Friday, December 31, 2010

Thirteen Kisses

Today I was sitting next to an extraordinarily loud woman who claimed total disgust at some hi-definition screen kiss. Truly, the actors' lips were the size of baseballs, affording us ample lip-real estate to evaluate the smooch.

"It looks like they're eating each other!" said loud woman.

"We don't know the context. It's just a preview," I said.

"Maybe it's about cannibalism."


Mostly this just made me think of the Seven Midnights of Kisses we celebrated here at the Vortex two years back. Seven days for each of us to find the type of kiss that makes our toes curl. Some of them were sweet, some funny, most iconic in their own way. If you weren't with us then, or wish to relive the fun for New Years Eve, here they are:

Midnight 1 Midnight 2 Midnight 3 Midnight 4
Midnight 5 Midnight 6 Midnight 7

Two years is a long time. We've covered so much kissing ground since! Who can forget

the hairy-chested Christopher Plummer kiss?
the world's thirstiest gerbil kiss?
my first kiss-ugh.
Robert Doisneau's The Kiss?
Elvis's Wild kiss?

With all this kissing, you'd think we barely had time to squeeze in Fabio, time travel and nineteen MacGyver references. (You know you want to follow the Fabio link again. What's better than a laaaaahve attack on New Year's Eve? You're welcome.)

My favorite kisses, though, are the ones you have yet to read. It is my fervent hope we'll add at least one to next year's list: the published kiss.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Kings and a Tardis

I hope everyone is in the throes of their favorite way to celebrate the holidays. Around here there is entirely too much Wii Boggle and dinking with my shiny Nook. I've already read a free, happy little short about two serial killers. Merry Christmas to me! Maybe I should have opted for the Harlequin. I had to listen to Burl Ives afterward to counteract my holiday mojo.

Oh, and the magic eight ball in my stocking, when asked about novel publication this year, replied: it is certain. Superstitious bugger, aren't I? Writers refuel our tank of dreams from every passing station, it seems.

For me, breaking in the new pjs and reorganizing my writing space seems to be the way of it each year. I'm juggling two novels, so the inspiration chotchkes are a muddled signal to my subconscious. More often, they shout "clutter!" than "write me!" And thanks to one of my sweet crit partners, this phone booth of awesomeness will not be relegated to the ornament box come January.The tule beneath it is my feeble attempt to capture the white Christmases of my childhood. Sure, it makes the tree look like a cheap bridesmaid, but at night, when I squint just so, it could pass for snow.

Both kings seem to think so, too.

I wish everyone a fruitful start to the new year, filled with certain 8-ball messages, happy memories and a comfy pair of pjs.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Motivational Posters

I have stumbled upon, quite possibly, the coolest posters ever. Ever. Cooler than these I had when I was fifteen:

 offers posters that celebrate classic works of literature. Each graphic represents an idea or scene from the book. Look closer and you'll discover the graphic is comprised of the entire novel's text. Of course, I'll steer you to H.G. Well's The Time Machine, but there is truly something here for every classic lover. If I were Oprah, it would be on my favorite things list. Posters for everyone! LOOOOOVE it!

If that wasn't cool enough for you, how about this sneak-peek photo of John Cusack in The Raven, a psychological thriller in production. The film is fiction, but based largely on rumors that Poe spent his mysterious last days chasing a serial killer inspired by his tales.

What's the latest poster you owned?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For the Twenty-Fifth Hour of the Day

Who knew there was an X-box 360 game labeled "psychological thriller"? I'm only beginning to grasp this label as it pertains to my own writing (and if I'm not mistaken, the game should really be labeled "psychological action suspense", but maybe thriller sells to more middle-aged gamers.) That's certainly its sales demographic.

The game is Alan Wake. Released in May 2010, the storyline follows the main character, a bestselling thriller writer who has lost his muse. In an attempt to restore his mojo, he and his wife vacation in Norman-Rockwell-esque Bright Falls where the small, idyllic town slips into six ways of creepy. Characters from Alan's books haunt him and soon he can't distinguish fantasy from reality. It's television-quality, episodic, and the first of many chapters to come.

The trailer looks amazing. Too bad I have my own manuscript pages to uncover instead of the ones hiding clues in Alan's world.

Last virtual-reality game played: X-files (I know! So last decade)

What computerized games make you lose track of time?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lady Mitchell Visits the Castle

One trip to Medieval Times was, apparently, not enough for one lifetime. No doubt, I missed the horsey aromas whilst eating, the chicken flesh under my fingernails sans utensils and the gold-bullion-priced lager.

It had been three years. The storyline had changed. The princess was no longer fair-haired. The dryers in the restroom were like sticking your hands in a vacuum with no time travel perks. There was still the guy in your section who took booing the green knight to an entirely different level, but this time he had far more blinking chotchkies to highlight his asshatery. And the knights, well, let's just say for the three hundred women in the round the fantasy brought to mind only flashbacks of our brother's pock-marked friend hanging out in the garage playing D&D. Yay, though you sport the longest locks in the land, the guy at the ticket booth was more fair than thee. Less ego, too.

Though the theatrics make it seem like horsy WWE, I have the utmost respect for the hours of training required to put on this type of show. I salute you creepy-falconeer-Dio-look-alike, who dodges talons to put food on the table. I salute you, King, for holding off on the JD long enough to remember your lines and smile through the tourists wanting to share your throne. I salute you, Mr.-Cod-Piece-in-the-Name-of-Sales-Souvenir-Guy. No one has ever looked better hawking wares in tights. And I salute my yellow knight, not because he looked like this
because he, sadly, didn't, but because he threaded the ring with his sword each pass, had his horse prancing River Dance style, brought it in the joust and didn't look like a gomer dying.

And because today is Monday and a spoonful of Jim Carrey as a Medieval Times knight makes the day's medicine go down in the most delightful way, I give you this scene from The Cable Guy.

What's the campiest tourist attraction you've ever been to?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Shape of Fresh Similes

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I take immense pleasure in learning the recipients of both the Bulwer-Lytton and the Bad Sex in Fiction award each year. I also blame Stephen King for these misappropriated metaphors. Nothing but beauty can come from his hard, fast and well-publicized rule about cliches. To paraphrase: a cliche is anything you've ever heard or read before. Don't do it.

Ever? That's a ten ton elephant in a writer's already crowded mind.

However, this tenet of fiction encourages deliciously fresh similes like this:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss--a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world's thirstiest gerbil.

--Molly Ringle, Seattle, Washington (2010 Bulwer-Lytton Winner)

Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her.

--Rowan Somerville, The Shape of Her (2010 Bad Sex in Fiction Award)

Gawd, can't you just picture these moments? This is creativity at its purest. And while it's a mixed mess of distinction to actually win one of these-the publicity alone could vault an author into the stratosphere of sales-in an author's quietest moments, I'm positive he feels hurt. It's hard, bloody hard, to reveal so much of oneself and attempt to boldly go where no writer has gone before. To have even one line end up as the butt of a joke must feel akin to walking naked through Times Square.

Right on, Mr. Somerville. Write on!

More of Mr. Somerville's naughty bits...
Mr. Somerville's reaction to the "honor"

Have a cliche-free weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bless Me Father, For I Am Scattered

It's one of those scattered days where I could toss a dozen cohesive blog topics at the wall and none would stick. A symptom, I suppose, of several things: a recent jaunt through the Vortex's keyword analysis (always an amusing past time); a wayward false start this morning on the subject of hot priests (don't ask) but YUM; and a restlessness to accomplish something this time of year (as in clearing out my brower's bookmarks so I can actually find something useful). So much to share, so little time.

Thankyouverymuch, email inbox announcement, but I really don't think I need to take the author branding course in January. From the keyword analysis, people in the past three months have googled seeking

Lincoln's love letters, Jason O'Mara, the writer's fork, Romancelandia, timeslips, Vortex traveler, Concord Vortex Massachusetts (Holy Revolution, I missed a vortex in Concord???), Joaquin Phoenix, jaho, native american word, the sixth sense unreliable narrator, lederhosen physics, burlesque painting, red velvet hot cocoa salem ma, doppelgangers, haunted swing, a wrinkle in time, weird barbie dolls, mysterious man in a phone booth, 37 separate inquiries referring to time travel or time traveler in photo

and come here. If author branding is essentially the collective sum of all things out there, I'd say these sum it up nicely. With a few exceptions, of course. My heroes never wear lederhosen.

Lest you think I'd let a primo link go to waste, I offer up the 2011 calendario romano. Twelve months of holy-cow-what-a-waste! priests of Rome. Oh, and a teaser for 2012.

Speaking of calendars, graphic designer Alex Griendling created a 2011 Time Travel Calendar filled with 95 references to time travel in pop culture in one timeline. From Back to the Future to Lost, he covered it all. I'd wish him success with sales, but he's almost sold out his third printing. Find it at alexlikesdesigns.

When we look up at the night sky, we are essentially traveling in time because of the years it takes for a star's light to reach us on Earth, right? The new Google Sky Map application takes it one step further. Download it and you can find out what the night sky looked like on the day you were born, or-say-the day Fabio was bitch-slapped by a goose on a roller coaster, or even a year from now when NBC will replace some great time travel drama with Shotputting With the Stars.

And for the bibliophile whose space is at a premium, Levitate Architects of London offers this solution

complete with a skylight in the loft bedroom above so each step is a reading nook. Awesome.

Scattered, yes, but my favorites condensed to a manageable list, so all was worth it.

Last movie seen: Hitchcock's I Confess (thus the beautiful Monty)

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