Category: Personal


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

A Valentine’s Day Message

I wasn’t planning on posting something for Singles’ Awareness Day, but that was before this happened.

So there I was, innocently browsing Facebook, when what do I see before me but a book challenge, one of those memes that tells you to pick up the nearest book and find a certain line. “These are always fun!” I thought.

This one was simple. Turn to page 45 and find the first sentence. That sentence would explain my love life.

I looked around for the nearest book, and realized it was the old D&D manual I use for a mousepad.

Uh-oh . . .

“Your blade tints red as it draws your enemy’s blood to strengthen you.”

*gulp*

I think I need a new mousepad.

. . . Happy St. Valentine’s Day, everyone!

A Light in the Darkness

It’s Christmas.228283_564760040220120_6873465_n

I stay away from politics and religion on this blog. I don’t do that because I don’t have any or don’t want to discuss them; on the contrary, as my conversations and posts on other sites bear out, I do indeed have them, and I do indeed discuss them. In fact, I stand firmly behind my literary hero G. K. Chesterton in this regard, who (when he was instructed he could write about anything other than these two subjects) said “There is nothing else worth writing about.”

Rather, I stay away from discussing them (aside from the occasional review) because I don’t want to argue about them. Not, at least, here on this blog, which I have always intended as a source of information about stories, whether written or being written. These two subjects are divisive, despite being — by definition — unitive at the same time.

But I am going to talk for a moment about “the reason for the season.” Not a Jesus lecture, not some sermon about how getting together with a bunch of strangers to read from a 1,700-year-old book of 1,900-plus-year-old words on a cold day is the most important thing you can do on an arbitrary day of the last month of the equally-arbitrary year. It’s not even something Christian, really — or rather, not exclusively Christian. And that’s fine. We celebrate a lot of holidays without having a direct connection to the origin of those celebrations.

I look around, in fact, and see a lot of people celebrating a holiday that belongs to a religion I profess, yet they themselves don’t profess the same beliefs. Sometimes they differ a lot. Other times, just enough to really notice. And as I look around for a common denominator, asking myself why Christmas matters to so many non-Christians, I find myself settling on two ideas: hope and family.  Continue reading

The Reason for the Silence

So, another long period of no posts? Oh, I’ve been around. You just can’t see me . . .

Actually, a large part of the reason has been that I got an offer on a full-time job that has morphed from being simply a managing editor for a new journal to . . . well, a lot more. My skills as an editor are a large part of it, but my new company is also interested in using me in other ways. It’s really very exciting. I won’t be working with fiction, but it’s really surprising how many ways my creative writing experience is helping to move their project forward.

So what does that mean for this blog, and the Novel Ninja Freelance Editing business? Well, the blog is still going to continue, and I’m still going to accept manuscripts. Odds are, though, that I’m going to be even more picky about what I take on. The new job will mean that I won’t depend on income from NNFE, but I still want to continue with my passion for stories.  Continue reading

As I noted before, AwesomeCon is much bigger this year. I forgot my camera and didn’t want to just use my phone, so I’ll take pictures tomorrow; but I found myself looking around the dealer hall in disbelief. That room alone would convince anyone who didn’t know better that this was an established con, and not something in its second year. The staff and other volunteers were doing a top-notch job, and the convention center staff were extremely helpful to everyone.

Also, I was amused to hear one of the screens playing “Everything is Awesome” (from The LEGO Movie) on continuous loop in the library. Despite its ultimate meaning in the movie, I was still appreciative! Continue reading

ACDClogoThis Easter weekend happens to fall on the third weekend in April, which means only one thing: it’s time to cosplay as the Easter Bunny at AwesomeCon!

. . . okay, I won’t actually be in a bunny costume. But I will be at AwesomeCon. I was invited back to do another presentation at DC’s only genre convention (sorry, otaku, but Katsucon doesn’t count). I’ll be part of a panel this Friday at 4pm, called “Worldbuilding and Fantasy,” and giving a solo talk on Easter Sunday, “Writing Dynamic Characters,” at 11:15am.

I was at AwesomeCon last year, and it was pretty fun. It wasn’t the biggest convention I’ve ever been to (nor was it the smallest), but between what I observed and my brief conversations with Ben Penrod, the convention organizer, I could tell it wasn’t going to be satisfied with a small footprint.  Continue reading

A Personal Milestone

I’ve seen a lot of authors get attacked for not being “real.” They’re usually genre authors, and/or often mocked as writers because they are religious, or atheist, or pagan, or liberal, or conservative, or self-published, or indie, or whatever. Invariably, the mockers have never read the author’s works and simply reject them outright due to prejudicial assumption. Continue reading

NSA Protest Day

This ninja doesn’t like being spied on.

The reason I picked the moniker “novel ninja” to describe my editing philosophy is because I don’t really like being the center of attention. I’ve worked to fix that over the years, but when it comes to editing I prefer to let the author take the limelight. It’s his or her story, after all. I just helped make it better.

I also don’t like talking politics . . . well, on this blog. (My personal Facebook account is quite opinionated.) While I’m open about my beliefs on just about anything, I want this blog to be about writing and stories and not get bogged down by arguments about the sort of things we go to stories to find solace from. Continue reading

Readers of the blog know I like Lego. It’s a great toy, arguably the best single toy investment you can make for a child. Unlike a video game, its operating system doesn’t go obsolete in three years; every Lego brick you buy today is compatible with the same company’s products going back decades — and they’re not going to change that in the future. It rewards creativity, teaches spacial and structural awareness, and can be combined in so many different ways that you can never say you’ve beat the game.

And then, as an adult, you can stick with it and turn it into a genuine art form. Years of experience, an adult’s funding and patience, and that little kid inside of you that still shouts “THIS IS SO COOL!” — all joining together to show kids that art can be fun, and their fun can be true art.

Well, there’s a movie out this weekend that’s based on the toy. I got to see the press screening last weekend with Wamalug (the Washington Metropolitan Area LEGO Users Group), so I’m here to give you my review. Continue reading

In a rare public appearance, I appeared for a TV interview this last Monday.

And I managed not to break the camera!

And I managed to not break the camera!

Having attended a press screening of The LEGO Movie on Saturday, I and fellow brick enthusiast Bret Harris were invited on Let’s Talk Live for a quick appearance to give our impressions of the film as well as show off the sort of thing you can do with Lego bricks.

As you can see in the interview, I went in expecting to be underwhelmed and wound up impressed. (That’s right, I expected a movie based on one of my hobbies to suck.) It deserves its own review, but I figured I should at least put up the interview so you can see what your friendly neighborhood novel ninja looks like and sounds like.

Yeah, I’m sorry, I should be kinder to my fans rather than subject them to me in living color. But hey . . . Lego!

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