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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A True Surprise!

I had a wonderful surprise yesterday: Fed Ex dropped off a huge box containing my author's copies of True Son of Tartarus---over a week early. Love it when that happens! How many things we wait for actually come early? Of course, I immediately thumbed through one copy, just to make sure everything was there---like a new parent anxiously counting a baby's fingers and toes!

Though I must say that the cover of True Son isn't quite as spectacular as the cover of Judgment, it does match its style, as I requested. And it's a huge step up from the first two cover designs, which I flat-out refused to accept.

The best thing about the publication of True Son is that now two books of the trilogy will be available online. And even those who've never read Judgment on Tartarus can get into True Son, since it's meant to stand alone as well as being part of a trilogy. A select few people who are my truest fans will shortly receive a free copy. The rest of my readers will be delighted to know that the standard cover price is only $16.95, while the Kindle version will be the usual $9.99 ( as soon as it's up and running, hopefully in another week or two. )

Lots of online booksellers will be carrying True Son of Tartarus at various discounts, so checking prices online is always a good idea. Now I'm anxious to find out how readers receive this book---love it, hate it, find it so-so? Fair warning that it is just a bit more adult than Book One was.

Keeping my fingers crossed that True Son is a success,


P. S. I'm now editing Chapter 26 of the final installment of The Tartarus Trilogy: Ransom of Tartarus, which will be published in 2012.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Royalty Riches?

After receiving my first royalty check for Judgment on Tartarus, I can tell you one thing for darn sure: I'm never going to get rich by writing! Of course, I really didn't expect to, and I feel sorry for anyone who truly expects to become a millionaire overnight because of their writing. ( If I had a day job, I certainly wouldn't quit! )

The real rewards of writing aren't monetary. Writing novels isn't the way to make a fast, easy buck. If you don't love to write, you shouldn't try writing professionally---it's just not for you. ( Unfortunately, a lot of people these days believe they're capable of writing a hot bestseller! )

The raw, unvarnished truth is that only 1% of books published sell 250,000 copies or more. And authors receive a mere pittance for every copy sold. With the growing popularity of e-books, as well as other devices for reading, authors make an even smaller amount from each e-book sold, further lowering their royalty income.

Publishers complain that they aren't making a profit on most books they publish, can no longer afford to pay authors advances, or even to publicize their books! Short story markets are drying up at an alarming rate. Many magazines that used to publish fiction ---even online magazines!---have ceased publication. The future for authors of fiction, in particular, looks rather bleak.

We can only hope that a) the lousy U.S. economy improves markedly---soon!---and b) the generations coming up will become/remain avid readers. In my opinion the future of books of all kinds, magazines, publishers, and authors depends heavily upon these two factors.

Please---keep on reading!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Waiting For True Son

At present I'm still waiting. True Son of Tartarus has gone to the printer to be made into paperback books---something tangible, something I can hold in my hands and say is my creation, a treat for the intellect ( I sincerely hope! ) True Son is currently being formatted for the Kindle edition as well. That should be available in 2-3 weeks ( at $9.99.)

Once I do a final edit and approve a book for publication, it is then literally out of my hands. I have no say in pricing or how much time it takes for one of my books to become available. That's up to the publisher and printer, not me.

Right now I'm trying my best to wait patiently---at least as patiently as I can! I'm concentrating on editing Book Three: Ransom of Tartarus, which will be the final book of the Tartarus Trilogy. My author's sample copies of True Son are scheduled to ship Oct. 5th and might actually arrive by that date if I'm lucky.

I wrote the original draft of True Son in the late 1980s and have worked on it, polished it, revised it, off and on over the last twenty or more years. Now that I'm this close to publication, I have to remind myself to be patient: I've waited a long time to achieve this goal, so I can certainly wait a few weeks more!

All for now,


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stubborn As A Taurus

Although I don't generally put much stock in astrology, my astrological sign is Taurus, and one of my major character flaws/strengths is stubbornness. So they at least got that one right. Strangely enough, though, I find being stubborn a great advantage when you're a professional writer.

Sticking with a project day in and day out, perhaps for years---especially if it's not going well---is dang tough. Many days you just want to give up and chuck the whole blasted kit-and-kaboodle out the nearest window ( or in my case, in the trash can! ) But I've learned over the years that if you are stubborn enough to persist, to struggle on despite problems, miraculously, you eventually find solutions to those problems.

I don't remember at this moment who said that invention ( or success ) is fifty per cent inspiration and fifty per cent perspiration. How true! So in spite of my infrequent down days, when I wonder why the heck I ever took up writing in the first place, I keep on slogging away at my current project. I know in my heart that I'd rather be writing than doing almost anything else in the entire Universe!

All for now,


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Musical Inspiration

For inspiration I frequently write to musical accompaniment. I choose a piece that suits the mood of whatever I'm working on at the moment. For instance, if it's a battle scene, I'll choose something martial, loaded with excitement, danger, or valor. If I'm writing something solemn, I might pick a slow, classical piece, maybe a selection from The Lord of the Rings albums, or an aria sung by Jackie Evancho or The Priests.

I also love writing to the soundtrack from Eclipse, the third Twilight Saga movie; it's hip and upbeat and fast-paced. Some of my other favorites are Celtic in origin, more sad and soulful. Music helps me get into the mood I'm trying to evoke, capture it on paper as best I can; sometimes, I just close my eyes and envision a scene. Often, I use music to help me get into the head of one of my characters, to feel what he or she is feeling.

Music also helps me to relax, yet keep my mind in the game. I imagine it would prove helpful if ever I come down with a case of writer's block! I'd certainly give it a try. Music, like any art  form, like a good book, enriches life and makes it more full and meaningful.

All for now---must get back to my editing. Think I'll do it to music!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Comedy Rules!

Since people seemed to enjoy my last attempt at humor, prepare yourself for more of my favorite jokes/funny stuff!

What is brown and wrinkled and lives in a belltower?  The lunchbag of Notre Dame, of course!

Two drunks were staggering down a dock at the ocean, counting the spaces between the boards as they went. When they came to the end of the dock, both walked right off it and into the drink. The moral of the story: when you're out of slits, you're out of pier!

Announcements found in an actual church bulletin: The subject of this morning's sermon: Jesus Walks on Water. This evening's sermon: Searching for Jesus.

And here's one I stole from damnyouautocorrect: "Is it formal unicorn for Monday?" ( Don't know about you, but I always dress up my unicorn on Mondays! )

Okay, I know I have a twisted sense of humor; the sillier, the cornier, the more outrageous, the more I giggle. Got a good one ( if it's not filthy! ) let me know.

All for now,


Sunday, September 18, 2011

More Good Advice

Still thinking along the lines of sound advice to offer beginning writers, I remembered some of the biggest mistakes I made early on. First, I was so darn anxious to have Judgment on Tartarus published that I sent out the ms. long before it was truly ready for publication. My work was too amateurish at that point, but I was so excited about my story that I overlooked its flaws.

Instead of letting my work "rest", then going back over it with a fine-tooth comb and fixing it, I rushed it off to a publisher. Nowadays, writers rush out to publish an e-book! Looking back now, I can see all too clearly why no publisher would take on Judgment. The story was good ( and remains so to this day ), but I hadn't done a good enough job of telling the story, of editing and refining my work. Had Judgment been published in that condition, I would've been highly embarrassed. I'm afraid that many of today's young and eager writers are going to look back upon their early work, shudder, and groan!

As a writer, you want to put yourself in the best possible light. Instead of bragging that you published a book, I want you to be able to brag that your book is the absolute BEST you could possibly write and never regret publishing it.

The second piece of advice I'd give you is don't discourage easily---another huge mistake I made. After several rejections and one near-publication of my second novel, True Son of Tartarus, I gave up. What I didn't realize until much later was that my book wasn't to blame for the rejections. True Son is also a good story, but---for whatever reason: budget constraints, timing, inappropriate genre, etc.---the major publishers weren't going to go out on a limb to publish an unknown author.

So if you're getting nothing but rejections from publishers, you first need to take a long, hard look at your work. If you can honestly say it's a good book, worthy of and ready for publication, keep on plugging and don't let yourself get discouraged.

I think the two worst mistakes a writer can make are publishing your work before it's up to par and giving up on it too quickly.

As they say, a word to the wise...


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Advice for Writers

Here's a bit of sound advice for beginning writers:

1) Study the language in which you write, whether English or not.
2) As a general rule, don't write exactly the way you speak---most of us don't speak our language correctly!
3) Learn the rules of punctuation and grammar, and don't depend on your memory!
4) Also, don't depend on "spell-check"---ie: two, too, and to are all spelled correctly, but which form is the one you want?
5) Double and triple check your ms. for errors. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you check or how well you check, mistakes do manage to slip by!
6) Make sure no words have accidentally been omitted.
7) If the names of your characters, places, etc. are unpronounceable or draw snickers from your first reader, change them!
8) Check the meaning of words with your dictionary or thesaurus; it's not only embarrassing to use the wrong word, but it may also make your work laughable.
9) Make perfectly clear to what or to whom your pronouns refer. This error can be downright, head-scratching confusing!
10) Remember: "that" and "which" should not be used interchangeably ( admittedly one of my most frequent faults! )
11) Analyze your story to make sure the plot makes perfect sense, and not only to you! Is it told in an intelligible order? Have you made errors in continuity? Does each "scene" serve a purpose and advance the plot or is it unnesscessary?

In conclusion ( yay! ), I highly recommend turning your precious ms. over to an impartial first reader for a totally honest critique. To quote my first reader of a rough draft of Judgment on Tartarus: "This fight scene sounds more like they're dancing!" Alas, that was all too true!

Instead of getting your hackles up or bursting into tears, go to work to remedy your weaknesses. That's the only way to improve; that's how you become a darn good writer.

Take it from someone who is still learning every day,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Life Is Tweet!

I've been "tweeting" on Twitter for a bit now. My followers usually number from 15-18 or so. They come and go; some obviously were spammers, so I don't miss them at all. I follow around 100 people, magazines, publishers, etc. However, at this point I'm concentrating on attracting more followers, which isn't exactly easy to do. Many people still don't go into the Twitter site, and my site in particular is geared mostly to science fiction and fantasy. It's a good source for me to get the latest news on conventions, publications, upcoming TV shows and movies, NASA activities, etc.

If you are already on Twitter, or are feeling brave enough to venture onto the site ( ) you can choose who to follow, and often they'll follow you in return. It's a little like facebook; you can keep track of your friends or personalities you enjoy. Logging in is easy---just type in your e-mail address and a password and you're in.

The only real limitation on Twitter is that your "tweets" must be 140 characters or under. The site will tell you if you go over that and give you a chance to edit your tweets. So give it a go if you haven't already.

Hope to see you on Twitter!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Must Have One's BBC

If you haven't yet caught the BBC shows "Sherlock" and "Being Human", you're missing a couple of treats! I recommend you try them both; they're available on DVD.

"Sherlock" is a present-day take on the iconic detective. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock, a much younger, though still quirky character. Martin Freeman plays his faithful, hapless sidekick, Dr. Watson. As an aside, Freeman will take on the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's film version of The Hobbit. Took me a while to connect the name with the actor, but I was thrilled to death when I did! Believe me, Martin Freeman will make the perfect Bilbo, better even than the incredible Ian Holm.

"Sherlock" is modern, funny, and fast-paced. The main character appears to be much more active, due to a more physical actor, than the usual media conception of Holmes, though I adored Jeremy Brett in the role. Cumberbatch brings much of the endearing qualities of Brett's Holmes.

The music for this show ( and I wish I could recall the name of the composer, dang it! ) is absolutely perfect, an upbeat, modern, toe-tapping theme that, oddly enough, reminds me of belly-dancing music.

"Being Human" is about a young woman's ghost who ends up living with a hot, young vampire full of angst and a young man who's a werewolf and still coming to terms with what he's become. It's a riot, but can also be chilling. All three principles are engaging, sympathetic characters. And by the by, Aidan Turner, who plays the vampire, Mitchell, will also play a role as one of the dwarves in The Hobbit movies!

I cannot wait to see The Hobbit, Parts 1&2. According to PJ, it's going to be a couple years at least! Ah, well---in the meantime I think you'll definitely find it worthwhile to check out "Sherlock" and "Being Human".

God bless the BBC!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breaking Dawn Trailer

Just saw the new trailer for the final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1, and I have to admit that I loved it; the movie looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. It seems to be pretty true to the book, which is a long one, therefore the two parts to the movie.

Now I'm well aware that Twilight, both the books and the movies, are controversial and won't appeal  to everyone---does anything? But there's something about the underlying theme that grabs me. I guess you'd categorize me as a hopeless romantic. My hubby, however, HATES that the saga makes heroes of the vampires, which are some of his all-time favorite villains. I can sympathize with that. If someone were to come along and turn my favorite hero into a bad guy, I'd probably be P.O.ed. It's sort of like Star Trek making good guys out of some of the Borg!

But in the Twilight Saga, not all vampires are good guys, and not all werewolves are bad guys. And I find the heroine authentic, vulnerable, and touchingly human. I can identify with her, her feelings of being an outcast, awkward, clumsy, and somehow out of her element. I can understand why Bella would want to become a vampire like her beloved Edward and his family, who now totally accept her.

But I realize that there are several issues that some readers/viewers despise, such as vampires who can walk around in broad daylight ( as long as the sun isn't out! ), who sparkle in the sunlight ( okay, even I have to admit that's a little on the hokey side! ), and who are "vegetarians" and therefore only drink animal blood---BIG YUCK there!

To sum up, do I consider the Twilight books in the same category as J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter? No, I don't, but I can still appreciate Stephenie Myer's books for what they are. And I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with my humble opinions. To each his own, eh?

Twihards rule!


Monday, September 12, 2011

WOM Advertising

According to a recent blog written by David Gaughran, word of mouth advertising is not only the best form of advertising, it's also the cheapest! Fellow authors and other creative folk out there, think about this! With the internet, blogging, facebook, twitter, etc., we now have direct avenues to fans of our work like no previous generation in history. We don't have to spend a fortune to reach potential customers.

Yes, websites cost money, as does webvertising, but much of what we can do online is free of cost, so why not utilize it to the max? This isn't always easy to do---I know because I've tried. Simply finding/ getting into a discussion group can be frustrating, but if you do manage to get a foot in the door, so to speak, you have a ready-made audience. Just make sure to target them appropriately.

One of the secrets to word of mouth advertising I've found is to start with the people who know you and your work---your friends, your family, co-workers, the people you are in contact with on facebook, etc. If they like you and enjoy what you do, you have a team in place eager to advertise your "product", whatever that may be.

Whether you like or dislike something, it's human nature to "spread the word". And as David points out, people are much more likely to take advice on reading, music, etc. from someone they know and trust. That's why I always ask my readers, if they like my book, to recommend it to others.

This strategy may take a while to produce results, since it's also human nature to put off doing things, even pleasant things, like reading a good book or seeing a good movie. We're all guilty of doing that. But keep on plugging and don't give up. Hopefully, all your efforts will pay off eventually---and not in a purely monetary way. ( If you want to get rich, DON'T become a writer! )

Keep on WOMing!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Male vs Female?

Recently I caught an interesting discussion on the website of SFX Magazine ( UK ), re: the imbalance between their reviews of books written by male authors as opposed to those written by women authors. A rather lively discussion ensued, some of which I subscribe to, and some, I do not.

Traditionally in genre fiction, male writers have outnumbered female for a great variety of reasons. The ratio, however, currently stands around 55% to 45%. This is probably more even than it has ever been. But I do believe that CERTAIN male readers/reviewers ( not all! ) still exhibit a sexist bias, perhaps subconsciously.

This is one reason that I joined the Broad Universe Literary Coalition. The aim of this organization, which is not limited to women, is to promote the work of female authors, especially in regard to genre fiction: fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc. I've never heard of any organization devoted to the promotion of male authors, have you? One doesn't seem to be necessary.

Personally, I've observed a few male readers who picked up a book, briefly scanned the back blurb, realized it was written by a woman, and promptly rejected it without further investigation! ( There may also be women who do the same with a book written by a man, but I've never personally observed reverse bias. ) People like this, of either gender, do female writers a gross injustice by assuming that no woman could write as well as a man---or write a book that THEY could be interested in. How far from the truth!

There are plenty of women authors out there who write fascinating science fiction, heroic fantasy, gritty urban fantasy, horror that would curl your toes, and bloody crime fiction, These aren't pieces you would stereotypically expect to be written by "ladies"! I've read a great many books by male authors; never once have I assumed that I couldn't be interested in a book written by a man. Am I equally interested in books written by any and all female authors? Of course not.

To coin a phrase here, don't judge a book by the gender of its author. Open the dang thing and actually read a few pages before you dismiss a book!

All the pulpit-thumping for now,


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Blurb Blog

Here's one version of my early, longer attempts at creating a backcover blurb for Judgment on Tartarus. This synopsis had to be condensed considerably to fit the backcover.

Come aboard the retired battle cruiser Astrella II with idealistic young Ensign Corona Scott as she begins the adventure fated to change her life forever---as well as that of the entire known-Galaxy. Assigned to her first deep-space mission, Rona Scott soon begins to fear that her long-dreamed-of career is in serious jeopardy.

Her new CO, Richard Hughes---the legendary "Hero of the Gorgonian Wars"---has a hair-trigger temper and no sympathy for green crewmembers. His strict ExO, Malkis of Tartarus, lets Rona know right from the start that he has no use for Terran females. Rona is further dismayed to discover that Astrella is a hot-bed of gossip, racial hatred, prejudice, and diabolical intrigue. She struggles to maintain her own high ideals, to keep an open mind, despite the mounting pressure to give in to the prevailing attitude.

The situation aboard Astrella gets progressively worse: a science mission is sabotaged; someone hates the Tartarian ExO badly enough to attempt to kill him; and with no explanation High Command dispatches Astrella to the planet Tartarus. Along the way, the ship is attacked by an old enemy---the dreaded Gorgonians---whose ships haven't been seen for over twelve years.

When Astrella reaches Tartarus, things go from bad to worse. There, Rona Scott is forced to make some life-altering decisions---and the fate of Astrella's captain and crew rests upon the barbaric, bloody outcome of a challenge to mortal combat!

That was it. Believe me, condensing all that verbage to fit into the limited space on a novel's backcover isn't exactly easy. Some things have to be left out; some hard choices have to be made. To see what I mean, compare this with the finished blurb as listed on's Judgment on Tartarus page!

All for now,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

DVD Mania

My hubby and I own a vast collection of DVDs, probably numbering in the thousands. Some of our all-time favorites series include: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, CSI, Lost, Babylon 5, Farscape, Doctor Who ( from the very oldest to the newest! ), True Blood, Legend of the Seeker, and Blood Ties. You'll of course note that these are heavy on the fantasy and SF titles.

Hubby also has his own private collection of superhero movies, cartoons, anime, and really OLD horror movies, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, etc. He loves them so much that he can watch them over and over again; I cannot. That is why we have two TVs on the first floor within a few feet of each other!

The DVDs closest to my heart include The Lord of the Rings movies, the entire Harry Potter series ( which I hope to complete this Christmas ) and my collection of my beloved Survivor DVDs. That TV show is a weakness of mine. As a kid, I used to dream about being a castaway on a desert island in the Pacific and having to survive on my own. Naturally, Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson were among my favorite books.

My study of psychology and sociology in college led me to a fascination with human interaction and motivation, in addition to the survival aspects. So tease me if you will, I'll always love Survivor. The show has also confirmed my fears that modern humans have lost touch with nature, have lost respect for its dangers, and are woefully ignorant of its benefits.

Ah, well! That's a subject for another day! The tribe has spoken.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Waiting Game

I'm waiting as patiently as I can for True Son of Tartarus to be published and available to my readers. That's one of the hardest parts of the publishing process, at least for me. I'm always anxious to find out if my next book will appeal to people as much as Book 1 did. I've done my darnedest to make True Son as good as Judgment ( if not better! ), as good as I possibly can while remaining true to myself, my beliefs, my goals.

 For instance, for those who are fans of gritty, militaristic SF with loads of violence and bloodbaths---sorry, but you'll have to look elsewhere. You just aren't going to find those elements in either Judgment on Tartarus or True Son of Tartarus. I have no illusions that every single reader is going to react favorably to my work. Each individual has their own literary tastes. But I truly believe a large audience will appreciate the stories I write.

Of course, some may find them a bit too violent for their tastes; others, not violent enough. Some may find them a bit offensive while others think they're not graphic enough. Obviously, I can never please absolutely everyone, so, as the old saying goes, I have to be true to myself. And as long as I do that I'll be happy with my work---just impatient with the amount of time it takes to learn your reaction!

All for now,


Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Bit of a Breather

Now that True Son of Tartarus has been finished and left in the capable hands of the publisher and the printer, I am taking a bit of a breather, which doesn't mean that I'm not writing/editing---just that I'm under less pressure than usual. I've already begun the process of editing Ransom of Tartarus, which will be Book 3 of the trilogy; as soon as True Son becomes available online, I intend to start the whole publication process over once again.

If things go smoothly ( and they often do not! ) "Ransom" could be published as early as February of 2012. I just have to work hard and keep my fingers crossed. There's a lot to be done in that short time. Fortunately, Ransom has already been written, and I'm happy with it; it's been transferred to my laptop, made into a hard copy, and edited somewhat. But it still needs a final edit, transfer to a USB, layout, proofs and corrections of proofs, and coming up with a satisfactory cover design ( which can take 2-3 tries! )

As you can imagine, this all takes time and patience---even in the age of e-mails, pdfs, and priority mail! At this time I have no intention of succumbing to the temptation to turn the trilogy into a "series", as many authors have done---unless you count the creation of two prequels as making this into a series. Do I know how the story ends many, many years into the future? I do---but that telling is a very long way away!

All for now,

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Preview of Things to Come

True Son of Tartarus should be published within the next few weeks. But for those of you who just can't wait, here's a brief preview from a chapter titled "Damned to Hell":

   He was back at the ISS Academy again---on Terra---seated cross-legged upon the hard, narrow bunk in his quarters. The computer readout-arm extended before him, he was engrossed in his astronautical-engineering text when a loud, bold knock at the door disturbed his concentration. The door was pushed open.
   A dark-haired young Terran male poked his head into the room. "Howie Watenabe here?"
   Without speaking, Malkis shook his head in the negative---a perfunctory gesture.
   The Terran stepped inside, uninvited---as far as Malkis was concerned, a supreme act of rudeness.
   "You his roomie?" the young man demanded.
   Malkis bristled and stared blankly at the intruder without deigning to reply. A foolish question, he thought, typically Terran!
   "Mind if I come in?" the Terran asked belatedly.
   Now Malkis scowled at him in outright annoyance. "It would appear to me that you are already 'in'," he said brusquely, hoping that this obnoxious Terran would take a polite hint and leave him to study in peace.
   Instead, the young man gawked around the cramped quarters with brazenly-undisguised Terran inquisitiveness. "No bigger than mine," he noted aloud. "The room, I mean. Hell, wouldn't you think the star-blasted brass could spare us cadets a little more space? Feels like we're confined to a flaring cage, doesn't it?"
   Malkis studiously ignored this brash intruder with the abominable lack of manners, but the smiling Terran drew offensively close, cornering Malkis. "I'm Hughes," he offered, sticking out his hand. "Richard---but my friends call me Hugh. And you must be Malkis of Tartarus."
   Malkis recoiled, staring at the proffered hand, as if this "Hughes" were a known-carrier of the Lamidian plague. He made no move to take the Terran's hand. "Since I am the only Tartarian cadet enrolled here, I would think the answer rather obvious."
   Hughes shrugged off the rude refusal of his hand. "One hell of a long way from home, aren't you, friend?"
   The Tartarian deliberately pinched his straight, black brows together in an indication of annoyance that even the most obtuse being on Terra ought to be able to perceive. "My affairs are none of your concern---and I am most definitely not your 'friend'."
   The dark-haired intruder was finally put off by the brusque reply. His dark-blue eyes began to smoldeer. "Maybe not---but I am a friend of Hiro Orion Watenabe," he said quietly, trying unsuccessfully to read this silver-haired son-of-a-bitch.
   "Well, you're his roomie, dammit!"
   Malkis continued to regard this Hughes with a cold, disdainful stare. "Not by choice, I assure you," he retorted acidly.
   "Are all Tartarians as damn friendly as you are, Cadet?" Hughes demanded, crossing his arms on his chest, chin jutting forward in anger.
   "The term you insist upon employing is Terran in origin," Malkis responded in an ice-edged tone. "'Friendly' has no equivalent in the Tartarian language."
   "That I can believe!" Hughes declared wryly, starting back to the door. "Hell, I've heard talk about you. Thought everyone was having me on---until now!"
   Malkis glared anew at this impertinent Terran. "Is it too far beyond the limitations of your Terran abilities to close the door---behind you?"
   Hughes flashed the impossible Tartarian a corresponding glare and stalked out of the room; he slammed the door behind him in a typically-Terran display of anger and frustration. Malkis clearly heard the stream of colorful Terran invective released on the other side of the door, as Hughes called his Tartarian ancestry into question and damned him to Hell for all Eternity!

That's it---hope you enjoyed!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Creating " The Hobbit"

If you're a big fan of the movie version of "The Lord of the Rings" ( as I am ), you probably can't wait for the two-part movie version of "The Hobbit", which is being directed by Peter Jackson. From what I've seen and heard about these films so far, we are in for a treat.

Ian McKellen is reprising his role as Gandalf the Grey, as is Hugo Weaving as Elrond. At one point I had heard that Orlando Bloom would return as Legolas ( he is a Wood Elf, after all! ), but at this time I haven't been able to confirm that info. I can, however, confirm that Evangeline Lilly ( Kate of "Lost" ) will play a female Wood Elf, and Stephen Fry has been cast as the Mayor of Laketown and has been shooting his scenes. I follow Stephen ( Bones, Black Adder, Fry and Laurie, etc. ) on Twitter.

Of great interest to me as an artist is the painstaking recreation of Rivendell and Bag End---quite a feat! Those were extraordinarily beautiful sets. Reconstructing Bag End must've been particularly complicated as several versions in various scales had to be constructed in order to make dwarves and hobbits appear to be smaller than Gandalf, when all the actors are approximately the same size.

Much as I can hardly bear the wait, I want the creative folk involved to do their utmost to make these two movies up to the same level as the first three. I have every confidence they'll do their absolute best!

All for now,