Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Superman's Severed Face

This is the best Dollar Store Halloween costume I've ever seen, for several reasons:

  • It's not a Superman costume. It's a Brandon Routh playing Superman costume. The kid wearing this costume isn't pretending that he is Superman, with his own face and everything. No, he is pretending he is the actor who played Superman three movies ago. Or he's just wearing Brandon Routh's severed face.
  • I don't remember Superman wearing a mini toga thing. And it's convenient that the picture stops at the waist, leaving out the ratty sweatpants that the kid probably has on.
  • Damn, the "lite" up feature is non-functioning. Even if it worked, though, what is lighting up? Is that ... Kryptonite? Here is what Kryptonite does to Superman:

  • So if this kid is really into his role as Brandon Routh playing Superman, he'll pretend to be Brandon Routh pretending to writhe in pain as the lite-up Kryptonite poisons his insides. It should come with blood capsules so he can properly simulate the face-bleeding.
  • Which is also consistent with the "I stole an actor's face" backstory to this costume.
Kids, this Halloween, please strongly consider the Dying Superman Accessory Set.

See also: Halloween disguises are the new Halloween costumes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saying Yes to No

Oh, hi.

I just read this article on Medium: Creative People Say No. The premise is that many prolific creators are not afraid of guarding their time by refusing requests for it. This quote, attributed to Charles Dickens, resonated with me:
“‘It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day … Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.”
I don't think it applies only to other people. Saying "no" to yourself is just as important if you are to take that mountain of daily tasks, responsibilities, and hobbies, and carve out enough time to create something of value.

So that's my excuse for not blogging. I've been saying "no" to my brilliant blog post ideas and writing fiction instead.

In addition to my novel, Stars and Other Monsters, I have a short story out. Strangers at a Funeral is about unfamiliar people at death ceremonies. Here's a blurb:

Brandon notices them at his grandpa’s funeral first: a pair of men in sunglasses who nobody seems to know. They’re not family, they're not friends, they’re just … there. No big deal, until they show up again at the next funeral. Drawn into a world of funeral selfies and burial crashers, Brandon needs to know what these strangers want from the dead.

Only problem is, nobody gives a crap except him, and his school frowns upon skipping classes to watch people get buried. His sanity can’t take many more funerals, and those bulges in the strangers’ coats probably aren’t concealing anything pleasant.
It costs 99 cents. If you like the shit I write even a little bit, I'd appreciate if you bought it a whole lot. However, I won't be offended if you say "no."

Strangers has ties to Stars and Other Monsters, if you're paying attention. Speaking of which, I'll start writing a sequel to that soon too. I need to know what happens next.

Which means saying no to other stuff. It's nothing personal; I just like fictional characters more than I like you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stars and Other Monsters is Out Now

Have a hankering for a novel about a paparazzo and his dog getting kidnapped by a vampire? Today is your lucky day! Stars and Other Monsters is out, on Kindle:

And in print:

I think a lot of you will enjoy it. It's no masterpiece, but a 3.5, maybe 4 star fast-paced bundle of cheap thrills. Not unlike this blog. If that's worth less than the price of a coffee, go buy it soon so I become rich and famous. Then I'll become corrupt. Just like in the book. (You'll see).

Thank you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Stars and Other Monsters - A Novel by Phronk (Me), Out on June 13th

I wrote a novel. I've decided to release it to the world on June 13th (the only Friday the 13th in 2014). It's called Stars and Other Monsters, and it's a horror novel about celebrities and vampires. Here is the cover:

If you've been reading my blog, you might enjoy my novel. They are similar, in that I wrote both. So mark your calendar for June 13th and buy Stars and Other Monsters from Amazon, so that it climbs the charts and makes me famous.

More information about the book can be found on its Goodreads page, and I've given it its own little site at FuckVampires.com. Or, if you find that offensive, try ScrewVampires.com (but maybe you shouldn't read the book or this blog).

I'll be writing about Stars and Other Monsters quite a bit in the next few weeks, because I am excited about trying this whole publishing thing and sharing my not-bad creation with the world. Stay tuned.

P.S. Somehow FuckTwilight.com wasn't taken either!

Update June 13: It's out now! Buy it on Amazon:

Buying my book is the only way I can guarantee not cursing you on this Friday the 13th and night of a full moon.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: The Five, by Robert McCammon

I haven't been keeping up with my book reviews. Oops. Well, here's one I've been reading for months and only just finished: Robert McCammon's The Five. Only minor spoilers here.

The Five is the story of a rock band consisting of five people. They're called The Five. They embark on their final tour, first touring through the hell of knowing that the band's career is doomed, then soon realizing that their lives are doomed too. Ultimately it's a story about music's role in the eternal struggle between light and dark, life and death, good and evil. In that spirit, here's the good and the bad:

The Good:

  • The music. McCammon clearly has a passion for rock and roll. Not just the music itself, but the culture of it, the life of a musician, the meaning behind it all. That shines through on every page. From the dozens of fake band names to the cheesy lyrics of entirely fictional songs, The Five will make you love music even more.
  • The subtlety. Those expecting a balls-out supernatural horror novel will be disappointed. The supernatural is there, but barely; like a whispered background vocal that only comes through when all the other instruments momentarily fade. It comes dangerously close to religious mumbo jumbo at times, but never quite crosses that line enough to ruin it.
  • The ending. It just hits all the right emotional notes.

The Bad:

  • The omniscience. Maybe only because it's so uncommon these days, but I find omniscient narration jarring. One paragraph it's inside one character's head, the next paragraph it's onto another character's thoughts, not so much as a scene break between them. I thought the purpose may have been to emphasize that the whole band was the main character, all so deeply interconnected that the story was told from their collective perspective (there's a band name, Collective Perspective). Except then the point of view changes to a random character standing in the background, so, not so much.
  • The length. If The Five were an album, it would be half filler songs. The self-indulgent ballads that had to be there to get the album up to twelve songs despite only having six good ones. Except it's a book, so there's no hitting fast forward when you get to a whole page describing a minor side character's living room furniture. 
When it ends, The Five is, like the song that apparently inspired it, a bitter sweet symphony. It's ultimately satisfying, but there's a lot of boring making ends meet and being a slave to money before getting to the fun dying part.