9.03.2009

Web site is finally up and running!

Just got my new site up and running. Woo hoo! New post about Tim Burton's movie, 9.

9.01.2009

On a clear day...


Living in LA, you need to be prepared. For fires, for explosions, for bombings, kidnappings, drive-by shootings...[insert your favorite disaster here.] And then again, you just need to be prepared for that glorious fleeting moment when the skies clear. This is when you can finally take a deep breath and catch a glimpse of those stunning San Gabriel Mountains...

Wait. Those aren't mountains. Those are horrendous, billowing Clouds of Death.

Oh, the humanities. [I think aliens are involved somehow. Could be District 12.]

Living Large


Awesome tale of a hippo who thinks he's part of the family.

8.20.2009

The Saga of Summer Lost


Summer’s rolling to a crushing halt. Pressing all the golden sunshine into a few last precious hours. Did I get enough. Beautiful blue sky, white sun, ocean curl. Did I sit poised in front of a computer screen too long, waiting for words that wouldn’t come.

Wouldn’t. Come. Words.

Days slip by, blue fades to black and the buzzing of lightning bugs turns into the whisper of autumn wind.

It. Comes. Soon.

The winter sky will hang bleak, my soul will be pressed against the brown earth and I will long for just one more minute of perfect summer. I will press my palm against cold window, longing for warmth.

Sky. Pale. Skin.

White and black and brown will replace my summer garden. My heart will thunder less and my flesh will grow thick. Longing for the lean days of gentle breeze. I will walk less and eat more, burrow into a cocoon.

Need. Summer. Heat.

8.15.2009

R. Crumb's Book of Genesis


An illustrated version of the Book of Genesis, by R. Crumb, is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

An excerpt from a recent article about Crumb in The New Yorker:

"At first, he thought about doing a take-off of the story of Adam and Eve, and then a friend suggested he do the whole of Genesis. Crumb accepted the challenge, but the text seemed to him so bizarre that he quickly realized he couldn't sustain a satirical approach. He resolved to use the words of the Bible unabridged: "I did it as a straight illustration job."

8.14.2009

Keira Knightley plays Fairy Godmother


Keira Knightley stars as a Fairy Godmother in an upcoming short film titled, The Continuing And Lamentable Saga Of The Suicide Brothers.


It appears to be a strange tale (always the best!) about two brothers who head out to the shed every day to kill themselves.


Apparently, this is where Knightley's character enters the picture. I'm looking forward to this dark fae story.

8.10.2009

The Great Vanishing Trick


You know her, you love her. But apparently she's about to go into hiding. Well, partial hiding, that is.

Saturn is just about to tilt on her axis, a feat she accomplishes every 15 years. And when she does, her rings—her lovely rings filled with mud, ice and moons—will temporarily disappear.

Scheduled date for magic axis tilt: August 11.

8.09.2009

Live from the Hugo Awards


The 2009 Hugo Awards are being announced tonight:

The Big Heart Award goes to Andrew Porter.

The Campbell Award goes to David Anthony Durham.

Best Fan Writer goes to Cheryl Morgan.

Best Fan Artist goes to Frank Wu.

Best Fanzine goes to Electric Velocipede.

Best Semiprozine goes to Weird Tales.

Best Related Book goes to Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, John Scalzi

Dramatic Presentation: Long Form goes to Wall-E.

Dramatic Presentation: Short Form goes to Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, Joss Whedon.

Best Editor: Long Form goes to David G Hartwell.

Best Editor: Short Form goes to Ellen Datlow.

New category, Best Graphic Story goes to Girl Genius, Kaja and Phil Foglio.

Best Professional Artist goes to Donato Giancola.

Best Short Story goes to "Exhalation", Ted Chiang.

Best Novelette goes to "Shoggoths in Bloom", Elizabeth Bear.

Best Novella goes to "The Erdmann Nexus", Nancy Kress.

Best Novel goes to The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman.

Congratulations to all!!

8.07.2009

The Story Contest


Steve Parolini, over at Novel Doctor, just announced the winners in his short story contest.

Woo hoo! I was one of the winners.

All of the top three stories are posted on his site today--you should stop over and take a look. And there will be more stories posted throughout the week.

Then, when these stories have all been posted and the festivities are over and the confetti lays scattered on the cyber-cement, well, then you should keep checking out his site.

He's a master writing teacher. You could learn some mad skills over there. And there might even be an alien or two, because this guy likes sci fi.

8.05.2009

Book Covers in YA


In honor of SCBWI, which is being held this week, I decided to do a post on what’s going on in YA. So I went to the local Barnes & Nobles and took some photos of the book covers that line the shelves.


If you haven’t strolled through the YA section lately, you’ve been missing out on the latest trends.


Why go through the YA section, especially if you’re writing for adults? Because if there’s anything fun going on right now, it’s starting here.


These readers are going to grow up and they’re going to be hungry.


I’ve never seen such an explosion of imagination. Yes, there are copycat stories and similarities in theme. But, honestly, you can write almost anything here right now.


Keep it clean (my recommendation) and exciting (their demand) and if at all possible, write about fantasy (we both advise that).


These covers all caught my attention. If I was buying (I was meeting a friend for our own writing adventure), I’d have purchased every single one of these books.


But after writing this post, I think I’ll go back. And buy them all. And keep them for myself. For that little girl in me that never grew up.

8.03.2009

Not My Hero


It may seem fun and cheeky to condense your opinion down to 140 characters. To post it where the rest of the world is going to see. But the old saying, "two wrongs don't make a right," certainly applies to the cyber world today.

It started with a post on The Envelope by Elizabeth Snead.

Apparently Ryan O'Neal lost his last remaining brain cells, and his conscience, at Farrah Fawcett's funeral. He later bragged to Vanity Fair that he was so low, he even tried to pick up his own daughter, Tatum. I say 'bragged' because I think he knew it would bring him public attention.

Well, it did. Greg Grunberg, of Heroes, already stepped up to the Twitter plate and struck out with a foul ball.

@greggrunberg's Tweet: "Ryan O'Neal hit on his own daughter Tatum at Farrah's funeral... That's sick.. & HOT!!"

Hot?? What's hot about a father trying to pick up his own daughter? It's disgusting and degrading.

I already had a poor opinion of O'Neal. No big surprise there. But I never expected a comment like that from Grunberg. Granted, he has a right to his 140 character opinion.

But he certainly isn't my "Hero" anymore.

8.02.2009

Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Blog

If it was a battle, I would say Twitter is winning. But Facebook is close behind. The blog, this sweet little blog right here, well, she's limping along with thorns in her feet and the jeering of cyber-crowds in her ears.

I've been adjusting to the changing Internet world. But it sure isn't easy to juggle multiple social networks and platforms at once.

I love Facebook. Really. So many things to do, even when no one's chatting. Vampire Wars (way fun), quizzes, links to videos, and have I mentioned the photos? Or the fact that you can cruise with the top down, wander through all your pals' pages?

Then I joined Twitter. And felt so alone. Like I had fallen into a vast Internet vortex and all my words were now muffled and silent. Until I stumbled into a chat today. I'm not sure where I was. I'm so new to the scene I don't even know what to call it.

It was @writechat, on Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. Better than speed dating. (Not that I know anything about that, but hey, I've seen movies.) It was like speed dating when all the people have six heads and they're all carrying on multiple conversations at the same time. I think I was talking to myself before it was over.

I'd have died if it hadn't been for TweetDeck...

TweetDeck? I forgot to mention it, huh. And then there's that awesome site where you can shorten URLs...

I don't know. Apparently I am catching on to this new cyber universe.

Maybe there's still hope for this Alien Girl after all.

7.28.2009

Moby Love

Just when I’ve painted myself into a creative corner and I can’t find my way out, when all my inspiration is gone and the air around me feels dry and empty—that’s when I know I need some new music.

Gotta have it.

I hear some folks can get by without music, specifically without a new fix on a regular basis. But I’m just not that person. Sometimes I wish I was. Seems like life would be so much easier.

It’s like being hungry. But you don’t know where the food is. Somebody keeps moving it, hiding it, giving it to other people more worthy. By the time you get to the store, it’s all gone or worse, stale and spoiled.

Nothing worse, really, than stale, spoiled, yesterday’s leftover music. I’m not talking about the tried-and-true favorites. They last forever, like blue jeans and vintage jewelry. But I just can’t sit around, listening to the same stuff, over and over. Not if I’m trying to be creative too. I need some new rhythms to shake up and wake up my brain synapses, to make the thought patterns travel down a different corridor, hop over that brain canyon and finally, hopefully, come to some new conclusions.

Dead music. Dead ideas. Dead me.

Gotta get me some of that sugar, that sweet keep-me-up-late candy, that take-me-to-another-world-and-let-me-wander-around-all-by-myself snack.

So just when I think I’m never gonna find it, gonna have to make do with what I already got, then I find it. And I dance. All day, all night. I write and I get myself plugged into something bigger than me. Again.

It’s like love. Really.

And tonight, I’m in love all over again. I just stumbled across Moby’s new album, Wait for Me. It’s cherry sweet. Just downloaded it from iTunes and already I can feel the current flowing. Pale Horses broke my heart, but it needed to be broken. Division set the stage and I’m in my seat, ready. Mistake reminds me just how much I’ve missed Moby, how much I love his voice, his melodies, his pain-sharp musing. The almost holy chant of A Seated Night, the haunting chorus in Wait for Me, the minor chords of Slow Light. All like brand new friends who laugh at my jokes and know that sometimes, a girl’s just gotta cry.

So I think I finally found something to help me through those long hot summer nights. Something to keep my fingers pounding keyboard.

Something sweet. Got me some Moby Love.

7.25.2009

Monsters Under the Bed

I’m a big fan of everything that goes bump in the night. Vampires, ghosts, goblins, twisted branches that thump against the window and sound like someone is trying to break into the house. In particular, I’ve always had a soft spot for monsters under the bed. Creepy, tangled in cobwebs, hiding in shadows and much too flat to look human.

I just always wished they were under someone else’s bed.

Well, I finally got my wish.

Apparently all these years, those very same monsters that were tormenting me were also hanging out under the bed of good pal, Rebecca Razo.

Who knew?

And now she’s gone and exposed them for what they really are. On top of that, she’s telling folks all around how they can capture one for themselves. On paper, that is. She’s put together a really cool, I mean scary, book about how to draw these horrid beasts, and she’s revealed a dastardly secret. Sometimes they aren’t nearly as creepy as you would think.

Oh oh.

Monsters R Us might get mad. Monsters across the universe might rebel.

Then again, this could be exactly the kind of PR they’ve been wanting all along. Make friends with the children. Then later, when said children grow up, they might just decide to write a few monster books of their own, from a different viewpoint this time.

The misunderstood monster.

He’s my favorite. Can’t wait. For all these kids to grow up and start writing their own monster books.

But first they have to pick up The Monsters Under My Bed. That’s the first step to making friends with those furry beasts who might not be so creepy.

After all, when you really think about it, don’t we all turn warm and fuzzy inside after a glass of milk and some cookies and a good book?

7.23.2009

NASA Wants YOU!


Actually, they want your help. Yes, your help. Apparently a sweet little Mars rover named Spirit got itself stuck in Martian dirt.

Basically, the little guy has fallen down and he can't get up.

So, maybe in your spare time you could come up with a few ideas, jot them down and then contact NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Questions, comments can be submitted via Twitter (let's hear it for Twitter, YAY!) or Ustream.

Twitter: send to @NASAJPL using the hashtag #FreeSpirit

Better hurry, though. I hear the Martians are just about ready to toss the little sprite into the recycle bin.

7.18.2009

Hot Dog!


Next time I won't ask for home delivery.

7.17.2009

Linked by Blood


Black and white

Photos floating, spiral of images. Never like it when this film noir starts in my head. The wrong music on the radio, the light in the sky fading through trees, the wind changing course, everything turning pale and chill.

We stand, quiet, in a half circle, dirt beneath our feet. Linked by blood, separated by death. He lies, quiet, in a box, lined in silk, eyes forever closed.

My heart beating. His heart still.

My heart breaking. His heart gone.

My life ending. His life a memory.

Clumps of dirt surround the deep chasm. Too much earth, hole too big. Box sinking down into the cotton quiet ground, earth swallowing human.

Dust to dust. We say it because we must—

Find a way to forget, the knife in our chest—

Ashes to ashes. The wind blows where it will—

And the journey of the spirit, we cannot follow. Never like the songs that played on the day my blood all went their separate ways. Never liked the car that brought me here or took me away.

Never cried, because he remained in my dark nights, in my heart. Even though the live blood all faded away. The blood that died never left.

How to Make Stuff Up


If you want to learn how (not) to write dialogue, how to make stuff up at the last minute, or even why Stephen Parolini's alter-ego is named Pedro, then you should check the recent post at Novel Doctor.

And then again, you could drop by any time. It's always fun.

Oh, I almost forgot. There's a contest too. At Novel Doctor. Go on, you know you want to...

7.01.2009

Something I Would Never Do


This five-year-old girl is laying on a glass balcony on the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower.

A) I would never let my child out there.

B) I would never let ME out there.

Fear of heights? Maybe. Kinda. Okay, yeah.

6.28.2009

Star Light


The words come and go. Start somewhere in the future, zip on their hellbent road to the past and somehow, somewhere between here and there, they get trapped in my fingers, tangled on the page.

They try to shoot across the barrier, diamond bright comets with trails of brilliance and pain.

And then they get stuck in my palm.

Before they know it, they are falling out of the mouths of my characters, weaving plot thread shuttles across a computer screen loom. Garments made from sun and moon.

Starlight, star bright, I wish I may, I wish I might create another tale tonight. One that keeps the children awake, that burns in the gut and twists like a snake.

6.25.2009

All Systems Go . . .


Getting ready to write.

New Sylar screensaver: check

Plotpoints and scene shortcut: check

Edgy steampunk beginning: check

Strong romance subplot: check

Bad boy shape-shifter: check

Now if I can only figure out how to turn on this steam-driven laptop...

Good bye


I'm really sorry he's gone. Such a talented guy.

6.04.2009

6.03.2009

Future Hybrid


Cruising down a canal in Venice, wind in your hair, sun on your back . . .

5.29.2009

Land of the Lost


As far as I'm concerned, there just isn't enough science fiction out there. So I can't wait to see Will Ferrell's new movie, Land of the Lost.

Big Bang Theory meets Jurassic Park with a dash of Lost in Space.

Gotta see it.

Now I gotta go finish that sci fi novel . . .

5.28.2009

Italics

Arrgghh.

I'm lost in a sea of italics.

Somebody. Help. Quick.

5.27.2009

5.26.2009

I write, therefore I am


I write, therefore I am

Otherwise known as

I sit in front of my computer screen for hours and hours, therefore I am

Or

I continually rewrite and belabor this same stinking paragraph, unable to move onto the next chapter, therefore I am

And

I get a snack, drink some diet soda, stare out the window, contemplate the meaning of words and the vagaries of communication, therefore I am

AKA

I pretend this dratted book is finished, that I am finally a SUCCESS, that everyone loves me and buys all of my books, and that I have PLENTY of time to write said sequel to dratted book, therefore I am

But

I decide to write in my blog, which I have neglected for MONTHS because it is just a bit of fluff and nobody reads fluff nowadays (except ME when I’m supposed to be writing, then I LOVE blogs and FLUFF), therefore I am

And then

I sigh, take something for my headache, vaguely wish that I was a dog instead of a human, wish that all I had to say were things like WOOF and BARK and HOOOOWWWWLLL, because I’m sure I’d be done with this project by now if my vocabulary was so limited, therefore I am

Unless

I HAVE TO TAKE MY COMPUTER INTO THE SHOP BECAUSE I MESSED AROUND FOR SO BLASTED LONG THAT MY CAPS KEY GOT STUCK, THEREFORE I AM

2.08.2009

Is Genetic Engineering Ba-a-a-a-a-d?

Some animal rights activists think so. The FDA has just approved a drug that supposed to prevent fatal blood clots in people. Oddly enough, the medicine is derived from the milk of a genetically altered goat—a goat that has been “given a human gene.”

Ouch.

Watch out for the Chimera uprising. It’s bound to be around the corner.

1.25.2009

Parting the Waters


She breezed into the room, all sunshine and smiles, ready to co-teach a class at Mount Hermon with Mick Silva. Her insight and encouragement that day were impressive. In fact, that class is still on my all-time favorite top ten list— and I’ve been attending writing conferences longer that I want to admit.

It was the first time I met Jeanne Damoff. Since then I’ve gotten to know her better, mainly through her regular journaling on The Master’s Artist.

But there was one thing that I saw immediately, that first time we met. Something I think most people see, anytime they look into her eyes. She possesses a level of compassion and kindness that goes beyond words. She has a way of looking at you, like she can see all the way through to the back of your spine, like she’s taking an X-ray of your soul. And surprisingly, she seems to like what she sees.

Not many people have the ability to show unconditional love with just a gaze.

Or perhaps I should say, not many people I’ve met.

It wasn’t until I heard the story behind her new book, Parting the Waters, that I began to understand that soulful look. Brokenness can change you. All that staring into the face of God, it has an affect, leaves an imprint. Like little flecks of Him get stuck in your DNA, little bits of heavenly gold dust, and you might not even realize that when you look at someone you are casting just a bit of the Shekinah glory of God in their direction.

There is one thing I can say about brokenness. It doesn’t just change you.

It changes everyone you encounter.

Parting the Waters has the power to do just that, because it’s the story behind that gold dust in Damoff’s eyes, it’s a story about where to find the strength when your strength isn’t enough. And I think it’s the perfect story to read today. Because life just doesn’t seem quite as easy today as it was yesterday.

Or at least it hasn’t been for most of the people I know. Me included.


Here are a few sound bites from a recent interview with Ms. Damoff, where she discusses her book.

Where did you get the idea for the book?
Parting the Waters is a true story. Several years after Jacob’s accident in 1996, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to write what I was seeing God do. I didn’t want to, and for the next few years I kept giving God excuses for why I didn’t have time. Without going into detail, let’s just say He essentially removed my excuses, and I went home and wrote the first draft in two weeks.

What are the major themes of the book?
Beauty from brokenness. God’s goodness and sovereign purposes in suffering. The body of Christ. The power of community when it works as it should.

What insight did you gain from the process of writing about such a difficult personal experience?
Reliving our experience on the page was excruciating at times, but also very cathartic. I believe it’s good for all Christians to look back on our most difficult times and see how God carried and led us when we felt like we were wandering over jagged shards in a fog. Probably the biggest insight I gained was a deeper assurance that God is in control and I can trust His loving purposes, even when it hurts to breathe.

But if you want to be a good Berean, don't just listen to me. Check out what some other people are saying about Jeanne Damoff and her new book, Parting the Waters:
5 Minutes for Books
A Little Whine and Cheese
A Peek at My Bookshelf
A Spacious Place
Alien Dream
Arkansas Dreams
Ashley Evans Boone
Aspire2 Blog
Bible Dude
Blame it on the Loud Mouth Gene
Blog Tour Spot
Bluebonnet in the Snow
Book Nook Club
Canadian Prairie Writer
Christy’s Book Blog
Conversations with a Stranger
Davis Family of 6
Fictionary
Five Bazillion and One
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Getting Down with Jesus
Good Word Editing
i don’t believe in grammar
iamhealed.net
Kells Creative Musings
La Vida Dulce
Life with Missy
Lift My Noise
Lighthouse Academy
Marc Whitman’s Blog
Michelle Pendergrass
Musings from the Windowsill
Mystery, Suspense, and God, Oh My!
Net’s Book Notes
One Voice in a Big World
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted
Relevant Blog
Restore
Sherry Kyle
So You Wanna Be Published
The Friendly Book Nook
the mcgill’s
The Writing Road
They Hang Like Paper Lanterns
This Present Joy
Tooles in Virginia
What I Learned Today
Wide-Eyed Fiction
Word Vessel
Write Brained
Write by Faith

1.19.2009

The pursuit of all that glistens


It flickers up ahead, something that moves through the mist, catching and reflecting.

Light.

I chase it, ever onward. Sometimes stumbling, sometime crying, often numb and weary.

Starbright.

I think I will, I think I might. Catch the beam that burns so bright. Or maybe

Not.

Breathless and bruised and now ever so dangerous, tooth-and-claw strong.

Fight.

To be on top. To win. To have that mirror relect all that glistens, all that is beautiful, all that is—

Me.

1.17.2009

Just one look

Does a commitment to excellence win out over time? I think it does. Obviously each person on this list had a long career before I stumbled across them. But the interesting thing to me is that from the moment each of these actors came on the screen, I found myself mesmerized.

So here is my list of actors who stunned me from the first scene:

Claire Danes in The Little Women
Hugh Jackman in Swordfish
James McAvoy in Children of Dune
Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias
Ralph Fiennes in Wuthering Heights
Collin Firth in Pride and Prejudice
Jeremy Northam in The Net
Sandra Bullock in The Net
Lacey Chabert in Lost in Space
Connor Trinneer in Star Trek: Enterprise
Hugh Laurie in House