Transformers 2: The Defacing

Amy and I snuck out yesterday to see Transformers 2 while the kids were at their cousins’ place.  (Please note – this was Amy’s suggestion, not mine.  Because my wife is that cool.)  Currently, the movie is getting trashed in the reviews.  21% at Rotten Tomatoes as of this morning.

But you know what?  I liked it.  It’s silly, over-the-top, with problems ranging from a cartoon plot to Prime’s face fetish, but like the first movie, that’s not the point.  You go in with low expectations, turn off your brain, and enjoy the spectacle of giant robots pounding the crap out of each other.  I thought some things worked better this time around.  It was nice to actually get some personality from Starscream.  On the other hand, sometimes Michael Bay’s idea of “personality” is problematic in the extreme.

Next up: the spoilers, including points that worked and didn’t, and a deeper look at Mudflap and Skids.

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Day in the Life

I talk about wanting to quit the day job some day and write full time.  Every once in a while I get a weekend with nothing planned, and I get to see what that might look like.  It ain’t pretty, folks.

Done so far:

  1. Wake up to a little boy crawling into the bed with us.
  2. Take care of dogs and cats.
  3. Quick home repair job, thanks to dog’s chewing habit.  Grumble.
  4. Front lawn mowed.  Back lawn procrastinated until tomorrow.
  5. Lunch for kids.  Lunchtime already?  Dang.
  6. Finally, some actual writing!  3000 more words on the final (for now) rewrite of Red Hood’s Revenge.
  7. Dinner break, courtesy of my wonderful wife — thanks, babe!
  8. Short story feedback for the writer who won my critique in the Brenda Novak diabetes auction.
  9. Start working on an interview with a tight deadline.
  10. Break to watch old Transformers episode while doing the 4-year-old’s nebulizer.

Still to come tonight:

  1. Page proofs for The Mermaid’s Madness.
  2. More work on the interview, hopefully.
  3. Read through notes on Red Hood to figure out the next chapter so I can do it all again tomorrow 🙂

Can someone please explain how 8:45 pm snuck up on me like that?  Seriously, what just happened?  Where did Saturday sneak off to?

On the bright side, I’ve got 12,000 words on Red Hood after four days.  If I keep up this pace, I should have no problem making my deadline.  On the down side, this is not my natural pace.  if I keep it up for a month, I’m likely to go a little nuts.  But I want to get a head start before we head up north on vacation.  I’ll be taking the laptop, but I doubt I’ll be doing 3000 words a day while we’re there.

Taunting the Internets

Two quick reminders first:

1. BSC Review will be giving away a set of Goblin Quest miniatures on June 29.  Enter now!  You know you want ’em.

2. I’m giving away a copy of Stepsister over at SF Novelists.


Dear Anton Strout – I seem to have sold a werejaguar story. With zombies in it (sort of). You wish you were as cool as me.

Dear John Scalzi – Cherry Coke Zero is far superior to regular old Coke Zero.

Dear Catherine Shaffer – Didn’t I ever tell you I was polycatherous?

Dear Alethea Kontis – <Dr. Drakken>You think your feet are all that, but they’re not!</Dr. Drakken>

Dear Cory Doctorow – Information does not want to be free.  Information wants to be bound, gagged, and spanked hard.

Dear Robert – Hey look, I found you some legs!

Dear Wil Wheaton – I know your secret.  I know why you keep missing Penguicon, and why Amazon still won’t ship me my copy of Just a Geek after three freaking months.  “Wil Wheaton” is just a Pixar-produced computer animation!

Dear Elizabeth Bear – Actually, never mind.  I’ve seen those climbing muscles.  You could kill me with your toes.  No taunt for you!

Dear Paul Abbamondi – Don’t think I’ve forgotten.  Your time is coming, goblin-hater!

Dear Random Person who’s feeling left out because you didn’t get a taunt – Maybe that omission is the taunt!  Ha!  Bow before my meta-taunting skills!

SF Novelists & Electronic Goblins

Today is my day at SF Novelists, where I wax not-so-eloquently on what makes a story. I also offer another free book, ’cause I like giving away books 🙂

http://www.sfnovelists.com/2009/06/24/whats-a-story/

Oh, and before I forget, it looks like Goblin Quest is going to be released in Kindle and other e-book formats on July 7.  I’m excited, since this means the entire goblin trilogy will finally be available in electronic format.

Finally, I’m told I should be getting page proofs for The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] very soon now.  Between this and the rewrite on Red Hood, blogging and e-mail might be a little light for the next few weeks.

Series vs. Standalones

Why are all the SF/F writers doing series these days?  What ever happened to the good old standalone novel?

I can’t give you a thorough answer on that one, but part of it is simple economics.  Let’s start by comparing Goblin Quest and Stepsister Scheme, and please forgive me for geeking out with math and graphs.  Nothing here is all that complex or life-changing, but I tend to obsess a bit.

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The B Team

Dear Hollywood — what do you think?

Love,
Jim

—–

In 2009 a crack fiction unit was pushed to the backlist for a crime they didn’t commit.  These characters promptly escaped from low print runs to the Internet underground.  Today, still wanted by fans, they survive as soldiers of fortune.  If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you’re really desperate, maybe you can hire the Blue Team.

Goblin Quest miniatures are from Garden Ninja studios.  Want your own set?  Check out their site for unpainted, patina-finished, or custom painted minis.  Or head over to BSC Review, where they’re giving away a free set of patina-finished goblin miniatures.

Tick figure is from a garage sale.  You’re on your own for that one.

Rape Posts & Resources

I’m angry with myself.

Years back, I posted a page on my site with articles I had written about rape, as well as a link to a resources page I put together for a local crisis center.  (The crisis center hasn’t updated the page in several years, unfortunately, so those resources are now out of date.)

Anyway, this was right about when my career as a writer started to take off.  I revamped the web page to be more businesslike and focused on my writing.  I left the resource page posted, but it was no longer linked from the main page.  Looking back, I think I was getting all caught up in being a “professional.”  I was worried that including rape resources would take away from my image.

Looking back, I want to smack myself.  It’s the same sort of thing I’ve vented about: men not speaking out because it’s easier that way.  Because we’re afraid of what people will think.  Afraid of alienating potential readers, maybe.  I don’t know.  All I know is that in this particular instance, I chose silence, and I’m disappointed in myself for that choice.

I’ve updated the rape page on the new site, and I’ve put the link back in the menu bar.  I’m working on adding more links and resources.  (I’m open to suggestions if you have any.)

So, yeah.  Disappointed and angry with myself.  And grateful to the reader who indirectly kicked me in the pants to do better.  Thank you — you know who you are.

Updates from Around the Writersphere

A while back I reviewed Steven Harper’s book Nightmare, the second of his Silent Empire series.  The books have been out of print for a while, so Harper is making the first book available for the Kindle as an experiment.  You can pick up Dreamers for the low price of $1.79 $1.43! (significantly cheaper than any of mine 😛 ).

Greg Wilson, a friend of mine, just had his first book come out from Five Star.  The Third Sign [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] is fairly classic epic fantasy.  As some of you know, Goblin Quest started out as a Five Star release, so I’ve got a soft spot for them.  You can read the first three chapters of Wilson’s book at his web site.

In my own ever-thrilling life, I figured out how to rotate quotes on my web site, so I’m putting up quotes from my various books and stories.  Will the excitement never end? If you’ve got a favorite line from one of my characters, please let me know and I’ll try to get it added to the rotation.

Finally, just to dispel the myth that we famous authors (ha!) get it right the first time through, here’s a glimpse of page one of Red Hood’s Revenge.  Please remember this is the second draft, marked up in preparation for the third.

Get a Real Job

It’s an interesting paradox. As a writer with four novels in print, one of the most common questions I get is “When are you going to quit your day job?” On the other hand, take a writer who has done just that and runs into financial trouble. One of the first questions they hear is “Why don’t you just get a real job?

Writing “professionally” is a real job.  It’s more work than any day job I’ve had.  There’s the actual writing, the rewriting, the communication with editors, agents, and fans, the paperwork (contracts, taxes, etc.), and that’s before you decide to go to that convention or booksigning, or try to do some publicity for your work.

The real question is “Why don’t you get a safe job?”  One that would provide you with stable income, health insurance, and everything else you needed to avoid this mess.

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Jim C. Hines