Friday, December 21, 2012

Solstice Greetings

Hello Friends,

I know-I say I will write and never do.  I am writing, but it is my novels I am focusing on.  I do love to blog,  I love spreading the love of fantasy and science fiction.  But time is also very crunched and sadly mu blog suffers.  I promise to do better in 2013.   For now, have a nice Solstice time with lots of drobba and a happy New Year.  I will be popping out of seclusion for some upcoming conventions in 2013-Rustycon in Seattle, January 18-20 and Radcon on Pasco, WA February 15-17.  I hope to see you there. 

Verna McKinnon

Sunday, October 7, 2012

So long long ago....

It has been a long time since I wrote anything in my blog.  Months in fact.  I think last time I was heady and sad with the Once Upon a Time season finale.  Heady because it was so great...sad because it would be months until the 2nd season.  Season 2 is here and I am happy to have a fun fantasy show with depth back.
I have also been writing.  Parts of 2 novels and short stories.  I have ideas that I am taking down for other stories.  Writing down little bits of magic that sometimes flows from my imagination.  I have been waiting for my cover art for book 2.  My newest short stor, "A Bard's Blunder," was published in the Bards & Sages quarterly July 2012 edition.   Check it out.  It is a funny little fantasy about the spirit of Shakespeare running into those three weird sisters in the Afterlife.  They are not amused.
Also much sadness for many reasons.
1.  Ray Bradbury passed away.  He was a literary giant with a dazzling imagination.  He will be missed and his works will always be treasured.
2. The demise of the "Space Program" in this country.
4.  Michael O'Hare, who was so great as David Sinclair on Babylon 5, passed away.

There is more, but that is the short list.  I am hoping to have more news soon about book release and it be available on Kindle!  Yeah.  In the meantime, let your imagination run riot and live!  More to come.  I will be back more often.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Once Upon A Time Rules!

Okay, I will admit it.  I am am avid watcher of the TV show "Once Upon a Time."   That and Lost Girl are my 2 current favorites next to Game of Thrones. 
I love fairy tales-though the more earthy versions rather than fluffy Disney.  I do not hate Disney-but they often soften the fairy tales and make them too sparkly.  Once Upon a Time put the hearty grit back in the fairy tale.  It is the best thing to hit regular network television in years.  The season one finale last night was a rush of what the events that spiraled into a smashing finale   that left me satisfied-you know, like had some amazing cheesy pizza followed by chocolate cake feeling of satisfaction.  Warning-if you did not watch last night's season 1 finale, be warned of spoilers ahead.

1.  I loved that Emma finally got it-the curse  is real!  Am not sure what its was about the book that broke her blind spot-but I don't care.  Awareness on Emma is a great new look.  They had dumbed her down for so long I was beginning to wonder of the peroxide had fried her brain cells.  Don't get me wrong-I love Emma and she finally got to roll with some street smart and swift actions (I loved it when she roughed up Regina in the hospital closet) and inherited bravery skills (throwing sword at fire-breathing dragon.) That was so cool.  It was also great she tried to shoot the dragon until she realized it was not working. 
2.  Thinking her Henry was dead, Emma kissed him with true love's kiss and woke him up-I cheered!   And when it broke the curse on the rest of the town-I hit the ceiling.  Yeah!
3.  Hunstman in Flashback-we missed you!  It was a great tribute to fans and show they brought him back to help Prince Charming escape and find Snow White.
4.  Regina-I love to hate her.  Cudos to this great actress for creating a yummy wicked queen with issues.
5.  Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin-Dear Heavens, I feel about Robert Carlyle they way I do about John Noble (another amazing actor they should honor with gifts daily).  Carlyle is a brilliant actor who plays the double role with such brilliance that if they do not hand him multiple emmys and golden globes on a golden platter (Gold will not accept a silver platter)  there is no justice! He is so astounding! 
6.  I love Ginnifer Goodwin's dual role.  Her Mary Margaret was so passive but she was starting to get spunky.  Her scenes with David/James were always a treat. her scenes with Emma too.  The bond was there, subtle but undeniable.  Her Snow White is incredible!  Snow White is my favorite fairy tale- so her role means a lot to me.  Seeing her and James reunite when their memories were restored was a great pay off to fans.  I think we all did the happy dance.
7.  The mysterious purple smoke-is it bringing magic to Storybrooke??? What is Gold up to?  Seeing him reunite with Belle made me feel compassion for Gold because he does love Belle, which is a testament to the strength of the actor.  His character's motives are tricky and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.  Fall is so far away!

I could go on, but this was one of the best season finales EVER!  I hope they do not reset the curse though.  it would be more interesting to have all these people from fairy tale land living  in Storybrooke with their memories intact trying to figure out what to do next and how to get back home-or maybe some want to stay.  There are so many levels.  And-if magic comes to Storybrooke instead of a reset curse, even better because Regina would have her magic too.  Without the magic, let's face it, now that the inhabitants of Strorybrooke know what is happening and who Regina really is, Regina would be torn to pieces without magic to protect her.   No-things must shift to a new level and I hope that is what the writers are planning.  It could get even more interesting (if that is possible) if they go that way.  The dynamics of the town would shift to some great new levels.

There are many more mysteries too solve and many morwe great flashbacks galore they can do-how do James and Snow defeat the evil queen and James' faux king father?  They did not kill him because he ended up in Storybrooke as a lawyer.  When does Snow realize that Regina killed her father?  What happened to Regina's mother and where did she get her magic (Rumplestiltskin maybe?).  I often imagine Cora pushing an overstuffed grocery cart Storybrooke, a homeless and smelly  crazy woman who sleeps in alleys and likes cheap wine.  But who knows?  Maybe Regina killed her to get her magic?  And maybe some of the townfolk can tell Emma their stories. 

Where was Belle living after Rumpelstiltskin sent her away?  Plus, how are people going to interact in Storybrooke?  Will they get their magic back too or will it be just Gold and Regina?  Who is Henry's father?  Can they save August?   Plus, so many issues of separation and resentment-it is a emotional feast waiting to be written.   And there is room for more new stories as well as some reunions in Storybrooke-both good and bad.  I can't wait!  Will James and Snow become joint-mayors?  Will Grumpy find his true love again now that he knows who he is?  And there are oodles of fairy tale characters with stories to tell.  Will they remember their earthly skills now that their memories are reset back to normal?  The possibilities are endless, along with the great archetype of the reluctant hero (Emma) who had to deal with her own sword in the stone and  accept her destiny as a hero.

Just a footote, though Jennifer Morrison is gorgeous and rocks the long blonde hair, it would be interesting to see her change along with her new acceptance as savior and tough heroine-maybe go back to a natural shade of brunette (ala House) and maybe even cut it (not short, but less crazy wild beach blonde)-I could see her with some red hair in a slightly shorter but still long do.  A new look for a new woman who now knows she was not just a piece of unwanted garbag left on a roadside.  She is a Princess with a destiny.  She is loved and wanted.  Like her parents, she has a kingdom to save and a child to love.
I relish the opportunity for change and transformation here.  I hope the writers do in season 2 what they did in season 1 and continue with developing storylines and characters.  I can see a solid good 5 seasons of OUaT.  And I will buy each season in dvd with cheery glee as long as they keep it up.

I would love to write for this show.  Just one script.  It would be great.  A girl can dream you know.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Short Story!

Hello Familiar Fans,

Just a quick bulletin that my new short story, "Snow White: My Story," is at last in print!  You can find it in the newest Mystic Signals print edition, Issue 13, as one of their exclusive stories for their print edition.   Here is the cover art for the magazine, which is actually a big beautiful anthology with a sturdy front cover and made to last.  They are available on Amazon.  My Snow White is full of scare and humor, plus I delved into some questions I always had-why the Snow White's heart?  Why the hot iron slippers to punish the evil queen?  Who were the Dwarves?  Read and find out.  Let me know if you like it on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shame on Disney! John Carter is no flop! See John Carter!

Okay I need to address an issue that is vexing me.  First of all, John Carter (which should have been John Carter of Mars or similar) is no flop.  The ridiculous expectations of studios to reap back all of their production costs in 2 weeks is illogical and deluded.  Also they did not know how to promote the movie.  I know the studio's base is suppose to be fantasy based studio-but I personally think they do not understand anything beyond kid cartoons and fluff.  John Carter was based on Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series, the first of which was written a hundred years ago-literally.  No one knows or understands today that John Carter comes from that.  Disney needed to promote that and use that as part of the ad runs.  Other than meager clips you got nothing what the movie was about.  It is a great movie.  Disney (I believe) hates real science fiction and fantasy literature-look what they did to the Black Cauldron years ago?   Now we are expected to dump any interest in John Carter and just move on to whatever lame new movie Disney is doing.  It is bad enough they have softened the fairy tales, but now they have something great they are not even trying to save.  Movies need time sometimes, especially when people foolishly think it is a Star Wars rip off not knowing that if anything, these stories fed the ideas of a Star Wars to Lucas.   John Carter is true imagination and adventure.  I loved it.  The leads were great!  The special effects awesome!  I love classic science fiction!  Shame on you Disney!  You produced some fun and quality and you are not giving it a chance.  I want a decent science fiction series on film and there has been none in years.  This was my last hope and you are dashing it.  I do not want to see the Avengers, because studios have been ruining comic book heroes for years.  Brave is kid stuff though it might be good, but not heart thumping science fiction.  I want my science fiction adventure!  LET ANOTHER STUDIO HAVE THE RIGHTS AND RELEASE ALL TALENT TO A STUDIO THAT IS COMPETENT TO REAP MONEY OFF A GOOD SCIENCE FICTION FILM!   Go back to ruining the fairy tales!  Disney why did you fail John Carter?  Did you get so bogged down in focus groups and trying to soften what the film was and you are to blame? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fantascicon in Georgia! See that's my editor Joe Dickerson and my book

My editor Joe Dickerson (sitting) showing off and hopefully selling copies of my book @ Fantascicon in Dalton, Georgia recently.    Looks like it was a fun convention.  I hope he sold lots of copies.  Hi Joe!

Friday, March 9, 2012

John Carter...OF MARS!!!

Okay, I do plan on seeing John Carter, which should have been titled "John Carter of Mars," or "Princess of Mars."  I heard via rumor that Disney did a poll and said that women would not see a movie called John Carter of Mars.
Disney- get a grip.    In fact, all movie and TV studios, stop over doing the stupid focus groups!  They are lame.  Those focus groups would not have liked Star Wars or Star Trek either-and look at the money makers those were?  I am miffed that this was not John Carter of Mars, or any of the possible cool titles that Edgar Rice Burroughs created.  Yes, this is something from the wonderful age of classic science fiction/fantasy pulp era where imagination ruled, that same age that spawned HP Lovecraft and Robert E Howard.  A friend recently commented that John Carter sounded too much like John Connor (from Terminator) until I pointed out these stories were much older (first of which was written in 1912 under Barsoom series which was what he called Mars-long before Terminator.)  My friend was shocked and I directed him to the library to check out Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Disney-you did not poll me did you?   I am tired of people trying to water down fantasy and science fiction.  Soft science fiction and fantasy is being coddled while great stuff that is meaty is left in a corner gathering dust.   Stop the insanity!   Embrace the imagination.  That is my motto.   
Back to writing.

Verna McKinnon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Literary Smoothie

Hello all Familiar's Tale fans!

Just got back from Radcon 6 in Pasco, Washington.  Was fun and crazy, with lots of great creative people there.  Ben Bova, Alma Alexander, and Tony Daniels to name a few attended.  There were also scores of small publishers and indie writers (like myself) that staffed the weekend long event.  We had great panels about writing, where I coined my literary smoothie phrase.  We were talking about collaborative writing (translation-how to write with a friend/spouse/partner and not destroy each other).  I will post a few pics soon.  Right now am exhausted.  All that fun and junk food has me weak as a newborn wampu.  Until then, have a great week.

Verna McKinnon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Radon 6 this weekend! Plus TV rants (oh boy)

Greetings my fellow fantasy and science fiction friends.  This weekend I am going to be at Radcon 6 in Pasco, Washington.  Am excited as many great folks like Ben Bova and Alma Alexander will be there.  I will be on lots of panels and mainlining Starbucks & chocolate to keep going.  I look forward to the fun.

Also, last time I blogged I missed a show that should not have been cancelled.  "Legend of the Seeker" was cut short after 2 seasons.  It is sad because it was genuine fantasy and though not exactly like the novels had some heart to it.  I loved the cast and the pure fantasy feel.  Regular TV is trying to force "soft sci fi & fantasy" on us.  You know, contemporary shows where there is a thin thread of supernatural or some sudden super powers for one or more characters without any real reason for it.  Contemporary fantasy can be tricky.   Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best example of a good contemporary show.  Fringe, Charmed, Sanctuary, Doctor Who (the Tennant years) and the Stargate shows are also great examples.  But many TV offerings are just weak with thin threads of nothing because networks and studios do not want to produce anything with an expense, no matter how great the show (Firefly anyone?) and that is just tragic.  The current slush of vampire and witchy shows have no heart as they are stocked with shallow and synthetic pretty characters, plastic images of youthful and blank souls with little story meat to feed the watcher.   I am also weary of the tortured vampire love syndrome that is everywhere.  At least with zombies you have enough sense to kill them.  Few vampire love stories ever work.  They need to staked. 
The reason the Buffy the Vampire's love story with Angel was tolerable was because of the supernatural system laid down by Whedon-Angel was cursed with a soul.  All others were just demons that needed to be staked and vacuumed.  The love of Buffy & Angel was tragic and could not go on-not unless Angel became human which is what should have happened in the end of the series.  Even on Charmed the half-demon Cole had to go (perhaps it was due to another tv offer but who knows). 
I want the return of the demon hunter.  I want the witch or slayer to save innocents and kill demons.   I want the warrior with the magical sword & destiny.  I want the sorceress/witch to save the world from evil.  I don't want them to date it. 
More later.

Verna McKinnon

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sad Mistakes of Television & Sacrifice of Good TV

The mistakes and frequent stupidity of television often amazes me.  The long list of tragic mistakes is eternal, though I have a short personal list of issues that have bugged me.  The blame is wide-producers, networks, bad writing, studios, etc...but the end result is the same-the ruin  or banishment of great shows.  Often science fiction and fantasy are axed.    Tragic, especially now that we are in an age of mostly rotten unimaginative TV.  The few good shows struggle while wretched cheap reality shows, boring law or medical dramas or shows with toilet humor prevail.  So, here is my list of  some  great shows that were cancelled by the idiots that rule TV/or some plain stupid moves that give me a headache.  It is a short list as I could never list them all.

1.  Firefly.  One of the best science fiction shows with a great cast and massive potential crushed after barely a dozen episodes.  Nathan Fillion was perfect and the dream ended too quickly.  Shame on you TV!

2.  SciFi Channel Demise.  Now for some reason the channel is now called SYFY???  And they show wrestling?  Beyond stupidity and I now pronounce the channel sehffee

3.  Original Star Trek.  The first of original science fiction shows to be treated like an unwanted stepchild.  The potential for greatness was not erased, despite its cancellation.   Yet the networks still disregard science fiction despite the great love its fans show.

4.  Crusade.  Part of the Babylon 5 franchise, I loved this show and was again disappointed when they cancelled it after 13 episodes.  Great original characters and mystery, plus they were going to clean up stuff left over from Babylon 5.  

5.  Original V Series. I loved this show and after barely a season and a big cliffhanger, they cancel it.

6.  Alien Nation.  One of the best science fiction shows made and set in a contemporary time.  They give it a big cliffhanger and cancel it.  Despite the furor that followed and the resulting TV movies that followed, it was never the same.  For shame!

7.  Beauty & The Beast.  I started watching this show with skepticism, but the two main characters of Catherine & Vincent drew me in.  Then to cancel it after 2 seasons (with another cliffhanger) and then to try to reboot the show by killing Catherine after she gives birth to Vincent's child was a violation of everything the show stood for.  It quickly ended but not before I had a bad taste in my mouth.  I own the first two seasons.  Season 3 does not exist-ever.  BAD TV DECISION!

8.  Space Rangers.  Only broadcast for 6 episodes and cancelled.  Sigh.  Another victim of network morons in suits.

9.  Robin Hood. Okay this is the newer BBC edition that I attempted.  They killed off Maid Marion (yet allowed her & Robin a quick marriage ceremony as she bled out).  I stopped watching.  Another dumbhead move.  Despite it's problems,  at least I have the 80's Robin of Sherwood that was so good, but also cancelled too early.   

10.  Adventures of Brisco County Jr.  Bruce Campbell & Kelly Rutherford at their best.  Fabulous show that had adventure, science fiction, romance, comedy, suspense in a tight package.  Perhaps you were to good for TV..but it was a crime to cancel you after 28 glorious episodes.   Sigh.  I still feel sad about this one,

11.  Moonlight.  Though I an weary of the vampire romance thing, the two stars of Moonlight (Sophia Myles & Alex O'Loughlin) raised the level with their shining characters & talent.   you cared about them.  With barely a season of episodes they cancelled it.  RIP Moonlight.

That is my short list of television sins.   I have more of course, but I must get back to writing.

Verna McKinnon  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Write, write, write

Okay, between bouts of frantic games of Plants vs. Zombies & Scrabble online, I am writing.  Writing is a strange occupation if you think about it.  We create worlds and characters in our heads and often think about cruel things to do to those characters.    My poor characters are going to be put through many many tortures in the next 3 Familiar's Tale books-but I am also a believer on happy endings-for some.

I am also angling to play Skyrim-we just bought the game.  Nothing boosts the creative juices like a dragon chasing you whilst you try not to pee your armor.   But in between I am getting some great stuff written for book 3 and the new fantasy book for a new series.  So, as I am off work today in Seattle due to freezing blizzard conditions, I shall put my creative juices to proper use and write a new chapter of excitement where Mellypip is trying to teach a baby dragon to read.  This goes well until Mellypip's scrolls end up burning from the dragon's burps of flames when he has an upset tummy.  Dragons are very high high maintenance.

More later.

Verna McKinnon