Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Various Things

I’ve been writing a lot, and I’m closing in on the first draft of the next novel. In fact, I should finish it this week.

So that’s good.

I did a bit of work on The menu bar tab that once said “Movie Reviews” and led to the movie review post category, now says “Movie Reviews – Alphabetical”, and leads to a page with a dynamic link list of every movie review, listed alphabetically. Unfortunately, it’s got a big “The…” section. Maybe someday I’ll try to find a list generator advanced enough to ignore a beginning “The”.

Reviews for Blood Tells True are starting to come in, and they’ve been good! I’m hoping that helps the book build some momentum. Check it:
Review at Jay Krow’s blog

Percy Shelley and the Abominable Gentlemen are no longer on good terms.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Movie Reviews!

Phase 7 begins with a pregnant couple (CoCo and PiPi) bickering in the grocery store. CoCo gets grumpy and stays grumpy. It’s such a natural, believable conversation that you can’t help but feel some instant relief that the writers apparently weren’t the sort of supernerds who’ve never had a relationship who seem to end up writing a fair number of horror screenplays.

It’s never a good sign when a horror movie opens with a lot of love being displayed towards one character. If only Patrick and Louise had watched Seven Days, they’d have known that by showering their only child, their sweet daughter, with so much birthday love, they basically signed her death warrant. And she dies in pretty brutal fashion.

I can’t tell you how pissed off I was when I realized this wasn’t the hunk-fest Twilight sequel.

As I write my week's movie reviews, I watch the previous week's wrasslin', and take my
Weekly Wrasslin' Notes!

Feb 10, 2012 Smackdown
-Big Show / Sheamus team up? Devestating.

-Holy poop, Big Show speared Cody Rhodes when he tried to interfere with Sheamus. I don't care how careful he was, that's terrifying.

-Aided by Daniel Bryan's athleticism and small size, Randy Orton just put on a wrestling clinic. Fantastic main event.

Feb 13, 2012 Raw
-I'd feel a bit bad for all the kids, but if Kane actually managed to turn Cena heel, it's hard to describe how happy I'd be.

-Apparently WWE not only doesn't view their constantly opening with 20 minutes of talking as a problem, but a selling point. Tonight, an opening debate :P

-I'd actually like to see Zack Ryder get to wrestle before long, instead of showing up wearing an ever-more-elaborate neck brace and then getting slaughtered by Kane.

-Poor Randy totally flubbed his RKO the first time, thank goodness Big Show had the presence of mind to sell the second. (In hindsight, my brah and I think Big Show was supposed to shrug off the first RKO attempt and forgot)

-I <3 HBK!!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Penny Dreadnought: The Lone and Level Sands

The Abominable Gentlemen build four worlds only to destroy them in this apocalypse-themed issue of Penny Dreadnought. Witness four unique visions of the end in:
“Precious Metal” by Aaron Polson
“Only the Lonely” by Iain Rowan
“The New Words” by Alan Ryker
“He” by James Everington

Penny Dreadnought: The Lone and Level Sands is 20,000 words, or approximately 80 pages. Buy it at:
Amazon / UK
Barnes & Noble

Gotta note that "The New Words" is in Pulling Teeth, but even so, the other 3 stories for $0.99 is a great value.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Penny Dreadnought Cover

Oooooh, so sexy.

Movie Reviews!

Not so many reviews this week. More next, though.

Although Grave Encounters is a pretty original flick, a really easy way to describe it is as House on Haunted Hill meets House of Leaves (which is also found footage, though of the literary variety). Some found footage horror films have had pretexts of documentary (Blair Witch Project, Monsters), while others have just had a protagonist who forgets to drop the camera while running for their lives for a few hours (Cloverfield). Of all of these, though, Grave Encounters has the best pretext for running cameras with plenty of coverage, including static, night vision cameras. And the fact that the host of Grave Encounters really wants to capture this real paranormal phenomenon for his viewers actually almost redeems him.

The Violent Kind has some interesting components that are carelessly mashed together into a sort of glorious mess. You rarely see such a dramatic mix of competence and incompetence. Much more incompetence, though, and it ends up shining brightly through.

As I write my week's movie reviews, I watch the previous week's wrasslin', and take my
Weekly Wrasslin' Notes!

*These notes contain two weeks’ worth of RAW*

-The final January RAW was in KC. I am out of the loop.

-Undertaker, huh? How convient, considering the countdown to Wrestlemania has just begun. His last?

-LORD how I wanted to see Mark Henry hurt Teddy Long. That racist joke has gone on too long.

-Wow, Cody Rhodes is a tall dude to be pulling off moonsaults. Risky.

-Why doesn't the overactive pituitary glands of the giants work on the glutes? Khali has a seriously flat ass for such a huge guy.

-I know it appeals to nostalgia, and I know that Hacksaw probably needs a paycheck, but it's sad to see these old guys who are decades past being able to cut it put on subpar matches. Especially with all the young talent waiting for a break.

-This vegan heel angle of Daniel Bryan's to get a rise out of the worst of Americans disgusts me.


-From the crowd's (lack of) reaction to some famous driver rolling up in his car, I think there's less of a wrestling/NASCAR fan crossover than predicted.

-Turns out Jericho was "trolling" us when he ran around like a mute, grinning moron.

-I LOVE CHOPS! Go Khali!

-Miz did not get properly beneath R-Truth, who flew out of the ring and landed on his ass on the mats and hit his head. Just found out that it seems he didn't injure himself badly.

-Wow, TNA got a HUGE crowd in London.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Worst Part of Working in Publishing? The Authors, fer Sure

I'm not sure why I read this entire article about Amazon's publishing venture. It doesn't have any information I haven't read a dozen times before. But when I made it to the last page, and this quote, I was glad I'd stuck it out:

Kirshbaum’s rivals predict, perhaps wishfully, that Amazon is about to get an education in the burdens of book publishing. “They will understand there’s a reason publishers exist, and it’s not just to hike up prices,” says Morgan Entreken, the president of Grove/Atlantic. The late-night phone calls from neurotic authors, the frantic edits on awful manuscripts—this is a business that demands more handholding than Amazon generally seems comfortable with. Then again, Amazon can deliver a trampoline or a 20-pack of ramen in 24 hours, so it’s fairly comfortable with complexity.

Not sure whether the part I bolded is meant to be a paraphrase of a sentiment by Entreken, or if it's the opinion of the article's author, Brad Stone.



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eff the Po-Po or No? An Interview with Barry Napier

I recently finished Everything Theory: Cold Compass, and I really, really enjoyed it. I read the second half of the book straight through, and that sort of experience with fiction has become much rarer for me than it used to be. If you liked X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries, you’ll certainly enjoy Barry Napier’s unique, cohesive, and perfectly-paced take on parascience, the MiB and government conspiracy.

I ask strange interview questions. I know this, and yet I can’t help it. I see that a writer did something I admire, and I ask how they did it, even when “So tell us about your book” would be more appropriate. If you want to learn more about Cold Compass, I’d suggest you buy it and read it, but you can also find a number of other interviews by following links on Barry’s blog.

I have serious problems with authority, and I typically avoid thrillers with police or government agent protagonists. So I was a bit surprised by my response to the characters in Cold Compass. Here, I’ve asked Barry how he managed to write a story about government agents that managed to still wring empathy and emotional-investment from a bitter malcontent like myself. Barry was kind enough to give us a peek into his process, because it didn’t happen accidentally.

Gabe has problems with authority, yet joins The Man. I have problems with authority, and typically don't like books involving the authorities as protagonists, but I could enjoy Cold Compass because of Gabe's reluctance to align himself with The Man. Was this an intentional strategy?

It was, actually.  While Gabe certainly isn’t aligned to any certain political agenda, it’s clear by his mannerisms and the way he behaves around this new world of the FBI and CIA that he’s not going to shut up and obey just because he’s expected to.  Yet, at the same time, there’s a degree of respect there.  When I was fleshing out Gabe’s character, I knew that I wanted a younger character that was reluctant to become affiliated with “The Man” but, at the same time, was sort of secretly in awe of the fact that he was now a part of it.

The tricky thing was to make him an outcast from that whole scene without ousting him too much.  So I had his wardrobe, his taste in music, and his overall sarcasm and aloofness to use as tools.  At the end of the day, he’s part of this world now but, due to backstory and his father’s past, he’ll always resent it.

I sense a fellow malcontent. Do you have problems with authority?

That’s a loaded question.  I grew up listening to Pantera (surprising, I know) so my youthful view of authority wasn’t the best.  With the recent to-do over SOPA and piracy laws, I am reminded just how far reaching certain branches of authority can be.  But in doing research for the Everything Theory books, I came to understand that the inner workings of law enforcement really aren’t all that complex or responsible.

A story I like to tell: When I got my first job working on government proposals, an after-hours conversation at a bar turned to the Roswell conspiracy.  A well respected man that has government clearance to sites like White Sands and Brookhaven National Labs sort of snickered and laughed the whole time.  In the end, his summation of the UFO topic was this: he believed that alien life existed, but that there was no government cover up.  When asked how he was so sure, he said “I’ve worked with high levels of both the US and the UK government for over 20 years.  There is no branch of the government that is clever enough or thorough enough to construct such a cover-up.” (A funny side note: a character that will appear in future Everything Theory books is loosely based on this man).
And that’s sort of how I see it.  Speeding tickets and illegal phone tapping aside, I think most branches of law enforcement aren’t as cruel as we think they are; the stereotypes we pin on them are usually far worse.

 What do you think of cops as protagonists?

It depends on the book and genre (and author, I suppose).  I am currently writing a short novel that heavily involves a sheriff and his deputy in a small Virginia town.  I also have a much larger one that I keep neglecting where the central character is a sheriff.  For my own personal devices, I rather like the staple of a town cop as the lead of a story.  That way, the tension and drama isn’t confined to one family or house, but to this cop’s entire town.

Growing up on Stephen King, it was hard to not find the character of Alan Pangborn as a strong lead.  And hell, even the entire poor police department of Castle Rock became its own sort of character—an arc you can see beginning near the end of Cujo and extending all the way to Needful Things (as well as a few nods in later works).

I think cops make good protagonists if the plot allows them.  To sort of force a cop into it would ruin the story.  In Everything Theory: Cold Compass, the one cop we are introduced to is there almost as a third tier character, not to really move the story along, but to support the sub-plot that later tried everything together.  I needed him in that position to see his town from the inside out, not from the outside in as would have been the case had it been told from Gabe’s perspective.

I liked the character of Sherriff Rollins…so much that I am toying with the idea of a brief cameo in one of the future Everything Theory books.

Thanks to Barry for stopping by. I have more questions about Cold Compass, so I might be able to get another interview or guest post out of him in the near future.

In the mean time, buy Everything Theory: Cold Compass!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Haters (cont.)

I just finished Supergod by Grant Morrison. If you have any interest in comics, read it. If you don’t have any interest in comics but like intelligent commentary on pop culture, read it. It’s fantastic.

Near the end, Morrison discussed some internet interactions. It reminded me of my previous hater post.

Soon film studios were afraid to move without the approval of the raging Internet masses. They represented only the most minuscule fraction of a percentage of the popular audience that gave a shit, but they were very remarkably, superhumanly angry, like the great head of Oz, and so very persistent that they could easily appear in the imagination as an all-conquering army of mean-spirited, judgmental fogies.
In the shadow of The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s immensely influential book on social networks and marketing, nobody wanted to risk bad word of mouth, little realizing that they were reacting, in many cases, to the opinions of a few troublemakers who knew nothing but contempt for the universe and all its contents and could hardly be relied upon to put a positive spin on anything that wasn’t the misery and misfortune of others. Too many businesspeople who should have known better began to take seriously the ravings of misinformed, often barely literate malcontents who took revenge on the cruel world by dismissing everything that came their way with the same jaded, geriatric “Meh.”

Or, haters gonna hate, so don't think about them.

Big things have been going on over at the home of the Abominable Gentlemen. Rowan reveals just a bit of our schemes of world-obliteration (domination is so mundane). But there’s nothing you can do about it. And Everington reveals that I am his alter-ego. The problem with his statement is that I can’t really reveal it.