NaNoWriMo 2019 starts now!

It’s November 1st and that means National Novel Writing Month begins today. If you have already signed up, awesome! Now quit procrastinating and go write.

For everyone else, it’s not too late. Challenge yourself mentally. Let that story you have locked away in your imagination out into the wild. I started almost a week late last time, but still managed to get out 50,311 words. Some things I’ve learned from past years that may help.

Write more. Sounds trite and simple, but what I mean is, if your goal is to write 1,666 words a day to meet the goal, don’t stop simply because you’ve met your target on a given day. There will be occasions where things happen and you just don’t have the time to write. The pressure of feeling behind the eight ball can stifle the creative juices and having a buffer will alleviate that stress.

Write often. If you can schedule a block of time each day to devote to writing, that’s great! I can’t. I usually have a couple of hours at night, but weekends are totally unpredictable, so I write wherever I can, whenever I have a few free minutes. I use a PC at home, but keep my tablet on me at all other times and use a writing app that syncs between the two.

If you get stuck, skip to the next part. You don’t have to write a story in the order it will be read. You can write the sections you have already seen in your mind, and then stitch them together later. If you are point D and want to get to G, but don’t yet know the steps in between, that’s okay, just move ahead and you can come back to fill in the gaps when inspiration strikes later on.

The most important part is to try. I’ve attempted the challenge five times now and only succeeded twice. You know what? Nothing bad happened to me when I failed and I learned a lot. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain by making the attempt

Free Comic Book Day!

The first Saturday in May is upon us! That means tomorrow most (and I have yet to encounter one that did not) comic book shops will be giving away, absolutely free, a huge selection of books that the major publishers have made available. Marvel, DC, Valiant, Dark Horse, Titan, Image, IDW, BOOM!, Archie, VIZ and more are all participating. There’s a list here of the issues being made available. Personally I really want copies of the Captain Canuck and the Stranger Things books.

It’s not just about free stuff though. Each time I’ve been to one of these events, the shops have had big discounts and sales going on, often with artist meet and greets, as well as contests. The store I usually go to has always had cosplayer show up as well, and with it falling on May 4th this year (unofficial Star Wars day), I fully expect the 501st Legion to make an appearance.

Don’t know where to go? They’ve got a shop locator to help you find a participating store close to you.

Show up early before all the books you want are gone! Also, harder to find parking on Decarie later in the day 😀

So You Want to be a Wizard?

Long before Harry Potter became a household name (about thirteen years or so), one of my favorite authors on the planet started a series about a teenage wizard. It’s a Young Adult series, but written in a manner and with language that won’t turn off adults. The characters may be children, but the author never treats the readers like kids.

Diane Duane is the author of my absolute favorite book, “Spocks World”. I know I use the words favorite and love a lot when talking about books and authors, but when people ask “If you were stranded on a desert island…” this is the book I would never get tired of reading. I read it in high school and while looking for other books to read, I found another by the same author, “So You Want To Be A Wizard?” and loved it.

When I read the first book in the series, I was around the same age as the main character and unlike some other books I had read, the people who populated these pages felt real. What I mean by that is they behaved and reacted to things in the way you would expect real people to. That’s not always the case in books, and unfortunately even rarer in YA fiction.

One of the best things about the series is the epic scope of some of the stories. Also, as the novels progress, it gets more fantastical (wizard cats and wizard whales!), but thanks to Diane Duanes skill at telling a tale, stays believable. Suspension of disbelief is super easy when the author is this good.

There are currently nine novels in the series, and I’m writing this article not just because the books are great, and anyone who is a fan of fantasy literature should read them (they should) but because right now, the author has a sale going on where you can buy the e-book versions for $19.99 US for ALL NINE BOOKS! Not $19.99 each, the entire collection for twenty bucks.

You can purchase them here. You won’t regret it.

A hero from Jersey City – the other Ms. Marvel

When Carol Danvers used to fight bad guys in a black bathing suit and thigh high boots as Ms. Marvel, I never really paid much attention to her. I mean she looked great, but she always seemed to be defined by things that happened to her, and not by anything she ever actually did in the Marvel Comics universe. She went through several changes of wardrobe, names and powers, and in 2012 she took on the mantle of Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick focused more on Carol Danvers military career and abilities as a leader, and far more interesting in the process.

So, the Captain Marvel movie opens in just a few weeks and with all the hype surrounding it’s release I thought I’d draw some attention to Kamala Khan, the teenage girl who picked up the name Carol Danvers left behind. Ms. Marvel.

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The problem with Hawkeye

Anyone wishing that Marvel would announce plans for a Hawkeye movie? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, I didn’t think so. It’s not that people dismiss him as “just a regular guy with a bow”, Black Widow has no super powers, but people like her, and Phil Coulson’s a normal guy who didn’t exist before the movies, but people LOVE him and he got his own TV show.

So, why do people dislike Hawkeye, or at best just don’t care about him? My theory is he’s just not “Hawkeye” enough.

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How do you define “literature”?

I had a difficult time coming up with a title for this article. “Bill Maher is a Tool” and “Irrelevant TV host Seeks Attention” seemed too aggressive.

Around the time of Stan Lee’s death Bill Maher made some disparaging remarks about the mans contributions to literary entertainment and popular culture. Recently he doubled down and attacked the people who buy and read comic books, and enjoy the movies they are based on. Stating that comic books were not literature and the people who enjoyed them were eternal children who refused to grow up.

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I’d like to see the Time Scout series turned into a TV show

Robert Asprin is one of my favorite authors. I know I say that about a lot of writers but I would easily put him in my top five. Probably best known for his Myth series (books which got my dyslexic son to actually enjoy reading), he also wrote a four volume series with Linda Evans (not that Linda Evans, this Linda Evans).

Time Scout, Wagers of Sin, Ripping Time and The House That Jack Built are the (sadly only) four books that make up the Time Scout series. The premise is this. In the future there is an unnamed catastrophe that fractures time and space sending rips backwards in time that lead to different eras and locations. These portals open and close either randomly, or on predictable schedules. Sometimes clumps of them can be found in one area and stations are built around them called Time Terminals. What do you do with portals in time? Time Tourism!

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Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Master

Like Game of Thrones? Not a fan of the language it uses, but enjoy fantasy tales with magic, politics, bastards and huge armies? Go read one of my favorites.

Originally published in 1982 as a single novel, Raymond E. Feists Magician, was split in half for the North American market and sold as the two volumes I read. Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. It is a high fantasy story that is the first in a trilogy called The Riftwar Saga, which then continued to become the thirty volume Riftwar Cycle, and I have read every single one. Oh and it was also a kick ass video game.

Continue reading “Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Master”