Random Rejection: Design Image Group, “Night Watchman”

So one of the things you hear when you are submitting fiction, especially long-form fiction, is that lengthy response times are good. It means that the publisher is seriously considering your manuscript, that it has probably passed from the slush pile through the first readers and is perhaps, even right now as we speak, sitting on an editor’s desk awaiting the final stamp of approval before it is accepted.

Or it could just mean that your rejection letter was lost in the mail.

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Oops

A while back I mentioned that Dragon Stones was now available on Amazon.com and BN.com, but Long Before Dawn hadn’t arrived there yet.  I recently took another look and LBD still wasn’t out in the big stores.  So I went back to Lulu and took a closer look at the project and noticed that, way down under the “price” section, it said something to the effect of “To be set when your book is approved”.  So evidently I forgot to click the “Approve” button after getting my last proof of LBD way back in, oh, April was it?  Just think of all the millions of dollars in sales I’ve lost because of that!  😐

Anyway, I have now clicked the “Approve” button, so Long Before Dawn should be showing up on Amazon.com and the other outlets soon.

The Early Years: “Time Warp Part Two”

Back in the day I used to watch a lot (a LOT) of “Dr. Who” on PBS. There wasn’t much in the way of SF on television when I was a kid, so the strange import from the BBC was always a treat. I would suspect that “Dr. Who” was a heavy influence on the short little excerpt that follows.

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Review: “Sherrybaby”

This weekend we finished up watching Sherrybaby, a film in which Maggie Gyllenhaal expertly plays a blonde-haired, blue-eyed train wreck in a halter top. Sherry has just been released from prison after a stint for drug-related offenses, and spends the rest of the movie trying stay clean, hold down a job, and reconnect with her daughter (who is being raised by her brother and sister-in-law).  Sherry seems to have only one way of relating to most men (hence the halter top); she’s spoiled, immature, narcissistic, and repeatedly displays staggeringly poor judgment.  She fights, she lies, she manipulates; in particular, a scene in which she hijacks a dinner party to sing “Eternal Flame” is simply excruciating.  At one point I said to my wife, “I keep waiting for her to make the right decision, and she never does.”

So now that I’ve made this movie sound unwatchable, let me add that it’s riveting.  The performances are uniformly excellent, from Maggie Gyllenhaal (who’s in every scene) down to Ryan Simpkins as her daughter, Alexis.  The film is gritty and believable but not sentimental and manages to let you see just how bleak Sherry’s situation is without being utterly depressing.  The contrast between Sherry’s tawdry life of motel rooms and halfway houses contrasts sharply with the upper-class life of her father (his house is a palace in comparison) in a way that at first seems sad, but ultimately becomes infuriating. The pacing is just about perfect; when my wife said, “How did she get so messed up?”, we found out ten minutes later.  Stop reading my wife’s mind, Laurie Collyer!

Sherrybaby put my wife to sleep in a little over an hour, at which point she made me turn it off so we could finish watching it later.  It took us about two weeks to get back to it (we’ve been busy with the now-local Fred Astaire lately), but we finally did.  You may find it painful to watch Sherry make one bad choice after another, but stick with her until the end of the film.  It’s worth the ride.

Where’s Jim?

I’m still here!

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed two things in the last few months:

  1. My posts have slowed down
  2. The promised edition of Father’s Books is nowhere to be found

These two items are of course closely related.  The main reason for both of them is that I’ve been having so much fun writing Dennis’s Diary of Destruction that I haven’t made much headway at all editing Father’s Books for the last couple of months.  I’m sure that I’ll finish it eventually, but for now, the adventures of my gullible, narcissistic, grammatically-challenged, slightly paranoid vizsla seem to be taking precedence.  Why?  Let’s trot out another list:

  1. Immediate feedback in the form of comments is pretty gratifying
  2. I’m enjoying the change of writing absurd comedy and slapstick instead of horror (I would say that much of Dennis’s diary still qualifies as fantasy, my other major genre)
  3. I never made any money off my books anyway

So if you were breathlessly waiting for Father’s Books (that’s okay, I know you weren’t), I apologize for the delay.  But in the meantime, can I interest you in some GIMPed pictures and nonsensical conspiracy theories?

Random Rejection: E-scape, “Comfort”

I got started submitting to online magazines way before they became mainstream, and had a number of short stories published by e-zines. E-scape, however, was not one of them, as they declined to accept my short story “Comfort”.

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