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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mutants in the Attic

Discovering mutants is one thing. Discovering mutants in your attic is definitely another! This is only the first of the many weird surprises Beamer will blunder into on Murphy Street, assuming he survives this encounter. But exactly what kind of a mutant lives in Beamer's attic? To find out, read the following excerpt from Episode 1 of the trilogy: The Star-Fighters of Murphy Street:

"Hey, Mom!" a shrill voice called. "I can't find my white Reeboks." It was Beamer's big sister, Erin. At fourteen going on fifteen she was God's self-proclaimed gift to the ninth grade. He heard her stomp down the second floor hallway and open a door.

It was moving-in day, their first day in their house in Middleton, a middle-sized city in a middle-sized state, smack dab in the middle of Middle American—a thousand miles from the nearest beach.

A few moments later a blood-thirsty scream shook the windows. It sounded like Erin was in trouble, which meant it also sounded like fun. He charged into the hallway and saw a door that he hadn't noticed before. The door was open, revealing a narrow set of steps going up. He careened up the stairs and found Erin standing at the top, frozen in place, eyes glazed over like she'd been zapped with a stun gun.

"Hey, Erin, what's the matter?" he taunted her. "See an itsy-bitsy—" Then he saw it. "Awesome!" he gasped.

Beamer's 9-year-old brother, Michael, clattered up the stairs on his hands and feet like a cocker spaniel, followed by their mom who was tightly gripping a vicious-looking broom. They, too, caught Erin's freeze-dried expression and tracked along her sight line.

It was a spider web roughly the size of Texas.

One thing was for sure, whatever blood-sucker spun that thing had a toxic waste dump for an incubator. Soaring from floor to the apex of the roof twenty feet above, it spread across the attic like a see-through wall.

"Mah-h-h-h-h-h-hm," whimpered Erin, her voice trembling. "I . . . can't . . . mooooove."

"Don't worry, honey, I'm right here," her mother said, brandishing her broom toward the web. "Just step back slowly."

Erin hesitantly slid one foot back.

"I'll get my Power Blaster 150," Michael announced and scampered down the stairs.

"I saw this strange shadow across the ceiling, so I came up to see what it was. Then I turned around," Erin said, pointing at the web.

"Lady! Where do you want the piano?" a gravely voice interrupted from downstairs.

With a wary glance at the spider metropolis, Dr. Mac, as they called their pediatrician mom, hurried down the steps. "Come on, kids, we've got a lot to do before Dad gets home."

"But what about the web?" Beamer asked meekly.

Their mother stopped halfway down. "Uh . . . tear it down, I suppose."

As their mother disappeared below, Erin gave Beamer a no-way! glance, silently mouthing the words, "Tear it down?"

"Yeah . . . right." Beamer said, looking anxiously at the web looming above them. "That dude falls on you and you'll be forty years getting unwrapped."

At that moment, a sunbeam broke free of a cloud and flooded the tall windows like a waterfall, lighting up that wispy silk curtain like a giant sunburst.

"What if it's a mutant spider created by some evil genius who used to live here?" Beamer asked in a hushed voice.

"Aw get off it," Erin drawled nervously, back-pedaling toward the stairs, her eyes fearfully searching the dark corners of the attic. "I've got an idea. Let's leave it to Dad."

"Sounds good to me," Beamer said, relieved. "Let's get out of here."

The web quivered as the kids plummeted down the steps

Friday, April 3, 2015

Where's the Malice in Skullcross

I bring up the concept of "malice" in the Star-fighter
trilogy. People can become angry or annoyed or frustrated and end up harming someone. "Malice," however, is something else. In legalese it might be referred to as the "intent" to harm someone. People with malice in their hearts have gone beyond knee-jerk reaction to making a plan. Harboring malice toward others is a step closer to "evil." Malice implies an enjoyment of seeing others suffer. The bullies who follow Jared in the Skullcross gang are already starting down that treacherous road. The tree that holds the space ship recognizes that they are filled with malice and rejects them much like the human body rejects foreign biological invaders. The fact that the Skullcross gang members are just kids gives us a hope that they might grow up and throw off the desire to seek power by imposing pain upon others. I don't know if kids pick up that point or not. I try to avoid preaching to them because I believe that the process of discovering a truth through the story itself has a greater impact upon young minds than just being told what is good or bad. Stating the obvious tends to fly over heads rather than into them. That is no doubt one reason why Jesus so often wrapped his teaching in a story(parable). My intent is always to provide a fun adventure with little nuggets of thought hidden tantalizingly within.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fun Just Beyond Reality

A street just north of reality, a tree house shaped like a spaceship, and people and places beyond imagination take three kids into many worlds of adventure. These stories have an important theme for kids, but the key to why they work is that they are a fast and fun read. Kids tend to gobble them up like candy (but without the calories). A customer review reads, "As a Third grade teacher I previewed all three of The Star-fighters of Murphy Street books. I enjoyed them so much I gave the first book to each child in my class as a reward for filling the reading chart. . . . They started reading them immediately and were so involved they did not want to stop [for recess]." An 11-year-old boy posted this reaction on the Internet: "The characters were so believable that I wanted to call up Scilla and talk to her. Another strength of this book was that its descriptions were so vivid that I could see the action happening next to me." The Star-Fighters of Murphy Street creates a world for limitless escapades into the unknown, where kids can learn that, however different they are from one another, they are each a special creation with a destiny all their own. Here is a new and fun way for kids to learn that every kid, regardless of popularity or most of the other things that kids think important, is a special creation--one-of-a-kind--with his/her own set of gifts.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Memories

I woke up on Christmas morning, looked out the window and saw a lot of snow in the front yard. There was so much snow that one of the trees in my backyard was bent over in half! The snow was so deep a bunny running on the icy wall slipped and fell in the snow and couldn’t get up. I ran out the door in just my pajamas and picked up the bunny and brought him inside. When I got back in the house my pajama bottoms were soaking wet from all the snow. I gave the bunny a carrot and wrapped him in a warm blanket. When my dad came downstairs he asked “why is there a bunny on the couch?” I told him the whole story, but he said bunnies have fur and made me put him back outside.
My mom came downstairs with my sister Erin and brother Michael and we all opened Christmas presents. My favorite present was a radio-controlled snow mobile. I also got a snow shovel to help my dad clean the sidewalk and driveway.
After opening presents, my dad and I got dressed so we could shovel the front driveway. As we were shoveling, I was having so much fun I flung some snow over my head and “accidently” hit my dad. That gave me the idea to have a snowball fight with my friends.
I asked my mom if I could call Ghoulie and Scilla and see if they could come over and play. My brother Michael joined us and we made a tunnel under the fence that separated the front yard from the back yard and took all the snow that we dug out of the tunnel to make snow forts. Ghoulie and I were a team while Scilla and Michael were the other team. For the next hour we had a snowball fight, hiding in our snow fort and behind cars in the neighborhood. When we were cold and soaking wet, we came in the house, took off all our wet clothes and my mom gave us hot chocolate and we sat in front of the fireplace to warm up. As we sipped our chocolate, Ghoulie, Scilla and I talked about our next adventure…

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

On my last day at school before Christmas break, I had a lot of parties and ate so many candy canes I got sick. My mom got mad at me and said, “you shouldn’t eat that much candy at school!” I know I’d do it all over again if I had the chance, though. I don’t have to go back to school for 2 whole weeks!

On Friday night, my family and I went to the Living Nativity at my church, which is a re-enactment of the birth of baby Jesus at the manger. People from the church put on costumes that look like Mary, Joseph, 3 Wise Kings, shepherds and angels. The angels get to sit in a loft, above Mary and Joseph. I was an angel one night and a shepherd the next night. Our church rented a spotlight that was so bright it could be seen from 3 different cities. This attracted a lot of people to come see the Living Nativity.

I helped my dad put up our family Christmas tree and my little brother, Michael, got to put the star on top. Our family pulled out all the big boxes with ornaments, but we were only able to put some of them on the tree because we had so many. The Christmas tree lights used so much electricity the power in our house went out!

We had to continue decorating in the dark using candles to see what we were doing. Our family tradition is to decorate with nutcrackers. Nutcrackers are a popular Christmas decoration because of the Christmas Nutcracker ballet. My dad has a rule of only getting one new nutcracker each year because we already have so many, so Michael and I found the perfect Uncle Drosselmeier Nutcracker – he’s the main character in the Nutcracker ballet.

Once my house was decorated, my friends Ghoulie & Scilla came over to my house and we decorated the tree house with lots of different colored Christmas lights. Ghoulie synchronized them to look like Santa going down the chimney. Then I brought up my mom’s iPad and we watched The Polar Express while eating popcorn and drinking eggnog.

On Christmas Eve, Michael and I will be making Christmas sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees. We will leave milk and some of the cookies for Santa. I hope he likes them!

Tune in next time to see how we celebrated Christmas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back again

Allright! Allright! So I've been gone awhile. I've been busy! Have you read all 3 episodes in my Star-Fighter series, yet? If you have, then you know that things can get pretty wild on, above and below Murphy Street. In the 3rd episode we (that's us star-fighter guys) were nearly sucked up like a bottle of soda by a giant spider! I think it even had a straw! Stuff like that can really take it out of a guy.

I could tell you that getting a glass eye installed is why I've been away so long. Hey, it's not that far from the truth! Actually, it was my personal biographer (otherwise known as my author) who had the eye problem. He's wearing an eye patch these days, like a pirate. Frankly, I think he's gettin' too much into the part. He keeps runnin' around and sayin' "Arggh!" all the time. It's embarrasing! I can't say for sure, but I may be running into some of those pirate guys in a later episode.

The weirdest people live on my street (not including me, Ghoolie and Scilla, of course)--weirder than pirates, even. Like there's a house down at the end of Murphy Street that looks like it was dragged here from ancient Egypt. So who knows what kind of people live there? That would be people with a "p" not mummy with an "m" since, as everybody knows, mummy's can't really come back to life. No way--that's ridiculous. Ha! Ha! . . . Uh . . . Ha?

There's another house that has--I mean, talk about ridiculous--a forest on the roof! Why would anyone want a forest over their head? I mean, at the very least, a forest has to weigh a lot. What's to keep it from cavin' in on the house?

Gotta go now. I hear some racket in the attic. That's where the famous, humongous, MacIntyre web is. See ya' later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey! If you'd like to read a winter's tale or a Christmas story that's lots of fun, check out the 2nd book in my trilogy. The title is Attack of the Spider Bots. I know that doesn't sound much like Winter or Christmas but the whole adventure happens in a wintry wonderland--actually two wintry wonderlands--one of them especially scary.

I don't mean to brag, but this adventure has everything. There are ice palaces, ice caves, ice castles--all sorts of wonderful places to get into trouble--and, of course, the spider bots. Wait till you see what Scilla and Ghoulie are up to. It's a really wild ride both in and out of this world!