Happy Earth Day – 2017

It’s kind of a big deal, really.

Filosofa's Word

Tomorrow is Earth Day, an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

earth-3Started as a grassroots movement, Earth Day created public support for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contributed to the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act and several other environmental laws.

A bit of history:

The first Earth Day was in 1970. Then-Senator Gaylord Nelson, after seeing the damage done by a 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, was inspired to organize a national “teach-in” that focused on educating the public about the environment.

Nelson recruited Denis Hayes, a politically active recent graduate of Stanford University, as national coordinator, and persuaded U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey of California to be co-chairman…

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Spring Things & Summer Plans

The last couple of weeks I have been busy writing, preparing for conventioning,  doing the conventioning, and writing posts about that. All the same I did wedge in some recreations. Of course I did.

Books:

More Grace Burrowes Regency romances. These are tremendously fantastical. Plots are nicely tangled, Our Heroes not only come equipped with all the usual Heroic Attributes, but they also understand hygiene and contagion control,  exhibit saintly patience, and have wondrous modern attitudes about social & sexual equality. Truly, they are so far from any real historical human realities that they might as well have dragons and psychic powers, but no. They stick to the best romance standards–family secrets, misunderstandings, and social tensions–and more importantly avoid all the annoying and/or rage-inducing tropes. None of the no-means-yes

They’re like comfy fleece blankies for my brain.

Thanks to the con I have some excellent new authors to try out (not sure how I missed Claudia Gray, but I have catching up to do!) plus I found out that both Josh Vogt and Tracy Korn have new novels out I need to buy.

Movies & Television

One Million Ways to Die in the West. Wow-howdee, this was bad. I enjoyed much of it and laughed at many inappropriate things, but it’s a patchwork of jokes–some good, some horrible misses– that don’t play well together.  It’s as if Seth McFarlane said to a bunch of A-List actor friends, “Hey, let’s put on a show! I have a bunch of funny gags based on Western tropes. Now all we need is a plot.” Only none one came up with a plot. Or else  too many people did. It has that committee feel common to many modern Hollywood productions.

Passengers. I can see why critics didn’t like it, but I was not disappointed. I outright liked it. It was visually lush, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence both did  solid jobs with their characters, and the story skimmed past the questionable premise quickly and lightly. (Colony ship with NO ONE awake? Hrrrmmmmm, okay… The scriptwriters dealt with the most problematic aspect of the plot (no spoilers)  better than I expected from the set-up too, which was a pleasant surprise.

Feud. Continues to please me.

Detours:

I drove. All the way from Chicagoland to Indianapolis. This was the first Major Test of my foot bones since I broke them driving up to WisCon in…2014, I think.  I did a dress rehearsal drive up to central Wisconsin earlier this year, and that success convinced me this was worth a try. I mean, the worst that could happen would be new stress fractures, and I know how to treat those now, so…

The gamble paid off. I had a great weekend, I sold books, and I got new art — a new gargoyle for my Grawlix notebook by Buzz, and a neat take on Valerie from Afua Richardson. They’re both fantastic artists, and I love both new additions to my collection.

That’s about it. In fits and starts I continue to art forward.  I’m doing character profiles and an outline for a new project that requires such things, Heartwood is plugging along, and I have decided I am definitely going to fork out the ducats to make Rough Passages happen as a shiny-polished=fprmatted print book this year.

Now I have to contact some epic-awesome people and get quotes on custom services. And I learned at this con that the same company does FABULOUS banner design, so I may get one of those too.  Plus I have an idea for the new business cards I want to do myself.

Just have to keep the energy up and the momentum going. Chug-chug-chug-chug-chug.

Ah! Pics. Right.

First, Afua Richardson’s take on Valerie, the main character in Extraordinary and a supporting character in Heartwood.

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Valerie Wade Artist: Afua Richardson

Second, Buzz’s take on Grawlix, the gargoyle from my (prize-winning) short Up On The Roof. These are phone snaps, I’ll get scans into the character art folders eventually.

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Grawlix in a mood. Artist: Buzz

Indiana ComicCon Day 2

Indiana ComicCon Day 2. I sold out of my two novels. I tell you what, I never thought I’d be typing THOSE words. Yeah, yeah, I could’ve brought more, right? But considering I was not entirely sure I would be selling any officially, I’m pleased as punch. (Other authors in the booth sold out too, it’s been a good con for book readers!)

Makes me hopeful for the future of Selling Things. When I get Rough Passages into print form I think it will be an easier sell than the Restoration books.

Both my inspirational art notebooks are out with artists now.  The gargoyle book is in the hands of Buzz (who did my wonderful Amy Goodall sketch page) and I’m getting a sketch of Valerie for my Rough Passages artbook from an amazing artist named Afua Richardson.  (link leads to her tumblr page)

More random observations in no particular order:

  1. I mentioned a nice variety of panels — well, on review, there is definitely room for more writing/book-related panels on, and apparently plenty of interest, given the discussions about writing and wordcraft I had with people. So. That’s a thing for me to keep in mind for next year, I guess?
  2.  I loved all the enthusiastic cosplay. Standouts: a couple cosplaying Sword of Truth characters, a trio of Red Woman, Daenerys and…either a Stark or a Baratheon, (sorry, I wasn’t close enough to ask) and a Phantom of the Opera character, and the tiniest, most adorable Supergirl ever. 50+ Harley Quinns, by one attendee’s report to me, (I could only say “lots”)  and a ton of Deadpools. My favorite: the one with Hello Kitty accessories, including a backpack.
  3. The autograph and photo ops booth lines were full from start to finish. Every line. That was interesting to see. I’m used to one or two full lines rarely more than that.
  4. I learned from one attendee that the people who run Walker Stalker Con do a Walker Stalker cruise. And that the Writing Excuses podcast does a writing workshop cruise. I may have known these things in the past, but they struck me anew today. Cool things.
  5. A lot of people attended only Friday or only today. Maybe I only noticed because there isn’t such a swarm of humanity as at HugeCons, but I did notice.
  6. Tomorrow is a slightly shorter sales day, but there’s takedown and loadout afterwards. (Which should be immensely easier than setup because there’s less of it, woo!)  I am tired, and I have Heartwood itching at my fingers, and still need to eat supper. Later, all!

Oh, wait, I promised more pictures. I hereby deliver. I never said they would be GOOD pictures. Or interesting ones. The one of my cat is included to show that he is just as silly when I am not at home. Spouseman took pics of him for me.

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Indiana ComicCon 2017 Adventure (day 1)

I came to Indy on Easter weekend this year to scout out a convention and see if it was a good fit for me both professionally and personally.

note: I am at the Wordfire Press(Guest Authors) booth near the photo ops area all weekend.  You can get signed books from me while they last. Yes, my books. And other people’s books. Claudia Gray is here. Dan Wells. Josh Vogt. Ozgur Sahin, Neo Edmund, and Kevin J Anderson. So much author goodness. Come check it all out.

My conclusion: Indiana Comic Con suits me like a comfy favorite shirt. I really like it. Not too big, not too small. Juuuuuust right. Yes, I am resorting to a Goldilocks metaphor.

See, some cons are so large they overwhelm me in masses of people, and most have a faceless, heartless, “profit-generator” feel.  There are many things I love about huge events, but they can be a major emotional struggle for me. Other cons are so small I feel exposed and self-conscious everywhere I go, and some of them suffer from disorganization and/or lack of communication that generates stressful drama for attendees and vendors alike.

Here? There’s a relaxed, personal, fan-enthusiasm feel to the crowds, the crowds are managable and move well, AND there’s more. Good way-finding, helpful staff on hand, a nice variety of panels and events for the number of attendees, and tons of of great artists, authors and dealers in the exhibitor’s area.

(Hey, I’m in the exhibitor’s area. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Worthy of an interrobang, that’s how cool.) Anyway. I think this con hits the sweet spot, and I am enjoying it.

My goal now is to sell out of books. It’s a stretch, but goals are good, right? I sold more than I expected today, and this was only Friday, right?

Although I forgot to take a picture today, my books are right there on the table between Kevin J. Anderson’s Star Wards Legends series and the new Terry Goodkind novel. That’s kind of a fairy tale place to end this, I think, don’t you?

Until next post, have a couple more random con snapshots. More to come…

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Sports Movies about everything BUT sports

Today I’m offering a movie list for your entertainment.  I’m generous that way.

What kind of movies? SPORTS! (sort of)

I have an abiding affection for the plots driving “inspirational sports movies.” They all have these elements (among others)

  • spunky underdog facing off against a Big Name/has-been getting a second chance…
  • fraught family relationship of some kind
  • team loses faith in their leader
  • unappreciated partner sticks with/comes back to/forgives the protagonist over the course of all the conflicts and doubts
  •  Wacky Supporting Character(s) who deliver wisdom and put the protagonist’s head on straight at a critical moment
  • major setback that makes victory seem impossible
  • At last one training montage, usually two…

YOU know. Those kinds of movies. Bad News Bears, Slap Stick, League of Their Own, Rocky, The Replacements…I could rattle off a couple dozen. But that’s not the list. Those aren’t the sports movies I like BEST.

Here’s the rub: I am not a big sports fan, so when it comes to the movies, I am unmoved by the practical aspects. Football montage = bathroom break.

This isn’t an issue of ignorance.  I have learned how most sports work. I enjoy spectating with fans (also I always want to know how EVERYthing works)  But knowledge does not passion make.  I know how toothpaste works too, but I have no interest in watching how toothpaste gets made…no, wait.

Actually I would watch a movie about toothpaste-making.

See, the BEST thing about sports movie elements is how beautifully they bloom when planted in a different field. Here’s a selection of my favorite NON-sport sport-type movies complete with my skewed summaries of their plots.

  • Bottle Shock: upstart California winery enters snooty French wine competition
  • Blow Dry: “washed-up” hair dresser enters one last international competition.
  • Chef: talented culinary artist loses it all, starts over with a food truck.
  • Extract: struggling spice factory has to pull together to avoid being shut down
  • Kinky Boots: languishing British shoe manufacturer reinvents itself and enters big fashion show
  • Take The Lead: ballroom dance teacher takes problem students to the Big Contest
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Game show. Underdog. India. All the hearts and confetti.
  • Meatballs: rival summer camps competing for comedy and everything else
  • Today’s Special: son gets pulled into the family restaurant, has to make it succeed
  • Cutting Edge: I know figure skating is technically a sport, but it’s more a competitive art form. Also, TOE PICK!
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: small town beauty pageant turns deadly but remains hilarious.

All those movies feed my sport-movie cravings without inflicting a sport on me.

Do any of your favorite movies fit in this category? Shout ’em out. I’m always looking for new viewing.


Does this post tie into my writing identity & help me promote my work?  Pfft, of course not. Only in the sense that everything comes out in the writing somehow. If you squint a little when you read my stories, you’re sure to spot some of the inspirational plot elements.

I write about Techno-adventure & Science Fantasy, not sport, but good bits are good bits. They say, “Write what you want to read.” So I do.

(Links & excerpts? Sure. Right here. Or go straight to the 600-ton gorilla to purchase:  Amazon.