1/1/11 — Happy New Year!

So, the New Year is here. It stretches before us as an unblemished slate. What will you write upon it?

I have one resolution this year: Reduction

I figure that covers just about everything. And on the other hand…anything toward it is a win. 🙂

As a less definitive desire, I hope to write more here on my blog. I like it all being in one place, and may pretty much give up the LJ blog…though I am a lifetime member there, so may occasionally post to it. Can I do that? We’ll see. I don’t promise an entry every day, but it should be more common than last year.

Enjoy the New Year. You’ve only got 364 1/2 days of it left! 😉

RieView: “I Wandered From New Orleans” — 5 Stars

Tracy Conway’s I Wandered From New Orleans: Poems from the South
is a well-crafted book, very professional in design, and an impressive size for a volume of poetry. When I started to read the poems, I was taken to a world I had never experienced and given insights into a life I’ve never had to lead. Tracy spent some time on the streets, and many of her poems reflect this experience with a poignancy I found enlightening.

I felt shivers running down my spine reading several pieces — impressed by the mental pictures drawn by economical word choices. I was amazed by the number of subjects that we had both chosen to write about in our own words and own pages and how similar the emotions were.

It is hard to put into words how moved I was by this collection. My favorite poems were “The Three”, “Cookie”, “The Joker Smile”, and “The Faire En Memoriam”. Of course, it is hard to choose amid a volume of strong pieces. I highly recommend the book to all lovers of poetry who can handle some hard truths.

I’ll leave you with a verse from the title poem in the collection:

“All that hard time living
Will take a toll on you,
Pay it now or pay it later
The great reward is your truth.”

RieView: “Living Færie: Looking for the Green Man” — 4 Stars

I have been trading poetry books with several poets on the Amazon Poetry Forum. Here is the first review I posted on Amazon as a result:

John A. Mills’ poetry in Living Færie: Looking for the Green Man is a complex mix of spirituality and fae. He finds this mix in the garden, the universe, the imagination — everywhere he looks. The poetry ranges from delicate and ethereal to down-home and earthy. I particularly liked the Space Fairies portion of the book. These linked poems were interesting conceptually as well as in presentation. I also liked the insertion of other cultures into the mix — though I would have liked to know that the poems Kreska?a?o* and Weed were paired pieces. (I only guessed after trying to translate the former.) There are some very nice poems to discover here. I did notice some unconventional spelling in places, but then, spelling seems to be fluid these days. I do recommend giving the book a look.

*I do know how to spell this, just not how to add the special characters.

RieView: Jekyll

I had heard a great deal about Jekyll(6 episodes on BBC in 2007) but had never seen it. Now that I have the glory that is Netflix Instant Queue, I decided to indulge my curiosity and give it a look.

Fabulous. That is the only word for it. Fabulous. Superb acting by James Nesbitt. Wonderful supporting cast with many familiar faces (ie Gina Bellman from Leverage). Stupendous writing (as per usual) from Stephen Moffat. Bits of funny wrapped in lots of suspense. Everything one could wish for in a modern re-envisioning of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Moffat is a master of modernizing classics without losing the magic that made them classics in the first place. After seeing Sherlock, I had no doubt he could do the same here…and I was not disappointed. Only one thing disappoints — there was no second season to explore the interesting hints in the final episode.

Making NaNo Fun

I always enjoy National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve looked forward to November since 2003. I’ve finished my 50k words 3 out of 7 years, and gotten one published novel and one that is in solid second draft stage (though I did continue one I had started in an earlier year and only gotten about 30k into in that case…) — plus a third first draft that deserves fleshing out. But this year…I’m having more fun than ever. Why? Personal challenges.

First of all, I’m writing in a genre I’ve never tried before — due to a challenge from my writing cohort, I’m doing a period Steampunky-type romantic mystery… Second, I am writing a POV I’ve never sustained for more than a short story and writing it from my heroine’s first person viewpoint. And finally, instead of just pushing for the 1667 words necessary to squeak by with 50k, I have set myself a daily goal of 2000 words — and so far, I am averaging 2008. This means I have to write less than 1600 words a day already to finish. I’m over 12k into the story, and it feels wonderful.

So, for those of my compadres struggling to finish this daunting month with that “Winner” badge at the end, set yourself a couple of personal challenges. It just might give your writing engines that additional “spark” you need to triumph!

What are the key elements of Steampunk?

I have a notion of some of them: Victorian sensibilities, machinery out-of-time, adventuresome ideals…but I know that I don’t fully understand the genre. Having received a challenge to write a Steampunk novel for NaNoWriMo and having gleefully accepted (because I’ve wanted to write one for some time), I am looking for a more concrete definition. What would you add? Leave me a comment below…and thanks for the help!

RieView: Seeing RED

Ever since we saw the first trailers for RED with Bruce Willis, we’ve anticipated going to see it. And from the first, we agreed it was a Drafthouse movie. Some things just are…

It was everything I expected it to be fast-paced fun with a side of suspense. And — as an added bonus — a couple of love stories thrown in.

With a cast like Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren (and that was just the headliners) it had a great deal going for it. Add Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss and Ernest Borgnine, and it was fun. I know I repeated that adjective, but that’s what it was. Nothing super cerebral, but a jolly-good time.

I’m not going to spoil it with a detailed analysis, but I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys spy-games, dark humor, and explosions. Lots of pretty explosions.

Who’s Your Hero?

I was watching an episode of the latest British incarnation of ROBIN HOOD the other day, and I was struck by something… ROBIN HOOD is the English SUPERMAN, isn’t he?

In America, we are constantly re-envisioning the Superman story — Superman, Lois and Clark, Smallville…. The hero who has an exotic backstory and helps the poor and defenseless.

Of course, Robin came first — his antecedents are in the medieval romances — but his story is the one that the British remake over and over. Brooding Michael Praed, zealous Jason Connery, playful Jonas Armstrong — each brought a new spark to the character.

And Robin is also popular in America — as seen by the new film that came out this spring. Some of the biggest Hollywood names have put their stamp on the character.

But Superman hasn’t traveled across the pond for production, has he? Is it because the British have more human heroes of their own?

Wandering ponderings from an addled mind….

Baby steps

Well, here we go. Over the next few weeks, I will be learning how this interface works, so things will be in a state of flux, but I will finally have a new home for the website that will be easy to update and hopefully to keep current. Since the old one still had appearance dates from 2007 on it, it can’t help but be an improvement. For now, just leave a message to tell me you dropped by and I’ll get back to you.  🙂

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