Friday, August 31, 2012

Distraction from J.L. Campbell - The Friendship is Forever Tour

First off, know that Distraction is FREE on Amazon right now. :)))) Get your kindles and download! If you don't mind, please tweet about this so that Joy can get maximum exposure for her free book and hopefully climb the rankings.

Please welcome author J.L. Campbell who has written a wonderfully enticing book called Distraction.  I've been reading this book over the last couple of weeks, and it's a real page turner thus far (at least a four star book if not a five star). Campbell has an expressive sensuousness to her writing that leaps off the page. Each chapter begins with a Jamaican proverb, which she graciously translates for the reader who would most likely be unable to understand the meaning.  And each proverb does come into play in the chapter's content.  Distraction isn't filled with the most likeable characters, but they feel like real people.  In Distraction, Justine is hopelessly in love with Xavier (a real hunk). Only there's one hitch, she's married and so is he. And therein lies the tension. I will part by dropping these lines written by Ms. Campbell:
"He made love to her again, smothering her beneath him, holding her climax at bay. He meant to frustrate and punish her, and when she lay exhausted, he wouldn't meet her eyes."
J.L. Campbell, author
Good stuff, don't you think? Oh and did I mention that every chapter begins with palm trees in silhouette? Gotta love palm trees. Ah Jamaica. Take it away J.L. Campbell.


As with anywhere in the world, island living has its peculiarities. Many things have changed in the past twenty years in Jamaica. We’ve seen the development of a network of highways, our public transportation system has been upgraded, and most buses now have air-conditioning. Many homes have cable television and at least half of us have two cellular phones, owing to high cross-network charges.

Despite the passage of time and changes, at heart Jamaicans are conservative. I see this in the public outrage over things that aren’t considered the norm, and I also know there are many narrow-minded people in the world.

While I was writing Distraction, I had many stirrings of doubt over whether I should finish the story. I posted chapters as I wrote them on my writing network, and there were people reading along who were outraged by the behaviour of the women. I knew I’d probably get this reaction from other readers. However, I’ve found that writers are more open to scenarios outside of what the average person considers normal and many understand need, motive and resulting choices. To date, I haven’t seen more than a single one-star review on Amazon, but I’ve conditioned my mind to the fact that more will come.

I’d like to invite you to download a complimentary copy of A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction. In this prequel, you’ll meet Dionne, Kyra and Justine a year before Distraction takes place (and before they start doing the forbidden).

The actual novel Distraction will be free to download from Amazon today through September 3rd! How cool is that?

Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win an e-copy of Distraction. At the end of this Friendship tour, there’ll be a main prize of a Distraction note pad & pen and a $10 Amazon gift card. The second prize is a paperback copy of Distraction. Sign up for that at the Rafflecopter here.

I appreciate you taking the time to read.

Michael, thanks so much for hosting me.

Distraction on Amazon

J.L. Campbell on Amazon

J.L. Campbell on Facebook

J.L. Campbell on Goodreads

J.L. Campbell on Twitter

J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and the author of Contraband, Distraction, Dissolution, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even, Giving up the Dream and Hardware (pen name Jayda McTyson). Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material, loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


The Cosmic Laire of Science Fiction and Fantasy (for the record, I never noticed that "laire" could be spelled that way) tagged me with a meme. It's called "Be Inspired" and has this plain "Google-esque" (that's a word, right?) badge here. The rules are simple. Answer the questions in the meme and pass them on to five other authors. Also give thanks to the person who awarded you with the meme as well as linking back to them. Thanks David and GO VISIT HIS BLOG HERE!
  1. What is the name of your book? Oculus.
  2. Where did the idea for your book come from? It's a sequel to my first book, Slipstream. It came from the characters doing stuff.
  3. In what genre would you classify your book? Speculative Fiction/Dark Fantasy
  4. Who would you pick to play your characters in a movie adaptation? No idea at this point. Someone young, hot, and blond with like 5% body fat and sparkling blue eyes.
  5. Give us a one sentence synopsis of your book? A boy with NHL dreams must kill demons slaughtering hundreds of cops in the streets of New York City following the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
  6. Is your book already published? Nope. I'm finishing up with my edits soon. I had the best editor I've ever worked with help me with my manuscript. She really was frickin' awesome.
  7. How long did it take you to write this book? I started it in May 2010. So that's 2.5 years. Geez, I'm slow. In my defense, Oculus is an incredibly intricate and complex book. I think readers who liked Slipstream will see that this book definitely raises the bar. Plus I feel that my climax is really awesome, and all my beta readers seem to be blown away by it too. That makes me feel confident, because I think endings are difficult to write.
  8. What other books in your genre would you compare it to? I have no idea. I'm not trying to be obtuse, because I'm well read. But I honestly have no idea. One beta-reader said it had a Harry Potter-esque feel to it because of the Cornell University setting and the sport element. But it's an adult book, darker than Slipstream, with graphic sex, extreme violence, murder, gore, and terrifying demons. I'm going to say, it would be a cross between Harry Potter and Hellraiser, if you can even imagine that.
  9. Which authors inspired you to write this book? Oh, all that I've read. Seriously, every book I finish is an inspiration to pen my own story.
  10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book. I did a ton of research to make the places in New York featured in Oculus leap off the page. The book loops continuously on itself, referring back to earlier events, which is some of the things that I really enjoy about great books I've read. There are many, "Oh that was mentioned two chapters earlier and now it's important" moments. It's been cut and rewritten to the point that every character is necessary (and I have a lot of characters). Each one has a role to play. Each person pulls their own weight. It's gone through beta reads and two professional level edits even before sending it to the publisher. There are no unnecessary characters and events at this point. Jordan and Kathy's powers grow in unexpected and strange ways that I think will have people marveling at my unique "magic" system. I honestly think it's pretty clever, but I wrote it.
Five people I would like to tag with this meme:
Mina Lobo
P.T. Dilloway
Alex J. Cavanaugh
M.J. Fifield

Bonus Person: Elise Fallson 'cause I must know what she's writing and you should too.

Second Bonus Person: Matthew MacNish because I beta-read Warrior Monks, and I want him to talk about it.

Since I'm talking about my writing projects in this post, I wanted to thank all the supportive people who have purchased my book. I got my royalty statement from Double Dragon Publishing for sales thru June 30th, and it was much bigger than I ever expected (DDP by the way is really professional in case you are looking for a publisher). Then following that, I got a couple of amazing emails from readers who aren't bloggers (like actual readers who aren't authors and that's all that they want to be) who raved about my book to me. That just felt good. It made all the work that I put in seem worthwhile. I guess what I'm saying is that fan mail is really frickin' awesome. Plus, I had a person request a review copy of my book. That has never happened. I've always had to pester people "Can you review my book, pretty please with sugar on top?" This person just found me and asked for it. Maybe that's how real authors feel? I dunno. But maybe they don't have to go begging at doors asking people to post reviews of their book. Anyway, it just made me feel good for a brief moment in my day, and I hope that you get that feeling all the time with your own publishing endeavors.

Have a great Thursday. I will be featuring author J.L. Campbell as part of the Distraction Tour on Friday. I will resume blogging on Tuesday (I'm taking Labor Day off, as should you).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

S.H.I.E.L.D. got greenlit and I just wet myself

S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Hazard intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate. I've seen it in half a dozen Marvel films, represented mostly by Samuel "Mother F'ing" Jackson in the role of Nick Fury. And so have many of you.

Why am I bringing this up?

I just read online that ABC has ordered a pilot S.H.I.E.L.D. for an exploration of a live-action TV series helmed by Joss Whedon.

Um, I made$1.5 billion dollars. Wait for it.

Whedon is the guy that just made 1.5 billion dollars off of one movie, "The Avengers." How do you suppose that conversation went?

"Guys and gals of ABC...umm, I just made...I dunno, $1.5 BILLION DOLLARS. Do you want in on some of that action? Cause...there's this series I wanna do and--"


If you are a nerd and keep nerd gods in your home, pray that this series does not follow in the footsteps of (I dunno) practically EVERY TELEVISION SERIES JOSS WHEDON HAS PRODUCED?

Am I using too many caps?

Seriously, though. Let's hope that it follows in the footsteps of "Buffy" and "Angel" and not "Firefly" and "Dollhouse." I guess he's 50/50 and that may not be so bad afterall. I'd take those odds at craps. Please tell me you guys know what craps is? And no, it's not something you do on the can while playing "Words With Friends" on your iPad. Oh, I mentioned iPad...I'm having a SIRI moment.
Nick Fury hates hotspacho. So should you.
Remember, on the night S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC, it's "Date Night." Siri says so, and I do too.

So what did we learn here?  S.H.I.E.L.D. got greenlit, and I just wet myself. I hope that all the stars from the movies will make cameos. I wonder if Samuel L. is gonna play Nick Fury. That would be Mother F*cking AWESOME. <== see what I did thar?

It's a happy Wednesday oh nerdy peeps. Be sure to rub your stuffed wookie, click your heels together, and say, "There's no director like Joss Whedon. There's no director like Joss Whedon."
If this guy does a cameo, can you not see the potential here?
Come on, Chris Evans even gives straight men a man crush.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Cool, the disturbing, and the vulgar of season five's finale of True Blood

Ever wonder how the oldest vampire in the world would die and what he'd say? Russell Edgington to Eric "Well, f*ck." Edgington was in the episode for less than five minutes. Like that joins some kind of Kate Beckinsale quota of flashing tit before title. I want to borrow a quote from Lafayette...
Kind of anticlimactic to kill the oldest vampire in the world like that, don't you think? However, "anticlimactic" does not describe Sunday's episode of True Blood. It was by far, the most satisfying episode of the season. I think it could have stood by itself, and HBO could have just canceled all the others. For one, this episode had a HUGE body count. It reminded me of "Body Count" by Ice-T.

The Cool Stuff:
Eric killed Russell Edgington after an entire field of fairies pooling their magic couldn't even make him pause in his monologue. You know it's bad when all the power you and your allies can muster won't stifle a monologue. But just like in the Incredibles, Russell got caught monologuing and Eric squished him.

Eric and Sookie were like Batman and Catwoman teaming up to face the bad guy. 
Salome got snuffed. She drank up the Jesus juice, only Bill spiked it with silver. How could you not see that one coming? And it wasn't the Jesus/Lilith juice anyway. Maybe it was just Kool-Aid.

Tons of people died. HBO cleared house AND it's about damned time. Jason Stackhouse took out like ten vamps. Eric killed ten. Tara killed about five. Eric's sister killed about ten. And in True Blood, when vamps die, they explode like water balloons filled with food coloring.
Jason Stackhouse as vamp slaying commando had me at "Fang banger!"
Tara French-kissed Pam. Serious vamp on vamp, interracial, face sucking goin' on. *Throws confetti. Best line from Jessica, "I KNEW IT!" Yes you did, honey. Yes you did. But so did we. *yawn
You would never guess that Pam was a former hooker by the way she dresses.
Bill became a naked vampire god. It isn't True Blood unless you are drenched in blood and running around naked. And his fangs were larger than Eric's. Yeah, you read that right. Vampires are size queens too.
Bill's fangs are bigger than Eric's. Sookie can verify that. She's been with both.
Alcide killed the deranged wolf-pack master and got twice as many lines in one episode as he's had all season. However, he didn't kill the wolf pack master shirtless. I take away one point for this short-sightedness on HBO's part.
Roz is killed by Sam expanding in her head. That's the only thing about this entire season of shapeshifters that paid off.

The Disturbing Stuff:
Sam Merlott doing reconnaissance as a house fly when he wasn't nude. It was ten minutes too long, which is probably precisely the amount of time they could have spent cutting all that out entirely. I guess they needed to wrap up the Emma storyline, not that there even was one to begin with.

Andy Belflour's pregnant fairy woman gave birth to four kids. Only birth sounds a lot like orgasms, there's lots of light emanating from "down there" and it apparently requires a lot of salt as she downed an entire container of Morton's. I guess fairies don't have to worry about their sodium levels.

My favorite lines from the birthing scene:

"My light broke."
"Who knew watching an alien giving birth could be so comforting?"
"Andy Belflour, you're a dick."

"I only slept with her twice in the time I've been dating you." At least
he's honest, ladies. Oh infidelity thou art a cruel mistress,
especially when the other woman is a fairy.

The Vulgar Stuff:

Jason and Eric hit it off like schoolhouse buddies.  Here's their exchange (NOTE that it's less effective unless you visualize Jason's lines said in a thick southern accent):

Jason: Fanger

Eric: Blood Bag

Jason: Leach

Eric: Breather

Jason: Dead F*ck

Eric: Meat sack.

Jason: "If I want to be a fool, I will be a fool. That's my God-given right as an American."

Ain't that the truth. Oh True Blood, I shall miss your craptasticness. Writers of the world who receive rejection after rejection, take heart from True Blood. Know that you are rejected because your writing is NOT THIS GOOD. Long live Sookie Stackhouse!

Have a great Tuesday. Ciao.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Please welcome the rockin' cover of Blood Fugue by E.J. Wesley

Author E.J. Wesley is throwing a blog party to celebrate the release of his new book cover and wants you to join in the fun. Jump over to his blog to learn about how you can win some awesome prizes, including $50 toward a cover of your own and advance reader copies of Blood Fugue.

Now here's the rockin' cover!

What's the Story About?

“Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”
Missouri's own E.J. Wesley

Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried. She wears loneliness like a comfy sweatshirt. By the age of twenty-one, she was the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thought…

“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”

Suddenly, instead of burying her history with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

BLOOD FUGUE by E.J. Wesley, is the first of the MOONSONGS books, a series of paranormal-action novelettes. At fewer than 13k words, BLOOD FUGUEis the perfect snack for adventurous readers who aren’t afraid of stories with bite. Available wherever fine eBooks are sold September 2012.

Join the Party! Here are some links you may want to check out.

The Open Vein, E.J.'s blog -

E.J. Wesley on the Twitter


If you are feeling particularly supportive and happen to have a twitter account, please tweet this sample tweet or feel free to make one of your own:

Join the party! Author @EJWesley is previewing the cover to his story, Blood Fugue. Win an ARC & other stuff


If you have the time, Brinda Berry interviewed me on her blog today. Check it out HERE. Have a happy Monday.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Excited for Season 7 of Dr. Who. Are you?

They look remarkably calm given that they are surrounded by Daleks. Those guys are mean.
I've been watching Dr. Who for a little while now on Saturday nights on BBC America. For one, no commercials! Yay.  And for two, great production values and special effects. It's easily as good as any Star Trek I've seen and better written by far. I like how the show seems to be able to capture a very human element in nearly every episode even though it's open format basically allows for everything. Just to clarify, I might be using the wrong words in saying "open format" but because the doctor is a Time Lord, basically, any writer can write about anything and it will fit.  If you wanted to talk about blue mushroom people that only procreate when pigs eat and defecate the spores out, this could be an episode.
Rory Pond is my favorite of the companions. Who wears vests anymore? But Rory
totally makes this look work for him. I think it's the distressed jeans and the shirt
tails untucked, the gelled hairdo to look unkempt, and the intense stare that says, "I'm hot."
You know the one thought that goes through my mind when I think of Dr. Who? It's something that a physicist said on one of those science channel shows. He stated that if the universe truly is infinite, then anything that we can possibly imagine can happen. Even if it has a 1 in a gazillion chance--in the scope of infinity it becomes mathematically possible. I'm not a mathematician so I have no idea if this is correct or not.  But I have to think, somewhere out there is a flying Tardis. Weird, huh? My brain has no ability to grasp what infinity is anyway, so I'm content to just see what other people come up with.
The adorable Amy Pond. Yay, we get a peek into the Pond life.
I'm really excited for this upcoming season which starts on September 1st. For one, we are getting more of the weeping angels (which is probably the most terrified I've been from a science-fiction television show in some time). Those things were just plain scary, and I think everyone else in the world agrees because "They're back!" And yes, I had trouble sleeping the nights I watched those episodes.
These guys can only move and attack you
when you're not looking (so don't blink!).
Plus, I think Rory is handsome and have liked him ever since he's been on the show. I despaired when he got zapped out of existence in an underground episode and am happy that they brought him back, even if he was as a Roman centurion. Amy is beautiful and a wonderful companion for Rory and the fact that they love each other and travel around with the doctor is just really cool. I hope that the two of them survive the season unscathed (even though they are definitely gone after I think five episodes). Rumor is, someone is dying. I know that this will be the last season featuring these companions. *Sniff. I hope that the writers are not reading George R.R. Martin. If you read George, you know exactly what I'm talking about here.
I'm also kind of excited about the spinoff series that Amy and Rory are getting online. It sounds suitably quirky, and it's called Pond Life. The first episode premieres this Monday online. So just when Falling Skies and the Newsroom and my trash addiction of True Blood is ending, I get an infusion of Dr. Who love. :) It would be my dream to write just one episode of a show like this. In the least, they should take my suggestion and do a crossover with BBC's other hit show Merlin and feature Bradley James as King Arthur hanging out with the Ponds. That would be made of awesome.

Are you going to watch Pond Life on Monday?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weighted Release Day Blitz

I love this cover! It's like a Nationwide insurance commercial where the guy talks
about "vanishing deductible" and makes a huge boulder hanging over a
woman's head disappear.
Today, I'm participating in the Weighted release day blitz written by critically acclaimed author and fantastic blogger, Ciara Knight. At right, I've included a picture of what she looks like:
This is Ciara Knight. She writes great books.

Ciara writes to ‘Defy the Dark’ with her fantasy and paranormal books. Her debut novel, The Curse of Gremdon, was released to acclaimed reviews, securing a Night Owl Top Pick and five stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Also, book I, Rise From Darkness, from her debut young adult Battle For Souls series, secured glowing reviews and won July Book of the Month from Long and Short Reviews.

Her first love, besides her family, reading, and writing, is travel. She's backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska.

Ciara is extremely sociable so please feel free to connect with her at her blog, website, Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook,

Weighted (Prequel Novelette)

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Want to know more about Weighted? Please go read THIS excerpt right now.

Here is where you can find Weighted today. Don't "wait." LOL...punny, right?


It will be up on all online retailers soon, including iBookstore, Kobo, AReCafe, etc…
If anyone has a second to ‘like’ or agree with tags on Amazon, that would be awesome.

Upcoming books in The Neumarian Chronicles:
Escapement (Book I) - Early 2013

Pendulum (Book II) - Mid 2013

Balance (Book III) - Early 2014

Other books by Cara Knight:

Battle for Souls Series

Rise From Darkness

Fall From Grace

Ascension of Evil - Coming in October

Monday, August 20, 2012

The American Horror Story Asylum Teaser

In my opinion, the first season of American Horror Story broke new ground in a tired genre of cliche stereotypes. I was held spellbound by the tale of a family that had moved into a haunted house. I told myself, there's no way you can kill off main characters in the first season. Yet that's exactly what they did. They killed off the entire family by the finale and wow, was it ever epic.

Season two is an entirely different story, set in an asylum. Some of the same actors and actresses are returning, only they are cast in different roles. Season one and season two are unrelated.

This approach is absolutely brilliant. And because the writing was so good in the first season, I will be right there for the premiere in October with my popcorn and DVR ready.

Anyway, here is the first Asylum teaser trailer that got released last week. This is the perfect example of a great hook only in video form and not written down.
In this short clip, here are the elements that we get. 1) We hear a ringing bell. That could be a church service in the background or a call to prayer or just the time of day. But it's kind of creepy. 2) There's a nun in a habit walking away from the camera carrying two buckets.  What's in the buckets? Body parts.  We hear birds chirping which might mean that this is meant to be food for the local animals. 3) The nun is not panicked in any way. It's obviously a duty that she does often.
Creepy Nun! What's in the bucket? Body parts?! OMG
Holy crap! I'm hooked. I've got to know more. What's going on here? Are nuns feeding people to the local animals? Why are the human bodies all chopped up? Who put the body parts in the buckets? Do we actually see the bodies getting chopped up? Are they gonna go there? AHS is dripping in blood and gore so, maybe. They showed kids getting blown away last year in a Columbine type massacre and women getting horrific abortions that resulted in their deaths. So many questions, so few answers.

Tomorrow I will be participating in Ciara Knight's takeover of the blogosphere with "Weighted." Have a great Monday.

EDIT: I was mistaken on the interview posting date. I will be featured on Brinda's blog next Monday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The wonderful world of Mondo posters

All of my extended family lives in Texas. The home of George W. Bush, the home of Rick Perry, the state that is so conservative it makes me wince just a little thinking that I should visit there.

But is Austin different? You betcha. I could live in Austin. For one, they have the Alamo Drafthouse and that means Mondo.

Mondo is the Alamo Drafthouse's collectible art boutique, featuring designs from world famous artists based on licenses for popular TV and Movie properties including Star Wars, Star Trek & Universal Monsters. Championed for their limited edition screen printed posters, Mondo focuses on bringing art back to movie posters by working with artists such as Olly Moss, Tyler Stout, Martin Ansin and others. Besides creating stunning works for beloved classics and contemporary films.

Here are my current love affairs. They are posters that (if I owned my own house) I would collect and display. They are so pretty.
Click to Embiggen.
Are you impressed by the wonderful world of Mondo posters? Have a great weekend my writer friends. And remember, a half finished book, is a half finished love affair.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mind control is the most troubling super power

Kahlil Gibran who lived from 1883 to 1931 was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, and artist. He has many famous quotes, but the one that I remember is this:
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were.”
But what does this mean? Well, aside from the fact that there is no force in the universe that can make someone love another, I think it also implies that freedom of choice is one of the most intrinsic and important human values. Fair enough, right?

However, as much as you might think this is beautiful and true, it flies in the face of actual human nature. We are internally programmed to seek out and reward those who agree with us, and to punish those who do not. In other words, in practice, we really don't like choice UNLESS that choice agrees with us. Allow me to explain by telling you about the research of Professor Karen Wynn of Harvard University.

Dr. Wynn has found (by studying babies) a kind of preferential mental processing that begins before the first birthday. As children grow older, things as simple as the likes and dislikes of food to the color of an individual's skin lead to decisions of inclusion and exclusion, growing ever more complex. These biases and preferences sometimes assert themselves in the rise of regimes that demonize and dehumanize "others" who are outside their own group. This lies at the root of catastrophic human events like social ostracism, genocide, and slavery.

On Monday night, I watched the newest episode of "Alphas." The lady in the picture at the top of this post is Nina, and her special power is mind control. Monday's episode was all about Nina, and how she abused her "mind control" power all of her life. As a young girl, her parents were going to split up, and she mind controlled her father to make him stay. The result was the fighting between mom and dad continued, and it eventually led the father to kill himself.
Charles Xavier is a mutant with powerful mind control abilities.
The boy she fell in love with disagreed with her and she "almost" mind controlled him but stopped herself just before she went through with it. But it frightened the boy so much, it damaged their relationship forever. She never forgot him and looked him up years later.  A young man, he had become a father and husband. What did Nina do? She mind controlled him again so that he would leave them and run away with her. She eventually realized that she had done a terrible thing and let him go. After that, she tried to commit suicide. "I am a bad person," she said.

No. Nina, you are not a bad person. Humans in general are bad. You just got an ability that accommodated your natural desire.

All week I've been shaking my head and wondering why mind control is even a super power? It's a curse. If you had mind control, the only result would be to use it to get your way. This is what all of us want. Yet it defies what Mr. Gibran would call one of the most important and intrinsic human values. Choice.

And the real rub in this thinking, is that many of us want both of these conditions at the same time. We want absolute freedom, yet we desire the company of those who share our same beliefs and visions.

In comic books, none of Superman's powers have drawbacks. Super speed, strength, agility, eyesight, hearing...all of these things are useful. None of them have a negative side. I think the history of mind control studies point to a clear fascination by humans who have desired this ability. In America, freedom has been packaged, sold, and labeled in red, white, and blue. But I ask the question, how many Americans would secretly love to have Nina's mind control ability if they could? And how many would use it while wearing t-shirts that tout "home of the free and land of the brave?"

I think mind control is the most troubling super power.

If you could have mind control as a super power, would you take it? And how do you think you would use it? Would you be able to keep it under control the moment you didn't get your way in something? I look forward to reading your comments.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oh magical tea, how I love you

Have a great Wednesday. Thank you all who noticed I had a birthday :)

Yes it was wonderful. I ate at my favorite restaurant with my brother and went to a live jazz concert afterward. And when I went home, I had a cup of tea. All is now right with the world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dead Freight was truly horrific

NO NO NO...arrrggghhh. This is the adorable little kid that was murdered
by Walt and his gang in Sunday night's episode called "Dead Freight. I
hate shows that feature murdered kids. And the cuter they are, the more
traumatic it is for me. Why did this child have to die? So angry.
Since this is the final season of "Breaking Bad", I can't help myself but to speculate over every episode. Forgive me if you are not into this show like I am, but this Sunday's episode sunk to new lows. I don't mean it's terrible...but just when I thought it could get no got worse.

I've seen bodies dissolved in acid. I've seen Jesse having sex with a strung out hooker on meth. I've seen a girl asphyxiate on her own vomit form a heroin shot and die while Walt watches and does nothing. I've seen half a man's face blown off with the eyeball exposed. There have been throats cut, people burned alive, and a decapitated head attached to the back of a tortoise shell.
This is the bastard that killed the kid. Todd. He's the new guy from
the "Vamonos Pest" employer which works with Walt and Jesse to
give them houses in which they can cook their meth. I so want Jesse
to kill this jerk. Out of Walt, Jesse, and Todd, Jesse is the only one who
knows that this is incredibly wrong. He's the only one that still has the
vestiges of a moral compass.

But last night, Todd (Walt's new "guy") shot and killed an innocent boy who had just waved to them. This boy was perfectly cast...skinny, on his dirt bike, and he'd just shown his compassion by handling a tarantula in his palm and putting it safely into a glass jar that he'd punched holes in so it could breathe.

And they blew him away, because he saw them rob a train.

I felt Jesse's pain as he screamed, "Noooooo!" and tried to stop Todd from killing the kid.

But yeah, I was stunned.

Walt is evil and needs to be put down fast. But how is that going to happen? It's clear he's becoming the new Kingpin, and the clues from next week's episode is that he's a self-proclaimed emperor of all things meth.

Will Skyler break and finally spill the beans, thus dooming herself and her children? With two parents in prison for hundreds of felonies (or possibly dead), what legacy do the children have except one of poverty and ridicule by others who blame their parents for the death of hundreds of people affected by their meth manufacturing?
Here's Jesse robbing the train of the precious methylamine.  This part of
the episode was fantastic. The timing, execution, and Hitchcock-like
troubles they overcame had me on the edge of my seat biting my
nails in nervousness. Especially when the big truck showed up and
Walt refused to stop filling the tank until he had it all. Jesse almost got
run over by the train and had to lie flat on the tracks.

Will Jesse survive? I have a feeling that Todd is being groomed by Walt at this point as a replacement. Todd follows orders and isn't as emotional as Jesse. He isn't a good person (which Jesse really is). Walt didn't even move a muscle as Todd shot and killed the boy on the bike. Heck, he almost smiled. Like he was indifferent that a child died.

If ever I had a doubt, Walt's complete transformation into a sociopath who cares nothing for human life is now complete. Though I feel for Skyler, she's just as culpable by allowing this evil bastard to continue without blowing the whistle.

I also want to know what's up with Lydia? That woman can talk herself out of anything. And I almost see her as a perfect match for Walt. Are these two going to hook up? It'd be like two snakes in a basket. I think they'd love each other.

Hank Schraeder, do the world good and put a bullet in your best friend Walter White. It needs to be done. The episode "Dead Freight" was truly horrific. Walt's product is killing people every day. But something about allowing a child to die and Walt being okay with it makes me hate you, Hank, for every day you allow it to continue.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bill Finger and the Batman

As a boy, I collected Detective Comics for years. You would see me flipping through back issues in obscure comic book shops in every city I visited.  Nearly every great writer in the industry has done some work on this superhero.  The Batman's entire mythos has been penned by such notable names as Marv Wolfman, Samm Hamm, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, or Frank Miller. They invented "the Rogue's Gallery" which seemed to take on a life of its own as more and more villains joined that infamous group. We have Ra's al Ghul, the League of Shadows, the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin, Catwoman, the Scarecrow, Bane, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and the list goes on and on.

Green letters on the cover denote
a first edition print. I own this issue.
Truthfully, I've forgotten the names of so many good comic writers, but I still remember my favorite story lines. Who can forget "A Death in the Family"?  Who can forget the blood streaked corpse of bad boy Jason Todd (Robin) which basically started all of this "Dark Knight" stuff. After Jason's death, the Batman was never the same. He became brooding, blamed himself, and embraced a life of dark isolation. Who can forget the iconic "The Killing Joke" where Barbara Gordon "Batgirl" gets paralyzed? This character is later scene in the television series "Birds of Prey" which lasted only one season (but deserved more).

One of the darkest graphic novels I have ever read is "Arkham Asylum." Its art is flat out, unforgettable. And I unknowingly attributed ALL of this great creation to Bob Kane who I thought created "The Batman." But recently, I realized that I am wrong. DC has hidden a substantial truth from the eyes of the world. Bob Kane had a friend and co-worker named Bill Finger who is responsible for half of everything that IS the Batman legend. I wanted to talk about that today, because I think no recognition for something as big as "the Batman" is wrong.
A Death in the Family. Jason Todd killed by the Joker.

As the story goes, DC commissioned Bob Kane to come up with a new superhero after their success with Superman. Kane met Finger at a party and hired him to help.

These are Bill Finger's contributions to the Batman legend as identified in the new book Bill the Boy Wonder: the Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman:
  1. He named Gotham City.
  2. He named Bruce Wayne.
  3. He designed the Batman's cape and cowl costume.
  4. Kane wanted to call the character "Birdman". It was Bill who said, let's call him "the Batman".
  5. Bill came up with the concept of Robin by saying that the Batman needed a companion with whom he could converse.
  6. Bill wrote the first story featuring "the Joker".
  7. Bill Finger came up with the story that as a child, Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents, and this was the catalyst that started him down the superhero/vigilante path.
A single panel from the graphic novel, Arkham Asylum. This artwork by artist Dave McKean and story
by writer Grant Morrison blew me away. I had never been treated to a story that was darker and more
riveting that this particular one. There's an unforgettable scene where the Batman shoves a shard
of broken glass through his palm and I thought the blood and the glass looked real.
Kane went on to become very wealthy. Bill Finger died poor because his name is on none of this. Does that seem right to you?

Here's a great fan-made video called Batman: Puppet Master. Why am I including this? Well 1) it's great entertainment but 2) it shows you just how ingrained the whole "Batman" experience is with American pop culture. It's filmed in the spirit of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight franchise. I think it's pretty good, but rather long. Give it a watch if you have the time. And the next time you talk about the Batman, know that there is a silent co-creator of this superhero that got absolutely no credit and hardly any money.

What would you do if someone took all of your ideas, got rich from it, and gave you no credit at all?