Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Here's to a long run

So I’m sobbing as I run. This is not normal for me. I’m actually not much of a crier at all. Still, I’m running on Whitehaven Road. The same road Brian Castner mentions in his first book. It is a desolate road, not because the road is unpopulated, because that can be cool, but because it's sparsely populated, with cars whizzing passed, driven by people you can’t see, and houses set back, inhabited by people. Possibly.

Anyway, I’m listening to the end Hamilton soundtrack. It is stunning. Absolutely stunning. I’ve got tears coming down both sides of my face for the first time since I was like eight, right.

And here comes another early morning runner. Big, tan guy. I press my lips together so hard my chin makes a deep ‘n’ shape. The guy looks at me and nods. He must think I’m on mile 20, pounding out the hard run.

As opposed to, I don't know, mile two. Which is fine with me.

Hamilton, by the way, is even better than whatever hype you’ve heard.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Want to write faster?

I have a new trick for writing faster. These cufflinks were a gift from my brother-in-law. They are control rod nuts from an Aston Martin that raced at Le Mans. 600 hp, baby. They make me get into paragraphs faster, handle awkward sentences like I'm on rails and push the apex of every scene. 

Highly recommended. It pays to accessorize, people.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Dessert (not desert) Game



More of the same. And that’s a good thing. I loved J.A McLachlan’s last book, The Occasional Diamond Thief. It was fun and touching and always kept you off guard. The Salarian Desert Game is the second book featuring Kia the diamond thief, and I enjoyed it just as much.

Well, almost as much. My favorite parts of the last book had Kia and her friend Agatha together. Playing off each other. Opposites that become friends are fascinating people, and make for fascinating reads. I wanted them to be together more in this book, but I don’t want to that portray as a negative. It makes the scenes they do share all the better.

The book does a wonderful job showing the awkward manner in which new friendships can form. Especially under dire circumstances. Thematically, it shows Kia’s continued social evolution. The exotic location, in way, makes making friends feel all the more real. And pertinent.

So now I’m hoping this book turns out to be the second course, rather than the finish.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Trump wins me over

Last night Donald Trump spoke at a huge rally in my beloved Buffalo. I had some skepticism going in, but he won me over. Now some of these phrases he used are ‘dog whistles’, veiled comments directed at only some people in the audience. So let me clear them up for you. Here is what I heard –

- If Trump wins, my next novel is going to be a best seller. I’m going to have a best seller so big, I’ll be like Donald, please, I can’t even have a best seller selling this big.

- If Trump wins, my children will no longer be mouthy. They will say ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ and ‘gosh, that was insightful’ as they finish their peas every night. If they don’t, they will be sent to work on the wall.

- If Trump wins, my hair will grow back. He has an inordinate amount of hair for his age and I can too, if I vote for turning back the clock, to a time when I had to have my bangs trimmed every Saturday morning I wouldn’t be able to see getting out of the pool.

America, this is going to be great. Again.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review:

I picked up Hellmaw: Soul Larcenist because the author, Suzanne Church, is a riot to read. And I use that uncareful word carefully. Like an actual riot, Suzanne’s stories can be loud, fast, funny, full, purposeful and end with a lot of broken glass and blood. Her novel length work is no different. This book moves and moves and moves. I enjoyed the blending of genres and moods - gritty procedural, shadowy horror and a hint (only a hint, I actually wanted more) of rom-com just to throw you off. She is a skillful writer. You can sit back, read and relax, knowing that she will continuously entertain.

Friday, March 4, 2016

What to do when a comicbook villain attacks

You’d think after more than 75 years America would know how to handle a comicbook villain. Yet here we are, watching one take over the Republic party and we all seem helpless to stop him.

Don’t feel bad. When Lex Luthor became president in the DC Comics world (circa 2001), Superman and Batman were stymied. Of course, that Earth has a bunch of superheroes. All we’ve got is a sensible electorate?

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap. Not even a freakin’ Hawkgirl? Seriously?

OK, it’s up to us. The people. What have we got? When you’re a comicbook writer, you constantly examine strengths and weaknesses. That’s how you make stories. In this case, we start with Trump. An excellent character name. In various card games, trump is the suit that beats all the others. Were I writing this story, I might find that a little too contrived – a power suit making a run at the presidency? – but I ain’t writing this plot line. No one is. Michael Bay would be doing a better job that this.

Trump’s powers are formidable. He’s more like the Parasite than Luthor. He sucks in all the energy that’s thrown at him, growing stronger from what should be devastating attacks. Racism, misogyny, or what I incorrectly announced would be the coup de grĂ¢ce of his campaign: Stating John McCain was no war hero. This should have pushed him to the sidelines with the gung-ho crowd. Everything he says should push him off somebody’s list. Yet he continues to gain and gain and gain.

Those of you familiar with the energy sucking creature trope know we’ve got two options. (1) We feed him more and more until he finally can’t contain himself and explodes. I’m not a fan of this as the US only has like 330 million people and I think the Donald can handle that much attention. (2) Total isolation. This is how Superman usually defeats the Parasite. If he can’t touch anything, if he is totally alienated, then he shrivels into irrelevance.

If the Republican Party is as ballsy as it always claims to be, this is the play. No more debates, no more discussions, no more mentions of the name. He gets the full Lord Voldemort treatment.

There is no other way.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

None of the below

There is a petition at Whitehouse.gov asking that “None of the Above” be added to ballots. As of this writing, its got close to 100,000 signatures. I’m guessing these people are fed up with the system and think the easiest possible solution – saying a two-letter, one-syllable word – might help.

Sorry. You’ve got to pick someone. You. If all you’ve got to choose from is tripe and cottage cheese, you can’t say “I’ll starve to death.”

The perception, this being a request to the White House and all, seems to be that the problem is at the top. It’s not. Our is a government by the people. Yes, money and special interests and shadowy organizations have lots of power and influence. But not all of it. Not any of it, in the end. If we all decided to vote for Kanye West he’d win. It would not matter how much money the Koch brothers have, if Wall Street approved or if it was a good idea. That’s the real power. And it’s at the bottom. Us.

Each of the current candidates, and most of those that have dropped out in the last few months (Carly Fiorina being the exception) have had plenty of support in order to make it to the national stage. Donald Trump has never been elected to office, but he’s sold millions of books and hosted a television show for years.

We, as a collective, have done this to ourselves. To complain when discomfort reaches the highest office in the land is to complain too late. To complain at all pales in comparison to voting. Our political process starts locally. That is where attention, outrage and activity needs to be applied.