The Last Drive-in Rides Again

The Last Drive-in Rides Again

If you’re a horror fan and watched late-night TV in the 1990s, then you know who Joe Bob Briggs is. (And if you’re horror fan and you don’t know, you’re missing out.) Recently, Shudder resurrected “The Last Drive-In” following a couple of successful holiday marathons, and the streaming world is a better place for it.

So why does a double dose of dorky horror movies matter? Community.

The world has grown smaller with the advent of social media. If you love something, you can certainly find others who do as well. However, the likelihood of sharing that passion in a tangible way is unlikely unless you live near them.

Enter the resurrected “The Last Drive-In.”

Once a week (Fridays at 9EST/6PST), you can join Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl on Shudder and enjoy a double feature of horror movies. If you are active on Twitter, then the hashtag #TheLastDriveIn connects you with fellow mutants (horror fans who love the drive-in) and is moderated by Darcy (@kinkyhorror).

So who cares?

Horror fans across the country who can’t sit down with one another and enjoy a classic they’ve never seen before or re-watch a favorite for the hundredth time are treated to an online community of similarly interested horror fans. And in a digital world where social interaction is a metric, the horror community that tunes in each Friday and commiserates via the #TheLastDriveIn hashtag (or tweets to Darcy) feels like a group of friends enjoying the movie together even though they aren’t located in the same physical space.

Through the first four weeks, we’ve been treated to behind-the-scenes commentary from Joe Bob and classics like The Changeling and C.H.U.D, relatively unknown films like Wolf Guy and Q: The Winged Serpent, cringe-worthy films like Society and Castle Freak, classic slashers like Madman, and incredible New Zealand horror like Deathgasm.

Who knows he’ll screen next?

But if you’re not doing anything next Friday and you love horror movies, then join the rest of us mutants at “The Last Drive-In.”

 

Slouching Toward Agoraphobia

Slouching Toward Agoraphobia

I’ve put off writing this a few times.

Perhaps it’s because it reeks of privilege and ego. Or perhaps because being honest about how we feel, especially when it comes to pain and mental illness, is frowned upon. After all, aren’t we all supposed to be happy and smile?

Questions assault me as I sit down to write this:

Who cares about an unknown writer?

Why bother everyone with your problems?

I think that I should just keep this stuff in, unless of course I want attention.

Then again, maybe owning up to how I feel can make me a better person.

I have the unconditional love of a partner who supports me at every turn. Yet, I don’t love myself. I see myself in the mirror and I cringe in horror. I hate my face, my body, my voice, my words––perhaps even down to the very essence of the self.

I realize it is popular to imagine that artists are awash in self-loathing, but there is something to be said about sinking into a vortex of emotional and mental refuse that drags you down like quicksand.

Great art comes from great pain: We’ve all heard this clever turn of phrase.

And maybe you’re wondering what a middling writer knows about the pursuit and labor of great art. That’s a fair question. I do know that seeing only the worst in yourself creates an internal world full of doubt and mistrust.

So what does this have to do with agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one’s own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult.” As I sat drinking coffee on an objectively beautiful day, I realized how uncomfortable I was. Even though I was dressed comfortably and spending time with someone who loved me, I felt like I didn’t belong. I felt disgusting. It didn’t matter that my partner was supportive and complimented me; I still wanted to disappear.

How did this happen to me?

In that question, I suppose I realize there is a cascade of choices that led me here. It didn’t happen to me; it arose from the consequences of a series of choices. I moved from one place to the next, not bothering to form new social relationships and instead leaning into a virtual world that offered convenience and a comfortable distance from my work.

 

Living Remotely

I’ve moved around most of my life. As an adolescent and a teenager, I went to a different school every year from kindergarten until I graduated high school. Once I was on my own, I lived in six states and eight cities more. With each subsequent move, the pool of close personal connections diminished. And once I was done with graduate school and moved from northern California to Portland, almost a decade’s worth of friendships were dissolved simply based on distance.

I would move twice more after Portland to Arizona before settling in Las Vegas. Whatever friendships I forged along the way were gone. I had a handful of close friends spread out across the country, but I rarely saw them.

The allure of social media made it seem like I could continue to maintain and perhaps grow those relationships, but it proved to only be a slow obsolescence of social interaction. What replaced it was the pursuit of connection most accurately described as screaming into a rainbow-colored void. You could search for people who had similar interests, but most people still formed meaningful relationships in the real world.

I had marooned myself on an island of my own creation.

When I spoke with those friends who survived the flurry of moves over the almost four decades of my life, I feigned joy. I pretended that this isolation was really a form of literary utopia––a fantasy-land where a writer was free to focus on writing without the niggling social responsibilities that impeded progress.

It was a fiction of course.

It continues to be a lie I tell myself with a self-assured smirk. I tell myself that I don’t like going out because I have food allergies or joint pain or some other subjective reason. However, the real reason is that each time I go out I feel uncomfortable and awful about myself, and that simply confirms my desire that staying in is the better choice.

Truthfully, it is easier than ever to work from home as a writer. So I lean into it and choose to rob myself of possible social relationships. I do myself greater harm in the pursuit of convenience by isolation. I’m thankful for the relationships I have maintained, and I mourn for those that were never given life.

 

Functionally Unhappy (Or How I Learned To Exist)

Unhappiness by way of over-analysis is not uncommon. I’m not special. The idea of a perfect life haunted me for years. I thought I needed to look a certain way and achieve certain things in order to be the kind of partner who would be worthy of love.

In theory, I understand why that idea is foolish.

The idea of a perfect life is a lie.

However, the pervasiveness of undermining myself and doubting what I have to offer is overwhelming. Despite doubting myself at every step, I stay productive. I write books; I publish books. I secure writing and editing contracts.

And despite the forward progression, I am functionally unhappy. I work through the self-doubt and pain. I internalize the hateful feelings instead of sharing them because that is my legacy. That is the toxicity of a learned behavior spreading throughout my being.

I don’t have any answers. I’m leaning into honesty to see what it yields. Perhaps by owning up to these ideas about myself, I can finally exorcise them. I do know that in doing this necessary thing and being honest, I am also being kind to myself, even if the ideas themselves are unpleasant.

So maybe I’m agoraphobic––maybe not. I really don’t know.

But I do know that without reaching out, I will continue to sink into an abyss.

 

If you or somebody you know is struggling, there is help available.

DC Should Tackle Batman Beyond Next And Cast Donald Glover

DC Should Tackle Batman Beyond Next And Cast Donald Glover

Nerds of the world will recall Batman Beyond as a refreshing animated take on the Batman mythology. We were gifted with an incredible Batman animated series in the 90s that stands the test of time. (Don’t believe me? Go back and check it out.)

Here are some reasons why DC should tackle a Batman Beyond movie next:

 

They can stop rehashing the same story. Even Nolan’s trilogy was beholden to the rogue’s gallery of villains and characters that had previously existed in the Batman movie universe. Whether it is the Joker or Catwoman, they have to be reinvented in a new decade, but much of the story remains the same. In setting a movie in the future, you can create a new set of villains and characters in this  version of Gotham. For too long has the detective aspect of the character been absent on the big screen, but a reboot in the future could allow for new methodology. An aging Bruce Wayne would be playing mentor and watch tower for a younger Batman: this means new challenges and methods for overcoming problems.

 

 

Recast Bruce Wayne. Since this version of Bruce Wayne would be an older man, you have an entirely different set of actors from which to choose. There would be no need to hire the en vogue  actor who is going to provide an appeal to key demographics. You could cast based on the needs of the character, which would no longer be purely (or predominantly) physical; the detective aspect of the character would be more important, as well as being a mentor. I think it would be interesting to bring back Michael Keaton as an older, grumpy version of Wayne.

 

Add diversity to the story. Not to be a prisoner of the moment, but Donald Glover is fantastic. I’m one of the many fans who would have loved to see him play Spider-Man on the big screen. Sure, he got a cameo, but that’s not the same thing. Can you imagine a movie where Michael Keaton plays mentor to a snarky Donald Glover in the ultra-tech version of the bat suit? If you don’t want to go with Donald Glover (or perhaps he wouldn’t be interested in it), then utilize some diversity by casting a person of color.

 

 

Guest Post: The Long Road to Publication by Anna Belle Rose

Guest Post: The Long Road to Publication by Anna Belle Rose

Years and years ago, actually decades ago, I was a stay-at-home mom for a bit, with my then youngest child who would not fall asleep at nap time. Over time, I realized that while he wouldn’t sleep, he would sit in his crib for a bit each afternoon, listening to Yanni at the Acropolis, looking at story books, and I could sit and write. And write I did. I wrote and wrote and wrote over many months. By then, my youngest was talking, and he somehow understood that Mommy was writing a book, and he kept nagging me to keep going. And I did.

Fast forward many years, and I’d keep opening the word file of that first novel, print it out, edit and revise, and eventually send it out to a few agents. Rejections would come in, and I’d put it away for a while, then that same son would poke at me again, and the process would start all over again. During this same time, I also started several other novels, and kept working on them in the same way. All of them were contemporary romances, heavily linked to life in Vermont, and all have gloriously happy endings – I mean, who doesn’t love a happily ever after?

Finally, late in 2016, I decided I needed to either get serious about writing, or give it up for good. So I pulled those two complete novels out again, and hired incredible professional editors to go at them. Then I started submitting them to a few agents, and a couple publishing houses that didn’t require representation by agents. And on June 13th, a publishing contract arrived on the novel I wrote first, The Phone Call. And on July 13th, a contract arrived for my second, That One Small Omission. And joy of joys, on December 4th, a contract was offered on my third, More Than I Can Say.

On October 11, 2017, That One Small Omission was published in e-book and print versions, and on December 12th, The Phone Call will be published. The joy and excitement I feel each time I look at my mantle and see my first published novel is an emotion that I think only other authors can understand!

 

Amazon link to That One Small Omission: https://tinyurl.com/yb5bc2ux

Amazon link to my author’s page: https://tinyurl.com/y8uzgxeh

 

Guest Post: Earth to Centauri – Alien Hunt

Guest Post: Earth to Centauri – Alien Hunt

The year is 2118. The First Journey from Earth into interstellar space has been successful, but the explosive secret carried aboard Voyager 1 will have grave consequences.

As Captain Anara and her crew returns to Earth aboard their faster than light spaceship Antariskh, civil war breaks out on the world they have just left behind. A cryptic message warns her of the dispatch of mercenaries to Earth. Their mission – unknown but deadly. She may have just days to prevent unimaginable carnage on Earth and stop the outbreak of interstellar war.

Her crew and the National Investigation Agency, or NIA, engage in the greatest undercover search for the mercenaries in the streets of the megacity. As they race against time to uncover the plot, a traitor is unmasked and Anara herself comes under suspicion. She must use every ounce of her resourcefulness to protect 30 million people and one unique innocent life.

Immerse yourself in an edge-of-your-seat thriller on a realistic future Earth and geek out on the technology just a few decades away from today.

Releasing in December 2017!

Read the prequel Earth to Centauri – The First Journey https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071RYBF3D

The Marketing Blues

The Marketing Blues

Writing a book is difficult; revising and editing is an odyssey.

However, marketing looms large, hanging around your neck like an anchor. Indie authors face an uphill battle. There are hundreds of thousands of new books created each year across a myriad of genres. Depending on the pool you dive into, you may (or may not) have a bastion of potential supportive fans.

Unfortunately, the grind is indeed a millstone.

You must learn to embrace the suck.

I love a rousing speech, but marketing is about discipline and a real desire to share what you have made with the world. Often, in the throes of sending out review emails or contacting media outlets, you are struck by a desperation to simply give up. You might consider just being content with having completed a book.

And truthfully, finishing a book is a real accomplishment. Very real.

Some things that help me get through the grind (and also result in some progress):

  1. Advertising.  Not everyone has the budget to run a full-page ad in The New York Times (I certainly don’t). However, you can chip away with a smaller budget using Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. If you ran an ad 2-3 times a week, you might be able to run an ad that reaches 10,000 new potential readers for as little as $50.
  2. Starting a conversation. You’re probably on social media; you probably even retweet some truly interesting people. But you likely aren’t having a conversation. The importance of this is in building relationships, showing potential readers that you don’t just want to sell them something: you want to make them a lifelong reader.
  3. Talking to someone new. Every so often I like to shoot for the stars and reach out to someone on social media who’ll probably never respond. You don’t need to tweet Chris Pratt in order to talk to someone new. You could reach out to a columnist you admire (Lauren Duca) or just someone who covers your genre to say you enjoyed what they wrote. Writers are always excited to hear from people who enjoyed their work.
  4. Making a plan. Wondering what to do next? Decide what you want to do. Sell 10 books today? Sell 10,000 books by the end of the year? Get a thousand new followers on Twitter by the end of the year? Figure out what you are aiming for and then build a step-by-step plan to reach it. That’s what I do anyways.
  5. Throwing out the plan. Then sometimes plans change…goals change. You need to adapt with them. Throw out what wasn’t working and plan for something new. The world is constantly changing; you need to be changing with it.

All I know is that if you are unwilling to share your book, then potential readers will likely not be interested in reading it.

 

Purchase Sixth Prime before Fifth Prime arrives!

Sign up for my newsletter to get free ebooks and to be entered into contests for cool gifts!

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Thor Ragnarok

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Thor Ragnarok
Copyright: Daily Express

I have decided to start a new approach to reviewing movies, TV shows, and books on the site. Enter “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” segment. First up is the latest in what has become the exhausting MCU.

Simply put: I loved this movie.

The previous two entries in the Thro franchise set up an interesting relationship between Thor and Loki, but never seemed to produce a movie that was worth the price of admission. With that it mind, let’s get to it.

The Good: Loki (in my opinion) has been one of the few bright spots in terms of a largely underwhelming stable of villains the MCU has marched out for the shiny Marvel movies. Here, Taiki Watiti treats the god of mischief as he should be: chaotic neutral. Loki, traditionally, is less a black hat and more a “let’s watch them dance” kind of antagonist. This is revived here with requisite humor. Thor Ragnarok was, quite simply, fun, which has been sorely missing from the MCU. Hela was a great villainess and the supporting cast, especially Korg, proved to be wonderful. Jeff Goldblum delights as well, though I would have expected nothing less. The Good: characters, dialgoue, music, and overall story.

The Bad: There was not a lot to complain about in this movie. One criticism I have seen levelled at it is the lack of seriousness. While the plot is peppered with humor and misadventures, I never felt as if it needed more seriousness. The Bad: very little at stake in the larger MCU picture (not really a bad thing).

The Ugly: Valkyrie was one of my favorite characters in the film. However, there was a point at which the movie veered toward her as a potential love interest for Thor. She deserves to be an autonomous character, not beholden to a potential amorous companion for Thor. The Ugly: hinting that Valkyrie might tumble into love-interest territory.

Overall Score: 

out of 5