Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hell freezes over

I plan to post some more reviews of the stories in the Lucky or Unlucky Anthology. I'm somewhat later than I planned in getting to them. But I will.

In the interim, I just had to post this.

Yes, Hell has frozen over. It's Hell, Michigan, and this image is now on Hell's Facebook page.

It's been a crazy winter already. Just before Christmas, we lost power for three days due to the ice storm that blanketed the whole region. And since then, we've been hearing frost quakes. I'd never heard of a frost quake, not until this year. Now, I've been startled by quite a few. The sharp crack sounds like the house is splitting.

We've just gotten through a polar vortex, we have more snow than usual, and today it's supposed to go well above freezing. So, I guess flooding is next.

I wonder when the locusts are due to arrive.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Anthology Announcement: Lucky or Unlucky? 13 Stories of Fate

It's been a while since I've been back to the blog. December is well, December.

I'm pleased to announce my story, "Getting Lucky," in the "Lucky or Unlucky" anthology.

It's available at Amazon and Smashwords, and reviews can be posted at GoodReads.

I enjoyed reading all the contributions, but I think my favorite is "Fold" by Charlotte Ashley. The fast-paced, fun story is an inventive take on the number thirteeen.

You can also check out:

 Good Luck, Bad Luck, What's the Difference? 
 Tis the Season of Giving
Can you believe my luck?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More on the TV season

Maybe it's because the last few seasons have had some solid successes in the Fantasy and SF genres. I'd expected more as others learn from their example.

I've knocked more timers off my PVR now, and all, it seems, for the same reason. Everyone seems to have gone to the same school, but I'm not sure who's teaching. Whoever it is, I'd like to assure them that jumping around like a frog on a hot plate is not a good way to claim my interest. I don't pretend that my tastes are universal, or even in the majority, but I can say that no one in my family had any objection to saying goodbye to several new shows.

The "Witches of East End" was our latest casualty. After watching the first episode jump around between sisters, friends of sisters, mother of sisters, sister of mother, and other incarnations of both mother and sisters, I paused to see just how long the episode was. When I discovered I was only twenty-five minutes in, less than halfway, I deleted it. Then I took out the timer.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The new TV season has started

Every fall, my PVR is kept busy recording the season's new shows. And every year, after the first episode or so, most of those timers are deleted.

It appears that Sleepy Hollow will be the first casualty of this season. It's a shame--I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, the plot is like swiss cheese and the pace of the first episode could only be described as frenetic.

The result came across as disjointed, with too many characters and subplots, and no time to get more than a drive-by past any of them. We found parts of it hilarious, but not in a good way.

I love that TV has finally discovered the world of spec fiction and is exploiting it for all it's worth. But I wish they'd learn the lessons taught by the successful productions. The lower echelon has been siphoned off into the world of reality shows. The rest of us want intelligent, well-written plots with strong characters, rich back story and depth in the presentation. We don't want stuff chucked at us as if it was on steroids. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Finally broke down - and watched The Hobbit

I procrastinated, I put if off, I told myself I'd wait until the DVD was out. And then I put it off a little longer.

Why? Because I'd heard not-so-positive reviews. And while I take such things with a grain of salt--I want to form my own opinions--it wasn't encouraging news.

The remember the first time I read The Hobbit. I was a child, maybe eight or nine. I'm not sure of my exact age. But I do remember that I loved it. It quickly became one of my favorite books. In fact, it took me about a year before I could get into Lord of the Rings. Initially, I was disappointed, because it wasn't about Bilbo.

When I heard that they'd turned the Hobbit into three movies, I hoped they'd done similar things as they had with the extended versions of LOTR, which I find less choppier than the shorter versions.

My daughter suggested there would be a lot of epic walking.

Well, I guess someone else was concerned about that. It looked to me like they tried to address the problem, but didn't really understand their audience.

They did some things really well. Where they expanded on existing back story, it worked.

And for the most part, they handled the dwarfs with taste and dignity, making them characters, not caricatures. But then they failed to capitalize on what they'd built.

They had a great opportunity to explore these characters, to make us really care about Bilbo and his new friends. Instead, we got too much unsupported action, with an unnecessary villain, a fight between mountains inserted where it really didn't make sense, and endless scenes of CGI-fueled conflict.

It was as if someone had taken one of those dreadful, car-chase-and-blow-everything-up movies, and transported it to a fantasy setting.

I was disappointed, enough that I don't know if I'll even bother with the next installment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The World Didn't End - But all is not lost!

If you're already missing the heady thrill of having the world come to an end, the bad news is, it's just the beginning of another Mayan age.

The good news is, you can get your fix for free.  My friend Nila White has released her first anthology, The End--Visions of Apocalypse.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Writing Prompts Consolidated

For convenience, I've consolidated last year's writing prompts into two lists. 

Here is the first one.  Merry Christmas!

  1. Your heroine is exhausted.  On top of her demanding job, she’s juggling the additional demands of three overexcited children.  She’s been up to midnight many nights in a row, finishing costumes, making cookies for bake sales, fielding the demands of relatives, planning holiday menus, and wrapping gifts.  Now, with only a few days to go to Christmas, she’s running a fever.  It’s time to resort to desperate measures.  She pulls out the small vial her grandmother gave her, of fairy dust.  Her grandmothers’ last words were, “It’s powerful stuff, dear.  Use it only in great need, and only one grain at a time.”  Your heroine opens the lid, and sneezes … 
  1. Your hero has met the girl of his dreams.  This will be their first Christmas together.  He wants to impress her, but he doesn’t have a lot of money.  He’s been through the malls and the specialty stores, but nothing has caught his eye.  And then, a small fellow with a white beard, wearing a green felt suit, offers him … 
  1. Your heroine, a busy professional, has decided to make her life easier by hiring a buyer to handle her Christmas list.  She goes to the meeting prepared with all the information she thinks the buyer will need-- ages, sizes, genders, hobbies, and interests, for her family and friends.  The buyer doesn’t even look at the information.  All she wants is a photograph of each of the intended recipients.  Your heroine is shocked when …
  1. Your hero walks to the door.  He has a bottle of wine in one hand, and some gifts in the other.  His friends have invited him to share their celebration, but no one answers his knock.  He tries the door and finds it open.  Inside, the oven is still on, and pots are boiling over, but no one is around.  Something has spilled on the kitchen floor, something brown and syrupy.  There are tracks in it.  They look like the prints of a giant bird claw …
  1. Your heroine is a solitary soul, with no close friends or family.  Christmas is a difficult time for her.  For many years now, she’s spent the holiday alone.  She owns a family heirloom, a large snow globe.  It’s so big she needs both hands to lift it.  There’s a whole village inside that globe.  When the sun goes down on Christmas eve, something magical happens.  Then, and only then, she can enter the world of the snow globe, where she can stay for twenty-four hours.  This year …
  1. Your hero is single.  He has a good job, but lives on the other side of the country from his family.  For the past several years, he’s flown home for Christmas.  This year, he decided to take the train instead.  He’s enjoying the trip.  It seems like a civilized way to travel.  He’s relaxed, with a drink in hand, and he’s enjoying the scenery.  The train enters a long tunnel.  It seems to go on, and on.  When the train finally comes out into the light ...
  1. It’s Christmas eve, and on the rooftop, there arose such a clatter, your hero sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.  He put on his boots and a coat, and he ran outside into the snow.  What he finds is supernatural, but it isn’t a jolly, old elf with a sleigh …