Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year and Mind the Social Media

A Happy New Year to all as I spend it safely indoors, counting on others to usher in 2015 with style, panache, and drunk fail videos for some 2015 You Tube compilation.

Writing continues at a frantic pace for a joint eBook-softcover release probably around the first week of February. If you're a resolution maker, here's one from a famous guy from back in the day.

h/t: Johnny Carson

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Santa—And Everyone Else!

An upbeat seasonal song on this special day, especially to my brother-in-law and cousins in the damp northwest, suffering from the flu. May your presents contain medicine. Merry Christmas!

h/t: Chrisrocks007

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Last Second eBook Shopping

Christmas Eve and all is hopefully well. But if you still haven't hung your electronic stockings by the chimney with care then here are a few eBook options that'll brighten the faces of all ages and tastes. Good authors—I know them, including me—good writing and a few bargains mixed in make these works worth the click. Scroll on and, I say, Merry Christmas!

For whom the bell trolls!

Undrastormur: A Viking Tale of Troublesome 

How do you cope when trolls show up at your village with an appetite? In this short fantasy by TV animation writing ace Roger Eschbacher learn what young Erik must do to save his people. Suitable for young and old alike. Under a dollar. (That's .99 in Kindle-speak.)

Justice and fun in one rea

Jury Doody

Yes, this is by me and details my adventure on jury duty trying to tease out the truth in a bizarre case of spousal assault. Here is the real LA Law in a quick amusing read suitable for teens and up and available for under a dollar. Also available on Smashwords.

Offensive tales that attack.

Appalling Yarns

Unnoted recluse and veteran TV cameraman Dutch Heckman has assembled a collection of offbeat tales so dark they illuminate Black Holes. Read why Oscar is a likable ogre, and marvel at what happens to Risky Ventures when his luck runs out. Something to offend everyone. Adults only. $2.99.

Do you really want to check your cell phone at dinner?

Aunti Jodi's Helpful Hints

In a changing world, Aunti Jodi guides you through life's thickets with wit, humor, advice, and a glass of champagne—for her, that is. Jodie Adler's light-hearted look at mores and manners is the perfect gift for that special someone who really needs a hint. Suitable for teens and up. $4.99.

There's no place like om for the holidays.

  The Little Book of Big Enlightenment

Enjoy the fun as a guru and a marketing hack trade snark and barbs in the pages of the latest pop spirituality text detailing a path to instant  enlightenment. Who is Big Spirit? How do they benefit from stopping your rapid climb to the top of Mount Serenity? Once again, this one's mine and suitable for teens and up. $1.99. Also available at Smashwords.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

50ZG Parody Progress

Zane Grey adding up his royalties back in the day.
(Image: bio)
As of yesterday, I've laid down 28,012 words and 89 pages of 50 Shades of Zane Grey. The five-page method makes writing in manageable chunks a breeze. Parts I through IV comprising the first chapter and a half are available for your perusal.

And while my title is catchy, Zane Grey, western novelist, and once the highest paid writer in the world, is as lost to contemporary life as analog phones and the western itself.  Over the next six weeks, I'll be laboring to reestablish the name Zane Grey with the western genre he did so much to pioneer—so to speak. Then wed Grey's world to the sultry titillation of E.L. James in the hopes of providing a few laughs in time for the mid-February film launch. What happens afterwards? While the vault of time holds this answer in abeyance, I only know I'm bound to proceed with my next book.

Until that golden day, behold a funny spoof of the '50 Shades' trailer. 

h/t: Spank!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Norks Denounce 50 Shades

In between dictating Hollywood release dates, Kim Jong-un relaxes with giant fake cheese.
Universal is scrabbling to deal with a threat from Kim Jong-un to unleash terror unless 50 Shades of Grey is yanked from release. Scheduled for a February 13, 2015 premier, the steamy sex pic is said to have irritated the communist dictator who was quoted as saying, "This film is not realistic. Women are not tied up and beaten unless they are political prisoners. Then they are killed with a flame thrower." Studio spokesperson Andy Stringcheesespine stated that no decision has yet been reached on whether  to comply with Pyongyang's demand, but added, "The right decision will be reached because Hollywood and courage are synonymous."
Image: Mirror

Update: December 24

The Interview will screen on Christmas Day despite threats from Kim Jong-un to starve his population.

Son of Update

Make that screening today. And congrats to Sony for showing grit and defying Dennis Rodman's dearest friend.

Friday, December 12, 2014

TVIT with Julianne Buescher

Image: katyanovablog

More mirth from Paul Rugg and friends as Julianne Buescher joined That Voice Over Improv Thing on Wednesday for fun and robust comedy. Also present, long time Animaniacs supporter Ron O'Dell and spouse, yelling out suggestions in a manner befitting a long-time supporter.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Five-Page Power Writing Tip

Image: Better Movement

New writing strategy as I press forward with 50 Shades of Zane Grey. I've broken my chapters up into threes and write in bursts of five pages. Not every chapter comes out to fifteen pages, but close enough. I find that five pages in a separate document limits my bad habit of drifting back to "fix" yesterday's stuff instead of pressing on. When I falter, it's only five pages.

Another plus is I can build mini-arcs into each five page packet, giving me tiny-cliffhangers within each chapter. Five is a very manageable number and I'm not frozen by the thought of how much further I have to go.

There's all kinds of ways of doing things and right now this is mine. I'm encouraged by how fast and how much I'm getting done. So far it beats word count as a daily metric.

Here is your Old West Word of the Day: GAY CAT—I know—defined as one who cases banks and towns for future jobs. (I'm sensing criminal activity here.) How language does change.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Painted Bird Review

The Painted BirdThe Painted Bird by Jerzy KosiƄski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cruelty and brutality follow a Jewish child hiding out with Polish peasants during the Second World War. Overworked, beaten, the boy often runs away only to find his next home is basically identical to the one he just escaped. Author Jerzy Kosinski, who survived German savagery in Eastern Europe, made his tale fictional because it "forces the reader to contribute: he does not simply compare [as in autobiography]; he actually enters a fictional role, expanding it in terms of his own experience, his own creative and imaginative powers."

That said, the story was indeed relentless in its violent depictions, highlighted by a ruthless German attack on a village and the stomach-turning barbarities inflicted on a helpless populace. But after a time, you're almost numbed to the horrors  because they're always there. In the aftermath of the war, we see Warsaw become Lord of the Flies at night as parentless children, used to living on their wits, run in gangs, taking what they will.

A raw look at a slice of the Second World War unknown to most Western readers. And while well-written, with a note of hope at the end, it batters you with humanities' dark side.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 05, 2014

Famous People Born 12/5

From December 5, 2011, I repost my birthday thoughts on fame and fortune. What have I learned in three years? A kind word opens many doors and that no man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a homunculus.

Thank you very much to all who have, so far, wished me Happy Birthday. In thinking of this day, I am reminded of several famous Americans who share my date of birth. I will list three and examine their accomplishments as compared to mine.

1. Martin Van Buren - b. Dec. 5, 1782

2. George Armstrong Custer - b. Dec. 5, 1839

3. Walt Disney - b. Dec. 5, 1901

4. John P. McCann - b. Dec. 5, 1952

1. Martin Van Buren succeeded greatly in becoming the 8th President of the United States but was hardly remembered even in his own day. He had a large bull frog stuffed and used as an ink well in the White House. However President Taft later sat on it by accident and they had to throw the thing out. That's about it.

2. George Armstrong Custer succeeded greatly as a soldier in the Civil War but had a mixed record fighting Indians. (1-1-2, I think.) He is best remembered for his spectacular fail at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. At first, everything was going well; then it all fell apart under an Indian tsunami. In later years, Custer had a park named after him as well as a monument and a movie where his part was played by Errol Flynn. That's a whole lot more than Van Buren ever got.

3. Walt Disney succeeded greatly in animation, a pioneer in the field, creator of iconic characters—but not the word 'iconic' which has been seized upon by junior execs.—established Disney studios and Disneyland and is fondly remembered to this day. Nonetheless his body is frozen in a vault beneath Disney's Burbank lot and should Walt be reanimated and start making decisions again it could effect his legacy.

4. John P. McCann was greatly successful as a Hollywood atmosphere player. McCann was the ship-board stand-in for a Canadian actor portraying Errol Flynn in My Wicked, Wicked Ways. In addition, he is visible catching Dennis Quaid's jacket at around 1:19 in a clip from Great Balls of Fire.
More successful in animation, McCann created the non-iconic character of The Huntsman. For the next fifteen years, he piggy-backed onto as many successful shows as his friends would allow. While the record is still being written, outsiders agree that McCann will be remembered by Bank of America and several other creditors who might reasonably feel aggrieved should he pass from the scene within the next several months.

Images:, Parcbench, fold3

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Jesus' Son Review

Jesus' SonJesus' Son by Denis Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Down and out in the Midwest, this collection of short stories invites you into the lives of addicts and petty criminals as they self-destruct, screw up the lives of those closest to them, and, in some cases, find hope. Denis Johnson's prose is a good mix of rich metaphors and sparse description as he walks us through the taverns, abandoned homes, and aging cars of his suffering protagonists.

The paperback edition is 160 pages and reads quickly as you encounter stories about losers who can't rid themselves of a physically powerful mute, a shooting that seems accidental and leads to the burden of an unwanted death, an addict Peeping Tom who really hopes to view a place for himself in the world. Overall, a good look at alienation, loneliness, and the expectancy of better days.

View all my reviews

7D Pick Up

Image: Disney 7D
Thus saith producer Tom Ruegger over at Cartoonatics. Disney has sprung for 39 more half hours, which translates into 78 shorts which translates into steady employment for many. Themes to be explored in the new season involve Dwarf rights, common sense magic control, and the strangling of democracy at the hands of imperialism by Queen Delightful and her little crown-wearing dog.

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John P. McCann Sizzle Page

'Twas suggested I post a few episodes of my work in a pleasant spot. I've chosen here. Sadly, not everything I've written has y...