Sunday Salon, 8/18/19

Sunday Salon

Reading and Such

I focused on working on the VOTS archive this week and that’s pretty much all I had the overhead for. So, not much reading was done. I’m behind on all my readalongs. I’m looking forward to participating in Bout of Books starting tomorrow.

During my bi-weekly trip to the library, I ended up reading “There’s a Hole in the City” by Richard Bowes (from Ghosts: Recent Hauntings, ed. Paula Guran, but also found at Nightmare magazine) while looking for Glen Hirshberg fiction. It’s a rather good ghost story, told in the wake of 9/11.

For Deal Me In, I picked my last wild card, 2. I went to my list of bookmarked stories and picked “Two Years Dead” by Kathryn Kania from Fireside Magazine. Yes, another ghost story. This one very sweet. Opening line: “When I opened up my OKCupid profile, I was already two years dead.”

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

There is definitely a trend occurring with my reading. Along with my classic readalongs I’m also reading lots of mysteries and ghost stories. I’m far away from the end of summer, but September is coming. And R.I.P. is coming…

TV of the Week

I said I was swearing off cinematic universes, but I guess I made an exception for a literary universe. I’m a sometimes Stephen King fan. Some of his work, I’ve liked; some, not as much. Castle Rock was pretty okay as far as  horror TV goes. I had recently tried to watch the first season of Channel Zero, but I didn’t really didn’t care for it. It seemed to go all over the place without doing a good enough job of world-building. I’ve usually liked American Horror Story, but each season seems to go on about five episodes too long at which point it goes off the rails. Castle Rock, of course, has a world in place and was restrained, for what it could be.

Other Stuff

I finished over half of what I had left of the VOTS archive. I would have gotten further, but we opened Fall League registration as well. So, more reformatting this week along with Bout of Books festivities.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 8/11/19

Sunday Salon

Books & Such

Finished The Spectacle of Illusion and posted a short review of it and Unmentionable. I also caught up on my Poe reading. I’ve been trying to read all the way through the unabridged Poe, but I’ll be honest: sometimes, Poe isn’t very good. I’m not a fan of snarky, satirical Poe.

The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe
The Count of Monte Cristo Moby Dick

I really didn’t plan to read this many “classics” at once but, well, that’s how it goes sometimes.  Tim Prasil’s Guilt is a Ghost is my “modern” pick for the week, at least in terms of author.

Ghost, Poe, the first Halloween decorations in stores, and football and basketball talk is turning my thoughts toward autumn readathons/challenges. Thinking about Monsterathon. Know of any others? Tell me about ’em!

Show of the Week

Forever (2014) is another of those not-great-but-fun shows that lasted maybe a season. The premise doesn’t really work if you think about it, but I like super longevity as a reason for a Holmes-like intellect. It’s the cast, though, that is especially enjoyable. If you’re in the US, you can watch on CW Seed.

Other Stuff

I find that I’ve become a chronic starter. I start a lot of projects, both professional and recreational, and then get annoyed at myself for not finishing things. (See also readalongs/reading challenges…) So, I want to work on that.

This week, I want to focus on the VOTS archive. A few years back, I switched the website to a responsive layout using Bootstrap. Most of the 20 year archive has been more or less converted, but there’s still a section from Fall 2007 through 2011 that is the old design.

Also in the realm of thing I took on that require more time and focus than I have available, I finished off the content from the screenwriting class. While I won’t be completing a screenplay in the near future, I did find some of the discussion on planning plot to be maybe helpful. Time will tell if it bears fruit.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 8/4/19

Sunday Salon

Books and Such

I decided last minute to join the “Reverse” Readathon. Usually, Dewey’s Readathon starts at 5am for me. 5am isn’t *terribly* early, but I never sleep well before it. The Reverse Readathon started 5pm on Friday and I enjoyed that more. I think I probably read as much as usual, but never felt totally wasted.

I finished reading PHYSIC, which I had been neglecting, read most of Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill (an impulse checkout), and listened to some M. R. James short stories.

Also this week I joined the Moby-Dick Readalong, hosted by Brona’s Books. While I’ve been wanting to reread Moby-Dick, I wasn’t going to until next year due to the readalongs that Nick is hosting, but I figured I’d be able to add a little white whale to my TBR.

 

I look forward to finishing The Spectacle of Illusion by Matthew Tompkins and starting Guilt is a Ghost by Tim Prasil.

Deal Me In: J “The Uninvited” by Michael Gilbert from Alfred Hitchcock’s Stories Not for the Nervous. There’s something charming about retired spies, living in the English countryside with a pet dog and a regularly scheduled backgammon game. Never mind the occasional murderous foreign national…

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

I decided that in August I want to stay away from the big franchises. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good superhero movie, but I’m just a little tired of sequels, remakes, and cinematic universes. So far in August, I’ve watched A Monster Calls and Hell or High Water.

As a part of my screenwriting class I also read the screenplay to Hell or High Water. There are some differences, but both are really, really good. It’s also really obvious how much movies are a collaborative process. The screenwriter provides a scaffold and so many of the details are added by the cast and crew. I really wish they had a video of the first scene. It’s a beautiful interpretation of what’s in the screenplay.

Other Stuff

We finally got some monsoons here in Arizona. Usually, we have some storms by mid-July, but we really didn’t get our first one until the 30th. Honestly, the high temps haven’t been super hot, but with no storm systems, the lows don’t get better than 88-ish degrees. It’s August though; only two more months of summer left!

Been watching more ultimate frisbee than I’ve been playing. Rain cancelled my Tuesday league game and Wednesday’s pickup game. Eric and I haven’t been getting out to run and throw either. Did throw some on an ambient-lit field the other night. I don’t remember the last time I went a week without at least throwing.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 7/28/19

Sunday Salon

Books

Finished reading Scripting Hitchcock by Walter Raubicheck & Walter Srebnick and The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar.

Scripting Hitchcock was a look at the collaborative writing of Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964). These three films were made near the end of Hitchcock’s career. Each was an adaptation and each had a different screenwriter: Joseph Stefano, Evan Hunter, and Jay Presson Allen respectively. Raubicheck and Srebnick interviewed each of the screenwriters to compare the processes that went into writing the films.

I’ll have a review of The Violent Century on Thursday, or thereabout.

My TBR stack for the week:

PHYSIC Spectacle of Illusion

Movies

The local Harkins Cinema had a few showings of Blade Runner (1982) on the schedule as a tribute to Rutger Hauer, who passed away recently. While we’re both fans of the film, neither Eric nor I had ever seen it in the theater. Man, this is such a great looking film. It’s a dark film, but you’re never left not seeing what’s in the shadows. The cut they screened was the “Final Cut,” which smooths out some of the editing without needing the voice-over.

Other Stuff

Occasionally, my arthritis flares up in my jaw, which is kind of miserable. It makes my face hurt and is just…tiring. Lots of naps have been taken.

I signed up for a screenwriting class on Saturday. Partially as a lark, partially because I’ve wanted to learn more about screenwriting for a while now. Should be fun.

 


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 7/14/19

Sunday Salon
Missed last week. Sometimes things just get out of hand…

Read & Reading

Since my last update, I finished Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin, which I reviewed on Thursday Saturday, and Magic is Dead by Ian Frisch, which I will review on this coming Thursday (maybe). I read Fevre Dream for the Book Junkies Trial, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do too much more with that challenge. I have three library books and two ARC/review copies that I want/need to get to in the near future. (Plus I still haven’t finished my reread of PHYSIC.) I was considering “catching up” during the 24 in 48 readathon this coming weekend, but Eric and I have been called upon to do some unexpected cat-sitting, so I don’t know how things will go exactly.

This coming week  I’ll be reading:

The Violent Century Scripting Hitchcock: Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie

The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar and Scripting Hitchcock by Walter Raubicheck & Walter Srebnick along with The Count Monte Cristo and short stories.

Deal Me In: Last Sunday I picked a two—a wild card—and picked a reread “Django” by Harlan Ellison from Shatterday. Each of the stories in Shatterday includes an introduction/origin story written by Ellison. He wrote “Django” while sitting in a bookstore window as a publicity stunt. He was utterly unsure whether the story was good, even after it had been accepted for publication. And that’s a sort of comforting thing for a writer—to know that even your heroes have moments of uncertainty. My DMI story for this week was fairly unremarkable.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

Man, what a beautiful movie. Into the Spiderverse is sort of tertiary to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I’m glad of that. Honestly, I’m kind of tired of the long baroque, epic 22 movie story. (I still haven’t seen Endgame.) If you delve into super-hero comics, you quickly realize there are many iterations of characters and their stories. In fact, the only Spider-man comics I’ve read have been Brian Michael Bendis’ Miles Morales books, rather than the Peter Parker version.  Into the Spiderverse revels in the concept of multiple Spider-men, um, Spider-people and their worlds. The animation is incredible, though I’m glad I didn’t see it in the theater. I think I would have been over-whelmed by the amount of stuff going on.

What Else is Going On?

Been playing quite a bit of EverQuest 2. The server Eric and I play on unlocked the Desert of Flames expansion, so we’ve been adventuring there. This is my main character Ressa Cheep overlooking one oasis of the Twin Tears.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 6/30/19

Sunday Salon

Read & Reading

I was overcome by readathon insanity on Friday and signed up for the Book Junkie Trials. Yeah, this happens occasionally. So, I’ve pretty much doubled the number of books I was going to read in July. We’ll see how it goes. This week in addition to daily The Count of Monte Cristo and short stories, I’ll be reading Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin for the Book Junkie Trials and rereading PHYSIC by Eric Nabity.

Fevre Dream PHYSIC

Deal Me In: After a shuffle of the remaining half of my cards (almost), I pulled K which was assigned to “Don’t Look Behind You” by Fredric Brown. The narrator of the story begins by addressing the reader and telling the story which explains why he’s going to have to kill the reader. There is plenty of unbalanced in this story to make reading it a slightly uneasy experience. “But wherever you’re reading it, I’m near you, watching and waiting for you to finish. You can count on that.”

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

The only movie I watched this week was The Bourne Legacy. I made note on Twitter not long ago that by the metric of films I’ve rewatched many times and still find enjoyable, for me, this is one of the best movies of the 2010s. I think it got a bad rap for not being “Bourne” enough, but the plot was a nice sci-fi-ish expansion of that universe and I have a soft spot for both Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz.

What Else is Going On?

Writing: I’ve been going back and forth on what I want to work on and what I am motivated to work on. Considering I have a sale scheduled in early August for the first One Ahead book, I am going to polish up the second story and give it a cover. So, maybe by the beginning of August I’ll publish One Ahead: The Case of the Horrid Haunting. I believe I have a fairly solid, clean final draft.

A cool thing that happened last Monday: Literary Flits reviewed the anthology I edited of David P. Abbott’s Open Court articles. In a weird way, this easier for me to be happy about than if it had been about my own fiction.


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz

Sunday Salon, 6/23/19

Sunday Salon

Read & Reading

Kind of had a terrible week progress-wise on everything. PMS does this to me sometimes. Just rotten, rotten brain fog. But, I’m feeling much better now.

Didn’t finish reading anything aside from the June 1896 issue of The Black Cat. I should finish Conjure Times today with a thought to review it Tuesday-ish. Making slower-than-expected progress on Poe’s Arthur Gordan Pym. Anachronistically, it’s like a mash-up of Moby-Dick and Event Horizon. I’ll probably pair it with The Four Horsemen this week.

The Four Horsemen: The Conversation That Sparked an Atheist Revolution The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

For Deal Me In this week I pulled 4 and read “An Obstruction to Delivery” by Sean Adams from the July/Aug 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. In the introduction to this story the editor noted that the magazine had received an increase of stories about snail mail around the time the magazine switched to electronic submissions. In “An Obstruction to Delivery,” an over-zealous postal worker forces local government to relegate the mail carriers to the mysterious tunnels under the city. Unfortunately, the tunnels are already in use… This was a nicely done little horror tale, using vignettes to tell the story.

DealMeIn
Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?

Movie of the Week

I checked out the movie Mary Shelley (2017) from the library on a whim. I…didn’t care for it. It was plain and seemed to shy away from anything that might be difficult in Shelley’s life. Plus, all the men were pretty and looked alike, which is difficult for someone with a bit of face-blindness. Instead I bookmarked a couple of biographies to read and fondly remembered Gothic (1986). Gothic is no more factual about Shelley’s time at Lake Gevena than Mary Shelley, but it’s stylish, has interesting looking men, and is completely insane. It’s also quite NSFW.

What Else is Going On?

Writing: I’ve been reformatting Eric’s first novel PHYSIC as he works the sequels’ edits. I plan on giving it another read-through too. I meant to get through more of my rewrite of Wicked Witch, Retired in June so I’m going to continue on instead of moving to a different project in July.

Ultimate: We’ve been playing in our Tuesday night league. Due to the heat, daytime ultimate has been less common, but we’re still playing at lunchtime about once a week and Eric and I have been running intervals again a couple of times a week. It’s funny how much more difficult it is to get exercise in the summer in Phoenix. Unless you get up at 4am, which is not gonna happen!


The Sunday Salon is a linkup hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz