Thursday, April 30, 2009


I was talking to some friends who are attending DragonCon this year. I know there is a big stigma to going to conventions. It's viewed as a place where we all dress up in bad Star Trek uniforms and talk about the merits of the Ferengi vs. the Klingons or something like that. I wanted to say a word in favor of convention attendance for the fan and the creator/writer.
Regardless of you "geek" level (and I say that as a term of endearment) you will find like-minded people at a fantasy/sci-fi convention. Sure there are some extremes, but for the most part it is people interested in the same stuff you are interested in.
As a fan, you leave with autographs and swag and all sorts of cool things you didn't know people sold. As a creator you leave rejuvenated and convinced there is an audience for your stuff, you just have to reach them. Of course you have to create first and that is where most people stall out.
So, if you've never been to a conventions, find one and go. It will be interesting to say the least. If you are going to be in the Atlanta area around labor day, let's hook up at DragonCon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Wrestler

"An amateur artist imitates, but a mature artist steals" - I was told that by another artist at one point. Of course, I don't view it as stealing often more as an homage. For example, the movies "Fistful of Dollars", "The Sword and the Sorceror", and "Last Man Standing" are all the same story. A lone drifter bad-ass wanders into a podunk town where there are two factions warring over a single resource (in 2 cases the town's only source of water). The lone drifter gets involved playing both sides against one another and ends up the victor and gets the girl and all that. Of course all three are set in 3 different genres. One is a Western, one is sword and sorcery and one is set in a depression era Texas town. The point is, it is hard to find an original story anyway so if you want to use a storyline seen previously, dust it off, make it your own, pay homage to the original but put a new spin on it.
Why do I go into all of this? I just watched "The Wrestler" this weekend. Loved it. Loved everything about it from the acting, cinematography, the Springsteen soundtrack. Anyway, if someone were to take that storyline, substitute a broken down superhero for the wrestler and craft a really solid "world" around the characters were superheroes existed (like the world in Watchmen or Wild Cards) then it could be a great speculative fiction story.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Comic Books

Anybody read any good comic books lately? Me either. That's not to say that there aren't good comics. Nor am I saying that I don't like comics. I think we all do. I mean look at the success of comic-related franchises like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-men, etc.
So what's the deal? Comic Books used to sell millions of copies every month and that has just decreased over time.
Comics have, unfortunately clung to the old model. So the cost of comic books have gone up and up and up so now, one comic costs as much as a novel. Not many kids can afford that and not many adults are willing to. I don't know the answer. It may be that something online would be the answer. I know there has been some success with graphic novels. Personally I won't pay the bucks for comic books, but I will pick up a graphic novel ocasionally. I can get the whole story in one fell swoop and not have to wait month to month.
Have you noticed new superheroes aren't really introduced in anyway other than comics? Of course there is the rare Hancock-type movie, but Hancock doesn't become a franchise. Stuff launched in comics becomes franchises.
Comics should do something before they are really hurting. We all love the superhero stories, but maybe we need new ways to deliver them. I want to introduce new franchises, but as the comic audience continues to shrink, what's the best method?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The weekend

This weekend would be a perfect time to steal some hours to work on your passion. Here's how mine will go down.
I will spend at least a couple of hours reading or watching some good fantasy, sci-fi, superhero action. Haven't picked out just what yet. Maybe I will go see Watchmen again.
Then, I will use that creative energy to dive into writing and hopefully get within striking distance of finishing "Insurrection" this weekend. I am so ready to finish this one up so I can start polishing. It is really coming together.
Hey! You should do the same thing with your own story, or artwork or whatever has been rattling around in the back of your mind. What? Haven't started a story or some artwork yet? This weekend is the perfect time to crank it up!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dale Carnegie

Graduated the Dale Carnegie class today. I have to say, what other class do you take that reminds you to live with a zest for life? And live for today because today won't come again? Where else can you learn to never condemn, complain or criticize or that stress is to be avoided due to the enormous cost in your own health that stress causes.
Obviously I enjoyed the class very much. It is a bit long (at 12 weeks) and can be expensive, but it is worth every cent. I have only mentioned a fraction of the benefits. For those who think it is out dated, I could not disagree more.
Look into it. You'll be glad you did.

Carpe diem

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Just over a week till "Wolverine" is released in theaters. Mark your calendars and go! Even if you are not a huge Wolverine fan. Here's fans and producers of Speculative Fiction, we need to also be heavy consumers of Speculative Fiction. By that I mean we need to "vote" for speculative fiction whether it is sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, etc. How do we vote? By spending money. When we are avid consumers of things we like, then more of the things we like get produced. Look at the letter writing campaign that saved the original Star Trek. Trekkies have been continually rewarded with lots of Trek because they spend crazy amounts of money on it. I throw some cash that way too because I want the things I like to become mainstream so I get more of it.
One more example, if you are a fan of cop shows, you have all you want because they are "mainstream". We are a lot farther along now than we were when I was a kid, but let's keep working.
To make a long story short...go see Wolverine! And Star Trek.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BloodRayne II: Deliverance

I seem to be contributing a few reviews to the blog lately. I think it is because during vacation I watched quite a few movies.
Anyway, I watched BloodRayne II: Deliverance and I wanted to say some things about it. First of all, I went into it with reasonable expectations. BloodRayne (the first movie) was based on a video game and video game movies are not always great. Resident Evil has been pretty good as a film franchise. I liked Doom. Anyway, BloodRayne was pulled off pretty well. It was done by Uwe Boll who gets a pretty bad rap, but I like his stuff. Kind of like early Roger Corman stuff. Some of it can be a bit B-rated, but the ideas are pretty original.
This brings me to BloodRayne II. As anyone reading this GGE blog knows, cross-genre stuff is our favorite playground. BloodRayne II mixes Vampires in the Wild West. GGE's first book "The Forsaken" was a horror novel set in the wild west and is a genre we term "Western Gothic". There are not a lot of examples of Western Gothic I can point to off the top of my head. "Ravenous" was a good one. The inclusion of a Texan in Bram Stoker's Dracula (Quincy P. Morris) makes Dracula have a bit of a Western Gothic flavor. The roleplaying game Deadlands captured the genre pretty well and had a series of "dime novels" in their setting that were done pretty well. So, I think BloodRayne II is a worthy addition and definitely worth seeing. Is it a bit B-rated? Sure, but I never let that stop me from enjoying a movie. If you haven't watched a good B-rated movie lately, let me know and I can recommend a few essentials.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The publishing procedure

I don't pretend to know the trick to being published. In fact, I once read there are just three things to know to get published, unfortunately no one knows what the three things are. I don't know about that, but I do know one thing. Patience is a requirement. Of course everyone talks about persistence, but you don't hear about patience often.

Here's my example. GGE is working on two properties right now. "The Forsaken" and "Insurrection" (both working titles). Both of these are substantially finished. Note, I said substantially finished. Not finished. I was very tempted today to send the works off with some query letters. Finally, my better nature took hold of me and I held off. The works should not (and will not) be sent out to anyone until they are more than substantially finished. They need to be finished and polished and polished and polished.

I am always once to seek out a is my metaphor: I am currently working on restoring an antique armoire from near-destruction to its original grandeur (another hobby of mine). Anyway, the armoire is re-assembled, but is not yet stained or covered in a coat of polyurethane. It needs sanding with rough sandpaper and then sanding again with finer sandpaper and then sanding again with even finer sandpaper all so that when I finally do stain the armoire and cover it in poyurethane it will look as good (or better) than it did a hundred years ago. If my patience ran out and I stained it right now, it would still look good, but it would not look perfect. The same is true for a story and my odds of selling a story on behalf of GGE go up considerably when it is perfect.

Our stories will be in competition with hundreds of other stories received by agents and editors. I hope to only compete with the other polished stories, not the ones that are just "good enough".

Arthur War Lord

I am a bit of a King Arthur aficionado. My tastes seem to be for pretty I like King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes, Superman, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen - just to name a few.
Anyway, I ran across a book in a used book store (Pauper's Used Books in Clayton, NC) entitled "Arthur War Lord" by Dafydd Ab Hugh. Without even googling Dafydd Ab Hugh, I believe I have read a Star Trek novel by him but I can't swear to it so I couldn't say for certain how skilled he is as a writer (yet). The book though is a cross genre piece, which I enjoy. I enjoy crossing genres when it is done poorly (like Jason X) but I REALLY enjoy it when it is done well (Like the Valley of Gwangi). So, this book combines time travel and King Arthur in a way that is a bit more sci-fi than "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".
For fans of time travel and/or King Arthur, it is probably worth a look.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dark Days

It is a darker world today than it was yesterday. John Madden has retired. For anyone who does not know, John Madden is a footbal legend, first as a coach and then as a broadcaster. He is retiring and, for me, watching the games will not be the same without Madden's unique voice.
How lucky for Madden though to have spent his whole career in the field he He played football, then he coached football, then he broadcasted about football. He has written books about football. He made a video game about football and he has been in movies talking about football.
Hmmmm, maybe this is not so much "luck" after all. Maybe Madden demonstrated an unflinching approach to making his passion become his livelihood. I am sure there were times early on when Madden thought he might end up having to be a salesman or a construction worker or whatever, but he refused to to that. He devoted his life to football, but not just as an interest. He made himself an expert on it. He read everything about it. He researched it. He met and talked to the experts in the field at the time. Even at the height of his popularity, he studied hours and hours of film each week so that he could talk coherently about the game. He could have given up a long time ago and become something else. Instead, he devoted his life to his passion and his passion supported him. He made himself and expert on it. He became a name that will be associated with the game of football for decades (at least). He couldn't be anything else. He became Madden.

How lucky.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem...Seize the day. One of my favorite phrases. Don't forget today to live with a zest for life. Live today with enthusiasm. Live "out loud". We only pass this way once. How do you intend to spend the time you have?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Is it just me or is Riddick, the anti hero featured in "Pitch Black" and "The Chronicles of Riddick", just a great example of a superhero set in a sci-fi setting? He has speed and strength, but he also has the ability to dislocate his joints upon command and (of course) see perfectly in the dark. He makes the best use of these abilities and really kicks butt. As I may have mentioned before, GGE loves mixed genres and the Chronicles of Riddick really pull it off well. I still need to see Dark Fury, and I haven't played any of the video games but if the storytelling is of the same high quality (and I expect that it is) then David Twohy has really put together something great here.
Check it out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Benefits of a vacation

Hey there,
I am on vacation this week. Of course, I will still be writing. That's the beauty of GGE. I love writing and creating sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I guess the term is quickly becoming "speculative fiction". Like Confuscious said, "Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life". Did Confuscious say that? get the point.
Even when you love what you do, vacations are important. Those of us who are creatives and those of us who love the worlds of speculative fiction have a benefit over everybody else. What's our benefit? It is not our resistance to scorn after being made fun of in High School. Our benefit is imagination. In the "real world" imagination can be kind of ground out of a person. In our daily grind, it can get squashed. Vacations can change all that.
I know when I have been off a few days, I get this profound feeling of remembering just who I am. It's worth taking a few days off for. Go somewhere with a salt breeze, boat drinks and no responsibility and see what happens. Make sure to take your notebook so you can record the magic!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back from the break!!!

Didn't know I was going to take a break from blogging for a few days, but my vacation spot didn't have internet access so it made it a bit hard. Not a great excuse...I should have sought out a wi-fi spot and kept on rolling. I'll do better next time!

I did have a great meeting with Green of Green Gates and we did some company business and all that jazz, but THEN, we really got down to "bidness" and completed our outline for our current storyline. The working title is "Insurrection" and I am loving being involved with it. I can't wait to finish it. It has everything that GGE stands for: Action, sex, gritty settings, three-dimensional characters, dark magic, heroes and best of all Orcs like you've never seen Orcs before.

So that's what we are working on. Send us a summary of your project! We'll encourage one another!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yes Man

Okay...a topic that is not directly related to superheroes, zombies, wizards or writing/drawing about them.
I saw the movie "Yes Man" yesterday. It's a Jim Carrey film and thus it is full of pratfalls and some levels of goofiness, but the movie itself is actually about seizing the day and living life to the fullest. I am someone who struggles with that. I bet you are too sometimes. The movie reminded me to live with enthusiasm and to take a huge bite of life. I forget that too often so it is nice to be reminded sometimes that new experiences are fun and opportunities should be grabbed onto and enjoyed. Live enthusiastiically and cultivate a zest for life! I intend to.

Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A list of cool metahuman movies with no spandex anywhere

I love superhero movies. I collect superhero movies. Some of my favorite movies about superheroes are not really about "superheroes". What the heck does that mean? Well, obvious superhero movies are Batman, Fantastic Four, X-men, Spiderman, Blade, Iron Man, Superman, Hancock, Watchmen...all of these are awesome, in my opinion, but there is another genre of superhero movie. I'll let the list be my example.
Here we go...
Jumper (Teleportation)
Push (Telekinesis)
The Matrix (The awakened people have all kinds of superpowers)
Next (PRecognition)
My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Kind of a standard superhero nonetheless)
Star Wars (Jedi Knights are like Knights, Wizards and Superheroes all rolled into one)
The Transporter Movies (Martial arts and mad driving skills. Almost seems like hyper reflexes)
Fire Starters (Pyrokinesis)
The Shining (Telepathy)
Eragon (Dragon Riders are like super heroes in a fantasy setting)
Harry Potter (Magic and superpowers seem pretty similar sometimes)
Terminator (Terminators are like superheroes gone bad)
Dracula (Same comment as Terminator)
Frankenstein (The monster has mega superpowers)
Van Helsing (He's like an older version of Batman)
Underworld (All of them)
Resident Evil
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I could probably come up with more by going to my movie cabinet, but my point is this: For those of us who love the superhero/metahuman genre, we don't always have to wait for the next comic-inspired film to find superheroes. Sometimes they are right in front of us just disguised as something a bit different.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Maybe it's your turn! Maybe it's mine too!

Talked to Green of Green Gates for a long time last night. Quite an inspirational person. Green reminded me that the old wheel of fate turns and turns and you never know who it will name to succeed next. (We were paraphrasing Bob Dylan of course).
In times of recession, if you start to suffer, then ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen? You could lose everything you own, but the world often knows the cost of everything but the value of very little. What have you really lost? Maybe some options...meaning the option to self publish or the option to retire right away or the option to work at something you love, but as long as you have options then you can always rebuild.
So, if you are losing options, just keep plugging. If you are down to just one option, then take it! But remember your turn could be just around the corner so keep on going. GGE will.
Drop us a line and we can commiserate the fate of all starving artists together!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Learn a new skill in 2009

What is something that keeps us from doing a lot of what we would like to do? The skills to make it happen. I have lots of ideas for things like screenplays, websites, online comics, novels, independent comics, independet films, etc. I don't have all of the skills to make these things happen. What are the possible solutions? Find someone to help me for free or "on the cheap" in which case I might get just what I pay for.
Of course I could save up and pay big bucks for one area or seek investors...pretty tough way to go.
Here is my suggestions...pick a couple of the areas and develop the skills yourself. We usually have more time in our lives than we think we do. I watch too much football. If I substituted football games for learning, then I could pick up some useful skills. So why not pick up a new skill this year? I am going to. My intention is to learn how to write a good screenplay. I have a few books on the subject and will try and hone this skill during 2009. I might pick more. I would like to learn website design...but one thing at a time. What are you going to learn?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Deadspace: Downfall

Just watched "Deadspace: Downfall" which is a tie-in animated movie for the video game "Deadspace". My typical experience shows that video game tie-in movies pretty much suck. Deadspace: Downfall is quite an exception. It was really cool and had some great visuals. I enjoyed the sci-fi meets fantasy bits a little bit. Of course, like any horror movie, there were the "don't go through that door!" moments, but still, a very cool movie and it definitely has me wanting to play the game (and I am not a huge gamer).
So...looking for a good sci-fi/horror movie? If you don't mind animated films (and nobody at GGE minds animation! Heck...we LOVE it!) then Deadspace: Downfall goes on the official "GGE Recommends list" (just as soon as we make an official "GGE Recommends much to do!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

10,000 Hours

I am pretty sure I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on anything. I have spent well over 10,000 hours on my "real job" and I guess I am a bit of an expert. I'm not sure I have spent 10,000 hours on my career as a writer and creator of great stories. I guess it depends on how one decides to spend those 10,000 hours. We could spend them quickly by devoting several hours a week to our craft and hopefully get to the expert level quickly and start getting our "stuff" in front of others.
Or, we could do it hour or two a week. It will still take 10,000 hours, but those hours will be spread over decades.
So, what am I saying? If you have a "real job" but are trying to be a writer, artist, movie producer, director or whatever...remember this - If you treat your venture like a hobby, it will reward you like a hobby. If you treat it like it is your life, then the rewards will increase substantially.
Of course one has to have balance with work, family, religion and all that jazz, but the take home message is this - If you haven't spent a few hours working on your stories this week...why not start right now?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Publishers for Self-publishing

Regardless of your individual view of self-publishing, it seems to me to be on the rise. I don't have a ton of experience with self-publishing, but I have some. In any event, a friend and an aspiring author asked about self publishers a few days ago and I compiled a list with some links for him. Here's the list...

Dog Ear Publishing
Booksurge (Amazon owns this one)
Publish America
Wheatmark Book Publishers
Xulon Press

If you are interested, check them out. I don't want to recommend a specific one because I don't have experience with all of them. Check online forums and you can get info on most of them. When I do that, most of the "complaints" I see are really about self-publishing and not about the self-publishers. If you go this route, just make sure your expectations are realistically set and a lot of the complaints will go away.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Be accessible

One reason I wanted to start this blog was so that GGE is accessible to everyone. I think it is really important. I know when I have emailed authors to crow about their work, I am always thrilled when I get an email back. Most of us writers and aspiring writers were fanboys (or fangirls) first. We should all remember that! I know I do. If you have a comment, concern, question or just want to geek me! GGE loves to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wild Cards

In my opinion, any fan of superheroes has to read The Wild Cards series. It is a set of books written, primarily, by a group of authors all editted by George R.R. Martin. This book series is a great example of everything GGE aspires to. It has the formulaic pieces of superhero fiction, but it is written for adults, no doubt about it. These stories are about "real" people. The characters are very deep and well characterized. The powers are not the focus of the story really. The powers are more the setting. It's a bit hard to explain, but it is so well done throughout the series. The first book came out in the 80's. I read it and was hooked immediately. The newest volume was released in December 2009. I have already devoured it and the series just continues to get better and better. A new book is coming out soon ("Busted Flush"). The books are basically written as "triads". Any one of the books is a good jumping on point. It makes it a richer universe if you start at the first and read all the way through, but all of them are just darn cool!
Now is a great time to get onboard.