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Monday, March 2, 2015

EVIL LOOKS LOVELY IN TOO LITTLE LIGHT


The first THREE to ask will get a FREE audio download of 




LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU:

Luke Winters has spent his whole life straddling two worlds,

Lakota and White, belonging in neither.

The woman he has loved all his life has become the feared donna of the crime family which controls the state.

Join Luke as he enters a party where revenge is the main course:


The driver dropped me off, disappearing into the night. A disapproving waiter led me into a modest drawing room the size of Missouri.

Rubies and diamonds sparkled on ivory throats and wrists like drippings from the sea.

The low rumble of the music was muffled by the rise and fall of empty conversation and brittle laughter.

I looked at the ebb and tide of desire upon wealth, greed upon opportunity.

The social elite milling through the room seemed to be talking against a darkness that pressed in on them or fought to escape them.

I was caught up in a sense of unreality as if the world of sun, mountain, and desert had slipped out of reach somehow.

It wasn’t the first time. 


 In fact I had lived most of my years in Boston in that twilight world.

My years. 


 A long trail of disconnected moments that had failed to add up to a life. A deep voice suddenly sneered beside me.

“It is only the superficial qualities that entice. 


 Man’s deeper nature always is rancid in some fashion. Isn’t that right, Dr. Winters? 

Oh, I forgot. You lost your license, didn’t you?”


I turned. Dr. Winwood, the city’s leading psychologist.

His block chin jutted out at me like a blunt instrument.

His smile was a mask, behind which his calculating mind peered out, weighing the blush here, the furtive glance there.

His smug face said he knew the bills in my mailbox and the sins of my past. 


 He had too much free time.

“Still his success rate is higher than yours, Winwood.”


I turned to my left.

Victoria, elegant in a retro-Titanic gown that was suddenly all the rage, one arm tucked behind her back. 


 As always the sight of her hit me like a physical blow.

Her body was as slim and slight as the branch of a birch. Her shoulders were the white of mountain peaks.

Her long, sparkling gown blazed under the bright lights as if spun from fresh-shed blood. And her face? Her face.

It was beautiful and terrible beyond any singing of it. I found myself holding my breath as I lost myself in her green eyes.

Most found those eyes frighteningly cold. But that was just a polished front to hide the fact that they’d lost their way a long time ago.

Perhaps my own eyes looked the same.

***

Saturday, February 28, 2015

NIMOY'S MOVING LETTER TO TROUBLED TEEN

{Left Click the image to see it bigger}


In 1968, a young girl , identified only as F. C., 

wrote FaVE magazine in response to an article on Spock, 

that being half-white, half-black she felt an outcast, ending the letter, "I guess I'll never have any friends."


It touched Leonard deeply.  

He wrote the magazine a lengthy letter for the girl,

describing the hurt and confusion Spock felt at being labeled a half-breed.

Spock decided that since he was not accepted by his school mates, he would forget about being popular and concentrate on improving himself.

Spock decided it was more important to be true to himself and know his true value.  

Spock said to himself:

"Not everyone will accept me.  But there will be those who will accept me for what I am.

I will develop myself to such a point of excellence and intelligence 

that I will be able to see through any problem and deal with any crisis.

I will become such a master of my own abilities that there will always be a place for me."

And when you see him on the bridge of the Enterprise, you understand that he made the right decision.


More Quotes from the letter:

"Popularity is merely the crumbs of greatness."

"Spock said, 'Why should I listen to the insults of those who don't really know me?'"

"Instead of trying to be powerful, Spock decided to become useful."

"Instead of being interested in being popular, he became interested in being intelligent."


And that was the kind of man 
Leonard Nimoy was.

Friday, February 27, 2015

LEONARD NIMOY TWEETED HIS HEART


{Taken at Dragon Con 2009}

He was saying GOOD-BYE for months on Twitter.

His last Tweet?

"A life is like a garden.  Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP."
{Live Long And Prosper}

Sometimes he wrote poetry as in "You and I Have Learned" which ends with:

"The Miracle is this:
The more we share
The more 
we have."

A recent tweet was born 

of the smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which eventually killed him.

"Don't smoke.  I did.  Wish I never had."

On October 29, 2014, he tweeted:

"These are beautiful days.  Folks ask what I'm doing.  I tell them I'm doing Family."

We would be wise to follow his example in that.

DID YOU KNOW?

* Spock's Vulcan greeting, the three pointed hand gesture, was inspired by the Hebrew letter "Shin" 

that he saw men exchange at a synagogue when a young boy with his father.

* During the filming of the TV STAR TREK, Leonard Nimoy would use a bicycle to get to the commissary  to eat lunch 

before everyone else so he could race back to have his Spock ears re-set and not delay filming.  

Hey, lunch was lunch!

William Shatner repeatedly stole Leonard's bicycle, 

chaining it to a fire hydrant, hiding it in a doberman infested trailer!

When Leonard put his bike in his car trunk, Shatner had the car towed!

You really must watch this video!

WRITE THE SIZZLE NOT THE STEAK

Eric, a friend and former co-worker,

dropped by my apartment today to lend me 


his DVD of TUCKER & DALE VERSUS EVIL.

He spotted my collection of movie memorabilia on the walls.

He hushed in a breath. 


With trembling fingers, he touched a small card glued to my framed autographed poster of IRON MAN 2.

It was a card containing an authentic piece of fabric from the black body suit 


worn by Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in IRON MAN 2.

He looked at me as if I had a fragment of the Declaration of Independence on my wall.

"She wore this, man. 


Her bare flesh touched this. Her DNA is on this cloth. Her DNA."

"Ah, Eric it could have been worn by her stunt double, 


or it could have been cut from the trimmed pieces of fabric on the floor when they made the outfit."

"No, man! 


This card certifies with a hologram and shit that this piece of cloth is from Scarlett's suit. Oh, man, it touched her body."

"You need to get out more, Eric."

"Hey, I go out plenty. Just not with Scarlett."

"Well, neither do I."

"Yeah, but you got her DNA."

And as he hung the card back up sadly on my wall, I realized what I would get him for Christmas:

an autographed photo of Scarlett.

After all, in touching the picture to sign, she would have left some of her DNA on it, too. 


It would repay him for giving me the autographed photo of Cate Blanchett.

Guys. We are a strange breed.

And what does this have to with the art of writing?

Well, it gives you a little insight into the bizarre psyches of two friends. 

And it also teaches us an important lesson in how to write.

Eric read into the card more than the words on it.

It said the cloth was from the body suit worn in the movie. 


But in his mind, Eric could see Scarlett putting on the skin-tight suit.

The words said little, Eric's imagination suggested much more


The readers who turn the pages of our books are like Eric 

in that our words will suggest to them a whole canvas of images 

if we choose the words with craft and lyrical style.


Write the sizzle not the steak.

Listen to the words of Stephen King:

"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. Fiction is the truth inside the lie."

Just another way of saying, "Sell the sizzle not the steak."

Let the reader smell the aroma of the cooking plot


hear the sizzling of approaching danger, and 

taste the ashy flavor of death in the air like smoke from a gutted home.

You see, the most important things, the crucial things are hard to wrap words around. 


Haven't you felt it?

You ached to say the right thing to a grieving neighbor, a dying friend -- 


and the words that came to you were so meager --

like having a foot long square of wrapping paper to somehow put around a two foot wide gift.

Stephen King put it this way :

"The most important things are the hardest to say.

They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them --

words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out.

But it's more than that, isn't it?

The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.

And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all,

or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it.

That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear."


And because Stephen King writes in wisdom like that, we buy his books.

And that's what's so important about our blog friends.

You understand what it means to want to express the haunting images inside your head 


by crude things like the written word.

I understand. 


I'm one of you. 

And I am reaching out to you as you are reaching back to me --

from the confines of the solitary confinement of our minds, held prisoner by the limitations of the written word.

Neither one of us totally understands. 


But that's all right. 


Sometimes it's good just to be silent 
with a friend in the night.
****
But with the sizzle ... at the end should be a good steak in your writing:


Thursday, February 26, 2015

FCC SAVED NET NEUTRALITY?



“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” 

- Thomas Jefferson 




“If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.” 

- Mark Twain   


So the FCC saved the day with its ruling --

Ah, maybe not.

Reality is complex.  

We want simple solutions.  

Politicians want power.  

So they give us simple solutions that snowball in ways we never expected.

FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, LinkedIn -- all arose without the benefit of Net Neutrality.

You know the government:

By the time, the congressional studies on the technology and its implications have been completed, 


technology will have moved on.

Monopolies are bad.  The US Government is the biggest Monopoly I know.  


You like the Department of Motor Vehicles?  

You're going to love what the government will do with the internet.

The government can't keep the country's bridges from falling down.

Public schools.  The Post Office.  Health Care.  Higher Education.  The Space Program.  

The military bases closing destroying local economies.  

Border Patrolmen being overwhelmed with illegal immigration gone mad.

Time after time, the government has shown itself slow, inefficient, and prone to gridlock ...


The Founding Fathers designed it that way.

They knew the greatest danger to the citizens 

was a government that could move too quickly for the people to respond and protect themselves.


If we value our freedom, we need a government that is slow.

But since the government is slow, 

we shouldn't depend on it to provide with services delivered in a timely fashion at a high level of quality.


Free Speech cannot exist without privacy.

In Glenn Greenwald's NO PLACE TO HIDE

he reveals that the U.S. government already tampers with Internet routers during the manufacturing process to aid its spying programs.

Do you think that the government, under Net Neutrality, will trust the telecoms to police themselves?

Don't be surprised if the government decides 

it must install its own programs at critical points to monitor Internet traffic.

Once installed, can we trust the government to use that access in a benign fashion?

The Social Security fiasco was started 

when Congress couldn't keep its greedy fingers out of the money that came in at the beginning.

FDR imprisoned U.S. citizens of Japanese descent.  

Remember Watergate? 

Remember Chris Christie's Bridgegate?  

Just Google Search "Recent Federal Government Scandals" for a depressing list.

This regulation permits the FCC to micro-manage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.  

And you know how efficient the government is.

It took FOUR DAYS for FEMA to get water to those poor people in New Orleans.  

Help from other states was turned back.  

Naval rescue ships were moored within range and never called.


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ALL THIS?

  

F.C.C. VOTE ON NET NEUTRALITY_ Why such a commotion?



LONGER ANSWER:

What exactly is the FCC voting on anyway?

To reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the commission more regulatory power over Internet providers.


QUESTION:

How long will the internet remain insulated from higher state fees after being declared a vital public utility?

You know greedy state legislators.  Not long.  

The service providers will pass that cost to its customers.

I was stunned when I first learned how free most sites were on the internet.  Kiss those days goodbye.


FACT:

The Internet Tax Freedom Act bans taxes on Internet Services.  

But it expires in October.  

And once the internet is declared a vital public utility will that Act even apply anymore?

John Oliver has a humorous take on why FCC needs to pass Net Neutrality:

(You really need to watch this)


Remember Prohibition?  

That went well, right?  When the government gets involved in anything, 

unforeseen consequences get nasty.

How about when Washington, D.C. legalized marijuana in the city yesterday?

You can smoke weed privately. 

 You just can't sell it or buy it.  

What?  How can you smoke it if you cannot possibly buy it?

You cannot smoke it on Federal Property ... 

in Washington D.C?  

That is what government meddling leads to.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GEEK MOMENTS: AGE OF ULTRON, KATEE SACKHOFF, POWER RANGERS, FEBRUARY, & SCIENCE FICTION VS FACT!


I am a kid at heart ... what some call a Geek

(but don't call anyone that in a Carney, 
that's the fellow who bites heads off 
living chickens and snakes!)  
Yuck!!


I have an autographed movie poster of the above on my front hallway wall.  
Fanboy, right?

Today, the AVENGERS 2: AGE OF ULTRON poster came out!


Compare it with the first one?  
Notice who is more prominent?

Does this mean that Steve Rogers is gaining in favor at Marvel?

Check out the International Version of the "Same" Poster:


Major Bummer if you are a Capt. fan.


Any of you Power Rangers fans back in the day?

I wasn't but I am a Katee Sackhoff fan

(She was the initial reason I started watching LONGMIRE)

Well, here is the Christopher Nolan version of 
Power Rangers
with Katee Sackhoff!



Wonder why February has 28 days?



When science fiction becomes 
science fact

ANOTHER 5 STAR REVIEW!

ANN BEST
has written a beautiful review of RETURN OF THE LAST SHAMAN

FIVE STARS: AMAZING

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing February 22, 2015

One reviewer says there's a lot of philosophical thought in this haunting novella that some readers might not like. 

I'm one reader who loves it. 

I kept underlining all the wonderful wisdom passages, such as, 

"And why are they dying? For one thing noise. 

Modern Man lived in a maelstrom of noise...Civilized man has forgotten what silence is." 

"Most people are unsettled by utter silence for it reminds them of darkness and death."

Throughout this tightly written, poetical novella, death does indeed hover. 

The underlying theme is that the white man's world is over. 

But does modern man (and woman) know this? 

Not according to Wolf Howl, aka Mr. Drew, 

his voice the main voice, in a cast of colorful characters, who comments philosophically about the nature of man and the world. 

"To be human is to be a tense death-foreseeing, conflicted animal....

Even if we did the impossible and saved Man, He would only end up destroying himself later," he says.

There's gloom and potential doom here. 

But humor is also a thread throughout the story, 

especially through the voice of Abby, my favorite female character. 

The shift to her viewpoint in one of the chapters is brilliantly executed; her voice, delightful.

From Abby

"Mr. Drew just didn't know I had no intention of killing those back-shouting Egyptians. I just wanted to scare the piss out of them....

I was getting bored seeing Shadow and Mr. Drew look all moon-eyed at each other. 

We had a world to save, and I figured we had twenty minutes left to do it."

How does Drew/Wolf Howl save it, 

 he who said that "the purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things, and yet still rise"? 

The climax gave me chills, and still does as I think about it.

No spoilers, because I don't have the words to do it justice--

the lively dialogue, literary and mythological allusions, 

and pun on words to name a few of the elements in this amazing novella 

that has to be read, or heard, to appreciate the author's achievement.

Over three years ago I read The Bear with Two Shadows. 

Add to this The Return of the Last Shaman, 

and I am again "blown away" by the beauty of the author's prose and the complexity of his characters.

 I who have never read much fantasy or science fiction--haven't much liked it in the past--

am now "hooked" on these genres, thanks to Roland Yeomans who deserves a wide audience for his stories that I can easily see translated to film.

I am now about to ride with an earlier Wolf Howl and Sam McCord in END OF DAYS....

THANK YOU, ANN!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

MEET V R BARKOWSKI


This is VR last Halloween ... 

She is SO going to kill me for this!

I go to her very own blog this Monday


Here she is with the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 
Colorado GOLD for mystery.  


(Ah, I won the perfect attendance award in Kindergarten.)  


You can find her short fiction in the athologies:

MY BLOODY VALENTINE,
BLOOD MOON,
ROGUE WAVE
and 
THE BEST OF VINES LEAVES LITERARY JOURNAL 2012  

(If you don't mind dusting off the cyber-cobwebs, you can find my books here:



You can find her award-winning books here:

Being on the blog of such an award winning author 
is quite an honor for me.  

Don't let her visitor tally take a tumble for her kindness to me.

Visit her blog!  Please.

Here is a very perceptive video.
I enjoyed it.
You may, too.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

DARE TO GO TOO FAR!



Take a chance on Wolf Howl!



DARE TO GO TOO FAR ...
                 in your book. 

Press the limits,

push the boundaries of what you think will work,

then make it work somehow.

Aren't you as a reader tired of seeing the same old thing:

shy girl goes to new school and meets a hot bad boy who turns out to be:

a werewolf, a vampire, a cross-dressing son of a mad scientist (caught you with that last one, didn't I?)

How about a tiger named Hobbes who imagines his human boy doll is alive and talks to him?

Spin the expected on its ear. 

You will snare bored readers, making them your loyal fans.

You can't go beyond yourself. 

No matter how strange your twist ...

shadows who live and breathe, casting people behind them as they walk in the sun. 

No matter your idea,

it will still have the stamp of your personality, your style of writing.

Be open to any whim drifting from your unconscious. 
 
 
To create means to think beyond the limits we have placed upon our muse. 
 
 
The mind has no boundaries. 
 
The imagination is the key to infinity ...
and to bestsellers.

A persecuted boy cracks: 

He climbs to the top of the school with a rifle and the school's yearbook. He starts shooting.

His persecutors? No. He shoots every nice person he knows. Why?

To spare them the hurt he knows is waiting for them as it waited for him.

BE A TROUBLE MAKER!

Break the rules:

  The shy girl falls in love with the vampire. His love for her turns him human. Now, his coven is out to turn them both!

Extreme is good.

The vampire was confident and kind. 

As a human he is sullen and snotty. 

The girl wants him to be a vampire again even if it means the death of innocents.

Her shyness hid her selfishness. 

The vampire realizes what a monster she would turn into if she becomes a vampire. He kills them both ...
as a gesture of the last remnants of his kindness.

The only rule:

everything in your novel must serve a purpose, down to the painting of the dying swan on the girl's bedroom wall.

It is what the humanized vampire looks at as he smothers the girl he loves. 

He sees not the monster she has become but the lovely, shy swan he thought her to be when he first saw her.

Everything in your novel must do double-duty.

The murder of the girl. 
 
The painting of the dying swan. 
 
Even going to the prom. 
 
The surface meaning. The meaning behind the character doing it.

Have we moved beyond the rules, beyond the boundaries of what you think possible?
***
THIS MONDAY!

V R BARKOWSKI HAS ME ON HER BLOG!