Category Archives: Miscellaneous Musings

Patreon Post live! Critical Essays and Pop Culture

Today’s Patron-only post is live! I talk about my foray into writing critical essays on pop culture – and getting paid to do so!
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Since it’s Thursday, what better focus than the essay that started it all, Another Roadside Attraction: The Role of the Trickster for the Smart Pop book: In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural. For SPN fans, you get the Thursday connection. 😀 (there’s even a lagniappe – my initial notes when I was crafting the essay)
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Harvey watch: or how I’m spending my weekend

As you know, Bob, Hurricane Harvey’s hit the Texas Gulf Coast as a Cat 4. (and has now been downgraded to a 1)

I’m in San Antonio, so not coastal, but we’re expecting big rains as a result, with possible flooding (this city floods way easily.)

We’ve not done too much to prepare, as we’re not on a flood plain and are actually on fairly high ground, even though we’re in a 1-story house. I did freeze up some bags of water to put in the fridge if we lose power. Last night, my folks and I moved all the chairs, small tables and other loose things from the backyard into the garage, jic of high winds. I also ordered a CPAP battery (which will arrive today).

The rain started last night after 9 p.m. and has been slow, but steady. Our rain gauge shows 1/2″ accumulation as of 6 a.m. It’s still raining, and we’ve not really got any winds, just a breeze.

Most of the expected bad stuff is at the coast and to the east. The worst part of the storm is that it’s a slow mover, and that means loads and loads of rain.

For us, it’s mostly a matter of hanging out and waiting to see what happens. I’m probably going to spend a lot of time reading, then checking in online occasionally to see what’s what.

Never say never

A year ago, I deleted my LinkedIn account, mostly because I really didn’t use it. Fast forward to now and I’ve signed up again–mostly because I’m writing again…at least, I will be once I get this expletive-deleted cast off my arm! Broken wrists suck.

My new account is pretty bare right now, as I’m typing one-handed, but I’ll spruce it up over time.

I don’t really blog much here anymore, either. Mostly, I’m on Facebook/Twitter. I hope to be better at the blogging.

Movie Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive movie poster Don’t expect sparkly vampires, nor action-packed bloodthirsty romanticized killers in Only Lovers Left  Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s most recent oeuvre. Instead, think languid, lush, and absolutely gorgeous–in the cinematic way, though Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston certainly fit the bill in many other ways.

Set in a brooding, decaying Detroit and a vibrant Tangier, this is the story of two immortals: their passions, their glories, and emotions. Hiddleston’s Adam is a deeply emo vampire musician, locked up in a crumbling mansion surrounded by all the music. He’s a rock-and-roll icon, known for being a hermit, yet incredibly popular. Adam has his modern-day Renfield, a groupie by the name of Ian who procures whatever Adam needs – mostly obscure musical instruments.

Swinton’s Eve lives on the other side of the world, immersed in literature, embracing the color and richness of her chosen city. Her best pal (and procurer of the good blood) is none other than Christopher Marlowe (played to perfection by John Hurt.) Though separated from her husband of many lifetimes, it takes only a phone call from Adam for Eve to wing her way via night flights to Detroit.

This is a quiet mood piece, pretty much the absolute antithesis of the other recent movie I saw (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), but it’s pace is utterly perfect. As I said to a colleague, it’s poetry, not prose, and on its face, a simple poem, but it’s very simplicity showcases the complex issues of immortality, of the decay of modern cities, of trust and love and hope. Only Lovers Left Alive promotional still

There’s no mystery to solve, no soul-clenching drama, just beauty, introspection and the glory of life – no matter how long life is. There is a very amusing bit when Eve’s younger “sister” Ava shows up, the vampire version of the annoying little sibling. Ava throws a few wrenches into Adam and Eve’s life and the resolution to this is all part of the overarching glory of survival.

Only Lovers Left Alive opens in very limited release in the US on April 11, 2014. Catch it if you can – it will probably only be out in art-house theatres, but it’s well worth the watch. If you miss it on screen, make sure to get the DVD or digital download when that’s available. Already I’m looking forward to a second viewing.

Ask You Anything…

black question mark inside black circle A common blog post/meme/whatever is the “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) – either over at Reddit or a blogger’s own site. My online pal, Chuck Wendig, in celebration of the release of his new YA dystopian novel, Under the Empyrean Sky, did an AMA on July 30.

Instead of you all asking me questions, I figured I’d turn the tabs and ask you, with my own answers interspersed:

  • What’s a book you’ve read recently that blew you away and why?
    • I recently finished reading Jim Hines’ Libriomancer and could not put it down. The wonderful trope of using the written word (literally) as magic was fresh and fun. He is also a master at crafting interesting characters.
  • What TV show surprised you this season or last?
    • Orphan Black (SyFy) and Orange Is the New Black (Netflix Originals). I mainlined them both, binge watching like a crack addict with money to burn. Strong writing, wonderful women characters and fantastic acting. Now I’m jonesing for next season!
  • What movie surprised you?
    • Pacific Rim – I went on a whim and to accompany a friend, figuring it would be a silly, fun romp. Turns out, it’s more than that. Quite good, despite some story holes and really good characters, plus Idris Elba!
  • Tell me something you’ve been wanting to share.
    • I’m crap at resp0nding to fan email. I beg pardon and your patience if I’ve not responded to you quickly.

That’s all for now, folks! I’m enjoying an oddly cool end-of-July and working on job stuff plus starting recording for the final Blood Lines audiobook, Blood Sacrifice.

Although I blog infrequently, I’m most often found nattering on Facebook. Happy almost August!!


Ceci n’est pas un plume

short pencil stubThis is not a pen. Esto no es una pluma.

I love languages. Words in any tongue fascinate me. Why is the word “pen” plume in French, pluma in Spanish, but the equivalent English word isn’t at all related? In Welsh, it’s “pen”, just as in English. See? Fascinating.

One of the best resource pages online for languages is Open Culture’s Free Language courses. Yes, FREE. The list links to 46 different language course pages from Arabic to Yiddish. Pretty nifty, huh?

This is one of the reasons I love the Internets.

What free resources for language have you found online?

Happy July & audiobook giveaway

Happy July, all!!

Hard to believe half the year’s already in the past. How’d it sneak by, anyway?

The weather around here has basically been sunny with a side of thundershowers for the past umpty days. I could use with a little relief, though none seems to be in sight. Sucks for those who are planning outside getaways for this weekend. Me, I’m planning a decadent 4 days of lounging about. Best kind of mini staycation there is.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Don’t forget, the audiobook giveaway is still on through Thursday, July 4! Tell your friends!

Boston: though not home, a place I enjoy

I’m still trying to process the events of yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Too much like 9/11 for my psyche, which immediately scrambled to “oh, fuck” and “OMG, OMG, OMG.” Boston Common

  • Part of me wants to bury myself in a small hole and not know.
  • Part of me wants to dive deep into news stories, blog posts, commentary and wallow in the facts & reactions.
  • Part of me (the more-or-less stable piece) has pulled back into “normal world” mode and, though not avoiding, is not enmeshed in all-Boston-all-the-time.

Not sure which is the healthiest or sanest, but in the practical words of Laura Anne Gilman yesterday:


Reminder: if you’re feeling echoes of past Bad Stuff, reading the news out of Boston, it’s ok to look away. You’re not letting anyone down.

She’s right. Just because I don’t look at the photos or videos from the site, I’m not a bad person.  Neither are you.

I’ll focus on work today and just being alive.

Blast from the Past: It Makes Me Shutter*

Originally appeared at the Lipstick Chronicles blog as a guest post

I love the Internet. I mean, really. As in I love it ALOT. I can chat with people in New Zealand just as easily as I do with folks in the next office. I can read articles about Thor’s Hammer or peruse newly released World War II era color photographs. I can indulge my easily distracted brain with pretty much anything I want. I can share pictures of my cat, my trip, my book signings, my silliness. Google is my friend and my blog buddies can be my closest confidants. There is no answer that I can’t uncover** and Wikipedia is of teh awesome liek woah.  typewriter keys

The Internet has brought me amazing friendships, love, laughter, joy. Though in the last few years, it’s brought me the absolute and utter amusement of the mangling of the English language—by native speakers. At first, I was beyond incensed, ready to wield the flaming sword of the righteous (is there a patron saint or angel of grammar?).

I’m a writer, damn it, and a total grammar nerd. I mean, I subscribe to the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style, for fun! The topmost item on my ongoing wish list is a subscription to the OED online. With all these amazing resources, how can people be so ignorant of the rules of grammarpunctuation and spelling? Honestly! When the proper usage can be found with a simple search? When in-depth discussions of the Oxford comma take up megapixels of my screen? It’s ridiculous!

One day, the answer to my rage occurred to me. Ridiculous became the default keyword in these situations. Instead of getting angry, I could chose to be the other “a” word: amused.

I’ve gone from wanting to tear my hair out at its gray roots to chuckling over the umpteenth example of homonym abuse and misuse. I don’t worry about folks’ education or lack thereof. Now, I just wonder at the (sometimes) insanity I see and rest easy in mind that I can take the high road. For every correct phrase, there’s another just as heartfelt, but absurdedly worded or spelled. It’s become a fun pastime and frankly, I can read posts and comments without my brain exploding. So much nicer that way. So much less stress.

I no longer cringe when I see tips on how to loose weight or that ice cream is the best desert. Characters peaking around the door don’t raise my peek, nor do they rein on my parade, but I sometimes still have to reign in my comments. Via a tech loop I belong to, I’m often asked to go sightsee a Web site, but I always make sure my responses and feedback are thoughtful rather then mean. I know that this isn’t a conspiracy against my friends and I, but a reel, true and well-meaning group of concerned citizens who just want to be herd.

Yes, I still sigh in vein, but I know that I can’t fix this. Some days, I do have to put the breaks on my initial urge to correct, to teach, to educate. I know it would just be a time waist. So I hold back my instinct in a vice-like grip and chuckle. After all, this is the Intarwebs. I try to not let it effect my blood pressure. I’ll bear this burden. I’ll except this homonym abuse. Instead, I’ll continue to rack my brain for better ways of using words in my own books to avoid typo’s. I suggest you all do the same, in loo of loosing your cool.

I’d love for you all to share you’re own pain…***
‘S’alright? ‘S’all right.
* Seen on a blog post reply
** Even if it’s wrong

*** I reserve the right to lose it over egregious apostrophe abuse