Still here

I think I set a record for not blogging, but here I am.

I am working on a story as well. I can’t tell you when it will be finished, but I have signed up for NaNoWriMo to give myself some incentive to get moving. If you are unfamiliar with NaNo (as we say for short), I’d recommend checking it out. It’s free (although they do ask for donations if you can), and the goal is to write 50000 words during November. That’s it.

Your story does not have to be complete and can be in any genre you’d like; the idea is simply to encourage writers to write. There are forums where you can chat about writing, and you may even be able to find a local group that gets together so that you can meet face-to-face in a group.

My story is something of a werewolf story but I’m aiming not to hold to some of the common themes, or at least to play around with them a little. No idea how it will come out, but when I does, I hope if you read it, you enjoy it.

Writing, I have found, demands more of you than you might think. It is as simple as sitting down to write your story, but that is not so simple in itself. Do I have the time? The focus? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes I’m not sure and it’s more fun to catch up on Ghost in the Shell (thank you Cartoon Network!).

But I am working on it!

I also urge you to check out Yellow Silk Dreams — we’re working on new stories from new authors, and have some holiday promotions going on. Sometimes you need a quickie. :)

Time to write?

I’m hoping so. Unlike a lot of parents, it seems, who fret at sending their little ones to school after the summer, I’m looking around wondering where the bus is and ready to try to take advantage of this to carve out writing time on a regular basis. Because when you don’t have that, it’s easy to get out of the writing habit and hard to get back in.

If you haven’t seen Wes Anderson’s movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, I highly suggest you do, because it’s a) it is a fantastic film and b) it is in part about a writer. The opening of the film contains some observations about writing by the Writer, who is never identified, and who is played by Tom Wilkinson and then by Jude Law (who has a terrific voice for voice-over narration; his voice was probably the best part of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I digress) at a younger age. Wilkinson’s character notes that people think writers just come up with everything, making up characters and worlds out of thin air, when the truth is that when people find out a writer is writer, they bring the stories to him or her, and if the writer listens, much of the work is done for him.

And I think this is true to a great extent. Most stories, I’ve found from talking with other authors, do not quite appear out of the blue. There is a character based on someone they know, or a situation based on one they experienced, or an edited or adapted version of a story someone told them.

But no matter the story comes to the writer, the writer needs time to write it down, which is hard to come by for those of us with kids and or “real” jobs. Some writers, and I envy them, can sit and write a few pages or even words when they can steal the odd moment. I find that, perhaps because I’m out of the habit of writing, I need more than that. I need time to focus, and the small bits between “Mom, when’s lunch?” and doing the laundry aren’t enough for me.

I admit, as I told my husband, that for a little bit, I’m hoping to have a bit of a vacation when school starts. To relax for a bit, watch a movie or show on demand (True Blood is under consideration, as is Defiance), and to quote Depeche Mode, “enjoy the silence” for a bit.

However, I do want to get back in the habit. I’m not sure what I’ll work on, as I’m torn between new material and revamping older stories, but perhaps there will be time for both.

Belated Movie Review: Pacific Rim

love this movie. I’m not quite sure I can explain why, except that it hit a chord with me, as I’m sure has happened to you with songs, books, movies, etc. Sometimes there’s no surprise, and sometimes you’re a little baffled that something hit you so strongly.

For those of you that are not big fans of science fiction, or action, or giant monsters or giant robots, you may not be so interested. This is one of the most genre of genre films I have seen. Matt Zoller Seitz at rogerebert.com gave it four stars. It is a tribute and homage to past films, and most specifically to Japanese “kaiju” movies.

Like most films I catch these days, I did not see this one in a theater, but oh how I wish I could have. This movie is about big things — big monsters, and big robots, called “jaegers” (YAY-gers). So I had to make do with my flat-screen TV, but that was okay. I had a huge grin on my face, I think, for most of it when I first saw it.

A synopsis of sorts, and there will likely be spoilers, but the film is from 2013, so I think if you haven’t seen it by now, you probably don’t care so much. In 2013, the first kaiju comes to Earth via “The Breach,” a fissure between two tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean. Because monsters must destroy recognizable landmarks, this first kaiju (Trespasser) destroys the Golden Gate Bridge, and a few more things down the CA coast. He is destroyed, but six months later, there is another. Then another in six more months. 

In one of those utopian movie moments, the world comes together to fight a common enemy, and to fight giants, we build giants — huge robots, piloted by a pair of people are mentally compatible so that when they “drift,” they can connect to both each other and the robot to operate it. This works incredibly well, and as the movie’s narrator, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) puts it, we got really good at winning.

Until things change, and Becket’s jaeger is destroyed in taking out a kaiju. His brother is killed in the process, and Raleigh refuses to “jockey” anymore.

But this is a genre movie with certain clichés and expectations, and director Guillermo del Toro and writer Travis Beacham do not disappoint. Raleigh is the burdened veteran pressed to return to service; Chuck Hansen is the hot-shot Australian pilot who’s unimpressed with Raleigh’s story; Stacker Pentecost (how can you not love that name), played by Idris Elba, is the strong commander who cares and does what he must to complete the mission; Mako Mori (Rinko Kukichi) is the young woman who wants to become a fighter after having been a victim, but is held back by Pentecost, her adoptive father, but out of love and not lack of confidence.

Yet all these characters, despite their expected existence, are individuals. You can relate to all of them to some degree, and the presence of a woman like Mako in this movie is fantastic. She is just there, and no one questions her right to be there, her intelligence, or anything else. She will rise or fall on her own merits, and that is so refreshing. There may or may not be something romantic between Mako and Raleigh (again, expected), but it is not the point. They have a job to do, and they want to do it, and that comes first. Mako is smart and resourceful; please give us more movies with characters like her, no matter the genre.

But really, let’s talk about the robots, right? Come on, you know you want to. They are so cool. Their names – Gipsy Danger, Crimson Typhoon, Striker Eureka — how great is that? And they are international. When the chips are down, the four jaegers left come from various countries that border the Pacific Ocean. Gipsy Danger from the US; Crimson Typhoon from China (with three arms and piloted by triplets!); Cherno Alpha from Russia (looking a bit like Gort from the original The Day the Earth Stood Still); and Striker Eureka from Australia. All are brought to Hong Kong, where they are housed in the Shatterdome. Is that not excellent?

There are, of course, many fights between the robots and the monsters, and I think credit is due to del Toro for not rushing things, or cutting every half a second, so that the viewer can follow the action. We know who hit whom, or what, and where they are, and what happened. When a jaeger goes down, your heart’s in your throat; you feel for the crew and you want a last-minute miracle. When a jaeger lands a blow on a kaiju, you’re relieved.

But the science, far-fetched perhaps, is not forgotten, and two scientists figure prominently in the story as well. Geiszler and Gottlieb are an odd couple — neat v. messy, formal v. informal, etc. — but they are smart men who realize that when the world is ending, you follow the most likely path to success or at least answers and you don’t worry so much about who’s supposed to be right or wrong. Without their work, the final plan devised by Pentecost would be doomed to failure, and Pentecost respects them enough to rethink the plan. 

Oh there’s more. There’s the tension between Chuck and Raleigh, between Mako and Pentecost, and a darkly humorous side brought in by Ron Perlman as a black-market dealer in kaiju remains. The terrific final battle, underwater, and the ensuing human victory.

I like that despite all of the fighting and impending apocalypse, there is hope in this movie. I recently discovered that I’ve had my fill, for a while, of anti-heroes and people trying to get by after a civilization meltdown, be it The Walking Dead or HBO’s The Leftovers. Pacific Rim gives me action, and some sorrow, but an underlying hopeful note, and these days, you can’t have too many of those.

P.S. If you see or have seen the movie, check out the film’s Wiki for back story, kaiju names, etc. It’s great fun.

 

Update

I wanted to let you know that E.F. Turner’s stolen stories have been removed. She still does have a couple of stories up on Amazon, but they appear to be her own work, and that’s fine. I only wanted her to stop trying to pass off others’ work as her own.

She has a blog at blogspot.com (I won’t link; might be small of me, but don’t want to even have that connection), and the most recent entry does not address this, not that I thought she would. 

Thanks to everyone who shared and supported, and if you were one of the ones she stole from, I hope there’s some relief that this incident appears to be over.

 

Plagiarism

I don’t and won’t often do this, but I’m going to call out an author.

E.F. Turner has stolen from authors. I know of many, including myself, who post at Literotica. For an example, in her “Erotica Collection #9,” she has plagiarized my entire story, Island Encounter, only changing the name of the lead character from John to Justin.

My story, Island Encounter, was posted on Literotica and StoriesOnline.net in November 2010, as you can see on my submissions page. Her book was published in May of 2014, and it was hardly the only one stolen from authors. Please spread the word; if you recognize a story, please leave me a comment or if you can contact the author, do so. Most stories seem to be in the BDSM and Incest and Non-Consent categories.

I realize it’s a risk you take on the internet, posting things for free, but I’m not going to let someone take advantage of me if I can help it.

This is her Facebook page; if you can post proof of stolen stories, please do. She’s also on Goodreads. I’m not asking anyone — in fact, I explicitly ask that you don’t — to bully or otherwise harass her. Pointing out the stolen stories is enough.

Story reveal

So, the FAWC (Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge) is over for now, and my story was called Empires of the Stars.

This is a different story than I’ve written before, and likely not what you’re expecting. So all I ask is that you read with an open mind, and I hope you enjoy it. Please leave a comment here or on the story page. Thanks!

Guess that story again

Over at Literotica, we’ve done another FAWC, a Friendly Anonymous Writing Competition. This time, we all had to begin with the same sentence:

Upon the table lay three times: a handkerchief, a book and a knife.

From there, we could go anywhere, and judging by the entries, that’s a good description. If you get a chance, stop by the submissions page, read some stories, and leave some comments.

And try to guess which one is mine. :)

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