One Last Time: Returning to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

“One last time
Relax, have a drink with me
One last time
Let’s take a break tonight
And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye
To say goodbye
You and I”

— George Washington to Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton: An American Musical

PFD_3rd-SQUAREIt’s hard to believe the summer is in full swing, but here we are; and if you’re following any of my social media streams, you know I’ve been busy…

  • A new podcast is in full swing. (I’ll share Episode #010 here when it goes live. Trying a few new things with this podcast.)
  • The Third Edition of Podcasting for Dummies is in the final edits, and both Chuck and I could not be happier. (And it’s been an absolute blast.
  • A new idea is still coming together, and the feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive.

But after a really hard start to 2017, I thought I had brought my year back on track. Thing is, I was putting off something that I know has been lurking in the shadows—the final installment to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

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4 Lessons from Wonder Woman for Writers

 

wonder-woman-2017-5Last weekend, I — as many of my fellow nerds, geeks, and moviegoers also did around the world — made Wonder Woman a record-breaking film. Single-handedly, the Amazonian Princess of Themyscira pulled off a true wonder: an incredible cinematic experience from DC Studios. Guess it really does take a woman to do the job of two men.

But I digress.

Let’s just address the 800-pound Doomsday in the room: Batman V. Superman (where Gal Gadot’s Diana was unveiled) was nothing short of a red hot mess. It made its money back, sure, but so did Star Wars: Episode One, Two, and Three, so please, don’t use that as a dog in this hunt. On account of BVS’ reception, a lot was riding on Wonder Woman. A lot. Perhaps the future of DC’s cinematic franchise.

I’ve had a week to process it and some things have cemented for me about this film: Continue reading

#WednesdayWisdom — A Second Opinion

So you hear me say it all the time in podcasts. “Enjoy the ride.” I picked up this catch phrase from frequent trips to King’s Dominion and Busch Gardens. I’m a roller coaster guy, you see. As life is a lot like a roller coaster, Enjoy the ride…” strikes me as a good mantra to practice.

But don’t take just my word for it…

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Wise words from Captain Jack Sparrow.

Make it a good day, everybody.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2: A Spoiler-Free Review

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If you are living under a rock, you might have missed the big release at the box office this weekend. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 has now landed at your local movie theatre, and after its (come on, let’s be honest…you thought it was gonna suck…) stunning sleeper performance, the Marvel Studios’ Underdog of Misfits had one incredible bar to clear. The original took the hardest of comic book nerds by surprise while casual fans of Marvel, convinced this would be the first MCU dud, came out pleasantly surprised and downloading Awesome Mix, Volume One on their smartphones before getting home from the theatre.

Now, the Guardians are back.

So where do I begin? Or more to the point, where do I begin and not spoil the insane amount of fun that is happening in GotG, Vol. 2? There is a LOT to be had, but a good amount of this fun are in the twists, turns, and surprises GotG, Vol. 2 packs within its running time. I think I can give an opinion — a sincere, analytical opinion — without giving anything away, but if I do inadvertently spoil anything for you, I apologize.

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Okay, let’s do this… Continue reading

Six Characters in Search of an Author: A Review of Westworld

***
SPOILERS AHEAD!
THIS IS A DEEP DIVE INTO WESTWORLD,
BOTH SEASON ONE AND ITS FINALE.
SPOILERS AHEAD!
***

This weekend, HBO’s science fiction epic Westworld wrapped up their inaugural season.

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Since Sunday night, I have been working through my feelings about that finale, and about this season…but that final episode of Westworld feels best summed up like this…

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One more…

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Election 2016: The Day After

 

20140917_074443_805_xI’ve got a terrible habit that I need to let you all know about: I glance at my phone way too often when I drive. It’s a bad habit that I developed when I was freelancing, working long hours, and glancing at Twitter to break the monotony on long drives. I’ve gotten a lot better at curtailing the “need for feed” as Boom is getting older, but this morning I checked my feed on the inchworm commute to work. No, I shouldn’t have. Yes, I nearly rear-ended someone. It was reckless. It was stupid. I should be safer. Both me and the Volt made it to work with nary a scratch…

Well, no, that’s not 100% true. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo: It Should Be Your First Step, Not Your Excuse

 

18691SD2November is upon us, and with the close of Halloween and the beginning of a new month you might be seeing across various social media platforms “daily word counts” being posted, sudden concerns about productivity, or rants over applications like “Scrivener” or “Write or Die” when they unexpectedly crashes. If this is happening to you, I’d recommend stocking up on coffee for your friends and patience with yourself. November is the month of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve seen writers react both positively and negatively over the event. The positive sentiment usually constitutes cheerleading, tough love advice, and an overall celebration of hardcore, P90 X-style word-herding. The authors who loathe NaNoWriMo? They hate it with a passion, and don’t get the nay-sayers started on the NaNoWriMo instances that see publication. That’s some prime vitriol there. Continue reading

Five Things I Learned When Writing a Young Adult Book

curseofthesilverpharoah_smallRecently, The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh went live on Amazon, print editions premiering this week at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, provided we get no unforeseen whammies from CreateSpace. (Thanks, Hurricane Matthew!) Silver Pharaoh is not my first novel, nor is it my first foray into steampunk, as many of you know. The thing about this book that has me fidgeting nervously as reviews start to trickle in is that Silver Pharaoh is my first step into the realm of Young Adult fiction.

And that terrifies me. Greatly.

I’ve got a lot of feelings about Y.A. Fiction, one being that those reading Y.A. are not necessarily “young” adults. Think about it—while Harry Potter could be easily dismissed as a “kid’s book” and is found in the Children’s sections of bookstores and libraries everywhere, just as many adults devoured the adventures of the Boy Who Lived just as ravenously as its target audience.

So, yeah, working in the wild and woolly world of Y.A. for the first time, I picked up a few things… Continue reading

Writing Is Not a Solo Sport

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photo credit: Arne Parrott

Striking a hero’s pose here is Drew Mierzejewski. I briefly met him two years ago through Alyson Grauer. Now if Aly’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you can find her lending her voice to one of my podcasts here, hear her rock the steampunk here, do it again here, and then giving good panel at DemiCon 25. Aly’s got game. So does Drew. That might be one of many reason these two got married.

Check it out, Chicago. This is an up-and-coming power couple to watch. I’m just sayin’.

Thing about Drew—I wish I knew him better. Something just tells me we’d be talking to the wee small hours in the morning about…stuff. Deep stuff. I especially got that impression when I saw a random Facebook post from him yesterday about the road creatives walk. The entire thread is here, and you really should check it out or even chime in if you like, but this was the part that made me stop and think…

Therefore, I would like to place a hypothetical to each of you. Why do we do walk this road alone? There are many of us! Why do we not band together in a great bonfire of creativity and make art? Is it impractical? It is idealistic? Is it too terrifying? What is stopping us from creating a massive company that makes art year round, in which we pool resources and talent to make the best of what we have to offer? Now, I want to reiterate that I ask this in hypothetical but I do want to hear your thoughts on this. So please take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think. Tell me why.

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