Site Meter Beamer's Blog: 2015

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.