Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fireside Magazine Year 3

Fireside Magazine is in the middle of its Kickstarter to fund its third year. The big change this year is that editor Brian White plans to make the website free. Kickstarter contributors get the bonus of the ebook versions of the issues.

I highly encourage folks to contribute. Brian has excellent editorial taste. In year two, every story I've read has been a good one, and I'm seriously not saying that because he published one of my stories. Every story has been enjoyable. How many magazines can you say that about? And I wish more magazines would follow his example of fair pay for writers. You can pledge as little as $2 up to the bigger amounts that have bigger rewards. A pledge of $24 gets you ebooks for every monthly issue.

To find out more, check out the Kickstarter here. And make a pledge!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Writing update and assorted stuff

First, the writing update: I'm one short scene away from finishing the story I plan to send off to the Writers of the Future contest, whose quarterly deadline is about a week away, and then it's back to working on my novel outline. Since I wrote up a first draft outline a few weeks ago, I've come up with quite a few changes I want to make. I'm excited to get going in earnest on the novel project, but I also need to finalize my outline before I start. I have no interest in writing thousands or tens of thousands of words that I would have to throw out if/when I come up with a better way of telling the story.

In addition to writing, I've also been catching up on television shows. Some thoughts on what I've been watching:

Once Upon a Time: I am totally addicted to this show, and it's the first show I've done some passionate shipping on in a long time. (CaptainSwan, if you're interested in knowing.) I didn't like the Peter Pan story last fall. Neverland was too dark and monotonous, and Peter Pan never really jelled for me as a villain. I have more hope for the second half of the season with the Wicked Witch. I find it funny how recappers and reviewers all over the Internet immediately bought the Witch's contention in this past week's episode (which rocked, btw) that she's Regina's half-sister. Yes, everyone is related to everyone on this show. The family tree is more tangled than Maleficent's forest of thorns. Wouldn't it be great if the Witch is lying and her game is something else entirely?

Downton Abbey: I have the most recent season on the DVR but haven't watched much of it yet. I miss Matthew. I'm also having a difficult time getting past the storyline with Anna. First off, why do so many female characters on television get sexually assaulted or raped? It's stupid and unnecessary. And Anna's response to what happened to her is stupid and unnecessary. I don't like storylines that could be resolved by a character acting with a modicum of common sense.

Glee: I've caught up on all the episodes this year in the past week. At times, I can only shake my head sadly and wondered what happened to the show I loved so much when it started. The characters have become caricatures of themselves. Tina rolls around on the hallway floor and moans and cries like a 6-year-old? Blaine plays with puppets and wears a superhero costume? Will takes sex breaks with his wife in the staff bathroom? Seriously, Show? Rachel and Santana have devolved into such immature divas that I hate them both. When Sue declared she was putting the glee club out of its misery, I cheered. Too bad it won't last. The only reason I'm sticking it out at this point is because I've come too far with this show to not see how it ends.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Home is where the germs are

My writing time was curtailed this past week thanks to my house looking like a sick ward. For once, though, I am not the one who's sick. Yet.

Two of my three kids have a cold, and my daughter is also recovering from strep throat. My husband and I thought she had an ear infection when I took her to the doctor on Friday, so the diagnosis came as a surprise. And I have to say that penicillin is amazing. Less than 24 hours after her first dose, my kiddo is almost back to her usual perky self, with one exception: She is still having difficulty keeping down anything more solid than Jell-O.

(And before you start saying, but if she's vomiting, how could you think it was only an ear infection? Well, it's because she always runs a fever and vomits when she is sick with a common cold. That's par for the course, unfortunately.)

Also, my daughter is a fan of the Animal Planet show "Too Cute." There are eight episodes streaming on Netflix, and she has watched every one of them twice (some of them three times) over the past three days. This is while she has been curled up on the couch with her favorite puppy-print blanket and her stuffed tiger. At this point, I can tell you just about anything you want to know about Snowball the kitten or Ivan the pug puppy.

The upshot of this on my writing is that I haven't done any since my daughter got sick. I'm about 2,500 words into the story I intend to submit to Writers of the Future, and the deadline is about two weeks away. I need to crack down on the writing every day this week and hope that no one else in my family gets sick.

As for my own health woes, they seem just about over. It's been six weeks since I injured my ribs, and I am 95 percent healed. I can't do crunches or run for farther than a mile or so, but I'm good on just about everything else.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar predictions

Today is my Super Bowl. I love the Oscars, but this year I've hardly seen any of the nominees. I saw "Gravity" in Imax 3D (absolutely blew my mind), and I took my kids to see "The Croods" at the cheap theater (it was awful). That's it. So I'm basing my predictions on what's happened with all the other awards shows leading up to this one. Here we go:

Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Supporting actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Supporting actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Animated film: Frozen
Adapted screenplay: 12 Years a Slave
Original screenplay: Her
Cinematography: Gravity
Production design: The Great Gatsby
Costume design: American Hustle
Makeup and hair: Dallas Buyers Club
Film editing: Captain Phillips
Sound editing: Gravity
Sound mixing: Gravity
Visual effects: Gravity
Original score: Gravity
Original song: "Let it Go," Frozen
Foreign language film: The Great Beauty
Documentary feature: The Act of Killing
Documentary short subject: The Lady in Number 6
Animated short film: Get a Horse!
Live action short film: The Voorman Problem