Writing about Reading: Dandelions & Dragons

July 31, 2013 § 1 Comment

dragon-princess-2-sally-balfanyPrincess Dandelion isn’t the fairest of them all. That title belongs to her younger sister, Rosebud. Rosebud never lacks for suitors, but they are all (in Dandelion’s opinion) idiots. However, there are no idiots vying for Dandelion’s hand, which frustrates her father, the King. Eventually tiring of her father’s ridiculous plan to find her a husband, Dandelion strikes out on her own …

Full disclosure: Sherry Spurlock is a very dear friend. Nevertheless, I honestly think her children’s book, Dandelions & Dragons, is a wonderful fantasy short for kids, with enough mature humor that adults will enjoy it, too. And it’s got a great message: girls don’t have to sit around waiting for boys to rescue them; they are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves and finding their own happily ever after.

Dandelions & Dragons is a story begging for the full illustrated children’s book treatment. I would love to see it enhanced with lush, colorful artwork. But even without, it’s a great tale that belongs at every little girl’s bedside. And every little boy’s, come to think of it.


Writing about Reading: Dead Pig Collector

July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

deadpigMister Sun measures time in seconds and disposes of bodies for a living. When he travels from London to LA for a job that goes a bit wrong, he’s forced to change his meticulous plans.

Dead Pig Collector is dark and funny and grisly and not for the squeamish. Warren Ellis goes into a fair amount of detail about how bodies are professionally disposed of, to the point where you begin to wonder how he knows this stuff. (He says he found out in five hours of research on the Internet, and I’m sure that’s true, but I hope never to get on his shit list, nonetheless.)

The only criticism I have about the story (it’s a Kindle Single, by the way) is that I wasn’t clear about what the ending meant. I look forward to discussing it with my friends after they read it.

All in all, it is well worth the buck. Ellis packs some absolutely fantastic writing in such a small space, and has a brilliant way of making the absurd seem mundane and absolutely believeable. Give it a read.

Writing about Reading: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

July 31, 2013 § 2 Comments

wsswarsThere are some things in this world that just go together: Bert and Ernie, peanut butter and chocolate, hot summer days and ice cold beer. But George Lucas and the Bard?

Oddly enough, yes.

Ian Doescher provides us with the hilarious proof in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, a pastiche that delivers exactly what the title promises: Star Wars recast in iambic pentameter and Elizabethan English.

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“A flesh-spatula that holds things”

July 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

handsThe Onion, that never-ending fount of satire, posted a fantastic piece yesterday titled “Frustrated Novelist No Good At Describing Hands.” It is chock full of fried gold, like the quote I used for the title of this post, or this:

Calling the way he represented the proportions of his characters’ hands “way off,” Milligan said he is especially bad at delineating human fingers, which the writer once portrayed as “flabby pink-tan logs, but a bendy kind of log.”

I do fine with describing hands (in my opinion, anyway), but I have trouble with smiles; I tend to overuse “smile” and “grin,” to the point that it seems like that’s all my characters do.

Is there a body part or expression you have difficulty with? Those goo-filled face orbs, or the bendy part in the middle of arms, perhaps?

Writing about Reading: Use of Weapons

July 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

uowbanksIain M. Banks’ novel Use of Weapons is the third of his Culture series. I read (and reviewed) the first book, Consider Phlebas, a couple of months ago, but skipped the second one to get to this novel because someone told me that it jumps around in time. My little space opera also jumps around in time, so I wanted to see how Banks handled some of the problems in writing a story like that.

What I got was an absolutely fantastic page-turner.

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Please keep your hands inside the car at all times …

July 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

My friend Jeff shared this:

Click the image for the full-size version.

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