It's been loverly, it's been fun, it's been super-elastic-spastic-plastic...

http://cthtt.blogspot.com/

That's the new address for the Central Texas Home for the Terminally Twitchy.
Sayonara.
First off, we have a cover - you can follow the link and see it here:
http://lee-martindale.livejournal.com/99973.html
It's lovely. I am happy.

Next off, quoted here from our editor, Lee Martindale:

"*The Ladies* Will Step Out In Style

As you may or may not know, A-Kon is a huge (as in, on the close order of 20,000 attendees) anime convention held in Dallas in June. For the last ten years or so, the convention has included in its multi-track, not-just-anime programming a growing and successful writers’ track, featuring panels on the craft and business of writing science fiction, fantasy, and related genres.

I mention this because, thanks to the good folks at A-Kon, *The Ladies of Trade Town* will celebrate its official debut in high style. The convention is hosting what amounts to a Book Launch track and inviting those contributors who can join us to be part of the festivities that include a “Meet The Ladies and Gentlemen of Trade Town” panel, a mass autographing session, and a gala book launch party.

A-Kon 22 will take place June 10 - 12, 2011 at the Sheraton Dallas (formerly the Adams Mark)in downtown Dallas. All Book Launch events are scheduled for Saturday, June 12, with the panel and mass autographing on Saturday afternoon (time and location to be announced), and the Launch Party scheduled for 7:00 pm in function space on the 38th floor of the Sheraton.

As you can imagine, I was gobsmacked when the A-Kon folks said they wanted to do this. This is the kind of launch the big houses used to give their releases, and the kind of launch HarpHaven simply would not otherwise be able to pull off on its own. To see this project step out with such a send-off damn near brings me to tears.

And, folks, it is going to be a LOT of fun."


And yeah, I've already committed to attend - if need be I shall shit a way to be there. Still haven't worked out accomodations, but I've got time.
It would be very, very hard for me to express how excited I am, but you can bet your bottom dollar there has been some 'squee' heard around the house.

Oh, and to correct myself, the last post's music was by "386 Mannequins" not "365 Mannequins"
jim000037: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2011 07:39 am)
"True Grit" in theaters - g'ddamn, this really isn't a hard one for me to rate against the original at all... Hailee Steinfeld outacts and outperforms and outshines Kim Darby even when Hailee's just standing still in front of the camera. that she performs brilliantly when she's not just standing still is gravy. Matt Damon stomps Glen Campbell's performance into the dust. Josh Brolin beats Jeff Corey as Tom Chaney. poor Domhanll Gleeson loses versus Dennis Hopper in the 1969 version (it's really unfair to compare them). Barry Pepper holds his own versus Robert Duvall's performance in the original, as does Jeff Bridges versus John Wayne. so the 2010 clearly wins on casting.
it wins on story too... and dialogue...
highly recommended, two enthusiastic thumbs up.

"Of Blood and Honey" by Stina Leicht in bookstores - urban fantasy has been popular for quite some time, particularly paranormal romances where kickass heroines stomp their enemies into bloody mud puddles and limp back home for some unfulfilled longing (or, in the case of Laurell K. - far too long and boringly fulfilled longing, so much so that it sometimes outweighs the plot by a factor of ten to one).
"Of Blood and Honey" is nothing like that. Fey and fallen angels and the Church and the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the '70's combine together into a brutal story where no character is untouchable and our lead, Liam, gets the shit beaten out of him physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually multiple times. it's beautifully written, taking the reader to a place and time no sane person would ever want to be except through the magic of a book. Stina obviously did her research and it shows. the book could have a sequel, but none is required and to make one work emotionally might be problematical - i don't doubt Stina could do it if she writes a sequel, but to make it feel right from the lead character's point of view will take some effort.
it's magical, but it's a dark magic - a gritty, 'realistic' magic - and there's nary a "and they lived happily ever after" to be found. i very highly recommend it. plus, bonus points, she's a local (Austin) author and God knows local authors should be supported.

"The King's Speech" in theaters - we went to see this film at the Alamo, and it was a semi-violation of our "Does It NEED To Be Seen On The Big Screen" standard... no, it didn't - but I'm so very very glad we did.
I can't think of a single negative thing to say about this film, with one tiny exception - I shall never again have the experience of watching it for the first time.
Superb casting, writing, directing... two extremely enthusiastic thumbs up from the wife and I.
jim000037: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2011 07:16 am)
so, i woke up this morning with an epiphany...

Charlie Sheen is a member of Anonymous, perhaps even one of its senior, more talented members. from his position in the Hollywood elite, he was in a perfect position to observe the insidious infiltration of our country's entertainment industry by the cult of Scientology.
his recent misfortunes, insane babblings and inappropriate behavior are the result of a Scientology counter-attack - they are poisoning one of our greatest actors and secret cultural heroes with a psychotropic cocktail, destroying his career, and i'm sure eventually his life, in revenge for Anonymous' attacks on Scientology.
Blame Tom Cruise!
rereading 'midnight in the garden of good and evil' and reached one of my most personally uncomfortable spots... i understand, and appreciate, what goes in to a good drag performance, but there are parts of the preparation that just give me the 'eeeek' face...
such as, if a gaff (look it up) is not available, duct-taping the male genitalia up between the butt cheeks...
not a pleasant prospect for any male to consider, no matter what.

so my new test for friendship is this:
If your life were threatened, would I duct-tape my junk between my cheeks to save your life?
not that i think that's a situation likely to occur, but it's as good a measure as any of my regard for you.

I'm afraid a lot of you would die.
Some of you would be very surprised to find out you'd live.
:D never ask me this question if you're not Really Sure you want the answer :D
at what point in a project, be it large or small, do you start to get worried the story isn't going to work?
Generally, I figure as long as I'm enjoying writing it, I'm probably okay. If I'm not enjoying writing it, it may just be the mood I'm in or some other mental issue, I feel copacetic with coming back to it later.
But I'm working on a story, I'm not enjoying writing it, I don't feel all that warm and fuzzy about coming back to it later and I'm not sure if it's because the story is not working, or if it's just a mood thing.
So yeah, vague damn question time...
concerning Taylor Anderson's "Destroyermen" series - Taylor was a guest at the last ConDFW I attended and as is my wont, I picked up a book of his to sample his writing - "Into the Storm - Destroyermen Book 1". It had a very pretty cover (as I remember - and I'm not going to go dig it out to check right now) of a WWI destroyer cruising into heavy waves on a storm-tossed sea.
When I got back to our room, I read the description... Two U.S. four-stacker destroyers on the run from the Japanese in the spring of 1942 sail into a mysterious squall and emerge... somewhere else. Okay, so I'm having "The Final Countdown" (movie, not godawful song) flashbacks and I'm going ho-hum, we'll see.
The book fuckin' rocked my world.
Yeah it's 'modern' technology in a primitive world, but it isn't our world. No 'destroyers changing the fate of the Roman empire' type bullshit - the world they end up in isn't ours except in geological terms. Monkies didn't evolve into the dominant species - two other species did (not going to post too many spoilers). There's a lot of creativity, a lot of imagination - yeah, it's military spec fic and if that isn't your bag then you shouldn't read 'em, but if it is, then go buy the first book, give Taylor a try. Hell, he's a Texas author - that in itself ought to be enough.
This post is brought on by my joyous reading of the second book in the series (he's got the first four or five out now).
Only one problem - the man hates chapters. According to the Kindle, I'm 32% of the way through the book - just reached Chapter Two. Not that there is any shortage of paragraphs and section breaks (that lovely blank line between scenes, whatever it's called), where you can stick a bookmark in, literally or electronically, and stop for the night, but DAY-Um! A third of the book and Chapter Two...
jim000037: (Default)
( Jan. 19th, 2011 10:30 pm)
so i'm working on 'Falling Angels' and it's already going to be solidly in 'novella' territory - even if my 2nd draft is 10% shorter than my 1st... can't really see stretching it to even the bottom of novel territory... :: sigh :: "Welcome to Novella, senor - I theenk you're going to be here a long, looong time."
(i stole that final riff from Stephen King... i think it was the intro to "Different Seasons" where he was talking about the commercial viability of novellas - that is "none")
of course, that was long before the Glorious Era of Self-Publishing made possible by the Great Internet Revolution.
Viva la Revolucion!
We will ride into Novella and free the peoples! Publishing, tequila and rifles for everyone!
(Now there's a hell of a recipe for convention party... amateurs, semi-pros, mid-listers - all drunk as hell, pissed off at having to promote themselves tirelessly to even make a pittance for their work and all of 'em packing heat. whoooo boy!)
On a more positive note, one of the very few nagging questions in the storyline resolved itself as I was writing a scene. Two characters explained the situation to me quite concretely. I thanked them for their help... especially as they're both doomed.

Elsewhere, the Oz story is almost finished, just a little more 'word count chop and slop' to go and I'll be sending it off. I shan't be sorry to see it go - it's been a problematical sumbitch.
Then it'll be time to start the next anthology submission - a superhero tale.
so, a day when i'm looking at putting a story i'm writing for submission to an "Oz" anthology back up on the rack, ripping out parts of it and reworking the ending, and i'm feeling a little down about writing. i don't like it when even i recognize that my first instincts on a story didn't work out - makes me surly and sad at the same time (never a pleasant combination).

then i look in my email and LO! the "final edit" copies of my story and bio for "Ladies of Trade Town" come in and i have to read over it again... and it's a good story. it lifts my spirits. i can prepare to go work on the "Oz" story in a lighter, brighter headspace.

you can't always get what you want...
and part of it, much to my chagrin and eternal shame, has been the ease of posting links to FaceBook. i am a worm. mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

the holidays so far -
Thanksgiving - was nice, even if it did involve a trip to S'ville. God love 'em, my family believes in Holiday Lunch - 12-noon-we've-been-up-for-hours-so-you-have-no-room-to-bitch. numero uno - your insanity doesn't affect my reality - therefore i DO have room to bitch. numero dos - i hate holiday mornings - for me or anyone else - that are hurry-up-hurry-up-bustle-rustle-scurry-scurry-scurry. Dorris and i have a much more civilized tradition of Holiday Dinner - food generally hits the table between 4 & 5 PM. allows for a more relaxed morning, much less stressful day. (in their defense, Dorris and i also aren't generally juggling the schedules of 3 families in addition to our own.)
blissfully this Christmas the family isn't going to be getting together on Christmas due to scheduling conflicts. we're having friends in from Houston - Lori-chan & her four young 'uns...
which explains why this week has been (and through today will continue to be) prepping the house and such - or at least as much of that hoohah as we ever do.

notes on various shit -
theory: passive races do not go to the stars. aggressive species do. peace, love & drugs stay home. angry, meat-eaters are explorers.
doesn't really bode well for first-contact scenarios.

idea for a bit of weirdness -
(best redneck voice)
"Cletus, I'm bored. Whut playthang kin you offer me t'day?"
"An obscure body in the SK system, yer Majesty. Th' inhabitants refer to it as the planet Earth."
"FLASH! YEE-HAW!
Saviour of the universe!"
not sure i could make that work, but backwardsass countryfuck Flash Gordon has a certain perverse attractiveness for me.

quote that caught my attention, may be a story in it (the humor of that will become evident in a moment...)
"Once one has seen God, what is the remedy?"
- Sylvia Plath, "Mystic"
wow, sounds like it's already been done by some hack named Plath. still, might end up writing my take on the concept.

Dorris' birthday - well, from moi she got a Kitchen-Aid Immersion Blender and Alton Brown's "Good Eats - the Early Years", and a Romano's gift certificate from Lee.
on the Saturday before, we grilled (damn good) steaks, played 'The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin', and ate on a Maggie Moo's Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake.
Tuesday of, we went to Austin Land and Cattle. not the steak house experience we were hoping for. first off, a bit of history...
years ago, Dorris took me to Dan McCluskey's (alas, no longer with us), my first trip to a real steak house. i saw the prices, said 'oh HELL no!' and prepared to walk out. generally speaking, if you're charging me upwards of $40 for a steak, i damn well better get an orgasm or three out of it, somehow, some way. Dorris managed to chill me out and with all my personal reservations still loudly telling me i was an idiot, i gave it a chance.
an hour and a half later - pre-dinner drinks later - approving the steaks before they went on the grill later - superb meal later - after dinner coffee later - i had enjoyed the first truly civilized meal of my life. the waiter was so unobtrusive that i swear he went a member of a ninja clan, our fellow patrons were as respectful of us as we were of them, i enjoyed a conversation with my beloved over dinner that was only interrupted by food and once, i think, the waiter waiting until one of us finished what we were saying and only then asking us if we wanted dessert.
all that... that was worth $40 a piece, plus drinks and dessert, tax, title, dealer prep and options, final tab for two coming out to about $120.
well worth it.
courtesy of a Groupon, went to Austin Land and Cattle, hoping for something similar.
uh, no.
as Dorris put it, "They don't have much land, so they packed us in like cattle."
prices were high. Dorris' Cosmopolitan - while potent - only had a passing acquaintance with cranberry juice. my "i-can't-remember-the-name" cocktail - a liqueur/sparkling wine mixture - was lovely. Dorris was missing a big ol' steakknife in her place setting - when there's only three items - fork, butterknife and steak knife (and it really was honking huge - i felt like i could go kill a bear with mine) i expect waitrons to notice when a piece is missing - we shouldn't have to tell them. patrons with small children who couldn't be bothered to calm them. uncomfortable tiny none-too-stable chairs (and i'm not just saying that because i have the mass of a small star). the dinner rolls were fresh - crusty on the outside, nicely chewy interior - and we dang near lost skin on them when they arrived - like i said, 'Fresh dammit'. when i'm paying upwards of $35, i expect my choice of your house steak sauces to be provided gratis - i want to sample more than one, fine, charge me, but $3 each or 4 for $10 - uh, no - fuck you very much. side dishes were uniformly excellent, steaks were indeed a religious experience (if there's a better taste in the world than a bite of well-marbled ribeye, i don't think i could survive it). after dinner coffee was good, strong, and served in decent sized cups (by our Mega-Mug o' Coffee standards).
all in all, disappointing. shan't be going back again.

"Tron - Legacy" in theaters - enjoyed it a lot - it was gorgeous. already looking forward to the next film. plenty of nods to the original. i highly recommend it.

"Get Crazy" at the Ritz - first off, sorry all you snobs and haters, one of the best films of the '80's for sheer, frenetic, twisted wonder - and music, let us not forget the music. alas, with the bankruptcy of MGM, this was the final showing of 'Get Crazy' from the sole surviving 35 mm print until the film vault is purchased by someone - i still hold out hope for an eventual DVD release, although rumor has it the sticking point has been the music rights.
when this first came out, our group of freaks caught it five times in the theater and i swear wore out two VHS copies - no big surprise that i could quote great chunks of it with a little visual prompting. (for years i've been using Captain Cloud's line "Time... it's a trip, man." even though i'd forgotten where i heard it.) for years the film's "Electric Larry" - a magic/sufficiently-advanced-technology drug dealer - was the patron saint of my roommates and i. surprisingly for one of my personal obsession films, Dorris understood why i'm so fond of it.
King Blue, Luther Jr., Nada, Piggy, Captain Cloud, Reggie Wanker - i love you all.

was debating whether to submit a story to an "Oz" anthology (as in 'Wizard of') - my brain gave me four good story ideas without me even thinking about it. i took that as a sign that i should probably submit. would actually LOVE to write all four, but only one of them has, i think, the potential to be accepted to this anthology, so if i ever, y'know, have the time, i'll write the other three for my own personal jollies.

work proceeds on a number of other projects - the drunken slut of an Irish Muse is in town, but has been relatively gentle with the spurs this time around.

love y'all, Happy Christmas and a Better New Year than last.
http://nation.foxnews.com/justice/2010/11/15/westboro-freaks-get-their-tires-slashed
of course, it being fox news, the validity of the report is potentially problematical.
If I'm being objective, which is hard where these Westboro sumbitches are concerned, then yeah, freedom of speech and assembly, they have a right to protest near/within sight of the funerals.
I don't like it. I think they're World-Class Shitheads, and as an Extremely Liberal Christian, I hate the mockery they're making of my religion.
I'm happy that people are starting to block their protests
http://citizensvoice.com/hundreds-plan-counter-protest-at-soldier-s-funeral-1.1064870
and although I would never, ever advocate lawless behavior - when there are police around who might hear me - I'm giggling my ass of that they got their tires slashed.
I'm just wondering how long it will be before someone snaps and we end up with a real tragedy on our hands. Mixing veterans and veterans' families with these morons is a volatile process. If things don't change somehow, I'm very afraid that someday someone is going to 'send them home to Jesus'. I understand the sentiment. And while I don't worry about them becoming Martyrs - face it, Westboro's tiny (71 members in 2007) and little they do is geared to bring in more converts - I don't want to see the children of the congregation hurt, even though I have no guarantee that they could ever be returned to sanity, or something close to it. Growing up in that hate-rich environment, being taught to believe as the Church believes... I honestly don't know if there's enough therapy in the world for that.
But if the adults in the congregation were to go down in a hail of bullets, or be pureed by a claymore blast... I don't think I could find a tear for them... their children, yeah. The adults... probably not.
It's not something I'd choose for any of the congregation, if the choice were mine to make. But it is something I could very easily see happening in the future.
And I really don't want to see any grief-stricken friends or family of a dead soldier go to jail for ridding the gene pool of this scum.
just finished the second 'Sandman Slim' novel, "Kill the Dead".

if he didn't look like he could rip off my head and shit down my neck without one singular drop of sweat breaking out anywhere on his body, i'd hunt him down and try my lameass best to kick the shit out of him. (hey, i'm realistic, y'know, you got to know when to hold, fold, walk away, run screaming like a little girl screaming "Please Mommy, make the bad man stop!")
i want the next book, i want it now, i want it on my desk right this very fucking instant.

so yeah, i recommend it, with the following caveat. it's only available in hardback right now, and the cover price is $23 - find it for cheaper. the hardback is barely larger than a paperback in it's length and width and in my humble opinion, there is no way on God's green earth that a book that size is worth $23 unless there is free and talented oral sex somehow involved.
Amazon.com has it available new from other sellers for as low as $7.59 (+$3.99 s&h) and at that price, i didn't want to choke the shit out of someone at the publishers every time i looked at the size of the book. it was close though...
listening to John Carpenter/Alan Howarth scores can be... interesting.
I had a Revelation! The Tea Party deserves a homeland and I know just where to move them.
In 2010, the idiocy rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once great city of New York becomes the one Tea Party reserve for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the Tea Party Homeland, only Tea Partiers and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: once you go in, you don't come out.
Return of the Living Dead )
Happy Halloween Y'all
my NaNoWriMo idea started out simply. take a planned (but never run) adventure from back when we were playing "Deadlands", file off the "Deadlands" serial numbers, and make a novel out of it.
filing off those serial numbers... yeah. that's where it got a little funky.
to make a world that wasn't "Deadlands", but in which Steampunk and Magic could coexist without it getting all messy and running down the front of my shirt...
to come up with a cast of major characters (limiting myself to eight and no matter how much they beg, no more than eight), none of which were gaming characters (the only carry-over in the characters is a prophetess referred to periodically, who was originally a character run by Empress Deb of the New Deb Order, may She reign forever), people who fit into the world, and history, i'd envisioned...
throw in homages to some of my favorite victorian sf&f without being, hopefully, too obvious about it...
all of a sudden, simple project no so simple no more.
i've got one more day to hopefully finish finalizing my notes for the story, and then November Madness begins.
:: gulp ::
if the following paragraphs make something inside of you giggle with glee, or feel all warm and fuzzy, or lick your lips (or something else) with anticipation, i strongly recommend Richard Kadrey's "Sandman Slim" to you...

"There's only one problem with L.A.
It exists.
L.A. is what happens when a bunch of Lovecraftian elder gods and porn starlets spend a weekend locked up in the Chateau Marmont snorting lines of crank off Jim Morrison's bones. If the Viagra and illegal Traci Lords videos don't get you going, then the Japanese tentacle porn will.
New York has short con cannibals and sewer gators. Chicago is all snowbound yetis and the ghosts of a million angry steers with horns like jackhammers. Texas is crisscrossed with ghost railroads that kidnap demon-possessed Lolitas to play strip Russian Roulette with six shells in the chamber.
L.A. is all assholes and angels, bloodsuckers and trust-fund satanists, black magic and movie moguls with more bodies buried under the house than John Wayne Gacy.
There are more surveillance cameras and razor wire here than around the pope. L.A. is one traffic jam from going completely Hiroshima.
God, I love this town."

if those paragraphs did nothing for you, or worse yet, upset or disturbed you in some way, then stay the hell away from Kadrey's book.

the above was quoted completely without permission.
i decided to do NaNoWriMo this year - officially and everything - (jr0037 is my NaNo handle for those of you interested or participating or both) and in a spirit of silliness i ordered the NaNo coffee mug...

it's small.
way too small for a coffee hound like me.
i'd finish it in two slurps and a licking of my lips.

but as Dorris pointed out, it will hold pencils on my desk nicely.
i've been torn lately between thoughts on the upcoming NaNo project and work on "Falling Angels" - which has of course gone from 'short story' straight through 'novelette' and into 'novella'. even after i trim it for a second draft, it'll be a novella.
add to this time spent on superflous pleasantries such as "Fallout: New Vegas", "Civilization V" and "City of Heroes" (it's Trick or Treat time!) and life is kinda busy.
just back from going to vote.
i urge all who are eligible to vote, and have an election to vote in, to do so - and to do so early whenever possible. even in our disaffected and hopeless age, voting on election day itself will involve long waits in line, and it'll be like that in the last days of early voting as well.
jim000037: (Default)
»

RED

( Oct. 17th, 2010 01:48 pm)
i know what you're thinking... you're wondering if the sight of Helen Mirren firing a .50 caliber is sexually exciting.

damn skippy!
her firing a submachine gun is almost as provocative.
then again, her just walking around is pretty damn sexy as well.

this movie is a lot of fun, good performances all around, lots of bang-bang-boom-boom-wheeeeee!
we highly recommend it.
y'know those times when you're wrestling with a sentence - the closing sentence in some part of your story, the one you'd really like to leave the readers remembering?

yeah. sometime yesterday the announcer asked the question "Are you reaaaaady to ruuuuuuumble?" and i foolishly said yes.
.