Saturday, December 29, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Frankly, no one new to writing should do it.
When I was in college I took creative writing class. It was an entry-level course in the English department. Something like English 140: Intro to Creative Writing. When we got our first assignment, the professor made it clear that she did not want anyone writing genre fiction for her class. If she wanted us to write a love story, she wanted it set in the real, modern-day world, with real, modern-day characters. No alien space scapes, no historical sailing ships. Just two people dealing with a problem.
Likewise, sometime after college, I became involved through my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, on a website for new artists. She had been active therefore sometime and invited me to join. Artists would submit their pictures and they were open to critique from others. And as you critiqued other’s pictures people would follow links back to your page and critique yours. It also had an incredibly active in Email list-serve. Advice about how to become an artist flew around fast and furious. The most common thread among the emails was the debate of whether or not a fantasy artist should go to art school. The prevailing opinion among starting artists was that art school was a waste of time and energy because all they did was make you draw oranges and bottles and useless things. If you were going to do nothing but draw dragons for the rest of your life why did you need to spend hours and hours drawing a cube? It was a waste of time wasn't it?
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
In addition, it also has what I consider a fairly underplayed story line for the dystopian world that seems to be very much commonplace. The Hunger Games for example I believe is meant to be a highly evolved American, human society. Revolution, for as long as he managed to keep watch it, was us without electricity. But what about the wasteland caused by aliens? Definitely stories there that need to be told.
The real challenge I'm finding now, is figuring out exactly where the prose will be begin. I know going into my project that I will be posting things out of linear sequence. I know that I want to do flash-forwards and flashbacks all over the map. I want you to find out about something that the main character, well one of the main characters, did 30 days after the alien invasion. Then, in the next update, I want you to see her give a video diary taken three days before the first attack. I want to create that conflict of what is happening now, then give some some of what came before and what you can expect to happen in the future.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Compensation will be negotiated on an individual basis.
Interested parties should be able to:
- Take web-cam based videos of themselves in "survival" costume with a neutral or dark background.
- Work with a one week turn-around schedule
- Be over the age of 18
- Of any race, ethnicity or gender.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I picked up City of Heroes, and it was my go-to MMO for a long, long time.
I was not playing it when the plug was pulled last week. I had long moved on to other games, and hung up my cape. Stormherald, my main hero, and one that had been born again and again in other games, was no longer level capped, and my legions of small characters remained where I had last played them. Had a friend not posted anything on Facebook I would never have known it had finally shuttered its doors.
I could really go on about all the great things the game had, and all the things it did not, but instead I want to talk about something else.
What's left now that the game is gone, and running the client will leave you unable to ever again connect to a server?
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
XCom has totally decimated my free time for the last few weeks. It's a tactical strategy game where, mostly, you manage squad based combat against an alien threat. It's pretty dang slick. I completed my second campaign this week, this time on Classic Difficulty.
The game starts out with a basic squad of soldiers armed with conventional weapons and grenades. As the game progresses, these troops are added to with new recruits. Each mission earns them experience and new abilities. You also research better weapons, and armor as you go along, allowing you to take out the easier minions quicker and opening up harder enemies.
But what really kept me going was the overall engagement. Your soldiers earn nicknames (seemingly randomly assigned, but you can edit them), they level up, and they do get killed. There is an optional Ironman mode which removes the save game features; you can't save and then reload. If you save then you're done. If your guy dies on a mission, then he's gone for good. Needless to say it's nerve wracking to be in a mission that's going well only to have your favorite medic dropped and killed with a lucky shot.
I guess you could call this a review but it's mostly about the things the game falls short on. I'm going to have some light spoilers in here but I'll try to keep them limited.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
It's been a very interesting run so far on both counts but mostly I want to think about Mind the Thorns and how that has played out as time has gone on. It was an experiment, to be sure, and one that I'm proud to have engaged in. Quite a few things worked, a few did not, and for the most part I feel like my writing has done nothing but improve in the time I've worked at it.
Which, before I get into the nature of Regan and the dangers of trying to write something as immersive as a reader-directed novel, I want to talk about.
Writing is work.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
In addition my parents also got themselves an iPad and of course came to me with questions about what to get to put on it, with an eye to letting Xander (who's about to turn 5) play games on it. Sadly I don't have a lot recommendations on that front but I thought I'd do a little write up of the various apps that have become indispensable in my iLife.
Most of what I'm going to talk about here was free, though many of them were only free for a limited time. Always check prices before you buy an app and always be aware of the pricing models. They've made some good changes to how Apple handles In App Purchases, but I still only marginally trust them with Xander around.
So... what's on my iPhone?
Friday, October 26, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I shall take this opportunity, dear readers, to say it.
The question of the day: "What the heck is it with everyone being into Genre Fiction? How did True Blood become mainstream? Why do we have everyone and their cousin watching Game of Thrones? And how can you crack a joke about BDSM at a craft show and everyone laugh it off?"
The answer put forth by Baxter is that it has to do with the global depression. So summarize- nah that'll take to long, let me sum up: the world sucks, people know the world suck, so they want to get as far away from the world as they can. Nothing like escaping to Westeros, or to the towers of Grey Enterprises to forget about how far behind on your car payments you've slipped. Why read about courtroom dramas and political in fighting when you can turn on CNN, MSNBC or FoxNews and get the exact same story, played out as though a cheap hack of a writer were coming up with the predicable and convoluted plots?
Speaking of which, seriously? If I wrote a political drama I would not have named the guy Wiener. Just, ya know, sayin'. A dude needs some cred, amirite?
But I think Baxter only skirts the start of the deeper roots.
Friday, October 19, 2012
It felt very spontaneous: the WDR Symphony Orchestra organized a flash mob at the Wallraf Square. Suddenly passersby and visitors turned out to be Cafe Orchestra - and played unabgesprochen apparently to the surprise of passersby a very familiar tune.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
I knew it was ambitious.
I knew it was going to take work, dedication, and perseverance.
Writing is hard and I was ~ready~.
So... how'd it go?
Friday, October 12, 2012
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
One thing that I see in a lot of fan fic, but rarely in quality published writing, is the use of specifics. The main character does not get into a hot rod to drive to school, she climbs into a 2012 Pontiac Solstice with turbo charged V8, leather seats and the eight speaker stereo.
This makes me want to ask the author: So?
Friday, October 5, 2012
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
This is where we stop and celebrate that we can read books that people want to ban for a variety of reasons. We can ride a raft down the Mississippi with Huck Finn even though putting such a bright glaring light on the evils of racism and post-slavery Southern States make some people uncomfortable. We can ride the Hogwarts Express and learn about the power of the individual who cares even though some people don't like that there are witches and magic. We can come of age with a nervous teenager and What [Her] Mother Doesn't Know even though many mothers would rather we not know.
This is actually a bit of a big deal.
We forget, too easily, that there are parts of the world where the government, or the religious leaders, can forbid their people from having access to words that they don't want them to read. They can deny that printed books be sold, that internet sites be accessible. They can lock down Twitter on a whim and can make Facebook posts just vanish.
Even in our own history, not too long ago, having the "wrong" book in your house was a way to get yourself listed a Communist, be blacklisted from your profession and have your life ruined. We did not tolerate different very well, and most Americans worried more about keeping food on the table, and gas tanks full of fuel then they did making a fuss about their Right To Read. Thankfully we outgrew that phase.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This is the mantra of writers. I sometimes think that the code should be "If you don't know it, don't write it." One of my biggest pet peeves is not so much when someone writes something that's just a little off but when it propagates significant misinformation on a topic.
For example, in the 18th century, women wore pouches under their skirts called "pockets". It was a relatively new invention to attach these directly to garments as we know them now. Back then the pockets were separated from the garments and worn on a separate band about the waist and under their skirts.
Despite this fact, over and over, at re-enactments, women will walk around with their pockets on the outside of their skirts and show off the lovely embroidery on there. They'll talk about the hours women would spend on needle work to adorn the pockets (they did) and the pride they would put into making them (they had it) and how women would be happy to show them off (they did not). To suggest they did is a bit like talking about how women today would show off their lacy bras to anyone and everyone because they were so proud to wear such cute underthings.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
In writing FantastiCon, I had an exchange in the first chapter that provided a very indepth description of a walk on character. Allison was at the desk of her apartment complex with a random, unnamed other woman. I then went through everything the random girl was wearing and contrasted it with Allison. Then Allison walks off and we never see random girl again.
This drove my wife nuts. She got a full paragraph treatment to a character she never sees again, one that doesn't even get a name. So why did I do it?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
"Yes! We need to get Skechers because they make you run super fast and fly and be a superhero!"
"Your shoes make you a super hero?"
"Yeah! It's so cool you can fly and run super fast and you are Total. Super. HERO!"
Skechers is a particular brand of tennis shoes which purchases large swatches of ad time during children's programming on Cartoon network, Nick, Nick Jr, etc.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
It takes place on another planet. There, a great ecological event has made most of the planet uninhabitable. It is especially dangerous to one of the three principle races. Where the Croa's can live in the exposed environment for a few hours, the Wie succumb to a form of skin cancer and die within minutes. Because they are so fragile, the Wie have become a minority, prized for their rarity but seen mostly as toys, or dolls, or things to keep as possessions. They are not seen as worthy of the respect shown even the lowest Croa. In fact they are so admonished that the Wie will hide who they are, wearing long concealing gowns, and hiding their forms so that the Croa are not reminded that useless sub-creatures are among them.
It is against this back drop that a Wie girl dreams of a better life. She knows that her chances of survival are minimal. If she cannot marry a Croa, she will be relegated to a short life as a trophy piece. What can she do? The story of her struggle against prejudice, against nature and the ghosts of the past. She must deal with those who discount her because of her racial status. She must prove herself and endure.
That book, I think, has a lot of potential.
That book, however, is not Save the Pearls: Finding Eden.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Why do I open a book review with this?
Because there is nearly no dialogue at all in Extinction Point and I still could not put it down.
I also should say that I thought I was downloading a book called "Extraction Point", with the cover art featuring a city and a girl on a bike. With that title I thought I was getting cyber punk.
But it wasn't. And that's perfectly fine.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A small interesting side note is that she commented on only getting to #2 on her Twitter and Facebook feeds with that line between pouting and playing. This alone is worth mentioning as a sign that the internet has no sub-text. There is no way to know if when you say "we only got to #2" someone is going to grin with you for the irony of pouting about being #2 on the NYT Best Sellers, or if they're going to chastise you for not reveling in the fact that you're, ya know, #2 on the NYT Best Sellers.
Rather than rehash the time line I'm going to direct you to some required reading, specifically the lovely blog Book Googles. I've read a few blogs about it now and very few come to BG's fair reporting of the events as they played out. For those not interested in the long story, let me give you the RD version:
Person A did not care for Giffin's latest work and gave it a 1 star review on Amazon. Person B commented on the review to call the reviewer a psycho, and questioned the validity of the review since it was the only review that person had on Amazon at the time. Person C enters the fray to call the B a "horrible human being" and accuses B of being Giffin herself. B admits to being Giffin's husband. Lots of comments fly around, mostly with B and C beating up on each other. Person D enters, and defends B. D is also Giffin's personal assistant. Things mostly start to die down.
But then they heat up again. Person E changes her previous 4 star review (she did enjoy the book a great deal) to a 1 star review. Wackiness resumes.
Perhaps I should have made a flow chart....
Friday, August 24, 2012
The Event on Facebook
21st Century Comics and Games Home Page
Thursday, August 23, 2012
From a gripping story (for me at least) with well done characters, amazing animation, and a musical score that should be a gold standard for all future Disney releases. I was practically in tears with joy during the opening third of the movie as Merida embraced her passions and chased after her loves. It was heart lifting on levels I cannot put to words.
But let me try: I can only pray, and I mean Pray, that I see that kind of joy in the eyes of my beloved little Kaylee. I can only hope against hope that she feels so free to be the woman she knows in her heart she is.
But before I really get into a review I'd like to revisit something I posted on several months ago, specifically the scandalous implications that Merida might be the first Gay Disney Princess
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
"Rob," he said, putting his hand on my shoulder. "I realize I was an A*****e to you in high school and I want you to know I'm sorry. Really, really sorry."
"That's okay, dude," I said. "I don't think about that stuff any more."
"No, no," he insisted. "I was just watching Billy Madison the other day and I thought, 'Man, I should apologize to Rob.'"
Okay painful anecdotes aside, I want to talk about some ideas on how to deal with the kind of bullying that is often feared by independent authors. These are cases where a user leaves a personal attack as a review, sometimes going so far as to look up personal information to embolden the attack. It can include a group that rates the negative review as "helpful" and all positives as "not" so as to push the vitrolic review to the top of the list.
It's frustrating. It's annoying. It's painful, especially when that one or two reviews knocks you out of an average that got your new work noticed.
But, there are ways to deal with it and ways not to.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I think Luke has a fair critique though really there are lots of other things to get steamed about in that movie....
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The Hunger Games has had its impact at the box office and made a mint for everyone attached to it. And just when you thought it was safe to go back out into public without seeing preteens running around pretending to kill each other, and then make a three fingered salute over the corpse of their once friend, now mortal enemy, it's time to return to the dystopian land of Panem and their bloodlust.
I saw the fliers up at Walmart (don't judge) for the Midnight Release Party, and I had to ask the gentleman who helped me pick out a printer (Wifi enabled with reasonably priced replacement ink) if they were planning blood sports to see who would get the first copy. Straight faced, he looked at me and said "Just about."
To date I still have not read the book. I know I should, and maybe, just maybe, I'll hunker down with it. For now though, I'm quite content to continue my Sturm und Drang over the whole affair by focusing on the movies.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
This, dear readers, is the glory of Google Documents. There's no file swapping. He makes comments and they're right there for me to make the required changes. It's glorious.
Now that all said there was one little thing I feared would come up, and I'm glad it did because the reviewer was very kind about broaching it.
It was a quick read (about an hour), and the author sets it up for a great series (though I think it would be better to compile it all into one whole book rather than a lot of self published novels).
So I'm going to, if you'll indulge me, lay some cards out on the table.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The real question, though, is if any of this will work to add to the overall exposure of the website, the story and my other writing.
Just getting into brick and mortar stores is a challenge, too, because there just are not that many traditional book stores in my area any more. There's still a Borders, about 45 minutes away. There are a few comic shops that I'm hoping to get into but they're not really known for novels. Really the best way to get your hands on a dead tree edition of a book is Amazon.com.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
But first a quote:
There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I'm the kind that pays better.
I was thinking about the situation in Colorado and how it was orchestrated like an episode of CSI. Guy shoots up a location, gets caught, and then goads the police into going to his house which is booby trapped to hell and back, hoping to blow up some more people.
In fact I think it DID happen on an episode of CSI: Las Vegas.
So, here's a question: Are they related?
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
- The real world does keep score.
- You will not have your dream job when you graduate.
- No one wants to hear the opinion of a twenty-year old with only a few days experience
- You are not nearly as smart as you think you are.
- You. Are. Not. Special.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Now, on the upside and before I get into the not-so-positive thoughts, I do have some points of high honor. I was retweeted by Molly Quinn who is a wonderful actress and all around good person. Ms. Quinn also has a significant number of followers and I'm quite sure that the tweet went relatively viral in a short period which helped a great deal with the promotion. As of Monday morning, FantastiCon was in the top 50's for "purchases" as a Free Title in both the Humor and Romantic Suspense categories. So on that metric, win. But that came at a cost.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Check it out on Amazon!
Fantasti*Con is the Midwest's largest convention of science fiction, fantasy and pop culture, and the highlight of Allison Cavanaugh's summer. Only this year she finds a dark cloud over her weekend of geeky fun: a stalker. What begins as enigmatic notes quickly escalates to threats upon her. Only how do you find a madman at a convention, and how do you still manage to not scare away that new guy in the next apartment while doing it?
The weekend should be about fan-girling out at celebrities, wearing fun costumes, getting the inside scoop on the latest games and introducing her best friend Tori to the world of geek culture. Instead they, along with a hyperactive undergraduate student Joanna, are trying to find out who wants to hurt Allison before it's too late.
Set against the back drop of a major convention, Fanasti*Con is a romantic thriller with scenes and vignettes familiar to any attendee. From the costumes to the celebs, this could be any con-goer's weekend of horror.
One of the biggest challenges I have with my writing is dealing with what happens between the end of Draft 1 and the declaration of Draft Last. For all Drafts known as Draft N where N is the set of all counting numbers greater than 1 I struggle to keep track of which N I'm looking at.
Now, dear readers, let me be clear: I ~LOVE~ my Beta Readers. I don't care what formats you use to give me feed back. I will always and forever consider you the only way I have a prayer of getting anywhere as a writer.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Let's be honest here. This is not a full review of the online game. It's a review of just the collectible card game portion. In a future installment I will review the game itself, the hub and the collectibles and the missions.
No one can work solid for 6 hours at a computer pounding away at the keys, be it writing code, computing expenses or writing a future best selling vampire novel. There is a need for a break and it's time to let you, dear readers, in on a guilty pleasure of mine:
I'm hooked on The Marvel Super Hero Squad Online Collectible Card Game.
Friday, July 6, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Which gets us to the question at hand: Is Merida, Heroine of Brave, a lesbian? And if she is, does that matter?
Frankly I think that's one of the dumbest questions raised about this movie. It ignores what actually does matter:
That people are asking the question in the first place.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
Her fist clenched around a set of keys, Regan angrily sulked along the gravel road connecting the farmhouse to the barns and garage. She was not even sure which car she had selected, having only been shown a box of arranged keys and chains. Her other hand was still holding onto the plastic Meijer bag containing what was left of her blood-splattered, mud-soaked, dirt-coated wedding dress.
She was alone, in the middle of the country, in nowhere’s-ville Oxford. So far the only people she had met was a vampire had been a jerkwad of an aristocrat, his haughty witch of an assistant, and two thralls who were all about cleaning her clock with digging implements.
“Hey,” a voice said ahead of her.
“Daryl?” Regan stopped. He was leaning against the building, under one of the lights. She had been so busy glaring at the wide car doors that she nearly did not see him at all.
“Yeah,” he said a little sheepishly, “that would be me.”
Regan crossed the distance between them. “I thought you left.”
“We’re supposed to be running some stuff back down to His Lordship’s offices, but I just felt bad leaving you out here.” He reached up and scratched at the brown stubble lining his cheek.
Regan folded her arms. “You wanted to beat me in the head with a shovel.”
Friday, June 29, 2012
The Civil war mood puts me well in the spirits for Independence Day next week.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Last August a dear friend Janine Spendlove held up a newly returned to her copy of Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter and asked "Who'll read it?" Most of the assemblage in the room already had so when I put up my hand the book was placed in it.
I read it. Most of it. Well, I got about half way through it before I decided that it wasn't for me. Then, just as I'm deciding I need to "Lem" it, I hear word that it's been optioned for a movie deal, and a few months later I see the first preview. And I'm intrigued. The effects look amazing and the use of full scale battle scenes from the Civil War really catch my eye.
Okay, Mr. Lincoln, you have my attention. Let us see how you fair.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
There's been a bit of a curfluffle as there often is over on Good Reads, this time about 50 Shades of Grey. For those of you who don't follow literary circles (using the term loosely), the 50 Shades series is a trilogy of novels that follow a dominant man as he seduces an innocent, loving, young woman. The works are getting a great deal of attention in part due to the history of the work (it began as Twilight fan fiction) and because it's become the new guilty pleasure: A saucy kinky steamy romance complete with handcuffs and blindfolds.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I was born in 1974. That makes me... old. Not yet, as I often say, "Get off my lawn!"-old but old. So imagine my surprise and delight to see a musical that builds on the songs of my youth. Imagine further delight to see that musical being made into a film.
Before I get into the movie itself I do have to comment on what I find curious about my own memory. I was 15 when the 80's started their close. I was in high school during the rise of the Boy Band, and the downswing of MTV and what I think of as a fairly intense shift in Rock and Roll towards more heavy sounds, likely to separate it from the fluffy harmonies of groups like The Backstreet Boys.
Yet 80's rock and roll always seems to feel like the music of my youth. This was the music I first sang along to, even though I had precious little idea what I was singing about. For the lontest time I thought that "Papa Don't Preach" was about a girl who had detention.
But back to Rock of Ages....
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
On Monday this week I launched Mind the Thorns, A Web Novel. This is my next writing project. Fashioned along similar writing schedules to National Novel Writing Month, it's my intention to publish a chapter a week as I work through the prose, all guided by the readers. Below find the FAQ posted on the Mind the Thorns page to explain the process.
What is a "Web Novel"?
Imagine reading your favorite novel. The main character is a cross roads. She can side with her lover and turn against her friend, or she can push him away and reaffirm that some friendships create bonds worth dying for. You read on knowing in your heart that the best thing to do is to stand with her friend.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
So there I am, rocking a baby who seems to now be old enough to watch Netflix on the Kindle fire rather than focus on her bottle like she's supposed to. So much for back episodes of XMen Evolution. Instead I flip up to the book shelf and see what my wife's downloaded that looks interesting. "Heh," I think to myself, "Super Chick? What the heck why not another super hero novel?"
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
When I started this blog I was pretty good about getting out two posts a week. As this is intended to help further my writing career I was also very careful to only write on my time from my own computers. That meant no writing at work. Unfortunately with final exams and end of year pushes to wrap up I just can't find the time to do proper blog posts as I'd like. I also have picked up, I believe, some underage readers so it's even more critical that I keep my ducks in a row and only write on my time, of which I have none between now and the end of class.
Until then, have a nap on me.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
“The London Kiss”
“All hands, this is the Captain.” Commander Bracegirdle’s voice sounded throughout HMS Foxhound. “As you know we are due to dock at Outpost Behn in a few hours where you are to enjoy your well earned three weeks shore leave.”
Midshipman Mercy Lyons lay on her bunk, one hand behind her head, the other holding to a data pad with the day’s gun deck duty roster. Her bunk mate, Midshipman Cordelia Leduc was on the bridge, as she often was when Mercy was not. The two former classmates, while sharing a tiny stateroom, had never been in it at the same time during their entire eight week tour.
“Since the age of sail,” Cmdr. Bracegirdle continued over the ship’s public address, “It has been tradition for one member of the crew to be drawn by lots to be greeted first ashore by his or her sweetheart.”
Thursday, May 31, 2012
So while I’m recovering from some minor surgery I had a day to play my “alternate” game of Skyrim. I broke down a few weeks ago and picked up a copy and started a play-through as a spell caster. This week I started up a sword and board character focusing on heavy armor and direct combat. My magic user on the other hand is all stealth and cloth robes. As an aside, why is it that the super powerful Archmage Robes have to have this dorky hood attached? My mage is rocking out this home enchanted circlet of magicka recovery and it’s hidden in this silly hood.
But as I’m playing through a second time with my warrior (who I have decided looks far better without a helmet than with so screw the armor bonuses for now; if I get in a fight where I think I need that 20% I’ll put one on) I’m left thinking about how these two characters are different.
And I realize why it is that Dragon Age is a superior game in many ways.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
But this is where current events start to show the cracks in this ideal, the marks of tarnish at the borders of the otherwise shiny exterior.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I do plan to publish my shorts in a collection this summer as I finish up a few more stories to round the it out. Ideally I'd like to have 4-6 good modern shorts, and 2-3 short stories set in the Queen's Fury world.
But where I'm a little stuck is on the issue of this website and making these stories available for free.
Monday, May 21, 2012
But then this came in the mail today:
So here we have a chance to meet the novel's protagonist Mercy Lyons when she was still at the Naval Academy and still just a first year Midshipman. This was originally written for the Good Reads website Weekly Short Story Contest Group.
"The Next Best Thing"
I was in my second year at the Academy.
Alexandria, this beautiful thing from Tyson 4, dumped me that morning because she said she knew her cat better than knew me.
Commander LeGrange had just lit me up in front of my entire Terraforming seminar for missing two equations in my draft term paper.
My roommate was back in our bunk with the Hanover twins, and he let me know that I was not to come home that night.
So there I was, at the junior officer bar, two beers into my charted course to complete inebriation.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
For those who missed this midseason gem, I've described it (I think best) as Glee for Grown Ups. The show follows the Producer, Director, Writers, and Cast as they begin production on a musical about Marilyn Monroe's life (and death). We start with the initial conception, go through the casting, and finally into the off-Broadway previews.
We get treated to the insights of a horrifically narcissistic director, a divorcing producer, and two actresses vying for the staring role as Marilyn herself.
Monday, May 14, 2012
But a friend read it for me and then immediately lamented "But I want to read chapter 2! I like the vignettes, and the back story, but when do we see more of the novel? Do you know how hard it is to sleep at night not knowing what happens now that the ship is all but adrift in space with only a handful of officers remaining and no active guns? I wasn't this sleep deprived since I babysat my sisters quintuplets who were all at the age of 2 months."
Okay, so I kind of paraphrased a little there.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
So, we saw the Avengers this weekend. Going in we were excited because it's a Joss Whedon movie, written and directed, and we've been fans of his writing since Buffy (for which he got an Emmy nomination for the one episode, oddly, that had almost no dialogue).
Of course as we sit down, the wife looks at me and says, "you know that since this is a Whedon movie, everyone's gonna die."
Monday, May 7, 2012
But this weekend we got a sitter, gave Kaylee another bottle, and trekked out to see the 11 AM matinee. This is relevant because my thought was "Who on earth is going to get their backsides out of bed on a Sunday morning to go see a movie?"
Apparently an entire theater of people. For the first time in a long time there were ushers leaning in to ask "are you saving those seats for someone in the theater?" and "Can you please all move in a seat?" What we did not get was the "Okay, this is a full house, so NO SAVING!" announcement. But still every seat got used.
Let's start with expectations:
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
But rather than really focusing on Mercy I've been instead putting a lot of creative energy into the development of one of the races of the Royal Commonwealth of Worlds, the Hartishians.
Hartishi Prime is a jungle covered world and home to what are known in less polite slang as "space elves". They feature green skin, white hair and rows of sharp meat-rending teeth. Yes, these elves are strict carnivores. So much so, in fact that they cannot digest plant matter.
They are also intended to be a compliment to the Oresmen, dwarf-like men and women who have, for generations, populated the high gravity mining colonies. I admit that I like the play of elves and dwarves in fantasy and I don't see any reason to exclude them from science fiction. After all, isn't Spok really just Elrond in pants?
But where I'm getting stuck is coming up with a believable culture for the Hartishians.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
You have been warned....
Thursday, April 19, 2012
It's a fear of the road to get there, that road being the amorphic label "Young Adult".
Especially as I'm not writing with the target audience of "12 year olds".
Monday, April 16, 2012
My dislike for the franchise is based entirely on my reaction to the movie and I've been told time and time again that I'll change my tune as soon as I read the book. Maybe. But I doubt that will change my general dislike for the premise, or the major plot points. As I understand the same characters (for the most part) live and die in both the movie and the book and those facts are part of my general concern.
Now for the three of you still reading, let me really drill down on my concern: what I really dislike is the general attitude of many people in relation to whether or not kids should be reading the book in the first place. It's the same attitude that came up when Twilight was all rage among teens and tweens. It seems that every so often something else comes out and I, rapidly approaching the age where I sit on my front porch so I can yell at the kids to get off my lawn, find myself a fairly lone voice in saying "You're letting children read ~that~?"
To which the answer comes:
"Well at least they're reading."
Thursday, April 12, 2012
For those unfamiliar, the Three Laws of Robotics were created by Issac Asimov as proposed fundamental rules that we should have to instill in all robots. First, a robot cannot cause harm to a human, nor can it allow, through its inaction, a robot to come to harm. A robot, must, by this law, come to a human's aid. Second, a robot must obey all orders given to it by a human, unless doing so would violate the first law. The Third law requires a robot to protect itself, unless doing so would violate the other two laws. A robot would get out of the way of a speeding train, but it would still rush into the train's path to save a life of a human. A robot would also destroy itself if ordered to do so, since obedience trumps self-preservation.
These three laws were more a vehicle for Asimov to explore the Law of Unintended consequences than they were, I think, actual laws we would need to imprint on robots. Throughout his short stories, attempts to adhere to these laws create a variety of odd and unforeseen behaviors, sending his protagonists off to explain how a robot can be following these rules at the same time. The stories are one part high science fiction and one part logical debate.
Which brings us around, finally, to the issue of "Can a robot be romantic while still following the three laws?"
Monday, April 9, 2012
But, the kids were at "school", I was on break, Jenni had the day off, and we had two free tickets, two free popcorns and two free beverages to burn. By the time we decided to see a movie, there was only one playing within the next hour: Mirror Mirror.
Overall, it was an entertaining couple of hours. As we all know the story of Snow White there were precious few plot twists that surprised us. Any suspense in the plot was rooted more in a sense of "Ah, so that's how they're going to handle it this time."
Friday, April 6, 2012
Over on Goodreads we've been discussing how to respond to bad reviews as writers, specifically as self published writers. This lead us, of course, to some classic examples of writers refusing to accept that someone else might not find their writing as brilliant as they and their friends do.
And these reactions are not limited to just self published authors. One of the criticisms of Amazon's rating system has been that it is easy for a publishing house to use agents, friends, and other industry connections to pump up reviews, or vote down negative reviews. By using the like buttons, bad reviews can fall down and off the main page, leaving only the glowing reviews provided by "professional" reviewers. It is an inherent problem with user rankings: how do you know which users are real users and which are sock puppets?
The conversation turned, naturally enough, to the potential value of bad press. Really, more to the fundamental question: Is there such a thing as bad press? Or is any publicity good publicity?
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Goeff stared at the screen and the words he’d typed in. They had joked so much about Craigslist and the dramas. She let slip that morning that she’d always considered the Missed Connections postings to be sweet and romantic.
“Wouldn’t it be so romantic,” Micky had asked, “to see someone, and share that look?” She had handed his coffee over, her eyes lost in thought. “And then see later that it really wasn’t just in your mind, that you really did have a connection?”
“Do people really check those?” he had asked.
She had blushed. “Well, it’s not that odd to just skim through them for the stories.”
He had nodded and smiled and said something that he had hoped sounded witty. He couldn’t remember now what it was. In hindsight he was convinced it was anything but witty.
He reviewed the ad again. It sounded corny. It sounded desperate. He clicked into text box and highlighted all of the text in the ad. His finger hovered over the delete key. This was a horrible idea, really.
But instead he moved his hand to the mouse and clicked “post”. Now it was just a matter of time to see what happened.