Who needs an office?

If all goes as planned, we’ll probably move to a new house this year. I keep thinking about whether I might like to find a corner of the place to call an office, but the more I think about it, the less I want one.

I don’t really have an office right now. I write when I can, on the laptop, on the tablet or a spiral notebook. I sit in my chair or on the couch or occasionally in the kitchen. I usually have people or animals running around me, making noise or engaging in shenanigans. The TV or at least some music is usually on.

lonely office

When I think of an office in my home, I envision myself in a smallish room. It’s quiet, except for whatever music I put on. Everything but me is still. Well, Max the Cat would probably be there, too, because he can’t abide a closed door between us. He flips out.

So, just me and the cat and probably some music and that blinking cursor on the screen. The more I think about it, the lonelier it sounds. Can I even write in a place where I feel isolated? I concentrate better when the house is quiet, but I don’t want isolation, not from the kids, etc.

Really, the only reason I would want an office is for the occasional phone call and probably for storage of papers and various office supplies.

For now and the next house, I’ll stick to my recliner and the couch and the bed or wherever else I decide to sit. Maybe when I get old and more crotchety, I’ll want to hole up in my own room.

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movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The movie post is a little late due to the holiday. We had a lot of fun over this way. I got some awesome stuff, gave what I hope was awesome stuff. One of our fun activities was heading to the theater for The Hobbit.

cover

From IMDB: “A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on a “unexpected journey” to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim a their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug.”

I feel like I should mention that I’m not a Lord of the Rings geek. I’m a geek in several other ways, just not this. So I can’t really offer commentary on any nuances or inconsistencies. I’m just a chick that watched the movie.

And I liked it!

Like the other Lord of the Rings movies, this one was long. It didn’t really seem that long while we were watching it. There was plenty of entertainment, fighting and running and such. They story didn’t really lag at all that I noticed.

All of the good characters were likable in some kind of way. The dwarves vibed together quite awesomely while fighting and singing and even taking care of the dishes. Gandalf is amazing. I love him.

We saw this in Imax 3D, which was cool, but a little overwhelming with some sweeps of the camera. It was nauseating at a couple of points. Most of it was okay.

I had one more issue with the movie. I realize that this is the first installment of a trilogy, however, Unexpected Journey only set up various plot lines. Not much of anything was resolved. It almost made me wish that I had just waited until all three of the movies were out.

Despite these couple of snags, I really liked Unexpected Journey. It was fun to watch and everyone in our family enjoyed watching it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets a B+.

cover reveal: Llewyn’s Faith

Today we’ve got a cover. This is for a short story that goes with the book I have coming out next year. They story will be free and only in ebook form. Well, you could get it in print if you want to print it out, I guess.

I’m offering up this quick description of the story so there’s some frame of reference. It’s not the official synopsis.

Llewyn is 18 when she runs away from home. She hops a train and encounters a hobo with less than noble intentions. She ends up alone, in the woods, and her journey becomes much more than a trek back to civilization.

She’s the protagonist in the short story and the antagonist in the book.

As for the cover itself, the symbols have no real translation or individual meaning. They’re loosely inspired by some Asian writing.

LLewyns Faith cover mini

The story and the book will probably be out some time in February.

movie: Battleship

batttleship cover

Description from IMDB: “A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.”

I read some bad reviews of this movie when it came out in the theater. Hmm…I say that a lot, don’t I?

Anyway, it actually has some good things going for it. The cast, for one, is excellent. Liam Neesen, Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, YUM!), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) and some other people. Rihanna is an interesting addition. She does a good job. I also thought Col. Greg Gadsen was endearing in his role.

The special effects are awesome. I wish I could have seen it in the theater. Everything was huge – Transformers-style.
We didn’t think the movie was bad. They did draw some parts out a little longer than they should have, and there were more than a few times I was yelling at the TV because people in the movie were being stupid.

Also, whoever did the makeup for some of the guys used WAY too much straight-up girlie lipstick. It was weird.

Summarized: Acting, mostly good. Special effects, bad ass. Make-up, sometimes weird. Story, a tad slow in a couple of spots. Battleship gets a B.

A Fear of Audio?

Fear is probably a strong word. I had some goals for 2012. I accomplished some. Others? Not so much.

One of my goals was to do a recorded reading of something I wrote. It seems like it would be an easy thing, right? Apparently not.

I have concerns about the whole audio thing. First and foremost, once I let something I’ve written go, I can’t bear to go back and look at it. Kind of like when actors say they don’t watch their own movies because they’ll see everything they did wrong. Yup, that’s me, only with writing instead of acting. I’m working to get past it. I know I need to if I want this writing career of mine to go anywhere.

Honestly, I should have started recording readings back no one paid any attention to what I was doing. Now, someone might actually hear it. There’s a different level of pressure.

Other issues: I don’t like the way my voice sounds on recording. It’s weird for me to hear myself.

Additionally, where the heck can I record without getting interrupted by a furnace kicking on or bickering children or Max the Cat’s singing or scratching at a door because he absolutely must be where I am if I’m in the house. I have no studio, nor do I want to rent one. I don’t want to go to someone else’s house either.

Yarg, too many factors. All year, not doing it has been so much easier. Or maybe I’m just making excuses for a fragment of me that’s still a coward. I guess the audio thing will have to go on this list of resolutions.

The Power of Descriptive Writing

I was having some trouble getting into a book I was reading the other day, and I couldn’t figure out why. The story was interesting. The characters were good, although there were a few too many introduced too quickly. I just couldn’t get into it, so I put it down and went on to something else.

The second book was much better. It also enabled me to figure out what the other book was missing – effective description.

I need a visual on whatever I’m reading. I need enough input from the author to generate a mental image. The first author started out alright, but by chapter 2, he seemed to lose the willingness to offer up the details. I lost interest.

If the characters are in a room, I need to know what the room looks like. I don’t mean every little stitch on every throw pillow. I’ve heard George R.R. Martin writes 3-page descriptions of meals. That might be an exaggeration; I haven’t read his work. I don’t need that level, but I need enough to almost feel like I’m there.

Describing places and objects effectively requires patience. The temptation to rush on through to get to the action or juicy conversation can be significant. Trust me, I know. But skimping on description can deprive a reader of part of the experience the story has to offer.

movie: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

cover

Description from IMDB: “Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.”

As you can probably imagine, there is a ton of action in this movie. Unfortunately, some of it ventures into the completely unrealistic territory. And I don’t mean unrealistic as in just vampires running around. I mean unrealistic as in not possible even in a vampire fighting fantasy setting.

I don’t usually insert spoilers, but this stuff was just so dumb, I can’t bring myself to not mention it. So, if you’re against minor spoilers, cover the next paragraph with a post-it or something.

Some semi-spoiler examples: a vampire picks up a horse, swings it around and flings it at Honest Abe. In an earlier scene, AL cuts a vampire’s throat with a knife he’s holding in his teeth. Yeah, they were pretty groan-worthy. There’s was other stuff too, but I’m not writing a research paper or anything, so we’ll move on.

I did actually like this movie, believe it or not. The acting was okay. I loved the hats and some of the outfits. I read the book a while back, so I pretty much knew what to expect. If you liked the book and can get past a few overly cheeseball moments, it’s worth watching.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter gets a B-.