Thursday, September 19, 2013

Artists Unite!



I must confess to being somewhat of a comic book geek.  For some years now, a monthly subscription of “Judge Dredd Megazine” has been delivered to my home alongside its sister periodical, the weekly “2000 A.D.”.  I pour over every story, review, interview, and even reader opinions.

In issue number 338 I discovered a disturbingly damaging letter from a reader.  This fellow called the interviews cheap filler and essentially a waste of his time.  He is clearly no artist (or perhaps a bitterly blocked one); those stories are gold to someone like me!  And I know how much hurt can come from unconstructive criticism.

The editors followed his opinion with a note stating that such thinking “does the writers a disservice.”  What a serious understatement.  While appreciating the diplomatic approach, I simply had to write in to the magazine.  The artists deserved proper defense, even if only the email monitor were to read mine.

My email stated my joy in those personal accounts, “especially when shared with humility, praise for the artist's forebears, and encouragement toward aspiring artists.”  I also praised the Megazine’s publication of fan fiction pieces, submissions which were also rudely disparaged.

Before telling the editors to keep up the good work, I couldn’t resist a dig at all the complainers who malign comics they dislike for whatever reason.  “Having favorites is one thing, but I feel these publications would do a disservice by not exploring different styles and disparagers would do well to keep that in mind.”  Apparently, parents no longer teach children that if they have nothing nice to say they should say nothing at all.

Time passed and I thought no further about the matter.  Yesterday a package showed up.  Inside I found a lovely comics reissue from “2000 A.D.” publications.  Neither my partner, who knew nothing of my action, nor I ordered had ordered anything.  Another reach into the envelope disclosed explanation for the mysterious surprise.  My rebuttal letter got printed in issue 340’s Dreddlines section!

The beautiful graphic novel you see pictured below was my prize.  As for the title given my letter, “First Dibs on the Nibbles”, I confessed to sometimes saving favorite stories for last like a little girl nibbling off the bread crust.

It made my day to be rewarded for speaking out against negativity.  I hope you’ll take any reasonable opportunity to do the same.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review of Mel Keegan's "Home From the Sea"



I picked up “Home From the Sea” the minute I heard of the title’s release and did not regret my purchase for a moment.  Mel Keegan has an enviable gift for world building, in this case transporting us to the English coast circa 1769.  Mr. Keegan brings to life an ordinary, upstanding fellow about to be swept up in secrecy and adventure he could never have fathomed.

We first meet Jim Fairley running his late father’s tavern.  A reputable establishment, The Raven flocks with clientele who share hair raising tales from the high seas that leave Jim musing over the thrill of exotic shores.  The fog of his daily grind only lifts when a man of like mind enters the establishment and the pair discovers mutual attraction.  But these illegal interludes are dangerous, inevitably brief in nature.

As a result Jim finds himself forever consoled by the companionship of rum-soaked sailors, a dog, one cat, his nearly deaf grandmotherly cook, and a female populace that assumes an old leg injury left him a eunuch.  Even an aged regular sees the danger of missed opportunity, warning that any safe haven can become a prison.

Enter Toby Trelane, the enigmatic visitor who gradually, unintentionally, turns Jim Fairley’s mundane existence on its ear.  Toby acts as handyman by day and balladsinger by night, drawing unlikely crowds even on the cusp of bad weather.  This stranger piqued my interest with his secretive yet generous nature.  What was Toby hiding?  Why did he seem shamed by his past?

I had difficulty putting the book down well before any actual mayhem ensued.  You must know, too, that Mr. Keegan incorporated some unexpected characters, well crafted ones.  There’s the long-dead owner of The Raven who watched the coastal path with eerie intensity.  No one could say why.  Mother Nature plays a major role, for sure, and even the The Raven herself seems like much more than just a set of structures.

I consider this an outstanding mesh of romance, mystery, drama, and jeopardy.  If you appreciate a thoughtful story filled with grit and heart instead of endless sex, be sure to pick up “Home From the Sea”.

Click here to read the blurb, excerpt, or just buy, wish I recommend:

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

No "Dear" Here

I recently watched a tenth anniversary special celebrating the great science fiction program "Firefly".  It reminded me that the character named Wash had a great nickname for his wife Zoe.  He called her "Lamby Toes".

Another great endearment comes from an older movie called "Idle Hands".  The male lead called his girl "Baby Snakes".  If you like a comedic scare, you definitely should check out this flick.

Anyway, these are just some of the weird things I think of while in the midst of madly writing fifty thousand words for National Novel Writhing Month.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday - A Long Overdue Post


White Squirrel

Unseasonably warm, the late October breeze sent golden leaves spiraling from the canopy.  Russell plucked one sticking from the crown of his hair.  The wind made him wish he’d braided its considerable length.  It wasn’t as if Cory were here to appreciate the loose waves.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Restrictions

I recently received a general list of does and don'ts for elevated cholesterol. So, it seemed a good idea to share and hopefully get some commiseration. Here are thirteen things I'm told to avoid:

1. Processed meats such as bacon, bologna, and hot dogs

2. Whole milk

3. Cheeses over three grams of fat/ounce (Swiss, American, and cheddar are specifically listed, sigh...)

4. Butter

5. Coconut

6. Egg noodles

7. Cream cheese

8. Doughnuts and pastries

9. Croissants

10. Potato chips

11. Solid shortening/lard

12. Ice cream

13. Chocolate

While many of these aren't too much of a hardship, I'll have to get more specifics. After all, I have to find something convenient for workday mornings and don't want to end up on cholesterol medication if I can help it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Female Crooners

Last week on my Darla M Sands blog I listed music groups fronted by females. In that case, I owned entire albums. To be fair, I thought I'd list those talents who are represented in my collection by anthologies and soundtracks. I know I've missed more than a few but here goes...

1. Martha Reeves - "Dancing in the Street" from The Big Chill soundtrack

2. Nancy Sinatra - "These Boots Were Made for Walking" from the Full Metal Jacket soundtrack

3. Lady GaGa - in a duet with Marilyn Manson on "LoveGame"

4. Paramore - "Decode" from the Twilight soundtrack

5. Eurythmics - "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" off my eighties collection

6. Medicine - "Time Baby III" from The Crow soundtrack

7. Fiona Apple - "Sally's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas collection

8. Teena Marie - "Lead Me On" from the Top Gun soundtrack

9. LaVern Baker - "Soul On Fire" from the Angel Heart soundtrack

10. Nena - "99 Luftballons" from Sounds of the Eighties

11. Bananarama - "Cruel Summer" off Class Reunion '83

12. Aretha Franklin - "Think" from the Blues Brothers soundtrack

13. The Dixie Cups - "Chapel of Love" from the Full Metal Jacket soundtrack

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Shinedown

Today I thought I'd share thirteen tracks from one of my favorite rock groups. These are from the album "Leave a Whisper":

Fly From the Inside

Left Out

Lost in the Crowd

No More Love

Better Version

Burning Bright

In Memory

All I Ever Wanted

Stranger Inside

Lacerated

Crying Out

45

Simple Man