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    I am the author of LETTERS TO A DANDELION. It is available at Amazon.com in the kindle version.
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    In order to be a writer, one must love to read. Here, you can also find book reviews and movie reviews.

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Vampires Suck; Not Another Book Review

Today’s media is great. Speaking of the movie industry, whenever there is a massive, multi-billion dollar movie made that is widely popular; there is always a team of haters patiently waiting for their time to shine. Star Wars had Space Balls; all the popular teen movies had Not Another Teen Movie (and many more); and now Twilight has Vampires Suck.

The days of bashing Twilight are simmering out, but I thought I’d voice my opinion here anyway. My wife was a Twilight fan for quite some time. Apparently, my looks of disapproval, heard by divorce lawyers everywhere, had gotten the best of her; or she grew up, not sure which. She obsessed over the books, obsessed over the movies, and went as far as battling pre-teen girls for the midnight showing tickets. To each their own, but she finally grew out of it (thank, God.) Not that I don’t have my own quarks she must deal with, but that’s neither here nor there.

A friend of mine (shout out) bugs me every day about how much she loves Twilight. It’s all in good fun, but I decided to dedicate this post to her on why I won’t, and can’t read it.

To set the record straight, I am in no way bashing Stephanie Meyer, I am actually a bit jealous, but happy with her success. Here is the first paragraph and my breakdown. (Source)

My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt – sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.

First of all, the first sentence is incredibly weak. I know from the start I won’t like the writing style. It doesn’t grab my attention, it doesn’t snag me by the throat, and it doesn’t even give me something interesting. How about start with a vampire bite, immediately. I may be more interested to continue. Then she continues on about the weather. Don’t start with weather, please, I don’t care about weather but now I’m told the actual degrees. Also, the third sentence can be broken down to two separate, strong standing sentences. There is no need for the semi-colon.

Now that we’ve trudged through bleakness, I get to learn about the clothing of a character that I don’t even know their name yet. And the last sentence of the first paragraph, more clothing. Here’s where ninety-five percent of the male readers are put off in record time.

I tried, I really tried to continue from here and it is unfortunate I couldn’t get much further than the first chapter. Reading it hurt my eyes, literally. Every other sentence was chopped up in dashes, colons, and semi-colons. I like seamless execution. I want my eyes to never leave the page. Overall, I want to be told the story like it was coming from the mouth of the author. In real life, full sentences are not spoken in the middle of another full sentence; unless in certain circumstances.

As I continue reading further through the first chapter, I’m clogged down with emotion-stating dialogue enders (wow, not sure any of that made sense, but I’m leaving it). When stating how a character said a particular piece of dialogue, “he said” or “she said” is perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged. “Said” is the only word I don’t mind being repeated three-gazillion times throughout a novel. “My mom said to me”, “I lied”, “She insisted”, “I urged”, and “He said, smiling as he automatically caught and steadied me” are telling me how they feel. Show me through what they say and how they say it, don’t state exactly how they feel. It takes away from the reader.

Again, this is my personal opinion of the first chapter of the first book, as it continues on gaining new readership and loyalty. To that I say kudos to Stephanie Meyer.

I am now off my soap box. Good day.

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Book Review: ABC’s Castle, Heat Wave

ABC’s hit show Castle, starring Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle and Stana Katic as Kate Beckett, roused my interest from the pilot episode Flowers for Your Grave. Richard Castle is a murder mystery author who, by pulling strings by a poker buddy judge, gets to “ride-along” with Detective Kate Beckett for research for his upcoming novel, HEAT WAVE.

The pilot promised an interesting spin on the average police story drama. On their first day together two murders are committed and are eventually formed back to Castle, as the murderer is playing out one of his books verbatim. As a writer myself, I would be professionally flattered and morally disturbed.

Castle is now readily approaching Season 3 and has long lost the originality of a detective story. Even still, I thoroughly enjoy the series and applaud the show as they take their media to a whole new level.

HEAT WAVE is written by Richard Castle in the show, but also published and “written” by him in the real world. Here is the summary:

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren’t her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

If you have seen the show, you know Castle boasts about a juicy sex scene he created due to their spark, which is hilarious on all kinds of levels I didn’t even know existed. Like I said, I applaud their effort and they are denying the real author, still giving credit to the fictional character, Richard Castle.

Overall, the book was good. I’m not a big fan of watching a movie, then reading the book. But, in this case, I knew all the characters, knew all their mannerisms and facial expressions, and actually read it that much faster. Also, if you have seen the show, the book’s outline is identical to an episode.

Here are the first ten chapters of Heat Wave, and yes it is also in bookstores.

During the summer break from the show, Richard Castle is at it again giving one chapter hooks to his next novel, NAKED HEAT.

Bravo, ABC, bravo!

My rating: 3.5 out of 5

Book Review: The Killer Inside Me

 

                                          The Killer Inside Me

Lou Ford is the deputy sheriff of a small town in Texas.  The worst thing most people can say against him is that he’s a little slow and a little boring.  But, then, most people don’t know about the sickness–the sickness that almost got Lou put away when he was younger.  The sickness that is about to surface again.
An underground classic since its publication in 1952, The Killer Inside Me is the book that made Jim Thompson’s name synonymous with the roman noir

Originally published in 1952; republished 1991.

My Take:

To come up with an original first-person prose is arguably one of the most difficult aspects at writing genre fiction. For my writing, I generally shy away from such a task due to obvious physical and one-character emotional deprivation. The author is attached to the protagonist to his current surroundings and emotional standings.

There is one way to succeed, and that is writing psychological thrillers. The title says it all. A small town deputy sheriff battles himself and his “sickness”, simmering yet not outwardly showing signs of psychosis. Brilliant.

Yet, how far and how many can I read? Not all that many, but this particular gem satisfied that specific genre. Jim Thompson beautifully portrays a believable first-person prose murderer who battles his almost sane imperfections.

When I was in the middle of this man’s warped mind, I slanted on believing him and agreed with his asinine reasoning and arguments. After I put the book down, I half wondered if I had just read something in my own mind but am arguing with myself that that is impossible.

My rating: 4 out of 5

Movie Review: Inception

I N C E P T I O N

 

There have been times in my (recent) adult life where I repute today’s movie era. There has been nothing of interest, well-thought, or original material for quite some time. I had nearly lost faith in the business altogether, until I saw Inception. As I write this, I have no words to portray the awesomeness of those creators and actors. Each and every scene – be it acting, originality, or special effects – my jaw was dropped in awe-inspiring perfection.

If you have not seen it yet, GO SEE IT! Here’s twenty internet dollars, take a friend.

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. Source

A few friends of mine watched Inception when it first came out and called/texted me immediately, demanding I see it. After watching a good film, you tell your close friends, ones that you know will love it. I was the first person that came to there minds, knowing I would love it. Generally, I scoff at mass persuasion, waiting a year or two until I watch massive popular movies. I’m glad I didn’t wait. As I sat in the lux level at my local theatre – VIP baby, that’s how I roll – my eyes never left the screen, ever. My wife had apparently bought three beers, nachos, and paid the bill. I had no idea the waiter even showed. Of those friends who recommended it to me, they told me that “it is one of those movies you have to pay attention to.” I agree, but I was so entranced, I didn’t have time to think “oh, did I miss something here?” I paid attention, sure, but I was at the writers and actors mercy.

Finally, after years of giving up on movies, I can safely say that Inception revived them. I read a lot of books, and those of you who read, know what I’m talking about. You put so much time into a book, working your mind, (if it’s good) struggling, if not completely lost only to have all the strings of yarn wound back into a tight nit ball.

I will fly to the local Blockbuster on the DVD release date and watch this several times over. I write, or I like to call it, and if I ever need inspiration, Inception will be sleeping, waiting to turn those gears in my head and rejoice in originality.

Here are a few links for Inception. (Obvious spoilers)

Inception Explanation

Inception Infographic

Screenplay

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