Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Fanatics, Fools, Santas and Devils

Warning:  This post may contain content considered obscene/objectionable by some viewers. Photo Credit: Danny Hennesy/Kristian Svensson/Wikimedia Commons  I ran into a bunch of teens from a church while I was walking back to my house from town late this afternoon and they gave me an invitation card to their play. It turned out to be from a fundamentalist church. I get along with fundamentalist Christians as much as Jews got along with Samaritans in Jesus's time. You can't blame the kids, though; they're just going along with what their parents believe. But in the words of the British butler Cruikshank from 1966's Munster, Go Home! , I said as I tossed the invitation in the garbage as soon as I got in the house, "Adolescent, swine!" Only I replaced "adolesecent" with "fundamentalist". Man, I hate religious fanatics telling me what to believe and how. There's just no room in this horror writer's life for religious fan

Rain Men, Gibsonian Constructs, and Books on a Rainy December Night

Warning: This post may contain content considered obscene by some viewers. Sorry for ditching the blog for the last three weeks. The holidays really keep a person busy as I'm sure most of you know. Hopefully that won't be the case anymore until Christmas, but even then I'll try to post each weekend through the end of the year. A beautiful rainy Saturday, and I don't say it with sarcasm because I love the rain at this time of the year. For those of you used to white Christmases, I can't say I love the snow at this time of year since we don't get any here in Sacramento (except for Grass Valley maybe or somewhere around there, but I'm not even sure if they get that much snow).  So what do we Sacramentans do during this time of year when people elsewhere are making snow men? Simple. We make rain men. Don't ask me how, we just do it. Okay, so we don't make rain men (or rain women); at least nobody I know does.  Nevertheless, it's more the hol

Titling Stories and Pages

I've been working on a Facebook page that will be devoted to my fiction, articles and the artwork relating to the two. An example of this last one is my cover illustration for my book of short stories , which I'm still working on slowly but surely. There have  been so many other writing projects that I've had to take care of as higher priorties due to financial reasons. Posting content on one's own FB page isn't a problem. A problem is selecting a title and user name for the page. I was jotting down possible names for at least an hour last night trying to figure out which would best represent the page and its host. Strangely, I don't have that problem titling stories whether fiction or non fiction. Maybe I know my stories better than I know myself. And they say space is the final frontier! Ha! I sometimes think it's we humans ourselves that are. Just look at what we've invented and created in technology and art since the dawn of time and at what we'

Hallow-day Decorating

Since this is Halloween, I thought I would post some photos of my Hallow-day decorating that I  finished just this past Saturday (partly the reason this post is so late) in and outside the house. I especially dead- icated the day to working on the Disney Haunted Mansion scene. So I hope you enjoy the photos. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments coffin below. (Sorry, this photo that would normally be here has been moved for reasons of copyright.)  Disney Haunted Mansion scene with just a few members of the Jack Skellington gang (including Dr. Finklestein's labouratory skull).   My own work.    In case you can't read the guy's jacket on the right: He is a teenage vampire ("Eye am a Teenage Vampire"). Yes, an image of an (evil) eye is used to substitute "I".   . . . and again, but perhaps only with just a little less tape showing.  Until next time . . . and . . . Happy Halloween, every bod

On "The Walking Dead"

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons  There's a lot of hype right now about AMC's "The Walking Dead". As much as I like zombies, I saw my very first episode only today, believe it or not, which was the first episode of the new season. You can watch it right now here but I suggest you do it now since it's only streaming on AMC's website for a limited time and that could be until midnight tonight for all we know. So if you do, come back here after it's done and let me know what you think in the comments box. As for myself, it really didn't impress me. Now I won't get cocky about it thinking I know the whole series because I've only seen one episode. When I saw it I didn't see much difference in "Night of the Living Dead", the mother of all zombie movies as we know them today. Nor did it seem much different than any of the "Living Dead" knock offs. Okay, it's post-apocalyptic, which almost all of today's zombie

Book Marks and Pop Art

Photo Credit: SacGeeks.com  I said two weeks ago that I would have more about my book and Disneyland last weekend. I apologise for missing last weekend. It was a really crazy Saturday last weekend. I tried making it out to Sacramento's annual horror convention but the bus route I was supposed to take was held back by road construction that they just had to pick do at that time (or close enough to it). And this week's been busy because I've found myself having to take on more writing projects than most other times. A little about my book though: I'm in the process of colouring the cover illustration. I had meant to make some book marks based on it to distribute at last week's con but wasn't able to get past the designing of it on the computer. I'm only a modest computer geek, so it takes me some time to figure out the software to do these things. I plan to have the book marks done before next weekend though because that's when I need them for ano

Back from the Fairy Land

Okay, I lied. I had said I would return to posting two weeks ago (or was it more?) and haven't until now. It's been a very busy couple of weeks. I've been getting promotional materials ready for The Fool's Illusion and will be even busier yet this upcoming week doing that. If you keep checking back here each weekend you may get a free book mark of my new collection of short fiction! Besides working on promotions for my collection, I took a trip to the far out "fairy land", Disneyland to put it more popularly. I went to both amusement parks on the Disney Resort in Anaheim--the original Disneyland, and Disney's California Adventure--with my parents, brother and his family and had a blast! So I was away from my quarters for a week and just got back earlier this evening. I'll tell you more about it later. If you're in the Sacramento area, next weekend is Sacramento's annual horror convention, Miss Misery's Days of Terror , at the Scottish

All About Next Week . . . and Some Week

Been very busy this week and exhausted so I'm not posting much this time.  I'll be back next week with more, possibly with a movie review. I saw, for the first time, The Avengers today (Saturday)! As you may have known, it re-released on the big screen for the Labor Day weekend. So if you haven't seen it yet and you like super heroes, especially Marvel's, I strongly suggest you see it.  I'm not sure how much longer it's going to play on the big screen (probably not much longer). So if I have a review next week it will most likely be on that. If I don't have a review next week . . . well, I'll have a review some week for sure but will definitely have something really neat for you here at the Fantastic Site next week!  You can follow me at https://twitter.com/Starosep2  if you like.  I get on there at least once or twice a week. Sometimes more. I also put a couple of share buttons in the right-hand column here, so you can't say it's too inconven

Tarzan: 100 Years

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons     I thought I was going to have an article at Examiner.com on the Centennial of Tarzan about a week from this Monday. It’s actually going to be a little earlier than that. Even though the downtown library in Sacramento originally scheduled the centennial event for Labor Day weekend they moved it to this weekend instead. This was apparently due to a recent decision to close the library for the entire Labor Day weekend due to lack of funds and so having to furlough the staff for that weekend.   Well, at least it gives the library staff a weekend off which they definitely deserve (aside from not being paid). Where would this country be without our public librarians and their supporting staff? Literacy would be a much more elitist activity, now wouldn’t it? So maybe library work isn’t laborious work (at least not for the librarians) but it’s still a lot of work with a lot of complications and they don’t get praised or appreciated enough for it,

On Atom Punk

1958 paperback edition of a Ray Cummings sci fi novel Photo Credit: Amazon/Ace Books  There's been a heat wave here in the Sacramento valley for the last two days. It reached 104 degrees today is what I understand. I know that's nothing compared to other regions in the nation and throughout the world, but if you're a native of this part (like me) you would think the sun is moving closer to the earth at rapid speed! Kind of like in the 1951 movie When Worlds Collide. Which brings me to my discussion here. For the past week I've been working on a new short story of mine that's supposed to be an atom punk story. A lot of you probably don't know what atom punk is. It's just another -punkism of science fiction that derived from cyberpunk like steam punk did, only instead of cyber futures and alternative steam powered futures, it deals with alternative futures based on the 1950s/'60s anticipation of future society. Examples would be similar to w

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Well, here's that "Special Edition" post I said I would have for you last time: my review of  The Dark Knight Rises. See, I always keep my word. It may be delayed a little bit, but I keep it.  Photo Credit: IMDB.com/Warner Bros.  Finally we’ve come to an end of another Batman saga of movies. Supposedly. The movie does play in such a way that sets up the possibility of a fourth film. But even if no fourth film comes along, The Dark Knight Rises still does a great job of concluding director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.   Dark Knight Rises carries on well its consistent realism of the previous two movies. Two elements it does this best with is the plot and characterization. Bruce Wayne has been hiding out since his friend’s, District Attorney Harvey Dent’s, death eight years ago which is the time lapse in setting since the events of the previous film.   Feeling guilty about Dent’s death, Wayne has abandoned both his role as socialite and

On Book Covers and World-building

I said last week I would have a review of The Dark Knight Rises by this weekend. I was actually in the middle of writing it, but got a little worn out. I haven't really been feeling my greatest today. I have that feeling of a head cold but we're smack in the middle of summer and so I'm going to be a little stubborn and say that it can't be a cold though colds can come up at this time of year. So I'm just assuming it's alergies. For this reason, I'm keeping this post short but will have the review for you by early next week, hopefully Monday. I know, it's not my usual time to post but we can call that one a "Special Edition". I'm working out a bunch of technical elements with my cover for my book of short fiction and so haven't really been working on the illustration (the final sketch itself) lately. I'm shooting for next week to start work on that. There's so many implications that come with creating one's own book cover

Saturday of Batman, Bane and Olympic Scary, Fairy Tale Dreams

(Photo removed for reasons of copyright.) Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons  I just got back from seeing The Dark Knight Rises . It was awesome! I'll admit that I liked the first and second of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy better, especially when I prefer the Joker much more over Bane since he's Batman's arch enemy and the most grotesquely psychotic of the Batman villains. Even so, out of all three of the movies, I like Batman Begins (the first in the trilogy) best simply because I'm one that believe's no sequel or remake can beat it's original (with very few exceptions). But Dark Knight Rises was good. It went further into Bruce Wayne's character and his interaction with the other characters, including Alfred the butler, Salina Kyle/the Cat Woman, and Commissioner Gordon. And Bane's character was chilling especially with that mouth mask that he wears which looks like a pair of an alien monster's jaws but is really an oxygen mask

'The Dark Knight' to Blame for the Aurora Shootings?

As we all know, the premiere night (early Friday morning) of  The Dark Knight Rises  really was a dark night for an auditorium of movie viewers in Aurora, Colorado. My sympathies go out to the victims, including the wounded, and their families of the attack. Many headlines have been indicating the shootings as movie fantasy having become horrid reality. Sadly, those headlines are true. Along with this, there have been fears of people wanting to blame movies with violence such as "Dark Knight Rises" for these killings. But the majority of media hasn't even been likening the gunman to the star character of Christopher Nolan's third and supposedly final installment of his Batman movie series.The media's been likening the shooter to the Joker of the previous film. Batman has never even used a gun, perhaps save once or twice in all his crime fighting career. He has been known to prefer fighting without fire arms. Batman is a symbol of justice, though in a very grim w

Friday the Thirteenth and 'War of the Worlds'

Photo Credit: Thayne Multimedia Productions/Wikimedia Commons It looks like a lot of you liked my final concept sketch for my book cover. Thanks, all of you who left me those great compliments/Facebook Likes. Now that I've finished the final concept sketch, my next step is to make the final drawing, complete in full colour and detail. I really want to get this book out and available to you. There may even be a contest where you can win a free book cover promotion poster for The Fool's Illusion ! So stay tuned! If you're in the Sacramento area, then I suggest you take a look at my " This Weekend " schedule of sci fi/fantasy events going on in the area this weekend of the 13th to the 15th.  Speaking about the 13th, "Are you superstitious" as Stevie Wonder sings in his famous song? I'm not superstitious, but this past Friday the 13th wasn't a very good day for me. And 13 is my lucky number! (Yeah, right. I just said I'm not superstitiou

Completed Concept Sketch for "Fool's Illusion" Book Cover

Here's my final concept sketch of the cover illustration for The Fool's Illusion with the lettering. Thanks to those people who gave me their feedback so far, much of it very positive (including Facebook likes). Feel free to give me feedback on this finished version in the comments box below. Again, never mind the Linux Penguin in the background, that's Larry Ewing's that accidently got in there. (Please see last week's post .) I'm aware of the title coming too close to the right edge. I will center it correctly on the final drawing, of course. I may move the byline (my name) closer to the title since it appears to be too isolated from it. Because the title looks to be drowned out a little by the illustration, I may enlarge it or may move it closer to the illustration. Again, please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments box. Please include any of your own personal suggestions you may have. It doesn't mean I'll use them, but I would

Concept Sketch for "Fool's Illusion" Book Cover

Here's my concept sketch for my upcoming fiction collection, The Fool's Illusion , that I promised you centuries ago. It's only the illustration itself; I have not put the lettering in yet. I plan to have the lettering in by next weekend. You can see the title in its font, "Twisted Roman", by itself by clicking here . Let me know what you think of the illustration (or the font, or both) by leaving your comments in the comments box. Until next time . . . The Fool/magician will be coloured black and white (especially his costume) and the background will be solid black. I'm trying to give the surreal effect of a magic show (gone wrong?) performing in an eternal black space. The spotlights are to be the only signs of grounding (if any). The black background will be included behind the title and author's byline once the two are put in there. Never mind the penguin in the upper right hand corner. That's Larry Ewing's that got in there by mistake

A Eulogy to My Maternal Grandmother

(Photo removed for reasons of copyright.) A Mexican Tree of Life Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Alejandro Linares Garcia   June has been a month of deaths not just among great authors such as Ray Bradbury, but even in my own family. My grandmother on my mom's side passed away later during the week I posted my last article here. She was 89. It was sad but it was expected since she had been slowing down a lot for the last year and was bed ridden since the beginning of the year. So it has been a very busy last couple of weeks for me with the planning and contributing to the funerary events. That's why I have been off the blog for the last couple weeks. (By the way, that's why I decided to write this entry this evening, Monday, instead of my usual scheduled day of late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. I didn't want to go much longer than two weeks without posting. I don't like leaving my readers hanging in mid air.) What did Ray Bradbury and my

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury: A Very Sad Loss to Science Fiction/Fantasy

Photo Credit: Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons  It's been a sad week for many of us sci fi/fantasy fans since one of the greatest writers ever in the two genres passed away this past Tuesday--Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury was one of the first science fiction writers who I seriously read. The very first novel by him that I purchased and read was The Martian Chronicles when I was a senior in high school. From then on I was hooked. I've read and collected nearly all his books of fiction and although I haven't read as much of his nonfiction books, the few that I did are totally awsome! Other fiction of his that I've read have been, Fahrenheit 451 , the second book that I read, and The Toynbee Convector which I bought the summer immediately after my high school graduation and just before I entered my freshman year of college. Later I collected and read The October Country , a collection of his dark fiction, his dark fantasy novel Something Wicked This Way Comes , The Illu

This Is Not A Chainsaw

This is not a chainsaw. Can you turn it on? Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Pearson Scott Foresman I was going to post a concept sketch of the cover illustration for my upcoming fiction collection, The Fool's Illusion , but had to look for a chainsaw online. No, I haven't taken up woodwork. Actually, I was only looking for an image of a chainsaw to sketch from because one of the characters on the cover is supposed to use one.  He hasn't taken up woodwork either.  I write horror, as many of you probably already know and so that should tell you enough what the character on the cover is using the chainsaw for. For now, anyway. You'll see the rest when I post the concept sketch next week and after I've mastered the art of drawing chainsaws within the art of drawing period. Researching the details of a chainsaw for a story illustration reminded me of Stephen King's advice that he gives in his book, On Writing : research for a story is back story in which

What Makes Star Wars So Different From Other Space Epics?

(Photo removed due to copyright reasons.) Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Sorry about not checking in for the last two or three weeks.  There's been so much going on such as my parents visiting from Fresno and work at my day job. But I'm back on track so expect a post each week again. Not only was this past Friday Geek Pride Day but it was also Towel Day for the ones who know Douglass Adams' satirical series of novels, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. On top of that, it was the 35th anniversary of the first Star Wars film, A New Hope . Strangely enough to some, the movie wasn't even given that secondary title until several years later. I'll always know it as just Star Wars, though; it's just so '70s that way. I guess you can blame that one on my era-centricity as I like to call it. Or better yet, my '70s geekism.  Anyway, Friday was a day that many Adams' fans wore towels. I wore one off and on (with my clothes on, that

How a Mexican Geek Celebrates Cinco de Mayo on a Free Comic Book Day

     (Photo removed for copyright reasons.) Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons This hasn’t been the best Cinco de Mayo or Free Comic Book Day for me.   I was supposed to attend a mini comic con at Empire Comics Vault in Sacramento but had to cancel all because a stupid glitch in the ATM at the bank in Woodland of No Return held me back.   So I drove over to the comic book store in Davis, Bizarro World, which is a lot closer to where I live. But I wasn’t able to get there until late in the afternoon so when I asked the owner, a really nice guy, if he had any free comics left he said he didn’t. That was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was a good thing because it drew a lot of people to read comic books who don’t often read them.   It was a bad thing in that some people didn’t get free comic books and yours truly was one of them. Actually, I didn’t even care that much. If I cared that much about the free comics I wouldn’t have planned to take an hour’s bus commute to Empi

A Little More About Zombies . . .

Last time I talked a little about zombies. Well, this time I'm going to talk a little about zombies again, and I do mean only a little. Just a while ago I finally opened up my S.L.U.G. Zombie that I bought at Wal-greens a few weeks back. S.L.U.G. Zombies is a series of plastic zombie figures by Jakks Pacific in which each has a name and comes in a "Mystery Pack". So far there are eight different figures. The one I got was Brain Eatin' Brandon. I have a couple photos of it on my voodoo doll Pin terest board: one I call a "Teenage Zombie from Outer Space" and so depicted with a "flying saucer" and the other depicted standing next to its coffin. I'm starting a small zombie figure collection, kind of inevitably. I'll try to provide photos or links to them of the other figures like I have this evening next time. I'll also try to have at least a concept sketch of the book cover illustration to my short fiction collection that will be rele

The Great Zombie and Vampire Invasion

I hope you all got a chance to read my interview with Jeani Rector at Examiner .com.  It's a two part article where she talks about her career as both horror writer and editor of the online literary publication, The Horror Zine.  If you haven't had a chance to read it, please do so.  She's a really interesting woman with a lot of great insight and tips on writing horror and other areas of the dark fiction genre. In that interview, Jeani advises aspiring writers to stay away from the zombie and vampire trends Perhaps they are just a little over used in horror. However, they've always played a big role in dark fiction especially in film but vampires have played more of a role in literature than zombies.  But zombies are appearing more in today's literature.  As far as vampires go, the peak in their popularity is due to the Twilight books and films (the books being much too over rated since they are said to be poorly written) having been so successful in sales. Becau

Horror Hostess of Dark Literature

Horror author and editor, Jeani Rector Photo Credit: Jeani Rector Sorry I missed you people last week. I was a little more busy than usual it being the Easter weekend and all that. Unfortunately I haven't gotten a chance to finish my cover for my short story collection. I'm just barely getting to the final concept sketch. I'll probably post that here by next week if I haven't finished the final product yet. I have parts  one and  two of an interview out at Examiner.com with a really neat author from my home area of Sacramento, California. Her name is Jeani Rector. She writes horror and is the editor of an online horror fiction magazine, The Horror Zine .  The zine is world known and contains stories by both new and established writers.  And it's all for free! Therefore no subscription required. I like to think of Ms. Rector as the "Elvira" of horror literature. The only difference between Jeani and Elvira other than the media they specializ

Poll Results and Sneak Peek of "The Fool's Illusion"

Warning:  This post may contain content or links to content considered to be obscene by some viewers. Hello, everybody! At the poll for the lettering style for my upcoming short fiction collection, The Fool's Illusion , it looks like "Twisted Roman" won by 4 to 0 votes!  So "Twisted Roman" style it will be for the title on the cover.  "Twisted Roman" style lettering for The Fool's Illusion book cover title Thank you all for voting.  It helps me determine which will be the more efficient lettering style for you readers and lovers of books out there.  I don't want to just make myself happy with massive sales, but I want to make you readers (and you know who you are) happy with your reading experience and that includes the cover of the book when and if (which I hope many of you will!) you select my book to purchase.  Do you want an idea of what my book will cover (e.g. themes, genres and subgenres)?  Then the links below may inter