Category Archives: Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast

April goals: No covering myself with glory (#SFWApro)

Goals accomplished: 45 percent. My lowest so far this year. Even given I spent a week sick, I should have done better.

Part of the problem was that I still had the last of my Leaf work to wrap up, which took a lot of time. And then I compensated by focusing heavily on Southern Discomfort, which meant lesser stuff — marketing, short stories — didn’t get done. I’d have caught up (maybe) last week, but the sick thing kicked in. Likewise lots of little things — exercise, for instance — got lost here and there in the rush.

I did get 25,000 words written on Southern Discomfort, which is great, and I finally saw Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast out in hardback. Plus my Screen Rant columns were all turned in.

May will suffer from having very little time this first week of May. I got back Monday from visiting friends (details in this afternoon’s post), I’m taking today off (details later), and I had multiple appointments and errands during the three work days. But I think I’ve calibrated tasks to time available effectively. Or so I hope.

For your entertainment, I’ll conclude with a cover by Richard Courtney (all rights retained by current holder). Michael Moorcock novels often promote imaginative covers though I’ve seen wilder ones.

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Filed under Personal, Screen Rant, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals

Why I write what I write about Bond (#SFWApro)

So with the hard copy of Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast available via Createspace or its parent company Amazon, I began thinking this week about the different ways to write movie books (photo is mine, book cover is mine, all rights to Bond image remain with current holder).

All five of my books focus on story first, then acting. Sex for Dinner, for example, looks at the plot of each film, it’s strengths and weaknesses; how it was influenced by then-current pop culture trends (Blacksploitation films, space race, Star Wars) and political developments (such as the rise and fall of the Cold War). Plus how it fits into the series, establishing elements of the formula or breaking away from them.

That works for me, because story is what I care about most (well, tied with acting, which the book also discusses). Details of backstage creative decisions and studio interference are interesting to read about (and worth mentioning in my own books if they significantly effect the final product) but I can’t summon up much enthusiasm for researching one. Which annoys some people: one review of Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan objected that the book’s failure to look at the backstage side of things made it a waste of money (I disagree, obviously).

Another is to focus in on the visuals. The excellent book Celluloid Skyline, for instance, looks at the architecture of New York and the ways it influences movies set in the Big Apple The A-V Club had a series for a while looking at visual subtext in movies, and how it indicates themes, or characters’ relationship to each other.

Plus of course there are nuts-and-bolts questions about movie box office or ratings, the reaction from reviewers and so forth.

None of these is The One True Way. And many film books combine parts of these different approaches rather than being all one or the other. For me, what matters is writing something I want to write, and that (hopefully) readers and film buffs will want to read. I assume similar sentiments inspire writers of other books using different approaches.

As a reader I may look for books quite different from mine.

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Filed under Movies, Nonfiction, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast

Inspiring news! (#SFWApro)

So Tuesday I read some of the latest draft of Southern Discomfort to the writing group (Chapter Two, which introduces Maria). The response was enthused.

The people who’d read the previous version said I’d fixed a lot of their criticisms. The people who hadn’t read it liked it. A couple of people said if I finished it and released it now, they’d buy it. That’s very cool. And gives me a big incentive to put in the hours and get this done at last.

A little intimidating too, of course. If I’ve set that high a standard for the opening, now I want to keep it up the rest of the book. And the scene with Maria is one I’ve worked on extensively, so it’s not surprising it’s in good shape. A lot of the later scenes are going to be new material, and doing that well will be difficult. Then again, everyone liked the second scene in Chapter Two with Sean and Susan (a couple of teenagers. Young, happy, in love and with everything to live for — uh-oh) and that was new. So onward!

Oh, and I’m now well up over 25,000 words, so I feel a little better about all the time I spent recently working on other gigs.

Speaking of which, I had a heavier-than-usual Screen Rant schedule this week. I’d been working on “Super Hero/Super Villain Team-Ups” which was my assigned column for this week. But then one I’d pitched — 15 WTF adaptations of King Arthur, to coincide with an upcoming movie — got bumped on the schedule. I don’t know why they wanted it so early, but I trust they know what will grab eyeballs. And in case you’re wondering here it is. Learn how Merlin became Dr. Strange’s teacher in a 1978 TV movie. The amazing link between Galahad and Superman. How Merlin had his own sitcom. The times MacGyver, the GI Joes and the Thundercats met Merlin or the Lady of the Lake. And the physically impossible sex scene in Excalibur (source of the still below — all rights to image with current holder).

I also completed the CreateSpace process for Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast.It is now available in hard copy via Createspace. Done!

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Filed under Screen Rant, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Another changing tide? (#SFWApro)

But changing in a good way, happily. As King Cnut demonstrated (image borrowed from Medievalists, don’t know artist, all rights reside with current holder) we cannot hold those tides back. Before I get to tidal matters, here’s a quick overview of the week:

•I wrote and submitted my newest Screen Rant, as I mentioned this morning.

•I submitted more articles on the current Leaf project.

•I sent in my first sales tax payment on sales of Philosophy and Fairytales. It was less than a buck so the charge for paying online was actually more than the tax. On the other hand, it is kind of cool that I need to pay sales tax.

•I continue to struggle with fixing up Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. I think I have the problems fixed but I’m ordering a test copy (about $6) just to make sure.

•The best part of the week is that I got back to work on Southern Discomfort. I just promised myself that no matter what, I’d get a thousand words done every day, and I did. I’d like to do more, but it feels wonderful to be moving forward with it.

And that’s the tide part — after swinging so heavily to nonfiction, they’re moving me back to fiction. Okay, technically I moved myself back by conscious effort. So much for the metaphor. But then again, the nonfiction does seem to be slowing down a little. This latest Leaf project will wrap up by the end of next week at the latest. One of those nonfiction projects I talked about at the link just isn’t happening (not the first time I’ve gone through Welcome Aboard! followed by Crickets!). I have another one that may start next week — we’ll see what happens. So that could mean less money (boo!) but more fiction time (yay!). And I have a few potential nonfiction projects, both articles and long-term gigs, to look into next week.

On a non-writing note, I had a frustrating experience making calzones this week. The dough just didn’t work, which I assume is my fault though the recipe did seem off (very little time for the dough to rise). However I made the filling without the calzones and its delicious.  I shall make it again soon.

 

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

A productive week, but …. (#SFWApro)

But almost no work on fiction, as I noted this morning. I’m much more focused working on nonfiction than I used to be, so that’s good, but in April I will have to squeeze in extra fiction time somehow.

So what did I get accomplished?

•Several articles for Legal Beagle, one of Leaf’s (the renamed Demand Media) customers. The pay was good, the work fairly easy — it’s the same style as before so I’m very familiar with it.

•My next Screen Rant column (which will probably come out right after this post goes live darn it) about the amazing quirks of Green Lantern’s ring: the prison world inside it, the reason it doesn’t work on yellow, the time Hal Jordan turned himself into an envelope and the convoluted retcon that led to the end of the Green Lantern Corps. Image by Gil Kane, all rights to current holder.

•I did the paperwork for another web-writing informational article gig, and it was quite a lot of paperwork. So that took up some time.

•And I finally resolved my access problems to CreateSpace. I put a lot of work in getting Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast ready for hard copy; hopefully by next week it’ll pay off and I can announce the book is live (of course it’s already live as an ebook). Contrary to this morning’s post, that’s an extra goal I completed for March, pushing my success rate (along with a couple of minor goals I finished today) to 62 percent, woot!

•I got maybe a chapter done on Southern Discomfort. Total for the month, maybe 15,000 words. Not enough. Next month I will have to improve. I’m tired of taking so long to finish it. I know I can’t pull a nanonano (I’ll still have some nonfiction to get out) but I’ll have to make it work somehow. ‘Nuff said.

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Filed under Comics, Nonfiction, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

There is a tide in the affairs of men, but it isn’t as predictable as real tides (#SFWApro)

So last Friday I mentioned that I had another possible paying gig. It’s a legal news service, providing freelance content to various legal papers around the country, and they liked my first story, so I’m in.

And then Wednesday of this week, my former clients at Demand Media (now Leaf) emailed me with an offer to work on one of their special projects.

And Thursday, someone for another website calls to ask me about doing some articles.

Which is very cool. I like people calling to ask me to do work . But why on Earth now, in particular? It’s something I’ve thought in the past when I suddenly sell two or three short stories in a relatively brief stretch of time: why didn’t it happen say, a year earlier? Or ten? Am I suddenly that much better? Is it all blind chance? Or what?

First world enigmas, I guess.

Of course it’s not like even if all these clients plus Screen Rant provide tons of work (I’ve had clients in the past who liked my stuff but didn’t generate much work) it would let TYG quit her job and live a life of ease. But it still feels good to have money coming in. How will all this work with the fiction I like doing best? Well, we’ll see.

As to actual accomplishments this week, my new Screen Rant column is out: 15 Heroes Who Quit and Never Came Back. This was surprisingly tough to write, as I kept finding characters (the Bronze Age White Tiger, the Patriot, the Earth-2 Batman) who quit for years — oops they got back into harness! Back to searching for someone new. Hellboy is top of the list.

And I got probably ten thousand words done on Southern Discomfort, though I’m unsettled by how much of it was new material (new scenes, radically rewritten old scenes). That means more polishing down the road, which takes more time, which could delay completion even more.

I had hoped to wrap up turning Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast into a hard copy via Createspace, but I ran into some log-in problems. Hopefully I can get it done next week, and then work on that book will be over.

Wish me luck.

(All rights to Hellboy cover remain with current holder)>

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Perfect Balance? (#SFWApro)

Last weekend was surprisingly good.

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I got a lot of little errands done, including buying replacement light bulbs, refilling prescriptions, buying replacement batteries. And I fixed the errors I found in Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. But I also managed to spend a lot of time relaxing, reading and watching movies. I keep trying to organize my weekends to be all laid back, but it often doesn’t work. It actually felt a little weird during the down-time stretches — shouldn’t I be doing something productive? I thought I’d gotten over feeling like that, but it stuck back up on me again.

There will be no week-in-review post today, due to a crazy day ahead. Book and movie review posts for the weekend will proceed as usual.

All rights to Connery-as-Bond image reside with current owner.

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Regaining some balance, losing some face, facing some weather (#SFWApro)

The weather was freaky this week. When I took this photo Wednesday, I was out bicycling in shorts, even though the sky looked ominous (the photo doesn’t capture it as well as I’d hoped). Today I wore a sweater to walk the dogs, and it was cold.  Overall it’s been much warmer than last year, when we had icicles hanging from the bird feeder in late February.

img_1128Now, as to the balance — specifically between fiction and non-fiction as I discussed this morning. I didn’t really get the balance right this week, but I can see it improving. The tractor article is done. Screen Rant articles (I finished another this week though it’s not up yet) are getting easier as I stop fretting about their requirements and just write. I passed my trial period so now I can select images directly from SR’s library. It’s much simpler, to my surprise, than emailing the editors with a list of what I want.

I devoted today to finishing the Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast index, and I’m very glad I did. As with Now and Then We Time Travel indexing turned up eight or nine errors, several quite substantial. If I go this way for another nonfiction book (and I’m thinking about it for Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book), I’ll definitely index before publication. I feel really, really embarrassed to have released something inaccurate, hence the losing-face reference in the post title. I guess it shows why so many self-published writers recommend hiring an editor … but then again, the issue isn’t style or spelling but facts. So would it have helped? At least I did find them — I’m in the process of getting the ebook changed now (and pulled it from my sidebar and Nonfiction By Me pages until it is). Meanwhile I’ll add the index to my text to create a second PDF and see if the pagination is accurate. If it is, I submit to create space to get hard copies. If not, I submit without an index — I’ve had requests for hard copy and I’d like one myself.

And that was pretty much my week. It would have been more productive if I hadn’t forgotten most of the photoshopping techniques for Screen Rant that I’d figured out last week. I did get some more work done on Southern Discomforts but not as much as I’d wanted. Hopefully that will change as we move forward in March.

Have a great weekend. For the record, while the weather is cold today, the sky is much more inviting than these photos (art by me, please credit should you choose to use).

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Regaining my rhythm (#SFWApro)

I finished another Screen Rant this week (I’ll let y’all know when it goes live, of course), and it’s getting both easier and faster. That’s a good thing, as I’d like to keep doing them. And because it was easier and faster, I got more other stuff done.

800px-farmall_tractor_pulling_a_combine_harvester_queensland_1950_5682298084-1•I finished my History article on tractors (illustration via Wikimedia Commons found here). I’ll format it (as I’ve said before, I don’t trust Apple Pages to do it right), proof all the dates and names and send it out Monday.

•I got several thousand more words done on Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book. Though I think the chapter I finished today is less well-structured than the first three.

•I got a little bit of work done on indexing Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, though not as much as I’d hoped. But indexing goes much faster with a book that’s so much smaller.

•And I finally got back to work on Southern Discomfort. The plot for the final section is still unpleasantly vague, but I decided to start rewriting anyway. I got in about 4,000 words.

•Plus I spent a great deal of time sorting receipts and tax paperwork and assembling forms. Because lets face it, it has to be done.

And that’s that.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

I rode myself hard and hung myself up—wait, does that sound right? (#SFWApro)

It was a week that did not go as I planned.

I submitted my first Screen Rant article, and then my second, but they both took way longer than wanted. And that required really pushing myself, hence the title. I need to trim the time down, and I need to relax and have more fun with the writing too. I love comics, which makes it easy; I’m working under a tight deadline and specific format requirements which makes me veer serious. I did better with the second one though (I’ll post a link when it’s up), so hopefully next week will be better yet.

I have my History article on tractors 80 percent done, and I should be able to get it out next week. So yay!

And I started indexing Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast for a Createspace edition. If I’m going to go hard-copy, it should have an index. Annoyingly, I found one minor error in the intro, so I have to correct the ebook too. I’ll wait to see if I find any more — indexing is good for that.

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But I got almost no fiction written, which is not yay. That’s happened before and not that long ago — back last year when I was wrapping up Now and Then We Time Travel, for instance. However, I don’t want to be doing that now, if I can help it. I enjoy nonfiction (obviously. I’ve written enough of it), but fiction is the reason I write. And I do want to get two more drafts of Southern Discomfort in this year. So like I said, I’d better get more efficient.

I am pleased that despite the rush to finish up Screen Rant #2, I made time for essential stuff like exercise, and making sourdough bread while the dogs were in doggy day-care on Thursday. It’s important not to let even demanding deadlines roll over normal life, if I can possibly help this (and if I want to do Screen Rant regularly, I have to help it). I was sufficiently rushed I forgot adding the salt to the dough (sourdough buckwheat bread) but that’s easy to fix with a little salt sprinkled on each slice. It’s an easy mistake — I’ve done it before when I was rushed.

I’ll close with a shot of some dead leaves I took this week. It symbolizes … well, whatever you want. Free symbol! Please credit me if you want to use it.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Now and Then We Time Travel, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing