The Signal

I’m not aware of most of the movies coming out these days, but this one caught my eye while checking out The Passive Voice blog.

Talk about an alternate reality. Anyone else thinking of seeing this movie?

The Signal starring Laurence Fishburne.


To See or Not to See Ender’s Game (written by Orson Scott Card)

Lately I’ve seen a flurry of tweets and articles about a planned boycott of the film Ender’s Game, based on the novel of the same name written by Orson Scott Card.

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game (Photo credit: Brave Heart)

Up front let me say that I met Card years ago at MIT. Another well known science fiction writer,  Joe Haldeman, teaches a course on writing science fiction at MIT and throughout the semester he brought in authors to talk to our class. Card was one such author. He even signed my copy of Ender’s Game. He’s a nice guy. Jovial and funny.

At the time I was not aware of his views on gay marriage, and his views are the crux of the argument. Should you see a movie based on a novel written by a person who actively bankrolls a position with which you disagree?

On one hand you have to think about the film itself. Fine. Don’t buy the book.

It’s a great book, by the way. One of the all time classics in science fiction.

But, okay, don’t buy the book, or if you do, buy it from an independent bookstore or a used bookstore. But the film? Card provided the source material. Should the actors, directors, screenwriters, cameramen, caterers all suffer because of the source material’s author’s opinions?

On the other hand Card is still actively pushing his anti gay marriage agenda. Any money he makes from the film will be used to bankroll views with which you may disagree. I’m sure many actors and authors hold views with which we disagree. I know many people who refuse to see Tom Cruise movies because of his affiliation with Scientology.

Tim Tebow wears his Christianity on his sleeve and that turns off some people, but do people know that Aaron Rogers is equally as religious?

Here is where I will insert my opinion.

Like I said, I bet there are numerous films and books you have watched and read that were made and written by people with whom you disagree.

The key? You didn’t know.

Card’s mistake was not his opposition to same-sex marriage. I mean, he’s entitled to his opinion. His mistake was letting the world know and actively campaigning.

You may say to me that he has the right to make his voice heard if it’s an issue he cares deeply about. True, but when  you are an artist (actor, author, painter…) involving yourself openly in controversial issues detracts from your creations. Instead of talking about how great a story Ender’s Game is, we are instead talking about the author’s political opinions.

You may say that we should be allowed to have  healthy discussions without rancor. Oh, I wholeheartedly agree, but that’s not reality. I wish it were. One could also argue the point that maybe from Card’s point of view this issue is as important as the civil rights discussion of the 60’s. Would I be asking Card to keep his views to himself if that were the issue he was arguing? To be honest, different time, different issue, but the argument is a good point.

Bottom line: Card is entitled to his opinions and movie-goers can express frustration with his opinions by not seeing the movie based on his work. That’s our society. That’s our choice.

Personally, I will see Ender’s Game. I can disagree with Orson Scott Card and still enjoy his stories.

Besides, two words. Harrison Ford.

Original footage of the scene between Han Solo...

Book Spotlight: Where Darkness Walks by Donna Hawk

This is a young adult paranormal romance book that’s received good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Thought I would spread the word about a fellow independent author, Donna Hawk.

Donna Hawk Final Cover for May

Clarie’s world is about to change for the darker. Rand broke up with her at the prom, she uncovers a secret in the hidden back of an armoire, and she meets Patrick, who is determined to help her forget her broken heart.

As Clarie evades classmate Bulldog’s stalking, she and Patrick explore the dark halls of an abandoned cement plant. After following Clarie and Patrick deep inside the cement plant, Bulldog confronts Clarie as he fights with Patrick. When she is accidentally pushed against a set of dark doors into the shadow realm of Mortgatha, everything she fears is set into motion to keep her away from her beloved Earth world.

Even with Patrick’s help, the doorway home moves randomly, evil characters beset them at every turn, and the way home seems farther away than ever.

Where you can purchase this book

Paperback Createspace

E-Book Amazon

donna hawkAbout the Author

I have been a teacher in Kansas for 33 years. I enjoy writing, riding my bicycle, and spending time with my husband. I am an avid photographer and Photoshop user. Currently, I am working on a dark trilogy for young adults, the first of which I am hoping will be completed by the end of the summer 2013.
If you have any questions for me, you can email me at:





Traditional or Self-Publishing…that is the question

The lead-in question has been on my mind a great deal over the past couple of weeks. Why? Well, I’ll get to that, but first the journey…

Next (Journey album)

No, not that Journey.

Over the weekend I caught up in transcribing my handwritten journal, a task I set myself to with abandon with my wife away for the weekend, because I have been frightened over losing the journal, and with it all that I have written.

Finished with the task I now sit at over 114,000 words, which, depending on how many words you assign to a page (I’ve seen a range of 250-400), my story spans between 280 and 400 pages.

What does page count mean? Squat, really. The story will end when it ends, but when I tell people how many words I’ve written they almost always ask me to translate the number into pages.

If you read the blog I posted several days ago about my trip to UCLA you will know that I now see the scenes on the path to the end. I call them waypoints. Probably from playing all those video games. As I talked to myself on the way to UCLA that day I found out that my mind had been doing work behind my back. Lucky for me the novel gnomes had been busy and finished the rest of the novel for me. Now I just have to put words to paper.

What does this mean for me? The end is in sight. Sure, there will be a part II. Again, my mind has gone there already, but I see a resolution to the current conflict and that’s where this novel, Part I, will end.

Oh, and I have a full title for the novel,

The Tome of Worlds, Part I of The Worlds Within

OK, now what? Where will I go with the manuscript after it’s done? Well, it’ll sit in a drawer (folder) for at least a month while I write a science fiction short story that’s been eating at my mind in parallel. After a month I will pull the novel out of the drawer and revise with what I hope is a fresh(er) eye. Then the novel will be seen for the first time by eyes other than mine. Several people have volunteered to read the manuscript, and I have an online group to which I can feed the novel. From there I will look at it again with my own eyes, revise, and then send it off to a copyeditor.

And after that copyeditor? Well, there’s the lead-in question.

I’ve read many points of view on the debate, but even some of the most die-hard self publishers say you should query agents. I will query agents, of course, but I am aware of the lottery I am playing, which is why I am proceeding along as if I am going to self publish. I am looking at distribution models, data analytics, and cover art.

Sad to say, but unless I do research all I have to go on is what draws my eye, and what draws me to novels is great cover art. Even if by some miracle I am picked up by an agent and publishing house I will still have to promote myself, and great art depicting scenes from my novel will help with promotion.

To that end I have asked family members who are talented at illustration to draw characters, landmarks and scenes from my story, which I will publish on my various social media sites when the illustrations are done. Also, I’ve started the search for cover artists, and so far I have two prospects, whom I’ve linked below. If you have an opinion on either one I’d love to hear it.

But back to self publishing and the great debate (at least in my mind). Someone, somewhere attributed a quote to Louis CK, the comedian. I cannot verify if Louis CK did say this nugget of wisdom, but the words are stuck in my mind. I paraphrase:

“If you are good enough, you should go it alone. Own your work. Be your own publicist. Be your own agent. No one will have your passion. And if you aren’t good enough, no one will want you anyway so you might as well go it alone.”

Unless you sign your life away with an agent or publishing house, I don’t see why you can’t go promote yourself and have an agent and publisher. Publishing houses and agents open too many doors to be ignored. Besides, I have a family and a full time job. Even the limited amount of social media that I have been pursuing is eating up more time than I would like. I cannot imagine how I will organize my life if I have to self publish. Read Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog, Catherine, Caffeinated. She has a great post on the work you should be doing if you want to self publish.

On the other side of the coin, querying agents and publishing houses take time. You have to be patient. Can I be patient? I can. Scott Southard, who just released A Jane Austen Daydream, told me that an author querying agents should set a time limit for himself. If after 8-12 months you have not had success, self publish the book and move on to the next project.


And that’s where I stand now. Scott’s advice sits well with me. The first draft editing process has yet to begin, but my mind is at ease knowing that I have a plan.

What did Robert Heinlein say?

“Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet you can’t win.”

Pinterest and My Novel

Pinterest is the fastest growing social network out there. Long ago I heard about Pinterest, but I never looked at it. Still, I know that a few authors I read have Pinterest pages, so I decided to make my own page.

Pinterest is a fun way to pass time, especially if you see clothes or shoes or furniture you like on a webpage, any webpage. Hit the Pinterest plug-in button and you can Pin a picture of the item in which you are interested to your board. It’s a great way to keep all of your ideas in one place, visually.

English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How have I used it? Well, I’ve added movie posters I like. Ways I would like to dress someday. Bookshelves I’d like to own. The way I’d like my writing space to look.

Also, I’ve used Pinterest as a way to visualize every aspect of the world I’ve created. Whenever I see an image, be it on Tumblr, fantasy art sites, Google+, you name it, I Pin the image to one of my boards.

I’ve made boards for Fashion in the Nyre Lands, Scenes from my novel, and Jaunter staves so far. I have a board hidden where I am putting together a story board that I plan to publish around the same time as my novel is published.

If you have a Pinterest account, or if you are interested in seeing how I see the world in my novel, please head over there and check out my Pinterest boards. I’d love to hear what people think.

And if you are on Pinterest, add me if you wish.