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Friday, July 29, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, July 29th

John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Interesting.
 New Photos from The Raven

I'm going to go broke buying all this cool stuff that's been coming out lately.
Freddy Krueger Plush

At first, I thought "NO WAY!" But after I thought about it a little more (and remembered his deliciously creepy Willy Wonka and cold, calculating Sweeney Todd), I can maybe see it . . . he might make a good Night Stalker.
Johnny Depp to Star in The Night Stalker

The Thing (prequel) Trailer

I just don't know if I can picture anyone but Bruce Campbell as Ash.
Evil Dead Remake is Official

The Man, The Legend, The Interview: William Shatner

The world's first monster fan magazine.
Famous Monsters of Filmland

Wait . . . what?
More on the Death of Science Fiction
Bah. Science Fiction will only die when men stop dreaming.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Jul 27th

Great. Now that song is going to be stuck in my head all day. And I can't even get my husband to walk the garbage to the curb . . .
Chinese Man Walks 1000 Miles to Win Bride

I'd pay more to be in a quiet zone. When we stay in a hotel, one of two scenarios is guaranteed:
if we aren't on the top floor, we'll be right below a 300 pound man who falls down drunk several times over the course of the night;
if we are on the top floor, then an out-of-town junior gymnastics team will spend all night doing their exercises in the hall (seriously though: kids running up and down the hall all night).
I have to assume that this always happens because of where we stay: if we're in a hotel, it's probably because we are at a casino. Drunk people are to be expected and since the parents are on the casino floor all night, their kids are running amok up and down the halls.
Hotel Chain Drafts Snore Patrols

They should have painted flames down the side of his shell (in non-toxic paint, of course). His wheel looks less like a racecar wheel and more like an ottoman caster, though.
Tortoise Gets Artificial Wheel

This is why I don't like boats. And I'm always afraid a bee is going to get on the boat with me. This is much worse.
Great White Shark Leaps Aboard Boat

Perhaps the two phenomenon go hand in hand.
Fatter and Fewer German Nudists

Unbelievably cool!
Life-Sized Lego Animals Invade Bronx Zoo

ROFL! Mine supposedly says, "Cute Little Princess." This one's going down in the books right beside the time the dentist told me I have a small mouth (seriously considered having him sign a sworn statement attesting to it) and the time one of my co-workers told me I'd be a manager in no time because I was such a "people person" (still can't keep a straight face when I retell that story)!
What Your Tattoo Locations Says About You

7 Best Quotes from Suri's Burn Book

Flavorpill Street-Art Guide

From @funnyoneliners
When I say "word to the wise", what I really mean is "word to the stupid."

From @funnyoneliners
Children are a great comfort in your old age. And they help you get there faster, too.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Few Observations on Short Story Markets

Some observations from the search for markets last week:

1) There aren't many (paying) magazine markets for short stories. There have been quite a few that have closed over the last few years and the new ones that have opened to replace them generally don't pay. I've had more luck finding paying anthologies than paying magazines.
2) Professional-rate short story markets are in short supply.
3) There are a lot of flash fiction markets popping up, paying and otherwise (sadly, I don't write flash).
4) Very, very few paying markets accept reprints.

I'm saddened by the lack of short story markets, not just from a writer's perspective, but as a reader. I've always preferred a nice anthology of short stories. Each story is small enough to enjoy in a few stolen minutes (or stolen hour) of reading. You get a variety of writing voices, a variety of settings, a variety of characters . . . it's like enjoying a good buffet.

And you'd think with all the proclamations of "society has a shorter attention span these days," the short story market would be booming. But I guess that's why the flash fiction market is growing. Sadly, flash just isn't my thing. My average short story length is around 2500 words, with the minimum usually being 1500. I've written a few 1000 word pieces, but those are rare.

I'm not even a fan of reading flash. I'll admit I've only read a few, but those few left me feeling unsatisfied--like a sample of a meal with no meal to follow, or a "healthy-eating-lite" portion, lol. Not that flash is bad, of course, I just don't think I'll ever be a fan. Some people like light meals, some people like feasts, and some people like buffets. I'm a buffet person who enjoys the occasional feast.

These observations all came about because I was looking for a market for a reprint. Now it looks like I'm down to three choices:
1) Self-publish it;
2) Put it up as a freebie on my website;
3) Try and find a home for it at a non-paying market and break my rule of submitting to paying publishers only (though, technically, it was originally published in a paying market.)

I'm just not sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

And last week's depressing "too few markets" realization was counterbalanced by the happy realization that I have more time on my hands than I thought:  I had to update my Goodreads 2011 Challenge. I originally set a goal of reading 18 books this year because I didn't think I was reading very much--or at least, not as much as I'd like. When you think about it, it's a book-and-a-half per month, and it sounds like a lot. Or at least it feels like a lot to my over-packed schedule. I feel like I never have enough time to read. But I guess those stolen moments really add up, because I hit my goal of 18 books last week. So now I've upgraded the challenge to reading 24 books this year.

So if I can read two to three novels a months on stolen moments, how many short stories/novel scenes could  you write in your stolen moments? Food for thought.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, July 22nd

The first couple of Hellraiser movies were awesome. I've only seen two, maybe three, of the nine. And, of course, there's a remake coming out soon.
Review of original Hellraiser

Summer Escapes into Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Great list, complete with infographic.
The Best Horror Movies of All Time, from Cracked.com

And not to be outdone,
The 25 Worst Horror Movies of All Time
I tried to watch Leprechaun once, but couldn't stand it enough to finish it. The only one I watched all the way through was Dreamcatcher (and I wish I hadn't).

Free Reads!
Free fiction list from SF Signal

Oh my God! I know who I want doing the cover art for my books, lol! These are fan-freaking-tastic!
12 Mystical Fantasy Art Works by Po-Wen

'Prometheus' Non-News From Creature Designer

Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Jul 20th

Wow. He must have really ticked off that bear.
Owner of Killer Bear Chokes to Death on Sex Toy
And I quote, "Death likely accidental." Yeah, right. Check the murder weapon for incriminating paw prints.

This story will probably do more to reduce the divorce rate than all the marriage counseling in the world.
Woman Accused of Cutting Off Husband's Penis, Putting it Down Garbage Disposal

I had to read this story, just to make sure there really was more to it than just that one word; especially since I've texted far worse words.
Woman Arrested for Texting the Word 'Jerk'

So much for "Thank goodness for Chef Boyardee."
Raccoon Gets Head Stuck in Chef Boyardee Can
There at the end, I thought the raccoon was rushing him for the can again. "Hey! I wasn't done with that!"

Personally, I'm a fan of the Orbit swear words, especially "Lint-licker."
7 Best Shakespeare Insults
Interesting side-story: I once visited a pagan shop in another town. The owner's two sons were arguing when we walked in, but they quickly disappeared into the back room so they wouldn't be fighting in front of customers. The argument grew heated and soon carried out into the store. There was a loud thump (presumably of one brother throwing another against the wall) followed by, "You filthy whore-monger!" It remains one of my favorite curses to this day. "Embossed Carbuncle" is my second favorite.

I used to be a huge South Park fan. I even almost got a Cartman tattoo (I settled for a henna, non-permanent one, instead).
Coming Soon: Limited Edition Cheesy Poofs

Funny pic:
Redneck Airbag

From @funnyoneliners
Credit cards are very dangerous. Every time I try to use one, someone starts chasing me with scissors.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Story of Runt-ums

A friend and I recently had a discussion about family; specifically, the fur-balls that have joined and enriched our families over the years. Since hubby and I (and my kids) are all animal lovers, we've had a lot of furry family members, every one of them special in their own way.

So today I thought I'd share a story about a past member of our furry family.

The company that mowed the common areas in our neighborhood often allowed the grass to get waist-high before they'd mow. When the grass gets that high, mama rabbits get complacent and don't dig much of a hole for a nest--the babies basically end up almost on top of the ground.

During one mowing, I happened to be in the backyard (thankfully, we hadn't put up our fence yet). I heard the mower bog down and looked over just in time to see what happens when a mower runs over a nest of baby bunnies. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I've used the memory of the scene in several of my horror stories when I need to describe a particularly gory scene. The only good news was the entire mess was from the demise of only a few bunnies and I was able to rescue the rest. I brought them into my house and spent the next two weeks caring for them, getting up in the middle of the night to feed them puppy milk, and collecting the tastiest white clover and plantain leaves as they transitioned over to solids.

As with all family, the day came when it was time to let go. Loose dogs are common in the neighborhood, lots of cats prowl about, and there are plenty of hawks. It's not a good environment for young bunnies. It made me think of Watership Down: "All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you." I set the babies free under our shed (where cats and dogs and hawks couldn't reach them), set out timothy hay and sunflower seeds, and hoped for the best.

For five days, I watched. No bunnies.

On the sixth day, I glanced out the back door, toward the shed, and my heart fell. Still no sign of my baby bunnies. Then I glanced toward sidewalk that runs by my patio door. There was a pile of poop in front of my patio door. And a trail of bunny poop leading from the pile, down the sidewalk, to my back door. And there, at the bottom of my steps, sat one of the baby bunnies: the runt of the litter. The one I had been most worried about.

I carefully went down the steps and sat down beside her, sure she was going to bolt any second. She watched me, big-eyed, her ears trembling. I reached out my hand tentatively, and she let me pick her up and put her in my lap. She had a terrible scratch down her face and one of her ears was torn. I looked like I had saved the babies from the mower only to have all of them fall prey to one of the other thousand enemies.

But this one had lived. And from the look of the trail (and piles) of bunny poop, she had spent most of the night running from my patio door to my back door, trying to figure out how to get back in my house.

I guess sometimes the "born free" principle is over-rated.

I brought her back in the house and the kids named her "Runt-ums." She grew up to be a sassy rabbit. She thought she was the "biggety-bomb" and that everyone should spend their time fawning over the miracle rabbit. She loved Cheerios and getting her chin scratched, and spent a lot of time terrorizing my house cats (revenge against whatever the neighborhood cats did to her sisters and brothers?).

We had her for many years before she finally passed away peacefully of old age.

Her story reminds me of the starfish story:

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently tossing it into the ocean.

"What are you doing?" The man asked.

"Throwing starfish back into the ocean," the boy replied.

"What on earth for?"

"If I don't throw them back," the boy said, "they'll die."

The man snorted. "There are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish. You can't save them all! You can't make a difference!"

The boy thought for a moment, then bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. He turned and smile at the the man. "I made a difference to that one."


Friday, July 15, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, July 15th

I want one!
Poster: How to Survive a Zombie Attack

You had me at "Zombie."
Emma Stone Offered Lead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I really want to see this one. I usually  hate remakes, but the original series of movies felt "unfinished." I loved Brandon Lee and couldn't get into The Crow movies made after his death. I know, I know: I fear change, lol. But it's like this: you sit down to an authentic Italian dinner in an authentic Italian restaurant and the first course is a really great Italian soup. The next course comes out, and it's Chinese food. It can be the best Chinese food in the world, but you still feel unsatisfied because you were expecting more great Italian food. That's how I feel about the original series. So I'm ready for a reboot. And, surprisingly, I think Bradley Cooper might be able to pull it off.
The Crow Reboot--Bradley Cooper Confirmed

We may be on the back side of summer, but as the days get shorter, at least we've got this to look forward to:
Tour The Walking Dead Season Two Set

I've lost track of how many reboots, remakes, and continuations have been done on this franchise. Big fan of the originals; not so much with the Wahlberg movie.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Stills

I have some catching up to do on this series. I'm not used to watching TV on Sunday night (I'm usually fishing).
Falling Skies Renewed for a Second Season

I have no idea what a "Zemon" is, but it sounds good to me!
3D Zemons Attack in Dead Before Dawn


Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Comic Relief & Weird News, Jul 13th

Great. Every few years someone reintroduces the idea of the "Buffalo Commons" (where a large portion of my state gets turned into a grassland preserve; read the wiki here). As if that's not bad enough, now my state is going to be like Pluto? "Oh, yeah. That used to be a state . . ."
Is North Dakota Really a State?

Then again, I guess we aren't convincing them of our "statehood-worthiness" with displays of local intelligence like this one.
Fargo Man Beheaded by Firework

Okay, let me get this straight: she had a basket of KNIVES, and she used the basket--not the knives--to attack the guy? Work smarter, not harder, for crying out loud!
Woman Beats Husband With Basket of Pocketknives

Wow. Crime really IS bad in Philly.
Philly Judge has Robe Stolen

The 10 Coolest Witches in Pop Culture


John was sitting on the patio of the local bar one evening, watching the sunset and enjoying an ice cold beer. A nun walked up and shook her finger at him.

"You should be ashamed of yourself! Drinking is a sin! Liquor is vile and disgusting."

"Have you ever had a drink?" He asked.

"Don't be ridiculous! Alcohol has never touched my lips!"

"Then how do you know it's vile and disgusting?" He said. "Let me buy you a drink." The nun opened her mouth to protest. "Hold on, Sister. If you try a drink and still think it's vile and disgusting, I will give up liquor forever."

"For such a good cause, I might be persuaded to try it." She lowered her voice. "But I cannot be seen inside a bar!"

"No problem," John said. "I'll bring your drink out here."

"But people will see me!"

"I'll have the bartender put it in a teacup. No one will know."

The Nun reluctantly agrees, so John goes inside. "Another beer for me, and a double scotch on the rocks." He lowered his voice. "And put the scotch in a teacup, please."

"Oh no!" The bartender said. "It's not that Nun again, is it?"

From @funnyoneliners
I would be unstoppable if I could just get started.



Monday, July 11, 2011

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

Apologies for the blog hiatus last week. Now that I'm back, it's time for an update!

I've been frantically trying to finish up a short story for a looming deadline (part of the reason for last week's blog oops).

I heard about a submissions call that really got me excited. I came up with a good, solid idea for a story and cranked out a first draft. I patted myself on the back and thought, "I’m going to have this ready in no time!"

HA!

Sometimes you get a story idea, but it just won’t pan out, no matter how hard you try; sometimes you get a story idea, the whole thing writes itself, and you hardly have to do more than a few tweaks and a polish and it’s ready to send; and sometimes . . . sometimes you get the story I’m currently working on.

It’s called Patient 1437. I wrote the first draft and thought I had a pretty good story. During first revision, however, I realized some of the story events didn’t make sense (like why would my scientist decide to experiment on himself? It didn't make sense in the context of the story). So I fixed those problems. And those fixes made other parts of the story not make sense. So I fixed those. And so on, and so on, until the story barely resembles the original idea. It was a lot of extra work (and a dozen--A DOZEN--revisions), but it’s a good, solid story now. So (knock on wood), I’m hoping to finish the final polish today and get it sent out.

This will be my fifth short story submitted so far this year. Which explains why I’m so behind on novel revision.

Speaking of which . . . once this short story is out the door, I’m swearing off short work and diving back into novel revision. I’d originally set a goal of having revisions done by June (HA!), then pushed the goal back to December when I realized how much work remained to be done on the novel. If I don’t get off my duff and get cracking, I won’t make that deadline, either (I’m already skeptical).

On the waiting game side of things, I'm still waiting back for word on the four stories I've submitted, and I'm still waiting for the announcement of the release of Zombidays. The story I have in it is a zombie-comedy (a Zomb-edy?) It's an extra-special story for me because it’s an "almost true" story. Most of the events in the story actually happened (minus the zombie, of course) during the time I worked for a large retailer. And, since I worked the overnight shift, most of my coworkers and I shambled around like zombies half the time, so even that part of the story has a grain of truth to it. It’s funny and sarcastic and ironic, and even makes a statement about how big business views their employees (zombies, and laughs, and story-morals, oh my)!

Of course, I just want to get my hands on it as a reader, too, because it’s a zombie-exclusive anthology and I just can't get enough of zombies!

So that's the plan for the rest of July: the waiting game and more novel revision.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Taking the day off to celebrate Independence Day. I'm spending the day either fishing or barbecuing. If I'm really lucky, I'm doing both!

Have a happy 4th!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, July 1st

I have to admit that I don't keep up on comics news as much as I should, especially since comics/graphic novels have birthed some of the best movies/series/novelizations in spec-fic. But didn't they kill Superman, too? I'm going to have to go do some Googling and see how that worked out for them.
Marvel Comics KILLS Peter Parker

Nine Sci-Fi Drinking Games

Darabont Clears Up 'The Walking Dead' Writer Debacle

And,
First Walking Dead Novel Info

I really hated the movie ending of The Mist. And after I pondered it a while (okay; ranted to everyone who had the misfortune to be nearby), I realized there are very few screen adaptations of King's stories where the ending isn't changed. Hmmmm.
7 Sci-Fi Book-to-Film Adaptations That Totally Changed the Ending

How to Build Your Own R2-D2

Javier Bardem is Roland Deschain

I'm taking a long holiday weekend, so no post on Monday. Regular posts will resume on Wednesday (unless I blow off a few digits playing with fireworks).

Have a good weekend!