Tag Archives: writing

It’s almost Star Wars time again!

It’s almost Star Wars time again!

I read an article earlier that quoted J.J. Abrams as saying that Rian Johnson “Didn’t really derail,” the star wars trilogy with the last jedi. Of course all the fanboys went crazy in the comment section about how Luke had changed and how Rey is a mary sue and all the SJW crap blah blah blah. All those dumb issues aside, the story was just badly told. 


1. “Their ship is smaller and faster so we can’t catch them but they also can’t get away from us either.” WHAT? I’m sorry what did you just say? I’d have instantly murdered a first officer that said that to me if I was Kylo. what kind of nonsense is that? If we can’t catch them then they can get away, go throw yourself out an airlock. Which brings me to my second point.


2. Leia gets sucked out into the void of space, the force kicks in and she miraculously flies back to the ruined bridge and pounds on the door to let everyone know that shes survived. the scene cuts there and shes safe in the medical bay. HOW, how did you get her inside? if the door opens to the vacuum of space long enough to get her in then anyone on the other side of it is also going to get sucked out and NOT have the force to save them. Now there are ways to explain this and I actually just thought of one as I was writing this. but instead of explaining it in any way shape or form, Rian instead gives us a 45 minute slow speed chase through outer space because somehow you can be too slow AND too fast all at the same time! 


3. In the opening scene, bombers fly in and drop bombs on the imperial ships. Now I get that he was probably ordered to come up with a new type of ship and had to work it into the story but for fucks sake can you at least please try and come up with some plausible way that bombs FALL in zero gravity instead of just saying “Oh its just a fantasy story.” Oh, and while you’re at it, maybe not show us a bombardier earlier in the scene covered head to toe in protective gear to keep him safe from the rigors of being exposed to open space followed by then showing us the pretty sister heroically doing her job with no protective gear while she stands over an open bomb bay door that leads to nothing but the cold empty void of space so that she can somehow get the bombs to FALL IN ZERO GRAVITY at the exact perfect second that they needed to.


These are just the top three issues I have with the storytelling of this movie. I can easily think of three more off the top of my head that have nothing to do with character development or any of the agendas they may or may not have been pushing. 
I really enjoyed the homage that JJ abrams paid to the original trilogy in the force awakens and I was really looking forward to some original shit from the last jedi. I can understand wanting to tell a unique story but throwing out logic and simple physics doesn’t make for good storytelling it makes you look stubborn and ridiculous. I definitely don’t think I’m the best writer in the world, but I know for a fact that if someone was paying me that much money to write a movie, I sure as fuck wouldn’t turn that illogical piece of shit in. END RANT.

Have a great weekend all!

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Winter

Winter

Thankfully, the end of winter is coming somewhat soon. There were no dragons or white walkers. That shouldn’t have made me sad to type, but it did. On that note, it does mean that the new, and last, season of Game of Thrones is just around the corner as well, which will be fun… hopefully. It hasn’t been a particularly difficult winter here. I am aware that could change at any moment, and now probably will, since I’ve said this. Bad or good, I don’t do particularly well during the winter, I never have. My whole being seems to want to go into hibernation in like the middle of November until it starts to get warm again (like I’m sure many people do). I won’t go so far as to say I have seasonal affective disorder (I might, but I also might not). I just don’t like winter.

It’s getting better though, the last two winters have been amazing compared to almost all my previous winters. I noticed that the better I feel, in general, the easier it is to handle the lower energy and general crappieness of gray, dismal, cold days, where it gets dark by 4 PM. I am, by no means saying I’m super healthy or energetic these last couple months, just better than I have been for the past 30 years or so. Back then, I used to just stay inside as much as possible and felt horrible whether it was because my back had seized up from the cold damp weather or my knee wouldn’t work and I worried constantly about falling on the ice and breaking something, anything, or just because it was shitty out and mentally I didn’t want to deal with it.

There is a point to all of this rambling, kind of. I was scrolling through Facebook earlier today and I saw that one of my friends was a bit annoyed that they had a list of things they had wanted to get accomplished this week but hadn’t gotten through it because the weather was crappy and they just didn’t have the motivation to finish the list. To their credit, they had accomplished some of it, which is more than I can say that I would have gotten done a few years ago. Anyway. they were disappointed but soldiered on. In the comment section below the post, a bunch of their friends had chimed in about how they too were having trouble staying motivated after a long few months of winter.

I’m sure there are people out there that aren’t adversely affected by the long winter months in some way or another, but I’m betting they’re far fewer than those that are. A lot of the time though it feels like it’s just us. like we’re failing somehow and everyone else is doing just great. They’re not. It was nice to see the comments on my friends post today, that so many had agreed and almost all had positive comments or helpful advice to keep pushing ahead and words of encouragement.

Which brings me to the point. In case you’re reading this and feeling the way I was talking about above. You’re not alone. A ton of people hate the long dark months. We’re almost to the other side. It’s already light out at 5 pm instead of 4. The winter is almost over and we’re all going to be feeling much better once the spring kicks in fully. Just hang in there, you’ve made it this far.

I’ve been trying to find the motivation to finish the third Strand book. I didn’t find it this week. I did manage to do almost everything on my list, which feels really good, but I purposely didn’t add writing new material for the book on the list because, well , I’m a realist. Updating my page here was on the list and it took me until Sunday night to do it, but it is done (or will be soon)! In the end, I made the list, I got done what I could and I’ll keep trying next week as well. It’s all progress and eventually, if you keep working at it, you’ll finish the list, or the project or the goal… just always keep pushing.

Don

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A little art history

A little art history

This is The Veiled Virgin by Giovanni Strazza, sculpted sometime in the 1850’s out of Carrara marble. I saw this amazing masterpiece for the first time ever today when I was perusing facebook. I’ve taken many art history courses over the years and am still baffled at how I have never come across this piece before.

I find it fascinating and a bit amazing that someone can create this level of detail and gossamer transparency from such a hard and unforgiving canvas such as stone. Sculpting stone is one of the only art forms I haven’t dabbled in. I would love to give it a try some day and hopefully, I’ll get the chance. The amount of planning, time and care that goes into something like this must be astronomical, I would think.

As much as I find the piece stunning, it makes me also think about the man that created it. I can’t look at this piece and not think that Giovanni Strazza must have been a bit of a perfectionist. The level of patience and mastery of craft to create something like The Veiled Virgin goes beyond what most would consider the norm.

As much as it makes me want to delve deeper into sculpting techniques and equipment, it also inspires me to work on better mastering my chosen craft. Maybe someday, I can write something that gives someone the same feeling I get when I look at a sculpture as beautiful as The Veiled Virgin.

Back to work with me,

Don

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Arisia 2019

Arisia 2019

So this years trip to the Arisia sci-fi convention at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston is complete and I’m actually very happy with it. I would have liked to have been there on Friday but scheduling and weather made that a not very logical thing to do. I enjoyed the two days that I was able to attend and as always I ended up spending too much money.

On Saturday I got to have dinner with a dear friend and then watch them perform in Dr. Horrible and the Buffy musical episode. I also got to catch up with a lot of old cast mates that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with and take in a panel on writing war. I tried to get a nap after that but that didn’t work so I stayed up until 7 am and drove home to take care of the shoveling and snow blowing before everything froze solid for the rest of the weekend.

I then went back to the hotel to try and get some sleep and think I succeeded for an hour or two. After giving up and grabbing some lunch I took in the dealers room and artist alley to poke around a bit. Before I knew it it was time to head to my panel on writing good villains, so I grabbed an iced coffee and headed up to the fourth floor.

While I waited I took in an impromptu hallway panel on the business of writing and got a couple business cards for editors (oh yeah I need to check into that). I ran into another panel member in the hall and we chatted about our favorite and least favorite villains. We Both have Hans Gruber at the top of our lists.

Oh, I forgot to mention Alex. I met her in the elevator on my way downstairs and she asked if the AFC championship game had started, probably because I was wearing a patriots jersey and hat. I told her it was just starting so there was no score. A little later, I ran into her at the Starbucks and told her the score was 14-0. She thanked me as we passed and we went our separate ways. I then saw her again in the hallway before my panel and updated her again to the 14-7 score. I actually got a chuckle out of the fact that she ended up in my panel and listened to me ramble about bad guys for an hour and fifteen minutes instead of watching a very good game.

At the end of what I thought was a very successful and entertaining panel, it was at least entertaining to me, Alex came up and practically yelled that the patriots were down by four with under two minutes left in the game. Enter Eleanor, she had attended the panel as well and took a great interest in the score of the game when Alex told me at the end of the panel. Together we decided to get down to the hotel lobby as fast as we could since one minute in a championship game would surely last at least ten actual minutes.

We had originally tried to grab an elevator down but after seeing how crowded the area was we decided to take the stairs. I’m not sure how it looked to the outside world but it felt very much like one of the chase scenes out of the old Scooby-Doo cartoons. We tried the mezzanine floor but couldn’t see any of the screens before getting down into the lobby and barging through the hotel restaurant as quickly as we could until we finally parked ourselves in front of the bar .

At the end of regulation we decided to chew our nails in anxiety at a table that someone had vacated. We ordered a couple drinks and cheered with the other patrons as the Patriots beat the Chiefs to move onto the the Superbowl. We ordered another round and chatted, occasionally stopping mid conversation to remind each other that we made it again to the Superbowl.

After a bit, Alex had to drive home and Eleanor had to head back to her room to sleep because she had an early morning. I stepped outside for a smoke and ended up having a great conversation with a homeless guy who told me that I needed to put myself out there more to get more exposure for my books. I do hope he found a warm place to sleep that night. I finally ended up getting a couple hours sleep before checking out around 8 am and heading home.

I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked at this Arisia, but I did get more than usual and got a much better feel for how to work it next year, if I get any panels. I had a lot of fun on what me and the other panelists seem to think was a great panel. I met some great new people that I hope to actually keep in touch with and got to watch the end of an incredible game. The best part of that was the adventure we had getting to it and watching it even though the game itself was pretty kick ass. Oh, and I managed to not break anything this year or half kill my liver. All in all, it seems like a pretty good year at Arisia.

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Movies

Movies

I watch a good amount of movies. I find them to be inspiring in a way good or bad. The good ones make me want to write stories just as good if not better and the bad ones remind me to not be the guy that takes the easy way out and to put in the effort to tell a good story.

I watched two movies tonight that I thought might be similar to sort of compare them. In some ways they were and in others they were very different. The movies I picked were John Wick and Jack Reacher. Both are stories about a lone warrior type with nothing to lose fighting for a righteous cause. In both cases the lead is somehow dragged back into their former life (one an assassin, the other a military type police investigator) and has to do wonderfully violent things to right the wrongs. Oh and in the end they both went back to their life of retirement/seclusion after said wrongs had been righted.

The stories were both solid but JW was much more slick, it was also straightforward and unapologetic in its brutality. JR tried to be more of a mystery thriller/action movie and it was mediocre at best. it was supposed to show us that Jack was a top notch investigator who saw things that no one else could ever piece together but the opening sequence shows me that this guy shoots 5 different people all from the same spot in succession. the first thought that occurred to me was that he shot 4 of them to cover his real target. I’m not saying that I had the whole thing worked out from the jump but it was pretty obvious that it was a frame to me as well and why no one on the police force or the DAs office could see how perfectly set up everything was just seemed odd or lazy to me.

The characters were both fine as well but JW made you care about the lead from the start and you actually like the ex assassin and root for him even though you know hes going to win. JR on the other hand gave us his backstory and some junk about being a recluse to have freedom and thats about it. JW was at its base a love story while JR was attempting to be a thriller but it wasn’t very thrilling. I don’t know if the fact that Jack Reacher character seemed like a pretentious douche because it was Tom Cruise or if its because he was written that way. I think it may have been a bit of both.

In the end I’d like to tell stories more along the line of John Wick and would have tried harder to make Jack Reacher more likable so that you actually give a fuck if he lives or dies. I also would have made it a much more complex mystery. its no fun if you have everything figured out before the end of the first act. Neither movie was awful but definitely watch John Wick first.

 

Don

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its almost spring!

its almost spring!

Oh shit I have my own website! I keep forgetting since no one ever reads it. I’ve been a bit out of commission for the last few weeks since I broke my hand at the Arisia sci fi convention back in January (I got into an altercation with a metal door and lost). I mean I could have typed out something I’m sure but well to be honest I hate winter and things always seem to take so much more effort in the winter so a broken hand was just the thing to keep me from doing anything really productive. It’s all better though, the hand I mean, and spring is almost here so it’s time to start working again. I’ve started plotting out the next strand book and should begin writing soon. oh you didn’t know? yeah the second book has been out for a little bit now and everyone (all three of you that MAY read this) should go and buy it now on Amazon in kindle format or paperback!

I’m excited though because I get to go back and visit some of my favorite characters in the new book and to be honest I’ve missed writing them and I cant wait to see what happens to them. Yeah I have no idea at this point whats going to happen or who is going to live or die in this new book so I’ll let you know when I get it all figured out. In the mean time enjoy the coming spring and I’ll see if I can’t update this more often.

 

Back to work with me,

Don

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Arisia sci fi con

Arisia sci fi con

I once again will be appearing at the 2018 arisia on Martin Luther king jr weekend where I will be on 3 different writing panels. 2 on Friday and 1 on Sunday so I will most likely be spending Saturday drunk and frolicking.

I was thinking about one of my favorite scenes to write on my drive this evening so I figured I’d post a snippet of it since it is my website and I can do as I wish with it. enjoy.

 

I hit the bottom of the stairs and listened at the corner for a moment. Thinking it was clear, I swung myself around the corner. There was a feeling of abject terror as I saw this massive hand wrap around the barrel of my M-16. As it shoved the barrel toward the ceiling, I pulled the trigger and fired blindly, as the other hand pounded me just in front of my left temple. A quick glimpse was all I caught of the behemoth in front of me as my left eye started to swell shut. He nailed me again in the same spot while he twisted the rifle, pulled it out of my hands and tossed it behind him. I tried to gather myself but he connected again with the side of my skull this time. He sent stars shooting across my field of vision. I stumbled, he grabbed me by the throat and pinned me against the wall. I kicked hard at his gut and got a smile in return. He squeezed tighter as I reached down and pulled my blade out of the sheath in my boot. I flipped it around and drove it straight up into his arm. He grunted, but his grip held. I was starting to black out, the edges of my vision were beginning to go dark. I brought the blade up and tried not to close my eyes as I drove it down into the back of his meaty hand. It bit into my flesh and dinged off of my collarbone. It hurt like hell, but it worked. He screamed and dropped me.

He stumbled back and pulled the knife out of his hand while glaring at me and roaring. Leaning against the wall coughing and choking, I tried to suck in as much air as possible. He charged at me and I dove to my left as he barreled into the wall where I had just been. Yanking out my other boot knife, I pushed myself up. My legs felt like rubber. He spun and charged me again with a growl from deep in his throat. Flipping the knife in my hand, so the blade was flush against my forearm, I slashed him across the cheek and sidestepped as he dove at me. He was all brute strength, no finesse. He was in a rage and the blood was freely flowing down the side of his face as he grabbed at me.

I felt his fingers graze against my ribs as he went by. I stuck my left hand out and caught the back of his collar. I pulled back, trying to rear him like a horse, while stuffing my blade deep into his kidney. He howled and thrashed, slamming me again with that beefy paw of his, swatting me like a fly. He flailed at the wound on his back as I pressed the attack. I caught him up under his ribs. He stopped howling and stared blankly down at me. I put my hand on his shoulder and shoved the blade deeper as he gasped.

He leaned forward onto me, his hands still reaching for my throat. I could feel his ragged breath on my face. I jerked the blade again. He had slouched down so far now that we were eye to eye. He stumbled forward a few steps driving me backwards down the hall. He was gurgling as he took a breath and I could see the fear on his face. Blood began to run out of his mouth and he gasped, one last breath, before his head hit my shoulder. I felt him tremble a few times before he went still.

The body dropped as I leaned against the wall. I gasped and choked while trying to catch my breath, just praying to not throw up. Still winded and shaking, I stumbled down the hall, ducking around a corner trying to find my way out. I saw the small rectangular window a couple yards down the hall and made my way toward it. Strangely, it was silent as I limped down to the window. I could hear my breathing and as the adrenaline started to wane, began to feel the pain in my legs, chest, collarbone, neck, and most especially my head. I undid the latch and groaned as I shoved it open a couple inches. Using the last of my strength to pull myself up and wedge my shoulders through the frame. I planted my hands into the soggy, snow covered ground. I wiggled the rest of the way through and out to freedom. Smiling, I pushed myself off the wet ground a second before I heard someone yell “Take him!” and then everything went black. 

 

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Just another day ending in Y

Just another day ending in Y

I’ve been slacking lately. I’m just putting it out there because its true. I know what the problem is and I’m working on fixing it, sometimes shit just gets a bit… overwhelming. I don’t like to use that word a lot but I find myself feeling that way more and more recently. There’s a list of things in my head that I know need or at least should get done but for some reason or another they get put off or I can’t quite seem to figure out how to get them done and just put it off. This doesn’t make for a very productive day and leads to frustration and procrastination.

I love being a writer, I do, but the marketing and self promotion end of it gets to be very tedious and sometimes infuriating. I knew all that when I took on this gig and for a long time it was good. Lately its been not as good, I know I need to fix it but trying to figure out the details of how to get to that point is where the gap in the bridge shows up. I need to get a bit more organized and maybe put together a marketing idea to get back on track and move up to the next level.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me bitch for a bit I’m gonna get back to work and try and pull my shit together so I can get back to pumping out some kick ass stories.

Don

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Patriots day

Patriots day

The rest of the country may not know what it is but here in Massachusetts Patriots day is a thing.It commemorates the day that the British regulars marched to Lexington and Concord looking for arms and ammunition being stored by the locals. This led to the Battle of Lexington green, The battle at the Old North Bridge and the shot heard round the world. Read the rest of this entry

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