How to Stay Positive on the Journey to Publication

Introduction
Raise you hand if you’ve met someone who isn’t happy unless they’re complaining about one thing or another. We all know people like this and being around they them is taxing to say the least, but

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

today I want to talk about keeping positive amidst adversity in the writing business.

Sure when things go wrong we can complain about them until we’re blue in the face or we can pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. The choice is up to us.

Happiness is a choice
From years of experience I can tell you that while it may be difficult to maintain a positive attitude, it takes more energy to be negative and ultimately leaves you tired and bitter.

Yes writing is a hard business to break into whether you go the indie route or the traditionally published route, and at times it can seem like nothing is going right for you while some new upstart is in the lime light.

You Can Never Have Too Many Friends
Rather than treating other authors as your competition instead treat them as potential friends and reach out to them.

In this way you can build a support system of like minded people who know what you’re going through and who will keep you grounded when things get hectic.

Also you never know who you might benefit from meeting so keep an open mind when it comes to networking wit your fellow writers.

Be thankful for where you are in the writing process
Sure it might feel good to rage against the latest flavor of the week, but ultimately this is a self defeating proposition and will take your focus off your goals. Instead shrug your shoulders and move on.

Conclusion
Everyone is at different point along the writing process. Be thankful for where you are. No one can control who becomes the next best seller, and it will drive you insane questioning why some people make it wile others don’t. Instead focus on writing the best work you can. That way no matter what happens you gave it your all and no one can take that away from you.

Review: Dead and Alive

image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu
image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu

Introduction
Dead and Alive is book three of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series and picks up right were City of Night left off. This time around Erika Four and several Alphas once presumed dead have come back to life thanks to the Resurrecter, a mysterious creature that has the power to erase Victor’s programming and grant the New Race a wide range of human emotions.

Together with the denizens of the Crosswoods Waste Management Carson Michael and Deucalion work to put an end to Victor once and for all.

The Good
Overall I enjoyed this book from start to finish and couldn’t put it down. I especially like how Erika Five and Jocko bonded and interacted, though Jocko did remind me a lot of Dobby from the Harry Potter series with is habit of putting himself down and inflicting punishment on himself and the strange manner in which he speaks.

I also liked how Victor’s arrogance was his ultimate downfall. Granted he was a megalomaniac you have to admire his drive and vision. Sure genocide aside he was evil for removing all but the basic emotions from his creations and enslaving them in his rational army. But the thing that made him more than just a mad scientist was that he thought he was doing incredible good for the sake of the world.

The Bad
Honestly I wasn’t a fan of the Resurrecter. It came out of nowhere without any foreshadowing and reeked of deus ex machina. Had Koontz just stuck with the idea that the New Race were dropping lines from their program and as a result they could now experience a wider range of emotions that would have been more believable.

I was also dismayed that there was no final confrontation between Victor and Deucalion. After all that build up how they disposed of Victor so easily was anticlimatic.

I also didn’t like how through another deus ex machina Erika Five and Jocko were spared even thou all other members of the New Race dropped dead when Victor died.

The Verdict
While I had my issues with this book overall it was enjoyable and you should totally read it if you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series.

Review: Dead Pool

deadpoolIntroduction
Wade Wilson was your average mercenary with a heart of gold until he meets Vanessa, the girl of his dreams. Just when thins are going great he discovers he has terminal cancer and his whole world comes tumbling done.

Just when he thinks there is no hope Wade is visited by a man who tells him he can help him. With nothing else to lose he agrees to undergo a series of treatments to unlock his mutant abilities.

After a series of failures his mutant abilities kick in and he is now near impossible to kill due to his healing factor. Unfortunately for Wade his face becomes horribly disfigured ruining any chance for a reconciliation with Vanessa.

The Good
I really loved the fight scenes in this movie. They were well choreographed, stylish without being over the top or cartoonish.

Not being familiar with the comics I went in blind and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Dead Pool’s one liners and breaking the fourth wall. I was also glad this was an R rated movie and not the same old lame ass PG-13 super hero movies that have been pumped out over the years.

Maybe now that this movie has been a success we’ll see more adult comic book films in the same vein.

The Bad
Overall the story was the trite hero, well antihero’s origin mixed with the damsel in distress trope. Granted this movie wont be winning any Oscars.

It doesn’t try to be anything but a good action flick and that’s what I like most about it. Nor does it bore you with pretentious subtext like some movies (cough The Dark Knight trilogy cough).

My biggest complaint about the movie is that given his supercharged healing factor there was no oh shit moment where you think Dead Pool won’t make it. It robs the movie of any dramatic tension.

The Verdict
If you’re looking for a deep engrossing movie take a pass on Dead Pool, but if you’re looking for a good action flick to pass two hours then check this movie out today.

 

Review : X-men Days of Future Past

Xmen
Fifty years into the future mutants are hunted to the point of extinction by sentinels. As a last resort the remnants of the X-men and the brotherhood of mutants join together to hatch a plan to time travel to the past to stop the assassination of Trask and the creation of the sentinel program.

Initially Professor Xavier is chosen to go to the past but it is revealed the only one who could survive the trip is none other than Wolverine. Using her powers Kitty Pride sends Wolverine’s consciousness to the past while his body remains in the future.

The Good
Honestly the best part of the movie was Quicksilver and the slow motion fight scene other wise I have nothing to say about this horrible film.

The Bad

To begin the entire premise of the movie was flawed from the beginning. Time travel is difficult to do right because of all the inherent problems with paradoxes and logical inconsistencies associated with it.

For starters if you travel back in time and change the past then there would be no reason for you to travel to the past and it’d be as you never went to the past at all.

Furthermore even if you could change the past it wouldn’t have any effects on the future because you would in effect create two parallel time lines. One in which the future is unchanged and one in which it is changed, unlike in this movie where the parent time line is altered by changing the past.

the other issues I have with this movie is that it’s supposed to be set in the 70s yet we’re supposed to believe that computers of that age and genetics where so far along that Trask could build the prototypes of the sentinel program. It was completely unbelievable.

Moreover, when Mystique shots magneto in the neck he doesn’t even so much as says ouch, let alone react like a man who was just shoot by his close associate.

The Verdict

Pass on this boring tripe and see Dead Pool instead.

Review: City of Night

Introduction
City of Night is book two of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series and picks up right where book one left off. After killing Randal Six with their newly fire arms Deucalion takes Arnie to the Tibetan monastery he lived after for years and then they prepare to take on Victor or die trying.

While all this is going on victor orders the termination of detective O’Connor and Maddison by Benny and Cindi Lovewell. After a game of cat and mouse Carson and Michael take on the Lovewells and just barely survive the encounter.

Meanwhile more and more of Victor’s creations begin experiencing interruptions of function as Victor’s empire rots from the inside and he’s too arrogant to see it.

The Good
Overall I liked this book especially the confrontation between Victor and Deucalion at the Hands of Mercy. it was a long time coming and I liked how it rattled Victor.

I also liked the interaction between Benny and Cindi Lovewell, especially the scene when she brings up the voodoo god Ibo. This came out of nowhere as the New Race were supposed to devoid of superstitions. I guess it’s all due to her program dropping out.

I also found the interaction between Erika Five and the creature that came out of Jonathan Harker interesting to say the least.

The Bad
Overall I don’t have much bad to say about this book. Sure I found the main plot line about taking out Victor to be the most enjoyable, though some of the other plot lines like Erika’s and Chameleon’s to be enjoyable, some parts of the book just dragged in places and could have been cut to ratchet up the tension.

I also wasn’t a fan of the will they or won’t they get together between Carson and Michael. Luckily this is only a small part and is handled masterfully by Koontz so it doesn’t dominate the narrative like in some stories.

The Verdict

If you liked Prodigal Son be sure to check out City of Night.

Review: Ted 2

image by Dan O/' Connell via sxc.hu
image by Dan O/’ Connell via sxc.hu

Introduction
Seth MacFarlane is back again as the foul mouthed, stoner teddy bear with a heart of gold. This time around after Ted and Tami-Lynn’s marriage hits a rough patch they decide to have a baby and hilarity ensues.

However as a result of this the question of whether Ted is a person entitled to all the rights there of, is brought before the court. As a result Ted is deemed property and his marriage to Tami-Lynn is annulled.

Not willing to take this set back lightly Johnny and Ted enlist the help of Sam Jackson, a fresh faced lawyer who is clueless about Ted and Johnny’s pop culture references, but is a major stoner. While all this is going on Ted tries to hook Johnny up with Sam.

After a long and winding trip to New York they enlist the help of Patrick Meighan, who initially declines to help Ted but comes around in the end and helps him prove he is a person.

The Good

Overall I liked this movie. Sure the jokes were sophomoric, but they hit and I laughed my ass off at them no matter how dumb they were. My favorite part hard to be when they broke into Tom Brady’s house to try and steal his semen and they got caught.

I also loved the gay couple at comic con who were bullying all the “nerds” while dressed up as Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Tick.

The Bad
While I did enjoy this movie I felt it was a bit predictable and meandered in the middle before chugging along to a lackluster ending. I also thought the relationship between Johnny and Sam was shoe horned in there without any real depth or reason to care if they got together or not.

The Verdict
If you liked the first Ted or are just a Seth MacFarlane fan then be sure to check out this movie today.

If you Want to write

Introduction
If you want to write know that there will be set backs along the way, but don’t give up, because it is only when we stop writing that we’ve failed. The truth is writing well is damn hard work and there is no guarantee people will read your work, but you can’t let that get to you.

What’s Your Why
The reason why you write has to be clear in your mind, lest you lose sight of it and get discouraged. If you don’t know

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

why you write sit down and give it some serious thought, because on your darkest days this is what will see you through to the end.

If you’re writing or fame and fortune know that there will be obstacles all along the way and you will be competing with thousands of other writers, all trying to make it too. Know you will flounder until you find your voice, but you mustn’t give up.

Persevere
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”– Bertie Charles Forbes

Yes you will stumble and fall long the way but you have to get up and continue moving forward, writing the best work you can because that’s what you are called to do.

You have to show up everyday and honor the process by being alert and focused only on the task at hand. When you write keep that time and space sacred by turning off the TV and unplugging from social media and the internet. This may sound a daunting task but with practice it will become second nature to you.

Done is Better Than Perfect
When it comes to writing know that practice make perfect and no matter how bad something you wrote is it can get better in the rewrite but you have to have a finished product to work with, otherwise you’ll get stuck in the loop of never finishing anything because it’s not perfect the first time every time.

Conclusion

The road to being a writer is a long and arduous journey fraught with perils all the way, but if you persevere you will reach your goal. Remember a lot of people say they want to write a book but not many of them actually follow through on it. So no matter how far along you are wit your work in progress celebrate it because you’re following you dreams and not many people can claim that.

Review: The Prodigal Son

Introduction
Prodigal Son is the first book in Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series. The basic premise is that Victor Frankenstein, now going by the alias Victor Helios, has set up shop in New Orleans, and has begun replacing prominent figures with those his own creations, called The New Race.

image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu
image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu

Victor loathes the human race and fancies himself as a god and seeks to overthrown the old race with his machines of bone and blood. Forget the Victor of old who was forced to scavenge body parts from graveyards, over the two centuries he’s been alive Victor has moved on from such crude methods.

His creations are grown in tanks and educated with direct to brain downloads so they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the world even though they are only weeks old. They are also programmed to be more durable than the old race, as they have Two hearts and other redundant systems, including a skull that is so thick one the highest caliber ammunition will penetrate it.

Moreover every member of the New Race is programmed so they can’t murder anyone unless they are instructed by Victor, and they can’t kill themselves or Victor for that matter.

Things are going smoothly for Victor until one of his creations begins killing people, drawing the attention of the media and police. Enter detective Carson O’Connor and her partner Michael Madison who in the course of investigating the killings stumble upon Deucalion, Victor’s first creation, who has vowed to destroy him and agrees to help Carson and Michael take on Victor.

The Good
Overall I found the book to be an engrossing good read. I especially liked the characters of Randal Six And Deucalion and also the thought that went into the technology Victor used to create those of the New Race. Loved how Koontz drew you in from the first page and didn’t let up the action a bit.

The Bad
My only complaint would ave to be the short chapters and the head hoping. Often times just a one story line was heating the chapter would switch another plot line. This left my head spinning and pulled me out of the story when it would happen. A lot of times after a decent sized chapter there would be ones of only a few pages that didn’t advance the plot all that much and could have been omitted.

The Verdict

If you like sci-fi and horror then do yourself a favor and pick up this book.

 

Review: The Last Refuge

Introduction

The Last Refuge, the penultimate installment in The Last Survivors series, picks right up where The Last Command ended and is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. I couldn’t put this book down it was so good, and can’t wait for the next book in the series to be released. Warning: spoilers ahead turn back now

This time around Ivory helps Melora navigate back to Bray and company and he stays with them a few days and agrees to introduce them to Jingo, which doesn’t turn out as planned and results in the death of Ella by Bray as he tries to attack Jingo and she gets in the way. Ella’s death causes William to snap and he runs away to live with the demons.

To make matters worse Father Winthrop and his followers make it to the Ancient City and stir up all the demons with their racket, forcing Jingo and company to flee on Jingo’s boat during a storm.

Meanwhile Oliver and Minister Beck continue their trek back to Brighton while avoiding the demons and blue shirts.

The Good

Overall this book was a good read. It held my attention from start to finish and left me chomping at the bit for the last book in the series, due out this summer. Honestly I was shocked when Bray accidentally killed Ella and by how William up and decided to leave them. It should be interesting to see what happens to him in the finale.

I was also pleasantly surprised with how Fitzgerald and the other women were able to take out Tenbrook and his men. I won’t give away how they manage this but it was a good comeuppance for Tenbrook and all the hard hearted men who treated the barren women like dirt.

The Bad

Overall I didn’t find many areas to critique. There were a few typos but none that really detracted from the story. Overall I was a bit taken back by the viciousness Tenbrook displayed when he killed Franklin and had his men take out the clergymen.

The Verdict

If you’ve enjoyed the first four books so far then by all means go out and get this book today.

When the Mask Comes Off

image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu
image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu

Introduction

Who are you really when no one is watching ? How do you act when it’s just you and your thoughts? We all put a facade on when we’re in front of others, for one reason or another, but who is the person in front of us once we take the mask off?

Taking Off The Mask

In everyday life I try to make sure the person under the mask is the same whether I’m alone or in public, so that I’m true to myself no matter what the situation. I try to bring this same authenticity to my writing by breaking down the barrier between the reader and I.

Be Authentic

Sure you could hide behind one persona or another, but I’ve found it’s more engaging to write in simple terms to attract more readers while retaining your soul as a writer. Yeah you could write to impress others or you could just focus on producing the best work you can. And that means being true to yourself and your readers.

Nurture the Relationship with Your Readers

No matter what you write about remember there is an implicit contract between you and the reader that you have something to say to them if they invest their time in choosing to read your work. Screw this up and you’ll lose a reader for life. The relationship between author and reader is sacred and must be nourished from the beginning.

The best way to do this is to be honest with them. If you’re not an expert on something don’t act like you are. And don’t assume your readers are stupid and need everything spelled out to them. Reward them for sticking with your work with insider information on up and coming projects and treat them like they matter, because without them you’d be worse off.