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

A Game Not For One Night, But For A Thousand and One Nights….

English: Princess Parizade Bringing Home the S...

Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree, 1906, oil on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Mark gave me a new board game for Christmas. The setting is the world of the traditional 1001 Nights, in which Scheherazade is weaving tales to amuse Shahryar and keep herself alive. Players are story characters, with literally thousands of game paths (very re-playable).

It’s a bit different, as games go, rewarding not just game accomplishments in terms of points or accumulated treasures and things, but extreme storytelling — that is, the more dramatic, tragic, twisted, inspiring, and generally enthralling your character’s journey is, the more likely you’ll win the game. Continue reading

Authors banned from reviewing books on Amazon?!

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español:...

How is this dog and owner like an author on Amazon? Both are being punished for the actions of someone they didn’t even know. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest publishing industry kerfluffle is Amazon’s banning of authors from reviewing books in their genres. You can read more about it here.

This is of course ridiculous, and there are so many reasons why. Continue reading

Choose Your Own Hamlet Adventure?!

I’m not making this up. Check this out. Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a choose-your-own-path book. With lots and lots of illustrations.

I really love Hamlet, and I also really love parodies of Hamlet. This sounds kinda awesome.

Continue reading

The Seventh Day of Kitsune – Where Are They Now? Part 1

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

So for thousands of years, creatures of folklore and mythology have stalked the Japanese countryside, keeping wayward children in at night. But what about in the era of electric lights and digital cameras? What happened to the youkai, the bakemono, the monomo and ayakeshi — where are they now?

They’re glad you asked. Continue reading

Signposts on the Way to “Making It” – Goals

Audiobook Collection

(Photo credit: C.O.D. Library)

It’s good to have realistic expectations as well as goals, right? And likely goals as well as shoot-for-the-moon goals, right? Authors — and everyone — should have many small goals as they make their way toward large goals.

So in a fit of procrastination from Real Work, I’ve compiled a just-for-fun list of things which would make me happy, small or large signposts on the way toward Arrived — wherever that is.

Continue reading

Music & the Writer

photo of classical music advertisement for epic music and great battle scenes

I snapped this pic in Chicago, Dec 2011, because music matters.

Lots of writers use music to set mood and evoke emotion while writing, and I’m no exception — I love using music to create a tone for a scene or even just to get creative juices flowing. Continue reading

Book Covers & Badasses

Today Rob Thurman released the new Cal Leandros cover. She is rightfully excited about it.

Okay, yeah, this cover’s pretty cool.

And there’s a lot to be excited about: the flying glass, the hair sweep, the handcuffs, the blood, the composition and movement, the gun…. No, not the gun.

The gun’s what jarred me out of the cover’s mood when I first saw this. Not because I don’t like dark sexy guys with guns (who doesn’t?), but because I like my dark sexy guys to be good at what they do. Continue reading