Category: Blog Topics


It’s short notice, but Declan had to cancel his weekly show, so I’m stepping in. It’s The Catholic Geek Radio Show, part of my other site, and it’s normally a guest-interview show. Well, I don’t have a guest, so it’s just me talking about stuff . . . including editing, if you want me to! You can call in or use a chat window. The details are over here.

You can even call in and say “Hey, why haven’t you replied to my email yet?” *hangs head in shame* Yes, I know I still have a bunch to go through, some of them a couple months old. I haven’t forgotten you! Unless I have, in which case it’s probably a good idea to call in and let me know.

By the way, one of the things I’m talking about is the new author co-op we’re starting at CG, as well as a chance for you to hear some of my lectures online. If you’ve been interested in those, you might want to take a listen.

Elantris

20151222_000616[1]Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity.

These are the opening words to one of the best novels ever written: Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. I first read it in 2011, barely more than a year into my career as an editor. It immediately became one of my favorites, if not my most favorite novel ever.

It had been sitting on my shelf for years, though, waiting to be read. The problem was that the paperback copy doesn’t tell you what the story is about, and so I never knew if I was in the mood for it. My reading list is so long, and I stopped counting at a hundred, that I kept deciding to try something else. This is after reading both Mistborn and The Way of Kings. I’d heard good things, but not knowing what to expect kept making me pick something else.

Well, now it’s the only novel I’ve ever considered worth getting in a collector’s quality leatherbound edition. And not to give you a clickbait kind of hook, but what Brandon Sanderson put on the personalization inside made me tear up.

Considering how I feel about this book, I should have done a review on it years ago. I even said on this blog that it deserves its own review. For some reason, I kept putting it off. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t know if I could do it justice. I’m glad I didn’t, though. If I had, then I couldn’t have given my readers this story.  Continue reading

high-pain-toleranceThere’s a common misconception about people with high pain tolerances. They tend to be big, beefy, and burly, usually men, and if female they’re all badasses. They shrug off bullets and sword-thrusts like they’re minor distractions; they grunt from the pain and rarely, if ever, scream.

Now, I frequently impress people around me with my high pain tolerance. Most of that is in awe; some few, such as my doctors and a close friend who helps me exercise, approach it with worry, because pain is an important thing. I have such a high pain tolerance that I often automatically ignore signals that I should really stop what I’m doing and rest. I threw out my back (a little over a year ago) and my knee (a couple months ago) precisely because I could just work through the pain . . . until I suddenly couldn’t.

How do I do that? Well, it’s not because I’m tougher than other people. I’m not beefy or burly, and I’m only big if I’m standing up and haven’t turned sideways. It’s never about your mass; it’s all about what you’re used to. Establishing that difference is the key to writing action heroes and other characters that deal with pain through the course of your story.  Continue reading

Emails

Just a quick announcement: I know that some of you are waiting on emails. Some of you, in fact, have been very patient. I’m getting to you. 🙂 This has been the busiest summer I’ve had in over ten years!

WorkingWell, I’ve been silent. That is, I’ve been silent on this blog. Why? Because I’m trying to devote as much effort to my main job as possible. That is, jobs, but the priority goes to the company that pays me the most for my editorial and research skills. That company has been very generous with letting me balance going to places like AwesomeCon (and three more events this year, possibly five), so I’m trying to not take that for granted.

Sadly, thanks to a flare-up with my fibromyalgia that coincided with AwesomeCon weekend, well, I’m a bit behind. But I’m taking a few moments here to talk about the convention and a few other things before I let too much time pass.  Continue reading

Editor’s Note: Welcome, once again, the lovely and talented Lori Janeski in another Novel Ninja guest post. This time, we present her debut fisk, as she decides to tackle the massive Social Fiction Warrior response to Avengers: Age of Ultron by targeting a particularly egregious essay.

I should add that Lori is Texan — and yes, even fisks are bigger in Texas. This one clocks in at over 13,000 words, enough for a good-sized novelette. Strap in, grab some popcorn, and warm up your mouse-using fingers, because you’ve got some scrolling ahead of you.

Enjoy!


If you ever want to learn how to make a complete and total idiot of yourself in front of the whole internet, just read this essay I found: “Age of Robots: How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie.”  If you’re not into being an idiot, you can go ahead and read it for its entertainment potential, because it is so utterly ridiculous, and yet trying to be completely serious and intellectual and failing miserably, that it will make you either laugh your head off, or crawl under a rock and weep for humanity.  Maybe both.

Now, the author, Sady Doyle, is allowed to have any opinion she wants.  That’s part of life.  I don’t have to agree with her, and she doesn’t have to agree with me.  But when you’re being this stupid while pretending to be smart, those of us who are not stupid have to say something to make sure you aren’t successful in convincing people that you are smart.  To borrow a quote from one of my favorite TV shows, “I respect your right to free speech, but not your stupidity.”

Omar

Normally, I try very hard to disagree with the argument, not attack the person.  This article, however, is such a piece of trash that my politeness went right out the window.  Doyle is so far beyond stupid that she has reached the status of “contemptible,” and doesn’t deserve a polite, intellectual discussion about the merits, or lack thereof, of Age of Ultron.

If you don’t want to read an angry article about how stupid someone else is, complete with the occasional vulgarity, then don’t finish reading.  Go elsewhere now.  You have been warned, so there better not be any nasty comments on the blog or Facebook about how mean I am.

Oh, and if you can’t guess, there are spoilers ahead.  I know Matthew has a spoiler graphic somewhere around here . . . aha!

Spoiler Warning

There.  If you missed that, you deserve your spoilers. Continue reading

Avengers Assembled

EDITOR’S NOTE: This guest blog is brought to you by my good friend and former college roomie, Ross Windsor (yes, a distant relation of those other Windsors, but they never invite him for tea). To whet the appetite for the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, he has a few words to say about the first Avengers movie from the perspective of a movie buff and filmmaker.


I suppose I should start by giving a *SPOILERS* warning, but if you haven’t seen The Avengers yet: STOP. Back away from your computer, go buy the movie, and watch it. Twice.

 

Photo 01 - Shawarma

 

Marvel Studios faced the relatively unique challenge of bringing together four major heroes from previous film titles, along with lesser (though still important) characters from those films, while making The Avengers stand on its own as a movie. Of the six Avengers, all had made their first appearances in one of the five preceding movies. In order for The Avengers to appeal to moviegoers who had not seen all or even any of the previous films, director Joss Whedon had to introduce every character as if for the first time. And due to the number of major characters, these introductions had to be brief enough to not bog down the story, yet compelling enough to grab the audience’s interest immediately. This sort of quick introduction is a fantastic and necessary technique for short films, but serves well in feature-length films as well, particularly one like The Avengers. Continue reading

AwesomeConEmails went out to all the speakers and panelists at AwesomeCon 2015 yesterday, and four out of seven of my suggestions were accepted. I was expecting two at most, so this is fun.

If you’re planning to go to AwesomeCon this year and want to see me talk, three of the events will be on Friday, and one (mostly of interest to gamers) will be on Sunday.  Continue reading

Interview on the Hugo Awards

I’ll be on an Internet talk show, Dead Wrong Radio,  this evening to talk about the Hugo Awards. Other guests include Brad Torgersen, Sarah Hoyt, and Tom Knighton, though we won’t be on at the same time.

The show is a (very) right-wing conservative podcast, but if you’re expecting me to go on a political tear, you’ll be disappointed. I save that for other shows (which is why I don’t post about them here) and for Facebook. The whole reason I’m backing Sad Puppies is because I believe that entertainment should not be beholden to politics. The show starts at 8:30 Eastern, and I’ll be on at 9.

Strangely, the show description refers to me as their “inhouse expert.” I’ve never been associated with this show before, so I’m not sure where they get that.

Cinderella

Editor’s Note: Lori wanted to review and analyze Cinderella, so here she is in her second guest blog. Enjoy!

~ Matthew Bowman, Supreme Editor Monkey at Novel Ninja.


CinderellaI’ll say it right at the outset: Cinderella is one of the best movies I have seen recently.

Now, after I reviewed Old Fashioned — a movie I wanted to like — Matthew and I were both told on Facebook that we’re not qualified to review rom-coms, so I guess I’m not qualified here either. Or the haters can just go jump in the nearest lake.

The movie is visually beautiful, with a bare minimum of CGI.  The music is compelling, the acting is quite well done and convincing, the humor is tasteful and just enough to make the story light and pleasant (but not enough to make it silly) and the story is almost perfect.

Comparing this version to the original Disney Cinderella (1950), this one is superior in every way, and not just because it is a modern film with real actors.  The original Cinderella is a child’s movie, with a child’s plot.  There is no real development of anyone’s character, including Cinderella’s, the prince is barely in the movie at all, and most of the screen time is spent with Cinderella’s talking and singing animal friends.  This is not a bad thing in itself; I loved Cinderella as a kid (but not as much as Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid).  It’s not a bad story; it just could have been so much better.

Fortunately for fans of the fairy tale, now it is.

I don’t think any SPOILER ALERTS are necessary here.  Even if you haven’t seen this version of Cinderella (you should do so as soon as possible), we all know the story, and we all know how it ends. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: