This past week has been both productive and stressful.
I wrote 2,291 words and revised a short story (that will be going out on the submission trails by month's end.)
Work came to a standstill on Thursday, though.
That was the day Tanya had some much needed elective surgery. It also made Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday something of a blur. She's home now, safe, sound, and on the mend. But the caretaking will continue for the next week, or three.
Nonetheless, my writing should swing back to whatever the current normal is come Monday morning.
Only other thing of note, I joined a new writing critique group. Looking forward to participating in that.
Until next time, or something interesting happens, pleasant dreams...?
It is well past time for me to post an update of some sort. I need to do more on this blog than post terse memorials of the recent passing of figures important to my genres of interest (horror, science fiction, and fantasy). There is more to life than remembering death.
Nothing all that exciting to report on the writing front, I'm afraid. Like so many others, I was swept up and away by the onslaught of Holiday activity that turns December into a marathon of activity. I also found myself suffering a bit of a post-workshop slump, creatively speaking.
Last November I took part in one of Mary Robinette Kowal's Short Story Intensive online workshops. 48 whirlwind hours of writing, critiquing, and instruction that left me exhausted.
Although the workshop did give me a new short story, one that I have been tinkering with ever since, my post workshop exhaustion was so pronounced, I have yet to consolidate my various notes into a coherent journal entry. One detailing all I learned and got out of the class. Doing that just jumped to the top my pre-writing/post-writing grunt work to do list.
Why yes, I just so happen to be using my journal to fact check/help me remember all the things that have happened since my last "official update" post (in October of 2015).
Speaking of pre-writing grunt work. I finally hammered out the Seven Point Story Structure, character bio, and "Hollywood Formula" outline of Unwelcome well enough that all the major plot reveals and character dynamics "feel right" (i.e. the result of character action, motivation, and such). This helped me figure out why my opening felt so "loose" and weak. My primary character needed some interior agency to drive her into, and through, the events of the story. More than a phone call from an old friend asking for help.
Because I have done so much prewriting work on this story (the most of anything I have ever written, in fact) I already had all of the necessary pieces and threads. There was no need to change, or move around, any of the events that follow the set up. It was a delightfully quick (and deceptively easy) streamlining of the primary character's motivation (and actions) in the first chapter. A hearty thank you to all the fine folks at Writing Excuses for giving me the tools to tinker with this story. I hate to think how many failed drafts I would have stumbled through trying to figure this out while "discovery" writing the damn thing.
On the entertainment front, I loved the recent series of Doctor Who. I think it was an inarguable highpoint for Moffat and, if this had been his last season, a beautifully constructed victory lap for him. Insanely good.
Also insanely good, Jessica Jones. Wow. What an impressive first season story. Incredible.
Not as insanely good, but nonetheless very entertaining, was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Enjoyed the hell out of the movie and I am eagerly awaiting the next episode of the now endless saga.
The Hateful Eight was something I appreciated more than enjoyed. It certainly is the angriest film that Tarantino has made. So very confrontational and challenging. He pulled the rug out from under his audience and, unfortunately, I don't think his audience has appreciated it. The Hateful Eight is a Spaghetti Western homage to John Carpenter's The Thing and, ironically, Tarantino's film seems to have been as warmly received by its audiences as Carpenters now classic thriller had been welcomed back in 1982 (i.e. not at all!)
I have joined another critique group and, if things continue to go as well as they have been, I should have a story starting the submission rounds by the end of the month.
Onwards I go, because it is impossible (and unhealthy) for one to move backwards...
Awhile back, Google stopped showing the various searches that would bring many a curious eye to my blog. Other search engines do show me and, once every blue moon, Google lets me know, too. Not being made aware of what search brought people to this small (very small) part of the Internet made sharing those searches on the blog itself somewhat... difficult. Add to that the fact that I have not been updating it all that much since I tapped out on my foolhardy attempt to listen to, and review, every single episode of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, has also dropped the already small numbers of regular visitors (if any remain) to somewhere between One and Zero.
Nonetheless, for the curious, here are the searches I was made aware of. Some are silly, some are pedestrian, and some are... unsettling. I will leave deciding which is which up to you.
pornstars pictures in beach
kolchak tv ad
photos of pornstars with long necks
red sonja raped by dog
photos of red death grimmer
describe the episode "The theater" by maugham
the diablo gazette
"Laura Limited" and "serial" and "radio" and "Nancy Moore"
"What Samuels is really talking about here is fate. You see, fate caught up with several lives here. No matter what course of action Collins took, he was destined to his own fate."
trick or treat 1983 review
walker texas ranger stolen lullaby ray wise
juneau bookstores larry correia
CBS Mystery Theater Scariest Episodes
357 vigilante book
chadzilla chadwick saxelid
walker texas ranger right man wrong time
this one, though...
chad saxelid wife death
Okay, since y'all are interested...
My first wife's name was Rosemarie (Rosie) McFarland. We were married on December 20, 1990. She passed on September 24, 2003, from alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
The most read author(s) of 2015: Mira Grant (4), Ann Aguirre (3), Gail Carriger (3), Peter David (3), Ann Leckie (3), Amber Benson (2), Paul E. Cooley (2), Mark Justice & David T. Wilbanks (2), and Cherie Priest (2).
I watched 113 movies.
First movie of 2015: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Last movie of 2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The most watched movie(s) of 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2), Kingsman: The Secret Service (3), Spy (2), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2).
I bought 85 soundtracks.
First soundtrack purchased in 2015: Iron Man 3 - by Brian Tyler.
Last soundtrack purchased in 2015: The Whistleblower - by John Scott.
The most purchased composers of 2015: Jerry Goldsmith (7), Richard Band (6), Alan Silvestri (5), John Williams (5), Jerry Fielding (4), Maurice Jarre (3), Les Baxter (2), Pino Donaggio (2), Richard Einhorn (2), Goblin (2), Bernard Herrmann (2), James Horner (2), Brian May (2), Ennio Morricone (2), Leonard Rosenman (2), and Dimitri Tiomkin (2).
And that is my reading, watching, and consuming in 2015 (streamlined for record keeping ease and sanity.)
This review appeared in the December 2015 issue of the Diablo Gazette. It was also my last review for the paper, for reasons.
If you listen to Welcome to Night Vale, you know people are not allowed in the Dog Park. You know dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park. You know, should you see a hooded figure in the Dog Park, to not look at, or speak to, it.
You know these things, and so much more.
If you have not heard of Welcome to Night Vale, and do not know the above things, and so much more, let me tell you…
Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast set in the friendly little desert community of Night Vale. A place where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while everyone pretends to sleep…
This podcast can best be described as what might happen if Garrison Keillor decided to reboot A Prairie Home Companion, and called in Monty Python and the spirit of H.P. Lovecraft to help write it.
In the three years since its July 2012 debut, Welcome to Night Vale has only become more and more popular. It goes on tour, performing live shows in front of audiences in various states and countries across this great nation. (Nations like Svitz.)
This growing popularity, which shows zero signs of abating, has also given creators/writers, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the opportunity to write a “standalone” novel set in their bizarre little desert community. (Where visitors are warmly greeted with pointed fingers and screams of, “INTERLOPERS!”)
Fink and Cranor tell two stories that, over the course of 400 and some (very) odd pages, turn out to have more in common than not.
One is the story of perpetually nineteen year old pawnshop owner Jackie Fierro, who is searching for a way to get rid of a slip of paper she cannot get rid of, no matter how hard she tries.
The other is the tale of single mother Diane Crayton and her fifteen year old son, Josh. Josh is a shapeshifter that has become curious as to who his father is, and wants to meet him.
Fink and Cranor manage to fit all the existential dread, absurdist humor, and non-sequitur strangeness that makes their podcast so addictive. A great deal of the cast also shows up. I am certain most fans will enjoy reading this.
If you have not heard the show, I suggest giving it a listen before cracking this book open.
This appeared in the November 2015 issue of the Diablo Gazette.
Edited by Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters, Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding is a collection of autobiographical essays revealing the myth of the disengaged and absentee black man to be the complete and utter lie it is.
No matter who the contributor may be - community organizer, businessman, religious leader, philanthropist, educator, or entertainer - each and every one serves as a sterling example of working hard to overcome adversities of all kinds and succeeding in their field of endeavor, chosen or discovered.
Not satisfied with success, these forty men also work hard to give back to their communities; so future generations will not face the same racial and economic adversities they fought to overcome.
Although the contributors vary greatly in age and profession, there is a disconcerting sameness to many of their narratives: broken homes, drug addiction and/or alcoholism, drug dealing, the inevitable incarceration that follows, and/or the power of being a member of a religious community, a church.
Although the short essays in Reach are not “heavy” reading; the longest is, perhaps, five pages. I do recommend reading only a sampling each night, or every other day, instead of gulping it all down. Readers should give these men’s powerful stories a chance to sink in.
While the above stories are sinking in, one might want to lighten the mood. I suggest you give Larry Wilmore’s I’d Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts a try.
This amusing humor book, first published in 2009, to tie-in with Wilmore’s then semi-regular gig as the Senior Black Correspondent on The Daily Show, was reissued by Hachette this October; to tie-in with Wilmore’s success hosting Comedy Central’s replacement for The Colbert Report, The Nightly Show.
In a new forward, Wilmore explains how his Senior Black Correspondent was a fictional persona and that his book was an equally fictional “look back” at the odd history and odder political activism of this persona.
As with any humor book, milage will vary greatly from piece to piece and reader to reader. I found Talk-Back Trauma, wherein fictional screen characters discuss how horrible it is to be constantly yelled at by black audiences, and In Search of Black Jesus to be the funniest of the lot. How Come Brothas Don’t See UFOs? Part II placed a very respectable third.
Fans of The Nightly Show should “Keep it 100” and check it out.
The Swarm B-Movie Review My second (and last) review for Bad Movies [dot] Org. I get tired just thinking about how much work I put into writing this review. Who would have thought that watching a badly made movie and then making a list of "some" of its more obvious mistakes would turn out to be so much work?
Scifilm Review: JAWS 3 (1983) I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this particular review for Scifilm.org was used as a reference on Wikipedia! I impress easy, I guess. :)
B-Movies Quarterly Magazine Issue 5 (which was the final one, sad to say) contains my article "Kingdom Builders: The Making of Kingdom of the Spiders."