Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Meet The Patels"...A Wonderful Little Documentary!

I came home the other night and the first thing my wife said to me was, "I just saw the greatest little movie on Netflix."

Okay, I'll bite. She then went on to tell me about a film called, Meet the Patels, a documentary about one man and his mission to find a spouse. You may be thinking, "That's been done to death," and in some respects, you're right. But this film is more than a simple "boy seeks girl, boy pursues girl, girl catches boy" story. 

The title, Meet the Patels is appropriate for many reasons. Ravi Patel and his sister Geeta introduce us to a culture that's both American and Indian. The siblings have lived their entire lives in America. Their parents immigrated before they were born. The children live in both cultures, growing up as Americans, but retaining many of the customs of their parents.

As Ravi's 30th birthday approaches, the pressure to find a wife and get married only increases. We learn through the film much of Indian culture, how children find spouses both in India and America. I found if fascinating. And the pace of the film kept us rooting for the film's main character. Will he succeed? Will the cultural differences prove too strong to produce a happy ending?

It's a stylistic film with interviews, animation, and handicam shots that were endearing. I will not give away the ending, only to say that by the end of the film, we have (at least, a little bit...) see what it's like to grow up in such a family-centered existence. It's not flashy, smutty, or too preachy (I thought...). It's just a simple story of a man and his sister letting us know what it's like to be a Patel. And when the credits roll, I feel I know at least a little bit more than I did before, and a lot more about the Patels.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cast Reunion...Babes In Toyland

A few weeks ago an event popped up on my Facebook feed advertising a little get together for the cast and crew of a show my daughter and I last winter. Because I'm working so much lately, I wasn't sure if we would be able to attend.

Turns out, we could. And so we did.

Each show is different and therefore, the way you feel while doing and after the show has ended is also different. There was something special about that show. Maybe it was because it was new and we created much of it ourselves, but something made us bond as few casts do. So, suggesting a cast reunion six months since and from Christmas sounded reasonable, almost expected.

We had food, conversation, catching up, all in an incredible home with an equally incredible backyard in which to enjoy each other's company. Not everyone made it--many expressing regrets that they couldn't come because of other commitments. They were missed.

Driving home with my daughter I felt like we were coming home from doing a show or having just finished a rehearsal. It's been a while since she and I were in a show together and I don't know when we'll get to do it again. So, not only did seeing everyone bring back a lot of good memories, the best part was spending time--again--with my daughter talking about shows and life. Thanks to everyone who organized the event. We're glad you did.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Margot Hovley's "Glimmering Light"...A Book Review

The story Margot began in Sudden Darkness, the first in her series, continues in Glimmering Light. In the second book, the stakes are raised (no pun intended...) and the adventure they thought was over, has only just begun.

In Book 1 a family and their church congregation begin a trek from southeastern Washington State to Utah. They did this because America was at war and all electronic devices--including all modern cars--no longer worked. Throw in the threat of leaking nuclear radiation and the need to leave was urgent. But when the church members gather in Utah, they find another state in disarray. So they choose to once again began a long walk. This time the destination is not two states away, but halfway across the country. They're going to Independence, Missouri. 

In addition to being a story of survival, it's also a love story. The series's main character, Amélie Hatch, continues her courtship with her childhood friend, Zach, only this time the two cannot make the trip together. Zach joins a newly formed Mormon Legion and is given an assignment to make the trip on horseback with other soldiers. Amélie travels with over 200,000 other saints as a first waive to Missouri.

Sudden Darkness is narrated completely through Amélie's eyes. In this book, we get two perspectives, Amélie's and Zach's. The change is effective to show a bigger world view. In fact, both Amélie's and Zach's stories could have been stand-alone novels, each presented the characters with risks and dangers with which they overcame.

Glimmering Light is a great companion to the first. The story needed this book. We needed to know what happened to the people we've come to know. And we got to know them because of the talented author. These are two fast reads filled with flawed people accomplishing great things.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Checking Out June 27...For The Past Five Years

One of the advantages of writing a daily blog for over five years is you can go back in time and instantly access any one of those blog posts to see what you wrote about.

I know it's not the greatest advantage, but it can be, especially when you want to remember things that happened to you, or if others want to see things from the past. Since I'm closing in on almost 2000 blog posts (kind of staggering when I think about it...), I decided to go back in time and see what I wrote about on June 27 in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.

I was surprised.

Last year I wrote about an incident that happened while doing a show. I was also doing a summer gig performing at an amusement park. 2015 was crazy when it came to doing a show and I was glad my list of blog posts included something about performing.

In 2014 I must have been bored (or I had too many good pictures...) because I did a post about random photographs I had taken. I do that sometimes, but not too often. I like that post because it includes what I did during that time and it also brought back a lot of memories.

The 2013 blog post for this day is special for me. I dedicated it to a friend who we lost way too early. Danny Thompson was a special person, special in the way he made everyone around him feel better, feel good, feel loved. I found out that a girl I had done many shows with was actually my friend's daughter and she dedicated a post on Facebook to her father on his birthday. It blew me away how small a world this really is. I wanted to honor him and I hope I did a good job, even though any words I could have written were inadequate to let you know just what an amazing person he was.

The post for 2012 brought back memories as well. I used to participate in a weekly blog writing exercise. We would be given a photograph and five randomly chosen words. We then had to write a story in 500 or less words using the picture and the words. I wrote a lot of short stories. It was a lot of fun and helped me keep my daily blog going. It's been years since those running the exercise shut it down. Those were a lot of fun to write.

And in 2011 I wrote about our neighbors remodeling an old home in the neighborhood. They're now well established in their home with kids arriving and growing up. They even got a little dog.

I should do this more, look back on these posts. I hardly ever do it, actually. It's been fun to see what I've been writing about going back for five years. At least, it's been fun for me.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Could It Be My Fascination With Thrift Stores...Is Waning?

Before last week, I hadn't been to my favorite thrift store in months. Working a couple of jobs can limit a lot of a person's free time. But last weekend we had some stuff to donate so we decided to stop and go inside.

I think something's happened to me. The place is just not the same.

There was a time that going to thrift stores was one of my favorite things to do. Not only could I get necessities (like clothes...), but every now and again, I'd find a hidden treasure. It's so cool to find something that you could spend years searching for. Of course, this was before the internet and Ebay, but even in the years since, I've enjoyed going and seeing what's there.

And as I've gotten older, I've spent less and less time at the thrift stores. The cool stuff is just not there anymore, or if it was, it's long gone before I can get to it. Many people go everyday. They're there when the doors open and they wait until cart after cart of stuff is brought out. There's no way I can compete with that.

Nor, do I really want to anymore.

Something happened last week. I came across an item, one of thousands for sale. I suppose if I found this in a first-hand store it might be something we'd consider. It was a bed riser, four plastic lifters that go under each corner of the bed. Sure it might mean a higher climb to get into bed (and a farther drop if I fall out of bed--something I haven't done in decades...), but the extra space to store stuff would be great.

The problem was, as you can see by the picture, the item for sale at the second-hand store only had three of the four risers. When I first picked it up, I didn't notice the missing riser, but when I realized I was holding essentially a piece of junk, something died.

I know many people who think the whole store is full of junk, just like the risers. Maybe one day I'll enjoy shopping there again, but right now, I'm beginning to agree more and more with those people.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Who Listens To Christmas Music...In June?

I saw this CD returned to the library today and I thought, "Who listens to Christmas music in June?" I know there's Christmas fairs in July and at other times in the summer, and I'm pretty sure that many retailers who count on Christmas to be their busiest time of the year have already dealt with Christmas stuff to prepare for winter.

After all, Christmas is only six months away from today...exactly six months.

And the group, Pentatonix, is not your average musical group. They are exquisite. They show how the right combination of talents working toward a common goal can produce amazing things. I sang for years in organized choirs, including some of the best voices in the state, and when I hear Pentatonix sing, it communicates to my soul.

I've heard some of these songs, but not all. I look forward to hearing the others. I know there are people who can enjoy Christmas music all year around. I don't know if I'm one of them. But I can enjoy and appreciate good music--be it Christmas or otherwise--all year around. A few years ago I was part of a bell choir where we rehearsed Christmas music from January to December. I don't remember getting too sick of the music. So, maybe I can enjoy it more than I think.

Who listens to Christmas music in June? I guess I do.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I stopped by a yard sale today. It's been a while since I've indulged, but I was coming home from running an errand this morning and I thought it looked like fun. Plus, the sign by the side of the road clearly advertised a "Multi-Family" event.

So I stopped.

And I picked up a few things.

And those things were Beanie Babies.

Truth be told, the multi-family sale wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be, but what they had was nice--and clean.

I came across the box of bears and other animals. When I saw what they were selling for, I did something I never do, I pulled out my phone and searched "Rare Beanie Babies" on Ebay. I checked out some of the rare ones then looked in the box.

I ended up buying ten. When I got home I did a little more checking to see why some of the prices for rare Beanie Babies were so high (some in the tens of thousands of dollars...) on Ebay. We did a little investigating and found that some of the ones I bought are worth some money--not anywhere near the super high rates, but worth a surprising amount.

I've never sold anything on Ebay so setting up an account figuring it all out so neither we or the buying gets burned should be interesting. 

Of course, the Beanie Baby market could be down the tubes by tomorrow morning. If that happens, then I'll have purchased almost a dozen cute, once-valuable little animals full of plastic beads.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Deer On The Side Of The Road...

As I drove home from work around 3:30pm this afternoon, I passed a disturbing sight. Heading north on I-215 in Salt Lake a single deer stood in the shade of the interstate overpass. There was just one deer and it didn't look spooked. The above picture is not a picture of the road or the deer, but one I took several months ago. There's no way I could have taken a picture of the deer. It would have made an already dangerous situation even worse.

Consider what was taking place around that deer. About twenty feet in front of it, hundreds of cars, motorcycles and semi-trucks were flying by, all going over 70 mph (the legal speed limit...). The deer could escape that immediate threat by going either north or south and climbing the hill that leads to the onramp or offramp. There's a chance it could get hit taking either route, but it's so much safer than the busy interstate.

I tried glancing in my mirrors to see if the deer had moved and as long as I could see it, it stayed in place. As I drove away, I wondered what was going to happen. It could easily just run into the road and get instantly hit. The thought made me sick. The deer and possibly commuters could die because of its actions. If some kind person stopped and tried to maneuver the animal to safety, they could do just the opposite.

I don't know what happen to the deer. I'll most likely never know. But I hope somehow it got away from the road and made it to safety. All I know is it was just about the worse place that deer could be.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

So...I Sold Two Books Today!

Out of the blue a co-worker ponied up some cash and bought two of my books. It was a surprised, a very nice surprise. I don't sell a lot of books--I admit it. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I'm not ashamed either. Right now I'm working a lot of hours and I don't have a lot of free time. 

What does that have to do with selling books?

That's a fair question. I suppose the two subjects, writing books and selling books can be done independent of each other. They're two different actions. But for me they seem linked. It's like when I'm writing a lot, I feel more confident to sell what I've written. And when I have more to sell (because I'll have written more...), that will help, too.

So, tomorrow I'll pack up a couple of my books and take them to work with me. Rarely do I have books with me to sell. She wants them signed--her family's coming into town this summer and she'd like copies to give out. What a sweet, sweet gesture.

Looks like I've got to put in another order of books to sell.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Launch For Christopher Husberg's "Duskfall"...Pretty Cool!

Tonight I attended an event that was larger than the sum of its parts. It was a culmination of hard work, determination, maybe a smidgen of luck, but mostly seeing a goal realized, a dream fulfilled. I went to Chris Husberg's book launch of Duskfall, his new fantasy novel.

I remember the first time I attended a book launch. It was for Robison Well's Variant. I admit I didn't know what to expect, and after the event I left with a ton of questions. I knew he had written a book and it was picked up by a publisher, but I didn't understand all the little parts of the process, the journey that both the author and the manuscript took to get there.

That was years ago. I've been to a couple of book launches since and each time I've learned more and more about the publishing process and what it takes for a person to be able to stand in front of a group of friends and family and read from a newly minted book, a book of their own creation.

I've not known Chris long, only a few months. And I've not read his book, but I did buy it and hopefully get a chance to read it soon. Tonight I saw a young author, a new father introduce his book. He read the prologue and then fielded questions. He did what all unpublished authors dream about, he got to experience a reward for all the hard work.

In the years since that first book launch, I've learned more about what it takes to get to where Chris was tonight. When an author thanks those around him/her for the support of friends and family, I understand that better. When they talk about the journey the story makes until it finally becomes a novel, I really understand that. Tonight was a celebration for all involved and I congratulate an author for the accomplishment. Well done, Christopher. Well done! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Foyer Time Adventures...

Yesterday was Father's Day and because of our friend's dogs, I found myself sitting in the foyer during our first meeting. It's a long story. I didn't mind sitting outside the congregation. I mean, I wasn't sitting with my family, which was a bit of a bummer, but I did get to see things I usually never see.

Our family arrives to church early, and we've done so for years. Even when they change the times of our meetings (this happens because several congregations share the same building so we rotate our times each year), we arrive early. If our church begins at 9am, 11am, or 1pm, it doesn't matter--we're usually between 20-30 minutes early. We mostly arrive early we we can sit in the same place each Sunday. I know it's a bit childish, but it was because of a child we began sitting there in the first place.

Since we're usually sitting in our usual spot, we don't see the things I saw yesterday. We don't see the families that arrive late and usually spend the first meeting in the foyer. Some arrive only a few minutes late. Others take a little longer to get everyone ready for church. Our kids are older so we no longer have to get them ready ourselves, which is a major help in getting to church on time.

I watched as three little kids were banging on the door as if demanding to be released from some type of prison. I watched as kids made friendships and jumped around. I watched as parents "shushed" their children in an attempt to maintain some sort of reverence in the building. Sometimes they were successful.

Because it was Father's Day it's tradition for all the children to go to the front of the chapel and sing a few songs to fathers and grandfathers. It's cute. Next Father's Day I won't have any children participating stopping a ten-year tradition for me. All the parents in the foyer craned their necks to get a good look at their little ones.

Yes, just moving from one space to another, you can see a lot of interesting things.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Margot Hovley's "Sudden Darkness"...A Book Review

Growing up as Mormon kid, we've several times heard the story of the pioneers that crossed the plains in the mid-nineteenth century and settled in the Salt Lake Valley. Many of us--myself included--have relatives who left all they had to risk death for a better future. It's part of American history. It's a sacrifice thankfully we do not have to endure in our day and age.

But what if we had to do what they did? What if we were asked to basically walk several hundred miles because our religious leaders asked us to? It's something I've wondered about many times in my life. Could I do it? Could my family? And, more importantly, how bad would things have to be in order for us to be required to do such a thing?

That's what Margot Hovley's Sudden Darkness is all about. We're no longer in the 1850s, but in the twenty-first century. The farmers living in southeastern Washington State are living their lives like most Americans, working to support their families and trying to make life as enjoyable as possible, even seventeen-year old Amélie Hatch.

Amélie's like most teenagers, trying to get through school, self-conscious about her looks. She also suffers from an accident she experienced as a child, the result of which is she walks with a noticeable limp. 

First the power goes out--inconvenient, sure, but not a big deal for people who live off the land. Next all their electronics shut down. Without which, the people have no way of knowing the country is actually at war and an EMP has destroyed all modern conveniences, from cars to microwaves, to smartphones. Acting upon guidance from their local church leaders, the Hatch Family (sans their father who was away when all Hell broke loose...) begin the trek toward Utah and the saints.

The storyline was fascinating for me. I loved imaging just how difficult life would be for those unprepared for this disaster, which includes most of us. To what lengths would people go when they're starving? Hovley lets us know.

It took me several years to finally read this book after buying it at a book signing in the author's hometown. The kids had it hidden somewhere up in their room. I'm so glad I did read it because it helps answer many of those questions we in my culture have asked ourselves for years. Just what would it be like to walk across the country like those brave people did over a hundred and fifty years ago?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Comedians, The Car, The Conversation...Practically Perfect

I saw that my wife shared an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee a few days ago, but I didn't watch it until this afternoon. I watched it. It was the first time I ever watched the show even though it's been around for years. 

And now I'm face with a dilemma. 

I don't think I can ever watch another episode.

It's not because I didn't like it. The reason I may have to impose a self-ban on watching another video is because it was too good and I don't think anything will ever eclipse it. It was almost perfect.

I"m probably the last person on the planet to have watched one of these little gems, so I'm not telling you something you don't already know. Watching Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan chat over their careers, service at the restaurant, and other everyday topics was like they let us be a part of their inner circle, like we were hanging out with them.

And that van...a thing of beauty. "You'll love the car they drive," my wife said. I don't know much about Mr. Seinfeld's personal life, but I know he likes VWs and Porsches.  I thought they were going to drive around in an old Porsche. What they used was SO much better!

You can watch the episode: HERE. It you've got twenty minutes do yourself a favor and watch it, even if you've watched it before. I know I will since it will probably be the only one I'll ever see.

All screenshots were taken without permission from the episode

Friday, June 17, 2016

Behold! The Seven Dollar Sandwich...

When you work a couple of jobs, sometimes you eat all your meals away from home. So, if you're used to eating leftovers and you've got food that needs to be refrigerated, you put your lunch and dinner in the fridge at your first job. And when you leave for the second job, you take your dinner out of the fridge at the first job and transfer it to the fridge at your second job so you can eat while on break. 

At least, that's how I do it.

But, if you forget to take your dinner out of the fridge at the first job, then you have no dinner for your second job, and since you only have a fifteen minute break, you must pick up something before the second job begins. If not, you'll be having your dinner when you get home after 9pm.

Yup--a few weeks ago I left my dinner at my first job so I stopped at Einstein Bros. Bagels because I know they make sandwiches, something I could put in the fridge for a couple of hours until my break.

I knew Einstein Bros. had sandwiches--I just didn't know they cost seven bucks! Seven bucks! That's a lot for a sandwich. But I had made my choice and I had to see it through. I didn't have enough time to go somewhere else. My shift began in a few minutes.

The question you might be asking yourself is this: was it worth seven dollars?

Yes, and no. It was worth seven dollars because I made bad decisions. I left my dinner at work. I chose a place that I didn't check out before. The sandwich helped get me through my shift. But, in the grand scheme of things, even though it tasted pretty good, it wasn't "seven dollar" good.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

L. E. Modesitt Jr.'s "Solar Express"...A Book Review


I think it was last February when I was on a panel at LTUE with several authors, one (and I'm ashamed to say it now...) I did not know. His name is L. E. Modesitt Jr. He was older--a lot of the authors at these events are young bucks and does. And even though I didn't know him, the writers I did know treated him with respect and a sense of reverence. 

After a little research, I know why. How did I not hear about this author before now?

If you'd like to know how many books the man has listed in Goodreads, he's got 3 1/2 pages worth (and there's thirty listings per page...). I decided to check out one of his books from the library. This past week I finished Solar Express

If you're like me, you make assumptions about a new author. I knew that, just from the shear size of his titles, people read his stuff. But even so, sometimes one author can "click" for one person and not for another. It's especially true with science fiction. Some like the really deep SciFi that gets down to the basics--the science behind the fiction. Others like something that doesn't hurt their brain. Mr. Modesitt Jr. writes more the former, at least from what I can tell by this one book.

Solar Express takes place one-hundred years from our present day. A strange object is found in our solar system. Several teams are sent to study the object to find out more about it. It's concluded it was not made by humans. But even in the future, political squabbles have not ceased. Countries are willing to go to war over how things are done, not only on earth, but also in space.

I was worried, when I began reading Solar Express, that it would be too technical for me. I don't mind a technical book, but when I listen to an audiobook (as I did with this one...), I can easily get lost in all the jargon. I'm happy to say that did not happen. It begins in a somewhat sterile environment, but soon we get to know the principle characters and we start to care for them. The book ends with a race against time and governments willing to wage war on each other.

I hope to one day meet Mr. Modesitt Jr., or even be on another panel with him. And if I do, I'll be one of those people who hopefully bestow on him the respect he deserves.

* Photo used without permission from:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Tree On 1940 And North Temple...

 I arrive at work early—for some, really early, for others, not early at all. I get to my building so early that it’s not accessible so I have to wait in my car a few minutes before I can go in. For me, it’s not a big deal. I’d rather be a few minutes early than a few minutes late.

On Monday I drove to work and since I backed in (I did a Priesthood Park…), I found myself looking at a tree, a tree on the corner of 1940 West and North Temple.

And I thought about how amazing it was for that tree to be there.

I thought about how long it’s been on that corner. I don’t know trees--don't even know what kind of tree it is, but it looks to be at least forty or fifty years old. That means, if it had eyes, it would have seen some incredible things. The road has changed over the years. The buildings have definitely changed. Millions of cars have driven by, or cars have driven by it millions of times. People have (and do…) rest in the shade it provides, and hopefully, others have appreciated its beauty.

There’s a lawn just south of our building, as you can see in the picture. I don’t know who owns it, but I would imagine it’s owned by the State of Utah. There are many government buildings around where I work. It’s not too far-fetched to think that one day the lawn might go and be replaced by another building. The corner is literally across the street from a light rail stop, so easy access. It’s not in the best part of town for a business relying on foot traffic, but it could be used for another government building. I don’t know, but as we tend to do, we’ll probably build something on that corner and if so, I think the tree would most likely not survive.

And that would make me sad. Of course, if/when that happens, I might not be around to even notice. But maybe someone would remember that at one time, on the corner of 1940 West and North Temple, there once stood a fine tree.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Today's The Day...For "The Kidnap Plot" Release!

For an author, there are several moments in the process that you dream about, that you work so hard to make happen. Getting the call or an e-mail (in the past it would have been a letter delivered by the post office...), signing a contract, holding a newly-published book in your hand, and the day when that book is released to the public. 

Every author knows (and, if they don't, they will know...) that those amazing moments can be few and far between. Sometimes they don't come at all, even though they've toiled and worried and felt inadequate on more than one occasion. 

That's why I'm so excited about the release of my friend's book, The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie: The Kidnap Plot. It came out today. And you can order your copy at Amazon: HERE, or you can pick up a copy (along with a autograph, and if you're really good, a humous anecdote...) by finding the author at the many conventions he attends throughout the year.

One thing I noticed today on various social media sights was how many are doing what I'm doing with this blog post--helping to promote this book. We're doing that for a couple of reasons. If they're like me, they've been lucky enough to have read the book and are excited for others to have the same experience. But most probably haven't read the book (since it's only now released...) and are getting the word out because they know Mr. Butler. And if you know Mr. Butler, you'll understand when I say the guy's a stud. I only wish more people read my blog so I could reach more people.

The Kidnap Plot is a delightful little story about a spunky boy who becomes an unlikely hero. You'll be cheering as he and his band escape from one predicament to the next, and one day you just might see that book on the shelf and congratulate yourself for picking up a first edition. I know I will.

Monday, June 13, 2016

This Is An Emergency Alert...Or Not

I saw a post on social media yesterday afternoon and I thought someone had made a mistake, or the post was old. Last Friday we were told storms would be rolling into the valley on Friday and Saturday. We did get the storm, but Sunday looked pretty good. So when I saw the post about severe weather heading our way, I thought it was for the night before.

Then I heard a buzzing sound coming from the TV and interrupting a somewhat important soccer match. The screen went dark and the warning came up. 

"The following is a message from the Emergency Broadcast System."

Bad weather was on its way. Based on the message we were about thirty minutes out from severe weather that had already affected several counties. I went outside and snapped a picture of the oncoming event.

Turns out, we didn't experience any severe weather, or even mild weather. For us the storm didn't materialize as expected. The mass message could have bypassed us (much like many of the soccer passes...) and we would not have had to concern ourselves with the potential threat.

I'm not dismissing the system here. I remember living in Colorado on the edge of the plains. In the spring and summer there were almost daily tornado warnings because the broadcast area where we were extended all the way to Nebraska. I know the value of having such a system in place. We were just one of the lucky ones last night.

You know, they really should engage that system when temperatures reach above 100˚ fahrenheit. Because to me, that's severe weather. Maybe I'll make that suggestion.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Many Talents Of Nate Shumate...

Nathan Shumate is a local author, editor, sculptor, and artist who helped out a friend yesterday by selling some pictures he drew then donating the profits to a great cause. He chronicled his participation in the fundraiser on his blog. You can read more about it: HERE

I, without permission from him, copied a couple of the pictures he drew yesterday and included them here. I think they're pretty amazing. I think you'll agree.

I've written about Nate in this blog before. He's a man of many, many talents. When you look at these pictures, you might think that he's first and foremost an illustrator. It's obvious the man can sketch. I don't know if he looked at something while he drew these, or if they grew from just his imagination. I suppose it doesn't matter--they're good either way. But when I think of Nate, I think of him primarily as an author. He's written several books and short stories. He's also an editor and was kind enough to include one of my short stories in his latest edition, Redneck Eldritch

Even though he is many things, he also is a caring soul who gave up his time for another. I don't know Sal personally, but I know many who do. They pitched in to help while he confronts serious health issues. Sal has a GoFundMe page set up and you can access it: HERE

I'm amazed at the talents we've all been given. Some are visible, but many are not. It's also a talent to give of yourself for others. So, Mr. Shumate has that talent, too.