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Showing posts from 2014

Holiday Greetings and Charities

Happy Hallow-Days, Every Body! Credit: OpenClipart.org We’re only days away from Christmas and I haven’t even got all my cards out or shopping done. (Sound familiar?) Although I do have all my decorating done, including my Haunted Holiday Mansion scene. No doubt this is the busiest time of the year and you don’t have to be Santa Claus to feel it; I’ve been feeling the stress of it all week. Some of that stress is coming from trying to choose a charity to donate to for this holiday season. I wrote to one nonprofit organisation based here in Sacramento about donating some comic books to its literacy program for kids. It’s called 916 Ink .  They have a big comic book writing workshop program there for the youth they serves. 916 Ink provides creative writing classes for these kids to help improve youth literacy. They even compile the kids’ writing into anthologies they publish and sell in which the proceeds go to the program. Well I wrote to the program and offered to do

Holiday Writing and the Interdependence of Character Building and World Building

I apologise for skipping last week’s blog post. I’ve been trying to post a minimum of once a week. But because last week was Thanksgiving it got really busy with the usual holiday stuff (including that stuff called stuffing): Family gatherings, festive meals, and long visits. I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I did, with the exception that my aunt’s black cat got into the pumpkin pie and ate a hole near the middle and down to the bottom of the pan making it into a pumpkin donut pie! And no, I don’t take that as proof that black cats are bad luck, nor is my aunt a witch (though she dressed as one at Halloween). But so what if she were? In fact, I think black cats are one of the nicest looking breeds on the planet and may adopt one myself one day. Credit: PDClipart.org I didn’t get as much writing done as I wanted to, as much as I love my parents staying over during holidays. It’s a little tougher to work on my projects when relatives are here since my flat isn’t ve

Book Themes and Fantastic Finds

How would you like this bird for Thanksgiving dinner? It will probably have you first. Photo Credit: PDClipart.org This post is going to be mostly a list of highlights of what’s been happening with me during the week, so don’t be surprised if you don’t find a unifying theme. Speaking of which . . . I just started planning my new short story collection. Unlike with a novel, which consists of one main story arc, it’s hard to plan a book of short stories if you’re basing it on several different stories that you hadn’t necessarily intend to include in a collection. I rarely write my short fiction with a theme in mind for a larger work. So, when I plan a book to include my stories in, I have to look for a common theme that runs through several of them. Besides that, I need to make sure the theme runs through enough of my stories to total a sufficient number of pages to make self-publishing the book worthwhile.  When I finally have a theme and if only a small number of stories fi

Your Best Writing: Always Intend It

Credit: PDClipart.org This past Saturday I watched one of Harlan Ellison’s videos on his YouTube channel . It’s really inspiring, so I suggest you take a look at it. As always, he has a lot of interesting things to say, including about how his birthday falls on the same day as actor Christopher Lee’s, his Warholian Daffy Duck tee shirt (I have a Batman Warholian one), and authors intending their best work when they write. This last one really inspired me because he talks about how writers will take on jobs they don’t like but will perform their best work anyway. During my entire writing career, I’ve never hated any of my writing jobs (so far at least) even if I didn’t prefer them to other projects. I like to write in general, and so even if I’m not writing fiction, my favourite form, I still love the very act of composing words no matter what the project is. Because of that, I’ll intend to do my best work. I’ll do this at all levels of the writing process, even the rough (or

New Science Fiction Con and NaNoWriMo Alternative

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons I’ve been getting ready to attend a new science fiction convention that debuts here in Sacramento Sunday 9 November, as well as looking to some alternatives to National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. The new con is Quantum Con   and will specialise in Doctor Who but will feature other science fiction too. It’s headed by a CSU Sacramento student who is putting it on as part of her project for her Recreation degree .   This just shows you how much more sci fi and pop culture in general are becoming subjects of academia! I meant to print up some more book marks for Fool’s Illusion to take to Quantum Con but the last couple of days have been very busy with writing projects including one for a client that was kind of last minute. I was also busy with my recent Examiner.com article on hard science fiction movies in light of Interstellar which just released Friday. Plus the Office Depot store where I normally get them printed

Halloween Flash Fiction Fright Day

As I said, here's a Halloween treat of terror just for you! It's the short horror story I was talking about in yesterday's post . As I also said, it was especially written for tweens and young adults but I think grown adults may enjoy it too. Let me know what you think of it in the box below. Take scare and Happy Halloween! The Boos Brothers By Steven Rose, Jr. Photo credit: PDClipart.org Jerry thought it would be neat to steal one of the silky cloth ghosts or cardboard decorations that hung in the old Victorian mansion’s porch each Halloween. All of them were more real looking than ones he and Roy had seen in any store. This included size. Some of the figures were taller than Jerry who was five-foot-seven-inches. That was pretty tall for an 11 year old boy.  Jerry wanted to scare Melissa Collins and her friends with one of the figures from the porch when the girls would trick-or-treat later that night. Both he and Roy hated Melissa and her frien

Special Halloween Ghost Post

A tin jack-o'-lantern the blogger bought at a thrift store and put up in his living room. This mini pumpkin was made and hand-painted by an unknown Indian artist. Photo Credit: Steven Rose, Jr. Tomorrow is my favourite day of the year as a fantasist and so I have been extra busy preparing. I meant to do several blog posts leading up to the holiday but got so busy with other projects and even non-writing duties that I decided it would be best to write one big Halloween post. That includes Day of the Dead which is 2 November. Halloween Horror Fiction I’m Writing For this Halloween, I’ve been revising a short horror story fitting for the season. I actually wrote it last year about this time but it was too close to the holiday so I didn’t bother revising it until just this month. It’s a juvenile story. I say “juvenile” rather than young adult in this case because I’m trying to target it at a tween audience as well a teen one. Yet I’m hoping it can be enjoyed by a

Last Standing Bookstore in Woodland

Credit: Openclipart.org I hadn’t been to Woodland’s last remaining bookstore, JerryCloutier’s Used Books , for a good two years at least, but finally went a couple Saturdays ago. I‘ve been looking for a couple of books that I was hoping to find used. Cloutier’s is a typical book lover’s (such as myself) paradise: old, dimly lit, and piled with books everywhere that are too many to fit the rows of bookcases. Some are piled as high as a person’s waist, and ones that are stacked on top of their cases nearly touch the ceiling.  Not only do the piles and cases together create a labyrinth but also an effect that, when you first walk into the store, makes the main isle appear to stretch further than it really does. When you walk down this isle looking at the section signs on the sides of the shelves, before you know it you’re at the end. I know the owners, a 60-something couple, who are very nice and look like they could’ve been hippies in their younger days. The husband wasn

First Bookstore Appearance of ‘Fool’s Illusion’ and Ebook Price to Increase

Photo Credit: Openclipart.org The Fool’s Illusion has finally made its appearance in its first brick-and-mortar bookstore! I delivered two copies to The Avid Reader in Davis Wednesday afternoon to be sold on consignment. Why purchase books (not just mine but in general) at a brick-and-mortar store when you can simply do that at online stores such as Amazon? With online shopping you don’t have to leave your seat in front of your computer or you can shop from anywhere using your mobile device. But, more than any online bookstore, independently owned brick-and-mortar bookstores bring their local communities together and promote those communities’ authors. The money that goes into the community business revenue keeps the local bookstore in business which is a meeting place for both authors and readers alike who can discuss their favorite books in a real time and space setting. The locally owned bookstore is a kind of literary town hall that gives the com

Book Giveaway for ‘The Fool’s’ First Year Anniversary

I can’t believe it will have already been one year this Monday, September 22 nd , since the publishing of The Fool’s Illusion ! Although the self-publishing process felt like it took several years. I was new to self-publishing when I started FI on its journey to publication two years ago and so knew very little about what was coming up after each step or two of the process. When I thought I had come to the final destination, it turned out that I had several more miles to go. For example, once I finished the book cover, I didn’t realise until after that I couldn’t just submit my manuscript to Amazon’s Create Space so they could format it for print. I had to format it myself. Fortunately, by that time, Create Space offered their free print format template and so I didn’t have to worry about taking measurements or setting tabs. However, because of relatively slight compatibility issues between my version of Word and the template’s, I still had to grope my way through the darkness of

Science fiction Art for 'The Assassin'

I didn’t finish the science fiction art for “ The Assassin ”   in time for when I posted the story early last month. If you haven’t read it yet, you should check it out. It’s still up and, of course, it’s free! I’m just now posting the illustration here this evening. I’m not replacing it for the clip art (which is not mine) I provided the story with because it isn’t really complete to serve as an illustration. In other words, I screwed up on it. And here's how: This pen and ink drawing for “The Assassin” is supposed to be of a laser gun in semi atom age/space age, 1950s style. This style is what we now call atom punk for newer work based on the sci fi of that period (roughly the 1950s through mid ‘60s, but it’s often debatable). Most of this subgenre of science fiction is based on the idea of an alternative history (also referred to as "alternative timeline") which my story involves. To learn more about this far out subgenre, check out author Philip Ree

Book Review: Across the Universe

Of course,  The Fool's Illusion  isn't the only speculative fiction book that centres around the theme of deceit. Author Beth Revis's Across the Universe  is set on a star ship that seems to run on lies and therefore illusions some of which are very literal. I recently finished reading this YA novel which was part of my summer reading . My review of it is below. Is it a book you would consider putting on your own reading list? Feel free to provide your answer in the box below.   Photo Credit: Razorbill/Penguin Book's Title:  Across the Universe Author: Beth Revis Series: Across the Universe Trilogy Volume: Book 1 (of 3) Year of Publication: 2011 Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin With young adult science fiction  rising in popularity, especially since The Hunger Games craze, Beth Revis’s Across the Universe carries on this trend. Part space opera, part murder mystery, it’s the first book of a trilogy. Even so, it holds up good as its

At Trash Film Orgy's Carnival of the Dead

I attended the Trash Film Orgy's first Carnival of the Dead this Saturday and it was a blast! For those of you who don't know what Trash Film Orgy is, TFO is a production studio that makes both their own B-rated sci fi and horror movies as well as holds screenings of classic B-rated flicks by other production companies. That night was TFO's scream screening of George A. Romero's  Dawn of the Dead  held at the Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento. The movie was preceded by a zombie walk through the vicinity and their Carnival of the Dead at Roosevelt Park before that. I got to meet several great people there, dead and alive (okay, they were  dressed as dead, as in the living dead) and I took pictures of some people who were in some really groovy ghoulie costumes, including the Sac City Roller girls who are a women's roller derby team and who I had the pleasure to met for the first time.Check out the photos below! Kind of resembles a cross between Uncle Fes

Hot Summer Reading

We are officially one week into summer, even though in some parts of the nation, here in Sacramento, California included, the season’s sizzling weather had already begun weeks ago. And like those ancient societies that centered their actions around the seasons and made festivals to please their deities, summer, as with the other seasons, is a time to make plans and goals. One of these for me is in the form of a reading list. Summer provides most of us extra time to catch up on those books that we said we would read, passionately wanted to read but didn’t because we didn’t get around to it. It’s also a time of new book releases, which are equivalent to the flickers’ summer movie releases. This is the time to plan a list of what we would like to read on the pool deck, on a long trip or at the local AC’d café or library on those dragon breath weather days when we just don’t want to go out yet don’t want to pile up on the energy bill running the air conditioner in our houses. Here’s my su