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Movie Opinion Time

Best Lovecraft Movie of all time? 

Doesn't have to be a direct adaptation or even mythos. Just the best at capturing the mood and themes. I've gotten some pretty wild answers from twitter, but i want to know what you think. Spread the question around, the more answers the better, obviously. 

Thanks!

I'm Doing Things!

Just a couple of weeks left until we're a two baby household. I'm, you know, going happily crazy with full on pregnancy brain, but that just makes life more exciting. I've got a lot of writing work I'm trying to get through. Sort of like mental nesting.

Mental nesting. Yeah, that's about what it is. So I did a post on my writing blog outlining the career stuff I've been up to. You can read about that here.

A Letter to the Gaming Industry is getting off the ground, and you can read all about that here.

I've started a little tiny D&D gaming experiment. The general idea is that I'm going to focus on skill challenges for XP awards instead of straight up combat all the time. We're going to be a deeply investigative game, sort of Law and Order meets Dungeons and Dragons. I might even write up about it here if there's interest and I have the time. My players are excited, what could be more important?

All Call to Women in Gaming

So here's the skinny.

After hosting my first panel on women in gaming I got a head full of great ideas and exciting thoughts and suggestions from women and men who game.

But it was only a start. There's a lot more to do and to talk about. I know a lot of women in the industry, I know a lot of women who game, but I don't want to start spamming you with an email to discuss the idea that's boiling in my brain. That said, drop me a 'hey, I want in' here in comments, at my email, in DMs on twitter, or send me smoke signals if your local and I'll include you in on the discussion as it gets off the ground. Also, spread this around, send it to your women friends and have them drop me a line.  Really, my hope is that this is a big beautiful thing, but I'm going to need the voice of as many as possible to get a complete picture.

Thanks, ladies, for your time.

(This is not discouraging you gentleman. You're welcome to be involved as well, but the message is first and foremost to women.)

An Open Letter to Ms. Fisher

Common geeks, we can seriously do better than this.

Here's a blog post by Carrie Fisher in response to a bit of internet vitrol she was victim too. I normally feel like 'never ever respond to that crap.' But in this case, Fisher was right to do so and showed grace and humor while doing it.

So, I wrote her an open letter on my other blog. You can read it here. If your a geek, a human being, and you have some time to kill I think you should write her a letter as well. Oh, and post a picture with it. It's really really empowering.

The Public Option

It's just this simple. There are terrorists in the US trying to pretend they are the only True Americans. They threaten public debate. They carry guns and wave them about while threatening to harm our elective officials as well as anyone who tries to debate with them. They are full of hate, ignorance, and violence.

And today, they are winning.

At this point, passing the public option is more important then just getting uninsured health insurance and lower prices so everyone can get by. At this point, we are being held hostage by Insurance company funded terrorists.

If we do not pass a public option, the terrorists win. They will know they've won by threatening and threatening violence against reasonable Americans. Next time, they will start with guns, and end with killings an political murder.

We should al be saying this. We should be mailing out elected officials, the media, and everyone we know.

So a number of my friends and those that I admire greatly have some great things going on right now, and I have to catch you all up. So, in no particular order, all the awesome the internet has to offer!

Jet Pack is go, finally, and is chock full of fantastic writing by three men whose talents I greatly admire. Every time I read something one of these fellas put out, I become a slightly better writer just for the example of 'what to do.'  Chuck Wendig, Will Hindmarch, Wood Ingham.

As you'll see shortly, JR Blackwell is always damn busy. Most recently, she's been published at Hub Magazine with her short story "Ticket." Fiction born out of nonfiction. I know you love that!  Download it. Do it.

And for that matter, Chuck Wendig has been a busy monkey too. He and Marty "The Revolution will do your mom until your dad likes it" Henley have a Revolution coming Wednesday. Since I'll be having high frequency echos shot at my belly that day, I'll tell you about it now. The Revolution will be Tweeted. Seriously, check it out. Oh, and there's a contest! TheStoryverse will be a thing to reckon with.

Oh, hey, and Eddy Webb has been putting together his own project. Check it out here. Reading, listening, joy!

Speaking of, JR Blackwell and Mur Lafferty want to tell you "Her Side," through multimedia storytelling. Photos, stories, and people who are cooler on the internet than I'll ever be, what the hell else could you ask for?

When my husband isn't busy starting internet fights, he's being nominated for an Ennie, one of the biggest awards in the RPG industry. He and a lot of other White Wolf writers are on the table this year (Jess Hartley, Rose-Bride's Plight, all things Hunter so on so forth) and their stuff is fantastic. Check it out, you can vote party line or not, but do vote. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, no problem. Just click the link and vote item 14 "Collection of Horrors: Razorkids" and an angel will get his wings. I promise.)

Want more? Fine. How about a free internet novella being created chapter by chapter by a great writer who could use some love? Good. Go check out Tim Pratt's Bone Shop.

That isn't enough free crap for you? Fine. What about some fantastically sexy steampunk world building and free novella? That's what I'd thought you'd say. On a personal note, if Cherie Priest isn't one of the nicest women in fiction today, I can't imagine who would be.

Please note, this is not a suggestion that you check out stuff on my list. It's actually an order. Get to it, damnit!


Book Review: The Betrayal

I wish I had more time to read. Isn't that the writer's lament? We spend all our time writing (or cleaning the kitchen to avoid writing,) and hear over and over again that 'if you write, you have to read.' A good friend of mine had something of an argument against that old trope you can read here.

Still, I actually like reading, and so I still wish I had more time to read. It recharges batteries when its good and when its bad, well, honestly I fling it across the room and vent about it to my husband for a day and a half. After that, I'm rededicated to write something awesome to make up for the bit of crap I've just read. (I imagine this is a grand cycle, all the world over, writers are reading each others work, hating it, and writing out of spite so that their work can be hated and the cycle goes on unbroken.)

So anyway, I make myself time to read from time to time. Especially when I get a book from the wonderful Laura Ann Gillman with a request for review. And so, on to The Betrayal by Pati Nagle.

How Did I Find this Book: Well, as stated earlier, I got this book in the mail. (Yay free books right to my house!) I did a little further recon after I got it, checking out the writer's site and so on. I like to have a background idea of what I'm getting into when I start something new. Ms. Nagle's page for this book is pretty neat. There's a calendar, detailed outline of the clans and other aspects of world building. I gotta say, I was pretty impressed with the amount of 'off scene' detail went into the background of this book. I'm usually luke warm about the idea of heaps of world building going into a fantasy novel since it seems like it gets in the way of just sitting down to write the thing. Since The Betrayal is sitting on my bookshelf now, I can say Ms. Nagle didn't fall into that trap, and her world building worked out nicely.

The Good: So here's where I give a disclaimer. This time is no exception. I don't read fantasy, I rarely like fantasy, and so I don't usually feel like I'm a fair audience for a fantasy novel. There's nothing wrong with the genre, it's simply a matter of personal taste. That said, I read this book with an open mind and I don't regret the time at all. (Hint: I did not throw this across the room.) It's a story with elves and vampire elves and magic and just enough sex to interest me without getting smutty. What really impressed me was that Ms. Nagle managed to create badguys who made sense. The villainous evil vamprie elves seemed reasonable, actually, even their mysterious and bloody leader, a cold blooded monster woman, came across with just the right pathos to be interesting. I cared about her and her story as much as the heroines story, and that's a hell of a thing to do while keeping the bad guys bad. For a fantasy novel, the writing wasn't over the top and purple. If it didn't have some shades of violet in it, it wouldn't have read like fantasy, but it didn't hit a point where I wanted to put on a monocle and drink Earl Gray while reading. The sex was just as it should be. Pretty real, a little hot, and seemed to exist to either forward the plot or deepen the characters which is just what I want out of sex.

The Bad: Flowery language, romance all over the place, monsters and a bit of renaming real world things to make them more... fantasyish... I can't say any part of that was awful, but I'm sure some sticklers might not be able to get past that sort of thing to enjoy the book on what makes it unique. Well, boo for them. I bet they hate Santa too.

Who Will Like this Book: Fantasy fans who like their stuff a bit romantic. Romance fans who think elves are interesting. Writers who want to see villains done sympathetically. People who like vampires, sparkely or not. Me when I get around to reading it a second time.

Who Won't Like this Book: I mean, if you're a non fantasy reader and don't otherwise appreciate the genre, (coughD&Dcough) I don't know how you'd get into this. It fits nicely into its genre without being stale, but I didn't feel like it did a lot to reach out of the genre. It doesn't have too, not every book out there needs to break boundaries. It's okay, I'll read it twice for the sake of both of us.

Up Next: DEL TORO'S THE STRAIN!!! WOOO!!! I'll admit, I started this already on vacation. I couldn't resist. Boys and girls, you are in for a treat if you're headed into this book anytime soon. More later.


Free Range Writers

So first of all, go here if you want to read my article on parenting and gaming. Fun stuff to write, neat magazine to have written it for and all thanks (like so much else in my life these days) to Matt McFarland. (Thank you, Matt!)

So I’ve had some time to process the Writers’ Convention I went to this weekend.  I have a notebook full of notes and thoughts and I realize how few of them will actually apply to anything but my own work, this will be ironic soon. (What, ten years of pretending to be a writer, a year or two with a bit of success at it, and NOW I actually think about plot construction for the first time in my life? Yeah, I win the internet.)

The thing that I couldn’t get past most of the time, is how strange the writer is as an animal, especially when it’s free range and face to face with its own species. Curious, occasionally friendly, and by some staggering percentage, utterly unable to think about things outside of the terms of their own needs. (I'm not saying this is a universal truth, just what I observed this weekend.)

Now granted, I’ll give you that all of those writers there spent a few hundred dollars to learn the few things they needed to make their manuscript the next DaVinci Code. I can’t blame them for having their heads pretty far up their own manuscripts. I know I tend to think and relate new information to things I already know or understand, that’s how my brain works, but when I’m in a large learning space I do try to take that information and make it universal. I learn more and others around me do as well. (Did I mention I couldn’t keep my damn mouth shut through most of the workshops? I had a few people, speakers included, thank me, so I guess I wasn’t too obnoxious.)

I also saw a non internet troll. It was fantastic. A grown man in his mid to late fifties. A man who at least pretend to have a real career as a writer, and so you would think he had good things to do with his time and money. Like any internet troll, apparently not. He sat in a class and spent the whole time muttering his side comments to someone beside him. Eventually it got so obvious and irritating that the speaker stopped and asked him what his issue was with what she was saying.  Being a troll, he backed off, saying that wasn’t the time and place. Better still, he spent the rest of the day (at least from what I could tell, he was prevalent in the break room) complaining to any and all how he was ‘yelled at’ by one of the speakers. When, after a while, someone who had been in the first class came in to try and still his belly aching a bit, he got up and left saying ‘they just don’t understand the point.’ Classic troll behavior, and best of all, this guy had never even been on the internet! (He’s a letter writer, he explained, dozens of pages of letters a week.) Funny how it never occurred to me that such a thing could exist outside of the net.

There were questions at panels so narrow and specific to a writer’s work that the panelist couldn’t possibly answer it. Loud personal phone calls in public places. More complaining about minutia then you could shake a complaint form at, and of course all of it coming from people who had been to this conference a dozen times before and would go a dozen times again, age permitting.

Don’t get me wrong, I ran into a lot of people who were just fantastic, people who I hope to some day call peers. There’s one young lady who has, no kidding, ACTUALLY done something new with the standard vampire novel, and I am dying to be her pal when she’s rich and famous. I had a blast and learned things at every turn, but then, that’s what I wanted out of that conference. I wonder if I’d gone into it wanting to ‘fix’ my manuscript or land an agent or find something to complain about, that’s just what I would have found.

Long ramble short, really, ladies and gentleman, have fun if you’re going to go. If not, I’m sure you can find things at home to bitch about.

Fearless

One day I watched my almost-eight month old defy death. Nothing tragic really, she just decided to crawl off of the edge of the bed and plummet head first to the ground.

I was watching, mind you, and got my hands on her fat little trunk before she got all the way over the edge, but it was clear her intent. Yes, she wanted to crawl off the bed. No, she didn't know it would hurt her. She hasn't any concept of 'I could get hurt,' or 'that might be scary."

In fact, she really has no real sense of fear. Now, don't get me wrong, she'll get afraid after the fact. Also the dark. But things that she can see and reach for, things she can touch or taste, or somehow experience, no, she hasn't any fear. She just reaches and pushes and explores with little concern for the consequences.

Sometimes, she'll storm her way across the couch at a full crawling clip towards the desk where my husbands computer sits. The purpose for this? Apparently, her only desire is to grab on to the printer/scanner monstrosity on his desk and hang from it. There's no where else she could go on the desk. She just wants to hang and climb and challenge herself, and gravity be damned! My husband thinks her suicidal need to hang from the printer/scanner has something to do with scanning her butt like those drunk secretaries do at company Christmas parties.

I've even found her attempting to climb my book shelf. Maybe to get at my books, or maybe, more likely, just to climb -something.-

I remember shortly after she was born. She would roll onto her stomach and cry and cry, mostly we figured, in frustration that she couldn't move. She couldn't go. It was so sad to watch her little head bob up and down, and her little feet kick no where to get her somewhere. The moment when she first got to her knees and really honestly crawled for the first time, she literally squealed with joy. Joy at being able to move and be in control. The dangers and perils that come of being in charge of your own movements just don't matter. Moving matters.

Willy Shakespeare says 'Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.'

What does this have to do with creating, with writing? To be honest, I didn't know at first, I just watched my daughter and her fearlessness and kept being nagged by a sense that there was something I ought to learn in it. I realized it was trait in her that I respected, and envied it a little. Which is when it occurred to me, of course, I'm a dummy. I'm afraid. I'm afraid of putting my out there that it's going to be rejected. That after all this time I'm going to find out I was never a 'real writer' after all. Whatever that means. I was afraid to take a risk just because there might be a consequence.

In that silly little moment of realization, I put together what my daughter was trying to teach me, unknowingly perhaps, when she tried to crawl off the edge of the bed.

I've decided to shrug off fear and doubt, and dive head first into the thing I'm the most afraid of. (You know, other than motherhood, 'cause that's one I was gleefully thrown into, rather than dove.) So I'm putting my writing out there, out everywhere. I'm biting back my fear and taking a chance, because, like my daughter, I don't know if I'm absolutely going to fall if I climb up on the scanner, and so what if I do? I've got plenty of people who love me and will catch me.

So anyway, thank you Tina, for being fearless, and reminding me how. /gooey mom time.

Also: Updates on the Anthology I was included in, you can download a sneak preview.

Three of my White Wolf titles are out, buy them at your local Dork Store. Immortals, Ancient Mysteries, Ancient Bloodlines.

And, my article for Pyramid Magazine is now out, here.


It's after 1, how about something nice?

I could be totally wrong here, but I sort of feel like Henry Rollins exists so it is physically impossible to hate men (or even mankind) all the way. He makes me feel humble everytime. This one brought me to tears. (Pregnancy: Leading cause of weak weepy Mena.)


Somewhere someone is thinking of you. Someone is calling you an angel. This person is using celestial colors to paint your image. Someone is making you into a vision so beautiful that it can only live in the mind. Someone is thinking of the way your breath escapes your lips when you are touched. How your eyes close and your jaw tightens with concentration as you give pleasure a home. These thoughts are saving a life somewhere right now. In some airless apartment on a dark, urine stained, whore lined street, someone is calling out to you silently and you are answering without even being there. So crystalline. So pure. Such life saving power when you smile. You will never know how you have cauterized my wounds. So sad that we will never touch. How it hurts me to know that I will never be able to give you everything I have.

- Henry Rollins
(No source found)