Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Epistolary Novel

What do you think of epistolary novels? I read a recent one the other day and was of two minds. On the one hand, I enjoy the creativity behind a book composed of fictional letters, and the genre is as old as novels themselves. At the same time, how many people in real life write letters anymore?

I tried my hand at an epistolary novel once. I liked it, but several agents I met at a writer’s conference baulked at the idea of an epistolary novel. They’re very difficult to sell and rarely do well commercially. But I’m more concerned with this type of novel from an artistic point of few. Modern communication has changed so much, that a series of lengthy letters now seems archaic and difficult to related to in many ways.

So what do you think? Have epistolary novels had their day? Or is there hope for them in adapting them to the modern world?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

World Cup!


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been following the exciting finals of the World Cup this year. I’ve never enjoyed watching soccer (futbol) so much! In fact, of the original top 3 teams I picked during the 32 team stage, all of them made it to the semi-finals. Why didn’t I put money on them?! Oh, well.

With literally over 3.2 billion viewers estimated world wide, it’s a safe bet that if you’re reading this you’ve watched at least one game in this year’s tournament.

Croatia and England had a heck of a game today. Both of them are stellar teams. I’ll definitely be rooting for England to get the number 3 spot against Belgium Saturday, but I’ll also assuredly be rooting for Croatia to get the final cup against France on Sunday. May the best team win!


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Happy Independence Day!


We celebrated this 4th of July as we often do. With lots of food, fireworks, and friends. The kids are getting used to looking forward to the holiday, now that they’re old enough to remember previous years.

It’s extra fun too, because our town happens to be one of the few in our area where you can still do fireworks at home. Nothing against the professionals, just sometimes it’s fun to do them yourself. I guess it’s the pyro in me.

I hope all of you have a spectacular 4th and that your summer is shaping up nicely. I’m definitely looking forward to more BBQs and watching the garden grow. What are you looking forward to this summer?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Writer’s Conference Schedule Released!


The schedule for the Central Coast Writers Conference this September has just been released! I’ll be teaching a couple of classes, as well as sitting in on panels, and providing critique sessions for authors who sign up ahead of time. Needless to say, I’m pretty pumped!

In addition to getting to speak at an awesome conference on the Central Coast, I’ll be in good company as well. Lots of renowned authors will be there, including Kim Addonizio. I remember first reading her poetry in college, and now it’s crazy to think that I’ll be speaking at the same conference as her. How cool is that? Sorry, I’m still geeking out about it.

You can learn more about the conference and the schedule here. I believe there’s also space available still, if you wish to sign up and attend. Hopefully, I’ll see a few of you there!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Archer


Another favorite TV show of mine these days is Archer. You’ve probably seen the would-be spy/sleuth and his irreverent sidekicks on FX or FXX. The humor is definitely not for kids and likes to push the envelope, but that’s part of its charm. What I really like, however, is how the show has progressed in new “historical era” for its characters.

Two new versions of the show include Dreamland and Danger Island. What I really like about these two spinoffs is that they focus on the glamour of past eras. Dreamland has a very 1930s noir, Hollywood vibe, and Danger Island has a sort of 1940s adventure seaplane backstory in the tropics. Needless to say, they all come with lots of tongue-and-cheek phrasing and jokes that keep on coming through frequent action scenes.

Oddly enough, many of these characters should be unlikable, but it’s difficult not to root for them at times. I especially like how their plotlines have been adapted for more historical circumstances, albeit with a very romanticized touch. Nonetheless, if you haven’t seen Archer yet, I suggest you checkout a few episodes post-haste.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why I Like Corny


I enjoy realism as much as the next person, maybe more sometimes. However, I’ve noticed for a long time that most contemporary fiction (in fact SciFi, Fantasy, Literary, etc. for that matter), has gone so dark that happy endings and anything generally positive seems to be on the wane. In fact, I’ve found so many of the books I read now are so dark, that it’s beginning to feel unreal, which kind of defeats the point of realism...but I’m getting off track here.

I’m a romantic at heart, and I enjoy lighter, fun, positive stories too, because, frankly, life realistically has those elements as well. I was watching a documentary on Walt Disney the other day, and one of the faults critics often accused him of back in the day was of having too much “corn” in his plots - which was their way of saying “corny” or fantastical. Instead of shying away, Disney proudly rebutted that he not only likes corn, but that he “is corn.” In other words, corny and romanticism was his thing, and he believed it to be more real or just as valid as any other bent in storytelling.

Perhaps I’m naturally an optimist, but I truly believe that there’s room for a sunny outlook while still maintaining realism within a story. I also think that there’s always a place for myths and legends, whether it be Arthurian or Indiana Jones, and that those stories, no matter how corny, still ring with truth.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Growing the Garden


Spring is rapidly turning into Summer where I am, and the garden is starting to show it. I take my kids out into the yard nearly every day so that they can help out and get in touch with nature. Plus, we’ve already started harvesting our lettuce, so we make fresh salads every night for dinner. I always like to grow things I can eat!

We’ve been lucky this Spring as well, getting just enough rainfall and sunshine so that I’ve hardly had to water the yard at all. It may not sound like much, but a couple months of natural irrigation saves a lot of money on water bills. Especially, since we grow corn, pumpkins, beans, sunflowers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and more! It’s good for the earth and good for our pocketbook all at once. Plus, it all tastes really good.

So how has your Spring and coming Summer been shaping up for you? Any big plans?