Friday, February 20, 2009

One Down, One Up

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my first foray into a Young Adult novel. Now comes the very lengthy task of editing, as I know there is quite a bit to reshape (since the story morphed itself along the way). Should be fun though (yes, FUN - for the first couple of edits at least). Now comes the impossible task of placing the story in a genre (for queries to agents/publishers). It is an adventure/dark fantasy story. It is NOT a story about a boy wizard with glasses, which every agent/publisher seems to automatically think now when you mention fantasy (thanks, Rowling) even though fantasy is one of the broadest genres out there. What's in the story, you ask? Well, I can't tell you yet. Let's just say it involves a small country town, Lassetter's Reef, ley lines, a girl who can see auras and werewolves. That's just the first installment, too. Interesting?

So straight after finishing that novel, I began my next adult novel (yes, I don't stop). After my experience with the mentorship program for my last novel, I have decided to again focus on a crime thriller-style manuscript. Well, it will be more of a suspense thriller with crimes thrown in. Make sense? It doesn't have to, I haven't finished it yet.

And, since I realise my time is spent on (as yet) unpublished novels and people may forget who the hell I am, I also began two short stories, the first I have written in around a year (my last ones were 'Hot Sauce' (in Black Box) and 'Zombie Brewing' (in Ripples)). Should I finish those, I can't wait to try and place them.

Now you've caught up on the writing world of Craig. Good for you :)

Top 30 Part 3: TV Shows

Most of the time, I don't really watch television shows when they are actually on television; rather, I may watch it once or twice and if I like it I'll buy the DVD versions and slowly watch them. So, like the movie list, a lot of entries will be quite new shows; the rest of the list is made up of shows I grew up with (yes, even Rosanne. It may not be the best show in the world, but my family watched it every week while it was on the air). A quick scan of the list will emphasise how much I enjoy 20-30 minute bursts of humour. I love my comedies. I usually save the serious stuff for movies and books (well, if I want to read comedy I'll go for Max Barry or Christopher Moore). Again, there were a lot of titles I missed out (Buffy, anyone?) - maybe it will look more comprehensive as a Top40 list on my 40th (shudder). Anyway, enjoy:

TOP 30 TV SHOWS:

1 The Simpsons
2 American Dad
3 The IT Crowd
4 Scrubs
5 Stark Raving Mad
6 My Name is Earl
7 Futurama
8 Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
9 Black Books
10 South Park
11 The Goodies
12 That 70s Show
13 Family Guy
14 Venture Bros.
15 The X-Files
16 Seinfeld
17 King of the Hill
18 Little Britain
19 The Office (US)
20 The Twilight Zone
21 The Muppet Show
22 3rd Rock from the Sun
23 Daria
24 Kath & Kim
25 Inspector Gadget
26 The Late Show (D-Generation)
27 Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law
28 The Ren & Stimpy Show
29 Transformers (1980s series)
30 Rosanne

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top 30 List 2 - Movies

Hi all,

To continue the lists made for my 30th birthday, here are the movies that grab my attention the most. Note, this is a personal list. I have left out many classics (try and pick only 30 movies, geez - I think I narrowed my choices from ~100). These are movies I grew up with or, because of the constant shuffle of my attention, ones I watched rather recently. In fact, many are quite new - I should perhaps do a Top 30 list of movies from my childhood (Gremlins, anyone?). Another day, perhaps. For now, enjoy this (and feel free to add your own suggestions):

1 Back to the Future Trilogy
2 Indiana Jones Trilogy
3 Lucky Number Slevin (The Wrong Man AUS)
4 Ghostbusters
5 Shaun of the Dead
6 The Illusionist
7 007 - Goldeneye & License to Kill
8 Stranger than Fiction
9 Star Wars ep. 4-6
10 Evil Dead Series
11 Terminator 2
12 The Wedding Singer
13 40 Year-Old Virgin
14 Van Wilder
15 Jason Bourne Series
16 Mr & Mrs Smith
17 Snatch
18 The Whole Nine Yards
19 The Pursuit of Happyness
20 Enter the Dragon
21 The Mummy Returns
22 Pulp Fiction
23 The Italian Job
24 Kiss of the Dragon
25 Detroit Rock City
26 The Princess Bride
27 Spaceballs
28 Galaxy Quest
29 Without a Paddle
30 Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Monday, February 16, 2009

30 Years Young

Yes, I've officially joined the 30s club. Valentine's Day 2009 was my 30th birthday. I celebrated by hosting a party at my house, with ~50 family members (and friends), many of which I have not seen in several years. It was a fantastic time, much too fast though. Especially since I spent several weeks preparing for it. One of the highlights of the night (for the relatives) was a slideshow I put together, containing many insightful pictures into my background (love those 80s fashions and furnishings). In that slideshow I also made a series of Top 30 lists (including images of the top 10 choices). This was an incredibly hard series of lists to make, many great choices left out. The lists were shaped by items that have affected me, remain burning in my memory, are in my actual collection, and so on. I thought I would share these lists with you. You can nod your head or pick on them, your choice. I will post 1 a day (there are 4). It makes sense to start with fiction. And yes, I realise several have multiple choices, it was just that hard to decide:

TOP 30 FICTION

1 I am Legend; 7 Steps to Midnight - Richard Matheson
2 The Shadow of the Wind Illustrated Edition - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
3 Others; The Ghosts of Sleath; The Magic Cottage - James Herbert
4 Carter Beats the Devil - Glen David Gold
5 Soul Mountain - Gao XingJian
6 Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
7 Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
8 Lemony Snicket Series
9 The Autograph Man - Zadie Smith
10 Out - Natsuo Kirino
11 Savage Moon - Chris Simms
12 Creepers; The Fifth Profession - David Morrell
13 Odd Thomas - Dean Koontz
14 The Pilo Family Circus - Will Elliot
15 Company - Max Barry
16 Salem's Lot Illustrated Edition - Stephen King
17 Chasing the Dime - Michael Connelly
18 World War Z - Max Brooks
19 The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling - Lawrence Block
20 Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
21 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
22 Once - Morris Gleitzman
23 Ring - Koji Suzuki
24 Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist
25 The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
26 Road to Mars - Eric Idle
27 The Spy who Came in From the Cold - John leCarre
28 The Shark Net - Robert Drewe
29 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
30 The Keeper - Sarah Langan

RIP another great

Too many heavyweight writers have passed away in the last year, including Sir Arthur C. Clarke and a score of sci-fi godfathers, Michael Crichton, and John Updike. I was very saddened to learn in the last few weeks that Donald E. Westlake joined that list, on New Year's Eve 2008. I came across the news by accident, whist looking at David Morrell's website, since I am a drifter in the world of news (I rarely watch the news on television since it is way too graphic for my 4-year old to view, so I rely on the Internet and newspapers).

I'm deeply saddened by the man's passing. I've really been getting my claws into Westlake's work (it started when I read 'The Hook' to make sure it was nothing like my crime novel). Many will also know him under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Westlake had the wonderful ability to inject humour, darkness and intelligence into all his mysteries. I encourage you all to look at his work - I only wish I could have met the master before it was too late.