Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We need a tribe. Our tbie needs to be at least 1,000 people. Preferably 2,000 people since there are 2 entities that form GGE. Why do I say 1,000? There is a great post as to why "creatives" need to build trbie of 1,000. It is the "microcelebrity" phenomenon.
I intend to know all 2,000 of our tribe members. How will I do that? By allowing them access to comment and be heard. Then I will amplify their comments on our websites, blogs, publications, etc.
I want the tribe to have unfettered access so it takes on the closeness and camaraderie that one sees with RPG communities.
What will a tribemember be called? I'm not sure. I hesitate to call them "fans". I'm not sure that's the right description. I need more than fans. People who will buy everything GGE produces, not as an obligation, but because they trust us to tell kick ass stories that will not disappoint. Then they will let themselves be heard. Loved it. Hated it. Whatever. Maybe a tribemember will decide to become a writer based on their interaction with GGE and we can partner with them to promote their work. Sounds like the ultimate team-based, tribal win-win scenario.
Someone will have to be first. Can I build a tribe one person at a time? I hope to.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Let's spend a minute making it relevant to writing though. Maby people feel liek failed writers because they write a book and then can't sell it. Maybe it's not the right book for right now. Write another and another and another. Maybe the first one would be a better second or third book. Keep generating stuff and eventually you will hit the right stuff.
Now go read Seth's blog.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Of course, as I near New Year's Day, I will develop a better and more exact list with deliverables and timelines. I will check how I did against last year's goals. I think I made good progress on some...and others, not so much. Of course I always have some stretch goals out there. Those that, were they to come true right now, would dramatically alter my situation for the better.
So, let's make a pact...spend the next few minutes thinking of some goals. Write them down. We'll revisit them on New Year's Eve, before the partying really starts, and see where we stand.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
So, Merry Christmas! To my Warhammer friends, Happy Keg End! Drink hearty and let's look forward to First Quaff!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Green on the other hand, while also being an ubergeek, is also deeply into his "horror" phase. I say it is a phase since that is what we all thought when he was thirteen years old and started to get into all things horror-movie related. That was almost thirty years ago, so I guess as "phases" go, this one is a long one.
Still, I wanted to share the little gift that is being delivered to Green's door as we speak. A bit macabre, but believe me, it fits with the decor at his humble abode.
I picked it up from thinkgeek.com, a great shopping site for all things "geeky" (a tauntaun sleeping bag anyone? "It may smell bad, but it'll keep you warm")
So here it is...right out of a classic horror film. Tell me Green won't love this little item.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The problem with that is that as a writer, I write to relax so I also have to make time to write, work on the GGE website (construction proceeds - check it out here) and of course, to blog. I would miss my daily chronicle of life in/at GGE.
So, for the rest of you on vacation this holiday season - relax, eat well, drink well (but not too heavily), get some rest, maybe exercise and definitely write, draw, play music and flex whatever creative muscle you like to use the most. It's a magical time of year and it will probably be reflected in your creations this week.
Friday, December 18, 2009
It's not often that you hear about true overnight success like that. Most of us hone our craft and delve in obscurity, all but begging for attention and when the attention comes, it is rarely to the delight and accolades of all.
Still, it's an inspiring story and a good reminder to keep plugging away and keep producing...then get it in front of people and let them do the rest. If it's truly remarkable and can go "viral" then Hollywood may come calling!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
So, when I saw the previews for the upcoming movie with Holmes the way I envisioned him, like an action star. And Watson...Watson was always chasing skirts and married at least twice. He was a former soldier, a heckuva surgeon and no slouch with a revolver.
So, on the 25th, expect to see me in the theater with two of my oldest pals (Holmes and Watson)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
These things are just beautiful. I would love to see a room dedicated to these. This whole line is very inspiring to me. I can only imagine how the decision to start this awesome line of collectibles began...
"So they're toys?
"Nope. Not toys. replicas of how a death ray might look if a real mad scientist built it."
"They're for adults"
"Adults. Kids at heart. For display only. They don't do anything."
"And what do they cost?"
"A bunch. They are made from high grade stuff. Again, the goal here is to make a sci-fi weapon that looks real, but like it stepped out of a Flash Gordon serial."
"But death rays aren't real."
"Exactly. But lots of people wish they were real. And if they were, they should look like our designs."
"Look man, no one is going to pay that kind of money for what a "real" imaginary thing would look like. Not unless it is a toy. This is never going anywhere."
"Well, you know what, I believe in this model. I have a passion for these things and I am gong to launch with one gun and we'll see where it goes from there"
...And the rest is history. Check out the website. There is a ton of stuff there as well as tie-in novels and artbooks and all kinds of stuff because whoever envisioned this world has such a great vision and the world is so immersive that we, as fans, want to spend more time there and we are willing to pay big bucks to do it.
Kind of a lesson for all of us about following your passion I think.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
So, I am looking forward to Teen Wolf. I love reboots, especially when they go from campy to "darker".
Monday, December 14, 2009
So go check it out. It's only 82 pages so we're not talking about a huge time investment. For anyone thinking about doing business, making more of themselves or just making a difference it's a great book. Go get inspired.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Why am I so sure? Because I have to. I read a quote that reminded me that it is better to have a "failure of ambition" than a "failure of inactivity". I might have been too inactive in 2009. In 2010, if I fail, I want my failure to be that I was too ambitious.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
It is tailored a bit to the entreprenuerial type, but it guides you through some ideas for businesses you can start. It also applies really well to employees.
Of course, my first thought was "4-hour work week" seems to good to be true, and if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
I am happy to say that the book changed my mind. I could even see a ton of these principles applying to GGE. Say we decided to produce our own books. Pay for PPC (pay-per-click) advertising through google to our niche group of readers. Sell our Ebooks to those readers. And make all of that automatic. Then the actual running of the business would be pretty automatic and I could just write. We could outsource things like marketing, editing and cover design. Sounds like a potential business plan. Would people buy our stuff? Well, that part is up to me I guess.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Right now, I like the idea of people being able to Digg something I write. I try and put informative stuff out here at times that might appeal to other writers, entrpreneurs or "creatives". I would like to be able to share that stuff.
So...if you see something you like...digg it!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
How do you fit in writing, blogging, managing your website, studying the craft of writing and of course indulging inreading and watching various forms of entertainment to better hone your craft?
For me, it involves either late nights or early mornings before family and other obligations start wearing away my time. Unfortunately, way to often, my exercise is the first thing I sacrifice to spend time at the keyboard.
Of course, as the picture on the left demonstrates, caffeine is often involved as well.
It is a difficult balance for anyone trying to create as well as earn a living. It requires scheduling and discipline in following your schedule, but then you have to know when to blow it all off and live a little as well.
If someone finds the perfect balance, let me know!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I have picked this book by John Marco up multiple times with the intention of reading it. I always put it back down until I read a review that likened the three main characters to King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere.
Well, for an Arthurian fan like myself, that was too tempting to pass up so I dove right in. I have to say that the comparison is a good one, and the book itself is fantastic.
It has a really good mix of fantasy and knights and politics and magic and all that good stuff as well as having some familiar elements from our own world reflected in the cultures described in the book. It is an extremely immersive book and I would compare it to George RR Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series, which is my favorite series of all time (even compared to this one, sorry John Marco).
So, GGE says - pick this book up and read it, but after you have read George RR Martin's series and after Joe Abercrombie's series. If you are craving good fantasy action with a dose of an Arthurian type love triangle that is pulled off in a really good way, check this book out!
Monday, December 7, 2009
I promise not all talk will be about the website though. I am just geeked right now with the progress so I am a bit enthusiastic.
I watched "Terminator: Salvation" this past week. If you are a fan of the Terminator series, then you must see this movie. It is a great addition to the canon and the appearance of the T800 is not to be missed. I jumped off the couch. Movie magic at its best.
It is an awesome story with really great characters and if Kyle Reese was not already cool enough, this movie elevates him straight to superhero.
Other than that, this weekend saw lots of Christmas shopping. As my wife points out, I have passed on a good deal of my geek hood to my children, but popular items on the list of GGE kids are
- Redwall stuff (books, dvds, posters...Redwall mania is ON at my house)
- Star Wars Legos (note - this link has a cool online gaame and movie)
- Indiana Jones Legos
- Indiana Jones 2 - The Adventure Continues (for the Wii)
- Star Wars Turbo Tank
- Imaginarium Castle
- Star Wars Galactic Heroes
- Barbie (for the GGE Princess)
- Eyeclops Mini Projector
- Air hogs Zero G Laser Car
- Air hogs Switchblade
- My Sims Agents for the Wii
- Littlest Pet Shop
- My Little Pony
- And of course Zhu Zhu Pets (Good luck finding these) NOTE - some concern about Zhu Zhu pets and safety. click here to read about the safety alerts.
For Dad, the popular items are
Maybe next year, some GGE items will be available for those Christmas lists!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
What will you find there? Some info on our four main storylines we are working on (and more as we add them). There is artwork from some of our stories as well as concept sketches and soon there will be fiction available both on the site and as a free .pdf download.
Finally, while you are there, sign up for the newsletter and get the GGE coolness delivered right to your inbox!
I haven't been totally on vacation. I have been editing like crazy, working on our current project set in GGE's own world of Grimaul.
Hey, I also submitted a "wondrous item" to the RPG Superstar 2010 contest at Paizo Publishing.
I have been oretty effusive in my praise of Paizo for awhile now and this was a chance for me to at least gt involved by submitting an item for the Pathfinder RPG. We'll see how that goes.
For anyone interested in submitting, check out this link
Paizo Publishing RPG Superstar
Round One in the competition is to submit a "wondrous item" - you experienced RPGers out there probably know what that means, but for those that don't, it is a magic item like Bilbo's Ring or King Arthur's scabbard (that healed him - a gift from Morgan) or the Cauldron that brought people back from the dead in "The Black Cauldron".
It has to be within the rules of the Pathfinder RPG, but don't let that intimidate you, there are plenty of resources on the website to get you going.
I'll pot my item once the first round is done. Hopefully by then, we'll be into the second round! Stiff competition though. Some seriously creative folks on the Paizo site.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
"What made me want to make the film is simply that I like war movies," said Tarantino, who joined Pitt and other cast members at a news conference. "The initial idea sometimes is really as simple as wanting to make a war movie or a car chase movie. The rest goes from there."
It's nice to see a successful producer acknowledging that not all screenplays have to be "Schindler's List" or "The Piano" or something like that. Sometimes it is a simple idea, an event driven screenplay, awesome characters with great dialogue.
It appeals to me because genre/event driven films are what I like to watch. Coincidentally, these are the types of stories I like to write.
Looks like I'm not alone.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
- Sleepy Hollow
- American Werewolf in Paris
- Phantom of the Opera
- Bram Stoker's Dracula
- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Resident Evil
- Van Helsing
- The Lost Boys
- The Monster Squad
- Halloween (the new version)
- Friday the 13th (the new version)
So pick some good spooky movies and enjoy. Get in the Halloween spirit!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I caught Robin Williams' show from the "Weapons of Self Destruction" tour last night at the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, NC.
First, let me say, if you don't have tickets for this show - got to Robin's website, see if there is a show near you and go there. It is well worth the ticket price. There were times during the show that I thought I was going to literally injure myself laughing that hard for that long.
I thought a lot about Robin Williams. Here is someone who was a classicly trained actor at Juliard where he was in an advanced class with Christopher Reeve, so he has the acting skills.
He shows up in Hollywood and struggles, like everyone else, got a break as Mork on Happy Days and then Mork and Mindy where he improved a lot of his lines.
He realized improv was a skill, and did some stand up and the next thing you know (after several stand up tours, and a out a million movies), he's basically a household name. Of course, he has had to be careful and keep himself fresh and relevant and make the right choices about money and roles and all of that, but the odds of going from a childhood in Illinois and Michigan to where he is now are just astronomical, but also a great lesson for those of us striving to get somewhere.
So maybe we haven't made the right steps to get there in our 20's and enjoy a lifetime of success, but then again, maybe we weren't meant to. Success at a young age comes with its own price. The point is, it's all out there...keep chasing it.
Another great thing about Robin Williams...he is a big fan of pen and paper roleplaying games as well as online video games and that makes him not totally unlike you and me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Just got my copy of "Dracula: The Un-Dead". It is the sequel to "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. Of course there have been sequels before (like "Mina" written in 1994) , but this is the first one written by the Stoker family.
This one was written by Dacre Stoker, the great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker.
I haven't cracked it open yet, but I saw some tantalizing info.
- Jonathan and Mina have a son they named "Quincey" (fitting I think).
- Van Helsing is in it again (though suffering a heart condition)
- Our Psychiatrist friend is in it (the guy who treated Renfield in the first book)
I am "stoked" about reading this one.
Just in time for Halloween!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The story was a blast to write. The editting is not terrible because it is like revisiting old friends, but it reminds me of how much work getting a finished product can be.
We wrote it, then went through 2 read-throughs for general comments. Had some other folks read it and now I am doing a more thorough edit. Then we will pay a professional editor to have a go at it. Then we will shop it around and if it gets picked up by a publisher...guess what? More edits are likely. It is fun, but also a lot of hard work.
Why am I posting this paragraph whining about editting? Just as a reminder to write, write, write but then polish, polish, polish!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
- We will launch a Yahoo group for us to discuss stuff with interested and like-minded folks (actually this one is done. Click here to check it out)
- Next year we will launch a website
- We will also launch an E-zine
- We will publish a property, or two, with traditional publishers.
- We will begin publishing our own stuff through a publishing arm. We will also publish a few submissions from other authors
- We will launch a graphic novel based on a property of ours.
- We will write our fantasy settings into a Open Gaming License roleplaying game and some modules from the macabre mind of Tim Green.
- We will launch another website with RPG support and downloadable freebies
- We will market some action figures based on our properties
- We will complete some screenplays and either sell them or work with a indie company to produce the films ourselves
- We will buy "Ghost Town in the Sky" and convert it to a theme park centered around our properties, like Universal Studios or Disney, but on a smaller scale.
- We will produce a relatively simple video game based on our fantasy property
- We will finally look into a monthly comic series
So, that's it. Now, let's see if I can bring the future and the present together!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This is a great site. This is a group of people who launched this site in February 2009. They took their fandom and their love of all things "geekdom" (and I say that lovingly as a self-described geek) and they have elevated their passion to the next level.
Fanboyz.net has news of all sorts that would interest any geek or "fanboy". What is great is they are not just a blog or a news site, but they are starting conversations on their site about what is great about fanboys, speculative fiction and the world of really cool stuff (today's featured article was about the upcoming A-team movie!)
So, do yourself a favor and drop by for a visit. The do yourself a bigger favor and bookmark the site so you can stop by regularly. You will know all the latest news and amaze your pals. (Ghost Rider sequel! X-men: First Class! The Book of Eli!)
I now describe myself not just as a geek. I'm a fanboy!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is out on DVD as of yesterday. Getting good reviews! Buy it here on Amazon.
For anyone who doesn't know, this one is based on a graphic novel, but it continues some storylines from the animated show that (regretably) ended a few years back.
Lex Luthor is elected President and now has the Justice League at his disposal. Superman and Batman reject this notion and become outlaws. How cool is that?
Another huge bonus is that the voice actors are the ones from the shows. Kevin Conroy is back as Batman! Tim Daly as Superman! Perfect. These guys have come to define the characters for so many people.
As I have said before - Superhero fans out there - go buy or rent this DVD. We want to reward good superhero movies with our cash dollars! Why? Cuz we want more superhero movies to be made!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
- Independent recording artists
- Independent Comic book artists
- Indie Film Producers
- Haunt Producers (A subject near and dear to GGE's heart)
- Lots of stuff I can't think of
On the one hand, if we love telling stories you might think..."sure"
On the other hand, we would like to be rewarded for all of the storytelling. Why? Because storytellers are who we are, not just what we do.
When we aren't being rewarded for being writers and artists, we don't stop writing or drawing or painting. We keep doing it. No matter how much we try for it not to be, our passion is a distraction.
How much better would it be if our passion was not a distraction but it was what we did for money, food, clothing, shelter, etc. Then the rest of our life is uncluttered so we get to be people too.
I have no problem with free samples, free chapters, free sneak previews, but just producing for free?
I'm not sure that's the way to go.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Of course a link to Seth Godin's blog would be a good way to commemorate. He talked today about the future of "our industry" and any industry affected by the interner (hint: the all are)
Here is what the esteemed Seth had to say
Has the internet changed "our" industry? Absolutely. Look at a publishing empire started in 1928. A guy learned the cartoon art world. He drew a little cartoon. It was popular. He drew more and more and eventually produced his own. Finally, it is a worldwide brand and we have Disney.
If Disney started today, how would he have used the internet? I'm not sure, but I'm sure he would use it.
At the very least, it allows us to have this ongoing conversation and for that, I am pretty grateful.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I am not a Chattanooga resident these days, but I hope to get down and get haunted at least once before Halloween. I have been to this haunt in previous years and it is kind of spooky and all that, but mainly its just plain cool. It's cool because they pick a theme and make everything focus around that theme. It's an immersive environment from the minute you get there and that makes it so much better than just a spook house with random people in costumes jumping out and saying "Boo" (or some variation on that theme).
You can go to other haunts in the Chattanooga, but don't miss this one. Well worth the admission price.
Even the website is cool. Check it out.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Today, Seth discussed how everyone works on commission (read it here).
It's a very true statement. I keep our daily conversation going at greengates entertainment because I love attention and I sincerely want to engage in a dialogue with other like-minded folks. But do I check my google analytics everyday? Maybe not everyday, but I keep up with how many hits I get and I show up around the internet involving myself in other discussions for one reason: to become part of people's lives.
I think greengates has some good stories to tell, but people do have to know about them so it behooves me to be available, visible and present.
I don't panic when the number of hits drops a little. It's a long-term thing, but the point is even greengates works on commission. If I just wrote and blogged for myself, then it would just be a journal.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Trust GGE on this one. Work slowly. Build slowly. Focus on making a great product. If you have a book written and you are shopping it around, don't get desparate. Keep shopping it around, but go ahead and crank up the next book anyway. Maybe the one you are shopping around will be a great second book, or third or just a learning experience.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't trade all your dignity for a little attention. It's probably not the kind of attention you want anyway.
You can read the whole story here.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Blizzard Entertainment - been around awhile, but after Warcraft: Orcs and Humans put them on the map, they have expanded Warcraft into a mega property. Now it's an immersive world where people spend countless hours (and dollars). The fans get the escape and Blizz gets the coin and everyone is happy. They do this so well. Everthing from their artwork, stories, games, accesories...all is just expertly done.
Games Workshop: These guys make great games, books and miniatures. They have stayed in their lane as well and created a fantasy and science fiction setting with a feel like no other.
Paizo Publishing: They have taken an adventure concept (Pathfinder) coupled it with great art and generated a whole property. Pathfinder is growing well beyond a way to do RPG adventures into an RPG of its own. I predict fiction set in that universe and probably other sorts of media as well.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A few things:
- They were an ebook publisher when it was a fledgling industry. Some people think the ebook industry is still just a murmur in the history of the book publishing industry. Ask any one of the 3 million users if Ebook apps, or the any Amazon Kindle user and they will surely disagree with you
- They publish stuff I like (a good sign of excellent taste). Go try one out!
- Their books are attractive. I am not saying "judge a book by the cover" but of course we do just that. If you see a book and the cover reminds you of something you read once that sucked, then you are going to assume something about this new book. If the cover is similar to books you have read, then that will at least get you to the description. If the description is compelling enough then that book might just end up on your shelf (or ebook reader)
- They have stayed in their lane. Rather than trying to be all things to all people. Double Dragon is simply the best ebook publisher there is. It's what they do and they do it well.
- They accept submissions from all authors. I love that you don't have to be established to talk to these guys.
Ready to submit to DDP? They aren't currently accepting submissions, but their horror imprint, Bloodmoon Publishing is. Head on over and submit a story.
Monday, September 21, 2009
My favorite RTS of all time is Warcraft III. Like most products from Blizzard, the storyline is fantastic. The cut scenes are movie-quality and the setting is just plain cool. I love that they strive for a cartoon-version of reality. It makes the characters look really great.
Warcraft III, however, IS NOT the perfect RTS.
Here is what the perfect RTS game should have.
- Great story (Warfraft III has this)
- Awesome cut scenes (Warcraft III has this. Some people skip all cut scenes. They are missing out on some cool stuff)
- Nice graphics (not the end-all-be-all of a game for me, but Warcraft III does have this)
- Every character should have a randomly generated name. (Close Combat from Microsoft had this and I loved it!)
- Every character should have some stats that are tracked (Starcraft tracks each unit's "kills". It is so cool to know who the baddest marine in your army is - and it adds some poignancy when a Zerg eats him)
- Every unit shoud be able to fight a little (Warcraft III had the Peons that could fight if they were "rallied" but everyone should be able to fight, even if they are ineffectual in doing so)
- Elevation should come into play (Warhammer games have done this)
- Game should have awesome main characters (Warcraft III does this)
- There should be a handful of main characters (Lord of the Rings RTS games have done this)
- You should be able to promote highly effective units to "heroes" (Medieval: Total War does this)
- Characters should be able to get magic items (Warcraft III has this as do many other games)
- Heroes should be of multiple classes like warriors, bards, wizards (Age of Legends did this)
- Units should be able to go into and out of structures (Close Combat did this)
- The setting should be immersive (Warcraft III has this)
That is a short list that would get a lot of RTS games closer to perfection. Warcraft III, one of the best selling games of all time, has most of my list. Maybe someone will get closer to the full list. If so, I'll be playing (and I think about a 4 million other people would to)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Here are some of the best examples:
- Firefly (the show) or Serenity (the movie): the best sci-fi western I have ever seen
- Star Wars: full of science fiction, fantasy and western stuff (Han Solo is the coolest gunslinger around)
- Alien: Science Fiction/Horror
- Predator: Science Fiction/Horror
- Ravenous: Western/Horror
- Event Horizon: Science Fiction/Horror
- The Valley of Gwangi (GREAT MOVIE): Western/Horror
- The Matrix: Science Fiction/Superheroes
- Green Lantern: Science Fiction/Superheroes
- Outlander (the new movie): Science Fiction/Fantasy
- Dune: Science Fiction/Fantasy
- The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Crosses a bunch (Fantasy/Western/Science Fiction)
- Any of the HArry Dresden books by Jim Butcher: Fantasy/Detective
- A little know book "Arthur Warlord" by Dafyd Ab Hugh: Great example of a fantasy/science fiction
A short list there, but some of my favorites. I would love for Greengates to eventually have some stories on that list!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I read The First Law Trilogy as it was released and it leapt every other book on my "favorite fantasy series" and went straight to number 1.
Joe is inspirational to me, and could be to any writer. Unlike most, he jumped right into writing a trilogy, got it published and is now a superstar.
I guess sometimes being unconventional works out just fine.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Let me try and make a list. My criteria is "coolness" not accuracy. It bugs me when people argue accuracy for King Arthur since we can't even prove definitively if he exists AND there are already conflicting stories that are hundreds of years old. It's hard enough to find consistency with today's "Legends" (Star Trek, Star Wars, Superman, Tarzan) let alone on that is 1500 years old.
Anyway, the Green Gates Arthurian fiction list ranked in order of coolness:
- Stephen Lawhead's "The Pendragon Cycle"
- Bernward Cornwell's "The Arthur Books" Series
- Mary Stewart's "Merlin" Series
- Dafyd Ab Hugh's "Arthur Warlord" duology
- Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles"
- Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon" (I never loved the rest of the series)
- Excalibur (the movie)
- King Arthur (the movie)
- The Last Legion (movie)
- Cherith Bladry's "Exiled from Camelot"
- Clemence Housman's "The Life of Sir Aglovale De Galis"
- TH White's "Once and Future King"
- Douglas Clegg's "Mordred Trilogy"
- Vivian Vande Velde's "Book of Mordred"
- Howard Pyle's "Story of King Arthur and His Knights"
I haven't read every Arthur book, but I have read these. I may amend the list as I read more.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I have since polished and polished on both of them and maybe one day they will grace a bookshelf someday.
So, what's the point? For me, it showed me I could write a novel. What was required? Time. I had to make or steal the time from my otherwise busy schedule.
Now, I have yet to learn whether I can write a good novel or not, but then again, who cares. If you are like me, then you love to write. So go do it. Do the best you can. Get it read. Get critiques. Study writing. Learn to take criticism with a grain of salt and then keep on writing.
Okay...I am ranting. Go to www.nanowrimo.org and check it out. Let's write a novel in November.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Here is what cmes to mind. George RR Martin wrote the first book n 1996. Did he know it would be a series? I think so. The first one ended in a way that seemed to indicate a sequel or a series.
In any event, the books have grown into card games, miniatures game and now a series on HBO.
I am not sure how one takes the leap from writing a book to having a viable, marketable "property" ripe for movies, tv series and things like that.
One thing I do know though - first he had to write a book, and it had to be a darn good one.
Friday, September 11, 2009
X-men Origins:Wolverine will be released on DVD soon. That one is worth it. Cool movie.
Heroes returns with a 2 hour premiere on the 21st. Can't wait for that!
Diana Gabaldon is released a new volume in her "Outlander" series (an Echo In The Bone) on September 22nd. Great series, great author. Historical, fantasy romance - more for the ladies I suppose.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Still reading "Game of Thrones". Great book. This is just fantastic. I am loving this book so much. I read it in 1996 and loved it then, but I got away from the rest of the series. Now I want to read the rest of the series, but I needed to start back on this one to get up to speed.
I cannot say enough about this book. I find myself reading constantly and can't wait to get to the next book!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Gaylord Perry's first and only homerun came 6 years late on JuLy 20th 1969...just hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
What's notable about this trivial fact? Sometimes we predict the future, but sometimes we make it happen through what we say and what we think. Could it be that Gaylord "knew" he could not hit a homerun and he "knew" it so well, he kept it from happening until events aligned as he told himself they would?
Can't say for sure, but just in case, I am going to try and be careful about self-limiting thoughts and phrases.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I am already planning on next year. In fact, I am planning to start going to DragonCon and then not stop at all. It is a mecca for us geek-types.
I saw a quote on CNN. They were covering DragonCon and a girl who was in the “Dawn” costume contest was talking about how geeks from all over come there and everyone is accepted and all that.
She said, “Once you get here, we are just one big family. A creepy, incestuous family, but family nonetheless.”
Here is the list of finalists:
Best Books on Writing for Speculative Fiction Authors
- Sometimes the Magic Works – Terry Brooks
- On Writing – Stephen King
- How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – Orson Scott Card
- Writing for Comics – Peter David
- Bullies, Bastards and Bitches – Jessica Morrell
- How to Write a Damn Good Novel – James Frey
- Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting – Syd Field
That's not to say that this is the end of the list. As I read more and more, I reserve the right to add to the list.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
They just premiered a film at the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga (The Tivoli is a beautiful theater that screams of the grandeur of yesteryear).
They have a distribution network where they get their movies screened around the country.
I am impressed. (Maybe they will want a screenplay from GGE?)
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
It's the closest thing to an industry trade journal we have. If you are into comics, then you might want to get Wizard as well.
Financiers get The Wall Street Journal, Firefighters subscribe to Firehouse (and Fire Engineering).
There are a number of fantasy, sci-fi and horror magazines out there, but a good deal of them are primarily for the fan. Locus has features for fans, authors, convention goers.
Check out the website. See if you don't agree with me. I'm not trying to sell Locus. To me, it sells itself. I'm just offering some advice.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I have always loved the Wild Cards series, but he only writes occasionally for it. He mainly edits and compiles the stories (and they rock).
I am reading (for the second time) "A Game of Thrones" from his "Fire and Ice" series and I am reminded just how darn good it is.
It's not just the writing, though his writing style really fits me, it is the storyline, characters everything.
He pulls off some of my favorite stuff.
- No character feels safe so you are afraid that, at any moment, your favorite character might bite it
- Magic is mysterious and scary, though it follows its own rules so I know the author understands how it works in his world
- The good guys have attributes that are despicable and the bad guys are completey understandable so that they make great bad guys. I love it when the heroes are flawed and the bad guys have admirable qualities. Makes the characters seem so vivid.
- It reminds me of Arthurian fiction the way it should be written.
So, I will be spending a good portion of my Sunday curled up with "Game of Thrones".
Friday, August 28, 2009
Yes, I realize my numbers are exaggerated. That is hyperbole meant to illustrate that Card is awesome and well suited to give advice.
Now, onto the book.
Anyone wanting to write Science Fiction or Fantasy should absolutely read this book. For the cost of a paperback, you get to spend a few hours with a noted expert in the field.
It raised some great points, gives good advice and certainly provides a lot to think about regarding what separates Science Fiction from Fantasy. The two overlap more than you might think and I find I prefer Card's term "Speculative Fiction" which he uses quite a bit.
What I really like about the book is that despite holding some pretty strong (and dwell publicized) religious and political beliefs, Card does not use the book as a platform for that stuff.
This book is about writing. It is easy to read. it is conversational. It is helpful and insightful.
So go get it.
I think I have blogged about this series before. It is written years and years after the Star Wars movies. Han Solo and Princess Leia are married and have kids. Luke Skywalker has a son. In this series, their kids are all grown up and that is what this series is about. The main characters are still around, but they are not main characters anymore. They are major characters, but not the main ones.
Betrayal (pictured left) is the first book. The whole series goes like this:
Invincible concludes the series. I just finishshed reading Fury (#7). They are all written by either Karen Traviss, Aaron Allston or Troy Denning. So far Karen Traviss is my personal favorite, but they are all very good.
I will say this, the series is cool. It has some universe-shattering consequences and major characters go through major changes (one major long-time character dies - and I still have 2 books to go).
The problem? It is 9 freaking books long! I know that we might be going for a trilogy of trilogies idea like Star Wars sort of did with episode I, II and III and then IV, V and VI all being little trilogies in a bigger story. I guess if that were the case, then Timothy Zahn's trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command) would close the 3 trilogies. These three books have become known as The Thrawn Trilogy and according to GGE (okay - in this case, I have not vetted this with anyone, it's just my opinio) the Thrawn Trilogy is still the best series of Star Wars books out there.
The problem with Legacy of the Force is there are not three separate trilogies, just a story that takes 9 books to tell and by now I am just ready to be finished with thing! It is enjoyable and I am glad I read it, but it feels like it is a few books too long.
My favorite are those by Syd Field, and there are a few of them.
The blog title links to the one I am reading right now.
GGE writes all sorts of stuff, screenplays among them and I find this book to be, not only helpful, but inspirational.
So if you are thinking about writing and selling screenplays, check it out.
It can't guarantee you a sale or anything, but it will give you some good insights from someone who has seen lots of success
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
GGE has a couple of items out with publishers right now. Like any other author or creative endeavor, rejection letters don't thrill us, but it seems to be the way the game is played. Submit, submit, submit. Collect rejection letters, paper the walls with them, store them up for future reference, but keep on trucking.
One thing we do at GGE is, while we submit, we also move on to the next project. It makes the urgency to get a positive response not seem as urgent. We figure, well if project A doesn't sell, wait till they see Project B.
Having said that, it still sucks getting rejection...
Saturday, August 22, 2009
First, did anyone know he died?
Well, the comic book community knew. It made some headlines even. Of course, a few years back Superman died. Batman got his back broken. Heck, Spock died in Wrath of Khan and it was all very poignant. Heck, even Captain Picard was "recovered" from the Borg and it is now official canon that Commander Data, who died in Nemesis, has been uploaded into the body of his idiot-savant "brother" B-4. Of course of all of these, Data is the only one I "buy" very well. He is a robot. I have resurrected my own computer a few times.
The problem? They are all back! It is a falacy of modern sci-fi and fantasy storytelling. Heroes fall, but they come right back in a few episodes. It's a time warp or a clone or an evil twin or something.
It has become a pattern and one that is just...well...boring and predictable.
I can speak for all writers when I say that no one wants their storytelling to be mentioned in the same sentence with boring and predictable!
If characters are always inherently "safe" then where is the drama?
- GGE promises that our characters are NEVER safe
- We will not keep a character around to make a buck if the storyline demands their untimely demise
- Once they are gone, they are gone. The barrior of death should be a bit nmore difficult to overcome than our colleagues in other studios have made it out to be.
Okay...enough griping. Cap is back! Big deal.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It puts forth the idea of a "Results Only Work Environment" also known as "ROWE".
I love the whole notion. No meetings, no schedules, using techology as it is intended and paying more attention to results and time at the desk.
As writers and artists, GGE definitely understands the ROWE. I can sit at a desk all day, but if I don't write something then we don't produce.
GGE doesn't operate 8-5. It operates at midnight, 3 am, just before dawn and whenever inspiration strikes.
Check out Cali and Jody's book or their blog at http://caliandjody.com/
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Having said that, I do have to confess that physics was never my strongest subject, whereas superheroes are more my forte.
My original intention for reading the book was to base my superhero stories in a more believable realm and ensure their powers didn't violate natural laws.
As it turns out, this is pretty hard to do. Some superheroes are more plausible than others, but almost all require some suspension of disbelief.
So, rather than suffer analysis paralysis, I have simply decided to try and limit the number of "miracle exceptions" my superheroes need in order to operate and try to make them as plausible as can be with the understanding that we must play a little with the laws of physics to make our heroes exist.
It's probably a good thing superheroes don't walk the streets anyway...with super heroes come super villains and I don't want to be the victim of a death ray or anything like that. I have enough to worry about as it is!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Gene Roddenberry, I am sure, would be amazed if he saw how far the script for "The Menagerie" took him. He had a vision and it grew far beyond what he initially envisioned, but the point is, he had a vision.
Along with the vision though, he did something about it. He wrote and wrote and wrote. He crafted his skill on detective shows and "Have Gun Will Travel". He had pilot shows made and then they were not picked up. He didn't let this destroy him. He didn't quit. He kept writing. Then, he finally sold Star Trek.
One would think the rest was history, but not so fast...the show had budget trouble and censorship issues and then...it was canceled. Gene never gave up and eventually, years later, it came back and he was ready to roll again. Now, Thirty years after it's comeback, it is a hit movie and a museum exhibit and has about a million books, comic books, toys, etc.
It started with a vision. Then there was a lot of work and then there was a LOT of "stick-to-it-ive-ness"
So there you go:
2) Work (as GGE says, no one can do your pushups for you)
3) Never give up
Friday, August 7, 2009
So now, finally, there is a GI Joe movie (not surprisingly since there is a Transformers movie - everything old is new again). I haven't seen it yet, but I will.
Here is the challenge.
Back in the '80s, I remember GI Joe as being so cool when in fact, it had more cheese than a French wine festival. Today's kids are more sophisticated. Couple that with the fact that many of the movie goers at GI Joe will be former fan boys hoping for the same exilirating experience they had as youths.
So, the movie has to satisfy former fan boys who want to be thrilled but will not be thrilled by the same fare they saw when they first fell in love with GI Joe. So, it has to be different, more modern and relevant while still retaining some of the vestiges we all know and love.
The story also has to appeal to the younger generation if we want to get toy sales, spin offs, comic books, roleplaying games, a comic book (there actually is still a comic book that is pretty good).
Can it be done? Heck yeah. Look at Iron Man. So much more than just a comic book filmed in real life and put on the screen.
The right writer and director can do this for GI Joe. Let's hope they pulled it off
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Is it the technical quality of the writing? Sometimes, if it is particulary grabbing (like Joe Abercrombie) but good writing is like the cherry on top. Bad writing is like bad breath on an otherwise attractive person. It can add or detract, but a story can be great with writing that is "good enough".
Is it the storyline? Definitely important. Good plot twists and well paced drama is critical. This isn't the end-all-be-all either though. Low budget films often have good storylines, but fall short because of poor technical execution.
A good bad guy? A definite requirement!
Good guys we can relate to? Another critical element! We need to feel for them. We need to be able to indentify with them. They need to be changed in some way by the dramatic elements of the story, unless their rigid inflexibility is what the story is about.
A touch of humor now and then? Doesn't hurt.
Good pacing? Makes the reader enjoy the ride more.
What's the point of my musing? There is no single thing to master in order to write a great book and some do certain parts better than others. I don't know if anyone gets all elements perfect.
So, writing is more like cooking. There is a recipe. All of the elements are important in some degree. Improve your understanding and your ability in each element and watch the quality of your stories grow!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Now, I have nothing against either A or B, but they don't typically represent the coolest examples of superhuman fiction.
Let me offer some examples of the coolest superhero fiction
- Wild Cards (the whole series, editted by George RR Martin)
- Devil's Cape (by Rob Rogers)
- Black and White (by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge)
- Those Who Walk in Darkness (By John Ridley)
- Soon I Will Be Invincible ( by Austin Grossman)
- Hero (by Perry Moore)
- The Web of Arachnos (Robert Weinberg)
- Swan Song (By Frank Fradella)
- The Physics of Superheroes (By James Kakalios) - this one is not fiction, but it is very cool
Not a long list. There are a lot I have not read and there is a lot of crap in what I have read. It's a hard genre for some to take seriously, but there is good stuff out there! You just have to look for it...or trust my little list and get to reading.
Of course, the other option is to write some good ones! Let's do that!
So, what do we do? Keep developing and keep sending out submissions.
As always, the key is to write, write, write or if you are an artist it is draw, draw, draw.
Point is...no one can do our push-ups for us (get the metaphor)
So I guess I should go get to work
Monday, July 27, 2009
So, don't let the re-imagining stop you from checking out Merlin. One thing I love is that unlike recent stories such as "King Arthur" and "The Last Legion" there is actual magic in this story. I am more forgiving of changes in the story than I am stories without magic. King Arthur stories, in my opinion, should have some scraps of magic around.
In any event, here is the REAL reason you should watch it. As a fellow fan of fantasy, science fiction, super heroes and all that jazz (if you weren't you would probably not still be reading) we should support shows that support our habit. We want more shows about Knights and Wizards and Dragons so we should w watch the ones that are out there. If their ratings are good, imitators will surely follow and sometimes imitation can be a wonderful thing!
Besides...next week, The Black Knight shows up! And he is Undead! (I'm geeking about it)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The summary is that "A new study shows leadership is often just loudership: big mouths take charge."
The study was led by the University of California: Berkeley. The study found in a group setting, the folks who spoke out the most often and the loudest were viewed as individuals with a high degree of leadership, smarts and creativity. When given basic aptitude tests, these same individuals did not score any better (and often worse) than their quieter counterparts.
It's interesting, but then again, isn't it a quality of leadership that the person has the "courage" (or blind stupidity?) to speak out regardless of the consequences, often not letting oneself be encumbered by facts or truth?
We see it a lot where people take charge just because they are visible and rather than saying the "right thing" they say their version of the right thing and then convince others of it's correctness (Rush Limbaugh comes to mind). No offense Rush. My point is Rush picks a side of an argument and does not attempt to see the other side and then convinces listeners there is only one side. It is his goal and he does it well.
Not a surprising study, but a nice one to read because I tend towards introverted behavior in a large group and often don't get very vocal. It seems like options are to either break that behavior or get used to finishing second (or third or fourth...somewhere other than first).
Alternatively, one could seek out an environment where one felt comfortable being very vocal. For example, if you grew up building boats and building boats was your passion then I would suspect you would feel more comfortable being very vocal in a boat-building situation thus ensuring your promotion and inevitable leadership role.
All the more reason, perhaps, to seek your passion?
Monday, July 20, 2009
Here is an example.
The original "Punisher" movie with Thomas Jane (not the first "original" with Dolph Lundgren...ugh). was made for 33,000,000. Not a bad budget. It grossed, worldwide, 54,600,000. Yay! A profit. The Punisher is a success.
So, they made a sequel.
The Punisher: War Zone, starring "that guy from the HBO Rome show" was made for 33,000,000 - hey, we made it for less! It grossed 8,000,000. A huge loss. I guess in Hollywood, that would be "a flop".
The first movie, however, disappointed fans. It was not exactly true to the original character and made several key departures disappointing hard core fans. It also made a profit.
The Punisher: War Zone was very much in line with the comic book. It was like watching a live action verion of The Punisher comic. Hard core fans loved it. It flopped.
So, you can't float a movie solely on us comic book fan boys. It has to appeal to more people, I assume, because it costs a bunch to make a movie.
It goes back to the axiom that you have to know your audience. Watchmen followed the graphic novel very well, but by all accounts, Watchmen is not a "typical" graphic novel and the movie was even a bit more graphic and was filmed in a style of photography that was nothing short of breathtaking. The 300 was done in a similar fashion.
Know your audience and make your product accordingly. Would Star Wars have been a mega hit if it were a novel first? Would The Simpsons be a household name if it had started as a movie? The right place to launch your project is out there whether it is indie publishing, online comics, finding an agent, selling a script. The only way to find it is to reach for it.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
What if some random blogger came across paranormal evidence and posted it.
Of course, he or she would immediately be targeted by the paranormal agents themselves wanting to keep their shadowy existence secret and they would also be targeted by some government agency trying to keep the lid on the news as well.
Meanwhile, our hero tries to stop the paranormal agents from instigating their nefarious plot, which of course the government wants as well, leading to an inevitable team up.
Sound interesting? Write the rest of it!
What is a writer?...a combination of an idea person (which I just posted an example of the idea) and a worker, meaning the person who takes the idea and chops the wood (meaning he or she does the work of writing). When one person has both those qualities, then (in my humble opinion) they have all the makings of a writer. All that is left to do is...write!
Someone want to write about our blogger of the paranormal? Go for it.