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Posts tagged “Books

Hellis Cures Insomnia With…Murder

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17238374-lBear with me while I explain the title of this post. I suffer from bouts of insomnia which leave me with a lot of unstructured time on my hands. This is not a good thing, because I have yet to find a constructive way to fill that time. In other words, I don’t always make healthy choices.

So this opening is not doing much to alleviate doubts about my current mental state or potential guilt. Let me begin again: (more…)


SciFi Face-Off!

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Today I have decided to pay homage to the late, great Gene Roddenberry on what would have been his 93rd birthday by conducting an interview I believe he might have enjoyed. Now I ask you, what better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest contributors to the SciFi genre than to have a face-off of Starship Captains? Ladies and gentlemen I give you…

JAMES T. KIRK    VS    JEAN-LUC PICARD

(more…)


Start-ups, Writing, and Foot Porn

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HE Ellis Blog Fact: "Glenn Close Feet" is #38 on my all time list of search engine terms

HE Ellis Blog Fact: “Glenn Close Feet” is #38 on my list of search engine terms

I hate myself right now.

Not a desperate, self-loathing kind of hate- it’s more of an “ironic trombone” kind.

You see, I decided to trade my uber time-suck of a management job for something part-time in order to free myself up to write and blog and spout my personal irreverent form of rhetoric. This idea sounded good at the time, until I realized that it had been nearly fifteen years since my last job hunt and that I had technically already quit my job (my former boss said so. I asked him).

Now what I am left with is plenty of time not to write, but to search for my awesome new job that will not be an uber time-suck in disguise. So after a whole lot of hits and misses and a sketchy offer of a career in foot porn (my feet are adorable) this happened: (more…)


I Prank You Not

In recognition of April Fool’s Day I scored a rare opportunity to sit down with the God of Mischief, Loki.

HE: “Hello Loki. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to speak with me and my readers.”

LOKI: “Hi.”

HE: “Uh, that’s it? ‘Hi?’”

LOKI: “Well, I’ve got a lot on my plate. You do realize what day this is, right? Nice fucking time management there, Chickie.” (more…)


Interview with Santa Claus – Part Two

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The Soundtrack to Characterization

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One of the oddest things about my blog is that I rarely utilize it for what it was originally intended- namely, sharing my writing. Since I’m nearly finished with REAPERS TWO, I decided I would share some of the writing techniques I used in the conception of that novella, and hopefully get new ideas from other writers about their character-building habits and techniques.

Today I thought I’d share a specific technique I use for conceiving characters: I assign them a song.

On the surface this may seem counter-intuitive since music is capable of conveying emotion without words, but I find that the perfect song will reveal emotions or behaviors in the characters I create long before I construct a single sentence. The right song can encapsulate a single moment or an entire lifetime of a person’s emotional experience (recent birthday boy ElGuapo knows what I’m talking about). With that in mind, I’ll describe two different ways I use music to build characters.

The first way I do this is to create a generic version of a character in my head, and then find a song that suits him/her after the rough draft is written. I find this works best for when I really want to “flesh out” a character by layering dimension over the bare bones of the initial conception. One of the characters that benefited most from this technique was the character of Raphael in THE GODS OF ASPHALT. Because his character was the most like me, I found that he was the hardest to flesh out. You’d think he’d be the easiest since I ought to know him so well, right? He wasn’t. I suppose that is because it is always easiest to hide our truest selves from ourselves. Well that, and the fact that I had never planned for him to resemble me in the first place. By the time I did my first run-though edit it was painfully obvious that I had captured myself in print.

I struggled for what seemed like forever to find something, anything, about myself in Raphael that I could use to turn him from an angry, closed-off parent into a character with true dimension. Finally I discovered that what made his character and myself alike was our inner struggle with our ethnicity. Being raised as an American in a household filled with Old-World ideals made it hard for me to know who I really was and where my loyalties lay. I was constantly conflicted and to this day struggle for a sense of equilibrium. Without realizing it I had passed that same internal struggle onto Raphael.

Once his (our) internal conflict had been revealed, I searched for music that would tell the story of a compelling character- one who grew from a disgruntled Midwestern teen into a man struggling to find peace as a proud Spanish father. Rodrigo y Gabriela’s cover of the Metallica classic ORION instantly became that song for me.

From that moment on, every time I wrote Raphael I would listen to that song. The music brought him to life for me; from the timbre of his voice to picturing the way he walked. ORION became the soundtrack to every scene Raphael was in and helped me navigate his character through the story.

Rodrigo y Gabriela – ORION

This next example illustrates the same technique, although switched-up a bit. That example is the character of Lucifer in THE REAPERS WITH ISSUES Series.

Unlike the example above where I conceived of a character before assigning him/her a song, with REAPERS I was faced with the challenge of re-characterizing established characters. The one that gave me the most trouble was Lucifer. The difficulty lie in the fact that Lucifer is more than established; he is downright iconic. There isn’t a culture on the planet that doesn’t have a vision of evil-incarnate, so how was I to reinvent him?

I knew that within the context of the story I would have to humanize him to some degree, so I decided to portray my version of Lucifer not as purely evil, but simply as…a dick. I also knew that to “flesh” him out would not be to layer dimension onto him, but to reveal him; to strip away his skin and discover what makes him tick.

I failed epically.

Every version of Lucifer that sprung to mind was a stereotypical construct from the deepest, most generic part of my brain. I had nearly lost all hope when I came up with a solution: I’d do it all backwards and let Lucifer pick his own music. Sounds crazy, right? Well it worked. I turned on my music, closed my eyes and listened to every song I could think of that wasn’t evil, dark or brooding until Lucifer revealed his song. That song, believe it or not, was CLINT EASTWOOD by the Gorillaz.

Why that song? I have no idea (I let Lucifer pick, remember?). But I will tell you that things became instantly clearer for me whenever I listened to it. I easily pictured the way he walked [slightly slouching] to the way he spoke [slightly spoiled] and imagined a dozen tiny little habits [folding origami] the instant that song became a part of his character. But as great as that song was, it wasn’t exactly right. I needed a version of that near-perfect song to do more than just bring Lucifer to life. I needed Lucifer to be reborn.

Words + Music = Art

I enlisted the help of a musician to remix CLINT EASTWOOD into something that sounded slightly more sinister, slightly more spoiled, and slightly more modern. Below is that song: Lucifer’s Remix conceived of by production musician extraordinaire, DJ Casper. Believe me when I tell you that to my mind, this song IS Lucifer.

DJ Casper – LUCIFER’S REMIX

I imagine the idea of using music to inspire or create words on a page may seem unconventional or downright bizarre, but to me it is the most natural thing in the world. I chalk it up to spending too much time on the road as a kid with nothing by my father’s music and my imagination to keep me company. I firmly blame my inability to finish GOA2 on the fact that I can’t figure out what kind of music River listens to. Like Lucifer, I’ve decided to let River choose. I am praying he’s not into Rap.


F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES IS HERE!

F*cked Up Fairy Tales
  • Has the stress of facing the holiday season alone got you down?
  • Are you dreading another Thanksgiving Day dinner defending your recreational life choices to your staunch Republican (insert Military Branch Rank of your choice here) Father?
  • Tired of being seated between your fighter pilot/Sunday school teacher/Abercombie & Finch model big brother and your half-dead Grandmother who smells like cheese?

WELL HAVE I GOT A SOLUTION FOR YOU!

From the warped and creative minds of the Blogosphere’s most talented writers comes a retelling of classic fables and fairy tales, each one more twisted than the last. F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES is the first of a two eBook novella series created by THE BLOGGER COLLECTIVE, a talented group of participating authors from around the Blogosphere. It’s childhood as you never remembered it. 

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!

F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES  is guaranteed to make your brother come out of the closet while simultaneously giving Granny Limburger a moist-y.

F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES has been proven to increase penis size, get your car better gas mileage and give your ex-girlfriend a scorching case of rotten-crotch.

JOIN THE FUN! PICK UP YOUR VERY OWN eBook COPY OF F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES TODAY!

FUFTEBOOKCOVER


Eddie the Expatriate

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dWelcome to day five of BLOGSHORTS: a ten day, ten story, 110 word writing extravaganza.

Each participating blogger chooses a pooch a day from a list of dogs, thunk-up by our fearless leader BLOGDRAMEDY, and then writes a short story featuring their dog of choice.

Each story is 110 words in length and can feature as much or as little of our canine friend as we like.

Day five features a visit from everyone’s favorite proper pooch, Eddie. Or is he?

EDDIE THE EXPATRIATE

“You are one lucky mutt,” Rover said as he lounged back in his doggy bed. “Archon is the best master a dog could want. Warm beds, plenty of kibble; he even lets us chase Ladyryl’s cats around every Sunday. I’m telling ya, Eddie. This is the life.”

“Anything’s better than living with Frasier,” Eddie said. “Man was a fancyboy. Nothing but bottled water and vegan kibble. Even my bed was organic.”

“You’ll love this. Come here.” Rover led Eddie to his water dish and the two began to drink.

After a few laps Eddie’s eyes opened wide. “Oh my God, is that Molson?”

“Yes it is. Welcome to Canada, Eddie.”

Revisit these soon to be canine classics:

BLOGSHORTS DAY ONE: Tea Cup Cujo

BLOGSHORTS DAY TWO: Toto’s Ruby Red Booty

BLOGSHORTS DAY THREE: Lassie Learns the Truth

BLOGSHORTS DAY FOUR: Fluffy’s Fateful Faux Pas

TAKE YOUR BLOG FOR A WALK AND THROW THESE GUYS A BONE:

Blogdramedy

1pointperspective

SteveBetz 

Joe’s Musings

Jtailele’s Blog

MC’s Whispers

Shouts from the Abyss

Lenore Diane

Fix it or Deal

RETURN TOMORROW FOR A VISIT WITH THE ORIGINAL SNOOP DOG: SNOOPY!


Fluffy’s Fateful Faux Pas

fluffy-harry-potter-3-three-headed-dog-historys-famous-dog-ark-animal-centre

fluffy-harry-potter-3-three-headed-dog-historys-famous-dog-ark-animal-centreWelcome to day four of BLOGSHORTS: a ten day, ten story, 110 word writing extravaganza.

Each participating blogger chooses a pooch a day from a list of dogs, thunk-up by our fearless leader BLOGDRAMEDY, and then writes a short story featuring their dog of choice.

Each story is 110 words in length and can feature as much or as little of our canine friend as we like.

Today we travel beyond the land of Muggles to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to meet with our favorite three-headed dog, FLUFFY!

FLUFFY’S FATEFUL FAUX PAS

Fluffy tucked El Guapo’s speakers into his ears and for one blessed moment let the smooth, mellow sounds of Coltrane drown out the incessant bickering between his two ex-wives.

Fluffy often used his stolen quiet time to reflect on the course his life had taken. He dissected every decision and evaluated every consequence. He ran scenarios over and over again in his mind, asking himself what he might have done differently to have avoided the fate that had so tragically befallen him.

But no matter how many times he replayed that fateful day, Fluffy always came to the one sad, inevitable conclusion:

He should have never called He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, “Lord Moldywart.”

Revisit these soon to be canine classics:

BLOGSHORTS DAY ONE: Tea Cup Cujo

BLOGSHORTS DAY TWO: Toto’s Ruby Red Booty

BLOGSHORTS DAY THREE: Lassie Learns the Truth

TAKE YOUR BLOG FOR A WALK AND THROW THESE GUYS A BONE:

Blogdramedy

1pointperspective

SteveBetz 

Joe’s Musings

Jtailele’s Blog

MC’s Whispers

Shouts from the Abyss

Lenore Diane

Fix it or Deal

RETURN TOMORROW FOR A VISIT FROM EVERYONE’S FAVORITE PROPER POOCH, EDDIE!


Lassie Learns the Truth

thWelcome to day three of BLOGSHORTS: a ten day, ten story, 110 word writing extravaganza.

Each participating blogger chooses a pooch a day from a list of dogs, thunk-up by our fearless leader BLOGDRAMEDY, and then writes a short story featuring their dog of choice.

Each story is 110 words in length and can feature as much or as little of our canine friend as we like.

I will admit that I didn’t know who this dog was when I signed on to blog, so I was forced to look him (her) up first. Truth be told, I still don’t know what this show was all about. From what I can gather, there were a lot of children getting stuck places or falling into wells who needed rescuing. That fact prompted me to ask…just how fat are the children in this town, anyway??

Obese toddlers or not, I bring you:

LASSIE LEARNS THE TRUTH

“What are they calling me??” Lassie barked to Megan, a cute pug digging a hole alongside him.

“Lassie is a girl’s name,” Megan yapped back. “The producers want Timmy’s dog to be female. They want the audience to think she’s maternal.”

“A female?” Lassie growled, incredulous. “I’m no female and I can prove it. Look here.” Lassie curled his snout behind him to sniff at a couple of things he was sure were there.

But they weren’t. Not anymore.

Lassie collapsed into a heap on the ground. Megan nudged him with her snout and yapped, “It could be worse. You could be filming a peanut butter commercial with Ron Jeremy.”

Revisit these soon to be canine classics:

BLOGSHORTS DAY ONE: Tea Cup Cujo

BLOGSHORTS DAY TWO: Toto’s Ruby Red Booty

TAKE YOUR BLOG FOR A WALK AND THROW THESE GUYS A BONE:

Blogdramedy

1pointperspective

SteveBetz 

Joe’s Musings

Jtailele’s Blog

MC’s Whispers

Shouts from the Abyss

Lenore Diane

Fix it or Deal

RETURN TOMORROW AND JOIN US ON A TRIP TO HOGWARTS!


Toto’s Ruby Red Booty

TotoAndShoes_480x300_23Welcome to day two of BLOGSHORTS: a ten day, ten story, 110 word writing extravaganza.

Each participating blogger chooses a pooch a day from a list of dogs, thunk-up by our fearless leader BLOGDRAMEDY, and then writes a short story featuring their dog of choice.

Each story is 110 words in length and can feature as much or as little of our canine friend as we like.

Today’s offering features a famous pooch from Kansas and a blogger famous for…well, I probably shouldn’t say. So without further adieu I give you:

TOTO’S RUBY RED BOOTY

The Scarecrow ripped fistfuls of straw out from between his burlap ears, desperate to rid himself of Dorothy’s lifeless image burned into his brain.

Next to him, the Tin Man wept until his eyes rusted shut. He wished his new heart would do the same.

Only the Lion had courage enough to follow the trail of small, bloody paw prints down the yellow brick road.

Under a spell, Toto ran as fast as his paws would carry him, the Witch’s ruby red booty clamped tightly between his jaws.

Sparklebumps tossed her empty water bottle into a puddle that was once the Witch, slid on her best pair of pantyhose, and waited…

TAKE YOUR BLOG FOR A WALK AND THROW THESE GUYS A BONE:

Blogdramedy

1pointperspective

SteveBetz 

Joe’s Musings

Jtailele’s Blog

MC’s Whispers

Shouts from the Abyss

Lenore Diane

Fix it or Deal

RETURN TOMORROW TO SEE IF LASSIE RESCUES OUR FEATURED BLOGGER FROM THE WELL OF DOOM!


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