Tentacles!!

23 04 2013

I love ‘em.

It sounds awkward, but I do.

Now while that might make me sound like a professional hentai artist or, at the very least, a huge fan of profoundly strange Japanese animation, I just really like tentacles.

There is something about the appearance that screams alien, unknown, archaic mysticism. I’m a big reader of the Lovecraftian and other forms of horror. While engaging in activity that scares oneself for entertainment seems counter intuitive, it’s really just another way of achieving catharsis, and learning more about one’s self.

In college I took a course from an incredibly short Canadian woman entitled “The rise of the Nazis”.

While your immediate reaction may be to connect the two things (Tentacles and Nazis) in a scary-history-channel-occult sort of way, that’s not quiet what I’m going for. Part of the course was an examination of German film in the 20’s and 30’s. A lot of horror and other expressionist films were being made in Germany at the time, a direct result of the upheaval the country had experienced both during and post WWI. (That’s World War One, not Waffle World International.)

The argument here is that horrible times leads to horror films.

One of the most famous:  Nosferatu

Courtesy of Wikipedia

But I think I’m on a tangent here. Actually, I KNOW I’m on a tangent and it seems to have run off with me farther than is usual.

Tentacles.

I like tentacles.

I also like books.

What happens when you combine two things that I love deeply? You get lovely tentacle bookends from Knob Creek Metal Arts on Etsy!

RAWR!!

Knob Creek also features a pile of other book ends. Steel with a hammered black finish.

GO TO THE STORE AND GET YOURSELF SOME!





The Ones You Don’t Talk About

27 08 2012

I’ve been prepping some books for review this past month. I have to tell you though that these aren’t what you might call mainstream choices. I must concede that perhaps one of these made the New York Times best sellers list. However, that certainly does not make it the sort of piece you’re going to see everyone reading. So what are they? Why should you care?

Because they’re off the beaten path dear friend. These aren’t the books you bring to book club. Unless, possibly  if Ted Kaczynski is a member. Maybe. I can’t say for sure since I didn’t really know the guy personally. Regardless, they aren’t going to be winning any of those fancy Oprah’s book club ribbons or what have you.

You may be asking yourself right now for some examples. That’s fair.

 

A Bit of Scifi

 

25 For 25 (eBook)

A collection of 25 short stories all set in the fictional universe that serves as the backdrop to a popular table top war game. Yeah. War game. As in fancy toy soldiers. DON’T JUDGE ME! Slams the door to parent’s basement.

SERIOUSLY though. I got into these because I do actually play this game. It was only a matter of time before I started to explore the background materials. In all honesty the team of writers employed by the developer, Games Workshop, actually create some pretty good stuff. It’s an unexpected mix of science fiction and early religion.

Not two things that would have immediately demanded to be paired together in my mind but it works splendidly.

 

A Bit of Crazy 

 

Survivors-FrontCover36DPI.jpg

Great paranoid conspiracy writer, Batman! That’s survival fiction!

I’ve mentioned at some point on the blog that I do believe in a certain measure of preparedness. But I come from a country that experiences many earthquakes a year. These things are so strong that they have leveled large chunks of urban real estate!

I don’t own a bunker. I don’t have a food stockpile. I don’t own a wilderness retreat in the midwest complete with livestock and a garden that feeds 50. (I just don’t have the money right now.)

Say what you will about expecting disasters but the author, James Wesley Rawles, knows what he’s doing. This novel, at the time of posting, was third on the NY Times best sellers list for hardcover books.

 

Braaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnns.

 

Zombies vs. Unicorns. Do I even need to say more? Seriously? Do I?

I don’t think so.

Each one a different beast with one common theme. Good books that perhaps not everyone would see on a bookshelf and think “Hey, I might pick that up today.”

Each one will be getting a bit of lovin’.





Bondage,Serial Killers, and the Swiss.

11 08 2012

I can’t even describe to you how happy I am at this particular point in time. Not quite a hit-the-lotto euphoria. More like the adult toy store down the street just got a new shipment of Sesame Street inspired lotions in and the bullwhips are two for a dollar. (Which isn’t really the case. The adult toy store is in another town.)

The couple-days-shy-of-a-month-long-hiatus that I meant to tell all of you in the deep, dark and sweaty recesses of the internet about but FAILED, is over! (Blog post was written on phone but saved as a draft instead of posted. WordPress app FAIL.) That means we, here at the press, which is really just a fancy way of saying me and whatever other ridiculousness comes along with this disorder, are back!

I’ve got a healthy new mountain of curious animal bits in the ol’ mailbox for the next Spam installment, which, I have browsed a bit and am very excited to work with. I’m planning on assaulting you all with a TON of new short fiction entries in an attempt to address all of the Picture it and Write! entries over at Ermiliablog. And even have a new, crazy and random individual that pops up in my life from time to time to tell you about.

It’s going to be a good time this month folks. A good time. *Wink*

But what about today? Well I’ll tell you. You better grab your nearest umbrella and or poncho because I’m about to subject you to another stream of random neuron-firings!

INCOMING.

I have a friend who recently suffered a concussion. Again. This makes number six I believe. I was told once that if you suffer five you run a great chance of experiencing brain damage. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it’s a bit frightening all the same. I get books from this girl. I would hate for her to one day start recommending things to me that are predominately picture-based.

I have nothing against books with pictures. I like the others ones better though.

Craziest thing I’ve seen lately? A girl throwing her legs apart while driving past a Church of Immaculate Conception screaming, “Give it to me God!” Listen. I understand that pregnancy is something you’re into. It seems to be a goal. I just think there are better ways to go about it. What kind of message would God be sending if he got you pregnant while you were driving? That’s just not safe driving.

On a similar note, how can you stand pregnancy? I couldn’t do that. No way. It would be nine months of non-stop nightmares featuring Sigourney Weaver and a lot of drool. Now that sounds like it could be a good thing but I’m talking about aliens. From the movies. Aliens. That’s some crazy, chest-bursting, swiss surrealism right there.

And has anyone ever seen a picture of H.R Giger? Talk about your horror movie characters. That guy looks like he just might flay his interns and wear their skin like coats and Halloween masks. Maybe its part of his process. I don’t know, I never worked for the guy. If he ever offers you a coat, JUST. SAY.NO.

And why are they called serial killers? To someone new to the English language that could be a little confusing. Or comical. Maybe a bit of both. But running into a grocery store and storming toward the breakfast foods isle announcing, jokingly in broken english, that you are a “cereal killer” is more likely to get you tased then fed.

It’s a complicated language. You must fear it and respect it. One word can mean the difference between Cheerios and the electric chair.

Stay Tuned.





Reviewing Blind Sight Part II

7 03 2012

I have to preface my brief thoughts on this book by saying the pair of them worked. They just worked. Not only that, but my reading experience while I made my way through the pages of this angle, was only bolstered by the knowledge I had gained from the first.I felt as though I was constantly saying ah-HA! And that was a lot of fun. Yet at the same time the author manages to make things feel new.

Aniela’s book was a much more magical beast. She had grown up knowing of the existence of powers on the island and that colored not only her interpretation of certain key events with Odette’s story line, but also the way she approached her relationship with Leocardo.

 

Conversely he doesn’t respond well to the ‘supernatural’ things going on around him. Upon first entering their apartment he launches into a scene reminiscent of Mel Gibson in conspiracy theory. I’m surprised his first move isn’t to sink half his money into pad locks for his tapioca pudding.Leocardo isn’t already established on the island. He’s the ‘just got finished talking to Mr. Roarke and Tattoo sort of guy.’ New arrival. And right from the get go, you can see that this fellow is a man of action. It’s reflected well in the overall pacing of the book which moves at a quicker rate then Aniela’s side.

Not a bad thing. After having met Leocardo in Aniela’s perspective, it fits. 100%. And the idea that I had of him, based on other characters interacting with him in the other book, was confirmed. He is painted rather exactly like I imagined.

This book is written in a way that is unique from its sibling novel. The writer most certainly has her own voice and uses it well to relay Leocardo’s side of things. The pacing is spot on and it just oozes tension.

Could you read one of these books and not the other and still be fulfilled? Yes. But why in the world would you? These novels are done in such a manner that they are far more than rehashing the same story from a different perspective. The characters are individual enough and bold enough to make you feel like you might just be reading two entirely different stories.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t pass this up.

PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you’re entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) and Nook (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) Don’t have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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Reviewing Blind Sight

3 03 2012

 

Holy massive graphic Batman!

Yes, yes, yes it is the third of March campers which means I must fulfill the obligations I have to the demons in my basement it’s time to throw another book review your way. I’ve been waiting, for months now with a ready blog post and I’m happy to be getting this thing out there.

I was fortunate enough you see, to get to participate in an advanced reading of a book just released this month, entitled Blind Sight. It’s been a great time reading and getting to know the devoted penmonkeys behind the pages. Waaaaaaayyy at the bottom of tonight’s bloggery is a bit of a blurb about them.

Now the story is split into two volumes. Each volume is essentially the same story but told from the perspective of a different main character. Which makes it a totally different story. Really. There are a few things that I look for when I read a novel that I consider to be mandatory and this book, much like Companion Cube, really came through for me. I’m going to touch on two of the biggest ones.

Casting

The first is character development. I’ll be honest, if this is weak, I’m hard pressed to stick with it. I’ll give it a chance but if I don’t start caring about these people who live in your head then its time for you to find a new psychiatrist. Oh, right. I’m not going to read your book either.

It’s true, the character’s are well enough developed to make it easy for you to invest your time in reading about them. Take Alaya. I look at her and imagine my mother with a higher midichlorian count. Because sometimes I think she wishes she could throw anything nearby at me through SHEER FORCE OF WILL. (If that’s a little obscure, go ahead and google ‘midichlorians’. It’s okay, I’ll wait.)

Back? Alright.

Go too dry on a character and reading the book becomes more like a trudge across the arctic circle wearing nothing but a pair of rubber boots and a speedo. Not something anyone wants to do. I’m reading to enjoy myself. Take a break. I don’t want your story to be work. That makes me cranky.

Even the supporting characters are fleshy enough to avoid the label of partially decomposed (and therefore boring/unneccessary/rubbish) bits of fluff. I care about them too.

The Flashy Bits

It’s about magic. It’s there but not. And THAT is the beauty of it. Explanation…go!

Magic is present in the world. Understood.

It helps to shape the characters and further emphasize major personality traits. Is it any wonder that the most selfless of all the major cast can form shields? What about the most hot-tempered woman in the book? She uses her powers as a weapon essentially. (Want to know what that means? READ THE BOOK)

Magic also serves as an engine of conflict concerning Odette’s plot line. However, at no point did I feel overwhelmed by it. Not once did I find myself saying “Dear Tolkien in Heaven, there’s more magic in this plot than Gandalf’s undergarments. I can’t see the story through all the fireballs!” (Again, if you’ve lived under a rock for the past several decades I invite you to google.)

Coming back to the review. It serves its purpose in helping to define the characters and deliver a fantastic setting that hints rather subtly that things are much different from what they appear. Yes, characters used magic but I was way more concerned with the people and their relationships. The setting is crafted deftly  and presented in a manner well suited to keep me focused on what’s important: The people in the writer’s head.

All in all? It’s a great addition to the realm of Young Adult. Don’t let the category deter you though, it fits on just about any bookshelf.

It’s been a long time since I read a story cover to cover in one sitting. Blind Sight had what it took to spot weld my butt to my chair and keep me locked firmly to the pages. Bravo.

Oh and to the author:

Write more books. I insist.

PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you’re entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) and Nook (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) Don’t have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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The Ringleader Needs a Suggestion

12 12 2011

What has two thumbs, a keen sense of fashion sense as it pertains to vests and nothing to read?

This guy!

Too strange? Yeah, I thought so too. And yet for some reason I decided to do it anyways. But hey, its ok because I’m in charge of this little circus. I’m that guy standing on the crate labeled “Toxic Ferrets” in the center ring with a beaten up top hat and dusty, red leather coat. In one hand a diamond tip cane, in the other a giant microphone – old boxing style, hanging from the ceiling.

Now, without further interruptions or postponement, allow me to direct your attention to the far ring to the left of the flaming elephant trolley where you will find my point.

I recently finished the book I was devoting my reading time to and I’m in the market for a new one. Not necessarily a new book mind you but new to me. My reading conquests span a great length of time: Sci Fi from the 60’s, fantasy from the 80’s, literary fiction from the 00’s. It doesn’t matter.

I’ve started a list. The top of it is a book I’ve already been harassed about. The Vixen has nudged me toward The Scarlet Pimpernel on more than one occasion. Though, I’ll be honest, I’m not too keen on checking out a classic right at this point in time.

What else? There is a rather engaging (from what I’ve been told) book that Bert from work turned me on to. It’s what you might call a self-help manual. If you consider formal instruction on the finer points of wielding a tomahawk in close combat self-help. Which I do. Unfortunately, right now, I’m not overly excited about it.

That brings me to my third choice thus far. Ringworld by Larry Niven. I’ve been perusing the internet lately reading about Niven. The “Known Space” series he wrote sounds like something right up my alley. I’m a child of Science Fiction and it doesn’t hurt that the setting for these novels bears a striking resemblance to a game franchise I’m rather fond of.

And as a final offering to the ever bloating to-read list I submit Shotgun Gravy, a novella penned by the most tipsy penmonkey, Chuck Wendig. And yes, I said novella. They are just as delicious as any novel length work. They simply stand on different merits. Learn it, appreciate it and it will treat you well.

Now the problem is making a decision. I don’t like to do that, choices make me sad. It’s why I get the same thing whenever we order Chinese, without fail. Singapore Mei Fun, extra red peppers. What of it?

Anyway, point is, I decided to reach out. I’m up to 22 followers here, yup – 22 people who posses a high enough tolerance to read the electronic ink stains that I drag across the screen on a periodic basis. So drop me a line – what do you think? Any item on that list stand out from the rest? Or is there something not on there that you think I just can’t go without reading?

Plenty of comment space. Do it. I want to hear from you. Seriously, DO IT.





This Ain’t Your Little Sister’s Vampire Book

7 12 2011

I read. A ton. It’s important for a lot of reasons. One, it makes you think a little more than just watching the idiot box. Not that I have anything against the box itself, its robbed me of my fair share of hours. Really its the garbage that pops up rather regularly on the bloody thing that zaps your brain cells into little piles of gray goo. Excercise your brain, stretch those mental faculties. Hell, stretch the students and maintainance guys while you’re at it.

Oh, and the other reason? I’m trying to be a professional here. Want to write? Have to read. Point A, meet B. It’s not rocket science.

Anyways, I mentioned in the not too distant past that I grabbed some new reading material in November. Did it really help me accomplish my NaNoWriMo task? Not a bit. Did I spend much time thinking about how reading the new stuff would benefit my desired career choice? Not even close.

I was too distracted by the cannibals.

I’ll give you a moment for that to sink in.

And no, it’s not the sort of “Hey stop chewing on me so I can read my book!” sort of distraction either. I don’t read with cannibals. It’s a personal choice. I’m talking about content. Yeah, cannibals in the book. Right.

Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.

This post’s title, not misleading at all. And yeah, I did use ‘ain’t’. Not because I like it, but it made sense right? It just felt good to use. Less refined, more appropriate to the subject matter. Forget it.

In all seriousness however, this isn’t the same sort of vampire you’ve been seeing in the movies and big print these days. Wendig has made a complete turn, or is it total half turn? He’s taking a different direction. (Yeah, smooth)

If you haven’t had any exposure to Wendig, be warned. His writing is not for the easily offended. If you get a bit squeamish when profanity pops up in your novel, (and not just from a characters mouth) than Coburn, and his snarky half-cocked creator, may just be a bit too bad ass for you.

Right from the get go Wendig hits you. He hits you with a lead pipe made of viscera and adrenaline. And lead. And he doesn’t stop, you don’t have time to lay there and bleed out, you’ve got places to go: New York, Texas, California. It’s a coast to coast thrill ride through Undead America. The United States of Who the Hell Can Tell Anymore?

I’ve read plenty of zombie stories and a great good smattering of post apocalyptic settings and Wendig’s picture of a broken, flesh-eating America is truly original and stands out for me as one of the better ones.

And as for the cast, there isn’t a better bunch of odd pairings for a drunk-on-power vampire to herd about. The characters feel and that’s the thing. They’re people you could get behind. People you may know. People you could invest your time in.

So that gives us:

1 part flesh-eating super zombies

1 part Walmart lording cannibals

1 part RV tour of America

1 part vampire

and probably a fifth of Jack

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Enjoy





The Monkey That Made Me Respect My Word-Machete

3 12 2011

November was quite a month.

In never used to be that exciting. That is not in the states.

Since moving back here I have noticed a few things are drastically different. For starters this country features a lot more tall people and a greater plethora of hair colors. Furthermore, there are no monuments or buildings that have a propensity to attract monster attacks time and time again. The only reason I knew about that big broadcast tower in Tokyo was because Godzilla or Mothra or some other monster was always knocking it down.

But that’s another matter entirely. To say that America doesn’t have its own monsters would be unfair. They just aren’t the same kind of monsters. They posses more subtlety. Maybe its because they’re a bit frightened of the spotlight. Or maybe the total opposite is true. Perhaps they love the spotlight but avoid for fear of getting shot at by whatever branch of the military has a new monster-killing superweapon.

Maybe that’s just how they roll. And no, the Cloverfield monster doesn’t count. That was a one-off sort of baddie. If he (or is it a she?) makes a dozen more movies and launches a profitable film/toy/apparel franchise then we’ll talk.

And don’t even get me started on the poorly conceived ‘americanized’ Godzilla in the Matthew Broderick movie of the same name. We’re going to do everyone a favor and just pretend that movie doesn’t exist.

The other thing about this place is the holidays. Or should I say LACK of holidays. Sure there are several federally recognized occasions to celebrate the country’s independence, a bunch of dead presidents and a few religious observances but that’s not the sort of holidays I’m talking about.

FESTIVALS.

This country needs more festivals. They can be national, local or whatever else. Let’s find something to celebrate and go nuts! I remember festivals happening all throughout the year during my childhood and they celebrated a hundred different things. You google ‘Japanese Festivals’ sometime and tell me that at least one doesn’t come up that sounds like a good time.

Pick a month, it probably had a festival celebrating something.

Now, you may be reading this asking yourself, “So what? What does that have to do with the price of R/C cars in Graboid country?” Well I’ll tell you.

I’m looking for things to celebrate. Things to get me excited about the months flowing into years. I want more things to look forward to, to celebrate. And slowly, but surely, I am doing just that.

In 2009, I attempted, at the prompt of a friend I socialize with online to participate in NaNoWriMo. It was a blast. I had little time to prepare for it as I learned of its existence two weeks prior to the November 1 kick-off date. That didn’t stop me from having a great time though or from hitting the 50,000 word count mark . That story that I created, that glamorous half-a-novel I hammered out with little to no writing experience.

It was crap. Total crap. Crap with a capital ‘C’ ‘R’ ‘A’ ‘P’. I remember thinking at the time I was writing it that it was something along the lines of okay, not half bad and even a decent read. I was wrong. It was about none of those things. In fact, had I realized during that it was that awful I probably would have abandoned it all together.

I let those stars get in my eyes though, messed with my vision. They made me think I was producing quality work. Liars! Foul scheming liars. They let me crank out a manuscript that the CIA could include in a deluxe VIP torture kit.

I read it the other day. A part of it anyways before I had to stop and take some anti-nausea medications. But instead of trashing it, instead of destroying the ugly little beast, I slid it safely back into its drawer. But why? Well, it’s not done. I must finish it. Or, as I’ve learned recently, sometimes its better to cut it up and use the pieces.

I blame Chuck Wendig.

And who is this sarcastic, booze-soaked, bearded ape you ask? A genius. Hands down. He has a pile of professionally published credits to his name as well as a couple of non traditionally published works which are simply fantastic. I purchased a couple of his books over the month of November, looking to supplement my furious focus on my bit for NaNoWriMo.

The first item was ‘500 Ways To Be a Better Writer’ because hey, I need to study, to evolve, to hone my ink-slinging skills to the edge that will allow me to one day churn out lumps of coal filled with nuggets of gold instead of just, lumps of coal. It’s not what you would expect.

The last title on craft I purchased was much like you would expect it to be. Traditional chapters, broad subjects. Each section of the book a focused study on a singular element. ‘500 Ways’ on the other hand is a kick to the face of traditional style. It grabs you by the shirt collar and says “Hey you. Numbnuts. Pay attention before I crack this bottle upside your head!”

Its true.

Each ‘chapter’ is a list of 25 points. Smaller, easily digested morsels of information and opinion. It’s both simplistic and ingenious. The structure is such that you can pick it up and receive a fast, to-the-point injection of essential knowledge while simultaneously laughing hard enough to potentially wet yourself. Or at the very least attract some attention from the neighbors.

If you write, buy it. If you know a writer, tell them to buy it. Do it. DO IT. Or, get the other book.

Which is ‘Double Dead.’ This ain’t your girlfriends vampire novel. I’m not giving away too many details here but run some of these phrases through your dome and tell me you aren’t at least a bit interested.

“Vampire wakes in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.”

“Epic Clowns vs. Redneck showdown.”

“Wal-Mart Cannibals.”

Eh? Well? You can’t tell me that at least one of those little items didn’t grab you. Come on, you know you want to… get it here. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget you Kindle users, you can grab ‘500 Ways To Be a Better Writer’ here. Or directly from the man at his blog, Terribleminds.

Do me the favor. Go forth, read – enjoy.





Meet My Giant Hammer

27 07 2011

Writer’s Block, a miserable thing. I challenge you to find one person who says otherwise. You won’t be able to, nope – no way. Not POSSIBLE!

Even so, it may be a pain but it happens, it happens to everyone at some point or another. In fact I don’t think there has yet to be a writing project in which I don’t meet a large stumbling block at some point in my progress. It is inevitably conquered however, and I’m going to tell you why.

Keri Smith. Lately anyways. Here’s a link to her place, browse, read – ABSORB. I stumbled upon her work one day while visiting an artist friend of mine. Want to know more about his stuff? Yeah I thought you might, and if you don’t too bad because here it is anyways. And here and here and also, here. So there. Hrm.

Right, so now that I’ve gotten my thoughts back in order, coagulated my guano so to speak, I was writing about something.

Keri Smith! She has a book, several actually. That picture up there, that’s one of them. It is NOT a typical book however, not by a long shot. And it’s what I’m currently using in response to the Block Affliction, as I like to call it. Makes it sound a little more snazzy, maybe not so intimidating but, rather something to enjoy conquering.

Right from the first page you will encounter directions. Upon every page thereafter, more directions. Even the back cover has directions!

Yes, tape it shut and mail it to yourself. I’ve yet to do that one, obviously – the photo above is of my own copy. And that’s not all. There are all sorts of strange, non typical things in there, non typical as in you wouldn’t dare do them to a book but that’s part of the fun. A few of my favorites including taking it into the shower with you and dropping it from somewhere very high. Oh and also…

I saw a helmet. Or a butterfly. Whatever. It’s up for interpretation of course being an ink blot. If you can’t see the text down there its telling you to drip something on the page and close it, see what you end up with. The ink I used found its way to other pages which added just that much more character to the rest of what I’ve done in the book. It is a simple way in which to create that anyone can do. To further illustrate the point, I had to buy it from the children’s section of my local borders.(which is closing now, sad face) But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by just about anyone and I encourage you to check out her other books since they are all just as wonderful.

Oh right, I was shamelessly plugging these for a reason! It’s about my writers block, er I mean, my Block Affliction. Who knows why it happens, but every now and then you hit a wall that stumps your progress. It can come at any time, even mid sentence and though there are exercises that you can find online to help overcome them I find that my block will keep me from sometimes completing even those. I was ecstatic the day I found this. For me, finding another creative outlet that does not require me to write is the very thing I need to get the novelist juices flowing again. These books get me back on track again like nothing has yet. SO I encourage you to check these out. If you missed the link earlier or for some reason your mouse wheel stopped working and you have no other means to go back HERE it is again.

And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Keri Smith!





Sound, Length and Beyond!

16 07 2011

 Volume:  The magnitude of the three-dimensional space enclosed within or occupied by an object.

Volume:  A collection of written or printed sheets bound together and constituting a book.

Volume:  Fullness or intensity of tone or sound

Guess which one I’m going to talk about. The third one, exactly! My neighbors play their Bob Marley waaaaaay too loud at 3 A.M. I can hardly hear myself drafting books over here!

HA! No, I’m not talking about that one (Though my neighbors do actually play there Bob Marley at way too loud at all points of the day.) I’m talking about the second one. And not just volume as it pertains to encyclopedias. More specifically, the volume of writing in just one work.

There are no set standards telling us how long a novel must be to be considered a novel. Actually, that’s a lie – there are but there are no universally accepted guidelines. Different genres accept different lengths, which makes sense. I don’t think that Tom Clancy will be releasing any children’s books as his tend to look suspiciously like dictionaries from afar.

Young Adult differs in length from your standard sci-fi/fantasy novels with certain exceptions – the later books in J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series actually look like she may have taken pointers from Clancy. And those omnipresent “Lust in the Dust” novels(a market guaranteed to never die) run just over Young Adult lengths.

So I’m stuck. I’m writing things that slide into an eerie space in between genre averages. The rule should be write enough to tell your story and not make it feel forced right? It seems the answer is yes, it just that it becomes potentially restricting to your target markets when you don’t play by the guidelines. That’s not to say its impossible but with “unknowns” its certainly more likely.  That’s part of my volume issues anyways. The second part is is length of segments, those silly little things we call chapters.

Rules for chapter length, like the overall length of the work, fall under a similar rule. Each chapter should be long enough to effectively advance the action in a manner that makes sense and provides enough detail to keep the reader interested. Some say, it depends on the pacing that you’re trying to establish. Seriously! Vague, vague, VAGUE.

On one hand, I suppose I should be greatful for such openendedness. The freedom to write whatever, at any length and still be able to find a platform for publication. So how much does it really matter that the epic, adult fantasy novel that you might be working on ends up being too short and falling instead into something more along the lines of Young Adult in length? Well it might not neccesarily matter. Publication is publication and just because something may be falling short of the typical minimum length for a genre doesn’t mean it will miss out on the category anyways.

So here I am, trying to figure out if I should beef up the length of my chapters. They’re falling within the ‘average’ for chapter length in the genre in which I’m writing but, at the same time, they seem light sitting there staring at me in Open Office. I’m guessing it’ll work out alright. Especially since edits usually trim content, not add to it. Maybe I’m just being paranoid…

Either way, if I can figure out why it looks so goofy, I’ll let you know. Oh and don’t forget, post tomorrow, there were hints!