jasonandrew: (Default)
52 Voices: Stories of the Broken, the Lost, and the Dreamers is my latest personal writing project.  The plan is simple.  Once a week, I will interview one interesting person with a unique voice in an attempt to capture a single story about their life.  Said story doesn't have to have strictly happened in order to be true.  Stories can be funny, sad, important, trivial, or anything in-between as long as it touched me in the right way.


I will interview the subject with my mighty audio recorder and write about the experience.  The goal is to attempt to capture 52 voices to share with the world.  If it is desired, I'll use nom de plumes for those brave souls sharing stories.  Privacy will be respected.

UPDATE:  I’ve been organizing and preparing a list of people to interview.  I’ve managed to nail down a number of fascinating people; some of them I’m amazed agreed to help me with this project.  However, I am far short of the 52 voices required to make this project a reality.

If you are interested in telling me a story, contact jasonbandrew@gmail.com with the subject: 52 Voices.
jasonandrew: (Default)
"I was a little bit wild when I was young, darling, but I lived my life grandly." – Bunny Breckinridge

 


The great prophet and general badass Henry Rollings said that our taste in music peaks and freezes when we're thirteen years old.


When I was thirteen, Motley Crue was my favorite band in the world.   The right song can transport me to a time when the world felt young.  (This is perhaps a very uncomfortable view of my subconscious.)

Likewise, I think that our perception of the world is largely shaped by the storytellers that most captured our imaginations and our hearts as children.

This storyteller was the first to capture my imagination.


My first great love was words.  I loved the sound of them.  I loved reading them.  Stories could take you everywhere.   Who is this?  The legendary Ed Wood.

Yes, that Ed Wood.

I remember living with Papa Ray and Grandma Betty at a farm house with a walnut grove somewhere in the badlands around Fresno on Fowler.   I might have been around eight.

Books were a rare, precious commodity during that summer as there wasn’t a library outside of the one at the elementary school.  I had yet to be introduced to the Hobbit.

We lived far away from other children.  I explored the orchards with a sword fashioned from old grape trays, but eventually the summer days just dragged endlessly forward.

On a lonely Saturday afternoon, Papa Ray brought me a big plastic bowl filled with popcorn, sat me on his lap and introduced me to the Saturday Creature Feature.

The first movie was Plan 9 From Outer Space directed by Ed Wood.


Yes, this movie is horrible by today’s standards.  The dialog is stilted.  The special effects are horrid.   However, there was a joy and celebration of the macabre that fascinated me.   (Note to mention that I blame this movie for my interest in vampire girls.  I don’t have a chance, I tell you!)

It seems strange to know the exact moment you start to love a thing so much that it changes your life.  I watched every movie with a hint of terror.  When school started, I ran to the library that first recess and then checked out and read every book that the librarian would allow.

Last night, I started a new story to submit to the Atomic Cthulhu anthology using Ed Wood, Bunny Breckinridge, the Great Griswell, and a cameo from the great Bela Lugosi.

I’ve always felt a kinship with these strange characters in the book of life.  Recently, I watched the Ed Wood movie starring Johnny Depp and certain similarities in the lifestyle struck a nerve.

  • Working against the odds to see your creation in the hands of readers/viewers?  Check.

  • A close-knit group of friends that love and support you, even when you are out of your mind with obsession with your latest pet project.  Check.

  • An innate happiness associated with working on your dreams.  Check.


How much of that did I absorb through that movie?  It feels like something of the spirit of it imprinted on my soul.

Thank you, Ed Wood.
jasonandrew: (Shire)
This morning, I walked through the streets of Seattle through a fog. This is not a metaphor. A thick mist of haze settled over Seattle. This would be expected in December, but somewhat surprising in August. The sky is grey straight out of Necromancer like a television tuned to a dead channel.

Contract work at the Mouse continues to amaze me. I love working with happy people. It changes your entire day. I’ve managed to get ahead for once with my freelance fiction writing. I am working on a story due at the end of September.

This one is moving by quickly. I see to have more of an affinity for supernatural horror. I am under a number of different NDAs for various projects. When I am able, I’ll make a couple of announcements. I’m very pleased to be working with a couple of intellectual properties that I simply adore. Work isn’t really work if you love it.

It was very hot this weekend. I couldn’t work out, but I did walk around outside for a while. I managed to see The Dark Knight Rises. It wasn’t good as The Dark Knight. I thought Hathaway stole the show. The main two villains didn’t work for me. Bane always bores me. Talia could have been so much better as a character. I think the addition of Catwoman diminished her screen time and the possibility for her redemption. That said, I enjoyed watching the movie. Comic book movies continue to improve in quality and we’re seeing a renaissance previously unimagined at a time when Ghostbusters was the best genre movie around.

The big surprise is the excitement I feel about the new Man of Steel movie. This parody captures a lot of my feelings towards Superman. It might be that the All-Star Superman limited series changed that for me. I love Morrison's Superman and I hope that one day I get a chance to write the character. I am very excited by this movie after seeing the trailer. Superman can be an amazing character as proven by Grant Morrison.

I need to do some research for some of these projects coming up this year. I won't complain as I am loving it. I have good friends and family supporting me. I will be very happy to have a writing room all to myself. Thus far, I have enjoyed 2012. I have hopes that it will continue to be an awesome year.
jasonandrew: (chucky)
Life as a freelancer writer is chaotic, wonderful, and frightening.

I love my current contract with the Mouse. I work on a laptop in the company cafe because my office has two other technical writers in a very cramped space and I get warm easily. The only downside is that the windows are open providing a spectacular view of the city of Seattle. I have to sit behind a curtain least I spend the day staring at the Smith Tower. The only downside is that I’ve had to brush up my Java skills.

I had a difficult choice to make last week as a fiction writer. A small press that shall not be named made an offer on The Highway West. Knowing that another believes in your work enough to publish it is a heady matter especially when you’ve been trying to get others to look at your book for almost a year. I read through the contract and it felt wrong. I won't go into details, but I politely turned them down. I believe in this series and I hope that one day I am able to share it with you. I have faith that I will eventually find a hope for this book.

I managed to finish the drafts of two short stories in the last couple of weeks. I need to edit them this weekend.

“Spinach Salad and Heirloom Tomatoes: Lessons from the Victory Garden” was difficult because I couldn’t decide how to tell the story. I wrote a first person and a third person version of this story. I am letting Lisa read through it to decide.

“What I Did This Summer: A 7th Grade Essay by Suzie Sampson” was a story I wrote for Michael Dyer when he won the cover contest for Twilight Temptations.

I am currently working on three stories for various anthologies:

“House of the Sleeping Beauties” involves a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth from a Lovecraftian point of view.

“Nothing Has Changed of the Sorrow in Store” is a sad little ghost story involving Michal and the Witch of Endor. Michal is the daughter of King Saul who was killed by a ghost he demanded that the Witch of Endor summon for advice. Michal laters marries King David, but first she has to prepare the body of her father for burial. This is a strange little story.

The last story is untitled, but involves Ed Wood and the Lovecraft mythos.

I am what I like to call a method writer. I have to be able to experience the emotion of a scene to write about it properly. This week I returned to working on the sequel to The Highway West titled A Wicked Messenger. There is a scene where the main characters have forgotten to fill their gas tank and it starts a major fight. This has been surprisingly easy to write. I have a major phobia about running out of gas that can trigger anger and anxiety. I have been in huge fights with my wife over stopping to get gas. My mother used to push the envelope and often we ran out of gas during the summer waiting on the side of the road for a friend to help us. I hated that helpless feeling and have been channeling it into this scene.


Yesterday, I dusted off an old comic book script that I wrote as a sample for DC comics titled The Joker’s Crusade. It was rejected, but it ain’t half bad. I might post it for giggles. I have a number of rejected media fiction in my files. I should share them as examples.
jasonandrew: (Default)
My time-travel story involving Steven Hawkings and John Belushi has been accepted by Shelter of Daylight from Sams's Dot Publishing.  The last time I was published by this company, I made Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mention list for 2011.  Fingers crossed for a repeat performance, except with some sort of wacky science fiction list.
jasonandrew: (Default)
This is a very personal post, but I wanted to share my story.  I think I became a better writer when I became a person happy with my life.
We are born into this world not with sin, but weakness of character and the challenge to be great. Each of us has a unique collection of challenges and privileges randomly determined when, where, and to whom we’re born. It is the journey that can forge us into shining souls or broken shards of unrealistic dreams and bitter expectations. My greatest character flaw has always been jealousy. The green-eyed monster is not a simple beast to conquer for an angry boy. I learned to covet happiness at an early age and my survival instinct was to escape into the world of stories. That was my backdoor entry into attempting to become a writer.

I allowed my jealousy to turn me into a bitter, childish man for many years until I finally learned to let it go.
Granted, my life has never been easy. My father was murdered attempting to stop pumpkin thieves on Halloween when I was five years old. He was the manager of the convenience store and felt obligated to absurdly risk his life over a few stolen pumpkins. I’m told that my mother was never the same after his death. I only remember her as a sad woman that slipped further and further away into drugs, abusive boyfriends, and depression.

I was a moody and bitter boy that railed against the unfair universe that had pretty much shit on me from my earliest memories. Jealousy of others turned me selfish and I was not always kind to those that offered a hand to me. It felt like my entire family reeked of failure. I watched as relative after relative turned to alcohol or drugs. I wasn’t always kind to my cousins. I regret not spending more time with my cousin Ted.

College was rough without a support system. A good number of my fellow students had families that helped them a great deal emotional and financially. I secretly hated them. My jealousy wouldn’t let me appreciate the scholarships and opportunities. The first year of school finished well. My mother really wanted to try to make things up to me and promised me a job working with my uncle if I returned home for the summer. Without earning money, I couldn’t go back to school. More money meant working less while taking classes,

I returned to one of the hottest summers in Fresno history. Somehow, I was surprised that the plumbing assistant job never existed. I searched around and there weren’t any jobs with a single exception. I spent the sweltering summer cooking burgers at Wendy’s. I was less than pleased. When I went back to school, I swore that I would never go back.

I kept my word until a couple of years ago when I learned that my mother had cancer and was dying. My maternal grandparents had died and no one bothered to tell me. I spent a week with her and worked to forgive her. It is strange to hold anger against someone so weak. It was as though I could literally see the life drain from her. She died peacefully, completely out of her mind. It took me a couple of years to forgive her, but I wouldn’t have been able to do so unless I had seen her one last time.

The last time I was home was for the funeral for my cousin Kevin. He died in a car accident that was stupid and unnecessary. During that time I stayed with my Aunt Jan. She was my father’s little sister and we talked a great deal. I realized that my anger was pointless. My jealousy had kept me from enjoying the people that loved me. The night before we buried Kevin, I learned something very strange.

I was present during the robbery where my father was murdered. My father left me sleeping in the back of an old Datsun with a camper while he finished some business at the store he managed. I have only vague recollections of the store. Did my fascination with the dark side of life come from that moment? I suppose only years of therapy I can’t afford would begin to answer that.

I feel like I really started to turn my life around two years ago when I decided I was going to put away my insecurities and jealousy and put my heart into my writing. I wrote The Highway West based on a couple of incidents in my life and added the magic I always wished was real. Expressing my fears on the page helped me overcome them and allowed me to see them from the outside.

The next step was to learn to be happy for the successes of others. I think I was a selfish friend. I was trapped inside like a turtle in his shell. I give credit to my wife Lisa for helping me grow and being a better person.

The funny thing is that once you learn to be happy for others and concentrate on your own world, the details sharpen into focus and the universe starts to work with you instead of against you. I am now almost forty and feel as though I’ve only recently become a man.
jasonandrew: (Naughty)
It feels as though the stars themselves have magically aligned to allow for a time of healing and wonder. The last year had a number of challenges in my personal life. I always took a basic comfort in the idea that the universe didn't care what happened to me and there was no purpose to anything other than what we created with what we had.

I think last year helped me grow as a person while delivering onto my bottom a good swift kick when it needed it. It is amazing how much patience I've learned without even realizing it. So much of my life, I've spent my time waiting for that perfect tomorrow ignoring that the present was fairly awesome.

My wife Lisa is blooming at her new job. The income eases some financial concerns, but more important she loves her job and feels that it matters. I see her happy to go into work each day and there isn't a price you can put on loving your job.

Likewise, I love my current contract for the Mouse. Reconnecting with downtown Seattle has somehow revitalized my spirits. I feel young.

My writing career continues to take those slow baby-steps forward. I managed to meet all of my freelance deadlines this month and submit to a couple of anthologies that weren't on my planned schedule. My fingers are very much crossed as some of these anthologies look like they will be awesome.

Neil Gaiman recently described how the freelance work really works.  Bats and Bones sketched out a circle graph highlighting the basics of the speech. I've posted it below.

I tried to take this speech to heart while I redoubled my efforts towards my writing career.  I sent out a number of queries letting Developers and Editors know that I am interested and eager for more work.  The results have been very positive.  I can't go into details, but last night I signed a couple of NDAs for additional freelance opportunities. (I'll make announcements on that when I am able. )  One of the RPG Developers told me that he would recommend me to others and that felt very good.

There are a number of potentially huge projects on the horizon and I have to use this patience thing I've learned or I shall go crazy.

My story "Recovery" appeared in IN SITU last week.  The anthology seems to be selling really well.

Here is the round-up for future projects coming out:

  • “The Murmur of Lorelei” has been accepted for the anthology The Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed by Graveside Tales

  • “The Embers Burn, and Gentle is the Arrow’s Stinging” will appear in the anthology A Quick Bite of Flesh by Hazardous Press.

  • “Lessons Learned From My 5th Attempt to Conquer the World” will appear in Stupefying Stories.

  • “Lay Down Your Hair” will appear in the anthology Queer Fish 2 from Pink Narcissus Press.

  • “The Sky God’s Daughter” will appear in the anthology Daughters of Icarus from Pink Narcissus Press.

  • “The Honey Offering” will appear in the anthology The Extinction Files anthology by Alter Press.

  • "Zombie Walk" will appear in the anthology Nasty Snips II from Pendragon Press

jasonandrew: (fall)
I went to sleep early yesterday. The entire day I had felt overheated like I was a Peace Keeper suffering from heath delirium. (Note that this is a Farscape reference for Leahabird.) Lisa and I went to an enjoyable restaurant, but the service was really slow. We were there for almost two hours. I felt ornery and thus decided that perhaps I was better off staying away from people.

I read a few graphic novels and then went to bed. My wife woke me late that night and ordered me to drink water as I was sweating like I had suffered from a heat stroke. I am very compliant in my sleep and I woke up drinking water very confused.

It rained in Seattle this morning. The sky had a somber feel to it. I didn’t find out about the Batman/Colorado shootings until I made it into work. It felt very surreal as it very well could have been me and my friends there. I know some people that could have been there, but luckily weren’t. It has reinforced this feeling of morality that I’ve felt since I turned 39 in April. We only get a limited amount of time on this rock. Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve squandered some of my years. It has given me a strange melancholy that I haven’t managed to squish just yet.

This week, I finished all of my freelance deadlines and have started once again on my novel A Wicked Messenger. The current word count is 65,500 and I expect that it will reach 100,000 before it is complete. This is the sequel to The Highway West.

My next novel project will be titled A Parliament of Stars. I have the universe, the plot, and a number of details sharp in my mind, but I can’t figure out the name of the main character. It feels like this name should be epic and have multiple meanings. This character will reveal her name in time. A writer must learn to be patient afterall.
jasonandrew: (Default)
insitufrontcovertiny

My short story “Recovery” is featured in the just released anthology IN SITU from Dagan Books.

IN SITU is a new anthology of science fiction stories featuring alien archeology, hidden mysteries, and things that are better off left buried.

A quiet man finds more than he bargained for when he sets out with his metal detector on a lonely hill … A soldier meets a new kind of enemy fighting an altogether different kind of war … On a distant swamp planet, a woman questions what kind of human she’s becoming … a pregnant archeologist finds a connection with a long-dead alien child … while deep space scavengers wonder what it ever meant to be human at all. These fifteen evocative science fiction stories will take you from dusty archaeologists digging up our alien past into a distant future where we’ve become the relics. Thought-provoking and entertaining, IN SITU explores science, theology, preservation, and the art of alien finance, in a whole new way.

Edited by Carrie Cuinn. Contains stories by Ken Liu, KV Taylor, Paul A. Dixon, Bear Weiter, Mae Empson, Jason Andrew, Greg Burch, Sarah Hendrix, R.S. Hunter, Rebecca Lloyd, Alex Shvartsman, Kelly C. Stiles, Graham Storrs, David J. West, and Dawn Vogel.

You can purchase it from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/In-Situ-Ken-Liu/dp/0983137323/ref=la_B003NMGK6A_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341941135&sr=1-1
jasonandrew: (Shire)
I borrowed this from [livejournal.com profile] matociquala. This is a very fun ideas. I have attached the opening lines to all of my open projects. Some of these projects are paused while I wait for a good market for them.

First Lines Meme:

Short Stories:

The world once felt wide and epic.
“What I Did This Summer: A 7th Grade Essay by Suzie Sampson”

If I’m still alive by dawn, the infection failed to take hold.
“To Joanie, With Love”

I’ve always found the scent of Chamomile Tea quite comforting; it smells sweet like a child’s birthday or a first kiss.
“The Three Gates of Agony”

Faint light from the sun glitters through the ice rings into a rainbow; the lifepod computer strictly monitors the amount of time I’m allowed a naked look through the viewport to avoid radiation poisoning.
“The Colour of Passion: A Study of Symbiosis”

A real man makes his own rules and then accepts the consequences.
“Surrender”

Morning was the best time for hunting in downtown; the air was somehow cleaner and his prey was too concerned with the promise of a new day to notice him.
“The Value of a Year’s Worth of Tears and Sorrow”

The moon was full and pregnant with possibilities when the Faceless Ones set upon our village with obsidian knives.
“In the Shadow of the Pyramid of the Moon”

Father died last night as prophcied by the Shade of Samuel.
“Nothing Has Changed of the Sorrow in Store”

The stink of refurbished air and sweat permeated the formerly abandonded shuttlebay.
"Three Minutes"

Collin J. Farnsworth was conceived the night his father repelled an extra-dimensional invasion from a parallel universe where a humanoid species evolved from a vicious form of French speaking velociraptors.
"The Highly Unlikely Adventures of Collin and Locke"

Books

The murder of crows perched on the giant willow tree that overshadowed the main house on the Carver Ranch.
A Wicked Messenger

Nathan Carver imagined that the blackbirds were always watching him.
The Highway West

Dylan Foley dreamed of being a pirate.
The Maelstorm of Forever

She once danced across the stars; freely and unfettered from responsibility.
Abigail's Dragon
jasonandrew: (groupies)
My wife Lisa is a certified She-Devil of the 13th Level of Mastery. She can sense it instantly when I am weakened by illness or exhaustion and then attacks me in the bedroom. I remain convinced that she doesn’t view our partnership so much of a marriage as a practicing Sith Apprenticeship where she shall one day suppliant me. Our relationship has had some dark storms, but we’ve always managed to stay the course and I can’t imagine my life without her.

One of her personality quirks is the complete and utter lack of a filter between her brain and her mouth. If she thinks it, there is a really good chance she will say it. I’m often given to hyperbole for humor, however, I am understating this if anything.

Remember the awesome Batman Begins? There is a scene where Batman confronts the Scarecrow played by Cillian Murphy. Apparently, something about Cillian Murphy’s portrayal bothered her. She didn’t like the way he licked his lips in the scene. She decided that there was clearly a hidden subtext about the Scarecrow wanting to give a blowjob to the Batman. Want to know how I know? She declared very loudly, “Oh my God! Scarecrow has dick-sucking lips! Let me suck your dick Batman! It’s just the two of us. None shall ever know of this!”

If this was the opening night, we might have been hanged. This was my third time seeing this movie. However, there were a number angry mothers in the crowd and we were lucky to make it back to our car. The moral of the story is that Lisa isn’t shy about expressing her opinion.

Sunday, Lisa was addressing some submission envelopes and copyediting the cover letters. She turned to me and smiled. “Bunnybear, you’ve made a lot of good progress this last year. I’m really impressed with your credits.”

Yes, she calls me Bunnybear. I got used to it. I’ll pause for a moment to allow you to laugh.

It felt good to have that support and validation from my wife. I’ve worked really start to make my baby steps towards a writing career, but I couldn’t have made it this far if she hadn’t encouraged and supported me along the way. I thought of this today as I walked to my latest technical writing assignment in downtown Seattle and smiled.

Thank you, Lisa
jasonandrew: (Default)
Kiernan starts this book with the following warning to her readers. This is the book it is, which means it may not be the book, you expect it to be.

This is a cankerous, demanding book that left me very conflicted. I’m still not completely sure of my opinion of it and as such, this might not be the review you were expecting it to be, but it is what it is. Warning: There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The Drowning Girl proposes a simple, yet fascinating theory. A haunting is reality’s version of an internet MEME. The more haunting is captured and then spread to others, the greater the power of said haunting. The narrator references the very strange story of the Aokigahara forest. In the shadow of Mount Fugi, there is a forest that happens to be the world's second most popular suicide location. Spirituals believe that the energy of the ghosts of those that have taken their lives have permeated the woods causing strange paranormal activity. This was a local legend for centuries that was captured in Seicho Matsumoto’s novel Kuroi Jukai where two lovers decide to end their lives in the black sea of trees. Since the publication of this book in 1960, this national park has been the eastern mecca for suicides.

This is recounted by the narrator as a warning not to read her book. Reading her story is to spread the MEME and to willingly be inflected with her ghost story.

India Morgan Phelps, known as Imp, is a bright, shy girl that happens to suffer from a slight case of schizophrenia that has been exaggerated by a terrifying, yet beautiful event that changed her life forever and ended Imp’s relationship with her Abalyn. Imp attempts to figure out what happened to her and put her life back together by capturing the memories and locking them away in the form of the narrative which also forces the reader to view this story from the first person perspective of Imp and follow her in the journey to forcing herself to heal.

The unrealized narrator takes the reader on a slow journey through her thought process and memories. Such a trip is rarely linear. The story starts with Imp as a young girl viewing a painting in a museum. The Drowning Girl is a painting that might have captured a ghost story from the last century that may or may not have been inspired by a woman named Eva Canning. Imp feels a strange connection to this woman and feels almost threatened by the presence of the painting as though it is stirring uncomfortable feelings inside of her.

The crux of this event happened around Imp’s meeting of this strange woman Eva that reminds her of her favorite painting. It happens that in the present Imp remembers meeting this woman twice and she instinctually knows that one of these stories might be false. Depending upon the time of the memory, Imp might remember Eva as a mermaid or a werewolf. This duality is unconsciously echoed throughout the book represented by the transgendered Abalyn, who argues that while her body might have started life as a male that she had always been female in the soul. Eva might be remembered as having two identities, but only one of them has ever been real.

Imp has to face three different mysteries: which Eva was real, what happened to her, and can she have a life after being touched by strangeness.

I very much enjoy this book, but it was a slow and difficult read. That’s not an insult. I read the chapters slowly and enjoying thinking about the clues. Kiernan’s style is normally very lyrical and clean. This time around, it is much more personal and loose. I couldn’t stop reading.

I recommend the book, but I still couldn’t rate it fully. That’s not a bad thing.
jasonandrew: (Default)
Dagan Books did a brief interview with me before the release of the upcoming anthology IN SITU.

In Situ is a latin phrase that means "in position" and is a term used to describe artifact that has not been moved from its original place of discovery. This is one of my best horror stories. It was inspired by a friend named Ed Febbish.

I am excited as it would appear that this anthology is coming out very soon. You can read the interview here: http://daganbooks.com/2011/02/21/interview-jason-andrew/
jasonandrew: (Default)
The legendary writer Ray Bradbury died yesterday. He was a giant amongst men that showed me through his words that a man could be an adult and still see the world through a child’s eyes. I heard about his death this morning on the radio as I dropped my wife off at work. I found myself feeling just a little sad as I crossed the 520 bridge.

Bradbury was the sort of writer that loved words. He wrote every day because that was the best possible world for him. A true inspiration.

I found myself selfishly thinking retrospectively.

The last year something clicked for me. I started to write better and more often. My ambition faded and was replaced by the love of the craft. I still have the hunger, but it is less important than enjoying the journey.

I am now 39 and I would love to live to 91. That requires some changes to my life habits. I started going to the gym. Technology has completely changed the exercise experience. I get emails from my gym letting me know how well I did each day.

My current technical writing contract ends this week and so I am looking forward to a couple of weeks of solid writing time. I read a bit how Peter David does different projects and manages to be so prolific. He works on particular projects at specific times every day. I wonder if that will help. I am going to push to try to do that during my break.

There is a story about Bradbury that says everything possible about the man. If it isn't true, it should be. When Bradbury was 12, he visited a traveling carnival. A stage magician brought him on stage, tapped him with a sword, and gave the following command to the young boy: Live Forever! Bradbury immediately went home and starting writing.

Live forever, Ray Bradbury.
jasonandrew: (Default)
You have to be able to take a hit as a boxer and wait for the time to strike. The ability take rejection and accept criticism is almost as important as the ability to write while building a career as a writer. This year has been very good to me as a writer in general. However, I took a beating the last week that included a large number of rejections and the single worst review I’ve ever received. I won’t lie. It hurt.

Doubt is the enemy when you feel like surrendering. I imagine that all writers feel this way.

It usually happens to me when I am very tired and have had to deal with a lot of rejections. I’ve been exhausted with the extra writing and freelance work I’ve been finishing. The trick is to remember that resting is not a surrender, but a natural part of the process. Sometimes, you need an adventure to remind you while you need to write.

This weekend we vented forth to Portland. I made my annual pilgrimage to Powells. Seeing the thousands of different books on the shelves always strengthens my resolve and will while sparking new ideas and desires.

I did the tacky self-absorbed writer trick. I counted how many books I had on the shelves. I had three anthologies that featured a story, one RPG book, and essay in a collection about slasher movies. Not much, all in all, but I felt pretty good all the same.

Today is my first day writing again after the break. I’m very, very excited.
jasonandrew: (bat)
Greetings,

My 2006 novella Fear and Loathing in Bat Country: Hunter S. Thompson Versus Dracula is now available on the Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fear-and-loathing-in-bat-country-jason-andrew/1007628272

This is my first Nook title and thus it is free for the next couple of days and make sure that the bugs have been worked out. Limited time only. Then you will have to pay a whole $1 to read it!
jasonandrew: (Default)
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award finalists were posted this morning. You can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_363151022_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000803041&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=left-1&pf_rd_r=13BXGR27J9C8RNJ78209&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1369538842&pf_rd_i=332264011

Congratulations to all of the authors that progressed to the final round! All of the entries that I’ve read thus far have been well deserving of moving to the next round. It is interesting to see how the different judges commented on the various entries. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how the gate keepers will review a submission. Skill and preparation can take you to the door, but you won’t be invited in unless the story strikes the right emotional response in the reader.

After five weeks of heavy, heavy freelance work, I’ve decided to take this week off from the grind in order to rest. (My vacation might get shortened if I get more work or edits back before the weekend is over.) I have a lovely road trip to Portland planned for this weekend. This means I shall get to go to my favorite bookstore in the world. Yes, I love Powells.

I’ve been reading a book about creativity and success. Successful artists tend to have two common characteristics; versatility and raw determination. An artist might not be able to do his dream job right away. The trick is to put his dreams into every job. Raw determination is almost as important as talent. I’ve seen really talented writers, singers, and painters simply surrender their dream.

This morning I pulled out my notebook to plan the next writing cycle to maximize my time and help focus. I should have several weeks between technical writing contracts in the near future and I want to make sure I have a good focus during that time least I spend all of my time in my polar bear PJs watching old episodes of the Misfits of Science.

Here is my to do list:

• Revise synopsis down to one page, submit to a new publisher.
• Submit The Highway West to a new agent.
• Finish writing the first draft of A Wicked Messenger (20,000 words left)
• Write a story about Papo in the afterlife for an upcoming anthology
• Write a story about a unicorn named Sky for an upcoming anthology
• Look at list of awesome anthologies and try to squeeze in stories
• Edit The Maelstrom of Forever
• Write novella Salvation Heights
• Write Parliament of Stars
jasonandrew: (borednow)
Joe Quesada has been in charge of Marvel Comics for over a decade. His current title is Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment.

There is a big controversy over his recent statements over saying that there isn't a female character in the Marvel Universe that he can make a big tent-pole movie out of. You can read about it here: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/05/21/she-has-no-head-dear-marvel-stop-ruining-everything/

I think he is right, but not for the obvious reasons. I think this is an area where Marvel Comics simply fails, especially compared to DC Comics.

The majority of the really awesome female characters fall under the X-Men franchise and those rights don't belong to Marvel Comics and won't revert until they quit making crappy movies. None: I believe this is a big reason why the X-Men have remained important even when they have had crappy writers and confusing storylines.

For the record, I don't think that the Black Widow, Hawkeye, or Nick Fury can carry a blockbuster movie. These are awesome characters, but not quite stars.

I think that a good comic book movie has to have the following three points to be great:

1. A solid, but simple origin not tied to other characters. For example, you can describe the origin for the following characters in two sentences: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Batman, Blade, and Superman.

2. The powers of the super hero should be interesting visually for the movie to be awesome.

3. The hero must have interesting villains.

Sometimes you can get away with only two out of the three, but those movies don't tend to hit the big time. I think this is why the Hulk movies usually fail. His villains are boring as hell. I tried to think of awesome female characters from the Marvel Universe that would fit under my suggested paradigm. I couldn't find any off the top of my head that weren't somehow connected to the X-Men.

I even checked this list to make sure I didn’t miss anyone: http://marvel.com/universe/Category:Women

Note: I did not include any X-Women past or present. Or characters tied to the X-Men. That includes Rogue, Storm, Phoneix, Psylock, the Scarlet Witch, and Dazzler.

Special note: I will send seething hate to the first person that suggests Squirrel Girl.

Here were my top contenders.

Monica Rambeau / Captain Marvel has a simple origin and interesting power that I bet would be awesome to see on screen. The problem is that her writers have shat on the character for years and allowed other characters to steal her hero name over and over again. (She has had like 3 superhero names stolen from her.) She also has no villains worthy of the name. I love this character. The proper writer could make her a star. Don't believe me? Think about what Bendis did to Luke Cage.

Spider Woman has way too complex of an origin story. I can't even keep it straight. Her main villains is Hydra, which could connect to Captain America, but overall are boring without a Red Skull type character. I also think people would expect her to be more tied to Spiderman, which would be impossible due to rights and wouldn't make sense history wise.

Ms. Marvel has a simple origin story, but her history is crazy and complex including the time the Avengers let her get date-raped drugged into another dimension. This history could be streamlined, but alas her main villains are connected to the X-Men. How could you tell a proper Ms. Marvel story without including Rogue?

She-Hulk is a fun, dynamic character. The lawyer bit would be fun to put into a movie. However, her origin is tied to the Hulk and she doesn't have her own villains.

Jennifer Hale is a cool character as a sorceress, but she doesn’t even have a super hero name. She also has no villains. She is mostly tied to the Swamp Thing.

Songbird is kind of a cool character. Her origin story would have to be simplified. I bet her powers could look awesome on screen. However, she is the classic good girl gone bad for a while. The problem is that she is only interesting when she is trying to be a good guy stuck with the Thunderbolts. (I do think a Thunderbolts movie would be awesome and a number of those characters are interesting female characters.)

The problem is that the Marvel Universe needs better female heroes. Half of the readers of comics are women these days if judging from the fan fiction forums. You want those readers Marvel Comics? You had best start creating characters that inspire them rather than retreading yet another version of Spiderman, the X-men, or New Secret Avengers. This requires the artists and the writers to make new characters for this generation.
jasonandrew: (Default)
Today was a working Saturday. I finished writing the second of my contracted chapters for Hunters Hunted 2.

I took a break in the middle of the day to watch one of my favorite movies Ed Wood. Johnny Depp has never been finer than in this movie, not even Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I grew up with a great deal of love of monster movies. Every Saturday afternoon, I watched the Creature Feature and watched the horror greats such as Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, and the mighty Bela Lugosi. It must have been a magical time for movie goers.
Ed Wood loved monster movies. He was unashamed of that love and did crazy things to make that dream happen. His friends were a rag-tag crew that helped his dream, even going so far as to be baptized to get funding for Plan 9 From Outer Space. Sometimes, I wonder if I have the grit to stick with my dream like he did in the face of solid rejection and scorn.

Tonight, I was finishing my work when I was poked from a good friend Mario. A number of friends were at a local pub nearby and so Lisa and I took a break to visit with them. It was a fine night with good friends that cheer me forward and drag me away from the computer to take breaks. I was drinking a Bloody Mary and looking at the circle of friends and I realized that how lucky I am as a person.

Granted, none of them are as crazy as Bunny Breckinridge, but almost as colorful.

Weird that I would be the happiest I've ever been at 39. Fate is a strange mistress.
jasonandrew: (Default)
I have a small break for lunch and so I thought I would write a little bit about my life as it is today. I have disappeared the last couple of weeks. Deadlines have forced me to submerge into my hidey hole and write and work. Thankfully, I have a loving wife that helps monitor my stress levels and ensures that I take at least one day off a week to relax. Married life is pretty awesome, even if my wife steals cuddles from me and wakes me up way too often.

I’ve managed to have a couple of breaks with friends, see the Avengers, and have a small echo of an actual life. Despite the various bits of stress this year, I feel I am in a much, much better place as though I finally figured out how to do this thing called life.

The Last Daughter of Eve plotline is finally over and thus I can take a break for a couple of months from storytelling in the Camarilla. I’ve run the flagship venue for two major conventions and ran through a major plot on the global level effecting hundreds of players. I’m tired and need a break. However, I am very glad that the players enjoyed it.

My technical writing contract ends early in June. This means that I am really swamped at work trying to complete all of the tasks my wonderful employers wanted finished before this contract ended. I am hopeful that I will get at least two weeks between assignments.

In other writing news:

My deadline for my materials from White Wolf’s Hunters Hunted 2 is in ten days and thus that has become my top priority. Progress is going well, but on occasion very slow.

Naturally, I paused major efforts towards completing my novel, A Wicked Messenger. When I stopped, I had reached 64,000 or so.

I owe a story in August for a special themed anthology that I am very, very excited about. I have a different story to conceive and write in June for another anthology.

I’ve been asked if I am interested in writing a couple of essays based on my work with the Seattle Sinner and Butcher Knives & Body Counts: Essays on the Formula, Frights, and Fun of the Slasher Film. I’m very interested in the subject matter.

I have an usually large number of items pending and if I am playing the odds then I should get some positive news here shortly. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t progressed to the last round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, which means I shall need to start looking into new publishers for The Highway West.

I am hoping that some of my recent luck and success will help me locate a suitable agent.

November 2012

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