Monday, August 29, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Loki and I went to the drive-in near him the other night and took in a double feature of "Fright Night" and "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" horror remakes. It was my first time at the drive-in, and I had a lot of fun. It's nothing like you see in the movies. The speaker boxes have been replaced with radio stations for each screen, and the parking spaces are angled so you can see above the cars in front of you. And while there are some issues in watching the movie that you don't have to deal with in a theater, seeing two movies for $7 per person is so worth it.
While I liked both movies for different reasons, I gave the full review treatment to "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" over at Comic Booked. Jump on over and read my Movie Review: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark!

Monday, August 22, 2011

WriteOnCon 2011 Review!

First off, let me just say that I'm bummed I missed out on so much of the awesomeness that is WriteOnCon this year! There were some awesome live chats and ninja agents prowling the forum, and I wish I'd been able to partake of those. Maybe next year.

That being said, there's still a TON of stuff that rolled out across all three days that is still available for all!


Rather than covering the convention by days like I did last year, I'm going to group them by general topic. That way, you'll have a better idea of what WriteOnCon offers the writers of the future.

For starters, there's a lot of good YA-specific material for those writing kidlit fiction, such as "Pacing in Contemporary YA," "Middle Grade’s Got Heart," "Marketing 101 for Children’s Book Authors" and "Chapter Books, Graphic Novels, & Hybrids: Exploring the Potential of the Young Reader Market." The first one was especially helpful to me at the stage I'm at now, trying to figure out how to get the pacing right in each book of my trilogy so it doesn't feel too rushed or too slow. The last one was surprisingly informative to me, despite having pretty much grown up with graphic novels.

There's also some really good stuff here that spans the age gap, presenting itself as useful information for any sort of writer, regardless of their audience. I'm speaking, of course, of "How to Write A Killer First Sentence," "Myths and Misconceptions," "Setting," "LGBT Lit" and "How Two Write." And that's just the first day! There's plenty here for all types of writers, covering the aforementioned topics and more, such as the dreaded synopsis, queries, character development, critique groups, marketing, revision, and more. If you're a writer and you think you know everything there is to know about your craft, you should check these out anyway. They might just surprise you.

Finally, and most importantly, the sense of community that WriteOnCon has built between its first year and this sophomore outing is made stronger with its amazing inspirational offerings. "10 Questions to See if You’ve Got What it Takes," "You’re Already Invited: Connecting to the Lit Community Online," "R-E-S-P-E-C-T," "Don’t Give Up!" and "Using Intuition to Balance Writing and Life: Advice from an Editor and Life Coach for Writers." That last one especially spoke to me through my love of the Hero's Journey, and its relevance to writers not just as a story template but as a road map for life itself.

There are plenty more essays to read and vlogs to watch, but hopefully this will have intrigued enough of you aspiring writers (and agents, and editors) to check out the full schedule and see what WriteOnCon has to offer you. Poke around the website, visit the forums, and become a part of an amazing community of writers who want their fellows to succeed. (And if you make some friends in high places, tell 'em I sent you!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick Take On WriteOnCon 2011

WriteOnCon is over! Long live WriteOnCon!

I was busy for the first half of WriteOnCon 2011, but I still kept tabs on what was going on and I'm still digesting a lot of the information presented over the past 3 days. I'll do a write up on it after I've had time to process, complete with links!

Friday, August 12, 2011

WriteOnCon 2011 Is Coming!

I'm so excited! WriteOnCon is kicking off its second year next week, and I'm excited to see what they've got lined up for this year!

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, WriteOnCon is a convention geared toward kidlit writers (like me) with speakers including fellow writers who are already at where we want to be, editors who can help us make our writing the best it can be, and agents who can get our writing where it needs to be. This is no ordinary convention, though. There's no registration table, no attendance fee, no long lines, and no scurrying about a convention floor to get from one panel to another. Nope, this convention is FREE and takes place ENTIRELY ONLINE in the form of written essays, chatrooms, forums and vlogs. It's the new wave of conventions, where you don't even have to leave home or change out of your pajamas to participate!

As the Fabulous Five Founders get everything lined up for this year's convention, take a look back at my quick review of their landmark first year starting with Day One, Day Two and Day Three! If you're a children's or young adult writer, you'll definitely want to check this out. Even if you're not, there's plenty here for writers of all types to walk away with some extra knowledge to kick their game up a notch.

Check out their website here, and stay tuned for my review of this year's WriteOnCon!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Print vs. Digital: Can They Coexist In Peace?

"Print is dead."
—Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters

Not yet, Egon, but those words definitely mean more in today’s publishing world than they did back in 1984. While concrete statistics vary depending on source and the increased availability of devices that can be used as e-readers over the years, one thing everyone can agree on is this: Sales of digital books are dramatically rising, and sales of printed books are not.

Jump over to Comic Booked and read all about Print vs. Digital: Can They Coexist In Peace?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Zak Hennessey and the Cybertooth Project

I first met Zak Hennessey many years ago over a shared pastime: pen and paper role-playing games. Not only did he exhibit some impressive storytelling talents by running some of the best original scenarios our game table has ever seen, he added an amazing visual aspect to the games by drawing our characters and illustrating both key scenes and “what if” parody images. It came as no surprise, then, to find out that he was a comic book creator.

Though it’s been a long time since those game nights, the Colorado resident and I have kept in touch through the interwebs and the occasional convention-related visits, reminiscing about those long nights of dice-rolling and sharing stories of our new projects. Zak’s latest comic book creation, The Cybertooth Project, is an exciting new foray into the world of digital comics for him, and one that is set to be the cornerstone of his new publishing company, Biotoxic Studios. In-between prepping this new series for launch and the varied demands of running his own independent comic book company online, he answered a few questions about his new project and the decision to move into digital publication.

Jump over to Comic Booked and read all about The Cybertooth Project: An Interview with Creator Zak Hennessey!

And when you're done there, head over to The Cybertooth Project Kickstarter page and donate a few dollars to help a creator's dream become a reality!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

I’ve been pretty busy this past week. Not so much with the Comic Booked articles, though I’ve been doing that, too, but generally trying to keep an income flowing in. Also, spending time with my beloved, who is celebrating a birthday this week. (Everyone say “Happy birthday, Loki!” in the comments below!) But with everything that’s been going on, I didn’t want you to think I’m only going to be linking to my Comic Booked articles on my blog. So, let’s take it by the numbers, shall we?

1) Working for Comic Booked is exactly what it is, work. I used to go to events and talk to comic book creators as a fan, now I’m doing it both as a fan and as a professional. I talk to people and pull together information for an article, then go home and write it all up in MS Word. Then I edit the piece, maybe even have someone look it over for me if I’m lucky and have the time. I log into WordPress and copy over everything I’ve written, adding in links and uploading images to flesh it out and appease the SEO requirements, along with tags, article title, description of article, etc. Then I submit the article for the editors to review for publication on the site. All in all, it’s pretty involved and not nearly as simple as writing up a little piece and sending it in.

2) Though it may be work, writing for Comic Booked is an excellent learning experience. I didn’t even know what SEO was until I started working for them. Getting trained in how to put together an article for them has helped my own writing significantly (specifically in terms of my own blog), and I’m sure there’s still more to learn.

3) I don’t work in a vacuum. There are other members of Team Comic Booked out here, like Nicole Sixx and Cousin Matt, and they’re good people. I’ve covered three events now with Nicole, and I’ll likely cover more with her as time passes. Cousin Matt, it should be noted, is the Comic Booked forums guru, and a fellow gamer!

4) As awesome as it is to write about comics and comic-related events for Comic Booked, they’re not paying my bills. No, I’m picking up every odd job I can to make ends meet, and I’ve been hired as a consultant for two people who own their own businesses this past month. I’ve also been working my organizational magic for a law office, and I’m hoping to get steady office work again soon. Gotta find a steady gig again so I can afford to write, right?

5) In other writing news, I haven’t forgotten about my trilogy or my anthology, it just got pushed back a bit in the wake of everything else happening in my life. More news on this soon, I promise!

6) Captain America was a much better movie than I thought it would be. Tommy Lee Jones is awesome in it, and Chris Evans really sells Cap as more than just an overgrown boy scout. Hugo Weaving did an excellent Red Skull, even if the role was pretty two-dimensional. Very much looking forward to The Avengers, and if you haven’t seen Cap yet, stay for the awesome after-credits sequence!

7) I’m seeing Cowboys vs. Aliens today, which I’m totally hyped about. C’mon, you have James Bond and Indiana Jones in a western version of the alien invasion movie! What’s not to love?!

8) I got Jim Butcher’s new Dresden Files novel, Ghost Story, and blew through it in record time. I maintain that each Dresden book is better than the last, and this one is no exception. Wow. Very powerful story.

9) The completion of Ghost Story means I can get back to the next Percy Jackson book on my list, The Titan’s Curse. So far, it’s pretty entertaining, and I really like this series. It’s no Harry Potter, but that’s not a bad thing.

10) I’m very hungry, and I should probably get my day started. Lots to do, so it’s time to get to it! …Right after I eat.