Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Twilight 'Controversy'

Usually tuesdays are my 'Book Review' days but with the first installment of Breaking Dawn in theaters and all the people dishing or loving it, I just have to get it out of my chest.

First, I'll tell you where I stand. I loved the books. I mean, REALLY loved them; though I have to say the baby stuff was a stretch. Breaking Dawn was my least favorite book for a bunch of reasons, but that is fodder for another post. I'm not talking about the literary quality of any of them, I'm talking about pure entertaining value. I'm no scholar up on my tower, but a reader who wants to be transported to another world while I read. There's no secret recipe that will ensure that a certain book and a reader will click; it either happens or it doesn't. It happened for me with these books in a way I hadn't experience for a long time.

How about the movies, you wonder? Well, I hate them. I'm sorry guys, but the actors are painful to watch! And I like Robert Pattinson, he seems like quite a personable guy. Taylor Lautner is even more charismatic, and the only one who has the slightest idea of what an acting range is; however, I don't think they portray adequately the characters that I grew to love in the books. That and the fact that Kristen Stuart portrays Bella like such a lackluster girl with chronic constipation. Augh.

But I do understand how millions of young, impressionable teenagers were swept away by the fantasy of an all-powerful hero who falls head over heels for a simple, normal girl, just like them. That's the kind of romanticism that comes with the territory. I also know they'll grow out of it and will remember the characters as a precious memento of their youth.

Now, with that said; all that people talking about how the books and movies promote getting married, or getting pregnant, too young are driving me crazy. Seriously? You might as well just say they promote marrying vampires and condemning your soul.

Get real, people. There are books written as a mean to exert people to do or change certain things, they're called "Inspirational books" and most certainly do not involve either werewolves or vampires in any state of undress. Sparkly or not.

Fiction has never had the goal of inspire or influence the actions of the readers, simply entertain them. Harry Potter isn't advocating for any form of wizardry, as Romeo and Juliet isn't a vehicle to entice young lovers to suicide, so just stop the bulls**t.

If you hate the movie, own it. Say it's stupid, unrealistic, antifeminist, that destroys the horror value of the vampire; or say that the books are poorly written, that they have no character evolution nor believable characters, that they have no ultimate message or meaning. Don't get on top of your soap box and turn it into a moral issue. And even if all those things above are true, that's the beauty of art; even crappy art is personal. Just because you and I don't think the movies are worth a hoot doesn't mean there has to be any kind of message in them. They're but movies, don't go on a hate binge merely 'cause they're popular.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living with a Psychic

I bet you have never wondered what it would be like to live with a phony psychic who tricks people into believing she's for real. We all know there are a hundred of them working in shops all over the world with essences inundating the air, candles, crystal balls, scary looking card decks, and funny names like Lady Soothsayer. Well, those people out there have families of their own, they're mothers, wives, daughters... What would it be like to know your mom is a fake? How do you survive high school with all its miseries when you can't respect the parenting image waiting for you at home? It must be heart-breaking, and indeed a great character forger.

Now, imagine you're a blind kid. You rely on your senses to guide you through life, but what if your senses grew to perceive things others can't. Would you be able to identify what's real from what's not? You'd never knew if the presence you're feeling next to you is really there, or just a vision from the future. Nerve racking, right? The problem is, things can get worse. What if you could, for example, experience the future death of someone important to you? Surely, figuring things like these at sixteen can change you forever.

Well, these characters are two of the most memorable in the array of craziness that is Farsighted. And I mean crazy in a good way, because it stretches your imagination and makes yourself ask questions you'd never thought of before. There are more secrets on those pages than in Silvia Brown's crystal ball, and I won't ruin those for you. You have to read it, not only if you're a lover of YA paranormal books, but if you enjoy finding your way through mazes and figuring out what's behind a character. I bet you my Tarot deck, you won't be able to see the final twist coming at you.

Chances are, if you spend some time in books-related cyberspace, you've met the author Emlyn Chand, who is an active mind always thinking on new ways to connect. Her vivacious voice lends herself perfectly to voice the anguishes of growing up superhero. Don't miss her debut novel, first of a series that will have you hook from page one; and remember:  Vampires are out, Psychics are in!

As part of Farsighted launching blog tour, Novel Publicity and the author, Emlyn Chand, are giving cash prizes of $100 each. Bloggers can win by writing the most creative entry and you can help me by voting in the traffic-breaker poll. Readers like you can also win! All you have to do is leave a comment on this and other tour host’s entries for the random commenter prize. That easy!!

Here you have the link with the tour dates and the list where you can vote:  Novel Publicity, Farsighted Tour.

Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!
Learn more about Emlyn through the following links:

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Frankenstein, My Review

I finished reading this book a few months ago but hadn't been able to post my review before, caught up in work and all.

The first thing that comes to my mind is:  What a let down! I know, I'm sorry if you are a fan of the story but for me, it was hard to finish it. We all know the story:  Brilliant scientist gets obsessed with leaving his mark on the world and what bigger mark than eliminating death from scratch, right? He then dedicates half his life to mix and match body parts with liquids and electricity until he finally manages to accomplish his goal.

So far, so good. The style is a bit heavy on the rhetoric side but, hey, it's an 1818 book, so it kind of goes with the territory. The story is interesting and the characters relatable. Given that much of this section is told using the memories of a man who longs for the past tranquility and happiness, Shelly fails to convey that foggy, magical feeling memories tend to have. Instead, she gives way too much attention to the philosophy and morals behind Victor's actions. Gothic novels rely heavily on ambiance, and though the novel has clear traces of Gothic Style, it falls short from other great examples like Dracula, or Poe's work.

The second portion of the book I read out of sheer will power. There's no horror in this novel, at least not in the way every other Frankenstein lore and movies make you think. Most of the horror comes Victor Frankenstein himself in the form of cowardice that costs many lives.

When his monster wakes, the scientist feels horrified by his creation. Now he discovers how gross it is to have made it out of corpses. He has three options, either educate and study his monster to ensure humanity will only receive good from his creation, kill him in that same spot before the horrifying spawn becomes stronger, or run like a girl and try to forget this ever happened. Yeah, you guessed it. He runs.

Really, who can expect that running from your problems will make them vanish? What was Shelly thinking?! Anyways, the monster is forced to learn of his appearance by the reaction of others, is forced to feed himself, and becomes sad and angry against his father for abandoning him, and humanity for shunning him.

Shelly is clear in this section about the good naturedness of the creature when he first awakes, it is only after months of receiving bad treatment from others that he turns. So the monster is clearly for whom you feel and, at this point, is Victor who is the real monster.

I won't go on with details and ruin the novel for you but I'll go on to say that the other thing that didn't work for me is how, on the final section of the book, Shelly tries to revive our good feeling for Victor and make out of the creature the villain. You have to be very clear on how you want your readers to feel about your characters, or you have to be extremely skillful to change our minds midway. Mary Shelly is neither. The end I received with a celebratory sigh and swore never to open this book again.

If you enjoy classic literature, I wouldn't say skip it at all. It is a must read for those hard core fans of the horror genre, but don't expect it to be a horror in the modern sense. If you get easily annoyed by characters doing stupid illogical things, this might not be your cup of tea.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Coffin Hop Winners!

So, the time has come to announce the happy winners of our Halloween Coffin Hop. I have to say all the stories were good and it was hard for the lovely judges Larry Fowler and Renee Pawlish to choose only one each. 

Renee's favorite was:  Tata ta ta! Kim's story (kkoning78). This one gave me chills but also a nice feeling afterwards. Nicely done.

To know more about Renee or her work, please visit  Renee Pawlish where you can find a link to all of her work.

Now, Larry's fave was:  Drum roll, please! Anne Michaud!! This is very sharp telling, indeed. Anne's story is short but packs a punch!

Congrats to everyone. I'll get in contact with the winners to send them their copy of ISOLATION as soon as possible.

Thanks to all for making this possible. Now, I leave you with a few words from Larry Fowler explaining why Anne's story captivated him so much. If I were you, I'd read on...

All the stories entertained me, but I chose the story by Anne Michaud because, though it was short, I could see her fighting to maintain her balance, just to be snatched out of the air by a ghost. The small details in it like"the breath dissipating in a plume of smoke" gave me the sense that I was right there with her.

About me and what may capacitate me to identify a piece of fine writing; besides being an avid reader, I'm a writer. I write thrillers, and I do so because my goal is to keep you on the edge of your seat while I touch the depth of your soul. Kind of like Nicholas Sparks meets Dan Brown.

What do I write about? Well, let me inside your head and I'll probably write about what I find.

Why do I write? Good question! Doing in bad guys is my therapy. It's cheaper and it gives me an illusion of control.

Where do I get my stories? I let the characters talk to me.

Why did I pick Lincoln as a subject? This is an even better question. You're good! I was depressed and learned that he struggled with depression, too. I thought I could learn something from him. After all, he accomplished a lot. But when I learned how much baggage he carried into adulthood, and how much more tragedy he suffered as an adult, I was in awe.  So I decided to create a story where a modern young woman reflects Lincoln’s psychology, and she uses the same techniques he employed, overcoming extraordinary obstacles to achieve impossible results.

This is it, the basics. LD Fowler 101. But if you'd like to know more, you can dig in at www.dlfowler.com - I'm also on Twitter (@dlfowlernovels), Facebook and I blog via Wordpress. I'll be delighted to see you around.

Larry's debut novel, Lincoln's Diary, is available for Kindle, Nook and Google eBooks as well as paperback. Is it conceivable that President Lincoln helped plan his own assassination? When 
Sarah Sue Morgan starts chasing the truth, what she finds out could end up costing her life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My First Blog Award!

Last night I found out I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award and, as most of you, I had no idea what I had done to deserve it. Reading about it through the internet, I realized it is granted by the readers to their five favorite blogs; then the receiver must thank the blog who awarded him/her (like I needed a rule to make me thank Lacy for her kindness) and choose the five blogs that'll receive the award from him/her.

I'm ecstatic, I mean, my first award of any kind and given by someone who finds my writing entertaining enough to deserve a special badge. So awesome!

Thanks Lacy, you just made my day. Of course, I'd be dishonoring Lacy Ferris if I were not to point you in her direction. Her blog Inside My Mind is full of great advise, useful info, and just simply entertaining. And I'm not just saying it, do not miss it.

Now, the time has come for me to pay it forward and share with you those blogs that I think are insightful, interesting, and entertaining. My five favorite blogs are:

The Swollen Corpse by Sam Williams

Dreams Galore by Shilpa Mirza

No Vacation From Speculation by Jessica McHugh

Steeped in Books by Georgia Saunders

The Fiction Hole by Jay Taylor

So, in accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:

- Thank the person that gave the award and link back to their blog

- Copy and paste the award to your blog

- Reveal the 5 blogs you have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog

- Hope they pay it forward by accepting and awarding it to bloggers they would like to honor

This award is for anyone with under 200 followers. :)

Let's keep the karma flowing guys and congrats to all!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My First Insecure Writer Support Group

Ok, Halloween is over. I'm tired, overloaded with work, and high on candy and coffee; however, I'm very excited to be posting for the first time in this awesome group. Really, what a fantastic idea. We writers, and artists in general, tend to be very insecure about our true talent and since most of us are confronted with more than our share of rejection, it's very easy to lose faith in ourselves and our talent. This is why a little sticking together and group hug can make a big difference at the right moment.

So, in this spirit, I'll talk about a nagging question that every writer has been asked at some point or another: Why do I write?

It sounds like a cliche question and boring but really, it's a most fundamental one. Stephen King has said he doesn't write because of the money, but I don't see many of his books for free or even cheap... the same goes to every successful writer out there. They might not be in it for the money but they're able to pay their bills and buy nice real-estate with excellent views and 2.5 baths with those checks. Most of them don't have to worry about the money because they're well established and people will come back for more. Their motivation most certainly must come from another place: a love for the craft, the love of attention, the thrill of seeing their faces plastered in many thousands of back covers in libraries all over the nation... who knows.

In our case, my case, I clearly don't do it for the money, at least not for big money. I can't even pay my rent with what I earn as a writer... yet. At this stage, I write because it is my passion, because I enjoy it so much I feel like I'm playing around my computer instead of working. That's a big thing, of course, but I'm also thinking about the future and where I'm expecting to go with my career; I'm also doing it because I want to see my picture in a back cover sharing a shelf with one of those big names. I want to tell the world I exist and I have something to say. I want it bad. Now, I don't mind for hordes of followers; as long as I'm able to sell a decent amount of books to deserve the company of such great authors, I won't cry if I don't have a fan club. Ever.

You see, I don't kid myself or those around me; I'm in it for more than money or the fame, but for the right to exist. Of course money will never go out of use or become a nuisance =). Also, I won't go around claiming I love the arts (though I do, I swear) and I write just because I have this artistic voice boiling inside of me that won't shut up. I'm neither a romantic nor a sell out, I'm pragmatic. Always have been, always will be.

I think that because I have a realistic approach to the hardships of the industry and I'm sincere with me and others about what I expect of my career, I have a better chance to actually be content with whatever comes out of it. I'm not dreaming of being 'discovered' by some random publishing house and jump into celebrity status over night. I know there will be more that a lot of rejections and harsh critiques of my work, but I'm ready to fight for my little space on that shelf and I'm enjoying my way there. What more can I ask of life?

My wish for all of you is neither wealth, nor fame, nor glory, but happiness with what you accomplish and a sense of direction that will take you exactly where you want to be in life.

Write on fellow insecure writers, write on and enjoy the ride. Happy NaNoWriMo!