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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alice vs. Mad Monster Party

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, around where I live the sun has become as elusive as Big Foot. Still, I saw something mysterious in the sky that I can't fully explain. It was bright and shiny and round, but--no, it just couldn't be....

Of all the Comic Con news that has been spewing from every orifice in the Internet, I am most pleased with the trailer of the new Alice in Wonderland movie directed by Tim Burton.

But even Alice will have to take a back seat to an even bigger, badder release ... a re-release actually. The Mad Monster Party will be available on DVD September 8, 2009. This 1967 classic contains the voices of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller and was made by the same stop-motion wizards who created Rudolph and Frosty.

Monday, July 27, 2009

GhostReader, Sowen Updates

I've been shopping around for a text-to-speech reader that I can use to convert my stories to audiobooks. I found a program called GhostReader that works fantastic, and it will only make your wallet lighter by 40 bills. The voices, while no Frank Muller or Carolyn McCormick, are lifelike and there are plenty to choose from. The software has the ability to convert entire Word docs and PDF files to MP3s. My 65,000-word novel took about 5 minutes to convert to an audio file that I was then able to listen to on my iPod.


I've been a bit light on my Sowen updates, so here's the latest...

I've sent out somewhere in the vicinity of 30 queries to agents. While I've sparked some interest, overall the response has been less than earth shattering. I've found myself in this weird world of blind revisions, for a lack of a better term, where I keep making changes based on feedback that offers no real reason for rejection. For instance, if an agent responds with something like, the beginning didn't capture me, I feel obligated to revise the beginning with absolutely no clue why it doesn't work for said agent.

Actum est, comites!
(That's all, folks!)

Later Fiends,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Die! Die! Die! My Bunny

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, hold on to your heads, dear reader, things are about to get chocolaty ...

A disturbing yet curiously satisfying video courtesy of Lernert Engelbert.


Barnes & Noble this week launched a new ebookstore, claiming to have the most ebooks available anywhere. What interested me more about this announcement was that BN's eReader only supports PCs, Macs, iPod Touches, iPhones, and Blackberries. Also, BN has made a partnership with the company Plastic Logic, who will be launching an eReader in early 2010.

Later Fiends,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Mashups

With Pride and Prejudice and Zombies selling enough copies for the same folks to release a second mashup Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I've decided to put together a list of titles I'm going to start pitching to agents:

Romeo and Juliet and Satan
Crime and Punishment and Putrefaction
The Sound and the Fury of the Brain Eaters
A Tale of Two Cities Ravaged by H1N1
To Kill a Mockingbird with a Hammer
Portrait of a Dead Lady
Of Mice and Men and Maggots

I can hear my bank account getting fatter already.

Later Fiends,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Literary Travels

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, don't be afraid of the person with the bloody knife. Be afraid of the person who tries to save him.
So I was listening to On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King on my way to work this morning--next to Elements of Style this is my favorite audiobook to listen to when I've finished a novel towards the end of the week and I don't want to start a new one.

I was listening to the part where King discusses writing Misery. He mentions he began the story at the Brown's Hotel in London, a hotel Rudyard Kipling frequented. Kipling wrote part of The Jungle Book at the very same desk King began Misery, in fact. King, in his stylistically cryptic way, informed me that Kipling died at this desk. Doing a tiny bit of research, it appears not to be true, entirely. Kipling was taken to the hospital from the hotel. He died at the hospital. It is rumored, however, that Kipling's ghost still frequents the place, perhaps for the breakfast buffet ... who knows.
Brown's Hotel, I came to find out, is a literary hot spot, and I thought--wow!--how cool would it be to write at the same desk that King, Kipling, and perhaps dozens more penned some of their greatest works? This led me to a site called Literary Traveler. This site is dedicated to vacations that immerse the writer into the world of their literary heroes: Shakespeare, Dickens, Lovecraft, Poe.... I just thought I'd pass it along in case anyone needs a literary sabbatical.

Later Fiends,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Attack of the Kindle

Wanted to pass this article along from Publisher Weekly:

Sourcebooks to Delay Release of eBook Version of Hot New YA Novel
Big publishers throughout the industry have been quietly discussing postponing the release of ebook versions of their frontlist hardcover fiction after the dramatic spike in Kindle sales at the widely-despised (within the industry) $9.95 price point--but independent Sourcebooks is the first to score headlines for delaying an ebook release. The WSJ covers their decision to delay an ebook release of Kaleb Nation's BRAN HAMBRIC: The Farfield Curse for at least six months. Sourcebooks has announced a 75,000-copy first printing for September and agent Richard Curtis concurs with the decision: "We don't want to undercut the sales and royalty potential of the printed hardcover." Sourcebooks ceo Dominique Raccah says "hardcover books have an audience, and we shouldn't cannibalize it," adding "it doesn't make sense for a new book to be valued at $9.99." Of course there's another big September release coming where author and publisher have yet to disclose whether they will allow a simultaneous ebook release. Agent Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group says "he doesn't allow any of his authors' books to be published simultaneously as an e-book when he can prevent it." He tells the Journal, "It's no different then releasing a DVD on the same day that a new movie is released in the movie theaters. Why would you do that?"

The real problem, as I see it, is how does this affect book burning? You can't throw a whole Kindle into the fire, and deleting the book just doesn't offer the same satisfaction as the smells of burning paper and glue.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Summer That Never Came

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, I'd like to open with a bit of advice: After receiving your meal in a dining establishment, poke your food a few times with a fork to make sure nothing squirms out ... especially in pasta where there are a lot of hiding places.

It was 50 degrees outside when I woke up this morning. In the month of June, only three days went above 80, while the sun only poked out six of those days. This week isn't going above 75; just last year 90 was the average. This has got to be a hard sell for all of those global warming enthusiasts.


Saw this book on Amazon a few days ago. Fancy Coffins to Make Yourself is pushing 10 years old, but, hey, does material like this ever get old?

Amazon also suggests the companion ... Do-It-Yourself Coffins for Pets and People.

I think every hospital and doctor's office should have these two books in their waiting rooms.

Later Fiends,

Monday, July 13, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, it's Monday! For the working world: grab your ankles until Friday.

So I saw this trailer for a new film called Daybreakers. I'm a bit worn out on all things vampire, but maybe this has enough spin to reinvigorate the genre for me.

"Daybreakers offers an interesting twist on vampire plots. After a plague turns humans into vampires, the vampires quickly become the dominate race and greatly outnumber humans. Because of this they are becoming close to running out of the human blood they need to survive. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill. The film hits theatres in January, 2010."

Later Fiends

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, have a safe and happy 4th of July.

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