Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Reviewers Make me Crazy & Why I Love James Spader in "The Blacklist."

Okay, I am delving into the television world for a rant, but I watched The Blacklist with James Spader.  I have been an admirer of his for years-from the teen flicks where he was the arrogant rich boy to his nerdy role in Mannequin to the handsome unlikely hero academic, Daniel Jackson,  in the movie Stargate (one of the most underrated science fiction films of all time). 

James Spader is an incredible actor.  He will be one of those still standing when he is ancient and pudgy and a mass of wrinkles no amount of botox can remedy-because he was always more than a pretty face.   He can act.  Not all of Hollywood is a bastion of actors-many are cardboard images that will fade when their good looks have vanished.

But returning to my main point about reviews, is that the online reviews I am reading are often a bit stupid and even miss the whole point (not just for Blacklist but for many shows).  People need  a thesaurus.  They need to craft what they say.  They give wrong impressions.  A reviewer I read today asked "Did James Spader pulled of his version of Hannibal Lector?"   Let me explain why this is wrong, in my humble opinion. Yes-James Spader's character, Reddington, is a criminal mastermind and a monster wanted by the FBI and all that-but he is also "NOT A SERIAL KILLER WHO SNACKS ON PEOPLE."    He is a master criminal: there is a difference you know.  Apparently some people are not aware of this.  Comparing Reddington to Hannibal Lector makes no sense at all.  Are we so glutted by the serial killer fascination (which is creepy) that we compare all criminal masterminds to flesh eating cannibal serial killers?  That is ridiculous.   

If I had read the review title before watching, I might have discarded even checking out the show.  I am sick of focus on serial killers on television and in movies, making the focus about them and even making them heroes.  As much as I adore James Purefoy, I will never watch "The Following."  But fear not James Purefoy (are all the James' in the world such good actors?) I own Rome and Solomon Kane.

But, thankfully, James Spader's character is not a people eater.  He harks back to something more interesting than an serial killer.  He is a criminal mastermind.  A 'Moriarty' or 'Bond nemisis'.  He is complex.  He is quite sane.  He is intriguing.  He is quite scary.  His darkness makes him interesting without resorting to the typical serial killer mode that is so prevalent today.

Thank you for considering my opinion.   More later.  My characters are calling me back to writing.

Verna McKinnon


Friday, September 20, 2013

What a Writer Does

Hello Friends,

What does a writer do?  We create, explore, inform, reflect-the list is long.  The point is we write and we provide a creative and important chapter of our culture and even our species.  No matter what the medium-be it scrolls, hardbacks, walls, vellum, paperbacks, online, e-books, downloads, rocks-we will always be there and  matter.  What we do is important.   Our communication of life is important.  Our storytelling is important.  Do not let the current trends frighten you or let the morons diminish you-writers are important. 
The current changes in the publishing industry have people concerned and writers of all genres a little scared.  I say embrace the change and make it work for you.   There are possibilities.   E-books and online magazines that give writers a place.  The writing is the same it is just it's framework that is evolving.  If someone says you the writer is no longer relevant-then let them try to read anything or even watch anything without the benefit of us.  Someone has to write those scripts and songs and e-books they are downloading.  It is the writer.  Be it fiction or non-fiction.  The most important thing is that we keep writing.  Follow your own voice.  Keep writing.    
What does a writer do?  Everything that matters.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Wild Forest and Coffee


I have had a great summer.  I made huge progress in my new novel, "The Bard Maiden of Rhulon," and though I did not finish it -I did a lot of good work.  I will finish it before year end.  My heroine, Rose Greenleaf, has a lot of adventures in this first book.    A whole new world for me to create.  Yum.  Speaking of yum I need more coffee.  The enchanted or cursed forests take a lot of energy.
I also love that I am finally on Kindle for my novel, Gate of Souls, A Familiar's tale Book One," and if any of my wonderful readers would mind posting some new reviews on Amazon for me that would be great.   My publisher also changed their name to Aberrant Dreams-which I like much better.  The art is still beautful.  I love it so. 
Also, my contact information has been updated to a new email address.  It is on my website info at   If any of my readers or agents or hungry publishers desire to contact me, for your convenience my new official writer email is

I hope your summer was also magical.  Now I must return to one of my magical worlds to give my characters some trouble. 

Verna McKinnon