WHY STEEVEN ORR ELSE?


ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE howmanyofme.com, there are 52,554 people in the U.S. with the last name Orr.

Furthermore, there are 1,269,455 people in the U.S. with the first name Steven, 879,852 people in the U.S. with the first name Stephen, and there are fewer than 1,623 people in the U.S. with the first name Steeven.

Stay with me, I’m building to something.

Of the 52,554 people with the last name Orr; 205 are named Steven, 142 are named Stephen, but only 1 is named Steeven.

That would be me.

Now, I don’t know how accurate these statistics are, the site itself claims that it is “More accurate than a Magic 8-ball. Less accurate than distributing and collecting 300 million surveys.” It also admits that while the information does come from the Census Bureau, it’s actually quite old. Not as old as me, but old all the same.

Still, it is interesting data.


I use it here for two reasons.

One: I always like to point out how unique my first name is. I mean when you think that out of the three hundred and some odd million people there are kicking it in the United States, less than two thousand spell their name the same as I do. Now, if I’ve done the math correctly, and there’s more than a good chance that I haven’t, I am part of the just 0.00051037735849057% of the population of these United States with that spelling.

But there is a downside to that uniqueness.

For example, when I’m at my second job and folks see my name tag, I am invariably asked:

“Are there really two e’s in your name?”

“Three, actually,” I would respond, and we’d both have a good laugh.

If pressed further on why my named is spelled the way it is, I would tell them the truth.

I am named after my Dad’s high school friend who never made it back from Viet Nam.

Why his parent’s chose to spell his name with three e’s, I have no idea.


Another disadvantage of having a name spelled as I do: Folks always feel the need to correct it for me. Meaning, I’ll fill out a form, I’ll put “Steeven” in the first name field and somewhere down the line someone sees that and says to themselves:

“Now surely that isn’t how he spells his name. I mean, sure, the form is filled out in pen, but it’s obvious this guy doesn’t know the first thing about how to spell his own name. I’ll take it upon myself to correct such an oversight. He’ll thank me for it later when he discovers his mistake.”

In fact, if I go to Google and type in: “Where does the name Steeven come from”, even Google corrects it for me as this is what I get back:

"Including results for Where does the name Steven come from"

Three pages in with nothing regarding the name Steeven, and the results switch to:

Including results for Where does the name Stephen come from

It’s twenty pages in before I finally give up, start over, and choose the Search only for Where does the name Steeven come from option.

From there all I can find is one site, behindthename.com, that tells me that Steeven is a variant of Steven and that it’s French.

That explains my love for french fries.

OK, terrible joke, but I make no apologies.


The second reason I began with the above statistics is to show that once I explain why I chose Steeven Orr Else as the name for my website, I know that there will be at least 52,554 people out in there in the States who will know exactly where I’m coming from.

See, when you have a name like Orr, growing up, you hear this a lot:

“What’s your name?”

“Steeven Orr.”

“Steeven Orr? Steeven or what?” This would inevitably be followed by brays of laughter. One-sided, of course.

I would like to think that if all 52,554 Orrs are reading this, that they would feel me.

Throughout the first few years of this sort of behavior, I’d pretend to laugh along with the original genius, or O.G., who came up with the creative jibe, but eventually I began to reply in a very simple sort of way.

THEM: What’s your name?

ME: Steeven Orr.

THEM: Steeven Orr? Steeven or what?

ME: Steeven or else.

I would typically follow it up with a grin.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to be intimidating. I mean, I am a very large and hairy man. But Intimidating I am not.

I just needed something to say. Some sort of reply. Something to throw back other than laughing uncomfortably along with them.

And to tell you the truth, it’s probably been twenty years since I’ve had to use the reply because people stopped asking.

So, back in October of 2011, when I was ready to buy my domain name, it just felt right to use SteevenOrrElse.com.

And now you know.

Even if you hadn’t wanted to.


APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH



When my son, Simon, was two-and-a-half years old, he was diagnosed with autism.

He's now 14.

He's high functioning and sensory seeking. Meaning we got lucky.

There are many others who were not as lucky.

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and every April my family and I Light It Up Blue.

What does that mean?

From Autims Speaks:
Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative by Autism Speaks to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern that is autism. Iconic landmarks around the world will Light It Up Blue to show their support on April 2, 2012 - World Autism Awareness Day.
We do it all month long.

We got our blue light bulbs and Karen, my wife, has been passing them out to neighbors and friends.

I try to do my bit here on the site by changing the background to blue.

I've also posted, as you'll see above, one of the old strips from Our Adventure Continues, the comic strip that I used to write with my good artist friend, Harold C. Jennett III (and by "good" I mean both good artist, and good friend).

It's always been one of my favorite strips because it is, of course, so personal, and Harold captured the two of us perfectly.

That strip was put up in April of 2013. Back then, just four years ago, 1 in every 88 children were diagnosed with autism.

But as of 2016, per The Autism Society:
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys.
So what can you do?

Well, you can Light It Up Blue for starters.

If you'd like to donate to the cause, I'll point you to the ABC of NC Child Development Center.

This is in North Carolina. I'm not in North Carolina, but I actually know some people involved with the ABC of NC and I like the idea of money going to a place that I am just a little bit connected to.

But hey, there are all sorts of local services out there near you. Find one and donate if you'd rather give closer to home.

Otherwise, I invite you to donate to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network at autisticadvocacy.org

WHY I LOVE THE DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES

If you are a regular reader then I'm sure you are already aware, but I'm in the middle of writing my first fantasy novel called Then a Penguin Walked In.

You weren't aware? Well, good news, you can read it while I write it, just go HERE.

Anyway, I have great love for the fantasy genre. In fact, you could say that I cut my reading teeth on fantasy. I mean, from age twelve all the way up through my early thirties, fantasy books were pretty much the only thing I read (apart from Douglas Adams, Stephen King, and the occasional Star Wars book).Yet, to be honest, I don't read much of it anymore.

But then, last summer, I began to get the kernels of an idea for Then a Penguin Walked In, and it got me all nostalgic for the books of my youth. So I've been trying, since then, to go back and read all those old books I'd read many times before. But here's the thing, I'd gotten rid of most of those books long, long ago. So it took a bit of doing, and the local library, to track some of this stuff down . . . and I've barely touched the surface.

However, what I started with was all three books from the Dragonlance Chronicles, and I got them on audio. So, to celebrate my first foray into the genre that got me started reading, I thought it would be fun to go back and visit those old tales, and then talk about them here.

I mean, these books were a huge part of my life from almost 20 years. They are a big part of who I am and how I write. So how about I share the love.


Full disclosure: Though I am a writer, when it comes to collecting my thoughts on the books I love, and then putting those thoughts down on paper, well, I've never been able to fully articulate that love in any kind of adequate fashion. Certainly not in a way that truly speaks to the passion I have for these books, and believe me, any book I talk about here, I have great love for.

So please keep that in mind as you go further.

Now, most lovers of fantasy will probably tell you that they got into the genre through Lord of the Rings. Not all of them, but most . . . at least most of those I've talked to over the years.

While I was aware of the Lord of the Rings when I first started reading novels for pleasure (the 1977 Rankin and Bass Hobbit animated movie being a big favorite of mine), I was introduced to the fantasy genre through Dungeons and Dragons.

More specifically, the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

Technically, I'd read the Hobbit (thanks to that Rankin and Bass cartoon) a few times before really diving in whole hog on this whole love for reading thing, but we'll get to that one later.

But in essence, the Dragonlance Chronicles were my Lord of the Rings. It was the series that made me want to read more, and then more, and then more and more and more.

The Dragonlance Chronicles are made up of three books: Dragons of Autumn Twilight published in November of 1984, Dragons of Winter Night published in July of 1985, and Dragons of Spring Dawning published in September of 1985.

My older brother, who was the D&D guy in the house, bought the books back when they were coming out, and in a fit of kindness, allowed me to read them.

Well, I was hooked. Here was a band of characters, some friends, some strangers, who are thrown together simply by being the in the wrong place at the wrong time, and due to a certain set of circumstances, find that it's up to them to go out and save the world of Krynn, the fantasy world where all of the Dragonlance stories take place.

Among our heroes you had the frail young wizard who walked the line between good and evil, his muscle-packed twin bother who would do anything for him, a noble knight, an aging irascible dwarf, a lovable Kender who didn't mean to steal everything in site (though he always did), a beautiful barbarian cleric and the barbarian warrior who loved her as much as she loved him, an elven princess who left the comfort of home for love, and the half elf that led them all.

During the series our band of heroes fight monsters and goblins and dragon men and dragons and evil spirits and all the stuff that made a fan of movies like Dragonslayer, Conan the Destroyer, Krull, and the Beastmaster very nearly swoon in sword swinging pleasure.

I mean, let's face it, my hungry early teen brain fell in love.

Caramon Majere is may favorite character in the series. I've always drifted toward the strong guy, be it fantasy novels or superhero teams. But Caramon was more than just the thick-headed muscle man. His compassion for his twin brother showed that beyond his joy at bashing monsters, he had a big heart.

Tasselhof Burfoot, the kleptomaniac Kender, is also one of my favorites. Not only do I sway toward the strong guy, I also enjoy the small agile archetype as well. Plus, Tasselhof was a laugh riot, especially when teamed up with Flint the dwarf or Fizban the absent minded wizard.

Tasselhof is also of a race unique to the world of Krynn. Basically, take a hobbit, slim him/her down, give them normal feet, and make them thieves who don't consider what they do as "stealing" but "finding what someone must have dropped", add in a supernatural ability to feel no fear, and you have the Kender. They are the nuisance race on Krynn that you can't help but love.


The copies my brother owned were the copies pictured above with the Larry Elmore covers. I still have the first one, though the cover has since come off.

Larry Elmore was the man as far as I was concerned when it came to fantasy book covers, and later in life I had a hard time picking up books that didn't have covers like his. Being a fan of comics as well, I loved seeing a fully fleshed out image of the characters I was reading about on the cover of the book.

After the Dragonlance Chronicles came the Dragonlance Tales, then there was the Meetings Sextet, Heroes, Heroes II, and so forth and so on.

Dragonlance then led me to the Forgotten Realms and the crap ton of books written by R. A. Salvatore that featured a dark elf gone good by the name of Drizzt Do'Urden.

To tease what's coming up next, I have the entire Belgariad and Malloreon by David Eddings to talk about. Then the Hobbit. I also have the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore on deck to read, as well as the greatest fantasy comic of all time, ElfQuest.




**Dragonlance logo artwork by BANESBOX

READ AN EBOOK WEEK MEANS FREE BOOKS!



This week is Read an Ebook Week over at Smashwords. That means, this week only, you have access to a crap ton of ebooks at deep discounts, and many of them are free.

Mine, for example, are free.

Yeah, that's right, FREE!

Holliday's Gold, the Walrus of Death, and the Church of Minos are all free this week only, and only at Smashwords.

Just click the links below and use the coupon code SFREE. It's just that easy!

Click here to get Holliday's Gold for free using the coupon code SFREE

Click here to get the Walrus of Death for free using the coupon code SFREE

Click here to get the Church of Minos for free using the coupon code SFREE


Tell all your friends!


MEET LUNA LOVEGOOD RONALDO ORR

Just after Christmas, we had a new addition to the Orr family.

She has been named Luna Lovegood Ronaldo Orr.



She's a wacky little hamster who enjoys moving her bedding about, running for ten minutes strectches in her wheel into the wee hours of the night, and twitching her nose at such tremendous speeds that I've often thought of hooking up a few cables to her and powering the house.

Plus, she has this cute little heart shape in her fur.


THE COMING OF THE PIÑATA

I'm sure I've talked about this before, but I'm working on a comic with my good friend, artist Harold C. Jennett III.

If you've ever clicked any of the tabs above, you'd know that the two of us have collaborated before on the web comic Our Adventure Continues. If you didn't know that, click the link and read through what we have up there, because there could possibly be more coming along at some point. But that's not what this is about.

No, this is about The Mighty Piñata.

Harold has been working away at the pages and frankly, I can't wait to show this thing to everyone because I think it's going to be something pretty darn great.

In the meantime, he put together some teaser art and I wanted to share it with y'all.

So, here it is.