Monday, February 27, 2012

Them's fightin' words!

I found a great post by Kelly McClymer over at the Book View Cafe Blog:

Writing in the Digital Age: Connecting with Readers: The Stephen King Problem

She makes some really great points on the changing relationship between writers and their readers.

In this digital age, it is much easier for fans (of any media) to interact with their favorite celebrities. It's good, but it's also scary: missteps by celebrities (like going ballistic over a bad review) are far more public, and fans can quickly turn into stalkers thanks to all the personal information available on the Internet (including the stuff celebrities put on social media themselves).

Right now, I'm one of those "toiling in obscurity" writers. For my viewpoint, a fan asking for an autograph would be akin to winning an Oscar, lol--it's something that probably is never going to happen. But as much as it is a problem that I aspire to have, I do already know I will hate it if it ever starts to happen on a regular basis (I like to shop and eat in peace).

Although I've been published, I haven't had to deal with bad reviews . . . yet. Everything I've had published has been short stories in anthologies, magazines, and e-zines, and those media usually don't receive much in the way of review.

But what really struck me the most about her post was her comment on using a reader pseudonym. I read a lot of books, and I'd love to do reviews, but I just think it would be a bad idea.

Bad reviews can start writer wars. Hemingway and Faulkner and Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer spring to mind. There are, of course, many others. For some writers, their feuds are more widely-known than their writing!

Bad reviews can also be a wee bit . . . hypocritical. Speaking of the Stephen King problem. . . . I remember reading Stephen King's comments on Stephenie Meyer. He said, "Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn." That's a terrible thing to say about a writer. He's not knocking the book; he's knocking her writing! As a fan of King, I've had to defend my fandom against people who say I'm wasting my time reading a writer who can't write worth a darn. So in spite of being a fan of King (and a fan of the Twilight books since they turned my reluctant-reader daughter into an avid bookworm), I really feel it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

So instead of doing reviews, I do recommendations. If there's a book that I really enjoyed or found helpful, I'll recommend it. But my policy is that if I can't give a book 5 stars, then I don't comment at all. Then I don't look like a hypocrite and I don't end up in my own Faulkner-esque feud.

Monday, February 20, 2012

This is why I hate buying movies

I just learned a tough lesson.

Has this ever happened to you?

You have a favorite movie you remember from your youth--something that made you laugh, or cry, or scared the living daylights out of you--and then when you watch the movie again as an adult, you wonder what the big deal was? I thought this was the most epic . . . movie . . . ever!?!

Sure, I bet you have. It's happened to me a lot.

But here's a new twist on it: what if the movie is totally different?

I'm not talking about "you remembered it differently"; I'm talking the movie is actually different.

It just happened to me.

I happen to pass by the electronics department in Wal-mart, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a movie on the shelf that I haven't seen in years: Legend!

Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry, in an epic fantasy full of fairies, unicorns, and dancing ball gowns.

Naturally, I bought it. Right from the start, things seemed different. Mia Sara spent a lot of time in singing. I didn't remember her singing so much. And when the unicorns were playing while Tom and Mia watched in secret . . . wasn't there supposed to be a unicorn theme playing at that point?

Turns out, this movie has NONE of the original soundtrack. No "Loved by the Sun" by Tangerine Dream, no "Is Your Love Strong Enough" by Bryan Ferry, nothing. And during the dancing dress seduction scene, some Disney-esque music plays instead of the freaky carnival music that played for the theatrical release.

It changed the whole experience of the movie for me (AND showed me how important soundtrack selection can be).

I went to and found out there were two versions of the movie, one a director's cut, the other a theatrical release. And unlike most movies, this one does not have both versions on the same DVD. Sigh.

Here's what an Amazon reviewer (Brett D. Cullum) says about the two:

"This DVD collection gives you two versions of LEGEND -- the original director's cut with over twenty minutes of added footage and the original Goldsmith score; and in addition, you get the original US release. In essence you get two different movies! The moods vary, the characters seem a little different, with whole new speeches and images to enjoy."

Two very different movies indeed!

So now I've got to go back and buy the original theatrical release. So disappointed.

Moral of the story: make sure you know what you're buying!

Monday, February 13, 2012

So that's why they call them DEADlines?

I'm taking a break from the blog this week (February 12th thru 18th) so I can concentrate on some projects with impending deadlines. Yes, procrastination is my middle name. But I work so well under pressure (snort!).

The blog will be back next week. See you then!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Feb. 10th

Photo courtesy of emilbacik

Some are, some aren't . . . and some I wouldn't watch even if they were a bargain rental (I'm not a fan of 3D--yet--so I can't appreciate movies where the 3D is the whole point).

'The Crow' to Soar Once More

Another dose of
Free Fiction

7 literary Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels you must read

Dangerous mutants and alternate history . . . sounds good to me!
That X-Men: First Class sequel we've been waiting for is on!

Could this possibly be the plot of the new Beauty and the Beast?

Wouldn't these look great on the dollar bill?
The Curious Brain: Zombie Presidents Of The United States

Hubby would never let me out of his sight if we went. As soon as his back was turned, he knows I'd be initiating a Klingon mating ritual with Michael Dorn. :)
The entire original cast of Star Trek: The next Generation will be appearing at the 2012 Calgary Expo, April 27-29, 2012

Monty Python Reuniting For Sci-Fi Farce Absolutely Anything

Coming Soon: Some of the Best of, a Free Mini Ebook Anthology

Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Photos: Lingering days of hoarfrost

The weather here, like so many other places this year, has been crazy. In a normal winter, we have at least two blizzards (though we've had as many as eight in a single winter); we have at least a couple of weeks of -30° F temps (our lowest low ever was -43° F); and the high temp usually doesn't get above 32° F for at least the four months of November, December, January, and February.

This year, however, we've barely had any negative temperatures, much less our standard -30° F. We've spent the whole winter with our highs hovering between 20° F and 33° F, and we haven't had a single blizzard (we even had the first brown Christmas I can remember, though we do have some snow now). We had rain (freezing rain, to be precise) last week.

This weird warmth is behind our latest phenomenon: three straight days and nights of freezing fog.

It's wonderfully creepy!

And it's beautiful. These are real, living trees, flocked only by mother nature:

While some things are made more beautiful by the freezing fog, some things are made menacing. My harmless little hops vine looks like something barbed and toothy and deadly.

Doesn't it look like it's going to shoot out a vine, wrap it around your ankle, and drag you into it's brown maw?

And here are the little frosted hops in close-up view:

So we certainly can't complain about the North Dakota winter this year.

But what does this mean for summer? Should I start ordering banana trees for my garden?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Feb. 3rd

A delirious dose of Free Fiction

64 Horror Movies In Five Minutes: How Many Can You Name?

I'm very optimistic about this show. I'm hoping it continues to grow and keep things fresh (no pun intended).
The Walking Dead Season 3 will be 16 episodes long

I'm so excited about this one I'm jumping up and down and squealing like a girl . . . oh, wait . . . I am a girl!
First Photo of Vin Diesel from Riddick

I wouldn't be able to eat these without occasionally growling, "I am the Eater of Worlds!"
Now you can eat the solar system with these beautiful planet truffles

These are all great posters, but I have one small complaint: why is it rarely mentioned that part of the Star Wars poster is an homage to the Gone With the Wind poster?
25 of the Coolest Sci-Fi Movie Posters Ever

I will be very disappointed if Shane leaves the show. I think his character is one of the most real characters in the whole cast. In the midst of an apocalypse, tough choices will have to be made and people would have to adopt a dog-eat-dog mentality in order to survive. Shane is a dog. Rick, on the other hand, is such a goody-goody. No one would really be that "morally upright" in the face of such a crisis. I'll be honest: if some dude I just met was with me and we were running away from zombies (even without the life of a child hanging in the balance), I'd shoot the guy and use him as zombie bait, too. I think most people would. Heck, I'd probably even gun down a friend if it bought me a little more time.
Hmm . . . maybe you want to stay away from me when the zombie apocalypse hits.
A casting rumor could mean doom for a Walking Dead character

I agree with most of the movies on this list, but . . .
League of Extraordinary Gentleman had its shining moments and Battlefield Earth was a hoot. Were they flashy and epic? No, but they were a lot of fun to watch (and certainly not as bad as Catwoman and Red Sonja, lol). Sometimes fun is enough.
17 blockbusters so horrible even their creators say they sucked

David Brin's List of "Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy Tales

15 Things You Didn't Know About Star Trek (InfoGraphic)

Have a great weekend!