Even so, it's like elven way bread--very filling. So next time you need a snack and have $3.50 to throw at it grab a go raw bar.

Here's a couple pics of the moderate trail out to Indian Beach.

I'm feeling a bit better today. I've implemented a couple ORG strategies to mitigate the run about that's been plaguing me lately. So don't be surprised if you get an auto-responder when you email me. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I've got to play catch up for a few weeks. Have a great day all!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday's Helpful Hint--How to increase happiness!

Here's a cool entry from Dr. Mercola. I like the heart behind this message, but I want to add to it a little. The reality is that life isn't about happiness. I know that's not the gist of the post, but I feel like it needs to be said because there's a new are philosophy these days that anything that doesn't come easy must be wrong. The truth is, when I was asked to list the most meaningful and enjoyable times in my life each one was also among the most difficult times in my life.

I'm still not a fan of work for works sake. I encourage everyone to investigate what they were put here on earth to do, uniquely. For the Christian's among us, this can be as simple as examining the connection you have to God. He projects at you what He expects from you. Often we must grow, before we can take hold of that thing and always its apposed, but when you take a step as the person you were designed to be it will be the best feeling you've ever had in your life. It's unmistakable.

If you need more detail in beginning that journey here's a resource I recommend.
Now the post I promised.

By Dr. Mercola
Virtually every parent wishes for their children to be happy, but as adults many of us find happiness to be elusive.
One recent Harris Poll found that, despite an ostensibly recovering economy, only one in three Americans said they’re very happy,1 which means, of course, that two out of three are not.
Unlike concrete achievements such as graduating high school or college, getting a promotion at work, or even getting married, achieving happiness is much more abstract, and, contrary to popular belief, not based on such worldly accomplishments.
You may have material wealth, even power or fame, yet still be unhappy. Or you may have little more than the shoes on your feet yet overflow with joy, because happiness is a state of mind.
I recently reviewed 22 habits of happy people, and they are overwhelmingly positive changes that prompt you to work on yourself, first. If you want to be truly happy, you’ve got to look to yourself because true happiness comes from within.

Are You Guilty of These 7 Sins of Happiness?

Now we’ll take a slightly different slant, which is identifying the seven ‘sins of happiness,’ which author Trent Hand compiled for Lifehack.2 That is, the seven habits or attitudes that make happiness very hard to come by. Hand explained:
These “sins” are so deadly that we often don’t notice we are falling into their trap until we wake up one day and wonder why we are glaring at ourselves in the mirror.”
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
This will either make you feel guilty for living more comfortably than others who are struggling, or make you feel inadequate compared to those who have more. As Mark Twain said:
“Comparison is the death of joy.”
2. Talking About Your Dreams Instead of Going to Work on Them
Talking about your dreams is great, but only if you eventually follow through with them. Make a point to set short-term action steps that will help you achieve your long-term goals – and act on them.
3. Listening to People With Nothing Positive to Say
Spending time around consistently negative people will drain your energy and bring down your mood. It’s generally nearly impossible to cheer a negative person up, you’re better off avoiding them as much as possible and surrounding yourself with positive people instead.
4. Focusing on the News
Watching the news is virtually guaranteed to bring you down and create feelings of helplessness and a lack of hope, as there’s not much you can do to improve the problems you’re seeing. Instead, focus on positive steps you can make in your local community, such as mentoring a child or delivering meals to the elderly.
5. Deciding Someone Else Needs to Change
Finding fault in others, and letting them know what they’re doing wrong, is easy. Much more difficult is looking inward to see how you can improve yourself instead. The latter will pay off by leading to a better you, while trying to fix others will likely be futile and interfere with your relationships.
6. Thinking “Happiness” is a Destination You Can Reach
If you think you’ll be happy once you accomplish a certain goal (like getting married or paying off your house), this is a myth. You must learn to find happiness during the journey, on a daily basis, rather than waiting to somehow find happiness at the end.
7. Forgetting to Say “Thank You”
It’s easy to take for granted all that you have to be thankful for – friends, family, loved ones, your health, your job … By focusing on all that you have to be grateful for (jot down whatever comes to mind on a notepad, for starters), you’ll instantly feel happier.

Living in the Moment: Another Key to Being Happy

Groucho Marx may not be the first person who comes to mind for a philosophy by which to live your life, but his words come with a definite air of wisdom:
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”3
How often your mind wanders is frequently a predictor of how happy you are. One study found, in fact, that the more often you take yourself out of the present moment, the less happy you are.4 The researchers concluded:
“ … people are thinking about what is not happening almost as often as they are thinking about what is and … doing so typically makes them unhappy.”
So … allow yourself to be immersed in whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take time to really be in the present moment. Practice mindfulness and avoid replaying past negative events in your head or worrying about the future; just savor what’s going on in your life now.

Center Your Life Around Doing What You Love: 12 Quick Tips

Life is too short to wait to be happy. It’s very important to prioritize your life so that you have time each and every day – or at the very least several times a week – to do the things you love. More often than not, it’s the small, simple things in life that bring the most joy, which is perfect because these are also the things that are oftentimes easy to fit in on a daily basis.
You know what makes you feel good, but here are some simple ideas for making your day a bit more joyful. And remember, when you’re doing these things don’t worry about tomorrow or what needs to get done when you’re finished – allow yourself to fully enjoy the moment:
Take a walk in nature, notice the trees, the sky, the soundsSpend some time in the sunGet in a good workout
Read (for pleasure!)Dance (even if it’s by yourself or with your kids)Laugh
Eat something fresh; savor each biteCommit a ‘random act of kindness’Spend time with an animal … or a baby
Cook, from scratchCreate somethingWork in your garden

Friday, August 23, 2013

Update on Diet

I'm trying not to weigh myself but once a week, and I don't count weight but as one indicator. I finally did weigh myself early just to get number for the end of Cycle 1. I was up 4 lbs. Such is life. Lots of things could account for that. So I shall weigh myself again next week and see where I'm at.

In my continuing effort to try new things that I can have on the virgin diet I've tried another tanka meet. This one was more reasonably priced, around $1.50 for a pepperony stick. I t was good and I felt good after eating it.

I also tried a Thunderbird energetica bar7 grams of protein from Pea and Quinoa.
The price was okay at just over a dollar. I tried to flavors. They tasted okay, but had an odd consistency. It could be partly the heat that day.

Finally, I really enjoyed my Organic Food Bar.
I give that the coveted 3 out of 3 for taste, flavor, and price.

Update on Writing!
My editing business is going really well. I'm pretty busy with meetings. Now I just need to squeeze in some writing time. LOL. Actually I've changed up the lineup of this years writing, which will make a lot of people happy. The time has finally come to put my sequel to Suffering Rancor at the front of the pack. So I've dug out the scraps I was working on and created a rough outline. I'm not going to draft it until November though, as I have to deal with editing "Footless" when I get it back from my awesome first readers. Ideally in the next 10 days.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gregory E. Zschomler Interview

Gregory E. Zschomler

I love your concept for kid’s books. So what got you into writing books for tween boys?
I have six boys, only two of them are currently in the age range of my books, but I wanted to give them something to read that was inspirational. BTW: I also have two girls and I have written a book (not yet published) for them as well. Anyway, there are so many books where the hero has some sort of super powers. I believe people have great potential without being a vampire or whatever. I think we have skills like intelligence and imagination that are important. We do have a journey to go on, and we need to be inspired to work with those skills to take part in the adventure.

My background is in theatre; my studies in technology and communication. I also have many years of experience in graphic design and some music. I’ve been interested in journalism, but it’s a dying thing—well, it’s changing. I maintain a couple blogs. I also attend and review plays. Every once in a while I launch into a production myself. But mostly, these days, I write. Yes, I’ve written three books for boys, but that’s not all I write.

Which of your projects has been most successful/or make you most proud?
I’ve written four plays; two of them have been performed. “About Right” has won two playwriting contests. “Bisbee Ore Bust” is a comedic-musical history of small town Bisbee, Arizona that ran there for four years. I have another one, called “The Rip Roaring Ridgefield Revue,” along the same lines that hasn’t yet been performed. It covers the history of Ridgefield, Wash. from Lewis and Clark to the founding of the high school when they decided to be the Spudders and rather than the Prunes.

My first book was a non-fiction text called “Lights, Camera, Worship.” That sold well at the time (2005-2006) and is still being used as a college teaching text. However, being about technology, it has become dated. I recently did an updated and expanded revision for a second edition. It’s in the production stage and the release date hasn’t been set.

Also I’m shopping another manuscript, “The Amish vs. The Zombies” (everyone laughs here) that’s a YA coming-of-age story and a real departure from the “safe” stuff I tend to write. It’s often gritty and grizzly and tends to go deeper into bigger issues, so I’m proud of that, too.

What is your idea of good writing?
Three words: James L. Rubart. Or one name, I guess. Seriously, of all that I’ve read his work is the best. Everything’s interesting and on several layers. I think good writing has subtext and foreshadowing. I think, in good story-telling, it’s not about structure or grammar or syntax, it’s about the author’s ability to immerse you in time and place and to emotionally—even viscerally—link you with the protagonist.

I hate serial novels (even though I get sucked into reading them) where they leave you hanging and you have to wait a year to find out what happens...and then another year and another. And so, I make sure everything is tied up at the end of my books, but also that there’s something in there that will lead to the next book. Wayne Thomas Batson is a great YA writer that does that so well.

I know authors who fill their stories with rice. I know I do that a little, but my editors help me sift it out. I’m told that if it doesn’t propel the story forward it should be removed. I do wonder about a lot of stuff, I mean is it important that my characters went to Taco Bell? Probably not, but sometimes you want to put that in too—show the slice of life. Real people do that sort of thing. I want to write real.

Also, I try to write from my faith without being preachy. I try to represent a real walk with God. I share some of the struggles and thoughts that I have.

How would you describe your process?
I think I’m different, I discover the story as I write. I have a writer friend who plots everything out in Excel; plot, characters, the works. I sit down with an idea and see what happens. I know the characters really well because I base them on myself and people I know. That allows me to create the situation and then I think, “How would they get out of that?” Sometimes I use chapter titles as a kind of outline. Like “Pirates!” that’s a title that tells me what’s going to happen in that chapter. I do change and rearrange them, but it’s not a formal outline.

Of course my Bayou Boys books have been a little shorter (20-30K) which is okay because they are written for middle-readers. In “Playhouse Phantom” the story takes place all in one house so it’s different than the first two books, which could really go anywhere. It’s based upon a real house and situation, so I drew some ideas from that and then wrote until I discovered what was going on. I think it’s my best published work to-date. I hate the idea of writing to length. I don’t like padding or redundancy, like in the “Tunnels” series. I recently read Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and it’s really great writing, but two entire chapters were unnecessary filler. One should write just enough to tell the story. “The Amish vs. The Zombies” is 40K and that’s what it took.

With “To Hell, Heaven and Back,” the book I’m writing now, I have a good idea what’s going to happen because some of it is taken from a real life experience. I also have certain concepts I plan to address and the rest, being science-fiction, is the artistic license that makes it all come together in a compelling way. I think it’s going to be great. I actually feel that I am meant to write this story and bring its message to the world. I think it might even cause a stir. But I digress.

I do revise. After I flog it two or three times my wife does a read/edit and I revise based on her feedback. Then I read it aloud to my sons and get their feedback. They read along over my shoulder as I do and catch things I’ve missed. One is really gifted at (anal about) continuity. I also read everything I write to my boys since my wife doesn’t get my brand of humor. That helps me know if I’m on the right track. Then I do line edits twice more. I hate it.

I write 1,500 words a day—sometimes as much as 3K. I started that with NaNoWriMo last year and it’s become a discipline, and now I don’t think I can even avoid it. I just do it. With the editing it takes me about three months to do a 30K word book. “To Hell, Heaven and Back” will be longer—probably at least 60K. I’m writing it now and anticipate the first draft being complete by Christmas.

I write plot and dialogue first, and finally I add what I call “the smells and bells;” sights, sounds, scents and other things to make it real and living.

When/where do you write?
At night. I do Facebook and email first thing in the morning. Sometimes I write in the afternoon, but I’m not really functional until after 10 a.m. I wake up before eight, but spend time with my wife. I write until 10 or 11 at night. I review plays, too and those aren’t over ‘till 10:30. I find that I can’t write the review the next day because all these thoughts swim in my head and keep me awake, so I’m up until midnight.

I typically write in coffee shops and such. The library is either too quiet or too loud with kids programs. And, like I said earlier, I don’t write with my wife (though we edit together) at home. Writing is a generally solitary activity for me.

I’m trained a bit as a journalist, with the inverted pyramid and all. (My wife always says, “Tighten and brighten.”) Longer writing is different than a news story where the important facts go up front and everything is about column inches (minimal writing to maximize space).

I’ve been pretty vocal about not growing up with a lot of support from my friends and family, and the massive help it is now that I’m getting encouragement from those I care about. Did your family support your writing?
Yes, and no. It depends on who you’re talking about and when. As a child I was more into music and theater. My dad was a really big high school athlete and won awards in every sport. He played some college ball and was a boxer in the Navy. I have always been an artist. Early on I felt I disappointed him because I wasn’t into sports. He never spoke against my interests, but it took him a while to really come around to my artistic expression. I don’t think he really got me when I was young, but, you know, he was also a very practical man. He did what he needed to do to put food on the table. He worked a jump schedule for years, one week at swing and the next at graveyard and so on. That’s not healthy for you. It made him grumpy. Well it would, you know. So it wasn’t so much that he disapproved of me as that he didn’t want me making noise when he was trying to sleep. Thing is, he really has a latent artist bent, too.

I wasn’t good at writing until after several years of college, by the way. I wrote some plays as a child, but I didn’t really have the writing bug until college. I wasn’t a good grade school English student. I got inspired by some good professors and I have worked hard at grammar and spelling, etc.

My mother was always creative herself, and encouraging and so are my sisters. Both of my parents came to most all of my performances (theater and music). Dad and my sisters now show tremendous support for my writing. Dad comes to all my book launches and reads every book I write. My mother really pushed me to discover what made me different and unique and also worked to “integrate” me (I tend to be a loner in some ways). She passed away nearly a decade back, but she really encouraged me to learn and follow my passion. She never got to read any of my fiction books.

What are some of your life adventures?
I’ve done a lot of traveling, which I love. I’ve not been off the continent, but I’ve been to Canada, and to Mexico on a mission trip. I’ve been to 37 states out of 50 with the goal to see them all. I do enjoy camping and hiking. I like to cook specialty foods. I have a special blend of Caribbean and Cajun spices that I developed (and sell).

I did a lot of whitewater canoeing back in the day, but I’m not a big adventurer now. Mostly I’ve lived in the PNW, but I’ve also lived in Colorado and Florida. I’ve been to the top of Pike’s Peak (14,114 feet above sea level) and to the bottom of Death Valley (284 feet below sea level). I’ve picked up a live rattlesnake by the tail. I’ve lived through a volcanic eruption, a couple tornados and several hurricanes. I’ve done relief work following hurricane Ivan and the Joplin tornado. I have yet to write about these experiences.

I enjoy experiencing different cultures and food. That’s what attracted me to Louisiana. I did all my research for the first book through secondary sources, but I did go there before writing books two and three. It’s so much better when you’ve been there. The tastes of the food, the smells of the bayou, the spirit and dialect of the Cajun people, the rollicking music…nothing like being there to bring it to the page.

I also love Disneyland. I go there to be recharged. I collect up thoughts all year, and most every year I go down and synthesis happens. My wife points out that I hate crowds so it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s how it is. We honeymooned there thirty years ago. My son interned at Disney World for a year so I got to go behind the scenes a little. I also did a special 14-hour behind the scenes seminar and got to meet some of the Imagineers for a Q&A, which was amazing.

I know we writers always have half a dozen irons in the fire, tell me about your new projects, what’s coming this year?
I decided to narrow it down to only three things until those are done. Number one is marketing “Playhouse Phantom,” book three of the Bayou Boys Adventure series. It’s due out October 26 in time for Halloween. Marketing is the hardest part about being an author and it takes time away from writing.
I’m also co-producing and doing some of the writing on a new rock opera called “This Child.” It’s about a family dealing with the loss of a child by leukemia. We are still in the creation phase, but we intend to start raising money for that in October and to show it next spring.

Then there’s my new book. I plan to have a finished draft by the end of November—Christmas at the latest—tentatively called, “To Hell, Heaven, and Back.” It’s about inter-dimensional travel and takes on the theological questions like God’s omniscience, and who goes to hell or heaven, and so on. It’s based on a true story about a pastor who’s driven to question everything and he meets ‘someone’ who offers to take him on a tour to get answers. It’s sci-fi-allegory in the vein of “The Shack” and tackles misbeliefs.

How did you find time to raise a family with all that going on?
I’ve made many mistakes (like not being as attentive as I should have been), but I was able to pass on a love for creativity and ambition. I believe in going after your dreams. I tried to involve my kids in what I was working on. My eldest son began working with me in theater when he was eight. Now in his twenties, he’s perusing all things theater and film. My eldest daughter owns her own business doing what she’s passionate about. Most of my children are ambitious and hard working. They follow their dreams. My second son wrote to me the other day and said that he didn’t think he could get where he wanted to go in life if he just worked for someone else. He’s always been ambitious, now he wants to start his own business, too.
My wife is also a writer and immensely talented in so many other ways. She’s finishing up her MFA studies right now. It’s good to have a spouse that understands, although we’ve discovered that we can’t write in the same room. We interrupt each other with questions and such. But she helps me so much.

What makes you come alive?
I love to inspire people to do what they were put here to do. I love helping them discover a new passion. I cast one young man in a play and then had him direct another; he went on to get a degree in theater and eventually got on the crew for the national tour of “Cats.” We still work together once in a while. I love that!
I love to speak to kids who want to be writers too. I give a presentation and then ask for questions. I love when they ask questions. What I like about kids is that they aren’t cynical yet. Some are negative, which saddens me, but for the most part they are full of potential. Everyone wants to be inspired and everyone wants to do what they believe in. If I can be a part of motivating people to pursue their dreams then I’m happy. I have a niece whom I am very proud of. She’s in New York trying to break in as an actress. She’s told me that I inspired her to follow her heart.

Closing Thoughts?
Do what moves you. If you write (be it books, scripts or whatever), move others. Art, whatever it is, is the thing that expresses our humanness. We are all born in the image of our Creator to be creators. And if you write—or even if you don’t—read broadly. Read my books. Lol

Gregory E. Zschomler can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@zschomler). His author blog/website is: His books are available on Amazon.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Monday Post

Yesterday was the Sunday Streets Alive event. We had a lot of people come by the booth, but I don't think people wanted to lug books with them around the 4 mile circuit so sales were dismal. I did get to talk to some really cool people though. More and more often, God is arranging cool little appointments to meet and talk with people. I'm probably going to end up with some ghost bios to write out of the event. Here's some pics of the event.

Well the I've passed a milestone on the diet front. Yesterday, was day 21 and the end of cycle 1 on the Virgin diet. I was really looking forward to going onto a more reasonable diet at that point and I was extremely horrified to read the details of cycle 2. What I had in mind was a modified version of cycle 3 which doesn't happen until 4 weeks after the end of cycle 1. Cycle 2 is when you challenge foods to see if you can add them back, only you can't actually add them back right after you challenge them. You have to be back at ground zero to challenge the next thing so you only get to try out the food for 4 days and then go back to cycle 1 for three days.

Kristin and I have negotiated a more reasonable time frame of two days challenging a food and two days of cycle 1 between. (Mainly I through a fit and she gave in.) So today and tomorrow are slotted to be dairy days, except that we are only supposed to have one dairy thing, for one meal on those days. JJ Virgin has even provided exactly what to do for the meals. I'm not going to do it. I'm going to have cream in my coffee and eat some goat cheese today. Tomorrow I'm going to have try Creamer and maybe regular cheese. If I don't have a reaction to those buy the end of my two days of Cycle 1 I'm going to declare that I can have small amounts of those at least twice a week or if it happens to be in something that's okay. I don't mind drinking the coconut milk etc. I just need to get to where I can have things with milk in it on occasion. My cycle 3 diet, as I design it, will still be one that I can lose weight on. I hope.

My next big challenge on that front it to increase my workouts. My normal maintenance is becoming inadequate. The Virgin diet has a lot of recommendations on exercise and it's solid advice. I'll paste some links to that sort of advice. I feel like I'm not quite at that point. I do need to find a good place to walk and get something going for resistance to build some muscle. I have some weights at home so it might be enough. I'd love to get back into a gym. We'll see how the finances line up with all the editing gigs I took on lately. That's not my only reason to hold off on the gym. I really want to develop weighs to get healthy that can be done anywhere, under any circumstances.

Toward that end, here's an app to help you work out without equipment.

This is probably more my speed for starters.

Here's a Time Crunch Work out by Dr. Jeff Spencer.
By Dr. Jeff Spencer
What if I were to tell you it's possible to get a great well-rounded, super-quality workout in less than 12-minutes?
Would you believe me?
You probably would is my guess, but, with some level of doubt.
This is totally understandable because of today's fitness culture and our own minds' mistaken belief that "if we don't hurt at the end of the workout it's not been hard enough" mentality; I'd be a bit suspicious myself.
However, science and practical experience tell us that it is possible to get a great workout in only a few minutes if we know what to do.

Finding Time to Work Out in a Time-Crunched Life

One of the biggest challenges in today's rush-rush world is to find time to get a quality fitness workout in.
This frequent challenge can be dramatically compounded especially by a life filled with frequent changes in schedule, which is typical of most people, especially those with kids and who travel often.

Balanced Fitness is Key to Vibrant Health and Wellbeing

A prime objective of all workout programs is balanced fitness development between strength, endurance, flexibility, power and agility, which constitute all the factors that create a fit and balanced body ready to respond to any physical challenge safely and effectively. Doing separate workouts for all these when faced with a hypersonic life is next to impossible to do and trying to only adds to an already over-burdened life. Not a good idea as rushing a workout can lead to overtraining, injury and illness.

Combining the Best of All Worlds

However, there is an option that combines all fitness elements simultaneously to achieve a balanced workout when time-crunched. This workout can also be done to add variety to an existing workout program that's gone stale and needs an element of freshness to revitalize itself. It can also be used as a variation to a great workout program when time isn't available for the usual workout and can also be done when a person needs to challenge themselves in a different way.

High-Intensity Rules in a Time-Crunched Workout

The key to such a workout is wide-spectrum intensity where intense output is balanced with super-easy off periods. This alternating intensity is often referred to as interval training. Interval training has a huge variety of workout configurations as to types of exercise, weights, reps and sets but the prime objective to this workout is to get the most balanced fitness in the shortest time.

Super-Hard, Super-Short is the Success Mantra

Another important factor to consider is length of high-intensity output and its relationship to the rest interval. Ideally, the output effort should be close to maximum but not so long that it over-extends your body. This is especially true with time-crunched lives as such lives are already in the red zone as far as stress and strain goes. This means your immune system is under assault and the risk of illness is very high already -- and when exercise is even slightly too hard it can put that grain of sand on the health teeter-totter that flips it from health to illness.

Free-Radicals Aren't Free

Always consider that the harder and longer the workout the more pro-aging free-radical molecules are created as the results of the increase in body metabolism to meet the energy demands of the workout. Nobody wants to prematurely age so the best antidote for limiting that risk is to exercise at high outputs for very short duration with appropriate rest intervals between them. In this way you'll get the benefits of high intensity without the downside consequence of free-radicals.

The Time-Crunch Workout

The workout that I'm presenting is a hybrid of concepts and ideas that come from a variety of proven sources and it should always be remembered that many different variations on the workout can be created. I encourage you to experiment with the workout and put your favorite exercises into it. Here are the steps to the workout:
  1. The Warm Up – do 2-minutes of your favorite cardio exercise starting at 60% effort and ramping up to 80% at the end of the second minute. Then walk to the first exercise in the workout and do the exercise.
  2. The Workout Exercises – The workout consists of a cardio exercise combined with two weight-training exercises.
    1. The cardio exercise: the cardio exercise can be any one that works well for you as long as you have immediate access to doing the two weight-training exercises after completing the cardio portion. For example, if working out in a gym you could do the stationary bicycle that has quick access to weights, as they are in close proximity to each other in the gym. Of course, you could also do the elliptical or treadmill as well -- it doesn’t matter, as long as you have immediate access to the weights you are fine.
    2. The weight-training exercises:
      1. Bench Press – The bench is the first because it is the easiest exercise to do that recruits all the major muscles of your upper body. If you’re an advanced workout person the power clean or dead-hang clean can be substituted for the bench press.
      2. Leg Press – The leg press is the second because it is the best exercise that recruits most of your major lower body muscles. If you’re an advanced workout person the squat or front squat can be substituted for the leg press.
    Together the bench press (or clean or dead-hang clean) and leg press (or squat or front squat) recruit all the major muscle groups of your body, creating a super full-body workout using all your body's major muscles.
  3. The Workout –
    1. Warm up: As stated above begin the workout with a 2-minute cardio warm up starting at 60% effort ramping up to 80-85%% at the end of the second minute, which is characterized by moderately heavy breathing. When the 2-minute warm up is complete take a 10-second walk to the bench press station and begin the workout as instructed below.
    2. Workout: Do 6 reps of the bench press using a moderate weight as fast as can be done while maintaining ideal exercise form. Then, without rest, immediately do 6 reps of the leg press with a moderate weight as fast as the reps can be done maintaining form. Then take 10 seconds to walk to the cardio station and do 20 seconds of cardio at 90% effort so that the interval done between the three exercises is – 6 reps each of the bench and leg press back-to-back without rest between them then taking a 10-second rest walking to the cardio station then doing 20 seconds of cardio at 90% effort. This three-exercise interval will take approximately 1 minute.
    3. Then, repeat the 1-minute 3-exercise interval seven (7) more times for a total of eight sets, then immediately at the end of the eighth interval, without rest, begin the cool down below.
    4. Cool Down – Do 2 minutes of cardio starting at 75% effort ending at 60% effort at the end of the second minute.
The key to any successful workout is to balance its exercises and intensity to develop the full-body fitness to be a top performer in the home, playing field or boardroom. In today's "rushamania" world it's not always possible to do a full and complete workout from being time-crunched. However, doing a quality time-crunched workout is possible in just 12 minutes by combining short, high-intensity exercise with frequent, short rest periods. Try it, you'll like it as do many others faced with a time-crunched life.
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Spencer, Olympian, ICA "Sports Chiropractor of the Year", and author is one of America's top champion builders and has been directly involved in 40+ Olympic, World, National and Tour de France championships. Please visit Dr. Spencer's website,, and Facebook page, for more information.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Improving your dialogue

Hey gang,
I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing, revising, and editing. I've been reading Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb, and its inspired me to write a little of my own thinking on the topic.

Close up on dialogue:
Instinctively writers are good at some aspects of dialogue or another, but seldom all aspects of dialogue. So it’s worth being aware of all the aspects so you can make sure you’re hitting all the points you can in your writing.

Speaking of hitting all the points, your dialogue is part of a scene and must move the story forward. Is the dialogue necessary? Or do you have a long chain of dialogue in place of a more appropriate form of exposition? What do we learn?

Is it concise? What is the goal or conflict being conversed? Does the character misinterpret anything? What is left unspoken? Or more importantly, what is left unresolved?

These are important questions to answer when revising your novel. Depending on your answers you’ve got two ways to fix that dialogue; either cut the fat or add characterization. Cutting the fat is straight forward. Rewrite it more concisely. Adding character is a way of killing two birds with one stone. Say you’ve written a series of dialogue in which one character shares plot development with another character, and thereby the reader, but it runs unavoidably long. Make sure that the characters are speaking in a way that communicates who they are. It’s a good idea anyway, but it’s an extra grievance to have long dialogue chains without at least reinforcing the characters distinct personalities.

To do this, revisit your character sketches and ask these questions (taken from Novel Shortcuts by Laura Whitcomb).

Is this person educated or simple?
Quiet or verbose?
Does he/she hide their feelings or wear their heart on their sleeve?
Casual or formal? Modern or old fashioned?
Do they have a hobby or social group that would pepper their verbiage choice with slang? (Scifi nerd? Sports nut?)
Confident? Nervous? Optimistic? Pessimistic?
Is this their Mother Tongue?
Do they have a speech impediment or accent?
Do they inject humor into anything they say or perhaps use diplomacy at all times?
Do you need to incorporate anything to communicate a historic time for the book?

Finally, be sensitive to the potential for impact in what’s being said. Most of the time, a phrase like, “Are you hungry?” is best written quickly and simply, where a phrase like, “I love you,” is worth rewriting a few times for maximum impact. You can’t hand craft every line, but you should have some memorable ones in the mix. Give yourself a, “Frankly, my darling, I don’t give a damn.” Or a “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Something memorable could make your novel catch on with your audience. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Diet Update and More!

Well this is a good time to do my next diet update. I won't weigh myself again until tomorrow but I finally feel pretty consistently good. I've got good energy today. I helped a friend moved some boxes to storage and now I'm at coffee to get some things done. I'm making every effort to get out of the house and start work early (I've got a bunch of gigs all of a sudden), but that didn't go so well on day one. I slept through the alarm until my normal wake up time. But I feel good and that counts for something. I've only got one week left of cycle 1, then I've got to figure out how I want to do cycle 2. It's tempting just to follow her directions exactly, but I really want to get to my 'new' normal (cycle 3) so I can start figuring out how to cut costs. This healthy crap is expensive.

I decided to try a new product or two each week and rate them based on taste, price and how I feel after eating them. It didn't occur to me to report back on that here. I wish it had, because I need to start tracking this sort of info. I don't think I can catch up but I'll do two today.

First is tanka bars, which are buffalo and cranberry juice jerky type stuff. I threw away the wrapper so I looked up the website and it seems they offer several products. The only one I saw at whole foods was two flavors of the bar. The one I've eaten so far was billed as spicy and didn't disappoint. I've got another one at home that says it's hotter. I liked the one I had so I'm looking forward to the other. The flavor was fantastic which was refreshing. I've had quite a few misses in a row. The size was about 3 bites and I felt fine after eating it. The cost was terrible at $3.50. So over all I give it 2 out of three stars.

The other product I tried was called Super by Happy Squeeze. It's packaged like a drink but I'd put it in the applesauce category. Only 100 cals per container and I found the containers quite convenient. The flavor was great compared to a lot of the healthy stuff I've tried. I bought pomegranate,  blueberry, pear and salba. Good stuff. The best thing about this was the price. I don't recall exactly but I found it at winco for around $1.00 on sale. It was with the survival food in a bucket that winco has been selling lately (interesting times we live in, eh?). It doesn't have to be refrigerated until opened, which is a big plus for me. Technically this is probably baby food but I found it refreshing and felt good after eating it. I give it 3 out of 3 stars.

Today's child safe joke: What does a fish say when it completes a mission?
Fishion accomplished.

Today's senior safe joke:
A respectable lady rescued a couple female parrots from a shelter only to discover they used foul language. Worst of all they'd spout indecent proposals like, "hey big boy, why don'cha come inside and I'll blow your mind."
In frustration the lady consulted her parson who assured her that his two boy parrots would reform her wayward birds because all they did every day was pray. So the lady brought her two birds over and stuck them in the cage with the parson's birds.
Immediately, one of the lady parrots said, "Come on over big boy." The other lady bird said, "Polly wants more than a cracker."
"Hallelujah!" exclaimed one of the boy birds. The other agreed, "Thank God, our prayers have finally been answered."

Everyone have great day. If I keep feeling this good, I'm going to strongly recommend the Virgin diet for everyone. Sooo....stay tuned for more of Andy experimenting on himself so you don't have to.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bonus Post: 'cause I missed one this week

SOL: The $350 Ubuntu laptop that runs on solar power

Below is another gem from Gizmag. But first here's a quick update on the diet. I wanted to wait until I could report on my progress with a positive attitude. Not that I don't have good things to report, I'm actually losing a steady 1lb a day. This is day 12 of 21 so I'm over the hump. I'm also finally starting to feel good. Well I had some good hours during that last couple days, but Yesterday and today I feel more normal for the first time since I started. The entire first week I felt like fertilizer. Now I feel pretty good for about 20 minutes, then I feel run down for about 25 minutes, and then I feel inexplicable rage for about 5 minutes (which I have so far not taken out on people.)
My partner in this diet experiment, Kristin, is reporting a much better time of it. She is feeling healthy and not bothered by the food restrictions. The ruin of her morning coffee and not being able to partake of the fun when she goes out with friends has gotten her down a couple times. Like last Friday night when she made me watch oxygen channel for 2 hours while she sat with her arms crossed, scowling. Aside from that she's been her normal, cheery self. 

I'm still reading the book (4 chapters to go) and the strangest side effect has been the bouts of turrets I experience while reading it. I'll read that the total daily limit of nuts is 30 cashews and...I actually feel a bout coming on now so I'll stop and let you read about a nifty laptop... 

In the Western world, we tend to take for granted some pretty basic amenities, like reliable electricity. For people living in those corners of the globe where electricity can be scarce, WeWi Telecommunications, Inc. has developed the SOL, a rugged laptop that doesn't rely on a power socket to stay charged. The Ubuntu Linux-powered computer is instead equipped with a detachable solar panel, which the developers claim will provide up to 10 hours of battery life after just two hours in the sun.

Original post link

We've seen solar-powered laptops before, but never one that promised to be this energy efficient. WeWi claims the SOL never actually needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet to charge, but it still has the option in case you need to keep working late into the night. The solar panel can even detach and connect to an extension cord, so you can use the computer indoors and still keep it charged with direct sunlight.
Aside from benefiting the owner by supplying a readily-available energy source, the SOL's solar panels should also help the environment by reducing air pollution. According to the developers, each SOL computer could prevent approximately a ton of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere during its lifetime simply by not charging it exclusively through a power socket.

The designers hope the SOL can serve as a reliable computer for students in developing nations and globe-trotting adventurers alike, which is why the entire device has been designed for durability and built from reinforced materials. Inside the case, the SOL houses an Intel Atom D2500 1.86 GHz Duo Core processor with an Intel 945GSE chipset. Users will have access to 320 GB of HDD storage as well as 2–4 GB of DDRIII SDRAM, depending on what the buyer chooses. The whole computer has been optimized with Ubuntu in mind and comes pre-loaded with a suite of productivity tools, but WeWi has stated that another OS can be installed if needed.
The SOL uses a built-in Intel GMA3600 graphics card with a 13.3 in LCD HD screen, which the designers are confident won't drain the battery too quickly. The laptop has a 3 MP webcam fitted to the front along with two speakers and an internal mic for online video chats, plus inputs for USB 2.0, headphones, and HDMI, among others. It also includes a few options for connecting to the internet, such as Wi-Fi and 3G/4G/LTE, plus connections for GPS and Bluetooth. Customers will even have a choice to add a satellite communications module for especially remote areas.

WeWi has not revealed a release date for its solar-powered laptop just yet, but the company has noted there are two distinct models in the works: the SOL and the SOL Marine, the latter of which will be waterproof. The company is determined to make the computer as accessible as possible, which is why it plans to distribute both versions worldwide at a budget price of US$350 and $400 respectively. Customers will also have a choice between a variety of color schemes for the case, including black, gray, red, and bright green.
Source: SOL

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

After Action Report: Loyal Local 2013

I over slept a little but I had plenty of time to set up as long as I skipped breakfast...

...but I got coffee, Hurrah! That was my first time into Torque across the street from the event. I posted about it a little during the event including this pic which I think is awesome.

I shared a table with Greg Zschomler of Voodoo Virus fame. Great guy and he really knows how to decorate a booth. The next table to our right was Phil Silver of PBJBooks and (Susie S. whom I'm sad to say I didn't get her contact info). I didn't want to hold the blog up to get more info on Susie, but I will be editing this part when I get a hold of Phil and get her info. Anyway, she also wrote children's chapter books.

The booths around us were really cool. I was too busy to get many pics of the awesome artwork like Bill Perkins of Artastix and Kaha Spirit arts but I they have some better pics than I could get on their websites. There were a ton there, actually and I was too busy selling to see them all. I have to highlight a couple more though.

Deda's Bakery looked so good. They gave out samples but my crazy diet (update to follow soon) doesn't allow me to enjoy such things. The loving wife part of that dynamic duo is also a writer and will soon be generating her own indie novels. Go Catherine!

I did bend the rules a bit on the diet and sample two vendor's wears: Nut-ricious makes nut butters that will make you forget you can make peanut butter. They can be found at whole foods or ordered on line, but I'd recommend visiting their booth at the Vancouver Farmer's Market. The other was a salsa by The red bicycle guy. Fantastic! The salsa and the nut butter were both on the diet but the chips weren't.

I sampled some from the table to my left which was totally on the diet. Fouresse is a shop that carries only Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars. 70 kinds. You have to try it!

I was struck by the amount of talent and hard work I saw on display. I really hadn't thought a lot about what was happening in Vancouver, WA. outside the writing circles I travel in. So here's some photos I did get.

Finally, I want to mention a cool guy named Nicholas Tomihama. I didn't recognize him at first, but then I realized that I've been following his videos for ages. Nic makes PBC bows and writes books about it. He has a lot of videos on the topic also. You need to check those out.

Thanks again for reading. It's been fun so far, and the adventure will continue. The goal is to post an update on my diet tomorrow, but I'm out of time now and I had to catch you up to last Sunday. We'll also get a couple of these awesome authors to guest blog soon, so lots of fun to come.