Saturday, February 3, 2018

February 2018 Misdeeds In Action

Deadlines are coming up for various writing projects.

No more distractions.

The next blog entry I post will proclaim a story finished.

I swear it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Dragons on the Wind of Morning, RIP Ursula Le Guin

What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?
-- Ursula K. Le Guin

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.
-- Le Guin

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
-- from The Dispossessed

And now I need to read The Dispossessed.

I read her Wizard of Earthsea back in 8th grade.

I read Lathe of Heaven back in high school, maybe 11th grade.

I read Left Hand of Darkness in college, can't recall the year though.

I should have read more of her works.

Granted, I was content with reading Douglas Adams, and Frank Herbert, distracted by some groundbreaking writing in comic books during the 1990s and all.

But Le Guin was groundbreaking in her own way. Feminist but not overtly militant, philosophical - a Taoist - but not preachy, insightful in every way.

She passed away just now. A bright light in fantasy and science fiction lost to us. There are other lights, other voices, but hers was brighter than most and our world now diminished.

“I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.”
-- The Farthest Shore

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Resolutions

I keep kicking myself to do these things.

1) Get that damn novel finished from NaNoWriMo. I have four still in the works right now! /headdesk I *should* focus on the most current one, because there are emotional and personal needs to do so.

2) Start and submit a short story submission for this: Shhh... Murder anthology published by Dark House Books. Deadline is February 28th.

3) Exercise more. My diet's only going to do so much as I'm cutting back on my food intake from the holiday months.

4) Clean up that ghost girl story I have, make the changes my beta-reader suggested to improve an ending I think is hurting its submission chances.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Witty's Year End Book Review 2017

For 2017, there were fewer books read than usual, but I did try to keep up with current works and refreshed memories.

Some of the rules to note: the works listed may not be new this year, but are ones I've read this year or re-read as a refresher of sorts. Thing is, you should be able to find them in your local library or at least online as an ebook for purchase. The links are to the Goodreads website where you can track your reading library for sharing with friends. That said, this is what damaged my remaining brains cells folks.

Best Fiction

Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi

A new Space Opera series by acclaimed author Scalzi (Redshirts), Empire goes into the ramifications of a change in an interstellar hyperspace system called the Flow that allowed Humanity to spread across the stars. Without it, the human empire of Interdependency falls back to sub-light travel, and entire worlds relying on the FTL trade could die.
Scalzi does an incredible job of world-building in this one, delving into how the politics of a far-reaching empire could work and how fragile such organizations would be. Dark humor abounds, and Scalzi clearly leaves a cliffhanger not because one is required in a series but because the very nature of the novel's crisis can't be resolved so easily.
One of the complaints people have is "what series can I get into" if they're looking at something that's already got 12-to-20 volumes in play. This is brand new in 2017, and now is the time to get into it.

Best Non-Fiction

We Were Eight Years In Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Long-time fan of TNC and third-level member of the Horde, so I'm always reading his stuff. Here, Coates follows up Between the World and Me by examining the shift in American politics from the potential of the Obama years to its dark mirror version of trumpland, where an unqualified failed businessman still convinced enough racist and angry white voters into the highest office in the land (well, that and Russian collusion, but that's on my other blog).
As important a read on the current state of American values, and the horrible track record of racism that haunts us, if you're not reading Eight Years you are ignoring your own nation's perilous end.

Best Graphic Novel (or Ongoing Series)

Mister Miracle, Tom King and Mitch Gerads

Originally part of Jack Kirby's epic Fourth World saga, Mister Miracle had retained a place in the DC Universe by positioning the main character - a New God capable of escaping ANY trap - as a standard hero-with-a-cape. Tom King's reworking of Scott Free, however, steps away from the standard Cape narrative by repositioning Free in the space opera struggle of GOOD VS EVIL between New Genesis heroes vs. Darkseid and the dread armies of Apokolips.
In this reboot of sorts, the war has taken a nasty turn: Orion succeeds in killing Darkseid (!) and Free is charged in the death of New Genesis' leader (and Scott's neglectful father) Highfather. Both worlds spiral further into war, with Free coming to terms with his role in that war and trying to figure out how he can escape his fate in it. Mixed in to all of this are early signs that Scott Free tried "the ultimate escape" of suicide... with the sneaking suspicion that the entire plot may be a Mind Screw trap of Darkseid's to trick Scott Free into revealing what he knows of the Anti-Life Equation...
What makes this series work is the no-holds-barred beatdown King delivers to the existing Kirby mythos, deconstructing most of what we know of that 'Verse and making us question just how noble the good guys are compared to the unsettling horrors of the likes of Granny Goodness. It's not a series for kids, given the level of violence, adult themes, and profanity. I'm not sure a lot of adults would feel up to reading something this disturbing either. It all depends on King's endgame of the series...

Best Work By Someone I Email, Tweet, or Chat With on a Regular Basis

And by that I mean someone who actually writes back!

Do you know how geeked I was Diane Duane replies to my Twitter?

Spock's World, Diane Duane

This one's been out a long time - 1989! - but of the Expanded Universe novels this one carries major importance to a lot of Star Trek fans. Delving into the history of Vulcan - one of the key planets of the Federation, and humanity's staunchest ally in the galaxy - Duane writes of a world on the brink of voting itself out of that Federation, driven by long-suppressed anger that the Vulcan's philosophy of Logic can no longer contain. Mixed in with flashback chapters of how the Vulcan race survived a harsh desert world - explaining many of Spock's physic and physical powers on the show and movies - are chapters covering the efforts of the crew of the Enterprise - Kirk, McCoy, and Spock who would be ruined if Vulcan did secede - to figure out who is driving the secession movement and how to save the Federation from rending in two.
What makes Duane's work here a must-read is not just her well-paced plot even as it juggles between past and present but also how it fits into both canonical and fan-based works (she reportedly based a lot of the material on the Vulcan-Romulan schism from a fan work called Kraith). Well, canonical pre-movie reboots and ST:Ent series. She draws out how a race could form a philosophy on Logic... and then deconstructs it by showing Logic can't solve everything and that "controlling emotions" can only mask some very deep hurts.
She also writes with a humorous bent, especially when she has her personal novel characters like K's't'lk - a giant glass spider - get involved in Vulcan's secession debate. The way she proves her argument with an arrogant Vulcan academic ("Tenured", McCoy quips) is both logical AND funny as hell ("Get all Zen with me..."). Any and all of Duane's Star Trek novels are must-reads: But this is where you should start first.

I didn't get much else successfully picked up by anthologies or magazines for print, so this year is a washout on that front.

Maybe next year... Maybe...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

NaNoWriMo Winner 2017

So I crossed the finish line to 50,000 words.

But the Invading Earth stuff I've written is a complete mess and nowhere near finished.

I NEED for once in my life to finish a damn novel. So this isn't over.

Finish the chapters. Edit the mess. Find a cover artist. Get 'er published.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Survived the Clermont Comic Con... Mostly Because It's Not a Walk-A-Thon Up Them Hills

Have you ever BEEN to Clermont? You know, you can live a long time in Florida and get used to the idea of everything being flat or at least hilly, but by GOD you go to Clermont and all of a sudden you're dealing in VALLEYS AND MOUNTAINS EVERYWHERE! If you had to bike from place to place your heart would give out by the ninth block, I SWEAR...

Anyhoo, here are some photos of my Sunday excursion to the Clermont Performing Arts Center for their annual Comic Con:

The Pikachu Car made it to Clermont! And was able to drive up those damn mountains!

There's Scott trying to keep things organized. Met Scott through City of Heroes and a couple of events he hosted at a comic book store he once owned in Clermont. If you wanna keep up with his antics, check out Florida Geek Scene!

Here's me getting set up at my table! Remembered the book display this time!

Getting all set up for the day!

Getting the cosplayers walking by my table! I am trying to time the photos so that the Clermont Comic Con logo will be on that screen.

There was a film crew working on a documentary at this convention.

WONDER WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! P.S. Justice League is a good movie. Way better than the shoddy Batman v Superman.

Battle of the Planets! Sadly, no Voltron cosplayers!

The table next to me was selling vintage Star Wars action figures and toys.

OMG. There is a classic Chewie action figure WITH BOWCASTER RIFLE.

Yes. I bought it.

Another closeup of the display table, because...


And hey, huge shoutout to John Crowther and his family as they were at the convention promoting their Rochelle series as well as their wrestling comic books.

So all in all, it was a good day.

One last thing: I need to try and show just how mountainous Clermont is.

Happy Turkey Pagan Sacrifice Day to ye all!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

CON TIME: Clermont Comic Con 2017!

I shall be hawking my wares THIS SUNDAY November 19th at the Clermont FL Performing Arts Center!

Follow the link here for address, hours, and tickets!

I will attempt to do some NaNo Writing while there!