So what exactly did we do with our bonus year? [Read more…]
So what exactly did we do with our bonus year? [Read more…]
I purchased Skyrim, the fifth game in Bethesda’s ‘The Elder Scrolls’ series. The previous game in the series was called Oblivion. After playing Oblivion all the way through, I had no hesitation dropping $60 to pick up Skyrim.
After two years of playing this game, (only interrupted by occasional bouts of Mass Effect and Dragon Age,) and 376 hours of gameplay, I can safely say that I’ve “Finished” Skyrim. I backed up the 1,195 saved games and uninstalled the game client. Done. Moving on. [Read more…]
For a few years, I recorded and edited the podcast for the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group. I would record our monthly writers’ discussions on a Zoom H4n, then dump the sound file into Sonar, add a voiceover intro/outro (some intros were provided by fellow MNSpec authoress, Abra Staffin-Wiebe) then export to wav, import to Adobe Audition, trim the ends, convert to mp3, tag and upload.
Check out the results for yourself here: Listing of all the MNSpec Writers Group Podcasts.
Now even someone who sucks at math could tell you this process was high-maintenance. It took two to three hours of post-production for each hour of finished audio. For all of the TENS of fans who listened to the podcast.
Then I discovered Google’s “Hangouts On Air” (or #HOA ) HOA is a feature that allows you to stream a Google Hangout video chat LIVE on google plus, and auto-post to youtube.com when the chat is completed. So instead of hours of audio post-production, I figured I could switch to HOA, stream the meetup in a video hangout, which not only added the freakin’ video, but also gave our group the ability to remote-in to the writers’ group meetup, plus the presto-uploaded youtube video with all it’s sharing/commenting/analytic-tracking glory, and all with NO post-production.
Sheer. Genius. Or so I thought. [Read more…]
This is not a “Part 2” to Goblin Secrets, as some reviewers are saying. (Since William Alexander told me this himself, I’m inclined to believe him.) Ghoulish Song is a “companion” to Goblin Secrets. Both books are set in the same world at the same time. The city of Zombay, its magic, witches, Goblin-acting-troops, squidskin coats, and clockwork guards are revealed through both novels. The two books can be read in either order, and you can read either story without reading the other, but reading them both offers synergy and depth to the stories.
William Alexander’s writing is “Neil Gaiman Good” which is about the highest praise I can give to writing. The words on the page are simply a pleasure to read. Pacing never lags, and the story is fantasy with a refreshing splash of steampunk. I praised William before for balancing his fantasy with realism, and once again, he delivers. [Read more…]
A few disclaimers about this review before I get started:
With that out of the way, I can tell you it’s been a while since I’ve read real Horror like this. It was refreshing to read something that was not chilling, dark, or edgy, but actually horrifying.
If Twilight read Northwoods Deep, it would die of fright. [Read more…]
If anyone ever asked me how I got started writing, I’d tell them, “Well, I had this idea for a story, and I decided to write it.” That first part is easy. The second part, not so much. Lots of people have great ideas, but they don’t decide to…you know, like Nike says – Just Do It.
…has great ideas. For example: [Read more…]
William Alexander was initially referred to me for a panel on ‘Writing Successful Query Letters.’ I was coordinating the panel for a Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group meetup. A bit of online snooping revealed that William’s debut novel, Goblin
The story of Clockwork Angels involves the fantastic adventures of Owen Hardy, a whimsical boy working the apple orchard with his father. Nearing his seventeenth birthday, Owen strays outside the path of his ordered and ordinary life, and finds himself swept off into a battle between the forces of order and chaos. [Read more…]
Last night I
Allen Hughes directs this modern day political-crime-drama which takes place in New York City.
Lots of good acting in this film. Mark Wahlberg does a perfectly imperfect, former-detective-now-private-investigator. Russell Crowe is a great charismatic, pragmatically-evil politician. And Catherine Zeta-Jones (whose role was far too small, IMHO) walked around looking magazine-cover beautiful. I think she’s part cat, and part ice-queen.
The soundtrack by Atticus Ross was very good. Atticus Ross worked with Trent Reznor on the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack, which I also really enjoyed. Atticus’ solo scoring work on Broken City shows that he has a similar aesthetic to Trent Reznor, the same ideas about layering sounds to create textures, especially dissonant ones to enhance tension. Sometimes the soundtrack was too loud in the mix, but that’s not Atticus’ fault.
The writing itself is pretty good. Everything that happens makes sense. Realistic motivations. No leaps of faith. You won’t even be required to suspend your disbelief. The story seems very real – maybe it was a documentary?? It could very easily have happened exactly as told. And that’s the only thing I didn’t like about it. Real life is boring. And so are movie plots when everything goes just as you think it will. There were no real surprises in Broken City, no major twists.
The only plot twists are the differences between the movie trailer and the movie itself. The movie trailer leads you to believe several things that DO NOT HAPPEN in the movie. In fact, you’re better off not watching the trailer, so you don’t come to the film with preconceived notions about the plot.
You might guess the ending of the movie after the first five minutes. The only reason to see the middle of the film would be to find out how they get there from here. Ice-queen-cat lovers will be disappointed at Catherine Zeta-Jones minute role. But the acting/writing/score are all good, which makes Broken City a solid film experience, especially for fans of political dramas crossed with The Rockford Files.
The first thing that caught my attention was that Martuk… the Holy is laden with masterful descriptions that manage to capture the emotional experiences of characters and places. Writers should read Martuk… the Holy for a primer on how to write luscious, vivid descriptions that don’t rely on a boring list of analytical details. [Read more…]