Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Jenner's whisper to Rick on The Walking Dead

This week's Walking Dead had me thinking.

If you recall from season one, the group led by Rick went to the CDC in Atlanta for help. When they got there, they found Dr. Jenner. He was the only one left. And prior to committing suicide and blowing up the whole building, he whispered something into Rick's ear.

Dr. Jenner whispered something to Rick in last year's
season finale and I think they are going to finally reveal
it very soon.
Well I have an idea on just what that whisper might have been.

After a discussion with my friend James, I think that Dr. Jenner might have told Rick that everyone is infected with the zombie disease. That everyone that dies, becomes one, whether or not they are bit. Somehow...the world has changed.

The implications for Rick are profound. If something happens to his unborn baby in the womb and it dies, it will become a zombie and attack the mother from the inside.

That would be horrific. And this series does not pull any punches.

Additionally, it looks like Michonne will be showing up in the season finale in just three more episodes. If you don't know who Michonne is, you can look at my post that I did on her HERE.
Rutina Wesley as Michonne? We find out in 3 episodes
The woman who has been cast with no name attached because AMC is keeping it secret as to who she will play is Rutina Wesley. You may recognize her from playing Tara in the HBO series "True Blood." She's also going to be in Ridley Scott's Prometheus (I can see Grumpy rolling his eyes). Rutina Wesley IS confirmed as a permanent cast member and not a guest star appearance.

She has to be playing Michonne.

UPDATE as of 3/19/2012

I was wrong on the casting of Michonne. It turns out that Treme actress Danai Gurira has been cast in the role. I have to say that October 2012 seems like a long time to wait before seeing her in action. But if last night's season finale were any indication, the best things do indeed come to those who wait.

Danai Gurira as the most badass zombie fighter in the world
What do you think?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The CassaFire Blog Tour

Alex J. Cavanaugh blog tour runs through March 9th. #CatchFire

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details:


by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!

Science fiction - space opera/adventure

Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages

EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site at

Please click on one of the links below to be taken to the appropriate spot to support Alex and buy his book.

Please be sure to check back on Friday, March 2nd as I will be hosting the Brilliant Mr. Cavanaugh for an interview.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Conor Maynard owns Rihanna in this jaw-dropping cover of her song

So I found a video on YouTube put out by three people that covers "I love the way you lie, part 2" as featured on Rihanna's most recent album. In order of appearance, they are Nike Jemiyo, Conor Maynard, and Anth (rapping for Eminem's part and not as good as Eminem). I love Rihanna, and I think that the woman has an incredible voice. Yes, I own a bunch of her music.

Conor is the white guy that sings the second verse of this ballad starting at 1:22 if you just want to slide over and take a listen. I love all the faces he makes, sticking his tongue out and caught my attention.

Conor's vocals gave me CHILLS. This 19-year-old has one hell of a gift, and from the research I did on him, I guess he's becoming a star and his first actual single is out (he was discovered by Ne-yo). I actually enjoy Conor singing Rihanna's second verse MORE than Rihanna. I hardly ever say that. There's so many covers of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" including the one done on Glee, and I have never thought anyone did that song better than Beyonce. Ever.

I'm pretty much blown away. Listen for yourself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

When writing goes too far

There is graffiti where I live, but none as daring as what I've seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Here, we have had these people scale over the interstate at night to paint the green signs that provide directions to commuters.or color the underside of bridges with markings that I don't understand. But for the most part, Salt Lake City doesn't suffer from it like Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo by night. It's beautiful, isn't it? Click to make bigger.
A city of 20 million people, Sao Paulo is a reflection of Brazil. It's going through class warfare much more severe than what we are seeing in the United States, and the angry, disenfranchised, and decidedly athletic are taking out their anger by using graffiti. I say "decidedly athletic" because there's no way an out-of-shape guy like me would ever attempt to do this kind of work. It blows my mind that they do it at night. And for the record, I don't admire it. I think graffiti is ugly.
A building completely defaced by graffiti

In Sao Paulo they are defacing things with more than just spray cans. We're talking buckets of black paint, rollers, and the daring to scale skyscrapers all the way to the top to vandalize enormous buildings. It makes my eyes swim because I would find that to be just terrifying.

The most daring climbers of "Pixação" will stop at nothing to get to the top of the tallest structures and some of them fall to their deaths. They don't use safety lines at all, and the higher the mark is on a building, I guess the more prestige that they earn among their peers.

When I look at something like "Pixação", I have to ask, why does it seem that only men engage in this kind of activity? Is it testosterone? Or are men just stupider than women?

Be sure to check out at least a minute of the video below. It shows some of the people who engage in this activity climbing up the sides of these huge buildings in night vision. It's pretty incredible.  According to the New York TimesPixação translates into "cover with tar" and is supposed to reflect the urban decay and deep class divisions that now define Brazil.
In my opinion, the people doing this are criminals.  Any who say differently...that say they are doing this for a cause are just liars. I don't understand how any sane person would think that defacing public landmarks with graffiti could in any way be a positive statement. It's more like poetic terrorism. In other words..."I will destroy the value of something you own by putting my 'poetry' on it UNLESS you cave-in to my demand." Income inequality sucks. But destroying things because you are angry is no way to solve anything. It just makes things worse, and I hope that this kind of graffiti doesn't become popular in the United States.

What about you? Do you like graffiti?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Majesty of the Human Condition in The Artist

The Artist is about George Valentin. A silent film star who is at the top of his career. The side effect of this is that he is vain. Vain of how handsome he is, vain of how successful he is, and vain of his position as a superstar. Then comes the invention of sound, and just like yesterday's garbage, he is out with the trash.

The studio replaces him with a young woman who the world wants to hear speak. And her career starts to take off even as George blows most of his money on one last silent film that tanks at the box office. Why does he do this? Vanity/pride. He thinks that all that he has accomplished is because he has something that others don't have. I draw this conclusion from one specific line in the film that George says as he anoints Peppy Miller (the young starlet) with a single beauty mark that seems to make all the difference.

But maybe that's just it. Maybe that's all the difference there is between a nobody and someone that is a star. A single beauty mark drawn in with a makeup pencil to distinguish her from other girls. Would Suzanne Collins be the star that she is if Scholastic hadn't made her one? I sometimes wonder.
George ends up going broke and drinks himself almost to death. The film ends when he almost commits suicide and Peppy saves him.  "Why won't you let me help you, George?" she asks him. And then it just clicks. She understands that she needs to work around his pride, his vanity, which is suffocating him. So they invent a dancing vaudeville act and become a smashing success together. "Out with the old in with the new" becomes "the new reinvents and gives purpose to the old", which is probably a much better saying, and one that we can take to heart.

I left the theater after having seen this movie and thought to myself how closely this movie is a reflection of our society. I know that in the gay community in particular, many older gay men become invisible to younger men simply because they are the old black and white silent pictures, and now everyone wants "sound". The same can be said for the straight community.

I also see this in ebooks. Printed books are under siege from the onslaught of e-readers, iPads, Nooks, Kindles, and tablets galore (the new). But just like in The Artist, there is still value in the old. You just need to know how to find it with an appreciative eye.

The Artist is an expose of the overall human condition that I see everywhere in America right now. The old get put into nursing homes seemingly at younger and younger ages because families don't want to care for them. I've seen many parents reach an age where there children dismiss them as a bother and probably secretly wish that they'd just die off because they've gotten so busy with their lives that they just can't spare the time. Fade to black. Invisible. When at one time you ruled the world or at least your family. one cares.
What a remarkable film. To capture all of that about our society in a short silent black and white movie.

The Artist is you. The Artist is me. The Artist is a film that is for anyone that is an artist or who fancies themselves to be creative. As writers, we DO fit into this category. How many of you out there are so proud that you will only accept being traditionally published by the Big Six? How many of you desire the fame and adulation of Stephanie Meyer and keep it hidden just under the surface so that no one can tell how much you feel you deserve to be a star? How many of you are vain? That secretly think that your writing is so much better than another authors when you haven't even read what they've written? You just visit their website, look at their book, and think, "Someday I'll be famous and there's no way this person would have ever gotten signed to an agent's good they self-published." How many of you feel contempt for another person as you walk or drive by them on the street just because they are fat, a different race, or smelly?
The Artist is a film that warns against vanity. At the end of the film, George finally loses his vanity and is saved. He achieves happiness and love. I think that's the key. If you depend on the adulation of others to give your life meaning, then you are going to crash and burn.

I haven't seen all the best picture nominees. But The Artist blows Hugo away. Martin Scorsese, in my opinion, doesn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blizzard is anti-marketing Diablo 3. Why?

Is there a reason not to like hype? In what may arguably be the most anticipated game of the year, Blizzard Entertainment's community manager who goes by the name Bashiok on the Diablo 3 forums said, "I too worry that we won't be able to meet the expectations people have built up for themselves. Part of my job is managing people's expectations, so... eh... stop it.  Stop thinking about how awesome this game could be. Just imagine it's a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. Sure Sixth Sense was amazing and Unbreakable had its moments, but this right here is the sequel to The Village ... or The Happening ... or Signs ... or any of the movies besides the two I first mentioned. So just like, lower those expectations, but still definitely buy the game please, and everything will be just fine. K?"

Do you think this is weird? Whacko? That the guy has gone insane?

Why would anyone tell their audience to lower expectations?

All I can say is that I have always loved games by Blizzard and the thing that appeals to me so much about the Diablo world is that it is so incredibly dark. Cindy Borgne probably said it best when she reviewed my upcoming book and said that it was a "dark urban fantasy."  It was like she had this x-ray vision into the kind of things I like to read and pulled it out in one sentence.

The Diablo world is a no holds barred dark fantasy almost (but not quite) without hope. It's a sword and sorcery but with an epic storyline. Demons are everywhere doing terrible things. It has great blood and destruction animations. The kind that make the hairs on your arms stand on end. And when certain sounds play over your speakers, you actually feel scared. And no matter who you play, your character always looks incredibly hot.

I remember playing the first one and kicking down the door to a room filled with corpses of townsfolk that had been flayed by a demon called the Butcher. He uttered "FRESH MEAT!" and chased after me with a cleaver. I was totally not expecting it and he was really hard to defeat.

Diablo 3 comes out sometime between April thru June depending on the rumors. For me, it can't be soon enough.

My question to you is, are you going to play? And do you think that there is ever a time that hype is bad? Please watch the trailer below. It's pretty amazing for a video game and is the opening cinematic sequence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm being interviewed by the amazing Donna Hole

Hello and good Tuesday morning to all of you. Today I've got a guest post and a review of my book up at Donna Hole's blog<<<CLICK. Please go and visit if you don't already follow Donna. She's amazing. I also talk about my writing.

Today, I'm going to share one of my deepest fears:
What do you fear?

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Moral ambiguity in the zombie apocalypse

I'm really loving the second half of the second season of the Walking Dead and last night's show was no exception. One of the things that I like about the show was brought up in the talk show that airs late in the evening. One of the guests pointed out that the awful moral choices that characters are making in the name of love is fascinating. I agree with that and it's the hook that brings me back. here's the real reason for my post. Last night's "question" was about whether or not you would save someone from zombies if they had previously been trying to kill you.
Here's the situation. Guy was on a roof shooting at you with his rifle, he fell off the roof and got his leg impaled. Zombies are coming out of the woods everywhere, and you are low on ammunition. The guy that fell off the roof though is just a teenager. He could have been just doing what someone told him to do and his buddies left him to die. Do you shoot him to spare him the agony of being eaten alive? Do you try and save him by unimpaling his leg off of the fence that he fell on? Or do you not even shoot him but leave him to be eaten?
Myself...I would have tried to save him despite the fact that zombies are coming at me, and I have only like 30 seconds before they start munching on me. I just don't think I could leave a teenage boy to die to zombies...not when I could do something. In a zombie apocalypse, humans are almost extinct, and I would hold onto the hope that people could survive if they just chose to help one another. This attitude probably means I would not live very long in a zombie apocalypse. However, what is being human if we lose hold of our humanity?

What would your choice be?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Can you help me with my book blurb?

So I recently posted a snippet of my writing and got some fantastic feedback. Despite Rusty's comment that said "boy you must have a thick skin to post some writing here," or something like that (not a direct quote) I actually do have a thick skin and am rather proud of that fact. But honestly, I think that I was able to improve that scene that I posted so much from the feedback that if I could, I would totally want that on every page. That  of course isn't possible.

But I do feel comfortable in asking one other small favor.

I've been working on OCULUS, which is the sequel to SLIPSTREAM, and I want to get the blurb for the book solidified. Think of this as kinda similar to a query letter I think...only without all the Dear Agent and this book has so and so word count and all that jazz. Or, think of it as an extremely short synopsis. Maybe that's a better word. But it needs to grab or be interesting or have zing!

I know it doesn't have that yet.

So I'd like to post it here for you to look at and tell me what I should do to make it better.  It's 250~ words right now.  Here it is:

Fall semester has arrived for the Ivy League, and Jordan Pendragon attends his first classes as a freshman at Cornell.  Born with a brilliant mathematical mind, he strives to balance a life as a research assistant with that of a student athlete playing ice hockey for the Big Red.

Armed with the university’s particle collider, Jordan is tasked with fluoroscoping Antarctic ice cores to identify the elements they contain.  The data he collects will be used by Dr. Wolfson, head of the climate-change project, to assemble the world’s first atmospheric model reflecting a million years of Earth’s history.

But Jordan has another agenda.  He combs the data strings for a specific signature belonging to the rare earth element neodymium.  Used to make essential magnets in all electronics, the presence of neodymium will give Jordan a search area to begin his quest for the Black Tower, a monolithic edifice housing a thing that defines the very structure of the universe.  As large as a mountain, Jordan believes it is buried somewhere in Antarctica under miles of prehistoric ice.

October finds Jordan earning a starting position with the team. But a dark cloud gathers over his rookie season.  Unexplained deaths, whispers of a cannibal cult, and a stone known only as the Oculus cast a shadow over his athletic dreams. It is the start of a terrifying journey down a path of betrayal, murder, and to an Evil more ancient than the stars.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frog and Smartphone

I got this funny video sent to me, and I laughed so hard that I wanted to show you.
Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An uncanny resemblance across generations in Chronicle

I recently saw Chronicle and thought it was pretty good. It's the latest in a string of movies Hollywood exploits with a low budget (probably because Hollywood attendance is on the ropes for any number of reasons, and they want to continue to enjoy being rich).

Anyway, the film's star is this guy named Dane DeHaan. Here's a picture of him:
And here's Leonardo diCaprio when he was young:
Did anyone else that saw this film guy looks like Leo did 15-20 years ago? Maybe Hollywood  just looks for the same kind of pretty boy guy to make into a movie star. Thoughts? Am I off my trolley?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My writing troubles and my book got reviewed

My book was reviewed by Shelly at her fantastic book blog. It's posted on >>> Shelly's LGBT Book Review blog <<<in case you would like to take a peek. :))) As writers, I can give you some reasons to do so:

1) Shelly is an amazing book reviewer.

2) Someday you may want to have your own book reviewed (I hear this is a good thing for authors). Also, by visiting her blog, you could maybe open a door to a new market. LGBT people buy and read books. Ayep.

I've been working hard on the sequel to SLIPSTREAM after letting it rest for about four months. I am amazed at all the things that I'm spotting. What makes me roll my eyes is this phenomenon that takes place where I'm reaching for a word or a way to say something, but I don't know that I'm reaching for a word or way to say something.  

EXAMPLE: He gasped for air and tried to catch his breath so that he could convey the message.  BECOMES: Short of breath, he eventually delivered the message.

This isn't an exact example from my book, but it illustrates my point. I was "reaching" for the phrase "short of breath" but couldn't come up with those three words the first time I wrote the sentence.

Anyway...I've been pleased that by distancing myself from my work-in-progress and just reading all winter, I've been able to refocus my mind to get more out of my writing.

Do you ever stumble for words? "He put his key into the odd-shaped hole on the side of the steering wheel"... "Oh you mean...'he put his key into the ignition.'"

Yeah (snapping fingers) "ignition". Exactly. I needed that word it just wasn't coming to mind!

It happens to me all the time.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

What is your writing origin story?

Today I'm participating in the Origin's blogfest. The question for this one is pretty easy. When did your writing dream begin?

It probably began a long time ago in high school. I took a creative writing class and Mrs. Fife had us write a short story, and I enjoyed it. I penned my first novella that school year using a typewriter. It ended up being 80-pages and it sure was fun. But oh boy...was it awful lol. If it were would be some horrible Japanese anime with melodramatic acting, huge swords, and silly sexual tropes that would come across to an adult as being childish.

Then I tried again in college. I worked on a fantasy that involved a Dungeons and Dragons character that I must have kept plugging away at for about four years. I never ever finished it but it was probably 500 pages of typed garbage. Seriously...I had so many pages of taverns and just random monsters and meaningless sword fights, and some dragon showed up once but not for any reason really. Then I made up some twin guy who was evil and somehow the brother of the protagonist. Why? I have no clue. It just seemed like he should have an evil twin. I never plotted anything...I just wrote for the sake of writing which I realize now is called pantsing. Anyway...pantsing is a terrible way for me to write. There's just no structure and a story can balloon to 500,000 words with no end in sight.

All in all, I have five novels/novellas that should never ever see the light of day. And that's my "Origins" story.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are you afraid of the dark?

This is the last day of the I'm Hearing Voices blogfest. My flash fiction below is supposed to invoke an emotion. I want you to feel fear.

Once on the main floor, he checked the front door, and found it still locked and bolted.  He moved through the living room, past the grand piano, toward a light in the kitchen.  He saw Mrs. H. standing with her back to him, making a sandwich.  She had on a flimsy white night gown.
He tapped lightly on the door with his left knuckle to get her attention so as not to startle her.  She still jumped and then put the knife down and looked over at him.  Jordan folded his arms across his smooth bare chest and leaned against the door frame.  “Thank God it’s just you,” she said, going back to her sandwich.  “You hungry?”
“No,” he stated.  “I thought I heard a noise so I came up to look.”
“Well that’s why I came down the stairs.  I heard someone walking across the floor.  What were you looking for anyway?”
“It wasn’t me,” Jordan said.  “I just came up the stairs a second before I knocked on the door here, and Rob’s asleep on the bed.”
She set her knife down on the counter.  “If it wasn’t you and it wasn’t Rob and it wasn’t me…there’s no one else in the house Jordan,” she said.
           Jordan glanced around in the dark, looking a bit uneasy.  She did too, moving her eyes from off of him and into the shadows that lay beyond the halo of light emanating from the under cabinet fixtures.

Excerpt from SLIPSTREAM

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A snippet from some of my writing

I've had a lot of fun showing some of my writing this week, and talking about my characters. So much so, that I wanted to solicit some feedback on one scene in the sequel to SLIPSTREAM.  I hope you don't mind.  Please don't feel obligated to read it.  If you do, I ask that you please press play on the embedded video first because the music of Chopin really inspired me to write this piece, and it's classical music so you can read and listen at the same time. :)

Jordan checked behind him and saw no one.  “Myd?” he whispered, not wishing to make too much noise.  His eyes darted in every direction from underneath the shadow cast by the bill from the hockey cap.  He strained to hear anything, but he heard no footfalls.  A wind chime sounded its ghostly music on the far side of an open window.
He turned around and admired the baby grand; it called to him.  He’d never played anything other than a guitar and most of that had been done on a game for the Sony Playstation 3.  He didn’t understand the compulsion that he felt to touch it; to run his fingers over the white lacquer, to press its keys.  His Adam’s apple bobbed under the smooth white skin of his throat, and he walked over, reached out with the fingers of his right hand, and gently stroked the tops of them.  He caressed them like he would a lover.  Wordlessly, Jordan moved the bench out, took a seat, and started pressing the keys as musical notes took root in his mind.  He played Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2 by Frederic Chopin.  He’d heard it before but had never played it, never dreamed of playing it, and suddenly he was able to do so as if he’d practiced it all of his life.
His fingers flew over the keys, pressing them in tune as if directed by a ghostly consciousness.  He closed his eyes, feeling the music rise around him like a warm, soothing blanket.  On the ephemeral wings of the Nocturne’s slow and exquisite rhythm, Jordan saw the sun drenched parlor of the home as it appeared in all seasons of the year.  In the sparkling clear notes from the piano, he saw a man that looked much like him playing at the exquisite instrument.  He was in his mid-twenties, blond, slender of build, wearing a blue denim jacket almost identical to the one he wore now.
Jordan lost track of time, playing the keys, long narrow fingers flying over them, eyes flitting back and forth as if reading invisible sheet music.  Behind him, Myddrin entered the room, observing him at the piano.  Next to her, stood a tall man whose age lay between sixty and seventy.  He wore plaid pants, leather shoes, and his hair appeared as white as new snow.  He had a mustache and pale green eyes.  He looked on Jordan with fascination as the teenager played the piano, fingers finding keys that had been neglected for years.  It was haunting and beautiful to hear the music once again, for he’d heard it before…played from a heart that cherished the sound in the same way that Chopin had cherished Nocturne.  And then the strangest thing happened—Jordan began to cry.  Tears welled up and streamed down his cheeks but he continued unfaltering, fingers guided by a ghost from his past—by someone that loved him more than his own life.
When he finished, Jordan sat there in complete silence, blond eyelashes restrained tears with nothing but surface tension, fully aware that Myd and a stranger watched him.  But he couldn’t move as his mind raced.  Jordan thought the unthinkable.  A single tear fell from his chin and broke on the piano.  “My father played this,” he said.  “My dad played this every single day, right here, in this spot.”
“—Jordan,” the man said at last.  His voice fell upon his ears like thick syrup.
He turned and looked at the speaker standing there next to Myddrin.  He respectfully stood and removed his hockey cap and held it in his hands.  “I’m sorry, sir,” he said.  “I don’t know what came over me—.”
“It’s all right, son” the man stated.  “I haven’t heard Chopin played like that since your father played it for me—as you’d guessed already—almost eighteen years ago.”

I have always had a fondness for Chopin. I hope you liked this snippet.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An intro to character using only dialogue

Today is the second day of the I'm Hearing Voices blogfest. We are supposed to use only dialogue, but I couldn't figure out how to do that. So I hope mostly dialogue works. Anyway, here's my less than 250-word attempt at it:
“Sorry.  So, why does warm water freeze faster than cold?” Brianna asked him.
“It’s spread over a huge surface area; this causes it to experience intense evaporation which creates an endothermic chemical reaction.  Think rapid cooling that forces a bond with the existing surface area.”
She turned to the counter, “I’ll take one ‘Eggs Melissa’ and I’ll pay for whatever he’s having.”
“—oh, you don’t have to do that,” Jordan said.  “I’ve got money.”
“I know—I just want to.”
The clerk rolled his eyes.  “Want the Sunrise again, Jordan?”
He nodded yes.
Brianna passed over a $20 bill and while she waited for her change, she glanced over at him.  “Is that a good sandwich?”
“Yes. W-well…I’ve tasted it before and it’s delicious, but it really isn’t for me.  I buy one for my boyfriend so he’ll have something to eat when he wakes up.”
Brianna raised her left eyebrow.  “You—have—a—boyfriend?”
She nodded her head in slow motion and muttered, “Awkward…” They stepped off to the side to wait for their orders which were being freshly prepared.  He thought he should have said something but was at a loss for words.  “So…,” she said, beginning again, “would you like to trade phone numbers with me?  Cornell is a gargantuan campus and it can be difficult to meet people when you’re on a busy schedule.  I thought maybe we could catch a snack sometime…you know…on the quad?”
I'm pretty sure I failed this exercise because I included non-dialogue tags to give me direction. But, without those, it just became talking heads. And I can't stand talking heads. But, I think you can tell a lot by the characters from the dialog which may have been the point. I have no idea actually.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Announcing the Fourth Writers' Platform-Building Campaign

Sign-ups have already started for Rachael Harrie's brainchild. This is a huge blogfest filled with fun and prizes. If you are a writer and are interested in legitimately connecting with others out there who share your interests, then I suggest you hop on board. Please visit her blog here and sign upMy own experience with it has been wonderful. This is what I think you get from an increased following:

1) You get support. This means that when you are down, the blogosphere can help you feel better. When your family doesn't understand why you write or when your friends are not interested at all in reading anything penned by you because they only want to talk about will never be alone.

2) It's not what you know it's who you know. connect with people from all kinds of backgrounds who know all kinds of people. When the time comes to market your book, they will spread the word for you. They will retweet your tweets. They will post pictures of your book on their sidebars. They can even do reviews, mark your book "to read" on Goodreads so that other people that don't blog, think "hmmm...there's a lot of interest in this book...I wonder if it is good."

3) They will keep you informed. You will see from reading their blogs what the hot thing is...where they heard that a certain agent is looking for a certain kind of manuscript...who is paying for what, etc.

4) Never do this campaign to pick-up customers. I think the percentage of people that could possibly buy your book because they followed you is really low...maybe less than 5%.

5) Networking is a two-way street. People will visit your blog once and then click follow. But if you don't follow back, they will never visit you again. Plus, you need to read their blog so that they will reciprocate. To expect someone to only read what you write is VERY arrogant. I don't want to burst your bubble...but nothing you write or say is more important than what anyone else has to write or say. You ARE NOT A CELEBRITY if you are reading my words. I hope that doesn't make you mad, but it is the truth. I'm not one either. Mediocrity is my middle name. So an ounce of humility will really give you the best tool to get the most out of this blogfest.

The list of campaigners closes on Wednesday, February 15th. Come and get connected. I hope to see everyone spreading the word and having fun.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Hearing Voices Day One

It's time for day one of the I'm Hearing Voices blogfest. Go here for details. I will be interviewing my main character from my upcoming book.
SLIPSTREAM is on Goodreads and shall be published in May.

Please go HERE and mark the book "to read".

Have a great Monday.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Hope Good crushes Evil

Today I am participating in the "This Stupid Pineapple" blogfest that is being held by Briane Pagel, Esquire over at his blog located here. To participate, all you have to do is write a post that begins with the words "This Stupid Pineapple..." and go from there. Please visit his blog so that he can generate more ad revenue and so that he'll have someone reading his 100,000 word blog posts. to my entry of this illustrious contest.

This stupid pineapple makes me think of football. Can you blame me? Afterall, the shape seems to be of similar size. ===>

And because I'm thinking of football, I've decided to pick a side for the Superbowl. This is the first year that I've really done so, and I blame Tim Tebow who got me deeply interested in a sport that I otherwise could have cared less about. And I'm serious. I really had no interest in football two months ago. And now I've made three bets with people at work, mostly because my father said that the only way a game is interesting is if you have something at stake. To test out his theory, I made several wagers from people who were more than willing to take my money because they think that the Patriots will win (that also makes them supporters of Evil).

I'm not scientific (is there science to picking a winner) when it comes to this exciting game. I merely read everything I could about the two teams and went with my gut judgement. In short, here is what I've decided upon.
Tom Brady as you can see here is evil. He's like an angry angry upset
inhuman robot that hates anyone that isn't perfect like he is. If he were
a scientist he would clearly support Eugenics and widespread culling
of imperfect humans and genetically inferior offspring in his search to
conquer all of mankind.

If you don't believe me take a look at the next picture.
The juxtaposition of evil in fiction and in real life is easy to make.

This is the guy that I hope wins. He is filled with the force
of good. He has triumphed over evil before so I hope that
he has the power to do it again. I have to say, the expression
on his face is pretty adorable. I just don't see how you people
out there can not root for him. can you not root for
a guy that has a smile like this?
So that is my "scientific" analysis, and I did follow my father's advice in order to make my television watching more enjoyable. I hope that the adorable Mr. Manning crushes the Patriots and their evil Dark Side empire into the dirt for they seek only to suck all of the joy out of the world.

For you Patriots fans out there that are screaming revenge for the 2008 loss, I hope you lose again. But no hard feelings, okay? If there are...just remember, Briane Pagel made me say these horrible words for his blogfest. Go blame him.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Perspective is everything

What you see really does depend on your perspective. Take a look at the shadow art below and decide for yourself:

What can all of these pictures tell us about our writing? Sometimes we just need the right light and everything becomes clear.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When something is wrong and something is right

First off is the something right. My book SLIPSTREAM got reviewed by Jeff Adams over at his blog. He's a New Yorker that I made friends with via twitter, plays ice hockey, and he writes books for Dreamspinner Press. I really liked the review I got so if you would, please go check it out (warning there are some details that could be considered spoilers).

It's February 1st and it's Wednesday. It's time for Alex's IWSG from the man that may not have invented blogging, but has certainly defined it.

Because Valentine's Day is almost upon us, this month's insecurity is about love...loving your characters and/or secondary characters too much. My editor finished with my sequel (called Oculus) and remarked that my pacing seemed "off" in it. However, she couldn't pinpoint exactly what made her think this (and a pacing comment can be as general as they come).  It's like referring to something as "interesting". So yeah...this is the "something wrong" hinted at in the title above. Meaning that I know something IS wrong, but have no clue on how to go about finding it.

"That's so...interesting...hmmm." <== what exactly
does this mean?

So, I've had some serious pondering to do. And I've been doing this brain crunching for months while I've completely avoided writing anything other than blog posts and preoccupying my mind with television, movies, and books. Unrelated should watch the "Touch" pilot because it's amazing.
So now that it's almost spring, have I come up with anything?

Well, maybe.

I think that it has to do with two or even three characters that I stuck into the book that probably take up 5,000 words in the overall story and really have no purpose other than to irritate my protagonist (he finds them annoying). Why would I want extraneous characters? Well the intent is to have them available so that I can explore their potential in sequels. In other words...I have no official plan for them in the book I wrote right now. But having them there with no real plan is possibly behind the derailment of the pacing.

Maybe. That at least is my "idea".

But, I don't want to get rid of them. I like them. I find myself feeling repulsed with the thought of unmaking these fictional people. Especially if I'm wrong. Could I be wrong?

It's always possible.

I wish she was my editor right now but she
probably would charge thousands of 
dollars of which neither I or my publisher
could possibly afford. My publisher hires
people with barely a high school education
after they pass a grammar test. I imagine it's the
same with most small pubs (with few exceptions).
So anyway, it has me insecure and apathetic at the same time which is why I sit around watching television and reading books. I think I may start to tinker with it, and see if I can more closely identify what she "sensed" when she herself couldn't precisely identify what was at issue. To clarify a little, my editor is what I call "decent". This is the same word I would use to describe the food at 7-Eleven. You go in, drop a few bucks, get a slice of pizza and some wings and you are good to go.

I honestly wish I didn't have a "decent" editor right now. I wish I had a no holds barred kick-ass one. A stellar one. One that could eviscerate a manuscript and identify everything that isn't working and wouldn't care about tact. I imagine this glorious person looking like Elektra from Marvel comics, only with huge sharp fountain pens rather than a pair of oriental sais.

To use a food analogy, how would this compare to food from 7-ELEVEN?

Well for one, it wouldn't. That's like comparing frozen dinners to eating at a four-star restaurant.

The kind of help that I imagine Big Six authors get with their books is something akin to a dining experience at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It's fine dining, you get a wonderful experience, blow a few hours with a date, and eat healthy food that doesn't make your skin greasy and has no chance of making you sick. I'm a poor bastard that simply doesn't have access to that and my publisher doesn't have the money to hire that level of talent.

But that is just how the cookie crumbles, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is my insecurity of the month.