Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love and Revolution

I've got to crow a bit about a new first for me. I started a story two days ago and finished it this morning in a creative rush that surprised me a bit. It's called "Love and Revolution" and it's sitting at 4600 words. The final target is five thousand and I'm sure when I put the final bits of flesh on the bones of it I'll have something worthwhile. It's got a different sort of hero than I usually write but he's been kicking around inside me for a while now. Other than the general idea, this story went from inspiration to completion in less that 60 hours. I think that's a record for me but since I wasn't particularly keeping track, I'm not sure. Anyhow, it's fun to chalk up a victory now and then.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Shortest Short Story

I ran across this some time ago but have been thinking more about it lately. Ernest Hemingway is credited with writing the shortest short story ever, with just six words to sum it all up. It's an amazing piece, and legend has it that he wrote it simply to win a bar bet. Interestingly, not only is it the shortest short story, it's also the saddest.

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

North! Or Be Eaten

For this month's CSFF tour, we're highlighting the book North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson. It's part of a series of books called The Wingfeather Saga and you should check them both out. Since I've noticed most people have a distinct aversion to being eaten, the book promises to be thrilling and chilling. Find someone in the target YA audience and get them this book.

Here's the rest of the tour:
Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
April Erwin
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve and Andrew
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rage Done Right

Rape, murder, treachery, incest, cannibalism, blood... Ah, those wacky Greeks. Last night I took Wife Number One and Only to see Electra by the Seattle Shakespeare Company. It's part of their expanded season that includes a classical play by someone other than The Bard. Seattle Shakes continues to impress, racking up another winner here that you really should go see.

There were many highlights which all combined to produce one pretty intense experience. Doors open, walk through a vestibule to get to the theatre, and there in an alcove of plain white sits Electra with her back to us watching black and white home movies of her father playing with them as children. Eerie, soulful, and introductory of the mood we're about to be immersed in, the small room is like a padded cell and Electra wears simple white clothing, not bright and gay but dingy and worn.

The stage is grey and harsh, starkly lit by cheap bare bulbs. It's then that you notice a lack of color and vibrancy anywhere. When Darragh Kennan enters as Orestes you again see that everyone is in grey and white. As the story unfolds, you start to realize that color is being saved until the end. And with a play like this, you know the color will be red.

It isn't long before Marya Sea Kaminski as Electra reaches out and grabs you with mourning that seems so raw, you feel you shouldn't be looking at it. Her performance then turns into the rage of a daughter bereft of her father and forced to live with the killers. She surges into a screaming, spittle flying rage that continues to crash into you like an angry sea pounding at a rocky shore.

Add to that the emotional performance of Susannah Millonzi as Chrysothemis, Electra's sister. She plays the part as a simple woman, trodden down and abused yet still hanging on to a thread of innocent cheer like a beaten puppy. She provides the single most emotional moment of the evening when told that the beloved brother she's been waiting for to return has actually died. She begins screaming out "No! No! No! No! NO!" while stamping her feet and trying not to believe it. It's the kind of moment that reaches inside you and pulls tears out of places you don't like to visit.

Then we reach the part of the play where a lot of red is seen. Electra's murdering mother dies backstage at the hands (and axe) of Orestes. Orestes and his accomplice return center stage smeared with so much blood it's dripping off them. A little later the body is revealed and the blood was poured all over the very nice actress who played a very mean mother. But of course we know: Too much is never enough. The murdering new husband shows up and is taken backstage to be axed. Blood begins flowing down the previously white curtain behind the doorway and Electra's revenge is complete.

This show, my friends, is rage done right.

The Maybey Story

A couple of years ago I started a story called "Claws From the Grave of Delta Maybey." Other than a vague idea of setting, probably inspired by the lonely and dark Halloween night around me, I had no idea what to do with it. Well, since I'm between writing projects at the moment I decided to read it over and see what I could make of it. I still like the mood and writing style that I developed and I've added a few hundred more words to it. A full idea has coalesced in my mind and although it smacks of a deal with the devil story, which by all accounts is overdone, I think I can turn it into something that will be cool to read. Also, it should end up being shorter than my latest projects, which tend to become novella in size. It is a departure from the sword and sorcery I had settled into over the last five years or so and that is a good thing. While I am fond of saying 'too much is never enough', the reality is that I know I need to expand a bit. Staying still means you're going backward.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thunder Canyon Misses the Top Spot

Well, fourteenth place in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll isn't bad, considering it's my first appearance there and all. Of course, with all the tied vote tallies it's more like 23rd or something but as we all know: it's nice just to be nominated.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avatar: Something For Everyone To Hate

It's amazing who's lining up to criticize this movie, which is shaping up to be the best movie everybody hates. We've heard about the left calling it racist and the right calling it anti-capitalism and anti-military. Anti-smoking groups decry one of the characters for lighting up. Now the Vatican says it leads people towards pagan nature worship. All I've got to say is, since I'm going to see it for a second time (in IMAX3D baby!) next week, if everybody can find something to hate in your movie... you must be doing something right.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Vote For Pedro

No, actually you should be voting for me in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. "Thunder Canyon" has been nominated for Best SF&F Short Story, along with a whole bunch of other stories that while equally great are not equally deserving. If you are so inclined, go to the proper website and scroll down for a little while until you find "Thunder Canyon." Click on it and fill out your info in the actually completely harmless boxes. Then remember to answer the confirmation email, which is the last you will ever receive on the matter, and I will thank you for it.