Category: Personal


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

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.

Coauthored Books

CO_Authoer-ImageA lot of fans have dreams. Meeting their favorite author. Getting sneak peeks at an anticipated book. Getting two favorite authors to team up — oh, yeah, that’s one that will get people excited.

But that brings up a can of worms that might not be obvious at first look. Who’s ultimately in charge? If there are disagreements, how do they get resolved? Whose name comes first on the cover? If it’s not a 50/50 royalty split, why? And how is that determined?

This is something that shows up a lot in academia, because whomever shows up first in the list of authors has pride of place (unless possibly, but still often the case when, it’s just determined by alphabetical order). In a multi-author academic paper, the first name is not always given to the one who did the most work, but rather the one who will get the most notice and bring the most credibility to the findings. The last person on the list might well have been the one who did the lion’s share, but the first name usually gets most of the credit.

Unfair? Well, there’s a reason for this arrangement.  Continue reading

In Defense of Fanfic

fanficLast week, when talking about how Agents of SHIELD seems to have been written like it was MCU fanfic rather than a true member of the franchise, I mentioned that fanfic isn’t a bad thing and can, in fact, be quite beneficial. It occurs to me that this probably deserves extra attention.

Yes, fan fiction can be beneficial. It’s a great way to encourage creativity, practice writing skills, and generally provide a sandbox for fans to play in.

It’s also a type of fiction that is notoriously riddled with bad writing. We’re not just talking about grammar and spelling. We’re talking about fiction that, quite often, shows little understanding of plot structure, character development, setup and payoff, or even why the source material it draws on is told the way it is.

fanfiction copy Continue reading

Something Good at the Oscars

Note: If you’re not interested in a breakdown of why I don’t think the Oscars matter, scroll down to the end. You’ll know what I mean. I admit, it’s more like two stories in the same blog post, but there’s a reason I’m stringing them together.

I don’t watch the Oscars.

I really don’t care much about them at all. Usually anything that wins is something I’m not interested in anyway.

I remain convinced that this is the only reason that The Lord of the Rings won.

I remain convinced that this is the only reason that The Return of the King won.

The Academy is voted on by a relatively-secret elite, usually solidly upper-class, and who typically live in a Hollywood-shaped bubble that has a rather warped image of what the rest of the world is like. Becoming a member is basically about being popular among the membership committee, rather than having any knowledge about what movies are like as an art form. (Though I should point out that Mother Delores Hart, the semi-famous actress who kissed Elvis and then became a Catholic nun, scrupulously watches every film to cast an educated vote.)

That leads to an odd collection of what they consider worthy of a prize. Since the membership is so insular, it seems to me a good recipe for voting for a movie because you know someone who was involved with that movie; or because you don’t want to face someone at the metaphorical watercooler after voting for something that was merely a good film rather than the right film. Continue reading

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