When Do You Dump a Bad Book?

They say breaking up is hard to do, and I know I’ve suffered many a bad relationship with books and movies. Rarely, if ever, do I quit before I’m finished. Because of that I try to be more discerning before I dig in. What about you?

Over at book-rating site Goodreads, they did a user poll and came up with some fun data. Check it out:

1373380267-1373380267_goodreads_misc

I honestly can’t think of the last book I quit. Actually, wait, I can. It was a self-published Iraq war memoir that shall remain nameless and was a chore to read. Movies, I’m getting better at dumping. I’ll sheepishly admit the last I turned off was Zombie Strippers. I was looking for camp well done and didn’t find it.

What about you? What books or movies have you abandoned? Why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

PS — If you haven’t used Goodreads, it’s pretty useful and a fun way to find new books. I’m on there as an author, if you want to connect.

Thankful for Your Brains

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I have a lot to be Thankful for this year. Not the least of which is for you, the reader.

This website, which just celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday, has introduced me to many wonderful people: Thank you for your comments and thanks for reading. I’m equally thankful to those who read in earnest silence; the lurkers! I’m Thankful to have published my first book this year, and touched that so many of you not only spent your hard-earned money on something I wrote, but also that you enjoyed it enough to share with your friends and family. I’m thankful that people value the written word, that you appreciate when time and effort is put into writing, and I’m glad to live in a society where it’s possible to earn a living from my passion (not that I’m there yet, maybe next year, ha!).

Now, to show that I’m thankful for your brains, enjoy this ten-course zombie thanksgiving feast:

1)

http://www.underwatercitypeople.com/HappyThanksgiving.html

2)

https://www.facebook.com/zombiedatingguide

3)

http://zombieportraits.com/happy-thanksgiving-zombie-turkey/

4)

http://www.zazzle.com/a_zombie_thanksgiving_card-137540433110706408

5)

http://blingee.com/blingee/view/118668988-zombie-thanksgiving

6)

http://shewalkssoftly.com/2011/11/

7)

http://joonbug.com/newyork/scenetracker/Pre-Thanksgiving-Zombie-Walk-2011/vu5W9wOVb6R

8)

http://shewalkssoftly.com/category/art/page/13/

9)

http://popculturecrusader.blogspot.com/2011_11_01_archive.html

10)

http://peoplesrepublicofpaul.wordpress.com/tag/zombie-thanksgiving/

And, of course, I’m thankful to have gotten married this year. None of this would be possible without you, Michaela — LOVE YOU!

(Dessert)

http://www.joyboe.com/2010/10/creative-costumes-as-art-form.html
* I don’t own any of these images and therefore all art is linked to the original source. Thanks to the artists for making this a HAPPY ZOMBIE THANKSGIVING!

Perhaps a month? And I’m a little scared

As promised, here’s an update on my impending book. I’ve gotten round one of reader feedback from my betas, with Mike somehow making it through unscathed (that dude is a ZAdass–Zombie Apocalypse Badass–sorry…that’s awful) and Chris showing me the best ways to die. Seriously, Chris can be in my survival group, but he’s not making the decisions (love you, man).

What’s up now? I’m sending the manuscript out to a professional editor next week, so she can shred it apart before it rises again as an immortal hellion bent on spreading across humanity like a virus. Also, I’ve got a talented cover artist working on a custom design for me. Here’s something she did a couple of years back:

wolves

So with all this awesome news, why am I suddenly terrified?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been toiling in obscurity so long it’s all I know? It’s like all I’ve ever wanted to do is go skydiving, and now that I’m standing in the door, I keep thinking how crazy I am.

Well, ready or not, I’m making the leap — in a month, perhaps.

Book trailers

I have a friend who can’t seem to get behind the idea of a book trailer, so figured I’d put my thoughts out there and explain a bit about why I support them.

The easy answer — We live in an increasingly visual society, and a book trailer is a quick way to get people excited about books.  Take this trailer for Stephen King’s Under The Dome for example:

I don’t own the rights to this, it’s merely an illustration.

Thirty seconds, and you’ve been good and teased on the book’s premise.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, as my friend would say, we’re trying to make books more like movies, and in doing so, robbing the reader of their own imagination.  To put it bluntly: we’re catering to the illiteracy of our society.

Here’s why I disagree: I don’t see this clip as a “trailer” (as it’s billed), but as a commercial.  Why shouldn’t books get advertisements?  We can see “trailers” about housewives using laundry detergent without spoiling our own experience with the product.  Otherwise books are advertised without actually telling us anything about the book.  “Hey, a new thriller book is out.”  If you don’t know the author, how do you know you’ll be interested?

I think book reviews are an excellent tool, but only insofar as you’re relying on someone’s opinion.  With a commercial, you get a chance to see what the book is intended to be.  It’s sort of like saying, “Here’s what I want to make you feel when you read this book.  Does something like that interest you?”

So as I see it, book trailers are raising awareness.  It’s up to the filmmakers to properly raise this awareness–to tease us–without spoiling the experience.

***update***

BONUS THOUGHT: After sleeping on it, I wonder if book covers didn’t experience a similar skepticism during the transition from plain-leather-binding to printed works of art.  One could make a similar argument that cover art limits the reader’s imagination by introducing visual representations of characters and story world.  Even so, one could make the case that cover art allows a potential buyer to instantly glean an understanding of what lies within the pages, and that book trailers are merely the next technological leap in this vein.

Happy Birthday to me

Today is the day I’m ready to stop aging.  I’m 28.

Even as a kid, in all the make-believe sessions, fan-fiction writings, video games I dreamed to be bigger than they were; the hero was always 28.  Somehow 28 seemed the perfect blend of adult wisdom and youthful prowess.  The first thing I realize as a 28-year-old, however, is that the wisdom isn’t fully cemented.  At least I hope there’s more to come.  I don’t feel “old” yet, and I doubt I ever will.

I’ve survived the curse of 27, having failed to go out in a blaze of glory tragically before my time.   I guess I’ll just have to find success the hard way.  Tim O’Brien began his groundbreaking literary career at 29, so I guess that’s the next benchmark.

I was reading another author’s blog and found this quote by the owner:

I think for a lot of people, around 30 is when life starts to move, when all the blood and tears you shed in your 20s while learning and working toward your future finally start to pay off.

I hope to be amongst those ranks.  It gives me a reason to keep aging.

Oh, and happy 155th to Thomas Edison as well!

In defense of the werewolf

Another installment of “Underworld” is coming out, and I’m obligated to hope it does well.  Not as a fan of the series, but as a fan of werewolves.  Why?  Because Hollywood won’t see its success or failure as Here’s what people think about Underworld.  Instead, it will be viewed as Here’s what people think about werewolves.  So, if I want to see more lycanthropy up on screen, I must hope for the success of this film.

I’ve written a novel which will redefine the werewolf from its origins, that I’ve only begun to show to agents.  But a constant question I receive from friends, family and colleagues  is “Why werewolves?”


Werewolf Comments & Graphics
~Magickal Graphics~

Allow me to explain.

As a writer, the concept of the werewolf fascinates me.  It is man’s feral nature, bursting forth and coming to a clash with the civilized world.  In short, the werewolf is the id.  The concept is nearly limitless, and still has much room for exploration.

As a fan, the werewolf story is essentially a superhero tale.  It’s the same story as Spiderman.  Bitten by an otherworldly force, a nobody is suddenly thrust to find if they are either gifted or cursed.  It’s the story of someone who has something missing within them, suddenly being given more than they can handle.  Indeed, in one timeline of Spiderman, he even begins turning into a werespider, if you will.

Man Spider, source: cdn.obsidianport.com

The werewolf has yet to have its day.  Vampires are in vogue and idealized, but I think the comparison is an irrelevant invention of pop culture.  It’d be like if Frankenstein vs The Mummy had taken off, and now all mentions of Frankenstein’s Monster must be held up against King Tut.


Werewolf Comments & Graphics
~Magickal Graphics~

Having said that, I think I’ve written something that will do for werewolves what Anne Rice did for vampires.

I hope to share it with you soon.