Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Extinction Point

I'm a junky for dialogue.  Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Firefly, The Avengers.  Anything with characters verbally jousting is fun for me.  It's my favorite thing to write.  Two, or three people, put in a room, given a few props to throw between linquisitic fencing and I'm happy.

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

The Anatomy of a Teapot Tempest: The Emily Giffin Story

So, a few weeks ago there was another lovely case of "ABB", Authors Behaving Badly.  This time it was Emily Giffin, a fairly well established author.  I say that never having heard of her before this debacle, but she did manage to hit #2 on the NYT Best Seller List.

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

FFV: We're NASA and We Know It

Save the Date: Book Signing

If I haven't talked your ear off about this yet, I'm going to be doing my first book signing a week from today, August 31st, at 21st Century Comics and Games in East Lansing.  The store's located at 515 East Grand River and is in the upper level.  It's also right across from Berkey Hall and Olin Health Center.  I'm going to be there from 2 until 8 so come and by.

Some Linkage:
The Event on Facebook
21st Century Comics and Games Home Page

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movie Review: Brave - A snippet

I finally saw Brave.


Just Wow.

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

Guest Writing on Tears of Crimson

I was lucky enough to be invited to write a guest post for Tears of Crimson, the blog of one Michelle Hughes, author of "A Night at Tears of Crimson" and other vampire tales.  Feel free to sneak over to her neck of the woods for my take on what makes for a good vampire.

Fellow Authors: How to Deal with Bullies

Okay, I was a nerdy kid.  Socially awkward, nervous, shy and a little behind the game thanks in part to the limited social circles available to me at my first school.  Needless to say I got bullied.  I've got some experience.  It didn't stop with middle school and there were even a few moments in college I look back at painfully.  I remember when a classmate approached me at our 10 year reunion.

"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.'"

Gee, thanks.

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

FFV: Gilmore does Star Wars

We were discussing the art of writing dialogue over on Goodreads and I remembered this lovely exchange of banter from Gilmore Girls.

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 Release Rant

Well it's that time again.

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

New Pricing Paradigms

Mind the Thorns has finished it's giveaway period on Goodreads, the books have been out in the wild for a week now and many have landed at their destinations.  Yay!  One kind reveiwer has already spotted some typoes that slide past me, my editor, or both of us.  More than likely my editor caught them but I didn't make the transition over to the document from the one he sent me.

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

I want to begin by saying that it is incredibly hard to write an adequate review of this movie without including spoilers.  While I normally try to provide a spoiler-free reading for those that are on the fence I have to apologize that some of the plot is going to have to come out.
This movie represents the final chapter in the Dark Knight Trilogy directed by Nolan.  It began with the origin story and pitted Batman against his standard rival of The Joker.  In part two we saw Batman fall into disgrace and despair as a hunted vigilante.  And here in three we see his rise and redemption.

The main players reprise their roles.  Bale comes back as Bruce Wayne, Cain as the ever loyal Alfred, Freedman as Fox, and Oldman as Commissioner Gordon.  Simply all of them are spot on in their performances and provide exactly what they brought to the previous films.  It is a little sad that this has been declared that Bale has hung up the cape and cowl with this movie as I do think his Bruce Wayne/ Batman is as solid a pairing as the Batman movies have seen since Micheal Keaton began the modern era of Batman movies.

I also am a huge fan of Micheal Caine and believe that anything he touches is golden.  He ~is~ Alfred and honestly I have a hard time with too many other actors trying to take on that part.

Friday, August 3, 2012

FFV: Exploding Waterheaters

Nothing is as humbling as watching a waterheater "fail" and demolish a house. Happy Belated 4th of July!