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Monthly Archives: March 2012

S. Lawrence Parrish (take two)

I read and re-read my thoughts on Steve Parrish’s podcasts. I decided to re-do this review as a result. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the process of attempting to write this is that my first instinct (to only write reviews for things I absolutely love) was right. I tend to run hot and cold with just about everything so when I don’t completely love something I can be overly picky and sometimes downright nasty in my criticism. That’s why I try to avoid criticizing things publicly. I am not a very objective person and that’s not fair to who or what I’m talking about.

The short review is this: if you like dark and twisted horror/fantasy start with Chicken Pi and go from there.

 

I was asked by S. Lawrence Parrish if I would give a listen to any or all of his podcast fiction. This was the first time anyone has approached me like this and I have to say that it felt pretty awesome to have someone say they wanted me to review their work. I’m not sure how he’ll feel now that I have listened and have finally made up my mind to write a review.

Parrish has three works available for free as podcast fiction at Podiobooks.com: Shape ShiftersShat, and Chicken Pi. Technically, this is three reviews in one;  I started with Shape Shifters…

To summarize Shape Shifters I would say take your average werewolf story and add some erotica. The erotica was my favorite part of the story.

I had two major issues with the presentation of this story. The first is the way the story is divided not just into chapters but into numbered sections within those chapters. I heard the numbers one through four so often through the podcast that I had no idea where I was in the story. It would have been better to just leave them out and read straight through. The second thing that made this podcast less enjoyable for me was the sound effects.  Simply put, they were too much and too loud.

I think the two negatives cancelled out a lot of good here. I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more otherwise. I’m not a huge fan of werewolf stories but this one was different enough to hold my attention.  It was entertaining enough for me to say give it a listen and see what you think, or, even better, give it a read and then let me know what you think of the story itself.  Shape Shifters is Parrish’s first self published novel (he has been published in many online zines).

Shat was next…

I’m not usually a fan dystopian tales… I read the review on Podiobooks where someone had a tough time with a sodomy scene… I gave this a try anyway knowing that I might be put off by parts of it…

I didn’t make it past the ten minute mark.

This isn’t necessarily a reflection of the writing or the writer…this just wasn’t for me. I’m going to leave it at that. A part of me thinks a ‘real’ reviewer would still have listened to the whole thing and then given their assessment. The fact that I couldn’t do that has a lot to do with why I don’t think I want to do any more reviews.

I did go on to listen to Chicken Pi. Actually, I’m still listening. I have the last two to go at this point. I decided to do the review now because Chicken Pi is an ongoing collection of short stories. I will continue to listen to these and anything else Parrish puts up for our listening enjoyment.

These shorts are categorized as dark, twisted horror. There is truth in advertising here. I still wish he’d tone the sound effects down a bit; they need to sit just under the narration in terms of audio levels for my taste. But aside from that, these are some seriously messed up stories that I have for the most part enjoyed.

On the whole, if you like dark and twisted (and I mean violently and disgustingly at times) you should give Steve Parrish a listen and a read. For me, he’s hit or miss, but that makes sense considering my preferences. I know many folks who should love his stuff. At the very least, give him a try.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2012 in Book and Podcast Reviews

 

Sign The Petition

There is a documentary called “Bully” that should be shown to every kid in high school in the US. Personally, I think it should be shown to every kid over the age of 10. Regardless, as it stands right now, this film can’t be shown in any schools because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave this film an R rating because of strong language. The very same language used by kids is what could keep them from seeing this film.

Please sign this petition asking the MPAA to change the rating for “Bully” to a PG-13 one so that it can be shown in schools where hopefully of can do some good.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in My Writing

 

73 Sommer Marsden

Even When It Hurts

To me creativity–by its nature–is a self soothing activity. Or the flip side—a self reward. Our creativity is what carries us through, or often up and out of, hard times in our lives. It can be the emotional equivalent of a life vest once you’ve been thrown overboard into an angry sea.

Sounds pretty dramatic, yes? Well, that’s the point. Creativity taps into everything that’s going on with the artist at any given time. Joy, sadness, hardship, celebration, love, hate and everything in between. Our creativity is steeped in the emotions of our current life experience.

So it seems odd that I’d say a book called Angry Sex was my emotional lifeline for a few rough months. Or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it’s a true statement.

My character blossomed out of my own real life experience from the end of last year. Writing the book was my saving grace from an emotional state of near rage. A lot of anger. A ton of sadness. And worst for me, a feeling of frustration and ineptitude that was humbling. I wrote that book to keep from hurting. And sometimes I wrote that book despite the fact that the writing hurt me. That was fine by me. It kept the bigness of my fear and worry contained. It put it in a box when I needed it most. And it gave me a place to run when the problem felt too large.

Sounds like a lot of stuff behind a single book about basically using sex as therapy. But there were things in my life that were not happening *to* me, but a person I love more than myself, to be honest. My feelings of frustration and pure unadulterated anger were overwhelming.

So I wrote the book. My anger became the impetus for my creativity and on the flip side, my creativity became my solace during a rough period. Which is how it should be, at least in my humble opinion.

Who we are colors, shades and shapes our work and if you look close enough you will see veins of me in everything I write. Because I’m in the marrow of my work and it in me. Even when it hurts.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

On Publishing and Being Published

One of the cool things about having a blog or website is that by default you become a publisher.  I’m certainly not one of the big 6, hell, I’m not one of the big 6,000,000. Still, I publish my own and other’s words for all the world to read. So, maybe I shouldn’t be so thrilled when someone else asks to publish my words. After all, it’s something I already do almost every day.

Still, it is a huge thrill to have someone say that they like your work. That something in your words meant something to them. I’ve starting thinking about publishing my words in a slightly more traditional format; as a book. Granted, I’m only aiming for an ebook initially. I think. Plans are just beginning to take shape and I have a lot of work to do to pull it all together; but it’s a start.

Two years ago I wrote my first poems since college (twenty-two years for anyone who is counting). I had no idea when those first smutty haikus came tumbling out of my head that I would continue to write poems. Yet, there have been days where I’ve written over twenty of the little buggers; and scarcely a day has passed without at least one being born. Two years ago if you had suggested to me that someone would ask to publish anything I had ever written or that maybe in a few years I’d publish a volume of poetry I would have thought you were nuts.

I’ve done a little voice work reading other peoples’ words. So, when Jack Hosley of Wander Radio approached me about publishing a few of my poems on his podcast it was even more special because he asked me to record them. I hadn’t recorded anything in months so to get the mic back out was one thing; to record my own work was a whole new kind of wonderful. I’ve never read my poems aloud to anyone before and found they seemed to have more meaning when I did.  Now, I read them all out loud.

So, thank you, Jack for inadvertantly teaching me that I need to read them out loud, and for being so generous in having me on your show.

You can listen to the episode here:

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in My Writing

 

Writer’s Lament

By Daniel José Older

edits
changes
writing queries
synopsessessess
more edits
new paragraphs
old paragraphs
margins
indentations
grammar
syntax
flow
edits
shit

*head explodes*

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Guest Poems

 

How Do You Measure?

By Arlene Radasky

March 11, 2012

She bubbles with enthusiasm and love of life,
Her smile is infectious and laughs come often.
She radiates warmth and invites in friends,
While inside she carries her fears tucked tight.

Her family begins to circle around her
Her husband understands that time is precious
Her son, daughter in law and two grandchildren
Know that she is their trembling rock.

So many years ago, the horrible diagnosis
Breast cancer were the words she heard
Cut and sewn back together to get it out
Radiation and chemo on board to kill it all.

All was well as life ensued
Then almost two decades later it’s back.
And now she is expected to understand why
While she fights again, for time.

Chemo on board again was working
Created a time with side effects and stress.
But also gave time to enjoy more of life
With all those she loves.

Now there is a need for harsher drugs
The side effects are disabling.
Nausea, aches and loss of hair
All distant memories of a time thought past.

We come to her, surround her with love.
We, her friends who have walked with her for years.
We supplement her family and dog
And love her just as much.

Two of us spoke up when we heard,
Two of us took her hand and said
If she loses her hair we would too,
Although all love her the same.

In a few days I will sit in a chair
Nothing like the one she sits in, attached to a drip line.
My hair will be shaved off in support
Hers will fall on her shoulders because of the drugs.

Three of us will learn to wrap scarves
Three of us will look for sequined caps
Three of us will laugh at bumps on our heads
But two of us volunteered.

This is not about me
Or what I will look like for a short time.
But my love for a friend is what I am explaining,
The reason for my very short hair.

How do you measure love?
You are not required to cut your hair.
You measure by not turning away, and being right there
When she needs to talk, a shoulder to lean on.

We all will be there, her family circle
And her circle of very close friends.
We will be there when we are needed
Because she would do the same for us.

That is the measure of love.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Guest Poems

 

72 J.R. Murdock

Creativity sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It’ll happen when you’re looking at the most mundane item, like a pile of mashed potatoes. You’ll start with scooping out the middle to make a hole to pour in the gravy. You’ll fill in that hole and watch as it overflows with lumpy brown gravy. You’ll imagine the hundreds or corn citizens that will be marched up that gravy volcano to sacrifice themselves to the potato gods. You’ll start to ask yourself questions like “I wonder who the are?” and “I wonder what they would do it this was really happening to them?”

As a writer, you can’t be afraid to allow your mind to wander into places where others fear to tread. You can’t be afraid to ask questions others would be scared or embarrassed to ask. You need to be the one to ask “What if” and to allow your mind to fill in the answer for you. Once you’ve allowed your mind to be open to new possibilities it will take you anywhere you can dream.

Let’s go back to those potatoes for a minute. What happens when you start to eat them? Those lumps in the potatoes, what are those? And the lumps in the gravy? If you’re a god eating a volcano, why are you eating that volcano? Are you seeking revenge on someone who wronged you or are you just a bored god that feels the need to punish his corn subjects?

Perhaps it’s not even your plate of food that draws in your attention, but as you’re lying on the couch just starting at the ceiling tiles, or that popcorn stuff. You start by counting them, but soon your eyes go in and out of focus. You’ll see shapes appear and you’ll imagine those shapes starting a war on your ceiling. Who is on which side? Which side is good and which is bad? Why is one side good and one side bad? You’re staring at a white ceiling, fill in the colors. What does the banner or flag for each side look like? How many are on either side. What sort of weapons do they have? Are they even human or something completely different?

For me, creativity is what happens inside my brain when I’m not thinking about it. It’s allowing my mind to just wander and ask questions of where it’s going or where it’s been. Writing isn’t about creativity, it’s about demanding answers from your brain as to where it’s been and then giving the characters found there a life to live beyond your imagination.

Take some time to let your eyes go out of focus while staring at your plate of food, your ceiling, the pattern on that painting, the stitching in your favorite shirt, that pile of rocks, that stand of trees. Don’t allow your brain to limit where you can draw creativity from and it’ll sneak up on you when you least expect it. You’ll be happy it did.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Creativity Guest Posts