Sunday, May 15, 2016
The First Two Scenes of "Operation Ragnarok"
Here's the first two scenes of my upcoming novella, Operation Ragnarok. I've shopped it around to several agents. One agent said it wasn't for him, but that he would buy it and read it. Another agent said it was a fun idea, but to put it in a drawer and publish a novel and when I had several novels under my belt that it would sell. So, I decided to self-publish.
I started a Kickstarter to purchase the ISBN and barcode and to pay for the final edit, cover art and Ingramspark. It's been test read and edited by those who were not always kind, but good editors. I've decided to post the first two scenes for free so you can see if the book is for you. It's not for everyone, but if you like role-playing, especially D&D, the Vikings on the History channel, Norse Mythology, then there's a chance this book is for you.
We are all just killing time until time eventually kills us. Today I celebrated my forty-sixth birthday. Yippee, I'm one day closer to death. It's a little morbid, but it's true. No one gets out alive. Death awaits us all. What comes after? I've spent many a night thinking about just that.
Should I expect the white, fluffy clouds and the Pearly Gates of the endless jokes and cartoons? Is a pleasant Afterlife only available to those of the Judeo-Christian faith? Will there be virgins? Does it matter? Is sex even allowed in Heaven?
There are so many hang-ups about doing the deed on the Earthly plain that I can't imagine the situation improving once I shuffle off this mortal coil. What types of intercourse would be acceptable? Would it be missionary only? Is a hummer out of the question? What about breasts? Heaven doesn't sound so great of there aren't boobs. I'm not sure I'm interested if I never see a nice pair of sweater puppies again. What's the point?
People keep yakking about the definition of traditional marriage and whether it's a sin for two people of the same gender to tie the knot. I don't know, and I couldn't care less. I only know I'd end up getting screwed, lose half my stuff, and pay alimony, regardless of whom I married.
I was forced to attend Sunday school, and the only lesson I took away was that I should avoid apples and serpents, which brings up another point. How about meat? My doctor told me to cut down on the amount of saturated fats, and eat more fruits and vegetables. Of course I'd have to eat more fruit and veggies if I cut down on meat! I'd have to fill the empty void of my stomach with something--like beer--since there wasn't enough protein and fat to fill it.
Is there beer in heaven? If Jesus could perform the miracle of water into wine, then there damn well better be an ice, cold beer waiting for me. Yup, if I can't get a nice T-bone steak done medium well with a greasy side of curly fries and a cold brew, then I'm not sure about the whole concept of "paradise."
I guess you could say I've thought about it a little bit. Who hasn't? When my friend Tom, the preacher, says our loved ones are in a better place, are they really? Everyone agrees, because we want it to be true. I want it to be true, but is it?
We go through life knowing death is waiting, but not knowing what comes after. We pretend that one day we'll march up to Saint Peter, stroll through those Pearly Gates, pick up a harp, and commence to be bored shitless for eternity. Our final reward awaits, whatever it is, but sometimes it's not as far in the future as you want. Death doesn't wait. Now I don't have to wonder anymore, because I died.
The sages say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mine started with just a single click. This is an epic tale full of danger, adventure, friends, a wolf the size of a bull moose, and fear--lots and lots of fear--and it all started on my living room couch.
My name is Kevin, and I'm an English teacher. I love teaching. I love molding young minds, inspiring hope, igniting imaginations, and fostering a love of learning. I love helping kids learn to think for themselves. Of course, it isn't always like that. In fact, it seldom is. I strive to generate passion. I often fail.
Teaching is frustrating as hell. I should be working on my novel, or reading, but after a long week of wrestling with bureaucrats, listening to poor excuses from students, and struggling to be politically correct, I'm exhausted.
I don't remember not being able to read. I've always loved it, and I love stories in all their forms. I enjoy a good movie. Cracking a cold beer and catching an old flick helps me to relax after my interaction with the public school system. I mean, I love my job, and treasure my students, but sometimes the bureaucracy causes me to forget that.
So, this story began as I was power-lounging on the couch my ex left after the divorce. She didn't want it. It's ugly, huge, and heavy. It's one of those sleeper sofas, and uncomfortable as hell, but I didn't have to move it again. I had just finished a scrumptious dinner of Salisbury steak, courtesy of Chef Hungry Man.
I was surfing the Internet and half-watching The Vikings, an adventure movie from the 1950's starring Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine. Those were the days. If you wanted something, you took it. The Viking Age was looking pretty sweet.
I've decided my youth was wasted. I wanted to be a pirate. What boy doesn't? Sadly, there weren't any classes on swashbuckling, or even sailing, in my rural town, and my parents wouldn't have paid for them anyway.
My father encouraged me to be something practical. Something that paid well, like an engineer, but I hated math classes. I did love classic science fiction, and wanted to go to Mars. My father suggested being an astronaut. I wanted to read.
I should have taken a stab at being a Viking, or taken more science classes. You can't go berserk in today's world--at least not without the consequences of probation or therapy, or both. Sailing the ocean blue, meeting exotic women, killing their husbands, or if things didn't go as planned, trading with the natives and drinking mead. It's a win-win scenario. My youth really was wasted.
With a deep sigh of regret, I scrolled through Facebook on my laptop, reading about how great everyone pretends life is. Meanwhile, Tony and Ernie were raping and pillaging their merry way across England on the TV. On my computer, I came across this interesting article about a museum that will sell you a real Viking longboat.
Reading on, I saw that the longboat in question was not a thousand year old relic, but a ship made with the authentic tools and methods of the Viking Age. That would be really cool. Who needs to nurse a mid-life crisis with a little, red corvette and a big-breasted blond if you can afford to own your very own Viking longboat complete with a fierce dragon head?
Now if I only had the funds, or the credit to purchase such a ship, I could raid the English coast in style. Who was I kidding? I'm paying alimony, and my Subaru wasn't paid off yet. Plus, I'd need new tires soon. The only thing being pillaged around here was my savings account, I thought.
My fat, lazy, orange cat jumped on the couch and curled up in my lap. I gave him a good scratch on the ears. "You know what, Loki? A respectable Viking wouldn't buy a ship from a bunch of stuffy intellectuals. A real Viking would steal this longboat. Scratch that, I mean pilfer it. Pilfering it sounds so much better than stealing, but I can't do it alone. I'm going to need a crew. I'll just share this article to my Facebook page so I can find it later."
Who would like to join my Viking crew and help pilfer this genuine Viking longboat?
"See, Loki, that ought to get me a like or two. I'll bet my left kidney that Tom responds before the end of the night. All this fantasizing is giving me a powerful thirst. Come on, cat, don't look so comfortable. It's time for a hearty drink of mead for me, and some tap water for you. I'll race you to the kitchen."
I decided it was time to stretch my hypothetical sea legs and get some exercise. I'd have to start training if I was going to be raiding the coast. It's only twenty feet from the living room to the kitchen, but it was a start. I promised myself that Monday, I'd start back in the gym with Bill.
I opened the refrigerator aaaaand...I guess I'd be settling for a Pabst Blue Ribbon. I popped the beer and went back to the couch to finish my movie and check my messages. I saw my post on the Viking longboat already had thirteen likes, and everyone in my Dungeons & Dragons group has made a comment. Yup, Tom was the first.
Tom: I'll bring the beer.
Bill: HAVE YOU GUYS SIGNED MY ONLINE PETITION YET?
Annette: Make sure Bill wears at least a loincloth if he comes.
Barry: Are you able to go fishing in it?
James: Remember we start a new campaign tomorrow. Be nice to your DM and he'll be good to you.
I always say: If you are going to dream, shoot for the stars, that way if you fail, you'll be in the cold vacuum of space, and no one will hear you scream. I swilled my beer, and shut down my laptop for the night.
Just click on the Viking longboat to be taken to the Kickstarter