Sunday, September 26, 2010

"The Word Count" Episode Two is LIVE!

Episode two of The Word Count has been posted!

The show deals with Social Media and how you can utilize tools such as Twitter and your own blog to get noticed.

Interview one this week is with the lovely and talented JAYM GATES - Publicity Manager at Raw Dog Screaming Press, Co-Editor of the upcoming Rigor Amortis anthology, as well as a boatload of other stuff I begged her to talk about like the Browncoats movie and Zinechat.

My second interview is with the equally lovely author of Seeking Eleanor, The Reign of Billie Blackwater and Bare--T. L. Tyson. She is also the host host of her own weekly Vlog each Friday.

Links are off to the right for both iTunes and the direct RSS feed. Notes to follow shortly.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Open Letter the the SyFy Channel

"Sharktopus." Really?

"Lake Placid THREE." Honestly?

Ogre. Ice Spiders. Yeti.

PLEASE stop.

Just STOP.

A third Stargate series--Starring Lou Diamond Phillips. Your star of that cinematic masterpiece of 2009 "Carny."

Lou and a Carny Freak

Oh, and you now have WWE's "Smackdown." Awesome.

I I BEG you to go back to the days of "Farscape" and the original "Stargate: SG1."

There are a boatload of talented writers out there...I'm connected to a couple hundred of them via twitter. Get a few good writers. Create STORIES that have Science Fiction elements. Don't go for the cheap mindless entertainment. Spend the money on the ideas, the writing and the scripts. Not on Tiffany and Debbie (Sorry. DEBORAH) Gibson as headliners.

(By the way, see the two Eighties pop stars in the cat fight scene from that celluloid Emmy contender "Megapython vs. Gatoroid" HERE)

I know not every show can be like the recent "Battlestar Galactica" reboot or "Warehouse 13." I also know there is a fantastic camp-value in these movies. My partner and I watch them to make cheeky comments and laugh...something in the days of "The Great Recession"that has its own value.

But you're not even TRYING anymore.

Just saw an ad for "Mandrake" for Sunday night. Thank God football's on.

Guest Blogger for Kait Nolan today!

"Social Media and Writing" is the topic for the upcoming episode of "The Word Count" podcast.

I wrote a small piece on the site 'LinkedIn" for a guest spot on writer Kait Nolan's blog...which was posted today!

Click the link below to be redirected to Kait's site:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Speak Loudly"

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@rbwood) may have noticed I've added a badge to my picture. It says simply: Speak Loudly.

I'm warning you now, I'm about to rant and rave here.

You were warned.

Laurie Halse Anderson has written a book called SPEAK. It's a first person novel told from the perspective of High School freshman Melinda Sordino. The novel is set during the course of her school year. Melinda is having difficulties speaking.

It is a very emotional, hard to put down, hard not to cry novel. We find out why she is considered an outcast and why, in her words, "It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis."

The book is at times brutally honest, and you eventually find out why Melinda cannot seem to speak.

So why the twitter banner? And why the impending rant?

Because some right-wing nut job wants to ban the book.

Ban. The. Book.

The "Speak Loudly" Twitter banner and the subsequent #speakloudly hash-tag are in protest of even the thought of banning a book--a WRONG and abhorrent action as suggested by an ass-hat jack wagon.

The link above (click on Laurie's name) takes you to her description what's happening with the situation. As a writer, I can't imagine what she's going through with this nonsense.

As an American who cherishes the "Freedom of Speech" amendment (and there is a REASON it's the FIRST amendment), I'm disgusted at the thought of banning any sort of writing.

In an age where our rights are slowly being whittled away by the powers that be, a line must be drawn in the sand.

We must fight for our freedoms and our rights as writers, as citizens, as a family.

We must SPEAK LOUDLY against those who work against the light.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The 5 Minute Fiction Trifecta

One of my favorite online writing competitions is held over at Leah Petersen's website every Tuesday from 1:30 PM until 1:45 PM Eastern.

Called "5 Minute Fiction" it's pretty self-explanatory. In her words from the contest instructions:

And welcome to 5MinuteFiction. That means we write fiction. In five minutes. Shocker, I know.

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose in any style or genre

* You must directly reference today’s prompt:Insert word of the day here

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

Once a word is posted, a writer has 5 minutes to come up with a story, write it, revise it and post it on Leah's website.

The pressure is intense. The fun is indescribable. Follow Leah on Twitter: @LeahPetersen and follow the hash tag: #5MinuteFiction for details and reminders.

Why am I writing about this today? Self-indulgent reasons, really. Last night I won my third (and probably final) 5MF. I love this sort of pressure writing.

There are quite a few really great writers who participate each week. And more join in all the time. I recommend you give it a go. See what you come up with in five minutes.

So I present to you my third winning entry. There is some language and sexual content in here so be warned.

5MF Week #18 Prompt: INABILITY

They called it a ‘smart virus.’

A variation of herpes that could target specific DNA types. Read: races.

Once unleashed, it could wipe out an entire ‘targeted group’ within a generation. Maybe two.

It was the ultimate biological weapon with a one hundred percent mortality rate.

“A new sexually transmitted disease,” they said.

“Abstinence is the best way to avoid contracting the always fatal ‘super bug,” they also said.

‘They,’ apparently, were never horny teenagers.

Condoms were useless. Any sort of sexual contact. Kissing, blow jobs–even hand jobs would spread the virus. It didn’t matter.

They must have giggled to themselves when they’d first created it. Then screamed in frustration at their inability to control it.

See, what ‘they’ didn’t realize is that they’d created a real ‘smart bug.’ By smart I mean intelligent. Self-propagating. And self-aware.

They’d created the fucking Einstein of STDs.

Then ‘they’ declared war on the uber-herpes. Uber-herpes declared war back.

In three months it was all over.

As I look down from the International Space Station as the last surviving member of the human race, I try to find fitting last words. The oxygen is in the red now.

I think of Neil Armstrong and his “One small step” speech. What bullshit.

As the last tank goes dry, all I can think to say is “They…were a bunch of assholes.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Word Count Episode 2- Coming 26September10

Well the next episode of "The Word Count" podcast is moving along quite well!

Last night I had a fantastic chat with the dynamic and talented Jaym Gates and Wednesday I'll be interviewing T. L. Tyson. The subject this week is "Social Media and Writing"

I'd love to get your stories as have things like "Twitter" and "Facebook" enhanced your writing? Who have you met online and how has social media played a role in getting your message out there?

I have to share with you all the fact that this podcasting thing is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I'm getting the opportunity to chat with some really fantastic writers and industry professionals.

And if you haven't subscribed to "The Word Count" as of yet, there is a link to the iTunes version and the native RSS feed to the right of this article.

Come join me on my journey toward publication. I can't guarantee you'll learn anything. But it is a boat load of fun.

And don't forget to leave comments about social media below. I might even quote you in this week's show!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update from the Weekend

"Very productive" are the two words I'd use to describe the weekend!

Got the latest versions of The Prodigal's Foole, the summary and query letter out to my crit partner for review. Finished the script for the second episode of "The Word Count" and I have interviews scheduled this week to complete the program.

I'm also working on a 'guest blogging' spot--more on that when it develops.

And it looks like I'll be entering another writing competition by this weekend.

Tidying up a few shorts and finished the outline and scene descriptions for The Haunting of Agnes Middleton House.

Seems my muse had as much coffee as I did. She was definitely working over time for me.

Back to the day job, satisfied with what was accomplished over the weekend. Now that's a nice way to start the work week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A weekend of writing ahead...THE PRESSURE!

For the last month or so there has been a lot of work related and family related items that have come up and eaten into my writing time. Normally I have a daily goal of 2000 words or so. To put that into perspective, that tends to be a chapter of a book, half of a normal-sized short story or a quarter of a novella.

It doesn't mean its good, mind you. I wrote 15k words in a weekend and ended up leave close to 11k on the cutting room floor during the subsequent revision session.

Lately I've only been able to write a bit here and there. It's been more than a little frustrating as I'm trying to ramp up the first chapter of Foole and get it to a point where it's really in "query condition."

But now I have a full weekend I can dedicate to writing...and I'm hyperventilating over it. What if my muse decides to go on holiday? She's a feckless b*tch sometimes (for the record, I call my muse "Kira." Yes. That was Olivia Newton-John's muse character in "Xanadu." Shut up).

I'll be working on Foole, the script for the second episode of "The Word Count," and a few assorted
bits and bobs.

A lot planned.

You'd better show up, Kira!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Take on the Whole "e-Reader vs. Printed Book" Thing

"Paper books are dead."

"e-Readers are 'greener' than paper!"

"Books will never be totally replaced by e-readers"

Oh dear Lord the entire e-reader vs. printed book issue is as tiring as those politician ads that run just before an election.

In my humble opinion (IMHO) that is.

Between my partner and I, we have probably 1500 books. More come each year. We also own a Kindle and an iPad and we also both have library cards.

As an aspiring writer and storyteller, I know in my heart I won't be happy until I hold a printed copy of my book in my hands. That will be the ultimate success story for me. But I certainly understand (and love myself) the convenience and portability of an e-Reader.

Both Tina and I travel a lot for business. It's much easier for each of us to pack a Kindle or other e-Reader with 20 or so books loaded on them than to pack a suitcase half-filled with hard-covers. But we both feel like there's nothing better than the smell and texture of holding and reading a good paper book.

I think there is room for both out there. Competition is what makes our society in the Western world work. Besides, I think the authors I love benefit greatly from both (although the compensation model still needs to be fixed for ePubbed stories...but that's a rant for another time). See, if I like an author I tend to buy both the electronic and paper version of his/her book.

And sometimes the audio version as well.

I'm looking at YOU Jim Butcher and my full collection of The Dresden Files in hard cover, paperback and the wonderfully produced audio books read by James Marsters.

I won't debate here what's greener or which delivery (electronic or paper) is better. I won't be recommending one e-Reader over another (Well, ok. I lie. Buy a Kindle).

My personal preference is both...and supporting local libraries as well. But I'm a book-nerd, so what do I know?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's all about the writing...

I've been carried away a bit with the whole podcasting thing. Since I've been in the technology world for a very long time it's second nature. I guess I have this tendency to geek-out on a moments' notice.

I think the title of Wil Wheaton's book sums it up perfectly. And by the way, it's a great read. I recommend it highly.

Anyway, while the web site continues its development, I realized that if I'm going to BE a writer, I need to WRITE--actually add legitimate content to the future site.

So along with finishing up The Prodigal's Foole, I'll be adding a few short stories and some snippets for the the second book of the Arcana Chronicles -The Young Practitioner.

I just need to keep reminding myself that the geeky stuff needs to supplement the writing, not the other way around.

A few of the items you'll be seeing shortly:

  • …THERE Roaches! (Short)
  • The Haunting of Agnes Middleton House (Novella)
  • Death of a Trillionaire (Short)
  • Five Card Stud (Short)

There. I've committed to it. Now I just have to..."Make it so."

Sorry Wil.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's ALIVE!!

Episode One of "The Word Count" is live! RSS feed is to the right, and it should be available for iTunes subscription in the next couple of days.

The Subject for this first installment is "The Idea."

Big shout out and thanks to Emmett Spain and Leah Petersen for agreeing to be my first interviewees!

Also to the boys over at The Eagles Fancast-Eric & Chuck. Thanks guys for all your help.

Oh...and there is a very special announcement from Emmett on the next installment for his "London City" series.

Show notes will follow shortly.

Can I get a 'Squeee!' for my first podcast?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Podcast Update

Finished the raw recording for the first episode of "The Word Count" this morning!

The last piece of the 'cast was an interview with author Emmett Spain. I want to thank him for his time today, especially since I screwed up the diary entry for our interview.

As he's in Sydney Australia and I'm in Boston, the time difference is 14 hours. Apparently I have an issue with simple maths.

Never the less, we had a fantastic chat over Skype today...and that was the last thing I wanted to get done before the final edits and posting of the podcast.

I'm still targeting the release of the cast coincide with the premiere of my new website.

Now if I could only write the kick-ass opening to The Prodigal's Foole I want, it'll be a total win for the month of September.

Stay tuned! And while you're at it, pick up a copy of Emmett's book: Old Haunts, A London City Novel. Kindle version available as well!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The beginning that never will be...

I've been editing and revising The Prodigal's Foole this weekend based on feedback from Amy Boggs, agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and C. A. Marshall a freelance editor.

I can't tell you how important it is to get feedback on your own work in progress.

Anyway, based on suggestions, I wanted to ramp up the action and the initial hook for TPF and I made one of the biggest mistakes you can to start a it was explained to me by my crit partner and muse, the annoyingly correct and talented Leah Petersen.

So while I rewrite (once again) the opening sequence to my book, I thought I'd share with the the beginning...that will never be.

Can you guess what the very large mistake is?


The man sitting in 23B was put on a watch list by the flight attendants as soon as he’d boarded the aircraft in Dublin. Thirty-ish with wavy brown hair in need of a cut and two days of stubble on his face, he had the kind of dark, darting eyes that made the flight crew a little nervous. The biker jacket didn’t help ease the impression He sat next to an old mousy-looking woman on the window seat and man with a beard who’d just made the flight sitting in an isle seat. The grandmother of three tittered nervously, speaking about visiting her grand children in Boston, and her good-for-nothing American son-in-law who had taken her darling daughter away from Ireland. The bearded man was pleasant enough, winking and flirting with the flight attendants and receiving extra tiny bottles of vodka for his trouble.

The man in 23B said nothing and just stared stony-faced at the back of the seat in front of him.
Two hours into the flight, as brunch was about to be served, the trouble started.
The flight attendant was preparing her trolley with microwaved versions of an Irish fry brunch when she heard shouting coming from the center of the aircraft.

“Get the fuck off this plane! Now!”

The flight attendant exited the tiny kitchen to see the man in 23B looming over the little old lady, eyes blazing.

“Sir, the captain has not turned off the fasten seat belt sign. Please sit down and calm yourself.”
The man looked at the flight attendant, his eyes were lit with what looked like an internal fire.
The flight attendant stopped in her tracks. Flame leapt from man’s eyes.
He turned his attention back to the old woman.

“You heard me,” he shouted. “Out. Now.”

The old woman was trembling. Tears streamed from her eyes.

The flight attendant reached over and grabbed an in-cabin radio mic.

“Captain, we have a problem with one of the passengers. I need some help in the main cabin.”

“Hey buddy,” The bearded man in the aisle seat slurred. “Why don’t you leave the old lady alone? C’mon. I’ll buy you a drink.”

The man in 23B moved his hand slightly. The bearded drunk flew out of his seat and slammed into the ceiling of the cabin and stayed pinned to the top as if an invisible force held him in place.

People began to scream. Passengers around the man with the flaming eyes scrambled to get away from him.

“I know who you are. Last chance to get off this plane or I’ll throw you out.”

“Sir! Sit down!” The flight attendant shouted. She could see her colleague approaching the man in 23B, taser in hand. She could feel the plane banking sharply. The pilot was turning the aircraft around.

The old lady looked up at the man and smiled.

“Go ahead Symon Bryson,” she hissed in an unearthly voice. “Use your power. Do it.”

Flame shot from the man’s hand and engulfed the old woman. The side of the plane blew out.
The wailing of a siren accompanied the immediate decompression and deployment of the oxygen masks. The plane lurched and groaned as a second piece of the fuselage tore away.
Passengers and flight crew not strapped in were sucked out of the aircraft, tossed out like rag dolls while the man in 23B just stood in the center of the wreckage seemingly not affected by the havoc he’d caused.

Aer Lingus flight 332 rolled over and began its twenty thousand foot death spiral…
* * *
I awoke with a start as my flight touched down on the runway. I was drenched in a cold sweat and my hands hurt from grasping the armrests of my center seat.

The overhead speakers crackled. “Aer Lingus would like to welcome you to Boston’s Logan Airport. We enjoyed flying with you and hope you enjoy your stay.”

I couldn’t believe I was actually back in Boston. The nightmare faded as they always did. I haven’t slept well in ten years. You’d think I’d be used to it by now.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writing Ideas and Where They Come From

In a few weeks I'll be unveiling both my new website and the first episode of "The Word Count" Podcast. I'll be talking about the genesis of The Prodigal's Foole and other projects I've been working on, as well as interviewing a few authors who share some pretty deep insights into their own works and the ideas behind them.

But I'd also like to add comments to the podcast from the blog. Snippets from other readers/writers and industry folks, if you will. Click on the comment section below to share your story ideas and the thoughts behind them. Please make sure you include your name, whether or not you'd like to be mentioned and the where the seeds of your idea for your Works In Progress (WIPs) came from.

I'd love to hear and share your stories...and feel free to post your blog site, website or other ways the world can read more about you.

I'll be waiting!