Just Bragging about my Son

I have two sons. They are 13 and 8. I am so proud of both of them, as any father should be. They  both have their strengths and I try to support them in their endeavors. Evan, the 8 year old, is very interested in books, and has written several for school with his friends. He is also one of the better artists I have ever seen (we have several pictures of  his up on our walls… in frames… in our house). My other son, Branden, is very athletic. Probably one of the better football players I have ever seen at his age (he plays corner, corner, corner, and some wideout). I only wish I was as good as he is at his age, and he understands the game almost better than I do, and I’m freaking 40. Anyway. Branden has always been very intelligent (he is in all advanced classes) but it is only recently that he has been proud of his own writing (I know, I’m probably a bad father for not noticing sooner). I just wanted to share his most recent paper for his Language Arts class.

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Animal Farm: How does Speech Affect Propaganda?

When words are correctly executed in a specific way, they can shift one’s thoughts on a topic. The manipulation of words can be beneficial for propaganda. Being very specific and precise while you speak can be very persuasive and driving. Some will also manipulate their language to trick people, when they miss specific details to fool the listener. A powerful style of this is to use friendly, welcoming words such as comrade, friend, and more. Using this type of language can lure the audience into believing this is a friend. People can be very crafty with words to boost their propaganda, and there are many different styles and tactics.

Being very creative with your language can be very powerful. Using this can result in trust, for many reasons. Using larger and more sophisticated words can lead an audience into conceiving the one speaking as highly educated and trustworthy. If you hear two people speaking on different ideas, for example, a debate. If you had little to no knowledge on the topic, would you side with the one who is using larger and more “intelligent” words? Of course you would, because it seems like they know what they are talking about. However, this can be misused, as someone who is very good at speaking with good tone and vocabulary, could create trust easily, even without being knowledgeable on the topic.

People who use language within propaganda to improve their chances are very creative. A very deceiving strategy by them is leaving out certain details to fool the audience. Although you are technically not lying, you are being dishonest and deceiving by tricking the listeners. This can also go in the reverse way, by adding certain details on things they cannot do to leave certain loopholes. For example, Squealer constantly adding a few words to the commandments to benefit him and Napoleon. He had changed “No Animal shall sleep in a bed” to “No Animal shall sleep in a bed without sheets”. This allowed the pigs to defend themselves when the other animals became suspicious. This tactic can, clearly, improve your propaganda.

Another clever and cunning approach is to use friendly words. Things such as friends, comrades, pals, mates as well as pronouns “us” and “we” often tend to mislead an audience, and create trust. Squealer and Napoleon used this a lot, because when something went wrong, or  they were accused of something, they used this type of language to keep the animals sane and in belief. “Are you certain that this is not something you have dreamed, comrades?” (pg. 77) is just one example of the many times the pigs used this. Whether or not this is a valid point, it was definitely helped by the word “comrades”.

The Pigs were very deceptive with their speech, and this is just one of thousands of instances of it. Propaganda can clearly be greatly impacted, just by the modification and manipulation of words. It can benefit one in many ways. Next time you hear a big speech or PSA, try to see if you can recognize some of these tactics that the politician, or whoever may be speaking, uses!

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What’s Going on With J.G. Gatewood

The Broncos Suck!!!

The Nuggets are on a Tear!!! (Although, don’t get me started on the last game against Memphis)

It’s almost Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday as I love to eat (I have gone low carb, so we’ll see how the turkey day holiday treats me this year)

I’ve lost 20 lbs.

I’m letting my hair grow out… some…

That’s exactly what you wanted to hear, right? Why you clicked on the blog post? I’ve been shaving my head for the past 15 years. Not because I was losing it, oh no, that isn’t it at all. I wore a hat every day and it was just easier. So now that I’m not wearing a hat every day, decided to try growing it out a bit longer to see how it goes.

Haha, but enough with my sports teams and hair. That’s really not why I created this post. I haven’t put out a lot of writing lately. There are a couple reasons for that. Many of you know, Vampire’s Curse will be releasing soon. Don’t have an official release date, but will definitely post when I do. This is the first book being published by a publisher and not by me. It has been difficult to give up the control, but I am excited to see how that goes. The edits and updates for this book have taken a lot of my time. Hopefully it will all be worth it.

I also decided to go back to school. So, since August I have been working on my Masters of Arts in Professional Fiction Writing from the University of Denver. It is very exciting, but also time consuming. I’ve never had any formal writing training, I have a Finance Bachelors after all, so this is an exciting time for my family and I.

The bottom line, I don’t have much time to write. That will change in one week when I finish my current class, and I don’t begin my next two classes until January 7th. So I will have some time. I know people are waiting for book 4 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series. I am currently about 50% of the way complete on the rough draft. But I also promised the publisher I would have the second book in my new Vampire series done by the end of the year. Once I finish my class, all my effort will go into finishing that. But once I am done, I plan on working on book 4. Expect the release at some point in 2019.

Speaking of 2019, I plan on revising my Sci Fi Novel, Saukarian Children. The rough draft is complete, but as my critique group pointed out, it needs a lot of work. I will basically be doing a complete rewrite on that book, but I also plan on releasing it at some point in 2019 (probably later in the year). And I’ll be excited to put all my new skills from school to work on this manuscript.

I will also be enrolled in a short story writing class. I plan on posting all of that writing to my blog, which I’ll be excited to share with you all.

What’s on the docket for the weekend you ask? My wife is also working on her Masters (her 2nd). She is a 5th grade teacher who has been teaching the gifted and talented children for the past five or six years. She decided she should get trained in it and is almost done. But, she has class all day tomorrow. So I’ll be hanging Christmas lights on the house while the weather is nice. Don’t worry, I won’t be turning them on until after Thanksgiving, but in case the weather turns (which I really hope it does, last year was very dry here in Denver) I want to have it done.

We’ll also be decorating the inside of the house tomorrow night when my wife gets home from school. Those will be turned on. We usually decorate the first weekend of November, so we’re a bit late this year. We put up so much stuff, it doesn’t pay to have it up for only a couple weeks. And let’s face it… my wife loves Christmas. Anything to make her happy, I am on board with.

My youngest is celebrating his 8th birthday (actually on Thanksgiving this year) but we are having a party on the 17th. Pray for me. Twelve 8 year olds, running and screaming through my house.

Anyway, just wanted to throw out an update. Expect more from me in the way of books in the next year. And I know it’s early, but I’m getting in the holiday mood, so I’ll leave you with this.

Shitters

Don’t forget to check out my books by clicking on the Books link above.

 

Interesting Point in Life

So, my wife and I have reached an interesting point in child rearing. I should preface this by saying, neither my wife nor I are extremely religious. As we prayed tonight before bed—as we do every night (more on that in a moment)—our ten year old started crying. We go to church all of maybe 3 times a year (we used to go much more, but at the current stage of our lives we seem to go less) and we discussed how we were going to go tomorrow to celebrate Jesus. Now, one would expect a child who had not been forced to go to church for much of their life, would be okay with this. Not my 10 year old. He had many questions about religion and God,. We totally respect this and foster an environment where we are supposed to ask questions. But at the same time, he expects candy and all the “finer things” of Easter, and as such doesn’t understand why we have to go to church. I don’t think we are totally out of line. In our day, we were expected to go to church. It was a given. In fact, my dad would regularly drop my siblings and I off for Sunday school so my mom could sleep in (whole different story). But at the same time, I myself don’t know how I feel about religion. I tend not to believe in  an all powerful being, but at the same time I believe in the spirit of what religion teaches us, and the various holidays we celebrate. Isn’t everyone a bit happier around Christmas? Don’t we all want to give to our fellow man? Isn’t the idea of someone dying on the cross to forgive us our sins a little more powerful than some bunny hopping around handing out candy?

I tend to believe the best of human nature, more than maybe many give us credit for. Maybe it’s the nature of our environment and everything that is going on around us. If you’ve read my writing, you may have noticed a theme. I tend to believe in the betterment of our species. I see each new generation progressing a little bit further. I believe in a world where color, race, background, or upbringing has no bearing on how we view each other individually, and I pray for the day where we can finally forgive our differences and recognize each and every person living on this planet as one thing, and one thing only. We are all HUMAN. Sure we may have a difference in beliefs, or may have different skin colors. but that is what makes us all unique. It is what makes us all individuals. It is what makes all us human. It is these differences that define us, and each should be celebrated.

Anyway, long story short. I don’t want to force my beliefs on my own children, but am I out of line for making my children accompany me to church on this holiday? I believe in the idea of such religions as way more powerful than what may be preached. But isn’t that the point? We’re supposed to come together and love one another. To respect what is being said, more than the historical implications of what may or may not have happened. I believe we are all allowed to love who we want love. Be it gay, straight, Muslim, Hebrew, Christian…whatever. I don’t care. As long as we are happy. Isn’t that what Jesus died for? If we welcome him into our heart (or any other being in my opinion)  does it matter?

On this Easter holiday, I’m thankful for the people I surround myself with. I love my wife, and I love my children unconditionally. I love them all for what they believe in and I respect their decisions. I love this world for the differences in belief and look forward to a world where we can all live in harmony. I love the idea of Jesus and everything that may or may have not happened. I believe in the spirit of Jesus, and all that he sacrificed so we could live  a better life. I don’t think we’re out of line for making him go to church with us. Thoughts?

 

A Poem Read at my Grandpa’s Funeral

Over the weekend I packed up the family and we made the 850 mile drive to Mankato, MN to attend the funeral of my Grandpa. He passed away last Wednesday. As I sat down at the computer Wednesday night to write the next chapter in my serialized Sci-Fi story, The Saukarian Children, my mind was stuck on my Grandpa’s passing and I decided to write a poem. It turned into more of a poem about life than of my Grandpa directly, but I was still happy with it and I read it at hisfuneral on Sunday.

I’m not a poet (man is poetry much more difficult than fiction) and I know it isn’t perfect (I repeated everything will be fine three times) but I wanted to share it with everyone anyway.

Grandpa, you will never be forgotten and I just want to let you know how much I loved you and what you meant to me.

Grandpa

Our journey begins on the day of our birth,
We’re graced with the blessing of wandering this earth,
Every moment spent growing and learning from above,
Until we find solace, nurture and love.
We come to this world as nothing more than a child,
With ideas and dreams as our minds run wild,
Every day a new challenge, a lesson, a risk,
Until we find a true love, someone to share a kiss.
We come before God to confess both our hearts,
Agreeing to be together, forever, till us do part,
We lay the bricks, the foundation, and build a home,
Filled with laughter and love from which we’ll never roam.
One day comes a child, or maybe even more,
Never knowing each day what God has in store,
But then they grow older and start a life of their own,
And we watch in disbelief can’t believing they’re grown.
We look to our parents to teach us the way,
And cling to their hands, as their hair turns gray,
They tell us how they got through it and finally found their way,
And we keep going, and moving each and every new day.
Before long, they too are gone and a new pain arrives,
Each moment grows harder, something else we must survive,
So we look to our love to fill the emptiness we’ve found,
And realize all around us that treasures do abound.
Then comes the time when our love one must leave us,
Left with more pain, and sorrow always missing so much,
We remember what we built and the good times we had,
Before life comes to an end, when we look back and we feel glad.
We hope the legacy we leave will always be remembered,
For all that we gave, for everything we endeavored,
Life is a story we write one day at a time,
Assuming the next day will come and everything will be fine.
For most, that’s the case and we continue each day,
For others, time’s come and there’s not much left to say,
What we leave behind is what matters the most,
That we’re remembered for our love, something everyone will toast.
For our love one’s it’s tough to deal with the sorrow,
But we do our best and know we’ll get out of bed tomorrow,
For life must go on, as difficult as it may be,
And we hope it grows easier, that we can finally see.
What was built was more than one, and will last throughout time,
That we’ll continue on, knowing everything will be fine,
For you’ll blossom in heaven and watch over our lives,
As hard as it may be, we will survive.
Although we will miss you, and feel the emptiness you’ve left,
You’ve finally found peace, you can finally rest.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Rising Past HERE

The Rising Past Cover

Or a copy of The Unknown Man HERE

Amazon Prequel Cover

The Day Gravity and a 17 Year Old J.G. Did Not Get Along

Rocky Mountains

The title may lead one to believe I am clumsy.  Let me assure you that is not the case.

On a late-August Sunday afternoon, way back in the year 1995, I was a senior in high school and was working full-time at—of all places—McDonald’s.  Two of my closest friends and I happened to work the opening shift, which meant we started at the bright and early time of 5:00 AM, but were fortunate enough to be off at 1.  With our stomachs stuffed full of free food, and with the whole day still in front of us, we all decided to go for a ride.  With no destination in mind, we headed west and followed the winding roads leading into the Rocky Mountains.

After an hour, or so, of driving, we pulled over next to a river and decided to do some light climbing.  We made our way up a very steep hill—I will get back to this later— and spotted a large outcropping of rocks.  We started the forty-foot ascent with no ropes or safety equipment on the loose granite stone, and finally made our way to the top.  In all honesty, we should have probably all fallen, or at least injured ourselves on the way up, but filled with youthful exuberance, adrenaline, and the misguided belief that we were unstoppable, we made it unscathed where we smoked cigarettes and BS’ed the afternoon away.

When we finally decided it was time to head back, one of my friends looked at the way we came up and said “there is no way we can get back down, I am going to look for another way.”  I, in my infinite wisdom—and cite my statement from above pertaining to feelings of invincibility—decided to go and look for myself.  This is where things went downhill—quite literally—for me.  I don’t remember anything, my mind having blocked it out.  I may have attempted to climb back down, or I may have slipped on the loose granite ledge at the top, but until my mind decides to unblock the memories, we will really have no idea.  My friends, who safely made it back down, rounded the corner and reached the spot where we previously climbed, wondering where I was.  They found me a couple hundred yards down the steep, tree-filled hill, laying next to a large boulder.  Thinking that I was kidding and was playing a joke on them, they yelled at me to “get up and stop playing around” but after I didn’t move, they realized something was seriously wrong.

They made their to me and realized something wasn’t right.  Both of my arms were broken, my chest had caved in, and my neck didn’t look normal.  One of my friends ran down—as I mentioned before—the very steep hill in search of assistance, while the other stayed with me.  He was an Eagle Scout and started splinting my arms using whatever he had at his disposal, including several shirts and branches.  At some point I came to, and I guess I tried to get up and I told my friend I was fine.  He told me I wasn’t and basically had to hold me on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself any further.

Meanwhile, my other friend made it back down to the road where he frantically sought assistance.  Remember, it was 1995 and cell phones were in short supply.  Those that did have phones, found the service to be spotty at best, especially in the rolling hills of the Rocky Mountains.  After finding someone with a phone, but with no luck getting a signal, he found someone willing to drive him twenty minutes to the nearest town where he could call for help.  He had to run back up the hill, tell my other friend what he was doing, ran back down the hill, and headed for the bustling metropolis of Deckers, CO.  When I use the terms “bustling” and “metropolis”, I am being facetious.  It is quite literally a general store at the junction of two, two-lane highways in the middle of nowhere. Who knew if they even had a phone that worked, not to mention, how he was going to explain to the emergency personnel where they could find us.

Long story short, he made it and called 911, before driving back to the two of us, after once again climbing the hill (I joke because he liked to tell how many times he had to run up and down the hill).  They had to continue holding me down on the ground so I wouldn’t injure myself, all the while my complexion was turning blue and they were petrified I wasn’t going to make it.

After another hour or so (I believe, again I don’t exactly remember myself) a helicopter arrived.  The emergency personnel tied me to a board and carried me down before loading me in the helicopter, where we set out on the 45 minute flight to Swedish Medical Center.  This is my first memory.  At some point during the flight, I remember having difficulty breathing and told the EMTs that I needed my inhaler.  Of course, this was nothing more than an asthma attack—no it couldn’t be the fact half my chest was caved in.  I had always wanted to ride in a helicopter, and here I was, yet I don’t remember a thing.  My memories are blacked out again until I am being removed from the helicopter on the roof of the hospital to a frantic group of doctors and nurses, all who were asking me questions and trying to gather more information.

My friends dead-headed to the hospital, but it was a drive of over an hour.  They also stopped on their way and called their parents, as well as my own.  Not really explaining what happened, they instructed my parents to go to the hospital.  At the time I arrived via flight for life, my parents arrived at the hospital to see the helicopter landing, and my mother had a sinking feeling I was the one being delivered.

My next memory is of my parents, followed shortly thereafter by my girlfriend of the time—who is now my wife—and her mother.  I told them all I was going to be okay, but I of course couldn’t see myself, and I think they were all a little more frightened than I was.  My last memory, which was it for a period of several days—I was heavily medicated and sedated from this point on—was of being dehydrated.  I was so thirsty I quickly drank down the required amount of barium sulfate necessary for a CT-Scan, which anyone who has ever had the pleasure of imbibing this concoction will know, it is anything but pleasant, and no one in their right mind would chug it.  Well I did.

Anyway, I spent eight days in the hospital.  I broke both arms, punctured my liver, broke three ribs, one of which punctured and collapsed a lung, and crushed four vertebrae in my neck.  The vertebrae in question were C2, C3, C5 and C7.  Several of the fragments were close to slicing an artery in my neck.  I was put into a halo, which immobilized my neck.  I had to wear it for twelve weeks.  It was one hell of a way to start my senior year of high school.

All in all, I know how fortunate I am to be walking, yet alone alive.  Christopher Reeves’ injury was not too much before my own, and I know I could have faced a very similar fate.  I owe my life and am forever indebted to my two friends who were with me that day.  They are both still very close to me, and I only hope I am able to repay them for all they did for me, one day before our time comes to an end.

I have added two photos.  The first (where I am laying down) is about halfway through my healing process the second , is from the day I finally had the halo removed.  I know my hair was horrible, don’t know what I was thinking.

Halo 1Halo 2

Book 2 is in the hands of several beta readers.  Get a copy of Book 1: The Unknown Man, before book two comes out.

Who are you rooting for in Super Bowl XLIX

I told myself I wasn’t going to care.  In fact, I vowed to not even watch the Super Bowl this year. But, let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen.  There is something about football that just drags me in.  It doesn’t matter who is playing, if there is a game on, I will be watching it.  And this year is no different.  As the past two weeks have slowly ticked by, each day has brought me closer to caring, as much as I might try to deny it.

I don’t know what it is that captivates my attention, but when those twenty-two men walk onto the field for the opening kickoff, I am drawn to it like a moth to a bright light.  Maybe it is the chess-match taking place between two coaches who expertly move their players into just the right formation, to march them down the field and put six points on the board. Or maybe it is the intensity of the game.  Whatever it is, it dates back to my playing days that began when I was in elementary school.  The heat of the sun beating down on a mid-September afternoon, the smell of fresh cut grass, the cold, biting at every piece of exposed skin in late November, there is just nothing like it.

I am, of course, a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, so one might be able to see why I am torn between the two teams playing for the championship this year.  I still harbor anger and disappointment directed toward the Seattle Seahawks after last year’s humiliating defeat.  Some might say it is an easy choice then; root for the other side.  But it’s the New England Patriots whom I despise (no offense to any New England fans).  I like Tom Brady, he has had an amazing career and can seemingly make stars out of even the most average receivers, but I cannot stand Belichick.  There is just something about him I don’t like and I cannot in good conscious root for the Pats because of him.

So when the clock strikes 4:30 (MT) tomorrow afternoon and the ball flies through the air for the first time, I guess I will be rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. Either way, it should be a good game (much better than last year’s lopsided display I hope).  Both teams match up quite well, and I think we will be watching the best two teams in football over the last two months, square off in what should ultimately be a close game.

Who are you rooting for and why?

Who is J.G. Gatewood?

 Writing

Good news! Book 2 in the Keepers of the Orbs Series is about 95% of the way through the editing process.  I will be looking for beta readers in the next week or so.

I started thinking about it today, and I created this blog almost a year ago, and as of yet, I haven’t actually blogged.  Sure, I released my short story here, and I also released all of my book reviews, but actual blogging?  Nope!  So, I decided today I would change my ways, and actually use the tools at my disposal.

I know my fan-base is small, but I still get asked to know more about who I am, how and why I write, my processes, etc.  So I am going to use my blog so people can get to know me better.

I have been married for twelve years to my lovely wife Sarah. We have two sons, Branden and Evan, and we live in Parker, Colorado.  I met Sarah in High School, in nearby Highlands Ranch.  After several on-again, off-again relationships, we finally got married after she graduated from college.  I myself, had too much fun partying during my first year of college (haven’t we all made this mistake) and considering I was paying for it myself, I decided college wasn’t right for me.  That is until 2009 when I was laid-off from my IT job of ten years. I found it really difficult to find a job with the U.S. in recession and decided to go back to school while I actively searched for a new job.

This period of unemployment made me realize something; I had a story and I wanted to tell it.  While I couldn’t rely on this as a steady income (being new and all with no books to sell) I continued my education and my job search.  My wife was nothing but supportive (as she remains today).

I wrote the first book in the series—The Unknown Man—in four months.  I loved every minute of it and knew this was something I wanted to continue doing.  While writing my debut novel, I was in school full-time, continued my job search (with entirely too many interviews) and also was hired by my in-laws to finish their basement.  Oh, and did I mention Evan was born during this time too?

Anyway, I finished The Unknown Man and started the query process with agents and publishers.  After getting nowhere, I finally landed a job, in a new field, with a chance to re-invent myself.  I continued to work on the first book by editing and refining the story.

I decided to self-publish it in 2012 and posted it on Amazon.  A couple of points here.  Looking back now, it was nowhere near ready for the market.  I had no idea what I was doing and I can see now why I wasn’t getting anywhere with an agent/publisher.  Given its weak points, I sold a number of copies, and received several reviews (good and bad) to which I am grateful for.  These have helped me to refine the story further, and have helped me to become a better writer (I think anyway).

One of the questions I get asked the most often is when is book 2 being released, and why it is taking so long.  As you can see above, book 2 is close. As for the second part, let me explain.  About the time I started writing book 2 in 2012, I finally found a new job, was still going to school full-time, and we had a very colicky and stubborn infant.  Finding time to write became secondary so I could focus on everything else going on.  So I put my writing on hold, which was a good thing considering how difficult my classes had become.

In October of 2013, I finally graduated with a BS in Business Finance (with honors, not to brag).  I took a couple of months off to just relax and recharge, before I got back to my writing.  Although I hadn’t been working on book 2, I was still actively working to improve Book 1.  I trimmed it from around 213k words, down to 130k, and I really like the flow of the story now.  In 2014, I hit the ground running and began my work on book 2 (and other projects too) although I still had limited time to.  I started off by reviewing what I had already written (about 30k words) and I wasn’t at all satisfied with it, so I scrapped it and began fresh.

It took my about ten months, but I finally finished the rough copy of book 2, The Rising Past.  After several read-throughs and revisions on my own, I handed it over to my wife to edit.  She is an elementary school teacher (for ten years now).  Her Bachelors is a double major in Communication and Journalism, and she has a Master’s in Education.

This is just a little background on my first novel.  I plan on blogging at least every couple of days, and hope to have more information to release soon.

Unknown Man small

While you are waiting for Book 2: The Rising Past, get a copy of The Unknown Man Kindle Nook Smashwords

Get more information from my website