The 8-Hour Book Challenge

Oh gosh. Hold on a sec and let me catch my breath.

Okay, author J.A. Konrath wrote a post on (among other things) maintaining the joy of creating without fussing over commercialism or perfectionism, and he ended with a challenge to create an entire book in just 8 hours.

That’s the entire book project. Writing, revising, formatting, creating a cover, and publishing. Complete.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Continue reading

Alpha Males & Fiction

English: Samson, alpha male (leader) gorilla i...

Samson, alpha male gorilla in Givskud Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had an interesting Twitter conversation a while back when World Weaver Press tweeted a link to an article about hot alpha males (“dangerous,” “possessive,” “dominating,” etc.) in paranormal romance. Being a total behavior nerd, I replied that most of these “alpha males” were actually displaying lower-ranking behavior – real alphas don’t posture, act aggressive or defensive, etc. — and we chatted briefly about the implications for fiction and PNR in particular.

Don’t confuse the “alpha male” and the “bad boy.” They’re different things. It’s a common myth, the posturing alpha male, but it’s a myth. Simply put, if you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it. Only those worried about their position waste time, energy, and other resources in reminding others of their position. Continue reading

I Feel Rather Flattered.

I hopped over to check something on an Amazon listing, and I found this: Continue reading

Writing emotions. No, not ABOUT emotions.

The problem with writing is that it’s wholly subjective. Qualitative. No hard data.

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

Where we can do quantitative analysis, we can make reasonable judgments even when our emotions aren’t in alignment. “I felt great about this today, but we actually had only a 70% success rate.” Or, “Oh, man, today has been a total downer and I hated this session, but we nailed it with a 90% success ratio.”

That’s very nice for behavior analysis and free throws. Not so useful with writing.
Continue reading

Peter Cushing and Asian Folklore

Peter CushingImagine my delight when I stumbled upon the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon and realized it tied directly to Asian folklore and therefore I could totally justify a blog post.

Cushing had a long and varied career, playing everyone from Sherlock Holmes to the Sheriff of Nottingham, but even those who aren’t film buffs will remember him as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (as pictured here), one of the few who could successfully tell Darth Vader when to step off.

But Cushing had a particular niche in horror films, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today — specifically, his role as Van Helsing in a kung fu zombie vampire movie.

You read that right. Continue reading

D&D Gone Off the Rails

English: A twenty-sided die (d20) as used in w...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s no secret that I’m a nerd and a geek, but I’m pretty new to the gamer scene. In fact, my first Dungeons & Dragons experience was at Gen Con a few years ago. And it was a lousy experience, to tell the truth. The scenario was written so badly that even the GM (assigned to run it, not his choice) realized that it wasn’t possible to save it.

Continue reading

You’re Doing It Wrong.

Bert knows this is wrong.

Bert knows this is wrong.

You know when you hit upon something that’s just so jaw-droppingly, amazingly awful that you just have to inflict it on someone else?

(That was your only warning.) Continue reading

I Ran for Freedom. And I Didn’t Collapse.

So this morning was the 5K run to benefit International Justice Mission, combating modern slavery. (Yes, real slavery still exists today. In higher numbers than ever, in fact, but thankfully also as a smaller percentage than ever.)

International Justice Mission charity run

Yes, that’s a six-year-old. Ahead of me. Shuddup.

What you have to know is that I don’t run. Really. So this was a really good cause for me to even sign up. I had planned to do at least a bit of training beforehand, but a rotated pelvis nixed that. And that’s my best excuse for why I was able to take a photo of a six-year-old in front of me in the pack. Continue reading

Spoiler! People are Funny.

Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction has to make sense.

This quip, variously attributed to Mark Twain or Leo Rosten, is quite true. In story, writers must pay a great deal of attention to motive and consistency. In real life, people are hilariously inexplicable. Continue reading

Ben-Hur: Drama, Conflict, and Parody

Cover of "Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector's ...

Cover of Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition)I love Ben Hur.

I love Ben-Hur.

Yes, it’s become somewhat fashionable in recent years for critics to wave their hands disdainfully at the film which was previously held in such esteem. Fine, they can have their pretense of superior taste. And okay, sure, trends in acting have changed in the last half-century. But I still love the film.

No, seriously, I once calculated that I’ve spent maybe half a week or so of my life watching Ben-Hur. Step aside, amateurs. Continue reading