Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dialogue Tags of DOOM

Okay, like any other human being, I like to think of myself as being pretty sharp. But, I am also willing to admit that there are just certain things that take a long time to compute with me... if at all. A case in point: Dialogue tags.

For at least a year, I have been a little foggy on what dialogue tags were exactly, and being a writer of fiction, I figured I should probably figure it out. Eventually. And I did, completely by chance. The downside to this, is I learned that I had been using said Dialogue Tags all wrong... And published two books that way. -_-

Dialogue tags are nothing complicated... They are simply the "he said" or "he shouted" that comes after some dialogue. Well, in the cases where my dialogue would end with a series of dots, an exclamation point, or a question mark (anything but a comma, really) I would capitalize "he said", so it would look something like this:

"Your strut is so ridiculous, you look like a peacock in stilettos!" He laughed.

And the correct way is:

"Your strut is so ridiculous, you look like a peacock in stilettos!" he laughed.

If I ever learned the correct way to do that in school, it must have been forgotten. Fortunately, I don't think a tiny mistake like that is too detrimental to my writing... at least it shouldn't be... Like anything else, writing is something that you never stop learning about. I just hope there isn't anything else that is utterly wrong with my writing style... o_o;

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Woozlebar in My Car is Broken...

Having been after a driver’s license recently, it’s actually turned out to be pretty helpful to look up a thing or two about cars and where to get repairs…. Because let’s face it, I don’t know the difference between an alternator and cylinder. I know my first car will be a used one. That’s inevitability. So, another unavoidable truth about used cars is that they will need repairs and a lot of them. That’s where RepairPal.com would come in handy.

RepairPal.com makes it convenient to get estimates on your specific car and model, and they let you select it by maker, year, model, service type and zip code. Along with the estimate, they tell you the best ways to avoid or detect that specific problem with your car, such as the check engine light. Which would spare me a lot of grief with what little I actually know about cars… What is a carburetor anyway? <.<;

It’s because of my car illiteracy that the encyclopedia on their site makes a difference… They have FAQ’s and not so FAQ’s listed to help you find a solution to your problem. Sure, if you don’t know something about a car, you could always Google it. I normally would. But now that I know about RepairPal.com, I know that the explanation I get is more likely to be reliable. If smoke was coming out the tail pipe of my car and some random site told me to plug it up with a potato… I might do it. More out of curiosity than gullibility probably, but the fact remains that the end result might be amazingly disastrous.

You can easily find your local car repair shop in their auto shop directory , and whatever location you choose, they tell you a thing or two about the place itself if you’re not already familiar with it. The San Diego auto repair, is a good example of this. There’s also a page for every car type and model with reviews from actual owners, like the Ford F-150. It’s interesting to see the wide range of reviews that are between the extremes of “I love this car!” to “I’d have this car towed, smashed and recycled as a pan just so I could bang my head on it as punishment for buying it in the first place.”

Monday, May 31, 2010

El Tango de Chaney - Tribute to Lon Chaney

Don't tread on that spider, it might be Lon Chaney! Well, better a spider than the characters he portrayed, which were featured in my first YouTube video.

I've been a Chaney fan since I first saw him on screen some five or six years ago. He's awesome and amazing and talented and not enough people seem to know who he is. So! When I was spontaneously inspired while listening to the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge, I had to make this music video. Took me a year or so, but I did it!

There are a few videos on YouTube for Lon Chaney, but not enough that I feel did Chaney or his characters any justice. "El Tango de Roxanne" is filled with all that passionate stuff of jealousy and heartbreak, with a pinch of insanity. Which I thought was perfect for Chaney's characters who just never seemed to get the girl.

In a nutshell: Chaney is a disfigured or outcasted character who loves a girl who loves another guy. That's the skeleton plot for almost all of his films, but somehow Chaney managed to make each character unique and mesmerizing.

Here's my video. Hope you enjoy! ^_^

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Missing Lulu Revenue Solved

I wrote a blog entry earlier regarding the fact that I wasn't paid for more than half of the books that I sold on Lulu.com. Understandably, I was miffed that I wasn't receiving my revenue. So, I finally contacted Lulu Support, and they gave me a swift reply. And... it turns out it was my fault that I didn't get paid.

According to Lulu, I wasn't paid for 6 out of 10 sales because I bought them myself. And when you purchase your own book, you receive zero creator revenue. I'm pretty certain that I overlooked that fact, since I sure as heck don't remember every single little detail that I read in rules, terms, and guidelines. So, I'm not going to throw a fit and demand my money. Since I'm new to this publishing thing, I'll be learning as I go along. And so long as I can write and have it published and copyrighted, I'm content.

On a side note, I'd like to show some admiration and gratitude for the helpfulness of Lulu.com and what they've done to allow me to publish my own stories. I intend to build up quite a collection if my inspiration and hands won't give out on me.

So, we all learned a valuable lesson today children: Make sure you read things more carefully, especially when you're money is involved.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inspiration = Renewed!

It's amazing. A little encouragement can go a long way.

Out of curiosity, I decided to type my name and the title of my book, Tarkington Wolf, in the search engine. I didn't expect anything to pop up, since I'm hardly putting enough effort into promoting my writing. But, at the top of the search popped up a fellow Blog called POD People. I'm convinced that there exists in this Blog the only existing review ever written on my writing. (That wasn't written by a family member... *cough* Thanks Mom...)

I was honestly surprised to find it, but my surprise blew my head off my shoulders when I realized that the review wasn't a terrible one. They gave me an unexpected 8.5/10. I'm flattered to the point of jumping up and down like a giddy 5-year-old, but the uber-serious writer in me keeps my feet planted firmly on the ground to attempt some degree of professionalism. (I hopped around and squealed when no one was looking...)

What made me the most proud was that the reviewer, Emily Veinglory, understood everything that I intended in the story. That it was written with the flavor of a 19th century novel, and that the protoganist Ben is an emo little whiny baby. Okay, I shouldn't make fun of my own hero but.. well, he was. Intentionally.

I'm very grateful for the review, and it has inspired me to get back to writing, since I haven't touched any of my incomplete stories in well over a month. Because of Emily's great review, I know I'm not doing too much wrong, but also that I still have a lot to learn. But that's the fun of writing, isn't it?

Here's the review by Emily Veinglory for my book, Tarkington Wolf

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lulu, Don't Gip Me Now!

I've recently gotten paid on Lulu.com for three books and downloads that were sold in January... But I didn't get paid for the other nine books that were sold between July and January. Needless to say, I'm confused, a little miffed, and looking into it.

Now, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not publishing books for the money. I love to write and all I really care about is getting my stuff read. But getting a little pay for all the hours I put into said books would be nice. Especially when it's promised to me.

I never had anything bad to say about Lulu.com until now because they let you publish for free and give you all the freedom in the world to design your own book covers! (With the exception that it doesn't violate copyrights, of course.) I mean, I had an authorgasm when I first opened the package from Lulu and saw for the very first time my writing and art in published form. I'd dreamt about that for years. So, I love Lulu for giving me that experience and the fact that they do offer ways of promoting your stuff (though I currently don't have the dough for that.)

Apparently I'm not the only Lulu member who didn't get my revenue for November and December, though. So, hopefully Lulu will get its act together and do something about it because if they're getting all the money for my work, I don't care how cool they are, that's unfair.

Hopefully I'll be able to post a solution to this problem soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Phantom of the WTF?

I've seen many, many different adaptations of Gaston Leroux's classic novel, The Phantom of the Opera. I've seen the silent one, the one with Claude Rains, the 80's one with Freddy Kreuger (Robert Englund) and, of course, the 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber movie. But the 1998 version, by far, was the best to save for last.

In my article on Associated Content, Movie Review: The Phantom of the Opera (1998), I addressed as much of the weirdness of the movie as I possibly could. Though, In all the 99 minutes of the strange-fest, I'm pretty sure I left a lot out. For instance, I forgot to mention that this movie failed to have the masquerade scene with the Phantom dressed as the Red Death. (One of my favorite scenes that was only successful in the silent version with Lon Chaney...)

All in all, as unusually entertaining as it is, this version of The Phantom of the Opera was a massacre of the story. They tried to add the eroticism of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but they also tried to cling on to the horror aspect by making the Phantom a psycho murderer... who isn't ugly in the least bit. (One of these days I'm going to write a very well worded article about my passionate dislike for "sexed" up villains who are supposed to be hideous...) Either way, they failed in all serious attempts, but succeeded in being downright hilarious.
"Nibble a little... That's right... right there... Gee, I hope Christine doesn't find out I gave her RAIDS."

Why bother to remake a classic story if you're going to change everything from it anyway? You might as well change the title to avoid confusion. Most of the world has been introduced to the Phantom story via the musical, and to see their beloved "sexy" Phantom looking more like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and trying to have sex with sewer rats is not something they want to see. I sure as heck didn't want to see it.

How are you supposed to sympathize for a Phantom who clearly shows a boob fetish, molests rats, and rips people's tongues out with his perfectly aligned white teeth? What are we supposed to say to him, "Oh, I'm sorry you were raised by telepathic rats." Bah.

And, even though I'm glad they included the classic scene of him playing his pipe organ, it really had no significance to their verison of the story. In the script, there was no mention of him being a musical genius. There was only vague mention of how he liked to hear Christine sing. There's a difference. I could go on and on and on about this movie in comparison to the not-so-great novel and the fact that this one actually makes me appreciate other movie versions... but I'm not. I have a feeling I'll be writing more about the Phantom in the future.

In any case... Here's the irresistable trailer:





Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Ads: Better than the Game

Well... It's better than the game if you're like me and don't know enough about sports to enjoy them. In any case, if there's one thing more famous than the superbowl itself, it's the uber-ads that are shown in between the kick offs and touch downs.

In the spirit of the Superbowl XLIV 2010, Hulu.com has posted some of the best ads from last years game. You can go to Hulu to watch the Superbowl commercials yourself, as you're bound to find at least one that you like. They range from Pepsi ads, Dorito ads, to Tires and Movie Trailers.

I've taken some of my personal favorites from YouTube for you to see. Enjoy!


NBC: LMAO
This ones a little disturbing, but taking things literally can be funny.



PEPSI MAX: I'm Good
People getting hurt. Need I say more?



DENNY'S: Thugs
Somehow there's realism in this.



HULU: Alec in Hollywood
Another one that probably has truth in it... O_O

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Laugh, Clown! Even Your Heart is Bleeding

A bleeding heart was the literal case in the 1924 silent film He Who Gets Slapped. Being a die-hard Lon Chaney fan, I've been wanting ot see this film for years. So, I was waiting and waiting for TCM to show it. But they never did. Finally, by chance, I came across it on YouTube. Was it worthwhile? I definitely think so.

Granted, I personally preferred Laugh, Clown, Laugh! from 1928, which also starred Lon Chaney. Yes, both star him as a clown with unrequited love, but they're so distinctly different, they're both enjoyable. After watching this film, I'm convinced that Lon Chaney invented the scary clown. Especially since this clown is the result of a once brilliant scientist post-breakdown. And you can't help but enjoy the scene where he exacts his revenge on the man who drove him there.


I published a movie review for He Who Gets Slapped on Associated Content. Check it out!




Might as well give the film a looksee as well while you're at it. :)



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

O Inspiration, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

As you can see by the the title of this entry, I still have the itch to do some writing. Poetic or casual. But, it's hard to write when you don't know what you want to write.

If you're a writer, like me, then your brain is probably filled to the brim with ideas you want to use and get on paper one day. But, no matter how many "brilliant" ideas I have, the moment I sit down to brainstorm on them and get them developed my mind goes a blank and I find myself staring at that accursed blinking cursor on the screen like so: o_o (That's my face, if you couldn't tell...)

I think many writers today have come to hate that blinking cursor. It blinks endlessly and offers absolutely no help or comfort for your lack of brain activity. You have the ideas, but can't focus on them. This isn't necessarily writer's block, I don't think. In fact, I think the root of the problem is that I have too many ideas and can't decide on one.

If I'm going to get anything done, I only need to focus on a single idea. Currently, I have about three stories that I've dropped and three others that are on hold. Not to mention another set of three that are complete but need to be edited and revised...

To solve this little dilemma, I might just work on getting the completed stories out of the way. Once they're edited and revised and published, I won't have to think about them anymore. I have got to clean my cerebral plate.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Tarkington Wolf" On the Loose

Written in 2007, but only recently edited and polished, I finally have Tarkington Wolf published. This story is a bit of a pet project of mine, since I had it mind at least a year before I actually startred writing it. Then it took me countless versions and rewrites before it became what it is now, and for the first time, I'm relatively satisfied with the results.

Now, I am not a fan of Vampires and Werewolves. In fact, I never used the word "werewolf" once in my novel. Now, before anyone goes and draws any conclusion, this story has nothing to do with that infernal Twilight series. It was written and conceived long before I even heard of Twilight. My reasons for writing it were mainly because there are too few werewolf stories out there with decent plots. Well, this was my attempt at a plotful werewolf tale. (Plotful? I dunno if that's a word, but I like it.)

(click pic to go to Lulu page)

The plot is as follows (copy and pasted from Lulu.com):

"An unearthly wolf prowls in the English town of Tarkington and is killed by two brothers, Theo and Ben Cathmore. But, instead of a wolf, they discover that they had mistakenly murdered their own father.

After spending ten years among a gypsy caravan, Ben returns to Tarkington to discover that Theo has become a local dictator and that the wolf is alive and more vicious than ever. Worst of all, he finds himself falling hopelessly in love with Hazel, his brother's estranged wife.

Driven by betrayal, and unable to stay away from the woman he loves, Ben seeks out the links between his tyrannical brother and the murderous Tarkington Wolf. "

Hopefully my book will appeal to a lot of people. It's set in Victorian England, is dark, has a supernatural monster, and a love triangle. If only I had the know-how to promote my stuff.