Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Letter From a Famous Dude!

Just kidding... not really. It was really a form letter signed Francis Ford Coppola -- just Zoetrope: All-Story looking for a subscription renewal. Unfortunately I'm behind in reading my issues, which seems to be an ongoing difficulty I have whenever I have a subscription to any kind of magazine (and I have several).

However, I can say the Spring 2008 issue had a story by Elizabeth McCracken -- "Something Amazing" -- that was definitely worth the price of admission. I loved it, it stuck with me, and that was the highlight of the issue for me.

It's an interesting magazine, considering it actually carries ads from places like Marc Jacobs, but at least with the Spring issue, I found the layout a bit confusing. Seeing how I need to catch up with Summer and Fall, I'll be interested to see if the layout is always confusing or if that's an anomaly.

One thing I have to say is cool is that Francis Ford Coppola backs a literary magazine. It's a tough industry and it's nice to know successful people in media and the arts are willing to lend a little help (and a paying venue for writers).

Obviously I need to get reading but of course this is just another in a monumental stack of reading material I've got here.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back From Vacay

I just got back from vacation in Maine with my parents. I had intended to both unplug from regular life and actually do a lot of fiction writing, but the writing part just didn't pan out. Even though we did stop by and snap some photos of Stephen King's supercool house. I want a Victorian house with a wrought-iron fence like his one day!

Still, as inspiring as Maine's coastal landscape and an unplugging from the usual day-to-day drudgery should have been, I just couldn't produce anything while I was away, although I did manage to write 1600 words of what I think is pure bile last night after getting home. I'm pretty sure some stream-of-consciousness that will probably never amount to an actual piece of fiction is better than nothing. There's probably something to be said for just writing through those dry spells. 

More later... dreading a return to work and etc.!

Write on... and I guess write through the block if possible!


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Art of No

Ah, the rejection letters. We writers dread them while expecting them, sometimes wish they'd come sooner (why have I been waiting a year, but maybe it's a good sign? Or maybe it's just lost) or wish they'd come later (you rejected me in ONE lousy day, you thought it was that bad?). 

Here's a very good essay that speaks very eloquently on the topic, No, by Brian Doyle, featured in the Spring 2008 issue of Kenyon Review. (A particular highlight is Stefan Merkel's rejection letter of a rejection letter, which is brilliant, although the whole article is a very nice rumination on the subject of editing, accepting, and rejecting.) Check it out and keep your chin up.

Write on...


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Scary Summer Reading

Halloween's right around the corner, so I thought I'd talk about a couple chillers I read over the summer. I should probably admit that both book choices were actually motivated by having seen the movies. That might be a little bit sad, but hey, it's just the truth.  

The Ruins by Scott Smith. OK, saw I saw the movie in the theater and for only the second time ever in my long history of horror movie fandom, thought I was going to be physically ill at one point. I also worried that somebody behind me might get ill, which would be really unpleasant, too. I couldn't believe I had a serious wave of nausea! (The other time was Blair Witch Project, which was mostly from the nauseating camera work and a full stomach from sushi dinner, as opposed to anything I saw, obviously.) Anyway, the movie didn't quite make a whole lot of sense -- like, what's up with these vines, anyway? -- and the book did a much better job of explaining, and also added some extras that they didn't bother to include in the movie, and also had far better character development. The movie seemed to me much more of an excuse for gore (no shocker, I know). I don't know, maybe the movie was just an ad for the book, although making you nauseous might not be a real selling point for too many people. 

The Mist by Stephen King. I went through a major Stephen King phase in high school but eventually got burned out by his stuff, which I think I'm safe to say isn't the exception to the rule. However, I saw the movie -- which I liked -- but also thought, "Hmm, I don't remember the novella ending this way." So I went ahead and reread it. Sure enough, the ending was different (although the use of Dead Can Dance in The Mist's soundtrack was a nice touch). Anyway, I enjoyed it, and it reminded me that King on a good day is pretty good, in fact better than I recalled. 

Unfortunately, I guess neither of these are strong Halloween choices, unless you take the tact that as long as it's scary, it fits. And both are more pop than high literature, but hey, again, it's Halloween time. 

Keep on reading...


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Great News!

OK, there's been a whole lot of crazy news out there these days, but I have some great news, and that is that literary juggernaut JMWW has linked to LitBlitz. Little old me! 

JMWW's Fall 2008 issue is live, so do check out all the good stuff there! JMWW also got a nice mention in the Baltimore Sun's blogs

In other good news, the new Kelly Link collection of short stories I pre-ordered, Pretty Monsters, has arrived. I'm excited since I so adored Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen. Of course given my weird and sporadic reading habits (and the fact that I have three books going at the moment, one of which is the dreaded "heavy reading" and completely non-literary), I can't crack it right away, but hopefully it won't be too long.  

Read on and rock on!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Swapping

Hey, the economy's pretty lame, so it's cool that there are tons of options to swap books or get books on the cheap, or even leave books on a bench or airport somewhere for somebody else to enjoy, according to this AP article

Of course, there's always the library. 

I hate to admit it, but I'm kind of a book collector. I like having the books on shelves to show my reading taste. Of course, the way digital media's going, I suppose that may one day be like collecting stamps -- something people do, but far less common. 

Who knows. One thing I do know, though, speaking of digital media, is I really want one of those Amazon Kindles. Then again, I guess if I swapped more books, maybe I could save money faster for one!

Keep on reading...


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something We Forgot To Do

Thanks to HarperCollins, I now know what many of us have forgotten to do all along in pursuing our goals to become published authors. We forgot to get on TV!

Okay, I don't watch The Hills but one might now think maybe it's a veritable breeding ground for publishing achievement. I ran across a Reuters article saying The Hills star Lauren Conrad is going to write a series of young adult books called -- get this -- L.A. Candy. (Ohhh... based on her own life, no less!) 

Somebody please help me...

Maybe I'm being extremely unkind to Ms. Conrad, perhaps she's a great writer, although the name L.A. Candy doesn't really tempt me to believe we'll realize the missing Bronte sister was hiding in plain sight on prime-time TV. (Who knew?) 

It's just another reminder that a lot of the old school media companies have a serious problem. I mean, wow, it might be a lot harder to find real talent so let's just find somebody with name recognition so the finished product may sell itself no matter what. Done! That was easy.

Oh well, I'm certainly no young adult so it goes without saying I'll be skipping this one. Acting lessons, anyone? 

Keep on acting... (ahem!) writing!