Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Want to read something scary?

If so, then hie thee over to James Reilly's Web site. James is the proprietor of Horrorview.com and he's crazy enough to have hired me on as revieweress there. He's also the writer of some fine horror short stories. Check it out, and writers could do worse than to read his FAQ about writing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fun with dictionaries or "Father, why do these words sound so nasty?"

Wow. A California school pulled a dictionary from its curriculum. A dictionary. Why? Because some biddy working as a volunteer found that the dictionary contained a definition for.... oral sex.

Goodness me! Those dictionaries, defining things with no regard for morality! Egads!

Ridiculous as this story is, it brought back some fine nostalgia for me. I was 11 when my parentals took me to see the movie Hair. Yes, Hair. With drugs and nudity and everything! (I bet that biddy who got the dictionary yanked from her school would call CPS on my folks if this all hadn't happened 30 years ago.)

Anyway, during the song "Sodomy" there were some words I didn't understand*. I asked my Mom what was going on. "He's saying those words to shock the girls," she said. Yes, I asked, but what do those words mean? "I'll tell you later."

Well, I knew that "I'll tell you later" was code for "I am not going to tell you". Damn the luck. Nevertheless, intrepid me consulted a dictionary when I got home to find out just what those words meant.

Bear in mind that I was 11 and this was a more innocent time. I found the words all right, but my reactions were either "I still don't get it" or "EEEWWWWW! Why would anyone want to do THAT??!!"

*For the record, the words are: sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, pederasty, and masturbation. There, I said them and I'm glad, GLAD do you hear me! Of course, this post now cannot be read in certain California schools, but so be it. I live on the edge, me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: The Valley of Gwangi

My review of the cowboys vs. dinosaurs (with awesome Ray Harryhausen animation) epic The Valley of Gwangi is up at Horrorview.

Indie bookstore links added

I'll be going to Solvang this upcoming weekend for a DIY writer's retreat (to work on my mainstream novel The Day After Yesterday).

Solvang is also home to two awesome indie bookstores - The Book Loft and Valley Books - check out the links to the right. You can rest assured I'll be paying them a visit and adding more books to my to-be-read shelves. (I read and read yet the shelves never get emptier.... no idea why that's so. It is a mystery.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fangirl, Interrupted Part Two: The Quickening

Through total happenstance (i.e., loafing around on the SomethingAwful forums) I learned that four-day passes for Comic-Con 2010 are already sold out - as of NOVEMBER! And one-day passes for Saturday are sold out and Friday is at 99%.

What fresh hell is this? Contrary to popular opinion, many of those who attend Comic-Con are respectable citizens with lives and jobs and families, who do not live in our parents' basements. In November I was thinking about repairing my roof before the rains came and feeding people at Thanksgiving. NOT about an event which, while it is tremendously fabulous, was eight flippin' months in the future.

I am annoyed. I'm a newbie at Comic-Con (have only attended 2008 and 2009) but it was loads of fun. The folks down in San Diego have got to find a better way to run a railroad.

Oh well. At least I've got the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April, Weekend of Horror in May, and a Whedon Con in November. That ought to satisfy my nerditry.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ideas for books - bring 'em on!

When people ask "where do you get ideas?" I think what they're really asking is "how do you make an idea for a story happen?"

While I think that necessity and deadlines can help give the muse a kick in the pants, it's hard to just sit down and come up with a solid idea for a story. The trick is to recognize these ideas when they happen.

For example, today a time-killing conversation turned into an idea for a novel. Few things are more exhilarating than realizing that, by God, I may have an idea for a new book! It's sort of like a cross between one of Lucy van Pelt's "That's it!!" moments and Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein screaming: "IT! COULD! WORK!"

Now, granted, an idea is just that - an idea. It still needs characters, a story, various arcs, etc. Plus this one takes place during World War 2 so I'd have to do (groan) research. And of course, not all ideas pan out (though even non-starters are worth it for the practice). Still, no matter what happens I love the "lightbulb goes on" moment and the fact that it's so random. Frustratingly, beautifully random.

Review: The Terror

My review of Dan Simmons' outstanding historical horror novel The Terror is up at Horrorview.com.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review: Wizards

My review of the animated postapocalyptic fantasy wackadoo called Wizards is up at Horrorview. File this under "Movies that were much cooler when I was fourteen..."