Thursday, March 24, 2011

RAISING AN EBOOK APP or RAISING THE DEAD

Just amazed myself. In less then forty-eight hours I read a novel. A novella actually, but I never read books that quickly. The only reason I ever finish a novel in a short amount of time is that I can’t put it down.


Which is rare.


Am getting head of myself. Let’s start again.


Several months ago a publisher asked for reviewers of some of their books. They gave me a nice selection, and I picked three. Two of these books I have started multiple times, but just haven’t gotten into them.


I did, however, read the third book: PAST MIDNIGHT by Mara Purnhagen. (See my first book review HERE.)


Because at the time I did not have a tablet or phone that could read other ebook formats, I requested these to be in PDF format and I read the novel on my computer screen.


Since then I have a new cell phone. Though reading PDF files on the phone works, it’s not as simple as it should be. I have to zoom in to make it readable and the text blurs as I move down the page.


I was pleased to find the Kindle App for my droid phone. To test the app out I needed a book to read (Sorry, Jane Austen, but the copy of Pride & Prejudice that came with the app isn’t going to do it for me. Maybe some other time.)


So I went to Amazon and grabbed a copy of Purnhagen’s RAISING THE DEAD.


I’ve been looking for her ONE HUNDRED CANDLES in stores for some time now. I would like to actually own one of her books. (I did buy a copy of PAST MIDNIGHT for my niece’s birthday.)

The first thing I noticed when opening the book up on the Kindle app was the clear the text and ease to read. That’s a major plus over the PDFs. The turn of the pages was smooth.


So far I have only found one negative about the Kindle app, and it is only noticeable when looking at the title and other opening pages. It seems to split pages in odd locations. Like the last three lines are thrown onto a new page/screen. Publishers must certainly be looking into redesigning these pages to fit tablets and phone apps.


And now RAISING THE DEAD.


Only weeks have past since Charlotte Silver’s ghostly experience in PAST MIDNIGHT and now she doubts if they ever happened. When a horrendous storm floods the town and coffins float down the main road, Charlotte recruits her friends to help an old man restore his family cemetery.


As stated, this was an enjoyable story that by the end has very little to do with ghosts and the paranormal but about how Charlotte deals with the experiences around her. By the end Charlotte hasn’t grown much past her concerns and doubts, yet at the same time is ready to face the day a little drier then when the story began.


The characters continue to be interesting and multi-dimensional with none of the clich├ęs of teenage life.

The best way that I can describe RAISING THE DEAD is that of a weekend. The big massive events happen at school or work during the week, and you know there will be more excitement next week, the weekend are those smaller ones in between. There are things that happen, but we know more is to come. I doubt it is necessary to read before ONE HUNDRED CANDLES, but it is certainly fun and enjoyable on its own.

I intend to follow Charlotte Silver as she lights ONE HUNDRED CANDLES and then goes BEYOND THE GRAVE. Though I do still intend to buy at least one of in a bookstore and hold it in my hands, there’s still something about the feel of book paper.


Am currently reading a fantasy romance novel that takes place in what is now my beloved Northern Ireland, and I am enjoying it, but it’s going to take me a whole lot longer then forty-eight hours to read.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“Hey, Red! Forget about the Wolf, you’ve got bigger problems at home.”

This weekend marks the opening of the movie RED RIDING HOOD.

I won’t be seeing it. Wait, wait. I have nothing against the film. I’m sure that the writer worked very hard on the story, a crew worked very hard to make the sets and special effects look just right. That they cast the perfect actors and actresses.

Each and everyone who had a hand in the movie all deserve a round of applause even if there are no awards accompanying it.

As mentioned, I have nothing against the movie, other than the obvious fact that they’re trying to grab the TWIGHLIGHT audience. If they succeed, good for them, but I think they’re trying too hard.

Okay, that’s the last of my opinion of the movie. Now I want to talk a little bit about the original LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

We all know the basic story. Girl who loves wearing her new Red Hood, is told by her mother to take a basket full of goods to her Grandma who lives way out in the woods. Along the way she meets a wolf, hungry and intrigued by the girl. She travels on to Grandma’s house. Only to discover the wolf has disguised himself as Grandma. She is later rescued by the Woodsman.

In some of the more gruesome tellings of the story, the Wolf ate Grandma before putting on her clothes. Ooo, yuck.

And for the life of me I can’t remember where the Woodsman comes into the story before saving the day at the end.

But all that, the Woodman and even the Wolf, aren’t all that important. There’s a greater problem going here that needs to be dealt with.

Why is Grandma living so far out in the woods, by herself?

Our main character is a girl with an interesting fashion sense, who lives with her single mother. We have never seen a father, have we? He probably died at some point (let’s make him heroic, and helped the King defend the land).

[Side note. This is why Red would never fit in with the Disney Princess’. In most of those classic tales, the girls don’t have they’re own mothers. PRINCESS AND THE FROG is the odd one out.]

Back to my nonsense. Red lives with her mom, who every so often remembers about poor old Grandma and sends the girl off with a basket full of goodies.

Who is Grandma? This little old later who looks forward to seeing her grandchild visit. Is she’s the mom’s own mother, or her mother-in-law? How independent is she? Able to take care of herself?

When was the last time the two women spoke to one another and didn’t use poor Red as a go between? Then to send the girl out into the woods knowing that there were dangerous wild animals out there?

Why hasn’t Grandma moved in with the rest of the family to be taken care of like she should be?

That last question is rather serious in our present day world where Grandmas are put into homes all by themselves, and every so often we remember them and go for a visit.

So, who’s the real bad guy in this story?

Ya, I probably thought too much about this. This is how I see stories sometimes, looking at the characters and what goes on beneath the main action.

I don’t think my story would make a very good movie, do you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I have nothing to complain about - iget2work

When I began this weekly blog I had two agendas. The first was to talk about being a writer and provide what every advice I have, which may not be much. The second was to document my experience in my job search, whether it was in the entertainment industry where I long to be, or just looking for a “day job” locally. Sometimes that later topic became quite frustrating and maybe a little annoying to my readers.


During one of those annoying moments several months back, a friend suggested I put my thoughts on to video and post it online. She said it would be good therapy. I don’t know about that, but I have thought about making a video.


My friend’s name is Sue Wolf and along with Nick La Penna has created a compelling film entitle “The Unemployed Quilt Project.”


Looking at Sue’s website http://iget2work.com you will find humor to lighten your mood, tips to and links for the unemployed, and for job searching, and you will also find the stories. Video after video, after video, of people expressing their thoughts and emotions about having been fired and unemployed. This ‘all things work’ blog came into existence in 2008 and since then the Unemployed Quilt of videos has been growing along side the Labor Statistic’s monthly report.


From all this, the two filmmakers have assembled a short film, that like Andy Warhol provides the unemployed 15 minutes of fame with a sometimes humorous, sometimes emotional, and sometimes tragic, but always-realistic look into their lives with out a job.


Shot on location in New York and Los Angeles, the filmmakers premiered their movie online for audiences to experience this voyeuristic yet intimate look into the lives of the out-of-work employee. The movie can be viewed either on the http://iget2work.com site or on YouTube:


Full 15 Minute version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDJ5dxvL238


2 Minute version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM1Vush4I4o


30 second trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ9gNwXtihU


Reading over the press release for “The Unemployed Quilt Project” you can see all the great work that these filmmakers have been involved in:


Sue Wolf; director/ producer: known for ground breaking HBO comedy shows “One Night Stand,” “Uptown Comedy Express” and “Woman of the Night” Sue has worked for Comedy Central, MTV, Disney, Lifetime, CBS, ABC, TBS, UPN. Hit programs include “Richard Pryor: I Ain’t Dead Yet Muth#rF^%ker”, “Legends: Rodney Dangerfield,” “Dinner and a Movie” and “Comedy Central Roasts.”


Nick La Penna; writer / producer: who's work includes projects for MTV, ABC, Sci Fi, CNBC, ShopNBC, CBS, Food Network, USA Networks, Family Channel, TBN, Vh1, A&E, Fox and International Syndication including the pop culture hits “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous,” “Runaway with the Rich and Famous” and “Fame and Fortune and Romance.”


Both Sue Wolf and Nick La Penna are unemployed.


After watching the movie I feel extremely embarrassed by some of my previous online grumblings about my job search. I have now been employed for nearly four months, first at the local community college and then at the Foundation that supports the college. The jobs are part time and certainly not where I want to be, but I am employed and have been blessed. I have no right to complain about what I have.


If you are not moved by this film, than I’d ask you to take a moment and consider just how far away you truly are from The Breadline that is Online.


If you would like to participate in the “Unemployed Quilt”, or like to help these filmmakers, you can contact them at the website http://iget2work.com or write e-mail them at iget2work(at)iget2work(dot)com.


At some point I may add video to my blog, but anything I have to say will never compare to one second of this movie.