Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great information about Self Publishing

I put this info on Twitter as well as here in today's blog entry. Excuse the redundancy, but it seems really interesting and thus bears repeating.
I wondered across J.A Konrath's blog entry today and he discusses the state of Self Publishing. For anyone who doesn't know, Konrath is an already etablished print author, but his insight is still really interesting.
It's an eternal question for writers and it is getting to be a more commonly asked question as publication options, distribution options and marketing options become more and more varied.
I'm not taking a position on this one. It is a question for each writer/creative to decide when to seek acceptance by their industry's "gatekeeper" and when to go it alone instead.
This blog makes some compelling points though.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Sorceror's Apprentice

Why was the Sorceror's Apprentice not more well received? I just saw it and I have to say that I loved it!
I love the concept. I love the backstory and I love the way the sorceror's all seem so unique and mysterious. It had some of the same cool mystique that Highlander had for me.
I even liked their explanation of magic and the way sorcery works.
I didn't really see any downsides at all. I am not always a fan of Nicholas Cage, but I liked him in this movie and I thought his character was really cool.
I saw The Last Airbender recently and really enjoyed it as well, though most of what I enjoyed about it was based on the cartoon's already-established storyline, but the movie was still very good and I would like to see more.
Of the two though, I thought Sorceror's Apprentice was much cooler.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Key events

I read some cool advice a few months back. It was all around how to make sure your life feels meaningful, impactful and happy.
It all centered around making a "key events" list. The thought behind the key events list was to look back through your life and make a list of key events. Things that happened in your life that truly changed you.
It said to go all the way back as far as you could remember. It might be a meeting a best friend in elementary school, graduating high school, going to Disney World.
I thought through this and I wrote down about 30 things. A lot of it involved education (graduating from college), travel (visiting the UK) or changing jobs. Also each book that was published showed up on my key events list.
So, for me, what was the verdict?
  • Do more travel
  • Change jobs fearlessly when a better one comes along
  • Publish more books
  • Seek out educational opportunities.
The next step is to try and seek out more of the things you enjoyed, or that changed you in a positive way.
For me, this means
  • Look for new work if I want to
  • Make it a travel job
  • Publish more books
  • Finish my masters degree

All of those things are ongoing. Now that I know what a positive impact these things have had on my in the past, I am truly excited about the future!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Four Burners

I was reading Chris Guillebeau's blog over at "The Art of non-Conformity" this morning and I wandered across this post about work-life balance.
In it, he talks about a quote from David Sedaris that says that all of our lives consist of four "burners" (in this case, our life is metaphorically a stove top). There is a burner for friends, one for family, one for health and one for work.
The quote then goes on to say that to be successful, you have to turn off one of the burners. To be really successful, you have to turn off two.
The thought is anathema to a lot of people (me included). I have always sought a life in balance. I can, however, see how turning off some burners would help one succeed in the other areas.
I am just selfish enough that I want success in all areas.
The comments on the post offer some valuable insight (proving once again  that blog readers are usually smarter than blog writers - though sometimes they are the same people). piece of valuable advice is to combine burners. For example, run or bike with friends or family and thus combine health/family. Or make friends and family a single burner.
Another bit of advice says to turn down one burner for awhile and then come back to it later. This one begs a "juggling" metaphor.
For me, and for many of the creatives I hang out with, there is a fifth burner. The fifth burner is our "art". so I have a work burner that I have to keep going and I have to be successful primarily for the benefit of my family and health. Work also finances my art. So, I have to be successful at work, but I also have to leave time for writing, creating, etc.
I know, for a fact, that if I stopped producing my art, even at the snail's pace at which I work, I could devote more time to work and quickly become one of the best in my field. I could be much more recognized. I could give presentations at conferences and I could make a lot more money.
The thing is, my work is not my passion. My art is. So I have to balance 5 burners, not 4. A lot of you are in a similar boat.
So, do we need to cut off a burner? two? Or is there a way to juggle things better?
Just a glimpse into my life, right now, I do a decent job at managing all five. I get up early, get to work before most others. I then get to leave a bit early, get home and do family stuff. I keep 2 nights a week to hang with friends. I work out after the kids have settled down for the night, usually around 9:30. And then I spend an hour or so writing before bed. Some nights, I squeeze in some pure relax time just for me (lately there has been more relax time as I bought Starcraft 2 and I am addicted to it - this is a pattern I endure when I get a new game. I don't get new games often, but when I do, I surrender to an intense addicted phase and then I am done for a long while).

Whew...long post I do you guys and gals handle the 4? 5? 6? burners in your lives?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have a holly, jolly, holiday

I plan to have a great holiday! Not just the family time, the overeating, the holiday cocktails, the Christmas eve services, the presents, the football, but also time for the following:
  • Relaxing Gates-style: this means some Starcraft, some World of Warcraft, lots of reading, some sci-fi movies and maybe seeing True Grit.
  • Exercising: I actally love to run and it always seems a rushed and harried practice to squeeze in my 3-5 miles. During the holiday, opportunities abound
  • Creating: I love having uninterrupted time to make notes for new and existing stories, sit down with coffee and mood music and write, write, write.
So my holiday will be all of the traditional stuff, plus my three little goals listed above. I will also, of course, review 2010 and make some goals for 2011. I'll share some closer to Jan 1.

What are your unique holiday plans?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twittering (Tweeting)

Been brushing up on my Twitter usage. Even still, I know I only understand a portion of Twitter. I am finally figuring out how to retweet and reply and I am starting to get some really good usage out of the folks I follow! Really cool.
You can follow us here. Send me a tweet and I'll follow ya back.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Marci! Where have you been all my life?

I may be stating that a little strongly, but I wandered across Marci Segal's blog today and it is all about creativity and leadership, both of which are near and dear to my heart.
I think this should be high on the list for anyone to read, creative or not.
We could all use more creativity in our life.
Even in jobs where we think creativity is not championed, it is often the most creative approaches that get noticed.
Sometimes being creative just means finding that little something that differentiates us from our peer.

Jimmy Johnson said, "The difference in ordinary and extraordinary is just that little extra."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Anti Matter

Anti Matter is a really funny web series devoted to exploring the geekdom that occurs around comic shops by fanboys like...well...sadly a bit like me, and maybe like you too.
I love the way the Chris Walker has taken what he knows, made it into bite sized webisodes and launched this series.
It's funny and familiar.
My favorite quote thus far is when one of the fanboys is trying to explain the hierarchy of geeks, dorks, nerds and dweebs and he says it is "nature's way of saying 'sorry' for only giving you three emotions. Anger lust and a more extreme form of lust."
The web series got a nice writeup on wired (which is how I found it).
How inspiring! Go create!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Transformers 3

Just watched the Transformers 3 (Transformers: Dark of the Moon)trailer. As usual, the cinematography is just gorgeous. I am amazed by the effects in those movies.
I am not a huge fan of the Transformers movies, though I was a huge fan of the cartoon and thought the toys were really cool.

I can't say what it is exactly that I don't love about the movies. They have some great qualities
  • Great director
  • Good acting
  • Spielberg
  • Amazing effects
  • Big budget
  • Humor
  • Ensemble Cast
All of these things are things I would typically say add up to a great movie. Maybe it's the stories? Maybe the cram too much into each film. I like parts of the movies, but I always find myself sort of hoping for the end of the movie to come along and then feeling like it is a long way off...and I typically like long movies (love the LOTR trilogy).
I can't say what about Transformers doesn't appeal to me. Don't get me wrong, I will see it, in 3D, but I get the sense I should like these movies more than I do.
Can anyone share their thoughts on what they find appealing? Maybe it's contagious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Christmas shopping

I love Think Geek. If I owned a catalog, this is the stuff that would be in it.
This is a bib for a newborn. In my circle of friends, this is perfectly normal.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pirates are back!

I know that some would say that Disney has done the Pirates of the Carribean to death. You know what? I don't care. I love pirates. I want to be a pirate and I'll go see these movies until Johnny Depp looks like Keith Richards!
Earth Station One has the preview trailer! Check it out!

The Secret

So I finally read "The Secret" (that's how far behind I am on my "to read" list - I think it came out in 2006).
It's a really interesting book. Not to ruin it for you, but it's about "The Law of Attraction" which has gained a lot of momentum in recent years.
I say it has gained momentum. It may be that I just became aware of it. I know most folks who write about the Law of Attraction sight some older sources like Wallace Wattles (Who called The Law of Attraction part of a "New Thought" Movement way back in 1910).

I have read other books that talk about this subject.
All say similar things and for the authors of these books it seems a very real principle and seems to have been "proven" by their lives and their situations. NOTE: I especially recommend Jack Canfield's book.

I have to say that I am a big fan of this notion as well. I don't know if one can always expect things to occur quite as dramatically as some of the examples in these books. Of course, a proponent of the Law of Attraction would say that my lack of 100% belief is why things like that don't happen to me.

I do believe though, 100% that you need to know exactly what you want if you are going to go after it. I fully believe in the power of visualization as practiced by all manner of professional athletes.
You have to believe you can achieve if you are going to succeed. That sounds like an affirmation, but it is very true. Henry Ford said "Whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, either way, you're right"

So if you aren't where you want to be in life, relationships, business, etc. I would recommend one of the books above as a tool. I'm not sure any will provide the whole answer, but they are certainly worth a read.
And if you find them inspiring enough to set a new grandiose vision for your life, and then succeed at only 10% of that vision, you've still moved ahead with your dreams!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gnomeo and Juliet

Saw an interesting trailer for "Gnomeo and Juliet" this evening. A re-telling of Romeo and Juliet (as you may have gathered from the name) only with Yard Gnomes.
I love yard gnomes, by the way. I have a small collection of them (and no, I am not a geriatric, I just like the little dudes).
I think it could be a great idea. Sort of "Toy Story" like, but I suspect it will not be a big hit. Just a feeling.
Now, more importantly, why do I like Yard Gnomes? Who knows. I think because they seem whimsical and I like to think they are alive when I am not looking. Is that weird? It's the premise of "Gnomeo and Juliet" so I'm not the first person to think of it and I suspect most Yard Gnome owners like to pretend the same thing.
Oh, and Yard Gnomes seem to promote a lifestyle I could really enjoy. They are typically depicted either smoking, drinking or napping.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


You know, I love creativity. I love writing, drawing, brainstorming, outlining, filming...I just enjoy being creative. It's a shame that there aren't more opportunities to be creative. Then again, I guess there is really no shortage of such opportunities. Right now, I create in my time after my "real job".
I am starting to realize there is a certain amount of creativity that can be employed in my "real job".
I know there are a lot of other creators out there looking for a venue. I am starting to think that we have to make our own venue a lot of times. Find a tribe of followers, connect with them and market right to them.
I am thinking that the notion of being "discovered" might be a thing of the past, or at least a lot more of a crap shoot than it's ever been before.
There is so much noise out there, it's hard to convince someone you are different enough for them to produce.
Maybe the right path is to produce...and use your product to convince.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Historical Musings

Obviously, yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day. A Day that has lived in infamy (as FDR predicted). I know Japan and the U.S. pals now, and I am glad for it. Peace is my thing! Still, I am really saddened by the loss of life back in 1941. War is a terrible thing, but I am seriously grateful for those who have served and given thir lives to protect our freedoms.

Today, in 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed. Whether you like John Lennon or not, he was a great song writer and musician who changed the musical landscape forever. He certainly deserved better than being shot down. R.I.P John!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stuff GGE needs

In 2011, GGE needs:
  • A redesigned website. One that rocks
  • Illustrations for some stories and some cover images (It's always amazed me that even with $$$ to spend, I can't get artists onboard)
  • An editor-for-hire who can edit grammatically, but also provide story input into our finished works (3 and counting)
  • We need to finish a few other stories that are in their infancy right now
  • We need someone to work with us to convert some prose to screenplays
Not sure where I will find these talented people yet, but they have to be out there. Some of it, we will do internally. If you know someone, send 'em our way!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Expendables - a poor review from a notoriously easy reviewer

How could a movie have so much promise and undeliver so badly? Don't get me wrong..."The Expendables" was "okay" and I could watch it again. Just like I could watch "Commando" again, but it's unlikely I would do that on purpose.
I expected this to be something GREAT. Like the "Magnificent Seven" or "The Dogs of War" or "UnCommon Valor" or something like that, only with cooler uniforms, gear and bigger stars.
How can we have a movie with Jet Li and not have major martial arts fighting? I just didn't love this movie. Loved the cast. Loved the premise. Was very disappointed in how it was pulled off.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

IHero is back, baby!

Back in 1999, I wondered across an online Cyberage Adventures, an online E-zine that featured superhero stories written for adults. It had great artwork, but not sequential art like comic books. The thing I remembered most was that they viewed superheroes as a setting, not a type of story. They felt any type of story could be set in a superhero setting. I wholeheartedly agreed.
There were some products offered over time. A roleplaying game, a really great novel and a superhero tarot deck.
Then I didn't hear anything from them for awhile. Suddenly, thanks to Facebook, I wondered back across Ihero. I found their website and lo and behold, they are back with a new magazine offered both as a print mag and as a digital download.
The first issue went live today and I KNOW it will be great. I don't have to guess. I have read these writers before. I know some of the characters. It will be worth my time and money so I immediately bought my copy.
I highly suggest checking them out!