Thursday, August 30, 2007
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
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
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
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 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
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.