"Every day starts with a blank canvas. What picture will you paint for all to see today?" ~ Dan Waltz

Monday, September 23, 2019

Against All Odds - Adopted

Extra Extra Read All About It!
 Headline: Sandhill Crane family adopts gosling and raises it as their own!

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” – George Santayana 

Who do you think of, when you hear someone mention,"The Family?"

There are a few names that come to my mind, like the Charles Manson family, and the Manzoni family in the Mafia; two families notorious for doing bad things. I assure you, that neither of these families are not "The family" I’m referring to in my story. Then there is the group called, Sister Sledge, who sang about "The Family," which became a big hit in 1979. I’m not referring to that family either. "The family" I’m speaking of is more like the "Royal Family"The Royal Family of Kensington; even the name has a bit of British flare to it. But, I'm not talking about a district in London, England, nor the Prince of Wales. This Family resides at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan, the United States of all places, and thanks to the Paparazzi, this family has earned their "Royalty" status.

There is only one type of person who will get up at all hours of the night, and travel to no extent, for a chance to see a rare species; one that could possibly be on their “Life List.” Those people are commonly known as “Birders.”

Now, a Sandhill Crane is by no means considered a rare species, and neither is a Canada Goose. They are both very common just about everywhere you look, but when a Canada Goose drops an egg in a Sandhill’s nest, the outcome can attract “Birders” from near and far. This Photographic Journey was inspired by this extraordinary event, which took place between the months of May through mid-July, 2019.

Let me start out this story by saying that I don't know how this extraordinary tale got started. No one does that I know of. There was plenty of speculation on how it all began and a lot more speculation on how it will and did end. This book is based on what I know and observed from what I personally witnessed and photographed over that span of time, and I did my best to fill in the gaps. How it got started isn't nearly as important as the message this story brought. What I, and many others witnessed was nothing short of remarkable and it became the inspiring force to create what is before you today; a book entitled, "Against All Odds."

Please let me reiterate, this book was inspired by actual events, and it’s not necessarily the entire actual story. I visited "The Family" two, sometimes three or four times a week, at different times of day. I got to know their schedule, where and when they went places, and what they did pretty well, but I did miss seeing them more days than not, so there was ample room in this story to fill, but they primarily did the same thing, at the same time of day, day in and day out.

Despite their differences,"The Family" took great care of each other and what I witnessed was that they were smart enough to rely on human interaction for their safety. They realized early on that the smallest of the family, the adopted gosling, would require special needs. His shorter legs and webbed feet would require the Sandhills to do things they wouldn't necessarily have to do as cranes. Slower travel for example. This left them vulnerable, and to watch how they improvised was amazing. 

This was a remarkable story of a beautiful family; a story that needed to be told, and it all developed right before our very eyes; it just needed to be captured. This was my attempt to do just that, by telling the story in pictures, but don't let all the above photos fool you. The book is packed full of other woodland friends to help move the story along as well...

Please enjoy!

"We can learn a lot about life simply by observing nature."~ DW

Against All Odds - Adopted
Written and Illustrated by Dan Waltz
Full color Paperback
Kids - adults
8-1/2" x 11 format
35 pages
49 full color photos
(All but 4 photos were taken on site.)
Also available on Kindle

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fits Like a Glove

Written by Dan Waltz

Read For FREE here!

Hello, my name is Megan Renard and this is my story about my older brother. I should first tell you that I never met him personally, but I feel I know him better than anyone else he ever knew. “How?” you ask. Oh, I’ll get to that, as for now, just know I have my ways.
My big brother’s name was Ashton, and he was very special. Now, if you’re like most people, the minute you here the word ‘special,’ you automatically assume the ‘mentally challenged.' Not Ashton, he was a pretty typical kid on the inside. Although, when all was said and done, he did develop some pretty major mental issues that I wish he’d sought help for. It was on the outside where Ash had his issues. You see, Ashton was born with a facial deformity called cleft lip and palate. According to the doctor, it was a pretty severe case and would require a lot of surgeries over a period of twenty or more years. His appearance improved with each one, a little at a time. Well, except for one time, when Mom and Dad fought for days, when Dad felt that Ashton looked a lot worse than he did before. Mom disagreed at first, but after a while, she finally gave in, and jokingly suggested, that maybe he has to look worse before he starts looking better. What do I know? I wasn’t even born yet, but that kind of made sense to me. After all, whenever I clean my room, it always looks a lot worse before it looks any better.
Mom and Dad kept Ashton home from school until he was eight years old. They were afraid of what people would think, or worse, what they would say after they saw him. They home schooled him up until then, and I believe it was a good thing they did. In hindsight, I wish they had continued.
People can be so cruel. Ashton’s first week of pubic school proved that.
Ashton was teased a lot, and not just for the way he looked, either. They made fun of how he talked, as well. Mom called it a speech immm-ped-iment. Sorry, I think I totally botched that word. I just know that it had something to do with the roof of his mouth. He didn’t have one, so he had trouble speaking certain words clearly. Okay, that wasn’t entirely true. Unless you were around him a lot, my brother could be very difficult to understand. My folks, on the other hand, could understand him just fine, and so could I. I know, I said we never met, and it’s true, we never have. It’s complicated.
Ash, oh I’m sorry, Ashton; I call him Ash for short sometimes. Well, he hid the teasing from Mom and Dad rather well. He hid it for a long time, years actually. He hid it until the teasing became too physical to hide. He still tried, though.
It was Mom who noticed it first, then Dad, after a long period of denial. It seemed Dad always gave Ash the benefit of the doubt and tried hard to believe all the stories that Ash would bring home, stories like how he fell one day, and skinned his knees. And how he tripped the next day, bruising his arms and cheek. The following week he walked into a door. That one was easy for Dad to believe. He’d done that himself, but when he did it, it never left a black eye and a bruise, on the opposing side of his body. The accidents started small, but came frequently—almost daily. Seemed the larger the accident, the bigger the excuse.
It was the bad limp that Mom really questioned first. It was when he fell down the stairs at school, or so he said. Fell or pushed? Just how may times can one fall in a week? He didn’t fall that much at home? How clumsy can one be? The concerns started to build, but it took an unbelievable story of a bookcase falling on him in the library, leaving several bruises and two black eyes, before the first of many school meetings began.
One thing led to another, and soon Ashton was going to school less and less. He started having severe headaches and stomach issues. He became sick a lot, but the funny thing was, he’d always seem to start feeling better shortly after the bus pulled away from the driveway. It took a while for Mom and Dad to catch on, but they eventually did.
Soon, my parents became more and more aware, and started looking for things out of the ordinary; like how Ashton’s friends, as few as they were, started coming around less and less, and how Ashton’s phone seldom rang anymore. They noticed just how much alone time he spent in his bedroom—if not there, out in the backyard. It seemed that all Ashton did anymore was read and draw, which wasn’t a bad thing—he loved doing both. His drawings were great—far beyond what a 12- year old boy should be able to do. Mom and Dad were very proud, but also very concerned.
On one of many trips to the doctor, the doctor noticed how much weight Ashton had lost since his last visit. He asked him if he’d been feeling all right. It took some prodding but he finally answered, “I’ve been feeling drained, lately; tired,” he said. Come to find out, that bullies had been taking his lunch money at school. And, when Ashton took a lunch, sometimes they would take that, too. When they didn’t take it from him, they would smash it with their fist. Sometimes they’d throw it hard against the cafeteria wall, then laugh and walk away. Did I mention people could be cruel? I did, didn’t I?
As if that wasn’t enough, Ashton sometimes would hide a couple pairs of extra underwear in his book bag, in case of emergencies or should I say, accidents. There were times he was too afraid to use the school bathrooms. He knew once in there, he would be trapped, with no way out. If no one were around to guard the door, he just wouldn’t go in. Sometimes, the bullies would hide inside and grab you as you walked by. They would drag you in and hold you up by your feet over the toilet bowl and lower your head down inside, while they flushed it. They called that ‘a swirly.’ And, if you were dragged into the girls’ bathroom, it was called a “girly swirly,” a bit more degrading than the standard, I’d guess.
Ash never went willingly. He always gave a good fight, but it was never enough. The bully was bigger, and his thugs always had his back. Ash would fight hard, kicking and screaming all the way. He would get banged up pretty bad as he struggled to fight back with his head banging hard against the porcelain throne. That explained a lot of the facial bruises and black eyes he would bring home. Mom always wondered where his underwear was going. She constantly bought new, and complained of the washing machine eating them, along with the unmatched socks.
Mom and Dad would make multiple trips to talk to the principal and school officials, but nothing ever seemed to get done. They said they were doing the best they could with the short staff they had, but each still promising to do better, as they left their offices. I just know the bullying never really stopped. It may have slowed at times, but always returned, and it seemed to be getting more and more dangerous every day.
All Ashton ever wanted to do was to fit in, like a hand in a glove, but he knew deep down that would never happen. Ash was starting to show signs that he’d had enough, and fought back like he didn’t care if he lived or died. The bruises became bigger and the injuries more intense. At times, he would come home so bruised and swollen you could hardly recognize him, yet he still tried to hide the injuries from Mom and Dad. He became ashamed, and too tired to fight back anymore. Every time he did, he just ended up beaten worse than the time before. Ashton was now to the point where he was too afraid to attend school.
One cold day became a day that Mom and Dad would never forget. The school called. It seemed that Ashton never showed up that day, and no one had any idea where he could be. Mom and Dad drove for hours, searching for him. They would return home every now and then, just to see if he came home, then they’d return to the streets searching once more. They made a lot of calls and made a lot of stops, but there were no signs of Ash anywhere. Dad wondered if he’d run away from home.
My parents filed a police report and a statewide Amber Alert was issued. Mom told them everything; all the times he was beaten and bullied at school. The police were appalled that the school would allow such behavior to continue as long as it did. They even offered to check in on him themselves, once they found him. Mom and Dad were grateful for that, but for now, it was freezing cold, and getting dark. They needed to find their son, and fast.
On the way back from the police station, something caught Mom’s eye. “Stop, stop the car!” she yelled.
Dad was driving. He normally drove whenever the two went somewhere together. He quickly turned his car into a gas station’s parking lot.
“What?” Dad asked.
“Back there, I saw something.”
Dad quickly turned the car around and headed back.
“There! Over there, look!” Mom pointed.
“Look at what? I don’t see anything.”
“On the snow fence, see it?”
“That’s his glove!” Nate said.
A kid’s glove was positioned in a way that it looked as if it was waving to passersby. Dad thought it was a joke at first. Or, maybe someone found it, hoping the owner would see it on the fence and stop by and pick it up. He whipped the car into the parking lot of the school. They both exited the car and bee-lined over to the glove that was perched on top of the fence post. Dad slid past. The sidewalks were icy. Mom grabbed the glove from the top of the post and examined it. It was his, all right. His name was written on the tag with a magic marker.
A lot of things raced through Mom and Dad’s minds at this time, but it all came to a crashing end the moment Mom looked to the ground where she was standing. She gasped for breath, covering her mouth to stifle a scream that never came. She pointed to the ground.
Now Dad saw it too. “That’s blood” he spoke under his breath.
He looked around, and so did Mom. There were splatters of blood everywhere. The first thing they thought was a possible accident. Maybe a car hit Ash as he crossed the road, but the scuff marks in the snow told a different story. It showed there was a struggle, possibly a fight, or worse, if it could get any worse; abduction. Now they were worried even more.
They called the police and waited for them to arrive. When they did, they took a lot of pictures, and they also took the glove.
“Evidence,” one of the investigators said as he plucked the glove out of Mom’s hand and stuffed it into a Ziploc® bag.
Evidence for what, they both wondered. No one knew anything, including how Ash’s glove got on the fence post in the first place. It was getting dark, and police sent Mom and Dad home. Maybe he’s there. They hoped, and this time their hopes came true, he was there. Mom found him in his bedroom.
That’s when Mom’s scream finally came out, and louder than ever. Ashton didn’t look good. He was badly bruised, swollen and was covered with blood. Dad heard the scream and came running. “ASH!” he yelled as soon as he saw him. He pushed past Mom standing in the doorway and quickly ran to Ash’s side. He held him tight.
There was a lot of hugging and crying going on, but I’m not sure that it was all for the good.
Two years later, I was born, and I bet you’re still wondering how I know all this, if I wasn’t around to meet him. Well, I would like to tell you that Mom and Dad told me these stories, but they really didn’t. The fact is—they went to great lengths to keep them from me. The reason why I know more about my older brother, than anyone else, gets rather complicated, but I promise you’ll understand everything once you read, “Ash, Like a Tattoo.”  It’s a much longer continuation of this story, filled with ups, downs, twists and turns that keeps you thinking, and at the edge of your seat. You won’t want to miss this fun, somewhat whimsical ride with serious issues. It’s written for all ages to enjoy, so pick up a copy, and help spread bully awareness.

This is the end for now, but it’s really just the beginning. 

Read, ASH, Like a Tattoo for a ride you’ll never forget.

ASH , Like a Tattoo

To purchase your copy of ASH, click on the desired link above!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Can a zombie apocalypse really happen?

I won't bore you with a lot of reviews, so I did pulled a couple excerpts. These and many more like them mention how I made my book, Viral Bound sound as if you were right there, and it made you feel that it could really happen.

Even though this was a fictional story, the author included realistic content that makes you wonder if events such as this could really happen. ~ Christy Z

I cant say enough good things about this book, The author held my attention from the very start till the end of the book, I love how he incorporated social networking in to the book, The way it's written makes one think that it's very post able that this could happen for real~ Mikey D

I was pleasantly surprised to find this book is quite different from the majority of books in this genre. Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing, and it was cool to see how the author ties in social media and stuff concerning how the government would handle such a situation, it all felt like it could really happen in the way he portrays it in Viral Bound. ~ Katie K

Now, I'm constantly asked, "Do you really think it could happen?" Do yourself a huge favor and set aside 45 minutes and watch this video below and you decide for yourself. Could a zombie apocalypse or something similar really happen? Watch!

Lets put it this way, as for right now you'll find Viral Bound in the fiction section. Let's hope stories like this stay there?

Read Viral Bound. It will make you wonder. click here for more info.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why read Viral Bound?

I’ve read a lot of zombie novels and watched a lot of zombie movies in the process of writing my own zombie book. I’ve enjoyed them all, well most, a good share of them. Ok, I must have liked them enough to want to write my own. I started mine just over 4 years ago and published it December of 2012. Yes it took a long time. When I write stories, I tend to let them write themselves. I’m lazy that way.

I like to include modern day events, and when something happens in the news that was actually news worthy, and I’m not talking Miley Cyrus here, I try to include it into the story to make it modern and now.  

The main problem I see in most zombie fiction; movies or books, is that it’s hard to tell when it was actually happening. You look at the cars and trucks they use in the books or films. Possibly the weaponry used and the tactics to take down the situation at hand, and you’re still left wondering the year, the month, the day. This makes you a bystander looking in and not feeling like they’re there, fighting the battles, and running from the zoms.

This is where I hope that my book Viral Bound stands out, and makes you feel you’re right there in the scenes, and not just looking in. You can tell where it was happening; your local school, your hospital, where your child was born. It happened to your friends, your neighbors, and your family. It was happing down the road, at the local market, your favorite bookstore, it was happening to average Joe, living average lives. And, with average people with average lives, there’s always government involved, so I added that as well.

You are there every step of the way. You can tell exactly when this was happening. It was happening now, in real-time, in the communication age. It was happening in the age of social media, in the age when 95 percent of our communications were made online, through Facebook, Twitter and on Blogs. When news channels turned to Youtube to get their breaking news from uploaded videos from Iphones as it happens, unedited and raw. It was happening in the age when people texted more than they talked.

I’m just glad it was published before people twerked or I probably would have had to add that too. Zombies twerking……hmmmmm.

Viral Bound, read it today and live it. I think you’ll find it refreshingly different from others in this decaying genre.

Here are a few excerpts from just a few reviews that mentioned this.

To read their full reviews and more… Click Here

Even though this was a fictional story, the author included realistic content that makes you wonder if events such as this could really happen. ~ Christy Z

The author uses social media to pull you into the story from facebook post to twitter and blog feeds. The blog from the young boy trapped in his car is particularly compelling. ~ C Gebbie

There are a few things that lift "Viral Bound" above average and one of them is the inclusion of Social Media within the story. Everybody on the net knows, that it plays a vital part in today's communication, sharing and rumor spreading. Nothing without Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Co. ;). And the author paid attention to this development.. ~ W Haas

I cant say enough good things about this book, The author held my attention from the very start till the end of the book, I love how he incorporated social networking in to the book, The way it's written makes one think that it's very post able that this could happen for real ~ Mikey D

I was pleasantly surprised to find this book is quite different from the majority of books in this genre. Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing, and it was cool to see how the author ties in social media and stuff concerning how the government would handle such a situation, it all felt like it could really happen in the way he portrays it in Viral Bound. ~ Katie K

I was in for a pleasant surprise right from the cool beginning. This story is fast-paced with real-time experiences. The way the author mixed in facebook and twitter usages was brilliant and made reading more fun. ~ J. Paul

I thoroughly enjoyed that the book was in real-time. I loved that the author really tried to take into consideration how every-day people, media, social networking and the government would handle an outbreak situation. Genius! Viral bound is very well written, easy to follow, yet keeps you on the edge of your seat! ~ Jamison

Without giving the story(s) away, it contained real-time messages within the story(s) that makes you really stop and think. "Could this really happen?" ~ Shelie R

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Zombie Car Wash

Yesterday, with the help of The Flint Zombie Walk Car Washers, I had the opportunity to live out part of a scene in my book Viral Bound....

The scene....
Sure enough, it wasn’t long and we had bloodied hands, slapping hard against our windows. The weight of the zoms pressing against the car made it rock back and forth. We all ducked low, and hid under blankets and coats, whatever we could find.My sister was crying again. Actually, I don’t think she ever stopped, and I think my mom is too.

Peeking through the blanket I was hiding under, all I could see was gore. Bloody palm prints smeared across the windows the full length of the car. Morbid faces peering in. The slapping, the repetitious slapping of moist hands hitting glass, like a wet mop hitting the floor. The car rocked back and forth, back and forth, and the moans. The moans were awful. They have to stop! 

~ Viral Bound

Video by Scott Graubner

More photos of the Zombie Car wash can be seen here...

Big thanks to all the zoms involved! www.flintzombiewalk.com/

Viral Bound:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Viral Bound Give-a-way!

The contest is over! Congrats to the following winners...

• Lindsey Brewer
• Kris Lugosi
• Lizzy Lessard
• Crystal Merrill
• Justin Goff

Thanks for your interest in Viral Bound, we had 330 entries.
Your books will be shipped out today! Enjoy the read!

* When you finish reading it, reviews are always appreciated.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Viral Bound by Dan Waltz

Viral Bound

by Dan Waltz

Giveaway ends July 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Viral Bound visits the Night of The Living Dead

Viral Bound visits where it all began! Evan's Cemetery.
The home of the "Nights of The Living Dead."

I’m so grateful to a reader and his friend.

They surprised me with photos of my book "Viral Bound" at the home of the "Night of the Living Dead." It’s where it all began, not the book per say, but the genre. This year marks the movies' 45th anniversary, and that's a long time. 

It's a long time to stay fresh and still work with viewers of today. I should know, it was only about a year ago when I watched that movie for the first time and enjoyed it.

Since I recently released my zombie novel (almost 4 years in the makings) it meant a lot to me to see how the genre got its start. Not only that, but when I watched it, I watched it at a screening in the presence of Gary Steiner himself. 

And, now this happened—I'm so grateful to reader Stacey Tindle and his friend Scott Kaluza, for taking the time to do a little photo shoot of my book in original the location of where the "Night of The Living Dead" was shot and the birth of a genre began. 

I would like to share with you just a few of those photos (they took many).

I must add, I can't tell you how much it means to an author for a reader to go out of their way to do a little book promotion themselves.  

With gratitude...

Even the Ghost of Judith Odea made an appearance.
"They're coming to get you Barbara."

Now that my book visited, maybe one day I can too.

Thanks for looking!