Category Archives: Screen Rant

The week in which the effects of various things caught up with me (#SFWApro)

One of them being last week’s lack of sleep. This week I actually slept well. Unfortunately as my sleep got more normal, I started to get tired — as I’ve noticed in the past, it’s like my body wants to make up for the sleepless periods I was doing without slumber. So that slowed things down.

The other being the constant puppy care. After two weeks without the usual day off, I feel like my personal space is nonexistent (when I was at my writer’s group Tuesday night it felt incredibly crowded — which it is, but that doesn’t normally bother me). You might not think that would make such a distraction, but it really lowers my ability to concentrate. I got some help this week, though, by finally getting Plushie to take longer walks. He’s been unenthused (to put it mildly), but it seems if I feed them lunch before going out, then simply stand and wait when he gets stubborn, he’ll walk. That means less time to write, but getting outside for thirty minutes or so really reduces some of the stress of being stuck in the living room most of the day. Though I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep it up into the summer — it was really uncomfortable for us today.

(Plushie practices his flirtatious head toss)

So after Wednesday’s day off, I found it very hard to get back in the swing of things. I couldn’t get my brain to work on Southern Discomfort at all, but I’ve still got enough time this month to finish it. I finished a second Screen Rant (not out yet) and clarified some questions before starting on a new book proposal (details to follow). I did get a couple of thousand words done on Discomfort earlier in the week. And I corrected the proofs of my Atlas Shagged short story collection, so it should be out next month.

And as another Leaf Media gig opened up, I jumped on it — writing informational articles for the Career Trend website. It’s another temporary gig, so I’d hoped to squeeze several in this week. I managed two, but that’s still money I didn’t have, so yay.

I wound up putting in more hours than I’d planned, but more of them were research reading or blogging than I would have preferred. Useful things, yes, but more actual writing would have been good.

Hopefully I will back up to full strength next week. Positive thoughts welcome.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Face front, true believers, my new Screen Rant column is out! (#SFWApro)

And it covers people who died because of Spider-Man. Not killed by him, but got targeted by his enemies, died trying to revenge themselves on him or fell as collateral damage. Such as the Green Goblin, killed when he tried to send his glider into Spider-Man’s back (he got better later). Art by John Romita and Gil Kane, all rights remain with current holder.

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Strangling in the arms of Morpheus (#SFWApro)

Sleep and I were strangers this week.

Monday morning, I always wake up early.

Tuesday morning I woke up early because TYG had rolled across the bed and into me (she never wakes up. She’s a much sounder sleeper than me).

Wednesday morning we got a very early morning phone call that could have waited until after daybreak.

Thursday Trixie decided she wanted to go out. Didn’t need to go out, just wanted to.

So by Wednesday I was slowing down. Thursday I just ground to a halt after lunch.

Despite which I did complete my next Screen Rant, 15 characters whose origins have never been explained. This was a surprisingly tough one, as there are very few characters left who don’t have an origin. And some of the ones I picked did have explanations, it’s just they were subsequently retconned away. But I think that’s a forgivable fudge.

The Phantom Stranger (the original rather than the New 52 version) is one who’s never been definitively explained, although there have been lots of suggestions, hints and possible origins (the New 52 version did have an origin. Trust me, he’s better without one). The image (all rights remain with current holder) is by Jim Aparo, who will always be the definitive Phantom Stranger artist for me.

I finished 7,000 words on Southern Discomfort which was my quota for the week. I’d have been happy to complete more but if I keep up that pace I’ll have this draft done by month’s end. It’s not going as fast or as smooth as it did at the end of May, but it is going. I’m definitely veering further into Terra incognita more, but this the point at which my previous draft was really struggling, so that’s not surprising. A lot of it’ll have to be heavily fixed, but I think I’m generating some ideas I can use.

And that was pretty much it. Plans for work on short stories didn’t pan out, due to the sleep-deficit slump. Still, as long as Southern Discomforts moves ahead, I’m entitled to feel satisfied.

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Filed under Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

It’s all about me, me, me, me, me — and Wonder Woman. And the Wandering Jew (#SFWApro)

For the Wonder Woman opening weekend, we have my new Screen Rant column on WW’s 17 Most WTF Alternative Versions. Including the funny-animal Wonder Wabbit (above, art by Scott Shaw!, all rights remain with current holder), several male versions, and the homicidal maniac of Flashpoint.

My short story No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, which sold to Crimson Streets last year, is now out in their first paperback collection. I already have my copy, and I’m thrilled. It’s so much more fun when I have something I’ve created in print, rather than just online. This was my second story of the Wandering Jew, a prequel to Where Angels Fear to Lunch, now out from Digital Fantasy.

And my previous WW piece, 22 WTF moments from Wonder Woman comics, has now topped a million page views. I feel very pleased.

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Filed under Comics, Screen Rant, Short Stories

Like sands through the hourglass … (#SFWApro)

I only rarely feel that “How did it get to be May already?” sense that a lot of people (TYG, for instance) express. Maybe because my writing keeps me mentally busy and includes lots of deadlines? It is a little remarkable to realize we’re almost halfway through the year, but it’s not like I don’t know where the time went.

Time on the weekend went to a fair amount of fun stuff including a time-intensive lasagna recipe (well worth it) and a trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art.

This is one of my favorite paintings there, though I don’t remember the name of the artist. All rights to image remain with current holder.

We’d hope to catch the Museum’s Ansel Adams exhibit, but we were a couple of weeks late. Still, I think I had more fun with the collection of Venetian paintings that’s there now as a special exhibit. Some striking stuff including a couple of Titian paintings — I hadn’t even realized he was Venetian.

And we got in an hour bike ride, which wasn’t as long as I wanted, but if not for the three-day weekend we wouldn’t have managed that much.

The work week went pretty well. Despite the four day week I got 6,000 words done on Southern Discomfort and I haven’t run into any fatal plot problems yet (as I worried last week). I submitted a new Screen Rant (17 Most WTF Alternate Versions of Wonder Woman) and proofed Atlas Shagged.

I finished the first draft of Undead Sexist Cliches — The Book, and gave it a quick reread, mostly to note any major points I’d missed or any places where I’d repeated myself (there were several). It’s only around 30,000 words — not a fatal problem if I self-publish, but I would like a little more material.

I’m also entertaining the possibility of writing another film reference book. I did a little research on the topic this week (I’ll detail it when things get further along) though not as much as I’d hoped. Due to a couple of early risings and the dogs only wanting short lunchtime walks, I wound up, despite taking Monday off, only about 1.5 hours short of my regular week’s hours.

I attended my writing group Tuesday, but despite plans did not go out with everyone afterwards. We switched from a place that was relatively close to the meeting, but had execrable service, to a better one that’s farther away. Which has been a problem for me because I’m so not a night owl, and the drive cuts into the amount of time I can spend. So if I’m feeling a little out of it for any reason it’s easy to say, naaah, not worth it. However I’m tired of that attitude, so I’m going. It’s in the goal list for June.

And here’s a Monet painting to wrap up with.



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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Wonder Woman, screen rants and secret histories (#SFWApro)

So my new Screen Rant column is out: 22 Most WTF Moments in Wonder Woman comics. Such as the bondage-heavy story above from Wonder Woman #4 (art by H.G. Peters).

This isn’t meant to slam Wonder Woman — as regular readers know, I’m a fan of hers, even if the execution of some of her adventures is sub-part. As I note in the article, when you’ve been published for almost a continuous 80 years, it’s inevitable some stories will be WTF. More so when they’re overwhelmingly written by men. Not that a female writer is a guarantee of good WW stories (I wasn’t a fan of Jodi Picoult’s brief run), but I’d like to think they’d do better than some of the more sexist stuff in the later Kanigher run.

(Peters art again. This is a bad guy using Washington’s image to preach misogyny)

It wouldn’t have been as good a column (and I do think it’s good) without THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN by Jill Lepore, a book about how WW creator William Marston’s personal life and views (polyamory, submission and dominance, feminism) influenced his creation. While I was aware of much of this, Lepore shows I didn’t know as much as I thought. For example one angle of Marston’s menage a trois was Olive Byrne, niece of birth-control activist Margaret Sanger. And the birth-control movement frequently invoked women-in-chains symbolism to represent the burden of unwanted pregnancy (my wouldn’t that outrage the religious right today?). Marston’s WW stories likewise showed Wonder Woman bound, then breaking free — although as Lepore notes, sometimes the bondage is just kink. It’s an excellent book, though I’m not willing to write off the post-Marston Wonder Woman as much as Lepore does.

Check out the article and enjoy. Art below by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. All rights to all images remain with current holder.

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OMG, I’m writing the raunch werewolf comedy! (#SFWApro)

My standard joke about not having a multi-book contract with a major publisher (for example) is that it does at least leave me free. If I choose to write a magical realist story about Dadaist ghosts in Zurich rather than sign a contract to write a big-budget werewolf raunch comedy, it’s unlikely to affect my bottom line.

But in a sense, isn’t that exactly what I’ve been doing lately? This time last year I was focused overwhelmingly on fiction (95 percent of the time, say). The past two or three months it’s been predominantly nonfiction, which pays the bills, but doesn’t satisfy me. With the exception of my movie books and Screen Rant lists, but they’re still not as fun as fiction.

However, I like having money coming in, so I’ll have to find a way to make it work. Faster work on the nonfiction (my Screen Rant columns take less and less time to write as I get better at them). Forcing myself to squeeze in fiction time — I worked late Thursday just to get a little more done Southern Discomfort in (my own fault. I’d run out of steam and gotten next to nothing done on the book that afternoon). This is hardly a revolutionary plan, of course, but time management really isn’t a field where new discoveries shake things up.

So in addition to finishing two Screen Rants this week (one of them will be out next week) I did get several thousand words in on Southern Discomfort. And that was pretty much it. If push comes to shove, the novel has to take top priority behind the paying gigs.

The book is progressing well (over 40,000 words as of today), but I’m getting to the point where I need to make big, big changes, and I’m not sure what those are. I can sort of sense the path I want, but “sense” is a long way from actually having an outline. I did figure out one major plot point, but I’m not sure if it’ll make sense when the book is written. I’m beginning to think my goal for this draft should be to put in the stuff my beta-readers wanted, take out the stuff they hated and make sure the plot hangs together. Then go back and make it all seem coherent in the next draft, like I knew where I was going from the first.

Oh, and I talked to a publisher about a possible new film-reference book. More details if I go ahead with it.

I put in well over 35 hours thanks to waking up early most days. That more than made up for the time we spent Thursday taking Trixie and Plushie to the groomers. The new looks are revealed below

We don’t usually cut Trixie this much, but she seems to be shedding a lot.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Writing