Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hallow Mass Hailed Again


TV Tropes

Reader Hans G. Schantz found my Lovecraftian horror tale "clever, amusing, and fun." Scroll down to Most Recent Customer Reviews and scope out his brief summary.

Still laboring to provide assistance to a very ill family member. Sometimes this very ill family member insists they're healthy as a young mare and that everyone, including cardiologists, are overwrought and misguided. This doesn't help.

I'm writing something. I'm writing almost every day. But I'm not going to say what I'm writing. For the last year, this has been poison to my craft. I'll drop the book or short story collection within six weeks and start on a fresh tale that I'll post about.

 So to keep the words flowing, I'm shutting my mouth. At least until the second draft.

  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Burnett Bids Bye to TV Animation



Nice guy Producer Alan Burnett wrapped it up after 26 years at Warner Bros. Amazing! Unbelievable! Who spends 26 years anywhere other than prison? I knew Alan back in the day and worked with him on a pair of Batman Beyond scripts as well as developing a project or two that never saw daylight. I wish him well in Florida, the land of his birth, where he returns now for grandchildren production, alligator enjoyment, and humidity



Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Today

memorialdayfacts
Not 'happy' Memorial Day. It should be a somber time with ceremonies tied to the theme that freedom isn't free. But we are a people cut off from our history, disconnected from our military whom many seem to view as a heavily armed jobs program in need of social engineering. Can't say the Romans were exactly the same as we, but, at some point, the elites of the western empire stopped serving and starting sub-contracting wars to barbarians who eventually conquered them.  I suppose anything not worth fighting for isn't worth keeping. May our honored dead rest in peace.

My family medical issue is lining up to be long term. I need to readjust my focus to accommodate an elderly relative in need of constant care. It's not pleasant, but a fair number of things in life just plain aren't.

Fractured elbow is healing better than I expected. Sprained wrist is back to around 85%. Ice and immobility are doing the trick.

Not a cheery post today, but my fundamental cheeriness is at low ebb, at least for the moment.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hallow Mass: You Will Be Triggered


keywords suggests.com

Novelist and author of The Risen Adam J. Smith shared a few kind thoughts on my horror novel. Over at Stranger Writings, Smith summarized Hallow Mass thusly:

"With Overtones of William Peter Blatty's Humorous Dialogue Style, Hallow Mass is Irreverent, Self-Deprecating And Amusing — A Paranormal Novel with a Personality."

Where one may peruse a review of Hallow Mass.


More importantly, from a domestic stand-point, Smith saluted the book's editing, courtesy of my wife and her many years of magazine production. 

Scroll down the page and read the paragraph. Then swing by Cultured Vultures for Smith's full review. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sizzle Reel Update


Medical-actu.com



Family medical problems command my attention these last several weeks. But, lo, gaze upon my updated sizzle reel, containing samples of my work not yet removed from You Tube for copyright violations.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Where Have All the Old Ones Gone?


pixabay.com via Snappy Goat

Video Views Lack of Lovecraft Films


A serious illness in the family continues to absorb much of my time, but I found a few moments to watch a pretty cool short film delving into the paucity of big budget movies based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. 

(Colour Out of Space? Come on, someone green light that baby. And don't forget the funky English spelling on 'color.' Oh, and what's wrong with pumping cash into Blight, making that a feature length film?)

Lovecraft was an atheist, so settings such as Hell, or story elements involving the threat or Hell, or villains such as creatures from Hell, found no traction in his dream-soaked imagination. So he invented a fictional mythos about the nature of the universe—our cosmos is neither benign nor neutral, but intensely hostile.


H.P. cancels the future. 


In Lovecraft's mythos, caring, rational human beings, working in the best interests of humanity, would not be solving economic disparities and creating a just society. Eventually, humans would be ground underfoot like beetles under a boot—the clever with the dim—or consumed by monstrous beings called Great Old Ones, summoned from eerie dimensions to claim the Earth. (Or else people would go screaming mad and then be crushed or devoured, which is, arguably, a slim difference.) 

Rossatron explores the difficulty in capturing the mythos on film, but offers examples of select elements successfully rendered by various directors such as John Carpenter. Explore his take here:


In other news:


Horror author Samantha Gregory Salutes Hallow Mass


Also going by the handle of S.K. Gregory, the author of After and Daemon Persuasion left fine reviews of my Lovecraftian horror novel on Amazon and Goodreads, seeing within the text an "evil dead vibe . . . with "comedy/horror elements." I'll accept such praise. I surely will.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jennly Reads Writes Hallow Mass Review


Jennly Reads
A solid assessment of my Lovecraftian story on this fine Sunday morning. The reviewer found the book less a horror tale and "more a dark satirical comedy with a bit of the occult thrown in." Learn more over at Jennly Reads. I'm going now to microwave some bacon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Reviews Anonymous Discovers Hallow Mass

Book Reviews Anonymous

Many thanks to Loretta Lynn for her fine take on my horror novel. She noted that my Lovecraftian story device—the book of dark unholy magic, the Necronomiconhas been mal employed by other writers.

 " . . . Imagine my delight and surprise, then, in Hallow Mass, to find that the book's used as intended. And what a narrative built around it."

Protagonist Mercy O'Connor dodges a number of female tropes to "stand out" as "her own personality,"

Read more over at Book Reviews Anonymous.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!


Buildingontheword.org

A Sunday of religious services, family, and canned ham (surrounded in gelatin that we smother in whipped cream for dessert.) The movie this evening will be Hidden Figuresor an old mystery my wife digs out from her vast collection of old mysteries. A suitable genre on this day.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Review: Your Money or Your Faith in Islamic Spain

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval SpainThe Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain by Darío Fernández-Morera
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muslims once conquered most of Spain. What was life like for non-Muslims under their control? Christian and Jewish status in the period 711 to 1492 A.D. is the subject of this book. Contemporary accounts often allude to these centuries as a Golden Era of art, science and inter-faith tolerance, presided over by enlightened Muslims.

Professor Fernández-Morera offers an opposing view.

Using various accounts from Muslim, Christian and Jewish sources, we are presented with a Spain twisted by religious tension and marked by periodic uprisings, mass exportation of Christians to North Africa, and subordinate dhimmi status for Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule, forced to pay a tax for “protection.”

Some Jews, at certain times, did hold responsible positions, but their advancement relied less on tolerance and more on an individual Caliph’s distrust of fellow Muslims and the ulama—the religious council that enforced the Maliki version of Sharia law governing Spain at that time.

Given each faith’s exclusionary practices, the subsequent invasion of Spain by even more religiously strict North Africans, and the unrelenting pressure of the Christian reconquest, there seemed little inclination for interfaith dialogue. In Fernández-Morera's work, peace only descended after one faith or the other had been subsumed by the victors.

While readable, the book carries almost a hundred pages of endnotes and bibliography, basically a third of the overall text. I’m glad the author did his homework, but this imbalance left one feeling the main body might be a bit thin.


View all my reviews

Monday, April 10, 2017

High Like a Rock Star on Social Media


theodysseyonline.com

"Constant novelty at a click can cause addiction."

(Unease over what to write next. Wanted to go out to the kitchen for a cinnamon roll, but didn't.)

I just saw a video explaining why I spend so much time hopscotching around social media. That's because Twitter, Reddit, etc. are designed that way. Say I'm sitting at the computer and experience a negative emotion such as anxiety. A neurochemical called dopamine is released in anticipation of surfing for a reward, such as a funny video or interesting post. The notion of finding something cool on social media will lead me to click-scroll-swipe away, often to the exclusion of doing something productive such as write-exercise-interact in person with other human beings.

Internet addiction isn't new, but this made sense to me as I recalled my cigarette smoking years. The anticipation of lighting up released the dopamine. I feel the same way when logging on. And I escape into social media whenever I've hit another writing roadblock just as I used to fire up a smoke.

On the video, the addiction portion begins around 2:15. As a side note, I watched this on Saturday afternoon. Then I turned off my computer and left it dark through Sunday. I was very uneasy all that day. But I did finish reading a book and scribbled out notes for a review. I also thought of an idea for a short story, cycled, and watched TV with my wife.

Today, I logged back in, more aware of how I feel when I experience the urge to bolt from a vexing task and surf around. Fascinating.



h/t: What I've Learned

UPDATE:

Here's a darker, more global view of where dopamine addiction can lead:


h/t: Summer Rayne Oakes