Tag Archives: surprise


So I started writing chapter 4 of Diffusion, the sequel to my fantasy book. And this is the first scene readers get with Josephine Delumiere, the Soulforged character from the first book. (Picture a “paladin” from Dungeons & Dragons, or some sort of holy warrior whose order alone is empowered to stand against the Fractured creatures of darkness that spawn throughout the world.)
In the first book, and in all four books that I have planned in my head, Josephine always had long blonde hair pulled back into a tight bun. Maybe that started with my wife’s World of Warcraft character, who once upon a time (before they put in a Barber Shop) was a blonde with long hair. 

But as I wrote the scene, suddenly Jo showed up with a haircut–short, unkempt, easy to care for, nothing for an enemy to grab hold of… the sort of “do” that you can run your fingers through and call it good to go. Enough hair to wave in the winds as Josephine dashes with divinely empowered speed, but nowhere near the length that for literally eight years up until half an hour ago I had always envisioned on this character.

Something like this sketch I whipped up in about twenty seconds for my wife…

I’m no fan of what I’ve heard described as “character development by haircut.” Tris Prior getting a short, pixie chop-job in Insurgent is the most recent example I can think of. So I’m not trying to tie a new hairstyle to some “new” Josephine.

But this is one of those rare instances where a character comes along, surprises me, and says, “Hey, I know you had such-and-such planned. I did this instead. Deal with it.”


And awesome.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I’m having a blast.

TDY Lemonade

Does not contain Will Smith or Bill Pullman
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

So the Air Force sent me TDY the weekend of the big air show back home.

For my non-military readers, “TDY” means “temporary duty” in the Air Force. Different services call it different acronyms, but it simply means you go somewhere else and do your job there for a short (or long) while. A six-day trip like mine is pretty short.

Of course, that leaves my wife home with four children and a zoo’s worth of pets.

And I miss the air show. I love airplanes. I particularly love the variety of fighters we’ve built over the years. There were supposed to be F/A-18E/F Super Hornets this year.

But such is life in the military, and we’ve grown accustomed to short-notice changes. The plan for this trip changed literally ten times or so. First we were going to England, then we were not, then we were, then maybe not, then maybe Washington State, then maybe not, then we found some rooms maybe but not enough, then no really there are enough rooms… you get the point.

My wife’s family lives in Washington State. My mother-in-law, Karen drives three hours one way every weekend to visit her husband, Jim in a care center where he stays while dealing with the effects of emphysema and the other ravages of a life-time of smoking. This weekend, Karen brought him a surprise: me.

We had a chance to play some Scrabble (Karen cheated, I maintain!). We chatted about how big my four children are now. We attempted to get a phone connection for FaceTime but reception out there was horrible. So we looked at the videos and photos of the kids that I have on my iPad and iPhone.

It DOES make shopping easy! (kidding)

Here’s Jonathan in his new glasses…
Here’s Teenager Deborah trying to be patient with Justin climbing on her…
Here’s Judah smiling…
Here’s our rabbit and our parakeet that we just bought…
Here’s Judah in a hand-held shopping basket…

I don’t know how well Jim does each weekend, of course. I only had this one to judge by.

But Karen said he seemed very happy to see me and seemed in good spirits as a result. We shook hands (he still gives a firm handshake), and he said, “You’re a good son-in-law.” I told him, sincerely, “It’s an honor.”

He let me give him a hug and even let me snap a picture for my wife and children.

He even smiled
Jim at the Care Center

All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday in a place I didn’t originally want to be.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 NASB