Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie My rating: 4 of 5 stars A confounding, challenging book that leaves impactful philosophical impressions! This book is so many things: a weird odd-couple story that crosses the planes, a tale of the immigrant experience in England, and a fable about surrender to religion versus a rigorous adherence to secular science. I found the narrative to be lovely, especially the description of Jahilia's marketplaces, the sounds, smells, all those bright images. Rushdie is working on multiple layers. Jahilia is also the state of ignorance of divine guidance, and it is here that the character Mahound (who is based on Muhammad) is tested. This depiction is one of the largest sources of controversy to this novel, which is supposedly sacrilegious, though it is actually not an attack on Islam or even religion at all. It's a story about life's experiences, and how our perception of the essence of life changes as we change. Throughout the story, we

2016 Mood In Images

George R. R. Martin in Guadalajara

Follow the story wherever it leads.

How Long Do Novels Take? An Infograph


Finish This Sentence: "I was really surprised to find out..."

“I was really surprised to find out…” The author’s sleepy words dribbled off into a mumble.  His wife’s eyes widened. Why couldn’t he be like other men that enjoy football games, movies, and maybe even come to bed at night? Instead he types like a maniac until the no longer wee hours, drinks coffee until four in the morning, and listens to Symphonie Fantastique again and again, his eyes growing a little wider each time the head rolls. She sighed and handed him another cup of inky java. “You asked me to read your last revision… What is this, number twelve now? It’s the last one, right? I don’t understand why you say you are surprised. I’ve been telling you for weeks. Your one-legged elf, the Saci-Pererê , runs away from crosses and leaves a sulfur smell behind, but he’s not the same as the Devil.” “I am just simplifying the folklore for readers who don’t understand the customs.” “It’s incorrect though. Saci-Pererê is from the children’s literature. It’s kinda cute.

Secrets of Barrington Hall - Update

Kyle made this delicious cover for me. I love the art, but not so much the layout. Maybe it should just be called Barrington Hall? Secrets sounds sinister but maybe potential readers will think it's a romance. Needs more blood. I'm going to rewrite it in December from the first person perspective (Bartholomew's) as an experiment to see what I can leach out of his warped mind. It's only 85000 words long, so it won't take long. /s

How Areas of Physics All Relate in One Picture

Big version you can read easier.

Salut Salon - La Dispute

A very different take on Vivaldi. :-)

Goodbye Poem

Adiós, ciao, au revoir Adeus, hamba kahle, Hwyl fawr Adieu, namaste, shalom A salaam alaikum Adéu, peace out, addio Hasta luego, até logo Slán go fóill, Viso gero Paalam, hüvasti, Αντίο Bon voyage, totsiens, hyvästi Aloha, Arrivederci Salve, hiragana, zàijiàn auf Wiedersehen UND...  auf Wiederemailen Bon voyage, vale, deuces Chalky blokes, I’m bout to dip Ta Ta, muthafuckas I’m out Mama Gabrielle, Alaina, Ally, Donna, and Justin: Thanks for sharing all your stories. I really enjoyed this time together. You can email me from the blog if you want to meet up and you can't find me through the wc system. :-)

Uncrossing the Stars

I remember one sunny day in September, sitting on the corner of Dwight and Telegraph, strumming my guitar absent-mindedly—what song is this again?—my myopic eyes in constant scanning patterns, searching crowds, reminiscent of the night before, when I found and lost and found you again. Remember I gave you that American Beauty that my friend plucked from the Cosmic Splat? I still smell its sweet petals somehow. And then we spent the night in a forest of eucalyptus by a running stream and caught the first rays of sunshine in each other’s faces. Yes? But then you left. I remember watching you go, feeling doom settle into my marrow, regretting that I somehow played my stoic card too well, frightened that indifference leaked in with that borrowed Dylan line: we’ll meet again on the Avenue. What do you do, though, when you’re young and your heart is paved with scar tissue? Loving hard hurts. And so I bent strings and searched, but the day was fading, and I needed money, so out ca

Nanowrimo Winner Status

Yeah, I'm proud! LOL. This novel was pretty tough at first, but once I recovered from the election, the need to rise above intensified. I forced myself to ask why I was making such difficult choices and commitment, when I am willing to let external events affect me. Bad as this year has been for America, the World, and all of us, the message needs to be grind harder and make the things real that we an. Once I thought of the sacrifices I had already made in committing to doing the book, I found the energy to go forward and bring Lyza to the end of her story arc. I did need to do a ton of last minute research about geology and it's probably not 100% perfect, but hey... it works well enough. I'm under no illusions. It's not really done. It's just a first draft, but the story is there and "just" is an enormous understatement. WOW!!!

Home Stretch Now

Looks About Right

Moving to the Climax Now

I have a lot of revision to do. This is truly an "ugly first draft", but the story is coming together as I write. Three more chapters to go, plus two intermission segments, altogether about 17000-20000 words, which can certainly be done in the 10 days remaining at this pace. This will indeed need a lot of work later though.

Lyza Is Really Turning the Corner - Keep Going, Girl - Bring This Home

I think I've really turned the corner on this one. I cannot write it fast enough. It very simply flows and I just have to write it down. Character led, just like it's supposed to be, and it's filling an enormous void in my fantasy world. A history is being created. I'm very happy about this development.

One Sign = Right On!

I love this image. The tables have been flipped. Where are the real Americans? Right here: This is what his mother Brisa Pinho told the Huffington Post: “The wall I speak of in the sign is figurative. [It’s] a wall of hate, racism, and xenophobia that if built in the years ahead, will be torn down by my son and his generation.”

Lyza Lives!!!

Only two days behind now! :-) Tomorrow Lyza leaves Vilory on her great adventure. By contrast, last year (when I also fell behind) I caught up on Day 14: I predict that I will not have difficulty hitting 50,000 words anymore, but I will have a hard time finishing the book in 50,000 words. It's an odd book, but I'm still only a third of the way through, and half the month is gone.

Progress Report - Lyza Still Lives (but was on life support)

Today's effort definitely helped. I've a good layout for the next chapter too. I think the book is coming along pretty well, even though it isn't precisely the story I wanted to tell. For a first draft, it's not too bad.

Nanowrimo Progress

I'm making fair progress, but I had plans to be farther along. Looking forward to a few more hours tomorrow.

Short Poetry

All I Crave Heavy hungry nights of strange appetites Lurid hunts through jungles of reward. Faces painted with hope. Inked by savage tendencies, proposals of bizarre possibilities, vivid promises of hard realization.  Satisfaction somehow, somewhere, somewhen. When all I wanted, needed. Lusted, starved for Heart, Head, Loins… Soul All alongside me. Right here. Immediate in bleeding time. Those last narrow grains of sand To be caught, held close, clutched, cried upon Me, busy searching for less than what I have. You in my empty bed

The Shiny Side Stayed Up

From high in the passenger seat of a Peterbilt truck, the featureless expanse of the Great Plains stretched to the horizons. Beside me The Cisco Kid, a Canadian trucker, my ride, a lonely soul who spotted me hitchhiking in Sacramento, thumped the steering wheel, keeping time.  It was March, and Cisco — I never learned his real name — kept the cab cold and the music loud, just above the CB chatter.  “Ooh, I'm driving my life away, looking for a better way, for me”, Cisco sang in his scratchy voice. It was the hundredth time I’d heard Eddie Rabbitt’s song since my road adventure started. Behind us an 18-wheeler carried a load of concentrated juice. Cisco drove and drank sweet creamy coffee, while I smoked and told stories to keep him awake. Eddie Rabbitt was fading away, but never very far. Cisco reached for the CB and increased the squelch.  “Breaker 1-9, Westbounders on the I-80, how’s it look over your shoulder?”  “Lake Rat here. Y’all look good back that way,” a disem

Check Out This University of Saskatchewan Gender Role Reversal Project

This culture jam is a school project that was created for a Women and Gender Studies class at the University of Saskatchewan by Sarah Zelinski, Kayla Hatzel and Dylan Lambi-Raine. It begs the question about the sense of our gender representations in advertising. If they are strange for men, they must be for women too, but we are conditioned to ignore them (well, men are anyhow)

Garbled Dispatches

It’s a sunny afternoon in April 2004. Although I’ve consumed three doppios since rising at noon, I’m half-asleep when I grope for the telephone from behind three code-filled monitors — one buzzing with dangerous static. The phone’s chirped five times before I answer. “You sent a letter to my son.” It’s Jim, my oldest brother. We haven’t spoken in months. He doesn't sound drunk, just furious. The webs inside my brain lurch. “Um, yeah. I'm sending him a board game and some recordings. I'm a taper, you know.” “He forwarded me the letter. Young man, what the hell were you thinking, saying you don’t agree with the war. He puts his life on line every day to save your cowardly ass! You liberals are all the same: griping about President Bush who has the backbone to defend our country, spouting views that we’re better off without Saddam Hussein, but moaning about the only person who has guts to fight back.” I ignored his hostility. He'd had a stroke.

What’s Gone Is Gone. Next Please

Security: When I was eight, Susan, a classmate, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, and her severed fingers mailed home. I remember Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King getting shot. The Zodiac Killer haunted our region. The Vietnam War was raging. Horror was my childhood’s backdrop. My first friends: after moving to Sacramento in 1972, becoming an outsider and never fully recovering. Governmental faith: watching Watergate hearings — Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” seems quaint nowadays, doesn’t it? Invulnerability: spending six months home with osteomyelitis: a swollen arm, pulsing pain, fever, interminable blood tests, x-rays, nuclear scans, and, finally, a successful operation. I listen to doctors. All my possessions twice: one backpack stolen, another accidentally traded with a lady in the desert while hitchhiking. Almost none of her clothes fit me. Equilibrium: Ugh. My friend Stuart and I complained to the bartender about the quantity of tequila in our margaritas. I stagge

My Worst Job

How I Lost Some of My Life Once upon a time, I became a systems analyst for the now-defunct Banco Nacional. Dias, the R&D department manager, hired me, assigning me, the "resource", to a gringo-hating division manager. They asked me to validate a network system to be installed in over 400 branches, a deal worth millions, the saving grace for a company in São Paulo. Nobody explained I was supposed to rubber stamp it, or that the president's brother-in-law owned the company. The system was a mess of obsolete microcomputers with shoddy networking capabilities. I broke the code in several hours, but writing the report was difficult. My savvy partner-in-crime, Ronaldo Pinto, helped with translation so the board could understand my hacking. To prove the system’s weakness, I transferred representative funds from and back into my personal account without creating transactions, but with documentation showing different balances. This is a bank’s nightmare scen

Be Amazing

A Science Version of "Just Do It"

Stop Annoying Characters BEFORE They Creep Into Your Writing!

Annoying Things Characters Do That We Don't Want To Read About!

Feeling Small? Feeling Big? It's All A Matter of Perspective

JK Rowling is a Plotter

Adverb Hating Tonic

So adverbs get a lot of hate, especially the -ly ones, and worse than any, the ones on dialogue tags. A lot of good modern writers, Stephen King, James Patterson, and Brandon Sanderson among them, have argued against wide use of adverbs. Here are some dissenting opinions (and better advice): Adverbs Are Not The Enemy - Bad Writing Is The Enemy. The Avoid Adverbs Rule Is Very Wrong In short, any word that is the wrong word should be avoided. Every word matters. And you can make the argument that instead of using a weak verb and an adverb as a 'booster', it's better to use a strong verb that conveys meaning more succinctly. Better Verbs - But Don't Use Substitutes For Said Or Stephen King Will Send "IT" After You SO,  Just use the right word: Who am I to argue against luminaries like King, Patterson, and Sanderson? Nobody, but I don't need to. They use adverbs in their books too, sometimes even on dialogue tags; and, s

James Patterson Writes a Ton of Novels - The Murder of Stephen King Is One Too Many

This is just crazy. James Patterson just cancelled a novel on the eve of its release. This would be a tragedy for most writers, but Patterson has some slack in his rope. It would have been his 14th book  of the year (10 have been co-written): The book's title? The Murder of Stephen King Here's the story: The promo page now brings up a 404: Why would he do that? I mean... come on. It's a lot of work to write a novel. Look how much of your life you pour into it. Do you really want to be associated with a book that inspires some Annie Wilkes to take matters into her own hand? Anyway, I found this old interview where Stephen King gives opinions about best-selling stalwarts like James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, and Dean Ko

Stephen King, John Irving, and J.K. Rowling at an event. Here are J.K. Rowling's answers.

Guest appearance by Salman Rushdie.

George R. R. Martin and Stephen King

This is like the Beatles and the Stones on the same bill.

Stephen King Advice on Creative Writing

I like a lot of what he says here, but so much of it seems atypical to my experience.

Script Abbreviations in Screen Writing

SCRIPT ABBREVIATIONS  ELS extreme long shot  MLS medium long shot  LS long shot  MS medium shot  MCU medium close-up  CU close-up  ECU extreme close-up  OS over-the-shoulder shot  2-S or 3-S two-shot or three-shot  POV point of view shot  ZI or ZO zoom in or zoom out  INT interior  EXT exterior  SOT or SOF sound on tape or sound on film BG background  SFX or F/X special effects (can be either sound or visual)  VO voice-over  OSV off-screen voice  DIS dissolve  MIC microphone  VTR videotape  Q cue (as in cue talent)  ANNCR announcer  SUPER superimposition

Remembering "Four Dead in Ohio"

Awkward Family Photo