Archives, Part Eight, yeah? (December 15, 2008 to January 11, 2009)

A Quick Update (Baen+95) (December 15, 2008)

I apologize for the lack of updates recently, but I must say that it's been for good reason: I've been knee deep in writing. From cementing the final outline--adding a few chapters, taking away several, and strengthening the narrative overall--to working on the second draft of the majority of the story and detailing the finale, I've found all of the freetime I normally dispose to such things as updating the blog sorely taken up.

It is an interesting time to blog though, with so much turmoil in our world. Did anyone see the video of Bush ducking from a few shoes? It's a good thing he was looking up when it happened... but man, look at those S.S. swarm. It's a good thing we train them so well... but why didn't anyone jump in from of him? Hm.

Anyway. A short update as I get back to the novel with the February target still firm in my mind. Expect light updates until then, when I will likely take a break from writing in order to more heavily research my next two projects (which should take me much longer than this one, which has been nothing but fun so far... except for that one day....).

Until next time, good luck getting published!

About Tomorrow... (Baen+106) (December 26, 2008)

A few of you may have noticed by call for "actors" through Facebook (if you're not friends with me on Facebook, please do so) for tomorrow, but unfortunately, because of the dire weather forecast (rain for the majority of the day and a bit too warm for what I need), I have to postpone to a later date. Some of you have had questions about what the film actually is, and I will indeed give them to you (just not now). I will completely outline what I need at a later date (possibly tomorrow?) so stay tuned, and thanks a ton for your help.

On the writing side, work continues. The holidays have been nice to me with time, and I am taking full advantage of what has been given to me. Progress is good!

Until next time, good luck getting published!

Book Review (Baen+110) (December 30, 2008)

Review: The Kingdom of the Occult by Dr. Walter Martin, et al. (7.1/10 or 3/5)

Coming into this book, I had never before read Dr. Walter Martin, and thus came in rather blind in regard to his strong religious views. Due to this, I failed to realize that when the book’s description said Martin “forges a strong weapon against the world of the Occult” within the title’s pages, it truly meant that as a Christian, he was attempting to fight the spread of these occult religions and spread the name of Christ. I for one have never been very religious, and subsequently was hoping for more of an unbiased overview rather than a “this belief goes against the word of the Gospel and thus is supporting Satan and his demons who are in charge of this world” kind of read.

Throughout the text, Martin refers to typical things like UFO worship, Ouija board playing, and similar things as worshipping false Gods, but also mentions yoga and tantric exercises, Kaballah, and other religions such as Paganism as containing no good and in fact infers that the practice or worship of such beliefs may result in a person’s possession. In argument, Martin (or one of the other two authors) employs the same passages from the Bible repeatedly, particularly Acts 13:6-12, which is used emphatically throughout the title as if the reader had not already glossed over the passage fifty pages ago.

The book does an adequate job of introducing readers to the world of the occult, but spends far too much time arguing their inadequacies and preaching the Word. While this point was clear by the introduction’s conclusion, it was not stated in the product description and should rightly be inserted there.

Book Review (Baen+110) (December 30, 2008)

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (7.4/10)

I was very close to not purchasing this title, as, when I picked it up in the store, the massive emptiness surrounding the text deterred me instantly from the title's $12.99 price tag. It seemed like a book that could actually be turned into a pamphlet without even changing the font type. Indeed, once I did decide to purchase a copy (not out of sheer desire to read it, but out of the knowledge that my money wouldn't go to Rowling but instead the Children's High Level Group, a charity founded by the author) I read through its entirety in less than 45 minutes. That, of course, does not make the book necessarily one worth avoiding, but it was a major factor in the review score.

The stories themselves are rather entertaining and resemble fairy tales "Muggles" may have heard as children, a.k.a. Cinderella, Snow White, etc. There are five total, with the star of the seventh Harry Potter book, "The Tales of the Three Brothers," capping off the book. While the first four were enjoyable in their own right, the last seemed (though I haven't checked this) verbatim to what was read in Deathly Hallows. Considering the book is marketed as a "new translation by Hermione Granger," I'm surprised Rowling didn't throw in more details or extend the brief story.

As to Dumbledore's notes, they actually comprise the bulk of the book. They are full of the dry wit seen throughout the original series, but do not do much to expand the characterization of Albus (though the several stabs at the Malfoys were rather intriguing). Readers only briefly see further into the world of Rowling through the commentary, and they are a poor subsitute for another series (if there ever is one).

More likely designed to measure the staying power of the Harry Potter brand than anything else, this title will not satisfy like that masterful series, but may tide readers over until Rowling throws out a brand new book (like the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages titles did in 2001).

Happy New Year (Baen+122) (January 11, 2009)

First of all, happy new year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and is prepared to get back to work (though I know I'm not too thrilled about it--I was spoiled by the snow and holiday and personal days). It's been an eventful couple of weeks, not only because of the holidays but because I've gotten quite a bit of work done. Where should we start?

Last Sunday, with the help of my college roommate Ariya, my friend Totana, my girlfriend Kim, and my parents, I commenced filming my second movie. The shots we finished went quite well, and I must say Ariya is fairly talented and listens to directions amazingly. I have yet to edit the shots together, but I need to film a few more scenes before it is finished. I'll be sure to keep you updated on this and link to the YouTube posting.

My novel has grown a bit, now up to 149 pages and about 33,000 words. There are still several chapters I haven't completed a second draft of, and several more I haven't even written. I believe I'm still on target for the February deadline, but I won't put myself down if it doesn't happen. The largest problem holding me back was the characterization of the main antagonist. While I know where I want him to be, and what I want him to do, it got difficult giving him an inner voice. As of last night, it's been rectified, so work should continue.

Speaking of which, remember a few months ago when I asked if anyone would be interested in going to a palm reading? Well, no one ever stepped forward, so during one of my personal days I went to go speak with the only reader I knew and realized that they had gone out of business (or simply stopped reading palms). There are no others within thirty miles according to Google, and I couldn't find a full palm reading on YouTube or anywhere else (if anyone finds one, please leave a comment). So yesterday, as I was checking out at Barnes & Noble, I happened to catch a glimpse of a small box called Palm Reading. I picked it up, and the back has the following description:

Palm Reading: The Complete Kit
is perfect for anyone who'd like to learn palmistry in a flash. Read the full-color 88-age book to learn what different lines and shapes reveal about character and destiny; then use the 55 mini palmistry "flash cards" to help you memorize your way to mastery.

So, I picked it up (it was only $8.95) and I've got to say, there's a ton of stuff I never would've known unless I had gone to an actual reading. With this, I should be able to complete the chatper I've had to work around. So... full steam ahead!

Is there anything else? Probably, but this should suffice for now. A short update for the new year, but an update anyway. I'll try to post again soon with further news and insight.

Until then, good luck getting published!