I am not here to remind everyone how bad 2016 has been. We all know what happened in the news and a lot of famous people have died. Our election cycle… Hahahaha, no, not getting into that. It has been an exhausting year. A lot has changed in my life in 2016. At the start of the summer I switched majors from Business Administration to Communications (Advertising) with a minor in General Business. Now my semester grades have gone up significantly because I have gone from math and numbers based classes to conceptual classes.
Happy Turkey Day, I hope everyone celebrating has gotten home safe with their loved ones! We take the tradition of saying, “I am thankful…” before dinner seriously. Personally I am thankful the ride home was smooth. I am also thankful for my family’s safety. I am thankful Mom is taking her life in stride and continues to be the moral guardian in my own life. I am thankful my brother is doing well in his classes and enjoying a strong social network. I am thankful my sister is getting the opportunity of a lifetime in Louisiana. I am thankful my grandmother is in good health and continues to be a strong link to family in other states, via stories of her early life in Florida.
One of my New Years Resolutions was to write a romance with no paranormal activity or violence; just a normal, sweet romance. What better time to start it than around one of the most romantic days of the year? The plot is simple. A man with Sideditus who must live with the disorder: every time he sneezes his body inexplicably jumps to the left. He is led to another person with the disorder and teaches them how to cope.
In honor of Mother’s Day I want to talk about my mother’s influence on my writing. Without her, a lot of vital aspects in my stories wouldn’t exist.
She has helped me immensely with cleaning up the plot for Ruby Caves. The same goes for Radiation Road, Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate, Vodka Men, and the extended cut of Atrocity (called Wish List).
She lets me know when a scene is too gory and helps tone it down. This primarily goes for Wish List. The Wendigo story was the first (and bloodiest, so far) story I ever wrote. I’m trying to give my readers an adrenaline rush through my writing, not gross them out. She’s helped me find my own limits. Too add to this, she also lets me know when a scene has dragged on for too long.
Dave being Polish. She gave me the idea for his last name (Kaczmarczyk) and from there his life was filled out. It roughly translates to “destroy peace” and some of her ideas on his characters fit that name very well. Dave is not altruistic, he is ruthlessly pragmatic. While his stories aren’t grounded in reality his fighting style sure fits what a human can reasonably achieve. His intrinsic ability to see and speak to the gods for what they are- the reason Death and Nemain (one of the Morrigan sisters) stick with him- was her idea.
Death looking like Humphrey Bogart at the end of Vodka Men. I hadn’t even considered it, but really, would you mind if Mr. Bogart came to you at the end of your life? I sure wouldn’t. Death is usually a skeleton to Dave (there goes the intrinsic vision) but to people he looks like the actor.
Her analytical nature is a major inspiration for Sarah Case’s personality. She is scary good at winning debates. She can more often than not defuse a situation. She has undying loyalty and support to us (me, my brother, and my sister) naturally. However, my mom gave me a critical point about Sarah’s relationship with William that altered the final outcome of the story. It has stuck with me.
She wrote the hilarious scene in Nutmeg Episode Seven: “Monster” where Nutmeg 3/8 is indecisive about eating Harland the thief. She almost wrote the entirety of Episode Eight: “Z” where Agent S almost runs over Travis Garcia. I only came back towards the end of that episode.
Finally, she has inspired me to add a little more humor to my stories. I came to the conclusion myself after she mentioned it to me. I don’t enjoy reading hopelessly bleak stories where there is little to no change in the character. The same goes for movies. Atrocity and Vodka Men are thematically my darkest stories, but they are meant as tragedies. And while I will add humor, it doesn’t mean I’m going to go soft on the drama or terror when it is necessary. A little genre blending never hurt anyone.
Thanks Mom, I love you! And to all the other people out there reading this, thank your mothers. For better or worse, there is no denying a mother's influence on our lives. Now stop reading this and enjoy Mother’s Day!
If you do, the very enjoyable Big Ass Spider! is not for you. Of all the B-Movies I’ve seen this is one of the top, up there with Never Cry Werewolf, Grabbers, Dinocroc, and C.H.U.D. It is a hilarious movie about well… I don’t actually have to explain this do I? Starring are a few familiar faces, like Greg Grunberg (the mind reader in Heroes) and Ray Wise (Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks or anything with a higher-up military guy).
Other principle roles include Lombardo Boyar and Clare Kramer.
The movie starts off with one of the greatest opening shots I’ve ever seen. Alex the exterminator (Greg) wakes up after a car accident. In slow motion he walks down the road. Fire is everywhere. Many are burning and grimy, and running from something (obviously a big ass spider). Soldiers are firing at it. He reaches the bottom of a skyscraper, looks up, and boom! Right there, a big ass spider blows up a helicopter, because what else is the helicopter supposed to do? Fly?
In honor of my birthday last Wednesday, I wanted to share a scene with you from the upcoming Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate. You will find the PDF version below.
We didn't celebrate my birthday until Friday, because life. In any matter, I got a sketchbook and pencils, which I'm using at every chance. I also got Game of Thrones in paperback form, which is much, much easier to read than on the Kindle. There's so many characters!
At any rate, I'll get back to guys next week.
Oh yeah, and check out this really cool article about what storytelling does I found on Life Hacker.
As I started editing Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate for publication I realized I won’t be able to make my deadline for Halloween; unless I drop three of my six classes. It took me a while to get over this fact. I was worried at night and losing some sleep. If you were to ask me a week ago I would blame it on stress. Ask me today and I’ll tell you I grew up and actually started thinking about it.
Stories aren’t seasonal, even if they are.
As long as it’s a good story, it doesn’t particularly matter what time of year it is read or viewed. I’ve finally accepted this.
My story may take place on Halloween but it’s not a Halloween story. It’s a story about a boy facing terrifying odds, friendship, courage, and a little magic thrown in. He could be going home after the neighborhood baseball game and heading to the celebratory party at Mackenzie’s. He can still be kidnapped by Uncle Doug and his friends can still encounter the Koi.
Movies like Trick ‘r Treat are specifically designed to have Halloween as an integral piece of the plot. In the movie townspeople have to follow the traditions of Halloween or they die horribly. That is one of the major differences between a story like that and my own. My story isn’t season specific.
It can happen at any time and while I do put immeasurable amounts of Halloween in there, you the reader, can decide which season or time or event it can take place.
When a character is just so badass or interesting, I want to do everything in my power to keep them around for as long as possible. It’s a problem I will have to face, because every once in a while the hero dies in a story. They’re the best at what they do; or they’re the new rookie with so much charisma and character you can’t hope but see them get married and have kids. They’re the husband, the father, the dog owner, the hunter.
Johnny B. Truant, my new favorite author of Fat Vampire and Fat Vampire 2: Tastes Like Chicken mentioned that at some point all authors hate their stories. A few others have mentioned this too. It’s true. I hate Ruby Caves, a lot. The story has not come out like I wanted it too at all. I haven’t been telling any of you about it recently because I stopped writing it before it became unfixable. I couldn’t finish it until I knew where I was going and now I do. The road to Ruby Caves has been bumpy but I’ll get to the end, I swear.
I hated the fun-fest of a second chapter. A werewolf isn’t supposed to be a walking goober. They are a calculating animal with the brains of a human inside. Predators don’t like anyone getting close to their food. Jack the werewolf sure as hell isn’t going to let a couple of humans and their pesky dog walk that close. I haven’t read it yet, but I heard Michael Crichton had brilliant first encounter scenes in Jurassic Park. He knew how to reveal just the right amount of tension before having a full reveal.
... Because I myself am not celebrating it. Not only did I not wear green- because I have nothing green- I didn't go out today to get pinched anyway, so it doesn't matter. Well, except for the green button down shirt but again, I'm not going to wear that inside my own house. My sister is away directing lights at a theater tournament in Kings Mountain, NC. I had work to do anyway.
It involved watching Stepmom, a horror movie, for my interpersonal communications book. I call it a horror movie because it is an unabashedly gushy chick-flick. Ed Harris was great in his role, as he is in most all of them. Julia Roberts had the spunk and ferocity to pass as his young fiance. Susan Sarandon was great as the mother worried for her children from the fire-breathing Julia. Cancer is literally rife through this movie because Susan is diagnosed with it.
That is the scary part, because of how common cancer is today. My family had some experience with it. The family in this movie handled it as well as we did; with the constantly good attitude and care-free nature at that time. It was natural for them and it was natural for us. Props to Chris Columbus who directed the movie for getting it right.
Another odd thing is seeing this on the New York skyline:
I don't know why it's strange. It just is, seeing that the movie was made in 1998. Along with Armageddon.
I mean, while Michael Bay has a severe fetish for explosions, his movie has no relations to what the peaceful grace of Stepmom. The clip in question is near the end at 3:12.
So back to that one, Stepmom. The dialog is quirky enough and light-heartening enough to make it work. At times it gets very serious and tries to be a tearjerker and may work for someone else, but not me. The relationships between all of them are natural and actually fun to watch. I give this movie a **** of *****.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.