Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Currently Reading: 12/31/08

Finished Armed and Magical last week. The next book in the series is The Trouble With Demons, due out next April.

I can't wait.

Excellent excellent excellent.

Next up: Ian McDonald's Out on Blue Six.

So far, an intriguing read. The prose gets poetic at times but it fits the tone of the story.

Chicks With Guns: 12/30/08

From the 2008 Girls of S.W.A.T. Calendar, a special supplement to the November 2007 issue of S.W.A.T.

Post-Christmas

Hope everyone had a great and safe holiday weekend.

Ours was nice and mellow. A nice change from the typical madness.

Although my expedition to the mall on December 23rd was eye-opening.

That was madness.

As I walked into the mall entrance, a woman walking out gave me a smirk and said "Good luck."

Yes, I was being male and late with shopping. But it was just a couple of things and I hadn't had a chance to go out until then.

Strategic shopping got me through the madness and I escaped unscathed.

But the Christmas craziness is done (mostly) and '09 is just around the corner.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wolvie Trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Wolverine movie.

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE HD


Ooooh. Gambit.

(h/t: Kelly's place)

More Interwebz

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.


(photo: Talis Source Blog/scottfeldstein)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Break

The holidays are upon us. Taking a short break from blogging.

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday.

Back for more fun on Monday.

Chicks With Guns: 12/23/08

Rally Vincent - Gunsmith Cats

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kat and Mouse Updated

Episode 2 is now up.

Actually, it's Part Two of Episode One.

Anyway, go check out the fun.

Writing Rules

I've got a printout of Heinlein's Rules of Writing tacked on the wall near my monitor. I picked it up somewhere long ago (I want to say it was one of those bonus issues of Writer's Digest but I could be wrong). It's a good formula to follow.

Whilst rummaging the Intarw3bz, I came across a disagreement with one of those rules. James Patrick Kelly writes about writer's workshops and notes:
...workshops are not for everyone....Nor are workshops for followers of Heinlein's Third Rule for Success in Writing: "You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order." There's no point in workshopping non-negotiable stories....it's dishonest to decide beforehand that no matter what transpires during the critique, your story is perfectly salable and you're not changing a goddamned word.
Got me thinking.

Seems to me what Heinlein's trying to say here is: "Don't revise your story to death. Get it written and get it as good as you can. Then get it out to market. Otherwise, you risk falling into the trap of taking out a perfectly good section because you think it's not needed only to put it back in again because, hey, it actually worked the first time around and what was I thinking?!"

Rule #3 works for me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Uncle Warren in a Webcomic

hee hee hee

(Uncle Warren twitted about this last Monday. I'm putting it up now 'cuz I forgot earlier in the week.)

"Khaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

Reported by io9: a Kirk doll that yells "Khaaaaaaan!"

Now that's just frikkin' awesome.

Shatner Remembers Majel Roddenberry



(h/t: SF Signal)

On the Interwebz

Found a couple of mentions for the serial.

First, from a fellow AWer's blog.

Then, from the folks at SF Signal.

Wicked cool.

Thanks, guys!

Friday, December 19, 2008

R.I.P. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry

Majel Roddenberry passed away yesterday.




Entertainment Weekly has a nice remembrance piece.

You will be missed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Change of Scenery

Lisa recently mentioned writing in a change of scenery.

I find that a change of scenery often helps me, particularly when I'm struggling with a difficult scene or sequence. This usually involves going to Borders or Barnes & Noble, getting a mocha, and sitting in their cafe area with a yellow pad or steno book.

An hour there typically results in several pages of writing goodness.

Of course, being at Borders or Barnes can sometimes be hard on the wallet.

All those books...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's The What

Story Update: Brain currently busy with the new Kat and Mouse (KnM) story so there hasn't been much space left for blogging. The initial brain dump is pretty much done. I think. Now comes the part where I fill in missing bits.

I've got it scheduled to be done by mid-January.

We'll see how the next week or so goes.

Story Update 2: Two stories came back from Market recently (sad) so now I get to find new possible homes for them (yay!)

And I'm still cleaning up the shapeshifter story.

That's all for now.

Chicks With Guns: 12/16/08

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Have Lift-Off!

We're live! We're live! We're live!

Go begin the fun.

Second installment will be next Monday.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Gamer Geek Fun

Jim Hines gives us Part Two of "Writing: The RPG."

Makes me smile inside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why SF/F, Revisited

Follow-up to the previous post...

Who else has gotten that remark "You write so well, why do you wasted you time on crap like sci-fi/fantasy? Why don't you write a real novel?" (or variations thereof)?

I'm still not sure of the proper response. I'm torn between the following:
  • Kick them in the groin,
  • Give them the bird.
  • Smile and say "Thank you. I'm ignoring you now."
  • Say "Thank you for the vote of no confidence. You can go away now. I have no wish to consort with a troll."
  • Say "Cthulhu will eat your soul."
What say you out there?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twitter

Yes.

I haz it now.

Leverage

Jess and I caught the repeat of the premiere episode the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Timothy Hutton leads a band of ne'er-do-wells in what I'd call "Ocean's Eleven does Robin Hood."

A new episode airs tonight on TNT.

Definitely one we're gonna' watch.

Or at least record for later viewing.

ETA: No wonder he looked familiar. The "Spencer" character (see photo: third from the left, in the back) is played by Christian Kane, minus the evilness.

Chicks With Guns: 12/9/2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Why SF/F?

"Why do you write SF/F?" asked the forum post.

I replied:
Why SF/F?

Because I grew up watching the black and white Flash Gordon serials on television.

Because I saw Star Wars.

Because I started playing D&D, reading Tolkien, and watching Doctor Who in 5th grade.

Because dragons and spaceships and giant mecha float my boat.

While I love a good Spenser tale or a Stephanie Plum escapade, I always find myself combing through the SF/F racks at the bookstore.

I've tried writing a pure mystery story. Didn't work. Tried historical. No go.

Always back to SF/F.
This is why I write SF/F.

To my fellows out there, why do you?

Counting Down

Seven days before Kat and Mouse goes live.

Be sure to check out the fun at Kat and Mouse: Guns For Hire.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Which Our Hero Talks About Projects

Writing projects, that is.

'Cuz I'm a writer and all.

Kat and Mouse: After a little bit of prep work and some light outlining, I've begun the next adventure. I'm expecting to finish a first draft by (hopefully) mid-January. It looks to be a short-ish tale. Once finished, it'll post in September as the 5th "episode" of the series.

Short Story Update: The shapeshifter story, which has undergone several revisions, goes through yet another before it goes back out to market. There's also another short percolating in the depths of my brain. I'm only getting bits and pieces of it at the moment. I'm sure it'll gel into something soon.

Out To Market: Three shorts are making the rounds at the moment. Got one reply, but it was just a confirmation they'd received it.

R.I.P. Forrest J. Ackerman

SF/F/H's biggest fanboy has died.

Memorials from SFWA.

Gamer Geek Fun

Just wanted to share two fun things that make my Inner Gamer Geek smile.

First, this fun bit from Jim Hines (which also make my Writer Side smile).

Second, The Guild--a webisode series about a dysfunctional group of online gamers.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Books on Writing

Seeing a reference to Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel over at Lisa Shearin's blog makes it the fourth time I've encountered this title in the last few weeks.

My curiousity is definitely piqued.

Gonna have to get me a copy.

And since I'm talking about a book on writing, allow me to share a few others that I've found quite useful:
Some good stuff there. I highly recommend them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fear Me, Part Deux: More Creative Fandom

It didn't stop with the musical.

Nope.

I wanted to congratulate my two favorite players, Shannon MacMillan and Tiffeny Millbrett, for their World Cup win, but I wanted to do something different.

Sure, they probably got flowers and cards and letters and such.

I wanted mine to stand out.

After much thought, I decided to do a pen and ink portrait.

But as I began to sketch ideas, I had a flash of inspiration.

Thus was born TEAM STRIKER: INTERNATIONAL LADIES OF MYSTERY the comic book.

A planned 3-issue series. Two issues scripted in two and half days. Issue one penciled, inked, lettered, and bound after two weeks of working from 7pm to 2am, playing several CDs on repeat, and mainlining cup after cup of coffee. (After working your standard 8-hour day. I think I got sleep in there somewhere...)

Both Shannon and Tiffeny (and later, Brandi Chastain) got a copy of issue one.

Issues two and three never got off the ground. Sadly.

That was late 1999.

In late 2000, fellow user on the Big Soccer message boards wondered what kind of fun and mischief team joker Julie Foudy could have with a video camera.

I promptly gave a creative reply.

Bam! Another flash of inspiration.

Out came TEAM STRIKER: THE MOVIE.

Posted to the forum in 21 installments.

Fast forward to 2003.

A chance 2003 WonderCon conversation with comic book inker Ray Snyder about TEAM STIKER the comic book yielded another flash of inspiration.

Result: TEAM STRIKER the webcomic.

Sadly, the webcomic died after six installments.*

All this in the name of fandom.

Scared yet?

(If you're just shaking your head in utter disbelief, that's okay, too. I get that a lot from my friends.)


*The reasons for the demise of both the webcomic and the original comic can be found here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Currently Reading...

I have this habit of reading at least two books at the same time.

Not literally, of course.

But I'll switch back and forth between books. Not that either bores me. But my brain likes to do that sometimes and I appease it.

The pair this time around are...

Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin.

If Janet Evanovich wrote fantasy, this would be the result. Raine Benares is a fabulous character and I'm thoroughly enjoying her escapades. A fun romp. I'm a little over a quarter of the way through and I've already picked up the second book.

I hear there's a third due next year.

Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore.

Two best friends. A persistent young man. A clueless ex-boyfriend. And a dark past that returns with a vengeance.

It's a sprawling tale, both epic and intimate all at once. An excellent mix of words and pictures.

A perfect counter to your friends who think comic books are just kid stuff. After they read this, they'll never think that again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Indy In Print

Indy's literary adventures are back in the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Perry.

I may give the Indy book series another try. I've read the movie novelizations of the first two movies and enjoyed those. Then I picked up Martin Caidin's entry, Indiana Jones and the Sky Pirates.

What a disappointment.

Despite the title and the cover art, there was nothing in it even remotely resembling an Indy adventure.

Very sad.

However, I may give the others in the series a try while waiting for this new one.

I'll keep you posted.

Oh yeah--in case I haven't made it known, I'm a big Indy fan. I'll show you what I mean in a future post.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I'll be back in a few days.

After I've recovered from the food coma.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fear Me, Part One: Creative Fandom

In 1999 I became a hardcore fan of women's soccer and of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team when they won the Women's World Cup. For the next three years, I glued myself to every televised game, went to Portland, Louisville, and Fort Lauderdale to watch live matches, bought up magazines and books and swag, and participated on various women's soccer forums. Two among those forums were BigSoccer.com and Shannon MacMillan's AOL Message Board (now defunct).

During that time, it became clear to me that it wasn't enough to merely watch games and cheer the players on.

No.

I had to take fandom up another notch and the wheels of creativity went into overdrive--

No. Not overdrive.

Hyperwarp.

What does this have to do with anything?

Remember what I wrote last time?

Read on...

* * *

In the weeks that I'd been posting on Shannon's message board I had written six songs in honor of Shannon. Tributes, really. Nothing wholly original. These were merely familiar and popular songs with new lyrics--think "Weird Al" and you get the idea.

While rummaging through my brain for a new tribute, I noticed that several posters on the Board were trading song lyrics.

I started to think, "Geez, it sounds like a musical--"

Oooh.

A musical. A musical about the Message Board.

That was it. My next tribute could be a musical about all of us and how Shannon brought us together--

Shannon.

A musical about Shannon.

Sure! Why the hell not?

If Sondheim could write a musical about Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, if Andrew Lloyd Webber could write about the last week in the life of Jesus Christ, why couldn't I write a musical about Shannon?

Immediately, two songs wrote themselves in the space of an hour. Then I combed through my stack of articles as well as a copy of Marla Miller's book All-American Girls and developed the storyline for the "show." It would trace Shannon's story from her stint with the Portland Pilots all the way through the '99 Women's World Cup, as well as her impact on her fans.

On September 29th, I posted part one of MAC: The Musical.

The “complete show,” in two acts, ran ten installments, posted between September 29th and October 30th.

After Part One was posted on the Board, Shannon wrote: "Ace, you are too much. You're killin' me."

Yep. That's me.

Are ya scared yet?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Words To Live By

From August Rush:
You never quit on your music. No matter what happens. Cuz anytime something bad happens to you, that's the one place you can escape to and just let it go.
Goes along with this quote from Ray Bradbury:
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
Or as Stephen King put it:
Life isn't a support-system for art. It's the other way around
Excellent advice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gamer Humor

From IMs between Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi ("Me" in the below excerpt):

Me: Excellent. So, wanna be my In-N-Out caddie?

Wil: How does that compare to: a) lackey and b) flunky ?

Me: They don’t get animal style face smearings. Anyway, scratch that. You can be in my entourage.

Wil: OMG ENTOURAGE
That’s where I get to follow you around, and act like I’m really important just because I’m following you around!

Me: It’s like you’re rolling natural 20s, because I’m rolling natural 20s.

Wil: I’m an NPC!

Me: Really, is there anything better?

Wil: I’ll finally multiclass, and take some ranks in Insufferable Bastard

Me: You’re your own Expansion Pack, Wil. Live that dream.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha--!

I am such a friggin' gamer geek...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

U Cn Haz Feard of Me

My college buddy, Sendlo, once wrote in response to an email I'd sent: "I got the opportunity to run around Abner's mind for a while. It was frightening."

There's a good reason why my friends all "fear" me.

The output from that mass of grey matter between my ears.

"What do you mean?" you ask.

Let me give you a brief glimpse inside...

* * *

On one forum that I inhabit, a fellow poster made a comment about writing a story centered around an elementalist.

Unable to resist I posted: "So is he the very model of a modern elementalist?"

Reply: "Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant."

In response I wrote:
I am the very model of a modern elementalist
I simply wave my hand and I control the rain, the fog, the mist
Or call upon a rockslide or a firestorm if I am pissed
A waterspout, a hurricane, tornado, well, you get the gist
.
Here's another...

On another message board I frequent, this one for audio drama folks associated with Pendant Productions, someone made the joke of "Pendant: The Musical."

So I posted the following:
PENDANT FAN
I remember the first time I became a Pendant fan. Jeffrey helped me. Isn't that right, Jeffrey?

JEFFREY
That's right.

PENDANT FAN
I was searching high and low for good audio dramas. Wasn't reallyfinding them. Then along came Jeffrey who said to me...

(sung to the tune of "Over at the Frankenstein Place" from THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW [in this, the stage version, second verse has the same melody as the first verse])

JEFFREY
(singing)
You want audio dramas?
Well look no more
Shows galore
I can take you there
Now don't you fret
And don't you despair
There's a show

CHORUS
Over at the Pendant website

JEFFREY
There's a show

CHORUS
Try 'em all, they're outta sight

JEFFREY
There's a show, a show
Download one
And listen tonight

PENDANT FAN
There's so many choices
What am I to do?
Where to start?
Haven't got a clue.

JEFFREY
Pick one, there's lots
For me and you
There's a show

CHORUS
Over at the Pendant website

JEFFREY
There's a show

CHORUS
Try 'em all, they're outta sight

JEFFREY
There's a show, a show
Download one
And listen tonight

SETH
TWIP, Dixie, Bill Shakes, Vegas, Seminar, and the Kingery
Supes, Bats, Defiant, Indy, Bond, Blue Harvest, Supergirl,
Wonder Woman,
And Catwoman

PENDANT FAN and JEFFREY
There's a show

CHORUS
Over at the Pendant website

PENDANT FAN and JEFFREY
There's a show

CHORUS
Try 'em all, they're outta sight
There's a show, a show

PENDANT FAN
Download one
And listen tonight
You have been warned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Now Playing: 18 November 2008

Here's the latest audio drama: Gaia's Voyages, episode 3, with yours truly as ship's pilot Lt. Andre Anjou.

They're Back!!!

In honor of the Annie Oakley post, I hereby resurrect a series begun at my previous blog.

Presenting: Chicks With Guns.


Israeli gals. Buying ice cream.


(H/T: SayUncle)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Countdown Clock

Hat tip to fellow AW'er mscelina for the countdown clock you see above.

She had one. I thought it was nifty so I borrowed one for Kat and Mouse.

heh

She Who Kicks Ass

Since I brought up Annie Oakley...

In the mid-80s, Teenage Me caught a glimpse of a blond-haired girl in a blue outfit on HBO. The girl appeared to be flying through the sky surrounded by giant insects.

Then, I had to leave.

What little I saw intrigued me so I vowed to catch it the next time it came around.

The next time came, I caught it, taped Warriors of the Wind* and fell for She Who Kicks Ass.

Who is She Who Kicks Ass?

She is feisty and fiery. Self-confident. Take charge. Takes no shit. Holds her own.

She can be pretty when she wants. But piss her off and she will kick your ass.

She is Princess Leia. She is Ripley. She is Xena. She is Buffy. She is Lara Croft.

I salute She Who Kicks Ass.

And if that's too long of a title, try "badass heroine."

Yeah.

That works, too.


*Warriors of the Wind, of course, is the badly-dubbed, completed mangled American version of Hayao Miyazaki's classic film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Disavow any knowledge of the former and go see the latter. Now.)

The Realism Thing

A thread from one of my forums got me thinking.

The original post lamented the seeming inability of SF works to portray realistic space warfare.

At first glance, it's a good point. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the lament falls flat.

The post wants realistic space warfare in science fiction.

But this is fiction.

Operative word: fiction.

We fictioneers deal with "what might happen." "What might be." Speculative.

As in spec-fic, or speculative fiction.

Again, there's that word. Fiction.

We deal with "things we don't know, but here's one way it might work/might happen."

That's not to say that we should sacrifice scientific laws simply to tell our stories. Place the story within the realm of the possible, yes.

But when I read it, I want to feel my pulse racing. I don't want to get bogged down in pages of written our astrophysics when you could simply say the ship didn't maneuver in time, collided with the asteroid, and blew apart.

I found that A. Lee Martinez weighed in on the issue:
Research is great if it helps you write your story. But if it gets in your way or limits your imagination or seems . . . just wrong to your audience then it isn't an asset. It's an obstacle.

This is not to say that research can't be useful. Even necessary depending on what you're writing. But it's not an excuse to write a dull story, to drown your reader in a sea of details while neglecting to give them characters worth caring about.

[...]

Research does not make a good story.
Lawrence Block puts it this way in Telling Lies For Fun & Profit:
[F]akery is the very heart and soul of fiction. All our novels and short stories are nothing but a pack of lies.

Unless your writing is pure autobiography in the guise of fiction, you will continually find yourself practicing the dark arts of the illusionist and the trade of the counterfeiter.
In the end, our job is to entertain.

Let's not forget that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dresden In The Funnybooks

Yep, that's right.

A graphic novel featuring our fave Chi-Town wizard. This one, a prequel to the novel Storm Front.

Dresden adapts quite well to the four-color format. Butcher gives us Harry in all his quipping glory and throws in some great pairing of words and images. For instance, at the end of Chapter One, Harry has just taken out one attacking big cat only to find several more have crept up on him.

The caption reads: "Okay. That's just not fair."

Good ol' Harry.

I did notice that artist Ardian Syaf seems to channel Jim Lee and J. Scott Campbell. But unless you were looking closely, you probably didn't notice it.

Not that it's a bad thing.

Just noticed the style.

Overall, a fun read and probably a decent intro for someone unsure of the novel series.

Different format. Same Harry.

And I have to say, the Chris McGrath covers on this and on the novels are growing on me.

Now, off to the store with you...

Annie Get Your...Huh?

Jess and I just saw the 1950 movie musical Annie Get Your Gun, based on the 1946 stage musical of the same name.

Great Irving Berlin songs, especially the comedic duet "Anything You Can Do."

But...WTF? What the hell kind of ending was that?

I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it. To those who have, I ask again: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I can see the reasoning from a historic context, from the values of the time.

But it was still a crappy-ass ending.


NOTE: If you're interested in how Annie's life really progressed, PBS has a nice timeline.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why A Serial?

One month before Kat and Mouse: Guns For Hire goes live and everything's pretty much ready to go.

Some of you may be asking,"Why self-publish online? Why not go with the traditional publishing routes? Don't you know you're jeopardizing your future in print publishing? Have you lost your freakin' mind?"

I guess I'm a bit of a limelight whore attention hound. Probably comes from the same bug that makes me voice act. And what led me to DM more than play.

I enjoy creating something, sharing that creation with folk, and getting the immediate feedback. It's much the same as being onstage in front of an audience and hearing and seeing their response to your words and actions. Anyone who's been there can tell you: it's a rush.

I'll continue to submit my other stories to print and online markets. No change there.

But I think Kat and Mouse lends itself nicely to the serial format.

As far as jeopardizing future publishing because it first appeared online?

David Wellington and Monster Island seems to have done fine in print...

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Balls Out" Fiction

Carla Harker talks about a " 'balls out' writing experience" with regard to her novel that was eventually picked up for representation:
I was afraid at first to make a heroine who was cold-blooded, efficient, didn't hesitate to squeeze the trigger. Much of the female-oriented action I'd read had heroines afraid of guns, or in the process of giving up the business because it bothers them, or very uncomfortable with the role they had in life.

But characters in movies often engage in acts of violence without remorse, without regret. I thought to myself, what if my heroine didn't hate her work? What if she knew exactly who she was and still liked herself? What if she didn't waste her time trying to avoid shooting the bad guy and just...shot him?
That's Kat and Mouse. No fear of guns. No hesitation in squeezing the trigger.

After all, their tagline is "When the going gets tough, the tough shoot back."

I like it. "Balls out."

Not in reference to the experience of the writing, the "take the gloves off" aspect that Carla talks about in her post.

No.

I'm talking about the type of writing.

I thought of it as "escapist." "Brain candy."

But I think I'll call it "balls out fiction."

On The Soapbox

Pardon me for taking a slight political turn, but... (well, it is my blog so I'm allowed. heh.)

Stumbled across this video of a recent Meet the Press segment.

Did she (she being Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama's transition team) say what I think she said?

Listen...



Okay--go back and listen again. Around the 30-ish second mark.

Did she say Obama would "rule"?

Excuse me? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Since when does a President rule? I just looked; nothing in Article 2 of the Constitution mentions "ruling."

I understood that Presidents "serve" their term in office. Have you heard of any U.S. President ruling the country? If you have, show me where. Title, author, page and line number, please.

You doubt she said it?

Transcript is here, my friends.

Nice going, folks. Well voted there.

(h/t: LawDog)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Former Ravings

My last foray into the blogosphere was the gun rights blog The Madman Raves. Begun in April 2007, Madman was my soapbox on gun rights, gun issues, and anti-gun control.

While it was a lot of fun to write, I found that after a while, I was getting buried under a mass of time-specific issues. When I was finally able to throw in my two cents, the issue had passed and something new had taken its place. Since the blog was meant to be topical and mostly current, missing out on issues would not do.

In addition, I found myself wanting to chime in on matters besides gun issues.

But the blog just wasn't the right place for that.

After taking some time off and doing a lot of thinking, I decided to close up shop and "rave" no more.

Could I have pressed on despite how I felt?

Sure. But the blog would've suffered both in quality and in focus. I didn't want to do that to my readers.

Which brings me here. To this blog.

Much closer, I feel, to the worlds I tend to inhabit.


NOTE: For those interested, The Madman Raves still lives, though not at its own domain. You can find it here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Progress Is Good

I had yesterday off from the Day Job and it proved to be quite a productive day.

Five months worth of installments are now queued up at the serial. We are ready for launch with a goodly buffer in place.

Had fun with photos of sharks and learned about bodice-rippers in space.

Yep. Productive.

Now Playing: 12 November 2008

Matt Leong of Atomic Clockwork Media/Double Dork Meter sent me the link to a show I did for him.

Seems to have come out already. Around Halloween, as a matter of fact. I didn't realize it so finding out about it is all sorts of cool.

Info on the show and download goodness are here.

Happy listening!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

I offer this to all who served and to all who continue to serve...
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
--Henry V, Shakespeare
Thank you for all that you do and all you have done.

LOLSharkz

Always goodness from Uncle Warren.

Here's a good one:



(via Fuck Yeah Sharks)

Books Gone Wild

MightyGodKing gives us revisionist book titles here, here, and here.

My favorite:

Frickin' hysterical.

As in "spew coffee through the nose" hysterical.

The Waiting Game

No matter what your level (novice, intermediate, advanced, expert, deity), it's still stressful.

Not quite as stressful as other things, but it ranks up there.

I'm talking about The Waiting Game.

Whether it's a manuscript submission or a voice acting audition, waiting to hear back still gets to me.

Makes my skin itch in anticipation.

Makes me want to check my email inbox every thirty seconds to see if they've replied yet.

"N0, no," I say to myself. "I'll give it a little more time. Then I'll check."

Thirty seconds later, I'm scanning my inbox.

I can see the potential for ulcers.

So I do what the books tell me: put it out of my mind and work on the next thing. If writing, work on the next story. If voice acting, find the next audition or record your next set of lines.

And it does help.

A lot.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's been thirty seconds. Gotta check my inbox...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Voice Acting Update: 10 November 2008

I've just been cast as "Jackson" in episode 24 of SEMINAR, from Pendant Productions.

Now Playing: 10 November 2008

Here's where to find my current audio drama "appearances" (along with episode links):

UMKET INDUSTRIES PRESENTS: THE DIXIE STENBERG AND BRASSY BATTALION ADVENTURE THEATER (episode 27) as "Harry the CEO"

THE KINGERY (episode 2x07: "The Certainty of Chance") as "Eddie"

STAR RABBIT TRACKS (episode 6) as "Fox 2nd Master"

GAIA'S VOYAGES (episode 2: "Disaster at Xaphoni, Part Two") as "Lt. Andre Anjou"

THE KINGERY (episode 2x06: "The Certainty of Chance") as "Eddie"

TWIN STARS (episode 6) as "Colonel Cole"

SEMINAR (episode 20: "Conversations") as"Paul"

WONDER WOMAN: CHAMPION OF THEMYSCIRA (episode 33) as "Dr. Lallande"

UMKET INDUSTRIES PRESENTS: THE DIXIE STENBERG AND BRASSY BATTALION ADVENTURE THEATER (episode 26) as "Jacques the Baker"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Sing-along!

Here's a charming little ditty for ya, courtesy of the a cappella group DaVinci's Notebook.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playlists and "the Zone"

Carrie Vaughn mentions using a playlist when writing her novels. Comic book writer Devin Grayson does the same when writing her comic scripts.

I do the same thing, only using whole albums. Sometimes, movies.

With one project, I listened to Weird Al's Greatest Hits and Running With Scissors over and over during the course of writing.

Another project was written with The Mummy playing the background. On repeat.

More recently, I repeatedly played the music score from Transformers while writing Kat and Mouse's big storyline. Interestingly enough, that was one music choice that fit. I think I may have found its unofficial soundtrack.

Why music (or a movie)? Why not just write in complete silence?

For Carrie:
it distracts the anxiety-ridden, obsessive compulsive part of my brain that's always worrying if I locked the door or left the stove on. I have to shut that part down or I can't write.
For Devin:
music allows me to suspend what is sometimes called the “critical” or “editor” mind — in a sense, I deliberately distract parts of my consciousness in the hopes of encouraging various subconscious streams to run more freely.
Same for me.

Kicks out the Inner Editor. Silences the Worry Section. Puts me in the proverbial "zone."

I've also found that in order for the playlist/soundtrack/movie to be effective, it has to quickly fade into the background. There can't be anything in it that interrupts the zone or the writing stalls and it takes a few minutes to get back in the groove.

In the zone.

For some reason, classical music doesn't work. You'd think it'd be perfect, right?

Not for me.

Tried it with one of my classical compilations. You know--the ones that have the more popular pieces on one disc. Goes from Pachelbel's Canon in D to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to Strauss's Blue Danube. Those guys.

I found that at certain points during the disc, I'd get kicked out of the zone.

Not sure why.

For whatever reason, non-classical ones work best.

There have been instances where I've switched albums in the middle of writing and not realized it until later. But during that switch I stayed in the zone. Example: during the writing of one story, I began playing the highlights disc for Rent and when I looked up at the end of that writing session, the theme from Jurassic Park was just ending.

Fully in the zone. Totally lost to the world.

Stephen King talks about this in On Writing:
I work to loud music--hard-rock stuff like AC/DC, Guns 'n Roses, and Metallica have always been particular favorites--but for me the music is just another way of shutting the door. It surrounds me, keeps the mundane world out. When you write, you want to get rid of the world, do you not? Of course you do. When you're writing, you're creating your own worlds.
"Keeps the mundane world out."

Yeah.

That's it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just This...

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."
--Benjamin Franklin

And I'll leave it at that.

Countdown to Live-Ness

One month and ten days before the serial goes live.

Can't wait. I'm pretty excited.

I've also created an accompanying site--The Red Dog Bar--which will serve as both news source and behind-the-scenes goodness.

Not yet sure what the posting schedule will be for Red Dog. I figure weekly for installment updates and news. For the other fun bits, maybe every two weeks. Maybe once a month.

We'll see.

More as we get closer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On Dreams

I get a series of "acting tips" via email newsletter from Bob Fraser. These primarily deal with the mindset and business skills necessary to be a "working actor."

In a recent newsletter, Bob writes:
Don't accept "reasons" to...give up your dream without a complete "investigation" into whether those"reasons" are real or someone else's illusion of reality.
Reminds me of a story Lawrence Block relates in Telling Lies for Fun and Profit:
There's an old story about a young man who cornered a world-famous violinist and begged to be allowed to play for him. If the master offered him encouragement, he would devote is life to music. But if his talent was not equal to his calling, he wanted to know ahead of time so he could avoid wasting his life. He played, and the great violinist shook his head. "You lack the fire," he said.

Decades later the two met again, and the would-be violinist, now a prosperous businessman, recalled their previous meeting. "You changed my entire life," he explained. "It was a bitter disappointment, giving up music, but I forced myself to accept your judgment. Thus, instead of becoming a fourth-rate musician, I've had a good life in the world of commerce. But tell me, how could you tell so readily that I lacked the fire?"

"Oh. I hardly listened when you played," the old master said. "That's what I tell everyone who plays for me--that they lack the fire."

"But that's unforgivable!" the businessman cried. "how could you do that? You altered the entire course of my life. Perhaps I could have been another Kreisler, another Heifetz--"

The old man shook his head again. "You don't understand," he said. "If you had had the fire, you would have paid no attention to me."
Here's another way of putting it, from Neil Gaiman:
It does help, to be a writer, to have the sort of crazed ego that doesn't allow for failure....Because the rejection slips will arrive. And, if the books are published, then you can pretty much guarantee that bad reviews will be as well. And you'll need to learn how to shrug and keep going. Or you stop, and get a real job.
"Paid no attention to me."

"Shrug and keep going."

Words to live by.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Embrace the Needy

I was planning to write about this subject but J.A. Konrath beat me to the punch.

Says it all for me.

And here I thought the feeling was something not to be shared, to be kept hidden in that proverbial closet with all the other skeletons.

But now I know it's okay.

Thanks, Joe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

NaNo?

No.

Not this year.

I did it last year and had a great time. Didn't hit 50,000 until after the end of the month (it was about two weeks or so after), but I still enjoyed the experience. Helped silence the Inner Editor and let me vomit on paper. ("Brain vomit," as my Wife and I like to call it.) Anything I was missing, any bit of info I didn't have, I just made a note in the manuscript.

When scenes weren't flowing right because the Inner Editor kept saying "No, that wouldn't happen like that," I muzzled him and went stream of consciousness. Just wrote out what was supposed to happen in that scene. I'd fix it in revisions.

Missing a name for a secondary character? Just type "Mr. Guy." Fix it later.

Very freeing.

But not for me this year.

To all those who are participating--good luck!

Very Cool

I recently received emails inviting me to audition for a couple of VA projects.

Sweet.

Recorded the auditions and sent them off.

Now we wait and see what happens...

Happy Halloween!


Everyone dress up and overdose on candy!

I'm planning to dress up. I may even share a pic of Costumed Me in an upcoming post.

I leave you with this awesome pumpkin design:


May the Gourd be with you.


Spooky house pic borrowed from here.
Death Star pic borrowed from
here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Target Shooting

From an old segment of Attack of the Show.



Friggin' hilarious...

(Interestingly enough, the link to AOTS shows the video is no longer available there but is cross-posted at Gizmodo)

Comic Books and Me

I'll admit it. I like comic books.

I wouldn't say I'm a zealous fan. But I do like to read them.

I have also come to the conclusion that, as much as I like them, I can't make them.

Oh, I can write a comic book. I've done it.

But I can't write and draw. That's the kicker.

My skills aren't that good. They're passable. But not the quality that I'd like them to be, and I believe that's where I get hung up.

So I start a comic project. Then stop. Start one. Then stop.

I've done that four times over the span of several years. Each time I begin I think "Okay, this time, I'll actually go through until the end."

And it doesn't happen.

Maybe it's a bad thing to compare myself with artists I admire. Maybe that's my problem.

But I think my draftsmanship just isn't developed enough to warrant another go. And the learning curve would be rather steep at this point.

On the other hand, the writing part never lets up. Even as I struggle with perspective, figure work, and object rendering, I'm miles ahead in the script department. When one fully drawn page took me 10+ hours, the script for a 22-page issue took far less time.

Every comic project. One page of art = long ass time. 22 pages of script = not as long.

Seems to be telling me something.

Stick with the writing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back On The Mic

Now that my Wife and I are officially out of the old place and into the new, we have begun unpacking the rest of the boxes that are stacked around the House.

Last week, I set up the office, both computers, and Intarw3bz connections and about mid-week, finally finished setting up my recording gear. Okay, so it's not a lot of recording gear--just a USB mic and my portable sound booth (a comic half-box lined with acoustic foam)--but I had to make sure it was set up in a good spot near the 'puter so that I could easily work it and Audacity.

With that done, I finally had a chance to sit down and record lines for shows that had been pending since the move. The leftover and new GAIA lines were done and sent. As were STAR RABBIT and a short bit on ROBOTZ. TWIN STARS is up next to record. And that should bring us up to date by the end of October.

What's nice about theLair's new location: it's a house.

We are no longer in apartment country. Which means no neighbors above, below, and on either side. That translates to being able to record after 9pm without fear of disturbing the neighbors.

Also, no more facing the parking lot and having various people pull up with their car stereos turned up to rock concert levels. Talk about a pain in the ass. You're there recording a perfectly good take and all of a sudden, someone pulls up, bass thumping.

Take goes down the toilet.

Then you have to wait a millenia before they leave.

No more.

I can recording in relative peace and quiet.

It's great.

Beware of Trolls...

Riffing off of my previous post on the writing thing...

I came across this gem from Greg Rucka's blog.

A very familiar story to me. The chain of events in my case are a bit different, but the essentials remain the same: there are some folks who cannot fathom this sort of pursuit and try to steer you to what they think you should do.

Worse than well-meaning friends doing it to you--well-meaning relatives. You know the ones. Good ol' Uncle Harry scoffing when you tell him you want to be a writer* and he tells you, "Why don't you get a real job?"

And when you do stand your ground to those same relatives and tell them you are a writer and they say, "No, you work at Such-and-Such Company."

Chaps my hide.

I always want to tell them to fuck off give them the One-Fingered Salute.


*Or actor. Or dancer. Or musician. Or singer. Or rock star. Or anything creative and artistic.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The New Project

As I mentioned previously, the new project is a web serial.

Kat and Mouse: Guns For Hire.

Near-future noir and action-adventure with babes, blades, and bullets.

I'm taking three short stories and one novella and offering it as a weekly serial starting in December.

I've already converted the first short story as three installments. Those are ready to go.

I'm currently converting the novella. So far, I've converted 11 installments, now ready to go. Based on the work I've done so far, it's looking like 20+ installments for the whole thing. I figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 - 25 installments

So far, that's 14 weeks of installments ready to go, putting me in the middle of next March.

I plan to finish off the novella conversion in the next few weeks. Then it'll be time to work on converting the other two shorts.

So far, so good.

Cool Future-y Stuff

This is faboo. Makes me think of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.

Here's my favorite:
And if you're really dying to get yourself an honest to goodness raygun, Dr. Grordbort can help you out.

For instance, this little number:
It's the F.M.O.M. INDUSTRIES Wave Disrupter Gun. Something for the stylish yet armed space adventurer.

And now, someeye candy:
Niiiiiice.

Isn't that just a beautiful gun?

(Oh--and the woman's pretty, too...)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hearing Voices...

Since I've admitted I'm a writer, I need to add the other half of my Artistic Hyphenate.

I am a Voice Actor.

You know--funny character voices. Like Mel Blanc (Bugs, Daffy, etc). Rob Paulsen (Yakko Warner). Pat Fraley (Krang). Those guys.

It all got started when I would make up voices for the NPCs in my campaigns. (As in D&D campaigns. Yes, I freely admit geekery.) Two goblin guards would sound like a couple of gangsters. The goblin leader as Don Corleone. The former mercenary-turned village blacksmith as Sean Connery.

A friend said, "You should do voices for cartoons."

'Nuff said. I went and found me some classes.

Now, I've done a number of audio drama podcasts. With more to come.

Nothing paid yet.

But I'm working on that...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scribblings (I)

"So you're a writer," you say. "What have you written?"

The answer is here.

Up that same alley, I will now announce a new project being readied for launch.

A web fiction serial.

That's right.

Weekly installments. Continuing adventures. Starting this December. December 15th to be exact.

It'll be my tribute to Xena, Buffy, and Gunsmith Cats.

So far, I'm about 10 weeks in, all pretty solidly written, giving me a pretty decent posting buffer. There may be some last minute tweaks prior to each new installment but nothing too huge--mostly cosmetic (typos and the like).

I'm rather excited about this new venture and can't wait to roll it out.

Stay tuned for more.

Spider Jerusalem Rules!

If you haven't heard of it, go out now and pick up a copy.

Transmetropolitan will be the best thing you will have ever read in your life.

Writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson chronicle the adventures of outlaw journalist Spider Robinson as he wages a crusade against corruption and the abuse of powers by two presidents.

Irreverent, politically incorrect, and often anti-social, Spider and his "filthy assistants" kick ass and take names.

The full 60 issue run has been collected in 10 graphic novels. Begin with volume one, Back On The Street.

Go. Read it. Now.

You'll enjoy yourself.

I promise.

Can't Escape It

No. I can't

I've tried a few times in the past but it's always come back.

"It" is "writing." Specifically, fiction writing. More specifically, SF/Fantasy writing.

I recently took a step back from it all. For several months prior, I was in a phase of writing and submitting. I got to a point where I had a few stories making the rounds at various markets.

In writing "how-to" books, they always advise that the best way to stop worrying about your submissions was to get started on a new story. But no new stories were bubbling up for me to write. It felt like I couldn't write more until one of the circulating stories found a home. When that happened, it would free up a spot somewhere in my mental writing area that would allow the next tale to emerge from the subconscious depths.

Also, I kept wracking my brain (and begging my Muse*) to come up with stories that were getting published in the mags that I was reading (Asimov's and F&SF).

No go there.

Actually, I take it back. There was a go. But they were hints of stories, fun little yarns that begged spinning, but likely not for the mags.

So around February of this year, I took a step back and focused on another arena (more on this later).

Around mid-August, my Muse tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Back to work, bud. And this time, you're gonna do it my way."**

As I mentioned at the beginning: I can't escape.

Honestly, I don't think I want to.


*My Muse is actually a committee. I call them The Peanut Gallery. They are Sean, Anne, Herman, and Derf.

**More on this soon. I promise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Memories Are Made Of This

(No, I'm not going to sing Dean Martin...)

Wil Wheaton posted this on his blog yesterday.

Back down Memory Lane. Thanks, Wil. I now have the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

I Survive...

(No, I won't bust out with some Gloria Gaynor...)

I just survived moving AND fighting off a nasty Bug. ("Would you like to know more?")

Now it's a matter of settling in at The Lair's new location. The office and computers are all up and working. So are the desks and "media" cabinet (TV, DVD, VCR--yes, I'm still using videotapes. Shut up.)

The next few days will probably be spent digging goodies out of boxes and making the house a bit more liveable.

At the very least, our cats have calmed down some.

Welcome!

Greetings, one and all.

I finally decided to start a general blog, one in which I can spout off on various and sundry topics. A place for my brain droppings, if you will.

Moo hoo ha ha.

Just a little bit about writing and fiction. A little bit about my voice acting.

A little bit of this. A little bit of that.

A little bit country. A little bit rock and roll.

Heh.

(you've been warned...)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Who Is This Guy?

I am a writer and voice-actor.

As a writer, I've been published in Anotherealm, Neverary, Flashshot, and millenniumSHIFT, among others. I currently write the web fiction serial KAT AND MOUSE: GUNS FOR HIRE.

As a voice actor, I've lent my pipes to various online audio dramas produced by Pendant Productions, Giant Gnome Productions, Dream Realm Enterprises, MisfitsAudio, and Imagination Lane, to name a few.

I am a big SF/Fantasy/movie/genre TV/comic book/anime/manga fan.

Token

JG46UVUKRM55

(Just a test, folks. Nothing to see here. Merely our claim token for Technorati so you'll be able to find us there. I'm surprised I didn't do this long ago. Oh well. Carry on, then)

"Beware of Owner" on Audio

And now, a dramatic reading of "Beware of Owner"by Chuck Wendig.

Enjoy!








What The Hell Is This Place?

My welcome message gives a pretty good answer.

Basically: Fiction writing. Voice acting. Comic books. SF/Fantasy. Genre movies and television. Cool shit. Weapons. Guns and gun rights.

And whatever else oozes from the depths of my mind.

Trust the ooze. Love the ooze. Sing tributes about the ooze.

The ooze is your friend.

As I've said before: "You have been warned. Run away while you still can."