Writing: Because, Thank You

This isn’t going to be a long blog post (as some of mine can be), but it’s certainly a personal one.

Last weekend, the pretty awesome (okay, to be fair, he’s more than pretty awesome) Eric Beebe (owner of Post Mortem Press) held a writer’s retreat and I had the fortunate pleasure of attending. There were a dozen writers, some brought spouses, other brought spouses and kids, and some just brought themselves. All told, there were more than a few people milling about.

Now, people who know me (which is probably everyone reading this blog, actually) understand that I’m pretty much an introvert until I get to know you or until I get drunk, so the idea of attending a retreat was pretty fucking daunting. When it was first brought up, I said I’d like to go, but in the back of my head I was thinking, “If it happens, I’ll bow out and let someone else fill the spot.”

My wife told me I was an idiot. She was far more colorful than that, but idiot is what she meant.

I paid and I went.

It was a super great gathering of authors, a giant creative machine of like-minded people, and just fun. I don’t say that about too many social situations, but I can about this.

It’s my distinct pleasure to be a part of this Post Mortem Press family and I give a hearty thank you to Eric for having me and all the other authors. I’ve learned a lot from Eric and the rest of the PMPress people, came out of my shell a bit more, and I have better tools to continue writing and selling my work. A simple blog post thank you isn’t really enough, but it’s all I have. An extra thank you goes out to the special guests present: Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, and Tim Waggoner. My respect grows each time I’m lucky enough to meet and talk with them.

And who was there? Well, these people, and it was excellent to see some of them again and meet others for the first time. Check out their websites and work at the links below:

Special Guest: Gary A. Braunbeck

Special Guest: Lucy Snyder

Special Guest: Tim Waggoner

Nelson Pyles

Kenneth W. Cain

Jessica McHugh

KT Jayne

Paul Anderson

J. David Anderson

Georgina Morales

Brian Dobbins

Brady Allen

Elizabeth Jenike

Opinion: Contamination Defcon 4 Report

contamination

Copyright to Dave Dyer, 2006

Another Contamination has come and gone.

It was my second convention in as many weeks and my third Contamination. I enjoy this convention, not just because it’s in my hometown of St. Louis, but mainly for that reason. It’s a much smaller convention than most of the ones I generally attend, and that has positive and negative components. The positive being a more intimate atmosphere with the other vendors and the celebrities. The negative being less foot traffic and fewer opportunities to sell.

Like most conventions, Contamination suffered from a few logistical issues, but none that seemed to greatly alter people’s expectation or experience. That’s to say it wasn’t a near clusterfuck like Fandomfest the weekend prior (you can read my blog post about Fandomfest here). The KISS cover band, Rocket Ride, and tiki party were easy to find, as was the dance party the following night. In all honesty, the biggest issue for me was no ATM in the hotel. Really sucks when you’re trying to get drinks from a cash bar and you have no cash. So, Holiday Inn South County, get a fucking ATM, eh?

The only thing I questioned was the size as compared to the two previous years. It seemed much, much smaller this year, despite the reports that it was the biggest one yet. It didn’t seem that way to me, but I don’t crunch the numbers for the con, so who knows?

losingtouchI was able to hang out with some family and and old friend from high school (more on that later, I hope). Nearly sold out of Necromancer again, but missed the mark by a single book. As usual, it’s nice to hang with Mr. Beebe of Post Mortem Press. I also got to hang out with Chris Larsen for the second time, which was also very cool. His book, Losing Touch, is getting great feedback. I know everyone’s read my book by now (right?!) so check out Losing Touch today.

All in all, if there’s a fifth Contamination, I intend to go.

Opinion: Fandomfest Report

I’m sitting here in my room at the Holiday Inn in St. Louis for Contamination (starting tomorrow) and last weekend, I was at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky. This post will deal with my thoughts on the Louisville convention, Fandomfest.

Many people have written up their own reviews and most of them have been negative. I cannot invalidate their complaints (I share some of them), but it wasn’t that bad for me.

fandomfest

The worst part, by far, was the walk from the hotel to the convention center. The reason that’s listed as a complaint is solely for the fact that it made going to my room for anything a pain in the ass. It’s not like my suave body couldn’t use the workout, but when I ran out of whiskey in my flask, it just wasn’t worth it to walk back and forth.

NecromancerMy only other complaint was the lack of attendance to the literary panels. I joined the track to put myself out in front of people, obviously in order to help promote Post Mortem Press and sell Necromancer. If you know me, then you know doing things like panels are way, way outside my comfort zone. In light of that acknowledgment, it should be known that I worried myself so much that I debated slinking away to hide. I’m proud to say I didn’t, but fuck, man, all that stress for nothing. It didn’t make me happy.

 

To be clear, this wasn’t the fault of the lit track organizer, but rather the Fandomfest staff. Stephen Zimmer did a bang up job providing interesting and engaging panels, fun panels, and when you needed something from him, he provided it. But you can’t get traffic to your portion of the event if the main Fandomfest staff leave your panels off the main schedule, no one is going to show up.

Those two issues aside, I met some cool writers, a few new publishers, and assorted people who can do things I can’t. I also sold out of Necromancer, despite the low attendance to the literary panels. We’d probably have done better if the convention had been better organized. The majority of guests spent hours (and we’re talking in upwards of 6-7 hours here) and that stunted foot traffic in the vendor hall. Despite that, Post Mortem Press also did well. It’s not my business to ask other publishers how they did, so I didn’t, but I assume they did all right as well. I’ve read where some of the authors with their own tables didn’t fare as well, so who knows; generally, any convention is a craps shoot.

Will I go back to Fandomfest next year? That’ll depend on my publisher; I won’t go on my own, but if Post Mortem Press returns, I probably will as well. Let’s just hope Fandomfest pulls its head out of its ass before then and makes it so people want to go back.

The cosplay was outstanding; I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I don’t think of these things until much later (like right now… see how that works?) and the few celebs I ran across were all smiles and nods. Well, except maybe Butch Patrick who was walking the streets of Louisville with a box over his shoulder and a snarl on his face.

Go figure.

After a Hiatus, I Present to You . . .

New online magazine! Take a look.

Liz Writes Stuff

I would like you all to know that I haven’t died. Yay, right? I took a long break to go on vacation with Husband and do fun things like mountain biking and hiking and all sorts of other things that end with “-ing.” Also did quite a bit of writing, so maybe you will see some of that in the near future.

But now I am back, and would like to introduce a project that my friend TM Keesling and I have been working on for the last month. We have crafted our own online publication, which we are affectionately calling NEAT Magazine. NEAT is an online quarterly magazine devoted to  Midwestern writers and readers, and we are currently accepting submissions!! Please visit our website, and if you like what you see, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We’ll be updating those pages with info about…

View original post 67 more words

News: Fandomfest

Friday marks the start of Fandomfest. The convention runs all weekend and they have this killer literary track that I’ll be taking part in. If you’re local to Louisville, KY or somewhere close, come down and enjoy a day at this huge, huge, huge event.

Movie and television people there, including a semi-reunion of some Firefly cast members (BROWNCOATS FOREVER!) and The Walking Dead, plus some others. William Shatner and, if you’re an old rocker like me, you might enjoy seeing Gene Simmons from KISS.

Oh, did I mention Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes? I didn’t? Well, fuck. They’ll be there, too.

But really, I just want you to come to the Post Mortem Press table, buy some books, and check out all the literary panels, then go back and buy more books. Seriously. The literary schedule is below and for the celebrities (other than me, of course) you can click on the Fandomfest banner.

That is all.

FandomFest
2013 Literary Track Panels, Times, Descriptions, and Participants:

Friday Panels

 

2:00 pm

Meet the Panelists
An informal meet and greet, where attendees at Fandom Fest can get an idea of who’s who on the Literary Track!

 

3:00pm

The Art of Being a Good Panelist

This special session is for those new to being panelists at conventions, those with little experience, or even those with many conventions under their belt who might want to gain some further insights into what makes for effective panel participation.   A great orientation on participating on panels!

Featuring:

Lee Martindale (M)

 

4:00 Panels

 

Crossing Genres A Forum

There will always be readers of particular genres, whether it be steampunk or epic fantasy, but many storytellers are having wonderful experiences bringing in elements of many genres.  This panel will explore some examples of cross-genre fiction, and also discuss why cross-genre fiction is growing fast in popularity.

Featuring:

John Allen

J.H. Glaze (M)

T.Lee  Harris

Christian Jensen

Bethany Halle

Joy Ward

 

 

Dynamic Dialogue

What are some approaches to writing effective dialogue? This panel will contain a few surprises, as our panelists will demonstrate how dialogue that might look correct on the page can be very different on the ear. Be sure to catch this panel for some moments that are both instructive and entertaining!

Featuring:

Marian Allen

L. Andrew Cooper

Scott Sandridge  (M)

Missy Goodman

Ian Harac

Ren Garcia

Developing A Good Query

Whether looking for an agent, or perhaps a publisher, writing a concise and engaging query letter can often prove the difference in whether your work is taken into consideration.  This panel will break down query letters and offer advice on how to write an effective one.

Featuring:

Ginny Fleming

Eric Beebe (M)

Sean Taylor

Becky Hollada

 

5:30 PM Panels

Effective Social Media

So many social media outlets and so little time.  What is an author to do?  This panel will feature several individuals who are savvy and effective when it comes to social media, to offer their insights on how to approach some specific social media outlets, as well as what not to do.   There is an art to being effective with social media, and this panel will shed some light on that area.

Featuring:

Alicia Justice  (M)

Tony Acree

Marian Allen

RJ Sullivan

Missy Goodman

Jennifer Malone Wright

 

Urban Fantasy Today

The definition of urban fantasy has changed over recent years, and it is the focus of this panel to explore the realms of urban fantasy and where the genre is at today.  What’s popular in urban fantasy now?  What kinds of themes are being explored in today’s urban fantasy.  This will be a fun panel for all who love this genre.

Featuring: 

John Allen

Chris Brown

Eric Garrison

S.H. Roddey  (M)

Georgia L. Jones

Brick Marlin

 

Putting Together a Winning Anthology

Join a group of authors and editors with plenty of anthology experience, as they talk about what goes into the assembly of a solid anthology project.   There’s more involved than just picking some good stories, and if you’ve ever wanted to know how editors think in approach to an anthology project, then this is the panel for you.

Featuring:

T.Lee Harris

Lee Martindale (M)

J.L. Mulvihill

Michael West

Becky Hollada

 

Writing a Series

Whether a trilogy or fifteen books in length, a series involving several installments is very prevalent in the world of speculative fiction.  There are things to keep in mind when creating and developing a series. This panel will involve a discussion with several authors with active series, offering suggestions and approaches to writing effective installments in a solid series.

Featuring:

Terry W. Ervin  (M)

J.H. Glaze

Mark Wandrey

Lisa Morgan

M.B. Weston

S.B. Knight

7 PM Panels

Choosing the Right Path In Publishing

A special extended forum exploring the options of self-publishing, small press, and major press.  The pro’s and con’s of each avenue of publishing will be discussed by panelists who are personally experienced with one or more of those choices.

Featuring:

Janet Harriet

Lee Martindale (M)

Eric Beebe

M.B. Weston

SB Knight

Georgia L. Jones

 

The Writing Business:  A Forum

Yes, as much as writing is a creative endeavor, it is also a business.  Bring your questions on the business of writing, ranging from contracts to sensible ways to planning your year of activity as an author.  Business can be a dry topic sometimes, but this panel promises to include some wild tales and anecdotes that will illustrate the importance of taking a serious approach to the business of writing.

Featuring:

L Andrew Cooper  (M)

Charlie Kenmore

Sean Taylor

Brick Marlin

Michael West

Kayelle McClive

 

Writers Guide to Drinking

What’s the easiest place to find authors at a Con?  Just go to the bar!  Yes, authors have been known to have a drink or two, and we thought we’d include a fun panel featuring authors talking about the topic of drinking!  What they like, whether they drink when writing, and more!   Should be a fun, light-hearted addition to the track!

Featuring:

Tony Acree

Mariah Allen

Chris Brown

Christian Jensen (M)

Scott Sandridge

Neil Sayatovich

 

 

Pitch the Publisher Session One

Come and pitch your manuscript/project to an established publisher.  Grimoire Books is the featured publisher for this first session of a popular Fandom Fest Literary Track activity!

 

 

8:30 PM Panels

Author Karaoke

Just fun, informal Karaoke featuring Fandom Fest authors!  Who knows who else might be there?  Rumor has it that Selah Janel and John F. Allen will be dazzling the audience with their hosting and singing talents!

Pitch the Publisher Session II
Pitch your manuscript/project at the second scheduled session at FandomFest, featuring the amazing Dave Mattingly of Blackwyrm Publishing!

Saturday Panels

10 AM Panels

The Changing Landscapes of Publishing

This session explores how much publishing has changed in recent years, where it is now, and what is just ahead.  What kinds of adaptations have publishers undertaken to survive, and even thrive, in today’s climate?  What challenges are looming?  Come and examine trends and speculation in regards to the world of publishing.

Featuring:

Janet Harriet  (M)

Christian Jensen
Eric Beebe

Bethany Halle

Sandy Sullivan

 

 

 

What’s Involved with Publishing a Quality Title

This panel will give you a nice overview of the steps of the publishing process, ranging from the editing phase all the way to the marketing and publicity phase.  This panel will give authors a better appreciation of what publishers have to do on their end, as well as provide a clear perspective for authors pursuing self-publishing on how to do it right.

Featuring:

John Dawson Jackson

Charlie Kenmore

Travis Surber

Sean Taylor  (M)

Mike Patton

Becky Hollada

 

Approaches to Character Development

What is involved in developing compelling, realistic characters?  This panel discussion will explore the elements of character development that apply to all genres of writing.  Make your characters live, breathe, and grow over the course of your story arc!

Featuring:

John Allen

Terry W Ervin

Mark Wandrey

Brad Parnell

Shon Jason Medley  (M)

Dave Creek

 

Cheap Easy Cosplay

Are you an author that likes to “look the part” at conventions, perhaps suiting up as one of your own characters?  Are you simply interested in learning more about Cosplay?  This session takes a look at Cosplay in the kind of light that does not require big budgets or high expertise!

Featuring:

Selah Janel

J.L. Mulvihill

 

11:30 AM Panels

Authors Interviewing Authors

Yes, the title says it all!  Authors will be interviewing Authors in this new addition to the track!  See 3 authors ask questions of three others… and then the table will be turned!

 

Featuring:

L. Andrews Cooper

Selah Janel

Lee Martindale

Michael West

Georgia L. Jones

J.H. Glaze

 

Book Blogging

Book Blogs have become quite a force in today’s publishing climate.   Book Blogs have propelled self-published authors to the heights of the sales charts, and major presses now place a great focus on the book blog community.   This forum will discuss the world of book blogging and why it has become so important for today’s authors.

Featuring:

Alicia Justice  (M)

Rachel Smith

Alexx Miller

Bethany Halle

Mike Patton

 

Evolution of Steampunk

Steampunk has become a very popular area of speculative fiction, and has crossed over into film, games, and much more in the mainstream consciousness.  This panel will offer you an overview of steampunk, but it will also explore the directions that steampunk is evolving, and what kinds of new elements are making their way into steampunk literature now that it is fairly well established.  

Featuring:

Eric Garrison

J.L. Mulvihill

Shon Jason Medley (M)

 

World Building 101

World building plays a key role in all kinds of speculative fiction, from steampunk, to epic fantasy, to science fiction and urban fantasy.   How do you go about creating an interesting and compelling world to set your story in?  There are so many considerations, from geography, to sociology, to technology, and much more.  What world-building elements can be used in developing a story set in our world?  Come and explore the exciting topic of world building with our expert panelists.

Featuring:

John Allen

Terry W. Ervin  (M)

Scott Sandridge

Mark Wandrey

Brad Parnell

Ian Harac

1 PM Panels

Contracts:  An Overview

We can’t offer official legal advice, but we can explore the common clauses to publishing contracts, and what to keep in mind when evaluating whether a contract is fair or not.  This panel discussion will also give you some insight regarding red flags to look out for.

Featuring:

Janet Harriet

Lee Martindale

Charlie Kenmore (M)

Eric Beebe

 

 

Young Adult Fiction: A Forum

YA is without question one of the strongest and hottest areas of the publishing world, with many popular books series taking off as major film franchises.  Come and discuss YA fiction, including what it is, what kinds of changes it has gone through, and even how highly mature themes are worked into YA literature.

Featuring:

Ali Justice  (M)

Brad Parnell

Terry W. Ervin

Mark Wandrey

Brick Marlin

 

Plotter or Pantser

When writing a short story, novella, or novel, there are some who heavily outline, and some who largely go with the flow, as well as all levels in between.  This discussion will explore the development of plot in regards to a new writing project, as authors discuss what kind of approach they take.

Featuring:

Chris Brown

Jennifer Malone Wright  (M)

Giny Flemming

K.B. Miller

Pamela Turner

Lisa Morgan

 

2:30 PM Panels

Working Well With Editors

What do editors expect?  What’s the right etiquette when working with a professional editor?   What are the editor’s expectations of an author?  This discussion will give you insights that will help you improve your approach to editors as well as your experience working with them.

Featuring:

Janet Harriet

Scott Sandridge  (M)

Sean Taylor

Shon Jason Medley

Dave Creek

Becky Hollada

 

Episodic Fiction

The explosion of eBooks has brought along with it a great potential for publishing stories as episodic fiction.  This panel will give an overview of episodic fiction, and also discuss why the digital media world makes episodic fiction increasingly attractive for many authors.

Featuring:

Jennifer Malone Wright 

J.H. Glaze  (M)

K.B. Miller

RJ Sullivan

Travis Surber

Genre Fiction as an Effective Aid for Those With Disabilities

From special literary programs, to themes in stories, science fiction and other genre fiction has long been of help and comfort to those with special needs or disabilities.  This panel will explore some of the ways in which genre fiction plays a wonderful role in helping many who are contending with disabilities.

Featuring:

T. Lee Harris

Lee Martindale (M)

J. L. Mulvihill

Joy Ward

Marian Allen

4:00 PM Panels

Exploring Horror

Explore the realm of creating compelling horror with a cross-disciplinary group of panelists!  Panelists with backgrounds in books, movies, and games will participate in this special forum to examine what elements go into the foundation of effective horror, in a way that’s relevant to all types of creative expression.

Featuring:

L. Andrew Cooper

Selah Janel  (M)

S.B. Knight

Michael West

Brick Marlin

John Mulhall

 

Alternate History

Alternate History is a very exciting genre that challenges writers to explore the big “what ifs?”  What if a different side won a battle or war?  What if a different president was elected?  What if a different choice was made at a critical juncture in history?   All kinds of scenarios are explored by writers of alternate histories, and this panel will take a look at the unique challenges and considerations when writing in this genre.

Featuring:

Eric Garrison

J.L. Mulvihill

John Dawson Jackson

Shon Jason Medley (M)

Ren Garcia

Neal Sayatovich

Game of Thrones

Be prepared for spoilers!  A panel discussion comparing the highly popular HBO series adapting George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire Series.  What do you like and not like about the television version?   Perhaps the television version has some things that you liked better than the books?  This promises to be a fun panel for fans of the show, books, or both!

Featuring:

Tony Acree

Lee Martindale  (M)

Ian Harac

Lisa Morgan

Fan Fiction

A panel focused on writing fan fiction, including the reasons why it can be a useful endeavor for some writers, and why other writers advise strongly against it.  An honest discussion of a very popular pursuit in the world of creative writing today.

Featuring:

Marian Allen

Alicia Justice

Kayelle McClive

S.H. Roddey  (M)

 

5:30 Panels

Improv Storytelling

A fun and entertaining session that will feature a number of our author guests collaborating in a live, improve storytelling session!  Sure to be one of the most popular features on the literary track!  Don’t miss this one!

Featuring:

Tony Acree

L. Andrew Cooper

Selah Janel  (M)

Christian Jensen

Lee Martindale

J.L. Mulvihill

Susan Roddey

 

Avoiding Scams in Publishing

There are more scams than ever, looking to prey upon new authors.  This panel will discuss what to look for, in terms of red flags, when it comes to possible scams in the publishing industry.   Don’t be suckered into a bad situation, especially when it involves the rights to your work!

Featuring:

Ginny Flemming

Janet Harriet

Eric Beebe  (M)

Charlie Kenmore

Sandy Sullivan

Heavy Metal and Its Relationship With Speculative Fiction

Dio, Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Black Sabbath, Rush … the list goes on and on of hard rock and heavy metal bands who have incorporated fantasy and science fiction themes into their music and artwork.  This panel will explore the relationship of hard rock and heavy metal with speculative fiction,

Featuring:

Chris Brown

Scott Sandridge

Brick Marlin

Stephen Zimmer  (M)

Neil Sayatovich

 

Paranormal Explorations

From the popularity of paranormal investigations, to the popularity of paranormal-themed literature, the realm of the paranormal is certainly at the forefront.  Come and join in a discussion of the paranormal as it applies to literature and investigations!

Featuring:

K.B Miller

RJ Sullivan

Eric Garrison  (M)

Joy Ward

7:00 PM Panels

Book Publicity

This session, featuring Jitterbug PR, will take you through a survey of book publicity in all its forms, including traditional PR and campaigns involving New Media.   Publicity is a critical component to book sales, and authors of all levels would be wise to gain an understanding of the art of publicity!

Featuring:

Alicia Justice  (M)

Rachel Smith

Alexx Miller

Missy Goodman

John Mulhall

Mike Patton

Love and Sex For Geeks

A panel of an adult-themed variety, led by Alexandra Christian, exploring the topic of sex in the context of writing.  Should be a highly entertaining and informative panel if you are looking to write more effective romance, erotica, or spice up other genre fiction.

Featuring:

Christian Jenson  (M)

Kayelle McClive

Pamela Turner

Bethany Halle

Sandy Sullivan

 

 

Pitch the Publisher Session III

Come and pitch your manuscript/project to an established publisher at the third session of Fandom Fest’s Pitch the Publisher.  This session will feature none other than Post Mortem Press!

 

Sunday Panels

9 AM

FandomFest Church Service

Come join us for a non-denominational worship service co-hosted by the Christian Gamers Guild and Fans for Christ. We’ll read scripture, sing familiar hymns, hear a sermon, and offer an optional communion. Stick around afterwards to meet fellow Christians and learn more about the ministries.

10 AM Panels

Effective Ebook Marketing

Explore the ways that authors with success in eBook sales promote and market online.  There are things specific to different platforms such as Kindle and Nook, and there are very cost-effective techniques for getting the word out there.  Find out about things that are good to do, and also what is a waste of time and money.

Featuring:

Alicia Justice (M)

Chris Brown

J.H. Glaze

Amy McCorkle

 Bethany Halle

Sandy Sullivan

Beta Reading

What is beta reading?  Why is it so important to an author?  What is involved in being a good beta reader?  This panel will explore the world of beta reading, from panelists with experience! 

Featuring:

Terry W. Ervin

Eric Garrison

S.H. Roddey

RJ Sullivan

Alexx Miller  (M)

 

Screenplay Writing

Come and find out what’s different about writing a screenplay as compared to a novel.  This panel will show you why the movie and the book will inevitably have significant differences.  The approach to writing a screenplay entails some special considerations and is an art in itself.  You might even find yourself inspired to begin writing one!

Featuring:

Ginny Fleming

Pamela Tuner

M.B. Weston

Lee Martindale (M)

Dave Creek

11:30 Panels

Successful Self pub

Self-publishing does not carry the stigma that it used to, but those who have bought many self-published titles know that it can be quite a minefield in terms of the range of quality offered.   Self-publishing successfully involves some key elements, and this panel will explore them.

Featuring:

Janet Harriet

Amy McCorkle

John Dawson Jackson

Travis Surber

Lee Martindale (M)

John Mulhall

 

Challenges of Co-Authoring

Co-authoring a book has many unique aspects, and this panel features authors familiar with the co-authoring process.  What should you expect?  How do you develop an effective collaboration?  How can you keep organized during a project?  Methods and tips on the dynamics of co-authoring will take center stage in this session.

Featuring:

Jennifer Malone Wright  (M)

K.B. Miller

Bethany Halle

Christian Jensen

Selah Janel
Susan Roddey

Animals in Fiction

This panel will explore the topic of animals in fiction, including animals that are characters and the use of animals in stories.  Some of the most heartwarming stories in literature have involved animals who have been main characters (Watership Down, for starters), or important parts of the cast (Shadowfax in LOTR).  Join this panel for a fun and interesting overview of the use of animals in fiction.

Featuring:

JH Glaze

T. Lee Harris

Scott Sandridge  (M)

J.L. Mulvihill

Brad Parnell

Ren Garcia

1 PM Panels

The Future of Physical Books

In a realm increasingly dominated by eBooks, physical books and bookstores still have a very viable place in the literary world.  This panel will explore the reasons why physical books will continue to survive, and perhaps even thrive!

Featuring:

Eric Garrison

Janet Harriet

T.L ee Harris  (M)

Shon Jason Medley

 M.B. Weston

Writing Good Book Reviews

Whether you are leaving a few sentences on Goodreads or Amazon, or run a regular book blogging site, good book reviews are an art in their own right.  This panel will explore insights and techniques for writing engaging and effective book reviews.

Featuring:

Alicia Justice

Scott Sandridge  (M)


Rachel Smith

Alexx Miller

Write drunk; edit sober

I’ve done this a few times myself. Well, mildly intoxicated anyway; if I were actually drunk, the only two options would be to keep drinking or pass out. Good post here as the liquor (or beer or cough syrup) does drop the inhibitions.

gElmerMunson

“Write drunk; edit sober.”

– Ernest Hemingway

For obvious reasons, this is a popular quote. You can find it on t-shirts, coffee cups…probably even underpants. I’ve posted it a few times on Facebook, usually when I’m drunk and thinking wow, I should really be writing. I think it’s funny and enlightening at the same time. Why? Well, in my eyes there are a couple reasons. One is literal. One, not so much.

Anyone who has tried to edit drunk probably knows it’s not very helpful. You’re going to have to re-edit it again, so why spend quality buzztime trying to polish a turd? Enjoy your buzz, do something fun with it. Like writing. Not texting your ex…that’s just stupid. I mean real writing. Me, I like to write drunk. Not all the time, of course. Just some of the time.

No, I don’t think I’m any better at…

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Movie: Pacific Rim

So, I saw Pacific Rim Monday night. My initial impression remains solid: the movie was lacking. Before people start slapping me around, I did enjoy it, but it’s rare that I don’t enjoy a movie. A film has to be really, really bad before I’ll say skip it and give it the low rank of 1 on the Brown Scale.

Oh, there will probably be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read the rest of this post. You’ve been warned. Don’t bitch at me.

pacificrim

For what it was, Pacific Rim was excellent. It was a big, loud summer action movie. I’m a guy and, fuck yeah, I loved the idea of big robots fighting big monsters. It’s almost like a wet dream.

Almost.

Then I realized I’m a thirty-coughhackcoughcough year old man and I need more than a hot blonde with rosy red lips to throw me into overdrive. Let’s face it, I’m at the age where I need to be fondled a little, coaxed, maybe even teased before I get aroused. In other words, I want to fully enjoy myself, not just get a quick, hard fuck in a back alley. I have my go-to movies for that sort of thing and, being at this discriminate age, I’m perfectly content with those. I don’t need to branch out, find a younger replacement; it all ends the same for me.

I think, in ten, maybe fifteen years, Pacific Rim is going to be that movie for the younger people watching it now.

Pacific Rim hits all expectations in the arena of CGI and graphics, of making the kaiju and the jaegers look stupendous. It’s really a marvel what del Toro and the FX team did. But really, when you break it down, that’s all they did. They give you the hot blonde (in fucking spades, man), but she’s nothing but a scared little girl underneath all the makeup and flashy clothes; she’s just playing dress up.

The filmmakers try to give us characters we can care for. Honestly, I’m not sure if they tried too much or if they didn’t try hard enough. Fuck, it’s the apocalypse, so everyone has suffered loss (entire cities are GONE), so here are my impressions.

Raleigh loses his brother in a kaiju fight. Now, this happens while connected in the “drift” piloting their jaeger. While you know Yancy dies, the film gives you beautiful shots of the malfunctioning jaeger instead of a moment with Raleigh. Oh, sure, we see him scream for a few seconds and then we’re back to the big robot again. Stunning CGI supersedes human emotion. For the loss.

Mako loses her whole fucking family during a kaiju attack. This flashback is better. Much better. A young Mako is seen running down the street, a single red shoe in her hand, screaming for her parents. Kid scenes always get to me since I have young kids and my cold dead heart comes alive for them. She’s filled with hatred for the kaiju (but who wouldn’t be?) and this is where the movie fails her character. She’s so goddamn meek and doesn’t stand up for herself to Stacker; he’s the one who tells her she can’t pilot because revenge will cloud her judgment, etc. Thank you, fucking Yoda.

At one point, the film tries to explain this away as her having respect for Stacker, admiration, and love. It’s a throwback to old Asian customs, I suppose, but really, we’re at the end of the world in modern times, so I only bought it the first time she walked away. After that, I wanted her to own up and stand her ground.

They even try to make you feel for Stacker, the hard ass military man. You know he has a soft spot for Mako from the start, mainly because Idris Elba is a fascinating and talented actor, and every time he looks at Mako, there’s love written all over his face. Of course, we have no idea why this is until much later in the movie… unless you’ve seen any action movie in the last decade or so, in which case it was obvious. So, yeah, he saves her as a kid (he’s the pilot of the jaeger that kills the kaiju that kills her parents) and raises her and now we have the whole father figure/mentor (ta da) role. He’s not just the hard assed military man trying to save the world with lines like this to Raleigh: “All I need is your compliance and your fighting skills.”

I’m not even going to talk about the humorous element provided by the scientists. They seemed a bit too whacky to fit into the obvious gloom and doom of the movie and I didn’t laugh once when either one of them were on the screen. Other than what they contributed to the plot by way of their discoveries, they could have not existed for me and the movie wouldn’t have suffered at all.

I do think the movie addressed the mutual attraction between Raleigh and Mako well. It was there, you could see it, but it was never overtly stated, only hinted at. The closest the movie comes to pointing it out is when Raleigh admits that he never had a reason to look forward to the future, until now. I memory serves, that’s in the middle of a jaeger/kaiju battle, though, so his timing is a bit… off.

But these are pretty stock characters and emotions in the action genre. We have the actual hard assed military guy who likes only his dad and his dog, the exotic oriental fighters (CRIMSON TYPHOON), and the stalwart Russian pilots (CHERNO ALPHA). Sure, there’s the unifying message that we must all coexist and work together if we’re going to beat the world ending problems (insert personal metaphor here) we face today. There’s the message about how even the screw-ups, the underdogs, the alternative to what’s current and popular all contribute to saving the day. It’s all there, man. Just as you’d expect it to be. None of them really rises above their intended stereotypes and the portrayals are mostly flat.

Let me compare Pacific Rim to the movie Battleship, another summer blockbuster that was, quite universally (critically, anyway), panned. Pacific Rim had a budget of 180 million dollars and Battleship 209 million, so they’re comparable. The special effects were just as good on Battleship as they were on Pacific Rim, keeping in mind Battleship wasn’t quite as grandiose. But nothing looked obviously fake, nothing was too far-fetched in the world they created.

In both movies, aliens attack from the ocean, we’re provided with a bleak scenario, our screw-up and underdog character that rises to the challenge after losing someone he loves (incidentally, it’s a brother in both movies), the hardnosed (with a soft spot military man), and a geeky scientist that acts as comic relief. Both had some minor continuity/plot issues, but nothing that really detracted from the extravagance.

Holy hell, they could almost be the same movie.

Battleship, based on a board game and not anime culture, is somehow considered less of a movie by folks. I’m not sure how that works. Battleship is every bit as good as Pacific Rim, if not slightly better. Why? Because Peter Berg lets you have time with the characters, lets you feel their losses as they mount up.

In the long run, though, Pacific Rim is just another action flick, and it gets the same ranking as Battleship, which is 2/5 on the scale. Go see PR for the spectacle, but don’t expect much more.

Unfortunately, I expected more. I don’t apologize for wanting intelligent sci-fi to come back. I’m tired of the stereotypical blonde fantasy and I’m not ashamed to show my age and admit to needing more to get my rocks off.