Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/31/11

Have a good pile to share this week. :)

Just gorgeous! Earth Shots Photo of the Day: Close Encounters by Roberto Bertero

Thor Dropped One by Jerry J Davis.

I love the way the photographer fools the eye on this one. There are more at the link.

Believe it or not, that's a real car. Large Objects Shot as Miniatures Using Giant Coin and Shift-Tilt Effects over at Peta Pixel by Michael Zhang.. 

Another Earth Shot Photo of the Day. This one is Detifoss: Raw Power by John and Tina Reid.

This one just has so much raw power to it as well. You can feel the Rhino's motion.
Also from Earth Shots - Rhino Charge by Peter Delaney

I took a picture of these because I'd never seen such a thing before - paper shoes! Funky!

A couple of sunrise shots. You know you like them. :P

I went to ArmadilloCon this past weekend. Got some cool shots of the hotel, but even better, a super cool display of Lego Art! The spaceport is original art, while most of the rest are reconstructions. So COOL!

Oh, yeah, can't leave out the Zumaya Publications table from the Dealers Room. My books are in there somewhere. Heh heh.

Totally unimpeded carpets!

This one I took because at that angle it looked like a bird! Very graceful.

They had a huge fish tank too. Really nice!

Okay, okay, here's the super beyond cool lego pics! Group is called TEX LUG - Texas Lego Users Group. Check them out at  This first one is original SF art.

So is this ship. A beaut!

Ghostbusters anyone?

New Orleans!

Loved this little garden!

And look at this sucker!

The Legos were fab!

That's it for this week. Have an awesome day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mind Sieve 8/29/11

Some definitely good stuff this week to share!

Jenny Hansen explores the question - Do Writers Read Differently Than Non-Writers? Very cute! And some truths too! Heh heh.

Total Film shared a trailer for Gerard Butler's next film Machine Gun Preacher.

Zachary Levi shared this article at IHeartChaos and a commercial from Duct Tape: Tron Style! Awesome.

 This could be a cool resource - - Your Guide to the Gods. From all over the world. Rather spiffy!

Nikita Season 2 Trailer. Whole new direction!

Catie Rhodes give us the skinny on The Most Haunted Little Town in Texas - Jefferson, TX. Really great pics of the Claiborne House too!

Vevo News had a cute triple video serving - On The Set With OK GO. Then the OK GO Muppet's Theme Video comes on. And lastly an adorable promo. lol. These guys had too much fun. :)

ZombieSchool asks - Do you need a fast deployable zombie safe house? Here's one option:

Preview for Supernatural Season 7.  (You know I had to!)

Tony Eldridge shares a list of 10 Truths About Self-Marketing, Like It or Not. Some good points here!

Kristen Lamb shares The Single Best Way for Writers to Become a Brand. Woohoo! I did this right all on my own. Of course, I still haven't gotten my name to truly be seen as a BRAND, but at least I'm not having to start from scratch. Truly, this is a no brainer.

More Thoughts on That Pesky Author Branding by Randy Ingermanson. It works in quite nicely with the things Kristen was saying in the above post.

Dr Twuth is back! (aka Kristen Lamb) This time she tackles The Twuth About Twitter Pics.(Our Avatars, that is! From the title I thought this was going to be a totally different topic. DOH!)

This week Chuck (NSFW) Wendig tackles 25 Things Writers Should Know About Social Media. Look, he can be brilliant talking about writing AND social media~! (It's the Beard, you know. Chuck is just its puppet. :P)

Debbie Ohi has compiled a huge list of Google + Newbie posts and more. Might be a place to check out if you're thinking of trying out Google + at some point. These are aimed mostly at writers and artists. (Too many for me to go through, but since they were all in one place, figured I'd share!)

From The Bookshelf Muses - Weather Thesaurus Entry: Mudslide. Real nice article on how to use weather as an extra dimension in your writing. Even examples!

From Kristen Lamb the Guinea Pig Diaries: Little Darling Anonymous. Or The 5 Stages of Edits and Crying.(ROFL. Yes, and LDA meeting with 12 Steps.)

Structure Part 2 - Plot Problems - Falcor the Luck Dragon and the Purple Tornado from Kristen Lamb. Telling it like it is! Structure is king. :)

From Nathan Bransford comes There Is No Such Thing as an Overnight Success Story. WORD! (One success story I know of only appears overnight because of four name changes! lol. So it wasn't really. She worked her buns off!) :)

Ack, that's it. Brain is FRIED! (Eyeballs aren't too happy either.) Hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Balance - The 11th Commandment!

(Sorry, since I have ArmadilloCon this week there won't be a movie review. Instead, I give you...)

I read a post last week by Nathan Bransford called 10 Commandments for a Happy Writer. (If you've yet to read it GO NOW! This can apply to more than just writer types. :P) And while I pondered away at the awesome wisdom in this list, I realized something else that is needed to be a Happy Writer - Balance.

Writers have to wear many hats.  We're authors first, but we've no choice but to also be marketing gurus, website experts, social media moguls, public speakers, and more.

For authors who have the luxury of being able to write full time, juggling these things is a little easier than for those who have to work to make the money to sustain them so they can write. And if either kind have spouses or children... It can be very frustrating to read about all the things we should be doing to get our websites noticed, how we must blog multiple times a week, read other blogs and comment on them, build a brand by interacting with others on Facebook and Twitter, let alone the writing and editing, doing query letters, synopsis, hobnobbing at conventions and all the other myriad things we need to do to get out there and be noticed.

It can very overwhelming. It can also be extremely frustrating. We want to succeed but we also want to spend time with family, have time to relax, make time to enjoy some of life while we can.

This leads to an unending struggle to come to some sort of balance. And we must! We can't do it all. Yes, sacrifices must be made, but sacrificing all is not healthy, and not sacrificing won't get us anywhere. And they won't make anyone happy. As Word Warriors we must pick our battles. Weed out what we can and can't do with regards to all the advice and wisdom we find out there. We must make things work for each of our unique circumstances as best we're able and reach a middle ground.

If internet use is allowed at work, then you can occasionally peek at what's going on in Twitter/FB/Google + and comment here and there. If not, set a half hour or an hour in the evening to see what everyone's up to or leave it as something to do on the weekends. Can't do three blog posts a week? Or don't think you have topics? Think outside the box. What you do for pleasure you might be able to share, like book reviews, photos, jokes, mashups. Blog posts don't have to be long, but please make sure they have substance.

Need time to write? How about shifting your schedule slightly so you get to work early and can type away for a half hour or more. Take part of your lunch hour to write. Or maybe even go to bed a little later, after the kids have gone to bed.

Have trouble producing? Set small goals and also rewards for reaching those goals. If I write for a half hour I get to read for a half hour. 

In the end you might not be 100% satisfied with what you can do (I know I'm not), but it's better than doing nothing. Every little bit helps. And your family will get to see you and do activities with you, which will make it easier for them to respect when you do write. Being a writer is a lot of work! But a little balance in your life, can definitely go a long way toward achieving your dreams.

What tricks do you use to balance your life?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/24/11

This should be chuck full of pics this week. I was, uhm, a busy beaver. Heh.

Photo of the Day - Ray and Rays by Autopsea. Just love the look of it. (And ominous sharks in the background. Eek!)

NASA's Cosmic Inkblot Test - The Dumbbell Nebula.

A funky Macro photo by Chuck Wendig - Astroturf


Since I took pics of the dog the other week, figured I couldn't leave out the cats. Above is Subaki. As you can see from the lamp, this is a favorite perch of hers that occasionally suffers for her patronage. :P

Mythril and Mr. Boots. You can't tell from this angle, but Boots (who's like 2 to 3 times Mythryl's size) is slowly squeezing her off the edge. Heh.

The colors! All the lovely colors! Textures too!

New place I went to last week for a coworker's final lunch before he moved to Austin. Restaurant is Cyclone Ayana's - Mexican food joint. Had great and funky decor!

Some of the funky art had moving parts twirled by air currents. Really cool!

Went to another new place on the weekend. We'd been seeing adverticements for this place at he movie theater for months and months! It's called Artin's Grill. Also had dark wood decor like Cyclone's.

Mediterranean Salad with chicken. What we loved about the chicken is they cut it super thin, so you could really mix it with your food.

Bowtie pasta with chicken.

I thought the bar was evil! The TV on the upper left was on the Food Network. lol.

Enjoy the pics!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mind Sieve 8/22/11

Okay family, how am I supposed to read blogs and fun things to put in my post if you all steal all the bandwidth? Oi!

Weird Al Yankovich shared a story of the weirdest fan encounter he's ever had and Now I Can Die animated it. lol. It truly was a weird encounter even for Weird Al. Heh heh.

From FansOfMovies the Brave Official Trailer. Should be loads of fun!

FansOfMovies also shared a link to the 2nd trailer for the Immortals.

Gene Lempp takes on a journey to learn more Of Hobbits And Pygmy Elephants. (Big feet, but did they have hairy toes?)

The Hollywood Reporter shared info and a trailer for The Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe. (He looks good in the old fashioned clothes. Hee!)

Total Films had an article and trailer for the movie Hysteria. (Based loosely on real facts/events and with a comedic slant. I was howling by the end of the preview. ROFL! I think this will be funny and embarrassing!) (And yes, women did go to the doctor for release - seems the books showing women how to comport themselves at home did not ahem, err, well never mind...!)

If you live in Dallas, the MATA or McKinney Avenue Transit now has a Trolley Tour. Free! You can give donations. Sounds fun!

Kristen Lamb's Twitter Tuesday - Spam Toad vs Author Brand.

Laura Hazard Owen wrote an article on Google + Is Better Than Facebook For Book Sharing and shows a trick for Google + that now allows you to show others what you're reading from Google Books. (Tried it and it worked! Sweet!)

Stanford from Pushing Social has a really cute blogging post called Rock, Paper, Scissors for Blogging.

Angela Ackerman over at The Bookshelf Muse gives us Blogging Tip: 3 Fast Fixes. (Good stuff!)

Ryan Frank has a post at Writing Tips where he tells us of Twelve Places Authors Should Look To Develop A Strong Web Presence. (He obviously didn't read Angela's post with that name. Heh heh.) (Is it sad I already am in just about every place he mentioned? Eek!)

Another post from Marketing Tips this time from Tony Eldrige - Google Has Free Tools For Online Marketers. (A lot of these would be useful to writers too!)

Evil Kristen Lamb talks about The WANA Theory of Book Economics - Why Traditional Marketing Doesn't Sell Books. (It's even a cliff-hanger blog post, if you can believe that. EVIL!) (She also didn't read Angela's post! ROFL! I did not set these up this way on purpose. lol)

Rachelle Gardner did a post called Poor Sales Can Affect Your Future. Sobering but true. And sometimes you've little choice in the matter. (Yes, this industry can be quite depressing. Luckily that's not the only reason we write, right?) :)

Dave White did a guest post over at TerribleMinds called New Ideas Are Like Shiny Jewels. Lots of truth there.Just dealt with it this very week. lol. Notebooks are real handy for idea notation. You never know when they'll strike. :)

Roni Loren has a great post about her discoveries on The (Not So) Dreaded Synopsis - 5 Tips to Set You FREE!

Changing Scale: Looking at Your Story From Different Angles by Janice Hardy. Interesting premise on how to use micro and macro to look at different facets of your work. I'd originally thought this was going to be about changing a story's POV, which can shift the entire tale and sometimes give you a boost in the right direction, but no. lol. :P

Self Discipline - The Key to Success by Kristen Lamb.  And she's right. Discipline and writing are like muscles that have to be slowly exercised and worked up and they'll come through for you. Though I still wish I had a clone. :P

10 Commandments for a Happy Writer by Nathan Brasford. THIS IS REQUIRED READING!!!! DO IT! Honestly, even if you're a pro, this is a good thing to keep in mind. :)

Donna Galanti has a list of basic things to keep in mind when getting ready to submit your manuscript over at Tempting Tuesday.

The Life Cycle of a Novel (in 25 Steps ) by Chuck (NSFW) Wendig.

Ack, there are more, but I don't want to blow up your brains. A very busy week last week. Ack!
Oh, and just because I got one. Hee hee.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Movie Review - Conan The Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian

Starring: Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan, Leo Howard, Ivana Staneva, and more.

Directed by: Marcus Nispel  Based on: Robert E Howard Conan Universe Written by: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, and Sean Hood. Original Music by: Tyler Bates

Premise: Conan spends his days freeing slaves, fighting, loving and drinking as he seeks information on the man responsible for the destruction of his village when he was a boy. When he sees one of the men in the original party, he seeks him out to get more information. Vengeance will be his.

Review: Jason Momoa was a great Conan. All the actors and actresses were great. Especially the kids who played young Conan and young Marique. The character of Tamara was both gutsy and real, not just a token female, which was nice.

The settings were very well done. And the vistas of the far off cities and towns, incredible. (Loved Skull Cave!) There were several to die for moon sky shots too. Lots of attention to detail - funky amalgamation for the armors and clothing of different countries. Several of the 'real' locations added so much more to sell the 'movie' locations, it was wonderful. They found some truly amazing places in Bulgaria for this film.

Loads of good fights. Some nudity and a hefty amount of gore, so this one is not for kids. The special effects were excellent. The sandmen battle scene totally fun! Oh and it'd been a while since I'd seen a tentacled monster fight - oh yeah!

There were several levels to some of the characters and even levels of motivation especially for Khalar Zym (main baddy) and Marique (main baddy's daughter). For a bunch of other characters, however, we got a lot of nada. They looked interesting, they had parts to play, but unfortunately we found out little to nothing about them, which meant when they were gone, it wasn't as satisfying as it could have been to have seen their demise.

All the story and buildup was pretty good. But the last twenty percent of the movie, they seemed to lose it. Unfortunately, since this was the most important section of the film... The bad guy achieves goal one of two, and this should have had some major impact, but aside from getting a cool new hat and cracks opening in the flooring, it didn't seem to do much for him. (Though the did have a very imaginative battle on the sacrifice wheel while falling!) Marique was shown as having magic, yet when the big battle was at hand, she's got nothing to show for it - not even the poison she'd used before.

Worse though was the ending of the film. After the big bad has been dealt with, we get like a minute of post between the two main characters, and then Conan is gone. Then another minute as he comes full circle by going home and then the movie is over. Not even voice over letting us know he has more adventures in his future. It pretty much sucked all the previous fun out the window. :( Pretty much ruined it.

So for cool fight scenes, some great CGI, and neat locations the payoff is there. Plot wise, not so much. Also, aside from the beginning and ending credits, the 3D is lost on the film. Not worth the extra bucks for that - 2D should be fine.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Matinee price)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Armadillo Con Schedule!

If you're going to be in Austin at ArmadiloCon, here's my schedule!

Fr2100SA What's New with Doctor Who
Fri 9:00 PM-10:00 PM San Antonio
F. Duarte, M. Fletcher*, G. Oliver, A. Porter, R. Rose
A discussion of recent developments with the classic BBC TV show.


Sa1000SB Game of Thrones: Comparing the Book to the Series
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
M. Bey, A. de Orive*, S. Leicht, G. Oliver, J. Rountree
Exploring the faithfulness of the adaptation and the high points of the book vs. the show.
Sa1500SM Broad Universe Reading
Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM San Marcos
J. Cheney, M. Fletcher, P. Jones, A. Latner, N. Moore*, G. Oliver, C. Rambo, J. Reisman, J. Vanderhooft
A series of rapid-fire readings arranged by a prominent women's writer organization.
Sa2030SM Reading
Sat 8:30 PM-9:00 PM San Marcos
Gloria Oliver
Su1000SB Fans in the Mainstream Media: The Big Bang Theory, The Guild, and More
Sun 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
R. Eudaly*, Mi. Finn, P. Jones, G. Oliver, A. Porter, L. Thomas
Long regarded as social outcasts, sf/f fans are now the subjects of successful television shows, web series, and movies. How and why?
Su1100DR Signing
Sun 11:00 AM-Noon Dealers' Room
K. Kimbriel, J. McDermott, G. Oliver, J. Reasoner, V. Villafranca

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/17/11

Was more picture productive last week. Lots of awesome skies. Just always tricky to try to get a pic without all the extras. lol.

Do you see the dragon? So cool!

This is a Craigmirtle trunk. Just fascinated with the color striations. We have some BIG buggers at work.

I took this one because when I was coming home early on Friday, the sky was clear but looked DIRTY! You can see the brownish line toward the bottom. Not sure if it was dust or fire smoke.

This is what happens when puppy is bored and we're two hours late for her dinner. DOH! (The carpet might not be totally her fault. We'd hosed it down and dried it outside for a couple of days, so maybe a string snapped.) The whole packet of plastic pencils though, totally her.

The pinks and greys looked more vibrant than in the pic at the time. Still pretty though.

Reading Otomen made me super hungry for cute pastries. So the kids and I went to Velvet Cakes in Plano. I got a keylime parfait looking thing but of course I was half way through eating it when it occured to me to take a picture. So you only see what they got. Heh heh. (I wasn't driving. My hands were free!)

Mom sent me these next two. Lake Texoma in the morning.

She caught the moon way off in the distance on this one.

NASA Picture of the Day is below. Cellular Flow.

Jerry J Davis got a cool picture of a pure Orange Sky.

Another NASA Picture of the Day - View of the Rim of Endeavor - looks like Texas after this heat wave!

Petapixel shared this article with Beautiful Long Term Exposure Shots from a Japanese Train. Some really neat results.

Runinng super behind, so that's it for this week!  Enjoy!
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