Links!

Mar. 17th, 2008 09:58 pm
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
Several fun/interesting links today.

First, Jennifer Estep, who is the author of Karma Girl (which I blogged about) and Hot Mama (a semi-sequel), is having a contest on her blog to give away copies of the books and t-shirts. She's also now on [livejournal.com profile] fangs_fur_fey, and will shortly be taking over the world. Just in case you wanted to prep for that.

PW blogger Rose Fox wrote an interesting post today about the weakening divide between YA and adult fiction, particularly in SF/F. She also quotes [livejournal.com profile] janni's recent rant about adult authors who are shocked by YA topics. If you've been following that conversation (or [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's recent blog on the same, which was also quite good), it's definitely worth the read.

I don't know that the boundaries are shrinking so much as that they were a little artificial to begin with. Many of the books that were shelved in the YA section I grew up with (which I loved and was very lucky to have) were probably originally marketed to adults, and many books about teens are shelved in adult fiction. I don't know that the distinction between the two needs to be bolder--but I think adults should make the realization that a lot of YA fiction might also appeal to them, which might make them less shocked at the content (or might help them understand modern teens a little better)...

Courtesy of Neil Gaiman's blog, we have a report from The Onion about the Novelists Guild of America strike, which has apparently affected no one. (It's a bit scathing in its satire, but funny none the less.)

Lastly, Stacia Kane posted a wonderful conversation with her six year old daughter that is just about the epitome of geek parenting on League of Reluctant Adults.

As for me, I got done with this round of editing my Serenity adventure for Margaret Weis (whose changes were all dead on--I only disagreed about one, she countered with reasons why it wouldn't work, one of which was roughly "Joss is boss," and I was convinced). Tomorrow, on to some Steampunk Musha work I've been putting aside for months (I'm still working on it Rick!) and some overdue reviews that I've been meaning to turn in. But for now, I'm going to go finish By Venom's Sweet Sting.
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
My feet are kicking and I'm trying to get my head back above water. I just turned in an assignment, so I thought I'd surface for a moment and check in.


  • Update on the Writers Strike? What Writers Strike? Strike is ovah, baby. The vote on the contract happens on the 25th.

  • Reeses is trying to kill me. As some of you may have noticed, I've got quite the thing for chocolate and peanut butter. So what does Reeses do? They take those yummy chocolate bunnies that people put in Easter baskets--the ones that are usually hollow--and they fill them with peanut butter! The temptation is too great. I am going to suffer a painful, agonizing death due to overdose of peanut butter and chocolate.

  • The wonderful Jamie Chambers has my script for the Serenity RPG adventure that I wrote, and the remarkable Lindsay Archer will be doing illustrations for the Serenity Adventures book in which my adventure will appear. Whether or not we shall be reunited on the page has yet to be seen...

  • And did I mention the oversized Reeses Eggs? Doomed I tell you!

  • I'm sending out C. S. Lewis devotionals to friends over Lent, which has been a great way to reengage in theological conversation via e-mail. If anyone knows of a Tolkien devotional book (I suspect one doesn't exist, but you never know), I'd love to have another Inklings kind of Lent next year.

  • In ice cream news: Save the honey bees or your favorite flavors could be forfeit! Possibly even peanut butter and chocolate! (Are you getting the theme here? 'Cause I might stop now.)

  • I'm putting the guest essays on hold until I can reliably update. I'm having trouble keeping the *comic* reliably updated (Jeremy is being good about nagging me when I'm behind, thankfully), and I get paid for that. I expect blogging to resume its regular schedule after DDXP, where I will be next week, at ur con, checkin' out ur 4e. Yup, that's me.



And now, after hours of writing essays about Brad Paisley, Ben Bernanke, and the Spice Girls, as well as obituary for Jerry Falwell, I am so getting off the computer.

P.S. "Water of Life" did not get accepted into the Fantasist Enterprises anthology, though I did get a very nice letter inviting me to their critique forums. I'm thinking about heading over. Any of the rest of you doing the same?
alanajoli: (Default)
So, the most difficult thing about Dungeons and Dragons has nothing to do with learning the rules. It doesn't deal with rolling dice, and it doesn't even take into account a variety of improvisational skill levels. No, it has *everything* to do with finding a time when six or seven people who all like hanging out with each other can manage to put aside their busy schedules and get together!

It's been a busy gaming weekend (Living Kingdoms of Kalamar), and plans are already in preparation for next week (Xen'drik Expeditions). Funny story of the weekend: I remembered to pack the gaming bag, but not the bag with the clothes, so we ended up at Target (where apparently they only sell shirts for anorexic women with very long arms--who knew?) getting sundry supplies to make it through to the next day. I found a sweatshirt that worked, but waited to buy a t-shirt until the next day, because we were gaming at Pandemonium, where they sell shirts to support the store. I now have a cool new goblin shaman shirt in bright yellow. So it all turned out for the best!

Now, for the fun links.

The first is courtesy [livejournal.com profile] tltrent in regards to the Cassie Edwards debacle. Paul Tolme, one of the plagiarized authors, wrote a great article for Newsweek about the whole experience, and also gave a plea for the Blackfooted Ferret. It's an extremely funny read, and I very much admire Tolme's spirit.

In WGA strike news, PW ran an article about how authors are now having to decide whether or not to cross picket lines to appear on shows that haven't negotiated fair deals with their writers (The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are both mentioned) in order to promote their books.

But for the win of the day, a book that I reviewed for School Library Journal, Good Masters, Sweet Ladies, won the Newbery! (My review is at the bottom of that page, so you can see what I thought.) It is so incredibly exciting to have a tangential connection to the winner (my coworkers at the library are convinced that my review had something to do with the book's success, which makes me giggle). Having read and loved it, it's still a surprise win to me: it's a brilliant book, and completely non-typical for a Newbery win: it's interrelated monologues rather than straight prose, and it begs to be performed. There's a great article about Schlitz from the Baltimore Sun.

That wraps it up for today! I'm trying to follow up with the people I invited to guest blog so I can start putting a schedule together, but since I didn't form an actual *list* when I started, actually documenting this whole guest posting thing is ending up being a bigger challenge than I initially thought. :) Curse my lack of foresight!
alanajoli: (Default)
I just found out that Lindsay Archer, who did all of the art for Into the Reach and Departure (as well as my lovely icon), has been featured at Margaret Weis Productions. Hurrah! You can see a lot of Lindsay's work over at DeviantArt.com.

In other news, non-scripted TV got rated very highly last week, and the article I read seemed to say that was a bad thing for the Writer's Strike. Thing is... since all of the scripted shows were reruns (except Desperate Housewives, which was number five in the most watched category), is it any surprise that the new reality shows that were just premiering got high ratings?

*sigh*
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
So, I've already talked about the pencil drive for fans to support the writers. (That's ongoing, and the first delivery is up on YouTube. Pretty darn funny.) I also mentioned yesterday the MoveOn online petition. [livejournal.com profile] flamesrising logically noted that online petitions are easier to ignore than actual letters. The pencils are a gimmick that may or may not work. So he recommended actually having addresses available for people to write letters.

Quite happily, the WGA East have provided all of the addresses for studio heads on their Web site. So the information is out there.

In other news, Harry Sloan of MGM mentioned the strike while talking about Peter Jackson agreeing to take on making The Hobbit. He says, "As far as The Hobbit, yes, it’s going to have an affect because we need the strike to get settled. We’ve got Peter Jackson, which is the biggest point here, but now Peter and the other writers who will be involved can’t write. So we’ve got to get this strike settled."

Ideally, Mr. Sloan realizes that getting the strike settled requires actual cooperation and compromise, rather than bull dozing and stalling tactics. We'll see.
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
MoveOn.org has been in my camp recently, and I love the work they're doing. First, they took on Facebook's pretty bad privacy policy decision and won. Now they're rooting for the writers by hosting a petition to bring back The Daily Show. Knowing how much media they manage to get, I can only think that this is a good thing.

Besides that, I went to college with Eli Pariser, who is one of the top guys at MoveOn. We were in creative writing classes together. So it makes me giggle that now we're both supporting the writers: him with a huge grass roots organization, and me with my little blog. :)

Here's the link to MoveOn's petition to bring back The Daily Show.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
Two completely separate topics here, but they equally captured my attention, so I'm posting about both.

The Writers' Strike continues, and on Friday, it brings some of its heavy hitters to Boston to lead fans in a social strike gathering. Your favorite store and mine in Cambridge, MA, Pandemonium Books, supported the fans and writers by supplying materials for sign making. You can read about the efforts of the Bostonians in the Boston Herald article that covered the strike. (I hear it's also over at Whedonesque, with possibly more details from those involved.)

I'll be at AnonyCon, the best game convention in Connecticut, but I'll be wishing the Boston crowd success!

--

On a completely different note, I've just realized that I don't know how to read a paranormal romance novel when it's equal parts urban fantasy and romance. I know how to read a romance novel with paranormal elements--so long as it acts like a romance novel. I know how to read sexy urban fantasy. But when the plot structure seems half-way between the two--which is what struck me about Demon Moon by Meljean Brooks--I'm just not sure what to do. (I suspect that part of my struggle is that Demon Moon is, in fact, book four of a series, something I hadn't realized when I ordered it in from the library.) I was trying to read it like a romance novel--and it has those elements: the two characters who are going to be the steamy romance are obvious from the beginning, and the same two characters resist giving into temptation for somewhat concocted reasons--barriers set up by the author that don't necessarily follow logical sense, though in Brooks's case, one of them is a vampire, which is really reason enough. But at the same time, the world is under attack by dark forces, and the way that magic, evil, and chaos are dealt with has far more detail behind it than the average paranormal romance that borrows a bit of real-world mythology or a single supernatural element and runs with it. (Don't get me wrong--I even *like* that kind of shallowly plotted book from time to time. Even Karma Girl, the superhero romance that still makes me grin to think about it, went with cheese over depth, which really worked for it.)

So what to do when a book feels like a romance novel, looks like a romance novel, and bears the blurbs of a romance novel, but hovers somewhere between The Care and Feeding of Pirates and Kitty and the Midnight Hour? Apparently, I'm just not sure. I didn't finish Demon Moon, but I think I'm going to go back and start at the front of the series--which unfortunately I can't easily get through my library, and might take some research--and see if that helps clear things up for me.

Has anyone else had this trouble in a cross-genre book of any type? You all know I'm very pro-cross-genre, so I'm interested if folks have other stumbling blocks that I may not have encountered.
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
Just got the news in from Deadline Hollywood that things may not be as dire as we've feared: talks have resumed and they're going...

Well!

Most positive assessment is that we could have our writers back by Christmas!

Edit: Apparently we don't dare to hope as Deadline Hollywood recinded its earlier optimism. Serves me right for not going to the subsequent entries.

--

In other news, Zuda Comics, DC's new web comics line, is advertising over on Drunk Duck, much to my amusement. There's an ad right now for them on our front page at Cowboys and Aliens II. I love that they're trying to recruit web comic talent from Drunk Duck, because it means they really are thinking about bringing in new talent. If you haven't heard about Zuda Comics, there's a reasonably good profile of them at About.com.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
I just found out on the WGA East website that talks are scheduled to resume on November 26th. I think that's a good sign!

Stay tuned for more news as I hear it. :)
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
The New York Times posted a story yesterday about the "Missing Pieces" episodes of Lost: shorts that will air only online. In a contract between ABC and the writers for the shorts, the writers (and actors) will receive residual income for the work they do online.

"I think it is a pretty good model," Carlton Cuse, one of the writers, told the reporter. "What it shows is that there is basically room for a partnership between writers and the studios in a new medium. It's where I wish we were headed instead of being stuck in this standoff."

The rest of the article is pretty interesting, too. With the amount of web content my favorite shows are producing (I thought NBC was leading the pack on this with all they did for Heroes last year and all the new content they're producing for Chuck, but it looks like ABC is running right alongside them), I have to wonder if all of the original material is being compensated like it is for ABC. And if the original material is receiving residuals, why the hesitation to provide residuals (a percentage of profit, not a flat fee) for streaming?

But then, I'm clearly in the writers' camp on this. :)

In other news, the cover for Chapter II of Cowboys and Aliens II is up. Rick Hershey did an *amazing* job, as always, and it's just a stellar image. If you haven't had a chance to check out the comic, now's a great time to do it, as we're getting back to our regular posting schedule.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
[livejournal.com profile] spyscribe very wonderfully posted the Ask a Ninja short about the WGA Strike. It is extremely funny, very short, and recommends using Vikings on the picket lines.

I highly recommend watching it. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] spyscribe!
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
So, the WGA has organized something brilliant for the fans to do. Some of you may have heard about how fans sent nuts to producers to keep Jericho on television. The folks at United Hollywood developed a similar plan: send pencils to the producers in support of the strike. Joss wrote about it here, and you can get your pencils from United Hollywood here. They're environmentally friendly pencils, no less, and these folks are coordinating the effort to have an overflow of pencils (much like the potatoes that Murphy Brown dumped on Dan Quayle's lawn, if you remember that far back in TV history).

In other news, Tokyopop is doing some brilliant marketing: they're running a contest to advertise their Tokyopop TV, which puts some of their manga into flash. In this contest, they're asking all of their readers to post certain clips of episodes on their blogs, MySpace pages--anywhere that it can be seen by the public. So they're enlisting the fans (much like the WGA above) to get the word out. The clips look like this:







Now, there are two ways to read the fact that I, too, am posting one of these clips. One is that I have been taken in by Tokyopop's clever marketing (which isn't entirely untrue: they are offering a Wii as a top prize, and I'd love one of those machines). But it's also true that I'm fascinated by viral marketing, and thus must blog about it. And with that, I'm back to work.

New Media

Nov. 14th, 2007 06:28 pm
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
So, if the networks don't decide to pay writers for new media, the future of entertainment could be reduced to this:



Yeah, that's me, making referency humor about network TV. Keep in mind that I haven't acted on camera since college. Just sayin.

Edit: A couple of notes. First, if you aren't watching the TV show Chuck, don't even bother clicking the link. Second, any idea why my media isn't embedding?

Edit 2: Figured it out! It is an embedding triumph!
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
This is my first attempt at embedding media, so we'll see how it goes. One of the members of the Board on the WGA did a concise history of the WGA and the strikes that have been important moments for the way Hollywood and the writers interact.



Being given the historical perspective is really helpful in seeing how the role of the writer has been shaped over the years. I found it very informative, so I thought I'd pass it along.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
Entertainment Weekly just explained some of the details of the Writer's Strike from the perspective of why the writers are right. It's a good primer for folks who are interested in what's going on, and I think the reporter tries to be very fair.

Not much else from this corner today. Trying to get some assignments trimmed up so I can get back to working on Cowboys and Aliens and Worlds at War (which are now two different projects).

Just... Wow

Nov. 9th, 2007 12:26 pm
alanajoli: (scc-writers-strike)
George Lucas, explained why the Writer's Strike doesn't affect him. Apparently, he hasn't written for years. He showed the interviewer a nifty gadget they used to build action scenes for the prequels.

"Of course, the technology then wasn't quite what it is today. For many of the characters, we still had to use actors, and since the actors needed something to say while they were on the screen, I had to do a little writing here and there. Still," he says, "it was way better than working on the original trilogy. Back then, I had to use a typewriter, or later a word processor, to write a full 120, 130-page script! I hated it so much that after the first one I just hired other people to do it for me. I didn't even read 'em most of the time."

*cries*

The full article is here.
alanajoli: (heroes-writers-strike)
I was out of town and then down with the flu, so I've been away from the computer. (Most of the time I've been in bed, asleep, so I've been missing a lot of what's going on lately.)

One thing that I haven't missed is the WGA screen-writer's strike, and how brave all the folks are who are out there doing that. If you read just the New York Times, (a paper I normally love, by the way), you might get the idea that writers aren't, in fact, workers. That writing isn't work. Well, the writers among us know that this is bunk, and when the screen-writers are asking for something like nine cents per DVD sale and a minimal percentage of online sales regarding the work they've done--it's not like they're asking for a lot. So if you're in LA of NYC and believe that storytelling is important--and that writing is work!--show your writer friends some support for what they're doing. I hear that they appreciate pizza delivered to their strike locations.

So, the quote of the day comes from one of the strikers, Joss Whedon, in his blog entry on Whedonesque:

"We’re talking about story-telling, the most basic human need. Food? That’s an animal need. Shelter? That’s a luxury item that leads to social grouping, which leads directly to fancy scarves. But human awareness is all about story-telling. The selective narrative of your memory. The story of why the Sky Bully throws lightning at you. From the first, stories, even unspoken, separated us from the other, cooler beasts. And now we’re talking about the stories that define our nation’s popular culture – a huge part of its identity. These are the people that think those up. Working writers."

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Alana Joli Abbott

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