Saturday, February 28, 2015

Videos I'm Repeating Because They Are THAT Good

[ETA: I scheduled this video two weeks ago. Then Mr. Nimoy died yesterday around 8:40 am PST. I thought about taking it down and substituting something else, but last night I decided not to. While he was the cerebral Mr. Spock to all of us, he was also Paris the Great. The director of the hilarious Three Men and a Baby. An incredible photographer. A loving husband, father and grandfather. Someone who had a hell of a lot of fun in his life. And that last part is the reason I'm leaving this video on the blog schedule.

Thank you, Leonard Nimoy. We'll always remember you so you'll always be immortal.]

Bruno Mars' The Lazy Song with the immortal Leonard Nimoy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Taking Risks

Yesterday, the incredible Kris Rusch talked about becoming the indispensable writer. A writer becomes indispensable when she's learning new things, improving her writing, and not doing the same story over and over again.

In other words, she can't become boring.

Generally, what makes a writing boring is fear. She's afraid to take chances for fear that her readers won't like the new thing she is creating. She's afraid to try new methods of publishing for fear that her readers won't follow her. She's afraid to write something in a different genre for fear it won't sell.

In other words, she's a afraid of failure.

I totally get that fear. I'm feeling it in spades right now.

I've commissioned new covers for the Bloodlines series. Even though Elaina delivered the first one this week and it's beautiful, I'm worried that I'm changing the image for Blood Magick too much.

I've commissioned new interior design and formatting for the series as well for both e-book and print. Logically, it made sense to hire Jaye because she's faster and does a much better job than me. It is taking me forever to learn to properly design a print book. But I'm scared of giving up control.

I've entered into a contract to co-author a new series. I love the ideas Laura and I have come up with, but I'm frightened of disappointing Laura. Frightened that the final product won't be as she envisioned it. Worried that my other works won't measure up and it's obvious that I'm riding on someone else's coattails, especially if the 888-555-HERO project is successful.

Despite that rampant fear, I need to plunge ahead. If I don't, I'll regret it. If not for the rest of my life, at least for the few decades of cognizance I have left.

And maybe that's the worst fear of all right now. What happens when people say, "Yeah, that Suzan Harden used to write some good books. I wonder whatever happened to her."

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm Slipping When It Comes to the Oscars

Oscar Night is a big deal at our house.

Okay, I make it a big deal. The movies I root for, the gowns I drool over, and the food I make. This year's menu was fairly simple--nachos and chocolate cherry butter cookies.

Normally, I see at least fifty per cent of the movies nominated. My best year was 1998 when I saw every nominated movie except for the foreign films, half the shorts, and two of the full-length documentaries. That was the year Shakespeare in Love won, a popular, financial and critical success. (We won't discuss the pink princess fantasy frock Gwenyth Paltrow wore to the Oscars when she won Best Actress for that same film.)

This year I saw only four of the nominated films--Maleficent, Interstellar, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and...

The Legos Movie. There's a reason I haven't reviewed it.

And there goes that damn song in my head again.

"Everything is AWESOME..."

One of the movies I'd really wanted to see this year was Birdman. I love Michael Keaton (and have since the days of Nightshift), and his insane sense humor while playing a washed-up actor noted for his superhero blockbusters hit me as something I would love.

Unfortunately, Birdman was released right in the middle of The Move. By the time I caught a breather at Thanksgiving, it had been ditched by West Bumfuck's tiny Cineplex in favor of crazy chicks leading revolutions and penguins.

So even though I haven't seen it yet, I was happy Birdman got a lot of Academy nominations. I was a little surprised about the nomination for Best Picture since I'd heard it is a rather black look at how Hollywood culture chews up actors. I was shocked that it won Best Director and Best Picture.

This Friday, I plan on heading over to Family Video and renting Birdman.

Yes, West Bumfuck is that far behind the times. We have not one, but six video rental stores thriving in our glorious metropolis!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The History of Superheroes

A History Channel special that tells the history of the modern superhero comics. I've been watching a lot of analysis as Xxxxx and I write.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blogging in the Writer World

It's pretty obvious I wasn't blogging last week. I blame it on the drugs. And the heating pad wiring could have possibly fried my brain stem.

You see, my back went into major spasms last Sunday. I mean, major. As in DH had to help me up from my recliner in order to go to the bathroom. I finally started to feel better on Wednesday only to be hit with a stomach bug. Nothing feels as good as worshipping the porcelain god with a really sore back.

Just to make it clear, that last sentence was sarcasm.

So we come around to this week, and I'm really far behind. I haven't written anything in a week, nor have I published anything in nearly a year. I owe files to my formatter and cover suggestions to my cover artist. I need to write the next chapter in my collaboration project, only to realize we are WAY off track from our original intent. E-mails flashed back and forth on what to scrap and what to keep and how the hell do we get back on the road to meet our deadline.

Basically, I'm sinking in quicksand, and it's going up my nose. Of course, the stress triggers an unbelievable bout of insomnia Monday night/Tuesday morning. Rather than toss and turn, I come out to the living room and focus on my favorite mind clearing exercise--writing my blog.

I get my very late Monday movie review done. Still not sleepy. So I start poking through my old reading blog list.

It's freakin' amazing how many people I used to follow religiously have stopped blogging. Or now on other platforms. Or have simply disappeared from the internet.

Or in two very sad cases are no longer with us on this plane of existence.

A lot of bloggers were agents and editors. I poked through their most recent posts. In some cases, the old arrogance is still there, but in most, it's gone--either replaced with bitterness or turning to new methods to seduce writers into their clutches searching for ways to provide more value to writers.

Others were writers. Most haven't given up writing, but realized blogging was not their thing.

A few were little things that interested me, like archeology or cooking.

I guess blogging is like all things in life. Each blog has its own natural life span. However, Wild, Wicked & Wacky hasn't finished pissing off enough people yet.

Just like me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Monday Movie Mania (A Day Late) - Jupiter Ascending

Tired of the snow and ice and cold, the family went to see Jupiter Ascending on Sunday. It had a decent premise, terrific actors, and an incredible writing/directing team. Yet, we all agreed on the ride home that it fell flat. As DH said, the Wachowskis tried to stuff too much story into two-hour movie.

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Jupiter Ascending has beautiful photography and a lush feel, but it does very little to present the true horror of the story--that humans are being harvested similar to the Wachowskis greatest movie, The Matrix. Only this time is worse; they are being harvested by other humans. I don't mind someone rehashing a plot point from a previous work, but they did nothing to make this version interesting or terrible or, well, anything.

Several other plot points made absolutely no sense. There's no real reason for Jupiter to use an alias to sell her eggs, other than to use the tired joke that she was an illegal alien. Except she wasn't an true outer space alien either. And there never a reason given of why her cousin would sell her out to this questionable clinic either, other than an excuse for other members of the family to smack up him upside the head.

The legal issues concerning who owns Earth could have been handled better. Jupiter ended up with the planet because of a trust. If Jupiter dies, who gets Earth? One of her extra-terrestrial relatives already murdered his mom to get his inheritance, so there's really nothing stopping him from killing Jupiter and inheriting Earth. Jupiter's naivete concerning intergalactic protocols was the only thing that made sense as far as her character goes.

If Caine was part human/part canine, why does he have wings in the end? And if his character is an albino, why is Channing Tatum so deliciously tan?

Also, the reasoning for Caine and Stinger's betrayal of each other could have been filled out a little more. Then there is Stinger's daughter who appears in one scene, but is never seen again. What the hell was her purpose?

The only really interesting character was Capt. Tsing of the Aegis (a sort of quasi-military police force). A little more explaining of the relationship between the royal family and the Aegis would have been nice, but Capt. Tsing seemed to be the only character with a clear purpose--protect Jupiter from other members of the royal family.

This is one of those movies that could have so much more. It makes me sad to give it such a poor rating.

Final decision--2 out of 10 stars

Saturday, February 14, 2015

NSFW - Oh My God! Ancient People Liked Sex!

Yes, ancient people liked sex. And they like dirty cartoons. But the best part of this documentary is the really BAD innuendos by the History Channel writers. LOL

Friday, February 13, 2015

Everyone's Journey Is Different

Between getting a chapter to my writing partner, working with the new formatter and cover artist for the Bloodlines series, one nasty-ass back spasm, and the stomach flu over the last two weeks, posting on the blog has been the last thing on my mind.

Ironic, isn't it? Especially since I normally use this blog to unclutter my mind.

Over the last couple of days when I could think beyond the pain and its killers, I've read a lot of personal stories from other writers. Then came the comments from others that put down the journeys of their fellow writers.

I find it sad that the commenters feel the need to disparage those who tell of their journeys. So many of us are just starting on the path. Many more are much farther down the road. Some of us branch off on the side roads. But I'm finding there's a lot of ego involved if writers are not in lockstep with each other.

At one point this week, I speculated privately on whether an experienced writer was performing a certain act in order to stay motivated. Whether or not s/he was actually doing this act in order to stay motivated is totally irrelevant. However, I offended a friend who knows this writer personally. Insulting my friend or the writer in question was not my intent. To me, the question was could this act help motivate my friend. By drawing the parallel, I failed to point out a possible path that might work for my friend, and I accidentally came across as criticizing the experienced author.

Does this mean I shouldn't talk about other writers? I don't think so. However, I will be more mindful of my words in the future.

The only writer's process I can truly and truthfully comment on is my own. I write this blog to document my journey. I've made some missteps. I've learned some things. I've taken paths that in the end were not right for me.

If you're new to the writing/publishing industry, this blog is not a blueprint for success and riches. Hopefully, you'll read this and avoid the major pits I fell into. Or you'll figure out that what I'm doing isn't right for you, and you need to find another road.

If you're an experienced author and you're reading this, my choices are not a reflection of yours. Different paths taken have nothing to do with "right" or "wrong". My questions are not a judgment either. Most of the time, I really don't understand why a writer did what they did, and I try to work it out in my head by writing a post.

The last thing I want is for all of us to do the exact same thing. That's my gripe as a reader. All the books coming out of trad publishing began to be the exact same thing. It's boring. It's tedious. It's why I started writing my own stories.

What it comes down to is storytelling is art. When any art is in lockstep with other art, it defeats the purpose of all art. Vive La Difference!

Saturday, February 7, 2015