30 November 2009

(Book) - A Castle and Giant Rings...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

Once upon a time, in a small town, lived two friends. A girl and a boy...

You knew this story had to start with “Once upon a time.” It just had to. There really is no other way for a really first-rate story to get started. In fact, it is so important that we better do it again.

“Once upon a time, in a small town, lived two friends.”

Well they didn't really live in a town. They lived in what might be called a village, or maybe a hamlet. You see, there were exactly three houses on the road where they lived. Two roads, actually. One went west and east, and the other went south.

So, on the south road lived a very poor goldsmith. Also on the south road, facing across the road lived a very poor blacksmith. One worked with gold. The other worked with iron. On the north road that ran west and east, but facing south, and just across the road from where the north road really went south between the home of the goldsmith and the home of the black, stood the other home. Perhaps home is not accurate. It was, you see, and perhaps still is, an old, yet beautiful, castle. An empty castle.

Now, in once upon a time stories friends are truly friends forever. Not so for the blacksmith's daughter and the goldsmith's son. They fought all the time. They yelled at each other and promised to never speak again. One such promise worked for an entire three days. Normally they would be meeting again by the next day. And often they were only mad until after lunch. It is hard to stay mad at the only other person you have to play with.

What usually got them mad was when one decided they were boss because they were older. And in fact, they never knew who was oldest. Their birthdays were the same day of the same week of the same year. And in this story their births are so important that we just have to tell the story. So...

Once upon a time...two mothers were expecting the births of their children. They suspected the babies would be born at very nearly the same day. Being the only two women................. (the rest is hidden in the book...)

27 November 2009

Publishing Hopes...

I have a rather long list of children's book titles to which I am seeking receptive publishers. This is a time consuming process and can only be handled in stages. Right now I am shopping three of my titles to both literary agents and publishers.

Wanting to speed up the process I have completed months of digging and delving research on alternate ways of publishing. Print-on-demand (POD), eprint, vanity press, full press but no marketing, etc... I have chosen DragonPencil Press as my best alternate solution because they have well structured process from design, illustration, editing, printing, warehousing, marketing.  Yet, it is costly.

Would you be interested in helping? Ah, the pitch, here it comes... but first let me ask another question. You know all the producers and directors you see listed on movie credits (do you read them)? Some of them are only listed because they put up money. They do so, of course for the clout but with the intention of making a profit off of the film.

Would you be interested in helping publish? What it means is that you make an investment in my publishing effort. In return I will list you in the book as an Associate Publisher, or Assistant Associate Publisher, or Assistant Publisher. The level, and the size and prominence of the type used on your name, would depend upon your investment amount. You would be in the credits.

Your return?  Of course there is no way to guarantee the total return and like any investment it could be a loss. What I can guarantee is that you will recieve a prorated share of 50% of the proceeds again based upon your portion of the investment for that book. You will continue receiving your share from any reprint runs until you have received your investment plus 12%. Although your name will always be in future reprints, your return ends on whichever run completes after hitting your minimum. You might make more if that run is large. It is simple but must be considered a high risk.

Details... I have chosen DragonPencil because of the entire process and quality of product. Publishing is not cheap. These are hard cover books, with or without Read Along CDs. The cost varies from title to title based upon things such as word count, page count, illustration counts, marketing plan, number of books printed, etc... I am going to choose three titles to work with but only one at a time. Their entry onto the market will be timed only by available funding assistance.

How much? The first title has an estimate of $11,000-$13,000. Therefore I am going to ask for assistance in a total of $13,000 but will accept it in increments from many people or larger increments from only a few, or even one sole investor. Your choice of amount. When the total is reached I send it off to press. If enough funds are made available I will do up to three titles in this manner.

Added benefits... I will continue pursuing the Grandpa Jester series of four books with lit agents and publishers. Each publishing pathway will enrich the other. Being in print either way supports the titles of any publishing method. Showing that one title sells well is an added consideration for the large publishing houses. DragonPencil is part of Whimsical which includes Big Tent Books and Castlebridge Books. Since I am still seeking big house publishing, and expect that will happen one day, I will tag 25% of any royalties earned off of any other title published and use it to speed along your investment return.

If you are interested in this project please contact me at danielhay@gmail.com and we will arrange funds and a letter of agreement.

26 November 2009

Why Giving Thanks...

Giving thanks is often forgotten in Thanksgiving.

As with all holidays many people forget the reason behind it and dote on their comfort and enjoyment. It is great to have family gathered, to enjoy extra special foods, to be off work perhaps, to relax...

Relax! What... who is getting to relax. For every holiday parts of the family are working harder and with much less thanks for the effort than they generally do. Do we remember them and make an extra effort to let them know. Do we let them know they are appreciated with more than just saying, "That was very good."

The labor in celebrating should be as shared as the euphoria in enjoying. The holiday should be shared not just partaken of. The appreiciation should be remembered throughout the year.

While we are enjoying the fruits of somebody's labor, perhaps our own, are we remembering the reason for the holiday? Are we thinking of those who can not enjoy the holiday? Do we recall that there are many who no longer have a family to celebrate with, those who are unable to find their families, those beyond holiday reach?

As you share your holiday spirit with your family remember those who have no way to share. Remember that there are many who are lonely, struggling, or remote. Make an effort year long to share with them as well. A little bit multiplied by often and many can make a great effect.

25 November 2009

Inept Mechanic...

If you are like me and inept at auto mechanics you should take heart at my success. I've learned that my old truck is a Slant 6, 225, 3.7 with a single barrel Holley Carb (now that I installed it). It claims to be a Dodge Ram 100 better known as a D100. Says so right on the side of the truck with a fancy chrome name plate that says Ram 100 Custom.

Whoa... the VIN plate translation claims that it is a D150. Hmmm.... it is a 1984 but usually we can't find parts for it that match unless they are for a 1983 or a 1986. It was one of the early models that included an Engine Control Computer unit that hangs on the side of the air cleaner housing. Nobody seems to be able to get a replacement for mine so I had to retrofit my truck to match a 1973 system.

I have rerouted wires, removed vacuum hoses, plugged hoses, installed an older distributor, replaced my ignition coil, installed a resistor on the firewall (virus not included), snipped and capped this wire and that wire, pulled plugs, taped every which way. I  hooked springs back up to the new replacement carburetor and generally fumed with busted knuckles and nails torn to the quick.

However, a generous pumping of the accelerator pedal and a simple turn of the key was responded with the truck perking up and saying, "Oh, you want me to start?" And then it did. It started.

All this has been a very long process, since way back when I bought it last year. And I, the inept mechanic, have finally got it running and only a few rather mild choice words were ever employed. I didn't even break my foot with a swift kick to the truck's ribs.

I'll still call it "Beastly" in anticipation of the next set of problems to overcome but now with less rancor and more affection. It is now my blood, sweat, and tears I get to drive around in.

The Blog Path...

When I canceled my Anon Blogs and began this one I didn't think I would update it more than once every blue moon. I hadn't updated the blog on MySpace in at least three blue moons so why would this be any different. I don't really enjoy writing odd-bits on either it or Facebook. And just now I think I realized that the clutter bothers me, the screen noise irritates me, and I feel like I'm being watched very closely.

A Blair classmate, Les Oakes, did remind me that I am indeed being watched. So off I went to my new blogspot and began entries. Now I find that it is only my own words in front of me while my fingers dance around the keyboard. I have no interruptions to trains of thought other than the music roiling between my ears.

I had a blog on Word Press under a name I don't want to reuse. I tried to rename it but they don't allow changing the account name that matches to your email address. They told me to go into the old account and change the email address and after it is verified then I could open a new blog account with my email address. Yep! Only problem is that I only have one email address and I'm not going to bother to get a new one just to fake out their computer. In fact, they should not be telling us how to fake them in the first place. Duh!

So I just stay here and explore thoughts and polish words so that they shine as bright as the lights I envision. I struggle daily, hourly, with music pounding in my head clashing with stories trying to get out. Sometimes I
 succeed in calming them by getting one of the works into the computer where it quietly awaits the interest of a publisher. And even though I thought I wouldn't be writing much in the blog doing so seems to act like a pressure valve venting explosively with steam. Surprisingly, instead of loosing the thoughts and forms it feels like what is formulating is doing so with more precision.

This funneling has provided me with some peace of mind as well. In just the short life of this blog, and of the twitter stream, I've made more progress on other works besides my childrens stories and my music composition. In fact, when I figured out how to set up both the blog and the twitter posts on the same page I actually felt like an accomplished web author. Of course, partial success could be rewarded with publisher contracts, but that is still to come.

Those of you who find me on MySpace or FaceBook get the twitter stream automatically. In fact, you may never get to the blog page here. I am not writing either for you. I am writing them for myself only. I narrate to an invisible audience, I know, and I see some of them float in and then float out far quicker than a reading should allow. (Seeing them floating means they are not so invisible.)

At least here I can reaffirm to myself that I am. I am a composer. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And when those lives don't seem full enough I enjoy pulling tiny bits of gold from large piles of rubble.

24 November 2009

Recorder Music...

When I was younger, in school in Hastings, Nebraska, I started playing Cello. The strings program there, in fact all the orchestral instruments, was fantastic. Then my family moved to New Jersey, and I had to go along with them since I was just 12-years old.

I spent two years at North Warren Regional High School. The first year I was the only string player in what was mostly a marching band that did two concerts on stage per year. I got featured in a front stage position and they taped a mic to my cello. Our band director didn't really understand strings and couldn't deign to note that I was trying to tune my cello from a string slippage. My A-string broke as I frantically tried to tune and I ended up playing the last two pieces entirely on the D string using advanced finger positions that I didn't really have mastered. Only a few people noted the difficulty, the adjustment, and the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Two of those few were my mother and myself.

I learned to play both trombone and baritone and actually marched a few times with the band. I had tried using a wheeled device to trundle along the cello but it just wasn't successful. I wish now I had learned the flute or oboe then, or later.

Then I transferred to Blair Academy and although I still was not in a strings program I did have a private
teacher come out from NYC. I fear that teenagedness took over parts of my brain and I did not pursue my cello education as I should have -- but I did get a college scholarship on it and in voice.

While at Blair I was asked if I would join a starting Recorder Class. Ms. Kathyrn Phillips-Price, flautist, got me started on an instrument I have played ever since. In fact, even though hurricane Katrina was the indirect cause of loosing most of my music scores, and Recorders, and Cello, I still have the Soprano, Alto, and Sopranino Recorders from my Blair days. That makes a few of my instruments well over thirty years old.

Now I compose a great deal of music and much of that is for solo instruments. I started doing that because I wanted more music to play without having to buy it. On the computer I often voice them as Oboe because it sounds better, but I play most of them on Recorder. I like to think most are suitable for Cello as well and I have transposed some for Cello.

One day, perhaps, I'll begin marketing the music through a publisher. At this time I just fill an annual subscription to customers that gives them nearly everything I compose. This includes duets, trios, quartets, quintets, etc... in various instrumental groupings. Composing has become a large part of my life and I think I owe part of that to Blair and the Recorders.

So from Nebraska and my Cello, to brass and Recorders in New Jersey, there is an instrumental part of me that coincides with my vocal part. I've been in the business world and enjoyed the money but I much prefer the musical part of me, the peace within after completing a new piece of music, even if it means I join the starving artists.


Dear ol'beastly is still out of commission. That should not come as a surprise if you consider who is doing the repairs. Moi! I know a great deal about tools, but I know next to nothing about engines. When you turn the key the dang thing is supposed to run.

So I have been forced to begin learning about engines, how they work, what is bolted to mine, what it should do but doesn't do, and how much it costs to replace parts. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a different solution to my truck not starting when it is cool, damp, cold, wet. So far, every one of them has been wrong.

Let's not forget that they were kind enough to stop and try to help when i was stranded, each and every, very many times. And that I do thank them profusely for the efffort. One old gent (old being older than myself) stopped three different times, tried the same processes each time, and told me three different reasons for my trucks failure to be more than a mass of metal in the parking lot.

Well, anyway, today I put a replacement carb on after finally getting the correct base mounting gasket thingy-ma-jiggy. This is supposed to be the final solution. I have yet to find out, because part of this replacement
meant replacing the distributor, bypassing some vacuum hoses, replacing the ignition coil, and some electrical bypasses as well as installing some parts that weren't even in the truck before. And, I have yet to attempt the electrical stuff.

If I could make some sense of this I could possibly write a book about it so some child would know how to do what I can't figure out on my own. I have to admit dealing with beastly leaves me feeling as if I were swimming at the bottom of a quicksand pit.

23 November 2009

The Art of Women...

I ran across a blog that consists of artwork. I have always been an artist myself, only I am limited to music and literature. This blog should be shared because it is filled with powerful paintings of women painted by female artists. http://womenpaintingwomen.blogspot.com/

I once filled in for an art teacher as a substitute. I spent three days in art class. Surprisingly I learned more about creating art then than I had enjoying art in all my other years. To claim I took art class would be most misleading. I had art in school but never took an art class for very long. At North Warren Regional I did take art for a short time but then managed to weasel out of it. At Blair Academy I appreciated the results of the art students but considered myself a music student and had no time to pursue other arts.

Yet, art appreciation is important for it opens other channels in our thoughts. It gives us views that we would
 never conceive of on our own. We should always strive to improve the arts in schools; the visual arts, the aural arts, and the literary arts. By providing our young students the chance to experience arts we increase their understanding in all their other subjects.

Claiming to not be an artist would also belittle my junior high years when I did create art of my own. Down on our basement floor I used a hammer to crush rocks in baby food jar lids. Many of those rocks came from the Platte River in Nebraska. Using good ole' Elmer's Glue I would glue powerderized rock in landscapes of trees and mountains onto boards. They were much like sand paintings. I was proud of those pieces. I no longer know of what happened to those works of art, but to me they were my highpoint in artistic concepts. I can still see the beauty of those pieces within my mind's eye.

So, please, go visit the Women Painting Women blog and enjoy each woman's expression.

22 November 2009

Grandpa Jester strikes again...

Let me tell you about Grandpa Jester.

He's a bit strange although very quiet. Soft-spoken when he does speak, but generally doesn't need to say much at all. He often strokes his beard, tugs on his left ear, and nods.

Yes, he nods. He nods when making a point. He nods when answering a question with just a nod. He nods when you suddenly realize the answer to your own question.

Grandpa Jester also seems to have the inside scoop on the 1893 Storybook. He should since he gave it to his grandchild. There is something odd about that storybook. It seems to always open to the center page, and I'm not sure anybody has actually read a story from it. Instead of reading a story the owner becomes a part of the story and makes an entrance into what's happening through the closet. Yepper, the old secret
dimensional access through the closet trick, and thank you very much Maxwell Smart.

Grandpa was a Jester within the confines of the 1893 Storybook. Now he is introducing his grandchild to the denizens of literature as the next Jester. Although we tend to think of jesters as clowns, in truth, within the Storybook a Jester has to be both funny and wise. With Grandpa Jester hopping, skipping, or twirling in place, hilarity is bound to shine. Can the new Jester fill his shoes, or would that be, his robes?

Adventures to the literary realm of The Three Little Pigs, King Arthur's Court, the Queen of Hearts, and even into a Future Conundrum are awaiting publication. Other adventures are pending. Guide me to the right literary agent, or publisher, and I'll make sure you get a free copy of each Grandpa Jester book as it comes out.

Since Grandpa Jester is also planned as a children's show if your guidance succeeds in placing it in production for television show or a cartoon I'll suggest your child or grandchild as the character or voice-over.

Now you know about Grandpa Jester.

21 November 2009

Time a wasting...again...

Just went through install of IE8, dumped all the added trash, but it won't connect to any URL. So back to a system restore point, trash the trash IE and go looking for something better. I've tried Google's Chrome a few times but it never installs correctly on my system. Perhaps I'll try FireFox.

Under foot...

Beautiful sunshine and wonderful snowflakes make slippery, sloshing, slimey mud.

To Tell a Tale of Three Trios...

The last three trios, in reverse order, Op 477 Romance Turmoil, Op 472 Taking Tea With Lady Grey, and Op 470 Shasta Snow Light. While picking pieces for the Cello music collection I realized I probably have a collection of trio. Problem is they aren't all the same trio configuration.

Regardless of the instrument configurations I went through the list this early a.m. and find the second piece I wrote and the last piece I have written are trio works. The first, Two Flutes and a Cello I wrote at Blair
Academy and there it had its only performance thanks to Louise Ewing and Donald Blocker on flute and myself on cello.

I seem to have migrated to more Oboe and Cello groupings because I play Recorders and the Finale Allegro voicing for Recorder is poor - but the Oboe is great. The Cello voicing is great, but the Viola isn't. Its a shame since 477 is for Oboe, Viola and Cello.

Oh well, some day I'll have the extra cash to upgrade the software, (and then the hardware, and then the brain surgery too).

20 November 2009

Flakes! All of 'em...

Big, fat, fluffy, all of 'em are flakes. They crowd from the left, slip in from the right, swirling around and glomming onto the glass. Do they scream at the end as they hit the ground and melt? Flakes, snowflakes, floating down and melting into the ground. They are all flakes.

Concert Tour...

I am beginning plans for my second concert tour. If anybody has suggestions please feel free to share them. I perform on Recorders and am available as well for school programs.


Soon I won't have to change pages to post comments to webpage, to blogger, to twitter, to the stars and back again. Hmmm.... getting deep here.

Wind blown...

I posted earlier, on a different page, but having just finished setting this up I felt the need to repost.

The wind gusts last night were powerful enough to swivel my camper nearly 30 degrees. This was done with me inside, all 196 lbs of me, all my gear, both dogs, and with the camper sitting down on both blocks and all four (4) jack legs. It took me nearly an hour to rotate it back using a very large lever after I pulled the legs up. Then had to reset them - I suppose the camper would have been toppled instead if the legs had not been extended for added support.

Opening move...

I find it hard to believe that I get all the way through the Blogger creation process and then can't have my name as the blog name. There aren't that many Daniel Hay folks running around the world. How dare they use our name instead of letting me use our name.