Month: May 2016

The Evening Muse 6 | The Need for Speed & Selectiveness

Expedience – I read a lot. Of course that goes without saying. Just the other day I heard Stephen King say he is an omnivorous reader, and I agreed I am the same. Voracious, in fact. However – and because of this – I need to do a lot of using the speed-reading technique (as well as bypassing the boring parts in larger works). In the past as a short story editor I’d speed read a lot of short stories out of necessity. Nowadays, if I speed-read a story it is because to my tastes it’s wasting time getting to the compelling part. If I speed-read a novel, it’s not just because I tend to check out so many of them from the library and need to boogie through them swiftly, but it may also likely be because I am not quite enamored with the prose style, or it has a weak or non-existent plot, or worse yet, a plot that is simply not compelling. A lot of times novels are not paced as well …

Now Reading: The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie

I am really enjoying this exceptional debut crime/suspense thriller novel so far. I’m starting Chapter 8 tonight. I’d grabbed this one from the library a week or so ago, having heard nothing about it but was immediately sold by the description on the inside flap. Description from the Hardcover edition: Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his “white static,” the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the Marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man’s widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for: the largest, ugliest, meanest dog he’s ever encountered . . . and a Samsonite suitcase stuffed with cash and explosives. As Ash begins to investigate this unexpected discovery, he finds himself at the center of a plot that is far larger than he could have imagined . . . …

Workbook 8 | May: Gentleman, Restart Your Engine

Ahhh . . . May! Probably my favorite month of the year for a few reasons: one, the residue of Winter isfully shaken off and Spring finally in full swing; two, usually great weather (tho we didn’t get it until later in the month this time), and the NBA Playoffs enter the more competitive second and third rounds. You can usually count on the temperatures not being too extreme either way with lots of sun and blue in the sky, sometimes with those big fluffy pillow-y clouds. Regular readers here know the weather plays a bigger role on my general disposition than I’d like, ideally. Last month’s Workbook made that painfully clear. As I write this monthly update on this fine Memorial Day morning, we’re in our second straight day of mostly blue sky and 80+ degree temperature. I foresee a cookout on my horizon (this is posting after said cookout). For May there’s more actual activity than April to report. It still wasn’t as productive as advertised or desired, but in the spirit of …

Daybook 5 | The Sound of Fiction

So sometime last week I had been lamenting the fact that while working at the day job I had burned myself out on listening to music and podcasts on my iPod and needed a third option, at the very least. That’s when the little light bulb went off in my head and alerted me that I would love to be listening to fiction while at work and could simply load my iPod up with audiobooks. Genius, right? Yeah, I thought so as well. So this past week I ventured to my local public library a few times with the intention of stocking up on audiobooks that I would burn to my PC and then migrate them over to my iPod. Sounds simple enough, and it essentially is, if a bit tedious since the minimum amount of discs I’ve found to be contained is 6, which of course was for a breezy crime novel. A lot of them are 12 – 14 discs, so as the saying goes, there’s no gain without pain. The point I …

Lifebook 6 | Francis Coppola and I

Strolling down Memory Lane, somehow I forgot the significance of this detail, that my name is, after all these years, still associated with one Francis Ford Coppola. I was a two-time Guest Editor for one of his literary publications, in which I dutifully selected one of my favorite short stories ever, “The Junkie Muse” by Isabelle Carruthers (a pseudonym) for publication in Zoetrope: All-Story Extra’s 23rd issue in May 2000. All these years later I’m still in love with the story and reflect on its publication with pride. And my association with Mr. Coppola on the now defunct publication’s masthead is something of minor bragging rights, I suppose. History lesson: Zoetrope: All-Story Extra (ASE) was an on-line supplement to Mr. Coppola’s fiction magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story (ZAS). Each month, All-Story Extra featured two new stories submitted by writers via Zoetrope’s on-line submissions site. The stories were chosen and edited by guest editors—also members of Zoetrope’s on-line submissions site—with assistance from the New York editorial staff of ZAS. ASE was created by Mr. Coppola and five members …

Quote: Stephen King’s Writing and Sports Analogy

Writing novels is a little like playing baseball where the game goes on for as long as it needs to, even if that means 20 innings. Writing short stories is more like playing basketball or football, you’re competing against the clock, as well as the other team. When it comes to writing fiction, long or short, the learning curve never ends. — Taken from the introduction to The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015). In searching Google for an image of the master storyteller, I came to realize that there are countless quotes of the man out there. And they’re all so damned astute and poignant, which is the norm with him. I’ve quoted him here and abroad before. With so many great quotes in abundance I might have to start making this a Friday ritual around here. Friday Uncle Stevie Quote Day or something. I’m only half-joking.

DC Universe Rebirth: Lost. Legacy. Love. Life.

From a DCU outsider’s point of view. So DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 was a damn good read. Even for this relative DCU outsider who didn’t have the deepest points of memory reference for a lot of the DCU touchstones and timeline mile markers the story touched on. I was particularly immersed in the meta-textual aspect of the narrative, and the inherent metaphors and allegories it contained. Over the years I’ve complained to and with my brothers and sisters in the Comic Book Underground that modern superhero comics have been missing a certain balance, a certain essence – say, like heroes performing heroic acts to help the powerless, instead of fighting each other in annual events. And so while reading this comic I was inspired to smile inside and nod approvingly at the prospect of that familiar aspect, which has been on full display in the adapted DC Comics TV shows like THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL, returning to superhero comics for what might be the first time in the Modern or Millennial Age (2001 – ). …