Guest — Bill Allen

(From Debra:  Help us welcome one of our terrific new authors!  His middle-grade fantasy HOW TO SLAY A DRAGON was a January release—a very funny book and a quest our hero’s school didn’t cover in 7th grade.)

Hi Riders!

Thanks for inviting me to ride along. It’s not often I get to be in the company of so many talented ladies, but I have to say, one look around the car and I’m wondering if I’m too masculine to ride with this group.

Hang on. I can’t hear over my wife’s laughing.

Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah. Last month Keri Ford brought along her friends Stephanie and Parker, which started me thinking. Maybe I should invite my friends Greg and Lucky. Probably not a good idea. First off, this car is already crazy crowded. But more importantly, Lucky has himself so convinced he’s immune from harm that he’d probably be standing on the hood asking you to play chicken with the other cars. Greg’s a lot more reasonable, but the way his life has been going, I don’t think any of us want to be in a car with him.

Now, some of you may know me, and I know what you’re thinking. I’m not sure I want to be in a car with you either, Bill.

I should explain. Throughout my life, for no reason I can explain, people have tended to believe that I have unusually poor luck. Maybe it’s the little things, like the way traffic lights automatically turn red as I approach. (My wife actually refuses to follow me in a car. Life is just too short.) Or maybe it’s the bigger things, like the way I ended a quarter century of investing in real estate, selling even my own home, just before the housing market soared. Or how years later the real estate market teetered for a moment as I pulled out my pen, and then came crashing down as I scratched my signature across the loan papers for my new home. It’s no coincidence that my friends ask my stock advice. They need to know what I’m doing so they can do the exact opposite.

Okay, don’t throw me out of the car for being a pessimist. You’re thinking everybody has both good and bad luck, and if I just focused on the positives I would find that my luck was no different from anyone else’s. Well, if you’ve ever met Lucky, you should realize I already know that. In fact, I have pointed out this simple fact to people all my life, to which they usually say, “No dude, you’re just really unlucky.”

I get their point. A boy can believe, for instance, that after being struck by lightning twice in one day, he was lucky he wasn’t struck three times, and he might even laugh off the fourth and fifth time as well. But by the sixth or seventh jolt, he’s going to have to start wondering if Fate really is out to get him. Such has been the pattern of my life.

Nevertheless, I remain cheerful. Why? Possibly because I don’t have a clue. But more likely it’s because, much the way Lucky can make up reasons to defend his luck after every ordeal, I believe we can make up “rules” that greatly improve our experience of life. Sure, they’re just made up, but who’s to say they aren’t true. Here’s one particularly helpful delusion I’ve made up for myself:

I have decided we are all allotted the same amount of good and bad luck the day we are born. While most people foolishly waste away their good luck on a daily basis, I have been saving mine up for years, waiting for just the right moment to cash it in. My entire life has been one long bout of “the lean years,” setting myself up for that one miraculous day when I will beat some one-in-a-billion odds.

Admittedly, a part of me believes that if I ever do beat those type of odds, it will be the day I actually do get struck by lightning seven times, but maybe, just maybe I’ll beat the odds in a more favorable way. The thousands of truly talented authors who struggle each year to see their books published may say I’ve already beaten those odds. They’ve got a point. And how could I have ever created a hapless Greg Hart without having my own lifetime of bad experiences to draw from?

I guess you could say I was just lucky that way.

Thanks for the lift!

FROM DEBRA:  So, how about you?  What defines luck?  Do you have it?  Have you used yours up?

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This entry was posted in fantasy, Uncategorized, Y.A., YA, YA fiction, young adult, Young Adult fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Guest — Bill Allen

  1. Helen Brenna says:

    LOL! Fun post, Bill. Welcome to the vert and congrats on the book! What a great cover!

    I do believe in luck, know several people who have it and several who definitely don’t. My mom is one of the luckiest people I know. She wins TV and microwaves from store drawings. Can’t go to bingo without her winning. And cards. Please.

    Sometimes, though, I think we make luck or break our luck without realizing it. I don’t buy lottery tickets or enter store drawings because I figure I’m never going to win. Self-fulfilling prophecy?

    • Bill Allen says:

      Thanks for the welcome, Helen. The cover is great, but I can’t take credit for it. That was all Bell Bridge Books.

      After reading that description of your Mom’s luck, I can come to only one possible conclusion. You’re my sister in law! Welcome to the family.

      I’m right with you on the buying lottery tickets thing. I figure my odds of winning if I don’t buy a ticket are nearly exactly the same as if I do, and if I do manage to beat those type of odds, I’m still betting on the lightning thing. I guess we could both benefit from an attitude adjustment.

  2. Leanne Banks says:

    LOVE this blog! Sheesh, if you’re saving up your luck, then a big lottery win should be in your future, yes?:) Congrats on the book. Your attitude makes me want to read it! I try very hard not to count on luck because my luck has been very sporadic, but reaching every deadline feels like a miracle!

  3. Keri Ford says:

    Hi Bill. You’ve got such a fun sense of humor! I’m going to have to pick this up and see if I can read it to my son.

    Luck. Hm. I’m gonna say I fall in the middle. Sometimes luck rolls my way making some days truly better than others. 🙂

    • Bill Allen says:

      Hi Keri.

      I don’t know how old your son is, but I like to think my books are not only fun for kids age 9 to 90, but that kids under 9 and over 90 will enjoy them too–it’s just that you may have to read to them.

      I think, no matter how it seems, luck falls in the middle for all of us, though I’m pretty sure the middle I’m looking at is far from the middle of others I know.

  4. Ray Miller says:

    Great job Bill! I guess I have been one of those people who have known you for decades and thought you had bad luck for sure. Like the time you went to visit your sister, I believe in Athens, Ohio and drove off with your wallet on the roof of your car. Or the time we went to a GE district meeting and went canoeing and your paddle sunk along with your glasses. But I digress. Congratulations on the book!! You are a guy who has the will to stick to it until you make it happen. I remember the house in Hartwell that took how many years to renovate? I was amazed at your endurance. Life gives its rewards for those who invest in it. And you certainly invest yourself in life.

  5. lois greiman says:

    Hey Bill, thanks for joining us. And thanks for the laughs. You’ve definitely got a way with words if not a way with luck. And I’m right there with you. Luck is not my friend. But I try to make up for it with blind, stupid determination. Almost as good as luck but a lot less sexy. I’d like to have a tshirt made that says, “It’s never too late to give up,” because sometimes I forget that.

    Beautiful book. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Nancy Heineke says:

    Hey Bill, what a great post! I know what you mean about luck. Before I was married I had pretty good luck (I think I inherited my good luck from my mom, she’s the luckiest person in the world. It would be interesting to see who would win in a luck contest between my mom and Helen’s. ).

    The first time I went to a cake walk when I was a kid, I came home with three cakes.
    Every year after that I would win at least one cake. I would win door prizes and raffles. One time I even won a wig from a bread store give away (don’t ask me why they gave away a wig to a 10 year old).

    Then it all came to a crashing halt when I married my husband. His black cloud mixed with my white cloud and gave us both gray ones. For him it was an improvement. For me, not so much. However, over the years a little white peaks through now and then. I won a microwave once at a casino party (along with a bottle of wine and four wine glasses), but that was 15+ years ago (so I’m due).

    I like your attitude about bad luck, and try to keep mine upbeat. If things keep going too bad you either have to laugh or look for the silver lining. I hope your silver lining sparkles brightly :).

  7. Kylie Brant says:

    Welcome Bill. I also believe in luck, which has a lot to do with timing. Unfortunately, my timing has always been awful 🙂 There are people who seem to ‘win’ everything, whether door prizes, whatnot. I do think some are born under a ‘lucky star’ while the rest of us make our own luck!

    • Bill Allen says:

      Hi, Kylie.

      Timing has never been my thing. After a lifetime of changing checkout lanes, only to move to the lane with the now broken register, and working my way backwards on the highway, causing an entire lane of traffic to come to a grinding halt just by my moving into it, I have learned to be cautious. It also makes a great excuse for doing nothing.

  8. michelehauf says:

    Welcome, Bill! The book sounds like a riot. Excellent cover, too. I think I believe in luck only when it’s been good to me. 🙂

  9. ForestJane says:

    Hi Bill!
    First I want to say that I enjoyed reading ‘How to Slay a Dragon’ very much, and I think the cover suits it perfectly!
    I’m not sure I believe in luck. At least not the sort whose chances would be improved if you carry a talisman or lucky charm. I’m a believer in the Oprah quote: “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”

  10. Howard Heineke says:

    What can I say to cheer you up? Things are looking up and soon you will be a world renowned author rolling in it. (Not saying what the “rollee” it will be.) Best of luck (GOOD KIND) in achieving notoriety (GOOD KIND) with the dispersion of this blog. We are all looking forward to when you become be financially whatever.

    Seriously, each blogger needs to pyramid publicity to get people to read Bill’s highly entertaining books, starting with this debut issue.

  11. debradixon says:

    Bill — LOL! Glad to have you on the blog. I personally love the theory that we’re all born with the same amounts of good and bad luck. The trick is figuring out how to trigger the good and hold back the bad. Like you have two hour glasses that you can constantly manipulate with preparation and execution.

    Sometimes fate will flat get you. Nothing you can do about that. But I do try and err on the side of nudging my luck in a certain direction.

    I, of course, love the book and the cover. (g) Very self-serving of me.

  12. Hi, Bill. I need this book. My grandkids love all things fantastical–dragons, fairies, wizards, unicorns, gnomes, you name it. The girls (grades 1 and 3) are amazing readers. My grandson–gd 2–well, he’s a boy. He’s coming along, thanks to the dragons, wizards, fairies, etc.

    I don’t know about luck. Kismet? Is that the same? I’m no mathematician, but I believe in odds, and I think we’re all in the pool. As Daddy used to say, somebody has to win, so you might as well enter, especially if it doesn’t cost anything.

    If being in the right place at the right time with the right attitude is luck, I’m a believer.

    Good luck with the book, Bill. It’s on my shopping list.

  13. catslady says:

    It’s kind of like is the glass half full or half empty. What one considers lucky, someone else may not think so lol. Say you win the lottery (lucky) but you waste it all and end up in debt (not so lucky lol). I figure most people have something very unlucky that happens to them but maybe we all don’t know about it. On the bright side I just won $8 on a 50/50 ticket but at the last moment I asked someone to go in with me (we each got $8 or I could have had $16 – very lucky for her because she wasn’t going to play, still lucky for me but not AS lucky as it could have been – it’s all relative lol. I love your sense of humor and your books sounds like a fun read!!

  14. Randy Heineke says:

    Bill, the check is in the mail. So you can tell Nancy, that you won’t have to put me in your next book. Congrats on the book. I don’t think your luck’s so bad. You should have seen my coworker yesterday at the office. It was spectacular. He was doing a fair imitation of Yellowstone National Park with the microwave, coffee maker and toaster oven.

  15. Robin says:

    Bill, the good news is I think you are a terrific writer. I’m definitely going to put your book on my Bucket List and with my luck I’d better put it right at the top. I come from a whole family of luckless losers which brings me to the bad news. I actually own an autographed copy of your first book. What are the chances of that being worth anything?
    Cha-ching! Maybe I saved up all my luck for you to become a famous writer. Let’s both hope so. And as a side note, I did enjoy some of the book covers while I was scrolling down the page to comment on your blog.

    • Bill Allen says:

      Hi Robin.

      I can’t believe you actually read my original book. All these years I’ve been waiting to break incredible odds, and now it looks like I’ve done it.

      I don’t see any reason why that book shouldn’t be worth a fortune soon. After all, I have a solid business plan, suggested to me by one of my young readers. I just need to sell my books to the same set of folks who bought those Harry Potter books, and then once I’m a household word like Ms. Rowling, you will have quite the collector’s item in your hands.

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