Thursday, December 27, 2007

An Ipod, Music, and Me!

I've been a music junkie most of my life, especially focusing on Sountracks/BGM's (Background Music) for movies and Tv shows. Over time I accumulated a decent sized collection of tapes and later CD's. However, probably in the last ten years or more, I've bought less and less and I found it harder and harder to find time or the easy means listen to the music.

For several years at the job, it wasn't a viable option to have a radio or CD player. I used to be in one of those open cubes in the middle of the hallway, right by the restrooms with tons of traffic. (Can you say ew?) And between writing, marketing, conventions, and life in general, listening to the stuff at home was also difficult. (Nope, I am not one of those that can normally write while listening to music. Darn.)

Work location improved and the radio/CD player brought to the office. But then it was a matter of actually remembering to bring the CD's. Worrying about pausing, changing them out, taking home,bringing more, etc.

There was a solution. One I had been eyeballing for a year or two. Well, I finally caved! I am now the owner of an IPOD! With a wondrous 8 Gigabytes of space so I can cram as much music into the thing as I can possibly want. A cheap $30 stand with speakers lets me rock away at work without having to use the earphone. And it has been fabulous! No more commercials from the radio, a shuffle option so it keeps things fresh and surprises me with tidbits, option to play an album straight through if I get a craving. Sweet!

Of course like with all things in my life, I did have to go through a learning curve. The iTunes software is not the most intuitive and figuring out on how to get items listed on the PC software side and then figuring out whether to sync or have it only load new things or what not (some options it seems to deal with better than others...drove me nuts for a bit). And of course there's making sure to find the time to bring the CD's over to the PC and have it record the songs so you can have them in the Ipod. Something simple to do, but harder to arrange.

Have gotten some done though! So I now have 829 pieces of music to listen to. And it's not even the tip of the iceberg. It's been so nice to listen to some old favorites and some new tunes/tracks! The organ intro to Sweeny Todd is awesome! (Got it for Christmas!) It sent goosebumps all over the place. (The Star Wars theme does the same thing to me as well as a few others!)

What the Ipod is also giving me is an opportunity to try out new composers as well. Just recently I dug around for some info on Chris Lennertz, one of the two main composers for the TV show Supernatural (what? You didn't actually think this wouldn't somehow get back to my obsession, did you? Shame on you! :P). Mr. Lennertz has definitely been around the block and I was quite surprised to read that I had run across his work before - the show Brimstone for one. He's got several sample MP3's at his site to give you a feel for his great skills and versatility. He's done a lot of work on TV, Film, and videogame soundtracks. What I have been listening to is definitely working his work way up there with my other favorites, John Williams, Danny Elfman, John Barry, and Jerry Goldsmith. Go Chris!

Next on my list to check out is Jay Gruska - Supernatural composer #2! Bwahahahaha!

May your days too be filled with music and song!

Gloria Oliver

Unveiling the Fantastic

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fans4Writers.Com - Let's show out support!

As an author, I definitely feel the need to try to support my fellow writers out in TV land now that they've had to go on strike to insure that they get paid for their work.

One organization trying to consolidate efforts to support writers both in the picket lines and in as many other ways as possible is the group.

At their site, there are many links with information, ways to show support, how to contribute, where to link to them and information, etc.

So if you feel in the least bit stirred to help out those hard working writers out there fighting for their rights, please make sure to visit.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Weirdness that is my Subconscious

I tried to look up a definition of the word subconscious and sadly found the answer to be somewhat lacking. Per The Free Dictionary it means - The part of the mind below the level of conscious perception. Though I suppose the fact that the definition is so vague does somewhat imply how little we truly do know about the subject, but I still had hoped for something a little more concrete. :P

Well, anyway, mine has been a little quirky lately. After quite a spell of no dreams (didn't even realize I hadn't been dreaming till it started up again), they're back. Must say I rather missed them -- once I actually noticed that is. And back with a vengeance they are too. Not just one or two a sleep period but pretty much constant the whole night. I honestly think that cold back in October just got everything out of whack and only recently are things truly going back to normal. And I think the old subconscious is trying to make up for lost time. Not something one would think of, that's for sure.

Anyway, what got me thinking about doing this post was a weird habit my subconscious decided to pick up when it came back with dream mode. At my house, I'm the one with the alarm and then after I get up I turn on the light and go feed the cats. The light wakes up hubby. (A much better way than me calling out to him, as that method scared the crud out of him 1 out of every 10 times. heh heh. He also seems to be impervious to hearing the alarm on my side.) Well, my tricky subconscious decided that if it was anywhere less than an hour before time for the alarm to go off and I needed to go to the bathroom, it would use the alarm sound in my head (even in the middle of dreams) to let me know it was time to go. Weirdest thing ever!

I physically had to look at my clock and check the time to make sure the thing really wasn't going off. It copies the alarm exactly, even to how it feels hearing it when asleep - that whole seems like an intrusion part.

Of course since I was going to write about it today, it didn't do it this morning! The thing is playing with me! Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Or what it says about me. heh heh.

So keep your mind open... Your subconscious may be out to get you! Bwahahahaha (Yes, I am getting plenty of sleep and not on any stimulants. Thanks for asking!) Heh heh heh.

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic

Monday, December 03, 2007

Supernatural - Christmas Carols Winchesterized - Do You Hear What I Hear

My Supernatural list put out a challenge this weekend to mutate Christmas Carols to Supernatural. Hadn't been planning to participate, but while hubby and I were at a Sonic Drive-In inspiration smacked us between the eyes. By the time I got home and found the lyrics, I realized my original thoughts would not work and needed tweaking, but all came out okay in the end. :P

This goes with the tune of "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Said the night wind to the little man
Do you see what I see?
Driving in the night, little man
Do you see what I see?

A car, a car
Driving through the night
With brothers of justice and light
With brothers of justice and light

Said the man to the meat puppet boy
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the night, meat puppet boy
Do you hear what I hear?

A chant, a chant
In High Latin, don't you see
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the meat puppet boy to the YED
Do you know what I know?
About the hellish war, YED
Do you know what I know?

A Dean, a Sam
the Winchesters are bold
You can't bribe them with silver and gold
You can't bribe them with silver and gold

Said the YED to demons ev'rywhere
Listen to what I say!
Watch little Sammy, demons ev'rywhere
Listen to what I say! The Child, the Child
Creeping in the night
He will bring us from hell for the fight
He will bring us from hell for the fight

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Soon it will be Christmas in July!

Every year it seems like the Christmas holiday marketing push gets started just a little earlier than the one before. But never has it seemed as bad as this year!

I was shocked when two weeks before Halloween, 10/31, I saw Christmas decorating materials at Walmart. Two full Weeks before Halloween! Heck, nothing is supposed to happen until the day after Thanksgiving, right?

Finding the stuff at Walmart was shock enough, but then it got worse. I went Arby's on 11/12 and they were playing Christmas MUSIC! Two weeks before Thanksgiving! Walmart had already driven things up a notch, adding more decorations for purchase, Christmas cards, tableware, and more. but Christmas music? Already?

What are these people thinking?

My husband couldn't be more pleased. He has a soft spot for Christmas music and can't get enough of the stuff. But to me, it just feels wrong. Christmas time has always been the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. Now it looks to be getting longer and longer while starting earlier and earlier.

I'm not trying to be a Grinch here, but enough is enough!

I realize merchants want to make money, but at what point are they taking things too far? They're already there in my opinion. I like Christmas as much as the next person, but too much of any one thing and it loses its meaning, its effect, its enjoyment. (Unless you're obsessed and even then there are limits...)

If they have their way, merchants will soon start getting things revved up for Christmas as early as July.

Bah humbug!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dark Lullaby - Guest Blog Entry - Mayra Calvani

At a trendy Turkish tavern one Friday night, astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz meets a mysterious young woman. Captivated by her beauty as well as her views on good and evil, he spends the next several days with her. Soon, however, he begins to notice a strangeness in her--her skin's abnormally high temperature, her obsession with milk products, her child-like and bizarre behavior as she seems to take pleasure in toying with his conscience. The young woman, Kamilah, invites him to Rize, Turkey, where she claims her family owns a cottage in the woods. In spite of his heavy workload and the disturbing visions and nightmares about his sister's baby that is due to be born soon, Gabriel agrees to go with her.
But nothing, not even the stunning splendour of the Black Sea, can disguise the horror of her nature. In a place where death dwells and illusion and reality seem as one, Gabriel must now come to terms with his own demons in order to save his sister's unborn child, and ultimately, his own soul…

"Who's that woman?" Gabriel demanded.
"I don't know."
"Don't tell me you don't know. I saw the way she looked at you--the way you looked at her."
"She's just an old woman, a silly superstitious old woman."
Gabriel was sure Kamilah lied. He grasped her by the shoulders and turned her to him. "Why was she afraid of you?"
Kamilah laughed, her cheeks flushed. "Listen to what you're saying. Why would she be afraid of me?"
"I don't know. But it's a fact that she gasped when she saw you, that she was afraid."
She shrugged. "She must have mistaken me for somebody else."
"But why did you look at her like that? I saw your face."

She scowled. "I don't know what you're talking about. Obviously you misread my face." She wrestled away from his grip. "I want to go home."


"Yes, home. To the forest. To the cottage." She stomped her foot and kept going, leaving him behind.
Craning his neck, Gabriel looked back toward the scarf stand but the old woman was gone. "Damn!" he muttered. He trotted after Kamilah.
Kamilah started running, her shrill, childish laugh defying him. Never stopping, she ran all the way to the mountain trail. With the heavy backpack and his sore leg muscles, Gabriel had a hard time keeping up with her. People turned to stare at them. Desperate to catch up with Kamilah, Gabriel clashed into a man as he crossed the street.
Gabriel muttered a curse. He felt like strangling Kamilah. Her erratic behavior was wearing thin.
"Wait!" he shouted when he saw her going up the trail.
She glanced back over her shoulder and flashed him a feral grin, her flushed cheeks contrasting deeply with her brilliant eyes. "You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!" She sang loudly in monotone, between gasps. "You cannot catch me, you cannot catch me!"
As Gabriel ran after her the dull pain on the right side of his ribcage came back. He halted, panting. He leaned forward with his hands on his slightly bent knees and his eyes shut to concentrate on the ache. Massaging the painful area, he made an effort to regain his breath. When he looked again to the trail Kamilah had vanished into the woods. The hell with her. If she thought he would run after her and play her little hunting games, she was mistaken. He would very calmly find his own way back to the cottage. He reached into his backpack for the bottle of water and took a big gulp. After resting for several minutes the pain lessened and he felt better. In the deep chambers of his brain an alarm went off--for the first time the pain in his torso began to seriously worry him. He didn't think it had anything to do with indigestion or any exotic virus or bacteria. Words like tumor and cancer flashed through his mind but he tried to shove them away. He couldn't think about this now. Once back in Baltimore he would go to a doctor and have a complete examination.
He'd been hiking for about an hour when a sound came from deep within the woods. Gabriel stopped, his head turning to the source. The sound was familiar… the distant shrill murmur of children playing. As suddenly as the sound had appeared, it vanished. Goose bumps rose on his arms. Had he imagined it? He massaged the sides of his head while drops of sweat trickled down his back. The burning sun and the humidity didn't help clear his mind. After taking a few deep breaths, he continued his way up the trail.
About a quarter of an hour later he heard the sound again. This time it appeared closer. Gabriel stopped and peered into the woods. He closed his eyes and concentrated on identifying the sound. Yes… the shrill murmur of small children playing. Ridiculous but true. Gabriel decided to investigate. Once under the canopy of the trees, moist coolness and shadows enveloped him. He welcomed the feeling and continued deeper into the woods, the ground soft and mushy under his boots. After a few minutes it struck him the sound wasn't getting closer or farther. Even though it was distant, it seemed to be everywhere, all around him. Tilting back his head, he stared at the dense canopy of trees. Soft beams of light filtered down. He turned around slowly, light-headed and somewhat dizzy. For an instant he felt himself floating as the distant murmur of children caressed his mind.
"Kamilah!" he shouted. "Kamilah!" He stopped turning and stood immobile, listening to his own heavy breathing, to his thudding heart. "Kamilah, I know you're here somewhere! Stop playing games!" He scanned the surroundings. Something about the tree trunks caught his eye. Their surface wasn't smooth as normal tree trunks. Lines marred the surface, natural lines which seemed to come from within the bark itself.
The lines, as if carved by a human hand, appeared to be forming something. As realization dawned on Gabriel he gasped and stumbled back, nearly falling on the ground. He looked around him, terrified. Each tree trunk portrayed a different face… a baby face, crying, the mouth wide open in anguished misery. The shrill murmur of children became louder than ever. And then Gabriel understood it, heard it clearly. This wasn't the murmur of children playing. This was the sorrowful crying of infants. He ran back toward the trail as fast as his legs would allow him.
For more on Dark Lullaby, readers may go to my website, My blog is

For the book trailer, go to
I also have a book review blog and a newsletter:
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For my children’s books, the links are:

Thursday, November 08, 2007


In many ways 2007 has been an incredibly odd year. It's been ripe with a lot of torture, but also a lot of unexpected opportunities. I got to experience one such opportunity this past Sunday. (As an author I could NOT pass this up.)

Through work, due to a new client we're dealing with, I, along with several fellow workers, and our significant others, got to spend a close up and personal day at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The Texas Motor Speedway is a huge race track facility where two of the thirty eight races run each year are held. The facility can hold 150,000 people. Traffic in the area becomes a veritable nightmare during certain times of the day for four days. And some people show up there and hold a continuous four day party till its time to drag themselves home Sunday night, and some on Monday morning.

The first thing that hit me (aside from the size of the place) was how on the outside of the long structure we had a veritable mini State Fair going on. Huge vendor displays, tricked out cars, virtual reality simulations, corn dogs, turkey legs, inflatable seat vendors, a veritable zoo of people and this was only 9:30 am! The race wouldn't start till 2:30PM.

Of course we ended up parking by Gate 1, so ended up having to walk all the way across as it turned out the Sprint/Nextel stage we were to use as a meeting point was all the way to Gate 7, so I got to take a good look at a lot of vendors. We met up with some of our fellows and then were met by our host from the Nascar Members Club. He was able to get a golf cart (which saved us miles of walking) and got us set up with a purple Cold Pass for the day. Once everyone was set, we were off.

Got a look at the helicopter landing field for drivers, the sea of RV's of weekend race fans, special tent areas for other. There's even a building with condos that overlook the racetrack.

A road and small tunnel later
and we were within the racetrack proper. Making use of the interior space, there were more RV zones, a small restaurant, pit zones, and our destination - The Garage.

The Garage is the area where the drivers and their teams set up the long rigs with their cars. Bays are also located there where they can work on the autos and also get them inspected. The whole zone is gated and has security cameras and guards. Only people with special passes are allowed in there. We got in.

Our guide pointed out the different trailers and how they'd been placed in order of ranking. All of them were plastered with the sponsor names and logos, many with plastic boxes with promo material on the drivers. Many drivers were there incognito, so if you were not someone in the know, they could walk right by you and never be noticed. We were all gawking despite our lack of Nascar knowledge, looking for drivers and other celebrities that tend to congregate at the Garage. We did see the Nascar president and several older drivers as well as many who would be in that days race.

We got to tour the pits, and even the track itself. They had a concert with a cool band sporting a mean banjo player. I was bopping all over the place! As special guests, we got to be on the physical track and but a small barrier away from the entertainment. Later the Major of Fort Worth spoke to everyone, they had some fan contest winners, Nick Nowatski (sp?) from the Dallas Mavericks, and Vince Vaughn. Then they held driver introductions. By this time our guide had moved our small group off to one side, as he knew which way the drivers would exit the place. I was 5 feet of less from them as they went past snapping away with my camera.

The whole thing was like a giant circus show~! And hour by hour you could see the stands filling up.

After inspection, the cars got pushed out to their positions by the pit crews, and the special pass people herded off the track.

We stood by the M&M pit and watched the race start. After 3 pace laps, they let them loose! The most amazing thing was the noise. While all the cars were still together, you would hear the wave of sound as it went around the track and then nothing, as they made the last bend, then wham as it came right toward you.

It was amazing! A totally awesome day. And I have tons of pictures!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Willing Sacrifice - YA Fantasy - Now Available!

Well, after a long wait and battling the Curse of the Cover - Willing Sacrifice is finally out!!!

Willing Sacrifice
To save the world she must die! Or does she?

For as long as she can remember, La'tiera has known her purpose, her destiny. As the Bearer of the Eye, she will wait until the appointed time then sacrifice herself to the demons so the lands will be safe.
Yet as the time approaches, she is snatched from her home by strangers and is told it is for her protection. These strangers tell her she is not to be a sacrifice, but must fight to live in order for the world to be saved.
La'tiera will not be swayed, however, her duty clear. Despite their clever lies, she will follow through on her destiny and do what is required. Her every effort will be put to freeing herself from her kidnappers and meeting her fate as planned.

La’tiera was left alone with the two men who’d kidnapped her. She rose to her feet, feeling tense, and stood near the wall. So she was quite startled when Rostocha dropped to one knee before her and bowed. Dal followed suit.
“Bearer, please allow me introduce myself. I am Rostocha of the fifth tier of Watchers, son of Lalu and Nathan.” He lifted his head, his eyes seeking her surprised ones. “I earnestly apologize for our methods, but they were necessary. We needed to make sure we could take you safely from your prison and could privately explain ourselves to you.”
He appeared earnest, but La’tiera didn’t believe him. “I don’t care to hear your explanations. I only want you to take me back where I belong.” She tried to make her expression hard, though in truth she quivered inside.
Rostocha looked away. “I’m sorry, but that is not possible. Our world is in peril and you are the key to our salvation. It is our duty to educate you, to keep you safe, until the time comes. Then after the danger is past, if you still wish to return, we will do as you ask.”
“What lies!” La’tiera felt a flash of anger bring heat to her face. “If you honestly wanted the world to be saved, you wouldn’t be making these promises to me.”
“La’tiera, what are you talking about?” Dal asked her.
She pierced him with a hard stare. “I could hardly choose to go back home once I was dead, could I?”
This brought Dal to his feet. “Dead? Why would you be dead?”
“Because it is required!”
Rostocha followed suit, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. “You believe you have to be a sacrifice.”
Dal spun to stare first at him then at her. “What? That’s insane!”
His utter shock at the fact confused her.
“You were expecting to die? You were going to allow yourself to be killed?”
She possessed no idea what to make of the horrified expression on his face. “Of course. I will do what is necessary, what I was chosen to do.”
“The Eye is not a mark of Death!”

ISBN : 978-1-934135-27-3
Sample Chapters
Available at - Trade Paperback
and - e-book format

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will I Ever Learn? The Stand Back Routine

As a writer there are many lessons you learn over time. Aside from things like grammar and following submission rules and a few other things, a lot of the items you have to know about concerning how to write can be somewhat fluid and dependent on the individual. Some revelations just have to come to you, sort to speak.

Though it took me a while, there's one lesson that has proven itself time after time after time. Even so, I stupidly still find myself every once in a while ignoring it. And it has comes back to bite me every single time I have ignored it. For the sake of this post, I guess I will call it the Stand Back Routine. (If any of you have a better name, do share! This one is somewhat of a mouthful.) :P

The Stand Back Routine is something I try to do with every work I create. Once I've written it and edited it once or twice, I stand back, give the short story a week or two, if a novel, a month or more, then once my brain's buffer has dumped, I can do a final edit and catch any of the little things I missed and wouldn't see otherwise.

For the brain buffer to be emptied is an incredibly important step in making sure a story is all that it can be. The subconscious is a tricky animal and while it thinks it's helping you out, as an author, it is actually not letting you do your work correctly when that buffer is full. Being so close to the work, the subconscious will automatically fill in missing words, will supply information you have inside and incorporate it into what you are reading, letting you miss the fact you never actually stated that very information for the reader! Sentences that don't flow will appear to and things that don't jive will actually seem to as well.

By standing back and allowing the brain time to dump the buffer, you can then look at your work again with a less biased light (or auto brain filler). The errors will be more apparent, the lack of information hopefully leap out, your editor cap more capable of doing what you want it to.

Of course, I, like most people, get very excited when something is "finished". Sometimes standing back feels unnecessary and superfluous or just getting in the way! You're just too excited to get others to look at it, or deadlines are looming and you can get this sucker out to the writer's group just in time for the next meeting if you skip this step, instead of having to wait a few weeks or months to put it before the group. (Or in my most recent lapse, loading the latest Supernatural fic to without waiting that crucial week!) ARGH!

Why can't I learn? I knew better - Oh I definitely knew. I've been bit before. And yet there I went again, thinking all was good to go! But I knew, deep down, I knew I had been bad. I kept getting urges to go read it - which if I had done my job right, and gone through it enough, I wouldn't want to be looking at it as I would have had my fill while making it right! So last Friday, I went and took a peek.

Within the first paragraph I was cursing. By the end I was beating my head against the wall. Uselessly asking myself (as I have every time I've done this): what had I been thinking?

So I went through it again and made it better. Something that would have happened in the first place if I'd had the patience to wait. Now, however, due to my lack of control, I could do nothing to take back the impressions or wrongness picked up by those who'd already read the story before it was fixed. I tell myself I won't do this again - but I know better...

Oh the agonies involved in being a writer.... or just being my usual stupid self. lol.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How an Audit made my day!

This week and last week have been...AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHIIIIIEEEEEEEAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! And that's putting it mildly. :P

But much to my surprise I got pumped back up and relaxed last Friday from probably one of the most surprising things ever. A visit from a Texas Sales/Use Tax Auditor! Yeppers, you heard right!

Stress has been a major meal ticket since I was sick back at the beginning of the month. Came in last Friday feeling beat down, moody, unhappy, lower than low. Brain was pretty well fried so synapses weren't firing at their best to boot. I also didn't expect the day to get any better, so this low point was probably the highlight.

Luckily, fate, the Big Guy, the Powers that Be, decided to send a little ray of light my way. This was done in the unexpected guise of a Sales/Use Tax Auditor.

Like I said, the brain wasn't firing well at all, so when I got the call from reception and they said there was someone there from the Comptroller's office, my brain registered something else entirely. (I'm sure Velina thought I was on drugs I asked her so many stupid questions about the visitor before getting down there to see her. lol.) I knew her too, as we'd met the year before on another client, but I swear at the time I didn't in any way recognize her. (Been forgetting people lately and it's getting a little creepy!) She remembered me at least.

Anyway, I dragged her upstairs, even stupidly admitting I didn't remember her at all! I think she thought it funny rather than insulting (I hope!) and we yakked until my brain refreshed on when and why she'd come by before. As our clients list us as a location, we tend to be the first point of contact for the state ones if there's an issue with their tax payments. Anyway, as she lets me know why she's there and I start pulling contact info so we can find out what's going on, she was cracking me up. She'd slept late, even though she woke up to the alarm, got up, and fed the dog - because she went back to bed! Second alarm came on - she looked at it, turned it off, went back to sleep. Then her dog got involved. Licked and bothered her, as the dog knew she was late and didn't want her to get in trouble. (How cute!!!) So she got up, threw some clothes on, did her hair in a pony tail, grabbed her makeup and went to visit the first client. She had me in stitches. (Won't even go into the how to take a nap or get off early that day part of the conversation! lol) Was even funnier when she spoke to the client's accountant and I could tell the lady on the phone got a little cheeky with her so the auditor did the "you're past the deadline and I need something done about it now or else" routine. Then mouthed to me and asked if she'd sounded too nasty! I told her she was pleasant yet firm - very nice. The Sales/Use branch can now do leans and stuff against bank accounts, so they have some definite muscle now. Never mess with the government!

By the time she left, I was feeling much better than I had before she arrived. Invigorated me enough to get me through the whole day, put up with what I needed to, and leave me in a decent mood for the evening too. Saved my day! So that old addage that a smile can go a long way, or being pleasant can really make a difference to someone's day or life, is no joke! And it can come from the unlikeliest of places.

So smile, say something nice, you might just make or save someone's day, even if you never know it. Making a difference was never easier.

And if I'm lucky, I've somehow made a difference in your day too. Hope you have a great one!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And the Winner is....Virus!

Hubby was out sick all last week and I was out three days. Normally, I am the stubborn type and drag myself to work no matter how crappy I feel unless I am in either too much pain or too dizzy to drive. Last week I was neither and yet the virus won.

It was a weird virus. And I did stay home at least one of the days because I flipped between being hot and cold and figured I had a fever (finding the thermometer around here can be like looking for a needle in a haystack) and figured no one would appreciate me giving it to them at work.

In all honestly though, aside from having drainage pouring down my throat like an open faucet and the possibility of fever, I didn't feel bad. Yet, I seemed to have total lethargy and major lack of brain function. We literally sat on the couch all day and caught up on saved programming on the Tivo.

Hubby actually felt bad. Got dizzy pretty bad a couple of times as well - not moving being the best cure. When we went to the doctors mid week, we got told we had a virus and fluid in our ears. His had gotten infected so he go antibiotics. I just kept taking antihistamines and drinking tons of fluids to make sure my stuff remained clear.

The oddest part of the whole thing was the almost total lack of brain fucntion or initiative. While I could make intuitive leaps on the stuff we watched and think, stuff outside our little sphere didn't seem to exit or have a lot of meaning. Didn't keep me from worrying about stuff I wasn't doing at work, but I couldn't dwell on it either. Things I needed or should be doing just wouldn't even pop into my brain unless specifically brought up. Mundane things like reading/answering emails, making blog posts, reading a book had no appeal or even occurred to me.

Truly weird stuff!

Hubby got insomnia on top of everything else, so he didn't want to sleep during the day and chance ruining the night sleep in case he felt good enough to go to work. I never used to sleep when I was sick, but over the last five years or so it seems to have become a main line of defense. Thursday I totally went with it for half the day and that seemed to finally do the trick -- for me at least.

Hope this puppy doesn't come back anytime soon, cause catching up after all that is killing me! :P

Thursday, September 27, 2007

People of Note

2007 - The Year of the Fire Pig has been incredibly chaotic just as predicted. There's been good and bad all over. One of the good things, though, has been my exposure to the works of an incredible amount of awesome actors and screen writers. I've watched more amazing episodes and acting than I have ever been exposed to before. (There have been some bombs, but I'm going to ignore those...told you there'd been good and bad this year! heh)

I figured this time out I would mention some of these in the hopes of getting them and theirs a little more exposure out in the world. (Okay, so they don't really need MY help. But it is fun talking about them.) :P

Thanks to a serendipitous conversation at Lazy Dragon Con I got to discover an incredible screen writer and two of his awesome shows, plus a plethora of amazing actors. And all of them from British TV! The screen writer's name is Steven Moffat He's done several episodes for the new Dr. Who (1 per season - "Blink" being the latest one shown in the states - and it was an all new kind of creepy) and is the driving force behind this summer's coolest Paranormal show called "Jekyll". (You can catch it on BBC America), which is about an ancestor of Hyde/Jekyll. He also did four seasons of a very funny show called "Coupling". (My hubby, who doesn't normally like British stuff, especially their comedies, adores this show!) Coupling basically follows three men and three women and their interlaced lives. Lots of truly creative things in this one, and the science fiction references that get thrown in out of nowhere on occasion are awesome. Like when Steve talks about the 3 main uses for a couch - #3 is a place to hide behind during Dalek attack. ROFL. Mr. Moffat does comedy and drama extremely well. Definitely a master of his craft!

From both Jekyll and Coupling you can view the work of actress Gina Bellman. When seeing her in Jekyll she is good, but you don't realize how good until you see her as Jane in Coupling. The difference between the two is so amazing that it is as if she too were Jekyll and Hyde! Which brings us to James Nesbitt, a northern Irish actor, who with very little physical change or makeup (like almost none), changes from mild mannered Dr. Jackman to the very powerful and disturbing Hyde. The transformation has to be seen to be believed. An utterly spectacular performance.

Heck, everyone in Coupling was awesome. The timing, the weird stuff they'd pull. I definitely recommend it and Jekyll! Way too much fun!

Oh and by the way, the helper for Dr. Jackman in Jekyll, is the very woman who is about to be Jamie Summers in this years remake of the Bionic Woman! (I told you I am a coincidence magnet!) Her name is Michelle Ryan. Liked her very much in Jekyll, so I think she will be a lot of fun as Jamie in the Bionic Woman as well.

Other screen writers I am definitely enjoying are Sera Gamble, Eric Kripke, John Shiban, Raelle Tucker, Ben Englund, and all the other writers in Supernatural (You knew I had to go there eventually, right?) Sera Gamble is responsible for tons of my utter favorite episodes, especially the one that took me over the edge - "Bloodlust". "Heart" just took my breath away - it's also one of the episodes I've heard is most responsible for winning converts from the female population - heh. John Shiban did the super impacting Croatoan (also one of the meanest cliffhanger episodes EVER!) Raelle Tucker will be loved forever for the episode "What is and What Should Never Be", which was also a great acting vehicle for Jensen Ackles! Ben Englund has a sick sense of humor which was a blast in "Hollywood Babylon". I swear this show has one of the best teams out there. I think only Boston Legal's team comes close!

And while you have heard me wax poetic on the virtues of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, through Supernatural I have also discovered the amazing talents of Jim Beaver! In another series of coincidences, I've seen the man in several shows this very year, and the more I see of him, the more I am impressed! He played an FBI boss in the movie "Next" (Really weird seeing him dolled up compared to the other roles he's played! He turns out rather nice!), a prospect miner in "Deadwood", and an old Vet in the now canceled series "John from Cincinnati" (which has one episode that would make any weirdness he's had to face in Supernatural totally mild in comparison! lol!). He is one of those supporting actors that brings so much to his role, but in such a quiet, underhanded way you barely notice, yet without him, the atmosphere wouldn't be there - his is the sealing touch. (Not sure how to explains this exactly.) And his performance as Bobby in the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose pt2" shows his excellent range. I was very happy to hear he will definitely be a returning recurring character this new season. Go, Jim!

Another supporting actor that has very much impressed me is Garret Dillahunt. He played Dr. Michael Smith in "John from Cincinnati" but also played two very different characters in "Deadwood" - Jack McCall and then Francis Wolcott. They were like night and day. Very nice work.

I can't wait to see what new actors and writers I will discover in the blooming new season! Am I ever glad for my Tivo! heh

Happy Watching!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I had originally planned to post something else this week, but fate had other plans.

This week, my daughter brought home a movie which I had seen the previews for at the theater. At the time I thought it had looked totally fascinating, despite the fact the second half of the preview made it look like a slasher film. My husband pooh pooh'ed it at the time, and I don't know if it was out long if at all at the theaters.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is far from a being a slasher film. They shot themselves in the foot with the advertising there. But what had caught my attention at the time when I saw the preview, it had in spades. More on that later...

As the title itself suggests, the movie is the story of a murderer, a biography actually, of the life of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. His life was one of being different, obsession, and desperately wanting to preserve things that could be lost.

For an obscure film. it had some heavy hitters. Dustin Hoffman was a total delight as the aging perfumer Guisseppe Baldini. Even more fun was Alan Rickman (Better known as Snape by most) as Richis. I do not believe I have seen Mr. Ben Wishaw before (though his film credits are many), but I will tell you he made a great creepy/obsessed/innocent/eager/abnormal man.

Jean-Baptiste is unusual from other people in two things - 1) He has an uncanny , virtually superhuman sense of smell and 2) He has no actual scent of his own.

What I utterly loved about this film is how hard those who made the film worked at making the act of smelling something and turned it into a visual medium so though you could not smell what Jean-Baptiste smelled, you could very well imagine it. There is one scene with Dustin Huffman where he opens a vial of perfume Jean-Baptiste has made and you see him overwhelmed by the scent as the scene around him changes to a lush garden full of all sorts of flowers, even a gypsy woman who saunters by and tells him that she loves him. (I've seen this done for taste in a cooking anime show, so I thought the similarities hilarious, but never mind...)

The settings, the clothing, and all the little touches were wonderful in the film. They took you from the common filth to the elite and back. And they did some marvelous things with light and shadow. The very first scene was amazing in that way as they use light and shadow to highlight the one organ that meant everything for the film, Jean-Baptiste's nose. Another lovely scene was when he sneaks up on the fruit seller girl when she is home so he can smell her scent up close.

Even better, though Jean-Baptiste is so not normal, and at times it screams of his not fitting in, you still find yourself wanting him to succeed in his project, despite the fact that to complete his goal people must die. The writers have several unusual and clever things going on as well, as for some reason pretty much anyone who Jean-Baptiste gets close to end up dead, and through no doing of his. Just some clever plot of fate, as if making sure no one would remember this unusual man by getting rid of those who know him. Several plot twists work you up toward where you think you know where things are going and then go somewhere else. The ending, while totally apt, you will never see coming.

Definitely a must see movie, even weird as it was!:P

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Book Review - Dark Lullaby

Dark Lullaby
by Mayra Calvani

Premise: Gabriel Diaz is an idealist. He loves debating about good and evil, justice versus murder. His relationship with his ex-girlfriend Liz is friendly, though he knows she would let it be more again if he wanted. But he doesn't think he loves her. Yet more fodder for moral discussions in his own mind. His childhood in Puerto Rico was not a happy one. Though he and his twin sister survived, it has colored his perceptions. The unusual bond he and his twin share hasn't failed to impart to him her fears of her current pregnancy, having lost a daughter hours after birth three years ago. Yet all these hanging issues and more get put on hold when he meets Kamilah. Foreign and beautiful, she drives him to distraction. And she seems as fascinated by the moral issues of justice and darkness as he is himself. Then little things start happening the closer the time for his trip to visit his sister for the impending birth comes. Is there a form of darkness at work here or is he only letting his imagination and worries run away with him?

Review: Filled with several exotic locals, Dark Lullaby makes for a plethora of the unusual and foreign. The Middle Eastern mythology used is also not one seen often, so it made for a very refreshing change and caused the horror aspects to be even more poignant. Gabriel has to face the very moral issues he's been battling in his mind, pushed and prodded toward an end that will affect the lives of more than just himself. While who the evil persona is was never in question, the goals and resolution weren't clear until the end, making the read much more exciting. If you like chills, foreign settings, and moral dilemmas, this book is for you! ***1/4!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Curse of the Cover

Being a writer tends to involve a lot of time spent waiting. Waiting to get distant enough from a project to edit the manuscript, waiting to hear back on submissions, waiting to get a manuscript back from a beta reader or editor, waiting to actually move up the cue to get the book published. It's all part of the process, and you grin and bear it as much as possible. But no one ever told me I would have to deal with curses too!

My first book, In the Service of Samurai, actually went pretty smoothly from acceptance, editing, and print. No real problems. But, Vassal of El, on the other hand, was plagued after it went to print with odd category placements! On Fictionwise it got dumped into Dark Fantasy, something which it is definitely not. But on Amazon, by some fluke of nature, it got slated as a Scientific Experiment Text! Who knows what it got dumped under elsewhere. And let me tell you, after you get stuck in the wrong category, it is hard, very hard to get you put into the right spot! (The publisher and myself going at it, it still took more than a year to fix Amazon! Eek!)

I sold two other manuscripts, one to another publisher, and a new one to my main publisher. The new publisher got me edited right away, and it was awesome. But they got cursed with some truly terrible personal catastrophes (on multiple members of the staff!), which trickled down, so that book was delayed along with many others for over a year. I have my fingers crossed that Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles will see print sometime around Christmas, but who knows! (I don't think of this one as cursed per say, but then, I'll have to wait and see till it is released!)

I had much higher hopes for Willing Sacrifice. But little did I know! Back in 2006 the specs for the cover were sent off to an artist, and there was a proof by January 2007. I liked the proof a lot, and so did the publisher, and after compiling some minor changes to bring out a couple of aspects, the publisher contacted the artist and waited for the changes. And waited, and waited, and waited. Despite repeated attempts to get a hold of the artist, there was no response. Suddenly the release date is looming and the book has no cover! (Hadn't had an edit yet either, so all I could think was doom and gloom!) Publisher found another artist. The edit got done. I did the final manuscript pass through. We did miss the original publishing date, but the artist did get a first cover pass out. The cover was totally different from the first one, but was pretty good. Did need some changes, (I'm sorry, Dal doesn't have a goatee!) and the comet needed to be placed on the front rather than the spine (some weird placement issue thing), but once fixed I was sure it would kick!

I wait and wait and finally bug the publisher. Well, the proof got looked at by the partner, who is also the cover layout person, and she didn't like it. Decided she would take the project on herself. But she's swamped. So now I wait, and wait, and wait. Maybe 2007 just isn't my year to publish books...

Want to take bets on whether a fourth artist will have to take a crack at it?

The Curse of the Cover is here! :P

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Psst! You there. Yeah you! The one reading this blog. Answer me do you do it? How do you find the time to go trolling around and read this stuff? Tell me, please! I really need to know! I can barely scrape the time to do an entry, and yet you somehow found time to be reading it!

Now, don't get me wrong. I REALLY appreciate you being here. Honest! I just don't have the faintest idea how you're able to do it. Share your SECRET! Pretty please?

I bet by now you're wondering why, if I have so little time, do I even do a blog? Necessity, kind reader, purely for necessity! As an author, I am more obligated than ever to market myself as well as my works. With business being what it is anymore, all marketing efforts are on the shoulders of the authors instead of on the publisher. Only the big names get a marketing budget and possibly professionals to do it for them. Little fishes like me are on our own!

With the World Wide Web, marketing possibilities have widened. But you can stretch yourself really thin that way, because there are just too many to pursue! A website is a must, gotta have it, no choice. A little changing content like news and whatnot is good too, so people have a reason to keep coming back. (Sample chapters are a must as well, so people can get a feel for your writing. If you can pitch in a free short story or too, even better!) Blogs allow for continuous new content, if you can get into the discipline of doing it at least a few times a month or more. I won't even get into the tons of groups in places like Yahoo, Yahoo 360, Ning, Beepo, Frapper, My Space, Live Journal, etc that are out there on the net where you can post info, links, blogs, forums, and who knows what not. Then you have your marketing groups, specific genre marketing groups, publisher marketing groups, newsletters, online interviews, guest blogging, the list is endless!

So maybe now you can see why I am asking how you find the time to read this! I need your Secret! I know I don't have any time to go read posts what with trying to do all this stuff, go to work, keep the family and pets happy, carve a little time for myself (Writers need relaxation too!), and heck, make time to WRITE! lol.

So if you would, take pity on me and tell me how to do it! Even better, if you have a formula by which I can either redo time, replicate myself, or get the powers of Superman, do share! I'll appreciate you forever!:P

Being an author is not the cakewalk people think it is! Eek!

P.S. If you still have time, come on over to the site. I have tons of sample chapters and some free reads too! :P

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Book Review - Dead Girl's Dance

Dead Girl's Dance - Book 2 of the Morganville Vampire Series

by Rachel Caine

Premise: Shane's father is in town and he is out for blood. He won't let anyone or anything stand in his way, not even his son. Then Shane gets caught in the area of a vampire's murder and is sentenced to be put to death. His only hope is for Claire to prove he didn't do it and turn in his insane father, but this is way easier said than done.

Review: High tension is the name of the game for volume 2. After the horrid cliff hanger ending in volume 1, the stakes only get higher and higher in volume 2. As Claire frantically tries to find anyone she can to help her to save Shane, we learn more about Morganville's vampire society as well as background on Shane's family and how things degraded to their present course. Of course Claire still has all her old problems to deal with, going to classes, keeping herself from becoming vampire fodder, avoiding the psycho beauty from school. She is pushed to her limits and beyond. More trouble is seeded in for the future as well, as we learn that Eve's possibly serial killer brother has been freed and is roaming the streets of Morganville. And then there is the proposal from the vampire leader, which might end up being the only means to keep Claire's friends safe - but at what cost? Fast paced, filled with twists and turns, Dead Girl's dance is a fascinating, enjoyable read. ***3/4!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stress and Creativity

Creativity is a weird animal. Not only is it a muscle that must be used in order to hone it and get it to give you more, but it can also be very capricious. It can drive you to distraction, prove stubborn, or send you down avenues you don't want to go on because you were supposed to be going up. At times, it can feel like a living thing, which stares over your shoulder - sometimes laughing with you, sometimes at you.:P

Stress is another strange animal. Per the Farlex Free Dictionary, stress is a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.

Stress can build in a person over time, or punch you in the gut all at once, depending on the circumstances. Symptoms, as might be inferred from the definition, can be far and wide. Almost as many as can be found for PMS! (Yes, there are hundreds if not thousands - believe it!)

And as different and varied as creativity may seem when compared to stress, you'd think one would have nothing to do with the other. Au contraire! Despite popular belief, they are not mutually exclusive! And though you might be able to have stress because you have no creativity - it is very possible to have a ton of creativity while drowning in stress! (Having the time to do something about the creativity spurt is something else altogether though! Ooo, more stress!)

Oh, I can feel your disbelief! Indeed I can. But it doesn't make it wrong. And to be honest, if you give it a shot, you might find that trying to be creative while stressed will not only yield results but will help you relax!

I can't count the number of times when after a long stressful day, I might be on my way home or about to go to sleep, when either some wild haired workable idea or a solution to some sticky plot point will just pop into my head seemingly out of nowhere and demand attention. These past few weeks, which have had me so stressed my whole body aches, have also been great for my writing (when I've been able to sneak some in that is - thank goodness for sticky notes!). It's also been something I could use to escape and forget about things I can do nothing about and actually CALM DOWN! Even better, I've been able to use the stress and its effects on me as an informational source! (Gotta use what you're given, you know?)

So the next time you're feeling the weight of responsibility, of things you can't control, or life in general is making you tense, exercise that creative muscle and reap in the benefits while you can! Even stress now has a silver lining. Spin it for all it's worth! Booyah!

Disclaimer - no drugs or stimulants were taken during the creation of this post. Results may vary. Create responsibly.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Book Review - Stargate Atlantis - Reliquary

Stargate Atlantis - Reliquary
by Martha Wells

Premise: Set late into Season 1, a room is found within the city of Atlantis that reveals a corrupted message with a new Stargate address. Sending a probe through, the site looks very similar to the set up of a knowledge repository uncovered by the original SG-1 team sometime before. Led on by the promise of possible new information or working ZPMs, Major John Sheppard leads a team once more into the unknown.

Review: Martha Wells had Rodney McKay and John Sheppard down. I kept laughing at a lot of the banter between the two. For the first time, John finds his Atlantean genes to be a detriment rather than a benefit. Wells follows a very neat premise having to do with technology making mental sounds and corrupted technology pushing the sensitive toward madness. Atlantean knowledge is abused and others made to pay. Even your friends can be made into your enemies, and there's nothing anhone can do to stop it. John and Rodney must come up with a way to safeguard Atlantis even as John battles to retain his sanity and life. ***3/4!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August Madness

August has been HOT and just darn weird. And since part of that mess made me miss posting last week, this will be this week's topic! Bwahahaha

The temperatures have been trying to catch up from the below average temps we had in June due to all the unusual rain. The week so far has been cresting at around 104F with the humidity and pollution adding to the mix and making it feel like 110. We've also been having "Red Zone" days, which basically means if you go do anything outside in this heat, you're taking your life in your own hands. Definitely not something to do lightly. :P

With Lazy Dragon Con, Armadillo Con, and the upcoming Animefest, as well as my hubby's suddenly chaotic travel for work, my movie watching on Friday Nights has been pretty curtailed of late. So it was really frustrating when we made plans a couple of weeks ago to see the "Bourne Ultimatum" and it basically exploded in my face. Thanks to Paul Greengrass, the director of the film, I kissed $9 bucks goodbye and almost more than that.

Paul Greengrass directed the previous Bourne film as well and did something incredibly annoying which he then repeated with the Bourne Ultimatum, and decided to take to new heights of ridiculous. Seems he is incredibly fond of not using a steady cam to keep the picture straight. This was pretty sad in the last Bourne film as it pretty much ruined the action scenes (one has to wonder if they were so bad he uses this to hide the fact) as you can't see well as to who is doing what. But no, seemingly he got so enamored of the process he decided to do it one better for this new film. Yes, let's make even the static, people sitting at a table scenes move and shake all over the place!

Have no idea what the man was thinking, and don't know if I want to. At least in the previous Bourne film you had steady spots to get your equilibrium back. In this latest one, well, I was pretty much motion sick after the first half hour. It was an honestly close thing that my dinner did not get to decorate the floor - and I'd had caffeine too, which normally will gloss over any slight feelings of motion sickness. Not this time. This was so over the top it was insane. So I grinned and bared it by closing my eyes and blocking the filtering movie light with my hand so hubby wouldn't miss out. And even he felt a little woozy by the end and was thoroughly disappointed by the blurring of all the action. I won't even go into the weird trio sitting next to me who entertained me in strange ways when I had my eyes closed. Must admit, does make it harder to follow the plot when you can't see!

I spoke last time about the cursed hotel, so I won't go there again. But did have some similar issues with the one for Lazy Dragon Con. The hallway for the artist alley did not want to cooperate. Luckily the comcom fought to get us fans!!! So it was still a vast improvement. And while we had room door issues at the Double Tree for Armadillo Con (locked out of my own room - that was definitely different - even with the old cliched "call the engineer and when he gets there it opens first try" scenario. Proved to him real quick it was busted though as I closed it again and then showed him! He couldn't get it open except with much difficulty himself after that - bwahahaha):P at least the air conditioning worked in the dealer's room most of the time. By Sunday we were in an arctic circle. Sometimes you just can't win!:)

Work sent me into a total raging stress attack as my boss turned in his resignation. Scott has always been the shield to the rest of the company from the owners and in the accounting side, the one sweating it the most about meeting cash needs ever since we started having troubles. Well, now the buck stops with ME! AIIIIEEEE! So while I may not be picking up a lot of stuff to do, the responsibility is HUGE and I can feel it. (Heck just typing about it for this is tightening my shoulders with stress! lol!) I will be able to handle it, but dang! (As a writer, I found the whole stress thing, symptoms and whatnot, horribly fascinating. You can ache and feels things in places you never imagined. Stress is a weird, weird thing.)

Now this last bit of weirdness caught me totally off guard. Yesterday I got up, fed the cats, showered and dressed as normal, and went through part of the dark house to get to the kitchen. Normally this presents no real problems. Not so yesterday. Mr. Boots, our resident trouble maker, decided to splay himself out on the floor right in my way. You would think this would mean more trouble for him than me, but seemingly that was not the case. Even wearing shoes, when my foot came forward and whacked into him, it was like hitting a 16 pound brick. (He's lean and mean! Gets his exercise bugging the heck out of the other cats till they take off and he can chase them! But he is so cute!) Anyway, he barely grunts and gets up and out of the way, and I am hobbling in pain. After a few minutes though, I forgot about it and went about my morning routine before leaving for work. Didn't think about the incident again - till this morning.

Coming out of the shower and drying up, I touched my foot and felt...pain! My socks were already on, so I didn't look at it. My husband pipes in when I tell him this, and says I've probably broken the toe. When I looked at it later, the middle toe is swollen and keeps bugging me. I mean, who would ever think you could break a toe accidentally walking into the cat! Need to take an Advil to bring down the swelling and keep an eye on it. Not much you can do for broken toes except watch them and make sure they don't turn interesting colors. Still, I'd never broken a toe before! My husband is another matter entirely - him and the four poster bed have a strange relationship. :P

Hopefully life has now had its fill of madness. I need a BREAK! :P Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

TV's HIdden Components

I was watching some episodes of the Second Season of Dark Angel about a week ago when something struck me. While Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly, and Jensen Ackles (YES! YES! *ahem*) are very good actors, it was still obvious as I watched why this season was its last.

A successful show has to have multiple components that jive and end becoming more when brought together. Also add in a little luck, a decent time slot (so it can be discovered), and hopefully minimal executive meddling.

Components going into the show would be the actors, the special effects crew, the filming crew, the support staff, the creator, the music (one ignored a lot), and the writers. If any one or two of these components have issues or don't mesh well with the others, what is filmed can turn out adequate or sub par, even if the other pieces are outstanding.

Of all these, probably the most critical are the actors and the writers. You can have the best actors in the world, but if the story bites, they won't be able to carry it. Inversely, you can have the greatest story ever, but if the actors can't bring it to life, it will come across as stale and boring.

Yet it seems like fans forget that shows are more than just the faces they see on the screen. That the very success of the series they love so much, is dependent on more than just those they can physically see.

Let's take Dark Angel's second season as an example of what can go wrong. The main character, Max, escapes Manticore and tries to go back to the life she had before the final showdown in season one. Unbeknown to her, she has been infected with a DNA specific virus which will attack Eyes Only when she comes into physical contact with him. She does, and he almost dies. Since they are the love couple of the show, this throws in a nice angsty dynamic for the writers to play with. Introduced into this season are Alec, another bio-engineered warrior like Max, whose morals tend to play on the loose side of life, and Joshua, one of the first successful DNA cross experiments.

While Jessica and Michael do very well with the brooding and downhearted expressions as they search fruitlessly for a cure for the virus, and Alec throws in some spice just by his general quirkiness and sex appeal, the stories that their efforts are put into, do not live up to the talents being evidenced. Several new side characters come across as caricatures rather than people to be taken seriously as threats, and tend to suck away from the show rather than add to it. The Halloween episode looks to have been intended to be comedic, but falls pretty much flat - in a society such as the one they live in, the comedic element takes away rather than adds. Then throw in some convenient hackneyed plots so we get the bio-engineered freak of the week, and no matter how much talent oozes from the main actors, nothing can save this. Which was a total pity, as the world, most of the character, the angst venues, and several plot threads had a lot of potential.

Luckily there are a lot of shows, Sci-fi and other, that do end up getting all the right ingredients together to where they sing to the audience. Firefly was one (doomed by those execs! Stay out of things!!!). The writing was crisp, the actors awesome, and there was a rapport between them and those they worked with on set that came through every episode. Boston Legal is much the same, and they take you from the ludicrous to dead weeping serious. Supernatural has top notch actors, incredibly sneaky and evil writers who beneath a monster of the week venue weave threads for season long plots almost to where you do not see them until the bigger plot hits, very good special effects, and one added thing this show does squeeze out to awesome effect is the music! 80's rock thrown in for effect and topic, giving an added layer of depth to the stories, something you just don't see much of in TV land.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Conestoga Convention Report

Every year, Tulsa, Ok holds a Science Fiction and Fantasy convention called Conestoga Con. One of my three publishers has always had a huge presence there and since I got included in attendee lists for the publisher two or three times last year when I was NOT going, I figured it was fate giving me a hint I should go. So I did!

The con was held on 7/20 thru 7/22/07. Guests of Honor were Laurell K Hamilton and Eric Flint. John Picacio was the Artist Guest of Honor (His stuff rocks!). Elizabeth Moon was the Toastmistress.(She sings!):P

The dealer's room is rather small, so no individual tables were being sold to authors. Luckily, Yard Dog Press buys two tables, one which they use to rent space to their authors to show other books by them, so I was able to squeeze a spot.

As I understand it, there were less programming tracks than in previous years, but the ones I was part of always had plenty of folks attending and looked to be well received.

Got to meet several people I know online but had not met face to face - Jim Burke, Robin Bailey, Glenn Sixbury, Mel Tatum, Allison Stein (All Yard Doggies!), as well as Carol Hightshoe (Who runs the Lorelei Signal and is also a fellow Broad from Broad Universe). (I have a story in their July-Sept issue! Go check it out! Plug Plug!):P

Yard Dog had a big party on Friday night. The Theme was Ho's Through the Ages - as in famous people who pushed their work or art. I did mine on Weird Al! Heh heh heh. Puns and jokes abounded as well as posters to all these Ho's. Hurtling Monkeys were the drink of the evening.

The hotel had all sorts of problems - I think it was their jinx weekend. Friday - their entire phone system was down. Friday thru Sunday - Major air conditioning issues down in the convention area - dealer's room was a sauna! (I've never been as grateful for a hand fan as I was during this thing! :P) Sunday the hot water went from hot to cold to hot again - the cold lasting a minute or more. (Was I surprised!) Then down in the breakfast buffet restaurant the lights in the seating area went out. Jinxed I tell ya! Luckily everything else seemed to work okay (aside from the elevator car that tried to eat me...)

Con Staff was very friendly and all seemed to have everything well in hand and running pretty smoothly. Utterly loved their guest packets. They had a program grid, a personalized paper just for my stuff, a sticker with room and times on the back of the badge, and the con program book, and not one but two name cards for the tables! Yay for organization!

Yard Dog Press released "Houston, We've Got Bubbas" at the convention and they flew off the shelves. Think Bubbas in SPACE! This is the 4th installment in the Bubba Comedy anthology series dealing with a post apocalyptic earth where the Yuppie 2025 virus wiped out all of mankind except for two types of people. Bubbas, as they proved immune due to their consumption of large quantities of BBQ sauce, and Yuppies, who due to their constant exposure to CRT screens, mutated the virus and got turned into zombies, known as Yumbies. Lots of fun!

I bailed on the con and all on Saturday evening after sitting in the sauna of the dealer's room most of the day. (Stupidly didn't look at the schedule to realize the masquerade and other things were on. Doh! You'd think I'd know better by now...sigh...) But to be honest I was not feeling too good and thought retiring early would be best. Felt loads better Sunday!

Got to ride with pilots on the way to the hotel and airport, so had some interesting conversations going on in the hotel shuttle. So that was fun too.

Trouble hit on the way home though. We're almost to Dallas on the short 45 min airplane ride when the plane is made to circle due to severe weather. Now, I've never had issues on a plane, but I almost had to avail myself of the handy dandy barf bag. Though we were circling in a big circle, it still got to me. I was so glad I had had that coke before! Made sure to locate the barf bag just in case. Luckily about the time I thought I could take no more, we were running out of fuel and so got sent on to Oklahoma City to refuel. When we got there, the weather had eased, so we were able to fill up and go back. A 45 minute flight turned into 3 hours. Felt bad for my daughter who sat at the airport for over 2 hours waiting for me! Eek!

Overall though, I had a good time, even sold a few books on Sunday (yay!), and it was fab to meet all those new peeps, both writers and fans. Hope to get invited again next year.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Weird Al Yankovik Concert

For those who may not know, Weird Al Yankovik is a parody song performer. He creates parody lyrics to popular songs as well as creates new songs of his own, all with a comedic slant. (If you've never heard any of his music, he has several free videos on his site, so you can get a taste of his music and showmanship!)

I've listened to his music for over twenty years. Never once did I ever think he either toured, or that he would do so in Dallas! (I've gotten to see so many people I never thought I ever would in the last couple of years, it's mind boggling.)

As most things tend to happen, where I am concerned, I only learned about the concert by accident. My daughter's fiance had been invited to go as part of a birthday party celebration and she happened to mention it offhand in a wistful tone. She, like my husband and I, really enjoy Weird Al's music. So I got to work! (Hubby has to coaxed to decide he wants to go out into the world.) And low and behold, Weird Al really was going to be in town and they still had tickets!

Originally, the venue was to be at the Myer's, an open air theater. The ticket website declared clearly that rain or shine, the show would occur, unless the weather was extreme. They suggested you check the weather before coming and bring raincoats or umbrellas if required. It being SUMMER in TEXAS, an open venue didn't sound great, even though it was at 8Pm, but this was Weird Al! We had to go!

For June 2007, Texas broke all sorts of records for rainfall. There were almost 20 straight days of not seeing signs of the sun. (Daystar? What's that?) Flash flooding, storms, we pretty much got it all in June. And I guess a lot of people weren't feeling too confident on July being any better as a week before the contest we got a notice of a venue change. Seems they tried to move it to McKinney first, but it clashed with something else going there that weekend, so instead we were moved to Garland, to a new student activities center - awesome for us, as it was closer, enclosed, and air conditioned!!!!

Being the paranoid and must be on time beings that my family and I are...we left to go grab something to eat in the car and make our way out to the show at 6pm, giving us a 2 hour window. When we got there about thirty to forty minutes later, the line was already forming and had a twist or two. Luckily we came prepared, so all three of us whipped out a book to read while we waited. The line got longer and longer.

At about 7:30PM I start wondering what is up as they've yet to let us go into the building. (Good thing it wasn't raining or we would have been soaked! It was hot, but thankfully not too hot.) They didn't actually open the doors till 8PM. Then you had to go through metal detectors, which made like a bottleneck in the hallway. Since all the seating #'s on the tickets got hosed, they pretty much sectioned off the areas by type of ticket, so first come first served within your area - we got way lucky as we were near the front of the line so seat choices weren't bad, unlike the fiance and his group! (Bwahahahaha)

Got some about halfway up and at the isle which ran down the center. Guy in front of me was tall, but not terribly so. (Hey, us short people have problems with tall peeps in front. :P) And with my binoculars handy, the seats were awesome!!!!

At 9Pm we finally got moving!

The stage held all the equipment for the band and also above it were three television screens. These came in way handy as they used them for all sorts of things, including to show AL TV to keep us occupied while they did costume changes.

We started out with one of the polka montages and it just got better from there. One song was like the video where you have someone with cards and the cards are the lyrics. Well, the guy with the cards was on the TV while Al sang the lines. The timing was amazing! There were pauses by the man on the video coinciding with a harmonica solo or two, also gestures and commentary. It was totally impressive! One little hiccup and it would have been totally off.

Got several of the Star Wars songs, for which all the crew changed for. So Al, the two guitarists, and the drummer all had Jedi Robes on and the pianist/organist had a purple cowled robe which was used to great effect as he played pieces of the Darth Vader theme then went into a quaint piano ditty. The two guitarists and Al also did a weird movement/sound routine that was bizarre yet super duper due to the timings involved!

The Al TV sequences were from all over the place and time, as you could tell by Al's different looks. Many were interviews with music people, changed so that it appeared Al was the one interviewing them, and hilarity ensued.

Several times, Weird Al dressed up as the original singers for the songs he was doing a parody on and the videos. And he looked just like them! AMAZING work!

'White & Nerdy' was accompanied by video with pics of the things he sang about. My husband was totally tickled when he saw the picture for Captain Kirk was of William Shatner as Denny Crane. (Love Boston Legal!)

The TV came into play again as they played the intro to "I'm FAT" as you got to see the confrontation in the subway and then the beginning of the dance sequence where Al starts to expand. Then he jumped on stage wearing the fat costume and gyrated all over the place!

One song about picking up women he actually went into the audience singing to females and a male or two. And his facial expressions were a total riot. A true showman!

People sang the songs they knew and danced in their seats (I know I did!:P), not that you could hear them as the volume was PUMPED UP. (Hubby said he was deaf for 2 days! Heh heh.)

Everyone clapped like mad at the end and they graced us with a twenty plus minute encore. One song was about cellphones, which tied into a joke he did on the AL TV sequences and then did the song 'Albuquerque' which had everyone doing the chorus.

The concert, despite changes and delays, was totally AWESOME!

If Weird Al does a concert anywhere near you, I would heartily recommend you go! You will have a BLAST.

Tags: ; ;

Thursday, July 12, 2007

June and July Madness

2007 has proven so far to possibly be one of the weirdest years ever for me. Between the obsession, unexpected upsets on things that have been pretty straight forward for years, the weird rash of coincidences, and more, it's been pretty odd. And now there is more!

Over four weeks ago, the building where I work got hit by lighting at 4:44Pm on Friday. The lightning hit one of the numerous air conditioning units, and the sucker caught on fire. We got sent home about 10 minutes early so the fire department could come do their thing. On that Monday, the units were all off, so it was hotter than hey in there for 1/2 of the day, but there was an extra surprise - someone had come by the building and thrown a couple of raw eggs close to the windows by my boss's office - kind of like insult to injury.

Well, then we move on to two weeks later.

On this Friday, the credit group picked up the mail from the PO Boxes for out client's mail having to do with their products as they do daily. Normally included in the PO Box are checks with orders and also requests for refunds. One of the envelopes was opened in a hurry, and sprayed white dust all over the poor credit person. Inside the envelope was a threatening note. This got escalated and the police were called.

Once the police got there and surveyed the situation, they escalated the matter and called the fire department. Everyone got sent downstairs and away from that whole side of the building, and the air conditioning units were turned off to keep anything from being spread further. The fire department called in the hazmat team was. (Yep, I got to see the dudes in the laters of duds just like TV.)

Though no one felt there was anything to the stuff in the envelope, it was still safer to take no chances. And aside from giving everyone a very excitement filled hour, all was well. In the end it ended up just being corn starch. Still, even knowing it was probably nothing, just that 1% chance it could be something does eat away at the pit of your stomach as you sit and wait. The poor credit person got put in a room by herself and watched from afar, in case she showed symptoms of anything. Rather sad really that someone dissatisfied by a product could be so selfish as to put so many people (who have nothing to do with said product) to such worry and trouble. At least 50 people were affected by this one individual's actions. Yes, a sad thing indeed. (And the FBI will be looking for him too. Wonder if he considered the effect of his actions not just on us but on himself! His tasteless joke could get him messed up for a long time.)

Now for the weird parts...(Not that the whole thing wasn't weird enough, mind you!)

The first involves one of the two officers that came to the scene. Both were very nice, and actually quite comedic. Did a good job keeping people calm, even entertained, as the business went down. As I looked over at them, I realized I recognized one of them. After a few minutes of wracking my brain, I remembered from where! This man was one of two officers normally assigned at a specific intersection on Preston Road to direct traffic at rush hour. I had seen this man for 7 plus years when I worked on 635. Out of all the Dallas Police officers out there, what are the odds we would get someone (In a manner of speaking.) that I knew!

The second had to do with one of the men connected to the hazmat team. When he walked in I had to do a double take. The dude was a dead ringer for Jim Beaver! (Plays Bobby in Supernatural - yes, yes, the obsession again!) I was actually staring, he looked so much like him. Had the mustache, the low square cut hair in the back. His voice was totally different, and of course an actor wouldn't be able to hold a service full time job in Dallas when some of his gigs are for shows filming in Vancouver. But I decided to do a little research on Mr. Beaver later anyway... Though born in Wyoming, I found out he was raised in Irving, Texas!!!! So though I couldn't garner the courage to talk to the seeming clone, there is a high possibility he could be related to Jim Beaver's family. Weird weird weird!

On Monday, just like we had had the eggs on the same day two weeks before, we got an extra treat. The building has a kitchen and seemingly it overloaded a breaker which made the lights flicker, and also set off the ear piercing fire alarm. So while some people ignored it, others were packing up their stuff to get outside. Until we found the facility guy and he told us it was a false alarm. So we had two for two.

Now I am wondering what will happen two weeks from then. They do say things come in threes. (Luckily I will be out of town attending Conestoga! lol!) *meep*

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Coincidence - Per 1) The state or fact of occupying the same relative position or area in space. 2) A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged.

Coincidences have followed me around for a long time. They occur so much in fact, my husband has ceased to be amazed by their frequency. For me, they cover all sorts of things. Seeing the same type of unusual car several times all in a few days. Looking at the clock and the time being all the same digits. 5:55 is my most prevalent, but I see a lot of 2:22, 11:11, 1:11, 3:33, and 4:44 (These are either coincidences or I have some weird innate time sense thing going on.) :P Heck I won't even mention the lightning strike at work 2 weeks ago that did happen at 4:44. Heh heh.

Some coincidence chains happen over a very short time, others over months. They don't normally have a rhyme or reason, at least not one I can see anyway. I've been told my great grandmother was somewhat of a psychic. I've often wondered if these weird coincidence streaks are but a super diluted version of her gifts.

Anyway, the last several strings of coincidences have had to do with (No, not again! Can't she stay away from this? What is she obsessed?) the show Supernatural.

The first one was incredibly fortuitous for me. It was back in the early part of the year when I got the idea that maybe I wanted to see if there were any Yahoo groups on the show. So on a lark, I went looking and sure enough, there was one. I joined. The first set of posts I laid eyes on were the guys talking about some play one of the actors was going to be on. I had to go back and find previous posts to get all the info, but when I did, I got to freak since it was Jensen Ackles and he was going to appear here in Texas! Ft Worth, even! My backyard! If not for these guys and my just timely entry into the group, I probably would not have ever heard about it.

The second set has had to do with Jim Beaver (Bobby). Over the last few months I've been running into this actor on shows all over the place! First time it was while on the cruise in April, when we watched an airing of the movie Deja Vu. And there, much to my surprise, was a very cleaned up Bobby. Once we got back, he showed up in an HBO show we were trying out called Deadwood (saw him just in time to watch his character get killed! Heh heh.) Then more recently, I learned he would be on a show called John in Cincinnati. And sure enough, there he was. Then out of nowhere Deadwood gets restarted from episode 1 and I get more Bobby.

The latest Supernatural encounter was this past Tuesday. Went to go see the movie Transformers. (Kick ass movie too by the way!) And within the first few minutes there is Samantha Smith (aka Mary Winchester) pretty much playing the very part she did in episodes 1, a young mother with a 6 month old child. Talk about unexpected!

Like I said, this type of thing happens to me all the time!

They say that there's no such thing as coincidence. Heck, if there's not, wish someone would tell me what this was! lol.

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