Monthly Archives: May 2012

Writers – Do You Feel This Way?

Just curious if fellow writers feel this way:

I just completed the first draft of my next book, and have forwarded it to my “first readers”. These are people I trust and respect, but it’s a scary time.

I feel I have spent a huge chunk of my time breathing life into these new characters, and molding them into who they have now become. I have given them settings and situations to interact within, and I have poured a small piece of my soul into them.

And now it’s time to see, for the first time, if that piece of my soul will connect with a reader. And it’s not just the first reads. Every time I get feedback from a reader, I feel the tiny piece of my soul I have given to that book is on trial. I know it’s too much to ask for my characters to connect with every reader, but the first time I put that new piece of work out there, I have no idea if the story that was in my head, is the story I put into words.

I’m not sure readers realize how personal a story and its characters are to the writer. It’s a bit scary, but totally worth it when someone connects with your story and characters.

Any one else feel this way? Or should I seek psychiatric treatment? 😉

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Jose Duarte – Master Artist

As I dig through old photos from season one of Burn Notice, I came across a few photos taken by my friend and co-worker Jacob.  They are of a man with unmeasureable artistic talent, Jose Duarte.  Jose was a staple in the Miami film and TV business, and it was a great loss to our industry when he passed on August 24, 2008.

Take a moment to see some of the projects that benifited from the touch of Jose’s hand on imdb:

I had the pleasure of working with Jose on many projects, but never really got to know him well.  He was always busy in the shop, painting and staying one step ahead of the shooting crew.  But the times I was able to stop and talk with Jose, his gentle/loving spirt always lifted my mood and gave me reason to walk away with a piece of his ever present smile.

As I was rushing to post a quick memory on Twitter this morning, I did a Google search and found this website.  As I read through the comments, I watched an interesting story unfold.  It started with fans of Burn Notice who were curious about a dedication at the end of the show.  A few people responded with tidbits of information from the internet, but then the story became personal as family and friends of Jose chimed in and spoke of who the man truly was.  Check out the story below, and make sure to read throught the comments:

On Burn Notice, Jose was often painting a sign or piece of set dressing.  He set up in a spot near the bathrooms where my path often lead me past him.  He never failed to say hello and throw a smile my way.  I was always amazed with his work.  The following pictures show Jose at work on a mural that was just a piece of background art to lend authenticity to the shooting location.  The crew was mesmorized as we watched the art unfold from the master’s hand.  Luckily, Jacob had the forsight to document the creation, an that is what I want to share with you.  Thank you Jose!  You are truly missed.

And below is the final piece, hanging on a wall in the streets of Miami.  Well done Jose!

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Wooden Treasure Chest Project

My son and I were looking for a way to spend some non-computer time and made this wooden treasure chest last weekend.  It was a nice tie in to my book Gasparilla’s Treasure, took us about four hours, and was a blast.  He has since filled it with a few of his own treasures, like marbles, balls, slinky, etc… Check out fellow blogger NonMom’s review of Gasparilla’s Treasure and then build your own treasure chest!  We’re going to try and build another treasure chest out of foam board for those who don’t have the wood working tools.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

This project required a reasonable amount of experience with the table saw, but the project was simple and cost under ten dollars.

So here we go:

We started with a 1X5, six foot long piece of knot free pine (about $8).  I showed Corey how to set up the table saw, and where all the controls were.  I had him help me make all measurements, but I did all the cutting.

I cross cut the board into 3 @ 14 inch pieces, and 3 @ 5 5/8 inch pieces.

Next came the hardest part.  I set the table saws rip fence to 1/4 inch. (This can be really tricky, so don’t do anything that is unsafe.  You don’t want this to turn into a lesson in how to reattach a finger).  I ripped the 14 inch pieces into strips with a final dimension 1/4 inch, by 3/4 inch, by 14 inch.  The three 14 inch pieces yielded 10 strips each, for a total of 30 strips.

Next I had Corey drill holes for the nails.  Each strip got a hole in each end, and we made shorter work of it by drilling four strips at a time.

Next I ripped two of the 5 5/8 inch pieces to their final dimension of 5 5/8 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  These became the end pieces of the treasure chest.

The final 5 5/8 inch piece got ripped into, 2 @ 5 5/8 inches by 2 inches.  Then I used a one gallon paint can to draw an arch on these pieces.  I used my scroll saw to cut the curve.  These pieces became the end caps of the lid.

Here are all the pieces laid out. Along with the panel nails and hinges (that’s everything you need.)

Then I had Corey nail the strips onto the end pieces.  The strips formed the bottom and sides of the treasure chest.

Nailing the strips onto the lid was a bit trickier.  We worked together on this part.

Once the chest and lid had all their strips attached, we attached the lid with hinges.  We didn’t have a perfect solution for the hinges, but Corey doesn’t seem to mind.  A strip of duct tape would do the trick if you don’t want to deal with the hinges.

Corey wants to add a lock, and we are probably going to try and add one tomorrow 🙂

And there you have it!  Your very own treasure chest!  And don’t forget to get your copy of Gasparilla’s Treasure for an exciting treasure hunt adventure!

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