Monday, June 27, 2011

Foolish Man, insert proverb here...

I have mentioned that things have been - let's say, "unsettled" - in my home lately. I will spare you the details: it is enough to know that the economic situation has its effect on people, and I have thrown my lot in (one way or the other) and now I must ride out the storm.

I realized just now, while preparing leftovers for lunch, that I'm living wrong. I am living like a man holding his breath, and waiting to exhale. I allow myself moments of levity. It seems that "taking a break" from the pressures of the world and/or my domestic dilemnas, allows me to relax and enjoy my life and not get too stressed out. In general, that would be good advice.

I am stringing together those moments like a man holding his breath - or taking punches to the head in the boxing ring, waiting for the bell. Waiting for the unsettled feeling to go away.

Do we do this, with life? I think we do. I think we make for ourselves a set of circumstances that will allow us to do what we truly want.

I'll get back to writing and revising as soon as I'm less stressed.

But there's always going to be stress. Life doesn't stop just because you need a time out. I suspect the best writers learn how to tune the world out, make it go away.

Instead, I am here, holding my breath and hoping it will go away. This is why I am unpublished. I can analyze the impact of A Game of Thrones (I even watched True Blood last night, along those lines), and I can offer myself all of the comforts of why I should press on with epic high fantasy fiction - and yet, day after day for weeks now, I'm only allowing myself moments of pleasure to ease the discomfort of my situation.

A young child rides his dirtbike outside my window. "Oh, it's too noisy, I can't concentrate." "I'm too tired." "I have to work tonight."

There's always a reason to not do what you want to do. And the world carries on. My situation approaches what we can call a deadline, and the other people involved don't seem terribly concerned.

It'll be fine. Well, things tend to resolve one way or the other, if that's what you mean by fine. Fine shouldn't be good enough. Circumstances shouldn't stand in the way of passion, determination.

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap." - Cynthia Heimel

I don't know if any of this helps you, but it helped me. Writing always does. Have a great week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

HBO's Game of Thrones, Season 1

Been a little busy this week, but truly what can be said that hasn't already been said? No, really... check it out.

Winter Is Coming - Episode 10 Recap Roundup

For what it's worth, I was extremely pleased with the season finale - in fact, as far as I'm concerned, it was the best finale of the year on television. (Yes, I'm still grieving over the idiocy of the House season ender.)
There's no one like me.
Hit me with that rock again, and I'll still talk smack.

Joff, our favorite bastard, count your blessings
that you didn't get stuck with the other sister.
As noted last week, the characters (love 'em or hate 'em) have grown into their roles, and for those viewers not familiar with GRRM's brand of brutality - well, I think going into season two, it has been established that no one is safe.

I like to kill fat boys!
Summarily, as far as the season goes, most of my thoughts were shared last week. But what we're looking at is a strong cast of unexpected characters (so many children actors), each now with enough screen time to warrant viewer sympathy and emotional investment, all going into season two with increased stakes - in an environment where no one is safe.

There was a lot of "sexposition" in Season 1 - and while sex and violence are a big part of what occurs in Westeros, Season 2 - based on A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2), shouldn't require as much background information. Clearly, there's going to be war and the political machinations shouldn't necessarily require hooker scenes to pull off. We'll see.

There's been a lot of positivity regarding the CGI dragons - and I agree, they were well done. But again, the role of the dire wolves becomes increasingly relevant to the story of the Stark children, and I hope that in this filming, they give the pups some more screen time. Which, to their credit, they did manage in the final episode. It's symbolism, it's a magic that can't be ignored, and can't be focused exclusively on the dragons, because that's only one story arc amongst several.

Some puzzles remain for the viewer to chew on in the next several months, and despite what's been done in other fantasy stories, one shouldn't think that baby dragons are anything but a novelty at this point. Dany has no army, the dragons are vulnerable, and meanwhile all the rest of Westeros is armed, ready and marching. This will take awhile to unfold. Even if there are Targaryen loyalists, she still has to get to them (before they get killed under some other banner).

That would be the dilemna, from one perspective, if GRRM were a simple man. But he is not.
Before I digress, a funny or two.

And my favorite feature on WIC, Twitterers gone wild.


HBO's motives are clear. Convert this best selling fantasy series into something that will translate into subscribers and merchandise sales.

Long before the first episode aired, I told anyone else who would listen that the significance of the success of this series had a potential impact on publishing.

We've seen how True Blood and Twilight gave rise to urban fiction, to the point where agents and publishers were saying "enough vampires already" by last year.

We've already had a successful Lord of the Rings movie trilogy - and The Hobbit (part 1 of 2) is set to release in December of this year.

This should mean a huge boom for the epic fantasy literature genre. I'm counting on it. Martin is not a prolific author, Tolkien's film adaptations will likely end in 2013, and that's going to leave a void for people who want more.

While the success and quality of A Game of Thrones (as well as Peter Jackson's film projects) are great in entertainment value alone, the bigger picture suggests that this is only the beginning of a huge spike in the popularity of Elves, Dragons, Dwarves, Knights and magic.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video: Coyote vs Canadian

Things are a little hectic on this end lately, and content may be a little thin in coming days. But there's always time to show a coyote video!

Beautiful pup. For those concerned about the man's sanity, note that there was no growling or barking, the tail was wagging and the neck fur wasn't bristled. Having said that, I think he toed the line between having fun and needing a rabies shot.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Music: Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin

My father never wanted me to be a writer. It was (and presumably, remains) too impractical. I grew up in the sort of household where it was expected that I would be a doctor, a lawyer, maybe even a teacher.

Even with our ideological differences, I turned out a lot like my father. Some of my strongest personality traits could only have come from him and the patriarchal side of my family. It's often been a great inspiration to me in writing, ironically. I could probably bore you with all sorts of anecdotal evidence.

After all, we are all - one way or the other - our father's children.

Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reading and Watching, June 2011

I'm going to be busy for a couple days, so I thought I'd go ahead and put up my latest reading journal.

Between the ending of House, Borgias, and Game of Thrones (forthcoming Sunday), I've kept my eyes peeled for some summer television shows for when I take a break from reading/writing.

Covert Affairs, USA. Season 2. In the "true confessions" department, I admit that I don't watch this sort of thing (I was never sold on Matt Damon as an action hero. These are the same folks who did the Bourne Identity series), and that the only reason I watched was because I've had a crush on Piper Perabo since her role in Coyote Ugly.
And in Season One, she wasn't entirely convincing in the role. However, by the end of the season, the story got interesting, and she was handling herself better in the action sequences. S2E1 was hit and miss with the action editing... the car scene was amateurish, unfortunately.

But, who cares? Sexy girl and a fun espionage storyline. They kicked off the season with a bang, rebooting the disappearance of the love interest Ben, got her back into the field bucking the system, and above all else, the supporting cast and story arcs are being nicely handled. I'm looking forward to the season.

White Collar, USA. Season 3. Guilty pleasure. I like the Ocean's Eleven vibe. I think they kicked off this season well, with Neal Caffrey (played by Matt Bomer), appearing to slide back into his old ways. What can I say, I'm a fan of the anti-hero, and between him and Mozzie (Willie Garson), it doesn't get more "unlikely savior". It'll be interesting to see how far they take the "this is the white whale of cons" arc, but all the same, it's off to a good start.

Burn Notice, Psych, Royal Pains. USA Network has the best summer line up on television. But, I don't watch THAT much TV.

I picked up The Hedge Knight - Second Edition [Graphic Novel] last week, as I find myself more and more excited by not only HBO's series, but also the release of A Dance with Dragons next month. Beautiful art, and of course, a great story within. Fascinating to read the prequels in light of all the buzz about A Song of Ice and Fire, and really, George R. R. Martin tells a good story.

It was only afterwards, while looking for the next novella (I've already read the third installment, The Mystery Knight, in the Warriors anthology), that I learned that The Hedge Knight (1st) and The Sworn Sword (2nd) were released in other anthologies. (Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasyand Legends II: Dragon, Sword, and King, respectively.) I'm going to have to go back and get those now, because as much as I enjoyed the art, I love GRRM's prose and I want to read every detail of the prequel stories. (For those of you who have read through AFFC, you'll understand the interest in Dunk and Egg.)

While I'm on the topic...
- Win an autographed copy of ADWD.

Annnd, on the topic of epic stories brought to HBO - what about I, Claudius? (Nice catch, Adam!) That is also gonna be must see tv for me.

Turns out, in the Songs of Love and Death anthology that I've been reading, there's a huge easter egg for fans of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart. Anafiel Delaunay's backstory! He and Rolande.

And finally, to complete my reading journal, I started upon R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing series, with The Darkness that Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing). I must say, and I'm not alone in this (based on the review blogs I read), that this is NOT a quick read.

I find it a little fitting that Steven Erikson does the cover blurb on this version, because after two pages, Erikson is exactly who I thought of. The styles are different, yes, but the density of the prose is similar.

Having said that, I'm 131 pages in and enjoying the story. At this point, though, I could only recommend this if you are a fan of Steven Erikson.

Oh, and while we're talking about R. Scott Bakker, three very esteemed book bloggers joined forces and did this interview of him recently.

That's all I've got for now. What are you reading?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, Episode 9.

I am far too excited about last night's episode to wait a few days. As before, no recap, just commentary.

Here's a couple of recaps in case you want or need them. (I may add more later. Feel free to check back.)

Winter Is Coming Episode 9 Recap Roundup
Grizzly Bomb Episode 9 Recap (found this site while searching for screenshots; it was only proper to share.)

Last time I wrote about Thrones, I asked you a few questions...

What happened to Arya? Ah, she escaped into the city, living off of fat pigeons and brown stew.

Maisie Williams' acting was excellent. Even the subtle way she put a hand on her sword whenever she was going from one place to the next. Did you recognize the man in black? Joren, the recruiter from Night's Watch.

The Late Lord Frey
We finally meet Lord Walder Frey. While he doesn't have all the tics portrayed in the book, it was hardly noticeable. Excellent portrayal. We'll see more of him in the future, no doubt.

Robb Stark and Catelyn. Now there's been a few complaints about not showing the battle scene at Whispering Woods. But this scene is true to the books - you have to see the fear in Catelyn's eyes, for lack of getting internal monologue. That part? Excellent.

The aftermath? Well, it was clever dialogue, to be sure. But "1 on 1 combat"? - WHERE IS ROBB'S DIREWOLF? Jaime, would you fight Robb AND his wolf? No, Kingslayer, I think not. Fear would look good on you Nikolaj, even for a moment. You've got the range.

The sneak preview of the season finale means they're going to push forward Jaime's arc a little bit, otherwise he'd be captured for much of season 2.

This part of the story is going well - but again, the viewer is losing the impact of the Starks and their remaining direwolves (their banner symbol). A direwolf on the field of battle changes momentum tremendously. And men will talk.

Let's skip to Tyrion. In armor! Fighting his first battle!!

Then he gets trampled by his soldiers? WHAT?! Well, bloody hell. THAT's a notable departure. THIS was supposed to be the battle scene for this part of the story (not Whispering Woods). Knocked on the head by his own man - aww, I'm sorry Peter Dinklage. (But, war is here, you'll probably get another chance to fight. Maybe.)

Storywise, a clever tactic to keep Tywin Lannister and his superior skill and army occupied. But that's only going to work so many times...

In the meantime, we have a new whore. (Some folks thought that Ros would be our Shae.) Well, Shae is pretty and impetuous, like the books. Foreign, NOT like the books. No "sexposition" this time? A drinking game?? What do we call that, "drinxposition?" Ah well. The acting was top notch, but that was a lot of screen time to fill with stuff that wasn't entirely relevant at the time. Mind you, the Tysha story is important, but it could have waited. Undoubtedly, build up towards Tyrion's role in Season 2. Aside, Bronn is fantastic, no?

Jon Snow gets a sword, a reprieve from Thorne, and a lecture from the last Targaryen. Snow is a bit angsted, you know, and Kit Harrington is a bit more believable in the role than he was. Thing is, last week he's angsted about Uncle Benjen's horse coming back without a rider. This week, it's his half-brother has marched off to war. (And, since this isn't clear in the show, I must tell you that Valyrian Steel is a BIG FRIGGIN' DEAL. It's the family heirloom beyond all heirlooms. It's grandmama's priceless set of antique china, but medieval and functional.) The writers need to get to the part where Snow settles into his decision, whatever it is, so that he can carry the role that next season will have for him.

In clever editing, we go from the old Targaryen to the young hot one. This, too, is more or less close enough to the books. It may seem a little rushed, because it is. The viewer didn't get time to feel the angst of Drogo's quick descent into infection, and the numerous interactions Dany has with the witch. The Dothraki are a bit more hostile here than I recall them in the books, but this is nitpicking, truly.

Everything with Dany's arc has been carefully laid points and clues to prepare the viewer for the season finale. Yes, some of it was not according to the books, but here at the end, it's all still lined up. With the events that have taken place in the rest of Westeros, all eyes should be glued to Dany, and not just because she's cute.

For those of you who haven't read the books, this next part must have been a shock. But, even if you have, I have to agree with the Winter is Coming comment (linked above).
Wow, what an emotional ending. I was not expecting to be affected as I was. I knew the story, I knew what was coming, I thought it was the new viewers who would be shocked and appalled and I would just smile knowingly and say, “That’s Martin for you!” Instead seeing it play out on screen, with Ned trying to save his daughters only to have everything go horribly wrong and seeing Sansa and Arya’s reaction. I’m getting emotional again just thinking about it.
Aside, that is Ned's Valyrian Steel sword, "Ice".

To paraphrase Pulp Fiction, Ned's dead, baby.

Farewell, Sean Bean. At first I thought you might've portrayed Ned Stark a little too tough and rough, but by the end, I was convinced. I saw the conflict and emotion and the sheer stubbornness. We didn't get to really understand what was going on with you in the dungeons, but those dream sequences would have been pricy to produce. Thank you for giving Ned Stark some star power, for compelling people to feel his plight, and for once again championing the fantasy fiction genre. Kudos to you.

Also, good job little Joffrey in that scene. Truly, everyone hates your guts of course, but that scene would have been easy to botch. Damn good job.


As we approach Episode 10, it seems we have lost a lot of the series' star power. What does this mean?  The series is about the children. Children living in an adult world, under ridiculously trying circumstances. One by one, they lose the protection their parents offered them - or that protection becomes meaningless.

What becomes of the Stark children with Ned dead and Catelyn off to war? Does Winterfell become a giant point of vulnerability with all of the north marching south to war? And wildlings and White Walkers just beyond the Wall? What becomes of Daenerys if/when the mighty Khal Drogo dies and only one renegade knight to protect her?

Many people give up the series after the death of Ned Stark. Can HBO, the writers and producers, the young actors in lead roles - can they carry the series as well as the books compel the readers?

Fans of the books will continue to watch the series. We can't help it. We've read the story, many of us more than once, and it's a little geek's dream to see it come alive on screen. Between the series and ADwD coming out next month, this is all too good to be true.

But of those new to the series, not yet read the books, not yet knowing what wicked George R. R. Martin has planned for the characters that remain - will they stay along for the ride?

Next week's season finale has to be done just right, I think, to convince viewers that the characters that remain still have a lot of story to tell. Because, frankly, the next two books/seasons are infinitely more exciting than what has just taken place.

Enough of that seriousness. Here's an awesome reaction to Episode 9, courtesy of the WiC link above.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Writing Tip Posts, June 11, 2011

You may have noticed that I keep tinkering with the blog title and the "about me" section. That's why I persist in these little 'writing tip' posts - you can never stop improving the craft. And below you'll see the link that made me realize what I need to do differently on here. Everything in my life is a Work-in-Progress (WIP), and every week I get a little better, even if there are greater challenges.

If nothing else, I'm confident that I'm headed in the right direction.

You want proof? My little blog got a shout out this week! Yayy!! Thank you, Erin Reel! *happy dance*

What can I say, I'm often easily amused. I was out for drinks (Rum!) with friends on Friday night, and a coworker said to me the following day, "You're like Peter Pan." I said, "That's not a very masculine comparison." "Oh, no, you were just bouncing around and having fun."

Yes. Yes, I was. In a masculine way. (I got 939 on the boxing glove machine. Rawr.)

Now the post that made me see the light of day with this 'ere blog 'n stuff? Kristen Lamb (no surprise there), Why Writers Blogging about Writing is Bad.  'Nuff said.

Having said that, I'm sure I'm not the only starving, struggling artist in the world, and maybe we can learn stuff from each other along the way. So these posts shall continue.

Openings that Annoy. There's always so much dialogue about the first 5 pages, 5 chapters, 1000 words. Heaven knows I've revised my opening paragraph (what feels like) a thousand times. I'm THIS close to posting it on here in the hopes of constructive criticism. (I suspect I need more followers to get the feedback I want.)

Why publishers reject manuscripts and what you need to do to get noticed.

At Magical Words, a guest post by L. McKenna Donovan, Sharpening Our Narrative.

There are days when I'm not sure what to write, or not able to revise what I've already written. In other projects, I tend to write freely as the thoughts come together, then go back and revise while I'm still thinking about the topic. Most of the time, that turns out well. This post by Melissa Donovan caught my eye: How Freewriting Can Help Writers Overcome Procrastination.

Livia Blackburne: Improving Creativity: The Absorb Brainset and Twenty Ways to Describe Your Characters BFF.

I had a link recently about reading your work aloud. It's something I live by - being a former DJ probably helps me find the rhythm in the words, and since I have no skill with any musical instrument (other than a sound board), I'm sure this is a developed skill. Sarah Duncan has a good post on this, Rhythm in Prose. While mentioning her, this was also an inspiring, quick read: Learning from an Olympian.

On phraseology and rewording. This post goes well with some of the posts above.

Terri Giuliano Long does a guest post on Erin Reel's blog: 7 Ways to Pick Yourself Up After a Painful Rejection. Solid advice in there.

Former-agent-now-author Nathan Bransford has a really sharp post on How to Craft Mystery in a Novel.

Agent Rachelle Gardner advises Write a Break In Novel. wherein she makes several valid points, things I've noticed in sf/f debuts.

And to end this week's linkhappygoodness on a funny note, check out this video shared by agent and query shark Janet Reid. Oh My God, Yes.

Thank me now, thank me later, or even better - share some links in the comments to inspire and compel the improvement of our craft. Cheers!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Game of Thrones. Approaching Episode 9.

Episode 8, written by George R. R. Martin, was by far the best episode yet this season. Since all of the good recaps have already been done, no need to do that here.

What? Haven't read a good recap? Check out Adam Whitehead over at The Wertzone, and his recap of episodes 7 and 8. I mostly agree.

Or you can go to Winter Is Coming, and see a list of the commercial recaps.

Oh, Ned. All that honor. This is what I like about GRRM - being good and noble gets you a bum leg and jail time. What's fantastic about the way this is portrayed is that if he was truly "doomed" - why would Varys keep visiting him?

And if you didn't like Sansa before, do her actions make her more or less sympathetic? I always thought she was an idiot, in the books and on the show.

See, I'm messing up my pretty dress and everything!

Which is to say that Sophie Turner's portrayal is excellent! Next season will give her a better chance to show off her acting chops.

Can I have more lines, please?
 Richard Madden, playing Robb Stark, finally gets more lines than Theon Greyjoy. (Once again, READ THE BOOKS). Unfortunately, the game is late, so Stark's ideology is as yet unclear, since Madden has had so little screen time.

Here again is a role that will develop better next season.

Suuure, he'll lead them into battle.
There was a lot of commentary on how Tyrion's swagger was reduced in the presence of Tywin Lannister (played by Charles Dance). I loved the hill people in all their ugly heathen glory, and Bronn continues to impress. Episode 9 promises to show this amazing juxtaposition - the dwarf who should certainly NOT be making war, going to war with his ragtag army. Again, Martin is brilliant. Without spoiling too much, I cannot wait to see how Peter Dinklage portrays Tyrion as he goes through ... hell.

But the big story last week was what Khal Drogo, (my gf has a big crush on Jason Momoa now - how to compete with that?) and his Dothraki necktie.


Moreso, the episode highlighted the resentment some of the Dothraki have with Daenerys and her increasing role as Khaleesi. Both Emilia Clarke and Momoa (and the excellent Iain Glenn) continue to make this story arc shine. There have been hints and allegations of what will come next. Oh, the witch lamblady is only there to help!

Did you just tell me to bark? You naughty Khal!

Yes I know what happens next, but I see how they've been laying groundwork all season for how this will end. There have been clues, here and there.

Aside, does anyone else find it ironic that the only functional couple on GoT is the arranged marriage that was consummated by rape? Beautiful tragedy.

Oh, there's more - but this isn't a recap.

Here's the questions to ask for Episode 9 and 10.

1) What happened to Arya? Will she get out of the city?
2) Will Catelyn Stark convince Robb to go home before he gets killed in battle? Or will he have crushing victories over the Lannisters?
3) Will Ned get out of the dungeon, and still maintain his honor? What if Sansa begs him?
4) Will critics ignore the barking of Ghost, Jon Snow's direwolf? (In the books, he's silent.) What are the implications of Benjen's horse coming back without a rider?
5) And as notable from the preview of Episode 9, what's gonna happen to the Dothraki if they are not happy with their leadership?

We've already said farewell to Robert Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Syrio Forel (maybe), and most of the Stark household. Who else will die before the season ends?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TiStF | Government Scandals

As much as I enjoy The Daily Show, I must admit that I am weary of hearing about Congressman Weiner's weiner. In last night's episode, there was a strong bit that essentially said, to paraphrase, women don't really care to see a man's junk, unless it can cook, clean, listen, provide financial security and comfort her parents. Now you know.

In Jon Stewart's defense, this is comedy gold at the end of the comedy rainbow. It's too good to ignore, and there is a year's worth of parody and satire and punchlines that will honor the idiot who tweeted his stuff to some female constituent.

Ugh, make it stop.

An interesting way to gain votes.

I was going to post video, during which I tried to come up with some clever way of saying something which hadn't been said. After all, this isn't a political blog, by any stretch of the imagination.

Which got me to thinking...

Our history as a culture is filled with government scandals. There's always a mistress, from Henry VIII to John Edwards. Where now we have CNN and Jon Stewart, even the Greeks had parodists, the Romans had cryers, and medieval times had bards.

Senator lifts his toga and flashes his stuff at a young female thespian in the alley behind the Parthenon. Did it happen? Seems very likely.

Scandal. Bloody scandal. There was even a Discovery episode about such things. Missed it? It's on DVD: Scandals of the Ancient World.

When I write, I try to not to go for those melodramatic conflicts. I like purity of intent, of action, and in my mind, that creates a more dramatic conflict, because (in theory), the reader should empathize with both sides, and in that, they must either choose a side, or sit back and see what happens.

It feels false to me when there is some melodramatic love triangle, when someone is being wicked just for the sake of doing so. To me, it's more compelling when a character is driven into temptation. "Bad" people should have serious motivations, and be well aware of the cost of being naughty.

Then, I watch the news. Pick up the newspaper. Read the headlines on my web browser. Watch a little political satire show. It stares at me, reminds me, that humans are very flawed.

I've been revising Catalyst, and there's multiple character arcs. The arc that I'm currently reworking seemed a little bland to me, so yes, I've had to go back and tighten up the older protagonist, give him a little edge to reflect his experiences. I've had to purify the younger protagonist, so that he would be a little uncomfortable as events unfold that he's never experienced.

But the other arcs seemed fine to me. More organized and coherent peoples, the conflict is more direct, and they all unite - it's pretty standard epic stuff.

Yet, here is the Universe reminding me that people are flawed. That even in Congressman Wiener's perfect life, with his new wife and his secure political position - he goes and mucks up his entire career for no apparent reason. With no sense of logic or responsibility or grace, this otherwise relatively successful man is essentially a fool.

It seems so cheap and vulgar to include this sort of failing in fiction. It's so ridiculous and cheesy. Yet, history is full of these anecdotes. Modern society can't go a week without a scandal.

What's a writer to do?

Do we imagine a world where honor and a person's truth and integrity actually means something - where two people who claim to love each other, actually do so (without either one of them enteraining offers and suggestive notions from another outside the relationship)?

Or do we reflect the decay of organized society? Men (and women) who rule counties, countries and worlds, are simply base peoples, with the same lust, greed and self-indulgent motivations of their constituency?

On the one hand, a perfect paradise is potentially very boring.

On the other, epic heroic fantasy still sells today - because when we are surrounded by war, greed, lust and government scandal, it's nice to escape into a world where people are exactly what they say they are, and that they will fight against all odds to uphold those beliefs.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Game of Thrones, Stupid-Ned-Stark meme

Link provided, courtesy of the folks over at Winter Is Coming.

I didn't do an episode review this past week. There was quite the buzz about Littlefinger's brothel scene, and I had some mixed feelings about it.

So, in anticipation of the events that will unfold tonight, I would like to share this meme with you.

More memes are here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Video: Singing Coyote Cubs

While you're watching this, I'm having a yard sale. This is far more entertaining, I assure you.

For those who wonder why Coyote is my totem, and not the ever-so-popular and much more machismo Wolf (to match my pseudonym), the answer lies not only in this video (SOO CUTE OMG), but in the BBC Series that this clip comes from, Coyote - The Ultimate Survivor.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Writing Tip Posts, June 3, 2011

Longer list this week, as I've been heavy into revisions of Catalyst, and striving to reaffirm my goals and intents. Also, just maybe, I was lazy last week. Either way, there's lots of gems within this list. Cheers!
All done? Great post on Who to Query First?

Query Shark Janet Reid always has something helpful.
- How to Pitch
- How to Format an Email Query
- Yea, this.
Or maybe you're on the other end of that journey? What's a Newbie Novelist to Do?

Some very insightful posts at Magical Words recently.
- Beginnings, by Lucienne Diver
- What Else Does Your Character Want, by Edmund Schubert
- The Opening Chapter, by Diana Pharoah Francis

Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner reposted several good columns from her archives this week, amongst them Story vs Craft and What's the Story on Backstory?

Speaking of backstory, Do Flashbacks Make Your Butt Look Big? (Excellent analysis in this post, Ms. Blackburne.)

Kristen Lamb: Scene Antagonists - The Making of a Hero.

Hannah Moskowitz: How to Write a Negative Review. (I should have read this long ago, huh?)

Everyone likes numbered lists, right?

Non-fiction writers - Seven Tough Questions for Useful Proposals.
3 Signs You're Renovating a Condemned Novel
3 Things that Screenwriting Taught Me
8 Badass Books that were Rejected by Publishers
T.S. Welti offers 10 Ways to Improve Your (Re)Writing.

On rewriting, Scott Eagan debates whether or not to invest in a huge rewriting project.

One of my biggest issues in my revisions is how to handle dialects. So, I've kept this post bookmarked and keep going back to it for clarity.

Universal themes. Whether you're writing about lasers or Elves, catapults or catacombs, your work should contain A Deeply Felt Theme that will help the reader connect to your story.

Kim Wright: The Value of Reading Your Book Aloud. Something I have always done, and strongly recommend. 

If there's any helpful writing tip posts you've found recently, please share! Have a great weekend!