I’m a big Ronnie James Dio fan and a big Deep Purple fan. Therefore, it only makes sense for me to be a fan of the band Rainbow. I personally feel like the first few albums with Dio are the best, but I also really enjoy the music with Graham Bonnet. (Sorry Joe Lynn Turner fans, I don’t care for that era of the band.)

The first three songs below are from the Dio years and the last two songs are with Bonnet singing. If you only listen to one song, I encourage you to check out “Catch the Rainbow.” It’s a really beautiful ballad that showcases Dio’s range as a vocalist.

Man on the Silver Mountain


Catch the Rainbow

The coolest thing for me about Bonnet’s style is that it’s drastically different than Dio’s. The band’s music reflects the change in vocalists as well.

All Night Long

Since You’ve Been Gone


Tomorrow is my five year wedding anniversary and I wanted to use today’s blog post to simply state how much I love my wife.

God knew it would take a special woman to make me happy, someone who could challenge me while overlooking my plethora of faults and quirky behavior.

We’ve been together for a pretty short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, yet it’s hard to imagine life before Leah and I got together. It definitely wasn’t as enjoyable. I guess it’s easy to weather a storm when you have someone you love standing beside you.

I love you babe! I hope I never have to learn how to live without you.

To see the previous posts in this series on what makes a great story, check out these links:
Openings - Part 1
Openings - Part 2
Dialogue and Internal Thought

Politics play a large role in many of the stories I read. In fact, it’s hard to write or read any story, especially a fantasy story, without some political elements involved in the main narrative. Just look at Game of Thrones. The entire series, above all else is based upon various factions fighting for power through war, politics, marriage, etc. and just when you think you know who holds the power, you find out they don’t.

However, politics on the grand scale of Martin’s series doesn’t have to be duplicated in every story in order for it to be effective. When it comes right down to it, a good political subplot is dependent upon the characters themselves and the relationships they have with each other. The group affected can be as large as an empire or as small as a military squad. It can be as impersonal as a school board or as personal as a large family.

Here are a few quick things I believe is important for the political part of any story to work.

  1. Make it personal. I need to care about the point of views (POV) involved and if possible the non-POV characters as well. What are their motivations behind their behavior? How did they reach their decisions? What are they concerned about?
  2. Try to establish what’s at stake as soon as possible. Why should I care about this subplot? Who stands to gain and how? Who will be hurt and how? Giving the reader this information will help raise the level of tension in the story.
  3. Don’t let politics be the complete focus of your story. Like any other story element, a writer needs to find balance. Even if the entire story is centered around politics, like a senate election set in modern times, it is important to throw in a bit of action, suspense, romance, humor, etc. in order to make those political scenes stand out to the reader.

What do you think makes a good political subplot work? Any authors you feel handle this element better than others?


I know Soft Cell was a one hit wonder from the 1980s, but I still like their version of this song.

And just for fun, don’t forget about the version from The Coneheads. Ha.


Best intentions don’t always work out.

I took a few days of vacation this week (Wed-Fri) with the intention of supporting a friend of ours today by participating in a memorial walk held for her mother. Nancy Swain Watters was an unfortunate victim of domestic violence and each year her hometown of Oneida, Tennessee (about six hours away from me) hosts a walk in her memory which they use to raise awareness about the serious issue of domestic violence and to raise support for the Children's Center of the Cumberlands and the Scott County Women's Shelter.

In the past, my job has not allowed me to attend the walk and my wife has gone alone instead. This was the first year I was finally able to take time off. Unfortunately, several members of my household came down with a cold, my wife specifically, who caught a bad case of bronchitis. Needless to say, we had to cancel our plans.

I decided to keep the days of vacation anyway, using them instead to help look after the kids while also catching up on a few things around the house.

However, since I can’t support our friend by physically being there, I want to at least get the word out about domestic violence. If you would like to donate clothes, money, etc. for this cause, please visit Children's Center of the Cumberlands.


Today’s blog post is brought to you by a loving parent who just happens to be REALLY tired as of late.

  • Both of our kids have short names for multiple reasons. I never thought that a huge plus of doing this is that it's much easier to say one syllable than 3+ when you’re constantly repeating your two year old’s name over and over and over. Makes me glad I didn’t name him Rumplestiltskin.
  • I’m sure I’ve said the words/phrases “stop.” “listen to me,” and “come here” more in the last 2 months than I have in the first 32 years of my life combined.
  • The prayers I say for my kids have gravitated from long term thoughts of prolonged health, success, happiness, obedience to God, and so on, to a more short term focus of “please just let her go to sleep” (for my 4 month old) and “please just let him listen” (for my 2 year old). Then there is the new reoccurring prayer for myself of “please let me be patient.” It’s amazing how your priorities shift at times. Ha.

FYI, these observations will be added to as my kids age…

Accept is one of those great bands that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of the NWOBHM (New Wave OF British Heavy Metal) bands. Most people remember their original songs with Udo on vocals. The first three tracks are the most popular songs by that era of the band.

However, Accept got back together a couple of years ago with a new singer and the music they are creating is unbelievable. In many ways, I may actually prefer this version of the band which is crazy to say. Check out some of the songs below.

Great riff, groove, and chorus. Easily their most popular song.

Love the drum work on this track.

The galloping feel reminds me of Iron Maiden a lot here.

Here are a couple of songs with their first album with new vocalist,

And this is a single of the new album to be released on 4/10/12.


Aquaman is one of the most underrated characters in the DC universe. He is a founding member of the Justice League and as King of Atlantis, he rules over most of the earth (approximately 70% is water). The man has lifted entire city blocks, saved civilizations, fought against and beaten some of DC’s highest profile villains (such as Deathstroke) and even humbled Superman.

Yet, people only remember the awful Superfriends cartoon which showed him doing little other than riding a seahorse, swimming, or talking to fish. As a result, Aquaman has become the laughing stock of superheroes.

Well, here is what the man can really do (taken from Wikipedia)…
  • Telepathic ability to communicate with marine life, the ability to affect any being that lives upon the sea, or even any being evolved from marine life (e.g., humans).
  • The ability to breathe underwater.
  • Possesses superhuman durability high enough to remain unaffected by the immense pressure and the cold temperature of the ocean depths, this also makes him tough enough to be invulnerable to machine gun fire.
  • Possesses superhuman strength.
  • He can swim at very high speeds, capable of reaching speeds of 10,000 feet per second.
  • He can see in near total darkness and has enhanced hearing granting limited sonar.
  • Aquaman also had some other powers that were temporarily granted to him after he lost his left hand. Unfortunately, future writers gave him his hand back and he lost some of the coolest powers he ever had.
    • Originally replaced his left hand with a cybernetic retractable hook, then a cybernetic hand. The mechanical hand was replaced by a magical hand made out of water given to him by the Lady of the Lake, which granted Aquaman numerous abilities, including but not limited to:
      • the ability to dehydrate anyone he touches with it, killing them instantly;
      • the ability to change the shape and density of the hand the ability to shoot jets of scalding water;
      • healing abilities
      • the ability to create portals into mystical dimensions
      • the ability to communicate with the Lady of the Lake through the waterbearer hand
      • the ability to nullify magic.
      • the ability to control water and make it any shape with his own will.

So, why do I bring this up? Well, I finally got a hold of the Aquaman graphic novel, Waterbearer, which shows how he received the water hand from the Lady of the Lake. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The art was ok. The dialogue was atrocious and the plotting was confusing at best with poor flow and a huge lack of characterization. My point to all of this is that it’s a shame that such a huge event in the character’s life didn’t come across better in the comics.

Aquaman has rarely been written well and usually the best examples of him being handled correctly are in the JLA comics and in the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini JLA TV series. I would love for a high profile comic book writer to take over the character and finally give him his due. If anyone deserves it, he does.