Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two-Cent Tuesdays: Grumpy Bulldog Bits

Epic Grumpy Bulldog ranting!
[BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  Today A Hero's Journey (Tales of the Scarlet Knight #1) is FREE on Amazon.  Offer ends August 30! This morning it's #1 on the list of bestselling free superhero books.  So there.  Too bad I'm not making any money off that.

Also between now and 9/13/13 you can enter to win a free paperback of Chance of a Lifetime (Chances Are #1) from Goodreads! ]

I had written a post about creating paperbacks on CreateSpace for this spot, but then I ran into some problems with the paperbacks I was creating, so I pushed that post back until September 10 since I figured the 3rd is the day after Labor Day and probably no one will give a shit then--or less so than anyone usually gives a shit about my blog.  Anyway, so here's just some random grumpy thoughts that occurred to me.

1.  I started following author A. Lee Martinez's blog (he is not following mine...yet) and about once a week he does a mailbag where people ask him questions about stuff.  How come no one ever asks ME about stuff?  I'm a published author and all that; why aren't people asking me questions about the biz?  Or about relevant pop culture events?  Or sending me fan letters saying how my book changed their life and so forth?  Seriously I've never gotten a single fan letter or email in like 4 years.  WTF is that?  Come on, throw this Grumpy Bulldog a bone!  Though part of it might be I deleted the Contact Me page.  Now I've added contact information to the About Me page.  Not that it's hard to find me; I am everywhere!

2.  Instead of fans I get a lot of obnoxious cranks.  Briane Pagel posted a link to an article featuring a letter where a woman ranted about how parents in a neighborhood should kill their "retarded" son because he made too much noise.  That's the kind of person who seems to write reviews for my books.  Like the idiot who couldn't like Emma Earl because her feet are too big.  This same idiot complained I was making fun of Becky all the time and having every character do it by calling her "Fatty" or "the fat girl."  I looked that up and Fatty was used as an insult ONCE in the whole fucking book.  And "the fat girl" was only used by Detective Donovan and Marlin the ghost in internal narration to identify Becky, whose name they didn't know at the time.  I don't know, how else would you describe a girl who's fat?  Fucking PC police.  Then there's the moron who doesn't speak or write English as a first language and was complaining about all the deux ex machina elements in First Contact--except NONE of the things he described were actually deux ex machina!  Or the yutz who for whatever reason thinks the Children of Eternity series (which involves the Fountain of Youth) should be a complicated time travel saga and demands I rewrite books 2-4 to suit this notion. Or the person who complained there wasn't enough laughter in Virgin Territory, which was NOT billed as a comedy.

One that frequently irritates me is people who review Where You Belong complain that the narrator Frost Devereaux is too passive.  Well, duh, THAT WAS THE POINT!!!  The whole story revolves around him finally finding the courage to dump the Maguire twins and take control of his own destiny.  So you're saying as a criticism something that was completely intentional on my part.  Like most of the book it was patterned after several John Irving novels like The Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meaney where the narrator is less important in many ways than the surrounding characters.  So if you got a problem, take it up with Mr. Irving because it's his fault!  Though he probably based his on Dickens, so maybe go find a medium to complain to Dickens about it.

3.  Big news last Thursday/Friday was that WB/DC cast Ben Affleck to play Batman in the increasingly dumb-sounding Superman/Batman movie.  I get why WB/DC would cast Affleck; I just don't get why Affleck would agree to it.  He spent years recovering from the J. Lo thing and box office backlash that created and reinvented himself as a star/director of thrillers sort of in the Clint Eastwood mold and had finally garnered some industry respect with Argo.  Now you're going to do a superhero movie?  Really?  Granted I'm sure the paycheck will be huge--but probably not Robert Downey Jr money--but career-wise it seems like a bad decision.  Like Halle Berry doing Catwoman not long after she won an Oscar.  How'd that work out?  And how well did Daredevil work out?  (Though I'm one of the people who actually like that movie.)  Really, dude, fire your agent if he talked you into it.

3a.  But really, who the fuck is running things at WB/DC for this stuff?  What's the point of having middle-aged Batman except that you want to invoke The Dark Knight Returns because that was an iconic comic (to a lot of people who do not include me).  The problem is it doesn't really help you down the road in re-establishing the Batman franchise or a Justice League franchise.  The far more sensible move to me would have been to go the opposite way and cast someone young (like Joseph Gordon-Leavitt since you already had that set up) who's struggling to become a hero and then Superman can help to rein him in and in the process they can become buddies.  Then with your younger actor you can relaunch the Batman franchise and build towards a Justice League franchise.  My own theory is they're just grasping at straws.  I keep thinking Zack Snyder just made the whole thing up on the fly at ComiCon because they wanted something buzzworthy to top Marvel.  As it is they really don't seem to have a plan; they just throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks.  They need to put me in charge of it.  I'll work for like a tenth of whoever they're paying now and it'll be done right, goddamn it.  Or maybe I'll take the first big paycheck, buy a mountain of coke and a bunch of hookers and never be seen again.

4.  I'm not really impressed with the last season or half-season or whatever of Breaking Bad.  It's focusing on all the lame stuff I hated in prior seasons.  I hated those periods where Walt and Jesse weren't cooking meth because then they don't DO anything.  Jesse just sits around moping like a bitch and Walt sits around doing boring middle-aged guy shit.  I don't give a fuck about Walt sitting around getting chemo or arguing with his wife or whatever.  It's especially annoying since they spent 7 episodes of Season 5 getting the meth operation running then after one montage of making a shitload of money he decides to just retire.  Now in Season 5.5 or whatever this is he's just sitting around with his thumb up his ass while Hank starts trying to work up a case on him.  And then Jesse wigs out at him for seemingly no reason at all.  Come on, let's get cooking some meth!  And use that fucking ricin already.  Does that stuff expire after a while because he made it like in Season 1 and they've never really used it.  (Though actually I think the one he has now was made later but still.)  And that machine gun better be used for something cool, goddamn it, not like in Season 2 where you wondered what was going on with the bear in the swimming pool and all that and then it was some completely random plane crash that had nothing to do with anything.  So if it turns out he's just going to sell that machine gun on EBay I'm going to be seriously pissed.

5.  Why is anyone surprised by Miley Cyrus's trashy behavior at the VMAs, etc?  I mean we've already seen Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan go down this same path of self-destruction.  It pretty much happens to all these female child stars once they get 18.  Since Mommy, Daddy, and the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon can't run their lives anymore they promptly go out to catch up on everything they've missed.  It's sad, really, because these girls don't need put on MTV and TMZ; they need to see a fucking shrink to work out their issues.  Or just go to a party college and join a sorority where that kind of shit is commonplace.  Just don't expect me to be shocked by it.

6.  I really hate sites that claim to be "free" but are not free.  Sunday night I decided I needed a couple new images for the paperback covers of the Scarlet Knight books so I went to a site that claimed to have "free" stock photos.  Well half the images that come up are linked to this subsidiary website that is a pay site.  The other half are free, but like your local drug dealer it turns out only the first one is free.  After that you have to subscribe.  So, wait, how do you get to claim your site is free if I have to subscribe to download anything?  Get these assholes a dictionary so they can understand FREE means I don't pay you.  Ever.  They ought to call the site "1 Free Stock Photo" to be more accurate.  It's like those credit report websites that claim to be free but then in a low voice the narrator of the commercial says, "with enrollment in Triple Advantage."  Um, so if I have to enroll in something that costs me money then it's not FREE, is it?  Those things are a scam anyway because you're entitled to one free credit report a year from each agency if you want it.  Or just apply for a loan somewhere and they'll probably do it for you, eh?  Of course if you really want something FREE, A Hero's Journey, Tales of the Scarlet Knight #1 is FREE through Friday.  And Chance of a Lifetime, Chances Are #1 is always FREE on Amazon and Smashwords.  Just saying.

7.  Since I mentioned it, here are some revised covers for the Scarlet Knight paperbacks.  I took the red helmet off because for paperbacks you have to leave this half-inch margin on the side, which was kind of cramping things.  Plus I'm not sure how well that would print out.  So as I said I had to find some new graphics for #4 because otherwise it looked like a travel guide and #3 and #5 because the graphics I'd used originally were set up with stuff only to one side to fit the helmet in.  I did eventually find another free stock photo site that was free, though I do have to credit the people whose photos I used.  That doesn't really cost me though, so still free.  You could learn something from that, other site!  I also put these in PowerPoint to make some neat beveled text.

*New Cover

*New Cover

*New Cover

Tomorrow you get more Grumpy Bulldog bits with the Recap, aka my viewing diary!


  1. Maybe it wasn't technically a fan letter, but I have commented on your amazing productivity and I've asked how many novels you've written. In fact, I think it would be great if you wrote more about yourself, how you started writing and what types of experiences have contributed to your literary work. Just some food for thought.

  2. So much grumpiness, so little time!

    "I wept because I had no shoes, and then I met a man who had no feet." YOU don't get fan mail? I don't even get COMMENTS, except from you and Andrew, for the most part. I read Martinez's blog from time to time and I'm not so sure those are real letters. They seem a little too... pat. Kind of like Doonesbury's mailbag. I'm never sure if people really do that. I'd say I don't know who writes letters to authors, anyway, except that I wrote to Nick Harkaway (an email) and said how much I loved his book. So I can email you a letter like that, if you want.

    Anyway, it's in the nature of small authors to not get a ton of fan mail. At least you get reviews and comments; that's something. "It's hope." -- George Costanza.

    2. Come to think of it, there WEREN'T a lot of laughs in "Virgin Territory." WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THAT? I demand you think up several comical setpieces and issue them as an author's supplement. Like the director's cut on DVD.

    We'll see how caving in to peer pressure works when I do my blog tour, where the public -- YOU!-- get to demand what I write. I'm pretty sure it's going to be 14 sex scenes followed by a political diatribe ending in a giant ninja fight. Which now sounds like it ought to be the plot of the JLA movie.

    3-4. In the vast world of things to care about, Ben Affleck Batmanning and Miley Cyrus twerking are so far below my radar that I feel as though I've insulted humanity by commenting on them. Wouldn't it be great if just 0.000000000000001% of the outrage directed at Miley was instead directed at, oh, I don't know, the fact that our health care system is failing (only slightly) faster than our schools? I'd like to see a system where everytime someone talks about a ridiculous topic like Ben Affleck being Batman, they have to give $0.01 to a charity or as additional income taxes. Either we'd stop having wall-to-wall coverage of Miley's ass, or we'd pay off the national debt and buy touchscreen laptops for every kid in America... IN A DAY.

    On that note: Here's my $0.01: I think they should cast Miley Cyrus as Batman. Screw comic book nerds and people that worry about those things. I'd pay $7.50 just to sit in the audience and watch people complain that Batman was twerking through the alien battle.

    I liked that so much I just tweeted it. I have now TWEETED a portion of a comment, mid-comment. I'm at the top of my game.

    What else, what else?

    5. (Numbering is screwed up I know) I don't care about Breaking Bad. Not one bit. It's reached a "Mad Men/Downton Abbey/Game Of Thrones/Walking Dead" level of not caring, where I literally would break my own neck to turn my head away from the screen before I'd watch it. If I see more than 5 tweets a day about a television series, I won't watch it. Seriously.

    6. Case in point: I haven't yet finished season 4 of Arrested Development.

    7. I'm not sure how that is 'case in point' but it's true.

    8. Trashy teens? If you've ever been around many teenage/early 20s girls, imagine that plus $20,000,000,000 or however much money Miley, et al, have. I am around two regularly: Oldest and Middle. I can't imagine what would happen if they didn't have to work, did have more than enough money to make whatever thought pops into their head reality instantly, AND existed in a world where attention=life. More than they do already, I mean. Or rather, I can imagine, and it's named "Miley."

    8. I really like those covers. I know that I numbered that last paragraph 8, too, but I'm too lazy to change it. Signing off, now,

  3. I can't speak about much of those rants - but I did hear the rumor that Warner is wanting Affleck to have a lot of creative input into their JLA related movies. Maybe direct a flick or two. Making him batman just to sweeten the pot.

  4. I like that Change of Heart cover. I'm sure there are many actors that consider it career suicide to do scifi or superhero movies. But for every 12 Halle Berry's there's 1 Christian Bale. Great if it works.

  5. I liked Daredevil and thought Affleck was more than fine as him. I don't get why everyone is so down on Ben getting the role.

    As for DC, they've been trying to figure out how to be Marvel since the 60s and can't seem to get it. They are, in essence, a big company of pantsers trying to figure out why the big company of plotters is so successful. Marvel planned their whole movie scheme thing out ahead of time, and, yes, DC/WB are just flinging poo at the wall.

  6. Oh, and I don't know what twerking is and haven't bothered to try and figure out why everyone is so upset at Miley.

  7. I can't say that I agree with your analysis of Breaking Bad. For me, it's something I look forward to every week and keeps me on the edge of my seat. I think the show is just brilliant. I guess that's why everyone has a different opinion and why some things get five stars and some get one.

    Congratulations on finding success with your free book. It sounds like people love it. I hope it leads to many sales.

  8. Epic! You never cease to amaze me with your Grumpy Bulldog rants. I have nothing but respect for you and your writing. All the hard work will pay off. I disagree about Ben Affleck, but that might be because I have enjoyed most of Zack Snyder's films. I never watch music award shows, so I made the mistake of Googling the video...one word...stupid. I love DC comics and the Animated movies they have put out, but they do seem to be playing catch up with Marvel in the Movie department.

  9. Good luck with your free book. A Hero's Journey deserves to do well. There are some Facebook groups you should post the link to the free book on. Don't be shy. I like Emma better than Batman. :)



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