Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 16, 2009 -- 11:20 p.m.

Science fiction author charged with assaulting a U.S. officer at Canadian border.

Rallies sci-fi community to pay for legal funds.

(He rescues kitty cats on the side.)

With the holidays coming up, I'm too busy to post at the moment. Soon, though. I'll try to get in a couple next week.

12 Days of Christmas

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 12, 2009 -- 5:46 p.m.

On the twelve days of Christmas, my true love gave to me...


(Zombie daily Christmas Cards located here.)

Some fall a little flat, some of them are pretty good.

I'm actually not that big a fan of zombies in general, except for this one horror movie I saw once where zombie veterans came back from their grave to vote anti-war and kill an Ann Coulter lookalike.

But I do like zombie jokes. I'm mystified by their popularity, though.

Speaking of Ann Coulter ripoffs, I'm annoyed that Glenn Beck is not only a Fox commentator but also a spokesman for a commercial gold website. As a journalist, I always think it's bad when someone sells out their integrity. While I'm admittedly not a Beck fan in the first place, I think it's a violation of ethics to try to present yourself as an arbitrator of truth and then trade on that reputation to sell products. And I'm left wondering--why? Given his best-sellerlyness and his steady job, does he really need more money?

In short, if one of my reporters did that, I would be VERY cross with them.


Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 10, 2009 -- 3:41 a.m.

Golly gee, I'm sick again. Which is amazing since I've been a hermit this past week. Germs somehow invaded my fortress of solitude.

Good thing Legend of the Seeker is here to entertain me. Richard Rahl/Cypher actor Craig Horner has grown a beard. But had he grown THE BEARD?

When I see him, I have the urge to shout "GET A HAIRCUT, YOU HIPPEE!!!"

While I'll grant that Legend of the Seeker has its quality issues, there's so much quality camp ("Or you'll feel the wrath of my sword!") that how can you NOT love it? (Speaking of camp, hulu also has some MST3K up and the Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas. Because is there anything extendable legs can't solve? No? I thought so). I'm happy to see they're keeping around the main villain from season one, because despite a general aura of villanous stupidity, he does entertain me. I wish he'd camp it up more. At least he hasn't worn his "wizard's wifebeater" this season.

I haven't read anything of Goodkind's but the Wizard's First Rule, mostly because--I don't like Ayn Rand. The ironic thing is, the whole premise of Legend of the Seeker, which is about going around and saving weak and helpless people seems somewhat contradictory to the Ayn Rand's ideas... But I'm not an expect.

But Legend of the Seeker is not only a philosophical masterpiece (teehee), it is also an educational tool. So, without further ado...


25) Any problem can be solved with a sufficiently big magic sword.
24) Dharken Rahl looks pretty good naked.
23) Skirts are absolutely no hindrance in a battle.
22) Wizards can cut holes in walls when it comes to letting prisoners escape, but they can't cut their way into evil fortresses.
21) You cannot be slightly evil. You have to either be a) misunderstood b) an axe-wielding maniac or c) a lovable thief.
20) Swords are for slashing, never stabbing. And enemies will always fall down with dramatic death cries, even though there are no visible wounds.
19) Always wear your corset laced up as tightly as possible, even while sleeping.
18) All farmer/ranger types can instantly pick up swordplay and then go on to beat any trained, armored swordsman.
17) A white dress will never get dirty, even if you're beaten and thrown in prison.
16) Your power is directly proportional to the power the plot requires. (IE, the Power-ups and abilities you gained last episode will never be useful again. And the guy who beat you at the beginning of the episode will not be able to manage to do so at the end of the episode...even though no change has been made except for the hero learning a moral.)
15) Real men never use hand gestures.
14) Hair will mysteriously get longer if you braid it and pile it on top of your head.
13) An explosion must always be accompanied by a hero leaping away and screaming.
12) All magical keys, potions, puzzles, etc. will be designed to be ridiculously difficult and often require trips to several different villages, no matter what the end result actually is.
11) If you have important information that the hero must know, write it down, because chances are, when you try to tell it to them you'll be killed mid-sentence.
10) Hot peasant women will always have access to great tailors. And their massive cleavage will never get in the way of their farming, ie, pop out while they're hoeing potatoes.
9) There are two sides in any argument, of which one of them will always be wrong. Unless they're both wrong. 'Gray area' is another word for 'pussy.'
8) When in doubt, get on something high and leap off screaming. This always works.
7) Even if someone's made a HUGE, TERRIBLE mistake, their spouse and friends will always forgive them completely within an hour-long span of time.
6) Good guys important to the plot never die. If they do, a woman dressed in the tight red leather will climb on top of them and give them mouth to mouth. Which is, of course, an enticement to suicide.
5) Cheaters never prosper. Unless they're lovable side characters who actually have hearts of gold. (Sorry blond dude, but you're no Bruce Campbell)
4) Hell is actually a naked gay orgy.
3) Don't ignore prophecy because it will come back and bite you in the ass.
2) Peasants are always happy unless they're currently being molested by tyrants or monsters.
1) Yes, the slit in Kahlan's skirt CAN go higher.

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 9, 2009 -- 1:28 a.m.

Joshua Bilmes did a kind of Borders vs. Barnes and Noble business analysis on his blog, which I find kind of interesting. When I was younger, I dreamed of owning my own bookstore, so seeing a window into that process fascinates me.

If you haven't heard the news, Borders UK just went under, which worries me because it may portend bad things for Borders USA--though they say that the UK collapse won't effect the U.S. branch, which its hard to tell if they're just reassuring shareholders or if that's really true. I try to support independent local bookstores whenever I can, because while I have nothing against B&N and Borders personally, I have fond memories of curling up in my favorite low-lit, dusty bookstores, petting the cat dangling off some shelf as I walk by. To keep those sort of places in business, I'm willing to pay a little more.

Sherman Alexie did an interesting interview on the Colbert report to that effect saying that he refuses to have his books published on the Kindle because e-books can put independent local bookstores out of business, which I hadn't really thought about before. I'd thought about e-books changing the nature of publishing, but not the nature of bookselling. Which is, I suppose, why I'm a fantasy author instead of a science fiction author--sometimes the ramifications of new technology escape me.

Whether I personally buy local or not, I'm still glad that Borders appears to be improving its situation financially because I don't like the monopoly of power that I've heard B&N has developed re: book covers, titles and other publisher decisions. It's amazing how large of an effect one of their deciders has. While a B&N stocking choice won't always make or break a book, it makes a very large difference in an author's career, which is why a lot of publishers bend over backward to accommodate them. I read on an author's blog how disappointed he was when he heard B&N would not be carrying his books. A blow like that is heavy, while having Sam & Mary's bookstore in Puducka, Connecticut not carry your stuff is a lot less harsh.

I'm not being negative against B&N--they're a good store, a good business, and I hope they thrive and make billions of dollars with the Nook, but I just like to see that kind of power shared instead of concentrated.


Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 8, 2009 -- 11:01 a.m.


I think finishing the first revision/second draft of one's novel is cause for excessive exclamation marks.

I'll be going over some of the trouble spots with a fine tooth comb for the rest of the week. Then my beta readers will be getting a little Godsplay Christmas present in your inbox...


543 pages
133,500 words by the "every page = 250 words" measurement
12o,500 words by MS word count
Some 570,070 characters (making...about 4.7 letters per word)
Plus some 117,210 spaces
13,157 lines
and 3,674 paragraphs.

And to think I almost spent the night playing World of Warcraft :)

If You Were a Tree...

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 8, 2009 -- 12:09 a.m.

So much for me not posting anything...I must be trying to avoid writing!

My goal is to finish Godsplay by Saturday because Dave's doing a signing in Provo and it would be nice to go to him and say: 'Yahoo! I'm done!' Literally, yahoo. Said in as monotone voice as I can manage.

In the mean time, go read Patrick Rothfuss' interview with Campbell Award Nominee Joe Abercrombie, in which he asks one of the most important questions a writer can be asked: if you were a tree, what kind would you be?

(His answer? Oak. My answer: Coconut. Because I think coconuts are funny.)

Speaking of funny words, I have discovered the root of all comedy. Llamas.

The more serious the sentence, the more people will laugh. I'm trying to sell my uncle's llama. Whenever I tell people that, they laugh so hard that they almost start crying. The word llama is THAT funny. Of course, I help add my own touch with the words "slightly-used." You can add "slightly-used" to anything and it raises its humor by +5, -5 to save vs. giggling.

Constantly, the heroes in my humorous fantasy I occasionally write ideas down for are going to ride llamas. I hereby patent this idea! Get your hands off of it, comedy-mongers!!!!

More Weird Dreams

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 7, 2009 -- 10:20 p.m.

Listened to Writing Excuses again before going to bed. Which, as we all know, triggers the weirdest dreams...

In this case, I spent most of the time watching my grandfather run over suicide bombers who jumped on the road, mowing them all down with his truck. It didn't make a lot of sense, but at least I got to eat Tikka Masala after we went to a banquet thrown in the terrorists' honor (with Indian food?).

Anyway, there I met Brandon Sanderson, who was holding a book signing in a treehouse. Which he should totally do because IT WOULD BE AWESOME. I climbed up there and managed to convince him to read the first five pages of my novel, only I couldn't find my new drafts. I think I ended up re-writing the first five pages from scratch.

When I came down from my hotel room the next morning, Sanderson was literally furious, sweat pouring down his face, pacing back and forth, stomping around. He told me I should never show this to anyone again because it was so horrible, the worst thing ever written in a variety of ways, and I was punishing people by forcing them to read it. THEN he accused me of breaking into his office and plagiarizing parts of the Towers of Midnight... (because it was horrible if I wrote it, but if he wrote it, it was a masterpiece :) )

I woke up, then. Strangest thing was, I woke up feeling happy despite the soul-shredding critique because I'm like "Brandon Sanderson read my work! Awesome!!!!!"

Poor Brandon. He has to play the weirdest roles in my dreams. When I was a Storm Leader, it was nice because almost all the other Storm Leaders had weird dreams about him/Robert Jordan books too. So I may be strange, but at least I'm not the only one.

Other people dream about movie stars. I dream about fantasy authors. Golly, Virgia, I think I'm a nerd.

New SFF Publisher

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 7, 2009 -- 9:46 p.m.

Local editor and convention favorite Stacy Whitman has decided to start her own publishing house! They're going to focus on multicultural science fiction/fantasy for children/Y.A., which is cool. If they meet their fundraising goals, they're going to open for submissions in January. I hope it goes well for them. The site looks nice.

Whitman is formerly of Mirrorstone, a children's/Y.A. imprint of the Wizards of the Coast.

Brooks Online Chat

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 7, 2009 -- 10:35 a.m.

I'll be really busy this week, so don't expect a lot of posts from me. I did want to mention that Terry Brooks is having an online chat tomorrow. Don't miss it if you're a fan!

NaNoWriMo Advice (one month late...)

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 3, 2009 -- 11:20 p.m.

Yay! My alma mater won the PAC 10! The Rose Bowl awaits! Yay!

Strange, how I can sometimes care about such strange things. Why should it matter which group of slump-shouldered men bangs the other ones into oblivion? I don't know any of them, so I have no personal stake in the game, yet I must cheer... I developed a taste for winning at debate tournaments, and somehow that competitive spirit can transfer to strange things.


Of course, I probably should have done this post during NaNoWriMo, but who says you can't use the advice throughout the year?

The write or die app by the appropriately named Dr. Wicked will do annoying things to you if you stop writing and don't fulfill your word count modes. I haven't tried it, but I love their slogan-- "putting the prod back in productivity."

Inkwell offers humorous advisory twitters helping NaNoWriMo writers pad their word counts from famous authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephanie Meyer and Anne Frank. ("Avoid distractions! When I wrote my book, I locked myself in the attic & refused to let any1 in.")

Finally, the NaNoWriMo site asks the proverbial question: "I wrote a Novel, Now What?" You can find the answers here.

It includes snippets of advice from people about revising, including a Scott Westerfield quote that compares meaningful evisceration of a novel vs. the shallow easy changes, which he calls "rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg."

I had no clue that "Water for Elephants" was a NaNoWriMo book! Wow! You can bet the revision/research took longer than a month, though...

My car's been working smoothly since I got it fixed and the demons were exorcised from my laptop. All it took was a little sprinkling of holy water. Huzzah!

New Cover for Dragon Reborn

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 2, 2009 -- 6:33 p.m.

I know most didn't like the cover for Dragon Reborn because of the costumes, but I liked that one better than this one. I'm just not digging the new eBook cover. Too...conflictless. Pastoral. Dull. Although pretty. Good artist, good artwork, just not my cup of tea. Though I like the fact that Rand looks like he's about to hurl his flute at Min's head, or something.

Patrick Rothfuss' Worldbuilders'

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 1, 2009 -- 5:04 p.m.

Patrick Rothfuss is having his annual "Worldbuilders"donate-a-thon (or as I prefer to think of it, 'Heiferfest', where he's selling books and collectors' items such as first-edition copies of Name of the Wind. All proceeds go to the Heifer International, which provides chickens and ducks and things like that to starving people in depressed countries. They're renewable food resources that last, ala 'the give a man a fish' vs. 'teach a man to fish.' (I get the parable, but I've always wondered--why not both!) I will probably donate to get his guide of college newspaper columns. Since the conservative media put us both through a certain hullabullu after we published perhaps less than judicious comments given the heat of the moment, (ah, the love. The death threats. The Drudge Report) so I feel we have a special bond.

I haven't decided whether or not or should request that my old college newspaper should take my newspaper columns down if and when I get the call from a publisher. Well, any news is good news, right? Even if I get hassled for things I may or may no longer believe.

Anyway, Heifer Internatioanl is a great cause. This is my favorite kind of fundraiser, feel good and get cool swag, including a lot of great stuff you can win, lottery style. Last year, Pat was offering 100 percent matching funds, but this year he's only doing 50 percent, which is probably just as well. I was amazed he didn't bankrupt himself.

Later in the month they'll be doing auctions of things such as "agent X will read your manuscript." Rothfuss' agent is Matt Bialer, who has one of the best slates of sf/f clientele in the nation, so if he participates in the auction, it would be a great opportunity for an aspiring novelist.

I'd donate some books for the lottery, but I wouldn't want any poor sucker stuck with my semi-finished manuscript to feel cheated. Though it would probably be worth thousands once I'm a best-selling author (rolls eyes incredulously).

Speaking of semi-finished manuscript, the whips have come out! I'm working on it again and things are going semi-smoothly. It really helps that I have a skeleton to base things on, no matter how flawed. One way or another, this thing will be done by Christmas. Which means that I managed to write and revise the novel in what, seven months? Not quite Brandon Sanderson speed, but not bad, either. Hopefully, once it's done, I'll be able to find some better real life employment, too.

PS: Rothfuss' blog is quite entertaining, and there aren't that many posts, so you can read it from the beginning in a couple of days if you want to. There are some interesting insights into the industry, such as I never thought how hard a translator's job is, catching all the subtleties and changing the language!

Legal News

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

December 1, 2009 -- 4:42 p.m.

Real life friend of author sues her for libeling her in her fictional book and wins.

I haven't red the "Red Hat Club" book, but apparently one of the characters in it was based on a real-life person, but twisted to become an alcoholic, promiscuous person. And the person who it was based upon took offense. She recognized the incidents in her life and sued, claiming defamation.

I'm a little surprised she won, but she did, which is a reminder to all writers that--whether you like this verdict or not--it's important to disguise your characters really well. If you borrow from a friend's life, change the incident enough and mix in enough different character traits that nobody will ever know.

Obviously there's something going on behind the scenes between the plaintiff and the defendant that made it so the plaintiff couldn't just laugh it off, so I think there must be more to the story in this case. I covered the court beat as a reporter for 1.5 years, and I would have enjoyed covering this one.