Man, Hitchcock used to be everywhere. His films, of course, but also the television (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) on the radio, on vinyl and cassette tape (tales of mystery and murder) and in all kinds of books. My favorite were the Three Investigators, but that's a tale for another "These Books Made Me" entry.Read More
Fun project I finished up over the weekend.
The dismembered hand is plaster, from a lifecast of myself. Additional scultping for the rotted flesh, etc. Super cheap to complete, the most expensive item was the $6 glass container from Target.
I used Douglas & Sturgess moulage for the lifecast. Moulage isn't the most popular product these days, but it has the admirable trait of being reusable for future molds. This is great for a hobbyist who tends to screw up molds, like I do. Just break it down and remelt it, and you're ready to go.
If I do something similar again, I'll likely tint the plaster when I pour the cast, but it took the paint pretty well. (The photo in the grass shows it getting a clear coat halfway through the painting process.)
I used some tinted resin for the base, and craft-store moss for a bit of decoration. The resin gives a cool dingy look while also holding the hand firmly in place on the uneven bottom. I spritzed the inside of the glass jar a poor quality clear coat to give the appearance of grime and condensation, and topped it off with a coffee-stained and dusty label.
It's not exactly camera-ready, but it was fun to make, and a good project for a backyard propmaker. I'm sure someone with better chops could really make something like this shine.
As a kid, I loved everything Star Wars. The characters, the drama... Those movies planted seeds for the expanded adventures I had with Han, Luke, & Leia wherever my stubby little legs could carry me and my Darth vader helmet full of Kenner action figures.
But just as much as I loved the movies, I loved the books. That's right, the books.
"Han Solo at Star's End" and its sequels ("Han Solo's Revenge" and "Han Solo and the Lost Legacy") blew my little kiddie mind.
First released in 1979, they were windows into full adventures just like the ones that I'd had with toys, but fully fleshed out, and introducing a full cast of characters beyond the ones I'd grown to love through the films.
The trilogy covers Han & Chewie's adventures before the films began. It'll probably come as no surprise that they're depicted as smugglers with hearts of gold. They may complain along the way, but when push comes to shove, they always set aside their own interests to help out those less fortunate than them.
I can't objectively say how well these books are written, as I haven't revisited since childhood. But I can say this: as a kid, they were friggin' magical. I read and re-read them, bringing them along on family vacations and into all my favorite secret reading spots tucked away in the backyard, where I felt I was in a world of my own.
Today, I cite these books as the reason I have a goal of some day writing tie-in fiction. As a kid thrilling along to Han and Chewie's adventures, the author's name didn't mean anything to me -- I had no idea who this "Brian Daley" guys was -- but I did know that he had the coolest job ever.
The chance to play in someone else's sandbox is pretty irresistable. To dive into the thoughts and feelings of your favorite characters, to tell new stories that explore deeper questions... and then to share them with other fans? That's like having the best action figures ever.
And I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Brian Daley's Han Solo novels were embraced by the later Star Wars writers, leaving a thumbprint on the wider "expanded universe" of novels, comics, and short stories. Later books made mention of the events in this trilogy, and their influence has trickled down to the current batch of films and stories.
Not too bad for a few books about a smuggler and a wookie up to no good.
I had a great time reading at the Columbus Arts Festival this weekend. I appeared on the OHIO Magazine Word is Art Stage as part of a diverse lineup of writers and essayists which included fellow Writeshop members Jordan Kurella and Jeannine Jordan.
Thanks to everyone who rallied against the heat and came out to support the arts!
Author Jake Kerr has assembled work from 75 authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer. The final product -- Event Horizon 2017 -- is currently available for free download until June 15, 2017.
Jake reports that a print version will be available for purchase soon.
I'm happy to report that my story, "Ghosts, Bigfoot, and Free Lunches" is included, along with work by a vast number of terrific writers. Check it out if you get a chance!
I love Little Libraries, both as a way to build community and a way to share literature. And I'm so happy to be part of the Hemingway Shorts collection, which will be distributed to Little Libraries around the Chicago area.
The Romance genre has undergone a major transformation with the advent of e-books and mobile readers. The pool of authors has changed, and so have the readers. And with new readers and creators come new expectations.
One of the most interesting of these shifts has been in the roles, interests, and occupations of women characters. Specifically, the increase in characters who work in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). These women provide readers -- especially young readers-- the chance to see women as having both brains and bodies, logic and emotion, rather than being constrained to only one at a time.
If you'd like to learn more about these kind of romance novels, this NPR article by Maya Rodale looks at three modern romances with female leads in the STEM fields, and is a great introduction.
My story "Autumn's Daughter" is in the latest issue of Andromeda Spaceways. It's about parenthood, and how the fear of that staggering responsibility battles with the desire to protect and provide for your children.
It's also got creepy clowns and a lot of running around and screaming in the woods. Because those things are part of parenthood as well.
I spent the weekend at the World Fantasy Convention. The panels & lectures were interesting, but the real magic was in the casual conversations at the bar and in the hallways. I was amazed by how many talented and kind-hearted peopleRead More