Okay, goofing off

I know Wednesday is one of my regular posting days. I’ve been goofing off, and didn’t even get my critique work finished.

Why! Sharknado II, of course. This is one of the worst movies ever made. It’s bad on purpose. I want to see it again.

It comes complete with dozens of celebrity cameos. Everything in it is unrealistic. Everything except for the fact they pumped Tara Reid full of painkillers and they didn’t phase her at all. That part seemed pretty realistic.

I may stay up until midnight to watch it again.


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Visit one of my friends

D. S. Nelson posted her article on the Meet My Character blog tour today. Please visit her and give her murder mysteries a little consideration. They’re on my list. Read the Post Here.

This is just a quick post to make sure it goes out to my followers early in the day.


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Time to start other projects

My critique group meets Friday afternoon. There are five of us, so I have four submissions to go over. Maybe I can do one every evening.

If I plan it right, I can still do some more editing before the weekend. I’m a little nervous this go round. One of the fellows submitted some poetry this time.

I’m not a poet, and just don’t get most of it. (Did that rhyme?) He’d be better off asking almost anyone else. The last time I read any poetry I understood, it involved Sam McGee in ’73. (That’s 1873) Okay there was a brief flirtation with girls from Nantucket. Oh, and a short bastardization of The Raven for a blog post about the raven named Doubt.

The point is that I’m out of my element here.

I’m torn between just admitting it, and giving my best effort. I’ll probably do a bit of both, but I need to confess up front for fear of doing any damage. He’s going to give me his best effort, so I owe him something.

I’m fairly certain I’ll work up all the other submissions first, ’cause that’s how I roll. That way I can dedicate more time to whining about it. No sense spoiling a good funk by doing it first.

What about you guys? Do you ever go outside your strong zone with beta reads or critiques? Are any of you romance writers who critique war stories? Science fiction buffs that get asked to critique erotica? What do you do about it?


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What I’m Working On

I’m knee deep in edits for The Cock of the South. It helps me sometimes to talk about it, and I decided to take you along for the ride.

This is an epic fantasy set in a Greco Roman environment. The main character is a dwarf nick-named Cobby. I wanted to change a few historical facts around and establish this as an alternate environment early on. I decided that Remus defeated Romulus. This makes the dominant civilization the Remsians. (Not the Romans for you non history buffs.)

Cobby was raised in Remus by humans, and never actually told he’s a dwarf. Disaster strikes early on and Cobby runs for his life. He finds more than dwarves along the way and they all have a common problem; Remus.

Cobby is a member of the Southern Dwarves, a destroyed race whose remnants are scattered. He meets other fantasy creatures along the way, some intelligent, some animalistic.

The story takes on an exodus quality and gains a cast of thousands. (Don’t worry, they don’t all get dialog.) I mixed in a little bit of American “hang together or hang separately,” put it in a cocktail shaker with a generous helping of blood and shook my ass off.

I acknowledged the fact that some problems can’t be solved. Missing persons can’t always be accounted for. There is no Interpol or milk carton to put pictures on. I’m back to The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” People are cruel and death is brutal. This one may not be for children.

I decided to acknowledge the gods, but didn’t bring them into the story. They don’t give a crap anyway.

Fairy tale structure has always appealed to me, and I wanted to try it. There are a few threads built into the story. Cobby’s father is a soldier, statesman, and merchant. There are three sons that reflect one of these qualities. Cobby is the merchant. To succeed in his story, he has to accomplish all of these. I included some other elements too, like gifts from friends, an oracle of dubious quality, and more.

I’m pretty happy with the story and the environment. I’m going through it word for word, yet again. I still need to do a word search for my personal sin words. This might take some time, but I have time. I refuse to hermit myself away and give up date night and such.

I’m also searching for a cover artist who can do some Frazetta style fantasy art within my budget. I’m sure I’ll find something, but I’m open to suggestions if you know someone. I’ve looked at some fantastic art recently, but none of it has been exactly what I want. I may have to take The Rolling Stones’ advice myself.


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Movie and shopping

Old What’s Her Face* wanted to do something today. Our standard fare is to go to a movie. What appealed to me was Planet of the Apes, (of course, I love science fiction.) Lucy, and Hercules. I read a review that Hercules sucks and the twelve labors have nothing to do with the story. My wife felt like without Kevin Sorbo it wouldn’t be worth her effort.

She was indifferent to either one of the remaining movies. I had to choose between a beloved franchise from my youth and Scarlet Johansen strutting around in tight clothes. (Some of us like Sorbo, and some of us like Johansen. Go figure.)

You know you’re getting old when apes win out over the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. I liked the movie. There is a great parallel when Caesar can’t controls his apes, and the humans can’t control their people either. No one wants war, but they get one anyway. The bad guy is an ape named Koba. He has this wonderful ability to act like a circus performer and be completely evil at the same time. It’s one of those movies that could wait for HBO, but it was good. I think it could use more female touches.

A quick dinner at The Outback, and it was off to Old Chicago for beer. My wife went shopping. She knows just how much time to give me before she has to show me something. A few beers, a nice meal, a fun afternoon together and she’s in charge.

It was more bath towels. Here’s a question for you: What’s worse than Bed Bath and Beyond?

Answer: Nothing.

We recently spent a small fortune on bath towels at BB&B. I considered raising my insurance to cover them. My wife won’t use them, because after multiple trips through the laundry, they’re still linty.

Old What’s Her Face dragged me to Macy’s. We wound up with twice as many towels for a third as much money. They were even on sale. I always liked Macy’s. We can mix and match for colors along with the BB&B towels. We don’t dare throw those out, they’re too expensive. I wonder if we can donate the BB&B towels to the Smithsonian for a tax write off?

I didn’t goof off completely today. I edited several chapters of my epic fantasy story, The Cock of the South. I’m kind of excited to get this one out there. I don’t write a lot of fantasy, but I really enjoyed this one.

I hope everyone else had a great Saturday too.

Note: Old What’s Her Face really wants either a new camper or a new bedroom set. I do too, but they don’t have enough beer in Boise for me to fall for that one.

* Not my wife’s actual name.


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I have a Confession

I’ve had company for a couple of days, and am hurting for recent blog fodder. I updated the signature line in my email form, and that isn’t enough to carry a blog post. People who I exchange email with will get easy access to my Amazon author page and my blog.

So my confession is…I watch bad movies on purpose. You know the kind, they’re on the SyFy channel every weekend. I enjoy laughing at how bad they are. I also enjoy finding the story and plot errors in them.

If nothing else, they may help me avoid some of the common things these movies do wrong when I write my own stories. The one tonight had characters I didn’t particularly care for making absurd decisions that served the plot, but not the character.

Two people, a child and a blind babysitter, left the safety of a secure house to run into a cornfield when the killer wasps showed up. It was the BLIND babysitter’s idea. The only exterminator in town blows up his vehicle full of pesticide (on purpose) to stop a small swarm of killer wasps. Never-mind that it had decent extermination equipment in it, or that it was their only ride out of town. Makes me wonder why they didn’t just drive away and let the authorities deal with it.

The little girl winds up eating a magic peach that makes her become the wasp queen. (The peach was injected with something that bothered the wasps.) She didn’t turn into a wasp. She didn’t gain control of the wasps. It didn’t do anything except make her attractive to the wasps. (Major letdown. A queen ought to be good for something.) The wasps sealed her in a hive and apparently had no more use for her. (Okay, the wasp zombies took her to the hive. Yeah, the wasps made zombies out of the people they attacked.) In other words, instant victim, just add water. (Or peach juice as the case may be.) Heroes always come across better if there is a victim to rescue.

There was a mad scientist character behind all this. Robert Englund, of Freddie Krueger fame, got this job. The government forced him to make military grade wasps. Turns out he wasn’t sicking the wasps on the town. He was trying to find a way to get rid of the wasps.

When it came time to rescue the little girl, Robert Englund simply walked up without obstruction, tore open the hive, and pulled her out. (Without his fancy fingernails.) What a letdown. That’s it. Of course the government showed up and shot him whilst blowing the wasp nest to hell with helicopters.

Most of these movies have one good idea behind them. Military grade wasps as a biological weapon is a decent idea. They’d be more useful as a weapon without the zombie residue. If someone had spent a little time on it, there could have been a decent story here.

I like to laugh at how bad some of these movies really are. I also think there’s a value in learning what not to do. Does anyone else watch these things? They must, or they wouldn’t keep airing them.

Bring on Sharknado II.


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Show and Tell: Classic Writing Advice Explained With Strippers


This is one of my favorite bloggers. She doesn’t interact much, but her blog is always good. Writers out there might appreciate this one today.

Originally posted on Bare Knuckle Writer:

Aside from “do better“, my most common editing note to myself is that classic bit of writer advice, “show, don’t tell.”

And, like most classic bits of advice–see my diatribe on “write what you know” here– it’s often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you should never tell the reader things. Just that, if there’s another way, consider doing that before falling back on the good ol’ tell. Because showing is more inviting.

To put it another way, you’re trying to titillate the reader, give them a reason to continue reading. And titillation events are called peepshows, not peeptells.

I will illustrate the difference in the traditional manner: with strippers.

Imagine it’s your birthday. Imagine your friends have hired two strippers. The first arrives, drops his* pants, and then stands in the middle of the room while Depeche Mode plays for twenty minutes. He doesn’t…

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