Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Writing is the Thing - But Where has it Gone? TV Commentary

I've been wanting to rant, err, write about this for a while but held back due to that old adage "If you can't say something nice..." Yet I realized that sometimes, the only way to fix something or have others become aware of it is to say something, even if it is not nice.

First off though, I'd like to say this - writing for TV is HARD! Not something to be taken on on a whim. I've no experience doing it myself, but have heard from enough from those who do to understand it can be a thankless and often frustrating job. Mandates are handed down by suits who care nothing for plot, integrity, or the vision. So it could be that this issue I'm about to present might not even be their doing but the influence of things they can't control. I don't know. But whichever it is, I feel the need to point it out in the hopes that someone can perhaps shine a light on those responsible and maybe fix it...

Hope springs eternal!

I watch a lot of TV. I didn't use to as about 5 to 10 years ago there wasn't all that much to watch. But there's been a lot of stuff to interest me lately. Yet there have been some shows that I loved at first that going into second or later seasons, things change, almost abruptly sometimes, and it's no longer the show I liked.

It is TV, so there's always a level of suspension of disbelief. And that's fine, I can handle it. What I can't handle is when suddenly characters behave in ways they never have before for mere plot convenience, when stated facts for the universe are suddenly ignored, but worse, when the audience suddenly is treated like they are too stupid to understand things (especially if its a SF or Fantasy show) and believe they can get away with whatever...

"Avatar the Last Airbender" was a gorgeous, beautifully written, intelligent show about a boy suddenly having to carry the burden of needing to save the world. He had helpers and tragic enemies and I was enjoying the heck out of it. Episodes 2.10 and 2.11 ruined the show for me. Built as Big Production Can't Be Missed episodes, they were actually slaps in the face. Here are these kids trying to save the world, but suddenly it's okay to steal from a non-human who took them in an cared for them and destroy the objects he's been set to guard for hundreds of years. And there wasn't one qualm of guilt on any of them. Worse, Apa gets stolen, and though there's no proof the bison has been hurt, and this not being the first time his friend has been taken or has disappeared, Ang goes into a maddened murderous RAGE! Excuse me? Bison disappears every three episodes people! Maddened Rage? When Zuko doesn't learn his lesson for the umpteenth time and realizes how he is being used, that was it for me. See ya!

"Battlestar Galactica" I was desperate to like. Had loved the show back in the 70's even saw the movie at the theater with the giant sursurround speakers making the whole place vibrate! Richard Hatch had been trying to bring the sucker back forever. Two hour movie had to hold back the horror as the imagination of those involved obviously didn't go far (20th Century Earth with some plastic to the ties - please!) probably budgetary. Nuclear weapons, no really? And sorry, the battlestar would have been destroyed in that major battle. Look up info on nukes and radiation people! The science was abysmal! And aside from pretending to sort of keep some of the names and traditions from the original, it wasn't. But it had some social plots of interest and a funky take on Cylons, so I have it a whirl. They lost me when suddenly Apollo started being the changing character of plot convenience. BLEAH. See ya! Wouldn't want to be ya!

More recently my trouble has been with "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" cartoons. First season was a lot of fun! Second season has taken a turn that has been pissing me off pretty much every episode. And there was no need for it! It's as if the writers/suits took a drug to make them forget what the Force is capable of aside from holding a lightsaber and moving things with their minds. Worse, is things like episode 2.7 stating FACTS about zombie activating worms used by the queen, then in 2.8 using said worms in ways totally contradictory to FACTS given in 2.7!!! What the???? They've been doing this type of thing all through season 2! I have no idea what's happened over there. Come on guys!!!!

Ah, but here's the one that really hurts. Here's the one that makes me ache and despair. (Yes, I am a drama queen. Get over it. :P) I've been obsessed with "Supernatural" since not long into season 2. "Supernatural" is actually my first obsession EVER. For four years they've been giving me yummy goodness, every department of this show so on board it screams from the screen. Yes, not all the episodes have been perfect. They've had a misfire or two a season, but even those had things to make me not care and 90% plus were awesome more than making up for it. I don't expect perfection, no matter what I sound like. I know things happen. Then we hit season 5...

8 out of 10 episodes so far this season have been abysmal in the writing department. I've no idea what's happened, but I hope they get a clue soon, despite 30% of people in a survey saying it is the BEST season ever. (Are we watching the same show????) It's like every cheesy TV trick ever used is now making it into all the season 5 episodes. Monsters not being taken care of and conveniently forgotten about as if things were resolved (Poker Witch 5.7, 3rd Killer Ghost Boy 5.9). Ridiculous amounts of time being glossed over by how the events are shown (ghost boys attack Sam and Dean minutes (like 5 if they're lucky ep 5.9) after fanboys go off to dig graves - digging graves (which they needed to do 3 and only did 2) take more than five minutes to unearth!!!!

Episode 5.2 Sam kills a couple of teenagers having been led to believe they are demon possessed yet the demon knife did not do its usual loud and bright light show and Sam never noticed! Please people, he's been killing demons with this things for 2 plus years! I think he'd notice that it didn't do the usual! Even if he did not understand why not, and was being tempted by what he thought was demon blood, he should have noticed!

Episode 5.5 This one REALLY made me angry. Suits - we're NOT stupid!!!! First victim we see die and they show all the a typical signs of a ghost having done the murder. Boys never even use the EMF reader on the car. And though they themselves did not see the cold temps and other ghost signs, kept assuming it was ghosts. These guys are experts, they don't assume! Worse, it turns out it is not a ghost but a god. Uhm sorry ya'll but the gods don't have the same signs as ghosts! And if one did, it should remain consistent, which it didn't!!!! Then lets have people be unconscious and remain standing up for filming convenience, why don't we. Hello????

Would point out more but it's just too depressing...

What's truly sad is that all the other aspects of the show have been spot on. Direction, props, sets, the awesome acting. Yet it's like the writers are burned out, being sabotaged, or who knows what. And there are plenty of other shows out there that have remained consistently good overall throughout their runs! So it can be done!

Please guys, this is probably the last season, the one where all the things you've been building up for four years are finally culminating. Don't blow this! *cry* Don't let my first obsession ever be in vein! (And you know it's bad cause I do not want them renewed for a season 6.)

Okay, I'm done. Sending good karma SPN's way hoping second half is back on track. Don't make me beg ya'll!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Life of a Work In Progress

I'd decided to log my progress on my latest WIP called Jewel of the Gods. While this manuscript did not evolve in the most straightforward manner, I still thought it might still be fun to share how it evolved over time.

There will be several spots where the starting number won't match the previous sessions end number - that's normally somewhere where I deleted notes I'd added at the end of the book I no longer needed.

There's also a huge gap in there or two where "Supernatural" took over my life. The muse went totally nuts and she had to be followed. Will try to add how much I wrote during those times as while the WIP may not have gotten attention, the writing of things never stopped.

Date                Start      End       Words      Days Since
??                                        8,165
3/22/2007      8,165      8,670      505
3/26/2007      8,670      8,950      280      4
3/27/2007      8,950      9,283      333      1
3/29/2007      9,283      9,860      577      2
3/30/2007      9,860      9,865      5      1
4/2/2007      9,865      10,217      352      3
4/10/2007      10,217      10,435      218      8
4/19/2007      10,435      11,125      690      9
4/20/2007      11,125      11,400      275      1
5/9/2007      11,400      12,182      782      19
5/11/2007      12,182      12,642      460      2
5/18/2007      12,642      13,294      652      7
5/21/2007      13,294      13,815      521      3

Then Supernatural took over my life!

(June 2007 - "Sacrifice of the Heart" SPN fanfic - 26,167 Words) This is when they got posted
(July 2007 - "Appeasement" anthology submission - 4,600 words)
(July 2007 - "Jess" SPN - 32,376 Words)
(Sept 2007 - "Our Separate Ways" SPN - 24,400 words)
(Sept 2007 - "Serving the Public" - anothology submission - 5,000 words)
(Nov 2007 - "Broken Idols" SPN - 7,638 words)
(Dec 2007 - "Of Grief and Guilt SPN - 23,828 words)

Hah! You thought I was kidding didn't you? Totally took over! That's over 100K words in 6 months! I was SMOKING! Booyah! Go, Muse, Go!

12/27/2007      13,815      21,052      7,237      220
Multiple sessions forgot to list them! :(
12/28/2007      21,052      22,152      1,100      1

(June 2008 - "It's Not Working" - SPN - 2,234 words)
(Aug 2008 - "Heart of the City" - SPN - 48,344 words)
(Re edit of novel "Price of Mercy" already accepted by Zumaya Publications)

8/27/2008      22,152      23,012      860      243
8/28/2008      23,012      23,435      423      1
9/2/2008      23,435      23,815      380      5
9/20/2008      23,815      25,570      1,755      18

(Nov 2008 - "Weight of Failure" SPN - 28,297 words)
(Dec 2008 - "Snow" SPN - 6,032 words)
(Jan 2009 - "Dark Secrets" SPN - 35,524 words)
(March 2009 - "Winchester Interrupted" SPN - 31,235 words)
(March 2009 - reworked future WIP beginning Inner Demons into 1st Person)
(July 2009 - "Switch" SPN AU - 63,767 words)

9/1/2009      25,570      65,243      39,673      346
(Another chunk of Multiple sessions I forgot to list. Ack! Life was errr turbulent in late 2008 into 2009. Bleah!)

(Aug/Sept - Blog Week postings for - 6,834 words)

9/2/2009      65,243      66,288      1,045      1
9/3/2009      66,288      67,501      1,213      1
9/4/2009      67,501      68,233      732      1
9/9/2009      68,265      68,917      652      5
9/10/2009      68,917      70,103      1,186      1
9/11/2009      70,103      70,410      307      1
9/21/2009      70,410      70,850      440      10
9/22/2009      70,850      71,182      332      1
9/23/2009      71,182      71,448      266      1
9/24/2009      71,448      71,740      292      1
9/25/2009      71,740      72,456      716      1
9/29/2009      72,456      73,295      839      4
10/1/2009      73,295      74,058      763      2
10/2/2009      74,058      74,841      783      1
10/5/2009      74,841      75,197      356      3
10/6/2009      75,197      76,216      1,019      1
10/7/2009      76,177      76,839      662      1
10/8/2009      76,839      77,653      814      1
10/9/2009      77,653      78,496      843      1
10/12/2009      78,496      80,003      1,507      3
10/13/2009      80,003      81,278      1,275      1
10/19/2009      81,278      81,725      447       6
10/20/2009      81,733      82,127      394      1
10/21/2009      82,127      82,949      822      1
10/22/2009      82,949      83,519      570       1
10/23/2009      83,519      84,268      749      1
10/26/2009      84,268      84,796      528      3
10/27/2009      84,796      85,599      803      1
10/30/2009      85,599      86,628      1,029      3
11/2/2009      86,628      88,339      1,711      3
11/3/2009      88,339      88,588      249      1
11/4/2009      88,588      89,092      504      1
11/5/2009      89,092      89,591      499      1
11/6/2009      89,591      90,420      829      1
11/9/2009      90,420      91,239      819      3
11/13/2009      91,239      92,295      1,056      4
11/16/2009      92,295      92,983      688      3
11/17/2009      92,912      93,180      268      1
11/18/2009      93,180      93,458      278      1
11/19/2009      93,391      93,883      492      1
11/20/2009      93,883      95,456      1,573      1
11/23/2009      95,456      95,831      375      3
11/24/2009      95,831      96,181      350      1
11/25/2009      96,181      96,635      454      1
11/30/2009      96,635      97,209      574      5

So let's summarize this mess.
SPN madness - 329,842 words! (Holy Molly! Yeah, 3 books worth in 2 years - Muse went INSANE I tell you! And she would NOT be denied!)
Other - 16,434
Re-edits and edits - who knows!
Jewel of the Gods WIP - 97K - Almost 3 years. Way, way, way longer than I meant it to. lol.

So there you have it! One author's road to a finished WIP. Bwahahahaha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

FridayFlash - The Tree

Miaka sensed immediately that something in her kingdom had changed.

There was a new scent filtering through the house -- one that spoke of nature and outside. It sent a tingle through her furry frame, awakening primal instincts. She scurried to the corner of the hall, curious, watching her larger housemates struggle with this brown thing with green needles and that marvelous scent. They set it into a red bracket in the corner of the big room then cut away the net around it, which allowed the thing to spread out, small brown arms full of green reaching out, beckoning to her.

Boxes were brought in from the garage and set on the floor. These smelled of dust, glass, and metal.

She slinked around them and the tall outside thing, sniffing, cataloging, her small dark eyes bright.

Round, shiny items were taken out of the boxes and hanged off the arms of the tall mysterious thing. The sunlight glittered off their colorful bodies, making her dizzy and filling her with strange excitement.

Her housemates talked and worked, moving her out of the way when she got too close.

Eventually all the activity died down. Those who fed and played with her stood before the towering thing and stared with seeming pleasure.

The boxes were closed up and hidden beneath the couch or taken back to where they came from.

Miaka stared at it, too, and realized that this thing, it was for her. Must be hers. The tantalizing scents wafting from it told her so. She climbed the couch with a blur of speed then stood poised on the back studying what called to her soul. Yes, this was hers to do as she saw fit!

So moving over the top of the couch, she calculated angles and trajectories then she rushed at it, leaping through the air to land in the embracing branches.

“The ferret!”

The thing jingled and jangled as she dove deeper into the interior. Reaching the central core, she went upwards, her blood singing. She became as tall as her housemates. Taller! She was the owner of all she surveyed!

Her lofty perch began to sway.

“Miaka! Miaka, no!”


“Oh my God!”

She rolled as the thing bounced and ran off under a chair amidst the sudden yelling and running around by the others. Peeking out, she saw there was no need to worry. Her housemates were setting up her toy upright again.

Soon she would reign supreme once more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

#FridayFlash - Salvation

It started as a low rumble that built and built, reverberating off the walls of downtown.

Smiles peaked out at the increasing sound from dirty, scarred faces, their owners looking out toward the street from boxes and alleys, others through the open soup kitchen window that always burped out the friendly scent of baking bread.

They’d all heard the rumors. And it looked like they were about to find out if they were for real.

Corner dealers looked up like startled foxes and rushed to finish their transactions before slinking out of sight just in case. Streetwalkers stared with hope in the rumble’s direction, making sure their pimps couldn’t see their expressions.

The hum of engines roared as those approaching finally turned the corner, formed up in a double line. A Hesketh Vampire led the pack, followed by Kawasaki Ninjas, some Indian Chiefs, and even Hogs. The smell of exhaust filled the air. Glass rattled with the noise of their passing. Reflective sunglasses shone under the bright sun, even as black habits flowed behind them in the wind, their underskirts hitched up so they could ride.

As they came to a red light, the Mother Superior reached back to caress her bat sized cross in anticipation, her sawed off shotgun poking up above the seat from the other side of the machine. Both were within easy reach and ready for battle, just like she liked them.

The Mother Superior cracked her knuckles. After all the training, after all the sacrifice, the Church had finally deemed them ready. Souls would now be saved. She and her sisters were up to the task. Using whatever means necessary.

The Virgin Vixens – dispensing tough love in the name of God.

Prepare to be saved.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Writing on the Waves!

Trying to help a fellow author promote a most unique writing workshop! Writing while cruising in the Caribbean!

Lynn Flewellin is an internationally acclaimed Fantasy author. And she will be holding a multi part writing course aboard the Freedom of the Seas with Royal Caribbean International.

7 night cruise with stops at Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Martin with 3 days of seminars packed between locations.

Seminar Day 1:

10:00-11:00 am: Meet Lynn and Explore Her Worlds

11:00-noon: "I Love/Hate That Guy! Creating Memorable Characters" with writing prompts

4:00-5:30 pm Salon- a gathering to read aloud, listen, and discuss each other's writing. Don't be shy! You can read from stories or books you've been working on or new material inspired by the day's writing prompts, or just come and support your fellow writers.

Seminar Day 2:

10:00-11:00 am: Creating a Sense of Place:

Everything has to happen somewhere.
Crafting detailed, believable settings" with writing prompts.

11:00-noon: "The Plot—and Theme— Thicken: You don't have much of a story if they don't!"

4:00-5:30 pm Salon

Seminar Day 3:

10:00-11:00 am: "Editing: Forget "book doctors." How you do the work to make your book the best it can be."

11:00-noon: "Through the Hoops: Finishing, Polishing, Packaging, and Approaching an Agent or Publisher"
4:00-5:30 pm Final Salon

Workshop participation Age 18 and up.
16-17 with parental permission.

Special pricing for the cruise as well. So if you've been looking for a vacation and have also wanted to learn about writing and the business, this cruise might be for you!

Friday, November 06, 2009

#FridayFlash - Prey

Her hunger tore at her guts, once more demanding its due. She ignored it, already on the prowl, seeking for the means to satisfy it.

So far the darkness had revealed nothing.

Honed senses scanned for the merest hint of prey. Deftly, she skirted the trees and other vegetation, searching, always searching.

Her pangs growing ever more acute, she finally spotted a bit of light glinting through the foliage. Like a moth drawn to a flame, she changed course, dizzy with the possibilities.

As she cleared the last of the trees, she found her endeavors hadn’t been in vain. A large clearing opened up before her showing the top of a small hill with a house, the calling light coming from its open doorway.

Sticking to the shadows, she drifted closer.

Excitement ignited inside her as she noticed a flesh being sitting on a raggedy chair on the sagging porch, staring out into the night while smoking a pipe.

Food at last!

With darting movements she made her way up the hill.

Nearing the house from the side, she peeked into the porch, studying her quarry, making sure her presence had gone unnoticed.

The balding prey puffed on his pipe oblivious.

A stray strand of wind wafted the scent of cooling sweat and pipe smoke toward her. Beneath it, barely noticeable, was the intoxicating perfume of blood. She moved a little closer, her hunger rising to a fevered pitch.

All senses on the alert for signs that her victim suspected her presence, she drifted closer still. Staring at her target, she could easily envision the life giving fluid pumping through the veins and arteries. If she’d been able to, she would have licked trembling lips in utter anticipation.

Barely stirring the air around her, she snuck up behind her victim, mesmerized by the pulsing beat of blood beneath the skin at his neck.

She moved closer and closer, her hunger and the call of the blood driving her on. Yet she purposely stretched the moment, moving forward ever so slowly, letting her anticipation increase.

As she touched the warm skin with the lightest of caresses, she felt a tingle rise through her.

No longer able to contain herself, she plunged deep into the succulent flesh. Gushing blood filled her hungering body, covering her with shivers of utter ecstasy. This was what it was about -- this was why she existed.

Trapped in the moment she didn’t notice the large presence rising over her. Too late, she felt the movement above her and tried to disengage from the pierced flesh. Pressure crushed her where she stood and sent waves of excruciating pain through her fragile being until mercifully, she could feel nothing at all.

The hunter had become the prey.

“Damn bloodsucker!”

Joe pulled his hand away from his neck, staring with disgust at the bloody smear on his callused palm. He stood up from the rocking chair, hastily wiping his hand on his coveralls.

“Myrtle, where’s that blasted can of OFF again?”

Sunday, November 01, 2009

FlashForward Book and TV Series

Thanks to Tor Books I won a copy of the novel FlashForward through a contest on Twitter. I’ve also been watching the series on TV (actually on the ABC site as Thursday nights have way too much on at the same time! I’m a week behind everyone else to boot! Hopefully nothing happened this past week that was too important. Heh heh).

I thought it might be fun to discuss the book and also do a comparison to the TV show.

The novel is by Robert J Sawyer and has won the Aurora Award for Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’m not entirely sure how to categorize the novel. It is definitely science fiction, but seems to tread the line into Hard SF, though the emotional and social aspects might not make it seem that way.

On a personal level, I had a lot of fun with this book because it was like an evening of discussions in an old gaming group. The book ends up covering two of the most discussed and still debated topics in science in the past and still today.

But before I get to that, let’s do a quick “what is it about?” bit. The FlashForward novel deals with an ‘event’ where everyone in the world loses consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. When they came back to themselves and the pieces start getting put together, people realize that they viewed events 20 years in the future. The book follows the fallout from the FlashForward, and how these visions have impacted several key individuals who believe they might just be the cause of the event in the first place.

So two main topics discussed by individuals, which also throw in actual current scientific theories, are:

1)How time works – is it static, can the future be changed, are all moments in time ‘now’, freewill vs. predestination. (People can go hours and hours on this one! Been there, done that! Lol)

2)And the power of the observer. Does the consciousness of a scientist doing an experiment actually affect the experiment’s result? (Another big topic button in the gaming group! Lol.) This also leads to discussions on humanity and its consciousness as a whole and what effect it might have on our universe.

Much brain fodder to chew on.

There’s also the emotional questions that tie back to these two issues as our principals have seen futures they both do not like. I loved that Mr. Sawyer brings in stories from the Old World into it, tales and fables of the ancient Greeks, as they felt and dealt with some of the issues brought up by this event. And of course all the repercussions of people/countries knowing what has been seen in this future and how they decide to deal or not deal with what was seen.

Mr. Sawyer takes us through all of that. As a writer, I was especially thrilled to see where he saw the future of bookstores going. Hopefully some of them will take the hint and push in that direction. Heh heh. I think it would be cool and we’re headed in that way anyway.

I also learned some stuff, too. Somehow I had missed hearing about Brown Holes before. So I found the topic totally fascinating. And in a total clash of coincidence, I had a friend tell me about Felicia Day’s “Behind The Scenes: When Galaxies Collide” and had just watched it Thursday morning right before I got to the part of the book that mentioned the phenomenon as well. (Video is a lot of fun by the way, and quite educational to boot! Go Felicia!)

The book was definitely an interesting read on many levels and I enthusiastically give it a 4 out of 5 stars!

Now for fun, let’s do a comparison to the TV series.


In the book, the ‘event’ occurs on 4/21/09 and gives (those who get one) a FlashForward glimpse of the year 2030 lasting for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The TV series has the ‘event’ happen in 2009 for six months later showing them a glimpse of 4/29/10.

A neat split about the visions between the two versions is that in Mr. Sawyer’s book, those catching a glimpse had no context of what their future selves were feeling, while in the TV version, those who piggy backed into their futures knew the emotional states of their other selves thus getting additional clues from their feelings at those times. Both sets had no control over their future bodies, and only saw and heard whatever their other selves were paying attention to or where around at the time.

The principals of the book are located in Geneva at CERN, a scientific center housing a Large Hadron Collider. The TV series has our principals centered in LA.
Interestingly, Lloyd Simcoe, a main character in the book and physicist, who also is inadvertently responsible for the ‘event’, is played in the series again as a catalyst, but seemingly a knowing one. In the book the FlashForward occurred due to a number of circumstances coming together in a focal point, which produced the event – a miraculous happenstance not foreseen by anyone. But in the TV series, it is an actual feat that has been done on purpose! And not for the first time!
With the new twist, Agent Mark Benford is introduced, so we have a spear for the action adventure we expect from our TV offerings. His wife’s FlashForward actually very much resembles the one had by Simcoe in the book. (Or so it seems!) Shoe on the other foot type of thing. So it tickled me a lot because in the TV show Simcoe is the one having the affair there as well.

Another cute twist sits with Agent Demetri Noh. In the TV show he becomes the duplicate for Lloyd Simcoe’s scientific partner Theo Procopides. Theo, like, Demetri, also had no FlashForward vision and also comes to find out that he was murdered, with three gun shots to the chest. Unlike the FBI agent, he has no idea why anyone would ever want to murder him. Theo has a brother, Dimitri, who takes matters into his own hands to force others to find out if the future is changeable or not, so could be possible Agent Noh’s first name might be another indirect plug at the book with Demetri/Dimitri. (That or I’m just reaching!)

Agent Benford has a young daughter, and Simcoe’s fiancĂ© had one at the time of the event as well. Except Michiko’s daughter was one of the casualties of the event, while Benford’s daughter lives.

Mosaic exists in both places for the same purpose, but one was created and maintained by the CERN folks and the other by the FBI.

I’m very much looking to see how the show explains the event to compare against how Mr. Sawyer set his up.

Reading the book has definitely enhanced the TV show for me. Giving me more angles to look at things and comparing how the TV writers and the SF author do different takes on the same concept. Should be a blast to see how it all continues to develop! Looking forward to it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Aion MMO

I've been playing MMO's for about 6 or 7 years now. Got my start on Star Wars Galaxies way back in the day. Have done many beta's and spent plenty of time online. The newest the family is trying is called Aion. It was developed in Korea and has now been opened to the states.

Totally gorgeous game. And has been proving a lot of fun so far. Well, as I tend to do when I go anywhere with a camera, I play tourist and takes tons of photos. Most MMO's let you do the same with screen prints. So I've taken a few over the last few weeks and thought I would share.

I'll put one or two up in the blog, but the full Album (only a few pics, I promise!) is on Flikr.

This is my main - Tarrah. Gladiator by profession. Also an armor smith.

A peek at Sanctum, one of the cities in the game.

One of the many cool vistas I've seen so far in the game.

It's amazing the gorgeous vistas here. Some of the creatures too are way neat to look at.

Will leave you with my hunky alt, Jarren.

If you play the game, come by and say 'howdy'! I am in the Blades of Ariel guild in the Ariel server.

Good gaming ya'll!

Friday, October 02, 2009

#FridayFlash - Harbinger

(My second contribution to #FridayFlash! Amazing how many times I went and edited something this short. lol. Probably still missed something as usual. Heh. Enjoy!)

When my gaze came across the man-sized raven I thought my heart would stop. It walked through the death shrouded streets as if the Grim Reaper could not touch it. A wide brimmed black hat adorned its head, the ensemble filled out with black cloak, black leggings, a touch of white at the cuffs and a ruffle around his neck. Its glassy, oversized eyes stared at everything around it, its long beak as dark as night. There were no wings that I could see. But it didn’t need them. It walked the streets easily, like everyone else, except for all the sick and dying.

The year 1665 had brought with it the Great Plague. Death danced amongst us. It dispensed its evil vapors to invade the unwary and add them to its ranks. It ripped families asunder without rhyme or reason. Its mark upon those chosen distinct and unassailable -- black blossoms at the neck, armpits, or groin. Raging fevers and headaches served as teasers of worse to come. Torturous pain twisted through the guts so those afflicted couldn’t forget their coming fate. Then, eventually, mercifully, the End.

And here was a raven, walking among us, its mere presence foretelling more would fall.

I watched it move from house to house. Those that still held life and hadn’t been boarded up to try to hold in the contagion or the ones belonging to those who’d fled the city hoping for fresher air. Its beak was closed tight though there were plenty of bodies it could have chosen to eat from. They were stacked on the cobbled streets waiting to be picked up for burial, the men burdened with the task coming later and later each day as the numbers needed to be disposed of rose.

The smell of rotting flesh, waste, fear and sweat rolled and coiled along the buildings clogging my nostrils, yet it didn’t bother me. There’d been too much of it for too long for me to truly notice it anymore.

My parents were gone, my sisters dead. Rank and privilege had meant nothing in the end. Perhaps this time the messenger had come for me. Or, if I was careful, I could follow it to its master. Perchance it’d show me mercy and take me swiftly rather than leave me to die in agony alone.

The raven’s circuitous route eventually took it to a small cottage beside a church. Once the door was closed I hurried forward to peek inside through a partially shaded window.

The wide brimmed hat came off revealing a head of white curling hair. A strap, previously hidden beneath it, was unbuckled. As I watched, the raven removed its beak and became a man. I recognize him. It was the local priest. His name tickled the edge of my memory, but I couldn’t quite recall it. I did remember it’d been said he was a doctor as well.

I watched him remove moss and herbs from within what I now knew to be a mask. He put them away in a sealed tin, adding bits of this and that before closing it. Then he made notes on an already handwriting filled paper.

A cure? Had he perhaps found a cure? Mayhap the priest had found a way to clear the air to stave off infection. Surely a man of the cloth wouldn’t be like the many who walked the streets claiming they’d been successful, dispensing their supposed wisdom for a fee. Hope rose in my breast, though since the cold had meant little to me this day, I had a feeling it might already be too late for me. Yet to think there might be a way to save those still here, to save brave London from Death’s siege! It made me optimistic that spring might yet come after all.

But as I continued to watch him busily scrawling away, I realized the hope was futile. Whatever method he was trying didn’t work. For there, on his neck, was a red circle which grew darker as I stared.

The priest was doomed.

The man-like raven had been a harbinger, but the message it carried this day hadn’t been for me.

Gloria Oliver

Unveiling the Fantastic

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vassal of El Book Trailer

I'm working on these slow but sure! Finally got the second of the four/five book trailers I need to work up. Ugh! Hopefully it's not too lame. You'd be surprised at just how long it takes to find images to fit fantasy novels! Oi!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday of EVIL!

Evil! eVil! evIl! eviL!
Dum dum DUM!!!

(Okay, yeah, I know it's a little early for so much melodrama, but I figured what the hey!) :P

Was an outright ugly weird day yesterday. I'd caught hubby's virus on Friday and have been running mad fever since then. Kinda scary when the Tylenol doesn't even make it hesitate. Reason I went home from work!

So Saturday I still have my fever hanging around. But have a huge To Do List as I normally do on Saturdays - crit for writers' group, edit for hubby's boss' latest chapter on his mystery novel (doing the guy a favor), burn promo CD's for FenCon next week, check out widgets for possibly adding to the website, check the new Html/Xhtml/CSS book we bought to learn new trick, do marketing, and catch up one email. Oh and still need to make another book trailer video. Argh! Full plate as you can see.

Hacking away at what I could only to figure out I can't stand being in the office room/library as the pressure from all the rain and whatever bug I have keep giving me a pounding headache. All's good in the living room though. So I sit and catch up one some Hojo Tsukasa and some other items I've let fall behind on the reading front and even take a crack at the html book to check it out.

Keep taking meds as as soon as the stuff runs out I feel it all come back. Sucker wants to stay! Dang.

Try to work on the computer again as my hands are itching to try some of the exercises in the book. Still get a pounding headache just sitting there for 5 minutes. Grrrr.

Finally get the brilliant idea of moving the files I need to crit/edit to the laptop! Heck will move the exercise pages there too! If I can hold out maybe I can play with that as well.

Finally, some productivity! Booyah! Ah, but if I'd only know. The EVIL was about to pounce...

Couple of hours and finished the crit. One down! Went on to the edit for 2.5 hours. Smelled a weird burning smell, so moved the laptop bag out from underneath it, just in case, but figure it is most probably cat hair that's swung up into the lamp. (Don't ask - cat hair seems to get into EVERYTHING when it's in the mood! :P) Been saving as I went along as I usually do. Sigh with satisfaction as I finished and hit the button...

Weird messages pop up on the screen. Can't communicate with network drive. Like, what network drive? This sucker isn't in a network! Cannot write to file w5689 or some such. Wait a minute! That's not the name of my file!

Word goes belly up. My worry quotient skyrockets! Reopen Word. Click for the file to open. Can't find the file. What????

Time to open Explorer. Do multiple searches, the last for any files changed on 9/12. Nothing with the name on either drive. There is one recovered.txt file. Open it, loads and loads of ??? on the pages. Occasional words, enough to let me know this is Jerry's file. OH MY LORD! 99.8% Garbage.

No temp files nowhere. Getting desperate. Call for hubby, who's home, hoping for some miracle insight.

Walk through everything I've already tried. Make sure I didn't save it to the removable drive. No, nothing. It's gone. 2.5 hours of work down the toilet.

But, weirdly enough, I actually handle it well! Much to my shock, to be honest. Was sure I was going to start bawling or pitch the laptop or something. Had to be the fever. Who knew those things could keep you calm! lol.

Beaten and defeated, but keeping it together...sent Jerry a Good News/Bad News email and then crashed.

Oh the humanity! Not looking forward to having to recreate all those edits again. But did give me something for this post! Bwahahahahaha. Still need to get the promo stuff done. We'll see.

So that was my Saturday of EVIL. :P

Friday, September 04, 2009

#FridayFlash - Achievement

(I heard about a cool Twitter experiment/experience called #FridayFlash where authors put out samples of their writing by giving away free flash fiction once a week. Don't know if I can do it that often, but I have a flash story or two I thought I could share. So here's this week's contribution - Achievement. Enjoy!)

(Also if you want, join me at Twitter @GloriaOliver or come see what else I have at the website www.gloriaolivercom)

It was finished.

After years of toil, of making sure every part was perfect and whole – his opus was complete.

A moment of indiscretion had led Taltus to his doom but also to his supreme achievement. Here, in this five by five cell, the greatest written masterpiece of his generation had been born and refined to perfection.

Yet no one would hear or read it. It would die in this dismal place with him.

He stared at the blank walls surrounding him, fighting welling despair. Yet as he stared, their very essence changed in his mind, sparking hope.

The walls would be his parchment. Blood his ink.

His story would be told.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Power of Fans!

Marketing being a constant looming concern over my head for years now, I've slowly come to notice something weird - fans don't seem aware of their POWER over authors/musicians/actors/TV/Movies!

That's right...POWER. You all (we all - since I am a fan as well as an author) have POWER! Mighty POWER! Bwahahahahahaha.

What am I talking about? Glad you asked!

As consumers we generate an opinion on the products we read/hear/watch/consume. Most people though, don't necessarily share these opinions with others. These are the folks allowing their power to go unspent, trickled away into the ether...

With the advent of webpages, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and more, everyone has a voice. A voice unlike any they've held before. With the right tags, searches, what have you, other fans/consumers can come across your opinions on whatever subject you choose to talk about in an instant for years and years to come.

Word of mouth, now through the information superhighway, can zoom at speeds never imagined. You loved that book or movie? You can tell the world! And as pieces of that world run across your Tweet, review, newspage, or post, you've made a difference. You've used your power! If you included a link to said object in your insight, the clout and effect rise higher as people will tend to click to check something out, especially if it sounds intriguing. And once they've clicked so is increased the chance they might be hooked!

(So totally evil, isn't it? Power corrupts!)

Loved the book of a local author who's book you just bought at the last convention you saw them at? Hated it? Let the world know! Exercise your strength and conviction to sway others to buy it or suggest they ignore it (though sometimes bad press is actually the way to get people to buy - don't ask me, can't explain - we humans just love train wrecks).

If you truly hate something, though, the way to cause the most damage is not to tell anyone about it - good or bad. Unfortunately the same applies to things you like. So exercise your POWER. If you think the cheesecake from the bakery across the street is the Best Thing Ever - tell people! Link to their website! Let others discover this loveliness for themselves!

Electronic word of mouth will work on anything. You can infect others. Been doing it a lot myself with the TV show Supernatural (You must watch it! You must watch it!). Other TV shows worth viewing that have me eager for more every week are: Defying Gravity (OMG actual real science not fake BS like some other supposed SF show!), Castle, Bones, Dollhouse, The Mentalist, Burn Notice. (I watch too much TV!)

Also have been trying to push authors I totally enjoy as I read their stuff. Rachel Caine, Carole Nelson Douglas, Tanya Huff, Terry Pratchett, Martha Wells, A Lee Martinez, Shanna Swendson, and the latest addition Rosemary Clement-Moore.

Background music is a side love so here's some for Christopher Lennertz, Jay Gruska, John Williams, Danny Elfman!

(What's truly sad is I am sure I left off some awesome people in all these categories and will be kicking myself later!)

So see, every little squeak and link helps, folks! So support you fave shows/authors/movies/actors/food! You can do it! Use your POWER oh mighty ones. Let us know what you like. And we will love you for it!

Power to the People!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Books and Audio Books

(Haven't posted in a while, but here goes - lame blog attempt!)

Audio Books are becoming all the rage of late. But there’s one thing about them I do not understand. The pricing!

My husband started looking into them because he has a long commute to work plus he doesn’t have a lot of free time to read. He picked some up from Half Price Books to check them out to see if they were something he might like. And he did. Then I started looking at what he was paying for the things even devalued and almost had a heart attack.

The pricing on these things is insane! And I just can’t wrap my head around why that might be. Maybe someone out there can help me understand. Anyway, let’s break this down on a hypothetical case and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Fantasy Trade Paperback $15

Gets picked up as movie $9 to see it at theaters $20 to buy copy

Audiobook $45 – OUCH!

As a book it took the author (depending on who they are) months or years to write the thing. Six months to years for the publisher to put it out involving an editor, cover artist, possibly some marketing people. Finally gets wide distribution and in the bigger format $15 for the consumer.

As a movie, it takes hundreds of people to make, tens of thousands if not millions of dollars to film, goes through editing, marketing, etc and then to go see it after wide distribution about $9 then six months later it comes out on DVD for $20.
If the author sells the audio rights, an actor will read the text, it will involve one or two sound people, get burned on CD’s which are super cheap, get packaging, then widely distributed, but they want $45.

In all the previous instances they had to go through a similar process the books and the film making costing as much if not more to produce than the audio. So why is the audio version three times as costly for the consumer?

I just don’t get it. Blank CD’s are super cheap so the cost isn’t coming from there. Is it just that they don’t make as many or distribution is not present that jacks up the price?

I listened to a reading of THUD by Terry Pratchett hubby picked up and it was a fabulous piece of work by the actor who read it. Looking it up at it sells for $27. That’s twice the trade paperback size. Why would I want to buy the book then pay twice as much for the audio medium?

Just went and searched at audible for the same book that originally made me have a heart attack and there you can download it for $13.99. The mass paperback book is going for $6.99. And this is just for a download not physical CD’s as far as I can tell. Ah, looks like Amazon has the CD’s for $15.59, list price $19.99 so it’s getting better. Maybe someone is getting a clue after all…

I hope so! (Now can I keep hubby from finding out. Heh heh heh.)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Aaron Allston Donation Fund

While writers do a lot of their work alone, we do belong to a community that includes those others out there sitting before their notebooks, typewriters, and keyboards, grinding out the fantastic for the enjoyment of others. We may not know them all and we may not see them, but we know they are there.

Our fans are also another community that do a lot to support us out there as well.

In times of adversity, whether we know the person or not, authors and fans come together. So I figured I would take some time and do my small bit as well.

FACT - the Fandom Association of Central Texas is having a Fundraiser Auction on 7/19 on behalf of science fiction author Aaron Allston for a medical fund. Donations of books have been taken from authors all over to hold an auction to help with the bills. There are also means to make direct donations to the fund if you can't make it out to Georgetown, TX.

All the info you might need can be found directly at the FACT website for location, time, and other means to help.

Let's show Aaron an overwhelming flood of support for all the years of fun he's given fandom!

Here's hoping for a super fast recovery as well!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles is a 2008 Dream Realm Awards Finalist!

It is now official!

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles is a 2008 Dream Realm Awards Finalist in the Young Adult Category.


"Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern"

"....this is a story that is sheet magic..." - Eternal Night Review

Talia didn’t want to be apprenticed, not even to the prestigious Dragon Knight’s Guild. She is taken to the school by a cross-eyed dragon and his partner, Kel. A dizzying, madcap ride leaves her less than eager to be a knight, but soon she finds out the guild has need of many types of people. Running into the dragon and squire again and again, she comes to realize the unlikely pair are outsiders in their own school—participants of the dragon-human pairing ritual, which in the end didn’t work quite as intended. They are stubborn loners who are determined to overcome the obstacles in their path and make a true pair. Or are they?

As Talia’s first year at the guild evolves, she must deal with the quirks of the Administrator, her lessons, the odd rules of the school, the students, the mystery of Clarence and Kel, and somewhere in there, possibly decide what it is she wants for her own future.

Gloria Oliver

Unveiling The Fantastic

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Monster Plant

A few years ago I read a manga (Japanese comics) that involved the spirit of a dead woman. In the story, the spirit hung around/was tied to a Wisteria plant. The plant she was attached to was part of a whole public garden of them. It was the type of Wisteria that’s vine like and can be grown on a trellis. I thought they were super beautiful and decided a trellis plant would be a neat thing to put in the side of the backyard.

Mind you, our back yard is like a win funnel so the very back tends to get hard breezes so we have plants that have lived and some that have died, including trees. The side yard though, for whatever reason, has killed off everything we’ve ever tried to put over there. Still, hubby and I are nothing if not stubborn. So we went and hunted down some Wisteria and a trellis and gave it a go.

With the large amount of shade that tended to shadow that side of the house, the Wisteria was happy and grew and grew. Ended up growing so much it started destroying the trellis it was on. So since our swing had bit the dust, we brought the frame on over and gave it that to play with and even strung wire from the roof to the fence for it to work along. It went nuts.
We had to replace our fence this year though. So the sucker got cut back a bunch so the work could be done and also as it was working its way on the roof, so it would not muck that up and create leaks. I wasn’t sure how it would take to this punishment. I shouldn’t have worried. The Monster Plant LIVES!

Here are some pics of the beast! Now if I could just catch it at the right time when it’s blooming.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Espresso Book Machine Pilot Progran

One of my publishers - Zumaya Publications - has now become a part of the Espresso Book Machine Pilot program! (Which means my books are too!) Here's some info on the project sent for us to spread around. Sounds cool!

Late in April, Zumaya Publications completed the paperwork that places all our titles currently being printed at Lightning Source into their pilot program with On-Demand Books, makers of the Espresso Book Machine. Other participating publishers are John Wiley & Sons, Hachette Book Group, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Clements Publishing, Cosimo, E-Reads, Bibliolife, Information Age Publishing, Macmillan, University of California Press and W.W. Norton.

Through this program, our books will be available for printing at all facilities that have an Espresso. There are currently 12 EBMs operational worldwide, and my understanding is that this pilot program is the first phase of a marketing plan to place more of them in the next few years. The ones already in operation are located at:

World Bank InfoShop, Washington D.C. 
New York Public Library, New York, NY 
New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA 
Internet Archive, San Francisco, CA 
University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, MI 
Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT 
University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton, AB, Canada 
McMaster University Bookstore, Hamilton, ON, Canada 
Newsstand UK, London, England 
Library of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt 
Angus & Robertson Bookstore, Melbourne, Australia 
University of Waterloo Bookstore, ON, Canada 
Blackwell’s Bookstore, London, United Kingdom

Just about a decade ago, the first on-demand book printer came into being. The quality of the product, compared to the traditional printing methods, left a good deal to be desired; and the cost to print each copy was much too high for most book publishing uses. However, where only a limited number of copies—or a single one—was wanted, those early machines were both economical and sensible.

It was then that Random House editor Jason Epstein wrote Book Business, in which he stated that on-demand printing was the future of the industry. Epstein was one of the founders of On-Demand Books.

Since those early days, the quality of on-demand printing has grown exponentially, and today a digitally printed book is indistinguishable from its offset-printed counterpart with one exception: it will always have a glossy cover for technical reasons. By utilizing the improvements in digital printing technology, On-Demand was able to complete development of a compact machine that could revolutionize the way books are printed and sold.

The EBM, which costs $95,000 in its current incarnation, prints and binds a trade paperback book while you wait. Literally. In Blackwell’s bookstore, they’ve replaced the metal frame with glass so the buyer can watch as their book goes from digital file to finished product. You can view the process yourself at

The capability to print a book on-site in a bookstore or library means that shipping costs, both financial and environmental, are eliminated. Although no one has, as far as I know, calculated the environmental impact of the machine itself, it has to be borne in mind that the book would still need to be printed, yet that the now-standard print runs wouldn’t be necessary. Given 25-50% of those runs are returned and discarded, logic would suggest the EBM is a much more environmentally sound way of producing print books than any of the alternatives.

The benefits to independent booksellers in particular are clear. One of the biggest obstacles they currently experience trying to compete with superchain and online booksellers is their inability to offer a large range of titles. With an EBM, this would no longer be the case. They will be able to store the files for thousands of books and print off a copy when it’s wanted—and without paying fees to wholesalers and distributors.

In addition, they could, if provided with the proper files, print books for local people who may, for example, only want five or ten copies of a family history for personal use, thus providing an additional revenue stream.

The advantage for authors is that overseas sales will no longer be plagued by expensive shipping costs. This opens the whole world to the exchange of ideas through printed books in the way it has so far only been managed via ebooks.

We’re very excited about being part of this project, for all of these reasons. There’s something particularly exciting about being part of the future of an entire industry.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Movie Review - 17 Again

17 Again

Starring: Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Perry, Tyler Steelman, Allison Miller, Sterling Knight, Michelle Trachtenberg, and more…

Premise: Mike O’Donnell’s life is falling apart at the seams. He’s passed over for a promotion at work, his wife has kicked him out of the house and is pursuing a divorce, his kids don’t want to be around him. The only time he remembers being in control was high school. So he goes back and thinks of his glory days. A janitor at the school notices him and asks him if he had it to do all over again, would he? Not paying much attention to what he’s saying, he says yes. After trying to rescue the same old man at a bridge during a rain storm, Mike falls into a seeming vortex. When he gets home to his friend Ned’s house, he finds himself transformed back to 17.

Review: This movie looked like it would be an incredibly cute, feel good film and it delivered that and more. Zac Efron was adorable as the late 30 something man in a 17 year old body. The times when his adult brain and father tendencies shoot out to interfere with his 17 year old persona are hilarious. The comparisons between his high school life then and high school life now were way too fun. And the reactions of his children and soon to be ex-wife as he interacts with them are a total riot.

Yet what made this film so much more for me, was a totally unexpected side angle. While I was expecting the cuteness and feel good and life clashes, what I was not expecting was the fabulous use of Ned Gold, Mike’s best friend. Buddies since high school and possibly before, I’d seen the scenes where Ned, Mike’s geek friend, was forced to get involved to get him back into school. Ned’s house ROCKED! For all the Sci-Fi and gamin geeks out there, this man’s place was beyond awesome. Close to our geeky dream homes if we could ever afford such a thing. But there was more!

What I did not expect was the total awesomeness that followed Ned meeting the school principal and falling head over geek in love with her. Then all his hilarious attempts to woo the woman. But it all reached new heights of outrageous fun for me when he finally gets her to go out with him and we got the scene at the restaurant. I thought I was going to die! Lol. And the things which ensue after were total amounts of fun. (My inner geek was singing! Lol!)

So overall, this was an incredibly cute, “see what’s before your eyes and appreciate it” movie, with a side of mucho fun for geeks/gamers/Sci-Fi lovers everywhere. Definitely recommend it for a fun movie watching experience.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Movie Review - Dragonball: Evolution

Dragonball: Evolution

Staring - Justin Chatwin, Yun Chow Fat, James Masters, Emmy Rossum, Jamie Chung and more...

Premise: Based on the famous Japanese manga and anime series by Akira Toriyama, this live action rendition centers around Goku, a young martial artist, an ancient legend about an evil destructive alien named Piccolo, and seven Dragonballs that if gathered together would summon the dragon Shanglong (sp?) and grant the summoner one wish.

Review: I've followed Akira Toriyama's works for twenty plus years and have read/looked at all the Dragonball manga as well as watched the 200+ episodes of Dragonball and the 200+ episodes of Dragonball Z, even watched a chunk of Dragonball GT. I've also seen many anime turned into Live Action films and I've seen the mutations they go through and those not always pretty.

That being said, this wasn't half bad! While all the characters from the early Dragonball days did not make an appearance (basically all the non-humans except Piccolo and one other (which I won't mention as it would be a spoiler), they kept pretty much everyone else and even left them their names intact. No Pilaf, but we got his ship and Mai (dang she kicked ass!). Got the Dragonball Radar, though it looked more like PDA, even got Capsule Corp and a capsule or two, though these worked more like Transformers than encapsulated dimensional spaces.

The fight at the beginning between Goku and his grandfather Gohan was a blast. And the Dragonballs themselves were utterly wicked looking! Legends got tweaked, Piccolo's way of making minions altered (and sadly they made that part so dark you never could get a good look at those guys! and they were tall! lol), but the essence of everything was still there, which was fab.

Goku was way less naive and clueless than I was used to, which was a shock, but then he wasn't quite as isolated in the movie as in the series. Yun Chow Fat was awesome as Master Roshi though I wished they'd given him at least the glasses if not the turtle shell, but he did have the bright shirts and the lecherous attitude, so that was something.

The special effects and martial arts were decent. Some of the basic elements on the chi powers seemed to shift, but again nothing major. The Kamehame Ha was in there and that's the most important thing! :P And we do see Shanlong summoned - though theirs does not compare to the anime/manga's in scope or flashy theatrics.

Still, overall, it was a cute, fun little film. Lots of little details and bits from the characters and series the fans love, even the cities being made a little more futuristic to fit the manga Dragonball world. If you've not been exposed to DB at all, there's less to get in the way as all items are explained and explored sufficiently for the non-initiated.

There's even a nice Japanese song in the end credits. And make sure to sit through them as there's a little extra something at the very end.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Movie Review - My Name Is Bruce

My Name Is Bruce
Staring Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi and more!

Premise: A Chinese god, Guan-Di, has been released in the small town of Goldlick, and it is set on revenge for the death of some Chinese miners back in the 1800's. Not knowing what to do, the town kidnaps the down on his luck actor Bruce Campbell, hoping he will come and save the day. Except Bruce believes this is just a set up by his agent for his birthday. Things get ugly.

Review: Bruce Campbell is a hoot! He's always been a hoot and will probably always be a hoot! (Have much enjoyed following his career and he's a blast in person!) This is a film about making fun. And a lot of fun making does ensue. It pokes at the fans, it pokes at the industry, it pokes at Bruce, but most of all it pokes fun at itself.

A low budget film that makes the money go quite far. The years of experience from the crew and cast (a family affair of sorts as a lot of the old guard are friends of Bruce's from way way back or picked up along his career, while others are actual family (he get to shoot them!), and others up and coming local talent) shines forth in every frame, so you get the expected campiness we've come to love and expect from Bruce but in high form. The acting, especially from the townspeople and support is spot on, giving the film the right touch of reality/unreality for a story breaching the 4th wall in story telling. And Bruce is Bruce. Need I say more? (He's a hoot!)

Kudos to Guan-Di, which looked rather creepy. But mega kudos to the FX team as the lightning and sounds really added a lot to the atmosphere. And so much more for the super campiness of Cavealiens 2 (pronounce Kah-veliens per the tre-chic director - bit of fun in the extras on the DVD) Oh and major kudos to Ted Raimi as well. Poor thing had to play three characters in the film, and he was great! Loved his Mr. Wing. Heh heh.

There's even a catchy tune to haunt you in your sleep as well, with the lovely chorus of "Guan-you, Guan-me, Guan-Di."

Loads of extra stuff on the DVD like the "Heart of Dorkness" (no it's not a typo) a behind the scenes documentary on the filming of the film, love rumors, Kif, Bruce philosophies, and more. Some beautiful slices on the process of film making and what those poor people had to go through.

If you meet any of those who had anything to do with the film, just mention poison oak, or bees, and watch the reactions. Heh heh heh.

So if you enjoy Bruce Campbell and are looking for something light to laugh at and fill your evening, give "My Name is Bruce" a try. I think you'll be quite satisfied.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

IWOFA Spring Contest!

The Infinite World of Fantasy Authors is currently holding their Spring Contest!
Infinite Worlds is a group of writers in the speculative fiction genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, alternate history, paranormal romance, dark romance, dark fantasy, or magic realism. We build dreams. Come journey with us!
Prizes include free e-books and a gift certificate. To play, you pick authors from the list depending on taste of content, troll the author's website for the answer to the question, the email the answer back to the email on the contest rules page.
Great way to check out new authors and maybe win some free books plus!
See you there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March is Small Press Month

March is Small Press Month!

Being as all my books and most of the anthologies I have been lucky enough to be in are from Independent and Small Presses I figured I would do my bit to push for a little awareness! has a site full of events happening all across the country to promote small press and small press authors.

With so much of the content coming from the big publisher becoming so cookie cutter, small presses are great as an alternative or supplemental reading source. New voices, new concepts, expanding choices for readers everywhere.

How about supporting a local press this month?

Don't know any small presses? Here's a few you might like to give a look see:

Zumaya Publications

Yard Dog Press

HardShell Word Factory

They all have something for everyone. Enjoy!

Have a great Small Press Month!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wall of Weird - Coincidences

Started work on this in January and am only now getting this post done. 2009 seems to be keeping me busy! Dang!

Anyway, I had an idea back early in the year for a neat webpage I could add to my main site. You see, for the longest time ever, I've always had runs of weird coincidences. Nothing meaningful or life changing, but just enough of something to make themselves noticed. I've had no many in fact that my husband doesn't even bat an eye at them anymore and if anything seems to look forward to what is going to pop up next.

I'm hopping to update the Wall of Weird - Coincidences at least once a month, but I just started and am already slacking. lol. Sadly, I know I had one or two bits written down somewhere and can't find them at the moment to add for the last month. Grrrr.

Here's the stuff I compiled for December. Visit the webpage for the new Jan/Feb stuff. :P

December 2008 - Dawnson's Creek. I bought season 6 of Dawson's Creek to see Jensen Ackles as he was one of the recurring guest stars that last season. (I discovered his work during Smallville and Supernatural and have been slowly digging out other things he's been in - he's VERY good.) As I watched the season, suddenly there were Dawson Creek people and things popping out of the woodwork for me.

First one happened when we were flipping channels and stopped on South Park (which we hardly ever watch) and the episode revolved around a Dawson's Creek Trapper Keeper and how it would evolve into a giant computer and take over the world ala Terminator. Then I finally got to see the movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (long story on how I missed it years ago - and man do they cuss a bucket in this sucker), and freaked when James Van Der Beek (Dawson) shows up in it and pokes fun of the show. Then, My Bloody Valentine, which at the time was going to be a new release for Jensen Ackles, ends up also staring Kerr Smith, who was one of the principals of Dawson's Creek! (I'd already been watching Joshua Jackson on Fringe, so he doesn't count.)

Funnier still was when I did get to watch MBV, poor Jensen gets punched in the face by Kerr Smith. Something which also happened to him by Joshua Jackson in Dawnson's Creek. Now he just needs to be punched by Van Der Beek and he will have a hat trick. heh heh.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Details, details, details – they do a lot more than you think

A few weeks ago I went to one of our favorite family owned restaurants. After we’d ordered and got our food, I noticed that unlike the norm, this time they’d not added the colorful bit of garnish they usually placed on the dishes they served. While the food was as good as ever, the missing bit still, weirdly enough, detracted from our dining experience. Now that the garnish was missing, I understood how much such a simple thing had actually added to the enjoyment of the meal. So while something that on its own may not be all that important, in the big picture of things, for the whole, the minor detail had added more than anyone would have thought.

Following this realization, I decided to mentally take it further as it drove home an old writing point.

One of the lessons writers have to learn, and sometimes have trouble with is to make sure to expand and include some of the other senses aside from just sight to their descriptions of scenes, locations, actions, people. The added details and dimensions in and of themselves do not seem to mean a lot, but when combined with the whole, the ambiance, the mental picture being related to the reader is richer, deeper, gives them more to work with and gives many times its weight to bring the situation home and make people more involved. Thus enhancing their overall experience.

Think of it as taking a two dimensional picture and making it 3D. Of giving something just that needed touch, or extra bit of garnish to take it from the mundane into the exceptional – to make it vivid and full of life.
Hmmm, an example would be nice, wouldn’t it? *wracks brain wracks brain wracks brain*

2D---Jake strolled down the busy street, the sound of vendors filling the air as they attempted to entice the passersby into looking at their wares.---

Okay think about the image in your mind at this point from the bare bones description. Now read the next one.

3D---Jake strolled down the street, dodging the other pedestrians who streamed to a fro in the busy street. The scent of baked bread and freshly cut flowers swirled through the morning breeze with the voice of vendors as they called out to the passersby trying to entice them to look at their wares. The awnings for the store fronts swept a wide cascade of colors, making the manmade street a garden in its own right.---

See the difference? Like going from plain black and white to Technicolor.

Yes, like in all things, you can get carried away or you can numb or bore the reader by using too much of it. But a nice sprinkling here and there can make a world of difference in the visions you’re trying to create and how successful you are at it.

Don’t take away my garnish, less it spoil the scrumptious meal and leave me wanting. Just the right touch or detail can mean ever so much more than what you had to start with.
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